Picture Imperfect

Disclaimer: The only character in this fic that I own is Scott Malone. Everything else related to Indiana Jones belongs to Lucasfilm and Disney. This is a purely fan-made story. It was written for FUN, NOT PROFIT. No copyright infringement is intended.

Princeton, New Jersey, May 4th, 1912.

"Come now, Junior," said Professor Henry Jones, Sr. "Hurry up. We're on a tight schedule with the photographer. And it would not be prudent to keep him waiting. Now, where's your mother?"

"She's not feeling well," said Henry's twelve-year-old son. The boy had been born Henry Walton Jones, Jr. And the elder Jones often addressed his son by the sobriquet of "Junior." But young Henry Junior preferred another nickname: Indiana-Indy, for short, after his dog.

"Still?" asked Henry. "It's been a month. She should be fine by now. What's worse, she won't even tell me what's wrong with her. And I hate not knowing." Anna Jones, Henry's wife and Indy's mother had been battling Scarlet Fever for quite a while now. But only Indy knew, and Anna made her son promise not to tell his father.

"I don't know, Father," Indy lied. "But I'm sure she'll get better. After all, I recovered from Typhoid Fever...in China." Henry, Sr. hadn't been there for his son's ordeal. He'd only heard about it later. He was of course grateful for Indy's recovery. But at the same time, he seemed to have to a hard time understanding just how close his one and only son had come to death. And that one of several reasons Indy felt a growing sense of resentment towards his father. Father and son's relationship had always been rather difficult. One of the best times Indy could ever remember having with his father had happened in Greece. It was one of the few times they'd bonded and actually acted like a father and a son, rather than two strangers who happened to share the same exact first, middle and last names. But since then, their relationship continued to become more strained. And Anna's illness did little to help matters.

"All right, Father," Indy. "I'm ready." He was dressed in a blue jacket, white shirt and black pants. He grabbed his blue newsboy cap from the coat rack. Henry put on a black bowler hat, which complemented his brown suit.

Indy and Henry drove into town to meet the photographer. He was a young man who said his name was Scott Malone.

"I'm professor Henry Jones," Henry introduced himself. "And this is my son, Henry Junior."

"Call me Indiana," said Indy. This only earned him a harsh glare from his father. "Henry's fine," the boy mumbled dejectedly.

"Well, let's get started, shall we?" asked Mr. Malone. He took a single photograph of the Jones men. Henry, with his dark brown beard and mustache, looked handsome in an intense and brooding sort of way. In contrast, Indy was not smiling. He faced away from the camera, and his father, looking off to his left, He was somehow able to tell that the expression on his face was one that expressed his displeasure at the situation. He really would have preferred to be anywhere other than here, getting his picture taken with the man sitting next to him, his father.

Indy and Henry returned home after that. A few days after that, the photograph arrived in the mail. Henry hung it up in the family's parlor, but he scolded his son for looking so aloof. It took everything Indy had not to start arguing with Henry right then and there. The boy really wanted to tell his father how much he resented him. For some reason, though, he just couldn't bring himself to say anything.

Anna Jones, however, loved the photo. She thought her two boys looked very handsome. Both Indy and Henry appreciated her compliments. And the whole family shared Anna's sentiment that she wished she could have been there. Hearing his mother say that made Indy remember all the pictures the three of them had posed for as a family. That day ended up become one of the last memories Indy had of his mother. On May 16th, 1912, Anna Jones passed away due to complications from Scarlet Fever.

After Anna's death, the gulf between Indy and Henry only grew wider. And Henry's interest in the Holy Grail became a full-blown obsession. In the summer of 1912, Indy and Henry moved from New Jersey to Utah, because the elder Jones had gotten a job teaching at Four Corners University. The things Indy experienced that summer, when he turned thirteen, began to shape him into the man he would become. Unfortunately, his and Henry's relationship became more complicated than ever. It seemed as if they would never make up.

1938

Henry had gone missing in Venice, Italy. Indy and Marcus Brody were at his house, looking for clues about his disappearance. Rummaging through the belongings of Henry's ransacked study, that's when Indy saw it. The photo from 1912. The memories of that day came rushing back to him. And he started getting a strange feeling. Maybe, after all these years, it was time for Indy to finally make amends with his father. But first, he had to find him. And find him he would.

The End

Author's Notes:

1.) My favorite Indy movie has always been Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. And one particular scene from that movie that's stuck out to me for the longest time was the scene in Henry's house, where Indy finds that old picture of the two of them. I wrote this fic as a background story for that photograph.

2.) Can anyone figure out the significance of the date that most of this fic takes place on, May the 4th?

3.) In the book Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide, by James Luceno, Anna Jones' death is listed as occurring on May 16th, 1912, and the cause of death was Scarlet Fever.

4.) The first, handwritten draft of this fic had Henry, Sr. knowing how sick Anna was. But then I remembered one of his lines from TLC: "Unfortunately, she kept her illness from me, until all I could do was mourn her." However, I theorize that Anna had told Indy about the Scarlet Fever, also telling him to keep this a secret from Henry, because both Anna and Indy may have believed that she would recover and be all right, until she actually died.

5.) The mention about Indy getting sick with Typhoid Fever in China is a reference to an episode of Young Indiana Jones called Journey of Radiance.

6.) Yes, I am correct in saying that Indy was just twelve in May of 1912. Because that was before his birthday, which is of course July 1st. In fact the beginning of Indiana Jones and the last Crusade takes place not long after Indy turned thirteen.