Disclaimer: Cowboy Bebop does not belong to me, nor do any of the songs mentioned herein. Just kinda wanted to take the characters for a test drive. ;)

Author's Note: This is a oneshot, pairing Spike and Faye, simple as that. Feel free to leave a review or criticism. Any rude flames will be ignored so just know that. And most likely this entire piece will be posted on my website Tasogare Ban, so stop by there if you want to check out the end of this fic and more lemon/lime pieces. Also, the complete story is not here! His will become lemon and seeing as how FF.net no longer allows lemons you may have to trek over to my website (which is listed on my profile page) to finish this.

The song listed below is a Johnny Mercer song called Autumn Leaves but I really think you all should listen to Diana Krall's version while you read this oneshot. Also maybe some Jacintha and other artists in this genre. =)

This takes place a little over a year after the events in Session 26 – The Real Folk Blues Part II.

Waltz For Mars

The falling leaves drift by the window --
The autumn leaves of red and gold.
I see your lips, the summer kisses,
the sunburned hands I used to hold.

Since you went away, the days grow long.
And soon I'll hear old winter's song.
But I miss you most of all, my darling,
when autumn leaves start to fall.
            - Autumn Leaves – cover by Diana Krall


            Her eyes came open slowly and she found her vision to be faulty, blurred. Rain fell close by, striking the windows, thunder in the distance, and she couldn't remember where she was, only that she was on Mars.


            She had been drinking again. She tasted the alcohol on her breath, and the dizziness only further proved it to her. But she wouldn't have a hangover in the morning. She had taken painkillers for that. In the morning she'd either wake up good as new, or dead. Either one would have been fine with her.

            With a muffled sigh she managed to move a hand and in the darkness of the room it was a silhouette against the blurred dirty light slipping in through the windows. It was passed midnight, she knew. She always drank until at least midnight and while she couldn't have been sure when she had left the seedy bar it felt like she had crashed into bed over an hour before. After finally managing to unlock the door to the room she inhabited. And then tripping down the hallway toward the bathroom to vomit. She whimpered faintly, her hand pressing to her face and she was flushed, her hair damp still. The shower she had taken after she had emptied her stomach had done nothing to revive her and she had even worried that, in her drunken state, there would be a way for her to drown in her shower stall. She thought the strangest things when she was drunk.

            Through the hard mattress, through the creaky floor, she felt the music from the bar below. Upon coming here to Mars, she had stumbled across the bar quite by accident and while it had been a sordid, seamy place she had found herself drawn to the gentle yellow lights, the crazy neon signs outside. And once inside the bar she had stuck around for the music. Always the music, so thick and raw with emotion. Always the cigarette smoke that hung permanently within the four dingy walls. She had walked in the first day and she wouldn't have had it any other way. It reminded her too much of him, entirely too much. And she had fallen in love with it right then and there, upon associating it with him. Anything to remind her of what she had once had even if she hadn't known it then.

            She tried to focus her vision and found she couldn't. Her senses were muffled, her throat dry. Her nose was filled with a familiar scent and she could sense the faded traces of it still in the shirt she wore. It had been his shirt and it still carried his scent, albeit faintly. He had gone and she had taken the shirt with her. He wouldn't have come back for it.

She was hot in the shirt. The windows were closed again, she always forgot to open them in the morning when she awoke and this time she was happy for it. The rain would have swept in and damaged the wooden floors even more than they already were. She didn't want to be held responsible. Not another debt to pay back. She had too many of those as it was. And she didn't know how long she would need the room. She had been here for an eternity already.

            The feminine voice drifted up from the bar and she merely lay there in the darkness, lost in dulled senses, listening to the husky voice and wanting to be carried away with it. The lazy sax, the underlying piano. And the woman's voice. Magical. Under the influence she was even more beautiful. Almost like being swallowed by a fluid as thick as honey, as heavy and warm. She felt the music through the mattress under her limp frame, felt it travel down her body like the caress of a lover. And it reminded her entirely too much of the past she was trying to escape. And maybe that was why she had come here. Mars. The bar. She had come to escape her past by running into its arms. She didn't want to escape it. She wanted it to find her again, the way it had found her before.

            But it wouldn't happen this time. Things as elusive as luck rarely happened twice in a lifetime and her chance had come and gone. Her chance.

            She reached blindly at the bedside table, refusing to put on the lamp for she knew it would sting her eyes, trigger a headache that hovered very near. She just needed it, a bit more. One more to throw back, to ease away the coming consciousness. Her hand cracked against glass and she only barely managed to wrap her fingers around the neck before it toppled over. Fumbling in the darkness she dragged the bottle to her body, embracing it as she tried to open it. Her coordination was off, and she couldn't seem to force a grip as her fingers slipped across the neck dumbly.

            Damn it…

            She shut her eyes, trying to focus her attention on the task but all she heard was the music, the pounding rain outside her window. And behind her closed eyelids she saw the faint flicker of the neon signs, heard their buzzing. And the light drifting in from the streetlamp was such a murky yellow. She caught hold of the neck once more and finally wrenched the bottle open, tossing away the cap and hearing it bounce across the floor somewhere far away. Good riddance. Squeezing her shut eyes tightly she tilted the bottle back and took a swig, forcing it down her dry throat and feeling it burn the entire way down. One drink and then another. Just drinking. It was close to finishing anyway. In the morning she would go out and get herself another bottle. So it wouldn't be a terrible thing to finish off this bottle. She just needed more. To drag her away to a world of dreams, not this cold, uninviting place.

            No. No, no, no. You need to stop…

            She swallowed frantically, chugging it as if it were one a soft drink. Her throat was going to be raw in the morning if she ever came out of her stupor. And she was happy for it. One more day of not feeling, one more. And then she'd go back to being at least a little bit responsible. She'd get back to bounty hunting. She needed the money anyway. Her cash flow was hardly flowing, to say the least. But she wanted this night, this one moment to numb herself. To stop all the visions from reemerging. The sights, the sounds, the smells. She didn't want any of it. She couldn't handle it at the moment. Tomorrow she'd be able to handle it but please, God, not now. Not now.

            And with a bitter cry she pulled the bottle from her mouth, and she flung it away, recoiling as it crashed against the far wall and cracked into pieces. Splinters scattered across the floor and she ignored it, settling back down with a tired sob.

            I have to face it. I have to face it. I can't stay here like this, I can't…

            The woman's voice was mournful and husky, her sadness hovering poignantly in the darkness and that woman seemed to understand. The woman understood her pain as if she lived it herself. She understood. It was why she had stayed here in the end. To listen to the woman sing every night, to listen to the beats and melodies that drifted up to her. It was the only reason.

            That and because it was Mars.

            She had been foolish to think coming here would help her understand. Understand him. Understand his reasons. It wasn't as if he were there anymore anyway. But coming here would be the closest she could get to him now. The only way. He had been born here. And he would remain here forever, his memory walking the streets. And she wanted to feel included in that, even if she had never been included before. She wanted to feel close to him, especially now that he was gone. She wanted to believe that one day she would turn and she would see him standing far off, smoking a cigarette, leaning against a wall and gazing up into the darkening sky. She wanted to believe it. She wanted to believe it so much. And she didn't want it to be that she saw him in someone else. That man standing under the streetlamp, bathed in its yellow light, she wanted that man to be him. Only him.

            She opened her eyes slowly and gazed at the falling rain, watching it patter and blur as her vision swam. In rhythm to the music from the bar. In time to her beating heart, muffled as it was. The alcohol would help her. She would sleep now, sleep the night. And in the morning, when she awoke, she would see to the mess she had made in her drunken state. In the morning.

            In the morning.

            Her eyes drifted shut once more, becoming heavy, and she pressed her cheek into the pillow, breathing in the scent of her damp hair. She smelled like cigarettes. She loved the smell of cigarettes. Cigarettes and alcohol. There was no other way to live. Oh, and the music, yes. Yes. No other way. She had lived the past like this. She would live the present the same way. It was the only way.

            "Look at these eyes. One of them is a fake, because I lost it in an accident. Since then, I have been seeing the past in one eye, and the present in the other."

            She didn't want to hear this again, not again. Grimacing, she lifted her hands to her face and they felt strange against her skin. She felt swollen and muffled but his voice remained clear, bouncing around in her head like a ghost, so eerily. So potent. Her frame shook as she heard his voice again, as she felt it run through her entire body to her core. And the world spun in the darkness behind her closed eyes, even as she tried to control it, as she tried to stop it. Dizzying, so dizzying. He had been dizzying, intoxicating. His voice, his face, even his scent of cigarettes and loneliness. Hypnotic. She had been drawn to that in the end because in his own arrogant way he had mirrored her. He had been her. And she had only understood it in the end.

            She whimpered behind her hands. "Damn it all…you shouldn't have gone…" she whispered mournfully. And she rolled onto her side once more, tucking her elbows in and curling up into a little ball, her hands still pressed to her face.

            She had gone not long after he had. She had left the Bebop for good less than a week later and she hadn't looked back because it would have meant looking the past in the face and she hadn't been strong enough. She still wasn't strong enough.

            You shouldn't have gone. You told me once that the past didn't matter and I believed you. I believed your words and I clung to them and then you turned and left.

            Jet had been called upon to identify a body and she hadn't wanted to be a part of that. Because she knew it was him. Because she knew that the day he had died, the sun had shone brightly, brighter than she had ever seen it and she couldn't understand how the world could have been so cruel. So cruel to shine so bright on a day so dark.

            He had gone without her to identify the body. And he had returned and the look on his face had been enough to answer any question she may have had. And that very day she left everything behind and had taken to the Red Tail, had taken to the sky and hadn't looked back. Never looked back. She had looked out into space that day, fleeing as if there was a bounty on her head large enough to lure all the bounty hunters from their hiding spots, and she had flown aimlessly, lost. So lost for so long. Still lost. And the black space with its shimmering stars had beckoned her and led her throughout the solar system, everywhere and back. Until the Red Tail had landed on Mars and as she had disembarked she had known that this was the place she would be for a while. A place to gather herself, to get her head straight. She hadn't spoke to Jet since, much less Ed who had gone off that one day. She wondered from time to time if Jet was lonely. As lonely as she was.

            The woman's song had come to an end and a solitary piece came on, no words yet. Just the gentle beat lost under guitar.

            The rain had fallen away and she understood then, it hadn't stopped raining. She had just stopped paying attention. She drifted in between dream and reality and she hated this place. She hated it and she loved it. It was here that she dreamt lucidly of him, saw his face perfectly in her mind. It was here he came to her and spoke to her. Sometimes quietly and wryly, with his sardonic tone. And sometimes tenderly, gazing into her eyes. It was why she drank. Why she tried to put herself into an early grave. If she didn't drink she would stay up countless nights and just think. And she couldn't handle it. Not yet.

            In the darkness she saw his face, the darkness behind her hands, and he was under the lamppost, smoking, his hand cupped over his mouth. And as she looked toward him, straining to see his face she saw his eyes, one lighter than the other, and it was him. A small sound came from her and it echoed in the room around her, and she knew she was falling too far into the dream, knew she couldn't. She couldn't stay here. She couldn't stay with him here, not the way she wanted.

            But even as she thought it, she didn't move to draw away. And he tilted his head back, his eyes drawing away from her for a moment to gaze up into the black sky. Yellow light across his lean frame, embracing him dearly. And he flicked away the cigarette and began to draw close, sauntering down the path to where she stood.

            You aren't real. You aren't real.

            His face fell into shadow as he passed away from the streetlight but even in the darkness his eyes shone and she waited on trembling knees. No more Faye Valentine, Bounty Hunter. Faye Valentine with the lost past. There was no need to maintain the tough exterior here. Here, in this place, he saw her as she was and she saw him as he was. How she thought he was. Because he had hidden away too much as well and in the end it had all taken him away.

            "You aren't real, I know you aren't," she whispered hazily and his smile was sardonically playful, his hands in his pockets. It pained her to see it so clearly.

            "And yet you always come back," he said in a low tone, pausing before her.

            And the world shifted then, just as she caught his scent in the cold air. The street brightened and she found herself seated inside the bar, her elbows propped up on the counter. The music was loud here but still soothing, relaxing. She automatically reached for a drink before her and she hadn't ordered it but it was there for her. It was always there for her. And if she turned her head to look to her side she saw him next to her, another cigarette to his mouth, fumbling with his lighter. She gazed at him as he lit it, at the familiar lighter, and then she watched as he tossed the lighter aside to grasp the cigarette. And she reached out, wanting to feel him, needing to understand that he was real, even if only here. An eyebrow arched as she took the lit cigarette from his lips and, thoughtlessly, she took a drag, feeling it to be slightly damp from his mouth.

            "Hey. Get your own," he drawled with a shake of his head and he reached into his pocket once more to retrieve another.

            She merely looked at him, sliding the lighter towards herself as he placed another cigarette in his mouth. He followed her movements questioningly, already having slowly reached out for it and she hesitated before leaning toward him, offering the cigarette hanging between her lips. With a dry look and a smile behind his cigarette he closed the distance between them and lit his cigarette from hers, his scent strong enough to assault her. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, hovering lost in his scent as his cigarette flared. He slowly pulled away from her and her eyes came open as he did so, catching the sardonic smile. Always sardonic. Wry humor and wit.

            The music was slow and sweet around them. Almost muffled, even, and Faye lifted her gaze, blinking as her vision blurred. The singer to the back of the bar was tall. Blond. Perfect. As Julia had been but she wasn't Julia. And beside her he inhaled a puff of cigarette smoke into himself, his lean frame lazy.

            "Why do you do this?" she asked him in between a cigarette pull and a small sip of her drink.

            His smile quirked at her question, amused. "I don't do this, Faye, you do. You always do this. You always come back here, always looking for me."

            She averted her gaze at his words, paling slightly. Of course he was right. But she hadn't wanted to believe it. She wanted it to be someone's fault other than her own. With trembling fingers she reached out and took hold of an ashtray, dragging it back toward herself.

            He reached out and stopped her halfway, merely looking at her. She met his eyes once more in surprise and his eyes narrowed as he puffed the end of his cigarette. She stayed there, her hand caught lightly under his and, exhaling a cloud of smoke, he said, "One day I won't be here for you to come running back to."

            She blinked at him, silent for a moment. The smoke in the bar was beginning to sting her eyes, blurring his image. And the woman's song had slowed ominously, her hands trailing across the piano keys just as slowly. "You aren't here now," she murmured and she wrenched the ashtray from his grip. "You haven't been for a while."

            He gazed at her. And for a small moment lost in time, the smallest instant, the world blackened and became her musty room. Her vision distorted in that small moment, her entire frame burning, perspiration beading on her smooth brow.

            And looking dazedly toward her window, standing in the yellow light of the streetlight watching the rain fall was his figure, an arm raised against the glass as he looked out.

            She blinked, the world turning golden once more and the music was loud here, the smoke so thick it suffocated. She looked down, finding herself clutching the ashtray in a tight grip.

            "You never want to stay in one place, at one time," he sighed and he stretched wearily, grimacing. "Always bouncing from place to place when it suits you. Even in your dreams."

            She smiled faintly at his words as he glanced toward the pianist.

            Because no matter where I see you, where I envision you-

            "You're always beautiful," she murmured aloud. And she saw him glance at her slowly, flicking ash into the tray.

            "Well," he shrugged and smiled, "I try."

            And in that dark room, in the black vision, illuminated only by the yellow light streaming in through the window, he turned his head to look at her where she lay in the darkness, the shadowy trails of raindrops slipping across his face as they raced down the window.

            He was smiling at her as she raised her gaze once more in the bar, smoking his cigarette lazily and then reaching over and taking a drink from her glass. It was true. She did jump around too much. Always wanting him in this scene, in that one. Embracing his lanky frame to hers in the darkness of her sorrow. In the murky golden light. In the blue shadows of a cloudy day. Holding him, embracing him. Almost as if dancing, her hand creeping up to clasp the back of his neck, or taking his arm and winding it around her waist where it belonged. Where it had always belonged.

            Or in the moonless night with only the stars shimmering outside her window, the streetlight busted and bathing them in pure shadow, his nude frame pressed to hers. The sounds of the shifting bed and the soft whispers, faint pained cries. She always saw him, held him, one way or the other.

            "What will it be tonight?" he asked her in his drawling, teasing tone, taking another pull of his cigarette. "Out in the street, in the alley? It's one of my personal favorites. Or I can just clear off the counter and we can do it here." His smile was lecherous. "It is your dream, after all."

            "Don't belittle it," she rapped out, feeling anger rise inside. "You may have been in love when you were alive, but you had a chance to express it. I was never given that chance." Her eyes flickered as she looked away. "Especially not with you gone."

            He tossed her a bored look, flicking ash. "You're arguing with yourself, Faye. I say what you want me to say. I appear when you want me to appear. It's…" and his expression softened slightly, eyes dropping to the cigarette clutched in his hand. "It's all I can do for you now."

            "And it's me wanting to hear it," she whispered and she suddenly felt hot tears in her eyes. She lifted the hand clutching her cigarette to her face, burying her eyes into her palm. Even in this godforsaken dream she didn't want him to see her cry. She blocked away the music for a moment and it became muffled, sounding the way it did when it drifted through the floor to reach her in bed. Under the cover of her hand she blinked back the tears, feeling stupid. It was her dream and even here she couldn't control herself. With the tiniest sniffle she said shakily, "You don't speak to me, Spike. You don't comfort me. I comfort myself. And it's crazy because all this…" she motioned to him blindly, knowing he paid her attention because she wanted him to, "this is going to kill me in the end. I'm no better off now than I was a year ago and it's so much heavier now, this burden. This tragedy." Her tone hardened, became sardonic at her last words.

            He remained silent and in the background came the gentle plucking of guitar strings, the husky voice of the singer.

            She inhaled, trembling, to calm herself and then, turning her head from him she rose off the barstool. "I have to go."

            He made a small sound beside her and as she turned to go he caught her from behind, whirling her back around roughly. "Don't go. Don't go-" he said and he was standing as well, his hands rising to grasp her face, trapping her hair to her cheeks.

            "No. No," she murmured as he came closer, his breath warm against her brow. She clenched her eyes shut tightly, lifting her arms and fumbling against him. "This isn't real. This isn't-"

            He clutched her with a hard grip, forcing her head up but she kept her eyes shut, willing him to release her. And yet, deep inside herself she understood that she didn't really want him to release her. If she really had, he would have. But she continued to thrash, one arm flying out as she looked to regain some kind of balance along the counter. Her hand connected with her drink, sending the glass flying to crack and smash against the far wall.

            "No," she said through gritted teeth, flailing. "No-"

            And releasing her face he instead wrapped his arms around her and hoisted her up easily. Her arms automatically wound around his neck, crushing him to her collar and with the music faint in the background she felt him drop her onto the counter roughly.

            One night. One more night and tomorrow she would go back. She'd reclaim her life. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. For now she wanted this moment, this release. But not here. Too rough. She wanted something soft beneath her, wanted him gently.

            And as her world darkened to her room once more, at the window he turned his head to look toward her, the shadows of raindrops trailing down his haunted face. She turned her head against her pillow, feeling a sudden wave of nausea and his face blurred, wavering in and out of focus. She couldn't keep back the groan of pain as dizziness swept over her and this wasn't the way she wanted it. She had wanted a bed, not a headache.

            "Spike-" she whispered, and she lifted a hand to her forehead, her palm sliding across a perspiring brow. The world spun too much, his frame shifting and bobbing, and she reached out blindly for her bedside table. It would comfort her in her dream as well as it did in the true world, because obviously wishing the sickness away wasn't working.

            This was her subconscious taking control at last. She would have him tonight, in this way, with this mind-numbing dizziness. And every night thereafter until she finally straightened out. Until she pushed him away for good. Because even now, through this dizzying vision of her dream, he was still there.

            He would always be there.

            Her hand couldn't find the bottle of alcohol, nor any painkillers. And she groaned, feeling cheated. It was unfair. All she wanted was one more night, just between them. Nothing in the way.

            Perhaps going to bed drunk had followed her into her dreams.

            Turning her head, feeling the gentle jazz through her bed, she tried to focus on him. She still wanted him. Even if this was the only way it would happen, she still wanted him.

            At the window he gazed at her still, holding his suit jacked over his shoulder, one arm raised against the windowpane once more. And he exhaled almost mournfully, merely staring at her silently. After a small moment he said, "It always rains…" in his liltingly quiet tone.

            Gently. She had wanted it gently.

            "Yes," she whispered, her vision blurring, her sense muffled. "Especially since you left."

            It was so easy to be truthful in a dream. Even in what could only be a drunken state in a dream. She sighed, closing her eyes from the spinning world and he shifted a bit at the window, making a small sound. The pain was tremendous. Would she wake up feeling the same way she felt here in this dream? Even after having taken the painkillers? She reached out blindly once more, searching desperately. She couldn't take it-

            There was a shuffle of movement and then his hand closed over hers, his fingers cool. She paused in her mindless shuffling and she opened her eyes a tiny bit, wincing.

            He stood above her, his head turned to the bedside table, clutching his jacket still. He came in and out of focus and it was hard to see him that way. On top of it, the room was dark, the yellow light of the streetlight not reaching far enough to illuminate him.

            This dream was going to be a nightmare.

            "I can't make the pain go away-" she murmured as he placed her hand on her pillow beside her head. She gazed at him, narrowing her eyes, trying to bring him into focus. And he did shift in and out of view, his lean lanky frame and thick hair. "I stop feeling pain when I dream about you, but it won't go away now. And I can't find the damned alcohol…"

            He gazed down at her, a ghost of a smile on his face and he slowly looked over his shoulder toward the floor. "I bet," he said in what seemed to be a joking tone.

            She exhaled painfully, turning her head away and the bed shifted under his weight as he sat beside her. The rain was slowing, in time to the beat of the music that reverberated through her entire form. She loved this music. She would always love this music.

            His hand came down lightly upon her forehead, a smooth cool touch, and she felt relief from it, the first real relief since wishing them into her room. Her breath came out in a sigh and she felt his presence, breathed the scent of cigarettes. Cigarettes, alcohol and even bell peppers sometimes.

            She burst out laughing at her thought, her hand moving to cup her eyes. And the laughter suddenly turned into tears. Pure, painfully hot tears. She couldn't believe it. They suddenly rose in her eyes, spilling forth, and she managed to cut off a sob, her palm pressing tightly to her eyes to catch the tears. What an embarrassment. A damned humiliation in this damned dream.

            His other hand lifted and wrapped around her wrist and she shook her head, trying to pry herself free of his grip. But his hold tightened and he pulled at her arm, dragging her hand even as she fought.

            Don't look. Don't look at me, at my pain. Don't see-

            But as he dragged her hand free with one hand, the other hand cupping her forehead slid down to cover her eyes. She stiffened for a moment, his cool skin pressed to her hot tears, easing them away, easing the heat that escaped her. She lay stunned under his hand, her own hand slowly falling limp in his other grip.

            And she understood what he said, what he meant, with his gesture. What she had always wanted herself to believe even though she had never allowed herself to.

            Sometimes it was ok to cry, even when you didn't want others to see. So long as you cried.

            She settled limply on her bed, relaxing under his hands and even the nausea softened. All was silent as they sat in darkness and for the first time she felt the need to sleep in a dream. She had always had him in her dreams, gently, roughly, desperately. But never had she merely lay in his grasp, listening to the gentle music and hearing her heart pound beat in tune to the gentle melody. Was it a waste, to spend precious moments of a dream in silence, only in the company of another?


            His hand slowly pulled away from her eyes, trailing across her features and in the blissful silence she opened her eyes to look at him, to bring him into focus.

            And they stood under a streetlamp together, gazing up as it rained, blinded by the light but murmuring about how it seemed that the rain fell from the light itself. Smiling and even laughing, motioning. Being in the presence of each other.

            The world turned yellow, the dusky yellow of the bar and she was pressed to him, hearing his heartbeat and knowing that this was the only place she could ever hear it again. Ever smell him again.

            The music was soft, a simple piano piece, and a pained voice singing quietly along. At the bar she also sat and she watched herself, sitting with him, gazing at him for he sat with her as well.

            Life is only a dream after all…

            And the pains slowly began to seep in again and she knew she was returning to her room. Returning to the place that would fuel her withdrawal of him. And her eyes came open to see him beside her on the bed and also back at the window, gazing out into the rain.

            "It always rains…" he said from the window, turning his head slowly to look at her.

            Yes, it always did.

            She shook her head to herself, aware of his hand clutching her wrist still, his other arm at his side, propping up his lean frame on the bed. He smiled faintly at her, a bit haughtily. "Geez, Faye, you look like crap. And in my shirt, too," he murmured in a low tone.

            She bet she did but her expression darkened nonetheless. "Hey, this is my dream. You're supposed to be telling me how beautiful I am," she growled, and she lifted her hand to her head once more, grimacing. Her head was pounding, her vision swimming.

            "Uh-huh…" his smile was wry once more. And he cocked his head, merely looking at her with the smile slipping a bit but still faintly visible there. She felt strange, allowing him to gaze at her, feeling nude before him. She never cared about being before him nude because he always wanted her anyway. But now…now she felt a bit of shame. Nervous. She turned her eyes from him, rolling her head along her pillow and wanting him to stop gazing at her that way.

            From the corner of her eye, through blurred vision, she saw him bow his head and then slowly turn to look back toward the window, to watch the rain trail down the surface.

            "Hate it when it rains," she heard him murmur softly.

            She turned her eyes away to stare into the darkness of her room, of her bed. She understood him only too well. Understood every rainy day as another day that he wouldn't be returning. Every rainy day saddened her. As did every sunny day. And any kind of day in between.

            And the nights were the worst of them all.

            "Why did you go?" she asked quietly and she always asked him the same question and he always came up with an answer that satisfied her but only because it was herself speaking through him. Always that question though. Her head pounded as she asked it and she breathed to calm it.

            He didn't turn his face back to her and below them a saxophone began a mournful piece, muffled, and soon accompanied by the slight tinkling of piano keys. He hesitated momentarily, listening to it, and his chest rose and fell with a sigh. "You know why I went, Faye. You know why I had to go."

            She blinked slowly, hearing his voice subdued through a wall of buzzing static. "What?" she asked softly with a grimace and she looked at him once more, frowning.

            He bowed his head again and slowly he released her wrist, pulling away and shifting along the bed. His hand came to rest on the other side of his frame and he faced ahead fully, his head still turned to the window.

            "I needed to find her. I needed her."

            She stared at him and around her the room swam. Her gaze shifted, looking to focus, but the rush of dizziness was immense and she shook her head roughly, to clear away the damned cobwebs.

            What is going on..?

            "I can't stop by a lounge without thinking I'll see her, or a bar without wondering if she'll be there."

            With trembling hands she clutched her head, wincing, and at the window his vision remained even though he sat beside her as well. Tears rose in her eyes as he looked at her once more, as he said yet again that it always rained. And the vision of him beside her was whispering, "I did it to know that I had lived. That I wasn't just the shell of a person…"

            "You didn't need her!" she cried and he turned his head to look at her, eyes widening. She reached out and wrapped her fingers around his wrist and he looked down as she did so, staring in confusion.

            With an effort she slowly rose and his eyes followed her as she came close, but her vision of him swam in her eyes and she lifted her other hand to her face, grimacing. She was still perspiring, feeling as if she was burning up and the world was dizzying. He sat stiffly, waiting for her and with great difficulty she whispered, "You didn't need her. You don't need her. Not the way-"

            She lifted her head and he stared at her, lips parted.

            "Life is a dream, after all…" said his vision from the window and the scene shifted to more darkness, to an alley, and she felt the cold stiffness of a wall at her back but the warm hard planes of his frame as he pressed her to a wall, as he pulled at her clothes, freeing her of them roughly.

            "What will it be tonight? Out in the street, in the alley?"

            Was this the way she wanted it? Was this the only way she would ever have it? She lay her head back against the wall, not putting up a fight as he came close, as his skin pressed to hers. She wanted more. So much more. More than the mere feel of his flesh to hers, his mouth on her body. She wanted-

            And in the darkness of her bedroom she lifted her free hand and placed it against the side of his face as he stared at her with wide slanted eyes, his lips parting slowly. It was smooth, his skin, untarnished, and she slid her eyes to look at her hand there, watched herself as she ran her fingers over his cheek and down to his jaw. Her vision continued to blur, the headache pounding near her temple, but the coolness of his skin traveled from him into her through the touch, through her trailing fingers.

            He allowed her, remaining still and silent under her hand.

            "Your skin feels different," she whispered to him, a small frown crossing her face. But it was the alcohol. Even when she was awake she knew that when she was intoxicated everything felt different to her hand. And now his skin was much too smooth, too cool. She stared at her hand as it blurred and then came into view clearly before blurring once more and she fought for the clearness, fought to see him in the darkness.

            She lifted her other hand to his face, searching it for marks, any scars, but all she came across was the pained frown he wore and she ran her fingers across it, smoothing it away. The rain pattered outside, close by, the wind suddenly howling for a moment and to the side her other vision of him turned away from her and lifted both hands to the glass, trailing his fingers down the pane.

            "Is this the last time, then?" she asked him quietly and as he frowned once more in light confusion, "that I will be with you? The last time I'll dream about you? You're going to leave after this, like you always do. But…you're not going to be coming back like you always do…"

            At the window he bowed his head and placed it against the glass, closing his eyes as he dragged his hands down once more. "I say what you want me to say. I appear when you want me to appear. It's all I can do for you now."

            She grimaced, pushing away the piano that filtered up to them, the woman's warm voice. "You can't come back, Spike. I can't let you in anymore. Because I'll never get better with you always here. I'll never accept the fact that you're gone if I can see you always in my dream-"

            His eyes softened at her words and he smiled faintly from in between her hands. "Life is a dream, after all…" he said to her in his low, drawling voice and she nodded at his words, not understanding if his vision blurred because of her dizziness or because of her tears.

            "Yes, it is," she replied. "And after this…it'll be time to wake up."

            "It always rains…"

            He nodded to her, eyes shifting down to her collar, her neck, and he said, "I don't…think of her anymore. Julia. When it rains…sometimes I'll think of her. But when the sun shines…that's when I'm free. That's when I think of everything else."

            She gazed at him, inhaling his scent. "And when it's dark out?"

            He hesitated, his eyes still averted. "When it's dark out…I think of you," he answered, and he lifted a hand to one of her wrists, pulling it from his face. His gaze rose to meet hers and he said, "I think of all the darkness you have inside and I wonder if you still carry it around."

            She swallowed, hearing his voice through a veil. "Darkness…and rain, now. I'll carry it always for letting my chance go."

            They were silent for a moment, the piano tinkling, the buzzing of the neon signs. And for that small moment the world was clear, the music painfully mournful. And they were together. He was with her and here, in the darkness, they were together. She inhaled deeply, wishing to comfort the stabbing ache in her head, almost vowing right then and there never to drink again.

            "I don't want the dream to end…" she whispered sadly. "I don't want to wake up to the real world…"

            "Sometimes the real world is better than the dream. The music, the emotion. The rain. Don't make the dream life. Sometimes the point of it all is to make life the dream." He tilted his head at her, still holding her wrist in one hand and she trailed her fingers down his face, the hand that he still allowed her. His eyes closed as she did so and he sighed as if weary, as if he carried a burden just as she did. "Once you do that…" and he nodded.

            She shook her head at him, her eyes shifting to her hand once more as she drew closer to him. "It doesn't work if you're gone, Spike. It never works-"

            "It will this time," he said, bringing her to a stop and her eyes shifted to meet his once more, to see the comfort there. "It will because you'll make it work."

            The vision at the window glanced toward them. "And yet, you always come back…"

            She wouldn't be able to do it. When she awoke in the morning the first thing she would do would be to buy another bottle and she'd come home and lie back down in bed and stare at the ceiling until night came and she'd begin this ritual all over again. She always came back, he was right. How could she not? She couldn't let go. She'd never be able to let go no matter how much she thought she could. No matter how much the one sitting before her assured her she could.

            "The alley is right outside…" he motioned from the window and he propped his head against the glass once more.

            "It will work because I'll make it," she whispered and she shut her eyes tightly, hating the words even as they made it passed her mouth. In the dream she could promise anything but to comply with it in real life…that would be what killed her. The words themselves made her ache, made the pain in her head flare angrily. And she clenched her hands into fists, the one against his cheek trembling. "Spike-"

            He stared at her, his expression stubborn.

            She tried to pull her wrist free of his hand as his grip tightened, refusing to release her and she yanked, fighting him. "I want to see your face-"

            "I'm here with you now," he said to her firmly, maintaining his grip and she wouldn't be surprised when she awoke if she found bruises on her.

            "You're not here!" she shouted, wrenching her hand toward herself and the gesture brought him forward into her. The mattress tipped under his weight, his hand coming down on the other side of her and she wrapped her arm around his shoulders, pressing her face into his neck. "You're not here! And you won't be here in the morning when I'll need you the most! You won't be here when I wake up!"

            And for a moment the sun drifted in through the window, pale sunlight, and she was on her back under her covers. Beside her he slept, his face turned toward her, one arm wrapped around her waist and she had dreamt this once, one of the few times that a dream had ended hopeful only for her to awaken and understand that she had been dreaming and it still rained. That it would always rain.

            In her embrace he stirred, his hand gripping her wrist and his face turned to hers, his breath soft against her face. "In the morning, no matter how much you think you will, you won't need me. Not to make your life the dream."

            She shoved away his words, pressing her eyes into his collar as they grew warm with tears. Stupid tears. And he released her hand at last, allowing her to grasp his face again, grasp his jaw and caress his neck with trembling fingers.

            "I'll always need you," she murmured, breathing against his lean frame and feeling warmth from it. Comfort. And the coldness that awaited her in the morning. "After this dream I'll need you still…" And she pulled away enough to brush her lips to the corner of his mouth, to trail them across his skin.

            He tilted his head for a moment, swallowing, and she opened her eyes to gaze at him just as his slipped shut, as his other hand lifted to her wrist once more. She pulled him closer, refusing to allow him to drag her hand away and his hand hesitated there, clasping her loosely.

            We'll have this last night…

            "Won't we?" she asked him quietly against his cheek. And when his silence turned questioning she inhaled his scent deep into herself, her hand lifting to tangle in his hair and hold him to her. "Won't I?"

            He exhaled against her, his mouth dropping to her shoulder as he rested his head against hers. Her heart beat gently, but no, that was the soft drumbeat coming through her floors. And the vision of him against the window wavered as she opened her eyes to look at him over the shoulder of the man in her arms. He looked so alone as he watched the rain come down. And the man in the alleyway, he was alone as well. As was the man that stood in the streetlight, smoking his cigarette and gazing up at the never-ending rain. She closed her eyes once more, hating that feeling of being alone and understanding it clear through to her heart. He had understood as well, those years he had spent without Julia. Just as she had understood only too well in the passed year. Her eyes gazed out into the rain along with his, hearing it patter, hearing thunder in the distance. The soft yellow light that illuminated his frame, his tired face. And she wondered if he was free in death, free at last.

            If she kept him trapped because she dreamt of him as being trapped.

            Bowing her head she turned her head to his, trapping his face between her own and the hand she had pressed to his jaw. And she kissed him gently, her fingers passing over the nape of his neck, his hair.

            He seemed to hesitate and inside she thought it was because she was also hesitant. Because to be free of him, she couldn't need him the way she did. But then his hand on her wrist slowly came to life, his thumb passing over the back of her hand, his long fingers wrapping around her wrist and he gave himself to the kiss, turned his head to hers.

            Her head swam. And it had to be this blasted dream, the inebriated haze that she wallowed in because his kiss tasted different. It had always felt the same to her, in all her dreams of him, but now, here, it was so much more sorrowful and she clutched him to her tightly, feeling as if she floated in the music that came to them still, in the scent of cigarettes and alcohol.

            The kiss ended after another tiny eternity, her lips pulling back and she kept him in her embrace for another moment still, her breathing inaudible. Had her room been spinning like this before or was it just a trick of her intoxication? And had he always felt so good in her arms, so right? She couldn't know, not with her vision swimming as it was, with her heart beating soundly in her ears, in her chest.

            And slowly she pulled away from him to look him in his eyes and his eyes also came open, his expression one of faint surprise.

            "One more night," she whispered to him, her hand trailing from his jaw to his lips to brush against them gently. "Just one."

            Wordlessly, his eyes shifting to her mouth before lifting back to her own eyes, he closed the distance between them and returned a kiss to her, reaching for her with his free hand as well as pulling her by the wrist to embrace him fully.

            She went silently, sighing into his kiss, and as he released her wrist she wound both arms around his shoulders, rising onto her knees to press herself close to him. Her hands tangled in his hair, pulling him closer to her, as if she could merge him with her. Merge herself with the falling rain, the husky sax drifting into her room. Float on the underlying piano melody. Only in his arms could she ever do that. Only with him could she ever see passed the rain…

Ok so basically from this point on it will kinda get lemony so if you guys want to finish the chapter please stop by my site (it's on my profile page) and check it out. I am abiding by all rules for fanfiction.net, gomen ne… =(

But please review nonetheless, I want to know what you guys thought! And if you're into Inuyasha I also have some fics on that up on this site and on my own. =)

I hope this wasn't too weird or too OOC…