A/N: From a moody state of mind, a late night tune was born; and it was infinite. Lyrics at the end are from "Lament for Remembrance," written by yours truly.

"That's What Jazz Is All About"

I sit out in the main room, alone. One light is on, and it creates a tiny sphere of light in the middle of this dark ship. The radio is playing and I sit on the couch, alone.

I forgot, all that time before the Bebop, about how much I loved music. Swing, bebop, the blues - all that jazz. I never bothered to listen to any of the music in the casinos I worked at; somehow, it didn't fit for me. But when I joined the Bebop, it all came back to me. The radio seems to be on half the time here, and it's almost always tuned into jazz.

Jazz is so interesting. It's like ice cream - there are infinite flavors. There is the wriggly bebop for which this ship was named; the blues, soulful and sad; lounge jazz, and acid jazz, ragtime, and swing in all its glory. Jazz is all about the rhythm, about the beat and the movement. It's about what you do with that rhythm, the atmosphere you create for yourself.

And more than anything, what I want to do with that rhythm is dance. I miss dancing, real dancing; I haven't felt the itch in my feet for so long. Too long.

The announcer comes on the radio, a woman with a deep voice like rain. She rattles off the names of the last few songs, and then is cut off abruptly by a drumbeat.

One. Two. Three. One. Two. Three. Like a waltz almost, with that lilting three-beat pattern; but no, this one's swing. It's saxophones and trumpets, trombones and trap sets and wailing clarinets.

My feet itch.

It doesn't matter, really, if I get up and dance; I'm alone. Jet and Ed are asleep, Spike's showering, and Ein won't tell. If my feet want me to, why not? Why not fall into the rhythm? There's enough time for this one whirl around the floor. So I get up, and I begin to move.

Fast beat, trippy, suitable for a Charleston; I never mastered that dance, though. I can only improvise - but that's what jazz is all about, anyways. It's about letting your soul and your body take you where they want to take you. You've got to let the music wash over you and steal you away. Reality doesn't exist in music. The notes are a dream, a beautiful haunting dream.

I move, and the swing takes over. I remember other days, clubs filled with cigarettes and swing kids, liquor and jazz. I can't be sure if it was before the gate accident or right after, when I was so out of it; everything is blurred for me. Maybe it's both. Maybe it's a memory from yesterday. Reality, dreams, before, after, memory, forgetfulness - what are they in the end?

Dance to the music, at least that can never hurt you.

"Having fun, Faye?" The spell is broken by his voice. I turn. Spike is standing in the doorway, wearing pajama pants and a towel flopped over his head. His chest is still wet from the shower - the sole light makes the droplets gleam on his skin.

I smile at him; no use letting him know that he ended that moment. "It's jazz." I start to turn back to my swing, when a movement of his hand stops me.

He's holding it out.

"Care to dance?" he asks. I stop and stare at him. He pulls out a cigarette and lights it, takes a long drag. The silver ribbon he exhales is everything about those jazz days, wrapped into one wavy thread of smoke. He looks at me with his nonchalant eyes, so confident and careless like always. He holds out his hand again, and I nod.

My feet still itch, after all.

We dance the last few bars of the swing song; it ends in a crash of trumpets and snares, and then silence. That little smile is on his face, the one he gets when he's oddly pleased by something. It's the jazz smile, the smile everyone gets when they're swinging.

Another song starts, this one a slow and sad tune. Soul blues. A trumpet calls, and a flute answers. I close my eyes and listen.

Trumpet, sorrowful and crying - "where are you, where have you gone?" it sings to me.

Flute, slow and breathy - "ah, what has passed?" it sings to me.

I feel a hand on my lower back, and then another arm delicately around my shoulders. Surprised, I open my eyes and raise my head. Spike's eyes are closed, as if he too hears words in the music. I wonder what's going on behind those eyelids, what's running through that thick skull of his. He has discarded his cigarette - it's probably smoldering on the floor. I wrap my arms around his neck and lean against him, resting my head on his still-damp shoulder. His body is strong, and comforting in the way that a man's body is. It's like a lazy serenade on a hot summer's day; warm, smooth, sweet as lemonade. It's a new spell, slightly intoxicating. I'd forgotten what it was like to be held.

His arms tighten around me, just the tiniest bit, as the vocalist starts to sing. I almost wish the song had stayed with instrumentals. The trumpet and the flute, with their soulful call-and-answer, were almost lyrics enough. But her voice is strong and beautiful, and it is sadder than the music.

"Days pass by," she sings, "a thousand suns and one. They say life goes on, but does it matter if I died once? Can we all have nine lives?"

Spike stiffens, and I remember how he said he had died before. That's another thing about the jazz memories, another thing that jazz is all about. You can never hide your heart from the music. From your family, your friends, your everyone, but not from the music. I gently stroke his hair underneath the towel, and he rests his brow against my temple. His breath is light on my neck. Every so often it catches, as if he's suppressing something. I bury my face deeper in his shoulder; maybe he, too, had forgotten what it's like to be held, what's it's like to dance.

She sings on. "They say there's only the moment, and that the moment is now, but the moment is for eternity. The days keep passing by and the sun rises and falls." And the days do pass by; they will pass until the end of the world. Then, who knows what will pass? There's nothing that can be done. We all change, but time marches on. We can only walk blindly down the road, heads held high and fingers snapping to the ragtime in our heads.

"Life flies by with all my regrets and memories. Once I would have said that there was something more, but now I can only say "cry for me". . . you can lose but you can never forget." And life does fly by, and we can never really forget. Even I can't really forget.

"Sometimes that tragic figure standing in the rain, other times I find myself that little girl again. . . lament for remembrance." I stiffen myself at these words. All those missing and forgotten memories. . . my own lament. I cling to him, and he clings back. Two lost and lonely souls, one simple dance; it's amazing the way that sharing a dance makes it all the more haunting and bittersweet. Jazz tears. That's what jazz is all about; sharing heartbreak and making more of it.

The trumpet calls again as her voice fades, and the flute answers. Spike and I sway in the middle of the room, and they continue slowly, softly, as the song dies out.

:::lament:::