Summery: It seems to be all relatively straightforward. It’s not their fault the rest of the crew seems to be stupid.
Jayne was standing in the middle of the shower room, carefully trimming his goatee. He had a collared shirt on, and his nice hat perched on the counter next to him.
Which would have been fine, only he had been in there for almost an hour, and Mal was starting to get right irritable.
"The whores think you're pretty enough," Mal said as he kicked the door the rest of the way open. "Now, get out of here so I can shower."
"Ain't going to see no whores today, Mal." Jayne said, concentrating on the tender skin of his throat. "And you can wait, ain't nobody gonna be running up to sniff you that I know of."
"Hey," Mal said defensively. "Plenty of people wanna take a whiff of me." His towel landed on the bench with a slap. "'Sides, if you ain't getting gussied up for no whore, then where you headed?"
"Got an appointment down at the court house." Jayne raised his eyebrow questioningly at his reflection, then nodded in satisfaction.
"If you got arrested again, you can rot there for all I care," Mal growled. "I ain't bailing you out again."
"Didn't get arrested," Jayne said, plopping his hat down on his head and grinning. "I got an appointment to see somebody about a license."
"What kinda license?" Mal asked.
But Jayne just smirked, and disappeared out the door.
"Hey! Do you even have a license to drive the mule? Or for your guns?" Mal called. "Uh..Jayne?"
"You look very pretty today, mei mei." Simon smiled up at his sister from his seat at the table. "Did Kaylee and Inara help you pick out something nice to wear?"
"Yes," River nodded, and held up one foot for inspection. "Shoes are necessary today, and these have heels."
"You look very grown up."
River smiled. A slow, wiser than her years smile. "I am."
Simon nodded ruefully. "I can't stop thinking of you as forever fourteen, you know."
"I know," she said sadly. "It is a common failing among the old and infirm."
River had to fight her fit of giggles back down. "I cannot tarry," she said formally. "I am expected, and the party cannot begin without me."
Simon blinked. “I didn’t know there was a party tonight.”
“You aren’t invited.”
The next few weeks seemed to be fairly normal.
There were some oddities, but no one thought much about them at the time.
It didn’t occur to anyone until much later what some of the strange things might mean.