One morning, Edward woke up and found that Spike Spiegel was in love with her.

Nothing was very significant about that morning. Faye was in her room, halfway to high on pain meds after her leg had been broken and reset, and the guys had spent the morning grumbling that the older woman had finished off everything in the refrigerator. Jet was in the hanger, working on his Hammerhead and getting used to his new arm. Spike sat in the common area staring at the news playing on the television. But when he glanced away from the television, Edward saw it in his eyes.

"Where were you last night?" Spike asked, sounding bored.

"I had to deliver some blueprints to the engineers at the hospital," she answered, because they weren't leaving the Venus hyperspace gate for another two days. "Where were you?"

"I was right here," he answered, the corner of his lip pulling upwards at having to provide an obvious answer to a silly question.

"You've been there for an awfully long time. 's not healthy," Edward told him.

"We should get out of here, then," Spike proposed. "Let's hit the bars tonight."

"Alright," Edward agreed. Then, she moved on to the kitchen to scrounge up some food from her secret stash, and Spike returned to his show.

Edward analyzed the encounter all afternoon, and after four hours she came to a conclusion as to why this was different than the dozens of other times they'd left the ship together: they had set a date. They had never before set dates, or times, or activities. When they went somewhere, it was spur of the moment and it was completely unplanned.

But this, well this was a date.

The night began with Spike's arm thrown across her shoulder as they sat at the bar and had drinks.

When they moved on to a game of pool, Spike stood close to her, and when it was her turn to shoot, he urged her towards the table with a hand at the small of her back.

Then, when their game was over, Spike told her, "Let's get out of here."

She thought that was it – that was the date, and they were going to go back to the Bebop instead of finding someone in the bar to drink with or trying to start a good game of poker.

Spike didn't take her back to the Bebop, though. Instead, he took her to another bar. A bar where there was a band, and dancing.

"Relax," Spike chuckled when he saw Edward's expression. "Let's get some drinks and listen to the band for a while," he suggested.

They found a small table with a good view of the stage and took seats. Spike lit a cigarette for Edward, then himself, before turning his eyes to the band and listening to the lead singer as she crooned about stars and light. Edward's eyes were on the dancers on the floor, though.

Spike had never taken her any place like this before. They'd gone to bars where music was playing, but they had never gone to bars where the whole purpose of going was to listen to music. Some of the fancy restaurants she'd gone to with Faye had live bands and dancing, but at those places they sat at the bar and Edward had never really paid attention to the dancers, had never really watched.

The song was slow, so everyone on the dance floor stood close together with their arms wrapped around each other as they gently swayed to the music. Edward imagined herself standing like that with Spike, and she immediately felt her cheeks heat up.

The song was half over and they had just finished their smokes when Edward stood up and demanded, "Let's dance."

Spike answered her with a smile and stood to follow her onto the dance floor. Once they were there, Edward hesitated, because imagining and doing were two very different things. Spike, however, did not hesitate, and he easily took one of her hands in his and set the other against her waist and pulled her to stand close.

She was on edge at first, because Spike was wearing his boots, and they were standing really close and touching while her own feet were bare. But Spike didn't step on her toes, and she didn't step on his. It took Edward a few moments more to catch up, but then her hand was firmly gripping his and she set the other hand on his houlder, and they were swaying together.

"You like the music, then?" Spike asked as they settled into a slow rhythm, rocking gently from side to side in time with the music. "I didn't think this would be the kind of sound you went for."

Edward shrugged, because she'd never really thought about it. Sound was just sound to her. It was nice when it was good, but it was also interesting when it wasn't, too.

"I like dancing," she finally decided, because Spike was looking at her like he was really looking at her, and his shoulders were wide and warm and the fabric of his shirt was soft against her palm. Spike's hand was warm around her's, and every now and again his hand at her waist would shift, or his fingers would twitch, and it was like electricity was shooting into her skin and up her back from that single point of contact.

Edward decided she wanted more of Spike's heat, so she tugged her hand out of his and slid her arms firmly up his shoulders until her forearms and hands were draped across his back. His hands settled on either side of her waste and when his eyebrows rose at her actions, Edward told him, "I always forget how warm you are," with a grin.

"I always forget how bold you are," he answered with a small smile of his own.

He had been smiling a lot that day, Edward realized.

It was nice.

Before Edward could comment on Spike's smile, though, the song changed.

The beat picked up and the volume rose as several more instruments joined the band. The singer stopped crooning and began belting, and Edward turned to watch as the people around them pulled away from their intimate holds and gave each other space so that they could begin stepping quick and swinging into wide, intricate turns.

"What do you say?" Spike asked, leaning close and tilting his chin towards Edward's ear to be heard over the rising sound. "Want me to teach you a few steps?"

Grinning, Edward linked her hands with Spike's and demanded, "Show me what you've got!"

Spike lost his patience with Edward around their third song. Then, when they began to argue, they left the bar altogether and started back towards the Bebop.

"We can't both lead, Ed," Spike repeated for the fifth time as they headed towards port.

"Spinning is fun, though," she argued, still pouting because Spike had adamantly refused to let her spin or dip him at all during their final dance.

"I'm lucky you didn't break any of my toes. You need to learn the basic steps before you start trying anything complicated-"

"You got to spin me and it was fine!"

"Are you kidding me?" Spike asked with a derisive snort. "I had to pull off some fancy footwork to keep you from crashing into four different people during that maneuver. People weren't clapping because we were dancing well; they were clapping because we were able to avoid disaster."

Her pout turning into an angry frown, Edward snapped, "They were not! They were clapping for that high note the singer was holding! And I did not almost break your toes! I only stepped on you once, when those waltzing show-offs bumped into us! Besides, I couldn't hurt you - I'm not even wearing shoes!" Turning to scowl at Spike, Edward told him, "And you're not allowed to be mean to me tonight!"

"Is that so?" Spike drawled with a raised eyebrow.

"Yes! You are not allowed to be mean to me on our first date! You were doing great during the first song! And then the beat sped up and I guess your manners evaporated along with the mood!"

Then, Spike was laughing and rage began building in Edward's chest, because if he was laughing at her right now, she was going to kill him-

Before she could kick him in the shins, Spike's hands were on her hips, he was pressing her backwards until her back hit a wall, and he was looking down at her with dark eyes and a sharp grin. "I didn't realize this was a date," he declared.

Frowning in confusion, Edward said, "But... you asked me out."

"I guess I did, didn't I?" he hummed.

Then, he was kissing her.

Finally, Edward thought.

Spike's room smelled like stale smoke and gun powder. But his sheets smelled like him.

"You sure?" he breathed against her lips.

It was stupid that he was asking now, after they'd spent two hours getting to the Bebop, to his room, into the bed, and out of their clothes.

"I was ready when we were still in that stupid cold alleyway, I was ready in the hanger, I was ready on the couch, and I'm ready now! Come on, Spike!"

Edward had been wandering around cyberspace since she was a kid, so she knew enough about sex to understand that the first time probably wouldn't be very pleasant. But she'd already orgasmed twice that evening – once by Spike's hand, and once by his mouth, and now she was ready.

It would be fine, she knew. Especially if Spike kept looking at her like that.

At her urging, Spike leaned down to kiss her again, and Edward delighted in the sensation of Spike's lips, hungry and insistent, and the slide of his skin against hers, and the feeling of his coarse, curly hair between her fingers-

"Beautiful," he breathed as he slowly pushed into her.

"Bastard," she replied through clenched teeth when he began to thrust.

Chuckling, he said, "Relax, Ed. Breathe. You're amazing."

And then he was kissing her, and his lips were just distracting enough, and his fingers against her sides were soothing, and she couldn't believe that this was happening. She couldn't believe that he wanted her.

Spike moaned when Edward shifted her legs to wrap around his waist, taking him in deeper. She touched him everywhere, running her fingers along his spine, up his arms, over his scars, into his hair-

Spike came with a deep groan, then slid out of her and collapsed next to her on the bed.

"Good?" Edward confirmed as Spike calmed his breathing.

"Great," Spike muttered. Then, "Just warning you, though – Two hours of foreplay is not going to be a regular thing."

Rolling her eyes, Edward answered, "I hope thirty seconds of actual sex isn't going to be a regular thing, either."

"I spent two hours on you, Edward! I was kind of worked up," Spike immediately argued. "And remember, you can't be mean today."

"You started it," she argued, turning to roll into Spike's side.

Before she could get comfortable, though, he stood to dispose of the condom and clean himself up, muttering about women with attitude as he went.

As Edward waited for Spike's return, she took stock of herself.

She was naked, cold, aching in several very interesting places, and apparently she couldn't stop smiling.

She knew she had to stop before Spike came back, though. The foreplay was ace, but the actual sex hadn't been that great, and the guy was already smug enough as it was without Edward adding any air to his already over-inflated ego.

So as Spike wandered back into the room, Edward turned towards the wall and smashed her face into Spike's pillow. She delighted in his scent which lingered there as the man himself moved around the room and prepared for bed.

"Shove over," Spike demanded when he slid onto the mattress behind her. "And don't hog the covers. This side of the ship gets cold as fuck when the engines aren't running."

"Shut up and go to sleep, Spike," Edward demanded, still smiling.

"She's already getting bossy," Spike grumbled. But he pressed against her back and threw his arm over her waist, so Edward simply continued to smile.

The next morning, Edward went to breakfast wearing one of Spike's shirts and nothing else. It fit her better than any of Faye's dresses, and the hem of the shirt fell lower on her thighs than the hems of any of Faye's skirts.

Spike wore his sweatpants and Edward's hickeys.

"Damn it," Jet sighed, pinching his nose when he saw them. "Seriously, Spike?"

"She started it," Spike argued as he dropped his arm over the back of Edward's chair.

When Jet turned narrowed eyes to Edward, she beamed and declared, "Told ya."

"Hold still," Spike demanded, clamping his hands around Edward's wrists.

"Not unless you do something," Edward argued, arching against him. Because two weeks after they'd started this, they'd found some balance between foreplay and sex. Edward loved the feeling of Spike's hands against her skin, and she liked how creative he could be when motivated.

The conclusion was always the same, though, with him inside of her and panting as he moved. He still used his hands or his mouth to make her come, but sex didn't hurt anymore, and it was starting to feel good. And it was worth it because of the way Spike looked at her now. Even when they weren't having sex. Even when they were just sitting next to each other, watching TV. Or when he caught her eye while they played pool. Or when he glanced away from whatever conversation he was having at the bar while he drank and they met eyes. Or when she blinked awake in the mornings and found him leaning over her.

Sometimes it was overwhelming.

Mostly it was exhilarating.

Edward had never wanted anything before. Not really. Not until Spike.

And now she had him.

A few moments before Spike came, Edward came. It surprised her, and it must have shown in her expression.

He didn't kiss her, not really. His lips touched hers, but the pressure was feather ligh, and his eyes were open, and he was looking at her.

Spike slid out and off of her, collapsing beside her on the mattress. They both laid there for a few moments, taking stock of themselves and each other, then taking a few moments more to let their breathing even out.

Then, when the room was once again quiet and still and after their cigarettes were finished, Spike demanded, "Again."

Edward went to Faye's room to sign the woman's cast and paint her toenails.

"Is that Spike's shirt?" the older woman asked.

"Not anymore!" Edward proudly declared. Because it smelled like Spike. And because when she tucked the shirt into the waistband of her skirt and rolled up the sleeves, the cloth was only a little big on her.

When she went to Faye's room, however, she wasn't wearing a skirt, and she didn't roll the sleeves up.

"Damnnit, Edward," Faye groaned. "What the hell were you thinking?!"

"That I wanted him," Edward easily answered with a shrug of her shoulders.

"Why?! You could do so much better!" Faye groaned.

"Wishful thinking," Edward argued as she painted zigzags on each of Faye's toes (while adding a little of the paint to her cast, because Faye couldn't do anything to stop her).

"I won't stand for it," Faye declared.

"Well you can't really stand at all, so that's fine," Edward replied.

Spike and sex were good and all, but Edward could only survive on those two things for so long before she had to venture back into real life.

Which was a pity, because real life wasn't nearly as fun.

"Coming?" Spike called from the stairway, and when Edward looked up at him, his eyes were dark, he was leering, and Edward had no question of what exactly it was he was asking.

She wanted to say that she couldn't because she had work to do. Which was a polite way of saying that it would take hours for her to sort through all of the information that Charley had sent her while she had been otherwise engaged over the previous few weeks.

Although... The blue prints Charley had sent her didn't have location coordinates or product IDs, so she'd have to do some digging before she understood what exactly she was looking at. And she'd left her goggles underneath Spike's bed, so... she could wait to deal with this for one more day. After she'd retrieved her goggles from under Spike's bunk.

So in response to Spike's question and his leer, Edward told him, "In a few minuets, yeah."

Faye had already spent enough time laid up because of the injuries caused by Billy Hypner, so Edward used a touch of real Blue Goop to give Faye's leg an extra little boost.

"Thank God," the woman groaned when Edward declared that her cast could be removed three weeks early, and the Bebop wouldn't need to go back to Venus to have it done. "It's been driving me crazy not being able to get off this ship. Especially with you and Spike going at it. We can hear you when you're in the commons, you know. And in the hanger. And in the engine room. And Edward, the kitchen? We eat there."

"Don't be dramatic, Faye," Edward demanded as she helped the older woman remove her cast. "That kitchen table has seen surgery, interrogation, and countless gutted electronics – Spike's bare ass is the least of that table's worries."

"Edward," Faye hissed.

"If you didn't want to hear about the great sex that we've been having, then you shouldn't have brought it up!"

"Oh, no, I hear plenty about the sex you've been having, Edward. Because this ship is made of metal and sound echoes and we can hear everything!"

"Jealousy doesn't become you, Faye."

"Please," the older woman scoffed.