Oh yes – Zolac No Miko: This is definitely NOT a romance. I totally agree with you. Pfft, Electra.

Oh, smut – I'm just too lazy. Sorry, all. But it helps on the anti-romance thing I'm trying to aim for.

And freakin hell – this is long. But see below for good news. About this becoming longfic. Anyway. I probably should've proofread thing a bit better. I think it's okay though.

On with it. Enjoy!

Rating: Pg-13. And that's fairly generous.

Disclaimer: Seriously. No.

In Passing.

Chapter 2.

Faye moved at a steady pace, quite satisfied at her clever escape. She'd noticed the bounty hunters anger, and knew that she was too far off for him to catch her now. Luckily. Towards the end, he was looking like he wanted a piece of her.

In a bad way.

Which was a shame. Beyond all his mocking wit, he had a strange sort of charm, which had drawn her in a little. Other bounty hunters weren't so good-natured. And he wasn't that bad looking. In a skinny, fuzzy-headed kind of way. And she knew that skinny guys could go on for hours…

But it was all over now. She was debating even staying the night, now. Too risky. The bounty hunter had proved himself better than most she'd had the pleasure of being acquainted to. Not good enough to catch her, but… why ask the impossible?

Faye lit up a cigarette in complete satisfaction. Only two left in her crumpled little box, but it'd carry her through till morning. Hopefully. It depended on what else would happen. It had been a fairly fucked up evening, even by her standards.

But the best part?

She didn't pay for her drinks.

Grinning like an idiot in the darkness, Faye puffed away at her cigarette and headed back to her hotel to pack.

Spike wasn't having the best evening. After disentangling himself from that drunk guy, he had to fight his way to the doorway. Quite a mean feat, considering the amount of big burly morons who clearly decided they didn't want to move out of his way.

It was their loss, in the end.

Thankfully, he'd gotten out into the street just as his bounty turned down a side street. Thank fucking god. He didn't want to lose that 30 million, not after all this. And especially not to her. She didn't deserve it.

Still, the tiny part left of him that was sentimental and relatively good-natured was in the opinion that it had been a great night out. Well, he'd gotten fairly drunk with a fairly attractive woman, had witty conversation, and gotten a cigarette. It was just the whole money factor. Spike needed that money. Which was why he was going to follow her until she lead him straight to it. He could be patient if he had to. Especially if it involved money.

He heard her chuckle to herself, and light up. His lungs picked up the familiar scent of nicotine, and he craved for a smoke. But not enough to blow his cover. Stupid wench.

Still, it wasn't all bad, he supposed. He didn't pay for his drinks.

Faye had earlier that afternoon booked a room in a middle-range Hotel, which she hadn't planned on paying for but was a suitable place for a shower and had space to park her Redtail.

The place had caught her attention from the rest because of the set of floor to ceiling glass doors. It looked classy. Unlike the rest of the dinghy hotels she'd seen on that street. Stupid sayings like "beggars can't be choosers" didn't relate to her. She didn't have money, but she took whatever the hell she wanted. And she wanted a classy room with hot water.

The problem with some of the more decent hotels was that they let you pay when you checked out. Faye loved it. It was like everyone was set up for her to take advantage of.

Of course she could afford a nice hotel like this one. Spike expelled his disgust in a mouthful of air. And winced. He could still smell the alcohol on his breath. The walk had freshened him up some, but not as much as he would've wanted. Oh well. He'd taken down bounties in worse conditions before.

Still, all her pleas and stories had been complete bullshit, just like he'd thought. No one claiming to have lost 30 million woolongs in a week would stay in a 300-a-night hotel.

Faye breezed through reception, where the manager was packing up behind his mahogany reception desk. She gave him a cheery wave and headed for the stairs.

Room 403 had a rather lovely scenic view of the city, and Faye would have liked to spend a few moments admiring it. However, she only gave the city lights a brief look before turned back to the room. She'd already moved most of her junk to her Redtail; clothes, food, shoes. The usual things. There wasn't much left in the room except what had been there before she arrived. Most of which, unfortunately, she couldn't take with her. However… she could happily take the hot water. There was nothing like a good shower. And working pipes.

Throwing her clothes and shoes into the centre of the room, she grabbed the crisp white towels and headed into the bathroom.

He waited until she'd started up the curved staircase before pushing through the big, tacky glass doors and over to the manager. He was a little man; short and portly, wearing big round spectacles which made his eyes look much bigger than they were.

"That's my sister." Spike said in a dangerous voice. "Which room is she staying in?"

The poor manager looked nervous, but looked through his records. "Room 403." He replied in a quavery little voice.

Spike nodded, and jogged over to the stairs. The manager knew for a fact that the pair were not related, but there wasn't much he could do about it.

Room 403. He stood outside for a few moments, wondering whether it was best to burst in guns blazing, or to sneak in and take the shrew by surprise. The faint background noise, which he'd thought was the air-conditioning, gave a clunk and stopped. The hot water pipes. Interesting.

Spike drew his gun and kicked down the door. Faye, wrapped in a towel, was standing in the centre of the room. She wasn't looking smug anymore.

"What, you followed me?" She snapped, her previous shock quickly spiralling into fury mixed with a dose of fear. Her wet hair dripped cold on her back, and she regretted taking that shower. Maybe…

His gun was firmly trained on her. "Where's the money, Faye?" He asked, all business. He wasn't going to let his eyes stray from their sight down the gun barrel. Even though they were itching and straining to.

"I've already told you, gaucho." Faye retorted quietly. Then, switching to a more sensual tone, she added, "You followed me from the bar. I'm impressed." And she took a step forward. Did her towel slip a little? Oops.

Her gun was on the ground, so that left only a few alternatives: bluff her way out, or fuck him. And bluffed had worked so well last time.

Although the drunken little hormones in Spike's body were on high alert and clamouring for a little action, he was unmoved. "Come on. Quit the drama already." He said harshly, watching as she pouted.

She rolled her eyes. "Come on yourself. You won't believe me no matter what I say, so why waste your fucking time?"

Spike groaned, running a hand through his hair. "This is fucking ridiculous." He muttered, averting his eyes for just a second. Faye observed that he had a nice trim waist. Damn, now I really do want a piece of him.

She patiently waited as he thought for a few moments, her arms curling around her chest.

Spike was undergoing a bit of a dilemma. He could only assume at this point, that Faye was hiding the money in her ship. And the way into her ship lay on strategic parts of her body – her jewellery. And he'd have to get at least on comfortable terms with her to get in contact with them. He didn't really want to knock her out.

He looked up into Faye's amused stare, one eyebrow raised, parted lips. And he made his decision. Because, fuck she looked fine when she wasn't sulking.

"No hurry there, bounty hunter," she dryly echoed what he'd said in the bar.

He gave her a lopsided smirk. "You're hardly in a position to complain." He comfortably tucked his gun away in a smooth movement that could easily have been overlooked.

But Faye was paying a lot of attention. He'd changed. Changed from being predatory in a bad way, to being predatory in an… interesting way.

The devious slant to his eyes told her exactly what he was interested in.

Very interesting indeed.

"So what do you say, bounty hunter," she purred, stalking towards him. "Cut a deal?" she gently curled her fingers around the lapels on his jacket.

She took his silence as agreement.

It wasn't making love.

It was sex. Sport fucking. Whatever. It didn't meant anything.

Sex is highly overrated, and they both knew it. It was a contrived pastime, where they both conceived to take advantage of the other.

It wasn't a loving act.

It was selfishly motivated. But it worked for both of them; no strings, no attachments, no feelings. Except, perhaps the will to triumph over the other.

However, that doesn't mean they didn't enjoy it. Spike proved her theory about skinny guys, and Faye proved back that she was more than able to keep up.

She thought he was sleeping. From the dim light in the bathroom, she could see his closed eyelids; see the steady rise and fall of his bare chest. Caught in a moment of contemplation, Faye noticed that his nose was slightly turned up. A pixie-nose. And he came across so tough, too. Tough guys didn't look so… cute when they slept.

She gently ran her fingers across his forehead, letting them lightly tangle in his unruly hair. Nothing. He was dead to the world; good for her because she didn't have anything to drug him with, and knocking him unconscious would attract attention in the morning. It was definitely time for her getaway.

She hadn't planned on paying for the room anyway; a little problem she was going to leave for the bounty hunter to deal with. Rolling silently off the bed, she gathered up her clothes and quickly threw them on. Tying her sweater in the usual knot, she knelt over the gaucho's jacket. He was sure to have a money card on his clothes somewhere.

"Ah ha!" Faye's fingers found purchase on a thin sheet in the inner pocket. "Well if you're just going to leave your things around, who knows what might go missing." She held the card up to eye level. "… oh." Her face dropped as she read the amount of money Spike had. Or didn't have, for that matter. "45 woolongs. Just great." She muttered sourly.

But… it was a start.

Because now she actually had some money. She'd need it for fuel to get the hell off Mars. Holding the card in one hand, she searched for her own, planning to transfer the money over and make a hasty exit. However, those plans came to a crashing halt when she felt the cold weight of a gun barrel was pressed against her skull.

"Haven't you robbed off me enough?" Spike asked rhetorically, reaching around and reclaiming his money card from her unresisting fingers. He didn't remove the gun from its position, though.

"There's nothing there to rob, if you hadn't noticed," Faye pouted, sounding nonchalant while her mind was kicking into motion. Her gun was in reach beside the jacket, but with both hands palm down on the floor she wasn't in a position to grab it.

Her eyes slid upward and watched him as he dressed. "Can I stand up already?" she inquired sourly. "Bastard." The gun was still pointed at her. He was getting good at that.

He grabbed his jacket from the ground beside her, slung it over his shoulder. "I thought you might like it down there," he retorted, but allowed her to get up.

She rolled her eyes at him; a mannerism he was beginning to loathe. Fuck, she was an annoying shrew. And he was about to inform her of this, when her sudden attack stopped him. Her booted foot flew into the air and smoothly knocked the gun from his hand onto the carpet. As his gaze shifted, she was quick to pick up her own weapon and aim it on him.

Dammit. He didn't know she could fight as well. She was just full of surprises.

Her gun was steady on him as she backed towards the doorway.

"It's been fun, gaucho." She tossed him a smirk and a wave in farewell, keeping her eyes and the gun trained on him as she opened the door and backed through it.

As soon as she slammed the door behind her she broke into a sprint, hearing the bounty hunter burst out of the hotel room behind her. She leapt down the sets of stairs, her low heels skidding at each turn. Now this was something she was good at. The great escape.

At the bottom of the stairwell the dark, empty foyer loomed ahead of her, and the heavy thuds of the bounty hunter's shoes as he pursued her. The Redtail was just outside and around the corner – then she'd be free.

But she didn't reach the glass doors before that he started shooting at her. "That bastard!" she exclaimed, surprised that he would actually try and shoot at her. Surprised didn't quite cut it. Still, she had to admit that she would've done the same thing. Dammit, she should've taken his gun.

But she didn't have time to think about that. Vaulting herself over the reception desk, she whipped out her Glock and risked a glance over the counter when the shooting paused.

She could only assume he was hiding behind the stairs, because she couldn't see anything. And then came a flurry of bullets and the bounty hunter's lithe figure making a sprint and roll behind the plush couches. She sent a few return bullets into them, hoping they would pass through the padding. An explosion of feathers indicated that she'd hit a cushion or two.

She crouched with her back against the desk, gun resting against her check. It was a standoff. A stupid, ridiculous standoff where nothing could happen until one of them ran out of bullets. Or one of them got shot.

And Faye Valentine did NOT get shot.

It seemed to follow the usual pattern; one shoots, then ducks while the other shoots back… but then the bounty hunter did something different. Two shots, and the massive glass doors exploded in a shower of fractured glass.

Faye supposed it would've looked rather pretty – if it wasn't raining down directly on top of her.

Oh shit.

She curled up into a tiny ball, letting the glass fall on and around her. Tiny splinters of glass nipped at her skin, but it was nothing serious. Besides, it was to her risk that she had so much skin exposed. Who knew?

Did he really think she'd panic and blow her position? Men, Faye scoffed, using her sweater to sweep the glass away from her. He'd underestimated her before, the stubborn idiot. She was hardly a pushover.

"I hope you pay for that," Faye called to him, ducking her head from the last falling fragments of glass. She peeked over the desk, caught sight of his ridiculous hairdo, and fired at it. It quickly ducked out of sight.

"I don't think so." Spike called back, a grin breaking out on his face. Who knew a standoff could be this amusing? "This is your hotel, remember."

"But you broke the door!" Faye argued back. "That makes you responsible, gaucho, not me." She raised her gun and fired into the couch a few times to vent her frustration.

Spike checked his remaining bullets. "With those 30 million woolongs you should easily be able to afford it." he remarked dryly.

Faye resisted the urge to march over there and throttle him. "How many times to I have to tell you, I don't have your money, okay?" She settled on sending more rounds into the cushions.

"I've heard that one before," Spike retorted.

"Well, since I spent it all and can't get it back, can't we call it even?." She really was trying everything. But even the truth wasn't getting through to the annoying, obnoxious, rude gaucho.

Spike grinned. He really was enjoying this. "Why should I trust you, Faye? It's not like you deserve to have the benefit of the doubt."

He received a scream of frustration and more bullets into the couch. He settled back on a pillow. His little plain was working out nicely. Getting the shrew to waste her bullets so he could go over and finally get his money, and she'd be defenceless. That or the hotel owner would call the ISSP. And then he could turn her in and get her bounty as well.

It was all working out nicely.

Even better when he heard the telltale click of an empty gun.

Faye cursed.

However, Spike should've known that luck just wasn't on his side that night.

The little manager, dressed in a nightgown and sleeping cap, had hurried out from his private room behind the desk. His little eyes widened in horror as he glanced around at his destroyed foyer.

"Wh-what have you done?!" he cried out, only then realising that Faye was on the ground beside him. She smirked, her gun aiming at a new target. Things were coming back under her control.

Spike raised his head over the bullet-ridden couch, and groaned. "She hasn't got any bullets." That cunning little wench.

Faye just gave a smug smile, her gun pressed firmly against the smaller man's skull. "I don't think the manager wants me to prove that, do you?" she nudged him, and he trembled.

"N-no!" he wailed piteously. "Take whatever you want!"

Faye suddenly looked impatient. "Come on, get a move on." She ordered him, leading him lead them out towards the remains of the door. She was careful to keep the little man between herself and the bounty hunter, who had since risen from his vantage point.

"I guess that makes it three in a row, bounty hunter," she informed him with glee. It had taken all night, but she'd done it.

But he didn't seem too put out by it, and just shrugged. "I guess it does."

And he watched as she gave the manager a sharp push, and vanished out into the inky night. Another moment, and he heard the load roar of thrusters, and a ship taking flight.

The manager was cowering on the floor. Spike didn't feel too sorry for him; the glass doors were just asking for trouble. Instead of chasing her, he jogged back up to room 403, and grinned. She'd left the box of cigarettes. He lit one up, and tucked the box into his jacket pocket. The night wasn't a complete failure after all.

He'd lost again, but this time it was more of beginning than an ending. He knew they'd cross paths again.

Jet was seated at the old yellow couch, absently patting between Ein's ears as Spike came in, hands in his pockets, looking less hungover than he usually did after a night out.

"The hanger's fixed," he remarked by way of greeting.

Jet turned his head to follow Spike's movements into the kitchen. "Finished just this morning. Where did you go?"

Spike didn't reply straight away, leaving Jet to worry about all the things his partner could've gotten up to. "Well?" he insisted as Spike re-entered the room holding a cup off coffee.

"I was going after a bounty," Spike said, shooing Ein off the couch and settling down in the empty spot.

"Oh." Jet was pleasantly surprised. "And?"

Spike shrugged with his usual wry smile. "They got away." And he switched on the screen with his toe and let the Big Shot theme drown out Jet's exasperated groan.

Days later…

"You might as well let me go, you've lost." Twinkle Murdoch finished the little speech with her usual disdainful sneer. She ignored that Spike looked so bored he was about to fall asleep.

But Jet looked thoughtful. "Not quite," he remarked, rubbing his chin. "There's something behind all this…"

The quiet beep of incoming communication interrupted his train of thought.

With a burst of static, they heard:

"Hiiii, I just picked up your signal, and well, I have a slight problem. I'm kind of out of fuel at the moment."

Spike leaned closer to the screen, mouth open in surprise.

"I don't believe it." Jet managed to say.

"… if you could just take me to Ganymede, I'd be very appreciative."

Spike grinned nastily. It wasn't the end after all.

Yeah – so that took longer than I thought. And good news for ye readers! It does NOT end there. Ohh, no. It can only get better (and angstier) from here… is that even a word? Ahh well. It is now.

Ahh yes – thanks so kindly for reviewing! Especially those (Kendra I love you forever) who went on to read all my other fics as well. So yes. I love you. Keep up the good work.