"Zoe! Zoe, get onto the bridge right now!" Mal's voice floated over the intercom. She looked up from her book at the table and lethargically made her way to the bridge. Mal and River were standing opposing each other, both looking very cross. "I'm telling you that you're wrong!"
"Mind reading genius!" she snapped, folding her arms defiantly.
"I don't give a gorram if you're a genius or not! You can still be wrong. And you are completely wrong."
"You're incorrect in your data analysis, Captain."
They both looked at Zoe, simultaneously shouting, "Who's right?"
She blinked, completely confused. "Sir, I don't know what you two are yelling about, but I think that both of you should calm down before someone gets hurt."
Mal pointed a finger. "She says that I shouldn't leave my clothes lying around because it makes this boat look like a pigsty. I don't even do it that much!"
River pointed to his coat tossed over her pilot's chair. "Just did! Found your boots outside my room yesterday, your suspenders on the table, and your filthy socks by the bed."
"Jayne leaves his stuff around," Mal scoffed.
"Guns don't count."
He cursed under his breath and Zoe got ready to speak. Instead, the captain wasn't finished. "You leave your clothes around all the time!"
"On laundry day!" she shot back. "Can't properly accomplish the task of washing garments when said garments are not in proximity to the machinery!"
"No, no! Not just on laundry day!"
"In your drawer doesn't count."
"Well, you steal my clothes."
"Liar. Borrowing clothes in order to get midnight snacks to avoid public nudity doesn't count."
"Then what in ruttin' hell does count?!"
Zoe raised her eyebrows at the fight, not overly surprised by what it meant. "Sir."
"Not now," they said in unison.
"Pick up your clothes!" River shouted.
Mal folded his arms with an intimidating glare. "What if I don't?"
She grabbed his coat and threw it at him, whacking his arm. "River doesn't fraternize with animals."
"Animal? Who are you calling an animal?" he roared, really getting irritated now.
She stuck her tongue out at him. "Who else?"
"Well, you're just a know-it-all!"
"Finally, Captain Tightpants has accurate data!"
Zoe held up her hands. "ENOUGH!"
They paused and looked at her in shock. "Sir," she began. "You called me up here to resolve the argument, right?"
He hesitated and considered. "Well, no. I called you up here to agree with me and shut her up."
River hit him again. He recoiled and Zoe smiled. "Well, sir. I can't help you."
"Don't tell me you're on her side," he whined.
"I don't take sides," she said with a sigh. "But I don't like our boat becoming a boxing arena. You two need to kiss and make up."
They looked like frightened deer, both going on about how they weren't a couple. She gave them a skeptical look and River squeaked, "Don't tell."
"I won't have to if you two keep this up," she whistled. "You're like a married couple."
"How'd you…" Mal stuttered in complete panic.
"You're married?" Zoe gaped in disbelief. "You're joking."
They both looked at the floor, talking at the same time. She waited for one to make sense. Mal's voice came out ahead. "Long story…" he coughed. "Involves that sleazy town on that backwater moon, a drive-thru chapel, and a little too much wine."
River smacked him again. "Wasn't because we were drunk."
"Oh, because the alcohol don't count?" she did it again. "Ow! She's a husband beater!"
"Are you getting a divorce?" Zoe inquired. They both looked appalled at the question. "So that's a no…"
"I mean. It weren't planned, but we were. We have. We are. Don't tell," Mal tried desperately. "I don't want both Tams beating me up."
Zoe rubbed her aching forehead. "Okay. Okay, but stop this craziness. Apologize."
They looked at one another shyly. "Sorry," River smiled.
"Yeah. What you said," he rephrased when she threatened him with her hand. "Okay! I'm sorry! Gorramit, woman. You'll be the death of me."
"At least she won't try to steal the ship and kill everyone aboard," Zoe chuckled. "Congratulations, sir."
They thanked her and she got ready to leave, seeing them kiss briefly. An odd pair, those two. She was walking away when she heard it.
"You still have to pick up your clothes."
"Gorram, River! I don't have to do nothing! My ship! If I want to leave my things around, I will!"
"I'll tell Simon about us and let him hit you if you don't!"
He gasped. "Blackmail! You are a criminal!"
"The best. Go. Clean. Mush, mush, mush!"
"Ball and chain!"
"You married it!"
"So did you!"
They weren't going to keep it quiet for long at that rate.