Summery: It seems to be all relatively straightforward. It’s not their fault the rest of the crew seems to be stupid.
It might have taken a while, but things did eventually start sinking in. Somewhat, anyway.
The fact that River seemed to have given up sleeping in her room completely was a big clue, which her brother didn't realize until he stopped to look in on her late one night. She rolled her eyes when he asked her where she had been going. "I have duties, Simon," she explained patiently. "Must stand watch."
She nodded and flipped a page in her sketch book. "It's nice to have your own space," she answered vaguely. "Merging lives is difficult."
"...I have no idea what that means."
"I'm not surprised."
"What the hell is your problem?" Jayne had gotten annoyed with the sideways looks everyone had been giving him for the better part of a day.
"Nothing," Simon answered wryly. "Only, for some reason, my sister seems to have this odd idea that you two are married."
Jayne blinked. "Is that all?"
"Is that all, he says," Mal snorted. "Don't you think it's a problem that the cute little unhinged girl thinks you're in love with her?"
Jayne snorted this time. "She knows I ain't in love with her." He grabbed a cup of tea and splashed some whiskey in it. "What does love have to do with us getting married?"
Simon inhaled his tea.
"Married?! Little one, not to be rude, but what the hell were you thinking?"
River rolled her eyes at the captain and went back to painting her toenails with a borrowed bottle of Inara's polish. "Not your business," she said pointedly. "There are rules and regulations, and there are contracts and 'I do's' and we did."
Mel scrubbed one hand over his face. "You're brother is sitting down in his own medical bay, counting his surgical tools for the seventh time, and I'm worried he's going to come up short a scalpel when he decides to stab the man I pay to shoot people, so would you mind not talking in circles for a spell?"
River sighed and very slowly explained. "Marriage is an institution of contracts and give and take. Went to the chapel, signed the contract, even wore shoes."
"So, it's legal, then?"
"Signed in blood," she agreed absently as she held her foot in the air at an impossible angle to examine her toes. "Do you like the pink better?"
Zoe didn't bat an eye when Simon walked directly into her.
"Married?" He demanded, raking a hand through his hair. "How on earth did she get married?"
"Excuse you, too," Zoe said dryly. "And I assume she got married the same way most people do. She put on nice clothes, went down in front of a judge and said she wanted to."
Simon slumped against the wall. "But she's not even all there." He sputtered for a moment. "Can people on massive anti psychotics even..Is that even legal?"
Zoe shrugged. "Drunk people get married all the time," she pointed out. "Matter of fact, the captain got married while he was drunk not too long ago."
"Yes, and this is why I'm concerned." Simon lurched off of the wall to pace. "Marriage hasn't gone over well with the less stable members of the crew, and I think we can both agree that neither of them is stable."
"Well, if it makes you feel better, Jayne ain't tried kissing any of us to knock us unconscious."
"Somehow that fact doesn't help at all." He made a face. "And now all I can think of is Jayne making kissy faces at my sister."
"Now, that's just a downright unpleasant mental image."
"You brought it up."
"So, what made you decide to get married?"
"Not just get married," River corrected, "Decided to marry Jayne."
"Very well," Inara shook one sleeve back over her arm as she offered a plate of dainty sandwiches. "How did you decide to marry Jayne?"
River smiled. "He asked me."
"Would you have married anyone who asked you?"
"Don't be silly." River lifted the cup with two fingertips. "Wash and the Captain are already married, and marrying Kaylee isn't legal in most areas."
Inara managed not to react with anything more than a raised eyebrow.
River giggled. "Jayne wanted a companion," she nodded towards the woman opposite her. "Someone to keep him in line and meet his mother and take care of him when he has gotten old."
"And he asked you for those things?"
"That. And sex."
Simon and Mal had schemed, planned, and plotted, but nothing had done any good.
Throwing Jayne out of the airlock wouldn't work, because River had been talking to Kaylee, and now the airlock wasn't functioning at all.
Locking River in her room didn't work, because if Jayne didn't break the door down for her, then River would eventually be found wandering the crew quarters, her door still closed and locked.
Jayne was stubbornly silent on how all this had come to happen, only blowing his breath out in exasperation when questioned. "Dammit, Mal, a man's gotta get married some day!"
"But, why River?" Simon asked plaintively.
Jayne shrugged. "She smells nice, and she's crazy enough to stand up to my mother when she goes off on a tear about me moving home and giving her grandbabies."
Simon went pale and clutched his chest. "Oh God," he moaned. "My sister might reproduce with the ape man."
"You'll love it, Uncle Doc."
"But, River, he says out loud that he don't love you, even a smidge!" Kaylee's eyes were wide with concern. "You can't go getting married to somebody who don't love you."
River shrugged and spun the shuttle's one chair in a circle. "What is love but promises kept?" She asked reasonably. "We came to an agreement and signed our names and River Tam was replaced with River Cobb." She wrinkled her forehead in thought. "Never considered marriage to a man named after corn parts," River mused. "Good thing his middle name is Theodore."