A/N: Hey, guys! ^^ ::grins broadly:: I'm baaaaaaaack! lol This wuz fun 2 write mainly cuz I wuz bouncin' along 2 the Bebop soundtrack that I wuz supposed 2 get 10 months ago, but FINALLY did, so yay! =D lol N-e-whoz, this ITALICS means that it's a flashback, & this is an A/U SxF, so please don't get all confuzzled on me, rotfl. Please R&R, and of course...ENJOY! ^,~

"Ah! Here she comes, ladies and gentlemen! It's Miss Faye Valentine!"

A roar of immediate appreciation arose forth from the copious audience clustered about the red carpet as Faye Valentine, herself, egressed her limo, a cheesy smile that she had trained herself to always wear instantly painting its way across her full, rosy lips as she lifted up a hand and gave a rather demure wave of gratitude.

Almost at once the interviewers clambered over to her with the sole hope of receiving answers for their ridiculously personal questions as she tried her best to push past them, her well-loved and trusted bodyguard, Clarence, guiding her safely out of the suffocating circle and towards the entrance of the ornate building in which the awards ceremony was to be held as the buzz of the enthusiastic crowd continued to weigh down upon her senses.

Just as she was about to finally enter the resplendent edifice, however, a middle-aged man called out to her frantically, "Please, Miss Valentine, I beg of you....please sign this birthday card for my little Adriene! She's terminally ill and won't last but six more months at the most, but I truly believe that an autograph from her heroine could possibly prolong her parting from this earth."

"Of course," Faye acknowledged, giving Clarence's hand a gentle pat in order to assure him that everything was alright before she approached the perplexed father and held out her hand in order to receive the pen and birthday card.

The moment that they reached her fingertips, however, a glint of silver flashed before her eyes and before she could possibly react, it was far too late for her to save herself.


Her deep jade irises widening in utter astonishment, Faye allowed the pen and birthday card to fall from her grasp as a warm blanket of scarlet began to stain her sparkling gold negligee, her gaze resting upon the so-called "father" with the gun in hand before she staggered backwards and fell into the arms of dear, caring Clarence, her world of glitter and fame collapsing about her as it suddenly grew terribly dark and frigid as a lost song upon the wind.

"Miss Valentine, are you even listening to me?"

"Hm? Oh, yes, of course I am, Mr. Black," Faye acknowledged, distantly running her beautifully-manicured fingers along the small scar upon her stomach from where the deadly bullet had long ago made its mark. "I suppose that I'm just a little preoccupied, is all. Please forgive me."

Mr. Black sighed, leaning back in his broad office chair as he muttered a grumpy "it's alright" and drew his massive hand up towards his lips in order to take in a drag from his sweet cancer stick in utter contentment.

Not wanting to sound rude, Faye reminded him rather absently, "And the point of our meeting today, sir...?"

"Oh...yes, of course!," he exclaimed, suddenly full of life once more. "I've come to the regretful decision that we should replace Clarence with someone much more well-equipped for the job. It's quite obvious that he was useless since he wasn't even by your side when you were shot those terrible nine months ago, so I believe that we have no choice other than to bring in a new bodyguard."

Faye gasped. "Replace Clarence? After all this time?! Oh, Mr. Black....no! Please don't! I absolutely adore that sweet man!"

"Be that as it may, I fear that Clarence is now completely incapable of his job," Mr. Black insisted, furiously grinding his cigarette into his silver ash tray before sending her a stern look with his sky blue eyes. "As your agent, Miss Valentine, I do consider you my responsibility...like my daughter, even, so please...please trust my judgement."

"Well that all depends on whom this new bodyguard is to be," Faye replied, stubbornly folding her arms across her petite bosom as she crossed one leg over the other and sank back deep in her chair. "I trust that he's respectable?"

Mr. Black smirked. "That's not exactly the word that I'd use to describe him, but that will have to do for the time being."

"I-I don't understand," Faye admitted, quirking a delicated violet brow upward in mild confusion. "What do you mean by that?"

"I mean whatever you think I mean," he returned cryptically. "You'll be able to figure everything out once you meet him tonight at dinner."

"Dinner?!," Faye reitereated, clearly wishing that she had miraculously heard otherwise.

Mr. Black nodded, returning gruffly, "That's right....dinner. I trust that you don't object?"

Faye drooped. "Noooo, of course not."

"Well great! Dinner's tonight at 7pm at the Blue Cod," he informed her as he stood up from his desk in order to grab his coat from off of the hook nearby. "File your report on him as soon as we get to talk again."

"Will do," Faye returned, feigning cheeriness as she watched her agent exit the room in a state of utterly ignorant bliss.

Once he was well on his way, she cradled her head in her hands, wondering miserably, "Couldn't the guy clearly see that I was being sarcastic?! Sheesh! Some agent HE turned out to be! With any luck, this guy will be major eye candy so that I can at least pretend to be interested in what he has to say."
His eyes were the first thing that she noticed. They were garnet, alluring, and yet so terribly sad. They made her just want to take the man in her arms and beg him to tell her what was troubling him. He was just so.....beautiful.

As she was contemplating this, he pulled out his chair and had a seat at the dinner table, acknowledging smoothly, "Faye Valentine, I presume?"

Faye smirked in return. "Mmm...a smart one, I see. I bet you have to beat off the women with a stick."

"I do what I can," the man replied, fully aware of her mockery as he leaned in towards her with a smug look upon his handsome, tanned face. "I'm Spike Spiegel....your new bodyguard."

"I know," Faye acknowledged, smirking as she shook his hand in greeting. "I seriously doubt that just any man would come on up and sit down at my table unless he actually had a perfectly good reason to."

Now it was Spike's turn to smirk. "Well you know, if I didn't know you beforehand I'd come on up and sit here with you. After all, a girl such as yourself needs some company."

"And do you always flirt with your clients, Mr. Spiegel?"

He winked. "Always...it raises my income."

Faye couldn't help but laugh at this, admitting rather demurely, "Your manners are absolutely atrocious, Mr. Spiegel, yet so are mine, so I have this strong feeling that we'll get along just fine."

Spike grinned. "So do I."
"I don't think that I really wanna go through with this after all, Vicious."

The silvery-haired man smirked. "What's wrong, Spike? Don't tell me that you've already had a sudden change of heart."

"Well no, not exactly," he defended softly, struggling to uphold his strong aura of austerity amidst his overseer's iron gaze. "I'd just like to know what you have to gain from all of this. I mean, the girl's perfectly harmless....I don't understand what the hell you want me to do with her."

Vicious grunted, then moved away from the large window that he had been standing in front of, elucidating crisply, "I don't give a damn...I just want her within my grasp and mine for the taking. I don't care when or how you do it, but just see that you bring her to me in the end."

Defeated, Spike bowed his head in resignation and nodded. "Yes, sir...I will."

A/N: Oookaaaay, lol...if u're confuzzled, I understand, lol. SxF may seem that they're hitting it off, but they're just flirting 4 personal gain, not 4 an actual interest, which WILL change. ^,~ heehee U pretty much know why Spike's trying 2 get her all bonkerz over him, but what about Faye? lol Well n-e-whoz, please tell me if I should continue this, cuz, like w/ most of my other fics, I'm not sure if I should, rotfl. Please tell me wut u think! I LIVE off ur reviews! =P lol Luv ya bunches! ^,~
3 Kendra Luehr