A/N I plan on adding to this collection as and when I get inspired; I have another chapter to add in the next day or so. This is my first attempt at writing a River POV. I had a lot of fun trying. Hope you enjoy :)

Sign Your Name Across My Heart

A man's kiss is his signature.

Inara said it to Kaylee while she brushed the girl's hair, giggling. (Kaylee giggling, not the girl's hair.)

Words weren't always linear; twisting, looping, swirling. Running round like decapitated poultry, refusing to be herded where the girl needed them to be. No pretty ducks all in a row.

But sometimes words stuck, wriggled, stayed.

A man's kiss is his signature.

Serenity had men. Many men; different men. Each with their stamp; each with their trademark.

The healer's hands - the broken book - the soaring dinosaur - the burned brown coat - the tender gun.

These were their icons.

But not their signatures?

The girl liked signatures. Had practised all day long Before, until each curlicue was perfect. Before the ink ran, before the girl was ruined.


But even now the girl could enjoy signatures. The girl was a Reader, after all.

The words had stuck; the question stayed. The girl went seeking answers.

The healer's signature was anxious – pressed like benediction; an invocation for wholeness.

The book's signature was light and shade – a bright, sharp blade soft against her skin.

The dinosaur's signature was a ripple of laughter, a smiling imploration not to tell the Warrior.

The coat's signature was startled – a reluctant peck to cheek that turned lingering and fond.

The gun's signature was elusive. It did not want to be read.

Gruff demands.

Why the ruttin' hell you following me 'round, girl? Can a man not lift weights in peace?

Anxious inquiries.

What you up to, Crazy?

Edgy dread.

You're not carrying a knife, are ya?

Hasty retreat.

The words had stuck; the question stayed.

The girl waited in his bunk.

Shriek of surprise.

Ta ma de! Gorramit, Crazy! You tryin' to give me a heart attack?

The girl advanced.

Voice hitching ever higher.

What you up to there, Crazy? Crazy? River? What are you—

The gun's signature was a searing brand.

Inscribed on River's soul.


Ta ma de – F***!

A/N 2 "A man's kiss is his signature" is attributed to Mae West.