If I ever kill you
Monday, March 1, 2004

Some of Joss' lines seem laden with extra layers of meaning. This Simon/Mal story came out of one such line.


Disclaimer: Joss Whedon owns Firefly and these characters. Somewhere along the line he seems to have taken possession of my soul too.

Dialogue that start with a hyphen (-) is quoted directly from the show. When it's used, Simon is remembering things said in the past.

Simon's confused. Mal's confused. Not wait. I – I think maybe I'm confused. Any ambiguity in this fanfic is entirely intentional. * * * * * *


-You don't know me, son. So let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you'll be awake, you'll be facing me, and you'll be armed.-

Simon remembered Mal's every word, his every word, as though they had been spoken yesterday instead of more than two years ago. And as unsentimental as they were, they had been oddly reassuring. They had the ring of truth about them. In a 'verse full of liars and conmen, truth was a rare and precious commodity which Captain Reynolds had in spadefuls. So that day Mal's brutal, unashamed honesty had been like water in the desert for Simon. Here was a man who could be relied on to tell it like it was. Someone to believe in.

-You ain't weak, an' that's not nothin'.-

Simon couldn't help but smile at the memory of those words. Praise from a man as strong as Mal, and as sparing with words, was praise indeed. It sent a little flutter of pride and warmth running through him. Made his heart beat a little faster. Funny. He'd never been praised for anything other than his intellectual achievements by anyone before. In fact, his skill as a medic had always been rather taken for granted. Nothing to make a fuss about. His father had always assumed he would do well. He only commented on his son's progress when it fell below his expectations.

-You live by my rule, keep your sister from doing anything crazy, you could maybe find a place here.-

That was how he'd received his invitation, presented as a bald statement of fact, to join Serenity's crew. To become part of Mal's team. When it was offered, Simon took it out of simple necessity. But as the days, weeks and months passed he became ever more grateful for it. Where initially he had seen only a lack of civilized standards, he now saw something better. Connection. Family. Love.

And it broke his heart.

-You don't know me, son.-

Spoken like a man who prided himself on his isolation. Saw himself as above you. Better than. Stick up his pigu. He might as well have added: “And you never will.” Because once you started getting close to Mal, really close, he would push you away. That was something he excelled at. Simon had seen him do it over and over again. To Zoe, to Kaylee and and to Inara. Especially Inara.

-Don't you ever tell me what to do on my....-

The words echoed through Simon's memory, reviving the terror of that moment. Kaylee lying bleeding to death. The Alliance cruiser bearing down on them. Mal stubbornly refusing to flee. Simon thought he sensed heat between the Captain and Inara and had been grateful for her intervention, by her backing up his demand to turn the ship around. He felt sure Mal would be swayed by his feelings for this beautiful woman. Instead he was angry. Furiously angry. Mal would never strike a woman first but recalling the danger glittering in his eyes as he glared at Inara now made Simon think of Jubal Early. His words a pre-echo of “Don't go visiting my intentions. Don't ever.” Simon had been surprised and dismayed. He'd felt sure any red-blooded man would have been putty in the hands of a woman as lovely as Inara. But the conundrum remained unexamined in the chaos that followed ...

-So let me explain this to you once.-

Once. Mal wasn't one for repeating himself. He gave you fair warning and then ... well, best get out of his way. He had an iron fist to go with his iron will. Simon knew that better than most. As for explaining, that really wasn't his strong suit either. He expected people to understand him without any need for explanation. As if his decisions were the only ones possible. Obvious. Like how to keep River from falling into Alliance hands. How to keep Tracey safe from corrupt feds. Each time his failure to communicate had ended in death. And somehow it had always been someone else's fault. Never Mal's.

Well this time it would be.

-Yeah. I'm not too worried about you.-

Well, maybe you should have been Mal, Simon thought bitterly looking down at the revolver in his hand. Before the growing closeness. Before sometimes following where he had allowed Simon to lead. Before letting Simon play boss as if there were a faint hope of their some day being equals. Partners. Before Simon had started questioning Mal's motives for giving him and his sister sanctuary.

-There ain't a one of us looks the part more than the good Doctor. I mean, the pretty fits, soft hands, definitely a moneyed individual. All rich and lily-white, pasty all over... -

Sweaty embarassment prickled under Simon's skin as every syllable Mal uttered prodded at him like jabs from a goading forefinger. And it wasn't simply the mockery. The idea that Mal had given any thought to the softness of his hands or what colour he might be all over was deeply unsettling. But the Captain was full of surpises. Just when you thought you had him figured out, he would turn all your certainty into a tangle of confusion.

--I won't come for you again. You end up here, or get mixed-up in something worse, you're on your own. I will not come for you.--

His father's words had severed the cord of family ties with a blade of ice, leaving his children to drift through the cold empty oceans of time and space, buffeted by chance and hazard. Gabriel Tam had chosen self-preservation over his own blood. So when Serenity rose above the trees and disappeared from view as the hill folk were dragging them off to their village, Simon was sure that Mal had abandoned him and River to their fate. Instead he had come back for them. Rescued them. Claimed them as his own.

But once the danger was past, there were no celebrations. No joyful reunion. No fatted calf, just a simple meal of processed protein. Mal had shut down again, hiding behind his customary pragmatism.

-You're on my crew. Why we still talking about this? Chow's in ten. No need to dress.-

No need to dress. Because Mal's armour of indifference was back in place, shielding him from greater intimacy. Anyone who got close to him would always be pushed away. That was another facet of the Captain's character that Simon had come to rely on. Which only made his discovery all the more difficult to bear.

-Because out here, we're very much alone.-

But Mal wasn't alone. Not when he'd found him earlier tonight. He hadn't pushed *her* away. She was with him, pressed up against the bulkhead, asleep in his bed. Ophelia dark tresses spread out over his sheets.

-How you faring with that, doctor?-

-I don't know. I never – never shot anyone before.-

In his agitation Simon thought he could feel the bullets throbbing in their chamber, aching for release.

-If I ever kill you, you'll be awake.-

The noise Simon had made opening the hatch to Mal's bunk for a second time and the clatter of his expensive shoes against the ladder rungs should have been enough to wake the Captain, but he slept on, face buried down deep into his pillow. Simon crossed over to the bed and roughly dug the heel of his hand into Mal's shoulder in an attempt to arouse him. Tight-wound nerves made him start and jump a few feet backwards when Mal groaned and rolled over onto his back. The movement tugged the sheet under him, leaving the Captain's naked body exposed and vulnerable.

Simon had never seen him without clothes before. He averted his eyes quickly, not wanting to acknowledge his feelings. Not wanting to see skin and flesh and muscle. Not wanting to see Mal helpless.

He shoved him roughly again. “Mal, wake up! Wake up!”

“Huh?” At last he was conscious and rubbing his eyes blearily. He pushed himself up on his elbows, gradually taking in his surroundings. “What the hell is this Simon?” Then he registered Simon's ashen complexion. The sweat on his upper lip. And the weapon in his shaking hand that was pointing uncertainly at him. He looked up at the young doctor with a mixture of concern and irritation. “Somethin' on your mind?”

He followed Simon's betrayed gaze to the woman lying beside him and almost laughed. He shook his head with a reassuring smile. “It ain't what you think, son....”

-If I ever kill you, you'll be awake. You'll be facing me...-

“Get up Mal,” Simon said coldly, teeth gritted against the pain welling up inside him. “Get up,” he repeated, motioning with his gun.

“Don't be a fool, son.” Mal voice was even but his tone had changed. Harder now. Calculating. Doing the math. He stood up and faced his trembling medic.

-If I ever kill you, you be awake. You'll be facing me, and you'll be armed.-

Simon eyes fell upon Mal's pistol. Under the dim night light the solid silver shaft gave him a sly, secret wink. “Grab you weapon,” he said softly.

Mal kept his eyes locked on Simon's as he reached down and felt for the gun. All his instincts told him this was serious, that the younger man was on the edge of doing something all manner of stupid.

“Wanna tell me what this is all about, son?” he said.

-Might not wanna mistake it for a suggestion.-

Simon's eyes were glassy with unshed tears and disbelief. “What it's all about? What it's all about?!” His voice was high and strangled. “She's in your bed, Mal! Why did you have to choose *her*? When you could have had ... ”

“Yeah, well, there's a whole other story there, let me tell you...” Mal began, trying to assuage the boy's possessive fury with a reasonable, confidential approach. But he broke off abruptly as Simon raised his weapon. The light in his eyes told Mal the decision had already been made and his grip on his own firearm tightened.

For a moment they stared each other full in the face. Lost faith and loneliness reflected in mirrors of blue. Simon looked at Mal and Mal looked at Simon.

Then he squeezed the trigger.

-If I ever kill you, you'll be awake. You'll be facing me. And you'll be armed.-

* * * * * *


Monday, March 1, 2004 8:14 AM


This gave me goose bumps. I really wish Simon had tried to get some kind of explanation from the Captain first. It seemed incongruous that Simon would ever take a man's life in cold blood like that, especially one he was developing deep and angst-ridden feelings for but I liked the way you tied in the quotes from the show to round the whole piece off with symetry. In my head I see a different ending, one with all kinds of sequels to it like tiny sparkling sequins in the Black. Well done but who shot who? And did they die or were they wounded? Or maybe she woke up and prevented a fatality? Whatever, this was very good. *Xiexie ni*, Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Monday, March 1, 2004 9:11 AM


Using the quotes from the various episodes was an excellent vehicle for stringing the story together - well done!

Like Alison, I'm not sure who shot who... if Mal had fired, I would expect him to aim to wound not kill...

And I'd love to know the ending.

But its delicious not knowing too.

Thank you!

Monday, March 1, 2004 4:00 PM


Ending. Ending left up to me. Not good.

Very, very good and rather chilling. Very, very good.

Monday, March 1, 2004 5:52 PM


This is right up there...*She* Geez, it could be any of'em...Please tell us this isn't a stand alone...PLEASE

Tuesday, March 2, 2004 10:51 AM


Very well written, disturbing and creepy. So many layers of meaning and interpretations. Who's the girl, is Simon more upset at "her" being in Mal's bed or that he is not, who pulled the trigger first?

Aahhh....think my brain might explode from trying to figure it all out...but in a good way!

Thursday, March 4, 2004 12:20 PM


OOH! Very good. I thought the use of quotes was a nice touch.

Sunday, March 14, 2004 6:08 PM


Wonderful, I love your over the edge Simon. Teehee, he reminds me of <i>my</i> over the edge Simon. Guess great minds think alike. I liked how you interwove the quotes with Simon's internal monologue, it worked very well. When you wrote this, did you have a clear idea about who "she" was? I know who I think it is, and others will no doubt have different ideas. It would be intersting to know who you intended for us to believe it was.

Every great idea starts out as blasphemy.


Meet my pushed too far Simon here:
(in the Firefly section, under "other" Firefly stories, <i>MINE</i>)

Sunday, April 25, 2004 4:58 PM


Damn. Now I'm stuck with thoughts. ("Ambiguity" doesn't BEGIN to cover it.)

Excellent; easily one of the best I've read. Well written, thought provoking, and chilling. Still, I hope you won't take offense if I hope this stays a "what if" -- I don't really want either of them to shoot the other.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 12:57 PM


wow... I have no clue who was in the bed... and I know you probably won't go for this, but I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see this story from the lady in the beds POV and Simons POV!!!


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HOLDING ON: Ch 2 - Tangential
Much to his annoyance, Sanzo's urgent quest to find Goku gets diverted. Meanwhile Mal meets someone from Inara's past. WARNING - slashy but not graphic

The Wheel Never Stops Turning
Mal meets a blonde in a bar. Violence ensues. And Mal discovers religion has its uses.

This is primariy a <i>Firefly</i> fic, but the character Mal ends up doing a job for is from the manga/anime <i>Saiyuki</i>. It's also <b>PG-13 nothing-explicit SLASH</b>. Because that's who I am!

MAKE ME A STONE: Ch 7: 'til the day you die.
Inara leaves Serenity for a new life. Mal gets a job with a couple of new employers, but sinks further into despair.
Slash so lite you'll probably scarcely notice it.

MAKE ME A STONE: Chapter 6: You just learn to live there.
Another job goes less than smoothly. Meanwhile River takes matters into her own hands and Mal has a brainwave.

SLASHFIC. SPOILERS for the comics, novelization and movie.

Make Me A Stone: Chapter 5: Chickens come home to roost.
Mal has to accept Badger's offer of a job. Meanwhile old enemies seek to take advantge.
Spoilers for the comics. Very light slash.

Make Me A Stone: Chapter 4. Some residual heat.
SPOILERS for the comics/BDM. Mal has to accept Badger's job offer. Not much else in his life is going right either.

MAKE ME A STONE: Ch 3: It's complicated.
Mal decides to pull a job of his own. Simon offers to help. It doesn't go smooth - but that's not entirely Simon's fault.

Non-graphic SLASH.

MAKE ME A STONE: Ch 2: And who exactly could fix you?
Simon'a altruism leads to a job going wrong. Mal's not happy.

MAKE ME A STONE: Ch 1: Pray there ain't any more surprises.
Warning: SLASH, but not graphic. Mal and Simon both find that the other has hidden talents. It kinda piques their interest ... *g*

TRAUMA MEDICINE: Chapter 23. Two by two.
Four years have past since Mal was forced to blow up Serenity and Simon disappeared with River and Book. A lot has changed since then. But a lot has stayed the same. The CONCLUSION to this series.