Honest Run: Delusions
Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Things get a little more resolved. Simon's mind begins its downward spiral.


Previous chapters include: Honest Run: Deal
Honest Run: Din
Honest Run: Detail
Honest Run: Detachment
Honest Run: Diagnosis
Honest Run: Dance
Honest Run: Dignity
Honest Run

Simon groaned. The night had passed with more arguing, but to a lesser extent. As angry as Mal was, he had a streak of rationality in him. There was no point in berating Simon further once he had confessed his ‘crime.’ While morning had finally come opening his eyes had been a trial. It had been a fitful night of dark dreams and dull aches. As for his sight, Simon found that the focus was off and there was an intense yellowing in it. A dozen unnecessarily long names of symptoms rattled off in his head. So. This is what it feels like to die. It was a defeatist thought that wouldn’t be turned aside. He felt hallow. Numb. As if a sudden cold had whisked away all the feeling in his body and replaced it with a lukewarm emptiness that ached unbelievably. But for all the emptiness, he seemed to recognize the pain, though it was like none he remembered. It was just… There. His dreams were of the same stock. Blandly terrifying. No sharp point of agony to make it a nightmare, only a presence to make it dark and foreboding. In some way it was reminiscent of River. The undeniable shadow that seemed to pass through her features at will before her confusion would rush in. Simon secretly wondered that if there was some part of River untainted by their experiments could rein in her own personal chaos. A psychological solution to what he had pursued as a medical quandary. For him, he could see a difference in his sister from the first few months that they had been on the ship. It dawned on him slowly that it wasn’t his medicines that were calming her anymore. That it was the generous company that she was holding was healing her more than the syringes and unpronounceable medications. That those same medications were serving to cloud her mind more than he wanted to admit. He had to know. This mission had been an opportunity to try out the nagging doubt. Her empathic abilities were always there, Simon had conceded to himself after the incident with Jubal Early. His memories were of a brilliant sister whose curiosities were over looked because of his love of her. She always seemed to know what was on his mind when he was younger. He had dismissed it as the simple sibling connection. This was connection that had long defied scientific explanation, but documented in several texts. But as he sifted through his memories, there were clues in her early interactions with adults. That she could not only pull the thoughts from her brother’s mind, but others. The subtle glances that his father and mother nervously traded whenever River did something so inexplicable. Fear? Did they fear her then? Was that the reason that they kept her away? Ignored her letters? His own heated pleas? There was so much about his parents that he didn’t understand in those final months. Their callousness. The disinterest in their own daughter. Ignoring the possibility that there was something wrong with her. Perhaps there was something always wrong with River in their mind. That they had some idea that it was no ‘school’ that they had sent her to. That wherever she was, River was getting the help that they felt that she needed. It wasn’t a pleasant line of thought. Every time he visited it, he felt ill. That his parents had some part in whatever they did to River out of some sort of misplaced parental ambition for their child was… aberrant. But it was an explanation that filled in a great number of holes for him. “Goddamn, I make this look good.” If Simon had opened his eyes, he had closed them now. Tightly. There was no denying that he recognized the voice. Jayne. Simon didn’t want to even admit to himself that it had been anything other than a tired mind that had conjured such a hallucination. “MmmMmm,” came the voice, “Damn.” Jayne? Simon turned his head wearily and saw the man tinkering with a cowboy hat in the mirror that sat upon the dresser in Mal and Simon’s room. With exception to the hat, and the absence of any weapons other than that mean boot knife, Jayne was attired much as Simon could remember him. But he’s not supposed to be here… Why is Jayne here? Simon meant to roll off the bed and on to his feet… Instead, his legs tangled and he rolled off the bed to crash on the floor. Surprisingly, the mercenary rushed over to him, “Can’t be havin’ you doin’ that, doc,” Jayne smiled unpleasantly as he knelt beside Simon, “Might damage that gi-nourmous brain of yours.” “This can’t be…” Simon stuttered, “You’re on the ship…” He laid a hand on Simon’s shoulder, “Aw. Doc. Don’t be that way…” he tipped his hat with his forefinger with his other hand, “What d’ya think of the hat?” he grinned. Simon blinked and concentrated on the mercenary’s head, “You’re a delusion,” Simon stated as he inspected the accessory. It looked incredibly familiar. “Ah know,” Jayne smiled unpleasantly, “That’s why I’m worried ‘bout that gray matter of yours,” he offered his hand, “Wouldn’t want anything to happen to me, you see…” “I’m dreaming,” Simon felt the grain of the wooden floor underneath him, “I must be. This doesn’t make any sense…” “There you go,” Jayne ran a finger down Simon’s nose, “Crying logic and sense. Didn’t you take the crazy drugs yesterday?” Imaginary or not, Jayne’s closeness was extremely uncomfortable. He could smell the man. And if he didn’t smell of lavender perfume. It was a scent as familiar as the hat that the man wore… Simon shuffled back into a presence behind him. “Crazy as hell, doc,” Jayne jeered across from him, “Or is it a crazy hell? Whatever it is, it should be fun…” Suddenly, a cacophony of noise struck Simon’s ears. Background noise, voices; some he recognized right away, others he couldn’t place. He clamped his hands down on either side of his skull to no avail. Loud and busy, he couldn’t escape the sound. He closed his eyes against the memory of Jayne’s cruel leer. Images flashed in the black. And just when he couldn’t take it anymore… It stopped. “Doc?” Mal. Simon pulled his hands away and opened his eyes. He couldn’t pretend to know how he had just heard the captain. Sure enough, it was Mal’s hand on his shoulder, not Jayne’s. The hat belonged to Trissa Brown, perched just as high on her head as Jayne had it. It was her perfume. There was a look in her eyes that spoke of worry. Though he was still crumpled on the floor. Had they always been there? “Are you alright?” she asked. The concern in her eyes was an exaggeration of the same in the captain’s, “Doc?” The eye movement from her to Mal was not kind. Instead of answering, Simon inspected the captain’s face. Mal’s color had returned, and while there was a redness about the eyes from lack of sleep, he seemed free of last night’s ailment. He still looked aggravated. Simon guessed that that aggravation was aimed at him. He touched his nose and found a trail of blood that started from the center of his brows and dripped off the end. “Looks like you banged your head on the nightstand,” Trissa offered him a bandana, “Looks like you’ll live, though.” Simon felt the flinch in Mal through his shoulder, “I might.” “You with us, son?” Mal asked. While there wasn’t as much concern there as Trissa, it was still there. The hand offered was Trissa’s and Simon took it and stood, “Captain, I…” he looked at the dresser and around the room, “I’m…” for Jayne, or anything or one else that shouldn’t be there, “Fine?” Mal looked at him critically, “Attack of the crazies, I imagine?” He then spotted Jayne back at the mirror minus the hat, assuming the posture of a cowboy from a childish game of cowboys and indians with his hips thrust forward and arms ending with his hands formed into pistols. He checked over to Trissa with a contemplative look. Simon felt a unique vulnerability in the company of the stranger and didn’t respond right away. Trissa caught the flicker in his eyes, “Simon,” she laid a hand on him, “Mal told me the truth this morning…” A shadow passed around the pair, “Aw, ain’t that grand,” Jayne said, “She’s going to nurse you back to health, Doc,” he leered, “She’ll fit mighty fine in that bed of yours, I bet. Though there might be a bit of stackin’. I’m sure they taught you where to put the stuff in that fancy med school.” Jayne walked around them, “’Course I could just draw a picture, too…” Aggravated, “Would you just…” Simon grabbed the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes for a moment before focusing on the two in front of him, “I’m sorry, what was that?” Mal crossed his arms, “I told Trissa here of the situation regarding your…” “Sanity?” Jayne whirled his finger around an ear to exaggerate the point, “Ain’t he right and proper? Damn Doc’s lost his marbles just like his crazy sister. Might be scampering on knees and elbows to come and look for ‘em.” Simon’s jaw twitched. He never wanted to actually hit someone as much as he wanted to hit Jayne as that moment. There was an unrelenting pressure on his mind that seemed to tighten with every beat of his pulse. “Condition,” Mal spit out, “Don’t have much of a doctor in these parts, but they’ve got a family friend coming in that got educated from that moon of theirs…” Simon staggered over to the mirror to have a look at himself, “I see.” “She’s going to watch over you while I straighten out,” Mal glanced at her, “Our business.” Jayne mimed, ‘I told you so,’ accompanied by a vulgar and adolescent gesture obviously involving Trissa. Ignoring him, Simon made it over to the mirror. His appearance was startling. The fresh tan had gone blotchy, and the shadow in his features had gone deep and gray. It was as if the color had been leeched from his eyes and skin, “You mean to leave me behind then?” “Can’t see what kind of use you are,” Mal said coldly, “Bein’ crazy and such.” “I’m a little fuzzy on this,” Jayne said introspectively, “Didn’t you just save his ungrateful hump?” His image was in the mirror as well. True. Simon tried to reach for some patience and understanding for Mal and the situation. Instead, having Jayne on the both corners of his vision brought out anger and frustration. “Odd,” Simon splashed the cool water from the vanity on his face, “I thought I might just fit into your crazy club,” his tone matched Mal’s to the degree, “Is there a free spa treatment?” Mal came up close, “I think you’ve done enough.” “Like twice?” Jayne’s face fit the space between Simon and the captain. He seemed to enjoy the confrontational space. “I think your plan needs work,” Simon told him. “Plan?” Mal’s eyes went over to Trissa, “I have a plan, now. Betcha didn’t know the doc here was telepathic, did you?” His eyes went back over to Simon unkindly, “Gets it from his sister, I hear. What’s this plan you speak of?” As abrasive as the captain was being, Simon finally salvaged a bit of his professional demeanor. The comment about his sister should have pierced it, but Simon knew such a remark was long in coming. The captain wasn’t having his best day, and Simon knew that he was definitely not Mal’s favorite person. “He’s not right,” Inara ran a hand down Mal’s jaw, as she had just replaced Jayne in an eyeblink, “He’s feels like he should be the one to be sick,” the companion explained looking through an eye of the captain’s like it was some kind of eyeglass, “He’s not mad at you as much as he’s mad at himself,” Inara looked back at Simon, “But I’m sure that you knew that…” As close as she was to the captain, it seemed impossible, delusion or not, that Mal wouldn’t respond to her touch, “You’re part of his crew now,” she explained, “If anyone needs to suffer it should be him…” Simon passed a trembling hand over his face. “He can’t stand the helplessness…” And when he looked back up, Inara was gone. Zoe’s charge echoed in his head. Simon’s own eyes focused on the gun strapped to the man’s side, “Oh. I see.” “You keep saying that,” Mal said, “But I’m not sensing the candor from you.” “So,” Simon leaned against vanity, “Let me get this straight,” he gestured to Brown, “Trissa’s told you about this Bobby Denton. She told you that this man could have the shuttle or might be the one to talk to about getting it back…” “Goodly warm,” Mal put out his finger, “I see that you’ve been working on your powers of deduction…” “So you’re going to confront him…” “Getting hot…” “Threaten to shot him so he gets the point…” Mal smiled, “I think you’ve played this game before, Doc…” “And get shot.” The captain frowned, “And you were doing so well.” “Damn near brilliant,” Jayne cheered, “I especially like the shooting part…” Simon looked to Trissa for help. She shrugged, “He’s your friend. I figured you’d be the one to talk the sense.” “He’s not inclined to either logic or sensibility,” Simon sighed, “Especially when he has a particular mindset…” “I’ve noticed.” “Aw, now…” Jayne said, “I’d say shank ‘im,” he said looking down Trissa’s open shirt, “Let him go get shot,” he made an approving grunt, “She’s a bit on the lean side, but that can be fun too. I’d say she’s got just the thing that ails ya…” “Yep,” Mal said, seemingly proud of himself, “Made up my mind and there’s no changing it…” “…so we’re going with you.” Simon completed. If there were brakes on Mal’s rabid train of thought they were thrown and smoking. Mal went rigid, “No, you’re not,” Usually this was when Simon felt the need to back down; the look that bespoke a point or two that Mal would ‘argue’ to put him on the floor. Instead, Simon matched him in stare. He figured he’d already been on the floor once or twice; another time wasn’t going to make a difference. There was also the desperate hope that Jayne would be evicted post haste, or be awoken from this wicked nightmare. “Yes.” Simon said, “Yes, we are.” Trissa’s eyes flicked between the both of them. “Doc,” Mal said, “This is the point where I lay you out.” “And this is the point where I remind you of your responsibility to me,” Simon told him, “That I can’t have you run off in a storm of foolhardy bravado because you feel that you’ve no options left.” Mal stepped up to Simon, “Screw you, Simon,” he said with violent intent in his eyes, “I didn’t ask for your noble goushi to save my life…” “Deal with it,” Simon replied, “’Cause I’m all that you’ve got.” “Sheng shi,” Jayne jeered, “I didn’t think you had the stones to tell him off,” he flicked his finger at Simon and clacked his tongue, “Good on you.” “If’n you think that bein’ sick and crazy is going to get you charity from me…” Simon stared back at him, “It won’t.” “Tow the line, Simon,” Mal warned, “I’m not going to tell you twice.” “You already have,” Simon told him without emotion, “And I’ve been expecting it for sometime. If you think that knocking me flat is going to change a damn thing you’re welcome to try,” he said, “Because I’ll just get back up and follow you.” “I’m getting real tired of you telling me of what I’m going to do.” “Well, find a ship and be the captain!” Jayne laughed at him, “I figured that part out…” Simon turned toward the empty space that ‘Jayne’ was occupying, “You’re not helping.” Mal looked over to the space Simon addressed, “Are we busy?” he asked Simon, “I can come back.” “Aren’t you supposed to hit me?” Simon snapped back at him angrily, “You’ve been talking about it for…” Mal hit him. Simon didn’t feel it at all. There was a flash of black, but it felt for all the world that Mal had just pushed him down and across as he skidded across the floor. Despite that his mouth quickly filled with spit and blood. He blinked his eyes twice. Each time he counted Jayne, Mal and Trissa. Trissa traded an unkind glance with the captain. “What?” Mal rubbed his fist sorely, “I warned him.” “Don’t take that crap,” Jayne dropped down on his knee to confront him, “I’d say you grab some crazy and kill that ungrateful hundan…” “Whose side are you on?” Simon whispered to himself. The mercenary looked at him like Simon had grown a third head, “Mine.” Simon managed a grin, “Of course.” In a rare display of crudeness, he spit out the blood on the floor. He didn’t need to look to know that his Jayne was practically glowing. Trissa and Mal stared at him. Maybe he had grown a third head. Simon picked himself up, “He did warn me,” he said to Trissa. He walked back over to the vanity and poured more water into the already pink basin. He washed out his mouth. “It figures that you would find some gumption just in time to get in my way,” Mal looked at him. “I’m prepared for the eventuality that you’re going to shoot me,” Simon told him matter-of-factly, “It’s amazing to me the amount that I don’t care,” he awarded Mal a look, “I don’t.” “That doesn’t really leave me a whole lot of options,” the captain replied, “Does it?” “Not of the usual,” Simon dabbed his face with a damp towel from the vanity, “No.” In a way, it hurt. Simon could feel the swelling begin, the rawness of the broken skin in his mouth. Nothing felt the way it should. He was also standing toe to toe with the captain, something that he really didn’t want to do. For a moment he caught Zoe sitting on his bed observing the captain with still eyes. She had her hands together, wringing cracks and pops from them. She made eye contact with him, a slow nod of affirmation before Trissa nervously passed between Zoe and Simon. As soon as the cowgirl passed out of the way, the image of Mal’s exec had passed. “I’d say if he can take a punch like that,” Trissa said, “Then he’s good enough to get shot along with the rest of us.” “Us?” Mal asked, “There is no us. I’m going to get my ship back, so I can get this madman the brain lubing he needs,” he stood before the two, “Unless you two feel the need to shoot each other…” “He’s kind of nasty when you wake up,” Trissa told Simon, “I almost miss the charming smile…” “Whose idea was it to arm him?” he asked, “I noticed it last night…” “My dad’s,” Trissa said, “he figured that Mal was the balanced sort of individual…” Mal looked between the two of them. Simon saw the look of consternation soften for a reason that he didn’t understand, “Fine.” Trissa and Simon looked back at him, “Fine?” Simon mouthed. “If you folks are stupid in the basket along with me then let’s get started. If Doc’s got the mind to be stubborn, it’s probably not the best idea to keep on using the five fingered dictionary on the man to draw out the point.” Mal pointed to Simon, “Get yourself washed up,” he turned to Trissa, “Which will give you time enough to dig this man up some iron.” Mal pushed on Simon enough to get his attention, “I can’t imagine that you have a problem with that, do ya? Because if you do,” he pointed to the bed, “You know where ya’ll can stay.” The expression didn’t get past Trissa, “Let’s leave the love connection out of conversation, can we?” she began to walk across the room, “I’ll be back.” As soon as she left, Simon checked over the clothes that he had been left earlier by the help next to the bed. He felt the gaze of Mal on him, but Simon didn’t feel quite as foolhardy as he had minutes ago so he let the challenge go. The space between the swells… Unfortunately for him, Mal didn’t feel the same, “So…” he said, “One to ten, how crazy are you now? Zero being your normal tightness…” Simon turned around to check the room. In the far corner, he spotted Jayne trying to squish Mal’s head from a distance with his thumb and forefinger. Of all the delusions, why wouldn’t he be the one to go away? Simon sighed, “Four.” Mal considered that for a minute, “You look like a pile,” he took out his borrowed gun and rolled the chamber, “Somehow I don’t think that a shower’s gonna completely do the job of freshening you up.” Simon turned around, “I’ve got to try captain. I wish I could explain it, but I…” he shook his head, “I just can’t…” “Believe it or not,” Mal dropped the gun into the holster, “I think I’ve got it. Contrary to popular belief there is a smattering of brain matter between these handsome ears of mine,” he smiled. For a moment, Simon remembered the man that he had glimpsed just the other night before all the revelations and arguments. “If I had to go,” Mal told him, “I can’t imagine that I would go quietly either, doc,” he laid a hand on Simon, “Big surprise there, I bet. I don’t think that there would be any amount of yelling or screaming that would make me do otherwise. Nor would a good jawing, I suppose…” “Captain…” “Gorram, boy,” Mal exclaimed, “You sure like to talk. You mind if I get a coupla words in before you start back in with the bad news again?” “I’m sorry.” Simon sat down on the bed. Surprisingly, Mal joined him there, “You know doc, I didn’t think I had many more of these left, especially after so many ones that I’ve have given have been so empty.” he looked into Simon’s eyes, “But I didn’t mean for this to happen, especially to you, despite what I’m sure that you think. I didn’t expect this of you,” he looked down into his hands, “I’m sorry, Simon.” It was such a quiet statement. And personal. “I know you said that if anyone could fix this, that it should be me,” Mal looked around the room, “And you’re right. I should be the one that fix this…” a deep breath, “But I’ll be damned if I know how.” Mal seemed to grasp for more words, but a lengthy pause filled the space instead. “Captain…” Simon said, “When I said that, I meant much more that if anyone could fix this, it would be you. I have no doubt in your abilities, or your will to do what needs to be done, and I’m just sorry that that didn’t translate well.” “Yeah, well… We’re not exactly the easiest pair of people from the ship are we?” Mal said, “I mean, we still dislike each other, right?” Simon cracked a smile, “Immensely.” “Grows daily, does it?” “Of course.” “Good. Good,” Mal nodded to himself, “I’d hate for us to lose that,” he stood up, “We might start earning a respect for each other.” “And we couldn’t have that…” Mal turned back around, “Yeah…”


Wednesday, June 29, 2005 8:40 PM


Trying to frame Simon going crazy should be interesting. Now after reading several of Ali D's fics and quite a few others, I've seen Mal go through just about everything.

Mal's tough.

I think Simon's tough too, and alot of this series is based around that ideal. To a degree, I think Mal knows it more than Simon does himself.

Enjoy and keep flyin'

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 8:52 PM


Oh this one was funny. Jayne delusion was craking me up, look foward to the next part.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 11:21 PM


Those delusions of Simon's would drive me crazy too just relieved to see an almost normal conversation between him and Mal at the end of it. I have always thought Simon was strong but in an understated, keeping his powder dry kind of way, whereas Mal's strength is almost tangible as if to hide the fragility inside. Let go and he just might fall apart. At the end of the day it may be Simon holding Mal together more than the other way round. And trust the Jayne delusion to be the one that lasts the longest! Great myth, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, July 21, 2005 1:13 PM


Oh my...somehow missed the update when you did this. Great job. Love seeing Simon tormented---you even had the tormentors completely in character. I also liked his reminesce about his parents and river. great story building.


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Honest Run: Daring
Another round table discussion on how to get the captain out of trouble.

Honest Run: Dilemma
Honest Run?!? He's still writing this?!?!

Honest Run: Derelict
Zoe and the crew finish their part of the deal, running across a bit of history along the way.

Reaver Attack: Denial
Reavers are real aren't they? My entry into the Serenity contest.

Honest Run: Door
Mal has another one of his barroom confrontations.

Honest Run: Distraction
Comets, comedy, and confession. Another day on Serenity.

Honest Run: Delusions
Things get a little more resolved. Simon's mind begins its downward spiral.

Honest Run: Deal
A little prequel action, explaining a few of the questions of the where and how variety. Features Wash and Zoe and certain Denton.

Honest Run: Din
Pair up. Where's River?

Honest Run: Detail
What is it with Jayne anyway?