Even Roses Have Thorns, Chapter Thirty-One
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

More decisions for Mal, this time with regard to what help they can get for Simon. Simon and Kaylee play cards, with a little help from River and Jayne. Canon pairings. Fluffy. PG-13, for Jayne-related language.


Even Roses Have Thorns

Chapter Thirty-one: Tolerabiles ineptiae (bearable absurdities)

*** *** *** Chapters 1-10, Chapters 11-20, Chapters 21-30 *** *** ***

Jayne stepped into the infirmary. “Hey Simon, River. Kaylee, got them bits done you asked for, and gave Mal the list a’ parts we need. He don’t believe me though that we need ‘em all.”

“Thanks Jayne. I’ll talk to the Cap’n and finish up with the engine. Take over my hand, would ya, til I get back?”

“Ya winning?”

“No.” Jayne looked disappointed, his lips pressing together. “Come on, Jayne! We’re just playing for fun. I’ll be back in a few hands.”

“Okay.” Jayne was agreeable, for Kaylee’s sake. Clearly she didn’t want to leave the doc all alone. Damn, he was more comfortable covering for her at her engine duties than at Simon’s bedside, but Kaylee smiled happily and walked out. Jayne picked up the hand and studied it. River bent to whisper in Simon’s ear. “Hey now, no cheating! Don’t mind ya helpin’ Simon, but ya can’t go… helpin’. Just, ya know, hold his cards. Quiet like.”

River turned a triumphant look on Jayne. “Kaylee doesn’t mind if we cheat.”

Jayne turned his attention back to his cards, to study them. “Yeah, well Kaylee’s probably looking to lose. Probably excited at the prospect of strippin’ off, knowin’ Kaylee.” Jayne looked up from his cards and misinterpreted the horrified look on Simon’s face. “Sorry Simon. Shouldn’t be puttin’ them kinda thoughts into the head of man has no use of his hands.”

“Eeeeewwwwwwwwwww, Jayne! He’s my brother.”

“Sorry River. Woulda thought them sorta thoughts woulda, ya know, made themselves plenty known to ya.” He moved a couple of cards around in his hand before he looked up at the teenager and leered a little. “I’ll make ya deal. No more cheatin’, no more sex talk.”

They played in virtual silence until Kaylee arrived back. “Hey, how come I’m winning?” She asked as Jayne was leaving.

“Ain’t so hard if you don’t let ‘em cheat.”


“Mal?” Dr. Wren called from just outside the bridge door.

“You can step in, Aren.” The Captain was seated in the pilot’s chair, piloting Serenity.

“I was wondering if I might have a moment to discuss some treatment options with you.”

“For Simon?”


“I was wondering if we could stop by one of the border worlds with, say, a mining community?”

Mal turned to a frankly questioning look at the doctor. “You’re being a mite specific there. Can I know why?”

“Well, lumber would also be fine – you know, the kind of places where losing a hand isn’t unknown, it’s something to be prepared for.”

“I thought Simon would need the kind of expert care you can only get in the Core?”

“He does. But right now he was use of neither hand – a temporary replacement for his left hand would be a good step at this point. Physically, he’s certainly rested enough. Mentally – well, it won’t be as good as new, but he’ll be able to start to care for himself.”

“Will this limit his options later?”

“No, quite the opposite. I mean, the surgery is not without risk – but going well, it should make it all the easier to adjust to the better one later. There are always possible problems – but the risk is quite tolerably small. I can do the surgery myself, here, but we will need the part.”

“Alright. We’re not too far out from Triumph.” Mal gestured to the co-pilot’s seat, indicating the cortex link. “Have a look there and see if they’ve got what you want. If so, we can head right there and pick it up in a few hours.” As she tapped away at the console, Mal brought up the conversation – well, one of the conversations – he’d been dreading having. “Any news on where we can go to get the problem fixed permanent-like?”

Aren didn’t look up from her search. “Yes – several good leads, but all in the Core, unsurprisingly, of course. I want to wait until Simon is up to contributing ideas before suggesting any specific course of action. Daring raids on Alliance hospitals on Core worlds wasn’t something they taught in Med school in my day.” The doctor looked up, satisfied. “Good news! Triumph does have what we need.”

“Good.” Mal made the course correction. “Ever been to Triumph, Aren?”

“No, I can’t say I have. Persephone is as far out from the Core as I’ve been, before this.”

“Well, Triumph ain’t the Core. Make sure you don’t frighten the locals, and ah, beware of any women offering you dances or head gear. Men folk maybe too. Might end up married.”

“Might end up married?”

“Ask Inara. I’m sure her version is much funnier than mine.” Mal looked the doctor in the eye. “I’m serious, though. Careful there – Triumph ain’t civilisation, and I reckon you run a bit bolder than the Triumph settlers like to see in women folk.”

“Well – thank you for your warning, Mal, cryptic as it is. I will be on my best behaviour. It should be a short visit, just in and out.”

“Well, good.” Mal nodded at the doctor as she stood and walked from the room, wondering if ‘bolder’ was now code for ‘lesbian’. “Don’t like complications.”


“So Zoë, you know what ‘em critters you’s carryin’ is yet?” Jayne asked as he helped himself to another spoonful of red coloured gloop which Mal insisted was tomato flavoured soup. Jayne didn’t mind, it was even sorta tomato-y as far as he was concerned. He did notice, though, that Zoë had her stoical solider ‘I survived worse in the war’ face on, and that Kaylee had the apprehensive look she sometimes got when she was determined to find something cheerful to say, but it just wasn’t coming to her. Inara and Aren were far too well bred to let anything other than the faintest trace of horror cross their features.

So was River, but she didn’t care and announced loudly, “This smells like crotch.”

The defensive look on Mal’s face turned to one of anger. “Jayne!”

“What, Mal? I think it tastes good. Well, ok.” Mal was not appeased.

Zoë threw herself into the breech. “Well, Simon thinks it’s a boy and girl, says that’s the most likely, but we don’t have the equipment to check. One of each would be nice, but I don’t mind so long as they’re healthy.” If she was honest, Zoë wasn’t even sure that she could bring herself to mind even if they weren’t.

“Naw, woman like you? Two girls I think. Warrior women make warrior girl babies.” Jayne’s take on genetics was met with some good natured laughter.

As expected, River interrupted with a science lesson. “Women only have X chromosomes Jayne – men have X and Y. Sperm can be either an X or Y; an X sperm means a girl baby, a Y sperm means a boy baby.”

“So, that mean the father sorta decides?” Jayne said.

“I suppose, that would be one way of looking at it,” Aren said neutrally.

Jayne gave Zoë a meaningful look. “Definitely girl babies for you, then, Zoë.” Zoë took the joke in good part, but gave Jayne a mostly gentle kick to the shin under the table, just to make sure. From someone else, it would have been offensive. From Jayne – well, it mostly just seemed to be a continuation of the long-standing banter with her husband. She laughed.

At the end of lunch, Mal stood. “Ok, ladies and men folk, we’ll be landing on Triumph in a little over an hour. Only gonna be on the ground for a little while, say two hours, so you can stretch your legs but don’t go far. Zoë, you stick with Aren – you’re a proper widow and all, so they won’t take too much notice of anything Aren does funny. Make sure you stick together. Kaylee stick with Jayne. They know you two, shouldn’t be too much hassle. Dress clean and modest, we ain’t arriving as the town heroes this week, don’t want to ruffle any feathers. River, boat’s yours – temporarily – and no muckin’ about with it.” Mal gave her a steady look.

She rolled her eyes. “Yes, Captain.”

Mal nodded. “Alright. Inara, you’re with me, if you want to take a walk around, and I could use your help with something if you’re willing.”

“Of course, Mal. Should I change?”

“Wear the plainest thing you’ve got. ‘Course, you can borrow my dress if you like.”

Inara spoke again. “I would like that Mal. Very much.” The others laughed, and Inara smiled deeply at the stunned expression on Mal’s face, but he recovered quickly.

“Well, that’s good. I’ll get that for you then.”

Zoë stood up and more or less excusing herself with a wave of her hand, before hurrying off.

“Oh, shiny!” Kaylee looked thrilled at this turn of events, while the others tried hard not to think about vomit.

“Shiny, Kaylee? I’ll remind ya ya said that when it’s you tossing yer lunch into the head.” Jayne said.

Mal had been about to excuse himself to check on Zoë, but turned back in puzzlement at Kaylee’s comment.

“Not shiny like that Jayne! Just means she’s not here and we all are and we can talk about the baby shower!” Turning a gleeful smile on the others, she continued, “Especially seeing as we’ll be planet side for a bit.”

“No. No, no, no.” Mal was adamant. “Not happenin’, Kaylee. Not one bitty thing gets brought on this boat til the babies are near born. And even then, no party! There will be no tempting fate with Zoë’s babies. Anything needful ya get ya can give ta Simon ta keep in the infirmary til the babies are here.”

“But Cap’n…”

“No, lil’Kaylee – I will not have it on my boat.”

“What if we see something really special though, Cap’n?”

“Then you just walk on by Kaylee. I’m not joking. Not a thing on this boat til Zoë’s in the last three months.” Mal looked deathly serious. “I see anything, it’s going out the airlock, along with the person who brought in on board.” With that last warning, Mal headed off to see if Zoë needed help.

*** *** *** Chapter 32 *** *** ***


Wednesday, January 24, 2007 7:26 AM


Yes, it is a little short; I apologise to those who perfer longer. It was the best place to stop, honestly, if only for my sanity.

Thank you to all who continue to read - especially those who comment (comments are shiny and, on occasion, hilarious).

Next Chapter: the shopping trip, Inara in Mal's dress, and what Mal asked Inara for help with...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007 12:34 PM


Oh...I can't wait to see Inara in Mal's brown dress from "Our Mrs. Reynolds"....cuz it will be quite the visual!



Wednesday, January 24, 2007 7:40 PM


Wow...Mal really hates baby showers. I never pegged him for the overly superstitious type, but he seems like he's worried Kaylee is going to jinx things with Zoe. A new side to the captain, I must say.

So...who ends up married by accident this time? Wouldn't want to break tradition.

I fully support Inara in Mal's brown dress...but only if she also has to wear the pretty floral bonnet. No fair stepping out only half dressed.


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.