a dim light off the pier
The next morning, Jet was accosted by a very flustered and disheveled looking Faye. "Is my ship ready yet?" she asked him hurriedly.
Jet snorted over the rim of his coffee mug. "You're joking, right?"
"Why not? You're usually pretty quick about the repairs," she said quickly, tying her hair up in a quasi-bun.
"Woman, you practically handed me the ship in a paper bag. If I have it up a week from now it'll be a miracle."
"So...you're saying I am without ship," she pouted.
"That is what I'm saying, yes."
Faye nodded and then walked out the hanger. Jet stared after her a moment, glanced once at Ed who was also watching all this, and then the two of them crept outside the ship to investigate. Faye was standing on the dock with her thumb pointed skyward.
"Uh...Faye?" Jet asked. She did not respond. "What are you doing?"
"I'm hitchhiking," she said flatly.
"You're going to hitch all the way to Earth?"
"People hitchhike across the galaxy all the time," she explained quite seriously. "They wrote a whole guide about it."
Jet debated if he should break the news to her and then decided against it. "Ok," he shrugged. He turned to Ed who gave him a cuckoo sort of motion before they went back into the ship.
"She still out there?" Jet asked an hour and a half later.
"Yeeeeep," Ed said in mild amazement. She had been watching Faye from the window this whole time. "Isn't Faye's thumb tired?"
"I wonder what the hell has gotten into her?" Jet mused, joining Ed at the window. He glanced back at Spike who had been nursing a hang over on the couch all day. He probably knew what was going on. Jet didn't really feel like dealing with Morning After Spike, however, so he just turned back to the window. Ein had also seemed to take interest in the proceedings, clumsily climbing up on the ledge to get a better view. "You think she'll actually flag one from here?"
"Ed doesn't know," Ed said softly. Ed knew she could very easily make a ship come for Faye, but somehow that seemed like cheating. Faye was obviously out to prove something here. "HOW'S IT GOING, FAYE-FAYE?" she suddenly yelled out the window. They watched as Faye's thumb was momentarily relieved by her middle finger, then reclaimed its post.
Then, to everyone's shock, a starcraft slowly began to descend. They watched open mouthed as the craft landed a few feet in front of Faye and opened the hatch. Faye eagerly sprang to her feet and went to greet her new best friend. Sitting inside of it was just about the foulest creature she had ever seen. The man had one eye pointing in almost the complete opposite direction as the other, had several teeth growing out of the side of his head, tattoos all over his body and to complete the look, he was wearing a T-shirt that said, "Satan Is My Dad."
"You need a lift, baby?" he asked, eyeing Faye hungrily up and down.
Faye promptly folded her arms in front of her chest. "Uh...no. I was actually just wondering if you had the time?"
The guy leaned forward and sniffed the air around in her in the most demeaning way possible. "It's about lunch time," he sneered.
Faye thanked him and took several steps back from the craft. The man seemed as if he was going to object, and so Faye folded back her sweater to reveal her gun. "That'll be all," she said firmly. The man seemed to get the message. Faye watched for a bit to be sure he took off, and then turned to walk dejectedly on to the ship. When she entered the living quarters, everyone was staring at her. The majority of the crew was looking from their place huddled around the window, and Spike was looking at her in that way he looked at her when he didn't want her to know he was looking at her. He was flipping through a book, his eyes just barely peeking over the edge. "I need a ride," she sighed.
"No can do," Jet said, but he seemed sincere. "I'm meeting with an old contact from ISSP tomorrow about a possible lead, plus I got nine million things to do around here."
All focus shifted to Spike, and he quickly lifted the magazine entirely over his face. "Spike..." Faye grumbled.
"Hmmm?" he asked innocently.
"Don't give me that. You were listening this whole time. Can you please just give me a ride?" she rolled her eyes uncomfortably, irritated that he was ever in a position of this much power over her. He always had stuff she wanted before, but never stuff that she needed.
"I have things to do," he replied.
"Fine. Then can I borrow your ship?"
Everyone had to scoff slightly at that one. Even Ein seemed to make a doggy snorting sound. Faye obviously knew the answer, so she just continued on. "You know, I don't ask for much as a roommate."
"No," Spike said sharply, snapping the magazine from his face and sitting up in one angry movement. "You just rape and plunder."
"Exactly. So the mere fact that I am even lowering myself to ask you should indicate how much this means to me," she said softly. Realizing she was not, and would not be making any progress anytime soon, she sighed and turned away from him. "You guys show more kindness to strangers then you do to me," she muttered, storming her way back out the ship.
"Faye, where are you going," Jet grumbled more than asked.
"I'm walking to Earth!" she yelled back, and then continued on like she meant it.
Jet sighed and then whacked Spike in the back of his head. "Give her the fucking ride."
"Hell no," Spike scoffed. "She's been nothing but a pain in the ass and an ungrateful bitch, besides. She wouldn't even give me gas money."
"Gas money?" Jet asked, amazed. "Gas money? You want to talk about gas money? Why don't we sit down while I write up a nice little statement of how much gas you use on this ship. And while we're at it, the gate tolls, parking fees, repairs, maintenance..."
At each little item in the list, Spike sank lower and lower into his seat. OK, maybe he wasn't exactly as involved in the financial aspects of bounty hunting as perhaps he should be. "Well...if you want to start charging me rent, I'll pay it," he said weakly.
"I don't want your money, Spike," Jet said, sounding every bit like a father. "You earn more than your keep around here. I couldn't do this by myself. You know that. But as much as it pains me to admit it, Faye's a big help too. It wouldn't kill you to do her a favor once in awhile."
"I can't think of one thing she's done for me. Why should I help her?"
"Because you're a nice guy, all right? Your secret's out. So shut up and give her a lift before that creepy opossum kid does."
Spike shuddered in spite of himself. He saw that creepy opossum kid from the window. "Fine," he grumbled sitting up. "But only because if I owe anyone, it's you."
Jet and Ed watched as he took off out the hanger, and when they were certain he was not coming back, they both yelped in delight and gave each other high-fives. "Jet Person could make Hitler feel guilty!" Ed squealed, impressed.
"It's a gift," he sighed contently, as he, the girl and Ein stretched out comfortably on the couch. The couch. When was the last time they had the couch to themselves? "Just think...the whole ship to ourselves. It'll be so quiet and relaxing...what do you want to do first?"
"The Reeeeeee-frigerator!" Ed leaped in the air in excitement as Ein barked in agreement. Jet smiled. It was going to be a nice weekend.