Be my pillow
Take my head
And let me sleep in the coolness of your shadow
In the silence of your deep
He was dreaming in shades of yellow and green and purple in a place that was vaguely familiar, although he was sure he had never been there before. It reminded him of the tropical climate of Ganymede. A strong blast of air blew in from the ocean and dried the the sweat from his hair. He and Romany were having a spat over over who should get the last piece of cake. She argued that she was entitled to the piece since she was a woman and it was that time of the month. Secretly, he had to agree, knowing how cranky and unpleasant she got. Still, it tickled him to keep up the argument, knowing that he was going to let her win out in the end.
“Spike. Spike. Wake up.”
He was shaken out of the dream by a soft voice and a gentle touch on his shoulder. He turned over and tried to re-conjure up the dream.
“Spike, wake up.”
Spike cracked an eyelid in irritation at the sound of his name being called.
“Rise and shine, sleepy head.” Nurse Jenny was the picture of cheeriness in her starched white uniform and perky voice.
She wasn’t going to let him ignore her. She never did. He mumbled under his breath and sat up.
“Time for your meds.” Jenny held out a glass of water and his pills.
He took the pills she offered and swallowed them, ignoring the glass.
“My, aren’t we stubborn today,” she teased. She set the glass on the nightstand and eyed him curiously. “What the matter, got up on the wrong side of the bed again?”
“I’m not even up yet.” He flopped his head back down. “You interrupted a sweet dream.”
“Sweet dream, huh? It wouldn’t have happened to have your purple haired girlfriend in it, would it?”
Spike huffed in annoyance. “How many times do I have to tell you? She’s not my girlfriend.” He crossed his arms, his face stuck in a pout.
Jenny laughed. “Oh, yeah, that’s right. So sorry.”
Spike glared at her. “No you’re not.”
Jenny agreed. “You’re right again.” She moved over to the side of the bed. “Alrighty then, sit up. Time for your exercise.” She put up a finger when he started to protest. “Come on, the sooner we start, the sooner we’ll be done.”
He couldn’t argue with that. He got up and followed her into the living room. An hour later, he collapsed onto the leather sofa, his sweaty body sliding against the leather. Ouch. That was going to leave a burn mark. Jenny tried to coax him into taking a shower, but he wasn’t interest. He didn’t like to admit that the workout completely drained him. He was relieved when she finally left him in peace. Until she returned in two days to torture him some more.
* * *
The Bebop was moored at Tharsis River and looked forlorn and battered next to the larger, modern cargo ships parked next to it. Spike pushed open the heavy metal port door, ducking his head as he went in. The common room was smaller than he remembered; his penthouse living room could fit ten of these.
He looked towards the galley where he expected to see Jet as in the old days, wearing an apron and hunched over the small stove in the kitchen, wok in hand. The galley was silent. As he wandered towards the hangar, the high peal of laughter wafted towards him. He didn’t remember Ed having a laugh like that. That could only mean one thing. He swallowed his nervousness and headed out to the hanger.
Uh oh. Edward had just spotted him. Spike braced himself for impact as the willowy 15-year-old launched herself in his arms. She was taller, though still as thin as he remembered. She hugged him so tight that he could barely breathe.
“Hey, Ed,” he said gently, returning her embrace.
“Ed is glad you decided to be alive,” she whispered in his shirt.
He guessed he kind of missed her too. He looked over her carrot orange hair to the other side of the deck where Jet was grinning and Faye was, well, not smiling.
“Hey buddy,” Jet greeted him. Jet had set up a hibachi on the deck and was grilling strips of beef and peppers. On cue, Spike’s stomach grumbled at the smell of food.
“Hey old man,” he said, a genuine smile gracing his features. “It’s been a long time.” It was good seeing his old friend. He could now understand the word homecoming. He should have guessed that Jet was arranging a complete reunion of the crew. Jet had left out that small detail.
He gently extricated himself from Edward.
“Aaww,” she wailed. “Ed is not finished.”
Spike patted her head. “Let me talk to Jet for a minute. More hugs later, okay?”
A mollified Ed nodded and zoomed away.
Spike walked over to his old friend. He leaned down and breathed in the smell. “So, what’s cooking?”
“The usual. Bell peppers and beef.”
“With actual beef, I see.”
The two of laughed like it was the most hilarious joke in the solar system.
Spike glanced over at Faye.
“Yo.” He figured he should say something else to her since it had been awhile since he saw her. “How are you, Faye?” Real smooth, Spike.
Faye did not crack a smile. “I’m fine, Spike. You?” She crossed her arms and turned to Jet, not waiting an answer.
He cringed, but the only visible reaction was a slowly broadening grin. So, this is how it’s going to be. He resisted the urge to make a snarly comment. Her feathers were already ruffled as it was. Guess she wasn’t happy to see him. He shrugged, his eyes on her back.
Hide my yearning
For the things I cannot be
Keep my mind from constant turning
Toward the things I cannot see now
Things I cannot see
What a way to spoil a homecoming.