Disclaimer: I do not own the characters used here, and I?m not making any money off them. I just borrowed them to play for awhile, and I swear I put them back when I was done! Author?s Note: I have several readers over on the site where I originally posted who have never seen either show, and still enjoyed the story. I would humbly suggest here, as I did there, that you do not really have to be familiar with either universe, and you can still get what?s going on. You might not get absolutely every singe in-joke, but those don?t carry the story. In the Serenity 'verse the events of this tale take place about five and a half months post the film Serenity. In the Doctor Who universe, it takes place immediately after the events of "The Runaway Bride" but before the events of "Smith and Jones." And just so y'all know, my favorite companion of ALL time (old series included) is Donna Noble. She rocks. More than the Sycorax. __________________________________________________________ Prologue: The Oncoming Storm ?This is me, for forever One of the lost ones The one without a name Without an honest heart as compass? ?Nightwish, ?Nemo? The room isn?t quiet, not really. His ship is never silent, never still?and yet right now it feels silent. It isn?t the first time he?s felt this; he doubts very much it will be the last. Alone again, with only the repairs to his ship and his soul to command his attention. He feels as though half his self has been torn away. All that knowledge and experience, and he still can?t keep the loneliness at bay. He can?t cheat death for them, or defy fate. He can?t keep the walls between the universes closing, no matter how much he wants to. He can?t stop them fearing him. He sighs, leans his head back against the control panel base. Dear heaven, he?s getting maudlin in his old age. Much more of this, and he?ll find himself dumped on an ice planet or something, locked out of his own ship until he?s in a proper frame of mind. She?d do that to him; she?s done it before. He hurts, oh yes, and it is by far the worst bit in a very long time?but sitting about moaning isn?t going to save anyone. There?s a whole universe out there, and it wants helping. And he?s used to being broken. *** One of these days, he figured he?d not be surprised to see her sitting in Wash?s chair, though he didn?t anticipate it?d be anytime soon. He?d given up the pretense of official piloting almost immediately, and turned it over to her. The little albatross was bidding fair to be just as good a pilot as Wash was?and without all the fancy schooling. So he let her have the chair, and pretended not to notice that Zoe avoided the bridge. Not like she was getting along real well with any sort of stairs at the moment, anyway. He edged through the gap between stair rail and console and settled in the co-pilot?s chair. ?Everything clear?? ?Clear as crystal.? River?s long brown hair curtained her face as she leaned forward to adjust something on her own panel. ?Clear as water, clear as?? ?All right, all right, I get it. No call to ramble on.? Mal propped a foot against the console and reached out to toy with one of the plastic dinosaurs perched on its rim. No one had the heart to pack them away. He doubted they ever would. ?Three days to Persephone, then. And hopefully,? he muttered, ?we ain?t gonna have any trouble.? It was almost a prayer, and the thought brought a wry twist to his mouth. Wouldn?t the Shepherd laugh. It was a feeble prayer, and one he?d uttered an awful lot these past five months. He didn?t hold much hope of it being answered. ?Things never go smooth? had long since become a personal motto. A soft noise beside him drew him from his thoughts. River was sitting up straight in her chair, hands motionless on the console, eyes staring wide into the black. Mal frowned. Not the first time he?d seen that look. ?What?s wrong, meimei?? ?It?s coming.? Oh, sweet hopping Buddhas. ?What?s coming? River? Don?t leave me in the dark here, darlin?. Something?s comin?