I do not own Cowboy Bebop.
In This Place
Faye scanned the room searching for signs of movement. Jet was nowhere in sight, so she figured he was in the bonsai room, his sanctuary for when the stress of boredom became intolerable, or when he was trying to avoid her. The Swordfish was in the hangar, which meant that Spike was somewhere around, and since all he ever liked to do was to sleep, she knew that she could find him in his usual spot.
Faye could see the large feet hanging over the edge of the couch, and she moved forward stealthily. The ship's engines shifted in response to a pre-programmed command to adjust course, and she froze when the unexpected groan of gears reached her ears. Praying that Spike would not wake up, she stole a glance at his face, watching his eyes for signs of movement. Sure enough, the tell-tale signs of dreaming were evident as she watched the way his eyelids fluttered. She sighed in relief and crept closer, crouching down to look into his face.
More times than she cared to admit, she watched him while he slept. Sometimes she did it to reassure herself that he was still breathing when he was recovering from serious injuries. Other times, it was simply because she liked looking at him, fascinated by the range of emotions that would surface. She knew every phase that played out upon his face.
There was his semi-conscious phase, one ear hearing every word spoken around him, while the other listened to whatever was going on in his own warped brain. Those were the times when his eyes would be appear closed, save for a thin sliver of an opening beneath the lids, and he'd mumble incoherently to her or Jet, a half-truthful, somewhat wistful and completely inaccurate version of what he thought he heard. Those were the times when Faye wanted to pull him into her arms to stroke the sadness away.
During his sneaky-fake-sleep phase, Spike listened to everything going on in the room, storing up tidbits of information to be later used as bribery for a few woolongs or to annoy the hell out of her. He thought he was quite masterful at feigning sleep, and anyone watching him would never even be able to tell. Except for her, that is. Because only she knew that during his fake-sleep phase, his eyelids would flutter just like he was in REM sleep mode. But she had figured out that Spike's cybernetic eye would flutter out of sync with his natural eye, something that happened only when he was conscious.
Then there was his ignore-Faye-fake-sleep phase, when he would lie on the couch with his eyes closed and his arm draped across his eyes, and pretend to be asleep, knowing that she knew he faking, just to annoy her. If she wanted something from him, whether an answer to a question or a cigarette from his pack, he would launch into the phase, complete with snoring sound effects. During those times, she tried her damndest not to let him provoke her into blowing up and throwing a shoe or an ashtray at him.
Sometimes it worked.
Faye inched closer to his sleeping form, watching for signs of activity. Her hand hovered near his face, then reached over to trace a finger over his cheek, marveling at the feel of the silky stubble against her fingertip. "You would kill me for doing this if you were awake, wouldn't you?" she whispered, so sure of her knowledge of his sleep phases that she knew he wouldn't answer him. She talked to him about some of her recently returned memories, and of one in particular, a memory of a rainy Saturday morning, lying on the floor of her bedroom listening to the radio. She told him about how much she had loved to dance, and when one of her favorite songs had queued on the radio, how she had spontaneously grabbed one of her teddy bears to be her dancing partner, the two of them whirling around the room, until the song ended, and they had collapsed to the floor in giddy exhaustion.
His eyelids fluttered as Faye's voice wafted through to his unconsciousness. He focused on her voice, trying to make sense of the words, sliding his eyes open to watch her. He was sure she didn't know that he was awake, completely lost as she was in her story. The last time, she had told her story to the dog, so apparently she liked relating memories to inanimate objects. He guessed he could count himself in that category.
"… and that was the last time I was ever in my room," she whispered as she watched the fan above her. "The last time I ever hugged my Velvet bunny, the last time I ever saw my home. 'Cause the next day was my long awaited trip into space."
Faye sighed and looked down at Spike, gasping when she realized that his eyes were open.
Their gazes locked.
He watched her with an inscrutable expression, but he remained silent.
"You're awake," she muttered, looking away. She wasn't embarrassed really, she told herself; just annoyed that now he had more ammunition to torture her with. "Did you hear the whole thing?"
She swallowed a lump in her throat. It was completely irrational for her to think that he could ever understand anything about her. He had never asked her anything about her life, and he had never volunteered anything about his.
She leaned against the couch to rise from the floor, but he caught her chin in his fingers and tilted her face toward his.
She gasped as he forced her to look at him. She found herself mesmerized by his eyes as the cybernetic eye fluctuated in varying shades of burnished umber and rust, and she exhaled when a sense of calm overcame her.
Spike leaned in to brush his lips over hers, a whisper of a touch. Her heart pounded in her ears as the unfamiliar pleasure of his caress flooded her mind. He leaned back and looked at her.
"Feeling better now?" he asked, his trademark smirk gracing his lips.