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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Post-BDM: Simon and Kaylee continue to reacquaint themselves, while Inara finally tells Mal why she's been so edgy. And Gabriel and the Blue Hands make their presence known.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 2237 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
A/N: I was going to wait and post this after the holiday, but since you've all been so nice and generous with your comments ... here's a special treat!
Enjoy - and keep those comments coming!
Thanks again to Leiasky for it all!
A NEW LIFE, ch. 18: Not While I’m Around
Inara swayed a bit with Daniel, walking up and down the porch in the moonlight. Simon and Kaylee had not emerged from her room for a few hours and Inara’s heart soared with hope, hope that perhaps she had not misread Simon earlier and he really had remembered the young woman and all she meant to him.
With the tiniest of yawns, Daniel stretched out one balled fist and then settled again and Inara felt such love for the child she was sure her heart would break. The time she had been able to spend with him over the past few days had awoken something in her she had long thought dead: need; the desire to have a child of her own.
Now, as night again descended and the heat of the day cooled, Inara found herself holding her best friend’s son and staring off into space thinking of a million different “could have beens." It was like this that Mal found her. He regarded her for a moment, not at all sure he should attempt to talk with her again, especially not while she was holding Daniel. The child seemed to at once calm his girlfriend and set her on edge and he could not puzzle out the reason for her behavior.
Finally, screwing up his courage, Mal walked up behind her and leaned against the railing, turning to face her as she looked out into the now empty yard. “You on babysittin’ duty again,” he asked quietly, reaching out a finger to lightly rub over one of Daniel’s fists.
She smiled and answered, “Simon came to see Kaylee. I volunteered.”
Looking to her with hopeful eyes, Mal could now see the anticipation on Inara’s face. “Ya think?”
She nodded once and whispered, “I think.”
Feeling lighter than he had in a long while, Mal reached out and gave Inara a sound kiss, feeling her return his affection. Pulling away he ran a gentle hand along her cheek and whispered, “So, when you gonna tell me what’s botherin’ you?”
Startled by his forthrightness, but not by his insight, Inara shook her head slightly and then turned to place Daniel into the bassinet that seemed to be a permanent fixture on the porch. Turning back to him, she said, “There’s nothing bothering me, Mal. I’m fine.”
When she did not make an effort to come closer to him, Mal reached out and took one of her hands, pulling her to him. Refusing to meet his gaze, she waited for him to press her again, and he did. “I know that ain’t the truth darlin’,” he warned, his voice developing the slightest of edges. “And I can’t for the life of me figure out why you’ve gotta be so secretive.”
Letting out a deep breath, Inara fought back tears. This was hard, harder than she had ever imagined. Still trying to feign ignorance, she said, “I’ve just been worried about Kaylee and Simon. They’ve both been through so much-“
Mal took both her hands in his and squeezed slightly, her additional lies dying on her lips. “No, darlin’, I know that ain’t it.” Looking over her shoulder to where Daniel lay sleeping, he said, “It’s got somethin’ to do with that tyke over there, but that’s all the details I could manage.”
So he knew. Inara sighed heavily and continued to study the floor. When he would not let her go nor push her further, she knew it was time to come clean. Mal deserved to know the truth and he deserved to know the kind of woman he was involved with.
“I never wanted to tell you this,” she started slowly, moving away from him to sit on the top step to the porch. He moved to join her and took her hands in his as she continued. “It happened a really long time ago, long before I met you,” she said, giving him a slight smile that made his heart stop. “I was so young,” she murmured, almost to herself, lost again in her own musings. “I had no idea how to be an adult or what my life would be. I was barely a grown-up myself.”
Mal watched as she struggled to order her thoughts, struggled to bring some semblance of coherence to the memories plaguing her. He inched a bit closer, noticing as she shuddered slightly, though the night air around them was warm. Truth was the longer she waited to tell him the more fearful he became. He’d known something was wrong, just by her demeanor the past few days, but he hadn’t guessed it would be really bad and now his own fears were threatening to get the best of him.
“What is it, ‘Nara,” he whispered, placing a hand under her chin and turning her exquisite face to his. When she turned those big, dark eyes on him, he saw that she was crying and his heart broke for her, for the obvious pain she felt. “You can tell me, bao bei.”
She nodded once and then said quietly, “I had just been out of the training house a few months.” Swallowing hard past the sudden lump in her throat, Inara let her gaze drift back out over the yard in front of them, her mind visiting a time and place she had long ago buried. “Everything was so new, so exciting. I remember thinking that I must be dreaming. I couldn’t be leading such a glamorous life, not me,” she told him, looking back to him with a childlike wonder in her eyes. “I couldn’t believe the opportunities that were afforded to me, the people I met. It was just unbelievable.”
She paused, uncertain of how to go on. Yes, she had at first believed the life of a companion to be glamorous. Companions on most worlds were held to a high status, affording them a fame and recognition that brought along its perks. Of course, it had its drawbacks as well, and Inara was quite familiar with them too. But much of it she had endured because she had thought her work, the work of offering companionship to people who truly needed it was important.
Mal shifted uncomfortably, not at all certain he liked where this was heading. She seemed just a little to0 enthralled with her old job for his liking and he worried that maybe what had been bothering her was that she missed it. Praying that wasn’t it, Mal waited for her to continue.
“I had traveled all over Sihnon in those first few months,” she told him, continuing her story. “And I was given the opportunity to attend one of the most lavish parties in the capital with the son of a dignitary. He was very nice, I had met him a few times before, but he had never engaged me previously. I knew we would have a marvelous time.” And they had. Inara smiled slightly as she remembered the gala, the music, the people, the opulence of the hall, the richness of the food. “It was by far one of the fanciest parties I have ever been to,” she confided, looking to Mal and seeing the discomfort on his features.
Hurrying on, she said, “Mitchell and I, my client,” she clarified, “we started to see each other more and more. He would contract me almost exclusively for a variety of events, and …” She faltered now as she remembered that horrible day, that horrible day when she’d told him he would be a father and he’d called her a whore. Blinking back sudden tears, she shivered at the thought, and Mal wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her to him. Despite his unease at how this story would end, he still wanted to know, he wanted her to tell him.
“What happened, darlin’,” he asked softly, pressing a kiss to her temple. “Tell me.”
“I got pregnant,” she said quietly, although her voice was broken by the tears she withheld. “It was his, of course, I hadn’t had another client for months, but he didn’t want the child, he thought I was trying to trap him into marriage, trying to elevate my social standing.” She looked to Mal with fear and pain on her face. Her eyes implored him to understand. “Companions take every precaution, Mal, truly. It was a mistake, a random mess-up. I still don’t know how it could have happened. I was so careful,” she finished in a whisper, remembering the months after she’d found out, how diligently she had prepared her medicines from that point on.
“What happened to the baby,” Mal asked, guessing he already knew the answer, but wanting to hear it from her mouth.
She bit her lip to keep her tears in and said slowly, “I wanted to keep it. I would have, but Mitchell wouldn’t hear of it. He said he would not be the father to a bastard child. He ordered me, forced me to terminate the pregnancy,” she finished shakily, her tears now falling in two steady streams, one down each cheek. She fell against his side heavily now, her sobs shaking her body. He wrapped both arms around her and rocked her, feeling intense anger at the hundan who had hurt her and immense sadness for his girl.
“I killed my child,” she cried, her voice barely understandable through her emotion. “I killed my baby.”
“Shh, now,” Mal tried to comfort her, but he knew he didn’t have the words. There was nothing that could erase this pain, he knew that, but he would still try. “You know that ain’t true,” he whispered into her hair as he held her tight against her crying. “You didn’t have a choice. That hundan made sure of it.”
As her tears slowed and her sobbing turned to a whimper, Mal asked, “Do you miss him, her, it?”
She smiled slightly as he struggled for the right descriptor and looked into his eyes, her breath catching in her throat at the love and compassion she saw reflected there. “I did, at first. Every day. Then I started to think maybe that child had been better off, I can’t imagine the kind of mother I’d be,” she said bitterly, rolling her eyes at the thought. But the truth was, that was just a defense mechanism. She knew she’d be a great mother if only because she wanted it so badly. “But then, over time, I moved on. I had to.”
“Until you saw Kaylee with her baby,” Mal finished, watching her reaction.
Glancing back over her shoulder to Daniel’s bassinet, Inara nodded once and when she again turned to look at him, fresh tears were in her eyes. “I thought I had crushed all those feelings, all that wanting to be a mother, but I guess I didn’t,” she told him.
A sudden fear gripping his heart, Mal asked haltingly, “Um, can you? You know, still have …?” He let the question die, unable to voice it.
She nodded once and he felt an overwhelming sense of relief. “Yes, Mitchell had the best doctors in the core. The procedure was done properly. There’s no reason to believe I wouldn’t be able to carry a baby.”
Mal would have thought this information would cheer her, but instead it seemed to only cause further sadness. Shifting to face her, Mal took her hands and reached out to brush a stray tear off her face. “Then what is it? It ain’t me is it? ‘Cause I know I can be an idiot and I know I say a lot o’ stuff about babies, but …”
Pressing a light finger to his lips, Inara silenced his doubts. Touched that he would jump to that conclusion, she smiled slightly and whispered, “No, bao bei, it isn’t you. It’s me.”
When she didn’t volunteer more, Mal prompted, “What?”
“I guess, I just always felt that if I had a baby, I’d always feel guilty, knowing about the one child I couldn’t have, the child I couldn’t save.” She paused again, fighting past her tears, as she finally said, “I guess the only fair punishment I could think of was to not have children at all.”
She had started to cry again and Mal’s heart ached for her. How this beautiful woman, whose heart was truly as big as Kaylee’s, could harbor such resentment for herself made his throat burn with anger.
Taking her face in his hands, he forced her eyes to meet his. Gazing into her face for just a moment more, he wondered again how he had gotten so lucky. Giving her his best, most determined look, he said firmly, “Now ‘Nara, you listen here. Punishing yerself by not being a ma some day, ain’t no punishment for you.” Her eyes grew wide as she thought for a brief, horrible moment that he had actually devised something worse. Hurrying on, he told her, “The only person that punishes is the baby who won’t ever get to have you as a mother.” Smiling through renewed tears, Inara fell against him again, sobbing.
He wrapped her in his arms and held her tightly for a long while. He had never really considered it before, but he wanted kids and gorramit, he wanted them with Inara. He hoped that she could believe his words, believe that he didn’t care one iota about her past and what had been done to her. He just cared about their future. And he knew that future would be full of family.
They would have stayed there for hours more if little Daniel hadn’t made his presence known. Rising, Inara was to him in an instant, reaching in and picking him up in one fluid motion. By the time Mal joined her, she had quieted the child and he just stared up at her with those wide blue eyes. As they stood in silence for a moment, each taken with the baby, Inara felt her heart again swell with love for this little life.
“Merciful Buddha, save me,” she murmured, reaching down to place a gentle kiss to the baby’s forehead. “But I do want this some day.”
Wrapping his arms around her waist, Mal kissed her cheek lightly and whispered, “So do I, darlin’. So do I.”
Without a word, Simon crossed the small distance between Kaylee and their son wrapping his arms around them both, planting a gentle kiss on the baby’s head and turning an even more passionate kiss on his wife.
Kaylee sank into the feeling and reveled in the warmth and comfort of Simon’s touch. With an abruptness she didn’t expect, the contact vanished and when she again opened her eyes, terror quickly replaced her content. Simon was gone, her baby was gone and she was no longer on Serenity. She was instead standing in the middle of a gray, utilitarian room, with walls higher than she could see. It was cold here and Kaylee wrapped her arms around herself, fighting to keep Simon’s warmth on her skin.
Crying from the shock and the loneliness, Kaylee circled the room, screaming out, “Simon!”
“Simon, please come back!”
Kaylee awoke with a start, her sweaty hair and clothes plastered to her trembling form. Shaking, she kicked off the covers and looked around her room in a panic. He really wasn’t here. Glancing down to the bed beside her, she saw where Simon should have been, but he wasn’t. He was gone, just as he had been every day for the past eleven months and with newfound heartache, Kaylee pulled her knees up to her chest and sobbed.
It was in this state that Simon found her a moment later, entering the room quietly, with their sleeping son in his arms. Seeing her disheveled form as she raised her head at his entrance, Simon’s expression immediately turned to one of concern. Moving to her quickly, he sat on the edge of the bed, as close to her as he could get, and steadying Daniel’s small form with one hand, placed a gentle hand on her knee. “Kaylee, bao bei, are you all right?”
Nodding hurriedly, she knew she looked a mess, but she didn’t care. Reaching for Daniel, she pleaded, “Let me hold him, please.”
Not about to deny her anything, Simon handed their sleeping son over and watched in awe as Kaylee immediately calmed, her face growing content as she gazed down at him. She didn’t even seem to notice Simon’s presence and so finally after several moments, he asked, “Kaylee, what happened?”
Unwilling to lift her eyes from her son’s face, she tried to dismiss his concern. “Nothin’, Simon, I just need to hold him is all.”
Simon was not convinced, but stayed his tongue for a few more moments as Kaylee continued to cradle their little boy, humming to him softly. As she nuzzled the top of his head with her nose, Simon watched as she again brought her gaze up and saw fresh tears there. Deciding enough was enough, he moved forward and took Daniel from his mother, placing the infant in his crib. Turning back to Kaylee, he noticed the pout on her face and had to smile slightly at the expression.
However, as she noticed his intense gaze, her eyes fell to study her hands in her lap. More concerned than just moments before, Simon circled the bed to sit next to her, taking her hands in his. “Kaylee, tell me what happened.” When she refused to grant his request, he reached up and tucked a few stray hairs behind her ear, allowing his hand to rest against her cheek. “Please, I want to help.”
Kaylee leaned into his touch, again marveling at the suddenness with which her life had changed in just the past twenty-four hours. Still refusing to look at him, she told him sullenly, “I woke up and you wasn’t here.”
Simon immediately cursed himself for being such an idiot. Of course, he had promised Kaylee he’d stay with her. But when he had awoken before her, he’d thought it only fair to relieve Inara, and by default Mal, of babysitting duty and so he had gone in search of Daniel. He had never even considered the fear Kaylee could feel if she woke up while he was gone.
“I’m so sorry, Kaylee,” he told her, inching closer and pulling her to his chest. “I didn’t even think, I just wanted to get Daniel.”
Kaylee nodded once against his chest, glad that he couldn’t see her face. Glad that he couldn’t see her tears that fell so readily. She wanted to be happy that he was back, that he’d come back to her, but she couldn’t shake the dread she felt that he would leave her again or be taken from her again. It was almost more debilitating now that it had been while he was gone.
Finally unable to hold back her sobs, one escaped her lips and Simon pulled back from her in order to determine what was wrong. Looking down into her face as she tried to hide her tears with her hands, his own heart broke. “Kaylee …”
Wiping her nose along her sleeve, she tried to smile at him, but it was a futile attempt and they both knew it. “I’m sorry, Simon, I don’t mean to be blubberin’ at ya,” she apologized, truly feeling awful for her reaction.
“Kaylee, I don’t care. I just want to know what’s wrong,” he told her truthfully, his sincerity radiating out from his eyes like a beacon.
She shrugged slightly and answered, “I don’t know. I wanted you back for so long and now …” She trailed off and Simon felt his heart permanently lodge itself in his throat. Maybe she didn’t want to be with him anymore, maybe he had been too late.
“Do you,” he paused, almost unable to put his fear into words. “Do you want me to go?”
The terror in her eyes at the very thought stopped his heart for just a second and she quickly reached for his hand, latching onto it with a ferocity he had not seen from her before. “No,” she squeaked, her voice rising in pitch as her fear gripped her. “No, that’s not it at all,” she assured, giving him a light kiss for good measure.
“Then what is it,” he asked again, taking her face in his hands. Gently, he wiped her cheeks with his thumbs, brushing her tears away. “Tell me what it is and I’ll fix it.”
Shaking her head sadly, she told him, “You can’t. You can’t take away the past eleven months. You can’t take away the fear or the pain or the heartache I’ve been livin’ with since you’ve been gone.” Placing her hand against his cheek, she whispered, “You can’t fix that.”
His own tears had started to fall at her admission. It crushed him to know she had suffered so while he’d been gone. He had of course known it couldn’t have been easy, but walking in to find her sobbing and shaking with fear put everything into a very real perspective for him, one he would have been content never knowing, but one he knew he, they, could not avoid. Not if they had any chance of moving past it.
“I’m so sorry,” he told her again, pulling her to him in a tight embrace.
“I don’t want ya to be sorry, Simon,” she whispered against him, holding him back just as tightly. “I just want you to love me. To stay with me.”
“Always,” he murmured. Opening his eyes for a moment, his gaze caught the wooden box he’d given her last night. Smiling slightly, he figured now was as good a time as any. Pulling back from her, he gestured towards the gift and said, “You never opened your present.”
Looking over her shoulder at the box, she turned back to him with confusion furrowing her brow. “I thought the box was the present.”
Kissing her gently, he said, “Only you would think the package was more valuable than the contents.”
She smiled at him and then with a small giggle, reached behind her for the wooden container. Holding it reverently in front of her, she looked from its painted top back to Simon. “You sure you want me to open this now,” she asked him, her own anticipation nearly killing her.
Simon shrugged slightly, knowing she couldn’t resist presents; it was one of her weaknesses. “Well, I guess if you don’t want to,” he began, cut off suddenly as she kissed him.
“Oh, I wanna,” she confirmed, a brightness again lighting her eyes and her face. Simon loved that look. He nodded once to her and watched as she brushed her hair back from her face, and then gently lifted the lid.
The interior was lined in deep red velvet and had an extra flap to keep the contents from hitting against the hard surface of the lid. Biting her lower lip in anticipation, Kaylee lifted that final piece of fabric and inhaled sharply at the sight. Fresh tears forming in her eyes, she looked to him and breathed, “Oh, Simon.”
He smiled at her, his own excitement making him just as breathless. Covering her now trembling hand with his own, he reached into the box and took out the ring. It was simple, a silver band with three small – painfully small – stones set into it, but at the moment it was all he could afford, all he could offer.
Taking the box from her, he took a hold of her left hand and met her teary gaze. “I bought this for you about a week before I was taken on Boros.” At the mention of the botched job, Kaylee bit her lip to keep her tears in, but it was no use. They fell freely now and Simon smiled at her, as he watched her try and collect herself, to no avail. “I had intended to ask you a few weeks later when we’d be setting down on Persephone for some leave.” He paused now, his voice growing shakier by the minute as he thought back to all the time they’d lost. It wasn’t fair.
Shaking his head slightly to clear those kinds of thoughts, he looked back to her. Her eyes were full of tears, and her cheeks were wet, but she held his gaze and he could see her love and her hope reflected there. He never wanted to go another day without seeing that, without seeing her.
“I wish that I had more to give you,” he said, his voice breaking from his own emotion. “I wish I had the money and the standing to give you the kind of life you deserve.” Kaylee made a motion to interrupt him, put placing a light hand against her lips, he said, “Please, let me finish.” She nodded once and he continued.
“If I did, I would shower you with all the riches the ‘verse holds. I would make sure you never wanted for anything. But I can’t give you things,” he stated emphasizing the last word. “All I can give you, all I can promise you is that I will love you, with everything I am, with all that I am, until the day I die.”
She sobbed slightly at this last statement and Simon considered that maybe it hadn’t been the best choice of words. But he had rehearsed this for months before Boros and finding the box again had brought it all rushing back. Hurrying ahead, he tried to collect his own emotions as he said, “Kaywinnet Lee Frye, this ‘verse has shown us some pretty terrible and some pretty wonderful things. It has made us sad and angry and happy and joyful. But through it all, you have been with me, encouraging me to be the kind of man you know I am, even when I forget. And I want to spend the rest of my life with you, because there is no one in this ‘verse who could make me happier.” Placing the ring on the appropriate finger, he watched as she stared at it intently. Pulling her face back up to look at him, he asked softly, “Kaylee, will you be my wife?”
Kaylee couldn’t speak for a full minute. She was overcome by her own emotion, overwhelmed at the sheer intensity of the love she felt for this man before her. She knew there were a million reasons to say no, a million reasons why this wasn’t the right time. But none of them mattered, not now, not after what they had gone through. There was only one thing in the ‘verse to do when a man like Simon, a man who had stolen her heart so completely, asked to be her husband. And that was to say yes.
Looking up at him, she swallowed several times before she knew she could speak. “Yes,” she whispered, waiting for his reaction.
It was quick in coming. Wrapping his arms around her, he held her fiercely and Kaylee thought about all the time they had missed. She wanted that time back, but she knew she couldn’t get it. It was gone now, so they would have to start again, making up for lost time, making more memories.
“I know the timing stinks,” Simon was saying, as he held her, kissing her cheek and neck. “But I know it’s right.”
Placing her hands on his face, she kissed him soundly, and if it was possible, Kaylee thought this kiss was better than the one from the night before. “It’s perfect,” she whispered, when she could again speak. “You’re perfect.”
Simon went to kiss her again, when Daniel’s wail signaled it was time to pay attention to him. Smiling to each other, Kaylee bounded out of the bed, and pulled her son into her arms. Simon watched her, mesmerized, as she cradled the little one to her chest and quieted him in just moments. Then turning back to face him, she smiled, one of her bright, light up the whole world smiles and Simon felt more tears fall. This, this moment, was what he had almost missed, what had almost been taken from him permanently. Never again.
Reaching out a hand to her, she came back to bed, still holding Daniel and the three of them, their family, sat in each other’s arms, mother and father gazing adoringly at their son who would never remember the heartache they’d lived through, but would always know the love they shared.
“They’re not here.”
Gabriel Tam bit back the sudden urge to snap the man’s neck. Swallowing the subsequent urge to call him an idiot, he took a few deep breaths, and then said, “Where are they?”
“We’ll need to do a more thorough scan of the area,” the lieutenant said, his voice a bit shaky as he watched his commander, at least for this mission, tremble with barely contained rage.
Turning fierce eyes on him, Gabriel bit out, “Why don’t you do that then?”
The younger man nodded once and then scurried from the room, leaving Gabriel and Regan again alone with the blue hands who had insisted on joining them.
“We will find him, find them. It won’t be long now.” As always the agent’s voice was devoid of emotion, making it impossible for Gabriel to know, with his back turned, which one had spoken. Not that it mattered; they didn’t matter, not in the grand scheme of what he was trying to accomplish. He was trying to salvage his family’s reputation and his son’s life in one fell swoop. Anyone who chose to get in the way of that, like these deadly agents behind him, didn’t matter.
Sighing heavily, Gabriel stared down at the screens in front of him, showing different views of the farmhouse Serenity’s pulse beacon had led them to. It was empty now, the occupants gone. It sat, quiet and still, waiting for the owners to return, waiting until it could again come to life. Gabriel had never seen a more drab or rundown place then he did before him now. It disgusted him in a way that made no sense.
Turning from the image, he said to the two agents, “Burn it.”
Neither one showed even the slightest twitch of surprise and turned simultaneously to carry out the order.
Once they’d left Regan approached him a fearful look back in her eyes. “Are you sure that’s wise Gabriel? These people Simon’s fallen in with, they might retaliate.” She glanced to the screens over his shoulder and saw the old farmhouse, smiling at how lived in and well-loved it looked.
Looking back to her husband she said, “This might only serve to make all of them and Simon more angry.”
Gabriel did not need to look to his wife’s face to know she was trying to reason with him, trying to rein in what she viewed was his out-of-control need for destruction. But they had gotten very far in their relationship, almost thirty years of marriage in fact, by Gabriel having a fierce determination to get whatever he wanted. And there was no way that was changing now.
Still not looking to her, he felt the ship rock just a bit as the first missile shot out and connected with the home. “Good.”
River felt her brother’s happiness as it reverberated through her, all the way from the very top of her head to the tips of her toes. Turning a bright smile to Jayne as he sat beside her, watching as the children played, she kissed him soundly, and said, “It’s okay now.” Smiling even brighter, she cried tears of joy as she turned and saw the young family emerge onto the porch. “We’re okay.”
Jayne followed her gaze and saw the doc, Kaylee and their little rugrat and watched in amazement as River practically bowled them over with an intense hug. Smiling at her enthusiasm, Jayne turned back to regard the scene in the yard, smiling even wider as he noticed Zoe had somehow been roped into being the Alliance in their little game.
River refused to let Simon or Kaylee go, until finally her brother said gently, “Mei mei, you’re going to suffocate the baby.”
Smiling at her own exuberance, River pulled back and gave Daniel a light kiss on the head. “Sorry, nephew,” she whispered, again looking to her brother and his soon-to-be wife. Glancing down pointedly at her left ring finger River cocked an eyebrow and said, “’Bout time,” and then as quickly as she’d come, she turned and ran down the stairs, joining the game with as much glee as she had ever felt.
Watching her go, Simon finally turned to Kaylee and saw his own wide grin reflected in her face. “Well, I think we have River’s blessing.”
Kaylee giggled and Simon loved the sound. Pressing a kiss to her temple, he guided his fiancée and their son to the porch swing and watched the scene before them, content to sit in each other’s presence for as long as they could. That’s why it was quite a disappointment when Walt came running out of the house, a concerned look etched into his features. Looking around hurriedly, he found Jayne and asked, “Where’s Mal?”
Shrugging, the merc said, “Dunno. Last time I saw him he was ‘Nara.” Raising a leering eyebrow, Jayne gave the older man a knowing look. “I think we can guess what they’re doin’, huh pop?”
Throwing the ape man an annoyed look, he looked in the direction of Simon and Kaylee and shaking his head, went back inside.
“What do you suppose that was all about,” Kaylee asked quietly, glancing to Simon.
Shaking his head, he kissed her softly on the cheek as he rose to follow the older man. “I don’t know. But I’m going to go find out.” Turning back to regard her and their son, he asked quickly, “Will you be all right?”
Smiling at him, touched by his concern and his attention, Kaylee answered, “Of course, silly. Me and Daniel are just going to sit here and enjoy the day.”
His heart swelling inexplicably, Simon gave her hand once last squeeze before heading in doors. As he passed Jayne, he gave the larger man a look and begrudgingly the mercenary rose, following the doctor inside.
They entered the living room to see that Mal had been found and he was talking in hushed tones with Walt. Approaching them, Simon questioned, “What’s going on?”
The two men exchanged one last look and the sight of their faces sent his stomach plunging to his feet. Whatever it was, it was not good and Simon feared what they would say. “It appears there was some trouble out at the Everetts’ place,” Mal said quietly, his voice heavy with regret and guilt. He had never meant to cause his friends such heartache.
“What kinda trouble,” Jayne asked, picking up on the heavy mood that had cloaked the room.
“They burned it to the ground,” Walt answered quietly, his eyes never leaving the floor.
Feeling as though he’d been punched in the gut, Simon staggered backward and found himself falling unceremoniously to the couch. He had his suspicions about who would do such a thing and he certainly knew why, but he didn’t want to be right, not about this. “Who was it,” he finally asked, his voice sounding odd, even to his own ears.
“We don’t know for sure, but based on the thoroughness of the hit and timing, I’d venture a guess it was the ‘Liance,” Mal said bitterly, wondering what they would have to do to get those worthless hundans off their backs. Of course, transporting two of the Alliance’s most highly wanted fugitives across the ‘verse was a good way to keep the pressure on, but Mal had never claimed to be smart.
Jayne let loose a string of violent Chinese and Simon could only sit in shock. In an instant, River had entered the house, coming to his side. She had been drawn by both her brother’s and Jayne’s reactions to the news, and now she could feel the ominous presence hovering, waiting to strike at them.
Placing a light hand against her brother’s shoulder, he met her gaze and saw the confirmation there that he needed. “It’s our parents,” he said quietly, still keeping his eyes locked on his sister’s face. “They’re looking for me.”
Walt, Mal and Jayne all turned disbelieving gazes on him. Simon felt such guilt, such remorse at having caused such destruction, he could barely breathe. He saw as his sister’s eyes filled and spilled over with tears. Reaching out, he gave her a quick hug and kissed her cheek. “I have to go, mei mei,” he whispered.
Latching onto his hand with a sudden ferocity, her eyes burned with an all-consuming fire. “No, you don’t. You know they won’t let you go.” She begged with him to believe her, to heed her. “You have to stay, fight. We have to fight.”
Simon smiled sadly and knew she believed her words, believed it was the only course of action, and secretly, he did as well. But he didn’t want to do this, not again. He didn’t want to keep using his sister as a bodyguard and a killer. She was too good for that, she had too much to offer, too much to give and every time she gave in to what those bastards had done to her, Simon felt a small piece of himself break away.
She returned his sad smile, and rested a light hand against his cheek. She could read all of this from him and it only made her love him more; made her want to keep him safe, just as he had always done for her. “Still your sister,” she whispered, fighting to keep her voice steady. “Still made of love. Just use it differently.”
Simon teared at her words and again hugged her. After a moment, he turned to Walt and said, “I am so sorry, for what happened to your home. I will make it up to you, anyway I can.” The older man simply nodded, still too overwhelmed with his loss to say anything.
“What are we goin’ to do,” Mal asked, knowing even as he said the question, ‘we’ really meant Simon and River.
Rising, Simon straightened his shoulders and cleared his eyes, his sister at his side. “We are going to have a little talk with our parents,” he told him. Looking to Walt, he said, “Where’s the wave screen?”
The tension is mounting ... if you want the chapters to come nice and regular, you'll leave me some shiny comments!
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