vettac: (chillin')

Chapter 6. Onward

Two entrees and one empty whiskey bottle later, they both ended up crashing on the sofa, Faye on one end, her hands across her eyes to block out the light, and Spike at the other with his arm hanging off the sofa onto the floor.

The space was pretty tight for two, and Faye tried shifting into a more comfortable position, shoving her legs into Spike's torso. He grunted in pain and grabbed hold of her foot, pushing it back towards her.

"Stop, Spike, my legs are cramped," she grumbled, trying unsuccessfully to wriggle out of his grasp. He refused to let go, smirking as he wagged his index finger dramatically towards her foot.

"Don't you dare," she warned.

He laughed at her before letting go.

This camaraderie, without disagreement or arguments between them was rare, but Faye had not spent all of those months searching for him, just to cuddle on the sofa. After all, her visit did have a purpose; she wanted an explanation for why he had been incognito for so long.

Jet had told her once that both she and Spike were the types who used sheer force or violence to try to get what they wanted, when sometimes a gentler approach garnered better results. Jet must have been right about her, because this cautious approach was not working with the lunkhead, who was either too dense or too drunk to grasp what she wanted. But more than likely, he knew only too well, and was trying to steer her away deliberately.

She shifted again.

"Spike, when you left …"

He cringed when he saw that she was preparing to grill him.

"I really don't want to talk about this, Faye."

"You never want to talk about anything serious," she snapped. "Well, guess what? You owe us some answers. Why the hell couldn't you let us know you were alive?"

"First off, "he said icily, "I don't owe you or Jet a damned thing."

Faye felt her temperature rise and she unsuccessfully attempted to control herself before she lost it and slammed her foot into his chest. Spike's body stiffened and his jaw tightened. He sat up abruptly, bringing his feet to the floor, eyeing her with barely controlled rage. Faye eyed him warily, aware that he could kill her where she sat. She sat up and scooted further away.

"Second," he continued, "It was better if I didn't come back."

"Better for whom? You, so that you wouldn't have to fill us in on your 'secret' life?"

Spike's eyebrow twitched. "No." he answered in the same tone. "Better, to keep you and Jet from being gunned down because of me."

As she searched his face, she knew that he was being truthful.

"I guess it doesn't really matter," she said wearily. She leaned back against the sofa, and from the corner of her eye she caught him staring. She pressed her fingers against her eyelids to quiet an impending headache. The alcohol was starting to wear off, affecting her patience, and for once she thought it best not to say anything else that would ignite his anger.

Faye turned her attention to the sounds of street traffic filtering in through the open window, and she wondered how anyone could live in such a noisy place. She figured that it didn't matter much to Spike; he could fall sleep anywhere and anytime regardless of what was going on.

"When I woke up, I was in a hospital."

Faye opened her eyes and turned to look at him. He was staring straight ahead, his hands clenched into fists on his lap. She remained silent, waiting for him to continue.

"They told me that I had been unconscious for almost three months. My … injuries were so severe that they didn't know if I was going to make it."

He finally looked over to meet her eyes. "After I was released, I wandered back to my old haunting grounds, trying to find out what had happened with the Dragons."

He leaned forward and picked up the cigarettes from the coffee table. He lit one up and blew the smoke in Faye's direction. When the aroma reached her, she breathed in deeply, too proud to snatch up the pack as she would have done in the past. He was in a mood to talk, and she didn't want to be the one to spoil the mood. She was surprised when Spike held out the pack to her, but she nodded her thanks and took one. He flicked the lighter and lit her cigarette, then sat back and clasped his hands behind his head, stretching his long legs across the coffee table.

They smoked in silence for a while. Faye watched him surreptitiously; his eyes were half-closed and he looked completely relaxed, as if he was about to nod off. She breathed in sharply, and then exhaled in a silent huff as she struggled to tone down her impatience. Instead, she watched the cigarette he held between his slender fingers as it burned, the ember moving closer to his fingers. If he really was asleep, he'd wake up as soon as he felt the burn of the ash.

Without cracking an eyelid, Spike leaned a long arm towards the coffee table to flick the ash. Faye narrowed her eyes. He was trying to get out of telling the story, but she was determined to make him continue.

"So, what happened?" she asked, her patience dwindling.

He cracked open one eye to look at her. "Just hold on, Faye. Whose story is this, anyway?"

She bit back a response until she noticed the quirk at the corner of his mouth.

"Don't make fun of me," she growled. "I really do want to know."

He raised an eyebrow as he regarded her, the smirk morphing into a full blown smile.

She glared at him. "Come on, spit it out."

His smile faltered and he looked away from her to stare up at the ceiling.

"I found out that I had succeeded in wiping out the Dragons," he said as he stared up at the ceiling. "So there I was, finally free after all those years, and what do I do? Find another syndicate to work for. But this time, it was on my terms."

"If you were free, why did you go back?" Faye asked curiously. "You had the chance to do anything, go anywhere you wanted, and you went back? Why?"

"It's the only thing I know," he said simply.

"You could have come back, picked up where you left off with me … and Jet."

"Yeah, I could have. But I didn't want to go back to that life."

He leaned forward to crush the cigarette in the ashtray, then picked up the pack and lit another, looking at her intently. With a mouth full of smoke, he continued, "Besides, I got tired of not having meat in my diet. Or cigarettes in my pocket." He exhaled and leaned back against the sofa.

Faye scowled at him and looked away. She wanted to ask him if he missed the companionship that they'd had as shipmates and bounty hunters. And he still hadn't told her what it was that he did for a living. But she was starting to get a pretty good idea.

"So, I guess your new occupation is quite lucrative," she mumbled.

"Yeah, you could say that."

Her green eyes glittered in annoyance as she poked him. "Spike, just tell me what it is you do."

Spike cocked his head to the side as he shot her a wide-eyed, innocent look. "Let's just say that the world is a little safer with my help."

It occurred to her that he had told her more than he'd ever willingly shared in the past. She knew that she wouldn't get any more out of him.

"Will you ever come back?"

Spike was silent.

"Spike?"

"No."

"Not even …"

"What?"

She turned to stare out of the window.

He sighed and watched her. "Faye."

She didn't answer. He reached over and grasped her chin, turning her face towards him. Her stomach fluttered at the touch of his fingers. She couldn't remember him ever touching her before, at least not this gentle, like he cared. She forced herself to breathe calmly as she reluctantly looked up at him.

"Would you -" he began, then seemed to think better of it and released her.

She gazed at him questioningly, her hand absently tracing the spot where his fingers had been.

He shook his head. "Nothing."

She hated when he did that – clamming up again, his eyes hooded with hidden secrets, like shutters closing on a window. It was like watching a walking dead man, turning to ghost ashes before her eyes.

"Don't do that," she said, jabbing her finger into his chest so hard that he cringed. "You always used to do that on the ship, Spike," she pointed upwards towards space, "and every time I let you get away with it, but not this time. So, tell me what it is that you want to know?"

He studied her for a moment. "I don't know," he said finally.

She stared at him, her small mouth turned down in disapproval. She got up and paced around the room, then stopped at the coffee table and grabbed his pack of cigarettes, jamming one in her mouth. "You're just nothing but trouble," she mumbled and the cigarette moved up and down with her words.

"Those are mine," he said calmly, watching her.

Faye huffed in frustration. She took a long drag before turning back to him.

"I guess you're waiting for me to speak first, huh? What, do you want to know why I spent so much time looking for you when it was obvious that you were either six feet under or avoiding us?"

She started pacing the room again, smoking furiously.

"I didn't say-"

"We were comrades, you know," she interrupted him. "Even if you didn't feel it, I did. I finally found a place where I belonged, with you and Jet and Edward. Even the damned dog." She stopped pacing and looked back at him. "Don't tell me you never felt it."

Spike sighed. "Okay, so I did, you satisfied?"

Faye threw her hands in the air. "There! Was that so fucking hard to say?" She returned to the sofa and flopped down next to him. "Spike, you're a real piece of work."

"So I've been told."

She turned towards him, ready to give him another lecture about friends, but stopped when she looked at him. Who cares what an idiot he still is, she thought. At least he's alive.

"I'm tired of arguing," she told him. "Let's just watch a movie or something."

She leaned across the table to flick on the vidscreen, switching the channels until she found an old crime movie that she remembered watching with Jet. "Hey, this one's pretty good." She settled back against the couch, curling her legs under her and not caring whether or not Spike was comfortable. She was done with him for now.

* * *

Spike was amazed at how easily Faye could switch from slightly pissed to raving mad to nonchalance in the blink of an eye. He thought he was the only one that could pull that off. But then she started going on about how comrades were supposed to work together and check in with each other, watch each other's back, yadda yadda. She talks too damned much. He started tuning her out although his eyes followed her around the room as she ranted. He didn't know what had come over him when he had held her face in his hands. He had never been that close long enough to notice the porcelain smoothness of her skin, or to notice that there were flecks of hazel in her green eyes.

He turned his attention back to the present and the movie playing on the screen. He remembered seeing this back on the Bebop. Faye and Jet loved this movie, but he didn't understand what was so fascinating. The life depicted was a picnic compared to the reality of life with the Dragons. He sat back, trying to maintain interest, but after a while his eyes glazed over, and not too long afterwards, he was dead to the world.

* * *

Faye watched Spike's eyes close as he nodded off, just as she had predicted he would. He'd never been able to stay awake on a full stomach, especially when combined with liquor.

She turned back to the fight scene playing over the vid screen. This used to be one of her favorite films, but ever since he had encountered the real deal at the opera house with Vicious, scenes like the one on the screen looked stage and stale. She switched off the power and looked over at Spike, whose legs were now splayed across the coffee table, his head flung back against the back of the sofa and his mouth slightly ajar. At any moment now the snoring would begin; she grinned when sure enough, the first gurgle emitted from his throat. She studied his face, noticing things that hadn't been there a year ago -- the lines around his mouth, a small scar that cut across his right brow. She tapped her foot impatiently; she would not allow herself to get sucked into feeling for him again.

Enough of this, Faye, she admonished herself. She was restless; maybe she could find a card game to push her way into. She had spied a numbers joint on the walk over the apartment earlier. She looked around for her red sweater, spotting it crushed between Spike and the sofa cushion. Holding her breath, she gently pulled it free, being careful not to wake the baby. As she draped it over her shoulders, she contemplated borrowing Spike's keys. Nah, He'll just have to let me back in, she thought. She spied Spike's money card next to his keys. Grinning, she picked it up and slipped it into her pocket as she tiptoed to the door. She let herself out, quietly closing the door behind her.

* * *

vettac: (Default)

Chapter 5. Stubborn

The band was finishing up the last set, and Grace had just delivered the last round of drinks to their table. Faye was quite adept at observing and imitating people, and Spike was smashed enough to enjoy her antics. The Glowing Sun attracted a rough crowd, and had Faye been there alone or with anyone else other than Spike, her behavior would not have been tolerated. But everyone in this neighborhood knew who Spike was and what he did. Luckily for Faye, no one who valued life wanted to be caught on his bad side.

After the two of them had finished the sixth round of drinks, it was like old times, where both tried to be more sarcastically witty than the other. It was a drinking game that they had often played on the ship, after Jet had retired to his room and Ed was crashed out somewhere within the ship, using Ein as her pillow. Faye's words had started to slur two or three drinks ago, even though she had insisted that he was more smashed than her. Finally, Spike finished off his last glass and stood up, holding on to the edge of the table.

"Come on," he said, pulling on her arm. "Time to go."

"Hold your horses," she snapped. "I'm not finished yet."

"I think you are," he said teasingly. "Drink up and let's go."

Faye polished off her glass then she tried to stand, holding on to both the table and Spike.

"You alright? You look a little pale."

"No, as a matter of fact, I'm not alright. I am plastered," she said, eyeing the empty glass with sudden loathing, "and if I don't get some fresh air in about ten seconds, I'm going to throw up in your lap."

Spike grinned. Faye thought he looked a little amused or worried, or maybe a little of both. "I wouldn't really throw up on you, you know," she protested as he put his hand under her arm to help her stand. She rose to her feet.

"Where're we going?"

"Home."

* * *

Spike pulled out a ring of keys from his jacket and unlocked the door to the apartment. He stood aside and wordlessly beckoned for Faye to step inside. He locked the door behind them and led Faye into the kitchen, just to the right of the apartment entrance. He set the keys down on the kitchen table and draped his jacket over one of the chairs.

"I'm going to go take a shower," he told her as he headed down the hallway to the bathroom. Midway to his destination, he stopped and looked over his shoulder at her.

"Don't go nosing around, Faye. I'll be right back." He disappeared down the hall.

Faye stuck out her tongue at him, and then giggled to herself at her own childishness.

Hmmph, still thinks he's mister high and mighty. But … when someone tells you not to do something…

She walked into the living room and wrinkled her nose in distaste as she looked around. The walls were the washed-out hue of a sky just before the rain and were completely bare except for a light switch that controlled the overhead light. A worn brown sofa sat in the middle of the room with an armchair beside it and a coffee table in front, containing a disgustingly full ashtray and a dog-eared paperback lying open and face down.

Definitely a guy's place, she thought.

She wondered if she were the first female to set foot inside of Spike's apartment. The possibility that Spike would allow any other woman access to his private domain bothered her more than she wanted to admit.

Faye thought she knew him better than any other woman, except maybe for Julia who was no longer around, so she didn't really count. When they had been shipmates, he'd been comfortable enough around her to lounge about wearing those tacky orange boxers, and she had discovered a few other disgusting habits of his when she'd lived with him.

She picked up the book to see the title: Walking on the Moon. She recalled seeing him reading that book once on the Bebop. As she thought about it, she had never actually seen him read the book; he would use it to cover his face and spy on her while pretending to be asleep. So maybe he does know how to read, she thought maliciously. She switched the pages around and placed the book back on the coffee table, smiling to herself.

She wandered restlessly into the kitchen. She could see evidence of takeout on the countertop, where several plastic forks and chopsticks were lined up neatly. The chopsticks reminded her that she hadn't eaten since leaving the ship that morning, and she debated on whether to take a peek inside the refrigerator. Spike liked long showers almost as much as she did, so she figured that she'd have plenty of time to check out the goods without getting caught.

As she moved to open the refrigerator door, she felt a warm breath caressing her neck and she squeaked in surprise. She whirled around to find Spike standing behind her with his hands in his pockets and a stupid grin on his face.

"Why you--" she savagely poked his chest with her finger. "What the hell was that, Spike?"

"Just wanted to see if you still had it."

"Had what?" She clamped her hands on her hips and stomped her feet in exasperation, glaring up at him.

He watched her, his eyes crinkling with amusement. "That," he said. "The fire in those green eyes." He pulled a hand out of his pocket to touch her cheek.

She stared up at him, wondering if this was the same Spike who had once inhabited the Bebop. Back then, he would never been so direct, especially with her. This Spike was a handsome stranger who was flirting with her and she felt awkward around him. The Spike she knew was a masochistic bastard who liked playing head games with her to see her squirm. She was tempted to punch him, but she controlled the urge; she wasn't ready to unleash her anger on him yet; she was still too relieved to find him alive.

And if she didn't know better, she'd say that he was glad to see her too.

"God, what a dump, Spike," she said, looking for a way to mask her discomfort. "Couldn't you afford anything better than this?"

He shrugged. "Why? I only sleep here."

Faye snorted. "Well, it's the one thing you're good at."

"Don't you want to find out what else I'm good at?" he asked seductively, leaning into her.

She took a couple of steps away from him.

"Don't flatter yourself," she scoffed as she strolled back into the living room. She kicked off her shoes and flopped onto the sofa, stretching her legs out.

Spike followed her, looking slightly perturbed as he watched her get comfortable. "That's my seat," he grumbled, slumping down in the armchair.

"Deal with it," she told him. "You know, I did a lot of walking around looking for you." She wriggled her bare toes in relief. "The streets of Tharsis are murder on a woman's feet."

Her stomach grumbled and she sat up, twisting towards him. "Spiiike … "

Spike made an exaggerated show of trying to get comfortable, stretching his long legs across the coffee table and crossing his arms across his chest before slowing shifting his gaze up to her face.

"What kind of host are you?" Faye asked coyly. "I'm a guest and I'm hungry."

"You're always hungry."

Faye batted her eyes at him. He grinned in spite of himself.

"Tell you what, because you're so hungry and I'm such a considerate host and all, and since you came all the way down to Mars just to find me --"

Faye interrupted him. "Are you going to feed me or what?"

"Hmmm …" Spike tapped a finger against his chin as he pretended to think about it.

She growled at him.

He finally answered her. "I know a Thai place that delivers." He took out his communicator and punched in a code for the restaurant.

Faye snickered. "Either your memory got sharper since your return from death or you don't cook much."

He scowled at her and turned back to the comm. "Yo, Soo-Ling. Yeah, the usual, but make it for two. How long? Right." A few brief words later, he ended the call, then stood up slowly and turned to Faye.

"Want a drink?"

She lit up. "Do you even have to ask?"

"Guess not." Spike walked into the kitchen and took a couple of glasses from the overhead cabinet, then pulled out a bottle of lao chu from the fridge.

"I'm not going to serve you," he called to her.

"That would be too much to ask," Faye muttered. She got up from the sofa and padded barefoot into the kitchen, reaching for the empty glass.

"Yeah, it would."

She clenched her fists and narrowed her eyes at him.

He threw up his hands in mock defeat. "Hey, I'm just saying."

"Don't you have anything stronger than this?"

Spike reached into the cupboard under the cabinet and pulled out an unopened bottle of whiskey. "Almost forgot about this," he said as he twisted off the cap. "One of the perks of the job."

He handed her the bottle and she poured herself a generous amount, then grabbed both her glass and the bottle to the table, Spike following behind her.

"You never did say what your job was, Spike."

He looked at her. "You're right, I didn't." He downed the contents of his glass and slid it towards her. "Fill it up?"

She reached to steady the glass, suppressing a shiver as their fingers touched. She filled the glass to the brim and slid it back to him, looking at him as she did so.

"Is that a challenge?" he asked with a smirk.

Faye finished off her own glass, closing her eyes momentarily as the liquid hit her stomach. She set the glass back down and gazed at him mischievously.

"Do you want it to be?" she shot back.

Spike picked up the glass and drained it in one gulp without a grimace. He pushed the glass back to her for another refill, flashing his seductive smile. Faye sniffed haughtily as she poured more alcohol into his glass. A beep from Spike's communicator sounded and he picked up to listen, then disconnected.

"Food's here." He finished off his drink in one gulp. "Spike 3, Faye 2," he said with a smile. "Be right back." He grabbed his keys from the table and left to meet the delivery kid.

Faye scowled. She could cheat and tell him that they were now even, but somehow that lunkhead would know. She refilled her glass. It wouldn't matter; she was much better at holding her liquor than him, anyway.

vettac: (Default)

Chapter 5. Stubborn

The band was finishing up the last set, and Grace had just delivered the last round of drinks to their table. Faye was quite adept at observing and imitating people, and Spike was smashed enough to enjoy her antics. The Glowing Sun attracted a rough crowd, and had Faye been there alone or with anyone else other than Spike, her behavior would not have been tolerated. But everyone in this neighborhood knew who Spike was and what he did. Luckily for Faye, no one who valued life wanted to be caught on his bad side.

After the two of them had finished the sixth round of drinks, it was like old times, where both tried to be more sarcastically witty than the other. It was a drinking game that they had often played on the ship, after Jet had retired to his room and Ed was crashed out somewhere within the ship, using Ein as her pillow. Faye's words had started to slur two or three drinks ago, even though she had insisted that he was more smashed than her. Finally, Spike finished off his last glass and stood up, holding on to the edge of the table.

"Come on," he said, pulling on her arm. "Time to go."

"Hold your horses," she snapped. "I'm not finished yet."

"I think you are," he said teasingly. "Drink up and let's go."

Faye polished off her glass then she tried to stand, holding on to both the table and Spike.

"You alright? You look a little pale."

"No, as a matter of fact, I'm not alright. I am plastered," she said, eyeing the empty glass with sudden loathing, "and if I don't get some fresh air in about ten seconds, I'm going to throw up in your lap."

Spike grinned. Faye thought he looked a little amused or worried, or maybe a little of both. "I wouldn't really throw up on you, you know," she protested as he put his hand under her arm to help her stand. She rose to her feet.

"Where're we going?"

"Home."

* * *

Spike pulled out a ring of keys from his jacket and unlocked the door to the apartment. He stood aside and wordlessly beckoned for Faye to step inside. He locked the door behind them and led Faye into the kitchen, just to the right of the apartment entrance. He set the keys down on the kitchen table and draped his jacket over one of the chairs.

"I'm going to go take a shower," he told her as he headed down the hallway to the bathroom. Midway to his destination, he stopped and looked over his shoulder at her.

"Don't go nosing around, Faye. I'll be right back." He disappeared down the hall.

Faye stuck out her tongue at him, and then giggled to herself at her own childishness.

Hmmph, still thinks he's mister high and mighty. But … when someone tells you not to do something…

She walked into the living room and wrinkled her nose in distaste as she looked around. The walls were the washed-out hue of a sky just before the rain and were completely bare except for a light switch that controlled the overhead light. A worn brown sofa sat in the middle of the room with an armchair beside it and a coffee table in front, containing a disgustingly full ashtray and a dog-eared paperback lying open and face down.

Definitely a guy's place, she thought.

She wondered if she were the first female to set foot inside of Spike's apartment. The possibility that Spike would allow any other woman access to his private domain bothered her more than she wanted to admit.

Faye thought she knew him better than any other woman, except maybe for Julia who was no longer around, so she didn't really count. When they had been shipmates, he'd been comfortable enough around her to lounge about wearing those tacky orange boxers, and she had discovered a few other disgusting habits of his when she'd lived with him.

She picked up the book to see the title: Walking on the Moon. She recalled seeing him reading that book once on the Bebop. As she thought about it, she had never actually seen him read the book; he would use it to cover his face and spy on her while pretending to be asleep. So maybe he does know how to read, she thought maliciously. She switched the pages around and placed the book back on the coffee table, smiling to herself.

She wandered restlessly into the kitchen. She could see evidence of takeout on the countertop, where several plastic forks and chopsticks were lined up neatly. The chopsticks reminded her that she hadn't eaten since leaving the ship that morning, and she debated on whether to take a peek inside the refrigerator. Spike liked long showers almost as much as she did, so she figured that she'd have plenty of time to check out the goods without getting caught.

As she moved to open the refrigerator door, she felt a warm breath caressing her neck and she squeaked in surprise. She whirled around to find Spike standing behind her with his hands in his pockets and a stupid grin on his face.

"Why you--" she savagely poked his chest with her finger. "What the hell was that, Spike?"

"Just wanted to see if you still had it."

"Had what?" She clamped her hands on her hips and stomped her feet in exasperation, glaring up at him.

He watched her, his eyes crinkling with amusement. "That," he said. "The fire in those green eyes." He pulled a hand out of his pocket to touch her cheek.

She stared up at him, wondering if this was the same Spike who had once inhabited the Bebop. Back then, he would never been so direct, especially with her. This Spike was a handsome stranger who was flirting with her and she felt awkward around him. The Spike she knew was a masochistic bastard who liked playing head games with her to see her squirm. She was tempted to punch him, but she controlled the urge; she wasn't ready to unleash her anger on him yet; she was still too relieved to find him alive.

And if she didn't know better, she'd say that he was glad to see her too.

"God, what a dump, Spike," she said, looking for a way to mask her discomfort. "Couldn't you afford anything better than this?"

He shrugged. "Why? I only sleep here."

Faye snorted. "Well, it's the one thing you're good at."

"Don't you want to find out what else I'm good at?" he asked seductively, leaning into her.

She took a couple of steps away from him.

"Don't flatter yourself," she scoffed as she strolled back into the living room. She kicked off her shoes and flopped onto the sofa, stretching her legs out.

Spike followed her, looking slightly perturbed as he watched her get comfortable. "That's my seat," he grumbled, slumping down in the armchair.

"Deal with it," she told him. "You know, I did a lot of walking around looking for you." She wriggled her bare toes in relief. "The streets of Tharsis are murder on a woman's feet."

Her stomach grumbled and she sat up, twisting towards him. "Spiiike … "

Spike made an exaggerated show of trying to get comfortable, stretching his long legs across the coffee table and crossing his arms across his chest before slowing shifting his gaze up to her face.

"What kind of host are you?" Faye asked coyly. "I'm a guest and I'm hungry."

"You're always hungry."

Faye batted her eyes at him. He grinned in spite of himself.

"Tell you what, because you're so hungry and I'm such a considerate host and all, and since you came all the way down to Mars just to find me --"

Faye interrupted him. "Are you going to feed me or what?"

"Hmmm …" Spike tapped a finger against his chin as he pretended to think about it.

She growled at him.

He finally answered her. "I know a Thai place that delivers." He took out his communicator and punched in a code for the restaurant.

Faye snickered. "Either your memory got sharper since your return from death or you don't cook much."

He scowled at her and turned back to the comm. "Yo, Soo-Ling. Yeah, the usual, but make it for two. How long? Right." A few brief words later, he ended the call, then stood up slowly and turned to Faye.

"Want a drink?"

She lit up. "Do you even have to ask?"

"Guess not." Spike walked into the kitchen and took a couple of glasses from the overhead cabinet, then pulled out a bottle of lao chu from the fridge.

"I'm not going to serve you," he called to her.

"That would be too much to ask," Faye muttered. She got up from the sofa and padded barefoot into the kitchen, reaching for the empty glass.

"Yeah, it would."

She clenched her fists and narrowed her eyes at him.

He threw up his hands in mock defeat. "Hey, I'm just saying."

"Don't you have anything stronger than this?"

Spike reached into the cupboard under the cabinet and pulled out an unopened bottle of whiskey. "Almost forgot about this," he said as he twisted off the cap. "One of the perks of the job."

He handed her the bottle and she poured herself a generous amount, then grabbed both her glass and the bottle to the table, Spike following behind her.

"You never did say what your job was, Spike."

He looked at her. "You're right, I didn't." He downed the contents of his glass and slid it towards her. "Fill it up?"

She reached to steady the glass, suppressing a shiver as their fingers touched. She filled the glass to the brim and slid it back to him, looking at him as she did so.

"Is that a challenge?" he asked with a smirk.

Faye finished off her own glass, closing her eyes momentarily as the liquid hit her stomach. She set the glass back down and gazed at him mischievously.

"Do you want it to be?" she shot back.

Spike picked up the glass and drained it in one gulp without a grimace. He pushed the glass back to her for another refill, flashing his seductive smile. Faye sniffed haughtily as she poured more alcohol into his glass. A beep from Spike's communicator sounded and he picked up to listen, then disconnected.

"Food's here." He finished off his drink in one gulp. "Spike 3, Faye 2," he said with a smile. "Be right back." He grabbed his keys from the table and left to meet the delivery kid.

Faye scowled. She could cheat and tell him that they were now even, but somehow that lunkhead would know. She refilled her glass. It wouldn't matter; she was much better at holding her liquor than him, anyway.

vettac: (Default)

Chapter 4. Reunion

Spike stepped inside the Glowing Sun and surveyed his surroundings. He picked up an occasional word amidst the buzz of conversation, the click of a cue ball hitting the pocket on the pool table. As he ambled further in, his cybernetic eye easily detected the regulars scattered around the smoke-filled, dimly lit lounge. He caught sight of the waitress Grace moving efficiently and effortlessly through the room taking bar orders. The band, apparently between sets, was seated at one of the round tables in front of the stage, with a pitcher of beer and several overflowing ashtrays.

He looked over at the bar and hesitated when he spotted Faye chatting up the bartender. He couldn't say that he was surprised to see her; the word on the street was that someone had been inquiring into his whereabouts, and he had figured that it was either Faye or Jet, since everyone else he knew was dead. Well, except for Doohan, who only found out that he was alive when Spike had contacted him to look after the Swordfish for awhile. His current line of work required stealth and his ship would be too conspicuous in the places he needed to go. And besides, he didn't have any desire to go planet-hopping these days.

Still, Faye's presence in his territory was a little unnerving, like an expunged memory that had leaked, unbidden, to the forefront of his mind. Later he would have to hit up Ronald to find out what he and Faye had talked about. But for now he had to deal with her, and he was not looking forward to the meeting. She would probably deck him first, and then ream him out for not contacting her and Jet. He took a deep breath and slid his hands in his pockets before walking over to where she sat.

"Is this seat taken?"

As he waited for Faye to acknowledge him, he quickly took in her appearance. Her hair, which had grown considerably since that last day on the Bebop, was tied back into a long, thick ponytail. The black dress she was wearing was more conservative than her usual attire; it fit her snugly, showing off her tiny waist, the swell of her hips, and more than a little cleavage. Faye was a beautiful woman with a stunning figure, and he'd be lying if he said that he had never noticed. On quite a few occasions he had found himself sneaking a peek as she walked by; if she had ever caught him, he would be dead now for sure.

Faye swiveled in her seat at the sound of his voice, tossing her ponytail over her shoulder. If she was shocked to see him, she was doing a damned good job of hiding it.

"So," she said, narrowing her eyes at him. "You are alive."

"And kicking." He sat down on the stool next to her.

Faye looked around for Ronald and beckoned to him.

"I found him," she gushed when he came over. "He and I have so much to catch up on – do you think you could find us a table where we can talk privately?" she batted her eyes innocently.

Ronald beamed. "Sure thing, miss - Faye. Right this way."

Spike stifled his own grin as he witnessed Faye in action. She always did have a way of getting what she wanted.

Faye picked up her drink and followed the bartender, Spike trailing behind as they were guided to a table tucked away in a corner of the bar. Spike decided to be a gentleman and hold the chair for Faye. She glanced up at him and murmured something before sitting down. A look passed between the two men before Spike sat down opposite Faye, waiting for her to make a move.

"Thank you, Ronald." Faye flashed a brilliant smile at the young man, who blushed before returning to his station.

"Could you be a little more obvious …" Spike mumbled in disgust as he watched her performance.

As soon as the bartender was out of sight, Faye turned to him. "What's the matter, jealous?" she asked sweetly, turning her smile up a notch for his benefit.

He snorted. "Yeah, in your dreams …" He picked up her glass and took a sniff. "What are you drinking?"

"Hey!" Faye protested. "That's mine." She moved to snatch her drink from his hand, but Spike stopped her, clamping his free hand over hers.

"Aren't we supposed to be … close?" Spike drawled, looking down teasingly as she glared up at him. He lifted the glass to his lips, taking her hand with it, and took a swallow before setting it back down, still holding on to her hand. The warmth from her hand seeped into his skin and he marveled momentarily at how small and fragile her hand seemed compared to his. She slid her hand out from under his and leaned back, watching him with an inscrutable expression in her green eyes.

Spike resisted the urge to fidget under her gaze; instead he picked up her glass again and drained the contents, then reached in his pocket for his cigarettes and Zippo. He shook one out then wordlessly offered her one, but she shook her head. He lit up and inhaled once before finally returning her gaze.

"So, how have you been, Faye?" he asked absently. Her calmness was disconcerting and he wondered just how long it would take to spur her to anger.

She ignored his question and gestured to the waitress, who came over immediately.

"Two whiskeys on the rocks. Put them on his tab," she said tersely, inclining her head toward Spike. Her eyes never left his face.

Grace looked at Spike, who nodded his assent, then she disappeared to fill the order.

"We've been fine," she said, her gaze on his face steady and unwavering. "Jet and I work as a team now, and we've been doing quite well, in case you were wondering." She brushed a stray lock of hair behind her ear and turned away to watch the band, who had returned to the stage to start a new set.

They waited in silence for Grace to return with their drinks. As the slow, smoky jazz filled the room, Faye seemed to lose herself in the music, a wistful expression washing over her face. Spike took the opportunity to study her profile. Except for the longer hair, she looked the same. He wondered what she was thinking about that would make her look so sad. Had it really been that long since he'd left them?

For him, the days and hours flowed endlessly from one job to the next. Mars was the place to be for syndicate activity, and when one syndicate disappeared, others moved in; meaning less competition for those that remained. Spike was good at what he did, the best, he told himself, and being the best meant there was no shortage of jobs waiting for him. He was an independent, and he made it abundantly clear to any prospective client that he wanted to keep it that way – no ties to any person or organization. He had had his fill of that.

But, sitting here, watching Faye as she moved her head to the music, catching a trace of the scent from her hair as it swayed, evoked in him a sense of something that he could not identify. He looked down at the hand that had held hers, and impulsively he lifted it to his nose to sniff. His hand smelled like her. He shook his head to clear away the fog that he was being drawn into. These were dangerous thoughts and he needed to get a grip. He pulled on his cigarette so deeply that it burned his throat, and exhaled a series of smoke rings into the air above their table. When he looked back at Faye, her eyes were already on his face, watching him.

"So-" he smirked, intending to ease his discomfort by teasing her.

"When are you coming back to the ship, Spike?" she interrupted, swirling the contents of her drink.

Spike's grin faded and he looked away. "I'm not."

Her eyes narrowed slightly. "Why not?"

He took a swig from his glass and glanced at her before answering. "I've closed the book on that part of my life, Faye, and that includes my time on the ship."

He didn't tell her that it had taken him eight months of vacillation and doubt before finally deciding not to go back; that decision had been his alone to make. After all, he was an all-or-nothing kind of guy.

Faye was silent, but kept a steady gaze on his face.

"Look, Faye," he said, his return glaze unflinching, "No offense, but I didn't exactly need approval from you or Jet."

Faye's gaze had not wavered. "So, just like that, you're giving us up?"

Spike leaned into her face, a mocking smile on his lips. "Last time I saw you, your hearing was pretty sharp." He leaned closer, a long thin finger reaching for her ear. "Has something happened that I should know about?"

She scowled and swatted his hand away. He leaned back in the chair, satisfied that finally he had gotten under her skin.

"How have you been supporting yourself?"

"I make do."

"Doing what." She demanded.

"I had a life before bounty hunting, you know."

"Doing what?" she repeated, glaring at him.

He turned an impassive gaze on her as his eyes slowly scanned her face. "The Red Dragons may be gone, but others are still around." He leaned down until his eyes were level with hers. "I heard that you were asking around about me."

Faye inched away but said nothing as she searched his face.

"When I walked in here earlier," he said coolly, "I could have killed you where you sat, and no one would have said a word." Her face faltered. "So, why don't you just run along back to the ship before you get into any trouble?"

"You're - just like – you really have turned into Vicious, haven't you?" she whispered.

He ignored the barb and smiled cruelly. "You think so?"

She was quiet, concentrating on her drink. Spike could tell that she was trying to think her way out of the situation. He had worked with her long enough to know how she operated. In fact, watching her, he could almost guess what her next move would be.

Sure enough, Faye's demeanor changed subtly. She crossed her legs and leaned forward, her green eyes glittering as she looked into his face. Even knowing what she was up to, his heart skipped a beat at the look she gave him.

"So, aren't you going to show me where you live?"

He rolled his eyes at her, and turned back to his drink.

vettac: (Default)

Chapter 4. Reunion

Spike stepped inside the Glowing Sun and surveyed his surroundings. He picked up an occasional word amidst the buzz of conversation, the click of a cue ball hitting the pocket on the pool table. As he ambled further in, his cybernetic eye easily detected the regulars scattered around the smoke-filled, dimly lit lounge. He caught sight of the waitress Grace moving efficiently and effortlessly through the room taking bar orders. The band, apparently between sets, was seated at one of the round tables in front of the stage, with a pitcher of beer and several overflowing ashtrays.

He looked over at the bar and hesitated when he spotted Faye chatting up the bartender. He couldn't say that he was surprised to see her; the word on the street was that someone had been inquiring into his whereabouts, and he had figured that it was either Faye or Jet, since everyone else he knew was dead. Well, except for Doohan, who only found out that he was alive when Spike had contacted him to look after the Swordfish for awhile. His current line of work required stealth and his ship would be too conspicuous in the places he needed to go. And besides, he didn't have any desire to go planet-hopping these days.

Still, Faye's presence in his territory was a little unnerving, like an expunged memory that had leaked, unbidden, to the forefront of his mind. Later he would have to hit up Ronald to find out what he and Faye had talked about. But for now he had to deal with her, and he was not looking forward to the meeting. She would probably deck him first, and then ream him out for not contacting her and Jet. He took a deep breath and slid his hands in his pockets before walking over to where she sat.

"Is this seat taken?"

As he waited for Faye to acknowledge him, he quickly took in her appearance. Her hair, which had grown considerably since that last day on the Bebop, was tied back into a long, thick ponytail. The black dress she was wearing was more conservative than her usual attire; it fit her snugly, showing off her tiny waist, the swell of her hips, and more than a little cleavage. Faye was a beautiful woman with a stunning figure, and he'd be lying if he said that he had never noticed. On quite a few occasions he had found himself sneaking a peek as she walked by; if she had ever caught him, he would be dead now for sure.

Faye swiveled in her seat at the sound of his voice, tossing her ponytail over her shoulder. If she was shocked to see him, she was doing a damned good job of hiding it.

"So," she said, narrowing her eyes at him. "You are alive."

"And kicking." He sat down on the stool next to her.

Faye looked around for Ronald and beckoned to him.

"I found him," she gushed when he came over. "He and I have so much to catch up on – do you think you could find us a table where we can talk privately?" she batted her eyes innocently.

Ronald beamed. "Sure thing, miss - Faye. Right this way."

Spike stifled his own grin as he witnessed Faye in action. She always did have a way of getting what she wanted.

Faye picked up her drink and followed the bartender, Spike trailing behind as they were guided to a table tucked away in a corner of the bar. Spike decided to be a gentleman and hold the chair for Faye. She glanced up at him and murmured something before sitting down. A look passed between the two men before Spike sat down opposite Faye, waiting for her to make a move.

"Thank you, Ronald." Faye flashed a brilliant smile at the young man, who blushed before returning to his station.

"Could you be a little more obvious …" Spike mumbled in disgust as he watched her performance.

As soon as the bartender was out of sight, Faye turned to him. "What's the matter, jealous?" she asked sweetly, turning her smile up a notch for his benefit.

He snorted. "Yeah, in your dreams …" He picked up her glass and took a sniff. "What are you drinking?"

"Hey!" Faye protested. "That's mine." She moved to snatch her drink from his hand, but Spike stopped her, clamping his free hand over hers.

"Aren't we supposed to be … close?" Spike drawled, looking down teasingly as she glared up at him. He lifted the glass to his lips, taking her hand with it, and took a swallow before setting it back down, still holding on to her hand. The warmth from her hand seeped into his skin and he marveled momentarily at how small and fragile her hand seemed compared to his. She slid her hand out from under his and leaned back, watching him with an inscrutable expression in her green eyes.

Spike resisted the urge to fidget under her gaze; instead he picked up her glass again and drained the contents, then reached in his pocket for his cigarettes and Zippo. He shook one out then wordlessly offered her one, but she shook her head. He lit up and inhaled once before finally returning her gaze.

"So, how have you been, Faye?" he asked absently. Her calmness was disconcerting and he wondered just how long it would take to spur her to anger.

She ignored his question and gestured to the waitress, who came over immediately.

"Two whiskeys on the rocks. Put them on his tab," she said tersely, inclining her head toward Spike. Her eyes never left his face.

Grace looked at Spike, who nodded his assent, then she disappeared to fill the order.

"We've been fine," she said, her gaze on his face steady and unwavering. "Jet and I work as a team now, and we've been doing quite well, in case you were wondering." She brushed a stray lock of hair behind her ear and turned away to watch the band, who had returned to the stage to start a new set.

They waited in silence for Grace to return with their drinks. As the slow, smoky jazz filled the room, Faye seemed to lose herself in the music, a wistful expression washing over her face. Spike took the opportunity to study her profile. Except for the longer hair, she looked the same. He wondered what she was thinking about that would make her look so sad. Had it really been that long since he'd left them?

For him, the days and hours flowed endlessly from one job to the next. Mars was the place to be for syndicate activity, and when one syndicate disappeared, others moved in; meaning less competition for those that remained. Spike was good at what he did, the best, he told himself, and being the best meant there was no shortage of jobs waiting for him. He was an independent, and he made it abundantly clear to any prospective client that he wanted to keep it that way – no ties to any person or organization. He had had his fill of that.

But, sitting here, watching Faye as she moved her head to the music, catching a trace of the scent from her hair as it swayed, evoked in him a sense of something that he could not identify. He looked down at the hand that had held hers, and impulsively he lifted it to his nose to sniff. His hand smelled like her. He shook his head to clear away the fog that he was being drawn into. These were dangerous thoughts and he needed to get a grip. He pulled on his cigarette so deeply that it burned his throat, and exhaled a series of smoke rings into the air above their table. When he looked back at Faye, her eyes were already on his face, watching him.

"So-" he smirked, intending to ease his discomfort by teasing her.

"When are you coming back to the ship, Spike?" she interrupted, swirling the contents of her drink.

Spike's grin faded and he looked away. "I'm not."

Her eyes narrowed slightly. "Why not?"

He took a swig from his glass and glanced at her before answering. "I've closed the book on that part of my life, Faye, and that includes my time on the ship."

He didn't tell her that it had taken him eight months of vacillation and doubt before finally deciding not to go back; that decision had been his alone to make. After all, he was an all-or-nothing kind of guy.

Faye was silent, but kept a steady gaze on his face.

"Look, Faye," he said, his return glaze unflinching, "No offense, but I didn't exactly need approval from you or Jet."

Faye's gaze had not wavered. "So, just like that, you're giving us up?"

Spike leaned into her face, a mocking smile on his lips. "Last time I saw you, your hearing was pretty sharp." He leaned closer, a long thin finger reaching for her ear. "Has something happened that I should know about?"

She scowled and swatted his hand away. He leaned back in the chair, satisfied that finally he had gotten under her skin.

"How have you been supporting yourself?"

"I make do."

"Doing what." She demanded.

"I had a life before bounty hunting, you know."

"Doing what?" she repeated, glaring at him.

He turned an impassive gaze on her as his eyes slowly scanned her face. "The Red Dragons may be gone, but others are still around." He leaned down until his eyes were level with hers. "I heard that you were asking around about me."

Faye inched away but said nothing as she searched his face.

"When I walked in here earlier," he said coolly, "I could have killed you where you sat, and no one would have said a word." Her face faltered. "So, why don't you just run along back to the ship before you get into any trouble?"

"You're - just like – you really have turned into Vicious, haven't you?" she whispered.

He ignored the barb and smiled cruelly. "You think so?"

She was quiet, concentrating on her drink. Spike could tell that she was trying to think her way out of the situation. He had worked with her long enough to know how she operated. In fact, watching her, he could almost guess what her next move would be.

Sure enough, Faye's demeanor changed subtly. She crossed her legs and leaned forward, her green eyes glittering as she looked into his face. Even knowing what she was up to, his heart skipped a beat at the look she gave him.

"So, aren't you going to show me where you live?"

He rolled his eyes at her, and turned back to his drink.

vettac: (Default)

Chapter 3. LOST AND FOUND

The persistent beep from the vidscreen alerted her that a message was waiting. Faye roused herself from her nap, stretching her legs and yawning loudly.

"Jet!" she yelled, hoping he'd hear her calling so that she would not have to get up to answer it. When he didn't respond, she huffed and pushed herself up from the couch. She reached over to the vidscreen and pressed the key to display the message.

29-Jul-72 15:00:4:51 incoming message

Response re inquiry 5584993.33:00
Indicator sole survivor of Dragon coup
Name: Spiegel S
Sex: M
Height: 6'1
D.O.B.: 44-Jun-26
OFFICIAL STATUS: K.I.A. December 8, 2071
UNOFFICIAL STATUS:
Possible sighting Mars Tharsis sector 48 Glowing Sun Lounge
Criminal activity reported in sector 48
Extreme caution advised


"What the- " Faye scrolled back up to the beginning of the message. Then it dawned on her. This was a response to an inquiry that she had made a few months back, after the destruction of the Red Dragon's headquarters. She jumped up from the couch and rushed to the bonsai room to tell Jet.

"Jet!" Faye opened the door to the room but Jet wasn't there. She returned to the common room, and it was then that she noticed the slip of paper on top of her cigarette pack. She picked it up:

Gone out. Back later. Don't wait up.

She fished out a cigarette from the pack and lit it, exhaling in frustration and impatience. There was no telling how long it would be before Jet got back, and she really wanted to check out this place, since this type of intel usually had a small window of opportunity. She considered trying to reach him on his communicator but changed her mind. Grumbling, she snatched up her cigarettes and headed to her room to change.

Faye swung open the door to her closet and pulled out several outfits. She put the red one back, too slutty. She didn't want to cause suspicion and she had learned a hard lesson once upon a time at the opera. She decided that the not-so-innocent look would work best. Hmmm, this one should do, she thought and pulled out the dress she had in mind. She slipped into a low-cut black dress, form-fitting to accentuate her figure, and chose a pair of black stilettos to complete her ensemble. Her hair, which had grown out since Spike left, she now tied back with a black ribbon, then draped her red sweater across her shoulders. The red sweater was indispensable to the ensemble; she needed somewhere to put her Glock and the dress was just too short to hide a gun.

Looking at herself in the mirror, she adjusted herself until she was satisfied with the results. Then, just a touch of makeup, not too much lipstick, and she was ready. With a flick of her ponytail, she turned and left the room. On her way to the hangar, she paused, went back to the common to scribble a note beneath Jet's, then headed out to fire up the Red Tail.

* * *

Faye squinted to read the faded name on the building: Glowing Sun Lounge. This was the place. She adjusted the front of her dress to display a little more skin. She pulled open the door, surreptitiously eyeing the clientele as she walked in, feeling eyes following her every step. She smiled and made sure to put a little extra sway to her hips as she walked over to the bar and sat down at one of the empty stools.

At the front of the lounge was a small stage area where a quartet played jazz. The bartender was delivering drinks to a customer at the other end of the bar. Faye crossed her legs and waited for him to notice her. When he did, he headed down to her.

"What'll it be, miss?" he asked politely, his eyes meeting hers.

Faye gave him her order along with a sad smile. "The name's Faye," she said. "Whiskey, two cubes."

"Okay … Faye, whiskey on the rocks coming up." He served her quickly, and left to tend to his other customers.

Faye sipped on her drink as she listened to the music. The saxophone reminded her of another time and place that seemed like so long ago, sitting in place much like this one, listening to sad tunes and feeling sorry for herself. . But it was too sad to remember and she did not have time to dwell on that right now. She downed her drink and motioned to the bartender. He acknowledged her and finished with his customer before heading over to her.

"Excuse me … Ronald," she said sweetly, leaning forward, accentuating her ample cleavage as she read the bartender's nametag. She suppressed a smirk as she watched his eyes sweep down then swiftly back up to her face. She pulled out a picture from her red sweater.

"Do you know him?" she asked. "I've been looking everywhere for him."

Ronald's eyes widened as he examined the picture. "Uh … "

"It's alright," Faye told him as she took the picture out of his hand. "I can see that you do." She sat back and took a dainty sip from her glass. "Everybody thinks that he is such an animal, but …" her eyes swept up to his face and she whispered, "I like him just the way he is, if you know what I mean."

Ronald blushed. Faye smiled and ordered another drink.

* * *

Out of the blue, the door to the lounge swung open and in walked Spike himself.

vettac: (Default)

Chapter 3. LOST AND FOUND

The persistent beep from the vidscreen alerted her that a message was waiting. Faye roused herself from her nap, stretching her legs and yawning loudly.

"Jet!" she yelled, hoping he'd hear her calling so that she would not have to get up to answer it. When he didn't respond, she huffed and pushed herself up from the couch. She reached over to the vidscreen and pressed the key to display the message.

29-Jul-72 15:00:4:51 incoming message

Response re inquiry 5584993.33:00
Indicator sole survivor of Dragon coup
Name: Spiegel S
Sex: M
Height: 6'1
D.O.B.: 44-Jun-26
OFFICIAL STATUS: K.I.A. December 8, 2071
UNOFFICIAL STATUS:
Possible sighting Mars Tharsis sector 48 Glowing Sun Lounge
Criminal activity reported in sector 48
Extreme caution advised


"What the- " Faye scrolled back up to the beginning of the message. Then it dawned on her. This was a response to an inquiry that she had made a few months back, after the destruction of the Red Dragon's headquarters. She jumped up from the couch and rushed to the bonsai room to tell Jet.

"Jet!" Faye opened the door to the room but Jet wasn't there. She returned to the common room, and it was then that she noticed the slip of paper on top of her cigarette pack. She picked it up:

Gone out. Back later. Don't wait up.

She fished out a cigarette from the pack and lit it, exhaling in frustration and impatience. There was no telling how long it would be before Jet got back, and she really wanted to check out this place, since this type of intel usually had a small window of opportunity. She considered trying to reach him on his communicator but changed her mind. Grumbling, she snatched up her cigarettes and headed to her room to change.

Faye swung open the door to her closet and pulled out several outfits. She put the red one back, too slutty. She didn't want to cause suspicion and she had learned a hard lesson once upon a time at the opera. She decided that the not-so-innocent look would work best. Hmmm, this one should do, she thought and pulled out the dress she had in mind. She slipped into a low-cut black dress, form-fitting to accentuate her figure, and chose a pair of black stilettos to complete her ensemble. Her hair, which had grown out since Spike left, she now tied back with a black ribbon, then draped her red sweater across her shoulders. The red sweater was indispensable to the ensemble; she needed somewhere to put her Glock and the dress was just too short to hide a gun.

Looking at herself in the mirror, she adjusted herself until she was satisfied with the results. Then, just a touch of makeup, not too much lipstick, and she was ready. With a flick of her ponytail, she turned and left the room. On her way to the hangar, she paused, went back to the common to scribble a note beneath Jet's, then headed out to fire up the Red Tail.

* * *

Faye squinted to read the faded name on the building: Glowing Sun Lounge. This was the place. She adjusted the front of her dress to display a little more skin. She pulled open the door, surreptitiously eyeing the clientele as she walked in, feeling eyes following her every step. She smiled and made sure to put a little extra sway to her hips as she walked over to the bar and sat down at one of the empty stools.

At the front of the lounge was a small stage area where a quartet played jazz. The bartender was delivering drinks to a customer at the other end of the bar. Faye crossed her legs and waited for him to notice her. When he did, he headed down to her.

"What'll it be, miss?" he asked politely, his eyes meeting hers.

Faye gave him her order along with a sad smile. "The name's Faye," she said. "Whiskey, two cubes."

"Okay … Faye, whiskey on the rocks coming up." He served her quickly, and left to tend to his other customers.

Faye sipped on her drink as she listened to the music. The saxophone reminded her of another time and place that seemed like so long ago, sitting in place much like this one, listening to sad tunes and feeling sorry for herself. . But it was too sad to remember and she did not have time to dwell on that right now. She downed her drink and motioned to the bartender. He acknowledged her and finished with his customer before heading over to her.

"Excuse me … Ronald," she said sweetly, leaning forward, accentuating her ample cleavage as she read the bartender's nametag. She suppressed a smirk as she watched his eyes sweep down then swiftly back up to her face. She pulled out a picture from her red sweater.

"Do you know him?" she asked. "I've been looking everywhere for him."

Ronald's eyes widened as he examined the picture. "Uh … "

"It's alright," Faye told him as she took the picture out of his hand. "I can see that you do." She sat back and took a dainty sip from her glass. "Everybody thinks that he is such an animal, but …" her eyes swept up to his face and she whispered, "I like him just the way he is, if you know what I mean."

Ronald blushed. Faye smiled and ordered another drink.

* * *

Out of the blue, the door to the lounge swung open and in walked Spike himself.

vettac: (Default)
Title: In This Place
Fandom: Cowboy Bebop
Character: Spike Spiegel/Faye Valentine
Rating: PG

Faye scanned the room searching for signs of movement. Jet was nowhere in sight, so she figured he was in the bonsai room, his sanctuary for when the stress of boredom became intolerable, or when he was trying to avoid her. The Swordfish was in the hangar, which meant that Spike was somewhere around, and since all he ever liked to do was to sleep, she knew that she could find him in his usual spot.

Faye could see the large feet hanging over the edge of the couch, and she moved forward stealthily. The ship’s engines shifted in response to a pre-programmed command to adjust course, and she froze when the unexpected groan of gears reached her ears. Praying that Spike would not wake up, she stole a glance at his face, watching his eyes for signs of movement. Sure enough, the tell-tale signs of dreaming were evident as she watched the way his eyelids fluttered. She sighed in relief and crept closer, crouching down to look into his face.

More times than she cared to admit, she watched him while he slept. Sometimes she did it to reassure herself that he was still breathing when he was recovering from serious injuries. Other times, it was simply because she liked looking at him, fascinated by the range of emotions that would surface. She knew every phase that played out upon his face.

There was his semi-conscious phase, one ear hearing every word spoken around him, while the other listened to whatever was going on in his own warped brain. Those were the times when his eyes would be appear closed, save for a thin sliver of an opening beneath the lids, and he’d mumble incoherently to her or Jet, a half-truthful, somewhat wistful and completely inaccurate version of what he thought he heard. Those were the times when Faye wanted to pull him into her arms to stroke the sadness away.

During his sneaky-fake-sleep phase, Spike listened to everything going on in the room, storing up tidbits of information to be later used as bribery for a few woolongs or to annoy the hell out of her. He thought he was quite masterful at feigning sleep, and anyone watching him would never even be able to tell. Except for her, that is. Because only she knew that during his fake-sleep phase, his eyelids would flutter just like he was in REM sleep mode. But she had figured out that Spike’s cybernetic eye would flutter out of sync with his natural eye, something that happened only when he was conscious.

Then there was his ignore-Faye-fake-sleep phase, when he would lie on the couch with his eyes closed and his arm draped across his eyes, and pretend to be asleep, knowing that she knew he faking, just to annoy her. If she wanted something from him, whether an answer to a question or a cigarette from his pack, he would launch into the phase, complete with snoring sound effects. During those times, she tried her damndest not to let him provoke her into blowing up and throwing a shoe or an ashtray at him.

Sometimes it worked.

Faye inched closer to his sleeping form, watching for signs of activity. Her hand hovered near his face, then reached over to trace a finger over his cheek, marveling at the feel of the silky stubble against her fingertip. “You would kill me for doing this if you were awake, wouldn’t you?” she whispered, so sure of her knowledge of his sleep phases that she knew he wouldn’t answer him. She talked to him about some of her recently returned memories, and of one in particular, a memory of a rainy Saturday morning, lying on the floor of her bedroom listening to the radio. She told him about how much she had loved to dance, and when one of her favorite songs had queued on the radio, how she had spontaneously grabbed one of her teddy bears to be her dancing partner, the two of them whirling around the room, until the song ended, and they had collapsed to the floor in giddy exhaustion.

***

His eyelids fluttered as Faye’s voice wafted through to his unconsciousness. He focused on her voice, trying to make sense of the words, sliding his eyes open to watch her. He was sure she didn’t know that he was awake, completely lost as she was in her story. The last time, she had told her story to the dog, so apparently she liked relating memories to inanimate objects. He guessed he could count himself in that category.

“… and that was the last time I was ever in my room,” she whispered as she watched the fan above her. “The last time I ever hugged my Velvet bunny, the last time I ever saw my home. ‘Cause the next day was my long awaited trip into space.”

Faye sighed and looked down at Spike, gasping when she realized that his eyes were open.

Their gazes locked.

He watched her with an inscrutable expression, but he remained silent.

“You’re awake,” she muttered, looking away. She wasn’t embarrassed really, she told herself; just annoyed that now he had more ammunition to torture her with. “Did you hear the whole thing?”

She swallowed a lump in her throat. It was completely irrational for her to think that he could ever understand anything about her. He had never asked her anything about her life, and he had never volunteered anything about his.

She leaned against the couch to rise from the floor, but he caught her chin in his fingers and tilted her face toward his.

She gasped as he forced her to look at him. She found herself mesmerized by his eyes as the cybernetic eye fluctuated in varying shades of burnished umber and rust, and she exhaled when a sense of calm overcame her.

Spike leaned in to brush his lips over hers, a whisper of a touch. Her heart pounded in her ears as the unfamiliar pleasure of his caress flooded her mind. He leaned back and looked at her.

“Feeling better now?” he asked, his trademark smirk gracing his lips.
vettac: (devious)
Chapter 2 A Little Bit of Sympathy

Spike slouched on the rickety chair in his kitchen, restlessly drumming his fingers on the worn and shabby table. He looked down at the linoleum floor, adorned with dirty smudges from the constant traffic of his feet as he moved in and out of the room to eat, smoke, or drink. He supposed he should clean it one day. Today was not going to be that day. The walls of the kitchen were peppered with cooking stains from the previous tenant, and the landlord had not bothered to paint when he moved four months ago. Hell, he’d be willing to bet that the place hadn’t been painted in years.

Not that he really cared either way. The apartment came furnished with a couch and television in the living room, had a pantry large enough to store food and weapons, and a small bedroom that he hardly ever slept in. He used the place to clean his guns and to sleep on the couch after a job. And the price was right.

Most of the time, he would head down to the Glowing Sun for eat a meal, drink booze, and maybe play a game or two of pool before coming home to sleep.

As he thought about it, he realized he was hungry, but he was too lazy to go back out. He stood up to stretch the stiffness from his legs, and trudged over to the refrigerator to find something to eat. He looked inside, knowing already what he would find: not much, since he disliked shopping for food. Anyway, he wasn’t much of a cook – that had been Jet’s job.

I guess it’s instant noodles with cheese, he sighed, taking out a block of cheese. At times like this he would have settled for some of Jet’s bell peppers even without beef, but since he had detached himself from his past life on the old fishing trawler, it was not an option.

He examined the cheese closely, wondering how long it had been in the fridge, but, finding no hints of green, concluded that it was safe to eat. He broke off a chunk and popped it in his mouth, chewing on it while he retrieved a container of instant noodles from the pantry. He pulled the cord on the noodle container and peeled off the top, watching as the noodles hissed to life. He broke off another piece of cheese and dumped it into the hot container, watching the cheese melt into the noodles. He fished his chopsticks from the kitchen sink and scooped into the container, slurping down the contents. Not exactly a gourmet meal, but at least he was no longer hungry.

Afterwards, he leaned back against the chair, being careful not to lean too heavily. When he had first moved in, he’d learned the hard way, on the back of his head, how unsteady the chair was. He rubbed his head absently as he remembered, and ruefully thought about his yellow couch on the Bebop, and how much more comfortable it would have been to this chair. He frowned as he realized how often he had been thinking about them lately. He wondered how well they were getting on without him, if they missed him. The feeling was hauntingly familiar, this dull ache in his chest.

He hated the fact that he missed them.

vettac: (devious)
Chapter 2 A Little Bit of Sympathy

Spike slouched on the rickety chair in his kitchen, restlessly drumming his fingers on the worn and shabby table. He looked down at the linoleum floor, adorned with dirty smudges from the constant traffic of his feet as he moved in and out of the room to eat, smoke, or drink. He supposed he should clean it one day. Today was not going to be that day. The walls of the kitchen were peppered with cooking stains from the previous tenant, and the landlord had not bothered to paint when he moved four months ago. Hell, he’d be willing to bet that the place hadn’t been painted in years.

Not that he really cared either way. The apartment came furnished with a couch and television in the living room, had a pantry large enough to store food and weapons, and a small bedroom that he hardly ever slept in. He used the place to clean his guns and to sleep on the couch after a job. And the price was right.

Most of the time, he would head down to the Glowing Sun for eat a meal, drink booze, and maybe play a game or two of pool before coming home to sleep.

As he thought about it, he realized he was hungry, but he was too lazy to go back out. He stood up to stretch the stiffness from his legs, and trudged over to the refrigerator to find something to eat. He looked inside, knowing already what he would find: not much, since he disliked shopping for food. Anyway, he wasn’t much of a cook – that had been Jet’s job.

I guess it’s instant noodles with cheese, he sighed, taking out a block of cheese. At times like this he would have settled for some of Jet’s bell peppers even without beef, but since he had detached himself from his past life on the old fishing trawler, it was not an option.

He examined the cheese closely, wondering how long it had been in the fridge, but, finding no hints of green, concluded that it was safe to eat. He broke off a chunk and popped it in his mouth, chewing on it while he retrieved a container of instant noodles from the pantry. He pulled the cord on the noodle container and peeled off the top, watching as the noodles hissed to life. He broke off another piece of cheese and dumped it into the hot container, watching the cheese melt into the noodles. He fished his chopsticks from the kitchen sink and scooped into the container, slurping down the contents. Not exactly a gourmet meal, but at least he was no longer hungry.

Afterwards, he leaned back against the chair, being careful not to lean too heavily. When he had first moved in, he’d learned the hard way, on the back of his head, how unsteady the chair was. He rubbed his head absently as he remembered, and ruefully thought about his yellow couch on the Bebop, and how much more comfortable it would have been to this chair. He frowned as he realized how often he had been thinking about them lately. He wondered how well they were getting on without him, if they missed him. The feeling was hauntingly familiar, this dull ache in his chest.

He hated the fact that he missed them.

vettac: (Default)
Chapter 2 A Little Bit of Sympathy

Spike slouched on the rickety chair in his kitchen, restlessly drumming his fingers on the worn and shabby table. He looked down at the linoleum floor, adorned with dirty smudges from the constant traffic of his feet as he moved in and out of the room to eat, smoke, or drink. He supposed he should clean it one day. Today was not going to be that day. The walls of the kitchen were peppered with cooking stains from the previous tenant, and the landlord had not bothered to paint when he moved four months ago. Hell, he’d be willing to bet that the place hadn’t been painted in years.

Not that he really cared either way. The apartment came furnished with a couch and television in the living room, had a pantry large enough to store food and weapons, and a small bedroom that he hardly ever slept in. He used the place to clean his guns and to sleep on the couch after a job. And the price was right.

Most of the time, he would head down to the Glowing Sun for eat a meal, drink booze, and maybe play a game or two of pool before coming home to sleep.

As he thought about it, he realized he was hungry, but he was too lazy to go back out. He stood up to stretch the stiffness from his legs, and trudged over to the refrigerator to find something to eat. He looked inside, knowing already what he would find: not much, since he disliked shopping for food. Anyway, he wasn’t much of a cook – that had been Jet’s job.

I guess it’s instant noodles with cheese, he sighed, taking out a block of cheese. At times like this he would have settled for some of Jet’s bell peppers even without beef, but since he had detached himself from his past life on the old fishing trawler, it was not an option.

He examined the cheese closely, wondering how long it had been in the fridge, but, finding no hints of green, concluded that it was safe to eat. He broke off a chunk and popped it in his mouth, chewing on it while he retrieved a container of instant noodles from the pantry. He pulled the cord on the noodle container and peeled off the top, watching as the noodles hissed to life. He broke off another piece of cheese and dumped it into the hot container, watching the cheese melt into the noodles. He fished his chopsticks from the kitchen sink and scooped into the container, slurping down the contents. Not exactly a gourmet meal, but at least he was no longer hungry.

Afterwards, he leaned back against the chair, being careful not to lean too heavily. When he had first moved in, he’d learned the hard way, on the back of his head, how unsteady the chair was. He rubbed his head absently as he remembered, and ruefully thought about his yellow couch on the Bebop, and how much more comfortable it would have been to this chair. He frowned as he realized how often he had been thinking about them lately. He wondered how well they were getting on without him, if they missed him. The feeling was hauntingly familiar, this dull ache in his chest.

He hated the fact that he missed them.

vettac: (Default)

Telling Secrets

The control deck was dark as Jet and Faye looked out over the desert surface of Mars. The ship was still nonfunctional after the syndicate attack, and Jet had yet to start the repairs. Faye suspected that he was delaying, waiting for Spike to return, although they both knew better.

She could feel Jet’s eyes upon her as he spoke, and she hated that he was feeling sorry for her, but she could not bring herself to snap at him. It wouldn’t change anything, Spike would still be gone. As the thought ran through her mind, she could feel the tears welling up as her throat threatened to close even more than it already was.

Damnit Spike!

She wondered absently where Ed was. She really hoped that she had found her father; then at least one of them would be happy.

You should find where you belong, Edward. Belonging is the very best thing.

Why did she tell her that? She wanted Edward here with them, not somewhere on earth looking for her father. Hell, she even missed the damned dog.

The rustling of paper brought her back to the present and she looked up slightly to see Jet trying to read the small print on the spec sheet for the parts. He needs to get some glasses to read that, she thought. She knew that there were specs for old people on the market, maybe those could work for Jet, even though he wasn’t really that old. Jet would never admit that he couldn’t see the words; he would get Spike to read the stuff, pretending to be laying the parts out and that two heads were better than one …

Spike had said that one day someone would come after him. He probably wouldn’t have remembered saying anything – it was after his nearly fatal fall from the cathedral window. He had been thrashing in his sleep and was mumbling nonsense, but that part she had heard as clear as day. At the time she had dismissed it, but later, months later, when she recalled the look on his face when he had walked into the cathedral -- absolutely calm and cold -- she knew that there was more to him than the happy-go-lucky idiot that she loved to hate.

“What was that?” Jet asked her.

Faye paused. She hadn’t realized that she had spoken aloud. “He said something strange when he left.”

“What?” Jet looked at her in surprise.

“He told me that somebody was after him. He said . . .” She swallowed. She wasn’t used to talking so candidly to Jet, but this time … “He said someone had to die and that they’d come for him if he didn’t go. That’s what he said.”

“That idiot,” Jet grumbled. “Sounds just like that self-righteous lunkhead.”

“Why didn’t he ask for our help?” Faye asked softly. “He didn’t have to go it alone.”

Jet sighed. “Faye, I guess we’ll never know for sure.” He gazed at her intently. “Would you really have gone if he had asked?”

Yes.

But this time Faye could only look at him, not able to speak aloud. She couldn't -- it hurt too much. She silently turned away from him to continue staring out at the stars.

vettac: (Default)

Telling Secrets

The control deck was dark as Jet and Faye looked out over the desert surface of Mars. The ship was still nonfunctional after the syndicate attack, and Jet had yet to start the repairs. Faye suspected that he was delaying, waiting for Spike to return, although they both knew better.

She could feel Jet’s eyes upon her as he spoke, and she hated that he was feeling sorry for her, but she could not bring herself to snap at him. It wouldn’t change anything, Spike would still be gone. As the thought ran through her mind, she could feel the tears welling up as her throat threatened to close even more than it already was.

Damnit Spike!

She wondered absently where Ed was. She really hoped that she had found her father; then at least one of them would be happy.

You should find where you belong, Edward. Belonging is the very best thing.

Why did she tell her that? She wanted Edward here with them, not somewhere on earth looking for her father. Hell, she even missed the damned dog.

The rustling of paper brought her back to the present and she looked up slightly to see Jet trying to read the small print on the spec sheet for the parts. He needs to get some glasses to read that, she thought. She knew that there were specs for old people on the market, maybe those could work for Jet, even though he wasn’t really that old. Jet would never admit that he couldn’t see the words; he would get Spike to read the stuff, pretending to be laying the parts out and that two heads were better than one …

Spike had said that one day someone would come after him. He probably wouldn’t have remembered saying anything – it was after his nearly fatal fall from the cathedral window. He had been thrashing in his sleep and was mumbling nonsense, but that part she had heard as clear as day. At the time she had dismissed it, but later, months later, when she recalled the look on his face when he had walked into the cathedral -- absolutely calm and cold -- she knew that there was more to him than the happy-go-lucky idiot that she loved to hate.

“What was that?” Jet asked her.

Faye paused. She hadn’t realized that she had spoken aloud. “He said something strange when he left.”

“What?” Jet looked at her in surprise.

“He told me that somebody was after him. He said . . .” She swallowed. She wasn’t used to talking so candidly to Jet, but this time … “He said someone had to die and that they’d come for him if he didn’t go. That’s what he said.”

“That idiot,” Jet grumbled. “Sounds just like that self-righteous lunkhead.”

“Why didn’t he ask for our help?” Faye asked softly. “He didn’t have to go it alone.”

Jet sighed. “Faye, I guess we’ll never know for sure.” He gazed at her intently. “Would you really have gone if he had asked?”

Yes.

But this time Faye could only look at him, not able to speak aloud. She couldn't -- it hurt too much. She silently turned away from him to continue staring out at the stars.

vettac: (Default)
Title: Believe
Fandom: Cowboy Bebop
Character: Spike Spiegel/Faye Valentine
CD and Song: Until There's Nothing Left of Us – Believer
Rating: PG

I need you to believe in me
'til there's nothing left of us
oh I need you to believe in me

and I'm not running anymore
I'll stand to face it all
I'll fight for every breath
until there's nothing left of us

and oh
I need you to believe


“So, what happened back there?” Faye asked as she followed Spike through the doorway that led to the common room.

They were just returned from a stake-out on Callisto. The bounty was a 10,000-woolong bounty head named Andalf Gandaamen, a smooth-talking small-time criminal wanted for embezzlement of funds from a biotech company. She and Spike had chased him all the way to the frigid crater town of Jumo, where there was nothing to be found except for broken glass and broken lives crushed together in a mucky mess, making them all edgy and irritable. Just before cornering Gandaamen in an abandoned warehouse on the rough outskirts of the docking region, he’d said something to Spike that only the two of them could hear. Whatever was said, it ticked Spike off something good, and it took the strength of both Jet and herself to calm Spike down so that Gandaamen stayed alive long enough for them to collect on the bounty on his head. Afterwards, back on the Bebop, she had asked him about what had happened, but he adamantly refused to talk about it.

“Not now, Faye,” he grumbled in that deep voice of his. His trademark aloofness was surprisingly absent, though she knew that he was deliberately trying to put her off.

“Oh, keep your shirt on”, she retorted, glaring daggers into his back as he shuffled over to the worn yellow couch.

He ignored her and sank down into the cushions and closed his eyes as if preparing for a long nap. After all of the time they’d spent together on this ship, she knew that he was trying to piss her off by ignoring her.

She sat on the steps and pulled a nail file from her pocket. Bounty hunting was hell on her nails and she liked her hands to look good. As she buffed, she looked over at the couch, watching him from under her lashes as he lay with his hands clasped behind his head. He wasn’t sleeping, that she knew.

Spike had his dark side, brooding and uncommunicative, when he even shut Jet out, choosing to lie motionless on the couch, staring up at the ceiling fan as if the answer to life would be found somewhere in those revolving blades. Faye hated it when he was like this, but, she reasoned, life inside a syndicate must have made him like that, living on the front line where showing any emotion or divulging any personal information could cost you your life, or even worse, loss of respect of the others. Since she had known him, he’d never been that much of a talker, and he never told her anything about himself. What little that she did know, she had gleaned from the situations that they had found themselves in during the course of their lives on the Bebop.

Spike didn’t like showing weakness of any kind. Even though he no longer lived the syndicate life, remnants still lived within him, leaving him shell shocked and emotionally damaged. He rarely allowed anyone to get a glimpse of what he held inside. She understood because she could be like that sometimes as well.

She turned her attention back to her nails, stealing a glance every now and then at his face.  When his silence became unbearable, she got up and stomped over to the couch, standing over him. He wasn’t in the syndicate any more, dammit, and his silence was making her angry.

“I want to know right now, what happened to you back there?” she pressed as she waited for him to answer her. When no answer was forthcoming, she leaned forward and sideswiped his head with the flat of her hand, then leaned back on her heels and waited, her hands on her hips.

Spike’s eyes sprung open and he stared up at her in disbelief, a spark of suppressed amusement flaring up in his natural eye. His thin lips curled into a half grin.

“Well?” She demanded tersely. “Spit it out already.”

Spike started to speak, but seemed to think better of it. “Faye, didn’t your mother tell you that patience is a virtue?”

“Idiot,” Faye scoffed. “You know I don’t remember anything from my other life.”

He watched her for a moment. “Yeah,” he said softly, regret battling for its position to replace the aloof expression on his face. He reached up and grabbed her hand, pulling her down to sit next to him.

She glared at him, insult ready to fly from her mouth.

“Give me a break and chill, Faye,” he said, meeting her gaze. He released her arm and leaned back, not breaking eye contact.

Disconcerted, she broke the stare as the retort died on her lips. He obviously was not going to tell her anything, so she chose to ignore him instead. I wonder, she mused as she lost herself in a sudden memory. What would I have been like if I had never gotten on that shuttle?

Instead, here she was some fifty odd years beyond her time, sitting next to a tight-lipped bounty hunter like Spike, who rarely allowed anyone to get a glimpse of what he held inside. She understood because she was like that as well.

She thought back to the day he had left, when she had tried telling him about her returning memories, those fleeting remembrances coming back in incomplete drifts and wisps and the feeling of belonging. Since he came back, she noticed that the boys more often “forgot” to remind her that she was not a part of the crew, and treated her like one of them.

“Stop staring”, Spike mumbled, eyes closed.

“How do you know I'm looking at you?” she snarled, her cheeks reddening. She hadn’t even realized that she had been watching him and she wondered how his senses were so acute even when he looked like he was sleeping.

“You're not a very quiet watcher, Faye,” he retorted, cracking open an eye to peer at her. “I can hear you looking from way over here.” He closed his eyes again. “Me on the other hand,” he continued as he stretched his long legs forward to plop them on the table before him. “I was born to hear all and see all.”

“Yeah right,” she said sarcastically. “As much as you sleep.”

“Don't hate me because I'm better at it than you,” he told her. “Now leave me in peace.”

Faye looked around for something to throw at him. Spying his cigarettes on the table, she grinned. She'd found something better, namely, his nearly full pack that she'd smoke up instead. She cunningly reached over to snag the pack, and jumped when, out of nowhere, his hand slapped down on top of hers.

“No, you don't,” he drawled lazily, sliding the pack out from under her hand.

She glared at him, miffed at not being quicker than him, since she didn't have any more of her own.

“Aww, come on Spike, have a heart and spare me a few,” she whined, trying to wheedle her way into his cold heart.

“Get your own.”

That was when the sweet sense of belonging hit home.

 

Believe

Nov. 15th, 2008 02:30 pm
vettac: (Default)
Title: Believe
Fandom: Cowboy Bebop
Character: Spike Spiegel/Faye Valentine
CD and Song: Until There's Nothing Left of Us – Believer
Rating: PG

I need you to believe in me
'til there's nothing left of us
oh I need you to believe in me

and I'm not running anymore
I'll stand to face it all
I'll fight for every breath
until there's nothing left of us

and oh
I need you to believe


“So, what happened back there?” Faye asked as she followed Spike through the doorway that led to the common room.

They were just returned from a stake-out on Callisto. The bounty was a 10,000-woolong bounty head named Andalf Gandaamen, a smooth-talking small-time criminal wanted for embezzlement of funds from a biotech company. She and Spike had chased him all the way to the frigid crater town of Jumo, where there was nothing to be found except for broken glass and broken lives crushed together in a mucky mess, making them all edgy and irritable. Just before cornering Gandaamen in an abandoned warehouse on the rough outskirts of the docking region, he’d said something to Spike that only the two of them could hear. Whatever was said, it ticked Spike off something good, and it took the strength of both Jet and herself to calm Spike down so that Gandaamen stayed alive long enough for them to collect on the bounty on his head. Afterwards, back on the Bebop, she had asked him about what had happened, but he adamantly refused to talk about it.

“Not now, Faye,” he grumbled in that deep voice of his. His trademark aloofness was surprisingly absent, though she knew that he was deliberately trying to put her off.

“Oh, keep your shirt on”, she retorted, glaring daggers into his back as he shuffled over to the worn yellow couch.

He ignored her and sank down into the cushions and closed his eyes as if preparing for a long nap. After all of the time they’d spent together on this ship, she knew that he was trying to piss her off by ignoring her.

She sat on the steps and pulled a nail file from her pocket. Bounty hunting was hell on her nails and she liked her hands to look good. As she buffed, she looked over at the couch, watching him from under her lashes as he lay with his hands clasped behind his head. He wasn’t sleeping, that she knew.

Spike had his dark side, brooding and uncommunicative, when he even shut Jet out, choosing to lie motionless on the couch, staring up at the ceiling fan as if the answer to life would be found somewhere in those revolving blades. Faye hated it when he was like this, but, she reasoned, life inside a syndicate must have made him like that, living on the front line where showing any emotion or divulging any personal information could cost you your life, or even worse, loss of respect of the others. Since she had known him, he’d never been that much of a talker, and he never told her anything about himself. What little that she did know, she had gleaned from the situations that they had found themselves in during the course of their lives on the Bebop.

Spike didn’t like showing weakness of any kind. Even though he no longer lived the syndicate life, remnants still lived within him, leaving him shell shocked and emotionally damaged. He rarely allowed anyone to get a glimpse of what he held inside. She understood because she could be like that sometimes as well.

She turned her attention back to her nails, stealing a glance every now and then at his face.  When his silence became unbearable, she got up and stomped over to the couch, standing over him. He wasn’t in the syndicate any more, dammit, and his silence was making her angry.

“I want to know right now, what happened to you back there?” she pressed as she waited for him to answer her. When no answer was forthcoming, she leaned forward and sideswiped his head with the flat of her hand, then leaned back on her heels and waited, her hands on her hips.

Spike’s eyes sprung open and he stared up at her in disbelief, a spark of suppressed amusement flaring up in his natural eye. His thin lips curled into a half grin.

“Well?” She demanded tersely. “Spit it out already.”

Spike started to speak, but seemed to think better of it. “Faye, didn’t your mother tell you that patience is a virtue?”

“Idiot,” Faye scoffed. “You know I don’t remember anything from my other life.”

He watched her for a moment. “Yeah,” he said softly, regret battling for its position to replace the aloof expression on his face. He reached up and grabbed her hand, pulling her down to sit next to him.

She glared at him, insult ready to fly from her mouth.

“Give me a break and chill, Faye,” he said, meeting her gaze. He released her arm and leaned back, not breaking eye contact.

Disconcerted, she broke the stare as the retort died on her lips. He obviously was not going to tell her anything, so she chose to ignore him instead. I wonder, she mused as she lost herself in a sudden memory. What would I have been like if I had never gotten on that shuttle?

Instead, here she was some fifty odd years beyond her time, sitting next to a tight-lipped bounty hunter like Spike, who rarely allowed anyone to get a glimpse of what he held inside. She understood because she was like that as well.

She thought back to the day he had left, when she had tried telling him about her returning memories, those fleeting remembrances coming back in incomplete drifts and wisps and the feeling of belonging. Since he came back, she noticed that the boys more often “forgot” to remind her that she was not a part of the crew, and treated her like one of them.

“Stop staring”, Spike mumbled, eyes closed.

“How do you know I'm looking at you?” she snarled, her cheeks reddening. She hadn’t even realized that she had been watching him and she wondered how his senses were so acute even when he looked like he was sleeping.

“You're not a very quiet watcher, Faye,” he retorted, cracking open an eye to peer at her. “I can hear you looking from way over here.” He closed his eyes again. “Me on the other hand,” he continued as he stretched his long legs forward to plop them on the table before him. “I was born to hear all and see all.”

“Yeah right,” she said sarcastically. “As much as you sleep.”

“Don't hate me because I'm better at it than you,” he told her. “Now leave me in peace.”

Faye looked around for something to throw at him. Spying his cigarettes on the table, she grinned. She'd found something better, namely, his nearly full pack that she'd smoke up instead. She cunningly reached over to snag the pack, and jumped when, out of nowhere, his hand slapped down on top of hers.

“No, you don't,” he drawled lazily, sliding the pack out from under her hand.

She glared at him, miffed at not being quicker than him, since she didn't have any more of her own.

“Aww, come on Spike, have a heart and spare me a few,” she whined, trying to wheedle her way into his cold heart.

“Get your own.”

That was when the sweet sense of belonging hit home.

 

vettac: (Default)
Title: Memories
Fandom: Cowboy Bebop
Character: Spike Spiegel/Faye Valentine
Rating: PG

Memories

In the quiet silent seconds
I turned off the light switch
And I came down to meet you
in the half light the moon left

While a cluster of night jars
sang some songs out of tune
A mantle of bright light
shone down from a room

Come down in time I still hear her say
So clear in my ear like it was today
Come down in time was the message she gave
Come down in time and I'll meet you half way

Well I don't know if I should have heard her as yet
But a true love like hers is a hard love to get
And I've walked most all the way and I ain't heard her call
And I'm getting to thinking if she's coming at all

Come down in time I still hear her say
So clear in my ear like it was today
Come down in time was the message she gave
Come down in time and I'll meet you half way

There are women and women and some hold you tight
While some leave you counting the stars in the night

Music by Elton John and lyrics by Bernie Taupin


Spike Spiegel leaned over the railing on the hangar of the Bebop, cigarette burning orange as he inhaled the smoke deep into his lungs. He stared up at the stars that flickered in the Mars sky. His mind wandered to another starlit night that felt so long ago.

He waited for her as he watched the moon cast shadows over the gravestones. She’d left him a message to meet her there, that she needed to see him. Both of them knew that if Vicious got wind of it, there’d be hell to pay.

“Spike.”

She called his name. He’d heard her approaching in the darkness, his heart stilling as she came closer. He turned to face her and drew her into his arms, his lips brushing lightly across her hair, inhaling the scent of her. They remained that way for a time, listening to the sounds of the night and their own hearts beating…

Spike sighed and tossed the spent cigarette butt over the railing. That was the last time they’d been together. He thought back to his decision to leave the Syndicate and the note he’d left her, that he’d meet her by the graveyards, not in them. He had hoped that she’d meet him halfway, and they could walk the rest of the way together. He’d waited and waited, a wet collection of cigarette butts piling at his feet and the bouquet of roses wilting in the rain. And when he lit yet another, he knew that she wasn’t coming, he’d walked all the way and there was no sign of her. He remembered the ache in his heart as he left the cemetery, that the only woman he truly loved did not have the courage to follow her heart as he had followed his. His mind strayed for a moment, and he was back in the present. His mind flickered to thoughts of Faye.

Faye was a woman who had the courage to face head on whatever obstacles were set in her path. He had no doubt of that. She had encountered tremendous obstacles since her cold sleep awakening, yet she still fought to survive. She was an annoying shrew that seemed to find pleasure in irritating him, but when they went out together after bounties, they worked as a team. They had each other’s backs and he trusted her just as he knew that she trusted him. She had proven that time and again.

He knew how she felt about him, he’d seen it in the way she watched him when she thought that no one was looking. He knew it by the way she waited up for him when he returned to the Bebop after a drinking binge, pretending to be watching some late night Earth flick. He remembered the times she’d come to save his ass, the time he’d tumbled from the cathedral window, that time when that crazy fuck had tried to off him at Spaceland. And he knew it by the care she took in patching him up after his many reckless escapades, in the gentle way she cleaned his cuts and stitched his wounds. Faye was a woman who would love fiercely and protectively, Faye was a woman who’d hold you tight and never let go. He wanted to feel that way about someone, to feel that way about her, to bask in the comfort of the love that he knew she’d offer if he ever gave his heart a chance to.

So why did his heart drift back to the woman who’d left him waiting, counting the stars in the night?

vettac: (Default)
Title: Memories
Fandom: Cowboy Bebop
Character: Spike Spiegel/Faye Valentine
Rating: PG

Memories

In the quiet silent seconds
I turned off the light switch
And I came down to meet you
in the half light the moon left

While a cluster of night jars
sang some songs out of tune
A mantle of bright light
shone down from a room

Come down in time I still hear her say
So clear in my ear like it was today
Come down in time was the message she gave
Come down in time and I'll meet you half way

Well I don't know if I should have heard her as yet
But a true love like hers is a hard love to get
And I've walked most all the way and I ain't heard her call
And I'm getting to thinking if she's coming at all

Come down in time I still hear her say
So clear in my ear like it was today
Come down in time was the message she gave
Come down in time and I'll meet you half way

There are women and women and some hold you tight
While some leave you counting the stars in the night

Music by Elton John and lyrics by Bernie Taupin


Spike Spiegel leaned over the railing on the hangar of the Bebop, cigarette burning orange as he inhaled the smoke deep into his lungs. He stared up at the stars that flickered in the Mars sky. His mind wandered to another starlit night that felt so long ago.

He waited for her as he watched the moon cast shadows over the gravestones. She’d left him a message to meet her there, that she needed to see him. Both of them knew that if Vicious got wind of it, there’d be hell to pay.

“Spike.”

She called his name. He’d heard her approaching in the darkness, his heart stilling as she came closer. He turned to face her and drew her into his arms, his lips brushing lightly across her hair, inhaling the scent of her. They remained that way for a time, listening to the sounds of the night and their own hearts beating…

Spike sighed and tossed the spent cigarette butt over the railing. That was the last time they’d been together. He thought back to his decision to leave the Syndicate and the note he’d left her, that he’d meet her by the graveyards, not in them. He had hoped that she’d meet him halfway, and they could walk the rest of the way together. He’d waited and waited, a wet collection of cigarette butts piling at his feet and the bouquet of roses wilting in the rain. And when he lit yet another, he knew that she wasn’t coming, he’d walked all the way and there was no sign of her. He remembered the ache in his heart as he left the cemetery, that the only woman he truly loved did not have the courage to follow her heart as he had followed his. His mind strayed for a moment, and he was back in the present. His mind flickered to thoughts of Faye.

Faye was a woman who had the courage to face head on whatever obstacles were set in her path. He had no doubt of that. She had encountered tremendous obstacles since her cold sleep awakening, yet she still fought to survive. She was an annoying shrew that seemed to find pleasure in irritating him, but when they went out together after bounties, they worked as a team. They had each other’s backs and he trusted her just as he knew that she trusted him. She had proven that time and again.

He knew how she felt about him, he’d seen it in the way she watched him when she thought that no one was looking. He knew it by the way she waited up for him when he returned to the Bebop after a drinking binge, pretending to be watching some late night Earth flick. He remembered the times she’d come to save his ass, the time he’d tumbled from the cathedral window, that time when that crazy fuck had tried to off him at Spaceland. And he knew it by the care she took in patching him up after his many reckless escapades, in the gentle way she cleaned his cuts and stitched his wounds. Faye was a woman who would love fiercely and protectively, Faye was a woman who’d hold you tight and never let go. He wanted to feel that way about someone, to feel that way about her, to bask in the comfort of the love that he knew she’d offer if he ever gave his heart a chance to.

So why did his heart drift back to the woman who’d left him waiting, counting the stars in the night?



vettac: (cb cowboy bebop spike)

Title: Eyes Wide Open
Fandom: Cowboy Bebop
Character: Spike Spiegel/Faye Valentine
CD and Song: Until There's Nothing Left of Us – Statues Without Eyes
Rating: PG

Lost and winter's on the way
And the air is craving in
And the streets are crumbling
But you are with me
Under the downtown city lights
We become statues without eyes
Barely audible
We're froze in time
I have you where I want you

Oh and I need to look away
When the jets are overhead
And the storm is closing in
Yeah something is happening
Beneath the modern cold high rise
We become statues without eyes
Stand at attention
They all align
I have you where I want you
Then it all aligns
It all aligns
I have you where I want you
We are statues without eyes
We were statues without eyes
We are statues without eyes


Faye went rigid at the contact and she glanced up at him uncertainly.

"So, Romani, cat got your tongue?" He watched her as his lips curled into a faint smile.

Faye looked away as she tried to pull out of his grasp, but he was quick, trapping her wrists within his hands.

"Once there was a tiger striped cat … " he continued softly, the smile reaching his eyes as he gazed down at her. When he felt her small hands tighten into fists, he knew how much she probably wanted to punch his lights out at that moment. Faye was a little thing, but she had a lot more strength than men gave her credit for; he, however, wasn't one of them. But he made sure that his grip was secure.

Faye glared at him, not believing that he would actually try to subject her to that stupid cat story she'd overheard him reciting to Jet when he thought he was leaving for good. She refused to stay silent through a retelling. She fought the urge to punch something, preferably his face since, unfortunately, her hands were tied up in his.

"What do you want, Spike?" she asked, her eyebrow twitching ever so slightly as she narrowed her eyes at him.

"Come back to the ship."

"Why?"

"I've already told you why."

"Why should I believe anything you have to say?"

"Jet wants you to come back. Believe me, I'm only doing this for him." Spike winced inwardly as he realized he had slipped up. His thoughts drifted momentarily as he wondered to himself why he was even bothering trying to convince her to return. Still, he wasn't the type to back down from a challenge, and he wasn't about to back off now.

"So?" he grinned idiotically and leaned in towards her face.

"So, was that kiss was from Jet, too?" Faye asked testily, tugging slightly to see whether his grip lessened at all. But she had noticed the almost imperceptible twitch at the corner of his eye, and knew that she'd thrown him, even if just a little.

She took the opportunity to wrench herself from his grasp, ignoring his surprised protest, and she dashed out of the tavern to retreat to the safety of her ship.



The pod of the Redtail closed with a hiss, and she wearily slumped against the glass as she recalled the mysterious smile he had given her. Something in the way he'd looked at her had made her breath catch, something in the hidden depths of his eyes hinting at something that he wouldn't say.

She could still feel the impact of his mouth, could still remember the feel of his lips against hers. She rubbed her lips with trembling fingers, as if to erase the taste, of cigarettes with a hint of finality, or possibility.

It had scared her. He scared her.

A tap on the pod glass snapped her out of her reverie, and she twisted in her seat to see Spike reaching to knock on the glass again.

"Open up," he mouthed silently, staring at her with an unfathomable look on his face.

She stared back, expressionless, then shook her head as she turned away.

"Open the damn hatch, Faye," he repeated impatiently, knocking harder on the glass.

She knew he wouldn't leave her alone until she did so. Finally she depressed the button, and as the air from the outside wafted into the pod, she closed her eyes and lay back against the seat.

"What?" she asked wearily, suddenly tired of it all, tired of him, tired of trying to figure him out.

"Faye," Spike said, leaning against the open hatch, his hands in his pockets. His voice was muted, as if from somewhere far away."There's something I've been trying to tell you."

Faye listened, her eyes still closed. She didn't really care what he had to say. She needed to get away from him, from the ship, to be somewhere else where she felt in control of her life. She wasn't in control around him. He made her ache, and she was tired of worrying over him, worrying about what he was thinking, worrying about how she felt about him. She didn't want to feel anything for him. She just wanted to move on with her life.

She turned towards him, waiting for him to continue.

He drew in a sigh as he felt her eyes on him.

"When I came back, when I saw you standing there ..." he said, avoiding her eyes. "I thought, why the hell is she still doing here? But then when I looked at your face -- after you hit me -- " he grinned at her as she huffed and crossed her arms over her chest.

He sighed again and looked down at his shoes, stuffing his hands in his pockets.

"When I looked at your face, all I could think was, she's still here. And I was ... I don't know, I ... it felt ... right."

Faye let the meaning of his words sink in. Neither of them knew what to say, each unsure of the other.

Finally, Spike broke the silence.

"So, are you coming back?" he asked, still looking down.

"Yeah," she answered quietly.

vettac: (cb cowboy bebop spike)

Title: Eyes Wide Open
Fandom: Cowboy Bebop
Character: Spike Spiegel/Faye Valentine
CD and Song: Until There's Nothing Left of Us – Statues Without Eyes
Rating: PG

Lost and winter's on the way
And the air is craving in
And the streets are crumbling
But you are with me
Under the downtown city lights
We become statues without eyes
Barely audible
We're froze in time
I have you where I want you

Oh and I need to look away
When the jets are overhead
And the storm is closing in
Yeah something is happening
Beneath the modern cold high rise
We become statues without eyes
Stand at attention
They all align
I have you where I want you
Then it all aligns
It all aligns
I have you where I want you
We are statues without eyes
We were statues without eyes
We are statues without eyes


Faye went rigid at the contact and she glanced up at him uncertainly.

"So, Romani, cat got your tongue?" He watched her as his lips curled into a faint smile.

Faye looked away as she tried to pull out of his grasp, but he was quick, trapping her wrists within his hands.

"Once there was a tiger striped cat … " he continued softly, the smile reaching his eyes as he gazed down at her. When he felt her small hands tighten into fists, he knew how much she probably wanted to punch his lights out at that moment. Faye was a little thing, but she had a lot more strength than men gave her credit for; he, however, wasn't one of them. But he made sure that his grip was secure.

Faye glared at him, not believing that he would actually try to subject her to that stupid cat story she'd overheard him reciting to Jet when he thought he was leaving for good. She refused to stay silent through a retelling. She fought the urge to punch something, preferably his face since, unfortunately, her hands were tied up in his.

"What do you want, Spike?" she asked, her eyebrow twitching ever so slightly as she narrowed her eyes at him.

"Come back to the ship."

"Why?"

"I've already told you why."

"Why should I believe anything you have to say?"

"Jet wants you to come back. Believe me, I'm only doing this for him." Spike winced inwardly as he realized he had slipped up. His thoughts drifted momentarily as he wondered to himself why he was even bothering trying to convince her to return. Still, he wasn't the type to back down from a challenge, and he wasn't about to back off now.

"So?" he grinned idiotically and leaned in towards her face.

"So, was that kiss was from Jet, too?" Faye asked testily, tugging slightly to see whether his grip lessened at all. But she had noticed the almost imperceptible twitch at the corner of his eye, and knew that she'd thrown him, even if just a little.

She took the opportunity to wrench herself from his grasp, ignoring his surprised protest, and she dashed out of the tavern to retreat to the safety of her ship.



The pod of the Redtail closed with a hiss, and she wearily slumped against the glass as she recalled the mysterious smile he had given her. Something in the way he'd looked at her had made her breath catch, something in the hidden depths of his eyes hinting at something that he wouldn't say.

She could still feel the impact of his mouth, could still remember the feel of his lips against hers. She rubbed her lips with trembling fingers, as if to erase the taste, of cigarettes with a hint of finality, or possibility.

It had scared her. He scared her.

A tap on the pod glass snapped her out of her reverie, and she twisted in her seat to see Spike reaching to knock on the glass again.

"Open up," he mouthed silently, staring at her with an unfathomable look on his face.

She stared back, expressionless, then shook her head as she turned away.

"Open the damn hatch, Faye," he repeated impatiently, knocking harder on the glass.

She knew he wouldn't leave her alone until she did so. Finally she depressed the button, and as the air from the outside wafted into the pod, she closed her eyes and lay back against the seat.

"What?" she asked wearily, suddenly tired of it all, tired of him, tired of trying to figure him out.

"Faye," Spike said, leaning against the open hatch, his hands in his pockets. His voice was muted, as if from somewhere far away."There's something I've been trying to tell you."

Faye listened, her eyes still closed. She didn't really care what he had to say. She needed to get away from him, from the ship, to be somewhere else where she felt in control of her life. She wasn't in control around him. He made her ache, and she was tired of worrying over him, worrying about what he was thinking, worrying about how she felt about him. She didn't want to feel anything for him. She just wanted to move on with her life.

She turned towards him, waiting for him to continue.

He drew in a sigh as he felt her eyes on him.

"When I came back, when I saw you standing there ..." he said, avoiding her eyes. "I thought, why the hell is she still doing here? But then when I looked at your face -- after you hit me -- " he grinned at her as she huffed and crossed her arms over her chest.

He sighed again and looked down at his shoes, stuffing his hands in his pockets.

"When I looked at your face, all I could think was, she's still here. And I was ... I don't know, I ... it felt ... right."

Faye let the meaning of his words sink in. Neither of them knew what to say, each unsure of the other.

Finally, Spike broke the silence.

"So, are you coming back?" he asked, still looking down.

"Yeah," she answered quietly.

vettac: (cb cowboy bebop spike)
Title: Girls and Boys
Fandom: Cowboy Bebop
Character: Spike Spiegel/Faye Valentine
CD and Song: Until There's Nothing Left of Us – Lips Like Morphine
Rating: PG

I want a girl with lips like morphine,
Knock me out every time they touch me.
I wanna feel a kiss just crush me,
And break me down.

Knock me out (knock me out),
Knock me out (knock me out).
Cause I've waited for all my life,
To be here with you tonight.

I want a girl with lips like morphine,
Blow a kiss that leaves me gasping.And I wanna feel that lightning strike me, And burn me down.


Faye looked up at him uncertainly as his words sank in. She opened her mouth to speak, then shut it again. This was unfamiliar territory; Spike admitting to anything was unheard of, and him confessing to her was like a shock to the system. Of the two men aboard the ship, she least expected Spike to be the one to come looking for her – after all, Jet was supposed to be the sensitive one. His words left her feeling vulnerable, and she didn’t like him having that kind of power over her emotions. She couldn't think of anything to say, so she glared at him.


She slid from the stool and turned on her heels to walk away, knowing what his reaction would be when she turned her back on him.

Sure enough, she was stopped in her tracks when he grabbed her wrist, pulling her back. She whirled around to face him, green eyes blazing.

“Don’t walk away from me, dammit,” he growled, tightening his grip.

“Let go,” she snarled, pulling out of his grasp.

“So why the hell did you take off this time?” he demanded, glaring back. “What's wrong with you?”

“I could ask you the same thing,” she snapped back, shoving him vehemently.

Spike stared back at her as he tried not to think about why he’d even gone searching for her. With Faye standing right in front of him with a smug look on her face, he wondered how he ever thought that he needed her. She is the biggest pain in the ass, he thought irritably. He frowned and grabbed her shoulders, trying to shake the answer into her. Faye gave a small grunt of pain until he lessened his grip. He bent down to look into her eyes, his own sudden anger dissolving at the doubt he saw there. She squirmed nervously under his intense stare but boldly kept her eyes locked on his.

“Why can't you just stay on the ship?” he sighed, conscious of how fragile she felt beneath his hands.

“Why can't you answer me?” she murmured as she dropped her eyes and edged away from him.

Spike tightened his grip, preventing her escape, and leaned forward to brush the corner of her mouth with his lips, smiling as she gasped and stared up at him.

“Does this answer your question?” he asked softly and swallowed her surprise with a kiss.


Page generated Jul. 21st, 2017 08:38 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios