A/N: new chappie! FINAlLY! lol! enjoy!


Chapter 3: Cat Fights

"Hey, pretty lady," Faye heard the drunk man sitting next to her slur and she rolled her eyes. "How about I walk you home, huh? They say Vash the Stampede is here. It's not safe to be out alone, ya know?"

"You don't say?" she smirked, lifting her drink and taking a sip. "Well, I think I'll just wait for my friend."

"Aw, come on-"

"That's enough, Alex," his friend next to him cut in, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Leave the girl alone."

"Aw, but we were just talkin'," Alex slurred.

"You can talk to your wife when you get home," the other man said, pulling his friend off the bench. "She's probably worried sick about you."

Faye sighed as they walked away then lifted a hand to lean her cheek on her fist in boredom.

I've been sitting in this saloon for hours! she complained in thought. Where the hell is this guy? Spike said he wouldn't be hard to miss: A tall guy with blonde, spiked hair and a red coat. How many guys are there like that on a planet like this?

She and Spike had predicted the only other place he could go if he headed out of town was Hall City, so the plan was to send her in to the saloon closest to the city entrance and seduce him with her allure to a hotel room where she'd tranquilize him before contacting Spike and Jet to take him to the nearest sheriff's office to collect the bounty. It was a simple plan. All Vash had to do was show up, and with Ed keeping tabs on the competition on her computer from the Bebop, they'd be able to tell when their enemies made a move as well.

Ed had tapped into the other ships' frequencies so she could see and hear everything going on without anyone else knowing. So far, things on Gene's ship, the Outlaw Star, were peaceful, and everything on Ebony's ship, the Remus, was serene. She'd alert the Bebop crew if anything changed.


A Half Hour Later...

Vash panted tiredly, dragging his feet until he just reached the entrance and stopped, trying to catch his breath.

"Water," he rasped, then looked to his left and spotted a saloon. "Beer."

Suddenly full of energy, he shot into the bar and instantly ordered a beer, not noticing the person in the seat next to him. He chugged down the beer as soon as it was in his hand and flopped forward onto the bar.

"I live!" he cheered and turned his head to his right as he let it lay on the bar. His bright, aqua green eyes shot wide at who he finally noticed next to him.

A tall, pale woman in a white kimono sat elegantly, her slender legs crossed so that the slit in her robe revealed them provocatively, almost purposely. Her long, black hair was pulled up into a high ponytail, long bangs hanging on either side of her face as her dark eyes looked to him, and her petite mouth gave a teasing smirk.

"Well, hello there," Vash smirked charmingly, standing tall and leaning on the bar toward her. "You're definitely not from around here, but I can tell just by looking at you, you're an honorable, elegant woman."

"Thank you," the woman nodded, sipping at a glass filled with ice water. "You look like an honorable and charming man."

"I am," Vash replied, inching closer and noticing the katana sword tied to her waist. "Why don't you give up your life of violence and settle down with a handsome devil such as myself?"

"I'm afraid that is not possible," the woman replied. "I need the work and money."

Vash leaned forward and grabbed her hand, making her jump as he brought it closer to his face to gently breathe, "But such soft, lovely hands should not be wielding a weapon. They should be doing something much more delicate. Sewing, for example, or thumbing through golden locks of hair like mine."

"You certainly are persistent, aren't you?" the woman smiled and Vash looked up from her hand with a predatory gaze before her pulled on her hand to bring her closer to him, their faces inches apart.

"I persist in my mission to find the illusive mayfly of love, yes," he murmured.

"Well, perhaps we should search for it elsewhere, then?" the woman replied, cocking an elegant eyebrow. "My hotel room would be the perfect place to start, I'm sure."

Vash's face lit up and he hurriedly paid the bartender, never letting go of the woman's hand as he did so and she stood. Finally dropping her hand from his he held his arm to her, a huge grin plastered over his face and the elegant woman took his arm to let him lead her out of the saloon.

"Will you tell me your name?" he hoped as they stepped through the doors. "Or should I just call you Mayfly?"

"My name is Suzuka," she smiled. "I am commonly known as Twilight Suzuka."

"That's a pretty name," Vash smiled and added, "A pretty name for a gorgeous girl."

"Hold it right there!"

The two frowned in wonder as they looked ahead to find out who the female voice belonged to. A woman with short, black hair in a skimpy, yellow, button-up shirt with matching short shorts, thigh high stockings, short, white boots and a red jacket tied around her arms stood a few yards away from them, glaring at them with burning, emerald eyes and aiming a hand pistol at them.

Jeez, more hot, trigger happy chicks, Vash thought in exasperation but only sighed, outwardly.

"I've been waiting in that damn salon across the street for you, you spiky-haired moron!" she snapped, still holding the gun toward them with both hands.

"Who? Me?" Vash blurted, pointing to himself as Suzuka still held his arm and he only gave the new girl in the street a blank stare. "I don't know you."

"No duh!" she shot back. "You were gonna know me if you'd gone into the right saloon!"

"Wow! This must be my lucky day!" Vash grinned, looking from Suzuka to the girl still pointing a gun at him. "Two girls want me to hang out with them! Ya know, yesterday was really crappy, but today's lookin' up! The only thing that could make this better is if you put your gun away, Miss…?"

"Faye," the armed woman replied. "And I'm not putting my gun away for anything! Get lost, Geisha!"

"I am no Geisha," Suzuka replied in a warning tone, and Vash glanced between the girls again, this time warily.

"Well, I really don't care what you are or what you aren't," Faye retorted. "Just get lost! This one's mine!"

"Please, ladies," Vash entreated, drawing their attention to him. "There's plenty of me to go around!"

"There's only one bounty out for you, Vash the Stampede!" Faye snapped, never lowering her gun. "And I aim on collecting it!"

"Oh, that damn bounty," Vash sighed, letting Suzuka's arm drop from his as he slumped forward. "It just ruins everything."

"I see," Suzuka crooned, making Vash frown at her in wonder and he noticed one hand go to her sword. "So you are looking to collect the sixty billion double dollars as well, is that it?"

As well? Vash thought, then voiced, "Oh, crap."

"You're working with one of the other two!" Faye suddenly realized and took the shot, but Suzuka was too quick and she dodged the bullet as Vash screamed and ducked to the floor completely, hearing screams of fright in the saloon he'd just come out of.

"Hey! Don't hurt anyone just shooting around like that!" Vash shouted over more gunfire as Faye tried to hit the now running Suzuka.

"Hold still, dammit!" Faye hissed then suddenly found herself looking up at Suzuka coming at her with a brandished katana.

She obviously wouldn't be fast enough to dodge the blow, but before she even realized that, she was tackled out of the way and to the ground, kicking dirt up around her and her savior as they landed. She coughed before looking up to meet serious aqua green eyes staring at her with such intensity, she was frozen instantly by the gaze.

"Are you ok?" Vash hoped, and all Faye could do was nod before he stood and pulled her up with him, facing Suzuka who stood where Faye had been, her sword drawn.

"Such an elegant woman shouldn't dirty her lovely hands with blood," he advised. "You would kill her so easily, Miss Mayfly?"

"If she stands in the way of my objective, yes," Suzuka replied. "However, I will admit I was told not to hurt anyone else. I merely wished to see your miraculous agility for myself after Gene's reports. I knew you would let no harm come to her, and I would not have harmed her if you had failed in rescuing her." She held up her sword so they could have a good look at it. "I only kill at sunset, and I wield a bokken."

"A broken what?" Faye frowned, quirking her face in confusion.

"A wooden sword can still kill," Vash reminded her, also answering Faye's question.

"So, you know it," Suzuka smirked. "You are learned on many weapons, I'm sure."

"I've heard of them, but I've never seen one," Vash confirmed.

"Then this will be the first and last you will see, if you do not come with me quietly," Suzuka replied, readying herself in a fighting stance.

"Actually, I think I'd rather have another drink," he replied honestly, slinging his arm around Faye's neck and grinning down at her. "Care to join me?"

Faye was dumbfounded for a moment but had no time to answer before another feminine voice shouted, "Oh, hell no!"

The three turned to see who was coming up behind Suzuka and Faye felt Vash tense before he lowered his arm from her shoulders at the sight of Ebony Lawless. She frowned in wonder when he took a slight step forward and held his arm in front of her, never looking away from Ebony.

"You two should leave," he said, drawing Suzuka's attention back to him with a frown.

"I beg your pardon?" she asked.

"Huh? What the hell do you mean, 'leave'?" Faye spat at him, but he didn't look to her. "I'm not going anywhere!"

"You really wanna get yourselves killed for the bounty on my head?" he wondered in a forceful tone and Faye's eyes widened in surprise at him, but Suzuka only gave a slight smirk and nodded, sheathing her bokken and backing away from Ebony as she marched toward Vash, glaring at the other woman as she passed.

Gene told me to flea if this one arrived, Suzuka thought to herself, recalling Ebony's description and observing that this woman glaring at her was the real deal.

"I honestly hope you survive, Vash the Stampede," she called, walking away. "I would like to observe your miraculous moves again someday."

"That'll be hard to do when he's locked up or dead!" Ebony shot back.

"Agreed," Faye nodded, and tried to step ahead of Vash but he gripped her hand and yanked her behind him again. "What the hell-?"

"I'll ask you one more time," he said, still staring at Ebony as she stood where Suzuka had been. "Leave. It's for your own safety."

"Not happening!" Faye snapped. "You're my bounty!"

"Wrong, Miss Skimpy-Clothes!" Ebony called, not wasting any time and pulling out her gun from its holster to aim it at Vash. "He's mine!"

"Like hell he is!" Faye shouted, pulling her own gun as well but Vash grabbed that hand as well and shoved it down, dragging her toward the saloon she'd been in as gunshots rang out. "What are you doing?"

"Saving your life!" Vash retorted as they entered the swinging doors and he shoved her toward one end of the entrance as he ducked into the other, drawing his colt. He looked to Faye with wide eyes as she aimed her gun at him.

"You're coming with me!" she ordered, but gunshots and the wooden swinging doors being shot into splinters made her pull back and cover her head and eyes as Vash did the same and she shouted, "This bitch is nuts!"

"Now you get it?" Vash wondered, and Faye gave him a dirty look before another volley of bullets hailed onto them.

"Vash the Stampede!" Ebony shouted. "Come out and face me!"

"No thanks!" he called, casually. "I'm fine right here!" He looked to Faye, who peeked out the doorway before quickly ducking back in. "I'll draw her fire and you head out the side door behind the bar."

"No way!" Faye hissed. "You think I'm gonna let you get away just because we're both being shot at?"

"It's that or you're dead!" Vash shot back. "Which is it gonna be?"

Faye blinked at him in surprise. This guy didn't seem like the killer type. If anything he wanted everybody to be safe and unharmed. And on top of that, he was a goofball! What kind of guy valued life, but was rumored to have killed and blown a city? It didn't make sense to her.

"Well?" he urged. "A response would be nice right about now!"

Faye shook her shock away and nodded, definitely, "Fine, I'll head out. But I'll be back for you, Vash the Stampede. We're not giving up."

"Whichever guy you're working for, tell him to send you in a cute little red number next time, will ya?" Vash smirked and Faye couldn't help the only very slight blush that came to her cheeks when he gave his charming smirk before he peeked outside, only to be aimed at shot at. He quickly pulled back and held his gun in his right hand as he moved to crouch facing the wall and Faye hid her gun to ready herself for her escape.

"I'll give you the signal," he whispered, and Faye nodded as she crouched to face the bar.

"Come on, Vash!" ebony shouted from outside. "Come out and face me! What are you? A coward?"

"Now!" Vash shouted as he pointed his gun outside and began shooting at Ebony's feet.

Faye launched herself toward the bar, vaulted over it and yanked the door open to bolt out of the saloon as fast as her legs could get her. Ebony shot at Vash for a moment, still standing in the middle of the street, unafraid and as soon as she saw Faye darting out into the desert, she aimed and began shooting at her. The bullets whizzed past her, and Ebony got only a few shots out before her gun was shot out of her hand and she sucked her teeth in irritation as she reached behind and pulled out two more pistols.

"You obviously don't recall-!"

She was cut off when both her pistols were shot from her hands, even though it had only sounded like one shot. She smirked and knelt down to pull two more small pistols from her boots.

"You're out of bullets!" she shouted, standing and firing at Vash's position.

He pulled back and spun around to lean against the wall again and open his gun to load more bullets. He used a quick-loader, swung the gun shut, cocked it and took a deep breath to calm himself as bullets whizzed through the entrance to the saloon.

This chick is off her rocker for sure, he thought, then glanced around the saloon in thought. I gotta get outta here.

He was suddenly jolted from his thoughts when he heard a cat-like yell and then more shooting, but there were no bullets sent his way. He chanced peeking out of the entrance just as he heard grunts and shouts only to see a huge ball of dust being kicked up by someone wrestling with Ebony.

Vash frowned and stood to reveal himself in the entrance of the saloon and watch the dust settle to reveal Ebony on her back with a strange looking woman with a long braid of white hair pinning her to the ground. The white haired woman hissed at her like a cat, and Vash wasn't sure if he should run now or try to get the strange thing off of Ebony. The unidentified woman suddenly looked up at Vash with wide blue eyes and gave a devious grin as her long ears twitched up and down slightly.

"Vash the Stampede!" she screamed, launching herself through the air at him and he gave a shout as she tackled him to the ground, her arms around his waist as they fell back into the saloon with her on top of him.

"What the hell are you, lady?" Vash snapped, looking down at her as he tried to sit up and she lifted herself up to look at him.

"I'm Aisha, and you're my bounty," she grinned, her voice high-pitched but she sounded like a growled cat. "In the name of the Ctarl-Ctarl Empire, I place you under arrest! Now come with me!"

She stood, still holding him around the waist and threw him over her shoulder as he frowned in wonder, "Ctarl-Ctarl?"

He then realized he was being carried off by a girl and started kicking and screaming, "Hey! Put me down! What the hell-? I should be carrying you, not the other way around!"

"I agree only slightly," Ebony was heard as Aisha carried Vash to the porch again and he slumped in his spot.

"Here we go," he muttered as Aisha stopped, and he knew there was a gun pointed right at his ass.

"Put him down you cat woman freak!" Ebony shouted, looking completely disheveled covered in sweat and dirt, her gun aimed at the two and Aisha stared at her blankly, but her indifference soon turned to anger.

"How dare you point that stupid gun at the Ambassador of the Ctarl-Ctarl Empire!" she snarled. "With a snap of my fingers I can have the entire fleet here to-!"

"Stow it, Catwoman!" Ebony snapped, causing Aisha's anger to burn even hotter.

With amazing strength, she lifted Vash over her head and took aim as Ebony frowned then stared at her in wide-eyed terror.

"Hey! What are you doing?" Vash cried, then looked to Ebony and realized what Aisha was going to do. "Oh, hell no! No! Don't throw me at her! What the hell is wrong with-YOU?"

Aisha tossed Vash like a rag doll toward ebony and they both landed on the ground with grunts each, kicking up dirt around them. Vash hurriedly shot to his feet and got out of dodge as ebony rolled to aim at him and Aisha stood with her head held high, proud of herself until she realized the bounty was getting away.

"Oh," she groaned. "Gene is gonna be so mad when he hears about this."

Ebony fired her gun at Vash who was still running, but he turned between two building and she cursed, scrambling to her feet. Aisha darted after the woman as well, but when they reached the place that Vash had disappeared, there was nothing there.

"Great," Ebony muttered and glared at Aisha before lifting her pistol to aim it at her, but the cat-woman only turned to face her as she snarled, "Which one do you work for? The trigger-happy red-head or the slow mop-top?"

Aisha stared blankly at the woman again before recognizing one of the descriptions she'd given and went to reply, but was cut off.

"It doesn't matter," Ebony cut in. "You're gonna be dead right now anyway."

Aisha readied herself for battle but before Ebony could think of pulling the trigger, a red gust blew between them, and the brunette suddenly found herself alone, pointing her gun at the air. She growled in frustration and stomped the sand.

"Dammit!" she screamed and marched off toward her ship.


Meanwhile...

Aisha squirmed and kicked as Vash ran as fast as he could down the alleyway and she finally looked up at him to snarl, "Put me down! What do you think you're doing?"

"Saving your life!" Vash replied. "Jeez! I've been saving people all day, and not even a thank you do I get!"

He finally stopped and Aisha leapt out of his arms, crouching in front of him on all fours and snarling at him as he stared at her blankly.

"So, are you in league with the Faye or Suzuka?" Vash wondered.

"Suzuka," she snapped. "She and I are with Gene Starwind. You'll get to meet him when I drag your ass to the Outlaw Star!"

"Uh, sorry, but I can't stop right now," Vash replied, casually. "Pretty as you are, I'm gonna be staying away from pretty girls for a while after today. You should tell your buddy Gene to stay away from that Ebony chick. She's bad news, if he doesn't know that already."

"Where are you going?" Aisha growled, shooting to her feet as Vash turned to head down the alley in the direction he'd come from.

"I gotta get outta here," he replied, not looking back at her. "Preferably the deep desert."

Aisha watched him walk away, not really knowing if she should go after him. After all, he'd just saved her life, even though she knew she could have taken that demented chick out herself. She opted for heading back to the hotel as Vash continued on his way, his hands in his coat pockets.

I've gotta take this fight somewhere else, he thought as he walked along. Too many people could get killed in the towns. I'll stop for supplies and head to the outskirts. Either I'll lose them and they'll give up looking for me, or they'll follow me and at least I won't have to worry about innocent people getting caught in a firefight.

He stopped and sighed, placing a hand over his eyes as he groaned, "Three against one! Those odds are just so unfair!"


A/N: i hope Suzuka and Aisha are still in character. it's been a while since i've seen Outlaw Star, so i'll have to watch it again so i don't mess anyone up. reviews?