by Creedog VanDrey

Category: Firefly
Genre: Sci-Fi
Rating: K+
Language: English
Summery: A Simon POV allegory about heartbeats. Some Wash/Zoë, a tad bit of Simon/Kaylee, and a smidget of Mal/Inara if you read between the lines too deeply.
Spoilers: None.

A/N: I rarely do character analysis, but this struck me, so here it is.


Kaylee's resting heart rate is 72 beats per minute. I gave her a physical once and it registered at 120. I feared she had tachycardia, so I did some blood work. It showed no indication of heart arrhythmia or endocrinal overproduction. I suppose I forgot to factor in the being-examined-by-a-young-doctor variable.

However, I did find out something interesting from the blood work. Kaylee's menstrual cycle is synchronized with Zoë's. I know this because Zoë comes in every 29 days, like clockwork, to be administered a contraceptive injection. She slips me a silver coin each time. I try to refuse, but she insists, and I know better than to oppose such an imposing woman with aim as good as hers.

The type of injection that I give her is meant to be administered approximately six days before ovulation. I've come to notice that it's a good idea for me to start acting more kind to both Zoë and Kaylee around this time. I've shared this secret with Wash, and now he and Zoë seem to fight a lot less (and actually seem a tad on the content side) at times of the month when they usually would bicker more than usual.

Zoë's heart rate is also 72 beats per minute.

I rue the day I noticed this, but River is less cooperative on those days as well. Her heartbeat, a steady 84 beats per minute. At least when she's calm, which at times seems like never. Interestingly, her cryo chamber vitals stated her heartbeat was 87 before hibernation, but it appears to have dropped since boarding Serenity.

Come to think of it, mine was 71, and it dropped to 66 after not too long. It must have been the increase in physical labor.

Wash's heartbeat is 80 beats per minute. I mentioned that that was a little high, and perhaps he ought to start watching what he ate. That night, he made a spectacle of himself by staring intently at his food. I noticed, but I was partially distracted. Kaylee sat beside me for subconscious reasons that I'd rather not think about, and I was making sure that I wasn't ignoring her, because… you know, it was one of those days. Anyway, since this was before I'd let Wash in on the "secret," well, he was paying so much attention to being funny that he didn't notice that Zoë was trying to get his attention. It may have had to do with the fact that she double-checked with me today that her last shot was up-to-date. Long story short, I found Wash the next morning on the couch in the common area, and I figured that then was as good of a time as any to let him in on the secret.
Inara's heart rate is a reasonably low 64.

She came to me once asking for a blood test after a rather extensive stay with a client. After giving her the four-page report, she sighed in relief after reading only the first half of the top page. I guessed correctly that she only concern was the pregnancy test. Let me start by saying that it is almost impossible for Inara to get pregnant. She provides me with an anonymous credit card so that I can keep a wide variety of Guild-required medicinal injections in stock, including a contraceptive nano-insert that can be inserted in various discreet areas of the body: between the toes or behind the ear, for example.

After the blood test, she confided in me that her period is late. I assured her that that was normal and that I would continue to study her blood for any abnormalities that might cause the sudden change in her body. She also unknowingly confided in River, who was hiding underneath some of the cabinets. River's diagnosis: "All the moons gotta go 'round the planet at the same time. Stray planet that comes back's gotta get back in line."

It's a few days later when she gives me a knowing smile of relief at dinner. I almost don't catch it, because Kaylee's talking to me, and it's not a good time to be caught ignoring her, if you catch my drift.

Elsewhere, Inara and Mal get into a large screaming match after dinner, and I corner Mal afterwards and tell him that moodiness is one of the side effects of some of the injections I'm giving Inara, and suggest he be kinder to her for the next few days. What I tell him is not exactly true, but it has been quieter around Serenity ever since.

Mal's resting heart rate is 72 beats per minute.

Shepherd Book's heart rate is 88 beats per minute. I warn him that that is a little high and that he should consider exercising more. He affably agrees. He also quotes to me Proverbs 15:30. I tell him that I find it very appropriate and will consider posting it above the infirmary entrance.

"A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones."

Jayne's resting heart rate is 64 beats per minute. At least, I'm fairly sure it is. He doesn't seem to like the digistethoscope very much. Even less than injections. Truth be told, he's probably the best with them. River is unpredictable with them, sometimes going into hysterics. Kaylee… well, she's squirmy, and no matter how many times she relates to me that "it wasn't bad" as she thought, she doesn't get any better. Mal and Wash "take it like men," but are obviously putting effort into taking it like men. Zoë handles it very well, but refuses to watch and breathes pretty heavily. There's probably a war story behind it, so I don't push it. Book winces slightly, but deals with it fairly well, though he tends to massage his arm a lot afterwards. Inara acts very uncomfortable during her shots, but I don't really blame her; part of her vocation is keeping her body as seemingly flawless as possible, so she requests that her shots be placed at discreet portions of her body which unsurprisingly cause a certain level of discomfort.

No one flinches with the digistethoscope, however, except Jayne.

Right before "those" days, I noticed, Serenity seems to run best, based on comments by both Kaylee and Wash. And near the end of "those" days, more often than not, something goes wrong with her. Sometimes it's minor, sometimes we end up stranded in space for a few days while an already cranky Kaylee gets her troublesome ship working.

I always seem to do better with Kaylee on her bad days when I start early, so that is why I'm stopping by the engine room to say hi. Serenity, as usually, is running optimally, and Kaylee is beaming.

"How's she running?" I ask, knowing the answer.

"Ah, my little yíng huǒ chóng is doin' beautif'ly. C'mon, feel 'er."

Kaylee grabs my hand and places it on the outside wall of the engine. Kaylee's skin is already warm to the touch. I feel the rapid vibrations coming from the engine, but I can also detect the strong, slow pulsing of energy bursts from the tail motor. I check my wrist chronograph to measure Serenity's heartbeat.

She beats at 24 beats per minute. That's exactly one-third of Kaylee's resting heart rate (and one-fifth of nervous-Kaylee's heart rate). It's also one-third of both Zoë's and Mal's. It is two-sevenths of River's heart rate and four-elevenths of mine. It is three-tenths of Wash's heart rate, three-eights of Inara's and Jayne's (maybe), and three-elevenths of Book's.

Maybe it's just my imagination, but I can feel Kaylee's pulse faintly on my hand, and its rhythm plays in time with Serenity's downbeat

A/N: Okay, I'm finally posting something. As soon as Smallville comes back, I'll be have the inspiration to write those fics. And now that Beauty and the Geek is over, I'll be able to kick Godeerc's butt into gear for finishing that series.

(Sonriso) - Let me get this straight: you wrote a story about heart rates and PMS? Maybe you oughta give up writing for a little bit.