Even Roses Have Thorns, chapter five
Saturday, December 16, 2006

Breakfast fluff. Canon pairings.


The first two chapters are here: and three and four are here:


Chapter Five: Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto (I am human, therefore nothing human is strange to me)

Simon woke instantly at the extra weight on his bed and sat up. River was sitting gently on the end of his bed. “Get dressed. Kaylee’s cooking breakfast. Don’t make it weird, and it won’t have to be. Offer to help. Here are your clothes.” She gestured to a pile of folder clothes next to her. Clearly she’d been in the room a few minutes before she’d woken him.

“Are you going to leave?”

“You’re not naked under there, don’t pretend.” She rolled her eyes. “I’ll turn around.” She stood up and did.

“River, this is…”

“You’re a doctor, stop acting like normal person.”

Simon rolled his eyes, but got up and started dressing. “What’s Kaylee making?”

“I suggested waffles. You should be able to mix batter without ruining it.”

“Do we have a waffle iron?”

He couldn’t see, but River rolled her eyes again. “Kaylee’s a mechanic, I’m sure that she has something that she can use.” Simon didn’t want to think too hard on that.

“Is this all for me?”

“No. I want waffles, too.” River turned around.

“River!” Simon exclaimed.

“You’re dressed, dumb ass.”

“Language, River.” Simon frowned at her.

“Didn’t think references to mammary glands would be appreciated this morning.”

“Right.” He sat on the bed to pull his shoes on, and River sat next to him.

“I’m sorry. Am I forgiven?” She asked softly.

“Yes. Please don’t call me that again.” She kissed his cheek.

“I love you, Simon.”

“I love you too. Let’s go make breakfast. Or watch, or whatever.”

*** When Mal filed in, everyone else was already in the dining area. Zoë, Jayne and Inara were sitting at the table, making light banter as River set the table. Kaylee was cooking, while Simon hovered nearby. Given the amount of flour on the pair’s clothes, Mal guessed that cooking had not been their first priority this morning, but that didn’t matter, because nothing was going to spoil his happy family moment. Except maybe Jayne. Or a snarky comment from Inara. Or something creepy from River. Or Simon saying something dumb to Kaylee. Well, a man could hope.

As he settled himself in his chair, River gave him a quick smile and dropped into her own chair. Kaylee called “breakfast’s ready!” as she and Simon brought over a plate each stacked with waffles. Inara, Zoë and River murmured appreciative ohhs and aahhs over the less than perfect waffles; Jayne heaped on his own, perhaps more sincere, praise by just grabbing the top three from the stack nearest himself.

Mal waited until breakfast was nearly over, and carefully eyed Zoë, who smiled a little and nodded. He nodded back and pushed his plate away. “Thank you Kaylee, Simon, the waffles were timely. Seems we’ve got some good news to celebrate.”

Everyone’s attention turned fully to the Captain. He stood, smiled widely and spoke again. “Ladies and menfolk, I would ask you to turn your attention to our own lovely Zoë.” He gestured grandly towards her and sat down again.

She just looked at the table for a moment, composing herself, but there was a pleased smile on her face. She looked up and around the table. “Wash and I are having a baby.”

Kaylee squealed with delight, as the others offered their congratulations. “A baby! There’s gonna be a child on Serenity!” Kaylee was clapping and laughing.

River gave her an odd look. “There will be children on Serenity, you mean.” Everyone turned immediately to River, and her apparent prophecy.

Kaylee’s wide eyes went wider, but Jayne just asked casually, waffles in mouth, “Ya havin’ doubles, Zoë?”

“Not that I know, Jayne.” Zoë’s voice was dry as she glanced between River and Simon.

River rolled her eyes. “There’s been a child on Serenity for most of a standard year now.”

“You’ll be an adult, Mei-mei, before the baby’s born.”

“Truth in law and truth in fact are not the same. Maturity does not correspond precisely with legal responsibility.” River glanced, not pointedly, but nonetheless noticeably, between Kaylee and Jayne.

“Well said, lil’ albatross. Now, if you all can focus, there’s gonna hafta be some changes for a bit.” He looked around the table. No one was objecting, yet. “Zoë ain’t going out on jobs – I think it’s pretty clear why. Also, Zoë’s moving to the passenger dorms ‘til the baby’s born… though that’s kinda incidental to what I want to talk about.” He paused again, trying to figure out how to phrase the next part without making it scary. “I’m a little concerned about our ability as a crew. Now, we are very lucky to have a capable crew, better than capable. But there’s not enough overlap. Been thinking on it a bit for a while now, but kinda seems timely to deal with the problem. Right now we’ve got one mechanic – anything happens to Kaylee, and there ain’t anybody to perform any essential repairs, hold us together ‘til we hit ground. When Wash was here, didn’t have to worry on that as much. We’ve got a good array of pilots, but I want all crew to be able to get Serenity up and down and the same with the shuttle. I’m thinking on our med crew too. Zoë can do first aid, but I ain’t resting so easy with just Simon and Zoë knowing this, especially since anythin’ happens to Simon, only River and Inara seen a baby being born and that was only once.”

“Na un.” Said Jayne. “I seen birthin’.” All heads swivelled his way.

“I don’t mean cattle, Jayne. Was talking about actual women-folk.”

Jayne didn’t even glance at the captain. “Don’t gotta be snitty. Ain’t like you weren’t birthed your own self.”

The Captain rolled his eyes. “Anyway, on that matter, I want to schedule some cross-trainin’ so we can help each other out, all do the essential in a pinch. Kaylee, you busy this mornin’?”

“No, Cap’n.” She shook her head.

“Ok. Jayne and I will follow you down after breakfast. Give us a tour of the parts of the engine and common problems and fixes and the parts and such. While we’re doing that, River, Zoë, and Inara if she’s agreeable, will go with Simon and brush up their first aid. In two hours, Simon and Inara, you can come down and Kaylee you start again at the beginning, two hours after that Zoë you go to Kaylee.”

“Hey, why’s Zoë goin’ on her own? She ain’t big yet.” Several smiles went around the table at Jayne’s comment.

“’Cause Zoë ain’t picking up heavy parts unless she’s the last conscious person on Serenity!”

Simon added seriously, “And anything could happen in four hours.” Several laughs erupted. The Captain glared, but River spoke.

“Zoë’s on her own, because the Captain forgot someone.” Mal did a quick check on his fingers, as the girl rolled her eyes.

Simon leaned close and whispered to her, “They’ll get stuck like that. I’m a doctor, I know.” She stuck her tongue out, and the Captain looked up.

“Sorry, River. Ok, first Jayne and I, than you and Simon, then Zoë and Inara. No, that’s a bad plan, you’ll just tease Simon and Kaylee, and nothing will get done. First Jayne and I, than Simon and Inara, then Zoë and River. Two hours apart. Got that?”

The group, half-humouring him, nodded. “After dinner, Jayne, Kaylee and I will join Simon in the infirmary for some more first aid lessons. At the same time, Zoë, Inara and River will brush up on the differences between handling a shuttle and Serenity herself. We can talk about that at dinner. Any questions?”

Nobody said anything for a moment, but then Simon spoke. “It’s not a question, but it is something that should be brought up: blood, and blood donation. Wash was our only universal donor – meaning that he could donate blood to anyone.” The crew, barring perhaps Mal, knew this because of Simon’s frantic testing when they found Mal unconscious abroad Serenity after the engine outage. Zoë and Inara knew immediately were the conversation was going. “Captain, you have a rarer blood type, B-, and no one aboard Serenity now can donate to you. River and I can donate to everyone bar you, and we can receive from each other. Kaylee and Inara are A+ and can receive from River or I, or each other, and donate to each other and to Jayne. Zoë is B+, can receive blood from River or I, or from you, and she can donate to Jayne. Jayne is AB+, the universal recipient, and can receive blood from any of us, but can’t donate to any of us.” Jayne preened happily, as if this was something he had personally accomplished. “The science behind this is actually a bit more complicated than this, and if we were talking about plasma it would be the reverse… but that’s basically how we stand on the subject of emergency blood transfusions right now.”

It took Mal a moment to digest this. “Simon, I know there’s no way there’s a medical problem on this boat that you know of and haven’t set to fixin’. When you get back from engine class, I want you to work on that until dinnertime. Get me some suggestions on how we might fix it.” Simon nodded. “Ok, crew, let’s get started. Square away what you have to, and be in the engine room or infirmary in half an hour.”


Simon waited until Jayne was alone to corner him. “All joking aside, Jayne, have you been present at childbirth?” the doctor asked quietly.

Taken aback mostly at being taken seriously, Jayne stammered a hesitant, “Yeah…”

“And?” Simon prompted.

“Uh, well, the first time…”

“How many have you seen?” Simon’s tone betrayed his surprise.

Jayne voice took on a note of pride. “Two.”

“That’s a lot.” Simon stammered. Jayne stared at him. “I mean, unless you’re a doctor… I mean, that kind of doctor.” He stopped rambling abruptly. “Please go on.”

“Well, like I said, first time Mother was birthin’ and Daddy’d gone to git the doctor. Mother was poppin’ ‘em out pretty fast by then I guess, so the doctor didn’t get there in time, and Mother called me and told me how to grab it and catch it. Weren’t breech or nothing, just left it come out by itself.”

That wasn’t too shocking. That sort of thing could happen easily enough, and did, especially on the Rim. “How old were you?”

“Were Matty’s birthin’, so I guess eleven and a bit.”

“Right. And the second time?” The mercenary blushed a bit. There was a lengthy pause. “Uh, Jayne?”

“Yeah, well, second time was when I was still with Marco, and we was holding up a bank. We kinda got stuck in there, and had a bunch a’ citizens in there with us, and we’d been holed up there most of a day when this lady started screaming. Marco yelled at her to shut up, ‘an I probably did too, it was a mite tense in there. So, turns out she was poppin’ and no one there’d ever seen a birthin’ – couple folk just got all squeamish about it and passed out.” Jayne met Simon’s eyes at this point. “Guns pointed at ‘em all day. One bitty woman talkin’ ‘bout havin’ one bitty baby and they just keel over. Anyway, she was really small, not proper pregnant looking at all, and I was scared the baby was too early, but wasn’t nothing I could do ‘bout that. Baby came out ok, bit small but breathin’ fine.” Jayne smiled. “Lady called ‘er Jayne, too.”

“I’ll bet she did.” Simon managed to stammer.

Mal’s annoyed voice suddenly intruded. “Jayne! You’re late, get your rutting pigu to the gorram engine room, or I’m feeding you to it next we land.” Simon made a face at the mental image, but Jayne just shrugged. “It’s Mal,” he said by way of no-hard-feelings explanation and wandered off.


Saturday, December 16, 2006 3:01 PM


In case anyone was disappointed that I didn't post earlier, I am sorry. Holiday shopping caught me by surprise (I do know how stupid that sounds).

Thank you to everyone who commented on the previous chapters. I hope the story is starting to come together a bit more as it has progressed a little. (Probably obviously) some things, like Kaylee being more than a little weird, will take time to fully explore.

I hope you continue to enjoy.

Saturday, December 16, 2006 3:41 PM


Neat! There's an edit function.

Saturday, December 16, 2006 7:29 PM


Yep...gotta love the edit function;)

Mighty entertaining stuff, girlfan! Definitely can't wait to see the hilarity of the crew cross-training;D


Sunday, December 17, 2006 1:04 AM


This is a good idea all round though I wouldn't think either Zoe or Mal needed any training in first aid but every little bit helps! I smiled at Jayne helping that woman give birth in the middle of a hold up - it could only happen to Jayne! Ali D :~(
You can't take the sky from me

Sunday, December 17, 2006 6:10 AM


I really like this take on Mal's reaction to Zoe being pregnant. Most other writers have him take it very badly.

And I really loved River and Simon in the beginning. I hope to see some Simon/Kaylee soon.

Monday, December 18, 2006 10:21 PM


sweet! and funny to! my fav: "...because nothing was going to spoil his happy family moment. Except maybe Jayne. Or a snarky comment from Inara. Or something creepy from River. Or Simon saying something dumb to Kaylee. Well, a man could hope." ahahahaha!!!

i like how you're writing about practical, every day stuff - blood donation, knowin' how to help out around the ship...

and i love it when river tries to knock sense into simon!


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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.