"Isn't it lucky I have this beautiful gown?" Kaylee asked happily, spinning so her big crinoline skirt flared out nearly brushing the walls of her tiny bunk. "It'll be a perfect wedding dress and my 'something old' too."
"Perfect," River agreed seriously. The dress was not beautiful at all. It was fussy and frilly and much too pink. But Kaylee loved it madly and clearly felt beautiful in it and that was what counted.
"Should I put my hair up?" Kaylee continued frowning into her little mirror.
"No," River decided after giving the issue the serious consideration it deserved. "No I think it would look better down. I have some silk flowers we can make into a wreath for your 'something borrowed' and the forget-me-nots can be your 'something blue'."
"Thanks, honey!" Kaylee hugged her exuberantly and to the detriment of her ruffles. "With my new dancing slippers we got everything covered. Oh I'm so excited! I always wanted a real wedding with all the frills."
"And you shall have it," River vowed.
Simon perched on the edge of Inara's couch looking down at the tray of rings she was holding and chewing his lip anxiously as he tried to make a decision.
"You'll want something delicate for Kaylee," Inara suggested helpfully. "And not too large so she can wear it every day." She deftly sorted out a few prospects.
After long and careful cogitation Simon picked up two; one was a broad platinum band encrusted with almost microscopic points of twinkling blue and yellow sapphires set in a floral pattern. The other was a slim gold ring set with a carat sized pink diamond flanked by two smaller ones. "These two…they look like Kaylee, if you know what I mean."
Inara smiled. "I do," and put the tray down on the tea table, "So, which one?"
He smiled back looking cute and baffled. "That's the problem; I really like the floral but I think Kaylee might prefer the pink diamond."
"Why not both?" Inara suggested brightly, "an engagement ring and a wedding ring?"
"I couldn't -" he said in the tone of man hoping to be convinced otherwise.
"Of course you can," Inara answered briskly, "really, Simon, I didn't show you anything I wanted to keep. This new exclusive contract means I don't need to dress up quite so much now."
Simon smiled tentatively and opened his hand to take another look at his prizes. "I have noticed a certain simplification."
"I'm trying to find a golden mean between my taste and Mal's lack of it," Inara confessed. Simon laughed. "Give Kaylee the pink diamond as an engagement ring and use the sapphire band for the ceremony." She advised.
"Got any more of those paper flowers done?" Jayne asked testing the cross arch for stability.
"Enough to go on with," Zoe answered hoisting the basket and carrying it over to him. Jayne scooped out a double handful of yellow daisies and started adding them to the pink roses already adorning the little open booth or kiosk made of up of odds and ends of piping and bits of crate. "I must say I didn't expect this much enthusiasm from you, Jayne."
"Wanna make things nice for Kaylee," he mumbled. "Fancies matter to women ya know."
"I think I do," Zoe smiled.
Jayne, of course didn't get it. "She done had her heart set on the doc ever since he came aboard." He frowned threateningly at the harmless little flowers. "Wouldn't have been my pick but I gotta admit he's a real man for all his fiddle-faddling ways. Look-it what he did for my River, if'n he treats our mei mei even half so well she'll be the happiest bride in the Black."
"Very true," Zoe agreed. Dear God, Jayne is speaking nice about Simon. The universe may come to an end any minute!
A little later Zoe went up to the galley for a cool drink and found her captain sitting at the table conning over some readouts. He looked up; "Who done vested the power to marry folks in me?"
"River," Zoe answered sitting down with her glass. "What's that, sir?"
"Marriage service I got off the cortex. No way I'm saying all this stuff about God and holy estates!"
"I'm sure none of us expect any such thing from you, sir."
He nodded with his eyes still on the paper. "And I'm leaving out the part where the Shepherd asks if anybody knows a reason why the two shouldn't be wed because we all know there ain't none."
"I can't disagree with that," said Zoe sipping her drink.
"I'm gonna cut out at least half of this verbiage. I'm no Shepherd to enjoy listening to my own voice!"
"Sir," Zoe said with cool deliberation. "You mess with this wedding in any way I personally will gut you with a blunt spoon."
Mal looked up at her, suddenly dead serious. "I wouldn't do any such thing. Not to our lil' Kaylee decked out in that god awful dress and lookin' at me with those pretty eyes all shiny bright with happiness."
Zoe nodded satisfied
The cargo bay looked wonderful. The cargo crates had been piled against the walls and covered with every tapestry, curtain and rug Inara owned and the mule hoisted as high as it would go hanging from the distant rafters like some odd looking chandelier. The prettiest of Inara's rugs was spread under a flowery bower all pinks and yellows and pale blues. Mal, in his best suit, tight pants and all, faced the bridal couple; Kayle truly gorgeous in her frightful dress, her face carefully made up by Inara and her hair twined with silk daffodils and forget-me-nots, and Simon all fancied up in his Core suit – the one he'd been wearing when Kaylee first laid eyes on him. An astonishingly spruce Jayne stood behind him as best man and the three women were clustered supportively at Kaylee's back.
Mal cleared his throat. "We, the crew of Serenity, are all gathered in this here cargo bay which we've done our level best to make a fitting place for nuptials to see our miracle working ship's mechanic married off to our very fine ship's doctor. So let's get down to it," he turned to the groom;
"Simon Rengarth Tam do you take this beautiful young woman who is way too good for you to love, honor and cherish and take care of the way Jayne and me want to see our mei mei taken care of, on pain of meeting up with us in a dark alley if you ever make her cry again?"
Kaylee opened her mouth to say something indignant. All three bridesmaids glared fiercely at the captain but Simon just smiled gently and got his bride's full attention with a squeeze of the hand. "I do."
"Kaywinnet Lee Frye," Mal resumed, "do you take this swai Core-boy who ain't quite so useless as he looks to love, honor and cherish, and try to keep out trouble for as long as this boat is flying, which I warn you here and now I plan on being slightly longer than forever?"
Lost in Simon's eyes Kaylee giggled rather than exploding. "I do." Her bridesmaids relaxed and shared a shrug. If Kaylee wasn't bothered they weren't either.
"Right," said Mal. "Now we do the ring. You got the ring, right?" Jayne slipped the platinum band off his little finger and handed it to the groom. "Good, okay repeat after me, Simon; "With this ring, I thee wed."
"With this ring, I thee wed."
"With my body I thee worship," Mal continued now dead serious.
"With my body I thee worship," Simon repeated fervently as tears ran down Kaylee's face.
"All that is mine and all that I am is yours, now and forever, amen."
"All that is mine and all that I am is yours, now and forever, amen," Simon agreed with an absolute sincerity that had even Jayne brushing away a tear.
"Great," Of course Mal just had to break the mood. "Then by the power vested in me as captain of this boat according to our 'lil genius River, I now pronounce you husband and wife. First kiss for the Captain!" with that he threw aside his notes and grabbed his mei mei to plant a big one.
"Oh, Cap'n," Kaylee sobbed. "That was beautiful!"
"It really was, sir." Zoe had to agree blinking back some tears of her own. She kissed the bride twice, "For me and for Wash."
"I wish he were here," Kaylee sniffed.
"He is," River said with a gentle, mysterious smile. "Wash and Shepherd Book too, maybe you can't see them. But I can."
"I believe that," said Zoe.
"Me too," said Jayne.
Mal looked nervously around the cargo hold with its darksome corners as if expecting to surprise a hovering spook. Then he paused to think about it some and finally nodded decisively. "That's fine. They're welcome. All right, everybody upstairs for the eating and drinking part of the celebrations!"