Heirlooms and Knick-Knacks
Kaylee watched worriedly as Xander lay motionless over the dinning table, though once in a while he'd lift up his head and let it fall back onto the table with a nice thick thud. They had all tried to get him to answer their questions about the unconscious girl in the medical room, but he had refused to speak. To them at least. Once in a while, some sort of curse or even a 'why me' would find its way out in a mumble.
The entire crew sat around the table silently, watching and waiting for Xander to say something. Most watched on with worry. Jayne was just becoming irritated and River was finding Xander's actions more amusing than anything.
Kaylee leaned in towards Simon, her eyes stuck on the immobile man. “Is he sick?”
Mal took the girl's question as a cue to get his answers. He leaned across the table and smacked Xander upside the head. “Hey!”
Xander's head snapped up. “Sorry,” he mumbled. “Just trying to wrap my head around this...”
“Who is she?” Kaylee questioned quickly before anyone else could get theirs in. She shrugged innocently when Mal glared at her.
“Cordelia Chase,” he spat almost venomously. He never took his eye off the table in front of him. “The richest girl at Sunnydale High, head cheerleader, winner of the bitchiest girl in town award, and...” Xander paused a moment, “...my ex-girlfriend...” His head fell back onto the table with a thud.
While Kaylee winced at the thud, Jayne sat up straighter, now more interested in this conversation. “Wait a sec...” he pointed a finger at the deflated man. “You mean you nailed her?”
Xander just groaned. He hadn't actually “nailed” her, but Jayne didn't need to know that...
“And yer what? Sad 'bout that?”
Xander let out another indistinct sound.
“Shit...” Jayne eyed Xander strangely. “What're ya? Queer?”
Xander rose his head up just high enough to send Jayne a glare. “After ten seconds of talking to her, you'll understand...” His head fell back with another thud.
“Um...” Kaylee winced again. “You sure yer gonna be OK? I mean, it sounds like yer hittin' yer head pretty hard...”
“Maybe this is all just a bad dream?” he questioned aloud to himself. “Strike that. A nightmare. It's gotta be or...” he trailed off and sat there for a few in silence before his head snapped up. His eyes traveled to the ceiling and he glared at it for a moment. Everyone else followed his eye line curiously only to see the ceiling. “Ooohhh....” Xander scowled. “Very funny!” he basically shouted at the ceiling.
“I think he may have a concussion.” Simon's remark was meant for Kaylee, but he kept his eyes glued to Xander and said it loud enough for everyone to hear.
Xander just glanced at him, but said nothing to justify his strange action. Instead, Xander stood up from the table with what appeared to be a new found determination and marched out of the dinning area. Or at least he would have if the Captain hadn't stopped him.
“We ain't done yet, boy!”
Xander froze at the entrance and slowly turned around, a sheepish grin on his face. “Oh, yeah...” He stuffed his hands deep in his pockets and rocked back on his heels. He looked up at the ceiling and bit his lips in thought. Then, as if coming to a conclusion he nodded to himself.
“Alright,” he started, his eyes sweeping over everyone in the room. “My life was not as Average Joe-y as I told ya earlier. I can't tell you everything.” At Mal's glare, Xander continued, “because I don't know how much of it contributes to the present. Me telling you could just complicate things more than necessary. Trust me.” Xander stared straight at Mal, his expression, hell his eye, telling him the seriousness of his words. “The stuff I did, the stuff I know, is quite possibly obsolete in this time frame. A lot of it had to do with Earth, the planet itself, its history, the effects, it wasn't just the people.”
With that said, Xander took in a deep breath. “I can tell you that I fought in some pretty nasty battles. Most of the time, some of my friends died...” Xander trailed off, silently noting how Zoe's chin had risen slightly. It was as if she was more interested, if not more responsive, to his tale and him, not just what was up his sleeve. Either way, after the small pause, Xander continued his small speech. “Cordy fought with us. At the beginning it was side by side with me for a few years, then she went to a different location. Last I heard, she...” he trailed off, trying to think of the right words. Then with a sigh, he gave in and just said it, “Last I heard, she hadn't made it.” Everyone stared up at Xander blankly, with the exception of Mal, Zoe, and Simon who all had the look of realization on their faces. No one else seemed to get what he was saying. “Last I heard, Cordelia was dead.” At everyone's surprised expression, Xander considered holding back the real kicker. The next few words that would cause them to come a little closer, if not more to Xander's dilemma. “Before she died she had been compromised. That was at least three years before I was frozen.”
He looked back down at the table, not wanting to see their faces. Last he heard, Cordelia had died while in a coma, not even a year after being possessed by some demon god that had wanted to rule over the world (as these things always
do. Seriously, why couldn't they ever come up with a new plan?). So his current question remained; was she still possessed? Most likely not, considering the demon had birthed itself from her body, but who was to say that there weren't major side effects? She could be left over with the hunger for world domination, which led to the complication of there not being
a world to dominate anymore.
Though in her case, it was more likely she was left over with a hunger for money...
With a sigh, Xander looked up at their faces. Mal's was extremely grim, obviously not enjoying what Xander had acquiesced to tell them. Zoe's face was just as emotionless as ever. Xander knew he should begin to feel nervous, if not awkward, around the woman, but all the incredibly strong women he was friends with, and all the ones he helped to train, he couldn't help but find himself completely at ease with her around. She was like what he would picture Oz if he was female and a slayer and black. It was the looks on Wash's, Simon's, and Kaylee's faces that had Xander feeling better about this place. They both just looked worried and not for security purposes. They were worried about Cordelia. What the enemy could have done to her, what the numerous battles could have done, anything that could have effected her health and mental status. It was kind of nice to see that even nowadays people still worried about these things. However, the look on Jayne's face made Xander want to take a step back. The man just plain looked like he was considering killing her just to get rid of the mere notion of a threat. Now Jayne had never been the most hospitable host, but Xander wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Yet, he couldn't help but feel on edge and antsy whenever he was in the same room with him.
Xander glanced back to Mal's grim look.
He felt the same way about Malcom Reynolds.
And it wasn't the Caleb resemblance. Xander wasn't quite sure what it was, but he had decided to blame it on the fact that Mal was the obvious leader on this ship, not Buffy.
Mal wasn't Buffy, and yet Xander knew he was expected to follow his orders if he wanted to stay here for any amount of time. That bugged him. Xander knew, trusted, and believed in Buffy one hundred and fifty thousand percent. But he didn't know a lick about Mal.
“Hmmm...” Mal frowned and stared at Xander, as if trying to decide his next move. Then, coming to a decision, he nodded to himself. “Alright, here's how this is gonna go down.” His gaze swept over the entire table. “Doc.” Simon looked up expectantly. “Keep an eye on her condition, I don't want no disease or nothin' spreadin' on my ship, understood?” Simon only nodded in response. Mal turned his eyes to Xander. “Boy, when this girl wakes up, I want you to be by her side. If anything about her seems even just the slightest bit different, I wanna know 'bout it.”
“Yeah, I kinda have an issue with that...” Xander protested easily. At Mal's glare Xander quickly shot up his hands in surrender and shook his head. “Oh! I've got no problem with keeping an eye on her after she wakes up, it's the telling you if anything is different aspect. I haven't seen Cordelia in... oh... six or seven years, at least!” Xander shrugged. “She's bound to be somewhat different.” When Mal opened his mouth to argue, Xander continued, “Look, Cordelia used to be the wealthiest girl in Sunnydale history. The last time I saw her, she had just lost everything, and I mean everything. Her family lost their money, she was disowned, and forced to the bottom rung in terms of social class. She's going to be different.”
Mal nodded, though obviously unpleased. “Alright...”
“Look,” Xander continued, “I know better than anyone here what the serious side effects of being caught by the enemy are, and if I see them...” Xander kept his gaze steady on Mal. “I will take care of her myself.”
A giggle broke through the thick air. They all turned to find River, standing at the entrance to the Dining Area, a red shiny looking scythe in her hand. Everyone froze as she swung it deftly through the air, a huge smile on her face. It made no sound.
Xander was one of the first out of his seat. He could tell that River wasn't all there. Something was wrong with her mentally, he may not know the specifics, but he did know that crazy person + sharp objects = bad bad bad things.
“Hey.” He smiled nervously. “Any chance I can get that back.”
River frowned and hugged the object to her chest.
“River!” Simon took a step towards his sister, only to have her back up warily. “That's sharp... you might hurt yourself. Why don't you give it to me?”
River shook her head profusely and tightened her grip. “It's shiny.”
“Yes, it is,” Xander agreed. “And I'll be sure to give you a prize for your very obvious statement, but that,” he pointed to the weapon, “belongs to a really good friend of mine, and she really doesn't like it when people touch her stuff...”
“It doesn't belong to her anymore. It's moved on.” While to most people, River's statement might have sounded like a child making excuses to keep an object, to Xander, it sounded like his worst nightmare.
Was Buffy dead? Did it really move on?
It was obviously not River. He had seen and dealt with crazy slayers - insane slayers. River was definitely not one of them.
But there was definitely something special about her...
“You're right,” Xander spoke. Everyone in the room quieted down and turned to him. “That weapon now belongs to someone else,” he explained cryptically. After a moments pause, he found himself a solution. “Will you hide it until I can find out who?”
River's eyes grew big and shined with pride. She nodded enthusiastically and dashed out of the room.
Simon rounded on Xander. “What the hell is wrong with you?! Why would you tell her to hide a weapon?!”
“She wasn't going to give it back just because we asked! And if we tried to take it from her then A. she could have hurt one of us, B. she could have hurt herself, and C. she just would have tried to get it back the next chance she got. At least this way, she'll keep it hidden and not be walking around with a sharp object in her hands.”
Everyone stayed quiet at Xander's sudden burst, staring at him in surprise. He exhaled heavily and ran a hand over his face. “Sorry... I'm just...” he waved hand in the air.
“It's OK,” Simon forgave. “I didn't think about it that way... I-I'm going to make sure she doesn't hide it in a dangerous spot...” He turned around and calmly walked out of the room.
Xander turned to Mal, an exhausted expression on his face. “May I go?”
Mal motioned for him to follow him as the two walked out of the room, leaving the others behind. “What the hell was that?”
Xander frowned, but answered, “It belonged to a very close friend of mine. It was a uh – passed down to her from a long line. It's incredibly old and dangerous.”
“It's an ax, 'course it's dangerous,” Mal responded, silently noting Xander's small smile at that statement. When Xander didn't even bother making an argument or explanation, Mal changed the subject to what had been bugging him the moment River appeared in the doorway. “Where did it come from?”
Xander froze at the question and stared at Mal for a full half a second before sprinting towards the cargo bay again, Mal hot on his heals.
Running down the catwalk stairs, the two of them could see the opened third container, lying there for all the world to see. Simon stood over it, while River knelt beside, peering in with fascination while being careful to not touch anything. The ancient weapon she had been so preoccupied with earlier was now gone from sight.
“It's junk,” Simon answered before Mal could even bother asking. But his eyebrows scrunched together and he looked back into the capsule with a frown, “I think...”
Mal and Xander spoke over each other as they stopped beside the container.
Inside it was filled with what would look to be random knick knacks to anybody outside the Scooby Gang. It was all Xander could do from laughing out loud. He knelt beside it and smiled wistfully. Naturally, there were a few stakes inside, including Mr. Pointy, Buffy's favorite stake. How she had managed to bring that with her when Sunnydale fell was beyond him. His favorite ax (the one he almost beheaded Spike with – God, he loved that thing), the only one of Dawn's surviving Dawnmeister Chronicles
(she had left it at the High School library a long time ago, he had snatched it up with the intention of giving it back to her, but had forgotten all about it and once out of sight, it was out of mind – until the night she had burned them all up. He had found it and given back to her after they had left the hospital. She decided to keep it, even if she had decided not to continue them), as well as Willow's Christmas Snoopy doll he had gotten her one year.
“It's our stuff,” he muttered out an explanation when he realized just how silent it was. He reached in and grabbed Snoopy. He stared at the beagle for a good five seconds before he turned to River and held it out. Slowly, she reached for it, her eyes on him and not the animal the entire time. Once her hand brushed against the fur, she snatched it away and held it tightly to her chest.
“I will protect it with his life.” She motioned to Mal, who just rolled his eyes.
Xander laughed. “I appreciate that.” He stood up straight, his eyes on the items inside. It really was a bunch of random knick-knacks – or supplies really. It was filled with crosses, vials of what looked like water but were really holy water, a Bible, a copy of the Book of Shadows
(and not the Charmed version, the real one, composed by Gerald Gardner), pages of Dawn's notes on dead languages littered all over, and two things that caught his eye.
The first one was the engagement ring he had given to Anya that night in the Magic Shop's basement. He squatted down and scooped that up.
The second thing was probably the most valuable thing in the entire universe now.
The last Twinkie ever.
How many wars would be fought over the this? Who wouldn't want to know the ingredients used to create this masterpiece? Oh, this was find. A fine find indeed.
Xander smiled at his own inner thoughts and scooped that up as well. “Awesome.” He just smiled at them and dropped both objects into his Hawaiian shirt's pocket.
“Hey, River, you ever hear of a Twinkie?” Xander turned to her with a wide smile. It quickly faded when the three men saw the expression on her face. She was staring behind them with wide eyes, her arms wrapped tightly around the Snoopy doll.
“Is it evil?” she whispered.
“Who you calling evil?”
The three men spun around to find Cordelia standing in the doorway, wrapped in the blanket she had been covered up with earlier.
“Who's evil is the person that does your hair. Ever hear of a brush?”
“Oh yeah,” Xander turned to Mal as he rocked back on his heels. “That's definitely Cordelia.”