The battle. Contains violence.
This all seems so surreal. This whole mad rush from the moment Mal pulled River back onto Serenity after Simon was forced to knock her out though death and destruction to the horror of Miranda and now here, to a battle none of them were prepared for when this started. Reavers. Who knows how many of them, all bearing down on them. Shepherd Book, dead. Wash, dead.
And all for River.
All he'd ever wanted was to keep River safe. He'd have done anything to do it, but this ... this is so far beyond what he'd expected when he broke into that place to save her.
Now, sitting behind a makeshift barricade, Simon knows they're all just waiting to die.
Zoë said it herself.
They're here to die to give Mal enough time to get a message out about what they saw on Miranda. What River saw, and brought them to. What made this menace that's beating down the grating outside to get to them. He's a doctor, not a soldier, but he does his part, takes a gun, crouches next to Kaylee.
And finally, after months of trying, manages to say the right thing to her.
He has his regrets here. That his friends (even Jayne) will die. That he hasn't been able to save River. Not this last time, when it matters so much. And that he never did manage to break through with Kaylee, to tell her, outright, that their friendship is and always has been so much more than that.
Everything else, he's done his best. He's gone through hell with this crew, had them on his table, saved their lives, because that's what he's best at. And River. He's given up everything for her. He wishes everything could have been enough to save her.
But a regret? Yes, the one regret he has is that he could never say the words he needed to say to Kaylee before now.
Her jaw's set, her gun aimed, but Simon still sees no hope. What hope could there possibly be, but to die fighting?
And then it starts. Flashes and bangs, the sound of Jayne screaming for Zoë to hold the line, the chattering clatter of his machine-gun, the steady bang, bang, bang as Zoë advances, the sound of her scream as she's wounded.
It's time for Simon to step forward, medical kit ready for her, because he may not have faith in his ability to fight, but he's their medic. He will do every last thing he can to keep them alive.
Even if it's futile.
He bandages the slash across Zoë's back, part of his mind thanking the Maker or whatever else might be listening that the wound didn't harm her spine. But there's no time to concentrate, they keep coming, River's screaming, Kaylee's shooting, and then she shrieks, falling with a dart in her neck. Before he can do anything, Zoë's ordering them to pull back and they're dragging Kaylee with them, back through blast doors that won't shut.
He's only partly listening to what any of the others are saying; his eyes are on Kaylee, his fingers probing the spot on her neck where the dart struck. It's poison.
He turns for his bag, and that's when the horrible thought strikes.
He didn't bring it with him.
He's already standing before he's even thought about it, about the gap in the blast doors, about the danger.
The shot, the one to get through, rings too loud in the confined space, seeming to hang in too-sudden quiet, before it hits.
Simon hits the ground, unable to scream, unable to breathe, unable to do anything, for a moment, except clutch at agonizing pain in his stomach.
This is it.