Again, the characters are not mine and the story was my first fanfiction of all time, be kind.

Lyrics are from What I've Done by Linkin Park. Also not mine.


My December

When She Smiles…

River looked at the door. Wash had just said that they had been docked. They were coming; they were here. Jayne's eyes locked with hers. He wants her now so he can keep her safe. She wants him because the voices stopped when he was with her. Everyone was so tense, so unprepared; she knew what was coming.

She felt something tugging on her, something pulling her along. She turned to see it was Simon. Her heartbeat was too loud to hear what he was saying. It looked like he was yelling but she couldn't tell.

"Alright, Doc. You get your sister and get outside now!" Mal said as he cocked his gun. Zoe looked to Wash then to the door. She stared at it with almost cold eyes. Wash looked like he didn't recognize her either. He went with Simon and River. River still wasn't all with it, and Simon could tell. They got to the suits and Wash helped her with hers. When they were all set, Wash headed back for the cargo bay. Once out there, River looked to the stars again. Once before, she was so taken with these stars and Simon was scared out of his mind.

"River, are you okay?" Simon asked. River looked to him, and he almost didn't recognize her. She was white as a sheet. Her eyes, they were so scared. He couldn't even think with the fact that they were out here. He could only think of River right now. She moved over, and he held onto her. She couldn't feel his warmth, only her own.

Mal took Wash and Kaylee to the hidden space in the cargo bay. "But Cap'n!" Kaylee yelled as he forced her in. Wash followed in after her. The space became dark as her put the steel back over it.

"No buts, Kaylee. I ain't havin you handling a gun again," Mal said as he walked back to the others. Book looked to him. "Don't, Shepard. If you want, you can get in there with Wash and Kaylee."

"Perhaps we can reason with them," Shepard pleaded.

"They tried to kill us, Shepard! Did you forget that? They were going to let us bleed to death," Mal yelled. "Or were you praying and it didn't affect you?" Shepard glared at him as the air lock hissed and the door opened as two men stepped out; one of them was the one Mal spoke to earlier. The other was a little shorter but had fire-red hair and freckles. Mal stared at them and expected more troops to come in but they shut the door behind them. That was it? Just these two men that River was so afraid of?

Inara watched from her shuttle in silence. Just these two men. Knowing Mal, he would probably go at them full force. If it is just these two men then they must be dangerous. "Please, Mal. Don't..." she said to herself. As she did so, one of the men looked up towards her shuttle. She saw Mal make the first move. His voice echoed loudly and clearly so that she could hear him as if she was outside.

"We didn't want a fight," Mal said. "We know you want River Tam. I was wondering if we could work out something where there would be a reward? Perhaps we can work something out?" Mal then smiled and shifted his stance. The men only smiled. Mal knew that there was no negotiating.

"Mr. Reynolds, if it was up for discussion we would not be here. Now, take us to River Tam or we will tear this firefly apart looking for her. Do you understand?" the tall one asked. The shorter one kept looking at Inara's shuttle and it was starting to make Mal nervous.

"Perhaps we can work things out?" Book suggested. "Let's not be rash. Maybe we can come to some sort of agreement?" He looked over at Mal as the men were silent. Book's face turned to shock as they shot him in his left shoulder. His eyes followed Mal as he hit the ground.

Kaylee gasped and whispered, "Shepard!" as Wash put his hand over Kaylee's mouth. She looked to him and he shook his head. He held her as she started to cry and muffled her sounds. She knew this wasn't going to end well- they fired the first shot. Now there was going to be a shootout on Serenity.

The shorter one shot at Mal and Zoe. Zoe was sent backwards into some crates, the bullet putting another dent in her armor, in the same place as the other dent she received from her run in with Patience. She was unconscious and Mal shot the shorter one.

Mal ran over to Shepard and pulled him to the side as Jayne shot back. Before they could so much as blink, the tall one shot at Mal. "Come now, Captain Reynolds. Your right hand is dead. Your Shepard is dying. Your mechanic and your pilot will die for your cause to protect Miss Tam. As will your companion. Now hand her over. NOW," he replied. Keeping his gun one ran over to Jayne and they started to go at it. He was just as good as River, only he was better. Jayne was now taking so many hits and couldn't get any in. Finally he had hit Jayne in the head and it threw him off balance. He was hit in the head again and this time everything went black.

"Come now, Captain Reynolds. How many will die for your cause to keep Miss Tam away from us? Your right hand is dead, soon your Shepard will be. Your companion will be out of a job, and your mechanic and pilot will too. So deliver them to us now," he said, keeping the gun aimed at Mal. Mal placed his gun on the ground, and put his hands behind his head.

As he came closer, a thought hit Mal. Your right hand is dead... Mal turned and then went to Zoe. He then tried to feel for a pulse then couldn't find one. He was numb. He couldn't feel anything, just so numb. He was then dragged to the center.

"Mr. Reynolds, why don't you let the good doctor and his sister come down here. Your crew is about to die. You are going to need a doctor to patch them up like you always do. They aren't your crew, just fugitives going to give you trouble. We can take them off your hands, otherwise you will lose more crew members."

Outside, River started shaking. Someone's heart stopped. So much confusion, numb in the soul. The soul was breaking. River closed her eyes and saw her counterpart in the mirror. "Someone's soul is breaking. Everything around them is death. I think it is time that I play with them."

River stood there and thought for a moment. She could fight but only with her counterpart's help. There is nothing that she could do about that. Looking into the mirror, she held out her hand.

"But after everything is done, you go back into my mirror. You are just a shadow in my mind and you will stay that way. Understood?" River said, as the counterpart stepped out of the mirror and took her hand. River then stepped into the mirror and the counterpart came out in the space suit.

"Simon," River said, since she had partial control. "Someone's heart is no longer beating. They need help," she said as she started to head for the hatch. Simon grabbed her hand and she looked at him.

"No, Mei Mei. They will take you away. I won't lose you again," he said.

River shook her head as her eyes pleaded. "If Serenity dies it will be because of her soul no longer lives. If Serenity dies, you will lose me. I have already lost something dear to me. Don't make me lose our family, too," she replied as she continued towards the hatch. Simon had let go; he didn't have a choice. It would crush River if she lost them. She would have Serenity, but not the crew; she wouldn't have anything. He followed her down into the hatch and they took off the suits.

Simon stared at her. Those clothes, he would never get used to her in those clothes. It reminded him too much of Jayne. He had influenced her in so many ways, but for some reason it made her better; it had made her happier. Jayne made her smile and laugh in ways Simon never could.

"Simon, you need your bag. Someone is trying to cling to life," she whispered. "They one have eight minutes until they let go." Simon ran into the infirmary and got his medical supplies then followed River. She motioned him to follow quietly. They crossed over Mal and the others quietly. While they were talking to Mal, Mal had caught glimpse of them crossing overhead going towards Inara's shuttle. Mal proceeded to keep them talking and focused on him.

River got to Inara's shuttle and pushed Simon in, locking the door. Simon shot around and went for the door. Inara held his arm. "She locked it from the outside. We aren't going anywhere. She is keeping you in here for a reason Simon. Trust her, she isn't so little anymore," Inara said, sitting on her bed. "All we can do is wait."

River turned around and looked down at them. The taller one went to the hidden compartment and drug Wash out by his shirt and Kaylee by her hair. "Are you ready?" she heard it ask. River nodded and closed her eyes. She jumped down just as they finished tying everyone around. "You wanted to speak with me?"

They looked at her then smiled. "If you don't come with us, then we will kill them all. We will burn their bodies and auction off this old dump. There will be nothing left."

River put her hand behind her back and pulled out a flash bomb. Her hand remained behind her back. Looking to Mal, her eyes were cold and empty. Still looking to Mal she said, "If I am to go back then I am going to need to make a shiny disappearance."

Mal looked dumbfounded for a moment, and then nodded, He turned his head towards Wash and Kaylee. "Close your eyes and don't asked questions," he whispered. "Just do it!" As they closed their eyes River threw the bomb down.

The two men shielded their eyes and she came at them, kicking the tall one in the head and sending him to the ground. She then engaged in one-on-one combat with the other. Every punch he threw, she blocked. Every punch she threw, he blocked. It was equally matched as far as Mal could tell. How could they not take on just two men? It was embarrassing.

Another punch, another kick. Neither could get a hit in. What the hell was going on? She was only 17 and they couldn't hit her. River finally started getting a few punches and took both of them on, just barely keeping ahead of them.

Jayne started to wake up and it caught her attention, and got a good punch in the face. The blow was out of nowhere and she hit the ground like a rock. Jayne shook his head and it finally hit him that it was River fighting them. That kick, the movement of her legs- that wasn't River; it was the thing in her head, that thing that the Alliance put there.

He understood that he was distracting her. Finally, she left the room leaving them behind. The tall one went up top and the other one went towards the infirmary. He moved his foot towards Mal and a knife that River had given him was extracted from his boot. Mal cut his binds then moved to Wash, Jayne, and Kaylee.

"River was down here, so where is the doctor? Shepard needs attention, NOW!" Mal said. Wash ran over to Zoe and tried shaking her awake.

Jayne ran up the stares towards Inara's shuttle and was almost ran over by Simon as he rushed to get out once the door was unlocked. "They went after her, doc, but the Shepard needs tending to," he answered, following after them.

Simon and Inara ran down the steps with Jayne in tow; Simon ran straight to Zoe. "Doctor, Zoe's gone. Tend to Shepard." Simon ignored him and attempted CPR. Mal became agitated and threw him off of Zoe and towards Shepard. "I said the Shepard!"

"She still has two minutes. Let me do my job!" Simon said returning to doing CPR on Zoe. She took a breath and opened her eyes and saw Wash. Smiling she wasn't able to talk. All of a sudden she started crying, and her grip fell limp in Wash's hand.

"No, Baby... Zoe?" he said, holding her hand. "I don't understand Mal! She was wearing armor! ARMOR, MAL! How could this have- I mean she's..." he said, hitting the ground. Mal looked to Simon.

"Doctor I thought you were supposed to do your job," Mal said, glaring at Simon. Inara put her hand over her mouth, tears rolling down her face. "So why did Zoe die, Simon?!"

"The shock of the bullet caused her heart to stop. The shockwave knocked her heart out so to speak. I revived her, but her heart was too weak to sustain her," Simon replied, stopping Shepard's bleeding. He was still unconscious but he was alright now.

Mal looked to Jayne and nodded. "We are going to go after them. You guys stay here," Mal said. It was kind of quiet for even him he realized and turned around as Kaylee was quieter than a mouse. Her face was colorless and cold. Mal walked over to her and gave her a hug. "It's going to be alright. I promise that I will come back in one piece," he said then ran up the stairs with Jayne.

River walked through corridor after corridor. She stepped over the wires that triggered the bombs. Just as Zoe had her last breath, River's knees buckled. Hitting the ground, she couldn't help but let the tears go. Zoe was gone and now Shepard was going to go as well. Her hands became fists and she heard one of them coming. Her eyes were totally cold now, no emotion to be seen.

In this farewell

There's no blood, there's no alibi

'Cause I've drawn regret

From the truth of a thousand lies

She scaled the wall and went to the ceiling as the taller one tripped the wire. When he shielded his eyes she kicked his head and jumped down. He started to draw his gun but she kicked it away. "You killed our family," she replied. "Now I get to come out and play." She got in a stance and held out her hand, bending her fingers for him to bring it on.

So let mercy come,

And wash away what I've done

I'll face myself, to cross out what I've become

Erase myself, and let go of what I've done

He came at her, drop kicking her in the stomach as she blocked it and twisted his ankle. Spinning around and she kicked his leg, making him come down to the ground. He pulled out a knife and threw it at her, as it hit her in the leg. Pulling the knife out, she ran over and went to stab him.

"Don't! Don't kill him please! No more blood!" she pleaded. Her counterpart then stabbed him in the gut, missing his vital organs on purpose. She then knocked him out.

Put to rest, what you thought of me

While I clean this slate, with the hands of uncertainty

So let mercy come,

And wash away what I've done

I'll face myself, to cross out what I've become

Erase myself, and let go of what I've done

Mal stepped over the wires quietly, followed closely by Jayne. Jayne tripped over one and then triggered the bomb. The shorter one came around the corner and shot at them. He shot Jayne right in the chest and Mal in his right arm. Mal returned fire and kept missing him as he ran off. Mal checked Jayne as he started coughing up blood.

"Jayne," Mal said, looking at his wound. "I can't move you." Jayne took his hand away from his chest and shook his head, coughing up more blood. Jayne put Vira in Mal's hands and nodded. He took a deep breath as Mal continued on. Mal didn't look back and he pushed it out of his mind. This man was as good if not better than that thing in River's mind.

For what I've done, I start again

And whatever pain may come

Today this ends, I'm forgiving what I've done!

River ran into the other one and blocked his way. "Miss Tam it is time for you to come with me and we won't kill anyone else on the ship." She didn't move and looked at him with the coldest eyes he had seen it have. "What are you going to do about it?" It smiled and shook its head.

"Nothing," it replied. "I had you focus your attention on me so he could take care of you." Mal came up behind him and shot him. He fell down with his eyes opened. It looked at him. "Jayne?" Mal shook his head and ran past Mal. Quickly, it ran into the mirror and River came running out as she got to Jayne. All she heard was her heart pounding as she took his hand. "Jayne!"

I'll face myself, to cross out what I've become

Erase myself, and let go of what I've done

He turned his head and smiled a little bit. As he did so, his world turned with his vision. "Those clothes. That's my girl." He started coughing up blood again.

River shook her head rapidly, "No Jayne! You have to hold on! I need you here, with me. Please…" She squeezed his hand more than ever and he squeezed just as hard onto hers. He laughed a little bit as her eyes started to shed tears.

"I am hangin onto all I need right here," he replied, kissing her hand. "Don't cry, it doesn't suit you. I love you... when you're smiling." River brought a smile to her face.

What I've done

Forgiving what I've done

"By the way, I love you," he said, as his hand dropped. I love you. He said it. The whole time they had been together he had never shown much emotion at all, but now this. He had told her in his final moments. Mal had finally understood their relationship. He opened his mouth to say something but four shots were heard.

Only the first one was heard and River was up and down the corridor. The tall one, the thing hadn't killed him. She was ready to run and gained speed as she did so. Mal ran after her, just as fast. However River ran into the mirror and the thing then came out, gaining speed. As it ran into the cargo bay, it saw him start to exit.

It didn't even think, only jumped. How could it? Any human emotion or thought would have slowed it down. It landed on his back, crushing his back instantly. He started gasping for air as soon as he hit the ground.

Her leg was broken and she laid there. It just laid there staring at him with those cold eyes. They caused River pain, took her happiness away from her. There was no pity for the blue hands.

Mal rushed down to the others. There they were, lifeless on the ground. Mal fell to his knees as he stared at Inara. Her face was so gentle, almost like she was sleeping. Wash was holding Zoe's hand, and Shepard was shot in the head. Simon laid there, staring at the ceiling with a look of no regret on his face. But there was someone missing. Kaylee wasn't here at all. He frantically looked around, "Kaylee! Kaylee!"

It turned its head. "Malcolm Reynolds," it whispered. He looked at River's cold face as she pointed to the compartment. He ran over there as fast as he could.

"Kaylee?" he reached in and helped her out by the hand, pulling her into a tight hug, laying Vira down in the process and wrapping his other hand around her.

River stepped out of the mirror and started to cry out in pain from her broken leg. It throbbed with her quickened pulse. She ached for Jayne that she never knew she would hold him again. "Stones rolling downhill…"

Mal and Kaylee ran over and Mal looked at her leg. "River it's shattered from what I can gather. I will have to get you to another doc-" he didn't get to finish his sentence as he went flying to the side.

She looked over at the man on the ground and her eyes grew wide. Pushing Mal out of the way, she saw the inside of the gun barrel. All she could do was smile as he shot her square in between the eyes. The last thing she heard was Kaylee screaming, but she could have sworn she saw Jayne standing up on the catwalk smiling and waiting.

Everything went and faded out to white. River jumped and sat up in her bed, screaming. She saw the ceiling, her blankets, everything. She was in her room. Simon ran in as well as Jayne. "River.." Simon said as he hugged her. She wriggled out of his grasp and ran towards the bridge. She tripped on the doorway and Wash turned just in time to catch her.

She crawled out of his grasp and held her head rocking back and forth. Something wasn't right. It was a bad dream. "River!" Wash yelled as River went to the corner on the bridge, holding her head, rocking back and forth. "Mal get in here!" he yelled as he knelt down beside her.

"Two by two, hands of blue. Two by two, hands of blue," she repeated over and over again. Her eyes were filled with horror and she was shaking violently. As Mal came in her state did not change. As Simon bent down next to Wash, Wash had noticed that the cortex was beeping that they had been hailed.

River watched as Mal went with Wash to the cortex, "Who's hailed us? How close are they?"

River started crying and shaking again, mouthing Mal's words as he asked Wash about the cortex. Looking up to Jayne, she left Simon and ran into Jayne's arms.

Jayne caught her and held her close. He smoothed out her hair and tried to soothe he and went to the ground with River in his lap. He avoided Simon's glare as River only continued to get worse. He felt her only nestle closer and held her as close as he could. He wanted her to feel safe.

"I am not sure but they are trying to send through a wave. You going to let it through?" Wash said, looking over to Mal as Zoë made her way up to them in the bridge.

"Alright, let them through," Mal said, sitting down in front of the screen. He sat up straight and cleared his throat.

A man came on the screen dressed in a clean suit and blue gloves. His head was shaved as well as his face and his eyes were dark; colder than ice. His jaw was set as his face twisted into a smile. "Hello Captain Reynolds," he said.

"When she smiles," she looked at Mal and whispered, "bad dream."

This is my December these are my snow covered trees

This is me pretending this is all I need

And I…

Just wish that I didn't feel like there was something I missed

And I…

Take back the things I said to make you feel like that

And I…

Just wish that I didn't feel like there was something I missed

And I…

Take back all the things I said to you

And I'd

Give it all away just to have somewhere to go to

Give it all away to have someone to come home to

This is my December