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#2 - Occidentali's Karma

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"I never thought we'd have to run 'cause you, of all folks, got in a 'misunderstanding' with someone planetside. I thought you're supposed to be respectable-like?"

"Sorry, Cap, but y'all'd've done the same if you'd been there."

Mal blinked at him. Kaylee, bless her, ran into the room at that moment, "I heard we've gotta run. What happened?"

He shook his head, "Why don' you try'n figure that out. Doc here's acting funny and you seem to understand him better'n the rest of us," he retreated to find Wash and see if he needed any help getting them out of there.

"Simon?" Kaylee asked, eyes matching the questioning tone in her voice. Simon shrugged, "The scum had it coming to him."

"Simon... are you trying to use Rim speech?"

"Am I that terrible?"

"A bit, yeah," she laughed, "But... um, why?"

Simon sighed, looking at his hands, "Well, to start, I don't fit in around here. Everyone can tell."

"Simon, you're not the only one who speaks all proper. Shepherd does, sometimes, and Inara."

"But it's not the same. They're - they're tough, in their own ways. Even River is. But not me. I'm just some core-bred pretentious doctor who ran away from a life of comfort because my parents didn't listen to me."

Kaylee laid a hand on his arm, "C'mon, Doc, you're more'n that. You've saved everyone on this ship more times than I can count and being core-bred? That means you know stuff we don't about the core planets. You belong here. Serenity's your home as much as she is mine or Mal's or Zoe's. You don't need to talk like us for that."

"That's not all, though. I guess I wanted to... become a new man, so to speak. The Simon Tam who lived on Osiris could never have been the man I want to be these days. This is not where he thought he'd end up. And since my parents disowned me, I don't think I could be him any more anyway."

"Simon, Osiris is a part of your past as much as being a small-town girl is mine. Just because I'm the only person in my family - in my town, even - to travel the 'Verse doesn't mean that's not where I grew up. You think I ever even imagined life as a rogue ship's mechanic when I was a little girl? We all change, but our pasts are our pasts. You aren't that Simon Tam, but he's still a part of you, and you wouldn't be you without him. And I dunno about you, but I quite like the man he turned into," she informed him.

"So are you saying I shouldn't try to adapt?"

"Not at all, but don't throw away everything you once were," she said, "And if you really want to incorporate Rim culture into your life, you could've just asked. You'd make less of a fool of yourself that way."

"Oh. I didn't realize. That must have been... insensitive of me."

"Well, mostly it was funny. You in a fancy suit 'n'all acting like that, but I suppose it could've felt a bit, I dunno, mocking," she conceded, "You know, that would be a good start. We'll pick up some sturdy rags for you, something practical, next time we're planetside. Then I can start showing you what it actually means to be from the Outer Rim. I think you'll find there's a bit more work involved than guns and slang."

"Shiny?" he asked, tentatively. She grinned, "Yeah, shiny."