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Memento Mori

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Spike Spiegel’s capacity for forgiveness wasn’t infinite, nor was Cosimi’s patience. Both stood on the edge of frayed sewing threads, the tiniest of hairs holding them in place. Yet, despite the arguments that seemed to shake the foundation of the Bebop, the hairs never broke, always on the verge of entirely shredding, but still wavering, as if waiting for a moment in which they would be repaired.

But the threads holding the two together could never be repaired, a fact Cosimi had long since accepted. They walked on a fragile line at first meeting, unfortunate situations bringing them together time and time again, two many insistences of ‘wrong place and wrong time’, that caused the two of them to linger in close proximity. Cosimi once preferred to stay on the other side of the Galaxy.

Spike Spiegel’s arrivals meant one thing – trouble wasn’t far behind him.

A shady past, Jet had narrowly explained, one that even he didn’t fully understand despite their time as partners. She never intended to find out the truth, as somethings were better left untold. Men like Spike had a reason for keeping secrets, and despite her burning desire to unwrap his life and understand what made him so vexing.

There’d always been a deep annoyance between the two, something unwavering, palpable, almost breathing as if it was a real thing, a shared organ between the two. And yet, somewhere along the way, in meeting strangers and witnessing death one too many times, the vexation turned into something unidentifiable, something a little less nagging and irritating.

Being around him didn’t irritate her anymore, and his eyes, those strange red irises that were only a few shades off, didn’t seem so terrifying anymore. When she first met him, he was a daunting man, standing a foot taller than her with messy hair and red eyes, a rustled suit with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. He was leaning coolly against the exterior of a bar, the flash of silver in the moonlight catching on the piece he kept strapped to him.

A dangerous man with a dangerous past, a no-good kind of ruffian that Cosimi’s mother would spit at.

Spike told her once that there was nothing he hated more than women with attitudes and gave her a sharp glare that was intended to sting. He said it with such malice that it took her by surprise.

How did she go from spitting hatred to begging him not to go?

It was nighttime on the Bebop, he’d come to visit her – to say goodbye, though he pretended it was something else. Cosimi was half-asleep, growing alert to the sound of the door opening. Spike stepped in casually, kneeling down beside the bed. He observed her sleepy face with a tiny smile, tracing the lines of her palm with the tip of his finger.

“I didn’t think you’d come back,” Cosimi admitted, sitting up.

Her voice wavered, lip quivering as her eyes began to burn once more, the stickiness of past tears having yet to leave to her skin.

“I’m here for now,” Spike said, uncharacteristically softly.
“What about Julia?”
“In the past,” He muttered, a look of pain growing across his features.

Cosimi tried to remind herself of the awkward ground they stood on, balanced on fragile hair string threads that threatened to give away at any moment. But Spike was always casual as if he wasn't facing death or imminent destruction. There were times when all she wanted was to spit in his face, to slap him and punch him, but now, there was nothing, only a hollow sadness that echoed in her gut.

“You’re gonna leave again though,” She said slowly, the slightness of her question making Spike look at her with those strange eyes.
“I have to take care of my past… I need to know if I’m really alive or if this is all just a dream.”
“You’re alive Spike!”

She grabbed him by the face, feeling the warm skin of his cheeks against her open palms, hoping the desperation she felt wasn’t showing to terribly on her face. She felt a new tear gather in the corner of her eye, slipping downwards as she gazed at him. Cosimi felt it, like a bad omen that this may be the last time she’d ever hold his face like this – the last time she’d ever see him.

Things were getting too dangerous for them, it was only a matter of time before things started catching up to him.

He gently grabbed her hands, sending a wave of nerves up through the back of her palms, down her spine and to her toes. He was smiling at her, gently, but only with his eyes. It was all obvious now staring at him which one was the fake.

“I have to know Cosimi.”

It was the first time he said her name.

She’d always been ‘that woman’ or ‘kid’ to Spike, never Cosimi. He’d referred to as a number of things in the past, none too pleasant, but there was a hint of apology in his tone as if by saying her name, he was righting the wrongs.

“You can’t just… please don’t…”

Cosimi fell into him, arms around his shoulders as she buried her face into the skin of his neck.

When did it all change?

Spike breathed in, a hollow longing in his chest that wanted to feel and accept love again. He could feel it, his love for her, for Jet, for Faye and Ed and Ein, welling in his stomach, years of pain and wrongdoings not allowing it to break free. Maybe that was what it was about – being able to feel love again, to accept it without worry.

Spike raised his arms to hold her, her sobs muffled into his skin, whispers and pleads for him not to go spoken in a harrowing, heart-wrenching tone. It felt good to hold another human being – to hold a girl who wasn’t Julia for a change.

“Just… lie to me,” Cosimi said, sniffing roughly, pulling snot back in, “tell me that you’re coming back.”

He swallowed roughly. It was a simple request, one he was entirely capable of fulfilling without a hitch. Cosimi pulled back to look at him. Her heartfelt doe eyes narrowing in on him, refusing to look away, Spike gave a gentle smile.

He stood slowly, dropping her hands from his shoulders, lingering in their warmth a moment before setting them in her lap. Cosimi looked down at them, glistening beads rolling down her cheeks that made him want to stay, to lay beside her in the bed for the night, to stay awake and try to make up for everything wrong he’d done.

But time wasn’t a luxury, and the hair like threads they stood on were shaking.

Spike tilted her head upwards, glistening, puffy cheeks, red veins clouding her usually bright green eyes. The life was gone, sucked away by battle and hardship, and he knew. He leaned down, taking her face in both hands, to feel her one more time as his lips pressed a final goodbye to her forehead.

He lingered, inhaling the familiar, homey scent of her shampoo and the smell he could only associate with Cosimi. He closed his eyes, letting one hand drop at a time, pulling away from her. He walked to the door, stepping out into the hallway. Closing the door would end it all. Closing the door would sever the one string they stood on, sending them both tumbling to the ground.

Spike took a deep breath, walking forward as it whizzed shut behind him.