Addiction - Part XIV
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Maya. Post-BDM. Simon's injuries are being treated, and Mal sends Jayne investigating. NEW CHAPTER


Kaylee ran through the streets as fast as she could. People were watching her, getting out of her way, but she ignored them. All she could think of was her husband, of Simon, of Zoe’s comlink call, of the way her stomach had tied itself in knots at the words.

We’ve found him.”

“Is he okay?”

Better get here, Kaylee.

Kaylee stared at Freya, who stood up slowly. “Go. I’ll look after everyone here. Go on.”

“But you’re sick and I –“

Freya pushed her gently. “Go.”

“Lock up behind me,” the young woman said, not waiting for a reply, just heading down the stairs at breakneck speed. She barely saw River standing white-faced by the ramp controls, hardly heard her whispered “Bring him home.” Just ran.

Jayne was in the reception area. “Said I’d wait for ya,” he explained. “Show you where he is.”

“Is he –“ She couldn’t finish, her own face paler than he’d ever seen.

“He’s alive, Kaylee.” He patted her arm, somewhat awkwardly. He’d had a soft spot for this young mechanic ever since he’d first come on board, more or less from the same moment the Cap’d warned him off.

“You touch her, you’ll be seeing what it feels like to take a walk outside. Without benefit of air.”

He’d never done more than look, and now not even that. Kaylee was like his little sister, and he found himself worried because she was. Not that he was concerned about the doc, of course. Never that. Even if the guy was his brother-in-law. Yeah, right.

“Where is he?” she asked, her voice barely audible.

“This way.” He steered her towards the business side of the clinic.

As they hurried through what seemed like interminable corridors, she was wringing her hands. “What if he ain’t okay?” she was saying, almost to herself. “What if I gotta tell Bethie and Hope their Daddy ain't coming home? What if –“

“He’s a strong feller,” Jayne assured her, ignoring his inner mercenary berating him for showing any kind of feeling. “Had to be, surviving what we’ve thrown his way.”

Kaylee looked at him, her eyes huge and ready to spill into tears. “I know that, but –“

“Girl, you gotta hold yourself together. How’s he gonna feel if he sees you like this?” He stopped outside a pair of double doors. “It was just a little fall, Kaylee. And seeing you all worked up is only gonna make him think he’s got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.”

She had to smile, just a little. “Ain't had bananas in a long time, Jayne.”

“Yeah, well, next time we see any, I’ll buy ya some. Just don’t go in there weepin’ and wailin’. It ain’t natural for a man to be seeing that.”

She took a deep breath, swallowing hard. “Okay, Jayne. I'm ready.”

He grinned. “Good girl.” Pushing the doors open, he held them for her to go through first.

Ahead of them was a glass wall, through which she could see two people bending over a body lying motionless on a table. Only it wasn't just a body. It was her husband.

Despite her determination to do what Jayne said, she felt her eyes fill up. “Simon ...” she breathed.

“Dr Stokes is working on him, mei-mei,” Mal said, standing by the window, unnoticed.

“And the woman?” Kaylee could just see a glimpse of red hair beneath a tight cap, a shapely figure under the scrubs.

“His nurse. His wife, too.”

She walked slowly forwards. “What’re they doing?”

“Making him better. You know that, don’t you?”

Leaning her forehead on the cool glass, she didn’t answer, just watched as the woman passed her husband something she didn’t recognise. Zoe moved closer, giving her comfort where she could.

Jayne stood quietly for a minute, then backed through the doors again. Something wasn’t sitting right with him about all this.

Apparently Mal felt the same, following him quietly outside. “Take a look around,” he ordered.

“I was gonna. You thinkin’ there’s a problem with all this?”

“Simon going out a window?” He took a breath and nodded slowly. “Little too convenient, given he was looking into the killing ‘n’ all.”

“You think he was pushed?”

“Don’t you?” Mal didn’t wait for an answer. “See what you can find.”

Jayne turned and strode away down the corridor.

“Do you really think someone tried to kill Simon?” Zoe said, materialising at his elbow, leaving Kaylee watching. Nothing short of dynamite would have shifted her now.

“Maybe. I don’t know. But I should never’ve left him,” Mal said quietly, not looking at his first mate.

“Sir, you weren’t to know he’d –“

“I knew he was sick! I should’ve stayed with him, made sure he was okay. And even if it was an accident rather than ...” A wave of weakness made him stagger slightly, and it was only Zoe’s arm around him that stopped him falling.

“Mal ...”

“Gorramit, this is all I need.” He sounded so disgusted with himself that she had to hide a smile.

“You should be in bed.” She manoeuvred him to a chair.

“Just … let me sit a while.” He looked up at her. “And you don’t look too good yourself.”

“I’ve got it. I know.”

“Just not letting it take you down, uh?” he joked feebly, feeling like his lungs wouldn’t fill properly.

“Someone has to keep their hand on the wheel, sir.”



“The phrase is ‘hand on the tiller’. Least I think it’s that. You’d have to check with Frey – she’s the expert on crazy sayings.”


“Anyway, wheel or tiller … I’ve got the feeling we need all our wits about us right now, Zoe. Or we ain't all gonna come through this in one piece.” He stood up, holding himself straight through sheer effort of will. “Come on. Best we get back inside. Kaylee needs us.”

“Yes, sir.”


Jayne walked into the lab and looked around the room. Nothing seemed out of place, that he could see, but then he wasn’t a doctor. Crossing to the ViroStim he peered at its displays. Most meant nothing, but Simon had shown him one in particular, a long, narrow readout with a black line crossing a red background.

“When that bar gets to the end, we’re ready,” the young man had said, smiling.

The bar looked like it had just a bit to go, with just a little red still showing, and then the medicine’d be ready. And not before time. He wanted River and Caleb to get first goes, but he knew that would be up to the … He pushed down the anger. Not Simon, not this time. Have to rely on Stokes. And the way Mal looked, he’d probably get the first shot, just so he didn’t fall down.

He walked quietly to the window and studied it, not touching, just measuring the height against his own leg. Simon wasn’t as tall as Mal, maybe near half a head shorter. ‘N’ Mal lacked his height by a few inches. So on the doc the sill would come up to … he scrunched down a little. Yeah, maybe. But what was he doing near the window in the first place?

It wasn’t surprising, though, that nobody saw Simon fall – the other windows overlooking the garden were closed and shuttered. Maybe the clinic had been built with more doctors in mind, but only having the two … Glancing down only confirmed what he already knew. The bushes shielded the scuffed area of dirt from casual observation down on the ground, and if Stokes hadn’t looked out, seen Simon lying there, the boy could’ve died and no-one would’ve been any the wiser.

As he pulled his head back in, Jayne looked down at the floor, and his eyes narrowed even more.


Stokes pulled the cap from his head and used it to wipe his face, before turning to the glass wall. He could see Captain Reynolds standing next to a young woman, his arm around her, and it didn’t take much to guess this was Simon’s wife. The dark-skinned Zoe was close by, her face unreadable.

“Claire, give our patient another 10cc of Neuroxatin then take him along to room 12.”

“Of course.” His own wife smiled at him. “Are you going to –“

He nodded. “I’ll go out and give them the news.” He smiled briefly back then walked into the observation room.

Kaylee darted forward. “Doc, is he –“

Stokes held up a hand and said, “He’s lucky. For the most part, he’s damned lucky. Apart from the broken arm, he’s got four broken ribs on that side, but none of them pierced the lung. I wasn't too happy about his spleen, but the scans don’t show any tears. In fact there’s nothing in the way of internal injuries beyond bruising.” Some of the tension left the young woman’s body. “Are you Kaylee?”

“Yes, sir, that’s me.” She blinked hard, trying to force back the tears. “I'm Kaylee.”

“He spoke about you before. When we were working on the antiviral. About how you’re always there for him.”

She had to laugh a little. “Other way around, Dr Stokes. And I guess I gotta thank you twice now.”

“No. I don’t need thanks.” He dredged up a smile, all the while wishing he hadn’t had to do what he did, hadn’t had to take matters into his own hands like this. She was such a sweet little thing.

“Can I go in? See him?” Kaylee asked, her hands clutched in front of her.

“Claire’s taking him to his room in a minute, but you can be waiting for him. It’s number 12, just down the hall.”

Kaylee sniffed hard and hurried out, surreptitiously wiping her cheeks on her sleeve.

Mal watched her go then turned back, movement on the periphery of his vision indicating Jayne stepping silently through the double doors before they closed. “But.”

“What?” Stokes asked.

Mal stepped forward. “You said he was lucky for the most part. Kinda suggests there’s a ‘but’ hanging around.”

“I'm more concerned about the head injury. There is some swelling of the brain, not helped by his temperature, which is still high.”

“The measles.”

“Yes. He must have hit the ground pretty hard, and cracked his cheekbone.” He raised his head. “I should have said to … Kaylee, isn’t it? Warned her about the bruising. He’s going to have one hell of a black eye.”

“She’s seen worse.” Mal glanced at Zoe. “I know what you said to her. But you can tell me, truthful now. Is he going to make it?”

“I … don’t know.”

“Well, it’s an answer, but I ain't sure I like it.”

“I’m just a doctor, Captain, not God. All things being equal, the swelling should go down and he should be fine. The injuries will heal, and he’ll be up and about annoying you before you know it.”

“And if they ain't equal?”

“Let’s just hope they are.” Stokes reached into the pocket of the blood-stained scrubs. “Oh, and I stitched the wounds on his chest. I thought you might like this back.” He handed Mal the beacon, battered and bent out of shape.

Mal turned it over in his hands, running the tips of his fingers across the surface. “Hey, what’s this?” he asked, finding something long, hard and sharp embedded in the metal.

“A nail, I think. Probably from when they built the place.” Stokes smiled. “Another reason your young medic was lucky. If he hadn’t had that … whatever it is, inside his shirt, it could have gone straight into his chest. It was right over his heart.” He took a deep breath. “I'm going to change, then check on the antiviral.” He walked out.

“Well?” Mal asked, turning to Jayne. “You find anything?”

“Yeah.” He waited for Zoe to step closer. “I took a look at that window. The one Simon fell out of. Only I don’t think he could.”


“The window ledge is higher’n I’d like.”

“Jayne, I know I’m not feeling up to par, but even I know that ain’t -“

“And there’s scuff marks on the floor.” He paused for emphasis. “Like someone was fighting.”

Mal crossed his arms, still holding the defunct beacon. “He was pushed.”

“Sure as hell looks like it.”

For a long moment Mal tried to make his brain work, pushing against the fatigue trying to make him lie down and sleep. “Okay, from now on we take precautions. If someone tried already, there’s no reason they ain’t gonna again. ‘Cept us.”

“Simon being attacked suggests he knows something,” Zoe pointed out.

“Yeah, that had occurred to me. It’s not likely they’re trying to stop him making the antiviral, otherwise they’d have broken the machine. No, it has to be the murder.”

“What was he working on?”

“Nothing.” Mal’s face was stern, his blue eyes hard. “That’s the point of it. He was waiting for me to get the warrant for the judge to look at the DNA database.” He exhaled heavily. “He must’ve found something. Something he never got the chance to tell us.”

“Is he gonna?” Jayne asked.

“He’d better, or Kaylee’ll never forgive him.” His lips twitched, just a little, but there was no real humour in it. “Talking of which, she’s in room 12 waiting for him. Whatever you do, don’t let Simon out of your sight.”

“Wasn't planning on it,” the ex-mercenary promised with a growl, turning on his heel and stomping from the room.

to be continued


Tuesday, May 13, 2008 7:12 AM


Ooooooo...this is getting good. I like your decription of how Jayne feels about Kaylee. Good way to put it! the little sis thing and the fact he's not a big fan of Simon. Great job!! Want for more.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 12:40 PM


I love Mal and Jayne being suspicious and doing a bit of detective work on what happened to Simon, also real relieved that Jayne is going to play Bodyguard to prevent Stokes finishing what he started. I've been away all day so it was shiny to come home just now and see this up! Keep up the good work and Keep Flyin' - Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 4:01 PM


Need more now! Simon needs to get better fast and unravel the mystery (not that it's much of a mystery any more) and motivation of Dr. Stokes.

Thursday, May 15, 2008 12:39 AM


gah! the hospital horrors again!:)


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[Maya. Post-BDM. Hank's not out of the woods yet, and Mal has a conversation. Enjoy!]

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[Maya. Post-BDM. A seasonal one-off - enjoy!]

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“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]

“Did we …” “We did.” “Why?” As she raised an eyebrow at him he went on quickly, “I mean, we got a comfy bunk, not that far away. Is there any particular reason we’re in here instead?” “You don’t remember?” He concentrated for a moment, and the activities of a few hours previously burst onto him like a sunbeam. “Oh, right,” he acknowledged happily.

[Maya. Post-BDM. A little with each Serenity couple, but something goes bang. Read, enjoy, review!]