Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Twenty
Saturday, January 6, 2007

Simon has been captured, and the crew struggles with the demands of his rescue, the gap it creates, and their own private problems. Angst is afoot. Canon pairings. This chapter is rated NC17, for adult themes. Postive feedback perfered.


Chapter Twenty: Ignis aurum probat (literally, fire tests gold) Part III

*** *** *** Chapters 1-10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapters 14-15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18, Chapter 19 *** *** ***

The sock of coins hit the wall, and River started to sit up. Jayne’s first thought was ‘I hope her brother lasts longer’an that.’ He immediately felt ashamed. He’d been begging for her to take the drugs from nearly the moment the torture started. As soon as the knot slid from between her lips, she began, “Jayne. Help me to the infirmary.”

He hoisted her up.

“I can walk.”

That gave him a moment’s pause. “… Well, ya don’t hafta.”

When they got there, she pointed to the central chair, and he put her down. “Ok. Wadda want?” He started pulling drawers open at random.

She rolled her eyes behind his back and spoke weakly. “Jayne.”

He turned. “Yea?”

“Go to the shuttle. Get Inara. Ask her to bring her box of soothers.”

Jayne was instantly suspicious. He knew that there had to be ample soothers in here, as he’d seen the doc giving them to his sister often enough. The walk to and from the shuttle wasn’t a short trip, and he didn’t trust her on her own with the way she was talking before. “No ruttin’ way. Ain’t havin’ ya cuttin’ on yerself.”

She sighed. “I won’t. I promise. Kaylee needs you, and I need Inara, and you need Inara not to be there when you tell Kaylee.”

Jayne was dreading where this was going. “Tell Kaylee what?”

“How big Simon’s heart is.”


Zoë splashed water on her face once more, and patted it with a towel. It wasn’t as though she couldn’t put the others off easily enough, she knew. All she had to say was “pregnancy hormones” and they’d all assume that was that.

She knew that she should probably avoid Mal and River for a while. Maybe put her feet up for a while in the lounge. Pop into the infirmary and see if Simon had any notes on what to do, just maybe lying about.

Tears threatened again. She figured she’d better get moving.

As Zoë approached the infirmary she spotted River perched on the examination chair, her own hand clasped across her mouth. She noticed that the girl immediately looked toward her. Of course she would know. Zoë walked in. River’s tear streaked face looked swollen under the bright light. “River, let’s get you back to bed.”

“No. Order of precedence.”


“Nightmare 5. Precedence over Nightmare 9.” Zoë’s heart wasn’t certain whether to rise or fall at these words; the horror of the situation just deepening by the moment. The girl bit down on the back of her hand to keep from screaming. “Sent Jayne to get Inara. Her soothers help relaxation but do not necessarily force sleep.” Zoë flipped the folding seat down and sat on it, hands on knees. She went to speak but River cut her off, panting. “Be here soon. Please wait.” Zoë averted her eyes as the girl doubled over, trying to stifle her wailing.

About a minute later, Inara stepped through, quickly hurrying to River’s side. “Here, River. Jayne said that you wanted to try one of my soothers?” Inara kept her voice very gentle, though she was well aware that River could still hear her pounding heart. River thrust her arm forward as a gesture of consent, and Inara dosed her. River kept her arm out, and it took Inara a moment to realise what River was asking. “River, two is a lot of… medicine. Are you sure?” River nodded and Inara gave her a second dose. The girl, to Inara’s relief, dropped her arm. A second dose was sometimes given, it was true… but Inara, like Jayne, could not shake the feeling that River was a candidate for self-harm. “Would you like me to sit with you?”

“Could you wait for me in the lounge? I would like to speak to Zoë, privately.”

“Of course, River.” She left the room gracefully, with a smile for them both, and settled herself in the lounge.

In the infirmary, River turned her full attention to Zoë. Waves of pain still crashed over her, but it was more like hearing a loud argument in the next room, rather than at the next table. She could focus, for now, on something beyond Simon’s pain.

“Threatened miscarriage: bleeding from the birth canal before twenty weeks. The bleeding may or may not have abdominal pain associated with it. The blood loss may be brown spotting, blood stained discharge or bright red bleeding. The amount of bleeding is proportional to the risk of miscarriage, the greater the bleeding the greater the risk of miscarriage. Abdominal pain associated with the bleeding is not considered a good sign. Around one in four women will experience vaginal bleeding in the first three months of pregnancy. Of these women seventy to eighty percent will continue their pregnancies to full term. There is probably nothing that can prevent a threatened miscarriage becoming a miscarriage. Certain strategies are, like bed rest (if symptoms are acute) recommended. Research to date is unclear whether bed rest is actually helpful, and the point of view of the woman must be considered.”

“We can’t do nothin’?”

“We can do this.” River dropped from the chair and grabbed Simon’s stethoscope, put the earpieces in her ears and checking for a heartbeat. When she found it, she took the earpieces out and put them in Zoë’s hands. “Inefficient tool. Poor sound quality. But heart beat present.”

Zoë quickly slipped them in, a smile crossing her face.

“What now?”

“Rest. Let Inara baby-sit Mal.”

Zoë nodded, and stood. She pointed out to where Inara was. “I’m gonna be right there.”

“I know.” As she watched Zoë leave to talk to Inara, River let the wave of pain wash over her, and clenched her fists so tightly that her palms bled. Neither fighting the pain nor feeling it was easy. She stumbled as she stepped forward, but caught herself quickly, a tiny trace of blood on the door frame to mark her passing. She headed toward the bridge.


After Inara left, Jayne wasn’t sure what to do. At first, he sat wordlessly next to Kaylee on the couch. Kaylee was unnerving him almost more than River; she just sat, silently, staring out at nothing. It wasn’t right.

“Kaylee,” he started, but she interrupted.

“Were my fault Jayne. Nothing ya can say changes that.” Tears started to trickle down her face again as the thought of River’s screams resurfaced.

“Ain’t yer fault.”

“Turned ‘im in.”

“Naw, ya didn’t Kaylee.” He took a deep breath. “And it wouldn’ta mattered to him iffin ya did, he’d love ya anyway. Forgive ya.”

“Jayne, you can’t say that!”

“Yea, I can.” He tried to catch her eye, but she was mostly somewhere else. Half relieved, he dropped his daze. “He’s got a good heart, lil’Kaylee.” He remembered River’s words. “A big heart.”

“No heart big enough ta forgive that, Jayne.”

“Forgave me.” He expected her face to snap towards him, but a look of confusion just settled on it slowly. He rushed in before she could speak. “Ariel. Got stupid, turned him in. He found out. Guess River musta knew, told him. He didn’t tell no one, could a killed me on his table. ‘Stead, he decided notta, ta put it behind him. Told me ta do the same.” He looked toward her again, saw the horror in her sad eyes. “Did it for money Kaylee. Got him and River both snatched.” He dropped his gaze again. “He still loves ya. Always will.”

If he’d thought about it, he would have guessed that she’d hit him, or curse him, or throw something at him or run from the room. She didn’t. She just cried harder.

*** *** *** Chapter 21 *** *** ***


Saturday, January 6, 2007 4:47 PM


Another one that just gets me where I'm trying to go. Apologies that it's not perfect (well, as perfect as I can do).

I hope you enjoy anyway.

Thank you for all the comments.

Saturday, January 6, 2007 9:13 PM

MANICGIRAFFE'd think Kaylee would be glad to hear about SImon's capacity for forgiveness. The fact that she just cries more worries me. There's something very bad going on in her head right now.

Where's Mal? He's cooking up a big damn rescue, yes? With gunfire, witty reparte, and a healthy dose of tearful reunions for all concerned? Because, you know...that's good.

Saturday, January 6, 2007 10:23 PM


Oh my, you are just cranking out some massive angst Girlfan! Gotta admit, everyone's reactions do seem to be perfect, although, like MG, I'm a bit worried about Kaylee's continuous tears ... that can't be good.

And River - is she gonna make it? Something tells me neither she nor Simon will be the same after this. But in a way, that's all right - it just means SEQUEL!

Monday, January 8, 2007 5:55 AM


Love the angst. Love the not knowing what is happening to Simon too.

That Jayne told Kaylee now, of all times, what happened on Ariel, is very well placed. I'm not sure anything is going to calm or reassure her until she actually has Simon back - though my fear of what she actually GETS back in the form of the man she loves might not be something she can live with.

Monday, January 8, 2007 1:41 PM


You constantly astound me, girlfan, with the continued level of quality and plot ideas you're putting forth here...and that's a mighty good thing, according to some;)

Really gotta give you props for how you had Jayne think and act here, especially with his confession to Kaylee about "Ariel" that was meant to prove that Simon is capable of forgiving a lot only making Kaylee think worse thoughts about herself. Cuz I really think Joss would take this path given half a chance:D

Also...where's Mal?!? He needs to be coming up with the craziest motherfuggin' plan he's ever dreamt up to rescue Simon. Cuz there's a debt owed to the doc for his participation in the Niska's Skyplex raid:(



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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.

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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.