A/N: Was there a catalyst to Faye leaving before the events of "Jupiter Jazz"? Her talk with Gren gave me this idea, that perhaps leaving meant not having to realise a wicked truth.

I don't own Cowboy Bebop, in no way, shape or form.

Thanks for reading, feedback is welcomed!

She hears him at night, walks past his bunk to catch in the air those muffled cries of his. Faye never knows if he's dreaming but she doesn't think it matters, because either way Spike is haunted by the woman he cries out for.


Julia, the ghost Spike can't give up. He never talks of her, never mentions her name save for at night when he can't control it.

Faye knows it isn't right for her to hear it, but the troublemaker trespasser can never help it because she's as restless as Spike, haunted by a past she can't remember and a name she knows belongs to her that isn't Valentine. Sleep doesn't come easy for the gypsy, and dreaming's even worse.

So she wakes and she roams and she listens while sleep is a teasing tormentor, darting like a butterfly to always be just out of reach.

In the morning Faye can't quite look Spike in the eye, not knowing if the name Julia will be somehow etched there like a mark, a brand.

But Spike ignores her most of the time so it doesn't matter.

When they smoke and drink coffee in the lounge it's in silence. Faye sits with one long leg over the other while Spike stands behind her, and they watch for bounties on the tube. It ignites a spark of curiosity in Faye when she thinks of Spike looking down at her, thinking what he'd see—there isn't much she covers up, after all. But she thinks perhaps his head's too full of Julia, that there's no space for her in there. Why should there be?

It takes almost dying from a toxic crustacean for Faye to realise how much she could lose. Days after that and she's still recovering, but she wakes in the middle of the night to find herself in the midst of a walking nightmare.

It's the same story, Spike in his room with his strangled cries and Faye breathes in deep to keep from crying herself. It hurts, deeper than ever. She doesn't bother to stay to find out if it's a dream on the other side of the door, and she locks herself in her bunk with a pillow around her ears.

The next morning she can't quite look at him but she can see from a distance Spike hasn't slept. Eyes red as if he were on the stuff, blue like bruises under those eyes and his hair is messier than usual.

They smoke their cigarettes and drink their coffee like it's their routine but Faye stands, Spike a statue next to her as the credits roll on the morning's Big Shot. Instead of stretching and walking off with a snide comment, as is customary, Spike turns towards Faye and his eyes wander.

"Hey, Lunkhead," Faye chides him, "eyes up, okay?"

He's close enough to make her genuinely uncomfortable, for her to be unsure of herself, for this to be unfamiliar, and Faye's breath catches in her throat when Spike brushes the tips of his fingers across the patch of skin just below her shorts.

She holds still, doesn't react quick enough to push him away or hit him, but he's not there any longer for her to register his touch before he turns from her.

Spike drifts across the lounge and disappears down the hall, leaving his tangled mess of a mark on a dazed Faye and that's when she knows she has to leave, for good.

Spike's mark is unintelligently confused with Julia's, and Faye wants no part of that. She can't stand to hear that name one more time, so she waits until night and sucks out the antifreeze like it's her only lifeline, empties the safe and fridge and deploys one final time from the Bebop.

Good riddance, she thinks, because it hurts too much to think of anything else.