Gunshot Serenade

A/N: This is my first attempt at Cowboy Bebop Fanfiction, and I sincerely hope you enjoy it!

Disclaimer: I don't own Cowboy Bebop.

Chapter One:

Hallway Blues

Without you…
Without you everything falls apart…
Without you…
It's not as much fun to pick up the pieces

-Nine Inch Nails

Faye Valentine sat perfectly still. Her legs were crossed, black suit neat, matching heels polished. Dark hair pulled back from her face in a tight bun, a few strands falling into her frantic eyes. Faye took a hurried drag on the seventh cigarette of the hour, inhaling quickly and breathing the smoke back out again. It puffed around her head like a soul escaping a body. Silently, Faye wished her soul would escape. Not for the first time in her life, she felt something eating at her. She needed to do something, but she didn't know what. Faye's body suddenly burst into action. A finger twitched. She uncrossed and crossed her legs. Snapped her fingers twice. Took another puff.

A few moments passed. Faye dropped the butt of her cigarette on the mint green linoleum floor, stamping it out with her toe. She reached into her red purse and took out her pack, hands shaking wildly. Her hot pink lighter flared. Inhale. Exhale. Her breath shuddered as it carried the smoke out of her mouth. Ten minutes later, another cigarette butt was crushed on the floor.

Get a grip, Faye…The woman told herself as she lit another cigarette. But Faye Valentine couldn't get a grip. As she sat, her body twitching randomly, in the hospital hallway, she realized she would never again have a grip on herself. Never.

Five minutes passed. The smoking butt joined its friends on the floor. Faye stamped it out.

She didn't want to be there. She hated hospitals. The blindingly white walls, the creepy floors, the smell of death. Slow death. Jet hadn't come. Why had she? Her stomach tied itself in a knot. She knew why she had come. She wanted to see him one last time. She wanted closure. And a part of her wanted to see him die. Faye wanted to see Spike Spiegel die for what he had done to her.

Faye hit the back of her head against the wall behind her. What the hell was she thinking? She didn't want to see him die… No… she did. Just like she had wanted to see that son of a bitch Whitney die. Just like she had wanted to see every other person who had betrayed her die. Faye closed her eyes. She wanted to disappear.

A man cleared his throat near Faye. Her eyes shot open, her body tensed. A skinny bald man in a doctor's uniform stood near her chair. His eyes were small and dark, dwarfed by a gigantic hooked nose. A skinny mouth was turned upwards into a sly smile.

"Miss Valentine, I presume?" He spoke with a slight hiss. Faye blinked. He reminded her of something. A snake, maybe?

"Yeah. Yes…" Faye answered, her eyebrows furrowed. The man narrowed his eyes and stuck out his hand.

"Good afternoon. I'm Dr. Verpent. I'm so… sorry… for your loss." Faye took his hand, shaking in as she stood. It was cold and clammy. A shiver ran down her spine. "If you will just follow me… I'll show you to Mr. Spiegel's room. I assume you know why you're here?"

Faye nodded and trailed behind Dr. Verpent. "Yeah… Identify the body." She glanced down at her nails, listening to the sound of her footsteps echo down the hall as she walked.

"Very good…It will only take a moment. Have you made arrangements?" Faye furrowed her brow.

"What kind of arrangements?" She could have sworn she heard Dr. Verpent snicker.

"Funeral arrangements." Faye was taken by surprise.

"What do you mean? I thought he wasn't dead yet?"

"Well, he isn't. But I think you should go ahead and make plans. Things don't look too good. He's been through several intensive surgeries, and doesn't seem to be improving." Faye muttered something quietly and went back to admiring the sound of her footsteps.

They walked in silence for a few moments. Faye tried her best to breathe normally, her throat closed up as it was. Soon enough, they stopped in front of a white door. Dr. Verpent took a set of keys from his coat pocket and slid them into the lock on the silver door knob, twisting and letting the door swing open on its own. Faye followed him into the room.

It looked much like the hall outside, blinding white and mint green. It was small, with a tacky green chair, a nightstand, and half a dozen machines Faye couldn't identify, all arranged around a small bed. As Faye watched that bed, she felt the acidic taste of bile in her mouth. She swallowed hard, forcing it back down. She didn't have anything to throw up, anyway. She hadn't eaten in four days. Well, if you don't count cheap wine.

Dr. Verpent made his way to the bedside, where a body lay, completely covered by a loose white sheet. He beckoned Faye over as he reached for a tape recorder with his other hand. As Faye turned to face the bed, standing next to him, he clicked it on.

"Can I have your name please?" He asked, watching her closely.

"Faye Valentine."

"How did you know Spike Spiegel?"

"We worked together."

"Would you be able to identify Spike Spiegel if he was standing in front of you?"

"I could identify Spike anywhere." His eyes not leaving her face, Dr. Verpent flicked back the sheet over the body, revealing just the face and neck of the man on the bed. Faye froze. She closed her eyes, listening to the steady beep of the pulse monitor. A few moments passed. She opened her eyes.

"Is this Mr. Spike Spiegel?" Dr. Verpent asked slowly, watching the pain flit across her face.

"Yes. It is." Faye said quietly. She heard the tape recorder click off. She felt like she was in a fog. Why the hell had she come! Oh, yeah. She had already answered that.

"One more question." Dr. Verpent's slimy voice barely made it through the wall that now surrounded Faye's mind.

"What?" She asked. She sounded far, far away. She wanted to be far, far away.

"Are you interested in getting a cup of coffee with me this evening?" Faye furrowed her brow, turning to face the man who stood next to her.

"No. I don't think your wife would appreciate it." Faye looked down to his hand, where a thin gold band circled his ring finger. She caught a quick glimpse of Spike, lying motionless on the bed, before turning on her heel. Faye could feel her body shaking violently as she took a step towards the door. Then another. And another. As she began her fourth step, her knees buckled.

Faye Valentine's world faded into black as she fell to the floor.

Another case of the Hallway Blues.