Transit the Sun
Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sadly enough.
Warnings: Language, General spoilers for both series
AN: For AtLA Land's bingo card writing challenge. Prompt was "Crossover."
Title taken from the name of an LJ member. Since really, it just sounds cool.
Buffy doesn't like how they stare. Her hair is blonde, growing golden the more time she spends in the sun, and no one else in this strange place has this color. She starts to wear a head covering since it gets fewer looks than the hair itself. Her clothes at least don't stand out but do mark her as a refugee. They're road-stained and mismatched, and she's ashamed to admit that they were taken from the dead. Most of her supplies are obtained the same way or from whichever bandits are stupid enough to attack her. It's wrong, and it makes her stomach twist. But it's the only way she has to support herself.
It's so weird here. Like she's been suddenly dumped in an Asian Disneyland come to life. And she's not in Kansas anymore, Toto. She's not in North America. She's not even on Earth. Not her Earth anyway. Not her world. Just some strange dimension that bares a vague resemblance.
The language sounds like Chinese. At least it's like what she assumes is Chinese since that's not something she speaks. The first few weeks are hard. So damn hard. And Buffy pretends to be deaf until she learns enough of the language to not look like a complete idiot. It takes a bit longer to learn how to read. Takes until a kind old woman she saves from thieves teaches her with knowing eyes and a sad, sad smile.
But the language and strange manners and even the freaky animals aren't the weirdest part of all of this. The weirdest part is the people themselves. Buffy gapes the first time she sees someone bend earth. She does it again when she sees soldiers in an occupied town controlling fire as easily as most people breathe. Don't even get her started on those weirdoes she saw at the edge of a swamp and their wacky, water ways.
It's so freaky. It's so damn strange. It's so fucking typical.
No, she can't land in a world filled with happiness and light and puppies that chase rainbows. Instead, she crashes down in a place where people are divided along which element they can control.
Worse yet, this is a world at war. Fire versus earth. Possibly fire versus everybody else; she's still not sure about that part. She hasn't seen enough of the water people to be sure, and she hasn't met anybody of air yet. All Buffy knows is that they're fighting. That they're killing and dying and that it's only a matter of time before she gets sucked right into the middle like always.
It's all she can do to stay ahead of the game and not linger in one place for very long. Buffy sticks out like a sore thumb whenever she's somewhere for more than a week anyway. It's no hardship to keep moving, to keep wandering without end. She's still too out of place in this world to be comfortable staying somewhere long term. Too much a Californian in an Oriental Wonderland. Too much Alice down the rabbit hole. Too much a lost girl far away from home.
She doesn't have any friends here. She doesn't have a family. She's not the oldest Slayer. She's not even really Buffy anymore. She's just a woman. Just another refugee. Just a nobody.
This world's weird and at war and so not like anything she's ever known. But sometimes…
Sometimes, when she curls up at night and listens to the breeze through the trees, Buffy's actually at peace. She isn't a Slayer here; no one depends on her to keep them alive. She has no responsibilities; she owes nothing to no one and doesn't have to live up to their expectations.
Sometimes, she finally feels free. Sometimes, she keeps walking the entire night instead of going to sleep and nobody insists she's overdoing it. Other times, she doesn't clean the dishes as thoroughly as she should, and there's nobody to scold her for being irresponsible. Occasionally, she doesn't leave her camp for days and does nothing but lie in the grass and gaze up at the clouds.
Buffy doesn't have to be anyone or anything but herself. She doesn't have to smile despite the agony of loss. She doesn't have to lead. She doesn't have to have all the answers. She doesn't have to keep her chin lifted and avoid the awestruck looks of the other Slayers. She can still fight, still protect the innocent, and it's not because it's expected of her. And this time, it's not without gratitude for her efforts. It's not without thanks. It's not without grateful eyes that welcome even a stranger around the campfire for the night.
But that's all it ever is. All Buffy ever allows herself. Instead, she just walks the road and lets the wind lead her way. Lets the breeze tug her here. To this time and this place. To a girl fight. To women fighting women.
She stares for a minute. It's several teenagers in green versus a mismatched trio who don't look any older. Buffy doesn't know the latter, but the former seems vaguely familiar.
Kimono Girls? Koga's Warriors? Karaoke Fighters?
Something like that. Buffy only knows what the other refugees have told her. Have asked her. She isn't one, but watching them, Buffy can honestly see why they might think she was. These girls are fierce. They're strong and disciplined and everything she tried and failed to make the younger Slayers.
They're also losing.
Even their awesome moves can't seem to stand up to a chick with knives and a bored frown and her pink, bouncy friend. There's a third one, too. But she just watches with her arms crossed and a smirk that wouldn't look out of place on the devil. There's something about her that sends a chill down Buffy's spine in a way that not even the mayor or Angelus did. Something that makes her instincts scream not to give her back to this girl. To not take her eyes away or lose sight.
Something that tells her the lights are on and somebody's moving around inside but they aren't completely human.
Buffy files that feeling away even as she watches the Girls In Green fight Miss Frowny and her giggling sidekick. Her attention goes from them to a large white… thing in the background that's huddled away and shaking with something a lot like fear. It looks like a buffalo. Well, if they had six legs. Like a vaguely buffalo-thing that's just a little bit cute if Buffy's perfectly honest with herself. And whatever the hell it is, the Fan Girls seem to be friends with it or at the very least trying to protect it. Which earns them brownie points in Buffy's mental tally.
Not that she's really keep track or anything. Instead, she's mostly trying to decide just what the hell's going on. And who the hell she's supposed to fight.
Usually, it's obvious. Sketchy looking guys trying to rob peasants. Bullies wearing armor. The general baddies who're easily identified.
It's a bit harder this time. They're all a bunch of kids.
Buffy's still trying to puzzle it out as the fighting reaches a lull. The Girls In Green are breathing heavy as they fall back to stand near the weird buffalo-thing. Which despite its size looks as harmless as a giant marshmallow. They're battered and bruised but resolute as the Mismatched Trio faces off against them. The chick in red mocks their efforts and inspects her nails without a care in the world.
Neither group has yet to notice Buffy. Which is a definite plus. Buffy isn't still quite sure which side is the good guys. If there even is a good guys here. She really doesn't understand the war or even who really started the damn thing. Just that it's been going on for a long time and that both sides hate the other. Still, she's heard nothing but good things about the Fan Girls, and anyone who has a leader that looks like such a complete psycho can't be trusted. Not to mention that Buffy's instincts are still screaming at her that the one in red is up to No Good.
Then, just as she realizing that, she sees Miss Psycho Bitch throw blue fire.
It's like time stands still. Buffy could run; she could turn away. She could leave and pretend she didn't see. She could let the people of this weird world continue on without her help.
But that's never been Buffy's style. It's never been her way to turn her back when her help is needed. And really, that buffalo-thing is too cute. He makes her think of a white and brown Mr. Gordo and the stuffed hippo she'd once had that Dawn had destroyed in a fit of pique when she was eight.
Buffy doesn't waste any time stepping out of the bushes and right into the fire. What follows is surprise. Then, there are orders to back down. To submit. To get the hell away.
Buffy naturally doesn't listen.
A knife is thrown at her shoulder. Buffy snatches it out of the air thoughtlessly and throws it back. Her Dourness barely has enough time to dive to the side before it flies through the space she'd just been occupying. She's quick to throw more knives, even as she comes up in a crouch. But those meet the same fate as the first, and she's scrambling to get out of the way.
Pinky steps in then. Well, more like she takes a back handspring in Buffy's direction and attempts to dance around her. Buffy just steps to the left and gives a feint to the right. She dodges a knife that's thrown at her head then, catches it, and flings it back.
All without thought. All without looking.
Her efforts earn her a hissing curse that lets her know that her aim was perfect, but she doesn't even smile as a blast of blue fire flies at her face. Buffy just ducks and rolls, coming to her feet directly in front of Bouncy. The girl wastes no time in striking out, and Buffy feels her arm tingle for a second as she deflects the blow. But she shakes it off like nothing and keeps going. Pinky's eyes have a heartbeat to widen to comical levels before Buffy knocks her out with a well-placed jab to the side of the head. She goes down like a sack of bricks and doesn't get back up.
That leaves two.
Only now, Miss Bitch is really playing attention. And she looks pissed. Buffy isn't sure if it's because she actually knocked out Pinky or if it's because she won't back down. Maybe a combination of both.
Blue fire chooses that second to come rocketing toward her. Buffy sidesteps the blast, but she can feel the heat of it on her skin as she keeps going forward. She isn't burned, and it isn't enough to make her flinch back. But Miss Bitch seems genuinely surprised that she isn't terrified. Instead, Buffy gives a hard grin as she steps within attacking range.
Miss Bitch lashes out at her with fist and foot and fire. Buffy blocks all three before they can ever become a threat. She even deflects and catches yet another knife as she does, but she doesn't get a chance to throw it before blue flames are heading at her face once more. She dodges again, and they repeat the same song and dance a few more times with Buffy barely getting winded as the minutes stretch on.
The girl tries. She does. She kicks and punches and flings fire like a pro.
But Buffy is faster. Stronger. Better.
Don't get her wrong. This girl's good. Really good. In a few years, she might even be great. But Buffy can tell that she's been trained but hasn't fought to the bitter end. Has never been in a situation where she's a hairsbreadth from defeat or screaming torture before a terrible death. Has never been beaten into the ground and then crawled back to her feet. Has never lost when it really and truly mattered.
Buffy though, she's used to fighting things that will eat her if she loses. That will drink her blood and consume her soul if she falters. That will kill her and everyone she loves if she doesn't kill them first. That are not and have not ever been human.
This girl's just that. A girl. A teenaged girl. Scary as hell to normal people probably. Worrying to Buffy herself. But if she's a day over sixteen, Buffy will eat her muddy boots.
And that more than anything is why Buffy pulls her punches. Yeah, they're fighting. Yeah, Buffy's going to win. But this isn't a fight to the death. At least not on her end.
It's becoming clear, however, that Miss Bitch doesn't quite see it that way. Especially not when she shoots out fire that makes Buffy duck and back up a few steps. Her fingers form an odd shape on her hand then, and there's a strange crackling buzz around her skin.
Buffy feels the hair on her arms and under her cap stand on end. That's her only warning as the girl jerks out her right hand, and lightning flies free.
With ordinary people and in ordinary times, this'd be very bad indeed. But Buffy isn't ordinary. She's the Slayer. The dark wind that whips through the night. The desert storm that makes monsters cower. The untamable tornado that can't be conquered.
Lightning's nothing to that.
Buffy just takes a deep breath and lets her eyes flutter closed. She isn't entirely sure what happens next. She feels like the lightning connect, but it's like a gentle static shock. It doesn't sting or burn. It just flows through the empty spaces inside, going from her shoulder to her belly and out through her feet touching the ground to dissipate harmlessly.
A heartbeat later, she opens her eyes to the knowledge that she's untouched and unharmed and that not even a hair is out of place. The smile she gives is unintended and unintentional, but it comes nonetheless.
Miss Bitch stares at her in dumbfounded shock. She stares and stares, and her eyes start to fill with something Buffy honestly hates to see.
Fear. Real fear. Fear of losing. Fear of Buffy.
The girl licks her lips almost nervously before her shoulders straighten and her resolve reforms. Her eyes flicker around for a second. They flit to her dour friend as she stands over the downed chick in pink and throws knives at the Fan Girls as if her life depends on it. Then, they go back to Buffy.
The blonde knows what she's going to do. Knows it before it happens. But she lets it happen anyway. She doesn't want to kill these girls. They're only kids! They're Dawn's age, if that. It's better if they run.
Miss Bitch does just that. She does a ducking roll over to her friends, shooting a wave of blue flames out of her feet as she goes. Her Dourness drops to pick up their friend then, and she makes a run for the trees as Miss Bitch provides cover. The fires take a minute to burn away, but by then, the three are gone. Neither Buffy nor the Girls In Green who're still standing give chase.
It's quiet after that. Almost deathly so. The Fan Girls turn to tend to each other and their big buffalo friend, and Buffy stares at the space she'd last seen Miss Bitch before turning to help them. She isn't a doctor or a nurse or even had formal training. But she's picked up a few things over the years, and helping put things back together after the fight's the best way to wind down.
The Fan Girls only smile at her as she approaches. Despite the recent display and the freakiness, they don't even tense as she walks over. Their faces are open and relieved as everyone's patched up, and the huge buffalo-thing even makes a happy sound and slobbers all over Buffy when she uses pieces of an extra shirt to wipe away the blood from its fur.
And soon enough, everything's put to rights and everyone's fixed up. They look at each other then. The Girls In Green – Kyoshi Warriors – and Buffy. They've done little more talking than offering thanks and an exchange of names, but somehow, Buffy's reluctant to turn around and head on her merry way.
"Where are you headed?" the lead girl asks, and there's a strange tone in her voice. Soft but somehow appraising and hopeful both.
Buffy isn't sure what to make of it. She just shrugs and rolls her shoulders. Ba Sing Se sounded better than anything when it was just her, and it has the advantage of being away from the war. But really, it doesn't much matter where she ends up. She honestly doesn't care.
"Nowhere in particular." Buffy tilts her head. "Why?"
Suki just smiles.