Highway to the Danger Zone.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything, not even the chair I'm sat on! So if you want to sue, expect to get nothing. Seriously though, all final fantasy characters belong to Squaresoft...

Author note: I try to make every story I write unique and different from the last. At least that is the plan anyway! Title for this fic is from a song by Kenny Loggins. I believe it is from the Top Gun sound-track, but I may have to check into that. Anyway, I suggest you find it if you haven't heard it before.

The Background: A team of criminals have been sweeping Esthar, causing a record number of twenty- three major robberies in the past few months. So far, no sufficient evidence has been gathered by the police to connect the crimes with anyone. But as the criminals try for bigger prizes, will they become blinded and forget to cover their tracks?

"I'm a cowboy,

On a steel horse I ride.

I'm wanted,

Dead or alive."

~Bon jovi

            A black motorbike sped through the dark, deserted streets of Esthar, sending a booming noise into the deathly quiet black air with a sharp change of gear. Sirens screeched after it with a piercing high squeal, and in a few seconds the owners of the noise appeared, skidding round the corner. A flashing blue light on top of the police cars broke into everyone's window as it pursued the mocking figure on the bike.

            "He's heading down Bond Street, over," stated a voice from an electronic device. The statement was broken up into pieces with gaps of silence inserted where there shouldn't be. But the words were instantly understood by the trained ear.

            The motorbike shifted into its highest gear and sped as fast as it could up towards the main road.

            "Watch out; there he goes," commented another. "We'll cut him off at the East Road Bridge."

            The police cars continued to submit their commands and observations to one another, unaware that they were being listened to by a pirate station. The radio messages were now in the knowledge of a small team inside an old warehouse on the edge of the city. A tall woman with long blonde hair scraped up in a bun grabbed a pair of earphones with a microphone attached to them and sat down in front of a computer screen. Quickly, she loaded a map of the city. A moving red dot showed her the exact location of the speeding motorbike.

            "This is HQ Owl to Dark-Raid1, do you read me? Over."

            "Dark-Raid1 reading you loud and clear. Over."

            "They are planning to cut you off at the East Road Bridge. The nearest car is at Zone2 Garage. Over."

            "Roger that."

            There was silence in the cold, abandoned warehouse--the same sinister silence that had occupied it for so many years. But this time it had the power to cut into their ears and quicken the beating of their hearts so they pounded in their chests. 

            "Quistis, where is he now?" A small figure asked from the other side of the room.

            The blonde woman flicked her eyes back to screen to answer the question.

            "10 minutes from the car swap," Quistis replied, following the little red dot with her eyes. After hearing this answer her friend looked up from her work and smiled.

"Come on, Squall, you can make it," commented the smaller female to herself. She then buried herself back into her work, her face disappearing into a car bonnet to look at the engine. There was a loud amount of clanking and clicking noises from her direction for awhile, and then she seemed to give up.

But still the bike raced on--the rider enjoying the adrenaline rushing through his veins until he was blinded to everything else. The entrance to the East Road opened up on his right and he swerved away from it and into a nearby garage. The police cars could be heard gaining ever closer every second, but they couldn't see where he had gone.

A man with spiked blonde hair placed a helmet on his head and jumped on the bike. He gave a 'thumbs up' and sped out of the garage seconds before the police saw where it came from. The black clad rider watched the blonde man and his bike speed up towards the trap laid out on the bridge. Smiling in a crazed fashion, he threw his bag into the back seat of a silver BMW and started the engine. The car crept silently out of the garage and rode smoothly along in the opposite direction to the bridge.

The bike now started to race over the East Bridge. A long line of metal spikes across the road could be clearly seen now, and the scattered police hid behind it with their microphones and guns.

"STOP NOW. YOU HAVE NOWHERE TO GO," shouted a voice amplified by a microphone. But the man took no notice and revved harder.   

The bike continued its dangerous speed until it swerved precariously and hit the service ramp before jumping the railing and plunging towards the black water below. Both bike and rider hit the water at the same time. The bike surfaced and was instantly spotted by the police left on the bridge.

"There is no sign of the criminal," one of the officers commentated into his radio, his eyes still searching the water.

"Yes!" Quistis screamed. "Selphie, he did it! He did it!"

The small girl screamed and hugged her friend.

"I knew he could," Selphie said, smiling. Quistis patted her hand and laughed, forgetting all her cares for that one happy moment.

After pressing a few more buttons, Quistis brought the map back to the screen. The red dot was now blinking in the Zepher River.

            "Dark-Raid1, where is your location?" Quistis asked into her microphone. Selphie sat anxiously next to her and looked at her face intently. A fuzzy noise came back in reply.

            "20 miles north of HQ. I'm about to take the connecting road now... Wait...oh, holy shit!" Quistis's eyes widened. What was happening? It would have to be something bad; there was no room for error in their plan.

            "What? Dark-Raid, are you there?" Quistis asked, almost screaming her question. Selphie jumped out of her chair and shouted into the mouthpiece until Quistis took it away. But it was no good; he was gone. "Selphie, he's gone."

            "But what happened?" Selphie asked, sitting back down to calm herself. "Our plan was flawless. What is going on?"

            "I don't know, but Squall can take care of himself. We still have to get Zell home," Quistis said, choosing her words carefully as not to let her friend see her concern.

            "Yes, yes, you are right," Selphie replied with renewed confidence.

            Quistis pulled a phone towards her and tapped in a number. The dial tone didn't sound for long until it was answered.

            "Hello?"

            "Yeah Irvine, where are you?" Quistis asked.

            "Just on the way to pick up Zell from the dock. Is everything alright?"

            "Yeah, everything is fine. Just hurry back, alright?"

            "Will do," Irvine said, hanging up. Selphie shifted in her seat.

            "You didn't tell him about Squall," she said, looking questionably at Quistis.     

"He doesn't need to know that," Quistis replied, removing her earphones and relaxing on her chair. "I guess all we can do is wait."

Selphie smiled. Seeing that her friend wasn't worrying, she relaxed also and placed a walkman on her head. Quistis held her breath to try and stop her heart from beating so fast. Squall's voice when he had cut out had been that of complete panic. Something bad had definitely happened. Quistis could only hope that he was alright.

The door to the silver BMW opened in one fast movement, and the driver jumped out and ran to the front of the car. A girl lay on the tarmac road, her limbs in disarray as blood leaked out of her hair and mouth. Squall, being a master at controlling his fear, calmed down instantly and assessed the situation. He had run someone over, but he couldn't call for help, so there was no other option than to take her with him. For a moment he stared at her peaceful looking face and perfect features; she almost looked as though she was just sleeping. Carefully, he put his hand under her back and took her weight her onto his arm before picking her up. A sigh escaped her lips as she was lifted, and he walked with her back towards the car. Dropping her legs carefully but keeping her pressed against his chest to hold her upright, Squall opened the back door and carefully placed her inside. A letter protruded from her pocket, and Squall took it without a second thought.

It was a bank statement. Her current balance, 3 days ago had been £300. Squall scanned the letter for a name.

"Rinoa Heartilly," He muttered, placing the paper back into her pocket. "Miss Heartilly, can you hear me? Rinoa?"

The girl fluttered her eye lashes and looked up at him with glazed eyes before closing them again.

"I'm going to take you somewhere where there are people to help you," Squall said, moving her wayward hair out of her face. Rinoa didn't reply but the trembling in her chest told him that she was still breathing.

"Owl, you there? Over." Squall asked into his radio. Quistis snatched her microphone and instantly placed it to her lips.

"Yes. Over."

"Just a minor problem. I'm nearing the turning and approaching home," Squall said, looking in his rear mirror at the girl in back. "You got Zell? Over."

"Irvine is collecting him now," Quistis replied.

"Roger that. Over and out."

            Quistis exchanged a confused look with Selphie. What was going on?

            Zell appeared at the side of the dock. His long underwater swim hadn't taken much out of him except for air that he soon reclaimed as he reached the surface. After shedding his biker leather, he looked as if he had been caught in a bad rain storm rather than a high speed chase.

            "Ok?" Irvine asked as he rolled up next to him.

            "Yes," Zell replied, climbing into the much appreciated heated car.

            "Let's get going," Irvine said after Zell had strapped himself into the passenger seat.

            "Yeah, I'm fucking freezing!" Zell said, grabbing a blanket from the back seat and wrapping it around his shoulders. Irvine laughed.

            "Hey, you wanted to jump," he commented. Zell shrugged.

            "Couldn't let Squall do it. If he got caught..."

            "Yeah, I know," Irvine said, cutting him off. Zell shivered and leaned against the window. "We'll be back soon; try and get some rest."   

            Squall arrived after Zell and Irvine even though he had started off before them.   As the door opened to welcome him, everyone broke into sighs and screams of joy until they spotted the girl lying in his arms. Squall ignored all their stares and carried Rinoa up to an old work bench that they had been using to draw their plans up on.

            "Bring me a pillow, Selph," Squall ordered, hearing Selphie instantly scuttle away and search for the requested item. She brought it back triumphantly.

            "Here. What happened, Squall?" She asked as she handed it over. Squall took the pillow from her gratefully and placed it under Rinoa's head.

            "I knocked her down. Thankfully, I was going slowly." Squall said, not looking up from the girl on the bench.

            Quistis strode over with the first aid box, and Squall was glad someone else was thinking apart from him.

            "It doesn't look to bad. How fast were you going?" Quistis asked, opening the box and pulling out some bottles of murky liquid. Squall thought for a moment.

            "I'd just pulled out of a stop; I wasn't even in second gear yet," he replied.

            "I doubt there is any real damage to her head, although there are a few cuts. She's hurt her arm pretty badly though. I don't think you collided directly with her, Squall," Quistis commented.

            "There was a push bike." Squall answered, sensing that an explanation was what Quistis was searching for.

            "She's been very lucky," Quistis said, looking over the cut on her lip. "I'll see to her tonight; the rest of you can sleep. Selphie may help if she wishes, but the rest of you need not stay up."

            "Wake me if anything happens, Quistis," Squall said, looking down on the girl and then at Quistis.

            "Yes, of course," She replied. "Now, bed all of you!"

            The three men turned and walked towards their makeshift bedrooms. Rinoa would be safe with Quistis, and Squall didn't think he would be any help in the state he was in. Zell jogged to catch him up and asked what should have been asked at the moment he arrived.

            "Where are the diamonds?"

            "They are safe."

            "Yes! I knew you would pull it off!" Zell said happily. Squall watched him walk away and frowned. Yes, he had done what they had all set out to do, but it had almost cost someone their life, and Squall knew that no matter how often they played this game, it was never going to get easier.

A/N: Massive thank you to Bianka-Chan for Beta reading all of this for me.

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