Disclaimer: I don't own any of the canons.
Author's Note: This is kind of a weird combination, but I love the idea of River having friends who are just as remarkable as she is, and this seemed like a neat match. Reviews are appreciated and tend to feed the muse.
Portal or certain death? Portal or certain death?
Dawn Summers considered her options. On the one hand, portals were nothing but trouble. She hadn't even MEANT to open this one. In fact, she hadn't even known she could open them. Wasn't that the kind of thing that should have happened before now? Like, for instance, some time in the month since Buffy had taken the dive off the tower?
But nooooooo... the whole stupid "my blood still makes portals" thing hadn't come to light until now, when a demon of unknown origin was about to make her into a Dawnkabob, and Willow, Tara, and Spike weren't even there to help her.
Portal or certain death?
"With my luck," Dawn muttered, "this will lead to a hell dimension."
On the other hand, in the weeks since Buffy had died, how many times had she wished for an escape? Now, escape was inevitable. It was just whether it came in the form of having her limbs gnawed off by a demon with halotosis, or- for instance- in a world without shrimp.
"But I like shrimp," Dawn whined, well-aware that her time was running low.
Portal or certain death?
"Eep!" Dawn just barely managed to elude the demon's razor sharp teeth. "Portal! Portal!" And with that, she threw her body into the opened vortex the way her sister had months before.
Claire Bennet couldn't believe her luck. First, she'd developed this freakazoid ability to heal herself. Then, her dad's company had made everyone else- including her best friend and her mom- forget all about it, and THEN, she'd been forced to leave her family and her home to travel who knows where with a Haitian guy who barely ever said a word. Now, her grandmother had saddled her with another babysitter, and this time, it seriously wasn't funny.
"You cheerleader! Save world!" Hiro was nothing if not enthusiastic.
"I'm Claire," the girl in question corrected. "And this so isn't in my contract."
"You have contract?" Hiro was clearly confused.
"No," Claire said, sighing. "I don't have anything."
No way to use her spontaneously regenerative abilities to get any of it back.
"You have me," Hiro said. "And fwyyyyyying man!" He struck a pose.
Claire said nothing. The flying man. Her birth father. Nathan Petrelli.
"Like he's even been to see me," she said. "Neither has Peter."
"Peter Petrelli good man," Hiro declared.
Claire wanted to believe that. Badly. But at this point, she was scared to believe in anything, even Peter.
At that moment, the air above them turned green, and Claire jumped backwards.
Hiro uttered a string of Japanese words, and then a single phrase that needed no translation. "Uh-oh."
Dawn was not a graceful faller. Actually, she wasn't particularly graceful at anything, but falling definitely wasn't her strong suit, so when the portal spit her out, she was lucky that there was someone there to break her fall.
"Ummmm... hi." Was that the right thing to say to someone you'd just accidentally body slammed?
"Hi," the man underneath her said affably. He frowned. "Good or evil?"
Dawn didn't find his question weird in the least. In fact, she found it comforting. "Good. So totally good. I mean, not to sound, like, obnoxious or anything, 'cause it's not like, you know, I'm perfect or anything..." She made a face. "Sorry. Babbling. Will stop now."
She climbed off the man and looked around. This didn't look like a world without shrimp. Or, you know, hell.
"You're one of us." This comment came from a blonde girl to Dawn's left. "You made that... thing." The girl gestured to the disappearing portal.
Dawn's eyes went wide, and she decided denial was the best course of action. "No. I didn't. I mean... what thing?"
The girl rolled her eyes. "I'm Claire," she said. "And you're a horrible liar."
Dawn shrugged and stuck out her hand. "I'm Dawn," she said. "Do you guys have shrimp?"
Over the next few hours, Dawn found that she didn't mind being in another dimension. Actually, it was kind of nice. Here, she could pretend that she was the one who'd taken the dive off the tower, that Buffy was back in their own world, alive. Here, there were no Scoobies to worry about her and ignore her in turns, no Spike to look after her only because he'd promised.
It sure beat certain death.
Dawn should have known better than to let the thought enter her mind, because the second the words "certain death" crossed her mind, a man burst through the door to their room, an eerie smile on his face. The man tilted his head to the side. "You're not from around here," he said. "So much energy."
Dawn took a step backwards, and Claire gripped the other girl's hand tightly.
"I'd like to see how that works."
"No!" Hiro said, stepping bravely in front of the girls. "You bad man."
Sylar threw him aside with one wave of his hand, and then, he began to cut into Dawn's head.
The blood dripped down, and Dawn felt a familiar power flare up inside of her.
Portal or certain death?
This time, Dawn didn't even have to ask herself the question, and in the next instant, she and Claire leapt into the portal, their attacker on their heels.
As the portal closed behind the three, Hiro climbed shakily to his feet.
"Save the cheerleader," he said, his voice distraught. "Save the world." And now, the cheerleader, and their new Dawn-friend, were gone.
"He cuts into people. Eats their brains."
"Well, if that ain't disturbing breakfast conversation, I don't rightly know what is," Malcolm Reynolds commented, giving River a small smile. Despite her creepifying, the girl had grown on him.
"That's how it works," River told him. "They're coming, you know. Home to Daddy."
"Gorram moonbrain gets more ruttin' crazy every-"
"Jayne," Mal said, his tone holding a word of warning.
"I'm just sayin'-"
River, proving to have an impeccable sense of timing, stuck out her tongue. Then, in a moment of surprising lucidity, she said, "Just for that, I'm not going to tell you to move."
The others stared at her.
"Huh?" Jayne said, and in that moment, the air above him turned green, the fabric of time and space breaking, and two heavy, girl-shaped objects fell directly on top of him.
The crew of Serenity flew into action, but River just sat there, an oddly peaceful expression on her face. "Welcome home."
TBC... chaos onboard Serenity, a special hell for Jayne, and Dawn, Claire, and River bond...