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30 November 2010 @ 12:19 pm
Ganymede Reprise 1/?  
Title: Ganymede Reprise
Rating: PG13 so far for language, R later
Pairing(s): Jet/Spike
Warnings: This takes place after the series ends.
Disclaimer: I make no claim to these characters, their setting, or Cowboy Bebop in general. This fic is for fun and does not involve any money. Also, please forgive any bad science, canonical anachronisms, or crimes against the English language I may have missed.





Marvis “Old Port”, Ganymede. 2076

Winter always seemed to come late to Marvis, but when it did, it held on white knuckled. That was part of the reason the recession was only just clearing up- ships coming in for the spring trade would opt for Harpagia or Uruk Sulcus to the south, where the ports were already unfrozen. Jet had asked Donnelly about it once, over drinks, and the man had just shrugged, made a grumbled comment about the companies that ran the atmospheric engines on satellites like Ganymede. Just business; Season Cycle’s considerable stock in Uruk’s fishing trade, no doubt. He’d sounded cautious, like he expected Jet to rail at the injustice of it, but ISSP, and the blind eye it turned to corporate interests, was no longer Jet’s business. These days he sold food and drink and occasionally information. He didn’t know of anyone who wanted his head on a plate. When he leaned over the counter and stared out across the launch pad, he saw not stars, but the enormous swirling arc of Jupiter on the horizon, as familiar and bright as any sun.

__


Jet set down his bag of vegetables and keyed in the Bebop’s entry code with a gloved finger. The metal inset below his cheek was freezing, making his right eye water. Alisa had been right, he needed to buy a better scarf. Jet tugged the thin blue one he was wearing tighter around his face as he clomped through the back hallways towards the side of the ship he lived in. The empty hangar and cargo rooms echoed with the deep cracking sounds of the Bebop’s rudders shifting among chunks of harbor ice. The circular hallway, stuck sandwiched between two massive partitioning bulkheads, deadened the noise somewhat.

Jet unwound himself from the scarf, hat, and heavy coat as he stepped into the sitting room, hanging them neatly above the door to his quarters. The vegetables went into the big ’fresh’ refrigerator towards the front of the kitchen; ever since Alisa had gotten pregnant she’d been coming in every morning for artichoke dip, of all things. Between her and the usual Sunday brunch rush, he’d decided to stock up on some oddities. Donnelly had mentioned The Courtesan might be coming in, too. Those guys liked the Pad Thai, which needed water chestnuts and fresh ginger.

It was only eight. He had an hour or so to get himself in order and open shop. Shower, change, cigarette, prep work, cigarette. Jet ducked into the bathroom and thumbed on the high pressure shower. The tiny room filled instantly with steam. He grinned wryly at himself in the mirror for a moment. The Jet that looked back had a few gray hairs coming in.

“You’re old,” he told himself, and reached for the patch that made daily readjustments and normalized his arm “You’re a boring old man.”

The patch clicked tiny fibrous needles into the skin of his left wrist. He took a moment to stare down at that unfamiliar hand. It felt the same as it always had, but now it was white and soft and very much like his left one. He still wasn’t sure why he’d done it. Alisa was less uncomfortable around him now, but that wasn’t any reason to have such extensive surgery. He’d kept the mechanical one in the first place to remind him of something.

Maybe this time, there was something he wanted to forget.

__


Sunday passed mostly without incident. Alisa came in around ten as expected, dragging a sour looking Rhint behind her. They’d been married for two years and Jet still couldn’t stand the kid. At least Alisa had a good head on her shoulders these days.

“I want… something different today. Let’s see, Bell Peppers and Beef?”

Well, most of the time, anyway.

“You don’t want that,” Jet grumbled, flipping the flapjacks he had going on the plate grill “it’s terrible.”

Alisa laughed; Rhint looked nervous and tucked into his onion omelet like a little ferret.

“Why do you keep it on the menu if it’s not any good?”

He flipped the pancakes onto a plate and picked it up with his left hand. It would have scalded anyone else. All he felt was a slight tingling.

“Sixteen, you’re up! It was the first recipe I learned how to make.”

“You’re such a softie. Artichoke dip and pita, then.”

“That’s my girl.”

__



Later that evening Jet decided not to go out. He was agitated for some reason, and couldn’t sleep. He played Shogi against himself in the Bonsai Room until after midnight, trying not to think about anything except squares and tiles. By two a.m. he was wandering the halls, and finally settled in the observation deck, gazing out over the harbor with a cigarette in his mouth. The Bebop’s ‘Closed’ sign was reflecting pink and blue neon onto the water.

He considered taking Bell Peppers and Beef off of the menu. No one ever ordered it.


__


The Courtesan docked like Donnelly had predicted, and Jet spent Monday fielding orders, steaming shrimp and noodles, and pouring beer. He enjoyed having so much business, and not just for the money. It felt good to have the Bebop hopping with patrons, the launch deck clanging with steel-toed boots as the construction men came in for lunch. Alisa had sold him her old jukebox when La Fin closed, and Jet had it outfitted with all of his favorites- Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Mingus. The box pulsed with neon lights and smooth tenor sax.

There was rarely trouble during the day. Dock and construction workers came in for a quick meal around eleven, the cops and businessmen showed for dinner from six to nine, and by ten the place was quiet except for a few hangers on at the bar and the three old men playing cards. He didn’t have a ‘Happy Hour’. Jet stayed open until one, maybe two, straightening up and playing Thelonius Monk on the juke when the bar was quiet enough to appreciate it.

Today though, two of the crew members from the Cortesan staggered back in around ten thirty and slid onto the bar with what Jet recognized as ‘intent to become a nuisance’. He could take the older one, easy, but the kid looked like he was gonna be a pain in the ass if he didn’t get whatever it was he was drinking for off of his chest. Jet put down the ashtray he was cleaning and put on his best bartender face.

“What’s your poison?” He asked, leaning with his elbows on the bar, rag slung over his shoulder.

The kid glared at him a little bit, but old guy just coughed out “Whiskey Sour. No fruit.”

Jet saw the kid’s hands fist and then relax under the table. The glare was redirected to his companion. The kid stood up and hunched into his leather jacket, heading for a booth in the back.

“Whatever’s on tap,” he said.

Jet twitched a little bit. The nerve. He wasn’t bringing the kid his drink.

“Ignore the little puissant,“ the older guy laughed, a low sound which devolved into a cough, “He’s just sore we wouldn’t give his sweetheart a free ride to Venus.”

Jet poured the man’s drink and slid it over to him. “Yeah? Where you all in from?”

“Callisto. Place is a dump.”

“Hm.“ Stout was on tap. Kid would have to deal. Jet poured it and set it on the end of the bar closest to the booth the kid had sprawled out in. He made no move to come pick it up. Jet shrugged and went back to cleaning the ash trays and refilling the salt shakers.

Eventually the man dropped a few woolongs into the clean ashtray in front of him, zipped up his coat after several unsuccessful attempts, and ambled out the door. Jet glanced at the clock. Kid still hadn’t moved from his booth. The bar was empty except for the two of them. Monk and Coltrane were finishing off “Ruby, My Dear”, and then the juke stuttered to a stop.

“Your beer’s getting warm,” Jet said.

After a moment the kid raised his head from where he’d been resting it on the table. In the dim light the shadows beneath his eyes were huge and pathetic looking. His hands shook, and he sniffled a little bit, not dressed well enough for the weather. It was probably his first trip outside his home satellite. He looked like he had a bout of spacer’s sick, the way his eyes were tracking. Some people didn’t deal well with the G-Force of takeoff and landing.

Jet took his apron off and folded it over the back of a chair, poured a second pint, and took both glasses over to the booth. He gave the kid the cold one, and drank his own in silence.

“You wouldn’t get it,” the kid grumbled, sinking back into the collar of his leather jacket at the same time as he reached out to take his glass.

“Hey, I‘m just a guy. Talk, or not.” Jet put his own glass down, half empty. Gold foam tracked down the sides. It wasn’t warm after all.

The kid rolled his glass between his palms for a moment, contemplative, then took a sip. He swallowed too quickly, his lips a moue of disgust.

“Too dark?“ Jet smirked. The kid took a long pull, glaring at him over the glass. Jet couldn’t help watching his throat move as he swallowed. The kid had the edge of a tattoo coiling up from the hem of his shirt, a cluster of what looked like worms or mouse tails that stroked up the sides of his neck.

“You know Blue Crow?” the kid asked, not waiting for an answer. He wasn’t really talking to Jet so much as his beer, anyway “There’s guys there, whores. I met this guy- foreigner, I guess, rich looking older guy, pretty handsome. Thought I could make some extra dough, since the trip was a bust,” he took another sip “Callisto is a dump, man.”

Jet grinned. “Go on.”

“Anyway, he had a nice place. I was all, okay, this isn’t going to be difficult. But this guy didn’t want to fuck. He said he’d trade me the night for two hundred. And then we left this sweet pad of his and went to dinner at this fancy place. Got drinks, watched the other moons over the harbor until midnight. It was fucking weird.”

“And then he drove me back to the dock and gave me six hundred. That was it. No BJ, nothing.”

“Sounds like an alright deal,” said Jet, who was feeling some abstract mix of boredom, discomfort, and heart-ache “Why the long face?”

The kid laughed a little bit, licked foam off of his thumb. “I was halfway through launch prep and I realized it was the first time anyone was really nice to me. I got all distracted feeling sorry for myself, I forgot to take my nausea pill. We cleared Callisto’s gravitation field and bam, vomit all over the place.”

Jet laughed, and it was genuine. The kid was grinning at him now. “I thought you looked a bit peaked.”

“Yeah, no one told me take off was such a bitch.”

They drank in silence for a moment, and then Jet cleared both the empty glasses, wiping condensation from the shellacked surface of the table. The kid yawned, and rubbed his nose, looking at the door. “How much do I owe you?” There were light places on his jacket where the leather was wearing through. A dirty iron-on patch near the zipper read ‘MARS’ in blocky red type.

Jet hated to indulge his soft side these days, and tried his best not to blush. “Just the company. Get out of here.”

The kid smiled, zipped up his jacket and slid out the door, hands tucked under his armpits. The cold clank of boots on the launch pad sent a shiver of sense memory through Jet, and he stood staring at the door for a moment before shaking his head and turning off the light.

__




Monday night, Jet dreamed about Blue Crow. He was sitting in a dark dive of a bar, naked, but wrapped in a red blanket. His cold toes brushed the sticky floor. He had his drink, paid, and walked silently through the streets barefoot.

“I thought you looked lonely.“ A young man in a pink coat propositioned him from the doorway of a night club.

“Well, I’m not,“ Jet was angry. He wasn’t entirely sure why. He brushed past the boy into the building, and found himself climbing stairs up to the roof. Outside, snow swirled with smoke.

“My left eye sees the past.“ Spike was standing at the end of the roof. He held the cigarette out towards Jet, filter first “Want a drag, pal?”

Jet turned back around and saw that he had left no footprints in the snow.


(To be continued, I hope)