For a Fee
Pairing: Kaylee/Anya [Firefly/BtVS]
Summary: Kaylee makes a wish.
Notes: For wisdomeagle for the Anya femslash_minis round. I always end up writing mild angst for her. Sorry about that.
* * *
The planet was dusty, just like all the other planets they'd visited lately. Simon had tried to explain it to her, something about orbits and sunlight and tilting, and Mal had said, "Course they're shady, Kaylee. If they were nice, rich people'd be living on them." Which she supposed made sense. The dust and the clothes made Kaylee feel right at home sometimes. But she didn't expect to see so much home once she got on Serenity.
Not quite when she got on Serenity, really. That was about finding an engine she could love better than anything at home. More like... when she met Inara. And Simon. Then's when she realized there was more to life than home. She hadn't seen much more of it yet, though, and she was starting to get pissed off. Kaylee wanted pretty things, and she usually got them. Naked.
Simon perplexed her.
"Come on." Someone tugged at her hand, and Kaylee was already stumbling in the direction she was being pulled before she processed it was River, dark, swirling, unwashed hair and skinny body hauling her away.
"Where we going?" As if she expected River to have an answer.
"All right," Kaylee said. Her steps quickened, to meet River's strides, so the pulling became unnecessary. She kept her hand in River's.
River stopped walking and turned around. "Consent is important," she said, boring her gaze into Kaylee's.
River smiled. "You trust me." She started walking again.
At this, Kaylee balked. "You aren't going to sacrifice me, are you?"
River led her into the woods edging a cornfield, and then into a stone building, haphazard and tumbling to it's side. Down slippery, molding steps, into darkness lit only by tiny holes in the ceiling and a power-cell lantern.
"Spring," River announced, and Kaylee could smell the water. The floor was made of rock, and sank towards the western wall, flooded with black water. Two girls River's age giggled, dancing in and out of the pool, and Simon sat on a narrow ledge, laughing.
Kaylee was wide-eyed at the sight of him smiling. Another girl, older, even older than Simon, sat beside him, her bare feet above the water so that Kaylee could see her manicured toes, painted silver. Toes like Inara's. And her clothes were finery, too, and she had her hand on Simon's arm. Kaylee watched her say something into Simon's ear, and saw Simon laugh again and turn to give her a look that Kaylee had never earned from him.
She yanked free of River's hand and stormed from the springhouse before Simon could see her. Tears burned her eyes and blinded her. She stumbled toward the fields, scrubbing at her face. "Wish I's sly. Wouldn't have to deal with that."
Ahead, when she finally cleared her vision, she saw a flitter at the edge of the field, propped up against the fence. A woman, same as Simon's age, same as that girl in the springhouse, was standing next to it. She was dressed in the same expensive garb, but more casually, and there were grease smudges on her hands.
Kaylee headed in her direction. "Problem with your ship?"
The woman smiled. Kaylee thought it was a strange smile, like the woman had been expecting her. "It just...stopped working," the woman said.
"I can help. For a fee." Kaylee grinned and knelt next to the flitter. The machine was more of a skimmer, one-rider, designed to skim over even land. Not good for rocky or steep terrain. A child's toy. Probably something they used on the farms. Now it was sitting on the ground, against the fence. She looked up at the woman for a response to her condition.
The woman said, "That's not a problem. I'm Anya."
"Kaylee." She straightened and stuck out her hand.
Anya shook it. "Sorry about the grease."
"No problem." Kaylee offered a chuckle. "Looks like an old ship. Probably something just wore out on you."
"Know much about this sort of thing?"
"Oh, yeah. It's my job. Well, my life, really," Kaylee said. She began working at a bolt on the engine panel, wishing she had her tools with her. "You?"
"I'm just here visiting."
"Seems an awful long way out for someone as prett--as finely-dressed as you."
"Just visiting, you know." Anya gave a one-shouldered shrug. "Thought this would be a good way to get around."
Kaylee nodded. She got the bolt loose, and then wiped at her eyes.
"If you don't mind me saying, you look a little distraught."
Kaylee sniffled. "Just over a boy. Ain't much."
"Did he break your heart?" Anya knelt down next to the flitter and put her hand over Kaylee's.
Kaylee looked at her in surprise and turned over her hand in Anya's grip, opening her fist to show a busted voltage meter. "Yes. Just like this."
"Have you ever though about...vengeance?" Anya's face was only inches from Kaylee's now, and Kaylee could see that her eyes were a rich umber color, somewhere between golden and brown, but of course, wealthy girls didn't have brown eyes. Kaylee could pick out red flecks. Blonde hair, nice clothes...
"Hey, you ain't Alliance, are you?"
"Ai ya. No. I'm not a joiner." Anya's lips curved into a smile that Kaylee felt herself responding to, smiling back. She glanced at the mangled part in her hand.
"So like, getting back at Simon? For not bein' friendly?"
"Right." Anya stood, offering Kaylee her hand. "Is it right that he makes you cry?"
"No." Kaylee narrowed her eyes. She let Anya pull her up. "It ain't right. What've I ever done to him?"
"Exactly." Anya squeezed her arm, and Kaylee felt something warm in her chest, a sort of kinship. Woman to woman. And she was already having a nicer time with this stranger than she'd had in the springhouse. Maybe River'd been talking about this as destiny.
"You understand, don't you?" She asked Anya.
"Yes. Oh yes. I've been there." Anya shook her head, and stalked off toward the edge of the forest. Kaylee scrambled after her, and thought she heard Anya say, "Been there for a thousand years."
Simon was outside the springhouse now, sitting on stone steps, with the girl beside him. They were talking softly, and the girl was close enough that her hip brushed Simon's waist. He had his hands behind him, propping himself up.
"How'd we do this?" Kaylee asked.
Anya folded her arms. "Well, in the old days, in Earth that Was, we'd have magic. We'd curse his arms so that snakes would crawl up them, or curse his... you know... so that it would turn orange. We'd make him eat snails, and turn his woman into a leech."
"She already is a leech," Kaylee said, mumbling, and Anya patted her shoulder. Then she thought over what Anya had told her and said, "Earth that Was? Is this like a fairytale?"
Anya looked at Simon. "Exactly. And you know, there's a fee."
"I ain't got much money."
"But I can fix your flitter. And you can sell it, or something."
"All right. Deal." Anya stuck out her hand again.
Kaylee took it, feeling the soft skin against her palm, warm and slightly damp. She held it a little longer than was probably right, just to examine it. That warm feeling stayed in her gut, and she thought, whatever they'd do to Simon, it was going to be fun. She smiled.
Anya smiled back, and said, "Fish guts."
"I know just where to get them."
They managed to catapult fish guts onto Simon's head, right as he was leaning in to kiss the farmgirl. They made her slip in the mud on a perfectly dry field. They found a beehive and bees swarmed Simon, until he was purple and splotched and running toward a water trough for relief.
Kaylee was sure he heard their laughter as he squirmed and thrashed in the dirty water, but he never looked in their direction. She felt like they were enchanted. When Simon climbed out of the trough, blushing in front of his maiden, Kaylee saw that some of the bee stings were on his face, and his left eye was swollen shut. He walked stiffly, like he was in pain, and winced to squeeze water out of his shirt.
"What's next? Frog in his throat? That's an old favorite," Anya said.
"Can't you see? He's hurting. We hurt him." Kaylee's eyes filled with tears. "It ain't right, what we did."
"Vengence is never right, little girl. It just is."
"I don't want him to hurt. Simon's good. He's good. Can't we take it back?"
Anya grabbed her shoulder and pulled her around. "No, we can't ever take it back. We can never take back love, and this is love. This is wanting and hurting so bad to have an effect on someone's life. To make them see you. To make them see your love. Punishing them for living."
Kaylee blinked away tears and reached up for Anya's wrist. "It ever work?"
"No, it doesn't ever work. The whole point is being able to take control of your life back from him, and once you have it, you see that you don't have an effect on his life, but he doesn't have any effect on yours, and you move on."
"Can we just get to the moving on bit?"
Anya seemed taken aback. She let go of Kaylee's shoulder, and dropped her hand, freeing herself from Kaylee's grip on her wrist, but taking her hand instead. "Sure."
Kaylee nodded. She liked the feeling of Anya's hand in hers, and liked spending the afternoon with her. Simon should have no part of it. She asked, "You uh... do this a lot?"
"It's kind of my only skill set. I'm a vengeance demon."
Kaylee laughed. "It's like you're a demon, but I know you're not. You ain't a reaver. I bet you're just hurting real bad. Worse than me." Kaylee cupped Anya's cheek.
Anya closed her eyes, to look away from Kaylee's face, but leaned into her touch. "Haven't you ever been so in love you'd kill for it?"
Anya opened her eyes.
Kaylee smiled weakly. "I just have fun."
"Killing is fun."
"You know, Jayne keeps sayin' that..." Kaylee stepped closer. "But I think sex is funner."
"What about your wish?"
"That you'd be sly. Mischievous? Trick Simon?"
"What, when I wished I'd like girls?" Kaylee dropped her hand from Anya's face, and asked, "Did that come true? It was just...I just said it. Didn't know what I wanted."
"Somebody refined and fancy, like Simon, but who was kind to you? Gentle?" Anya put both of her hands on Kaylee's shoulders.
Kaylee wetted her lips. "Tian xiao de."
"Nothing sacred. I'm a demon, remember?"
"A demon who likes money."
Kaylee smiled, and leaned closer again. "So can you make me stop ailing?"
"For you, anyway."
"I've never had any complaints."
Anya threw her head back to laugh, and when she dropped her chin again, to Kaylee's level, Kaylee surged forward and kissed her. Anya's lips tasted like strawberries. Kaylee moaned. The taste was fainter inside Anya's mouth and Kaylee deepened the kiss, searching out more, finding instead a hard tongue that pushed past hers into her own mouth. Kaylee sucked on it, hearing an echoing moan from Anya, and wondered what she tasted like.
"Pine," Anya said, breaking the kiss and nuzzling her jaw. "And earth." She bit into Kaylee's neck, and Kaylee arched forward, making contact with Anya's body. Anya's arms encircled her waist. "And fire."
Kaylee pulled Anya back by her hair and found her mouth again. Anya held the kiss, but squeezed her waist, urging her down toward the ground. "Here?" Kaylee said. She looked down and Anya's lips found her ear. They were at the edge of the forest, standing on moss and leaves softer than anything Kaylee'd be able to find on Serenity. "Here," she said, and let Anya push her to the ground.
"No one can see us," Anya said, as she ran her hands under Kaylee's shirt.
"Cause we're enchanted?"
"Well, there's a hill." Anya squinted at her like she was crazy, and Kaylee shrugged and rolled to her knees. She pulled her shirt over her head.
Anya did the same, and then fell back to unbutton pants and push them down her legs, wriggling. Kaylee stared at the expanse of smooth flesh that was revealed. "You ain't got any hair..." she trailed off, marveling, leaning forward. She pressed her mouth to Anya, finding the same warm skin she already knew. A sweet, faint scent clung to Anya there, not quite strawberries. Like her own, but different enough to surprise her. She used her fingers to part Anya's folds, letting her lips seek the places where the scent was stronger, and the taste had a spicy bite. Her tongue slipped along Anya's hottest places. Anya's hands were in her hair.
Kaylee lifted her head to ask, "Have you been with other women?"
"Yes. A few."
"What's it like?"
"It's like this, Kaylee," Anya said, cupping her face, running her thumb through the wetness on Kaylee's cheek.
"Always figured there might be something more. Something secret." Kaylee bent back to her task, flicking her tongue at the spot that made Anya's hips buck and her fingers tighten.
Anya's voice was quivering when she said, "That's the big secret."
Kaylee laughed, and knew just where to touch her, just what another woman'd like. She slid her fingers inside Anya. Anya arched. Her muscles tightened around Kaylee. "No way," Kaylee said, wondering if that's what she felt like to the boys she'd been with. That strength and desire and that taste that made Kaylee lap at Anya until Anya screamed the way she did and Kaylee could feel Anya's orgasm shake her whole arm.
She could only hear Anya's breathing, shallow and raspy. Her fingers smelled like Anya even after she licked the taste off, so she crawled up Anya's body and kissed her open mouth to see if she still tasted like strawberries. Anya chuckled. She wrapped her arms around Kaylee and held her on top. "There a few things in life better than vengeance, money, and power. You were smart to ask for them, Kaylee."
Kaylee exhaled, and said, "Always been smarter'n people thought."
Kaylee rolled onto her back. She looked at the sky through the trees. "Haven't been naked outside in awhile," she said.
Anya propped herself up on one elbow and ran her free hand down Kaylee's abdomen. She traced circles in Kaylee's belly. "Miss it?"
"Think I will later."
Anya laughed and reached between Kaylee's legs. "This is your revenge."
* * *
River pressed another cool, salve-rubbed cloth to Simon's face. He winced. "Seen Kaylee?"
"Why?" River squinted at him with suspicion.
"She always makes me feel better. Or at least, distracts me." He chuckled, then winced again as River pressed against his face, mashing the cloth against his bee stings.
"I saw her. Heaven sent her an angel."
Simon frowned. "Is she safe?"
"Safer'n you. Did you know you smell like fish?"
* * *
Kaylee sighed contentedly. Her arms were folded behind her head, and the afternoon sun was warm on her body. Just a hint of an evening breeze came, and she wriggled closer to Anya, who was braiding pine needles. "This what it's like to be refined?" Kaylee asked.
"No. This is what it's like to be happy."
Kaylee stretched until she felt her back pop. She asked, "You know a lot about happiness?"
"All I know is that I'm the girl most likely to set a boy on fire or tear his skin the way he tears the wings off butterflies. It's not much for a couple thousand years of self-discovery."
Kaylee grinned. "And who am I?"
"After a half hour? You're the girl who laughs at sex and cries at love."
"Think I'll ever be anything more?"
Anya looked at the sky. "No."
"That's okay. I'm having a real good time."