With a groan, and the creak of a far too old mattress, Jet Black rolled over, pulling the threadbare blanket with him; as he buried his face into an under-stuffed pillow. For a moment he thought about letting himself drift back to sleep, until the rumbling protest of his stomach reminded him that he was the only one on the damn ship that would take the initiative to cook breakfast.
With another well deserved groan, he pulled himself from the semi comfort of bed and dressed, noting that it was colder than normal, even if it was winter. Damn heating system must be down…if it's not one thing it's another.
Half way down the corridor it hit him, a vaguely familiar aroma. Is that cinnamon I smell? He was certain it wasn't Spike that was cooking, but then that would only leave one person, and surely Faye wouldn't be cooking. Right?
As he entered the kitchen, Jet was quick to learn how wrong he was. There at the stove was Faye, wearing much more clothing than he was accustomed to, but given the current temperature in the ship that wasn't a huge surprise. However, a domestic Faye was something Jet could just not fathom. His mouth opened, and unable to form words shut once more, much like a fish happily swimming along in ignorant bliss in a bowl. Opening his mouth to speak once more, he was cut off before the words could even try to come forth.
" Grab a plate before it gets cold. There's coffee too if you want some."
" Uhh..Thanks…" Grateful for once not to be the one to have to do the cooking, Jet took full advantage, taking a seat at the table. " Say…what is all this for?"
Spatula in hand, Faye spun around. "What?"
Swallowing a mouth full of pancakes, Jet rubbed the back of his neck. " It's good and all, but I mean, what did you do? Or what are you trying to get out of doing?"
Slamming the spatula down on the counter, Faye shot Jet a glare colder than the floor tiles below his feet. " I just felt like cooking ok? Geeze, can't a girl do anything nice around here without getting the third degree? I swear sometimes…."
Faye's short tirade was prematurely put to rest by a lounge pants and tshirt clad Spike casually stumbling into the kitchen.
"What's up with the heat Jet? It's colder than Callisto in here." Grabbing a coffee cup from the counter, the lanky man turned his attention to the stove. "Oh good, you made breakfast, I'm starving."
Draining the rest of his coffee cup, Jet swallowed hard. " Faye did actually."
Loading his plate with pancakes, Spike grabbed his coffee, and plopped down across from Jet with a bemused expression. " Faye cooks?"
"Hey you two, I'm right here." Faye agitatedly cleared her throat, sitting down next to Jet with a plate of her own. "And yes I can cook."
Shoving a forkful in his mouth, Spike shrugged as he chewed. And that's how breakfast would remain as the three ate in silence.
Staring at the un-moving blades of the ceiling fan, Spike yawned, sprawled out on couch. He had just started to doze off, when he briefly wondered if he would be froze to the couch when he awoke. The thought was fleeting however, as Jet's gruff voice cut through his subconscious.
"Well if you're going out to blow your share of the last bounty could you at least pick up a few things we need?"
Spike kept his eyes forced shut, as he tried to make out Faye's reply, unsuccessfully.
"Come on. The least you could do is pull your weight a little more consistently, besides, I've gotta fix the heat, and I'm going to need Spike's help, so can ya at least try to be helpful?"
Spike sat up with a groan, not the least be pleased about being recruited to play repairman, just in time for Faye to stalk past him. "Hey what's your vice of choice today, puppies or ponies?"
Turning on heel, Faye shot him an icy gaze that might have been even colder than the temperature in the ship. She opened her mouth to say something, but stopped opting to flip him off instead before continuing for the door.
Smirking, Spike was about to continue trying to goad her on, until he realized the jacket she wore bore a striking resemblance to a bomber jacket he owned, that had been missing for quite sometime. "Hey that's my…" Faye was out the door before he could finish. "…Jacket."
Stretching his cramped muscles, Spike rose to his feet. " Isn't anything sacred in this goddamn place anymore." He mumbled to himself.
"You could just ask for it back ya know." Jet, with toolbox in hand strode passed.
Lighting a cigarette, Spike smirked around the filter. " Yeah, you know just about as well as I do how well that would go over."
"Just sayin' that's all. Now come on, we got some work to do."
Exhaling a large cloud of smoke Spike shook his head, and crammed his hands in his pockets following Jet down to corridor. "Sure thing Captain."
"Thank you, and Merry Christmas to you miss."
Bags in hand, Faye flashed the clerk behind the counter a genuine smile. "You too."
Pushing through the door, and out on to streets of Alba City, Faye was all too grateful for her pilfered jacket as the biting winter air was quick to send a chill down her spine. After a semi productive trip to the casino for some quality time with the slots, she had stopped off to pick up the few items Jet had all but demanded she pick up; as well as a bottle of booze and a carton of smokes for both Spike and Jet, and a few other items.
She didn't know why she was feeling so generous. It surely had nothing to do with Spike returning to the Bebop a couple weeks prior, after being AWOL for almost a month after he took off for what she assumed would have been a death mission. No, that couldn't be it.
Maybe it was the fact that it was Christmas Eve, and a flood of recently recalled memories of the holidays had her feeling sentimental, though she doubted that was it either. Maybe I'm just going crazy. It was much easier to digest that notion than the truth; she cared about those two idiots.
Passing a park, Faye stopped to watch a group of children pelting each other with snowballs a midst a small army of snowmen. She could remember building snowmen with her father in the winter, making sure that they made one for everyone in the family, before going inside for hot chocolate by the fire, basking in the warm glow of lights on the Christmas tree. The memory brought a smile to her lips that she wasn't even fully aware of, until the thought quickly soured when she realized she would now be sharing the holidays with two men who were probably more emotionally cold than the snowmen that dotted the park.
Continuing on to where she had parked the Redtail, she spotted a tree lot, with a wrapping for donation table set up. Approaching the kids at the table, she set her gifts down. "I'd like to get these wrapped."
She knew they weren't practical, but they were still gifts after all, and she had every intention of donating.
As the kids set to wrapping, Faye caught the disapproving glare of one of the parent chaperons. Adverting her gaze, she scanned the rows of trees, a nearby attended spying her.
"See something you like miss?"
Grinning, Faye arched an eyebrow. "Actually, yes I do."
Plopping down on the well worn mustard couch, Spike cracked a beer, and propped his feet up on the coffee table. "Hey I think I'm starting to get the feeling back in my fingers."
Leaning across from his spot in chair across from Spike for a cheers, Jet grinned. " Job well done if I do say so myself."
"Hell, I'll drink to that." Spike took a long pull from his beer, and lit a cigarette.
"Where the hell is Faye?" Jet leaned back in his chair fishing in his pocket for a smoke of his own.
"Why? You miss her or something?"
"Yeah sure, like an old man misses a hemorrhoid."
Spike chuckled dryly. "Well at least she's a lot better to look at."
Jet raised a curious eyebrow at the statement, but before he could say anything more, right on cue the main hatchway opened, and there stood Faye, many more bags in hand than required for the few things he had asked her to pick up.
"Hey Lunkhead, I need your help bringing something in."
"Well hi to you too." Taking a long drag, Spike blew a few smoke rings as he exhaled slowly. "And no. If you bought it, you bring it in. I'm not your lackey."
"Seriously, come on Spike."
Faye sighed heavily. "Please."
"What's in it for me if I do?"
"You can have your jacket back."
"Fine." Spike slowly rose to his feet, cigarette clenched between his teeth.
Taking a slow drag from his smoke, Jet chuckled to himself at the exchange. It was good to have things back to normal.
"What in the hell possessed you to get a damn tree anyways?" Spike set the little evergreen into the stand where Faye had placed it. "Besides it's kinda sad looking."
"Sorry it's not extravagant enough for you." Faye huffed. "Besides after getting the stuff Jet wanted me to get, decorations, and presents, I didn't have much left over."
"Decorations?" Jet turned his gaze toward the bags near the door way.
Spike narrowed his eyes. " Presents?"
"Yeah, that's what I said. Are you two deaf?"
Chuckling Spike lit a cigarette. "Well aren't you just miss holly jolly all of the sudden."
"I dunno about this tree." Jet shook his head. "It's gonna get needles all over the damn place Faye."
"Jesus Christ! You two are impossible." Faye bit her lip.
"Hey using the lords name in vain isn't very Christmasy is it?" Spike quipped from the couch.
"Ok fine! It was a stupid idea. Is that what you wanted to hear?"
Jet shot Spike a glare, since the younger man seemed to not comprehend the time to stop.
"You two scrooges can stew in your misery alone then. Merry fucking Christmas." Faye stormed out of the room, leaving an uneasy silence between the two men.
"Geeze, what's got her panties all in a twist?" Flipping the lid of his lighter open and closed over and over, Spike shifted his gaze to Jet, who ran a hand over his balding head.
"I dunno, but I guess I should go talk to her. Decorate that damn tree or something would ya?"
"You want to talk to her instead?"
Spike quickly pushed himself off the couch. "Right…Tree…got it."
As Jet headed after Faye, Spike dug through the bags, taking a mental inventory of everything. .Treetopper. He also found a box of candy canes, unwrapping one, he shoved the straight end in his mouth, hauling the bags over to the tree.
Placing the gifts under the tree, tore into the box of red and white lights, pausing for a moment. Something was missing.
Setting the lights down, he headed to the old radio across the room, fiddling with the dial until the familiar overly cheery sound of Christmas music cleared through the static.
With the overly minty flavor of candy cane in his mouth, Spike found himself humming along with the tune on the radio as he strung the lights. He was fairly certain this was the first time in his adult life he had decorated a tree, and he had to admit to himself it wasn't half bad. It was almost, dare he say it, fun.
After receiving no crude reply after knocking on Faye's door, Jet went to the only other place he figured she would be. He proved himself right when he poked his head out the hangar bay door to find Faye with cigarette in hand looking over the side rail to the water below. She wiped her eyes with his free hand, and Jet couldn't help but feel guilty. Is she crying?
Crossing the deck, stopping beside her and lighting a cigarette of his own, Jet looked down at the inky water. "Something interesting down there?"
Faye sniffled and took a drag from her cigarette. "What do you want?"
"I came to apologize. I mean I know we were a little rough on you, but we were just messing with you. You should know that by now. What's gotten into you?"
"Right before Spike left, before all that, I realized that I care about him, I mean I care about both of you." Faye quickly corrected herself. "When he came back, everything felt right again, it really drove home the fact that this is where I belong, with you two."
"I don't know if I'll ever get all my memories back, but I've been remembering a lot of really good holidays with family, and You and Spike are the closest thing I have to that. I guess I just wanted to share some of that with you guys."
"Well, that's actually really sweet." Jet dropped his cigarette into the water. " It might be cold out here, but could it be that a little of that icy exterior of yours is melting?"
Faye elbowed him gently in the side with a smirk. "Maybe just a little."
"We'll take what we can get." Jet chuckled. " Now come on it's cold out here, lets head in."
Spike hand just finished hanging the last ornament on the tree as Jet and Faye entered the room, with the tree topper in his hand, he stood admiring his work.
"Damn Spike that doesn't look half bad."
Faye stared in awe for a moment, moving closer to inspect the tree. "It actually looks really nice."
"Of course it does. I decorated it after all." Placing the silver star in Faye's hands he smirked. " But it is your tree, so you should do the honors."
Placing the topper on the tree, and after a few readjustments, Faye stepped back as the three of them stood in silence admiring their little slice of Christmas.
"Ya know." Jet broke the peace. " I've got a good bottle of scotch stashed away. I don't know about you two, but I'm feeling festive." As he left to retrieve the bottle, he turned the radio up slightly, whistling along with the tune as he left the room.
Within a few hours the three of them had killed the bottle, as they talked of old bounties, and good times they had. They had all wondered if maybe sometime they should try to find Ed and Ein, and pick up where they all left off, or if somethings were better left alone. A warmth had spread from the room, that had felt like an ice cave earlier in the morning, at it wasn't just from a fixed heater and a bottle of booze. It was and individual peace they had all found with in themselves in the company of each other, even if for just a day.
Finishing off the last of her glass, Faye set it on the table. "So I've got a question for you guys. What's the best Christmas present you ever remember getting when you were a kid?"
"That's easy." Jet lit a cigarette. "When I was eleven I got a BB gun from my grandpa. I would roam around the back yard thinking I was a regular ol' sharpshooter. What about you Faye?"
"One year I got this little science kit thing. The kid where you can grow crystals and shit in a coffee can. I thought I was so damn sophisticated that I could make sparkly rocks. Spike?"
"My first bike. It was cherry red, had black handle bars. I felt like I could go anywhere on that thing, I felt invincible when I was on the seat. It was a good bike." He picked up the bottle from the table draining what amounted to little more than half a swallow from it.
"Well I don't mean to be a buzz kill, but I'm beat." Jet said mid yawn. " Merry Christmas you two."
"Merry Christmas." Faye took the glasses, and bottle from the table to the kitchen, when she came back she found Spike standing in front of the tree, the lights off, except the warm glow from the tiny bulbs illuminating his lanky frame.
"It's pretty." He stated.
Faye moved to stand beside him. "It really is. Thanks for doing this."
"For what it's worth, I'm glad you came back."
Hesitating for a moment, he slipped his arm around her shoulders, feeling her tense for a moment before relaxing against him. "Me too." He felt Faye's lips brush gently against his jaw.
"Merry Christmas Spike."
He glanced sidelong at her, and placed a soft kiss on her forehead. "Merry Christmas Faye."
They remained like that, bathed in the soft, calm, peaceful glow. In the coming days there may be bullets, blood and bounties on the agenda, but for now with in the Bebop even if just for a day or two, all was right with their little world.