"The reservoir's not too far," Wash said as they walked through the spindly trees and bushes. "It's not all that large, but then this isn't that large a settlement."

"Reservoir's not even a quarter full, but with the low humidity index that's to be expected," River noted.

Wash stopped walking and stared at her in surprise.

"What? I can think now," she said proudly. "I mean I thought before, but I wasn't just thinking my thoughts, I was also thinking all of your thoughts so when I spoke I wasn't just voicing what I wanted to say but a combination of things."

"I… You know, I really should have figured that out, a lot of your behaviors make a lot more sense now," Wash said thoughtfully before they started walking forward again.

River shrugged even though she knew he couldn't see it. "Don't think there's ever been someone like me before for anyone to figure out."

"And here we are," Wash said, happy to be able to change the subject as he stepped up on a raised ridge of dirt surrounding a mostly empty pond maybe twice the size of an Olympic pool.

"They really are short on water," Xander said, surprised. He'd been told about the situation, but he hadn't really understood what that had actually meant until now.

"This is just the surface water, which they use for the fields," Wash told him. "Thankfully they can get enough for households and small gardens from the wells they've dug."

"But more water would be better," Xander said as he connected to the land and felt the water deep below the surface. He cast Overgrowth on the land around them causing the foliage to thicken, covering them in shade from newly risen trees.

Wash turned away from the water and stared around him wide eyed while Xander just smirked.

"I have no idea how you just did this," River said in shock. "I knew you were able to do things that were more impressive than what you'd already done, but this…"

Wash looked at Xander in disbelief before registering his smirk and remembering what his job was. He cleared his throat and took a deep breath and held it as his mind stumbled over the reality of the situation trying to make sense of it.

"He's going to pass out before he comes up with something," River said, wishing she could still read Xander's mind so she could understand how he'd grown a forest around them with no apparent effort.

"No, he can do it," Xander said, "a man with such excellent taste in shirts is not going to fail in the clutch!"

River rolled her eyes like Zoe often did after dealing with Mal being stupid about something, causing Wash to let out the breath he was holding as he straightened up with a challenging look in his eyes.

"Why blame him?" Wash said, forcing himself to sound casual. "It's something out of the ordinary, but I don't see any proof he did anything."

Xander grinned and pulled a roll of gold coins out of his pocket, handing it to the shorter man wearing the garish multicolored Hawaiian shirt under his jacket. "Yep, no proof I did anything at all." He reached for Blue Mana and transformed the reservoir behind Wash into a large lake.

"And that?!" River demanded pointing at the water.

Wash turned around and just stared for a minute. "I really wish you'd picked Kaylee for this," he said.

"Not up to the task?" Xander asked, surprised.

"No, he just thinks Kaylee attempting to lie is about the funniest thing he's ever seen," River said with a heavy sigh.

"It really is," Wash said, concentrating on the feel of the roll of gold coins in his hand. For the amount he was getting paid he'd just pretend he was drunk or dreaming and ignore reality being broken around him, he decided. "Looks like when they dug the reservoir it hit a spring. Took a while to fill up, but it's nice to see it finally did."

"Excellent," Xander said with a grin, passing him another roll of coins.

River walked over to a tree, poked it with a finger and then leaned in and licked it.

"Why would you lick a tree?" Xander asked, confused.

"I could be dreaming, hallucinating, or stuck in a virtual reality program designed to mimic reality," she listed off. "The tongue encompasses several senses at once that would be nearly impossible to fake realistically."

"That makes sense," Xander said thoughtfully.

"I really should be freaking out," Wash said, shaking his head.

"Take a deep breath, throw your hands up and scream 'how' to the sky," River told him.

Wash considered that, took a deep breath and screamed out, "How?!" while throwing his arms up. He blinked and sighed. "Thanks, I actually feel better now. Though I still want to know how."

"I'll explain later," Xander said. "What kind of wildlife do they have around here?"

"They've got the standard Class 5 compliment of animal and insect life," River offered as Xander started walking in a seemingly random direction. "Of course, that lacks a lot of the prey animals necessary for a truly robust food chain, necessitating settlers spending at least half their time and energies caring for what few prey species have been provided to ensure their numbers are enough to feed the predators for at least thirty years."

"Rabbits, squirrel, and deer can be purchased from more established colonies, but the cost of importing them is rather high," Wash offered, pushing aside the strangeness of hearing River talk like her brother.

"Yes, it almost seems like things were designed to keep the planets from The Core rich," she said sarcastically.

"The Alliance sucks," Xander said cheerfully, just before a couple of deer ran in front of them and vanished into the trees.

The two looked at where the deer had vanished and then back at Xander, who simply smiled and waved.

"I'm feeling a bit surreal," Wash decided.

"I know," River said with a sigh.

This time Wash was the one to roll his eyes. "You know on ship you were a lot more subtle," he pointed out to Xander.

"There's really no way I can hide what I need to do to help these people," Xander admitted as they continued walking, a long line of bunnies hoping across their path that they had to step over, "so I might as well not try."

"Then why pay Mal and Wash to make excuses?" River asked.

"You guys could use the money and I have a unique sense of humor," Xander replied.

"And the big question… how are you doing this?" Wash asked. "I mean, I could make myself believe you had special pockets to hide all the coffee on you… regardless of how ridiculous it was, but healing River… that was impossible and now this?"

"It was all impossible," River said, "not to mention he's handed out about a quarter of his weight in rolls of gold coins."

"To quote the captain 'Aint no crime for a man to have deep pockets' and he could have reinforced his jacket," Wash said with a shrug. "I'm quite willing to believe someone is carrying their body weight in gold if they'll keep passing it our way."

Xander handed him another roll of gold coins with a grin. "I am not from around here. I come from Earth, but not your Earth."

"Would that make you an alien or not?" Wash asked confused. "Because I was thinking alien."

"Other Earths?" River asked wide eyed.

"Yes, there are an infinite number of universes and I come from another one. I'm kinda lost, so I'm helping people out and amusing myself as I try and find my way home," Xander explained.

"And the people on your Earth can all do… this?" Wash asked, waving his hand around at the forest they were walking through and stumbled on a root, River catching him before he could fall.

"No, no one on my Earth can do what I can do, though one or two may have the potential," Xander replied before licking his thumb and wiping it across Wash's forehead.

"Hey!" Wash complained wiping his forehead. "What was that for?"

"He was helping you. Not sure how though," River admitted.

Xander licked his thumb and reached out for River who moved back. "I'm giving you the ability to move through the forest as easily as a squirrel. Hold still."

"Do you have to wipe saliva on my forehead?" River complained, letting him run his thumb across her forehead.

"No, but there are only so many bodily fluids and this one is the least wigsome," Xander explained.

"Yeah, suddenly saliva doesn't seem so bad," Wash instantly agreed, while River mouthed wigsome.

"Maybe I should make us some quad runners or something," Xander said thoughtfully, "it'd speed us up some so we can cover more land."

"Horses would be a better idea," River said, "less noise so we can ask questions. I have a lot of questions."

"I figured you would," Xander agreed. "I haven't scanned any horses and goats are too small to ride."

"Scanned?" River asked.

"I have to see something in person and get a feel for it before I can create more," Xander explained. "I've stopped at a petting zoo or two and some pet shops but haven't seen any horses."

"You should have seen some where we picked you up," River argued, before running up a tree and backflipping to the ground to test the ability Xander claimed to have given them. "I don't feel any different."

"It's instinctive and you could already do stuff like that," Xander told her, causing River to turn and give Wash an expectant look.

"What? I'm not trying that; I'd break my neck," he said.

"Then try something easier," she suggested. "Just climb a bit."

"Fine," Wash said and stepped up to the tree and cautiously laid a hand on it, before finding himself easily climbing the tree and running across a limb to leap onto another tree and slide back down. "Whoa! Did you see that?!"

"Yeah, that's Forestwalk," Xander agreed. "It also works with whatever you're driving."

"I could run a vehicle up a tree?" Wash asked confused.

"No, well yes, but really no," Xander said.

"That clears things up," Wash said amused.

"You would know if you could run a vehicle up a tree safely and would have the skill to do it if it was possible, but most of the time it just isn't possible to do safely," he explained.

"That makes sense," Wash agreed.

"Do you have scans of any riding animals?" River asked.

"All animals are riding animals," Xander replied, "if they are large enough…" He got a thoughtful look on his face.

"Let's go with the quad things and not, I'm guessing, giant rabbits or whatever," Wash said quickly. "You can ask questions when we stop… whatever it is we're doing. What are we doing?"

"I need to make more forests and lakes, which means we have to exit the forest we are already in," Xander explained. "I figure we can drive around and make at least a couple dozen miles of forest before lunch."

"After which he'll be too busy to make forests," River firmly said.

"What all can you do?" Wash asked.

"Change land about, heal people, fix things, create things, jump blindly into infinity and not find my way home," Xander said shaking his head. "At least I haven't found my way home yet. I'm sure I'll get it eventually."

"And the girl I saw in your mind that I thought was you making girls like me?" River asked.

"A T-800," Xander said, snapping his fingers and creating one.

Wash and River just stared.

"Orders?" the T-800 asked.

"Just follow for now," Xander told her.

The cyborg nodded and checked her gear, making sure her weapons were loaded and ready.

"She has a really quiet mind," River said.

"She's a cyborg," Xander explained. "I'll call you Cameron, since that's who I am basing you on."

"Understood," Cameron replied.

"She's a bit thinner than me," River said smugly as she compared their curves.

Xander licked his thumbs and ran them across both sides of Cameron's neck and then across her forehead, causing her form to swell a little, before he reached into a pocket and pulled out an emerald ring for her to wear.

"What was that?!" River demanded.

"Enhanced strength, toughness, Forestwalk, and regeneration," Xander listed off.

"You can make someone stronger?" Wash asked curiously.

"Her boobs are a little bigger," River noted with a frown.

"Yes, I can enhance people not just heal them and her boobs look bigger because the underlying muscles are bigger," he replied.

"Mine are still bigger," River decided smugly.

Xander created a couple of quad runners. "We can ride double. Shouldn't take more than an hour to circle the town and expand the forest, maybe create another lake on the opposite side a few miles away."

"I'll ride with you," River said firmly, grabbing his hand and pulling him towards the nearest quad runner.

"Can you make me taller?" Wash asked curiously as Cameron mounted one of the bikes and started it up.

"Maybe," Xander said with a shrug before River started their bike. "We can check after we're done."


Mal watched Inara teach the children with a wistful smile on his face, as he leaned against the bar and sipped his drink. He was captivated by the way her face lit up as a child answered a question correctly. He was not unaware of Doc and Kaylee watching him with smug little grins, he was simply choosing to ignore them.

Zoe, burst into the saloon. "Captain, you might want to take a look outside."

"What's going on outside?" Mal asked, annoyed at his watching… erm drinking being interrupted.

"Forests have sprung up around the town and even the plants in town have begun to bloom," Zoe explained. "I'm thinking our latest passenger has something to do with it."

"Now, now, there's no call for blaming a fella when you've got no proof," Mal said reflexively. "For all we know this could simply be a natural phenomenon."

Zoe just stared at him in silence for a few seconds. "I think you've gotten too used to making excuses for him."

Mal considered that. "Maybe you're right, I've even started doing it when he isn't around. Oh well, I'll bill him for it later. For now, let's go see what's going on."

Typing by: Still me! Hopefully I'll get faster as I get better at it.