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Session Z

Chapter Text

To be fair, Spike had tried not to smoke today. And yet, as usual, he lit his fifth cigarette of the day. 

Jet had watched him quietly, watching as he twitched and stared and grumbled to himself, intentionally lost his light, told Ed to hide the cigarettes, gave Faye a nice big radius when he could sense her smoking. Oddly, he never did involve Jet in his convoluted quitting plan. 

Our dearest black dog is going to keep a record.

~~~

It's been two days. He obeys no smoking signs now, but then smokes almost religiously when they're out of sight.

~~~

Four days since he tried to stop. He's been getting touchy. Snapped at Faye over nothing today, and was rude to Ed. Didn't say a kind word to me either. At least he couldn't snap at Ein so easily, knowing he can snap back.

~~~

Two weeks. He's calmed down a bit and seems to have acquired a sense of smell. He appreciates my cooking a little more, at least. I made a rule saying Faye can't smoke around him. We seem to have more spending money on us than usual.

~~~

A month. I discovered he can hold his breath underwater. We landed in the ocean on Ganymede and Spike dove right in. I won't lie, I was scared when I didn't immediately see him bob up. 

Note to self: Spike is somehow better fishing barehandedly than with bait and a pole. How. Why. 

~~~

It's been all of three months. Spike saw a doctor today. Doctor Howell says a lot of the unnoticed health issues he had before should clear up. Apparently, he's just been smoking so much for so long that nobody really tought twice about it, not even him. 

~~~

One year since he tried. 361 days cigarette free. I guess I can celebrate with a gift - I've saved up some woolongs to pay for a full repair of his Swordfish. ..Again. 

Good news. I've tried to keep all of us to the same standards. Wait till Faye hears about this one.

Chapter Text

So our fluffy-haired bounty hunter got a hold on a strange little device. It's apparently worth some serious woolongs, but he doesn't have a clue what it does. So naturally, he has to use it just once. After all, there's no way of researching it.

The thing makes a portal on a wall. He didn't dare trust this in the Bebop, so he's chilling in some alleyway on some planet. 

And since it made a portal, he has to test it. First he throws in a pebble. Then comes a bird he saw. Both seem just fine. So he steps in. It closes behind him. 

Looking around, it's the same as where he was before, but something is slightly off... 

It must be the warped wanted poster with a face like his own on it. But that's not him. Spike Spiegel has both of his eyes. Well... He doesn't, but at least he looks like he does. 

This doppelganger has a fucking eyepatch. Before Spike can say a word, he feels the familiar dread of cold metal pressed against the back of his head, and a click.

He puts his hands up slowly in the familiar gesture of surrender. 

 He hears his own voice ask: "Who the hell are you?"

 "Name's Spike Spiegel. According to that poster, you heard of me."

 "Real funny. No more jokes. Who the hell are you?" 

 Spike feels the metal push his head forward slightly. 

 "I already told you. Spike Spiegel, bounty hunter, I live on a ship my buddy owns called the Bebop. Used to  be  a hitman for a crime syndicate, but you already know that, huh?"

 "Bullshit. Once a hitman, always a hitman."

 Nonetheless, he feels the metal retreat, and decides he might as well face him. 

That poster-Spike does look like him. Same face, same hair, same height and build and suit. But poster-Spike wears that eyepatch and their trenchcoat. 

 "If you're gonna survive here, you can't look like me," Poster-Spike continues. 

Spike nods. 

~~~

And that's how he finds himself at a back-alley apartment just next to the Red Dragon headquarters. 

He's handed a letter jacket and a t-shirt with jeans. Spike takes all his pocket things and puts them in this. Thankfully, the jacket has makeshift inner pockets. He thanks ...himself, I suppose, and sits down to talk. 

 "What do you mean why am I still here?"

 "Look. I left my syndicate because Vicious didn't like me having a relationship with his girl Julia. To put it lightly."

 "Lucky bastard. I never gave a good impression on her myself."

 "So that would be the difference."

 "Huh?" Poster-Spike tilts his head at his more relaxed counterpart.

 "It's like ah... What did Ed say... The butterfly effect. Yeah, that's it. One little thing changed kinda dominoes into a big thing changed?"

 "So... If I found love,  I could have been free this whole damn time." Poster-Spike crosses his arms in mild agitation.

 "I mean... That's my theory."

 "Well it's too late for that. Don't you have a bounty to  hunt?"

 "Not in this world. In this world, I'm not a bounty hunter, and the biggest bounty I've seen all month is on my own head."

 "Alright, alright. I'll make dinner and send you off to your own solar system before you turn me in, I guess. Suit's in the wash."

 "Gotcha."

~~~

Spike Spiegel ate some stroganoff, made a new portal, and after folding up and carrying his suit, stepped in.

It's the same apartment. But empty. It takes a moment to close behind him. He  puts his suit and device in a clean little box in the corner of the room and walks out with it. 

Nobody bats an eye at him. Nobody here recognizes him; either that or everyone recognizes him as a regular. It's better than a bounty at least.

 So he walks. Buys a hat and glasses. Then he walks directly to a police station. He knows it's not smart. Does he care? Not particularly.

 "Hey, I have a few questions. Don't ask me who I am, please. I just wanna know some things."

 Someone nods. "Alright, what do you need?"

 "For starters... Any records of Jet Black or Black Dog?" He leans over the counter quietly. "You see, I'm not crazy, but in my dimension, he's a good friend of mine."

 "Uh-huh... Small record... Says here that he was the best cop in the whole shebang. Supposedly turned traitor and now he's dead. His body was never found though."

 "Expected, knowing him. Now ah... Got any records of a Spike Spiegel?"

 "Sure we do. We have plenty. Spike Spiegel, Alias: Swimming Bird. Born June 26, 2044. Blood type O. Formerly owned a ship named the Swordfish II and a Jericho 941 he carried loaded at all times. Former hitman of the Red Dragon crime syndicate. Faked his death and willingly served time in prison when plans went south. Claims it was for the free living. Since he turned himself in, we cut the sentence short and even then he was let out on good behavior. Legally, he's allowed near any firearms, blades, or battle-ready ships. At the moment, he's.. Making some good money at a casino called the Lucky Bastard. Anything else?"

 "Hmmm. Any records of a girl named Faye with black hair and green eyes? The last name doesn't matter because I don't know it. And uh... Not born in the last 60 years."

 "Looking for Grandma, are we? I'll send it through the filter."

 Spike sighs and sits for a while. Soon, he's gestured to come back. 

 "We have a few with profiles. Some are historical and others are more recent, is that alright?"

 "Sure." Spike looks at e screen, scrolling through the list. Sure enough. Faye Valentine, as an alias. Another possible alias is Queen of Hearts, and Lucky Lady. Real name unknown. Awoke from cryogenic stasis a while back on an unmarked date and ran from her debt. She's marked missing. 

"Damn. Thanks." Spike bows a little, causing his hat to tip and fall off of his marimo hair. The cop bolts up in shock. Spike sighs and takes off his glasses. 

"I did tell you not to ask who I was. Now if you will, I left my ship at home. Fly me to the Lucky Bastard and I'll pay you. "

"You...you?"

" I? I? I wasn't lying. Now, again. Fly me? "

"Sure....?" The cop shuts off the computer and leads Spike out. Spike hands over ₩100 and gets in the ship. 

There's an awkward silence for much of the flight. 

 "You know, in my uh.. Dimension, I'm a bounty hunter. Your records were right up until serving time."

 "Tha-That's nice." 

 ~~~

Spike gets to the Lucky Bastard and sees himself already there. The two doppelgangers look at each other for a moment, before just grinning and incidentally mimicking each other. Our Spike laughs. "Alright alright. Cut it out. I'm here on a theory, loking for the Lucky Lady."

 "Poker Table. Be wary, I've already tried to flirt with her twice this week. She doesn't like it."

 "So you're saying she might be mad?"

 "Yeah. Ladies with attitudes, what can I say?" Other Spike shrugs. Spike looks to the poker table. Faye is making good money cheating out some poor boys. That's not unusual. 

 Spike is bored. 

~~~

New dimension, new start. Spike steps out the portal and carries his box. He's still in 'disguise'. His hat and glasses he used are in the box. 

Wait a second. 

He's on a filming set. 

And in a silvery trailer, he sees someone dying his sort-of-lookalike's hair from brown to green. 

Ooh, he's just gotta mess with these guys a little.