Shiny New Toys 10: Waking Up Is hard To Do
Sunday, January 8, 2006

A girl fresh out of a coma has a lot on her mind: tell off the captain, fix the ship, and hunt down the doctor. Plus: Jayne learns a new word!


A/N: As usual, I don't own them, but I like to play in the sandbox for a while. I even brought my own shovel.

OK, OK, I felt a bit guilty for playing around with the motivational posters and not writing, so I buckled down and offer a double-sized chapter as penance.

Caution: mushiness ahead, which I am still getting grips on. So if there ain't enough smoochin', let me know and I'll try and fix it next chapter.


Kaylee looked around in near defeat. Not only was the last day completely missing from her mind, but Wash had gone and burned up her engine in the meanwhile. It just wasn't fair! She'd been having a good time, gorramit, and Simon seemed to be warming up to her quite nicely - he'd even made a suggestion about getting her into bed before the Feds had shown up. Now all she had was a roaring headache and a whole lot of fixin' to do. Making a mental note to get the last day's worth of events - and maybe a whole pile of pain killers - out of Simon later, she unearthed her toolbox and went to work.

She'd managed to wrestle the housing off of the port compression chamber when Mal barreled in through the door, looking completely frantic. "Kaylee? Where you at, girl?"

"Right here, Cap'n. Somethin' wrong?" Kaylee set the engine housing down and turned to face him, just in time for Mal to crush her in a giant bear hug.

"Good Lord, Kaylee, don't ever do that again. Or at least have the good grace to kill me first so I don't have to watch." Mal tightened his hug, sure that if he let go she'd disappear on him for good. At that moment he'd have given up anything - his boat, his friends, himself - for her. Some rational part of his brain mentioned that it was a good thing Kaylee wasn't the psychic and couldn't know that.

Kaylee slapped Mal's arms, begging for him to release her ribs. "Can't breathe, Cap'n." Mal let go and she drew a deep breath. "I'm shiny. Simon says I'm pretty much all better. No need to get weepy on me."

Mal sputtered his objection, even though he was in fact close to tears. "I ain't weepy. Just doing my captain duties an' checkin' on my crew, what with all the darin' escapes and such." He coughed and straightened his suspenders, looking for an exit. "Well. I'm sure you got a lot of work ahead of ya, so I best be moving along."

"Thanks for visitin', Cap'n. Oh, can you send Simon up here if ya see him? I got a headache somethin' fierce, an' I need to talk to him." She smiled, obviously pleased with herself. "We were makin' headway."

Mal stopped cold and got a cross look on his face. He may have an uneasy truce with Simon, but that didn't mean he was happy about it, and hearing Kaylee still after the boy didn't help none. But while he was here and she seemed in good spirits, it wouldn't hurt to broach the subject, would it? Seeing as how Simon was the cause of today's heroics and all. Best lay it out for her so she's full aware of the situation. "You still wanna chase after the doctor, huh?"

"Why, Cap'n Reynolds, you makin' a girl an offer?" Kaylee winked, thinking Mal was just teasing her a bit.

"I ain't kiddin' here, Kaylee. Was all his fault you got hurt. His face got recognized."

Kaylee's humor fled and her eyes fell to the floor. "Yeah, I know. But it weren't on purpose, an' we was having a good time 'til then. Didn't do nothin' wrong."

"Nothin' wrong? He left the boat. For top three percent, that weren't too bright of him."

"Pft. It was my idea - well, mostly mine, though River helped - an' 'Nara said we could, so don't go takin' it out on him." She looked back up, suddenly suspicious. "You didn't do nothin' to him, did you?"

Mal grimaced, suddenly defensive and desperately not wanting to mention this part, but knowing he'd have to come clean. If he didn't, Jayne would, probably at the dinner table. "Well, he ain't dead, you'll notice. I, uh, near threw him off the boat, though."

Kaylee's eyes widened with horror, but soon after narrowed in anger. "Oh, no! You ain't gonna lay another hand on him, Mal Reynolds. I worked too damn hard gettin' him to come around for you to boot him now. Ain't his fault the Feds got called, an' you know it."

"I'm just tryin' to protect you, girl."

"An' I ain't dead yet, so good job, sir. But gettin' rid of Simon won't help. Serious now, what woulda happened to me if he weren't here?"

Mal hemmed and hawed, but finally offered up the truth. "You'd still be near dead, most like." When Kaylee raised an eyebrow as if that were to be expected, Mal broke down and grinned sheepishly. "Truthful? Zoe said all this to me the other day, and convinced me the boy ain't so bad. An' you seem to have made up your mind right well." Kaylee nodded firmly, arms crossed and still glowering. "Just wanted to be sure you knew the score an' he's doin' right with you, an' sounds like you believe he is. That ever changes, you tell me, dong ma?"

Her anger suddenly dissipated and she smiled up at him. "'K, I can do that."

Mal couldn't help it, and looked hopeful one more time. "Sure I can't at least maim him a bit?"

"No! Let me worry 'bout Simon, Cap'n. Promise I won't do nothin' too stupid. I 'preciate you carin', though. I love my Captain." She jumped forward and hugged him this time. Malcolm Reynolds, master of Serenity and hardened veteran of war, put his arms around her again and willed himself not to cry. That would be all kinds of un-captainy.

"Kaylee? Are you up here? Do you - ". Simon came clambering up the aft stairway, stopping short at the engine room door when he saw who was inside. Mal looked up and they stared each other down, holding a brief battle of wills while remembering their one-sided conversation from the day before. Kaylee noticed the tension and broke the hug, turning her smile up a notch and aiming it at the doctor.

Mal realized he'd just lost whatever battle there was, and took this as his cue to leave. "Well, speak o' the devil. I best be goin'. Don't worry 'bout the engine 'til you feel up to it, girl. I 'spect you need" Mal gave Simon a conspiratorial wink, and gave Kaylee a nudge in his direction. "But the Doc is the expert in what you need, I reckon."

Simon rolled his eyes at Mal's 'subtle' innuendo. "Thank you, Captain. I'll let you know if there's anything you can do." Mal just gave Simon a smirk that clearly said ‘oh, I bet you will’ and sauntered from the room, leaving the two kids to themselves.

"Hey, you." It was all Kaylee could think to say. Simon looked totally flustered now that the captain was gone, and she was pretty sure it was the cutest thing she'd ever seen.

"Hey yourself." Simon smiled back at her, equally at a loss for words. She was greasy, a bit charred on one sleeve, and her hair was an utter mess. Somehow, all that just made her prettier.

It was hard to tell who lunged first. But less than a second later, Kaylee had a double handful of Simon's shirt - he was still wearing his doctor's uniform, which to Kaylee's delight was very smooth - and was pressing her nose into his chest, while Simon grabbed her tight and squeezed for all he was worth. "I'm so sorry," he murmured into her hair. "If I'd known, I'd never have - "

She cut him off before he could finish stuffing his foot into his mouth again. "I don't regret it a second, Simon. Ain't your fault, an' accordin' to Cap'n, you did right by me in the meantime." She pushed back a little to look up at him, slightly surprised to see calm and collected Simon Tam nearly crying. "I knowed you was wanted and what could happen, and I went of my own self. An' I'd do it again. Though if I had my choices, we'd leave off the Feds and go back to the nice dinners."

Simon ginned the goofiest grin anyone had ever seen on him, and had to take a moment to compose himself. "Well. About that. I was hoping I could entice you back to the infirmary for a more thorough checkup now that we’re not under fire. I took a pretty bad shock and I really want to be sure you're alright." He seemed unaware that through his whole speech he'd been petting her hair. She wasn't about to stop him and elected to stay quiet on the matter.

Instead, Kaylee buried her face into his shirt again and Simon had to strain to make out her words. "Gettin' shinier by the minute, Doc." She sniffled a bit, but brought herself back to reality and looked around the room. Her baby was a wreck, and much like Simon was with River, she couldn't leave it without feeling incredibly guilty. "I know you need to check me, Simon - an' trust me, I'm all for it - but I can't go nowhere with things like this." She waved vaguely at the engine, indicating the massive amount of crispy parts. She looked up at Simon, willing him to understand. "I know she's just a machine, but it - "

"It's like you'd do anything for her. I think I get that." Of anyone on the ship, Simon was most likely to understand that concept. He nodded his acceptance. "I suppose I should check on River, anyway. Apparently, she and Jayne helped to gun down an entire squad of soldiers. I'm quite sure that won't do good things for her psyche." He looked a bit sad for a moment, but shook it of as he pointed a mock-serious finger at Kaylee. "But I expect to see you downstairs before bed, young lady. You're not going to skulk off without your doctor's approval."

Kaylee smiled in relief. He got it and wasn't mad. "Wouldn't dream of it. 'Sides, I wanna hear the whole story of my darin' rescue. See you in a while?" Simon nodded and turned to leave as Kaylee went back to her tools and picked up her wrench. She didn't notice when Simon paused at the doorway as if deciding something.

He suddenly turned back and in two steps grabbed Kaylee again, planting a chaste kiss on her cheek. "I'm glad you're back." He released her and turned a very dark shade of red before making a hasty exit down the stairs. Kaylee just stood for a good minute, totally stunned.

"Well. That was all kinds of interesting, Serenity. I think he's gettin' a lot better at this, don't you?" With an even brighter smile, she returned her attention to the engine, but not before deciding that she would definitely be going down for her checkup soon. She continued talking to the ship as she worked away, discussing exactly how she'd repay the doctor for his kindness. She never even noticed her headache was gone.


"How is she, Mal?" Inara was sitting around the table with Jayne and Book as Mal huffed down the hall from the engine room. The three of them had made some type of protein mush and were nervously eating after their brush with the law.

"Kaylee? Her usual self. Pretty much a cheerful ray of sunshine." Mal sat down and pulled up a plate, sniffing the mush before deciding to have a go at it.

"And how badly did you interfere this time?"

"What? I kept my peace, mostly. Doc an' I hashed it out, an' Kaylee done yelled at me, too. I ain't gettin' in the way. Any more." He mumbled that last bit.

"She still hot after the doc?" Jayne snorted, then looked up, surprised at himself. "Damn, I think that rhymes."

"No it don't, an' yes she is. He came visitin', so I took my leave."

"Huh." Jayne grunted, pulling a knife from his belt. "Want I should go discourage the boy for ya?"

"You will do nothing of the sort, Jayne Cobb!" Book instinctively sat back as Inara yelled at Jayne and turned on Mal again. "You either. You just leave the two of them alone." She gave them both a death glare and grabbed her food, stalking off towards her shuttle.

"Jeez, what got her panties twisted?"

"I believe she's putting us all on notice that Simon and Kaylee are off limits on the teasing for a bit," Book answered.

"Hell, that ain't no fun. 'Sides, if all of us ain't gettin' trim, we should at least get to bother them as are."

"Bother Inara and you die painful, Jayne." Mal didn't even look up and resumed attacking his food.

"Hmph. Kaylee's got herself her sissified doctor, Zoe's married to her sissified pilot, an' 'Nara's all slobbery over this sissified captain right here." Jayne hiked a thumb at Mal. "Ain't nothin' left on this rat-trap for a manly man like myself, ceptin' the little fruitcake, an' she already come at me with a knife once. Ain't lookin' to repeat that."

"An' the fact that she ain't legal an' crazy to boot might figure into that somewhat, right?"

"That, too."

"Well, there's always celibacy, son. Have you ever given a thought to taking holy orders?"

"Actually, I did, once. Even went by a church to see what was what. Thought maybe I'd join up an' get to yellin' at some folks 'bout damnation an' such."

"I believe it's fairly obvious how that worked out for you."

"Yeah, but I did learn me a new word while I was there. Yelled it at me as they was kickin' me out."

"Some education is better than none, I suppose. Dare I ask what word?"

Jayne shrugged. "Adultery."


As it turned out, Kaylee was much later getting to the infirmary that she planned.

She'd barely gotten back to work after Simon left when a steady parade of crew members started dropping by. Inara had been next after Simon, glad to see Kaylee up and about and extracting a promise that Kaylee would share all the details of her day - and night - with the doctor. Jayne had stomped in a bit later, gruffly proclaiming that she was all manner of brave an' he was sorry he couldn't get there an' kill that sumbitch sooner, and what the hell was she thinkin' with this whole doctor thing? Kaylee had shut him up with a hug that sent him stumbling back to the galley while blushing a bit. Book was there shortly after, asking her if she was alright and if she required any help. She thanked him politely and shooed him away with a sweet smile. Last in were Wash and Zoe, both of them with hair askew, asking her how she felt and Wash giving a quick recap of his daring ship-to-ship combat. She gave them both a hug - which Wash returned enthusiatically while Zoe stood stiffly, looking slightly alarmed - and told them she was fine an' Simon'd be checking her out more thoroughly later. Wash had given her a huge "gotcha" wink as he left. River never showed, so Kaylee assumed that Simon had her sequestered in the infirmary and was worrying over something or other.

After all that, she still had to fix up enough stuff so the engine could be restarted - the secondary life support wasn't going to last forever - which took several more hours. She made a quick stop in her room to get her pajamas - making the assumption that she wouldn't be coming back tonight - and took a quick shower to remove most of the grease, which took even more time. So it was really no surprise that she found Simon asleep, sitting on his stool and head down on the exam table. River was probably in bed already, and he'd conked out trying to wait up for her.

She leaned over and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. He mumbled a bit before cracking an eye open to see her grinning down at him, arms out and clearly expecting to be cuddled. "Hey, there. You gonna sleep right there all night, or you wanna come an' try out a real bed with pillows an' whatnot?"

"Huh? Oh! Right, your checkup. Why don't you sit up on the table?" Simon hopped off his stool and began to gather his medical supplies, oblivious to the affection she was angling for. Kaylee looked a mite displeased. Not only did she not get a kiss in return, she hadn't realized that Simon's "checkup" was going to be an actual checkup. It was still nice to have him fuss over her, but not nearly as much fun as what she'd been thinking of. Simon was in Doctor Mode again, and she'd have to knock him out of it if she wanted anything beyond a medical diagnosis.

He came back and shined a penlight into her eyes. "OK, no obvious trauma, and you're speaking coherently. Good." He made some notes on his chart.

"Calm down, Simon. I'm fine. You said so."

He ignored her objection and put a stethoscope in his ears and put the other end to her chest. "Deep breaths for me, please." Now Kaylee looked downright peevish, but did as she was told. "Lungs sound clear, strong heartbeat. Excellent. Now - "

Fed up with this, Kaylee grabbed the business end of his stethoscope and spoke into it. "The patient feels shiny, Dr. Tam. Can I talk to Simon, please?"

Simon winced and whipped the stethoscope out of his ears. That was loud. "Fine, fine. No more doctoring. But I reserve the right to worry a little." He laughed. "I'm good at it. Years of practice."

"Well, that's OK. I don't mind the worryin' - in small doses - since it's your job. But I like it better when you're talkin' to me without lookin' me over for broken parts." She cocked her head a bit. "So. I believe you owe me a story 'bout how come I'm all forgetful."

"Ah. Yes." Simon really didn't want to get into this right now - besides scaring her, he didn't really want to think about it - but he had promised. "Um, how much do you remember about yesterday?"

"Well, we went out on a date - real shiny, by the way, 'specially the nice shops - and right before dinner came, we got caught by the Feds. They were bein' all rude, but you just sat there bein' all funny right back." Her eyes drifted towards the ceiling, trying to remember. "An' that's 'bout it, 'til River was slappin' me an' Cap'n was yellin' somethin' 'bout the engine."

"So you don't remember the, uh, questioning?" It was probably best she didn't, he decided. She still had nightmares about Early once in a while, and the less added to her burdens the better.

"Not really. I take it that hundan didn't just let us go?" Simon grimaced and shook his head. "Huh. What happened to him?"

"The Captain took care of it. He won't be back to bother us." Simon didn't elaborate, but lightly touched Kaylee between the eyes. She nodded once to show she understood, looking slightly perturbed that someone was killed on her behalf.

"An' I didn't give nothin' away, like where River was? ''Cause I have a habit of doin' that."

Simon gave her shoulder a squeeze. "Not even close. Zoe got to us before either of us said anything. Most of what you said was some very colorful speculation on the man's parentage."

She brightened up at the news of her bravery in the face of danger. "That's good. What next?"

Simon decided to skip the specifics of how she came to need so much medical attention. "They tried to persuade us, but we held up. And you seem to be recovering nicely."

"I guess I am. What exactly am I recoverin' from, again?"

"Coma induced by massive electrocution." He said it all in one breath, hoping it had less impact when said quickly. He closed his eyes briefly, remembering the look on her face when she was shocked the final time.

"Uh huh." She took a moment to digest this while watching Simon's eyes. He probably didn't know it, but whenever he was discussing something that bothered him, his eyes flickered as some part of his brain relived all the little details - it was probably a downside of having so much smarts, she decided. And right now his eyes were flickering like mad. She wanted to ask him how the whole "massive electrocution" thing had come about, but it was obviously hurting him to talk about it, and she realized that she probably didn't want or need to know the gory details. Whatever it had been, Simon had fixed it, and that was good enough for now. "So you took care of me?"

"I promised I would. But not by myself. The whole crew pitched in to get you to the hospital. I made the plan, but it took everyone to pull it off."

"You made a whole plan just for me?"

"Of course. But don't be too flattered. It didn't work out as I'd hoped."

"The plan didn't go smooth? With this crew?" Apparently, Simon's sarcastic streak was rubbing of on Kaylee. Simon thought that coming from her, it was absolutely adorable. "Tell me about you darin' plan, Dr. Tam."

"In a nutshell, we used River and Jayne as bait for the Feds while Mal, Zoe and I snuck you in for treatment. We also managed to, uh, 'borrow' some medical supplies while we were there."

"An' all that actually worked?"

"Not entirely. We had to improvise towards the end, and as I recall, you were here for the unplanned hot pursuit from the cruisers. We had a few snags, but we got it done."

"So my head ain't gonna fall off or nothin'?"

"Nope, you're good as new. That's my professional medial opinion." He grinned and reached forward to brushed a few stray hairs out of her eyes.

"Professional is good. Thank you, doctor." Satisfied that he'd told most of the story, she decided to let him off the hook completely. Besides, they had other, more pleasant items to discuss. Her voice dropped a bit as she gave Simon a sultry look. "Can I get a non-professional opinion on something?"

"Of course."

"My brothers always said I snore real loud, but I don't believe 'em." She leaned forward and nuzzled his neck. "Wanna find out for sure?"

Simon was pretty sure his heart skipped a beat. Or maybe three. He automatically reached for his wrist and stared feeling for his pulse when Kaylee captured his hand and gave him the sweetest puppy-dog eyes he'd ever seen. He caved instantly. "Well, if you feel it's medically necessary. I am your doctor, after all."

Kaylee nodded enthusiastically and hopped off the table, intending to drag Simon towards his bunk. He stopped her with a tug and turned her back around. "Wait a second. I can't promise you much. As we saw yesterday, it's likely they'll catch me and kill me someday, and if you're there they'll kill you, too. And I really do have to spend a lot of energy on River still. I'm not rich and it's not likely I ever will be. All I have are these fancy manners that always seem to get in the way. Are you OK with all of that?"

Kaylee's cocked her head. "Why you so worried about this, Simon?" Then she grinned as she figured it out. "Oh, I see. Cap'n said somethin' to you an' got you all riled."

"He made it clear how I was to treat you, as well as how much he'd enjoy killing me if I blew it. So I want to make sure you understand what you're getting into. It seems my life, and maybe yours, depend on it."

Kaylee grinned and came back to hug him, and this time he noticed. "Silly. We both been on this boat together a while now. 'Course I get it, and if he ever asks again, tell Cap'n Tightpants that I'm right as rain. 'Sides, I already told him he can't throw you out the airlock 'til I say so. Now, you comin' to bed or what?"


Kaylee had really intended on taking shameless advantage of him, honest. It had been a good long time since her last tumble, and she was pretty sure that manners or not, Simon would be up to the challenge.

But as soon as she saw the blanket looking all fluffy and warm, she was jelly. The stress of evading Alliance cruisers and fixing her engine room, not to mention the emotional stress of the past few days, had left her completely exhausted.

For his part, Simon wasn't planning on much activity, either. He always used up a lot of energy when he had a patient under his care, and doubly so when he was so invested in her wellbeing. Add in a gunfight and not actually sleeping in two days, and he was about ready to drop.

So Kaylee dutifully turned around while Simon changed into his pajamas - although she did manage some good-natured grumbling about propriety, seein' as how yesterday they was all naked - and he did likewise while she stripped off the greasy coveralls and put on her's. They both collapsed into the bed, followed by a flurry of movement as they arranged themselves. They ended up with Kaylee on left her side with Simon behind her, left arm under her head and his right hand splayed across her stomach, holding her closely to him. She could feel his breath on her neck, and her hair was tickling his nose. It wasn't quite kissing, but neither of them were complaining.

"'Night, Simon." She grabbed the fingers of his left hand and locked hers into them.

"Goodnight, Kaylee." All he could manage was a light squeeze of her hand as he fell asleep.

As it turned out, Kaylee didn't snore, and neither one of them had slept so well in a long time.


Sunday, January 8, 2006 9:06 AM


Great job. This is a really great series.

Sunday, January 8, 2006 9:07 AM


"She pushed back a little to look up at him, slightly surprised to see calm and collected Simon Tam nearly crying."

*cute coma!*


Sunday, January 8, 2006 11:49 AM


Very nice! Love this series, and can't wait til the next installment.

Sunday, January 8, 2006 11:50 AM


This was the sweetest chapter ever. You had me going all manner of "aaaawwww" :)

Friday, February 17, 2006 11:22 AM


"Ain't lookin' to repeat that."

And fine, yay Simon and Kaylee fluff [grumbles]
(just kidding, I love it;))

Tuesday, October 3, 2006 12:54 PM


Smooching? WHAT smooching? I was all excited and all they did was - sleep?!!

Ok, that was real sweet too. :)


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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.