BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - ROMANCE

KISPEXI2

The Wheel Never Stops Turning
Friday, March 2, 2007

Mal meets a blonde in a bar. Violence ensues. And Mal discovers religion has its uses. This is primariy a Firefly fic, but the character Mal ends up doing a job for is from the manga/anime Saiyuki. It's also PG-13 nothing-explicit SLASH. Because that's who I am!


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1199    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Title: The Wheel Never Stops Turning. Author: Kispexi2 Fandom: FIREFLY/SAIYUKI crossover (all hail Joss Whedon and Kazuya Minekura) Rating: PG-13 Pairing: Mal/Simon, Sanzo/Goku

As always, many thanks to wedjateye for the beta. As well as to emeraldsedai for helping me find a title.

Mal meets a blonde in a bar. Violence ensues. And Mal discovers religion has its uses.

* * * * *

THE WHEEL NEVER STOPS TURNING

Mal had a bad feeling about this job. Badger's offering it him in the first place, considering the falling out they'd had over the Battle of Sturgis job, had been enough to set his gut churning. Finding out it meant showing his face on Whitefall again just made the uncomfortableness worse. And now, here he was - contemplating walking into a bar owned by none other than Patience. Who, according to Badger's informant, was away collecting rent from folks on the other side of her little world. Mal hoped that meant he had a better than even chance of getting off this godforsaken rock before there was any need for an exchange bullets.

He eyed the door again. Must have been more than ten minutes since anyone had gone in or come out - either on his own two feet or flying through the air, care of Patience's hired thugs. Mal straightened his suspenders. A man had to do what a man had to do. Just as well he'd ordered Simon to stay with the mule. No telling what kind of trouble the Doc would land himself in in a place like this.

A few heads turned as Mal pushed through the saloon doors and eyes raked over him, assessing. He looked them as looked at him square in the eye - best way to size a fella up, after all - but after a decent, manly interval, he looked away, his point made. He wasn't looking for trouble; just wanted it understood that he wouldn't run from it neither. That way trouble and him were like to spend a pleasant, separate kind of evening, each minding their own business.

The place was heaving. Wall-to-wall bodies. Took Mal a good five minutes and a helluva a lot of pushing and shoving to get to the bar and longer still to get served. Not that he was particularly thirsty; just didn't wanna stand out. Badger had been a tad insistent on the need for discretion.

Eventually Mal got his beer and fought his way back through the throng, seeking a spot with space enough for him to check out the crowd. Wouldn't say no no to not having to breathe in the smell of another fella's armpits, neither. Had to be some room in the place, surely?

Well, yeah, it seemed there was, cuz over by the windows there was a table with three unoccupied chairs. The fourth was taken by a blond dressed head to toe in flowing white robes. Huh. That wasn't a sight you saw every day. Not out on the Rim. Clothes that pristine kinda shrieked Class and Money. As did sitting straight-backed with your perfect nose in the air. Woman like that all alone in a place like this was asking for trouble.

Mal took a swig of his beer and walked over.

“Mind if I join you?” he asked.

“Yes.”

Mal flashed her a bright smile and sat.

The blonde paid him no attention at all. After a while, that began to gall. Plus Mal's curiosity was getting the better of him.

“Don't often see fine ladies such as yourself this far out from the Core,” he remarked casually.

The blonde's head snapped round.

“Shame the same can't be said about morons.”

Mal found himself looking into a pair of the most striking violet eyes. The most striking murderous violet eyes. He blinked. And blinked again.

Zao cao! It wasn't a woman at all but a man! And one obviously none too happy at being taken for a female. Mal might have argued that, given the fella's delicate bone structure and clear skin, his mistake had been an honest one, but he decided not to. After best part of a lifetime on the Rim, he knew dangerous when he saw it and was on the point of claiming to have pressing business elsewhere, when an all too familiar voice rang out.

“Malcolm Reynolds, as I live an' breathe! Didn't look to be seein' you here again ... ever.”

Patience. With a handful of henchmen.

Making a mental note to kill Badger next time he saw him, Mal kicked his chair out from under him and overturned the table, ducking down behind it for cover. Blondie, he noted, swiftly joined him.

“Malcolm Reynolds?” the fella asked. “You are Captain Malcolm Reynolds?”

“Yeah,” Mal answered, “but now ain't exactly a good time for intro-”

Gunfire underlined his point. Mal drew his pistol and fired a few shots around the table edge. A pained cry gave him hope he might've taken taken down at least one of Patience's goons, right before a bullet pierced the thin table top and grazed Mal's arm, making it sting like hell. He peered around the table, took aim and caught a second henchman in the thigh. He went down heavily, bellowing like a steer.

In the uproar that followed, with most of the bar's patrons stampeding towards the exit, Mal quickly examined his injury. Apart from ruining a perfectly good shirt, it didn't seem serious. Mal fired off another few rounds and reloaded.

Beside him, Blondie was wearing a mighty pissed expression, glaring at Mal like the ruckus was all his fault.

“Cheer up, grumpy,” Mal advised, preparing to shoot again. “Have you out of here in no time.”

A bullet skimmed the table edge, leaving behind a ragged fringe of splintered wood and the promise was met with an exaggerated eye roll.

“If you don't get us killed first.”

“We ain't gonna get killed,” Mal scoffed. “Cuz you an' me? Too gorram pretty to die.”

Blondie whipped a small silver revolver out of nowhere.

“Call me pretty again, and I'll kill you myself.”

Mal eyed the weapon and laughed.

“Kinda small, ain't it?”

Blondie's eyes glittered.

“It's what you do with it that counts.”

And before Mal could stop him, he'd straightened up and started shooting. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Five surprisingly loud shots from that little gun, and then ... silence.

Warily, his finger still very much on the trigger of his own pistol, Mal stood.

Apart from him and Blondie, the only other person still on his feet was the barman, frozen behind the counter, eyes wide and mouth gaping, one hand clamped tight around a half-filled glass and the other holding a bottle in a white-knuckled grip. Around the edges of the room, men were crouched low, some under tables, some pressed to the walls. Gun smoke hung in the air, shifting slowly in the golden light filtering in through the windows. And on the floor, slap bang in the middle of the open space, lay the bodies of Patience and her men.

Mal shook his head in disbelief. Only one person he knew could shoot like that.

“You ain't a Reader, are you?” he asked, still staring the pile of corpses.

Blondie gave a disdainful sniff, slipped his gun back into a pocket and pulled a pack of Blue Sun full strength from another.

“No, Captain Reynolds,” he answered, lighting up. “I'm your contact.”

Mal felt his jaw clang open.

“Hunh?”

Badger had said the meet would be with a religious type, not a ... well, whatever the good gorram Blondie was.

The saloon doors crashed open and instinctively Mal spun round to point his gun at the man bursting through them.

A somewhat flushed and breathless Doctor Tam lowered the sonic rifle he was clutching.

“Mal! Thank goodness! Are you all right? Kaylee picked up a wave ... you weren't answering your comm ... Patience isn't ...”

Mal strode over and clapped a hand to his shoulder.

“There, there, son. No need to get agitated. It's all under control.”

Simon took in the scene and grimaced.

“Right. I see. Good. Right.”

Mal turned him towards Blondie.

“An', even though he mightn't look it, this here is our contact, Shepherd-”

“He's not a Shepherd, Captain,” Simon hissed in an undertone. “He's a Sanzo priest.”

“A who? A what?”

“A Sanzo priest,” Simon repeated. “You can tell by the chakra.”

Mal was still puzzling exactly what that meant, when the Doc bowed to Blondie from the waist and said something in a language Mal had never heard before. Blondie acknowledged him with a nod and said a few unintelligible words of his own in reply. Huh. The benefits of a Core education never ceased to amaze.

“Okay, gentlemen,” Mal, feeling a mite excluded, said briskly. “Best we get out of here an' discuss business in private. An' leave these good people to get back to their drinks,” he added, indicating the bar's still-shocked customers with a wave of his hand.

They made their way out into the heat of the late afternoon.

“So, your holiness, what's the job?” Mal asked as they walked away down the dusty street.

“I need to find someone,” Blondie told him. “I have reason to believe he's on St Albans.”

“St Albans?” Simon tugged at an earlobe. “Isn't that where Tracey-?”

“Ain't nothing on St Albans,” Mal interrupted, “Leastways, nothing but snow an' ice.”

Blondie, who had just gone an entire gunfight without so much as breaking a sweat, looked suddenly alarmed.

“Then we'd better hurry!”

Mal held up a hand.

“Whoa, there. Let's back up a minute. Don't recall decidin' there was any 'we' about it.”

“I can pay,” Blondie declared, producing a gilt-edged ident card. The type of ident card that meant unlimited credit. “Money's no object.”

“Huh,” Mal grunted, raising an eyebrow. “Your order not one for poverty, then? Next thing, you'll be tellin' me it don't subscribe to chastity neither.”

Blondie narrowed his eyes, but a spot of colour had risen in his cheeks.

“I don't see how the rules of my order are any concern of yours,” he growled. “Your agent said you'd take any job, no questions asked.”

Mal had always reckoned you could tell more about a fella from what he wouldn't tell you than from what he would. He smiled.

“No need to get tetchy, son. I take this job, it means takin' you in with me an' mine. Situation like that, I reckon it's worth knowin' a mite about a fella's character. Jus' wanna clarify how important the job is.”

If looks could kill, Mal would surely be dead, but he folded his arms and waited.

“Very,” Blondie finally admitted through gritted teeth, “It's very important. So tell me, Captain Reynolds, will you take me to St Albans or not?”

Mal could feel Simon willing him to say yes. 'Course, the Doc knew all about chasing half-way round the galaxy trying to find someone.

“St Alban's is a long way from here,” Mal warned. “By the time we get there, he might be gone. Might already be gone. Folks don't stay on St Albans 'less'n they have to. 'M'I still gonna get paid if he ain't there?”

“He's there,” Blondie declared with absolute and utter certainty.

“How do you know?” Simon asked before Mal could. He looked eager, hopeful, like this story had touched somewhere deep inside him. Hardly surprising really. Some nights he still woke up sweating from nightmares about those years looking for River.

Blondie took a long, slow draw on his cigarette.

“I can hear him.”

The fella was clearly crazy and, truth be told, Mal didn't much fancy having two expert marksman moonbrains on his boat. On the other hand, Simon was giving him that pleading look, Blondie's card was glinting in the sunlight and, at the back of his mind, Mal could hear Kaylee reeling off a list of all the parts Serenity was short of ...

“Four hundred platinum.”

“Done,” Blondie agreed without hesitation.

At the end of the high street, they took a left towards the woods where Simon was supposed to have waited with the mule. An hour later, they were driving up Serenity's ramp under Zoe's watchful eye.

“Simon,” Mal instructed, “You take Mr, er -”

“Sanzo,” Blondie interjected.

“Yeah. Show Mr Sanzo to the passenger dorm.”

“Of course,” Simon agreed. “But I'd like to take a look at your arm first. You could need a weave on that-”

He turned in his seat and touched gentle fingers to Mal's wound. In the rear-view mirror, Mal saw Blondie watching.

“Do as you're told for once!” he snapped, pushing Simon away - mayhap a tad more angrily than he should have.

The Doc gave him an icy glare, jumped down from the mule and headed straight up the stairs.

Blondie turned to Mal.

“Your monkey is very well behaved, Captain Reynolds,” he commented. “You should be more grateful. Mine is a complete pain in the ass.”

“Then why're you spendin' a fortune on crossin' the 'verse to find him?” Mal sneered - cuz it was either that or punch him.

Blondie stepped down from the mule and shrugged.

“Because, after a thousand years of putting up with him, I've finally understood my goddamn karmic lesson.”

Mal snorted.

“A thousand years? An' here's you not lookin' a day over twenty.”

“Ch',” Blondie sighed. “Not in this lifetime, obviously.”

Mal laughed out loud..

“You talkin' reincarnation? Load of goushi. Besides, thought folk cou'n't recall past lives?”

“It's not that they can't remember, Captain,” Blondie replied, sounding all manner of bored and weary. “It's that they choose not to. But there are always signs. Recurring dreams, deja vu - patterns that eventually you'd have to be an idiot not to see.”

A clatter of boots on the walkway overhead announced the arrival of Kaylee, who looked none too pleased as she leant over the railing. She managed to summon a bright smile for Blondie as she waved him a waggly-fingered 'hello', but by the time she'd turned back to Mal, her brow was furrowed again in an angry frown.

“What d'you do to Simon this time, Cap'n?” she demanded. “He's cussin' fit to bust an' that ain't like him. Says he won't cook supper neither. Why've the two of you always gotta be rowin'?”

Blondie caught Mal's eye and raised a querying brow

“Perhaps that's your pattern, Captain?” he suggested with what could only be described as a smirk.

Yep. He was feng kuang all right, Mal decided. The trip to St Albans was gonna be a long one.

“You jus' get yourself down here, Kaylee,” Mal called up to his mechanic, “an' show our guest to the passenger dorm. Simon wants to throw a tantrum, that's his business.”

Kaylee rolled her eyes but came running down the stairs anyway - more out of interest in the new-comer than deference to her Captain, Mal was sure. As she led Blondie away past the infirmary, Zoe descended the stairs on the other side of the cargo bay.

“New crew, Sir?” she asked.

Mal shook his head.

“Got enough crazies on this boat as it is. He wants passage to St Albans is all. Says he's looking for someone he met in a previous lifetime.”

“You don't believe him, Sir?”

Mal laughed.

“Comin' back from the dead? Hell, no, Zoe! Don't tell me you do.”

There was a long moment of silence.

“Wish I could, Sir.”

Wo de ma! It had been two years and sometimes Mal forgot. Forgot that she'd lost the only man Mal had ever known her want. Forgot too how precious finding that special someone was. How it shouldn't ever be taken for granted.

“Shall I tell River we're clear for take-off?” Zoe asked, hand hovering near the comms button.

Mal nodded and headed for the stairs.

All of a sudden he had a powerful need to tell his medic something.

* * * * * * *

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Yes, it's been a long time. No, I haven't entirely abandoned Make Me A Stone. But I'm not quite ready to resume it yet. To anyone who cares, sorry.

COMMENTS

Friday, March 2, 2007 1:26 PM

AMDOBELL


Well this is something totally different, I wasn't expecting a cross dressing religious reincarnated person to figure so prominently! Um, just for the record, did Patience get shot? Only after the gunfire when they leave there is no mention of Patience being still up and around. Okay, so wishful thinking on my part. Hope we get to see Mal apologise to Simon. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Saturday, March 3, 2007 10:25 AM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Uh...Alison? Think Kispexi2 kinda indicated that Sanzo airated Patience along with her goons with the following line:

"Apart from him and Blondie, the only other person still on his feet was the barman, frozen behind the counter, eyes wide and mouth gaping, one hand clamped tight around a half-filled glass and the other holding a bottle in a white-knuckled grip. Around the edges of the room, men were crouched low, some under tables, some pressed to the walls. Gun smoke hung in the air, shifting slowly in the golden light filtering in through the windows. And on the floor, slap bang in the middle of the open space, lay the bodies of Patience and her men."

And this was definitely some brilliant work, Kis! Excellent action descriptions and everyone's reactions were definitely spot on (though since I am not familiar with the manga/anime you've crossed Firefly with, I can't be 100% certain of my statement when it comes to Sanzo;D)

BEB

Sunday, March 4, 2007 1:12 AM

KISPEXI2


Thanks BEB! (And you need to get familiar with Saiyuki. Really. It's such fun, once you get your head round the weird story-telling structure).

Ali - Hee! Sanzo's not a cross-dresser! Although he's always very cross. He wears ceremonial robes, which, to the casual observer look a bit like a dress. Particularly as he's very, very pretty. ;-)

Sunday, March 4, 2007 6:43 AM

GUILDSISTER


Loved Mal's reactions to the not-quite-a-crossdresser! I don't know Sanzo either, but you created the character so vividly it doesn't matter.

I wanted mention of Patience, too, after the carnage. I wasn't sure she was dead (being the hard-to-kill sort), and thought Mal should have had some notice of her.

Always delightful to see another story of yours!


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