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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
The Tams make their way to the Metro, Johnny get's spiritual clarity with the help of thousands, River plays a favorite of hers, and Simon and Kaylee go on a long delayed date.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1327 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
I did it. It took me a summer job and a semester and two resposts which amounted to four comments, but I finally did it. I have Chapter 10 up of my epic.
Please forgive me for taking so long to post anything new. Once again, please leave tons of comments. Those are what keep me going.
Thanks to TamSibling for helping me out with the dialogue and such.
I'll try to have the next chapter up a.s.a.p or at least before Monday.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
When they finally reached the area of downtown where the Metro was at, Gabriel flew around the streets, trying to find a parking spot. It still baffled him that despite all the technological advances man has made in the last five hundred years, it was still impossible to find a parking spot. After twenty minutes, he managed to find a spot that was four blocks away from the theatre itself. Their landing was just as bumpy as their take-off earlier, but Gabriel managed to set the car down on the street and park it in the valuable spot. But as Simon and Kaylee opened the doors to get out, Gabriel merely shut off the car and sat in the driver’s seat.
“Dad, what are you doing?” Simon asked.
“For what?” Kaylee questioned.
“For you to return with River.” Gabriel responded coolly.
Simon’s ire towards his father was starting to bubble up. “I don’t know how long we’re going to be. This whole concert might take hours.”
As Simon was saying that, Gabriel pulled out an old pack of cigarettes from the glove compartment and pushed in the cigarette lighter. “Then I’ll wait for hours.”
Kaylee was about to interject when Regan lightly squeezed her shoulder. She shook her head no, indicating to leave him. Gabriel was always a stubborn man, and nothing was going to change him. Simon merely slammed his door and went around and helped Kaylee with getting Regan out of the back seat.
After a few moments, they were on their way. Simon was to Regan’s right and Kaylee was to her left. Regan’s arms were around each of their shoulders as the couple held her upright as they walked towards the theatre.
“You know…” Regan said quietly. “It’s time’s like these…” She took a deep breath and continued. “That I wish we kept the damn hoverchair.”
Regan chuckled lightly as they crossed the street. Simon and Kaylee looked at each other, unsure about the sudden change in mood, but as Regan continued talking, it somehow made it OK for them to smile at the situation they were in. “That hunk of junk made too much noise, was poorly designed and kept quitting on us. But I could use that right about now.”
With a look of encouragement and a smile that Simon recognized, Kaylee told her, "You're doin' real good, Mrs. Tam. You're too young to be ridin' in one o' them chairs anyways."
While Simon the husband could appreciate the encouragement, Simon the doctor and son said, "Do you want to take a break?"
Regan just shook her head. “No.” She took another deep breath and continued. “I want to see her play. Don't care if I keep passing out or if my lungs shut down.”
As they walked in silence, Regan's breathing only becoming more belabored. As Simon watched his mother's face growing paler, his need to take his mind off of her condition grew. "Am I the only one who finds the fact that we're going to watch River play in a rock band even stranger than normal?"
Shooting him a look of practiced patience, Kaylee retorted, "I think ya are."
Regan chimed in with her opinion on the situation they were in. “Admittedly, I was a bit curious about River's sudden fascination with a formerly illegal kind of music, but- “She then stopped to take another deep breath. “After all we put her through, and seeing as how it makes her sane and happy...I’m in no position to judge her. She’s 21. She can do whatever she wants.”
Simon shrugged as he looked forward to the Metro. “I won't argue with that.”
The trio grew silent again, as they approached a crowd in front of the theatre of people coming in. As Regan’s memories of dates with Gabriel and family outing to this building flooded her mind, she looked over at both Simon and Kaylee as they waited in line. She was surprised to see that they seemed nonchalant about what they were about to see. “You two should be more excited abut this. This'll just be like a date for the two of you.” The young couple turned their heads towards the old woman in surprise. “Married couples can still go on dates.” she reminded the two of them.
Kaylee was slightly shocked at the mention of something so off topic. “Really? A date? Simon, we ain't had one o' those in…” As she thought about the last four years, she was surprised to realize that, excluding dead Bessie (which didn’t count since they weren’t a couple then), they never really went on a traditional date. “Have we ever had one o' those?” she asked her husband.
Simon was offended at the implication that they never had a proper courtship. But as he racked his brain in an attempt to refute the comments, he found that he was hard pressed to come up a retort. “Yes. When we first ... well, I'm sure that ... Yes, I'm sure we have.”
Regan was unconvinced of her son’s declaration. “What did you have for dinner? Surely you should remember that?”
Even though lying had become second nature to him under pressure in the last four years, for some reason he couldn’t lie about what he had to eat years ago on a non-existent date. “We…we had-“
Kaylee finally saved him from potential embarrassment. “Wait, I do 'member.” She gave Simon a coy look over Regan's shoulder. “I'm fairly certain we didn’t even make it to dinner.”
Regan looked at the two of them. “You mean that you two have been together for four years, married half that time, and have never gone on even a simple dinner and a show date?”
Simon suddenly felt the urge to dodge the question. “Mother, this really isn't the time.”
Kaylee saw they were getting closer to the box office and decided to end the line of questioning. “No, probably not.” After a beat, she looked over to her husband. “But she's got a point.”
As the person in front of them stepped away, Regan decided that it was a moot point. “Oh well, no matter. Here we are.”
A polite blonde woman looked back at them through the glass of the box office. “Good evening. Three adults?” Regan nodded to this as the ticket woman pressed a few buttons on a screen. “Are you collecting any welfare?”
“I'm not sure about them,” she replied as she looked between her, “but no I am not on welfare.”
After getting head shakes from the young couple, the ticket woman pushed an extra button and smiled to the trio. “That'll be six platinum, please.” Regan then look down and realized that she was still in her pajamas and silk robe and has no money.
As she embarrassedly mumbled to herself “Oh, well...”, Simon stepped forward and put his left hand in his pocket. “We've got it Mother.” Politely, he fished out six grey coins and placed them in front of the slot of the glass.
Three tickets spooled out as the ticket woman deposited the coins in the register. She ripped the tickets and handed the stubs back to them. “Enjoy the show. I'm afraid that the main floor is packed, but I think some of the higher levels still have some seats.” Regan, feeling much better about the situation, politely replied, “That won't be necessary.” She looked to Simon and Kaylee and nodded. “Let's go.”
As they stepped towards the main lobby, Kaylee was looking around in total rapture to the glorious environment around them. The only thing that was more amazing then the staggering architecture were the vast amount of people that were crowding the lobby. “Ain't this excitin'? Look at all these people, an' they're here to River.”
Simon looked around, awestruck at what he was seeing. "This is pretty unbelievable."
Kaylee continued excitedly. “I am a bit worried about getting good seats. Gonna be hard to just get a glimpse.” Regan responded with as wry a grin as she could muster. “Why get a glimpse when you can see the entire stage from the best seats in the house?”
Kaylee furrowed her eyebrows in confusion. “What seats?” Regan just smiled at her as she nodded her head towards the golden doors of an elevator.
When she realized what Regan meant by that nod, Kaylee softly, but excitedly grasped Regan's hand. “You mean like those fancy box seats? Ooh, that's shiny!”
Simon looked up to the ceiling, nervous about the distance they’d have to cover. “Mother are you sure you want to head all the way up there?”
Regan said calmly, “We wouldn't have them unless we wanted them in the first place.” After a few moments, Simon merely led the two towards the glistening doors. When they reached the doors, Regan extended her frail hand and pressed her thumb against the plate that was above the two buttons. After a short pause, the doors chimed, and then parted, revealing a plush interior to the elevator car. She then looked at Kaylee with a knowing smile. “One of the advantages to having more money than you know what to do with. Sometimes you actually put it to good use.” The trio then entered elevator. Aft Simon pressed the familiar button, the doors closed and the elevator began to rise. “We Tams have been patrons of the arts for decades. And along with said patronage comes a few perks,” she said the next part as the elevator stopped, the familiar ding and the opening of the doors, “such as a private balcony at our disposal.”
Kaylee’s eyes widened as she looked forward into the hallway. The floor was a deep crimson carpet that stretched from wall to wall. The walls were made of wood that glowed due to the centuries old varnish that permeated their surface. The lights were dimmed just enough to give a special ambiance to the place. Even though the temperature was a bit low, the hallway was far warmer than the entire mansion. “Oh, this is jus' about the grandest thing I've ever seen.” She looked to Regan as they made their way down the hallway. “You all used this place a lot?”
“We did when Gabriel and I were first married, and the children were young.”
Simon wistfully joined in as hundreds of memories began to flood his mind. “River had her first dance recital here when she was six.” He smiled at the memory as they finally reached a door that had a gold plate that read in both English and Chinese “Tam.”
Regan pressed her thumb to the plate adjacent to the handle. “We haven’t been here in about seven years, for obvious reasons.” The door chimed, and Simon opened the door. “But it's nice to be back here one more time to hear the greats.”
It was at this moment, when they were finally able to hear what Signal was actually playing, that River consecutively sang and screamed, “AND DON'T YOU FUCKIN' WEAR IT OUT!!!!!!!” And even though the entire audience burst out into cheers and applause at that sentiment, the three of them suddenly felt a bit awkward at that moment. But this too passed, and after a hearty chuckle, Simon and Kaylee helped Regan into her seat, and then sat back themselves and enjoyed the show.
SEVEN MINUTES EARLIER
After starting off with “Alliance Idiot”, Signal continued on with the songs from the legendary album that was one of their many templates of who they were. They figured that with these songs, that they would have the crowd in their grasp in a matter of minutes. What surprised them was how eager the crowd was in giving themselves over to the group.
“Jesus of Suburbia” took them on a reflective, but ironic journey through their own lives. Even though the song was over five hundred years old and about a different time and world, there was a universal truth in the lyrics that spoke to the hundreds if not thousands of youth that were listening to the band. “Holiday” not only got them on their feet, but jumping up and down to the militant and rebellious message the song was preaching. It was at this point that the show turned into a pseudo-political rally that in the old days would have been broken up quickly by the purple-bellies. The energy that the crowd was giving the band was indescribable. As the band transitioned from the end of “Holiday” to the beginning of “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, the stomping and the clapping and the roaring of the crowd drowned out the music they came to hear. It was if the entire verse’s anger and betrayal and frustration and hopelessness were being purged out through that crowd. “Boulevard” merely extended that feeling. But it was with “Are We The Waiting” that the most amazing thing happened, at least from Johnny’s perspective.
Up until that point, he still felt slightly cynical about the whole thing. Sure he was playing great music with three really great musicians and one gal that blew away every expectation he’d ever had about her and they were being heard by hundreds if not thousands that hung on every word and note he was singing and playing. But in his mind, he was preparing for the moment the whole thing was going to crash and burn. It had happened over and over again in his life. From when his Mom abandoned him, to when his Dad mercilessly beat him, to when during one drunken night involving a fire iron, his home burned down and the right side of his face was singed horribly. The only solace he ever got was during one of the many stints in juvie where one day he picked up the guitar left behind by his cell mate and discovered an incredible talent he never knew he had. It was the only thing that kept him sane in between the stints at juvie and the countless part time jobs he took to scrape by. It was only through chance that The Dude managed to be in the absolute worst bar in the entire Outer Rim to rescue him from his terrible situation.
And the last few months had been great for Johnny. Despite the numerous clashes between him and The Dude, they did get on really well. It was nice to spend days on end playing his guitar and discovering previously blacklisted music that he never knew existed. It was even better traveling the verse with The Dude and seeing worlds he had only heard about as they searched for other musicians to fill the various positions in the band. But in the back of his mind, he felt that it was going to fail because they wouldn’t understand what they were doing. They were too inebriated with Alliance Idol china doll singers who’d make Britney Spears look like Janis Joplin and incomprehensible Chinese electronica to know true music when they heard it. But all of that changed as soon as they did that song.
George’s drum beats thundered through the air, as if a storm was about to come over the crowd. The beats continued like this until River joined in with a sweet, repeating melody full of angry melancholy. Johnny strolled up to the mike, playing his part of the guitar refrain and let the emotion of the place and the personal significance of the song flood him. And with a properly time guitar slide, he burst out singing into the mike. “Starry nights, city lights coming down over me. Sky scrapers and stargazers in my head.” He paused to let the weight of the lyrics sink in as River and George filled in the silence with their accompaniment. “Are we we are, are we we are the waiting unknown?” He stared upwardly as he remembered the night of the fire. “This dirty town is burning down in my dreams.” Again, he thought of that key night in his life and continued. “The lost and found city bound in my dreams…and screaming-“
It was at this point that the thousands that were packed into the opera house became a thousand plus member choir and sang in unison, “Are we we are, are we we are the waiting.” Johnny barely had enough time to comprehend the amazing sight he had just seen and heard before hitting his mark with, “And screaming…” Again, the massive choir sang unto them “Are we we are, are we we are the waiting.”
As he waited to continue onto the next verse, Johnny looked over to River, hoping to see the same look of shocked amazement at what had just happened. That without them even expecting it, let alone asking for it, the audience had decided on it’s own to sing the chorus of a song almost five hundred years old. In an instant, he knew that they had connected. That they weren’t just chasing their own wild dreams of resurrection to an unappreciative audience. They were needed. HE was needed.
With those feelings magnified, he burst into the next verse with gusto. “Forget me nots and second thoughts live in isolation…heads or tails and fairytales in my mind…are we we are, are we we are the waiting unknown.” He stared at the bright lights of the stage, his eyes watering from both the intense emotional resonance of the song, as well as from the strain of seeing what he thought was absolution. “The rage and love, the story of my life…the jesus of suburbia is a lie. COME ON!!! And screaming…”
The audience once again burst out into song, singing the chorus alongside Johnny this time around. The one line was repeated over and over again as it became the official mantra of a disenfranchised population. The emotion Johnny was feeling was on the same level that River felt every time she plucked at a string or took in a breath in order to hit a note. He finally understood what River meant that morning when she told him he would sing in ecstasy like she would.
But that ecstasy would be short lived as she suddenly interrupted the slow and methodic tone of the song with a familiar shred that got everyone in the building on their toes. Johnny put aside his sudden spiritual clarity in order to keep up with what he guessed now was his girlfriend.
“St. Jaynie's coming down across the alleyway.” River snarled this into the mike as she remembered the time she played this song long ago. Only now instead of an audience of one, it was for an audience of over one thousand. Johnny quickly banged out a duh-duh before she continued with, “Upon the boulevard, like a zip gun on parade.” Duh-duh. “Light of a silhouette.” Duh-duh. “He's insubordinate.” Duh-duh. “Coming at you on the count of 1, 2-“ The audience responded to her with an equally fast, “1,2,3,4!”
River then lead the way with an all out, balls to the wall, rendition of “St. Jaynie.” Unlike the time she played it for Jayne, there was now an actual band to back her up as her right hand became a blur as she channeled the punk legend that created this tune. She loved this song. Considering everything, this song ironically enough summed up who she had been the last few years.
“My name is Jaynie and you better not wear it out…Suicide commando that yo momma talked about…Queen of the 40 thieves and I'm here to represent…The needle in the vein of the establishment. I’m the-“
“PATRON SAINT” Johnny chimed in right before she finished the line of “of denial. With an ANGEL FACE and a taste for suicidal.” She gave a quick smile over to Johnny before she yelled out “OSIRISSS!!!!” to the baying crowd. She was amazed at how fast her bandmates were able to keep up with her. George was already sweating like a pig, and Keith was doing his best to sub with the right instrument in the shortest amount of time. Johnny’s hands were just as much a blur as River’s were which managed to turn River on in more ways than one.
In a tone that was both punk and coy, she continued. “Cigarettes and ramen and a little bag of dope…I am the bitch of a bitch and Edgar Allan Poe…Raised in the city under a halo of lights…Product of war and fear that we've been victimized.” River repeated the chorus again with Johnny yelling into the mike at the appropriate times for back-up before going into the hardcore guitar solo. With more room to move around on the stage than in the cargo bay, River began running and jumping around and, drawing from her dance lessons and combat training, creating brand new moves no one had seen before. And right at the crescendo of the piece, she did the impossible in that she managed to do a frontal flip off one of the ledges that lead to a power slide, all without missing a single note.
As she jumped up to her feet, she screamed into the mike a “HEEYYY, LET’S GO!” before bounding up and down like an excited schoolgirl as she lead the way into the last lyric.
“My name is St. Jaynie. I'm a bitch of a gun. I'm the one that's from the way outside, now.” Johnny and Keith during all this were her backup singers as they said into their mikes “St. Jaynie” softly. “I'm a teenage assassin executing some fun, in the cult of life of crime now.” She smiled as she thought of the inside joke the line had for her. “I'd really hate to say it but, I told you so, so shut yo mouth before I shoot you down ol' boy. Welcome to the club and give me some blood, I'm the resident leader of EVERYBODY!!” She sang/screamed this to the crowd as to get them signing again. Keith began to direct the crowd to wave their arms in a particular fashion as River, Johnny and the crowd sang out, “It's comedy and tragedy. It's St. Jimmy-“ River took in her deepest breath and then belted out, “AND THAT’S MY NAAAAMMMMEEEE!!!”
She paused to take a breath and the notes hung in the air and the crowd went supernova. She looked from the crowd, to Johnny and then to her bandmates. It was at this moment, that River realized something that was very clear. This was it. She then took another deep breath, and yelled out into the mike, “AND DON’T YOU FUCKIN WEAR IT OUT!!!”
Despite being psychic, she was unaware of the fact that her mother had just heard that as she, Simon and Kaylee entered the balcony.
As the concert continued, the palpable energy, which was already fairly high at the beginning was growing and growing with each passing moment. The cheers became louder as River, Johnny and the rest got faster and more energetic with each song they did. Almost ever conceivable genre and sub-genre of rock was touched upon at one point. Each of the legends were given their due from each of the five people who were on stage. Each song was an opportunity for each member of the band to bring their musical expertise and background into play. And even on the rare occasions when the band was stuck, they merely improvised and sometimes improved upon various tunes in their combined repertoire. As some would describe weeks later, it was like watching a new form of art being born right in front of your eyes.
The concert itself was by no means perfect. Sometimes a light would burn out and have to be replaced immediately. Sometimes an amp would blow, or a mike would short out or a piece of faulty equipment would crash at the most inopportune time. But rather than be hindered by these setbacks, Signal embraced them. They would shift from an all out sound to a stripped down acoustic version of a song they were in the middle of playing. If the delays were longer, River, Johnny and Keith would do a cappellas that were incredibly powerful. But no matter what happened, the crowd that was there didn’t care. As long at the music was flowing (which it always was), they were ecstatic. The whole front half of the theatre was literally jumping up and down to the beats of the band.
Up in the Tam balcony, Kaylee was sitting at the edge of the balcony, her chin resting on her crossed arms as she stared in childlike wonder at her sister-in-law and her new friends entertaining the packed house. And as much as she enjoyed being up here with the high vantage, she really wanted to be down on the floor and close to the stage. For something like this, she wanted to be as close to the stage as possible. “It looks like a lot o' fun, down there on the floor.” She then turned around and looked over to Simon and Regan. “Don't ya think, Sweetie?"
Simon had been sitting next to Regan during the concert, mindful of his mother’s worsening condition as he was of his sister’s performance. Quietly, he peered over the edge of the balcony and grimaced. He still wasn’t comfortable with large crowds. “Not really. It looks hot and sweaty and crowded.” Kaylee just pouted at him and then stared back down towards the stage.
Up until then, Regan was focused just as much on her son and his wife as she was with her daughter playing on stage. She had caught the loving glances between the two of them, and the intimate moments they shared. She was smiling just as much for those moments as she was at the amazing music River was creating. But even though she was happy for her son, she was slightly annoyed at his seriousness during the evening. She was hoping that all this would have made him lighten up.
It was at the moment that Kaylee turned away that she finally spoke since they arrived at the balcony. In an inquisitive and annoyed tone, she stated towards her son, “When did you stop having fun?”
Kaylee hid a smirk as she turned around and looked to Regan. She chucked as she said in a teasing tone, “You mean there was actually a time when he had fun?”
“Ha, ha, very funny”, Simon said interrupting their giggling. “I knew letting the two of you get acquainted would be a mistake.”
Kaylee sat up, went over to Simon and placed a kiss on his cheek. “Oh, you know we're just playin' sweetie.”
Kaylee settled in next to her husband as her mother-in-law sat up and looked towards her son. “I remember you playing for hours with River with plastic dinosaurs, fighting epic battles that determined the fate of the Unification War, or getting drunk and singing the national anthem on tops of statues naked. What happened to him? Because all I see is an even older lady than me.”
Simon leaned back in his seat and defended himself in a knowingly tone. “Kaylee and I have had many a good time together.”
“Not normally out in public, but ...” Kaylee added this as she wiggled her eyebrows towards Simon.
Simon gave her a look and replied, “I can still have fun.”
“Then why are you up here with a dying old woman instead of treating your wife to what she wants?” Regan asked blankly.
Simon went from being offended to being upset as soon as she said that. He lightly squeezed Regan's hand as both he and Kaylee gave her upset looks. “I don't want to leave you up here by yourself. If something happens-“
“Nothing will happen.” Regan interrupted. “I'm actually feeling a lot better being here. Which is saying a lot, considering...” She quickly snapped out of her wallowing misery and directed the last sliver of parental authority she had left toward her oldest child. “You no longer have a bounty on you and River's heads. You're free. Act like it, for Buddha's sake. Take your wife downstairs and enjoy yourselves. Take her on that first date that's four years and a five month old child in the womb behind.”
As touched as she was by this dying woman’s compassion she had shown to the three of them, Kaylee suddenly felt very uncomfortable at the idea of leaving her by herself in the balcony just because she wanted to get a closer seat. Reluctantly, she asked Regan “Are you sure, Mrs. Tam? It’s not that important, I don't really-"
It was now Kaylee’s turn to be interrupted by the old woman. “Go child. If you don't take this chance now, four months down the road, when you’re exhausted from 2 AM feedings and paranoia about your child’s health, you're going to be wishing you had.”
It was a tense moment between the three of them. Between Regan’s eyes that told them to go, and the looks of uncertainty between the young couple, the trio were in an emotional stalemate. But as the music continued, Kaylee looked to the stage, and the look of yearning and excitement came back. And as much as his instincts were telling him to stay put, the look on her face, as well as his mothers words ringing in his head finally convinced him otherwise. Simon reached for Kaylee's hand and squeezed it. “All right,” he said with a shy smile, “we'll go.” They both stood at the same time and turned to the exit. But before going, Simon bent down and pressed a kiss to his mother's forehead. “We'll be back in a while.”
Regan looked up to him with a motherly look. “Don't cut your date short on my behalf. I'll still be here when you get back.”
“You better be.” He said smiling slightly. “Thanks mother.”
Regan took his hand and lightly squeezed it while looking up at him with a look of admiration. “No...thank you. For everything you’ve done.”
The ocular and physical bond between mother and son lingered for a while before finally dissipating. The young couple headed towards the door as Regan turned her attention towards the door. But just before they exited, Kaylee turned back and rushed towards Regan. Bending down, she hugged the old woman tightly. “Thank you Mrs. Tam, I'm real glad we came.” She looked Regan straight in the eye as she said excitedly, “You're gonna be a great grandma.”
Regan just smiled politely as Kaylee left to join her husband as she looked back down onto the stage and enjoyed the music.
Friday, December 15, 2006 11:46 AM
Friday, December 15, 2006 5:48 PM
Sunday, December 17, 2006 6:21 AM
Monday, December 17, 2007 3:48 AM
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