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Disclaimer: Firefly and all related elements, characters and indicia Mutant Enemy Productions and 20th Century Fox Television, 2003. All Rights Reserved. All characters and situations -- save those created by the author for use solely on this website -- are copyright Mutant Enemy Productions and 20th Century Fox Television.

Notes: For TaraLJC on her Birthday. Thanks again to my superbeta skripka who makes everything better!

Extended Family 

by liquideyes

Simon opened the door to his room and stood motionless in the doorway as he watched Kaylee pull on a pale pink cotton nightie. His eyes followed her as she moved to the sink to wash and then caught her gaze in the mirror as she dried her face.

"I understand you couldn't tell me cause you promised--but is this why you've been all preoccupied?"

Simon nodded, moving into the room and sitting down on his bed with a heavy thump. He had almost forgot how hard the bed was, he had been using it so seldom of late. He knew his assurances that there was nothing wrong had fallen flat. Had fallen so flat that he couldn't understand why Kaylee hadn't gone back to sleeping in her own bunk. But even though he was all but living in the infirmary, she had stayed, and he'd ignored the worry and question in her eyes. Had hoped that she'd attribute it to River, even though River was doing better than normal.

Normal. He wished that the word didn't have completely different connotations these days.

The bed shifted as Kaylee moved behind him and kissed the back of his neck before rubbing his shoulders. Talented mechanic's hands attempted to ease the strain in  muscles that were no longer as used to spending days hunched over a datapad, but he remained tense. And this was even after the glass of engine room hooch she had pressed into his hand and insisted that he down at the impromptu party that followed the big announcement.

Zoe's baby.

Sharing the news with the crew (and the fact that Mal had reacted badly, but not as badly as he had feared) should have brought relief. It didn't. Because now, along with the pressure he imposed on himself, he could feel the silent weight of 7 more people relying on his knowledge and skill. Or rather 9 people if he counted Zoe and the zygote growing inside her.

He had started researching as soon as Zoe requested the tests. But despite his training, he had only been a participant in four births, and only one of those as primary. The last time, with Petaline, the birthing at least had been smooth. But this time he would be there throughout all nine months. There were far too many possible complications, things that could go wrong, things he didn't know. As was often the case in medicine, the more he read the more he felt he needed to read and the more complications and solutions he encountered. Being a trauma surgeon was what he wanted-- needed-- to do, but when he felt the lack in certain areas he really wished he had somehow had the foresight to specialized in neurobiology or prenatal. Apparently psychic ability didn't run in the family.

But part of him relished the new knowledge, immersing himself in a new problem, stretching his mental capacity. He was a medic. Except then he remembered he would be applying it all to someone he knew. Someone who had gone out of her way to explain the little things-- and had taught him how to handle a gun. There was bias. A doctor should never let himself be biased. Though with River it could hardly be helped. And with the new course of study he was neglecting River, neglecting Kaylee... He used to be able to do everything. He used to...

"Simon--"The sound of her voice brought him back into focus. Kaylee gave up on the shoulder massage and turned the strokes into caresses as she moved to curl up on his lap. "I was trying to think of a good time to tell you... but now that Zoe's pregnant too..."

Simon's brain shut down on the word "too."

And was brought back to the present by Kaylee's trembling. It took him a few seconds to register it as laughter. She pressed a kiss to his creased brow. "You still really are such an easy mark."

He looked up at her in disbelief as she muffled her glee by burrowing her head into his shoulder. And he had to laugh with her. When he could breathe again after the shock. Because when Kaylee laughed with such invitation and abandon there was little else he could do. He laughed until tears gathered in the corner of his eyes.

But his relief was palpable.

There was no way he could start a family-- no, that wasn't right. There was no way he could bring another life into this world he was currently inhabiting, not with River to take care of. And he and Kaylee hadn't even begun to speak about any sort of commitment. He still wasn't sure he could commit to anything more while he remained a wanted fugitive... and then there was the rest of the crew.

But he also couldn't help but feel a pang of regret for the image of Kaylee pressing a kiss with maternal ease to the top of the dark-fuzz-covered head of the infant in her arms that dissolved along with her laughter.

But even that gut reaction faded when her laughter eased and she stroked his
arm and kissed the laughter-tears from his eyes.

When the kisses deepened, building into something more, Simon couldn't help but check that Kaylee was still taking the contraceptive injections from the ever-thoughtful Inara. She just laughed at him, before kissing him again and reaching down to undo the button on his pants in answer.

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