Pleasant Valley Sunday
Jet took in a sharp breath. "Kahn told Spike that if we tried anything else, they would take Ed."
Faye looked as though she had been punched in the stomach, and the expression on her face was enough to make the boys feel guilty about not letting her in. They didn't mean anything by it. It was just they didn't want Ed to know and Faye wasn't very good in the ol' secret keeping department. "Take Ed where?" Ed said in a dark tone of voice they never heard from her. She was sitting in the corner, Ein curled up comfortably on her lap.
Spike looked at Jet with an almost pleading expression, silently begging him to field this one. Jet sighed. He was always the one to do damage control, to clean up after the kids. "Take you away, Edward," he said softly. "To live with a family. A real one."
Ed cocked her head to one side. "A real family?" Jet nodded. "Forever?" she asked.
"Well...kinda. You would belong to them."
"Ed would belong..." she repeated slowly. She obviously didn't know what to make of this. The prospect of being in a family never came up before. Ever. It gave her slight pause. Would she like that sort of life? Having the same people around for the rest of her existence, feeding you and making you do weird stuff like wear dresses? She wasn't really sure. It didn't sound like something she'd just rush right into but it also didn't sound completely repugnant.
"Do you want that, Ed?" Spike asked, sensing her hesitation.
Ed's saucer eyes clouded with confusion. "Ed doesn't know," she said softly.
"Wait..." Spike said slowly, trying to work this out. "Do you want to have some arrogant little yuppie creeps breathing down your back all your life, pushing their own failed images of success on you and making you make up for all their mistakes? Do you want to have to go play varsity sports cause it'll look good on your college application? Or go to church every Sunday cause it's not enough that they tell you you're going to Hell? Do you want to have to feel inadequate for the rest of your life cause these two little fuck up pricks tell you to?" He wasn't screaming or shouting. His tone was even and calm, like always. He was just summing up every tale of woe he had heard and documented in his own mind, every little snippet of angry frustration that exploded out of these kid's mouths. And he had done this every morning when everyone else assumed he just wasn't paying attention.
"Uh, I think you're leading the witness," Jet grumbled at him.
"I'm not trying to be a wise ass," Spike said sincerely. "I just genuinely want to know. After seeing everything we've seen this weekend, Ed, would you still like to have a family?"
Again, no one had ever, ever asked her that question before. Ed looked at him like she was going to cry for a second before shouting, "ED DOESN'T KNOW!!!!!"
Spike felt as if he had been betrayed. They were willing to give up a bounty to retain Ed's freedom and now it seemed she rather liked the cage. Spike just sighed and shook his head. "Well...then...we can get you that, if you want," he said softly. "Whatever you want to do, it's OK. I mean, we're just roommates, remember?" he said, laughing slightly.
Ed smiled at him reassuringly, realizing that she was stepping on some toes here. She didn't mean to hurt anyone. And she didn't know if that was what she really wanted. She was happy on the Bebop and she had chosen to be with them, rather forcefully in fact. But not once in her life had anyone mentioned the idea of a permanent home. Any place she ever went felt temporary, like she was just hanging out more than actually living there. The idea of being a little more grounded oddly appealed to her, but she didn't know why. She wasn't exactly a grounded gal.
"Well, regardless," Jet spoke up. "If Ed decides that's what she wants, then we'll handle it. I'll go through ISSP and do it properly. I ain't gonna let this little shit lay a hand on her, that's for damn sure."
Everyone nodded in agreement, including Ed.
"Well, OK, then," Jet shrugged. "Think about it," he said to Ed. "And if this is something you want, we'll work on it when we get home."
Ed just nodded silently and then retreated to the bathroom, Ein in tow. Wherever she went, she hoped they liked dogs.