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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
What exactly do the blue men want with Simon? And can River recover enough to rescue her brother before it's too late?
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1493 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Kaylee had never felt so lost; never. She remembered once, a long time ago, Inara had told her the captain was lost and that’s why he did stupid things. But Kaylee hadn’t been able to relate. Back home, she always knew where she belonged; then she’d stepped onto Serenity and felt more comfortable on board the ship than on land.
But it wasn’t that way anymore. Simon had changed that for her. If he wasn’t here, there was no point to her being here either.
She felt weightless and unbearably heavy all at once. Her eyes were empty, still brown puddles that had shed all the tears they were able. River had already left her, after crying out as much as she could. She had let loose another ear-piercing wail, bolted from the room and not returned. Kaylee had felt for a moment that she should follow her, but she couldn’t. She couldn’t move; she was too heavy with sadness.
It was her heart; her chest had caved in under the weight and her breathing came in shallow gasps. She sat on the cold floor of the infirmary, shivering slightly, but not noticing. She tried not to think about Simon, not to think about the fact that he was gone. She tried not to think period. She had banished every memory from her mind; every kiss, every touch, every whispered word, every passion-filled moment. She had forced them away, buried them, deep, in a corner of her mind reserved for darkness.
Inara was in the room, Kaylee knew that. Her friend had come back after she’d spoken with the captain to sit with her, waiting for Kaylee to say something. Kaylee had heard Zoe come in, drop off some food, but Inara had not forced her to eat and she was glad. There was no point.
Staring at nothing, not blinking, not moving, Kaylee had no idea how much time had passed. It didn’t matter. She was frozen with heartache.
When Simon awoke he was acutely aware of the cold metal table he had been placed on. Trying to move his hands and feet proved useless as both were strapped to the table with iron cuffs. He tried to get a better idea of where he was, but the room was pitch black and even after his eyes had somewhat adjusted, he was no better off.
And he was cold. He had been stripped out of his shirt and pants and was lying on the hard table with just his undergarments. His breathing was rapid as his mind filed through all the possibilities of who could have brought him here and what they’d want. In the end though, there was really only one logical answer.
As if reading his mind, and maybe they were, a door on the far side of the room opened, admitting two men. Simon craned his neck to see them approach and immediately felt his blood run cold. One glance at their blue-gloved hands had told him all he needed to know.
Laying his head back on the metal table, Simon closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He would not scream, he would not beg, he would not give up his sister. He knew he was already a dead man, no matter what promises they made. And by taking him off Serenity, they had already taken away all that mattered to him.
“Doctor Tam, it’s so nice to see you again,” the agent to his right spoke first, his gaze one of calculating sadism. “We’ve never really had the time to get to know you.”
“But that should be remedied very quickly,” the other agent to Simon’s left said. Leaning down he brought his face within inches of Simon’s and he had to will himself not to flinch. “Of course, we know your sister quite well. Remarkable girl.”
Simon prayed that his face was blank. He would not give them the satisfaction of knowing that his heart was thudding in his chest at the thought of River strapped to one of these tables, being preyed upon by these monsters. He would not give in to their scare tactics.
“Not very talkative, are we,” the first one asked, a slight hint of disappointment in his tone. When Simon still refused to answer, he waved a gloved hand back toward the door they had entered from and another agent walked forward, pushing a cart with a variety of devices and tools set atop it. The closer it got, the more Simon recognized. It was a surgical set, one that would be found in any of the Core’s leading operating rooms. Meant to serve as a portable OR station, should one be needed.
Simon knew what all the tools and medicines stored in the cart were used for, he had used most of them himself, but never on someone who was awake. He doubted the agents were going to give him the courtesy of a sedative.
Simon stared straight at the ceiling as he heard the agents rifle through the instruments. His thoughts immediately turned to Kaylee and River; his bao bei and his mei mei. He said a silent prayer that they had not been hurt in the fray and an even more ardent prayer that they were totally safe, with the captain, on Serenity. Simon knew Mal would take care of them. They were family.
Simon wished for a fleeting moment that they might even try to rescue him. But he pushed that thought away before it was even fully formed. The risk was too great. Simon didn’t want anyone dying or even getting injured because of him. As long as River stayed safe, Simon would go to his death a fulfilled man.
“Now, Doctor Tam, you tell me where this hurts,” the second agent said, flashing a surgical saw before Simon’s eyes. The minor light in the room glinted off the five inch blade and Simon again refused to flinch.
He felt the cold metal of the knife’s serrated edge trail down his chest and his muscles immediately tensed at the contact as adrenaline started coursing through him. After what seemed an eternity, the blade finally punctured skin as the agent first grazed and then sliced open a four inch cut along the side of Simon’s ribs. He gritted his teeth fiercely against the pain, biting his tongue in the process.
Then he felt another cut, this one mirroring the first along his opposite side, knowing that this was only the beginning.
River sat hunched in a corner of the cargo bay. That was how Mal found her. The girl was rocking back and forth, her body doubled over, arms hugging herself with her hands clamped tightly on either side of her slim frame.
Mal approached her cautiously, careful not to startle her. He had seen what she could do when she was hopping mad, and he guessed having her brother snatched fell into that category.
At the sound of his voice, her body froze, her back rigid as she sat up a bit. Not turning to face him, he could hear her continue to cry and murmur incoherent nothings.
“River, I need your help,” Mal said carefully, picking his way around the crates that were enclosing her. Kneeling at her side, he placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. She jumped as if prodded with an electric rod at the touch and scurried away from him, clawing at the wall that impeded her get away.
Acting as though she wanted to bore through the metal and disappear, Mal sat back against one of the nearest crates, as far away from her as he could get in the enclosed space.
“Okay, lil’ albatross,” Mal said quietly, holding up his hands, palms facing her, in a gesture of non-hostility. “I’m just gonna sit here with you, okay?”
When she didn’t answer him, Mal settled himself more comfortably against the hard metal box and watched her. The girl shouldn’t be alone, not now. Besides, Mal knew, if they had any hope of getting the doc back, she was his best chance.
Inara wasn’t even sure if Kaylee could hear her. The girl had sat, frozen, on the floor of the infirmary for hours. Inara had stayed with her, watching her through teary eyes from across the room. It pained her to see her friend so bereft. This wasn’t the Kaylee they all knew and loved. The girl before her was a hollow shell of that woman and Inara wanted her friend back.
But she knew all her friend wanted was Simon.
“Mei mei, I really think you should eat,” Inara said gently, venturing for the first time to Kaylee’s side, a small plate of food in her hand. Sitting next to her, Inara wrapped her legs up under her and balanced the food on her knee.
Reaching up, she gently brushed some of Kaylee’s hair behind her ear. The girl ddin’t even blink at the touch. She just continued to focus on some far off point that Inara couldn’t see, barely breathing. Inara sighed quietly, and then filled the fork with some of the regurgitated protein mush and lifted it to Kaylee’s lips.
“Please, mei mei,” Inara whispered, bringing her head in front of her friend’s, hoping to get her eyes to focus. “For me. You’re going to need to be strong when Simon comes back.”
“Ain’t comin’ back.” Her voice was rough from disuse and spent tears and Inara blinked as she realized what Kaylee had said.
Putting the fork down and pushing the plate to the side, Inara shifted to take Kaylee’s hands in her own. They were cold and lifeless as Inara squeezed them. “Mei mei, don’t say that. Of course Simon’s coming back.”
Kaylee’s eyes, still focused on a faraway point started to tear up again. “No, he ain’t. Those men that took him … they’re gonna kill him.”
Disturbed at how much like River she sounded, Inara decided it was time to snap her friend out of this. Taking her gently by the shoulders, Inara finally succeeded in getting Kaylee to meet her gaze. And she immediately regretted it. The dead eyes that stared back at her chilled Inara to her core. Involuntarily shivering, she pushed ahead, “Kaylee, that is not going to happen. Do you think River would let Simon die?”
Inara hated to say the word; hated it even more when she saw Kaylee flinch at the sound. But Inara would do whatever was necessary to bring Kaylee out of her shock.
“River can’t help it,” Kaylee said quietly, her tears falling silently. She didn’t even try to brush them away. “River’s sick. She’s not doing good, Inara.”
“That may be so, but I remember that very same River killing an entire legion of Reavers not too long ago,” Inara reminded her, keeping her voice firm, but kind. “If there’s one thing we’ve all learned about River, it’s never to try and anticipate her. She always keeps us guessing.”
Kaylee wasn’t convinced. Inara reached out a hand and delicately wiped her friend’s tears. Kaylee was still frozen with shock, but at least some of stony exterior had begun to crack. Inara knew for her to start healing, she’d need to break entirely.
“Sweetie, let’s get you cleaned up,” Inara said, shifting her grip on Kaylee’s shoulders to pull her off the floor. “And I want to put something on that bruise of yours. Does it hurt?”
Kaylee allowed the other woman to lift her and lead her from the room, back to the bunk she shared with Simon. “Don’t feel nothin,’” she muttered.
Simon’s body was on fire in a million places. Bruises, cuts and broken bones all throbbed throughout his system, his body worked overtime as his blood continued to spill through open wounds. Having to work harder to pump what little of the life substance he had left, his heart beat was rapid, causing a sweat to form on his brow, despite the coldness of the room.
And now, everything was starting to swim. Having decided that they had cut and beat on him enough, the blue-gloved men had begun their first round of mind-altering drugs. Simon’s vision had started to blur almost the moment the first med had entered his system and he felt his tongue grow heavy in his mouth as the effects began to show.
Now, all he could see were old memories. Playing before him like some nightmarish slide show, Simon saw childhood memories of him and his sister, interspersed with imagined terrors of her time at the Academy. Things that Simon had only dreamed about before began to swim before him. River strapped to a table, like he was on now, being poked and prodded and screaming in pain. Simon screamed with her, although his voice was the only one to make noise.
The blue-handed men regarded him from across the room, taking a moment’s rest from cutting on the man. Besides the results of the psychotropic drug they had given to the young doctor, always produced startling and varied results. They were perfectly content to sit and study him for a bit. It would be interesting to eventually be able to cross-reference the sister’s reactions with her brother’s.
Turning to face one another, the man closest to the boy said, “We need to get the girl.”
“In time,” his partner told him. “Once she feels her brother’s pain, I don’t think there will be much we can do to keep her away.”
“Still,” the first man elaborated, clearly inpatient. “We should hurry this along.”
Sighing, his partner finally gave in. “Fine. But I’d like to observe young Simon here for a few more moments.” Shifting his gaze back to the middle of the room, he said, “I think this is about to get interesting.”
And indeed, it was. Simon had begun to writhe on the table as the images that danced through his mind turned from River to Kaylee. Now, his mei mei was dead and Kaylee was the one strapped to those tables, being injected with damaging drugs, limbs broken, body bleeding. Simon struggled hard against his restraints, only serving to rub his wrists and ankles raw.
“No, no, no, no,” he began to murmur, his anguish coming out in heavy sobs and high-pitches screams.
“Very interesting, indeed,” the second agent said, crossing his arms over his chest and considering the next round of treatments they should administer.
River’s sudden cry startled Mal so bad, he actually jumped. Guessing that he must have dozed off, Mal blinked his eyes rapidly to see River, pressed against the cargo bay’s wall staring off at nothing, her face full of fear, pain and tears.
Mal stood slowly and reached out a hand to her, as she continued to wail. “River, sweetie. It’s all right, you’re okay.”
She didn’t flinch away from him like last time, and within a few steps he was standing right in front of her, hands resting on her shoulders. When she finally managed to pry her eyes away from the nightmare images in her mind’s eye, Mal inhaled sharply at the sight.
He had known River for a little over a year now and he had never in all that time seen her so scared. Her eyes were still crying tears, and without warning, she collapsed against his chest, her small body shaking violently with her emotions. She clutched at his shirt, and sobbed, “He’s hurting. They’re hurting him. They want to kill him.”
“Shh, lil’ albatross,” Mal tried to soothe her, running a gentle hand along her hair and back over and over again. “We’re going to get your brother back in one piece. That’s a promise.”
River pulled away abruptly and locked fierce eyes on him. “They want me. It’s a trap.”
River backed out of his arms in an instant and headed towards the stairs on the far side of the room. She was already to the doors of shuttle one, by the time Mal caught up with her. Grabbing her arm, he whirled her around and demanded, “Just where in the ruttin’ hell do you think you’re going?”
She fixed him with one of her more familiar gazes – the “how can you be such an idiot and still walk on two legs” look – and said, “My job to save him. I’m what they want. They’ll do a trade.”
Not letting go of her arm, Mal said coldly, “You are not getting on that shuttle and you are not going after your brother yourself. Do you understand me?”
River’s eyes locked with his for a moment more and then she stepped towards him and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Yes, Captain daddy,” she whispered, as she blocked out more of Simon’s pain and more of her own tears.
“Good,” Mal said, still slightly puzzled as to what exactly had just happened, but determined to not to overanalyze it. “Now, where’s your brother?”
Stepping back again, River shook her head once and then bounded away from him. “Have to see Kaylee,” she yelled over her shoulder.
Saturday, April 22, 2006 12:40 PM
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Thursday, June 08, 2006 8:25 AM
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