Serenity, Mal, and a dusty border planet
Joss owns everything here... both Firefly and BtVS.
Mal turned around and faced the woman who'd been pacing him for three blocks through the dusty border town. He'd be more suspicious--only she were so remarkably unquiet that he figured she couldn't be up to too much trouble. People who wanted trouble weren't likely to go spinning through the dusty streets and makin' a scene. Hell, even Jayne managed more silence when he was on the job.
Right now, she looked like one of them fancy dancers with her arms outstretched and her head thrown back so that the breeze stirred her long, dark hair. Her black figure was outlined by the light from the full moon that shone behind her. Waiting until the woman finally looked at him, Mal crossed his arms and considered her. "Somethin' I can do for you?"
She tipped her head and considered him. "You sing in my head." Bringing her hands up to her temples, she cradled her head.
Mal blinked as he considered that particular statement. "Gos-se," Mal swore as it occurred to him that he'd found another like River—or she'd found him, anyways. For a second, he considered just turning around and walking away. Serenity already had trouble enough with the lack of sanity she carried. Hell, most days Mal even counted himself among them who were a shade short of totally sane. He figured after seeing the death he had, he had excuse enough. But no matter how much Mal would rather avoid the trouble, he wouldn't leave a girl for the government to scoop up and torture. He might have lost the war, but he wasn't willing to lose this battle—not when it came to River or this new lost soul.
"How many of you folk did those gan ni niang make?" Mal's question was more for himself that for the girl. Of course, she wasn't rightly a girl, but if she'd had her brain rewired the way River had, she wasn't a full adult, either. The woman smiled, her eyes a little her large and her face a little too doll-like for actual beauty, but Mal had to admit she was a handsome woman. "Seems like they didn't bother with the ugly girls," Mal commented, and he'd never heard a better reason for wishing ugliness on your own children. To avoid the fate of River and this new girl, Mal would wish all his future children ugly... and he'd wish it on any he'd accidentally left along the way, too.
"You're like my boy, shining like a star," she said dreamily, like River in one of her spells. Mal looked around to see if they were getting any attention yet. So far, a couple of kids seemed the only ones like to care.
"Is anyone following you?" Mal asked, taking her by the arm. He hurried her down the street, pulling her sharply when she tried to stop and dance with the moon's reflection off a blacksmith's window. "Hey, are you listening?" He gave her arm a shake. "Is anyone following you or looking for you?"
"Your blood sings of hidden light and stars and rivers under the sand." She smiled brightly, her face childlike in the moonlight.
"Aiya. We'd best hope you're ahead of any of them government folk, or this may be a very short run," Mal said as he reached for his radio. Time to get the crew inside and Serenity's engines hot. The girl reached out and caught his hand in a surprisingly strong grip, keeping him from calling for backup. For a half-second, his guts tightened in fear and he scanned the street for a trap, but she had that same dreamy look, like she weren't even aware that his hand were mighty unhappy with how hard she was squeezin' it.
"Do you like blood?" she asked in a conspiratorial tone.
"Don't reckon I like any biohazard," Mal said carefully. He wasn't sure why, but his instincts were fairly screaming at him, even though he couldn't rightly put his finger on any particular danger.
"No one following," she said sadly, like she wanted some gorram government type followin' her. No explaining crazy folk, that's for sure. Her mouth drew down into a frown. "My own effulgent light wandered off into the dark and left me to spin topsy turvy." She let go of his hand, but then she threw herself at him, her arms wrapping around him like a child seeking the safety of a parent. "So long in the dark. So long to find a light."
Mal embraced her instinctively, not sure how he was supposed to react to this childlike grief. He really wasn't sure how he was supposed to react to the fact that his gorram cock was noticing her curves a little more than he was comfortable with. While he might like womanly curves about as much as any man who wasn't sly, he sure wasn't planning on taking advantage of some addle-pated woman who'd had her brain stirred up a bit.
She tugged at him, pulling him off balance, and they stumbled into the mouth of an alley before Mal managed to brace himself.
"We got to get moving," he said, reaching around to try and pry her arms off him.
"We really do," she agreed, her voice sounding different. Mal looked down at her, and her face had twisted into a monster's mask. He gasped, but before he could grab for his radio or his gun, she lunged at him, and fire burned through his neck. Mal tried to scream, but he couldn't. Familiar darkness rose up to meet him, and ghosts from a dozen battles danced through his vision as his limbs grew heavy and cold.
With his back arching and his legs trembling, he couldn't bear his own weight, but the small woman who he had hoped to save cradled him as easily as a babe. With one hand around his waist and the other at his neck, she rocked him even as her mouth sucked his life from him. Mal's eyes closed without his permission, and he knew that death had finally found him.
A voice drifted into his dying moments. "Shhh, Mummy has you, my beautiful boy." Mal's mouth tingled with the taste of power, and then he knew nothing else.