Actions

Work Header

Heavy in Your Arms

Chapter Text

Killing people is not something you get used to. Using a gun makes it easier though; it takes away the liability almost. As if using a weapon instead of your bare hands somehow makes you less of a murderer.

Spike knew what he was: an assassin, a hitman. Murderer. The label didn’t matter to him. As far as he was concerned, he was a cold-blooded killer who took people's lives without a second thought and didn't feel any remorse. At least that's what it said in his job description.

Staring into the eyes of the man he was about to shoot through the skull, Spike’s wandering thoughts lead him down a path of reminiscence. How on Earth did he end up like this?

He quickly shook away those thoughts. He knew it was best not to dwell on questions like that because the answers always brought along grating emotions like regret and guilt. And feelings like that didn't not take kindly to people in Spike’s line of work.

Without even realising it, Spike pulled the trigger and the man's body fell to the floor, his head shattering against the concrete. Blood pouring from his skull.

‘I wonder what's for dinner tonight’, Spike thought absentmindedly as he pocketed his gun.

***

As Spike left the building, his thoughts landed on his partner Vicious. For the past year and bit, Spike hadn’t completed a single hit without Vicious by his side. Until two weeks ago. That was the last time he’d seen Vicious properly. Before then, he'd had been acting weird, almost like he was avoiding Spike. He hoped he was okay.

On his way home, Spike passed a small flower shop with red roses in the window and, on an impulse, bought the whole bunch. He’d noticed that these last few weeks his wife had been acting uncharacteristically nice to him, so he wanted to say thank you somehow. Red roses, though? They were the obvious choice, maybe even a little lacklustre. But then again, Spike had never been one for big romantic gestures. He just wasn't that sort of guy.

Maybe today was the day that all changed?

"Honey, I'm home!" Spike shuddered as he closed the door behind him and took off his shoes. Nope, that didn't sound right coming from his mouth.

There was no answer anyway. The house seemed deadly quiet. He went into the living room. It was empty, apart from a bottle of wine on the coffee table and two empty glasses.

She probably invited one of her friends over to talk.

Spike checked the kitchen next. That was empty too.

As he started up the stairs, he could hear muffled sounds coming from the bedroom. He wondered what she was doing.

‘Oh, I wasn't expecting that.’ Spike thought to himself as he opened to door. Every muscle in his body turned to putty, his hands went limp and the bouquet of roses fell to the floor in a miserable slump.

"Julia." The only word his deflated lungs would let escape.

His already weak and malnourished heart shrivelled up and climbed out of his chest at the sight in his bed.

His wife Julia was lying on top of his partner Vicious. A man who he'd worked alongside for his entire career, a man who he would've trusted with his life, who he thought was his friend, was now ploughing his wife in his own goddamn bed.

"Spike I can explain." She told him quickly as she got up, wrapping the sheet around her chest.

A dull sense of rage pounded at Spike's thropping skull, as the world around him started to dissipate.

"Spike what are you doing?" He barely noticed her talking.

He didn't know what he was doing. He couldn't feel anything. It was like he was drowning, the current pulling him deep into an abyss of blind rage.

The sound of a gunshot brought him out of his trance. At the sight of Vicious’ lifeless body spread out over the bed, Julia started screaming.

His vision focused. Vicious was dead. The remains of his head splattered all over the headboard.

He almost felt bad; that was going to be a bitch to clean up. Luckily Spike wasn't planning on sticking around for that.

Julia’s hysterical wails faded into white noise as Spike turned to leave. He left slowly, purposefully, taking care with each step he took. He was in no hurry to get out of there, because in that moment, he didn’t give a shit.

3 Years Later

The car hummed to life around Spike as Jet started the ignition. He watched the tall skyscrapers cascade past as they drove leisurely down busy roads of downtown Chicago.

"Hey Jet," Spike started.

"Hmm?" Jet hummed absentmindedly, his attention on the road rather than Spike. Ironically, he'd always had been a law-abiding citizen, even after he quit being a cop to become a contract killer.

"If you had to sum up your taste in women with three celebrities, who'd you choose?"

"Just three? That's tough." Jet thought for a moment giving the side of his head a quick scratch for good measure, "Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and…who's that girl from Rear Window?"

"Grace Kelly."

Jet whistled fondly, "That's the one."

"Isn't she royalty now or something?" Spike asked, somewhat uninterested in his own question.

"Royalty?" Jet raised an eyebrow.

"Yeah she married a Parisian prince. Or something along those lines."

Jet gave him a shrug in response. "So, who'd you choose."

"Uhm..." Spike placed a fist under his chin and rested his elbow on the door frame as he thought.

"Let me guess," Jet said with an all too knowing smile, "Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Monroe."

"Close." Spike smiled, "Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Monroe, and Jerry Lewis."

They shared a quick laugh before Jet pulled up outside a scruffy looking dry cleaner.

"This is it." Jet said shortly, "He should be the only one in there."

"Great." Spike said as he quickly checked the number of bullets in his gun.

"We should be in and out in ten minutes, as long as he doesn't try anything."

Spike sniffed, pocketing his gun. He nodded towards Jet before stepping out of the car.

They walked, one after the other, up to the dry cleaners. Spike walked up to the counter ready to distract their target as Jet nonchalantly locked the door behind them.

"I need to get a suit cleaned, can you by any chance help me with that?"

"Well then you've come to the right place, my friend." The man said with a thick Italian accent as he smiled cooperatively at Spike.

His smile quickly turned to dread as he watched Spike take a gun out of his pocket and point it at his head.

“On second thought, maybe I’ll just get a washing machine.”

"You don't have to do this." He pleaded quickly.

"Sorry man, it's kinda my job."

Spike tightened his grip on the trigger as he turned the safety off, but before he could fire, the dry cleaner had brought his own gun up from beneath the counter and was pointing it at Spike's forehead.

"Bad move you little bitch." Spike hissed as he sharply took hold of the man's arm, squeezing it so tight, he almost dropped the gun.

The man yelled in pain as Spike pulled him over the counter and threw him onto the floor. His gun flew out of his hand and landed besides Jet's feet. So Jet picked it up, pocketed it, and aimed his gun at the man lying on the floor. He whimpered like a baby, his arms held up in front of his face, "Please, I-"

Spike pulled the trigger. The man's head split open, his body went limp.

Without a word, Spike and Jet picked up the body and threw it in their trunk ready to discard it.
Then they drove away from the crime.

Getting rid of the body was always Spike’s least favourite part of the job. That is, when they actually did do it; most days, Spike and Jet would call their boss to get some other bozo down there to dump the body somewhere.

"I'm thirsty." Spike said, mainly to himself as they got back into the car, "Wanna grab a drink?"

"Sure." Jet said.

Spike and Jet were regulars at this secluded jazz club in the downtown area. Locals called it The Bebop. It was actually called Jim’s Place but that didn’t really have the same rig to it.

Spike and Jet visited that place for a drink almost every night, and tonight was no exception. Jet parked the car in their usual spot before the two headed inside to take a seat at the bar. Spike sighed as he sat down and took out a packet of Camels from his breast pocket. After lighting one, he took a slow, lingering drag and gazed at the cuts on his knuckles. They weren’t new; he’d gotten them a couple weeks ago in the middle of a nasty fist fight with a rather bothersome target.

After a few minutes of sitting in comfortable silence, the bartender, and owner of the joint, Jim, came up to the two men, “Hey fellas, how’s it going?”

Spike shrugged, Jet answered with a sigh, “Same old stuff, different day.”

Jim nodded understandingly, “What’ll it be? The usual?”

“Make mine a double, would’ya?” Spike asked as he took a quick puff from his cigarette, blowing the smoke away to the side.

Jim raised an eyebrow, “Tough day at work?”

Spike chuckled, “Like you wouldn’t believe.”

Jim didn’t know what Spike and Jet really did for a living. He thought they worked for a business in an office somewhere downtown.

He handed them their drinks, two whiskeys and a scotch. When Jim was out of earshot, Spike turned to Jet and took a deep breath from his cigarette, “So, about tonight. What do you know about the target? What should I know?”

It was rare that Spike and Jet were ever given multiple hits in the same day, but their boss had made a big deal out of this one. He told them they were the only pair he trusted who were qualified enough for the task. Naturally, they said yes.

“She’s staying in an apartment on the third floor of the Marlowe building on West Main Street, room 37B.”

"She?" Spike furrowed his brows sceptically; they'd never been given a hit on a woman before.

Jet raised an eyebrow, "You got a problem with that?"

"No. Just surprised." Spike answered quickly as he placed his now empty glass of whiskey back onto the bar.

"Good," Jet folded his arms, still nursing his first-and only-glass of scotch, "because this job isn’t going to be easy. We have to make sure she’s out cold, then we bring her in. We can’t risk her waking up or we’re in for a whole heap of trouble. We can’t hurt her either, boss wants her alive."

"Why's that?" Spike asked, his interest piqued.

"She's owes the boss a lot of money apparently. No way he’s getting it back if she’s dead.”

“I see.” Spike nodded, breathing in slowly from his cigarette, “She have a name?”

“Not one that I know.” Jet told him, “But from what I’ve heard, people are calling her Poker Alice.”

"Poker Alice, huh?" Spike mused, staring into his glass, “How’d she end up with a name like that?”

“Beats me.” Jet said as he finished off his glass of scotch and relunctantly signalled Jim to pour him another, “Although, it seems she has somewhat of a reputation as a strong opponent.”

“How so?”

“I’ve heard the syndicate's been after her for almost a decade now, so far no one’s caught her.”

“A decade?” Spike’s eyebrows flew up in surprise.

“Almost a decade.” Jet corrected him.

“That…does not sound promising.”

“Don’t worry, the boss isn’t expecting any miracles. We’ll do our best, end of story.”

“That’s reassuring.” Spike said with pursed lips as he finished off his last drink off the night.

“We should leave soon.”

Spike nodded.

“She should be asleep if we get there after midnight.” Jet said.

Within the next half an hour, they finished up at the bar. They each left enough money on the bar, grabbed their coats, Jet grabbed his hat, and they were off.

***

Faye danced around her new apartment, moving to the melody of her favourite Billie Holiday record. With a cigarette in her hand, and her fluffy yellow ostrich feather robe draped around her naked body, she felt like a movie star. Although, looking around her drab little apartment, her life was a lot less glamourous.

"Blue moon, you saw me standing alone..."

Faye sang along as she sat down on her window sill, taking a long last drag from her cigarette before shoving it into the ashtray by her feet.

As she looked out of the window onto the desolate midnight street, four stories below her window, she took another cigarette and pressed it to her lips, striking a match and lighting it. She took a deep breath, sinking into her robe as she let the sweet, smooth voice of Billie Holiday roll over her. With hooded eyes, she carelessly scanned her apartment. There was hardly any furniture, apart from a sad looking couch she’d found on the streets, a clock that was running 20 minutes slow, and a miserable excuse for a dining table sat next to a single plastic fold out dining chair. She sighed, her only comfort being the warm smoke of the cigarette between her fingers. The only thing she felt was self-loathing, confusion. How could it end up like this? How could life turn out to be such a shit show?

She had been such an innocent little girl, at least from what she remembered. Her whole life had been rolled out in front of her like a red carpet: get married, have kids, grow old with the one you love.
Instead, she was now a wanted criminal, swamped in debt and overshadowed by a bounty over her head twice the size of the Soviet Union. It’s funny how life fucks you over like that isn’t it?

As she sunk further down onto the window pane, her vision wandered to the clock above her bed. 2:37am. She sighed. Her insomnia was getting the better of her again.

She sighed again as she stood up to get a drink, stopping in the doorway to her kitchen when she heard someone outside her door. As her head flew back around, she could see the door knob slowly twisting. They were trying to pick the lock.

Quickly, she shoved her cigarette into her ashtray and tiptoed to her bedroom where she strategically placed three pillows under her duvet, in what she hoped resembled the outline of a sleeping woman. She made sure to switch all the lights off and quickly grab the revolver that she kept in her bedside table before carefully creeping into her closet, the door only slightly ajar as she waited nervously for the intruder to walk into her room.

She was fairly certain that she knew who was coming for her, and if she was right, she knew she was more than ready to deal with whoever the syndicate sent to get rid of her, but just to be safe she kept hidden.

From inside the wardrobe, she watched as a tall man in a blue suit walked into her bedroom and checked the bed. She couldn’t make out his face, but she probably wouldn’t have noticed it anyway considering that the unruly mop of uncombed curls sat atop his head was attracting most of her attention.

As soon as he noticed that there wasn't actually anyone in the bed, it looked as though he was about to leave so Faye crept out of the closet and held her gun against his back.

"Who the hell are you and what are you doing in my apartment?"

He didn’t say anything.

“In case you hadn’t noticed,” Faye said, her voice low, as she pushed the gun harder into the man’s back, “You have a gun pressed against your back, so you better start talking or I’ll blow your fucking brains out. Understand?”

"Well considering your aiming that gun at my back, I think it's going to be quite difficult for you to ‘blow my brains out’."

“Or I can just as easily do this.” Faye growled as she carefully moved the gun up towards the back of the man’s head. “Is that better? Now if you don’t answer my questions, you’ll die instantly. So, I suggest you start talking.”

Spike paused for a second, "I'm looking for someone."

"Who?"

"Poker Alice."

That was all the confirmation she needed. This guy was from the syndicate. And probably wanted to kill her.

"Drop your weapons. All of them. And then turn around."

Spike did as he was told, placing his gun on the nightstand, then taking another, bigger gun out of his jacket pocket and placing it on the bed.

"There."

"You must think I'm an idiot. I can see the outline of that gun strapped to your ankle."

"There's no slipping anything past you, is there?"

She shoved the gun into his skull as initiative for him to hurry up. He then put his foot on the bed and lifted his trouser leg up to remove the gun.

"That's all of them."

"Put your hands up. Turn around."

And like the obedient man he was, Spike put his hands up and turned around. His eyebrows furrowed, shocked by what he saw. Before now, he'd had a distinct image of what he thought poker Alice would look like: a middle-aged poker table patron, possibly a few scars, maybe even an eyepatch. ‘Wait…why was I imagining a pirate?’ Spike thought to himself.

Poker Alice was nothing like he thought she would be, and Spike was…pleasantly surprised.

"You work for the syndicate, don't you?" She asked.

Spike paused, he didn't know what to tell her. He didn't even get a chance to anyway, because Jet was now stood in the doorway, having snuck up on her. His gun came down swiftly and clipped her in the back of the head.

She fell to the ground like a pile of sticks.

"Took you long enough." Spike sighed as he picked his guns back up.

"Sorry my gun got jammed."

***

When Faye came to, she had a raging migraine and could vaguely make out hushed voices coming from her bathroom. With a groan, she tried to sit up properly, cursing when she realised those bastards had handcuffed her to the radiator.

She sighed, leaning out her leg, she reached for the box of Bobby pins on her bedside table. With her foot, she knocked it onto the floor. It didn't make a very loud sound, but she did hold her breath to see if they'd heard. When nothing changed she carried on, using her foot to slide one over to herself. She slid along the radiator and picked it up in her hand, bending it into a straight line and shoving it into the key hole, it took a few jabs but eventually she found it.

After several minutes of twisting it around profusely, the cuffs loosened, and she was able to slip them off.

Like a fine skylark, she swiftly and quietly rose to her feet and grabbed the knapsack she placed under her bed for an emergency like this. And then without a sound she took off, out of the apartment.

***

"You've seen what the boss does to some of the guys we take in. It's not pretty. And it's certainly no place for a woman to end up."

"If we don't bring her in, it'll be us in those positions." Spike said matter-of-factly.

Jet sighed.

Spike went quiet.

They heard a sharp thud that didn’t sound like it came from the bedroom and quickly looked at each other.

"What was that?" Spike asked, as they ran into the bedroom. Which was empty.

"Damnit!" Spike cursed.

They rushed to the front door in the hope of catching her. Spike heard an engine revving and looked out the window to see a purple haired woman in a yellow dressing gown riding away on a motorcycle.

"That's her!" He shouted, grabbing Jet and leading them both out of the fire escape. He shouldn't have bothered though, because when they reached the ground Faye was long gone.

"Shit." Spike sighed.

"She got away."

"Don't sound too happy about it." Spike rolled his eyes.

Jet shook his head. He wasn't happy about it. But he wasn't exactly mad about it either.

***

Faye had no idea where she was going but she did know that she couldn't go back to that apartment.

She could think of one place. Recently she picked up a gig singing at this jazz club downtown. Her first shift didn't start until 7 tomorrow night but hopefully they wouldn't mind if she showed up a little early.

Chapter Text

As per usual, Spike and Jet arrived at their favourite bar, the Bebop, around 7pm ready to drown their sorrows in alcohol. They took their usual seats at the bar and ordered their usual drinks. As they waited for them to arrive, Spike took out his carton of cigarettes and offered one to Jet. Without a word, he took one and they both disappeared into a cloud of smoke. No one said anything; they were still pretty bummed about the outcome of last night. Their boss had given them an earful after hearing the news that ‘Poker Alice’ had escaped, and, as punishment, had given them the pleasure of having to take out 7 members of the Forelli crime family. Supposedly, they’d be at the docks waiting for a big shipment of guns but according to their boss, all they did was play poker and slack off, so it’d be an easy enough job to take them all out.

“I’m not excited for tonight.” Jet said, his jaw clenched as he lifted his glass of scotch to his mouth and pounded the whole thing.

“You and me both.” Spike agreed, his lips pursed.

“The two of us…up against seven guys? Still tryna wrap my head around it.”

Spike shrugged and looked at his friend before throwing the rest of his drink down his throat, “We’ve faced worse odds and come out alive, haven’t we?”

Jet let out a dry chuckle as he shook his head, “One day you’re gonna be too overconfident, and its gonna get us both killed.”

Spike shut his mouth and let a shallow grin form. Usually before a big job like this, Spike would mentally prepare, at least come up with a few ideas on how to get past such an overwhelming number of opponents. But tonight, all he could think about was her. When he thought back to it, last night had been a blur, all the minor details swept themselves under a rug and that was left was the memory of that mysterious woman. Spike felt a yearning for her that he couldn’t explain, and he felt almost bad that she had gotten away, but at least she was someone else’s problem.

As Spike was putting out his cigarette and reaching for a new one, he noticed the music stop. There would always be something playing in the background at the Bebop. Most people didn’t notice it, but Spike and Jet liked to listen and appreciate it.

It was rare the music ever stopped at the Bebop so when Spike heard the silence, he turned around to see what was going on. At the back of the bar, he saw Jim, the owner of the place, walk up on stage.

“Ladies and gentlemen, if I could have your attention please.”

Spike felt a quiet buzz of anticipation roll over the bar patrons as people’s conversations lulled to a halt. Almost everyone’s attention was now on the back stage, including Spike and Jet’s, as they waited for Jim to speak.

“I’d like to introduce to everyone, our new singer. She’s a fine young woman and I’m sure you’re all gonna love her. Please, let’s give a warm welcome to the lovely Faye Valentine.”

As he said her name, he started clapping which prompted the crowd to join in. He walked off stage and on walked a woman in a sequin gown, a slit strategically placed from her thigh leading all the way down to her ankles. Her purple hair was tied neatly in a bun on the top of her head, garnished with and array of sparkling diamonds.

Spike stopped breathing and almost choked on his cigarette smoke.

He grabbed his friend’s arm, trying to get the attention of jet who still sat facing the bar, “Jet!”

“What?” Jet asked, slowly turning to face Spike.

“Turn around and look at the stage now!” Spike said frantically, under his breath.

“Huh?” Jet furrowed his brows as he turned his attention to the stage, not really expecting much. With his mouth was ajar, all he could let out were unintelligible mutters of astonishment. "Oh my god, is that her?"

"It has to be, right?" Spike said cautiously, "I mean, it looks just her."

"What do we do?" Jet asked, "If it is in fact her."

“Don’t worry,” Spike said as he turned back to face the bar, “I have a plan.”

***

After a full night of singing, there was nothing Faye loved more than to get some fresh air. So, while she was taking a quick rest form the stage, she headed out into the back alley and lit a cigarette. This was her first cigarette since last night, so she needed to savour it.

She took a deep breath and, against her better judgement, leaned against the grimy looking backwall of the bar.

After less than a minute of standing around, she heard the back door open and, without looking decided to give her new boss a piece of her mind, “I told you, Jim, I'd be back on in five. Just let me finish this one cigarette."

"Mind if I take a drag?"

Faye dropped her cigarette in surprise as she spun around to see none other than the man who had tried to kidnap her last night, she’d recognise that ridiculous hairstyle anywhere.

"Boy am I glad to see you." He said with a smirk. His gun was aimed towards Faye's head. Instinctively, she reached for her own, which she always kept on a holster neatly tucked between her thighs. She could never have been quick enough, however, because, before she could reach anything, he had taken a hold of her arm.

"Don't bother." He told her, his words dripping with condescension.

She glared at him, a slow smirk forming on her lips as she pulled her arm up and kicked him in the chin. And while he took a few staggered steps backwards, she kicked his gun out of his hands, sending it scuttling across the pavement as she reached for her own. She tried to aim and fire, but before she could pull the trigger, he had grabbed her arm again and was pushing her against the wall. Her gun quickly fell out of her hands from the force of him shoving her hand into the wall. He reached down to pick it up, but Faye quickly kicked it out of his reach and kneed him in the chest, sending him staggering backwards.

He couldn’t help but partially admire her skills in close combat, perhaps he hadn't given her enough credit.

He groaned as he threw a punch at her temple, but she easily deflected it with her forearm, and delivered a quick punch to the centre of his face.

He took a step backwards and held his nose, "You bitch!" He yelled, subsequently disregarding any admiration he'd just felt.

"What the hell did you just call me?" She grunted as she stepped forward to grab his collar.

"I said you're a goddamn bitch." He snarled down at her.

She growled in anger as she went to punch him in the face, but he caught her fist in his hand and twisted it back, causing her to fall onto her knees before him. She shrieked, her face contorting in pain as he put immense amounts of pressure on her shoulder.

With her free hand, she tried her luck, aiming a swift punch to his groin. She got lucky.

He keeled over, clutching his balls. Faye stood up again, stepping backwards slowly as she kept a cautious eye on his groaning form. And then she hit something solid.

"Ugh." She gasped and turned around to see a man whose shoulders made him look almost as wide as he was tall. He looked down at her with a neutral expression, Faye's attention drawn solely to his curled black beard.

"Sorry about this." He said as he gabbed Faye by the shoulders, as Spike, who had now somewhat recovered from a castrating kick to the balls, grabbed her hands and tied her wrists together.

"Let me go!" Faye screamed, kicking and flailing her arms about like a bird in a trap. It was clear she wasn't going to go quietly so Spike took a length of rope and tied it around her mouth. After that, nothing but muffled screams came out of her.

All she could do was struggle as these two thugs lifted her into the back of their car. At least it wasn’t the trunk, she thought to herself. She could hear them talking in the front as they started to drive off.

“We’ve got half an hour to get to the docks, there’s no way we’ll have time to hand her over before then.” Jet said quietly, his hands pressed urgently to the steering wheel.

“Just leave her in the car. Her hands are tied, it’s not like she’s going anywhere.” Spike said.

Faye carefully listened to their mutterings from the back of the car as she tried to force the rope out of her mouth with her tongue. As soon as she felt it drop to her chest, she started banging on the car window with her shoulder and yelling for help as loud as she could. Not her most subtle of escape plans, but…she felt a bit frazzled. Suffice it to say that it didn’t get her very far; as soon as he heard her open her mouth, Spike had turned around and was pointing a gun straight at her head.

“Don’t make me shoot you.” He sighed.

“Please.” She scoffed, “You’re not going to shoot me. I know exactly where you’re taking me, and I know that you need me alive.”

Spike clenched his jaw as he and Jet shared a look of irritation.

“So, lower the goddamn gun before I kick it out if your hands.” She ordered him.

Spike noted the slight upward turn to her lips insinuating that she had the upper hand, and he loathed it. With a sigh, he placed the gun back in his jacket pocket. “Don’t even think about trying anything. I won’t go easy on you, just because you’re a woman.”

“Oh, how very feminist of you.” She said, her voice soaking with contempt.

“Thanks.” Spike said with a sarcastic grin plastered to his face, “I like to think of myself as quit an open-minded person, equal opportunities for women and all that jazz.”

Faye rolled her eyes and groaned, she couldn’t stand this guy. Not because he was about to send her to her figurative death; he was just doing his job and she could respect that. What really pissed her off was his annoying quips and his unbearable smugness and the fact that somehow, she was able to find all that endearing. And she refused to be attracted to an asshole like that.

Faye’s jaw clenched, and her eyebrows knitted closer together. It was clear that these two men were set on their goal of handing her over, or at least one of them was, but, she knew from experience that men were easy to persuade when you had the means to manipulate them.

Carefully, she slipped off the strap on her right shoulder, revealing more of her chest then she felt was necessary.

“You’re not really going to hand me over to those bad men, are you?” She asked them as she arched her back, pouted, and gave them her most convincing ‘deer in the headlights’ expression.

"You don't get it, do you?" Spike said through gritted teeth as he tried his best not to look directly at Faye or anything that she was trying to point at him, "We are those guys."

"No, you're not, you just work for them. They're the bad guys, you're not." She said, more urgently this time, as if she felt like she was getting through to them.

"You don't know anything about us." Spike warned her coldly as he shook his head.

"I know that you don't have to do this." She almost pleaded.

Faye could see them both visibly clench their jaws as they tried to look away form her.

“Ahhh!” Faye felt herself fly forward and smack her face into the seat in front of her. She got up slowly and felt her nose start to bleed, “What the hell?” She looked out of the window. It appeared that they’d come to a stop in the middle of a container yard. Faye stared out of the car window at the intimidatingly tall piles of containment units. The sight looked quite threatening at night. “Where the hell are we?” She asked, fear starting to worm its way under skin.

“None of your business.” Jet told her as he turned the car’s engine off.

Her breathing sped up as the two men stepped out of the car. From inside, she could hear their muffled voices but only slightly. She jumped as the door next to her opened and she looked up to see the tall guy with the ridiculous beard. Her first reaction was to knee him in the balls and run away and he keeled over in pain but as soon as she left the backseat, the lanky one caught her by the shoulders and held his hand over her mouth to stop her screaming. She struggled fruitlessly like before, but nothing she did overpowered them as they lifted her into the trunk.

It was pitch black and she couldn’t hear a thing. She was consumed in utter nothingness. She didn’t know how long they’d be, so she had to act fast. Kicking off one of her shoes, she turned to her side and felt around her ankle blindly for the pocket knife that she’d put there after last night. Carefully, she brought it to her wrists and slowly started sawing away at the rope. She knew a few cuts would inevitable but that didn’t mean they hurt any less. Once she heard the rope snap, she brought the knife to her neck and snapped off the piece of rope that had been used as a gag.

After placing the knife back in the pouch around her ankle, she felt around blindly for anything that might be of use. She felt a cold metal pipe and clung onto it tightly, as she felt the ends, she realised it was a crow bar and had to hold in a squeal of joy.

After a few attempts of finding the trunk door, Faye finally manage to pry the trunk open and make her escape.

As she started running in the opposite direction, se stopped for a second; she could hear screams and gunshots. Her entire body was telling her to run for her life and get as far away from this place as possible, but, like an idiot, she ignored it. A part of her was worried about what was happening, and another was just plain curious. Her footsteps were faint as she crept up to an open container about 50 meters away. From around the corner, she could just about make out what was happening. Spike was leant up against the front wall a patch of blood covering his abdomen; he’d been shot. It looked like Jet had been shot too, his shoulder to be exact. She quickly stepped back around the corner as her breathing quickened, from what she could see, it looked like he was fighting for his life against 5 other men. If it were her out there, she’d be dead for sure.

Quickly, she took a second to think. If she left now, she’d definitely walk away with her life today. But that didn’t mean she’d get to live tomorrow. Even if those hitmen died right now, the syndicate would still be after her and they’d just send two other shmucks to bring her in. And it would never stop until either she died, or they caught her.

On the other hand, if she went in there, there was a strong possibility she’d get her head blown off, or a bullet threw her chest. However, if she did manage to survive and, by some miracle helped either of those two jerkoffs to survive, maybe they’d help her.

Realising that this was no time to start caring about her physical wellbeing, she chose the latter.

Her sharp eyes caught sight of the pistol sitting by Spike’s hand and she grabbed it and aimed, firing a bullet which hit one of the oppositions directly in the head. She ducked immediately afterwards, narrowly escaping a bullet that skimmed past her shoulder as she silently cursed herself for not running when she had the chance.

“What the hell are you doing?” Jet asked, groaning as a bullet tore past his cheek, he shot back and hit one of the men in the chest who felt backwards with a scream.

“Saving your sorry asses.” Faye said as she took another shot, hitting someone in the neck as blood sprayed every available service. She couldn’t help but wince.

Jet decided not to question it. For the moment. He clutched his bleeding shoulder as he drew his attention back on the two men who were left in front of him. One of them didn’t look more than 18 Jet noted before Faye blew the other guy’s head off.

Realising he was the last one left, the young man dropped his gun and raised his hands, “Please…” He begged, his voice as shaky as his body, “Don’t shoot.”

Jet did anyway. There was no mercy in this line of work.

Quickly, Faye dropped to her knees and Jet rested his back against the wall as their breathing started to subside, “Why did you help us?” Jet asked.

“I don’t know.” Faye said breathlessly, “I guess I’m calling a truce.”

Jet narrowed his eyes as he walked towards her. He stopped in front of her and looked down, Faye noted how scary he looked from that angle. Her eyes quickly darted to his gun and, sensing her apprehension, he pocketed it and waited for her to let go of hers. She put on the ground and in return Jet held out a hand for her. She took a hold of it and Jet helped her up.

“So, what do you want?” Jet asked her.

“Immunity, protection, you can’t hand me over to your boss and you have to keep me safe.”

Jet’s jaw clenched but he didn’t really look annoyed, “Fine. Now help me with Spike.”

“Spike?” Faye frowned in confusion and Jet nodded towards his friend on the floor. “Oh.” Nervously, she walked over to his still figure, “What should I do?”

“You take his feet, I’ll take his arms.” Jet told her, “On the count of three, we pick him up, okay?”

“Okay.” She gulped before Jet counted to three and with all her strength lifted Spike’s feet. “Is he going to be alright?” she asked, more out of curiosity than concern.

“Huh?” Jet looked at her, his eyebrows raised at her sudden inquiry, “Yeah,” Jet shook his head quickly as a brief flicker of a smile crossed his lips, “He’s been through much worse.”

It was a struggle getting him into the backseat of the car, but Jet managed in the end, Faye wasn’t really of any help.

Once he was lying down, Jet walked to the front of the car and told Faye to unbutton Spike’s shirt.

“Huh?” her eyes widened as she looked at Jet in shock and embarrassment.

Jet almost glared at her, “I need to get to his wound.”

“Right.” She nodded quickly, a grimace starting to form as she leaned forward and more awkwardly than delicately started to undo the buttons on Spike’s shirt.

Jet walked back round holding a first aid kit and Faye quickly stepped back out of the way. She looked at her feet, stealing the occasional glimpse over Jet’s shoulder as he dressed Spike’s wound. It didn’t take him very long, he was probably used to it by now, Faye presumed.

Once he was all bandaged up, Jet turned to Faye. She stared at him for a minute, eyes wide and mouth clasped tightly shut.

"So, where're you going to go now?" Jet asked as he wiped his hands down.

"I uh don't know actually." Faye admitted with a nervous laugh.

"Huh?" Jet frowned and crossed his arms.

"I don't really have anywhere to go.” She said, biting her lip nervously. “I mean, I can’t exactly go back to my apartment; they’ll be looking for me there. And I don’t have enough money to move anywhere else.”

Jet looked at her nervously, “Don’t you have friends, family? Someone you can stay with?”

Faye shook her head, her massive doe eyes staring holes through Jet’s skull. She was doing it on purpose: looking so helpless so that Jet would take pity on her.

“Get in the car.” Jet told her quickly.

“What?” Faye asked.

“Get in the car.” He repeated with a sigh, “Before I change my mind.”

Faye smiled softly as she jumped into the passenger seat beside the man who had just saved her life, “I’m Faye, by the way.”

He looked at her and pursed his lips before he drove away, “Jet.”

Chapter Text

When Spike woke up, he hurt all over. All he could move, were his eyes. He looked around slowly and felt relief flow over himself; he was back at the apartment, lying on the sofa in the living room. What the hell happened last night? He thought to himself as he noticed an inexplicable pain coming from his abdomen. An overexaggerated groan left his mouth as he tried to sit up.

"Morning sleepy head."

Spike almost choked on his own saliva as he turned to see the woman he was supposed to have turned over to his boss by now. Suddenly, as he was staring incredulously into her large green eyes, the events of last night returned to him like a slap to the face.

“What the hell are you doing here?!”

"It's nice to see you too, asshole." Faye glared at him from across the room, she was sitting on his armchair, a pack of cards arranged neatly on his coffee table. It looked like she’d been playing solitaire. Spike looked at her, his expression a mixture of shock, confusion, and disgust.

As if on cue, Jet walked in from the kitchen holding a cup of coffee. Spike’s vision flew straight to Jet as he raised his eyebrows in disbelief, “What the hell is she doing here?!”

"Uh well..." Jet rubbed the back of his neck, heroic concern written all over his face. “A lot of stuff happened last night.”

“Like what?” Spike said, narrowing his eyes.

“You were out cold, I was outnumbered.” Jet shrugged, “I actually thought that might’ve been it for us. Then Faye came over to help us out.”

“How did she get out of the trunk?”

Jet scratched his head and though for a second, “I don’t know actually.”

A cocky grin eclipsed Faye’s face, “You guys were stupid enough to leave a crow bar in the boot of your car.”

Spike groaned as he raised a hand to massage his forehead, “What’s she doing here now? And if you say you let her stay here, I swear to God, Jet.”

Jet pursed his lips and shrugged.

Spike groaned and took his head into his hands, "You can't be serious Jet."

"Come on, I’d have been leaving her homeless if I didn't do anything."

"We were leaving her dead up until a few hours ago." Spike argued, his arms flying up in exasperation.

“Don’t worry.” Faye spat as she got up and started to walk past them, “I don’t plan on staying here any longer than I have to.” Bastard.

“Faye, wait.” Jet called after her.

“Let her go.” Spike said as he lit a cigarette in his mouth and waved her off.

Jet sighed painfully and frowned at Spike, “You didn’t have to be so cruel.” Jet told him once Faye had exited the room.

“And you didn’t have to bring her home.” Spike said, his eyes drooping, their weight being pulled by the bags underneath, as he leaned back on the sofa and blew a cloud of smoke into the air, “But you did.”

Jet rolled his eyes and let out a short exhale before sitting down in the empty armchair, “It’s not forever.” He assured Spike.

“You better be right, Jet.”

***

Spike yawned. As he got out of bed, he massaged the crick in his neck. It’d been just over a week since they’d let Faye stay with them. And every second had been just as excruciating as he thought it would be. All he needed was a nice hot shower. So, he grabbed a fresh towel and headed down the hall. He reached for the handle and groaned when the bathroom door wouldn't budge. He groaned even louder when he heard the shower running and a woman singing.

"Get out of the shower! You’re using all the hot water!" Spike yelled indignantly as he banged on the door.

"YoU’RE UsiNg aLL tHe hoT WaTEr,” Faye flung back in a mocking tone, "It's a free country, asshole!"

"Get out now!" He yelled louder, still banging on the door.

"Relax I'm nearly finished." She told him. He heard the water turn off and a few seconds later Faye came out, a towel around her midriff that didn't leave much to the imagination.

"Happy now?" She asked with a glare, her arms crossed, and her head poked to the side.

"Move." Spike said, ignoring her as he shoved her to the side.

Spike locked the door behind him before sitting down to go to the toilet.

After a while, Spike stepped into the shower, ready for its warm embrace to gently send him off into the morning.

"GAHHH!" he leapt out shivering and cursing. He grabbed his towel and stormed off.

He found Faye sitting with Jet at the kitchen bar drinking coffee together. Jet was wearing the black suit he always wore whenever they had a job, Faye was wearing a rather large white shirt. He guessed from the size, and the fact that Faye didn't have much in the way of clothes, that Jet had probably lent it to her.

"What's wrong?" Jet asked, raising an eyebrow at Spike who was stood in the middle of the floor in nothing but a towel as his nostrils flared and his damp hair dripped onto the floor.

"What’s wrong? That inconsiderate bitch decided to use up all the hot water, that's what’s wrong!" He yelled, pointing a finger at Faye.

"You snooze you lose." She told him smugly as she finished off her coffee, putting her cigarette out as she got up to walk past Spike. "Get up earlier next time."

"Next time? Oh no, no no no no. There isn't going to be a next time because you're not staying here any longer." He glared at her before quickly turning to his friend, "Right, Jet?"

Jet massaged the back of his neck, his head cocked to the side as he considered his next words carefully, "She has a point, Spike." Spike went speechless, "I mean it is already half 10. You're usually up much earlier than this. Y'know, in case the boss has a job for us."

Spike groaned, and Faye smirked at him.

"Can I borrow some of your pants Jet?" She asked coyly.

"Don't see why not." Jet said with a shrug as Faye walked off triumphantly.

"You're letting her walk all over you." Spike warned him as he walked over to the bar.

"Am not." Jet frowned.

"Really?" Spike raised his eyebrows, "She's wearing your clothes, drinking your coffee, stealing all your hot water. She's even smoking your goddamn cigarettes."

Jet didn't reply; he took a sip of coffee and started to read the newspaper.

"I don't know how much more of this I can take, Jet" Spike groaned as he pulled at his hair.

No reply.

"Are you even listening!?" Spike yelled.

Jet glanced up at Spike wordlessly, his expression muted.

Spike groaned in defeat as he stormed off back to his bedroom.

A few minutes later, Spike came back through, dressed in his blue suit, "Have you seen my belt?"

"Nope."

Spike sighed and scratched his head. A second later, Faye walked in wearing the same white shirt as before, but now it was tucked into baggy black pants with the cuffs rolled up. The pants were cinched into her waist with a sleek black belt.

"Does this look okay?" She asked with a quick spin.

"Where'd you get that belt?" Spike asked, his eyes narrowed.

"On the back of a chair somewhere." Faye said, waving off his question with a flick of the wrist.

"Give it here." Spike said indignantly. He tried to reach for it but Faye quickly maneuvered out of the way.

"Get your own."

"That is my own!"

"Oh." She said flatly, "Well I'll give it back to you tomorrow."

"I need it now."

"Too bad, because I'm leaving now. I’m going to pick up my bag from the Bebop then buy some new clothes. Maybe a few records; left mine at my old place. You guys have a record player, right? Okay great so I'll see you later." Without giving them a chance to reply she left, closing the door swiftly behind her.

Spike rolled his eyes, "Why is she talking like she's moved in?"

Jet shifted uncomfortably in his chair without giving a reply. He held his newspaper in front of his face in the hopes of avoiding Spike's gaze.

"Jet?" Spike pressed.

"Hmm?" Jet looked up from his paper as if nothing was wrong.

"What have you done?"

"What? Nothing?"

"Jet."

Jet sighed, "I might've told her that she could stay with us a little longer."

"No, no you didn't."

Jet pursed his lips.

"Oh god. If I end up topping myself because of her, I'm blaming you." Spike said, throwing his hands up in despair.

"Stop over reacting. Just think of it this way, we helped a young woman who's in trouble."

"You saw that woman, she is more than capable of taking care of herself."

"That may well be the case but she's here now so..." Jet pursed his lips and shrugged off the rest of the sentence.

“Well I'm not happy about it.”

“Well I'm not talking about it.”

“Fine!”

“Fine.”

***

It didn’t take very long for the two to kiss and make up. At around 6, Faye arrived back at the apartment, a bucketload of shopping bags in her arms.

Spike and Jet were sat smoking cigarettes at either end of the coffee table playing cards. Faye couldn’t work out what they were playing; she was too busy trying to squeeze an absurd amount of shopping bags through the front door.

Spike took a long drag from his cigarette and looked up slowly. A disgruntled look formed on his face at the sight in front of him. "I knew women were excessive when it came to clothes, but Jesus Christ. Did you buy the whole shop or something?"

Faye rolled her eyes as she strutted towards the spare room they were letting her stay in. “I need to rebuild my wardrobe. If you recall, you chased me out of my apartment, leaving all my precious garments behind. I can't exactly waltz back in there with the syndicate still on my back. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to unpack.”

“Hurry up.” Spike told her, lighting another cigarette as he stood up, “We’re going to the bar in a second.”

“You guys go on without me,” Faye told them, her arms slowly turning into putty form the weight of all the shopping bags, “My shift doesn’t start for another hour, so I’ll meet you there?”

Spike shrugged as he and Jet grabbed their coats and headed for the door, “Suit yourself.”

***

Faye loved singing. Especially in front of a crowd. She loved the attention. She loved the way people would look at her. The way they'd applaud afterward. She didn't just love it. She lived for it.

As she stood there, in the centre of the stage, basking in their cheers, her chest started to swell. She didn’t want to get off the stage, but this was her last song of the evening. And she really needed a cigarette.

As she thanked the crowd, the band carried on playing softly behind her. She smiled tenderly, albeit somewhat irately, at the men who whistled as she walked though the crowd and headed straight for the bar. She sighed heavily as she leant on the counter and pulled out her packet of cigarettes.

She looked down at her hand as her fingertip circled a scorch mark on the bar that was in the shape of a heart.

Whilst her mind wandered off into another dimension, Jim, the bartender - the owner - her boss, walked over to where she was stood and asked what drink she wanted.

“Scotch on the rocks with a twist.” She told him before blowing smoke in the opposite direction.

“Coming right up.”

He walked away and came back a few seconds later with her drink. Faye thanked him before carrying it to a secluded booth in the corner where Spike and Jet were sitting.

"Don't get comfy." Jet warned her as she sat down. "Me and Spike have got to leave for a job soon."

"Already?" Faye whined, "But I just got off."

Spike smirked, Faye glared at him.

"Can I at least come with you?"

Spike and jet shared a look, "That's a joke, right?" Spike asked, an eyebrow raised.

"What? You think I can't handle it?" Faye slammed her drink down in disgust.

"We know you can't handle it." Spike corrected her.

"That's sexist." She told him indignantly.

"No that's the truth." Spike said flatly.

"Oh really? So, I guess last week was just a fluke and you guys totally wouldn’t be dead if it weren’t for me? Oh wait. I guess you wouldn’t remember having been out cold the entire time."

Spike furrowed his brows in anguish as he lifted his drink to his mouth.

“Hmm, you have a point.” Spike paused for a second as he took another drink, “But…consider this: you’re whiny and annoying and we don’t want you to come.”

“Spike.” Jet gave him the side eye, his eyebrows furrowed, and his jaw clenched tersely.

“Fine.” Spike gave in to which Faye squealed joyfully, “But if you die, I’m not cleaning up the mess.”

“And if you die, I get your bedroom.” Faye grinned.

Spike rolled his eyes. Something he found himself doing more frequently ever since meeting Faye. They grabbed their coats from the end of the booth before getting up to leave.

"I'm so excited." Faye exclaimed as she clapped her hands eagerly.

"Does she realise that we're going to kill someone?" Spike leaned in to ask Jet as they left the bar.

***

Faye didn’t know why she wanted to come along, maybe she just wanted to be part of the action. Or maybe she had a taste for killing people now. Regardless, she felt weirdly excited and her stomach was starting to get butterflies. She peered out the window of the backseat of the car as they drove past block after block of the same old withered buildings.

“Where are we going?” Faye asked.

“256 North West Avenue. There’s a couple of men hiding out in an abandoned block of flats. They stole over $100,000 in cash from our boss. The plan is, we go in kill them both and get the money back. Simple as.”

“Sounds easy enough.” Faye shrugged. She kept her face composed so as not to alert the two men on just how nervous she really was.

“You have to be careful though, I mean look at what happened to Spike last time.” Jet smiled and impishly nudged Spike in the arm.

“Do we have to keep bringing that up. There were seven of them for Christ’s Sake.” Spike rolled his eyes as he took his gun out of the holster around his chest. He opened the glove compartment to reveal a couple of boxes of bullets which he took out and started to use to load the gun. “Come on.” He said once he’d finished. Faye watched as Spike and Jet got out of the car and she followed closely behind them. As she walked down the filthy corridor of the deserted apartment block, she was thankful that she’d changed out of her glittering gown and was now wearing a sensible pair of pants.

She clasped the gun in her hands as she took deep breaths, following Spike and Jet as they lead her to an elevator shaft that looked like something out of The Twilight Zone.

“There’s no way I’m getting in there.”

Spike turned around, his face a flat bored of fatigue, “What’s wrong?”

“That rickety old thing is going to fall apart before we even get a chance to step inside.” She told him, her arms folded apprehensively across her chest.

An ear wrenching shriek echoed through the hallway as Jet opened the rusted bars covering the elevator shaft. “Get in.”

Faye looked up at both of them with pursed lips, Jet got in first then Spike. They stared at her, their faces in scowls – Spike of course being on the more extreme end of the spectrum. It was safe to say they did not look amused.

“Go wait in the car if you’re not coming.” Jet told her as he started to lift the bars back across.

“Wait!” Faye said as she leapt into the elevator. A hefty shake of the old tin box yielding a small cry from her mouth, “I’m coming.” She said softly.

As the withered old cage shook around her, Faye closed her eyes and took deep breaths. Her stomach was doing somersaults and she was worried it would leap out of her mouth at any moment.
Spike and Jet who were stood behind her, watched Faye cautiously before sharing a concerned look, “You okay?” Spike asked as he lifted a hand to her shoulder.

Her head snapped to the side and she glared up at him, “I just don’t like elevators, okay?”

Spike raised his arms up defensively, “Okay. Jeez. Don't bit my head off.”

Faye tensed up as she felt the lift stop and she quickly pulled the bars to the side and jumped out, her breathing a little too sped up for someone who had just stood still for 10 seconds.

Spike and Jet gave her a quick glance before continuing on, “It’s the third door on the right.” Jet told them as he cocked his gun, “Spike you pick the lock then me and Faye will go in while you cover us from behind. I think its an open plan apartment with one bedroom and one bathroom, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find them.”

“Why don’t you just kick the door down?” Faye asked.

“That’s not very subtle, is it?” Jet argued.

“Well neither is picking a lock if you think about it.” She said, “I mean I heard you guys picking my lock from a mile away. So, if it’s quiet in there and they hear you, they’re going to be prepared and we’ll lose the element of surprise.”

“Well what do you propose we do?” Spike asked her, his patience waning thin.

“Get your guns ready.” She told them with a smirk as she jogged ahead.

“Wait.” They both yelled simultaneously as they watched her bring her leg up and pound it into the door. Loud creaks reverberated from the wood and as the door came crashing down, Spike and Jet ran over to Faye. Their guns aimed and ready to fire.

For a second, there was only silence. Until they heard a gunshot firing from the corner of the room.

“Get down!” Jet yelled before they all fell to the floor.

Faye looked up and saw a head sticking out from behind a sofa. She fired instinctively and narrowly missed the side of his forehead, “Damnit.”

The other guy stood up from behind the couch and aimed his gun ready to fire. Obviously, he wasn’t quick enough and one of Spike’s bullets landed in the middle of his chest. He fell backwards. On that cue, Spike, Jet, and Faye all stood up and aimed their guns at the last man standing.

Spike stood forward, “Put your hands up and come stand where I can see you.”

Despite his reserved expression, the man looked awfully nervous and did as he was told.

“Where’s the money?” Spike asked.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, man.”

Without even flinching, Spike fired and landed a bullet right in the man’s kneecap.

“Where’s the money?” He asked once more, “Or do you need to lose mobility in both your legs.”

“Fuck you!” He spat out as he writhed on the floor clutching his knee.

Spike slowly knelt on the floor beside him and brought the gun to his temple, “I won’t ask again: where’s the fucking money?”

“Shit!” He squirmed in pain on the blood-soaked carpet. He could barely even open his eyes to look at Spike his face was so contorted in pain. “It’s…under the…bed. In that…room.” He spat out as he pointed to a door on the back wall.

“Jet.” Spike said, his vision unwavering from the man on the floor, his gun still pressed tightly to his forehead.

“On it.” Jet replied. It took him less than a minute to come back through holding a briefcase, “It’s all there.” He told Spike.

Spike smiled at the man on the floor who was still squirming in pain from the bullet whole on his knee, “It was a pleasure doing business with you.”

“WAIT-” His pleas for mercy faded out abruptly into silence as Spike shot a bullet through his skull.

Faye winced as she watched his body go limp and Spike stood up again.

“Is that…it?” Faye asked. Scratching her scalp, she tilted her head to the side to look at the body.

Spike was about to answer when something behind them made a rustling sound. Without even thinking, they had turned around and each had their guns pointed towards the sofa near the window. Slowly, the other man who’d been shot in the chest pulled himself up onto the back of the sofa. Spike’s eyes darted to his bloodied hands that were holding a small round object.

“Shit…” Faye quickly looked up at Spike nervously as he spoke, “He’s got a grenade.”

Faye gasped as she and Jet noticed it as well.

“You…bastards.” He managed to choke out before meagrely throwing the bomb into the middle of the room.

“Get to the fire escape!” Jet yelled as he ran out of the room and back down the corridor.

Faye found herself frozen staring at the literal ticking time bomb at her feet. She couldn’t move. Why couldn’t she move.

“Faye! What the hell?! Come on!” Spike grabbed her arm and pulled her out of the room. As spike pulled her along, she ran so fast her feet burned. Until the blast of the explosion carried them through the already open window.

Almost instinctively, Spike reached out and grabbed Faye. Partly because he needed to shield her from the blast and partly because his annoyingly self-sacrifising subconscious needed to protect her from the fall. As they fell out of the window, their impending doom became reality and Spike didn't know what else to do. So he just held her and hoped for the worst; if they survived and Faye teased him about this he'd kill them both.

They both groaned as they fell into something that wasn’t concrete. And it stunk like hell. Garbage. “Ughh.” Faye winced as she tried to get up. Spike, who was already standing, held out a hand for her.
“Come on.”

She looked up at him nervously. Were they just going to ignore what happened? Spike totally just tried to save her life. Or did he? Maybe it was just the rush of adrenaline. She was too shaken and out of breath to question it out loud anyway so she kept quiet.

They jumped out and saw Jet bent over, leaning on his knees, breathing deeply.

“Jet!” Spike called, “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. Landed in the trash.” He said as he stood up straight again and whiped off some of the dumpster sludge that had gotten on his lapel.

“Us too.” Faye told him.

They all turned around slowly to watch the empty building cascade to the ground, they were speechless.

As they caught their breath, they heard something bark and turned around to see what looked like a Welsh Corgi.

“What the-?” Jet started, an eyebrow raised in shock, “A dog?”

“Looks like it.” Spike said as he peaked down to look at it more closely to which it growled and yapped up at Spike who quickly stood back up.

“What’s it doing out here all alone at this time of night?” Faye asked, “Is it a stray?”

“I’m not sure.” Spike told her apprehensively as he looked for a collar.

They all shared a quick look before deciding that this dog wasn’t their problem. Until they heard someone running towards them. Instinctively, Faye pulled her gun out, but Spike raised his hand in front of her and told her to wait. So, she did.

A little boy with fiery red hair stopped in front of them, his golden eyes as wide as the moon as he gazed up at them.

“Are you okay, little boy?” Jet asked.

“Ed’s a girl.”

“Ed?” Faye asked cautiously.

Ed pointed to herself, “Ed!”

The dog barked, and Faye jumped back nervously.

“Are you okay, Ed?” Jet corrected himself.

Ed shook her head, “Some bad guys just blew up my house.”

At that moment the three of them looked at each other nervously, “Huh?”

“Ed’s house is gone!” She said dramatically as she pointed to the pile of rubble on the ground that used to be a building.

“You lived there?” Jet frowned.

Ed nodded vigorously.

“But nobody lived there, those apartments were abandoned a long time ago.” Jet said, trying his best to reason his way out of a situation he didn’t want to be in. There was no way that he just made a child homeless.

“Ed lived there in secret.”

The three of them groaned exasperatedly.

“Well…Ed, maybe you should go home now. To your parents.” Jet said as gently as he could – he wasn’t used to being around children, in fact none of them were.

“Ed doesn’t have any parents.”

Jet pursed his lips and looked towards Spike who was grimacing pretty badly at that point. He sighed, he knew what had to be done, even if there was going to be a few objections from the other too.

***

Spike looked into the back of the car through the mirror to see Ed’s tired head resting on Faye’s shoulder whose incensed expression showed that she really wasn’t enjoying the pool of saliva settling on her shirt collar but knew that if she tried to wake up the sleeping girl both her and the dog would be awake for the rest of the car ride home. And she was not about to experience that.

Spike chuckled.

“So, what?” He asked Jet, “Do we just pick up strays now?”

Jet sighed and let out a small laugh, "Hopefully these are the last two."

Chapter Text

Ed proved to be an interesting addition to the apartment. Spike, Jet and Faye found her mannerisms quite fascinating. It wasn’t just the way she sang every other sentence or the fact she spoke mainly in rhymes or her freaky ability to win every single game of chess Spike played against her. It was also the way she looked- so androgynous. And it didn’t help that she dressed like a boy either. It was a bit confusing. At first.

However, it didn’t take long for the three of them to get used to her. After enough time spent together, they even started to feel like a family. A weird, unlikely, and slightly dysfunctional family, but a family nonetheless.

“Why can’t Ed come?” Ed stood by the door despondently as she watched the three adults put their coats on and get ready to leave.

“Because you’re too young to go to a bar like this; they won’t let you in.” Faye told her.

“That’s not fair, Ed’s bored.”

“Why don’t you play with that Barbie we got you?” Faye said, a pained smile smeared across her tired face.

“Because Barbies promote unattainable beauty standards for young girls and she objectifies women.”

As the three of them stood at the door, suddenly silent, Faye pursed her lips, her eyes widened in bewilderment as she looked towards the other two for some help.

“Plus, she’s bo-ring.” Ed sang, “She can’t even talk back! Did you know that when you got her?”

Faye sighed, followed by Spike and Jet simultaneously. As they all shared a semi-concerned look, Ed climbed onto the back of the sofa and sat down. She swung her legs backwards and forwards, hitting the back of the sofa with each kick. “Ed wants to go fight some bad guys. Pew pew!” Ed threw her hands into the air and pretended to fire guns towards the ceiling.

“We’re not doing that tonight, Ed.” Spike said with a sigh, “And even if we were, you know we couldn’t bring you along.”

Ed’s shoulders slumped, and she pouted as she fell back onto the sofa cushions.

“Come on, Ed, we can’t just sit around all night.” Jet said, wearing his best attempt at a sympathetic smile.

“But we did yesterday.” Ed whined.

“That was when there was beer in the fridge.” Faye sighed, “Now it’s gone, and I really need a fucking drink.”

“We all do.” Spike said with a sigh as he folded his arms.

Jet pursed his lips and frowned at the two stood beside him, “Well maybe it is a bit unfair to leave her here alone.”

Ed perked up and grinned at the three of them as she pulled out a box of monopoly, “We can play THIS!”

“Oh no,” Spike put his hands up in protest, “I am not playing that game with you people ever again. Especially not with her." Spike looked over and pointed at Faye, she scowled, "I’m not in the mood for another trip to the ER.”

“I told you that was an accident.” Her face was glowing red, her nostrils were flared, yet she still looked embarrassed as she yelled at Spike, “It’s not my fault those stupid houses are so small. And they wouldn’t have got lodged in there if you hadn’t-”

Jet’s abrupt cough cut her off, “Alright enough you too.”

Ed giggled as she pulled her legs up to cross them before starting to rock back and forth methodically as she sang, “Small pieces, small pieces. Monopoly is tricky business; next time don’t give Faye the-”

“That’s enough Ed.” Jet warned her, “Now if you can’t think of somewhere else to go,” Jet sighed, “I guess we could just stay here tonight.”

Spike and Faye grumbled quietly at his side.

“Unless you three have anywhere in mind?” Jet asked, throwing them both a stern look.

Spike and Faye gave each other a vacant stare while Ed jumped up off of the back off the sofa and grinned at them maniacally, a look that shook Jet to his very core and made him regret every word that had ever left his mouth.

“I know a place.” She sang.

 

Rosie’s diner was a nice family restaurant, but Spike, Faye, and Jet were not nice family people and they detested every second they spent stuck sat in their sticky booth in that linoleum floored hell-hole.

“You really had to pick here, Ed? Of all places?” Spike asked Ed who was sat to his left. He raised an eyebrow and looked around cautiously before opening his packet of cigarettes.

“This is the best restaurant ever!” She yelled with a smile.

“If this is your idea of the best restaurant ever, then I'd hate to see the food.” Faye said as she shook her head and gazed at her menu.

Before Ed had the chance to squeeze in a rebuttal, a waitress came over and stood at their able. Faye looked her up and down immediately, noting every detail from the taut bun on the top of her head that looked like it was practically scalping her, to the pink dress and white frilly apron that really didn’t fit her properly.

“Hi there, can I get you guys anything?” She smiled at the table through a plastic grin before spotting Ed and relaxing a little, “Oh Ed, it’s you!”

“It’s me!” Ed yelled as she poked her head out from the menu, followed by Ein who had been sat on Ed’s lap patiently up until that moment, he barked excitedly at the waitress who smiled and patted his head.

“I was starting to think I’d never get to see you here again.”

At that point everyone’s eyebrows shot up and they all shared a quizzical look.

“Uhhh, you know Ed?” Jet asked, feeling intrigued.

“Well sure!” She smiled at Jet, “Ed’s our most loyal customer. She comes here every day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That was until about a few weeks ago. I was starting to worry about you. But I’m glad you’re back.”

Ed barked at the waitress excitedly, “You too, Ein.” She added.

“Ed’s glad you’re back too, waitress!” She yelled happily.

“I see you brought friends this time.” The waitress noted with a smile as she gazed at the other three.

Ed nodded vigorously, her grin massive as she started to introduce everyone starting from her left, “This is Spike-person, he’s really good at shooting a gun at people, pew pew!” Ed mimed a gun with her hands as she smiled excitedly.

Spike’s eyes widened suddenly as he listened to Ed run her mouth, “Kids, huh?” He said to the waitress with a nervous laugh who looked back at him rather taken aback by Ed's introduction, obviously unsure how serious to take it, “They have such wild imaginations.”

Ed carried on, “This is Faye-Faye!” She yelled signalling with her hands at Faye who was sat opposite Spike, “She loves to get drunk and hit on Sp-”

Before she could finish, Faye had lunged across the table and stifled Ed with her hand, “That’s enough out of you.” She said with an uneasy smile, before gritting her teeth and glaring at Ed, “You little rascal.” She turned back towards the waitress and smiled, “And it’s just Faye by the way.”

The waitress then looked at Jet and, sensing what was imminently about to topple out of Ed’s mouth, he spoke up first, “I’m Jet Black.” He said firmly.

The waitress smiled, “Well it’s nice to meet you all.” You could tell she was a little apprehensive but thankfully, Ed’s little digressions hadn’t deterred her from serving them, “So would you like to order?”

She looked towards Jet first, who pursed his lips and had a quick glance through the menu, “I’ll have the 5oz steak with fries and a coke.”

The waitress nodded politely as she jotted down the order, he eyes darting to Ed whose melodic voice rang out from behind the menu, “Chocolate fudge milkshake, ooh-la-la. I’ll take three! And an extra-large stack of waffles with bacon and maple syrup. Please!”

“Excellent.” The waitress smiled before turning to Spike, who was in the middle of sucking the life out of his cigarette.

“I’ll have a cheeseburger.”

“Anything to drink with that?”

Spike shrugged, “Coffee.”

“Okay!” She quickly scribbled the orders down before turning to look at Faye.

“Hmmm.” She paused to skim over the menu one last time, as if she didn’t already know exactly what she wanted, “I’ll have a garden burger: extra cheese, extra fries. Side order of onion rings, two chilli cheese dogs, one with cheese, one without. One portion of ‘sunrise waffles’ with extra maple syrup and chocolate ice cream, one banana split, and one extra-large chocolate fudge sundae with extra brownies and…two rum and cokes.” She closed the menu and smiled as she handed it back to the waitress, “You get all that?”

The waitress looked almost petrified, her eyes wide and her mouth gaped open. Despite her incredible apprehension, she managed to smile through it as she struggled to note down everything that Faye had said, and then, with a sympathetic smile, she turned to Faye once more, “I’m sorry but we don’t serve alcohol.”

Faye’s blood ran cold. She froze; her bones growing rigid. It felt like she had been punched in the gut by the world’s strongest man. She couldn’t believe her ears, she didn’t want to believe it, “I’m sorry what?”

The waitress looked at Faye nervously, “We don’t serve alcohol.”

Immediately she stood up, “We’re leaving.” She said as authoritatively as she could amid a group of people who were so hungry they would eat her if they had the chance.

“Sit down.” Jet told her as he grabbed her arm and pulled her back into the booth, “She’ll have a coffee.” He told the waitress.

“Right.” The waitress gave a pained smile as she finished jotting everything down, “I’ll be right back with your orders.”

As she left, Faye turned to Jet with a heartbroken pout. “What just happened, Jet? I was promised alcohol.”

“Look I never actually said that you could get a drink here.”

Faye gasped melodramatically, “You lied!”

Jet raised an eyebrow and leaned away from Faye who had an accusatory finger pointed at his face, “If it means that much to you, we’ll just stop at the off licence on the way back home.”

“We better.”

The waitress came back momentarily carrying a jug of coffee and two mugs. She poured Spike and Faye each a coffee respectively. Once she left, Spike reached into his jacket and took out a silver flask. He quickly checked behind him and to his sides before unscrewing the lid and pouring a golden liquid into his mug. He then lifted the mug and took a long sip, savouring every drop. He let out a satisfied sigh as he put the mug back down, before realising that Faye had been staring at him with a ferocious glare. He grinned.

She gritted her teeth, “You have alcohol? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because it’s mine.” Spike told her flatly.

“Gimme some.” Faye said as she frantically reached for Spike’s mug.

“Get your own.” Spike told her as he lifted his mug out of her reach.

“I can’t. That’s the whole point.”

Spike gave an apathetic shrug before talking another swig from his mug. Faye groaned as she threw her head back in hopelessness.

But before she started to feel too sorry for herself, the food arrived. She gazed at it longingly as it spread itself out over more than two thirds of the table. While Spike and Jet both looked at her as if she was a lunatic, even Ed looked a little surprised.

“What?” She said defensively as she grabbed her burger.

“You’re gonna eat all that, by yourself?” Spike asked.

“I haven’t eaten all day!”

“You woke up at four in the afternoon.” Spike told her.

She pursed her lips in irritation, “I’m just really hungry, okay?”

“I can see that.” Spike chuckled as he shook his head.

***

Surprisingly, it really didn’t take Faye long at all to finish her meal (if you could even call it that; it was more of a banquet than anything else) she even finished before Ed.

“I’m impressed, Faye.” Spike said, his eyebrows raised as he took a quick drag from the cigarette in his hand, “You really did just eat an entire table worth of food.”

“Two thirds of a table actually.” She corrected him, “But thank you.”

Ed finished shortly after and they left. Ed waved goodbye to the waitress and Ein gave her a bark of farewell.

The liquor store was only two blocks away on their way back home. It didn’t look like much on the outside; cracked windows, dusty frames, chipped wood, and the ‘O’ was missing from the word ‘Liquor’, but inside the store was home to the largest selection alcohol Faye had ever seen.

As they walked in, Spike and Jet both picked up a carton of cigarettes and then headed over to browse the magazines while Faye scuttled off to peruse the spirit selection.

Ed ran over to the counter excitedly with Ein in her arms and grabbed a few chocolate bars, “Ed wants candy!! Mwahahaha!”

“Sorry you’re not allowed dogs in here.” Came the voice of the shop owner as he peered down at Ed with a cigarette in his mouth, “You can buy some candy, but you have to put the dog outside.”

Ed and Ein both whined simultaneously, as Ed slumped out of the store carrying Ein.

Meanwhile, without even realising Ed had left, Faye was wandering about the liquor aisle, taking the term stocking up to a whole new level. She grabbed two bottles of vodka and shoved one under each arm, she thought for a second and then grabbed another one. Immediately moving on to the beers in the fridge. She grabbed two at first and then realised she wanted more but had nowhere to put them, so she shoved the bottle of vodka under her chin, shoved a six-pack under each elbow and grabbed a couple more six-packs. Realising she definitely couldn’t carry all it by herself, but already being too attached to all the alcohol to let go of any, she had to call for help. Luckily the guys were just on the other side of the aisle, so she called over to them, “Guys…I could really use a little help right now.”

She heard a small sigh followed by an unintelligible grumble but sure enough the guys walked round to her ready to help her out.

Immediately, their eyebrows shot up and they glanced at each other quizzically, “You sure you got enough there?” Jet asked sarcastically.

Faye looked at him as he grabbed two of the six-packs and held one in each hand, it looked as if there was a fishhook in his eyebrow as he stared at her somewhat judgementally.

“Don’t worry this is all I’m getting.”

“Are you trying to give yourself alcohol poisoning?” Spike asked with an eyebrow raised as he grabbed the bottle from underneath her chin, “You know, if you wanted a trip to the hospital, I could’ve just shot you in the leg. Would’ve made it a lot easier.”

Faye let out a fake laugh and glared at Spike, “They’re not all for tonight, lunkhead.” She groaned quietly as she tried to shimmy the six-packs and bottles of vodka down her arm- with no luck.
“Here.” Although he did derive a bit of amusement from watching Faye struggle, he had to do something, so he put the bottle of vodka on the floor to grab the ones under Faye’s arm and put them on the floor too. He then grabbed the six-packs and handed them to her.

He was about to reach down and grab the bottles off the floor, when they heard yelling coming from the front of the store. He looked at the other two as they tried to listen in; they couldn’t see anything from where they were standing.

“Put all the money in this bag or I shoot!”

Their eyes widened simultaneously, and they all stood completely still.

“Shit what do we do?” Jet asked in a whisper.

“What do you mean?” Faye asked frantically.

“I mean we can’t just leave the poor guy, he could get killed.”

“You’re fine with getting paid to kill random people you don’t even know, but when its some clerk of a run-down liquor store, you’re suddenly superman or whatever.” Faye shot back.

“She’s got a point, Jet.” Spike chimed in.

“...He’s innocent.” Jet shrugged.

“Could the direction of your moral compass get more dubious?” Faye asked in amazement.

“Well what else can we do?” Jet asked softly.

Faye smiled wickedly, “I say we sneak out of here while the guy’s distracted, that way we don’t risk getting hurt and we score some free booze in the process.”

“As much as I hate to admit it, I’m with Faye on this one. Although I don’t think ‘distracted’ and ‘held at gun point’ can be used interchangeably.” Spike said as he shot a look of sly contempt.

“To-mey-to, To-ma-to.” Faye shrugged with a small grin.

Spike rolled his eyes and Jet sighed.

“Plus, Ed’s in here somewhere, we need to make sure she’s safe before that guy.” Faye said.

That statement seemed to sway Jet and he was about to agree but Spike wasn’t buying it, “You don’t care about Ed, you just want free booze.”

Faye pursed her lips and glared at Spike, “I don’t think you’re comprehending the amount of alcohol we could smuggle out of here.”

Jet was about to argue something about how Faye was acting childish, when they heard a huge yelp from the front of the store, so they crept along the aisle to peak around to corner. What they saw then surprised then like nothing else.

The robber was lying on the floor, twitching in agony, the cashier looked terrified; his arms were still in the air and it almost looked as if he had been crying. But the real shocker was the person stood above the body who was holding a small black device with what looked like shockwaves (?) coming out of it.

“Ed, what happened?” Spike asked as he walked forward apprehensively.

“Ed defeated the bad guy!” She yelled triumphantly.

“You did this?” Faye asked, motioning to the body on the floor.

Ed nodded profusely.

“How?” she asked.

“With this!” Ed held up the small device excitedly, “I shocked him! Buzz buzz.”

“Is this a stun gun?” Jet asked as he took it form Ed’s hands, “Where did you get this?”

“Ed made it.”

The three of them shared a look, a look that said, ‘What the bloody hell is going on?’

“You made this?” Faye asked in awe.

Ed nodded again.

“Ed, that’s amazing.” She mused as she gazed at the device in Jet’s hand.

They were all quiet for a moment until they heard a whimper from the cashier whom they’d forgotten was still there.

“Uhhh…” Spike stepped over the body of the robber slowly and up to the cash desk, “Here’s five dollars, keep the change. Sorry about that,” Spike said as he motioned to the body on the ground, “We’ll just leave you to clear that up.” He then gave the guy an uncomfortably large grin as they all dashed out of the shop.

“That was wild.” Faye breathed as they walked down the street, “Ed, why didn’t you tell as about that stun gun thing?”

Ed shrugged as she skipped along with Ein in tow, “Didn’t think it was important.”

“Are you kidding?” Faye asked, “We could make some serious bucks if we patented this bad boy.”

“Mmmm serious bucks.” Ed repeated with a gleeful smile.

Faye chuckled softly, knowing that nothing would ever really come of that thought. Not for them and not anytime soon. So, she carried on walking silently with the rest of them and, as they walked slowly through the moonlight, they all shared a common thought, maybe this wacky kid wasn’t just a wacky kid after all.

Chapter Text

After the eventful shenanigans of the night before, the three adults came to a unanimous decision that Rosie's diner was a onetime thing and, within a night, they were back at the Bebop drinking away their ever-increasing troubles. It was Faye's night off, so the three of them could sit at their booth without being disturbed. She sat opposite the boys, sprawled out across two seats as she hoovered up her third rum and coke of the evening while Spike had barely touched his whisky and Jet was still nursing his first and only beer of the night.

"Slow down, Faye." Jet warned her.

"Okay, dad." Faye rolled her eyes sarcastically as she took a long drag from the cigarette in her hand.

Jet pursed his lips and groaned; he hated it when people made comparisons like that, especially when it was Spike or Faye. He wasn’t that much older than either of them and he hated the extra responsibility that it implied.

"Just don't get too pissed." He warned her, pausing as he realised that maybe his stern voice did sound a bit too fatherly. "I just need you to be alert for the job tomorrow, that's all."

"Fine." She said with a smile and an eyeroll, "I'll make this my last one."

Jet groaned and mumbled something unintelligible.

To his left, Spike was slouching comfortably in his seat getting lost in a cigarette. Until he realised something, "Ugh, Jet, what exactly is the job tomorrow?"

"Oh yeah, what's happening?" Faye chimed in.

Jet furrowed his brows petulantly and looked between them both, "Didn't either of you read the files I gave you?"

Spike and Faye looked at each other quickly, "No...?" Came their hesitat reply.

"Why the hell not?" Jet said irritably.

"We were busy." Faye told him.

"With what?" Jet narrowed his eyes.

"Important... business..." Faye said, the words leaving her mouth before they had time to register in her brain.

Jet stared at her in grated disbelief, "Getting drunk on the couch and watching cartoons all day is not important business."

"But there were new episodes of Tom and Jerry." Faye whined.

"Tom finally caught Jerry, I mean we couldn't not watch it." Spike added.

Jet groaned.

"So, you gonna tell us about the job, or not?" Spike asked.

"No, you guys missed your chance, you'll have to read the files when we get back home."

"Come on Jet don't be like that." Spike ushered.

"Yeah, come on Jet." Faye pouted as she leaned into the table towards Jet.

Jet groaned again rather melodramatically before giving in, "Fine, but it's the last time I try to do anything helpful for you guys."

Spike and Faye smiled at each other briefly as Jet sighed and began explaining the plan for tomorrow.

"Are guy was a drug mule for the boss back in ‘57. Skipped town with about $10,000 worth of heroin. Boss wants him dead or $10,000 back. Since that money’s probably long gone, we're gonna kill him."

"Gotcha." Faye said with a nod. She went to pick up her drink but when the room started to spin a bit too quickly she put it right back down again.

"Tomorrow night, he'll be at the lucky coin casino. What I'm hoping is Faye you distract him, make him bring you up to his room. Spike and I will follow you and that's where we'll take him out."

"Distract him?" Faye asked curiously.

"You know, distract him, get him drunk, flirt with him, do whatever you have to do to get him to let his guard down."

Faye pursed her lips and thought for a second, "Yeah, I can do that."

"Good." Jet smiled, "We're counting on you."

Faye's chest welled up; she felt a surge of support from Jet’s words. But also, a little pressure. Suddenly she felt a little nervous and finished her drink off.

As her eyes wandered around the room, her pointed gaze fell upon the bar. She noticed that someone had the same coat as her. She noticed because it was bright yellow. She noticed because that coat was a French make that you couldn’t get in the US. She chuckled dryly to herself. What were the chances that someone else had the exact same coat and they were sitting in the same bar at the same time.

Wait a minute.

Faye had to do a double take as she looked the woman up and down. Her shoes looked familiar as well and Faye knew why, she had bought the exact same pair just last week.

Faye looked even closer. It was the scarf as well; this woman had a red scarf wrapped around her head. Faye had the exact same one sitting at home, or at least she hoped it was sitting at home.

"Faye, what the hell are you staring at?"

Spike's voice pulled her out of her trance and she quickly looked at the guys opposite her, her face pinched with confusion.

"That woman at the bar..." Faye said, pointing her out.

"The one with that awful yellow coat?" Spike asked with a wry smile, "Wait don't you have a coat just like that?"

Faye kicked Spike's leg in annoyance.

"That's my point, dickhead." Faye yelled quietly as Spike winced and rubbed his leg, "She's wearing my clothes."

"What?" Spike and Jet said almost simultaneously.

"How could you possibly know that?" Spike asked sceptically, a perplexed frown decorating his face.

"Because I just do!" Faye insisted, "That scarf, the coat, those shoes! I own every one of those items and they're all exactly the same as the ones she’s wearing."

"You're just being paranoid." Jet dismissed.

"And drunk." Spike added contemptuously.

"I'm not!" She argued, "And I'll prove it to you." With that being said, she stood up and began to walk to the bar.

"Faye," Spike raised an eyebrow in concern, "What are you doing?"

"There's a small tear on the shoulder of my coat, I'm going to go over there and have a look for it. If I see a tear, then I'll know it's mine." She exclaimed proudly as if she’d just come up with a million dollar idea.

Spike just stared at her as if she was an idiot, Jet on the other hand looked a little concerned.

"Good luck with that", Spike told her as she walked away.

From the back, this woman looked quite small, she was certainly too small for the coat she was wearing. It sagged in unflattering places and was bunched up in the back. Whoever she was, she did not know how to dress herself.

"I love your coat," Faye said with a sly smile as she slid up to the bar next to the mysterious woman, "Where did you get it?"

Immediately, Faye's eyes flew to the shoulder of the coat and she saw it, the small tear just below the seam.

Aha!

Faye waited in anticipation as the woman slowly turned her head and looked at Faye. She was wearing sunglasses, bright red cat eye sunglasses. Faye narrowed her eyes; she owned a pair exactly like that.

Faye held her breath, the woman took her sweet time as she reached up to remove the sunglasses, almost as if she knew Faye was on the edge of her seat.

Behind her, Spike and Jet were watching semi-interestedly as Faye tried to bust this poor young woman.

"Faye-Faye!"

Faye's body suddenly stopped tensing, but she didn't feel anymore relaxed.

"Ed!" She yelled, placing her hand over her mouth when she realised she was being a bit too loud, "What is going on? Why are you wearing my clothes?"

"These are Ed's clothes."

Faye growled loudly as she reached to grabbed at the glasses and scarf.

"Stop Faye-Faye." Ed giggled.

"You shouldn't have these!" She said, "And you shouldn't be here."

Sensing the commotion, Spike and Jet both got up to see what was going on.

"Ed?" Jet asked as they reached the bar to see Faye and Ed squabbling over a pair of sunglasses, "What's going on?"

"Ed stole my clothes." Faye explained through gritted teeth.

"I can see that. I meant what are you doing here, Ed?" Jet asked confusedly, "And more importantly, how in the hell did you get in here, it's over 21s only."

"I took Faye's clothes, so I could dress up like an old lady!" Ed explained.

"Old lady?!" Faye squawked as she let go of the sunglasses to put her hands on her hips.

Spike sniggered, and Jet tried to hold back his laughter.

At that moment, Ed's chest started to wriggle and out popped the head of a very familiar furry friend.

Spike, Jet, and Faye all let out simultaneous moans as Ein barked happily at them.

Faye then grabbed his snout and shoved him back down Ed's coat, "Shhh!"

The bartender then quickly threw them a suspicious look. As a cover up, Spike let out a horrific sounding amalgamation of a cough and a sneeze, "Hey fever." He explained.

In a spout of undeserved luck, the bartender bought it. He smiled understandingly and walked away, they could all breath a sigh fo relief.

"Ed, if Jimmy finds out you brought a dog in here, he's gonna kick us all out." Spike said in a low register.

"Yeah we should probably leave like now, before someone notices." Faye said in concern, mainly for herself and her job.

"Yeah come on, Ed." Spike was about to take Ed out of the bar, when suddenly the bartender came back and handed Ed the drink that's she'd apparently ordered.

"Here you go."

"OooOoh." Ed mused as she stared longingly at the glass of gold liquid.

She reached out excitedly but before she could touch the glass, Faye had snuck out in front of her and grabbed it.

"Ah ah ah." She warned, "You're not 21 yet, you can't drink this." Faye though for a moment, "Wait how old are you?"

"45." Ed told her quickly.

Faye narrowed her eyes intimidatingly.

"13." Ed squeaked.

"Okay we'll you're definitely not drinking this." Faye told her and, without a word of warning, pounded the glass of what she shockingly found out was straight tequila.

"Tequila, Ed? Really? Couldn't have gone with something a little more…drinkable?" She stuttered through the burning in her throat.

"Tequila sounds like a type of fruit." Ed shrugged.

"Well it really doesn't taste like one." Faye told her with a shiver.

"Sorry, Ed." Spike said with a pursed smile, "Maybe another time."

Ed pursed her lips.

“You should thank Faye,” Jet chimed in, “She did you a favour. You don't not want your first ever taste of alcohol to be Tequila.”

Faye smiled at Jet rather drunkenly, "If you behave then I'll give you a sip of beer when we get home." She told Ed.

Ed’s eyes widened, and she nodded excitedly.

Unbelievably, they managed to smuggle Ein back out of the bar. It took three fully grown adults and a lot of misdirection, but they did it and when they finally got outside, they couldn't help but laugh.

"You're such a weird kid, Ed. It’s great." Spike mused as they walked down the street.

"Thanks Spike-person, so are you!" She smiled.

Spike chuckled to himself as Ed skipped along next to him.

 

As soon as they got home, Faye kicked off her shoes and jumped into the coach, Ed following suit closely behind her. Spike and Jet on the other hand headed straight for the fridge to grab the drinks.

"Pass me one, would ya?" Faye yelled across the room, holding her arm up.

Spike looked over to her and, tossed her over a can of beer which she caught, opened, and immediately started drinking.

"OooOoh." Ed mused as she admired the miraculous exchange of flying objects between the two.

"Here." Faye said, hoisting the can in front of Ed, "Try some."

Ed's eyes widened enormously, and she took the can into her hands just as Spike and Jet came over and sat down on the armchairs opposite the sofa. As soon as Ed put her lips around the can and took a sip, her face crumpled into a look of disgust, “Yack!”

Faye chuckled softly beside her.

“Why does anyone drink this, it tastes so bad!” She stuck her tongue out.

“Listen Ed, if people drank alcohol for the taste, it wouldn’t be nearly as popular.” Faye told her and Ed watched in disgust as she started to down her can of beer.

At that moment Spike stood up and walked across the room, “Where are you going?” Faye quizzed him suspiciously.

He looked back at her briefly before reaching into a bag on the floor, “Jet and I went to the record shop the other day and picked something up. Haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet but I thought now would be as good a time as any.”

Faye perked up slightly, “Oooh who is it?”

Spike raised an eyebrow at Faye as she ran over to him to get a peek at the album cover, “The Beatles.”

“The Beatles?” Faye gazed at the sleeve, there were four guys looking down from a staircase. They all looked exactly the same. The words ‘Please Please Me’ were written in red over top them and ‘The Beatles’ in yellow.

“They’re a British band.” Jet explained, “Quite popular over in the UK.”

“What kind of music do they play?” Faye asked apprehensively.

“Rock.”

“Rock?” Faye sounded disgruntled, “So they’re not even playing real music?”

“Real music?” Spike furrowed his brows at her, “As opposed to what? Fake music?”

“You know what I mean.” She said exasperatedly as she threw her arms into the air

“I really don’t.”

“Real music! Soul! Blues! Jazz!” Faye was getting herself worked up at this point. She sighwd heavily and let herself fall back onto the sofa.

“Okay Grandma.” Spike dismissed her as he put the record down and waited for the music to play.

“Trust me,” Faye carried on, “In 20 years, no one is even going to remember that these ‘beetle’ guys ever existed.”

The music started playing and Faye’s words got lost in the vibrant rhythm of an electric guitar.

“Well shake it up baby now,

Shake it up baby,

Twist and shout,

Twist and shout.”

At the start of the song, Spike began clicking his fingers to the beat as he let his hips carry him around the living room. Anyone who was paying attention to his sloppy movements could see he was more than a little bit wasted. Startling Faye, Ed jumped up and began dancing next to him and the two of them swayed side by side, clicking their fingers as they jumped about. It was a lively song and it made you want to start dancing, Faye could admit that much. It was quite amusing, she thought, to watch the two clowns in front of her make fools of themselves while they danced about merrily. Despite their fatuous exterior, they looked like they were having fun.

Spike shot Faye a drunken toothy grin, to which she just rolled her eyes.

“Faye-Faye come dance!” Ed yelled with a giddy smile.

“I’m good thanks.” She said with another, rather unconvincing, eyeroll.

Faye was then left alone to watch from the sofa as even Jet had succumbed to the lively jam of the Beatles and was now awkwardly trying to keep up with Ed and Spike. They all looked off their tits.

“Come on, you know you want to.” Spike teased when he saw Faye looking up at the three of them wistfully.

“Not in a million years, Spike.” She said as she turned up her nose.

Spike shook his head with a smile and carried on dancing. He gave up on pestering Fay. For the moment.

Ed tuckered herself out after about four songs and Jet had given up and gone to bed after only one but even after the fifth song, Spike was still going strong.

“Come on Faye don’t leave me hanging.” He said with a smile.

She stared at him increduously and rolled her eyes. She'd never admit it but there was a huge part of her screaming at her to jump up and dance with him, to take his hand and fly around the living room to the sound of some cheesy rock song. She wanted to stand near him, to be with him, and have fun. Of course, she didn't have the balls.

As she attempted to bury all the urges she felt to leap up and dance, she exhaled flippantly and ignored Spike's out turned hand.

Spike's hand.

It had never been offered to her before. And she could only assume that Spike was offering it to her now because his better judgement had been doused by beer.

Against all better judgement, she took his hand and was immediately pulled in.

“One, two, three, four!

Well she was just seventeen,

If you know what I mean…”

The music began startlingly quickly and before she could work out which way was left, Spike had a hand placed around her waist and was grasping her hand firmly in the other. Faye glanced nervously at Spike’s feet which looked like jackrabbits in comparison to hers.

"You're not keeping up." Spike warned her with a grin.

"I have no idea what I'm supposed to be keeping up with!" Faye said indignantly as she furiously tried to match Spike’s fast footwork.

"Here." Spike said softly as he pulled Faye in closer and picked up the pace a little.

"You're going too fast, lunkhead!" She yelled melodramatically.

"That's the point." Spike grinned.

Faye hated this, well that was lie; she couldn’t feel happier if she wanted to. No matter how hard she tried, it was impossible to ignore the way her heart swooned as Spike tiptoed around the floor with her, she felt at home in his arms, she felt safe and her whole body crooned in harmony.

She was smitten, and she hated it.

She hated the way her heart sang whenever he smiled at her, she hated the way her stomach tied itself in knots whenever he touched her, and she hated the fact that she could never bring herself to admit it out loud.

As she looked at him, at his goofy smile and his warm eyes, she felt so at home. She’d never really had a proper home but, in that moment, in the presence of a man whose warm smile gave the promise of comfort and safety, she felt complete.

Looking into Spike’s eyes, Faye started to think that there was some chance that maybe he felt the same.

But he was pretty drunk, and the more she stared at him, the more it became agonizingly clear that what she thought was an air of affection, was just plain old drunken glee.