Even Roses Have Thorns, chapters 3 and 4
Friday, December 15, 2006

Zoe's suspicions are confirmed, and some of her background is revealed. Jayne has some moments of clarity. Canon pairings.


The first two chapters are here:

Chapter Three: Sub Rosa (under the rose; which is to say, secretly, or in confidence)

As she approached the infirmary, Zoë could see Simon making some notes in one of his files. She often wondered how he managed to spend so much time in there – he had, at least recently, blessedly little to do. She noticed that he seemed a little distracted when she greeted him but she said nothing, merely closing the door behind her. At that little sound, he immediately put his file aside and turned his full attention to her. She’d trusted he would. Dr. Tam was never far away when Simon was around. She handed him her little home pregnancy kit; while he glanced at it she spoke. “I’d like you to do a proper test.”

“Of course, Zoë.” He turned and hit the button for the privacy blinds, and put the test on the counter. “I’ll have to give you an internal exam, so please slip off… what you need to slip off, and try to get comfortable on the table.”

I am a war veteran, the soldier reminded herself. This is not hard, she tried to think confidently, but she didn’t find it convincing. “Captain not spare any coin for gowns?”

Simon shook his head. “Sorry, Zoë.”

“Should’a thought to buy my own planet side.” She muttered to herself. Simon, standing solidly on professional ground, knew better than to acknowledge that he’d heard her. He turned around and opened his file on her, making himself busy with jotting down – very slowly – the date and reason for her visit. He heard the sounds of clothes rustling and a thought struck. He reached into one of his cupboards and grabbed a splatter shield, which he held out to her over his shoulder.

“Thanks, Doctor.” He heard the plastic rustling and figured that she was done, but he waited for her. “I’m in position.” Variants on the theme of that sounded so tactical appeared in both of their minds. Simon filed the phrase away in case he ever had to use it, as he turned around.

“This always sounds ridiculous, but please try to relax your muscles as much as possible. It really does make a difference: the more relaxed your abdominal and vaginal muscles, the more comfortable and thorough the exam.” He could hear more rustling as he reached under the table for the stirrups. She slipped her feet in without waiting to be asked, while he put on gloves. He looked her in the eye. “Will I start?”


Simon inserted two fingers into the vagina alongside the cervix while, with the other hand, pressing the lower abdomen, directing the pelvic organs towards his examining fingers. There was both noticeable uterine enlargement and softening. He with drew his hand. “I’m done.” Zoë took a breath, but, hand on her stomach, didn’t move to dress yet.

“I can confirm that you’re pregnant. You get dressed and then we can talk some more.” She nodded, and Simon could see a soft smile on her lips as he turned around again. Simon pulled off the gloves and binned them, before jotting a few more details into her file, before he heard, “You can turn around.” He tried not to notice that she’d definitely been faster while she was dressing. The smile was still on her lips, wider than it had been, though not the widest he’d ever seen it.

“Congratulations, Zoë.”

“Thank you. What now?”

“Well, so far all I can tell you is that everything appears normal, and you’re about seven weeks along.”

“Does River know?”

“Ah, possibly, she could have heard your thoughts if you where thinking about it. She couldn’t know on her own - I think. The baby’s brain is mostly nerves right now, it doesn’t have a mind yet for River to eavesdrop on.”

“I suppose she knows for certain now.” Implying, with a sweep of her hand their conversation and the exam.

Simon shrugged. “It’s possible, but she went to bed a little while ago – I don’t think she picks up on much now while she’s asleep. I should probably tell you that she knows that she has to respect what goes on in here – it’s not her fault that she can read minds, but she knows that it would be entirely her fault if she were to betray confidences. For what it’s worth, I would guess that she probably knows that you suspect pregnancy. She didn’t so much as hint to me.”

Zoë’s nod indicated a sort of ‘that’s fair’.

Simon spoke again. “I have some questions to ask. I’ll run through the first part pretty quickly, but if I’m wrong about anything, now is the time to correct me. Ok?” Zoë nodded her assent, and Simon began.

“Do you have any medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, asthma, tuberculosis, epilepsy, or heart disease? If I do it is a big secret to my doctor.” Zoë just laughed.

“Do you smoke? If so, how many packs per day? I secretly smoke so much it’s a wonder I can run at all.” He looked up, she shook her head.

“In an average week, how many alcoholic beverages do you consume? Less than Mal, and many less than Jayne.” He could see she was thinking.

“’Bout average I guess. A few beers on the ground, nothing much. Won’t be drinking any now.”

Simon nodded, and said supportively, “That’s good. Now, do you use any recreational drugs?” “No.”

“Do you exercise regularly? Practically non-stop.” He continued jotting. “You know you’ll have to take it easy for now, right?”


“Do you eat a well-balanced diet?” He looked up at her. “You’re fine on that score, actually. Are you taking any vitamins?”

“Not yet.”

Simon nodded. “Make sure I give you some before you leave. Are you taking any medications, including over-the-counter medications? If so, what are they?”

“None at present. Was on the pill ‘til that time we were at the whore house, stopped around then.”

“Have you ever had any sexually transmitted infections?” There was a noticeable pause. Simon looked up. Zoë’s lips had formed a tight line, and her eyes were suddenly cold, all mirth gone.

“Yes. Had some infections after my time in the camp. Got ‘em treated, was still fine my last exam.”

“Your last exam was when?”

“Just before Wash and I married. Both did all the tests.”

Simon nodded. “Of course.” She leant on a cupboard and looked toward the wall. He looked back at his list.

“Do any medical problems tend to run in your family such as sickle cell anaemia, cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, or haemophilia?”

“No. Not Wash’s either that he mentioned.”

“Did you have any problems getting pregnant?”

“Not the way you mean.” Simon didn’t ask.

“Are you having any problems with morning sickness, that is, nausea and vomiting?”

“Yes. I’m taking Nauseaway for it with the last few days.”

“As instructed on the pack?” He resisted the urge to tell her that that counted as over the counter medication for the purpose of his earlier question.


“Are they helping?”


“Ok, that’s fine then. Are you having any bleeding from your vagina?”

“No.” Her answer was almost a whisper. Simon’s uneasiness was growing. His sister wasn’t the only intuitive Tam. He was beginning to guess where this was going to end.

He spoke gently. “Zoë… I have to ask. Have you been pregnant before?”

“Yes.” Her voice was a whisper. “Once.”

“What was the outcome of that pregnancy?”

“Lost her, ‘bout five months along.”

“I’m sorry, Zoë. When was this?”

“Right after the war.”

“Did you get to name her?”

Zoë met Simon’s eyes again. “Called her Hera Allenye – seemed only right. Conceived her in the camps, and lost her there too.”

He dropped his voice too. “Pregnancy due to rape?”

“Yes.” “Zoë, I’m sorry. Did you get any counselling or treatment back then?” She shook her head. Simon could tell that she couldn’t trust herself to speak. He made his voice as gentle as he possibly could. “This isn’t something that you have to deal with on your own. There are places you can go, people you can talk to, if you can’t do it here. You don’t have to decide now, of course.”

The first mate just nodded wordlessly.

“Are you heading to bed?” He asked. She nodded again. “Ok. Get plenty of rest.” He turned to his cupboards and grabbed some vitamins. “These are the pregnancy vitamins. Your diet is fine to keep you and the baby healthy, but you will need to eat a little bit more – that amount will get bigger as the pregnancy goes on. We can keep an eye on that together. My one concern would be that you will need more fibre in your diet, so make sure not to ignore that. Are you planning on telling the Captain?”

“Yes. First thing in the morning.” She had been planning to tell him tonight, but she really just didn’t want to face it now.

“Ok. I’m sure that he won’t mind me adding extra vegetables to my supply list.” Zoë smiled tightly. If you start feeling weird about whatever it is you’re feeling, try to imagine the advice you’d give to any other woman on this boat, ok?”

“You don’t have to face this alone?”

“Well, that in the general… but whatever your advice would be in the specific, too, whenever something comes up. Sometimes we get to used to looking out for others, putting ourselves second that it helps to pretend that the needs we’re looking after are not our own – so we can deal with them – squarely.” He would have said fairly, but he wanted to pick a word that would resonate with her. He thought he might have guessed right by the softening of her expression. “Zoë, I know you’ve said you’re heading to bed, and I know that this… Ok, I think Zoë, if you were willing to I’d prefer if you moved into the passenger dorms for the duration. A slip on the ladder could be fatal to the baby. I know that you’re going to tell the Captain in the morning, but if you were agreeable, I’d prefer if you just avoided the ladders, beginning now.”

Zoë knew that Simon was a worrier, perhaps even a worrier surpassing her Wash, but she knew that he was right on this point. She couldn’t face the thought of losing this baby. “Best get the Captain up here, then. Can’t be where he can’t find me.”

Simon nodded and paged the Captain. He didn’t offer to leave. Zoë would have met the Captain elsewhere if she didn’t want Simon present. He turned back to Zoë to wait with her. Zoë spoke almost conversationally. “I’d actually been thinking of boxing my things and letting you and Kaylee have my bunk if you to would like. More room and what have you. I could use Kaylee’s.”

“That’s… very kind of you Zoë, but it’s early for us to start thinking on those lines.” Simon was definitely not going to burden her with his troubles right now. She nodded agreeably, as she had meant to keep the offer a little longer, but if she wasn’t going to be in her bunk, they may as well have it. Simon continued. “Plus, you should have enough room for a nice nursery in there.” She hadn’t thought of that. Zoë smiled at him.

Mal’s long gait took him quickly to the infirmary room door, and a fast glance took in its contents. “Where’s the emergency Simon? Not that I want ta see my crew shot, but as a general rule they’d want ta be before I go getting out’a bed.”

Zoë spoke up. “It’s me, Sir.”

“Zoë, you don’t look shot to me.”

“I’m with child, Sir.” She registered her Captain’s look of surprise. “’Bout seven weeks along, all normal.”

“That’s… that’s good, Zo.” He pulled her into one of his rare hugs, and Zoë could feel the emotion welling up again. She didn’t want that. “I’m happy for ya.” He let her go. “Been feeling sick?”

“A bit. Just normal stuff, Sir. Doctor here thinks it’s best I bunk in the passenger dorms, just wanted to make sure that’s alright with you.”

He looked a mite puzzled as to why, but he wouldn’t deny her something so simple. “’Course, Zoë.”

Simon spoke up. “It’s the ladder Captain. It would be dangerous for her to climb up and down.”

“Right, of course. Anything you need particular tonight Zoë? I can go down and get it.”

She looked grateful. “I’ll write up a list, Sir.”

“You do that.” Mal said, and Simon wordlessly handed her a pen and paper. Mal continued, “I’ll go make up a passenger dorm, will I?” He gestured over in their general direction.

Zoë’s voice was her tactical one, but a gentler version. “Before that, Sir, I should point out that we’ll need to talk about my role on Serenity for the duration. I won’t be able to go out on jobs, a’course.”

“Not fighting you on that Zoë!” The Captain’s voice was as excited as Simon had ever heard it. “You’re gonna be the most pampered woman on this boat, I swear Inara will look fretful and run off her feet by comparison. There’s plenty of first-mate-y things you can do without riskin’ the baby.” With that the Captain headed to the passenger dorms to make up the bed Zoë was perfectly capable of making up for herself.

Simon looked at the bemused smile on Zoë’s face, as she started to write her list. “First mate-y things, are they much like Captain-y things?” the young man asked.

She looked up and shook her head. “Couldn’t rightly say.”

When Mal got back, he said, “I’ve made up the dorm two down from Simon. Got the list ready, Zoë?”

“Yes, Sir.” She handed it to him. “Sir?”

“Yes, Zoë?”

“I was wondering if you’d mind if I tell the crew at breakfast.”

“Whatever you want Zoë. Anyone says anything, you send’em to me or the doc.” Simon raised an eyebrow, but wisely said nothing. “I’ll go get your things, and put ‘em in your dorm.” The Captain headed away again.

Simon was relieved at how easily everything had gone with the Captain. Zoë seemed to read his thoughts from his face. As she turned to leave, so, Simon suspected, that he couldn’t see her face, she said, “Captain knows about Hera. Good night, Doctor.”

“Good night, Zoë. Sleep well.”

*** *** ***

Chapter Four: Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim (Be patient and tough; some day this pain will be useful to you.)

As Kaylee left Inara’s shuttle, she could see Jayne working out with his weights. She slowly made her way down to the cargo deck floor and wandered over to him. “Can I join you?”

Jayne grunted, put the weights in place and sat up. He swung his left leg over the bench so that he was just sitting on it, not straddling it. “Sure.” He gestured to the spot next to him and took a sip of water from his bottle.

Kaylee sat. “Rayne’s a pretty name for a baby, ain’t it? If it were a girl, ‘course.”

Jayne eyed her warily. “Sure. You plannin’ on having one?” He took another slug from the bottle.

“No. Thought maybe you and River might.”

Jayne just about managed to swallow the water in his mouth.

“Since when am I makin’ babies?” He looked at her askance. “Plus, I’m fair sure I ain’t sexin’ that girl. Why, d’she say somethin’?” (Working out always made him think of Book, never truly far from Jayne’s mind. Sometimes Book’s sayings would slip out of the mercenary’s mouth; he didn’t know whether to feel awkward about it, but no one ever said anything – unless, of course, you counted eyebrows, Serenity’s third language).

“No, just thought would be pretty.”

“Me sexin’ River? You been hittin’ the engine wine a little hard, Kaylee?”

Kaylee gave him a playful slap. “No, not the sexin’! Pairing up, pairs all over.”

“Like ‘two by two, hands of blue’? Pairs ain’t always a good thing. Plus, you can’t make pairs outta the crew a’ Serenity.”

Kaylee paused. “I think it would be shiny. She’s legal in a few weeks, you know.”

Jayne was beginning to feel more than a mite uncomfortable. “Look, you know it ain’t about legal out here – it’s about right and wrong. Why not suggest I go chasing after Zoë? She’s legal, free, and we got more in common than me and River.”

Kaylee looked shocked. “She’s a widow Jayne! Folk don’t do that.”

“And folk don’t sex girls younger than their sisters, neither! She may be legal in a few weeks, but I’d bet ya a stack a’ chores that she’s still drawing pretty pictures a’ dolls then. She lost a bunch a’ years in that school, you gotta give her time to catch up, only got back to herself with a month. Sexin’ crew only gonna tangle that girl more, and I ain’t having it on my head.”

“She’s real pretty,” Kaylee said wistfully. Jayne decided it was past time to bug out of this whacked out conversation.

“Ain’t an ugly girl on this boat, Kaylee. Don’t make it my job to sex ‘em.” He trailed off to the kitchen.

When he got there, he poured out a shot glass of whiskey and surreptitiously – even though no one was there to see – saluted Book’s old chair, before knocking it back. He poured a second shot, to sip. He thought quietly, a prayer, really, though he wouldn’t have called it that, “Preacher, won’t never know now what you saw in me, but ah, if yer listening, Serenity could sure use some help, we’re plenty mixed up with out ya.” He thought for a moment on Kaylee’s odd topic of conversation, and what to say to Book about it. “And, ah, ya might remind the doc to buy Kaylee some new batteries, she’s acting all weird. I’m going ta bed, soon. ‘Night Preacher. Hope you’re comfy in Heaven.”

Zoë could see Jayne’s lips moving as she walked through the door of the kitchen, but didn’t feel it was her place to say anything. She poured herself a glass of water before turning her attention to Jayne, quietly sipping his whiskey. She walked back toward the door, glass in hand, where she turned again to face him; she spoke quietly. “Jayne, I’ve spoken to the doctor and the Captain and I’ll be announcing it at breakfast, but I just wanted to say thank you, it was mighty kind of you.”

The mercenary met her eye, a trace of nervousness there. “Weren’t nothing, Zoë. Ah, good luck an’ all.”

She nodded and turned back to go to bed. How do you tell someone like Jayne that it’s not nothing? She certainly didn’t know. She called, “Good night Jayne” over her shoulder, and heard his easy reply. “’Night Zo.”

When she got to her dorm, all the things she’d asked for were neatly folded on her bed, as if she were a Corporal again, awaiting inspection. She changed into her nightshirt quickly and lay down to talk Wash and the baby awhile before falling asleep.


Friday, December 15, 2006 7:57 AM


I'm not sure about the proper ettiquette here, so please don't be offended by anything odd that I do.

To respond to the comments for my previous chapters, I would like to say thank you, and that I'm glad you enjoyed it.

To Tamsibling, I would like to say that I am also a Simon/Kaylee fan - I'm just looking at one way things might go, and they haven't told me yet where they are going, for sure.

Sorry ManicGiraffe, no shooting yet, of Simon or anyone... but we'll see if that lasts, the night is still young.

I hope you all continue to enjoy.

Friday, December 15, 2006 9:35 AM


> I would like to say that I am also a Simon/Kaylee fan

Glad to hear that, actually. Not that you shouldn't write the Jaylee if you're inclined that way, but for a moment there chapter 1 and 2 felt somewhat like the standard "dispose of Simon quickly so we can get to the sexin'" that would have to come before Jayne swoops in. But knowing that you're actually doing it as a legit plumbing of their minds (no matter how it ends up, and even if Jayne does end up swooping) makes it that much better.

Poor Jayne. He's the only "sane" one on the boat at this point.

Friday, December 15, 2006 10:51 AM


This is one of the more plausible "Zoe-is-pregnant-after-Wash's-Death" stories that I've read. I don't exactly know why, but I like it!

And I really like your characterization of Simon.

Friday, December 15, 2006 12:38 PM


I, too, thought the same thing as MG and so was hesitant to read more.

Definitely not bad and will be interesting to see where you decide to go with it.

Friday, December 15, 2006 3:02 PM


My favourite part was Zoe opening up to Simon, mostly because he is such a good doctor little gets by him so there was no point denying the fact that she had been pregnant before. Loved the way Mal just seamlessly accepted the fact and then did all he could to make the adjustment as easy and painful for his old friend as possible. Could so see that between them. As for Kaylee trying to get Jayne and River together that whole conversation felt odd though Jayne's responses were brilliant. And I loved Jayne toasting the absent Book. Nice touch. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, December 15, 2006 4:34 PM


While I love Rayne a lot...I am glad you're having Jayne have a rare moment of compassion and honesty about how getting freaky with River at that point is not the best idea in the world. Always thought Jayne was more observant than some might give him credit for;)

I too am glad that the Silee split is not being done quickly so Jaylee can be started with a vengeance. Even if Jaylee's the eventual outcome...having Jayne and Kaylee slowly come to realize they wanna be with one another should take time and allow for character moments;)


Friday, December 15, 2006 5:27 PM


Nice chapter, but your Jayne was brilliant. Really liked his responses to Kaylee's creepy suggestions, but his maturity in this chapter and then toasting Book was fabulous.

Gotta wonder what Kaylee is thinking. Did she really think Simon'd put her before River? And would she want to be with a guy who would do so? And does Kaylee really think that Jayne pairing up with River would really free Simon up to exclusively be with Kaylee? I like that you don't have her as a mature woman here, but that we're seeing more of someone who has been always sheltered and as a result, childish. It'll be interesting to see where you take her character.

Monday, December 18, 2006 10:10 PM



i think its totally fair for kaylee to want to be put first, and although she may not be very ballsy, she's honest, so i could totally see her making that demand. and i thought it was cute the way she was sadly seeking comfort from jayne by babbling about him and river - people get woozy after breakups and her wacky logic makes sense - get river occupied so simon can leg go... and plus, i love me some rayne!


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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.