Title: Annual Report

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.

Rating: T

Summary: B:tVS, Firefly. Five hundred years later, and Faith's still breaking in new Watchers. 450 words.

Spoilers: B:tVS way post-"Chosen", Firefly sometime mid-series.

Prompt: twistedshorts marathon day 16; challenge pairing.

Faith shrugged and tossed back another shot of what passed for fine liquor in the Border-planet bar she'd arranged this year's meeting in. In all the centuries since she'd left Earth and the majority of its demons behind her, her routine hadn't changed; every twelve months or so she'd track down whatever Watcher currently had her name on his list, 'wave him with a time and place for a face-to-face sit-down, and get as drunk as she could while she spilled the roll call of deaths and dustings since her last report. She'd gotten an early start on the drinking today, due to the fact that her contact was already half an hour late.

This year's Watcher was an older guy named Book, a Shepherd who, according to rumor, had led a much darker life under another identity during the last war. He'd locked himself up in an abbey for several years after, then sprung himself a few months ago and gone walkabout, traveling in a Firefly. She could identify with that; the guilt of her own walk on the wild side had long since worn off, but she'd never forgot the despair or the drive to redeem herself that had led her to turn herself over to the police and then break out of jail just a few years later. Difference was, her experiences hadn't exactly led her back to the beliefs of her childhood, despite the irony of her name. As long as Book didn't preach at her, though, she had a feeling they'd get along just fine.

The noise in the bar quieted a little as the doors swung open, and she looked up to see a dark-skinned man walk in, an abundance of wiry gray hair clubbed back behind his head. There were no visible weapons on him, but the wary appraisal in his eyes as he scanned the bar's patrons and the self-awareness in the way he held his surprisingly muscular body told her that he was as far from harmless as a guy could get. Most of the Watchers she'd met since she and B had been double-whammied into immortality by Willow's spell with the Scythe had been at least competent at fighting, a legacy of the New Council rules that Giles had put into place five hundred years ago. Few of them had ever been in actual battle, though, and it showed when they tried to make conversation with her- they had nothing in common.

Not so this new guy, she could already tell. Hopefully, he'd stick around for a lot of years to come. It would be nice, having someone else besides B around with a chance in hell of understanding her.