Even Roses Have Thorns, chapters 1 and 2
Thursday, December 14, 2006

This will be an ongoing fanfic of currently indeterminant length. Chapters 1 and 2 don't contain anything particularly objectionable, but later chapters will be darker. (Warnings will be given). Pairs in the beginning are canon, but this may change as the fic develops. This is my first fanfic, and I do not have a beta reader. I do my best, and I use a spell checker, but I am dyslexic. Also, unlike most fanfic writers for whom all comments are welcome, I'd honestly perfer if only those who enjoyed commented. Like many writers, I write primarily for my own enjoyemnt, though I hope you also enjoy. I do not own Firefly or rights to it or to any of its registered trademarks. Any cease and desists recieved will be complied with, and shown off at parties.


Even Roses Have Thorns

Chapter One: Si sic omnes (if only this could last forever)

Simon Tam sat on the edge of his bed. He was not picking up courage as such, but rather, waiting for his resignation to become total. While he waited, he debated the merits of going to Inara or Zoë for help in putting his thoughts in some order. He was not a fool – he knew that he was not at his most articulate around Kaylee (or, for that matter, around any girl he was attracted to). He wasn’t sure why; Dr. Tam was intuitive, articulate – true, sometimes critical or sarcastic – but articulate – so why did suitor Simon find girls so hard to read, to talk to?

Dr. Tam couldn’t help with suitor Simon’s problem of course. Dr. Tam wouldn’t date his patients, so of course he wouldn’t have problems talking to Kaylee. Inara and Zoë probably could help, but he knew he couldn’t go to them. Inara was too close to Kaylee and Zoë was too fresh in her grief for Simon to consider bothering with relationship concerns. He would have to do it by himself. Ah, there it is. Complete resignation in sight: now he just had to get off the bed and go find Kaylee.

He didn’t move. A small part of him clung to the hope of somehow getting out of going to her. Maybe he should just write a letter? No, not fair when you have to face each other everyday – cowards way out. Maybe he should sleep on it?

A light knock fell on his door, and the door slid back. River’s face appeared, wearing a wry half-smile on her lips, “Insufferable temptation. Stop tormenting yourself.” He noticed that the smile didn’t reach her eyes. He stood up and hugged her, before making his way to the engine room.

He could hear Kaylee tinkering as he approached. Don’t get mad, don’t get flustered, don’t try to be funny. Just say what you mean. He knocked lightly on the open door of the engine room. Kaylee looked up. “Hey.”

“Hi Kaylee.” Simon hesitated. It’s now or never. That’s not true – never mind, focus! He took a deep breath. “May I join you?”

“Sure.” They sat on the floor of the engine room. She bit her lip. “You think about what I said?”

“All day.”


“And I think I understand. I’m sorry. You’re right, when a man asks a woman to marry him, he should be ready to put her first. It’s just…”

“Just what, Simon?” He could hear the edge creeping into her voice. He was tired of fighting, tired of setting her off all the time. In truth, he was getting tired of how easy she was to set off, too.

“It’s just that my situation – me taking care of River – isn’t that unusual. If River were my teenage daughter, instead of my sister, wouldn’t you expect me to put her first? She’s my responsibility, either way, until she’s old enough and well enough to take care of herself. That may never happen.”

“She’s getting better, Simon.” Kaylee murmured – was it hopefully?

“Yes. She’s getting better. But her amygdala will never regenerate – grow back – she’ll most likely be medicated for the rest of her life. She’s getting better, yes,” he repeated. “But I don’t know if that means that she’ll someday be able to live without care. For now – I don’t see how. Things may – or may not – ever get better than they are now. I suppose I thought you understood that when I asked you to marry me.”

“I didn’t.” She met his eyes. “Not really. I mean, I knew what you’d told me, but I guess I thought you were just over reacting.”

I’m not the one who flies off at every little thing! He bit back the tart reply. Their love might not be enough to hold them together, but his frustration wasn’t going to help it meet in the middle.

“You’re not wrong, you know. Not about me over reacting,” he cautioned hastily as her eyes brightened with renewed hope. “You do deserve someone who can put you first. But it’s not me. I can’t, and I can’t promise that the day will ever come when I can.” He hesitated, and watched her face for some sign that he might not have to utter his next words. “Therefore, I… I withdraw my proposal. I apologise, I meant it sincerely when I asked, but I realise now that it was inappropriate of me to ask for your hand.”

“There ain’t no need to so formal Simon,” Kaylee said shaking her head. “I ain’t mad you asked, we just ain’t ready to marry, neither of us.” She gave him a gentle smile, before finishing airily, “Anyway, we’ve barely been sexin’ a month.”

He hid his inward shudder. Really, she could be as crude as Jayne sometimes. “I just… wanted more than sex, Kaylee. I’m sorry if that seems rushed to you – it’s just that everything that’s happened… well, most of it happened so fast. I just don’t want to waste any more time. You never know when you’ll run out.”

He realised instantly, belatedly, as the words slipped from his lips that she would take them suggestively. She took his hand in hers. He didn’t want to pull it free, he knew it would be cruel, so he squeezed her hand gently before letting go.

“Kaylee, I’m not just interested in that. If you want us to be – I guess – friends who sometimes have sex – I suppose I can live with that. I’ll understand if you want to take up with someone else.” She looked more shocked than hurt, but he knew the hurt would come as soon as the shock wore off.

“What are you saying, Simon?”

“Kaylee,” he said gently, “I’m saying I’m not courting you anymore.”

“You’re mad I said no?”

“You didn’t say no,” he reminded her. “I withdrew the question.” He sighed. “I’m not mad, Kaylee. I just, I just realised that we need different things. You need to be put first, and that’s fair, but I can’t do it; I need someone who will understand why they can’t be first and won’t be hurt by that.”

“So you want us to be friends instead?” she asked hotly.

“No, I want us to be married anyway,” he whispered sadly. He cleared his throat. “But since that would only make us miserable while slowly destroying what we do have, let’s settle for being friends instead.”

She didn’t reply immediately. “This doesn’t make me happy Simon.”

“It doesn’t make me happy either, Kaylee. But at least it won’t make us miserable.”

“What’ll we tell the others?”

“It’s not really anyone’s business but ours.”

She looked at him sideways. He sighed.

“No, you’re right. Small boat, little family. Everything affects everyone else. Don’t worry, I’m happy to be the bad guy.”


“Thrilled.” He half-smiled at her. What did I say coming down here? Don’t try to be funny! He corrected himself. “I’m prepared to be the bad guy.”

“Can I tell’em you’re sly?”

“I’d rather you didn’t.”

“Would be fun.” For her, of course she meant.

“Sure it’d be fun,” he went along with it. “But when we get caught in that lie, I’d rather not look like an even bigger bad guy.”

“So, not really thrilled?”

“Guess not.” He sat quietly for a moment. “We can just tell them the truth: we had a civil chat and decided to be friends because we didn’t really want the same things when it came down to it.”

“Tell ‘em at breakfast?”

“Let’s… just wait until we’re asked.”

She nodded. Simon stood. He felt awkward – what now? She saved him some trouble, raising her hand up; he grabbed it for a quick squeeze and left.

Kaylee waited until he was gone, then rose, wiped her hands on an almost clean rag, and headed to Inara’s shuttle.

*** *** ***

Chapter two: Curae leves loquuntur ingentes stupent (slight sorrows talk, profound ones are speechless)

Zoë looked pensively at the little plastic device in her hand, watching as the little pink plus appeared. She was pregnant.

She’d had an inclination at least a week before, but really hadn’t wanted to think on it too hard, because, if the test came back negative, the disappointment would be – well, immense.

She couldn’t ignore it any longer, though, when a discrete little brown bag appeared after their trip off ship during the week. Inside the little bag was a box of anti-nausea medication. Someone had noticed that she wasn’t feeling well, and knew enough to spot the little signs and guess why.

She’d tried to puzzle out who it could have been. She knew that it couldn’t be Kaylee, because the words “discrete little brown bag” and Kaylee just didn’t fit in the same part of her brain. Simon would have included pregnancy vitamins and a dosage schedule; the Captain might have said nothing, but he’d have looked her in the eye when he put the pills into her hand; Inara would have left a “if you feel like talking” note, signed in her beautiful calligraphy; instinct suggested that River wouldn’t have left it in the bag, but rather would have wrapped the box like the secret it was and drawn all over the inside of the wrapper. She’d had to conclude, with some shock, that the giver was Jayne.

In hindsight, it made sense – or at least didn’t seem totally impossible. Jayne was from a farming family, and probably had plenty of siblings; they all knew, since the day they’d received Tracey in the mail, that Jayne sent money home, and was closer to his mother than they’d have ever guessed. The words, “It’s from my mother!” were spoken with such honest delight, that they seemed almost naked. And, for all his other faults, Jayne was not unobservant. He was an exceptional tracker, and in areas of personal expertise, a sharper mind than he usually let on.

A nagging ache came unbidden: what if she wasn’t really pregnant? Still, she thought that unlikely. The test might miss small amounts of the pregnancy hormone, but it could hardly invent it if it wasn’t there, could it? She knew that she wouldn’t be certain, despite the signs, despite the mysterious pills, until she’d spoken to Simon. She knew she wasn’t really being rational, but she also realised that she was just too invested in it to believe that it was true if it wasn’t. There would be no second chance, this time.

Zoë thought it over. Clearly, first she had to speak to Simon – after all, if she wasn’t pregnant, then there really was something wrong with her. Then, if pregnancy (she refused to think of it as the pregnancy, yet) were confirmed, she would tell the Captain. Then, she would discretely thank Jayne, and, if she had the Captain’s permission, she would tell the crew. She knew that if she were pregnant, that there was no sense waiting until twelve weeks had passed to tell the crew, because if she were to give the baby a chance, she wouldn’t be able to go out on jobs until the pregnancy ended, one way or another.

She would go to see Simon first thing in the morning. No. She looked at her watch; it wasn’t that late – Simon would probably still be up, tinkering with something in the infirmary. She went to find him.


Inara heard the knock and immediately went to the door; it was definitely Kaylee’s knock. She had her brush in hand as she opened the door, but knew, the instant that she saw her friend’s face, that the girl had not come to play dress up. “What’s wrong, Mei-mei?” the companion asked. The young mechanic responded by bursting into tears. Inara pulled Kaylee into a hug, and shut the door behind her. She guided her friend to the couch, and began pouring tea. As she made the tea, she heard Kaylee’s breath settle and she asked in a low tone, “What did he do now?” River’s refrain of “Boob!” seemed at once both appropriate and inappropriate.

In between her slowing sobs Kaylee managed to state her grievance. “He asked me to marry him!” Even as talented a student of human behaviour as Inara was, she was mystified as to why this would bring tears – and clearly not ones of joy – to Kaylee’s eyes.

“You don’t want to marry him?” For the first time in a long time, Inara actually felt a little stupid.

“It’s not that… I wanted him to want me more, to put me first.”

“So you said no?”

“I didn’t say no! I told him to think about what he was askin’ and whether he really wanted to marry me and such.”


“And he decided that he don’t want ta marry me!”

“Were you just playing hard to get, or did you mean what you asked him, Mei-mei?” Inara was on firmer ground here; she knew that Kaylee had a genuine grievance with Simon on this point.

“Weren’t playing… but didn’t mean it so serious like that either. Now he says he doesn’t want ta court me either, just ta be friends.”

“Mei-mei, of course you’re hurt, but I don’t think that he doesn’t like you. You were right to tell him what you wanted from him, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to get it.” She paused. “It’s like Jayne says – ‘if wishes were horses’…”

Kaylee finished the joke in a whisper, “‘we’d all be eatin’ steak.’” The mechanic looked up, her face tear streaked. “Why’s he gotta be such a hundan?”

“Well, he is male, Mei-mei.”


Thursday, December 14, 2006 4:52 AM


For those reading, thoughts are intended to appear in italics - I'm not sure what's happened in the upload, so I do apologies for that.

Thursday, December 14, 2006 5:14 AM


Verily good fic you've written yourself here, girlfan.

Man, this little situation with Simon and Kaylee is a mystifying one to say the least. I can't wait to see how you do (or do not) resolve it.

Almost as complicated is the situation surrounding Zoe. Things could get mightily outta hand with this, so it'll be very interesting to see played out.

For the record, I really liked this, and can't wait to see more. For a first fic, it's bloody good, so Bravo.

Thursday, December 14, 2006 5:20 AM


I like this, although being a gigantic Simon/Kaylee fan the first chapter made me sad. Your writing style is good and I think you've started a really great story. Please continue.

Thursday, December 14, 2006 10:36 AM


I can actually see a situation like this happening between Simon and Kaylee, with Simon wanting to honest and honorable but also not promise Kaylee something he cannot deliver. Not rushing into marriage but staying friends (with benefits) is a way to make sure what they feel for each other is the grand passion of love not simply lust with affection. If the love is true time won't dilute it but make it stronger. Well done, and can't wait for the next part! Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, December 14, 2006 1:44 PM


Well, Kaylee, don't ask the question if you don't really want the answer. While I personally believe that Kaylee wouldn't demand to be put first - not outright, aynway - but Simon's reaction to such a demand is absolutely correct. Straight forward, honest, and maddeningly frustrating for all parties.

Of course, Mal's going to shoot him anyway. It's just what Mal does.

Thursday, December 14, 2006 6:53 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER just tapped into Joss' melon, girlfan. Cuz your scenario with Simon first fretting, then being honest and straightforward with Kaylee about his motives and his decision to rescind his marriage proposal? Totally in character:(

And I gotta admit...I am impressed with your decision to make Jayne the likely culprit for the mysterious arrival of the HPT for Zoe. Your logic makes sense, even if I was leaning towards River;)


Friday, December 15, 2006 3:15 AM


Really liked this, particularly Zoe's thoughts on being pregnant, although the truth of the matter has still to hit.

Can't wait for what happens next!


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Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Fifty-Three
Ultimate chapter (i.e. the conclusion). PG13 to be on the safe side (language only). Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc).

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Fifty-Two
Penultimate chapter. (No, penultimate is not a fancier version of 'ultimate'.) Some fluff - Jayne gets to go home. PG13 to be on the safe side (probably G, at least if you ignore the comments - man, I can't spell). Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc).

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Fifty-One
How far did Green and Banks get? Five moments of revealation. NC17 (adult themes). Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc).

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapters 46-50
All already posted before, just posted together for convience of new and (re) readers. Overall rating NC-17; this applies to all chapters in this grouping, for violence, non-con, death, extreme angst (hurt w/o comfort) and generalised squickiness. Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc). Postive comments perfered; any cease and desists recieved will be complied with, and shown off at parties.

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Fifty
The BIG DAMN Rescue. Some revenge, some poetic justice. Very narrator pov, but I like it. Hey, it worked for Dickens. NC17 to be on the safe side, but mostly implied. Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc).

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Forty-Nine
The crew pieces together the facts of Simon's disappearance. PG. Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc).

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Forty-Eight
Because it never goes smooth. PG. Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc). Bridging piece.

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Forty-Seven
Coda to Simon's time of dying. PG (language, themes).

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Forty-Six
Simon's point of view, in his time of dying. NC17.

Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapters 41-45
All already posted before, just posted together for convience of new and (re) readers. Overall rating NC-17; this applies to all chapters in this grouping, for violence, non-con, death, extreme angst (hurt w/o comfort) and generalised squickiness. Canon pairings +1 (River/ofc). Postive comments perfered; any cease and desists recieved will be complied with, and shown off at parties.