Catching Glimpses Chapter 7

A Rude Awakening

By Kiyara

"Reno, I’m gonna freakin’ kill you for this once I find you."-Rude Texiera


Earlier that same day…

"Why isn’t he answering?" Rude muttered to himself, tapping a finger against the desk he was leaning on as he held a cell phone up to his ear. He was a tall man, taller than Reno, though physically broader as well. He was completely bald, and always wore a pair of dark sunglasses.

"You know Reno. He’s probably turned the thing off," his wife said wryly from where she was curled up in a chair with a book. Faye was short and physically tiny, with short, curly brown hair and wide brown eyes. She was a native of Mideel, and a rather quiet person.

The couple was in their Midgar apartment, one that they had moved into together just recently. Unpacked boxes and bags littered the apartment, telling the story.

"Yeah, but still… it’s not like Reno. He always leaves his cell phone on," Rude said doubtfully.

Faye waved him off. "Reno’s a big boy, Rude. He’s more than capable of taking care of himself. You know that as well as I; in fact, probably better."

Rude had to smile at her optimism. "You’re right, Faye. Reno’s probably just sleeping off a hangover somewhere."

"See? I’m right. Even you said so." Faye looked pleased with herself.

Rude grinned. "That’s why I married you. That incurable optimism!" He picked her up suddenly and spun her around.

Faye shrieked with laughter. "Eek! Put me down, Rude!"

"You know you don’t really want me to put you down," Rude teased.

He continued to spin her, and Faye continued to giggle helplessly.

Suddenly, the cell phone that Rude had been using a moment before rang. Instead of putting his wife down, he simply shifted her so that he was holding her up with one arm and reached for the phone with the other.

"I haven’t been held like this since I was three years old!" Faye said with a laugh. Rude smiled, then picked up the phone. "Rude here."

"Rude? This is Reeve."

"Hey there, el presidente. What can I do for you?"

Reeve groaned. "Don’t tell me Reno got you calling me that too."

Rude smiled. "Yup."

"I give up. Anyway, I was actually calling about Reno. He was supposed to meet me at a bar today, but he never showed up."

Rude felt the smile melt off his face, and he set Faye down. She looked up at him curiously, wondering what had caused the sudden mood change.

"Y’know, normally, I’d say ‘It’s okay; Reno’ll end up calling me later and saying that he was sleeping off a world record hangover or that he had some girl over or something like that.’ But he was going to get drinks with me, and you know as well as I do that Reno just doesn’t blow off drinking," Reeve continued.

"Yeah," Rude answered.

"So I was wondering if you’ve heard from him."

"I haven’t since Friday. He was leaving the building; seemed to be heading for his favorite bar in Sector 7."

"I hadn’t seen him since Friday either. I checked the apartment, but he wasn’t there, and it didn’t look like anyone had been there for days."

Rude looked disturbed.

His wife tugged on his shirt. "Rude, what’s going on? Is it Reno?"

Rude ignored her for the moment. "That’s really odd…"

"You bet it is!" Reeve answered. "So what should we do? You know Reno better than anyone."

"You know Reno; he’s probably off somewhere drinking after forgetting all about meeting you. Just in case though, ask around. Maybe his secretary or someone will know where he is," Rude replied calmly.

"Okay. Good idea Rude. And you’re probably right. He’s probably fine." Reeve sounded reassured.

"Probably, but it’s not definitely, so I’d rather make sure. I’ll make the rounds of his favorite haunts while you ask his co-workers and subordinates."

"Got it. I’m already in the building anyway."

Rude shook his head. "Don’t you have a life besides work?"

"You know better than to ask that question. The answer is no. Okay, I’m gonna go now. Bye Rude!"

"Bye, el presidente." Rude hung up the phone and reached for his jacket.

"What’s going on, dammit?!" Faye planted herself in front of Rude and glared angrily. "Don’t you tell me anything?!"

Rude easily picked her up and set her down out of his way. "Reno was supposed to meet Reeve for drinks and never showed up."

"Uh oh. That can’t be good."

"That’s what we thought, so Reeve’s asking around at work, while I check out Reno’s favorite places." Rude shrugged into his jacket.

Faye immediately reached for her coat as well. "I’m coming too!"

"No way, Faye. For one thing, someone needs to be here in case Reno or Reeve or someone calls. For another, the places that Reno goes are not safe for women."

Faye sighed. "Fine," she replied sulkily.

"I’ll be back in a few hours, Faye." The door slammed behind him.

Faye sat back down with her book, but her mind wasn’t on it. "Dammit, Reno, where are you?!"

A few hours later…

Faye checked the clock for what seemed to have been the umpteenth time, and found that only three minutes had gone by since she last checked. She threw down her book and jumped up in exasperation. "That’s it! I’m tired of being the one who waits behind!"

She marched off to her bedroom, and when she emerged a few moments later, she was a completely different woman. She wore a pair of old, ripped and torn, tight jeans, along with a plain, dirty white T-shirt and a black leather jacket. She had mussed up her hair and face, making it look like she was a not-too-well-off woman.

Faye examined the image in the mirror. "Perfect!"

She left a note for Rude on the counter, and quickly snatched up the cell phone and put it in her pocket. Faye hesitated for a moment over one of Rude’s guns, but she ended up taking it and placing it in the opposite coat pocket.

Faye locked the apartment door behind her and caught a train to the rebuilt Sector 7, where she knew there was a bar that was one of Reno’s favorite haunts. Faye figured she could start there after hearing Rude mention that he had seen the redhead going to there on Friday after work. She caught some odd looks on her way there; her neighborhood was not a place where the slum residents usually showed up.

She walked along the streets to the bar, finding it quickly and easily. Faye paused outside the door for a moment, contemplating what she was about to do. Am I insane? She chuckled at the question. Of course I am. Insane with boredom.

Faye took a deep breath and strutted in as if she owned the universe. Inside, it took her eyes a moment to adjust to the semi gloom. Smoke trails curled around their owners’ heads, and the low buzz of deep-throated men talking filled the place. Big men that looked like they belonged on the open road in a truck’s cab sat everywhere, playing cards and drinking. Throughout the room, Faye saw only about three other women, and they all looked like harlots.

I probably should have dressed up as a guy… Faye mused, noting all of the curious and interested glances she was getting. She marched up to the bar and ordered a beer.

The bartender raised an eyebrow, but did as she asked. Faye flicked a gil chip at him and took a sip of her beer.

"Hey, I’m looking for a friend of mine. Maybe you’ve seen him…?" she said to the bartender casually.

The man grinned toothily, exposing that his front teeth were blackened and rotting. Faye resisted the urge to shudder. "You have no idea how much I hear that, lady. It’ll cost ya."

"How much?" Faye kept her gaze on him steadily, and the man seemed to realize that she was serious.

He leaned in close to her across the bar, and Faye could feel his warm and reeking breath on her face. "1200 gil."

She recoiled in horror; half at the price and partly at his breath. "No way!"

The bartender shrugged. "No money, no information."

"I’ll get it from someone else at that price, thank you very much!" Faye drained her beer, then made as if she was going to leave.

"Hey, wait!" the bartender said frantically. Faye sat back down. "I’ll bargain. I’ll bring the price down to 850 gil."

Faye pondered it for a moment, then shook her head. "Nope." Again, she began to stand, and the bartender stopped her with a hand on her shoulder.

"500 gil!"

"No. Now let me leave to find a place where I can get good information for a good price!"

"Wait! My final offer: 250 gil." The bartender smiled at her again, and Faye barely managed to stop herself from knocking out the rest of his teeth.

"…All right."

The bartender sighed in relief. "All right, who you lookin’ for?"

"A man, about this height-" Here Faye demonstrated with her hand. "-And skinny. Bright red hair in a ponytail, lots of weapons, takes offense easily. Fights well, and has lots of weapons. Wears a blue Turks suit. He may have been in here last Friday."

The man thought for a moment, then shook his head. "I’m sorry, lady, but I dunno who you’re taking about. No one by that description has been in here, and I was on duty on Friday. I woulda remembered him."

Faye would have sagged in disappointment, but she saw a look on the guy’s face that made her pause. It looked furtive and secretive. Faye was almost certain that the man had seen Reno, and he was lying. She came up with a plan to weasel it out of him.

"Y’know, I’d like to ask someone else, just to be sure." Faye swiveled around, looking around the bar. "Who else was here on Friday night?"

The bartender frowned. "You doubtin’ my word, lady?"

She grinned. "You bet your boots, I am! In my experience, bartenders almost always forget their customers."

"They do not!" he answered hotly, outraged.

"I have yet to meet one who doesn’t," Faye said tauntingly.

The bartender shook his head angrily. "Well, ya met me! I remember that guy! He beat the shit outta one of our regulars. He was tough as nails!" He looked defiant.

"Yeah, yeah. What did he say and do? Did he give any hint of where he might be going after that?" Faye asked eagerly.

"He said he was going to Costa del Sol to do some ‘serious drinking,’ and that Midgar had gotten boring. He said he was coming back today, around one or 2 o’clock. He said he wasn’t telling anyone where he was going so he wouldn’t be disturbed, and he paid me handsomely not to tell anyone…" The man recoiled and stopped talking. "Aw shit."

"It’s all right. He’s been missing, and we’re looking for him. Look, here’s your 250 and a little extra." Faye handed him some gil coins.

"Gee, thanks, lady." The man eagerly pounced on the money and began to count it. Faye decided to get outside, then call Rude on his cell phone with the news that she knew where Reno was. He wouldn’t be happy that she had left the house, and would be angry that she had gone to a bar in Sector 7, but Faye knew he could never stay angry with her for long.

Faye stood up and walked to the door. She was so preoccupied with what to say to Rude, that she didn’t notice how the conversations had stopped and everyone was looking at her expectantly. Two men stood up from a table near the door right when she passed them, and one grabbed each arm and lifted her off the floor. The entire place erupted with cheers, laughter, and catcalls. The two men carried Faye off to the back room, with whistles coming from the people behind them. Faye screamed, kick, fought, and bit, but her diminutive size was working against her.

"Put me down!" she shrieked, kicking at one of the men. The kick fell pitifully short.

She wriggled in their grasp, fighting to break free.

"Save that for later," one man said, then he and his companion sniggered nastily. Faye felt fear spread through her, but she hid it.

"My husband will kill you for this!" Faye strained for the gun in her pocket, but she couldn’t reach it or the cell phone.

The men laughed. "Yeah, right."

They set her down for a moment, and before she could do anything, one of them was sitting on her while the other bound her hands and feet.

"Leave me alone, or you’ll regret it!" she snarled. The men laughed and picked up her now trussed up form, continuing on their way.

Faye made herself go limp in their arms, as if she had fainted, but the men just chuckled and tightened their grip on her. Then they reached the room in the back of the bar. It was a lot like the front room, filled with about thirty smoking, laughing trucker types. But these men all wore a black leather jacket with the same weird symbol on it. The symbol looked like a twisted dragon.

The two men dumped her unceremoniously on the floor.

Faye immediately tried to run, but one of them easily grabbed her by the collar of her jacket, and she swung to a halt, gasping and choking.

"Welcome, to the Silver Dragon’s hideout," a laughing man said, stepping out of the ranks of men. He was large and beefy, with fists like ham and purple spiked hair.

"And what, pray tell, is the Silver Dragon?" Faye asked coolly, her eyes darting around, looking for an escape.

"You didn’t know?" the leader asked. "We’re an infamous gang."

With a sinking heart, Faye remembered where she had heard the name before. They were a gang known best for their savage rape and murders of young women.

"Nope, can’t say I ever heard of you," Faye said calmly.

"That’s too bad," the man answered. "Why don’t we show you why we’re infamous."

There were shouts of agreement, and the men pressed in on her. Faye gave a furious yell and kicked out, but there were too many men surrounding her. Laughing and jeering, they began to kiss her sloppily.

Suddenly, there were yells, and Faye felt the weight of the men come off of her as the men were sent flying. Gun shots rang out as Elena appeared above her.

"Elena?" she asked in shock.

"No time for that now," the blonde woman replied, her blue eyes sparkling angrily as she cut Faye’s bonds. Elena gave her a hand, and Faye jumped to her feet. Looking around, she saw Rude engaged in furious combat with several men.

"Go with Reeve!" Elena instructed her, throwing herself into the fray.

Reeve was suddenly at Faye’s elbow. "C’mon!" He turned to lead her off, but Faye paused.

"But what about Rude and Elena?" she protested.

"They’ll be fine, Faye, and you know it. You and me would just be in their way. Now come with me!" Reeve answered impatiently.

"Faye, this isn’t a good time to be stubborn. Listen to me for once, for God’s sake! Go! I’ll be fine!" Rude called out. He appeared to be fine, too. He and Elena were firing off round after round from their guns, quickly and efficiently drilling holes through men’s heads, lashing out at whoever was stupid and got too close.

Faye began to turn and leave with the waiting Reeve, but then she saw the man with purple spiked hair. He was standing behind Rude and Elena, and was taking a careful bead on Rude’s back with his gun. Time seemed to slow to a standstill. Faye knew that Rude wouldn’t be able to turn and stop the man in time, so she acted.

Her hand shot into her jacket pocket, coming out with her gun. She flicked back the safety, said a quiet little prayer in her mind, and squeezed the trigger. The noise was deafening. Her eyes closed in reflex as she put the safety back on and replaced the gun in her pocket. Then Faye slowly opened her eyes. The man was on the ground, blood pouring from a neat hole bored into the back of his head. Rude turned for a moment, and his eyes met Faye’s. He knew what she had done to save him. Then he turned back to the ten or so men in front of him.

Faye felt physically sick, and wanted to drop to her knees, but she managed to stumble out of the room with Reeve, where she found that the denizens of the bar were all sitting very still and staring. She dropped into the nearest empty chair, and put her head in her hands. "I just killed someone." Her voice was soft and quiet, as if she were a frightened child.

"You had to," Reeve replied, a little taken aback. He sank into the chair across from her. "He would have killed Rude."

A terrified cry came from the backroom. "We surrender! Oh God, we surrender!"

There was silence for a moment, then five gunshots rang out. Then everything was quiet again.

"Did they…did they just…?" Reeve asked, looking perturbed.

Rude and Elena walked out of the backroom together.

"Oh God." Reeve mimicked her position, putting his dark head in his hands. He ran shaking hands through his black hair. "They just killed them after they surrendered!"

Faye sat still for a moment, then she raised her face. It was cold and emotionless. "They deserved it, Reeve."

Reeve stared at her, his brown eyes wide with the horror of what had just happened. "But they…but they…"

"They were bastards, Reeve."

Reeve stared for another moment, then nodded.

Rude looked around the silent bar. "None of you saw a thing, did you?" he asked dangerously.

There were vigorous nods of agreement as the entire bar called out in unison, "No sir!"

Rude crouched by Faye’s chair. "Are you all right?" Behind the sunglasses, his eyes were full of concern.

"No, I’m not all right!" she burst out. Then, quieter: "I just killed someone, Rude. He was alive and well one minute, then the next he was dead." She held her hands in front of her face and stared at them as if they belonged to a stranger.

"Let’s get out of here." Rude pulled Faye to her feet and half carried her out to the street. Reeve and Elena followed. "Thanks for the help, guys," he said. The two took the hint and called their own taxi.

"Taxi!" Rude raised a hand, and a yellow checkered taxicab stopped. Rude gave their address, and the car sped off.

Faye leaned against Rude’s chest, shaking.

"God, do I wish you hadn’t seen that or had to do that," Rude said quietly.

"I killed someone, Rude. I killed someone!" Faye sounded hysterical.

"They were going to hurt you, Faye." Rude’s voice was calm and reassuring.

"I know they were going to hurt me, but I still killed someone!" Tears began to run down her cheeks.

"Are you hurt, Faye?"

She shook her head forlornly.

"Why did you go there?" he asked gently.

"Because I had heard you mention to Reeve over the phone that it was where Reno had gone after work on Friday, and I was tired of sitting at home. So I went."

"Don’t do that again!" Rude’s voice was full of reproach.

"I know. But please, Rude, I can’t take this right now…" Her voice and eyes pleaded with him.

He was immediately full of remorse. "I’m sorry, Faye. I was just so scared that you’d be hurt…"

Faye snuggled closer to him. "But I’m not."

"But you almost were."

"I don’t think I can win this argument."

Rude chuckled.

"Did you find a clue as to where Reno is?" Faye asked, her voice muffled by his chest.

Rude shook his head. "Not a thing. But I’m going to kick his ass when he gets back for causing us all this trouble…"

"I know where he is."

"You what?! I went to that bar myself and found nothing!"

"Well, Rude, you don’t exactly have a way with people… It put us out of 300 gil, but Reno was planning on going to Costa del Sol yesterday. He was going to spend the night, then come back around 1 or 2 o’clock this afternoon."

Rude frowned, glancing at his watch. "But it’s almost 10 o’clock, and he’s not home. We checked his apartment and cell phone a couple of times."

"Something bad must have happened to him…" Faye trailed off.

"We’ll go to Costa del Sol in the morning to see if we can find him."

"Okay… Hey Rude?"


"How did you find me?"

"Me and Reeve met up during the day to compare notes, and neither of us had anything. So we called Elena too, but she hadn’t heard from him either. But she came right over, and talked to us about when she had last seen him, which was a little later than when we saw him. Then I invited them back to the house with me, and I found the note you left. They insisted on coming with me to get you. When we got to the bar, it was all abuzz with talk of the ‘dark haired girl’ that had been dragged to the backroom kicking and screaming. You know what happened from there."

There was no response.

"Faye?" Rude looked down at her, and smiled. She was asleep on him. "G’night, Faye." He kissed her on the top of the head.

"Reno, I’m gonna freakin’ kill you for this once I find you…" Rude muttered angrily as he watched his angel sleep. The cab sped on through the darkened streets of Midgar.


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