FAITH SERIES: 7. "Half Heaven"
Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"Simon accidentally prompts a chain of events he could not have forseen whilst embarking on the best decision he has ever made."



SUMMARY: "Simon accidentally prompts a chain of events he could not have forseen whilst embarking on the best decision he has ever made." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


"Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

Simon smiled at Inara. Following the mad scramble prompted by the rest of the crew appearing in their quarters Simon had managed to drag himself away from Kaylee and scrub himself down then dressed with great care, choosing a clean white shirt, dark trousers and his finest red silk waistcoat. With his hair newly washed and brushed he looked as clean as a new pin. He was a little nervous but so happy he wanted everyone else to share in it. "I hear congratulations are in order for you as well, Inara?"

She gave him a blank look, hands pausing as she straightened his collar and finished knotting his tie. "*Shenme*?"

"You and Mal. I must have been blind because I never realised you loved the Captain."

The gentle tease did not have the intended affect. If anything, Inara seemed to stiffen a little. "I don't love him."

The doctor blinked in confusion. "But I thought..."

"I'm a Companion, Simon. Don't mistake sex for love. We were just scatching each other's itches. In fact, it will probably never happen again."

Simon Tam didn't know what to say. "Then..."

"It doesn't mean anything."

As the pair walked away the Captain moved out of the shadows, a stricken look on his face. He had been coming to hurry Simon along, get him all ready in the commons room. The table and chairs had been moved back, the walls dressed up with coloured cloths and little paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling and candles lit to cosy it up some. It was the best they could do at short notice, the Captain figuring neither Kaylee nor Simon would notice too much though making the effort was the main thing. Now it took him a moment or two to swallow past the lump of emotion choking him, all the happy wrung out of him. Trying to blink back tears he hardened his resolve. Anything to hide the fact that his heart was breaking. Good gorram, he had to get a hold of himself. Couldn't ruin Kaylee and Simon's Big Day on account of he was such a Big Damn Fool.

The Captain straightened up at the sound of the door to Kaylee's room opening, a smile plastered on his face with the kind of grim resolve usually reserved for a Reaver attack. The look of forced joy made real by the sight of his little *mei mei* all decked out in one of Inara's dresses that River had helped to alter. The back panel carefully unpicked to allow the front of the dress to accommodate her fuller figure, the incursion of silk panels in complementary colours making the dress simple but exotic. Kaylee's hair fashioned into dark ringlets with thin colourful silk ribbons entwined in her hair and picking up the colours in her dress, Inara's gifted use of make up adding a glow to the mechanic's happy face that money could not buy. One look at her squashed the unhappy to one side and let his pride and love for her take centre stage. If that gorram boy didn't look after her there wasn't a place in the 'verse that would hide him from the Captain's wrath. Not that he expected Simon to fail in his duties.

Mal let out a long ghosting sigh. "Gorramit, Kaylee, if you ain't the shiniest star in the Black! If you weren't head over heels in love with Simon I'd be tempted to make an honest woman of you my own self."

Merry laughter bounced back at him, a flush appearing on Kaylee's cheek and making her even more beautiful if that were possible. Mal grinned and dropped a kiss on her cheek. "You look lovely, Kaylee."

"*Xie xie ni*, Cap'n."

"Huh," The Captain huffed. "Think you should call me Mal it bein' your weddin' day an all, don't you?"

She smiled sweetly at him, her look fond and indulgent. "Okay Mal."

The Captain nodded happily and crooked his elbow, his smile widening as she took his arm. The walk to the commons room seeming to take forever and no time at all. Kaylee was just busting up inside with excitement, a little nerves, and a whole ton of sweet expectation. The air in her lungs going kind'a thin when they walked in and she saw Simon standing there so *shuai* and shiny, his eyes a-glow with love and affection. Her heart skipping so many beats she couldn't keep up with it. She almost missed little Joshua, all dressed up in the tail ends of the silk panels finishing off Kaylee's wedding dress but so cunningly put together that the boy ended up with a waistcoat that matched the bride's dress. His little dark trousers an echo of Simon's, a posy made of silk in his hands. A gift from River. Kaylee thought he was the most adorable page boy in the entire 'verse.

Jayne Cobb had actually smartened himself up so much Kaylee almost didn't recognise him. At the look on her face he managed to grin and leer at the same time. Where in the nine hells had Jayne found a gorram suit? And by what miracle had he found one that fit? Then the Captain was steering her to Simon's side, Zoe grinning so hard that Kaylee was able to ignore the unshed tears in the first mate's eyes. Simon smiled and took her hand, their fingers entwining in a way that matched their hearts. Eyes only for each other. Inara took her place to the left of Zoe, surprised to see a suspiciously bright look in Jayne's eye.

With a cough to gain their attention the Captain took his place in front of them, looking a little uncomfortable in the stiff shirt. The tie borrowed from Simon seeming to be trying to choke him. Kaylee hid a little smile. Only River seemed a little solemn but when Kaylee caught her eye the girl's grin was blinding.

"Ah hum!" All eyes fixed on the Captain.

Kaylee was not sure what she had been expecting him to say or do. Not never having seen a ship-bound wedding before but vaguely she had expected some kind of biblical quoting and prayers and some such. Now she was curious as to what the Captain would come up with. Simon looked a little nervous, probably anticipating fire and brimstone and threats of dire harm to him should he fail to do right by the ship's mechanic.

"Bein' as this is a right special day an' we are all here to bear witness to the joinin' of Kaylee an' Simon, it seems right to remind 'em that this road before their feet ain't no game. You don't get no dry run at happiness, you see somethin' shiny enough to fill your hearts an' lives with such joy you gotta grab on to it with both hands. Not no half measures gonna make a marriage work even in the Black. That bein' said I couldn't be more proud of the pair of you if'n you was family of my own." The Captain paused to give them both a smile. "Now Simon I ain't known you as long as little Kaylee here but in the time you've been with us I've come to respect you as well as know you to be an honest an' good man. That's not to say you couldn't do with a mite more discipline but that aside I've been happy to see how you care for Kaylee an' so as Cap'n of this here boat it falls to me to ask if you intend to love, honour an' protect Kaylee all the days of your life. To love her above all others an' make your life's work keepin' her happy?"

Simon's eyes were shiny, his head held high with determination and commitment. "I do."

The Captain frowned slightly. "You do what?"

"Um, I do promise to love, honour and protect Kaylee all the days of my life. I promise to love her above all others and make it my life's work to keep her happy."

The Captain turned to Kaylee. "An' you little Kaylee?"

"Not so little." Murmured River in a stage whisper.

"Kaylee, do you likewise promise to love, honour an' comfort Simon all the days of your life? To cleave only to him an' to make it your life's work to keep him happy?"

Kaylee was fairly bouncing on her toes, tears of joy in her eyes. "Oh yeah, I do all that."

The Captain raised his eyebrows and Kaylee blushed, "*Duibuqi*, I mean I promise to love, honour an' comfort Simon all the days of my life an' to..." She trailed off trying to remember the Captain's exact words.

"Cleave on'y to him..." Mal prompted.

Zoe's lips quirked at the hint of puritanical creeping into the Captain's improvised Wedding Ceremony.

"Oh yeah, that's it! I promise to cleave on'y to Simon an' make it my life's work to make him happy."

Mal smiled and surprised them both when he took a small object out of his pocket and stepped up to Simon. Without thinking, Simon took the object from the Captain before he realised what it was. Stunned he stared down at the ring of gold, the circle made of overlapping leaves like some Roman coronet from Earth-That-Was. It was beautiful in a kind of elegant simplicity. The Captain's voice was quiet but proud. "That was my mama's weddin' ring."

Simon stared at the Captain in shock. Kaylee leaned forward to get a good look at the ring.

"Made of the finest gold from Demeter. Took my pa near two years to save up the coin to buy it or so he said. Had it made special, them leaves meant to bind the one heart to the other in peace an' love an' somesuch. Served 'em well, reckon it'll do the same for you."

Tears were running silently down Kaylee's face, her eyes shining with happiness. Simon was stunned. "Captain, we can't... I mean..."

The Captain's voice firmed into a loud crack. Mock anger not fooling anyone. "I'm Cap'n on this boat, Simon Tam, an' that bein' the case have the authority an' such to marry the pair of you. If I wanna give you my mama's ring then be man enough to take it before I box your ears."


Pretending to scowl the Captain continued. "Repeat after me Simon, with this ring I thee wed."

"With this ring I thee wed."

"Hold the gorram ring over Kaylee's weddin' finger."

"Oh, of course. Um, with this ring I thee wed."

"All my worldly goods I thee endow."

"All my worldly goods I thee endow."

"Slide the gorram ring, Simon. Ain't gonna sit pretty on her finger if'n you don't put it there, *dong ma*?"

Zoe had to turn her head to keep herself from laughing out loud. Simon flushed but did as he was told. The Captain then stepped forward and put his hand over Kaylee's left and Simon's right hands, holding them together. "By the authority invested in me as your Cap'n, I now pronounce you man an' wife. Let no one seek to part you while I live an' breathe." Jayne smirked. Zoe bit her tongue and Inara felt the tug of a smile on her lips. The Captain was beaming at Kaylee and Simon, his own eyes suspiciously bright. "Well go on Simon, kiss the bride or do I gotta do everythin'?"

That was one order Simon had no intention of disobeying. As his lips met Kaylee's everyone and everything around him faded into the background. There was only his Kaylee. His beautiful bride. As their kiss deepened the baby stirred in Kaylee's belly, not to kick in restless abandon but to settle. As if understanding the importance of this solemn but happy occasion and wanting to share in it. Then Inara was hugging Kaylee and crying with her. Jayne was slapping Simon on the back, Zoe and Joshua helping River get the food laid out. The Captain had never seen so many different colours of protein. Might all taste the gorram same but no reason it had to look it. And if the Captain was more subdued than the others no one made any comment, reckoning it was no more than the emotion of the moment. None of them realising how close the man was to simply falling apart. All except for one.

As the celebrations became more rowdy the Captain managed to congratulate the newly weds then slip away for a time. The laughter and good cheer ringing in his ears as he went to his bunk, needing to reach that sanctuary before tears gave him away. Sitting next to Jayne, River watched him go with sad eyes. Her heart full to overflowing with joy for her brother and best friend, but tempered by a deep ache of sadness for the Captain. Beside her, Jayne was shovelling food so fast in his open maw of a mouth that he should have choked. Then Joshua tugged on her hand and River smiled and explained the meaning of life, the universe and marriage to a child who knew more about all three than the rest of the crew put together. But River, like Joshua, knew that was one secret she would never tell.

* * * * *

"They can't have gone far. Find them!"

The navigator did not show a hint of nerves. "All of the devices have been deactivated."

A cold look of grave displeasure set on Mr Cole's face. "How is that possible?"

"Do not forget," Said his counterpart with solemn detachment. "The girl is more than gifted, she may have sensed the danger and alerted the crew."

"Extrapolate possible destinations from the last point of contact."

"They would have to refuel."

He nodded.

"Unless," Said the navigator tenatively. "They are in hiding."

"Check every possibility, *dong ma*? We have already underestimated Captain Reynolds and his crew, the fact that we have spent a great deal of time and money trying to retrieve River Tam speaks for itself. This time we must not leave a single avenue of escape."

* * * * *

Inara did not notice that the Captain had disappeared for a while until she saw him come back into the commons room. Having had no chance yet to talk to him she began to weave her way through the very loud and happy crew but oddly enough no sooner did she draw closer than he slipped away. Inara frowned. It was almost as if the man was avoiding her but that wasn't possible. She must be imagining things.

Simon and Kaylee were pretty much glued together, both laughing and easily exchanging banter and small talk with Zoe, River and Jayne. Little Joshua had both cheeks full of protein, his face shiny and eyes sparkling. Zoe tried to get him to spit some out so he could swallow the rest without choking but he stubbornly shook his head. The Captain came up beside him and leaned low enough to look the boy dead in the eye. "How you gonna eat your fill if you stuff your face so hard it won't function?"

Joshua gave him a confused look.

The Captain chuckled and put his hand out under Joshua's chin. "Come on now, spit some out then chew the rest." When Joshua just stared at him the Captain lowered his voice and hardened it just a touch. "Don't be mistakin' that for a request, *erzi*."

Obediently Joshua spat out a goodly lump of protein onto Mal's palm, then with the Captain's eyes fixed on him the boy dutifully chewed then swallowed what was in his mouth. The Captain smiled and nodded his approval.

"Now open up an' take this back."

Kaylee screwed up her face but bit her tongue, Simon whispering in her ear making her want to laugh outright. Joshua put the mashed up protein back in his mouth then smiled and swallowed it as if he hadn't eaten for a week. The Captain looked at Zoe in mock concern.

"You starvin' that boy, Zoe?"

"No sir, if you recall he always beats the rest of us to the table - 'cept when Jayne's cookin'."

"*Wei*, I got feelin's, an' there ain't nothin' wrong with my cookin'. Not my fault all we got to eat is gorram protein cubes."

"That mean you don't want your share?" Said the Captain.

"I never said that!" Mal laughed and Jayne leant down to stage whisper in Joshua's ear. "Don't let nobody get 'tween ya an' food, short stuff. Man can live a long time without all kinds of comfort but food is essential, *dong ma*?"

"*Qu*, Uncle Jayne."

The Captain turned to go get another drink and found himself face to face with Inara. For a second it was as if he didn't know what to do. Inara smiled. "That was an interesting wedding ceremony, Mal."

Grateful for the opening on a safe topic of conversation he smiled back and tried not to look as if he had a bad case of wind. "Yeah well, my first weddin'."

Inara's eyes twinkled. "You mean Saffron doesn't count?"

Something cycled slow in the Captain's eyes before he responded, his voice not as light and playful as she expected. "First time I ever married anyone on my boat."

River broke the awkward moment. "Not a religious ceremony but still legal."

The Captain smiled at her, all manner of grateful. "That it is." He looked at Kaylee and Simon and raised his glass. "An' I'm thinkin' it's about time we had a gorram toast. To the bride an' groom, Kaylee an' Simon Tam - health, happiness," The Captain paused just a fraction. "An' hundreds of fat childen!"

It was several hours before the celebrations broke up and everyone drifted back to their bunks. Inara intercepted the Captain before he could disappear. Mal waited while the others passed them with cheery 'good nights' before speaking. "Feelin' a mite tired, 'Nara. Think it best I sleep off that very fine interengine brew of Kaylee's in my own bunk."

Inara blinked, stunned. Had the Captain of Serenity just stood her up? "Mal, *shenme shi*?"

"*Yiwusuoyou*, what could possibly be wrong? Just had a long an' tirin' day is all. You sleep well 'Nara, see you in the mornin'."

Surprised, Inara's manners kicked in automatically and she wished him a good night as she nodded back. The Companion stood for a couple of seconds and just stared after him, wondering what in the nine hells had just happened and if her wiles were wearing off.

* * * * *

Zoe gathered up her sleepy son and carried him back to their bunk, the boy only rousing when she began to undress him to put on his pajamas. Zoe gave him a fond smile, that touselled sleepy look so reminiscent of Wash that it made her heart ache. Half awake and half asleep, Joshua was aware of Shepherd Book hovering on the periphery of two planes.

*You are a very lucky young man*

*Don't I know it*


Joshua blinked. *Weishenme?*

*The veil is very thin this night. As you grow older your former life will fade more and more and this life will dominate everything until you forget what has gone before."

Joshua was smiling at Zoe, his eyes so full of love for her that she couldn't help but grin back as she jostled his pajamas on him.

*I'll never forget!*

Shepherd Book sighed. *You have to*

*No, I don't*

*What did I tell you?*

Joshua took a moment to remember then had to resist the urge to cry. *Why can't I do both?*

*Because this is your life now. You have to let go of Wash*

Zoe noticed Joshua growing sad and though she didn't know why it was enough to put hairline cracks in her heart. "Oh, *bao bei*, what's wrong?"

Brushing the fringe off his forehead to get a good look at him, Zoe didn't like the solemn expression on her son's usually sunny face. "You got tummy ache, baby?"

It was the easy option so he took it. Mumbling his words for good effect. "Mmm, it hurts, mama."

"Oh baby, come on. Let's get you tucked up in bed. By mornin' it'll all be gone."

The boy nodded against her shoulder, hanging on as if his life depended on it while his mother rocked him and hushed him with nonsense and endearments. A golden light suffused him as he drifted off to sleep, not even noticing when he was put into bed and the covers tucked gently round him. Somehow the light kiss Zoe dropped on his forehead penetrated, Book's voice admonishing him gently about the sin of greed. *You cannot hang on to both*

Knowing the Shepherd was right did not make it any easier. He didn't want to go to sleep, didn't want to wake another step further away from the past. While being with Zoe in the form of her son was a fabulous and incredibly emotional experience, it was bolstered by the memory and knowledge of who he had been. Now that safe comfortable identity was being taken from him, and the life of this unknown child was taking over. It might still be him only it wasn't, not really. Because if it was he would be able to keep both, to do the impossible. To have his cake and eat it. Momentarily he felt Book's ghostly hand pat him gently on the back, as if to prevent the food going down the wrong way. *Book?*


*What about you?*

*What about me?*

*What happens when I forget everythin' but this new life, will I forget you?*

*Nonsense child,* Said Book with a deep rumble of humour and warmth. *You don't need to worry about that*

Comforted the man that was fell asleep and let the dreams of the boy he was now take over. It never occurred to him at the time that Shepherd Book had not answered his question.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*shenme* = what? *mei mei* = little sister *xie xie ni* = thank you *erzi = boy *duibuqi* = sorry *dong ma* = understand? *wei* = hey! *qu* = yes (lit. go) *shenme shi* = what's the matter? *yiwusuoyou* = nothing *xiaoxin* = careful *weishenme* = why? *bao bei* = precious/treasure *shuai* = cute/handsome


Thursday, June 22, 2006 4:34 PM


Wow, this was so heartbreaking and beautiful. Mal's hearbreak was palpable. Now that seems to be functioning again, I cannot wait for the rest you have in store for us.

Friday, June 23, 2006 7:45 AM


Ohh, really made me feel for Mal here. Poor guy. Stupid Inara.

Wedding had just the right amount of tradition and Mal humor thrown in.

Looking forward to the next chapter.

Sunday, June 25, 2006 4:29 PM


What the frick happened to my comment!?!

Ok...let's try Version 3.0....I am seriously wondering about when Inara was replaced with a Pod Person, cuz this is just too much fei hua to believe! I can see her using the usual lines about Mal not caring or things being really complex. This outright piece of fallacy? Completely reminiscent of a shot to the family jewels!

I seriously hope Mal has it out with Inara....cuz she definitely needs a lesson taught here. Ooh! Even better...have Zoe teach her something important;)


Monday, November 7, 2011 7:07 AM


Yay!!! Loved the wedding, it's about time!!! And the end.... Oh heartbreaking :'(


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His head still ached from the rutting probe but after the men had satisfied themselves that his story was true a thousand questions peppered the air like machine gun fire.

The vessel was shiny, sleek and black with nowhere near the bulk of an Alliance ship. Something about the way it moved through the Black was more than a little creepifying.

Personally she didn't care if Serenity was towed off to a junk yard and stripped into spare parts. She had promised the ship to Jer and his crew as a bonus but it looked like scavengers had beaten them to it.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 2. "Counting Chickens"
The fact that her eyes were hard and sharp with intelligence kind of chilled him. Smart women always made him uneasy, it just weren't natural.

What in the nine hells were they so afraid of? Then he remembered Tracy. The body mailed to them by their old war buddy and all the trouble that had brought down on them.

If it was too gorram wet to hunt for rabbits what in the nine hells was his son really hunting? And was it something on four legs or two?

The man was in a terrible condition, his pulse weak, and for some reason he was soaking wet which did nothing to staunch the blood soaking through his clothing and seeping from the poorly tended wound where he had been shot.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 9. "All The King's Men"
The man sighed like the weight of the of the 'Verse was on his shoulders but unlike anyone else he looked like he could carry the weight.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 8. "All The King's Horses"
Without warning something came through the opening and rolled with a metallic clang across the ground before exploding.

THE DICHOTOMY SERIES: 7. "Friend or Foe"
Then he found himself falling, the whole world silent as in slow motion the hordes of *diyu* came to swallow him up and everything disintegrated in fire, blood and pain.