Author: Tessa (frellingblonde)
Rating: R. Still no smut, saving it up for the next chapter...
Series: Previous chapters can be found at my LiveJournal under "Random Recollections."
Summary: The crew meets the new passenger, and a dream spurs Simon and Kaylee to take a surprising step.
Disclaimer: I'm not Joss, therefore, I don't own Firefly.
Feedback: Remember, there's a special hell for people who don't comment. ;-P
Cross-posted to: ff_fanfic, afterserenity, imeantosay_, and enginesex
Kaylee covered her mouth to keep from laughing as she returned with the doctor just in time to see Simon reel back from the punch. "Guess that's a yes, honey."
Simon rubbed his chin. "Probably a side effect of the sedatives. They can cause a paradoxical reaction in some patients."
"That would be my guess." The doctor stepped forward, taking out a small pen light to examine Penny's eyes. "Unless, of course, you did something to earn a punch in the face." Chuckling to himself, he shook Simon's hand. "Christopher Alexander, it's a pleasure to meet you, Dr. Tam."
"Likewise." Simon replied, still rubbing the spot where Penny had hit him. "Well, her right hook is as strong as ever. That's encouraging."
"It is." Dr. Alexander agreed. "She's still got quite a recovery ahead of her, but I'm confindent that she'll make a complete recovery." He turned his focus back to his patient, who looked like she was dozing off. "All right, Penny, I'm going to take out your breathing tube now. Take a deep breath, and on three, exhale."
Kaylee stepped forward, taking Simon's hand as they watched Dr. Alexander tending to his patient. As soon as the tube was removed, she coughed and took a wheezing breath.
"How do you feel?" Simon asked.
Penny looked like she needed to really think about her answer. "Confused."
"You were attacked." Kaylee explained. "You're in a hospital on Persephone, and you're gonna be okay now." She thought it best to leave out some of the details. There would be time to explain about the Blue Hands and the resistance later.
"My kids?" Penny's voice remained barely a whisper, but her eyes took on a panicked look.
"They're fine, they're with your husband and sister." Simon spoke up.
Penny closed her eyes in relief. "Just one more question. What the hell are you doing here?"
Simon chuckled. "It's good to see you, too."
"Haven't changed a bit, you lying son of a bitch." Penny coughed, a smile playing at the corners of her lips.
Kaylee snickered, stepping forward a little. "Bet you've got a lot of stories to share. I'm Kaylee, by the way. I'm Simon's fiancee."
"Fiancee?" Penny repeated. She looked up at her former lover. "Congratulations." She glanced at Kaylee. "Sorry 'bout punching your fella."
"I'm sure you had your reasons." Kaylee replied. Simon coughed, and Kaylee smiled at him. "Now, honey, I know I ain't the first girl you ticked off. Doubt I'll be the last."
Dr. Alexander smiled at the young couple. "All right, Penny needs to get some rest. Dr. Tam, I'll keep you posted on her condition."
"It was nice meeting you." Kaylee said.
Simon put his hand on her shoulder. "Baobei, you're in her kill zone."
The rest of the crew was in a waiting area down the corridor. Mal stood up as Simon and Kaylee approached. "We're taking her back to the ship."
"I'm not sure it's wise to move her so soon." Simon frowned.
Mal nodded. "Well, a few of the folks we spoke to seemed to think it'd be more dangerous keeping her here. This is a pretty big hospital, Doc. They can't guarentee her safety."
"I'll talk to her doctor, find out when it will be safe to move her." Simon relented.
"Tam, they need us downstairs." Simon looked up from his coffee at the sound of his friend's voice, having been completely lost in his own thoughts.
"What have they got?" He asked, following the other man down the stairs.
"Attempted suicide. She cut her wrists, had second thoughts, and called for help." Daniel replied. "She passed out before they got there. She cut herself the wrong way, but she's still in bad shape. And she's about five months pregnant."
Simon felt a strange uneasiness as they approached the patient, already hooked up to a monitor and surrounded by doctors and nurses. He shook it off...until he saw the young woman's face. "Oh my God."
"Something wrong?" Daniel asked.
"It's Penelope." Simon replied. "She's...we live together. I had no idea."
He stumbled out of the room and slumped into the nearest chair in the corridor. He wasn't sure how long he sat there, head in his hands, before Daniel emerged, peeling off blood-soaked gloves.
"She's stable." He announced. "She's going to be fine. Physically, at least."
"And the..." Simon took a deep breath as he remembered what Daniel had mentioned, before he'd seen Penelope's face. "The baby?"
"The baby is fine." Daniel replied. "I suppose congratulations are in order. You're going to have a daughter." He paused. "It is yours, isn't it?"
Simon could only nod as the announcement sank in. "Is Penelope awake?"
Daniel nodded. "I'm not sure if she'll see you, but you can try."
Barely feeling his legs as he stood up, Simon walked into the room. Penelope turned her head towards him. He struggled to find the words, to speak past the lump in his throat. He felt like he was being strangled. "You're pregnant." He said softly, instantly cringing at how idiotic he sounded.
"It's okay." She croaked out. "You don't need to worry about it."
"Don't need to worry?" Simon repeated. He slumped into the chair beside the bed. He felt so overwhelmingly ashamed. Looking at her now, he could clearly make out a a faint swell in her stomach. How could he not have noticed? Had he really been neglecting her so much over the last few months? "Penelope, you're going to have our baby. And I've been...God, I've been a such an unbelievable hundan."
Penelope closed her eyes. "Simon, I'm not expecting anything from you. If you want to walk away, I'll understand."
"No!" Simon said, more forcefully than he had intended. "I'm not going to leave you and our child. Unless...unless that's what you want. Baobei, I know I've behaved appallingly, but I swear I'll make it up to you." His mind was racing. He had to find his sister, he was the only one who could help her. But he loved the woman in front of him so much. And now he was going to be a father. He didn't know how he would do it, but he was sure there had to be a way that he could save River, and still take care of his new family.
After a moment, Penelope turned back to him. "I'm sorry about all of this. I didn't really want to die. I don't know why I did it." She blinked back tears. "Is the baby all right?"
Simon took her hand. "Daniel said she's fine." He leaned down and kissed her. "We're going to have a little girl."
Penelope finally managed a faint smile. "Sorry I didn't tell you. I just wasn't sure you would want us."
"Don't think that." Simon whispered, kissing her gently. "Don't ever think that."
"Well, some things never change. You still got a bug up your pigu the size of Londinium." Penny groused.
Simon shook his head. She certainly handn't changed. "Your gratitude is truly heartwarming. But you need to stay in bed. I don't care if you feel fine. You're not. You just underwent a major operation to repair a life-threatening injury to your brain, do you understand that?"
Penny just folded her arms across her chest, pouting like a child.
Simon shook his head. "Good, we understand each other." He paused to give Kaylee a soft kiss as he brushed past her in the doorway. She smiled at him, then stepped fully into the room once he was gone.
"You know, I'd ask you what you see in him, but my memory ain't that bad." Penny joked.
Kaylee giggled. "Is there anything I can get you?"
"No, but thank you." Penny replied. "Well, actually, there is one thing you could tell me..." She hesitated for a moment. "Is Simon...is he happy?"
"Yeah, I believe he is." Kaylee grinned. "He makes me happy, and I like to think I do the same for him."
"I'm sure you do." Penny told her. "He seems happy, and I'm glad. He deserves it. And tell me if I'm speaking out of turn, but you seem like a good match for him. He has a wonderful, lighthearted side to him. He just needs someone to bring it out."
Kaylee blushed a little. "That's sweet of you."
"I got a way of reading people." Penny said. "And your voice...it sounds familiar. Were you in here? When I was still out, I mean. Were you talkin' to me?"
"I came in a few times." Kaylee admitted. "I'd heard somewhere, a long time ago, that even when someone's in a coma they can still hear sometimes. I thought maybe it might help you to hear a voice, any voice."
"A friendly voice." Penny added. "I don't remember any of it. But I know your voice. Thank you."
"Still such a boob." River said to her brother as he entered the kitchen. She was seated at the table with Inara, a cup of tea in her hands.
"And what am I being a boob about now?" Simon asked, humoring her.
"Guilt." River told him. "Still feeling it."
"Can't put anything past you." Simon groaned.
"Simon, you can't honestly still believe that what happened to Penny is your fault?" Inara asked, looking concerned.
"It's not that." Simon admitted. "It's just...I supported Unification. Supported the Alliance. People who are capable of killing entire populations and covering it up, of turning teenagers into killing machines, and of attacking sleeping mothers with their children in the next room. And I'm sure they've committed atrocities we can't even imagine. Those are the people I supported."
"So did I." Inara said. "But that was a long time ago. We know better now. If I had known better, I would have felt differently, and I imagine you would have as well."
Simon nodded. "Of course. But that doesn't change the fact that the Alliance was able to get to Penny because of me."
"Not true." River spoke up. "Even if she'd never met you, they still would have been after her."
"What do you mean, mei-mei?" Simon asked, instantly confused.
"I don't know." River said with a shrug. "Neither does she."
"So there the poor guy is, falling-down drunk, stark naked... singing! I couldn't just leave him to get busted by the feds." Penny said, giggling.
"And that's how you two met?" Kaylee asked. "Liked what you saw, huh?"
Penny smirked. "And that was on a cold night, too, if you know what I...well, of course you know what I mean. You've been there."
Kaylee nodded, grinning. "Yeah, I hear ya."
Simon came in too late to hear what was being said, but the way the two women were snickering was a bad sign. Even he knew that much. "Why not tell her about the time you were arrested for stealing a mailbox?" He suggested, hoping to change the subject.
"Hey, I was drunk. And the damn thing was giving me attitude." Penny turned to Kaylee. "Anyway, this hundan left me in lockdown for a whole day."
"Thought you might learn a lesson." Simon told her. "You never did anything like that again, did you?" Penny was silent, and he sighed. "Should have left you in there for two days."
"Penny's been tellin' me some mighty interesting stories about you, sweetie." Kaylee said.
"I'm sure she has." Simon replied. He considered asking Penny about what River had said, but thought the better of it. Considering the trauma she had been through, he wasn't going to risk upsetting her. "Maybe we should let Penny get some rest, baobei."
"I ain't tired, and I don't mind the company." Penny said.
"You need your rest." Simon reiterated, giving her a look.
"Right." Penny exchanged a bemused smile with Kaylee. "Well, goodnight, then. Kaylee, it was nice talking to you. We'll have to do it again."
"Sure will." Kaylee agreed, just as Simon took her hand and pulled her, gently but insistantly, out of the room. She giggled softly, following him to their room. "Nervous, sweetie?"
"What were you two talking about?" Simon asked, trying to seem casual.
"You." Kaylee replied. At the nervous look on his face, she grinned wickedly. "It's your fault, really. Everyone knows that if a man leaves his current squeeze alone with his ex, eventually they're gonna start talkin' about his diao."
Simon went white. "I must have missed that particular news wave."
Kaylee laughed again at the stricken look on his face. "Honey, relax. Neither one of us had anything bad to say." She wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed up against him for emphasis. "Nothin' bad at all."
"Well, that's good. I think." Simon breathed, distracted by the warmth of her body pressing against him.
"Oh, it's real good." Kaylee said, laying her head on his shoulder. "So, did you ask Penny about the broken bones yet?"
Simon shook his head. "No matter who caused her injuries, it's bound to be an emotional conversation, and she's still in a rather fragile condition. I'm going to wait until she's a little stronger." He sat down on the bed, pulling Kaylee with him. He kissed her softly. "How are you feeling?"
"I'm fine, really." Kaylee sighed. "You worry way too much, Simon. You're lucky I love ya, because it can get kinda irritatin'. Although...there is one thing I could use right about now."
"I think I can guess." Simon chuckled. He lay her down on the bed and began unzipping her jumpsuit.
"Dunno what's got into me." Kaylee admitted, closing her eyes and sighing as his hands slid up under her shirt, dragging the fabric up. "Lately I feel like I can't even get to sleep unless I've had a good sexin'."
"Well, that I can definitely provide." Simon said with a grin, tugging her shirt up over her head. Pulling back to look at her, he felt a rush of love for her that stole his breath for a moment. "You really are amazing, Kaylee. I have never met anyone as kind and as caring as you."
Kaylee knew what he was talking about, and shrugged. "It ain't a bother, being nice to Penny. She's real nice. She's just...she's sad, is all."
"And that's something I'm sure you can help with." Simon told her. "It's hard to imagine anyone staying sad or upset with you around." With that, he lay down beside her, pulling her tight against him and kissing her passionately.
The ship stayed docked on Persephone for the better part of the week. Simon examined Penny every day, conferring with the doctors who had treated her in the hospital about her condition. Kaylee spent time with the patient as well, the two of them laughing together, trading stories, much to Simon's chagrin.
Late in the evening, on the fifth day that Penny had been on board, River crept into the common area, knowing that the young woman in the infirmary was awake. The rest of the crew had stopped in to visit her once or twice, but River had stayed away, until she could sense that the young woman was getting stronger, and starting to adjust to her new surroundings.
"Well, hi there." Penny sat up a little, and instantly regretted it. "Ow. If you're looking for Simon, I think he's..." She paused, unsure of how to say it delicately.
"Ruttin' on Kaylee." River said. "No need to be delicate around here." She stepped into the infirmary.
"Oh, you can tell that they're..." Penny trailed off, shuddering at the thought. "Poor thing. You really can't control it?"
"Getting better." River admitted. "It's not as bad as it was when they first started."
"Yeah, they been at it a while, huh?" Penny asked. "She's so sweet. Seems real good for Simon. Of course, if they always go at it the way they have the last few days, I'm surprised she ain't up the duff by now." She thought for a moment. "Is she? I mean, she's got kind of a glow about her, but your brother said she's just always like that. And yesterday when I was talkin' to her, she started gettin' green around the gills and tore outta here in a hurry..."
River shrugged, keeping a straight face. "You're a midwife. You've probably seen enough pregnant women to recognize the signs."
Penny gasped. "She is, ain't she? Oh, that's so shiny, she'll be a wonderful mama. And I always did think Simon would be a great father, too..." She stopped herself at that moment, remembering that the younger woman could hear what she was thinking.
"Too late." River said. "I know."
"Oh, God..." Penny whispered. She put her hand to her mouth and blinked back tears. How could she possibly explain to River the lies that she had told Simon? What she had done, what she had robbed him of, was unforgivable, she knew that.
"It's okay." River stepped closer and handed her a tissue. "You did what you thought was right. What you thought was best for him."
"I lied to him." Penny sobbed. "I broke his heart."
"He's happy now." River pointed out. "And he's forgiven you."
Penny shook her head. "He can't forgive me if he doesn't even know what I did."
"He'd forgive you if you told him." River said. "Maybe not at first, but eventually he'd see how much you've already suffered."
"I deserve it." Penny sighed. "I took any chance he had of ever-"
"Shh." River whispered soothingly, wrapping one arm around Penny's shoulders, stroking her hair. "I won't tell him. And you don't have to, it's up to you." She handed Penny another tissue. "You need your rest. Simon will be in soon to check on you." She paused, as if she were listening for something. "Well, maybe not so soon."
"Right. Has another patient who needs his attention." Penny said, wiping her eyes as she lay back down. "That will be a very beautiful, very loved child." She observed. "I won't say a word, I promise. Boy or girl?"
River just smiled and pulled another blanket over the other woman. "Sleep tight." She giggled before skipping off, her feet barely seeming to touch the ground.
"Simon?" Kaylee said softly, raising her head. "Everything okay?"
"Uh.." Simon looked down at his blood and fluid stained hands, at the clamps he had just set down, and at the tiny form he had just lain on Kaylee's stomach. A baby boy, red and wet and crying. "Everything's okay." He breathed, smiling. "Everything's perfect." He picked up the baby, wrapping him in the blanket and carefully checking to make sure his mouth and nose were clear, then lay him in Kaylee's arms.
"Hi there." Kaylee whispered, her tired eyes shining as she gazed at the baby. "I'm your mama. And that right there is your daddy." The baby kept crying, and she laughed. "Oh, now, don't be like that. He ain't that bad."
"Hey." Simon protested, leaning down to kiss her and stroke the dark hair that covered his son's head. He was starting to settle down, his eyes opening enough that the new parents could see the brilliant blue of them. "God, Kaylee...good job."
"You helped." Kaylee replied, beaming at him. "Look what we made, Simon. We did real good."
"He's beautiful." Simon whispered, still in shock, disbelieving that this was real. "I love you so much, Kaylee."
"Love you." Kaylee replied. She settled back, cradling the baby, cooing to him softly as he relaxed in her arms. "We still need a name." She looked up at her husband, who didn't seem to have heard her. "Simon?"
"Hmm?" Simon blinked a few times, and found himself on his back with Kaylee leaning over him. It took him a moment to realize he had been dreaming. There was no baby. They weren't even married yet.
"It's time to get up." Kaylee whispered, kissing him softly. "You were smilin'. Have a good dream?"
Simon hesitated for a moment, then grinned. "We had a baby." He told her, reaching up to cup her cheek gently. "You had just given birth to our beautiful, healthy baby boy."
Kaylee gasped, smiling, as his words brought to mind an image of what their newborn son might look like. "Sounds wonderful."
"I wanted it to be real." Simon admitted.
"What are you saying?" Kaylee asked.
"That I've had enough of waiting." Simon told her. He said a silent prayer that he would find the right words to tell her what he wanted. "I want you to be my wife, Kaylee. I want us to start a family. And I don't want to put off starting our life together anymore." He found it was easier to talk to Kaylee when he shut off his brain and let himself say what he was feeling, something he was getting better at.
"We could elope." Kaylee giggled.
"Okay." Simon sat up and wrapped his arms around her.
"Simon, I was kidding." Kaylee told him. She paused. "Well, I think I was..."
"We could." Simon insisted. "If you want to, I mean. We could easily get married here on Persephone, and then have another ceremony, or just a celebation, when we get to Harvest."
"That does sound romantic." Kaylee admitted. "And I am awful tired of waiting. I mean, I can, but I really don't want to." She thought for a moment, then kissed him softly. "Okay. Let's do it."
"You're sure?" Simon asked.
Kaylee smiled, nodding. She looked like she might start bouncing up and down from excitement. "Let's get married. Here, today. This is where we met, Simon. It's perfect."
"You're right." Simon agreed. He kissed the tip of her nose. "Get dressed. I'll check on Penny and find River."
"Right, we gotta bring her along." Kaylee said. "She's your sister, can't get hitched without her there. Plus if we don't tell her, she'll still know, and I wouldn't put it past her to squawk."
Simon chuckled and nodded. "She really wants to be a bridesmaid."
Kaylee giggled, feeling like she would never be able to stop laughing and smiling. "Well, that's just fine. Me, I can't wait to be a bride."
"Then let's go." Simon murmured against her lips, although he made no move to let go of her, as it hit him that he was kissing the woman who was going to be his wife by the end of the day.
"Mmm..." Kaylee sighed. As excited as she was, she found it impossible to pull away from him when they were still tangled up in the sheets together, wrapped around each other. And as she shifted, she felt how hard he was. "Oh...maybe we can wait just a bit longer."
"Sounds good." Simon replied, turning her over and stretching out on top of her.