Faye didn't know how long she stood there crying, only that it seemed an eternity before she could pull herself together enough to stop the torrent of tears.  'That stupid, arrogant- lunkhead!' she raged to herself.  'What right does he have to do this to me?' She might have gone on for quite a while in this vein, if not for a thought that popped abruptly into her head, causing her eyes to widen in hope she wouldn't allow herself to feel.  'The lunkhead took the Swordfish II, and the Redtail is broken, but the Hammerhead should still be here, and functional…  Yes!  There it is!'

            Jet, who was still absentmindedly running a rag over the window, didn't notice Faye had commandeered the Hammerhead until he heard the engine.  "Faye!" he bellowed through the radio, "what the hell do you think you're doing?"

            "I have to see him, Jet.  Even if he's dead…" she faltered for only a moment.  "I have to see him."

            "It won't do any good.  He's dealing with his own past.  You and I both know he isn't coming back, so get out of the Hammerhead!"

            "Open the hanger, Jet, or I'll crash through it.  I don't have a lot of time." Faye's voice was quiet, and deadly as Jet had ever heard it.

            "You don't even know where he went!" Jet argued.

            "I'll find him." Faye said, her characteristic cool confidence back in place.  "Are you going to open the hanger or not?"

            Cursing, Jet obliged.

*

            Edward watched her father's vehicle disappear into the horizon.  He'd forgotten her again. 

            Edward did not like being forgotten. 

            He also didn't have the time to play with her very much, so the system that had evolved consisted of Edward going off with Ein to play, her father forgetting about her and leaving, and Edward catching up to him and McIntyre days later.  Frankly, Edward was beginning to tire of the sensation of being jerked by a leash. 

            But Faye- Faye had said this was where she belonged, and belonging was the best thing in the world.

            But was this where she belonged?  Ein didn't seem to think so; he kept looking back, as though the Bebop were waiting just out of sight. 

            Was she Francois, or Edward? 

*

            It was easy enough for Faye to track the Swordfish II from the Hammerhead, with the equipment  Jet had and some tricks she'd picked up from watching Edward work. 

            She kept her gun at the ready as she entered the syndicate building.  She could tell Spike had been here; the place showed signs of being blown apart in several places. 

            But where was he?  And for that matter, where were the members of the Red Dragons?  'The live ones, that is.' Faye thought, wrinkling her nose at the bodies.  She decided to try upstairs. 

            After rooting around for a few minutes, she found a group and discreetly followed them.  It wasn't hard, with the racket they were making. 

            They stopped at the foot of a staircase.  Faye was surprised to notice how light it was, but the sound of halting footsteps drew her attention back to the matter at hand.

            It was a bloodied Spike, making his way downward.  Teal eyes met brown ones that didn't see her. 

            Spike raised an arm, aimed a finger, squinted an eye shut.  Faye couldn't tell if it was the eye that saw the present or the past that was open. 

            "Bang." said Spike Spiegel, and collapsed.

            Faye stood paralyzed with the members of the Red Dragon Syndicate for a long moment.  Finally, however, she snapped herself out of it, bit the top off a grenade hidden in her red sweater, and ducked behind a wall.  She figured if grenades were good enough for Spike- on- a- death/vengeance- mission, they were good enough for her. 

            She waited until the debris settled before running up to Spike and turning him over.  He was bleeding badly, and hardly breathing.  Faye cursed and knelt next to him, removing his trench coat and tearing it into hasty bandages. 

            Faye contacted the hospital on her communicator, then Jet.

*

            Jet wondered if it was really worth the trouble of answering the insistent ringing of his communicator.  It could only be Faye, telling him Spike was dead, and probably wanting comfort besides.

            Well, he was tired of being yanked around, dammit!  He didn't have to take this, he was fine on his own, thank you very much.

            He lasted for three rings before snatching the annoying little thing up and turning it on.  "What?"  His snarl would have scared a burly grown man.

            Faye wasn't fazed.  "He's alive, Jet.  Barely, but he's alive!"

            "What?" he repeated, without the rancor.

            "He's alive." Faye, in a turnaround from her usual habits, didn't seem to mind repeating herself.  "I'll come get you."

            Jet turned off the communicator and slowly set it down, his mind trying to wrap itself around the fact that Spike was actually alive.  For the moment, anyway.

A/N:  This is just something I started at the end of the series, because I couldn't accept Spike's death.  (Insert shameless plug for Hope, Denial and Chocolate.)  Let me know if you want me to continue with this.