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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Simon muses on why Mal doesn't toss him off the boat over a cup of coffee. Slight spoilers for 'Safe', 'Objects in Space' and 'Ariel' if you look close enough. (Post-series, pre-BDM)
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 765 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
He took a sip of coffee, having long since gotten used to the bitter taste. The ship was cycling on night time, and he’d been having trouble sleeping.
A pair of soft pants and his blue-gray fuzzy pullover covered everything as he sat to the worn table. Simon thought of the many dinners the crew had shared, as well as the ‘informational meetings’—meetings like the one concerning his sister only a few weeks ago.
They were a target. It was a thought that lived permanently in the back of his mind. He knew the captain had turned down more than one job because of he and River’s presence, and it was a thought that bothered him. As Mal was fond of saying, ‘no work means no food, no fuel and no hope of getting either.” And yet, he still kept both of them on.
Simon looked down at his clothes and took another sip of coffee. A year ago, he wouldn’t have been caught dead in something like what he wore right now. Now…now they were comfortable, and something he could afford. Over half of the clothes he’d come on board with were polishing something in the infirmary or the engine room now, having been stained or torn beyond repair. A year ago, he would have considered himself fallen beyond hard times to be in a position such as this.
The coffee swirled in the tin cup as Simon absently circled the container on the top of the table. Things had not gone well the day before, and Jayne’s incessant whining about his leg was only the top of it. They had been made targets of—again—and there had been more than enough patching to do as the ship hastily made course for the black.
“You know, if’n we got rid of ‘em, things’d go a hell of a lot smoother!”
“And who then would be fixin’ you up, Jayne?”
“Ah, hell—like talkin’ to a wall.”
Early had been a reminder. A startling reminder that no matter how far Simon took his sister, no matter how clever the crew got in staying on the fringes of the system and taking work that left no trails, that someone would eventually get suspicious. Start asking questions. Simon thought on that a long while as he got up to refill his coffee cup.
“Rough night, doctor?”
“Hmm?” Simon spun and found himself staring straight at the captain, dressed in about fifteen shades of brown as he always was. “Oh. Um, I, ah…”
“Yeah.” Mal strode over and put on more coffee. Simon took his chair again, absently staring once again into his coffee cup.
“Why do you keep us?”
“I mean, yes, you do need a medic, but I suppose you got on rather well without one before I came on board.”
“I thought we already had this discussion.”
Simon shook his head. “Captain, I’m not stupid. You and Zoe and Jayne nearly died—and by that I mean more dead-like than usual—just to get a pile of platinum not large enough to think about putting food on the table, let alone restocking or repairs.” The younger man shrugged. “Maybe…maybe things would be better if River and I weren’t here.”
“You think so?”
“Well…no.” Simon smiled a strange sort of smile. “But it would be better for the rest as a whole.”
Now it was the captain’s turn to think a while. After a few sips of coffee, he said, “And where is it you’d be planning to go?”
“I don’t know,” Simon answered truthfully.
“Not the best start to a plan, son.”
“No,” Simon agreed. “But it does make me ask why.”
“Why do you keep us? Besides the medicinal work, I mean.”
Mal shrugged. “Don’t care much for Alliance. S’pose you’ve figured that, top three percent and all…”
“Yes. It still doesn’t explain things.”
“You’re on my crew. Means somethin’.”
“Mal, my own father disowned me when I insisted there was something wrong at that rutting school. My father—my own family. Told me that if I continued working to get River out of that…that place…that I could expect no help from him.”
Simon sighed. “That was before I actually broke River out. Before the entire ‘verse wanted our heads on a platter.”
“Sounds like quite a fellow.”
“I’ve learned a bit about people since I left home,” the doctor replied.
“They aren’t always what they seem.” Before Mal could respond, Simon continued. “I used to think you’d sell me out to the feds for a pat on the head.”
“Now, not so much. In fact, not at all. And that’s what surprises me.”
Mal’s eyes grew just a shade wider. “Surprised?”
Simon took another absent swig of coffee. “You have absolutely no reason to protect us, Captain. None whatsoever.”
“I thought we established that you’re on my crew?”
“We did. I mean to say that it’s not like the relationship between me and my father—there’s no familial bond, no…” Simon’s eyes squinted a little as he searched for the right word.
“Found often enough that ‘family’ is what you make of it.”
Simon’s head jolted up to look at Mal’s own. “You don’t even like me.”
“That ain’t so.”
“Okay—you like me marginally more than you did when you picked us up on Jiangyin.”
“Could be because you’re loosening up a bit.”
Though he didn’t quite think so, Simon wasn’t that stupid. “I suppose.”
“I mean, look at you now.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you’ve learned a whole ‘verse full of useful things since you came on board. Mostly about craziness and crime and the like.”
Simon thought on that a second. It was true that his opinions were changing—hence his earlier thoughts on his attire—but the more he thought about it, he was changing in other, small ways. Back home, someone in River’s condition would have been cared for by professionals. Out here, there was only Simon’s rudimentary expertise in psychological trauma and the willingness of others to scrounge up what might be needed to fix her. Back home, it was a family’s responsibility to make sure the welfare of their own was sought after. Here, complete strangers banded together and took on that responsibility—regardless of how much one or another cared for each other. Simon smiled a little at the thought of Jayne breaking them out of Alliance hands only to learn later that he had been the reason for the whole debacle in the first place.
“Plus, you’re a type that tends to grow on people. I’m sure a few of us would agree to that.”
Simon smiled at that. “I suppose.”
Mal finished his coffee. “Well, good night.” Without another word, he turned and headed back towards his bunk.
Simon stared out into space a while longer. Yes, it was true that things had definitely changed since he’d come aboard Serenity. But somehow, everything was finally starting to make some sense. As he finished off his coffee, he thought to himself:
Though my own people have forsaken me, there are others who would not. And for much greater peril than losing a position or being called from a dinner table, that’s certain.
Looking down the hall where the captain had vanished, Simon began to truly wonder if he hadn’t answered his own question.
Monday, August 03, 2009 10:51 AM
Monday, August 03, 2009 4:09 PM
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