Quiet is a State of Mind By Weasy Fandom: Serenity/Firefly Pairings: Canon I/M and S/K Timeline: Post Serenity. This is a pal_athon (Points and Laughs) fic entry for the great izzyntsherandom, Happy April Fools dude. I apologise deeply for the delay, RL sucks. Hopefully this is a least vaguely passably funny. This was fifteen billion times harder to do than I thought it would be. I have no wit, clearly.Many thanks to abbagura for her first, and I think, very good beta job. Love you! "Doctor," Simon barely moved his eyes from the sample he was analysing, "just thought I’d warn you about the building work I’m about to do." "Sure." He murmured, one arm stretched across the bench, picking up and dropping various instruments before finally selecting the right one and bringing it back to the stethoscope. Glancing up to check another of the seventeen highly sensitive instruments Simon was using he noticed what looked suspiciously like a pneumatic drill disappearing around the corner. He shook it off, he was just paranoid, he’d been going on about these experiments and the need for quiet for weeks, even Kaylee and River had started getting that weary glazed over look when he mentioned them. He turned back to the differential cell counter, a slight anomaly, probably just an external disturbance, but otherwise perfect results. A major breakthrough in medical science was as his fingertips, he just needed the proof before he could grab it. Not that he’d actually be able to tell anyone about it, what with being on the run and- There was a thud, the differential cell counter ricocheted from side to side and anxiously Simon checked on the sample again, it was okay thank god and- Suddenly the lab flipped into darkness, and then just as quickly the emergency power came on, franticly Simon checked the machines, no longer caring about noise as he tried to shake them into life. All dead. Breathing heavily, Simon fought to control himself. It was the Alliance, or a weird space beast come to get them. It was not Mal’s fault. He would go downstairs, and Mal would not have just ruined his life’s work, he would be completely innocent, and Simon would not beat him to a bloody pulp and probably get shot again in the process. It is not Mal’s fault, Simon kept repeating to himself, as he stomped down the stairs towards the cargo bay in search of the man in question. He heard him before he saw him, thumping and swearing and- "What in tyen shiao duh, are you doing?" someone yelled. It took Simon a couple of seconds to realise it was him. And then it was pretty much only because everyone was looking at him. Mal dropped the screwdriver back on the box of freight and faced Simon, confusion written all over his face like some kind of innocent puppy. Simon had seen that look before. Mostly, Mal saved it for lying to Inara about what he’d just been doing "Sealing up all these boxes?" "Like a screwdriver makes all that noise, what is it? Sonic?" Simon spat back. "My experiment-" everyone rolled their eyes and went back to what they were doing, "is ruined." "That was me? I just figured with the power out, it was probably ruined already." Mal nodded to Jayne who started whacking at one of the freight boxes seals with a lump of wood. "Hey, hey." Mal interrupted. "Didn’t I tell you to use the butt of a gun? Gotta make this as real as possible." "Get me one of your guns then," Jayne shot back "’cause I ain’t doing this with one of mine. Have more respect for my tools than that." Mal rolled his eyes and turned back to Simon. "I’m doing this for you, you know, gotta get ready for the new arrival." Simon frowned. "What new arrival?" "Kaylee told you right? About the little one?" Blood started to drain from Simon’s face. "What little one?" There was a huge echoing thump and Zoe climbed down from where she had been drilling holes in the wall and using a stack of crates as a ladder, she opened the little door set inside the cargo entrance. A moment later she returned with an aging man close on her heels. The man’s leather hat was brown and soaked around the head band from the intolerable heat of the moon they were landed on, and he moped the sweat from his brow before the cool of Serenity’s shadows dried it on his forehead. His tight white dog collar probably wasn’t helping things either. "Captain." The man grunted as he surveyed the cargo bay. "I see you’re preparing well." Mal smiled blithely. "We do our best." He dropped his screwdriver again and wiped his hands off with a greasy cloth, the Shepherd stuck out his hand for a shake but Mal ignored him, instead taking the sandwich Inara offered him. "Would you like something to eat, Shepherd? Some tea, perhaps." She smoothly blocked Mal from introducing her to the shepherd. "I hope you don’t mind Mal, he was raised by space monkeys to hate and despise anyone with dignity and manners." "How does he live with you then, ma’am?" Inara smiled. "I’m not a ma’am, and that’s a good enough start." Inara led the Shepherd toward the steps and Simon. "I take it you’re here to see Kaylee?" "She put in a request at the temple." He nodded at Simon. "I expect you’re excited about your family expanding. I was a little nervous when Kaylee said she wanted to raise it in space, but-" "Inara," Simon grabbed her elbow, "I uh, could I have a moment?" Inara blinked. "Of course… Zoe? Would you-" "-take the shepherd in search of Kaylee? Of course." Zoe was on the stairs in a moment. "Anything to keep me away from here, drilling has a whole new deeply boring meaning." She muttered. "I heard that!" Mal cried indignantly. "Only ‘cause I wanted you to, Captain." Zoe shot back. A moment later and Zoe and the Shepherd were disappearing round the corner and Simon was being lead away by Inara. "It’s all gunna change when junior gets here!" Mal yelled after them. "I realised that already." Simon muttered, the walkway sides seemed very far away It was dangerous, they ought to do something about it, and the air, it was freezing in here, Inara was saying something but he couldn’t seem to work out what the words were, Kaylee… Everything seemed to move away from him, like he was looking at a photograph that was moving further and further away and everything around it was black nothingness. Kaylee, junior, oh sweet God… "Inara." She turned towards him "I’m going to pass out." He managed to get out. And then he did. * It’s always odd to wake up somewhere you didn’t fall asleep. But waking up in his sick bay, with it’s endless expanse of white ceiling was pretty foul. In fact, Simon thought, he should probably put something pretty on the ceiling, just so there was something nice to look at when you came round. "Simon?" He tried to raise his head, but it seemed very heavy "Kaylee?" "She stepped out before your little tumble, didn’t seem much reason to call her back." Mal’s face swam into view, filling his whole vision. "I always knew you had a big head." Simon murmured distractedly. "As well you should, it’s something I’m very proud of." Inara pushed Mal out the way. "I gave you some painkillers Simon, you fell off the walkway when you fainted." Blood flushed Simon’s cheeks. "Give the boy some pride, say passed out not fainted." "Oh please, he’s not you, Simon doesn’t need his ego massaging every second of the day. Fainting is perfectly natural." "If you’re a girl!" Mal shot back. "Who says I’m not?" Simon cried. Mal frowned. "I’m sorry, what?" Simon struggled to sit up. "That was just the space delirium and a Saki-flashback talking. Tell me Jayne isn’t in here and heard that…" "There’s just me and Inara," Mal smiled confidently, "but I’ve got no problem finding Jayne and telling him every word of what you just said." "Mal!" Inara rounded the surgical bed Simon was lying on and shoving him in the chest shoed him out the door. With a swift click of a button Mal was thoroughly locked out of the lab. She was back in a moment, pushing Simon back down against the bed and taking a seat next to him. "You are, on occasion, the scariest Companion I have ever met." Inara smiled. "That better have been the concussion talking." "Lack of blood to the brain causing confusion and restlessness..." Simon hastily agreed as he tried to rotate his wrists and ankles. "What did you want to talk to me about?" "Mal said, or at least he implied, that Kaylee was, that their was…" Simon suddenly found himself lost for words. "That she and me." He tried to clear his groggy head. "I mean to say that there is gong to be," he borrowed Mal’s phrase, "a new arrival." "Of course." Inara nodded sedately and Simon envied her ability to be calm about everything. "You knew?" "Of course, Kaylee’s been talking about it for weeks." "I hadn’t… don’t you think she should of made a special effort to tell me?" Inara shrugged. "I don’t see why, you could just avoid it if you don’t like it." "Avoid it?!" Simon cried, bolting upright once again, "I don’t see how I could..." The intercom crackled "Inara, could you come up to the bridge, please?" Inara patted Simon’s arm reassuring and moved over to the intercom. "I’ll be there in a minute." "Uh," Mal’s voice wafted into the room. "Could you make that minute more nowish? We’ve got a situation." "I said I’m coming." "I’ll wait with baited breath." "Don’t suffocate." She shot back. "How is it that you two fight when you’re not even in the same room?" "It’s something she picked up at the academy, a side-order with the whoring." There was a pause. "I’m sorry, was I not supposed to be listening? I’m gunna go wrestle River away from the controls, leave you to your life drama." The intercom clicked off. "If you wake up one day to an empty space ship, know that it’s because I’ve murdered our beloved Captain." Inara hissed as she left the room. "Wait… River!" Simon stumbled off the bed and his bare feet jerked against the cold floor, he looked down. Why wasn’t he wearing shoes? Or socks? Or pants? A surgical gown was wrapped vaguely around him and a sudden burst of air conditioning told him he definitely wasn’t wearing underwear. "What the hell were you doing to me?!" He yelled out the door as he scrambled around the lab looking for some spare clothes. No one answered, it was probably just as well, if they had Simon would probably have used his recently acquired only slightly too big training pants to strangle them with. Well. If it wasn’t Jayne. Or Zoe and Mal… or River. He could probably take Inara. He thought about the strength with which he had been shoved back into the bed. Maybe he should just stop lying to himself. Still wearing the gown over his cold chest and the baggy pants Simon tried not to think about what might have happened to his clothes as he ran up the stairs towards the bridge. He wanted explanations now, something was just not right, and he was fed up with it, today of all days. The bridge loomed overhead and Simon tried to control his currently raging temper as he ascended the stairs. This was not funny, damnit! If weird things were going to happen to him, he wanted to at least have had the pleasure of drinking obscene amounts of alcohol first. His path was suddenly blocked. "Kaylee?" "Simon? What happened to your clothes?" "Inara…" Kaylee’s eyes narrowed. "I may have fainted and fallen into the cargo bay." He touched the back of his head where the hair was sticking to his head wet and sticky. "And apparently I hit my head. Because there’s blood and I’m naked and are we having a baby?" Kaylee blinked. "A baby? Well, in a ways, do you want one? And with the blood and the concussion, why aren’t you in bed?" "Because I’m cold and confused and I’m suffering from bodily harm. And I don’t know if I want one, can I please know if we’re having one before I answer that question?" "I can’t see a much better reason to be in bed that bodily harm, well except for having sex that is." Kaylee looped her arm around Simon’s shoulders and started helping him down the steps. Simon’s dug his feet into the floor and petulently he pulled away from Kaylee and crossed his arms. "Are we or are we not having a baby?" "No baby." Kaylee smiled weakly. "A couple of kittens maybe. Happy Birthday?" Simon dropped to his knees. "I’m sure I mentioned it." He leaned back on the step and ran one hand through his damp hair as the blood struggled back to his brain. Something sharp was poking him in the back. "Okay, you might have been asleep at the time, but technically you did hear me." He pulled it out, one of Wash’s dinosaurs had somehow got trapped in the stairs. He smiled, it was the evil one. "And they’ll be great for River." Simon looked up at her and nodded in agreement. "I’m allergic to cats."