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you can't take the sky from me, dos

Title:  you can't take the sky from me, part two of ?
Rating:  PG
Characters, Pairings:  Ensemble of both Firefly and AtLA; Kaylee/Simon, Suki/Sokka, Wash/Sokka, eventual Zuko/Katara.  I haven't decided between River/Aang or Toph/Aang yet...
Summary:  The Gaang find themselves in an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar technology, and have to rely on the only kindness they can find.  Unfortunately, kindness seems to be an endangered creature in this new place. x-over with Firefly/Serenity, post-movie (but that thing that happened toward the end, with the javelin and the "he ain't comin'"?  Yeah, that didn't happen.)
A/N:  Since I failed at the second half of Zutara week, have part two of the Mad Crossover.  (For the record, so I don't feel so skeevy for making sex jokes, it's been a bit since the finale, at least a couple of years.)

part one. two.  threefour. five.

episode one:
strangers in a strange land

chapter two:
(public relations)

"So," Sokka said, sitting cross-legged on his and Suki's bed, and looked around at the assembled group.  The passenger dorms were not exactly roomy, but they were nice enough, and he was already trying to come up with ways around the sliding paper-doors and near-total lack of privacy.  He wondered if Wash might have any pointers.  "What do we think?"

"I like it," Toph replied quickly, playing with her space-bracelet, which seemed considerably less interesting after recent events.  "It's a little weird, and my bending's not perfect, but it's good enough.  And these people have awesome weapons.  I got that Jayne guy to show me his guns and it was amazing."

Three seconds of silence followed this sentence, and then everyone started talking at once.

"Toph, are you crazy?" -Suki

"What are guns?" -Sokka

"I do not trust that guy, Toph!" -Aang

"You shouldn't go off alone with strangers!" -Katara

"Toph, that was a bad idea!" -Zuko

She responded with a snort.  "What, it's not like he attacked me or anything.  What's the worst thing that could happen?"

Sokka blinked.  Either she honestly didn't know -- which he genuinely hoped for, because the thought of Toph having sex made him feel unclean -- or she knew perfectly well and was messing with their heads.  Or, worse, she knew perfectly well and wanted them to think she didn't, which would mean that she had plans to do some sort of thing with someone and that thought made him desperately want to commit ritual suicide.

"Okay, moving past... that," he said, and shivered, "what does everyone else think?"

"I like Wash," Suki replied unnecessarily.  "And now that I know he and Zoe are married, she doesn't seem so scary."

"Wait," Zuko cut in, "Zoe is married to the pilot?  That's... weird."

Suki shrugged.  "No weirder than me and Sokka."

"I guess..."

"That River girl..." Katara mused, "she seems... off.  She also knows about bending."

"What?" everyone asked, startled.  Katara looked up.

"She asked me to teach her waterbending.  I... well, that was when I screamed, so I didn't really get a chance to reply.  I don't know, there's something weird about her."

"Hmm," Zuko replied, chin on his fist.  "Mal told me she's an interesting character, and had something to do with the Alliance, whatever that is?  He didn't seem like he wanted to talk about it.  I think we need to figure out some information about this place if we want a chance at getting back home."

"But how?" Sokka asked.  "We don't know anything about anything here, and there's only so many questions you can ask before people throw you off their ship."

"I know!" Toph cried, grinning.  "Alcohol!"

Sokka stared at her.  "One, you're underage.  Two, that's not an answer.  Three, how do you plan to get alcohol?"

"Mal had some earlier," Aang piped in.

"And it's totally an answer," Toph replied, still beaming.  "We get Jayne drunk, and interrogate him.  Then we know stuff!"

"Hmm, it could work," Sokka muttered, thinking about it seriously.

"Uh, can I say something?" Katara said, holding up a hand.  "We don't know anything about Jayne, other than the fact that he's big, scary, and has lots and lots of weapons.  Getting him drunk might be a bad idea."

"On the other hand, we don't have a whole lot of options," Zuko said, making a face.  Katara shook her head.

"No," she said firmly.  "I'll ask Kaylee if she has any scrolls or books that might have information for us.  It's much more reliable, and doesn't involve Jayne."

"I like my plan better," Toph grumbled, but everyone ignored her.

"Okay, that's a good idea," Sokka said, nodding.  "But we're confined to the dorms, aren't we?"

"Mal said we could go to the dining area whenever we liked, but that was before Katara... well," Suki said, and shot Katara a look.  "I think, as long as we don't do anything wrong, we'll be all right."

"Then again," Sokka mused, tapping his chin, "Wash did say that we really don't want to piss Mal off.  Maybe we should let him cool down some."

"Now that," Toph said, "is a plan I can agree with.  You're being awful quiet, Twinkletoes.  What's your take?"

Everyone turned to Aang, who didn't look pleased at the attention.  "I, um, whatever you think is fine with me."

"I meant on the people we're traveling with," Toph replied, exasperated.

"Oh," he said, although Sokka doubted that he had actually been confused on that front.  A long moment passed, and then he shrugged.  "I...  They seem... nice."

He glanced to Zuko for help, but Zuko was pointedly not looking at Aang anymore, so he found nothing there.  Sokka peered at the two of them.  It wasn't hard to understand Aang's discomfort; after all, this crew seemed a little more... cynical than Aang was used to, and Sokka had gotten the distinct impression that, Kaylee and possibly Wash aside, any of them would kill anyone who stood in their way.  He only hoped that they didn't end up in the way.

"Nice?" Toph asked, raising an eyebrow, always the one to challenge.

"Yeah," Aang replied blankly, and then landed on something positive to say, "Kaylee.  She's really... she's friendly.  I like her."

"And you haven't really met Wash yet," Suki offered tentatively.  "I'm sure you'll like him, too."

"Right," Aang said, nodding.  "I'm sure."

A moment of uncomfortable silence followed.  Sokka coughed.  "Well, whatever happens, there's not much we can do tonight.  Or, well.  Is it night?"  He paused, thinking about that.  "How can we tell the difference between night and day when we're not on the planet?  A planet.  Whatever."

"It seems like night," Katara suggested, looking up as though she would find a blinking sign proclaiming the answer.  "It was afternoon when we boarded, and it's been a few hours.  Maybe we should get sleep?  Or dinner?"

"Dinner..." Sokka moaned, but Toph shook her head.

"Nah, sleep first.  I think they ate on that planet."

"By the way, can I just..." Suki started, and then shook her head.  "What is this about multiple planets?  I mean, obviously, they weren't lying to us, and I admit, flying through space is pretty cool," here, she laughed a bit, in a way that suggested she had probably always kind of dreamed of doing this, "but last time I checked, we didn't have a bunch of planets.  Or ships that flew between them.  Or guns."

"Obviously," Sokka said, tapping his chin, "something happened at the Eastern Air Temple that sent us to this bizzarro world.  Worlds.  Place."

"'Verse," a voice said, from the doorway, and everyone started.  In the doorway was Mal, looking at them strangely.  "Most people call it the 'Verse."

"Oh," Sokka replied dumbly.

"Seems to me that y'all got some explainin' to do."

"Um," Sokka replied dumbly.

"So why don't you just come out to the dining area and we can all talk?"

"Right," Sokka replied dumbly.


This, Suki mused, must be what a genuine trial felt like.  The crew was all seated around the dinner table, watching where she and her friends were lined up in front of them.  She tried to place the names to the faces she had seen, but she had never had all that great of a memory for names.  Still, she knew Wash, and Zoe and Jayne were kind of hard to miss, Mal was easy enough to remember, and Kaylee stood out well enough.  The other two, she supposed, must be the doctor and his sister that Wash had mentioned.  She didn't think they looked especially friendly, although the sister didn't look especially sane either.

"So," Sokka started, and glanced around, trying to figure out how to start.  Jayne snickered and took a deep, pointed sip of what was probably not water.  "It's like this.  Um."

"We don't know how we got here," Zuko said, saving him, and presumably banking on the goodwill he'd earned with Mal earlier in the day.  "We were minding our own business in a completely different... universe, I don't know, and then we were on that planet.  We started looking around for answers and directions, and Katara," he nodded to her, "ran into Kaylee.  The rest, you already know."

"Tell us about this mystery world o' yours," Mal prompted, clearly unimpressed.  Zuko nodded.

"There are four nations, or, well, there were," here he faltered a bit, and then quickly regained steam.  "The water tribes, at either pole, which Sokka and Katara are from, the Earth Kingdom on the eastern continent, where Toph and Suki are from, and the Fire Nation, where I'm from."

"And Aang?"

"Air Nomad," Aang replied.  "But I'm the last one."

"What happened to the rest of them?" Wash asked, brow furrowed.  Everyone glanced uncomfortably at Zuko.

"Genocide," he said bluntly,  "In the war."

"There's always a war, isn't there?" Kaylee said, laughing a bit, trying to clear the tension.  It didn't work, and only earned her an unamused glance from Mal.

"So, you're from this strange world with terribly uncreative names," Mal summarized.  "Any particular reason for those?"

There was a moment of silence as they tried to figure out how to explain this without being thoroughly mocked, thrown out of the airlock, or possibly killed right there, but Toph took the initiative before any explaining could be done.  She pulled the space bracelet from around her arm and easily molded it into a crude pair of chopsticks.  Kaylee gasped, and Toph handed over the chopsticks.  "It's called bending.  I'm from the Earth Kingdom, so I bend earth, or stone.  And metal, because I'm awesome."

"Bullshit," Jayne grumbled, but Kaylee was too busy examining the chopsticks to care.  The doctor (Sam?  Iman?) leaned over her shoulder and peered at them.

"That doesn't... she must be manipulating the atoms, but I don't..."

"So," Zoe cut in, apparently unfazed by the events.  "I take it the Fire Nation controls fire, the Water Tribes water, and the Air people air?"

"Right," Zuko replied, and lit a tiny, rather pathetic fire in his palm.  "I... usually, it's better than that, but for some reason I can't firebend as well here."

"That just doesn't make sense," the doctor cried.  "There's nothing to manipulate!  Fire is just a chemical reaction!  He can't have fire without fuel."

"He just did, though," Kaylee said, a bit amused.

"It does have fuel," River said at the same time, her voice distant.  "Firebending comes from the breath."  Zuko stared at her.  She smiled.  "Fire is life, takes its life from within the bender."

"How do you..."

"River, that's not fuel... I would have thought you'd..."

She didn't let him finish his sentence, "There's nothing to dispute.  Obviously, they can manipulate the classical elements.  The only question left is how."

"Sounds good," Mal said, and then looked to them.  "How?"

"The spirits," Aang replied brightly.

"Oh -- " Mal descended into what sounded like very vehement cursing, albeit not any kind of cursing Suki had ever heard, and she had heard (or said) most kinds that existed.  "Not more of this."

Kaylee was laughing outright now.  "Seems like someone's tryin' to tell ya something, don't it?"

"Did I say something wrong?"

"No," Wash replied gently, "Mal just isn't... he doesn't really... he's what you'd call an atheist."

"What's that?" 

Almost a full minute of total silence passed after this question.  Even Kaylee couldn't laugh.  Finally, Aang coughed.  "Can we just... act like I didn't say anything?"

"I can work with that," Wash said.

"So..." Zuko said, cutting into the awkward silence.  "What else?"

"Oh," Kaylee cried, "Simon's got a 'cyclopedia he can lend ya, so you can read up on... everything.  That's good, right?"

Simon, Suki thought.  Try to remember Simon.  She had all the other names, but for some reason, she kept remembering him as Iman, which was weird, because Iman was this creepy merchant guy who had passed through Kyoshi once when she was young and tried to buy her off her parents for... nefarious purposes.  She assumed that this was the reason for her intense and irrational dislike of the doctor.

"That's great, actually," Katara breathed.  "Toph, can you get it?"

"What good's it do me to get an encyclopedia?"

"You can't read?" Kaylee asked, confused.  Toph blinked.

"I'm blind."

"Wait," Wash, Zoe, and Mal all said at once, "you're blind?"

"You mean you didn't know?" Jayne replied gruffly, and Toph smirked.  Everyone turned to him, and he shrugged.  "I knew."

Mal let out a string of presumably-cursewords, and then shook his head.  "All right.  All right.  I'm going to bed, and I'm gonna pretend this whole day is just a real nasty dream.  Good night."  With that, he stalked off and disappeared down the hallway.  Katara stared.

"Is that... can we go?"

"I think so," Zoe replied, barely managing to hide a small smile.

"Here, let's get the encyclopedia!" Kaylee said brightly, and bounced off, returning a moment later with a strange sort of book.  It should have confused Suki, but then, she had seen so many weird things today that this didn't even register.  "You open it up and talk to it about whatever you want to know, and it tells ya stuff.  It ain't perfect, but it's a start."

"Thanks," Zuko said, inspecting it absently.  "When do you want it back?"

Simon shrugged.  "It doesn't really matter anymore.  Keep it, if you'd like."

"Those things're never as useful as they seem," Zoe said ominously.


Zuko woke up abruptly to the realization that someone was in his room, and he was not pleased.  It had taken him forever to fall asleep in the first place -- as the ship made more noise than even the one he'd been banished on, and it was completely unfamiliar, and the bed appeared to be little more than a mattress-shaped amalgam of rocks and other lumpy things -- and his chances of getting any more sleep before dawn (or whatever constituted dawn here) were slim.

This was, he would later explain, why he almost killed Katara.

She didn't scream, or even shriek, instead letting out a stream of whispered cursewords and flailed about desperately, clutching his arm and pulling him off the bed and onto the floor with her.  He lit a small fire in his palm.

Katara was sitting in an extremely undignified position, the little encyclopedia in her hands, eyes wide and gasping for breath.

"Are you lost?" he asked, and tried to un-tangle his feet from the sheets.

"No, I...  Zuko, I did some research on this place and..."


"I think we're on the wrong side."

He stared at her for a long moment, and then turned on the actual overhead light (something he was just getting used to).  "What makes you say that?"

She scrambled up onto the bed beside him and held out the encyclopedia, but didn't give it to him.  "I was reading up on the war that ended almost seven years ago.  It was the Alliance versus the Independents."


"So, Mal wears a brown coat, doesn't he?"

He blinked at her, and tried to connect these two statements, but unfortunately came up completely blank.  "I... Yeah...?"

"The Independents, they were called the Browncoats in the war.  I think Mal fought for them."

"And that means... what, exactly?"

She made a frustrated sound.  "I'm not sure.  This thing... it was obviously made by the Alliance, but it seems reasonable enough, and... Well, if it's to be believed, they did some pretty bad things in the war."

"Katara," Zuko said firmly, "take it from someone who knows -- history is written by the victor."  She didn't seem to see where he was going with that, so he continued, "Whatever the Independents might have done in the war, I'm sure the Alliance did just as bad, or worse.  It's war.  There is no good side."

"I don't know..." she muttered, looking worried.

"Well, either way, there's not much we can do about it now.  Why did you come to me, anyway?"

She blushed.  "I... I was going to talk to Sokka about it, but..."

"You got lost."

"Well, no, I just... didn't realize this wasn't Sokka's room."

"So," he said, pretending to think about it and suppressing a snicker, "you're basically saying that you got... lost."

She stuck her tongue out at him.


( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 1st, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
"So, you're from this strange world with terribly uncreative names," Mal summarized.

hahahahahaaaaa. :D I rather like this! Look forward to seeing more of it!
Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:20 am (UTC)
Thank you! :D
Aug. 1st, 2010 01:51 am (UTC)
MOAR please!
Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:20 am (UTC)
Working on it! <3
Aug. 1st, 2010 01:52 am (UTC)
This AU-verse is WIN :D

River knowing everything. And wanting to learn waterbending! <3

Also, I am way too amused at Aang getting a crash course in tolerating someone else's beliefs...from Mal

Toph and Jayne! The Verse will implode with all that badassery!

Looking forward to more!
Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:21 am (UTC)
I'm having fun with it. I don't really have a plot, so I'm just kind of... playing with the world.

I'm glad you enjoy it!
Aug. 1st, 2010 01:58 am (UTC)

Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:22 am (UTC)

Aug. 1st, 2010 02:03 am (UTC)
I can't wait to figure out why everyone's bending has been affected. Effected? I can never tell the difference, and I majored in English. ;_;
Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:25 am (UTC)
It's totally lame. I was just thinking, you know, they're on this system of multiple planets and moons, and the makeup of the rock is probably different than what Toph is used to -- so hers is variable and alien to her, but it's ultimately the same stuff -- and the distance from the sun changes depending on which planet/moon they're on -- so Zuko's bending would be affected by that -- and then, if they're on a planet with a bunch of moons, then presumably Katara's bending would be affected because of that... Oh, and Aang can't bend the other elements because he's not the Avatar in this world, but since all the planets and moons were terraformed to be as Earth-like as possible, the atmosphere is close enough to normal for him to still airbend, although it's kind of like Toph's.

Yeah, it's one of the side-effects of mixing semi-hard sci-fi with magic. You end up with really, really ridiculous explanations for things. <<
(no subject) - marybwolf - Aug. 3rd, 2010 05:18 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 1st, 2010 02:25 am (UTC)
yay,can't wait for the next chapter :D
Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:25 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Aug. 1st, 2010 02:57 am (UTC)
I'm just flying on the idea that Jayne knew something (something that should have been so obvious) first.

Loving this story. You're a genius. :D
Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:26 am (UTC)
I kind of really wanted to write that scene a lot. And, well, the others probably weren't paying a whole lot of attention to Toph, so it's forgivable.

Thank you! I'm having fun writing it, which is always good.
Aug. 1st, 2010 03:16 am (UTC)
Love this! Can't wait to see more.
Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:27 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Aug. 1st, 2010 03:20 am (UTC)
YES to avoid the skeevy because I kind of want Jayne to hit on Toph all the girls to be crushing on Simon. (I mean at least until he opens his mouth. Bless.)

...and then I move past the author notes and what's the first thing happening? ANDROMEDA, YOU LOVE ME, YOU REALLY DO. :-b

apparently I am reviewing as I read. Oops.

also I love your Sokka also please please get Jayne drunk please.

poor Aang. Serenity may fly, but it is not part of the Air Nomads.


this fic is filling me with such giddy fangirl glee

ATHEIST please excuse me whilst I laugh hysterically. Poor Aang.

...I officially love your Suki forever.

I can't really get behind River/Aang, but now you've got me shipping Jayne/Toph like burning. Apparently Aang is doomed to be single in all my mental canons.

omg Katara. <3

omg this fic. thank you so much for sharing.
Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:31 am (UTC)
Yeah, I figure, I've got to age them up at least four years so that stops being really, really creepy. I mean, Jayne's at least thirty-something and Toph would be sixteen, so it's still kind of skeevy, but at least she's been through puberty then. D: (Oh, and Katara/Simon interaction is going to happen, and it's going to be so awkward.)

On the other hand, Jayne/Toph is several kinds of awesome and hilarious to imagine, so... yeah.

I don't know, River/Aang has possibilities. I'm gonna play with it some and see what happens.

I'm glad you enjoy it so much! It's such fun to write.
(no subject) - jade_sabre_301 - Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:36 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 1st, 2010 06:18 am (UTC)
I don't have words to describe how much I love this!! I got so fan girl giddy when I saw that you posted more!!
Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:32 am (UTC)
Thank you! Also, d'aww, Bambi.
Aug. 1st, 2010 02:08 pm (UTC)
The voices are perfect--spot on. I can hear Mal swearing in my head and Kaylee being all chipper and Wash's "I can work with that." River's mention of the "classical elements" recalls all her crazy-but-somewhat-accurate moments on the show.

As far as I'm concerned, you don't have to ever explain how the kids got in this 'Verse, as long as you keep bringing the excellent character moments.

I'm looking forward to Inara and hearing more about Suki's past. And River. And more Katara-Zuko interaction. Just more! Thanks for sharing this.
Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:35 am (UTC)
Thank you! I've been really nervous about writing Firefly fic for a while because the language is hard to replicate, so I'm glad to see that it worked!

Like I said above, I don't really have a concrete plot yet? but I'm just having fun playing around with the world and the characters in them right now, so we'll see how it turns out plot-and-backstory-wise.

(I figure, Inara and Suki will get along really, really well, and I can't wait to get to that part! :D)
Aug. 1st, 2010 03:53 pm (UTC)
I'm too busy fangirling like a mad person to day something coherent but this is wonderful and I adore it! Couldn't get past Toph and sex though, how old are she and Aang so I can be more okay and love the concept of her and Jayne.
Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:37 am (UTC)
Thank you! I figure, I have to age them up at least four years, to get her and Aang out of early puberty. So, sixteen or seventeen? I haven't decided yet. It's still a little skeevy, but nowhere nearly as bad as her being twelve.
Aug. 1st, 2010 08:12 pm (UTC)
At the risk of having to jump off a bridge for following the crowd, let me just say: JAYNE/TOPH, yes. Aang/River no. I think Toph/Aang is kinda cute, but that's the only girl I can really ship him with (except Meng, because oh em eff gee, adorable). Plus, no love for Aang. Aunt Wu said so. *sadface*
Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:39 am (UTC)
Oh, Jayne/Toph interaction will be happening because it's too much fun. :D

Aww, poor Aang. I mean, I have some issues with him, but most of those are the kind of issues he'll grow out of given some time and smack upside the head. I dunno, though, River/Aang (Rivaang? Aaver?) has some potential. I'm just playing with the world and the characters at this point, so we'll see how it ends up. :)

I'm glad you enjoy it!
(no subject) - marybwolf - Aug. 3rd, 2010 05:23 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 3rd, 2010 12:25 am (UTC)
"He's what you'd call an atheist."
"What's that?"

I'll be over in the corner laughing myself to death.
Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:40 am (UTC)
Yeah, I couldn't resist that one. I'm glad you enjoy it!

Aug. 5th, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC)
Jayne + Toph FTW!!!

Love it and can't wait to read more. :)
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )


Katara x Prince Zuko Shippers

water & fire

One moon (one moon)
One star (one star)
I love the one we are
One thread (one thread)
One line (one line)
That runs through our lives

After all is said and done
One and one still is one
When we cry, when we laugh
I am half, you are half
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