Opening Beats: Let's play Build-A-Soundtrack! In case you didn't notice, all the chapters of this story are to be named after songs, and being a 'fic based on a musical game about an organization that uses music to help people, there'll be a lot of music in the story. So far, here's the tune-age:

Van Halen, 'Aint Talkin' 'Bout Love', Chicago, 'You're The Inspiration', My Chemical Romance, 'Ghosts of You', Prince, 'Kiss', Missy Elliot, 'Get UR Freak On'

Other tunes, such as Moby, 'In This World' and Elvis Presley, 'Heartbreak Hotel', are mentioned, but will be used more in-depth later. Enjoy the music, and enjoy the story!

Verse Two: Ghosts of You


The scent of poppies, red petals tucked into wavy red hair. A gold star on a silver chain. Cinnamon kisses.

Step-slide-step, clap-clap, pivot back shimmy-down

'You don't have to be rich to be my girl...'

Spice perfume. The warmth and tenderness of her body pressed against his.

'You don't have to be cool to rule my world...'

Splashes of blood. Electrical storm.

'Ain't no particular sign I'm compatible with...'

Fingers combing through his long dark waves. Kisses planting up his neck.

'I just want your extra time, and your...'



Warm, still weight in his arms. Rain falling from the sky in torrents. Crimson stains on his suit.

Lips tremble against his ear. Faint words. He can barely make them out.

All he can do is keep the rain off her.

She's gone. Gone... gone...

Baby don't leave me... all by myself...

Baby don't leave me... all by myself...


In his room at EBA HQ, Chief sits bolt upright, gasping for air. His brow his drenched in sweat, and yet he shivers as if he's freezing. His steel-colored eyes stare blindly ahead at nothing, his jaw dropped slightly, still breathing in hard. His heart pounds.

Every couple nights, the same thing. Perhaps it was an improvement... a few months after it had happened, almost a year ago, he'd had the nightmares every single night. A disjointed collage of memories, all leading up to that rainy night. A flood of rain, saltwater, and running red.

He falls back onto the pillow, eyes shutting tightly, one muscular forearm resting over his face. Someday, this would stop. This had to stop. If it didn't stop, he didn't know how much longer he could keep it together... and for the sake of his partners, and perhaps even the EBA as a whole, he HAD to keep it together.

Turning his head to the side, he looks at the digital clock. 5 a.m. He sighs deeply, and closes his eyes. An hour's more of sleep, if he can... that would be nice...


later that morning

Missy be puttin it down

I'm the hottest 'round

I'll told yall mutha (skurt)

Y'all can stop me now

Listen to me now

I'm lastin twenty rounds

And if you want me (people)

Then come and get me now

Nobody was on the practice arena floor this morning, which was just fine by Spin. For a young man who had quickly garnished the reputation of the stereotypical carefree, playful rookie, he had a lot on his mind. Too much. He wasn't used to this much thinking at once... he was a person who preferred to think on his feet and let his nimble moves and slick spinning get him out of trouble.

Lately, though, he'd just been walking around with too much in his head. He felt it was effecting his dancing, which is why he enjoyed practicing so early. Nothing to think about, nobody here except for himself and Missy, joining him courtesy of his headphones.

The headphones were a very vital thing to Spin... not only were they as trademark to his look as Chieftain's hat or J's pompadour, they constantly generated a flow of music into his ears. Music to him was nothing less then audible, intangible blood... it had kept him alive through some of the roughest nights in the 'hood, inspired him, helped him earn his bread and butter, and eventually got him discovered by the EBA. If he didn't hear music every minute, even if just as quiet background noise, he'd get fidgety, then visibly nervous, until he'd absolutely NEED to hear some sort of tune or he'd scream. (Before he came here, where there was always music somewhere even if he didn't have the 'phones, he'd sometimes had to resort to humming or even singing aloud at the most inappropriate times when he hadn't been allowed his headgear. You don't know the feeling of 'awkward' until you've burst into a Tourette's-like rendition of DMX's 'Party Up' in the middle of a particularly song-free church sermon.)

Is you with me now (bounce)

The biggie biggie bounce (bounce)

I know you dig the way i sw... sw... switched ma style

(Holla) People sing around

Now people gather round

Now people jump around

He's not following any set style... just freestyle street, making it up as he goes, the sound channeling from his headphones into his ears through his body and amplified throughout the room, not as louder sound but as Spin's bewitching moves. He flowed like a river made flesh.

Most everyone agreed that he was the rookie with the most promise that the EBA had ever seen- given discipline and practice, there's no telling how good he could be. Of course, though the 'practice' part was done well enough, the 'discipline' part could certainly use work. He struggled to obtain synchrony with the rest of his team... Spin always wanted to do his own thing. He wasn't enormously cocky, nor did he dislike his teammates- far from it.

As much as part of him wanted to be perfectly harmonious, his rebellious feet always had other ideas.

And maybe, he thinks, that's why...

Aw, nevermind now, man. Just move.

Getcha freak on... (go)

Getcha freak on... (go)

Getcha freak on... (go)

Getcha freak on... (go)

Getcha freak on... (go)

Getcha freak on... (go)

Getcha getcha getcha getcha getcha freak on...

"...nice moves."

Spin snaps around, startled, and breathes out as soon as he catches eye of the interloper. J.

The rookie smiles... if he had to pick a best friend out of this entire close-knit organization, J would probably be it. A standard-level agent, the middle man between Spin the rookie and Chieftain the legendary veteran (who was outranked only by Commander Kahn himself), J's easygoing attitude made him the perfect mediator whenever Spin and Chief got into an argument. The big veteran would usually listen to J's logic, and Spin rarely thought J treated him like some snot-nosed kid.

He steps up to the rookie, who clasps his friend's hand and pulls him into a quick embrace.

"Thanks, man. Me an' Missy just freestylin' a bit, y'know, kickin' it while the scene's still mellow."

"So I noticed."

J smiles, an expression which fades a bit as his head tilts slightly to the side.

"You were off, though, just a little. Looks like you're bugging a bit. Somethin' on your mind you wanna talk about, dude?"

"Ehhhh. Stupid shit. Toss me that towel, would ya?"

J does, and Spin dabs the sweat off his head and shoulders, sighing deeply. Yes... it was off, and there was something on his mind... that's why he was here this early in the morning. But it was a kind of sheepish thing to be dwelling on... probably just his imagination... he almost wasn't going to say it, but J was just too hard not to confide in.

"...It's Chieftain. I totally respect the cat, dig, an' I'm totally honored t' be on his team, 'specially this soon on. I never thought I'd dance with Chief YEARS from now, much less after just bein' in for a couple'a months. I dig it. The guy's a master, no doubt. But..."

He scratches the back of his head.

"...I don' think he likes me much, J."

J sighs. He had a feeling this was going to come up sooner or later. Spin tried time and again to impress the veteran, and yet the two continued to butt heads. Perhaps it was simply the generation gap. That's what most people would say. J, of course, knew better.

"Spin... let me tell ya somethin'. 'S kind of a long story, you game to hear it?"


Large brown eyes blink at J, the youngster's curiosity piqued. He turns a dial on his phones, lowering the sound to a dull murmur- the closest he could give anything to his undivided attention.

"Okay. The whole thing really started around the same time I'd just made BA-3 rank. I made BA-2 'round the time you came in, so this was about... oh, two years back. A new batch of rookies had come in for agent training... one girl with them. A redhead, freckles on her cheeks, mossy green eyes. Irish-looking girl named Megan Abernathy. She'd slipped in through a loophole... the chosen girls usually go through Diva training, you know... but this girl, she didn't want to be a diva, she wanted to be an agent, and seein' as there wasn't anything in the rules saying she wasn't allowed... well, she snuck in on a technicality. But man, she payed for it. She got hazed like nobody's business... and headin' up the brunt of this was legendary BA-1, Agent Chieftain. Y'see, it wasn't her gender he had a problem with- it was the way she'd gotten her way. Chief's never liked it when people squirm in through loopholes. He yells at cop shows when that kinda thing happens, for goshsakes."

"Anyway, she dealt with this shitstorm like a man, t' borrow a cliche. She put up with everything thrown at her and more, her moxy both impressing and infuriating Chief something awful, until the last day of EBA Basic came. You remember how it goes... everyone picks their song, and if their dance impresses the judges and shows what they've learned in training, they stay. If not, they're gone. Well... Chief twisted it up a bit for miss Megan. She didn't just have to dance to impress the judges... she had to dance... and win... a Dance Duel against Chief, or she had to pack up and go home with the rest of the wannabes."

Spin's jaw dropped. That... man, that was HARSH.

"...what happened?"

"Sparks flew. Chief broke out the Elvis... you've never seen it yet, but Chieftain dancing his 'Heartbreak Hotel' routine is the kind of thing that makes grown men cry. It's that damn good. Nobody thought Megan had a prayer, but she had an ace up her sleeve. She started in with Prince. 'Kiss'. They went one verse followed up by another, harder and more fluid 'till the tunes ran together and so did their routine, and somewhere in that duel... something clicked."

"Who won, J?"

"Eh, it was called a draw, but that's not important. During that duel, whatever beef Chief and Megan had with each other totally flipped, and not only did they stop being rivals, right after her graduation... It was Chief who picked out her codename, by the way, Spice, it suited her really nice... they became partners. I was chosen as their third man, but it was really all about them. Chief and Spice. Match made in heaven. God, he loved that girl."

Spin draws his knees to his chest. He has a feeling he knows where this is going now, and his heart sinks right down to his shoes.

J continues, eyes saddening behind amber sunglasses.

"They were partners for a good year, lovers most of that time. Inseparable, but still not the kind of couple that makes you want to puke. Like they were best friends besides being hooked up. Then, one afternoon, we were sent out to answer a distress call in a bad urban neighborhood. A girl had called out for us. Her brother and her boyfriend had never gotten along, and things were gonna turn violent. Like, heavy gang violence if she couldn't get them to at least agree to disagree. We went, we even had just the tune for the occasion, one from the King of Pop. 'Beat It'."

He sighs, rubs at his temples.

"We did our thing the best we could. Stormclouds were coming in, rain started t' fall. It was a cold rain, even though it was the middle of summer, and the whole damn thing was just ominous. We kept going, though... and damn, I swear the situation had almost diffused. But then... something happened. Chief slipped, an' as you know, sometimes just one little slip'll break down an entire mission. In that break, the wolves came out. I broke out my cell to call the police in the sudden confusion... and then, oh, god, the guns started going off. I took one to the arm... a pretty much superficial injury, thank God... but poor Spice girl, she knew that people in a panic will start shooting at the biggest dog in the yard, threw herself in front of Chief, and..."

J bows his head. Spin closes his eyes sadly.

"...she died bleeding in Chieftain's arms. We had her funeral in the Great Hall... it was really beautiful. Starr sang. Chief... I'd never seen him so destroyed by anything before, and probably won't again. He was just devastated. We didn't know if he'd ever bounce back from it. He did eventually, though, by throwing himself into his work. If he took the EBA seriously before, it was his everything now. That's why he dosen't tolerate any goofing off or joking around. That's probably part of the reason he rides you like he does... the other reason, though, is because of your spot."

He eyes Spin pointedly.

"You're dancing Spice's spot now. He probably sees any messing around on your part as disrespect."


Spin drops his head into his hands. It makes a lot of sense now... but man, it was clinched. With that much on his shoulders, Chief'd never like him. The veteran'd always see the rookie as the young upstart who'd replaced his dead girlfriend, and there was nothing Spin could do about it.


sometime that afternoon, a quiet suburban neighborhood

Little Lucy Stevens hums sweetly as she plays with her teddy bears. There was a warmth about her house, a feeling of peace that she hadn't felt there for a long time. Her mother seemed happier now, and the deep gloom that her father had left when he'd gone away was finally taking its leave.

It was all, she was certain, because of the three Agents who'd come and sang and danced for them. Their dancing had magic in it, had to. Otherwise, it wouldn't have helped to bring her daddy home one more time.

She especially remembers the big agent. He was big, and handsome, even though he looked gruff. Still, there was a good heart underneath all that. Lucy was a very good judge of character. In her book, nobody who didn't have a big heart couldn't have done what the big man had done. So she'd watched her mommy talk to him, seen the way he'd taken his hat off in front of her like a cowboy in an old movie, and how her mommy had smiled at that.

Her mommy hadn't smiled so prettily in a very long time.

They ought to see each other again, she thinks.