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{Ficlet} A place to rest my head |Firefly

Damnit, comment_fic, there's such good prompts that refuse to stay short! This is another tale that should be expanded. *sighs*

Now edited! 4/14

A place to rest my head
Clarity Scifiroots
Rating: All
Summary: Firefly/Serenity, none, Simon was the one shipped off to the Academy
For comment_fic.

All I need
Is the air I breathe
And a place to rest my head

- "Say (All I Need" One Republic -

----

Sometimes the young man's screams carry all the way to the crew quarters. Mal wonders how the shepherd manages to look rested in the morning after the bad nights; the boy and his sister always have dark smudges under their eyes.

Mal watches them whenever possible. River swears she'll take care of Simon, make sure he doesn't become a danger to himself or the crew, but Mal gets caught up by the fact that River - genius and doctor or not - is still a girl. Simon's older than her, in years, and he's also supposed to be brilliant, had studied medicine before being roped into "The Academy," but he seems younger most days. Two babes in the woods, Mal muttered to Zoe a few days after River told the crew her story about rescuing her brother. Zoe watches them, too, her gaze shrewd and calculating whenever Simon's particularly disruptive.

Jayne is especially disgusted by the young passengers. River is too smart for him and tends to ignore him - a definite insult for the rough and tough mercenary. Simon spooks Jayne with his wide-eyed, vacant stare and nonsensical mumblings. On the other hand, Wash seems to adore the siblings, even though Simon's strangeness disturbs him at times. The shepherd is calm and caring towards the siblings, although River is clearly disdainful of his preachings. Mal can relate. What reason do either of them have to believe in a god who lets the innocent suffer so horribly?

Inara wears her polite mask too well for Mal to grasp how she really feels about the Tams. She does tend to Simon on occasion when River has other tasks to do. Kaylee seems right torn between an attraction to both siblings. Mal's keeping a close eye on that, knowing that the pursuit of either Tam will end only in disaster and heartbreak for the mechanic.

---

Sometimes Simon's screams carry to the bridge during Serenity's daytime hours. Mal's been up there before, consulting with Wash on their destination and the pilot jumps at the fear-filled cry. His eyes go wide as he stares up at Mal with a look the captain hates seeing. It's a look of pleading and trust - You can fix this, Wash's expression says. Mal can't, but he leaves anyway to escape that stare before his frustration turns to anger.

Jayne swears at the disturbances and reminds Mal that passengers are supposed to be short-term riders, not crew. Mal hasn't told anyone yet that he stopped thinking of the Tams and Book as passengers weeks ago. They're not family yet, but they are his crew and under his protection.

---

River looks more rundown with every week that passes. Simon bites his lips bloody but the frequency of his outbursts lessen. Some of the others see it as improvement, Mal knows it's a sign that Simon's getting worse.

When Mal finds him hidden between crates of their latest cargo, hitting his head steadily against the floor, Mal drags the boy to the infirmary and snaps at River to do something. River fights with him, curses the captain and generations of his family, anger and despair thick in her voice. Mal's damn well ready to punch her pretty little face when Simon suddenly tackles him to the side. Mal's too surprised to immediately pull away and suffers a few scratches to his neck as Simon claws at him.

A few moments later, the boy collapses and Mal looks up to see River, silent tears flowing down her cheeks. She's holding a needle and staring at her brother with sorrowful eyes. Mal doesn't say anything to her just then, but he picks up the boy and carries him to the passenger dorm. He'll come back later to tell her she needs to figure out a way to keep Simon calm because it's getting to the point that Mal's ready to threaten locking them in to keep the others safe.

---

Simon isn't at dinner and from River's guilty expression it's clear that she's drugged him. A few minutes into the meal, River announces that she has a job. Calmly she ignores all interruptions as she lays out the plan of a hospital heist on Ariel. The potential for more money than the crew's seen in a long while. Mal grills her to find out just how well she's thought this through. When he's convinced she's considered things that even he wouldn't have thought of, he agrees. The payoff will be well worth it. Mal also recognizes the importance of the opportunity for River to get a better sense of what's happening to her brother, as well as get medical supplies.

---

Simon stares not at his sister, but at Mal when it comes time to inject the formula that will make both Tams appear dead. The boy's gaze is unreadable but Mal feels like he's being searched and found wanting. His skin crawls until those eyes close. River's shaking hands make him feel hollow as he helps her lie down and injects her with the serum. Before she slips into the state between life and death, her stare turns to him and it's that look of trust and pleading. The anger doesn't come this time.

Mal steps back and watches as Zoe covers the bodies. His mind flashes back to memories of caskets lowering into the ground and of muddy, hastily dug graves for fallen comrades. Zoe gives him a sharp look and he locks the distractions away. Time to focus on the heist and their strict timetable. The little genius planned down to the minute and Mal's determined to keep their timeline.

Even so, he feels an urge to wait with Jayne for the Tams to wake up. He fights it off and turns to the door and Zoe with the now empty body crates. His second in command nods at him in approval. Mal doesn't tell her that he feels like he's breaking some unspoken promise.

----

I know this needs to be continued. >__> Don't know if I'll be able to or not.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
ohsillytwigg
Feb. 28th, 2010 12:34 am (UTC)
This was really great! I've never really read Firefly fic, I'm gonna have to start reading more. I like how you switched River and Simon.
enmuse
Feb. 28th, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
*shoves you towards Firefly fic insistently* And is it possible to get you hooked on Mal/Simon? Cuz there are never enough fans there. Plus I have all sorts of recs for the OTP!
ohsillytwigg
Feb. 28th, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC)
hmmmm mal/simon... could you rec me some good stuff, and I'll get back to you?
enmuse
Feb. 28th, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
My recs are on delicious and I have some more here.

Top recs?
Chiasma has no actualized pairings, but I found this recently and was floored.
None So Blind I've reread a ridiculous number of times. This fic reminds me that I have a a weakness for loss-of-a-sense!fic
Reasons to Fight is my fav Firefly AU. Not very long, but it's a Simon-in-River's-place switcharoo.
No Exit is phenomenal with excellent character voices. Mild pre-slash.

In general, anything by itinerant_vae is awesome.

When you fall in love with the pairing, invest many hours in reading the epic Trauma Medicine by kispexi2_2. (And I mean epic, 177K+ words.)
In the meantime, read all of her other Mal/Simon fics. Awesome character voices.


And~ I'll plug my own writings. ;) Most recent ones are here, but my older stuff can be found on my website. My favorite is honestly "No Fricking Way."

*rubs hands together* Yeah, I'm totally psyched to wrap someone else into this OTP.
cascadewaters
Mar. 22nd, 2010 02:19 am (UTC)
i love it when a gather comes to plan....
I like how you took my prompt and ran with it! I really haven't gotten to read a whole lot of Serenific, and most of what I have read is not mainstream. I'm trying to remember if I've actually started any myself but I'm coming up blank. Pathetic, much? ;)
enmuse
Mar. 27th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
Re: i love it when a gather comes to plan....
I glad you enjoyed it! =D Also love the misquoted A-Team line ;) A-T is a weakness of mine.

If you're interested in some recs (they're 99% Mal/Simon, tho') check out my delicious bookmarks. =)
cascadewaters
Apr. 4th, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
Re: i love it when a gather comes to plan....
Heh, thanks. I really didn't enjoy AT, but my family did, and Hannibal's line pops up for me a lot for some reason. I have fun with Spoonerisms and other ways of scrambling things. ;)

Recs are nice, but I really don't do slash. Actually, I'm not much of a shipper (with a few exceptions, like Ten/Rose;) I tend to be attracted to story lines about family or friendship, and with Serenity, I like my friend's sandbox, where Kaylee basically turned Mal six shades of dismayed with the idea that he's the dad, Inara's the mom, Zoe's the cool and slightly scary aunt, Jayne's the older brother who was 'maybe dropped on his head as a baby,' Mal's the insecure younger brother, Kaylee's the smart tool in the shed, and River's the baby.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )