TITLE: Left of Me


EMAIL: sonyajeb@swbell.net

WRITTEN FOR: Yuletide 2003


FANDOM: Cowboy Bebop


SUMMARY: Everybody has their breaking point.

PAIRING: Spike/Faye, Vincent/Faye

WARNING: Bit of non-con here (anybody who saw the movie and the scenes with Vincent/Faye will understand what I'm talking about), so if that squicks you then perhaps you should go elsewhere.

TIMELINE: Set between KoHD and HLW

COUNT: 4049 words

DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Never will be mine. For shame. :(

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Poor Faye. Everything bad seems to happen to her and nobody ever stops to check if she's okay. Well, damn it, I decided that after all that stuff with Vincent, she was in need of some serious H/C. Of course, when it's Spike and Faye, nothing ever seems to work out the way you expect it to...


You see me now, a veteran
Of a thousand psychic wars
I've been living on the edge so long
Where the winds of limbo roar
And I'm young enough to look at
And far too old to see
All the scars are on the inside
I'm not sure if there's anything left of me...

Don't let these shakes go on
It's time we had a break from it
Send me to the rear
Where the tides of madness swell
And I've been sliding into hell

"Veteran of the Psychic Wars"
Blue Oyster Cult


The room itself seemed so plain, so ordinary. She thought that odd. It ought to have a sign, neon lights garish in the waning afternoon sunlight, proclaiming it for what it really was. The place where Things Changed. Capital letters. Extra emphasis. This boring little room with its creaky wooden floors, cracked window, battered old couch and rickety table.

Oh, yeah, and the dead body in the corner. Mustn't forget about that.

Faye could still taste his blood in her mouth, copper tang on her tongue sharp and unpleasant, like a bad memory she just couldn't get rid of. She could still feel his mouth on hers, forcing her body back against the table, his hand clutching her chin tightly enough to leave finger-shaped bruises on her skin, his tongue pushing between her lips on her startled gasp of surprise and claiming her mouth without bothering to ask for permission first.

His kiss was a violation made of blood and a madness that she could never hope to understand. It made her knees turn to liquid and her heart freeze up in her chest. Or maybe that was the virus, the nano-machines doing their dirty work. She couldn't be sure now. Everything was a blur.

Delicate golden butterflies danced on the edges of her vision. She blinked and they were gone. Then everything was darkness and the sound of his laughter, ominous and unsettling, vibrating around her. It made her scared, more than anything else had in a long, long time.


She was tied up and lying on the floor, not the best of combinations. Vincent sat on the window ledge, fingers a constant blur of motion as he twirled a handful of tiny, blue marbles -- Were they marbles? Or something else? -- in circles across his palm.

The boy's body was starting to smell. Even in October, it was still far too hot to leave a corpse lying around. The room was like an oven and flies were already starting to buzz over him, crawling inside the young hacker's mouth and out his nose. In and out. About and around. Like a parade, only nobody was cheering this time.

The ropes chafed against her wrists as Faye struggled futilely against them. Of course, it was no use. He was ex-military, after all. He would know how to tie a knot.

A million questions warred for dominance in her mind. Why did you save me? What are you planning to do with me? Why do you want to watch the world die when you won't be able to follow it into oblivion? But she didn't ask any of them. She didn't need to. He could see right through her, down to the core of her, without her ever having to say a word.

He talked to her. He spoke of war, violence and despair. And when his eyes ran over her body, she couldn't help but shiver and scoot back away from him. Not that it got her very far.

He saw her fear and he smiled. That smile made the world stand still, the two of them perched precariously on the edge of reality. One false move and they'd topple over; fade away like they'd never been. It was the smile of a man who'd lost everything. His memories, his life, his very sanity. And it chilled her to the bone.


He crouched over her, all sharp angles and dark colors. She tried to shy away from him, but there was nowhere for her to go.

The sound of the knife blade as it snapped open was impossibly loud in her ears. Faye winced, watching with wide eyes as the blade flashed silver in the near twilight. Everything inside her screamed at her to run, to fight, to do something but she couldn't do anything but wait as he straddled her waist, knife slowly following the trail that his eyes blazed up her body, hovering just above her skin. Breathe in sharply as she felt it catch on the fabric of her shirt and then there was a soft snick and the button popped open, skin exposed to his still gaze. When Vincent looked at her, it was as if he was already dead.

The knife paused just beneath her throat and she swallowed, instinctively tilting her head back and away as much as she could, trying to keep the knife away from her vulnerable skin. The movement made her chest thrust upwards and his eyes followed the motion as her shirt slowly slid a little bit further down to her sides. She felt exposed and fragile in a way that she never had before. It was a fight to school her features into casual disinterest, and one she wasn't entirely sure she won in the end.

And this was the moment when someone was supposed to come. A knock at the door and then he would move, leave, let her be. Faye waited for it, expectant and hopeful and afraid all at once. But here and now, the knock didn't come.

The knife skated across the tender flesh of her throat, and she hissed at the sting of metal against skin. Wetness there and she knew she was bleeding. But not badly. He didn't want her dead. He had gone to a lot of trouble to make sure she survived for a long while yet.

A dark chuckle rippled across her nerve endings and she couldn't stop a shudder as the knife moved lower, this time attacking the knot that held her crimson colored shirt about her waist. It gave beneath the onslaught and a smile curved about his lips, the knife rising to push both of her shirts further to the side and out of the way, completely exposing her to him.

Then down again, and she felt the tug and sudden give as each of her black suspenders were next to go. The knife made a detour then across her stomach, leaving a trail of blood and a flash of pain in its wake before moving down to tackle her shorts. As the button on the yellow material popped open, Faye felt a tear trickle down one cheek, and cursed at herself silently for showing weakness.

The knife made a thunk as he thrust it into the wood next to her head, its blade swaying back and forth for a moment before finally stilling. His hands on her hips were rough as he jerked her shorts down to bunch around her ankles and then those hands were at her knees, forcing them apart so he could kneel between her legs. The rope tied about her ankles was pulled painfully tight against her skin and she winced.

The sound of a zipper lowering was enough to make her clench her eyes shut and she couldn't stop a whimper from forming at the back of her throat. Her fingernails dug into the skin of her palms, the pain making everything hyper focused and more real than she would have liked. Impossible to ignore this. It was happening. To her. And she couldn't do anything to stop it.

She felt him then, pushing against her, a malicious weight between her thighs, and some instinct deep inside made her start to struggle, futile as it was. She bucked her hips, trying to gain some distance between them and screamed long and loud, until her throat felt painfully raw. Suddenly her hands were free somehow and she began beating against him with her fists, screaming again and again, fingernails clawing for purchase against his face.

He spoke her name and it made her scream even louder.


She shoved against him with all her might, but he wouldn't move, his hands gripping her shoulders so hard that it hurt.


She tossed her head, arms flailing and body twisting and doing everything in her power to get away and it just wasn't working.

"Faye, wake up."

That made her pause. His voice sounded different, familiar, worried.

"You're dreaming, Faye. It's just a dream. Wake up."

Her eyes opened and she blinked several times, breath coming in shallow pants like some sort of frightened animal. The figure above her slowly blurred into focus and it wasn't Vincent. Bedraggled hair, mismatched eyes, bare chest, mouth pulled taunt in a hard line.


A nod and the mouth eased up a little bit, becoming a little less tight around the edges. "Yeah, it's me."

"God," Faye murmured, running one hand over her eyes. "What the hell happened?"

"You were dreaming. A nightmare from the looks of it. Damn near blew out my eardrums from all the screeching."

Faye winced, "Sorry." Great, now she'd shown weakness in front of Spike 'Mister-Big-Shot' Spiegel. She'd never hear the end of it.

Spike shrugged, an almost liquid roll of his shoulders. "Don't worry about it. I'll live."

Faye pushed herself into a sitting position, managing to put a little distance between them on the bed, which suddenly seemed much too small for comfort. That was the thing about Spike. He somehow always managed to take up more space than he should. It didn't matter where they were or what was happening, he was still somehow too big, too intense, too much. It made her uncomfortable, especially now.

"Um, well, thanks," she mumbled, pulling her knees up against her chest and wrapping her arms around her legs. She was suddenly painfully aware of the fact that he was wearing nothing but a pair of thin sleep pants and she was in an old shirt and a tiny pair of shorts. "I'll be fine now."

He gave her a long look that she couldn't quite decipher and then he stood up and extended a hand to her. She blinked in surprise. What the hell...?

"C'mon, I've got a pot of coffee already started. And since Ed's sleeping like the dead and Jet's not back yet, there's nobody else to share it with." He smirked down at her. "So I guess you'll have to do."

Some distant part of her mind registered this as pity or possibly concern, as unfathomable as that sort of emotion was coming from Spike, but she ignored it. Coffee sounded good. Sitting in the kitchen with bright lights and no ghosts sounded even better.


She took the hand he offered and allowed him to pull her easily to her feet. She didn't realize until they entered the kitchen and he dropped her hand that he'd been holding it all the way there, pulling her along behind him like she was almost comatose. A zombie. Which wasn't too far from the truth, actually.

When a mug of steaming hot coffee was set in front of her on the table, she just stared at it, almost as if she had no idea what to do with it. This was too real, too normal. It didn't fit with everything else. It made her head ache just thinking about it, trying to discern dream from reality.

There was a soft sigh from over her shoulder and then strong hands wrapped around hers and brought them to rest against the coffee cup. He gently positioned her fingers around it and then sat down across from her with his own cup, studying her as he took a sip, eyes not wavering once. "Are you sure you're okay?" he asked, his voice quietly concerned.

And, yes, that was Spike Spiegel expressing concern over her. This had to be the most surreal moment in her entire life, but she was too fucked up in the head right now to really appreciate it for what it was.

"It was just a dream," she told him carefully, aiming for casual indifference but not really pulling it off all that well. "I'm a big girl, I can handle it."

He looked down at his hands, picking absently at a hole in the worn tablecloth, looking for all the world like he didn't know what to do with himself. It was odd. Because if there was one thing that stood out about Spike, it was that he was always comfortable, always sure of himself, no matter what situation he was in. Hell, it was that supreme confidence in himself and his own abilities that had gotten him into trouble on more than one occasion. The word unsure and this man were incongruous; they just didn't match up in Faye's head.

"What?" Faye snapped finally, when he didn't say anything else, her patience beginning to wear thin.

When Spike met her gaze, those funny off-colored eyes of his were carefully composed, giving nothing away. "I saw the shirt, Faye."

Shit. She'd thought she'd been more careful than that. If he'd seen it, he must have a pretty good idea of what happened. Blood stain on the collar - not her blood but Spike wouldn't know that - and the button missing. It was damning evidence. She pulled herself together enough to give him her best version of a glare. "So?"

When Spike looked at her, it was like he could see right through all her bullshit. He reminded her of Vincent that way. "Did he...?"

"No." Quick answer, too quick, the word tumbling out so fast, it almost seemed like it was in a race. She realized that her hands were shaking and hid them in her lap. He saw though. The man didn't miss a thing. She watched as his mouth thinned into a hard line.

Talking quickly, almost babbling, she felt the stream of words bubble up and couldn't seem to stop them. A dim corner of her mind registered that she was probably in shock. Traumatic experience, so recently, brain not quite coping like it should. "Somebody came, distracted him, really, it's fine, nothing happened, I'm fine, really, just scared me, no big deal--"

Hands on top of hers cut off her disjointed jumble of words and she looked down at them. His skin was so much darker than hers. Olive tones contrasting vividly with her own pale coloring. Her hands were shaking; his were steady. If she wasn't so screwed up at the moment, it would have been enough to really piss her off.


Just her name and yet it managed to contain so many meanings. More than she could count. And she just couldn't cope with this right now. She felt worn down, her skin stretched too tight over her body, everything to close and too real and too much. She just didn't have it in her to play any of their normal head games. Not tonight.

"I'm fine." She stressed the last word, hoping maybe if she said it enough times, it would become true.

Light touch of fingers whispering across her jaw line and then she felt her face being tilted up until her eyes met his. And what she saw in them scared her because Spike Spiegel wasn't supposed to be understanding or gentle, not around her. It just went against everything she'd come to trust about her new life here on this ratty old fishing boat. Arguing, fine. Insult flinging, no problem. Snarky remarks, sure. But steady hands and worried eyes, that was not part of the game plan.

She bit her lip, trying to get her game face on. She was Faye Valentine; she wasn't some weak little nobody who broke down whenever things got tough. But he could see through her, always could. It was just that up until now he'd used that ability to hurt and wound. He'd never used it like this, though. Never anything like this.

It was too much. All of it.

When she broke, it wasn't pretty or polished like some actress in one of Jet's old movies. It was messy, gut wrenching sobs that shook her slender frame violently. She slumped forward out of the chair, but he was there to catch her. And later, she would hate herself for being this weak. Later she would be angry and embarrassed and there might even be some property damage involved. But for now, she just let it all go. All the doubt and the fear, the guilt and the anger, the pain and the remorse. All of it expelled on a single breath as her hands clutched at the man before her, like he might evaporate into nothing if she didn't hold on tight.

His arms were strong when they wrapped around her and they made her think of someone else who had once held her this way, a long time ago. They were hazy, half-remembered moments, floating across her mind's eye like gossamer and vanishing when she tried to examine them more closely, but there was a sense of comfort that came from them. It was a feeling that she hadn't had for a very long time, not until this moment.

It took a while for her to become aware of anything outside of her own pain once again. Slowly but surely, the world started to bleed back into the edges of her vision, sensory input that her tired mind began to sort into some semblance of order.

The floor was cold, that chill seeping into her body slowly from where she knelt on the ground. She was held against a hard chest, skin surprisingly soft underneath her cheek. Her fingers splayed across a broad back and she could feel the raised edges of scar tissue that ran down in a jagged line over his flesh from a wound gotten in some battle. One of many, she knew. His heartbeat was just underneath her ear. It seemed to thrum through her entire body, calming her. And she could feel his breath as it ghosted across her forehead.

She was closer to this man than she had ever been before in her entire life, and yet she knew that it didn't mean anything to him. He was helping a comrade, one he didn't even want in the first place, because he didn't want her losing it and snapping during a job, endangering all of them. It was both the best and the worst moment of her entire life, which made absolutely no sense at all, and she hated it. She hated that even in a moment such as this one, he could make her feel like she was so small, so insignificant. Just a duty and nothing more. She hated that she cared about him, when he didn't give a shit about her in return other than how much money she brought in. She hated him and she hated herself and she hated her whole damn life and she was sick of it.

She wanted somebody else to be the one to feel things for once. She wanted somebody else to feel used and insignificant. She wanted somebody else to be unsure. She wanted to be the one who was in control, while somebody else floundered about in uncertainty.

In a move so fast she surprised them both, Faye straddled his legs and took his surprised face in her hands, kissing him with everything she had in her. It was hard and punishing and angry, a clash of lips and teeth, and she tasted blood in her mouth though she didn't know whose it was. His mouth opened beneath hers, whether from shock or something else she didn't know and didn't care. Faye used it to her advantage, her tongue plunging in and taking control of the kiss, owning it and him in a way that made her stomach clench up in anticipation and excitement.

His hands tightened almost painfully at her sides and she thought he was going to rip her away from him, but then something changed between them, something indefinable, and she felt herself pulled closer instead. Her chest was crushed against his, her flimsy top the only thing between them, and suddenly she wasn't in control anymore. Something had awakened in him, she could feel it building up between them and it was frightening and thrilling all at the same time. It wasn't what she'd planned when she initiated this, but that was okay because for once he wasn't indifferent to her. For once she felt like they were on even footing.

His hands slid up her sides and underneath her shirt. They felt like branding irons on her skin, leaving twin trails of heat in their wake as they moved up her back. It wasn't enough, not by a long shot. Growling low in her throat, Faye quickly broke the kiss and leaned back, grabbing the hem of her shirt and pulling it over her head. Letting the bit of fabric fall to the ground, she wrapped her arms around Spike's neck, pulling him close again.

Skin on skin now and it was much closer to what she wanted. Sweat and heat and friction, delicious and overpowering. She could feel the heat of him through his pants and her shorts and it was incredible because he felt so alive. Not like Vincent, who was already dead even though he still walked and talked and killed. Every touch, every kiss seemed to erase just a little bit more of that dream, pulling her even more firmly into reality.

She felt a sudden whoosh of air and then she was on her back on the cool floor, Spike above her, his hands braced on either side of her head. And in that moment of stillness, she saw the thoughts whirling past his eyes, could see the doubts starting to form, and she shook her head quickly. No way in hell. She wrapped her legs around his waist and tilted her hips up, grinding against him provocatively. Her eyes flashed a challenge at him, daring him to even think about putting a stop to this now.

He sucked in a breath sharply, his eyes slipping closed as he dropped down onto his elbows, more of his weight pressing into her. And yes, this is what she wanted. She dug her heels into the small of his back, pushing him down further, angling for more pressure.

She felt him shudder against her, a full-body tremble accompanied by a bit-back groan as he buried his face against her shoulder, his breathing ragged against her neck. His hands gripped her arms hard. She could almost feel the bruises that would be there in the morning, formed in the shape of his fingers.

"Faye," he ground out from between clenched teeth. His voice sounded all wrong, almost painful. And something in her paused then, suddenly worried.

"Spike?" It was tentative, quiet, a far cry from the woman who'd just been almost attacking him a second ago.

He lifted his head, meeting her wide-eyed gaze. "We can't do this," he said, watching her closely. "I can't do this."

And she could see in his eyes that she had the power to push this. He was walking a fine line and if she wanted to, she could make him cross it. She had the power here and he knew it.

It was like a revelation. He'd never been indifferent to her. He'd held her at arms length because he wasn't as in control as he liked people to believe. It wasn't that he didn't care, it was that he couldn't afford to. And if she pushed this, upset the balance, it would only end badly.

It wasn't as hard as she'd thought it would be to let go. And when he picked up her shirt and held it out to her, she congratulated herself when her hands didn't tremble as she took it back and hastily pulled it over her head.

She rebuilt her mental armor there on the kitchen floor of the Bebop, piece by piece, while he made himself busy cleaning up the remains of the long-cold coffee and trying to both watch her and ignore her at the same time.

She didn't mind the attention.

She was Faye Valentine, and that meant something more now than it had before. She wasn't sure just what that was, yet, but she had time. She would figure it all out. Someday.

When she went to sleep the next night, there were no more nightmares. And that was good enough for now.