BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

JANE0904

Calluses
Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Little standalone canon ficlet, no OCs so can be read by anyone. Simon contemplates the nature of his life. COMPLETE


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1754    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Simon stood at the sink in the infirmary and checked his preparations. A careful man, he liked things just so, perhaps due to his medical training, but just as likely a personality trait. Not that he was always able to do things the way he wanted, not out here, not with the way they had to live sometimes. But when he could, when he was the one in control, having his tools to hand in the correct order, waiting for him, soothed his soul.

His soul. As he rinsed his hands in the warm water and picked up the pumice stone, he pondered the nature of that soul. What he was doing here, rubbing away the calluses he developed from practicing with and using a gun, that was easy. It had become a ritual, every month, cleaning away the evidence that he had become just that little bit tarnished.

Jayne had offered, soon after Miranda, when everyone was slowly getting back on their feet. For once the mercenary hadn’t been making a joke at his expense, but had honestly suggested perhaps the young doctor might like to learn how to use a gun properly, since it looked like they were all staying on board. And since it was highly unlikely they’d ever be able to live a life without regularly resorting to violence.

Simon had baulked at the idea initially. He was a doctor. He saved lives, he didn’t take them. He’d lost track of the number of times he’d had to operate on one member of the crew or other … actually, that wasn't true. He knew exactly, from the smallest paper cut to reattaching the Captain’s ear, to … well, it was all in his notes, meticulously kept and highly detailed. But it didn’t make it any easier to deal with.

But he’d said yes. He’d found Jayne in the cargo bay, working out as was his habit when he had nothing else to do, and said he wanted to take him up on the offer. Jayne had seemed surprised, almost as if he’d forgotten, but he’d nodded, grunted, said soon as they were planetside they’d go to a gunsmith, find something suitable.

The first time he’d had the belt around his waist, Simon thought he’d made the worst mistake of his life.

Then his personality kicked in again. That determination, the utter commitment to becoming a doctor that had been subsumed by the absolute need to get River out of the Academy had changed again, and now he knew he had to protect them. River, and Kaylee, and the rest of the family. So he practiced, learning how to draw until he was almost as fast as the Captain. Not that speed was any good without accuracy, but he was able to improve that too, at least when they were planetside and he could take himself off to a secluded area.

As good as he got, though, there was a price to pay. Each time he walked out of Serenity wearing the gun, he knew he might have to use it. He would never start anything, but there had been more than one occasion when he’d had to finish it. And each time that put its own callus onto his soul. No scrubbing at that with a pumice to smooth it away. And nothing could ever remove the stain of taking a man’s life.

Nearly done. Just a little more and the skin would be back to normal, soft and smooth. He couldn’t have it catching just when he needed to be delicate, even if it did make it easier to push a needle through Jayne’s thick hide. More, he didn’t want it marking Kaylee’s smooth flesh when she lay next to him, her brown eyes trusting, loving.

He’d often wondered if he should leave Serenity, take his wife, his children, and find a place to just be a doctor, to mend broken limbs rather than gunshot wounds, to deliver babies into proud and happy hands.

Then he’d seen a township hit by Reavers, a small place exactly as he’d imagined his home might be, all white picket fences, green painted doors, blue window frames, all running with red. More blood than he knew could possibly be contained in a single human frame, and more ugly than it had any right to be.

And he knew, just as surely as his heart was still beating in his chest, that Mal had been right that day. Or night, whichever it was. Safer on the move. And they never stopped moving.

Inspecting his palm once more, he was finally satisfied, and began to rinse. As he did so, he couldn’t help but smile as he remembered other words Mal had said, that time they went to Canton. “Pretty fits, soft hands, definitely a money’d individual. All rich and lily white, pasty all over …” Not much of that was true now, although his natural pallor had stayed more or less intact, unless they were landed somewhere warm for a while, when all the crew took their ease and he picked up the hint of a tan.

The money, of course, was long gone, and the clothes had slowly but surely started to look the worse for wear, and he’d had to replace them with other, much more rugged styles. Sometimes when he looked at himself in the mirror, he didn’t see the Core-bred boy anymore, but the man who’d seen terrible things, and had lived to grow wiser.

Drying his hands, he idly wondered if he shouldn’t have followed his mother’s advice and learned to play the piano. She’d always said he had pianist’s fingers, but instead of using them to make music he used them to save lives. And take them.

He sighed. The visible signs might be gone, but those hard patches on his soul were still there, still …

“Honey?” Kaylee stood in the doorway to the infirmary.

He dropped the towel onto the counter and turned to look at her, at the slightly dishevelled nature of her hair, the grease mark across her forehead where she’d wiped her face without thinking, the coveralls tied around her waist. He smiled slightly. “Have you been there long?” he asked.

“A while. Wanted to wait until you’d finished.” She stepped into the room, coming to stand close enough to him so that he could feel the heat of her body. “I like to watch you.”

“Why?”

“Not sure. Maybehaps it’s because I know you’re my husband, and that you love me. Or maybe I just like to see you when you’re concentrating on something so hard, nothing else can get in.”

The smile grew a little. He’d hardly been concentrating on the task that much. He lifted his hand, once more smooth, and placed it on her cheek. “I like to watch you too. Same reasons.”

“Oh, good.” She grinned. “Only it’s supper time, and I thought you might like to get something to eat ‘fore Jayne eats it all.”

“Sounds good.” With his other hand he drew her to him. “How long do I have before we go hungry?”

“Maybe a minute. Two, tops.”

“Not long enough,” he said, dipping his head to place his lips on hers, keeping his eyes open so he could see the warmth and love in hers as her arms came up to hold him close. “Never long enough, bao bei.”

As they stood wrapped up in each other, it occurred to him that perhaps it didn’t matter. He might not be able to scrub away the calluses on his soul, but maybe he didn’t need to. Not when he had the bright sunlight that was Kaylee to warm the dark places, to prove to him every day that what he did was always for the best.

COMMENTS

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 9:54 AM

TWILIGHTSEEKER


I like this. You know I always did say Simon could be a decent gunhand.I personally don't mind the "mushy" ending a bit. As usual jane, a well thought out and executed piece.

gentle journey,
twi

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 10:12 AM

ANGELLEMARCS


Very well done. I loved the mush...LOL!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 10:46 AM

AMDOBELL


I could so see Simon having this kind of internal monologue but so glad he didn't angst his worries to death, balancing them with all that he had gained by being on Serenity, by loving Kaylee. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 2:46 PM

KATESFRIEND


Glad to see Simon's practical side balanced by his humanitarianism, but both vying for his attention. Nice balance and nice insight into Simon's mind and feelings.

Monday, January 26, 2009 1:05 PM

INSTANTKARMAGIRL


I love it. I love fanfic that is basically just characters musing about their lives.

Great insite into Simon. I really like that he still struggles with his new life and at least a part of him cannot accept it...at least not fully.

Great job! Again, I love it!


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