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SESSION ONE: Where I Belong

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Cowboy Bebop is copyrighted 1997-2016 by Sunrise and its affiliates, and I make no attempts to claim ownership, license, or legal right to it or its derivative works at any time. Please support the anime and manga by buying the series on DVD, or watching it from legal streaming sites. This fan fiction is in no way official, and is for nonprofit enjoyment only. Thank you. 

 

SESSION I— WHERE I BELONG

 

She cried for him after the last gunshot rang out. True, she had never been good with expressing her feelings with words, but even stupid men like him had to see it in her eyes, her voice, the way she carried the gun. But either he didn’t see it because he really was that stupid, or he just didn’t care. 

She couldn’t bear to think it was the latter. She told herself it was the blonde clouding his mind, his sense of reason. She knew the woman was dead—she’d stood right outside in the hallway when the two men were discussing it, after all. Death, the specter of it, of losing those that you care about? She understood that could drive a person to temporary insanity with a side of idiocy, and that very thing was why she picked up her comm and dialed the number Julia had given her that day they met. Before Julia died, Faye had saved her life. She didn’t know why at the time, she didn’t know why now. But she had, and in return, parked by the seaside the day Faye saved Julia, the blonde offered her a number.

“If you ever need anything, call this number. A. . . friend of mine will help you, though it’s a one time deal, and you shouldn’t ask me for the moon.” Julia had said that day.

Nodding, Faye had taken the card. She’d kept it, and pondered using the card to ask for money towards her debt. Truth be told, she’d half-thought the card was a ruse, and that the number written on it was a fake, maybe the telephone number for a laundromat. But she kept the card anyway.

Now Jet’s leg was shot. The Bebop was shot. Her ship was wrecked. 

Faye stood there in the hallway, holding the gun, her ears ringing as the feelings coalesced, like drops of water pooling together at the bottom of a shower. It’s funny how confused she’d felt that day. Like she was two people who didn’t belong anywhere—one was in the past, living an ordinary life, and the other was here, answering to no one, living by her own rules. Her feelings had started going crazy that day, and at first she’d thought it was because she could recapture her past, but now as she listened to the connection music on her comm, she realized it hadn’t been her past that was stirring up her feelings. She’d bumped into Spike one day, rushing from the shower. And when she had she’d remembered all the little  moments they’d had together. How she tried to ignore it all and just live a carefree life, paying no attention to the ache in her chest. 

The day she bumped into Spike in only her bathrobe the ache became a sharp need, and his eyes, even angry as they were, struck her as so beautiful she couldn’t understand what he was saying.

“I’m sorry,” she’d said, when she realized that her cheeks were heating up. “I’ve got to go.” Because standing next to you like this makes me feel like just one person, Spike, and that scares me. 

She didn’t say the rest.  

Now she’d wished she had. She remembered the nun from Ed’s orphanage.

“In this world, people must cherish whatever ties they have,” the woman said. 

A man picked up on the other  end of the line.

“Yes? How can I help you?”

“Julia gave me this number. She said you’d help me. I need a fast ship. Right now. It’s an emergency, life or death.”

“Of course. You understand this number, my services are a one time deal yes?” The man spoke as if he’d known her, knew to expect this day. It almost seemed Faustian.

“Yeah, got it, whatever.”

Her feelings after regaining her memories, only to realize she’d lost everything? She’d felt lost, nearly catatonic.

“Look into my eyes Faye,” Spike had said.

That was the moment all her crazy feelings became a single sharp truth. She could still smell him in the hallway, cigarettes, cheap whiskey, and underneath it? His own bodily scent, the own that she’d grown so used to. But it was those mismatched eyes that got her in the end. He’d leaned in close enough to kiss her, and she suddenly wished he would.

Now he was going to go and die. And she would be left alone with her new feelings, and no one to belong to. 

Not this time.

“Belonging is the very best thing there is,” she whispered, just as the ship she requested descended to hover over the Bebop’s magnetic deck. 

She hopped in the cockpit of her new ship, which she decided to name Payara, a fish she remembered from a documentary she’d watched in her old life. The payara was capable of taking on and devouring piranhas, and she hoped the name would lend her luck.

Five minutes later she was streaking away, searching for Spike’s transponder signal on her radar. 

 

 

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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.

 

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Spike’s bill at the Patch-N-Go clinic was more expensive than the Swordfish II, the Hammerhead and the Redtail could earn on the resale market. But Faye’s new ship, the Payara, would have paid for it handedly—a fact that Jet Black kept from Faye when he “negotiated” a good price on the Hammerhead and the Redtail. That was a tense call back to his old HQ buddy who owed him one from the same week that Alicia left him. There was a bit shit shooting over old times, then circling around the meat of the call, then the tense moment, the terse threat. But in the end he negotiated a fair price under the table.

Though to be honest. Jet wasn’t really sure why he did Faye any favors like that, gone as she was those first few days after they found Spike. He sighed to himself as he listened to Jazz Radio Mars, leaning back in his Captain’s chair.

The tumbler of whiskey on rocks slinked as he swayed back and forth, telling himself lies. Of course he knew why he did favors for the girl. It was the same reason she was in Spike’s room back at the clinic even when he was asleep.

And Jet certainly couldn’t begrudge the woman’s sense of urgency, what with Spike nearly dying and everything. Still, even after all his years as a jaded cop turned cowboy, losing a beauty like Valentine to that useless hunk of sinew Spiegel still stung a man’s pride.

He was just starting to doze off to the sultry sounds of Alicia Barkova’s songs when the comm unit buzzed and a familiar face filled the screen.

Jet was so startled he nearly tipped his chair backwards.

“Edward?!” The child looked like hell. Their usual fireworks and dynamo expression was gone, and Jet saw the eyes of a thirty year old widow staring back at him. They nodded, silently.

“Hang on kiddo. Tell me where you are, and I'll be right there!" Jet said sternly. No one should ever look like the way that young kid was looking at him right now. They were family, and if Ed was hurting Jet'd do anything to help them.

 

****

The loss of Ed's family was a surprise, the bad kind where everyone dies! Their father-person, and Ein, (oh Ein, mine, mine, mine oh so fine!) and in an meteoric allegro even her Tomato! All died, got fried, when an asteroid destroyed her father's truck, worst of luck oh shucks.

Boom and doom so sad!  Why Ed played dead,  they’d stayed still as a pill on the top of the hill, just then looking at the wren? They couldn't quite understand it, but there they stood when the rock crash landed! They should have been with them, but that was a dirty gem! They would have died too, and that didn’t seem the thing to do!

And now they couldn't even give them a proper send off! No flowers, plastic or consumable for their father’s  funeral! No headstone, all alone, just a burning crater! They stayed there awhile, their eyes leaking water against their fire-warmed face. The skies rained fiery rocks and Ed's eyes rained water drops, and time passed! Ed's stomach made funny noises but they didn't make any choices, just sat at the place listening to the voices!

Then, after a week they got sick of the rhyming voice and the fire and walked away back to the orphanage. That was when they started bleeding between their legs.  At least they’d finally found a use—however gross—for socks.  Ed’s eyes rained a lot for Ein.

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Spike’s wounds took over a month to heal. During that time he mostly lounged on the yellow couch, and complained about how bored he was while Jet, Faye, and a very quiet Edward did their best to scramble about and catch small fry bounty to make ends meet. Jet was very pleased with the way things were turning out; Faye and him were beginning to find a good groove as partners, and while she wouldn’t ever replace Spike, she was smoother, and managed to follow the plan through every time. Even Ed was getting better at helping, hacking into bounties’ data with an old salvaged computer.  Together the three of them made a team that managed to not only reverse the Bebop crew’s debts, but even sack some away for future repairs.

Spiegel wasn’t all hot air, managing to make a few decent meals for the rest of the crew while they were out tracking bounties. And with his voracious appetite, and the sudden influx of real meat, he was recovering more and more every day. He took up practicing his Jeet Kune Do in the cargo room again, and although the sweat poured off him, he felt he was getting stronger every minute.

Jet even managed to find a tiny white stray kitten  Ed named Snowfluff, which took to Edward immediately, and helped the young person come out from their very fragile shell. Three months in, and the teenager was playing with the rambunctious kitten at all hours, though Edward never lost that sad look in their eyes if they stopped to think about anything.

Jet and Ed had gone to bed early one night after a big group celebration for an extremely successful bounty, and Faye and Spike lounged in the living room, passing a bottle of whisky between them, pleasantly buzzed.

“I’m telling you, Gadjo, you have a pretty nice meatballs and spaghetti recipe in that big empty head of yours,” Faye murmured as she passed him the bottle.

His hand brushed her fingers when they exchanged the booze.  His fingers were so soft, and so warm. Faye dropped her eyes  a moment, thrusting an urge aside to just tackle him right then and there and kiss him senseless.

“You should see my marinara bolognese,” he drawled, before taking a swing from the bottle. Faye noticed his reddish brown eyes, one mismatched,  lingering on her a moment, and she couldn’t help but feel the blush heating her cheeks.

Were they flirting? They didn’t flirt.

 

 

 

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He was old, and his bones ached, for his age.  He hadn’t had the best of lives while making his way through the solar system. So the day the meteors came, he was too slow to warn everyone in time. He barely made it out of the truck and ran, painfully up the hill, just before the meteor destroyed the vehicle and threw him over the hill, where he lay unconscious, for several hours, or days.

When he came to, he was hungry, thirsty and tired, and his whole family was gone, including the little red head. He spent a day nursing his wounds before hunger pushed him to wander about, looking for people, or food, or something.

He did find a dead vole, and wolfed it down, even though it tasted rotten. Somewhat rejuvenated, he walked in the direction of the orphanage, hoping to find his quirky friend, Ed.

Ein was determined to find them.

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Ed got the phone call in the middle of the night, and before Jet or any of the others could wake up she was remotely piloting the Bebop back to Earth, humming and crying and holding her cat.

When Jet woke up and realized what was going on, he bemoaned the loss of a bounty, but kept quietly to himself, setting about making breakfast for the crew. Spike was asleep in his room, and Faye was passed out in a chair she’d dragged in there. With Spike unable to stop her, Faye had busied herself by cleaning his room and even daring to wash his clothes. She gave the rent garments to Jet to sew though, she wasn’t that domestic. And now she was passed out in a chair as Spike snored on.

Ein’s return the next day brought tears to nearly everyone on the crew…save for the cat. Ein and Snowfluff circled each other warily, and the kitten took off when Ein tried to approach her. Ed wanted to go after the cat but Ein being back and alive was the second to very best thing ever.

Faye sighed and went back to her room. The ship felt like home now, all because of that stupid dog. Ed being happy was anything but bad for the crew.