Stepping Forward

A story based on The Legend of 1900 by Merrie

Cast: Tim Roth-Danny Boodman T.D. Lemon 1900 Pruitt Taylor Vince-Max Toony

Rating: PG-13 For language.

Summary: Takes place after Max finds 1900 alone on the Virginian prior to its destruction. Can he convince 1900 to leave the sea he's known his entire life?

Chapter Two

Time passed rather quickly for 1900 in the hours before his beloved home was blown to smithereens. He had been relocated to the nearby home of one of the dockworkers where it seemed everyone wanted to know everything about him. He spent his times telling stories of Danny, Jelly Roll Morton, and life on the Virginian in general. When the time finally came he had Max help him back out to the deck so they could watch the fireworks as planned. The explosion was magnificent. 1900 watched, tears running down his cheeks. He turned to his friend. "Max, get me to a piano right now." Max nodded and led him to the piano he had found earlier when he had thought about how the destruction of the Virginian would affect his friend.

"You got it, buddy. It's not far. Lean on me." They walked in utter silence to the warehouse where Max had the beat up old piano set up. 1900 glanced at it with an expert eye upon reaching it. Max noticed his friend's look. "Yeah, I know it's not much, but I think it will suit your purposes. And the owner assures me that it is in tune." 1900 nodded and made his way to the bench by himself. He sat down and began to play.

Edward Brautigan liked to think of himself as a tough man. He didn't cry at anything, only cussed, smoked, and drank his life away. He had had a hard life full of pain, but he prided himself on not showing his emotions. His friends had chided him on it many a time, but he didn't even let that get to him. He simply kept everything bottled up inside where no one would ever see it. At least, he did until that day.

He had been carrying some boxes when he first heard it. The most beautiful and mournful sound in the world. Edward looked around, trying to figure out where it was coming from. He finally pinpointed its source to be the inside of a supposedly abandoned old warehouse. He noticed a large group of his coworkers gathered around the entrance and he put his boxes down and made his way over there, pushing through the crowd. There, in the middle of a bunch of dirty dockworkers was one man in a rumpled tuxedo playing the piano. And what playing! Edward felt his eyes burning, but that didn't seem to matter. All that mattered was listening to what this stranger was playing. He had never felt so sad in all of his life. Not even when his father left him to watch over his mother at the ripe old age of 8 years old. Nothing compared to the sadness the man playing had to be feeling if he played like this. It was as though the man's heart had been ripped out and stomped to a pulp in front of him. Edward looked around at the crew. There was not a dry eye in the house, not even his own. He had to find out who this man was, and why he felt this way.

Max had never heard anything like it in all the years he had known 1900. He had never before heard such emotion in a song before save the one 1900 had played when he first noticed the girl. In fact, Max hadn't really realized just how strongly the destruction of the Virginian would affect his friend. He noticed the tears that continued to fall down 1900's cheeks as he played and felt his own eyes welling up at the sight and sound. No one said a word as the song finished. The only sounds were grown men sniffling and wiping their eyes. 1900 didn't seem to notice any of them. He just remained at the piano, eyes fixed towards the sea. Max didn't know what to do. He was about to approach his friend when he was pushed aside by a large man with tear- rimmed eyes.

"Excuse me, mister. I just wanted to make sure you're alright an all. When someone plays something like that, you got to wonder what they're feeling. My name's Edward by the way. Edward Brautigan." He reached out his hand to the slouching form of 1900.

"1900." he said, taking the man's hand. "The reason.." he took a moment to compose himself. "The reason I'm so sad is that you and your coworkers just destroyed the only home I've ever known, and now there is nothing left of it except memories."

"You don't mean that old ship, do you Mr. Nineteenhundred? That was your home?"

"Yes, and it's just 1900. Like the number. That old ship had been my home ever since the day I was born. Just ask Max here."

The man looked over at Max, not really believing what he was being told. "It's all true." He told him. "1900 spent his entire life on that ship. He only took his first walk, if you can call it that, on land yesterday."

"Well that sure is something else Mister. I mean 1900. I'm awful sorry 'bout that, but you can't let it get you down. People all over the world will be wanting to hear your music. It makes people forget that they aren't supposed to be feelin' anything and open up to their emotions. You have a great gift. I hope you use it well and I'm certainly glad we didn't blow you up along with that ship. Goodbye 1900. You've certainly changed my life." With that, Edward walked away, swearing never again to hide what he was feeling.

1900 just stared after the man, not exactly sure what to say or do. He still felt the need to play out his emotions on the piano, but he refrained himself for the time being. He glanced over at Max, not bothering to wipe the tears from his eyes. "Are you alright?" Max asked him. 1900 didn't know what to say. He didn't feel alright, but he didn't feel like he never would be either. He simply felt at odds with the world.

"I don't know, Max. I am at a loss of what to do next. I have no home and no identity. I can't walk straight to save my life and the only real thing I know how to do is to play the piano."

"Well, I can help you out with a few of those things I think. First, we'll have to get you registered somewhere. I don't think you'll be getting a driver's license any time soon, so we'll have to work around that. The first place we should probably go to is the immigration office. Although, we're not even sure you're an immigrant, are we? You certainly don't look like one. No, with your hair and eye color I don't think you were the son of an immigrant on that ship at all. It's a tricky situation. You have no country, no official religion, no real birthday...we have got to decide some of these things before we go there, or it'll look like we're making the whole thing up."

"Who's to say they won't believe that anyway, Max? You're the only one still around that knows my story."

"Yeah, I know. So, let's start with something small...like your name. Now, your full name is Danny Boodman T.D. Lemon 1900 correct?"

"You know it is, Max." 1900 said with a slight glare.

"Hey, don't get mad at me, pal. You know the people at the immigration office are going to ask that too. Now, um...is 1900 your last name?"

"You know, I've never really thought about it. Can a number be a last name? If it can't, I guess my last name would be Boodman after Danny."

"Yeah, I guess so. Now birthday shouldn't be a question. January 1st, 1900."

"Well, I'm not exactly sure, but that should do. Wow, I have a birthday." He looked a bit surprised at that.

Danny Boodman T.D. Lemon 1900 Boodman born January 1st, 1900 onboard the Virginian. Parents unknown. Spent much of life at sea. Hm...the immigration office is going to get a kick out of this one that's for sure. Do you want to become a British or an American citizen? We're in England now, and you seemed to have picked up more of a British accent than an American one, but I think either one should be fine. It's up to you." He paused as he saw 1900 going over the possibilities in his head. "You know what, we'll worry about all of that tomorrow if you feel up to going. Let's go home."

1900 nodded and allowed himself to be led through the still large group of men hanging around in the hopes of getting another chance to hear his music.

The next morning, 1900 awoke to the sound of the sea. He slowly opened his eyes and started in shock at the sight in front of him. 'Where am I?' He thought. He glanced around the room, not yet remembering that he was on land. "Easy there, fella." He turned to a voice in the doorway. It was the dockworker. "You're safe here on land, and your friend should be here soon. Now, I don't claim to know or understand what your life has been like, but I know this. Be thankful for your friend. I have a hunch that you wouldn't be here today if it weren't for him, am I right?"

"Yes, he brought me off of the ship before you blew it up. I was going to stay on it." 1900 said with a sigh.

"That's what I figured. What's the matter, aren't you thankful for your life? You have been given something great, a second chance at life. I can't begin to tell you how many people have wished for that in their final seconds. Now cut out all that shit and straighten up."

"You don't understand. I don't belong here. I don't even exist here."

"So? That don't matter. What matters is that you're here now. You've got the rest of your life to do whatever the hell you've ever wanted to do. And, in your case I'd imagine there are a lot of things you'd like to do before you die. So, get to it."

Before 1900 could comment, Max walked into the room. "So, are you ready Mr. Boodman?" he asked with a small smile on his face.

"I don't know, Max." He looked at the dock worker. "But I'm going to go anyway."

"That's my man." Max answered, reaching over to clap 1900 on the back. "Let's go." 1900 grabbed Max's shoulder, still unsteady on his feet. "I guess we have to go to the immigration offices first if you want to get something to take care of that landsickness, now don't we?"

"Oh yes, I just want it to go away. Let's get this over with."

"Alright, but we'll have to walk, I don't have a car here. It's just me and my...wait. Sorry 1900, there's somewhere we have to go first. In fact, I had completely forgotten about it until now. It's not far, I promise."

1900 turned to the dockworker as they started out toward the door. "Thanks for everything." The man simply nodded, and they were on their way.

TBC

A/N: This is all I have written of this story, sorry. Although, if I get enough reviews I might seriously consider continuing it. Heck, I'll prolly try and continue it anyway, but reviews help keep me motivated. Also, thank you to my two reviewers, DaniRoth and L. You guys rock!!