Fandom: Cowboy Bebop
Title: Grief
Author: SweetFirefly
Rating: T/PG-13
Genre: Angst
Main Characters: Faye Valentine, Jet Black; some hints of Spike Spiegel X Faye Valentine.
Spoilers: Up to Finale.
Summary: They spent three days and three nights without saying a single word.
Disclaimer: I don't own Cowboy Bebop. I'd never be able to do something fantastic like that.

A/N: And here comes Grief, revised version - because FF(DOT! HAHAHAHAH)Net erased all my change-scene markers. And some dots.

Looking back now, I think this is one of the best things I've written. It had remarkably less errors than the others, and I liked it so much I've never thought of writing another Cowboy Bebop fanfic, because no fic of mine could be better than this one.

It's my first Cowboy Bebop fanfic! I was watching the last episode and it just came to my mind - suddenly I had to write. Faye and Jet's reactions to Spike's death are based on Session 24, Hard Luck Woman: I found just lovely how Spike and Jet pretended they had boiled four portions of eggs because they used to ate two portions each, and not because they were waiting two more people. My English is far from perfect: any errors, please, warn me. ^^


Grief

It was on the TV.

An entire building in ruins. The death roll was already at 50 – and it kept rising, as they further explored the floors and hallways. Three explosions, shattered windows, the corpses of the security guards staining the floor with red blood, and the new head of the syndicate was found dead with a bullet in the chest, his old-fashioned white hair covering his face. And, of course, him.

Knowing that that was bound to happen didn't make it any easier to think that both his eyes weren't seeing anything at all now, Faye thought.

Jet's mouth twisted, but he didn't say anything. Maybe he didn't know what to say, or how to say. Faye didn't know either.

They spent three days and three nights without saying a single word.


The Bebop was too large.

She was sure, that, sometimes, there used to be laughter and the sound of chatting somewhere in that place, but she couldn't find it anywhere now, but on her memories. There should be a girl walking in the room with her hands, and a dog barking, and a guy stretched on the sofa, lazily waiting for the dinner.

Not that she cared.

The silence was palpable, almost solid, and she had stopped trusting before, and there was no reason to start again now, trusting was something stupid to do (she had trusted on him, but he held her arm and flew away and died all the same), and she'd be gone the moment the Red Tail could fly; that was the only thing keeping her there (not some stupid favor asked by some green-haired idiot about his idiot partner and his idiot hurt leg).

The emptiness was too empty, and she ran to her room, and hugged her pillows.


Faye had cried when he left, but had stopped crying the moment the Swordfish disappeared on the distance. Jet had not cried at all.


He moved the wrench very, very slowly.

He knew she'd leave as soon as the Red Tail could fly, and then he'd finally be left alone. Completely alone.

Not that he minded.

He didn't need the damn dog, he didn't need the damn gaki, he didn't need the damn woman, and his "partner" could go to Hell for all he cared. Wasn't it how it was supposed to be, in the beginning? Just an alliance, "I won't ask anything about you if you don't ask anything about me", no friendship? Since when did he care about the guy?

The wrench still firm on his hand, he entered the Red Tail's cockpit to check the machine guns; as he rested his back on the seat (too small for him), he looked at the empty space between the spaceship he was in and his beloved little ship, the Hammerhead.

What had that guy done to the Swordfish? Hell, that ship was a piece of artwork, pure solid aerodynamic. And the plasma cannon. Such a waste.

Yeah, and the waste of a piece of artwork was the only thing bothering him right now. Really.


They had been too busy thinking to chat while they ate, but, in the fourth day, Faye was tired of not using her tongue.

"Your cooking is terrible."

"Why don't you cook, then?", he replied, without even raising his head to look at her.

"Because I don't know how to cook."

"So quit complaining."

Silence again. Faye tried to chew the lame remnants of the shitake Ed had brought that time. Then, Jet got up.

"What?"

"I'm not hungry anymore."

"Didn't know you were so sensitive about your cooking", she said, covering her mouth full of mushroom with her hand.

He scoffed, and stared at the table.

The fact that there were only two dishes was painfully evident.


Jet didn't say that the last conversation he had had with the guy was about how terrible his food tasted.


That feeling of loneliness was suffocating.

Her life felt like a dream, made of few flashes of a happy girl and of trying not to feel, trying not to trust. And, alone again, she knew she should not care, he hadn't cared. He hadn't cared at all.

"No one cares", she said slowly, because maybe if she said it out loud she'd accept is as the truth once and for all, and she'd stop looking for homes and places to belong. "No one cares."

No one cared, she didn't care.

He could do what he wanted with his life. It was his life. His… departure… didn't affect her at all. She had cried, she couldn't deny it. But she would not anymore, never, for no one cared for her, let alone him, that bastard, who thought he could throw away his life like he had no one in the world.

She had no one in the world. All the better.

And that emptiness would go away with time, she thought, hugging herself. It had to.


Not that he did care for the girl. He didn't. He had gone after her in Callisto only because she had stolen his money (not a lot of money, but any money makes a difference if you don't want to spend the month eating shitake). But walking around a ship that should have been his and his alone, having for company a girl so confused and sad that her mood stormed in waves over him decidedly wasn't nice.

Slowly, he took another nut and put it on the place. A few more nuts here and here, and a few cords to replace and connect, and the Red Tail would be finished. Then she'd be gone, and he'd stop caring for what the guy did. He'd stop remembering the guy at all. He'd be alone.


Maybe their way of mourning him was to pretend he hadn't existed, Faye thought.


The sofa was getting full of dust. Faye didn't sit on it, for its color reminded her of things she didn't want to remember. Jet didn't sit on it because he was working non-stop.


Most of time, she tried not to think about him, but, sometimes, she thought about Jet.

She didn't really care for him, but Jet cared, didn't he? They had known each other long before she met them. She had wallowed so much in her carelessness that she didn't think about Jet at all. Not that she would start now.

But sometimes Jet's eyes were so, so sad.

In a way, he had hurt Jet too, more than himself. He was free now, and he didn't have to think about anything but avoiding the flames of hell, but Jet had stayed, stayed to think about it and to miss him. And she hated him a little.

She wondered what Jet was going do when she left.


Loneliness.

Sometimes he wondered what loneliness really meant.

Not just being alone physically. He thought loneliness was like now, when he was locked inside himself and Faye was locked inside herself, both of them living in their own world of carelessness.

Still, Faye was a company, he pondered. Well, a company which would soon leave.

Even at his worst, he hadn't been completely alone before. When Alisa left, he still had his mates of the police. When he left, he had met the guy. And, when the guy left, that time, Ed and Ein were at the ship. He had never known a time when there was no one left to look at his eyes.

Well, it would be fine. He'd never liked the guy that much, and he had never really liked the girl and the dog, and Faye just cared about herself (but she cried when the guy left).

He wondered what he could do, alone. He could turn up the volume of the music as loud as he wanted. He could cook and no one would complain about his food. He could leave his shoes wherever he wanted.

And he didn't know why, the prospect didn't seem quite as pleasing as it had seemed when there were five people on the ship.


They didn't say anything, but Faye knew Jet often stared at the empty space where the Swordfish used to stay and Jet knew Faye had entered the guy's room once and took his pillows with her to her room.


"Don't you think this ship is too empty?", she asked once impulsively, unable to watch Jet trying to swallow the food and choking on it.

"No. I think it's fine like this."


"Did you quit smoking?", he asked, when she left the room after he lit a cigarette.

"'Course not. Just don't want to smell your nasty smoke right now, thank you."


She didn't say that his way of holding the cigarette reminded her of a certain someone.


"The Red Tail is finished", he said bitterly. "You can go now."

She raised her head and looked at him. He didn't look at her.

"Are you kicking me out?"

"Hell, no", he said, his voice harsh, his chest pounding, "but aren't you going anyway? There's nothing left anymore."

"I can't."

"Why? If it's because you don't have any money, I can lend it to you. Lend, okay?."

"No, it isn't because of that."

"Then why?"

"He… he asked me to take care of you. And your hurt leg."

Jet's eyes snapped open.

"He did?"

"Yes, he did."

He tried to work out something to say:

"I'm not some child, y'know. You can leave if you want."

And she looked to the ground.

"I miss him", she said.

He raised his head and looked at her, his blue eyes filled with surprise.

"Who?", he asked, quite stupidly, for there was only one guy to be missed and he knew that as well as her.

Still, she answered:

"Spike."

It was like his name held an evil spell or some kind of command: Jet's heart twisted violently, and Faye's eyes exploded on tears.

She started sobbing without control; she fell in the sofa for she couldn't stand up anymore, and the tears were falling and falling, and then it hit Jet. Hard.

She was pretending. She was pretending she didn't miss Spike, pretending she didn't care because they weren't supposed to care, and because he didn't seem to care either. And the second conclusion showed up just after the first – he'd been pretending too. Seeing Faye cry reminded him of how much it hurt, how much it hurt not to see Spike laying lazily on the sofa, asking for a cig, flying with his Swordfish as if he was the best bounty hunter in the world; not to see his skilled moves and that matter-of-fact smile which never looked quite there.

And, even before he noticed what he was doing, the tears were already burning his eyes and streaming down his face.

They sat on the sofa, and just cried for a while, because there were no words which could really explain that feeling of grief and loss which had come with Spike's death. And, crying, they felt like they could care, it wasn't wrong to care, not if both of them cared.

Faye embraced Jet's strong neck, and Jet's large arms grabbed Faye's shoulders, and they cried, and they were not alone anymore.


"I miss Spike, and Ed, and Ein."

"I miss them too. Damn, this spaceship is just too empty without these three around."

"It's okay? To miss them?"

"Well, I miss them. You miss them. That makes two of us, so it can't be so wrong."


"So, so, what is the great bounty of today?"

Jet raised his head with a smile, welcoming Faye and showing the computer:

"Benjamin Crowley, also known as 'Benny, the Sword.' Four murders with an antique katana. Ten million woolongs."

"Ten million?", she raised her eyebrows. "Great, we will finally buy anything other than noodles."

"If we are lucky", Jet found better to be prudent. "He was last seen here", he pointed a small bar in the map, "and it's where I'm going. I've heard he used to be on the Navy—"

"Why would a Navy soldier go around murdering with a katana?", asked Faye, astonished.

"How can I know?", replied Jet with his eyebrows raised. "Ask him when I find him."

Faye smirked.

"In your dreams."

"Wanna bet?"

"How much?"

Jet dismissed it with his hand, and Faye laughed soundly.

And then they looked at each other.

They both knew it wasn't completely alright yet. They knew they were missing Spike, and Ed and Ein, and they knew that that life they were starting would be hard.

But they both also knew that admitting it hurt it would be the first step to stop hurting. And that, one day, she'd stop crying silently before coming to dinner, and he'd stop hitting his fingers with the hammer because he'd been too distracted by the space where the Swordfish used to be to pay attention to what he was doing. And that they wouldn't leave each other. (And that, if Faye left, she'd take all the money with her so that Jet would have an excuse to follow her.)

"Let's go, then?"

"Yeah."

One day the wound would heal. And, if it didn't, it was okay.

As long as they weren't alone.


Music I've heard: Stranger Things Have Happened, by Foo Fighters.

Thanks to: Shinichiro Watanabe, for being such a genius, AnimesDownload(dot)blogspot(dot)com, for the episodes, and LOTK & ANNBR for the subs. And Yoko Kanno, for the best anime soundtrack ever! \o/