A quick little Spike/Faye one shot (or is it????).
Disclaimer: It's cold. I could think up something snappy, but I couldn't be bothered.
Rating: PG-13. Just because.
And… the song is Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones. Quite fitting, yes?
Childhood living is easy to do
The things you wanted I bought them for you
Graceless lady, you know who I am,
You know I can't let you slide through my hands
The Bebop was quiet. Spike reclined on the old yellow couch and listened to the steady hum of the overhead fan, and the occasional soft snip of Jet's pruning shears. Edward typing on her computer was like rain; soft and far off. Background noise.
Spike had always liked rain. There was something cathartic about it; when life was at its lowest, it was always better to become numb against raindrops than with alcohol. It didn't rain often on Mars; weather control usually kept the temperature warm and the sun bright. It had seemed, however, like it was always raining when he was with her. And in the end, Spike thought, maybe that'd been a premonition of what had come. It had rained when they met, when they parted, and when they had met again. It was easier to be cold-hearted when there was icy water soaking through your skin. He wanted to be numb from Julia; from her sudden return and untimely death. Just when all his hopes had reawakened, they had been snatched from his grasp – the story of his life, it seemed.
It was hard to love a ghost; a phantom from his past. It hurt to lose the memories of her, but Spike was never one for delusions. Every night he slept easier, a small part of himself replaced each day he lived. And each day seemed to become easier to manage. It wasn't like he was going to quit smoking and start advocating peace and joy… but each day was a step in replacing his humanity. Or what was left of it. He also didn't like to think about it in general, because thinking about women in general lead him to thinking about…
The hanger door slammed shut, and heavy footsteps echoed loudly around the room.
"Faye-Faye!" Ed's cheerful voice reached Spike through the closed hatch.
A pause. Then;
"You're all wet, Faye-Faye!" Ed exclaimed.
So that's why the ship was so quiet, Spike mused, a contemplative smile reaching his features. He absently wondered where she'd been.
"That's because it's raining, Edward." Faye's saccharine sweet voice retorted, making Spike's ears prick up in interest.
The hatch swung open, bringing with it a tiny shower of water. Faye trudged down the stairs, her sopping leather shoes squelching with every step. She clearly hadn't stopped by her room for a towel, for her entire frame was dripping with rainwater. Her arms were folded tightly, and there was a harsh scowl on her face.
Spike sat up as she walked past, attempted to keep a smirk from appearing, and failed. She clearly wanted to be left alone, so it was like an offer he couldn't resist.
"Let me guess, Faye," he drawled, causing her to stop and turn to him impatiently. "You went swimming?"
"Where's Jet?" Faye retorted in a no-nonsense tone, wiping her dripping fringe back with one hand. "And yeah, I went swimming." She rolled her eyes.
"You're making a mess." He pointed out casually.
"Well, this is a turnaround." Faye replied snidely. "Usually it's you making the mess, breaking everything, and generally making a nuisance of yourself," she added in her nastiest voice.
Spike just gave her his most arrogant smile. "Everyone's got their role on this ship, and I guess we just found out yours."
Faye clearly had had enough of the argument, flipping him the bird before storming off towards Jet's room.
Spike scratched his head. Making himself comfortable again, he wondered what her problem was this time. He didn't intentionally mean to piss her off even further, but it was just irresistible. She was so quick to rage these days, and so short of patience and serenity. That's right, Spike, draw a big line between Faye and Julia. He'd always done it; right from the time when Faye first cheated him in that casino so long ago. There weren't many women in his life, excluding Edward because she didn't count; since bounty hunting was fairly men-oriented. Other than Muriel, who he hardly acknowledged as in-his-life per se, there really was only Faye. And this unsurmountable Julia standard. Maybe he'd hold every woman he'd ever meet up to her standard. Maybe not.
He was unsure about his relationship with Faye. Actually, unsure didn't quite cut it; hesitant, uncertain, wary. He wanted to dislike her – putting it simply, she wasn't pleasant to have around.
She didn't pull her weight in the Bebop,
She's gotten you out of a few tight spots.
And she kept getting herself into trouble, and expected him to come and save her. And he was going to ignore anything his inner voice thought up to counter that.
Still… there was something about Faye that tore at him. He didn't dislike her nearly as much as he wanted to. In fact, he found himself prepared to accept her faults and failings. It was such an uncommon feeling to him, and he found himself simultaneously accepting and repelling this new theory. I thought I'd get some peace, he brooded unhappily. Now he was just confused, and strangely wistful. Somewhere deep inside, he wanted to be happy with someone. But he was hesitant – was he ready to feel this strongly about Faye?
He wanted to shut those feelings away until they dissolved. Or at least until he was ready to deal with them.
"FIFTY?!" Faye's roar filled the room, and quickly faded, leaving a surprised silence. "I got this bounty alone, I'm not sharing the benefits with you!"
Jet's voice raised in anger. "If you live on this ship, you pay half the reward. It's that simple."
"That's bullshit, Jet." Faye snapped. Spike marvelled at how easily sound carried in the small ship. "You and Spike did nothing to help me catch him; why should you deserve anything in return?"
"If you've got a problem with it, then leave." Jet's angry taunt spoke nothing of actually kicking Faye off the ship – Spike heard him use it quite often, whenever he thought Faye had to lift her game a little.
But Faye surprised him. "You know what? Maybe I will. Go and eat your fucking words." And with that, she turned on her wet heel and slammed his door hard as she stormed out.
Spike was waiting for her when she made to pass through the room, his arms folded. There was no remorse in her expression, which irked him.
"What, Spike?" She halted and crossed her arms in a similar fashion. "Did you overhear our little conversation?" she sneered. "Well, mind your own damn business."
"You heard Jet. Maybe it's time you repay all that money you owe."
"Owe who? The hospital?" She shot him a needle sharp glare. "Sure 2 million woolongs are going to really pay that off."
"Spare me the sarcasm, Faye. If Jet says go, then maybe you should follow his advice."
She rolled her eyes again, and he realised how much he really hated it when she did so. "Aww Spike. Don't say you don't want me around." She purred, walking slowly past him towards the stairs.
He also hated that smug, angry yet sultry tone she used when she was losing an argument. Sex appeal wouldn't work on him, and she should know it.
"Don't flatter yourself by thinking I think about you that much, Faye." Was his cold retort.
With that, Faye's anger seemed to drip into the puddle beneath her. All that was left was a weary scorn as she said, "Who do you think you're fooling?" and with a shake of her head she muttered, "stupid ass." And left.
The gentle sounds of the fan were quickly interrupted by the loud activation of the hot water pipe. Spike sighed; he would get no more peace today.
She wasn't like him. She had always been so easily readable; her emotions and her actions were always so unconcealed. But she so obviously knew that, and held no shame in the emotions she carried. Lately though, especially in times like this, he didn't know what was going on inside her head. How did she get inside his head like that? She was becoming quite the mystery, a challenge he welcomed and resented, but more than anything he wished he could ignore it.
Thinking of her had become too distracting. But he couldn't stop.
I watched you suffer a dull, aching pain
Now you decided to show me the same
No sweeping exits or offstage lines,
Can make me feel bitter or treat you unkind
Couldn't drag me away,
Wild, wild horses,
Couldn't drag me away...
The foul mood had dissipated with the long, hot shower, and the knowledge that no one else would get even a lukewarm shower for the rest of the day. But she was still unsettled. She'd been attacked on both sides, and it pissed her off. She was always the odd one out with Spike and Jet; Jet she could understand… but Spike? It had always amused her how he thought he was so tough and inscrutable, but she could see through him. It was her little advantage that she knew exactly what buttons to press to wind him up and calm him down.
All her little tricks didn't help her with the one thing she needed to know, however. How does that idiot feel about me? What does he want from me? They'd been circling around each other since he'd come back. Faye was no beginner in the game of attraction; she knew Spike had some feelings towards her, although of what sort she couldn't classify. Maybe I'm just deluding myself. I don't even know what I want from him. With a low growl that seemed to come from deep inside her, she reached into her pocket and withdrew her cigarettes. She had to be deluding herself. She wanted Spike to feel what she felt; but he was still so hung up over Julia. Julia, Faye inwardly seethed. She had nothing against the woman, but she was dead. Months dead, and rotting away.
With a resigned sigh, Faye drew on her cigarette and stubbed it out. It was so ironic that the infamous Faye Valentine would fall for a man who didn't love her in return. Well, at least she didn't act like some hopeless broad in unrequited love. She had too much pride for that.
"Don't flatter yourself by thinking I think about you that much, Faye"
She sneered at the blank wall, envisioning his angry face. "Nice try, cowboy."
She wasn't blind – she saw the thoughtful stares he pinned on her. And the odd times when he came up and was nice to her. And not just your normal sort of nice, but the "I'm saving your ass because I care but won't say it" sort of nice. The rare, genuine smile he never shared with anyone, sort of nice. She knew she was one of the few, probably the only female to get this close to him post-Julia. She knew most of his dark secrets. It was so warming to be let into Spike's little world sometimes; and in those moments she knew that she loved him, but she always felt so wistful and sad at the same time.
Because she had to deal with the other Spike for the other 90 percent of her life.
Tucking her cigarette packet back into her pocket, she left her room, closing the door firmly behind her. Maybe it was time to leave. Jet might have a point; she didn't pull her weight enough anyway, but it wasn't about him. She didn't want to be unhappy for that 90 percent. The other 10 wasn't going to be enough to keep her going.
The sudden appearance of Ed and Ein swooping down the corridor in her direction snapped her out of her thoughts. Maybe the bizarre girl would have some divine insight into the inner workings of her crewmates.
Or at least about why it was raining. It never rained on Mars.
Spike didn't make a habit of overhearing conversations, they seemed to just occur without him making any effort either way. He just seemed to have the uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time. And this time he had just stepped into his room to look for his jacket. He had felt like a walk in the rain.
"Hey. Hey, Ed." Faye voice rang out impatiently.
But this might prove more interesting.
"Hai? Faye-Faye!" Edward scooped Ein into her arms with her cheerful grin directed at Faye. Ein was trying to wriggle out of her grasp, so the strange pair were tottering all over the place, much to Faye's frustration.
"Ugh. Stay still for a minute, will you?" her hands eventually grasped the kid by the back of her shirt, hurling her off the ground. Ein dove out of Ed's tight grip, and skittered off around the corner.
"Ein!" Ed called after the corgi, before turning an accusatory look at Faye. "You let Ein get away."
Faye expelled her annoyance in a short puff of air. Spike admired her self control.
"Ed, I want to talk to you," Faye said, releasing the hacker who landed on her feet, amber eyes wide and staring into Faye's.
"Faye-Faye?" she questioned.
"There is no one to talk to on this ship, it drives me crazy," Faye growled, already losing faith in Ed being able to help her.
"I will talk to Faye-Faye!" Ed exclaimed happily.
"Oh will you now?" Faye retorted, crouching down so she was at eye level with the kid. "then find out why it's raining today."
Spike wrinkled his brow. That hadn't been what he'd expected. However, as Ed set up her Tomato on the corridor floor and started typing away, Faye began to speak again.
"Are you happy living here, Edward?" she pondered absently. Ed didn't turn around.
"Of course Ed is happy on Bebop. Ed gets food." She replied as if it were obvious. And, still typing away on the computer, she added, "Faye-Faye is not happy on Bebop."
Faye shot the hacker a surprised glance. The kid was more observant than she thought. "It's hard to be happy here, Ed," she sighed, talking as much to herself as to Ed. "Jet wants me gone, and Spike either hates me or likes me. I don't know." She hated all this introspection, but it was all she'd been doing lately.
"Jet-person doesn't want Faye-Faye gone!" Ed sang merrily. "Spike-person…" she trailed off for a moment. "Does Faye-Faye want Spike-person to like Faye-Faye?"
Faye smiled. "Sometimes. But all the time, not this 10 percent thing." Talking to Ed was just like talking to Ein; they were both like little diaries. Ein couldn't talk, and Ed wouldn't remember this conversation in 10 minutes so there was no chance she'd go running off and screeching love songs to the rest of the ship.
"One in ten, simple men!" Ed chanted, eyes on the screen.
Faye sighed. That was clearly the limit of Ed's verbal capacity for the day. "Alright Ed. How about you find me a new bounty?"
Ed nodded. "Hai!"
"I'll just be in my room," Faye began, but realised she didn't want a bounty, nor did she want to sit in her little room and mope around feeling sorry for herself. She changed direction and sauntered off towards the hanger.
Ed hummed to herself, tapping the keyboard. She didn't look up when Spike poked his head out his doorway.
"Hey Ed, what was that all about?" he questioned curiously, standing in front of her.
Ed raised her head and blinked owlishly at him. "Spike-person shouldn't eavesdrop." She informed him.
Spike replied with a wry smile, "Believe me, that wasn't my intention."
"Faye-Faye is sad." Ed said promptly, returning her gaze to her computer.
"I gathered that." It wasn't quite guilt he was feeling. It was confusion.
"Faye-Faye won't leave Bebop, will she?" there was a quaver in the hacker's voice which Spike hadn't expected.
And so Spike shook his head. "Of course not. She hasn't got anywhere to go."
"Ed didn't have anywhere to go. But Ed still left." Ed drifted off for a moment, before grinning. "But Ed is happy on Bebop!"
Spike scratched his head. He supposed he would have to talk to Faye sooner or later. He'd been treating her the way he was thinking – erratic and inconsistent. He owed her an explanation, at least. He hoped she wouldn't leave because he couldn't give her what she wanted.
He heard the hanger door open as he was walking towards her room. "Shit!"
Faye used her bracelet to activate the hanger doors. It was still raining outside, the chill wind making her shiver. With a growl, she leapt up onto her Redtail, settling on one side where she could watch the rain hitting the open dock without being in the path of the wind. The sky was so dark and grey; it was so rare to see a stormy day on Mars.
She'd never liked the rain; it was cold and wet and always made her feel alone. Loneliness was the worst feeling in the world. The others she could handle, but she'd dealt with being alone for 3 years, and she wasn't ready to start dealing with it again.
The door swung open, and Spike ran through, his eyes quickly darting to where the Redtail usually lay. Finding the ship and it's surprised owner still there made him relax and stand up straight. Walking more casually over in that direction, he climbed up beside her. She was looking at him with a combination of surprise and exasperation, but he chose to ignore it. Instead he reached into his pocket and took out his cigarettes. Offering her one, he shielded the light's flame against the wind, and lit them both.
Faye breathed in the smoke, nodded her thanks. Spike settled back, resting comfortably against the Redtail's sturdy frame. Faye just watched him quietly. He looked so relaxed… but he had to be up here for a reason.
"So you're not leaving us today?" he questioned with a hint of a joking tone in his voice.
Faye nodded. "Not today."
Spike merely nodded in return, content to sit in silence.
Finally, the tension got to her, and she sat up. "Spike, did you come here for a reason?"
Spike cast his eyes on her. She looked nervous. "Good question," he replied, and it was true because he really didn't know what he was going to tell her. Instead, he leant over and pressed his lips on hers. Her eyes widened, but he pulled away almost straight away with a sad, yet tender expression.
"Spike?" Faye looked bewildered and slightly hurt. "What are you trying to tell me?"
Spike turned his gaze out to the rain. "I don't know. I don't like feeling like this about you."
She recoiled, her hurt glance intensifying with anger as she too glanced away.
"Don't misunderstand." Spike continued slightly hastily. "I don't mean to push you away 90 percent of the time-"
"Spike," Faye growled, fists clenching.
"I just happened to be in the area," Spike remarked dryly. "You should watch where you're talking."
She shrugged, conceding the point. She should've known better than to discuss personal details right next to Spike's room.
Spike ran a hand through his hair and rested it on his knee. "I'm not ready. I don't even know what… love is anymore." He finished his earlier sentence, finally glancing over to her.
She didn't look angry, or even hurt. She looked merely thoughtful, a sight which Spike had rarely seen and secretly treasured.
"Do you love me?" She asked simply, the hesitation sparking in her eyes belying her composed tone.
He shrugged. "I think about you." He evaded. He spoke as if they weren't talking about something personal, in a perfectly normal tone of voice. However, Faye had long recognised Spike's normal voice with its dry and mysterious quality could hold volumes of hidden emotion.
Faye nodded. "Is that what you came to tell me then?" She could hardly believe that she was being so calm about the entire thing.
Spike was silent for a long time. "I guess I came to tell you that I wish I could love you, but I can't right now. All I have right now is loss. I'm trying to just get through the day."
He looked at her face, waiting for anger, resentment, disgust. Instead, he found a wistful smile on her lips; one he'd never seen. She slowly reached out and took his hand for a moment, before releasing it and leaping off the Retail.
He looked down at her, her arms wrapped around herself against the chill.
"I might just wait for you, cowboy," she called to him, before making her way back inside the Bebop to make up with Jet. She could be patient, just this once.
Spike glanced out at the falling rain. And smiled. Important things happened when it rained.
I know I dreamed you a sin and a lie,
I have my freedom but I don't have much time
Faith has been broken tears must be cried,
Let's do some living after we die
Couldn't drag me away,
Wild, wild horses,
We'll ride them someday
Hmm. I'm hoping that made sense, and that if you liked it, you'll let me know. (ie by reviewing)?
I'm surely not making any promises in continuing this, sorry. I'm writing a chapter of Fairytale at the moment, and anyways, I wouldn't know how to finish this.
If any OOC-ness, I apologise! I lent my DVD box-set to a friend, so I'm a bit rusty.
Anywhoo. I hope you enjoyed! Review away.