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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Kaylee and Simon decide to keep the pregnancy a secret from the rest of the crew. An unexpected turn of events leaves them lost. Simon/Kaylee, River, Mal, Inara. PG-13
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1521 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
A/N: This is the last chapter. Enjoy!
Mal’s booming voice echoed through the cargo bay as he charged up the stairs and towards the engine room. Steadying himself against the wall as the ship again buckled beneath his feet, Mal stifled a curse and sped up, storming into the galley. Meeting Inara’s concerned gaze and Jayne’s uncaring one, Mal questioned, “Where’s my ruttin’ mechanic?”
Shrugging, Jayne continued to clean one of his girls, even as the ship rocked again. Heading towards the hatch that led to the bridge, Mal yelled, “Albatross, hold her steady, would ya?”
“Trying to, captain,” the young woman’s strained voice came back. “Going to need Kaylee’s help though to get her on the ground in one piece.”
“Mal, what’s wrong?” Inara asked quietly, keeping a hand to the table as she rose to meet him.
Whirling on her, Mal gestured around the room, noting a few of the trinkets that had come dislodged as a result of the rocking and told her, “We might be crashin’.” Stalking past her and towards the engine room, he ground out, “I’ll let you know if we die.”
Inara watched Mal go, frowning at his back. Looking to Jayne, the big oaf was still lost in the meticulous task of polishing one of his pistols. Content that he did not suspect anything, Inara hurried from the room and made it to the bridge, watching as River’s lithe arms gripped at the controls. Standing behind the young pilot’s chair, Inara asked quietly, “Is it bad?”
Glancing to her for only a minute, River’s big eyes met Inara’s and she nodded. Focusing back on the task of landing the ship safely, River said softly, “I know she can’t get there right now, but I really need her help.”
Nodding once, Inara took a deep breath and then headed for Simon and Kaylee’s bunk. She hated to bother her friend whom she knew was having terrific bouts of morning sickness, but it appeared that if the young mechanic did not show up in the engine room within minutes, a bit of nausea would be the least of all of their worries.
“Simon, I gotta go.” Kaylee fumbled, reaching for her coveralls as another wave of nausea overwhelmed her. Leaning back over the basin in the corner of Simon’s bunk, she again wretched, panting a bit as she laid her forehead on the cool metal edge of the sink and took a deep breath.
With a light touch, Simon rubbed her back and told her, “Bao bei, you can’t. You haven’t been able to take a step away from that sink for the past twenty minutes.” Sweeping some of her hair back from her face, he gave her a sympathetic smile as she turned to look at him. “You just need to wait it out.”
“I don’t know if we got time for that,” Kaylee told him dryly. As if reinforcing her point, the ship shuddered violently again, causing Kaylee’s stomach to churn and another spill of vomit to come out of her mouth. “You heard the cap’n yellin’. If’n we crash, the cap’n’s gonna kill me,” she wailed, a few tears falling down her face as her love for her ship warred with her deep desire to crawl back into bed until her stomach stopped roiling.
Feeling a bit weak, Kaylee grabbed at the edge of the sink as the ship rocked again and Simon steadied her easily, his arm wrapping around her and guiding her back to the bunk. Sitting her down he reached for a rag, wiping the cool cloth over her face as Kaylee continued to breathe in and out. “I’m sorry, bao bei,” he whispered to her, pressing a kiss to her forehead before sitting beside her, his arm around her shoulders.
With a heavy sigh, Kaylee leaned into his side and said quietly, “Ain’t your fault, sweetie. My mama had terrible mornin’ sickness when she was pregnant with me. It’s just my body, I guess.” Sighing again, Kaylee wrapped her legs up underneath her, burrowing even further into Simon’s side as he tightened his hold on her. “It’ll pass soon ‘nough.”
Marveling at her optimism, Simon pressed a kiss into her hair and was about to suggest she try to go back to sleep when a light knock sounded on his screen. As both of them turned their eyes to the door, Inara’s voice could be heard, calling, “Kaylee?”
Whimpering softly as she realized things must really be bad if Inara was seeking her out, Kaylee fell onto the bed as Simon rose and answered the door. Sliding back the screen, he told the other woman, “Inara, it’s really not a good morning.”
As the ship buckled again, Inara rolled her eyes and answered sarcastically. “No kidding.” Looking over his shoulder, her features softened at the pathetic sight of her mei mei. Bringing her eyes back to Simon, she said quietly, “River says she needs Kaylee’s help.”
Sighing lightly, Simon knew they were really in trouble. River was well aware of how much Kaylee had been suffering over the past three weeks as her morning sickness had gotten worse and she had done a great job of running interference for the other woman and for Simon. Neither of the soon-to-be parents was ready to announce their news and it was only with River and Inara’s help in keeping the secret that they had managed so far.
Nodding once, Simon smiled to Inara, and then slid the door shut, turning back to Kaylee. Moving to her side, he placed a light hand to her back and said softly, “Kaylee?”
“I told ya it was bad,” she murmured, forcing her eyes open. Working herself into a sitting position, she got her bearings for a moment as Simon collected her coveralls. Helping her dress, he watched as Kaylee’s face paled at the added movement, his concern for her growing again.
“All right, let’s go,” Simon told her, wrapping an arm around her waist.
Pushing him away, Kaylee told him, “No, Simon. I gotta go on my own or the cap’n’s gonna get suspicious.”
Frowning, Simon shook his head lightly, “Kaylee, I don’t know-“
“Simon, I’ll be fine,” Kaylee told him firmly. Meeting his still concerned gaze, she smiled weakly and added, “You know I love you for carin’, but until we figure out what exactly we’re gonna say, I think actin’ as normal as possible is for the best.”
Simon nodded once, brushing a kiss to her mouth and whispering, “Can I come check on you later?”
Smiling at him with a small twinkle in her eyes, Kaylee murmured, “You better,” before turning and heading from their bunk and towards the engine.
“Well, ain’t it nice o’ you to join us?” Mal spat sarcastically as Kaylee slowly descended into the engine room.
Turning a wary look to him, Kaylee moved towards the comm, and punched it on. “What’d we got, River?”
“I think it’s the entry couplings,” the other woman’s tinny voice answered. “Can you take a look?”
Kaylee nodded needlessly to the speaker and then turned to the engine, doing her best to ignore Mal’s glower as he watched her, arms over his chest. Doing her best to walk and act normally, Kaylee peered into Serenity’s spinning heart and saw what was causing the problem.
Jumping back slightly as a few sparks erupted, Kaylee called toward the comm, “River, let up on the descent. We’re burnin’ out.”
The pilot did not answer, but within seconds Kaylee could feel the ship slow down, and she breathed a small sigh of relief. Looking back to the offending machinery, Kaylee made a few adjustments, trying to keep her mind from swimming as she felt another wave of nausea rise up her throat. With a sigh, she regarded her work and then called out, “All right, River. Take her in.”
As River eased the ship back up to speed, Kaylee watched the couplings, looking for any additional sparking or smoking. Not seeing any, she let out a sigh, and turned to the captain. “Righ’ an’ shiny,” she announced, moving to her work bench and starting to put away her tools.
Frowning, Mal was obviously not convinced. Striding towards the comm he asked River, “Albatross? We gonna make it?”
“We’re scheduled to land at the Eavesdown Docks in ten minutes, Captain,” the younger woman answered confidently. “Nice work, Kaylee.”
“Thanks sweetie,” Kaylee said with a small smile. Giving the room one final once over, Kaylee moved to go, passing Mal on the way. “See ya at lunch, cap’n.”
“Kaylee,” Mal called lightly as she passed him.
Taking a deep breath, Kaylee turned to him slowly and fixed him with a smile, not one of her usual ones, but a smile nonetheless. “Yeah?”
“You all right?” he asked quietly, taking a step towards her and resting a hand to her shoulder. “It ain’t like you to not come runnin’ when you’re baby’s not workin’ smooth.”
Swallowing hard at just hearing the word ‘baby’ come from Mal’s lips, Kaylee had to remind herself that he was talking about the engine. “I’m fine, cap,” she told him brightly, masking her discomfort. Guessing of a way to keep Mal from asking any further questions, Kaylee leaned forward and confided, “Me an’ Simon ain’t been sleepin’ much.”
Mal retracted his hand from her shoulder instantly, his face contorting into a deadlier look. “You an’ the doc,” he barked, eyes blazing. “I don’t even … I oughta … I’m gonna have a talk with that boy,” he finally said, wagging a finger in her face before leaving the room.
Watching him go, Kaylee let out a small sigh, before sinking into her hammock, a hand resting lightly on her stomach. “Oh, lil’ one, we got some interestin’ times ahead o’ us,” Kaylee murmured to the new life before falling into a fitful sleep.
The job was fairly easy or at least relatively speaking it was. Mal, Zoe, Jayne and River had already contacted Badger, making the necessary arrangements so they could be on and off Persephone within twelve hours. Since Miranda, it always seemed that the less time they spent in any one place, the better.
Mal glanced to his crew, watching as Jayne did everything he could think of to keep his distance from River. Frowning at his mercenary and wondering if perhaps they needed to have another talk, he started slightly as Zoe told him, “Jayne ain’t done nothin’. I’d leave it be unless you want ‘em together.”
Turning to his first mate with a look of pure disbelief, Mal steered the mule through the crowded market and asked her, “Are you ruttin’ crazy? That’s the last thing I want.”
Smiling slightly, Zoe focused her eyes back front and told him, “Sure it is.”
About to argue, Mal knew it wasn’t worth it. Zoe could think whatever she wanted, but he knew the truth. If anything happened between Jayne and his new pilot, Mal would knock some heads together, starting with Jayne’s. Completing their journey to the meet in silence, within three hours they were done, coin in hand.
Jayne beat a path to the nearest whorehouse, desperate for some trim and while Mal thought about giving him a hard time, he let it go. At least if he was getting his satisfaction from some whore, he wouldn’t be getting it from River.
Turning to ask the younger woman if she wanted to get lunch with him and Zoe, Mal was greeted by empty space. Looking to Zoe as the woman readjusted a few things on the mule, he asked, “You seen River?”
Nodding, she answered, “Said she had somethin’ to do. Said she’d meet us back on board the ship.”
“Huh.” Mal wondered if River out wondering by her lonesome was a smart idea. Knowing that she had been much better since Miranda and that she could full well take care of herself, he shrugged off his concern and asked Zoe, “So, you wanna get some grub?”
“Everythin’s okay, right?” Kaylee asked softly, watching Simon’s face closely for an adverse reaction.
Placing his stethoscope around his neck, Simon smiled at her as he brushed her hair off her forehead. Leaning towards her, he assured, “Yes, bao bei, everything’s fine. You and the baby both are doing great.”
Releasing a huge sigh of relief, Kaylee closed her eyes for a moment. When they reopened to Simon they were sparkling, setting off the bright smile that had spread across her face. Reaching for his hand, she allowed him to pull her up into a sitting position. As soon as she could Kaylee wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him tight to her. “Thanks for takin’ such good care o’ us.”
Returning her embrace with a fierce one of his own, Simon pressed a kiss to her temple. “You’re the one doing all the work,” he told her, his lips brushing against her ear as he spoke. “I’m just watching your progress.”
Frowning a bit, Kaylee leaned back to meet his blue-eyed gaze and told him earnestly, “That ain’t true, Simon. This past month has been all kinds o’ stressful, but you’ve been so great. An’ I love you for that.”
Running a hand down her cheek, Simon brought his lips to hers and told her, “I love you for everything.”
Giggling lightly, Kaylee returned the kiss, moving her tongue into his mouth as she wrapped her legs around him, pulling him tight to her. Simon’s gentle hands, moved along her back, holding her close and Kaylee sighed against the sensation.
Easily lost in the touch and nearness of one another, the young couple did not hear River approach, standing in the doorway, a package behind her back. Watching them suck on each other’s faces for only a moment, the younger woman finally cleared her throat loudly and got their attention.
Parting swiftly, Simon face blushed red while Kaylee just smiled wide at his mei mei. “Hey, sweetie. Everythin’ go okay?”
Nodding once, River could not keep the huge grin from her features as she bounced into the room and stood next to them. As her eyes looked between them both, Simon and Kaylee also shared a look and it was her brother who questioned, “Is there something you need to tell us, mei mei?”
Taking the paper-wrapped package from behind her back, River told them proudly, “I got you a present.” As Kaylee gingerly took it, River corrected herself, “Actually, it’s for my-“ Pausing abruptly as she realized she could give away the sex of the baby, River simply told them, “Well, it’s for the baby.”
“Well, thanks sweetie,” Kaylee said softly, holding the package in her lap and looking to Simon.
“Yes, River, thank you,” Simon said, leaning towards her and pressing a kiss to her cheek. “That was very kind of you.”
River simply smiled at the compliment and then waited. When neither young parent made a move to unwrap it, she sighed, “Well, you have to open it.”
Running her fingers lightly over the paper package, Kaylee smiled to her again and then pulled the paper away, uncovering a beautiful and soft green blanket underneath. A mint green fleece in the center, it was edged with a thick band of matching green silk that Kaylee gently ran her fingers along.
With a few tears pooling in her eyes, the mom-to-be looked back to River and breathed, “Sweetie, it’s beautiful.”
Reaching out and taking the blanket from Kaylee’s hands, Simon agreed. “Yes, River, it’s lovely. Thank you.”
Glad they liked it, River reminded them, “Just make sure the baby knows that its Aunt River was the first one to get them a present.” And with that the young woman bounded out of the room on light feet.
They both watched her go, touched by River’s thoughtfulness. As Simon thought of what a wonderful aunt his sister would be, he brought his gaze back to Kaylee, and watched as she fingered the blanket, her eyes never leaving the fabric. Placing his hand over hers, Simon asked quietly, “Bao bei, are you all right?”
“It’s so soft,” Kaylee murmured, finally raising her eyes to his face. “Ain’t nothin’ else on Serenity’s soft.” Concern in her gaze, she asked urgently, “How we gonna keep the baby safe? The ship’s so sharp an’ hard an’ cold.”
Smiling softly, Simon helped her down off the table and led her out to the couch across from the infirmary. As they resettled, Kaylee leaning into his side, the blanket still clutched tightly in her hands, Simon told her, “We will. Once we tell the captain, Mal will think of ways for us to baby-proof the ship.”
“If he don’t kick us off first,” Kaylee murmured, taking a deep breath.
Slightly surprised by the sarcasm in her tone, Simon asked, “Do you really think he would?”
With a sigh, Kaylee smoothed the blanket into her lap and looked to him sadly. “I don’t know. I jus’ know he ain’t gonna like the thought of a baby on his boat an’ …” One tear fell down her cheek and Kaylee wiped at it quickly. Squeezing Kaylee a bit tighter to his side, Simon gave her silent encouragement and she finally said softly, “I don’ wanna leave Serenity, not yet.”
“Then we won’t,” Simon assured her, tilting her chin up so he could look into her deep green eyes. “Mal knows you are the best mechanic in the ‘verse and he knows he really can’t afford to lose his medic,” Simon reminded her wryly, getting a small smile. “I think he’ll react a bit more favorably than you’re imagining.”
With a roll of her eyes, Kaylee clearly did not believe him. “O’ course, in order for us to find out, we’re gonna have to tell ‘im.”
Grimacing, Simon sighed heavily and said, “I know.”
It was the same discussion they had been having for four weeks. Kaylee was just a little over a month along when she realized she was pregnant. Now, at a little over two, she was not showing yet and probably wouldn’t for another six weeks, and while they were both grateful for the cushion this allowed them in making the announcement, it was really just an excuse for them both to prolong the inevitable.
“We oughta tell ‘im sooner rather than later,” Kaylee said softly, searching Simon’s face for support. “The longer he’s got to get used to the idea, the better off we’ll be.”
“I suppose,” Simon said softly, wishing that his stomach did not churn so violently at the thought of telling Mal he had gotten Kaylee pregnant. Pressing a kiss into her hair as he pulled her against his side once again Simon told her, “You say the word, and we’ll tell him. All right?”
Nodding, Kaylee brushed a kiss against his cheek and said, “It’ll be okay, right?”
“Of course,” Simon said quickly wishing he truly believed it.
“Did you have a nice time, Jayne?”
River’s lilting voice assaulted him the minute he stepped into the cargo bay, but Jayne didn’t care. He had had a great time, if the little witch really wanted to know.
With a wide grin, he looked up to the right and saw her leaning far over the railing above. “I did, thank you very much. Found myself a right gorgeous whore,” Jayne boasted, his chest puffing out. Of course, his lady friend had looked exactly like River, but Jayne wasn’t telling her that – or that he’d made a special request.
Moving quickly from the room, Jayne missed the big grin that lit River’s face as she watched him go with a sigh. “But she wasn’t me,” River whispered softly, delighting in the fact that she really had managed to get under the big man’s skin.
“Take us outta the world, lil’ one.” Mal was in a pretty good mood. He’d had real food today, done a job, been paid and not gotten shot. All and all, not too bad. Night had already descended on Persephone so River pulled them up and through the sky, passing through some low-lying clouds, as they headed for the black.
Watching her progress and content that everything was as it should be, Mal turned to go, falling forward as the ship rolled violently to one side. Rising unsteadily, he held a hand to his face, pulling back bloody fingers from the gash along his cheek. Turning to look at River, he watched as the young woman shook, her hands gripping the controls, her face white as a sheet.
“What in the sphincter o’ hell was that?” He bellowed.
Before she could answer the ship shuddered again, this time a large boom sounding through their ears. Whirling, Mal knew the sound of an explosion when he heard one and not waiting for an answer, he sprinted towards the engine room.
River could only sit, frozen with pain and shock as she guided the ship back to the surface and waited for the grieving to begin.
Kaylee was in the engine room, feeling a hundred percent better than she had that morning. This morning’s landing hiccup notwithstanding, Kaylee knew that her baby, her first baby, was indeed being neglected. The young mechanic had vowed to stay and check over each part so that she could know that Serenity was in perfect health.
Simon, ever the concerned doctor and boyfriend, had warned her not to overdo it, but Kaylee had just smiled that wide grin and kissed him, telling him she would be fine. As the engine had begun to spin, Kaylee had stepped back a bit, circling the large heart slowly to get a good look. With a critical eye, Kaylee saw something towards the back she didn’t like and stepping forward, she saw the problem upon closer inspection.
Her face paling as she realized just how dire the situation could be, Kaylee turned to call the bridge as the engine sparked and Kaylee let out a small cry as the hot embers burned through her shirt. Turning with wide eyes to again regard the machinery, the last thing she saw was a blossom of flame before the couplings on the engine casing blew.
Simon was in the infirmary, restocking some of the supplies the captain had picked up for him when the ship buckled. His concern instantly spiking, he was out the door and up the stairs, heading for the engine room when he heard the explosion. Falling onto his knees, Simon bit out a curse as pain shot through them at the impact. But as he saw Mal rushing forward from the bridge and smelled the acrid smoke of an electrical fire, Simon pushed himself up and sprinted down the hall, beating Mal to the engine room.
Skidding to a halt on the threshold, Simon covered his mouth and nose with his sleeve, doing his best to keep from inhaling too much. His eyes watering as the white smoke stung his eyes, Simon searched the room frantically.
“Kaylee!” he shouted, choking as he inhaled a bit of smoke. Mal, at his back, was also searching the room for any sign of his mei mei. Catching a glimpse, he pointed and yelled to Simon over the sound of the alarms. “There!” Pushing roughly on the younger man’s shoulder, he told him, “You get ‘er an’ I’ll put out that fire.”
Simon barely heard him, his mind and body operating on auto-pilot as the fear he felt for Kaylee and their unborn child gripped his heart. Had he not been a trauma surgeon, trained for such an emergency as the one he was confronted with now, he knew the numbness he felt would have overpowered him.
Lunging forward, he knelt at Kaylee’s side, coughing as more smoke filled his lungs. Scooping her up and into his arms, he tried to ignore the large gash along her forehead gushing blood and the sight of her burned, bare arms. Trying to ignore the dread he felt rising in his gut, he simply held her tightly to him and raced from the room.
Simon wasn’t fully aware of anything. The only thing he could concentrate on, the only thing that mattered to him was Kaylee. Edging closer to her, he checked the monitors surrounding her bed, reading them with a practiced eye in a matter of seconds. Knowing that she was stable, Simon again looked to her face and blinked rapidly to refocus his eyes. Careful of her head wound, Simon rested a hand to her cheek and kissed her lightly.
“Oh, Kaylee,” he whispered against her lips. “You scared me today, bao bei.” Caressing her cheek lightly with his thumb, he told her, “I love you.”
She did not stir and Simon figured it was for the best. He did not want to think about the pain, both physical and emotional, that she would suffer through once she was awake. The second degree burns on her arms were bad, however, Simon had insisted they get her to a real medical facility, where they were now and the doctors had been able to salvage much of the skin, while also performing skin grafts. The cut on her forehead had required stitches, which Simon had taken care of on board Serenity, but she was suffering from a pretty severe concussion that the doctors were monitoring closely. She had various other contusions and abrasions that would cause her quite a bit of discomfort as she healed.
But it all paled in comparison to the knowledge that she had lost the baby. With a heavy sigh, Simon’s eyes traveled from her face to her mid-section and he blinked back a tear at the thought that their child was dead. Given the trauma Kaylee had suffered, Simon had been relieved to know that she hadn’t suffered any permanent damage, but he knew that his bao bei, the most loving person he had ever met would feel and grieve for their loss deeply and Simon could only hope he would be strong enough to see her through it.
Continuing to stare, Simon did not hear Inara enter the room. The companion had piloted the young couple to the medical facility with Mal in tow, the captain refusing to be separated from his mechanic. Sharing several significant glances on the way here, Inara already suspected that Kaylee was no longer pregnant and as soon as she saw Simon’s slumped and defeated form at Kaylee’s side, she knew she was right.
Blinking back tears at her mei mei’s loss and the doctor’s pain, Inara moved to his side and placed a light hand to his shoulder. Simon did not turn at the touch, keeping his eyes locked on Kaylee’s face. Quietly, Inara told him, “The doctors have said she should be fine. They’re expecting her to wake in a few hours.”
Simon gave no reaction and Inara wasn’t sure what she had been expecting. Looking past him to Kaylee, she took a deep breath and confided, “She’s going to need you Simon, more than she ever has before.”
Nodding once, Simon brought Kaylee’s hand he was holding to his lips and kissed it softly. “I need her,” he said hoarsely, his voice betraying the depth of his emotion.
Inara had no other words, no other comfort to provide and so, on silent feet, she left the room. Once in the hallway, Inara rested against the wall heavily, her head falling into her hands as a few of her tears escaped her tightly shut eyelids. It wasn’t fair. No one deserved to suffer, but out of all of them, Kaylee deserved it less than anyone.
Looking up sharply, Inara wiped at her face and met Mal’s puzzled gaze. Taking a step towards her, he asked softly, “Is Kaylee all right?”
Nodding, Inara waited a moment to collect herself, before she answered. “Yes, she should be fine.”
Even more confused, Mal reached out hesitantly and brushed his thumb along her cheek, wiping away a few of her tears. “Then what’s this all about?” he asked quietly.
Straightening to her full height, Inara tried to shrug it off. “Just a delayed reaction I guess. It was a trying day,” she reminded him.
Attempting to move away from him and avoid any further questions, Inara was surprised when Mal’s hand wrapped around her arm. Bringing her eyes to his, Inara inhaled sharply as she realized how close he was. Her breathing grew shallow as he took a step even closer and lowered his voice. “You gonna tell me what’s really botherin’ ya or not?”
Swallowing hard, Inara did her best to stifle the urge to tell him the truth. Knowing it wasn’t her secret, she dropped her eyes from his and said softly, “I just hate seeing Kaylee hurt. She … she doesn’t deserve it.” Her voice ending in a whisper as another tear fell, Mal sighed quietly and without even thinking pulled her into a tight embrace.
Inara tensed for a moment in his hold, not expecting his intimacy, but within seconds she’d wrapped her arms around him, burying her face against his shoulder. Inhaling deeply, she tried to burn the smell of old leather and gun powder into her mind; it was so Mal.
Saying nothing, they both stood in each other’s arms for a long while, thinking only of Kaylee so they wouldn’t have to worry about the consequences of their current closeness.
Kaylee could not open her eyes; they were too heavy and she found the thought of pulling her eyelids up a severely taxing one. Besides, at the moment, she was using all of her limited energy to suppress the cry of pain she felt rising in her throat as her body awoke fully and her injuries finally registered.
Confusion and fear mixing with her pain, Kaylee forced her eyes open, blinking rapidly against the bright light and croaked, “Simon.”
“I’m here.” His soft, reassuring voice immediately eased her fear and Kaylee let out a tiny sigh of relief. Trying to turn her head to look at him, she yelped slightly as the movement caused the dull ache in her head to turn into a sharp throb.
“Shh, don’t try to move, bao bei,” Simon told her gently, his hand resting against her face. Rising, he hovered above her, so she could see him without changing position. “You’ve sustained some pretty serious injuries. You need to lie still.”
Swallowing hard in an effort to speak again, Kaylee focused her watery eyes on him and asked, “Is the ship okay?”
Smiling slightly, Simon told her, “Yes. River was able to land without causing any further damage.”
Closing her eyes, Kaylee was grateful for that news. Her head still spinning as her pain spiked again, she asked, “Where are we?”
“In a clinic on Persephone,” Simon explained, his hand running gently through her hair. “You needed medical attention.”
Her eyes snapping open and going wide, Kaylee’s chest began to heave as she realized what Simon had not said and what she should have realized the minute she woke up. Trying to reach for his hand and causing more pain to shoot through her burned limbs, she breathed, “The baby?”
Simon’s throat constricted at the sound of pure fear in her voice. As her eyes grew bigger and pooled with tears, all he could do was shake his head slightly and murmur, “The baby’s gone, Kaylee.”
Squeezing her eyes shut, Kaylee felt hot tears roll down her cheeks. Even as the salt water stung the wounds on her face and her head and chest ached more intensely with her sobs, she could not hold back her emotions. Unable to move, unable to turn away, Kaylee felt such overwhelming grief she felt certain she might faint from the shock.
Simon watched her, his concern skyrocketing as her monitors began to protest. Glancing to them quickly, Simon told her, “Kaylee, you need to breathe. You need to calm down.”
“I can’t,” she panted, blinking her eyes open as her vision became clouded with black. “I can’t. Simon?”
A sharp wail signaled what Simon already knew to be true, Kaylee was fighting to breathe, her body suffering the shock of her physical trauma. He held tight to her hand as the doctors and nurses rushed into the room, one of them finally pushing him out of the way and ordering him to stand outside.
Overwhelmed finally by fear and sadness, Simon sank down to the floor, his knees to his chest and his head in his hands as he waited for these strangers to save his bao bei’s life.
Mal and Inara hurried towards Simon as the doctor finished briefing him on Kaylee’s condition. Moving to the young man’s side, Inara heard the older doctor tell him, “I’ve given her a sedative for the time being. Her body can’t take the stress of another reaction like that.”
Nodding glumly, Simon cast his eyes to the floor and let out a heavy sigh. “Thank you, doctor.”
Giving the distraught man a sympathetic grin and nodding curtly to Inara and Mal he then moved off down the hall, leaving the three crewmen in the midst of a tense silence. Watching Simon closely, noting how the younger man was struggling to keep all of his emotions in check, Inara rested a light hand to his shoulder and asked softly, “Will she be all right?”
With another deep breath, Simon raised weary eyes to her and said quietly, “She should. She just needs rest and before …” Trailing off, Simon looked hesitantly to Mal and then back to Inara, the quick glance conveying to the other woman all she needed to know. “She hyperventilated before and it sent her system into shock.”
“What’d ya say t’her?”
Mal’s biting voice drew both sets of eyes to him and Simon actually flinched under the intensity of the other man’s gaze. He wasn’t up for this, not now. But whether Mal couldn’t recognize the pain his medic was suffering or he just didn’t care was hard to tell.
“What?” Simon asked tiredly.
“You musta said somethin’ to set her off,” Mal accused, taking a step closer so their noses were almost touching. “What stupid fool thing’d ya say now?”
“Mal,” Inara intoned warningly, stepping forward and placing a light hand to his chest. “I think you need to calm down.”
Shrugging off her touch, Mal continued to glare at Simon and said, “No. I wanna know what was so fool important Simon had to risk Kaylee’s health – again.”
“Again?” Simon’s voice was incredulous, his eyes widening in disbelief. Rubbing a hand along the back of his neck, he felt his body growing more weary under the weight of his grief and the secret he was keeping.
“Maybe if she’d been sleepin’ regular,” Mal began, his voice a growl as he again stepped into Simon’s face. “’Stead o’ actin’ like your personal ruttin’ machine, the engine wouldn’t o’ blown. Maybe if you’da respected the fact that Kaylee has a job to do on my boat that don’t involve sexin’ you, she wouldn’t even be in here right now.”
His tiredness evolving into anger in a second, Simon’s eyes blazed as he told the other man, “Maybe if you’d been able to respect the fact that I love Kaylee and Kaylee loves me she wouldn’t have felt she needed to-“
Breaking off suddenly, Simon’s chest heaved as he fought to keep their secret. It seemed foolish to bring it up now, knowing that the imminent arrival of a baby on Serenity no longer had anything to do with the captain. It was a private grief, between Simon and Kaylee and while he felt the need to protect it, he also felt the very real need to give back to Mal as good as he’d gotten.
“What Simon?” Mal challenged, not backing down and ignoring Inara’s urgent tug on his arm. “What does my disrespect o’ your relationship gotta do with this?”
Breathing in slowly, when Simon returned his eyes to Mal’s face they were swirling pools of anger, sadness and pain and even the captain could recognize that. “Kaylee was tired because she was pregnant. We didn’t know how to tell you. She was worried you’d kick her off the ship. So before you blame me for this accident, maybe you’d better think about what your bellowing and threatening has cost the people you claim to care about most.”
As Mal staggered back a bit at this news, Simon continued in a measured voice, “Kaylee got upset before because I had to tell her our baby was dead.”
Holding the older man’s gaze for only a moment more, Simon let the silence weigh heavily on him before taking a step back and murmuring, “Excuse me,” to Inara, and returning to Kaylee’s side.
Mal watched his medic go, completely at a loss. Kaylee had been pregnant, with Simon’s baby and now, she was sedated, lying in a hospital bed, no longer expecting a child. Staring dumbly at where Simon had been standing, Mal could only ask quietly, “Was pregnant?”
Inara glared at him, her own anger at his callous behavior boiling her blood. How he could be so uncaring towards Simon, after all the other man had been through, after all he had done for all of them, Kaylee least of all, Inara could not understand. Pursing her lips, she told him, “Yes, you idiot. Was.”
Her eyes burning into him for a second more, Inara finally strode away in a huff, leaving Mal to stare at nothing and stew in his own sadness.
One week later
Kaylee awoke in the bunk she shared with Simon, tears already running down her cheeks. It was a constant state of being for her now, crying, and Kaylee could not remember a time in the past week when her eyes had not been red and puffy.
Simon had done all he could think of and all she would let him do, and Kaylee knew it was hurting him deeply whenever she pushed him away. But the sadness she felt far outweighed her love for him and while Kaylee had tried to share her grief with Simon, she had been unable to truly express all she was feeling.
Sighing, she raised stiff arms to her face, wincing slightly as the motion caused her still healing skin to pull taut. Her arms were wrapped in bandages and Kaylee feared what they would look like when Simon finally uncovered them. He had assured her that no one would ever be able to tell she had been burned, but Kaylee doubted that; if the pain were any indication, the damage was pretty bad.
Sitting up slowly, Kaylee sighed heavily, wishing that Simon were there. He had stayed by her side every minute she’d been in the hospital, but now that they were back on board, he had other things to attend to, and while he was with her more hours out of the day than not, his absence at this moment hit her particularly hard.
Hearing the shuffle of feet outside, Kaylee felt her heart flip over in anticipation, hoping it would be Simon. But the small voice that asked for entrance did not belong to her swai boyfriend. “Kaylee, it’s River. Can I come in?”
“Sure sweetie,” Kaylee answered, smoothing the sheets over her lap and fluffing her hair. She assumed she looked a mess, but knowing that River would not care, she simply gave up and waited.
With a timid step and a small smile, River slid open the screen, leaving it ajar as she moved to Kaylee’s bedside and took a seat. Reaching for her hand and squeezing it gently, River’s wide, brown eyes bored into Kaylee, making the other woman increasingly uncomfortable.
Pulling her hand away and dropping her eyes to study her lap, Kaylee asked, “Did ya need somethin’ sweetie?”
Blinking back tears as a fresh wave of the grieving mother’s pain stabbed her heart, River said quietly, “Have to help.”
“Help who?” Kaylee asked, her voice small as she brought concerned eyes back to River’s conflicted face. “Is somebody in trouble?”
Nodding once, River reached for Kaylee’s hands again, this time holding onto them both firmly and saying, “You.”
Swallowing thickly, Kaylee stared at her for a moment and then said, “No, sweetie. I’m gonna be fine, even Simon says.” Dropping her voice to a whisper, she added, “I don’t need any help.”
With a heavy sigh, River felt Kaylee retreat into her denial and knew that this would be difficult. She had thought that perhaps confronting the woman outright would help to break loose the pain and grief she still had not let go of, but as it had been with her brother, River was going to have to do something a bit more drastic so that Kaylee could accept her loss and truly move on.
Releasing her hands, River rose and Kaylee prayed the girl would leave. She felt more tears falling, and she wiped at them hurriedly, more simply falling behind them. She watched with mild curiosity as River, instead of heading for the door, went towards the dresser she shared with Simon and pulled open a middle drawer. Inhaling sharply, the protest rose on Kaylee’s lips, but her voice abandoned her and so she was powerless to say anything as River reached in and pulled something out.
Turning back to Kaylee with a look of pure sadness, she held out the material and told her, “You have to say goodbye.”
“Give that to me,” Kaylee bit out, reaching for the baby blanket and snatching it from River. Holding it tightly to her chest, Kaylee cried harder and finally managed to order, “Get out.”
River held her ground, her own tears falling as Kaylee’s emotions, raw and real bubbled to the surface. Her vulnerability causing her to spiral quickly out of control, Kaylee buried her face into the soft blanket and sobbed heavily. Feeling guilt for causing such a reaction, no matter how necessary, River took a step towards the woman’s trembling form laying a light hand to her shoulder.
At the touch, Kaylee jerked back violently and raised burning eyes to the girl. “Get out!” The shout was loud and painful and River jumped in spite of herself.
Turning and giving her brother an apologetic look, she moved to him and said quietly, “She needs you now. Stay with her.” Glancing over her shoulder at the still wailing woman, River knew the next few minutes would get much worse before they got better. Looking back to her brother, she squeezed his arm gently and said, “No matter what.”
As River retreated quickly, Simon stared off after her for only a moment, his primary concern at the moment helping Kaylee. Moving into their bunk, he slid the screen shut and moved to her side, holding her lightly by the shoulders. His breath caught in his throat as he saw what she was so desperately clutching.
Before he could question it, she raised pained eyes to him and said, “River had no business gettin’ this out.” Hiccupping as her sobs subsided, Kaylee stared back at the soft green fabric and murmured, “She ain’t got no right.”
Simon did not know what to do. It was a feeling he was getting fairly accustomed to and while he did not like it, he was also powerless to change it. The sight of the baby blanket wrapped in her hands cut him to the quick. They had only known for a little over a month that they would be parents, but Simon had quickly warmed to the fact that he would be a father. That Kaylee would be the mother of his child, forever linking the two of them together. And while River had only given them the gift a few days before the accident, Simon had already envisioned his son or daughter snuggled inside it as he cradled the baby to his chest and rocked the little one to sleep.
Blinking back fresh tears of his own, Simon moved his hands from Kaylee’s shoulders and cradled her face. Her eyes slowly focusing on him, Kaylee saw her own pain and grief reflected in his blue eyes and inhaled sharply, fresh tears pooling and falling silently. “I don’t know what to do,” she finally admitted, her voice barely more than a whisper.
Embracing her tightly, Simon pulled Kaylee into his chest, holding her firmly even as she tensed against him. He would not let her push him away, not any more. Regardless of what she did or said, Simon needed her and he needed her to mourn with him. He had been suffering on his own and it was quickly becoming too much.
Pressing a kiss to her temple, Simon whispered in her ear, “I love you,” hoping it would be the right thing to say.
Apparently it was. In an instant, Kaylee fell into him heavily, her entire body shaking with the weight of more tears. Simon held her firmly, his own tears falling into her soft hair.
“I keep thinkin’ I coulda done somethin’ different,” Kaylee cried, her voice thick with sobs. “I shoulda known somethin’ was wrong. I shoulda not-“
“Kaylee,” Simon said urgently, pulling her back from him and pressing a finger to her mouth. “Don’t,” he told her quietly, his eyes begging her to stop placing blame. “Don’t do this, please. It was an accident, there was nothing you could have done differently.”
“But I was carryin’ the baby,” she hastened to explain, her own tone imploring him to see reason. “It was my job to keep our baby safe an’ I didn’t.”
“No,” Simon said softly, his hands again holding her face, his forehead resting against hers. Letting out a quiet sigh, he said, “Kaylee, this is not your fault.”
“Yes it is,” she whispered. “It is, Simon. It is my fault.”
Shaking his head, Simon told her, “No, Kaylee, it’s not. Please, please don’t do this to yourself.”
“I gotta blame somebody,” she responded, her voice dropping an octave, her tone growing hard. “There’s gotta be a reason our baby died.”
Running his hands along her cheeks, Simon studied her cold gaze and asked, “Why?”
“’Cause I wanna be mad,” she confided, focusing her gaze on his and sending a shiver up his spine. “I wanna be mad ‘bout it so I don’t hafta …” Hearing the tone in her voice and feeling the way her mind and heart shut down at this admission, Kaylee felt a cold tingle spread out from the center of her chest and reach her limbs. This wasn’t her, she knew that, but faced with the option of sadness, she would rather be angry, regardless of what the long term effects might be.
Trembling as that cold feeling only worsened, Kaylee felt relief as Simon wrapped his arms around her, keeping her warm. “Being mad won’t bring our child back, Kaylee,” he said softly. “And neither will blaming yourself.”
Inhaling a shaky breath, Kaylee knew he was right. But her anger masked the pain and she knew, based on this last week that pain was debilitating. At least angry, she could still function. Maybe not love or laugh as she once did, but she could survive.
“It don’t matter,” she told him quietly, her voice muffled as she rested her head on his shoulder. “I wanna be angry.”
“Well, I don’t,” Simon admitted, leaning back from her with a tortured expression on his face. “I don’t, Kaylee. I’ve been angry and you know what? It doesn’t help. It only hurts more in the end. And I can’t stand to live through that again, and I couldn’t stand to see you live through it either.”
“Did it ever occur to you that grievin’ is personal?” Kaylee’s eyes flashed with resentment and she backed completely out of Simon’s embrace. “I can be mad if’n I wanna.”
Simon opened his mouth to speak and then closed it again. She was right, she could be mad and there would be nothing he could do; but Simon needed her to grieve so that he could, he needed her to let that anger go so that he would know it was all right to be sad, to be hurt, that it was all right to feel the overwhelming pain that beat in his chest where his heart should be.
As she continued to stare daggers at him, Simon felt his heart breaking, sinking in pieces to the soles of his feet. With a heavy sigh, he said quietly, “Kaylee, you’re right, mourning is very personal and everyone deals with it in their own way.” Nodding resolutely at his assessment and glad that she had won the battle, Kaylee continued to glare at him as he admitted softly, “But being angry all the time, it … I can’t take that.” Raising his eyes back to her face, Simon took her gently by the shoulders again and whispered, “I need you. I need your help to get through this.” Searching her eyes for answers, Simon watched as they widened again at his show of vulnerability. With a pleading whisper, he told her, “Please, Kaylee, help me through this. Help me say goodbye.”
Her eyes locked onto his, Kaylee really studied him for the first time in days and saw all of what he had been struggling to hide. Simon was suffering, just as she was, and while Kaylee may have known that, in the back of her mind, his plea for help and his intense gaze drove the point home so hard it hurt. Cupping his face in her hands, Kaylee told him quietly, “Oh, Simon. I’m so sorry.”
Wrapping her arms around his neck, she held him to her instead, and felt his body shake as he sobbed into her shoulder. And Kaylee cried again as well. Hearing Simon release his hurt, she felt that last inner well of anger fade away. It had only been a stop gap really, a construct she had fabricated to mask her all-encompassing pain. It had not been formed to withstand the strain of true love, of Simon’s love for her and hers for him.
How long they cried together, they didn’t know. Simon held onto Kaylee fiercely, determined not to let her go. She had barely let him touch her in the past week and the feeling of her now, wrapped around him, offered him more comfort and solace than he had ever thought possible.
Pulling back slightly, Simon brushed away a few of her tears before pressing a light kiss to her mouth. As they parted, he murmured, “I love you.”
Wrapping him to her tightly once more, Kaylee told him, “I love you too, Simon.” Biting her lip as another fear gripped her, she breathed against his cheek, “We’re gonna be okay, right?”
His heart beating sharply against his rib cage, Simon swallowed thickly as he leaned back and took in the sight of her beautiful face. “I love you,” he repeated firmly. “And I will always love you, I know that. I knew that the minute you smiled at me.” Caressing her cheek lightly, he told her, “We’ll get through this and we’ll be stronger for it.”
“An’ we can try again?” Kaylee asked hopefully, a twinkle lighting her eyes for the first time in days.
With a small smile, Simon nodded. “Yes, of course. I want to be the father of your children, Kaylee. I want to make love to you and wake up with you every day for the rest of my life.” As her eyes again watered at his admission, Simon continued, hoping he wouldn’t lose his nerve. “I want to hold you when you cry and celebrate with you when you’re happy. I want to make a home with you and grow old with you.” Dropping his voice to a whisper, he added, “I want to make a life with you, Kaylee, because you are my life.”
Biting back a sob, this time one of happiness, Kaylee threw her arms back around his neck and showered kisses all over his face, finally bringing her lips to his and kissing him passionately. She felt better, lighter than she had since the accident and more loved than she could ever remember feeling in her entire life. She wondered briefly how such a tragedy could bring about such happiness, but then she remembered the first few heady days after Miranda when she and Simon had finally gotten together. It had been tragedy and joy then as well.
Simon’s hand cradled the back of her head and he pulled her tighter to him as their tongues met in a passionate tangle. Crushing his lips to hers, Simon heard Kaylee whimper against him. Pulling away quickly for fear that he had hurt her, Simon’s eyes roamed over her quickly as he asked breathlessly, “Are you all right?”
“Yeah, sweetie, I’m fine,” she told him, trying to catch her breath. Smiling sheepishly at him, she admitted, “I jus’ wish I knew how to help ya, like you helped me.” As Simon struggled to find an appropriate response, she said, “I feel like I should give ya somethin’ for all them nice words.”
Smiling at her, Simon reached for her hands and held them gently. “I only want you.”
Brushing another kiss to his mouth, Kaylee assured him, “Oh, you got that, don’t you worry none.”
Holding each other’s gazes for a moment, easily lost in whirlwind of their emotions, Simon and Kaylee felt their love, grief, loss, happiness, remorse, joy all ebb and flow. With a heavy sigh, Kaylee sat back against her pillows, her body worn out from all the emotions and still healing from her injuries. Pulling her gaze from Simon’s, her eyes again alighted to the blanket in her lap.
With shaking hands, she reached for it and folded it neatly, smoothing it into her lap, her eyes never leaving it. Simon’s eyes followed her movements, his throat constricting as he watched her. As she rested a hand on top of the soft blanket and closed her eyes for a moment, Simon reached out and covered hers with his own.
Bringing her gaze back to his, Kaylee waited as he asked, “Do you want to get rid of it?”
Swallowing thickly, Kaylee looked back to the blanket and then to Simon. Shaking her head slightly, she held it up to him and answered, “Maybe we should just put it away.”
Smiling softly, Simon brushed his lips to hers and then took the blanket, returning it to the back of the drawer where his sister had found it.
Returning to Kaylee’s side, he smiled even wider as he noticed that she had sunk down onto the mattress, scooting over to leave room for him. Lightly patting the empty space beside her and smiling up at him, Simon kicked off his shoes and stripped out of his clothes, leaving on his boxers, before sliding into bed with her.
Sighing contentedly as Kaylee snuggled back into his side, her body molding perfectly against his, Simon felt better than he had all week. Pressing a kiss into her hair, he rested his cheek against her forehead, knowing this would probably be his first good night’s rest in a while.
Kaylee’s hand drew small circles on his bare chest as she reveled in the warmth of his body and the strength of his embrace. Closing her eyes and inhaling deeply, Kaylee’s mind wandered, recalling the pain of their grief and the beauty of Simon’s words; the depth of their love and the-
Propping herself up abruptly, Kaylee stared at Simon open-mouthed as he opened his eyes to regard her concernedly. “Are you all right, bao bei?” he asked hurriedly, his hand to her cheek.
Nodding slightly, she stared for another minute before finding her voice. “Simon,” she began slowly, doing her best to collect her thoughts. “Before, when you said all them nice words …” He nodded once and Kaylee swallowed hard, stammering, “Well, it kinda sounded like … I mean, a person could think …”
Swallowing hard himself, Simon realized that she had caught on to his ulterior motive. He’d been thinking of asking her for a while, but in light of the accident, he’d decided to hold off. However, as he’d looked into her face and gazed intently into her eyes just minutes before, the words he’d been rehearsing had just poured out. Thinking she’d taken them at face value for what they were, a declaration of his love, Simon had thought she’d missed the double meaning. Judging by the look on her face now, he’d thought wrong.
Frustrated at her inability to just speak clearly, Kaylee finally blurted out, “Did you just ask me t’marry ya?”
A small grin turning up the corners of his mouth, Simon did not answer her, but instead drew her mouth back to his and kissed her deeply. Pulling away, Kaylee held Simon’s gaze and breathed, “Well then, my answer’s yes.”
Sunday, February 24, 2008 2:17 PM
Sunday, February 24, 2008 11:56 PM
Monday, February 25, 2008 3:26 AM
Monday, February 25, 2008 3:38 AM
Thursday, June 11, 2009 6:15 PM
Friday, June 12, 2009 3:37 PM
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