THE SHAPE OF THINGS - Part 2 "Confessions"
Tuesday, August 8, 2006

"Inara and Mal try to give Simon some sound advice."



SUMMARY: "Inara and Mal try to give Simon some sound advice." 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 couldn't sleep. He left the bunk he had been sharing with Kaylee for nigh on a month now, his body sated but restless. Tired but not in any way that sleep could counter. His thoughts a whirl that left him dizzy and aching in a darkness of his own making. Yet there were bright spots, isolated points of joy so intense he could hardly breathe with the wonder of it. Only one person brought that pleasure to his soul and she was lying fast asleep with the sweetest smile imaginable on her lips. It made him smile and lightened the pressure on his heart.

"Couldn't sleep?"

He jolted in surprise, had not heard Inara's soft footfall. Simon looked down. Ah, slippers. Inara was the only one he knew who wore them but then she was the only cultured person on this ship now that Book was gone. Book. The thought of him was a piercing pain, a shadow over the joy he had stolen in greedy mouthfuls like a falling man reaching for anything that might save him.


The doctor reacted to the trace of worry in her voice. He looked up and smiled, his look almost shy reminding Inara of when he and River had first come aboard Serenity. So much had happened since then. Had it really only been a couple of years? Funny how it felt like a whole other lifetime. "*Duibuqi*, I was thinking about Shepherd Book." He paused, his expression serious again. "I miss him."

"We all do." Inara murmured soothingly, but her eyes asked *what is really wrong?*

Simon would not look her in the eye, did not want her prying and seeing too much. She was a Companion after all and Simon was no good at hiding his body language. "*Yiwusuoyou*, just couldn't sleep."

"I was about to make some tea, would you like some?"

Not knowing what else to say Simon nodded, grateful for the out she gave him. Right now it was hard to think straight and he needed to get some distance from the emotions churning up inside him. Inara made a light scented tea which Simon recognised as Camomile. He appreciated the attempt to calm and soothe him but took the proferred cup anyway. *Xie xie ni.*"

"*Bu xie*."

Silence stretched like a comfortable quilt between them. Simon let his thoughts wander and wondered if he was really doing the right thing. Was he being fair to Kaylee? With a little shock he realised Inara was speaking to him. He shook himself out of his reverie. "*Duibuqi*, you were saying?"

Inara gave him a gentle smile, her head tilting slightly, a look in her eyes that seemed far too knowing for his comfort. "I'm a good listener, Simon."

Now he was flustered. "I um, everything's fine, better than fine, shiny!" He was babbling and he knew it but panic was pressing in on all sides now. Inara leaned over and put a hand over his.

"Simon, *ni xiazai keyi fangsong le*."

"I'm okay Inara, honestly, *wo shuibuzhao*. That's all."

"I'm no doctor but generally when you can't sleep there's a reason."

A little smile quirked his lips. "And yours would be?"

She smiled back. "None of your business!"

He laughed at the light teasing tone of mock censure then fell sombre again.

"I know something is wrong Simon, whether you want to talk to me or not has to be your decision but whatever is worrying you won't go away without there being a resolution."

"And is there one?"


"A resolution?"

Simon realised his mistake the moment the words were out of his mouth because now he had admitted that there was something wrong. Something he did not know how to put right. "This is about Kaylee, isn't it?"

Her words shook him. Was he that transparent? Inara smiled softly at him, a look of understanding in her eyes that did more to crumble his defences than anything else.

"Kaylee is dear to us all but it's been apparent for some time that you both want different things from this relationship."

Us? Simon felt the panic returning. Had they all been talking about it? And what exactly did she mean by wanting different things? "I don't know what you mean."

It sounded lame even to Simon's ears but at least he managed not to flinch. Inara did not pick him up on the blatant lie. Simon was no good at it and he was facing a master. "They say that love is blind." Said Inara gently.

Little tears gathered in the corner of Simon's eyes. So small he was unaware of them until his eyes misted and everything began to become indistinct. He did not wipe his eyes. Truth to tell he was glad to let everything go a little out of focus. "And there are none so blind as those who will not see, is that what you're trying to say?"

His tone was bitter and defensive but Inara did not take offence. "Kaylee loves you very much, Simon."

Tears broke and rolled silently down his face. He did not notice. "*Wo zhidao*, I love her too."

"Then why are you out here crying into your teacup when you should be in bed with her?"

Simon opened his mouth then snapped it shut quickly to stop a lie rolling out. They were past that now and truth to tell he needed to say it. To unleash the feelings hidden away that he dared not express. "Because I don't deserve her love."

Inara hated the way his voice cracked as something inside the doctor broke. An arm going round his shoulders to offer comfort but Simon pulled away, more than a little uneasy to take any solace from her. He was hurting too much and it was time to be honest with someone even if he continued to lie to himself.

"Why do you say that?"

"Because Kaylee is everything I'm not. She's honest and loving and full of care, loves everything about this piece of *goushi* we call a ship. Loves everyone and everything on it including Jayne and when she looks at me," His voice trailed off and Simon had to gulp in air and take a conscious effort to continue. "She looks at me as if I hold the stars in my hand."

"It's called love, Simon."

"Yes, *wo zhidao*, but it's unconditional Inara."

The Companion nodded. "You think your love is different?"

"I know it is. Don't get me wrong I love Kaylee, I'm very fond of her and would never do anything to hurt her..."

"Like admit you ain't in love with her."

Simon and Inara both looked up in surprise, the Captain standing just in the doorway of the commons room looking at them. Neither had heard him come in. As much as the guilt crowded in on him Simon felt an outpouring of relief. "*Qu*."

For a moment no one spoke. A tiny part of Simon's back brain wondered if one by one the rest of the crew would come in and offer their little pieces of advice. Right now he felt too numb to care. The Captain walked over to the table but did not sit with them. "Simon."

The doctor looked up when the Captain did not continue. Waiting for whatever piece of hell the man was going to unleash upon him, but oddly enough the man looked more weary than angry. "You not bein' in love with Kaylee ain't the problem."

"*Shenme*? How can you say that?"

The Captain put his hands flat on the table and leaned down. "'Cause it ain't. You love her an' part of lovin' someone so fierce is worryin' you ain't good enough, *dong ma*? If you really weren't good enough you wouldn't care."

Inara hid a smile behind her teacup. Simon looked a little dazed at the Captain's logic. "And I suppose you would be the great expert?"

Instead of flying into a rage at the doctor's scathing tone the Captain chuckled then rubbed a hand over his weary face and sat down opposite Simon and Inara. "*Bu qu*, I ain't nothin' but *yige shazi* when it comes to such things my own self, just thought you would do better in that department. Kind'a depressin' to see you ain't makin' use of that top three percent."

"Captain, I'm touched you care but really I don't need you to give me advice on my love life."

Mal snorted in amusement. "You won't take it from your Captain but you'll take it from a... Companion, is that it?"

When Simon did not answer the Captain nodded and looked down at his hands a moment. Too big and too large to place comfortably on the table with nothing to occupy them. He was a man of action not words but this needed mending because it was Kaylee and she was all kinds of precious to him. Not just their shiny mechanic, not just the ray of sunshine each lacked in the Black, but the heart of the gorram ship. If Simon didn't know that by now then no amount of shouting or beating on him would knock any sense into him and Mal didn't want for little Kaylee to wake to find her shining Pince wasn't a Prince at all but some lily livered piece of *goushi buru* who wanted the sex but not the ties that bound hearts together. Privately Mal thought Simon didn't know what he wanted so it was only fair and right as his Captain that he should tell him. Now. In clear uncompromising terms that even a Core bred fancy doctor could understand.

"Simon, Kaylee loves you with every bit of her heart an' soul. Not nothin' in the whole 'verse she wouldn't do for you, you know that *dui*?"

The doctor nodded.

"What would you do for her?"

Simon gave him a blank stare back. "*Wo bu dong*."

"Simple words, Simon. What would you do for Kaylee? I mean, if somethin' threatened her, some *tamade hundan* like Jubal Early or Niska or..."

"I wouldn't let anyone lay a hand on her, you know that!" Said Simon sharply.

"What about if it wasn't a someone but a something?" The Captain paused, Simon now watching him like a hawk. All manner of suspicious but at least he was paying attention. "What if it was nightmares? What would you be doin'?"

"I'd try to help her, I don't see what this has to do with..."

The Captain raised a hand and Simon fell silent. "There's a point I'm makin', Simon, just give me time. Already know if she was physically hurt you'd run yourself ragged to put her back together again. Puttin' the body back together ain't so hard, but putting the heart of someone back together - well, that takes more'n a surgeon's skill."

"Do you think I don't know that?"

Simon's voice sounded dull, defeated even but the Captain wasn't finished with him yet. "It takes love, Simon. Not the dizzy delirious lust that drives the gorram libedo. Not the big flashy things we do to impress folks we wanna think well of us. It's the little things, Simon." The Captain's voice dropped, quiet and gentle. Without realising he was doing it, Simon hung on every word. "It's the bein' there when she's upset an' cryin', even though you don't got the words to heal the hurt but you care, you touch an' hold her like she's the most precious thing in the 'verse to you an' that's healin' in itself. It's bein' there for her when times are hard as well as when they're shiny, bein' content with whatever you got between you not hankerin' for more. It's lettin' her love you even though you ain't worthy, not 'cause it makes you feel so good but 'cause even if you ain't worthy she is so why deny her that? Sometimes Simon," Said the Captain, one hundred per cent serious now. "It ain't about you. When you get to that place you know your own self worth ain't ever gonna be an issue less you make it one. Now there's a girl lyin' on her ownself in your bunk wonderin' why the man she loves has up an' left her sleepin' alone. Best you think real hard if'n you can walk away from that, if Kaylee deserves to be left thinkin' she ain't worthy of you."

It was the longest speech of any kind that Simon had ever heard the Captain say but all of sudden none of that mattered. His fears and reservations dissolved into the ether as what really mattered came to the fore. In a blinding flash of insight he realised why the Captain was so right, so oddly eloquent in his quiet passion. It was because he loved Kaylee too. He cared not just about his mechanic but every one of them. Simon just stared and shook his head at him. The Captain began to frown.


Simon slowly rose to his feet, all composed and calm and with his head on straighter than it had been in weeks. "While it pains me to say it Captain, thank you."

There was a look of surprise on Mal's face which he quickly smothered. "*Bu xie*, just go an' make Kaylee happy."

Simon nodded to Mal and Inara and hurried back to bed. For a moment neither the Captain nor Inara spoke. Seeing the way the Companion's lips were twitching the Captain decided best get this over with or he would never get any gorram sleep. "What's so ruttin' funny?"

"Nothing it's just..." Inara broke off and gifted him with a beautiful soft smile. It stunned him and made his heart do little back flips. Not that he would ever admit any such thing. "I never realised how eloquent you could be."

The Captain blinked. Was she mocking him? "Eloquent? Me? Didn't think such fancy words applied to us Rim folk."

Inara leaned forward and clasped his hands in hers, a warmth in her eyes that pinned him to his seat. "You really are a surprising man, Malcolm Reynolds."

He smirked back, enjoying the heat of her hands in his. As if they belonged there in the same way she belonged on his ship. In his life. The light of her smile making his heart sing. "Like woman I'm a mystery."

She laughed lightly and raised her eyebrows. "Now that the children are in bed shouldn't we do the same?"

"Are you propositionin' me, woman? 'Cause I have to say I ain't that kind'a fella."

Inara walked round the table and put a hand to his chest, the palm flat and gently resting over his heart. "Only if you say yes."

He couldn't speak, couldn't believe this was gorram happening. All them crossed signals and now she was here using her gorram wiles on him and he couldnt' speak, couldn't move. Inara closed in and kissed him, her eyes sharing warmth and promising so much more. When she broke away to speak he thought his whole 'verse would crumble from the loss.

"Come to bed, Mal." She murmured.

*Diyu*, how was a fella supposed to refuse an offer like that? Malcolm Reynolds knew he didn't deserve anyone as fine as Inara but if she wanted him who was he to deny her that?

* * * * *

In their room, Kaylee stirred. A cool hand brushing the hair from her eyes as she blinked in confusion. Simon kissed her gently. "W..what's up, Simon?"

Simon smiled tenderly at her, his heart so full he wasn't sure there were enough words in the 'verse to express how much he loved her. "Sssh, go back to sleep *xin gan*."

"You go somewhere?" Kaylee mumbled sleepily.

"I just went to have a cup of tea but I'm back now."

Almost asleep, her words were so quiet and slurred he almost didn't make them out. "You ain't goin' nowhere?"

"No," Simon whispered. His heart and his head now happy and content. "I'm never going to leave you."

"Um.. that's good Simon.... that's... real... shiny."

Lying with the woman he loved in his arms Simon curled around her and wondered if he wasn't more than a little in love after all.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*duibuqi* = sorry *yiwusuoyou* = nothing *xie xie ni* = thank you *bu xie* = you're welcome *ni xiazai keyi fangsong le* = you can relax now *wo shuibuzhado* = I can't sleep *shenme* = what *wo zhidao* = I know *goushi* = crap/dog shit *qu* = yes (lit. go) *dong ma* = understand? *bu qu* = no (lit. no go) *yige shazi*/*yige shagua* = a fool *dui* = correct *goushi buru* = lowest of the low (lit. lower than dogshit) *diyu* = hell *wo bu dong* = I don't understand *tamade hundan* = fucking bastard *xin gan* = sweetheart


Tuesday, August 8, 2006 5:16 AM


This was probably the best most serious discussion over the subtle differences of the love Simon and Kaylee feel for one another that I've ever read.

I was tense while reading the whole thing, holding my breath wondering what was going to happen.

Mal's speech seemed to not only come from the heart but from more years of experience dealing with (or ignoring. . .) this sort of thing and so found the words he gave Simon to be really well done.

The Mal and Inara moment was just perfect and how Mal couldn't speak after he'd just given Simon that big long talk was wonderfully done.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 6:08 AM


Oh this whole installment had me sitting on the edge of my seat, not knowing just where it was going to go!

I really do feel for Simon, he is defionitely caught between a rock and a hard place, but I think Mal's words have turned him around.

And I just adore the end with Mal and Inara! That was great!

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 7:56 AM


I meant the end of that scene, it looked weird when I read my comment again, lol. The end with Simon and Kaylee also melted my heart, hopefully that boy can get his act totgether, or else I would hate to see how the rest of the crew would react if he broke KAylee's heart.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 10:34 AM


Alison...I don't think enough props exist for anyone one of us - your admirers - to properly express just how wonderful this was:D

You tapped into the characters perfectly, but Mal's speech to Simon was above and beyond channelling. It was BEING Mal and trying to help out someone lost and in need of help to ensure that Kaylee gets what she deserves. Mal ain't a man to pontificate unless making a St. Crispin's Day-style speech...but I could totally see Mal just let this come out as a voice of experience seeking to educate a kindred soul:)


Wednesday, August 9, 2006 2:25 AM


Thanks to everyone for your lovely comments. Glad you liked this little two-parter. Simon just needed someone to help him see things a little more clearly and now he does there is nothing to stop him loving and adoring Kaylee the way his heart longs to. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, August 11, 2006 6:11 AM


Hi Ali,

I really liked this work, you have done here!

First, your language skills seem pretty high-level to me (I'm actually not fit to tell, because I'm not a native speaker.) I had to look up some words, and I think, that your active vocabulary is quite extensive.

I could really see Simon feeling this way, being insecure and all. It makes perfect sense, that you start this story about his feelings towards Kaylee with an "excursus" on his life back on Osiris. There he knew, what to think, to expect and how to feel. Now, it's a new world for him, so he is not sure, that what he is / feels matches peoples expectations. He is used to a world, where everything is about "surface" and outside appearance, and now he is thrown into a world, where feelings and people are real . And he's not sure, whether he is real enough for them.

Also, I liked Mal and Inara acting like the parents of the crew. It just feels so homely.

The only thing I can't see is Inara finally answering "Mal's call". If she would ever admit to herself, that she is in love with him, or rather if she would ever allow herself to live that love, she would have to quit her job. I cannot see her going on, having intimate moments with customers when she is at the same time "together" with Mal. She needs to keep her emotional distance. Sex should never mean "love" to her, or she would get all mixed up with her feelings. But if she does not allow herself to really live her love, going to bed with Mal would mean to "degrade" him to a mere customer - which is not the point, you wanted to make, I guess.

Sometimes I think, that the reason, she left the temple in the first place, was a man as well. So she fled from love - bumping right into Mal … gorramn!


Tuesday, September 5, 2006 4:15 PM


Just what the boy needs, a good thwack in the side of the head. That goes for the other two as well.

Saturday, November 5, 2011 5:34 AM


Awww I loved this!!! Great job!!!

"No," Simon whispered. His heart and his head now happy and content. "I'm never going to leave you."
^^^^ EEEE!!!!:D


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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.