A/N: This Fic takes place post-bebop, some months, perhaps years after the ending the show (and yes, shock shock, somehow,spike survived). It's meant to be a short fic, maybe a couple chapters only. I prefer to write short one-shots, although after starting this one I think it'll take me a couple chapters to get it down. Also, I'm trying something new by writing from Spike's POV for the whole story, as opposed to Faye, which is who I usually write as. Please read and review!

Kajouka

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A pair of mismatched eyes stared out the window of the Bebop as the ship made its descent onto the bruised and battered planet below him. Daily meteor showers destroyed anything in their path, upending the land as they slammed into mountains, rivers, and buildings. Yet, despite the never-ending abuse, her oceans still sparkled a brilliant azure color that could even take his breath away. The world had long lost its beauty to Spike, but even he could appreciate the splendor of a planet that displayed her true colors against all odds. She was raw. She was pure. And she was honest.

People were not raw, pure, and honest. At least, not the majority of the time. Spike could only think of two times in his life where he was truly raw, pure and honest. The first was a memory he'd long since let go of, remembered only now and then with a wistful fondness of a love once gone. And the second he told himself he wanted to forget ever happen, and yet his body tingled every time the memory flashed across his mind. Even now the scene replayed in front of him, like a movie stuck on the same track, skipping back and playing the same footage over and over and over.

He looked up. Lost in his thought he hadn't noticed the touchdown of the Bebop on the waters just off the coast of what was once known as Japan until he felt the fishing boat rolling in the waves. He pulled himself to his feet and ran a hand through the shaggy green mop of hair left unkempt on the top of his head. From his back pocket he pulled out a cigarette, and with the flick of a lighter, a small stream of smoke began wisping into the air as he lit up. He took a long slow drag and exhaled slowly. Jet would be calling for him any moment now that they'd landed. He knew he should be heading down into the main room. He took a step in that direction, then stopped and flopped back down onto the observation deck chair.

Jet wanted the trio to go after some deadbeat bounty who'd robbed a few banks and was worth maybe half a million woolongs. As could be expected, they hadn't eaten in two days and a half a million woolongs was looking pretty good when it came to filling their empty bellies. Spike took another drag off his cigarette and closed his eyes. Thoughts of the bounty vanished as that same scene filled the black space behind his eyes. He leaned back in the ragged chair he was sitting in and just let it play.

Ten seconds into the first act, the rough voice of Jet came echoing down the hallway. "Spike!" The scene ripped in half as Spike's eyes shot open.

"What?" Spike shot back, obvious irritation in his voice. He let the cigarette fall from his fingers onto the deck below him and reached over with his boot to snuff it out. Standing, he shoved his hands into his pocket, sighing softly as he made his way down the hall. Yeah, Jet wanted him to go over the bounty. Yeah, Jet wanted him to go after some leads. Yeah, Jet wanted him to hunt the guy down, turn him in, and collect that 500 k that would hopefully put something more than a few bell peppers on the table. Yeah, what else was new?

He glanced back at the windows. Raw. Beautiful. Yet destroyed. Sounded like a metaphor for his life.

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Spike propped his feet up on the table. Jet rolled his eyes, annoyed as usual at Spike's attitude. Spike only looked away. He had no interest in catching this bounty. He could feel his stomach grumbling, but for once he was sure that hunger had nothing to do with the feeling. He rocked back, lifted his feet up, and slammed them down onto the floor beneath him. "Jet, do we have to do this now?"

"You have a better time?" Jet barked back? "We have nothing on the ship to eat. Period. And our last lead said this guy was heading for a bar on the south down of old Tokyo. If we don't go after him now, he'll get away and we'll be left with nothing."

"What else is new?" Spike grumbled as he reached over to press the play button on the file Jet had just inserted into their computer. An image of the crook flashed up on the screen, followed by some information on the banks he had robbed and the gang he was in.

"See, they operate down on Kyo Street out of two or three bars down there. We know he's taking the money there. It wouldn't take much to get in there, nab the guy and get out, and you can go back to brood over whatever it is you're brooding over today." Jet snapped.

"Hunger getting to your head?" Spike snarked back.

Jet only stood. "We go now; we get this done, we eat. Simple as that."

"Fine."

Jet picked up the remote. "Alright pay attention. There are three bars in this section, Lonely Sakura, Kerbasi Shen, and Tierra Toro. He'll most likely head to the Lonely Sakura, the larger bar here in the center…."

Spike tuned him out. Resting his chin on his hand, he gave off the illusion of paying attention, but he wasn't. He just couldn't seem to get her out of his head, no matter how hard he tried. How had he let it happen? It wasn't like him to lose control. Nor had he expected her to have ever let down the wall she had constructed between them since his return to the Bebop.

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Spike stepped into the casino. The whirls of slot machines spinning, the rings of the jackpot bells, and the calls of the craps dealer he yelled out the numbers on the dice echoed in Spike's ears over the hum of conversation that hung over the place like thick smoke. The casino was packed – a spectacle of flashing lights and yelling people – some with excitement, others with anger. Somehow Jet had managed to finagle a free night's stay and a trip to the buffet at the Wild Western Hotel and Casino Resort. Spike certainly wasn't complaining. He and Jet had immediately hit the buffet, while Faye, true to her self, told them she'd eat after hitting the slots. Spike figured she'd eat when she'd lost what little money she had left. Now, well stuffed with lobster, salmon, steak, and just about everything else featured on the buffet, it was time to do a little gambling of his own.

He headed for the black jack tables. The far table had seat empty, and Spike wasted no time sliding onto the stool and setting a chip out in front of him to place his bet. A short, pleasantly plump elderly woman sat behind the table, calling out the cards with a smile on her face. With a flick of her wrist, she tossed the cards expertly across the table. Each one landed right in front of the players. Impressed, Spike glanced down at his own hand. A five rested neatly on top of a queen.

"Not exactly a great start," the dealer joked, "What will it be,"

Spike tilted his head and stared for a moment at the woman's six sitting on top of the down card. "Looks like I need to hit."

The dealer, Pam was etched across the nametag pinned neatly to her uniform, sent another card skimming across the table. "Seven. Looks like a bust." She reached over and scooped up his money. "Better luck next time."

"It's only the first hand," Spike remarked as he waited for Pam to finish dealing out the rest of the players.

An hour later Spike was up a few thousand woolongs. The cards had been good to him, falling at just the right time to keep him on the winning side. That was when Faye leaned onto the stool next to him. Something told him to take his money and run, but his luck had been good, and he decided to play it out for a few more hands.

"Spike, can I borrow a few woolongs? I'm out and you're up a bunch." Faye whispered, as though she didn't want anyone else to know she'd lost everything she had already.

"What else is new, Faye? You always lose your money and come running back to me." Spike retorted, not bothering to keep the volume down. He didn't care if the entire casino knew what a loser she really was.

She stood up and put her hands on her hips, "Oh come on. What are a couple woolongs to you anyway?"

"Next week's meal? If you had your way, none of us would ever eat." He didn't bother to turn to and look at her.

"Please?" she asked, putting her hands together like she was praying and looking at him with pleading eyes, instead.

"Oh fine. Just leave me alone." Spike plucked a hundred woolongs off the top of his stack and handed them to Faye. "There. Now, go away."

"I don't know, this looks like a good table," she purred, reaching out and setting one of Spike's chips on the table. She watched as Pam dealt the cards around the table, and squealed with delight when her first round turned up a black jack. "Maybe you are a good luck charm, Spike," she proclaimed, rubbing his head before turning back to the game.

"You've got to be kidding me," Spike grumbled. "Hit me." He reached to grab his chips, intent on leaving after this hand, when Pam turned over the seven of hearts.

"Twenty-One," she said, before moving onto the next person. He decided to stay just a few more hands.

Another three hours later and Spike and Faye were cashing in nearly 50,000 woolongs. "Who would have thought you really were my good luck charm." She laughed as they headed for the hotel elevator. "I had fun."

He had to admit that he'd had fun too - with Faye. "Yeah, you were slightly enjoyable company this time around. If anything, I made a few woolongs off your time." She hit him. He laughed. She found that annoying and hit him again. He grabbed her wrist.

The next thing he knew he'd pulled her close and their eyes had met. Her green eyes were sparkling with lust and he was certain that his own mirrored hers with a passion they had not seen in years. Time froze and he might have looked into those eyes forever if not for the ding of the elevator arriving at the lobby, ready to take them to their rooms. Spike could feel himself breathing heavy, and a sudden desire to have her tugged at his loins. Still holding her wrist, he pulled her into the elevator and pushed her against the wall as the steel doors closed slowly behind them…

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"Spike?"

Spike came crashing back to reality. Jet, bounty, Lady Sakura. He sighed, "yeah?"

"You paying attention here?" Jet questioned, obviously frustrated. "Listen, this is at least a two person job, and I have no idea where Faye is. That means it's you and me. You want to live here, you'll help."

Spike winced, although not for the reason Jet probably thought. He hadn't seen Faye for two days now. She had taken off shortly after he'd left her hotel room and she had yet to return to the Bebop. No doubt she was off gambling away the 50,000 woolongs they had won. He was glad he'd at least kept enough to buy himself breakfast the next morning. "Yeah, I'm paying attention." He pulled his Jericho from its holster and check that it was loaded. "Let's just get this over with." He rose and sliding the gun back into the holster turned to head for the airlock.