Chapter 1: Memories
In the quiet silent seconds
I turned off the light switch
And I came down to meet you
in the half light the moon left
While a cluster of night jars
sang some songs out of tune
A mantle of bright light
shone down from a room
Come down in time I still hear her say
So clear in my ear like it was today
Come down in time was the message she gave
Come down in time and I'll meet you half way
Well I don't know if I should have heard her as yet
But a true love like hers is a hard love to get
And I've walked most all the way and I ain't heard her call
And I'm getting to thinking if she's coming at all
Come down in time I still hear her say
So clear in my ear like it was today
Come down in time was the message she gave
Come down in time and I'll meet you half way
There are women and women and some hold you tight
While some leave you counting the stars in the night
Music by Elton John and lyrics by Bernie Taupin
Spike Spiegel leaned over the railing on the hangar of the Bebop, cigarette burning orange as he inhaled the smoke deep into his lungs. He stared up at the stars that flickered in the Mars sky. His mind wandered to another starlit night that felt so long ago.
He waited for her as he watched the moon cast shadows over the gravestones. She'd left him a message to meet her there, that she needed to see him. Both of them knew that if Vicious got wind of it, there'd be hell to pay.
She called his name. He'd heard her approaching in the darkness, his heart stilling as she came closer. He turned to face her and drew her into his arms, his lips brushing lightly across her hair, inhaling the scent of her. They remained that way for a time, listening to the sounds of the night and their own hearts beating…
* * * * *
Spike sighed and tossed the spent cigarette butt over the railing. That was the last time they'd been together. He thought back to his decision to leave the Syndicate and the note he'd left her, that he'd meet her by the graveyards, not in them. He had hoped that she'd meet him halfway, and they could walk the rest of the way together. He'd waited and waited, a wet collection of cigarette butts piling at his feet and the bouquet of roses wilting in the rain. And when he lit yet another, he knew that she wasn't coming, he'd walked all the way and there was no sign of her. He remembered the ache in his chest as he left the cemetery, that the only woman he truly loved did not have the courage to follow her heart as he had followed his.
His mind strayed back in the present, and his thoughts flickered to Faye.
Faye was a woman who had the courage to face head on whatever obstacles were set in her path. He had no doubt of that. She had encountered tremendous obstacles since her cold sleep awakening, yet she still fought to survive. She was an annoying shrew that seemed to find pleasure in irritating him, but when they went out together after bounties, they worked as a team. They had each other's backs and he trusted her just as he knew that she trusted him. She had proven that time and again.
He knew how she felt about him, he'd seen it in the way she watched him when she thought that no one was looking. He knew it by the way she waited up for him when he returned to the Bebop after a drinking binge, pretending to be watching some late night Earth flick. He remembered the times she'd come to save his ass, the time he'd tumbled from the cathedral window, that time when that crazy fuck had tried to off him at Spaceland. And he knew it by the care she took in patching him up after his many reckless escapades, in the gentle way she cleaned his cuts and stitched his wounds. Faye was a woman who would love fiercely and protectively, Faye was a woman who'd hold you tight and never let go. He wanted to feel that way about someone, to feel that way about her, to bask in the comfort of the love that he knew she'd offer if he ever gave his heart a chance to.
So why did his heart drift back to the woman who'd left him waiting, counting the stars in the night?
Chapter 2: Faye
When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love
When the evening shadows and the star appear
And there is no one to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love
I know you haven't made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I've known it from the moment that we met
There's no doubt in my mind where you belong
Lyrics from To Make You Feel My Love by Garth Brooks
Faye Valentine plopped down on the familiar yellow couch, searching the cushions for someone's forgotten pack of cigarettes. She had run out hours ago, and Jet kept his stash well hidden from her. The idiot who normally occupied the couch liked to believe that his stash was also safely hidden from her. She wasn't stupid enough to take his whole pack, just a few, and she would return the pack to his hiding place, he'd never know the difference.
Faye found it ridiculously easy to distract the idiot. She'd furtively watch him stuff his pack deep into the cushions of the couch. Then she would casually stroll in the room where he was stretched out, heave a big sigh and head toward the chair next to him. She would casually mention how full she was, having found a delicious bit of leftovers in the fridge. Spike, who was always hungry, would pop his head up from the couch at the mention of food and glare at her, eye twitching, while he'd grumble about gypsies who couldn't keep their fuckin' paws off someone else's stuff. She'd find that quite hilarious coming from him, since he would be first to snatch up anything edible, leaving (he thought) no one the wiser. Then he would insult her with some stupid, biting comment, and she'd struggle to maintain her haughty expression, while inside she'd feel a small tinge of hurt at his remark. It always made her angry, and the two of them would inevitably engage in another insult contest. She'd end up stomping out of the room, muttering profanities about the stupid ass.
Faye's fingers touched something deep within the cushion and pulled out the half-empty, crumpled pack - just a few left, but it was fine. She lit one and inhaled in nicotined relief, glancing around the room to make sure she was alone. She sometimes wondered if it was ever worth it. Spike never seemed to notice when he hurt her feelings, and she sure as hell wasn't going to let him see. Jet always knew, though. He could always see through her façade, though thankfully he never said anything. His eyes would meet hers and something unspoken would pass between them.
Faye swallowed the lump in her throat as she pulled fiercely on the cigarette, exhaling rings of smoke towards the ceiling fan.
As she smoked in silence, she heard the hangar door open. She looked up to see Spike slouching in. She nodded and looked away, not wanting him to see in her eyes what she was feeling. He walked over to the couch and sank himself onto the cushion next to her.
"I see you found my stash." He chuckled as he reached for the pack in her hand, his hand brushing hers briefly. Her eyes grew wide and she glanced up at him. How could he know? She tensed at his touch and snatched her hand away.
"How do you know those aren't mine?" she snapped, her green eyes flashing as she frowned at him. Damn him, she thought, irritated with herself. Why do I always let him get to me?
"So, you're smoking my brand now, huh?" he countered, gazing at her with those mismatched brown eyes, grinning at her discomfort.
Faye ignored him, puffing away sulkily. His smile … fuck, he's too close. She tried not to breathe in the scent of him. It was just like the idiot to invade her personal space and her thoughts. She did not need to hear his voice right now.
She closed her eyes, trying to shut out his voice, that voice that made her heart ache. The two sat in silence for awhile, each lost in their own thoughts.
She heard him call her and ignored him.
"Faye?" He called her name again.
"What?" she snapped, cracking open an eye and whipping her head towards him.
"I just want you to know that ... I could … care for you."
Faye's heart skipped a beat as she looked at him. He was slouched against the cushions, long legs stretched out, his eyes closed as he took another drag of his cigarette. She did not trust herself to answer for fear of the words that might escape from her lips.
"Just shut up, Faye," he said softly, exhaling a long stream of smoke in her direction.
Faye knew how hard it was for him to open up to anyone, and his words that she needed to hear. She leaned back against the cushions, willing herself to breathe. She exhaled, the sound escaping like a sigh. And her heart smiled.
Chapter 3: Realizations
The words I have to say
May well be simple but they're true
Until you give your love
There's nothing more that we can do
Love is the opening door
Love is what we came here for
No one could offer you more
Do you know what I mean
Have your eyes really seen
You say it's very hard
To leave behind the life we knew
But there's no other way
And now it's really up to you
Love is the key we must turn
Truth is the flame we must burn
Freedom the lesson we must learn
Do you know what I mean
Have your eyes really seen
Lyrics from Love Song by Leslie Duncan and Elton John
It was one bounty gone wrong.
Faye and Spike returned to the Bebop, pissed off with each other and arguing all the way from the hangar into the common room.
"It's all YOUR fault!" she exclaimed as she stomped into the room. "We'll be eating instant noodles for days now!"
"What the hell, Faye, you're the one that let him get away!" Spike growled, slamming his gun on the table. He reached into his jacket for his cigarettes, angrily pulling one from the crumpled pack to light. He inhaled deeply and exhaled, trying to dissipate some of his anger with the action.
"He was going to SHOOT you, you stupid idiot!" Faye screamed at him. "What was I supposed to do?"
"You were supposed to do your fucking job!" Spike yelled back. "What were you doing watching me, anyhow?"
Faye looked at him stricken. Her mind flashed back to that day he'd gone to fight Vicious. She'd known that he wasn't coming back, that he had left knowing that he was going to get himself killed. She'd been in a funk for days when there had been no word from him. She and Jet had resigned themselves to the fact that he was probably dead. And it had been hard, really hard. The ship had been silent without him and Ed and Ein, no more constant bickering, no one to fight with, no one left to fret over. And now, here he was, telling her that she should have let him get shot? She had lost him once, she couldn't go through that again.
"I … I …" Faye floundered, she could not think with him yelling at her. She turned away before he could see the tears welling up in her eyes. "Fuck off, Spike!" she screamed, storming away towards her room.
"Oh no, you don't," he muttered, grabbing her arm. "I'm not finished with you yet!"
"Let me go, Spike," she exclaimed, struggling to free herself from his grasp. "Let GO of me!"
Spike pulled her back, whirling her to face him. "You were the one that was supposed to …" he paused when he caught a glimpse of her face. Was she crying? "Faye?"
Faye kept her head down, hair tumbling into her eyes. The thought of him seeing the emotion reflected in her face terrified her. He's going to know how I feel about him! I can't let him look at me! Faye tried to jerk her arm out of his grasp.
"Dammit, Spike, let go of me!" she shouted, wincing as he gripped her arm tighter.
"No," he said calmly. "I want to know, are you're okay?" He reached out to brush the hair away from her face.
"No, I'm NOT fucking okay!" she exclaimed, glaring up at him, swatting away his hand. "I couldn't let you die again, like before-"
Spike stared at her in bewilderment. His grip on her arm lessened, and Faye jerked away, dashing to her room.
Spike started to follow her, but he hesitated. What do I say to her?
He reached into his jacket for another cigarette, but changed his mind. He didn't know how to respond to this side of Faye. She'd been acting weird ever since his admission to her that night. They had not spoken about it, but it was obvious that it was on her mind. His heart clenched as he recalled the look on her face. He growled to himself, shaking his head. Damn, I don't need this right now. Everything was fine between us before. Wasn't it? Why does she care so much about what happens to me?
Why do I care so much about her?
He needed to talk to her.
Spike walked down the hall to her room and stopped at the door.
"Faye-Faye?" he called to her, using Ed's pet name. "Can I come in?"
She didn't answer, but he could hear her moving around the room.
Spike tapped on the door.
"Faye, open up, we need to talk."
"I don't want to talk to you," came her muffled response from within.
"Look Faye, it wasn't all your fault, you were just trying to help–"
"Fuck off, Spike!"
Spike took a deep breath, trying not to get impatient. Here it was, one of the few times that he wanted to talk to her, and the wench had to choose this time to be stubborn. He rapped on the door again, louder this time.
"Faye, just open the goddamn door!"
"Spike, what's going on?" Jet suddenly appeared behind Spike. Spike turned to survey him, eyes dark. Jet's timing was perfect as ususal, he always seemed to show up in the middle of one of his and Faye's quarrels. He was not in the mood to explain anything right now, he just wanted to talk to Faye.
"Nothing I can't handle," he mumbled, turning away to face Faye's door again.
"So how'd the hit go?" Jet asked, mystified by the look on Spike's face. "I'm guessing it didn't?"
"Yeah, that's right," Spike answered him irritably. "Now would you let me-"
The door to Faye's room suddenly slid open, and she stormed over to Spike, her eyes glistening with barely concealed rage.
"So, lunkhead, how are you going to handle this?" she asked sarcastically, glaring up at him, hands on hips in an arrogant pose. "Tell me again how stupid I was to choose saving your ass over the bounty?"
Jet's eyes widened as he turned to look at Spike.
Spike remained silent, running his fingers through his hair. He looked down at Faye, an unreadable expression in his eyes.
"Ookay," Jet said slowly as he eyed the two of them. This was obviously a private conversation and he definitely did not want to be caught in the room when stuff started flying. "I'll just go and check on the bonsais." Spike, you idiot, she looks really pissed, he thought as he backed away to escape to the bonsai room.
Neither Spike nor Faye noticed him leaving as they glared at each other. "Well? Cat got your tongue?" Faye asked defiantly, breathing heavily in barely concealed anger as she stared up into his face.
Spike looked down at her, his angry resolve evaporating as he observed the glistening tears in her eyes. She's so beautiful, he thought to himself. She's so beautiful.
"Do you know how pretty you are when you angry?" he whispered, moving towards her, his hands stuffed in his pockets. His lips tingled as he wondered what it would be like to kiss her.
Faye gulped at the sudden lump in her throat. Don't come any closer, she thought in panic. She backed away from him until she felt the wall at her back. Please don't come any closer.
Spike followed her as she backed away. He was so close that he could feel the heat emanating from her body.
"Faye, I'm sorry. And … thanks for watching out for me."
Her eyes widened. Did he just apologize to her? The lunkhead never apologized to anyone for his actions. She gulped as he came even closer and wrapped his arms around her.
"I'm sorry," he whispered as he breathed in the scent of her hair. "I won't break your heart…I knowthat's what you're thinking."
Faye stiffened at his words. "You lunkhead!" she exclaimed, pushing him away. "Do you think I'm stupid? Is this your way of handling me? If you think this is going to change anything, you're sadly mistaken!"
Spike hesitated, then gathered her in his arms again. "Faye, I'm sorry."
Faye tried to pull away, but he wouldn't let her go. She could feel his heartbeat against her chest, slow and steady. He was really here, holding her. He came back, he was here now. She finally allowed herself to relax in his embrace as she felt the warmth of him.
"I don't want you to die," she whispered against his shirt, feeling the tears prickling in her eyes. "I don't want you to leave again."
Spike tightened his grip around her waist. "Faye, I'm here," he whispered against her hair. "I'm not going anywhere."
Chapter 4: Surprises
Well I hope that I don't fall in love with you
'Cause falling in love just makes me blue,
Well the music plays and you display your heart for me to see,
I had a beer and now I hear you calling out for me
And I hope that I don't fall in love with you
Lyrics by Mark Cohn
He didn't understand why she mattered to him. It wasn't as if he felt like that about her or anything. In fact, she was an aggravating little minx most of the time, like an annoying itch just below the skin surface, out of reach that just would not go away. Everywhere he turned there she'd be, watching him, waiting to catch him off guard so that she could etch her digs into him. Sometimes he could see how much pleasure she got out of making him squirm, those green eyes glittering in triumph at his expense. Not that he didn't enjoy making her squirm, it was so easy to do, and she wouldn't even realize he'd got her until it was too late and she'd predictably blow up at him to hide her embarrassment.
Spike chuckled to himself as he remembered a shared moment in the past.
It was one night long before he'd gone off to confront Vicious, before his past started closing in on him. They'd gotten a payoff from a particularly lucrative bounty and he and Faye had come back to the ship in high spirits and just a bit more than tipsy after a night of drinking at The Big Easy in Alva City. That's when he remembered stumbling upon a bottle of Jet's tequila while seeking out a new hiding place for his smokes. Faye knew too many of his stash spots and he really wanted to have a full pack available to him at breakfast. He pulled out the bottle which he offered to share with Faye, that TJ tequila would sure make it easy enough to have fun teasing her without pissing her off, she'd be much easier to trip up. Hell, Faye can hold her liquor pretty well, I'd better make sure she doesn't turn the tables on me, he grinned to himself.
A few hours later, the room had grown uncomfortably close and sticky which they figured was because they'd nearly polished off the entire bottle of tequila. They lay sprawled on the floor next to the couch, Spike's legs stretched onto the cushions. It was definitely cooler down there as a draft from some unknown part of the ship wafted through, blowing refreshingly over his sweaty face and damp curls. The two of them threw drunken insults at each other while giggling over their stupidity. It was Faye's turn, and she stared up at the ceiling, trying to focus on the spinning fan while trying to come up with a retort to Spike's last insult. "Your legs are so-so skinny that… that – " She scrunched her eyes closed to quiet the spinning of her thoughts.
"Come on Faye, spit it out already," Spike laughed at her as he sat up to take another swig from the bottle, the amber liquid chasing down his throat like a warm embrace.
Shit, Faye grumbled to herself, her thoughts as scattered as petals as her retort threatened to fade away like a wisp of wind. Then her eyes shot open, glittering mischievously as she remembered, "… that any extra hair growing on them would bend them like a willow tree!" She collapsed to the floor, in a fit of giggles.
"Huh?" Spike stared down at her in mock confusion, trying to suppress a grin while scratching at the unkempt curls on his head. "Am I drunk, or did that not make any sense?"
Faye frowned then got mad as her tongue tripped over a curse she spat at him halfheartedly. Spike laughed hysterically at her face that, in his inebriated state resembled a green-eyed hellcat trying to intimidate with her hiss. Faye tried to maintain her frown but the uncharacteristic sound of Spike laughing was so infectious that she found herself unable to contain her own laughter, rumbling back through her nose as a loud snort. Spike glanced at her face again, then burst out laughing, falling over holding his side.
"Faye, do you know … what you … look like?" He gasped the words out between laughs. "Like a cat with a pig snout! " He looked at her and burst out in renewed chortles.
"That was just so lame," Faye pouted, glaring at him. "Stupid lunkhead," she muttered.
"Please stop looking like that," he pleaded, gasping for air, his sides aching from uncontrollable mirth. He took a deep breath to contain the giggles which just started up again as soon as he looked at her face.
"Alright!" Faye grumbled. "I have had enough of your stupid jokes…" she tried giving his head a well deserved whack, but the attempted swipe only resulted in her landing on top of his chest as a wave of alcohol induced dizziness swam over her. It had to be the tequila, it couldn't possibly be because she was close enough to feel the breaths coming from his mouth. His lips, slightly open, didn't look so thin from this close, she thought. She was staring at his lips and the hint of dark stubble along his jaw, not noticing him watching her through half closed eyes. She imagined biting on his bottom lip, that would surely wipe away his usual smirk.
Flustered, she attempted to contain her discomfort by throwing a punch that landed right below his chest.
"Faye, what the fuck-" Spike grunted, tensing at the sudden pain in his stomach as her punch hit its mark. He felt a surge of anger passed through him and he repressed the urge to retaliate, instead uneasily glancing into her livid green eyes. What he saw there startled him. She was mad, yeah, but barely perceptible, was something else …
The room suddenly seemed unusually quiet, the only sounds heard were the low humming of the ship's engines and the sound of Spike's breathing and Faye's mingling together in a resonance of its own. She glanced up to meet his gaze. Startled, she started to lift herself off of him, but he held her in place by the sudden movement of his hand across her back. She inhaled in a barely audible gasp as the warmth from his hand seeped into her skin.
Uh oh, he thought. She's really pissed now. Spike knew that an angry Faye was capable of inflicting a lot of damage, and he was not in the most advantageous position to protect himself without hurting her in the process.
So he did the only thing he could do. He kissed her.
The seeds root
The flowers bloom
The children play
The moon glows
The river flows
But I die
The world revives
But I know
Within me, blue
Lyrics by Jonathan Larson
She remembered the distant sounds of laughter and music, and her delight at being outdoors on a breezy summer evening. She was in that place in her memories, clutching her mother's hand and gazing in childlike wonder at the sights and sounds.
Faye was five years old and it was her first time at Luna Park. She was excited and fearful at the same time, overwhelmed by the masses of people and the cacophony of sounds echoing around her. Sensing her apprehension, her mother squeezed her hand reassuringly, and the fluttering sensation in her belly eased. Hand in hand with her mother, Faye gazed around in delight at the flashing and sparkling lights and pungent aromas of the food stands. Her mother pointed out this and that and they giggled together like two silly schoolgirls.
And here is the famous Grand Carousel," her mother explained as they stopped at the merry-go-round. "Not many people are fortunate enough to view this. You are a lucky little girl, my Faye."
Faye listened attentively as her mother related to her the history of the carousel and Luna Park, then turned back to look at the famed carousel. She decided that her favorite horse was the blue one with the purple mane. Her eyes ached as she tried to keep the revolving painted horse in her view, and the carousel music played in the background of her mind.
As Faye watched the horse that she had claimed as her own, she imagined herself astride him, riding away into the wind just like in a fairy tale. She turned to tell her mother about her daydream, but when she looked, her mother was gone.
"Mummy?" she called uncertainly. She looked around in panic, not seeing her mother anywhere. "Mummy, where are you?" she called out. The day was settling into dusk and the crowd was getting thicker, the voices she heard around her were more raucous and the music she heard sounded ominous now. She stood on her tiptoes to find her mother in the sea of people, but she wasn't tall enough to see anything other than torsos and feet. None of them looked like her mother. Faye's throat tightened as she realized that her mother had left her all alone.
"Mummy!" her screams echoed in her ears.
Faye gasped and woke with start, her breathing shallow and troubled. She looked around the room, her eyes darting from corner to corner, unable to focus on when and where she was. In her mind, she was still in that blurry place of her dreams, a place halfway between then and now. Faye shivered and wrapped the twisted blanket around her cold and sweaty skin. She willed herself to breathe deeply as the suffocating remnants of her dream faded, but she couldn't shake the emptiness of being alone. It was the same kind of emptiness she'd felt when Spike left.
She'd been happy then, her mother had loved her and now she was gone. She didn't feel the tears stream down her face as shallow sobs rose from her chest. Faye realized what she had lost – the innocence of her childhood.
Spike eyes shot open as he was awakened by screams from down the hallway.
Faye, he thought as he sat up in bed. He listened He slid open his room door and made his way towards Faye's room. As he stood outside of her door, Jet appeared in the corridor and looked at Spike.
"It's Faye," Jet said grimly. "She's having another one of her nightmares."
"So does she do this often?" Spike asked dryly, stifling a yawn as he scratched his tousled curls. "It's amazing that anyone can get any sleep around here."
Jet looked at Spike in disgust. "Lighten up, Spike. The girl's been through a lot since her memories came back."
Spike shrugged and muttered something about falling for the shrew's games.
Jet frowned at him. "Spike, you weren't here for the worst of it, so do us all a favor and kill the attitude, alright?"
Spike shrugged again and turned to go back into his room.
"Spike?" Jet's voice was harsh and Spike turned back to look at him quizzically.
"What now, Jet?"
"You go take care of her this time. I'm going back to bed." With that Jet stalked away, leaving Spike staring at his retreating figure.
Spike swore under his breath. He stifled a yawn and turned back to Faye's door.
"Faye?" he called as he knocked. She didn't answer, but he could hear her crying from inside the room.
"Faye, you okay in there?" Spike called again. He opened the door and entered into the room now illuminated by the dim light from the corridor.
As he peered into the room, he could see Faye curled up in the farthest corner of her bed, chest heaving shakily, her eyes regarding him warily. He shifted uneasily under her gaze, hesitant. She didn't look like she was completely awake, and she was clearly in distress, her body trembling and her face streaked with tears. He took a deep breath, then walked over and knelt in front of her. As he reached over to touch her hand, she recoiled from him. He sat down on the bed, leaning over to place his hands on her shoulders.
"Faye, you were screaming in your sleep," he spoke softly. "Bad dream?"
Faye looked up at him, swallowing a sob. Her throat felt heavy and she did not trust herself to speak. She nodded. The memory of her dream had faded into emptiness, but she was still that little girl, alone and mourning the disappearance of her mother.
As Spike studied her face carefully, he saw the anguished confusion in her eyes, and he felt a twinge of guilt as he recalled his earlier words with Jet. He didn't want to feel sympathy for Faye, but she looked … lost. He sighed and pulled her into his arms. She resisted weakly for just a moment, then sighed shakily and let herself be cradled in his embrace. They stayed that way for a while, the room quiet except for Faye's sniffles and the ambient hums radiating throughout the ship.
"I-I had a dream about my mother," she murmured.
Spike stayed silent, but tightened his hold around the girl in his arms.
The Grand Carousel is at Luna Park in Australia. Since it is believed that Faye was from a wealthy family living in Singapore, and I imagined that a trip to Australia would not be out of the realm of possibility.
Chapter 6: The Dead Return
I do not own Cowboy Bebop or the song lyrics.
No long good-bye
No answer for the reason why
No guarantees in life
Save for the end
Which is no big surprise
Time can't be overcome
Time won't wait for anyone
The well is running dry
You know, and so am I
I'm sorry now
Sometimes I didn't even give a damn
Yes, I am
To leave the ones who made me a better man
time doesn't understand
'won't let up, it never makes any plans
All stories have to end
"Farewell" to all my friends
Psychedelic Soul, lyrics Tim Jensen, music by Yoko Kanno
He survived, wounded but alive. He had no answers for why he was still among the living, but here he was. Spike never hated Mars so much as he did now. There was never much for him here anyhow, but now there was truly nothing left to hang around for, no family, the Dragons now completely decimated, nothing left but a bunch of bad memories and pain. He lay sprawled on the steps of the now empty headquarters building, lying in a pool of his own congealing blood. He was in a shitload of pain. His insides felt like they were on fire. How easy would it be to just close his eyes and drift away on the waves of his mind?
The katana sliced through him as his finger pulled the trigger, and Spike watched as the bullet pierced through the chest of Vicious. They both observed rather than felt the pain of their wounds. Their eyes met and a flash of understanding passed between them. Then Vicious fell.
As Spike slowly made his way down the stairs of the hollowed-out building, flickers of his past life rolled across his mind, like an old movie reel from the twentieth century. He remembered Faye talking about them once, an unobtrusive memory from her life long forgotten until then.
Spike felt a searing deep in his gut where the katana had slashed through skin and muscle. Right then he just wanted to stop, to let it all go, fade away into nothingness. His entire life had been leading up to this moment. This was his destiny, the ending to a bad dream, the nightmare that was his life.
My memory came back, but nothing good came out of it…
Yeah, I can relate, he thought as he recalled Faye's words to him. Nothing good comes from memories, unless you're into pain and suffering. She puzzled him, Faye did. He did not know how anyone could have the guts to go on after losing everyone and everything they had ever known. He for one was glad to leave his dark and muddied past behind.
The things he did when he was part of the life had forever tainted him. Back then, he didn't really give a damn about anything other than the sheer adrenaline rush that came when fighting through a barrage of bullets, and coming out in relatively one piece on the other side. And that was okay with him; to live as a Dragon was to accept the certainty of a short lifespan.
Then he joined up with the odd collection of people (and dog) that made up the Bebop. Their intrusion into his life was an irritation; after all, he was not a man who welcomed change. But as much as he hated to admit it, their intrusion into his life made him rethink his past existence.
He took another step down the stairway, grimacing as the pain momentarily clouded his thoughts. Did he want to continue in this life? There would be no point to it really, unless there was a reason for it. His thoughts drifted again to the inhabitants of the Bebop. What were they doing now? Were they waiting for him to return? Did they really want him there? All they ever seemed to do during the long periods between bounties was to argue and fight (well, he and Faye anyway), so he wondered whether it was worth it for him to return there.
As he took another painful step, he asked himself if he had ever felt a sense of belonging, or was he simply a visitor in each stop he made in this so-called life. An image flashed in his brain, at the meal that Jet had prepared for him, knowing that it was probably the last time they'd sit together like this. He could always read Jet, and he knew that Jet would never ask him why he was hurtling towards a destination that would end in death. But he'd seen the look in Jet's eyes, the look that he thought no one could decipher, the way he'd rub his head when he was in deep thought or conflicted about something. Yeah, he knew Jet cared but would never stand in the way of someone doing what they thought was the right thing to do, even if he disagreed. And Faye, she just wore her heart on her sleeve, but if you called her on it, she'd curse you or hit you and go on some rant about what a dense idiot you were for even thinking that she gave a damn. Yeah, they care, deep down he knew that, his shipmates cared about whether he lived or died, he'd seen it in their faces when he left. And he knew it was true because he cared as well. But when you were a Syndicate brat, caring for others was a sure way to shorten your life. No, where he was at this moment in time was the way he'd always known his life would end.
He looked up into the faces of the last of the Dragons, their expressions mystified that he was still mobile with a gash as deep as sin gushing blood from his gut. Maybe they thought he was gonna finish the job he'd started, after all, he was Spike Spiegel, heir apparent to the Dragon throne. He laughed at the thought, this time ignoring the burning. He looked up to a sky that seemed to be growing brighter. He tried breathing in but felt his breath catch in his chest. Is this what it felt like to die? He wasn't ready yet, there were things he needed to say to those that he left behind.
I do not own Cowboy Bebop or the song lyrics.
I was dreaming of the past
And my heart was beating fast
I began to lose control
I began to lose control
I didn't mean to hurt you
I'm sorry that I made you cry
I didn't mean to hurt you
I'm just a jealous guy
Lyrics by John Lennon
To experience an old world feel in a new world that was Mars, the place to go was the Odessa City Market. The huge marketplace was an odd mixture of ethnic groups and customs transplanted from an Earth that had been lost with the Gate disaster.
Spike and Faye were in the marketplace with a few hours to kill before meeting up with Jet, who'd gone off to Odessa HQ to collect the 80,000 from their latest successful bounty. The bounty pair decided that Jet wouldn't mind (or notice) if they burned a few woolongs on food that hadn't been prepared by the ship's so-called cook.
As they neared a produce stand, Faye pushed past him to examine the different kinds of fruit that the Bebop hadn't been able to afford for a long time, and her eyes lit up as she spied the selection of plump mandarin oranges, her mouth watering at the prospect of peeling one to sink her teeth into. She looked behind her to see Spike lazily ambling towards her, hands sunk deep in the pockets of his pants.
"Spike, get over here with the cash," Faye commanded, reaching to grab a couple of oranges as she waited impatiently for him.
"Whoa, Faye, who died and made you woolong queen?" Spike quipped as he glanced at her in amusement, fumbling in his suit jacket for cigarettes.
"Ah, come on, Spike, I haven't had a bite of an orange since …"
"Yeah, as if we'd make a known gambler the holder of the cash…" Spike muttered, lighting a cigarette he'd drawn from the pack.
Faye eyed him coldly, then strode over and plucked the cigarette from his mouth. She took a long drag and exhaled furiously. "Calm down, Faye," she said to herself, glancing at him icily, "he can't help being an idiot..."
"Ah Faye," he grinned, disregarding her insult as he reached into his pocket to pull out another smoke. "I don't know about you, but since protein doesn't seem to be part of Jet's vocabulary, kebabs with meat would be a much better choice, dontcha think?" He blew a perfect smoke ring in her direction.
Faye humphed and turned her back on him. Spike laughed, amused at the sudden change in her mood. "Lighten up, Faye, and let's go get something to eat." He reached out and grabbed her hand to pull her back towards the hubbub of the market.
Faye thought about how long it had been since she'd eaten, and, rather than spend precious minutes arguing while they were starving, she allowed Spike to drag her along. They struck a bargain; with their limited funds, they bought an orange and a kebab, and actually shared. Afterwards, they wandered around the market, zeroing in the vendors with free food samples, and after an hour of filling their stomachs with food that they didn't even have to pay for, they were stuffed.
"What the hell is taking Jet so long? I'm ready for a nap." Faye ranted, unwilling to take another step. She looked around for Spike and spied him heading towards an unoccupied market bench near a storage unit, surrounded by a cluster of spindly trees. She walked over to him, reading his intention to claim the seat for himself.
"You were planning on sharing that bench, weren't you?" she asked coyly, stretching out the kinks from too much food and too much walking. "I'm one of the delicate creatures, you know," she continued, languidly dropping down on the bench, "and I need to catch up on my beauty sleep."
Spike looked back at her, snorting, annoyed that she'd caught on to him before he had the chance to put his plan into effect. He sank down next to her, trying to ignore her very feminine attributes as she made herself comfortable.
"Honestly, Spike," Faye began as she curled her legs beneath her, "I don't think that we've ever gone this long without an argument." She glanced at him, trying to gauge his reaction.
Spike groaned inwardly. It wasn't good that Faye was beginning her conversation like this. It meant that she was in the mood for a serious talk, and he wasn't having it. And especially not with her sitting next to him looking like … that. Any prolonged discussion would mean that he'd have to look into her face for too long, and he would not be able to keep his eyes from traveling from her lips down to the rest of her.
"That so?" he mumbled with practiced nonchalance, sliding his eyes towards a stall of Moroccan merchants preparing a new batch of kebabs to sell. He inhaled the aroma that drifted towards him, and his stomach grumbled with renewed hunger.
Faye turned slightly, noting his slouched demeanor and his swift, concealed stare at her body. She knew him that he was trying not to look at her; after all these months living together on the ship, she could read him better than he thought.
"Yeah, it is," Faye said smoothly. On an impulse, she reached up and grabbed his tie, forcing him to do just what he was avoiding, and she smiled seductively as she stared up at him.
His stomach did a flip when he looked at those green eyes and the slightly lecherous expression on her face. His eyes searched hers as her hands tightened the grip on his tie. Spike knew that she was not going to let go of him unless he did something. If he was going to gain control of this situation, he needed to throw a curve ball. Alright then, two can play this game. He leaned down and planted a moist kiss on her lips, staring back at her mischievously.
"So," he whispered, touching the tip of her nose with his tongue, "what do you want?"
Faye dropped her hold on his tie in surprise as looked up at him, startled green eyes revealing the twinge of lust she felt at his touch. "You're such an ass, Spike!" she retorted, blushing, and she yanked her head away, silky strands of her hair escaping from her headband. As she squinted in the distance for signs of Jet, she heard Spike's chuckle behind her and the rustle of his jacket as he lazily settled himself back on the bench.
It's always the same, she thought vehemently, brushing her hair away from her face. I thought we were finally getting along, having a good time, a serious moment for a change, and he goes and tries to turn it all into some kind of joke or something. She had wanted to be in control, and now, here he was, thinking that he'd throw her by kissing her. She was damn tired of it. She'd do something that he wouldn't expect her to do. And she didn't give a rat's ass what he thought.
Faye twisted on the bench and edged closer until her hip touched his. Spike gave her an uneasy sidelong glance and found her staring at him. She didn't seem angry but she wasn't saying anything either. Spike wanted to move away or pull her closer, he couldn't decide which. He was intensely conscious of her body touching his as he caught a trace of her perfume mingled with the food they'd shared, along with a scent that was uniquely Faye's. With determined indifference, he focused on the Moroccan merchant stand, trying to make out the lettering in the right-hand corner of a food package, all the while sensing Faye's eyes boring into him. Unexpectedly Faye swung her leg over his and straddled his lap, staring him down.
"Spike, stop playing with me," she murmured, one slim finger skimming across his face to trace an outline along his ear.
He tensed at the sudden contact and squirmed as he realized that she was close enough for him to feel the soft warmth of her breasts against his chest, and he tried not to imagine how they would feel in his hands. He gripped her around her waist to lift her from his lap but Faye moved closer, wrapping her arms around his neck.
"Do you want to know what I think?" she asked, as she played with the curly locks at the nape of his neck. His insides quivered at the light touch of her fingers and he wanted to push her away, but the heat of her skin on his felt so good.
"What?" he whispered, closing his eyes and breathing in the Faye scent.
"I think that I'd like to kiss you again." She nuzzled his collarbone, pressing soft kisses along his neck. She felt him sigh into her hair, his grip tightening around her waist and she was pleased at the effect she was having on him.
"Well, you should know," he finally surrendered, nosing in her ear, "I want to kiss you too." He nibbled slowly down her neck, smiling as he felt her quivering response.
She leaned down and touched her lips to his, teasing her tongue along his lips, fulfilled her fantasy of biting his tantalizing bottom lip. She heard the catch in his throat and felt the pressure of his erection from his lap as he slid one hand up the curve of her waist stroked his hands up her sides, one hand sliding under her yellow tank top to cup her breast. Faye gasped as he slid his tongue between her parted lips to tangle with hers, their hungry kisses intensifying as they explored each other.
Their kisses were waking him up, making him hungry for more, and wanting more was dangerous, his past life was proof of that. With controlled effort, Spike pushed himself up from the bench, drawing away from her mouth, and she protested, wrapping her arms around his neck.
"No…" she whined, seeking his lips again.
Spike laughed softly against her lips, and brushed his lips across her cheek to her ear, then up to rest against her forehead.
"Faye, Jet's probably looking for us …"
"Spike, shut up," she murmured, pulling his head down to hers and capturing his lips again. His hands involuntarily pulled her closer as he closed his eyes and tried to quell the deep aching need that her kisses awakened in him. He was hungrier than he had been in a long time, and this time, that hunger was for Faye. His brain was shutting down (where the hell was his Jeet Kune Do control when he needed it?) as he lost himself in the pleasure of their kisses, for once appreciating her skimpy yellow outfit that allowed his hands to caress the bare skin of her midriff.
"Having ourselves a little fun, are we?"
Faye jumped at the sound of Jet's voice as he appeared suddenly from out of nowhere. Blushing, she moved away from Spike and folded her arms across her chest, trying to conceal her breasts with their nipples poking through her yellow top.
Spike swore under his breath, upset more at the loss of physical contact with Faye than at being snagged by Jet.
"Jet, your timing, as usual, is impeccable," he muttered, aware that his body was sporting a few bulges that would not normally be so visible. He half hoped Jet didn't notice, but knew that Jet's eyes didn't miss anything, that was one of the traits that the two of them shared as bounty hunting partners. His hands were trembling as he pulled his cigarettes from his jacket, retrieving one for Faye. He lit it and handed it to her, and she took, avoiding his eyes. He lit another and inhaled, looking up to see the suppressed amusement in Jet's eyes.
Jet, of course, knew what was up. He'd seen them anyway, before he had walked up to them, when they were too engrossed with each other to notice him or anything else around them.
"So, if you two are finished, we can pick up some supplies and head back to the ship," he commented, suppressing a smile. It's about time, he thought. The sexual tension between those two was thick enough to cut with a knife.
A.N. This is my first attempt at writing lemony content and I'm not sure if it's any good...
Chapter 8: Here We Are
Here We Are
I do not own Cowboy Bebop or the song lyrics.
For the first time I am looking in your eyes
For the first time I'm seein' who you are
I can't believe how much I see
When you're lookin back at me
Now I understand..
Lyrics by Kenny Loggins
In the darkness of space on Mars, three ships descended in turns onto the hangar of the Bebop, Jet the first to emerge from his ship, stepping onto the magnetized floor. There weren't too many things that you could count on Ed to do when all she really wanted to do was to surf on Tomato, but Jet knew that she'd have no trouble toggling on the magnetic field switch so that he could walk out of the hangar into the body of the ship.
"OK Ed, flip the switch," he commanded the girl.
"Okey dokey mon capitan!" Edward punned as she toggled the control button.
The hatch of the Hammerhead hissed open and Jet stepped down, gathering up the provisions he bought. He made his way into the ship's galley to put away the supplies, stashing a few items into the Dire Emergency hold area. Neither Faye nor Spike knew of this particular hold behind the cleaning supplies, and since neither of them was very fond of the word "cleaning," he was comfortably sure that they would not think to look behind cleaning materials for food.
"Did you bring any souvenirs?" Ed's head popped around the corner just as he was finishing up.
"Of course Ed," he answered her, smiling and holding out something in his head.
"Oooh chocolate, Edward loves chocolate!" she exclaimed, snatching up the candy bar. "Yummmm," she said as she clutched the candy, zooming away like a buzzing bee.
Jet laughed to himself as he watched her, Ein following closely behind her. He heard the click of the entrance hatch, and poked his head out from the kitchen in time to see Faye scoot inside the door. She glanced up to meet Jet's eyes.
"So Faye, have fun at the market?" Jet quipped, noting the soft pink that tinged her cheeks.
"Hmmmph," she muttered, flicking him the finger as she walked down the stairs and stalked away to her room.
The hatch door clicked again and Jet looked out as Spike hunched his frame through the door.
"Yo," Spike greeted him, slouching down the stairs. "What's for dinner?"
"The usual," Jet answered.
Spike groaned, lighting up as he headed to his yellow couch.
"The bounty wasn't that much, Spike," Jet grumbled. "And you know that we need to-"
"Yeah, yeah, I know," Spike interrupted, exhaling some cigarette smoke. "Keep food on hand for dire emergencies and blah blah blah." He glared back at Jet as he flopped down on the couch. "But just this once, how about just a little beef with the noodles?"
Jet laughed, ignoring Spike's sarcasm. "By the way, Faye went that-a-way," he said, pointing towards Faye's room.
Spike rolled his eyes as sudden warmth crept up his face. "Can it, Jet, wouldja?" he mumbled, sinking deeper into the sofa, cigarette dangling from his lips.
Jet looked at him, amused that Mr. Cool and Collected actually blushed. Will wonders never cease, he thought as he flipped the noodles in the pan. And him with Faye. It's about damn time. He shook his head, pleased. Maybe he would add a bit of beef to the peppers.
Spike took one last drag from his cigarette. He reached over to stub the butt into the ashtray, mildly surprised that he had been embarrassed from Jet's ribbing him about Faye. He leaned back, stretched out his legs on the table and closed his eyes. He was trying real hard not to think of her, stealing a glance towards her room. He wondered what she could be doing in there.
Jet popped his head out from the kitchen suddenly, calling out to him.
"Spike, get Faye, would ya? Dinner's on."
"She'll come on out when she smells the food, Jet." Spike ignored his impulse to get up to go to Faye's room and instead kept himself rooted to the couch.
"Well, go find Ed then," Jet ordered him impatiently. "I'll get Faye myself."
Spike groaned and dragged himself up from the couch. There was no telling where Ed was at this moment, and he didn't feel like searching all over the ship for her while his stomach protested the possible delay in food relief. And anyway, Faye's room was closer.
"On second thought, Jet, you go find Ed," he said lazily, wandering towards Faye's room. "We'll keep a plate warm for you."
Jet scowled at him and stalked off in the direction that Ed was last seen heading. Once out of Spike's view, he slowed down to a leisurely pace.
Gotcha, he thought with a smile.
Chapter 9: Here We Are Again
Here We Are Again
I do not own Cowboy Bebop or the song lyrics.
Meet Me Halfway
In a lifetime
Made of memories
Every moment returns again in time
When I've got the future on my mind
Know that you'll be the only one
Lyrics by Kenny Loggins
Spike approached Faye's door, knocking once before letting himself in.
Faye lay sprawled across her bed, magazines and candy bars strewn atop the covers haphazardly. She glanced up and glared at him, dazed at his audacity to enter her room without her permission.
"What do you want?" she hissed at him as she sat up and swept away some of the mess that adorned her bed.
"Jet told me to check on you," he said.
She rolled her eyes at him.
Spike touched the door pad, and as the door closed with a hiss, he leaned back against it, crossing his legs and looking over at Faye.
"I don't know why it bothers you so much," he said calmly, waiting for her reaction.
"It doesn't." she spat back, looking away from him and back to what she was reading before she'd been so rudely interrupted.
"Then why are you avoiding him like he's got the plague or something?" he teased her.
"Fuck off, Spike," she retorted, knowing that he was right. She slid off the bed and stalked over to her dresser, her back to him. She rummaged through the top drawer pretending to search for something, all the while aware of his eyes on her. Such an idiot, she thought, feeling flustered and trying not to let it show.
He chuckled. He watched her, eyeing her curves that he'd held not so many hours ago. She was sinfully appealing, and he wanted the touch of her skin on his again. Faye brought out something in him, and though he tried to convince himself that it was simply lust as he watched they way she carelessly paraded those curves, knowing that he noticed, he knew that it was a lie, because if it were true, he could have sweet-talked her into sleeping with him ages ago. No, something else was going on in this warped brain of his, and he half wished he could turn it off, that uncomfortably tight feeling in his chest when he looked at her. He wanted her around him, and it wasn't just for her body. He just didn't know how to tell her that he felt more at ease with her nearby.
"Faye?" he called to her, waiting for her to turn around.
She stopped, and after a few long moments, turned to look at him. Her eyes met his, and he looked back at her.
He wasn't good with the words associated with emotions, smart ass mocking comments came to him easily and he was so much more comfortable with them. But he needed her to know how he felt. He swallowed the doubts within himself and walked towards her. Her eyes faltered for a second, then she boldly held her stance, her eyes narrowing as she stared back at him. He noticed how quickly she suppressed her surprise, assuming the girl-with-attitude stance, hands on hips, sneer on lips, and defiance in her eyes. He continued towards her, and when he was mere inches away, he stopped and gazed down at her, his hand reaching out to touch her cheek.
When Faye looked up at him, he tried to convey to her with his eyes, what he was feeling. And he could tell that what she saw was something that she didn't expect.
Faye could feel the heat emanating from him, his hand gentle and warm against her skin. Yet his body was still, his breathing measured. And what she saw when she looked at him was something soft and fierce, a strange combination of protectiveness and passion. She was afraid of her emotions when he was this close. He made her aware of her vulnerability, which both scared her and made her a little angry, because she did not want him to see how strong her emotions were when it came to him.
For the first time, Spike was willingly showing her who he was. That when he loved, he loved fiercely, just like everything else he did, like the way he drank, and the way he hunted. But what he didn't realize was that she had already discovered who he was. And it was why she felt the way that she did about him and why she always pushed him away. She drew in a shuddering breath.
He gently cupped the side of her face, his palm rough against her skin. She leaned into his touch instinctively, and emotions swirled through his eyes. "I see you, Faye," he said thickly, the emotions evident into his voice. "Please trust me. Understand?" As his eyes tunneled into hers, she saw in them what he couldn't say - please don't break my heart, Faye.
She swallowed hard and nodded. He bent forward and kissed her gently. She wrapped her arms around him as she instinctively responded to his kiss. The feelings that she'd kept locked away deep inside were surfacing, and she broke away, suddenly afraid.
Spike lifted her chin and smiled, his eyes locked onto hers, telling her that he understood. "No one else but me, Faye," he whispered as he caressed her cheek, then pulled her to him in a fierce hug.
Faye curled herself into the pillow, and Spike pulled her close to his chest, his hand resting on her stomach and her head tucked beneath his chin. She reached for his hand on her stomach and entwined her fingers with his as she closed her eyes and fell into a peaceful slumber. He held her tightly to him as she slept, and as he kissed her hair, he whispered, "I love you, Faye."
Chapter 10: Us Together
I do not own Cowboy Bebop.
Know that you'll be the only one ...
Spike closed the door to her room, careful not to wake her. It was too early to be awake but he couldn't sleep with so many thoughts racing through his mind. He made his way into the common room and sank into the cushions of the yellow couch. Jet was already up; he could hear him in the kitchen as the sounds and smells of brewing coffee wafted towards him. He picked up the pack of smokes from the table and pulled one out. He lit up, thinking about the events of the previous day. Me and Faye. The words sounded foreign in his mind. He tried them out again, this time aloud. "Me and Faye." A smile drifted to his lips as he mouthed the words
Jet emerged from the kitchen holding two cups of coffee.
"You say something?" he asked as he handed him a cup. Spike shook his head as he tried to wipe the smile from his face. Jet stared at him a moment, then sat back, the two of them drinking coffee and smoking in a companionable silence between friends. After a while, Spike spoke.
"Jet." He took another pull from his cigarette, and lay back against the sofa, staring up at the rotating ceiling fan. "About Faye. She … I don't think she's ever been … with anyone before."
Jet nodded. "Kind of figured." He took a gulp of his coffee, wondering where this was leading.
Spike glanced at him, eyebrows raised. "You knew – and you didn't tell me?"
Jet paused, then turned to Spike as if talking to an idiot. "And I should have told you that why exactly?"
Spike's cheeks turned crimson and he looked down in his lap. "At first she … thought I only wanted …" he took a deep drag off his cigarette and exhaled, finally looking up, meeting Jet's gaze steadily.
Jet surpressed his surprise that Spike was telling him even this much. Although they had a pretty good relationship, subjects of a personal nature were usually left unspoken. And Spike was so damn closed-mouth about personal things, him bringing up anything about him and Faye, well, that must mean that he cared about her more than he'd realized. Jet recalled the last time that Spike had talked like this, with that same retrospective, melancholy tone, it had been about Julia, just before he'd single-handedly instrumented the the fall of the Red Dragons.
"Faye can be a real bitch sometimes," he said, taking a long deep drag from his cigarette as he glanced at Spike.
Spike smiled as an image of a fuming Faye flashed in his mind. "Yeah. Definitely a woman with attitude."
"But," Jet continued, looking at Spike. "That's just the attitude she puts on when she feels the most insecure. That wench has been kicked around so much that the only way she knows how to protect herself is to keep her fangs bared at all times."
Spike fell silent, pondering Jet's words. What Jet said about her was true, and if he hadn't known before, he certainly knew after their night together.
He recalled the times he'd teased her mercilessly, knowing she'd come right back at him with a retort of her own. What he hadn't realized was just how much his words had stung. Now that he thought about it, he realized that the more caustic her comebacks, the more hurt she had felt inside. Thinking about it now made him feel guilty. And Spike Spiegel had never felt guilty about anything he'd done or said in his whole life ... except for now, when it came to Faye. She was changing him.
And he wasn't so sure if he liked it.