Einstein Was Right
A/N: I knew I would forget something and it was merely a good solid thank you and hug to my beta.
G-man you rock!
Chapter 2 - Einstein Was Right
Introductions were made all around with both the blonde and the redhead snickering when Jayne was introduced. It was a common twist of fate the two had grown used to, after all, the slayer was named Buffy. Cussing, Mal led everyone, including Buffy and Willow, into the cargo area of Serenity. Of all the things that had happened, of all the weirdness that was his life; he could not wrap his head around being thrown back in time and crashing on Earth That Was.
He took a look at the two girls from this time and noticed the wonder with which they not only climbed aboard, but also took in his home. He had a hard time not trusting them. Both girls had a look about them that made him jumpier than a cat in a dog pound but that set him at ease because that look, he knew, was one that was often found on himself and Zoë.
Buffy stood, hands on hips looking at her surroundings. She smiled at Willow. “Xander should be here for this.”
“He would definitely flip out. This is just wow!”
“Capt’n,” Kaylee called from the stairs. “Can I see you a moment?”
Mal looked up and nodded. “Tell me you’ve good news little Kaylee?” Mal asked after meeting her up near the engine room.
She shrugged. “It’s not so bad. The core containment is cracked, but it’s not like I can’t fix it. The trouble is the stuff I need we may not be able to get.” Kaylee looked down at her feet and said, “The other thing is, I found the major problem.”
She glanced back up cautiously meeting Mal’s intense gaze. “I ran a better check of the wiring. Seems it got partially fried. I’ve run tests and it may be that the electrical storm we passed through after coming out of the hole fried parts of the converter and some secondary circuits.”
“So how long, ‘fore we get runnin’ again?” Mal asked, hopefully.
“Don’t rightly know. If we can get the materials, it may only be a day or two, but even when we get Serenity airborne again, how are we gonna get home?”
Mal saw the fear in his mechanics eyes and shrugged. “I don’t yet know, but maybe our new friends might be able to do somethin’ for us. Good work sweetheart.” Mal turned and walked back down to the cargo bay.
“Alright, everyone gather up. Kaylee said that she needs some stuff to fix the boat up with, but the bigger problem is how we get to our own time.” Mal turned to River. “Nyen ching-duh you think you might be able to figure something out?”
River shrugged and went back to peering at the two new people and holding on to her brother’s hand.
“Okay, then, while Kaylee gets a list of supplies in order I suggest we all just get some shut eye.” Mal turned to the two new girls and asked, “Where do you two call home?”
“A school about 10 minutes from here,” Buffy answered. “What are you guys planning to do with your ship?”
“Can’t we just park it here?” Mal asked.
“Sure if you want the government to confiscate it and then turn you and your friends into a bunch of lab rats,” Buffy said.
“Not on my list of things to do. You got a plan?” Mal eyed the little blonde one up; sure that she had something up her sleeve.
“Will.” Buffy turned a thoughtful gaze to her friend. “What do you think? Can we get this thing moved to a storage facility close to the school?”
“How? It’s not like we came equipped with space ship moving paraphernalia?”
“How about a truck, like one of those big flatbed thingy’s that haul stuff?” Buffy asked, knowing what the answer was going to be.
“Nope, I think the best thing to do would be to take everyone back to HQ. They can stay there.” Willow looked at the assembled group and knew that if they doubled up the school would have enough rooms.
“And the big hunk of metal out in the open?”
Willow shrugged, “I think maybe I can come up with something to cover it up. A spell or two that will ward anyone away from coming within 100 yards of the place, they crashed in an area not really visited that much this time of year.”
“And what if we get curious people?”
“We can set up a perimeter and have two slayers patrol around the clock.”
Buffy smiled and slung her arm over Willow’s shoulder. “Did I ever tell you I like the way you think?”
“No, in fact last week you were cursing my name.”
“That’s ‘cuz you weren’t being all agreey with me.” Buffy smiled wide and only received an upturned eyebrow in appreciation of her attempt at humor. Buffy looked at the rest of the people and said, “I would pack some clothes. You guys can stay with us.”
“Why can’t we stay on the ship?” It was the first time Inara had spoken in all of this and the question had taken Buffy and Willow off guard.
The redhead and slayer exchanged a look. “Because it’s not safe,” Buffy answered. “The ship will be fine, but you guys won’t be safe here.”
Mal had gone off to get Kaylee, so Zoë stepped up and said, “Inara, this isn’t our world. I suggest we do what the blonde one says.”
Inara only nodded and went to her shuttle to collect some clothes. Jayne just stood around while everyone left to pack a bag.
“What?” the man asked, as he noticed both Willow and Buffy looking at him expectantly.
“Nothing, but aren’t you going to ya know go pack?” Willow asked.
“Whadda I need to do that for? I’ve got a few guns on me and I just put these clothes on yesterday.”
Willow had to turn around to keep from laughing while she pinched her friend’s arm so that she wouldn’t comment. As Willow regained control, Mal appeared followed closely by River, Kaylee, and Simon. Zoë showed up shortly after and Inara came a few minutes later.
“Is everyone ready?” Buffy asked.
“Let’s move,” Mal hollered. “Kaylee shut the bay doors and meet us outside.”
They walked through the cargo bay and waited as Kaylee followed Mal’s instructions. She came out a second or two after the door shut and joined Simon.
“You need anything for the hocus pocus?” Buffy inquired.
“Nah, just give me a few minutes, it’s a big ship.” Willow turned back to the ship and began muttering in Latin.
As she continued the incantation, the ship began to fade from view. Five minutes later and with more sweat than Willow remembered ever having produced; the ship was not only warded, but completely invisible. She turned smiling to Buffy. “One invisible ship for you, General. Would you like fries with that?”
Buffy just stuck her tongue out at the witch.
“Whatdya do with my boat girl?” Mal asked eyes wide with shock.
Willow shrugged. “Nothing, it’s fine, you just can’t see it. We can’t have people knowing it’s here. Even on a hellmouth, this thing would draw a lot of attention.”
“What?” Three voices asked in unison.
Willow wasn’t sure who said what so she supplied a general answer, “The ship would cause too much attention. I bent the light around the ship to make it appear like nothing was there. It’s fine. Trust me.”
“Oh,” Mal let out. He approached the area of where he thought the ship was cautiously. He took a shaking hand and pressed it against the cool metal of the now invisible Serenity. “It’s all here?”
“Yep,” Willow confirmed.
“Alright then, as long as it stays that way everything’s shiny.”
Buffy had grown increasingly nervous standing out here in the open. As inactive as this hellmouth was there were still beasties roaming and she didn’t want a conversation that she would have to take the time to explain the downside of living on a hellmouth. It would be better to do it in the morning when she was not as disgruntled. “Ok, is everyone ready? Our truck’s just up the way.” Buffy turned and started walking ahead of the group.
Mal looked to his crew and nodded towards the blonde. “You heard the girl, move!”
Willow took up the rear and watched as the strange group of people followed her best friend, thinking that she and Xander were going to have a lot of fun with this. She also gave a small thanks to the gods that Andrew wasn’t here with his endless supply of annoying questions and quips.
Inara held back and began to fall in step with the witch. “That was a pretty impressive trick you pulled with Serenity,” the companion complimented.
“Oh, its name is Serenity?”
Inara nodded but didn’t say anything.
“It’s nice I like it, Serenity. And the invisible thing wasn’t much of anything really. It’s all about control. Now, like five years ago, it would have been impossible, but now it’s like nothing.” Willow smiled. “See the trick is to realize that you can’t change the ship and you may not be able to change the air around the ship, but you can manipulate the air easier than you can a big hunk of metal. So you bend the air, which bends the light which renders things non-seey. If only I could tell this to NASA and prove Einstein right,” the redhead trailed off wistfully.
Inara just looked at the redhead and nodded. Despite not being able to follow what the other girl said, there was something about her that set Inara at ease and she liked the feeling. After everything that had happened to her, feeling at ease was more of a luxury than not. The women fell into a comfortable silence and finished the walk in peace.
The ride back to the school wasn’t that bad. Willow had chosen to drive one of the trucks and luckily they were able to fit almost everyone in the cab. Jayne and Zoë had taken the truck bed as accommodations while Mal, Inara, Simon, River and Kaylee squeezed into the cab. As they pulled into the garage, Buffy saw Xander and Dawn pacing at the bay doors. Buffy hopped out of the cab first and went to go smooth things over with Xander.
“Hey guys, we have company.” Buffy smiled at the man and her sister.
Xander looked up at Buffy’s jovial tone. He had been worried sick since they turned off communications. The only thing that kept him from going out there and looking himself was Faith assuring him that she could feel Buffy was okay. He knew that if Buffy was ok then Willow was ok so he took to pacing the garage floor.
“Who?” He asked, slightly confused and miffed.
“That’s going to take longer than I want. Let’s get everyone settled and then I’ll have them explain it to you in the morning.”
Xander nodded and met Willow with a hug.
“Hey there big guy, you done freaking yet?” Willow teased. She knew he was hurt that they cut transmission, but Buffy and her needed to figure out what was going on without him freaking out 15 miles away.
“Kind of.” Xander turned to the oddly dressed group that his friends brought back and asked, “And who might you be?”
Taking time to point out his crew, Mal made the introductions. When he was finished, Willow ushered them in and showed them to extra sleeping quarters. By the time everyone was settled and buttoned down for the night, it was close to 2am. The witch had seen to everyone’s needs and was walking back to her room when she was pulled into a room by an outstretched arm. She let out a small squeak and then relaxed when she saw the arm belonged to the blonde slayer.
“For goddess sake Buff, were you trying to give me a heart attack?” Willow had her arms folded across her chest.
Buffy smiled sheepishly and nodded. “I didn’t mean to ya know attack you, but it seemed like fun.”
“Kriminey. So why did you attack one of your oldest friends?” Willow went over to the bed and plopped down on the comforter.
“Bored, I dunno. Wanted to see if you were still up for mochas and talk about getting those people back to their time.”
“Ah, the mighty slayer brain is working over time?”
“Maybe. Come on. You, me, the kitchen and chocolaty something then maybe a nap?” Buffy made sad eyes at the redhead that she knew always worked.
“Fine, let’s go. We are forgoing the kitchen though. Let’s go to Eat’n Park. They’re open 24 hours and sure no mochas but the coffee’s not half bad.”
The two left the room and headed to the restaurant. The place was moderately quiet and the ones who were there were teenagers and early twenty somethings who had nothing better to do with their time. They took a booth near the front of the restaurant and ordered. Forgoing chocolate in favor of fried cheesy goodness, Buffy had an order of cheese sticks with a diet coke and Willow took a coffee with a muffin.
“So Wills, do you have any ideas on how to get them back to their own time?”
“I’ve been thinking there are some spells that create temporal folds. You know we’ve been privy to a few, but all of them are dangerous. We can’t send them back the way they came, that’s for sure.”
“You mean we can’t just say something like “let the spell be ended” and then poof they’re poofed?” the blonde hopefully asked.
Willow shook her head no. “They weren’t poofed here. They were…they were well I’m not sure really. There are a couple of theories some physicist were working on, but from all the stuff I’ve read no one is close to figuring out time travel. It’s relatively looked at as a myth. Besides magic, there’s no way to do it.”
“Hmm, how dangerous could it be?” Buffy wanted to know the answer but figured it would be on par with the usual.
“Oh, well, the usual, dimensions bleeding together, hell on earth. The standard fare really.”
“You couldn’t have lied to me?”
“No, I mean I’ve been through the possible spells that would make things as they were, but as I said, I don’t think they will work. The spaceship wasn’t magiced here; it crashed here because of a temporal fold in a black hole and that causes even my head to go all kerfloopey.”
“Well, aren’t you just chock full of fun and optimistic news?”
“I know, I know. I’m not saying it can’t be done. I’m just sayin’ that it might be a while.”
Buffy sighed and began picking at her food. “Hey Wills, I was wondering, does Mal seem familiar to you at all?” This small feeling of recognition had been bugging the slayer since meeting the man.
Willow cocked her head to the side and studied her friend. Also, she couldn’t help but smile at the look Buffy was currently wearing. Her brow was slightly crinkled and she had the patented Summers’ confused mouth, slightly down turned at the corners. The redhead would also have been lying if she said it wasn’t one of the cutest looks Buffy had in her arsenal. “Mal? No, not really. Why?”
“I…he reminds me of someone and I can’t it figure out. Gods, this is going to be bugging me all night!” Buffy shook her head to try and remove the thoughts. It laid there though in the back of her head as she tried to remember who Mal made her think of.