BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Prospero's Legacy - Part XVIII
Friday, October 17, 2008

Maya. Post-BDM. Getting to the nitty gritty now, with Simon confronting his parents. NEW CHAPTER


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2025    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Chiang Goff backed out of the room, barely able to breathe. The door closed silently, until he was staring at the thick glass window in the featureless door.

“My God …” he whispered.

“So you’ve found our little secret.”

Goff span on his heel, coming face to face with Quintana, his tame security chief Ramsey hovering in the background. “You …” For a moment words wouldn’t come, held back by the shock.

“And you seem a little perturbed by it.”

“A little …” Goff swallowed. “Those things …” He pointed towards the door, his hand trembling slightly. “You were dismissed from the project for proposing just such abominations!”

“My dear Chiang, why don’t we go to my office? We can talk in comfort, and it honestly looks as if you need a stiff drink.” He reached out, taking hold of the other man’s arm. “I can explain it to you.”

Goff stared. “You think I’m going to condone this? And what about the rest of us? When were you planning on telling us?”

“I wasn’t,” Quintana confessed. “They would have the same reaction as you, for the most part. I was merely going to take this to its natural conclusion, and let my success speak for me.” He pulled gently. “A drink, Chiang. And all the explanations you need.”

“And what about the source? How did you –“

“Soon.” Emil Quintana smiled, his grey curls bobbing slightly as he urged Goff along the corridor, Ramsey falling in behind. “A glass of whisky and this will all seem so much better.”

---

Simon almost ran over to the other ship, Mal following a little slower, favouring his arm and wondering if he should have taken the doc up on the offer of a sling. At least, he’d offered before Mal had told him about the Tams being on board Alex’s boat … now not even a bomb going off would have stopped him heading over there.

“What’s going on?” Freya asked, joining him, Dillon stopping to stand and stare from where he was supervising the collection of bodies. Jayne dumped the corpse he was carrying onto the wagon and followed them.

“I think there’s gonna be fireworks. Simon’s folks are here,” Mal explained.

“I know.”

He glared briefly at her, then nodded resignedly. “A’course you peeked.”

“Only just now. River told me.”

“You sure?”

“About that, Mal, I promise.”

“So how come you didn’t hear ‘em coming?” Mal demanded, albeit quietly.

“I was looking for enemies, not friends,” Freya explained patiently.

“And which camp do you consider Gabriel Tam falls into?”

“I haven’t made up my mind yet.”

“Simon has.”

“He has precedent.”

The young man in question boarded the Vanguard, finding Breed in the small cargo bay. “Where is he?” he demanded.

Breed didn’t have to ask who. “In the main salon. Your sister is –“

Simon didn’t wait, just pushed past the other man and hurried into the main body of the ship.

---

“This is ridiculous,” Gabriel grumbled, pacing on the thick carpet. “We’ve come all this way, and now Captain Reynolds keeps us waiting.”

Regan shot her husband a glare, trying to make him see he should just be glad he was in the same room as River, who was standing next to Alex Rostov, using his similarity to Freya as an anchor.

Alex half-smiled. “You have to understand, we weren’t expected. And Mal did get shot.”

“He’ll be okay, won’t he?” Regan asked, her eyes not moving from her daughter.

“From what I could see, it was just a flesh wound.” Alex sounded as if he knew what he was talking about, as if discussing bullet holes was something he always did before breakfast and twice on Sundays.

“Good. I’d hate to think someone got badly hurt because of us.”

Alex chuckled. “Honestly, I think it’s something of an occupational hazard. Mal certainly seems to attract trouble.”

“And is this the way of life out here?” Gabriel asked suddenly. “All gunfights and blood?” His hand strayed towards the cut on his cheek.

“Sometimes. And it’s a hell of a culture shock.” Alex felt River lean against him slightly. “But I was the same, Gabriel. I didn’t know what to expect. Oh, I’d seen the docudramas on the Cortex, like everyone else, but they’re … sanitised. I had no idea there would be times when the only negotiation could be at the end of a gun, and psychopaths think they can torture people for fun.” He shuddered, aware his dreams were still occasionally plagued by images of Adelai Niska, and the sight of his sister and her husband on board that yacht …

Jia yan will be fine,” River said quietly.

Jia yan?” Gabriel turned on her. “What are you talking about?”

She gazed at him, her dark eyes not blinking, until he began to feel uncomfortable.

Then the door burst inwards.

Gabriel turned. “Simon.”

“Father,” Simon said, white-faced and trembling slightly. “Mother.”

River left the comfort of Alex’s presence and went to stand next to her brother, slipping her hand into his. He held on tightly.

“What? Not Dad?” Gabriel joked, feeling the tension like a knife-edged blade.

“No.” That one word said more about what he thought his parents deserved than anything.

Regan, who wanted nothing more than to run to her children and hug them until the pain went away, felt her eyes fill. “Do you hate us that much?” she asked, her fingers clutching at her collar.

The look on Simon’s face flashed through so many emotions it was impossible to count them all, but as fast as they came the stony mask fell back into place. “Of course not, Mother.”

“Now, why do I find that hard to believe?” Gabriel asked, his tone the same one he’d used so long ago when they were children, and he’d caught them out in some minor infraction or other.

“What are you doing here?” The words finally fell from Simon’s lips, unable to be contained any longer. “No-one asked you to come.”

Regan stared at him, looking for the boy who’d run from their home to find his sister but seeing the man who lived on the edge of civilisation. “Simon –“

He didn’t let her finish, didn’t even grace her with a glance. “Well? What are you doing here?”

Gabriel drew himself up. “To see you. There are things I need to tell you –“

Simon almost sneered, the look on his face identical to the one he’d had the first time he’d set foot on Serenity. The old Simon. “Like what? That you won’t come for me again? That’s old news.”

Gabriel sighed. “You have no idea how many times I wished I’d never said that to you.”

“You washed your hands of me, father. I'm hardly likely to forget that.” Simon’s tone, as well as his face, was icy.

“I know. And I'm sorry.”

Simon couldn’t keep up the façade. “He came for us!” He pointed vaguely in the direction of the doorway where Mal and Freya stood, his pain boiling the ice into scalding steam. “He didn’t even like us, but he came for us! You were supposed to love us but you wouldn’t even listen.” He swallowed back the bile. “But then I guess blood really is everything to you.”

Gabriel couldn’t argue. He knew what he’d done. “You’re talking about the fact that I’m not your biological father. I always suspected Andrew told you.”

“On his deathbed. He kept your secret almost to the end,” River said quietly, but neither man took any notice of her.

“Would it have made any difference? If you were?” Simon asked, suddenly needing desperately to know the answer.

The older Tam looked at him, at the dark, almost black hair that was really too long for polite society, at the blue eyes holding a trace of something that seemed close to pleading. “Simon, I …” He swallowed. “No. No, it wouldn’t,” he admitted finally, praying Simon believed him. “I never considered you weren’t my son.”

Simon felt oddly reassured, but that was swept away once more by the hurt. “Then why didn’t you trust me?”

“I don’t know.”

Simon closed his eyes briefly. “No. I suppose you don’t. Too many other, more important things to deal with.” The bitterness was almost blinding. “Not that it matters anyway, not any more. We’re safe here. Safer than I’d ever felt at home.” The emphasis he put on the last word was enough.

Gabriel let his guilt boil over into anger. “So I’m not going to be able to apologise. No matter what I do.”

“No.”

“I should have known you wouldn’t –“

“Gabriel.” Regan’s one word had him jamming his mouth shut before he could do any more damage.

“Simon, I really think you’ll maybe be wanting to take a breath right now,” Mal advised, keeping his voice low in an attempt to defuse the situation.

The young man turned on him. “Don’t tell me what to do!”

“Now I know how you feel, but this ain’t –“

“You have no idea.”

Mal took a sharp breath as Simon barged past him and into his bad arm, glad there was still some of the anaesthetic in his system. He saw Freya glance at him, but shook his head slightly. Instead he looked at the Tams. “Well, I can’t say his reaction overly surprises me that much.”

Gabriel almost laughed. “Honestly, neither can I.”

“Simon’s angry,” River said by way of explanation, gazing after her brother.

“And you’re not?”

She turned her dark, deep eyes back on him. “Oh yes.”

“But you’re –“

“They made me crazy. Took a fourteen year old girl and cut into her brain, made an assassin out of her. I am so angry that it burns.”

“Then why –“

“I'm going to be with Simon,” she said, cutting him off effectively. “Jayne will tell me what transpires.” She touched her husband’s hand as she walked out, her feet barely seeming to touch the carpet.

“She’s so grown up …” Regan whispered to no-one.

Mal began to cross his arms, but the bullet wound was starting to pain him again, so he contented himself with hitching his thumbs into his gunbelt. “Okay,” he said, getting everyone’s attention. “Now my temper ain’t good at the best of times, and it’s rapidly coming to the end of its leash, so I’d like someone to tell me, preferably in words of two syllables or less, what the diyu you folks are all doing here.”

“I have information,” Gabriel began, his hand straying to his chest. “About what’s going on.”

“You mean with the Alliance?”

“Not just the Alliance, Captain. There are other forces out there –“

“The New Browncoats. I'm figuring maybe that’s what you are.”

Gabriel smiled. “I wouldn’t be so impertinent. I'm just a man trying to atone.”

“That right.” Mal didn’t believe him, it was obvious.

“Then … perhaps.” He sighed, trying to get his breath. “I think there are a lot more out there than you can imagine, Captain.”

“Well, the Alliance have upset a lot of people.”

“But we’re not all insane like Quintana.”

“Quintana.” Mal straightened up. “Emil Quintana?”

“Dillon told me you’d heard of him. About the girl.”

“Yeah, I heard. From an old friend.” Mal unconsciously rubbed the point under his ribs where the Quicksilver had entered. “Not that we could ever find out much about him.”

“You obviously didn’t ask the right people,” Gabriel said, pressing on his chest. “I'm not surprised, though. Quintana always did keep under the radar, and working for the Alliance meant they kept his name out of things as much as possible.”

“You sound like you know him personally.”

“I met him. Once.” Gabriel pressed harder, taking in a gulp of air. “If anyone could be classed as insane, he could.”

“That’s nice to know, but I’m figuring you’ve got more’n that to –“

“Mal …” Freya stepped forward, her hand on his arm. Her eyebrows were drawn down in concentration.

“What?”

“He’s –” She didn’t get the chance to finish as the elder Tam collapsed back into the chair.

“Gabriel?” Regan was immediately at his side, pulling a small box from her pocket and opening it. “Gabriel, have you taken your medication today?”

He managed to shake his head. “I … in all the excitement …”

She took out a tablet and placed it in his mouth. “Swallow.”

Gabriel did as he was told, barely managing to get it down his dry throat.

Mal had crossed the room. “Are you in pain?” he asked, taking the other man’s hand and checking his pulse. It was racing.

“No. Not … pain.” Gabriel was panting. “But I … I can’t breathe.”

“My infirmary’s –“ Alex began, but Mal interrupted.

“I don’t think a weave’s gonna be enough this time,” he said, glancing over his shoulder. “Jayne.”

The big man moved forward, easily lifting Gabriel into his arms. “Serenity?”

“Quick as you can.”

---

“Honey?” Kaylee stepped into the infirmary. “You okay?”

“Of course not.” Simon was leaning against the medbed, his hands tightly curled into fists, pressing into the padding.

“Why? What is it?”

He looked sharply at her. “You mean you haven’t heard?”

“About your folks being here? Yeah, I heard. Hank told me.”

His eyes narrowed. “Then surely you must understand how I feel.”

“I know you’re angry. I can see that.”

“Angry? My God, I don’t think that even begins to come close!”

“But they’re your folks.” Kaylee was the first to admit she was confused. Even with her family, with all the cousins and aunts and uncles she had, she’d never been in the position of having one of them betray her. And besides, she’d always been ready to hear the other side, to let them explain.

“They came looking for us,” River said, having silently descended the steps into the common area, and now stood outside the infirmary.

“And look what they’ve found,” Simon said, unable to stop the spiteful tone. “You’re married to a mercenary, and I’m …”

“What?” Kaylee asked sharply, her confusion changing to hurt. “You’re what, Simon?”

He took a mental step backwards. “They won’t understand us, Kaylee,” he said.

“Us?” Her eyes widened. “You mean me. They won’t think I'm good enough for you.”

“Maybe.”

“Do you think I’m good enough for you?” she demanded, spots of high colour appearing in her cheeks. “Only if you don’t –“

He pulled her into his arms. “Bao bei, don’t ever say that.”

She let him hold her. “Then maybe you need to talk to ‘em.” She felt him stiffen. “They raised you, Simon.”

“It’s why they went to Lazarus,” River said.

Simon let go of his wife and span on his heel. “Lazarus?”

“They went to Lazarus looking for us. They put together the clues and –“

He took a step forward, more angry than she had ever seen. More even than the day he shot Jayne in mistaken belief that he’d violated his baby sister. “You knew?” he asked, his voice so low it was almost inaudible.

She gazed back, a picture of calm. “Yes. I knew.”

“About them going to Lazarus. Seeing our children.”

“Yes.”

“And you didn’t think to tell me.”

“Simon, sweetie, this ain't good for you –“ Kaylee tried to put in, but Simon swept over her.

“You knew they were coming and you didn’t … what, want to warn me?”

“I knew how you’d react.”

“React?” He threw his hands into the air. “And how exactly was that going to help?”

“I thought –“

“No.” He was suddenly very close to her, his face like thunder. “You didn’t think. You might be a damn genius, but you didn’t think.” He strode out.

Kaylee wanted to run after him, to make him see sense, to sympathise, but she knew right now it wasn't going to work. Instead she asked, “Did they really see them? See my babies?”

“Yes. Bethie made a big hit with them.”

The young mechanic smiled gently, if a little sadly. “Bet they fell in love with her right then.”

“With all of them,” River said, letting her emotions free from their constraints a little and wrapping her arms around her body.

“Oh, honey,” Kaylee said, appalled at her own insensitivity. “I'm sorry. A’course they saw all of them. And I can’t …” She paused. “Honey? What is it?”

“Need Simon.”

“What? You need –“

“Not me.” She turned to where Jayne was carrying a man in from the cargo bay.

Mal was at his back. “Kaylee, where’s Simon?”

“He’s … hiding.” She didn’t see why she should protect him, especially since she was still smarting a little at the imagined slight.

“Go get him. His Pa needs some doctoring.” Mal followed Jayne into the infirmary as the big man made his burden comfortable on the medbed.

“I'm fine,” Gabriel insisted, but his colour didn’t convince anyone.

“Kaylee, go.”

The young mechanic nodded, hurrying round to their quarters. Simon was sitting on the edge of the bed, gripping the mattress tightly and staring at the floor.

“Simon, your Pa needs you,” she said in a rush.

“He’s not my father.”

“Well, whatever he is, he still needs you.” She glanced over her shoulder. “He’s in the infirmary. The Cap says –“

Simon’s head snapped up. “In my infirmary?”

“I think he’s real sick. He looked bad.” She hadn’t seen much, but it was enough.

“I don’t care.” Simon’s face took on a look of stubbornness she didn’t recognise. “Let him die.”

Kaylee was shocked. “You don’t mean that.”

“Yes, I do.”

“You’re a doctor. You can’t just –“

“Kaylee, you know what he did!”

“And you took an oath. That Hippocratic oath that you’re always so gorram proud of. You’ve helped people you didn’t like before, tended to folks who were out to kill us all.” She put her hands on her hips. “So don’t you go saying things like that!”

He stared at her. “Kaylee –“

“You get out there right now, Simon Tam. Or I’ll … I’ll …”

He stood up. “Or you’ll what?”

She glared. “Or I’ll never believe you’re the man I fell in love with ever again.” It was the worse threat she could think of on the spur of the moment, and for a second she thought he was going to laugh at her, but instead he only smiled sadly.

“Can’t have that, can I?” he said, crossing the small room to her. “I won’t like it, but … okay.” He ran his hand down her arm, then strode towards the infirmary.

to be continued

COMMENTS

Friday, October 17, 2008 7:38 AM

SERENITYRIDDLE


Oh wow! I think I held my breath through this whole part! Excellently well done!

Friday, October 17, 2008 9:55 AM

WAKEUPSOON


Simon's reaction was PERFECT! Although a little part of me wanted him to shoot like when he found out about Rayne ... :P I am so looking forward to more of this! :D
Anna.x.(:

Friday, October 17, 2008 12:00 PM

AMDOBELL


Really fine piece of writing, everyone's reactions were spot-on. I like how, even being angry, River is in more control right now than her brother. Their parents needed to hear some home truths but also I agree with Kaylee that Simon should hear what they have to say before slamming the door shut on any future reconciliation. - Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, October 17, 2008 2:36 PM

SLUMMING


Ah the perils of fathers and sons, difficult at the best of times, downright nasty at the worst. Well done!

Friday, October 17, 2008 5:59 PM

KATESFRIEND


Kaylee's threat to Simon was so perfectly Kaylee! Really wondering at the next bombshell you're getting ready to drop. I could feel Simon's anger vibrating off the page - well done! Hope Kaylee can be the mediator and hope everyone has grown up a bit in the intervening years. Glad Mal is keeping a clear enough head to keep all the facts straight because I may have to go reread a few chapters to catch up again. Great story, looking forward to more.

Friday, October 17, 2008 6:08 PM

ANGELLEMARCS


WOW! I loved Kaylee's threat at the end. It was very Kaylee and I love the way Simon and River argue. You would think by now, he would know she will always win. Great stuff!!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008 4:03 AM

NCBROWNCOAT


Whew! You really know how to leave us hanging. And your Simon was just the right mixture of concern and anger.

And please let Gabriel get his information out before you do anything to him or Simon does something.

Sunday, October 19, 2008 12:47 PM

FREEVERSE


Oh dear, the dying unreconciled dad would show up for the showdown. I suppose it's an opportunity for reconciliation. Or angst.

More please?

~freeverse

Monday, October 20, 2008 6:28 AM

CELTICLASS


OMG Jane! I have been a lurker forever and have read all your stuff, never been into commenting, but this one made the hair on the back of my neck stand up! Can't wait to see where it goes. Hurry!!


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“His name’s Jayne?”

“What’s wrong with that?” the ex-mercenary demanded from the doorway.

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He slammed the door behind him, making the plates rattle on the sideboard. “It’s okay, girl, I ain't gonna hurt you.” The cook, as tradition dictated, plump and rosy cheeked with her arms covered to the elbows in flour, but with a gypsy voluptuousness, picked up a rolling pin.

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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.

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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.

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