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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
River keeps playing tricks on Jayne, while Kaylee finds out a secret that she has to share with Simon. PG-13. Simon/Kaylee
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1300 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Make a Wish: Chapter 4
The Consequence of Wishing
Inara found Kaylee in the engine room, and wasn’t a bit surprised. The ship was quiet, the rest of the crew, including Simon, out either on the job or gathering supplies. The two women had been left in charge and while Inara had hoped to book some appointments knowing that at least Mal would not be barging into her shuttle, she’d found herself highly distracted.
Rapping lightly on the side of the hatchway into the warm room, Inara got Kaylee’s attention from where the girl was curled up in her hammock. “Oh,” she said lightly, stretching her arms over her head as she blinked some sleep from her eyes. “Hey ‘Nara. What’s up?”
“Not you, apparently,” her friend teased, grinning at Kaylee as she descended the few stairs into the room. Noting the tired look on the younger woman’s face, Inara asked quietly, “Are you feeling all right?”
Nodding once, Kaylee swallowed thickly and fought the truth from bubbling forth. She didn’t feel all right, hadn’t for some weeks now actually, but she wasn’t going to tell Inara that, especially when Kaylee feared what the reason might be. “Sure, ‘Nara. I’m shiny.”
As if to prove her point, Kaylee worked herself out of the hammock, standing too swiftly and swaying unsteadily on her feet. Only Inara’s steadying arm allowed her to stay standing and with a heavy sigh, she sank back into the hammock.
Breathing in deeply through her nose and releasing the breath through her mouth, Kaylee waited until she felt the room stop spinning before giving her friend a sheepish grin. Returning her look with a disapproving stare, Inara frowned and said, “Why don’t you tell me the truth?”
Sighing, Kaylee closed her eyes again and tried to quell the fear she felt racing up her spine. Breathing deep once more, she looked to Inara and asked quietly, “Do you got any supplies on your shuttle?”
Frowning deeper, Inara asked, “What kind of supplies?”
“Like female ones,” Kaylee elaborated. “Tests and the like?”
Understanding dawning, Inara told her, “Yes, I have some. What exactly do you need a test for?”
Kaylee couldn’t say it, choosing instead to turn wide, green eyes to her friend’s face, her lower lip trapped between her teeth as she tried to control her rising emotions.
With a sympathetic smile, and light kiss to the forehead, Inara reached for Kaylee’s hand and said quietly, “Come on, mei mei. Let’s go have some tea and talk for a bit.”
Simon fingered the silky material, still unable to make up his mind. He had already examined every silk nightgown in the small store, oscillating between color and cut as if it was a decision that could alter the very shape of the ‘verse. Of course, considering that it was for Kaylee, Simon was more than a little worried; the last thing he wanted to do was get her the wrong thing.
“She won’t care if it’s the ugliest color ever made,” a knowing and slightly annoyed voice told him lightly.
With a small sigh, Simon draped his latest option over his arm and turned towards his sister as she added, “She’ll love it because it came from you.”
Smiling lightly, Simon looked back to the lingerie, finally choosing a short, blue one with thin straps at the top and headed to the front of the store to pay. “Done with your part in the job?”
River followed behind him, her hands running along the tops of the shelves. “Yup,” she said, finding a particularly appropriate item for her brother, given the circumstances. Picking it up, she hurried to his side as he was about to hand over his credits and plopped it down on the counter next to Kaylee’s gift.
“You need this too,” she told him, only staring at him with an impassive expression as his eyes widened.
Blushing slightly as the clerk gave Simon a skeptical look, he swiped the package of diapers off the counter and shoved them back towards his sister. “Quit playing around, River. No one on Serenity needs those.”
Thinking she should probably argue with him, but knowing he would never believe her until he performed the test himself, River stalked back to the shelf and replaced the baby item. Meeting Simon outside, she watched with a small smile as he possessively clutched the brown paper package to his chest, his gift for Kaylee protected inside.
Walking back with him towards the ship, Simon continued to stare at the package, hoping he’d made the right choice, wondering what Kaylee’s reaction would be, when the right moment might be to give it to her.
Reaching the bottom of the open ramp, River climbed inside, glancing over her shoulder once, saying, “I wouldn’t wait.”
Before Simon could question her on her meaning, she was headed towards the bridge, muttering, “In a few months, it won’t fit her.”
“Kaylee, maybe you should stay up here for a bit longer. Collect your thoughts.” Inara’s gaze was wide-eyed and concerned, her friend’s state-of-mind more than a bit clouded.
Pacing frantically, Kaylee could only continue to wring her hands before her. She knew it wasn’t healthy or even logical to be so upset. Women had been getting pregnant and having babies for hundreds, even thousands of years. So why did the thought of a small, new life – one that was part her and part Simon – scare her so?
Kaylee paused suddenly and Inara watched as she sank onto the end of the bed, her big eyes staring straight ahead, unseeing and unfocused. “What am I gonna do, ‘Nara?” she breathed. Closing her eyes, she thought of Simon and tried to banish the image from her mind of him storming from their bunk the minute she told him the news. “I can’t …” Her voice died away as she felt a sob well in her throat. Swallowing it down, she whispered, “What am I gonna do?”
Taking a deep breath, Inara hesitantly knelt before her mei mei, clasping her hands in her own and squeezing gently. Taking a shaky breath, Kaylee raised her eyes to her friend’s and saw compassion there. A small bit of relief finding its way into her heart, Kaylee listened as the older woman asked seriously, “What do you want to do?”
“Not be pregnant,” Kaylee murmured, the words meaning something completely different to the young mechanic than they meant to Inara.
Rising with a grim expression on her features, Inara went back towards her supply cabinet, where she had pulled the test from earlier and reached for something else. “We can take care of that, mei mei,” the woman told her, turning again to face her. “But I really think you should discuss it with Simon first.”
Her features clouding with confusion, Kaylee looked to Inara and then saw the bottle of medication in her hands. Rising swiftly, Kaylee backed up, her confusion replaced by fear and a bit of horror. Shaking her head swiftly, she told her, “No, ‘Nara, I can’t do that. I can’t kill a baby,” she said urgently, her hands covering her flat stomach protectively. “I jus’ meant I wish I hadn’t gotten pregnant is all.”
Feeling her own bit of relief that she had misunderstood, Inara quickly stowed the medication and came back to her friend’s side. Brushing her hair back from her face, she told the girl, “Then sweetie, I think you really need to talk to Simon.”
As Kaylee’s eyes widened with more fear, Inara asked softly, “Mei mei, what are you so afraid of?” When Kaylee could not answer, she continued. “Has he said he doesn’t want children?”
“We ain’t even talked about it,” Kaylee wailed, pulling away from the older woman and going back to sit on her bed. “We ain’t talked ‘bout half the things serious couples is supposed to talk about.” With wide and confused eyes, Kaylee looked to Inara and tried to explain. “I mean, ‘Nara, we ain’t even been together three months. What’s he gonna think o’ me?”
Frowning, the Companion crossed her arms over her chest and questioned, “What do you mean mei mei?”
“He’s gonna think I did it on purpose,” Kaylee mumbled, feeling more tears sting her eyes as she imagined the disappointment and disgust she feared Simon would show her when she revealed this news. “That I’m tryin’ to trap ‘im or that I’m just so stupid I can’t even keep from gettin’ pregnant.”
Moving quickly back to her side, Inara told her urgently, “You listen to me, Kaylee. You did not get pregnant by yourself. It takes two people to make a baby. Simon is just as responsible for that child as you are.”
Swallowing hard past the lump in her throat, Kaylee nodded numbly, still not totally convinced. With a heavy sigh, she flopped back onto Inara’s bed, curling into a ball. With a small smile of reassurance, Inara edged forward, running her hand through Kaylee’s hair as the girl cried a few more silent tears. “I always wanted to be a ma,” she confided. “But ‘Nara, I’m in love with Simon. It took us so long to get to this place, I don’t wanna scare ‘im off ‘fore we even get the chance to see if we could really work.”
Sniffling, Kaylee buried her face into Inara’s satin sheets and cried some more, absolutely petrified. Concern again swelling in her heart for her mei mei, Inara pressed a light kiss to her cheek and told her quietly, “I think you’re being much too hard on Simon. He does love you, that’s obvious to all of us. And it was obvious to you up until about an hour ago,” she reminded, getting a pained expression from her friend.
“It ain’t the love part, it’s the commitment part that I’m scared he ain’t gonna like,” Kaylee told her, wiping at her tears even as more fell to replace them.
Continuing to run a soothing hand through Kaylee’s hair, Inara told her, “Just get some sleep, Kaylee. After a little nap this won’t seem so daunting and we can make a plan.”
Kaylee nodded once, her mind whirling with conflicting thoughts. But her body was spent and within moments she had drifted into a fitful sleep, wishing she had the courage to tell Simon he would be a dad, and wishing even more fervently that she had the courage to accept she would soon be a mom.
Simon had searched the ship from stem to stern looking for his bao bei. The immaculately wrapped package had begun to suffer the investigation as he clutched at the soft paper harder and harder looking for Kaylee. He had thought to keep the nightgown as a gift for a later day, maybe a birthday or anniversary, but the more he thought of her bright smile and how the silky garment would look on her beautiful body, the more he decided he didn’t want to wait.
He’d done enough waiting where Kaylee was concerned, and that was something Simon had resolved to bring to an end. He had thought, all those months before Miranda that keeping her at arm’s length was the right thing for them both, and for River. His mei mei had needed his undivided attention and love, but Simon’s own heart and soul had suffered for denying Kaylee’s presence in his life. Now, as the weeks and months passed, Simon could not imagine his life without the effervescent woman, could not imagine waking up alone or being unable to talk with her, smile with her, laugh with her, kiss her.
Simon had never been one to subscribe to any romantic notions, love at first sight and the like, but after having met Kaylee and experiencing true love, he realized there was such a thing as soul mates. There really could be another person in the ‘verse who complemented his missing pieces, who made him whole. And her name was Kaywinnet Lee Frye.
With a small sigh, Simon quickened his pace, ascending one of the cargo bay’s many staircases and heading for Inara’s shuttle. Knocking lightly on her hatch, he hid Kaylee’s gift behind his back and greeted the Companion with a small smile as she answered the door.
“Simon,” she said, her voice sounding a bit surprised. “Is there something I can do for you?”
“Well, yes, actually,” Simon stammered. “I was looking for Kaylee. I thought she might be here with you.”
Her eyes darting back into the shuttle, Inara gave him an unreadable expression as she gingerly stepped onto the catwalk with him and said softly, “She is here, Simon. She’s taking a little nap.”
His brow furrowing with instant concern, he asked, “Is she all right?”
“For the most part,” Inara answered softly. As Simon’s expression grew more concerned, she told him, “She’s just been feeling a tad under the weather.”
“Why didn’t she tell me?” he whispered trying to move past Inara and get to his bao bei’s side.
With a light hand to his arm, Inara stopped him and waited until his blue eyes were on her face before saying, “She should be fine, Simon.”
Taking her hand from his arm and squeezing it lightly, he told her, “I appreciate that, Inara, but I’ll feel better once I’ve examined her.”
With a small nod, Inara made a decision, resigning herself to the fact that Kaylee might never forgive her. “Well then, why don’t the two of you use my shuttle for a bit? You can make sure she’s all right and I’ll see you both at dinner.”
Before Simon had a moment to object, Inara had turned away and started down the stairs to the cargo bay floor. Looking after her with a puzzled expression, Simon shrugged lightly and stepped into her shuttle, his concern for Kaylee again on the rise. Shutting the hatch behind him, he stepped out from around one of Inara’s many drapes and paused, a slight gasp escaping his lips.
He had only been off the ship for three hours at the most, and yet, as Simon stared at Kaylee now, her small form covered with a blanket, her fists curled up and under her chin as her honey-brown hair fanned out around her face, it was as if he was seeing her for the first time. He was again struck by her beauty, her natural ways and her perfection. Of course, he was also struck by his good fortune and in an effort to assure himself he wasn’t dreaming, he moved swiftly to her side, sitting next to her and pressing a light kiss to her lips.
With a soft sigh, Kaylee rolled over onto her back and stretched her arms as she awoke. Finally pulling her eyes opening, she sat up quickly as she recognized Simon’s face and asked hurriedly, “Simon, what’re ya doin’ here? Where’s ‘Nara?”
Concerned by her reaction and the paleness that had assaulted her features, Simon edged closer to her and rested his hand against her forehead. “Inara told me you weren’t feeling well. I wanted to be sure you were all right.” Not finding a fever, he next reached for her wrist, placing two fingers against the underside to measure her pulse. Feeling how fast her heart was beating, he brought worried eyes back to her face. “Kaylee, your heart is racing. Are you all right?”
Forcing a chuckle and a smile onto her features, Kaylee told him stiffly, “Me? Oh yeah, I’m fine. Prolly jus’ somethin’ I ate.” As she had earlier with Inara, Kaylee felt a real urge to extricate herself from the situation and so she swung her legs out and onto the floor, rising even though she could feel her head still swimming.
And, without fail, she swayed on her feet, literally falling into Simon’s outstretched arms as he had risen to catch her. Clutching his shoulders to steady herself, Kaylee took a deep breath and said softly, “Oops, guess I’m just a bit dizzy.”
Simon’s worry had quickly blossomed into full grown concern as he watched Kaylee struggle to regain her balance. Guiding her back to the bed, he helped her to rest comfortably and then pressed a kiss to her forehead. “How else do you feel bad?” he asked, his doctor diagnosis abilities kicking in. “Is this the first dizzy spell you’ve had?”
Watching Simon grow more and more anxious over her well-being only caused Kaylee’s heart to beat faster. His intense blue eyes were locked on her features and Kaylee stared into them for a minute, recognizing love as it shone on her and also his concern. Swallowing thickly, she thought to the new life they had created growing inside of her, thought of her assertion to Inara an hour or so before that she wasn’t so sure she could tell Simon, that she wasn’t even so sure she could reconcile the fact that she was going to be a parent.
But now, with Simon so close and his thumb gently caressing the back of her hand, she knew that she had to tell him. She had to and then, she would have to deal with the outcome, whatever it might be – even if it meant losing the love of her life for good.
Noting her pensive gaze, Simon asked softly, “Kaylee? You still with me?”
Blinking rapidly and refocusing her eyes to him, Kaylee smiled sweetly and said, “Yeah, I’m here. An’ I’m fine, Simon, truly. We jus’ haven’t been doin’ a lot o’ sleepin’ lately,” she told him, wiggling her eyebrows suggestively.
Chuckling deeply, Simon’s face blushed a bit as he recognized the truth in her words. “I guess we haven’t,” he murmured. Leaning in, he brushed his lips to hers, but pulled back before Kaylee could deepen the kiss. As she pouted, he only grinned wider and reached for the package he’d brought and tried to hide from her view. “Speaking of sleeping …” He teased and dropped the brown paper package into her lap.
Kaylee’s eyes widened at the sight and looking to him, she breathed, “You got me a present?”
He nodded once his heart beating sharply in his chest as he anxiously waited for her reaction. Flipping the package over in her hands, Kaylee made no move to open it, but only stared and then finally asked, “How come? It ain’t my birthday or nothin’.”
Shrugging lightly, Simon told her, “I just wanted to.” As she continued to stare, he covered one of her hands with his own and urged her, “Open it.”
Biting her lip in anticipation, Kaylee made quick work of the brown wrapping, discarding it to the floor as the silky blue nightgown slid out and into her lap. Picking it up gingerly, Kaylee examined it, rubbing smooth fabric to her face. Raising shining eyes to him, she whispered, “It’s so pretty.”
Releasing a breath of relief he hadn’t known he was holding, Simon told her, “Not as pretty as you, but I thought you might like it.”
Nodding eagerly, Kaylee returned her gaze to the beautiful piece of lingerie, trying to fight down her tears. “No body’s ever gotten me somethin’ so rich before,” she told him, missing the grimace that passed over Simon’s features. This small token of his affection was nothing compared to the type of finery he could have once afforded to buy her in his old life.
Kaylee’s eyes began to water as her heart broke just a bit. Simon did really love her, he had bought her a present, using his very limited funds to get something just for her, and Kaylee felt that sacrifice deeply. Clearing her throat, she stared at the deep blue material for a second more before handing it back to him. “I can’t accept it,” she told him, willing her voice to remain steady.
Confused and instantly on edge, Simon sat back from her and asked, “Why not? You don’t like it.”
Tears welling in her eyes at his fearful expression, Kaylee told him, “No, I love it. It’s just I … I don’t deserve it,” she finished softly, drawing an even more confused gaze from the young man.
“That’s nonsense, bao bei,” he told her softly, cupping her cheek in his hand. Lifting her face so he could meet her gaze, he finally caught sight of her tears and asked earnestly, “Kaylee, what is it?”
With a heavy sigh, Kaylee pulled away from him, taking extra time to fold up the fancy new nightgown and place it beside her. Running her fingers over it for a second more, when she finally looked back to Simon, the sadness in her features made his heart stop. “Please tell me,” he whispered, a hundred horrible guesses at what she might say flying through his mind.
Staring at him for a minute, she admitted, “I don’t even know how.” Taking a deep breath, Kaylee reached for one of his hands and held it in both of her own. Meeting his gaze unflinchingly and doing her best to keep her voice even, she said, “There’s somethin’ I gotta tell ya.”
“You don’t love me.” Simon murmured the words, completely unaware he’d spoken them out loud until he saw Kaylee’s wide-eyed and horrified expression.
Shaking her head swiftly, Kaylee swallowed hard, knowing that she was only making it worse. “No, sweetie,” she assured him, leaning forward to be closer to him. “That ain’t it.”
As a bit of Simon’s tension eased, he held her green-eyed gaze and waited with barely contained anticipation. Taking one more deep breath, Kaylee finally worked up the courage to say, “I think I’m pregnant.”
Silence wrapped its way around them and the young lovers found themselves in an involuntary staring contest. Kaylee’s heart pounded in her ears as she searched Simon’s face for some kind of reaction. His face had paled a bit at her words, his eyes growing a bit wider, but other than that nothing and the absence of any reaction was almost worse than one she had been expecting.
Simon was fairly certain his brain had stopped functioning as soon as Kaylee had spoken. He could not form a thought, let alone a sentence and so he could only stare, his eyes even having lost the ability to see. Working his tongue around his mouth, Simon tried to generate enough saliva to speak, and finally managed to croak out, “I don’t understand.”
Kaylee took a deep breath, but did not speak, waiting for Simon to collect more of his thoughts. It was only fair; she had had a few hours to come to terms with this. Simon deserved the same kind of time. She waited, her stomach churning with fear and doubt as Simon rose slowly and paced away from her, his steps even and measured. Completing his fifth circle around the shuttle, he finally turned back to her and said again, “I don’t understand. We were careful.”
Nodding once, Kaylee told him, “We were, but sometimes things jus’ happen. I don’t know how.” Biting back the apology she felt dying to rush from her lips, Kaylee waited for him to say something more. And when he did, she wished he hadn’t.
“We can’t … we can’t have a baby,” he murmured, his eyes roaming around the shuttle, looking to anything, but Kaylee’s pained expression. “I mean, we just can’t.”
“But we’re gonna,” Kaylee reminded him, trying desperately to ignore the dread that had filled her heart.
“But we can’t,” Simon said, firmer this time. Finally focusing his eyes to her, he said, “I can’t be a father. We just started our relationship. I’m still a fugitive. We live on a ship for God’s sake!” Throwing his arms up into the air, Simon again began pacing, this time more frantically and Kaylee could only wrap her arms around herself as she watched him react precisely as she had predicted.
He continued to fume as Kaylee continued to pretend her heart was not shattering into a million pieces, that the life she had thought was only a dream looked to be ending as a nightmare. Burying her head into her knees as she rocked herself back and forth, she muffled her sobs and did her best not to collapse into a puddle on the floor.
Simon had a hard time looking at her, because when he did, he only felt his love and need for her increase tenfold. But that love, that desire could not quell the fear he felt; the very real fear that he had ruined her life by getting her pregnant when she was so young, when they were both so young, when their relationship was so young. He didn’t want to react this way, he wanted to charge across the room and take her in his arms and tell her he was thrilled, but Simon couldn’t do that. He was a terrible liar and he knew she’d see right through it.
Of course his standoffishness was worse; Simon could tell by the hollow look in Kaylee’s eyes that she thought his distance meant he didn’t love her, he didn’t want her, when the truth was precisely the opposite. No, he was keeping his distance because his fear was threatening to choke him. He could not be a parent – he was fairly certain, given his role models that he would be a terrible father. And Kaylee’s children didn’t deserve that. They deserved a father who would play with them and wrestle, who would climb trees and get smudged with dirt, who would hold them when they cried or had a bad dream, who would never make them feel unloved or stupid, who would always remind them of how precious they were. Simon wasn’t so sure he was that man.
Suddenly the shuttle was stifling and Simon could not breathe. Knowing that his track record when talking to Kaylee was spotty at best, he felt the very real need to leave before his idiotic mouth got him into even more trouble. With a mumbled, “I need some time,” he brushed out of the room, doing his best to make it out the door before he heard Kaylee’s first strangled sob.
Crying heavily now as she was again alone, Kaylee reached for the gift Simon had given her, wrapping the silky material into her hands allowing her tears to wet it.
River circled the catwalks above the cargo bay, her feet running lightly over the cool metal as she gracefully twirled along, dancing to music that only she could hear. She felt lighter then she had for a long time and she knew it was partly due to her lessons with Inara. While River believed that the real thing would be much more satisfying in the end, she had to admit that the tension she’d felt building and pulsing in her gut had eased since she’d learned the fine art of self-pleasure.
Pulling herself from her musings, she heard the familiar sound of grunting and heavy breathing and leaned over the closest railing to see Jayne hefting a barbell over his chest. With a slightly curious expression, River watched him in silence, knowing he was completely oblivious to her presence. He would never stomach her staring if he’d been aware that she was.
Jayne was not a girl, this was something River had learned early on in her time on board, and as she watched him now, his highly muscled arms pumping the weight up and down, she felt a familiar stirring in her gut. She didn’t really want to sleep with Jayne, she in no way loved him. Cared for him maybe, but love? No. However, she hadn’t been lying when she’d asserted how pleasing he was from a female perspective.
A mischievous gleam lighting her eyes as a dastardly idea popped into her head, River glided on silent feet along the walkway and down the stairs, taking care to approach him from behind and stay out of sight. The closer she got, the louder his pants became and River felt her stomach tightening again. The muscles of his arms were nothing compared to the rock hard muscles of his chest and abdomen which River could make out, clearly defined through his now sweat-soaked t-shirt.
Licking her lips lightly, River stepped up behind him and as he lifted the barbell again, she grabbed it easily, holding it up so he could not continue his reps.
“Gorramit girl,” he growled, shoving the weights to rest in their cradle and scrambling to stand. “What the hell you playin’ at? Sneakin’ up on me like that?”
With a coy smile, River cast her eyes to the floor, and answered demurely, “Just wanted to ask you a question.”
Snorting with derision, Jayne grabbed his towel, wiping down his neck and arms and said, “Oh really.”
Nodding once, River’s wide eyes again alit to his face and she stepped towards him, noting with satisfaction how his body, his entire body, stiffened the closer she got. Standing so close, she could feel his hot breath against her face, River turned baleful eyes up to him and remained silent, trying to ignore her own growing want for him as his closeness caused her body to burn. Ai ya, she needed to have sex, with a man, and fast.
Holding her look for only a second more, Jayne swallowed thickly and tried not to focus on her lithe pale limbs or the curve of her neck or how her mouth was so perfect that he could just lean down and … Shaking his head swiftly, Jayne took an exaggerated step backwards, which River matched, of course, and grunted, “Whatda ya wan’?”
Passing her tongue over her lips again, River felt his desire spike and she asked quietly, “Don’t you ever get tired Jayne?” Reaching for his right hand, as she knew it was the one he favored, she traced along his fingers and looked back to him. “Don’t you ever get tired of having to do for yourself?”
His eyes widening to an unhealthy point, River willed herself not to grin as she heard his breathing quicken, felt his pulse under her fingers speed up. Taking another tiny step closer to him, their bodies touching, she dropped her voice to a husky whisper and confided, “I know I do.”
Swallowing again thickly, Jayne’s mind turned to mush as he tried and failed to dismiss the image of River “doing for herself.” “I don’t know what you’re talkin’ ‘bout, girl,” he murmured, his voice deep with desire.
Leaning forward on her tiptoes, River placed her mouth by his ear and whispered, “Yes you do.”
And then, with a suddenness she hadn’t been expecting, River gasped as Jayne wrapped an arm around her waist and pressed her against him, allowing her to feel just how ‘tired’ he was. Her mind swimming as she felt his hard length press into her, River closed her eyes and tried to keep her wits about her, as Jayne’s hot breath whispered against her cheek, “You’re right, maybe I do.”
Her eyes flicking to his as they were now so close to one another the distance between them was indiscernible, both River and Jayne found themselves panting slightly, their hearts racing and their minds exploring places they should not go.
Releasing her quickly, River stepped out of Jayne’s hold and avoided his gaze. Turning almost simultaneously and heading in two different directions, they both murmured, “I’ll be in my bunk.”
Neither Kaylee nor Simon was present for dinner and this worried Inara. She had not seen them since she’d left them both in her shuttle and now, over four hours later, she felt that they both should have made an appearance.
Fearing the worst, Inara hurried back to where she’d last left her mei mei, doing her best to not raise anyone’s suspicions. Stepping into the shuttle, Inara was greeted with the sight of Kaylee staring at the ceiling. The dim light made reading the younger woman’s expression difficult, but as Inara approached her, she saw the crease of worry lines in her forehead and the trails of tear stains on her cheeks and she felt her heart crack a little.
“I don’t wanna be a single parent, ‘Nara,” Kaylee’s hoarse voice grated on the other woman’s ears. It was so out of character for her. “I don’t wanna raise a baby by myself.”
“Did Simon tell you you’d have to?” Inara asked, running a light hand through the other woman’s hair.
Shaking her head no, Kaylee sighed heavily. “He jus’ said we couldn’t have a baby. That he couldn’t be a pa.” Her throat constricting as she remembered the look of absolute horror on his features, Kaylee mumbled, “An’ then he left.”
“Oh mei mei,” Inara breathed, placing a light hand to the girl’s cheek and catching a few more tears as they fell in silence. In truth, she was a bit surprised by Simon’s reaction. She had suspected he would take it badly, but she had not thought he would walk out on Kaylee after hearing the news. Praying that wasn’t an indicator of how Simon would live with this information, she told her friend softly, “He’ll come around. Just give him some time.”
“Time?” Kaylee’s voice was a strangled cry as she sat upright and searched her friend’s face for some kind of answer. “It took Simon near eight months to realize he wanted to be with me. This baby’s gonna be here by then an’ what if Simon ain’t made a decision?”
Swallowing hard, Inara didn’t know what to tell the woman. She wanted to offer her some kind of reassurance that everything would work out, but she knew any words she could manage would be empty. There were only two people who could fix this and unfortunately, both of them were too afraid to figure out how.
“What can I do, mei mei?” Inara’s soft voice drew Kaylee’s eyes back to her face and the companion smiled to her as she asked again, “What can I do?”
With a heavy sigh, Kaylee knew she couldn’t hide in Inara’s shuttle forever. Rising slowly, she told her, “Jus’ don’t say nothin’, ‘kay? I’ll have to figure out what to do, but I jus’ can’t-“
Reaching for her hand and squeezing it gently, Inara assured, “Don’t worry, Kaylee. I won’t say anything.”
With a sad smile, Kaylee murmured, “Thanks, ‘Nara.”
Her steps slow and her shoulders slumped, Kaylee made her way towards the engine room, thinking that she could at least tinker away a bit on her engine before turning in for the night. Where she would sleep was a question and one she tried not to think on. She and Simon had been sharing his bunk for the better part of the last three months, but after he’d stormed from the shuttle, Kaylee didn’t rightly know if he’d want to see her tonight, and she wasn’t so sure she wanted to see him either. Maybe working on the engine would offer her the distraction she so obviously needed.
She was grateful that she did not run into anyone on the way, in no mood to put on a false front just to convince them that she was fine. She wasn’t fine. She was miserable and even the eternally optimistic Kaylee Frye could wallow from time to time. Rolling her shoulders back in an effort to ease some of the tension she felt, Kaylee tipped her head back and closed her eyes as she descended the couple of steps into the engine room. Releasing a big breath, she opened her eyes to survey the room and inhaled sharply.
Her eyes widening slightly, she stood frozen as Simon rose at her entrance, approaching her slowly, a sheepish grin on his face. Moving to stand just in front of her, he whispered softly, “I am an idiot.”
Barely able to breathe for fear she might ruin the moment, Kaylee could only stare as she watched Simon try and express himself. Sighing heavily, he reached for her hands, holding them tenderly as he said, “I shouldn’t have reacted that way and I never should have left you alone in Inara’s shuttle. That was wrong.”
Shaking her head quickly, Kaylee told him, “S’okay. I can ‘magine it was quite a shock. Was to me an’ I had hours to think ‘bout it for you came back.” Casting her gaze to the floor, she added quietly, “An’ folks react to bad news all sorts o’ different ways.”
Simon’s breath hitched in his throat as he heard the sadness and hurt in her voice. Silently cursing his idiotic behavior once again, he placed a finger under chin, he tilted her head so he could lock his gaze on hers. “It’s not bad news, Kaylee. Just unexpected.”
Shaking her head again, Kaylee backed away from him and headed for her workbench. Picking up one of her favorite wrenches, she turned to the engine and began fiddling. “You don’t gotta say that, Simon,” she told him, willing her tears to stay in. “I know you don’ wanna have a kid.”
“I don’t know if want really enters into the equation anymore,” he reminded her, noting how her shoulders tensed at his words. “Kaylee, the fact is, you’re pregnant and it’s my child.”
Taking a deep breath, Kaylee dropped her arms to her side, her head hanging for a second as she tried to collect her thoughts. Looking back to him, she asked softly, “You don’t think I know that? I do, Simon. I get it, this is pretty much as permanent as you can get.” Stepping towards him she said, “But that still don’ change the fact that you don’ want this kid.”
“I didn’t say that,” he hastened to explain trying not to flinch as she rolled her eyes at him in annoyance.
“No, you may not o’ used them words, but I’m thinkin’ ‘I can’t be a father’ comes pretty ruttin’ close.” Kaylee’s eyes blazed with a bit of anger. Suddenly, she resented Simon, resented the fact that he could choose to walk away if he wanted to, where as she could not. She would be pregnant for the next nine months, getting heavy, having mood swings, and end up birthing a baby. She literally had no out and she didn’t like the fact that Simon did.
Stepping back from him, her hands raised in a sign of mock surrender, she told him, “You know what, Simon? You go ‘head an’ think on it. Think on whether or not you wanna be a pa. Whether or not you wanna take responsibility for this baby I’m carryin’.” As Simon’s face paled at the harshness of her tone and her dismissal, she bit out, “I’ll just be here, pregnant, ‘cause I ain’t gotta choice.”
Locked in a stalemate, they held each other’s gazes steadily, neither of them at all certain what could or should be said. Simon felt his life slipping away as he watched Kaylee’s stance grow more distant. She was his life and if she pulled away from him now, he wasn’t so certain he would survive it. And she had a point; the responsibility was his. It was finally time for the notoriously boobish Simon Tam to step up and fight for what he had, to admit what he wanted and not let fear guide his actions. He had lived in fear for far too long and it was no way to be.
Moving towards her, Simon watched as Kaylee backed away from him, her back meeting the wall of the room and standing there uncomfortably. Swallowing past the large lump in his throat, Simon said, “Please don’t shut me out.”
“I don’t wan’ ya here if you don’ wanna be,” she retorted, her voice cracking as she realized she was literally opening the door for him to leave her; all he’d have to do was walk through it. “I don’ want you stayin’ with me ‘cause of an accident. If’n you don’t really want me or this baby, Simon, you better jus’ walk away now.”
“No.” The word was spoken softly, but firmly and it took Kaylee completely by surprise. Her eyes widening with shock and then narrowing with suspicion, she crossed her arms over her chest defensively and continued to stare.
Refusing to let her bully him, Simon moved to stand before her and reached out to cup her face in his hands. “No, Kaylee,” he told her softly. “I will not walk away from you. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me, bar none. And I do love you, that’s the truth.”
Biting her lip and trying to keep her tears in, Kaylee could only listen as he continued. “Sure, this is unexpected and took me completely by surprise, but I am in love with you and I don’t see that changing.” Taking one more step towards her, Simon dipped his mouth to meet hers and whispered, “Ever.”
Before she could protest, he pressed his lips to hers, kissing her fervently, doing his best to convince her that he was telling the truth. Kaylee felt her tension ebb away at his touch and she wrapped her arms around him, holding him fiercely, almost desperately, as he continued to kiss her. Parting for air, their foreheads resting against one another, they kept the silence between them for a moment until finally Kaylee asked, “Are you sure, Simon?”
He gazed into her wide green eyes and saw her anxiety, saw the real fear that he was only staying with her out of obligation. Knowing that convincing her otherwise could take a lifetime, Simon wrapped an arm around her shoulders and brought her to her hammock. Sitting with her gingerly on the edge, Simon faced her and said, “Kaylee, when I, reacted before, it wasn’t because of anything you did.”
Her eyes, so open and trusting, pierced his heart and Simon squeezed her hands lightly as he continued. “It was because I was scared. I let my fear override my heart, something I am much too adept at doing and it caused me to react badly. It caused me to hurt you and make you feel unwanted and for that I am truly sorry.”
Leaning forward he brushed a light kiss to her forehead and Kaylee sighed a bit at the touch as she breathed, “I’m real sorry, Simon. I am. I hope you know that.”
Looking to her, he asked, “Sorry for what, bao bei?”
“For this,” she told him, her hand flattening against her stomach. “I shoulda been more careful or somethin’. I didn’t-“
Pressing a finger to her mouth, Simon smiled to her and Kaylee felt her knees grow weak, even as more tears of relief formed in her eyes. “If we’re going to start throwing blame around, than it’s my fault too, Kaylee. You didn’t get pregnant on your own.”
Staring at her for a moment, Simon continued softly, “I wish I could take back my initial reaction. I wish I hadn’t hurt you like that or made you doubt how much you mean to me.” As Kaylee again opened her mouth to protest, Simon simply shook his head once and continued. “But since I can’t, I will tell you every minute of every day if that’s what it takes, that I love you. And we’re going to have a baby.” She smiled slightly, wiping hurriedly at her tears as he told her, “A new little person that is part you and part me. And I can’t …” Pausing for a moment, Simon’s hand rested against her cheek and he smiled as she nuzzled her face into his hand. “I can’t lose you, Kaylee.”
Crying silently, Kaylee wrapped her arms around him and murmured, “I love you so much, Simon.”
Simon held her back just as tightly, feeling the warmth of her against him and saying a silent prayer to the Shepherd that he had not lost her for good. They held each other for quite a while, neither of them at all certain they could let go yet. Simon’s hands rubbed gently along her back and Kaylee sighed at the touch, feeling a million pounds lighter now that she knew they were all right. Pressing a kiss to his cheek, Kaylee waited until his eyes were on hers before she asked softly, “Can I tell ya somethin’?”
Noting her hesitation, Simon brushed some hair off her forehead and told her honestly, “Anything.”
Swallowing thickly, Kaylee confided, “I am scared outta my mind.”
With a small smile, Simon kissed her lightly and again wrapped her to him. “I am too, bao bei. But we’re going to be fine. We’re going to get through this and when all of it’s said and done we’ll have a perfect little life.”
“That’s part you an’ part me,” Kaylee murmured, her head resting against his shoulder.
“Exactly,” Simon told her, pressing a kiss to her forehead. As another long silence stretched between them, Simon finally asked, “I didn’t eat, did you?”
Shaking her head, Kaylee told him, “I wasn’t all that hungry.”
Frowning, Simon rose and pulled her to her feet. “Well, too bad,” he scolded, getting a small giggle from her as he tickled her side. “Because now you’re eating for two. So let’s go get some dinner.”
“Yes sir, Doctor Tam,” Kaylee saluted, grinning widely at him as he wrapped his arm around her waist and led her from the room. “You gonna take care o’ me like this for the next nine months?” she asked quietly, thinking that it didn’t sound so bad.
Kissing the top of her head, Simon asked, “Do you think you can handle it?”
Her smile widening, Kaylee pressed a kiss to his cheek and told him, “Oh yeah, I can handle it.” Winking at him, she murmured, “The question is, can you?”
Saturday, February 23, 2008 8:31 AM
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