I still don't own Cowboy Bebop, all those Bandai/Sunrise/etc. people own it...and I don't think that fact really surprises anyone. Also included in the list of things I don't own is the song "Ballad in Plain D" which actually belongs to Bob Dylan; isn't it just the coolest title. =^_^=
Ballad in Plain D
Lady Luck is not with me tonight, thought Faye Valentine bitterly.
It was still early in the night, and she was already back aboard the Bebop. The high stakes poker game she had been playing earlier had gone to Hell when the dealer caught her cheating. In the ensuing gunfight, she'd barely managed to get out of the place without being shot; leaving the money she'd bet on her hand in the middle of the table, or scattered on the floor.
She'd bet all she had on that hand...trying to take the other players for everything they had.
Faye's stomach growled in angry protest.
"I'll never gamble before I eat again!" She swore to the walls of the Bebop's common room.
Her stomach growled again. Crossing her fingers, Faye closed her eyes tightly and opened the door of the small refrigerator, hoping to find something at least remotely edible inside.
Nervously, she opened her eyes.
The shelves were bare...with the exception of a small splash of color in the back.
A single orange.
Faye eyed the fruit dubiously, wondering briefly if it was still good. It wouldn't be the first time the only morsel of food left onboard the ship was old, rotten...and possibly evolving into a new lifeform. She reached out a tentative hand toward it, leaning closer to examine the thing. It's color seemed good, it didn't stink, nor did it move to bite her, and her stomach was still complaining loudly. She decided the risk was worth the reward, and snatched it with a greedy grin. Stretching, and wishing that she hadn't lost quite all of her money, Faye crossed the common room and flopped down in the battered old chair.
A moment later, before she could even begin to peel the orange, the clang of the ship's outer doors rang through the common room.
"Somebody else outta luck already!" Faye shouted in the general direction of the sound.
As if to answer her question, Spike Spiegel staggered into the doorway and leaned hard against the narrow doorframe, looking, indeed, as though he had run out of luck; dripping water from his hair and suit in a way that spoke strongly of swimming fully clothed.
"What happened to you?" asked Faye.
Spike walked forward slowly, arms held tightly against his sides. He didn't answer.
"Ne, you okay?" asked Faye, watching him move with mounting concern.
For a moment, Spike raised his eyes to meet hers, then, with frightening suddenness, those same two-tone eyes rolled back, and the lanky man crumpled to the floor. The orange landed on the table with a thump that went unheard, as Faye ran forward to catch him before his head hit the metal floor.
Faye was strong, but as dead-weight Spike was very heavy; still, she managed to maneuver his limp form the remaining steps to the worn-out couch.
Her attention focused upon him properly, Faye got her first good look at Spike since he'd come in. Suddenly, she wasn't surprised that he had collapsed...only that he had managed to stay on his feet as long as he had. He was a mess; a trail of blood ran down from his hairline, his face was scratched deeply, ghosts of dark bruises to come were beginning around his eyes and on his neck, and a disconcerting amount of blood was soaking through the back of his jacket, staining the blue fabric nearly black.
"Ne, Spike..." Faye said, leaning close and shaking him softly.
He muttered something incoherent about cats and water, then fell silent, unconscious.
Briefly, Faye cursed the situation.
Jet was out for the night, likely too far away to be of any help, and Ed was--Faye had no idea where Ed was, but she doubted the girl would be much help anyway.
That left only her. Resigning herself to that fact, Faye walked resolutely down the corridor to the cargo hold where the medical supplies were kept; returning only a moment later, loaded down with the equipment Jet had used the last time Spike had been in similar condition--a hand-held body scanner and the shipboard first-aid kit.
She cursed the situation again. She knew basic bounty hunter first-aid: setting broken bones, dressing bullet wounds, and the like; and the scanner would tell her what needed to be seen to, but the whole thing was Jet's forte really.
Resigning herself once more, she focused on interpreting the information that the scanner gave her about Spike's injuries, bandaging and stitching, berating the unconscious Spike all the while.
"Idiot," she told him, cleaning the deep scratches on his face. "If you wouldn't go around looking for as much trouble as you can find, you wouldn't keep coming back like this."
"What good..." she complained, bandaging the burns on his back, and wondering just how he'd managed to do that, "...is all that Jeet Ku-whatever training you're always doing if you still go out and get your ass kicked."
With great care that belied her angry words, Faye splinted the broken bone in Spike's hand, rolling out liberal amounts of gauze over his knuckles.
"Not gonna be easy firing a gun for a while," she muttered, "and it's nobody's fault but your own."
Gently, Faye lifted Spike's head onto her lap, for a better angle to work at the gash under his hair. He stirred fitfully.
Still fighting...whatever it was he's been fighting, maybe, Faye thought.
"Shh," she whispered, "relax."
Softly, she let her hand drift away from her work and rest in his messy green hair, running her fingers through it in a soothing motion. His hair was soft, still damp from whatever body of water he'd been in; distantly, Faye hoped it wasn't a sewer.
"Don't wake up just yet," she told him. "It's easier, if you keep sleeping."
She continued stroking his hair, feeling tense muscles slowly relaxing.
"Besides," she added, in a whisper so soft only he could have heard it, "you're cute when you're sleeping."
The roar of engines overhead, and the sound of the hangar shutters opening drew Faye's mind from the strange peace of the moment.
Jet was back. She was grateful; he'd be able to better finish what she had started.
Gently, she eased Spike's head off her lap and onto the couch, then made her way forward to the hangar without looking back.
If she had, she would have seen Spike Spiegel's eyes flick open to watch her go, a small smile on his face, quickly extinguished by a grimace of pain as the motion stretched new stitches. A moment later, he allowed his eyes to slide closed once more, letting himself return to the painless realm of unconsciousness.
She was right after all...it would be easier if he was sleeping.
See you Space Cowboy