Title: A House of Closed Books
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Dollhouse
Pairing: Kennedy/Sierra (Priya Tsetsang)
Summary: Dreaming of falling like rain into the Hudson.
Spoilers: "Epitaph One" and "Epitaph Two."
The wave knocked all of them out, that much Kennedy remembered. When she woke up, the mall was on fire, and if the mob surrounding her wasn't zombies, they were close enough to freak her the hell out for the next day and a half.
There was blood on the tile; Kennedy turned and Rilla clubbed her in the face. (Rilla's bluetooth earpiece was still blinking. Kennedy didn't realize the import of this until much later.) Kennedy kicked out blindly, and then Jessie was pulling her into a run.
They got separated, eventually, but thank gods for Andrew and his ridiculous, paranoid insistence on safe houses. Kennedy scaled the walls of the villa, her fingers scraping raw, and more than once she kicked a toehold out of the ancient brick.
She swung onto the balcony, almost winded, and then had to jerk back when one of the new Slayers tried to jab her with a crossbow. Kennedy knocked it sideways with a snarl, and that's when everybody looked relieved.
"What the hell happened?" she asked.
Andrew was clutching his laptop to his chest. "Nobody knows."
Kennedy drew the short straw, and she hated, hated the way her bones tingled when she stepped through the coven's portal. While they walked through the nexus, Andrew handed her a Hello Kitty lunchbox. Kennedy stared at it. "What?" she finally managed to ask.
"A map and some money," he said. "And the parts for a locator spell. We won't have any way other way to communicate, so if you get lost--"
"Got it," Kennedy said. "And I don't get lost."
"Good," Andrew said. "There's also a sandwich."
Kennedy laughed and waved goodbye as they parted. "Good luck in Seattle," she called.
"Try to stay airborne," he yelled back, and then the tingling in Kennedy's bones turned to fire, and then she was standing in a vineyard with a Hello Kitty lunchbox and a pack of butchers for company.
Kennedy cursed--the regular kind, because she was crap at magic--and hurled a knife at the closest one. She didn't pause to see if it hit; she leaped over a row of low, gnarled trees and swung her gaze around, looking for the billowing cloth Andrew had sworn she'd see immediately.
For a second, all she saw were blitzed hills and fog. Behind her, the butchers' growls were almost eclipsed by the snapping of dried wood and the rustle of old branches.
Then: a looped rainbow, wavering, rising just beyond the rise. Kennedy put on the speed and hoped whoever flew the hot air balloons had the good sense not to shoot a potential customer.
She bellowed, "Wait," because it seemed like the thing to do. A figure, barely a silhouette, waved its arm at her. Something hissing arced over Kennedy, and behind her, there was a thump, and then an explosion.
The heat seared the back of her neck, but she was outside the immediate blast radius. She ran full tilt into a waist-high chain-link fence, and she heard the shout of warning only after she realized the fence was electrified.
Kennedy woke gasping, her arm flailing out. A hand closed around her wrist. "Careful," a voice said. Kennedy opened her eyes. A woman looked down at her, her eyes dark, though she smiled.
Kennedy sat up, and her stomach flipped over twice. She looked up, and above her, the fire of hot air balloon gushed upward, and she tried not to panic. "We're in the air."
"Yes," the woman said.
"Dead, or close enough." The woman sat back. "I'm glad you're not one."
"Me, too." Kennedy scooted back, rested her head against the basket before she tensed again. "My--"
"Lunchbox?" The woman smirked, gesturing to the opposite corner of the basket. "Over there. I hope you don't mind, but I checked inside." The longer she talked, the more clear her Australian accent became. "I'll be taking some of the money later--you don't fly for free--and I hope you'll share the sandwich."
Kennedy leaned forward. "Where are we?"
The woman raised her eyebrows. "California. Where else?"
The woman rocked back, and the basket echoed her move. "My name's Priya," she said. "You're lucky I was still grounded."
"I'm Kennedy." She shivered, and Priya handed her a coarse blanket. "We're headed for the desert, right?"
"Yeah," Priya responded. "If the weather keeps, and nobody shoots us down."
Kennedy bit her lip. "Do people get shot down a lot?"
"Not a lot," Priya said, "but news isn't very fast nowadays." She stood, her hands smoothing over the edges of the basket. "You should get some rest. You look like crap."
Kennedy smiled. "How do I know you won't kill me in my sleep?"
Priya glanced back at her. "You don't. But I haven't yet."
"Fair enough," Kennedy replied. She touched her hand to the blade tucked under her belt. "You can have half of the sandwich."
Priya laughed, and Kennedy shaded her eyes against the sun.
Kennedy woke when Priya's head nestled against her shoulder, her arms looping around Kennedy's waist. "Priya?" she whispered.
"It's freezing up here," Priya said. The rushing murmur of the fire was the only other sound. "You don't mind?"
"No," Kennedy said. She twisted, and Priya's legs tangled with hers. "How much longer will it be?"
"A couple of days," Priya replied. "We'll have to land once. I know a safe place." In the moonlight, her eyes seemed to glow. She smelled like sweat and leather, and the faintest hint of cinnamon. "Where do you plan to go?"
"There's a old place," Kennedy said, "in the desert. A friend left something there." She laughed. "It's a long story. What about you?"
"My son," Priya said. "He's been waiting for me."
"Oh." Kennedy paused, her hand stroking idly down the small of Priya's back. "Are you married?"
"No," Priya said, her voice flat. "Not at all." Her mouth quirked into a smile, and she looked at Kennedy. "Does it matter?"
"Sometimes," Kennedy said. "Like now."
Priya shifted into Kennedy's arms, her hip pressing against Kennedy's thighs. "Really?" she said. She tipped her face up, her long body curving over Kennedy's like a question.
"Really," Kennedy replied, and she dipped her head, darted her tongue against the corner of Priya's mouth. "Are you still cold?"
"Not for long," Priya said, and she caught Kennedy's kiss with her teeth.
A/N: Title and summary adapted from Jolia Sidona Einstein's From the Hudson. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.