Catching Glimpses Chapter 8

Chocobo Excrement and Wonder Woman

By Kiyara

"You’re not the only one who can pick locks, dearie."-Dinah Selby


Dinah was awakened early the next morning by loud, insistent banging noises on her door. She buried her head in the pillow and threw the covers over her head. "Go away!" she moaned.

"Nope!" Reno called back cheerfully. "Rise and shine!"

Dinah raised her head blearily to look at the clock by the bedside. "It’s six o’clock in the morning for God’s sake, Reno! Just let me sleep!"

"Quit being so lazy!" he threw back.

Dinah barked a short, irritated laugh. "That’s rich coming from you."

"Sure, sure, whatever. Just get up! It’s time to be on the move. That is, unless you wanna miss the flight…"

"The what?" Dinah raised her head to look at the door.

"The flight that we’ve gotta catch to get to our final destination, of course. Now are you getting up or not?" Reno answered.

He heard the shower start in reply. Reno allowed himself a triumphant grin as he crept off. He stopped in the front lobby and crouched behind a chair. Palmer bounced in, humming to himself and clutching a cup of tea. He sat at his desk, sitting up high, aided by the pile of books on his chair. Reno stuffed a fist into his mouth to keep himself from laughing as he stared intently at Palmer’s cup.

"C’mon, drink it…" he hissed, breathing hard with the effort of not laughing. He snickered softly to himself as he remembered his early morning trip to the local chocobo stable, which was just outside of the city.

Palmer put his feet up on his desk, smiling happily. He was about to take a sip of his tea when the phone rang. Reno cursed softly to himself unhappily, moving around slightly to take the cramp out of his legs.

Palmer talked into the phone for quite some time, saying things like, "Well, we have vacancies on the 17th, but not the weekend of the 29th."

Reno was swiftly getting bored, but he managed to keep his attention on the scene in front of him by imagining Palmer’s reaction to what was in his tea. What seemed like an eternity later, Palmer hung up the phone and returned to staring happily at his tea. He slowly raised the cup to his fat lips, and Reno tensed, sniggering softly.

Palmer drank deeply from it, almost finishing the entire cup in one large gulp. He set the cup down hard on the desk, scalding liquid sloshing over the edge and onto the desk and his pudgy fingers. But he didn’t seem to even notice. His eyes bulged, and his hands flew to his throat. Palmer fell out of the chair, taking his stack of books with him. He writhed around on the floor as his roly-poly little body jerked, gasping, his face beet red. Finally, after spitting out what bit of the tea he hadn’t swallowed, he looked around wildly for the source of the hysterical laughter he was hearing. Palmer felt sweat break out as he recognized the laugh.

Reno rolled out from behind the chair, roaring with laughter. "You…you should have seen your…face!" he wheezed.

"I…you…argh!" was all that Palmer managed to say.

Reno managed to get himself slightly under control, until he began laughing uproariously again. "That was…better than I had hoped for!"

"But…but you said you wouldn’t play pranks on me! I paid for your rooms!" Palmer stuttered.

"No, no," Reno corrected him after brining himself under control. "I said I wouldn’t harass you, and I haven’t. Have I made a single fat joke or confronted you in any way?"

Palmer shook his head silently.

"See? There ya go! Pranks and harassment are very different, Palmer," Reno said, his tone that of a lecturing professor.

"What was it?" Palmer asked the question he had been dreading.

"I knew how much you love animal products, like lard, so I-"

Palmer felt sick to his fat little stomach.

"-Paid a visit to the local chocobo farm this morning and picked up some nice, fresh chocobo shit. From there, it was simple to drop it into your tea." Reno looked pleased with himself. Palmer was turning green.

"I came here to escape from you!" Palmer wailed. "I settled down happily with my hotel and family-"

Reno looked surprised. "You have a family?"

"…No, it just sounds better. All right, all right. I settled down happily in my hotel and I’ve never been so content in my life as I have these past three years! And just when my shrink said I was gaining progress, you show up and ruin everything again!" Palmer looked ready to burst into tears.

Reno watched impassively. "The guilt trip ain’t gonna work, Palmer."

"It’s not a guilt trip! It’s the honest to God truth!" Palmer insisted.

"Sure. Whatever. And I haven’t ruined everything, have I?" Reno left the ‘yet’ unspoken. But Palmer knew it was there.

"Oh no. What else are you going to do to torture me?!" Palmer looked around like a caged animal.

"Nothing. Jeez, don’t be so paranoid. I’ve gotta leave. In fact, I’m leaving as soon as Dinah’s ready."

"And Dinah would be the young lady you arrived with?" Palmer asked with curiosity.

Reno nodded.

"Y’know, she looks too good for you," Palmer began.

"You’ve got it the wrong way around. I’m too good for her," Reno answered arrogantly.

"Nice to know you think that," Dinah’s voice broke in. Both men turned to look at her. She was leaning against the doorframe with her arms crossed over her chest, looking on amusedly. Her wet hair had been thrown into a messy bun. "Now if I’m not mistaken, we’ve got to get going if we’re gonna catch that flight."

"Yeah," Reno answered. Dinah detached herself from the wall and moved toward the door. "Wait! I’ve gotta get my stuff from my room!" Reno made as if he was going to make a dash for the hallway, but Dinah held up his black jacket.

"This, and the stuff in its pockets, is the only thing you had, right?" she asked.

"Yeah, but how’d you get that?" Reno asked indignantly, striding across the room and snatching it from her grasp.

She smiled with no real cheer. "You’re not the only one who can pick locks, dearie."

"Y’know, that’s one nickname I don’t think I like…" Reno muttered, slinging the jacket over his shoulder.

Dinah tossed Palmer the key to her room, and when Reno did the same, Palmer caught both.

"Bye Palmer!" Reno said, waving cheerily.

Palmer groaned softly. "Just get out of here!"

Reno and Dinah walked out the door, already arguing. Palmer raced to the window and watched them stroll down the street. The second they were out of view, he dashed back to his desk and dialed a number on his telephone.

"This is Palmer. They just left, and it was definitely who you’re looking for. The woman called herself Dinah…Right. Blonde hair, blue-gray eyes, tall, thin. With Reno Lynley. They’re on their way to the airport………You’re very welcome. Will I be getting the usual compensation for this?…Excellent. It was a pleasure doing business with you, as usual."

Palmer slammed down the phone with a vengeance, and allowed himself an evil smirk a la Reno. "Heh heh. I’m sure you’ll have fun with these friends of mine, Reno."

Suddenly, his phone rang again. He picked it up. "Turks’ Pride Hotel…Yes, this is Ernest Palmer…WHAT?! You can’t close me down!…Because of health issues?! You had a complaint from a Reno Lynley of chocobo excrement being in the food?! I don’t know what you’re talking about!…… You have someone across the street watching me so I can’t discard any evidence? Well good, because if he’s been there for more than five minutes he’d have seen…He’s only been there for a few seconds?! But-"

No matter what, Reno always had the last laugh.

*** It was still dark, damp, and cold in Junon Harbor as Reno and Dinah hurried through the streets and corridors on their way to the airport. They were the only ones out.

"Why won’t you tell me where we’re going?!" Dinah asked for what seemed like the hundredth time that morning.

"Haven’t we had this conversation before?" Reno asked, exasperated. "I’m not telling you because if you did you’d just ditch me, though that’s starting to seem like a good idea…"

"Why don’t you do it, then?" Dinah’s gaze and face held a challenge as her eyes burned defiantly. "Just tell me where we’re going and I’ll ditch you and we’ll both be happier."

Just as Reno opened his mouth to reply, he caught sight of someone moving out of the corner of his eye. He spun swiftly, feeling sure that he saw a flurry of activity as someone ducked behind a building.

"What was that?" Dinah had apparently seen it too.

"Whatever it was, it couldn’t have been good," Reno replied, drawing his gun carefully.

"What time does that flight leave?" Dinah asked, glancing at her watch.

"Why are you asking about that when we’ve got more important things to worry about? We’ve got someone stalking us!"

"Quit being so paranoid. I’m asking because if the flight leaves at seven, then we’ve got about two minutes to get there."

"What?!" Reno immediately forgot about the situation in front of him and turned to her. "That’s the last flight there for days! If we don’t make it…"

"We’re in deep shit. Let’s go!" Dinah dashed off. Reno caught up to her easily and pulled her aside seconds before she would have entered a widely traveled corridor.

"This way!" he said, pulling her with him as he sprinted down a darker, damp alleyway.

"What’s this?!" Dinah asked, blinking to get used to the absence of light.

"A shortcut. C’mon!"

Reno led her to the end of the alley, where there was a large wooden fence and a short stack of wooden crates pushed up against it. With a jump, he was onto the stack of crates. He threw a hand down on the top of the fence and used his momentum to vault over the top, landing in a crouch on the runway on the other side.

A half a second later, Dinah sailed over the fence to join him. Looking around, she quickly recognized that they were at the airport. A small cargo plane’s engines were starting up.

"Uh oh," she muttered. Then to Reno: "Is that our lift?"

"’Fraid so," Reno answered grimly.

Suddenly, he heard a clattering noise. He and Dinah spun simultaneously to find that the person that had been following them had followed them over the fence as well.

She was short and compact, with straight white hair that fell down her back to her waist. She looked to be too young for the hair, even though he couldn’t pinpoint her age exactly. The only other person that Dinah had ever heard of having such a color of hair at a young age was Sephiroth. Dinah had seen pictures of Sephiroth, though, and this woman’s hair was snow white, unlike the pure silver of the legendary warrior’s. Her body was lithe and muscled, and she had flat white eyes that looked like dark storm clouds.

White eyes? What the…? Reno thought to himself. She looks dangerous…

"I am here to take back what is rightfully ours," she said, her voice an emotionless monotone, looking straight at Dinah. She drew a long, thin sword and held it in a practiced combat pose. "And to bring death to any who would dare stand in my way."

"But…but you were the human I could see from my tube when Hojo was experimenting on me!" Dinah stammered. "Why would you want to take me back to them? You have just as much of a right to hate them as I do!"

The woman said nothing and marched forward, her gaze unwavering from Dinah.

"I think we should run like hell; what about you?" Dinah said to Reno quietly. That was when she realized that Reno was gone. She spun around quickly, but all she saw was the plane still powering up and the woman still advancing.

"Damn you, Lynley. I should have known. You only watch out for number one," she said bitterly. Dinah turned her attention to the white haired woman. I guess I’ll just have to take care of this on my own.

"You really don’t want to do this!" Dinah pleaded with the woman. The white haired woman had no reaction, just continued toward Dinah. When Dinah began to back away, the woman sped up.

Dinah decided to give up the idea of running, and held still. She cowered as if she were afraid. "Please, don’t hurt me!" she whimpered.

The woman showed her first sign of emotion by smiling triumphantly. She produced a syringe and made as if she was going to inject it into Dinah’s unprotected neck.

Dinah’s hand shot up and knocked the syringe flying to splinter into tiny shards of glass on the tarmac. Her foot moved up at the same time, catching the woman under her chin. Unready for the sudden attack, she staggered back. Dinah pressed her advantage, both fists flying out; one to catch her adversary in her right eye, and the other to double the woman over with a punch in the gut. Dinah swiftly kicked the sword out of the woman’s hand to sail across the pavement and land too far for her to reach.

Then the woman recovered from the gut punch much faster than she should have been able to. She straightened up, and her fist struck Dinah in the side of her head. Dinah fell back, her ears ringing with the force of the blow. The woman swept her foot across the back of Dinah’s knees, sending the blonde tumbling to the ground. Dinah hit her head on the pavement in the process, and was knocked out cold.

The woman shook her head and picked Dinah up, throwing her over one shoulder. Then she became aware of the loud roar in her ears from right behind her, and she sensed a large presence. A voice said from behind her ear, "I’ll take that, thank you!"

Dinah’s weight was lifted from her, and the white haired woman spun. The little cargo plane was taxiing along the runway directly beside her, and the red-haired man that Dinah was traveling with was crouched in the open hatch of the plane, smiling and waving at her. Directly beside him was Dinah’s prone form, which had been slung over the woman’s shoulder a half of a second before. The man gave her one last impertinent wave, then slammed the door shut as the little plane lifted off.

The woman gave an animalistic howl of fury and rage, and glared after the plane that was rapidly climbing into the early morning air. "I will get you eventually. You cannot hide forever."


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