Don't Be Afraid
Chapter 5: The Ice Man Cometh

Sunlight filtered into Faye's room, awakening her from a restless sleep. Rubbing her eyes slowly she sat up and looked at her surroundings, trying to remember where she was.

'Oh that's right' she thought, 'I'm on earth waiting for Spike, and Vicious is here.'

At the thought, Faye spun around, suddenly fearful. He had seemed harmless enough the night before, but she still wasn't ready to trust him. There was a knock at the door and Faye rose to answer it, her fingers flexing in a tight fist.

"Good morning!" Sarah greeted with a smile. "Breakfast is ready and I hope you are!" Faye nodded. "Good! Then come with me."

The two followed the narrow corridor and then went down a flight of wooden stairs. The lighting was better since there were less clouds in the sky, but Faye still felt a gloominess in the shelter. Still, she couldn't complain. There was a small breakfast of rice and eggs on the table, with a pitcher of juice. It was better than any meal they made on the BeBop.

"Good Morning Miss." Vicious greeted, bringing out a tray of condiments and setting them down on the table. Faye nodded in his direction, not sure of what to say. The three of them sat down and began to eat.

Faye glanced nervously at Vicious who continued to eat, seemingly unknowing of her stares. It was strange to look at him then in such a peaceful setting, though to be honest it didn't really suit either of them. She was a bounty hunter, and a bounty herself. A compulsive gambler with a huge debt who normally ate her meals out of a cup while sitting in her cockpit. And he, could she still call him Vicious? She had held back on using his name for fear that it might trigger memories of the past. After all, he had recognized it when she said it. Assuming he had lost his memory, the last thing she wanted to do was bring the old Vicious back.

An old clock ticked rhythmically on the wall. It's glass covering had broken long ago and dust had settled on the rim, but it's hands continued moving, second by second. It read 9:41.

"So what time does Spike normally arrive?" Faye asked Sarah who was scraping the last bits of rice into her mouth. Wiping her lips, Sarah swallowed quickly.
"Usually around noon. You'll know when all the kids line up in front. Somehow they all know when to get ready for him. You can't blame them though, the ices he brings are really good. Especially the orange ones, they're sweet, but not too sweet, you know?"

"Uh...Uhn." Faye nodded with some understanding. Vicious smiled at her, sensing her discomfort. "Really, I prefer the cherry myself." he told her, his eyes closing cheerily. Seeing him so happy made Faye even more uneasily and she nodded again silently before standing up. She grabbed her bowl as she rose but Vicious put his hand on hers to stop her.

"It's alright Miss, I'll take care of those." Not used to such treatment, Faye blushed and stammered.

"N-no, it's fine. I can do it." Turning stiffly she carried the bowl to the sink and began to rinse the remains of her breakfast from it. His hand... it had been surprisingly warm.
"Oh my, look at them already." Sarah watched from in the Center as the children lined up in from, staring to the right of the building. Among them stood Faye who held her hand to her face to keep the sun out of her eyes. Slowly in the distance a figure appeared pushing a large cart. Several of the kids began squirming but they all stood still waiting, as if some unspoken rule kept them from going to meet the ice man. That man.

She caught his face before he noticed her standing there and her lower lip began to tremble. It was him. After all those months of searching, there was Spike, casually pushing his cart towards her, his head hung low in the heat. A sudden fear struck her as he drew closer. How would he react? And perhaps more importantly, how would she? So many possibilities had gone through her head, but never had she imagined meeting up with him like this. She was at a loss for how to act.

It seemed to take forever for him to finally push the cart into it's place. Wiping his brow, he opened the case and looked up for the first time. She seemed to be the first thing his eyes came in contact with besides the landscape. He stared at her blankly in much the same way he'd done a month ago when Vicious appeared. Swallowing he tried to clear his vision of what he was sure he was hallucinating. Suddenly he felt a tugging at his side.

"Mister. Aren't you gonna give us our ices?"

Spike smiled at the young boy in front of him. "Right right. Let's see, you like the blue ones, right?" The boy nodded happily and Spike started handing out ices. He barely had enough time to get his hand in the ice box before the next kid made their request. Generally he knew what the kid would ask for before they ever said it. He'd been doing this job for three months now and they were very predictable. The vision of Faye left his mind entirely as he worked to finish before things started to melt. Once he was done the box was nearly empty and he was even more tired than when he'd arrived. Pulling one of the few remaining ices out he peeled the wrapper open and bit into it.

"Argh! Cold!" He spit the piece out as pain shot through his front teeth.

"Didn't anyone ever tell you not to bite into those?"

Spike spun back to the cart and found Faye leaning against it.

"You can't be real."

Smirking Faye leaned in and pulled out one of the ices. She stared at him as she opened it. "Of course I am...Mmm, cherry. I believe Vicious recommended that one." She winked at him and continued to suck the ice.

Closing his eyes in acceptance, Spike leaned against the cart, his back to Faye. "Yeah, he does like the cherry's."

The two stood together in silence, watching everything around them until the sun slowly began to set. Faye's eyes squinted as she stared at the red orb making it's way past the horizon. For a brief moment things felt familiar to her. She was back on Earth, watching the same sun set in the distance, standing alongside Spike like she'd done so many times in the past.

Spike turned towards her then as the orange glow of the sun glowed against the edges of her hair serenely. He cast her a sideways smile and pulled the cart away from her, throwing her out of her daze. He gave a small laugh and turned around to face away from the building.

"I should head back." He told her. Faye's mouth fell open slightly. Was that it? Was he just going to walk away from her? Somehow she was unable to voice her questions and anger as he pushed the carts wheels overs the sand that had collected around them. Whistling a long forgotten tune he walked down the barely visible rode and out of sight. She considered following him, but for some reason her feet refused to move. As if her body was trying to tell her something. Biting down on her lip Faye watched as he disappeared into the setting suns haze.
FOUND YOU SPACE COWBOY...