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CAUTION: Mad spoilers for THE MESSAGE

Title: Apology

Author: Lupa

Summary: Simon owes Kaylee an apology, so I wrote her one.

Disclaimer: 'M just borrowin' 'em. But I think they like it better with me anyway: more fun, less angst.

"Well, you're kind of a genius when it comes to machines... you always say what you mean, and your eyes..."

Kaylee couldn't believe her luck. All them weeks Simon and her been dancin' 'round each other and now it was finally happenin.' She knew Simon had feelings fer her. She knew it. But Simon had insisted of takin' things all slow and proper-like. Now here he was tellin' her 'bout her eyes. And if the romance novels she'd read were anythin' to go by, that was one of the final stages of the upper-class courtin' process. And as soon as the courtin' was over 'n done with, then they could get down to, well, more interestin' things.

"Yeah? Eyes, yeah?" She prompted him, not carin' if she did sound a bit eager.

"I don't know how to..." Simon trailed off. "Plus, every other girl I know is either married, professional, or closely related to me, so you are more or less literally the only girl in the world."

Oh God She took a step backward, then another. She weren't gonna cry.

"That's a hell of a thing to say."

"I was joking..." Jokin.' Guess it were a bit of a joke weren't it? Classy, beautiful, core-lander like Simon choosin' a girl like her. She weren't a choice - she was a lack of options.

"No, no, I get it. Back on Osiris you probably had nurses and debutantes crawling all over you. But down here at the bottom of the barrel, there's just me."

"That is not even --" She cut him off. She weren't in the mood for any o' his pretty explanations.

"Well, I'm glad I rated higher than dead bessie here. Nee GAO-soo NA niou, TA yo shwong mei-moo?" She stormed out. He didn't go after her. She almost as upset 'bout that than 'bout what he said, but after she was a few paces from the tent she figured she didn't want him t'see her cryin' anyway.

"You were right you know," came a voice from her doorway. She was sittin' alone in her room mopin' over Tracy again. 'Cept this time, she didn't even have the message to keep her company, havin' givin' it to Tracy's mother. Even so, she weren't sure she wanted Simon's company right now. She had enough to think over, what with Tracy 'n all. She decided to let him speak his piece 'n be done with it.

"Bout what?" she asked.

"About Osiris, about the nurses and debutantes . . ." He began, takin' her response as an invite to come in and sit down across from her. On her bed. Where she an' Tracy had exchanged life stories not a few hour before. This was too much.

"Why are you tellin' me this?" She exclaimed.

"I'm trying to apologize." He said with a hint of exasperation Kaylee didn't feel he had a right to.

"Hell of an apology!" Boy's apologies are near as bad as his compliments!

"It gets better, just let me finish."

Kaylee leaned back in her hammock with pursed lips and an arched brow.

"You were right about Osiris, but you weren't about you being the bottom of the barrel," he amended. "What I was trying to say was you - your different from any woman I've ever known. Better than. You're real. Those other girls you mentioned, those debutantes, they're . . . they're smoke and mirrors, casual cruelties, ambition, and petty jealousies. They spend all their time making themselves attractive, and it makes them ugly. You're real and that makes you all the more beautiful. And I like to think even if things had been different - had we meant at another time, in another place, that place - I still would have seen that." Huh. Maybe she had been a bit quick to judge his apologies after all.

"Yeah?" she asked, sitting up.

"Yes," he told her, voice real deep, leanin' forward to take he hands in his.

"'Kay then." She smiled and moved to sit beside him. "And be serious this time," she said, tiltin' her head up so she could see his face. "Tell me about my eyes."

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