Fic: Sad SmileBy: Cousin Mary
Fandoms: BTVS & Firefly
Disclaimers: Don’t own BTVS or Firefly. Do own all the eps on DVD though…
Andrew still wasn’t sure how he’d ended up in the future. Or at least he’d assumed it was the future, what with the space ships, dehydrated food stuffs and cool glowy neon technology. But how he’d ended up in the company of the obvious slayer, Zoe, was even more of a mystery.
After his trip through the portal, which should have taken him to LA and not the small asteroid colony in the year of only-Yoda-knew-when, he’d found himself quickly arrested and thrown into a very un-high tech cell with other people lacking credentials. He’d had no idea what the Alliance was, or the Brown Coats for that matter, and his request to contact the Council had been met with blank stares. The only ray of hope had been the woman filling out paperwork in the waiting room who kept glancing at him whenever he let out a nervous giggle, which had admittedly been quite often.
She’d been a new widow, poor soul, who’d been registering her husband’s death certificate. Andrew thought she looked like a slayer. She carried herself like one, she was visibly armed, plus she had a sadness about her, much like Buffy, a little like Faith. When she left, somehow she took him with her, her nephew she’d said.
They sat side by side on the transport, but she didn’t ask him anything. He babbled on and on about Star Wars and Trek, he couldn’t help himself, but she just listened with a half smile even though he could tell she’d never heard of either.
Space was huge. All right, of course it was, but even in his Babylon 5 roll-playing days Andrew had never consciously thought about how vast and empty it was. The transport voyage lasted for days and days and the stars didn’t seem to get any closer. Zoe Washburne taught him to use her gun, though he didn’t get to fire it in the hold, just take it apart and put it back together. She taught him some fighting moves and seemed pleased that he already knew a bit from Buffy and the others. She seemed a little less sad when he talked about his friends, especially when the stories were funny. He didn’t think he’d ever talked so much without someone threatening him if he didn’t shut up. But Zoe liked his stories, all of them, and listened to everything with her small, sad smile.
The food was bad, worse than 7-11 nachos or truck-stop fries. It didn’t even look like food and it just sat in his belly like a chunk of lead. The water always tasted like plastic and there was an oily grime over most of the walls and even the cots they slept on. Zoe didn’t seem to mind though so he didn’t mention it.
Eventually the transport landed and they were met in the spaceport, or whatever it was called, by a Caleb lookalike and a wild-eyed slayer named River who took to sniffing his hair whenever they were alone.
Evidently Zoe hadn’t talked much since her husband had died, so her friends let him come along if only for her sake. Mal, the captain of the spaceship Serenity, didn’t even talk to him at first and the rest of the crew just looked on him with sad, knowing eyes. No one but Kaylee asked him about his past. Andrew told her, but she just laughed, thinking he was telling another story.
Once on board Serenity, there wasn’t anything for him to do but follow Zoe around, which he did. He told her stories and tried to get her to smile, sometimes it worked and then even Mal would be a little nicer to him. Days turned into weeks and he started to learn how life on a spaceship worked. He learned to fix small things with the engine. River taught him a little about piloting, which seemed to make Zoe both happy and sad at the same time.
By the time Dawn showed up to take him home Zoe was a lot better. She was talking to the rest of the crew again and her smiles didn’t always break your heart anymore. When he’d first met her she’d cried herself to sleep every night, now it was only every other night. Dawn was wide-eyed at seeing Serenity, but over the past month the crew had heard so many stories about her that the first thing Kaylee did was give her a big hug.
He thought Zoe would be sad to see him go, and she was, a little. But at the same time she was happy he was going back to his family. She watched as they walked through the portal, back to Cleveland, back to Earth, with her Mona Lisa smile, filled with sadness and joy and life. He waved, she smiled a bit more and waved back.
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