First off, I want to say that I am SO SORRY That this chapter took me so long! You have no idea (well, maybe you do) how hard it is to write a fight scene between Spike and Vicious! I rewrote this chapter a billion times! (Not really, but you catch my drift^_^) Even now I am not satisfied with the way this chapter turned out. The only part I do like is the very last part. I'm sure that you will all hate it as much as I do, so I forgive you! Just don't be too harsh, okay? ^_^ Anyways, this is not the last chapter, we still have one more to go, ONE MORE!!!! Ahhhhh! Well, enough of my babbling, on with the story. Please R and R and enjoy! ^_~

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Chapter 6

            At first, he didn't quite understand. Faye started acting…well, not like herself. And every time Julia was mentioned, her entire attitude shifted. You could say that she was having mood swings. But it didn't take him long to pick up on it. Faye was jealous of Julia. She didn't hate Julia, that was too strong a word. But she had a growing dislike for the woman. He could see it.

            In a way, Julia changed everything on this ship. She changed the way Faye acted, and she changed the way Spike acted. Which completely changed the atmosphere of the Bebop. He didn't even want to think about what it'd be like if Ed were still around.

            He was more than happy that Spike had found Julia, found his missing half. But he didn't like the effect that Julia was having on Faye. Every time he looked up at her, still standing at the window and gazing toward Mars so longingly…so scared…she just wasn't the same anymore.

            He wasn't looking forward to Julia waking up. He hoped that Spike would return before she did. But still, it could happen…He was not going to leave the task of keeping Julia here up to Faye. Things could go very bad and get chaotic. After all, this was Faye.

            But he hated waiting more than anything.

                                    *            *            *            *            *

            Spike kept his hard gaze forward as he walked. His arms hung at his sides, one still bleeding and numb, and the other squeezing his gun. He took his time in getting to the door.

            He was ready for this. He had never been more ready for anything in his life. He was going to end it, end this life that was still clinging to him, end this nightmare. He would remove the taint, remove his past. He was going to end it.

            Coming to a stop, he stared blankly at the large door. Shin and Lin deserved this…Annie deserved it…Julia deserved it…All those he cared for, the ones who truly hated this life, he was doing it for them. As well as himself.

            For a minute, he remembered what it was like to be friends with Vicious. Once, years ago, he had thought that Vicious was changing, becoming more violent. But it wasn't Vicious that was changing, it was him, beginning to realize that this life was not for him. They were never friends, not really. Not the kind that risk their lives for each other, not the kind that took the time to notice when something was wrong. They were more like partners.

            Anger suddenly pulsing through him, he kicked the door open.

                                    *            *            *            *            *

            Julia began to notice the things around her. The soft feel of the sheets, the cushioning of the pillow, the warmth of the mattress. And the sweet scent of Spike. She slowly opened her eyes to study him. When she saw nothing but the bed, she wasn't sure how she felt. She just stared at the spot where he was supposed to be. She ran her hand over the mattress; it was cold.

            She closed her eyes and whispered. "Spike…"

            He had told her that he wouldn't do this. But she should've known that he wouldn't be able to help himself. He was just like that. He could only ignore something for so long before it'd drive him to chase after it.

            Julia sighed and her nails dug into the mattress. She wasn't sure if she was angry or not, and she didn't know what to do. Spike could more than take care of himself, she knew that. She didn't expect him to do this, but it didn't surprise her either.

            She knew how dangerous Vicious is, she knew that Spike was in danger. But so was Vicious. And Spike actually had something to fight for, to live for…her. And because of these reasons, she felt very calm. Still, she would not sleep until he'd return.

            She glanced at the clock. It was midnight when she fell asleep, and now it was one-thirty. He'd been gone for an hour and a half. She would wait for him.

                                    *            *            *            *            *

            Spike's fingers tightened around the pistol at his side. A menacing frown shaped his lips, and all his anger and hate showed in his eyes. He just stared at the twisted thing in front of him. He narrowed his eyes, sharpening his glare.

            "Vicious." He growled.

            Vicious smiled and evil grin at Spike as he rose to his feet, sword in hand. "I knew you'd come." He said with his low and malicious voice. "It was inevitable."

            Spike squeezed his gun even more. "Your death is what's inevitable, Vicious."

            Vicious' smile widened the smallest bit. "You're still dreaming."

            In an instant, Spike raised his gun and pulled the trigger. But Vicious was already only a few paces away from Spike, the bullet having missed him. Vicious pulled his sword out from its sheath in one swift movement. Spike ducked just barely in time while the sword swung above his head.

            Spike brought his fist up hard into Vicious' stomach, causing Vicious to take a step back. He blocked a swing of the sword with his gun before Vicious pulled his sword away and took a hard swing across Spike's chest. The blade just barely cut across his neck and collar bone. Spike stumbled back as he fired his gun at Vicious a couple more times.

            Vicious took one bullet in the shoulder as he charged at Spike again. Spike dodged out of the way of another sword swing and cracked his elbow into the back of Vicious' head. Growling, Vicious jabbed his sword back, barely missing Spike's stomach. They now stood facing each other, glaring and holding tightly onto their weapons.

            Vicious was the first to speak.

            "Do you really think you can live your whole life in a dream?" He asked, that smirk back on his face. "You have to wake up eventually, Spike."

            Spike did not respond. He continued to glare at Vicious while keeping his gun aimed at him.

            "The dream that you and Julia share…it won't last. Once she dies, you will have nothing, and the dream will be over." Vicious' smirk disappeared. "Save yourself some time and let me kill you now!"

            Vicious lashed out his sword in the blink of an eye. Spike's eyes widened as the tip cut the skin across his cheek. Gritting his teeth, he fired a shot at Vicious. The bullet hit Vicious in the leg, but he did not falter. He charged at Spike, and instead of using his sword, he grabbed Spike by the neck and slammed him against the wall. A wise, vicious smile spread across Vicious' face as he squeezed Spike's neck harder.

            "Now Spike, you die."

            A gunshot rang out loud, and Vicious froze. His smile turned to an angry and shocked clenching of teeth. He backed away from Spike, not even bothering with the bullet wound in his stomach. He looked up in a glare at Spike as he feel to his knees and hit the floor.

            Spike only stared at Vicious sprawled on the floor. He wasn't dead yet, he still had a couple minutes, maybe seconds. He had to stay to ensure Vicious' death. Spike ignored the pain and exhaustion that spread throughout his body. He kept his eyes trained on Vicious, waiting for the last breath to leave his body.

                                    *            *            *            *            *

            Faye leaned against the glass, pressing her forehead to the cool surface. It had been so long since Spike left, and Julia hasn't woken up yet. Faye hadn't left the window since Spike's departure, and Jet had stayed with her the whole time. They were both just waiting, something they both hated more than anything.

            She glanced down at Mars. She had been thinking of what Spike's life with the Syndicate must've been like. But she just couldn't picture him slaughtering people…and enjoying it. Like Vicious. She just couldn't conceive of it.

            Once Spike gets back, he and Julia are going to leave. And she would never see Spike again. He would forget her, and Jet, along with this life. He said he wouldn't forget her, but she knew better. He was going to be all along with Julia, he was going to be happy for once. Everything will shrink and fade and soon be forgotten. None of it would matter to him anymore, not that it ever did.

            She wondered how Jet felt about all this.

            She didn't get the chance to ask however. Julia stood at the top of the stairs, staring at both Jet and Faye. Faye and Jet stared back in silence. Julia had no look of emotion on her face, as usual.

            Faye stood up straight, preparing herself to tell Julia the news. She opened her mouth but hesitated. She was actually afraid to tell her. She looked down at the floor. "Julia…Spike left…"

            "I know." Julia replied in her soft voice. "And I know why he left."

            Both Jet and Faye looked at her surprised.

            Julia walked over next to Faye and stared out the window. "He said that he wouldn't, but I should've known better."

            Faye continued to stare at the floor. "I'm sorry. I couldn't get him to change his mind."

            Julia smiled. "Don't be sorry, Faye. No body can change Spike's mind. Not even me." She smiled a little wider. "He's a stubborn man."

            Faye curled her hands into fists and glared at the floor. "You don't seem too worried about him." She said coldly.

            Julia's smile faded as she continued to stare out the window. "I am scared Faye. More than you, yet less than you. I've seen what both Spike and Vicious can do. I know what they're capable of, I know their limits. They are both dangerous men and skilled at what they do. Spike can more than handle Vicious. But Vicious is still dangerous." A sudden grim expression overcame her features. "I've seen his ways of killing before."

            Faye finally looked up at Julia. "So what? Are you saying that Spike is better than Vicious? That we have nothing to worry about at all?" She yelled in anger, disbelief in her voice.

            Julia stared right back at Faye, that blank look on her face again. "I know that you love Spike, Faye."

            Faye's eyes went wide and she took a step back from Julia.

            "But you don't understand him."

            Faye's look of shock and surprise turned to one of anger. She opened her mouth to speak, but held back her voice at hearing the loud clank of footsteps, struggling up the stairs. They all turned and looked in the direction of the stairs, waiting. Finally, Spike appeared at the top, clutching one bleeding arm rather carelessly. He lifted his bowed head up to look at Julia. Time seemed to stand still as they gazed at each other in silence.

            Julia slowly strolled over to him, not once taking her eyes from his. For a moment, she just stood there in front of him and stared. And he just stared back. Then she leaned into him, resting her cheek on his shoulder and putting her arms around him.

            "Did you do it?" She asked in a soft whisper. "Are we free?"

            Spike allowed himself to smile with happiness. True joy and happiness. Not a smile of the amusement of an argument or a struggling bounty head. Not a smile of anger and victory. A true, real smile.

            He closed his eyes and returned her embrace. "Yeah. We're free."

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So there you have it. It sucks, I know. Please forgive me. I tried at least, really hard. ^_^ Anyways, thanks for reading and please let me know what you think of it. And remember, try not to be too harsh! You'll hurt my feelings!!! LOL ^_^ Anyways, chapter 7 hopefully won't take me NEARLY as long. Again I am so sorry for keeping you all waiting so long!