Angel and the Fledges by AvengingMyInnocence

Category:Maximum Ride
Genre:Adventure, Horror
Published:2009-01-10 22:50:43
Updated:2009-12-31 16:16:32
Packaged:2021-04-22 00:49:47
Summary:SEQUEL TO THE WINGS OF WRATH! Summary inside.

Table of Contents

2. Chapter 1
3. Chapter 2
4. Chapter 3
5. Chapters 4 and 5
6. Chapters 6
7. Chapters 7
8. Chapter 8
10. Chapters 9 and 10


Angel and The Fledglings


Five years ago Angel made a decision. She flew away instead of saving the life of her only brother. And now, she and her Fledges are on their own. Evading Wizards and a group of religious fanatics who want to put her in a cage like a spectacle. The Eighth Wonder of the World...

But Angel has other plans. Plans that will keep the most people alive with the least effort.

"You can't save them all, so don't bother trying."

But, Angel WILL save those that she can, until one day, a ghost from her past comes back to haunt her and she finds herself in the last position she ever wanted to be... At the mercy of a five year old girl...

(Takes place 5 years after the end of The Wings of Wrath, naturally...)


PROLOGUE; Dream Dream Dream

It was dark... The last glowing sparks of a small campfire sizzled as a few stray drops of rain drizzled down upon them.

There was no movement... There was only the sound of night insects chattering in the small clearing.

The trees swayed gently in a breeze and overhead the full moon was emerging from behind a wall of large foreboding clouds that seemed to flicker like a fire fly with distant lightning.

Hush... The moon seemed to say to the storm.

And the clouds moved away...

This was a place no man knew... This was a place that was entirely wild. This place, small as it was isolated, was the epitome of the word wilderness...

The grass, tall and slender topped with fuzzy tufts of what in the darkness looked like fur, gently rippled like the surface of a lake.

And out of the grass appeared a set of ears... Tall and covered with grayish blonde fur... And slowly a head rose with them... Large red eyes pierced the darkness as the Wolf stalked forward...

The grass rustled and for a moment the Wolf disappered into it again... Sinking below the waves...

A deer raised its head a hundred meters away. Its ears twitching, eyes wide and dull looking as it scanned the night for what hunted it... But the deer was oblivious to the Wolf... The Wolf was down wind and therefore invisible to the deer as it munched complacently on the tall grass.

The Wolf waited patiently, gazing through the grass, mouth open lips rolling back from jagged teeth...

The deer lowered its head, and the Wolf rose again, stalking forward silently...

Closer... Coser...

So close he could smell the sweat on the deer's flanks...

His feet quickened, the grass hissed against his fur as it parted for him...

The deer remained oblivious, and then-


Screams echoed in the stillness of the field. Screams that seemed more animal than man...

The deer didn't seem to run, but teleported itself across the field and into the forest it was gone so quickly.

And Visions flashed behind closed eyes...

Terrible visions...

Men, familiar men in blue scrubs and white paper smocks leading him gently by the hand down a long halway... Saying; 'Your daddy wants you to help him today... It's very important, only YOU can help him.'

And his chest had swelled with pride that only HE could help his daddy...

The familiar men led him into a small sterile room with hanging round lights over a table. They picked him up and sat him down on the table, smiling, saying 'Wait right here, your daddy'll be right back.'

And time, the vision itself seemed to jump forward and his daddy was back... Staring down at him reproachfully, 'Don't worry, daddy won't hurt you... Daddy would never hurt you.'

A needle pricked his arm and it felt like fire flowed from it...

He only wanted to make his daddy happy...

He'd eves dropped on the other doctors his daddy worked with, hearing them talk about how wonderful the new experiments were, how proud HE was of them... How HE was taking time off just to train them...

And something deep in his little chest had changed... He was jealous of them. His daddy never took time off to help him, never said he was proud of him...

Maybe if he was like the experiments his daddy would be proud of him too?

And when the syringe was empty he looked up at his daddy with tears in his eyes, 'Did I do good?'

And daddy didn't say anything, he just looked down at him coldly, emotionlessly, turned and walked away, letting the door swing shut with a loud BANG to answer him...

The Vision skipped again, skipped to anger... Pain, hatred... Fear and betrayal...

This is who I am... This is who I chose to be...

God, help me... I deserve this...

And he remembered brown eyes hovering above him, blood smeared on a pale face, pain and a sense of knowing as HER arms came around him... The one Daddy had loved more was, for some reason, holding him... Tenderly she cradled his slakening body to her chest... Lovingly she stared into his eyes... She mourned him...

Somebody loved me... Somewhere... for some reason... She loved me enough to forgive me... Even though I tried to kill her...

And the scream ended... The night was still again...

And the Wolf huddled shivering in the grass, panting for breath and knowing finally what nobody wanted him to know...


2. Chapter 1


Chapter 1; Nowhere

She was flying again. High above everything, staring down without really seeing, her mind faded back into her skull. Past all the fear the anger and the hurt. Deeper than her secret memories, deeper than the pain she still felt when she remembered his face.

Ember closed her eyes against the wind, letting it wipe away the tears she didn't know had been falling. Slowly, deepening her breath, she extended her arms until she could feel her wings beating against them. Her little hands balled into fists, her teeth gnashing together...

And she stopped flapping, gliding forward soundlessly. The roar of the wind in her ears. Whipping her long red hair back, away from her pale, freckled face.

Her red, gold and indigo feathers trembled in the updraft from the mountains below. The gale force winds that Angel called the Santa Ana's but the true name of was lost somewhere in the unreachable parts of Ember's mind.

And she twisted in the air, rolling completely over, spiraling downward like a jet, picking up speed as she dropped, the air whistling past her wings, through her hair and in her ears.

She corkscrewed downward like a rock, her arms out to her sides, rigid. Her wings half folded, her spiral tightening as she lifted her right wing and lowered her left.

She punched through a cloud, emerging on the other side trailing droplets of water the cold mistiness swirling like little tornadoes as she shot through it.

Ember streaked downward, faster and faster, the ground blasting up to meet her so quick, had she but opened her eyes she could have seen the lichen growing on the rocks below her.

But she didn't open her eyes ... Not yet...

Her fists tightened, her body tensing as her altitude dropped 1,200 ... 1,000 ... 800 ... 600-


Her eyes came open and she seemed to explode with heat, her wings snapping outward at nearly nine feet from tip to tip and she pulled up.

She heard the pine trees on either side of her sizzle when the little green needles spontaneously combusted as her fingers brushed them. She zoomed forward, seeing the world in a blast of colors as she pulled up, streaking once more into the sky, disappearing into a cloud.

She exhaled, her eyes closing and she leveled off at about ten-thousand feet staring down at the world and the blackened slash she'd created in the patch of green trees below.

Ember slowed, hovering there, just below a cloud, her arms wrapped around her waist her long hair wafting around her in the wake created by her wings. She closed her eyes tightly, forcing herself to remember his face...

Bright, large, crystal eyes set in a pale face, a slim straight nose, thin sarcastic mouth. Red hair wet with sweat ... Nearly the same color as the blood spilling from his mouth and nose...

He smiled, a proud, mournful smile ... Because he knew...

And then there was a hollow pain in her chest and the brightness faded from his eyes... Then he was gone forever.

"Ember, what are you doing out here alone?" Came a voice from somewhere off to her right.

Ember turned slightly and saw through the haze of tears, Daisy-David hovering a few feet away.

Everyone knew that Daisy-David was different. A girl trapped in a boy's body. A sick punishment for having wings no doubt.

Occasionally Daisy-David dressed up like a boy, but this never sat well. Everyone around her saw a girl, even though the inevitable was starting to happen.

Daisy-David was thirteen now, and her treacherous body was beginning to change. Her voice was deepening, and various other parts of her mismatched anatomy were starting to become harder to hide.

At this moment Daisy-David was wearing a light blue T-shirt and a pair of flare legged jeans with a severely short plaid skirt over it to hide various parts that couldn't be concealed very well by the jeans. Her large dark blue eyes were lightly ringed with makeup and her long dark brown hair was pulled back into a braid.

Had no one paid attention Daisy-David would indeed look like any regular preteen girl, but the child was going into puberty and despite how she felt inside, her body was not a girl, and it was getting harder and harder to hide this fact.

Ember bit her lip and let out a sigh, wiping tears from her eyes, "I had the dream again..."

Daisy-David's face fell and her eyes shimmered with tears. "I'm sorry..."

Ember wiped her face again and turned away. "I didn't want Angel to know... She gets mad So I came out here to be alone..."

Daisy-David nodded and eyed the ground far below them. "Did you make that slash?" She pointed to the dark line.

Ember nodded, "I just singed it, I didn't burn anything."

Daisy-David nodded and rubbed her arms, "You want to go blow something up? I found this old tree that needs to come down a few miles to the west."

Ember hesitated, snuffling, then nodded and followed Daisy-David to the tree.

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3. Chapter 2

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Chapter 2; Legendary Skills

The tree was a giant old oak, the limbs naked of bark the trunk rotting where it went into the ground.

"There aren't any animals in it, I made sure first," Daisy said landing softly on the ground a few feet away from the tree, then shielding her eyes to look up at it.

Ember nodded and walked forward inspecting the tree, laying a hand on it, giving it a little push so she could find out where its weak spot was. Where would be the best place to put the bomb.

When she found it a wicked little smile came over her face, her brown eyes alight.

* * *


Angel was perched atop a tree watching the place she'd seen Daisy-David and Ember land. She smiled to herself listening to their thoughts.

Ember was so much like Iggy had been and her heart lurched because of it.

Five years had passed since all of the pain...

Five years that had changed Angel from a little girl into a teenager.

She was the same age now that Max had been the day Angel had been taken from their home in Colorado. Fourteen and two months...

Angel hugged her knees and rested her chin atop them, her wings lifted and ready to fully open and send her into the air at half a second's notice.

She heard Cat shimmy up a tree a few dozen yards away her sharp claw like finger and toe nails digging into the wood.

The girl was humming a song and when she got to the top of the tree let out a screeching yowl. After a few minutes a mountain lion answered her from somewhere in the rocks nearly three miles away.

Angel watched the naked old tree intently her stomach turning into knots.

The only way she could make Ember happy was letting the child blow something up.

Usually she waited until Wizards were chasing them before she let her do it, but after the dream Ember had had the night before she deserved to blow up something big.

The tree shuddered and a rolling black ring of smoke rose up around it, then slowly, ever so slowly the tree toppled over.

A few seconds later Angel heard the resounding 'BOOM' of the explosion and smiled.

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4. Chapter 3

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Chapter 3; Mr. A. K.

The woman at the checkout was watching him. He could feel her eyes boring into the back of his head, even through the knit cap he'd pulled on he could FEEL her STARING at him.

He twitched, his hand coming up to scratch the back of his neck.

His dark nails raked across the skin and he rolled his shoulders, wishing she would just STOP STARING!

He wasn't stealing anything, he had money. Why the hell did everyone have to treat him like a criminal?

He dropped the comic book back into the rack and shoved his hands into the pockets of his trench coat. He turned slowly, flashing icy blue eyes at the girl behind the checkout counter and he caught a glimpse of himself reflected in the dark window behind her.

He'd grown a lot in five years. He was almost six feet tall now, thin and agile. His skin pale as alabaster and smooth as a child's, save his jaws and the thin sparse fur on the backs of his hands, his arms and legs.

He wore combat boots, dark jeans, a slate-gray sweater, a black collar-less trench coat, and a knit cap pulled tightly down over his head...

The longish strands of his gray-blonde hair that stuck out from under the hat framed his face and blended in with the fur that had sprouted on his jaws.

He looked like a prison escapee ... Not an eight-year old.

He quickly turned from his reflection, staring at the woman, sniffing the air to gage her scent.

She was intrigued by him, mystified that he had such feral eyes.

He wanted to growl at her. Just to make her stop staring at him like that. He didn't like it when girls stared at him like that... It made him nervous. Didn't they know he was only eight years old?

Or did they think he was as old as he looked? As old as he felt... Somewhere in his late teens...

He hoped they did...

But, at the same time he wanted the people to leave him alone. They all smelled so false...

This boy, this clone, was nothing like his predecessor. He was not lumbering, or awkward, or Frankenstein-ish in any way.

His body spoke of an inhuman grace and strength, and his animalistic blue eyes held a fierce intelligence that to anyone who didn't know him, would have seemed evil and cold.

But KIX was not evil, nor was he cold.

Angry, hurt and confused, possibly, but he was not evil, or cold.

He eyed the woman behind the counter curiously, bitterly cursing her in his mind for staring at him so. Then with a shake of his head he turned from her and walked farther up the aisle, staring at the books, magazines and comics... Mostly the comics because he thought they were fun...


He glanced at the books, seeing if they had the new one he'd been dying to get his hands on...

He gently put out a hand and turned the circular display of comic books while eyeing each title of the larger fiction books to his left his mouth quirked to the right, trying to decide which one he would get.

A comic ... Or that novel...

It took a while, mostly because he was still agitated that the woman at the checkout was staring at him and he had to keep reminding himself to ignore her.

In the end he chose not to buy anything. The woman's staring was unnerving him and he had to get out. He had to get back in the air...

As he walked toward the door he saw the woman shift, watching him, her mouth curving upward in a grin because she just knew the security alarms were going to go off. Because this strange man just HAD to have stolen something.

But he walked through the doors and the alarm didn't go off...

She frowned, disappointed that she'd allowed herself to think something so terrible about him, when he obviously HADN'T taken anything...

She turned and watched him out of the window as he walked in a hunched shoulders, the-weight-of-the-world-on-my-back, kind of rolling gait.

He seemed to fade out into the darkness beyond the parking lot as silently as an animal slipping unheard around the woods.

She thought she saw something light colored and rather large raise into the air a few seconds later, but it could have just been a trick of her eyes...

But then again ... She thought the odd lightness had looked an awful lot like wings...

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5. Chapters 4 and 5

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Chapter 4; A Righteous High

"Absolution my dear friends... Is what we've come here to discuss... Absolution from our sins..."

"A-men..." The crowd echoed in a monotone voice...

"God is commin! He's a-commin! And he's gonna take his mighty scythe and reap! REAP us sinners to our graves!"


"If we're not absolved, if we're not cleansed in his holy blood then the devil will suck our souls! He'll suck 'em in and vomit 'em out!"


"Absolution! Say it with me-"


"A-men... A-men..." His Righteous Body, Reverend Jerimiah Brass swiped at his lividly red brow with a white linen handkerchief and continued pacing at the head of his 'church' all his white clad parishioners kneeling in the floor below him, heads bowed, prayer frames clasped in their hands, staring deeply into the red and gold stitch work that spelled out the words;

'Pray now for your soul, for tomorrow you shall be judged...'

It wasn't uncommon that His Righteous Body Reverend Jerimiah Brass did this... His last 'Absolution' sermon lasted for two whole days, and everyone in the congregation had knelt there in the floor, below the hot tin roof in the metal box of their 'church' praying into their prayer frames, waiting for the holy sign that would confirm they'd been absolved...

Seven people had been stricken with holy visions of Heat and collapsed into seizures from the power of it... Two of them had been called home to heaven...

So, the Family of the Righteous Body continued to pray, swaying back and forth in the holy heat of their 'church' praying for a vision, for a sign...

And then it happened...

Their sign appeared in the form of an alarm...

Someone had entered the compound...

His Righteous Body Reverend Jerimiah dashed down the aisle, his stiff legged followers stumbling after him.

He fumbled with the key in his pocket and unlocked the heavy padlock on the doors and yanked out the inch thick Magnum Chain that he'd wrapped around the door brackets to keep everyone inside and threw open the metal doors to their church. The chilled air made him gasp as he ran out into the square, shouting orders at the snipers positioned on turrets around the perimeter of the razor wire fenced compound called Holy Heights...

Searchlights played across the night, spotting in every shadow and Reverend Jerimiah shouted, pointing and everyone turned in time to see two eyes reflecting back at them from within the head of a girl...

She looked to be about sixteen with orange-ish hair that fell into her beautiful, slim face... She wore a black sleeveless shirt and black pants rolled up to her knees, but as Jerimiah looked he realized, the girl's legs bent weird... Instead of looking like a person's legs... They looked like a cat's... And the fluffy cat like tail that protruded from the seat of her pants was enough to convince the good Reverend that something mystical was in their midst...

"DEEEE-MUUUUUUHHHND!" He shouted pointing...

The girl opened her mouth and yowled like an animal at him, turned and leapt clear over the fourteen foot tall fence surrounding Holy Heights and disappeared into the surrounding forest before a single shot was fired...

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Chapter 5; Systematic Disassembly of Illusions

Cat ran as fast as she could, sprinting, through the forest, dodging trees, her arms pumping thin long feet making barely a sound as they hit the dirt...

She ached inside... She wanted ... She needed... And those people had what she needed... But somehow, they'd caught her sneaking in to get it... The fat red-faced man had called her a 'deemuhnd' which she supposed was fat-red-faced-man speak for 'demon'.

She wasn't a demon... She just ... She NEEDED...

After a while she slowed to a stop and flattened herself on the ground on her stomach panting, sniffing, purring...

Why wouldn't anybody help her?

She sobbed, clawing at the dirt and rocking into a crouch... She needed so bad...

But there was nothing here that could fix her need... And no matter how she'd called for it, it wouldn't come to her... So, she had to figure out a way to get to IT...

She walked for a while, sniffing around and finding some wild catnip growing in a patch of grass. She rolled in it a while, lying on it and combing all her hair up above her head, stretching... It felt good to stretch like this... To arch her back and draw her legs up... The catnip smelled good too, she wished she could always smell like catnip, she'd be the happiest girl on the planet if she could...

"Cat!" A soft voice hissed, but she didn't move... She continued rolling back and forth on the catnip because it felt good...

If someone wanted to talk to her, they'd show up sooner or later... She wasn't in any rush.


She rolled her eyes in annoyance, "What?"

A few seconds later KIX walked up, his hands shoved into his pockets. "What are you doin'?"

She rolled around again, smiling up at him, curling around his foot because he had stepped on some wild mint somewhere and the smell of it still lingered on his shoe.

He stepped back a few paces wrinkling his nose at her, "Stop it... What's the matter with you?"

She rolled onto her back and arched, "I feel all hot again..."

He shifted uncomfortably and glanced around... "You ... You didn't," He swallowed, "You didn't CALL for ... Anything, did you?"

"Yes, but nobody came..."

He sniffed absently at the air and bent, roughly picking her up and setting her on her feet, "Do you remember what happened last time you CALLED?"

She lowered her head, gazing up at him hurt and sorrowful, her index finger going to her lip. "A bobcat came..."

He nodded and rolled his eyes,"And what did the bobcat do?"

She pouted, her lower lip poking out, "He came after me..."

"AND..." He said impatiently.

"AANNNNDDD... You had to fight him off of me..."

He sighed, irritated and blinked at her, raking his gaze over her. "You're utterly hopeless, you know that?"

She just grinned, narrowing her eyes, and purred into his shoulder.

"Let's go back... I don't want Angel to know I was gone."

Cat stepped into the circle of his arms and let him pick her up as he took off. "She knows you go out, she knows everything."

"Not everything..." He said under his breath.

Cat nestled back against him, arching her back and he nearly dropped her.

"I said stop that!"

"Sorry..." She paused a moment, curling and uncurling her toes in frustration, "My Mid-Year Birthday's tomorrow."

He growled in his throat and rolled his eyes.

Mid-Year Birthday... That was just how Angel explained how she could call Cat 'Fourteen'.

The first time Cat had gone into her 'TIME' as Angel called it, Angel and Tommy had sat up and talked, working out math problems and decided that, since Cat was maturing so fast, her age should mirror her physical being... So, Cat had two birthdays each year. Her Year Birthday and her Mid-Year birthday... Tomorrow Cat would be 'Fourteen'...

And in two months, KIX would be 'Nine'...

It angered him... He was treated like a little kid still... And Cat ... Cat got treated like a fourteen year old... An equal to Angel and Tommy and Daisy-David... Even though KIX looked older than any of them...

It made him angrier than anything... Angrier than being stared at like he was a criminal, angrier than being told he was 'too young to understand'...

He DID understand... He honestly did... The only thing he didn't understand was why everyone treated him like an eight-year old...

He had the same mental capacity as Cat, he and Daisy-David even had conversations about it... But Daisy David never said anything to Angel...

KIX got left out of the equation, just like Ember did...

They were the youngest... the 'babies'...

It made him really... really mad...

"You're squeezing me," Cat said, sinking her claws into the back of his hand.

He blinked and gave his head a shake to clear it.


"You should be..." She said under her breath and stared down at the ground. "I bet if you let me go I'd land on my feet."

"Oh, really? Well, I bet that if I let you go you'd go SPLAT on those rocks!" He said indignantly.

She arched against him again and he ground his teeth, "Do you want to go SPLAT?"


"Then STOP that."

She was silent.

The ground rolled away beneath them and a small flicker of flame appeared below them in a clearing.

Cat's toes curled and her nails dug into his arms again.

"Ohhh, Tommy's back!" She shouted jubilantly. "And he brought HAMBURGER!"

KIX sighed and tilted his left wing downward, spiraling toward the ground at an even, controlled rate.

About thirty feet from the ground Cat wiggled out of his arms, her arms and legs held out to her sides so she resembled a tailed letter X as she fell. And with a quiet grunt she landed on her feet and shot toward the fire on all fours, her tail in the air.

KIX shook his head and mumbled, 'stupid girl' as he circled the clearing, landing at a slight jog a few yards from the fire.

Sure enough, there was Tommy. Tall and lanky, his brown hair a complete mess pulled back into a short spike of a ponytail, wearing a bright greet T-shirt with the words Make 7 printed on the front, and -UP Yours on the back. And a pair of Kahki pants he'd torn off at the knees.

He had a black and green flannel shirt tied around his waist, and his brown and blonde wings open, displaying his plumage to Ember, Daisy-David and Angel.

Somehow, he now had green on most of his primary feathers.

"How did you do it?" Ember said excitedly as she took one feather between her hands and held it close to her face.

"Hair dye," Tommy said simply. "You know, that cheap temporary stuff you find sometimes? I tried to make it say 'High Wire' but I couldn't remember if you write it backward or not to see it from the ground..."

"You're insane," Angel grumbled, gently caressing his wings, "What if all your feathers fall out?"

He dropped his head back on his neck and rolled his eyes at her, "Then I'll be the freak with turkey wings..." And he stuck his hands in his armpits and flapped his elbows, making a horrible gobbling sound and rolling his eyes back into his head.

Ember laughed hysterically and Daisy-David flipped her hair. "Angel's right... You're NUTS."

Tommy raised a finger, "AH! There I've got you beat, Babe, I'm allergic to nuts!"

"I guess that's why he never sits beside you, huh, Daisy!" Cat said in a purring voice, her eyes narrowed vindictively.

Daisy's eyes narrowed and she glared at Cat hatefully.

"Reow," KIX mumbled as he stepped into the circle of light, "Cat fight."

Daisy glared, picked up a rock, and chucked it at KIX's head, "JERK!"

KIX easily dodged the rock and it bounced harmlessly into the darkness. "Come on... I'm just playin'..." He grinned broadly, his pointed teeth showing.

Daisy crossed her arms and turned away, flipping her hair. Refusing to look at him.

Ember propped her chin on her hands, "If Tommy can dye his feathers, why can't I?"

Angel, dressed in black stretch pants and a matching black jacket sat down beside Ember and pulled her into a tight hug, "When you're older, we'll talk about it."

"Promise?" Ember held up her pinkey, her eyes narrowed suspiciously.

Angel hooked her pinkey on Ember's smaller one and flashed a dimpled smile, "I promise."

"What about me?" KIX said jabbing himself in the chest with his thumb, "I'm older than her."

Angel turned and raised a blonde eyebrow, her blue eyes laughing, "You can't be serious."

His stomach bubbled unpleasantly and somewhere deep in his head he felt an odd little tickle.

"I think you've caused enough trouble for one day..." She turned and eyed Cat angrily, "And what have I told you about CALLING things... We're not going to have another Bobcat episode, are we?"

Cat flinched, her eyes narrowing, "No," Her precise voice was low, daring... And Angel narrowed her own eyes, staring deeply into Cat's face, accepting the dare... And proposing a challenge.

Tommy glanced nervously between Cat and Angel, his hands beginning to twist into fists, "Hey, guys, come on!" He chuckled dryly, "Lighten up. It's just a few green feathers... And personally, I don't see what's wrong with it... So, I'll go back to the store in the morning and get some more for all you guys... KIX, you like Red, right? And Daisy, you like purple... Maybe we should get some like, blue or pink or something and do a few of yours, Ange!" He smiled happily.

Her head whipped to the side, eyes wide horrified, "If you go anywhere near them with dye I'll kick your head in. It's bad enough you've got to make a joke of yourself. You're NOT doing it to them too!"

Tommy flinched and was silent, seeming to shrink in on himself. "Sorry..."

Cat rocked back on her haunches and yawned, a small satisfied smile creeping over her lips as she started purring loudly and finger combing her hair.

Angel's mouth dropped open and she turned abruptly, glaring at Cat in utmost shock and rage, "EXCUSE ME!"

Cat turned to her innocently, not speaking.

Angel scoffed and turned to Tommy, but Tommy didn't react, he just kind of blinked at her.

And suddenly the blonde girl was on her feet, hands in the air, "I swear to GOD, I clothe you, I feed you, I keep Wizards from flying in and ripping your guts out and this is the thanks I get? You undermine me, you ignore what I say, you INSULT me!" She dropped her hands to her sides and hung her head in shame, "Fine... Go ahead... Dye your feathers all the colors of the rainbow... Make big jokes of yourselves. Run around and eat candy all day and stay up all night and throw happy-la-dee-da parties and spend all your money on stupid stuff! It'll ALL be OK, because Tommy's in charge... Fun-Fun Tommy, Yippee-Doodle-da-DAY!" She waggled a finger at them reprimandingly, "But when the Wizards come after you, don't you DARE come crying to me because you can't defend yourselves! You're on your own!"

And she stalked off into the darkness, shaking her pure white wings free of her jacket and leaping into the breeze.

Ember shrieked in horror and was on her feet, running after the white slash that was Angel's wings shouting.

"DON'T GO! DON'T GO! PLEASE! I NEED YOU!" She took to the air, flapping hard and fast, trying to keep up with Angel. Trying to stay with the only person in the world who loved her, who could possibly take care of her. "I don't want to be Wizard food!"

Angel paused mid-flight, and turned, hovering her arms crossed over her chest, her blue eyes rimmed with tears.

Ember's arms were out, begging, and she flew right into Angel, knocking the larger girl spinning before she was able to regain stability.

Sobs, seemingly wrenched from Ember's very heart were muffled by Angel's shoulder and thoughts whispered through her little red head.

Don't leave me... Don't leave me too. I don't want to be alone... Who'll take care of me? I'm sorry, I'M SORRY! I PROMISE I WON'T EVER back talk you again... I PROMISE!

Angel's indifferent grip tightened lovingly and she pressed a kiss to the top of Ember's head. Smiling, her eyes somehow disturbingly proud that Ember, the weakest link in the flock had broken and come after her... It was a testament to the child's loyalty.

Everything Angel did had a purpose, a plan behind it. Everything she said was a test, everything she felt and demanded from her flock was all part of an elaborate plan. A plan that would keep most of them alive in the fight to come... Whenever it decided to come.

Her flock had to be unerringly loyal to her. Willing to do anything and everything she said without question or second thought. That was the only way her plan would succeed...

As long as she controlled the flock, she had nothing to worry about.

"It's OK, Big Girl... It's OK... Mommy'll never leave you... Never."


6. Chapters 6


Chapter 6; Daze

There was a payphone... Simple as that. There was a payphone and Daisy had a dollar in quarters in her pocket...

Angel, in all her infinite wisdom, had decided Tommy was to be put on GF duty... Get Food, as punishment for his 'transgressions'. This meant, Tommy chose one person to go with him, flew to the nearest restaurant, and bought food for everyone.

It wasn't really a punishment, more as it was an annoyance.

Nobody really liked GF duty, because Angel always made THEM pay for it with their own money. Which sucked if, like Daisy, you didn't have money.

Angel had lots of money rolled up in a sock at the bottom of her bag. Tommy had money because he'd withdrawn everything from his mother's checking account after Margo died and split it with Angel...

But the only other person who had money was KIX, and KIX wasn't sharing. He had somehow come up with a rather lucrative business venture and every so often would fly off on his own, and come back with a few crisp new bills folded in his pockets.

Nobody knew why, or how this was possible... And nobody but Angel really cared.

She'd become furious when she'd found out. She'd pulled him aside and asked him where he got off stealing from people.

To which he quickly replied; "I'm not stealing a thing, Angel... And there's no use poking around in my head, because I'm not telling you where I got it."

She'd banished him for two weeks because of that.

He'd just shrugged and went off on his own for those two weeks and came back with even more money and a new coat.

He still refused to tell anyone exactly where he got the money, and Angel, though still horribly curious, had stopped asking him, and actually started following him around on a few occasions.

Ember had tagged along once, as Angel's spy, and when KIX had disappeared into an antiques shop in Baltimore Ember had skipped in a few moments later and asked the man behind the counter where her 'big brother' had gone, and described KIX.

The man had looked at her as if she were insane and said; "Nobody came in here that looked like that, honey... I'm sorry."

Angel had been angry yet again... And when KIX came back, she'd cornered him, pinning him against a tree and questioned him in a quiet voice, probing at his mind, for almost an hour and a half.

Nobody knew what was going on, and the Antiques Shop Incident piqued everyone curiosity.

What did KIX do when he was alone? And how did he get so much money for doing it?

Daisy herself, had a hypothesis. She believed KIX was doing some freelance modeling... Showing off his stomach for a few bucks...

Brandishing his biceps...

And if the photographer was lucky... Spreading his wings and peeling off that ridiculous hat...

"Tommy... I'm gonna go look over there for a while..." Daisy mumbled and motioned in the general direction of the phone.

Tommy didn't even look up from the sales paper he was scanning, trying to decide weather or not three dollars a pound was a value price for hamburger...

Daisy finger combed her ponytail and walked quickly toward the payphone pressing her thin body against it as she fished the coins from her pocket and popped them into the slot.

It rang four times before there was an answer;

"Hello?" HE said, in a rather strained, but alert voice.

For half a second she contemplated hanging up as she had the last twenty or more times she'd dialed the number since finding it out. Ending the call so she didn't have to disappoint the person on the other end by starting a conversation that would end with her in tears... She didn't want to have to say 'I'm scared out here... I miss you...' Didn't want to have to hear the practiced forgiveness, or the words that would seem unreal because she'd schooled herself not to believe them...

She wanted to slam the phone back on the hook and grumble at herself about wasting another dollar trying to initiate a call that shouldn't be made unless she wanted to ruin his life, but at the last second she found herself speaking. Heard her voice shake and crack and hint at the ugly FALSE side of her body that was dying to break through and ruin her for the second time in her life...

But, this time she spoke... This time she didn't hang up;



Sorry for the delay everyone. I've been having some complications with the pregnancy and writer's block is murder on a stick... I'll be posting more chapters really soon, I hope this one tides you over until then... More of the plot is beginning to show its head, and I'll give you guys a hint, which I'm not sure you're going to like...

Two members of Angel's flock aren't going to live to see the end of the story... But, which two?


7. Chapters 7


Chapter 7; Hypocrite

For a long while, Fang stood there stunned, the phone to his ear, Iris propped on his hip absently 'fixing' his hair, which was Iris speak for tying it in knots while she tried to braid it. He was wearing an old T-shirt with stains on the front and flecks of paint on it, and a pair of sweats that weren't in any better condition.

He was barefooted, and standing in the kitchen of his and Max's apartment trying to figure out how the hell to make an 'Ambrosia Salad', since that's what Iris had insisted she was going to have for her snack, and he knew the child was stubborn enough to not eat ANYTHING ELSE.

She had too much of Max in her.

His heart was hammering in his chest, and lately, that wasn't a good thing... For the past few weeks he hadn't been feeling well at all. Of course, the fact that Aaron had shown up on their doorstep three days before saying that he and Nudge had broken up, hadn't helped him recover from whatever virus the kids had brought back from daycare.

He ached all over, and he'd missed class for the past week because he'd been so deeply asleep not even Max had been able to wake him up long enough to get showered and dressed.

But, now his heart was thudding away, and he was getting quite light headed because of it...

"Daddy, are you OK?" Iris asked quietly, putting a small hand on either side of his pale face.

On the other end of the phone he could hear unsteady breathing and in his head that voice echoed...

He knew that voice... And it broke his heart to hear it...

"Uncle Aaron!" Iris said in a panicked whine, trying to draw backward from her father, her little fuzzy wings beating so that if her father collapsed like he looked about ready to do, she might be able to break her own fall by flapping.

Aaron, who'd just stood off the couch to walk toward the bathroom turned his head and rushed forward, snatching the little girl off Fang's hip and watching as the other young man slid to a sitting position on the floor.

"Nick, are you still there?" The voice on the other end of the phone whispered.

Fang cleared his throat, finding his breath and pressing a hand to his chest in hopes of stilling his runaway heart.

"Yeah..." He squeaked. "I'm here."


"Daisy? Daisy, come on, don't shush up on me now... What's wrong, are you OK? Where have you been?" His mind had kicked into father-mode and worry ate away at the pit of his stomach. He hadn't seen his sister in nearly five years... Hadn't heard anything on her condition, hadn't heard any news whatsoever. So, to suddenly receive a phone call from her... He felt like he was going to have a heart attack.

And on the other end of the phone there was a sob, followed quickly by a strained voice that sounded rough and cracked; "I missed you so much... Are you OK? Is everyone OK?"

Fang leaned his back against the cabinet behind him and cupped a hand to his forehead; "Yeah, Daisy... Everyone's OK... What about you?"

"I... I'm OK..." She snuffled pathetically; "I'm so sorry, Nick... I'm so so sorry we left you... She m-made us... S-said we h-had to keep Em-ember s-safe..."

"Ember... Is Ember OK?" Fang felt his stomach churning and he knew, when this conversation was over, he'd be bowing before a certain Porcelain God and spending the rest of the day in bed.

"Ember's fine..." After a moment, in which Fang pictured a seven-year-old version of his sister twisting the phone cord around her finger, he heard words that made him grind his teeth and fight the urge to scream and pound the floor in rage.

"We're not safe with her anymore, Nick... A-angel's gone too far... I don't f-feel safe around her anymore... I'm scared."

Fang nodded, swallowing with some difficulty, his thoughts swirling, replaying every conversation he and Max had had about Angel and the others over the past five years... More specifically the one they'd had the night after it had ended... The night he'd been lying in the hospital recovering from surgery on his wing and the wounds dealt to him by Omega.

Max had been curled in the bed beside him, Igneous, Epiphany and Iris between them, curled against Fang's chest, or their baby fingers around his fingers... The heart monitor had been beeping out its near frantic cadence, the alarms silenced since he wasn't actually in V-fib, his heart was just naturally fast.

He'd been unable to sleep... Plagued by nightmares that seemed to be horribly intense because of the high dosages of pain killers he'd been on. Max was lying there, her forehead pressed against his whispering soft reassurances in their secret language and telling him how much she loved him... They'd discussed creating a new word, since they really didn't have one that meant what love was really supposed to mean... They had a word for it that was used with sarcasm... That made them think of whitecoats and pain and how much the scientists had 'loved' to run tests on them... Fang remembered he'd shaken his head when she'd suggested they use 'Rashi' as their new word, then he'd motioned to the sleeping babies between them and made that soft chirping noise in his throat and Max had chuckled when all three of them had stretched and their tiny wings fluttered...

"That means love, Max..." He said in a strained whisper, "We don't need to make up a word, we already have one..."

Max sighed and petted their children's soft fuzzy wings then the subject changed; "We have to find Ember... We've got to get her back... Angel should have turned around to help... Or at least sent SOMEONE back to help..." She stifled a sob and scrubbed her face. "If she wouldn't let anyone come help then there's something wrong with her... My Angel would never have done that..."

"She's not your Angel anymore, Max... She's changed... We all have."

Max's lip trembled and she nodded; "I just hoped she'd changed for the better... Not this."

"Nick? Nick, are you still there?"

Daisy's voice broke through the haze of memories and he nodded to himself, as if finalizing his decision.

"Daisy... I need you to get Ember away from her... Get Ember away from her and come home..."

Daisy's breath was nothing but choked rasps and for a long while Fang feared she would simply hang up on him and this would be the absolute last time he'd ever hear from her...

But, then her voice broke through the line again, one simple word before the phone was slammed back down on the hook and everything was dead silent.



NOW we start getting to the plot! YAY! FINALLY!


8. Chapter 8


Chapter 8; Fraternization with The Enemy

(WARNING! Mentions of drug use and abuse.)

Tommy liked to sing.

Flat out, LOVED it!

But, just because he enjoyed it, did not mean he was any freaking good at it! In fact, he sucked.

Poor Tommy couldn't carry a tune in a bucket!

But, God bless him, that didn't stop the boy from pelting out every heavy metal song he'd memorized the screeching, growled lyrics to, every time he got the chance.

Although, at this particular moment, loading the bags of food he'd purchased into his backpack and Daisy's, he was singing something quite different.

He was grinning, his eyes very wide, making a face that reminded Daisy of a crazy person and singing in a deep falsetto;

"Early one mornin' while makin' the rounds… I took a shot of cocaine and I shot my woman down! I went right home and I went to bed I stuck that lovin' 44 beneath my head!"

Daisy was, herself, trying to load up the food without looking at him because she honestly didn't know what the hell to think of him, standing there in the parking lot singing about shooting someone and taking drugs.

"Got up next mornin' and I grabbed that gun, took a shot of cocaine and away I run! Made a good run but I run too slow they overtook me down in Juarez Mexico!"

She giggled nervously and he started on the second stanza.

"Late in the hot joints takin' the pills, in walked the sheriff from Jericho Hill. He said Willy Lee your name is not Jack Brown! You're the dirty hack that shot your woman down!"

Daisy turned to him wide eyed; "What the hell are you SINGING!"

He balked, looking personally offended; "That is THE Johnny Freakin' Cash, Babes! Please don't tell me you don't know who Johnny Cash is!"

Daisy wrinkled her nose, her cheeks turning bright pink as she shook her head; "You're crazy!"

He shrugged; "Said yes oh yes my name is Willy Lee if you've got the warrant just read it to me! Shot her down because she made me slow, I thought I was her daddy but she had five more!"

Daisy giggled. "You're crazy! And WEIRD!"

"When I was arrested I was dressed in black. They put me on a train and they took me back! Had no friend for to go my bail they slapped my dried up carcass in that country jail!"

"Tommy, Tommy stop! It's not funny anymore!"

"Early next mornin' bout a half past nine I spied the sheriff coming down the line! Talked and he coughed as he cleared his throat, he said come on you dirty heck into that district court!"

"I'm serious Tommy! STOP!" She zipped her bag and slug it onto her back.

"Into the courtroom my trial began where I was handled by twelve honest men. Just before the jury started out I saw the little judge commence to look about! In about five minutes in walked the man holding the verdict in his right hand. The verdict read in the first degree I hollered Lordy Lordy have a mercy on me!"

"Tommy, I'll tell Angel! I swear I will! I'll tell her you were singing dirty songs!"

"It's not dirty! It's a CLASSIC!" He grinned like a possum. "The judge he smiled as he picked up his pen ninety-nine years in the Folsom pen! Ninety-nine years underneath that ground I can't forget the day I shot that bad bitch down! Come on you've gotta listen unto me lay off that whiskey and let that cocaine be!"

"You're insane, Thomas Reed! Completely INSANE!"

"Of course!" Tommy grinned even wider and bumped Daisy's shoulder as he pushed past her heading toward the forest bordering the parking lot.

And then there was a scream. Daisy turned her head, spying a van near the building's entrance, out of which a group of teenaged girls were piling, straightening skirts and white lacy veils on their head.

The man driving the van had one girl by the back of the neck, pushing her to her knees on the ground.

Daisy's heart thudded in a panic and she felt her feet still, her eyes locked on the scene in horror. "Tommy!"

She heard his shoes scuff against the hard asphalt as he turned to watch.

Angel had made a rule… 'Do not interfere!' that rule stated simply. 'Keep out of sight, and out of mind!' But…

How could they?

Daisy herself would most likely be in trouble anyway because of the phone call she'd made if she weren't able to keep it out of her mind when they got back.

"Come on!" Tommy hissed, grabbing her arm, yanking her toward the forest relentlessly, even as the sobbing screams from that poor girl echoed in the parking lot behind them.

Tommy shoved Daisy into the bushes and knelt beside her.

The other girls in the group were bunched together like frightened animals and Daisy could feel Tommy trembling in rage beside her. She glanced down at her feet, and noticed little sticks, rocks and old leaves were beginning to lift free of the ground… Twirling in mid air…

It was a hypnotizing sight, as well as a terrible one; "Tommy… Tommy calm down!" She hissed. Turning and grabbing him, giving his shoulder a shake. "CALM DOWN!"

But, his eyes were locked on the man, his pupils quickly dilating, crowding out all the color.

Garbage in the gutter some eight feet away started trembling, rattling against the ground, slowly sliding toward them as if drawn by a large magnet.

Daisy's own hair started lifting, floating like liquid tendrils around her head. Tommy's hair followed suit, as well as the weight of their backpacks…

"Tommy, calm down!" Daisy shook him again, harder this time.

The trees around them began to sway eerily, their branches popping and groaning under the stress. Birds resting in the limbs squawked and flew away in a fright. Worms began to work their way out of the ground at Daisy's feet flailing around in a disgusting dance of discomfort.

The man across the parking lot had no sooner raised his hand to strike the girl again than the shopping cart Tommy had left near the back of the building began moving on its own… Slowly at first, then with greater speed, one wheel squeaking shrilly.

Daisy's eyes widened when she realized what was happening. Even as she tried to calm Tommy down, tried to distract him, "No, Tommy NO! STOP IT!" She shook him very hard this time, grabbing two handfuls of his floating hair and shaking his head. Trying to distract him in any way…

Tommy was using his ability, his anger a terrible battery of sorts, making him all the more powerful. So powerful, things were starting to rotate around them like asteroids or little moons. And if Angel found out, well, Tommy would be in trouble… And so would Daisy.

"Tommy, PLEASE!"

The man had looked up from beating the girl and noticed the strange goings on in the forest, his eyes wide, the girls now flocked around him, their fear of the unknown thing causing the trees and objects to act so oddly more potent than their fear of the abusive man.

The van behind them groaned, and they turned in horror, watching as the van was shoved violently, tires screaming, the back end pushed at a ninety degree angle from its original position. So the grille was pointed directly at the man. The whole vehicle rocking eerily, as if demons were bouncing up and down inside of it.

And then it stopped…

Behind them, two winged figures rose into the air, shooting off into the cloud cover. But not before the girl on the ground, holding slim fingers to her bleeding nose, saw them…


"You're so stupid!" Daisy cried swooping over Tommy's head, swatting him every time she seesawed back and forth over him. "Angel is going to be so angry!"

"No she's not!" Tommy said in a low, serious voice. "She's not going to be angry, because she's not going to find out!"

Daisy scoffed; "You idiot! She knows EVERYTHING!"

Tommy flailed his arms as she swooped over him again, and swooped lower to escape her sharp swats. "You just keep your mouth shut, don't go near Angel, and I'll take care of it!" His mouth was set into a thin grim line, his cheeks pale. "I'll take care of it…"


Wonder HOW Tommy will take care of it! :D






This is not a chapter really… It's just a funny little tidbit that is meant to send a message to all of you that I have not forgotten about this fic… And to give you a little back story to life with The Fledges before this story starts… Just as a note… Ages in this Interlude stand thus;

Angel and Tommy; 11, Cat;6 (in human years), KIX;7 (in human years), Ember; 3


"Ember! You give that back you peeping PERVERT!"

Angel lunged across the small space of the hotel bathroom dropping the little package she'd been inspecting in her haste, her shirt gaping open in the front, exposing the lacy little bra underneath and it's liberal padding of tissue…

Ember cackled wickedly and darted away, her three-year-old face wrinkled up in glee waving the box Angel had taken the package from over head like a trophy.

It was one of those rare times that Angel deemed her flock worthy of spending a night in a real hotel, in a real bed, in a real room with real walls. And needless to say they didn't know what to do with themselves, so they were mainly just standing or sitting around looking terrified…

Ember, on the other hand, was wreaking havoc in a way only a three-year-old with wings can.

So far, she'd eaten every piece of candy in the 'you lift it out of the basket, you bought it' tray on top of the minifridge, running their bill up by at least thirty dollars or more. She'd given each of the beds in both rooms a solid bouncing. She'd tasted each of the little bars of scented soap and thrown up in the boy's bathroom sink.

She'd crawled under the tables and scratched at the walls, her eyes blank, howling in a haunting, ghostly voice; "Gone, gone- GONE! It's all GAWWWWWWWWNNNNNN!"

Until Angel pulled her out and put her in time-out for ten minutes…

Ember had made faces at her behind her back the whole time… Angel ignored her, shaking her head of newly cropped curls and ordering everyone about.

And now that it was bed time, Ember had developed a theory as to why they'd suddenly found themselves in a hotel, instead of sleeping outside like they usually did…

Angel had disappeared once a month, every month for the past six months… And these disappearances seemed to happen on regular intervals. Every twenty-five days to be exact… She'd fly off for about a week, and come back.

Well, Cat seemed to think she knew why, but damn it, Ember wanted to know for sure!

So, when this escapade coincided with one of these twenty-five day disappearances, Ember decided to find out WHY…

Ember leapt across the beds still waving the box as Angel came out of the bathroom, practically foaming at the mouth, her shirt still flapping open, her short blonde hair sticking up in the back, her boy's jeans still too large in everything but the butt and hips.

It seemed to be a fad now-a-days, that everyone dressed like a boy… Except Daisy-David, who bawled her big dark blue eyes out when Angel had pinned her to the ground and hacked her ponytail off at her shoulders.

Daisy still hadn't stopped crying over it, sitting in the corner curled in on herself, eyes red rimmed and puffy… Rather unflattering in everyone's opinion. Daisy was usually always fabulous, her hair always perfect, her skirts always immaculate, even her wings were always flawlessly shining, her feathers smooth and opalescent.

But now, while she sat there in sweatpants and a purple tank-top, wings curled around her body, nose dripping onto her arm, eyes distant and swollen… Shortened hair messy and flipping out the wrong way on the left side…

But when she saw the box Ember was waving around, Daisy's eyes lit up and she started laughing her dark head off!

Ember was very angry at Angel for ruining Daisy's fabulous-ness… So, THIS, was how she got Angel back for it… By stealing whatever Angel had been hiding in this little box.

As she waved it around, more of the little packages flew out of it, scattering around the room.

"AH! MY EYES!" Tommy shrieked and slapped his hands up over his face, clawing at his eyebrows, feathers lifting in horror as he toppled backward into the floor and began writhing.

KIX's face went as red as his sweatshirt and the fur on his tail stood on end.

Cat purred in twisted delight where she was perched atop the large TV cabinet against the far wall, lying sprawled lazily, her head hanging over the edge, absently twiddling one of the packages between her fingers. "Having a nice period, Angel?"

Angel's eyes bugged, took in everything… Including the fact that the boys were in her room, even though they weren't supposed to be, grabbed the flaps of her shirt and tugged it quickly closed with a howl of indignation.

"Ember you little ASSHOLE!" She whirled in a flurry of black boy's clothes, short blonde hair and white wings, only to slam and lock herself back into the bathroom.

Ember rolled over and over on the bed, tears building in her eyes laughing like a madman.

KIX took one look at her and the packages scattered about the room, and covered his face with his hand…

He clearly remembered the few short hours he'd spent with the little girl's father when he was much younger… And he'd heard stories told by Angel when she was feeling particularly hurtful and regaled them all with tales of the 'Failure of The Flock'…

If what Angel said was true, Ember was more than a chip off the ol' block, so to speak… She was purely, devilishly, and hopelessly, her father's child…



10. Chapters 9 and 10


Chapter 9; Confessions

His Righteous Body Reverend Jerimiah Brass was no stranger to confession. He personally had confessed countless souls of their transgressions. Spending a night with him was looked upon as a glorious occasion… To anyone who hasn't actually done it.

The bad thing was, Abigail Hunter found herself tied up in his room upon return to the compound.

Apparently her father didn't take too kindly to her tripping when she was climbing out of the van at the supermarket, so now, she was to give her first 'confession' to Reverend Jerimiah…

Needless to say, the second he stepped foot into his bedroom she was going to start screaming… And he'd just smile in his slimy way and let his sweaty, fat hands do their 'holy' business…

He'd have her cleansed for sure… Uh-huh, Amen-nuh!

Sure enough, His Righteous Body Reverend Jerimiah Brass had no sooner stepped foot into his room than little Sinner Abigail Hunter commenced to screaming her little head off.

He just smiled and worked his collar open as he approached her, licking his lips; "Don't worry, My Child… Your sins will be absolved-"

Abigail shrieked and did the only thing she could… She started rattling off in a high screech exactly what she'd seen and why, should Jerimiah Brass lay a single dirty finger on her he would be eternally damned.


And to her surprise, his hands jerked back and his eyes widened.

"What did you say?"

She hesitated, blinking at him untrustingly. Took three deep breaths and told him exactly what had happened.

"I fell getting out of the van… Papa was beating me about the head and a Holy Wind came up and pushed the van aside… When I looked over to where the wind had come from I saw two angles rising back to heaven!"

He smiled gently again and his hand lifted; "It's a dirty wet sin to lie, Abigail-"


He ran a fingertip over her cheek and started down her neck;

"You touch me and your soul will go out! THE ANGELS SAID SO!"

She was grasping at straws she knew… Those winged creatures she'd seen did look like angels, and the whole compound had seen a Demon two nights before… Maybe, just MAYBE he would believe her and let her be… Maybe he wouldn't steal her first 'confession'…

He stared at her for a long while, his face darkening and filling with hate… "If you did see Angels, Abigail, why haven't they appeared here yet? Where they are most welcome?"

She shuddered under his gaze, feeling somewhat like a mouse caught by a hungry, mean cat, but she made herself answer. "Perhaps they didn't feel welcome around men who beat their daughters about the head for tripping…"

Insolent behavior like that usually got girls like her flogged and confessed. But Abigail felt she had very little to loose given her situation…

For a moment she believed she was about to be beaten about the head again, but instead His Righteous Body Reverend Jerimiah Brass, grabbed her by the chin and peered deeply into her eyes.

"Then we'll just have to MAKE them feel welcome… Won't we." It wasn't a question… And he untied her, pushed her roughly out the door where she landed in a bruised heap in the dirt.

Abigail knew better than to move, knew better than to even flinch as His Righteous Body Reverend Jerimiah Brass marched angry circles around her, pointing.

As he marched he snorted like an angry bull and began shouting in a great, loud, commanding voice

"I want a bonfire built! It is to reach as high as the clouds and be as bright as the sun! A glorious welcome beacon to the Angels this girl has seen," He kicked dirt on her for emphasis.

"We will show them the intensity of our faith, the righteousness of our souls and the Heavenly Heat in our hearts!"

And as he turned he kicked her in the chest hard enough to knock the wind from her body and the thought from her mind.

"And if by this time tomorrow night, no angels have appeared… I want her thrown amid the flames like kindling, to relight her doused soul!"



Chapter 10; Angels We Have Heard on High

It was dark by the time Daisy and Tommy reached their camp. To say that Angel was furious would have been an understatement to end all understatements.

She met them midair, her blue eyes wide and flashing in anger. She didn't speak at all, but her gaze connected with Tommy's and held.

Daisy could feel the hate rolling off of Angel in heat like waves, but she didn't dare move. The last time she'd disobeyed Angel she'd ended up having all her hair cut off and all her lovely skirts and frilly tops left behind in a garbage bag of other 'useless junk'. Daisy wasn't about to disobey her again.

She forced herself not to think of the phone call, not to think of what Tommy had done… She forced herself to think of pink shoes, of stockings with skulls on them. Of canned peaches and fresh mangoes. Daisy forced herself to think of everything but what could get her into trouble…

But Angel didn't seem to be paying attention to Daisy… In fact, that twitching little vein on Angel's temple was beginning to shrink, the anger in her eyes was changing to something… Dare she say… Soft… And a tiny little dimpled grin was starting to take shape on Angel's normally horribly stoic and scowling face…

If Daisy didn't know better… She would have sworn Angel was flirting with Tommy…

And maybe, in her strange, tyrannical way, she was…

Daisy sure as heck could smell the charm rolling off of Tommy… Her toes curled in her boots.

"I'm still mad about the green feathers…" Angel said suddenly, crossing her arms over her chest and giving Tommy a superior little smirk.

Tommy raked a hand through his hair roguishly and one side of his mouth quirked up in a very crooked grin… "How else was I supposed to get you to notice me?"

And Daisy angled herself toward the ground before she heard or smelled any more… She may have been a girl mentally, but for some horrible reason her body wasn't, and it was difficult to hide what the tantalizing smell of Tommy's 'charm' was doing to her, and Daisy positively HATED that her body wasn't the same as her mind… She couldn't even look at herself in the mirror, couldn't even open her eyes when she showered because of the horror of it.

Wings she could handle, she was PROUD of her wings. Heck, she'd even be happy with funny ears and a tail of this DISFIGUREMENT would go away!

But, every morning it was there… And every night she cried herself to sleep because every day it was becoming harder and harder to believe that she would ever feel comfortable in her own skin…

At the last moment, before she was close enough to land, Daisy changed her mind, unsnapped the straps of her pack of food, let the cans and boxes drop to the ground, flipped over in the air, and started flying away to the east…

Her eyes were already filling with tears, and her skin was already crawling in revulsion… Why couldn't she just be normal? Why couldn't she be RIGHT!

Angel didn't follow her, didn't even send someone after her… So, Daisy found a tree and wedged herself between two sturdy forks, arms wrapped tightly around her knees.

She sobbed.

Deeply, but silently into the hem of her skirt, then found herself singing in a clogged, disgusting voice, the words to her favorite song from 'The Little Mermaid'…

Some time later, she felt, more than heard the wind moving on wings behind her, and she turned quickly, scrubbing her ruined mascara from her eyes, glaring in contempt at the figures materializing out of the darkness behind her.

Ember landed first, bouncing limb from limb until she was standing near enough to Daisy to touch her. She reached out a pale little hand and petted Daisy's head; "You sing real pretty, Daisy… Don't cry no more, you ruin your makeups!"

KIX who'd landed a scarce few seconds after Ember was still standing on a branch above them, looking down with his arms crossed, scowling slightly. He scoffed quietly and looked away at Ember's comment. Finding something funny about it but choosing to say nothing.

Instead, he focused on a strange orange glow some ten or so miles away… It was small looking, but what he knew about diffused light, and aerial distances, he could tell that whatever was burning was burning BIG to be able to see it that well from so far away.

He could hear the two girls chatting away below him, and interrupted because he didn't like the odd foreboding feeling he got from the glow on the horizon.

"Em, what's that?"

The little girl paused, and turned her head in the direction he was pointing. After a few seconds she spoke in an excited voice; "That's a fire! A BIG fire!"

She was in the air before KIX could say anything else. Flying toward the glow so quickly she looked like a little macaw colored streak.

"EMBER!" Daisy shouted in an angry voice after her, and launched herself out of the tree, dark wings beating like liquid midnight.

KIX watched them for a second, then with a sigh and a rubbing of his forehead, he followed at a slower, un-amused pace.

"Angel's not gonna like this…"


(Enter the Plot!)