Chapter 4: Bells Will Be Ringing
will be ringing the glad, glad news
The next few days were actually civil. It would be a lie to say the crew embraced the idea of celebrating the holidays full throttle. The tree was the extent of the decoration and buying each other gifts were out of the question. "Yeah, how about I don't knock you upside your head?" Jet suggested when Faye asked what her gift would be. "Merry Christmas."
Faye nodded as she ashed her cigarette right on the coffee table. When Jet gave her a look, she shrugged. "I was originally going to ash in your tree," she motioned to a Bonsai. "Merry Christmas."
And so was the banter as the advent calendar ticked down. No one was particularly interested in going hunting, which wasn't all that unusual anyway. The one Jet and Spike pulled in was enough to last them for a bit. Instead, they focused most of their attention on doing nothing. Not the sick, desperate nothing they usually did when they couldn't find work. But peaceful, relaxing nothing. The kind of nothing filled with late night viewings of old monster movies and sleeping until noon every day uninterrupted.
And then it happened on Christmas Eve, as if it was waiting for an opportune moment all along. Ed opened one sleepy eye to gaze at her Tomato, which was beeping at her incessantly. There was a message. And it was for Spike.
She gasped slightly as she shot to a sitting position. Ein whimpered at her and rested his head on her knee. He knew what it was. And he knew that it would make Ed unhappy.
Ed did not like it when Spike got messages. She didn't like it because when he got messages, a few things happened. One was that Spike and Jet would fight. She hated, hated, hated that more than anything. They would get loud and angry and say mean things. Everyone else fought on the ship, but not Spike and Jet. And when Spike and Jet fought, Faye would be very sad. And then sometimes she would leave. And then that seemed to make Jet madder. And everyone would just go around being mad and sad until Lunkhead Spike Person came back. And all because of some stupid message, like the one that was currently blinking up on her screen.
But she would give Spike the message. Even though she did not like what happened after, and even though Jet and Faye would prefer she didn't, she would give him the message. She always did. She gave it to him because he would want her to and he was her friend. And because she knew Spike would do the same for her, whether he liked what happened next or not. Spike was like that, and Ed liked that about Spike.
"Spike person," Ed sighed.
"You have a message," she grumbled.
Spike raised an eyebrow. "From who?"
Ed made a snorting sound like a depressed horse. "From Jules-Jules-Julia."
The entire Bebop crew immediately dropped what they were doing and Ed crept silently away from the computer to cuddle Ein in the corner. It was already starting.
Spike cleared his throat as he made his way tentatively over to the computer, intensely aware of the fact that he had an audience. And they wondered why he didn't tell them his life story. All they knew was her name and they were already much further into his business then he would prefer. He gulped as he spun the monitor around with his foot. He wasn't much for getting his hopes up nowadays, not since what happened the last time he did.
The message was signed Julia. It was just an address. A bar in Tharsis he had never been to, but he knew where it was. He narrowed his eyes darkly at the screen, wondering if it was a trap. Not that it mattered. He had to go. He didn't say a word as he grabbed his trench coat from off the floor and headed for the door. This caused everyone to sigh deeply, since he had just grabbed his Angry Coat. No good ever came of Spike wearing the Angry Coat.
"Where are you going?" Jet growled.
"Out," Spike spat shortly.
"What in the hell is wrong with you?" Jet stood up. "If they constructed an 8 foot neon sign that says This Is A Trap it would be more subtle."
"Yeah, I know," he kept moving towards the exit.
"So why are you going?" Jet asked, sounding as if he was on the verge of decking his partner.
"Look, can we not do this today?" Spike paused in the hatch, his back still facing the crew. "The answers aren't any different from last time. You didn't like ‘em then, you won't like ‘em now. I'm going. That's all there is to it."
"Are you coming back?" Faye asked impulsively. Spike did not respond. He just stood motionless in the doorway for a few seconds and then disappeared with a swoosh of his long coat. The remaining crew sat in silence as they heard the Swordtail scream angrily out of the hangar. "Well..." Jet grumbled bitterly. "I guess that's one less place for dinner."
"Make that two," Faye said as she rose from her spot on the couch.
"You're not going after him, are you?" Jet asked, rubbing his head feverishly.
"Hell no," she sighed. "I have my own stuff to take care off. He's not the only one with a broody tortured past, you know," she sniffed.
"Since when?" Jet snapped.
"Since a few days ago," Faye shrugged. "Not that it's any of your business but I got a top secret message of my own. I was going to take care of it later but since Spike already shot Christmas to shit I might as well go now," she sighed.
"All right. Fine. Whatever. You and Self-Destructo Boy can have a very jolly holiday. Just do me a favor and try not to drag me down with you."
Faye didn't say another word as she grabbed her own jacket and breezed out of the ship.