Fandom: Firefly (tv), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (tv)
Summary/Teaser: A farm girl and a somewhat magical girl; a day or two in the life.
Warnings: AU/crossover, subtext is so subby it's basically genfic (though in my head they're totally heading toward togetherness)
Notes: Written as a backup for demasduitdream for the femslash_minis Tara round. The request: Female character you want paired with Tara: Kaylee; Up to three things you want: Pretty dresses, a bridge over a stream, herbalism; Up to two things you don't want: Non-con, death (AU, AR, time-travel, etc. is fine); Rating Preference: Any
Thanks to Ari for looking over this for me. All remaining mistakes are mine.
Word Count: 1427
Standard Disclaimer: Joss Whedon and co. own the characters, I'm just playing with them. I do, however, own this story, so don't steal it. Archive it anywhere; just ask first.
Feedback is always appreciated. Make me blush with praise or rip apart the story with criticism, or both.
"Your dress is so pretty, Tara."
The bright green fabric hugged Tara's ample bosom, and the cream colored skirt swished against her ankles as she walked. To Kaylee's mind, it was the large gold sash tied in a floppy bow around her waist that really made the outfit. Her own family was always just scraping to get by, so on the rare occasions she did get a dress, it had no frills and was usually made from some second-hand material to boot.
Tara blushed. "Oh it's just one of my mom's dresses."
"Well it's right purdy. You tell your mom I said so. Hey, am I ever gonna get to meet your mom?"
Tara looked away. "Oh, Kaylee, I -- It's just, my father doesn't like visitors. He -- Please don't -- "
Kaylee put her arm around her. "Shh, it's okay. Don't worry about your dad right now. Let's just enjoy the day. Have you been to the Martins' orchard?"
"The Martins? I don't think so."
"Well we have got to fix that then. They grow the best apples this side of the New Euphrates."
Kaylee tugged on Tara's hand.
Obediently, Tara followed her. Kaylee chattered on about Gi and Nancy and their twin boys Sean and Paul all the scrapes the boys had gotten into as Tara nodded.
They got to the orchard while the sun was still high in the sky, but no one was outside.
Kaylee stopped short when they reached the entrance to the property. "Something ain't right," she said, holding Tara's hand tight.
"It'll be okay, sweetie," Tara said, in a voice she didn't quite believe herself.
They walked up the path, and Kaylee knocked tentatively on the front door.
A red-faced woman opened the door. "Oh Lawdy, chile," she said, twisting a charm in one hand, "ain't you picked a bad time to come a'calling. Laura's having problems birthin', so Sean went over to help. 'Course Paul's really the one who's got a knack for animals, but he's gone to the fair, prob'ly won't be back until tonight -- got himself a lady friend."
"Kaylee, I've got an idea," Tara whispered.
"Oh I am sorry, Mrs. Martin. We'll come back another time."
"Bless you, child," Mrs. Martin said, and closed the door.
Kaylee turned to Tara. "What kind of idea you got? I didn't know you'd ever birthed cows."
"I haven't," Tara said, "but follow me."
They passed through wooded areas Kaylee didn't think she'd ever been in, and she sometimes wondered how Tara knew where to go since there didn't seem to be a clear path.
After a time, they came to a small hut. It blended so well with the surrounding forestry that Kaylee didn't even realize it was there until they were upon the the threshold.
Tara pulled a key out of her pocket and swung the door open.
Kaylee followed her inside. There was a single room, with one table in the center and shelves and cabinets all over the walls.
Kaylee watched as Tara picked up various containers and utensils. Soon she had a pale peach colored ointment. She poured it into a jar and then took the dirtied equipment out the back door. Kaylee followed her to the door and watched her wash them out in a shallow pool. Tara came back inside, dried her hands and the utensils with a cloth, and screwed the top onto the jar.
Kaylee followed her back out the front door, watched her lock the front door, and then followed her back through the woods.
"Where do they keep the animals?" Tara asked when they were back at the Martins' property.
"Follow me. The Littletons live on the other side of the orchard."
They past the orchard, and Kaylee didn't feel the joy she normally did. The quiet didn't help any, either, but she couldn't think of anything to say to Tara that didn't sound like an interrogation, so she just kept walking.
When they reached the end of the orchard, she turned to the right, and they were soon at the barn.
Kaylee eased the door open. Surprised faces looked up at her.
"Hey, guys. Mrs. Martin said Laura was having some trouble, and Tara, my friend, she's good with animals, so we just thought . . . ." She trailed off, but their expressions had changed from surprise to expectancy, so Tara walked over to them.
Now that they'd been interrupted, the men began to register how weary they were, so they moved aside to let this new girl try.
She knelt down beside the cow and spoke to her softly. She put one hand on Laura's side gently, continuing to talk -- though none of those gathered could discern what she was saying. After a little while she opened her jar. She spread ointment on the cow's flesh -- which was red with exertion -- slowly working her way toward the opening from which the calf was trying to be born. After she'd finished she held both her palms against that soft flesh, and after she finally got up she touched one finger to the center of Laura's forehead before she left.
"Tara, what did you do?” Kaylee asked as they walked back past the orchard.
“Please, don't ask me to tell you until it's finished."
Kaylee was confused by the request, but Tara was looking right at her, eyes glassy with tears, so Kaylee nodded in agreement.
"I . . . I should be getting home," Tara said, when they reached the edge of the Martins' property.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Kaylee asked, holding one of Tara's shoulders.
"No," Tara said softly.
Kaylee looked surprised.
"But please let me go."
Kaylee nodded, and let go of her shoulder.
Mrs. Frye had worried that her daughter wasn't her usual cheerful self at dinner, but the next morning’s sunrise brought the return of Kaylee's usual disposition. Over lunch Mrs. Frye mentioned that the Littletons had a new calf.
"Really?” Kaylee was all attention.
"Ayup. Born last night. They wanted to hold off on naming it, but you know how Michaela is. She insisted it's bad luck to have a body without a name. So his name's Charles."
"Charles." Kaylee played with the name in her mouth. "He'll be a right strong bull."
"They sure hope so. He had quite a time coming into the world."
Kaylee ate her lunch more quickly than usual. Having finished her morning's chores, she headed outside. Her brothers asked if she wanted to play Quoits with them, but she just laughed.
"Kaywinnit's got a hot date," Aaron cried.
In answer, she picked up a clod of dirt and chucked it at him, hitting him square in the shoulder.
Their other two brothers fell into loud laughter, and she kept walking.
She could see Tara was there before she even made it to the bridge. Not wanting to startle her, she tossed a pebble into the stream when she got to the bridge. Tara looked up in surprise.
"The calf came through alright. They named him Charles."
"I know," she said quietly.
"You sure know a lot of things. Wanna explain any of them to me?"
Tara looked at her for a long moment. "C'mere."
Tara hugged her, pressed a kiss to the top of her head, and then released her so she was only holding her with one arm. She looked intently out at the stream as she spoke.
"My mom, knows things. She knows the planet, knows what the planet can give to help you, knows what to give the planet in thanks. She taught me -- is teaching me. I don't know nearly as much as she does, but I'm learning."
"What you did yesterday, with the cow? That was stuff your mom had taught you?"
"But why couldn't you just tell me?"
"People . . . don't always like people who know things. Plus, I'm just helping. No guarantees, and people can get very angry if they think you promised them something and didn't deliver."
Kaylee hugged Tara tight around the waist with one arm, idly wondering if all this wrinkling would ruin Tara's shiny pink dress.
"I was scared I shouldn't have interfered at all," Tara continued. "But my mother told me I'd done what I could, that I'd helped but not forced."
"So you're not worried anymore?"
"Not about that. But please, don't tell my father. He's . . . one of those people who don't like thems that know too much."
"Okay." Brightening, Kaylee asked, “Do you wanna go meet the new calf?"
Tara hesitated for a moment, then said, "Sure."