TITLE: Kings for Queens


A/N: Another side shot in the Chosen-verse. Takes place after Aftermath, as well as in the future.

He was gonna kill Wash.

"Jayne, be reasonable." He grunted at Inara, ignoring her attempt to make him stop. His brothers were right behind him as they advanced on Wash. "Ain't nuthin' 'Nara, we're jus' gon' have a lil' talk with him.

Zoe raised an eyebrow and looked to River, who shook her head, an amused expression on her face. It was the Washburne twins 5th birthday, and along with cake, presents and surprise visits from their favourite 'uncles', there had also been an incident.

Inara couldn't quite figure out why the boys were so riled up – Lily had just placed a sweet kiss on Jason's cheek when she'd given him his present. Ta ma de, they were children! Lily was only three, it was cute, nothing more!

Lucas growled low in his throat. "You best be tellin' yer boy there ain't no need ta be gettin' sweet on the girl." Wash stared at them with wide eyes for a moment. Although still wearing their human faces, the sight of six Cobb boys standing around him in a semi-circle was mighty intimidating. Might have been the muscles, or the tattoos, or the fact that they were all armed.

Still, they couldn't have predicted his reaction. The pilot burst into hysterical laughter, wiping tears from his eyes as he clung to the doorway, struggling to stay upright. He tried to speak between hiccupping giggles. "H-h-he's five! Seriously, you want me to lecture a five year old on…bahaha!"

Thomas narrowed his eyes, growing agitated at Wash's reaction. "Ain't funny! There shouldn' be anybody lookin' at her like that!" The kids had been whisked away by Kaylee at this point, who had muttered something about idiot males. Lily had given her father a disapproving frown as her Auntie Kaylee carried her away.

Mal raised an eyebrow. "Jayne, ya can't be serious. She's only three but one day some man'll get sweet on her, jus' like you got sweet on her Ma."

River smiled as Jayne's eyes flicked over her. His thoughts were an uncomfortable mix of 'Things I Like Doing to River' and 'Things I Never Want Someone Doing to My Daughter'. She stood, walking towards her husband and brothers-in-law. She fixed them with a stern gaze. Despite being a foot shorter and at least 150 pounds lighter she still had them looking nervous. "No threatening Wash. Kings were made for Queens, no arguments."

Her voice brooked no dissent, and when they hung their heads sheepishly she nodded once, sweeping regally out of the room. When she had left Lucius turned to Wash, ready to mutter out another threat. River's head poked around the doorway. "No."

Marcus sighed as she disappeared once more. "Can't get anythin' past her, can ya?" Jayne shrugged. "No, one day I'll tell ya 'bout the time she slashed my chest open."

Simon stifled a chortle, turning it into a cough that didn't fool anybody. The Cobb's reluctantly backed down, settling back around the galley table. The conversation turned to other things, and a few bottles did wonders to shut up any threats in Wash's direction.

Still, Jayne and his equally over protective brothers were adamant. Jason was to stay away from Lily, dong ma?

Fifteen Years Later

The cargo bay was littered with white rose petals. Kaylee's fairy lights had been strung around the catwalk railings, and the crew watched the couple in front of them.

"I, Jason, take you, Lily…"

Kaylee was bawling in the front while Inara wiped her own tears. Zoe was looking on proudly as her son swore allegiance his new bride, while Wash hooted and hollered. Derrial and Jack, having been designated co-best men, were grinning and cheering. Marina, enjoying her position as maid-of-honour, grinned widely as her best friend beamed at Jason.

Lily, her long brown curls loose down her back, gave Jason a radiant smile as he looked at her. She looked so much like her mother they were often confused as sisters. But that's a story for another time. Jason tucked a stray curl behind her ear as she smiled at him. The solemn boy had grown into an equally solemn man, but the quick, brilliant, flashing smile he gave was for her and her alone.

Mal grinned as he spoke. "I now pronounce ya man an' wife."

When Jason bent down to kiss Lily his eyes briefly flickered to the wall of muscle standing at the back of the cargo bay. Jayne glowered at him and Marcus cracked his knuckles significantly. Lucas and Thomas had their hands resting on the guns at their hips, while Lucius and Kale bared their teeth. Lily turned as her father and uncles tried to look threatening. The look she shot them had them hanging their heads immediately, and Lily smiled at her mother, who gave her a quick wink.

Badger sobbed loudly against Book's shoulder, the other man rolling his eyes at the display. Still he couldn't help the tear that rolled down his own cheek as his surrogate grandchildren kissed.

As they moved to the galley to commence their feasting Jayne took a step towards Jason, only to find his wife holding a hand to his chest. She gave him a stern look. "Kings for Queens." He sighed, turning back to his brothers and shaking his head.

They grumbled up to the galley as Wash slung an arm around his son's shoulders. "Did I ever tell you about the time Jayne and River got hitched?" Jayne glared at the pilot, who just laughed. Jason's teeth looked extremely white against his cocoa skin as he grinned, and his blue eyes flashed with amusement. Zoe whisked her husband away before he got himself hurt.

Lily took her husband's hand as the bay emptied. They began a slow, silent waltz, beaming at one another in the silence of the cargo bay. Lily was all too aware that her mother and father were watching from the catwalk.

Jayne slung an arm around River's shoulders. She leaned into him, her dark hair brushing against his arm. They walked slowly to the galley, leaving their daughter in the arms of the man she loved.

Jayne stopped and looked down at River in the hallway outside the galley. "This is yer fault ya know." River raised an imperious brow. He shrugged. "If ya hadn't asked me ta give her that book, I never woulda caught 'em, an' they'd still be sneakin' around."

The grin she gave him was mischievous, and he narrowed his eyes. "Ya did it on purpose, didn't ya?" She gave him an impish smile, standing on her toes to kiss his cheek. "Shhh, grouchy demons have no place in weddings." He growled in his throat. "Everybody knew but me an' the boys, didn't they?"

She shrugged. "Kings will have their Queens, grouchy Daddies are to be expected. Besides, her taste is superior."

Jayne sighed as he hugged his wife. "Is she gonna be happy? Is he gonna look after her?"

She gave him a look that clearly stated his boobishness. "Of course, not that she requires protecting." She paused for a moment, looking like she was seriously considering something. Her grin turned evil. "That might change though…after they find out about the little one."

She turned and bolted into the galley before Jayne could pick up his jaw. Wedding be damned.

He was gonna kill Wash.