Too Little, Too Late
Sunday, March 12, 2006

Inara counsels Kaylee, River understands and Simon gets a lesson in consequences. Brief references to adult activities.


Disclaimer: Ain’t mine, didn’t get paid, just do it for love. Thanks to Joss ‘n crew for a all the magic, Jacqui for encouragement and great beta, and to you, kind readers. After all, I’m not just writin’ this stuff for myself.

Feedback, comments and encouragement all welcomed. You can comment down below or e-mail me at

Setting:: Shortly after my series, “Quickies”. It’s hell when your characters get consciences.


“Kaylee, you’ve got to tell him.” The two women, one dark and elegant, one fair and fresh-faced, are reflected in the window of a drygoods shop. Above them, the sun is hot and harsh.

They continue to talk as they stroll together through the market.

“Oh, I know, ‘Nara. I been tryin’ to figure out what to say to him for two weeks and ain’t got it worked out yet. I just don’t wanna hurt him none. He’s a sweet fella, real swai and all, but…“

“I know, sweetie. You tried so hard and it isn’t as if he didn’t have every chance in the ‘Verse to speak up and make his feelings known.” Inara thinks of another man inept at expressing his emotions.

Kaylee stands very still for a minute, then tips her head and looks at her confidante. “That was part of the problem. When he did speak up, it kept comin’ out all manner of sideways, and I’d wind up feelin’ mad and frustrated. I just felt like I had to try so hard all the time and things still didn’t work right.”

“Don’t blame yourself, mei-mei. Some men can be incredibly dense when it comes to relating to a woman.”

“That’s only part of the problem, see? What if I tell him and he gets all mad or something an’ tells Mal?“ The girl sticks her hands in her pockets and scuffs her boots in the dust. “It’s already way too complicated…“

The mid-day sun is stifling. Inara notices a tea shop across the street and suggests. “Let’s go get something cool to drink and we can continue our conversation in a more comfortable setting.”

They make their way through the raucous crowd and into the dark, fragrant coolness of the tea shop. Selecting a low table in a quiet corner, Inara orders glasses of minted tea and some dim sum, which are quickly brought by the aged proprietor.

Inara pours their tea and passes a glass to Kaylee. “So you feel pretty certain this relationship is what you want? I mean, he’s good for you… and you’re, you’re happy with … Kwin-gwe-je deh!” The Companion is flustered.

“What I’m trying to ask, sweetie, is, is he what you expected, what you hoped for?” She peers intently at Kaylee, alert for all cues.

Kaylee bites into a spring roll, her apple cheeks more rosy. “To tell the truth, it’s been pretty amazin’ so far and I got no call for complainin’, ‘cept for the sneakin’ around part. That gets real tiresome.” She rolls her eyes.

Inara laughs. “I can imagine. Well, I must say you’ve been positively glowing the past couple of weeks. I can’t imagine the others haven’t noticed that, at least.”

“He’s surprisin’, ‘Nara, not what I expected at all. Rough around the edges, for sure, but he can also be mighty tender, too. And he’s… real creative.” Kaylee’s obviously lost in a memory, a deep flush of color rising in her already shining face.

She shivers, then leans closer and confides. “Never had any idea there was so many different way to get sexed!”

The Companion raises her napkin to her mouth in an effort to conceal her amusement. “As long as you’re happy, mei-mei. That’s the important part. But that still leaves the other issue.”

Kaylee winces and looks away. She’d just prefer to dodge this altogether.

“You have to tell Simon you’ve become interested in someone else. In my experience it’s often best to be as simple and direct as possible.”


The good doctor Tam sits on his bed, watching as his sister draws with great deliberation and focus, carefully rendering details. The drawing is upside down and appears to be a large treelike object holding something. He never ceases to be amazed at her when she is in these creative trances.

She lays down her pencil and begins to color, carefully, meticulously.

No longer able to contain his curiosity, he asks. “River, can you hold up your pad so I can see your drawing?”

She glances up, her dark eyes flicker and shift through the wayward strands of her long hair. “Don’t really want to see.”

“Yes I do. I love your drawings. Please?” His tone is soft and coaxing.

His sister glances at him, then toward the door. “Too late. You waited too long.”

“Too long to see your pictures?”

River makes an exasperated face, then turns the pad to face him.

Simon is puzzled.

“What is it, mei-mei?”

The drawing is of a child’s picture-book giant dressed in a T-shirt, picking a lovely pink strawberry.

“The garden’s empty now. Sweet fruit all gone. You’re such a boob, Simon.”


For the next two days, Kaylee is as jumpy as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockin’ chairs, dropping tools, spilling her coffee.

I gotta tell him… I know I gotta tell him… just as soon get all my teeth pulled… I know I gotta tell him.

Her brain buzzes and her stomach churns and clenches.

“Hey there, Kaylee!” Mal stops by the engine room to ask her to take a look at a monitor on the fritz. He’s shocked by what he sees.

“Woah!” The girl is pale as a ghost, not normal Kaylee pink at all.

“You’re looking pretty rocky there.” He lays the back of his hand against her forehead. “Ya’ aren’t gettin’ sick on me, are ya?.”

“Nah, Cap’n, just feeling a little down, I guess.” She hardly meets his eyes.

“Feelin’ ’down’ don’t usually make a pretty mechanic look like she’s all corpsified. You go see the Doc, get him to check ya out. Can’t have Serenity’s best caretaker outta commission.”

“Aw Cap’n, do I gotta? Ain’t nothin’ to worry about. I’ll be better tomorrow…” She is completely unconvincing.

“Do what I said, mei-mei. No arguin’ now. Chop, chop.“ He slides an arm around her shoulders and firmly propels her toward the medlab.

Kaylee walks as slowly as she possibly can, still stalling, trying to think how to say what she needs to tell Simon.

He sits with his back to the doorway, slender shoulders squared, his fine, dark head bowed over the work that deeply engrosses him.

Kaylee’s heart does a double-beat. She thinks for a minute about what might have been, then reminds herself of their never-ending awkward encounters and the many conversations gone awry, the tears and hurt.

Then she thinks for a minute about Jayne, about the feelings growing between them and how easy it is bein’ with him, how he treats her like she’s precious and not some ignorant bumpkin. She thinks about how he kisses her.

That’s enough. Her cheeks are pink now, real pink. A deep breath and she knocks.

Simon turns and rises, looking vaguely startled. “Oh Kaylee. Hi. I, uh, what’s up?”

Now or never. “Not much. How ‘bout you? Working on some big new medical break-through?” She shifts awkwardly from foot to foot. So does he.

“Well, actually.“ He glances over his shoulder toward his desk. “I was just running some blood values on River. She’s on a new med and I want to be sure it hasn’t affected her heart negatively.”

Kaylee’s mouth is tight. “Sure wouldn’t want nobody’s heart getting’ hurt.”

Simon takes a few steps closer, leans toward her slightly. “In fact, I was thinking about you this morning.” He smiles, a real swai smile.

Oh no…

“Thinkin’ what?” Kaylee asks nervously.

Simon takes another step toward her, tilts his head. “Well, I just haven’t seen much of you the past couple of weeks. I mean, I’ve been pretty preoccupied with River and you were doing a lot of maintenance for Mal and, well, we just didn’t see each other much.”

“You already said that.” Kaylee looks like a trapped deer.

He licks his lips nervously. “I was thinking we might spend some time together, you know, maybe after supper. Curl up on the couch in the commons and talk like we used to…”

Kaylee’s eyes get real wide and she almost gulps.

“ Uh… uh, I don’t know about that, Simon. I, uh…”

He steps right into her personal space, kissing close, and she’s just frozen. He reaches out and gently tucks a loose strand of hair back behind her ear.

“I haven’t really been very nice to you, Kaylee, and I’m sorry. I seem to have an incredible gift for saying and doing all the wrong things, but I really do like you. Quite a lot, actually, and…”

He leans in to kiss her and just as he does she takes an abrupt step back and throws up her hands.


The doctor jumps back, too, startled by her response.

“But Kaylee, I thought you wanted me to kiss you.” He’s really flustered now and so is she.

“Well, I did.” She’s nodding her head, looking everywhere but at him.

“Yep, that was something I was wantin’ for a long time.”

“Was…?” Simon’s voice is puzzled, hesitant.

Kaylee pulls herself together, takes a real deep breath and looks him in the eye. If Jayne can be brave, she can, too.

“There’s something I need to tell you, Simon. I ain’t sayin’ it to be mean or hurtful."

"You’re a great doctor and a real handsome fellow and ya did the best ya could with me, but this ain’t workin’. I’ve tried real hard to be patient, waited long as I could to see if things would work out between us, but…” Kaylee lookes down at her feet, then back to Simon’s bewildered eyes. “I got feelin’s for somebody else now.”

Dead stop. The doctor’s brain goes into overdrive. Couldn’t be Wash – Zoë’d scratch her eyes out. Shepherd Book is celibate… so, Kaylee and Mal? How could he? That’s just not right – he’s supposed to protect her.

He is hesitant, struggling to comprehend. “So you and Mal are…?”

Kaylee’s jaw drops incredulously. “Mal? Me and the Cap’n?” She bursts out laughing. “Wu de tyen ah! Lord, Simon. River’s right, you really are a boob. It’s me an’ Jayne!”

Simon is dumbstruck… “That jin tzahng mei yong-duh shiong-muh duh duang-ren?” He’s clearly horrified at the thought.

“Kaylee, have you lost your mind? Dear God, why would you get involved with that, that , that… neanderthal? Don’t you know how I feel about you?”

Now she’s mad, jams both fists on her hips. “You may not think much of him, Simon Tam, but Jayne’s the one I picked. Picked him for some damn good reasons, too.”

She steps up right square to him, eye to eye. “You can keep your kisses to yourself! Too little, too late.”

She whirls on her heel and storms out into the corridor where she runs right into Mal. Her face certainly has some color in it now, he notices.

“Feelin’ better, mei-mei?”

“Sure do.”

In the medlab, a stunned Simon sits down and shakes his head.

I’m such a boob…


Sunday, March 12, 2006 11:41 AM


I'd like to take this opportunity to hit Simon over the head with something heavy and tell him he's an idiot... however I'd probably have to queue up with everyone else and that sounds like a long wait!

Sunday, March 12, 2006 12:02 PM


*sigh* That's Simon sorted.......

...... now let's see Kaylee sort it out with Jayne, ya know, letting him now how much he matters to her, that he's not just her 'bit on the side' to sneak around with.

I wonder how the other are going to take it? Inara took it well, but maybe Mal'll get mad with Jayne and try to put him out the airlock........

Don't leave us waiting too long to find out what happens next..... we may move onto another fanfic, just like Kaylee did to Simon!!!

Sunday, March 12, 2006 12:47 PM


I love Inara's insights and Kaylee's "Too little, too late." So true.

This series is so great! Now we need to know how the others react?

Sunday, March 12, 2006 1:40 PM


I love River's take on the whole thing, Simon is a boob. When will he start understanding her? More please!

Sunday, March 12, 2006 4:55 PM


Too Little Too Late. I love the drawing; that is truly perfect!

Monday, March 13, 2006 5:43 PM


Ah, the total boobness of Simon. I love it! I also love Inara's empathy, and River's drawing - so very perfect.

I can really see Simon as being the one to spill the proverbial beans now that he's aware of what's going on. For a doctor, that man is damn stupid.

Monday, April 24, 2006 8:38 AM


*giggle* who WOULDN'T pick jayne?!?



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