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Chapter 1

It was another dull day on Mars, with you waiting idly at the old repair shop for a customer to come in for some work on their zip craft or car. You had already serviced a couple earlier in morning who had appointments prior with you, but now the day was dragging on as it was a slow day. Your co-workers were given the bulk of the walk in appointments and work, you were competent but admittedly you didn’t have all the years of experience they and the owner had. The fact that you moved around constantly didn’t help either, it didn’t look good that you never even stayed a year in a single place. In your boredom you thumbed through a book you had read several times before mindlessly, just looking for some sort of temporary escape to pass the time. The boss didn’t mind you not having much to do, he wasn’t paying you by the hour anyway which only made the day that much more dreadful. No customers or appointments meant no pay, the few you had were enough to keep your current frugal lifestyle, which you had possessed for only a few years now, afloat. The lifestyle you lived was modest, you had to be careful how you spent your money, as you had become extremely prone to sudden leaves of absence or time in between jobs as some called it.

            Outside you heard a ship landing a bit rough, a common occurrence naturally at a repair shop, and paid little attention as a customer entered the building, assuming it was somebody else’s business. You eavesdropped as your boss spoke briefly to the customer.

“Hey, _________! We got a customer here who needs a little help over here!”, shouted your boss at you, the owner of the repair shop. Being the only free person at the job, you assumed he had some work for you from the customer whose ship had just landed outside. Your eyes raised from your book to find a tall, lanky man, in a fitted navy suit with a yellow shirt underneath. The suit and his shirt weren’t in the greatest condition, as they looked heavily worn with poorly repaired holes in the jacket. He had a handsome face though and a mess of dark bushy hair, as he peered at you from the front of the building. It wasn’t often you encountered such attractive men at your job. You did wonder though, as you approached him, what had happened to cause such distress to his suit, it was visibly in bad condition, but he maintained a stoic composure as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Nobody asked about those kinds of things around here. Money was money, it wasn’t worth the trouble to explore the personal lives of your customers.

You approached him as professionally as possible, “Hello, I’m ________. What were you in here looking for today? Did you just need me to check out your ship or did you need some specific parts?”, bombarding him with the usual barrage of questions, as you tried to sell your work. He gestured to you to come with him.

 “I’m Spike. I’ll probably need you to take a look at it, and I’m relatively sure it needs some parts,” he stated to you. He was even more handsome when the two of you were standing near one another

 “Which of these ships is yours?” you inquired, as the two of you turned, walking out the door to the lot. Spike lead you to a vintage, bright red racing ship, you were stunned, “Wow you fly around in this on a regular basis?” you inquired curiously, admiring it in awe. That wasn’t a ship you saw often, especially one that still looked so good and was actually in functioning order. Sure it had a few scratches and dents, but just the fact that he was driving around in a racer like that impressed you, it made you wonder what kind of a man he was. You thought it was pretty cool but didn’t want to be presumptuous that he was just some hotshot.

“I would like to be again, which is why I’m here.” He stated.

 “Alright then I’ll take a look.” You slid underneath the racer on your back to see what was wrong with it, and it seemed as though it had been sitting without use for about a month or so, and it indeed needed some work since it seemed like some parts had been taken along with not having the engine started and being so old. You really wondered why he would have left a nice old racer like that out to be exposed to the elements and potentially robbed, which is probably what happened to some of the less important missing parts. Anyone will take something that’s metal and sell it as scrap.

You listed the things which the racer needed fixing and told him you could do the work and put the additional parts in today as it was only a few hours of work and you had no other appointments besides him. He turned some of the less necessary stuff down, like all of the detailing the exterior would need. “There’s a waiting area if you have no place else to be,” you said trying to be inviting to him.

He mulled about for a moment responding, “I have some errands to run, I’ll be back around when the repair job is done,” and then promptly leaving. Returning to your boss, you informed him of the parts he would be purchasing for the racer and he retrieved them for you so you could begin work on the ship. Returning to the ship with tools and parts in hand, you slid back underneath the racer to begin tinkering away, trying to fix everything up.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

After a couple hours of work underneath the red racer with dusk approaching, someone walked up to you, so naturally you slid out from underneath the ship trying to wipe oil and dirt off of your face. It was Spike, you could tell from the shoes and navy trousers he had on. He had returned and was coming to check on the progress of his racer. “Welcome back, I should be done in just a bit,” you told him peering up at his angular face and broad shoulders from the ground.

 “Alright thanks,” he said aloofly, waving, turning to walk back into the shop’s waiting room.

Turning your back on him, you returned to his racer to finish the last thirty minutes or so of work. You turned the old racer on to see how it was sounding and took a brief look at it again before you decided it was back in working order. Turning the key and removing it from the ignition, you soon returned to the front of the repair shop as well to collect your payment and see him off. You were delighted to be leaving the job soon, you longed to go back to your tiny and read a book after a few drinks, and maybe visit the night market.

 As you approached the waiting area and front desk something caused you to stop dead in your stride. Two men were shouting at the owner and they were demanding your whereabouts. They were clearly a couple of syndicate thugs, dressed somewhat nicely, as they always did in an attempt to pass as regular, honest civilians. They had the boss by his shirt, threatening to beat the shit out of him, and come back later with more men if he didn’t give them some information. Specifically some information about your whereabouts. From behind they were unrecognizable to you, but as they began to turn around you were reminded of all of the crime syndicates you were involved with.

 All of the people you provided information and data to. All the bloodshed over the schemes you revealed to conflicting gangs, crime syndicates, and even ISSP, carelessly and ultimately foolishly painting a target on your back after years of these activities. You never knew the specifics, that’s how involved you had been, you couldn’t tell who was even a part of what gang anymore. Sometimes they were better or worse dressed, sometimes they brandished firearms. Confrontation with the two of them was destined, if not confrontation with many others like them down the road, just like in the past too.

Your boss just pointed in your direction silently in shock, causing them to turn and face you. You were not in the mood for a confrontation, especially not at work. in the past you had always managed to thwart the people who had come after you. As soon as you realized you were being tracked and followed, you would jump ship and move to the other side of the planet, or leave altogether. You assumed they had just started catching up to you, as you had been moving around Mars for a while now. “I guess it’s time to finally ditch Mars, now that I can’t catch a break,” you thought, if you were somehow able to get out of this situation. 

For just a moment your presence there was unrecognized and you planned your escape, foolishly. Despite your past actions, you never intended for the owner to get threatened like that. Spike was there too and all of your co-workers, why did so many bystanders have to be involved in it like this? Everyone in the shop could get hurt. Quicker than you could process, the scenario changed as they noticed you, you shuddered. You had never been tracked like this before. One of the men pulled a handgun from his jacket, pointing it at you, before you even got the opportunity to split from them.

“Stay where you are. I think you know we have some unfinished business with a snitch and a backstabber like you,” the man with a gun growled as you. Well, now the cat was out of the bag with everyone who you had worked with. There was definitely no returning to this place.

Spike suddenly approached your assailants as they had you trapped standing there, frozen in submission with your hands in the air. They didn’t initially notice him as their focus had been fixed upon me. “Hey watch out!” The other one shouted. Too late, his partner had already been beaten down by a swift and unexpected kick from Spike, which caused him to drop his weapon, as well as knocking him off balance. The other man split from his partner as soon as he saw Spike running towards the two of them, he charged at you trying to grab you, as you was smaller than him. All you could manage to do is duck down, bending you knees. It had disrupted the balance of your assailant so you took the opportunity to jab your elbow into his chest, resulting in you also losing your balance, nearly falling on top of him. Which would have only made things worse. Fortunately, Spike had reached you and the other assailant and caught you by the hand, pulling you back up onto your feet quickly and then behind him so you could follow behind him running as fast as you could manage.

“Come on!” he shouted to you. You struggled behind him, he was essentially dragging you along. Shots fired past the two of you, as you had both of your backs turned. For a moment you turned your head over your shoulder to see how far they were behind the two of you, there was quite a bit of distance, so you thought you could lose them somewhere in the streets. Running anywhere was troublesome in the steel toed boots you wore to work so you wouldn’t break your foot, but if you needed to you could land a powerful kick, but you had hoped it wouldn’t come to that today.

After the initial pull, you tried to keep up with his strides. “Did those men follow you there?” you asked Spike frantically, nervous for a moment that you had gotten roped into something by him, or that he too had some affiliation with a group that was out for your head.

“No, clearly they were looking for you!” he retorted, turning back at you frustrated at your suspicion of him.

“I know, but did you lead them to my spot? I’ve been trying to lay low,” you responded desperately. Your heart felt like it was going to jump out of your chest and you could feel the burn of the adrenaline in your blood as the two of you ran from the repair shop. Spike just scowled, annoyed at the suggestion that he had been involved with those syndicate thugs from who knows where, probably Ganymede.

You didn’t know why he had helped you like that, but you really appreciated it. In the heat of the moment, you were just happy to be out of there even if you felt like your world was falling apart. Those men had come mortifyingly close to taking your life, but you didn’t know why they didn’t just shoot you and kill you on sight. It didn’t make sense why they would want you alive, you knew too much about too many people and crime syndicates. You settled that they had to have needed some information from you.

Maybe Spike didn’t deserve the suspicion, for him you softened up a bit. He did help you after all. He had no idea what situation he had just pulled you from. To him all you were was some mechanic.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

You decided to return to your tiny apartment, even though it was likely they had already torn that place up in search of you if they had managed to track you down at work. Your suspicion was that you had been being followed for some time now, determining when the best time to jump you was. Internally you were trying to determine where to go next and what you could manage to bring with, what the state of your apartment would even be. You had never experienced this kind of situation. They had never been so close to an actual confrontation with you, you were fortunate that you often caught onto them before they could get close to you. You tried to always be one step ahead and be as hyper aware as possible. How much longer could you keep this planet hopping up?

 You split from Spike to make your way home. As soon as you did so he shouted at you, causing you to abruptly stop in your tracks and turn to him, you hadn’t thought about where he must be going. You hadn’t even considered how he had started trailing behind you, your head wasn’t exactly in the present, what was your biggest concern was leaving Mars immediately. He was a lot taller and presumably fitter than you, yet you had gotten ahead of him. You turned around to face him, “You still have the keys to my racer,” he stated bluntly to your embarrassment “I can’t leave without those obviously.”

Something about him in that moment seemed strange, his breathing had become labored, well more so than someone who had only just ran and was tired. Stepping towards him as you were about to return his keys to him, you noticed him grasping at his torso. He stumbled slightly, trying to get his keys from you, putting your arms out in front of you, you caught him in the crook of your elbow him allowing him to lean onto you, “What happened to you…” is all you could mutter to him.

Guilt rushed over you, everything was overwhelming you. You were obliged to help him out after all of this. “There’s someplace I can take you to. A doctor owes me a favor not too far from here, he can help you out and won’t ask questions. It’s not like I’ll need it, ” you informed him and he seemed to oblige silently nodding. You swung his arm over your shoulder while carefully placing your hand on the other side of his ribcage, hoping you could keep him balanced considering how much taller he was than you.

 “I have to leave here, so I have to go to my place and get my things now, those men are going to come to my apartment if they haven’t already been there,” informing him you weren’t going to be able to carry him up your stairs,  but that you wouldn’t be more than ten or so minutes in your apartment as there wasn’t much there.

After arriving at the apartment, you propped him up against a wall at the interior of your place so he would be able to lean against the wall, considering how hard it would be for you to pull him up off the ground. You hoped that he would be okay as you ran up the stairs to your tiny, barren apartment. Immediately you opened every drawer and cabinet in the apartment so you could see all everything left in the place. The only real possessions you had were your tool kit, your clothing, and your books, so you promptly located your duffle bags, the same ones that you had been using as you planet hopped for the past few years. Seeing it always gave you the same sickly feeling, it was just the circumstances though, running from people who more than likely wanted you dead. Even if it was all due to your foolish choices, how careless you were before. You hurriedly packed all of your clothes in one of the bags along with another pair of boots, and stacks of your old books. It felt as if this scenario was doomed to repeat itself perpetually. Before leaving, you remembered some of the food in your place, but naturally it was just some canned foods and instant coffee, at least all that would last any. You grabbed a few articles of silverware too, they were small so you figured you might as well. Nearly forgetting things like soap, shampoo, your hair brush, and tooth brush, you rushed to the bathroom, you rushed into the bathroom grabbed them all, stuffing them into your bag, bidding your dingy apartment adieu, leaving the key to your place on the counter of your now abandoned apartment.

Rushing down stairs, you were relieved to see Spike sitting just where you had left him, but you caught him off guard for a moment, taking a drag off a cigarette to ease the pain as much as he could. He had kept his arm tightly over it before, but you saw now that he was indeed bleeding from his abdomen quite a bit, with red spots seeping into his navy coat. As he recognized you peering over his shoulder he instinctively covered himself up again. It shocked you but you just kept to yourself, as you helped him back onto his feet and began to lead him to the doctors, under the shroud of darkness to protect you from being easily identified by whatever gang members were after you this time.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

The doctor’s office was just a miscellaneous little apartment in the middle of a building complex only a few blocks away from you, presumably to lay low, you assumed he lived in the same building he operated out of. You didn’t ask any questions and neither did the doctor you brought Spike to, standard practice. A mob doctor, whom you had done some repair work for in exchange for any medical help you may need, but you hadn’t used your favor from him and obviously were not going to be using it on yourself. Clearly Spike had been involved in some kind of fight, and had been cut deeply. You could tell that much just from the state of his suit, let alone the gash in his abdomen. You felt strange standing there in the room with him just watching him wait to get sewn up, but also felt extremely unsafe just waiting around outside, being a sitting duck for those men who came after you. The doctor’s office space was sparse. Just a moving swivel chair for him to sit on and a cot for a single patient. Across the room there were several cabinets and underneath one row was a small sink, which had cabinets below it to its sides as well. Spike laid down slowly onto the cot in the doctor’s office, he was hesitant to stop cradling the wound.

The doctor obviously needed Spike to take his jacket and shirt off to take a look at his wound and patch him up. He eventually obliged, slowly removing his jacket and unbuttoning his bloodstained yellow shirt, peeling it off of his body to expose the wound. It was slightly healed, clearly the fight he had engaged in and running after you had reopened the wound. “I can only stitch the parts of the wound that fully reopened,” the doctor stated.

You felt a stinging guilt for that, you hadn’t intended for anybody to get hurt like that by your mistakes. His torso was covered in other smaller wounds, none of which were anywhere near as deep and had mostly healed into scabs, he really must have been in some deep trouble to have gotten that many wounds, particularly one that deep as his abdominal wound. Your eyes couldn’t help but wander, he had a toned body so you stared a little longer until you realized your stare had caught his attention as he glanced at you. You averted your eyes nervously trying to keep a straight face and play cool, you didn’t expect for him to catch you staring. You managed to maintain composure by convincing yourself he had just seen you staring intensely at his wounds.

The doctor cleaned the wound out with isopropyl alcohol, causing Spike to wince in pain momentarily from the burn of it, but tried his best to regain composure. Then the doc packed some gauze to stop the bleeding and allow his blood to clot.

“After you stop bleeding, I’m going to stitch you up, and you’ll have to take it easy for a bit. Then when this is all healed up you can take the stitches out.” He instructed Spike. “She’s pretty capable, if you can’t do it yourself. She can do good work on a ship and has a steady hand.” The doctor said to Spike, pointing at you. You only felt more embarrassment at the assumption that you were Spikes companion.

“Does she now?” Spike asked him, joking weakly. “I wouldn’t know yet, since she ran off with the keys to my racer.” He must have been feeling better to make a smug remark like that, which took a weight off of your shoulders a bit. But he was just adding insult to injury.

 “_______, come here and put pressure onto the wound while I go get what I need for the sutures, no need to be gentle you need to stop the blood flow,” the doctor instructed you sternly as he walked around the room rummaging through the cabinets and things. Complying, you stepped over to Spike nervously, pressing your hands onto the gauze pad situated on his abdomen. You tried your best to not touch his skin, but to little avail as your fingers brushed him accidentally while shifting the placement of your hand, causing him to wince to your touch, on top of the pain from the pressure you were applying to the gash.

After a few awkward minutes applying pressure to Spike’s abdominal wound, the doctor retuned to Spike’s bedside, then applied an antibiotic before beginning the suture on Spike’s abdomen. “I’ll give you some painkillers too, it will just help you sleep tonight and tomorrow, if you have any pain.” The doctor handed him a handful of painkillers and he promptly took a couple. “I can’t tell if either of you have anywhere to go to,” the doctor glanced at my duffle bags, “but you could spend the night here if you need. It might be more comfortable, and you need rest to heal.”

Before the doctor had begun, Spike pulled a cigarette out of his jacket’s pocket to smoke. It seemed to be a comfort to him to have a smoke at a time like this, the doctor didn’t seem to mind and went along sewing up the open part of his wound. Clearly it was easier for Spike to take his mind off the situation at hand with a cigarette. You hoped it would ease the pain.

“You should wash your clothes out while the blood is still damp,” you suggested. “They’ll stain if you leave them like this.”

Spike just groaned at the suggestion. "It's not exactly the most important thing to me right now..." You took it upon yourself and grabbed Spike’s blood stained shirt and coat which he had left folded to the side of the doctor and himself and walked over to the sink across the room beneath the cabinets the doc had just been looking in. It was the least you could do for him, since all the fighting and running that reopened his wound had been your fault. You ran hot water and placed his jacket underneath it, scrubbing it a bit with some soap. The stain came out relatively easily, as the navy coat was already dyed dark, but it was much harder to get the slight pink discoloration out of his yellow shirt. You gave up after rubbing it with soap for quite some time, and hoped that it would come out after Spike had worn it for a while again. You draped them back over where Spike had left them, now they just had wet spots on them, but they would dry soon.

“Thanks,” Spike said to you exhaling smoke from a drag off his cigarette.

“It’s the least I could do, really,” was all you replied as you sat back down up against the back wall in the office, contemplating your next move. "The pink mark might take a few washes to come out, if ever."

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

By the time the doctor had finished stitching Spike’s wound back up it was quite late and you were feeling much more exhausted than usual, the stress had you feeling on edge. It had been a while since you had felt so exhausted, everything was just piling up, helping Spike to the doctor, and wracking your brain on what you were supposed to do next, where you would go. At least you felt comfortable that you hadn’t been followed to the doctor’s place by now, so you were more than pleased to wait at the doctor’s for the night if it was possible, and honestly even though he wasn’t the most mobile, being around Spike made you feel comfortable. It was odd, for you to feel that way about someone like that so suddenly, but you rationalized it because he had helped you out.

 Spike buttoned his shirt back up, which was still damp from your washing. You left your bags in the corner of the room, “How are you doing,” you inquired meekly.

“Is that a real question,” he responded bluntly to your chagrin.

“Thank you for everything back there, Spike. You really saved my ass, you don’t even know.” Spike could understand your situation a little though, when you were wanted your life hung on by a thread which was essentially maintained by you keeping your distance from anyone who was after you. He just wondered what they would want with you. You were seemingly inconspicuous.

“I’m guessing you can’t go back there after what happened,” Spike asked, the end of his cigarette hanging out of between his lips. He felt a twinge of sympathy for you.

“I cannot. I’m gonna leave the planet tomorrow, even if it’s costly,” you responded uneasily. “Any place honestly. I just can’t stay here anymore on this planet. I’ll end up dead. It’s time to pack up and keep moving again.” You chalked it up to staying on Mars too long, moving from place to place on one planet.

            Keep moving, Spike thought. He wondered about Jet and Faye on the Bebop. Where they had gone. How he hadn’t contacted them in over a month. They definitely assumed he was dead. Part of him felt like it was too soon to go back living with him, but bounty hunting required him to move around a lot too, and that wasn’t something he could constantly be doing alone. Spike didn’t exactly have to money to constantly be traveling solo in the Swordfish, which was old and required frequent repairs. He didn’t really have the means either, repairs on an old racer that wasn’t exactly meant to be flown in and out of hyperspace on a regular basis were quite pricey, not to mention the fuel. He didn’t have the money for all of that, so the options were clear.

The notion of getting back in contact with Jet and Faye made him a bit uneasy, but he shook it off. Though he didn’t express it, he felt like he understand the predicament you were in, despite not knowing the details. You had been involved in some syndicate activity and probably pissed off the wrong people. You were useful, you knew how to repair a ship. Maybe you could be of use to the Bebop for a little while. Then you wouldn’t have to run to some planet and attempt to lay low. Spike decided he would keep that to himself for now. He was still weary of you.

            “I think I’m going to spend the night here. Best to not waste your favor.” Spike said, crossing his lanky legs over one another as he leaned back.

 “I think I’ll do the same,” you responded.

You began digging through your bags for your leftover groceries, but you only had canned food. You took every can out and placed them in front of you. You had canned oranges and peaches. “Hey Spike, do you want something to eat,” you inquired weakly, your food wasn’t anything impressive, but you thought you had heard his stomach earlier so it was worth a try. He turned from the cot to face you and your line of canned food.

“I’d eat the oranges,” he responded. Spike wasn’t about to turn down food, in fact he was starving, not that oranges were a substantial meal by any stretch.

You opened the can of peaches for yourself and the oranges for Spike. He sat up slowly as you moved over toward him, with a spoon and food in hand. “Here”, you handed him the oranges and a spoon and proceeded to sit on the floor facing him. It had been quite some time since you hadn’t eaten alone, even though it wasn’t a proper meal. You thought it was nice, especially to be with someone so handsome.

After a few moments of silently, scarfing down food Spike peered down at you sitting on the floor cross legged across the room, he stated hesitantly, “I might I know somebody you could stay with, if you’re trying to avoid some people for a while.”

“Uh-huh… who?” you inquired slowly, alarmed at this proposition of Spike’s. You weren’t entirely sure if this sort of situation interested you. You were used to being on your own, rolling solo. But you couldn’t lie to yourself, chatting with Spike had been quite nice, even if brief. You had missed this companionship, even if it was distant. He wasn’t exactly in a position to cause any harm to you, and you weren’t exactly in the position to turn down a favor like that. What could it hurt if you hitched a ride, you thought.

“Somebody I used to work with, a couple of bounty hunters,” he responded, turning away from you. This piqued your interests, but you didn’t want to come off too strong to Spike even though you were in a tough spot. You were intrigued by this development, Spike was a bounty hunter so it made sense that they would be passing through Mars. It made you feel comfortable, strangely.

“Oh, you were a bounty hunter then huh,” you rhetorically quipped, trying to lighten things up. That was intriguing since you didn’t think you had ever met one, despite the fact that you had associated with many bounty heads in the past. He just smirked silently and turned his face away from you. There was definitely a veil of mystery around Spike.

“I mean.. it seems like a fine deal to me, if I can lie low from the syndicate somehow until I get to another planet or something. I’m not a bounty hunter myself, but I’ve kind of engaged in some similar activity. That’s the root of this whole situation,” you revealed meekly, feeling confident that Spike wouldn’t be scared off by this revelation if he had been associating with bounty hunters and had some terrible scuffle with a bounty head, leading to his wounds.

“Ignorance is bliss I guess, and being an informant it’s your job to know it all. So I guess that’s just how it goes, the burden comes with the job,” you elaborated, giving him a bit of a pained grin.

______________________________________________________________________________

 Spike was questioning his decision, even though he had learned a bit more about you and could empathize a bit even if he didn’t say anything. In contemplation he sunk into his cot. He wasn’t sure that he could go back to the way life was before his standoff with Vicious and particularly Julia’s death. He felt as though he didn’t process it all even though he had just spent the last month, nearly dead, laying about aided by Laughing Bull, like always. He tried to push those thoughts out of his mind. Just the overwhelming feeling of it all made Spike’s stomach churn. He felt like he would have to get back to life soon, it had been around a month he left and he had really just been laid up. Spike didn’t want to deal with the question and answer. He hated being interrogated was all, and he knew that is exactly what Faye and Jet would feel inclined to do, considering the way he left things with them. Even though he knew Faye and Jet would be shocked and relieved that he was alive. 

He appreciated you keeping him from collapsing in the street, even when you had your own dire circumstances to deal with. He was shocked that you had worked as an informant, but he didn’t want to ask too many questions, particularly since you had tried to be slick and not discuss it much. You really didn’t strike him as the type to be involved in nefarious activities like that, but he guessed it was just because of the way you looked unsuspecting in oil covered mechanics clothes. He wasn’t quite sure why you would be wanted by the syndicate just for being an informant. There was something else there, why would they be after you otherwise?

Later that night, Spike would hobble out for a smoke and to make a call to the Bebop, silently hoping that it would be Jet who answered, he really wasn’t in the mood to try and get any information out of Faye. He knew she would still be bitter with the last conversation they had. He slowly managed to pull himself off the cot, so he could at least attempt to have some momentary privacy while on the phone. As he made the call, he leaned to balance himself on the wall behind him.

You only heard a little bit of chatter from Spike and one of his partners, You didn’t mean to seem to nosy or distrusting of him, so you just sat by yourself. At times it seemed like the two of them were bickering. He was intermittently taking a drag off of another cigarette, so he must have been somewhat stressed by all of this. Speaking mostly to just get directions to where he could find the ship on Mars to meet up with them. You could tell he was trying to keep things short. How curious you were about what was to come, you were just too exhausted to stay awake to hear the outcome.

 When Spike returned into the room struggling to balance, he found you asleep on the ground, using your piled up bags as a sort of makeshift pillow, he laughed a bit to himself as he laid back down onto the cot to try to catch some shut eye.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6

The next morning you awoke with your head laying on your duffle bag full of clothes. For a moment in a daze as to whose place you were in. Apparently, Spike had called the bounty hunters whom he had worked with previously. You didn’t remember, you had probably been half asleep at the time anyhow. Rummaging through your bags you recovered some instant coffee mix. Running some steaming water in the doctor’s sink you asked Spike, “You drink coffee?”

He groggily turned to you, trying to withhold a groan of pain, “Sure.”

“This coffee is weak,” he stated forwardly.

“Instant coffee, what can I say?” you shrugged as he popped some painkillers with his coffee.

You wondered what Spike’s shipmates were like since it was hard to determine based upon Spike, and if they would have an issue with some of your past involvements. Unsure about whether they would like you or not, you concocted a plan in your head to win their favor, so you wouldn’t feel like such a burden. Exchanging a little maintenance work for a lift and a place to stay for a week or so wasn’t too bad you thought.

Based upon some vague directions Spike had received, you both wandered about the streets in search of the docks, every once in a while turning your head slightly to peer over your shoulders making sure no one was around to follow the two of you. He had an arm around your shoulder to lean on you when he needed it as he lead you around. It started to sink in how little you really knew about the area you had lived in as you peered around. For the short time that you had lived on Mars, all you really did was go to work and then trap yourself in your apartment, for safety reasons you told yourself. It was a shitty circumstance, and you longed to be free to walk about in the evenings. Maybe when you got to the next place you would do some exploring, so that when life got tough and you had to hide out you had at least some pleasant experiences before you had to leave. It was somewhat bitter sweet when you left, even though the circumstances in each place were terrifying.

When you approached, the ship was clearly a large cruiser. Some kind of fishing ship as it was docked in the water. It was old, kind of cool, a bit of an artifact from the past, you thought. It would be interesting to see the inner workings of such a machine. Spike said they called it the Bebop, you remembered. Larger than anything you had ever worked on. You dragged your duffle bags onto the ship, still in awe, as you had never been inside a ship as old as this that was also capable of interplanetary travel. You hoped that your plans to try and help out would suffice, particularly since this was not what you were accustomed to working on. “Don’t worry about this, I don’t think we’ve been followed,” Spike said out of the blue. You hadn’t realized you had barely spoken a word to him since leaving the doctor’s place. He must have sensed something from you, you had let your guarded façade down as you anxiously watched your back all the way to the Bebop. That wasn’t something intentional, you had just become really lost in your thoughts for the moment. It made staying on the Bebop a lot easier for you.

The both of you stepped through the door into the ship, yellow halogen bulbs shone above you, the heels of yours and Spike’s shoes clicking with each step you took down the metal hall, with Spike leading you through to a central area of the ship where everybody was waiting. When you arrived, it was in a relatively bare room, with just a few pieces of furniture and a television in the small sitting area. Seated was a black haired woman about your age or so in a matching yellow two piece outfit with a red shirt hung loosely around her shoulders and tied at her waist, she turned immediately to the both of you and her expression grew shocked and then shifted to anger or frustration.

“I can’t believe you Spike! After the way you left and everything you said to us, you didn’t even call to say you were alive!” she fumed at him, clearly he had some kind of falling out or conflict with his friends before he had left. “Jet and I thought you were a dead man going to face off with Vicious--,” she was cut off by a tall, broad, middle aged man, with a metal replacement arm.

“Spike!” the man bellowed, “Already back here causing trouble from the moment you walk in I see. It took you long enough to get back to us, you’re awfully lucky Faye and I stayed around Mars looking for bounties you know.” Though he spoke in a joking, friendly manner, you could sense there was some tension between Spike and Jet too, especially when you considered the scars Spike had. Who was Vicious, you wondered. Jet cut off Faye, when she brought that up, oh well it was neither here nor there to you. You didn’t want to go looking into other people’s troubles when they were putting effort into being secretive. You were the same anyway.

Spike just rolled his eyes at Faye and muttered, “Yeah, yeah. A lot happened, and well I’m here now aren’t I.”

Jet and Faye turned their attention to you, “So how did you run into Spike here?” Jet inquired.

 “Oh, I fixed his racer the Swordfish up yesterday, but I ran into some trouble and cannot stay on Mars anymore.”

“I see, I should have guessed you were a mechanic of sorts,” referring to your oil stained clothes to your embarrassment. You had forgotten that you were still in your nasty work clothes meeting Spike, Jet, and Faye.

“She was having some issues with some syndicate and they seem to have caught onto her and now she needs to lift to somewhere new,” Spike explained a little of your situation, saving you the trouble.

“I would appreciate it very much if you would give me a ride to whatever planet you go to next, it doesn’t matter where I just can’t stay on Mars. I’m not the most familiar with large fishing ships such as this but I could definitely do basic maintenance for you, and if you have a zip craft or a small racer like Spike’s I would be happy to take a look at them and give you a tune up.” You felt terrible to be invading everyone’s space, especially since you never shared a place with anyone like this.

Faye perked up at your offer, “That would be such a help, the Yellowtail, my zip craft has really been needing some work done.” She seemed pleased and so did Jet, so you couldn’t have been more relieved.

“Be careful now or you’ll be doing all the chores around here,” Spike warned interjecting into the conversation, like he was teasing you a little.

“I genuinely would be happy to,” you quipped back at Spike, giving him a smug glance to prove him wrong.

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“Don’t you have your ship, Spike? I didn’t hear a ship,” Jet asked him, realizing we had walked up to the ship.

“No, I do not. It is still at ___________’s repair shop. I never got the opportunity to go back and get the Swordfish,” Spike stated in a mostly joking manner, but you felt bad for delaying him. “I’ll probably go get it after she finds a spare room somewhere in here,” Spike explained, walking away from the group he motioned for you to follow him, presumably for some place to leave your stuff. You followed Spike through their little living room area down some shorter halls, until he eventually started poking his head into what seemed like empty closets and storage rooms, until he found one that was a little bit less clutter and he gestured to you, “Here you are then, I know it’s kind of cluttered--,”

“It’s fine, I don’t mind cleaning the room up. Thank you,” giving him a small smile, you really appreciated that they even had space on the Bebop for you to have a little room. It had some various boxes in it and was quite dusty Spike stepped out and shouted to Jet and Faye that he was leaving to go get the Swordfish, so to open the hangar.

“Maybe just try to avoid anyone who may have you yesterday, especially in the condition you’re in,” you suggested to him nervously, since he was returning to the repair shop and you didn’t know if anybody from yesterday evening had lingered around there. You didn’t want anybody following Spike back to the Bebop, you didn’t want to burden them all with an actual confrontation on their ship. Spike just nodded and turned away.

You decided that since you would only be there for a bit that you wouldn’t try to rearrange things too much, you didn’t know what they had really stored in this room. You just dusted a few things off, like the sheets on the bed which had clearly just been laying there for ages. After taking care of that and dropping your bags off in the room, you returned what seemed to be the central meeting area. Faye was sitting there again, thumbing through a magazine. She looked up to you curiously, putting her magazine down. “Were you apart of a crime syndicate or something?”

“No, but I did associate with a few back when I lived on Ganymede several years ago, prior to becoming a mechanic,” you sighed a bit giving your brief explanation. Maybe you could be more open with them all, they were generous to take you in after all. It was strange, but nice to have another woman to talk to, you had been working at a job with almost exclusively men, so you probably opened up to Faye because of that.

“I understand that, I often have debt collectors coming after me. It’s a different circumstance, but I know what it’s like to have to move like that to avoid people,” Faye sighed, surely annoyed about her own circumstances, and how she ended up on the Bebop. “Did Spike show you where they shower is? What a buffoon, you would think he’d consider that you might want to take a shower after all this,” you shook your head as she stood up from her seat to show you the way. It was amusing to hear her take on Spike since everyone on the Bebop had history with each other.

“Oh yeah, that would be great,” you responded, following behind her. She showed you down another hallway to small bathroom, with a bathtub and shower head in it. You felt relieved, you really wanted to change out of your dirty mechanic clothes. “Thanks,” you said to Faye smiling, hopefully you could be friendly with everyone even if it was only a short while.

“You should have Jet show you around this place later, otherwise you could get lost in here,” she laughed, exiting the bathroom. You headed back to your room to grab a towel and a change of better clothes.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7

Not wanting to be rude, you only took a brief shower. It was hard to not get lost in your thoughts in the shower too, and you didn’t really want to get upset at the moment, especially not around all these people whom you had just met.

In exchange for grease and oil stained cargo pants and a dirty flannel shirt, you put on your “decent clothes”. A white sleeveless top and brown utility slacks with the ends rolled. You threw a denim jacket over your shoulders. Looking at your reflection in the mirror felt strange, even as you stared back at yourself. The location was so foreign to you. The way you had dressed felt foreign to you, so clean. You realized how seldom you wore these clothes, well really just any clothes that weren’t slightly ripped or at least permanently stained from oil. You ran your fingers through your wet hair, while you tried to repress your feelings of fear and loss, holding back tears, even though all of this had happened time and time again. You slicked your hair back, pushing it out of your face, and watching it slowly fall framing your face as it would naturally.

All of the Bebop crew were on your mind. How foolish you felt simultaneously. They knew nothing of you and you knew nothing of them. Except that maybe it wasn’t just you who was running from something. All the people on the Bebop, drifting through space, bounty hunting to sustain themselves. It was like they too had something to hide, but you didn’t know any of them well enough so you just felt out of place. You adjusted the collar of your jacket and put on a straight face. It was always hard leaving the places you had occupied for so long, even though you knew you’d have to eventually go somewhere else.

As you left the bathrooms with a pile of your work clothes, you went back to the room they had lent you to put on a different pair of boots, that were actually meant for walking around in rather than work, as you anticipated finally receiving the grand tour of the Bebop. Then, you wandered into the living room area and Faye was back sitting on a chair perpendicular to the couch, legs crossed, with a magazine in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Wandering about, but not straying too far you found Jet in what appeared to be the main control room of the ship, as in where the steering devices were located. It wasn’t just Spike who was wounded though, Jet noticeably had a mechanical arm, you held your stare though as he had clearly had lost his arm at some point.

“Do you think you could show me ‘round the place? I’d love to see the inner workings of an old ship this size.”

“Of course,” Jet stood up from his seat obliging kindly, and leading you through the living space, pointing out everyone’s rooms as he lead you along. Now it was just you and Jet. He reminded you a little of some of the men who you had worked with at the shop. It made you feel a bit more comfortable, the familiarity of him. He eventually showed to the hangar where only Faye’s ship occupied the space. You thought to yourself, you could definitely win some points with her by doing some work she needed,

“Spike  informed me that you’re in a tight spot, so I just wanted to let you know in case there was a bounty on your head,” Jet chuckled heartily, and you laughed along.

 “No, I don’t, the people who want me are not the police, I’m not worth anything to ISSP. Just something to a few syndicates elsewhere,” You clued him in a little to the situation you were in, trying to downplay it with nonchalance. There was a degree of tenseness when discussing what was going on with you. You weren’t sure if you’d ever discuss all the details, it just made you feel vulnerable.

The ship was so vast, it didn’t even matter that your room was small. There was a plethora of rooms with lots of little things in them. As you walked from place to place you saw some of the windows in the ship. You thought it must be wonderful to admire space from them, all of the shining stars and planets in the distance, the vast dark emptiness of it all.

“I imagine this is where you’ll be spending your time here,” Jet showed you to the hangar where the Swordfish would reside and then to another nearby hangar where Faye’s zipcraft was.

“I’m so relieved Faye’s zipcraft is a newer model, if it was some artifact like Spike’s it would have been a headache all over,” you laughed. “Also, thank you for allowing me to hitch a ride on your ship.”

“Don’t worry about it any, really. Faye and Spike come and go as they please so I really don’t mind helping you out any. I can tell you’re in a rough spot,” Jet replied kindly, reassuring you. It made you feel a lot more comfortable.

 After your little tour of the Bebop was finished, you went back to your room to fetch the other cans of food you had brought along from your apartment. “I know this isn’t much, but this was some of the food I was able to get from my apartment,” handing Jet the two measly cans of food, very embarrassed, thinking to yourself how you would like to grab some groceries for them later, still wanting to cling to a degree of independence.

As you returned to the living room, you heard a sound from elsewhere on the ship that must have been the hangar opening for Spike’s racer to enter, so you decided you should check in with him to make sure all was good with the work you had done on his racer. It was good to test your memory of the Bebop, you had become so accustomed to the small space within your apartment. You entered the hangar to see Spike climbing out of his ship slowly as to not rip his wound open, so you approached him.

“How was the ride here,” you inquired, trying to ask him subversively how his ship was in flight.

Spike was taking a pair of brown fingerless pilots gloves off, tossing them into the Swordfish, “Definitely better than before, when I hadn’t flown it for a month, but there’s more to be done,” he remarked cheekily as the two of you stood there admiring the Swordfish.

You had to keep some walls up, so you retorted back, “You haven’t even paid me for any of that work Spike, so what do you mean you’re gonna count on me for repairs,” you questioned him, crossing your arms smugly.

“I helped you out of a tight spot so you could call it even couldn’t you,” he suggested, nonchalantly shrugging his shoulders.

 “If I recall correctly, I helped you out of a bad situation too. But since you did bring me here I guess I would be willing to trade you,” you proposed, causing Spike to scowl a bit and scratch his head as he groaned at your somewhat undesirable response.

“Aren’t the meals Jet’s going to be making for you enough of a trade.”

 “I already told Jet I’d help him out with the Bebop when he showed me around the place” you replied, pleased that Spike was willing to help you but he rolled his eyes at that remark.

 “What do you want then.”

“Hmmm, I’ll have to think about it,” you teased feeling a bit bad admittedly. Spike leaned up against the Swordfish waiting for your response.

“Well it’s been a while since I’ve been out for drinks, so I’d appreciate some liquor, at your leisure of course,” you said pleased at your trade with Spike. Some drinks would definitely take the edge off things while you were on the Bebop, maybe make it a bit easier for you to befriend everyone.

“Whatever you say,” Spike chuckled, he had expected you would want something more than booze, easy enough.

 “Don’t worry now, Spike. I’ll be sure to fix a few things up for you and I’ll help you take those stitches out if I’m still here,” you responded to him. You wanted to cheer him up a bit, even if you were being kind of sarcastic.

Spike was relatively content with your deal. He had some booze somewhere on this ship,  he just needed to remember where he left it. He didn’t want to have to deal with another demanding person upon the Bebop. So far you seemed quite accommodating, you slept on the floor in a pile of your most personal possessions after all, and probably didn’t even anticipate having a bed on the Bebop, but you still took the offer.

Chapter Text

Chapter 8

The door to the hangar opened to reveal Jet, he invited the two of you in for something to eat. “Great I’ve been starving,” Spike remarked, to your embarrassment. Neither of you had actually eaten since your little run in.

There was a degree of excitement and also fear to eating with everyone. You decided to just watch and listen to gauge everyone’s interactions. There was an overwhelmingly foreign and distant feeling when you ate lunch with everyone. You felt out of place and as if you had overstepped your boundaries in coming to the Bebop. It had really felt like forever since your last dinner with multiple people, as if being at the doctor’s place with Spike wasn’t unusual enough for you. Spike and Faye bickered a little, their personalities kind of clashed. While this went on you just watched Jet progressively becoming more annoyed with them.

“I’m thinking that we leave tomorrow for Venus,” Jet interjected.

“We’ve got a bounty there? How much is it,” Faye’s eyes lit up. They must have been getting stir crazy from staying on Mars.

“We can take a look after lunch, I don’t remember all the details. It’s time to get back to work, so if you have somewhere to go, best do it today.”

The fact that they were discussing leaving Mars gave you peace of mind, particularly that they had planned to leave within a couple of days. The sooner you got out of the situation you were in the better. Venus wasn’t somewhere you had lived previously, so you were pleased that you would be safe there for some time to come. It was hard for you to have any definitive plans for your next course of action until you got there. You desperately needed a job and a place. You wondered what Spike would do, seeing as he wasn’t exactly healed up yet.

After helping Jet with the dishes, you returned to the living room, Faye was back there again sitting in a chair filing her nails.

“I saw your little zip craft out in the hangar, the purple one,” your speech paused as Spike strolled back into the living room where you and Faye were seated and sat down on the couch perpendicular to the two of you. “I would be happy to do some work on your zip craft if you ever need it, just let me know.” Faye looked pleased and somewhat shocked.

“Oh! That’s great, it will be such a help, because getting the Yellowtail serviced and fixed really takes long, and it will definitely take a weight off Jet-,” Spike cut her off.

“Take a weight of Jet? Come on Faye don’t fool with her like that,” Spike’s attitude was smug as he grinned while he spoke to the both of you. Their bickering was beginning to make sense to you.

“I don’t want to just eat your food and take up space, I have things to offer,” you responded confidently, jabbing back at Spike. He just stared back at you, sporting a smirk.

 “Suit yourself then,” he remarked cocking his head at you. How handsome. It made your heart flutter, even though you were serious. His smile was almost intoxicating

“Ughh Spike, you’re already on my nerves,” Faye crossed her arms in disdain. Spike just shrugged off Faye’s remarks and laid back on the couch, stretching out his lanky body. You didn’t want to involve yourself with the bickering. It became distinctly obvious that they had a bit of a feud, prior to you ever having arrived. There was a degree of discomfort you felt. Kind of like an outsider. The Bebop was a tight place and you didn’t want to step on anybody’s feet.

After some silence Faye spoke up again, “So, how do you do it.” Her question took you a bit off guard particularly because you didn’t know what she meant.

“I mean being a mechanic, doing all that work. It doesn’t seem easy and it’s definitely a dirty job, seeing as you had to change out of the oil covered clothes you came here in,” she elaborated.

You weren’t entirely sure how to answer, without disclosing too much. “Well, I used to do something different several years ago, as a job I guess. I haven’t always been a mechanic,” you stuttered nervously, not really knowing how to explain the circumstance of how you chose that profession. No one has ever really asked and you didn’t really know how anyone would react to this revelation.

“Not everyone is as pampered as you are Faye,” Spike sneered before turning back to the book he was reading. Faye just ignored his remarks this time so you went with the flow.

“It wasn’t as dirty or physically demanding, so I know where you’re coming from. Things changed and I needed something that could make me indispensable when I started moving around, some kind of skill, so I became a mechanic a couple of years ago. In the beginning I didn’t really enjoy it, but as I’ve learned more I’ve found it to be quite interesting,” you explained.

“I guess that all makes sense, it just isn’t how things have gone for me I guess,” Faye sighed. You wondered what she had meant by this, it seemed as though the Bebop was full of secrets, everyone was very mysterious to you.

“It’s a whole lot easier to stay put when you don’t gamble all your money away y’know Faye,” Spike said, Faye just shot him a dirty look as she got up and left. Probably back to her room. You decided you would just talk to Faye about fixing her ship tomorrow or something, maybe when Spike wasn’t around rather.

Chapter Text

Chapter 9

Your eyes fluttered open and you were jolted with adrenaline up in bed. You were on the Bebop, right. This wasn’t the first time this had happened, nearly every time you ended up some place new this happened as if the people from your past were hot on your heels. It was unusual though, when Spike was with you at the doctor’s place you didn’t feel this way.

After washing your face in the bathroom, you made your way to the kitchen, it sounded like someone was in there making breakfast. Spike was asleep on the couch still. Upon poking your head into the kitchen you were greeted by Jet, who was making breakfast. You offered to help a little but he insisted he could handle it himself so you resigned yourself to dish duty later.

Faye and Spike eventually made their way groggily to the kitchen.

“Hey Jet, before we leave I need to get some smokes,” Spike said.

“I have to go get some things too before we leave,” Jet replied. “I’ll let you know when I leave.”

You returned to your room to do some light reading alone for a bit before you worked on Faye’s ship. You wondered how Spike was doing, you never saw him changing the dressings on his wound. Did you forget anything back at your apartment you wondered, too late for you to go back there anyhow. How bothersome.

______________________________________________________________________________

After changing into some cargo work pants and a flannel shirt you pulled your hair back with a bandana, to keep it out of your face. You needed something to occupy yourself. It was awfully silent in the ship, so you suspected Jet and Spike had already left. You wanted Faye to explain any issues with her ship to you personally, so you knocked on her door, took kit in hand.

“I was thinking I could do a little work for you today before the ship takes off, so do you think you could explain to me what the problem is and I could take a look,” Faye led the way to the hangar, explaining some of her issues. They were all just general repairs. When you finally got a chance to take a look at the Red Tail you wondered if this was always this way. She needed a general tune up along with some repairs over the exterior details like her missile launcher, machine guns, and pinchers.

“I see you need some little work like on some of the exterior parts, they still are at the very least, semi functional, that I can do some other time and to be honest it’s not exactly my specialty. I can give you a tune up though, but maybe take it easy in the future,” you explained, unsure how she would take the advice. “You’ll be in a better position quality of flight wise after the tune up.”

With leather gloves on you began your work for the day on the Red Tail. After much inspection you wondered if Spike and Faye were dogfighting or something in their planes. It wasn’t just the Swordfish that had been heavily used, you at least gave Spike the benefit of the doubt because it was such an old ship, but after seeing the Red Tail up close you were beginning to think otherwise.

After a few hours of work you returned to the central area of the ship, your steel toed boots clunking against the metal all the way there. Faye was relaxing there per usual smoking a cigarette. “It’s not perfect, it still needs a few hours of external work and internal work on the weapons systems but any sort of engine work is back in top shape,” you reassured her.

She looked delighted, “It’s such a relief you were able to do all of that! I’d have never been able to myself, contrary to what Spike said it is a weight of Jet’s shoulders because I’d have just asked him to fix it instead,” she laughed a little. You were starting to understand the dynamic on the ship. Faye talked with you a little until Spike and Jet re-entered the ship, and headed for the control room.

“Hey Faye come take a look at our next bounty,” Jet gestured. Faye followed the two of them and you couldn’t deny you were curious too so you decided to tag along for a peek, after letting the three of them ahead of you. You wondered how bounty hunting had gone down. In the past it was something that ran adjacent to your previous job as well as the people whom you had worked with, so you felt quite intrigued. When you entered the control room again Spike, Jet, and Faye were crowded around the monitor, hiding it from your view from afar. You were in shock when you saw the face on the monitor.

“Elmore Vaughn, huh,” you said under your breath.

“You know this guy?” Jet asked, you could feel slight suspicion in his voice.

“Yeah,” you shrugged. “Just someone I’ve heard about. I guess worked with by proxy back when I still lived on Ganymede. Let me guess, from peddling drugs around the solar system?”

There was just tense silence. You were feeling some regret for saying anything. “Seems like he’s been graduated from just drug dealing to murder and robbery,” Spike said.

“Two and a half million Woolongs, that’s not bad,” Faye chimed in.

“_______ do you know anything else about this guy,” Jet asked to your surprise.

“Uh gee, well I might know be able to recall a little about him or the syndicate that he was involved with back on Ganymede but it’s been years since I’ve heard that name.” Jet nodded at your response.

“If you remember anything, honestly anything please let me know.”

“Of course,” you responded, with a reassuring smile. Dismissing yourself from the room, so they could all talk bounty. You needed to change anyhow.

After braiding your hair messily and changing your clothes and shoes you made your way to the main room on the ship, just Spike was sitting on the couch alone.

“You know, I’m not really sure if you’re healed up enough to be chasing bounties yet. Have you even looked at your wound since the doctor stitched you up?”

“Nope.”

“I could take a look at it for you, since this is kind of all my fault” you offered, feeling a bit bad.

Spike laid back onto the couch and unbuttoned his shirt, revealing his scar speckled torso and the large taped down gauze bandage that hid his stitched up scar. Spike began to peel off the gauze, albeit far too quickly, “What are you doing? You’ll rip your wound open or break a stitch.” Spike wasn’t the most gentle, so you peeled it off instead. His body was warm to the touch as your fingertips brushed over his abdomen lightly.

“It looks kind of inflamed now doesn’t it,” Spike suggested. You began to wonder what had caused such a deep, long cut. It had to be a knife of some sort. He had other smaller lacerations too but they were healing well, this was something much worse when it was fresh.

“Yeah it does, you’ll have to take it easy for now. I know you haven’t exactly been careful.” He was a little on the careless side. “I think I saw medical supplies in the bathroom, you should clean it a bit just in case it’s infected—"

“So that’s the damage huh Spike?” Jet had entered the room and was standing across from you two.

“Looks pretty bad, I can’t say I’m shocked though knowing you.” There was concern in his voice.

“We didn’t expect you to come back Spike,”

“I was sick of being laid up for over a month,” Spike seemed a bit defensive now.

While Spike and Jet spoke you walked out of the room. Even though you were really curious about his past, you felt out of place being there. You sat around in the bathroom for a moment even though you had gauze and rubbing alcohol, since you felt invasive in the first place you wanted to give them time to hash out what had happened. Upon returning to the main room of the ship you listened in on their conversation a little before making yourself known.

“You’re as hot headed as always Spike. You’re lucky you found someone else to look after you this time because you really pissed Faye off the last time you were injured, on top of the way you left things here.”

“Yeah yeah, I know I’ll hear it from Faye too.” Spike grumbled with a half smoked cigarette hanging out of his mouth. You handed Spike the medical supplies so he could clean his wound out.

“You should probably be a bit more sedentary Spike and lay off it, you’ll heal quicker that way,” you quipped. Spike didn’t say much in response, just nodded as Jet returned to the control room. Spike tossed a few pain killers in his mouth before he bandaged himself up and sat up. You sat in the chair perpendicular to him, as he stared at your face as if he was inspecting you somehow. As he got closer to you, he reached his hand out to rub your face.

You winced at this unexpected motion, “What was that for?” Your heart was pounding from staring at him like that, he had a pretty face you thought.

“You had grease marks on your face,” he responded. “Doing a little maintenance for Faye?” Spike smirked at you. It was equal parts embarrassing and charming. If his hand had lingered there a little more you wouldn’t have minded it, rather you’d have quite liked that.

Chapter Text

Chapter 10

Spike was beginning to wonder what kind of woman he had ran into. Were you a former syndicate member on the run? You didn’t exactly seem like it, but looks are indeed deceiving. It was subtle since you only briefly mentioned it, but he had picked up on the fact you were an informant. Maybe you could be a help, since you seemed to know somethings about various syndicates at the very least, or a way around criminal databases at the very least. He wondered when Jet would bring up working for Ganymede ISSP, since both of you were from the same place. You seemed to fit into this place though, just another drifter. Spike pulled out another cigarette.

You slumped into the chair, wondering if you even ever knew anything about that guy worth mentioning. It had been forever and you had packed away those memories some time ago. This situation made you feel very insecure, you had divulged some personal information but at the same time it could be useful for them. It would take some time for you to mentally dig through the plethora of interactions you had when you were still an informant. Frustrated that nothing remarkable came to mind you decided to take a shower and hole yourself in your room for a bit with a book. Wracking your brain wouldn’t make any of it happen sooner.

“I think we’ll be taking off soon,” Spike said as you walked out of the room.

“Wonderful, I’ll be sure to be grounded then,” you responded with your back turned. It wasn’t your first time traveling through space, but you wondered how it would be in an old fishing ship.

After showering it felt good to lay down for a while, you wanted to curl up really. You pulled a book out of one of your bags and tried to distract yourself with it. An hour or two of reading would make you feel better. The ship suddenly jolted. There was a slight rush of relief you felt leaving Mars. This life of running around was such a bother. If it hadn’t been for Spike who knows what would’ve happened. You just sighed and slumped into your bed sticking your nose into your book, hoping that something would come to mind about Elmore Vaughn.

______________________________________________________________________________

You never even interacted with him personally, just with people who were trying to seek him out, to buy drugs or whatever. Questions were not something you asked in your field, you weren’t getting paid to ask questions in fact you were supposed to have answers, really. There was someone knocking on your door, you sat up and told them they could some in. It was Spike. You dog eared the page in your book you were on and set it down beside you.

“Jet sent me, dinner’s ready.”

“Mm okay, thanks for letting me know,” you said unsure if you wanted to even eat. You had your knees pulled tightly to your chest for comfort. Spike stood tall, lingering above you leaning in the doorway, silently.

 “Sorry it’s really dark and dusty in here,” Spike said. He could tell you were a little bit uncomfortable. Something was on your mind.

You laughed, “It’s fine, you saw the building I lived in before. You really helped me out you know, by bringing me here anyway.” There was more silence. Spike knew he might have never returned to the Bebop, it would have been much harder for him at the very least.

“Well I doubt I’d have returned here so soon if ever,” Spike crossed his arms, you sensed some discomfort there, talking about his circumstances. You had started to realize that his injury may not have been a bounty hunt gone wrong. Everything suggested that he was avoiding Jet and Faye. “A lot happened is all, so don’t worry if you can’t remember anything. It’s not like Jet hasn’t worked with less information,” Spike sighed. You were really surprised, he was trying to be quite reassuring. You didn’t want to press him.

You gave him a brief smile as you eased up a bit after meeting his eyes momentarily, “Thanks, I’ll remember. It’s just been a long time.” In actuality it had really only been a few years, but it felt like forever.

Later that evening when you returned to your room you continued reading until you fell asleep, book still in hand. Sleep brought back the vivid life you once lived. You were back in your old place on Ganymede with a few syndicate guys. It seemed like they were looking to pick up drugs from Elmore Vaughn and they wanted to know if I knew someone. They planned to supply the whole area you operated in. You were flippantly uncaring as to how that would disrupt the current circumstances within the syndicate. Just another stupid decision that would lead to your downfall.

 As you jolted awake in a cold sweat you knocked your book onto the floor. Your heart was racing a mile a minute, so you resigned yourself to wakefulness. It was completely silent now, the only thing you heard was your footsteps and the hum of the ship moving through hyperspace. You still felt disoriented, doubly now from the newness of the Bebop as well as the nightmare you had awoken from. As you made your way through the Bebop you were caught off guard suddenly. “Hey.” It was Spike’s voice, as nonchalant as he was it still made you jump, still in a haze. He was sitting on the couch shirtless, wearing a pair of pants you had never seen him in. He must’ve changed, you thought.

“Sorry, didn’t see you Spike,” you had been so caught up in the contents of your dream that you hadn’t even seen him sitting there.

“You’re up awfully early,” he remarked. He had a glass full of whiskey and a cigarette.

 You sighed, you were embarrassed to tell Spike why you were up so early. “I had a dream, well I guess a nightmare,” you muttered. “It was about Elmore Vaughn, not like a regular dream though, it was something that really happened a while ago.” It felt weird saying that to Spike, but something about him made you feel comfortable in the moment. “You’re up late yourself Spike,” you remarked cheekily.

“I haven’t been here for a while, so it’s not the easiest circumstances to sleep in.”

“Mind if I join you?”

“Grab a glass first,” he responded in reference to the whiskey you imagined. You could use a buzz after a nightmare like that.

When you returned with an empty glass from the kitchen, Spike had moved over to one side of the couch, so you promptly sat next to him. “A few drinks will help make anyone fall asleep,” he said with an exhale of smoke, pouring a bit of whiskey into your glass.

There was silence between the two of you as you downed half of what he poured, to minimize the burn of alcohol. When he looked at you, it made you feel a sort of fondness for him. He was really lovely.

“Was the nightmare worth anything,” Spike inquired.

“I guess,” you laughed. “I’ll have to see if it’s worth anything to this circumstance but I recall being told by an associate that he operated covertly through seafood shipment. He was smuggling drugs trans planetarily through the ports.” Spike was taken aback by the comical circumstances as he wrinkled his brow. You downed the last of your drink and Spike poured you another.

“Well that’s definitely something, as weird as it sounds,” he remarked. “I’m sure they’ll be able to make something of that information.”

“Talking to people at bars or clubs, anywhere a little seedy honestly is a good tactic as well, to find a drug dealer at least.”

 As you were starting your third glass, the buzz began to hit. You decided you would drink the last one a bit slower.

“You still got pain killers?”

“No, that’s also kind of why I need a drink. I’m all out,” he responded. You were really starting to warm up to Spike, still trying to refrain from getting too personal from the alcohol.

“Thanks for the drinks, you didn’t have to stay up with me like this.”

“I owed you though, didn’t I?” he said smirking a little.

“You know I was playing Spike, you don’t owe me,” you confessed returning his smile at you. Mimicking Spike, you too downed the last of your whiskey, placing your glass on the table in front of the two of you. As you settled into the couch again you found yourself brushing hands with Spike, you weren’t sure if it was the alcohol but he didn’t flinch so instead of recoiling, you resigned to resting your fingers on top of his. He was warm from the alcohol too.

“I already planned to help Faye and Jet out for a few days… But when I’m done I’ll fix some more stuff on the Swordfish for you before I leave,” you suggested happily.

 Spike thought you were too nice, really helpful just too nice. He hadn’t decided if he would take you up on it in the future, because you were saying it while buzzed after all. You were a bit mysterious but still trying so hard to be useful and helpful, strange he thought. That’s right, you would be leaving soon. He felt a sting of guilt because of that, especially as you placed your hand over his.

“You don’t need to do all that,” he stated.

“I should though, you kind of saved me,” your voice began to trail off, feeling embarrassed saying that to Spike. It was true though.

“You kind of did me a favor, just by coming here with me. Who knows when I would have even gotten in contact with Jet and Faye. Or how I would have even gotten around with the Swordfish in poor condition after everything that happened.” Spike felt as though he had said a bit too much about himself, the whiskey was making him talk now. The two of you just sat in momentary silence. You looked up at him to see ringlets of smoke lingering around his face, it was probably the most unaffected thing he had said to you, and the way he looked back into your eyes suggested it was true. Eventually you found yourself with more than your hand on his, though it was just brief you had pressed your shoulder against.

You turned to him, “It was awfully friendly of you to have a couple drinks with me tonight, I hope I didn’t keep you up or anything.”

“I’d have been up regardless, so it’s nothing,” Spike replied.

 Upon dismissing yourself from the couch you turned to him as you walked toward your room, “You ought to go to bed too. Goodnight Spike,” you smiled and turned away, though his gaze upon you lingered.

“Goodnight.” He lit another cigarette to distract himself from his feelings. How bothersome.

Chapter Text

Chapter 11

The safest you had felt in some time was floating through space on an old fishing ship. How bizarre, you thought. Moving around to evade someone wasn’t a concern presently, since you were safely hidden in space, and the syndicate was none the wiser. Strange, peace, you thought. As you made your way through the Bebop’s halls to find Jet preparing food for breakfast, you felt unsure whether your input would even be a help to them all. Whatever, you thought. It couldn’t hurt.

After all was done after breakfast, you mulled about. Wondering how you should phrase everything to Jet. You didn’t even know if that was what Elmore still did, perhaps he had moved onto bigger more lucrative things. It felt weird involving other sort of people in your information, something which had once been so precious to your livelihood. You had never collaborated with anybody, and nothing was ever a group effort in your line of work. It was your way or the highway. That method of thought probably got you into trouble in the first place. You did, however, have to put on a tough façade. Criminal activity was predominantly a man’s world, and you wanted a piece of it for yourself. Perhaps sharing information in this manner would make you feel free since you would no longer hold tightly to the informant life which lined your pockets.

 Putting on a brave face you marched yourself into the pilot’s cabin on the ship, to face Jet. “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I remembered something about Elmore Vaughn.”

Jet turned to face you, “Glad to hear it, what was it?” He asked sincerely.

“Back then he used to push drugs, I can’t recall what unfortunately. But he had some deal with people who shipped seafood and that was how he moved large quantities across multiple planets,” you muttered, trying to be straightforward while you struggled to keep eye contact. Even though he was a kind soul, you didn’t want to disappoint anybody since you were extra baggage on his ship after all. Jet looked away from you, considering the information you had just given to him.

“Specifically seafood, huh,” he asked inquisitively. You just nodded silently.

“I don’t remember much else besides that.”

“Well, it’s a good enough start, at least it’s a little bit more than searching around shady places to get that information. Not that I haven’t done that before though.” There was a pause as Jet appeared to be picking apart the information he had about the bounty head. “Spike mentioned that you would have something to tell me earlier today. I think it’s best if he sit this one out, so it’s best not to excite him over the details of things like this.”

Jet’s statement had taken you aback. You hadn’t expected a response like that, but it was clear by his sincerity that it was with the best intentions in mind. “Mhm, I understand… I’ll keep this sort of thing between us then. I don’t really know what the circumstances are but I’ll take your word on it,” you replied, keeping any questions you may have had about the nature of Spike’s injuries to yourself. It all made sense, when you considered it. You were about to turn around and dismiss yourself from the pilot’s cabin when Jet spoke to you again.

“If you stayed around here I’m sure you could be a help to us,” Jet suggested, to your surprise. “Especially if you’re running from the syndicate on Ganymede.” Jet paused, giving you a sincere look. You just shrugged your shoulders and glanced aside, lingering standoffishly and averting your eyes. This really put you on the spot now.

“I’m ex ISSP, so I know how it goes for informants who go rogue.” You hated to be reminded of your situation. Jet knew something more about you than you had let on, he was a wise man.

“Thank you, I don’t know what to say. I just would feel bad dragging anyone else here into my problems is all,” you replied sheepishly, barely maintaining eye contact.

“You have no idea the trouble those two have dragged me into at times,” Jet laughed, lamenting about Spike and Faye’s antics. Even though he had sensed your discomfort, his feelings were genuine. It made you feel a little less uneasy so you grinned back at him weakly. Despite your conflicted feelings, you really appreciated it.

 “So don’t worry about causing trouble. You can make money this way too, everyone gets a cut. We’ve kind of been needing someone who can collect intel now anyways. But I’ll let you think about it, I know that hasn’t been a part of your life in some time it seems.”

“I’ll have to think about it …I’m a little rusty y’know, it’s been a while.”  

“I hope you don’t mind that I looked into your background a little bit through Ganymede ISSP records.”

“ISSP isn’t something I’m worried about, I am a strange woman staying on your ship under the precedent of running from the syndicate so I can’t particularly say I’m shocked after all,” you quipped. There was a distant feeling, despite the lighthearted banter. It was as if between such discussions, you came back to reality.

“You can’t go back to Ganymede can you,” he inquired, this time with a much more severe look on his face.

“No... not really. I think that the only reason they haven’t put a bounty on my head is because they want me dead instead. I know too much and they wouldn’t want me to squeal in police custody if given the opportunity. That’s why there are still people looking for me, after all this time I’m still a liability, even if only for a small group of people.”

“All I really want to know still is if you intentionally caused those problems between rival syndicates,” Jet added, making you squirm. You didn’t realize how much background intel there was on you in ISSP’s possession. It hurt a little to be accused of something like that, but it really was just your own carelessness in the past which resulted in such chaos.

“I’m not the cause of them, the issues were there to begin with. It was inevitable, but I will admit I likely provoked it at the time, but I’ve been long gone and there are still issues. I only cared about moving up and making money, however I’ve put that all behind me, it’s not my life anymore,” you asserted, crossing your arms. “Things are so far removed from that now, they have been for some time now.”

Jet sighed, “Well you managed to get yourself into quite some trouble. That’s why I’m suggesting you consider it though, I know you kind of have a regular job and all now, but it could be worth your time since it’s within your field of experience. ”

You nodded to him and slipped out of the pilot’s cabin. Upon leaving you exhaled a sigh of relief, you had gotten something quite bothersome off your chest though you were still unsure if you should stay on the Bebop. The notion of returning to the action was intoxicating, just this time it would be legitimate. You felt like you should feel appalled by it, but it undeniably tickled your fancy.  However, it was incredibly strange, since you never saw yourself traveling around space with a rowdy bunch of bounty hunters. The company might be hard too since you had lived in essentially isolation for the past few years… You’d have to see how you felt about Venus as well as the coming days cooped up on the Bebop with everybody.