Title: The Raggedy Edge
Summary: During a rescue mission gone awry, Sam and Jack end up stranded in another galaxy where they find themselves passengers on a ship called Serenity.
Rating/Warnings: Older teens for swearing in multiple languages, violence, torture, and such.
Categorization: SG-1/Firefly Crossover, AU, Action/Adventure, Drama
Pairings: BOB. Sam/Jack established relationship, hints of Daniel/Vala, Kaylee/Simon, Mal/Inara, and Jayne/Everyone (at least in his mind).
Season: Post-BDM for Firefly, early season 9 for SG-1
A/N: Written for dear, patient holdouttrout for the Sweet Charity Auction, Fall 2007. How the prompt "Sam/Jack, undercover" turned into this shall ever remain a mystery. Many thanks to Trout for her patience and understanding. Thanks to katcorvi and aurora_novarum for alphas and betas and handholding along the way.
The Raggedy Edge
Rain blanketed the street, churning up mud and driving any pedestrians foolish enough to still be out under cover. The raindrops plummeted like sharp needles from the steel curled clouds, driven by the greedy gravity of the planet. Sam could feel the ground sucking at her knees as she peered cautiously around the corner of a building. A week on this planet had done nothing to adjust her to the denser gravity; she doubted any amount of time ever would. At least it meant that when they got back to Earth they'd spend a few days feeling like weightless superheroes.
If they ever got back to Earth, that was.
The full skirts that had become the bane of Sam's existence settled like lead weights as muddy rainwater wicked up her hem. The only positive to the outlandish garments was they allowed her to hide a small arsenal on her person at all times. She could feel the reassuring weight of something not quite a Berretta holstered to each leg, but resisted the urge to arm herself prematurely. She could so not afford to blow their cover on the odd chance that they really had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
She leaned slightly around the rough wooden corner of the general store, counting no less than twelve men.
"Shit," she swore, ducking back out of sight. "This is not good."
When Jack did little more than grunt at her, one hand disappearing under his bloody vest, she knew 'not good' didn't quite cover it.
Her eyes darted to the still form crumpled on the ground on the other side of Jack, noticing the gentle rise and fall of the man's chest that informed her that the piece of go-se had the gall to still be alive. A goddamned inconvenience that was. At least a dead man wouldn't break their cover.
Sometimes pretending to be an unassuming pair of farmers really sucked.
Jack followed her gaze to their unconscious companion.
"Maybe they won't notice they lost one of their friends?" Sam said hopefully.
This time he didn't even bother to grunt.
"Shit," she repeated.
She really needed to find a doctor. And not one of those hapless barbers that yanked teeth and mixed concoctions out of the back of his shop. She knew the chances of finding one in this part of the system were even worse than the probability of accidentally stumbling over Daniel in the street one day. Surely one of the central Alliance planets would provide better information and medical care, but they had already proven themselves to be less than open to outsiders. And since neither Sam nor Jack looked forward to being poked and prodded like little green men from Mars, they would have to find help somewhere else.
Unfortunately, currently between them and anywhere else was a raucous band of well-armed thugs that might or might not be looking to collect the bounty on their heads. They had the absolute worst luck these days.
Slouching back against the rough wood, Sam eyed the pallor of Jack's skin.
He was running out of time.
Before she could let her desperation prod her into something rash, the constant, rowdy holler of the bandits rumbled ominously into silence. Inexplicably, Sam felt a trail of goose bumps down the back of her neck at the sudden loss of sound. Craning around the corner once more, Sam wiped wet hair out of her face with one hand, the other reaching up under her skirt for her gun. Somehow she thought the time for caution was long past.
The dozen or so burly men were now standing in a rough half-circle in front of the bar watching the slow, almost meandering progress of a willowy girl with long black hair as she strolled up the middle of the road. She seemed completely unconcerned by the pelting rain or the unmistakable animosity of the roving band of nasty men with nothing more than pillage on their minds.
Not your problem, Sam, she told herself. If that girl wanted to get herself killed, or worse, it was the least of their concerns right now. Really.
One of the men let out a catcall of sorts, another helpfully supplying a crass description of exactly what he was going to do to the girl in question.
Sam glanced down at Jack, and with obvious difficulty he managed to meet her gaze. He looked pretty damn resigned.
"I hate this galaxy," Sam said, sliding up against the wall to a standing position. She pulled her gun, checked the ammo. "I am so going to kick Daniel's ass if we ever find him."
Jack grunted in a way she interpreted as 'get in line.'
Who exactly would get to kick Daniel's ass first was an argument they could revisit when Jack wasn't bleeding freely and Daniel was no longer missing. God damn Daniel and his insatiable curiosity! Not to mention his stupid need to touch things that happen to transport him and his newest alien girlfriend to another galaxy, no matter how many times he claimed it wasn't a transporter.
Sam knew she was being uncharitable, but at the moment she didn't give a damn. They'd spent the better part of six months traipsing around this galaxy trying to track down Daniel and now Jack was oozing way too much blood for comfort.
She reached down and squeezed Jack's shoulder. "I'll be right back. You just hold on."
His hand grabbed her ankle, his eyes meeting hers. Don't do anything stupid, he seemed to project.
About a year too late for that advice, she thought, giving him a nod and small smile.
Pressing the gun to her side, effectively hiding it in the thick folds of her skirt, Sam stepped out into the street. The men, still intent on the girl, didn't even notice her. Twelve to one weren't the worst odds she'd ever faced, but near enough. She was tempted to pull out her zat, but obviously alien weapons would bring attention she couldn't afford. The last thing they needed was to pop up on the Alliance radar again.
But, oh, what she wouldn't do for a Goa'uld flash bomb.
"Hey!" Sam shouted over the rain. "Why don't you pick on someone your own size?"
The few men that even bothered to look over at her seemed less than impressed. She knew she looked little better than a drowned rat at this point.
"Well, look at that," a particularly ugly one drawled, "we've just doubled the fun, boys."
"You want to leave the girl alone," Sam answered, making up for her less than threatening appearance with her flintiest tone.
"And why would we want to do that?"
One of the men deliberately reached out and grabbed the girl's arm and Sam tensed, ready for the inevitable fight to come. But before she could heft up her weapon, the craziest thing happened: the girl's foot connected solidly with the bandit's chin, knocking him flat out, even though Sam was fairly certain normal human anatomy didn't allow for quite that much flexibility.
There was a beat of silence in which only the drizzling rain and the loud squelch of the unconscious man's body settling into the mud could be heard. Then the girl looked over at Sam with a smile that sent a shiver down her spine. In a blur, she pushed back into motion, almost dance-like as her fists and feet connected with the men around her, ducking and dodging their blundering attempts to defend themselves.
At the rear of the pack a man raised his gun at the girl and Sam shook off her shock long enough to drill him before he could fire, the retort of her gun loud above the fight. That grabbed the attention of the few men still standing in utter shock. One of them was on Sam before she could fire again, knocking her gun from her hand. She could see two of his friends close on his heels.
She let them get close enough to think her harmless (men in this galaxy were as predictable as any back home), only to twist abruptly when one of them reached for her arm, her foot slamming into his stomach. Suitably doubled up, she swept his feet out from under him, dropping him down into the mud just in time to duck the attack of a second man.
The second bandit stumbled past her on the uneven ground and Sam pressed her advantage, stepping hard on the back of his leg and finishing him with a left hook that reverberated rather unpleasantly up her arm.
Shaking the pins and needles out of her hand, Sam flicked her hair out of her face, sizing up the last of her opponents.
The third man stepped back, eying his now disabled companions and circling Sam warily. She was just about to dart in with her first attack when a sharp retort sounded, her adversary falling face forward into the mud at her feet.
Standing behind him was a brown-haired man in suspenders and really tight pants holding a smoking pistol.
"Sorry to ruin your fun, sweetheart, but we're on a schedule," he said before lowering his gun and turning away from her.
Sam stared after him in shock, only now noticing that the little girl she had thought to protect had managed to debilitate the other eight men in the time she had taken to deal with two.
Ducking down, Sam salvaged her gun from the mud, wiping at it with her skirt.
The girl seemed to recognize the small group of people that had materialized on the street during the brief struggle. Other than the man that had spoken to Sam, one other went directly to the girl's side, hovering over her as if to see if she was okay, a third digging through the pockets of the prone men. A tall, calm-looking woman standing watch a short distance from Sam finished off the eclectic group.
The townspeople, who had so far proven to be completely unwilling to lift a finger against the gang of thugs that had descended upon the place earlier in the week, were now peering cautiously out their windows.
A pudgy man Sam recognized as the owner of the only bar in town and therefore the default leader in these parts, pushed out onto the covered walkway.
"One flock of no goods ridden out of town as ordered," announced the man in the tight pants.
"We appreciate it, Mal," the barkeep said, waving forward a boy with some sort of mechanical part in his arms.
Mal took the part with a smile. "Always a pleasure doing business with you, Wilfred."
Wilfred smiled, patting his large belly. "You folks be wanting a drink? You must be parched."
Movement from behind the two men caught Sam's eye and she had her gun aimed in a flash, firing at the bandit attempting to shoot Mal in the back. She had no more than pulled off the shot when a rifle pressed steadily against her back.
"You want to lower your weapon," the woman informed her.
Sam did as she was told, watching the man called Mal and the barkeep look down at the now dead bandit with wide eyes.
"I'm not trying to cause trouble," Sam said, keeping her arms wide.
Mal yelled something over at them that was likely in Chinese. Even having been in this galaxy for months, Sam could still only pick out something that sounded suspiciously like 'monkey balls'. Her Chinese was admittedly spotty though, so she could be wrong.
"Reckon she saved your life, Captain," the woman with the rifle said.
Sam had his attention now and figured a little gratitude might do her some good. She was more than desperate enough to ask.
"Please, I need a doctor," she said, feeling the rifle leave her back. "If there is any way you can help…"
"I'm a doctor," said the dark-haired man hovering near the crazy fighting girl.
Sam looked him over from his neatly cropped hair to his delicate hands. She liked the look of him; he obviously wasn't some quack. She waved him around the side of the building, aware that the rest of the group followed.
Jack still sat where she'd left him, his face paler if possible. She dropped down by his side, ignoring the slosh of mud under her knees.
"That bastard shot him," she said, gesturing dismissively to the still unconscious bandit a few feet away.
The doctor took one look at Jack and the blood soaking his clothes and declared, "I need to get him back to the infirmary if he's going to survive."
Sam felt her chest constrict, her hands tightening on Jack's arm.
"Serenity ain't no hospital, doc," Mal said.
The ninja girl with the long hair tilted her head to the side as if listening to something none of them could hear. Sam wasn't going to lie; the girl gave her the creeps.
"We should help them," she announced.
"Ain't a charity foundation neither," Mal grumbled.
The girl raised a finger, pointing directly at Sam. "She can help us."
Now the Captain looked interested. "With the thing?"
"For certain," she said with a firm nod.
Mal stared at Sam for a moment and she fought the urge to tell him to hurry the fuck up, it wasn't like there was a man bleeding to death in front of him as he pondered.
"Okay," he finally said, gesturing for the man who'd been happily stealing from the dead to pick Jack up and carry him to some jumped up vehicle that looked like a MALP on steroids. "We take your man in and patch him up good and you promise to help us with one little job that needs doing. Deal?"
Sam's eyes narrowed. The last thing she needed in this God-forsaken galaxy was more trouble or a promise that was bound to come back and bite her in the ass. Not that she had a choice.
She nodded. "Just help him," she said, her voice a bit more desperate than she would have liked. God help them if Jack died.
Mal glanced sideways at the girl and she stared hard at Sam again. Sam refused to drop her gaze, even though it felt as if the girl was x-raying her.
"She means to keep her end of the bargain," the girl eventually said, and Mal nodded his understanding. "Though, if he dies, she'll burn us all down to dust."
Sam looked from the spooky kid to Mr. Tightpants. "She's not wrong," she confirmed.
Mal didn't seem too put off by that. "Fair enough," he said with a shrug.
And that was how Sam and Jack found themselves passengers on a rusty space bucket that went by the improbable name of Serenity.