Shiny New Toys 6: The Way It Is
Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Zoe and Wash explain things to Mal. Simon finds himself with an expanded job description.


A/N: Me own nada

The results of the survey are in: 3 for orgy in the cargo bay, 2 for the other porn options, 2 for Wash's dinos, and a smattering of the others. Upshot: Apparently, you guys are a bunch of dinosaur-loving perverts. I knew I liked you for a reason.

The plot barely moves again, but I knew Mal would have to be convinced of things eventually.


OK, Zoe. You best give me a gorram good reason why I'm up here an' not down there fillin' that doctor full of holes." Mal was still furious as Zoe herded him onto the bridge, physically blocking the doorway so Mal couldn't leave.

"Wait. What?" Wash's head whipped around to stare at Zoe and Mal as entered, each one with a hand resting on their guns. "We're killing Simon again?" Not completely realizing the gravity of the situation, he took on a reminiscent look. "Wow. That takes me back to when those crazy kids first came on. River wasn't even yet out of her box when Simon earned himself an airlock threat, followed by multiple punchings - "

"Not now, Wash." Zoe didn't even look at her husband, choosing to keep her eyes locked on the captain. "Reason? How 'bout 'he didn't do nothin' bad', sir."

"That ain't a good reason. 'Sides, I'm fair sure he did. Has this nasty habit of lookin' exactly like a wanted fugitive." Mal feigned looking confused. "Wonder why that is?"

"Don't think he can control that."

"Exactly. Which is why he's supposed to stay on the gorram boat and out of sight!"

"'Cept when he's handy for a job, right, sir? Like Canton?" Zoe wasn't backing down. There was a very real danger than Mal would walk back down the stairs and Serenity would be minus the best medic on the Rim, not to mention dealing with a grieving sister with a fondness for knives and a heartbroken mechanic that could completely dismantle the engine. "How about when he's plannin' the best heist this crew ever seen? Or savin' all our lives pullin' out bullets an' sewin' up holes? " She pointed at the right side of his head. "Puttin' ears back on. He oughta not do any of that and stay hidden?"

"Dammit, Zoe, that ain't the same thing! I agreed to it those times!"

"So the ear was part of your cunnin' plan, then? He ain't a dog, sir. Won't sit around 'til he's called."

"Simon's got a dog now?" Wash was still confused, and was still being ignored.

"Might as well be, Zoe. Ain't got the sense to stay on the boat when it ain't safe."

"Not safe, sir? Greenleaf's about as safe as Higgin's Moon. Boy took a comm just in case. Kept his wits about him. How's that any different from any job you used him on?" Zoe's voice stayed calm and level.

"'Cause Kaylee didn't get hurt on my jobs!" Mal exploded, then pursed his mouth shut to bite back more shouting.

"Huh? What about Kaylee?" Wash was out of the loop, and now he was getting some hints that he didn't much like. Zoe gave wash a small hand sign that she'd tell him in a moment, then lifted one eyebrow, giving Mal the universal sign for "oh yeah?".

"What? I never put Kaylee in danger!"

"Started a fight on Perspehone, an' Badger used her to keep us on the boat. Didn't tell Tracey the plan with Womak, an' he took her hostage. She took up arms to get you from Niska, which almost got her killed 'til River jumped in. She sure as hell didn't invite that Fed to shoot her." Zoe ticked off each item on her fingers. "Fair to say she's in danger just bein' on this boat, an' also fair to say Simon been the one to heal her of most of it. This ain't about him gettin' her in trouble."

"Oh, no? So I'm wrong now? You takin' classes from Inara on tellin' me off?"

"No, sir. Just keepin' the boat runnin' smooth. An' killin' our only doctor ain't gonna help that. Or her."

Mal stood a moment, running all this through his head, before sighing heavily and collapsing into the co-pilot's chair. "Alright. Guess the boy don't deserve to die. An' it'll be useful to have him here 'til Kaylee's back up an' runnin'. But I'm still gonna put him off at Persephone."

"OK, someone's gotta tell me. Why were we going to shoot Simon? And what's wrong with Kaylee?" Wash couldn't take it anymore, and now that both parties weren't standing with hands on their guns, he figured it was safe to ask.

"Short version: SImon an' Kaylee ran into Fed trouble. Kaylee's out cold - shush, husband, Simon's lookin' after her - an' Cap'n is convinced the Tams need to take leave on Persephone." Zoe turned a questioning eye back on Mal. "Now that we know it ain't actually the doc that got you riled, want to tell me what it really is? Or should I start guessin'?"

"Oh, please, wise one. Tell me my demons." Mal had quite the sarcastic streak when backed into a corner.

"We ain't got time for all your demons, sir. Just the one. In this case, seems to me your little girl just got hurt an' you're all manner of scared, an' you're tryin' to blame it on the other man in her life so you can justify gettin' rid of him." Zoe grinned. "You never did like competition, sir."

Mal's eyes popped open. "Zoe, I don't have any notion what you're thinking, but I'm sure Kaylee ain't my little girl. I've met her Pa. Nice fella, big hands. Didn't look much like me. An' Simon ain't in her life any more than Wash here. An' I ain't competin' with him, neither. Nothin' to compete for."

"Go se, Mal." Wash saw what his wife was saying, and had rapidly figured out the pertinent issues once Zoe laid out the problem. "You're not related by blood, true, but Kaylee - and to a smaller extent, River and Simon - are like your children. And like any good parent, you're scared to death when one of them is injured."

Mal waved that one away. "Bullshit, Wash. Kaylee an' River I got a soft spot for, I'll admit. But the Doc can suck space for all I care."

Wash wasn't fully convinced of that, but decided to let it slide. "And as far as Simon and Kaylee are concerned, have you asked her lately? She practically drools into her dinner plate. Hell, you sent Jayne from the table the first night Simon was here so he'd stop teasing her. Don't tell me you didn't see it."

"Wash an' me both known Kaylee - an' Simon - long as you, sir. None of us ever seen her chase a man so hard, or any man treat her like she's classy the way Simon does." She gave Mal a hard look. "He didn't hurt her, an' he's down there doin' all he can to help her."

Wash nodded in agreement. "She loves him, Mal, or is at least more interested that she's ever been before. You couldn't possibly take that away, could you?"

"Like hell she is! He's just the only man on this ship that ain't her Captain, married, avowed, or Jayne. Get rid of him, an' it'll blow over." Mal couldn't fathom his little Kaylee getting all moony over a sissy boy. "The boy don't got any spine to him, anyhow. Hell, he probably just wants into her knickers, then'll take his sis and bolt."

Zoe actually laughed out loud. "You smokin' somethin', sir? If Simon wanted to bed her an' run - which, I might mention, is not usually a problem far as Kaylee's concerned - he's had his chance since he got here. He didn't take it. That ain't it at all."

"Face it, Mal. You just don't like him, because - despite his history - Simon smells like Alliance. He's fancy, well educated, and from a powerful family. He's everything you hate, and it galls you to see Kaylee enjoy his attention. That's how you compete, Captain. You think he's going to use her and you have to save her from his evil ways."

"I do! Fanciness don't make him a good man, Wash. Most like he'll love her an' leave her, an' I don't need no broken-hearted mechanic."

"Fanciness don't make him a bad man, neither." Zoe couldn't help throwing in a voice in support of Wash. Her husband rarely seemed passionate about anything, and she was enjoying watching him go.

"Exactly." Wash favored Zoe with a smile. "Despite his prissiness - which is slowly wearing off, if you happen to look - Simon is far more to the good side. He's saved almost everyone on this ship already - including you and, of all people, Jayne - and God knows that he'd lay down his life for his sister. I believe you remember that little 'burn at the stake' episode?" Mal reluctantly nodded. "If he treated Kaylee with even half the care he treats River - and from what I've seen, he doesn't do anything in halves - she'd be the most well loved woman in the 'verse." He looked over at his wife. "After you, of course."

Mal sat and considered all this for a long while. Wash and Zoe said had a point, gorramit. He was bein' protective - as a good captain should - but was taking it out on Simon because Simon was a handy target that Mal didn't like anyway. It was just as fair to say Inara had a hand in getting the two of them off the boat, and he wasn't yelling at her, was he? And excepting the Doc's habit of sticking his foot in his mouth - and God knew Mal did plenty of that himself - he'd never treated Kaylee wrong yet. Plus, it was for damn sure that if he threw Simon off the boat that Kaylee would never forgive him. All in all, it was pretty much a given the boy had to stay. "So what do I do about this, then? I don't cotton to lettin' Kaylee alone to get hurt, an' I don't trust the doc won't hurt her."

Zoe smiled gently. "He might. Lord knows Wash an' I get into it now an' then. But it ain't your job to stop that, sir. Fact of life." Mal looked pained, so Zoe pressed on. "Don't mean that you can't watch out for her, though. But watchin' don't mean interferin'."

Wash agreed. "Want to feel better about the whole thing? You need to go talk to Simon, without threatening to kill him or turning him out to fend for himself. Feel him out if you have to. Ask him what he wants, and lay out what you expect. But don't be jealous of him."

"I ain't jealous." Mal's defense was feeble. He mostly said it out of form.

"Yes, you are, sir. Daddies are always jealous when some hundan takes their baby." Zoe gave Mal a genuinely warm smile. "Lord knows my daddy was. I was 16, an' his name was Tommy." She grinned even wider as Wash looked stricken. "No tellin' if it'll work out, but daddies always gotta let go." She paused again and finally shrugged, looking for a silver lining. "At least it ain't Bester."

Mal snorted. "We be havin' this conversation if it was?"

"Hell no, sir. I'd have let you shoot him."


"We ain't gonna wait 'til Persephone, Doc." Mal had resumed his position at the infirmary door. He'd just spent an hour in his quarters, thinking over what to do about his doctor. Now the time had come to straighten things out.

"I'm afraid I'm not going to let you shove me out the airlock just yet, Captain. Like I told you before - " Simon shut his mouth as Mal held up his hand for silence.

"You got no need to speak here, just listen to what I got to say." Mal thought a moment, looking for the best way to say all he needed. "I believe it's fair to say you an' me don't get along. Only reason I keep you is 'cause we need a medic an' it ain't right to ever get your sister near Alliance again. To this day I don't know why I didn't just leave you both on Whitefall like I was gonna, an' by rights I should toss you off next moon we get to." Simon said nothing, just watching.

"But I ain't gonna. Zoe an' Wash ambushed me up on the bridge, an' brought some things to my attention, so I reconsidered a bit. So if you wanna stay on this boat, here's what's what."

"One, despite the annoyances, you really are a good medic. I got some scars my own self that would be a bit worse off weren't for you. So long as you fix up this crew, you got a job. I told you that your first day on this boat, an' our needs ain't changed." Mal rubbed his side, looking a mite rueful. "Fact is, our needs seem a bit more frequent of late. That's your first condition to stay: patch us up, no arguments." Simon nodded in silent agreement.

"But that ain't your only job no more." He pointed at Kaylee, still unconscious on the exam bed. "I don't know where you two plan on goin', an' I can't say I fully approve, but I've been informed it ain't my position to stop ya. You an' I both know what she wants, so it comes down to you. So this is you second condition: if you start this, you take damn good care of her. You never treat her unkind, ignore her for your sister, or even look at her cross-eyed. Ever comes to you breakin' her heart, you break it gently. I ever get wind of otherwise, I swear I'll kill you where you stand. Ain't nowhere you can go Jayne can't find you." His eyes bored into the doctor's. "Those're my terms. You wanna stay on this boat, knowin' all that?"

"I do."

"Good. Seems your jobs coincide right now, so you just do what you need to. Be to Persephone in 10 hours, an' we'll be needin' a way into that hospital - you, me, her, an' Jayne or Zoe for support."

Simon hadn't moved a muscle during Mal's speech, but now he just had to object. "It would probably be easier if I didn't go, Captain. I am a tagged fugitive, as we saw today."

"Then you best start plannin', Doc. Ain't no one else I trust to root around in Kaylee's brain but you." He grinned. "After sis, you got the most practice." Simon only nodded. Mal nodded back and turned for the door, but stopped one last time.

"Make up a plan, Simon. You did damn good on Ariel, best job this crew's ever seen. Put that brain you're so proud of to work, and give me something. Please. I swear to God we'll make it happen."

"I thought you didn't believe in God, Captain."

"Oh, I do, but the bastard don't believe in me. Best help me prove him wrong, dong ma?"


Tuesday, January 3, 2006 9:59 PM


For the record: I love Zoe acting as the voice of reason - she does seem the pragmatic type so long as Mal doesn't flat out order her to ice someone. Could you write a mini-series or one-shot for her too?

Wednesday, January 4, 2006 12:09 AM


Wow, Zoe is one powerful force of nature. I loved that her loyalty to Mal doesn't blind her to his failings, and her understanding of him is so total that she knows just what to say and how to get through to him. I also loved Mal laying it on the line to Simon and admitting he had to be ambushed into seeing things in the right perspective. Well look at that, I think Mal's grown. - Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Wednesday, January 4, 2006 6:21 AM


Great job. Having Zoe and Wash talk to Mal was perfect.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006 1:55 PM


"We're killing Simon again?"

"He's just the only man on this ship that ain't her Captain, married, avowed, or Jayne."
-great line...makes me wonder if anyone ever wrote a mal/kaylee fic....

Friday, January 6, 2006 9:36 AM


Apparently, you guys are a bunch of dinosaur-loving perverts. I knew I liked you for a reason.

yep, that's us...


Thursday, February 23, 2006 9:31 AM


Dinosaur loving pervert here... just wanted to comment about your Bester line! Comedy Genius.


Tuesday, October 3, 2006 12:30 PM


Definitely hands down best chapter. I love Zoe and Wash ambushing Mal on the bridge. Everything they said was so true and spot on!

And even Mal's conversation with Simon was excellent. Nicely 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.