Finding Our Way - Chapter 9
Saturday, March 4, 2006

Mal finally confronts Simon about finding him with Kaylee and things don't go at all like he had planned. Kaylee/Simon. This chapter is quite angsty. Well, I think so anyway.


My beta said she cried her eyes out when she read this. Well, I hope you do too. :)

Last chapter for a while. Hope you enjoy it.


Chapter 9

Dinner was a loud boisterous affair. Everyone was pleasantly pleased and surprised that nothing had gone wrong with this delivery either. Jayne was still snuffling disgustingly, but he was doing better now that the puppies were gone. Mal had surprisingly said nothing about finding Kaylee in Simon’s lap in the lounge which kept Simon tense and on edge for the entire day.

But right in the middle of dinner, Mal turned stern eyes on Simon and in no uncertain terms asked the date of the wedding.

A horrified look passed across Simon’s face but Mal kept his face stoic and his eyes hard.

Simon swallowed hard. “Wedding?”

“Ya, you wanna bed my mechanic, you do it all legal like.”

“I don’t –“ Simon glanced from the shocked Kaylee back to Mal. He shook his head. No one was going to tell him when and how to propose marriage. As angry as he was at that moment, he didn’t even look at Kaylee – something he was about to regret – but instead leveled as hateful a gaze as anyone had ever seen at Mal. “No. I will not ask Kaylee to marry me simply because you have a problem with –”

“Truth comes out. No big surprise. You rich boys like to use ‘em and leave ‘em.”

“That is –“ Simon was distracted by Kaylee, who stood, eyes filling with tears. Simon’s eyes shifted from her to Mal and back again, unsure of where to direct his full attention. “Not – Kaylee –“ He reached for her but she stepped away from him.

“No big shock that you don’t want to marry her.”

“Not right now, no.” Simon stammered. His mind wasn’t working well with Mal’s unfair barrage and he knew instantly that he’d said the wrong thing.

Wash and Zoe’s pained looks gave him some form of comfort. They’d gone through a similar tirade before their marriage. It was no secret Mal hated shipboard relationships.

Simon reached out to Kaylee again, knowing he needed to explain himself. “Kaylee – wait - I don’t –“

“Let her go now before you break her completely.”

Simon didn’t notice Kaylee hesitate at his plea because he’d turned around and directed his full flaring temper on Mal.

“Stay out of this!”

“You don’t love her, you’re just using –“

“No!” Simon hissed and then realized his mistake when he saw the hurt look pass across Kaylee’s face. “No – I mean, yes I –“

Kaylee’s sob stopped his heart. And he reached for her but she twisted away from his hand and bolted out of the room.

“Smooth, doc.” Jayne shoveled another bite of food into his mouth.

Wash kicked him under the table, which earned a scowl from the big thug.

Inara glared at Mal, and then Simon, as she stood, fully intent on following Kaylee. But her annoyed gaze lingered for an extra split second on Simon’s crestfallen face as he stared down the hallway. The true and utter anguish there stopped her heart.

Simon swallowed thickly before turning eyes filled with such hurt and malice on Mal that Inara shivered from the intensity. In a low, almost defeated tone, he said steadily. “Thanks, Captain.”

“Happy ta help!” Mal said jovially as he picked up his fork. “Good we know where ya stand now.”

A moment of silence passed as Simon glanced down at his plate and then slowly back at Mal. “You don’t understand.”

“That ya just wanna bed her with no commitment? Yeah, I understand perfectly. You rich, privileged, pretty boys have your pick of women. Always following you with their hearts on their sleeves, ready to spread for the smallest bit of attention. You ain’t gonna use Kaylee as your own personal whore until you get tired of her.”

Inara covered her mouth in indignation at the insult. Book looked as if he wanted to say something and Wash and Zoe simply stared in silent shock. As angry as Mal had been over them getting together, he’d never resorted to such foul insults. Even Jayne paused with his fork halfway to his mouth.

Simon gave a short snort of laughter and leveled dark blue eyes on the Captain. If he had ever felt the overwhelming desire to hit the man, it was now. “Is that what you truly think is going on between us?” His voice was low and laced with venom. “If I’d wanted to simply bed Kaylee, I would have done so long before now.”

“Playin’ hard ta get is a nice trademark for you rich –“

“You would have me marry her now?” His tone was incredulous. He couldn’t believe the pig headed man didn’t understand. As easily as he could become tongue-tied with Kaylee, he found it frightfully easy to string together coherent sentences right now. “Legally tie her to a wanted fugitive?”

Zoe and Wash gaped at Simon, and Book glanced across the table at him, a look of pity on his face. It took Jayne and Mal an extra moment for Simon’s words to register.

But as Mal opened his mouth to speak, Simon continued. “So when I’m caught, or the Alliance learns of my marriage, they can use her to get to me, or to River. So they can torture her?”

“No Alliance sets foot on my boat. I protect my crew.”

“But you want me to marry Kaylee. Love, honor and protect. Those are the vows.” Simon’s voice was thick with emotion and Inara could feel tears well in her eyes. “Except I am incapable of protecting anyone. You know that as well as I do. I am a fugitive. I broke my sister out of a top secret Alliance facility and we are on the run. You protect us! Yet you want me to say those vows when I have no hope, no way of being able to keep them!”

Wash and Zoe sat spellbound by the emotion behind Simon’s words and even Jayne gaped in silence.

“Since you are so very fond of bringing up my privileged upbringing, then perhaps I should explain to you what those vows mean to me. They are not just words, they are a promise; A promise I have no way right now to keep.” Simon’s voice shook, but he continued. “I have nothing to give Kaylee. No ring, no home, nothing. And she deserves the best a husband can provide for her.” Simon forced the tears back though his hands shook for the effort. “I will not marry her when I can give her nothing. Nothing except myself. It’s all I have. It may be all I ever have.” Simon took a deep breath, trying to control his raging emotions. “So what has this rich, privileged upbringing gotten me now? I don’t have the ability, the knowledge or the money to help my sister, whom I would die to protect. And that hurts more than you will ever understand. And you want me to add another responsibility to my life? I already feel responsible for Kaylee. I tried to ignore her advances, Captain. Do you think for all of my privileged education I couldn’t tell when a girl was throwing herself at me? Do you think it’s been easy for me to ignore her when what I really wanted was –“ He couldn’t give voice to his desires. Not now. Simon glanced at Jayne and gave a pained chuckle. “Or should I just have bedded her like one of Jayne’s whores and been done with her– hoping that once the deed was done she’d abandon her crush?”

Simon finally stood and glanced down at his plate once again, taking a deep, calming breath. His heart was racing and the tears were ever so close to falling. When he looked up again, there was no one in the room who was not moved by the defeated look in his eyes. “I am not that kind of man. I wouldn’t do that to Kaylee. Not now and not ever.”

Softly, he whispered, “Nothing is good enough for Kaylee. I am not good enough for her.” He swallowed hard around the lump in his throat. “And I never will be.” He turned around and walked out of the room leaving everyone staring after him slack jawed.

A few moments of silence passed before Jayne muttered, “Well, crap, the doc has balls after all.”

"Huh," was all Mal could think to say.

If looks could kill, Inara would have sent Mal to an early grave, followed very closely by Jayne.

Book rose to follow Simon but the sniffling at his side caused him to stop and glance down at River, who sat demurely with her hands folded in her lap, her head bowed, crying.

In clearly coherent, cohesive sentences she spoke softly. “He gave it all up for me; His home, his work, his life. He’s lost without it all. Doesn’t know what to do. Doesn’t fit in. Is afraid.” When she glanced up, her eyes fell on Inara across the table. “Was afraid to let down the barriers. But she slipped through. He loves her.” When she took a breath, she sobbed. “But he doesn’t have anything to give her. Because of me.” Tears tracked a steady path down her cheeks and Book immediately reached out and placed a comforting arm around her thin shoulders.

Inara hurried around the table and sank into the chair Simon had just vacated. She took River’s hands and squeezed them reassuringly. “He is more than good enough for Kaylee. We know he loves her. He doesn’t need a ring or a marriage certificate to prove that.” She sent a scathing glare in Mal’s direction.

“Everything will work itself out, child.” Book said softly, rubbing her shoulders as she covered her face and cried; hard, deep tears that shook her whole body.

“Simon can’t fix me. But Kaylee can fix Simon.” River glanced up at Mal with an innocence that caused even the battle hardened Jayne’s heart to melt. “Now they’re both broken. Like me.”

Having heard enough, Inara stood. “River, honey, the Shepherd is going to stay with you while I go talk to Simon, okay?” She needed to reach Simon first. She’d dealt with Kaylee in this type of mood before but the usually very stoic, unemotional Simon was another matter entirely.

River leaned weakly against Book’s shoulder, her energy spent. Book nodded over the distraught girls head.

Mal stood, his body tense with guilt. “Inara – let me –“

“You’ve done enough damage for the night, Mal.” She turned on her heel and walked out.

Unable to contain what needed said, Jayne muttered, “she’s got a point there.”

Mal sighed and turned to Zoe, who had pulled Wash to his feet and was about to walk toward the cockpit, away from the infuriating Captain. She glared at him with as much malice as Inara had.

“If you’re looking for a sympathetic ear in this direction, you’d better think again, Sir.”


Inara checked every passenger dorm for Simon, even the ones currently unoccupied. She looked through the windows of the infirmary as she walked into the lounge area immediately outside, hoping that he would be easy to find. She fleetingly considered that maybe he had gone after Kaylee himself, but then shook her head, knowing that in his current state of mind he would not even attempt to see her.

Concerned that she could not easily locate him, she made her way back to the infirmary and decided to actually step inside this time. She smiled sadly as she approached the doorway and saw him sitting on the floor in the corner, leaning against the wall. His arms were wrapped around his bent knees, which were pulled up to his chest and his head was leaning dejectedly against the wall.

Simon heard the rustle of delicate fabric on the infirmary floor before he saw her. But he didn’t have the energy to look up. He just swallowed hard and closed his eyes, willing the pain in his heart to go away. But the guilt he felt at his uncharacteristic behavior warred with his desire to be left alone. He knew he had hurt River tonight, as much as he had hurt Kaylee – and he hadn’t meant to hurt either of them. It was a habit he needed to learn how to break and he didn’t even know where to start. The rest of the crew, well, they could go to hell.

Thinking of nothing else he could possibly say, he simply muttered a defeated, “I’m sorry.” He could feel her kneel beside him, her gentle hand resting on his shoulder.

“For what?” Inara asked, curious. “For speaking your heart?”

“My heart doesn’t matter,” Simon said flatly, forcing all emotion out of his voice. The Captain had forced him to face that painful reality. “Keeping River safe is all that matters.”

“You don’t believe that.”

“She’s all I have and I – I need to fix her. I hurt her tonight.”

“She isn’t the only one.” She saw Simon’s wince and his eyes squeeze shut at the memory.

The walls were back; the carefully constructed walls that he had carried from the moment he’d boarded Serenity. Kaylee had been chipping away at them bit by bit. Then in the last week she’d slipped through those barriers he had erected around his heart. Six months worth of pieces lay scattered at their feet. All rebuilt within the span of ten short minutes, by one callous, heartless Captain.

“I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room when you left.”

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?”

Inara didn’t have to look at his face to see his bloodshot eyes. She could hear the tears in his voice.

“Oh – I thought it might.”

“The cold, proper Core doctor has feelings after all. What a surprise it must have been for everyone.” Simon muttered sarcastically with a shake of his head, more to keep her from noticing the sob that formed on his lips than for any other reason.

“Your feelings have been clear for quite some time.” When he had no response for that, she continued, “for one who is trained to see into men’s hearts.”

“There’s nothing there to see, Inara. Not anymore. I can’t do this. I can’t pull myself in so many directions. It will tear those I love apart. It’s tearing me apart.” Simon said sadly. He lifted his head and glanced around the infirmary. “I used to think the hospital was my home. I felt comfortable there. Safe. I could do some good. I could help people. But that’s gone now and I’ve come to terms with it. River was worth every sacrifice I made. “

Inara fought the tears that welled in her eyes. His voice was so sad and he looked so young and lost she just wanted to pull him into her arms and encourage him cry it all out.

“I had no right to bring Kaylee into our troubles. Or you, or Book or – anyone on this ship. But it’s too late now. River loves this ship and my – my heart is here. Held firmly in the grasp of the sweetest, loveliest woman I have ever met. Wherever we go, it will always be here.”

“You’re not going anywhere, Simon.” The determination in her own voice surprised her. She had taken a liking to the fugitive siblings from day one, and she was not going to stand by and watch Simon self-destruct now, or let the Captain drive an un-repairable wedge between Simon and Kaylee, or worse, push him off the ship entirely.

“The Captain has never liked me. Tonight will just widen that rift. I’m stuck; trapped in a web of my own making. I can’t leave without breaking the hearts of the two women I love most in this ‘verse and I – can’t stay. He doesn’t approve and we live here only his good will.“ He glanced at Inara for the first time, his words trailing into a whisper.

“Will you do me a favor?”

Simon sighed heavily and closed his eyes.

“Just one?”

“If I can.”

“Go to my shuttle and rest. It is the most private place on the ship. No one will bother you there. And you need some time alone.”

“Ah, so the Captain can accuse me of –“

“You leave that heartless liumang to me.” Inara stood, her eyes blazing. “Now I have to go see to a broken hearted mechanic. Will you go, please?”

“I should go to her. It’s my fault –“

“No, go to my shuttle. Please.” The tone left no room for argument. Inara regretted using such a firm tone, but she knew Simon was stubborn enough that if she gave an inch, he would go to Kaylee himself. And right now, that would probably do more harm than good.

Simon nodded wordlessly, his emotions too bruised and battered to argue, and as he pushed himself to his feet, he remembered – “River, I need to check on –“

Inara held up a neatly manicured hand. “Shepherd Book is with her. She’s fine.”

“But –“

“If she needs you, he will come for you.” She took his arm and led him out to the cargo bay. “Now please, go.”


“Kaylee honey?” Inara set one long, lean leg into the engine room and didn’t have far to look before she found Serenity’s resident heartbroken mechanic. Tools littered the ground at her feet and Inara delicately stepped over them, stopping beside the gently swinging hammock.

Kaylee cuddled a brightly colored fluffy pillow to her chest, which Inara was certain represented Simon, her eyes staring at some invisible spot on the wall.

“Don’ wanna talk, ‘Nara.”

“Then listen instead, mei mei.” Inara moved to her side but Kaylee just turned her head away.

Sighing, Inara dragged the nearly empty tool box over to the hammock and gingerly sat down, glancing up sadly at her friend. After a moment of silence, Inara began. “I have an eidetic memory, you know.”

“That’s nice, ‘Nara.” Kaylee hugged her pillow closer and Inara’s heart wrenched when she could see the colorful material wet with tears.

“Simon gave the Captain a piece of his mind after you left.”

“Bett’rn he can give me, ‘parently.”

A sudden thought occurred to Inara, freezing her blood. “Kaylee, do you – want to marry Simon?”

A beat of silence passed and Inara held her breath.

“Never thought ‘bout it until t’night. Jus’ wanted ta be with him.”

“Simon has thought about it.”

This earned Inara a cautious, disbelieving look over the side of the hammock.

“Want to hear what he said to the Captain now?” A twinkle returned to Inara’s eyes when Kaylee nodded slowly.


“Shipboard romances. Huh. Nothin’ but trouble.”

Jayne and Mal were the only ones left in the galley, but Jayne was the only one still eating. One by one, he’d pulled the abandoned plates in front of him and finished the remainder of the food.

Mal stared at him, trying to act disgusted. But, in truth, he didn’t feel disgusted. Didn’t feel much at all, except like the biggest ass in the ‘verse.

No, he didn’t like shipboard romances. They were nothing but trouble. But it was a rare day when he got what he wanted on his own ship. He’d hurt Kaylee terribly tonight. The young mechanic he thought of as a younger sister that needed his protection, and he didn’t know what he was going to do to make it right again.

His already tenuous relationship with Inara, who had still not yet left despite her assurances such a departure was imminent, was now strained with another element that was truly, if he could bring himself to admit it, none of his business.

He’d made three women cry tonight. He’d seen the tears in Inara’s eyes after Simon had walked away. Kaylee, Inara and – River. The little, traumatized girl who’s only stable rock in her life had just been shaken lose by his meddling. Her agonized, tear-filled words had struck a deeper chord in his hardened heart more than he really wanted to admit. The absolute truth of them hit him more strongly than if Simon had thrown a punch and struck him square in the jaw.

He fleetingly wished Simon had struck him. Instead of just sitting there, words spilling out of his mouth in a litany of truth that no one at the table could even begin to deny. The words had come from his heart, strung together as precisely as an expert surgeon stitched a bleeding patient. Without the slightest hesitation. they fell from lips trembling with heartache and, Mal suspected, a heavy dose of guilt. Stupid doctor took things nearly as personal as Kaylee.

His whole crew now thought he was a horrible tyrant. He didn’t even have Zoe’s support. Though, truth be told, in matters of the heart, he rarely did.

Jayne continued to babble, but Mal didn’t hear a word, simply sat there staring at the hallway, through which he should simply walk and try to make things better. But male pride wouldn’t allow him to move a muscle, so he sat there, guilt burning through his blood.



Saturday, March 4, 2006 3:49 PM


Gah! Bad Mal! No dessert! Please let Inara's retribution be swift, humiliating, and public.

But kudos to Simon for sticking up for himself. He gets rather eloquent when he has nothing to lose.

Saturday, March 4, 2006 3:54 PM


PLEASE write more soon, this made me teary!

Saturday, March 4, 2006 3:55 PM


This can't be it for a while - you can't leave us hanging here!

I loved the entire interplay. All of Simon's words, to the captain, to Inara, resonated so well. You really captured him. I can't wait to read what he says to Kaylee when Inara finally "lets" the two of them be together. I know it's for their own good - but jeez!

And Mal should feel guilty! Ruttin' idiot. But I know somehow he'll make it right. Please post again soon. This deliciously written angst has left me wanting more!

Saturday, March 4, 2006 4:07 PM


Mal is a big giant Ass! I hope he can fix it.

Saturday, March 4, 2006 4:43 PM


Captain Dummy strikes again. *sigh* At least he got put in his place.

Whaddaya mean last chapter for a while? That ain't right...

Saturday, March 4, 2006 10:02 PM


I need this to live. Please, please update soon? (And don't make it too sad, I don't like it when things are sad.)

Sunday, March 5, 2006 7:38 AM


Please more, this the best story I've seen in a while. Good, gods holy heaven, hell, and earth, Mal is a jackass.

Sunday, March 5, 2006 9:02 AM


Okay, loved this!!! Mal needs to have the snot beaten out of him! Cannot wait for Kaylee to go see Simon, I have a feeling that might happen(I hope!)and go ahead, bring on the angst, I can take it! Waiting patiently for your next post!

Tuesday, March 7, 2006 5:41 PM


Take THAT Reynolds!

Friday, May 26, 2006 3:45 AM


Mal can be such an ass. Good for everyone else, not offering their support after the stuff he said.


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Simon and Kaylee discuss other - avenues, as they lay in bed. Oddly, this is a pretty PG story.

Simon and kaylee disturb the ship with their nocturnal activities. Post BDM. Part of a challenge table. Rated NC-17 for adult content.

Broken Wings: Conclusion (Repost)
The crew take Kaylee home to be buried and the reason for Simon's secrecy is discovered. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 18 (Repost)
Simon, Mal and Jayne have a moment with Kaylee. Inara and River are reunited with the rest of the crew. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 17 (Repost)
Simon has a conversation with Zoe, Mal and Jayne - separately. Sequel to 'On the Edge.' Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 16 (Repost)
The crew is reunited - mostly, as Simon arrives to treat the wounded. River rushes to Inara's aid before her deception is discovered. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 15 (Repost)
Simon's escape is halted by his father. But River comes to the rescue. Jayne - sees the light - far too up close and personal for his safety. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 14 (Repost)
Simon and Inara's deception is discovered. Mal, Jayne and Zoe continue to fight what looks to be a losing battle. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 13 (Repost)
Simon has some unexpected help with his fussy son and River receives another assignment. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.

Broken Wings: Chapter 12 (Repost)
Inara and Simon continue their work while a message gets out to those on the front lines. Sequel to 'On the Edge'. Cannon pairings.