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This story is No. 3 in the series "Sidle Up and Smile". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Five hundred years later, and Faith's still breaking in new Watchers.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Firefly > Faith-Centered(Recent Donor)jedibuttercupFR1332,26613221,87617 Aug 067 Aug 08Yes

Paying Respects

Title: Paying Respects

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Rating: FR13

Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not.

Summary: B:tVS, Firefly. Faith had a perfect right to grieve there, too. 1000 words.

Spoilers: B:tVS way post-"Chosen"; Firefly post-"SERENITY" movie. Vague quote from Angel 4.15 "Orpheus".

Notes: Day 6 of the Twistedshorts 2008 marathon. Part of my "Sidle Up and Smile" (Ancient Slayers) 'verse.



Faith approached the group clustered around the new headstones with a wary step. It had been more than a week since the deaths of the people who'd just now been buried there, long enough for word to've spread to any ears with an interest in hearing it, but she didn't guess the mourners would have thought about it enough to expect company at the gravesite.

Well, company they were about to have regardless, she thought, crunching closer across the dry, rocky landscape, a single, slender object clutched in one hand. She had a perfect right to grieve there, too. More of one than anyone but their Captain had any idea of; though he'd probably long since forgotten all the Slayer bedtime stories she'd told him when his mother wasn't listening.

Shame. He'd been a cute kid, and he'd certainly grown into a fine, fine man, Faith thought, running her eyes over his muscular bod as he and the others turned to face her. She had yet to find a man in all her centuries of wandering who could put a stop to the itching in her feet; neither had Buffy, really, though the elder Slayer still tried one on for size every generation or so.

Even if that theoretical perfect man was still out there, though, Captain Malcolm Reynolds certainly wouldn’t be it. Even if she hadn't known him when he was still in diapers, he was one of B's kids, and like all of her line tended to collect strong women like iron filings to a magnet. Faith wasn't all that interested in competing with any woman for her man's attention, even the sisterly kind-- and if that Companion standing with him was harboring sisterly feelings Faith would be very surprised.

"Aunt Fay?" Mal exclaimed as he got a good look at her face; the rest of his crew glanced at each other in surprise at his words, but relaxed just enough for Faith's palm to stop sweating against the smooth wood in her hand. "What the hell are you doing here?"

"Hey, kiddo," she replied, grimly. "I heard about what happened. Hope you don't mind; I'm here to pay my respects."

"To whom?" the Companion asked, delicate brow furrowed as she scanned Faith head to toe.

Faith parried the look with a wry smirk. "Like it's any of your business."

"Now, wait a minute," the other muscular guy in the group objected. "Did you just say she was your aunt? Ai ya! If I had an aunt looked like that.…"

Faith turned her smirk on the speaker as he smarted off at his captain. If it hadn't been for the merc's busted wing, he would have cut a fine figure, too; there wasn't much wasted flesh on him, and he stood like a man very aware of his own personal power. Not just his fists, but what he could do with his weapons, too. Pity there weren't too many Watchers built like him these days.

"Bi zui, Jayne," Mal hissed, then returned his attention to his mother's 'sister'. "No, 'course I don't mind," he said, awkwardly. "It's just-- I ain't seen you since before the War."

He swallowed at that, and said no more; but Faith could guess what he was thinking. Her presence had reminded him of his mother, who'd also been declared dead in the bombing of Shadow nearly a decade before. She wasn't here to blow the whistle on 'Elizabeth Reynolds', though; she hadn't even known Book had ever traveled with Mal's crew until after the Miranda 'wave, when she'd tried to track the Shepherd down for a talk.

That association was going to come in handy, later, though; the Council was still locked in its hands-off dance with the Alliance despite the recent trespasses of a zealous Operative, and Faith's blood was up and clamoring for vengeance. She had a feeling Mal would be at the center of whatever new movement rose up to oppose the corrupt government, and she pretty much intended to throw her lot in with them, as a private party.

But that was for later. Right now, she had other concerns. "We'll talk later," she assured him. "I parked my shuttle over by your boat; how 'bout I come over and shoot the shit with you when I'm done here?"

At that, Mal glanced over at the quietly regal woman in white, who carried herself with authority despite her obvious grief; she had to be his second in command. The pair seemed to reach a conclusion without any verbal exchange, and Mal turned back to his 'aunt' with a confirming nod. "Seems to me that'll work out just fine. We was just about done here ourselves; we break atmo tomorrow morning, but you're welcome aboard Serenity any time before she leaves."

"Thanks, Mal." She reached a hand out to him; they clasped forearms in about as much of a hug as Faith ever gave anyone these days, then turned to go their separate ways.

Faith felt the eyes of all five of Mal's crew-- including the ones who hadn't spoken-- as they followed him back toward their Firefly transport, but only one made any comment as they passed her: the youngest, a wisp of a girl that reminded Faith jarringly of some of the Potentials she and B had sheltered that last month in Sunnydale.

"You roll the dice. Pay the odds," the girl said, all big eyes and long, dark, tangled hair.

"You're a seer," Faith said in surprise, a little chilled by the sound of her own words, distorted in the girl's mouth.

"There'll be a general wind theme," the girl continued, nodding firmly, then turned to rejoin the procession wending away from the graves.

"God, I wish I believed that," Faith murmured, watching them go. Then she turned to the plinth bearing Derrial Book's name and set her stake beneath his holographic image.

"Hey, there, Watcher-man," she said, softly, and began one last recitation of her deeds.

-x-

The End

You have reached the end of "Annual Report". This story is complete.

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