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NMF Reunion: Coyote Dreams - Part 1

Copyright (c) 1997 Phaedrus; All rights reserved

I'm not calling this a Trickster's Tail story, because I have no idea whether this is how things will really come out or not.

Ideas for crossovers are particularly welcome, since I haven't the foggiest idea where I'm going with this. :-)

The city was just as Kickaha remembered it. He circled above it on raven's wings.

{{You know, all things considered, it's amazing that this place is still standing.}}

Keith was quiet. He was thinking of another day... that first morning, the first time he had flown. It seemed almost abstract to him now, like it had happened to a different person. And, in many ways, it had. But he could still remember that rush of terror and jubilation. At the time, he had thought to himself that this must be the limit... this must be as strange as life could get. Lord, but he'd been proven wrong. Heck, he'd been proven wrong in the first week.

Kickaha knew what Keith was feeling. He could remember that flight too... but he still couldn't think of it as the first. So many others came to mind before that, through the skies of his own world. One of these days, he supposed, he'd have to find out whether the place actually existed. But it didn't really seem important now, not with so many things still to see here. And if the memories are good ones, who gives a rat's ass if they're true?

He'd never really discussed coming here with Keith; it had never needed discussion--they had both just assumed that they would, and when the time came, they had headed that way. For Keith, Kickaha supposed, it was a chance to remember. As for himself, he knew why he was there. Many of the partygoers would be bound to show up. So would everyone wishing they'd been there... and many of those wishing that the party had never happened. It would be a media circus. Chaos was inevitable. How could he pass that up?

Keith seemed to pick up on his thought; he spoke up at last. {Who do you suppose will show up?}

{{Hard to say. Bound to be a good-sized crowd, though. I mean, where else is there to be?}}

There was a pause. {We got damn lucky, you know.}

Kickaha knew where this was going, and he wasn't sure whether he liked it or not. But there didn't seem to be any way to avoid it now. {{Yeah, I guess we did.}}

{There's bound to be some people here that weren't so lucky.}

{{We can't help them. You know that. We've been through this.}}

{We can't cure them. That doesn't mean we can't help a little.}

{{Yeah, yeah. It could still get us in trouble, though...}}

{So you're saying it's dangerous, then? This coming from you, after last month?}

{{For the millionth time, can we let that drop? Some pilot doesn't look where he's going and plows right into us, and this is somehow my fault?}}

Keith just snorted, and fell silent again.

Kickaha would have smiled, but his beak wasn't equipped for it. The thought of helping had crossed his mind too, of course. Now he could do it, if the opportunity arose; and if they got in trouble, well, it was Keith's idea...

He dove to a landing in the park, Changing to coyote form as he touched down. He had worked out a variation on the disguise spell, and he applied it now. The partygoers, and those who had been transformed since then, would see him as he really was. After all, if you were going to bother to show up for the reunion, it only made sense to wear your nametag.

He walked through the park, closing his eyes and letting some of the peace of the place sink into him. He sat down, at the base of a tree--the same tree that Keith had spent his first night under. He stretched out his legs and relaxed. At times like this, he'd found, it usually wasn't necessary to go out looking for trouble; just give it time, and it comes after you.

After a few minutes, he saw someone coming--no, staggering--his way, and grinned. It couldn't be. It was--the bum, that same one. Surely he wasn't going to come over here... surely he wasn't going to say...

"Spare change?"

Kickaha contemplated things for a moment. Then he reached in his cloak, pulled out a dollar bill. "Here ya go."

It just wouldn't do to overuse a straight line.

"Thank you kindly, sir." The bum turned and weaved away. Kickaha watched him, smiling. Then, he thought some more... and waved a paw.

The receding figure blurred and shrank. A few seconds later, a black cat looked around blearily, pulled itself to its four paws, and continued on its way.

Then again, you just shouldn't let yourself get too far from your roots.

Kickaha smiled, closed his eyes, and waited.

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