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Summary: 1. Mal & Oz, 2. Buffy & Vala. 3. Dawn & Simon. 4. Dawn & Teal'c. A mugging and two rescues.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Multiple Pairings > Ficlet Collections - FFATassosFR742,6602238,57229 Aug 0612 Sep 06No

Do you remember a place

Do you remember a place
by Tassos
written for the TTH Fic-For-All: Oz/Mal

Disclaimer: I don't own either characters or universe. They just walked into the revolving door in my head and right back out again.
Rating: 7+
Spoilers for Serenity if you squint.
Um. Yeah. This just sort of wrote itself.


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The bar was as crowded and dingy as any you’d expect on the Rim. Field hands and factory scum still drenched in a weeks worth of boil and grime piled on top of each other to get a drink of forgetfulness after work. There was laughter and bawdy jokes and a guy strumming on the guitar in the corner. It was Mal’s kind of place, he thought as he gave the room a once over from the door. Just folk etchin’ out a living from scrub and rock, lookin’ for a little something to get through the day.

They found a table near the music and Jayne went for drinks while they waited for their contact. It was no one Mal knew, but he’d asked a few questions and came up with relative trustworthiness, and here they were. The guitarist finished his music, no words, just a rowdy piece that ended in applause and requests. Popular fellow and better the most you’d find in a place like this.

The musician waved a hand and called out “Beer first!” to the crowd, eliciting laughter and a rapid mug passed from hand to hand from the bar. When it arrived at Mal’s table, he took it and offered it to the musician. Their eyes met, their hands touched as the mug passed from one hand to another, and the man smiled. “Got a job for you,” he said.

The statement startled Mal into almost knocking the beer out of the man’s hands. “You’re Oz?” he asked suspiciously. The man, red hair streaked with gray, didn’t seem the type for shady dealings in bars but Mal had certainly seen less likely fellows.

“Got a song for you, too.”

“What’s the job?”

“Transport. Friend needs a ride.”

“We don’t take passengers.”

“Not even a kindred soul to River Tam?”

Mal’s eyes hardened at the mention of his albatross. That matter was supposed to be closed, good and done. The clamor of the bar faded back. “I don’t think I like the way this conversation’s goin’,” said Mal tightly, hand drifting to his gun.

Oz didn’t move, eyes sad and serious, and when he did it was to put his guitar back on his knee.

“I am old and I am worn,
like that jacket wrapped up tight against the world.
I’ve traveled every road and danced not to feel.
Lost to the spaces I was born.”

The melody was slow and sweet, like a gust of wind. The bar quieted some as people turned to listen. Oz’s eyes caught on Mal’s and for a moment the captain wondered if he were a reader too.

“Do you remember a place with green hills and tall trees?
A beach and a mall, bronze for gold leaves.
A graveyard and a school that led down to hell.
Sunshine and darkness and one girl.”

Two chords and a picked up beat slowed to one note. One girl he was talkin’ about. And Mal didn’t like it one bit, but for some reason he couldn’t make himself get up and leave.

“I’ve felt fire and I’ve been rage,
cold yesterday that remembers the gone story
Sung till I’m hoarse all that was in the world.
Lost to death and age.”

But there was something haunting in the song, like a mirror and deep water all at once. Oz had a beautiful voice, dark with age and time, and he never let go of Mal’s eyes.

“Do you remember a place with green hills and tall trees?
A beach and a mall, bronze for gold leaves.
A graveyard and a school that led down to hell.
Sunshine and darkness and one girl.
A cross in the night.

"I’ve been lost and I’ve found
hope and power in the depth of men’s hearts.
I’ve fought and seen God turn his back on me.
Lost to the beast underground.”

The bar noise had scaled back to a low hum under the music that pulsed like a spell. War and death and a thousand valleys in the space between the words. More than just one brown coat was worn here.

“Do you remember a place with green hills and tall trees?
A beach and a mall, bronze for gold leaves.
A graveyard and a school that led down to hell.
Sunshine and darkness and one girl.
A cross in the night.
Ten candles behind her.

"Do you remember a place with green hills and tall trees?
A beach and a mall, bronze for gold leaves.
A graveyard and a school that led down to hell.
Sunshine and darkness and one girl.
A cross in the night.
An army of candles behind her.”

Three notes drifted off into silence. Then applause, but Oz’s attention was on Mal. His nostrils flared. “Hope and power in the depths of men’s hearts,” he repeated softly. He broke their gaze and cast it back across the room that was livening up again. “Out back. Blond,” he said. “She’s got money and attitude, but she can help River.” Dark eyes caught Mal’s again, sad and serious. “Or you can walk out the front door.”

After a long minute, Mal said, “Out back, you say?”

Oz nodded. And smiled. It was like a ray of moonlight lightening the dark. Or a candle. Mal offered his hand and Oz took it in a firm, strong grip. As he stood, the musician’s fingers plucked at his strings and wove notes together into an echo of his earlier melody. Mal went to find Jayne and his passenger and couldn’t shake the feeling of jumpin’ off a cliff.

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