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22CLAWS

The Last One, Episode finale. Firefly/Buffy Crossover
Thursday, March 22, 2007

Our Big Damn Heroes make a not so clean get away. Willow deals with Clive Travers. And, Buffy wakes up. Warning: Adult language. Some violence.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1632    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

The Last One by 22 Claws

**********************

Chapter Four

Showdown

Serenity tears through the black, faster and stronger than ever. River is at the helm. River coughs, then wipes her nose. She doesn’t feel particularly strong, today. It’s been eight days since Tera. River is sick. It turns out, mortal combat with immortal monsters and super heroes takes its toll. Oh well. Keep, sniff, flying. “Hey kid.” Jayne says. He just crept onto the bridge. “Jayne.” River’s response is filled with relief and gladness. “It’s really good to have you back.” Jayne smiles. “Yeah, good to be back. So, what are we doin’ now?” He asks. River addresses her instruments a moment, then turns to answer, smiling: “Now, we go get Zoe and Inara.” “That’s good.” He says. “Bring the family together, circle the wagons.” “That’s the plan.” She says. “You done quite a bit of scrappin’ these past few. How you handlin’ on that?” He asks. River tries to smile, and replies: “As best as I can.” “Well--” He says. “--we’re still flying.” “Yes.” She answers simply. “That gal in the garden--” Jayne starts. “--Run-tse duh fwo-tzoo, that’s the craziest shit I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen plenty.” “That was all a terrible misunderstanding. She’s not evil.” River insists. “So I been told. I’ve been curious.” Jayne says. “Why did she give you so much trouble?” He asks. “She’s a super hero.” River says, sniffing. Jayne frowns and fidgets, then continues: “I get that she’s really strong. And, her reflexes are the best I’ve ever seen; but, she’s can’t be faster than you.” “She isn’t.” River confirms. “Then, what was the problem?” Jayne asks. “You want details?” She asks. Jayne shrugs. “Her initial attacks were simple. Speed and strength. I used method defenses. Then, she got serious. Every time I started to adjust, she switched styles. Each attack more sophisticated than the last. I identified at least ten different martial arts disciplines. She changed her rhythms and styles to disrupt my defenses. She used attack feints to ascertain my abilities, and countered accordingly. She used my physical limitations against me. She used the surroundings against me. She used every element of the situation to her advantage.” “You sound, I don’t know, kinda impressed.” Jayne says with a struggled surprised expression. “She’s a super hero”. River repeats. “But, You’re a mind reader. Don’t you know her moves before she makes them?” Jayne asks. “Normally.” River answers. “I know an adversary’s attack as they decide to make it. Most people, in combat are desperate about their actions. They indulge their emotions: fear, hatred, rage, whatever. In that indulgence, their deliberate actions are predictable. The simplest things, even a moment’s decision to bite or kick or run away, and I’ve got you. Checkmate. Buffy was different. No decisions. This was the most elaborate attack campaign I’ve ever seen, and it was completely automatic to her. It was like she did this stuff every day. All that strategy didn’t even register in her mind as more than reflex. I got nothing. Well, nothing except this singular imperative: Destroy your enemy. But, that’s not all. She’s not just strong. She gets stronger. Really.” River coughs. “It was just a few seconds, but I’m sure she was getting stronger as we fought. Stronger. Like some one was turning up the volume. If I weren’t faster, If I hadn’t shot her, I’m sure. I’d be dead. We’d probably all be dead.” “You make her sound like some kind of monster, or freak. Jayne says. “No, absolutely not.” River responds. “She’s confused. She thought Mal was a monster. It’s complicated. She’s not a monster. She fights monsters. She’s perfectly designed for their destruction. It’s Math. It’s Tactics. It’s Art. It’s Divine. She’s a hero. Yeah, I know.” Jayne answers. River is slightly astonished. Jayne chuckles. “Did you think I was gonna do my time bomb speech again.” “I wasn’t actually present for that, the first time, but--.” River says sniffling. “--didn’t Mal call me the time bomb?” “Whatever. Older and wiser. I’m not all together as thick as I look.” He says. “I may not be educated like you or your brother, but I got knowledge comes from scandalous livin’. Crooked folk dealin’ with crooked folk.” “Smarts.” he says, grinning. River’s wide-eyed reaction surprises Jayne. “Is that a River Tam surprised look?” He asks. “I’m very tired.” She answers defensively. “It ain’t what I saw. The stuff she did. There’s something else. There’s this feeling.” Jayne says. “I’ve been on the wrong side before. Done things I’m ashamed of. You know. Any way, when we fought that woman in the garden, I got that feeling. It just felt...wrong.” Jayne looks down a moment, then adds: “And, I know that feeling. I expect you know what I mean.”

**********************

Earth that was. January 21, 2013. Cleveland, Ohio. Alcoholics Anonymous, Flat Irons meeting. 9:47 AM. It’s the monday morning meeting. So, there are several that slipped up over the weekend. Lots of crying. Lots of smoking. Not a spot of proper tea to be had. Crying, cigarettes and coffee. It’s kind of the theme. The building’s very old and in the poorest part of town. The paint on the cinderblock walls is cigarette smoke yellow. The seats are probably from some long ago high school--almost, but not quite--adult size. They’re arranged in a circle. About thirty. “I’m glad i’m sober.” Some of them declare when they finish their words. Clive Travers finds that hard to believe. It’s been forty-two days since he last took a drink. He can’t imagine being more miserable. Sitting among these poor American wretches listening to the stories of their disastrous lives, he can’t imagine how anyone is helped by this experience. “I’ve had rare occasion to want a drink more.” He thinks to himself. He looks at the clock: 9:48, damn. Before long, it’s Clives turn to speak. In an extremely decent Cleveland, Ohio American accent he begins: “Hello, my name is John. I’m an alcoholic.” The group responds with the chorus of: “Hi John.” “It’s been six weeks since my last drink.” There are mutterings of congratulation and support. Clive continues: “This is my first meeting.” He pauses. Clears his throat, nervously. Then continues. “Last night, a friend of mine was attacked in his home. He was beaten. His home was burned down.” There is surprise and sympathetic reaction from the group. Clive goes on. “All I wanted to do this morning was run away. Crawl into a bottle. But, of course, the liquor stores were closed. There’s one right down the road, by the way. I was waiting in the parking lot at eight-thirty, for it to open at nine. Then, I noticed the sign outside for this meeting. So, I came here, instead. Divine providence. Perhaps. Anyway, I guess that’s it. I mean, thanks.” “Is your friend all right?” Someone asks. “I wouldn’t say that, but he didn’t die.” Clive answers. Karl, the group leader says: “John, I know this is your first time meeting with us; but, if we can do anything to help, if you, or someone you know isn’t safe, whatever, let us know. You are not alone. You are not alone. Let me say it a third time, you are not alone.” “Thank you.” Clive says. “I’ll give you my information. Call me any time, day or night. I mean it.” Karl answers. 9:55, other people talk. It feels different, now. The meeting’s almost over. They give Clive a white chip. “Keep coming back! Keep coming back!” They chant. Then, suddenly. It’s 10:43. What the hell. The room is empty. Clive spaced, or something. He looks around. First, he checks the back door. It’s blocked by a kid. A girl, probably about nine years old. She smiles. There’s something about her. He checks the main entrance. Blocked. A young girl, maybe seven years old. She stands guard, feet shoulder-length apart, hands on hips, a challenge on her face. Clive checks all the exits: Little girls, every one. Every exit. Something’s wrong. Everyone else is gone. It’s just Clive and these little girls. Then. A woman walks into the room, slender, very well-dressed, and holy fucking Christ, she’s got red hair. Clive Travers draws a .32 Beretta from his ankle. He conceals it under the bottom of his shirt. It’s Willow. “I might as well kill myself, now.” The young watcher can’t help but think. Time’s up. The woman looks up and winks. The little girls move in. “Clive Travers.” She announces. He stands, gathers his courage, points the pistol, and pulls the trigger, vigorously. CLICK! CLICK! CLICK! CLICK! CLICK! CLICK! CLICK! What the hell? The woman is not startled, or remotely impressed. She just shakes a finger at him. “Clive.” She starts. “You’re just a man. Don’t you know, you can’t hurt me.” One of the high school chairs moves abruptly into the back of his knees, suggesting he sit. “Let’s talk.” She says. “Willow?” He asks. She smirks. “Willow and friends.” She answers. “Meet Juliet, Sonya, Elisabeth, Courtney, Violet, Gillian. All slayers. All born after the Battle of Sunnydale. My legacy. My honour guard. Feydekyn.” Clive has a desperate thought. He grips tight the pistol. Looks around. Points it at the seven year old, and fires. BANG! Violet dodges. She heard him pull the trigger and reacted, just like Buffy taught her. The bullet meant for her brain just grazes her cheek. Clive’s pistol hand immediately twists like a pretzel, breaking several bones. The pistol falls to the ground with a clatter. Clive screams. The other slayers rush in. He struggles desperately, but they hold him like steel. Little Violet looks up. Blood runs down her cheek. Her lip quivers. She doesn’t cry. She won’t cry. Willow is furious. Every light bulb, and electric appliance in the room bursts suddenly. “Are you out of your mind?!! She yells. “You fire on a child?!!” “She’s a slayer. Bullets can’t kill a slayer.” He yells from the bottom of the pile. Willow breathes deep, then continues as calmly as she can. The air in the room is on fire. In the background, things still spark and broken glass tinkles as it falls. “Mr. Travers, when you hurt my friends, you make me very angry.” Willow growls. “That’s Biblically stupid.” She walks to a nearby hand sink, takes a few paper towels, then attends to the child. She wipes the blood from her cheek. Then, kisses her on the forehead. The girl’s wound disappears. Willow looks up. The slayers let Clive go. They deposit him in the seat that was prepared for him. “Let’s talk a while.” She says. Clive stands up defiantly holding his injured hand. “You children. You’re heroes. Slayers. Created by the universe for the destruction of evil. She--” He says pointing at Willow. “--is not a slayer. She’s not a watcher. She’s not some kind of slayer guide or oracle. She’s a witch. A murderer. A...a sorceress.” “Sorceress supreme.” Willow corrects. Some of the girls giggle. Willow continues. “But, he’s not lying. I’m a witch. He’s a watcher. You’re slayers. Chosen. Strength and skill, blah blah blah. You’ve heard it all before. A slayer is guided by instinct. That means that in your hearts, you know what’s right, and you have the courage and strength to act on that knowledge. Slayer gifts. Slayer mission. So,--” Willow turns away from the group a moment, saying: “--think hard, girls. What do your instincts tell you, now?” “He hurt Buffy. He hurt Buffy. He hurt Buffy. He hurt Buffy.” All the little girls answer at once “What else?” Willow asks, grimly. “He has to pay.” Little Violet says. Willow smiles, turns back to face the group, pats the girl on the head, looks at Clive and says: “Out of the mouths of babes.” Clive scoffs. “You’re Willow Rosenburg. The most powerful witch in the world, maybe the history of the world. You obviously don’t need protection. Did you bring these girls along just so you could deliver that line?” The room gets hot. Clive Travers flies suddenly very hard into the cigarette yellow cinderblock wall sending up a cloud of dust. The impact takes his breath, and delivers a few more fractures, to him and the wall. He slides slowly to the floor, coughing. “Suicidal much?“ Willow asks, quite animated. The little girls watch unafraid. “Don’t provoke me, watcher. Kennedy’s dead. Buffy suffers. I’m very,... very troubled. I brought the girls for company.” Willow says. She pauses a moment. Gathers herself. “But, that’s not all.” She adds. “They are a jury of her peers. This is the courtroom. You’re the defendant.” Willow smiles a cruel smile. “I’m the judge.” “I know--” Clive starts, wheezing. He looks around, into the faces of the girls. “--you’re here to kill me. Like you killed Warren. Flay me alive, maybe worse.” “You know. You know?” Willow answers fiercely. “Seven weeks ago, you knew the vampire Drusilla was in Bosnia raising an undead army. We sent Kennedy and our most experienced slayers to crush her. Only, Dru was bait. She wasn’t raising an army. She had an army. Kennedy was ambushed. The operation was a disaster. It was a trap. Everybody died. And, you just disappeared. Off, it seems, enlisting my best friend on a secret suicide mission. But, it wasn’t just a suicide mission. Was it?” Willow asks harshly. Terror is washing over Travers’ expression. “No, it was worse.” Willow answers her own question. “The aeluek-suun prophesy. Your little pet project. Who so ever shall face the First Evil to vanquish it as flesh shall remain in madness until its return. Buffy did face the First, in the flesh, finally. She fought it, defeated it, and killed it. It was amazing. I was there. Then, things got crazy. When Buffy killed the First, there was this mystical feedback. I think it changed the world. I know, It changed her. Dawny found out. It’s all there in your pet prophesy. Did you know that? I bet you did. I’m pretty sure Buffy didn’t. She doesn’t deserve that fate. We hid her to protect her. But, you...found...her. Because of you, Kennedy is dead. They’re all dead. Because of you, Buffy suffers.” The room starts to get very cold, very fast. “So, maybe it’s time you think twice about what you might, maybe, think you know. I mean, hey--” Willow’s eyes go black. “--better late than never.” All six young slayers look on, resolute and vengeful. Clive Travers screams like bloody murder.

**********************

Serenity’s infirmary. Buffy lies motionless in bed. Her wrists are locked in heavy steel handcuffs. Her legs are chained at the ankles, to the bed. Aside from that, they tried to make her comfortable. It’s been eight days since the garden. Eight days sleeping at death’s door, quietly. Today’s different. Today’s unquiet. Today. Bound in Serenity’s infirmary. All of a sudden. Buffy.

Sick, coughing, breathing heavy. Wakes. Scared, shaken, confused, and angry. Up!

**********************

“All crew! All crew!” River’s intercom alarm shatters the silence of the sleeping ship. “We’ve got alliance gun ships! Repeat, alliance gun ships! I need Mal to the bridge and Kaylee in the engine room, ma-shong! Ma-shong! Everybody else, get ready! I repeat, get ready!.” In the bridge, at the source-box terminal, River types frantically. “Serenity?” Comes the hail. River continues to type. “Serenity, answer. This is alliance ship, Athena.” Comes the hail. River keeps typing. “Mal!” She yells. “Serenity?” Again, the hail. “Malcolm Reynolds,... River Tam, this is captain Owens, of the alliance ship Athena. Please surrender and prepare to be boarded. We don’t want any trouble. I’m sure this is all just a misunderstanding. There’s no need for blood shed.” “Mal!” She yells, again. Simon, headed frantically from his quarters to the infirmary, nearly collides with Jayne. Jayne is walking briskly as he load bullets into a pistol. “Gwai-gwah long duh dong, Jayne, how many guns do you need.” Simon asks. Jayne has assault rifles slung over both arms. He has three handguns at his waist, and he’s loading a fourth. “Girl said: Get ready.” He answers. “For you, that might mean bandages and such. For me, it means--Gun up.” Simon has no words. Malcolm Reynolds rushes onto the bridge. “Report!” He demands. River, still typing, reports: “Four alliance gun ships. Coming from every direction. The lead ship, Athena, demands parley. Captain Owens.” Mal goes to the intercom. “This is Malcolm Reynolds. Please stand by.” He announces. “Kaylee!” River screams into the intercom. “Engine room is ready.” Kaylee answers via intercom. “I’m gonna need full burn.” River says. “You got it. Thirty seconds.” Kaylee answers. “We can’t out run four gun ships.” Mal says. “Wanna bet.” River answers, confidently. “Serenity?” With urgency, comes the hail. Malcolm wipes his hands on his shirt nervously, and asks, as calmly as he can manage: “River, there are four gun ships loaded with missiles pointed at us, exactly how sure are you we can escape this scenario without becoming flaming space debris?” “Fahg-sheen.” River answers with a shrug, still typing. “Great.” Mal says. Jayne steps onto the bridge covered in weapons. “Jayne, you brought guns for everyone. How thoughtful.” Mal comments snidely. “How bad is it?” Jayne asks. “Serenity, this is your last chance!” Comes the hail. “You better talk to them.” River suggests, sniffling. Mal goes to the intercom. “Alliance ship Athena, this is Malcolm Reynolds. What’s the problem?”

“Sir, my name is captain Ronald Owens. I’m afraid I’ve been directed to detain your vessel.” Comes the reply. Mal pauses the transmission. “Sir?” Jayne says in disbelief. “He’s scared.” River says. “Keep talking.” With a what-the-hell shrug, Mal hits the button. “Athena, I’m on an important mission. I’m afraid I don’t have time for Alliance nonsense, right now. I recommend you move along and forget you saw us. Serenity out.” There’s a tense pause. Jayne seems genuinely shocked that they aren’t flaming space debris. Mal is only slightly less surprised. River is enthusiastic. “That was just excellent.” She says, still typing. Mal smiles to Jayne. Jayne is still wearing his shocked expression. “Serenity. This is urgent. We have a warrant regarding an alleged kidnapping. We have orders to detain and search your vessel. We have reinforcements on the way. Please comply.” Athena replies. “What now?” Jayne asks. Mal looks at River. River stops typing. “Now we make them angry.” She says. She hits the intercom. “Kaylee, we ready?” “You bet we are.” Kaylee answers. River looks to Mal. “Do you mind?” She asks. “Go ahead.” He answers. River hits the button. “Attention Alliance scum!” River starts. Jayne and Mal both throw back their heads. “This is River, sniff, Tam! We have no time or inclination to indulge your silly accusations or trifling warrants. My captain already told you to fuck off. If you ever want grandchildren and a happy ending, I recommend you get to it. If you want a bloodbath that will make you wish you and your crew were tortured to death by reavers, by all means board my ship, now. We’re ready, pigs. Serenity out.” River pushes away from the console. “You think that was enough?” She asks. Both Mal and Jayne’s mouths hang open in shock. River goes back to the intercom. “Kaylee? She asks. “They just unlocked weapons systems. Probably planning a warning shot or something.” “Perfect. Be ready!” River says. “Just say it.” Kaylee answers. River goes back to her source box. She hits send, transmitting to the Athena, some kind of mathematical puzzle she’s just constructed on the fly. Athena fires a battery of missiles. They’re meant to scare Serenity. They’re not target locked. That makes them vulnerable to manipulation. Halfway across, they change course. They head back. Each toward an alliance ship. “Surprise.” River whispers. The missiles explode in the ships around Serenity, with damaging but not devastating effect. “Kaylee, now!” River says. Serenity lights up and is gone, gone, gone. So long suckers.

**********************

Simon gets to the infirmary door, then stops suddenly. He has a feeling. River is about to do something crazy. He knows it. He turns and runs back toward the bridge. He doesn’t mean to stop her, or talk her down. She’s going to do something outrageous, then, to everyone’s shock and disbelief, explain how it was actually the most logical course of action. Simon doesn’t want to miss that. He races toward the bridge. He stumbles when Serenity bursts suddenly into full burn. He collects himself, looks up. “There she goes.” He thinks. In the bridge, He can hear, the yelling has commenced. “River!” Mal screams. “Da-shaing bao-tza shr duh lah doo-tze!” “It’s okay, captain.” River replies, somewhat meekly. “What in nine hells just happened?! The angry captain demands. “We...got...away.” River explains. Mal is not pleased. She adds: “Sir.” With a shrug. Simon burst onto the bridge. “What’s going on?” He asks. ‘’That’s what I’d like to know.” Mal responds, sharply. Jayne chuckles. “Okay.” River starts. “I know those alliance ships better than they do. I know their weapons systems, and I know their procedures.” River pauses to wipe her nose. “I knew, if provoked, they would fire a warning shot, standard S3 missile battery. It’s procedure. S3 missiles have a remote control option. Alliance captains rarely use it. It’s complicated. Mostly, they just point and pull the trigger. Especially with warning shots. The remote control option has a corresponding guidance system on the ships central control. Targeting that system, I transmitted a sabotage program designed to eliminate every navigational option except the targets I chose. It wouldn’t work unless they unlocked their weapons systems.” River coughs. “So, I made them mad.” She adds. Simon smiles. “Not good enough!” Mal says furiously. “What?” River asks, surprised. “You should have told me.” He says. “I’m the captain, you should have told me.” “Their wasn’t time.” She answers. “Fei hua, I could’ve stalled ‘em. You god damn know it. “Oh.” River says, shocked. “I’m sorry. I guess I was caught up in the excitement.” She adds. “You better not let it happen again.” Mal says, calmer but still angry. “That’s exactly the fong luh shit that will get us all killed. And you,--” He says to the doctor. “Attend to your patient.” Simon looks to River. Tears are starting on her face. “Get off my bridge!” Mal insists.

**********************

Buffy awakens with a gasp. She sits there a moment, catching her breath. Her mind is clearer than it has been in so, so long. No time to wonder on that now. She’s handcuffed and chained. That won’t do. Buffy struggles violently with the handcuffs. No good. They’re strong. Heavy steel. She looks around the room. Some kind of doctor’s office. Two doors, opposite each other. First door closed, perhaps locked. Exit. Second door, not quite closed. Closet, pantry or supply room, possibly. The doctor is tidy. No instruments laying about. Cabinets all around, though. Scalpels, scissors, lots of goodies. Buffy pulls hard against the handcuffs again jerking back and forth. Blood starts in trails from her wrists. She just needs one link. She starts to remember. There was a fight. She was shot. She’s more or less okay, now. Except, for being locked up. Just one link. She pulls again against the handcuffs. Blood runs freely down the bulging veins and muscles of Buffy’s forearms. The cuffs hold. She remembers now. It was Caleb. No, that doesn’t track. Caleb’s dead. Really dead. The First is dead. Damn drugs. Just one link. She pulls hard against the handcuffs. Blood is dripping on her gown. the cuffs hold. Then, she hears something. Footsteps. Someone is headed her way. She pulls even harder against the handcuffs. Someone is in for a big surprise. One, just one link starts to stretch.

22

COMMENTS

Friday, March 23, 2007 2:03 AM

LITTLEALBATROSS29


Absolutely brilliant !!!!

A very clever idea, and well written too . I enjoyed reading it..can't mwait to see what happeneds next !

Friday, March 23, 2007 7:45 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Whoa ho...now that was some mighty entertaining stuff, 22Claws! Formatting seemed a bit wonky, but it was only a minor detraction from this tale;D

Really was impressed by the various action sequences you had here, especially the quasi-Evil!Willow redux with the mini-slayers (though I personally was under the assumption that Slayer powers didn't engage till after puberty started if Called). Mal's reaction to River's missile trick was a tad bit heavy-handed though, but suitable for his mindset.

BEB


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