Disclaimer: Firefly and all related elements, characters and indicia © Mutant Enemy Productions and 20th Century Fox Television, 2003. All Rights Reserved. All characters and situationssave those created by the authors for use solely on this websiteare copyright Mutant Enemy Productions and 20th Century Fox Television.
Author's Note: Now, if you haven't figured this out yet, I'm a huge Simon/Kaylee fan, as is my friend Molly. So, Molly and I were talking and we wondered if Simon and Kaylee weren't the only two available singles on Serenity, would they still be good friends and, possibly, fall in love. The following story takes that idea and runs with it. In this hypothetical world (AU or elseworld ) River didn't go to the Academy, preventing Simon from having to go on the lam. In this world Kaylee's past (whatever it might be) is different too. She's on Osiris , CapitolCity, working as mechanic in the hospital where Simon is a trauma surgeon. It's a snapshot of their lives and, just to warn you, it's very bittersweet.
Would you, Could You?
"Well, hey there Dr. Tam," Kaylee said in her warm familiar way.
"Hello Kaylee," Simon replied, politely holding the door for her as they exited CC General's E.R. staff entrance. "What are you still doing here, I thought you got off at four?"
"I do," Kaylee sighed as she reached behind her head and pulled out a grubby bun, letting her soft brown hair cascade down to her shoulders. "Some brilliant nurse spilled a cup a green tea on the CCAP controls so's a course it shorted out. An' then when I get into it I sees they got the whole thing cross wired with the M-Dar, which just don't even make sense but floor manager told me they got them machines from the same company and had some zui huai dan, pardon my Chinese, install the ‘quipment an' so, since neither machine weren't gonna be wrokin ' ‘till CCAP's circuits dried out I figured I mighta'well clean up the whole mess then'n there. ‘Caus ya know, if I don't, nobody else would and then one a them would have some serious problem an' the whole set would be down fer a week!"
Kaylee looked up from her impassioned monologue to see Simon chuckling softly.
"What?" she demanded.
"Nothing," Simon said, shaking his head, "It's just I've never met anyone as passionate about medical equipment as you. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to laugh at you . . . that is, I wasn't laughing at you, I was . . . "
"S'ok , Doc," Kaylee said, punching him affectionately on the arm before slyly changing the subject. "I laugh at me some times too. Say," she said, noticing that he didn't make his usual turn to the ‘physicians transport' path. Instead he kept pace with her, heading towards the metro-rail. "You takin ' public transport t'night ?"
"Well, I was thinking of taking a cab," Simon said. "I'm meeting my parents and Katrina at the east town station. My sister's performing in ‘Cinderella' with the Capitol Dance Troupe. We're all going to see her."
"Ya aughta come with me, Doc," Kaylee offered, not really seriously. "I transfer at the east town station. Then I could finally meet this oh-so-great fiancée a yours?"
"Really?" Simon asked. "So, you know the way?"
"Course, ain't that hard."
"And you wouldn't mind?"
"Naw ," Kaylee said, surprised that Simon had taken her seriously, "I'd like the company. But you sure you don' mind takin ' the rail?"
"Of course," Simon said. "Why should I mind?"
Kaylee looked at him, a somewhat amazed, "Well, now, guess there ain't a gorramn reason."
"Good," Simon said with an almost relieved sigh. "I've actually wanted to introduce you and Katrina for a while now. I've told her so much about you, I think by now she's curious."
"Y'told her ‘bout me?" Kaylee asked, scrunching her nose. "Why would'ja .. . .?"
"I tell her about work," Simon explained. "And I work with you."
"Not so much."
"Well," Simon admitted, "We don't really work together, but it's almost gotten to the point where I go in hoping something will break down, so you can come in and fix it."
"Really," Kaylee said with wonder after a moment.
"Yes, really. It's very rare to see a smile in the E.R. and you have such a pretty smile."
"Well, that's ‘bout the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me."
"No," Simon said, turning to her amazed. "You must receive compliments every day."
"Not from people who don't want nothin ' from me."
"Well, I'm complementing you," Simon said, "You're an outgoing, talented, beautiful young women. And I don't want anything."
"That's it," Kaylee said, "You've just said the nicest thing anyone's ever said ta me."
"Well, then," Simon said seriously. "This world must be full of blind idiots."
"Thanks," Kaylee said, blushing. "But I knew that already. That's why I'm lookin ' ta get off."
"Still looking for the perfect ship, huh?" Simon asked as he opened the door of the metro-rail station and held it for her.
"Yeah," she said as she walked through. "You know, you're a real gentlemen."
"That's about the nicest thing anyone's said to me all week."
"Doctors gets all the glory," Kaylee said, sliding her metro-card through the turnstile, walking through effortlessly. Simon, on the other side, was digging through his pockets, looking for change.
"Not used to the rail, eh Doc?"
Simon looked up at her with a bashful, somewhat embarrassed smile. "No."
"Here," Kaylee said, passing her card over the turnstile. "My treat."
"I know I've got the change," Simon muttered, looking down again.
"You can buy me coffee tomorrow and we'll call it even."
Simon looked up at her gratefully, "Thank you," he said, taking the card and sliding it through the turnstile as he passed through. "Now," he muttered, looking at all the signs hanging from the ceiling. "Which train . . ."
"Come on, Doc," the young girl said, grabbing his arm and pulling him left towards a down escalator. "I know the way."
"Of course," Simon said, realizing the obvious. "You would know the way, taking it every night, like you do."
Kaylee laughed and shook her head as she stepped onto the escalator.
"What?" Simon asked, moving down so that they were on the same step.
"Nothin ', jus, you laughed at me, sos it's my turn ta laugh at you."
Simon smiled, "I guess. Fair is fair."
"Xactly ," Kaylee nodded, stepping off of the escalator and walking straight ahead through the crowed. Simon followed as quickly as he could. It was late, about eight-thirty p.m., but still the station was pulsing with people headed to all corners of CapitolCity. Simon didn't want to lose the small mechanic in the ebb and the flow, and not because then he would be lost. The station was very well labeled and there were information centers everywhere; it wouldn't be hard to figure out how to get to a big station like EastTown. But he'd always hated mobs and crowds, they overwhelmed him, intimidated him. Kaylee's presence was like a balm on an itch, turning an unpleasant situation to a pleasant one.
"Kaylee," Simon called into the crowed as the brown-haired head he was following started to bob further and further away, "hold up!"
"Hold up yerself ," Kaylee's voice said from slightly behind him and just to his right. Simon pivoted, letting the river of people flow around him, and saw Kaylee, standing off to the side, smiling at him. "This is were we wanna be."
"Oh," Simon said, as he struggled to push himself through the surging people.
As he tried to navigate he was continually apologizing and asking to be excused as he continually found himself in someone's way. When Kaylee finally pulled him out of the flow, she was giggling, "You know, you're too polite ta be takin ' the rail."
Simon exhaled heavily and dusted off his jacket. "I noticed. Is it always like this?"
"Naw , usually the people are meaner. It's a Thursday; everyone's in a good mood ‘bout tomorrow ."
"You're kidding," Simon said, an almost horrified expression on his face. Kaylee just laughed and rolled her eyes.
"Hey," she said, gamely. "If I'm gonna meat Katrina, I wanna know all ‘bout her first."
"Ah," Simon said, taking a deep breath, "All right, well, what do you want to know?"
"What's she like. You're always talkin ' ‘bout the great plans you got, but I ain't once heard you describe her."
"Well," Simon said, smiling as his mind wandered over Katrina's many remarkable qualities. "She's tall, actually, almost an inch taller than me. Short blond hair, blue eyes, thin, she's really very beautiful."
"Sound's it," Kaylee said, delighted by how enthralled with his wife-to-be the good doctor was. "But what's she like?"
"She's, ah, very soft spoken, reserved." Simon said. "Introspective. She's actually a painter. We, ah, we meet because she was taking a graduate level class in the human form with my sister."
"She's a painter," Kaylee asked, amazed, as the cool rush of wind that proceeded the train made her hair dance. "Like, fer a livin '?"
"Yes," Simon yelled, so that he could be heard over the train. "Well, right now she's painting mostly murals for interior decorators," he continued as they boarded the silver car. Even so late, the car was nearly full.
"Here's some seats," Kaylee said, quickly moving to the end of the car where two spaces right next to each other were available.
"Thank you," Simon said, sitting down. He opened his mouth to continue expounding on the subject of Katrina, but the entrance of a woman carrying a toddler diverted him. "Um, Kaylee," he said distantly as he watched the woman scan the car for a place to sit. "You wouldn't mind if I offered this seat to her," he turned to look at Kaylee, "Would you?"
"'Course not," the young woman said, clearly enchanted by Simon's chivalry. "Why would I?"
"I just," Simon started to explain, "I didn't . . ."
The toddler started wiggling and fussing. Simon stood up quickly; Kaylee followed suit.
"Ah, Miss," he said, catching the young woman's eye. "You could sit here, if you like."
"What?" the woman asked out of sheer surprised.
"You can take this seat," Simon said, stepping aside and clearly offering up his spot on the bench.
"An' this'n ," Kaylee added, pointing that her seat was also free.
Simon turned to look at her confused, "Kaylee, I didn't mean that you should . . ."
"What?" Kaylee demanded with a smile. "Only you can be thoughtful?"
"That's not what I . . ." he started, but he was interrupted when the woman and her squirmy son reached them.
"Thank you so much," she said, looking at the pair with clearly grateful eyes. "We've been walking all day."
"No problem," Kaylee supplied with a smile. "Glad to help."
She grabbed Simon's arm and tugged him subtly away from the mother and child to a relatively roomy spot by the door where they could face each other, stand and talk.
"Kaylee, that was very kind," Simon said, looking down on her unpretentious smiling face. "You didn't have to give your seat up like that."
"Well, neither did you," Kaylee said. "Now keep tellin ' me ‘bout Katrina."
"Ah, like I said, she's beautiful, she's an artist . . . ah, what more do you want to know?"
"Well," Kalyee said almost exasperated, "Why you decided ta propose might be appropriate."
Simon chuckled and looked down. "When I was younger my father would explain many of his actions to me by answering ‘when your a married man with a job and a family, you'll understand.' So, naturally longing to comprehend why he couldn't come see the school play or take me and my friends to a rugby game I tried to imagine what it would be like when I was a married man with a job and a family."
"Naturally," Kaylee nodded.
"And so I imagined my wife and, ah, when I first met Katrina I was struck by how much she was like the person I'd envisioned as a boy. She adores my parents, gets along reasonably well with River, which is more than most people, our lives just seem to be in sync. She's everything I though my wife should be, exactly what I expected."
Kaylee starred at him, wide-eyed. "That's so romantic."
"River insists that it's creepy."
"Well," Kaylee said, rolling her eyes. "I've heard ‘nuff River stories ta know that River sees the world in her own special way."
"That," Simon sighed, "is true."
"You must feel so lucky," Kaylee mused. "Ta have a life so filled with art. Yer sister's a dancer, yer fiancée's a painter."
Simon smiled, "I know exactly how lucky I am."
There was a jolt as the train stopped, somewhat suddenly. Kaylee, who'd wrapped her arm around a metal pole, barely budged. Simon, whose grip on the rails had been more ornamental than practical, almost lost his balance and had to pinwheel his arms to keep from falling. Once he'd found his feet again he was able to see Kaylee shaking her head and laughing at him. "Jeepers, Doc, ya get lost in the crowed, ya give up yer seat, ya can't keep standin '. You really shouldn't be ridn ' public transport."
"I'll keep that under advisement," Simon said, as they exited the train. This time, as they pushed through the crowds he was very careful to stay close to his guide.
Once they reached the center of the station, a large open area with domed ceiling, tiled floors and few shops and restaurants around the edges, Kaylee said "'Spect this is where yer meetin ' em ."
"Ah, yes," Simon said slowly as his eyes scanned the large space in front of him. "They said they'd wait at the Hubb Coffee shop."
"Kay," Kaylee said, grabbing his arm, "It's right over here."
She started to lead him forward, to the center of the room where a number of wrought iron chairs and tables were set up around a small kiosk with an umbrella over it. But before they got very far, a woman, a tall, thin, blond woman with short hair, noticed Simon and waved. Simon smiled and waved back, "There's Katrina," he told Kaylee, "Come on, I'll introduce you."
"Hello Katrina," Simon said before leaning over and kissing his bride-to-be tenderly, but conservatively, on the lips.
"Hey Simon," she answered softly, smiling at him ever so slightly.
He straightened and took a step towards his father, extending his hand very politely. "Dad."
"Simon, I trust work went well," Simon's somewhat rigid father said, shaking his son's hand officially.
"Not bad," Simon answered simply. Kaylee wondered at that answer, the word in the hospital was that a girl had come in to the ER after a freak accident had severed her leg above the knee. Simon had reattached it, her whole leg, and by the end of the day she'd been coherent enough to name the hamster her folks had bought her for being so brave about the severed leg thing after the good doctor Tam. Kaylee had meant to ask if the small rodent was named Simon or Tam or Doctor, but this didn't seem the time. "Where's Mom?"
"You're mother has one of her headaches," Mr. Tam said, his tone making it clear that he was very displeased with his wife's current medical state. "You know how she gets."
"So she's not coming?" Simon asked.
"She said she's seen River dance this a thousand times," Katrina offered. Her voice was very soft, it almost seemed like she was whispering. "She really did look bad. I'm sure River will understand."
Kaylee thought that Simon didn't look so sure. But whatever disappointment he had was quickly brushed away by a realization. "So we have an extra seat in the box?"
"Yes," his father said. He sounded almost amused. "Do you have someone you'd like to invite?"
"Actually, I do," Simon said, turning back to Kaylee who was standing to the side, as of yet unobserved. "Katrina, Father, this is Kaylee Frye, she works with me at the hospital."
"Really," Katrina said, leaning forward with interest. "Are you a nurse?"
"No," Simon said, looking at his wife-to-be somewhat annoyed. "This is Kaylee."
Katrina stared at the scruffy girl, obviously searching for a reason she ought to know her.
"I'm the hospital mechanic," Kaylee said, taking a deep breath and a step forward. "I fix everything the doctors can't."
"Mechanic?" Katrina asked, trying to hide her surprise.
"That would explain the jump suit," Simon's father grunted. "And the grease."
Kaylee suddenly became very aware that she was indeed in a greasy jumpsuit talking to three people in formal attire. She started to chew on her lower lip.
Simon, ever the gentleman, rushed to the rescue. "She's brilliant with machines. We're lucky to have her. As soon as she ships out the hospital will have to find a least three people to take her place."
"'Ships out?'" Simons father said, examining Kaylee with a critical eye. "Are you joining the
"Ah, no sir," Kaylee said, taking a very brave second step forward so that she was standing next to Simon. "I'm lookin ' ta become a ship's mechanic soon as the right ship comes ‘long."
"Mr. Tam knows several prominent shippers, don't you sir?" Katrina said, smiling weakly at Kaylee. "Perhaps he could arrange for you to meet one."
"Of course," Mr. Tam said, "I know a few men who might need a hand on one of their boats."
"Is these new boats, sir?" Kaylee asked.
"Well, of course, top quality," Mr. Tam said. "The sort of thing a good engineer would love. What was your name, again?" he asked, pulling a pad out of his breast pocket. "Now that I think of it, Cornell Harris was telling me just the other day that. . ."
"Thanks anyways," Kaylee said quickly. "But I'm really not lookin ' ta work on one a them newer ships, not on a big one neither."
Katrina and Mr. Tam looked at the girl like she was mad.
Kaylee slipped her hair behind her ears tackling the challenge of explaining her dreams to these well-educated, well-bread, well-dressed people. "I'm lookin ' fer a ship that sings, somin ' old an' smallish, an engine with character. Them new ones is just boring. An' I'm lookin ' fer a ship I can call my own, ya know? I don't want to just be another grease monkey maintainin ' the status quo. An' sure, there's lots a them great old ships out there, Fireflies and Hoppers an' the like but part'a getting' the right ship is findin ' the right Cap'in an' the right crew. An' that alone ain't easy."
"You seem to have very high standards, young lady," Mr. Tam observed, putting his pad away without having written a word.
"I know what I want," she said simply. "And I ain't about to settle."
"That, my dear, shows admirable resolve," Mr. Tam said as he pushed himself off of the chair. "I wish you the best of luck in your life's endeavors but, at this moment, we really should go. The ballet will not wait."
"Of course," Simon said, and then, turning to Kaylee, "Would you like to come?"
"Well I'd --" the young girl said before noticing the embarrassed look on Katrina's face, and look of furry on that of Simon's father. "-- like to, but, I . . . I ain't dressed."
"That doesn't matter," Simon said, appealing more to his fiancée and father than his friend. "Does it?"
"I don't know," Katrina said. "I suppose if Kaylee's comfortable in that while the rest of us . . ."
"Ya'know ," the girl said, taking a step backward. "I's awful nice'a you to invite me Doc, an' I really would love ta go an' all. I've never even seen a ballet. But I got a thing I gotta do tonight."
"A thing?" Simon asked.
"Sorry," Kaylee said, smiling up at him sadly.
"Yes, well," Simon sighed. "I'm very sorry too."
"Still," Kaylee said, her irrepressible smile blooming on her face. "Was real nice of y'all ta ask me. An' you Doc," she said, punching Simon affectionately in the chest. "I wanna hear all about it tammara when I'm fixin ' the dope gun Tarkins breaks."
Simon laughed, "He does break an awful lot of them, doesn't he. I'll look forward to your smile."
"It was very nice to meet you, Kaylee," Katrina said, still in her chair. "We should really get together some other time."
"Other time," Kaylee nodded, "Right."
"Best of luck to you on your life's endeavors," Mr. Tam said, extending his hand to Kaylee much like he had to Simon.
"Thank you sir," Kaylee said, feeling very much younger than she actually was. She turned to Simon and his sweet sad smile made her feel better. "See ya latter Doc."
"Have a good night Kaylee," Simon said, nodding.
With a last, sheepish, smile Kaylee turned and scampered back down to the metro-rail where she would jump on the train that would take her to the low-rent district, have dinner at a bar, where some guy she flirted with would pay her tab. Unless he was exceptionally handsome, she'd go home around eleven to tinker with her neighbor's toaster, which, no matter how many times she fixed it, never worked.
Simon watched her go and let out a long sigh, "It's really too bad," he said, turning back to his father and fiancée, "I think she would have enjoyed it."
"I'm sure," Katrina said, offering Simon her hand. He took it and helped her out of her seat. "She seemed nice."
"She's the nicest person I know," Simon said, turning his head to see if he could get one last glimpse of her before she disappeared down to the rail terminals. He couldn't.
"Oh, is she?" Katrina said with a playful voice, drawing Simon's contemplations away from the other girl.
"Don't tease," Simon said, kissing her on the cheek. "You know you're exactly what I dreamed about."
"It's just sometimes nice to hear," Katrina said, resting her head on his shoulder as the three of them headed up and out of the station.