It was all created by Joss: all I own is a twisted sense of humour...

Spoilers: Angel to send, all of Firefly and Serenity

Hands of Blue

It was a small ship, smaller than she'd anticipated. Somehow it should have been bigger, more menacing. It certainly had given her more trouble than any warship ten times it size. But it wasn't a warship, not by name at least: its crew just insisted in fighting long after Illyria had already won the war.

Conquest was in her nature, after all.

So many of her minions had died trying to deal with the secrets contained within the ship. Not that she cared that much; they were all ultimately expendable in her eyes. What annoyed her was the fact that she was unable to deal with it in a very public and personal fashion, until now. No, fragile as they were, humans now outnumbered her several billion to one, and at those odds, even she might fall in battle.

But recent events had created so much turmoil that she was able to sneak away to this little backwater of her domain and deal with it once and for all.

She allowed places like this to exist purely as pressure valves: they let the humans vent their anger and hostility in ways that could easily be controlled from the shadows. Sure, she had to publicly speak out against them, even send in troops from time to time, but she was always careful to never complete the job: the masses needed the distraction.

The sun had long since set when she walked through the security checkpoints, the guards standing agape as they saw just who she was. None dared to challenge her, knowing full well that the reproductions would be, unpleasant. She may have learnt the new ways, moved away from instantly killing those who displeased her, but she still had a vicious streak running through her that was prone to coming out at times of stress.

Reaching the ship, she dispensed with the illusion that had taken her this far: the fine dress she'd been wearing faded away to show her preferred red armour, her skin, hair and eyes turning blue. The people she'd come to kill may be enemies, but they'd acted as honourably as those she's fought alongside back on Earth-that-was. They deserved to die by her hand, rather than by an assigns bullet or blade.

There would be no dishonour in any of this: she practiced the same creed she taught her most trusted agents.

The main door was shut, but the smaller hatch built into it opened to the touch, the harsh lights of the landing field casting long shadows across the empty cargo deck. Stepping inside, she half expected to be met with a hail of gunfire, but instead there was silence, broken only by the sound of distant snoring.

"Welcome, Madam President." A soft young voice came from above, "Funny, this is a lot like the first time we met. Only then, you were in the darkness looking down at me as they played with my brain."

"Hello, River." Illyria couldn't help but smile, "Things have indeed changed."

"Not so much: you are still a killer, intent on taking those I love from me."

"You've caused me a lot of problem, little one: how else do you expect me to react?"

"Walk away."

"Excuse me?"

"Walk away: go back to playing President of the Alliance. Leave this ship be: they are no threat to you."

"No, but you are." Illyria leapt into the air, landing on the catwalk next to River, "And I can no allow you to live."

"That is were you are mistaken: you're not letting me live." River pulled a weapon from behind her back, "I'm letting you live."

"Were did you get that?" The started demon looked at the scythe: the edge of the curved blade shone in the moonlight, the metals blood-red finish glistening, while the handle ended in a sharp wooden stake.

"A friend gave it to me." River smiled, "It is mine by right: I am the last free Slayer, the only one to escape your clutches. I know you haven't taken the same path as the First: that is why you are still alive. But know this: try and harm my friends and I will end you, dong ma?"

"Dahng rahn." Illyria nodded, offering a hand, "You know my word is good."

"I know." River took the hand and shook it, "We keep out of each others way, and I'm sure neither of us will regret this."

"Oh, I think we will. But not today."

River watched Illyria leave, keeping a tight grip on the scythe until the demon was out of sight.

"Mind telling me what the hell just happened?" Mal appeared in the doorway leading to the infirmary, "Was the President of the entire goram Alliance just on my ship?"

"Gwon nee tze-jee duh shr." River looked over her shoulder, a dangerous look in her eye, "She's not your problem, not anymore."

"Yeah, well..." Mal blinked, unsure how to react, "Close that goram hatch and lock it tight this time: you don't know who could be walking around out there."

"Oh, I know." River smiled when the captain was out of earshot, "I know..."

The End