Me: Okay, I haven't written an angst fic in a while, so Erica gets free reign here.

Erica: *Smirks as she sits in the computer chair*

Me: Uh. Erica? You have paws. How are you gonna type?

Erica: You dare question the great, intelligent, and beautiful Erica?

Me: Yes.

Vurso: While those two argue, I must warn you that this is a HUGE tear- jerker, as well as a death-fic.

Firethroat: Yeah. Nothing is sacred to Erica.

Vurso: Anyways, none of us own Cowboy Bebop or the song Concrete Angel.

Firethroat: *Ducks as objects start to fly, courtesy of me and Erica* On with the fic.

*********************

'She walks to school with the lunch she packed.

Nobody knows what she's holdin' back.

Wearin' the same dress she wore yesterday,

She hides the bruises with linen and lace.

Oh.'

Ed sighed softly to herself as she picked restlessly at the dress she was made to wear, much rather preferring her usual shorts and tank top. But those clothes wouldn't cover what the young hacker had to hide.

Her shockingly orange hair flopped about as she shook her head, intentionally pushing the thoughts to the back of her head. Ein whined as he looked up at his mistress from where he trotted at her side, stubby tail wagging in an effort to cheer her up. The 13 year old sent him a grateful glance before looking up at the sky, swaths of blue, gray, and white being reflected upon a surface of black, white, and liquid gold, the last color in the process of maturing from the yellow it had been as a child, and the antique gold that it promised to be as an adult.

"Bebop. Faye. Jet." The Earthling murmured, head soon drooping in sorrow. "Spike."

A ringing in both sets of ears (which set Ein to whining because it hurt his) shook the girl out of her memories, and they both hurried towards the source of it. The corgi remained at the gate of the small school, settling down for a nice nap, while his owner went inside, avoiding both students and teachers alike as she sat at the back of the class. Her intelligence had easily earned her a place among the seniors (heck, she could ace college), but the carrot-top rarely ventured information, always preferring to remain quiet and just do the assignments.

'The teacher wonders but she doesn't ask.

It's hard to see the pain behind the mask.

Bearing the burden of a secret storm,

Sometimes she wishes she was never born.'

Mrs. Collins, the professor of the small class (only 15 people, including Edward) simply counted heads as a form of role call, then started writing the day's assignment on the board, which consisted of a lot of bookwork. Such information was met by fourteen identical groans, followed by the rustling of paper and scratching of various writing utensils. She was pleased to see that this time, no one was using crayon. While the teenagers all worked through the assignment (some faster than others), she walked up and down the rows, peering over shoulders to occasionally offer advice, or point out a mistake. This pattern continued until she reached her youngest, and smartest, student.

The 35 year-old's eyes narrowed at the black bruise visible even through the sleeve of the dress that Edward wore, then she sighed and moved on, knowing that her questions would be met with silence. 'She probably got it while piloting that ship of hers.' The teacher tried to comfort herself with that thought, although it didn't work very well.

Deep down, Ed was relieved, and discreetly moved her free hand to rub at the bruise, hissing under her breath at the jolt of pain that wracked her frail body at the contact.

'Father-person say that Ed is bad, so Ed must be punished. but does punishing have to hurt so much?' The thought flitted through her head, and none of her classmates noticed the single tear that dropped onto her paper, instantly being absorbed by the material.

'Through the wind and the rain,

She stands hard as a stone,

In a world that she can't rise above.

But her dreams give her wings,

And she flies to a place where she's loved:

Concrete angel.'

When school was let out, Ed and Ein raced back towards the Swordfish, the dog winning, but having to be helped up into the cockpit by the girl, who soon followed, buckling the safety straps and starting up the ship. 'Father-person be mad if Edward late.' She thought as she maneuvered the controls, soon guiding the agile fighter into effortless flight. With the speed of the old (and pink) ship, it only took them ten minutes to get back. but that was apparently ten minutes too long for Ed's father.

"You're late." He growled down at her, the red mark from where he had backhanded her to the ground already beginning to bruise and swell. "Get over and help with the mapping!" This was emphasized by a kick to the stomach, before he trudged off to listen on the radio for any more meteor crashings.

Coughing and wincing, Ed pulled herself to her feet, using the Swordfish to brace herself against until she was steady enough to limp over to Mr. M, as she called him, and start typing away on Tomato, expertly placing the sites that had been recorded while she was at school. Ein curled up beside where she sat Indian-style, sending death glares towards Edward's father.

'Somebody cries in the middle of the night.

The neighbors hear, but they turn out the lights.

A fragile soul caught in the hands of fate.

When morning comes it'll be too late.'

A soft yelp pierced the night as a slight frame made contact with a cold, unforgiving brick wall. Pained, tired, and most of all, fearful eyes raised from the cowering girl to stare, frightened, at the imposing figure over her. Outside, Ein's howls for help went unheeded, as the sounds of more blows and cries of pain emerged from within the building.

Through the haze beginning to overtake her mind and vision, Edward felt her father pick her up by one arm, and sling her against another wall, a sickening crunch accompanying the action. Another wave of pain flowed through her, although surprisingly, it wasn't as intense. In fact, all of the pain was slowly starting to seep from her, just like the blood flowing out of her numerous cuts and wounds.

'Is this what dying is like?' She managed through the fog surrounding her brain. Of course, she wasn't expecting anyone to actually answer.

"Yes." The voice was soft, barely audible, but even so, she recognized it, even with the sound of her father kicking her in her own ears. Struggling, she barely managed to turn her head, hazy eyes focusing on a wispy figure.

"Spike." She whispered, and the spirit smirked, running a pale hand through his dark green hair.

"Yeah." He kneeled beside her, and placed his hand on her shoulder, the gesture not felt by the fading girl. Ed's father apparently couldn't see him, and any blows passed right through his figure.

"Don't worry Ed. it will be over soon. then you won't have to hurt anymore." Recognition of what he meant flashed through her, followed by a wave of gladness. Joy at finally being away from the pain.

"Will you be there?" This soft statement was accompanied by coughing, while blood flecked her lips and the floor with each wracking exhale of air.

"As if I'd leave you alone to wreak havoc on the spirit world." Mismatched green eyes met fading gold ones, and, reassured, Edward's eyes drifted shut for the final time.

'Through the wind and the rain,

She stands hard as a stone,

In a world that she can't rise above.

But her dreams give her wings,

And she flies to a place where she's loved:

Concrete angel.'

Worlds away, somewhere on an old junker of a ship circling Callisto, a phone rang. A middle-aged, balding man with a cybernetic arm picked up on the fourth ring, looking a bit annoyed at having his time pruning his bonsais interrupted. "Yeah? Jet Black speaking, what do you want?"

"Mr. Black? I believe we have news that might interest you, concerning a girl named Edward Wong Hau Pepilu Tiverusky the Fourth." A grating, nasal voice emerged from the phone.

After a half a minute of listening, the sound of something dropping and breaking echoed throughout the ship, as the tough bounty hunter stood there, stunned, silently pleading with whatever deity was looking out for him that it wasn't true.

"What's the matter with you?" Faye asked, poking her head in, and sighing at the remains of the phone on the metal floor. Jet's voice, or more importantly the choked up emotion in his voice, gained her attention.

"It's Ed. She. she's." Tears started to run down the man's face, and it didn't take a genius to figure out what had happened.

"Ed." Faye lowered her head so that her face, and subsequently her tears, couldn't be seen.

'A statue stands in a shaded place:

An angel girl with an upturned face.

A name is written on a polished rock:

A broken heart that the world forgot.'

The funeral was small, though the amount of sadness emitted from the three participants was more than enough to make up for the lack of attendance. The headstone was a simple one, though the carving was elegant. The words themselves read:

Edward Wong Hau Pepilu Tiverusky IV
"Radical Edward"
The best hacker and craziest kid
that will ever exist.
July 28, 2061 - May 15, 2075

After the traditional rites had been read (which none of them thought suited the situation at all), Faye, Jet, and Ein remained, staring blankly as the small coffin was lowered into the ground and slowly covered in dirt. Even after that was finished, they stayed, not caring that it had started to rain. Finally, Ein made the first move, stepping forward to carefully plant an old, battered pinwheel in the freshly dug dirt. Faye followed, carefully arranging a bunch of flowers around the pinwheel, making the toy seem as if it were a part of it. Jet was last, and he held one of his precious bonsais gently in his hands. This was planted about a foot in front of the gravestone, with a silent promise by the ex cop to tend to the plant often. Words weren't spoken, or even needed, as they silently mourned the loss of their friend.

'Through the wind and the rain,

She stands hard as a stone,

In a world that she can't rise above.

But her dreams give her wings,

And she flies to a place where she's loved:

Concrete angel.'

A transparent figure, unseen by the three, smiled from where she lounged on the headstone, observing their efforts to pay respect. A few feet away, a certain green-haired spirit sat on a different marker, this one inscribed with a different name. "Spike Spiegal"

"So whatcha think Ed? Did they do a good enough funeral for you?" Spike asked as he lit a celestial cigarette.

"It was too sad." The hacker replied, never taking her eyes off of their still living comrades.

"Well, they miss you. Of course they're sad." Spike chuckled, showing a side that he rarely had let out when alive. He yelped as his companion tackled him off of his gravestone, pinning him to the ground.

"They should be happy for Ed! Ed is happy!" The teen spirit laughed as she bounced off of the disgruntled one, raising the ghostly pack of cigarettes in her hand, clearly having swiped them.

"Why you little!" The orange-haired girl laughed even harder as a mock- serious chase ensued around the graveyard.

Back at the new grave, Faye blinked and looked up. "Hey guys? Do you hear laughing?"

*********************

Erica: Phew. Done.

Me: Happy now?

Erica: Much.

Me: So you're quit bugging me?

Erica: Don't hold your breath.

Vurso: *Sighs* Anyways, please review, or else Erica will go psycho on all of us.

Erica: *Grins innocently*