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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
MAL’S PAST AND RIVER’S PRESENT SEEM TO HAVE MORE IN COMMON THAN FIRST BELIEVED.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1271 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
**All hail Joss Whedon and the other writers of Firefly. I "borrowed" some dialogue from previous eps not in an attempt to claim them as my own, but as an homage and to add authenticity to my fanfic.** **SPOILERS: pretty much every ep.**
SHADOWS PUPPETS - ACT IV
INT. SERENITY – CARGO BAY – SAME TIME
Picking up: Mal and Jess are still kissing and the crew starts getting uncomfortable.
Jayne stands up and dusts off, looks at Zoe. Simon and Kaylee turn to Zoe. Only River watches Mal and Jess.
RIVER: Right one.
Zoe clears her throat. Mal and Jess don’t notice.
Book turns the corner into the bay as Wash comes down the stairs to see what’s going on.
BOOK: Oh my.
WASH: What happened?
KAYLEE: She beat up Jayne.
JAYNE: Did not. Took me by surprise, is all.
WASH (continuing downstairs): I miss all the good stuff.
BOOK: I’d say she’s feeling a might more relaxed ‘bout now. As is the captain.
ZOE (cont.; louder): Captain?
Mal pulls his lips away from Jess and together they turn heads…and see the rest of the crew. Jess unwraps her legs from around Mal and slides down his body, keeping one arm around him.
JESS (to crew): Hi ya.
ZOE: Sir? New development?
JAYNE (rubbing neck): I’ll say. Who IS she?
RIVER: She’s Mal’s.
Jess grins at River then looks at Mal, brushes hair from his forehead and smoothes the worry-lines away. He’s momentarily lost the ability to speak, given the recent kissin’ and all. He just stares at her—confused, amazed.
JAYNE: She drug him?
JESS: Always were a great kisser, Reynolds.
JESS (smiles): It’s me. (studies his face) Oh, my poor bao bei…I didn’t die. (beat) Well, I mean, I did…but not for long.
MAL: Wh…how…I don’t-
JESS: Shhh…s’alright. (soft lingering kiss; shorter than last)
RIVER: Sit on a rock. Unravel the threads. Open a seam.
Everyone looks at River, except Jess, her eyes stay on Mal.
RIVER (cont.) (talking to idiots): She’s a split.
No one seems to get it; then Simon nods.
SIMON: Oh. You mean a split personality.
KAYLEE: That’s possible?
SIMON (rambling): The brain has any number of defense mechanisms. Repression, denial, there was even a woman who talked to plants. Dual personalities have been documented-
RIVER: Two-in-one. (shakes head) I should have done that.
JESS (to River): Wasn’t by choice, meimei.
BOOK: You died?
Mal finally returns to reality and has to take a step back. He gently puts distance between himself and Jess and takes a breath.
MAL: Hold a moment. You’re Jess…Halladay.
JESS: Every inch.
MAL: So, all this…the new name, Jessica Lee was what? Gôu pì?
JESS: Oh, her. Pain in the ass, if it’s all the same. Wimpy little pofù, isn’t she? I mean, come on…all that carryin’ on…gets on my nerves. And that husband of hers…huh…NOT a good kisser.
Zoe smirks at that—she kinda likes this gal—doesn’t mean she trusts her.
SIMON: How’d she suppress—
JESS: I ran away. Tried to hide. Lost hold.
JAYNE: Hell, she talks like River.
Mal actually looks to Simon for some help on the subject.
SIMON: Ah…Captain. Seems Ms. Halladay has multiple-personality-disorder.
JAYNE (looking around): So there’s two of her?
BOOK: Not exactly.
JESS: That’d be a bit much to take. Even for Malcolm, here. No. Some other…woman…took up residence in my body. While I was unavailable.
BOOK: Another spirit, you might say.
Jess seems to notice Book for the first time. She gives him a long, narrowed look…suspicious and possibly familiar.
JESS (wary): You might.
JAYNE: Say again?
WASH: How’s that?
SIMON: The other one—has her own history, including childhood, family, everything…all created by Ms. Halladay’s—forgive me—
SIMON (cont.): -fractured mind.
JAYNE: You mean broken?
KAYLEE: You created her, like a character in a book?
JESS: That’s the notion. Only this character kinda lives and breathes through me.
JAYNE: How’s that happen?
JESS: Long story. Suffice—River an’ I have the same alma mater.
SIMON (stepping forward; protecting River): You went to the Academy.
JESS: Again…not by choice. And it wasn’t an academy when I was there. Military…just the start of the war…unorganized, less sophisticated. More like a prison-slash-hospital.
JAYNE: Hospital? You mean a bug farm?
JESS: No. Hospital.
MAL: This is crazy.
JESS (slyly): You always thought I was a bit.
ZOE (to Simon): Is she dangerous?
JESS: Oh, hell no. I am. Right, Jayne.
JAYNE: Wh…how’d you know my name?
Jess slides another look to River and they share a giggle. Jayne takes a few steps back from them.
SIMON: This isn’t a coincidence then. You being here.
River places a hand on Simon’s arm and gives a reassuring squeeze.
JESS: Relax, ge ge. I didn’t come to take her. But she is the reason I’m here.
WASH (speaking for everyone): I’m confused. But that’s normal.
RIVER: Heard the voice. Only one… (motions to Mal) So did he.
MAL: What? I didn’t hear anything.
RIVER: Shadows playing. Rolling in the hay.
JESS (side to Mal): She’s good. (to Simon) She saved me. I’d still be floating out there…though less lively I imagine.
WASH: Actually, we came across the shuttle’s beacon. You were in our path.
JESS: Of course I was. (looking at River) That’s the point.
JAYNE: If there’s a point, I’m missin’ it.
ZOE: Not surprised.
SIMON: What are you saying?
Jess and River share a smile, ignoring the confusion of the others, enjoying a strange connection. Jess looks to Kaylee.
JESS: You’re the mechanic, right?
KAYLEE: That’s me.
JESS: Can you fix her? Get me on the move?
KAYLEE: Sure. Wouldn’t take but a moment…well, maybe an hour.
JESS: Good. I’ll do what I can to help. She’s special.
MAL: Hold on-
Jess caresses Mal’s cheek with the back of her hand. Mal stares at her, his face softening.
MAL (cont.): I…you’re back-
JESS: For now. (to Wash) How soon to port?
WASH: Vēgress is still a day and a half away.
JESS: Lovely. (to Mal) I’m starvin’. Can we eat?
MAL: Of course.
RIVER: This way.
River takes Jess’ hand and leads her toward the stairs.
MAL: We need to talk.
RIVER (to Mal): S’all right. Storms blown out. Thunder only rumbles when lightning’s near. Soft breeze.
Jess looks back at Mal longingly. Mal gives a quick nod as the two head up the stairs. Everyone moves closer to Mal.
WASH: Is anyone else getting chills now that River has a giggle buddy?
Jayne raises his hand.
ZOE: (whisper) You trust her with River?
JAYNE: Girl knows how t’shoot.
BOOK: Seems the two have a some kind of connection.
MAL: Does seem so.
RIVER (on stairs; OS): Simon!
SIMON: Uh…that’d be me. I’ll go. (heads up the stairs)
KAYLEE: Me too.
ZOE: Still don’t know what she was doing in Reaver space, sir.
BOOK: Reaver? Hardly seems—
JAYNE: Nothin’s much what it seems today, Shepherd.
MAL: And I’m bound to ask her. Just don’t wanna gang up on the woman. Wash, you get anything else off the Cortex?
WASH: Nah, Mal, just what I told ya. The Mystic and Jessica Lee are no more.
BOOK: Except we’ve met Mrs. Lee.
ZOE: So she says.
MAL: You don’t buy it?
BOOK: The question is, Captain, do you?
MAL (thinks; beat): That’s Jess.
ZOE: It’s been a long time, Captain. How can you be sure?
MAL: Put on a blindfold and kiss somebody. You’d know if it’s Wash.
Zoe looks at Wash and backs down, understanding. Wash pats her on the butt and kisses her cheek.
JAYNE: So, if there’s two of ‘em…can we charge twice the fee?
INT. INARA’S SHUTTLE – CONTINUING
Inara’s at the computer screen chatting with her friend, Bella (an older companion).
BELLA: Your call surprised and delighted me, dear. Are you truly considering Vēgress?
INARA: I am.
BELLA: I can see you are not thrilled by the idea of making a change.
INARA: Which is exactly why I must. I have grown…
BELLA (understanding): Attachments always make a companion’s life more complicated than necessary, Inara.
BELLA: (command) Secure.
The CORTEX SCREEN flutters and a RED FLASH passes over Bella’s face.
BELLA (cont.): The shuttle belonged to an Alliance vessel The Amgine. A science vessel, I’ve been told. Highly confidential.
INARA: Then how could you come into the information.
BELLA: I have my ways. As do all companions.
BELLA: Contact was lost some weeks back. It’s believed some experiment went awry. Captain’s name was Mercer. (pause) You recognize the name, don’t you meimei.
INARA: If I did, I wouldn’t tell you. That would be against policy.
BELLA: Of course. Always so respectable, Inara. I miss that around here. So much has changed since you went away.
INARA: How so?
BELLA: Oh, the girls. Far less poised and career-oriented than your generation. Seem they only have one thing in mind…finding a wealthy client to take them on as personal companions. Quite distressing.
INARA: Perhaps they will change their minds as they mature.
BELLA: Perhaps. I wish you well, my dear. I do hope the information is helpful.
INARA: I believe it will be. Thank you, Bella. And please—
BELLA: No worries. My confidence never wavers.
INARA: I know. Thank you again.
BELLA: (trans: God speed and love, dear one).
INARA: And you.
Inara switches off the Cortex and sighs, concerned.
INT. SERENITY – KITCHEN – A WHILE LATER
River and Jess sit next to each other at the table, eating. Book, Simon and Kaylee have taken seats on the other side of the table.
BOOK: Please forgive me for bringing up any bad memories, but I must ask-
JESS: I don’t remember dying, Shepherd…or being dead.
BOOK: How long were you-
JESS: Don’t know. Set some kinda record, though.
SIMON: That was you?
KAYLEE: What? What’s the record?
SIMON: It was just a rumor…but…83 minutes 17 seconds. Thought it had to be a hoax. We all figured if it was true…the brain would be…well…mush.
JESS: Yeah, well…maybe it is.
SIMON: And the other personality?
JESS: Popped up one day. Wasn’t exactly a wonderland fun-park I was at. They liked to play games. (gives River a knowing look) Had some nasty toys even back then. I’m only one of hundred who actually survived those early years. Somehow. All I know is—I’m stuck with her.
KAYLEE: Must be strange, having someone else livin’ a whole other life inside your body.
SIMON: When was the first time she came out?
JESS: Don’t remember. Time seems to stop. It’s like floatin’ in the black. Only no stars. I got out in the confusion of surrender after a particularly brutal battle. Then it all went black until that night on The Mystic. Heard Jessica screamin’. She couldn’t handle. Pulled me back…gave me form. I was gone a long time after the war…
BOOK: It’s over and done, dear. No need to take yourself back.
JESS: Back? Shepherd…I never left. My body made it out. Don’t know how really. But I never left. After what they did to me…made me see…do. (beat) You don’t leave hell, Shepherd. You just learn to live there.
Jess shakes off the disturbing thoughts and brightens up considerably.
JESS (cont.): Does anyone want to know what Mal was like as a boy?
Mal steps into the kitchen just as Jess turns to smile at him.
MAL: No they don’t.
KAYLEE: Sure. Give us all the dirt. I bet you were adorable, Cap.
Mal grabs a mug and fills it before taking his seat at the head of the table, next to Jess.
JESS: Oh, he was that. Adorable, sweet…
MAL: There’s no dirt.
Wash, Zoe and Jayne file into the kitchen and take seats around the table.
JESS: Oh, you got down and dirty, Reynolds. You just don’t like to admit it. There was this horse-
MAL: Don’t start Jess.
WASH: Let me guess…he was a pig-tail puller?
MAL: I was not!
JESS: Not so much. See, Malcolm’s an educated man. His mamma loved to read. Romances, adventures, all kinds of poetry. And she taught her boy well. Malcolm Reynolds was an up and coming poet.
KAYLEE (delighted): Captain, you wrote poems?
WASH: Love or Limerick?
MAL: Let’s not go there.
JESS (off Mal’s look): What’s that, you’re evil eye? You got a notion that I’m afraid of you, Reynolds?
MAL: Never crossed my mind.
JESS: ‘Course not. ‘Cause we both know who’d win in a fight between you n’me.
MAL: ‘Cause you cheat.
JAYNE: You two draw down on each other?
ZOE: Not a gun fight, Jayne.
JESS: (ignoring Jayne) Hardly the truth. Like any woman, I simply know what stops a man cold. That’s not cheating, that’s being inventive.
ZOE: You didn’t.
JESS: Anytime necessary.
JAYNE: I miss somethin’?
KAYLEE: You flashed him?
Jess gives her wicked-sly grin and others chuckle as Mal tries to keep a stern face.
JESS: Mal here can’t keep a thought in his head when facing a naked lady.
BOOK: This we know.
JESS: Really? How so?
KAYLEE: There was this woman awhile back…tricked the captain into marrying her-
JESS (stands): You got married?!
MAL (stands): What! Well, yeah kinda…but it’s not what you think.
ZOE: She was trying to steal the ship.
MAL: It was just—well, hey, you got married too!
JESS: Not on purpose!
MAL: Well neither did I.
JAYNE: In the captain’s defense, he was stinkin’ drunk.
MAL: See there, got a reason for mine. Twice as good as yours.
JESS: I wasn’t myself.
MAL: Well that’s just fine!
Jess and Mal attack each other with a passionate kiss.
RIVER: Exploding supernovas burn bright for millennia...relative to distance and the constant speed of light.
JESS (pulls away): You saw her naked?
MAL: Yeah…but I didn’t get to enjoy it.
JESS (beat): Okay, then.
They both sit, moving their chairs closer to each other.
RIVER: (shaking her head) Twin stars burn bright, full of heat…fire consumes, eats, no mercy.
Jess—looking serious—takes River’s hand and gives it a gentle squeeze.
JAYNE: There she goes again. Speakin’ all kinds of crazy talk.
JESS: (slowly turns to Jayne) You wouldn’t have survived five minutes of what she went through. Like the others…you’d have been in the corner, pissin’ yourself and sucking your thumb. They would’ve dragged you off, cut open your scalp and autopsied your brain…while you were wide awake. And written a report. (beat) Don’t ever judge her. Dong ma?
Jayne’s gaze moves over Jess to River and back again. Around the table, everyone looks uncomfortable. Wash sits up straight. Zoe’s on guard. Kaylee bites her lip. Simon takes a new look at his sister, seeing her for the first time.
JAYNE: Ahhh…yeah. Sure.
Jayne drops his eyes to his plate and gobbles up his food. Everyone else takes a breath. Again, Jess breaks the dark mood with a grin and a shrug.
JESS: So, Mal, didja ever share that story about the horse throwing you into the prickly bushes?
MAL: What? Hey now-
JESS: Thorns this big. (holds up fingers) Must’ve been some sort of mutant plant.
JESS: You don’t know the half of it.
Mal looks uncomfortable. Jess’ hand disappears below the table.
JESS (cont.): Didn’t you get one stuck right…here?
Mal jerks slightly and his breath catches. He slides a look over at Jess. She grins coyly. Behind them Inara glides into the kitchen.
INARA: I though I heard voices.
KAYLEE: Hey, you.
Mal tenses and turns to look at Inara. Jess pulls away from Mal. Closing her eyes, she takes in short gasps as if she’s been hit in the chest and can’t catch her breath. Her gaze slowly seeks out Mal—accusing, hurt.
Sudden tears drip down River’s cheeks, though she doesn’t make a sound.
Inara moves closer and offers her hand to Jess. Jess stands and shakes Inara’s hand, her eyes drifting between Mal and Inara.
INARA: Inara Serra.
JESS (hurts to speak): Pleasure. Jess Halladay.
INARA: Welcome to Serenity.
RIVER (far away; whisper): They’re not coming.
SIMON (whisper): River, what’s wrong?
KAYLEE (to Simon; whisper): She okay?
Jess stumbles a step backward, dropping Inara’s hand and bumping into River’s chair, clutching her stomach as if Inara just plundged a knife into her gut.
INARA: Are you all right?
Mal glances at Zoe and then looks back at Jess.
RIVER (far way; whisper): It’s too hot.
River clutches her heart and rocks in her chair, gasping. Jess backs out of the kitchen. She turns from the crew and flees down the corridor. Mal rises to go after her, but Book blocks the captain.
BOOK: Give her some time, son.
MAL: What’s happening.
RIVER (far away; tears): Too much screaming.
TO BE CONTINUED…
*As I was writing this fanfic, the story being told gained a life of it's own and is larger than the 4 parts of a single TV ep. I apologize, but, I must be true to the story and leave you with that annoying final "continued" note.*
Thank you to all who have read the whole story and have given feedback. I truly enjoy hearing from others! Thanks again. I will write more soon.
Sunday, July 25, 2004 7:03 AM
Monday, July 26, 2004 4:58 AM
Monday, July 26, 2004 7:19 PM
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