Chapter 4

Disclaimer: I'm not Joss

AN: I cobbled this together way too quickly and didn't really beta so I apologize for any and all mistakes. I believe this is probably the last chapter of this. Enjoy.

"What in the sphincter of hell do you think you're doing?" Mal's voice rang through the ship.

Jayne didn't so much as pause as he dropped another bag of River's belongings down his hatch. "Movin' my wife into our bunk."

"Now wait a gorram minute. The two of you had your fun, tyin' your hands and sayin' some pretty words. But we all know 'Nara's 'bout as far's you can get from a Shepherd. This prank's over."

Jayne dropped the last bag before straightening to meet the captain's eyes with a serious look. "Not a joke this time, Mal. River's my wife now."

Mal spluttered.

"Can't say I didn't warn you," Jayne reminded him.

Mal spun around and stormed away. "Inara!"

He leaned back in his chair, legs straight out before him, ankles crossed. His arms were crossed too, over his chest. Most of the crew faced him across the galley. Kaylee was leaning forward in her seat, an eager expression on her face. Zoe's face wore the familiar composed neutrality. Mal and Simon, both too keyed up to sit, wore expressions leaning more toward murderous.

Inara alone was seated on the same side of the table as Jayne, peacefully composed.

"How is it exactly my merc thinks a whore has married him to my assassin? Someone wants to be explaining that to me right about now."

"I think it's shiny," Kaylee sighed quietly, shooting a longing glance at Simon.

Inara's eyes shifted from patient observation to cold anger. She sent Mal a smile devoid of any warmth. "You know very well that the marriage ceremonies out on the Rim can be a rather…informal affair. When Jayne and River saw their opportunity, they seized it."

"It's not valid," Simon argued. "A marriage requires the proper paperwork to be filed, the proper officials. She's not of sound mind! She can't make this kind of decision for herself!"

"She knows what she is doing," a soft voice countered.

Everyone looked to the doorway behind Jayne. All but Jayne and Inara gasped. River had traded her flowing tops for a form fitting dress. Her hand rested on her lower abdomen. That bump was unmistakable.

"It's a pillow." Simon's voice wavered.

He immediately found himself on the receiving end of the 'you're a boob' look for that denial.

River padded over to Jayne, feet bare as always. He pulled her into his lap, ignoring the aggravated noises coming from the other two men in the room.

"You settled," Jayne asked, still ignoring the others in the room.

"Puzzle pieces are clicked into place," she replied with a satisfied smile.

He nodded, a slightly confused look in his eyes.

The scraping of a chair pushing away from the table pulled their attention back to the room at large. Zoe stood and shot Mal an unreadable look. "If that's all, Sir, I'll be heading back to the bridge."

"No that's not all! Sit down. Liu Kou Shui De Biao Zi He Hou Zi De Er Zi! This is my ship and I say Inara can't go marryin' people and my merc can't go knockin' up my reader!"

Jayne snorted. "Riv's carryin' my kid and she's a Cobb now. You got no say in that, Captain or not. What'd you plan on doin' when the baby pops out? Shovin' it back up there?"

River shot a disapproving look toward Mal. "Malcolm cannot go up the slide."

"Malcolm?" The captain took a step forward. "Did you say Malcolm? You namin' the kid after me?"

Jayne rolled his head back and forth, cracking it. "Damn stubborn woman. Says the boy's name is Malcolm Hoban Cobb."

Regarding his new bride with narrowed eyes he growled out, "don't quite roll off'a the tongue."

"Oh hush. It's a shiny name," Kaylee reassured, sending a questioning look toward Zoe.

The woman tilted her head once toward River.

Jayne gently pushed River from his lap and stood to his feet. "Now if this interrogation is over, it's time to wave Ma."

"This is not over!" Simon protested, searching the faces around him desperately for support. "We can't allow this travesty to stand. It wasn't even a valid ceremony!"

Mal patted Simon on the back, knocking the doctor forward a couple steps. "Go se Li'l Mal's gonna need a two parent family. Only proper Jayne made an honest woman outta our River."