I'm not entirely sure what I was thinking when I wrote this. I sort of just went with a feeling. The feeling was probably 'tired' but I went with it anyways.

Hm…

ssg.x.


Inchworm, inchworm

Measuring the marigolds

You and your arithmetic

You'll probably go far

Inchworm, inchworm

Measuring the marigolds

Seems to me you'd stop and see

How beautiful they are


It was 01:53 a.m. when Spike decided he wanted Faye.

The window actually opened itself about twenty minutes earlier than that as Spike was probably only partially aware, but he preferred thinking that the decision to let Faye into his life was his own.

He didn't know he was in love with her yet.

It was 01:47 a.m. when Faye realized she could play the piano. Ten minutes earlier, she'd been sitting quietly at the old upright --grimy and unplayed that entire evening -- staring at the cracked and spotted tip glass sitting atop the relic with disdain. She'd been thinking about bed and being in it and asleep. She'd been thinking about how the curfew her parents had set for her back when she was a teenager was no later than 11:30 p.m. And that included the weekend.

If her father could see her from heaven or wherever people ended up when they died, he'd be rolling over in his grave. Or his cloud or his urn or whatever.

Spike and Faye walked into a bar. This isn't the opening of a joke. They walked into The French Connection, a rundown Parisian-style coffeehouse-cum-piano bar at about 01:05 a.m. Faye selected a dried out pastry from the impressively small selection of coffeehouse fare available on their menu. She also had a coffee with a quite a dollop of whiskey. She sipped at the coffee only about three times and seemed to chew the same bite of pastry for about fifteen minutes before shoving it across the table to Spike who was almost always too hungry to give a shit whether he was eating pastry or plasticine.

Predictably he ate it without saying a word. He didn't thank her for it, either. Faye used to make mental notes of the boys' failures in etiquette to bring up later when they complained about the lack of hot water or a 'borrowed' cigarette but soon realized that chivalry had probably been dead for a long time and no one gave a shit about manners or ladies and gentlemen. She couldn't remember a time otherwise. And if it meant she didn't have to stay on top of her body hair situation, she guessed she considered it afair trade.

In case you hadn't guessed yet, Spike had come back. Just like he always had. Yes, just like these stories always go. Except short a few internal organs. A lung and a kidney. A stomach. Faye and Jet had always joked in the past that Spike had an iron stomach but it wasn't terribly funny anymore. Well, not to Jet anyways. Faye watched Spike eating the icing-drizzled bit of drywall she'd offered him and smiled behind a hand she brought up rather frequently to hide behind. Sometimes she laughed behind it, or cursed. She cried behind it sometimes, too.

They were waiting to speak to the owner about a bounty they were making a decision about. If it was easy enough to find the guy, they'd get it done before sunrise. If not Spike would suggest they head back to the ship for some sleep before heading out in the morning. Faye knew that his heart hadn't been in this game for a long time. Perhaps it never was. But it seemed that since he returned his ass was barely in it, too. He'd climb into his groove on the couch and wake up tomorrow around twilight. He'd smoke a cigarette and watch the sun rise, fruitlessly search for something to eat and then crawl back onto the couch. Spike had become one of the living dead. It didn't make for nearly as many thrills as Faye remembered zombies to be from movies.

Spike and Faye had decided to wait. The owner and his only waitress on staff that night had their hands full with a couple of tables of drunk theatre students. Spike didn't mind waiting. He could wait for all eternity. Neither Jet nor Faye knew what Spike was waiting for but these days he seemed like a very patient man. The days came and left him like a myriad of Sundays spent fishing in a dinghy on the lake. He used to love the thrill of the hunt. Now he couldn't give a shit. If he caught a fish, fine. If he didn't, fine.

Spike ran down the standard list of questions like a pro. He worked them seamlessly into the conversation. If Faye didn't know better, she would have believed Spike was a friend of the bounty, a friend of this guy's, too. He was so easygoing. Relaxed. He could have done this lying on his couch with his eyes closed. She could tell by the way his weight shifted heavily from his left foot to his right that he wished he was lying on his couch with his eyes closed. Faye knew enough about him to read those signals at the very least. The owner offered him a drink. Spike gestured towards Faye, "I gotta get the lady home. Maybe another time."

"Come on. One drink. She won't mind. I'll get you both a little something on the house. What'll you have?" The owner nodded towards Faye, smiling. She couldn't tell the difference between a friendly smile and a lecherous one anymore. She returned the smile and shook her head, "You boys enjoy. I'll just be sitting over there," she motioned towards the piano in the corner between the bar and the low, makeshift stage.

That was at 01:31 a.m. Two minutes later Spike started losing his head. The answers to all the questions, all the information he'd managed to gather scattered to the far reaches of his brain. He thought he was just getting tired. When he'd nearly turned down free liquor only a few minutes ago it wasn't part of the act. He wanted to get back to the ship. He wanted to fall asleep. It was the most anticipated part of his day. For half a second he begrudged this long-awaited display of patience on Faye's part and the ridiculous timing of it.

He fell in love with her at 01:33 a.m. If you ask him, he'll tell you it was a Thursday – Three days later than the truth. That's because Spike Spiegel will be damned rather than let anyone know that he wanted her first. But the truth is that he fell in love with Faye Valentine on a Monday. Well, okay. It was after midnight. He fell in love with her on a Tuesday. But he didn't get to bed until 04:07 a.m. so if you ask me, Spike Spiegel fell in love with Faye Valentine on a Monday.

It wasn't because she played that pretty melody on that clunky, old piano, although it did stir some indescribable something inside of him. He loved her before either of them realized she could play. About fourteen minutes before that, actually.

"I didn't know you played the piano," he'd said.

"Me neither," she'd replied.

Four minutes earlier, Faye had been running her fingers up and down a selection of keys she found beneath her hand, the sound of keys creaking and her finger stumbling across them louder than the actual sound coming out of the piano. She sort of forgot herself then. Spike kept looking back over his shoulder at her, which she didn't realize until she heard the owner bark to get Spike's attention back to their conversation, "Your girl's just fine over there."

She wondered if she was so exhausted she wasn't reading the signalsSpike was trying to give. Did he want her to interrupt? Did he want her to make note of something the owner had said? But really Faye was just too tired too realize he was just looking at her. Because he liked looking at her.

It was alright, though, because Spike wouldn't realize for a little while yet that he wasn't just looking at her because he was pissed off about still being here thanks to Faye – freealcohol or not – instead of on his way back to the ship.

The song Faye played was called Inchworm. It didn't really begin to take shape until about 01:43a.m. Even then, she was playing it with one hand. The other hand didn't join in for another two and a half minutes. And then the owner asked her what song she was playing. And she said, "Inchworm." Just like that. Inchworm.

"I didn't know you played the piano."

"Me neither."

At 03:12 a.m. Spike kissed Faye. This wasn't the first time. The first time actually came one minute earlier, give or take a couple of seconds. He'd kissed her fingers then. The fingers that had played that sad and pretty song. He kissed her mouth after that, small and rounded with the silent sound of surprise. You can ask him about their first kiss and he'll probably tell you it happened on the Wednesday.

He'll say it happened on a Wednesday because after he kissed Faye, she was very quiet. She didn't say a word to him the whole way back to the ship. It was like it never happened.

That night he was sure she could feel his heart beating through the wall that separated their rooms and was mortified at the thought.

The next morning she was gone. Jet had told Spike that she'd decided to go after the bounty by herself. By Wednesday, you see, Spike had decided to forget that the flaming failure of a kiss he'd planted on her on Monday (I still say it was a Monday) had ever happened. So, like I said, he'll tell you it was on a Wednesday.

That's because Faye came back. When he went out onto the dock early that day to have his usual morning cigarette, Faye seemed to be waiting for him like she knew he'd show up. She also looked like she hadn't slept the night before. This is probably why if you ask her about their first kiss, she'll tell you it was on a Tuesday. Because technically she didn't get to bed that night. So for her it was probably still Tuesday.

He was already in love with her when she carefully reached up and held to the collar of his shirt with the same fingers he'd kissed only two nights earlier as though she needed to hold him still to kiss him. As though she believed that he wouldn't want her to kiss him. Which was silly, of course. Because he loved her.

Faye Valentine fell in love with Spike Spiegel the evening before while humming that tune from the piano bar to herself as she walked along some nameless street after finding her bounty and his lover dead in bed together from a couple of gunshot wounds to their heads. That was at about 02:48 a.m. Don't quote me on that. It's late right now and I'm tired.

When Faye Valentine first kissed Spike Spiegel on a Wednesday, she thought she could hear the sound of a window opening inside of him.

The window actually opened itself about twenty minutes earlier than that as Spike was probably only partially aware, but he preferred thinking that the decision to let Faye into his life was his own.


Inchworm, inchworm

Measuring the marigolds

You and your arithmetic

You'll probably go far

Inchworm, inchworm

Measuring the marigolds

Seems to me you'd stop and see

How beautiful they are


Inchworm lyrics by Frank Loesser. Don't sue, please.