Hammond was the first to realize what had happened. Spike lay on the stairs, unmoving. Vicious was dead, and so was Shin. He had to check. For the sake of his men, he had to know. He holstered his gun and ran up the steps. The thin man bent down and turned Spike over. Felt his neck.
He had a pulse.
“Lorenzo! Get the medics! Now! Our Syndicate’s leader is hurt!”
“Y-Yessir!” The other man turned, and just as he was reaching for his phone a sleek, death-shaped star racer descended from the sky, and the ship’s guns screamed.
Two minutes later Faye was at Spike’s side. He groaned as she tried to pick him up.
“Ouch! Dammit,” he muttered.
“I’m sorry I’m late,” Faye said. Her voice was shaky, it was hard to see.
“Are you crying?” Spike asked, teasing her. Then he grunted in pain again as they moved towards her new ship.
“Shut up lunkhead, or I’ll kick your ass.”
“I love the kind of woman that can kick my ass,” Spike said weakly. “Just don’t sing.”
Any other day and she would have kicked him for that.
Today she was just praying they’d make it to the doc in time.
The passenger seat of the Payara was soaked in slick scarlet, so much so that Faye wondered how Spike managed to stand up, much less walk into the clinic (with her help) alive. She leaned against the pilot’s seat, the sizzle of the cigarette as she inhaled the only sound. She’d wanted to stay inside, by Spike’s surgical table, but the nurses told her he’d have a better chance at survival if she didn’t stay in the O.R. For the first hour she had paced back and forth in the waiting room, looking at the clock every three seconds. When they asked her if she wanted something to calm down, she snarled and stepped outside and called Jet.
Now he was beside her, standing in the lobby. He had taken a cab to get here. Cost him a fortune, he said.. Faye didn’t care. Knew he’d come
“He’s not dead?” Jet asked. “Well I’ll be damned. You went after him again, huh? You’d think he’d get the hint, what with your habit of saving his worthless tail, but we both know what a lunkhead he is.
“I don’t know what your talking about!” Faye snapped, her hand going instinctively to her reddening cheeks. “He’s our partner, and partners look out for each other, right?”
Jet stared at her with the leaden eyes of a man whose seen too many desiccated corpses in his life. Then he smiled, and something in his look softened. It struck Faye as the kind of smile one reserves only for very young children.
“Uh huh, sure, of course. And just how do you expect to foot his medical bills, hmm?”
Faye stammered, feeling her stomach drop out on her, like it did when she was on a dangerous turn in her ship. That’s it, she thought, leaping on the half-formed idea like a cat upon a bell.
“I… I can sell my ship. That should help pay for some of it, right?”
Jet grunted. “You’d do that, for him?”
Faye nodded, her heart almost in her throat.
“Why?” Jet asked. There was no malice or scorn in his voice, just tired old curiosity.
Faye felt herself saying the words as if she were merely watching someone else control her like a puppet. “Because. Because I…. I lo-“
“Miss Valentine?” called out a nurse from the desk. “Your patient is out of danger, and will likely recover. He’s even awake now, if you want to see him. Just be careful not to excite him, yes?”
Faye nodded, tears spilling forth sudden and hot, streaming down her cheeks. She felt a hand on her shoulder, and looked up.
Jet looked at her with a deeply sad, and yet satisfied look. “Go on, don’t keep him waiting. You do that, you might lose your chance, and you’ll regret that.”
Faye nodded and made for the doors, following the nurse.
“Just like I do, right now,” Jet said, with a heavy sigh as he watched the woman leave, feeling his own heart sink. “Bah, I’m a damned old fool,” he grumbled, as he sat down. He began to hum a tune, thinking about the blues.
Faye stood in the door way, looking at Spike, who was bandaged and bloody, pale and close to death’s door. But he was awake. He looked exhausted, even the smile he gave her was wan, tired.
“Guess I am alive after all,” he said hoarsely as she approached him, clearing her throat and wiping her eyes.
“Hey space cowboy,” she said, her voice shaking.