Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Eleven
Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Kaylee faces her ongoing quarrel with Simon. This chapter is rated G. This chapter is not entirely to my satisfaction, so I apologise for that.


Even Roses Have Thorns

Chapter Eleven: Spemque metumque inter dubiis (hover between hope and fear)

*** *** *** Chapters 1-10 *** *** ***

Inara moved purposefully toward the engine room, her strides perhaps a little too long for such a non-urgent task, but in truth, even she was tiring of Kaylee’s funk. When Inara arrived, Kaylee was still at the task that Mal had given her. Inara knocked. Kaylee, startled, whacked her knuckles off the engine. “Ow! Come in, ‘Nara.” She put her hand to her mouth.

“Well, Mei-mei, I have good news.”


“I’ve spoken to River, and she tells me that Simon got the earrings for her to give her for her first menses, which apparently started last night.”

“Oh. Oh!” Kaylee was shocked. “Ya mean, she’s never, ya know, before?”

“Apparently not. It’s not uncommon in girls as underweight as River had been.”

Kaylee had heard of this, in hindsight. There were a few rumours of girls with eating disorders back home, but she’d never known of anyone for sure, though she had over heard some teenagers teaching one of their friends to throw up at the harvest fair one year.

Half to herself she spoke, “She’s nearly eighteen though, ‘Nara.”

“Yes. I would think that Simon is very relieved.”

“Oh – Simon. Did he, you know, River?”

“I’m not certain that I understand the question. River seems fine and I’m sure the facts of life and womanhood were not so hard to understand for someone as bright as her.”

“Simon prolly didn’t even need ta explain.”

“Possibly.” Inara paused to collect herself. “Darling, you know I love you, don’t you?”

“Yeah.” Kaylee looked puzzled.

“Well, I say this with love. I think you should consider your recent worries about Simon’s slights – I think that you will discover you’ve been assigning motives to him that he simply does not have. As I said this morning, I don’t think it would ever occur to Simon to give something to River to hurt you. I don’t think what he said last week was to hurt you. I think he really does just want to be friends.”

“Well, I don’ wan’ ta just be friends!”

Inara’s mask slipped a little, and some sorrow showed through. “Mei-mei, just because you love each other doesn’t mean that it’s going to work. There are circumstances…” She hesitated, knowing that she wasn’t saying what she wanted to say in a way that made sense to Kaylee. She reached for her friend’s hand. “You’ve heard the phrase, ‘star-crossed lovers’?” Kaylee nodded. “Well, it might be like that. Moreover, Mei-mei, if you really feel like that, it’s Simon you need to tell, not me.”

“He don’t want ta listen. To him, it’s over. ‘Kaylee, I’m sayin’ I’m not courtin’ you anymore’.” It would have been a passable imitation of Simon if she hadn’t dropped the final gs. She didn’t care.

There was silence for a moment as Inara tried to find even one word of advice or comfort for her friend. She spoke softly. “Kaylee, you were friends before this, and it blossomed into love. If you can be friends again, maybe love will also blossom again.” The Companion paused again. “It’s better than the path you’re walking at the moment, Mei-mei. Only bitterness lies at its end.”

The mechanic was quiet for a moment, one hand holding the other gently. “Do you think I should go talk ta Simon?”

“I think you should finish what Mal’s asked you to do, first, Mei-mei.” The Companion’s voice was soft and gentle, but Kaylee looked a little hurt at the admonishment. Inara pulled the younger woman into a hug. “We all find growing up painful. Still, it can’t be avoided. Grow or die.” She felt, rather than saw, her young friend’s nod.


“Simon?” Kaylee’s voice came from the doorway of the infirmary.

He looked up at her, face hopeful. “Hey Kaylee.” She stepped through, into the room, and into the light, and he saw the cut on her hand. He frowned a little. “Do you need a weave on that?” Still, any talking was progress.

“Ah?” Her confusion slipped out before she remembered that she’s hit the engine earlier while talking to Inara. “No… don’t know. Ya can look at it if ya want, it’s not why I came.”

He looked in the drawer for an alcohol wipe and a weave and tried to make his voice casual. “Oh?” He knew he wasn’t subtle, but he tried to put as much suave ‘tell me more’ into his ‘oh’ as he could. He walked toward her slowly without meeting her eyes, but she didn’t say anything more. When he reached for her hand, his heart was in his mouth, but she surrendered it to his ministrations. As he studied the small wound, he spoke, “I didn’t, ah, mean to interrupt your train of thought.” He paused, but still nothing. “You were saying?” He cleaned the wound and slipped the weave on. She still hadn’t spoken, and he couldn’t avoid not looking at her face anymore. “Kaylee?” She was crying silently; when he met her eyes the sobs came loud and fast.

“Kaylee, what’s wrong? Bao bei, please sit.” He guided her out of the infirmary and into the lounge. He sat the two of them down on the couch. “Bao bei?”

“Was so mad at ya, Simon.” She choked out.

“I know.” It sounded stupid to his ears, but nothing else that sprang to mind was even vaguely appropriate.

“An’ now yer gon’ ta be mad at me.” She sobbed a bit more, raggedly.

“I… I don’t understand, Kaylee.” Why would he be mad at her, now? “Kaylee, sweetheart, please tell me what’s wrong.”

“Thought them earrings you gave River were for me… that ya gave ‘em to her to punish me.”

“Kaylee, why would I…? Why on earth would you…?” The confusion lasted only a moment. “Ah, of course, the monster in your head. Evil Simon.” His tone was more resigned than anything, but there was anger underneath.

“Don’t wan’ ta just be friends, anymore, either.” For a moment, he heard, ‘I don’t want to be friends, anymore, either,’ which was sad, but made sense. When his brain and ear caught up with each other, his confusion returned.

“Kaylee, I don’t understand.” Simon’s voice was low, but the tone was hard. “You think I go out of my way to hurt you. You think I planned things to hurt you – to punish you. Why do you want to be more than friends?” She was sobbing harder, but he continued. “I’m going to talk to the Captain.” He stood up for dramatic effect.

“Simon? No! Why?” Kaylee stared up at him, scared.

“Because I think we need to do another Ariel-style mission.”

“Simon?” Kaylee was floundering in her hurt and worries, and didn’t understand. Maybe he was through talking to her? Work was his only outlet.

“I’m serious Kaylee. I think there’s an epidemic. I think there’s something wrong with your brain, too. Something… paranoia inducing. Hallucinogenic, possibly.” He knew hallucinogenic was the wrong word, but he knew she wouldn’t guess. “Maybe the Alliance have inserted an Evil Simon in your brain to talk to you. No! Wait! Maybe they’ve put an Evil Simon on this boat, and you’re not paranoid. Maybe Evil Simon sneaks around being a dastardly cad while I’m up here, quietly working. That must be it. I should go see if anyone else has seen him.”

“Seen who?” Jayne looked puzzled as he walked into the room. “Lookin’ for me?”

To Kaylee’s utter horror, Simon continued without missing a beat. “The impostor. Evil Simon. He looks just like me, but sports a big black moustache.”

*** *** *** Chapter 12 *** *** ***


Tuesday, December 26, 2006 2:33 PM


Thanks to all who have read and commented. I hope you enjoy chapter 11 too - it's not perfect, but it gets me where I'm going, and thus I'm prepared to live with it.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 2:56 PM


Uh...has Simon started hitting the bottle pretty hard when no one was looking?

If not, now he's just being an ass. Kaylee actually tried for once. Great. Just when they might get away with having an adult conversation, Simon decides his pride is wounded and he has to be mean (at least, I assume that's what it is...maybe River's crazy is catching).

Can we just default to Jayne holding a gun on them until they act their ages?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 3:25 PM


Like I said, it's not perfect... the tone is obviously coming across wrong.

It should make more sense after I write chapter 12.

Sorry :(

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 3:50 PM


Don't be sorry. I'm just slow. For me, it's more like watching something on TV where the hero and heroine are so close to making close...almost...JUST KISS, GODDAMIT...ah, crap, fate intervened and I have to tune in next week.

Honestly, it's that the suspense is killing me here, and watching Simon thwart me again (for whatever reason) is maddening.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 4:23 PM


lovin this story line, cant wait for the next one

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 8:20 PM


Hah. Ok, I liked this chapter. Very funny. Simon trying to be sarcastic. I do hope Kaylee sees it for what it is and doesn't get all pissed off again.

I think the conversation went pretty well. He's still calling her bao bei. He wouldn't do that if he truly wanted to break up with her. . . :)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006 6:57 AM


I too liked this chapter. I think that if Simon were in a situation like this, then he would be slightly sarcastic. However, if he really and truly wants Kaylee back he's going to have to dial it down a bit, or she'll go running, because she doesn't always understand his snarkiness.

Very interesting dynamic though, I admit.

Thursday, December 28, 2006 9:11 PM


Hoo boy...Simon was on fire there with his frustration-fuelled caustic wit and sarcasm! Definitely was starting to flinch back in sympathy for Kaylee...even if I think Simon's got something resembling a right to express his feelings about Kaylee being all paranoid and preemptively trying to sabotage their relationship;)

And I definitely gotta give you props for how you handled the Inara/Kaylee scene. Would have been mighty interesting to see how Morena and Jewel would have played something like this had the series been allowed to continue...



You must log in to post comments.



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.