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you can't take the sky from me, three/?

Title:  you can't take the sky from me
Rating:  PG
Characters, Pairings:  Ensemble from both Firefly and A:tLA, Zuko/Katara, some one-sided Aang --> Toph in this bit, hints of Jayne/Toph, Wash/Zoe, some Katara --> Simon.
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.)
Chapter Summary:  In which Katara and Simon are awkward, Kaylee and Suki get along famously, Toph is BAMF, and Sokka gets excited.
A/N:  I'm sorry this took so long!  I got caught up in other fics!

one. two. three. four. five.

episode one:
strangers in a strange land

chapter three:
(out of the abbey)


"So, um... hi," Katara said, poking her head in the doorway.  The doctor -- Simon, right? -- turned.

"Hello.  It's... Katrina?"

"Katara, actually," she replied, and Simon smiled, rubbing the back of his head.

"Sorry, I'm not...  Um, is there something I can help you with?" he asked.

Well, she thought.  He was just adorable.  "Yeah, um," she started, and then lost track of her thought.  "I was...  You see," she sighed, and then tried to start over.  "It's like this.  In our world, waterbending can... well, I can heal.  And you're the healer for the ship, so I just wanted to, um, talk to you and..."  She didn't want to say offer my services because that sounded sort of creepy and uncomfortable, but she didn't know how else to say it.  "See if I could help any?"

"You can... heal with water?" he said, looking at her like she'd grown another head.  "How does that work, exactly?"

"Um, well, I just..."  How did it work, exactly?  It was kind of like trying to explain music to a deaf person.  To Katara, waterbending was natural, and using it to heal was like... well, it was like using your voice to sing.  "It's hard to explain," she muttered, and Simon nodded.  Strangely enough, she really wanted to impress this Simon person, not just because he was handsome, and older, and clearly smart...

Okay, maybe it was.

"Well, what did you want to help me with?  I've got most of the medical work under control, unless something goes really wrong..."

"I could just...  I mean, I..."  She did not like feeling flustered like this.  "Waterbending is great for healing, but sometimes it doesn't work, you know?"

He stared.  "No," he replied bluntly, "I... I can't say that I do."

"If... I mean, if someone has internal injuries, or they've been shot with an arrow, or things like that, I can't do anything about it, and I'd like to learn how."

"You want me to teach you surgery?"

There was a long moment where they just stood there and stared at each other, this huge barrier of complete confusion between them.  "I want to know how to remove arrowheads, or... what are they called?"

"Bullets?" he prompted, and then mimed the shape of a weapon.  "What the weapons shoot?"

"Yes," she said firmly.  "You don't have to teach me all the details, but... First Aid, you know, if something goes wrong and we can't get to you."

"That seems reasonable..." he mused.  "But I'll have to get a dummy to let you practice on, or wait until someone gets shot..."

"Don't you mean if?" she asked blankly, and Simon gave a dark, cynical laugh.

--

"So, we make this delivery, and -- "

"Hang on," Wash said, raising a hand.  "I seem to remember going over this a few times before."

Mal ran a hand over his face.  "There aren't so many people willin' to deal with us.  We have to take what we can get.  Just as a precaution, though, Jayne, I want you and Zoe wearing vests."

"Way ahead of you, sir," Zoe replied.

"You know, I'm pretty sure we can find someone to sell this cargo to who hasn't tried to kill us twice before," Wash insisted.

"Yeah?" Mal asked, crossing his arms.  "Who?"

Wash opened and closed his mouth a couple of times, and then landed on something -- "Fanty and Mingo."

It was Jayne who answered, "Yeah, right, after that little show with River?  Ain't no way they'll deal with us."

"Aw, it was just a bar fight," Wash said, shrugging.  "Those happen all the time."

"Answer's no, Wash," Mal replied sharply.  "They were swindlin' us, anyway."

"And Patience wasn't?"

"The point," Zoe said, cutting into the conversation and laying a hand on Wash's shoulder, "is that Patience failed."

"Did Fanty and Mingo actually make off with that money, or did River distract them out of it?  I wasn't paying attention."

Zoe rolled her eyes, and then the proceedings were interrupted by the arrival of Toph -- armed to the teeth, courtesy of a weirdly-proud Jayne -- and Aang, who looked terrified.

"Wherever you're going," Toph said gleefully, "I want in."

"And I'm not letting her go alone," Aang added, although his face betrayed his utter horror at the concept of Toph with mass quantity of projectile weapons.

"She ain't alone," Jayne said flippantly, and then whistled.  "You know, I might let you handle Vera someday, li'l girl."

Everyone who knew Jayne shuddered.  Mal stepped up.  "Toph, it's cute that you want to join, but... you're blind."

"Yeah, so?"

"You can't shoot a gun if you're blind."

She grinned, and it was positively feral, "See, cap'n, that's where you're wrong.  I see through my feet, which makes me an awesome shot."

"That made absolutely no sense," Wash said.

"She feels the vibrations in the ground," Aang explained.  "And we've worked out our fighting styles pretty well over the past few years.  She takes care of anything on the ground, I take care of anything in the air."

"You do realize that we might have to kill people, don't you?" Mal asked, and Aang looked from the captain to Toph, torn, before finally sighing.

"Yeah, I do," he said quietly, "but I can't leave Toph alone."

"You totally can, Twinkletoes, I've got Jayne to help me," she replied brightly, and Aang's face darkened a bit.  He didn't say it, but everyone else could clearly see the that was my point written all over him.  Mal considered this for a moment -- on the one hand, Aang annoyed the hell out of him, but on the other hand, he was right and Mal had no intention of keeping watch over a teenage girl with delusions of grandeur.

"All right, fine," he conceded, shrugging.  "If you die, it wasn't my fault and I still expect to get paid.  Make sure you wear a vest."

"A vest?" Aang asked blankly, and Mal closed his eyes and prayed for patience.

"A bulletproof vest," Zoe explained.  "I don't think we have any that'll fit them, sir."

"It's all right," Toph said, "I'll just earthbend us some shields if we need them."

--

Zuko was torn.  He rather liked Kaylee -- she was sweet and friendly, and reminded him an awful lot of Ty Lee -- but he also wasn't especially interested in anything she was saying.  She seemed to be under the impression that he had an interest in engines and machinery, and was so excited to have someone on board who wanted to hear her talk about her passion, that he didn't have the heart to tell her to please shut up.

Luckily, Suki was also in the engine room, and was actually interested in what went on there -- which was strange, as he'd never pegged Suki as that sort -- so he didn't have to do much other than nod and smile at the right places.

"So, if that fails, the whole engine goes?" Suki asked, eyes wide, and Kaylee nodded.

"Yup.  It actually happened once," she replied, and shuddered.  "It wa'n't pretty."

"How do you keep it in repair?  It seems like such a small thing..."

"It is," Kaylee said, "but I've got this cool system..."  She went on to explain, in terms that Zuko did not at all comprehend, how she kept everything running.  Suki seemed to be in love.

He wondered how things were back home.  How was the Fire Nation doing without him, and without the Avatar?  Were there search parties out hunting for them?  Did they even know they were missing?  Had their home world just ceased to exist when they appeared here?  It was a terrible thought.  He imagined everything he knew just not existing -- Uncle, and Mai, and Azula, and Ba Sing Se, and that amazing little diner that had never asked questions about the Fire Lord visiting -- and it made him a little sick.

This place was nice, sure, but he liked his home -- or, well, he liked it on average -- and he wanted to get back there.  It was starting to seem like a hopeless dream, though.  They had no leads, no ideas, and the only way they knew that the whole thing wasn't just a hallucination was their bending.  And worse, he seemed to be the only person who cared.  Sokka was determined to learn how to pilot a ship, Toph was having the time of her life, Aang was desperately trying to keep Toph from accidentally killing herself, Suki was fascinated with all parts of this world, and Katara...

Katara.  She seemed unsure, which was something, at least.  He wondered if he should talk to her about this.  She was more concerned about figuring out the war and which side Mal had been on in it, but it was at least better than nothing.

"What do you think, Zuko?" Suki asked, startling him out of his reverie.  He froze, and blinked several times.  Kaylee giggled.

"Looks like he was thinkin' about someone," she teased.

He was about to panic and insist that no, of course he wasn't, but then he realized that this was his chance.  "I was, actually," he replied, shocking Suki.  "I was just thinking... I haven't seen Katara since breakfast."

"She wanted to talk to Simon about something," Suki answered, but Kaylee's eyes lit up in a way that frankly terrified him.

"Ooh, Katara," she trilled, drawing out the syllables, and placing a hand on his back, leading him out of the engine room.  "Go get 'er now, while the Cap'n's off on the job an' the dorms are empty," Kaylee said, grinning hugely.  Suki tried, and failed, to stifle her laughter.  Zuko paled.

"That's not what I -- "

"Sure it ain't," Kaylee replied, and pushed him lightly, leaving engine grease on his back.

--

"All right," Wash said, leaning back in his seat.  Sokka, perched on the floor next to him with a look of pure adoration on his face, sat up a little higher.

"Now you can teach me to pilot?"

Wash grinned.  "C'mon.  We can't go far, 'cause we've gotta be ready to go at a moment's notice, but I can show you a few tricks on the shuttle."

Sokka hopped up and trotted after Wash, still beaming, and didn't even notice the way that Suki and Kaylee were snickering and whispering to each other in the hallway.  He was getting to fly an airship.  An actual airship.  He hadn't felt this giddy since they'd defeated Ozai.  It was almost pathetic, really, how excited this concept made him.

"Okay," Wash announced, showing him into the little shuttle.  It was clearly used mostly for storage, packed with boxes upon boxes of things.  One of them was open a little, and Sokka peered in, finding an old, thick book with writing all over the pages and a sheaf of paper -- which appeared to have once been part of the book -- slid carefully inside it.  "That used to belong to the Shepherd," Wash said, and Sokka jumped.

"Huh?"

"Shepherd Book," he explained.  "That was his.  He... died a few weeks ago."

"I'm sorry," Sokka replied, feeling strangely intrusive, standing there holding a dead man's book.  "What happened to him?"

"The Alliance," was all Wash said.  "Now let's show you the ropes."

--

"I'll admit," Mal said, hands on his hips, "I've had better ideas."

"Which ones are these, sir?" Zoe replied dryly, and Mal glanced at her, unamused.

Jayne's voice came over the intercom, "We dealing, or what?"

"She'll show," Mal told him, never taking his eyes off the horizon.  "She has to," he added, to himself.

"Why is that, sir?" Zoe asked, hand on her shotgun.  "We did kill some of her men the last time we dealt with her."

"Yeah, but only 'cause she tried to get away without payin'.  If she'd played fair, no one woulda got hurt."  He looked around warily.  "She needs what we've got."

"There are other people she can deal with, sir," Zoe said gravely.  "I don't like this.  We should cut our losses and go back to the ship."

"Now, have you ever known me to do that?"

"Yes," Jayne said through the intercom, and Mal jumped.

"Well, I'm not doin' it this time," he replied bitterly, to both Zoe and Jayne.  "We need the money."

"We can convert the money that Zuko gave us for passage, sir, and we don't have to deal with Patience."

"We don't even know if we can convert that to real money," he retorted, "and I don't like havin' Alliance goods on my ship.  Ain't done me any favors yet."

A new voice came over the intercom -- "Horses, coming from... What's that direction?"

"Ow," Aang cried, and then answered, "East, I think."

"From the town," Mal confirmed, and then mused for a moment on how useful that little blind girl could turn out to be.  The rest of them -- save possibly Zuko -- he could do without, but Toph was proving herself to be a damn good ally.  "See?  I told ya they'd show."

"Lots of them," Toph said, an edge to her voice, "I count at least seven."

"Wasn't this supposed to be a simple deal?" Aang asked.  "Why so many?"

"'Cause it's Patience," Zoe answered, already bracing for the worst.  Finally, the horses that Toph had already sensed came into view.  Sure enough, seven of them, with Patience at the forefront.  It was eerily -- and unhappily -- familiar.

"Well, well, well," Patience said when she rode up, a sour look on her face.  "You thinkin' maybe third time's the charm?"

"Can we not exchange bullets this time?" Mal asked, annoyed.  "I just want to deal like normal folk."

"Maybe you shouldn't have set up snipers, then," she replied coolly, but Mal wasn't especially worried.  Jayne could hold his own in battle, and if Toph could pick out seven horses from half a mile away, then he didn't think she'd have too many issues with Patience's people.

"Well, maybe you shouldn't give me reason to," he countered.  "I've got the supplies you need, hidden in the brush about a quarter of a mile that way," he gestured vaguely south.  "Just pay me and we can walk away without any wounds or dead horses this time."

"You know you have to show me proof you've got the goods."

"Naturally," he replied, and nodded to Zoe, who opened the small box they'd brought with them.  Inside were a collection of seeds, carefully divided into little glass canisters.  "In this one, you've got tomatoes and cucumbers.  Plenty more for the taking.  We agreed on the price."

Naked greed fell over Patience's face -- fruits and vegetables were like gold to these outlying planets.  The old woman made a face, but finally relented, handing over the money as Zoe handed her the box.  "I don't like it, but in the interest of not repeating ourselves, I'll deal.  Personally, I think I came out on -- "

Just then, the ground shook and a loud crashing came from the direction Patience had ridden.  Surprise and then anger crossed over her face.

"She was trying to play us again, wasn't she?" Mal asked Zoe, ducking as the dust cloud rose up from the distance.

"I think so, sir," Zoe replied.

"Toph, was that you?" he asked into the intercom.

All he got in response was a giggle.

--

"That was dangerous," Aang said nervously, watching the men and horses scramble to regain their footing and their weapons in the massive trench that had just formed.

"That was awesome," Toph replied.  Aang hastily grabbed her and forced her to the ground when shots started flying wildly out of the hole.  She kicked again and they abruptly stopped, the hole suddenly gone, although eerie, panicked screaming could be heard from the place it had been.  He glared, even though she couldn't see him.

"Toph."

"What?  I'll let 'em out if the Cap'n wants me to."

"You should let them out now before they use up all their air."  She rolled her eyes and poked the ground delicately, forming a little hole.  The shrieking intensified.

"There, now they won't suffocate."

Patience chose that moment to ride up, coming up short at what she saw -- two young teenagers, of maybe eighteen at the most, standing on the ground next to a little hole, from which terrified screaming could be heard.  She stared.

"Do I get to shoot now?" Toph asked the intercom, a grin blooming on her face.

"Didn't you ever hear that discretion is the better part of valor?" Zoe's voice replied, and Toph smirked.

"Nope."

Comments

( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
jade_sabre_301
Aug. 15th, 2010 02:00 am (UTC)
YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY new chapter

/indulges inner thirteen-year-old squeer

oooooooh Simon and his skepticism. And his hotness. Poor Katara.

YES TOPH, ARMED AND DANGEROUS lolol Aang

oh Zuko, you're so polite.

Suki seemed to be in love.
This is the part where you tell me not to ship Kaylee/Suki. Please. Stop me.

ZUKO AND KATARA, MOM AND DAD. <3

KAYLEE I LOVE YOU SO MUCH also now she and Suki are alooooooooooooooone.

SOKKA I LOVE YOU AND YOUR NERDY FANBOY TENDENCIES

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw Shepherd I am sorry you are dead in this universe and Aang has no one to talk to.

I want more Mal/Zuko scenes.

TOPH

SO BADASS

:D
heron_advocate
Aug. 15th, 2010 02:10 am (UTC)
This is the part where you tell me not to ship Kaylee/Suki. Please. Stop me

I'm right there with you.
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heron_advocate
Aug. 15th, 2010 02:09 am (UTC)
"Don't you mean if?" she asked blankly, and Simon gave a dark, cynical laugh.

OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS. Oh Simon. ♥ Katara crushing on him is ADORABLE.

And Suki crushing on Kaylee? AH. Kaylee is adorable. Teasing Zuko. ♥

AND TOPH. Yes.
andromeda3116
Aug. 15th, 2010 02:15 am (UTC)
:D I love Simon, I do. He's such a dork and he's so awkward.

Suki/Kaylee is more popular than I'd expected! I'll have fun with this. ;)

You know that if Kaylee sees a spark of romance for anyone, she will die fanning the flames of it.
jdphoenix
Aug. 15th, 2010 02:12 am (UTC)
I was just craving a new chapter of this (of course that may have something to do with watching Serenity over lunch). This chapter was so much fun, it certainly didn't disappoint.

Toph and Jayne are win! Aang is so cute being protective of Toph. Katara and Simon were wonderful, I can't wait for someone to get shot now! Kaylee and Suki are evil and I love them for it. All of your dialogue was perfect too. I absolutely love this story. :D
andromeda3116
Aug. 15th, 2010 02:17 am (UTC)
D'aww. (And also, watching and re-watching Serenity is awesome. I think I've seen it like five times, and it never gets old.) I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I'm having way too much fun with this story. :)
seserakh
Aug. 15th, 2010 02:27 am (UTC)
Woo! *shoots a gun*

Katara/Simon makes a strange kind of sense. Plus this is a golden opportunity for jealous!Zuko to surface. Dork versus dork! And oooh please put Suki in some overalls and engine grease later.

I adore what you've done with Jayne and Toph. They're hitting it off so well I hope he doesn't disappoint her later. He doesn't, does he? Does he?
andromeda3116
Aug. 15th, 2010 02:30 am (UTC)
I got the Wang Fire seal of approval! :DDDD

Katara/Simon does have its merits, although it will never displace Katara/Zuko (and yeeeees to jealous!dorky!Zuko). I also approve of Suki in overalls and engine grease.

I think Toph and Jayne would get along famously. (And well, that depends on her expectations...)
jedishadowolf
Aug. 15th, 2010 02:41 am (UTC)
So loving this! Toph is total win! Suki and Kaylee in the engine room is awesome, especially with Zuko there completely bored, that just amused the heck out of me. :) So happy Wash is alive, but am sad about Sheppard Book - understand it, but man I hated losing him.
andromeda3116
Aug. 15th, 2010 02:48 am (UTC)
Thanks you! I love Zuko being bored out of his mind but too polite to actually say as much. :)
tinmiss1939
Aug. 15th, 2010 02:41 am (UTC)
KAYLEE SHIPS ZUTARA! (okay, manic fangirling over and done)

Actually, one of the things I really appreciate about this fic is how equal-opportunity you are writing it. There is a lot of fun to be had with this combination of characters, and you are finding all the cool things I would never think of, like Katara wanting to learn First Aid; Jayne and Toph finding common ground in mayhem; Simon being all "...but--laws of physics!"

There's also all the little details, like Kaylee getting engine grease everywhere and Book's books being packed away in a shuttle. I like your writing style.

So...yay! Love the update, will be happy to see more!
andromeda3116
Aug. 15th, 2010 02:50 am (UTC)
Well, of course. Was there any doubt?

Thank you! I'm trying to keep from focusing too heavily on just one character or one set of characters, and show how this new world is affecting everyone. It's difficult, but a lot of fun!
raingin
Aug. 15th, 2010 03:55 am (UTC)
Holy crap, a Firefly/ATLA crossover fic?

WHEN FANDOMS COLLIDE. IT IS BEAUTIFUL.
andromeda3116
Aug. 15th, 2010 09:14 pm (UTC)
Haha, I couldn't resist! I'm glad you enjoy it!
metallicargirl
Aug. 15th, 2010 04:01 am (UTC)
Toph with guns, excuse me but I do think that is up for The Most Awesomd Thing Ever Award! She and Jayne just....*brain explodes*
andromeda3116
Aug. 15th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC)
I don't know, there was a fandomsecret a few days ago that mentioned Toph with a Porche, which is pretty high up there. :D

Either way, she kicks ass!
michelle_ravel
Aug. 15th, 2010 04:40 am (UTC)
WIN.
andromeda3116
Aug. 15th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
marybwolf
Aug. 15th, 2010 04:44 am (UTC)
There really isn't anything I can say here that hasn't already been said, so just... *shooes you* Go read the other comments again. =D I like all of them.

I need to watch Serenity again. I re-watched Firefly this week, and IT WAS AWESOME.

Also, can we be friends?
marybwolf
Aug. 15th, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC)
And, not to poop anyone's party, but didn't Patience's moon get hit by Reavers?
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bladegryphon
Aug. 15th, 2010 07:52 am (UTC)
Hooray for the big damn crossover!
Oh, poor Zuko. Sure, he escapes for now, but he just KNOWS he's created a very uncomfortable situation that will last for a very long time. I also like how he's on the outskirts of the group again, like he was in the Western air temple during the series. Granted, it's for different reasons, but everyone's found their own niche while he's still doubting and searching for his.

With this crew, it is definitely a when for people getting shot. The only question is who it will be first...

Toph is WIN. Well, Toph is just naturally win no matter what, but in this situation, it's magnified tenfold (plus). What, you wanted that machinery to cause happy happy doom for Mal and friends? Sorry, the ground got hungry.
bladegryphon
Aug. 15th, 2010 09:12 am (UTC)
Re: Hooray for the big damn crossover!
Also, I am a dork who has theories on why everyone's bending is affected. With the level of technology in the Firefly-verse, the air and water would probably be filtered and much cleaner, at least on ships and core planets. With less crud in the air, Zuko's firebending would only have his own will as fuel, and be unable to pick up anything hovering in the atmosphere. Similarly, cleaner water would mean less extra material for Katara to have to move while bending (metal particles, micro-organisms, etc). Toph's might be minorly affected due to slightly different mineral composition, likewise for metal. And the Firefly-verse doesn't exactly need an Avatar with all four elements, hence Aang's limit.
Granted, I'm probably wrong about part/all of that, but it's been kicking around in my brain since I first found this thing.

One thing I noticed about the crew being clueless about Toph -- she does mention being blind during part one while at least River and Mal are around figuring out how to get Katara out from under the bench. Are they passing the comment off as an analogy rather than literal, since they would have seen Toph navigating just fine prior to that? Because I don't think Katara would take enough of their attention to have them miss it entirely enough to be surprised in part 2. Arguably, the conversations could be entirely separate and in different areas of the space. Just something to clarify if you ever go back through to edit a bit.

I am one of those terrible people who reads all the time but never leaves reviews THAT SHOULD TELL YOU HOW AWESOME THIS IS
Re: Hooray for the big damn crossover! - andromeda3116 - Aug. 15th, 2010 09:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Hooray for the big damn crossover! - andromeda3116 - Aug. 15th, 2010 09:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
janetlin
Aug. 15th, 2010 09:00 am (UTC)
My husband shakes his head at me whenever I mention this crossover but one of these days I will make him SIT DOWN AND READ IT AND THEN HE WILL BE AS HOOKED AS I AM!!!!!
andromeda3116
Aug. 15th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC)
XD DO IT DO IT DO IT.

(Also, YOUR ICON.)
redsilverchains
Aug. 16th, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC)
YAY :D

I never would’ve thought of Kaylee + Simon but it’s a great match. Her idealism, his jadedness, their similar devotion to the things they hold dear.

HAHA. Our Toph, armed to the teeth. TOPH with GUNS.

Poor poor Aang, caught in a firefight!

This part?

"Toph, was that you?" he asked into the intercom.

All he got in response was a giggle.


And this?

"Didn't you ever hear that discretion is the better part of valor?" Zoe's voice replied, and Toph smirked.

"Nope."


WIN.

And Sokka! Suki! Being geekily turned on by flying and machines!

D’ awww, Zuko. They need to see your Firebending skills, is all. Also, he needs to meet Inara and they’ll bond over tea!
meganegafas
Aug. 20th, 2010 02:14 am (UTC)
so i was really worried that i wouldn't enjoy this fic since i know nothing about firefly, but it's still soooo much fun to read!!! guns + toph = best combo ever!
( 42 comments — Leave a comment )

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