Chapter 1: Hetalia/Narnia
the one where England goes to a funeral
A country always knows where its important people are. It may not know why these people are important - or indeed, if they'll be the good or bad sort of important - but there's always a slight tug in the back of the mind, growing stronger and harder to ignore as critical moments approach.
Which is how England finds himself at a funeral, standing next to a perfectly still, frighteningly calm young woman. She's so important that he can almost feel the land trying to spin around her, but aside from the dignity with which she carries herself, there is nothing superficially remarkable about her.
"Ms. Pevensie," he says as she turns to leave, and then "Susan," but there are many people calling her name today, and she ignores him the way she ignores all the others.
So he decides to wait for her outside her home, and she doesn't try to approach her door or walk past him, choosing to stand a few steps away with a soldier's set to her shoulders and her fashionable handbag clutched in her small gloved hands. She is so important that it almost hurts.
And this is the other thing about countries - sometimes, when they need to, they know exactly what to say.
"Your Highness," England says. "You still have work to do."
Susan Pevensie thins perfectly made-up lips and breezes past him into her house - but she is important and responsible and always and forever a queen, so she leaves the door open behind her.
Chapter 2: Runaways/Naruto
the one with Loud Blond Kid
Loud Blond Kid doesn't actually join the group, mostly because he doesn't meet some very basic qualifications. (In Victor's experience, evil parents don't usually die saving a town from some kind of major nuclear meltdown.) He sort of stumbles on a crime scene one day, endears himself to Molly forever by making neener-neener faces at the bank robber he's just kicked in the head, and follows them home without anyone noticing.
He claims it's because he's a ninja. Victor has major doubts about that too. Ninjas don't wear that much orange.
No one can quite bring themselves to get rid of him (which has to be a mutant superpower; Victor always makes mental notes to investigate and then promptly forgets), so for a couple months they have this extra guy along for the ride, punching out bad guys and eating his weight in cup ramen and occasionally yammering about the premed student he's got a crush on and his jerkass artist roommate back home in wherever the hell he lives. And then one day they get to go deal with a new supervillain (whose name is not Stupid Eyes Hypnojerk, no matter what Molly says), and they make a strategic withdrawal that is totally not getting their asses kicked, and Loud Blond Kid decides this a great time to up and disappear for no reason.
Everything goes back to normal after that. They eventually stop finding orange things around the place and Nico makes Chase eat all the ramen. It's a good equilibrium, completely free of non-evil-parent-having drop-ins.
All the same, when Victor flips on the TV and finds some CNN anchor yammering about some kind of mutant showdown in Japan, and suddenly there's this grainy picture of Loud Blond Kid taking up the screen - no, he's not really surprised.
Chapter 3: Star Wars/Boys Over Flowers
the one where meanwhile, President Kang builds Star Destroyers
The school occupied the top seven stories of a massive Coruscant skyscraper, which all by itself would have told Jan-Di that it was richer than several planets put together. It took her an hour to get up this high - more if she got bored with crowding into the same massive lifts all the time and took the service shuttles instead, which were slower, but at least gave her a view of the skyline when they finally broke through the haze that always gripped the lower levels.
Today she wasn't enjoying the view at all, though. One of her grav lifters was malfunctioning, which meant her giant laundry cart was listing dangerously to one side. Jan-Di muttered a couple curse words she definitely wasn't supposed to know and threw all her strength into keeping the stupid thing level. It weighed more than she did, because this particular school's student body had more clothes than anyone could possibly need and were apparently too good to use delivery droids like everyone else on the planet.
They had terrible taste, too. No one needed that much pink.
By the time Jan-Di managed to drop off the damn overloaded fragging cart where it was supposed to go, she was sore and sweaty and in a foul mood.
And that was probably why, when a passing student made a comment about her smelling like a garbage disposal, she glared at his fancy clothes and his stupid hair and then kicked him right in the ass.
Chapter 4: Star Wars/Narnia
the one where Pevensies should not be interstellar lawyers
Shoshana Gant is in the middle of an important conference call with a client in the construction business when half a battalion's worth of stormtroopers decided to burst into her expensive Coruscant office. Her initial reaction is a slight tightening of the lips - mild annoyance, perhaps - but instead of ordering them all out of the room, she tells the client she's terribly sorry, something's just come up, and asks him to reschedule with her assistant.
Of course, she neglects to mention that she can see her assistant's body slumped on the floor out in the lobby. No doubt she will be blamed for that later, and there's no reason to interfere with anyone else's plausible deniability just by mentioning a few inconvenient facts.
By the time Vader enters the office, she is leaning back in her chair with her legs crossed and her arms folded. She isn't unarmed - there are two blaster pistols hidden in her desk, an old-fashioned hunting knife in her boot, and a lightsaber that she hasn't touched in more than twenty years stashed inside a potted plant - but she makes no move to reach for her weapons. All she does is lean back and raise an eyebrow.
"I suppose Sith don't knock," she says, "but I would have appreciated you making an exception. I quite liked that door."
She also quite liked her assistant - and while she's at it, she liked her siblings and her homeworld and even her old master, who allowed her to escape the Order but refused to accept her lightsaber. He told her that the Force had a reason for her to turn her back on the Temple and that she might have need of it again someday.
Shoshana hasn't been a Jedi in over two decades, so she allows herself a moment to hate him for being right.
Vader says a name that isn't Shoshana Gant. It's the first time she's heard it since the end of the Republic, but it still fits her all the same.
Sighing to herself, she holds out her hand and lets her lightsaber fly into it, activating it just in time to block a killing blow. This won't last long - she's out of practice and she was always better with blasters anyway - but hopefully she'll make enough of a mess that the Empire will have its hands full cleaning things up.
(And with any luck, that client of hers will read between the lines of the inevitably inaccurate news reports and find another way to deliver those station schematics to someone who can actually use them.)
the one with the Younglings in the cupboard
The younglings grew up in the Jedi Temple. They can run through its corridors with their eyes closed, even with the sound of blaster fire and the smoke, and it's only by chance that two of the clone troopers spot them. They follow the children at a distance, hoping to be led to others; the temple is a large building, and the less stragglers they have to deal with later, the better.
At some point the children seem to sense they're being followed, because one of the oldest looks over his shoulder, grabs the others, and ducks frantically into the nearest room. It's an apprentice's living quarters, exactly the same as all the others, and so the clone troopers enter slowly and without much concern. There are only so many places to hide, the children are unarmed, and as long as one of them covers the door, there's no way out.
And that's why it's so strange that they never find anyone.
Neither of them ever mention it, of course, not even to each other. Why would they? No need to call attention to the fact that they let younglings escape, especially when they were probably killed soon after anyway. No reason to risk careers over something as small as that.
But if they did mention it, each would swear that as they entered the room, they saw a door swing closed on an ordinary, completely empty wardrobe.
Chapter 5: Star Wars/Runaways
the one where Luke's not the only one with crappy parents
In retrospect, Luke's not actually sure when Sarge decided to informally adopt him. It's right after Endor, when the Emperor's secret files and all the unfortunate family relations that come with them begin to trickle out into the open, but other than that he couldn't pinpoint it. Sarge has been with the Rebellion for as long as Luke's been alive, and the fact that she's not much more than a decade older than him doesn't change the fact that she makes grizzled old soldiers weep in terror and is rumored to arm-wrestle Wookiees in her spare time and win.
She's a woman with very few acquaintances - one of the head technicians, someone in intelligence, a handful of others here and there - and so Luke's just as surprised as anyone else when she barges into his small temporary quarters on one of the smaller frigates, steals his chair, and settles herself in it like she's lounging in her quarters, peering at him from under the brim of that old officers' cap she always wears.
"So let me tell you about my parents," she says.
She's several minutes into explaining a plot to take over the Imperial government before Luke realizes that this is Sergeant Hayes's gruff, hopelessly blunt way of expressing sympathy.
Chapter 6: Mulan/Hetalia
the one where a little girl gets some encouragement
Fa Mulan is six years old. She's always carried sticks instead of dolls, and she's always been the subject of fascination - her parents lost the others so young, the grown-ups say, no wonder they indulge her - but today is the first day she's connected the two, and suddenly she isn't sure what to do about it.
"Ah," someone says.
The other little girls in her village aren't blocking the path, but she is. Mulan turns around instead of stepping aside like she probably ought to, and even when she's blinking up at this strange new man she doesn't quite remember her manners.
"Am I in your way?" she asks. She's holding her stick like she's seen her father hold his sword sometimes; the other girls are giggling behind her.
The man tilts his head this way and that. Then he crouches down so his face is level with hers and studies her. "You're Fa Zhou's daughter, aren't you."
She doesn't nod, because she knows it's not a question. Lots of people know her father. "My name is Fa Mulan."
"So it is." The man nods to her grubby hand - the one holding the stick. "May I?"
When she just holds up her hand, he gently moves her fingers along the stick - thumb here, forefinger there. When he's finished, he sits back on his heels to admire his handiwork. Mulan studies it too. The stick feels sturdier in her hand somehow.
"My name is Wang Yao," the man says as he climbs to his feet. He nods to the stick with a small smile. "And that, Fa Mulan, is a much better way to hold a sword."
Chapter 7: Lost/Star Wars
in which Leia hates flying first class
Leia learns of her father's murder as she's preparing to board her flight back to the States.
She betrays nothing, because she's traveling with clients (soon-to-be ex-clients, once they discover exactly what incriminating documents she stole and copied and leaked to the press) and it would not do to alarm them or to warn them of the way their stocks are about to plummet as they fly over the Pacific. Although she's half-convinced that they had something to do with her father's death, she'll get revenge her own way - the way that involves visiting them often in federal prison and smiling while she tells them how she's dissecting their evil corporate empires piece by piece.
Her father taught her to be charitable and socially conscious and, when necessary, to fight dirty. Leia inherited all those things, but she comes by the streak of stubborn viciousness all on her own.
(Almost everyone sitting with her in first class dies. She tries her best to save the people around her, clients included, but in some cases, she's not exactly sorry when she can't.)
On the island she's more useful than she has any right to be, once that embarrassing kidnapping incident is settled. There are things her father didn't teach her, that are just a part of her genes - picking up a gun and learning how to use it quickly, breaking bones when sweet-talking her way out of trouble doesn't work, seeing a sequence of numbers over and over again and recognizing them like an instinct she didn't know she had.
Sometimes she wonders if she was born to not just survive this place, but to kick and fight and claw her way to the top.
It's not until she's back in time, bullshitting her way through Dharma, speaking to a younger version of her father and realizing that he's not her father at all, that she understands just how right she is.
Chapter 8: Avatar/Star Trek
the one with the geophysicist
Ensign Fong is exactly three months out of the Academy, and between her youth, her refusal to update her ancient ocular implants, and her abrasive disregard for the chain of command, no one on the Enterprise understands why the captain selected her instead of more experienced and well-behaved geophysicists.
Then that mess with the Lao Gai Colony's separatists happens and no one wonders anymore.
A good geophysicist can analyze new and interesting rocks, but a better geophysicist can find the exact weak point in her prison cell wall, bash it open with a handy piece of furniture, and punch out a guard three times her size.
Chapter 9: Hetalia/Supernatural
the one with terrible music choices
Roderich is quite done with hunting.
Actually, Roderich is quite done with anything that isn't Austrian musicians and the doctoral thesis he's in the process of writing about that, but try telling that to his ex-girlfriend.
"Your security's terrible," Elizabeta says cheerfully. She's wearing a ridiculously frilly sundress, complete with an adorable straw hat, and she's concealing at least five knives and possibly a handgun somewhere on her person. "It hardly took me two minutes to pick your lock."
Roderich does his best to ignore her.
"And you look so old in those glasses."
He pushes said glasses up his nose and does not make irritated "hmph" noises at her.
"And the Winchester boys let Lucifer out."
She smiles sweetly, folds her hands in her lap, and waits patiently for him to stop spluttering. Damn her.
"All right," he mutters irritably. "All right. You win. We'll go investigate the matter."
"I choose the music!" Elizabeta chirps, and she's out the door and blasting something that's mostly synthesizers before Roderich even has his shoes on.
The Winchesters have a lot to answer for.
the one with the old stories
Russian hunters tend to be solitary, even by hunter standards. Many of them work in the wildest and most remote parts of Siberia and the steppe, where strange creatures feel no reason to hide and demons are a little bolder than everywhere else. Some hardly see another regular human soul for months on end. It makes them cynical and hardened. It makes them odd.
But even the most isolated of them claim that there's something more powerful than the Devil out there. Out there, the land isn't just soil and trees; it's a thing, an ancient all-powerful force that isn't particularly good or evil, not in the way people understand those things. It's something to be endured, not controlled.
And that is why if you are a hunter living in the middle of nowhere and a man knocks on your door - a very tall and strong-looking man, maybe dressed like he belongs in the last war or the war before that or the war so old no one remembers it - you had better fight back your superstitions, smile, and let him in. He will be friendly and warm and a little off somehow. He will sing songs no one alive remembers and tell stories about tsars and knights crashing through ice and snipers in the ruins of buildings, and when he leaves there will be no footprints in the snow outside your house.
That is when things will start to be change. There will be no more demons for you. Your hunts will become the stories your grandmother told you about, full of huts with chicken legs and girls with iron teeth and little sisters of the sun. You will shiver and look over your shoulder for months afterwards - not because you think you are being watched, but because you know you are.
But that's far better than not letting the man in. Far, far better.
Out there, the land is strong and possessive. It chooses its champions well. It looks after its own.
That is what the hunters say in Russia.
Chapter 10: Avatar/Narnia
the one with a Lion
The Spirit World doesn't adhere to rules like up or down or here or there, and so after a while Aang doesn't bother to use them. In much the same way, he wouldn't call this particular place empty. There's nothing in it, to be sure, but at the same time it's a full-to-bursting kind of nothing. A future something, maybe. An important something.
This is why he doesn't try to explain things like this to other people. It's not so much that he can't find the right words as that he finds too many of them and they all trip over each other.
"What are you waiting for?" he asks - not impatient, just curious.
There's a lion next to him. Possibly a Lion. It - no, he - wasn't there before, except that he was.
"The right time," the Lion says. There's an air of gentle amusement about him.
Aang considers this. "So when is that?"
The Lion looks around him. Aang is strongly reminded of certain lionturtles, except without the imitating-an-island thing.
He decides to rephrase his question, settling himself beside the Lion and making himself comfortable in the process. "Do you want some company for a while?"
"Yes," the Lion says. "I think I would."
For some reason, Aang has the distinct impression that he is smiling.
Chapter 11: Firefly/Avatar
the one where they barely avoid the Dai Li
Mal doesn't like Ba Sing Se. Independent merchant powerhouse or not, it's paranoid and twitchy and has the sort of secret police that give you nightmares, and now it's got the Alliance breathing down its neck. No one wants to be here right now. He gets that.
"You put that gun down," he says, "or we're going to have real trouble here."
The kid mutters something that isn't in any language Mal recognizes, followed by a comment that he has no idea what real trouble is and it's not like he normally tries to hijack random ships and he's a little stressed here, okay? His accent's so odd that it takes Mal a minute to place it as coming from one of the frozen middle-of-nowhere moons, the ones that are practically in Reaver territory, and doesn't that just beg the question of how a boy who probably grew up on an ice floe got all the way here.
None of this explains why said boy is having his back covered by another, even younger kid - one who looks like she's about twelve and is dressed like a mudder and sounds like she's from one of the palatial estates on Sihnon. Her eyes are a sightless gray, which is worrying only when one takes into account the fact that she's pointing her own pistol right at Mal's torso.
Mal sighs inwardly. He's glad Wash has stayed out of sight on Serenity, presumably until such time as he thinks of a way to help, but until then Mal has to figure out how to deal with these kids. Preferably without shooting them. Kaylee would put up a fuss about that.
"Fine," he says, trying not to sound annoyed and failing miserably. "If you don't hijack ships, then why're you doing all this?"
That's when the other girl turns up. She looks so much like the boy that they have to be related, she's a mess of torn clothes and bruises, and she's half-carrying, half-dragging a fourth kid - a boy with a shaved head, who's either dead or damn close to it.
The boy with the gun never looks away from Mal. "That's why," he says.
Mal knew there was a reason he hated this planet.
Chapter 12: Doctor Who/Avatar
the one where Aang tries to prove a point
Donna's never quite clear on exactly what the boy is, since the Doctor waffles between regenerative temporal anomaly and incarnation of the time vortex and occasionally "aren't you just neat?"
What she does know is that she's never ever letting Time Vortex Anomaly Boy prove to his friends that the TARDIS is bigger on the inside by squeezing a giant flying thing into the control room ever again. Especially when it's shedding.
(The Doctor surfaces from the pile of fur long enough to display his brand-new faux mustache and ask if he looks fetching. Donna smacks him upside the head and refuses to speak to him for the rest of the day.)
the one where Sokka doesn't actually make a cameo
Eventually - grudgingly - the Doctor admits that yes, maybe, perhaps that boy helped them escape. Just a bit. He would've figured out that door just fine on his own, just so she knows.
Rose assumes her best skeptical look, but decides not to dignify that an answer. "What I want to know," she says instead, "is how he got a hold of your - " And here she deliberately stops, because otherwise she knows she's going to ruin the expression of perfect innocence she's striving for. "What did he call it?"
The Doctor takes on an air of acute and highly unjustified suffering. "My sonic screwdriver," he says, "is not a 'whirly-doohiggy' or a 'door-opening whatsit' - " he stops to work himself up into a suitable froth - "much less a 'kablooie beepy-stick'"
"He's the one who got the door open," Rose says.
She waits until the Doctor splutters himself out of the control room before she starts laughing.
the one where the Doctor broods about Airbenders
The Doctor discovers the bizarre little world somewhere in his fourth regeneration. It's a complete accident, of course - the tiny blue-brown sphere is both physically and temporarily far-removed from anything remotely important to the grand scheme of the universe - but all the same there's something rather familiar and comforting about it. How, he wonders, can one not like a world whose whole culture is built around balance and renewal and the cyclical nature of time?
Five regenerations and one Time War later, it's this world he retreats to while he waits for the TARDIS to patch itself up - watching with detached fascination as it rebuilds from a shattering conflict of its own, shepherded by a boy (laughing, smiling, recovered) who also happens to be the last of his kind.
Chapter 13: Firefly/Homestuck
in which everyone does Waterworld
(a series in three parts)
The boat's old and not the best thing on the water, but that's the idea. It was built for deep-sea fishing, so it's tough and designed to ride out smaller storms. All the same, keeping it afloat and its engines running on steadily dwindling supplies of fuel is one continuous miracle.
Kaylee is an eternal optimist, so when she tells Mal that at some point there just won't be anything left to repair, it's with a notebook full of sail schematics clutched in her hands.
What she doesn't tell Mal - what she'll take to her probably-watery grave - is the way River trails her fingers over the engines and says that she could make them go. Could make them outrun every evil alien drone on the planet.
If she wanted to, anyway.
Making ships go is what she's designed to do.
Somewhere around what Wash swears used to be Texas, their boat passes what looks like an apartment on stilts. They're all set to break in, but the second Mal sets foot on the scaffolding River runs onto the deck screaming like an air raid siren.
She refuses to stop until they've pulled away and the strange structure has disappeared over the horizon, at which point she spends the rest of the day muttering about asteroids and windows and, for some reason, clowns.
Things Book remembers:
c. functioning governments
Things Book does not remember:
a. the plots of the Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff movies
b. or, more correctly, he wouldn't be able to explain them coherently
c. no, Jayne, not even if he sees all the posters
d. put the posters away, Jayne