During the six months after the Miranda incident things changed drastically, the most surprising being that Wash was delivered alive and well back to his beloved wife, the Alliance having found him close to death and pinned to his chair, he kept complaining that the docs should have put a hollow pipe through him so that he couldn't get hit in the same place twice.
Wash dropped all objections to children and he and Zoe spent much time trying to fulfil their dream, they took much pleasure in it… much to the despair of the rest of the crew who could hear their pleasure.
Simon and Kaylee finally got their act together as the Doctor made good on his dying declaration. They found that they had no reason to complain about the pilot and first mates passionate couplings due to their own, passionate couplings.
Malcolm Reynolds finally got to be truth-some, although he did have to physically restrain the Companion to tell her his, 'truths'… he nearly regretted it when he found out that he could have lost her for good as by guild law a Companion is forbidden to work off the books. Mal was so confused as he wasn't sure if he should be insulted or not.
Inara quit the guild and Inara moved in with Mal… Jayne became a very grumpy mercenary, no one blamed him, he took to sleeping in the Shepherds old room, he had always had a connection to the old preacher and he felt comforted sleeping there.
Serenity became a ship of fairy tale romances… all except the mercenary and assassin. They remained single and neither pursued relationships of any kind. They argued a lot, but they became good friends.
They went out for dinner together when the rest of the crew became to noisy, they saved each others necks from various villains and most surprisingly, they just talked.
River was the font of intelligence whilst, even more surprisingly, Jayne was the moral compass. For all her intelligence, she had very little experience, she learnt as much from Jayne as he did from her.
It was six months after Miranda that an excited Wash announced his wife's pregnancy, there was much confusion as Jayne asked if anyone wanted to join his and River's baby-pool to see who would guess date and time of birth, weight and sex, who ever was closest won.
"How do you even know River is in this 'pool' of yours?" Simon asked.
"Was her idea, said she could make a guess to within 5 minutes, 5 ounces and 1 out of two for the sex, although she thought I didn't get that." Jayne answered as he looked smugly at River who stuck he tongue out at him.
"How did she know? I didn't even know till just yesterday." Simon was getting more and more confused, nothing new there.
"I don't know," Jayne said sarcastically, "maybe it had something to do with her being psychic and something of a seer?"
River had buried her head in her hands, "Simon how can you be so slow?" She asked, her voice muffled.
"I've clearly spent too much time around Jayne." He responded callously.
"Jayne is very fast and clever, he just doesn't like people to know it." River said angrily.
Jayne groaned, "Thanks River, not much of a secret now is it?"
River looked stricken with horror as she realised what she had done. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to, I was just angry at my dumbass brother." She said finishing by giving Simon a withering look.
"Yeah, yeah, it don't matter I guess." He turned to the rest of the crew who were staring at them open mouthed, Jayne rolled his eyes and chose to ignore their gormless expressions, "If ya want in on the baby-pool you need to do so by end of week. All bets are final." He turned to River, "Come on, you can make it up to me with a sparring match."
"Who would have thought Jayne wasn't dumb?" Zoe asked.
"Or that River would defend him?" Wash added.
"You noticed that too?" Simon asked.
"Little hard not to notice Doc, they spend so much time together when we are all otherwise engaged that they started to spend that time together when we're not otherwise engaged." Mal stated.
"Ohh" Squealed Kaylee, "do you they'll get together?" She asked bouncing excitedly in her chair.
"I think they are together already," Simon pointed out, "they just don't realise they are."
"Simon, your taking this surprisingly well." Inara noted with a small smile.
"Yeah Doc, why no threatening or screaming?" Wash asked without tact.
"It's a little hard for me to worry about the safety of my sister when you've seen her take out an army of Reavers single handed. I would be more worried about Jayne, if we weren't all witness as to just how sane she has become." Simon reasoned.
"Well it won't be long as I have noticed that they have put themselves in slightly romantic settings by accident and retreated awkwardly." Inara informed them.
"Right, new pool," Wash said all business like, "when will they get together, who will make the first move and how will it happen?"
It didn't take long, a matter of a week before the two found themselves in another 'awkward situation'.
They were the first to arrive in the mess that morning and whilst they both reached for the coffee pot their hands touched, it was Jayne who took the chance and leaned in for the kiss but was a little shocked when he was met half-way.
When they pulled apart he looked at her and asked "Psychic?".
River rolled her eyes with a response of, "Duh."
She was summarily subjected to a intense bout of tickling which brought the Captain running out into the mess with gun in hand but a distinct lack of trousers.
At first he was clearly annoyed at the spectacle before him, then a defeated look came across him as he turned to access the comm.
"Everybody to the mess, quick time!" He said, "Oh and 'Nara, can you bring me some trousers on your way." He added as an after thought.
It didn't take long for everyone to arrive, mainly they were all eager to get there smirks and jibes in at the half naked captain.
Inara purposefully took her time and was rewarded with an annoyed glare from Mal.
"Right," began the now trouser-ed Mal, "it seems there is some explaining to be done." He informed the gathered crew as he sat at the head of the table.
"It seems this alliance trained assassin has taken advantage of our lovable merc." Mal said deadpan.
"Should we space her sir?" Zoe asked just as straight faced.
River merely rolled her eyes as she stood up and dragged a confused Jayne with her.
"Inara won the bet, and the captain owes her a candle lit dinner in the cargo bay with dancing." She informed the gormless crew.
"You'll still ain't realised she psychic have you?" Jayne observed with a smirk.
"We will be in Jayne's bunk continuing our activities." River informed them as she began to lead Jayne to his bunk.
"We will?" The hope was as evident as the joy on his face.
"Yes, as soon as we remove your anatomically incorrect pictures." She informed him,
Jayne was heard to groan just before his bunk hatch slammed shut.
The remaining crew looked at each other.
"Candle lit dinner sir?" Zoe asked with an evil smirk. "Inara, if he does a good job, I may need him to provide his serving abilities for Wash and myself."
"Oh us to!" exclaimed Kaylee.
There was a distinct thudding noise as Mal banged his head repeatedly on the table.
It was about 7 months later when the latest addition to the crew arrived. Mal one the bet, he found out Rivers bet and had made his predictions to within 5 minutes of hers, he was very smug about it too.
Inara started to tease him about his sudden success and bout of intelligence, when he reminded her of their own personal bet… something about whipped cream and seven veils?
River and Jayne had been inseparable, they had been on many a date, yet what surprised the crew was they had yet to sleep together.
The rest of the crew believed that River was the one holding out, but it was Jayne who was taught by his mother that sex before marriage was wrong… whores didn't count as far as Jayne was concerned… that or, "What my Ma don't know, won't kill her!", was his argument.
In fact River had tried everything to get Jayne to sleep with her, everything from drawing pictures of them rutting together to her surprising Jayne naked in his bed pleasuring herself… the man was made of steel… in more ways than one… it was also driving him nuts!
It was only two weeks after the baby was born, River and Jayne could be heard arguing on their way from Jayne's bunk, another unsuccessful attempt on River's part.
"I told ya why I can't sleep with you yet!" Came Jayne's exasperated voice as the quarrelling couple entered the mess.
The rest of the crew were already there for dinner, and were shocked at Jayne's statement.
"Yes, it is stupid!" River argued frustratedly, her clothes were dishevelled as if she had dressed quickly. "Marriage is just a formality, only Wash and Zoe are married! Everyone else is screwing like rabbits!" She argued.
"We aren't 'everyone else'." Jayne retorted. "I love you, and if you love me I hope you will respect my traditions!"
Yep, the crew couldn't believe their ears, not only was Jayne not sexin' River, he loved her. And he had traditions?
"Now if you don't mind I'm going to expend some energy on weights!" He scowled angrily at the rest of the crew as he turned to stomp off.
"Jayne wait," River called, fear creeping into her voice, "I have a question, I hope you will provide the right answer."
Jayne stopped, his back to River his shoulders hunched, "What? What do you need to hear?" His voice was muffled and his shoulders hunched in defeat.
"Jayne," River said quietly, "you understand what I want of you?" She asked tentatively, Jayne turned slowly to face her.
"just this promise –" she continued, "'I will be yours Mr. Rochester.'"
Anger swept across his face as he stormed across the room.
"One." He started as he raised a finger to count off, "I ain't sly!" he said angrily
"and 'B'," He continued as he pushed his second raised finger in Rivers face, "Who's this Rochester and how badly do I have to hurt him?"
There was silence.
It was broken by what sounded like some one smothering pain.
The sound broke into tumultuous laughter as Inara Serra broke down in a fit of laughter and tears, the rest of the crew looking on with bemused smiles.
"What?" Jayne demanded, still angry but more confused.
"Well Jayne, Mr Rochester is dead, and fictional, he's about 700 years old." Came Mals voice.
Inara stopped laughing suddenly, she looked at Mal with a look of pure shock… the rest of the crew had joined her.
"That does it, why does everyone think I'm illiterate? My Ma was a school teacher after all!" Mal said exasperated and annoyed.
"Yeah, fine, back to this Rochester fella." Jayne broke in as Mal turned to sulk and the rest of the crew stared at him.
"Jayne, it is a quote from a 700 year old book called Jane Eyre, about a woman called Jane who falls for this man called Rochester."
"Oh," Jayne responded, now even more confused. "Why'd you say it to me?" He asked River.
"I knew it would throw you off guard." She said as she looked at feet playing nervously. "I wasn't expecting that kind of reaction!" She said pointing to the now rightly shamefaced ex-companion.
"You were being your usual 'River-ish' self?" Jayne asked tentatively.
"Yes," she replied with a shy smile, "but now that I have your attention, I do have a serious question."
Jayne shuffled uncomfortably, he wasn't sure he wanted to answer serious questions in front of the rest of the crew.
"Jayne Cobb, will you marry me?" River asked, her eyes filled with so much hope that Jayne couldn't help laughing.
"Why is Jayne laughing at River?" Wash asked, confused, "and why isn't River killing him for it?"
Jayne managed to stop laughing long enough to answer, "She's a psychic, she not only knows the answer but also the fact that I have been wondering if I should ask her." He told the crowd of spectators.
"I would still like to hear you say your answer, even though I know it." River said quietly.
Mal smiled, recalling the first time she had told him she liked to hear the words.
"River Tam, I would be happy to marry you." Jayne said as he caressed her cheek with his palm.
"Good," she said with a smile, "Captain can we land now and get the wedding started?" She said as she turned to her Captain, all business like.
"Sounds like a plan L'il Albatross, off you go." Mal agreed with a smile.
"What?" Jayne asked getting worried that he was about to be staring down the barrel of a shotgun. "We have to see my Ma, she'll kill me if she ain't there fore my nuptials!" Jayne protested, there weren't know way he was gonna go the wrong side of his Ma.
"Jayne, I planned the wedding weeks ago, I have already arranged to meet Mother Cobb on Persephone with your family, for the ceremony. I am a seer as well remember?" She reminded him.
Jayne was a little shocked. Ok, he was speechless, it took several attempts before something clicked.
"Are you telling me my Ma and the rest of my family are on the planet waiting for us?" He asked.
"And everyone else knew this was gonna happen today?"
"And we're gonna get married today?"
River nodded. Jayne paused for a second.
"And we'll get to do all the sexin' we want tonight?"
River nodded with a cheeky grin. Jayne's face was unreadable… and then filled with joy.
"Well hot damn!" He exclaimed, "What the hell are we waiting for, lets get this boat on the ground!" He suddenly turned to look at River, "What are you still standing here for? Land this boat!" He ordered pushing her to the bridge with a slap to her butt.
"What are you lot sitting about for? Ain't you got a wedding to get ready for?" Jayne asked the still speechless crew.
There was the tumultuous scraping of chairs and stomping of feet as everyone rushed to their bunks to prepare for the wedding.
Jayne stood there watching the crew wander off, then he went to the bridge to see his fiancé.
"Do you think they'll ever realise we don't have secrets and that you know practically everything?" Jayne asked her as he sat in the co-pilots chair.
"Maybe one day, but I think they will never believe that you've read Jane Eyre." She replied as she steered the ship.
"Whats not to like, lots of romance, some guy gettin' mutilated, all sounds good to me." Jayne said as leant back in his chair.
"You really are a big romantic aren't you?" She asked with a cheeky smile as she finished the docking procedures.
"Hey, you only found out cause you kept sneaking into my bunk and found my collection." He protested.
"Yes, but what makes me really happy is that you share them with me." River told him as she sat down in his lap.
"Only cause I enjoy you readin' them to me." He said, he kissed her tenderly, "Ready to get married?"
Jayne rose cradling his fiancé in his arms as he took her to her room to get ready.
Their wedding? Far more romantic than any novel.