A/N: 06.06.2020

Here we are, folks. We are almost to the end.

Session XXVII: Lanterns

"We never carried days on our own, But now it's up to us to know, The weight of being so much more, We will find ourselves on the road" ~ Birds of Tokyo, "Lanterns", Lanterns - Single, 2013

Alba City.

Spike walked into the hospital, seeing Jet and Elektra sitting in the waiting room. Jet saw Spike coming, first, and stood up, immediately, followed by Elektra.

"Spike!" Jet said, surprise and relief in his voice.

"You were at four hours and twenty-two minutes, you jackass!" Elektra said.

Spike looked up at them but he couldn't even smile, leading Jet and Elektra to worry.

"Did… he get away?" Elektra asked.

"No," Spike answered. "He's… he's gone. For good."

"What's wrong?" Jet asked.

Spike shook his head, "How-how's Faye?"

"She's fine. Same as before. She's still sleeping. We can go in her room, now."

"Spike," Elektra said, "what happened with Vega?"

Spike shook his head. He looked at Jet, "You were right."

Jet narrowed his eyes.

"I am full of shit. This was harder than I ever thought it would be."

Jet looked down then back at Spike, "I'm sorry you had to…"

"Yeah," Spike interrupted. He paused for a while, Vega's face flashed in his mind for a moment. "Me, too."

Jet looked around, baffled. "Spike. I… I don't know what to say."

"Nothing to say. Except… it's over."

"And you escaped without any serious injuries?" Elektra asked. "I guess miracles do happen."

Spike scoffed, a small smile appearing on his face. "Guess so." His smile faded. "I know said this already… but I feel like I need to say it again. Thanks. I wouldn't have made it through this without you guys."

While Elektra smiled, Jet looked at Spike, suspiciously, "Alright, seriously, Spike, are you dying?"

"Ya know something, Jet? I really hope not." Spike started walking toward Faye's room.

"You gonna be okay?"

Spike stopped. He looked at them. "Yeah, I will be. Just… not right now."

The next day came and went but Spike didn't get any sleep at all. As he remained at Faye's bedside, he felt frozen. This was worlds different from his final confrontation with Vicious; in how he approached it and the aftermath. For one thing, he fought like hell to live through this. For another, Spike could almost swear he saw remorse in Vega's eyes when he died. It was the closest Spike he had felt to crying in relation to Vega since Lyra died. Nothing about this was anything Spike was ready for.

While all of that bothered him, more than anything, at this moment, Spike was concerned for Faye. The doctor may have cleared her but he'd seen enough people be fine one moment then take a turn from the worse.

But, if anyone would come out of this just fine, it would be Faye.

The following night, Faye woke up and saw Spike sitting in a chair by her bed. She smiled at him and he at her.

"Hey," Faye said, quietly.

"Hey," Spike greeted.

Faye looked around the hospital room and exhaled. "Well." She looked back at Spike. "This is a reversal."

"Tell me about it. How are you feeling?"

"Like complete shit."

Spike chuckled, quietly.

"You get Vega?" Faye asked.

Spike paused as his smile fell away. "Yeah. Yeah, I… I got him."

"What's wrong?"

Spike shook his head, "This is just… this was way more painful than I thought it would be."

Faye looked down in sorrow.

Spike suddenly found the urge to keep talking, "He… he let me do it. After we beat the hell out of each other. But… he looked like… he was ready for it."


"I… I don't know how to feel about this. I don't know if killing him was the right thing to do. Did I betray the kids we were? Did I betray Lyra? Should I have even gone after him at all? Should I… just kicked his ass and left him for the cops or…" He paused and ran his hand through his hair. He shook his head, "I don't know what the right answer was on this one, Faye."

She stared at him for a while. "I don't know that there is one."

He shrugged, "Maybe you're right. Maybe… all that was meant to happen from this… was the end of this mess." He paused. "The Red Dragons are done. So many people are gone."

"How do you feel about that?" she asked.

"Like complete shit," he answered. "But that was gonna happen no matter what."

"I'm sorry, Spike."

"You don't have to be."

"I do, anyway. Like I told you, a past is still a past. Crappy or not. I know what it's like to have one and lose it. The difference is… you had to destroy yours. I can't imagine how that had to feel." She shook her head, "And I can't even promise that your future would be worth it."

"I'm not worried about that part," Spike admitted.

Faye smiled, warmly at that. She offered her hand to him. He took it.

"I'm really sorry you had to go through this," she said.

"You didn't do this, Faye," he replied. "I wish everyone wouldn't apologize. None of you did anything wrong. I made all of these choices, myself."

"We can't feel sorry for you, lunkhead?" Faye asked.

Spike chuckled.

"We can't help caring about you. You have that annoying habit of making us do that."

He smiled at her, "Well. Guess I'm lucky."

"You got me," she said. "Damn right, you're lucky."

"Faye. Thank you."

"What for?"

Spike shook his head, "I don't know if I'm any good at this. I don't know if I'm even worth all you put yourself through for me. But you did it."

Faye shrugged, "Sometimes… people are worth it. Whether you get a reward for it or not, some people are just worth putting it all on the line for."

"Even me?"

"That line of thinking exists because of people like you."

He stared at her for a while. Everything he'd been through had told him so much. "I love you, Faye."

She stared at him and her mouth slowly fell open. "Wh… what… what did you just say?"

"I said 'I love you'. And, no, I'm not just saying that because of all of this. I've… been trying to figure out when to say it for a while. And I don't wanna wait for something else to happen. I love you, Faye."

"You son of a bitch," she smiled.

He shrugged.

"Just kiss me, already."

Spike leaned towards her and they embraced. It felt different for both of them this time. Perhaps it was the relief of knowing the Red Dragons were far behind them or the fact they both said the words that were the hardest for them to admit.

It didn't matter. Not in the moment. It was just enough to have it happening at all.

After their kiss, they stayed close, staring at each other.

"I know this doesn't make any of this easier," Faye said. "But… I hope I can help."

"You're wrong, Faye," Spike said.

She looked at him, confused.

"You make… all the difference. And… a lot of things don't hurt anywhere near as much… just because of you."

She smiled. "Funny. I can say the same about you."

He smiled. He took a deep breath and exhaled. "So, what now?"

"Now? I heal up so I can get the hell out of the hospital."

The following morning, Spike, Jet, and Elektra met up with Dice, Juarez, and Jordan outside of the hospital.

"So, what's the news?" Dice asked.

"Faye's gonna recover fine," Spike answered. "She's out of any danger. She's just gonna have to take it easy for a few weeks."

"What about the syndicates?"

Jet shrugged, "Bob said there's been no chatter about us. Only news is new syndicates trying to take over or old ones who think they have a chance now."

"Cycle starts all over again," Dice groaned.

"Can't be helped," Elektra shrugged.

"You got that right."

"So, what are you guys gonna do now?" Jordan asked.

Spike, Jet, and Elektra looked at each other, unsure. They looked back at the others and Spike declared, "We'll figure it out."

'You always do,' Juarez signed.

Dice offered his hand to Spike, "If you need anything…"

Spike shook Dice's hand, "Actually, yeah. Just one thing. Tell Chris and Sophie I said hi."

Dice smiled, warmly. "You got it, kid."

"What about you, Jordan?" Elektra asked her.

Jordan shrugged and looked at Juarez, "Might have a new job. We'll see."

Juarez smiled. He looked at Spike then signed, 'Glad we made it out of this one, friend.'

"Me, too," Spike said, signing as well.

'If you ever need anything…'

"I'll let you know."

Dice, lightly, punched Spike in the shoulder. "Hey, idiot. Listen to me. Stop. Living. In the past. Let it go."

Spike nodded. "Don't worry. I'm done with all that. I'm alive. And I'm good."

Dice smiled. "Good. Because if you ever pull any shit like this again, on the grave of my old man, I'll kill ya."

"Got it."

Dice looked at them all and nodded, "Take care, everyone." He walked off.

'I guess I better get going too.' Juarez looked at Jordan. 'Going my way?'

"Oh, absolutely!" Jordan smiled. She looked at Elektra. "Call me if you need anything. But, uh… not for a couple of days."

Elektra rolled her eyes, "You'll never change."

"Why? I love how I am." Jordan stared at Juarez, "And give me… an hour, maybe 45 minutes, and someone else might too."

Juarez just smiled.

"Take care, Jordan," Elektra said. "And thanks."

"No problem," Jordan replied. "Watch yourself with these guys. They're actually trustworthy. You can't trust people like that."

"I have no idea how to take that," Jet said.

Spike just shrugged. "She also said it like we couldn't hear her."

"Do like I do and ignore her," Elektra said.

"I mean, she's standing right there," Jet said.

"Ignore her anyway. Otherwise, she keeps talking."

"Isn't he supposed to follow that with 'yes, dear'?" Jordan asked.

Jet groaned while Spike laughed.

"Good-bye, Jordan!" Elektra said, forcefully.

Jordan laughed.

Juarez held his smile. He looked at Jordan, 'Shall we?'

Jordan nodded, "Let's get outta here."

Juarez signed at Spike, 'Anything you need.'

"Right back at you," Spike said, signing as well.

"Thank you both," Jet said. "You really saved us."

"Happy to help," Jordan said.

'My pleasure,' Juarez said.

Juarez and Jordan got into Juarez's car then drove off.

That evening, at dusk, Spike, Faye, Jet, and Elektra were on the roof the hospital, gazing at the horizon. Spike and Jet were smoking while Faye groaned.

"I want one," Faye groaned, looking at Spike's cigarette.

"A couple of days, Faye," Spike replied. "Doctor's orders."

She growled.

"It's only a couple of days. Get over it."

"You're gonna enjoy torturing me with this, aren't you?"

Spike smirked. "Not as much as you might think."

Faye smiled and shook her head.

"You guys are insane," Elektra said.

"Yeah, you stuck with us," Spike said.

Elektra giggled, softly. "Yeah. What was I thinking?"

"You're as insane as we are?" Faye asked.

"That's probably has something to do with it."

Jet glanced at Elektra then looked back at the sky. "About that. Ya know." He folded his arms. "All of this is… done. You don't… have to stick with us. Anymore. If you don't want to."

"Oh, God," Faye whispered, irritably. "Tell me he's not doing this right now."

Elektra didn't look take her gaze off of the sunset. "What are you saying? You want me to leave?"

Faye rolled her eyes, "He better not…"

"Just wait," Spike said.

"Do they know we can hear them?"

"I'm not even sure they know we're still here. But let 'em keep going."

"I don't want you to leave," Jet admitted to Elektra. "But I'm not in the habit of telling people what to do."

"Bullshit!" Faye murmured, angrily, while Spike quietly laughed.

Elektra smiled. "How about this?" She looked at Jet, "The second you're tired of having me around, you tell me, I'll leave. Deal?"

"I really didn't know Jet could make new friends," Spike said.

"Well, he is an old dog," Faye reminded.

"Why I brought this up with you two here, I'll never know," Jet grumbled.

"Yeah, I was wondering about that logic myself," Spike admitted.

"Ditto," Faye agreed.

Jet rolled his eyes. He looked at Elektra. "You'd run the risk of me… never wanting you to leave."

"You run of the risk me staying whether you want me to go or not," Elektra declared.

Jet looked back at the sunset. "I could live with that."

Elektra looked at the view and leaned her head on Jet's arm. "Yeah. Me, too."

Faye looked at them both, "Are you done? Both of you? Are you done?"

"Shut up, Faye," Jet ordered.

Elektra laughed. "Yeah, Faye. We're good."

"Well, great!" Faye said. "Now we've got all this settled! We're one big happy… ish… dysfunctional family."

"Dysfunctional, sure," Spike agreed. An image of Vega and Lyra as children flashed in his mind. "But family…" He looked at Faye then at Jet and Elektra, "…yeah." He looked at horizon. "Family works."

"On we march, Till we meet the dawn, We will light our way, With our lanterns on" ~ Birds of Tokyo, "Lanterns", Lanterns - Single, 2013

A/N: All that's left is the Epilogue. See you guys there.

Next Session:

The Bebop is back in flight.

Next Session ~ Epilogue: Bebop Waltz