Disclaimer: I own nothing that's associated with Cowboy Bebop. The big guys solely own it at Sunrise Inc.
Chapter I : Make Way for Baby
I was in Hell. And from all the things I heard about the pain being so excruciating, I celebrate those people for being right. I could feel it all around me, lapping over and over throughout my body, taunting at my state of weakness and dying over and over wouldn't do justice to this pain. Sure, I've gotten shot before, jumped off buildings and rolled out of cars, even getting my head smashed into a brick wall. But this, this is something that I swore I would never ever do in my long life.
I was having a baby. And I hated this. Sitting here, on this hospital bed, I had too many emotions going through me. I was tired, angry, scared, excited, vulnerable, happy, sad and bewildered beyond any reasoning. I've been in labor for the past five hours and to say the least, I haven't been the most pleasant person to be around. My back felt like an elephant has sat it on, the contractions have been getting worse and closer in the past thirty minutes and I've already bit through my tongue because of a certain person.
There were sounds all around me in the birthing room, but I was mainly concentrating on breathing. Faintly, I heard the doctor talking to me about something. I blinked and stared at him as he was looking at me expectantly.
"Sorry, what did you say?"
He smiled at me. "I said that you've now dilated to ten centimeters. You're almost ready, just a minute more," he said and I bit my lip as I felt another contraction surge through me.
"Shit, why can't I be ready now!" My grip on the railing tightened not only because of the pain but because I heard that stupid deep chortle coming from that stupid man standing next to me.
"Darling." His sarcasm didn't have to be concealed and I whipped my head around to glare at him. "It's just like you to be impatient, isn't it?" He followed his remark with a smirk that I wanted to smack right off his face.
My blood was boiling and though I already got over the feeling of humility in having him look at me like this, I was starting to gather all the hatred deep inside me for him. I controlled my breathing and swallowed a biting remark.
"Give me your hand, Spike," I said and whether he complied or not, I grabbed his hand anyway just as another contraction came. I kept my eyes on his face as I squeezed hard and watched as his left eye started to twitch. I narrowed my eyes at him. "I hate you for doing this to me you asshole." I squeezed harder. "I hope you rot in hell Spike." And squeezed harder.
Spike kept calm and instead of scowling like he's been doing for the whole duration of my banter, he grinned lopsidedly and said, "I'll meet you there, Faye."
I opened my mouth to retort but the doctor intercepted and we both turned to look at him as he beamed at me. "Okay Faye, I can see the baby's head now. Be ready to push when I tell you!"
I gaped at him. "What! Now! Wait, I'm not ready!" I exclaimed but Doctor Obisky just smiled at me.
"Hypocrite," I heard Spike mutter and I glared at him.
"Shut the hell up!" I shouted at him. His face regained that stoic expression.
"Faye, you're going to have to start now, alright? Now, I want you to give a big starting push," the doctor said and I took a deep breath. And pushed.
I was sure that I let out a very unladylike shriek, but I didn't care. I was wrong about the contractions being the killer here; it was the pushing that was a bitch. And I was starting to kick myself for not getting any painkillers.
"Very good sweetheart, now push again!"
My grip on Spike's hand tightened again, but I didn't think he minded. I glanced at him but he didn't look at me to surely scold me for my harming the much-needed piece of his limb. The look on his face was a mix of shock and weariness, like he was seeing something he didn't want to but couldn't look away from it.
The doctor told me to push again and I did, wishing that the baby would just slide out of me. To me, it felt as if I was giving birth to a watermelon two sizes too big. It hurt, but now my feelings of anger and extreme pain started dissipating. My heart was starting to thump erratically in anticipation of this child and to my amazement I was even accepting the pain happily. Because right now all I could think about was this baby and all these maternal thoughts were taking over my old ones of singleness.
Over the past nine months they have been developing, but as it was actually happening now, they're starting to come to me tenfold and the feeling now is of a rush of happiness at a new beginning, a new challenge. Of course I was once notoriously known for taking on a challenge worth my while, but this was something that I really put forth my heart in.
"Okay, the head is starting to crown. Just two more big pushes and you're done."
My head was somewhere else, but I did as I was told mechanically, this time almost numb to the pain. As a bounty hunter, I've always had this way of redirecting my focus off the pain so I could get the job done. And if it could work then, I'm pretty sure it could work now. Sweat was coming off me by the gallons and I knew I didn't look anything near beautiful. My water had broken in the middle of the night and between not having any make-up on and lack of sleep, I probably looked like a monster. But who cared? It wasn't as if I was trying to impress someone . . . such as a fuzzy haired baboon standing next to me looking equally ridiculous in a hospital gown.
"This is your last push, dear. Make it a big one."
Finally, my head became clear enough to gather all my strength and a lot of air to push. After thirty seconds, I felt my cavity finally clear out and ten seconds later I heard the sweet shrill of a baby crying. I relaxed my body and blew out a puff of air, in an attempt to remove the hair plastered to my forehead. My breaths were still coming out hard, but at least it was all over.
Doctor Obisky was smiling so big as he held in his arms a tiny pink baby crying out the new use of its lungs. I wondered for a second how exactly out of it I was in the past minute for him to cut off the umbilical cord without my notice. "Congratulations you two, it's a healthy baby girl!" he exclaimed and if under different circumstances, I would have inwardly mused in a non-friendly way the reason for his zeal.
But I didn't have time to reflect on him as a new sudden thought flashed into my mind. The reality caught up and before I knew it, I felt my mouth stretch into a wide smile as I let out an airy sob, soaking in the new life form five feet away from me. I've done it. The most hardest and painful thing I could ever do in my life was done. And there were absolutely no regrets involved as I dazedly watched the doctor turn away to hand the baby over to the nurses.
A baby. A new being in this cruel world for me to care over, to flood into the spacious gap of my small heart. Though I had someone new to care for beside myself, I took a vow this moment to be one hundred and ten percent obligated to this little girl. My daughter. As if on cue, I heard a scratchy "Ahem" from above me and I glanced upwards, my mind making a mental amendment to my previous ponderings.
"Hey," Spike's voice was abnormally void of derision and I blinked up at him. My senses that had abandoned me decided to come back and I suddenly felt an unequal balance of warmth between my hands. I glanced down, realizing that my left hand was still latched onto his. I swiftly took it out of his grasp as a blush started to roam over my face. I bit my lip and hoped to the Gods that he didn't notice.
"You okay?" Though he hadn't taken a big leap from indifference for my well being to sudden concern relating to that of a loved one, he did seem to let on that he cared enough to ask a mundane question regarding my health. Something jolted in my heart almost resembling anguish, but I disregarded it, rationalizing it to be the desire for Spike to be more thoughtful with his words, and the verity that it was Spike whom I was rationalizing over.
I looked away from his two-toned mahogany eyes in fear that unwanted feelings were starting to creep out of their hiding places. "I will be," I said and diverted my attention from Spike to the opposite side of the hospital room where the nurses were busy cleaning up my baby and wrapping her up in a pink blanket. I grinned at the very feminine color of it, wondering briefly if Spike would grimace at it.
Suddenly there was a bundle of pink laid into my awaiting arms, and I humored myself for the fact that they were longing for this tiny weight nestled against my slightly swollen chest. For a quick second I was in horror because I didn't know what to do. But soon enough the maternal instincts came into play and my eyes roamed over the new gift I held. Gift . . . that's the only thing I can say about her.
Her eyes were closed and the thrill of not knowing what color her eyes would be excited me. There was tuft of dark hair swirled on top of her head, the color concealed due to the fluid not fully cleaned off. As my eyes trailed downwards over her tiny pink-splotched face, I smiled softly at her tiny nose, the discerning point of its tip confirming that she had gotten it from her father. Her diminutive mouth was contorted in the act of releasing infant noises. I pulled back her blanket and scrutinized the rest of her body, roaming over her writhing body as I quickly counted her fingers and limbs, satisfied when I counted twenty in all. I covered her back up and sighed, feeling an alien sense of motherly love washing over me. I didn't push it away either; instead, I gathered her into my arms more, wanting nothing more than to forever protect her from the hazards in this world.
I was so engrossed in looking at every new detail of the baby that when Spike spoke, his voice nearly scared me half to death. "She's something else, isn't she?"
I looked up at him and new, somewhat unpleasant thoughts traded with the nice, warm ones. The uncertainty of his compassion was a big issue, and though I didn't want to have to deal it, things like this never stayed concealed. There were a million different possibilities concerning our new daughter, and I wasn't willing to take any chances concerning her safety. It really disturbed me that in all the nine months given to us to discuss this situation, neither one of us took any time to talk it over. And here I was now, glowering over what was to become of all of us in the near future.
I shoved those thoughts out of my head for now and focused on the fact that Spike's head was leaned too close to mine, but he wasn't quite aware of it as I was. Instead, he was busy studying our daughter, a genuine smile on his face I was so sure would never see the light of day. There was slight movement coming from him as he held his finger out to her. She grasped it willingly and it amazed me at how her whole hand could wrap around Spike's index finger, making her being seem so small compared to him. She was making cooing noises now and it almost made me cry at how gentle he was treating her. It was almost as if some new man had replaced the Spike I was so accustomed to, someone new who actually had a heart.
We stayed that way for a little while more, leaving all pretenses aside and focusing both of our attention towards our newborn. Neither one of us had spoken a word to each other, and though we both knew we had a long conversation awaiting this certain moment was too sincere for me or Spike to ruin it. The infant was the only reason why we were anything but angry or annoyed with each other, and I just wasn't ready for awkwardness to sweep in and assimilate the warmth in the air around us. For this short time I had a twinge in my heart, forcing me to admit that I truly felt like we were a family.
Just like every past good thing in my life, this feeling would have to be squashed, and soon enough it came when our baby fell asleep. The reminder of sleep started making me exhausted and although I fought against my will, I couldn't stop the yawn from slipping out of my mouth. Spike had noticed and gazed at me not heatedly, even going as far as setting his hand on my drooped shoulder.
"You should get some sleep, Faye."
I wanted to protest in fear of having to be separated from my baby, but I looked up at Spike and somehow the apprehension diminished knowing that he was here to protect her. I finally nodded and felt a new pair of hands coming and taking my child out of my arms. I resisted the urge to grab her back into my chest, but fatigue was starting to overcome my senses and I couldn't even muster up the strength to lift a finger. I watched the nurse walk away with the baby to the nursing room. I turned to look at Spike, noticing for the first time that he too looked like he had the shit beaten out of him and refrained from insulting him, knowing well that I didn't look far off from him. He was looking at me as if I was on my deathbed. Care didn't really associate well when it came to Spike, and I halfheartedly wondered if his own exhaustion was making him lose his inhibition.
I bit my lip and shifted in the bed, wincing with a strong curse as I felt my lower body gasp at the strain. Spike's face contorted into alertness as his eyes roamed over my body and I felt my face start to burn up again.
"Are you hurt?"
I was going to answer him but Doctor Obisky's voice once again interrupted our not-so-quite conversation. "She's okay. A little soreness around the area, but that is perfectly normal. What Ms. Valentine needs here is lots of rest and time to regain her strength, then she'll be A-Okay." He smiled at me then turned to frown at Spike. "As for you," he said, pointing a gloved hand at Spike, "you need some rest yourself, Spike. You look like you've been through hell and back again!"
I couldn't help myself from muttering, "You have no idea." Spike looked at me and quirked an eyebrow at me, perhaps at my sudden strength for making comments about him. I waited for him to say something scathing, but he said the opposite.
"I'm going to find Jet and Ed and some coffee. I want you to get some rest, okay?" He was already starting to walk away from the bed, due to the doctor's tugging. I nodded at him and as I watched him walk out of the door, he paused and said something so soft I strained to hear him. "I'll come back later. Don't worry Faye, I'll watch over her."
My head was cleared of the worries that were lingering around, about whether or not Spike actually cared about his new child. And it smoothed over the rough edges, making my rest a lot easier. But before I fell dead to the world, one last thought was circulating in my head.
We haven't named her yet.
Spike shoved his hands in his pockets as he strolled towards the waiting room. The hospital hadn't lost its business as there were sounds going on all around him, each one vying to distract him from his thinking. Spike didn't have it though and kept his introspective trek to the big waiting room. Besides, there was one too many thoughts in his head that he couldn't decide which one wouldn't add to the forming headache behind his eyes.
But one thought was prevalent in Spike's mind and it was about his new child. Child. Spike Spiegel was a father. The angels above were surely laughing now at this new and uncanny situation at hand. Somewhere far off in his mind he had been thinking about having kids one day, but that was before when he didn't have everything to lose. And that was when he was with Julia. But suffice to say, Julia really wasn't one who had the need for a distraction in her life, much less a child. Still, Spike couldn't help those fantasies from emerging when they were together.
When he had found out that Faye was pregnant, he was surprised at the fact that he hadn't been shocked beyond belief. He always had suspicion of the possibility that Faye could've been pregnant ever since he left her bedroom that one murky morning. Unprotected sex always has consequences and they had just received theirs twenty minutes ago. Maybe he had thought that Faye's reproduction parts had been tampered with when she was cryogenically frozen, but if it worked for all parts of her anatomy, it should've worked for her inside parts too. And anyway, if it didn't, she would've been dead years ago.
There was no reasoning out of this one when he discovered the truth. Faye was pregnant and it was their own fault for not using any protection. If anything, the first thing Spike always wanted when it came to Fayewas protection. Where it was when he needed it then, it was still a mystery neatly tucked inside his dresser underneath his underwear.
For the first few months, Spike carefully weighed out his options and silently brooded over his predicament. He never planned on having a child in this life, especially with Faye; hell, he never even planned on having sex with her. But what was done was done, and he knew that there was no turning back. Right after Faye had told him, she quickly added that having an abortion was simply out of question. Spike had half expected Faye of all people to immediately want to lose the child, but he wondered maybe she didn't because of her faint intuition of cherishing a baby's life from before her life before. But he wondered himself now if he would ever feel these new and strange feelings of compassion if his new baby wasn't involved.
Looking back on those anxious months filled with more arguments and an even more moody Faye, Spike realized that they never took out even one hour out of the 8760 freely given to them that whole year to talk about what was going to happen. He briefly thought that Faye just didn't want to talk about it because she was too wary of what Spike had to say. True, he didn't exactly help out much often to make her pregnancy easier to deal with, but that was partly because he felt as if Faye shunned him from having to do anything with the baby. As if he would bring bad luck or something. He rolled his eyes at her stubbornness. Maybe if she asked him, she would have found out that Spike actually did want to have a big part in his child's life. This was probably the only true grasp of reality he would ever have, and he wanted to embrace it for all it was worth.
Finally after his pondering, he found himself walking into the bright waiting room where there was an accumulating number of families anxiously waiting for their new arrivals. He scanned the room until he spotted skinny limbs sprawled all across the hospital chairs that he presumed to be very uncomfortable. But Ed always slept anywhere and everywhere, so he didn't think much of her position. Spike found her head laying on Jet's lap and he raised an amused brow as he made his way towards them. Jet was reading the Jupiter Times, probably to catch up on what's been happening on his home planet.
Spike was now standing behind them and he smirked. "Seems that you've adopted more fatherly sentiments, Jet," he said and watched his friend briefly tense before turning the page.
"Soon enough Spike, your words will come back to bite you in the ass."
Spike walked around the bench and sat down next to Jet. He felt a bit more comfortable, only to be off his feet. He let out a breath and Jet put down the newspaper, looking at him anxiously. Spike glanced at him and felt his lips quirk up at Jet's excitement. "She made it out okay."
Jet's excitement couldn't be concealed anymore as his mouth spread into a wide smile and he laughed deeply, clapping Spike on his shoulder. "I'm so happy for you two! Wow, a baby girl. As if we didn't have enough women on the ship, here comes another one rearing in."
Spike didn't answer and just nodded, leaning his head back. He needed a cigarette.
"So when can we see her?"
Spike looked at his watch and sat up again. "Actually, we can go see her now. Is Ed coming?" He sent a wary glance towards her when suddenly she sprang up and started clapping merrily.
"Ed wants to see the new Tomato that Faye-Faye and Spike-person made!" she exclaimed and much to both men's dismay, got up and started doing cartwheels. Most of the other people in the room eyed her with a scornful look.
Spike and Jet shared a familiar glance before getting up and followed Ed down the corridor towards the nursery room. The walk was quiet except for the humming noises Ed made accompanied with a flapping of her arms to resemble a plane. When they reached the window of the room, they stopped and stood in front of it where several fathers were waiting for their new children.
Spike skimmed the room until he found a pink bundle labeled "Valentine". He pointed in her direction. "Do you see her?"
Jet nodded and smiled as he gazed at the new baby. Ed's face was plastered onto the glass as she made "oohing" and "ahhing" noises. They stayed that way until Ed unstuck her face and looked up at Spike, pointing at her. "Have you and Faye named the Tomato yet?"
Realization hit Spike like a bat and he shook his head, giving a helpless shrug. "No, I guess not. We didn't exactly talk it over," he said. Ed went back to ogling over the baby but Jet turned around and pointedly looked at Spike.
"If I recall, I've never heard you two talk much about this."
Spike shrugged again and just stared at the baby. "If you haven't noticed, Faye and I aren't ones to hold a civil conversation about anything really," he replied and Jet frowned.
"Spike, this isn't something that you two can avoid for much longer. I mean, you two are too stubborn to do anything that doesn't require screaming, but this is your daughter we're talking about. You need plans, you need money, you need a damn commitment, Spike," he chided loudly. When they started receiving strange looks Jet lowered his voice. "You're not going to run away from this, are you?" he asked skeptically and Spike sent him a bewildered look.
"No." He sighed and looked back towards his sleeping daughter. "Even if I did, the guilt would be too much."
"I've never known you to have guilt in the time I've known you . . . ever."
Spike smirked and reached into his pocket for his trustworthy pack. He started to pull out a cigarette when Jet glared at him and Spike stopped, remembering that they were in a hospital. Sighing again in defeat, he shoved it back in its place and settled on placing his hands in his pocket.
"I'm not going to be selfish about this, Jet. I won't run because of my damn woes. I couldn't do that to my kid . . . to Faye," he added softly and avoided Jet's look because he knew what he would find and he didn't like it.
His companion coughed and returned his gaze to the baby. "How is she?"
"She's sleeping. A little sore, but she'll be all right. This is Faye we're talking about."
"Spike," Jet's apprehensive tone made Spike a little curious and he turned to Jet.
"You two . . . are things going to change between you guys?" he asked and Spike scoffed at the absurdity of the question. Things have already been changing ever since that night.
"That's the understatement of the year." He shrugged. "I honestly don't know what's going to happen, Jet. I guess we're just going to have to see where things lead us. But just to set things straight, I'm not going anywhere."
Jet's laughter was something that Spike didn't expect. He turned his head and watched Jet subdue his chuckles and waited for an explanation. He didn't quite see how his seriousness was amusing to Jet.
Jet shook his head and smiled at Spike. "I'm sorry. I'm just laughing because of how ridiculous this whole thing is."
"Come again?" Spike asked warily.
"I mean, you and Faye. You guys are the two most stubborn people I know in the galaxy and just to make things even more uncanny, two people who can't stand each other, much less kids. How this all came to be, I do not want to know, Spike," Jet said, which led to Spike re-evaluating his actions the one night he let his guard down along with his pretense of indifferent emotions towards Faye.
"Believe me, Jet. You really don't want to know. But you want to know something? Some God-awful truth I hate to admit?" he asked and Jet looked at him questioningly.
"I wasn't drunk that night we were together."