Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Seventeen
Thursday, January 4, 2007

Angst is afoot: The job goes right, but the date goes wrong. Jayne offers some words of comfort. Canon pairings. This chapter is rated PG13, for adult themes. Positive feedback perfered.


Even Roses Have Thorns

Chapter Seventeen: Hinc illae lacrimae (hence these tears)

*** *** *** Chapters 1-10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapters 14-15, Chapter 16 *** *** ***

“Simon Tam, you are the most insufferable man!” He’d seen the horror cross her face almost as quickly as she’d said. Not, of course, because of what she’d said – she’d said harsher things – but because of where she’d said it, and the volume at which she’d said it. That was her first mistake.

It was her second mistake that had been fatal. When the older gentleman approached what he’d rightly assumed was a lover’s tiff, it was probably just to make sure the offending young man knew better than to harm a lady. Kaylee had recognised him, and it unnerved her: the man looked like a story-book old sheriff; there wasn’t one on the Skyplex, but that only made things worse. She knew that he was most likely a retired Alliance officer. So, to diffuse the situation, to get him to go away quickly, Kaylee stepped up to the plate to let him know what he thought was happening wasn’t – “Oh, no, Sir. It’s nothing like that. I’m his sister.”

Simon didn’t miss the penny drop in the man’s eyes before he nodded and walked away, appearing satisfied. Apparently, Kaylee hadn’t either. “God, Simon, he’s gone to get the Feds. We gotta run.” She hastily whispered, pushing her chair back.

“No. You walk out of here, nice and quiet. Call Zoë, tell her what’s happened. Get to the shuttle. If I’m not right behind you, get back to Serenity. I’ll stay a minute, pay the bill, then leave. Go now. Like everything’s ok. Go.”

“Simon, I can’t leave ya!”

“At least one of us has to make it back to Serenity. Go. They’ll follow me. They’ll try to follow you, but they’ll be looking for the wrong girl.”

Kaylee still hesitated. Simon, silently cursing her delays, suddenly understood how Mal felt when what he needed was trust and timely obedience, and he was only getting arguments and questions. He didn’t let it show. He knew her delays meant only that it was more likely that this would be the last time he would ever speak to her. “Nice and quiet. Please, Kaylee. Go now.”

Finally, she nodded. She stood, and made her way to the door. Simon waited until she’d left before walking up to the register to pay his bill. As the cashier rang up the total, Simon said many prayers and made many cosmic promises. ‘Please let her make it back to the ship.’ ‘I’ll never question the Captain’s orders again if you just let her make it back to the ship.’ ‘If we make it back safe, I’ll never leave the ship unless it’s absolutely necessary.’ ‘Oh, my god, would you hurry up? Please make this guy hurry up.’

Simon was more than ready with his wallet when the cashier announced the amount, but it was too late. Feds burst into the little diner through every door. “Simon and River Tam, you are hereby bound by law!” Wallet still in his grasp, Simon raised both hands. He thought silently, as his wrist were roughly bound, ‘River, if you can hear this, please don’t do anything stupid, and don’t let Zoë risk the baby. I’ve been caught by the Feds. I think Kaylee’s gotten away, she should be on her way back to you.’


River didn’t need her brother’s warning, but it came through loud and clear, while she was already reaching for the comm. “Zoë, we’ve got trouble! Simon’s been snatched.” She tried to keep her voice calm, but Simon’s fear, though he tried to push it down, reached her, and she choked on it, like acrid smoke.

Zoë was already heading for the bridge. “I’ve got Kaylee on the comm. She’s heading for the shuttle, and then she’s heading toward us. Get Inara on the line. Where are they?”

“They’re on their way back.”



“Dammit, Zoë, the job was supposed to be the hard part!” Mal was still ducking out of the shuttle when he’d started yelling.

“Yes, Sir.”

“Kaylee back yet?”


“What’s taking her?”

Zoë gave him an impassive look. “Sir. She’s flying the shuttle for the first time. She’s never actually docked with a ship before. Her lover has just been snatched by his worst nightmare. You want to yell, go ahead, Sir. Get it out of your system. Then get up to the bridge and talk her through the docking sequence.”

“Isn’t River…”

“Not the voice she wants to hear right now, Captain.”

“Okay.” Mal took a deep breath and walked quickly toward the bridge.

Inara waited another moment before she stepped out. She knew that her presence – any other presence – would disturb the Mal-Zoë dynamic. So she waited until Zoë looked directly at her. Inara spoke as she stepped forward. “Poor Kaylee.”

Zoë nodded. “Poor Simon, poor River, poor Mal. Got it out of your system?”


“Good. Go back in there and see if you can figure out where they’ll take Simon.” Inara nodded and moved to obey. Mal might sometimes disagree, but there were moments – and matters – where Inara absolutely was crew.

Zoë heard the second shuttle docking and made her way over to it. They might all have a right to fall to pieces, but the only person Zoë was willing to let do it now was Kaylee, and the girl all but fell out of the shuttle.

“Oh, God, Zoë, they must a took him. He said he’d be right behind me, or I was to take off.” She was still crying and shaking. “I should a’ waited longer. What if he was comin’?” Kaylee’s words, as her thoughts, were tumbling about, and Zoë didn’t bother to try to answer them.

“We’re going to get him back, Kaylee. Captain’s on the bridge right now.”

The girl was still shaking. Zoë laid a steadying hand on Kaylee’s shoulder. Kaylee spoke again, weakly, “We got a plan?”

“Captain will do, soon.” She studied the girl another moment. “Go throw some water on your face and get to the engine room. Ya might be needed.” Kaylee nodded and Zoë went back to the bridge.

There, she found Mal alone, in the co-pilot’s chair. He felt, rather than heard, her approach. “Relieved River. Got up here, she was crying as hard as Kaylee. Sent her to lie down.”

Zoë stood behind the pilot’s chair. “Yes, Sir.”

“Kaylee alright?”

“She’s plenty shook up, but focused on the plan, Sir.”

Mal nodded and was quiet for a bit, before he spoke again. “This is my fault, Zoë. I knew something would go wrong. Honestly thought it would be the job. Shoulda known that boy’d be recognised.”

“Sir, we weren’t even sure if he was still wanted.”

“It was too much just to hope for.”

“Sir, the job go smooth?”

“Yea. Put the money in my hand. A little pissed about having to pay for his own stuff, but not too much. Glad to have his wife back. Knew we didn’t do it for him, but grateful for it all the same.”

“Not married anymore?”

“Never was. Haymer’s lawyer assured him that – Yolanda – being married to him, couldn’t contract any further legal marriages.”

“She married him first?”

“I don’t know. That one’s Haymer’s problem, and I’d say he’s more than capable of taking care of it. Coin’s good for that.”

“Yes, Sir. Might even help a little with our current predicament.”

“Well, I’m sanguine.”


Jayne found Kaylee in the engine room later. She was done crying by the look of it, just staring sadly at the ceiling from her hammock. “Did the right thing, Kaylee. Both of ya.”

“Shoulda stayed with him.”

“Naw, Kaylee.”

“Shouldn’ta run. What was I thinkin’? Just like with Early, letting my fear rule me.”

Jayne’s voice was low, and uncharacteristically gentle. “Kaylee, you ain’t a coward. Doc ain’t a coward. But he’ll be a lot braver if he ain’t watchin’ ‘em cut on you. Your running lets him be brave.”

“It was my fault, Jayne.”

“Weren’t, Kaylee.”

“It were.” She dragged herself out of her hammock to face him. “I yelled at him. Called him by his name.” Jayne winced. It was a mistake he’d made often enough. ‘Every heist he’s gotta start yellin’ my name.’ But he listened as Kaylee continued. “Some old Fed over heard and thought he was hassling me. Don’t think he even recognised the name straight away. So I told him everythin’ was fine, and… and that I was his sister. Guess that was the magic word for him. Name and crime, right there. I turned him in, Jayne.” That was an uncomfortable topic of conversation for Jayne, though Kaylee didn’t know. “They’re gonna beat on him, and cut him up, and it’s my fault.”

*** *** *** Chapter 18 *** *** ***


Thursday, January 4, 2007 6:03 AM


Ok, now the server is damaging my calm.

I posted this twice, and managed to delete one copy - it's claiming that this is the first read, so I hope nobody commented on the other one, and had their comments deleted. If so, you have my sincerest apologies. The magic vanishing comment trick tends to happen to my best thought-out comments, so I do appreciate how frustrating it is.

I will continue with my hopes that you enjoy, and comment, and again, I thank those that have.

I do have a question, however.

I think I will be done with chapter 18 today. Should I wait and post it tomorrow, or would it be okay/preferable to post it tonight? My thinking is that posting one more isn't likely to drive any new stories off of the front page, but I honestly don't know if there's a set protocol for this. Help is appreciated.

Thursday, January 4, 2007 7:33 AM


Nope, no major protocol on posting speed. It's generally frowned upon to post several in a row without leaving an hour or two between for other folks to get one in, but two in a day is hardly flooding.

I love Zoe. She and Inara run the damn ship at this point - Mal is merely a figurehead.

Simon must have been paying attention to Mal lately. He actually played that one right to get Kaylee out of there so he has one less thing to worry about. He no doubt going to be quite pissed when he gets back (assuming he survives...but you wouldn't kill him, right?).

I'm not sure how Simon's brain will play this, honestly: if it were me, I wouldn't be too keen on being around the girl who not only goes out of her way to "punish" me aboard ship, but now she got me arrested, too. Kaylee might have burned hereself for good here.

On the other hand, it seems that Simon still loves her a lot, so maybe he'll manage to deal with it. If he can forgive Jayne for turning him in on purpose, he can forgive Kaylee for doing it on accident.

Thursday, January 4, 2007 8:34 PM


I agree with MG - if Simon can forgive Jayne, he can forgive Kaylee. But the girl has got to be smarter than that.

Wouldn't it be interesting if River had a few choice words for her? About putting her ge ge in danger? That might be a nice take on the reader dynamic.

Friday, January 5, 2007 1:27 AM


*If* they get Simon back and relatively unhurt, Kaylee might find she's nagged cowed and bullied Simon into thinking that while he loves her, being around her only results in hurt/pain/mean words being spoken. He'll always love her, but won't dare be with her.

I'm wondering how the custody of Simon will proceed; will he wind up getting beaten up by purplebellies intent on beating River's location out of him in hopes of securing that large reward the Alliance has on her, or will he wind up in the custody of people with far more, uh, finesse? There has to be folks out there who'd really like to know how he managed to successfully break his way into and out of a secure Alliance facility.

Zoe was fab here, especially the way she remained level-headed and gave Mal and Inara their orders.

Saturday, January 6, 2007 8:16 PM


Wow...lot of Kaylee-bashing goin' on here;)

Gotta admit...I found this chapter to be rather brilliant in how Mal and Inara are basically running the show, and that Simon actually had a moment of pragmatic heroism that he knows he won't get rescued from right away...if ever. Really can't wait to see how this event changes the dynamic of things on board Serenity...cuz it will;)



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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.