Jayne felt twitchy. He even knew why.

Crazy River girl was staring at him. Again.

An' she was taking notes besides. That would make anyone a mite twitchy.

Jayne was trying to ignore her and keep an eye on her at the same time. Not as easy as it sounded.

His skin crawled when he looked away. His fingers fumbled when their eyes met. Not a good thing, could slice one clean off.

This wasn't the first time she'd taken notes on him, either. She'd parked herself across from him for eight days running.

Damaged his calm is what it did.

"What the gorram hell are you doing, anyway?"

River blinked.

Those were the first words the subject had uttered since she began her analysis of his form.

She chewed her lip, looking for the right words. The right words refused to come.

Instead, she lifted her paper and silently showed him.

This drawing was her favorite to date.

It was a study of his hands as they worked. As they touched his knives, caressed them.

Difficult because of his continual motion.

The instruments in his hands were amorphous, ever changing and less than important.

The subject did not comment on the product of her observations.

Her mouth tasted dry and ashy as she spoke.

"Diligence yields beauty as it approaches perfection."

River winced inwardly. She still had a slight problem with coherence.

"Yeah, your drawing is pretty."

Jayne wasn't a fan of art, but even he could tell she was good.

River stared intently, willing him to understand. "I was referring to your work."

He was unnerved by her wide staring eyes. "You've been drawing me for days?"

"Yes." River refused to feel guilt.

"Can I see?" Jayne didn't want to care.


River felt knots form along her entire alimentary canal.

"Come on, if you're gonna draw me I oughta get to see the pictures."

River stood slowly.

He didn't seem to be mocking her.

She rounded the table, watching for signs of scorn.

River knew better than to trust him.

Jayne watched her come silently, as if realizing how easily he could spook her.

He was curious. He didn't know what he expected.

She stood beside him and let him look.

River turned the pages for him. She started where she was and worked backwards.

Jayne didn't touch. His hands were dirty and he didn't want to smudge.

His concern was endearing.

She read his mind to determine when he was finished with each page.

"That ain't me. I ain't that pretty." The first drawing was just his face.


"My nose doesn't point so much." He touched his nose, leaving behind a greasy mark.

"Yes it does."

"And, look, that scar is half the size you drew it. Been fading a long time, that one has."

"I know." She even knew where he got it, childhood injury.

"Think you know a lot about me, don't you? Well, I ain't impressed." Except he was. She was good.

"Thank you."


"I choose to acknowledge only the complimentary aspects of your words."

"I ain't been compliment-y." Jayne grunted and resumed his task. The rasping sound soothed his confusion.

"You said my drawing was pretty." She reminded him.

"Ain't half bad for a moon brain." He admitted.

"Thank you."

"Can I have the one of my face to send to my ma?"

"Yes, of course." River inhaled.

She had missed something in her observations. The new topic would require closer proximity.

A study of the smells of Jayne.