Going To See Mr Universe
Disclaimer: Don't own or claim rights to Buffy or Firefly
A/N: Again, a lot of dialogue direct from the movie. It's very difficult to do this without drawing so heavily from canon dialogue. Also, the only scenes that will be shown, pretty much, are ones that Xander, Faith or Dawn would have witnessed directly.~~~~~
“I'm a leaf on the wind. Watch how-”
'I fall?' Wash watched, distantly, as he fell sideways, and how he could fall sideways, while strapped into his seat, he had no idea. He looked up, owlishly, as Faith reached down and grabbed his harness. Past her, he could see...
“Is there a tree in my cockpit?” Wash asked. “Why is there a tree suddenly growing out of my cockpit?” He felt himself being hoisted by his shirt, and set on his feet, while his daydream continued with a hysterical Zoë touching his chest, and Faith screaming at them, and she and Mal pushing him and Zoë out of the cockpit. He turned, and led the followers past the crew accommodations towards the dining area, where the others where unstrapping themselves.
Xander looked up from where he was unstrapping Dawn. “Everything cool?”
“No!” Faith bellowed. “We got fucking Reavers throwing fucking harpoons through the fucking cockpit windows while they dream up ways to fucking kill us. So move your fucking ass!”
A part of Wash's brain decided that he was in shock, and not daydreaming. Another part of his brain decided that Faith really needed to learn how to curse properly, 'cause obviously it was a lost art in Sunnydale, or wherever it was they came from. Seemed she only really knew one word, and there was a whole wonderful world of curses out there. He decided he was going to have to sit her down and give her lessons. Not right now, of course. Later. “Wait,” he stopped. “That was a harpoon?”~~~~~
Xander tossed Faith her weapons bag as they headed down the ship's ramp, then handed her the M249. “You've got that one,” he advised. “We may want it in use before we can stop, and you're the best bet for controlling it. Dawnie, you get Faith's M16,” he announced.
“Cool,” Dawn gushed.
“Remember the SOE,” Xander went on, shaking his head, but smiling at the girl. “All Reavers are dead men walking, okay?” He looked warily across to the enemy ship further down the landing strip.
“We got it, X,” Faith nodded, also eyeing the ship. “We know the drill.”
“And the first rule?” Xander demanded.
“Don't die,” the girls chorused.
“Head inside,” Mal called to the group, and they followed him.~~~~~
They followed Zoë into an antechamber. Mal opened the blast doors, and ran down the tunnel to summon the elevator before coming back out to make their plans. Mal wanted the group to stay together, but Xander agreed with Zoë about holding up and thinning out the Reavers, giving Mal time to get the message out. He hated this. They'd gone into hiding to protect Dawn, and now here they were, looking forward to one of the worst battles they'd seen. He looked over to Faith, and saw her grim expression, and knew she felt the same way.
“We get pushed back, there's the blast doors,” Zoë continued.
“I can rig 'em so the won't reopen once they close,” Kaylee offered.
Mal turned to the mechanic. “Then shut 'em and hide until I get -”
“We need to draw them till it's done,” Zoë objected. “This is the place,” she went on quietly. “We'll buy you the time.”
Mal eyed his First Mate for a moment, then nodded. Taking that as a signal, Jayne began to organise their defence, and Xander and Faith tossed their bags towards the blast doors, and slung their weapons across their backs before grabbing crates to move into position.
Howling could be heard down the way they had come, and Mal and Jayne ran to the doorway. “Tell me you brought 'em this time,” Mal begged, and Jayne presented him with a grenade before getting one of his own. They both armed their grenades before tossing them down the hallway. Mal slammed the door shut, and Faith shoved a large crate into position, blocking the door.
“Hey, Xan,” Faith called, “how come we don't have grenades.”
“Well, sue me if I didn't think we needed grenades. I didn't bring any claymores, either,” he complained as they dropped back into position. “Hells, I don't even have all the stuff for a pipe bomb, or Molotovs.”
“Well, that's just great,” Faith huffed. “All that plastique, and nothing to do with it.”
“We got plastique?” Dawn squeaked, pulling back from Xander's weapons bag.
“Of course not,” Xander denied, then smirked. “It's C4.”
“Oh, yeah,” Dawn retorted. “'Cause there's so much of a difference where I'm concerned.” She thought for a moment, then went on. “Wait. Is this left over from Graduation?” she asked.
“Nah. Just a standard diesel-ammonia dealie for that,” Xander made a face.
“Gods, yeah,” Faith made a matching face. “That stuff stunk!”
Jayne spared a quick look over at the little family. “You blew somethin' up for Graduation?” he demanded.
“Yeah,” Xander grinned. “Always said school was hell, so we blew it up.”
“That's fuhn pi,” Wash complained. “You did not do that.”
“Could we have a little less talking about blowing up schools,” Simon interrupted, “and a little more … uh...”
“Blowing Reavers up?” Dawn suggested.
Simon looked at the girl. “Well, I guess, yes,” he agreed, frowning slightly, and wondering how he ever got into a conversation like this.
“Ain't much cause to be censoring their conversation at a time like this, Doctor,” Zoë offered, although she had to agree it was surreal. This whole thing was surreal. Less than thirty minutes ago, she had nearly lost her husband to a Reaver's harpoon, and even she recognised that pilot's chair supports don't bend like that. Especially not when tugged on by little girls like Faith. Not that she was complaining. There had to be some superstition she could appease in thanks, but she couldn't think of it just yet. ~~~~~
The Reavers were right outside, now, banging on the grills, on the doors. River stood, weapon in one hand, head in the other. “The Reavers,” she moaned. “They are all made up of rage.”
Simon ran to her, trying to soothe her, but she continued. “I can't shut them up,” she cried, dropping to her knees, and the former-humans continued to bang at the door.
Jayne ran over and picked up Simon's weapon, dropped as he stooped to comfort his sister. “She picked a sweet bung of a time to go helpless on us,” he snarled.
Zoë readied herself. “Jayne, Faith and I take the first wave,” she instructed. “Nobody shoots unless they get past our fire.”
Kaylee passed behind Xander to join Simon. “I didn't plan on going out like this,” she whimpered. “I think we did right, but...”
“No,” Simon murmured. “I never planned … anything. I just wanted to keep River safe. Spent so much time on Serenity
ignoring anything that I wanted for myself. My one regret in all of this is never being with you,” he added.
“With me?” Kaylee asked, wondering. “You mean to say, as … sex?”
Simon gave a half-smile. “I mean to say.”
“Hell with this,” Kaylee decided, cocking her weapon, and grabbing Xander's brief attention. “I'm gonna live.” Xander grinned, realising the pair had finally had a breakthrough, and while some might consider the timing inappropriate, he couldn't think of a better incentive for living.~~~~~
It seemed like they'd been waiting for ever, but the first Reaver made it through the door. The three assigned carefully picked off the first few, but the trickle grew to a flood, and Jayne and Faith both opened up their weapons to block the doorway with bodies. Soon enough there were more and more Reavers piling into the room. Jayne called out to shoot at one of the grills, so Kaylee popped up to fire in that direction. Jayne turned to reload his gun, and was caught by a couple of shots. Kaylee was caught by a string of tranquilliser darts to the neck, and dropped back. A Reaver got through their barrier, and tackled Inara, but Faith grabbed him by his shirt and tossed him back out over the barriers, and Dawn caught him with a couple of shots. They continued to fire at pretty much anything moving, but one of the grills gave way, and Zoë gave the order to fall back to the tunnel.
Once in the tunnel, Zoë hit the controls, and the blast doors began to close. Something malfunctioned, however, and the doors refused to close fully. Zoë looked at the opening, and gave the order for Jayne to toss a grenade through the opening.
“Very last one,” Jayne advised as he lobbed it out.
“They're gonna get in,” Zoë muttered, glancing at Wash.
“I can close it from the outside,” Kaylee offered as Simon set her down.
“No one's comin' back from that,” Zoë argued. “How much ammo do we have?” she called out.
“Three, four max,” Jayne replied, “and my swingin' cod. That's all.”
Faith set her weapon down, and flipped out the bipod. “I got a few feet of ammo for this one,” she advised. “Maybe half a dozen mags in my bag for Dawnie's rifle?”
“I've got another four, five mags in my bag, plus assorted pistols. We've also both got melee weapons. Faith's especially good at that, but I'm passable.”
“Melee?” Wash whispered to his wife.
“Up close fightin',” Zoë explained.
“The lift isn't moving,” Inara added, desperate.
“When they come,” Zoë decided, “try to plug the hole with it.”
“I'm starting to lose some feeling here,” Kaylee whimpered.
“Lie still,” Simon instructed. “I'm going to give you something,” he went on, reaching for his bag. He turned, and realised something. “My bag,” he frowned as he stood up, making a fine target of himself. One of the Reavers took the chance, and Simon staggered back, hit.
Inara ran over to the sound of Jayne and Faith's weapons chattering, and put Simon's hand to the wound. “Keep pressure here,” she ordered.
“My bag,” Simon went on. “I need … adrenaline, and a shot of … of calaphar for Kaylee. I … I can't...” He tried, but he couldn't make the pain submit. “River,” he called. “River, I'm sorry,” he began, looking at the girl.
“No,” she whined, and shook her head. “No.”
“I hate… I hate to leave,” Simon continued.
“You won't,” River assured him, smiling now. “You take care of me, Simon. You've always taken care of me.” She stood, and headed forward, past Jayne and Zoë, past Faith.
“Fuck this,” Faith cried, and dove into her bag, dragging out two swords before following River out through the blast doors. River started fighting the Reavers, making her way to the blast door controls. She hit the switch, and grabbed Simon's bag, tossing it back through the closing doors before the Reavers grabbed her and dragged her back.
The last thing Xander saw was the flash of swinging steel, and then the doors were closed.~~~~~
Xander tossed the bag to Inara, deciding that she had the best chance of understanding the contents. He then turned to Dawn, folding her into his arms.
“How...” Dawn began. “Why... Xander,” she keened, her breath hitching.
Xander began to rock the girl, shushing her. “Faith's a Slayer,” he murmured. “If anyone can come through this, it's her. And she'll do her best to keep River alive, also.”
“We ain't got long,” Jayne decided, as they listened to the noises from outside. “You suppose he got through? Do you think Mal got the word out?”
“He got through,” Zoë decided. “I know he got through.”~~~~~
Again, it seemed like they'd been sitting there forever. The elevator finally made it's way down to their level, and Mal walked (limped) out.
“Sir?” Zoë prompted.
“It's done,” Mal assured them. He looked around at the wounded and depleted group. “Report,” he ordered. None of them could speak. “River?” he asked. “Faith?”
As if waiting for him to appear, the blast doors slid open to reveal River and Faith, back to back, panting, blood-spattered. The wall opposite the blast doors was dragged out by what turned out to be an Alliance grappling hook, and the space was filled with troops. Immediately, orders were given to drop their weapons and surrender, but neither Faith nor River complied, so Xander continued to hold his rifle at ready.
“Targets are acquired,” one called into a comm. “Do we have a kill order?” There was silence from whoever was in charge, so the man called again. “Do we have an order?”
Mal could see River winding up to take the soldiers on, and he knew that once she took the initiative, Faith and Xander, at the very least, would follow her lead. Thankfully, he heard the Operative's voice come over the comms.
“Stand down,” came the hollow voice. “Stand down. It's finished.” Weapons were lowered, and River and Faith relaxed.
“We're finished,” the Operative murmured through the comm.~~~~~
Xander stood at the back of the group, his arms around his girls' shoulders, as they watched the funeral for Mr Universe. It was different, he decided. A little cairn, topped by a short-cycle hologram of the man and his love-bot. Various people tagged a little rocket with notes, and then the rocket was fired off. Zoë kept tight hold of her man, unable to stop touching him, reassuring herself that he was with her, and they weren't holding an additional funeral for him. Mal looked over at Book, finally able to move about freely, and thought how close they'd come to losing him, also. As it was, they'd had to lock him into a shuttle as he simply wasn't able to move well enough to travel with them through Mr Universe's complex. They'd left him with his Bible, and one of Xander's pistols and a few clips. The Reavers had all taken the bait, though, and left the ship, and therefore the Shepherd, alone.
The transport was leaving in a few hours, and Serenity
was already tucked away in its capacious hold, ready to be dropped at a nearby moon for repairs. Xander guessed they would be learning something about spaceship care and maintenance, since it was going to be a huge job. Still, they were all alive, all well, and that was nothing to sneeze at. Now they just had to figure out how to get home. If they could. Otherwise, they were stuck here, and had to make lives for themselves. Which they could do. They'd survived so far. Helped, even. Made a difference. They could keep going here.
It just wasn't home.
But it possibly could be.~~~~~
A/N: Well, all that's left is the epilogue. Hope you've enjoyed the ride so far.