So. A Vampire Slayer and an Astronut walk into a bar.
Title: Alligator Alley
Author: Regala Electra
Summary: Stranger tales have been told.
Author's Notes: Crossover between Farscape and BtVS. Unfinished.
So a guy dressed in leather walks into a bar - she stops herself, it's an old one and she knows it.
Actually, it's blue jeans and an impossibly white t-shirt. Impossible because the air is thick with cigarette smoke and the heavy gray fog has even managed to color the dull, aged interior. She's sitting underneath a ceiling fan, the breeze somewhat dissipating the smoky air.
Her hair's pulled up, though there are some tendrils loose and sticking uncomfortably to her damp neck, it's aiding her in this dead late summer heat.
"Will that be another water?" the voice is gruff but carries a deep southern drawl. She shakes her head politely and sips slowly at her half-filled glass. Maybe a few months ago, she would have said half-empty, to her now, it's half-full.
At this hour of the night, the bar is nearly empty, but still hot, sticky; the nearby swamps make the breeze through the windows unpleasant.
Blue jeans sits next to her, the stool swivels easily to accommodate him as though he has done this hundreds of times before, and says, in a pleasant, vaguely Southern voice, "Bud. I'll take a bottle." He sounds earnest in his request and smiles charmingly at the bartender, though the man is less than amused, going off to get his drink. He turns to her then, shocking blue eyes and fair brown hair, he must be around thirty, yet she is sure that he won't hit on her or that she'll need to leave her seat, and says amiably, "Good evening. Hell of a sweat out there, huh?"
"Yeah," she agrees, a smile coming to her face. Setting down her drink, her fingers curling around the coolness of the glass, she breezily comments, "I don't even want to know what a disaster my hair will be once I take it down."
It's a light, meaningless joke, and the man laughs appreciatively, a sort of chuckle that makes her want to loosen up and enjoy the run-down bar with this friendly stranger.
Receiving his beer, he tips the bottle thankfully to the bartender, then, turning back to her, "Cheers."
"Cheers," she parrots and the water is wet and tasteless. "Anything to be celebrating?"
"Earth," he says mildly, but with heavy implication. He grins then, and she is struck by just how handsome he is. He's all-American, in a non-annoying way, no boy scout, and while she's learned the hard way that her type tends to be on the dark and non-alive side, she also isn't blind.
"Very hippie," she chirps, smiling back at him. His good humor is infectious.
"We're gonna have a girl." He says this more into his bottle as he takes a drink, and the look on his face is like a man who, well, hasn't had a drink in quite a while.
"Um," she can't help it, even though she mostly knows she's not a part of that we, "While you seem to be a nice guy, isn't this the sort of thing that happens on later dates, like relationships?"
He furrows his brow, and chuckles to himself, "Sorry. For a moment thought I was the only person to get-" he stops himself, shaking his head. "My fiancée and me."
"Ah. Good. Wasn't really planning on a baby in the near future." She hasn't been planning on anything in her future. She'd say she was on vacation, but this is different. This is important. "Congratulations."
He thanks her and offers his hand, "Name's John." He does a peculiar twist of his mouth before the next word, "Crichton."
She takes it and is surprised that it isn't sweaty or hot; it doesn't even have the sweat of the cool glass bottle on it. "Buffy. Summers. And, not to be rude, but why aren't you sweating to death? I mean, I'm from California and I'm ready to melt into a puddle."
He answers off-handedly, "Ever gone swimming in lava?"
"As in molten? Can't say that I have."
He takes a slow sip. "That's my answer."
"Okay. That's cool in a freaky way. I guess." Smiling as the bartender takes her glass to refill, she says, "Ever battled against the dark minions of hell?"
He sputters, coughing as his beer goes down the wrong way, his eyes strange and searching her face, "What?"
Face falling, she says quickly, "Never mind."
She gets a new, cooler water and the bartender ambles off to kick out some very drunk and barely legal kids out of the bar.
Softly, he says to her in an undertone, "Unless you count white-faced bastards with a penchant for leather minions of hell, god-like aliens or critters, then no."
She knows her tanned face must have gone pale. "What?"
"You're from California?"
Wary of his change of subject, she nods. "Yeah. Sunnydale."
He blinks slowly. "Isn't that the town they've been talking about on the news? The whole town that's just a crater now? Jesus."
"Well. Most people got out before all hell broke loose." She reflects on that. "Most."
"I'm sorry.” And he looks it too. "Did you lose anyone?"
Grateful for his sympathy, though he doesn't know her, she answers vaguely, "Friends. Loved ones. I mean, not many, but still-"
"I know what that feels like." There's something in his eyes that reminds him of her, there's something that makes his eyes seem so much older than his years, like experience - life - has beaten him down. He bites the side of his thumb, an unconscious motion, and one he's probably done countless times before. "How you dealin'?"
"Yeah, I sort of-" she stops her lie. "I'm not. The people I lost, I won't get them back. In some ways, it's better like that - not dealing. I had a lot of responsibilities before Sunnydale well, became an enormous crater. Now I don't. I'm sort of exploring the country right now."
"You like to explore?" It's a genuine question and one that's strangely earnest.
"I guess so. For now, I mean. I'm going back to California maybe later this year, or early next year, I have a sister, she's still in school and a lot of my friends are still there, we're trying to start up a, guess it's a sort of business and - I'm babbling aren't I?"
"It's okay. I'm usually the one doin' all the talking." It's an inside joke and she wishes to know the reason for it.
"What, your fiancée doesn't like to talk?"
He laughs softly at that. "In a word, no. Erin's not much of a talker."
"Erin's a nice name," she says supportively, wanting to hear about the woman who's making his eyes dance in happiness like that.
"A-E-R-Y-N." He spells it quickly and explains off her confused look, "She's not from around her."
"European?" she guesses.
"Sebecean." He looks at her strangely. "You been keeping up with the international news lately?"
"What, the whole mission to update IASA and unite the world for a unified space program? Not really. Sunnydale was sort of isolated. I, well, I was sort of Sunnydale-oriented. Never had the time to keep track of national and international news. I don't really know what's the what."
He looks puzzled but amused. "You have no idea who I am."
She gives him a challenging look, "You have no idea who I am."
He shakes his head, disagreeing. Then, he begins talking, more rapid and fluid, his voice low and confidential, "Four years ago I got shot into a wormhole. Do you know that eventually that goes from sounding cool to tedious to just bizarre? It's either a bad pickup line, 'hey baby, I've seen the dark side of the galaxy, how you doin'?' Or it sounds like I'm in an attraction at the circus. Come see the amazing John and his AMAZING wormhole trick!"
Then to himself, as though captured in a memory, "Come see the man who fell from the stars."
She laughs, though she has no idea what he's talking about and thinks he has to be a lightweight when it comes to beers.
"Well," he takes a long swig off his beer before continuing, "I came back."
"To Earth?" she asks, her interest increasing more in whatever tale he's about to tell and positive it's all a drunken ramble. She's in the mood for a good story and the less he asks about Sunnydale, the less she'll remember.
"Yeah. You didn't see the program about aliens among us?" He looks off in disgust. "What a piece of crap."
"Well, my TV was sort of destroyed. Through no fault of my own," she hastily adds. Grinning she goes on, "I never had much time for television. Say hello to Miss Sunnydale-insulated. Also, programs about aliens, vampires, and other fun bitey, creepy, and night-stalking things? So not my preference for my veg times."
She's had enough of that while on the clock.
"You really have no clue." He takes money out of his wallet, a crisper ten she's never seen before. "You want anything else?"
"I'm fine. I'm not much of drinker." One time was enough and she thinks sadly on the memory. She's been thinking of him recently, though the pain's dulled and now, it's all just reminiscences. Then she says, for no reason she'll ever be able to explain, "Since I've been fifteen, my duty has been fighting demons, vampires, and any other thing that oozes on expensive clothes, which, by the way, can NOT be dry-cleaned. It's been my job to protect Sunnydale. Now, the Hellmouth, that's better known as Sunnydale, is closed for business - okay, yes it's a big crater now, but it is most definitely closed and since all potentials now are slayers, that's what I am, a Slayer, I am currently free of my mission. Did I mention that said mission usually ends in violent deaths for Slayers? Well, now it doesn't, it really doesn't and it's really scary, because I can have a life now, I don't have to sacrifice myself. I can be just another girl. I can travel around the country, I can be no one, and I really have to, because I spent so much energy being 'The Slayer' that I've sort of lost my identity and I'd like to just be Buffy for a while."
He sets down his beer, which had been frozen halfway from his mouth during her diatribe and says softly, "Oh."
"Yeah. Um," tugging at her short-sleeved blouse, she manages, in only the way the very embarrassed can, "Sorry. I guess I - said a lot. Too much."
"No. No, I mean it's fine," he smiles again but she can see that his eyes reveal how troubled he is by her little speech. "You're a Slayer? Never heard that one before. Okay. So then Earth is invested with B-movie demons and vampires? And girls have to fight them? How old are you anyways?"
"Okay." He rubs his temples as only the very confused can. "So you've been fighting since you were fifteen. And now, you don't have to?"
"Well, kind of. I mean, apparently Cleveland is a Hellmouth and how much am I not looking forward to going there? A lot. But yeah. You see, in every generation, one girl, oh it's a really boring speech, just - I'll summarize. There's always one. Now, there's not. There's thousands. Maybe more. So that's why I'm currently touring the country. I never had the opportunity before."
She is met by silence.
Finally, because apparently he isn't as drunk as she thinks, she says, "Well, come on, I'm just joking."
He shakes his head, "Nope. Don't buy that for a second, darlin'. I mean, it's great, a great story. Too bad it's true. Since I've been away from Earth, you wouldn't believe the things I've seen. The things that have been done to me."
He put a hand on her shoulder and asks, "So where are you going? You have an endgame in mind? Me, mine was always, 'get back to Earth. Go home.' And then, and believe me, I didn't expect it, but Earth wasn't home anymore. I have another home, on a ship, a living one if you can believe it." He takes his hand away and resumes to drinking his beer. "Aeryn and I were separated from said ship, through, well, my own damn bad timing. I think our friends, the ones on the ship, think we're dead. Hell, I thought we were destined for the scrap heap too. Funny how things turned out."
"Okay, if this is all true? You win." She smiles uncomfortably, his question still bothering her. She knows exactly where she isn't going, because she doesn't have to anymore. She doesn't have to worry about her death, she doesn't have to wonder if tomorrow won't come, because she's not alone anymore and she can do just this: hang out in a run down bar, forgo patrolling, and talk to a stranger with an extremely bizarre story - weirder than her own.
She knows where she could go, but she knows she isn't ready yet.
"Oh, it's all true." He flashes her one of his grins and it's just not fair that he can have such a charming smile. "It's more of a cliff notes version, I skimmed over most of the torture and the leather."
"Leather?" she asks.
"Leather" he confides. Continuing, he says, voice lowering as though he's revealing a secret, "I guess I've gotten so used to wearing leather, I feel sort of naked wearing just jeans and a shirt."
No, she is not going to picture how he would look in leather. Or the naked imagery, she's been single since she left Sunnydale, and she's happily single. Taking a long sip of her water, she decides to just add the leather and naked images to her private file - for later use, of course.
"Of course, Aeryn's having a harder time of it - she's complaining that's she's starting to look like a, well, tejahirc," he lets loose a strange bit of clicking between the word and if she doubted the truth of John's story, she doesn't anymore. "Fortunately, my sister's with her - we need to keep a low profile, we don't want the government to realize that I'm back. They tend to -"
"Oh, I've dealt with the government," she replies. "They tried 'helping' me with Sunnydale. And after they created the modern day Frankenstein, who wanted to make more super demon-human-computer hybrids just like him, they learned that it's best not to do the job a Slayer can do so much better."
"He called himself Adam."
"Nice. Very biblical. Though I've dealt with some god-like aliens out in the universe. Those cocky bastards, they ain't all they think they are, 'specially since I, the deficient one, have done more ass whooping on their complexes than all their threats. There's even one, called himself Maldis, that took to the vampire stitck like you wouldn't believe."
"Yeah, he fed on emotions - boy loved his drama, nice gothic settings, loved talking 'bout how his plan was genius."
"Oh god, a talker? Those are the worst. 'Blah blah, you'll never defeat me, blah blah, my power is so much greater than you, pitiful mortal, blah blah blah.' When really, they could have just killed me by then, but they're just so in love with the sound of their own voices, apparently."
"Change that 'pitiful mortal' to 'insignificant human' and I know exactly what you mean."
To be continued...eventually. Someday. Maybe.