All hail Joss for his incredible creations, including Firefly, which I don't own. This is my first Firefly fic, so be nice!

I was watching Serenity last week, and the tunnel scene between Simon and River, along with Joss's comment that Simon's life is defined by his sister's needs sparked this angsty little drabble. I figured that Simon, as a physician, could tell a fatal wound from a non-fatal one, and if he took the time to say goodbye, he must have thought he was going to die. So what kept him holding on? Here's my answer.

Chase Away the Shadows

"Stand down. It's finished. We're finished." As the Operative's words echoed through the complex, River felt more than heard the Alliance soldiers behind her lower their weapons. The tension in the room was still high, but the threat was reduced enough for her mind to start clouding, as the programming the blue hands had downloaded began to recede into her subconscious again, lowering her artificial mental blocks. Shadows rushed in, and the thoughts of the minds around her crowded and pressed upon her own until she felt that she was drowning.

She waited as she felt the pressure increase, waited for the bright light that were her brother's thoughts to come and chase away the shadows. But it didn't come. Her brother's ashen face and choked whisper of, "River, I – I'm sorry… Hate to leave," hung in front of her eyes. The axe and sword, both still dripping with Reaver blood, clattered to the floor out of her nerveless hands as she frantically felt for Simon in her mind. He couldn't be - ! "SIMON!" she wailed, rushing back to where the rest of the crew was gathered in the tunnel, not caring when a few of the soldiers behind her tensed and readied their weapons again at her cry of despair. She couldn't lose him, not now, not after everything that had happened.

She brushed past the captain, barely registering his presence and fully focused on the form of her brother, his hands still pressed over the wound, but as silent and still as the Reaver corpses. "Simon, Simon please," she begged, tears leaking from her eyes. His light was dimming rapidly, far too rapidly from just a gunshot wound. River's heart gave a little lurch as she realized he was giving up, but why? She recalled the anguish and shock in his face as the blast doors closed in front of her as the reason hit her – he thought she was dead. He had given so much of himself over to caring for her that he didn't have any left for himself, and when she had gone to protect him, he had lost it.

She had to bring him back. Because just like Simon's life was bound up in hers, River's life was bound in his. "Simon, Simon, stay, Simon stay, it's ok now, we're safe, I'm here. No, don't leave, stay with me. Everything will be fine now Simon; you can take care of me, and we can be on Serenity with our new family – with Daddy Mal, and Inara, and Zoe and Jayne and Kaylee. Just don't go," she pleaded with Simon's pale face, before putting her head on his chest and letting more tears flow. His unsteady and weak heartbeat thudded in her ears. She continued her mantra, "Simon stay, stay Simon, stay," waiting countless minutes as the other of the crew looked on the heartbreaking tableau.

The erratic heartbeat beneath her began to slow, but then finally, finally steadied into a rhythm, albeit a weak one. It was then she knew that she had gotten through to Simon. "That's right, Simon, stay with me," she whispered, then laughed with relief. Lifting her head to look at the crew surrounding them, she laughed again and announced, "He's staying!" The shadows of worry from the others that had been pressing her retreated as the light in her mind stopped fading and started brightening to once again chase away the shadows. Just like it had always done, and would continue to do for a long time.