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Jul 8 '12

Dreaming 1.5: the Firefly Musical Episode

Dreaming of How It Was Going to Be, Episode 1.5: the Firefly Musical Episode

Chapter List:

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or worlds used in this story, including (but not limited to) Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. No harm is intended toward any of the copyright owners. This story is intended for entertainment purposes only.

This story contains substantial amounts of lyrics from the episode “Once More, With Feeling”. I suppose I ought to mention that.

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Continuity Notes:

This “story” takes place in the same universe as “Dreaming of How It Was Going to Be”. In that story, I noted that Firefly ran for seven seasons, and had a musical episode in Season Six. This… is that episode.

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PROLOGUE: The First Five Seasons

In the universe Xander created in “Dreaming of How It Was Going to Be”, Firefly wasn’t cancelled midway through season one. Therefore, in order to get to Firefly’s version of “Once More, With Feeling”, you probably should know what happened in the first five seasons.

For starters, the events of the film Serenity did not happen quite as they did in the “real world”. Season one did see Inara leave the ship and return to Sihnon and the academy. The Blue-Handed Men continued pursuing River, and the season ended with Mal and company saving the Companion Academy from the Blue-Handed Men’s evil activities. Inara decided to return to the ship.

Season two found Shepherd Book away on Haven. Simon got into a fight with Mal after River was put in danger on a mission, and Mal put them off the ship. The show continued on two fronts for a few episodes, until finally they all met up on Beaumonde and River was “activated”. The next few episodes covered finding out what Miranda was, along with an amusing subplot starring Mr. Universe and his “wife”. At the same time, the Operative began his activities as chronicled in Serenity, eventually becoming the Big Bad of the season. Shepherd Book lived, but Wash was still killed in the final arc, as was Mr. Universe. The Operative was defeated. At the end, we found that Mr. Universe somehow managed to upload his brain to a computer, and he joined the crew in that way. Also, Simon and Kaylee got together, and Reavers were defeated.

Season three started with mop-up activities more-or-less related to ending the entire Reavers story arc. It also introduced a new quasi-villain, Georgianna Gray (played by Cordelia Chase). She started out similar to YoSafBridge, but as Zoe became more and more subdued, Georgie (her nickname) found a way to insinuate herself into the crew. After a fight with Inara, Georgie took advantage of Mal, seduced him, and he was too honorable to go back to flirting with Inara the way he had been. In the end it was Zoe, Inara, and Kaylee against Mal, Georgie, and Jayne, with Simon, River, and Book handling some unnamed subplot. Georgie was defeated, Mal was contrite, and the season ended. Also, Book’s history was explored throughout the season, including everything he used to be before becoming a Shepherd. The final shot of the season was Book going back to the Alliance with a subtitle of “three months later”.

Season four began with a bang — a Firefly-class transport ship evading an Alliance cruiser, and then being blown out of the sky. We saw Book on the bridge, his finger on the firing button. Cut to credits. It turns out that, over the “summer”, another Firefly was impersonating Mal and his crew, and Serenity was put in drydock. Book “reactivated” himself to destroy the impostors. The crew moved to a bigger, nicer ship. This led to divisiveness as Kaylee wanted nothing more than to go back to Serenity, and her relationship with Simon suffered as a result. The situation was resolved when the crew abandoned the ship to save an Alliance cruiser under attack from a powerful new enemy. When they returned to where they’d “parked” Serenity, she was gone, and the rest of the season was spent pursuing the ship. Georgianna Gray was the one who stole it, and she and Mal had it out. Georgie won, but Mal managed to escape his bonds and activate Mr. Universe, who saved the day.

Season five opened with River and Simon at a retreat where River could hone her mind and body to heretofore-unknown levels. This meant Simon and Kaylee couldn’t be together. This went on for about six episodes (with fallout from the rest of the season as Simon could no longer even pretend to protect River), until they rejoined the crew. The rest of the season was similar to Babylon 5: Crusade in that the powerful new enemy from S4 had barricaded the core worlds, exposing them to a deadly pathogen. Using companion connections, Inara acted as an information broker between the Alliance and Mal and his crew (and Georgie Gray, who somehow managed to insinuate herself again), who took it upon themselves to save the Alliance from the disease. Georgie performed a grand act of sacrifice that, while not killing her, redeemed her. At the end of the season, Simon and Jayne joined forces to bring the cure to Londinium, and Jayne died. Simon revived him (think “Prophecy Girl”), but he was in a coma. In the season finale, Mal and the crew attacked the new enemy, eventually uncovering the source of their diabolical medical science. Simon used it to try and save Jayne, but failed. However, as Jayne’s body lay in the darkness of the infirmary, his eyes snapped open.

Season six. Jayne’s beliefs meant that, once you’re dead, you lose your soul. His family didn’t believe in resurrection, even through medical means, and they shunned him. Kaylee and Simon’s relationship, already rocky, finally ended in episode one. On shore leave, Kaylee found Georgie Gray and they formed a relationship (I haven’t quite figured out how this happened, but if Spike and Buffy can fall in love, then so can Georgie and Kaylee; let’s just assume enough hints and scenes were scattered through seasons 3, 4, and 5 to support it). Mal and Inara continued dancing around each other. Zoe was mostly back to normal, except that she got a package from Wash’s family that brought all the memories back. In “Once More, With Feeling”, someone has released a hypnotic virus into a domed city on a moon somewhere, and the virus is making people sing to music that somehow is being piped through all the city’s comm systems…

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ONE: Going Through the Motions

Jayne left the bar in a foul mood. Ever since he’d lost his soul, he hadn’t been able to get drunk. Not really. Fortunately, there were plenty of drunk people around, and with only a little goading, he was always able to get them to take a swing at him.

And, even better, the gorram dome city was perfectly temp-controlled, so everyone saw he wasn’t carrying a concealed weapon. When the police came — and they always did — Jayne could simply say he’d been defending himself.

Tonight, for some reason, he heard music as he threw his first punch.

+

Jayne
Every single night, the same arrangement,
I go out and fight the fight.
Still I always feel this strange estrangement,
Nothing here is real, nothing here is right.
I’ve been making shows of trading blows
Just hoping no one knows
That I’ve been going through the motions,
Walking through the part,
Nothing seems to penetrate my heart.

I was always brave, but never righteous,
Now I find there’s no such thing.
Come and fight with me, you’ll find this all
Just doesn’t mean a thing—

Drunk
He ain’t got that swing—

Jayne
Thanks for noticing.

More Drunk Fighters
He breaks the law quite well and raises Hell
But lately we can tell
That he’s just going through the motions
Faking it somehow.

Lawman
He’s not even half the man he— owww…

Jayne
Will I stay this way for always?
A soulless man for all of my days?

Girl Who’d Been Getting Menaced By Muggers
Jayne, with you I’ll lay—

Jayne
So she says…
I don’t want to be…
Going through the motions
Barely half alive
I can’t even see
If this man’s really me
And I just want to be
Alive…

+++++

TWO: I’ve Got a Theory

Jayne stumbled into the mess hall and plunked himself at his usual spot. Kaylee set a breakfast plate in front of him. “‘Morning, Jayne!”

“Thanks,” he said. The others filed in, one or two at a time — he gave Kaylee and Georgie a token leer when they kissed good-morning, and didn’t miss Simon’s glare, either. “Hey, did anything weird happen to you all last night?”

“Like… Like what?” Simon asked. After their mission on Londinium, the two of them had formed a mutual respect for each other.

“Like… singing?”

“Thank goodness,” Mal sighed. “I thought it was just me.”

+

Simon
I’ve got a theory, that it’s hypnosis.
Mass hypnosis… no, something isn’t right there.

Inara
I’ve got a theory: it’s a neurosis,
And somehow we all shared a music-ridden nightmare.

Mal
I’ve got a theory we should work this out.

All but Kaylee
It’s getting eerie; what’s this cheery singing all about?

River
It could be witches — some evil witches…
(spoken, not sung) Which is ridiculous, because supernatural and paranormal activity clearly does not exist, or at least has not been empirically proven. Unless of course this is some sort of post-hypnotic suggestion that we’ve been triggered to believe; although, in that case, why would we all… (looks around, blushes) Never mind.

Georgie
I’ve got a theory: it could be Reavers.

All pause.

Zoe
I’ve got a theor—

Georgie
Reavers could be here, drugging us up with crazy doses
Of mind controlling-drugs, right underneath our noses.
They just want to eat us,
Or savagely beat us all until we’re dead.
Reavers… Reavers… it could be Reavers!

All pause.

Georgie
Or the Alliance..?

Simon
I’ve got a theory we should work this fast—

Simon and River
Because it clearly could get serious before it’s passed.

Kaylee
I’ve got a theory: it doesn’t matter.
What can’t we face if we’re together?
What’s in this ‘verse that we can’t weather?
The Operative? We kicked his tail.
And Hands of Blue? We saw them fail.

All Together
What can’t we do if we get in it?
We’ll work it through within a minute.
We have to try; we’ll pay the price.
It’s do or die—

Mal (spoken)
Hey, Niska killed me… twice!

All Together
What can’t we face if we’re together?
(Book fugue) What can’t we face?
What’s in this ‘verse that we can’t weather?
(Book fugue) If we’re together?
There’s nothing we can’t face.

Georgie
Except for Reavers.

+++++

THREE: The Mustard

“Well, that was peculiar,” Book said. “I didn’t even know I could sing.”

“I never sung nothin’ ‘til now. ‘Cept for the Ballad of Jayne.” Jayne grinned.

Kaylee had her hand in Georgie’s. “You think this is happening in other places on the world?”

“One way to find out.” Mal flipped on the wall screen and dialed up the exterior camera. “Well,” he said. “Ain’t that a thing.”

The crew all stared, gobsmacked, as a man in business clothing held up a shirt as if it were a trophy. Behind him, dozens more people held shirts, waving them like flags.

+

Mustard Guy
They got
The mustard
Out!

Chorus
They got the mustard out!

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FOUR: Under Your Spell

The captain had sent Kaylee and Georgie to scout around, see if anyone was being harmed by the singing and dancing. Simon hadn’t been able to determine what was causing it to happen, but it wasn’t hurting any of the crew. “Still,” Mal had said, “we need to know the situation, and since we ain’t going nowhere, you might as well stretch your legs a spell.”

“Seems okay,” Georgie said as they strolled through a little park. Kaylee stopped walking; Georgie turned to face her. “What is it?”

Kaylee smiled. “You really love me, don’t you?”

Georgie blushed. “I do.”

+

Kaylee
I spend my days below decks, never the stars on my face.
Just fixin’ all these shipwrecks; I figured that was my place.
Now I’m bathed in light. Something just isn’t right

I’m under your spell.
How else could it be, anyone would notice me?
It’s love; yes, I can tell.
How you set me free, brought me out so easily.

I see a ‘verse enchanted, beauty and love in the air.
Simon, he took for granted that I would always be there.
But your love has shone, brighter than any I’ve known.

I’m under your spell.
Nothing I can do; you just took my soul with you.
You made me feel so well,
And finally I knew that everything I dreamed was true.
You made me believe…

Musical interlude, which ends with a cut to the engine room and Kaylee’s hammock.

Kaylee
The moons, stars, and tide; I can feel you inside.
(Georgie begins making love to Kaylee.)
I’m under your spell.
My ship’s flying free, bringing me where I should be.
My heart, I feel it swell,
Lost in ecstasy, just you, me, and Serenity.
You make me complete.
You make me complete.
You make me complete.
You make me complete.

+++++

FIVE: I’ll Never Tell

Mal tapped on the door of Inara’s shuttle. It opened and he stepped inside, ducking his head a little. “You in here?” He laughed at himself. “What am I saying; of course you’re here.”

“What is it, Mal?” she asked, the picture of grace and poise.

“I was just wonderin’,” he said, “what kind of songs you’ve been singing lately.”

“Well, what kind of songs have you been singing?”

He raised his eyebrows. “I’ll sing you mine if you’ll sing me yours.”

“Really, Mal, that’s rather juvenile.”

“I’m a simple man,” he said, smiling at her. “Mine are simple pleasures.”

+

Inara
This is the man that I guess I’ve entangled; isn’t he fine?
I’m a companion; my claim to fame: a reputation sublime.
Though I’m still in the biz, my shuttle and heart remain his.
The only trouble is—
I’ll never tell.

Mal
She is the one, she’s got beauty and oh, such passion and grace.
Warm in the night, though I’ve not felt her tight—
Embrace! Tight embrace!
I don’t want her to know that I’m in love with her and so
There’s just one thing that—
No. I’ll never tell

Both
Because there’s nothing to tell.

Mal
Say “whore”, she freezes.

Inara
He could just change what he says
And he’s always shooting first no matter what the cost

Mal
I talk, she breezes
No touches, only teases

Inara
My feelings like diseases that I thought were long-lost.

Both
The vibe gets kind of scary.

Mal
Like she thinks I’m ordinary.

Inara
Like my love’s just temporary.

Mal
Like she’s sometimes kind of scary.

Both
But it’s all very well,
‘Cause you know I’ll never tell.

Inara
When jobs get all snowy, he just hides behind his Zoe
Now look, he’s getting blowy
‘Cause he knows that I know
Plus: he’s rude, he’s clingy, he doesn’t know to bring me
The things I—

Mal
Her words, they sting me—

Inara
This is my verse, hello! He—

Mal, as the tempo increases
Ti wu du pigu! I’m dancing all crazy!

Musical interlude commences, with much dancing.

Both
You know—

Mal
You really can dance—

Inara
My Captain Tightpants—

Mal
The most beautiful of my crew, she’s
Got those lips as red as rubies,
And her firm and supple—
Tight embrace!

Tempo increases for more dancing.

Inara
He’s swai.

Mal
She’s swai-er.

Inara
He sets my heart afire

Mal
It’s why I’m such a liar: ‘cause I’m petrified.

Inara
I’ve read this tale: there’s love, sex, and betrayal.
The day will come again when I just run and hide.

Both
I lied; I said it’s easy.
I’ve tried, but there’s these fears I can’t quell.

Mal
Can she stop the job that brought her here?

Inara
Will I see the man ‘neath his veneer?

Mal
Will our life become too stressful ‘cause the thieving’s not successful?

Inara
Will he just call me a whore and make me kick him out the door?

Mal
Am I crazy?

Inara
Am I dreaming?

Both
Will we both just run off screaming?
We could really raise the beam and let this all go to hell.
So, you know I’ll never tell.
I swear that I’ll never tell.

Mal
My lips: they’re sealed.

Inara
Won’t say it out loud.

Mal
Nothing to see; move it along.

Both
I’ll never…
Tell.

+++++

SIX: The Parking Ticket

Jayne, Simon, and River walked through the shipyard, trying not to burst into song. Of all of them, only River had managed to control exactly when she sang. “Mind over music,” she’d said enigmatically while Simon scanned her brain.

“But you love music,” Simon protested as they walked. “You’ve always loved dancing.”

“Dancing ain’t singing,” Jayne said. “But, River… just so’s you know, I think your dancing’s pretty… well, pretty.”

“Why, Jayne,” she said, pirouetting around him, her skirt fluttering in the artificial breeze, “what a sweet thing to say.”

Jayne blushed and steered them around a shipyard enforcement officer.

+

Female Freighter Captain
I’ve been having a bad, bad day.
Come on, won’t you put your binders away?
(Officer cuffs her.)
I’m asking you, please, no!
It isn’t right; it isn’t fair!
My ship desperately needs repair!
Those smuggled goods, they weren’t there!
Why can’t you let it go?
I think I’ve paid more than my share.
(Looks slyly up at him.)
I’m not wearing underwear…

+++++

SEVEN: Rest In Peace

Jayne usually didn’t have company when he woke up early to exercise. But this morning he found River sitting on his weight bench in the corner of the cargo bay, head in her hands.

“Are you… cryin’?”

She sniffed hard, but didn’t look up. “Tears. Physiogonomic response to strong emotional stimuli. What emotional stimuli could I be responding to?”

“I dunno.” Jayne sat beside her. “You wanna… um… talk about it?”

River grabbed his arm, hard enough to hurt. “All I want is peace.” She looked up at him now, her eyes large and dark. “Just… to rest in peace.”

+

River
You died, all those long weeks ago.
When it happened, I just wished that it would not be so.
You never thought to be with me; you always made me go.
Hmm…

I’m scared, ashamed of what I feel.
I can’t tell the ones I love; you know they couldn’t deal.
A whisper in the dead man’s ear, that doesn’t make it real.

That’s great, but I don’t want to play.
Being near you touches me, more than I can say.
But in my mind, I worry you’ll just tell me “stay away”.
Then I can’t rest in peace.

Want to rest in peace; want to get some sleep;
Want to take my mind and shut in a pine box six foot deep.
Then lay my body down, and maybe find my sweet release.
But I can’t rest in peace.

You know, you know that you’re brave,
But when I want to rest, my mind tells me to misbehave.
And ‘til it stops, I’m scared you’ll say,
“Shoulda left me in my grave,
And let me rest in peace!”

I know you might want to go,
But I’ll follow you like a girl possessed.
There’s a traitor here beneath my breast,
And it hurts me more than you’ve ever guessed.
My heart’s every beat’s bound to break my chest.
But I can see you’re unimpressed.
Wish you’d help me…

Help me rest in peace; help me get some sleep.
Help me calm my mind and bury it in a hole six foot deep.
Though I lay myself right down, my mind denies me sweet release.
Help me rest in peace…
Please, Jayne Cobb, help me rest in peace.

+++++

EIGHT: Lament

Zoe sat watch in the cockpit, in her late husband’s old seat. Though River was their pilot now, and though Zoe had long since accepted Wash’s death, sometimes she still found it difficult to be here.

In the years since Wash’s passing, Zoe had tried to date. Being the first mate of Serenity, and being what her man had called a “warrior woman”, though, tended to scare potential partners. None of the men they’d met in their travels over the past three years had been worthy of her.

Or maybe it’s that none of them were Wash. Never could be.

+

Zoe
Does anybody even notice?
Does anybody even care?

+++++

NINE: What You Feel

Kaylee woke slowly, sluggishly. She wasn’t in her hammock. Why wasn’t she in her hammock? Why wasn’t she with Georgie?

Her vision cleared. She was in a warehouse or something; boxes and drums and parts were strewn across the floor. “Cap’n..?” she murmured.

“No,” said a voice. “Just me.”

Kaylee saw a tall, androgynous-looking person in a shiny blue suit and a frightful devil mask step into her field of vision. She tried to struggle, but found herself bound to the wall by her wrists.

“Help,” she moaned. “Help me!”

“Sorry,” said the person. “There’s no help for you today.”

+

Devil
Why’d you want to run? Don’t you like my… style?
Shouldn’t this be fun? Try it and I will guarantee… a smile.
I come from the imagination,
Like a horror story’s misguided invocation.
So, what do you say? Why don’t we… dance a while?

(Devil releases Kaylee from her bonds.)

Devil
I’m the hottest thing; I’m the twist and shout.
I’m the one who lets everyone sing their feelings out.
You need the truth; I will come a’runnin’.
I’ll turn the music on; I’ll bring the fun in.
We’ll be partying; that’s what it’s all about.

‘Cause I know… what you need… girl.
I know… just what you need… girl.

Kaylee (spoken)
So… you’re not gonna kill me then? ‘Cause, I’m all about the living over here.

Devil
All these melodies, they go on too long,
And then the truth, it comes on way too strong.
All those hearts lay open; that must sting.
Plus, some people might just make with the shooting.
That’s the penalty when life is full of song.

They brought me home and doomed this dome,
And soon we’ll blow this scene.
Hit the black; I’ll take you back,
And make you my queen!
‘Cause I know… what you feel… girl.

Kaylee
No, you see, you and me, wouldn’t be very regal.

Devil
I’ll make it real, girl!

Kaylee
But I’m just an engineer so we’d never be equal.

Devil
I can bring whole planets to ruin,
And still have time to get a soft-shoe in.

Kaylee
That’s great, but if we wait, my captain might use obscenity—

Devil
Something’s cookin’; I’m at the griddle.
Let Londinium burn; I’ll have my fiddle.

Kaylee
He’ll get pissed if I’m missed; my ship is Serenity

Devil
Serenity?

Kaylee
Yah-huh.

Devil (spoken, to henchmen who suddenly appear)
Find them… tell them… tell them everything! Just get them here! (quietly) I want to see them burn…
(singing again)
Now we’re partying…
That’s what it’s all about.

+++++

TEN: Standing

“Simon?”

“What is it, mei-mei?”

River hopped up on the diagnostic bed and turned her head to Simon’s worktable. “I need an implant.”

He turned, concerned. “An implant? What… what kind of—”

“Contraceptive.”

“What?” He was at her side in an instant, her hand held in both of his. “River, who—”

“That’s not your business,” she said. “Will you do it or not?” At his worried expression, she spoke more gently. “Simon… you can’t protect me forever. Sooner or later, I have to grow up.”

He held her eyes for a long moment. She had a feeling…

Yup. More singing.

+

Simon
You’re not ready for the world outside.
You keep pretending, but you just can’t hide.
I know that I said I’d be standing by your side,
But I…

You’re now a reader; you know what I feel.
You know you’ve been made to fight and steal,
Memories that others would rather not reveal,
And I…

I wish I could say the right words to lead you through this verse,
Wish I could be the brother who freed you from this curse,
Wish I could save you from this before it gets any worse,
‘Stead of standing… in the way.

The cries around you, know you hear them all.
Wish I could help to take that call,
And save you from them all when you can’t just stand tall.
But I…

I wish I could calm your mind down, and let you rest at last.
Wish I could slay your demons, but my work just won’t last.
Wish I could stay forever, your stalwart standing fast,
‘Stead of standing… in the way.
I’m just standing… in the way.

+++++

ELEVEN: Under Your Spell / Standing (reprise)

When River needed to quiet her mind, she went to Inara’s shuttle. The companion had the most relaxed sense-of-self of anyone on the ship, and her thoughts were always ordered. Except when Mal’s around, of course.

So now she sat with the tall, elegant woman, both in a lotus position, their breathing synchronized. River didn’t know what Inara was thinking about, but River… River wasn’t meditating.

She was reading. She was stretching out her mind, trying to find Kaylee, who’d gone missing a few hours ago.

Where are you, big sister?

Her eyes snapped open.

Oh… so that’s what happened.

+

River
She’s under your spell.
However can this be?
You’re playing with her memory.
You know she’s been through hell;
Come now, don’t you see — the heart that you will break, it will be
The one you deceive—

Simon
I swear I don’t want you to go—

Both
And it’ll grieve me ‘cause I love her so,
But we both know…

(Simon) Wish I could say the right words and lead you through this verse—
(River) Wish I could trust that it was just this once but—
(Simon) Wish I could be the brother who helps you break this curse—
(River) I must do what I must; she will just be filled with disgust; I just—

Both
Wish I could stay…
Wish I could stay…
Wish I could stay…
Wish I could… stay…

+++++

TWELVE: Walk Through the Fire

Jayne found River in his bunk, strapping sheathed knives to her thighs. “What the hell you doin’, girl?”

“I’m going to save Kaylee,” she said.

“You know where she is?” Jayne buckled on a holster and checked to make sure he had his big blade. “Then I’m goin’ with you!”

River put her hand on Jayne’s chest and he stilled. “No, Jayne. You can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because…” She sighed and stared up at him. “Because I don’t want to lose you again.”

“That’s… that’s crazy!” he spluttered. “You won’t lose me, River.” But she was already scrambling up the ladder.

+

Jayne
She’ll touch the fire, but she won’t touch me.
Why does my heart suddenly feel black?
Why won’t she feel?
Why can’t she treat me real?
I want the fire back.
(begins arming himself)
Now through the smoke, she calls to me,
And I’ll save Kaylee from the pain.
I’ll save the day…
…or maybe melt away.
I guess it’s all the same.
And so I’ll walk through the fire.
And River, then she’ll learn,
That I will walk through the fire,
And let it—

River
The torch I bear is scorching me,
And Jayne, he wants me, I’ve no doubt.
But it’s not right; my mind won’t see the light.
I’ve got to let him down.

Devil
‘Cause they are drawn to the fire;
Those people never learn.

Devil and River
And they will walk through the fire, and let it—

Simon
Will this do a thing to change her?
Is my sister still in danger?
Or is she just too far gone to care?

Inara
What if this crew can’t defeat it?

Mal
The lady’s wrong; we’ve got what’s needed.
So let’s get our asses to the lair.

Mal, Zoe, Simon, Jayne, Book, and Inara
We’ll see it through; it’s what we’re always here to do,
So we will walk through the fire—

River
Though I’m alone, I’ll turn and see
My friends putting themselves on the line—

Kaylee, in the Devil’s lair
What can’t we face?

River
But in the end, it’s my mind that’s not fine—

Kaylee
If we’re together?

River
And they just can’t be told.

Entire crew, as noted below

(River) He came from the grave much graver—
(Devil) So the whole crew, they come to me…
(Jayne) If she’s hurt, they’ll meet their maker—
(Devil) The distant crying is their guide…
(Zoe) Why are my feelings turning so dark?

Simultaneously
(Jayne) Going through the motions—
(Devil) —ain’t what they had in mind.

Ensemble continues
(Jayne) First save Kaylee; then help River—
(Book) I think this line’s mostly filler.
(Simon) Got to save my sister from the dark—

Simultaneously
(Jayne) These endless days end when I go out in a blaze—
(Devil) They will come to me!

Entire crew
And we are caught in the fire,
The point of no return.
So we will walk through the fire,
And let it burn…
Let it burn…
Let it burn…
Let it burn!

Devil
Showtime!

+++++

THIRTEEN: Something to Sing About

River drew her knives and faced off with the Devilish-looking creature. River knew the Devil’s name, but if she used it, she knew it would hurt Kaylee.

That was the last thing River wanted for her big sister.

“Let her go,” River said. “Let her go, and end this.”

The Devil drew a long sword and moved into a fencing stance. “I think perhaps not,” it said. “If you want her, you’ll have to go through me.”

River shifted into a cat-like ready position.

“River, be careful—”

“It’s okay, Kaylee.” She smiled. “No power in the ‘verse can stop me.”

+

River
Life’s a show, and we all play our parts,
And when the music starts,
We open up our hearts.
It’s all right if some things come out wrong,
We’ll sing a happy song,
And you can sing along.

Kaylee
Where there’s life, there’s hope.
Every day’s a gift.
Wishes can come true.
Whistle while you work,
So hard all day—

River
To dream like other girls,
And fit in in this glittering world.
Don’t give me songs…
Don’t give me songs…
Give me something to sing about.
I need something to sing about.

Jayne, watching River fighting the Devil
Life’s a song; you don’t get to rehearse,
And every single verse,
Can make it that much worse
(goes to Kaylee, releasing her from her bonds)
Still my crew don’t know why I ignore
The million things or more
They say I should sing for—

Kaylee
All the joy life sends,
The crew; we’re all your friends.

Jayne
All the twists and bends,
Knowing that it ends
But that depends—
(looking directly at Simon)
On if they let you go.
On if they know enough to know
That when you’ve bowed,
You leave the crowd.

River (has the Devil at a disadvantage, turns to Jayne, reading him)
There was no pain.
No fear, no doubt.
‘Til they pulled you out of heaven.

Jayne
So that’s my refrain.
I’m here in hell
Since I was expelled from heaven.
I think I was in heaven.

Jayne and River
So give me something to sing about…
Please, give me something!

(The music speeds up, and River begins dancing wildly while the crew apprehends the Devil… except for Jayne, who just sits on a crate, stunned. Kaylee rips the mask off, sees that Georgie is the Devil, and gasps. The music stops, and River walks slowly to Jayne.)

River
Life’s not a song.
Life isn’t bliss.
Life is just this: it’s living.

Kaylee (to Georgie)
You did it wrong.
The pain I now feel
I only can heal by living.

Jayne
I have to go on living.
Like all of us are living.

Book (spoken)
The hardest thing in this world… is to live in it.

+++++

FOURTEEN: What You Feel (Reprise)

Kaylee grabbed the gun from Mal’s holster and shoved the barrel up under Georgie’s chin. “Give me one reason why I shouldn’t decorate this room with your damn brains!”

“Kaylee,” Mal said, reaching for her shoulder.

She shook him off. Her face was hot, eyes wet with tears. “Why? I love you, Georgie; why do this to me?”

Georgie reached up and cupped Kaylee’s cheek. “I do love you,” she said.

Then she stared at the others. “But your crew… they’ll never understand.”

River looked up from where she was sitting with Jayne. “Try us,” she said. “You never know.”

+

Georgie
Started just having fun, but things went so swell.
Now there’s not a one, who’ll think that it could end well.
‘Course, you won’t say it, you’ll keep concealing,
I’ll tell the truth now — once more, with feeling.
Kaylee, I love you; you’ve got me under your spell…

+++++

FIFTEEN: Where Do We Go From Here

“You… you did all this… for me?”

Georgie nodded. “I love you, Kaylee. I’ve loved you since the day I saw you. But they’ll keep us apart.”

“Hell, no, we won’t,” Zoe said, taking the gun from Kaylee. “You’re an idiot, Georgie, but last year you proved that you’re not all bad.”

“Zoe—” Mal started to say.

“No, sir. You won’t get in the way.” Then she grinned. “And, while you’re at it, will you and Inara just make it official already!”

“Zoe!” Inara blushed hard.

“Gotta admit,” Mal said, “it really is about time.”

Somehow, Inara went even redder.

+

Georgie
Where do we go from here?

Jayne and River
Where do we go from here?

Mal
The battle’s done, and we kind of won—

Mal and Zoe
Should we sound our victory cheer?
Where do we go from here?

Jayne and River
Why is the path unclear?
When the answer’s so near?

All
Understand we’ll go hand-in-hand.

Kaylee
So why walk alone in fear?

Book
Tell me—

All
Where do we go from here?
(brief musical interlude)
When does the end appear?
When do the trumpets cheer?
The curtains close on a kiss, we know;
We can tell the end is near.
Where do we go from here?

+++++

SIXTEEN: Coda

Georgie had been forgiven, even been accepted into the crew somehow, and she and Kaylee were together. Mal… well, Mal was probably in Inara’s shuttle.

But I’m still alone. Alone and soulless.

Jayne pulled off his shirt and threw it in the laundry pile. Might as well go to bed.

Just then, he heard someone open his door. He didn’t look — didn’t want to think he might be wrong, didn’t want to hope he could be right.

A white sundress landed in his laundry pile. A small, cool hand touched his bare shoulder.

He turned to River and smiled.

+

River
I touch the fire and it freezes me—

Jayne
I died—

River
But when I’m with you, nothing’s black—

Jayne
And with that also lost my soul—

Overlapping
(River) Can this be real? Can you make me feel?
(Jayne) I just want to feel.

(Jayne and River kiss)

All
Where do we go from here?

+++++

EPILOGUE: Willow and Tara

“I love that episode,” Willow said.

“I know.” Tara turned her face up to Willow’s and kissed her. After, she said, “I remember when it aired that we thought it would be terrible.”

“Yeah, really.” Willow turned off the television and set the remote on the nightstand. “But they did a really good job with it.” She reached for Tara, taking her into her arms. “I wonder if Dollhouse will do one.”

“Can you imagine?” Tara said. “How could they even make that plausible?”

“Oh, I could think of a few ways—”

“Sweetie?”

“Hmm?”

“Later.”

Tara turned off the light.

+++++

Author’s Note

Well, that didn’t go at all how I planned.

I wanted Jayne to be in the Spike role, and River in the Buffy role, but I couldn’t pull it off. Plus, the way I set up Kaylee and Georgie made it hard for me give River the “positive” lines in “Something to Sing About” — only Kaylee could’ve nailed those, as everyone else was too cynical. Finally, I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t spend as much time on Jayne’s religious beliefs, but when you only have 1600 words and have to give enough story to justify the lyrics, you have to do the best you can.

Why did I make Georgie play the “Sweet” role? I realize the motivation was kind of thin — she wanted the crew to hate each other by revealing their innermost feelings — and then swoop in to save Kaylee — but that certainly backfired, didn’t it?

In writing this as a drabble-fic (every chapter is only 100 words — you can count them if you want — plus the song lyrics), I didn’t have space to explain the science, but Georgie used the New Enemy’s medical technology to create mass hypnosis in the domed city where Serenity had landed.

And, before you ask — I will not be writing a Dollhouse musical episode, no matter how much Willow speculates about it.

The next part of this story will be a more direct sequel (which I’ve already outlined but haven’t started writing yet), but I just felt that, after teasing the Firefly musical for 20 chapters, I couldn’t not pay it off. I hope you enjoyed it, and whether you did or didn’t, please review or e-mail; I’d love to hear what you thought. And, as always, thanks for reading.


Listener
Marietta, GA, USA
July 8, 2012

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