Staring & Watching

Jayne's on his way back to the ship when he spots the doctor and his sister browsing in a bookstore some fool had thought would do good with business (and wrongfully; it wasn't an area where educated folk much resided).

The doc has a book open in his hands and looks between it and the girl every ten or so seconds.

River wanders slowly down the same aisle the doc is in. She trails her fingers across the spines of the books, pausing occasionally and smiling as if the simple touch of her fingers to the bindings is unleashing their secrets. Whispering to her.

Her lips move slowly, silently, for a moment, and he wonders what she's saying.

Jayne finally realises he's staring and so he shakes his head and continues on his way.

That night, back on the ship, River smiles at him from across the dinner table. He frowns. The girl confuses him, plain and simple, and the way she's looking at him is downright unsettling.

"What?" he barks at her.

The doc and the captain both turn and look at him. River pays them no attention. She smiles wider. "Saw you today. Watching. He thinks she didn't notice but she did."


Jayne tilts his head to the side. The captain rolls his eyes and then turns to say something to Zoe. Kaylee asks for the salt and Simon passes it to her, momentarily distracted.

"At the bookstore," River says to Jayne.

He swallows.

"She knows you were watching. She doesn't mind."