Disclaimer: Still don't own bebop and also don't own 'Can't Remember' from Song of Singapore. About the only thing I own (aside from my fetching baggy trousers is the bartender, who I'm getting quite fond of.

A/N: sorry this took so long, between me sorting out forms for uni and the site being down it's been over a month since my last update. Hope it was worth the weight. From here on in the plot picks up.

Spike ran a hand absentmindedly through his hair as he studied his reflection, trying to make himself look halfway presentable.

Then he realised what he was doing.

With a frown, Spike turned away from the mirror in the cloakroom and slunk down the stairs into Romeo's. That was the third time in an hour he'd caught himself checking his appearance. And for no real reason, he admonished himself as he settled down on a stool at the bar. Actually that was a lie, and Spike knew it, for a big part of that reason was currently sipping a drink on the corner of the stage. Spike shifted on his stool, curiously aware of the unfamiliar feel of his new black suit against his skin. Remembering Jet's pointed gaze at his clothes when he announced his exit, he unconsciously smoothed the soft fabric before he caught himself and placed his hands on the bar with a scowl.

"This is a bounty pick-up, not a date." Spike muttered to himself as he found his hands toying with a small matchbook that sat on the bar in front of him. A familiar looking cocktail suddenly appeared in front of him along with an ashtray. Spike glanced up to see the same bartender from before giving him a sad smile.

"Couldn't stay away huh?"

Spike sighed and lit a cigarette. "Yeah, something like that. I seem to spend my life being drawn back to places."

The bartender nodded before directing a longing stare at the stage, or to be exact the purple haired occupant that kept attracting Spike's gaze. Spike forced his eyes away from the sultry singer and let them scan across the crowd. Surprise registered on his features as he saw how packed the place was. Strangely though, for a crowd this size, there seemed to be a somewhat subdued atmosphere hanging over the club. Spike turned back to the bartender.

"Seems you've got quite a crowd in… if somewhat maudlin."

The Bartender forced his eyes back to Spike as he answered. "It's been like this for the past couple of nights. Faye's come over somewhat melancholic and every fella here would love to be the one to mend her broken heart."

The bartender placed a bottle of Gypsy's Kiss on the bar in front of Spike. "On the house. You look like you need it."

Spike frowned as the bartender walked away, something about their conversation was causing a glimmer of unease to nestle uncomfortably in his mind. Spike shook his head, trying to rid himself of emotions resembling guilt before he drained his glass and poured himself a generous refill. He had no real reason to care about Faye's mental state, and a distracted target is an easy target. So why, Spike wondered as he downed another glassful of alcohol, did he feel so torn up by what he was going to do?

Spike closed his eyes and savoured the soothing warmth that slipped down his throat, spreading a much needed calmness through his body. As his earlier nerves were washed away by the strong alcohol, Spike heard or rather felt a change come over the audience. He glanced up to see the lights round the stage had dimmed until Faye stood alone in a spotlight. Her hair shone a rich amthyest under the harsh light, creating a striking contrast with her pale skin. Her tiny frame was draped in a soft strapless midnight blue gown that seemed to flow over every curve before pooling round her feet. Brilliant flashes of blue sparked and dimmed as the light played along the fabric, giving Faye a somewhat ethereal appearance. From somewhere behind her, a piano played out a gently haunting melody. Her eyes closed, Faye lifted the microphone to her lips and began to sing.

I can't remember

I can't recall if his blue eyes

Were blue as twilight, tropic skies

Or like the blue when lovin' dies

I can't remember

Did I fly?

Did I run?

Along the sand beneath the sun?

To hold him fast when day was done?

I can't remember

I know once I was happy

The prize of his affections

And he wrapped my world in threads of loveliness

But since he went away

And tore my recollections

I'm still that well dressed lady

But a lady in distress

Who can't remember…

What were his words?

What did he say?

The morning when he walked away?

Or was it afternoon?

I really can't remember

Don't ask why I live alone

I'm fed up and I'm through

With all these answers and these questions

And the tears they bore me to

Don't ask about his voice

Or if his haunting smile still flirts

And don't ask me

If it still hurts

I can't remember

Faye broke off from her song as the band behind her launched into an instrumental passage. She closed her eyes and let the music gently wash over her as though the audience no longer existed. It was getting harder each night to get up on stage and sing as memories she didn't want threatened to overwhelm her, while those she desired remained out of reach. There was so much she longed to forget, her days on the Bebop and the events after top of her list. But until the day when she achieved oblivion she could only seek solace in music and alcohol.

Behind her the band shifted tempo leading into the bridge. Faye opened her eyes and threw her soul into the music.

Alone at the bar, Spike could only stare unnoticed.

In a low rent saloon

I heard two fellas

They were singing a 'toon

Comparing notes about the 'Rose of Rangoon'

Cos nobody knows where she's from

Don't ask why I live alone

I'm fed up and I'm through

With all these answers and these questions

And the tears they bore me to

Don't ask about his voice

Or if his haunting smile still flirts

And don't ask me

If it still hurts

I can't remember

Faye's head bowed as the music softly died out behind her, leaving her to sing the last line accompanied, her clear voice ringing out over the enthralled crowd. Spike stared at the figure before him on the stage the guilty unease from before churning in his gut. He'd never noticed how fragile she looked; the attitude she usually hid behind was more than an adequate disguise. But the raw vulnerability she was displaying now was unsettling.

Spike's eyes never left Faye as she turned and walked slowly away from the stage. The band launched into a soft bluesy piece as Faye disappeared through the doorway that led to the backstage area. Leaving a tip on the bar Spike rose to his feet, trying to convince himself that he wasn't apprehensive about the confrontation that was about to ensue. Grinding out the remains of his cigarette, he set off to capture his elusive bounty.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Faye coughed as the strong alcohol burned its way down her throat, the heat dulling out unwanted thoughts and feelings. She breathed in deeply, savouring the cloudy sensation that was filling her mind more with each and every glass drained. Reaching for the bottle, Faye frowned when she saw it was empty. She muttered a curse under her breath as she flung it at the wall and bent down to get another one from her stash at the back of the room. As her hand closed round the bottle of scotch a gentle knock sounded at the door.

"Go away." She yelled as she wrenched the top off the bottle and took a hasty swallow.

Grasping the bottle tightly Faye collapsed onto her chaise lounge and closed her eyes, trying to shut out the world around her. The knock sounded again, reverberating strangely round her head.

"I said go away."

Faye took another gulp at the bottle and hissed at its warm progress down her throat. Draping an arm across her eyes to try and block out the distracting light she heard a soft click as her door swung open. Swinging herself into a sitting position she turned to face her visitor.

"I thought I told you to…"

Faye's voice failed her as she saw Spike in the doorway, the look on his face a painful reminder of everything she was seeking to forget. She took another swallow of scotch as she looked away. She wasn't nearly drunk enough to be dealing with this now.

"Hello Spike."

The dullness in her voice caused Spike to frown as he crossed the room to face her. He took in the bottle in her hand and the smashed remains of at least another two by the wall that housed the fire escape, before answering with a soft greeting of his own. The pair stared at each other in silence until Faye broke eye contact and took another drink. Her mind was full of questions that she wasn't sure she wanted answered.

"What is it you want Spike?"

Spike smiled softly, as he tried to put Faye at ease. A large part of him was hoping that he would be able to talk Faye into coming with him without resorting to any kind of physical force. However, somewhere at the back of his mind he knew that it was unlikely.

"I'm here to ask a favour."

Faye let out a harsh laugh and flopped back onto the chaise lounge.

 "I thought I made myself clear last time.  No."

Spike sighed and shifted slightly. It seemed that the little voice in his mind was right.

"Faye please. It's not just the money, lives are on the line here."

Faye's eyes narrowed and she leaned forward, passion and some other unknown emotion making her eyes flash.

 "Lives? Since when have you ever given a damn about anyone's life but your own?"

Spike flinched at the harsh tone in Faye's voice. "I've cared about a lot of people lives."

Faye turned her head away so Spike wouldn't see the tears that were starting to burn behind her eyes. She wasn't going to let any of her former comrades affect her anymore. She was tired of being alone, but she preferred the loneliness to the feelings of abandonment and unrequited… She had always known Spike thought nothing of her, but the memory of that day, the day when she realised he would rather be dead with his precious Julia than alive with her still hurt. Hurt her more than the events that followed. More than anyone or anything else had. Her whispered comment was more to herself than Spike.

"But you didn't care enough about us to stay."

Spike stood in silence staring at the figure that now seemed to so altered. Faye took another deep swig from her bottle, trying to wash away the memories and the man that were crowding her too sober mind. The silence between them stretched out, broken only by the soft chink of the bottle rising and falling as Faye steadily continued her quest for oblivion.

Spike reviewed his thoughts. How was he going to get Faye to come with him? Normally he would just pull out his gun and be done with it, but Faye being the difficult woman she was, had chosen the only place where he couldn't do that as her hidey-hole. No hits, no hunting. The two golden rules of Romeo's. And there was no way he could get round that.

Faye stood and swayed heavily. The effects of the two and a half bottles of scotch she'd consumed over the last few hours finally hitting her with avengeance now that she decided to throw Spike out of her room. The bottle she held in her hand slipped from her fingers as the strength seeped out of them. She stared dully at the wall that was slowly spinning away from her.

"Shit."

Spike caught her a moment before she fell, his strong embrace holding her tightly. Her head rolled back until she was resting it against his chest. Slowly she closed her eyes and inhaled the scent she remembered so well, the smoky overtones almost hiding the light lemony scent of his soap and the slightly muskier woody scent of his skin. Then she realised what she was doing.

Spike had closed his eyes as he held the soft warm body in his arms, his chin resting lightly on top of her head, savouring the feeling of being close to another person. Her hair tickled him slightly as a couple of silken strands slipped through the open top of his shirt and rested against his chest. Then the contact was broken as Faye suddenly pushed away from him.

She fell heavily against the dresser breathing deeply as she tried to clear her head enough to function. A wave of nausea rushed over her and suddenly the air in the small dressing room seemed stale and thick. Faye rose to her feet, bracing herself against the dresser and held out a hand to stop Spike as he moved towards her.

"Don't. Need air."

She lunged past him, desperate to get out the fire exit and into the cold night air. Spike reached out an arm as she staggered past him, grabbing her weight and using her momentum to carry the pair, locked together out of the fire door. Faye's back slammed up against the brick wall outside. Her eyes closed at the impact drawing the cold night air into her lungs. Then she felt the warmth of Spikes breath against her face. She opened her eyes, all to aware of the warmth and weight of a body pressed to her. Green eyes met mismatched brown as the bounty hunters locked eyes.

Spike stared at the face that had been haunting him for the past few weeks. His hands were braced against the wall either side of Faye's head, supporting some of his weight so he used just enough to keep her from running away. Their faces were barely a couple of inches apart and Spike could smell the rich peaty smell of scotch on the warm breath that tickled his skin. Slowly he leaned in closer so his lips brushed against Faye's ear.

As Spike's breath tickled against her neck Faye felt her eyes close. An electrifying shiver was running down her spine causing a small sigh to escape her lips. Soft moss green hair brushed gently against her cheek as Spike moved so his mouth was by her ear. Gently he whispered to her.

"Is there no way I can talk you into coming with me?"

Faye shook her head, the action causing more of her face to brush against Spike's hair, filling her senses with the smell and feel of him. She felt his hands rest gently on her shoulders and gently pull her closer to him so every contour of their bodies locked together. Slowly his hands swept down her arms as Spike moved his face back so he was staring at Faye again. Faye was aware of her heart pounding painfully against her chest as her body responded to the gentle contact. Spike's hands reached Faye's wrists and then…

"Sorry."

The cold hard snap of the metal handcuffs brought Faye out of her reverie. Her eyes widened in shock as Spike looked at her, a mixture of shame, guilt, sorrow and something else flashing behind his eyes.

"You can't do this!" She hissed. "No hunting in Romeo's, it's a rule."

Spike half smiled and stepped back slightly, his hands never leaving Faye's wrists.

"But we're not in Romeo's anymore…"

Faye paused as she suddenly realised there was only one way out of her predicament. With all her remaining energy she flung her full weight at Spike, sending the pair of them hurtling towards the ground. The blow was softened slightly as she landed on Spike and she could tell by the muffled groan he was at least slightly winded. Wiggling off him as best as she could with her arms behind her back and the long skirt of her dress hindering her legs she attempted to crawl back towards the safety of the bar.

The blow had come out of nowhere, causing Spike to lose his balance and his grip on Faye as he fell backwards. He hastily tried to gather his thoughts as he felt the warmth of her body move away from him. Rolling over he saw her starting to crawl away from him. He reached out with a hand and grabbed her ankle, pulling at it until he managed to lie on top of her struggling body, trying to overpower her. Spike was painfully aware of the fact that this was not quite how he had seen this particular fantasy, especially when moments later Faye passed out spent. With a sigh Spike rose to his feet and swung the unconscious body over his shoulder. He was going to get hell when she came round…

Round 'em up, reel 'em in Cowboy