TITLE: "Jen & Kira: A New Beginning"

A Vignette by Kathy Evans

RATING: T/PG-13, for adult content

SUMMARY: Continuation of the story after the healing of the Dark Crystal.

DISCLAIMER: The Dark Crystal and all characters belong to Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, and Jim Henson Home Entertainment, and are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended, and no profit is being made from their use.

Kira sat by the little brook in the forest, picking flowers and communing with the various little animals (and plants) scurrying about. Jen was back in the podlings'village; he had volunteered to help rebuild their homes - after all, he still felt partially responsible for their destruction. Jen was so sweet and thoughtful - just one of the many reasons why she loved him so much. She smiled, feeling a sense of peace and security she had never felt before. Hope for the future of her race stirred in her womb, which made her smile even more. So much had happened in just the last few months. Daydreaming, she thought back to the New Beginning of this world.

"Now we leave you the crystal of Truth. Make your world in its light." The Urskeks had disappeared in a flash of light, leaving this legacy for them. Jen was holding her in his arms, a tear had run down his cheek. What had happened? She felt like she had gone to sleep, when Jen was up on top of the crystal, about to fulfill his destiny. She remembered feeling a ripping pain in her back, then darkness and silence….what was it she had been trying to tell him? The podlings now gathered around the two gelflings crouched on the floor. Jen helped Kira to stand up.

"Are you OK, Kira? I…I saw them kill you!"

Is that what happened? She thought. "I'm all right, Jen, really. I'm alive now. It's OK."

"I…I can't believe what you just did for me back there."

"I did it for you, I did it for us, I did it for our world. If I hadn't, the Skekses would have seized the shard and killed both of us, dooming our world. It was worth it."

He held her closely. "I'm just so grateful to the Strange Ones for bringing you back to life. I would have just died without you. You are a part of me now."

They looked around the newly "refurbished" castle. "What should we do now?" Kira asked.

"We can't stay here," Jen said. "We don't belong in a castle. It's not "us". Besides, there are too many unpleasant memories here."

"I know. I was tortured and killed here. I don't want to stay, either."

Kira, do you remember what I told you back at the podlings' village?"

She thought a moment, and then recalled a conversation they had:

("Kira, how long can we stay?"

"As long as we want."

"Then I don't want to go. EVER.")

"Yes, you said you wanted to stay there."

"I think we should board this place up, leave the crystal alone, and return to the podlings' village."

Kira's adoptive mother approached them and asked in her limited, broken Gelfling, "You make MORE gelfling now, yes?" which made both of them blush and turn away shyly. Jen looked coyly at Kira.

Kira said, "Jen, just before I….died…." (it sounded like such a strange sentence), "….I was trying to tell you something. I want to tell you now."

"Yes, Kira, I'm listening."

"Jen, I….I love you."

The podlings were waiting with bated breath for Jen's answer.

He immediately took her into his arms. "Oh, Kira, I love you so much! I've never loved anyone this much before." He paused. "I need to ask you a question."

"Yes?"

"I want us to be together for as long as we live. Kira, will you be my mate? Will you marry me?"

She embraced him and kissed him.. "Of course I will!" The podlings cheered.

The podlings, being the "party animals" that they were, threw a wedding celebration that lasted three days. Jen and Kira had hardly any time to spend alone during that time - there was constant eating, drinking and dancing. They were quite exhausted. Finally, on the last day, they were able to slip out alone. Kira led Jen to a beautiful place - a gorgeous waterfall that ended in a pristine pool in the middle of the forest. There was a perfect spot for jumping off into the pool. "Ever go skinny-dipping?" She asked.

"Well,…..er…..yes, I did, actually, when I lived in the Valley of the Mystics. But no one was around."

She began to peel off her clothing. Jen's eyes went wide, and his heart skipped a beat. "Come on!" she called. "Last one in gives Fizzgig a bath!" So Jen started undressing, too. She is so beautiful, he thought. I am the luckiest gelfling in the world. He got a better view of her wings, folded downward on her back like a beautiful moth.

Kira also studied Jen's body. She noticed that his body was quite different from hers, and not only in his lack of wings. Jen cannonballed into the water, sending water everywhere, while, to tease Jen, Kira floated down on her wings and lowered gracefully into the pool. Jen noticed how much she resembled a wood nymph.

"Showoff!" He called to her.

They splashed each other, they laughed, they dunked each other, and had swimming contests. During one of their games, they came very close to each other, and they both looked at each other, with great love in their eyes, with a look of longing, a look that said, I want you.

"Come with me," said Kira, as she led him by the hand and they swam together over to the edge of the pool. She led him to a patch of soft grass surrounded by fragrant flowers. They came up onto the grass to dry off, and Jen caressed her cheek. "I love you, Kira," he said. "I love you too, Jen." Then a primal urge came over Jen, and instinctively, he knew what he needed to do. Very soon, their sighs mingled with the sounds of the rushing waterfall, the gentle breeze and the forest animals, as the 3 suns shone overhead.

Over the next few weeks, Kira's mother noticed a difference in their behavior. Lately, they were looking for any excuse to get away from the village for a few hours a day. They need their privacy, she thought. Jen and Kira welcomed this newfound activity and did it as often as they could. This continued for a few months until Kira noticed her belly beginning to swell, and some mornings, she rushed outside and was sick.

"Kira, are you ill?" asked Jen worriedly. "Maybe we could ask your mother or Aughra for something to make you feel better."

A dawning realization crept over Kira, as she started putting two and two together. A broad, knowing smile spread on her face. "No, Jen, I don't need any help. I know what's happening. Jen….we're going to have a baby!"

"What's a baby?" Jen asked innocently. The UrRu were genderless, and since they believed Jen was the last gelfling, they never bothered to teach him about the facts of life. He had never seen a baby in his life, until he came to the podling's village.

Kira burst out laughing. "A GELFLING baby, silly! We're making more gelfling, like us!" She placed his hand on her gently curving belly. "See? There's a little gelfling in there!"

At this, Jen shouted for joy, and hugged Kira, but more carefully now. "Is that what we've been doing all this time? Making more gelfling? I thought it was just for fun! When will the baby come?" he asked. "In a few months," she said. Jen was so happy, he hugged her again, longer this time.

"We need to tell the podlings! And your mother!"

"Yes, I think we should tell them right away. Let's go."

Kira came out of her reverie of the events of the last few months. She would be delivering soon. She had tried to dreamfast with her baby, only to discover that there were two! She was carrying twins! They didn't have much for memories yet, but they could hear sounds outside, so she would often sing to them. She could distinguish two little minds, two different personalities in there. She could hardly wait to meet them and introduce them to the New World.

She rose up from her flower-picking and turned to pet her new friend, Shuba, the now-orphaned baby landstrider. His brave parents had fought valiantly against the Garthim, but unfortunately lost the battle. She wished she could let him know that his parents were dead and were not coming back, but she couldn't. So she just stroked his hair.

"Jen and I know how it feels to be orphaned," she said. "We'll take care of you." Although he was only half the height of his parents, he was still strong enough to carry Kira, so she hopped on his back and returned to the village, where Jen was hard at work rebuilding a pod. The podlings were so grateful to Jen and Kira for healing the crystal and restoring their world, they even built them a house in the village, a place to call their own. Jen stopped his work long enough to run over to greet Kira.

"Kira, are you all right? Do you feel well? How are the babies?"

"We're just fine, Jen. I just felt them kick a little while ago," she smiled. He kissed her and hugged her closely. "It won't be much longer," he said. "Kira, do you realize you are going to be the Mother of the whole Gelfling race? I'm so proud of you. And you're a hero! Our children will be telling tales and singing songs about you long after we're dead and gone."

"Singing songs about us," Kira corrected. "It was you who healed the Crystal, Jen. You're the real hero!"

"No, Kira, if you hadn't risked your life, I would have failed in my mission, the Skekses would have possession of the shard, and we'd both be dead. Without you, I was helpless."

"OK, I'll accept that. Yes, I think they will be telling our story for generations. I just hope they don't turn us into 'gods' or something…"

"In order to avoid that, I've been thinking about actually writing our story down, so that it will be accessible for future generations, and that should prevent errors in the story as it is told."

"I think that's a good idea, Jen. Use the 'words that stay'."

As if in agreement, a tiny foot kicked against Kira's belly. Jen noticed it. "Kira! Look!" he pointed at it excitedly.

Kira winced slightly. "I don't need to look, Jen, I felt it. Yes, they have been pretty active lately."

Jen became quiet for a few moments. He was thinking about something he had just said a moment ago. "Kira?"

"Yes, my love?"

"What was it like?"

"What was what like?"

"Being dead?"

Kira drew in a breath, slowly. She still had a hard time believing that she had actually been dead, but she had to take Jen's word for it. "Are you sure I was dead, Jen?" she asked.

"Stone cold. That Skeksis knew right where to stab you. He was the Ritual-Master, you know. He was in charge of sacrifices. I held you in my arms for several minutes. You were as dead as could be. Only the power of the Crystal could bring you back to me." Kira could see a tear threatening to fall from the corner of Jen's eye. She moved closer to him and put her arms around him, comforting him.

"All I remember is everything going black, and then it was like I was in a dreamless sleep. Then I woke up….to see your handsome face." She smiled and stroked the hair from his eyes. "I love you so much."

Jen embraced her all the more tightly. "I love you too, Kira. More than you know."

A FEW WEEKS LATER..…

Kira lay on the delivery bed, in a sweat, surrounded by female members of her closest kin. Jen had to wait with the others outside the room, even though he desperately wanted to be in there.

Kira told her mother, "Mama, get Jen. I want him to be here with me." Her mother honored her wishes, and went into the other room, beckoning for Jen, who went at once.

"Jen! I'm so glad you're here!" said Kira. "Hold my hand, please." Jen did as he was bade. Another contraction overcame her, and she yelped, and gritted her teeth. "Baby come very soon," her mother said in broken Gelfling. Gradually, the head of the first baby began to show, then the shoulders, and then the rest slid out. "BOY GELFLING!!" shouted Kira's mother to everyone. Jen was beside himself with joy. Kira panted a smile of relief. The second child came out somewhat easier. "GIRL GELFLING!!" came the next announcement. Jen reached over and kissed Kira, holding their two little ones so that she could see. They had little dimpled faces, with elongated mouths and perfect little pointed ears. The boy had a tiny patch of dark hair with white highlights on his head, as did the girl, who in addition had a tiny pair of immature wings protruding from her back. They were beautiful. "Welcome to the world, my precious little ones," cooed Kira. Everyone then left the four of them alone, to give Kira a chance to nurse them.

Jen picked each one up and kissed them. "I promise to love and protect you always." Then he turned to Kira. "We did a pretty good job, didn't we?"

"Yes, we did," smiled Kira. "We did indeed."

ONE YEAR LATER…..

"Kira, do you think maybe we should start looking for other gelflings? If you and I survived, and we believed we were the only ones, then there should be pockets of other survivors out there who are thinking the same thing. I don't believe the Garthim killed every single gelfling. The Garthim just weren't that smart. The Skekses would have been smart enough to know where to look, but they seldom left the castle. They just had slaves and Garthim do all their dirty work."

"You're right, Jen, I think we should look, but we should wait until the children are older. We can't go gallavanting around the countryside on landstriders with two babies in tow."

"Yes, you're right. Well, maybe they'll come our way instead. Kira, I need to ask you a question. If somehow we find another gelfling, would it change how you feel about me? What if he was better-looking? Would you go with him instead?"

"Jen, I'm surprised you would even ask such a question. You and I have a special bond; we have been through an ordeal that no other gelfling in this world can hold a candle to. Not to mention you are my husband and the father of my children. I would never willingly leave you. You know that."

"You're right; I know. I just had to ask." He gave her a warm embrace.

"Besides, Jen," giggled Kira, "I think you're as cute as a button. Only one thing though, Jen - you seriously need a haircut," she joked.

Jen smiled. "Would you like it better if I did this?" He pulled his hair into a single ponytail behind his head. Suddenly, he actually looked like a male gelfling!

"Wow, Jen, you actually look like a different person that way," she said. "You look quite handsome. But it's up to you. I love you no matter how your hair looks." She smiled and leaned over to kiss him firmly on the lips.

Jen began thinking again about finding other gelflings.

"Well, if we did find another gelfling, perhaps he could marry our daughter, so our kids won't have to…."

"Or marry our son, if it's a girl," Kira interjected. She didn't like the thought of her children being forced to, well, to marry each other. That would be just too weird. It wouldn't be so bad two or three generations down the road, but it's difficult when a race must be re-created through the bottleneck of two individuals. Just another pitfall on the road to rebuilding the gelfling race. She looked and smiled at her two little toddlers, who were babbling and crawling on the ground, looking for mischief - and she knew it was worth it.

END OF PART 1

( ) - These lines were actually spoken by Jen and Kira in a working print of the film, but were not included in the final cut, so I included them here. If you want to see it, check out the new DVD 25th Anniversary re-release. Go to the 2nd disc, then go to Special Features, Extra Scenes, Original Language Workprint Scenes, Podling Village.