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Serenity docks on the ironically-named Beaumonde, and Kaylee is instructing Simon on what to do once they've left. Her innocence is so completely congruent with her earthiness; I love how she can get her heart broken a thousand times by one gay doctor, or the empty Mean Girl victims on Persephone, but still knows you don't buy drugs sight unseen, and likes to fuck in the engine room. You know? There's a Kitty Pryde for every story, but I think Kaylee's the best and truest example. Willow's irritating repression, Fred's irritating everything, but Kaylee's just a sweet girl with her heart on her smudgy sleeve. "Don't talk to the barkers, talk to the Captains. You look the Captain in the eye. Know who you're dealing with. I wish there was..." Mal steps between them, unloading, and he and Simon awkwardly do not touch, or look at each other. "You shouldn't ought to be so clean. It's a dead giveaway you don't belong, you always got to be tidy." She's almost crying, and can't look at him. "Don't pay anybody in advance." She's going to keep talking forever, if possible. "And don't ride in anything with a Capissen engine, they fall right out of the sky." Unable to continue, she breaks off and joins the Captain. River watches her leave, and Simon asks if she wants to stay with them. She looks amazing, these lovely tendrils in her hair, a slinky black dress with a silk kimono-jacket over it. "It isn't safe." He agrees pompously ("No. I fear it isn't safe anymore."), and takes off. "For them," she says to herself.
There's a mad bazaar where they'll meet Fanty and Mingo, a bar called the Maidenhead (Okay?!?): gambling, strippers, the news, booze. On the TV, a man reports on the heist-slash-Reaver attack: "...only survivors of the massacre apparently locked themselves in the train station vault..." Kaylee's up Mal's ass about Simon, still. "Kaylee, this is a place of business. We can talk about Simon..." They approach the bouncer, who's locking all their weapons in a cool waterwheel of toolboxes. "...When he's four worlds away? Or the Alliance gets ahold of him and River?" He's much aggrieved. "That ain't my worry. I got to finish this job and get us another one. Can't do that carrying those two." She wonders how, when he's so warm and loving with her, he can be so cold about this. Zoe, even though she agrees, steps in to defuse it. "Captain didn't make them fugitives." Kaylee's not so easily dissuaded: "But he could have made them family! Instead of keeping Simon from seeing I was there, when I carried such a torch, when we could've... We're going on a year now, I ain't had nothing twixt my nethers weren't run on batteries!" Mal is, of course, horrified: "Oh, God! I can't know that!" It's sweet. Jayne mumbles, "I could stand to hear a little more," but as usual, Kaylee ignores this altogether. "If you had a care for anybody's heart..." Mal's tired of it, and goes for the kind of gut shot he'd never give Kaylee if she weren't pushing his current buttons as hard as possible. "You knew he was gonna leave. We never been but a way station to those two. And how do you know what he feels? He's got River to worry on, but he still could've shown you" -- beat -- "if I truly wanted someone bad enough wouldn't be a thing in the 'verse could stop me from going to her." FOUL! Total foul! But Kaylee's got it covered, angry now and wanting to hurt him back. "Tell that to Inara."