The wind, so merciless that you almost duck back into the helicopter on instinct, whistles against the side of the building. And there he is, you see him. He looks so ridiculously carefree, jumping and twirling on the side of a tall building, where the wind is fast enough to take you before you can even reach out for a handhold. He's so conspicuous that you don't even have to point him out to the pilot; he's already taking you closer, as close as he safely can. The trainee beside you is completely silent, studying the situation, presumably in an attempt to apply her theoretical knowledge to the practical realm. This wasn't supposed to happen on her first time out in the field, but you suppose that if she sticks around after this is over, she'll be motivated by the experience to grow even faster. That's good; you like her. She has great potential, and her mind works a lot like yours does, just without the fear of heights that has plagued you since you were young. She's going to be great someday.
The diamond thief turns a corner, still casual, still so blithe about it all, but when the search beam hits him in the face, he pulls up short. For a moment, you think he's going to roll straight off the edge in his surprise, but he doesn't. Thank God. You shout at him, through the megaphone,
"The only way you'll get out of the consequences for this is if you fall and die; the city is airtight, this danger is pointless."
He looks down at the diamond in his hand, then holds it up. The pilot edges the 'copter closer, and you extend a hand to him. Behind you, Trainee Fisher draws in a breath.
He holds the diamond out, and you sigh in relief-- finally this is over, you were afraid you'd have to stay out all night-- but then he...
He places his other hand over yours and tells you, "Hold on," with a roguish smirk that makes your heart stop. Firstly, because he-- she?-- sounds like a woman, and secondly because he's-- she's?-- they're plotting something, and you have a feeling that it doesn't involve getting into the helicopter and giving up the diamond. You hear Fisher make a shocked noise, and then she grabs hold of your legs. You spend exactly one second wondering why before the thief makes their move.
They jump off the edge of the building. You have no time to say anything to stop them, but in the back of your mind you're cursing yourself for telling them you didn't want them to die. They're taking advantage of your nature to... to do something. What exactly is the point of this? You're lucky that Fisher has good enough intuition and reflexes that she was able to grab your legs in time, but it's not like this will help the thief any. Were they trying to kill both of you?
Then they let go, and you stop breathing. They're going to die. And if you had been holding on tighter instead of thinking so hard,
Oh. Your momentum carries you around just enough to see them land on a ledge of some sort, probably leading to the back of the hotel... which would explain the strange vehicle your partner was asking you about just before the alarm went off. You told him to go after the thief in a different direction instead of investigating the vehicle further, which is a rookie mistake; in the case of a theft, all unauthorised vehicles are potential suspects. You explain this to Fisher as she pulls you back into the helicopter, figuring that you may as well make something good out of your mistakes. She looks rather shaken, but upon seeing that you're in one piece, she squares her shoulders and puts on a brave face. You wish you could do the same, but as it is, you're stumbling over your words.
You hate heights. You can't wait to get back on the ground.
Chapter 2: In Lesbians
Chapter by CoralFlower, CoralFlowerDaylight (CoralFlower)
now feat. a cool plot twist
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The metal of the bridge is still slippery with rain left over from this afternoon's downpour, just like the chase is still ongoing, which is ridiculous-- you have no idea how this roller-skating hooligan has managed to evade your entire force for so long. You really hope that they don't try any funny business involving heights this time.
You can't afford to distract yourself thinking on that right now, though; if the thief manages to cross the bridge, they'll be out of your jurisdiction, and you'll have to enlist the help of-- shudder-- your eternal rival, Inspector Smith. He's a misogynistic asshole. You hate him so much.
You've almost caught up to the thief when they turn around and start skating towards your group-- oh, goddammit, honestly, does the world hate you? They skate past you and, well, fuck. They veer over towards the edge, and you can hear your own heartbeat for-- probably about three seconds, you hear it beat five times before the thief does a T-stop and holds the diamond over the edge. You have to throw out an arm to keep your partner from surging forwards anyway. You're on the verge of cussing them out, and to hell with the consequences, when they toss the diamond at you and skate off again. You grab hold of it as soon as it touches your hands, and momentarily feel like you're back in the air, with the thief using you as a trapeze, before it... breaks into two pieces in your hands...
You turn to shout after them, just in time to watch as they grab hold of a rope and are lifted into the air-- okay what is even going on here, that's your 'copter, and what's more, the thief is going to fall.
They don't. They let go of the rope in time to land atop one of the bridge's supports-- in roller skates, somehow, that's worse than heels would be, probably-- and toss something into the sky. You just stand there, flabbergasted, for a few ridiculous moments, during which it feels as though the entire world has decided to stop making sense. And then there's a flash of light in the sky. A few seconds later, the shockwave almost knocks you off your feet.
You... aren't actually sure how you get up onto the bridge support where the thief is, but once you've finally got them into custody, you relax a little bit. You take them down onto the safe part of the bridge, and then your 'copter lands nearby and Fisher comes running out. The thief grins up at her, recognition in their eyes, and says, "I bet you're glad now you didn't become a singer."
"Oh, shut up," says Fisher, rolling her eyes. You clear your throat, and they both look at you. Fisher has a sheepish look on her face, but the thief goes on smiling.
You put a hand to your temple, and promptly decide you don't want to know. Unfortunately, protocol mandates that you find out.
"Okay," you say, heaving a sigh. "What exactly is going on here?"
"Well," begins Fisher.
"There was a bomb in the diamond," the thief says, helpfully.
"I gathered," you say completely deadpan. "How did you know about it, and how do you know Fisher?"
"You told them your name was Fisher?" The thief looks at her with an amused look on their face.
"My name is Fisher."
The thief's jaw drops for a moment, and then they continue, this time in a hurt tone of voice, "You told me your name was Sappho Gaytona and it wasn't even true? It's been three years!" You can still see a playful glint in their eye, so you don't know if they're actually offended.
"Maybe you should consider taking this more seriously for just a moment," you say, already feeling a muscle in your back starting to tighten up. You're going to need one hell of a massage after this.
"Maybe if you let me up I'll consider it. It should be obvious by now that I'm a vigilante do-gooder, and not the real diamond thief; all I did was steal a bomb and throw it at the sky."
You still aren't convinced that this is everything it seems to be, but you heave a sigh anyway, and signal for the thief to be corralled into the back of the cruiser. You have Fisher take the wheel; you want to focus on clearing up... whatever this is.
"Name?" you say sharply. At this point, you're completely fed up with this person's antics.
"Huh?" they respond, cluelessly.
"What's your name?" You grind your teeth.
"Oh! Uh... Well my name is..."
"Jackie," Fisher bites out, more like a warning than anything else.
"Oh, come on, Sapphy, it's not fair that you get to lie about your name and I don't--"
"Her name is Jackie-- er, Jack, technically, Jack Diamond."
"Alright. Ms. Diamond--"
"Call me Leda."
Fisher snorts at that.
"I--" you have no idea how to react. "Why?"
"It's a poetry reference." You almost point out that you already know the reference, but... Leda, you suppose, is already continuing, "Ask Inspector Gaytona, or whatever her real name was, if you want to know."
Fisher mutters something under her breath about how she's not an inspector yet. And Leda still isn't taking this seriously.
"Okay, anyway, Leda, how did you know the diamond was a bomb?"
"Well, okay. I knew it wasn't a diamond, y'see. It had hinges."
She must realise that isn't enough of a reason to explain why she would steal what appeared to be a diamond.
"Well I skated over there to get a closer look, and it was... beeping, softly. So I nabbed it and ran, because everyone knows what it means when something beeps and it shouldn't, y'know?"
"Ah," you say, feeling slightly faint at how surreal this entire situation is. "And how did you manage that?"
"I'm stealthy," says the thief. You see no evidence on their-- her face that she's joking, there.
"You're the polar opposite of stealthy, Jackie," says Fisher. You agree with her.
"It's Leda, now, Fletcher-- if that's even your real name."
You heave another sigh and cut the two of them off just as Fisher is protesting that her name is not, in fact, Fletcher.
"How did you manage to get close enough to the diamond to steal it?"
"By not caring about the alarms. Obviously."
"...Right." You pause for a moment, unsure exactly what to say next. Eventually you settle on, "And how do you know my trainee, here?"
"You mean Sappho? Sapphy, I'm appalled. You've been working for the most fearsome, uh... Inspector dudebro in the state, and you didn't even see fit to--"
"We met at a bar." Fisher doesn't elaborate.
"Ah," you find yourself saying, again.
Then Fisher adds, like an afterthought, "And don't pretend you had any idea who he was before tonight, Jackie, because you and I both know that's a load of--"
"We're in lesbians together," says the thief. She watches you closely as she says it, presumably for any tightening of your features that would indicate judgement, but as the most fearsome inspector dudebro in the state, you feel confident that it'd take a lot more than that to faze you. Also, it was pretty obvious from the fake name Fisher was apparently using with this girl. Not even the revelation that Fisher isn't, in fact, a heterosexual surprises you, actually, because Fisher's mentioned a girlfriend several times that you can remember.
And then you ask, just because you can't quite wrap your mind around the situation,
"And you've known Fisher for... you said three years? And you somehow didn't find out her real name?"
She doesn't respond, only pouts.
"...I /am/ sorry for lying to you," says Fisher.
"...It's cool. I probably would've done the same."
"Liar," says Fisher, biting her lip like she's worried. "But we'll talk about it later, okay?"
At this point you probably should inform them that they're in trouble and this is Serious Business, but you think that Leda's good intentions and Fisher's trustworthiness are things you can count on, if there's anything you can trust in this mess.
And if the thief's voice shakes as she says it, like she's biting back tears? Well that's none of your business.
The name "Leda" is from one of Sappho's poems. The thief chose it because it was the gayest thing she could think of at the time. And I also really like the idea of the Inspector guy knowing enough about Sappho and her poetry to get the reference, because it's pretty darn obscure. Also, yes, Fisher was the original singer girl all along in my version of events. I'm not sorry.
Gosh I still love the original film so much, I've probably watched it like ten times now.
(small but important disclaimer: the thief knew that Fisher was out to the inspector guy; that's the only reason it was okay for her to just tell him like that. don't out people without their consent!!)
If anyone wants to know exactly how Fisher ended up lying about her name for a full three years, I could probably be convinced to write another chapter to this explaining that. Please give me feedback and say what you thought!!