Wash, Willow, Simon, Jayne, and Mal were taken back by a statue. Mal saw a lot of things in his time which is older then he lets on at this age. Although he can guarantee you in a million years he never would have expected that a statue of Jayne to be one of them. "Jayne why is there a statue of you that's looking at me like I owe him something?"

"I have no ruttin idea sir I did a job on Canton years back, but it went wrong had to hightail it out of here… they don't put you on a pedestal for that."

Mal couldn't take his eyes off it none of them could. "I'm looking at evidence that says they do."

Kaylee was wobbling her head back and forth this thing creeps her out. "Everywhere I go the eyes are following me."

Willow nodded in agreement. "It wigs me out too."

Wash shrugged. "I think they captured his essence perfectly."

"He looks angry." Kaylee replied

"That's kind of what I meant."

"This must be what going mad feels like." Simon added struggling to hang on.

Kaylee just keeps staring at the statue left and right. "Every where I go the eyes follow me.

Jayne rolls his eyes at the group. "We got a job. Let's go do it, get the hell out of here. I crossed the magistrate of this company town, understand? He ain't exactly a forgiving sort of guy."

Mal looked at Jayne now that he has no problem believing. "That sounds like a plan."


Xander and River were walking towards town thanks to Willow rebooting commando guy Xander should have no problem hiding River from any fed or ID device. Xander enters the store he's here to pay back Wash and Kaylee for teaching him enough Chinese to get by. "Well you're a girl what do I get Kaylee."

River just looks at him blankly as she walks down the isle and throws something at Xander that he barely catches in time.

Xander looks at it and sees it's a piece of a ship. "What... why?"

The salesperson looked at the part in Xander's hand."Compression coil... it's a nothing part little lady."

"Nothing part until you need one then it's everything." River replied carrying out a wooden box she hands to Xander.

Xander held the box and looked inside of it. OK now this seemed like a present considering all they ever eat on Serenity is protein. Xander sees a toy Pteranodon and grabs it for Wash. "OK so that takes care of those two. What do you want?"

River looked at him with her you're an idiot face. "A husband is supposed to choose a present for his wife not let her choose one for herself."

Xander looked at her and is grateful for something to one up her with. "Well in most cases the husband knows the wife a long time before marrying her. If you tell me what you want now it will help with ideas later. Besides my original idea was flowers but considering how this planet smells it didn't exactly seem like a good idea."

"I like to dance." River answered not letting him out of this..

Xander nodded as he had an idea not that it will do any good if River really is a reader she already knows what he's thinking. Xander picked up a box from the front of the store and added it to his purchases before grabbing a long bow for old time's sake. Before too long the order is paid for and they're heading back to Serenity.

"Next time I take you off the ship. I find a place with actual places to go and smells better too." Xander quipped seeing Serenity in the distance.

River smiled walking back to Serenity and opening the box Xander gave her. "It's just spacious enough to work thank you."

"What's spacious enough?" Xander asked he just thought it seemed perfect for her because she loved to dance.

River pulled out a little baggie looking thing that resembled a bean bag and threw it into the mud.

Xander looked with a blank stare every time he thinks he understands one thing about River he's completely lost by something else. "What... what did you just throw?"

"Medicine" River replied as she started walking back towards the ship happy to be rid of it now she can hide it in the box Xander got her until she's alone off world with him again.

Xander groaned it's a box with a little dancing ballerina inside how did she find a way to turn it into a drug mule. "River why aren't you taking your medicine."

"Simon doesn't understand... he doesn't choose to." River replied.

Xander looked at her. "I'm not going to lie and say I'm one of the doc's biggest fans but we both know he wouldn't hurt you."

River looked at him with a look that says you're an idiot. "Simon loves me... but he doesn't understand that I'm not broken... He tries medicine to fix something that isn't broken."

Xander stopped in his tracks Simon said River is gifted but this is a whole new side of her she's showing without Simon. "So… how do you know you're not broken?"

River looks at him and kicked him in the shin causing Xander to jump. "Nothing broken just stolen." Xander held his leg and was set to yell until he saw her becoming more and more distraught. "Because they didn't break anything. They just stole, left me open and vulnerable. I'm with you alone and I function I'm a girl not a freak or someone pitied on and I hate it because soon others will come back and I know it will go away. Everything becomes chaos and..."

Xander frowned and just hugged her. It sounds like whatever happened they cut something out of her. He's going to have to ask Will about this. "Your secret is safe with me."

"Just like that?" River asked taking refuge in the hug.

"Just like that." Xander answered mainly because he believed her. Whoever the Academy was they did something to her that much was obvious and like he would do she's trying to protect her brother from it. He saw first hand how badly the Initiative screwed up Riley. By the end of it they screwed him up so badly that Xander couldn't even blame Buffy for not wanting to go after him when she missed his flight. "River that night on Triumph… why did you choose me?"

River broke the hug and put Xander's arm around her as they walked towards the ship. "Bundun"

Xander chuckled as they walked back on board. "Not an idiot except for book stuff."

"Smarter then you let on." River said as she entered the ship and went to the bunks.

Xander looked at her as she left. Her brother said she had times when she was like that. But Simon should try living in a house full of slayers for a month that will show him a thing or two. River isn't broken she smiles she laughs she gets upset. She's a girl you put her in Sunnydale High and she'll just be a girl. Xander went to his own bunk and went for his crate with Willow still out and with River in Serenity he guesses he's on research. He goes into the crate and pulls out the cortex he thinks it's called it's pretty much the equivalent of a kindle tablet on earth that was. He pours himself a drink from his own private stash with nothing more then one bottle a month so he doesn't turn into his father.

Xander held up a glass to himself. "Here's to a long dull evening." Before he can take a drink he hears a woman scream... even worse River scream. Xander dropped his drink not much caring where it landed as he ran out and saw River tear a hole in Serenity and hide. He guesses that's where Mal and the others hide their cargo. He saw Zoe come out and if he didn't know any better he'd swear the Amazon was fighting a smile. "Zoe what did you do to River?"

Zoe put her hand up despite popular belief she enjoys a laugh. "Not me."

Xander shrugged guessing Zoe wouldn't scare unless you attack Wash or do something to set her off. He went where Zoe came from and shouted at the only other person he knew to be on the ship. "Hey shepherd what did you do to my w…whoa." Xander jumped back stunned in silence nearly a decade of fighting demons and nothing could have prepared for seeing the old man like this with his hair straight up. "Did you get struck by lightning and not tell anyone?"


Jayne looked at his wife dressed in a red shirt open at the front showing cleavage and jeans a smile on her face taliking to Kaylee. Well at least one of the Cobbs is enjoying the fact that there's a statue of him. "Can't be a statue of me don't make no ruttin sense."

Willow shrugged and gave her idea. "Well... if I ever took Mal to my moon he'd be shot on sight. So maybe someone who looks like you did something good and they just have the names mixed up."

Simon took a breath of relief that had to be it. Why else would there be a shrine of Jayne. "Makes perfect sense"

Willow watched as a well dressed man came over and talked to the crew about their newest job. She looked at Simon and saw her spell was starting to weaken as the man walked away.

Simon got to his feet surprised. "Why did I leave River alone?"

"Because you trusted Xander to look out for her." Willow answered.

Kaylee grabbed him by the hand and Willow could see what anyone but Simon could. There is definitely something going on between these two. "Everything's shiny Simon I checked with them not twenty minutes ago. Apparently they're playing a game of monster with Shepherd Book on Serenity."

Everyone took a drink of mudder's milk creating quite a splash from Willow and Simon when the guitarist stared singing. "Jayne \ The man they call Jayne \ He robbed from the rich and he gave to the poor \ Stood up to the Man and he gave him what for \ Our love for him now ain't hard to explain \ The Hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne \Our Jayne saw the Mudders' backs breaking \ He saw the Mudders lament \ And he saw the magistrate taking \ Every dollar and leaving five cents \ So he said, 'You can't do that to my people' \ He said..."

Willow and Simon both had open mouth shock. Willow was the first one to speak very weakly. "Uh honey…"

"Yeah Will?"

Willow was too in shock to finish the question so Mal did. "Jayne"

"Yeah, Mal?" Jayne asked.

"You got any light to shed on this development?" Mal asked. This was surprising even to him.

Simon shakes his head and finally forms coherent thought. Maybe he should change River's treatment. "No this is what going mad feels like."

They listen as the song continues. "Now here is what separates heroes \ From common folk like you and I \ The man they call Jayne \ He turned 'round his plane \ And let that money hit the sky."

Jayne rolled his eyes well there's one mystery of money he never spent. "Ohhh, I'll be gorrammed. That's where that cash went. I stole that money from Higgins just like the song says, lifted me one of his hovercraft. But I got tagged by anti-aircraft, started losing altitude. Had dump them strongboxes to stay airborne. Oh...60,000, untraceable. And I drop it right square in the middle of mud-farmer central."

Willow chugged a drink figures. "Girl fights evil for seven years nothing guy drops money to avoid jail instant hero."

Mal face palmed this whole quiet thing isn't going to work now.

Wash sat there with a smile glued to his face as he quipped. "We gotta go to the crappy town where I'm a hero."

They waited for the song to end when it finally did they tried to leave. Stealth was key for the job can't do that with a town hero on your side. Their hopes were quickly killed off when they were greeted by fifty mudders outside. Luckily however Mal has a new plan in his head about how to use this for their own advantage.


Xander waited outside with Zoe and grandpa troll for lack of a better word his kingdom for a camera. He'd leave to get that device but he doesn't want to leave River. "River are you OK in there?"

"They say the snow on the roof was too heavy. They say the ceiling will cave in. His brains are in terrible danger." River's voice echoed through out the ship.

Xander turned to Zoe. "OK I'm going in after her if I don't make it out tell Willow... she still owes me 20 platinum."

Zoe smiled watching Xander go in as his voice started to echo. "OK River why don't you come out."

"No I can't… too much hair."

Zoe chuckles and Xander flat-out laughed as Book looked confused.

"Is that it?" Book asked startled.

"Why do you think I volunteered to go in?" Xander asked.

Zoe finally laughed. "Hell, yes, Preacher. If I didn't have stuff to get done, I'd be in there with them.

Book started to explain. "It's the rules of my order. It symbolizes..."

Zoe just nudged him aside. "Uh huh. River, honey? He's putting the hair away now."

"It'll still be there...waiting." River replied as Mal and Wash came in. Zoe looked at her husband and it was clear he was plastered.

"Honey, we're home!" Wash shouted.

Zoe looked at the two frustrated this was supposed to be a simple pickup. "Where you guys been? Mal, Bernoulli's chomping at the bit. Says he wants his merchandise yesterday."

Mal nodded in understanding just once he'd like a smooth job. "Yeah, well, we still got a few wrinkles to work out on the deal."

Wash turned to Zoe with a smile. "Did you know that Jayne is a bona fide folk hero? Got a song and everything.

Zoe chuckled and looked at him. "What? You been drinking, husband."

"That he has. Don't make it any less the case."

Zoe is still trying to spin her head around this. "You telling me that Jayne..."

Mal stopped her right there. "It's true. True enough - We can use it, anyway. We talked a few pillars of the Mudder community into having a little Jayne Day celebration in town square tomorrow." Wash cracks up, laughing. "It should buy us enough of a distraction to get the stolen goods out from under the foreman and his crew of prods."

Zoe turned to Wash. "You're really going to have to start again. Jayne's a what?"


The next morning the masked figure's spaceship comes down landing in Canton as it exits the ship. She's still here it can smell it. It cracks its neck left and right and starts his pursuit he still has a job to do.

Xander wakes up very uncomfortable. Did he sleep on a rock? He gets his eye to focus long enough to see he's still in the smuggling area with River asleep in his arms. She was too scared to leave last night so Xander stayed with her. Though looking back it might not have been as much that she was afraid as she wanted to keep him from the dreaded research.

Xander smiled as he saw River start waking up since he started moving. "Good morning."

"What do you mean?" She asked. "Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?" River answered grumpily. she's not in the best of moods having slept on steel all night.

Xander shrugged in acceptance. When did she ever read The Hobbit? He read it after Lord of the Rings came out good movie but it felt like he was missing bits of story. "I-I... was going to say let's go get a real breakfast and not protein but now I'm just..."

River happily shot out. "Just let me get changed." Xander smiled and walks for his bunk. Willow will telepathically contact him if they're leaving so he's not worried. Xander headed for his bunk and got changed until he heard a swarm of Mandarin from across the hall courtesy of River.

"Simon… ge-ge dresses me like a gorram doll!"


Jayne woke up after a night of heavy drinking in a bed. He remembers taking a girl up here but not much else. He slowly turns to the spot and quietly mutters. "Don't be Red, Don't be Red." He turns around and doesn't see Willow or anyone else for that matter. Now that his mind is thinking clearly he's pretty sure he brought a brunette up here. "Hello… mudder woman?" He looks through his room and when he can't find her he opens the room next door and sees a sight he might have wanted to join. He sees Willow in a passionate snuggling with the mudder the morning after. Guess she is sly.

Willow's eyes start to focus as she saw Jayne and quickly covered up making sure not to scream. "Get out."

"Stole my gorram girl. What I do to you?"

"Nothing, I just hate you and the girl was really nice." Willow answered.

Jayne watched as she closed the door on his face. "I ain't exactly your number one fan either. But until we can figure out a way out of this we're ruttin stuck with each other."

Willow opens the door already changed. "This has nothing to do with the marriage this is just you. You're a jackass."

"I'm the hero of Canton."

Willow turned to Jayne and the mercenary flinched he could have sworn her eyes turned black for a moment. "You're a jackass. You never cared about anyone outside of yourself. You don't know what it means to be a hero, to spill your blood for someone else or something else instead of lining your pocket. You're just an incompetent jackass that screwed up robbing a bank."

Willow pushed him aside and left leaving Jayne stunned and in thought. He ain't exactly a feather how did she do that?


Mal saw Willow coming down upset. Looks like Jayne dug up old wounds in her. "Hey you OK little one."

Willow was pacing the floors upset. She hates Jayne even drunk why in all that is holy did she ever sleep with him let alone marry him. "No… I just... you've fought in the war right?"

Mal nodded seeing her face.

Willow continued. "I fought my own battles and I fought along side genuine heroes. Just seeing them have nothing but dirt and fire while Jayne of all people gets announced as a hero takes its toll."

Mal nodded in understanding from the war people on his side should be remembered for their bravery same as alliance but half of history is hiding the truth. "Sometimes heroes ain't about the real deal little one. It's about what the people that believe in them need."

Willow looked at how happy the mudders were. She can see that but it doesn't mean she has to like that. "I'll be on the ship… what's Kaylee so pissed off about?"

"Doc can't keep his mouth shut." Mal replied. "A simple no would have worked is all."


River and Xander were coming out of the little dive they went to for food a couple eggs, glass of milk good times.

River looked at Xander. "I couldn't find nice clothes."

"Yeah well I think we're heading towards the central worlds next but next time we're on a boarder moon I'll let you buy your own clothes." Xander replied with a smile he can't see anything wrong with her the dress and clothes she's wearing are unique... But she pulls it off wonderfully. "I can't believe Simon actually doesn't let you buy your own clothes."

"He still thinks I'm the same age when I left the academy. Is that weird?" River asked.

Xander shakes his head. "No he just misses simpler times. What he doesn't see however is in those past years you've grown into an incredible woman. I just wish I could find some Ninja turtle clothes to match."

River immediately went for the shin but Xander dodged and caught her before she lost her balance not that she would. River looked up and smiled seeing that he caught her as thier faces get closer but she also senses fear in his mind and sees it in his sole remaining eye. She looks over and sees a man in mask along with a long black duster and gloves.

Xander tried opening and closing his eye trying to wash away the visual but quickly realizes he's real. "River... get back to the ship… right now."

"No" River looked at him but gets nothing as she starts to tremble. "He doesn't say anything... he just exists. How?"

"Ms. Tam this is unexpected." The man said he wasn't expecting to see her here that was Blue's job.

Xander looked at him and tried not to laugh. "What's wrong with your voice it sounds like a thousand nails on the world's biggest chalkboard."

The man didn't give anything away mainly because his voice covered everything up. "And you are beyond the shadow of a doubt the genuine Xander Harris."

Xander turned to River not wanting her here. "River go!"

"No!" River shouted.

The man looked at the two he knows the stories of River. "I promise I'll let her go in exchange for the person you're traveling with."

Xander shakes his head he'll never turn in River or Willow as River looks away. "And I promise to kill you." Xander held up his pistol and shot the man in the chest and in the head for good measure emptying the clip seeing he was wearing armor. He turns to River. "KWAI chur hun-rien duh di fahng."

River doesn't question it this time and starts running not believing what she's seeing. Xander turns around and low and behold the man is pulling himself back to his feet. Xander doesn't say a word but flips the gun holding it as a club in one hand and takes his tomahawk for the other one.

The cloaked man nodded and reached into his coat pocket and pulled out something that resembled an as baton until he pushed a button and it turned into a Bo staff. Xander rushed trying a horizontal slice with the tomahawk while bringing the gun down on his opponent's head.

The masked man used his staff to deflect the tomahawk and quickly dodged the attack with the gun. The man took the opportunity to hit Xander in the stomach with his strength and accuracy Xander fell to his knees dropping his weapons. "Don't interfere."

Xander watched the man start walking in River's direction and quickly shot to his feet and grabbed him by the black duster pulling it over his head and punching him in the face until the cloaked figure got his arms free and threw Xander to the floor. Xander got to his feet and was quickly greeted by another shot to the stomach with the staff as the man spun around and hit him in the back with a resounding thud drowned out by a celebration in town as Xander hit the ground after the masked man swept his legs.

On instinct Xander rolled out of the way of a bo strike that would have crushed his skull as he retook possession of his tomahawk mid roll. When he stopped the man rushed and Xander quickly got to his knees and caught the man in the stomach with it wobbling him to his knees. Xander quickly yanked it out and buried it in the man's skull as fell to the floor dead.

Xander got to his feet. He's going to be feeling this for about a week. Xander rubbed his stomach and the definite bruise on his back guy knew what he was doing. Xander turned to look for River but saw she was already gone.

"Did you really think it would be so easy to hurt me?"

Xander turned around and quietly mouthed crap before he turned around and watched the mask man pull his tomahawk out of his brain. He's going to die from his own axe.

The man dropped the tomahawk and kicked his staff back up to him. "I'm going to beat you until every last ounce of hope you have is gone. Your blood will stain Canton and then you will tell me where to find River and the witch. And only after that last sliver hope in your eye dies then... I will kill you."

Xander frowns realizing he's screwed and he likely didn't even do that good he was just being toyed with by this guy. After all he's killed far better women then him.


Willow came up to Serenity and smiled coming in at least she can talk to Xander about this. Jayne as bona fide town hero give her a break. She sees it's kind of an empty boat with just Zoe and Book. "Where is everyone?" She didn't turn herself invisible to avoid Jayne did she?

"Most of the crew is in town and Xander and River went for breakfast." Zoe answered.

Willow frowned so no Xander dandy. "Any idea when they might get back."

Book looked past Willow and saw River coming in gasping for breath.

Book was immediately to the girl she looked like she was about to collapse. "River... what happened?"

"Gorram shadow, had no right, it shouldn't be here, shouldn't stand but it does. Empty nothing within"

Zoe looked at her. Great having to figure out where Xander is when River is having a bad day. "River where's your husband?"

River looked to Willow and started talking as she collected breath. "He stayed behind he wouldn't let the shadow take me."

Willow didn't say a word and just took the butcher knife. "River what did this shadow… look like."

"Dark, leather, it wore a mask of colors inspiring fear." River answered.

Willow rolled her eyes that's the last thing she wanted to hear... ever. "OK Book, Zoe you stay with River. I'm going."

Zoe looked at Willow and knew that crazy look from the captain. It was somewhere between big fear and I have to do something despite the big damn fear. "You shouldn't go after this guy alone."

"I have to…. Big time… I have to find him… like nowish." Willow replied running to her case and grabbing an assortment of stakes and spices to Zoë's confusion.

Willow went to leave the ship and Zoe stopped her. "You're going on a moon you've never been on before just wait for the rest of the…"

"I GOTTA FIND HIM!" Willow shouted giving Zoe the resolve face as the first mate backed up backed up. Zoe could have sworn her eyes flashed black. "This is all my fault. I just wanted to help Xander and River now I likely got my best friend killed."

Zoe looked at her for a moment. She really wants her to wait but while it might not have been the unification war both Xander and Willow have warrior eyes. When you can't walk... crawl and when you can't do that. "River came from the west. And considering the kind of shape she was in it wasn't exactly a calm jog…hurry."

Book nodded. "We'll look after River."

Willow wasted no time and ran off Serenity as fast as her legs could take and once she was out of sight she jumped into the sky and let the winds carry her as she flew after Xander. Why in all the terraformed planets was the one thing to survive him?


Author's notes

thanks for the reviews

TranslationsGe Ge - Big brother

Bundun - Idiot

KWAI chur hun-rien duh di fahng. - Go far away very fast