Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Second in the short episodes following BIRTHDAY ... Simon needs to talk. Thanks so much for the feedback, and keep it coming. You might notice that I do actually take notice of it!


He couldn’t sleep. No matter how much he tried, after that first night back in with Kaylee, he’d found himself waking just after midnight, and it was hours before he finally fell back into exhausted unconsciousness. It hadn’t improved his temper, either.

“What did you just say?” Kaylee asked, her eyes wide in disbelief.

He stared at her, honestly trying to remember. “I … what? What was that to say?”

“How could you?” she said, her face screwing up before she got awkwardly to her feet and ran out of the dining area.

Simon watched her go, then looked back at the rest of the crew. “What?” he asked.

Mal barely managed to contain himself. “Doctor, I know you’ve been through a lot, but that’s no excuse for saying that to little Kaylee.”

“Oh, Simon,” Inara agreed, shaking her head in saddened shock.

“I don’t … what did I say?” Simon glared at them. “I don’t understand why she’s so …”

“Simon, Kaylee may be under the influence of post-natal depression,” Zoe pointed out, not unkindly, “but you don’t have to make things so much worse.”

“I don’t understand,” he repeated.

Jayne pointed his table knife at him and growled. “If’n you weren’t needed right now, to tend to Frey, I’d throw you out the airlock myself, no matter what the Cap here said.” It was perfectly clear the big man would rather bury the knife in the younger man than not, right up to the hilt.

“No, look, I really don’t know –“

“I think you’d better go apologise,” Mal interrupted.

“For what?”

“Don’t go thinking that was a suggestion.”

Simon pushed his chair back and jumped to his feet. “I wish someone would tell me what the niou-se I’m supposed to have said!” He strode out of the galley.

“Sir, I really think he doesn’t know,” Zoe said, looking at her captain.

“I’m beginning to think you’re right,” Mal agreed. “Could be he’s under some stress at the moment, all he’s been through.”

“But to upset Kaylee like that? And not go after her straight away?”

Mal shrugged. “Maybe one of us should talk to River. She seems to know what’s going on in that brother of hers mind more’n most.”

“One of us, sir?”

“I was thinking of you.”

“I gathered that.”

“Now, Zoe, I don’t want to have to make it an order, and it ain't because I don’t want to. But that girl runs away at my footsteps, let alone when she sees me.” Mal tried a smile. “Be doing me a favour.”

“I’ll speak to her,” Inara offered quickly. “I can’t bear to see Mal beg like this.”

“I coulda taken a bit more,” Jayne put in. ---

“He doesn’t know,” River said, pulling her knees into her chest. “He didn’t know what he said. Didn’t remember. Trying to blot out the words he used before means he doesn’t remember the words he uses now.”

“Sweetie, I don’t understand.”

“Neither does he.” She turned her large, dark eyes on the Companion. “He would call it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, if he could remember the name.”

“And he really doesn’t know what he said to Kaylee?”

“Doesn’t know half of what he says. Sounds like someone else.” She laughed, and the sound trickled uncomfortably down Inara’s spine. “Heard him.” She tapped her skull. “Heard him in here. But not before. Just a marshmallow fog before, all sticky.”

Inara watched tears run down the young girl’s cheeks and pulled her into a hug. “It’s all right, River. Everyone knows it wasn't your fault.”

“It was my body, and I couldn’t tell it not to.” She leaned into the other woman, feeling the compassion radiating from her. “He should have shot me. Bullet in the brain pan.”

“Who, Mal?”

“Quick. Easy. Clean. Squish.”

“No, River,” Inara said, pushing the girl away so she could look into her liquid eyes. “Never easy. And he wouldn’t do it, not unless he had to.”

“I killed her.”

Inara sighed. “Oh, River. No, you didn’t. She’s in the infirmary right now. She’s alive.”

“Killed her in my mind.”

“That was someone else. Not you.” She moved the dark hair away from the young girl’s face. “Let it go.”

“Easy to say. Sword through and through.”

Inara felt her face flush. “Yes. I know it’s easy to say. And so hard to forgive yourself.”

“I'm sorry,” River said quickly, more tears falling. “I didn’t mean … he’s so close, I don’t know what I'm saying.”

“It’s all right,” Inara said, taking her back into her arms. “Hush. It’s all right.” ---

Inara searched for Simon, finding him in the most unlikeliest of places. He was sitting in her shuttle, on the very edge of the red satin sofa, his hands clasped tightly in his lap. He stood up, almost to attention, as she entered.

“I … do you mind? I’ve been waiting for you.”

“Not at all. And I've been looking for you.”

“For me?”

She motioned him to sit and joined him, close but not touching. Not yet. “I think you need someone to talk to, right now. I presume you haven’t been to see Kaylee?”

“I tried. She wouldn’t open the door, just shouted at me to leave her alone.” The unhappiness was so evident on his face, in his body language. “What did I say?” Simon asked. “What did I say to Kaylee to make her … to hurt her like that?”

Inara took a breath. “You said that you wished Bethany had never been born.”

All the blood drained from Simon’s face, and for a moment she thought he was going to faint. “I … please tell me I didn’t.”

Inara nodded slowly. “But it was the way you said it, so cold, so distant …”

“Please, stop.” Simon dropped his head into his hands. “Oh, God, how could I say that? I don’t think that, you have to believe me.”

“Simon, if we thought you did, you’d have been … well, I'm sure Mal would have found some imaginative way of getting rid of you. Probably very painfully.”

“He should have,” Simon said, tears dripping through his fingers. “I deserve it.”

“No you don’t.”

“He would have been in the right. And before, both him and Zoe, telling me they’d kill me if … maybe I should leave.”

Inara shook her head firmly. “No. And you know neither of them meant it. They were … under stress.”

“My fault.”

“Oh, Simon. What is it about the Tams that makes them want to make everything their responsibility?”

“It is!” he insisted, wiping his cheeks with his hands. “They’ve threatened to kill me so often, but this time … Mal would have done it.”


“How can you know that?” he asked, looking up at her.

“Because I know the man. And so do you. He was watching the woman he loves die, as far as he knew. What wouldn’t a man say in that position?”

“God, and I told Kaylee …” Fresh tears burst from his eyes, and he looked at her with such distress on his face that it cut into her like a Reaver blade. “How could I even consider that, let alone …” He glanced out of the door. “What must she be thinking?” He stood up.

“No, no,” Inara said quickly, grabbing his arm. “Not right now. We need to talk before you try and see Kaylee again.”

He glared down at her but his angry gaze softened, and he collapsed back onto the red satin. “What do I do, Inara?” he asked. “How do I make this better?”

“Time,” the composed woman said. “And talking. Simon, a Companion isn’t just someone who has sex with a client. She – or he – is also a Counsellor, trained to help and assist people in pain. Most of the time it isn’t so obvious, but most of the individuals we engage with need some comfort other than the physical.”

“I don’t need –“

“Yes, you do. What else have you said, or done, but forgotten?”

He stared at her. “I … how can I tell?”

“Let me help you, Simon. Let me bring you peace.”

“How long?” he asked, swallowing back the emotions that threatened to drown him. “How long are you prepared to sit and listen to me?”

“As long as it takes.” She smiled at him. “You’re my friend, Simon. My family.”

He wiped his nose on the back of his hand, a gesture so young that it made her heart go out to him even more.

“Thank you.” His voice was so soft she could hardly hear it.

“Then I think you should start by telling me what you remember.”

He shook his head. “I don’t –“

“Yes,” she said firmly. “From when they started their treatment.”

He shuddered but tried to gather his thoughts. “I was cold. And there was this chair …”


Wednesday, November 15, 2006 4:31 AM


Oh boy, now who is Inara going to talk to, because you know Simon recounting his torture is going to leave her with some awful images.

And I'm really hoping your Kaylee moment involves Simon coming to apologize ... :o)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 7:20 AM


Love the Inara/River scene.

Simon's ptsd is, uh, *ducks*, entirely fabulous. He's so messed up he doesn't know what he's saying, or mean it.

And I like very much that River won't go near Mal for love or money.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 3:28 PM


Now that's the way to open up a story: Kaylee just breaking down completely, and everyone else upwardly mobile pretty much threatening murder...and the target has zero clue what the fudge is going on!


Definitely glad Inara's stepped up to help Simon with her training...but I get the feeling Inara's gonna need some assistance from Mal or Zoe about dealing with the knowledge and imagery Simon's gonna spew out:(


Wednesday, November 15, 2006 7:15 PM


Oh man, this is all sorts of not good.

Surely Inara talking to Simon, and thus taking his words into confidence, means that she can't go blabbing what she's told to people, unless she and Simon are of the understanding that she's there not as a councillor, but as a friend.
In which case, if I were Simon, I wouldn't be talking to Inara at all, because though she's trained in this sort of thing, the sheer amount of badness Simon is going to show to her will likely mean she'll need an external source of help, for herself and Simon.

Completely agree with BEB, perfect way to drop someone into a fic..


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Now and Then - a Christmas story
“Then do you have a better suggestion? No, let me rephrase that. Do you have a more sensible suggestion that doesn’t involve us getting lost and freezing to death?”

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little standalone festive tale that kind of fits into where I am in the Maya timeline, but works outside too. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Epilogue
"I honestly don’t know if my pilot wants to go around with flowers and curlicues carved into his leg.”
[Maya. Post-BDM. The end of the story, and the beginning of the last ...]

Monied Individual - Part XX
Mal took a deep breath, allowing it out slowly through his nostrils, and now his next words were the honest truth. “Ain’t surprised. No matter how good you are, and I’m not complaining, I’ve seen enough battle wounds, had to help out at the odd amputation on occasion. And I don’t have to be a doc myself to tell his leg ain’t quite the colour it should be, even taking into account his usual pasty complexion. What you did … didn’t work, did it?”
[Maya. Post-BDM. Simon has no choice, and Luke comes around.]

Monied Individual - Part XIX
“His name’s Jayne?”

“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

“Nothing, nothing! I just … I don’t think I’ve ever met a man … anyone else by that name.”

“Yeah, he’s a mystery to all of us,” Mal said. “Even his wife.”

[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVIII
Jayne had told him a story once, about being on the hunt for someone who owed him something or other. He’d waited for his target for three hours in four inches of slush as the temperature dropped, and had grinned when he’d admitted to Hank that he’d had to break his feet free from the ice when he’d finished.
[Maya. Post-BDM. The Fosters show their true colours, Jayne attempts a rescue, and the others may be too late.]

Snow at Christmas
She’d seen his memories of his Ma, the Christmases when he was a boy on Shadow, even a faint echo of one before his Pa died, all still there, not diminished by his burning, glowing celebrations of now with Freya.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]

Monied Individual - Part XVII
Jayne hadn’t waited, but planted a foot by the lock. The door was old, the wood solid, but little could stand against a determined Cobb boot with his full weight behind it. It burst open.

[Maya. Post-BDM. The search for Hank continues. Read, enjoy, review!]

Monied Individual - Part XVI
He slammed the door behind him, making the plates rattle on the sideboard. “It’s okay, girl, I ain't gonna hurt you.” The cook, as tradition dictated, plump and rosy cheeked with her arms covered to the elbows in flour, but with a gypsy voluptuousness, picked up a rolling pin.

[Maya. Post-BDM. Kaylee finds the problem with Serenity, and Jayne starts his quest. Read, enjoy, review!]

Monied Individual - Part XV
“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]

“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]