Slow Burn
Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Post-BDM. I issued a challenge to a friend to write Simon/Zoe fic, and make it believable. Somehow, I ended up writing it. Funny that.


Slow Burn

Simon already had bandages lined up on a sterile tray when Zoe poked her head into the infirmary, "Doc? You got a...oh." She trailed off, seeing him standing at the ready. "You sure that Reader stuff isn't contagious, Simon?" She entered the room, and slid into place on the table.

"Well, this is the forth time you've stopped in this week," he examined the hand she held out for him. No bleeding this time, but some slight discoloration. "What happened?"


He chuckled, both his hands cradling hers delicately. "I should have known. What did the man-ape do this time?"

"He dropped the cargo on my hand," she didn't watch him as he examined her hand, couldn't look at his hand in hers, the contrast between her dark skin, rough from years of hard work, and his pale white and smooth.

"What happened? Did he blink and fall asleep?" He turned her hand over in his, looking for bruises before releasing it.

"You'll have to ask him. I try not to figure out what's going through his head. It's one of the few places that scares me."

She closed her eyes, waiting for the feel of skin on skin to sooth the rapid beat of her heart. She wouldn't watch. But she'd feel. She waited for the heat of his fingers to melt into her, listened to his soft breathing. She was almost able to hear that buzz of energy that radiated from him, had learned over the last four months that he was his most vibrant within these walls.

"Bend your wrist for me," he instructed and she complied.

No one touched her. Not since Wash. All but the one time Jayne had no choice but to pick her up or leave her bleeding in the street, and even then, he'd hesitated. Like he'd thought she would break.

"Good," she could hear Simon nodding to himself. "I'm going to manipulate your fingers here, check for breaks. Let me know if anything hurts."

Simon wasn’t scared of breaking her.

Biting her lip, she nodded, anticipating his touch so much that she jumped when it came, the shock skittering up her arm and through her body.

"Did that hurt?" He stopped.

"No," her voice was thicker than it should have been.

If he noticed, Simon didn't comment on it. She forced her breathing to regulate, a trick she'd learned hiding in the trenches on Byzantium, when a deep breath at the wrong time was your last.

Simon was the only one on board who dared touch her after Wash. Clinical. Cold. Unfeeling. But touch, all the same.

He cradled the back of her hand in his palm, his index finger, trailed along each finger, putting pressure at each joint, and she felt the pulse through her whole body. “No pain?”

She shook her head slowly, eyes still closed.

“Good,” One fingertip drifted along her ring finger, lingering at the base where a wedding ring would have been if they had ever been able to afford one. Instinctively, her other hand went to her neck, fingering the leather that symbolized her marriage.

His palm slid smoothly against hers, and she couldn’t shake the sensation of his blood pounding just beneath the surface of his skin. “Squeeze.” A simple command, but his voice didn’t hold the sterility she was used to, and it made her falter for a moment.

She tightened her fingers around his, feeling him squeeze her hand in response, felt the ebb and flow of his strength as neither one of them moved to release the other. It should have felt wrong. She should stop it. Stop him. Couldn’t bear for him to know that she needed this.

He was the one to move first, and it was almost a physical pain to feel him drawing away.

Only to twist his hand, sliding his fingers to entwine with hers. Her lashes flew open to gaze up at him, finding icy blue eyes gone soft as they looked at her. She curled her long fingers around his hand, arching her palm to meet his and she could imagine his life pouring into her along with the heat.

It was only Simon. Only a hand in hers, only one minute amongst thousands. And it was only a flicker of heat in the coals left of her life.

But it would warm her.


Wednesday, January 4, 2006 10:40 PM


This was very well written, Zoe is a hard character to master, but you seem to have her down perfectly. Fantastic job :)

Thursday, January 5, 2006 12:09 AM


Very convincing although not a paring I had entertained.

Thursday, January 5, 2006 1:43 AM


Like most, the words 'Zoe/Simon' had me a bit skittish, but you pulled it off just so very nicely.

It was beautiful writing and I'd expect nothing less from you.

Thursday, January 5, 2006 2:58 AM


Very nice. Zoe is really hard to capture in a believable manner.

"What happened? Did he blink and fall asleep?"

Thursday, January 5, 2006 5:43 PM


Beautifully done!
I'm always into exploring how unbelievable couplings can be put together in a believable manner. And yes, I can see this, with Zoe and Simon!

Can I just make a tiny nitpick. It's something that drives me absolutely NUTS.
I know that somewhere along the line one of the writers or producers or something said that they felt that Zoe's necklace symbolized her relationship with Wash.
But she's wearing it when Mal is showing her Serenity right after he buys the ship!!! There is no way it can symbolize a relationship that she hadn't even yet discovered.

Anyway, just my little nitpick. The story itself is very well done!

Friday, January 6, 2006 4:09 AM


Unusual, but great. I like how Simon is the only one not afraid she'll break.

Friday, January 6, 2006 10:48 AM


my favourite lines:

And it was only a flicker of heat in the coals left of her life.
But it would warm her.

so sweet...


Thursday, January 26, 2006 8:26 PM


I think this is perfectly done.

You have the characterization for both Zoe and Simon down very well.

I admit that at first I was skeptical about the pairing, but seeing what you've done with it has definitely made me see it. Excellent!

I love how you talk about her being broken, about everyone being afraid to touch her. For some reason it works. And it's not about how delicate, or fragile she might be, but quite the opposite. It's hard to explain.

Anyway, what that mindless rambling translates to is that this is one brilliant story!

Friday, January 27, 2006 7:09 AM


Very good!

I liked the whole no one touching her thing, and even though Simon's touch was "Clinical. Cold. Unfeeling.", that it was touch all the same.

Excellent style =)

Friday, February 17, 2006 7:20 PM


i was wondering what you were goin to do.. and im glad it didnt go too far. but i understand were zoe's coming from, that hand touch would have kept me warm for years


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