I was thinking about the episode Heart of Gold and the Wash/Kaylee quote that I think is amazing and this just got written up.
I don't consider this AU because I'm not suggesting that they actually get together I just kind of wish. Haha.
"Wash…tell me I'm pretty," she said with a wistful look on her face.
"Were I unwed, I would take you in a manly fashion," he replied smoothly without a look to the mechanic.
"'Cause I'm pretty?"
"'Cause you're pretty."
He hadn't thought about it when he said it, it just came out of his mouth like most things did, especially when he was talking to Kaylee. It was just about saying what he thought or what would be funny or what he thought would be funny. Sometimes he said things to make others feel good, but he'd never been a man to speculate on his words too heavily.
It was just a few sentences that slid out of his mouth like butter on a hot plate, but now that he thought about what he had said he took a look over at Kaylee. She wasn't looking at him at all, just looking over at Jayne and the blonde he was with and probably thinking about Simon and how the stupid idiot hadn't asked her out yet.
It was true what he had said, he hadn't been lying: he did think Kaylee was pretty. She sometimes wore those idiotic mechanic outfits, had greasy hair, dirt-filled face, and still looked just as beautiful. He thought his wife was beautiful all right, but she didn't always have that natural beauty that he saw Kaylee possessed.
He let himself think for a second what it could have been like if he'd waited to marry Zoë as he looked over at Kaylee. What if he had been an unmarried man when she entered the ship? She was surely a looker, and she was nice too. She didn't hide her emotions away like Zoë did, and he liked that about her. What you saw was what you got.
Wash had to admit to himself that if he hadn't been attached to Zoë at the time he probably would have tried something. Kaylee was smart and thoughtful and rarely had a bad thing to say about anyone. She barely was able to hold a gun, which proved troublesome at times since they were somewhat, well, cons, he admitted to himself, but there was something quite endearing about the fact.
He let himself a second of imagining a future of might-have-been. Wash thought about the patter of feet on the ship that he knew Mal would hate but still request that he had to be the godfather of. They'd have light red hair and brown eyes and would never stop talking. Jayne would probably grunt and groan at them but secretly behind their backs show their kids how to shoot a gun properly. They would be damn good pilots and have a natural affinity to fixing ships.
Wash shook his head out of these thoughts as Kaylee began walking away. It was might-have-been for a reason: it could have happened, but it didn't. He didn't need to remind himself that it was all impossible, that he didn't have any attraction towards Kaylee, she was just a friend: a very pretty friend.
Wash shook his head one last time, walked away, and pushed those thoughts out of his head: he was married.
And he loved his wife.