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missambs organized the Buffyverse/Firefly Crossover Ficathon. I was assigned kataclysmic, who requested a story with Faith, Spike, and Saffron, with backstabbing and mild humor. This isn't as humorous as I intended, but I think it still works. I hope you enjoy it!

Title: Given To Possession
Author: voleuse
Fandoms: BtVS/Firefly
Characters: Saffron/Faith, Spike
Rating: R
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Can you decipher me?
Notes: Pre-Firefly




i. first is

Her first memories are of an orphanage in Greenleaf, in one of the poorer areas. She was told, by the sisters there, that her mother died in a factory accident, and her father died during the war. Her caretakers were kind, but stern, and she grew up yearning for beautiful things.

That's what she tells the priestess of House Azafrán, anyway. Parts of the story might even be true, because she doesn't remember her father at all.

Her mother, well, the more left unsaid about that harpy, the better. What money there was, she spent on ah pen yen instead of her daughter, and when she ran out of money, she whored herself for more. Her mother probably hadn't even noticed when she ran away, unless the coin had been counted more carefully than usual.

She had jumped from ship to planet to ship, trading on the stolen coin and her smile, and maybe a little else, besides.

When she arrived in Greenleaf, she conned a missionary into lending her a dress, and presented herself at the Guild's local house.

She doesn't tell any of that story to the priestess, though she throws in a bit about the borrowed dress, 'cause it sounds good.

The priestess smiles after she finally runs out of words. "Well. That's quite a tale." She pours another round of tea, then looks her in the eye. "You didn't, however, tell me your name."

"Oh, of course." She lowers her eyes, blushes for a moment. "My name is Briony."

It isn't her name, but it'll do for now.

She never returns the dress.


ii. possessive of those given

She studies at the academy for three years. She learns how to sing, how to dance, and how to charm.

She's also bored out of rutting mind. Everyone is polite, everything is patterned, and if one more person calls her mei-mei in a voice "like a peaceful river, its water soothing as music to the ear," she's going to scream.

Sure, some of her training isn't half-bad. She likes learning to seduce men, and letting them think she's the one being seduced. She likes the way they start out all bluster, and end up whimpering like children.

She likes the look in their eyes when she walks out the door.

Once in a while, she tries the same tricks on the other Companions, and most of the time, they fall for it. It takes more effort, more subtlety, but it's better than time spent on the dance floor or the dulcimer.

The only other schooling she enjoys is with sword or gun in hand. A Companion must be able to defend herself, be it with weapons, or with hands and feet alone.

Saffron excels in these things, relishes them, perhaps a bit too much.

When the house priestess finally looks askance at her, she turns her back, rolls her eyes.

Then she stuffs three gowns in her valise, swipes her hand through a few jewelry boxes, and finds the next ship headed for Isis.


iii. a piece of paper

On Isis, her name is Galina, and she smiles her way into a soiree, dances with the fattest man there. He's in love with her by the end of the waltz, but when he whispers in her ear, she blushes and tells him she's an old-fashioned girl. He gives her a wing of his mansion, three maids, and a diamond ring. They marry in front of a judge, but she's left the planet by nightfall.

On New Hall, her name is Theodora, and she stumbles into the sheriff's office wearing a tattered coat. She tells the sheriff she's been robbed, and she looks so sad that he offers to let her stay in his office while he investigates. When he returns, three of his pistols are missing, and his Alliance credentials.

On Corinth, her name is Marit, and she meets the local forger, trades authentic Alliance creds for currency. She doesn't stay long enough for the feds to catch her, but the forger isn't so lucky.

On Sihnon, her name is Coral, and she stands on a street corner and waits for a mark. She gets picked up by an old man, stinking with money, and when they're halfway to his house, she bursts into tears and tells him she's never left her daughter alone at home before, never wanted to do this, but they're so hungry. He panics, shoves a sheaf of money into her hands, all the while mumbling about how there's been a misunderstanding, it was just a lift, no harm no feds, right?

On New Canaan, her name is Blanca, and that's when things go wrong.


iv. long-legged beauty

His name is Uriah Talbot, he owns three estates on New Canaan, and one on Ariel. He's been widowed twice, doesn't have any children and, she's told, has an eye for pretty women with sass.

She's also told there's a ball a few nights hence, by invitation only, and anyone who's worth anything will be there. After a few glasses of brandy, she wheedles the names of a few young bucks likely to attend.

She sticks her informant with the tab, pretties herself up, and wends her way to a pricier tavern. The bartender, after a discreet inquiry, points her in the direction of Terrence Teague.

Terrence is well-built, but on the homely side. He's ensconced at a corner table with a couple of friends (handsome enough, but not on her list of desirables), and there's just enough room on the bench for her to slide in, slide her hand over his, and murmur that she hopes she isn't being too bold, but she couldn't help but notice his laugh.

She goes home with him, well after midnight, and it's a pleasant enough encounter. In the morning, he's gone, but a maid brings her breakfast, and he's left a vid instructing her to make herself comfortable. She spends the next few nights with Terrence, and idles the days in his apartment.

Naturally, he escorts her to Talbot's ball. He even buys her a dress to wear to the event.

By the third dance, Talbot's stolen her from Terrence's arms. She smiles at Terrence over Talbot's shoulder, even while Talbot's hand slides to the small of her back.

Terrence goes home alone.


v. an ancient charade

Talbot, unfortunately, doesn't seem inclined to marry a third time, so she forgoes the lovesick routine, and instead dazzles him with smiles until he can't see what her hands are up to.

Her hands, of course, dig deep into his safe, which she thinks isn't nearly as secure as it should be.

When she's caught at the gate of his driveway, however, she realizes that, perhaps, she was wrong.

After the inevitable confrontation with Talbot, complete with recrimination (his) and scorn (hers), he directs two of his bodyguards to escort her to a carriage.

That's when she starts to worry.

The two guards don't answer her questions, and when she strikes one of them, he gives as good as he gets. Better, in fact.

It's a long drive, and when the carriage finally slows to a stop, she doesn't recognize the neighborhood, but it's dark, dingy, and deserted.

They drag her out of the vehicle. Her screams echo against the alley walls.

They shove her against brick, step back, and reach into their jackets simultaneously.

She thinks she's going to die.

Then, there's a rush of scuffling, too fast to be footsteps, and two shadows slide around the bodyguards, and a slick flash of white that she knows can't be teeth, but she can't help thinking it anyway.

She turns her eyes away, doesn't look to see why the two bodies slump to the ground. Then--

"You all right?" The voice is male, accented, reminiscent of Dyton.

"We should get moving," another voice says. Female, scratchy, unidentifiable accent.

She looks up, finally. Sees a man, rail-thin, with white-blonde hair and a leather coat worth at least 150 credits on the market. Sees a woman, younger, curvy and brunette. Then she looks down at the bodies of the two guards, and sees only blood.

She takes a deep breath.

"Take me with you."


vi. to be blank

They drive Talbot's carriage to a different neighborhood and scuttle it in a ditch.

Then, they walk, changing directions three times, and she's too tired to ask any questions.

The man draws a cigarette out of his pocket, strikes a match against the cuff of his jacket.

She raises her eyebrows. "I haven't seen one of those since I left Ariel."

"You from Ariel?" the woman asks.

"No," she replies, but she doesn't elaborate.

The woman laughs. "I'm Faith, by the way. You?"

She thinks for a moment. "Saffron."

"Spike." The man flicks ash from his cigarette, then points to the right. "This is our place."

The building has seen better days, but it seems to have electricity, and her feet hurt.

Saffron smiles.


vii. writing had faded

She sleeps long, and deep, and when she wakes, it's late afternoon, and Faith and Spike are curled together on the sofa like kittens.

Since they're sleeping so peacefully, she amuses herself by rifling through their belongings. The only identification papers they have are forged, and they don't have any food but beer. There is, however, some interesting bric-a-brac, looking just old enough to be sold as souvenirs from Earth-that-was. A lighter, a junk bracelet. Some sort of writing utensil, brittle to the touch. And a heavy disk of brass, clipped to a short chain. She picks it up, fiddles with a couple of knobs, and gasps when it flips open.

It's a timepiece, it looks authentic, and it's worth at least several thousand on the black market.

She almost pockets it, then and there, but she hears them stir in the other room, and slides the artifact back to its resting place.

Faith stretches as she enters the room, arching her back, then looks at the fading light from the window across the room.

"Damn," she says. "You must be starving by now."

Saffron shrugs. "Aren't you?"

Faith's gaze slides away, then back. "Spike'll be up soon. He can pick something up after sunset."

"Sounds good."

"Any requests?"

She shrugs again. "Something hot."


viii. we strain to see

After sunset, as promised, Spike goes out for food. Saffron finds the bathroom and borrows a towel from Faith, formulating a plan while she bathes. Much of the plan involves the way Faith's eyes slid down her body when she asked for the towel.

She doesn't bother to get dressed when she's done. She brushes her hair, but leaves it wet, and fumbles in her kit until she finds the vial she bought on Osiris. Slicks it against her lips, and takes care not to taste it.

Faith is sliding a jar into the cooling unit when Saffron emerges, and she swipes at her mouth before looking directly at Saffron.

And, as before, her eyes tick down from Saffron's eyes to her neck, then her collarbone, then towel, tied loosely over the rise of her breasts.

"I've never," Saffron murmurs, "thought to do this, but ever since you saved me, I couldn't think of anything but."

She slinks close to Faith, lets the towel slip lower.

"And I wanted," she continues, "to thank you."

And the towel falls away, and Faith's hands slide around her waist, and down, around, up again.

Saffron lets her head fall back, and Faith's lips descend on her throat, and she bites, lightly, before finally crushing her lips against Saffron's.

One of them moans, though Saffron couldn't, honestly, tell which one of them it was. She's too busy arching against Faith's hands, delving her tongue into Faith's mouth, which tastes like something akin to copper, but not exactly.

They grind together like this for several minutes, and Saffron's beginning to worry about the efficacy of the compound when Faith jerks back, frowning.

Then she snarls, her teeth bared, and slumps to the floor.

Saffron breathes, willing her heartbeat to slow. When she's finally sure her knees won't give out, she races to the bathroom and yanks on her clothes. Then she shoves her feet into a pair of boots she discovered in the closet, grabs the watch from its hiding place, and runs out the door.


ix. the finality of that proposition

She's feeling a little woozy--some of the narcotic must have been transferred into her mouth--but she manages to hitch a ride to the other side of the city, where she tries to pawn the timepiece.

The shop proprietor won't touch the artifact, claims it's too authentic. Feeling desperate, she pawns the boots for a good sum, and finagles some cheap shoes out of him in trade.

When she's almost out the door, the shopkeeper stops her.

"I've heard of a collector on Bellerophon," he offers. "He might buy the artifact."

She glances over her shoulder. "Yeah?"

"Goes by the name of Haymer, I think. But you'll never be able to get to him."

She smirks.


###

A/N: Title, summary, and headings adapted from David Mamet's A Charade. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Originally linked here.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
kataclysmic
Mar. 15th, 2005 11:30 am (UTC)
Eeeeiiii, this was just what I was looking for... it was perfect! Thank you for writing it!

*bounces*
voleuse
Mar. 21st, 2005 02:39 am (UTC)
::wipes brow::

I am thrilled you liked it. It was a great assignment to work on, but it kind of took a life of it's own.
doyle_sb4
Mar. 15th, 2005 01:07 pm (UTC)
This is brilliant *g*
voleuse
Mar. 21st, 2005 02:40 am (UTC)
Thank you!
wisdomeagle
Mar. 15th, 2005 09:12 pm (UTC)
Nifty.
voleuse
Mar. 21st, 2005 02:40 am (UTC)
Thanks!
marginalia
Mar. 19th, 2005 02:46 am (UTC)
oh, excellent!
voleuse
Mar. 21st, 2005 02:40 am (UTC)
Thank you!
meredith_eats
Oct. 28th, 2005 03:46 pm (UTC)
That was perfect! It's exactly the kind of backstory I would imagine for Saffron, all about the thrill of getting the money and never even bothering to spend it. I think you capture the details of the Firefly universe nicely too, like how even in the distant sci-fi future, mere electricity might be something to appreciate.
voleuse
Nov. 3rd, 2005 06:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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