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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post-BDM. Simon and Andrew have a heart to heart, and a proposition is made ... Feedback, good or ill, is eagerly awaited!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1590 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
“That was wonderful food,” Kaylee said, carrying Bethany into the small room.
“The best Corvus can offer,” Andrew said, following her. “Simple but we’ve got plenty.”
“Not like out in the black.” She put her sleepy child into the bed, watching her rub her eyes with her little fists. “Pretty much protein in all the colours of the rainbow.”
“Don’t you get any treats?”
She grinned. “Once in a while. Oh, I don’t mean to make it sound like we starve, ‘cause we don’t. But sometimes we have extras.”
“Cap’n makes sure we have fresh stuff when we can, and just occasionally …”
“What?” he prompted.
He smiled at the beatific look on her face. “Well, we’re not in the right season now, but Corvus has some of the finest strawberries the system has to offer.”
She looked at him. “Oh, don’t say that. Or I’ll just have to make the Cap’n bring us back here again, just so’s I can taste ‘em.”
“I wouldn’t mind,” Andrew said. He stepped back out into the hall, feeling Simon at his elbow. “I heard from your father a few weeks ago,” he said quietly.
“Really.” Simon’s voice was non-committal, although his heart seemed to be running for cover.
“Not much, just a wave, seeing how I was, if I’d decided I’d made the biggest mistake of my life yet.”
“And have you?”
“Nope. Pretty much decided this is where I want to die. And I told him that. He …” His voice dropped lower. “He asked if I’d heard from you.”
“I don’t see why. I’d thought he’d pretty much disowned me.”
Andrew took his arm and led him back into the main room. “Come on, I think you and me need to have a talk.” He sat down in the old leather back chair by the fire. “Simon, if you don’t take a pew I’ll make a fuss and that’ll just upset your wife.”
Simon reluctantly sat down opposite him. “Andrew –“
“He told me what he said to you, that day when you were … when he had to come and get you after you’d been arrested in a blackout zone.”
Simon sat very still, not even breathing. “Did he.”
“And he’s been sorry about it ever since.”
“Somehow I find that difficult to believe.”
Andrew shook his head. “I'm not stupid, Simon. I know what happened. Do you think I don’t check the Cortex once in a while? And being a doctor I get to see all sorts of interesting information. Alerts come up every so often, listing people the Alliance would like to know the whereabouts of, just in case they need to see a doctor.” He stopped, looking at the young man opposite. “You’ve been running a long time.”
“They took River,” Simon said, little more than a murmur. “And my father did nothing.”
“He didn’t know.”
“He didn’t listen!” The sound of his raised voice rang through the house, and Kaylee hurried out into the living room.
“Honey?” she asked, going down on her heels next to him. “What is it?”
Simon didn’t speak for a moment, then looked round at her. “Nothing. It’s nothing, Kaylee.”
“Didn’t sound like nothing.”
He made himself smile for her. “Just a disagreement over something I did a long time ago.”
“I don’t –“
“I think Bethany needs you.”
She looked at him, then at Andrew, who nodded slightly. “Okay. If you’re sure. But I'm only in there.”
“That’s fine.” Simon took her hand and squeezed her fingers. “It’s fine.”
Kaylee stood up and went back to the door, looking at them for a long, puzzled moment before going to see to her daughter.
“Is that why you asked us to come?” Simon said, back under control. “Because my father told you to?”
“It isn’t like that at all.” Andrew shook his head. “I never told Gabriel anything, and I never would.”
“But you knew about River.”
“Simon, you snatched your sister from a Government-sponsored Academy and ran off into the great unknown!” He almost laughed. “You don’t think the people who knew you wouldn’t have heard?”
“They were hurting her.”
“What?” It was Andrew’s turn to be confused.
“Torturing her. They stripped her amygdala, Andrew. Cut into her brain, over and over. Made her into something she was never meant to be.” His voice was icy. Passionless, but full of pain.
“I don’t understand.”
“Neither did I,” Simon admitted. “Until I saw it for myself.” The scans on Ariel, then studying the information he’d downloaded … he couldn’t help the shudder that went through him.
“Why would they do that?” Andrew was appalled. “Why would anyone do that to a child?”
“Because they could. Because there’s no-one to stop them.”
“So you did.”
“She wrote to me, letters that made no sense until I realised she was telling me something in a code.” Simon sat forward. “I had to help. Had to get her out of there. And my father refused to even consider that I was anything except delusional.”
“I didn’t know,” Andrew said softly. “But to a child …”
“She wasn't even the first. I could introduce you to someone who …” Simon stopped and took a deep breath. “That’s why we’re on the run. Why my father is asking you if you’ve seen us. They still want her back.”
“He wouldn’t hand her over, Simon. She’s his daughter.”
“That didn’t seem to make any difference when I was trying to make him see what they were doing to her.”
“I can’t believe it of Gabriel –“
“He isn’t the man you knew, Andrew. I came to see that a long time ago. He changed, and when appearances became more important than his own child’s life he … well, that was when I stopped being his son.” There was more to it than that, a loss, a terrible feeling of betrayal, but he would never go into that, not with anyone. He looked up and saw River standing in the open doorway to the outside world, and realised he didn’t need to.
“I didn’t tell him,” Andrew said, not knowing she was behind him. “And I won’t. What you do is your own affair. Just don’t judge him too harshly.”
“We don’t need him now,” River said, coming in and kneeling next to the old man. “We have another family.” She smiled at him. “And they will never leave us.”
Andrew looked at her, then across at Simon. “I'm sorry. I didn’t mean to –“
Simon shook his head. “You didn’t know. And I shouldn’t take it out on you.”
“You haven’t.” He smiled shakily. “Come on,” he said. “Why don’t you and I take a walk? It’s a fine evening, and we’ll talk of other things.”
“That sounds like a plan,” Simon said, getting to his feet, relief in his eyes.
“I’m going to bed,” River stated, rising up gracefully. “And I’ll send Kaylee over when you’re ready.”
Andrew chuckled. “You really like to embarrass your brother, don’t you?” he asked.
She grinned. “Whenever I can.”
Andrew held out a packet of chewing tobacco but Simon shook his head. “No, probably right,” the older man said. “Not good for you. But it isn’t like I’ve got my whole life ahead of me that I could ruin in.”
“You’re still young enough to be sensible.”
“Ha!” Andrew laughed. “I got past that a long time ago.”
They strolled through the main street, some people up despite the hour, calling out to their doctor as they went about their business.
“They seem very friendly,” Simon said, his hands clasped behind his back.
“They’re a good community,” Andrew said. “It’s the usual sorts of things that need doing - broken legs setting, some infections, often just dropping a word into the right ear to prevent things. Yet it’s fulfilling, and I’ve loved every minute.”
“But?” Simon looked at his old friend shrewdly. “There’s a but hanging in there.”
“You’re right, there is. But I am getting old.” He ran a hand through his hair, thinner now, and totally grey.
“You’re not old.”
“No need to be gallant, boy.” Andrew smiled. “I know it. First thing in the morning I feel it when I try and get up, and if I’ve been sitting … and there’s other things.”
Andrew waved his question away. “I’ve been looking for someone to take my place.”
“Become the doctor here? Is there someone?”
“Not sure.” The old man looked at the young. “Is there?”
“If you’re suggesting –“
“Not suggesting anything. But it’s something that’s become clear to me over the past couple of years, and I’d like to know they’re being looked after by someone I trust.”
Simon stopped in the middle of the street. “I have a place. A home. On board Serenity.”
“And you have a wife and a child. Maybe more on the way. Is a ship the place to raise them?”
“I’m not asking for an answer right now. Hell, I don’t intend giving up being their doctor for a while yet, but it will have to happen. And I could do with the help.” He walked on. “Just think about it.”
Simon stared after him, his mind full of new thoughts.
We can hear you all. We can hear your thoughts, your dreams, your nightmares. And we’re coming.
to be continued
Friday, January 19, 2007 2:51 PM
Friday, January 19, 2007 3:25 PM
Friday, January 19, 2007 3:31 PM
Saturday, January 20, 2007 5:41 AM
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