Okay, I know I said one more chapter, but I lied. Now I'm saying one more chapter…I think. This was supposed to be Spike/Faye goodness here, but Jet stole the show so this is his chapter.
Melancholy gray fingers swept over the crimson inferno on the horizon, stretching into the depths of equally dark water lazily lapping the Bebop's rusting hull. The murky clouds slowly swallowed the last remnants of sunlight in a rather unspectacular fashion typical of manufactured Martian sunsets before a scheduled rainstorm. The harbor was silent, save for the occasional cry from a scavenging gull still looking for an evening meal. Jet leaned heavily over the deck railing, elbows resting on the flat steel bar as he stared moodily into the water below him. His brow furrowed a little as he narrowed his blue eyes at the cigarette glowing orange under his nose and watched the ash fall from the tip into the blackened sea. He sighed, resting his forehead in the palm of his flesh hand while the metal one removed the dwindling butt from his thin lips and tossed it overboard. It had been a long day.
The Swordfish had landed haphazardly on the deck and taxied into the hanger just after midnight. Jet had been hanging around the hangar since Spike had left, waiting for one or both of them to return. He would never admit, of course, that he had been going insane with worry. Emotional outbursts of the touchy/feely kind—hugging, for instance—were not acceptable in his book; at least not in front of Spike. Faye and Ed were a different story. Females thrived on that kind of crap. So it was with great restraint that he casually walked over to Spike's starship to check things out. All he could see from the ground was his partner's tangled hair bobbing above the hull. The hatch popped with the release of canned air and slid open. Spike seemed to be talking to himself. His lips were moving, but whatever he was saying was too quiet to be heard. Jet stopped at the base of the ship. Looking up, he folded his massive arms across his equally massive chest and regarded Spike with what he hoped was a nonchalant glare.
"Is she on her way back?"
Spike looked up from his lap, noticing Jet's presence for the first time. At first glance he appeared to be worn out. His skin was pallid and his eyes were dark and puffy. Dark curls were matted to his brow with sweat and his shoulders were slumped forward.
"No, she's already here," Spike answered quickly, looking down into his lap.
It was then that he saw it. The tight set of his jaw, his lips pressed firmly together; the barely disguised hope and anxiety in his eyes. Spike was clearly upset; and if Jet didn't know better, he'd swear his young friend was afraid.
Spike carefully lifted Faye's limp body into a sitting position on his lap. He had somehow managed to wedge himself and Faye into the cockpit built for one without causing the poor girl further injury. Jet needed no vocal prodding to scramble up the side and help Spike maneuver her safely to the ground. He ended up slinging her over his shoulder as he climbed down, Spike not far behind. Dead weight that she was, she still wasn't much of a burden for him to carry.
"Give her to me," Spike demanded the moment his feet touched the floor. He reached shaky hands towards Faye's sagging frame. Jet raised an eyebrow and sidestepped him.
"No way," Jet refused as he set off across the hangar, leaving Spike standing by the Swordfish.
"What?" Spike asked perplexed by Jet's actions. He rushed to catch up, tripping on his own feet in the process.
"You're exhausted…might drop her," Jet gruffly delcared with a sidelong glance at Spike, who was hovering by his elbow as they walked down the dark corridor to where the old yellow couch waited for it's most recent patient.
"I would not," Spike huffed incredulously, but he made no further attempts to take her
In the end Jet decided she looked worse than her injuries actually were. Most of her wounds were superficial cuts and bruises covering her from head to foot, but her face seemed to have taken the brunt of Vicious' anger. Some of them were old and caked over with dry blood, others fresh and oozing scarlet rivulets over swollen purple and yellow mottled skin. Her wrists and ankles were rubbed raw from manacles, and blood from her cracked skull had matted her hair into a giant scab on the back of her head. Then there was the bullet that had to be fished out from her partially dislocated shoulder. She had chosen that moment to regain consciousness, jerking upward while his pliers were stuffed deep into the bleeding hole and forcing the bullet even further into her flesh. Jet clenched the railing at the memory of her screams, so shrill they could have peeled wallpaper, had there been any to peel on the ship. It was the most horrific sound he'd ever heard. Spike had had to use all his remaining strength to hold her down while he finished removing the bullet and stitching the wound shut. Then they'd reset her shoulder. Once or twice he thought he'd glimpsed wetness around Spike's eyes while he tried sooth her through her piteous cries and shouts of "God, just kill me now." He'd felt like a monster sewing her up and then jerking the ball joint back into it's socket without so much as a drop of whiskey to ease the pain. The most he could offer her at the moment was a couple aspirins—the only painkiller on the ship. She had been a mess, but she would live. And he supposed that was all that really mattered.
Footsteps echoing on the deck's steel floor broke his reverie. The acrid sweet scent of burning tobacco drifted on the night breeze. The footfalls stopped abruptly, and Jet knew without looking that Spike was leaning against the railing next to him. The silence lay unbroken between them, save the crinkling of burning paper and water slapping the hull in rhythmic waves. After a short forever, Jet raised his eyes skyward. Once again Phobos and Deimos were shining in the Martian heavens.
"Potatoes," Spike stated, following Jet's gaze.
Jet turned toward him, one black brow raised in question.
"What?" he asked, the corners of his mouth turned down ever so slightly.
"The moons. They look like giant potatoes," Spike explained, shifting his weight from two elbows to one as he turned to face his partner.
"Potatoes, huh?" Jet mused, glancing back at the would-be-spuds in question. "I guess they are too lumpy to be eggs."
"Way too lumpy," Spike agreed.
"Is she still sleeping?" Jet asked lightly.
"Actually, both 'shes' are sleeping," Spike replied, pausing for a moment. "And the mutt."
Jet nodded his balding head appreciatively.
"I thought it was awfully quiet around here," he supplied after another moment of comfortable silence.
"Yeah," Spike nodded in return.
"It's kind of nice," Jet decided, turning back toward the water.
"Yup," Spike agreed, pushing himself away from the rail. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and turned to walk back inside.
"You staying out for a bit," he asked over his shoulder.
Jet smiled out over the open water as relief filled him with the realization that Spike's other life with Vicious and the syndicate was finally over. And he was still alive. And by some miracle virtually unharmed.
"Yeah, I think I am…" Jet trailed off.
Spike shrugged and wandered back to the hanger.