To Ein, who is color blind, Spike and Ed are clones. They're tall, skinny fools with oversized hands and feet, big poofy hair styles, both sporting their own unique brand of goofy grins. The only discernable difference is that one is proportionately larger and he slouches when he walks, puffing away on a cigarette like the dejected caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland, while the smaller one bounces along like a basketball on crack. Strolling side by side, they look ridiculous. And distantly related.

Today they could have easily been mistaken as father and daughter.

Tug-tug-tug. "Spike?"

No reply. Spike was engrossed with window shopping at a convenient store. God, he wanted that beef-jerky.

Tug-tug-tug-tug. "Spike-person?" Tug-tug. "Ed wants uppie." Tug-tug-tug- tug-tug-tug-tug-YANK. "Edward's feet hurt! We've been walking all day. Ed wants uppie." YANK-YANK.

Spike looked down finally after Edward had managed to pull his jacket off his shoulders with her insistent pulling on his sleeve. "No," he said incredulously. "You're too old."

Ed pouted, sticking out her bottom lip, her eyes shining. "Please?"

"Jesus Christ." Spike rolled his eyes. What a face. "You're thirteen."

"UPPIE!" Ed demanded, dancing in a mad circle. "Pick me up!"

Spike patted Ed's hair affectionately. "You're feet can't hurt that much if you can jump around like that."

Ed's swatted Spike's hand away. "You're a meanie!" She turned around and ran off to catch up with Jet and Faye. Spike watched her go, watched her jump in front of Jet and do the same little dance she had done to him, watched her raise her arms and make the same cry-baby face.and watched Jet pick her up without missing a beat and they all continued on walking.

Spike sighed. "I really do hate kids." He dug his hands deep in his pockets as he trailed after them. "Go ahead, Jet, spoil her all you want. Leave me the hell alone."

Spike watched Ed giggle at something Jet said. She wrapped her arms around his neck and nuzzled his chest.

"That's perfectly disgusting," Spike muttered.

Ed began to point at something in one of the shops. Faye turned and looked and her face brightened and both girls began to wildly gesture at the store while Jet shook his head reluctantly even as Faye was dragging him inside.

"You're at least a hundred woolongs poorer now, Jet," Spike said to himself. He was mildly amused but somewhere he felt a pang of irritation that Jet was such a sucker. Spike certainly was obstinate. He couldn't understand how Jet could surrender willingly. He was always loosing his money to Faye, because she'd cry about needing this or that or the bill collectors were knocking on the door and "Oh! Jet! Please, just this once, I'll pay you back as soon as we bag another bounty." and although Jet swore he didn't believe her, and that this time he wouldn't help her out, things always ended up the same.

Spike knew Ed watched it all and was taking it in, very slowly, and figuring out how to do it herself. That made him all the more mad. The world did NOT need more Fayes.

Spike reached the shop Jet, Faye and Ed had gone into. It was a fashionable ladies' hat shop. "Oh, for God's sake. Hats?" Inside, it was dim and he couldn't see. He stepped in and was immediately hit by a wave old stale, old-lady perfume. "Oh.oh crap." As his eye adjusted to the light, he made out rows and rows of hats on display. Feathered hats and ugly leopard print caps and straw summer hats and hats with giant bows. In every aisle there were sets of fake-antique chairs. There were full length mirrors at the end of every row and small hand-held mirrors laying on the displays in case you didn't notice the first set of mirrors.

Spike found Jet sitting and looking rather uninterested as Faye tried on hats in front of one of the mirrors. She would put one on and pose unnaturally, smoothing her hands over her clothes each time as if the one hat would magically change her whole appearance. Maybe her mind, Spike thought, it did. She would even change her expression, letting her eyes slide half-shut in a smoldering sexy gaze, pouting out her lips, or she would bat her eyes brightly like an innocent school girl. She would sometimes turn to Jet and try the new look on him. Those were the only moments Jet seemed to be paying attention. As soon as Faye turned away, however, Jet went right back to looking board.

"See?" Spike said, appearing in front of Jet. "That's what you get."

Jet only grunted and rested his head back on the chair.

"Lookie! Lookie!" Ed came galloping up like a horse. She clicked her tongue in time to her steps to make hoof-clopping sounds. Apparently, the white cowboy hat she was wearing had inspired her.

"That's nice Ed," Jet said without opening his eyes.

Ed grinned and turned to Spike. She pointed at her hat. "Do you like?"

"No, not really."

Ed smile instantly vanished and she ducked her head down, the wide brim on her hat hiding her face. She turned and ran away again, still making hoof- clopping noises and throwing in a good "neigh" now and again to signify she didn't value his opinion anyway.

Spike strolled down the aisle. Each time he passed an ugly hat, he would turn them around or carelessly tip over their displays to show his defiance in the face of their stupidity. There were one or two hats he wanted to crush on principle alone, but he had a feeling these were expensive hats and he didn't want any reason to have to pay for them. He got to the end of the aisle and turned around.

Ed was right behind him, fixing the displays he messed up.

Spike flinched when he saw her. He hated being snuck up on, even in jest. It was something left over from working for the Red Dragons. He had learned not to let his enemies get the jump on him, and now Ed was doing it without even thinking about it. Either she had some secret ninja skills or he was loosing his edge. Both ideas aggravated him about the same. The whole day was a head-ache.

"Don't do that." Spike warned her.

Ed must have thought Spike was referring to fixing the displays, not sneaking up on him, because she gave him a dirty look and knocked over the display she had been fixing so that about a dozen hats fell to the floor.

"Hey!" From out of no where, a female clerk in a dress appeared and waggled a finger in Spike's face. Spike almost fell backwards, having been snuck up on again. "Can't you control you're child?" the clerk scolded.

"She's not mine!" Spike barked back. He turned to chew out Ed, but he only caught a flash of her before she disappeared behind another display. "Hey! Don't run around! Get back here!" He chased after her and saw her climb underneath one of the chairs and hide there. Spike reached under the chair and grabbed her arm.

"Owie!" Ed squealed.

He tried to drag her out from under the chair. "Out!" he commanded with the most authoritative voice he could muster.

Ed began to emerge, her face white. "You're hurting me!"

"Then don't fight," Spike snapped.

"Spike!" Jet had gotten up in a flash. "What are you doing?"

"She's being bad," Spike explained, hauling Ed out from under the chair. She wrapped her arms and legs around the arm of the chair and held onto it with a death grip. "See? She won't behave."

Ed began to sob hysterically. "HE'S HURTING ME!"

Spike let go of Ed at once. The ring around her arm where he had grabbed her was bright red. Spike blinked and then looked down at his hand. Sometimes he just didn't know his own strength. But, then, Ed shouldn't have been acting up in the first place. Then again.he felt a little awkward now.

Ed was frozen for a second, then she was off in a burst of speed, running past Spike and throwing herself in Jet's arms. She crushed herself into Jet, as if she could somehow climb into his body and be surrounded by him on all sides. Her backside did look very vulnerable, despite Jet's hands.

Spike swallowed. A very, very uncomfortable sensation he couldn't identify crept up his chest and lodged itself in his throat. All of a sudden, his hand began to tingle. "Sorry." He said.

Jet ignored Spike as he hauled Ed up and carried her away.

Over Jet's shoulder, Ed looked up at Spike and stuck her tongue out at him.

"Oh, that's it," Spike said, the guilt lifted immediately and replaced by disgust. "She's faking it!"

Ed buried her face back in Jet's shoulder a hiccupped a few more times for good measure. Jet rubbed her back. "Did Spike scare you?" he asked gently to Ed and she nodded earnestly and cried large alligator tears.

Spike twisted his lips in a frown. "Again, you're spoiling her."

"You can have any hat you want," Jet told Ed. "Pick out any hat there is, it's yours."

"Really?" Ed's tears were dry in two seconds. She jumped down and began to examine the hats. Spike watched how Jet stood over her as she danced from row to row, looking at the hats. She disappeared for a second and then popped up with a big ugly red hat tipped over her eyes. It reminded Spike vaguely of a flapper. "This one! This one!"

Jet smiled. "That's fine, Ed." Then he looked over to Spike, his face turned threatening again. "You pay for it."

"Wha..? You're joke...." Before Spike could finish, he thought more wisely of rejecting Jet at this particular moment. Jet looked like he was ready to kill Spike. "Chose your battles carefully grasshopper," Spike thought to himself as he turned around a headed to the cash register, Ed toddling after him with a grin on her face. Spike did not acknowledge her presence. He contented himself by thinking he'd murder her in her sleep later. Or at least steal that god-awful red hat and rip it to shreds when no one was looking, and blame it on Ein.

Faye suddenly burst out of one of the dressing rooms, scaring everyone to death. "I've found it!" she announced to universe, as if she had found the secret of eternal life. "This hat!" she exclaimed, "This is MY hat! This hat was MADE FOR ME!" It was very plain, bowler-shaped black hat. "Someone! Quick! Buy this hat for me or I won't shut up!"



The rest of the day went on, seemingly uneventful.

The reality of it was, though, that Spike was beside himself with rage. First, he didn't think it was fair he had to buy Ed's hat, which had turned out to be a rather expensive, designer hat. He hadn't hurt Ed, just scared her a little. Besides, Ed needed to be scared! She had gone her whole life doing whatever she wanted, which was fine if you lived on earth with no cities and no people. But now that she lived on the ship with them, she needed to learn rules and she needed to learn she would be punished for breaking those rules. A little respectable fear was healthy, right? So Spike would a disciplinary. The very thought of that made his stomach turn a little, just because he'd have to interact with her more, but Jet was obviously too weak for that stuff and Faye was just as bratty as Ed. Time for a stand. If Spike didn't do it, no one would. And if no one raised her, it was only a matter of time she'd get into some serious trouble.

That was only Spike's first gripe. The second was he had to buy Faye's hat, too. The third was that it had been on Jet's whim. Rub his face in it. Just to remind him, "Hey, remember who's boss? Just shut up and do what I say." It was that attitude that made Spike want to leave again and again. He was a grown man and he didn't want someone telling him, no, ordering him what to do. But he was feeling exhausted and he didn't feel like making a scene for making a scene's sake. If he pretended like he was going to leave today, Jet would happily lock him out, especially now that he thought Spike was some kind of cruel child-abuser for "hurting" Ed.

Spike tried not to be petty. He tried to put the day's events from his mind.

But then he would see Edward's ugly, over-sized red hat and remember exactly how she got it.

Spike grimaced. He hated everyone. He hated Faye. He really hated Jet. He really, really hated Ed.

Apparently, though, Ed really, really loved Spike. "Uppie! Uppie!"

Spike looked down and Ed was dancing in front of him with her arms out stretched, big bright eyes shining, bottom lip jutted out, ugly red hat tipped over her forehead. "Uppie!" Ed insisted, tugging his waist.

"No," Spike said firmly, looking back up. "Act your age."

Jet looked over his shoulder at Spike. "Can't you see she's trying to forgive you? Pick her up."

Spike looked at Jet evenly. "I don't need to be forgiven. I didn't do anything wrong. She can walk."

Faye joined in with Jet. "Seriously, Spike," Faye said monotonously. "Ed's a kid. She just wants some attention. Quit being bull-headed."

Spike disregarded everyone.

Faye glared at Spike for a few more seconds and then turned up her nose and continued on her way. She made sure to walk a little closer to Jet, which put her, Jet and Ed in a little cluster that Spike was alienated from. Ed got between Jet and Faye and held both their hands as they walked down the street. From time to time, Ed would glance behind her at Spike, who trailed a few steps behind, and then she would face forward quickly again. Her expression was unreadable. Sometimes it seemed to Spike she looked at little nervous, but mostly gloomy. Spike began to wonder how deeply he had actually hurt Ed's feelings.

Spike shook his head. He had to push those feelings aside. That was the kind of attitude that made Jet and Faye both easy targets for Ed.

"Last store," Jet announced, turning into a deli.

Inside, it was warm and dry and well lit and the smell of fresh banana bread enveloped Spike. He closed his eyes and breathed in very deeply. "Mmm."

Jet went up to the counter and began making selections. Spike went up to the glass window cases and looked down at the racks of brownies and cookies cooling off. He licked his lips. He hadn't eaten all day. He had a little bit of money left, even after having to buy Ed and Faye those stupid hats.

Ed was beside Spike, drooling at the brownies. "Ed wants some of those." she panted. She looked up at Spike. "Buy some for Ed."

"What do you say?"

Ed blinked, confused.

"You say," Spike explained patiently, "'Please'."

"Ah! Ok. Please?"

"No."

Ed deflated. "Why not?"

"Because I'm still mad at you. You shouldn't be rewarded when you've been bad. If you're good, I'll get you brownies."

In a huff, Ed about-faced and marched back into the Faye/Jet cluster. Spike just shrugged. So much for bribing. He watched Ed lace her arms around Faye and nestle her face affectionately into Faye's stomach. Faye stroked Ed's hair absently as she listened to Jet drone on to the store clerk.

Spike continued to gaze. He felt a little envious of them. Just the three of them, Ed, Faye and Jet, they resembled a little family. A family Spike felt very far removed from. It was lonely, being the disciplinary. The other two "parents" got all the love, and he got all the grief. Though, Spike chided himself, looking back on it, Ed had been trying to get his attention all day. Also, this "disciplinary" attitude had only started that afternoon. This isolation, Spike realized, was something he was quite used to, as if it had been going on for a long time and he never noticed.

Maybe he could buy her a brownie and.

No. Spike was firm. Ed was not going to get to him. He would be strong.



Spike could smell the chicken from the living room. He pretended he wasn't starving by keeping his eyes faithfully glued to the TV, but his mouth was watering. There wasn't anyone else in the room to fool, he was alone, but he had to feign self-control. He was a master of self-control.

"How much longer until dinner's ready?" Screw self-control. He was hungry now.

"The rice isn't ready," Jet told Spike patiently.

Spike smiled to himself. On this ship, Jet had all the self-control. Spike could only fool himself.

"Aaaieeee!" A flash of bright orange streaked past Spike's vision before Ed's scream even registered. "Jet! Jet! There's a spider in the potty!" Violent weeping ensued in the kitchen, beyond Spike's vision. "It was waaay swooky!"

Spike didn't get up. Instead, he strained his ears to listen. Jet said something very gentle, to which Ed replied in horror, "But Ed has to pee now!" Jet said something else that was also unintelligible, though Spike was sure he caught his name. Following this, Ed cried, "But Spike is scary!"

Spike frowned and folded his arm across his chest.

"Nooo! Please don't make Ed ask HIM."

Spike sank lower into the couch.

"Noooooo!" Ed shouted, even as she stomped into the living room. The "ooo" sound of her "no" was reduced to a long, pitying moan as she approached him. She kept her eyes locked on her feet. "Ooooo," she continued to moan as if to say, "You heard me, don't make me ask you."

Spike groaned. Not only had he become equivalent to the boogieman in Ed's impressionable mind, now he had to rescue her from a stupid spider in the bathroom. Worse yet.Ed had on that stupid hat still. But then.maybe this whole situation was the opportunity he had been waiting for. With that in mind, Spike got up and said with resignation, "Show me where the spider is."

Ed scampered down the hall and Spike took his time following her. Ed would run so fast that she was disappear completely. A few minutes later he'd catch up with her because she would stand still and wait for him, her legs taught, her whole body shivering with anticipation.or the need to pee, Spike wasn't sure. But as soon as he got near her, she'd bolt off again. Finally Spike caught up to Ed as she waited outside the bathroom.

Spike wanted to laugh when he saw Ed, but he contained it. Ed was actually hiding from the spider. She crouched on her hands and knees outside the bathroom, peering inside cautiously, her eyes darting back and forth nervously. Her skin was twitching. "He's IN there," she whispered secretively. "On the potty."

"Are you really scared of spiders?" Spike asked inquisitively. "They can't hurt you, you know."

Ed stared fiercely at Spike. "Spiders are bad! Bad! Bad! And they don't die! No matter what you do, they come back to life! Spiders are all zombies. If you squish them, they regenerate when you're not looking and then they come back to hunt you down. They crawl up your nose when you sleep and lay their eggs in your brain and then they hatch and they eat you alive! And then you're infected with evil, very bad spider-ness and you become a mindless slave of the spider over lord and you walk around wearing a Burger King crown thinking you're the king of the world, parking your car crooked in the parking lot so your car takes up two spaces and.!"

Spike interrupted Ed. "Edward," he said, a little breathlessly, "You are a very special girl. And by 'special', I mean mentally retarded."

"You scoff now, Lunk-head!" Ed shouted dramatically, pointing her finger accusingly at him. "But when Ed sees you wearing a Burger King crown, ED WILL KNOW WHY!"

"Sure." He leaned inside the bathroom and looked around. "I don't see any spider."

Ed peered past his hip, but she couldn't see either so slid along Spike's stomach and chest, using him as a shield. Her little hands clung to his suit. Spiked watched her, amused. Ed inched closer and closer to the toilet and extended her trembling hand towards the toilet seat and pointed at a small brown house spider that darted under the toilet seat when her finger came too close. Ed drew back in terror when the spider move. "It knows!" she cried. She flung herself back into Spike's arms, just as she had done to Jet. "He's gonna get his friends and gang up on Ed! Ed will be parking incorrectly in the morning!" She snaked her arms around his chest and tried to climb into his suit jacket and succeeded about halfway, actually shimmy-ing up his torso and shoving her face into his jacket (very odd, since she still had that ugly red hat on) and trying to make the rest of her body follow suit, like a rabbit diving down a burrow. However, Spike quickly became confused and disoriented and fell over backwards in a tangle of arms and legs where arms and legs weren't supposed to be.

"C'mon, no fooling around!" Spike snapped, picking Ed up by her collar and pulling her out from his clothes. He had to reach inside his jacket and dislodge the hat. He handed the hat to her. "You want that spider taken care of or not?"

Ed nodded vigorously, plopping her hat back on her head.

"Okay, good." Spike went into the bathroom and lifted up the toilet seat. The spider was there, waiting. It crawled around the rim. "Sorry, pal. Nothing personal, but you've got to go." Spike looked over his shoulder at Edward who was laying on the floor in the hallway with her hands clasped tightly over her ears, her hat over her eyes, like she was waiting for a grenade to go off. He smiled knowingly at her. He ripped up a handful of toilet paper and wadded it up and walked over to Edward and tapped her on the shoulder.

Edward looked up at him and Spike handed her the toilet paper. "Eeew!" Ed shrieked. "Ed dose not want to see slaughtered spider corpse!"

"I didn't kill it," Spike informed her. He put the toilet paper in her hand. "You kill it."

"Wha?!" Ed jumped up and began freaking out. "Noo! Noo! Ed did not call for help so she could get backup! Ed wants Spike to rescue Ed from the ninja spider!"

Spike put his hand on Ed's shoulder. For a moment, Ed must have thought Spike was comforting her because she hugged him, but Spike was actually pushing her towards the bathroom. "You're almost grown up," Spike told her. "You shouldn't be afraid."

Ed struggled. "How come you say that all the time? That Ed is grown up? Ed is not grown up!"

Spike set her in front of the door. "Yes, you are. You're thirteen. Suck it up. Be a man. Eerr.a woman."

Ed wouldn't let go of Spike. "No! Please don't make Ed go in there. Ed does not want to be a man!"

"I have complete faith in you. I know you can do it."

Edward was torn. She looked from the bathroom to Spike to the toilet paper wad in her hand. "If Ed dies, give Ein Ed's dinner." She took a deep, shaky breath and walked to the bathroom door. She waited at the threshold, sizing up the little brown spider.

The spider was still on the toilet seat. Then it began walking.

"Aiiee!" Ed ran away and hid behind Spike. "NO!"

Spike was fed up. "Ed, kill that spider or I'll kill you."

Ed shouted, "Spike can only kill Ed! Spiders will eat Ed's brain and make Ed join the ranks of the undead!"

Spike got an idea. "You know what I can do to you? I will use my powers to make you go blind and insane."

"You have powers?!"

"Kill the spider now or you'll find out the hard way!"

"But." Ed tried weakly.

"Kill the spider!" Spike commanded. "Kill it now! It's you or him! Kill him! Make him die!

"Ed will kill that spider!" Ed said with some excitement, swept up in Spike's enthusiasm.

"That's right! Kill it! Kill it!"

"KILL IT!" Ed screamed, charging into the bathroom. "You are gonna die!" Ed turned around and slammed the bathroom door shut, apparently so she could murder her victim in privacy. Spike could hear various "thuds", "whams" and "crashes" going on inside, along with an impressive string of swearing that he never imagined he'd hear from Ed.

"Ah," Spike said, reminiscing. "There's nothing like a little homicide to dash a little girl's innocence."

The pounding inside the bathroom continued. After about five minutes, Spike felt a little worried. "Ed?" he asked through the door. "It should only take a second to squish a spider."

"Ed's..not.giving up!" Ed panted from inside. "Die you dirty bastard!"

Spike opened the door cautiously and gasped at what he saw. Everything in the bathroom stall was knocked over, smashed or otherwise disturbed. Ed's hair was mussed and she was hunched over, breathing heavily from effort. The spider was still on the toilet seat, untouched.

"You've got to be kidding me," Spike groaned. He looked down sternly at Ed. "You haven't actually done anything here, have you?"

Ed looked down at her feet guiltily. "Ed knocked over everything."

"But you didn't try to kill the spider."

"Um.yes. And by 'yes', Ed means 'no'."

"You're a bad girl," Spike said miserably. There was no hope for this child.

Ed looked up at Spike tearfully. "Ed doesn't want to kill something that's alive."

Spike and Ed regarded each other in silence. Actually, Spike resolved, Ed was not a bad girl. She was far from it. Spike sighed and put his hand on Ed's shoulder. "You don't have to kill the spider if you don't want to." He knelt down so he could look her in the eye. "Can you put the spider outside? You can prove you're brave without killing anything."

Ed's face brightened. "Yes! Yes! Ed can do that!" Ed whirled around and took off her hat. She batted the spider gently and it crawled onto the hat's brim. "Ok! OUT OF ED'S WAY!" Ed made a dash for it past Spike and was off down the hall way in a flash. Spike was only two steps behind her.

"Don't kill me! Don't kill me!" Ed pleaded with the spider. It was apparently crawling quickly towards her. "Eeek! Don't attack me!" As she ran, she kept turning the hat's brim to distance herself from the spider. "Please don't get on Ed!"

Spike felt ecstatic. In retrospect, this whole situation was ridiculous. However.

Ed burst out onto the deck of the Bebop, holding her hat far away form her body, eyes shut tight, screaming, "Spike! Spike! He's mad as hell!! He's gonna touch me! It's all over! Good-bye cruel world!"

"Ditch the hat!" Spike shouted.

Spiked watched as Ed flung the hat like a Frisbee overboard. It flew fantastically and landed in the water like a small sail boat, bobbing peacefully in the Mars dock. Ed twitched all over and examined herself to make sure the spider didn't jump on her body at the last second. Finding herself spider-free, Ed fell to her knees in relief and sighed deep and long. "He's gone!" she exclaimed happily.

Spike sat down next to Edward and lit up a cigarette. "Yeah," he said dreamily. "It's gone forever. That stupid, stupid hat." He took a long, well deserved drag.

Ed tugged Spike's sleeve. "Thank you."

"For what? I didn't do anything."

"Yeah, Ed knows." Ed was smiling. Not her trade-mark, huge smirk but a different smile. A very assertive smile. "Next time," Spike told her sarcastically, trying to end the sappy moment, "you can learn how to tie your shoes and open child-proof asprine bottles." The smile she was giving him started to make him feel uneasy. She seemed to be sizing him up, like a cat outside a canary's cage.

Ed disregarded Spike's cynicism and crawled into his lap. "Ed wants to cuddle."

"Um.no." Spike tried to stand up and end this quickly. "No, not just no, but HELL no."

"Ed wants hugs!" She squeezed him so tightly he felt his ribs cracking. Spike desperately tried to pry Ed off of him, but she gripped him tighter then a leech. "No! No! You can't escape now!" Ed laughed.

"GET OFF OF ME! THIS IS GROSS!"

"Ed loooooooves you."

"Goddamit.off! Now!"

They wrestled on the deck for a good five minutes. Spike may have been an excellent fighter, but he couldn't think of a single move designed to remove an enemy attached to your body. He ended up falling on his butt and trying to crawl away, but Ed had other ideas.

Meanwhile, inside the hanger, Jet and Faye and Ein watched, shaking their heads.

"It's almost funny," Jet commented, "but it's weird, too."

Faye couldn't contain her laughing. "He's such a SUCKER."

Even Ein seemed disgusted. He turned up his nose and went back inside, intent on having dinner.

"Ein's got the right idea," Faye said, following the dog. "You coming, Jet? You said dinner's ready."

Jet gestured outside. Ed presently had Spike's arms pinned behind his back and had him trapped under her body. She started to sing Louis Prima songs. "I came out here to tell them that it's time to eat."

"Don't disturb them," Faye advised. "It's.it's a ritual or something. They're bonding. Or something. Don't interrupt."

Spike spotted Jet and Faye watching from the sidelines. "Help me!"

Ed was delighted. "We're gonna be friends from now on!"

"I'm not going over there," Faye whispered. "We'll end up in a group hug for sure."

"Pretend you don't notice," Jet said, casually looking off in another direction and walking slowly that way.

"Dammit! Don't leave me with Ed!" Spike pleaded.

"Let 'em squirm," Faye giggled. "Serves him right."

"Sucker," Jet muttered.

"Sucker," Faye agreed.