Disclaimer: I do not own Cowboy Bebop or any of its characters. Lyrics from "It Doesn't Matter" by Alison Krauss have been used.

Where It Leads

When he left

It doesn't matter what I want
It doesn't matter what I need
It doesn't matter if I cry
Don't matter if I bleed

He had to leave. The decision was not hers to make for him, but his to make for himself. She was not a factor in his equation.

You've been on a road
Don't know where it goes
or where it leads

She couldn't stop him.

It doesn't matter what I want
It doesn't matter what I need
If you've made up your mind to go
I won't beg you to stay

She wouldn't stop him.

You've been in a cage
Throw you to the wind
you fly away

She was the bright, yellow canary and he the captured and chained hawk. And the chain had been broken.

Lifting her hand, she pulled the trigger. Shots rang out consecutively. Bang. Bang. Bang.



What would you do if I died?

She watched as he lifted the grilled pepper with his chopsticks from the bowl into his mouth. His wonderful, terrible, forbidden mouth.

What would you do if I died? If someone just took a knife and pierced my heart with it, right in front of your eyes?

Laying the now empty bowl down, Spike sighed and laid back down on the yellow couch. Later, when he left, she could lay in the imprint his body left on the seat. She could let herself sink into where his long form had been, engulfing herself in his prior presence. Back on the ship for 12 hours and he'd already claimed back his territory.

Would you cry? Would you hold me until my eyes slowly closed and my last labored breath was gone? Would you-

The clatter of cheap plastic dishes and water running broke her train of thought.

"I cook. I clean. I fix things. Why can't you guys bring in some money to at least show some appreciation?" Jet grumbled as he started doing the dishes. Faye secretly smiled. His gruff exterior could not hide the paternal affection he gave so selflessly and she had taken so selfishly.

But not anymore. Now I cook and clean, too.

But she didn't object. She knew that Jet was just happy to have things back to normal. Or, at least, the way it had once been on the Bebop.

Faye sat in the chair by the couch. His couch. But he had his hands behind his head and newspaper over his face, possibly sleeping, possibly not. Taking out the deck, she let her hands feel the cool smoothness of her playing cards.


She began to play.

This is my game. This is my life.

Faye thought about herself in two ways: the way she had been before being frozen and the way she was after being awoken. She'd been a sweet girl. Clear, trusting eyes and a shy smile. Those same eyes had turned cynical and that smile had become sarcastic, but how else was a person to turn after being awakened alone and lost? She did what she had to do to survive. On her own.

You tell a girl she owes you more money than she can count the second she wakes up and expect her to be all right?

Slapping a card down, Faye told herself to breathe.

In and out. In. Out. Again. In...

She didn't know who she was now anymore than she did before regaining her memory. She had two people inside of her fighting against each other at all moments. The Faye she had been for almost all her life, before the accident, and the Faye she had become in the past 3 years. She was caught in between, both at the same time, but really neither. Apologizing and showing gratitude were easy to her now, but she still had a quick mouth and even quicker hands.

It's all right. I'm all right.

Faye stole a glance at him. Spike had begun to snore.

He's all right.

She still didn't know how to act in front of him, or what to say to him. After Spike had left, she and Jet had struggled to go on. Jet began to obsess even more over his bonsai trees and catching bounties. They spoke easily. He was, after all, a man. And a man would not show his grief publicly. She, on the other hand, had locked herself in her room. Playing that cursed video over and over and over again. It was completely different when she could identify all the places and people in the video.

It's all I have left from that life.

Her home was gone and all the people she had once loved had passed on.

But he didn't.

Just months after leaving, he had strolled back onto the Bebop.


When he returned

She could hear him calling her through her bedroom door. Letting out a groan, she lifted herself out of bed with great effort.

"I'm gonna go cash in on this bounty!" Jet informed her as she opened her door.


"Stay out of trouble!"


" I mean it, woman!"

"You know I won't."

He hesitated. Jet was not one to express himself emotionally, but he had more than noticed the changes taking place in Faye. She was now a little more reserved, definitely quieter, and had a smile so sad he couldn't bear to look at. It'd only been a few months since the departure of Spike, and she had yet to speak of him, but Jet was Jet. He did not know how to deal with women.

"Well, I'll be back."


Faye gathered her robe and towel before heading towards the bathroom. The shower was always giving her mixed emotions. Sometimes, she'd laugh aloud, remembering the way she kept Spike waiting outside for hours. Other times, she'd cry, remembering the way her memory had returned to her. And it never was enough for her to just tear and sniffle. No, she had to sob uncontrollably as her body shook violently. Drowning herself. But today, it was neither of those things. Brush teeth. Shampoo. Condition. Body wash. And then she was done.

That was good. That was really good.

She nodded to herself, as if to confirm her thoughts.

I was normal. I showered without getting emotional.

Water dripping from her dark hair, Faye stared at herself in the bathroom mirror. Had she changed? she wondered. Her hair was a little longer, her lips no longer red...but was that it?

Were those the only things to have changed after he'd left?

Drying herself off in her room, she hummed. Today was the day she would really start over, she'd decided. She would start bringing in money to help out Jet. He'd been so understanding in the recent weeks. Not demanding she leave her room or threatening to kick her off the ship.

Today, I will sell the Redtail. I'll give Jet the money and-

Her thoughts trailed off as she skimmed through her closet. Faye pulled a small white t-shirt over her head, it resembled a little boy's undershirt. Her pants were strange, but she liked them because they made her look tough. Tan, fitted, with different zippers and pockets. They were fighting pants.

But I'm not a bounty hunter anymore. So I don't fight...

And there was nothing hold her hair away from her face. She liked to have her hair free, falling in her face like a curtain.

Still humming, she walked into the kitchen. Pancakes and juice. Now that she could remember what she used to eat, Faye had taken it upon herself to make herself those foods. It was just one of those things that she could hold onto. She put on her blue apron, going through the ingredients in her head.

Eggs? Check. Milk? Check. Flour? Check.

She liked mixing the batter. Her mother used to let her do it all the time, she remembered. Faye had also had a special technique for mixing batter. 20 quick strokes clock wise, 20 medium strokes counter clockwise, 20 slow strokes-


And the world stopped moving.

Slowly, but surely, she turned around.

And then it began to move again.


Jacket slung over his left shoulder, cigarette between his lips, un-knotted tie hanging around his neck.

There he was.

Unruly hair, questioning eyes, head slightly tilted.

There he was.


There he was.

"You're cooking?"


In and out.

In. Out.



"Yes," she answered, breathlessly, "pancakes."

He raised his eyebrows in surprise, but his grin was casual.

"Would you like some?"

Is that my voice? Do I really sound so calm? She was sure he could hear the pounding of her heart from where he was standing, but she held her ground.

Spike hesitated in the doorway, looking at her. Her face revealed nothing.

It revealed everything.

"Sure," he said. Faye nodded and turned her back towards him.

Twenty quick strokes left, twenty slow strokes-

She could feel his eyes on her as she poured the batter into the pan. Watching her as she flipped over perfectly round pancakes.

I look domestic, she realized, that's why he was surprised. I never cooked before. I never did anything useful.

"Is four enough for you?"

God, how am I speaking to him like this?

Her voice did not waver, but was controlled and smooth. Not cold, but not warm.

"Yeah," he replied from the table.

He sounds the same, as always.

Balancing a plate of pancakes, syrup, and beer on a tray, Faye walked over to where he was sitting and began to set the food in front of him. Her face revealed nothing as she avoided his eyes. His eyes could make her scream, cry, laugh, or die. She had to avoid them at all costs.

"This is a first, huh?"

And then she did it. She looked straight into his gaze.

It is possible forget how to breathe, she realized.

Clink. Clink. Clink-

Faye looked down and realized her hand that was holding the fork was shaking. She watched as if in slow motion as a larger hand placed itself on top of hers. It was Spike's.

"Yeah, I guess it is."

The first time for her to cook for him.

The first time for his hand to touch hers.

The first time she felt sane in a long, long time.

"Faye, are you cooking? Do your own damn dishes-" Jet froze as he entered the room, "Spike?!"

Sorry if this is confusing, but I like to take my time with developing stories. This is my first time writing and I would appreciate any form of feedback. Thank you.