TITLE: Why Wide-Eyed Wanderers Should Wear Leashes
AUTHORS: Mnemosyne and Rinalin
Disclaimer: The world of Firefly is the property of Joss Whedon, et al. Arashi are the property of themselves; except for Ohno, who is the property of Nino. I've seen the paperwork.
SUMMARY: Ohno meets the crew of Serenity. Mal gets annoyed.
CHARACTER(S): Everyone but Shepherd Book, I realize now. And all of the Arashi members make an appearance.
PAIRINGS: Blink-and-you'll-miss-it implications of Ohmiya
WARNINGS: Mild crack. Sort of... crack on vacation. Crack Lite. But still crack.
Rinny and I wanted a Firefly/Arashi crossover, so we decided to write one. Really fairly simple as explanations go. Please enjoy!
They'd been on Beaumonde a day and a half when Mal noticed the newcomer.
He was tiny in comparison to the crew, with an exotic look like someone from the Asian continent on Earth-That-Was. He had a somewhat dazed expression that reminded Mal of River when she was in one of her "Look at the pretty bullets, let's play with the pretty knives" moods, though the new guy didn't seem to be exhibiting any homicidal tendencies; a first, really, for a passenger on Serenity. The man's hair was spiky and golden-brown, frosted at the tips, which got under Mal's skin in a most uncomfortable way. A man shouldn't know what frosted hair is, Mal ruminated. It ain't natural.
The most pressing issue about the newcomer, hair care aside, was that no one had told Mal they were taking on passengers. Seeing as Mal was C-A-P-T-A-I-N, he was more than a little miffed by this. "Who are you?" he demanded. The boy looked no older than seventeen and incapable of staying awake, much less causing any threat to the crew, which was why Mal hadn't pulled a gun on him. Yet.
Mal furrowed his brow, "Oh yes. I'm the Captain of this vessel and you answer when I ask a question. I'm not above throwing you out the airlock, prepubescent or not."
"Oh, no." The boy said it slower.
Both Mal and the Boy-without-a-name turned to look at River, who stood at the entryway of the galley, head tilted as she gazed at the Boy.
"River," Mal rolled his eyes heavenward, the last thing he needed was one of his resident fugitives making themselves known. Especially the crazy one.
"What is your name?!"
"CAPTAIN." River pointed at the boy, giving Mal a weirdly lucid glare. "Captain OHNO."
"What?" Mal looked from River to the boy to River to the boy to River to the boy. "Who the hell are you and why are you on my ship?"
The boy blinked at him, then looked at River as if SHE were the one in charge. Mal would have been angry with that, but then River started babbling to the kid in… Was that Japanese? No one had spoken plain old Japanese since the Sihnon Accord a hundred years ago. Before he could think on that, the boy started babbling in return. Mal was able to pick out a few words here and there, along the lines of "hello," "ship," "hungry" and "crazy."
Both voices fell silent after that last statement, and turned the full intensity of their unified stares in Mal's direction.
Mal look plaintively at them both, "Why can't it never go smooth?"
One hour later they hadn't gotten much past the preliminaries. Mal had called Zoe in to assess the situation and she'd agreed with his call that the kid wasn't a threat, so they brought him into the belly of Serenity and set him up with something to eat. River sat next to him at the table and watched him eat with those creepy, googly eyes of hers, but the kid didn't seem to mind.
"That ain't right," Jayne muttered, watching as the boy wolfed down a plate of steak-shaped protein food. "He ain't even makin' a face or pukin' or nothin'."
"Definitely not natural," Mal agreed, much as it pained him to agree with anything Jayne said. Both men tilted their heads to the side as the boy downed a glass of apple juice. "Since when do we have apple juice?"
"Not since little Kaylee went on that juice kick six months back," Jayne muttered, squinting in morbid fascination at the kid, as if he expected him to spontaneously combust. "That stuff's gotta be two months past its sell by date and no mistake."
Their heads tilted even farther.
"Don't look like he's frothing at the mouth or anything, does it?" Mal observed.
"That ain't right."
"Definitely not natural."
"Well look, the fact is he's here now and we've got to get rid of him before he starts causing trouble." Mal crossed his arms and stared down his crew, daring them to contradict him.
"Aww, but Captain, he's sweet!" Kaylee was the first to come to the kid's defense. She'd taken an instant liking to the boy and seemed to think he was some kind of human-shaped kitten. She gave him a soothing pat on the head, and the young man smiled gratefully.
"I don't care if he's sweet, sour, or bland as pecans," Mal argued. "He'd better be gone before tomorrow or there's going to be trouble."
"Just exactly what kind of trouble do you think he'll cause, Captain?" Simon asked. River had taken a shine to the newcomer, too, and Simon considered her approval ironclad proof that he wasn't a threat. "He doesn't even speak our language. And his name is Ohno, by the way." It was no surprise that River the Crazy Genius spoke old Japanese, but
learning that Simon had the same faculty was... well, damn annoying, really.
"What kind of dumbass name is OHNO?" Jayne snorted.
"The irony of you making that statement is completely lost on you, isn't it?" Simon mused.
"A form of impotency."
"Can we get back to the main point here?" Mal interrupted. "Namely, this strange kid-"
"-fine, this strange OHNO needing to get gone and fast. Comprende?"
The kid looked at River and said something. "Riida says that we're in space, ne?" she translated.
Mal blinked. "What the hell is a riida?"
Ohno smiled at the name on the Captain's lips.
"He's twenty-seven, you know," River said reproachfully, and then smiled at her new friend as Mal and Wash both gaped.
"Well, that's just... That's..." Wash folded his arms over his chest, eyeing the short man. "That's just kind of awesome. River, ask him where he found the Fountain of Youth. Mal, we could make a bundle!"
River and Ohno conversed for a moment while Mal attempted to keep his brain from melting out his ears. "In a storm," River finally said, taking Ohno's hand and squeezing.
"Well, that's just poetic, ain't it?" Mal griped sarcastically. "Isn't that sweet? Did you hear that, everyone? He found the fountain of youth in a storm. Just wait right here while I go fetch my white horse and shining armor. We're in the middle of a goddamn fairy tale. JUST WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED." He leveled a stern finger in Ohno's direction. "Look… Riida, or whatever you call yourself. I don't know who you are or where you come from, but you are going straight home, you hear me?"
Ohno tilted his head and blinked at him. A moment later River's face appeared directly next to Ohno's, and she blinked at Mal, too. It was disconcerting to say the least, and made his neck itch.
"Would you lot knock it off?" he griped, straightening up and trying not to fiddle with his hair in a nervous way. He settled for fiddling with his hair in a manly, no-nonsense way instead. "We ain't keepin' him."
"But CAPTAIN-" Kaylee started to whine.
"NO. Gorrammit, Kaylee, he ain't a stray puppy! He's a person! A weird little skinny runt of a person with questionable fashion sense, but a person nonetheless. There's probably people out there right now wondering where their little Ohno's wandered off to."
"They're coming," River said, eyes distant. Ohno's gaze followed hers out into the ether somewhere. "They're trying. Baka messed up."
"Bak...lava?" Inara frowned, trying to place the word.
"Who," Zoe blinked, instantly alert. "Who's coming, River?"
"And what," Wash asked, "does baklava have to do with anything?"
A sudden flash of blinding light made Jayne bark in surprise, and everyone raised their hands to cover their eyes from the glare.
"DANGER! VERY, VERY DANGER!" a panicked voice shrieked. Mal peered through his fingers just in time to see a tallish, skinny figure bolt past him out of thin air. Before he had a chance to digest that, another tallish, skinny figure appeared -- also out of thin air -- and gave chase, letting loose a slew of curses that didn't require a working knowledge of
Japanese to understand.
"Anooo... Sumimasen." Mal nearly jumped out of his skin as a head appeared in midair in the vicinity of the earlier flash of light. The head smiled an embarrassed kind of smile, and was soon joined by the rest of its body.
"Gomen. Sorry," the figure said, bowing to each crewmember in turn. He had a very nice face, with big, kind eyes and dark hair that fell in a wave across his forehead. "Gomen. Gomen, sorry."
"Sho-kun!" Ohno leapt to his feet and caught the newcomer in a tight hug.
"Ohchan!" the visitor exclaimed, hugging him in return. Mal might have thought it was sweet, if he didn't suddenly have a bunch of strange Japanese guys appearing out of thin air and running rampant on his ship.
"SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT'S GOING ON!" Mal barked, bringing all other conversation to a standstill. Well, almost all; terrified shrieks of, "VERY DANGER!" and the pounding of running feet could still be heard in the background.
The dark-haired newcomer -- Sho-kun? -- let go of Ohno and turned to face the captain. "Sorry, sir," he said in the slow, precise kind of english that is the result of hours of practice. "Anooo... Aiba-chan? His... machine. It... didn't work."
"Who's Aiba-chan?" Zoe asked.
"Where did you come from?" Kaylee asked.
"And how do you go back there?" Jayne growled.
"And I heard there would be baklava?" Wash added.
Sho-kun looked a little panicked from all the questions coming at him, but River jumped to her feet and started chattering away. A wave of relief passed over Sho's face at the realization that someone here understood his language, and he was soon engaged in a lively conversation with both River and Ohno.
"Apparently... No, wait, this can't be right," Simon translated, frowning as he listened to the conversation.
"What? What can't be right?" Inara asked.
"They're talking... It sounds like they're talking about a... time... machine?" Simon's face furrowed in confusion.
"Time machines ain't real, doc," Mal reminded him.
"Yes, I realize that. But Sakurai -- that's Sho-kun, Captain – Sakurai just told Ohno that Aiba-chan's watermelon quantifier malfunctioned, and the flux capacitor's paper plate caught fire, so they had to wait for... Jun-kun? For Jun-kun to get back with the firecrackers." Simon blinked, then turned his strangely calm gaze in Mal's direction. "Apparently Aiba-chan built a time machine with a watermelon, a paper plate, and some firecrackers, and it went bad."
Mal stared at him. "A watermelon and a paper plate." he said, deadpan.
"And firecrackers, yes."
"And it went bad."
"Yes, that's right."
"Well it would, wouldn't it?"
"Assumedly so, Captain."
"ARE YOU RAVING CRAZY, DOC? TIME MACHINES AREN'T REAL!"
Simon shrugged helplessly. "That's what Sho said, Captain. I'm just repeating what I heard."
Jayne had his gun trained on the excitable one, who was still running around, eyes wide and interested. He'd apparently managed to shake whoever was chasing him, and now he was exploring this newfound world of the future. He didn't register that he had a gun pointed at him until he almost ran point blank into the barrel. "Danger!" He yelped, hiding behind
Wash. "Very danger!"
"Can I shoot 'im, Mal?" Jayne's eyes narrowed on Wash's chest. "They invaded without invitation, after all."
"No!" Kaylee exclaimed. "Ohno's friends are our friends!"
"Might be spies, you don't know." Jayne cocked his gun.
"Spies for who?" Simon demanded.
"Can someone please tell him to stop pointing the gun at me?" Wash asked, staring at Jayne's gun with commendable calm.
"EVERYBODY SHUT UP!" Mal hadn't asked for this. All he'd wanted was a few boring days on Beaumonde, lining up work with some of the port's shadier clientele, before heading back out into the big empty. Not once had he asked to play babysitter to a bunch of time travelling Japanese boys who'd rocketed themselves into the future using their crazy machines made of watermelon and cardboard. That had just never been in the cards. Never. And now here they were, running roughshod through his ship and making his mechanic and his resident crazy person give him baleful glares. Kaylee had a baleful glare that could strip the paint off a rusty cistern.
Miraculously, everyone shut up. Mal took a moment to enjoy the authority of command, then turned his attention to Sho. "THANK. YOU. FOR. COMING. FOR. HIM," he said, speaking loudly and clearly, careful to over-enunciate his words. He pointed a finger at Ohno. "PLEASE. TAKE. HIM. HOME."
Sho blinked at him.
"He speaks another language, Captain," Simon said reproachfully. "He's not a dog."
"I'd really appreciate it if someone would tell Jayne to stop pointing his gun at me," Wash reiterated.
"I'm havin' fun," Jayne said with a sneer.
"Stop pointing your gun at my husband, Jayne, or I'll hurt you." Zoe's voice was calm, knowing she'd be obeyed.
Jayne looked cowed. "Yes'm." He obediently put his gun away.
River had spent the interim softly translating events for Sho and Ohno. Aiba emerged from his protective huddle behind Wash and crept over to join the conversation.
Mal frowned and counted. "Hang on... wasn't there a fourth one?"
With the kind of perfect timing that you usually only read about in stories, a tallish, skinny figure dressed in a long black cloak – check that, a long black COAT -- swept down the staircase, grabbed Aiba in a chokehold with an arm pinned up behind his back, and glared at Ohno. Aiba squeaked, Ohno blushed, and Sho started gesturing animatedly to the people
around them. He was speaking in Japanese, but his point was easy enough to understand: "What are you doing, Jun-kun! They're going to think you're some kind of crazy lunatic!"
Jun's response was equally easy to understand: "I'm HOLDING the crazy lunatic! Who YOU let escape in the first place!" He gave Aiba a shake to demonstrate.
Clearly this Jun character wasn't about to take any guff. At last, a man after Mal's own heart. "I think this is their cue to leave, huh?" he said, crossing his arms in satisfaction.
Sho bowed to the crew as he helped Jun shuffle Aiba back through the space/time vortex, then followed them back to their own time. Ohno paused in front of the rip in the fabric of reality and waved to the crew. Kaylee waved back, tears in her eyes.
"Ohchan!" Ohno turned around to find another young man sticking his head through the vortex.
"Nino!" Ohno beamed.
Nino beckoned him to hurry up and come through. "Ramen!"
Ohno's eyes widened with delight. "Ramen, ne?"
"Yatta!" He turned around, gave the crew one last excited wave, then dove through the portal after Nino. There were a few more seconds of temporal instability, then reality firmed itself up and everything was whole again.
"Did any of that really just happen?" Wash asked a few minutes later.
"I think so," Inara murmured.
"Yes, it DID!" Kaylee was still crying. "Oh, Captain, I miss him already!"
"There there, little Kaylee." Mal rubbed her back. "Next planet we get to, we'll buy you a puppy."
"Naw, but it was comforting for me to say it, wasn't it?"
"You're a big old meanie, Captain."
"But you love me anyway." He gave her an affectionate noogie.
"Um..." Simon was looking around, his eyes slightly panicked. "Does anyone see River?"
MEANWHILE, SOMEWHERE IN PRESENT DAY JAPAN...
"But I didn't MEAN to rip a hole in the fabric of space/time!" Aiba wailed as Jun wrangled him into a chair. "It was an accident! Really!"
"I don't want to hear it!" Jun fumed. "Do you realize you could have collapsed reality as we know it? The universe could have imploded, all because you wanted to see a dinosaur!"
"But I used a REALLY FRESH watermelon!" Aiba moaned. "It should have worked perfect, no problems!"
"Idiot! You should have used a DEHYDRATED melon. Using a fresh melon sent you FORWARD in time. Twit!"
"I said I don't want to hear it!"
"Now what did we learn from this, Ohchan?" Sho said as he sat next to Nino, who was sitting next to Ohno, watching him happily gulp down a bowl of steaming ramen.
"Don't wander off," Ohno said obediently between mouthfuls.
"Don't get too close to any of Aiba's experiments."
"Don't walk through any unknown vortexes, even if they're pretty, sparkly, shiny, or look like rainbows."
"Very good." Sho smiled and ruffled Ohno's hair.
"Didn't they feed you in that place?" Nino asked as Ohno finished the bowl of ramen and looked around for more.
"Oh, hai. Time travel just makes me hungry."
"AHHHHH!" All eyes turned in the direction of Jun's scream. "Who are YOU!?" he barked, staring at the coat he'd just shrugged off and was now holding away from his body like a dead rat.
"Are your clothes giving you bad fashion advice again, Jun-kun?" Nino asked. "I thought you were taking medicine for that."
"No, they aren't, and shut up. I'm talking to HER." He whipped the coat away like a magician, to reveal a slight girl with pale skin and large, dark eyes. "She snuck back with us. Under my COAT. And she touched my HAIR."
"Blasphemy," Nino drawled.
"Konnichiwa," River said with a polite little bow.
"River-chan!" Ohno exclaimed, hopping up from the table to greet his friend.
"Oh NO," Sho groaned. "She's from the future!"
"What are we going to do with her?" Nino asked, eyeing the new girl with suspicion as she started dancing jigs and reels with Ohno.
"Send her back, obviously," Jun snapped.
"OOH! Excellent!" Aiba leapt to his feet. "I'll go buy another watermelon!"