Prompt/Prompter: Wishlist 2011. MissE requested a Zoe and Cordelia stand-off featuring this gem, “You bitch! You used my body, now you think you can get away with it? Not on my Pradas, you don't!" Sorry if this wasn't what you're looking for, MissE, but the moment refused to go as I'd initially planned.
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, or Firefly.
A/N: This is kind of crack-ish, but I decided to set this in my Relics of Another Age series, even though it has little do with Connor and Dawn. This can be read alone, though, if you want to know how Connor and Dawn ended up on Serenity, read “Lost in Space, Redux.”
The ship rocked, ever so slightly, as if God himself had flicked it across the nose, and Mal rushed into the dining hall, weapon drawn, body winded. The clap of footsteps announced the next two to arrive, and the men peaked over the captain’s shoulder, looking for trouble that their eyes just couldn’t seem to find.
“What’s the gorrum ruckus about?” Jayne snapped.
The new boy, Connor, stood next to him, wiping a layer of sweat off his brow, and showing little concern. In fact, his lazy, blue gaze looked as wet as his post-sparring skin. Regret showed in his eyes. Zoe wondered, right then and there, if he knew. If somehow that boy knew exactly what had just happened. If he had sensed it.
“Zoe, report…?” the captain was rightly confused.
“Oh, God,” Kaylee muttered from her spot in the corner. Then she seemed to hear her own words and raised a brow. “Was that God?”
Someone fell into a fit of giggles. Zoe didn’t have to look far to find the source—Dawn Summers, the other young passenger they’d picked-up not too long back, was nearly bent over, laughing. Connor watched her, not even a hint of a smile on his face. That expression, regret, remained in place.
Zoe wasn’t sure what that was all about.
“Not God,” Connor answered, for Kaylee.
Mal didn’t appear too pleased with his lack of in-the-know, but he stepped further into the room and lowered his weapon, nevertheless.
Zoe blinked, swallowed, and replied, “Sir, we had an unexpected visitor… She’s gone now. I think.”
And, of course, that didn’t answer anything, but Zoe was too rattled to continue. Wash held tight to his wife’s hand, his shoulder to hers; the closeness was a promise. “Baby,” he whispered, shaking his head, “someone upstairs really hates you.”
Zoe figured you learned something new every day, but, damned, if today’s lesson wasn’t a long one.~*~
5 Minutes Earlier
Zoe would, from this point out, ‘ever note the subtlety with which River Tam announced the coming of a life-changing event.
River had eaten earlier, when most the other men-folk had settled down for a game and a bite, but it was no surprise that she’d circled back to the dining hall when Wash took his meal.
Not that the girl really cared what Zoe and her husband might be up to—the Tams picked favorites, and Zoe didn’t try to fool herself into thinking otherwise. ‘Course, Zoe didn’t much blame River, since she herself was currently perched against her own personal favorite’s chair.
As if he knew his name was floating across her mind, Wash stared up at his wife with an adoring grin on his face. “You know what I’d really love right now?” he asked, softly. Zoe rolled her eyes, knowing the request was going to be the same as he’d posed repeatedly since Dawnie and Connor—or as Jayne had dubbed them, “the ancient brats”—had told the crew where they were really from. Wash sighed, dreamily, “To see a T-Rex. Even just the skeleton.”
“You enjoy getting me worked up before bed, don’t you?”
Wash’s grin widened. “I knew you’d catch on, bao bay.
Zoe would normally make a few rather private suggestions at this point, but she let her attention drift again to the other end of the table, where the other three women currently on the ship sat. It was apparent that, no, River wasn’t there for politeness, but to steal the attention of her newest friend.
Dark hair falling in ringlets over the tabletop, River leaned forward and poked Dawn on the nose, interrupting the dialogue between the ship’s newest female passenger and Kaylee, both of whom blinked at her with interest.
River sat a little straighter, cocked her headed, and made a verbal note. Perhaps to help Dawn learn the lingo, perhaps to announce impending doom: “Shiny doesn’t always mean nice.”
It came two seconds later, a bright flash of light, blinding the diners at the table and setting off every sensor on Serenity.~*~
There was a problem, of course, with this kind of travel, and it was totally glossed over in the pamphlet they hand out at the How to Be a Butt Monkey for the Powers that Be Academy—also known as that big whitelight wash-out room that enlightens its occupants. Even though Cordelia had been in her current state for some time now, she hadn’t had many occasions to move between the Here and There, and when she had, the There had been in a different galaxy.
The trip was both agonizingly long and instantaneous for a being such as herself, partly because of the distance, partly because slipping through dimensions felt a little like being soaked into a sponge and rung back out again over an ocean. Lots of scattering of bits and pieces, lots of reassembling.
On the whole, she didn’t like it.
There was also the little matter of her breaking a few dozen rules by taking this vacation— centuries spent in the celestial turnstile or not, she was still Cordelia Chase, and she was damn-well going to do what she set out to do.
Back to the problem with this kind of travel—
Cordelia wasn’t exactly sure what she’d set out to do. Rule breaking lead to interference and interference led to the bosses tugging her strings. . . Cordelia had barely found form when she felt them, almost like ropes around her being, tugging at each and every molecule and trying to persuade her to come back. The tugging didn’t stop at her body, either—her mind was being hit with the riot hoses at full blast.
So, she couldn’t be blamed, could she? For the way she came out on the other side, rattling off the only thoughts that seemed to be able to leave her mouth when she spotted that
It clung, that Thing, to her, invading, possessing, willing—“You bitch
!” she hissed. Seducing—manipulating—murdering— “You used my body, now you think you can get away with it
?” And she’d watched from high above, after. After. After It was born into the world. Wearing that
face. Calling itself Jasmine. “Not on my Pradas, you don't!
It hadn’t spoken. It dared to look confused. “Don’t even act like you don’t know what I’m talking about!”
The tugging of the other side intensified, but sudden jerk must have rattled a few of the pieces back into place, because she realized that the wide-eyed, dumbfounded expression on the other woman’s face looked downright genuine…And it was quickly transforming from shock to anger. No peace on Earth. No Earth here to find peace. This woman was strong, but no goddess.
Cordelia blinked. “Oh. Freakin’ dopplegangers.”
The one that looked like the Thing, shifted into a strong stance, guarding the man behind her. Protective of what was hers. “What is she, Dawn?”
Those words served as a reminder. There were others here, others…Cordelia lost some of her venom, her brow wrinkled. “I’m not here for you,” she told the Jasmine-look-alike, and gave a short, tense chuckle. “Oops.”
She stared down the length of the table. Three other women sat there, all of them young.
A repeated question. Cordelia’s eyes widened as she remembered her reason for the trip. A warning…There was a warning.
“Dawn?” She smiled, the heat dropping off her face. “Dawn, where’s Connor? I had to come, had to warn you, but I can’t stay long. They’re not gone. They’re still in this dimension. They’re here—”
“Who’s still here?”
The who floated at the back of her mind, the answer just out of grasp. “The Home Office,” Cordelia replied, at a near whisper, her thoughts mixed, collapsed, collided…She could feel it, the power shifting around her. The bosses knew. They’d found her. And they couldn’t afford to lose the contract she was about to break. “Blue S—”
The word never finished leaving her mouth. The woman was gone in a flash of light.~*~
“Shiny doesn’t always mean nice,” River said. Because it bore repeating.
Zoe stared at the spot where the being had been, floating in a white blaze of light. “It sure doesn’t.” She blinked. “What just happened?”
Wash trembled against her back, his arm around her waist. “More importantly, what’s a Prada?”