And when the door to the cargo bay opens...
It reveals a mechanic. Grinning. Also wearing a lovely green dress that Crowley might find familiar.
What Crowley might not find familiar, or at least not immediately so: getting hugged (vaguely violently, and eminently enthusiastically) by said mechanic.
...It's not precisely a regular occurrence, no - at least, not from people that can reach higher than his knee, in any case. Crowley's slightly startled, but not so much that he can't gather his wits enough to hug back.
After a moment, pleased grin distorting the ragged scar on his right cheek, he leans back, looking her up and down.
"And don't you look xiù lì."
Kaylee ducks her head, grinning. "Xiexie. You're lookin' pretty handsome yourself." Her smile gets a little crooked. "Good to finally see you on somethin' other than a Cortex screen."
First time since Miranda.
Which means that when she turns to face Aziraphael with the same smile -- "And you, too." Beat. "Prior."
Crowley'd told her that Aziraphael had gone to Haven, after it was all over. Kaylee's glad about that. Very glad.
"If it's any consolation," Aziraphael is smiling widely, quite obviously very pleased to see her, "it still feels rather odd calling myself that."
He bends to kiss her lightly on the cheek, tucking long blond hair neatly behind his ear.
"Wèi, Kaylee, my dear."
Kaylee beams at him. "Just so you know -- and I mean, I'll tell you this when I see you back at Milliways, but -- Simon loved the books. We started readin' The Tempest on the way here."
He blinks, since he's not had the practice Crowley has at wrapping his mind around the strangeness of timeframes, then his smile widens.
"My language! heavens!
I am the best of them that speak this speech,
Were I but where 'tis spoken.
It's always been one of my favourites, you know. I'm always glad to know a book's gone to a genuinely appreciative home."
And he's most certainly not thinking about - oh goodness - it being (as far as he knows) the only other copy of the Riverside Shakespeare still in existence.
The really good thing about being crippled -- possibly the only good thing -- is that nobody can tell when your step hitches. Technically, it's always hitching.
So when Wash thumps down the cargo bay steps, bag slung across his back, and spots Crowley, he's probably the only one who notices it.
He musters up a polite smile anyway, keeping a firm, resolute hold on his crutches as he hobbles down the ramp. Maybe a little too firm.
"Wèi," comes the greeting, with a cheerful wave. "You want me to take your bag?"
"Please," he huffs out as he unceremoniously shrugs off the bag and lets it fall with a thump. "How've you guys been?"
He's looking at Aziraphael as he says it.
Aziraphael makes no move to take Wash's bag - that's what novices are for. Or Crowley, in a pinch.
"Oh, we're as well as ever we were." He looks, perhaps, a trifle surprised that the question was directed at him, but rather pleased all the same.
"Peace, love, happiness, and a good New Year. I like it."
"So where are we hiding ourselves for the next couple days?"
Inara's shuttle hatch grates. Mal thought that'd give him away first, but if it didn't, his boots hitting cargo bay floor with a solid thunk announced himself pretty clearly.
"Wèi Crowley, Tianshi."
"Well, if it isn't the groom himself."
Crowley saunters over to say hi. Okay, maybe a bit more than saunters. Maybe there's a bit of a swagger in there. Tiny bit.
"How'd the wedding go?"
Mal laughs, holding up the simple gold band around his left ring finger.
"Better even than expected. Suppose I have you to thank for that?"
"I'm guessing that means Lilly pulled it off?"
"She did. Pulled it off through maximum embarrassment to my own person involvin' incriminatin' photographs, so she considered it a success her own self."
From the way Mal's grinning on the memory, it doesn't look like he cared much.
"How've you been? Anything interesting going on?"
"Er... sort of?" he hazards.
Possibly looking a mite shifty, here.
There's a small, real smile for both Aziraphael and Crowley, the kind that makes River's whole face a little brighter.
He's talking to Mal, when he spots her first. And as the captain lopes off to fetch his bags, Crowley turns to River, and smiles.
River drifts down the ramp, towards him, and the smile widens a little.
Aziraphael takes a moment or two to notice her quiet presence - there are rather more, and louder, people milling about than he's entirely used to. But when he eventually does see who's headed towards them, he smiles, widely and genuinely.
"Ni hao, my dear."
"We found your place," she says, and turns her face to the sun.
"There are trees."
Inara follows Mal out of the shuttle with a much more graceful descent. She smiles widely at both Aziraphale and Crowley.
Smirking good-naturedly from beneath his sunglasses, Crowley greets her in a manner appropriate to her station, sweeping into an elegant - if slightly exaggerated - bow over her hand.
"Ms. Serra, looking ravishing, as always. Or should I be calling you Mrs. Reynolds, now?"
Inara smiles at him, curtsying just as elegantly and just deeply enough to honor a demon. Hey, if anyone can determine that level, Inara can.
"Thank you, Mr. Crowley, you are as charming as ever." She colors slightly at his last comment. "And Inara is fine."