Ruminations and Answers
Firefly, before BDMPairings:
Mal/Simon, Jayne/Illyria, River/Connor, Kaylee/OMCRating/Warnings
I hired a pack of ninjas to kidnap Joss; he was threatened with hot poker torture and chainsaws so I could meet the real him. I now own all. Thank you.
* * * * * *
The crew stared in horror, while Zoe, Jayne, and Mal quickly drew their weapons. Illyria's skin had turned blue, as had sections of her hair. Her dress had morphed into a red, leathery body suit. Connor's arm was visibly broken, his left forearm snapped completely, hanging from his arm only by skin, muscle, and tendon. He had his jaw clenched, his face slightly paled from the pain.
"What in the gorram hell is going on?" Mal yelled. Illyria released Connor and looked over at the group.
"He touched me without permission," she explained.
"So?" Wash asked, horrified.
"Yer blue," Jayne said. Illyria turned her head, piercing Jayne with her icy gaze.
"Yes, I am."
"Uh, are ya all blue? Ya know, everywhere?" he asked, leering. Illyria raised and eyebrow and cocked her head to the side.
"Why are you blue?" Mal yelled.
"You have much to learn. You will require a strong hand," she intoned, staring at Jayne while ignoring Mal. Jayne's smile widened. Yep, she was crazy and weird, but sex was sex.
"I'll be in my bunk," he muttered, leaving the mess. Mal's jaw dropped. He looked from Zoe, to Illyria, then to Connor who cradled his broken arm, and finally in the direction of Jayne's bunk. Wide-eyed, he turned back to Zoe.
"Did I or did I not hire him to be my stone-cold merc?"
"You did, Sir," Zoe answered, never moving her eyes or gun off of the blue woman. Illyria studied them and their weapons, bored.
"Well will someone please tell me what in the gorram hell is going on?" Mal yelled, wide eyed. Simon cleared his throat and rushed forward to Connor.
"Come down to the infirmary and I'll set it," he muttered, desperate to leave the room. Grimacing, the injured man followed.
'Now will someone tell-," Mal started, only to be interrupted by a rhythmic thumping. Glancing down at the table, he saw Alex repeatedly hitting his forehead against the table.
"Will someone please tell me what the hell is happening on my boat?" Mal yelled. Illyria sneered at him.
"Do not presume to order me, ape. I am Illyria, God-King of the Primordium! I moved through the stars, shredding souls before your kind had form," she growled. The crew fell silent, stunned.
"Wait, King, you're a boy?" Wash snickered. "Can I be the one to tell Jayne?"
"She has no gender, but her body does," Alex mumbled.
Mal groaned. "How is that even possible?"
"I only want to explain this once. Can I do it tomorrow morning? Please?" Alex begged. "My head hurts."
"Um, that's because you were hitting your head against the table," Wash explained.
* * * * * * * * * * *
After setting Connor's arm, Simon had escaped to his darkened room. God, that had been so humiliating. He could only hope that no one would notice the way that Illyria had ignored the use of the pronoun 'she.' Embarrassed and tired, he flopped down onto his bed.
"The Blue King is diminished but likes to play games." Simon looked up. River sat in the corner, pulled in on herself with her forehead rested on her knees. "Her toy soldiers turned to dust on Earth-that-was. No more kingdom, no more toys. But she plays, move the knights and pawns for her entertainment."
Simon frowned, then move to kneel in front of her. "River, is Illyria supposed to be the Blue King? She's a woman."
"Not a woman; Old One trapped inside a girl." River began to shake. "Tore apart the lost girl. Fred was me and it tore her apart," she whimpered, starting to sob.
"Shh, mei mei
, shh," Simon said, pulling her into his arms. He began to rock her. "Shh. It'll be okay, River." He rocked her until her sobs quieted.
"She broke the locket," River whispered. Simon pulled away and looked down at her, confused.
, I don't...." River rolled her eyes.
"Stupid. She broke the locket and told! She only told them half, but she told."
River smirked, her tears drying. "That Kaylee doesn't make you warm."
Simon blushed. "Yes, well, she shouldn't have." Suddenly, a chill ran down his spine. Did River know?
"You know who," Simon groaned.
"Easy to tell, but it's a secret. Can't tell because you might break," she whispered, resting her hand on his shoulder in a comforting gesture. Someone knocked on the door. Simon stood up and opened the door to see Kaylee.
"Uh, Kaylee, hi," he said. Kaylee looked past him at River.
"Is River okay?" she asked. River stood and walked over to Kaylee, staring at her with wide eyes.
"Keep the secret, for Mother and Father would be most displeased if you break the lock," she whispered. "It's okay for everyone but not for us." River walked out the door, shutting it behind her.
Kaylee sat by Simon. After a few moments of uncomfortable silence, the mechanic spoke.
"Simon, is what she said true? 'Bout you not bein' warm for me?" Simon shut his eyes and sighed.
"I like you, I really do like you," he said earnestly.
"Well I like you too. I also like River an' Zoe. Don't mean I'm warm for 'em," she pointed out sadly. "Are you sweet on me?"
"I think you're sweet, and funny. You're the kind of person I want to be in love with," he explained, staring dully at the floor.
"But you're not sweet on me," she finished. Tears welled in her eyes. "So who are you sweet on?"
Simon shook his head. "It doesn't matter-."
"It matters to me. I want to know what it is that I don't have," Kaylee whispered hoarsely. Simon squeezed his eyes shut and thought. The last thing he'd wanted was to hurt Kaylee.
"My parents had expectations of us," Simon said. Kaylee frowned, but listened anyways. "Our family is an old, venerable family. Very high society. They are also patrons of the arts. They have friends who are homosexuals, coworkers. It's fine for other people-."
"'But not for us,'" Kaylee said. "It's okay for them to be sly, but not you. That's what River meant."
"My first kiss was with David Lee," he said, a small smile on his lips. "My father saw us and he calmly asked David to leave. I was afraid he'd be mad, that he'd hit me. But he was just cold. He told me that it was okay for me to feel that way, but I couldn't act on it. He said that I had to continue the Tam name, get married, have children. He told me that my feelings didn't matter, because in the end I'd get married to a woman my parents approved of." Kaylee listened, horrified as Simon slumped back against the wall. "I didn't date much in school, I was always too busy. But I was expected to date girls, so I did. I'd take them out a few times, but that would be it. Sometimes I'd be really attracted to a man, but I wouldn't do anything. What was the point? If I dated them, fell in love with them, at some point I'd have to end things so I could get married."
"So, you're sly?"
"Yes," he admitted with a pained sigh. Kaylee nodded and wiped her eyes.
"Well, that's not something I can compete with."
"Will you be alright?" Simon asked hesitantly. Kaylee smiled sadly.
"I will be. I mean, I wasn't in love with you and I know you didn't mean to, but I feel so stupid. But if ya need to talk, come find me, alright?"
She stood and paused by the door. "So who is it?" Simon didn't say anything. Kaylee's mouth dropped open.
"It's the Captain, ain't it?" she asked in an awed whisper.
Simon blanched. "It's not that obvious, is it?"
"Naw, just makes sense is all. You're sly, so it ain't Zoe. So it's either Jayne, Wash, or the Captain. And I don't think you'd go after Zoe's husband, 'cause she can kill you with her pinkie. And somehow I don't think it's Jayne."
"You found me out," he said, nodding slowly. "Not even twelve hours after I met him, he punched and threatened to kill me. He can be a jerk, and sometimes I think he has a death wish and he may not even be remotely sane. But he's...."
?" Kaylee supplied.
"Yes," he said with a rueful smile, "He is attractive. And despite his protests to the contrary, he is a kind man. I've seen how he talks to River, to you. He's also honorable, he has his own code of ethics that he stands by." He sighed. "But he's definitely not sly. And he's in love with Inara, even if she is gone. So it doesn't matter what I want."
Kaylee looked at him, truly looked at him and was stunned by the desolation in his eyes. "Wo de ma
," she gasped. "You love 'im."
Simon groaned and covered his face with his hands. He nodded. She moved to sit down by him and wrapped her arms around him.
"Well, if it'll make ya feel any better, as much as I love Inara, she and the Captain won't ever be together," Kaylee offered. Simon snorted.
"Yes, all that sexual tension means nothing."
"It don't. Inara likes bein' a Companion, likes helping people, likes that life. Only way she'll be with the Captain is if he could handle sharin' her with her clients. But he can't."
"Unfortunately, just because he can't have the woman he wants it doesn't necessarily mean I'll get a chance." Kaylee shoved him away, a mock ferocious glare on her face.
"Well fine, that's the last time I'll try to cheer you up," she pouted.
"I guess I'm just not in a cheery mood. But perhaps I can cheer you up," he said. Kaylee frowned. "You know, our young Mr. Giles seemed quite enamored with you."
"Oh he did not," Kaylee said, rolling her eyes. "Did he?"
"He most certainly did," Simon confirmed, smirking. "Couldn't take his eyes off of you. He looked at you as though you were the most precious treasure in all the 'verse, which is what you deserve, Kaylee." Kaylee grinned and moved over to the door.
"Well, guess I'll just have to make sure he's having a good trip. "
* * * * * * * * * *
Wash was pacing their bedroom when Zoe climbed down the ladder.
"Something wrong, husband?" she asked as she stripped off her vest. Sitting down on the bed, she began working on her boots.
"Nothing! Nothings wrong!" he chuckled. He walked the three strides it took to get him across their room, turned, and walked back.
"Somethings bothering you. Is it our new God?" she smirked. Throwing his hands in the air, he dropped down beside Zoe.
"No, I mean yes, the fact that she is older than recorded history is scary. And the fact that she could rip us to itty bitty pieces is unsettling too. But I just don't like the fact that Simon 'warms for your form,'" he finished with a frown.
"Don't think it's me he's after," Zoe assured him, a small smile playing at her lips. Wash jumped up from the bed and began pacing again.
"Well why wouldn't it be? Inara isn't on the ship anymore so he can't warming for her. And if he's not warming for Kaylee that just leaves you, unless and ti wo de pigu
, he's sly," he realized.
"Yeah. I thought he might be, way he watches some of the crew. Real subtle like," Zoe explained, removing her pants. Wash's eyes widened.
"It's not me, is it?"
"No bao bei
, it ain't." Wash's brow furrowed as he thought. His face paled and wrinkled.
"Lao tian bu
, it's not Jayne?" he cringed.
, it's Mal," he whispered, dropping to the bed. Rolling her eyes, Zoe reached over and began to undress her husband.
"Yeah, it's Mal. Don't think he's noticed though," she said, pulling her husband's shirt off. Wash didn't even look at her, just stared unseeing at the bulkhead as she knelt to remove his boots.
"Well it's probably a good thing; Captain's already hit him a time or two, don't know what he'd do if he found out Simon was 'warm' for him." Zoe froze.
"Now don't say anything like that about the Captain. He may be old fashioned, but he'd never hurt anyone because the were sly," she warned him.
"Okay, Lamby Toes, sorry," he placated, standing and taking off his pants. Zoe crawled into bed, where Wash quickly joined her.
"I feel kinda bad for him," Wash continued.
"Whys that?" Zoe asked, curling up against his side.
"Well, it's gotta be rough to want someone who doesn't want you back. I remember how hard it when when I first met you. You didn't like me too much, and that kind of hurt, especially that one time you punched me. Can't imagine what its like for Simon, knowing he'd never have a chance," he explained, running his hand up and down the arm she'd laid across his chest.
Zoe held her piece. She'd already said enough about the Captain for one night. And it wasn't anyone's business that during the war, Mal had sometimes sought comfort with men as well as women. Yes, most times the Captain preferred women, but sometimes a man would catch his eye. That was the Captain's business.
* * * * * * * * * *
Mal sighed as he flopped down on his bed. Tian a
, he was tired. Jayne was right; taking on passengers is just trouble. Especially the blue one, breaking Kaylee's heart like that, and that boy's arm. Safest thing would be to space the crazy blue lady, but Mal didn't think they'd get far before she tore them all to pieces. Seeing the way the light in little Kaylee's eyes dimmed had been terrible, all because of that crazy blue lady. Although he supposed it was the Doc's fault for leading her on when he didn't like her. Makes sense, though. Only person the Doc could fancy is Zoe and it wasn't like he could just go chasing after Zoe. She'd kill him, or else Wash would try.
Mal respected Simon for getting his sister away from the Alliance. He'd given up everything for his sister, a sure sign of character. And he respected the Doc's knowledge of medicine. And he'd admit that the Doc was an attractive man, one of the few that would catch his eye. Maybe if he wasn't so caught up on Inara, and if Simon wasn't caught up on Zoe or whoever, maybe.... It didn't' matter. But the Doc wasn't smart, least not in non-science ways. Boy'd spent his life trying to be a doctor, and had done it at a young age, but had missed out on a lot of things kids went through. Boy was pretty dense in the ways of the heart. Although, Mal reflected wryly, so was he. He knew his attraction to Inara was fruitless. There was passion, and that was why he kept trying to push her away. It wouldn't work, it couldn't, so there was no point in starting something that would only end in heartache.
He cared about Inara. Even though he knew things would never work out between them, something about her still made his breath catch whenever he saw her. Mal figured that anyone he might settle down with would have to be like his Ma. Not in some creepy way, of course. It's just that life on the Rim was hard. He couldn't imagine finding anyone who would work. He'd always wanted someone who was soft and gentle, but could be strong. Someone pretty, maybe a mite delicate, but strong enough to stand up to him and survive the hardships of life on the Rim. And that was Inara.
But Mal was old-fashioned. You stuck with one person, and that's what stuck in his craw about Inara. It didn't matter how much he liked her, because she'd never give up being a Companion. It's what had bothered him from the first time he'd met her. Mal wanted someone he couldn't ever have. And in some dark way, it figured that the Doc would have one girl chasin' after him but want one that's taken. Yeah, Mal figured, both he and Simon were a bit dense with it came to love.
* * * * * * * * * *
The next morning, the crew drifted in to find Alex, Connor, and Illyria at the table, Illyria in her true form. Mal, Zoe, and Wash came in first, soon followed by the Tam siblings. Kaylee drifted in then, a nervous smile plastered on her face. Eventually Jayne walked in, frowning. The room was silent. The crew sat, bunched at one end of the table, while Mal and Zoe stood, drinking coffee.
"I, uh, made breakfast," Alex offered, gesturing to the covered pot on the table. "It's just protein, but I put a flavoring packet in it. Makes it taste a lot better."
Jayne leaned forward and opened the pot, sniffing. "Smell like apples... apple pie."
"Oh really?" Kaylee asked. Grabbing her bowl, she spooned some onto her plate. She took a bite and moaned. "Shiny."
"Well, I guess we should all eat," Mal conceded.
"Hey, could you get me some?" Connor asked Alex. Alex said nothing, his eyes glued to the look of bliss on Kaylee's face.
"Yo, Giles!" Connor yelled. Alex started. Connor nudged him with his bowl. Nodding, Alex filled it before filling one for himself and one for Illyria. Once everyone had food, Wash grinned.
"Can I tell him? Please?" Wash begged.
"Tell who what?" Jayne grunted.
"Oh, just tell you that the person who wants to chain you at her feet is actually a man," he supplied, grinning. Jayne wrinkled his nose and looked at Illyria.
"So you're a man?" he asked, staring at Illyria.
"She has no gender, but her body does," Alex mumbled.
Mal groaned. "Once again, how is that even possible?"
"We'll get to that. My name is Alexander Giles, descendant of two of the founders of the New Watcher's Council, now called the Earth Historical Society. For the past five centuries, a member has served as a guide for her, helping her deal with people and life."
"Their line has always provided me with an adequate Qwa’ha Xahn," she intoned.
"You're five hundred years old?" Kaylee whispered. "You look good for bein' that old," she smiled.
"She's actually a great deal older," Alex added. "Now I understand that you may doubt my story, but please just let me say it all at once."
Wash raised his hand. "Uh, is this going to be a long story?" he asked.
"Yes," Alex sighed. Wash walked over and grabbed a mug and the coffee pot. Returning, he sat down and went back to eating.
"On Earth, before life had even evolved, the boundaries between dimensions were thin. Dark creatures of immense power and size, but of no real gender, covered the Earth. We call them demons. Illyria was one such creature. She ruled part of the Earth for tens of thousands of years, watching as life began. She was very powerful, one of the strongest of the Old Ones. The others feared her power and overthrew her, murdering her body and trapping her essence in a prison. But she suspected it would happen, and thus had a contingency plan. She was imprisoned for millions of years.
"In the meantime, life evolved, humans developed. The demons were powerful, but humans, while weak, were resilient. They planned, survived, adapted. Many demons found ways to breed with humans, giving rise to half-breed demons. They were small, more human than demon. Some had more human attitudes and were rather peaceful, while others were tainted by the darkness of their progenitors. Eventually, it became clear that humans were becoming the dominant species, so the Old Ones left. Then, in the year 2003, a small group of her followers resurrected her essence and placed it into a woman."
"That's... insane," Simon marveled. "It can't be true."
Alex shrugged. "It is true; it's a fact, just a fact hidden from text books."
"You guys saw her morph her appearance last night, deal with it," Connor snorted.
"Yeah, I'm curious about that. How'd ya change your clothes? Is what you're wearin' is a part of ya?" Jayne asked.
"Yes. I am able to change my appearance and remove my clothing, and I can alter it although I prefer my armor."
"So ya can get naked?"
"It's all true," River mumbled, taking the attention away from Jayne's questions. "She clawed out of the deeper well, tore her soul. She's diminished but still a God-King."
"Diminished?" Simon asked.
"When Illyria first awoke, she contained far more power than she does now. But her body wasn't able to contain it, so it was drained from her lest she explode and destroy the city. She used to be able to manipulate time."
"And now?" Zoe asked.
"I can not keep the power with me, but I have learned that I can absorb and use greater amounts of energy for brief periods," she intoned. "How I do so is not your concern."
"Well okay then," Mal said. "Anything else we should know?"
The group was silent until Connor sighed and spoke. "Might as well tell them about me. They'll be pretty damn curious about this by tomorrow," he added, lifting his arm. It was bound in a splint with bandages, not a proper cast.
"You really should have let me cast it. If you take that off too soon, you could really damage your arm," Simon warned.
"I suppose so, Connor," Alex nodded. "The story goes that before the last Old One left Earth, it drank the blood of a human and gave the human some of it's blood, thus making the first vampire."
"Okay, I get the alternate dimension beings are called demons, but vampires?" Zoe shook her head before continuing. "I just don't believe that."
"Vampires are real, and are very nearly extinct. But in 2001, a female vampire became pregnant by another vampire, which has not again occurred before or after that single incident. Connor is the child that was born. Any scans or tests you could do would show him as human, but he has other abilities," Alex explained.
"Other abilities?" Mal asked, incredulous.
"Yep. In two days, you won't even be able to tell my arm was broken. I also have heightened senses and very good reflexes. And I'm very strong and fast."
"And you're five hundred years old too," Kaylee concluded. Connor grimaced.
"Sort of. I am, but I'm not. See, my birth Dad, Angel, died in 2004 when I was 17-"
"Now I may not be a genius or nothin', but even I know that if you was born in 2001, you ain't gonna be 17 three years later," Jayne interrupted.
"Ah, it was this whole thing where I was kidnapped as a baby and raised in a hell dimension, where time runs faster," Connor shrugged.
"Can we leave this part about you bein' either 3 or 17, and get back to the part where your either 500 or..." Mal started, trailing off.
"21. After Angel died, I went to college and then became a demon hunter. For me, it feels like a year ago, but I was fighting this demon that froze me into a rock. The next thing I remember, I was waking up."
"The demon that froze Connor in the rock is a rare one that only reawakens during a particular heavenly alignment," Alex explained. "Because Connor was on his own, no one knew what had happened and were unable to reawaken him during the alignment. Illyria had promised his father that she would watch over him, and later discovered him. The next alignment was supposed to be 125 years later, but as Earth was deteriorating, several colonies had been placed on the moon, thus changing it's orbit. Then Earth was abandoned, and it was feared that we could never awaken him. During the following centuries, we'd learned of different elements that could be manipulated in order to replicate some elements of alignment. So a year ago on Athens, three of the orbiting moons passed over in a similar fashion. Using that as a start, we added other elements and thus awoke the demon. At which point Illyria beat the bloody hell out of it until it woke Connor."
"Is that thing still alive?" Kaylee asked.
"No, I destroyed and kept it's spine as a trophy," she sneered. "It was weak, a pathetic half-breed not worthy of tainting my axe, so I ripped it's head off."
"My that's a vivid image," Mal murmured, dragging his hands down his face.
"Hey, I'm still wonderin' who the Doc is sweet on," Jayne complained loudly. Simon's face paled as he swallowed hard.
"I was told by my Qwa’ha Xahn not to discuss such things," Illyria said, pinning the elder Tam sibling with her icy gaze.
"Aw, why not?" Jayne whined.
"Because while she can survive being spaced, we can't," Connor explained.
Illyria nodded, appearing almost glum as she spoke. "Yes, I swore to protect the half-breeds child, and I will honor my word. I am also forbidden from violence while in space."
The Serenity's crew sat in silence, uncertain of what to say to that.
"Well," Mal coughed, "that's good."
"Hey I have a question," Wash said, leaning forward in his chair. Alex leaned forward, eager to share his knowledge. "You ever been to that moon where they juggle geese?"