Challenge response. Be The HeroDawn dresses to impress Xander that fateful Halloween night. Tagging along with her sister to the costume shop, Dawn is quickly forgotten for (in Dawn's opinion) a monstrosity of epic poofy proportions. Browsing the aisles by herself she finds the perfect costume.
In the mind of young Dawn, Xander must only like Buffy because she's strong, a hero, right? So what better costume to finally catch his attention than a powerful girl from the future?
Sadly, the costume information card said nothing about the state of River Tam's mind or the horrors she has witnessed.
WANTED but not needed: I'm a Rayne fan, big time, so if you want to make this a pairing later on or make Dawn older I'd love it if the male part of the equation dressed as Jayne. It would be even juicier if Xander's so called 'soldier' was really a mercenary from the future called Jayne. :) He just needed a gun, right? Vera, anyone?
Disclaimer: Not my worlds. Just my words. Joss's worlds are the best, therefore I used two this time. Do not own Buffy or Firefly. Plot Bunny and the banner came from MistressAshley.
As usual, the title for my story comes from a song. This one is Blind Melon's – No Rain. And contrary to the title, there will be plenty of Rayne if things get going the way I hope.
Written a long time ago. One off for now. I just learned of Robin Sachs' (Ethan Rayne) death earlier in February. Wasn't planning on posting this for a long time yet. But I wanted an homage to Rayne.
A blue dress, black leggings, and combat boots. The incongruity of the indigo, gossamer gown and the shiny, black army boots had first drawn her attention. The dress was hopefully sexy enough to grab Xander's attention without earning her another speech from her mother about how a 'young lady' should dress and act.
She hadn't even been planning on Trick-or-Treating this year. After all, she was almost in High School and getting too old for that kind of thing but then she heard that Xander had been roped into taking some younger kids out she had quickly changed her mind. Speaking of Xander, she found him and rescued him before he could give his honest opinion of the hideous pink dress Buffy was looking at. If he told Buffy the truth about that dress the Slayer would render him into a puddle of goo and they'd never get married.
“Look Xander! There's a gun over here too.” she said as she pulled him along.
“Huh. So there is Dawnie.” Xander replied once they arrived. “But I'm not sure that's a soldier's gun. Kinda big if you ask me.”
“You're right. It's not a soldier's gun.” a voice said.
“Gah!” the kids both screamed, Dawn only slightly shriller.
“Sorry if I startled you. Ethan Rayne.” the man held out his hand. “I'm the proprietor of this establishment.”
Xander noted the British accent of Ethan and briefly wondered about asking if he knew anyone named Giles before dismissing the idea as absurd. “Xander. And we're sorry we screamed, but you shouldn't sneak up on people around here.” he said instead as they shook hands.
“Wonderful to meet you Xander and thank you for the advice. Now as I was saying, it's not a soldier's gun and quite frankly wouldn't go well with a soldier costume at all.” Ethan explained.
Xander shrugged. He would just have to find a different, and probably cheaper, gun elsewhere in the store.
But the man wasn't finished. He stared past the children and looked wistfully at the costumes behind them instead. “I call this my Rayne combo and I'm sorry but I couldn't sell these separately. You see the two characters to whom these costumes belong are called River and Jayne, and when together they're called Rayne. Like my name.”
“How much does the rest of the River costume cost?” Xander asked. No point in hearing more if he couldn't afford it.
“Well it's just the gun really.” Ethan answered. “If you have a t-shirt with the arms torn off, that would be perfect but not completely necessary. Just don't wear an army uniform with it. It would look tacky.”
Xander took a closer look at the price of the gun and cringed involuntarily. He wouldn't be eating lunch for a while if he did this.
Ethan caught the flinch. “Tell you what. Are the two of you Trick-or-Treating together?” he paused for them to nod. Dawn nodded vigorously. “Well that's far more important to me with this costume than getting full price. If you buy the dress and boots, I'll throw the gun in for free.”
“Please Xander?” Dawn begged.
Xander wasn't sure if he liked a girly sounding name like 'River' but then there was a male actor with that name, he thought, so he nodded. “Mister, you've got a deal.”
What the gorram hell was going on? One minute he's sitting at the table cleaning his guns and the next thing he knows he's in the middle of some rim planet that looked to be under attack by Reavers. No. Not Reavers, but something else. These things didn't look like they were ever human.
A scream nearby interrupted his thoughts.
“Make it stop!” River was on her knees nearby clutching her head.Girl sure picked a fine time to pitch a fit,
he growled to himself. He adjusted Vera to one hand but kept his head on a swivel to watch for trouble and picked River up by the arm. “Moonbrain, you'd best get a hold of yourself and start doing that thing where you kill all them Reavers instead of cowering in the corner like a crazy person.”
Something very much not human started approaching the two of them so Jayne blew its head off with Vera. That seemed to scatter everything else. Except for one redhead who kept walking towards them.
“Xander! Dawn!” some red-headed whore was clearly addressing him.
“Don't know what a Xander is lady. And dawn looks to be far away right now.” he went to brush past her and instead stumbled when he met with no resistance. Only the weight of River in his other hand kept him from falling.
“Oh no.” the whore moaned. “You went right through me. I went as a ghost, and now I really am a ghost. Everyone turned into their costumes! You two went as River and Jane and now you're...”
Jayne and River reached the wall of a house. He stashed River in the bushes and turned to face the hooker. “What are you talking about? What's going on here? How did we get here and what the hell planet are we on?”
“Earth of course.”Earth? The Earth as in Earth-that-was? No wonder they abandoned it if it was infested with Reavers.
“Earth that was, is, and evermore shall be.” River spouted some of her cryptic nonsense, but at least that meant that she'd stopped screaming.
“Okay guys, I'm Willow. Your name isn't River, it's Xander. And your name isn't Jane, it's Dawn.” the red-head explained.
“I ain't going by Dawn. My name's Jayne and I'm the one with the gun so I get to decide.”
Willow looked confused. “Wait. Your name's 'Jayne'? But that's-”
“If you're about to say it's a girl's name then I'll prove that I'm a man..” he gave her a lecherous grin that never failed to win the hearts of his whores.
The ghost paled considerably. An admirable feat for someone without a circulatory system. “Never mind. Okay, now we just need to find... Buffy!” the ghost took off running towards a screaming ball of pink.
It reminded Jayne of nothing so much as Kaylee's getup for that hun dan shindig. And now Jayne had a choice to make. Two... things were approaching the girls. He had only a little ammo for Vera and no backup weapons that he could feel. Since when did he go into a fight with fewer than three guns and a knife? Even if he had Vera. He took aim at the larger monster and blew off its head. The other one ran off quickly.
“No!” screamed the ghost. “No guns. Those are people in there. They're just under a spell. They'll turn back once we stop it.”
“I ain't fixin to die just cause some ghost is squeamish about killin'.” Jayne shot back. “The girl and I are going to find someplace to lay low till this blows over. And if you got a problem with killin' then I suggest you stay here and not take us with you, ghost.” Jayne pulled River from the bushes and started to walk away.
“Wait! We should stick together!” Willow shouted.
“No!” Jayne called over his shoulder.
Jayne wasn't sure how he'd got talked into letting the ghost and the pink dress tag along with them.
River stared at her hand. “I'm not sure that I'm real. Are you sure you're the ghost? Perhaps you're the only one alive and the rest of us are ghosts. After all, who can say that we're really here on Earth-that-was? We were just in a space ship on the other side of the galaxy from Earth and now we're supposedly here. Or perhaps this just a metaphysical construct brought on by cranial trauma and seeing my brother making love to his wife?”
“You saw the doc and Kaylee getting nekid?” Jayne leered.
River smiled as only she could. “Yes, it was beautiful and utterly traumatizing.” then she skipped ahead of the group which now included several small children who had not transformed.
“Are you sure she's alright?” Willow whispered to him.
“'Liance did something to her brain. Never know what you're gonna get from her. One minute she might kill without mercy and the next, rub soup in your hair.” Jayne answered.
“Why soup?” she wondered.
“Don't ask me.” Jayne admitted. “All I know is it's funny so long as it ain't me she does it to.”
“Okay, then where are we going? You're not exactly from around here and my friend's house is just back there a little ways. We could be safe there.”
“I ain't keep'n ya.” Jayne grunted.
“Surely it would be better to find a place of safety rather than walk the streets where demons roam.” the girl in pink declared. Jayne had forgotten her name as soon as she scorned his advances.
“Crazy girl is heading this way.” Jayne stated.
“And you follow this crazy girl wherever she goes?” Willow scoffed.
“Long as she's coherent. She's jen duh sh tyen tsai. (An absolute genius) Kinda smarts that make smart people look dumber than a box of rocks.” Jayne explained.Did this idiot just speak Chinese like it was his native tongue?
Willow wondered. Willow didn't have time to ask as a Vampire jumped out in front of Dawn up ahead. And Dawn was... holding her own against it.
“Jayne. I require. An organic. Carbon-based. Stabbing implement.” River requested from the mercenary between fending off blows.
“Say what?” Jayne looked confused.
“A stake. She needs a wooden stake.” Willow translated.
“Why can't she just say what she means.” Jayne grumbled as he went to a nearby fence, broke off a sharp piece and threw it at the reader. (no, not you. River, the reader. Not the reader, reader. We don't have that technology... yet.)
“The human body can be drained of blood in 8.6 seconds given adequate vacuuming facilities.” River stated. The words were certainly different than a Slayer's quips, but they seemed to give the monster pause, perhaps to think about how long it took to kill some of his victims in the past. The opening was brief but River took advantage of it and soon the Vamp was dust.
Jayne came up and viewed the remains. “Int'restin'. Wonder if that would work on Reavers?”
River shook her head, rolled her eyes, and gave him her 'You're a boob' look she normally reserved for Simon. Then gave back the improvised stake before walking away.
Willow came up. “Wow that was... amazing.”
“Like I was saying. Moonbrain's psychic. And crazy to boot. But I've never seen anyone fight like her.” Jayne looked at the girl in blue as she walked away. “So yeah, as long as she's coherent, I'll follow her.”
They were skirting a warehouse district now. Home turf as far as Jayne was concerned and he was starting to feel a bit more comfortable. He rounded the corner of the alley River had turned down to see River and a... pirate dancing together. Or at least River was dancing. Jayne could tell by the fact that the man with the sword was still alive. Jayne recognized the pirate from pictures off the Cortex. He was trying to run River through with a sword.
“We ain't got time for you to be dancing Riv. Knock him out so we can get a move on.” Jayne ordered.
“Nah-uh.” River shook her head. “This one is for you.” she turned and ran past him ten feet then stopped.
Jayne barely had time to dodge to the side to avoid an overhand cut that would have sliced him in half. But the pirate put too much into the blow and was off balance. The mercenary took advantage of the mistake and gave him a right to the jaw, a left to the body and another right before the pirate got his sword back up and gave a horizontal slash. Jayne danced away from the sword and away from River and the kids. He had a healthy respect for bladed weapons and the pirate had some basic knowledge of swordplay, though he was no Atherton Wing. Still, he saw how the Captain had “won” that fight and knew that winning like that would be no win at all here and now.
Still, he didn't have enough rounds for Vera to waste one on this scum. Instead he tore a piece of wood from a broken pallet. The next time the pirate attacked, he used the wood to deflect the blow then move in close for the kill.
“Jayne.” River touched him on the shoulder. “That's enough.” she ordered softly.
The merc dropped the limp, but still breathing, body of the pirate on the ground.
“Oh, my.” the girl in pink said daintily. She was starting to get on his nerves. All the stuck up snobbishness of someone Core-bred like the doc had been but with no redeeming features at all. At least with a companion other than Inara, he had the potential for some trim. But this one had rebuffed his interest rudely. Something about saving herself. As if she could save herself from anything.
“Let's go.” he turned and continued walking down the alley.
“No. This way.” River corrected heading the way they had been going before she turned down the alley.
Jayne was seeing red. Had she picked a scrap with that smelly pirate just to put him unarmed into a sword fight?
They'd have words about this later. He would probably lose, but they'd have them just the same.
River stopped in front of a nondescript storefront and pointed.
“This is Ethan's place, where we got our costumes!” Willow said much too loudly for Jayne's liking.
River and Jayne shared a conversation with just their eyes before Jayne unslung Vera. “How many?”
“Willow, make yourself useful and scout ahead for us.” he ordered. Because something about this place was giving him the wiggins. Wait. What's a wiggins?
“Just go. You're not going to do any good guarding the kids when you can't hit anything. Help us end this quickly.”
Willow reluctantly stepped through the doors without opening them. “Looks okay in here,” she called back.
Jayne cleared the doors when she moved towards the back room and River quietly followed in his shadow.
“Ethan Rayne is back here!” Willow shouted.
“Young lady, there is no need to shout.” Ethan Rayne calmly walked out of the back room to come face to face with Vera. “Jayne Cobb. I was expecting an old friend, but it's a pleasure to meet you just the same. And River Tam. How wonderful to meet you both. My name is Ethan Rayne. Spelled like Jayne, but with an R instead of the J.”
He hadn't told anyone on Earth-that-is what their last names were. “What do you want?”
Ethan laughed. “Why to meet you of course. And have a bit of fun while I do it. Cause a little Chaos. You know how it is.”
“I've done my share of crime in my day. But I always had a good reason. Usually money. Or women. Sometimes both.” his finger touched Vera's trigger ever so lightly. The slightest twitch would now set her off. “But dragging a man from his home to this gos se planet just for shits and giggles isn't my kind of fun.”
Ethan wisely raised his hands and took a step back. “Now now. Easy there. Kill me and you'll never figure out how to undo the spell and you'll be stuck on Earth-that-was for the rest of your life.”
Jayne considered his words for a moment then re-aimed Vera at his knee. “Good point. Pain would be a lot better at motivating you to talk, I reckon.”
Ethan suddenly remembered that Jayne Cobb was probably not a person he could negotiate something like this with. “The statue in the back room. Break it and the spell will be broken.” he explained quickly.
“Cover him.” River ordered as she walked to the back room. The sound of clay breaking filled the room then everything went black.
A/N: If you're not a Firefly Flan (not a typo), you might be confused as to who was whom. Everyone originally *assumed* that River was the male name and Jayne was the female. In actuality, Jayne is the man (Xander) and River is the female (Dawn). Also, if you like Buffy, you should really buy the Firefly series and Serenity the movie. I found them for cheap at Target the other day and picked up an extra copy of each.
A/N: Yes, originally the Scoobies stayed in their own bodies for Halloween. Plenty of other people had some dramatic transformations though. My theory is that their costumes were simply them “as other people” (i.e. soldier, noble woman). But having costumes of specific people (River and Jayne) caused physical transformations.
A/N2: This is actually the first story I started when my muse came back after leaving me while writing A Whole New World. It's unfinished and I don't know where it's going, but I wanted to post it to honor Robin Sachs. R.I.P. Ethan Rayne.