Catching Glimpses Chapter 15

Memories of a Melody

By Kiyara

"Yeah, we'll be fine as long as we don't kill each other."-Kiyara Maiden Shinra


Reno sat down on the bed, bouncing up and down happily.

"Lead me to the floor," Kiyara said to Tifa, ignoring his antics.

"This way," Tifa replied. The brunette led her back down the hall to the living room.

The walls were a plain white, and there were several deep red, high-backed chairs spread around the room. There was a large empty space, that Kiyara was willing to bet the couch usually occupied, directly across from a large cabinet that looked like it housed a television and electronics equipment. Two speakers were set up directly beneath the two windows, and there were tables and other miscellaneous items galore. A large bookshelf was filled with volumes of every shape, size, and sort. The late morning sun shone in through one of the windows, lighting everything and giving it a softer look.

Kiyara looked at the hardwood floor in dismay. "Now I see why Reno was so adamant about getting the bed. Just looking at this could give you a bad back."

Tifa laughed. The sound was high and clear, like a bell. "Don't worry. I'll get you lots of blankets and pillows. I've got plenty of extras since I have guests quite often."

Kiyara smiled somewhat wistfully as she set her bag down on the floor and pushed it out of sight behind a chair with her foot. "I wish that I could say that…"

Tifa paused on her way out the door to pick up some bedding. "Come again?"

Kiyara looked up, slightly surprised at having been heard. "Oh, it's just that I don't really have all that many friends to have as guests, even if I did have a home."

Tifa's gaze softened. "Well, I know I don't really know you all that well, but I'm pretty sure that you could count me as one of those few friends. You seem like a kindred spirit."

Kiyara smiled again, this one resembling more of a happy expression. "Thank you."

The kind woman smiled back. "You're very welcome. So, how long are you and Reno planning on staying?"

Kiyara frowned, thinking. "I know that the purpose of this move was to get us out of the way of the guys that're after me, but I'm really not sure how long we're staying. I think that Reno plans to get into touch with the president of Shinra, though, to get some information that'll help us get those guys off our tail. I think we're here until Reno can contact the president of Shinra."

Tifa nodded. "Okay. Well, you're welcome for as long as you need. But I swear, if Reno so much as looks at me wrong, I'm giving him the boot."

Kiyara giggled. "You have my explicit permission and support."

Smiling, Tifa walked out into the hall, and Kiyara heard a closet door creak open and shut. Then the brunette appeared again in the door, now with an armful of blankets and pillows. She set them down on a chair.

Kiyara chuckled. "You look like you've got enough blankets there for an army."

Tifa laughed. "Well, Barret, Cid, Yuffie, and the rest are practically an army. They all come to visit quite a bit, and it seems like each time there are more of us to account for."

Suddenly, there was a pounding noise that sounded like it was coming from downstairs. Tifa's hand flew to her mouth. "Oh no! That must be Jaya! I totally forgot about her!"

Kiyara blinked. "Jaya?"

Tifa nodded, on her way out the door. "She helps me out with the bar. She always comes a couple of hours before we open. I've gotta go get ready to open the bar up now. Will you guys be okay up here?"

"Yeah, we'll be fine as long as we don't kill each other."

Tifa giggled, pausing in the doorway. "That would be a sight to see… Oh, and Reno is welcome to use my phone to get through to Reeve. It's in the kitchen! Make yourselves at home, okay?" She ran out the door, then poked her head in one more time. "And you guys'll hafta be pretty quiet so that Jaya and my customers don't hear you up here!" Then she was gone, dashing down the stairs.

A moment later, Reno was poking his head around the door. "She gone?"

Kiyara smirked. "Why, you scared of her?"

Reno sauntered in and plopped down in a chair. "Hell no. It's just easier not having to confront her."

Kiyara heard voices downstairs and the stamping of feet as Tifa let her helper in.

Reno looked like he was listening. "Who's that?"

"Tifa's little helper. So we've gotta be really quiet now that she's here."

Reno nodded, lowering his voice. "Fair enough."

Kiyara perched herself on the arm of a chair and sighed. "What the hell are we going to do all day?"

Reno turned to look at her, raising an eyebrow.

Kiyara whacked him. "Don't even say it."

Reno frowned, rubbing his arm and doing his best to look innocent. "Whatever did you think I was going to say?"

"Y'know what, I'm not even gonna bother to answer that."

Reno draped himself over his chair, sticking his legs over one arm, and his head resting on the other. "Kiyaaaaaarrrraaaaaaaaaaaa?" He said her name in a whiney, singsong type of way.

Kiyara sighed. "What, Reno?"

"I'm bored."

"It hasn't even been five minutes yet! How are you going to last until tonight?"

Reno shrugged. "Kiyara?"

"What, Reno?"

"I'm bored." Kiyara groaned. "Don't tell me that I'm goin' to have to freakin' baby-sit you."

There was silence. Kiyara looked over at him. "You mean I won't have to?"

Reno grinned. "You said not to tell you, so I didn't."

Kiyara hissed something nasty under her breath, then stood up. Reno ducked as she passed him, but she didn't hit him. Instead, she walked to the large cabinet that she had noticed earlier and opened it. She had been correct in her assumption that it housed electronics. There was a large television inside, along with a VCR, movies, a stereo system, and many CDs and cassette tapes. Kiyara nabbed the remote control from on top of the TV, then walked back over to Reno. She dropped it on his stomach, and the redhead was temporarily knocked short of breath.

"Do something constructive," she said, sneering. "Watch TV while we just wait for your friend Reeve to become telepathic, figure out that we're here, and call."

Reno looked slightly abashed. "Oh yeah. I forgot." He stood up, looking longingly at the remote control before setting it down.

Kiyara spread herself over her chair in much the same way that he had a moment before. She snatched up the remote from his now vacated seat, and gestured with it vaguely. "The phone's in the kitchen." And with that, she turned on the television, making sure that the volume was low.

Reno glared for a moment, muttering dire threats under his breath. Then he went out into the hallway. He crept past the stairs noiselessly, then walked into the bright, cheery, black and white tiled kitchen. He found the phone, and muffled the dialing noises as best as he could with his shirt.

After he had finished in the kitchen, Reno ducked back out into the hallway. He happened to be looking at the opposite direction from the stairs, and he saw a door that he hadn't noticed before. Frowning slightly, he crept down the hall, went into the room, and flicked on the lights. He stared in amazement. "Whoa…"

The entire room was full of weapons. Several cabinets with glass doors were all around the walls, and they were stuffed with swords, guns, spears, shurikens, knives, fighting gloves, and the like. It looked like Tifa had been given custody of everyone's cast off weapons. And there was more. Another bunch of cabinets were full of materia in every shape, size, and color. It was a collection to make Yuffie proud. The sunlight streamed into the room, highlighting the white walls and hardwood floors, but Reno didn't notice.

"No wonder she didn’t show us this room. It's not something you show to a possible enemy…" Blinking, Reno decided to explore all of the different weapons.

* * * * *

Kiyara had a half an hour of blessed peace and quiet before Reno came stealing back into the room, holding a large bowl of popcorn that he was munching from happily, a battered looking cell phone, and a screwdriver.

Kiyara glanced back at him. "What'd he say?"

Reno dropped back into his old chair. Kiyara stole a handful of popcorn from him. "Nothing."

Kiyara snorted. "How can he have said nothing?"

Reno tucked his feet under himself with ease. "Easily. I couldn't get through."


Reno gave a chuckle. "What, you thought the average Joe could just ask to be put through to the president and have it be done? Man, you are naïve."

"But I thought you were some sort of bigwig!"

Reno spoke around a mouthful of popcorn. "Yeah, I'm part of the Board of Directors, but how are all of the little people working for him supposed to know that? I know I can’t trust everyone who works at Shinra, so I didn't want to give out my real name. And without my real name, we're gettin' nowhere."

"Well, how are we gonna get his help, then?" Kiyara asked.

Reno waved the sleek, battered little phone around. "This little baby. It's mine, and gives me instant access to Reeve without having to go through all of his lackeys."

Kiyara looked ready to rip his throat out. "So why didn’t you use it in the first place?!"

"Take it easy there, babe. I've had it with me since the very beginning, when you tossed me into the water at Costa del Sol."

Kiyara groaned. "Oh no…"

Reno nodded. "Oh yes. Its circuits got fried by the water. Instant barbecue."

Kiyara put her head in her hands. "Can you fix it?"

Reno shrugged. "Possibly. But then again, maybe not." He set the popcorn down on the table beside him, and used the screwdriver to pry the back of the cell phone off. There was a show of sparks, and it made a wheezing noise.

Kiyara winced. "That can't be good."

Reno's only answer was a curse as he tried to cross two wires and he got a shock. He glanced up at her again. "This is gonna take a while…"

Kiyara sighed unhappily. "Things are never easy for us…"

* * * * *

An hour later, Tifa came back up the stairs. She appeared in the doorway, where Kiyara was watching some crappy TV show about the mystery of the Temple of the Ancients, and Reno wrestled with the cell phone. "Jaya's gone, for now. She'll be back in a couple of hours, when we open. Feel free to roam; I've just got to run to the store quickly. I'm pulling down the blinds downstairs, so you can hang out down there too if you want." The brunette disappeared again.

Kiyara stretched, yawned, and flicked the TV off with the remote control. Standing up, she yawned again, then ambled out of the room. She felt the urge to dance around after having to stay quiet and cramped up for so long, but she suppressed it and made her way downstairs.

Looking around for something to do, her gaze rested on the small stage full of instruments. Smiling, she walked over, and to her surprise, found a violin in the mix.

While wondering why there was a violin player in a band that played gigs in a bar, Kiyara's long, slim fingers closed around the violin and picked it up. Digging around, she found the bow, and she held it in her left hand. Kiyara placed the instrument beneath her chin, took a deep breath, and just let her mind go and fingers wander.

Out of the violin came a beautiful, complicated, melancholy tune. Kiyara's mind wandered as she played. She didn't even notice when Reno came in and sat at a table, still digging around in the innards of the little phone.

* * * * *

Looking at all of the different colored wires, Reno muttered to himself, "Hmm. Which do I combine? The red wire, or the blue wire, or the yellow wire, or the green wire, or the freaking magenta wire… Aww hell." With a shrug, he closed his eyes, picked two wires, and stuck them together. There was a large shock, and he cursed as his emerald eyes snapped open. Putting his now blackened finger up to his face, he winced. Looks like I burned it again.

An uninjured finger of his hovered over the 'on' button. "It's not gonna work," he said aloud to himself. He pushed it. To his amazement, the lights of the little phone came on. "No way!" he said in amazement. He pressed the speed dial button that was attuned to Reeve's private PHS, and to his shock, heard it begin to ring. "Yesss!"

The sound from Kiyara's violin almost drowned out the sound, and he could barely hear it being picked up at the other end. He cursed. "Dammit, Kiyara....keep it down, willya?! I'm on the phone!"

* * * * *

Where was I when I learned this song? When did I last play it? The answers came in a rush of sounds and images, rising from the back of Kiyara's mind and overwhelming her.

* * * * * * *

She was small, and frightened. A pretty woman with brown hair that Kiyara's young brain tagged as "scary lady" was holding the little girl still as the bad man leaned in close to her face. Greasy black strands of hair fell from his ponytail and into his sickly pale face, nearly obscuring his glittering green eyes.

" 'Fessor Mojo!" the little girl cried out, struggling against the iron grip.

Hojo smiled sadistically. "Now, now, Miss Shinra. Don't try to run. You're going to have fun with us." Then, to the woman: "I'm thinking that if she is to work out, we must figure out how intelligent and quick learning she is. Music would be a good test. Take her away, and teach her the…" He trailed off as he tapped a long, chemical stained finger against the lenses of his glasses in thought. "…Violin."

The woman's grip stayed strong as she carried the little blonde girl away over one shoulder. The cries for her mommy echoed off of the cold, dark walls. But nobody came to help her.

* * * * * *

Kiyara gasped with the pain of the memory, the bow scraping across the violin in such a way as to produce a horribly mangled discordant note. Reno yelped in surprise, but Kiyara didn’t notice. The blonde became determined to find out more, and resolutely began to play again.

* * * * *

Reno cursed under his breath as the built-in answering machine on Reeve's cell phone picked up. As the message finished, Reno took a deep breath and smirked slightly. Then he barked into the mouthpiece, "Reeve, where are you, dammit?! I know you're there! You always carry this with you! It's Reno! Pick up the phone!"

Suddenly, there was a click as the answering machine shut off, and Reeve's voice came on. "Reno?!"

Reno grinned. "El presidente, you have no idea how good it is to hear your voice…"

* * * * * * *

The little girl had been handed a violin and taught to play. Her teacher was the scary lady who was quickly becoming the not-so-scary lady, and she was very patient. She taught the child the notes, and over time, a very complicated song that, once Kiyara mastered it, convinced Hojo that she was the test subject that he wanted. It was the same song that she was playing right now, in the present time.

Kiyara saw the time that she played it for Hojo running through her head. She had been brought to the laboratory, carrying her little violin, and set down on a stool with a music stand in front of her. If she had known all that would befall her after this, she probably would have messed up on purpose, but she had no vision of the future. The small child played, and she played well. Her eyes were closed as she concentrated deeply on each individual note, and although the little girl couldn't see it, Hojo and the woman, who Kiyara had heard him call Lucrecia, exchanged delighted glances as the song went on.

And the small girl played on blithely, not knowing how much anguish and heartache she was causing herself with each passing note.

That was when things began to grow really weird. The song she was playing stopped, while the small room disappeared. A light from above blinded her eyes. She couldn't move her arms or her legs. She whimpered, and heard a sinister chuckle that sounded like it came from the thoroughly evil Hojo. Some smelly liquid on a cloth was held up to her nose, and blood red dots and skulls flashed across her vision as she began to black out. Then she heard something that she wasn't supposed to hear, and that she hadn't understood then.

"We must do this right if she is to be a backup for Sephiroth," Hojo's bodiless voice said.

The image was gone again, and was replaced by just blackness, as dark and enveloping as a thick blanket. The little girl's cries could be heard, echoing around the empty spaces.

"Mommy, where are you?"

An anguished shriek. "MOMMY! HELP ME!" Quiet sobbing.

Suddenly, the sights came back. " 'Fessor Mojo does bad stuff to me, Mommy." The little girl was sitting on her feet in a see-through specimen tube, her face pale and solemn for such a little one. "Worser stuff than even Daddy did. You're gonna come an' get me soon, right, Mommy?" Her high-pitched voice became plaintive at the end. A shrill scream came as the door to her tube opened, and Hojo reached in for her. "NO! Get away from me! Azzie! Mommyyyyyy!" she wailed as she fought to break free of Hojo.

The scenes began flashing faster and faster. The blonde girl, now older, was vomiting into a stainless steel basin, looking thoroughly wretched.

Miserable, anguished cries and terrified whispers accompanied the flood of images. "Mommy, I don't think I can live like this for much longer." "When are you gonna come and take me away, Mommy?" "Aaarrgghh!"

The voice dropped to a whisper as the now nine or ten-year-old pressed her face to the inside of the test tube. Her hands squeaked down the glass on either side of her face, which was contorted horribly into a grimace of agony. The needles and tubes embedded deep in her body swayed and shook as blood dripped down her face. "Help me, help me, help me, help me…"

And above it all, the cold, mocking voice of Hojo rose. "A backup for Sephiroth…a backup for Sephiroth…a backup for Sephiroth…"

* * * * * * *

Not even realizing it, Kiyara turned around and set the violin down behind her. Then she sat bolt upright, looking down at her hands, as if she had never seen them before, turning them over and over again. Reno frowned and paused from where he was listening to Reeve rant about 'Where the hell had he been?!' Something about that gesture was very familiar…

A backup for Sephiroth… the cruel voice whispered, and something deep inside of Kiyara snapped.

"No…" she whispered brokenly. An angry buzzing noise began to fill her ears. "No," she said more strongly. Then she leapt off the small stage. "NO!" she screamed. Kiyara went dashing headlong up the stairs.

* * * * *

Reno looked on in amazement as Kiyara's temper flared and her eyes flashed brightly in a sudden fit of temper. Too brightly. She looked insane. He slowly took the phone away from his ear, not paying any attention to Reeve yelling, and frowned. What was she doing?

"NO!" Kiyara screeched at an invisible specter. She breezed by in front of Reno and sprinted up the stairs. Reno sat there for a moment, open-mouthed, as he listened to her fleeing footsteps as she dashed down the hall upstairs.

Then his eyes widened dramatically. The over brightness of her eyes, the complexity of her features, what she did and said; it all reminded him of… it reminded him of…

* * * * * * *

Reno walked in the door of his home and shut it behind him. At 18, Reno had already been working for Shinra for two years, and had been a Turk for several months. The salary that he got would have been more than enough to pay for the nice house alone, but his girlfriend, who lived with him, was a supermodel, and she insisted on paying some of the costs.

Smiling a little nervously, Reno reached into the pocket of his jacket and pulled out the small black box and opened it for what seemed like the fiftieth time in the past hour. Inside, an absolutely gorgeous ring sat on a bed of crushed velvet. A large, but not so large as to make it gaudy, diamond was set on the slim silver band, and as he turned the box around slightly, it sparkled and changed colors in the light.

His girlfriend's voice was heard calling out. "Reno? Is that you?"

Reno fumbled and nearly dropped the box and its precious cargo. He replaced it in his pocket. "Yeah!" he yelled back.

Reno followed the sound of her voice through the house, shedding his jacket as he went. He set the garment down on a chair carefully, conscious of its expensive burden. I'll ask her tomorrow…

He paused at the doorway to the living room. Damaya looked up from the newspaper that she was reading in her favorite beige chair. She was absolutely gorgeous, as her career demanded, with shoulder-length, thick chestnut curls and hazel eyes shaded by long eyelashes. She was tall when standing and possessed a stick-thin figure. Her high cheekbones jutted out of a pale face, giving her a very distinctive look. Her lips were full and pale pink, and they curved into a smile at the sight of him. She was wearing a short, strappy, brightly colored sundress with a Costa del Sol print and floppy sandals.

"Hey there, stranger." Her voice was smooth and composed, just as she looked. She set down the newspaper and rose to greet him. Damaya reached him quickly on her long legs, and her arms snaked around his neck. She smiled up at him. "What took you so long?"

Reno wrapped his arms around her waist and drew her closer to him. He breathed in her scent of jasmine perfume, bent over, and kissed her a long, lingering kiss. When he felt the need for oxygen, he disengaged his mouth from hers, and lied between his teeth. "I was negotiating to get a day off tomorrow." Well, it's kinda the truth. I did negotiate to get tomorrow off, but the negotiations took place last week… I wonder what she'd say if I told her that I was picking up a ring for her…

Damaya squealed and clapped her hands behind his neck. "And did you get it?"

Reno grinned. "Yup."

Damaya hugged him even more tightly happily. "How did you manage that one?"

Reno smirked. "I pestered Tseng until he gave in."

Damaya burst out laughing.

"And now I've got an entire day to spend with my two favorite ladies," Reno finished. "Hey, speaking of that, what'd you guys do today?"

Damaya took one of her hands down from his neck and held some of the fabric of her dress between her fingers. She swished it around. "What does it look like, silly? We hopped the ferry to Costa del Sol and spent the day at the beach."

Reno smiled. "That sounds nice. You up for it again tomorrow, Damay?" The beach would be perfect.

Damaya kissed him again. "Definitely. And Aimee would love it too, right, Aimee?" She was addressing a space behind her.

Reno thought that she had gone crazy for a moment, then he stared over Damaya's shoulder. His one-year-old daughter came tottering out from behind Damaya's chair on unsteady legs. On her legs. Reno's mouth dropped open as Aimee toddled over to him, hugged his shins, and said plainly, "Da." He had known that she could talk a little, but walk?! Damaya was laughing at his surprise.

"When did she walk?" Reno asked, recovering his voice.

Damaya bent over and picked up their red headed daughter. Aimee cooed happily and sat high in her mother's arms. "Today, when we came back from the beach."

"And I missed it," Reno said dejectedly.

Damaya, eyes twinkling, shook her head. "No you didn't."


Damaya nodded to the video camera that sat on the end table beside her chair. "I had a feeling that she was going to do it today, so I had the video camera out." She grinned at him. "I caught every minute of it on tape."

Reno picked her up and twirled her around as Damaya and Aimee giggled helplessly. "You, my dear, are an absolute angel," Reno said, grinning from ear-to-ear. Finally, he set them down to find that Aimee had somehow latched onto him mid-flight.

"Da!" she said again. Reno carried her into the living room with him. "That was quite a good trick you played on Da, there. Did you and Mom plan it together?"

In response, Aimee blew a large spit bubble.

Reno snickered slightly, and tossed her up and down in the air several times as the tiny girl shrieked with laughter. Then, still carrying Aimee, he went over to where Damaya had sat back down in her chair with the paper.

Damaya eyed him over the top of the newspaper. "Y'know, if you keep carrying her like that, she's going to forget how to walk."

"Hey, my little girl isn't that stupid, right, Aimee?" Once again, Aimee blew a bubble. As Damaya laughed, Reno said ruefully, "Okay, so maybe she is…"

Leaning over, Reno read the front-page headline of her paper aloud. " 'Local girl Damaya McKormac signs lucrative modeling contract that will make her one of the highest paid in the business.' Man, that's old news, my beautiful supermodel."

Damaya laughed. "Oh, stop it. And what do you expect? This is the paper from my little town. It’s Lircos Village, for Christ's sake. They probably think this is new news."

Reno read the title of the paper. " 'Lircos Village.' How the hell do you get this? And it's this month's date, too."

"Reno, there is a definite advantage to being a supermodel."

Reno grinned, and left her to her paper as he went off to play with Aimee.

About 45 minutes later, Aimee had been put to bed and Damaya was still happily perusing the news from her hometown. Reno was just hanging up his jacket in the closet, not wanting Damaya to come across it, begin to hang it up, then check in the pocket. Suddenly, Reno heard a gasp from the other room.

"What's the matter?" Reno called out. There was no answer. "Damay?" Nothing. "Damaya?" Silence reigned.

Slinging the jacket over one shoulder, Reno made his way through the hall to the living room. "Yo, Damaya, what-" He stopped. Damaya was staring at her hands in fascination. Then she looked up at him, and it was if he wasn't even there. She was staring straight through him. Reno took a cautious step forward. "Damay?"

She appeared to be mumbling to herself, then suddenly, she screamed out, "NO!" Jumping up, she dropped the newspaper onto the floor and ran past Reno into the hall before he could make a move to grab her.

Reno stared after her for a moment, then her heard her rifling through the kitchen drawers. Reno suddenly had a horrible vision of the large, vicious steak knives housed in one of the drawers. He bolted out through the hall. She wouldn't, she wouldn't, she wouldn't…

Reno stopped short when he reached the door to the kitchen. Oh my god… "She would," he whispered brokenly, leaning against the doorframe for support.

Slowly, he pulled the jacket that he was still holding in front of him and rifled through the pocket. He produced the ring box, and opened the lid. The piece of jewelry seemed to have lost its sparkle with the death of its prospective owner, and it looked flat, dull, and lifeless.

Barely realizing what he was doing, Reno unhooked the plain silvery chain that he wore around his neck that had been a present from Damaya, and placed the ring on it. Fastening it back around his neck, Reno walked over to Damaya's slashed body and set the now empty ring box down next to her.

He whispered, "Will you marry me?"

As if sensing the passage of a vibrant spirit, the room was empty and still.

* * * * * * *

Fingering the ring on the chain around his neck, Reno hissed to himself, "Oh shit." He sprinted up the stairs behind Kiyara, taking two and three steps at a time.

* * * * * * * *

Author's notes-First of all, I AM going somewhere with the whole thing about how Damaya and Kiyara acted so similar. Now, I just have a few quick notes about this chapter.

A HUGE thank you goes out to my beta reader Bonnie E. She was what made this chapter so powerful. Her help with the memory sequences was invaluable.

Another big thanks goes out to my 'bait reader,' Diego Chavez. Thank you, Diego, for pointing out that I use the phrase 'the martial arts expert' too much, and for also pointing out that there is no such thing as a Hawaiin print dress in the FF7 world. ^_^ Also, the place known as Lircos Village kinda belongs to Diego. If you're a little confused about it, what happens to it, why I'm using it, etc., read Diego's In the Absence of the Sun. (Go here and search for Diego Chavez.) Our stories are going to end up kind've intertwining a bit, so that might help you out.


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