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liquidize in ship_manifesto

Simon/Kaylee (Firefly)

Sorry it’s a little late. Midterm rush is no fun.

Title: They never got to kiss!*
Author: liquidize
Spoilers: The entire series, but nothing for the upcoming movie.
Notes: Thanks to emeraldsedai for a superb and speedy beta, and to everyone who has ever discussed Simon and Kaylee with me;)
E-mail: stellargal at hotmail dot com
Website: http://www.liquideyes.compromisingpositions.net

I started watching Firefly because of Joss Whedon. And while it was like at first sight, I fell head over heels in love with the show somewhere during Jaynestown. I remember sitting in front of the television with a group of friends and realizing that this was the show for me, and then quoting “hamsters is nice” and other such phrases for weeks.

I also fell in love with Simon/Kaylee in Jaynestown.

I’m almost certain I can even pin it down to:

Simon: You’re pretty... pretty.
Kaylee: What did you just say?
Simon: Just that you’re pretty. Even when you’re – no especially when you’re covered in engine grease, you’re...

For those of us who watched the show when it first aired on FOX, this episode was the 4th one in, and thus the first one that indicated that Miss Kaywinnet Lee Frye’s crush on Dr Tam was going to be reciprocated.

But the thing about this confession that appeals to me the most is that (unless the engine grease is part of some fetish we don’t really know about) Simon likes *Kaylee* for who she is. All of it. The idea that in doing what she loves (fixing Serenity) she is made even more beautiful to him just warms my heart. And gives me hope that this could become a real romantic relationship. Even if he had to be drunk to let his guard down enough to admit to his feelings. And when this episode fits back into the proper order, it’s one step towards the growing relationship between two characters that are a joy to watch together.

It’s clear from the pilot, Serenity, that Kaylee thinks Simon is wonderful. He is certainly a pretty package, and Kaylee is attracted to the shiny. Her awe of the fancy doctor from the Core is evident when she tries to draw him into conversation at the dinner table and tries to find out about more him. Though, yeah, that went well. Or really didn’t. (Thanks, Jayne).

And while Simon may have registered the pretty mechanic who welcomed him aboard Serenity, he’s far more concerned about protecting his genius younger sister River. She went to a government sponsored academy at age 14. He learned, in coded letters he received from her, that all was not what it had seemed and that they were hurting her. When his parents refused to believe him or help her, Simon took it upon himself to rescue River. It took three years. He's given up everything to find her, and when Mal threatens to turn them over to the Feds, he's willing to bargain with Kaylee’s life.

As a trauma surgeon, Simon is trained to make hard decisions quickly. We don’t know if he’d have really let Kaylee die; we do know from Safe and Ariel that he puts his duty as a doctor ahead of everything else. But he also puts River ahead of his own life. Kaylee herself doesn’t think he would have let her die, but then Kaylee always believes the best of people. She understands that he’d do anything for his sister, sees the caring and the depth Simon is capable of.

These events in the pilot come full circle, to be mirrored in what became the series finale, Objects in Space. By this point, Simon and Kaylee are clearly friends, as evidenced by his telling her of his drunken, naked medacad exploits while they are lounging together and he plays with her bare feet in his lap. When crazy bounty hunter Jubal Early boards the ship, intent on capturing River, Simon is willing to give up his own life rather than help Early find River. But when Jubal brings Kaylee into the equation, claiming that he will rape her after he kills Simon. Simon changes his mind, and prevents this from occurring by accompanying Early through the ship. It also gives Simon the opportunity to mess up Early’s plan, but in addition it shows how much Kaylee and Serenity have come to mean to Simon.

One of my favourite descriptions of Kaylee comes from Jewel Staite (who plays Kaylee) and Joss. At a convention Jewel said “He [Joss] describes her as round. Round personality. She's round, she's got this round fullness around her. She's so full of love, and happiness, and feeling.”

Simon is far more reserved. In interviews Nathan Fillion (Mal Reynolds) has described Simon at the being as very reptilian. Doctors do have a tendency to be precise and clinical, but as we see from flashbacks and Simon’s own actions, his choice to become a doctor was based on more than the prestige or parental pressure. It’s founded on a desire to use his mental gifts to help people. The drastic changes in his life put him off balance, and shake him to the very core.

Before he gave up his life to find River, he was a doctor, a son. But when he learned what happened to River, and that his parents didn’t care enough, he lost his grounding in the alliance and his family. And when he decided to rescue River he further lost his identity as a trauma surgeon in a top Core-planet hospital, sacrificing the acceptance and purpose he found there and the wealthy lifestyle he took for granted. And then on top of all that, the sister that he rescues isn’t the sister he remembers, though he loves her with all his heart and works hard to make her better. She’s everything he has.

Simon is a man whose foundations have crumbled, so he’s learning who he really is, even as he clings to the past. Kaylee, so full of life and feeling, wants to show Simon that he can still have a life. She is happy where she is, and wants to see Simon happy on Serenity. Change is never easy, and while Simon has physically left his old life, he has yet to mentally accept his new one. Kaylee makes Serenity a little bit more of a home. But Simon isn’t sure if he can let it be home. He and River are still wanted fugitives. And since he had lost everything, it is harder for him to make connections that he is afraid that he may lose again. But despite himself he makes connections to the crew of Serenity, and begins to have a family again. The cheerful girl who manages to push through the walls he tries to build is no small part of that.

The cutest of Simon and Kaylee is usually when they are talking and Kaylee is gently teasing and flirting with him, drawing Simon out of his shell and getting him to share things and open up more. This leads to real friendship and camaraderie, which I think makes for better romance.

At the same time, there are interactions between Simon and Kaylee that many see as not so positive. Where, in a nutshell, Simon gets flustered and doesn’t think about what he’s saying, and Kaylee takes it too personally, gets mad and storms off (see Safe, Jaynestown, The Message). While this carried on a bit too long for many fans, one must remember the nature of the television medium and the penchant of many writers to stretch out the getting together phase of any relationship.

This type of miscommunication is a product of their relative inexperience. Simon has said he’s not very good at talking to girls, and while comfortable and in control when he is in doctor mode, he is far more unsure when dealing with people. He is very bright, and was very focused on his career. There is no evidence of what his romantic past was like, his attractiveness and former wealth that would suggest he’s had his fair share of girls, but he does not act very knowledgeable on this subject. His previous experience may have been with fellow medacad students who could understand his needs, or with wealthy society girls with whom he followed a code of romantic conduct. While this is pure speculation, I am quite certain that he’s never known a girl like Kaylee. They have very different perceptions on how to act when they like someone in a romantic sense, which leads to a lot of miscommunication. Honestly, would he just kiss her already?

But Simon takes things very slowly, and Kaylee’s never been slow with boys, as we learn in "Out of Gas" when Mal first meets her having sex with Bester under the engine. One gets the sense that Kaylee’s had quite a few boyfriends, but has never really been friends with them first. She’s a big flirt. And boy crazy. But if all she wanted was a roll in the hay (or engine room) with Simon, she wouldn’t be so hurt when he says something unintentionally stupid. It wouldn’t matter if she didn’t care so much.

His unintentionally hurtful comments hit her biggest fears: that he could never be happy on Serenity, that he would never be interested in her, and that she’s not good enough for him and is just his only option. These are issues that they have to work through. Preferably together. They both are dealing with new territory, which makes everything the more awkward. But when they get it right, they are the sweetest thing in the ‘verse.

If Simon and Kaylee go together, would their relationship become boring? I don’t think so. There are so many external pressures and issues to play with – including how Mal will react, Simon’s fugitive status, Simon’s need to put River first, River’s possibly bad reaction, their different backgrounds and different relationship expectation. And as much as I can’t wait for that first kiss, it won’t make everything perfect. If anything, I can see Simon retreating from this complication. And this complexity is what makes them interesting and compelling to me.

Why do I love them? I love Simon, I want him to smile more. I want him to be happy. I love Kaylee. In a world where nothing is simple, nothing guaranteed –- I want her to get what she wants. I want her to be happy. And I’m not saying it won’t be difficult, and I’m not saying it’s forever.

But look at the scenes with Simon and Kaylee together.

You can’t say Simon doesn’t smile more when he’s with Kaylee. You can’t discount the shine in Kaylee’s eyes. So when the two of them finally get it right, despite all the hardships and complications, the way they will light up will make the ‘verse a shinier place to be.

I want to see that happen.

In terms of the fandom –- there aren’t a lot of people who write Simon and Kaylee together. There are even fewer stories about the two of them together written well (finding the balance between the cute and the complex seems to be a difficult prospect). Truth to say, many authors take a stab at writing the two of them together once. Maybe twice. And sadly, that’s it. I’m hoping the movie may change that.

But for now, there’s you're pretty... pretty a lovely Simon/Kaylee fansite with a fanfic section. It hasn’t been updated in a while, so I would recommend checking out some of those authors to see if theey have written anything new.

And the usual archives (“links” at the above site give a good selection, as does “links and other goodies” at www.compromisingpositions.net ).

I’m not very comfortable doing recs – aside from the fact that what I like is what I like and that may not correspond with what everyone else likes, I really don’t want to leave anyone out or step on any toes. But if you want to email me and let me know what type of fic you are looking for, I’d be pleased to provide suggestions.

*Title taken from Joss Whedon’s exclamation from the Objects in Space commentary and one of my favourite Sean Maher stories from a convention with Jewel Staite:

Question: This is kind of a silly question, but did it just drive you crazy that Kaylee and Simon never to got to kiss on the show??

Jewel: Yeah! >>general laughter<< When we got canceled, I was shooting a scene with Gina and Nathan and Adam. And Nathan was like "Well, let's go to my house and drink." And we were like "Ok". So we all went to his place, and we called everybody from there and told them the news. And said "Come by. And bring booze." >>general laughter<< And umm, Sean walked into Nathan's place and he was like >>throws up arms, looks around<< "We never got to kiss!" It was like the first thing he said! And I started laughing. I was like "Oh my God!" But, it's true you know, it kind of bugged me a little bit. And it was like the running joke. Everybody was like "Goddam you guys. Get a room >>general laughter<< Do it"


Great essay! I loved everyone on Serenity so damn much. It still hurts, even with the upcoming movie to assuage my pain.
Thank you so much!

And I know what you mean. I'm so glad I have a Firefly support group;) As wicked cool as the movie is going to be (and I have every confidence that it will be)... what I wouldn't give for 5 more seasons (at least) with these characters that have become so very real too me. I want to learn more. Hence fanfic exploration;) I think one of the special things about Firefly is that there wasn't a character I didn't like. Which is so rare for me, it's almost unheard of.

But still, movie!!!!!! (and possible sequels) *squees*
Thank you! Lovely essay about sweet people.

I think there were a lot of reasons that the canon ship didn't happen: 1. Many, many shows have jumped the shark when UST turned to Sex--the slide down to Special Wedding Episode is almost inevitable; 2. The Jossverse is *full* of tactless people (and Hawaiian shirts), it's just a theme; and 3. My darling Simon is "practically perfect in every way," he has to have SOME flaws.

But...I just don't think Simon would happily let someone lounge in his lap (and put her foot on his face!) if he weren't sleeping with that person.
And thank you! I'm pleased you enjoyed it.

See, I think it was just a matter of time. I see shades of Willow/Oz and Giles/Jenny -- couples that were wonderful and sweet, but had many outside impediments that eventually exploded into badness and angst. One of my favourite of such scenarios is the idea that something very bad happens to River or one of the crew (in protecting River) because Simon's off spending time with Kaylee. Oh, the self recrimination and angst! (poor woobie)

So I don't think wedding bells would be chiming. In fact, I see a relationship having just as much tention as the pre-relationship period with these two. One step forward, two steps back. And there's more than enough UST with Mal and Inara;) And while Simon can seem the perfect hero... his interactions with Kaylee often bring his flaws to the forefront, so I think the relationship would complicate things nicely for him. Not borning to me at all!

Heee! I know!!! Or considering that they haven't kissed yet (according to Joss)... wasn't hoping to sleep with said person;) Seriously, rewatch the scene and look at exactly where her feet are. The word lap could easily be replaced with crotch, as the wonderful sffan pointed out, despite her slash coloured glasses;) That scene never fails to make me happy!
He is certainly a pretty package, and Kaylee is attracted to the shiny.

This was a very nice view on a ship that I'm not sure of; you haven't converted me, but you have made a pretty niec case. Thanks!
Mmmmmmm Simon!

No, thank you! Can you pinpoint any reasons you still have missgivings? *is curious* It's always interesting why certain relationships work for some people and not for others.

I was worried about the essay, considering I usually rely on writing fanfic to explain why I love the two of them, so I'm glad it clarified some things for you!
Lovely job! *smooch*

Of course, you know where I stand on the S/K--a sweet, lovely affair that gets ripped to shreds while Joss laughs, and Kaylee ends up finding comfort in River's arms, and Simon has his fling with Jayne, but then finally ends up with Mal...

It could happen, right?

*hugs again8
*smooch* Thanks sweets!

Heh. I do. And it could have happened. Totally. (write it! write it!!!) I love your brain.

I couldn't resist using that icon, but this is a fabulous essay and even in my deep, dark rainbow colored mal/simom shipping heart, I have a wee little spark for Simon/Kaylee and you captured perfectly the reason why I can't quite let the spark die.
*hee!* Of course you couldn't;) *grins*

Coming from you, Q, that means a hell of a lot. Thank you so much!

And you know, I do have a soft spot for Mal/Simon too. They spark off each other in such a way that I do see that interesting things could happen between the two of them. Eventually. Just let me have some Simon/Kaylee first;)
Oh wow, that's just lovely. I don't really have a Firefly OTP, I just ship everyone. I love Simon/Kaylee on the show. I just want them all to be happy, gorramit!
Awww! Thanks ever so much.

And I know exactly what you mean. The ship of all 'ships indeed! All the relationships between the different characters are interesting and complicated and real. Which is a huge part of why I love the show so much. But Simon and Kaylee have a very special place in my heart.

I hope I'm just crying tears of joy at the big damn movie is all I'm saying;) Though knowing Joss... eeeep! *can't wait*
Nice rewrite, Liquidize! :=) Quick, too.

As mentioned, you've really got me shipping Simon and Kaylee in my warped little mind now. Whether they stay shipped or Simon still winds up with Mal or Jayne remains to be seen--the boy does tend to slide back toward the fellas.

But your lovely essay is as close as I've gotten yet to believing that Simon's "not sly, just shy."
And thank you for tightening my convolutedness! Heh... quick you say... (you should have seen when I got to bed last night, or this morning rather. Heh. Though I'm surprizingly awake now. Yay coffee!)

*my evil plan has worked* Yay! *big grins* Seriously, you have no idea how pleased this makes me! There really aren't a lot of S/K shippers in my side of the 'verse.

The thing is, eventually I have no qualms about Simon ending up with a fella (though I find Mal more probable than Jayne for some reason or another). Just right now, I see and want the Simon/Kaylee. Who knows how they would have changed after more seasons. And you know... you can ship both! I don't see them as mutually exclusive;)

And bwah! Condering I've known workaholic guys like Simon... the thought that it was anything other than shyness never even crossed my mind at first;) How about "not sly, just shy, or maybe bi" ? Heeee.

Though I really don't ship Simon and Kaylee for a variety of reasons, your essay expresses cannon very well and is excellently done :D Congrats!
Thank you very much for your kind words! While it may not quite seem like it from here, I'm very much in favour of a "to each their own" philosophy:) Honest! (There are just so few S/K shippers that I do get a *squee* when more appear...)
Very nice essay. Of course, after the later seasons of BtVS and AtS, we all know that if Firefly hadn't been cancelled, Simon would have chosen to save River over Kaylee at some point, and Kaylee would have been captured and horribly tortured and killed her torturer and been reduced to a broken shell of a person and Simon would have had angst.

My only slight disagreement is with your take that the Kaylee/Bester thing was just hormones - I tend to think that Kaylee grew up in some very boring small-town environment, was desperate to get away to somewhere more interesting, and deliberately shagged him in the hope that he'd be her ticket away. But that's part of my general impression that Kaylee deliberately plays up the innocent/girlish aspect of her personality because of the problems of living in confined quarters with a load of unattached men, and that that isn't all there is to her.
Lovely, lovely look at two very sweet characters and their tentative, adorable relationship. I'm absolutely holding out for a kiss in the BDM ;)

But I'd pick a Mal/Inara kiss first, I'm afraid to say ;)


I LOVE this manifesto, it's very well written and points out the truth about the two :)

Oh, aside from the obvious scene in the movie, Sean and Jewel also ended up kissing at a convention (I was there, cheering like crazy) ;)
Excellent essay. I love how you managed to get through so many points in such a short space.

I admit, I went into the series already spoiled for everything that was going to happen (all the canon ships, for example), so I was pretty critical of how they played it. But the moment I fell in love with Simon/Kaylee was ironically in War Games when Kaylee was flirting with someone else. She's listening to whats-his-name talking about going back to his parents because family's so important to him, and you can see her smiling at that - and I immediately connected it to Simon and his love for River. It's probably not a particularly convincing moment to the ship since it's about traits instead of people, but I thought it showed that Kaylee really would understand about River and her importance to Simon.
Just stumbled onto this, thought it was awesome, and linked to it in my Simon character manifesto--hope you don't mind!

blue by darkhavens

January 2018



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