TITLE: Waking.

AUTHOR:  Orin.

RATING:  R, for sexual situations and Spikeness.

DISCLAIMER: Cowboy Bebop is copyright to 1998 Emotion, Sunrise Inc. and Bandai Visual Co. limited… In other words; not mine. Except for the fic… O_O;;

SPOILERS:  Session 25/26 – The Real Folk Blues… That's it I guess…

FEEDBACK:  Yes, but please be gentle.

PAIRINGS: Yup. Spike/Faye

TIMELINE: About six months after Spike's 'death'

SUMMARY: Spike was kissing her. He looked just the same, felt just how Faye remembered. Apart from the fact that he was dead, and a ghost could not be kissing her. And that was the problem.

A little warning… I threw this out in the space of an hour or so, so there probably will be some glitches, and my apologies in advance if there are. I must've missed them though… Gomen nasai…

Orin.

WAKING

"Everything is clearer now,

Life is just a dream you know-

It's neverending."

-Cowboy Bebop, Blue.

***                              ***                              ***

"Oh, God…"

Faye's moan echoed low around the dark room. Another strangled sound escaped her lips and she arched to his touch.

"Oh, God," she sighed again. She tried to meet his eyes, still mismatched, still obscure, but he busied himself by burying his face against the softness of her shoulder, and when she felt his teeth nip her neck it was all she could do not to scream aloud.

He was all legs and arms still. Lithe was a word that came to mind. Tousled hair – he really needed to invest in a comb, and a few pounds of flesh. Faye had always though him too skinny for it to be healthy…

Though she really couldn't think about anything at that particular moment – besides the feel of his lips sucking softly on her neck, and  - oh God – those little bites he was delivering along her collarbone, across her chest and back up to her neck – she was sure they were illegal on some planets.

Or they should have been…

Just like he should have been dead.

Or was he dead… She really didn't know, if she were honest. Did ghosts feel as solid as he did, pressed up against her? Because his skin was warm against her own and his lips were positively searing where they touched her. Perhaps he was an incubus or something. Some dark creature of the night come to seduce her while she lay sleeping…

Only she had not been sleeping when he had found her – she had been drunk out of her mind, barely able to register the familiar face, cigarette hanging casually from those lips…

Faye whined again and it was a low keening sound.

Those lips…

And he had not exactly been the soberest person in the bar either.  Although the fact the he had actually been able to stand had been a definite plus. At least Faye had managed to think so through the fuzzy haze of her thoughts as she had sat on the floor looking up at his towering form.

He was using the bar to lean on, and was swaying slightly – or that could just have been Faye's vision, everything had been spinning suspiciously by that stage.

But he looked just the same.

Well, apart from the fact that he was dead.

There was the faintest scar along his left cheek, but it was faded and looked old. He was thinner too than she remembered. But his lips quirked the same way, and his gaze had been steady and sombre when it fixed itself on her.

"You look like Hell," he had said, by way of greeting.

Six months. Six months of grief and wondering – because there had never been a body to bury – and bitter regret. Because why had she let him go anyway? All those wasted bullets; she could have hit him, just once. In the kneecap, or shoulder. Something that simple could have stopped him from going.

Only it probably wouldn't have.

So there he was – Spike Spiegel, in the flesh it seemed, standing over her, as nonchalant as though he had just returned from an evening stroll and not from Hell itself.

Six months of Hell.

For her. For Jet. For Ed. Even Ein had picked up the sense of loss, moping about and whining whenever he look upon his owners in a sort of wordless desolation.

Six months of misery, because there had not been that simple thing called closure upon Spike's death and they were all left wondering. Six months of not being able to cry, because she would not cry over a lunkhead that held a death wish dearer than the God-given right to breath and stay breathing. Six months of torment over a man who had loved a woman more than his own existence, had lived a dream and only wanted everything to end when it did.

Six months-

And 'you look like Hell' had been his way of saying sorry.

Oh, and he had offered her a cigarette too. But no amount of nicotine, however heavenly, was about to make up for his neglect.

And Faye wanted to tell him just that.

Of course she looked like hell, she had wanted to say, she had been living in it ever since Spike had up and died on them.

Of course she had thought up other scathing retorts too, had wanted to fling them all at him with the fury she still felt at his abandonment.

Problem was, all she had managed at the time had been a painful grunt. A rather lacking rejoin as they went, but that Faye had felt actually sitting upright at that stage was an accomplishment in itself.

It had been about then, when he had reached a hand down to help her to her feet, that Faye realized just how drunk she was, because everything had tilted at a crazy angle, impossible if one were standing upright… And it was only on afterthought that she realised that she was not standing upright at all in fact, and that the heavy weight against her side and the pounding against her temples was the floor, hard and mercifully cool against her skin.

Then she had passed out.

Which did not exactly bring Faye back to where she stood – or lay – at present, but everything after she had woken up had been drowned in a heavy haze of red pain and anger. She could not quite remember how it had digressed into-

Something else.

There had been accusations and all the torment that had been growing had come pouring out, twisted and raw. And he had stood patiently, waiting it though, calm and collected in a most inappropriate manner. It had only served to infuriate Faye more…

And then Spike was kissing her, and all she could think of was how his lips tasted faintly of whiskey…

Oh yeah, he was drunk too. Definitely. Because something like this would never happen had he and she been sober. And her was probably not dead when she thought about it, because dead people could not get drunk anyway. Or horny.

Because he was still kissing her, and the taste of him, even through alcohol, was a heady enough mix to make Faye's sense whirl.

His voice was a low rumble and his chuckle tickled her as he pulled away to taste her skin again. Faye gave a murmured cry of protest, reaching forward to drag her hands through his hair and try to hold him in place. She was lost in the feel of him, the flavour of him, and that it was him.

It was Spike.

And he was not dead…

"Whassamatter, Faye?" The familiar low baritone growled breathily into her ear. He pressed his body closer to her and she could feel the heat even though the fabric. She tried to arc up against him, but his hands snaked down, held her at bay. She tightened her own hands to fists in his hair, in pure retaliation and gave him a growl of her own. Then she tugged.

Spike gave a short, throaty bark of laughter. He sounded thrilled at her frustration.

Goddamnit.  Faye tried to struggle then, pulling his head back with all the force her liquor-weakened limbs could muster.

He was playing with her! The stupid ignorant bastard thought it was a joke!? Her hand detached itself from the tangle of his hair, and lashed out on pure instinct, headed for that infuriating grin, to knock it out of place.

It was stopped of course. Spike's fist remained loose around her own in a firm enough grip to keep her hand captured, but that was all. He gazed at it absently, as though considering. The cast her a smooth look from beneath the strands of dark green that hung shadowing his eyes. His lips were fighting another smile.

Slowly he tightened his grip, just enough that it hurt Faye a little.  She winced and tried to pull away, in retreat instead of attack for once, but he held her fast.

She snarled openly at him, glaring with all her worth.

"Miss me?" Spike asked softly then, and all she could do was stare as he gripped her hand in a more gentle hold and brought it to his lips. Slowly, with infinite care, he pried her fingers apart and kissed them, one by one. His mouth lingered on each tip, teasing and tasting her with his lips and tongue and Faye felt the heat flood through her again despite herself.

Oh God. He was doing it again…

When Spike reached the last fingertip her paused, then giving her a devilish look, he closed his lips around it, sucking softly. Faye moaned and let her head drop back to the ground, closing her eyes.

He knew exactly what he was doing, and – oh – that tongue… Her toes curled with the sensation of softness dragging across her sensitive fingertips and she twisted lightly beneath him. Wanting…

She wanted him… She needed…

"Oh, God… S-Spike…"

"I said," he murmured from around her finger, and then pulled it out, letting his teeth scrape along it lightly, "Did'ya miss me?"

Catching her breath and throwing him a mutinous glare through her desire, she muttered, "Like Hell…"

He grinned, "Nice to know," he said. Then Spike pushed her against the ground roughly, thrusting his hips lightly against her own. Faye moaned again, blindly she reached down, tracing his hips, trying to find the buckle of his belt.

She needed…

But she was stopped again but cool hands, and they caught up her own gently and held them down to her sides while Spike continued his exploration of her throat with his tongue. Faye twisted out of his grip, and Spike stilled briefly until he felt her arms twine around his own neck and pull him closer against her.

The need grew.

Spike eased away, skimming light kisses down over the line of her jaw to the silken column of her throat. He pushed aside the neck of her loose top and pressed his lips to her naked shoulder as she squirmed beneath him. Her flesh was hot against his mouth. Heat on heat. For a long delicious moment, Spike indulged in the taste of her skin, licking and teasing. Then his hand pushed beneath the flimsy silk.

Faye stiffened beneath him and suddenly he felt her thighs part as her long legs snaked around his hips. He thrusted, instinctively, roughly, and groaned against Faye's throat. Felt her answering moan in his ear. She was so soft against him. So warm.

With mounting desire, Spike felt beneath the smooth silk of her shirt, cupping the fullness of her breasts enclosed in white satin, but then needing more, and knowing Faye did too, he reached around her back, pulling her against him in the process. Deftly, he unfastened the hooks and felt her sigh.

"Need you," he muttered, and as his hands covered her breasts he drew in a controlling breath.

She was all smooth skin and soft curves. But Spike needed to see, he needed to taste. And her whimpering told him that Faye needed as much as he.

Before he could make any further more, he felt her hands against him, unbuttoning his shirt with all the urgency Spike felt within himself. He stopped completely, motionless for what seemed forever to him, allowing Faye to take action.

When all was said and done, it was her choice.

Unfastening the buttons and fumbling in her want, Faye slid it from his shoulders, feeling the muscles tremble beneath her touch and revelling in it. She locked eyes with Spike, holding the gaze before moving it back to the bare expanse of olive skin revealed beneath the white cotton. She caressed his shoulders, his chest and torso, fingering the darker hues of his nipples, hearing his intake of breath.

Fearless, Faye leaned closer; delighting in how still Spike remained.

And then she stilled herself, felt her breath catch, and fought a sudden horrified gasp.

Mouth working in appalled silence, Faye turned away.

She could not look.

"Oh, God," she whispered

Not- Oh God, what had happened to him? Six months? Was that how long he needed to simply be able to move again? Her hands jerked away from the warmness of his skin, pressed themselves against her mouth, trying to block out the jerky dry sobs that Faye knew were on their way.

She had promised she would not cry for him. He was not worth it and he had left and he had… He had died. He…

Breathing heavily, and shaking with every laboured breath, she turned to look at him again, at the jagged scar that ran across his stomach, bright and sore against the darkness of his skin. Her hands trembled. She wanted to reach out, to touch him – it – to see if Spike was still real.

That scar…

He had died.

Because how could anyone survive that?

"You're dead," came her broken whisper, and suddenly Faye laughed. The bright sound echoed hollowly around the dimness of their surroundings. She laughed again and found that once she had started she could not stop. Not even when Spike gave a muffled curse and pulled her close to him, trying to quell the shaking in her.

"Y-you're dead," came her sob, barely understandable, ""I'm drunk, and you're dead."

Faye laughed again. Because he was holding her, when he was supposed to be dead and her body was telling her that it was Spike holding her, as though he cared about something other than Julia or his own death.

And he was Spike – if he was Spike – then he was not supposed to care. He was not supposed to hold her, or try and comfort her, clumsy though it was. He had never in the past. Spike was supposed to tell her how useless she was being, and what a waste of space, and then he was supposed to make a joke, and leave. Because that was what he did.

It was what he had always done.

But the Spike of her memory had never boasted such a scar. It was still red raw, she could feel its heat burning against her side. Didn't it hurt him? To move? To breathe?

To live?

"Oh, God," Faye sobbed again, trying to twist away from his touch, needing it and hating herself for needing at the same time.

But Spike did not let go. Instead, Faye found herself resting lightly on her knees, in the strong circle of his arms, pinned to him, her cheek positioned beneath his chin.

"You have to be dead."

"Faye-"

"You have't be!"

She struggled again and felt him tense, heard the pain in his voice.

"Damnit, stop fightin' me!" he muttered tersely, "The damn thing hurts enough as it is."

The complaint was enough to cause Faye to still in horrified fear. Spike's arms tightened around her.

Exhaustion overtook Faye in one smooth move then, and all the fight drained from her so that she lay limp against him. Unprepared for the suddenness of it all, Spike was almost driven off balance.

But he did not let Faye go. If anything, the bounty hunter's grip tightened a little more.

And it was Spike. It was still him. Tolerating her blubbering over him, all angles and hard muscle. Faye felt herself turn toward him though, and the solid comfort he offered.

Ghosts weren't solid. They couldn't be.

It was the strangest surprise of all to Faye, that she felt safe. For the first time in six months she felt… safe. Comforted, and suddenly she did not want him gone ever again. She twisted her head up, to look at him, his expression. His face.

It was scrunched up in slight pain, and when she moved to pull away, to give him room, Spike did not lessen his hold on her one bit.

"H-How're you… alive…?"

He blinked, as though surprised she was speaking to him directly. Still blinking, Spike darted a look down at her, watching, searching.

Lightly, he shrugged.

"Beats me," he said.

Faye scowled in an old habit.

"It's been done," she muttered, and Spike fought a smile. Faye waited in silence a minute longer, expecting something more from Spike, perhaps a familiar disparaging comment, or even for herself to remember just who she was, who he was, and to push him away.

But nothing happened, and Spike was still smiling slightly when he lowered himself to the ground slowly, and pulled her with him, cradling her to him as he settled himself more comfortably on the ground.

His eyes were dark when she raised her own startled gaze to meet them.

"I need a rest," he explained in a low easing tone, "after all that." His voice was very quiet.

"Rest?"

Spike nodded once, and promptly closed his eyes. Faye scowled, trying to hide her surprise, and then realised that Spike could not see it. For all intense purposes, he looked asleep anyway. He was pressed against her still, and he was warm. Not very, but enough so that her own limbs felt all-too-comfortable against that heat. And against her, he was something substantial for Faye to hold onto. The soft inhale-exhale rhythm of his breathing made her eyes feel heavy too.

Against her will, Faye found her eyes trying their best to slip closed, and she fought the sleepiness with what little willpower she had left.

"Why?" she heard herself whisper, half wondering what she was asking.

There was silence for such a long moment, that Faye though Spike truly was asleep.

Then suddenly, quietly…

"Some people say that life's just one big dream, yknow? And that only when you die, do you really wake up. Some twisted logic … but… for a while for me, it made a lotta sense."

Faye did not move, she did not breathe. She did not dare.

Spike shifted slightly, drew her closer, his eyes still closed. He smiled slightly.

"I guess I was dreaming. The scar- well, there was a lot of blood, Faye. And I felt like… I was… dying. And there was no pain. Just, falling. There was a light somewhere up ahead, and a cool breeze. And I knew that if I opened my eyes to see that light, nothing could ever hurt me again."

The mismatched eyes opened suddenly and Spike threw her a piercing gaze. He chuckled, that rumbling purr of a voice light in sudden humour.

"'Cause if life is just the dream of sleep, then dying must be the way to waking up, right?"

Faye only shook her head absently, not knowing how to answer. Not wanting to break the stillness, the spell Spike was weaving over her with his soft words. Spike smiled again.

"And then, suddenly I was in a mother-load of pain, and it was Hell," he grinned. Faye grimaced at the sight of the scar from the corner of her eyes, but Spike's voice dragged her gaze back to his face.

"But the pain told me I was alive. And that maybe, the pain, and the hurt, they're what's real…"

He reached out, capturing Faye's face in his hand, his thumb tracing her lips, down along her cheek.

"And this," he murmured. "And you."

His lips curved in that slow smile that Faye was beginning to love.

"So now… I don't care if I'm dreaming or not."

He pulled Faye so close that she could feel the beating of his heart against her own and it pounded out the gentle rhythm that only life contained. She smiled, very faintly at his words. They assured her, just as his presence did. Faye was tired, she found. And it could not hurt to sleep, if just for a few hours. She would wake again. And she knew Spike, asleep or awake, would be there when she did.

And Faye felt more assured at that thought than she had since waking from her own century-long sleep.

"Spike?" Her voice was sleepy.

"Hmm…"

"I'm glad you woke up… S'about time too, you lunkhead."

A soft chuckle greeted her statement.

"Go t'sleep, Faye…"

***                              ***                              ***

FINI

***                              ***                              ***

Orin here… And yes, my first attempt at a Cowboy Bebop fic. A sad affair, I know. It was churned out in the space of an hour and written on pure inspiration – and a whim.

I've been watching that show far too much lately. And I've watched it before, and'll probably watch it all over again.

And don't you see me not caring one whit?

It was supposed to be the beginning to a series, but I think I'll leave it just where it is. I know it's obscure at times, but that's probably my writing.

And waiting… waiting to see that movie… I'm gonna see it… I am…Yes, I am…

See you, Space Cowboy…

Orin.