EPILOGUE: john doe

She woke with a start, clutching her chest with a cry of shock as she peered about. She could have sworn that a moment ago her skin had been pressed to freezing metal. Gently, she stroked her fingers over her forehead, but where she thought she felt the light touch of metal against her temples there was nothing but cold sweat. Her heart was beating wildly in her chest as she drew her hands slowly down her neck, the front of her, seeking bare flesh. Somehow, she was wearing her own nightgown, and she felt a familiar cold, heard the familiar sounds. Wherever she had been just a moment ago, she was now home.

The Bebop. She was in her room onboard the Bebop. Something told her that she shouldn't be here, that just a moment ago she had been lost, but now, somehow, she had found her way back. She drew several slow breaths, seeking to calm herself, before rising out of bed. She grabbed a towel and her robe and slipped out into the dark, icy-cold, yet comfortingly familiar corridor.

She trudged slowly through the ship. She paused only briefly to look at the door to Spike's room. For the longest time, she thought of him. What had it been? A month now? He'd gone to face Vicious, and he'd never returned. Dead. He had to be. She knew it.

She headed for the privy, running slender fingers through her hair, damp with sweat. She wondered how long she'd been asleep, because she was exhausted. Still, it had felt like an eternity.

She came to the privy, finally, and reached out to open it. Locked. Rolling her eyes, Faye pounded on the door. "Jet! How long have you been in there!"

"Just a second!" a muffled voice returned heatedly a moment later. She blinked, and then shook her head. What had gotten into her? Jet hadn't done anything to her. She'd just gotten up. She was probably just cranky. With a groan, she leaned back against the bulkhead and waited.

Finally, the door creaked open. Jet stood there, leaning in the doorway, peering up at her through blood-shot slits. There were bags under his eyes. He didn't look well at all.

"God, what happened to you?" she asked wearily.

"Bad dreams," he muttered. "I think. What's your excuse?"

She shrugged. "A little of the same and PMS."

"Shit, what is it with you? Twice a week? I thought it was a monthly thing."

Faye rolled her eyes. "Guess not."

They traded places. Faye was already unbuttoning her nightgown, about ready to shut the door when Jet reached out and stopped her. "Hey, is it just me, or does it seem like you've missed about a dozen meals?"

She paused. "I feel like I've been out of it for three days."

"That's what I thought." They were quiet for a few minute, looking at one another, waiting. Finally he shrugged. "All right. I'll go fix a big breakfast."

Faye nodded. "Sounds great," she said as she closed the door. Quickly, she stripped out of her clothes for a shower. She felt really dirty. Every bit of her ached fiercely. She rubbed herself gently, wondering why it felt as though someone had stabbed her with a spoon.

Hell no. You stick your prick here. Then you fuck her brains out.

Faye shuddered at the words that flooded, unbidden, into her thoughts. She let go of her crotch and hugged herself tight, leaning against the door, and sliding to the floor to cry.

Jet paused long enough in the kitchen to sit down and turn on the television. He sat down at the couch, leaning over the coffee table to peal potatoes to make hashbrowns, when he saw the date flash on the screen just prior to a news bulletin.

August 14.

The fine hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. Jet started to rise to his feet. He blinked, feeling the nervous shudder race through his insides.

He looked up to the daily calendar on the wall.

August 11. He had just pulled the tenth off that morning.

"What the hell…"

He turned slowly away from the wall and eyed the television again.

"A typhoon has swept away all that remained of the little Earth town of Bowden's Bay this morning…"

Typhoon. The word echoed through the old man's head. Leaning forward, he tried to figure out what was creating the pounding headache.

Darby, head nurse of Jack Ryan Memorial Hospital on Mars, tucked John Doe gently into his fresh sheets. She peered up to the man with a shake of her head, a broad grin on her lips.

She'd never seen a miracle before. Now she was quite certain she had lived one.

The doctors couldn't explain it. Three days ago, John Doe had been declared clinically brain dead when his brain-wave monitor had flatlined. They had only left him on life support because they were still seeking John Doe's true identity, searching for any family that they might be able to reach. There was none, of course. No one knew anything about him. Who he was, where he had come from. Whoever he was, there were no definite answers.

He was simply John Doe, and to Darby, one of her most popular patients.

He'd been dumped, bleeding and dying on steps of the hospital only four weeks ago. He was a mystery and Darby enjoyed mysteries.

Though she longed to see him live again. That his mind was working again after a three-day hiatus was just one part of the miracle of life. If only he would open his eyes and tell her who he was. That would be all the miracle she would ever need…

Whoever he was, she wanted to know him through-and-through, not just by some generic name granted to him by the hospital.

Running her fingers delicately through his thick hair, Darby smiled. She touched a damp cloth to his lips, rose to her full height to admire him, and then slipped silently from the room.

And that, my friends, is the end. I wanted to bring more to the ending, to tell you the truth, but I found that every time I tried to bring the characters together one final time, I struggled to keep each thought continuous. Too much jumping around. And so, instead of a final Interlude with Meryl, I came up with an ending that I found heart-warming and humorous, plus it set the stage for the sequel to come, whenever it comes. The epilogue would have been more, as well, but I found just wasn't sure I liked it, so I cut it back to the original, open-ended form.

And with all endings comes my part of the tale: the shameless promotion. :D

Anyway, I'm looking forward to continuing on with this story in two branches, both from the Bebop side and, of course, from the Trigun angle. I've already posted the prologue to my Bebop follow-up, titled Exodus. If you hadn't already guessed, the story takes place after the final confrontation between Spike and Vicious at the syndicate HQ.

The Trigun follow-up is in a stage of plot-development and will be titled Trigun Destinies. I don't know when I'll be posting this story. Right now it's tough enough to find time for Exodus. I can only hope Vash vs. Spike has peeked your interest.