STOLEN MOMENTS: 4. "Secrets"
Monday, April 4, 2005

"Kaylee and Simon spend some time on Baltimore. River informs the Captain of something they have in common."



SUMMARY: "Kaylee and Simon spend some time on Baltimore. River informs the Captain of something they have in common." The usual disclaimers apply. The characters and 'Firefly' are the property and gift of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement of copyright is intended.


A "Firefly" story

Written by Alison M. DOBELL

* * * * *

Kaylee couldn't understand it, she really couldn't. She knew Simon liked her, had even felt a rush of something a time or two along with more than a few sparks, but it was as if there was an iron lid fastening down his emotions so nothing could leak out. What in the nine hells was he afraid of? That she would hurt him? They were walking around a bazaar on Baltimore. Inara had a client here and the Captain had figured it was far enough off the Alliance trade routes to be safe to stop and replenish their food stocks. Kaylee had been surprised and excited when after a brief recon with Zoe and Jayne the Captain had returned and given them permission to stretch their legs. Simon had been hesitant, fearful even, but after assurances that it was safe had relented. Then to Simon's confusion River had promptly changed her mind and stated she didn't want to go planetside after all.

Maybe that was all it was. The fact that River was back on Serenity and Kaylee had dragged Simon out to explore. Shepherd Book smiled across at the mechanic, his muted amusement like some secret they both shared that Simon was unaware of. Then Jayne caught up with them and he and the Shepherd wandered off leaving Kaylee and Simon to browse and talk. Or more accurately, Kaylee to talk and Simon to pretend he was listening. Up ahead they could just make out the blur of Wash's tropical shirt as he and Zoe ducked into a shop. Kaylee squeezed Simon's hand and looked up into his anxious pinched face. "Simon? Y'are pleased ya came, ain't ya?"

He paused. Uncomfortable but not wanting to completely ruin her day out. "Um, it just feels dangerous."

Her eyes widened in disbelief and she stopped dead in her tracks causing him to stop too. "What's dangerous about a gorram market? This ain't no Alliance world, 'sides the Cap'n wouldn't set Serenity down anywhere like that."

"No, I suppose you're right."

Then he smiled down at her and Kaylee's heart dissolved into a puddle of goo. Even Simon seemed to feel it, his sharp features softening as he looked at her. Kaylee's heart going pit-a-pat like Simon was the only thing keeping it beating. Both of them seemed surprised by the kiss. Sweet, soft and gentle Simon was a hair's breadth from apologising when Kaylee's radiant smile robbed him of words. "C'mon," Said Kaylee in a husky voice. "Why don't we find someplace outta the sun?"

Back on Serenity the Captain was making himself a mug of tea. His side still hurt and the stitches tugged on him every time he walked. Not that wild horses would have made him admit it. Between the doctor's fussing and his crew's nagging he was just grateful of the quiet time. It felt good to sit aboard his boat and just ruminate. Feel her comforting presence all around him. Sturdy, reliable, faithful as the day was long. It was the only thing that was truly his and that was more comfort than a man had a right to feel about any gorram thing.

"You're wrong."

He jumped then inwardly cursed himself for forgetting about the girl.

"Not forgotten," Said River brightly as she stepped into view. "Just out of sight."

"I thought I told you it was safe to go outside? Hear tell the market's pretty shiny. Yet here you are."

She smiled. "Here I am."

He sipped his tea slowly, watching her over the rim as she watched him back. "Why didn't you go?"

River shook her head, not at him but at some silent dialogue she was not yet ready to share. She twirled in the cotton dress, her bare feet graceful just like everything else about her.

"River? Why didn't you go to the market?"

"Too crowded, too much noise." She paused and let go of the dress so that its' folds lay flat again as if the party was over.

"Want some tea?"

She considered and he had the oddest notion she was thinking of something else. When she nodded it was something of a surprise but he poured her a drink anyway. River took a sip and when the Captain took a seat at the table she sat next to him. "He does trust you."

The Captain looked surprised. "Who?"

"Simon. Trusts you but is afraid to believe it." She paused. "Makes you too powerful and he's been powerless for too long."

It all made sickening sense to him. "I ain't gonna hurt him nor you neither. You know that don't you?"

River nodded. "He's all mixed up inside."

Mal nodded. Who wasn't?

"I let him try to fix me but I'm not the problem."

That amused him. "Is that so?"

She nodded. Serious even as her eyes danced at him, enjoying his grave humour. "It's the only time he feels a sense of worth. When he's being the doctor. He loses himself putting other people together but there's no one to do the same for him." She paused. "Poor Simon."

The admission struck a chord in him. Mal felt a little shard of pain inside, a pitiful thing that said no child should feel what Simon and River had felt. Not a body alive that should have to suffer for what had been done to them. "Your brother has plenty of worth, River. Point of fact he's the shiniest doctor I ever met an' he ain't no coward."

"An' that ain't nothin'." She mimicked his accent as if finishing his sentence for him. It drew a little smile from him and she was glad of it. "He so wants to believe. To trust. But he's lost so much."

Mal sighed. He knew what that was like. Could still taste the blood and ashes in his mouth. It was what his nightmares were made of. "What that boy needs most of all is time, River. Can't rush such things."

"*Wo zhidao* but in the meantime he hurts and I can only do so much."

She was getting upset. The Captain put down his mug and put a hand on her shoulder, hoping to ground her in the here and now. "Hush now, ain't nothin' to be gettin' upset about, *dong ma*?"

River slid off her chair and wrapped her arms around the Captain, tears pooling in her eyes. Such sadness coming off her that it made his heart go out to her. "I'm afraid."

"Shush, ain't got nothin' to be afraid of, *xin gan*."

"I'm afraid when he's fixed me he'll be too broken to mend himself."

It was something Mal feared too. Boy was too close to the edge for it to be a goodly thing. Might have known River knew that. He hugged her close, hoping to somehow offer a measure of comfort however small. "That's what we're here for, River."

She pulled back so she could look at him, eye to eye. "He's cross with you."

The matter of fact tone amused him, the content though was a mite confusing. He brushed the unruly locks of hair out of her eyes so he could see her face. Trying to understand just what it was she was trying to tell him. "Is he now?"

River nodded. "You called me a Reader."

He felt awkward now but before he could apologise she continued.

"It's alright, I don't mind because I am." His mouth dropped open slightly. Mal had not expected her to own up to the fact especially with Simon asserting so vehemently that she was no such thing. She tilted her head at him. For several moments neither spoke. Something in River's eyes kept the Captain mute. Gently she laid a hand against his cheek, her eyes searching his for something.

"You know because you're one too." She said softly.

Eyes widened in shock. "*Shenme*? What the good gorram gave you that idea?"

She smiled then chuckled as if the joke was on him. "Takes one to know one!"

Then she stepped out of his arms and laughed, her mood happy and bright again. Gathering the sides of her dress in her hands she began to dance to a tune only she could hear, the combat boots ringing with a dull tympany as she danced around the table. Her look beautific and far away. He sat transfixed, his tea forgotten. Her words seared into his gorram brain as if he had been branded. Then as abruptly as she had begun River stopped, paused a moment, spun round and kissed his cheek. "They're coming back."

He stared at her. "They are?"

River nodded then rested her forehead against his, her tone light and conspirational, her eyes shining with mischief and a quiet but deep affection. "Our secret."

Before he could respond she danced off again, the clatter of her boots ringing as she clumped down the metal staircase bringing him back to the confusion of the Here and Now.

* * * * *

CHINESE GLOSSARY: (Mandarin - Pinyin)

*wo zhidao* = I know *dong ma* = understand *xin gan* = sweetheart *shenme* = what


Monday, April 4, 2005 10:07 AM


Mal a reader?!? Woah, Ali! Okay, you've got to post the next part soon! I'm really anxious now! So many exclamation points!

- Soul!

Monday, April 4, 2005 10:29 AM


Not to sound like I'm repeating SOS, but Mal a reader?!? Damn...I did not see that one coming at all! I'm still in a state of shock. Wow... I can't wait to read the next chapter in which I will hopefully find out more details concerning Mal's reading abilities.

Okay I'm still blow away, but I'm going to try and comment on the first half of this chapter.

I really loved the Kaylee/Simon interaction. It was a sweet moment of lovely fluff. I hope the mechanic won't get the good doctor into too much trouble when they "find someplace outta the sun".

Ali, this story is so unbeliveably good. Keep up the awesome work!

Tuesday, April 5, 2005 12:59 AM


This is what's so good about Firefly - the echoes and reflections within the characters. And you're working that really well in this fic.

Sunday, May 22, 2011 3:39 PM


Wow! That was really good! more more more!


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His head still ached from the rutting probe but after the men had satisfied themselves that his story was true a thousand questions peppered the air like machine gun fire.

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If it was too gorram wet to hunt for rabbits what in the nine hells was his son really hunting? And was it something on four legs or two?

The man was in a terrible condition, his pulse weak, and for some reason he was soaking wet which did nothing to staunch the blood soaking through his clothing and seeping from the poorly tended wound where he had been shot.

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The man sighed like the weight of the of the 'Verse was on his shoulders but unlike anyone else he looked like he could carry the weight.

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Without warning something came through the opening and rolled with a metallic clang across the ground before exploding.

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Then he found himself falling, the whole world silent as in slow motion the hordes of *diyu* came to swallow him up and everything disintegrated in fire, blood and pain.