Tell-Tale Hearts and Other Symptoms

Summary: Kaylee's got love on her mind and seeks the pilot's wisdom. He is, after all, one half of the only successful couple aboard Serenity. Kaylee/Simon and Wash/Zoe.

A/N: To me, Wash and Kaylee are the epitome of sweetness. I didn't get to see enough interactions between them, so I'm filling in the gaps, complete with some Wash/Zoe love because I just can't help myself.

The first thing Wash notices when Kaylee walks into the bridge is that her usual bouncy step is missing. She's got this way of skipping 'round on the tips of her toes, 'specially in times when all is calm in the skies, but today, she just ain't doing it despite all being well aboard Serenity.

"May I help you, Little Kaylee?" he asks in way of greeting.

Kaylee plops herself down into the co-pilot's seat, clearly taking that as invitation enough. "Serenity's runnin' smooth and not much work for me to do with her right now," she answers. "Guess I'm just bored and lookin' for some company that won't try to find work for me to do."

"Well, you've come to the right place. We have a strictly no working policy here. Plus, you'll find no better company anywhere." he boasts. "You've got me, the dinos," he gestures to his toy dinosaurs, "and the stars. Did I mention, me?"

Kaylee doesn't answer, and instead drums her fingers on the arm of her chair. She's distracted, Wash can tell, and for someone wanting company, Kaylee ain't saying much in way of conversation.

And, well, Wash has never been one for silence.

"You know, in some cultures, talking is the most appropriate way to get things off your mind," he hints.

Kaylee sighs. "Wash, can I ask you a question?"

"You just did, mei-mei, but feel free to ask another, on the house. Well, on the ship, I guess."

"It's just, you and Zoe been together awhile now...but how did you firs' know you were in love with her? That is to say, how could you tell?"

Ah, and there it is. Kaylee's got Simon on her mind again, her crush on him being fairly common knowledge by now. The only oblivious one seems to be the good doc himself.

Wash considers the question for a moment, then smirks. "You know, I think it was because she told me so. And there is no arguing with Zoe. Believe me, I've tried and failed spectacularly. I remember, this one argument about where to go for dinner on Boros...I thought I had the upper hand but then she flat-out told me that I didn't, and seriously, is there any kind of rebuttal for that?"

"Wash..." Kaylee pleads, begging for seriousness from the pilot.

He sighs. It isn't his strong suit, but for the sake of the little one's feelings, he can try.

"Listen, Kaylee," he starts gently. "I don't know if you know this, but love is... it's gorram stupid is what it is."

"What do you mean?" Kaylee asks, taken aback.

"It'll make you do stupid things," he answers smoothly. "It'll make you feel and act crazy, and it just...opens you up and you know it might all backfire in your face, but you don't really care s'long as you have the moment."

"And it's like that for you and Zoe?"

"Of course!" he exclaims. "Falling in love with her was like...losing all the air from your lungs and then breathing again. Totally changed my perspective on everything."

"Like what?"

"Well, silly things. Like, I started going crazy with worry whenever she was out on a job, or I'd get stupid with jealousy when guys would try to flirt with her. And then one day, I guess I just realized that the happiest moments of my life all involved Zoe. And, you know, every time she smiled at me my heart would do that extra-fast thumpity thump. Okay, so, the first time that happened I thought I might be having a heart attack, but still. That's love, and don't let anyone tell you different."

Kaylee smiles, sweet and sincere. "You know, Wash, it's real shiny that you two found each other in the big 'verse. I never was one for believin' in soulmates, but you two make it seem real enough to touch..."

"I'm glad you think so too," Wash replies, smiling back.

Kaylee stands and stretches. "You know, I think I'll go find Simon now. See what he's up to..."

She turns to leave, but halts as Wash calls her back.

"So, tell me," he says, "Is that an affirmative on the whole loving-the-doctor thing? Because I am oh-so-curious to know whether I've fanned the flames of a romance or smothered me nosy that way."

Kaylee considers the question seriously. "Well, I do worry about him like hell and my heart does that thing you said..."

"The thumpity thump," Wash replies knowledgeably.

"Yeah, that. And I just...if I ain't completely there yet, I think I will be. In love, that is."

"It certainly can take time," agrees Wash. "And best of luck to you, Little Kaylee."

Kaylee smiles and leaves, the extra special skip back in her step.

Wash turns back to the console and looks out towards the endless Black. There still isn't much to see, no worries to be had out here, for now. He reaches for one of his dinosaur toys and picks it up, holding it close to his face. "I'm tellin' ya, Rex, those two will be married within the next year."

"He'd be dumb to bet against you," says a familiar voice from just over his shoulder. "Once Simon gets his head on straight, Kaylee's gonna win him over faster than you can say wedding ring."

He smiles but doesn't turn his head to greet her. "I'd reckon you'd be right, Wifey." he says as she wraps gentle arms around his neck. "You always did recognize love when you saw it."

Her breath tickles his ear. "Only because I had the best teacher in the 'verse to show me what it looked like," she murmurs.

Wash closes his eyes and breathes her in. "Wuh de ma, I sure hope you mean me."

She smacks his chest playfully with the back of her hand. "My one and only," she answers, kissing his cheek.

Wash's heart gives a great thumpity thump, and he hopes that in some other part of the ship, Kaylee is feeling for Simon what he feels for Zoe in this moment, because everyone, absolutely everyone, deserves to know what it's like.

A/N: Reviews are love. :)