Sitting on the edge of the table, Spike fought to keep his breathing even. Suddenly it seemed like a bad idea, a very bad idea. The trip back to Mars after the huge reward from Ganymede had been uneventful. And even now, everything seemed fine. But now, staring at the old unlicensed surgeon as he straightened his white mustache, Spike dreaded the IV in his arm. He panted, "There isn't another way?"
"Nope." He leaned against a monitor, his nurse sitting there, waiting to push the button.
Sweating bullets, Spike's fingers traced the tattoo on his arm. Even he could tell he had flushed pale as a Callisto winter snow.
"Stop being a baby." Faye snorted from the corner. "Sheesh, it's not that big of a deal."
"Not that big of a deal?" He bristled noting Jet blanched behind her. "Need I remind you about the last time I woke up from being out cold?"
She threw a stunned look at Jet before the attitude dropped completely. "Spike … you're not acting. You're really scared."
He bowed his head, hating how much he trembled. Biting his lip he nodded.
Faye stepped forward, laying a hand on his shoulder. "We'll be here. The whole time." She patted her holstered gun. "You're not going anywhere. We promise."
His hand rested on hers for a long moment before she eased him down on the table.
At the signal from the doc, the nurse hit the button and Spike's eyes began to edge closed. The doc edged Spike's right eyelid open, twitching his finger in the air until one point. He flipped his hand around. "Hold him there!"
Jet scratched his head. "Uhhh, doc, you gonna shut his eye?"
Already working on the scar on Spike's side, he snorted, "You shitting me? No need. Synthetic eyes don't technically need to blink. It's just habit. Besides, it takes a lot of juice to knock out the signal, if that iris doesn't respond, he's in deep. I don't want a stray reflex decking me while I repair the nerve cluster in this scarred up mess. Whoever kept nailing this, screwed things up royally, pretty much locked the nerves on full impulse all the time. Surprised he could even move, let alone breathe. The pain must have been excruciating."
Faye and Jet leaned forward, blinking.
"Could just do the cosmetic stuff and leave this mess, that's why I had to knock him out. Not even he could swallow what I gotta correct here. Get comfy, this will take a bit. And yeah, he'll be out longer than I told him." The doc grinned. "Cause if I had he would have argued with me longer."
Hours later, Spike cracked open his eyes. His brain foggy with the after effects of something. It came to him, in bits and pieces. Shifting his arm, he glanced down at the flawless skin unmarred by the dark bars. They were gone. With a grunt he tried to glimpse his side, the world swam. "Ohhhhh." He moaned as his empty stomach churned.
"Easy, Spike-o." Jet's hand pressed his shoulder back down. "You were under very deep. It'll take a bit to clear. You're alright."
The doc's mustache flicked up at the corners. "Give him a few hours, we'll see if he can keep something solid down. Once he can do that, he can go back to the Bebop. He'll be groggy, probably sleep the rest of the day."
At the edge of Spike's tunneled vision, Faye rubbed her chin. "Hey doc, talking about anesthetic, what happens when a local gets into the bloodstream?"
The doc's face colored. "Well, a lot of things. But basically it steals your equilibrium. Think of like a bad drug trip. Why?"
"Spike did it to someone. Clearly he knew it would render the guy useless. How did he know?"
Ducking into his white coat, the surgeon muttered, "Damn, I didn't think he'd remembered that night."
"Ohhh … " Spike muttered. "I did. Enough of it, anyway." His eyes shut. "This … feels a lot worse."
Jet hit the keys on the screen bringing up the money laundering bounty. He flashed a glimpse up at Faye. "It's a good hit, close by."
"Since Spike's surgery all but cleared us out."
Throwing a glance over his shoulder at Spike, sleeping on the couch still dogged by the aftereffects of the anesthetic, he held a finger to his lips. "Don't let him know that. He feels bad enough. And besides, we both agreed it was worth it to get him back. After hearing about that nerve cluster, I'm glad we did."
She nodded. "Alright. Let's go catch a small fry. If we're lucky we'll be out and back before he even stirs."
With the info on board their monocrafts, Jet and Faye took off leaving the Bebop in their wake. Fifteen minutes into their flight across the crater a bright red streak blew by them. Spike's voice crackled over the channel, "You guys seriously thought you could leave me out of this? Not on your lives. Who's the target?"
Jet's jaw hung loose. "Shouldn't you still be sleeping?"
"Nah, done enough of that for a lifetime. I'm wide awake now. Ready to kick some serious ass! Gotta debt to pay off, you know. And unlike some members of the crew I always honor my debts." He chuckled, the wingtip of the Swordfish nearly touching the Redtail.
Faye growled over the channel, "Hey, was that a shot at me?"
"You said it, not me!"
"Alright." Jet relented and laughed. "File headed your way, hotshot. Welcome back."
Gonna be free
And move among the stars
You know, they really aren't so far ... See you, Space Cowboy
Author's Note: Thank you for reading this wild tale to the end. I have other Cowboy Bebop fanfics available. My first three cover pre-series hinted at in the canon, respectively: Spike's time with Vicious in the Red Dragons, the rift that drove them to their deadly rivalry and how that went down, and an dejected ex-syndicate Spike meets Jet for the first time. Personally I hold myself to the standard of coordinating with canon as much as possible. Readers might even note that typically my stories written in a single fandom will also coordinate with one another, there are numerous references in this piece back to my pre-series stories. More Cowboy Bebop stories are coming, I have one in particular that will deviate from my established world line (that will be rather obvious once it goes live, but I will let that piece speak for itself. ;) ) Anyway, thank you for your readership support and I sincerely hope you will join me in the future for more jam sessions! ... BANG!