Shiny New Toys 5: All Kinds O' Stubborn
Thursday, December 29, 2005

Kaylee ain't dead yet, but Mal picks a poor time for a command decision. Everybody else just watches the fireworks.


A/N: Throw in the standard disclaimers.

Man, I gotta figure out how to horse this sumbitch back to humor, or at least porn. Drama isn't my game. Any ideas?

In the meantime, enjoy self-righteous Mal vs. strung-out Simon. At least they have Zoe to referee.


Wash had never managed to get the ship into the air so fast. Mal had been talking to him all the way back from the Alliance substation, and he lifted off as soon as the last person touched the deck, even before the cargo doors had finished closing. Despite his calls for a status update, Wash had been ignored as everyone - including Inara and River, who had been waiting on the catwalk - made a beeline for the common room and infirmary. Simon was the first one in, grabbing up the gloves and supplies prepared ahead of time as Jayne carefully set Kaylee on the exam bed. Without even an apologetic look to Inara, Simon cut the shoulder of Kaylee's dress and began to apply a dressing to her burn.

Mal was seething as he watched. This was the second time the gorram doctor had brought injury down on little Kaylee, and that was two times too many. Mal had let the first one slide, as Serenity had needed a doctor and Simon hadn't known any better. But this one was different. Simon knew to stay on the boat, and he left anyway. It didn't matter that Kaylee and Inara had prodded him into it. The Tams were simply too much of a liability to keep around any longer. He hadn't been kidding when he'd wanted to leave Simon to the Alliance - only Zoe mentioning River had changed his mind. But now that the Doctor was back in one piece, it was well past time to cut them both loose. But first, he had more pressing issues to address.

"What's the story?" he stood in the doorway to the infirmary, the rest of the crew gathered behind him, as Simon hooked Kaylee to the monitors. To all outward appearance, the captain looked relaxed, but Zoe's eyes narrowed anyway. Mal was actually very tense, and that was usually a bad sign for whoever he was angry with. Given the current state of affairs, it wasn't hard to guess who that might be. Still, she didn't move yet. She'd only defuse him if it was necessary.

"Other than the minor burns to her shoulder, she's essentially in a coma." Simon was flipping through the readouts at a furious pace, gathering as much information as he could, and managing to look everywhere in the room except at his patient or his captain. The monitors helped. The numbers and graphs were just the readings for another person in his infirmary. It wasn't actually Kaylee that way. It had been a long day, and he could feel the pressure weighing down on him as tried to shake it off.

"She gonna die?" Mal was using the same tone of voice he'd used when questioning that waiter hours eariler. He seemed oblivious to Simon's mounting stress level.

"Tenuous threads, Captain. Too many blows and the glass shatters and sparkles," River piped up from the back of the crowd. Inara laid a hand on her shoulder to shush her.

Simon sighed, finally meeting Mal's eyes. With difficulty he schooled himself into Doctor Mode so he didn't have to deal with emotions. "I don't know. Maybe. Electrocution usually kills by disrupting the rhythm of the heart. As you can see here," he motioned to a monitor, "her heart is beating just fine. However - "

"Of course there's a 'however'," Mal muttered.

" - it also scrambles the signals of most nerve pathways, including the brain. There's the possibility of nerve or brain damage, which could lead to bigger problems."

"Permanent damage?"

"Not if we catch it in time, no. But I don't have the equipment to look. All I can do is keep her stable until then."

"Who has the equipment?"

"Any hospital - like the one on Ariel, for instance - would have the scanners. They're fairly common."

Mal moved to the comm on the wall. "Wash? What's the nearest landfall we can make at full burn?"

It took a moment for Wash's voice to come back. "Other than the place we just left with the Alliance nipping our heels? Persephone's about 12 hours away if we push it. Is everyone alright down there?"

"No, things are decidedly not alright. Push it, Wash. All the way." Mal turned back to Simon. "As I recall, you spent some time of Persephone. They have what we need?"

"They should, yes."

"An' she'll just lay there until we get her to a proper hospital?"

"Most likely. She could always wake up on her own, but I can't begin to predict that."

"They have any hotels?"

Simon blinked at the change of pace. This was not a medical question. "What?" Behind Mal, Zoe stiffened, sensing where this was going. Everyone else was as confused as Simon.

"Hotels, son. They got 'em on Persephone?"

"Of course."

"Good. Since you ain't needed in here, you best pack your bags and make a reservation for you an' River. 'Cause as soon as this boat kisses soil, you're gone. Got no more room for you."

The stunned silence lasted a good ten seconds before the crew jumped in. "Mal!", Inara hissed at him, right as Book started in with a "Now, Captain...". Zoe said nothing, but waited for her opening. Just as the squabbling looked to get worse, Simon's reaction shut them all up.

He started laughing. Not a quiet chuckle, but a deep, rolling, crazy laugh that shook him so hard he nearly fell to the floor with tears streaming down his face. "You're serious, aren't you?," he choked out between gasps for breath. "You think it's my fault and you're serious." This occasioned a new fit of laughter, and it dawned on the rest of the crew that Simon had just gone well past the point his sanity could handle. After a day like today, River may not be the only crazy one in the family. Inara came up behind Mal to talk him down. It was obvious Simon couldn't take any more abuse, and they really did need him, Mal's ranting notwithstanding.

But Mal wasn't letting up. "Damn right it's your fault. Who's face tipped that waiter off, you think? This ain't a joke. You brought a world of hurt down on us - on her - again, an' now you're tellin' me ain't nothin' you can do to fix it. So you ain't needed. Only change of plan is if she dies 'fore we get there, then - "

"Oh! I've think I've heard this one before! Something about airlocks, right?" Simon laughed some more, the accusations flying right past him.

"I fail to see why you're laughin', Doctor."

"Really? Then let's review, shall we? I woke up with a pounding headache to find Kaylee naked and in bed with me, whereupon she tried to seduce me. I managed to slow her down long enough to agree to spend time in town with me instead. For once in my over-educated and under-socialized life, I did OK and didn't send the lady running for the hills within fifteen minutes. The date came to an abrupt end with the appearance of a pompous - and as it turns out, sadistic - Alliance officer manhandling us both into a hover. This marked the beginning of the torture session, in which I had the pleasure of watching the bastard shock the hell out of Kaylee while I sat around tied to a chair. I now have the job of trying to find any possible damage to her brain - which, I may remind you, now marks the second woman under my care that's had her brain endangered by the Alliance." Simon took a deep breath, the crazy still in his eyes. "You can see how threatening me with simple abandonment is fairly humorous."

Oddly, no one else found it funny. They just stared.

River reacted first. She came forward and poked him on the arm. "Simon. Time to work." She pointed at Kaylee, still on the exam bed.

"Apparently not anymore. I believe the captain just relieved me of duty." Simon's rational brain was gone, buried under too much stress. He giggled.

"Doc's gone woolly. Might have to put him down," Jayne mumbled. Book nodded slightly in agreement and began to shift his weight forward, hoping that if it came to it he could disable Simon without seriously harming him.

River scowled at Simon, while feeling Book moving but not paying him much attention. This had happened once before, right as Simon was completing his residency. He'd been up 72 hours straight with little food, and despite his best efforts he lost a patient, which Simon always found devestating. He'd wandered home after that shift and sat in his room, staring at the wall and not responding to external stimulus. Mother had finally broken through to him by playing to the one thing Simon prized above all.

"Simon, dear." No one in the room besides Simon had ever met Mrs. Tam, but River was doing a dead-on impression of her. "Enough of this. Your patients need you."

And that was the magic word. Mother had understood something critical: Simon defined himself by how much he was needed by others, and the thought of not being useful broke him. Accolades, lofty positions, money, threats; none of those things really motivated him, as Mal was discovering. But find someone who required something only he could give, and he was unstoppable. River herself was proof of that. She just had to remind him.

Simon blinked a few times, and his eyes focused on his sister. "River."

"You promised you'd fix her and wouldn't leave, Simon."

He rested his forehead against hers a moment. "Shr ah, mei-mei. Give me room to work now, OK?" He moved to the counter and began to gather supplies while looking up treatment options in the computer.

River smiled sweetly as she turned to leave. Passing Mal, she gave him a swat on the stomach. "Fixed now. Play nice."

Now that Simon appeared to be coherent again, Mal remained unmoved. "Doc, despite the creepifyin' display from little sis - again - I do believe you still got some packin' to do."

Simon didn't even look up from his charts and medicines. "No, captain. Please leave."

Mal's eyes widened in disbelief. "You just give me an order in my own infirmary?"

Simon shook his head and looked up. "You're mistaken, Captain. When there is a patient in this room, it's my infirmary. Now, please," Simon stressed the 'please', "get the hell out."

Zoe saw it was time. Mal's gun had almost cleared the holster when her hand landed heavily on his shoulder. "Sir. Need to speak with you."

"I'm busy, Zoe." He glared at Simon with cold fury. To hell with throwin' them off the boat. He'd settle for killin' the bastard right here.

"Right now, sir. Wash'll be needin' an update on the situation." Zoe's tone left no room for argument, not even from her captain.

Mal and Simon stared each other down for a while before Mal relented. "Fine. But you an' me gonna finish this when we hit Persephone, Doctor."

"Won't that be fun," Simon answered, now with a touch of humor in his voice. They both remembered the last time he'd said those words. Mal glared one last time and left with Zoe, Jayne following behind. Book left for his quarters, most likely to fetch his bible.

Inara quickly entered the infirmary, and laid a hand on Simon's shoulder. "I'm sorry Mal had to do that. He's just worried and is showing it poorly."

"He's right, Inara. It is my fault." For a second Inara was afraid he'd crack again, but Simon visibly gathered himself. "But River's right, too. I'm needed. At least for now."

Inara gave him a squeeze, and quietly left the room, bringing River with her.

Even though he'd just banished the entire crew to let him work, Simon found there was really nothing for him to do but watch and wait. Setting his charts back on the counter, he sat down on his stool, held Kaylee's hand and smoothed out her hair. "Well," he started, trying to keep a light tone. "That was bracing. So where were we before all this hilarity started?" Simon thought a moment. "Oh, yes. Well, that restaurant actually reminded me of this dinner party we once had...."


Thursday, December 29, 2005 5:10 PM


Hey, MG here again. I've got a poll, and since I can't figure out any other way to ask, I'll just slap it on here.

How should I end this series?

A) Kill 'em all. Taking a page from the movie, nothing jacks up the suspense like knocking off a character or two. Who should go?
1) Kaylee dies
2) Kaylee dies. Depressed, Simon poisons himself and dies. Kaylee miraculously recovers 2 minutes later, only to find her lover dead, whereupon she poisons herself and dies again. River decides 'Romeo and Juliet' is way overrated.
3) River flips out, killing everyone aboard
4) Wash is distracted while ogling Zoe and crashes the ship into a moon, killing everyone aboard
5) Something involving Jayne, a grenade, and the word "oops", killing everyone aboard
6) Anything that leads to the phrase "explosive decompression"

B) Fluff. Because they're all just hopeless romantics at heart. Except Jayne. He's badass.
1) Simon saves Kaylee, they declare their mutual love, and live happily ever after with many fat babies
2) Mal and Inara finally knock it off and do it already, and live happily ever after with many fat babies
3) River coerces Jayne into kissing on the mouth, and they live happily ever after with many fat babies
4) Mal coerces Simon into kissing on the mouth. Kaylee runs to Inara for comfort. Jayne sells the video, making Serenity the richest ship in the 'verse

C) Angst ahoy! Nothing's more fun than our heroes in pain!
1) Annoyed at his penchant for being kidnapped, Mal kicks Simon off the ship. Kaylee pines away. By chance they meet years later, older and wiser
2) Seeing how dangerous he is, Simon refuses Kaylee and leaves with River. Kaylee pines away. By chance they meet years later, older and wiser
3) Steal the plot from any daytime soap and change the names where appropriate. Mention something about "older and wiser"
4) Screw angst. See Choice A above

D) Porn. Lots and lots of porn.
1) Simon saves Kaylee, and he finally does what he should have done somewhere around "Jaynestown".
2) Same as Choice 1, but with River providing amusing commentary
3) Hell with this. Orgy in the cargo bay!

E) WTF? plots. Odd plot bunnies that hopped into my brain while I was totally drunk.
1) Evil Simon arrives from an alternate dimension and kidnaps Kaylee. While the crew plots a rescue, Kaylee develops a very creepy Stockholm Syndrome
2) River reveals she's not actually Simon's sister. With the taboo gone, all that subtext takes a turn towards NC-17
3) Inara reveals she actually is Mal's sister. Mal is too pent up to care.
4) Zoe is pregnant. With Jayne's child. It's all very complicated.
5) It's revealed that the crew of Serenity are just puppets for the amusement of Wash's dinosaurs.

Thursday, December 29, 2005 5:25 PM


Not woolly. Just bein' silly. I wrote that list to amuse my friends, and thought you guys might find it humorous. Had to get it out of my system what with all the drama I've been spitting out.

Don't worry. I'll try to get this thing back around to sweet and fluffy in an episode or two.

Thursday, December 29, 2005 5:52 PM


Haha, you had me rolling with your little commentary at the end! Jayne, grenades, and "oops". I vote option D2. Lol, I think somewhere along the fluff (options B1,2,and3)/humor route would be suiting to end this series. Can't wait for the next chapter!

Thursday, December 29, 2005 6:17 PM


Ah MG, I loves ya. The rant was as good as the story. I can see Mal kicking Simon off the ship and Kaylee waking up, finding out, and kicking Mal's butt because, as in the bar in "Jaynestown," things were going well .

Thursday, December 29, 2005 7:20 PM


Anything in the B category except #4, or D. I'm not picky. :)

Thursday, December 29, 2005 8:01 PM


Wow that was intense and really good.

Thursday, December 29, 2005 8:49 PM


Dude, you even need to ask how I think it should end? Here's a hint, take a look at, ooh, ANY of my fics.

Happy and smutty, dangit! Not angst and killing. Good Lord, man, we've got Joss for that. ;)

Sunday, January 1, 2006 4:55 AM


Call me what you want, D1 baby!
But, i'll also be happy with B1.

Sunday, January 1, 2006 6:37 PM


How about a combination of all of the above. NC-17 fluff involving Jayne, grenades, the word "oops" and explosive decompression. River supplies the amusing commentary and Simon and Mal realize their mutual contempt is really just hiding a deepseated lust resulting in Book presiding over a civil union between the two and many fat children being adopted. All of this of course being at the whim of Wash's godlike plastic dinosaurs, who videotape it and make tons of money for winning the "Supreme Beings Funniest Pawn Video"

You may see yourself as being poor with the drama but so far the story is tight and the wit is crunchy with a chocolaty center. I actually enjoy seeing Simon stand up to Mal. Ya gotta have balls to accomplish what Simon has, I find it infinitely annoying that he is played as an utter milquetoast.

Monday, January 2, 2006 4:22 PM


A5, B4 and anything from the D and E categories. Extra points if you can find a way to combine EVERYTHING for a very strange and confuddled ending to your fic!

Seriously though, I almost wet myself reading your survey, and I happen to think you do a wonderful job at drama :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2006 9:56 PM


The list had me on the floor in stitches

Wednesday, January 4, 2006 11:23 AM


i think you should go with a combination of A1, D3 and E5. something along the lines of: kaylee dies. depressed by this turn of events, the crew have a feel-good orgy (they're always fun) in the cargo bay. then it's revealed that wash's (blue-handed) dinosaurs are controlling everything


Friday, February 17, 2006 10:57 AM


I loveloveLOVE stories that go deeper than the 'happily ever after'...not that they can't, it's just so much more fun to make them suffer first;)
You are doing a splendid job, I love the drama as much as the fluff, and I can't wait to see how you end it - no matter how, it will be amazing;)

"Might have to put him down."
oh Jayne...(LOVE how you write Jayne)

Tuesday, October 3, 2006 12:24 PM


Ahh, I love sarcastic Simon. The scene in the Infirmary was nice and tense! Well done!


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In The Ether 13: Secret Agent Man
Simon takes a turn at super spy as the crew tracks him down.

In The Ether 12: Motivations
A brief history of Simon Tam

In The Ether 11: Telling
Simon and Regan tell each other off, Jayne tells Kaylee a little story, and Wash tells everybody about basic chemistry. Bonus: Jayne actually quotes Shakespeare! Kind of.

In The Ether 10: Technical Difficulties
Jayne goes trophy hunting, Kaylee and Wash attempt to explain technical things to Mal, and eventually everyone realizes that they left something at the last stop.

Generic S/K Plot Outline
Inspired by a story posted at, I present the outline of pretty much every S/K fic out there (including my own, so no one take it personal-like).

Dino Tales: Loss
The dino army mourns the loss of one of their own.

The Old Switcheroo
Jayne and Simon wake up with unique perspectives on life.

In The Ether 9: Minor Complications
Jake and Jasper check out Serenity, River secures some backup, Jayne discovers his protective side, Simon gets physical, and Kaylee meets an old flame.

In The Ether 8: Lady's Choice
Zoe fixes the plan. Kaylee shows Simon how to turn up the heat.

In The Ether 7: Shore Leave
Mal gives everyone a day on Belix to calm the nerves. Wash gets suspicious. A plan is hatched.