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Old 11-29-2010, 02:32 AM   #1
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The Fourth of July - Chapter 14

This is (almost) it, folks! There will be a little epilogue after this, but for all intents and purposes, the story ends here. It's a really long chapter though...!

Thanks again to Diane for beta-ing so awesomely, and to all you readers and commenters.

Disclaimer: It's still all fake, sorry. Any and all errors are my own silly fault.



-----
Chapter 14
-----

If there had been any doubt in Natasha's mind about whether Rob or the airport inspectors could be trusted, it was dismissed when she woke up to the news on the fourth of July yet again.

"Lying bastard," she muttered as she paid for the length of chain and the padlocks later on, at the hardware shop. The cashier gave her an odd look, but Tasha was used to those by now.

---

"When's your plane leaving?" Edge said eventually.

"Four," Bono replied. He was pacing nervously in Edge's kitchen, although he didn't know what was making him so nervous, aside from the fucking déjà vu. Edge wasn't in the best mood either, and Bono suspected that the guitarist was looking forward to Bono leaving his house. And the country, for that matter.

"I dunno, Reg," Bono said distractedly after another minute of tense silence. "I've got a bad feeling. Maybe I should get a later flight."

"Does it matter? You'll end up in London either way," Edge said shortly. Then he took a deep breath. "It's up to you," he said more mildly. "You'd probably be late if you left now, anyway. It wouldn't be the first time you'd missed a plane."

Bono's phone rang, and after exchanging a few words with the other party, he hung up. "They're sending a car around," he said.

"Maybe you'll make it after all, then," Edge replied.

Bono kept pacing.

---

Once again, Natasha had set herself up under the plane, securely chained, gun in one hand, megaphone in the other. She'd brought more water this time, and something to eat. No harm in being prepared for a long stand-off, she thought. And she had optimistically packed something for Bono, just in case things went differently this time.

The police came in due course, as they always did, and set themselves up behind the baggage cart, nearly a hundred feet from the plane.

"Nice to see you, Rob," she called on her megaphone, before Rob had a chance to introduce himself. "How's Melissa and little Aaron? And what was your dog's name... Donny? I love staffies..."

It was nice to put them on the back foot, Tasha mused, as she imagined Rob wondering how she had learned about his family.

"What can we do to help you, Natasha?" Rob replied. Natasha started, but then realised that they would have been able to identify her from a distance in the time it had taken them to get here and set up. Usually they let her introduce herself, but she had changed the game by showing off her knowledge first.

"You can get someone who can tell their arse from their elbow to find out what's wrong with this plane," she said without preamble. "Everyone who inspects it says it's fine, but it's going to crash just after take off. The starboard engine will seize up, then catch fire, and then the plane will nosedive and crash over there." Natasha waved her gun to the west.

"Why would it crash if it's passed inspection?"

"That's what you need to find out! If I knew, I could stop the fecking thing. I'm not moving until someone's taken that engine apart, here on the runway, and found out what's wrong."

"And if they don't?"

"Like I said, I'm staying right here. I've got all day."

"Rome wasn't built in a day, Natasha. What if it takes longer than that?"

Tasha laughed. "I've got as many days as it takes. I've had more than enough todays already."

"How do you know the engine is faulty, Natasha?"

Rob used her name a lot. Rob probably thought it was supposed to build a bond between them. Rob probably didn't realise how incredibly annoying it was, especially after half a dozen days of it in a row.

Here we go, Natasha thought. "You wouldn't believe me," she replied.

"Try me," Rob said.

"You haven't believed me all the other times we've had this conversation. Why should today be any different?"

"I don't understand, Natasha."

With a sigh, Tasha explained the situation, yet again.

"... so if anyone tries to arrest me, I'll just shoot myself again, and we can all come back and do this tomorrow until the end of feckin' time."

"Nobody wants you to do that, Natasha," Rob said in that sincere voice of his. "And I know you don't want to hurt anyone else. I don't really think that you want to die yourself, either."

"Of course not, not permanently. But I've got nothing to live for until this day stops repeating. If this plane stays on the ground and tomorrow it's the fifth of July, no one will be happier than me. But someone needs to find the fault in that engine, just so everyone knows I didn't make it all up."

"You have to understand, it's hard to believe..."

"You haven't had any déjà vu today? No strange dreams, unexplained anxiety?" Natasha hadn't tried to prod Rob's memory before, and she soon realised why.

"No, I'm afraid not. As far as I'm aware, yesterday was the third, and tomorrow will be the fifth, and time is continuing as it always has."

Tasha sighed. "All right then. Bono can vouch for me." She checked her watch... still a few minutes to go until the shouting started again.

"Does he know you, then?"

"Yes and no."

---

Bono was hardly looking where he was going as he strode through the airport. He'd meant to use the ride to the airport to make some phone calls, but instead had stared out of the window the whole way, his mind filled with static. Even now, he wondered why he was here. In the car he'd realised he didn't want to get on this flight, although exactly why had remained elusive. But he kept going anyway, as if acting out of habit and nothing more. He could take a different flight if he wanted. There were several that would get him to London in time. Why get on this one if he didn't want to?

But here he was. It felt inevitable.

Stupid to make such a drama out of a short hop across the Irish Sea. Bono shook his head, and nearly ran into a security guard.

"Excuse me sir, this way please."

The security guard and his colleague guided him away from the usual check-in and security area. "What's going on?"

"Nothing to be concerned about, sir."

Bono was immediately concerned. He thought he could hear something through the echoing space of the curiously empty airport. Voices, amplified but faint with distance.

"... hear me, Bono?..."

"Who was that? What's going on?" Bono stopped and planted his feet.

The guard stopped too, glancing behind him. "There's just a small situation, sir. The police are dealing with it. We were told to keep you away..."

"Oh you were, were you?" Bono turned on his heel and strode towards the voices. Something about this was resonating in his head. All his nerves and anxiety, all that infuriating déjà vu seemed to come together, but just out of reach.

"Sir, it's not safe. You have to wait over here..." The guards' heavy footsteps came up behind Bono, and he broke into a run without knowing why.

"I know you're in there, Bono... you have to be in there..."

A sense of urgency pushed Bono onwards, until he ran into a wall of uniformed police officers, fifty feet from the tinted glass walls and doors of a departure gate. All he could see over their heads was the reflection of flashing lights.

"It's Natasha... you have to remember..."

Natasha... That name, together with the voice, unlocked something in Bono's head. He remembered... something. Almost. "Let me through!"

"I'm sorry sir, we can't do that."

"Natasha, if you'd just put the gun down, we could talk about this more comfortably..."

"Just a small situation, is it? I know her!" He was sure he did, although he couldn't quite remember how...

"Bono! If you're in there, you'll remember this... I know a girl, hole in her heart..."

Memory crashed through. Bono stopped trying to get around the police and stared through them, instead.

"She said Infinity's a great place to start..." he whispered. An apparently infinite number of fourths of July now tumbled through his head, one memory on top of the other, and most of them had Natasha in them. "I know her! Let me through, I need to speak to her!"

"Come on, Bono! It'd be just my luck if you stopped showing up just when I need you to be here... what about Hollie's present, the James Joyce book? I just need to talk to you..."

One of the uniformed policemen had responded to a nod from another one, and ducked outside to speak with his superiors behind the luggage cart.

"I'll be right back, Natasha. Sergeant O'Reilly will be here if you need anything, all right?"

"Oh really? Hahaha. Take your time."
Natasha started singing again, almost to herself, but still over the megaphone. "I know a girl, who's like the sea, she changes every day for me... la da dah, hole in her heart...I wish I knew more of this bleedin' song. Come out here and sing me the rest of it, Bono!"

A policeman, who was highly ranked enough to not be wearing a uniform under his kevlar vest, approached Bono and the uniformed cops. He was tall, thin, bald, and didn't look impressed.

"This is a very dangerous situation, Mr Hewson," he said bluntly. "We have someone with no criminal record, nor any history of instability, chained to an aeroplane, holding a gun, threatening to kill herself, claiming the plane will crash, singing, and asking for you. It is not our policy to negotiate with terrorists," he added severely.

"She's not a terrorist," Bono said.

"She is unstable, and unpredictable. If we let her know you're here, there's no telling how she will react. It's highly likely she's planted an explosive device on that aircraft, and we need to get her away from it and defuse it."

"Listen, whoever-you-are," Bono said, feeling defensive about someone he'd technically never met. "I know her. She's not a terrorist, she hasn't planted anything on that plane. She just wants to stop it from taking off and killing everyone."

"Senior Sergeant Robert Dawson. You heard all that, did you? You say you know her? What's her surname, then?" He gave Bono a sceptical look.

Bono's mouth opened, but for a moment his brain froze. "Natasha... Collins? No... Something like that. Look, I know her!" And he hadn't heard her mention the crash... not this today, anyway.

"It's Coleman. How do you know her, exactly? Have you had relations?" Senior Sergeant Dawson's eyes narrowed.

"No, we have not."

"We need to know if there's a history between you. It may explain her behaviour... and it may be even more dangerous to let her see you."

"We have not 'had relations'," Bono said firmly, keeping his temper with difficulty. "We're... acquaintances. She's a journalist, we met in this airport once and had a conversation about... ehm, theology... and literature... lots of things. She's been going through a tough time lately. I think she will be relieved to see me, and I will be perfectly safe." He'd met her dozens and dozens of times, for the first time. He would worry later about how that was possible.

"What's taking so long, Rob? Did you fall in?"

"Rob will be back soon, Natasha."


Senior Sergeant Dawson's lips compressed. Bono waited.

"Listen, if this isn't going to work today, just tell me now so I can shoot myself and try again tomorrow. I can't stand all this waiting around. Hey Bono! I've got some food out here if you're hungry. I need to repay you for those peanuts..."

"What does that mean?" Dawson demanded.

Bono was still struggling to untangle the mass of conflicting memories. He remembered her on the plane with him... he had offered her peanuts. She'd told him his life was worth more than a peanut...

Not today, it wasn't.

"I'm going out there," Bono told Senior Sergeant Dawson, brushing past. Uniformed cops grabbed him. "Let me go! I can help, I know I can. She won't hurt me, or anyone. For God's sake, let go!" He shook off the arms, glaring at Dawson.

"Very well. But you're wearing a vest, and a wire. Everything will be recorded, all right?"

"Whatever you say."

---

Natasha was leaning against the plane's front tyres, chewing on some dried fruit and wondering if she was wasting her time. If Bono was in there, why hadn't he come out? If he wasn't in there, why was she out here, shouting at him? Maybe she would have to solve this on her own, maybe there was no point trying to make him remember. Maybe she had only jogged his memory because she was lonely.

She sighed, and looked down the barrel of her gun. It was earlier than usual, but her patience was running out.

"Natasha! Put it down, please," came a voice over the police megaphone. But it wasn't Rob, nor was it Sergeant O'Reilly. She looked over, incredulous.

"Please Natasha, don't do that," Bono pleaded. His head was visible over the luggage cart, the megaphone obscuring part of his face.

"Bono, thank god," Tasha said, then repeated it into her own little megaphone. She lowered the gun, unexpectedly overcome with emotion. "Please tell me that you remember..."

"I remember, Natasha," the singer replied. "I remember too much about things that didn't happen."

"Then you can tell them... about the crash, and the engine failing..."

Natasha saw Bono lower the megaphone, and saw Rob speaking to him. Bono raised the megaphone again.

"They want you to drop the gun before they talk about the plane," he said.

"Bullshit! They'll arrest me the moment I put it down, the plane will crash, and then I'll spend the rest of the day being interrogated about bombs. I just want them to look at the feckin' engine! Why is that so hard? How could it blow up like that if there wasn't something obviously wrong??"

There was another pause. "They say the same thing. They say they can't risk the maintenance crew while you have a gun. They don't trust..." The megaphone was snatched away by Rob.

"They don't trust me while I'm holding a gun? Look at all o' them!" Natasha gestured at the various armed police who had weapons trained on her. Unfortunately she gestured with the hand holding her own weapon, and the tension of the snipers leapt up exponentially. She heard clicks and shouts.

"Sorry," she said, lowering her gun. The tension eased back a notch, but was still much higher than it had been.

Tasha saw Bono and Rob exchanging heated words, and heard snatches of raised voices on the summer breeze. The police megaphone squealed, and Tasha heard Bono's voice again.

"... told you, I know her! Natasha, I know you weren't going to use that gun. Right?"

"Of course not. Not on them."

There was a longer silence, but this time it was accompanied by utter stillness from behind the luggage.

"Natasha..." Bono sounded shakier all of a sudden.

"What's wrong?"

"I... I just remembered something. I saw you, last time. I saw you through those windows, when you shot yourself. Don't do that again. Please."

He had been there? He'd been there after all, yesterday, and seen her... Natasha swallowed. "I'm sorry you had to see that," she said. "I'm sorry I didn't wait a bit longer. I thought you'd remembered about the crash and stayed at home, like you did the day before that. But you'd never remembered twice in a row, so..."

"What if the plane had been grounded yesterday, after you did that? What if you'd killed yourself and time kept moving? I would have had that image burned into my brain for the rest of my life, and so would all these other people. I may still have to live with that, but at least you're alive now. Maybe this will all happen again tomorrow and I'll forget again. But you won't, so I'm asking, please don't make anyone witness that."

Natasha thought of the hapless train driver who had run her over, the other people who would have contributed to her various suicides, or found her afterwards. She thought of her family. And it really was a stupid thing to do, killing herself just to save a few hours of questioning and frustration. The epitome of laziness and impatience.

"I'm sorry, Bono," she said, and meant it. "And everyone else, if you ever remember, I apologise to you, as well. I won't do it again."

"I'm glad to hear that," Bono replied, and sounded relieved. "I almost wish the day would start over, just so I could forget it."

"I don't think they'll just let me walk away now," Natasha said. "I have to stop this plane. Can't you convince them this is real?"

Bono and Rob started speaking again, and the megaphone was handed to Sergeant O'Reilly. Natasha leaned back against the tyres again and closed her eyes. Please let them believe him...

Several long minutes passed, and Natasha heard the sounds of raised voices drifting over the distance between her and the luggage cart. She just waited with her eyes closed, relieved that the matter was in someone else's hands, if only for a short time. The sun peeked out from behind the plane's nose, and the world behind Tasha's eyelids turned red.

There was a short squeal from the police megaphone, followed by Bono's voice. "I'm coming over there, Natasha. I'll be safe, won't I?"

Tasha opened her eyes and blinked against the sunshine. She lifted her own megaphone. "Of course," she said. The police and their guns were still there, so she supposed that Bono hadn't been able to convince them she was telling the truth. It was an unexpectedly bitter disappointment.

With his arms held out from his sides, Bono walked slowly towards her, no doubt under police instructions to be non-threatening. One corner of his mouth betrayed an ironic smile, as if he thought this whole charade was quite ridiculous. Finally he reached Natasha, and surveyed her handiwork with the chains.

"You've really done this properly, haven't you," he chuckled.

Natasha smiled back, absurdly relieved to see him up close. "I've had a lot of practice." She turned off her megaphone, but kept hold of the gun.

"I'm wearing a wire under this," the singer tapped his bullet-proof vest. "They're recording everything."

"Are they now?" Natasha should have expected it. She spoke clearly towards Bono's chest. "If anyone's curious, tonight's lottery numbers are seven, fourteen, two, eight, and nineteen. Supplementaries twelve and five. Or if you prefer betting on horses, the winner of the steeplechase in Galway today is Joyful Banter, at odds of eleven to one."

"That was generous of you," Bono grinned.

"Shite! I should've bought a lottery ticket before I came out here... Can you buy them over the phone?"

"I can get one for you," Bono offered.

Natasha laughed. "How would that look, Bono buying a lottery ticket? Did the last album not sell very well?"

"It's easier than putting out a Greatest Hits album," the singer mused, with a twinkle in his eye.

"How come they let you come out here? Don't they think I'm a dangerous lunatic?" Chained to an aeroplane with a gun in her hand, Natasha's sense of humour was short-lived.

"They thought you were a terrorist at first. I think I convinced them that you're not, which is lucky for you."

"Why couldn't you convince them to take this engine apart, then?" Tasha's temper boiled up. She'd been pinning all her hopes on Bono corroborating her story...

Bono was shaking his head. "It's too hard to believe, if you haven't realised the day's been repeating. I didn't believe you all those times, how could all these people believe it? They're naturally suspicious, especially of people waving guns around. It's true, Natasha!" Bono over-rode Tasha's protests, but only for a moment.

"Jaysus, it's feckin' impossible! I tried to tell them without a gun. I rang and told them there was a problem in the engine, and the plane crashed. I rang through with a fake bomb threat, and the plane still crashed. I came out here and chained meself up and tried to tell 'em the truth, but there was nothin' to stop 'em cutting the chains and arrestin' me again. And the plane STILL crashed. They won't listen to me at all without a gun, and now you're sayin' they'll never trust me while I have one?! What am I supposed to do, Bono??"

"Calm down, Natasha."

"Why? What's the point?"

"They let me come over here because I told them I could get the gun off you, and end this peacefully. Wait," he said, holding up his hands to forestall her renewed anger. "If they see you getting upset, they might do something rash. I think ... hold on." Bono unzipped the kevlar vest and reached under it, pulling out the small microphone and wire. He took the wireless transmitter off his belt and pried the batteries out. "That's better..."

Almost immediately Rob spoke over his megaphone. "Is everything all right there?"

Bono picked up Tasha's megaphone and switched it on. "Just fine, thank you." He switched it off again and faced Natasha. "I think you need more leverage. If you took me hostage..."

"What?" Natasha stared at Bono incredulously.

"You kidnapped me once, didn't you? This will be easier. Maybe if there's two of us in danger, they'd..."

"And people think I'm mad. Fine, if that's what you want..." Her movements were somewhat restricted by her chains, but Tasha's left arm flashed out and yanked Bono towards her, holding his back against her chest, her arm around his throat. She pressed the gun against his head. "How's that?"

The police were instantly galvanised to attention. "What are you doing, Natasha?" Rob called out.

Bono swallowed. "Ehm. Convincing," he allowed.

"Pick up the megaphone, Bono," Natasha said, keeping the gun against his head. Her heart was hammering, and suddenly things felt... different.

"Everything's fine, Rob," Bono was telling the police over Natasha's megaphone.

"It doesn't look fine from here, Bono. Can I speak to Natasha?"

"He is speaking to me," Tasha told Bono. "I've got my hands full all of a sudden, so I guess you'll have to speak for both of us."

Bono re-iterated Natasha's demands, making himself sound like an equal partner rather than a hostage.

Sergeant Dawson must have been frustrated, after things had looked so hopeful for him not long before. "I've never seen Stockholm syndrome set in so quickly before," he was heard to mutter, possibly while he thought his megaphone was turned off.

Natasha stared at the back of Bono's head, an inch from her face, and wondered morbidly what would happen if she pulled the trigger. It would be a hell of a mess. She'd have to kill herself as well, of course...

"I could do it, you know," she said, almost under her breath. "We'd just wake up tomorrow, and try again..."

Bono had gone very still. "Natasha," he said slowly. Was that a tremor in his voice?

"It's not that bad, you know," she said. "Bang, and then you're back in your bed, waking up again."

"Natasha... do you remember what I said before, about seeing you shoot yourself?"

Tasha didn't reply, but watched the muscles in Bono's jaw and neck working, below the gun's muzzle at his temple.

"Maybe you're right, and we wouldn't die. But do you want to take that risk?"

Natasha said nothing, still watching. Beads of sweat stood out on Bono's skin.

"You promised me, Natasha. You promised you wouldn't kill yourself again. And even if we woke up tomorrow, you will have to remember blowing my head apart at point-blank range for the rest of your life. Your family will have to wonder why their daughter turned into a murderer."

Natasha squeezed her eyes shut, and sanity finally reasserted itself. She pulled the gun away from Bono's head, and pulled in a long, shaky breath. "I'm sorry," she said again. "Sometimes I wonder..."

"It's all right," Bono said, equally shaky. "Just... don't put on such a good act, okay?"

"Deal."

"Bono?" came Rob's voice.

"I'm fine, Rob," Bono said over the megaphone. "But we're not moving until someone looks at that engine."

The stalemate continued, and another hour passed.

--

"What if they won't do it, Bono?" Natasha asked. "What if we're here until six a.m. and the day re-sets?"

"But the plane won't have crashed," Bono pointed out. "If that's what's making the day repeat, time should continue."

"We can't stay out here forever, and sooner or later that plane will take off and crash and kill people."

"We'll work it out, Natasha. Somehow, this will work out."

"Hmph."

"Didn't you say you had some food?" Bono asked a minute later.

"Yeah, in the bag... I got some melon for you." Tasha smiled a faint smile.

"Melon...?"

"For your nuts. The peanuts, on the plane."

"Oh yes, of course..."

Natasha reached for the bag, but Rob's voice, no longer sympathetic, rang out immediately. "Stay away from the bag, Natasha."

Bono fumbled for the megaphone. "There's just food in there," he called.

"So you say. If Natasha lets you go, we'll send some food out to her."

"No deal!" Natasha called into the megaphone as Bono held it.

More time passed.

--

"This isn't working," Tasha was grumbling. She was hot and sore and uncomfortable. She'd never spent so long in the chains, and was fully aware that her discomfort was almost entirely her own fault.

"No, it's not. And let's face it, if I was a real hostage, I probably could have snatched the gun from you by now. You're chained to a plane, you couldn't move far."

"Well fuck. What do we do then, Mr Logic?"

"Think about it. What is the only way we can guarantee, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that this plane won't take off until it's been taken apart and examined and repaired?"

"I don't know, tell them the engine's faulty? Write them a polite but concerned letter?" Sarcasm dripped from Natasha's tone.

"They don't believe us because they can't see whatever's wrong." Bono stood, animated again. "We need to make sure they can see a fault..."

"Natasha, there's someone here who'd like to speak to you," Sergeant Dawson's voice came over the police megaphone, interrupting Bono's epiphany. A moment later a distraught female voice replaced it.

"Tasha? Tasha, love, what are you doing? Please put the gun down..." Natasha's mother couldn't continue, and broke into sobs.

Tasha had gone white. "Oh Christ. Mam."

"Natasha," Bono said urgently. "We can end this. We can ground the plane, but we have to damage it ourselves. It can't fly if it's full of bullet holes!"

Natasha's head was spinning. How had she not expected this? And how had she not thought of sabotaging the plane herself? Besides the fact that she could be legitimately charged with terrorism...

"Please, Tasha... what's happened? Why are you doing this?" Behind the luggage cart, Sergeant Dawson was patting Mrs Coleman on the back, speaking into her ear.

"Is that it? Just shoot the plane full of holes, and all will be well?" Tasha rounded on Bono, not wanting to deal with her mother just then.

"It will stop the plane, and it'll save the lives of the passengers it would have carried, whenever it flew next."

"They would have found something wrong with it eventually, if they'd only look properly..."

"They haven't yet," Bono insisted. "We... you've been given a day. One day to stop this tragedy, so there must be a way to stop it inside of that day. You've tried and tried, every other way. If this doesn't work, it's like you said. You can start over."

"Natasha, just talk to me, please," her mother pleaded.

"Give us the feckin' megaphone," Tasha said, and snatched it from Bono's hand. "It's all right, Mam," she said, and saw her mother's hands cover her face, crying fresh tears. Her heart hurt. "I'm doing this for a reason. A good reason. I'm tryin' to save the lives of the people who were goin' to get on this plane... I can't explain how, but I know there's somethin' wrong with it. It'll crash and kill everyone, Mam. Trust me..."

"Please put the gun down, Tasha! They'll inspect the plane again, they'll take it apart. Just let... let Bono go, and put the gun down! I don't want to lose you!"

Tears sprang into Natasha's eyes. "You won't Mam. I promise. But this is important. I have to make sure this plane can't fly."

"Tell them what you're going to do," Bono suggested. "Give them warning, or they might start shooting if you do."

He was right; Natasha addressed the police with her megaphone. "All right everyone, here's what I'm gonna do. I'm not goin' to hurt anyone, includin' myself. But I am going to point this gun at that plane, and put some holes in it. I won't shoot at anythin' else, or anyone at all. Are we all okay with that?"

Sergeant Dawson took the megaphone from Natasha's mother. "I don't think that's a good idea, Natasha," he said reasonably. "The bullets might ricochet and hit someone, or you could hit the fuel tanks. Shooting a gun is never safe, no matter where you're aiming."

"That's all well an' good, but it's the plane or me. Which d'you prefer?"

Bono shot Tasha a look, but she gave a minute shake of her head. An empty threat.

"Obviously, my first priority is to sort this out without anyone getting hurt, Natasha, including you. But this isn't necessary..."

"It is. If it doesn't work, I'll try somethin' else tomorrow, but I need to make sure this plane stays on the ground, and the repair crews go over it thoroughly before it flies again. I'm no danger to anyone here, so you tell your snipers to take their fingers off the trigger, all right?"

"Natasha..."

Pushing Bono out of the way, Tasha swung her gun towards the plane and started firing. The noise and the kick was more than she was expecting, and she missed completely on the second shot. But with her target so close and so large, she managed to put sizeable holes in the plane's fuselage, left wing and engine. She didn't want anything hitting the right engine, in case they blamed her for any fault they might eventually find there. Finally, she shot almost straight up, into the landing gear, just for good measure. She pulled the trigger twice more, but only clicks emerged. She was out of ammunition.

Bono took his fingers out of his ears. "That ought to do it," he said, surveying the damage.

Natasha looked around, and saw the police approaching her warily. She sighed. "I hope this was worth ruinin' my life. And I thought ten hours of interrogation was bad... I'm gonna go to jail, Bono. My career is over, and it had barely begun. My family..." Natasha dropped the gun, and put her face in her hands. Bono came close and put his arms around her shaking shoulders.

"Hush now, Tasha," he said quietly, as the police gathered around. "You've stopped the plane, you've saved all those lives. You did the right thing. Never forget that. And you won't go to jail if there's anything I can do about it."

One uniformed officer pulled Bono away from Natasha, and ushered him away. Tasha was cut free from her own chains, arrested, and put in handcuffs.

"You have the right to remain silent..."

---

It wasn't quite the same as all the other times she'd been arrested. This time, she had actually done something more serious than obstructing an aircraft and committing suicide. This time, she had sabotaged the aircraft, and, as far as anyone knew, threatened the life of one of the nation's most prominent celebrities. This time, her mother had seen her get arrested, and was still in this police station somewhere, Natasha was sure. That somehow made everything seem much more real.

And this time, the plane wouldn't be taking off. She had made sure of that. This time, she wasn't accused of over twenty counts of murder.

Tasha hadn't seen her mother except from a distance for some time after her arrest. The trip to the police station and her initial interview had passed in a haze, and Natasha had barely responded to her interrogators; she was overwhelmed by everything that had happened, and the prospect that tomorrow might actually be tomorrow.

Then they had let her parents see her, in the sterile interview room. Natasha remembered a lot of crying and hugging, but not much else.

After that, a red-haired, business-like woman in an expensive tailored suit appeared, and told Natasha that she was her lawyer.

"I don't think I can afford you," Tasha had said, confused.

The lawyer, Jennifer McIntosh, had smiled a tight smile. "We have a mutual friend; it's been taken care of."

Bono, Tasha thought. Then she sank back into her daze, while Ms McIntosh had given the police a lecture about interviewing Tasha before her lawyer had been present, and started discussing legal things.

Everyone wanted to know why she had done it – the real reason why she had done it. The only thing Natasha said in response was that she would say nothing more until 6:01 the following morning.

"What's going to happen then?" Ms McIntosh had asked.

"I'll know then whether I'm going to have to do everything again, and explain it all again. I'd rather save my breath," Tasha had said wearily.


-----

It had to be a dream. There were other people there, crowded into an enclosed space, their screams and faces both indistinct. Everything was falling, flames, and terror... only one face stood out clear, only one voice.

Bono's.

He was clawing at the window, screaming her name. But then he turned and saw her, and he smiled. Suddenly he was a calm island in a sea of chaos. He smiled at her, and sang, but she couldn't quite make out the words.

The dream faded away, and Ali Hewson opened her eyes. The room was still grey, the sun hardly up outside.

She sighed. It wasn't hard to work out where that dream had come from. She put a hand on her husband's shoulder, watching him sleep, and remembered the drama of the day before. She knew he hated being followed around by security, especially in his home town, but if fans were crazy enough to drag him into their delusions and take him hostage... Well, that discussion wasn't over yet, as far as Ali was concerned. It worried her that Bono was defending this Natasha woman so staunchly, even if Bono thought she'd saved his life by her actions.

Bono twitched and muttered in his sleep, his face falling into anxious lines. Ali shook him gently, and he started awake, staring at her before his eyes focussed. Then he smiled, just like he had in her dream.

"I know a girl, who's like the sea," he sang softly. "I watch her changing, every day for me..."

---

Natasha dozed for a few hours in her cell, but woke up well before six. At five minutes to, Ms McIntosh and two police detectives entered her cell with a digital clock.

They all waited, and watched the glowing green numbers change from 5:59 to 6:00.

"Well?" One of the detectives looked at Tasha expectantly.

"Just wait," she said.

6:01.

Tasha looked around. She was still in the cell, still in the clothes she had put on twenty-four hours earlier. She looked at her wrist, remembering too late that her watch had been confiscated, along with all the other personal items that had been in her possession.

Natasha looked at her lawyer. "I'd like to use my phone call now, please," she said.

She was led out of her cell and to a telephone. After consulting a telephone book, she rang a number, and waited.

"At the tone, the time will be; six oh four, a.m., on Saturday, the fifth of July, two thousand and eight."

Beeep.


Natasha's hand shook as she hung up the phone.


******
******
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:06 AM   #2
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Awesome stuff, I sat on the tip of my chair reading all chapters.
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Old 11-29-2010, 02:33 PM   #3
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epicness! Im glad that was sorted out, but boy, she is in soooome shitte..
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Old 11-29-2010, 02:40 PM   #4
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I love it!
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:47 PM   #5
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I didn't really do that much...just wacked you over the head a few times..hehehe.

I loved this story when you first thought of it and I still love it now.

Now.......to finish the next one..
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Old 11-29-2010, 06:34 PM   #6
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FANTASTIC! Well done!
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:35 PM   #7
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Oh yay! Of course this was so good, I feel silly writing my story.
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:40 AM   #8
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This is SO good! You're a fantastic writer.

Finally, friggin' July 5!
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Old 11-30-2010, 04:44 PM   #9
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ABOUT TIME! Poor Tasha, she's in a heap of trouble but it was all worth it! She stopped the plane, no one died and she has a good witness. Anyone will believe a rock star!

This was honestly one of the best fics I've read that didn't involve romance! It was well written, adventurous, nail biting and left you hanging on the edge of your seat, just like a movie! Thank you for sharing your story with us!

Btw, I totally laughed out loud when I read this:

"Yeah, in the bag... I got some melon for you." Tasha smiled a faint smile.

"Melon...?"

"For your nuts. The peanuts, on the plane."

"Oh yes, of course..."


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Old 11-30-2010, 07:28 PM   #10
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This story is so fantastic. I'm sad to see it end!

Now post that epilogue!
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:16 AM   #11
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It's about time! When I was reading the last chapter I was wondering why she didn't just shoot the plane. I'm glad Bono shared that thought.
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 12-01-2010, 03:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Oh yay! Of course this was so good, I feel silly writing my story.
This.

Quote:
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This was honestly one of the best fics I've read...! It was well written, adventurous, nail biting and left you hanging on the edge of your seat, just like a movie! Thank you for sharing your story with us! [/I]
And this. Proof that PLEBA fan fiction doesn't automatically = soft porn.
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:04 PM   #13
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This.


And this. Proof that PLEBA fan fiction doesn't automatically = soft porn.
...it's fun.
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:29 PM   #14
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...it's fun.
True....
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Old 12-02-2010, 02:02 AM   #15
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This story is so fantastic. I'm sad to see it end!

Now post that epilogue!
I'm posting it! I meant to do it on Tuesday, but work was too busy... then last night I got distracted by going to a U2 show.

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Oh yay! Of course this was so good, I feel silly writing my story.
Don't feel silly, nor BluRmGrl either. If you want to write, go ahead and write!

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It's about time! When I was reading the last chapter I was wondering why she didn't just shoot the plane. I'm glad Bono shared that thought.
Yeah, he's the brains of the outfit...

What else does Bono share with you...?


*goes to post*
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:18 AM   #16
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just catching up.
That was fun Ali, disturbing, sad and like a book you can't put down.
thanks
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:21 PM   #17
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I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!
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