vettac: (cool)

Chapter 13. Darkness Be My Pillow

Darkness, Darkness
Be my pillow
Take my head
And let me sleep in the coolness of your shadow
In the silence of your deep

The Bebop was moored at Tharsis River and looked forlorn and battered next to the larger, modern cargo ships parked next to it. Spike pushed open the heavy metal port door, ducking his head as he went in. The common room was smaller than he remembered; his penthouse living room could fit ten of these.

He looked towards the galley where he expected to see Jet as in the old days, wearing an apron and hunched over the small stove in the kitchen, wok in hand. The galley was silent. As he wandered towards the hangar, the high peal of laughter wafted towards him. He didn't remember Ed having a laugh like that. That could only mean one thing. He swallowed his nervousness and headed out to the hanger.


"Spiiiike!"

Uh oh. Edward had just spotted him. Spike braced himself for impact as the willowy 15-year-old launched herself in his arms. She was taller, though still as thin as he remembered. She hugged him so tight that he could barely breathe.

"Hey, Ed," he said gently, returning her embrace.

"Ed is glad you decided to be alive," she whispered in his shirt.

He guessed he kind of missed her too. He looked over her carrot orange hair to the other side of the deck where Jet was grinning and Faye was, well, not smiling.

"Hey buddy," Jet greeted him. Jet had set up a hibachi on the deck and was grilling strips of beef and peppers. On cue, Spike's stomach grumbled at the smell of food.

"Hey old man," he said, a genuine smile gracing his features. "It's been a long time." It was good seeing his old friend. He could now understand the word homecoming. He should have guessed that Jet was arranging a complete reunion of the crew. Jet had left out that small detail.

He gently extricated himself from Edward.

"Aaww," she wailed. "Ed is not finished."

Spike patted her head. "Let me talk to Jet for a minute. More hugs later, okay?"

A mollified Ed nodded and zoomed away.

Spike walked over to his old friend. He leaned down and breathed in the smell. "So, what's cooking?"

"The usual. Bell peppers and beef."

"With actual beef, I see."

The two of laughed like it was the most hilarious joke in the solar system.

Spike glanced over at Faye.

"Yo." He figured he should say something else to her since it had been awhile since he saw her. "How are you, Faye?" Real smooth, Spike.

Faye did not crack a smile. "I'm fine, Spike. You?" She crossed her arms and turned to Jet, not waiting an answer.

He cringed, but the only visible reaction was a slowly broadening grin. So, this is how it's going to be. He resisted the urge to make a snarly comment. Her feathers were already ruffled as it was. Guess she wasn't happy to see him. He shrugged, his eyes on her back.

Darkness, Darkness
Hide my yearning
For the things I cannot be
Keep my mind from constant turning
Toward the things I cannot see now
Things I cannot see

What a way to spoil a homecoming.

vettac: (Default)

Chapter 12: The Space Between

The way I see it
This relationship ain't right
The space between us
Better close it up tonight
The space between us
Close it up tonight


Spike rubbed his fatigued eyes and laid the large folder of papers on the large ornate mahogany desk. Soo Ling had demanded that he read and sign the papers by noon, and he didn't want to deal with her wrath today.

"Business calls, and unless you want to be replaced, you'd better have these signed when I come by."

He stood up and walked over to the window. His office overlooked the river, which wound its snaky path through the span of the city of Tharsis. From up here, you would never imagine the poverty and neglect that existed below. Hell, even walking along the uptown boulevards, you'd be hard pressed to find any of the illegal dealings that went on. For that, you would have to wait until the sun set and the business people went home to their houses in the domed privileged areas. No one could have convinced him when he was a kid on the streets, that one day he would be one of them living the life of luxury. He would have laughed in their faces at that. Yet, here he was. It was a lonely existence, and the only thing that kept him going was his guilt and the desire to right the wrongs that he had done to the people that he ... cared about. A couple of times he had thought about calling Jet, but he wouldn't know what to say to him, and he didn't want to find out if Jet knew about him and Faye.

He leaned his head against the cold glass. Soo Ling would be showing up soon, and he was only halfway through signing the papers. What was the deal with her anyway? She'd been the one to arrange for his move to the Samora Crown, and his installment in the Hidden Dragons organization. The money that was deposited into his accounts was her doing as well, and he couldn't figure out what she got from it all. He supposed it was because she had been close to Mao, and had made him a promise to watch after his former protégé. It was the only thing that made any sense. Yet when he had asked her about it, she got a strange look on her face and changed the subject. She wasn't talking, and no one else was either.

He pushed himself away from the window and returned to his desk. He hurriedly scribbled his name on the rest of the papers and stuck them back in the folder. Not a moment too soon, because a minute later Soo Ling walked into his office.

"You have the papers for me?" she asked in her sing-song accent as she strode over to him. She had born in the Chinese district and had never completely lost the accent. He thought it was cute. She thought he was annoying.

Spike smiled triumphantly and slid the folder towards her. "All done."

She raised her eyebrow. "Oh? I thought I would have to chase you down again."

He snorted. "It's not that hard to sign my name to a bunch of papers," he said, getting up from the desk. "Am I done now?"

She snatched up the folder, thumbing through the sheets. "You sure you didn't miss any? You get sloppy when you're in a hurry to leave."

"It'd be a shame to waste such a beautiful day stuck inside, don't you think?" He flashed his charming smile and waited for her to soften. It wasn't working. She didn't even bat an eye.

"Looks like everything is here. You can go now." She closed the folder and walked to the door.

He grinned. He was being dismissed like he was a snot nosed kid. "Thanks, Mom."

She opened the door and slammed it behind her.

He walked back over the window and looked around again. It was a beautiful day. Too bad he didn't have anywhere to go. He turned back to his desk and picked up his communicator. After a moment of hesitation, he called Jet. After a few rings, Jet picked up, and his face lit up in surprise.

"Yo."

"Spike! You slug! Where the hell have you been?"

Spike smiled. He really missed the old man. "Here and there," he said cryptically. "How've you been?"

Jet sighed. "Been better, but I can't complain." He raised an eyebrow at Spike. "No one would listen anyway."

Spike grinned. "Well, you could get the shrew to listen to you."

Jet looked up with a raised eyebrow. "Huh? Oh yeah, you don't know."

Spike's heart pounded. "Know what?"

"Faye's not here. Hasn't been for a couple of months."

"She left?"

"Yeah, met some slick guy at a casino in Alba City. They must have hit it off pretty well, because the next thing I know, she says she's moving in with the guy."

Spike had heard about the Rileys. After the Gate accident, none of the syndicates had been able to get close to them – they were on the straight and narrow and had enough woolongs to resist them all. After a while, no one tried anymore. They had a wide reach of in real estate and properties that spanned across several planets. It figured that Faye would get herself hooked up with a guy with money. It was ironic that he now fit into that same category. It wasn't like he and Faye had ever been together. Not that he even entertained the thought of him and Faye. He shook his head. Best not to go there.

He didn't realize he was holding his breath until his lungs started hurting and he had to take in a gulp of air. Time to cut back on the smokes. He was glad for her, he supposed. She deserved someone who could be there for her.

Jet was still talking. "Yeah, she and this Riley guy are a hot item on the casino circuit, so I hear. He's from one of the old families from Earth. The Rileys of Texas, old Earth. Made their money in oil. Somehow managed to stay legit, no connection with the syndicates or ISSP. I'm surprised you haven't heard about them."

"So, she's happy?"

"She breezes in every now and then. Brings souvenirs for Ed and me. Designer dog biscuits for Ein. Even kisses me on the cheek. Then she takes off again." Jet chuckled. "Yeah, I'd say she's happy."

Spike was silent.

"You okay there, buddy?"

He looked up at Jet's face on the screen. He'd almost forgotten he was there. He rubbed at the warmth on his cheeks. "Why wouldn't I be?" he asked, clenching his jaw.

"No reason. Just thought you looked-"

"Yeah, alright," Spike interrupted him. He reached over to disconnect.

"Spike wait."

He paused midair and glared at Jet.

"Me and Ed are docked at Tharsis. Are you on Mars?"

"Yeah."

"Why don't you come by? For old time's sake?"

Spike thought for a moment.

"I'll fix your favorite - bell peppers and beef."

Spike smiled. "Yeah, okay." He cut the connection.
vettac: (Default)

Chapter 12: The Space Between

The way I see it
This relationship ain't right
The space between us
Better close it up tonight
The space between us
Close it up tonight


Spike rubbed his fatigued eyes and laid the large folder of papers on the large ornate mahogany desk. Soo Ling had demanded that he read and sign the papers by noon, and he didn't want to deal with her wrath today.

"Business calls, and unless you want to be replaced, you'd better have these signed when I come by."

He stood up and walked over to the window. His office overlooked the river, which wound its snaky path through the span of the city of Tharsis. From up here, you would never imagine the poverty and neglect that existed below. Hell, even walking along the uptown boulevards, you'd be hard pressed to find any of the illegal dealings that went on. For that, you would have to wait until the sun set and the business people went home to their houses in the domed privileged areas. No one could have convinced him when he was a kid on the streets, that one day he would be one of them living the life of luxury. He would have laughed in their faces at that. Yet, here he was. It was a lonely existence, and the only thing that kept him going was his guilt and the desire to right the wrongs that he had done to the people that he ... cared about. A couple of times he had thought about calling Jet, but he wouldn't know what to say to him, and he didn't want to find out if Jet knew about him and Faye.

He leaned his head against the cold glass. Soo Ling would be showing up soon, and he was only halfway through signing the papers. What was the deal with her anyway? She'd been the one to arrange for his move to the Samora Crown, and his installment in the Hidden Dragons organization. The money that was deposited into his accounts was her doing as well, and he couldn't figure out what she got from it all. He supposed it was because she had been close to Mao, and had made him a promise to watch after his former protégé. It was the only thing that made any sense. Yet when he had asked her about it, she got a strange look on her face and changed the subject. She wasn't talking, and no one else was either.

He pushed himself away from the window and returned to his desk. He hurriedly scribbled his name on the rest of the papers and stuck them back in the folder. Not a moment too soon, because a minute later Soo Ling walked into his office.

"You have the papers for me?" she asked in her sing-song accent as she strode over to him. She had born in the Chinese district and had never completely lost the accent. He thought it was cute. She thought he was annoying.

Spike smiled triumphantly and slid the folder towards her. "All done."

She raised her eyebrow. "Oh? I thought I would have to chase you down again."

He snorted. "It's not that hard to sign my name to a bunch of papers," he said, getting up from the desk. "Am I done now?"

She snatched up the folder, thumbing through the sheets. "You sure you didn't miss any? You get sloppy when you're in a hurry to leave."

"It'd be a shame to waste such a beautiful day stuck inside, don't you think?" He flashed his charming smile and waited for her to soften. It wasn't working. She didn't even bat an eye.

"Looks like everything is here. You can go now." She closed the folder and walked to the door.

He grinned. He was being dismissed like he was a snot nosed kid. "Thanks, Mom."

She opened the door and slammed it behind her.

He walked back over the window and looked around again. It was a beautiful day. Too bad he didn't have anywhere to go. He turned back to his desk and picked up his communicator. After a moment of hesitation, he called Jet. After a few rings, Jet picked up, and his face lit up in surprise.

"Yo."

"Spike! You slug! Where the hell have you been?"

Spike smiled. He really missed the old man. "Here and there," he said cryptically. "How've you been?"

Jet sighed. "Been better, but I can't complain." He raised an eyebrow at Spike. "No one would listen anyway."

Spike grinned. "Well, you could get the shrew to listen to you."

Jet looked up with a raised eyebrow. "Huh? Oh yeah, you don't know."

Spike's heart pounded. "Know what?"

"Faye's not here. Hasn't been for a couple of months."

"She left?"

"Yeah, met some slick guy at a casino in Alba City. They must have hit it off pretty well, because the next thing I know, she says she's moving in with the guy."

Spike had heard about the Rileys. After the Gate accident, none of the syndicates had been able to get close to them – they were on the straight and narrow and had enough woolongs to resist them all. After a while, no one tried anymore. They had a wide reach of in real estate and properties that spanned across several planets. It figured that Faye would get herself hooked up with a guy with money. It was ironic that he now fit into that same category. It wasn't like he and Faye had ever been together. Not that he even entertained the thought of him and Faye. He shook his head. Best not to go there.

He didn't realize he was holding his breath until his lungs started hurting and he had to take in a gulp of air. Time to cut back on the smokes. He was glad for her, he supposed. She deserved someone who could be there for her.

Jet was still talking. "Yeah, she and this Riley guy are a hot item on the casino circuit, so I hear. He's from one of the old families from Earth. The Rileys of Texas, old Earth. Made their money in oil. Somehow managed to stay legit, no connection with the syndicates or ISSP. I'm surprised you haven't heard about them."

"So, she's happy?"

"She breezes in every now and then. Brings souvenirs for Ed and me. Designer dog biscuits for Ein. Even kisses me on the cheek. Then she takes off again." Jet chuckled. "Yeah, I'd say she's happy."

Spike was silent.

"You okay there, buddy?"

He looked up at Jet's face on the screen. He'd almost forgotten he was there. He rubbed at the warmth on his cheeks. "Why wouldn't I be?" he asked, clenching his jaw.

"No reason. Just thought you looked-"

"Yeah, alright," Spike interrupted him. He reached over to disconnect.

"Spike wait."

He paused midair and glared at Jet.

"Me and Ed are docked at Tharsis. Are you on Mars?"

"Yeah."

"Why don't you come by? For old time's sake?"

Spike thought for a moment.

"I'll fix your favorite - bell peppers and beef."

Spike smiled. "Yeah, okay." He cut the connection.
vettac: (Default)
D - Dreamworld by Rilo Kiley
Me and you and what we'd do for money
This greed and jealousy turn to need
See, I'm a man with a plan to use my hands
I'm touching yours, you're the girl who wanted more
Now, baby, the story has faded from love to lie



Faye stabbed the knife through the steak and cut it in half. I really need to get some help for this gambling thing. She had lost the bet with Spike and now had to share the steak that she had bought for herself with her share of the bounty.

The bounty head was a small fry and payout was even smaller, and she had a taste for a nice juicy Venusian steak.  Spike bought smokes with his share, but kept eying the package with her steak. Somehow he convinced her to wager, and in a moment of stupidity, she actually fell for it. And lost, which led to a heated argument between the two of them. Jet, in a fit of pique, announced that he was taking a break from cooking and providing groceries for the lazy crew, and they were on their own.

She looked down at the steak, trying to decide which piece was better. Eenie meenie miny moe ... she chose one side and slapped it down on Spike's plate. She looked around her to see if he was nearby, then sneaked a sliver from his share and stuffed it in her mouth.

"Is that my piece?" Spike came into the room and looked down at the two plates.

Faye chewed furiously and nodded her head.

"Are you eating already?"

Faye swallowed hard before answering. "Of course not," she protested. "Didn't we agree that you would measure them?"

Spike came closer and peered at the two halves. "I could have sworn that that steak was bigger," he mumbled.

Faye scoffed. "If you knew anything, you would know that meat shrinks after it's cooked." She turned to him. "Do you even know how to cook?"

Spike grinned. "Have you ever seen me in the kitchen?"

She tossed her head. "My point exactly." She slid his plate towards him. "There's yours. We're even now." She picked up her plate and walked into the common room. She resisted the urge to turn around. She flopped down on the couch and dug in.

"Faye?"

She looked up. Spike was walking towards her with a scowl on his face. "What's this black stuff on the bottom of my steak?"

She smiled sweetly. "Oh. Didn't you say well done?"

"Well done, not burned." He stamped over to her and peered down at her plate. "Wait, let me see what your piece-"

Faye sank her fork into the last piece and popped it in her mouth. "What piece?"
vettac: (Default)
D - Dreamworld by Rilo Kiley
Me and you and what we'd do for money
This greed and jealousy turn to need
See, I'm a man with a plan to use my hands
I'm touching yours, you're the girl who wanted more
Now, baby, the story has faded from love to lie



Faye stabbed the knife through the steak and cut it in half. I really need to get some help for this gambling thing. She had lost the bet with Spike and now had to share the steak that she had bought for herself with her share of the bounty.

The bounty head was a small fry and payout was even smaller, and she had a taste for a nice juicy Venusian steak.  Spike bought smokes with his share, but kept eying the package with her steak. Somehow he convinced her to wager, and in a moment of stupidity, she actually fell for it. And lost, which led to a heated argument between the two of them. Jet, in a fit of pique, announced that he was taking a break from cooking and providing groceries for the lazy crew, and they were on their own.

She looked down at the steak, trying to decide which piece was better. Eenie meenie miny moe ... she chose one side and slapped it down on Spike's plate. She looked around her to see if he was nearby, then sneaked a sliver from his share and stuffed it in her mouth.

"Is that my piece?" Spike came into the room and looked down at the two plates.

Faye chewed furiously and nodded her head.

"Are you eating already?"

Faye swallowed hard before answering. "Of course not," she protested. "Didn't we agree that you would measure them?"

Spike came closer and peered at the two halves. "I could have sworn that that steak was bigger," he mumbled.

Faye scoffed. "If you knew anything, you would know that meat shrinks after it's cooked." She turned to him. "Do you even know how to cook?"

Spike grinned. "Have you ever seen me in the kitchen?"

She tossed her head. "My point exactly." She slid his plate towards him. "There's yours. We're even now." She picked up her plate and walked into the common room. She resisted the urge to turn around. She flopped down on the couch and dug in.

"Faye?"

She looked up. Spike was walking towards her with a scowl on his face. "What's this black stuff on the bottom of my steak?"

She smiled sweetly. "Oh. Didn't you say well done?"

"Well done, not burned." He stamped over to her and peered down at her plate. "Wait, let me see what your piece-"

Faye sank her fork into the last piece and popped it in her mouth. "What piece?"
vettac: (Default)
Got a touch of inspiration (feels incomplete, but here it is)

M - Malibu

Crash and burn
All the stars explode tonight
How'd you get so desperate?
How'd you stay alive?
Help me, please, burn the sorrow from your eyes
Oh come on be alive again
Don't lay down and die


He was a creature of habit, chasing down death like a hobby, his return another near miss as he waited for the final blow with something like disappointment.

Yet there was something in his eyes that looked like relief to her.

He stared coldly into her face, daring her to speak, to confront him. She refused to look away.

"You're back," she said reproachfully as she broke the silence .

"Yeah, it looks like it."

If he wasn't afraid of dying, then what was he afraid of? Because he did feel fear, that she could see behind the stony façade.

She dropped her eyes and stared through the port window. He didn't care that every time he left she wondered if it would be the last time she saw his face. He saw only what he wanted to see and closed his eyes to the rest. His past had cost him his soul, his future, his dreams, left him with empty gestures as he waited for the game to be over.
vettac: (Default)
Got a touch of inspiration (feels incomplete, but here it is)

M - Malibu

Crash and burn
All the stars explode tonight
How'd you get so desperate?
How'd you stay alive?
Help me, please, burn the sorrow from your eyes
Oh come on be alive again
Don't lay down and die


He was a creature of habit, chasing down death like a hobby, his return another near miss as he waited for the final blow with something like disappointment.

Yet there was something in his eyes that looked like relief to her.

He stared coldly into her face, daring her to speak, to confront him. She refused to look away.

"You're back," she said reproachfully as she broke the silence .

"Yeah, it looks like it."

If he wasn't afraid of dying, then what was he afraid of? Because he did feel fear, that she could see behind the stony façade.

She dropped her eyes and stared through the port window. He didn't care that every time he left she wondered if it would be the last time she saw his face. He saw only what he wanted to see and closed his eyes to the rest. His past had cost him his soul, his future, his dreams, left him with empty gestures as he waited for the game to be over.
vettac: (Default)

Darkness, Darkness
Be my pillow
Take my head
And let me sleep in the coolness of your shadow
In the silence of your deep


He was dreaming in shades of yellow and green and purple in a place that was vaguely familiar, although he was sure he had never been there before. It reminded him of the tropical climate of Ganymede. A strong blast of air blew in from the ocean and dried the the sweat from his hair. He and Romany were having a spat over over who should get the last piece of cake. She argued that she was entitled to the piece since she was a woman and it was that time of the month. Secretly, he had to agree, knowing how cranky and unpleasant she got. Still, it tickled him to keep up the argument, knowing that he was going to let her win out in the end.

"Spike. Spike. Wake up."

He was shaken out of the dream by a soft voice and a gentle touch on his shoulder. He turned over and tried to re-conjure up the dream.

"Spike, wake up."

Spike cracked an eyelid in irritation at the sound of his name being called.

"Rise and shine, sleepy head." Nurse Jenny was the picture of cheeriness in her starched white uniform and perky voice.

She wasn't going to let him ignore her. She never did. He mumbled under his breath and sat up.

"Time for your meds." Jenny held out a glass of water and his pills.

He took the pills she offered and swallowed them, ignoring the glass.

"My, aren't we stubborn today," she teased. She set the glass on the nightstand and eyed him curiously. "What the matter, got up on the wrong side of the bed again?"

"I'm not even up yet." He flopped his head back down. "You interrupted a sweet dream."

"Sweet dream, huh? It wouldn't have happened to have your purple haired girlfriend in it, would it?"

Spike huffed in annoyance. "How many times do I have to tell you? She's not my girlfriend." He crossed his arms, his face stuck in a pout.

Jenny laughed. "Oh, yeah, that's right. So sorry."

Spike glared at her. "No you're not."

Jenny agreed. "You're right again." She moved over to the side of the bed. "Alrighty then, sit up. Time for your exercise." She put up a finger when he started to protest. "Come on, the sooner we start, the sooner we'll be done."

He couldn't argue with that. He got up and followed her into the living room. An hour later, he collapsed onto the leather sofa, his sweaty body sliding against the leather. Ouch. That was going to leave a burn mark. Jenny tried to coax him into taking a shower, but he wasn't interest. He didn't like to admit that the workout completely drained him. He was relieved when she finally left him in peace. Until she returned in two days to torture him some more.
*~*
The Bebop was moored at Tharsis River and looked forlorn and battered next to the larger, modern cargo ships parked next to it. Spike pushed open the heavy metal port door, ducking his head as he went in. The common room was smaller than he remembered; his penthouse living room could fit ten of these.

He looked towards the galley where he expected to see Jet as in the old days, wearing an apron and hunched over the small stove in the kitchen, wok in hand. The galley was silent. As he wandered towards the hangar, the high peal of laughter wafted towards him. He didn't remember Ed having a laugh like that. That could only mean one thing. He swallowed his nervousness and headed out to the hanger.

"Spiiiike!"

Uh oh. Edward had just spotted him. Spike braced himself for impact as the willowy 15-year-old launched herself in his arms. She was taller, though still as thin as he remembered. She hugged him so tight that he could barely breathe.

"Hey, Ed," he said gently, returning her embrace.

"Ed is glad you decided to be alive," she whispered in his shirt.

He guessed he kind of missed her too. He looked over her carrot orange hair to the other side of the deck where Jet was grinning and Faye was, well, not smiling.

"Hey buddy," Jet greeted him. Jet had set up a hibachi on the deck and was grilling strips of beef and peppers. On cue, Spike's stomach grumbled at the smell of food.

"Hey old man," he said, a genuine smile gracing his features. "It's been a long time." It was good seeing his old friend. He could now understand the word homecoming. He should have guessed that Jet was arranging a complete reunion of the crew. Jet had left out that small detail.

He gently extricated himself from Edward.

"Aaww," she wailed. "Ed is not finished."

Spike patted her head. "Let me talk to Jet for a minute. More hugs later, okay?"

A mollified Ed nodded and zoomed away.

Spike walked over to his old friend. He leaned down and breathed in the smell. "So, what's cooking?"

"The usual. Bell peppers and beef."

"With actual beef, I see."

The two of laughed like it was the most hilarious joke in the solar system.

Spike glanced over at Faye.

"Yo." He figured he should say something else to her since it had been awhile since he saw her. "How are you, Faye?" Real smooth, Spike.

Faye did not crack a smile. "I'm fine, Spike. You?" She crossed her arms and turned to Jet, not waiting an answer.

He cringed, but the only visible reaction was a slowly broadening grin. So, this is how it's going to be. He resisted the urge to make a snarly comment. Her feathers were already ruffled as it was. Guess she wasn't happy to see him. He shrugged, his eyes on her back.

Darkness, Darkness
Hide my yearning
For the things I cannot be
Keep my mind from constant turning
Toward the things I cannot see now
Things I cannot see


What a way to spoil a homecoming.
vettac: (chillin')
Chapter 11: So Far Away

“Bye-bye Faye-Faye!” Ed's chipper voice screamed from the screen.
“Goodbye, Edward.”
Why can't she just say it once, Faye mumbled as she ended the connection. I swear, she does it just to annoy me. She switched over to TV mode, surfing through the channels to find something to watch. She paused at a station showing an old martial arts film and immediately thought of Spike and his obsession with training and katas. She stared down at the screen as she thought back to three months before, when she'd last seen him.
“Faye!”
Startled, Faye looked up into Jet's frowning face.
“What?”
“I asked if you were done with that.”
Confused, Faye looked down at the table at her uneaten bowl of noodles. “Oh. Yeah.”
“You'll remember the food you wasted when we're starving again,” he told her.
Faye rolled her eyes. “I know, Jet.”
Jet sighed. He came around the couch and sat down beside her. “When you first came home after meeting with Spike, I didn't say anything.” He looked at her. “I figured it was just the shock of seeing him alive after so many months. But now…”
He stopped abruptly and looked into her face. “…Now I think there's something else. You've been so quiet. That's not like you, Faye. What aren't you telling me?”
“I-I don't know what you're talking about, Jet.”
She looked up, startled when Jet slammed his fist down on the table.
“See? You never used to be jumpy like that, Faye. Something happened when you were in Tharsis that you aren't telling me. What the hell happened between you and Spike?”
Faye stuck her hands inside her sweater, clenching them as chewed on her lower lip. Jet was bearing down on her like a big, protective mother, and in another minute, she was going to break down and tell him everything.
She inhaled a shaky breath. “Jet, don't-”
Jet sighed. “Alright. If you don't want to tell me, it's alright.” He patted her shoulder like she was a little girl. “But if I find out he did something to you, Faye ...” He stood up and stretched, her eyes following his every move.
She didn't know how to begin, but she knew that she couldn't go on much longer like this. It had been months since she had been able to sleep through the night without waking up shaking, as the memory of that night six months ago came crashing through her brain in muddled images. Sometimes, instead of Rives in that alleyway, it would be Spike's face, grinning at her maniacally and maliciously and she would be no good for days. It was affecting her ability to follow through on bounties, and Jet definitely noticed.
“Jet,” she began.
He slowly turned around to face her. “I knew something happened. Ed noticed too.”
She looked up into his face hesitantly. “Do you remember a bounty named Rives?”
Jet raised an eyebrow. “Dirtbag with a twenty million woolong bounty wanted for assault and rape on five women?”
She nodded.
Jet furrowed his eyebrows. “Yeah, he turned up dead in an alley a couple of months back. What about him?”
Faye looked away before she answered. “He was murdered the night I was in Tharsis. Spike killed him.”
Jet studied her face for a long moment, searching her pleading green eyes. “You were there?”
She nodded again. Jet sighed and rubbed his head, then came to sit next to her. “Tell me what happened.”
She curled up and wrapped her arms around her knees, closing her eyes as she told Jet about that night. His expression was stony as she related the story, but he remained quiet as she talked. She didn't tell him about what had happened after she returned to Spike's place. His sense of justice and duty would have compelled him to confront Spike, and she was sure they'd both end up dead. She couldn't bear to have their deaths on her conscience. When she finished, Jet was silent. She watched the fan rotating overhead and the calming hum of the ship's engines. She stole a glance at Jet's stony-faced expression as he absorbed it all. Her eyebrows momentarily stitched, then smoothed as she let out a puff of air and laid her head on her knees, eyes focused on the whirring fan.
* * *
Misty Shores was only three heads behind, having come from nearly last place. If he won, she'd be cashing in a big win. Faye watched in anticipation as her horse drew closer to the front of the pack. Faye's eyebrows momentarily furrowed, and she let out a puff of air, her eyes focused on the track. She furrowed her brows as the number two lead jumped into first place, squashing her winning hopes. She bunched the wad of tickets and threw them in the air, watching them scatter to the ground like fallen flower petals. Well, her luck at the horses wasn't holding up today. She sighed and pushed her way through the crowd towards the exit. As much as she wanted to try her hand at another race, losing that last race had depleted most of her woolongs.
Outside the racetrack building, she wrapped her old red sweater closer and debated whether to try wheedling her way into a card game to recoup some cash. The soft ringing of the communicator drew her attention. She adjusted her shirt and shrugged further into her sweater before she picked it up to look at the display.
It was Jet. She opened communication.
Faye quirked an eyebrow. “What?” She said flatly.
“Where are you?” he asked, his voice calm and smooth.
She frowned. She hadn't even been gone for two hours, and he was already checking up on her. “What the hell are you talking about?” she demanded. “I told you I was going to do a little shopping.”
“By way of the horse races?”
She rolled her eyes and looked down at her bags. Shopping was her second favorite way of relieving tension, now that Spike wasn't around to annoy. “Get off my back, Jet. I'm a big girl and I can take care of myself.”
“Why didn't you take Ed with you?” he demanded, an indecipherable expression on his face.
“What do you mean?”
“Ed misses him too, you know. I just thought that it might be good to spend some time with her.”
Faye sighed. “Okay, Jet, what's going on?”
“What?”
“You've never pushed Ed on me before.”
It was Jet's turned to sigh. “She thinks you're sad,” he said quietly.
Faye deflated, a little stunned by his words. Ed was usually flighty, she sometimes forgot how perceptive she could be. She considered going back to the Bebop. “Look, I'm just going to go to one more place. But if you really want me to, I'll head home now,” she said, only a little sarcastic.
“Whatever, Faye,” he said, moving his hand to his head to rub the bald spot. “Do what you want.”
Faye furrowed her brow as she considered, then nodded. “Alright, I'm heading back.”
Jet mumbled something unintelligible and cut the connection. Shaking her head, Faye tucked the communicator back in her pocket. She didn't believe that it was Ed who was worried, and Jet meant too much to her to make him worry. She sighed and headed back to the Redtail.
* * *
He opened his eyes and under the bright lights of the room, the blurry image finally came into focus. He found himself looking up into the face of a woman with hair the color of deep, dark violet.
It wasn't Faye.
“Faye,” he whispered, closing his eyes again.
“Oh, you're awake. Did you say something?” The voice, gentle and soft, was nothing like Faye's.
“Where am I?” he asked hoarsely.
“You're in Syrtis Hospital. You've been here for almost a week.” She tucked in the covers at the foot of the bed, where his feet had come loose from under the sheet. “You had some pretty severe damage to your shoulder. Shattered part of the bone and did some damage to the muscles. But the doctor will come in later to explain it all to you. I'm Jenny, your nurse, by the way.” She looked closer at the expression on his face. “Are you in pain?”
He shook his head, his eyes closed tightly as tears prickled at the corners. He couldn't believe that actually missed the shrew's grating voice. The nurse leaned in closer, and his eyebrow twitched. He sucked in a breath before shaking his head vigorously this time.
“Mr. Spiegel?”
“Yes,” he answered through clenched teeth. He just wanted her to go away and leave him alone. As he clenched his hands into fists under the sheet, the pulse monitor began beeping incessantly and the pain in his head increased to unbearable proportions. Dimly he heard the nurse say something to him and after that, blessed silence.
* * *
When he awoke again, the blinding headache was gone. The room was dark except for the soft amber lights on the monitor next to his bed. He lifted his head and looked down at the leather straps at his wrists. He must have gotten violent before blacking out. Where was Nurse Jenny, he wondered. As if on cue, the door opened and the violet-haired nurse entered the room.
“Ah, Mr. Spiegel,” she chirped, “You're awake again.”
“It's Spike,” he said wearily. “How long was I out?”
“Two days,” she said. “We had to sedate you to keep you from hurting yourself.”
“I see.”
She leaned over to unfasten the wrist straps and straighten the bedsheet. “How's the head?”
“Still here.”
She laughed. “Good. Then you are feeling better.”
He didn't know what she found so funny, but he didn't see any point in mentioning it. “What happened?”
“You had an allergic reaction to one of the medications. We had to sedate you to keep you from hurting yourself.”
He nodded. Whatever the reason, he was glad that the pain was gone. Contrary to popular belief, he didn't enjoy pain. With the number of injuries and broken bones that he'd experienced in his life, pain was something that came with the territory, and he'd learned to live with it. “So, when do I get out of here?”
The nurse eyed him closely. “You can't be released until someone signs you out. Is there someone we can call?”
He stifled his first thought to call Faye. No use going there, he'd slammed the door on her months ago. He gave her an irritated look before turning to stare out the window. The sky was bright and clear under the environmental dome that encased the city. He really hated climate control. He wanted the day to be dark and rainy to match his mood.
After a few moments of silence, Jenny started talking again. “By the way, the young lady who came to see you had the same color hair as mine.”
Spike whipped his head around to look at her.
“We both got quite a kick out of it.” She laughed. “It was the only thing we had in common. She was quite pretty. I would kill for a figure like hers.” She looked down at her plump figure. “And her eyes were the most beautiful shade of green, though they seemed a little sad to me.” She peered at Spike. “She said her name was Faye. She called you a funny name, like lunkit or something like that.”
His heart pounded, threatening to break out of his chest. He had thought that it was a dream. “She was here? When?”
Nurse Jenny raised a brow as she surveyed her patient and smiled knowingly. “It was during the week you were unconscious. She said that she had gone to the bar where you work, and they told her where to find you. She was pretty upset when she saw you. She sat with you for a while, then she left. She came back the next day, and we talked about what had happened. She told me some things about you, too. 'Watch out for him,' she said. 'He can be a real asshole when he's mad.' I said that I didn't believe it, you looked so innocent when you're sleeping.”
His cheeks burned and he stared down at his feet sticking up from the bed. “Thanks, I guess,” he mumbled. If he could sink under the bed right about now, it would be a really good thing.
“Anyway,” Jenny said, turning serious, “She said that she didn't want to be called when you were released ... but she left her contact information just in case you – “ She pulled a folded piece of paper from her pocket and held it out to him.
The heaviness in his chest eased. So like Faye to pretend she didn't care. He'd always been able to see through her façade, and he suspected that she could read him just as well, though neither of them ever dared to venture into that forbidden territory of feelings. Bad things happened when you cared, and he had an irrational fear that if he showed how much he did care, something would happen to her. So he'd pushed her away in the worst way imaginable. He never would have guessed that she would come to see him.
“I already know how to reach her,” he said irritably.
Nurse Jenny's eyebrows raised just a little. “Would you like me to call her?”
He shook his head. “Call … Soo Ling Yumako at the Glowing Sun Lounge in Tharsis.”
* * *
Dr. Mordecai Barnes closed the holographic chart and looked thoughtfully at his patient.
“You're healing quite nicely, Mr. Spiegel. It's quite rare that we have a patient who heals as quickly as you have.” He looked down at Spike, examining the arm. “And how is the pain?”
“Better than a week ago,” he mumbled.
Dr. Barnes agreed. “Yes, it should be. The muscles in the forearm tend to compensate for the weakness in your shoulder, resulting in more strain. Probably at night is worse?”
Was this guy a doctor or just stupid? Even Ein would know that pain got worse at night, just when you wanted to sleep. He grunted in response.
Dr. Barnes pulled out the medical transmitter from his lab coat and spoke in a short, clipped tone. “Evening dose administer 4mg fentanyl for Room 304-A.” He replaced the chart at the foot of the bed. “Get some rest, Mr. Spiegel.” He turned on his heels abruptly and marched out of the room.
Spike scowled at the doctor's back. Well, that was a waste of a visit, and he still didn't know when he was getting out.
The door opened and Jenny came in. She picked up his medical chart and peered down at the doctor's notes. “Hmmm, everything seems to be good.” She looked up at Spike. “Did Dr. Barnes say when you could go home?”
“He didn't say anything. All he did was order more drugs.” He gave her a dark look. “I don't need more drugs. I just need to get out of here.”
“Your shoulder isn't completely healed, Spike. Maybe in a few more days…” Her voice faded when he growled. “But I'll see what I can do.”
“Yeah,” he grumbled. “You do that.” He sat up with a grimace as pain flowed through his joints. Jenny dashed forward to assist him but he shot her a warning look, and she backed away, hovering from a safe distance. He swung his legs to the floor, leaning too heavily on his injured side when he tried to stand, and grunted from the pain.
“Careful, Spike.” Jenny moved closer.
He waved her away. “I'm fine,” he said irritably. He took a deep breath and tried again. His legs threatened to give way, and Jenny moved in. He leaned against her, hating feeling helpless. “Who would have thought,” he mumbled, “the infamous Spike Spiegel, former bounty hunter and … reduced to leaning on the arms of a nurse. Just shoot me now.”
Jenny laughed. “So your girlfriend is a bounty hunter?”
He scowled. “She's not my girlfriend.”
Jenny raised her brow. “Oh, I thought …”
“Well, you thought wrong,” he said brusquely.
“Okay.” She put her hands up in surrender.
He walked forward gingerly, wincing at the pain as he shuffled into the small bathroom.
“I'll be right outside the door,” Jenny said. “Just yell if you need me.”
“Right,” he scoffed. He managed to pull his boxers down with one hand, not wanting to chance pulling the stitches in his shoulder. He finished up and put down the toilet seat, then leaned into the mirror to examine his face. The hair on his chin was too thick to be called stubble. He scratched at the overgrowth and looked around the tiny space for a razor.
“Jenny?” he called out. The door handled turned and he pressed his palm against the door to keep her from coming in. Just because he was in a hospital didn't mean that he wasn't entitled to a little privacy.
“Everything okay in there?”
“Yeah, I need a razor.”
“Come back to bed and I'll take care of that for you,” Jenny said from the other side of the door.
He leaned his head against his hand. “You're kidding, right?”
She didn't answer.
He let out a long, dramatic sigh and opened the door to let her in. Jenny stood in the doorway chuckling.
“You're not used to this, are you?”
He scowled at her and pushed himself past her to the bed. He refused to grace her with an answer.
* * *
Spike waited for Ronald to bring the car around to the hospital entrance, drumming his fingers against the circular reception desk in the hospital lobby. He hated waiting. He looked behind him, expecting to see Nurse Jenny chasing after him. She had called Soo Ling, who convinced Dr. Barnes to release him a few days early, with the understanding that he return to the hospital in a week's time for an evaluation. For some strange reason, she had assigned herself his 'savior' whose first mission was to “get Spike and Faye back together,” even though he'd told her that she was not his girlfriend. Not even close. He sighed. He really needed a cigarette. He hadn't even been able to sneak a puff – Nurse Jenny had made sure that the pack he kept in his jacket were 'put safely away.' He was already out of breath from being laid up for two weeks and probably couldn't even finish half. But he was perfectly willing to try. He adjusted the sling and clenched his fingers. His left shoulder ached like hell and his fingers were numb. It was going to be a while before he would be able to use the arm. Good thing he was ambidextrous.
 From the corner of his eye he spotted a figure coming from the elevator. He didn't have to look to know who it was. Damn, she sure didn't give up easily.
 “Spike!” Jenny greeted as she walked over to the desk. “I was on the floor making my rounds, and when I got to your room, you were already gone! You weren't planning on skipping out without saying goodbye to me, were you?”
 He suppressed a smile. “Of course not. How could I leave without saying goodbye to my favorite nurse?” He batted his eyelashes at her.
 Jenny laughed. “I'm sure you wouldn't.” She reached out to clasp his hand. “Take it easy, Spike. We'll see you back here in a few weeks.”
 He shook her hand. “Thanks for everything, Nurse Jenny.”
 Ronald came through the revolving doors pushing a wheelchair towards them. Spike gave him a sour look. “I'm not an invalid, you know.”
 “Yeah, I know.” Ronald looked at Jenny, who nodded in agreement.
“Hospital rules.”
He scowled but dropped into the seat, relief flooding into his unused joints.
 “Please give my regards to your lady friend, okay?” Jenny called out as Ronald wheeled the chair around and out the hospital doors.
 
* * *
Spike watched the scenery as they drove down the Tharsis freeway, Ronald darting in and out of traffic with the ease of a racecar driver. “Kid, you're in the wrong profession,” he said as the car careened through a sharp curve.
“So, I'm told,” Ronald said lightly. “But I like a little more stability in my life. Tending bar suits me just fine.”
Spike tried to imagine being forever banned from flying; not the self-imposed grounding that he had placed upon himself. When he decided to pilot the Swordfish again, which he knew would happen sooner or later, all he to do was go to Doohan to reclaim his baby. Even though it had been over a year, he would not give in to the urge; the temptation to rendezvous with the Bebop was too strong.
The car sped along towards the high-rise buildings in the center of the city, passing high-end shops and hotels. His eyebrow twitched in annoyance. “You're going the wrong way,” he said to Ronald. “I don't live on this side of town.”
Ronald chuckled and continued driving. “You do now.”
“What are you talking about?” Spike growled as he gripped the back of the front seat. “Whose bright idea was this?”
“Soo Ling's.”
He took a deep breath. When he was a young upstart with the Dragons, Mao had warned him to tone down his defiant streak around Soo Ling, to do what she asked and he had begrudgingly complied. Mao trusted her, and that had been enough for him. Now, years later, she was still trying to meddle into his affairs, and here he was, still allowing it, as if Mao was still alive. He sighed and looked out the window as the car sped past the patch of high rise buildings. As they neared a tall building of smoked glass windows lined in gilded gold, Ronald slowed the car and pulled in front of the guarded building. The Samora Crown Hotel was surrounded by boutique shops and over-priced cafes frequented by executives and capos alike conducting their wheeling and dealing in the corporate boardrooms of Tharsis while the ISSP turned an organizational blind eye.
Spike looked up at the size of the building and heaved a big sigh.
“Shit, this is where she picked?” He slumped back against the seat. “Let me guess, penthouse, right?”
“Yep.”
Spike closed his eyes. The Samora Crown Hotel was simply not his style. But he bet Faye would like it.
vettac: (chillin')
Chapter 11: So Far Away

“Bye-bye Faye-Faye!” Ed's chipper voice screamed from the screen.
“Goodbye, Edward.”
Why can't she just say it once, Faye mumbled as she ended the connection. I swear, she does it just to annoy me. She switched over to TV mode, surfing through the channels to find something to watch. She paused at a station showing an old martial arts film and immediately thought of Spike and his obsession with training and katas. She stared down at the screen as she thought back to three months before, when she'd last seen him.
“Faye!”
Startled, Faye looked up into Jet's frowning face.
“What?”
“I asked if you were done with that.”
Confused, Faye looked down at the table at her uneaten bowl of noodles. “Oh. Yeah.”
“You'll remember the food you wasted when we're starving again,” he told her.
Faye rolled her eyes. “I know, Jet.”
Jet sighed. He came around the couch and sat down beside her. “When you first came home after meeting with Spike, I didn't say anything.” He looked at her. “I figured it was just the shock of seeing him alive after so many months. But now…”
He stopped abruptly and looked into her face. “…Now I think there's something else. You've been so quiet. That's not like you, Faye. What aren't you telling me?”
“I-I don't know what you're talking about, Jet.”
She looked up, startled when Jet slammed his fist down on the table.
“See? You never used to be jumpy like that, Faye. Something happened when you were in Tharsis that you aren't telling me. What the hell happened between you and Spike?”
Faye stuck her hands inside her sweater, clenching them as chewed on her lower lip. Jet was bearing down on her like a big, protective mother, and in another minute, she was going to break down and tell him everything.
She inhaled a shaky breath. “Jet, don't-”
Jet sighed. “Alright. If you don't want to tell me, it's alright.” He patted her shoulder like she was a little girl. “But if I find out he did something to you, Faye ...” He stood up and stretched, her eyes following his every move.
She didn't know how to begin, but she knew that she couldn't go on much longer like this. It had been months since she had been able to sleep through the night without waking up shaking, as the memory of that night six months ago came crashing through her brain in muddled images. Sometimes, instead of Rives in that alleyway, it would be Spike's face, grinning at her maniacally and maliciously and she would be no good for days. It was affecting her ability to follow through on bounties, and Jet definitely noticed.
“Jet,” she began.
He slowly turned around to face her. “I knew something happened. Ed noticed too.”
She looked up into his face hesitantly. “Do you remember a bounty named Rives?”
Jet raised an eyebrow. “Dirtbag with a twenty million woolong bounty wanted for assault and rape on five women?”
She nodded.
Jet furrowed his eyebrows. “Yeah, he turned up dead in an alley a couple of months back. What about him?”
Faye looked away before she answered. “He was murdered the night I was in Tharsis. Spike killed him.”
Jet studied her face for a long moment, searching her pleading green eyes. “You were there?”
She nodded again. Jet sighed and rubbed his head, then came to sit next to her. “Tell me what happened.”
She curled up and wrapped her arms around her knees, closing her eyes as she told Jet about that night. His expression was stony as she related the story, but he remained quiet as she talked. She didn't tell him about what had happened after she returned to Spike's place. His sense of justice and duty would have compelled him to confront Spike, and she was sure they'd both end up dead. She couldn't bear to have their deaths on her conscience. When she finished, Jet was silent. She watched the fan rotating overhead and the calming hum of the ship's engines. She stole a glance at Jet's stony-faced expression as he absorbed it all. Her eyebrows momentarily stitched, then smoothed as she let out a puff of air and laid her head on her knees, eyes focused on the whirring fan.
* * *
Misty Shores was only three heads behind, having come from nearly last place. If he won, she'd be cashing in a big win. Faye watched in anticipation as her horse drew closer to the front of the pack. Faye's eyebrows momentarily furrowed, and she let out a puff of air, her eyes focused on the track. She furrowed her brows as the number two lead jumped into first place, squashing her winning hopes. She bunched the wad of tickets and threw them in the air, watching them scatter to the ground like fallen flower petals. Well, her luck at the horses wasn't holding up today. She sighed and pushed her way through the crowd towards the exit. As much as she wanted to try her hand at another race, losing that last race had depleted most of her woolongs.
Outside the racetrack building, she wrapped her old red sweater closer and debated whether to try wheedling her way into a card game to recoup some cash. The soft ringing of the communicator drew her attention. She adjusted her shirt and shrugged further into her sweater before she picked it up to look at the display.
It was Jet. She opened communication.
Faye quirked an eyebrow. “What?” She said flatly.
“Where are you?” he asked, his voice calm and smooth.
She frowned. She hadn't even been gone for two hours, and he was already checking up on her. “What the hell are you talking about?” she demanded. “I told you I was going to do a little shopping.”
“By way of the horse races?”
She rolled her eyes and looked down at her bags. Shopping was her second favorite way of relieving tension, now that Spike wasn't around to annoy. “Get off my back, Jet. I'm a big girl and I can take care of myself.”
“Why didn't you take Ed with you?” he demanded, an indecipherable expression on his face.
“What do you mean?”
“Ed misses him too, you know. I just thought that it might be good to spend some time with her.”
Faye sighed. “Okay, Jet, what's going on?”
“What?”
“You've never pushed Ed on me before.”
It was Jet's turned to sigh. “She thinks you're sad,” he said quietly.
Faye deflated, a little stunned by his words. Ed was usually flighty, she sometimes forgot how perceptive she could be. She considered going back to the Bebop. “Look, I'm just going to go to one more place. But if you really want me to, I'll head home now,” she said, only a little sarcastic.
“Whatever, Faye,” he said, moving his hand to his head to rub the bald spot. “Do what you want.”
Faye furrowed her brow as she considered, then nodded. “Alright, I'm heading back.”
Jet mumbled something unintelligible and cut the connection. Shaking her head, Faye tucked the communicator back in her pocket. She didn't believe that it was Ed who was worried, and Jet meant too much to her to make him worry. She sighed and headed back to the Redtail.
* * *
He opened his eyes and under the bright lights of the room, the blurry image finally came into focus. He found himself looking up into the face of a woman with hair the color of deep, dark violet.
It wasn't Faye.
“Faye,” he whispered, closing his eyes again.
“Oh, you're awake. Did you say something?” The voice, gentle and soft, was nothing like Faye's.
“Where am I?” he asked hoarsely.
“You're in Syrtis Hospital. You've been here for almost a week.” She tucked in the covers at the foot of the bed, where his feet had come loose from under the sheet. “You had some pretty severe damage to your shoulder. Shattered part of the bone and did some damage to the muscles. But the doctor will come in later to explain it all to you. I'm Jenny, your nurse, by the way.” She looked closer at the expression on his face. “Are you in pain?”
He shook his head, his eyes closed tightly as tears prickled at the corners. He couldn't believe that actually missed the shrew's grating voice. The nurse leaned in closer, and his eyebrow twitched. He sucked in a breath before shaking his head vigorously this time.
“Mr. Spiegel?”
“Yes,” he answered through clenched teeth. He just wanted her to go away and leave him alone. As he clenched his hands into fists under the sheet, the pulse monitor began beeping incessantly and the pain in his head increased to unbearable proportions. Dimly he heard the nurse say something to him and after that, blessed silence.
* * *
When he awoke again, the blinding headache was gone. The room was dark except for the soft amber lights on the monitor next to his bed. He lifted his head and looked down at the leather straps at his wrists. He must have gotten violent before blacking out. Where was Nurse Jenny, he wondered. As if on cue, the door opened and the violet-haired nurse entered the room.
“Ah, Mr. Spiegel,” she chirped, “You're awake again.”
“It's Spike,” he said wearily. “How long was I out?”
“Two days,” she said. “We had to sedate you to keep you from hurting yourself.”
“I see.”
She leaned over to unfasten the wrist straps and straighten the bedsheet. “How's the head?”
“Still here.”
She laughed. “Good. Then you are feeling better.”
He didn't know what she found so funny, but he didn't see any point in mentioning it. “What happened?”
“You had an allergic reaction to one of the medications. We had to sedate you to keep you from hurting yourself.”
He nodded. Whatever the reason, he was glad that the pain was gone. Contrary to popular belief, he didn't enjoy pain. With the number of injuries and broken bones that he'd experienced in his life, pain was something that came with the territory, and he'd learned to live with it. “So, when do I get out of here?”
The nurse eyed him closely. “You can't be released until someone signs you out. Is there someone we can call?”
He stifled his first thought to call Faye. No use going there, he'd slammed the door on her months ago. He gave her an irritated look before turning to stare out the window. The sky was bright and clear under the environmental dome that encased the city. He really hated climate control. He wanted the day to be dark and rainy to match his mood.
After a few moments of silence, Jenny started talking again. “By the way, the young lady who came to see you had the same color hair as mine.”
Spike whipped his head around to look at her.
“We both got quite a kick out of it.” She laughed. “It was the only thing we had in common. She was quite pretty. I would kill for a figure like hers.” She looked down at her plump figure. “And her eyes were the most beautiful shade of green, though they seemed a little sad to me.” She peered at Spike. “She said her name was Faye. She called you a funny name, like lunkit or something like that.”
His heart pounded, threatening to break out of his chest. He had thought that it was a dream. “She was here? When?”
Nurse Jenny raised a brow as she surveyed her patient and smiled knowingly. “It was during the week you were unconscious. She said that she had gone to the bar where you work, and they told her where to find you. She was pretty upset when she saw you. She sat with you for a while, then she left. She came back the next day, and we talked about what had happened. She told me some things about you, too. 'Watch out for him,' she said. 'He can be a real asshole when he's mad.' I said that I didn't believe it, you looked so innocent when you're sleeping.”
His cheeks burned and he stared down at his feet sticking up from the bed. “Thanks, I guess,” he mumbled. If he could sink under the bed right about now, it would be a really good thing.
“Anyway,” Jenny said, turning serious, “She said that she didn't want to be called when you were released ... but she left her contact information just in case you – “ She pulled a folded piece of paper from her pocket and held it out to him.
The heaviness in his chest eased. So like Faye to pretend she didn't care. He'd always been able to see through her façade, and he suspected that she could read him just as well, though neither of them ever dared to venture into that forbidden territory of feelings. Bad things happened when you cared, and he had an irrational fear that if he showed how much he did care, something would happen to her. So he'd pushed her away in the worst way imaginable. He never would have guessed that she would come to see him.
“I already know how to reach her,” he said irritably.
Nurse Jenny's eyebrows raised just a little. “Would you like me to call her?”
He shook his head. “Call … Soo Ling Yumako at the Glowing Sun Lounge in Tharsis.”
* * *
Dr. Mordecai Barnes closed the holographic chart and looked thoughtfully at his patient.
“You're healing quite nicely, Mr. Spiegel. It's quite rare that we have a patient who heals as quickly as you have.” He looked down at Spike, examining the arm. “And how is the pain?”
“Better than a week ago,” he mumbled.
Dr. Barnes agreed. “Yes, it should be. The muscles in the forearm tend to compensate for the weakness in your shoulder, resulting in more strain. Probably at night is worse?”
Was this guy a doctor or just stupid? Even Ein would know that pain got worse at night, just when you wanted to sleep. He grunted in response.
Dr. Barnes pulled out the medical transmitter from his lab coat and spoke in a short, clipped tone. “Evening dose administer 4mg fentanyl for Room 304-A.” He replaced the chart at the foot of the bed. “Get some rest, Mr. Spiegel.” He turned on his heels abruptly and marched out of the room.
Spike scowled at the doctor's back. Well, that was a waste of a visit, and he still didn't know when he was getting out.
The door opened and Jenny came in. She picked up his medical chart and peered down at the doctor's notes. “Hmmm, everything seems to be good.” She looked up at Spike. “Did Dr. Barnes say when you could go home?”
“He didn't say anything. All he did was order more drugs.” He gave her a dark look. “I don't need more drugs. I just need to get out of here.”
“Your shoulder isn't completely healed, Spike. Maybe in a few more days…” Her voice faded when he growled. “But I'll see what I can do.”
“Yeah,” he grumbled. “You do that.” He sat up with a grimace as pain flowed through his joints. Jenny dashed forward to assist him but he shot her a warning look, and she backed away, hovering from a safe distance. He swung his legs to the floor, leaning too heavily on his injured side when he tried to stand, and grunted from the pain.
“Careful, Spike.” Jenny moved closer.
He waved her away. “I'm fine,” he said irritably. He took a deep breath and tried again. His legs threatened to give way, and Jenny moved in. He leaned against her, hating feeling helpless. “Who would have thought,” he mumbled, “the infamous Spike Spiegel, former bounty hunter and … reduced to leaning on the arms of a nurse. Just shoot me now.”
Jenny laughed. “So your girlfriend is a bounty hunter?”
He scowled. “She's not my girlfriend.”
Jenny raised her brow. “Oh, I thought …”
“Well, you thought wrong,” he said brusquely.
“Okay.” She put her hands up in surrender.
He walked forward gingerly, wincing at the pain as he shuffled into the small bathroom.
“I'll be right outside the door,” Jenny said. “Just yell if you need me.”
“Right,” he scoffed. He managed to pull his boxers down with one hand, not wanting to chance pulling the stitches in his shoulder. He finished up and put down the toilet seat, then leaned into the mirror to examine his face. The hair on his chin was too thick to be called stubble. He scratched at the overgrowth and looked around the tiny space for a razor.
“Jenny?” he called out. The door handled turned and he pressed his palm against the door to keep her from coming in. Just because he was in a hospital didn't mean that he wasn't entitled to a little privacy.
“Everything okay in there?”
“Yeah, I need a razor.”
“Come back to bed and I'll take care of that for you,” Jenny said from the other side of the door.
He leaned his head against his hand. “You're kidding, right?”
She didn't answer.
He let out a long, dramatic sigh and opened the door to let her in. Jenny stood in the doorway chuckling.
“You're not used to this, are you?”
He scowled at her and pushed himself past her to the bed. He refused to grace her with an answer.
* * *
Spike waited for Ronald to bring the car around to the hospital entrance, drumming his fingers against the circular reception desk in the hospital lobby. He hated waiting. He looked behind him, expecting to see Nurse Jenny chasing after him. She had called Soo Ling, who convinced Dr. Barnes to release him a few days early, with the understanding that he return to the hospital in a week's time for an evaluation. For some strange reason, she had assigned herself his 'savior' whose first mission was to “get Spike and Faye back together,” even though he'd told her that she was not his girlfriend. Not even close. He sighed. He really needed a cigarette. He hadn't even been able to sneak a puff – Nurse Jenny had made sure that the pack he kept in his jacket were 'put safely away.' He was already out of breath from being laid up for two weeks and probably couldn't even finish half. But he was perfectly willing to try. He adjusted the sling and clenched his fingers. His left shoulder ached like hell and his fingers were numb. It was going to be a while before he would be able to use the arm. Good thing he was ambidextrous.
 From the corner of his eye he spotted a figure coming from the elevator. He didn't have to look to know who it was. Damn, she sure didn't give up easily.
 “Spike!” Jenny greeted as she walked over to the desk. “I was on the floor making my rounds, and when I got to your room, you were already gone! You weren't planning on skipping out without saying goodbye to me, were you?”
 He suppressed a smile. “Of course not. How could I leave without saying goodbye to my favorite nurse?” He batted his eyelashes at her.
 Jenny laughed. “I'm sure you wouldn't.” She reached out to clasp his hand. “Take it easy, Spike. We'll see you back here in a few weeks.”
 He shook her hand. “Thanks for everything, Nurse Jenny.”
 Ronald came through the revolving doors pushing a wheelchair towards them. Spike gave him a sour look. “I'm not an invalid, you know.”
 “Yeah, I know.” Ronald looked at Jenny, who nodded in agreement.
“Hospital rules.”
He scowled but dropped into the seat, relief flooding into his unused joints.
 “Please give my regards to your lady friend, okay?” Jenny called out as Ronald wheeled the chair around and out the hospital doors.
 
* * *
Spike watched the scenery as they drove down the Tharsis freeway, Ronald darting in and out of traffic with the ease of a racecar driver. “Kid, you're in the wrong profession,” he said as the car careened through a sharp curve.
“So, I'm told,” Ronald said lightly. “But I like a little more stability in my life. Tending bar suits me just fine.”
Spike tried to imagine being forever banned from flying; not the self-imposed grounding that he had placed upon himself. When he decided to pilot the Swordfish again, which he knew would happen sooner or later, all he to do was go to Doohan to reclaim his baby. Even though it had been over a year, he would not give in to the urge; the temptation to rendezvous with the Bebop was too strong.
The car sped along towards the high-rise buildings in the center of the city, passing high-end shops and hotels. His eyebrow twitched in annoyance. “You're going the wrong way,” he said to Ronald. “I don't live on this side of town.”
Ronald chuckled and continued driving. “You do now.”
“What are you talking about?” Spike growled as he gripped the back of the front seat. “Whose bright idea was this?”
“Soo Ling's.”
He took a deep breath. When he was a young upstart with the Dragons, Mao had warned him to tone down his defiant streak around Soo Ling, to do what she asked and he had begrudgingly complied. Mao trusted her, and that had been enough for him. Now, years later, she was still trying to meddle into his affairs, and here he was, still allowing it, as if Mao was still alive. He sighed and looked out the window as the car sped past the patch of high rise buildings. As they neared a tall building of smoked glass windows lined in gilded gold, Ronald slowed the car and pulled in front of the guarded building. The Samora Crown Hotel was surrounded by boutique shops and over-priced cafes frequented by executives and capos alike conducting their wheeling and dealing in the corporate boardrooms of Tharsis while the ISSP turned an organizational blind eye.
Spike looked up at the size of the building and heaved a big sigh.
“Shit, this is where she picked?” He slumped back against the seat. “Let me guess, penthouse, right?”
“Yep.”
Spike closed his eyes. The Samora Crown Hotel was simply not his style. But he bet Faye would like it.
vettac: (Default)
I write like
myself

I Write Like by A Vanity Publishing Scam. don't link to this web scammer. If you want to read more, check at mecurtin's LJ

vettac: (Default)
I write like
myself

I Write Like by A Vanity Publishing Scam. don't link to this web scammer. If you want to read more, check at mecurtin's LJ

Signal

Jun. 30th, 2010 08:58 pm
vettac: (Default)
Paula drummed her fingers against the desk, her foot tapping in unison, as she waited for the phone call. She glanced at the clock and noted that he was already ten minutes late. He of all people should know how edgy she got when people did not jump to her command.

She chuckled as she listened to herself. Patience was not one of her virtues. She worked constantly to keep that character defect under control because the animals didn’t like it and did not perform well when they sensed it.

She swiveled her chair towards the window. Her office overlooked the serene pristine of the man-made lake surrounding the office complex. She had pulled a lot of strings … and tantrums … to get this office. She always worked better when she had a view. She’d had to remind them that she, Dr. Paula Randall, one of the foremost authorities in the field of zoomusicology, could have chosen any number of organizations to work with, and that they needed her, not the other way around.

In 2069, Paula had published a paper proving the theory that some humans had an inborn ability to communicate thoughts through music.

As one of a handful of people on the planet who had been born with this ability, Paula was very much in demand.

She and a team of scientists, in their pursuit of decoding the musical interaction between man and animal, had designed an animal tank specifically for larger mammals like the whale, whose population had declined to the point that, by 2071, the only ones left were those adopted through organizations like Humphrey Research Institute, an organization well known for donating funds to scientific organizations interested in the field of zoomusicology.

Companies like Humphrey began cropping up around the globe, creating habitats for the remainder of the animal population.

What the public did not know, was that Humphrey Research Institute had a number of benefactors interested in investigating the potential of transferring animal communication codexes into humans who had lost their ability to communicate with the outside world.

Paula’s interest in the field was not for the science, although it was a plus, or for the human potential for communication. She simply liked the music. And to that end, she had designed the communication device that was used to breathe and sing in the underwater tanks, to translate the signal between the human and whale minds.

When she was in the tank, she would insert the communication device. Then she would open her mouth and begin to sing.

The animals would surround her, their rubbery skin rubbing against her, guiding her as she swam around the tank. It was the most serene peaceful feeling that she had ever known.

She learned a lot about their history, the search for clean water and food in the vast oceans on the earth. She learned how, as the years passed, their search for the clean and open space began to dwindle away, and how they were forced further out to sea.

She learned the names of each one of them, and the names of all those who came before them. Over time, as they began to know and trust her, she even learned where they had come from.

One day, six months ago, George, one of the other tank scientists who had gone for a morning swim with the whales, was discovered floating at the top of the tank. When the team pulled him from the water, they discovered that all of his equipment was fully functional. He had simply stopped breathing.

Paula jumped when the shrill chime of the phone interrupted her thoughts and she grabbed the receiver to her ear.

“Robert?”

“Yes.”

“Did you decipher the signal?”

There was silence at the other end. Paula’s heart sank as she realized what it meant.

“I’m coming down.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Paula. She’s really upset right now.”

“All the more reason,” Paula said firmly. “Maybe I can calm her down, make her understand.”

“Paula, why don’t we wait-”

But she had already hung up the phone. She grabbed her wetsuit from the closet and turned to leave the room, but paused for a moment. She went back to her desk and reached inside the top drawer, pulling out a small device, then slipped it in her pocket and headed to the tanks.
***

♪~ Nayla, what happened to George?

♪~ George is George. George is here.

♪~ Nayla, what does that mean?

♪~ George is here … with us.

♪~ But, Nayla-

♪~ Paula come with us too?

♪~ ....... Yes.

***

She learned finally, what they were saying, how for centuries, the signals, the beautiful, haunting melodies, had been misinterpretated. She finally understood.

♪~ You are killing us with your ways. So we have to leave you behind.

Signal

Jun. 30th, 2010 08:58 pm
vettac: (Default)
Paula drummed her fingers against the desk, her foot tapping in unison, as she waited for the phone call. She glanced at the clock and noted that he was already ten minutes late. He of all people should know how edgy she got when people did not jump to her command.

She chuckled as she listened to herself. Patience was not one of her virtues. She worked constantly to keep that character defect under control because the animals didn’t like it and did not perform well when they sensed it.

She swiveled her chair towards the window. Her office overlooked the serene pristine of the man-made lake surrounding the office complex. She had pulled a lot of strings … and tantrums … to get this office. She always worked better when she had a view. She’d had to remind them that she, Dr. Paula Randall, one of the foremost authorities in the field of zoomusicology, could have chosen any number of organizations to work with, and that they needed her, not the other way around.

In 2069, Paula had published a paper proving the theory that some humans had an inborn ability to communicate thoughts through music.

As one of a handful of people on the planet who had been born with this ability, Paula was very much in demand.

She and a team of scientists, in their pursuit of decoding the musical interaction between man and animal, had designed an animal tank specifically for larger mammals like the whale, whose population had declined to the point that, by 2071, the only ones left were those adopted through organizations like Humphrey Research Institute, an organization well known for donating funds to scientific organizations interested in the field of zoomusicology.

Companies like Humphrey began cropping up around the globe, creating habitats for the remainder of the animal population.

What the public did not know, was that Humphrey Research Institute had a number of benefactors interested in investigating the potential of transferring animal communication codexes into humans who had lost their ability to communicate with the outside world.

Paula’s interest in the field was not for the science, although it was a plus, or for the human potential for communication. She simply liked the music. And to that end, she had designed the communication device that was used to breathe and sing in the underwater tanks, to translate the signal between the human and whale minds.

When she was in the tank, she would insert the communication device. Then she would open her mouth and begin to sing.

The animals would surround her, their rubbery skin rubbing against her, guiding her as she swam around the tank. It was the most serene peaceful feeling that she had ever known.

She learned a lot about their history, the search for clean water and food in the vast oceans on the earth. She learned how, as the years passed, their search for the clean and open space began to dwindle away, and how they were forced further out to sea.

She learned the names of each one of them, and the names of all those who came before them. Over time, as they began to know and trust her, she even learned where they had come from.

One day, six months ago, George, one of the other tank scientists who had gone for a morning swim with the whales, was discovered floating at the top of the tank. When the team pulled him from the water, they discovered that all of his equipment was fully functional. He had simply stopped breathing.

Paula jumped when the shrill chime of the phone interrupted her thoughts and she grabbed the receiver to her ear.

“Robert?”

“Yes.”

“Did you decipher the signal?”

There was silence at the other end. Paula’s heart sank as she realized what it meant.

“I’m coming down.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Paula. She’s really upset right now.”

“All the more reason,” Paula said firmly. “Maybe I can calm her down, make her understand.”

“Paula, why don’t we wait-”

But she had already hung up the phone. She grabbed her wetsuit from the closet and turned to leave the room, but paused for a moment. She went back to her desk and reached inside the top drawer, pulling out a small device, then slipped it in her pocket and headed to the tanks.
***

♪~ Nayla, what happened to George?

♪~ George is George. George is here.

♪~ Nayla, what does that mean?

♪~ George is here … with us.

♪~ But, Nayla-

♪~ Paula come with us too?

♪~ ....... Yes.

***

She learned finally, what they were saying, how for centuries, the signals, the beautiful, haunting melodies, had been misinterpretated. She finally understood.

♪~ You are killing us with your ways. So we have to leave you behind.
vettac: (Default)
Today is June 26th - that's the day Spike was born. 
vettac: (Default)
Today is June 26th - that's the day Spike was born. 
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