No Safe Haven
Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy or Firefly
A/N: We are now fully in the movie portion of the story, and there will be a lot of actual movie dialogue. (Not something I really like to do, but...) I'm adapting it to include the Scoobies, and there will be changes to actual canon, 'cause, frankly, we have a Slayer and a gun-happy Scooby on board.
A/N2: Movie dialogue comes from http://www.twiztv.com/scripts/firefly/
A/N3: I was unhappy with the transcript, and have updated the dialogue to reflect the actual movie. It is generally the same, though, and you won't miss anything by not re-reading this chapter.~~~~~
Faith looked around the dining room and tried to calm herself. A tense Slayer, she told herself, was a dangerous Slayer. Beside her sat Dawn, upset. Xander, the far side of Dawn, was scowling, but she could see the signs of nervous tension on her friend/brother.
Simon looked up when Mal walked back into the dining room. “May I see her?” he asked, worried.
“I believe you've got some storytellin' to do,” Mal frowned. “What in hell happened back there?”
Wash perked up. “Start with the part where Jayne gets knocked out by a ninety pound girl,” he grinned. “'Cause I don't think that's ever gettin' old.”
Faith glanced at Xander, startled. Xander grimaced in response, and shook his head. “Later,” he mouthed.
“Do we know if anyone was killed?” Zoë asked, frowning slightly.
“It's likely,” Mal nodded, glancing at Xander.
“Pretty sure I saw two fully down,” Xander murmured.
“I know she meant to kill me 'fore the Doc put her out,” Mal went on grimly, “which how exactly does that work, anyhow?”
“It's a safe word,” Simon murmured, and only Mal and Zoë saw Xander's hand clench. “The people who helped me break River out, they had intel that River and the other subjects were being embedded with behavioural conditioning. They taught me a safeword, in case something happened.”
Faith looked over, and saw Xander sink into something like a trance. She tapped Dawn, and signalled for them to change seats, then leaned close to her friend. “You okay there?”
“SSDD,” he muttered sourly. “AKA, BOHICA,” he added with a twisted smile.
“Just so's you don't say that in front of the brat,” Faith smirked back at him, listening to the others 'discuss' the matter in the background.
“You know I don't talk like that in front of Dawnie.”
Faith nodded. “The Initiative, Mark II?” she suggested.
“Mark whatever-the-fuck,” Xander ground out. “We just can't leave things the fuck alone, can we?”
“Wouldn't be a Slayer if we could,” Faith argued. “Wouldn't be two Slayers if you could,” she added with a slight smile.
Xander snorted. “I do the smart dabbling. This is stupid dabbling,” he countered, then jerked his head up when the argument grew … heated. His eyes narrowed as Mal first slammed Simon onto the table, then yelling at the smaller man.
“I thought she was getting better,” Simon murmured.
“And I thought they was getting' off,” Jayne observed. “Didn't we have a intricate plan how they was gonna be not here any more? Not as I mind Xander and his girls so much, but moon-girl is crazy.”
“We couldn't just leave them now,” Kaylee protested softly.
“No,” Jayne snarked back, “now she's a killer woman, we ought be bringin' 'em tea and dumplings.” He turned to Mal. “In earnest, Mal: why'd you bring her back on?”
There was no answer from Mal, so Simon asked if he could see his sister. Mal stepped aside, and Simon entered the locker where River was shackled.
“She goes wooly again, we're gonna have to put a bullet to her,” Jayne warned Mal.
Mal nodded. “It's crossed my mind. Other's, too, I'm thinkin',” he added, glancing at Xander.
Wash looked up, tense look on his face. “Can I make a suggestion that doesn't involve violence, or is this the wrong crowd?” Zoë began to warn him off, but he went on. “ We're flying a lot blinder than usual here. We need to get our bearings,” he urged. “I think we need to talk to Mr Universe.”~~~~~
Faith and Xander looked up when Mal and the others walked back into the dining area. “So what's the what?” she asked.
“Well,” Mal began, dropping down onto a chair, “there ain't no lawforce flags on us, so that's good. Didn't make the news, neither.”
Xander and Faith exchanged glances, and nodded. “I can hear a 'but,'” Xander commented.
“Her … episode was triggered,” Mal frowned. “Subliminal message in the oaty bar ad. Mr Universe says it's Alliance, high military, and they've found her now.”
“And we're carrying the ruttin' girl,” Jayne grumbled, glaring at Mal.
“River says to ask Miranda,” Simon offered as he walked in from the locker, “but she can't say who or what Miranda is. She says the memories aren't hers, and that Miranda will show us death. Everyone's death,” he added, frowning, lost.
Xander felt Faith shudder beside him. “So what now?” he asked. “Apart from Haven. Do we have any plans?”
Mal shrugged. “We hide? I honestly do not know at this time. I'll talk to Book, we'll take some rest, and see if we can find a path in all of this.”~~~~~
Xander looked over to where Faith was sitting up in her bed, panting. As nervous as they were, Dawn felt more comfortable on Haven with both of them sleeping in the same room as her. “You okay?” he whispered, concerned.
“Dream,” Faith grunted. “Slayer dream.”
Xander sat up and faced her. “Talk to me,” he urged.
She seemed to collect herself, squared her shoulders and glanced at Dawn before facing him. She grinned. “Think we got our very own Ripper here on Haven, Xan,” Faith began.
Xander tilted his head in thought. “Book?” he asked.
“That's the one. Think he and Mal talked last night. Got some of it in my dream.” she frowned. “Hate these things. They're all muddled. Bits and pieces everywhere. Seems to be even worse than normal though,” Faith considered.
“Because we're so far from home?” Xander offered.
“Maybe. Or it could be because it concerns River. She's so jumbled in her head, she could be jumbling my dreams up.”
“Is she a Slayer?” Xander asked. “Or, you know, pre-Slayer?”
“Don't know,” Faith frowned. “I never met any but B, and she was already a Slayer when I met her, so I don't know how a Potential is supposed to feel. Plus she's a telepath. Or empath. Not quite sure. Reader,” she shrugged, reverting to the local term. “And that mucks up any readings I might get off her, too.”
“So... The dream?” Xander prompted.
“Yeah. So, like I said: muddled. Starts off with Book and Mal, talking about someone coming after River, an operative, and he's coming sideways. He has faith,” she frowned.
“So do we,” Xander smirked. When the girl rolled her eyes at him, he went on. “Not just you, though. We have faith in something bigger. In the need to do what's Right,” he added emphatically.
Faith thought about that for a moment, and nodded. She went on. “I saw blood. Lots and lots of blood. This place burning. 'Nara. Reavers. And a place so white and bright and clean, and it stunk of death so foul,” she went on, her voice dropping to a whisper. She shuddered. “Peace and violent death. It's what we're headed for,” she warned, staring through the walls to her mystic dream. “She's carrying memories too foul for anyone to carry, and won't be clean until they're passed on. Too many for one. All will have to bear the burden. Then she'll… River'll never be sane again. Not really. But she'll get a lot closer than anyone might expect.”
“That's why we're here, isn't it?” Xander asked. He dropped his head in thought. “Is there anything we can do? To maybe cut the amount of blood that's going to be spilled?”
Faith shrugged. “Warn Book? Let Ripper know we won't be back in time?”
“We got anything we can give him? Weapons he's got,” Xander decided. “Did Will give you any mojo-y type stuff we could leave him?”
“Not me,” Faith shook her head. “Dawn, maybe. And even then, it might not work, 'cause we're so far from home. We've never had to use anything but the bags, and they were spelled at home.”
Xander nodded. “Okay. We'll talk to Dawnie in the morning, and talk to Book, too. You okay to get back to sleep?”
Faith stretched and twisted, working out the last of her tension. “Yeah. I can sleep. 'Night, Xan,” she murmured, before lying back down, and making herself comfortable.
“'Night, Faith,” Xander smiled, and he, too, worked on getting back to sleep.~~~~~
Book looked up to see the three children who'd joined Mal not so very long ago. “May I help you?” his serene smile tacked firmly in place.
Xander and Faith exchanged glances before he man slipped closer and sat in front of Book. “Okay, here's the deal,” Xander began. “We get the feeling that there's way more to you than you let on. That you know things you shouldn't. Not if you were the ordinary preacher, Shepherd, that you present yourself as. Not that we have a problem with that,” he added quickly. “We're not all that we seem to be, either.” Xander glanced back at the girls before going on. “Um... What do you know about … monsters?” he asked.
“You mean Reavers?” Book asked mildly.
Faith snorted. “We know you know about Reavers,” she shook her head. “No. We're talking about things that don't go down with a bullet to the head. Things you need … special weapons to kill.”
Book leaned back and shook his head. “Only from campfire stories. Tales to scare children with,” he added.
“If only,” Xander muttered.
“Yeah, well, here's the deal,” Faith went on. “If you heard the scary story, chances are they're real. Or they were. We're not so sure what the deal is now that people have left Earth. But back home we get all kinds.”
“Not leprechauns,” Dawn objected. “Giles said they really were a story.”
“But the sidhe exist,” Xander encountered. “Same country, different type.”
“What are you saying?” Book asked, leaning forward.
“Monsters exist,” Faith explained. “Or did. And we fight them. With help,” she went on. “Which is what we're trying to get to. I'm … different. Stronger. Hell, I could bench-press Jayne, if you wanted proof. I'm not normal. And there's more.”
Book looked from one to another. “But … how? How did this happen?”
“It happened a long time ago,” Xander explained, “and it's not really important now. What is important is one of Faith's extras. She has dreams. Special dreams.”
“She dreams about the future?” Book asked.
“Kind of,” Faith nodded. “Real cryptic, usually, but this last one was worse than usual. What I did get, though, was that something's going to happen here before we get back. You're going to get hit, hard. I saw fire and blood. I'm not sure you survived.”
“You're not sure I survived something that has yet to happen.”
“In my dream, if things happen the way I saw, then, no, you didn't survive.”
“So what do you want me to do?”
Faith and Xander exchanged glances again. “We're not sure. We've warned you,” she frowned, “so you've got the chance to, I don't know, up your defences or something. Maybe get the civilians out of the way? And we've got something for you,” she added, looking to Dawn.
Dawn stepped forward, holding out a polished stone ring on a leather thong. “We're not sure if this will work for you, but it's worth a chance. It was spelled for me, back in Sunnydale, but it's a protection amulet. It can't hurt for you to wear it.”
“A protection amulet,” Book repeated doubtfully, taking the pendant.
“It's magic,” Xander explained. “Magic's real. Or, it is in Sunnydale. And our stuff has continued to work here, so we're pretty sure magic's real here, too. That's why we're taking a chance on this. So the way it works is like this: what would kill you, won't; what would seriously hurt you will be only minor; and minor injuries will just … well, they won't.”
“We're pretty sure that without this, you're dead,” Dawn murmured. “With this, who knows. Maybe you're just as dead. Maybe you last long enough to help your people before kicking it. Maybe you come through without a scratch. But we want you to try.”
Book looked at the stone dangling from the leather thong. He stroked his fingertips over the smooth surface, but couldn't feel anything unusual about it. One side was perfectly smooth, the other side, while polished, was etched with strange characters. Neither English nor Chinese writing. The Bible spoke about not allowing a witch to live, but what, specifically was that referring to? Someone who cursed people, causing death? Someone who wrought protective amulets, to help people? He put the amulet on, and tucked it under his shirt. “Thank you,” he smiled. “I don't know if this will do anything, but I do appreciate the thought that went into this gift. And I will take your warning to heart,” he added, frowning. “You have a very dangerous man after you, now. And I wouldn't put it past him to strike out at those who help Mal. I will work on our defences.”
Faith , Xander and Dawn smiled, relieved. “Well, we'll be seeing you, old man,” Faith grinned.
“Go in peace, children,” Book blessed them. “Whatever peace you can carve out for yourselves, anyway.”~~~~~
Xander looked up from his card game with Dawn and Faith to see Mal, Kaylee and Jayne walk in from the crew quarters. They'd left Haven, trying not to stay too long in any one place. It looked like they now had something like a plan. He raised an eyebrow at Kaylee, and grinned when she rolled her eyes.
“Trap,” she explained.
Xander looked at Mal, and frowned. “We're springing a trap?” he asked the Captain.
Mal scowled at the young mechanic, and shook his head. “No. We ain't springin' a trap,” clarified. “I'm springin' a trap. 'Nara's already caught in it, and I figure I might get a look at the one as is behind it all.”
“And we know it's a trap because...” Xander prompted.
“They didn't fight,” Kaylee explained, grinning.
“Ah,” Xander nodded. “And you don't need help?”
“Figure one can get in, but mayhap not more,” Mal decided. “Zoë's in charge while I'm on the surface, and she will be comin' to get me if I find myself in need of it,” he called back to the cockpit. “You keep an eye to your girls,” he instructed. “River, too, if you have an eye to spare.”
Xander nodded, and returned to his game. He glanced up as Mal headed out to the shuttle. “Break a leg,” he called out.
Mal stopped, and turned back to the boy. “That Sunnydale is a gorram strange place.”~~~~~
“It's called 'ducking',” Xander chirped as he jumped up onto the spare table, making sure to stay out of Simon's way.
“I'm not entirely sure that it is physically possible for the Captain to do so,” Simon murmured as he smoothed a bandage across Mal's ribs.
“Eh,” Xander grunted. “Old dogs occasionally learn new tricks.”
“I am here, you know,” Mal complained. “I can hear you.”
“That's what makes it so fun,” Xander admitted, tilting his head and grinning. He watched as Simon finished off, then followed the two men out to where the others were waiting.
Inara looked at the group. “We have every reason to be afraid,” she began.
“Why?” Jayne asked. “'Cause this guy beat up Mal? That ain't so hard.”
“He didn't beat me up,” Mal objected. “Nobody said that.”
“Because he's a believer,” Inara continued. “He's intelligent, methodical, and devout in his belief that killing River is the right thing to do.
“So no hope of a reward, huh?” Jayne grunted.
Simon looked at Inara. “Did he say anything about a 'Miranda'?” he asked.
Inara shook her head. “What is that?”
“Don't know who or what,” Zoë frowned, “but it's on River's mind.”
“Conjure it might be the reason he's after her,” Mal added.
“You think maybe it poses some kind of threat to the Alliance?” Inara proposed.
“Do we care?” Wash wanted to know. “Are we carin' about that?”
“You dumb-ass hogs,” Jayne growled as he slammed a hand on the table. “The only people she's a threat to is us on this boat!”
“Look, we get back to Haven in a few hours time,” Mal began.
“Oh, yeah,” Jayne sneered. “Hidin' under the Shepherd's skirts, that's a manful scheme.”
“You wanna run this ship?” Mal demanded.
“Yes!” Jayne snarled.
Mal looked at him, startled. “Well, you can't.”
“Do a damn sight better job than you,” Jayne began.
Xander rolled his eyes, and tuned out for a while. This was not helping. Fighting amongst themselves was one of the worst things they could do, yet here they were. Oh, and look! There goes Jayne, pissed at something that had been said, and Mal and Zoë not looking any happier. Someone must have said something about the war – two guesses who that was. He bumped Faith. “I miss anything?”
“Only me wanting to classify Jayne as non-human.” She thought for a moment. “Again,” she added conscientiously.
And the group was breaking up. Mal and Inara were heading out to the hold, Jayne was somewhere, and Simon was talking.
“We'll get off,” Simon decided. “River and I'll get off at Haven -”
“Nobody's sayin' that,” Kaylee assured him.
“Nobody besides Jayne is sayin' that,” Wash qualified.
Suddenly, they heard shots fired from somewhere near the kitchen. They all ran in to find Jayne sprawled on the floor.
“The other way!” Mal called out. “Find her and do not engage!”
Xander followed the group, but had a sudden flashback to Angelus in the school hallway, and stopped. He turned around to see River drop her brother to the ground. He relaxed. He knew what to do, now.~~~~~
Mal pushed the floor panel out the way, and quietly pulled himself up into the hallway at the crew dorms. He entered the cockpit, and moved into position behind River, and raised his gun. Without hesitation, River picked up Jayne's gun, and aimed it at him, not even bothering to look at him. For some reason (that being that it was pointed right at him) he didn't bother to assume he could dodge the bullet. “The government's man, he says you're a danger to us,” he began calmly. “Not worth helpin',” he went on. “Is he right? Are you anything but a weapon? I've staked my crew's life on the theory that you're a person, actual and whole, and if I'm wrong, you'd best shoot me now,” he declared.
River cocked the gun, and Mal's eyes widened.
“Or we could talk more,” he offered.
River pointed to the screen in front of her. “Miranda,” she murmured, and Mal leaned forward. He cocked his head in surprise, then leaned back. He turned around to let the others in, and spotted an unwelcome surprise. Xander, standing in the corner, gun out and ready to use. Mal's lips thinned in anger, but he simply moved to open the door.~~~~~
SSDD – Same shit, different day
BOHICA – Bend over, here it comes again~~~~~
A/N: Not where I had originally intended to end the chapter, but converting movies to crossover fanfics is more complicated than I had previously thought, so here we are. I'm working on the next two chapters, 'cause they really need to be both ready to go, though they won't be posted at the same time.