Awake by flYegurl

Category:Maximum Ride
Genre:Family, Hurt-Comfort
Published:2010-04-02 16:01:36
Updated:2011-03-21 14:36:21
Packaged:2021-04-22 01:10:47
Summary:Iggy's been saved from his 'dream' simulation, and besides him being older than Max now, everything is back to normal. Until the flock discovers a machine inside Iggy set to kill him on his sixteenth birthday. Which is soon. Sequel to 'Asleep'.

Table of Contents

1. Sleeping
2. Choosing
3. Tagging
4. Testing
5. Running
6. Breaking
7. Reading
8. Telling
9. Discussing
10. Creating
11. Deciding
12. Counting
13. Laughing
14. Dreaming
15. Swinging
16. Sliding
17. Entering
18. Finding
19. Beginning
20. Flying
21. Waking

1. Sleeping

This is what you people have all been waiting for. Yes. Here it is. The amazing sequel. Second installment in my Dreaming series. Yeah. You got it. Now let's get to it.

Disclaimer: I don't own Maximum Ride. You should know that by now.


It's happy. It's happy again. Now that we have Iggy back, everything's right.

Well, almost everything. There's just the slight problem that Iggy's a whole year-or-so older than me now.

And if that wasn't a permanent enough reminder of everything that happened to him, there was also the scar. You know, the big one. About an inch long. Under his right eye.

And who made that scar?

No, not the stupid Whitecoats. Iggy himself.

Yeah. I know, right? Why would Iggy give himself such a terrible injury? That would leave a scar even our healing capabilities couldn't heal?

My sweet, delusional little broth…

Oh, no. I mean my… my sweet, delusional big brother.

Gosh, you have no idea how hard that is to say. To even think.

But, you know? All that is behind us. It's been nearly two months since the whole episode. Iggy seems to be doing… fine. Fine enough. I mean, he's not all sullen and depressed or cutting himself or anything.

Actually, at the moment he was napping. That's right. Napping. He can never seem to get to sleep enough lately.

Gazzy and Nudge are all confused by it. Why does he never do anything but sleep anymore?

I think I know why.

When he's asleep, he can dream.

Not that it makes much of a difference, anyway.

Angel POV


She doesn't reply at first. She's too busy staring at Iggy. Have to admit, the guy is cute when he sleeps.


She still doesn't look at me. Her eyes are focused on Iggy.

I should ask why she's even in here. After all, this is Iggy's bedroom. Not exactly a public place. And the door was shut with a little "do not disturb" sign on it last I checked.


Still no answer. In a huff, I turn to see what's so interesting about a sleeping Iggy that she's so caught up in on staring at.

All that floods out of me when I see my sleeping Iggy. He's sort of curled up on his side, the sheets on his bed pushed down by his ankles. He's got on this pair of torn and faded jeans… skinny-jeans that Nudge forced him to buy when we went shopping for him, saying that "guys look sooooo hot in skinny-jeans!" His shirt is pale blue and loose, and one of the sleeves had slipped down revealing his bare shoulder. His arms are wrapped around---don't tell Fang this, he'll never let Iggy live it down---this stuffed zebra.

See, when we first escaped the School, Jeb had gone out and bought us each 'comfort items.' I got this really nice fluffy leopard, Max got a plush frog, Fang a little black cat, Gazzy a rabbit, and Nudge a poodle. Iggy had gotten the zebra with a red ribbon around its neck.

The rest of everyone had gotten rid of their toys once they reached a "mature" age, leaving me with a pile of nice stuffed animals.

I never questioned why I never received Iggy's proclaimed "Zebry" or wondered where it had got to. Now, I realize that Iggy had kept it the whole time.

His face was scrunched into this adorable little pout, his nose nuzzled up into the plush zebra, his bottom lip stuck out and his eyebrows furrowed in a way that made my heart melt.

With his face in that expression, softened more than the regular stiff ones he usually wore, the scars on his face almost melted away. Even the giant one under his eye was somewhat less visible.

"Max," I say a bit more calmly. This time, Max turns her face towards me. I can see this loving expression in her eyes that I haven't seen in a long time.

"Yeah, honey?"

"Dr. Martinez made dinner. She wants you and Iggy to come down."

Max smiles softly and reaches out to ruffle my hair. "Yeah, sure. Wait a sec. We'll be right down."

I stay standing and watch silently while Max wakes Iggy. She stands softly and bends over him, reaching out her arm and laying it gently on his bare shoulder. With barely more than a small shake, Iggy wakes and his eyes flash open.

"Whuzzat?" he mumbles, sitting up and rubbing at his eyes. He then brings his hand down on his Zebry and pulls back with his mouth in a shocked 'O'.

Slightly embarrassed, he reaches again for the zebra and stuffs it under his pillow. Max doesn't mention it, merely drags Iggy up by his armpits, moaning piteously about how her mom was anxiously awaiting the arrival of His Majesty Iggy, the King of Long Naps.

"And you need to start shaving your pits," she added hotly as Iggy sat up blearily. He turned his head up to Max's in disbelief.

"Guys don't shave their armpits, Max!" he informed her, trying to seem disgruntled, but he couldn't hide from a mind reader the fact that he was secretly proud to have "grown up" finally.

"Well, they should," Max sniffed, pulling him up, this time by the hand. "Don't they shave their chests or something?"

Iggy shrugged. "I think they wax. And they don't absolutely have to."

Max threw her arms up in despair. "Oh, what is the world coming to? Mister Tall, Dark and Handsome all grown up and waxing, and His Majesty Iggy in serious need of a shave."

"Then get Fang to loan me his razor! Or go out and buy me one!" Iggy replies hotly. "Can you blame me for growing facial hair?"

"Oh, Iggy, how could I blame you for fantasizing?" Max shakes her head, patting his arm as the three of us exit his room. "Just wait a bit longer, and maybe it'll come true… however unlikely that may seem."

It's Iggy's turn to throw his hands in the air. He gestures wildly to his chin. "See? See there? Stubble! That's right! And even if you were waxing your mustache before I am, that doesn't mean it's not happening!"

The three of us end up entering the kitchen with Iggy and Max laughing hysterically. The rest of the Flock and Ella and Dr. Martinez stare at the two in incredulity, and Max and Iggy sit in chairs next to each other at the table. I take my place between Nudge and Gazzy, and as dinner commences I resolve to simply watching the antics of the two.

"Oh, Your Majesty His Iggyness, wouldst thou please pass the salt?" Max proclaims, wildly waving her fork about over her plate.

"But of course, oh greatest, thou Max, Savior of thy World," Iggy answers, lifting the salt from beside his plate theatrically and handing it to her.

"Why thank you, oh King Iggy of the Long Naps," Max nods appraisingly.

"Why you're welcome, Master Maximum of the Tree-Hugging Hippies," Iggy replies with an unbelievably straight face.

Everyone continues to stare open-mouthed at the two as we all finish our chicken-tacos and mashed potatoes. They don't seem to either notice or mind, simply continuing effortlessly. By the end of dinner, I don't know whether I'll ever be able to get "Master Maximum of the Tree-Hugging Hippies" out of my head again. That's sure a catchy nickname.

"Um… listen, guys, why don't we do a family activity tonight?" Dr. Martinez finally says, pulling away from the table to wash the dishes.

Iggy tenses a little bit, as well as me, knowing clear well that it was the "family activities" that started the whole Five-Hundred-Days-Ago ordeal in the first place; mainly the Flock leaving Iggy out while we all watched movies.

"Like what?" Max asks leisurely, taking a bite out of her taco.

Dr. Martinez smiles knowingly. "I was thinking along the lines of… tag?"

Iggy visibly brightens and Nudge, Ella, and Gazzy jump up energetically.

"Oh yeah!" they cheer happily, slapping high-fives. Fang grins wordlessly, and Max jumps up to bring her and Iggy's now-empty plates to the counter.

"Tag it is!" she agrees.

We all happily flood out the back door and into Dr. Martinez's freshly-mown lawn, interspersed with trees, and bordered by a huge, thin forest and a large lake.

This was going to be a blast.

Yay! I'm so happy I finally got around to starting this sequel. Did you like this first chapter? I promise there will be a fair amount of action, but I wanted to start out with a few chapters of family fun before getting into the angsty adventures.

Let me say this before you click that "back" button and go start another fic; I'm not gonna wait until the sixth chapter for the first review this time! I better see a review on this chappie soon, or it will take a LONG time to post the next one!

Just sayin'.


2. Choosing

Thank you to everyone who reviewed. I was so happy. I'm glad people already started reading my sequel! Also, I wanted to say this; some people reviewed pleading for Iggy to get his chance at love. I promise you, he will. I already know what's going to happen and have the character planned out, so no ideas or anything; they'll go to waste. But I also promise you, it's gonna be a HUGE surprise!

And to the person who reviewed wondering where the sad sob-stuff was? Just two words for ya; it's coming. Maybe not in this chapter, or the next, but very soon.

And thanks to you who reviewed saying the zebra was cool. Wanna know where my idea for Zebry came from? Me. Yeah. Zebry is my own stuffed zebra, the first stuffed animal I ever received. And yes, I'm in my mid-teens and I still sleep with him every night… I'll tell him he has fans :)

Disclaimer: don't own. (I'm bored of saying that)

Angel POV

We all gathered in a large circle. The Flock has certain rules when playing Tag; in fact, we sort of have our own version of the game. You see, a while ago we discovered that, when playing alone, certain people---cough me cough---had certain advantages and would win practically every time. Whereas other people---cough Iggy cough---had certain disadvantages and would practically never win. Therefore, we decided to play Tag in teams.

The way we picked teams was simply by forming a circle and shouting out one person you wanted to be on a team with. You didn't have to shout out, but you could.

For instance, me and Nudge chose someone almost every time, whereas Fang had never chose anyone as far as I can remember.

"Okay, mom, Ella, we'll put you on opposite teams so it's fair. Which of you want to be on my team?"

"Me!" Ella shouted, jumping over to stand by Max.

"Okay, then. One… two… three…"

Nudge looked as if she was eagerly awaiting the game, but I could tell she wasn't about to call a name. One of the few times she held back. In fact, from what I could hear, the only one other than me planning to choose someone was Max.

There was a pattern when choosing people; Fang never chose, and Iggy almost never did. I think he had chosen Gazzy and me once or twice before. Gazzy chose less often than me and Nudge, and mostly only chose me or Iggy. Nudge almost always chose Max and Fang, and I had only ever chose Max, Nudge, or Gazzy. Max usually chose Fang and me.

No one except Gazzy had ever picked Iggy.

So you can imagine the surprise and happiness I heard in his mind when Max and I both shouted "Iggy!" simultaneously.

"It's decided then," Max said smiling, grabbing Iggy's and my forearms and dragging us over beside her and Ella. "Now, we get ten minutes to set up battle strategies and hide. Exactly ten minutes. On your mark… get set… go!"

Max rushed off, dragging Ella and Iggy behind her and leaving me to run after them.

She stopped about half a mile into the forest, breathing lightly, though her little sister was gasping.

"I… am not… cut out… for this," Ella choked as she tried to take in gulps of air.

Max laughed.

"Okay, so plan… Angel, I want you to go lay in the lake. Anyone passes by, you wait until there is no way for them to get out of the way in time, then you jump up and get them."

"Aye aye, cap'n," I cheered, saluting smartly. Iggy smirked.

"What about me?" Ella asked eagerly, apparently having regained her breath.

Max looked at her for a moment. "I think it's a mutual silent agreement for no one in the Flock to try to tag you. You wouldn't stand a chance."

"Hey!" she protested ineffectively.

"So, how about you go hide somewhere and try to get mom? If you see anyone else, broadcast their location to Angel and she'll give it to either me or Iggy."

Ella nodded.

"What about me?" Iggy asked softly. He was now wondering why the heck me and Max wanted to be with him.

"Because we love you, Iggy," I said out loud. He turned his surprised face in my direction. Now he was wondering why that never caused us to want to before.

"I know, it's our fault, not yours. I'm sorry we never did it earlier."

Ella and Max were looking back and forth between us with confused expressions on their faces.

"What?" Ella asked.

"Nothing," Iggy muttered.

"Well, Iggy, let's just say we'll be doing a bit of evil masterminding of our own," Max answered his previous question slyly. "Let me just say, we're going to need to use your gift."

Iggy scowled at that, and Max sighed sympathetically.

"Really, Iggy, there's no need to act that way. We're all completely jealous."

"Of what? That I'm a mutant freak?" he muttered.

"Yeah, that's totally it. We're all jealous that we don't have wings and stuff like you do," Max drawled sarcastically, elbowing him. "No, silly! You've only got the best power out of all of us! Except maybe Angel."

"That's right, because even if you're all-knowing, I can just get the answers from your mind," I added sweetly.

"Yeah, thanks." Iggy grins lopsidedly.

That's when we heard and explosion from a way to our left.

"Oh, shoot!" Max cursed. "Ten minutes up! Okay, you two, go do your stuff!"


I don't know what it is about Iggy, but something had happened in the past few months that… just made me closer to him. I feel like he's more my best friend now than even Fang. I feel like… like I can trust him with anything, even the life of the Flock. And that he'd give anything to ensure that trust never wavers.

Plus, he's just so fun to be around! I was worried when we first got back; he was sullen and withdrawn. But eventually he became… well, himself again. Angel said it's because he accepted that everything he went through was a dream. I still can't believe he got over it again so fast enough to be happy.

But now, him and I were rushing through the forest in search of a large tree. To be more specific, the large tree that him and I had found a week-or-so previously.

And we found it.

Said tree was huge. I'm talking huge. As in about-one-half-times-taller-than-all-the-rest huge. Plus---and here's the awesome part---it's hollow.

That's right. Hollow as a rotten log.

Thing is, though, said tree only has one way to get into it. And the only person who knows is me and Iggy.

Iggy was the one who actually discovered it. We were flying once when, quite randomly, he fell and crashed through the branches. He landed half-in, half-out (and to all those who are actually wondering, it was the bottom half that was sticking out) of a hole in the top of one of the largest branches.

That's when we found out that the branch was hollow, and led like a tunnel down to the trunk. Inside was a veritable network of other tunnels from the biggest branches, as well as the rather large room that was the trunk. There were even holes, barely noticeable from the outside, with which one---to be specific, actually, only me---could look out and spy. Iggy, at least, could press his ear to it and listen out.

So the two of us began to climb the tree.

Iggy made it up first, and once he reached the opening he dived in. Momentarily his legs simply flailed in the air for a moment until he pulled them in behind him. I laughed a bit, but once it was my turn I realized that I probably looked even less graceful then him---and he was, what, six-foot-four?

After we'd crawled all the way down the small passage, we dropped softly to the bottom of the trunk. The ground was soft and coated with moss, lichen, and fungi. It smelled rather musty, but that was fine.

"Hey, Igs," I muttered. "What's the probability of any one of the other team crossing by here?"

"Well," Iggy started after a moment. "We're about a mile from the start of the forest, due south-east from Dr. Martinez's house. This tree is approximately three-quarters of a mile away from the lake, and is ideally surrounded by a thick cover of bushes and other trees. Not much light shines down in this part of the forest."

"Yeah, and..?"

"I'd say about an eighty-three percent chance of Fang coming this way, twenty-four of your mom, sixty-eight for Gazzy, and forty-three for Nudge."

I nod. "Okay. So, what about the probability of just someone coming this way?"

A pause. "Ninety-eight point two three."

I nod again. "Sure. Now we wait."

So we waited.

Until we heard a crunching of dead leaves being stepped on outside.

And we tensed, ready for our first 'out.'

Yay! Second chapter done! Love all you splendiferous readers. Oh, and on my profile I have a poll on which of my fanfics peeps want me to concentrate on most. Go vote. I've only got, like, two so far.


3. Tagging

Here you go! I was so happy that so many people have already started reading this.

Disclaimer: yup. Bored of this.


It was Fang.

I know this because I could see him through my peephole. He was actually pretty well hidden, what with his weird almost-invisibility thing. Only problem; whenever he moved, he came visible again. Pretty easy to catch, unless he's standing still.

I turn towards Iggy, who is looking at me in a rather frustrated way. I raise my eyebrows at him, then remember his blindness and all.

"I'm raising my eyebrows, Iggy," I hiss through my teeth.

"It's Fang, right?" Iggy whispers back.


Iggy grins mischievously and presses a finger to his lips. Then, he turns and presses his ears to one of the peepholes.

I look out mine and see that Fang has gotten close enough that he is standing right in front of our tree, staring oddly at it.

Iggy moves a bit, and I turn to look at him.

He sticks his index finger through the small hole in the wood and wiggles it obviously.

Fang POV

I was walking through the forest… looking for Iggy, actually. Max seemed to have gotten… rather close to him in the past months, hadn't she? I wasn't particularly worried, but still…

But I really was glad we had Iggy back. There's just not us without everyone. I truly had missed him.

And we got him back. And he was so different.

Not really on the inside… he was still my best friend, my only confidante, the one person I could truly trust… But now, my little brother was a year and a half older than me.

That's not something that happens every day.

I was also enjoying his company a lot. I guess I wasn't taking him for granted anymore. And, actually, I would have called his name when we chose teams… if I ever called anyone's name.

I walked silently through the forest, rather calm. Nudge was back hanging around the lake; if anyone, she was the one person who could probably catch Angel. After all, since she'd gotten her gills, she was the fastest swimmer out of us all. Gazzy was somewhere, setting off bombs, and trying to find Iggy and Max. Dr. Martinez… well, we'd just told her to try to find Ella. Maybe she'd have a chance against her.

As I walked, I cam to see that ahead was a tree of enormous proportions. I began to walk towards it, cautiously. That could be the perfect hiding place of someone.

Hmm… I haven't played this game in a while. What are our rules? Well, there's the picking of teams… and Angel is not allowed mind control… and no one's allowed to take advantage of Iggy's blindness, as in 'no being quiet to spite him, then jumping out of nowhere and tagging him unfairly'… Oh! And the most important one! You can only tag someone with your index finger.

Why was this a rule? I had pretty much forgotten… except for the fact that all of us are so awesome, we usually tag at the same time, so it is therefore hard to tell who is actually out. So we can only tag with index fingers… so, the one with the broken finger is the one not out, I guess. Um…

I've reached that big tree by now, and walk up to it. It's really a magnificent tree, all big and tall. Huge around. I bet, if it was hollow, it would be an awesome hiding spot.

That's when something pokes through the trunk and begins to wiggle about in the air.

I jump back, startled for a moment. What is it, some weird worm? But, no…

It's a finger.

An index finger, to be precise.

I creep closer to the finger, staring at it warily.

I mean, what's an index finger doing sticking out of a tree? And wiggling?

Like it was still alive…

Oh, wait, yeah duh. It is. It's obviously Iggy's finger.

Why do I know that? Because Iggy is extremely fair-skinned, and this finger is pale… and long, longer than mine even.

I ponder the finger a moment.

"Hey, Iggy."

"Hi." I can hear his smirk from inside the tree… which, I realize, must indeed be hollow.

"So, how's it going?"

I hear a shrug. "Fine. You?"

"Good. I was looking for you."

"Oh, really?"

"Yup. I was going to tag you."

There's a pause, and I can hear Iggy muttering for a moment under his breath. There's a scrabbling, the finger is withdrawn. In a moment, though, it protrudes through the bark once more.

"Really? That's funny, what a coincidence! That's what I'm planning to do! Vice versa, I mean. Why would I tag myself?"

Iggy laughs to himself, continuing to wiggle his long finger enticingly. I was tempted to reach out my own and tag it… however weird that may look.

One problem; Iggy had me trapped. Because the only part of him I could tag would be his finger… which would automatically get me out as well. So, should I get Iggy out and sacrifice myself, or fly away?

I suppose the common sense thing to do would be to get him out. After all, what with his new gifts, he may even be more valuable a player than Angel. But if I got out, on my team that would only leave Nudge and Gazzy, and they'd still have to go up against Max and Angel… But if Iggy was out of the picture.

I reach out my own index finger slowly.

"Say, Iggy, what a great plan you came up with," I start.

"Hmm. Yeah, I know, right?"

"Of course. I mean, giving me no other way than to get out myself while I tag you…"

"Oh, you misunderstand," Iggy says, suddenly drawing his finger back into the tree. "I have no intention of getting out."


That's when someone's index finger pokes into my back.

"Fang, you're out!" Max sings.

I didn't know she was there.

Gosh, I wish I had Iggy's ears.

Or at least Angel's mindreading. I should have known he wouldn't get out so easily.

I sigh, turning, shoving Max lightly, and then lift off to fly back to the house.

At least while I'm waiting, I can watch TV.

Thanks for reading. Please review!

4. Testing

I'm sorry I never updated sooner. But, here you go!


Nudge POV

Angel may be a mind-reader, but I'm smarter than people give me credit for. Sure, I've got a motormouth. But does that make me dumb? No. Not in the least. For instance, other than Iggy, I was the only one who had figured out how to block her. Keep her out of my head. And she didn't know it yet.

Unluckily for her. Because, after all, I know exactly where she'll be. And I've got gills too.

Cue evil laughter.

Anyway, I creep up to the lake and begin to wade quietly in. It's quite a big lake, actually, about twenty feet down at the deepest point. The whole thing is about fifty feet in diameter, and from the bank it slowly gets deeper, then drops off. Angel will probably be lurking somewhere in the far side, by the drop off, so she can hide in the weeds and muck. Luckily, she has no upper hand in this. Actually, I do; I'm a faster swimmer.

Gosh, I wonder what Fang's doing at the moment? He's probably off looking for Max or Iggy. Probably Max, seeing as they're all lovey-dovey. Gazzy? He'll be off exploding things somewhere. Maybe trying to attract Iggy.

The water is colder than I thought it was gonna be, but it's not freezing. Just enough to make me shiver once I finally sink into the liquid.

I creep over to the drop off and sink to the bottom of the lake. My toes – I had taken my shoes and socks off before coming in – squish into the muck on the floor. Tiny tendrils of plants curl around my legs. Finally, I take a deep gulp of the water. The oxygen continues down into my lungs, while the water flows out through the gills on the side of my neck. I grin at the satisfying feeling.

Pushing off from the mud, I begin to flash through the chilly water in the direction I assume Angel to be in.

Angel, watch out, here I come!

Gazzy POV

This is so fun! I don't think we've played Tag in, I dunno, probably like a year! Wow, this is so awesome! Gee, I hope I get someone out before I get tagged.

I know, I know, I'm not really the most awesome of the Flock; that would be Iggy, hands-down. Then, probably either Max or Angel, seeing as they're the leader and power-hungry-seven-year-old-little-sister. Fang and Nudge are pretty cool too; I mean, they both have gills, and they're fun. Well, Fang's just fun to prank, but that's the same thing.

Speaking of Fang…

He soars above me, his black wings flapping bored-ly (as always), and glides down to touch ground in front of the back door. He shakes his wings out and folds them, opens the door, and walks inside.

Oh, so Fang's out already, huh? That means… only three people could have got Fang out…

Unfortunately, all three of them were on the opposite team, so that narrowed down nothing.

Whatever. I should probably head in the direction he came from, see if I can get anyone out!

I start walking hurriedly back down into the woods.

I run into Dr. Martinez on the way.

"Oh! Hi, Gazzy. Sorry, but Ella got me out."

Ever seen Dr. Martinez pout? It's a sight.

"Oh, bummer. Fang's out too! Now I just have Nudge."

Dr. Martinez scowls. "Well, don't blame me. I was politely minding my own business, and she jumped out and tackled me."

I laughed and waved her away. "Okay, fine. I'm gonna go look for Iggy… or Max."

This time, I jumped into the air, spreading my wings and lifting off. The trees cause small nuisances as the leaves catch my wings, but I manage to not crash and burn.


"Gazzy's coming," Iggy said. I looked towards him, my eyebrows raised.

"Huh. Who'd have thunk it?"

"Yeah. So, what'll we do? Oh, and your mom's out too. Nudge's going after Angel."

I stopped for a second, turning to Iggy.

"What?" he asked, halting as well and turning his head back.

I stare at him. And suddenly, just like that, I realize what I hadn't before.

Iggy has changed. Scarily changed.

And no, I don't mean the whole year-older-than-me-now thing. I mean… his gifts.

Yeah. He'd been hesitant to tell us at first. Actually, he hadn't said a thing… until Fang decided to take an IQ test.

Nudge had thought it would be neat if all of us did one, to see who was smarter. This was sort of a joke, seeing as none of us had had proper schooling, but we all complied readily.

Fang had managed a ten out of a hundred, Nudge twelve, me fourteen, Gassy seven, and Angel twenty-two. Then, it had been Iggy's turn.

"I don't need one," he said firmly.

"Aw, come on Iggy, it'll be fun! We all did one! Anyway, none of us will make fun of you if you do badly."

"I'm not afraid of doing badly. Not at all."

"Oh yeah?" Gazzy said. "Then what ARE you afraid of?"

"Nothing. I just know my IQ already."

"Oh yeah," I said, rolling my eyes. "You've snuck on the computer before and taken the quiz… need I remind you that you're blind?"

Iggy grimaced, and I momentarily cursed my brutality.

"No. They tested me at the School."

We all fell silent. Iggy hadn't ever talked to any of us about his Dream before. Of course, he now knew it was all… fake. At first, he'd been in denial, cursing and trying to get out to go find 'Meagan.' But, now, he accepted it. However, he never told us why he wanted so firmly for it to have been real.

"Oh, yeah?" Nudge chattered. "So, what is it? Are you, like, super smart? Like, a hundred IQ? Or is that actually just normal… what about two hundred?"

Iggy shook his head, pulling out the ear-buds from the iPod he'd been listening to.

"So, you're a genius, huh? What's your IQ then, if not two hundred? Three hundred?"

Iggy shook his head again.

"Four hundred? Five hundred? Six hundred?"

Again, he shook his head to each of them.

I heaved an annoyed sigh. So Iggy wanted to play games, huh? "Okay then, what's your IQ?"

"Above the charts," Iggy muttered. "Uncounted. The IQ test can't calculate."

Gazzy was the first to start giggling, then I laughed as well. Even Fang managed to crack a smile.

"Hey, just give him the quiz!" Angel piped up.

We sobered pretty quick.

"Okay. Lemme read you the questions, then we'll see who's right. I bet you fifty bucks you wont answer more than twenty right."

We all began taking bets.

"So, I think he can! I bet ten." Gazzy said.

"A hundred-and-thirteen and forty-two cents says he can't," Fang chanted in monotone, picking a completely random number.

"Twenty he can!" Angel sang.

"Hmm… I dunno, Iggy usually doesn't lie, but then I guess it's sort of unbelievable… hmm, I'm not gonna bet," Nudge decided.

"I've raised my bet to seventy-five," I spoke up.

"What about you, Iggy?" Angel asked sweetly.

"Are all the bets un-take-back-able?" he asked with a wry smile.

"Yup," I said.

"Okay. I bet all the money in my pocket. Here, Nudge, count this…"

It turned out to be a hundred.

"Okay. So, whoever wins gets their own money back, and then split the money from the losers," Nudge said, deciding to make the rules since she wasn't in on the bet.

"Okay, Iggs, question one," I started. "Capital of Nevada?"

"Carson City," Iggy said instantly.

"Okay, that was an easy one."

"One right!" Nudge announced.

"Oh, be quiet. Here… question two; how many ounces in a pound?"

"Sixteen," Iggy muttered.

"Two!" Nudge said.

"That one was easy too! Okay, how about… what date was John F. Kennedy assassinated on?" I didn't know this one; Iggy was a sure miss.

"November 22, 1963."

"Huh… right," I muttered.

"Three!" Nudge said.

"How about the amount of grains of long grain white rice in a pound?"

Ha, he wasn't gonna get this one!

"A bit over twenty-nine thousand."



This went on, with each of us getting more intrigued, until he had answered the first twenty questions correctly.

And on again, until he had correctly answered all one-hundred.

We sat in silence for a moment.

"Uh, Iggy, is there something you're not telling us?" I asked cautiously.

Iggy sighed. "It's a new gift, guys. I'm like the smartest person, ever. I just… know everything."

Okay, sorry for the end of that chappie! However, I wanted to have the rest of the Tag game in the next, and if I included it here it would be way too long. Please, review! I love dem reviews!


5. Running

Thanks so much to pandorad24. Your reviews were the only reason I've updated this soon! They really gave me an uplift, I appreciate reviews. Please continue, your reviews cheer me up! And about your reviews for "Asleep", thanks so much. I love it when people review even after the story is completed, but unfortunately that doesn't happen often.

Angel POV

Uh-oh. I am in trouble! I know Nudge is here, but for some reason I can't hear her thoughts, so I have no idea where she is!

Oh geez… she must have learnt how to block me. I can understand the appeal for that, because now I can't exactly listen to her private thoughts or dreams… and I can't find out where she is while we're playing Tag!


The voice is distorted due to the fact that I'm underwater, but it's still obvious.

Nudge… is right behind me!

Not even bothering to turn around, since that would suck much-needed time. Instead, I merely dart forward through the water, letting it stream past my face, until I can swerve upward, kick off the soft floor, and flash to the surface.

Nudge is right behind me, I know it, I can hear her giggling through the water.

I don't have quite enough velocity needed to completely leave the water, but as soon as I break the surface I spread my white wings and flap viciously. Of course, the weight of the water isn't exactly comfortable, nor does it make it easy to fly. Water droplets spray off my wings, but I manage to completely leave the water and begin soaring into the sky.

I begin to zip through the still air to the bank, where I can run. It will be easier to dodge Nudge on land.

I touch down within seconds, my feet already moving, and zoom off in the direction of the trees. My hair is blown back behind me, swiftly drying, droplets of crystal water continuing to part my skin and drift into the air.

Nudge's feet thud to the ground about ten feet behind me. She stumbles, though, so that buys me time. I enter the shade of the forest.

And that's when I get the most horrible sense of fear. As if something terrible is about to happen… or start.

Something is going to happen. What is it called when you know that? A premonition?

Anyway, it's going to happen… really soon…

I halt in my tracks. Nudge, who has been racing swiftly behind me with her index finger stuck out, smashes it into my back with undue force.

"OW!" she shouts, clutching at her finger. "I think you broke it! Anyway, you're out, Angel!"

I continue to stand there, that feeling nibbling at my mind.

"Something's about to happen," I mutter.

"Well, that doesn't excuse you. That's in the rules; you can't get out of being 'out' due to premonitions!"

"No, Nudge! Something terrible is about to…"

And then we hear the scream. It's piercing, and terrible, and painful. And it's Iggy.

"IGGY!" I hear Max screech from about a half-mile west.

Nudge is frozen in place for a moment, but when I jump into action, she follows.

I rush towards the spot where the screams had come from, shouting as I do "GAZZY! FANG! DR. MARTINEZ! ELLA! HURRY!"

Because that terrible, nagging feeling is worse. Like this isn't it yet, and something more's gonna happen… soon.

Because of our wings, Nudge and I manage to reach Max and Iggy within a matter minutes. Fang, I'm sure, heard my shout, and Gazzy would have as well; they'll be making their way here as fast as mutant-birdly possible.

Max is kneeling next to Iggy, who is curled up by a tree with his face screwed up as if in pain and his hands over his ears. I can see tears glistening in his eyelashes.

Nudge and I rush up to the two.

"Iggy! Iggy! Snap out of it!" Max looks terrified, shaking Iggy's shoulders, trying to get him to open his eyes.

"What happened?" Nudge stammers, getting down to put her hands on Iggy's shoulders.

"Nothing! He just… just froze up for a second, and asked for me, and then he sort of collapsed!"

"SHUT UP!" Iggy yelled, and Max and Nudge both turned towards him in surprise.

"What is it?" Fang asks. Him and Gazzy have just arrived through the trees.

"JUST SHUT UP! YOU'RE LYING!" Tears have started to make their way down Iggy's face again.

"Who is he talking to?" Max asked. "Iggy, listen to me! Snap out of it! You're really scaring us!

Iggy began to claw at his ears, and it obviously reminded Max and Fang far to much of the night in which we rescued him. They both darted forward at once and each grabbed one of his hands, holding it solidly. Fang stared at Iggy's pained face, looking worried.

"Iggy! Stop!"

Iggy shakes his head furiously and clamps his front teeth down on his lip.

"Just…just make them go away," he sobbed, then choked slightly.

Nudge was kneeling in front of him, looking scared and nervous. She reached her fingers forward nervously, bringing them to his face, stroking his cheek.

"Iggy, it's okay. Nothings wrong, we're all here. No one's gonna hurt you. Just snap out of it, you're scaring me!"

Iggy relaxed a bit, and he was weak enough that I managed to enter his mind to calm him down.

Stop it! a voice shouted in my ears as I listened to his thoughts. Just shut up! Be quiet! I know you're lying! It was Iggy.

They're all dead. They died a long time ago.

What the heck was that voice doing in Iggy's head?

No they're not! They're right here! I can feel them!

It matters not what you think. You're messed up, delusional. You haven't felt them in years. They died, and you didn't do a thing to stop it.

Iggy was tearing his mind apart, trying to get rid of the voice. But of course, it wasn't helping. And what was worse, it was persistent, and it was messing with his memories. I had to snap him out of it… but how?

"Iggy, I'm sorry. Don't get mad at me," I begged him, then raised my hand back and brought it against his cheek with a crushing blow.

Iggy's head bent to the side as my palm connected with his face, and I had hit him with such force I could already see a bruise forming. His eye was blackening. Max and Fang and the rest gawked at me in surprise.

But Iggy had stopped crying. He had stopped struggling. He wearily opened his eyes, staring straight ahead for a moment. Then he reached his arm out, feeling for anyone, and Fang met his hand. Iggy relaxed, sat up, leaned over, and coughed a stream of scarlet blood into Fang's lap.

So, here! The plot is starting to pick up. I hope you've been enjoying it! And remember, reviews make me smile! Plus, they make my heart all happy! REVIEW!

6. Breaking

Oh my! I haven't updated in so very long! I'm so sorry, I've been having homework and computer troubles. I will try to update most of my stories by tomorrow. Don't kill me! Accident! Lost track of time!

Fang POV

I caught Iggy as he slumped forward into my arms after hurling about a gallon of blood onto my brand-new pants.

Of course, though, I wasn't mad at him. Why the heck would I get mad at anyone for puking up blood? Especially my brother? My already-having-gone-through-way-more-than-any-mutant-bird-kid-should-have-to-go-through brother?

Iggy, my younger-turned-older brother? Who had just…

Oh god. Oh holy mother of…

Iggy. Had. Just. Coughed. Up. Blood.

Nudge started screaming, and I looked up to see her and Gazzy jump into the air and turn to speed back towards the house.

Max knelt down next to me. "They're going to tell mom," she whispered, reaching out to brush a lock of dripping red hair out of Iggy's mouth. "She's going to get her car ready to drive to her office."

Oh. Yeah. Dr. Martinez was a veterinarian. That was quite useful in times like this.

"Fang. Get up. We're gonna carry him back home to mom's car! Fang, you with me?"

I looked up again to see Max gazing into my eyes nervously.

"Yeah. Yeah, let's hurry."

As I stood with Iggy draped in my arms – a position that seemed way-too familiar – he squirmed a bit. His eyes flashed open, of course not doing any difference, and he struggled to make his way out of my grasp.

"Whoa! Iggs, it's me!" I gasped. "It's Fang!"

Iggy stopped. He parted his lips, as if to answer, but instead ended up hacking into his hand. When he pulled it away, I saw speckles of blood dotting his palm from his mouth.

"What's going on?" Iggy slurred, his voice husky. Probably from the blood.

"We're taking you to Dr. Martinez. Don't worry Iggs, she's gonna fix you up. Max's mom is a miracle worker."

Iggy smiled faintly. "Ha. Ha. Fang, you sound worried about me."

I furrowed my eyebrows. Just then, Max called to me from across the clearing. She was standing next to Angel.

"Come on, Fang! U and A! Now!"

The three of us leapt into the air.

It was harder carrying Iggy this time around, because now I was supporting his entire weight, and man, he was heavy. But it didn't matter. It was only about half a mile to the house.

"So, Fang? Why do you sound so worried?" Iggy started.

I looked down again and swerved dangerously, so simply settled on looking straight ahead and focusing only on Iggy's voice. Like how Iggy always had to.

"What do you mean, idiot? Of course I'm worried! You just hurled blood all over me!"

Iggy laughed weakly. "What the heck are you talking about?"

"Um, just a second ago? After you fell into some kind of trance-thing?"

Iggy sounded confused. "What? That never…"

We touched down roughly, and Dr. Martinez, Ella, Nudge and Gazzy met us with frantic expressions.

"Iggy!" Ella exclaimed. Her and Nudged rushed up to me, holding Iggy. I let his legs go so he could stand wobbly, still supporting him with my arm under his shoulders.

"We need to get him to my office right away. Fang, please help him into the backseat," Dr. Martinez began.

"I don't know what you're all upset about! I'm fine!" Iggy insisted. "Nothing happened! There's nothing wrong with me!"

Of course, it wasn't very convincing, seeing as a trickle of blood was dripping out of the corner of his mouth, and his lips and chin were already stained from earlier. As well as my pants.

I shoved Iggy forward into the car – the door was already open.

"Shut up, Iggy. Just be quiet. You're delusional right now."

I have to admit, I was very worried. Back in the forest, Iggy had screamed, and seemed as though something was wrong with his head. Then, of course, there was the whole blood-puking episode.

And now, he was acting as though nothing had happened.

So there was two possibilities; either Iggy was trying, obviously in vain, to pretend it hadn't happened…

Or he honestly didn't know it had.

Which was, in all ways considered, the most terrifying possibility.

The rest of the Flock had loaded into the van around us. Ella was in shotgun next to Max's mom, who had put the keys into the ignition. Suddenly, the car roared to life and we all lurched backward as the car raced forward.

I kept my eye on Iggy as we sped to Dr. M's office. He seemed confused and slightly scared. Nudge was gazing with wide, terrified eyes at the blood trickling down his chin, so I reached out and wiped it away with my sleeve. Another piece of ruined clothing. But it didn't matter.

Iggy turned towards me, his eyes startled.

"You really don't remember anything?" I asked. He shook his head slowly.

"I… I don't… no, I don't," Iggy muttered.

Then, I heard something snap.

From inside Iggy.

Iggy's eyes jerked open so wide, I could see white all around his irises. His pupils dilated to specks so small, they were barely perceptible. His mouth opened into a wide, bloodied O and a strangled rattle of air escaping his lungs sounded.

Then his eyelids fluttered and he slumped yet again in a cold faint.

"DR. MARTINEZ!" I shouted in panic. "Step on the gas! HURRY! Something… something's terribly wrong…"

"We're here! We're here!" Dr. M gasped, and I saw that indeed we were. Max's mom screeched around the bend into the parking lot. Luckily, seeing as she was head veterinarian, Dr. Martinez had a space right in front of the entrance. Also luckily, her office was closed, so no one else was hear at this time.

I heard another audible snap coming from inside Iggy. He jerked slightly.

"Iggy!" Nudge sobbed.

I have to admit, Dr. M was fast. She ordered me in charge of Iggy, gave Max clear instructions to her specific office, and rushed ahead to open the doors and get everything ready.

I snatched Iggy, once again, into my arms and bolted out of that car as fast as possible. I had to get Iggy to help, fast.

Max raced ahead of me to get the doors. She held them open as I passed through, then held them for the rest of the Flock and Ella. The little kids followed, and Max once again took the lead to guide us to her mom's office.

We were almost there when it happened again. But this time, Iggy was in my arms when the snap was heard. I could feel it vibrate in my callused, scarred hand.

It was happening in his chest. We entered Dr. Martinez's office, and I immediately set Iggy down on the table Dr. M had readied, and hurriedly, but carefully, pulled Iggy's shirt up over his head.

It was as I head thought. Dark bruises forming over several points on his chest where…

Where his ribs had broken.

Iggy's ribs had just randomly snapped. And besides that, there was the blood…

I hoped against hope that this was all that was going to happen. Nothing more, please, nothing more happen to my brother, my best friend…


Ooh… this is getting heavy. Wow. I'm sort of scared for Iggy! What the heck is happening?! This is too suspenseful! I hope I update soon to see what's gonna happen next…

Review? Please? For poor, poor, pained Iggy's sake?

7. Reading

Okay! So I haven't posted in a VERY long time, so I apologize. Okay, yeah.

Najafan101 (), thanks so much for your review. I'm sorry, but I'll have to say no to your suggestions, because I already know what is happening to Iggy (I mean, I'm the writer, right?). However, I'd love for you to send in new suggestions as well! That goes for everyone, actually… send me ideas, suggestions, questions, whatever. I'll try to reply.

Fang POV

"What is that noise?" Nudge asked, quivering. Dr. Martinez put her fingers lightly to the bruises on Iggy's chest.

"His ribs…" she whispered. "But… I wonder…"

Dr. M pressed her palms to Iggy's chest, and I realized she must be setting the breaks.

As she began to work, Iggy's fingers twitched. His lips parted, blood dripping through. I could see that his teeth were stained red.

"Dr. M…" I started, watching Iggy grit his teeth. "Could you please knock him out? So he's not in pain?"

Max's mom turned to me, smiling slightly. "Yeah."

She lifted a needle from her little metal tray of tools and stabbed it into Iggy's forearm, injecting a liquid into his bloodstream. In a matter of moments, Iggy slipped once again into an unconscious stupor.

"Now, guys, I must ask you to leave. Ella, Nudge, I've given you two some basic health instruction. I'll need your help."

Unspoken among us, everyone was thinking that the one who had spent more of their time, more of their energy becoming a great doctor… was Iggy. He was the only one with the real interest or talent. Unfortunately, he was the one who needed the help.

Max, Gazzy, Angel and I walked out of the room quietly. The hallway outside was dark, and we were scared, which made it all the darker. I saw Gazzy peer anxiously down towards the exit.

The four of us sat together on a bench opposite the door to Dr. M's office. I stood once again, noticing a light-switch, and flicked it. The rectangular lights lined along the ceiling flickered on one by one, generating a slight buzzing sound, and reminding me far too much of my days at the School.

"So, does anyone have any ideas as to what's happening?" Max spoke up, her voice shaking. "Does anyone have any ideas as to what the heck is happening?"

"No… well, maybe," Angel answered.

"What is it?" Gazzy asked somewhat eagerly.

"The papers. What if there's something typed in his papers?"

Max glanced towards me, her eyes widening.

When we'd rescued Iggy from the School two months ago, we had also managed to print off each of our files. But none of us had wanted to read them.

Max already had Dr. Martinez, her mom, and the rest of us agreed that if we had information on our past or parents, it could bring up problems we didn't want or need.

But Iggy already had problems he didn't want or need, and us knowing about his past wouldn't make it any worse… it could only make it better.

But the papers were back in the house…

"I brought Iggy's papers with me," Angel said sweetly, pulling his stack of crisp white papers from underneath her shirt.

.. or not.


I pulled the papers from Angel's hands, a bit harder than I had first intended. She gazed up at me through liquid blue eyes, and I reached down to ruffle her hair.

"Sorry, sweetie. And don't worry, he'd going to be fine. Me and Fang… we're gonna read these now."

"But I want to help, too!" Gazzy protested, rocking forward on the bench. "You can't just make me and Angel sit back and do nothing!"

"It's not that," I answered calmly. "We have no idea what's in these papers. It might be something we, or Iggy, don't want you to know."

"Well, if Iggy doesn't want us to know, why would he want you to know?" Angel asked. I paused.

"It's not that he'd want us to know. It's that someone has to, and me and Fang are old enough to understand it better."

Gazzy pouted, and Angel sat next to him and lay her head on his shoulder. He softened a bit, and rubbed her back. Cute sibling love.

Fang looked at me, and I could see an echo of fear in his eyes. I'd only seen that fear a few times before; he wasn't fond of revealing emotions. I had recent cause to believe that was because of an experiment performed on him not long after Iggy went blind.

Without speaking, the two of us turned to find another room. The office right next to mom's was open, and Fang opened the door silently and turned on the lights. I caught one final glimpse of Gazzy and Angel before the door closed.

"Should we split the papers, or read them together?" I asked, holding out the stack. "There's a lot."

"Well, some of them will just be about his parents and stuff, right? We should find the ones about medical papers and experiments and crap."

We sat together on the floor, spreading the papers in front of us. I was able to find parental papers instantly, recognizing photos of the couple we had found a while back, when we'd been staying with Anne. I remembered all the pain those people had caused Iggy, crumpling up those papers and tossing them aside. Fang raised an eyebrow at me.

Now were other papers to look through. There were a lot of records, numbers and symbols and charts that made no sense to me. I carefully stacked them and put them aside as well.

What was left was about fifty double-sided pages, all lined with super-tiny print that I probably wouldn't have been able to read except for my super eyes.

I handed Fang half, and took half for myself. Then we began to read.

At first, I only found information about the types of experiments Iggy had been subject to, before realizing that all of these had taken place several years after Iggy's blindness. I needed papers from earlier.

I flipped through the other papers, looking for birth documents, anything. I was not disappointed.

One word caught my eye, on about the third page; premature.

"Fang," I gasped. "Did you know Iggy was born three months early?"

Fang looked up with a sharp glance. "Really?"

"Yeah. He almost died because of it; his heart stopped seven times… oh dear…"

"What?" Fang leaned forward, still clutching his portion of papers. "What is it?"

My eyes widened as I read further. "A portion of his brain died. He doesn't have any mental blocks, which means…"

"What? What does it mean?" Fang's voice was urgent.

"It means he has no block for his powers, no boundaries… it says because of that, if not controlled, he could… could destroy himself… could go insane… And his emotions have no boundaries, so he can't control anything…"

Fang glared in my direction, though I could tell he was looking right through me. He wasn't mad at me, it was those Whitecoats he wanted to hurt.

"Did you find anything?" I asked, breaking the strangled silence. Fang looked down at the paper he was holding.

"Only that Iggy is four percent bird, not two like the rest of us."


"Yeah. I wonder what that does differently to him."

I sat back. Barely ten minutes, and already we had uncovered two terrible secrets.

I wonder if Iggy knew.

Without another word, we both turned back to our papers. We didn't know what we could say.

Nothing more we find out can be worse than this.

If only I knew.

Iggy POV

It was hurting. Everywhere. It was hurting.

There was pain.

And then it was gone.

I like this. This feeling. I opened my eyes.

And there she was. She smiled at me in that way I loved.

Hey, she said. I'm so glad you made it.

I smiled. "When have I ever not?"

Oh, I don't know, she answered. It's just hard, waiting, and being scared that you're not going to show up.

I held out my hand, and she took it and walked in closer. I leaned my head down and pressed my forehead to hers.

"I'll always show up. I have to go to sleep every night, don't I?"

Yeah. She laughed. Yeah, I guess you do. I just worry I'll never see you again.

I held her tight. I never wanted to let go. But I knew that soon, someone was going to make me wake up. Then I'd be living the nightmare gain, without my Meagan, without my eyes, and with Max. Max. Who was still too good for me. I could never keep up… always just out of my reach.

Why didn't she love me? I loved her, why didn't she…

But I already know that answer, it's because I'm a failure. No one loves a failure. I wouldn't let her love me if she did. She's too good for me.

But Meagan… Meagan's better. Meagan makes my head tingly.

Meagan holds my love.

But Max does too.

Iggy, I'm scared… Meagan muttered. It's always dark and cold where I am, and always painful.

"I'll get you out of there, I'll get you out if it's the last thing I do," I reminded her. I told her this every night.

Meagan sighed, smiling. I love you.

"I love you too."

Then I woke up.

8. Telling

Anyway, I just went to the movies. I saw Toy Story 3! It made me cry :') my mom always says I'm cold and heartless because I laugh when people die in movies and love blood and violence, but I am totally not! I cried at Shrek Forever After too! I cry at many movies. I'm just very macabre. I'm sure there're TONS of people who were sad that there was such a happy ending in Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (everyone important was dying, and I was like "OH YEAH!" but then it went back in time and changed it all! I was so mad!) and wanted to marry Hades, god of the underworld at age five and idolized Scar (from Lion King) when I was three years old (yeah, that's right, I loved evil people even when I was really little. I assume that's why I watched my first horror movie when I was so young… and LOVED it). BUT EVEN IF I LIKE THAT STUFF I CAN STILL BE SENSITIVE AND LOVING! So THERE.

Fang POV

After those two discoveries, the ones about Iggy being four percent bird, not two, and being born premature, Max and I uncovered one secret after another. In fact, I was beginning to wonder why none of us ever noticed anything different about Iggy before, different than the rest of us.

Iggy wasn't even as human as us.

I tried not to think about it in a negative light, but it was extremely hard.

I mean, one day everything's normal. You're brother is same as usual. Not different in many ways, except of course the blindness. Same.

And then, suddenly, you're seeing him through new eyes. And you know things.

I don't even think Iggy knows some of these things.

I continued to read with Max.

Subject 9 continues to digress. Submitted to tests twice daily. Injections show signs of efficiency. Immunity is being deconstructed. Within the year, project will take effect. Probability of the threat recovering highly unlikely.

Reflexes honed to perfection, though strength continues to weaken. Peers notice no difference. Subject 9 does not bring to attention its deficiencies. Peer assumption is a natural weakness.

I frowned at the printed words on the paper. Digression? Injections? Immunity deconstruction? Deficiency?

I check the dates on the notes. This was around when we were six years old. I think back to then.

Blood spattered the wall from the Eraser Max had just kicked in the nose.

"There! That one won't be waking up any time soon," Max jeered happily. Then she turned to the others.

I was battling two Eraser's, both huge, hefty beasts with red eyes, fully mutated. They seemed much more like wolves with a bit of human DNA than humans with a bit of wolf DNA. One of them lunged for me and I punched it's nose.

Dogs have sensitive noses.

The Eraser fell back; it's snout gushing blood, yowling in frightening anger, its eyes flashing. The other Eraser pounced towards me, but I knocked it out with the same blow.

Max was taking on three more Eraser's, giving them a thorough pounding. But where was Iggy?

I spun around, scanning the crowd of battling mutants until I saw Iggy, cornered by four Erasers who were all snarling cruelly. Iggy had his fists up in front of him in a defensive stance, but what with all the commotion, it was obvious he was lost.

The Erasers all pounced at once. Iggy managed to kick one upside the head and another in the groin, but after that he was submerged.

I grimaced and cursed under my breath, forcing my way through the crowd of Erasers to get to my little brother. Why couldn't Iggy just look after himself for once? Did he always have to be the weak one? The bad one? Why couldn't he just be naturally good at fighting, like me and Max?

I punched my way into the Erasers, biting and kicking and hitting until they all fell away and Iggy was left, battered and bleeding, crouching pitifully in the center. I held out my hand for him.

He didn't take it, simply stared blankly around himself for a moment. Then I remembered; he was blind. I'd have to get used to that.

I bent down and took his hand. He flinched for a second, then accepted my help as I lifted him unsteadily to his feet.

"You okay?" I asked gruffly.

Iggy held his hands up in front of his eyes, then winced as he felt the toll of the myriad cuts all over his body.

"I don't know, Fang. My arms wouldn't move right. My hands just stopped working. I… I don't know."

Iggy had been thin. Thinner than the rest of us. He had been weaker. He had been slower. He had also been, well, blinder.

I had put it off as natural. Iggy was naturally weak. He was naturally slow. He was…

Oh jeez. I had thought he was naturally… worse.


I look up. Max is staring at me.

"Come in, Fang. Earth to Mister Rock."


Max held up a paper.

"Um… this. It tells us everything."

Nudge POV

I can't believe it.

I'm so stricken.

Iggy's hurt. Hurt bad. Hurt in ways I can't even imagine.

He was right here. He was with me moments ago. Fine. Smiling. Happy. Normal.

And now he was covered in blood.

Blood. I knew blood all too well.

But… to see blood like that… I'd never seen it like that before.

What I mean is, I'd never seen… so much… come out of someone's inside before.

Iggy had just coughed up all that blood. I don't know how much it was. But it had been a lot.

Was Iggy going to die?

I was holding his hand in mine. Dr. Martinez had been cleaning him up. When we had been doing all the medical procedures, setting his ribs, doing X-Rays, and injecting him with medications, I had been helping Dr. M and Ella. Now, I just held his hand while they made him look presentable.

He was dressed in a clean shirt and clean pants now. There was no more blood dripping down his face. His teeth were their previous pearly-white, before his blood had stained them red. His hair had been brushed into a glossy sheet, and Ella had washed his face with a damp cloth.

But he was too pale. I could practically see every vein, every artery under his thin skin.

Then, his hand twitched and tightened around mine. His eyelids fluttered.

"He's waking up," Dr. Martinez commented. "Ella, please go get everyone. I'll need to tell them all what I've found."

Ella rushed out quickly and called into the hall, returning moments later with Gazzy, Angel, Max and Fang. Max and Fang were exchanging looks that contained strange emotions and signals I couldn't quite pinpoint. But right now, it didn't matter. Iggy was awake.


"Ella, Nudge and I performed a variety of tests to find what happened to Iggy," mom started.

My Flock was huddled around Iggy, who was sitting hunched over on the metal table. His eyes, unfocused, were trained on the opposite wall.

"The bleeding was quite easy to pinpoint. He has some internal hemorrhaging; small ones in his right lung, which will heal within a day or so, and a large ulcer in his stomach. That won't heal for a week, possibly more if he remains under stress or anxiety. And yes, I am taking into account your remarkable healing abilities," mom added, glaring pointedly at Gazzy who had opened his mouth to protest.

"How do we make sure he doesn't have any stress or anxiety?" Nudge asked nervously. "I mean, what stress or anxiety would he have?"

Iggy was looking quite pissed that we were all talking like he wasn't even here.

"Well, it's simple. Iggy should not be arguing or fighting, and should not be open to movies or any other such thing which causes… well, which causes stress or anxiety. Iggy, you'll be having to take it easy for the next two weeks or so. We don't want the hemorrhages in your lungs to open up, nor for your ulcer to grow larger or refuse to heal."

Iggy nodded mutely. I could see his knuckles were white, clutching the edge of the table fiercely. I pulled his hand away and held it in mine, and he turned his head towards me in surprise and gratification.

I knew exactly why now. Why he always loved it when I touched him.

"Now, it was hard for me to detect the problem with his ribs. There was no visible outward pressure pressing in, and when I further inspected the breaks I discovered that that wasn't even the cause to begin with."

"What is that supposed to mean?" Gazzy asked anxiously. "What is it? What happened?"

Mom sighed, and I noticed that the lines in her forehead were more numerous and defined – probably caused by all her worrying.

"Well, by the texture and direction of the breaks, as well as the fact that his ribs were splintered rather than altogether cracked, I realized that the force that broke his ribs had been coming from inside rather than out. The X-Rays Ella, Nudge and I developed made it obvious."

"Well? Made what obvious?"

That was Fang, who had sounded so nervous, so scared, that I thought my heart would break. Iggy had relaxed now that I held his hands, but there was slight fear in his face; I could tell by the tightening of the scar under his eye.

Mom stared at all of us, long and hard.

"There is something inside Iggy. It is slowly expanding, and if not removed, it will kill him."

Holy crap! HOLY CRAP! What the heck is going on? I didn't even expect that!

Wait… that's odd… but TRUE.

Yes, I had no idea that was going to happen. What a shocker, huh? I'm completely aghast.

Poor Iggy! Whatever is going to happen next?

Please review, for Iggy's sake!

9. Discussing

Thank you all for reading this fic. I mean, I'm not even halfway through it and I already have more reviews than Asleep had! I'm glad so many people are into it, and I will write more for you people's benefit.

Fang POV


That was Max. Ever-so-stoic Max, who never showed fear.

She looked terrified.

"Well," Dr. Martinez said, looking uncomfortable. "If this object continues to expand, Iggy will… die, to put it simply without using any descriptions."

I looked to Iggy. I was sure he'd be pale-as-pale, terrified, the picture of horror and impending death. And, in fact, he was pale, but I think that had more to do with how much blood he had recently vomited.

My point is, Iggy wasn't scared – or at least he didn't look it. In fact, he seemed calm, almost serene. I wondered why, then saw that Max was holding his hand.

I felt a pang of jealousy for a moment, then it vanished. I knew exactly what was up now.

I had no right to feel envy.

"Yes, but what exactly is this… thing?" Max asked her mom, rushed and anxious. Dr. Martinez answered quickly.

"Well, from the X-Rays," she started, pointing to the wall behind her, on which the photographs of Iggy's insides were displayed, "I can make out that it appears to be some sort of machine. If this were any ordinary object, I could give Iggy a surgical procedure to remove it quite easily."

"Well, why can't you?" Gazzy asked furiously. Obviously he wasn't dealing well with the whole 'Iggy's gonna die a gruesome death in which a machine claws its way out of his insides' thing.

Come to think of it, neither was I. I think I'm going to barf.

"Because, Gazzy," Dr. Martinez continued, sounding choked up. "See these?" She gestured at some sort of thin, noodle-y-looking strands branching off from the object, which appeared to be contained in Iggy's ribcage, and attaching to various points of his body. "These are… well, I don't know exactly what they are, but they have small electrical currents running through them. You can tell by the colors." I noticed that the wires had a strange color, a sort of mix of white and sparks of grey. "Anyway, these wires are attached to several vital parts of Iggy's body. This one," she gestured, "Leads to his heart. This one leads to his liver and kidneys. This one to his stomach, and those to his lungs." I watched as her fingers traced the pictures of the little wires that were inside my brother. "But these," she pointed to a tangled mass of the threads, "Lead to several vital points along his spine. These points control his movement, coordination, body functions, and neurological systems."

"And..?" prompted Max, ever patient.

"And," continued her mother, looking grave. "After examining the X-Ray closely, I have determined that if I try to take the machine out of Iggy, the force will trigger a chain reaction. The wires will flood each point they connect to with a large amount of electricity. You being the mutants you are, these electric currents wouldn't normally be enough to kill you. However, from their position, I can determine that at the very worst the currents will stop Iggy's brain from functioning and he will die anyway; at the very least, his entire body would be permanently paralyzed. However, based on my examination, I can also assure you that the possibility of him dying is one in a billion. The paralysis is much more plausible."

"Well, that's better than him being dead, isn't it?" Ella asked nervously. "Plus," she continued, "Angel can mindread. We could all talk to him and stuff, and Angel could tell us his answers and everything."

"Yeah!" Gazzy agreed, his face brightening. "And we'd take care of you, Iggy! We can feed you and all…"

Iggy looked up then. His eyes reflected fear. Terrible fear. I just hadn't seen it before because his face had been turned away.

Iggy may never look it, but his ranging emotions are fluent and ravaging. They are sometimes enough to drive him to severe levels of depression or rage.

I remembered Jeb's notes. His ranging emotions…

And Iggy… he's claustrophobic, just like the rest of us.

Permanent, full-body paralysis. The ultimate claustrophobic's nightmare. And add that to him being blind, it was all that worse. Iggy would never be able to live happily if he was paralyzed. I know he would rather die.

And besides that, there was the obvious side-effect. He'd have to be fed through tubes and stuff. He'd never be able to eat a single bite of any of his favorite foods, or drink any of his favorite drinks again.

And, duh, food leads to body-waste. And we'd have to take care of that.

Plus cleaning. And dressing.

Iggy would be permanently mortified. Humiliated. He'd hate us, but most of all he'd hate himself.

I would never force him to go through with that.

"No," I said. "Listen, let's see what Iggy has to say. We've all been talking like he's not even here. Whatever Iggy's decision, we'll have to live with it."

Everyone turned to stare at Iggy. Iggy looked up at me, a surprised sort of look on his face, which then turned to gratitude.

"Um… Dr. Martinez? Is there any other way?" he asked quietly. Dr. M frowned.

"Well… I don't know. The think is, this machine… looks as though it's being controlled from somewhere. If you guys could somehow find the controls, turn off the machine and detach the wires, you could remove the machine with little or no problem. Just the normal risks coming with surgery."

All six of us froze.

Then Max, Nudge, Gazzy, Angel and I turned to look at each-other. A silent message passed between us.

We all knew exactly what was controlling this thing. And we knew what we had to do.

We had to go back to the School. And beat them up until they fixed Iggy.

And we wouldn't give up until they did.

Well. How do you all like dem apples?

Anyway, thanks to all my readers. And Jeb's notes will be explained in the next chapter.

Please, review, so poor Iggy doesn't die.


10. Creating

Hi. I am proud to say that, not even halfway through the fic, this one is doing much better than Asleep was. I don't know why. Do tell me.

Anyway, thanks to everyone.

And to Pandorad24, please PLEASE read this. I wanted to say thanks so much again for your wonderful reviews. They are among my favorites to read. I always love reviews that are long, because they give more insight to the fan than short ones. Also, I meant to ask, I went back and I didn't have Iggy sleep with Meagan in Asleep. Well, they slept in the same bed, but they didn't sleep together. I don't really know why your mom would ban you for them sleeping in the same bed. Picture me confuzzled.

By the way, the following is a flashback. I told you I would explain Jeb's notes and everything, so I will. Read on.


I sifted repetitively through the papers, looking for something, anything, that would help me help Iggy.

Papers, papers, more papers. An endless sea.

It wasn't actually endless, but you get the idea.

Dozens. Tens. White papers that sliced my fingertips into oblivion with all the paper-cuts. I sucked ruefully at my bleeding thumb and continued to sift. There had to be something.

And I found it. A pile of papers that didn't have typed letters on it, but the copies of words that had been etched in pen. I could even see scribbles where the writer had messed up.

The instant I saw them, I knew they held all the answers. Maybe it was the Voice inside my head, letting me know. But I did. Know, I mean.

The writing was messy, but a neater scrawl then my own. I could read it perfectly. So I did.

I don't know what I was expecting. Some sort of intricate diagram showing exactly what was wrong with my Iggy? Ingredients to some sort of antidote? Instructions on how to fix him, a map leading to some sort of hidden warp-machine that would be able to make it all go back to how it used to be?

But no. All it had was the answers to everything I had always wondered. Especially about Iggy.

And it was written by Jeb.

Dear Max.

I don't know when you will find this. I don't know how. I don't know if I will be

dead, alive, with you or continuing my work with Itex and the School. All I know

is that one day you will find this, and read it, and you'll find out everything.

Max, I've done some things in my life that I will always regret. Leaving Ari. Leaving you. Joining Itex. Becoming one of them. You have no idea of the horrors that place hides, Max. Sure, you've been there. You've seen some terrible things. Experienced some yourself. But you still know nothing. Barely a fraction. This place hides lies and fears, pain and misery.

But that's not what I want to tell you, Maximum. I want to tell you secrets, facts that you need to know to protect yourself and the Flock. And there is one thing you need to know above all else. You need to know the truth about Iggy. The one thing, Maximum, that you can always count on is the inevitable. And though you may hate it, though you may choose not to accept it, it is inevitable that the School will one day want him back. Because Iggy is important. More important than you could ever know.

That is, unless I tell you. Which I am, seeing as you are reading this.

The thing is, Maximum, you were created for a specific purpose. You know that, right? You were created specifically to save the world.

I think I've probably given you the whole spiel by now. The single most important thing anyone in the world has ever done was creating you. You are important. A necessity for the world. You, Maximum, were made to protect. You were created to protect people. To protect the world. To protect life and to protect peace. You were created to protect the world, and be sure it did not collapse. You were created to prevent apocalypse. For that purpose, and that purpose alone, you exist.

Fang was created to be the right-wing. He was created to be a friend whom you could always trust. He was created so you could put trust in him to defend your family. Fang was created to listen, to follow, to act on instinct. Fang was created to protect you, and to see that you came to no harm. Fang was created to protect you. For that purpose, and that purpose alone, Fang exists.

Nudge was created to be your sister. She was created to give you some grip on reality. Nudge was created to understand the meaning of everything. She does, you know, but she may not know it yet. Nudge was made to be your sister, and to understand. For that purpose, and that purpose alone, Nudge exists.

Angel was created to be your baby. To provide you something to concentrate on utterly, something for you to focus on protecting above all else. Something you could devote your life to. Angel was created to be powerful. To be the source. To be the heart of the Flock. Angel was created so that the Flock could be. She was created to create. Angel was created to be your baby, and to have power. For that purpose, and that purpose alone, Angel exists.

The Gasman was created to be everyone's. He was created to be an anchor. Gazzy was created to hold on to the Flock, to keep them together, to make sure that nothing broke them apart. Gazzy was created to give everyone everything they needed. Gazzy was created to provide comfort, solace, and hope. Gazzy was created to be everyone's. For that purpose, and that purpose alone, The Gasman exists.

I suppose you are wondering, now, why I have not yet mentioned Iggy. I know he's important to you, just like all of the others. For what purpose, then, does Iggy exist?

He wasn't meant to.

Iggy was never supposed to be born. He was never supposed to exist. He was never meant to live. Iggy was never supposed to have met you. Iggy was never supposed to.

Let me explain something that might make it clear.

You, Maximum, and the Flock were all created with the two simplest organisms; a sperm and an egg. That is how every baby is created. And it is true that each of you were born from a mother, each of you were born from a female human able to carry child. Each of you were given birth to.

What you do not know, Maximum, is that your mother's did not become pregnant through natural intercourse.

On the 31st of July, two years before you, Maximum, were born, six egg and six sperm were taken from twelve willing males and females. An egg and sperm were combined six times, creating six different embryos. These embryos were taken into the School for experimentation.

Scientists took the first five embryos and experimented. They spliced the DNA, combined it with that of different Avians. They were sculpted so as to be perfect Human-Avian Hybrids. They were sculpted to become you, Fang, Nudge, Angel, and The Gasman. These five Human-Avian embryos were then placed into a freezer.

A year and three months later, one of the embryos was removed and inserted into Dr. Valencia Martinez, your biological mother. Nine months later, you were born.

A second embryo was removed from the freezer and inserted into a young teenage girl three months after you had been. Nine months later, Fang was born.

Three years after your birth, a third embryo was removed and inserted into her biological mother's niece. Nine months later, Nudge was born.

Three years after that, the fourth embryo was removed and inserted into its biological mother. Nine months later, Gazzy was born.

One and on half years later, the fifth and final embryo was removed and inserted into the previous mother. Nine months later, Angel was born.

There had, indeed, been a sixth embryo. That one had been an experimental one, the first to be sculpted. You see, there was only ever intended to be four other Human-Avians in your Flock, Maximum. The scientists simply created six embryos in case one of them failed.

That embryo had, indeed, been created for a purpose. However, the scientists rejected the embryo after making a mistake. The embryo was given four percent Avian DNA, instead of the intended two. Even though it was unintended, that was not the largest mistake.

Anyway, the failed embryo was placed in a freezer separate from the other, perfect five. It was never supposed to be born.

But nine months after your conception, on the precise day that you were born, a female scientist wandered into the cryogenics lab and discovered the embryo that she herself had donated an egg for.

Her husband was the doctor who inserted the embryos into the willing mothers. At her insistence, he inserted the embryo into this woman, without the knowledge of the head scientists.

After several months, it became obvious that the woman was pregnant. Six months after conception, the child was born prematurely. Then, it was clear that the child was the failed experiment that was not supposed to have been born.


Though Iggy's heart stopped beating seven different times, scientists managed to restart it. The man and woman who had disobeyed the orders of the head scientist by giving birth to the experiment had their memories wiped and were sent to restart their lives elsewhere. Meanwhile, Iggy was put in my charge, and, though he never was supposed to have been, he was sent to join your Flock.

Don't misread my information, Maximum. Don't ignore the rest of this important document. Iggy, though an accident, was created for a purpose just as all the others. It's just that the mistake made it vital that he not be born. But he is born, so you must know everything.

When Iggy's heart stopped beating those seven times, his blood flow ceased momentarily. For those few, precious moment, blood was not flowing through Iggy's brain. This caused a small portion to die.

This portion of Iggy's brain were his mental blocks. These controlled his emotions and his powers. Therefore, Iggy is unable to in any way control his feelings, and the powers that he may develop will be unlimited. This could grant him great gifts, or completely destroy him.

Due to the fact of his unlimited powers, the scientists decided to stifle him. They damaged Iggy emotionally, causing him to develop a mental disorder recorded as DME. This disorder causes him to attempt to, whatever the odds, become someone whom you will be proud of. This has caused him to injure himself several times in the past as a means of 'strengthening' himself.

The scientists, in regards to his powers, gave him repeated injections which caused his strength and coordination to deteriorate. The process was cancelled due to negative effects it was wreaking on his mental system. Instead, they created a special machine to keep Iggy in check, and which would be able to destroy him should the need arise. It was set on a timer to kill him once he reached his sixteenth birthday.

They did another thing, Max, to try to keep him in check. To keep him weak and underdeveloped.

They blinded him. On purpose. They told you and the Flock, and Iggy, that they were trying to enhance his night vision and it 'went wrong.' Let me tell you, Max, that it was never meant to go 'right' in the first place.

But in relevance to his emotions, he cannot control them.Iggy may never look it, but his ranging emotions are fluent and ravaging. They are sometimes enough to drive him to severe levels of depression or rage.

But all of that, that is not what Iggy was created for. In fact, his premature birth was not foreseen. The mistake in his making resided only in his purpose. The reason he was created was the scientist's mistake.

Iggy was created to love you. That is all. Iggy was created to be your soul mate, to fall in love, to do whatever you asked of him. Iggy was created to be yours. Iggy was created to follow you to the death. He was created to love you. For that purpose, and that purpose alone, Iggy exists.

The mistake, Maximum, is that you were not created to love him.

I'm rather proud of this chapter. Even if it may be a bit choppy at times, just to let you know, that's not my fault. Jeb's a poor writer. –laugh-

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this astonishing info. Maybe it will help you understand everything better.

Oh, and please review.

11. Deciding

Okay. I want to say I'm sorry for not updating in so long. Unfortunately, two Saturdays ago my parents were in a car crash in which basically the top half of a tree fell forty feet onto their car. My mom got out pretty fine, a little sore, but my dad was trapped. Power lines were downed everywhere, so people had to wait an hour before the power was cut and they could free my dad. Dad's neck was broken in a way that should have killed him. It is an absolute, one-in-a-million miracle that he is not dead today. I am so very grateful he's still with me.

So, yes. That is why I haven't updated. There was the week in which me and my little sister jumped from house to house, staying with friends while my parents were in the hospital. Then there was the period of having to take care of everything so my dad and mom could rest. So, of course, I had no time to get on the computer and type. I am ever so sorry for the inconvenience.

Fang POV


We all turned to stare at Iggy with incredulous expressions.

"What do you mean?" Max asked, sounding shocked.

"I mean no," Iggy repeated, looking set. His expression was firm, his eyes cold and empty; but I could see his hands shaking and his lip tremble. He was scared out of his mind. "You guys are not going back to the School on my account. I'm not worth it. Just…"

"Just what?" Max asked, her eyes dark.

Iggy looked up and jutted his chin out. "Just let me do you all a favor and die without causing any trouble."

…'just let me do you all a favor and die…'

It had been a few days. No one knew where Iggy had gone… he'd just been taken away, and hadn't come back.

Jeb had come in a few times to tell them all that Iggy hadn't died, and he was just in recovery… going through a bunch of medical procedures, getting vaccinations and going through tests. I didn't trust him; not yet. I didn't believe he was telling the truth.

It was true that sometimes we were pulled out and not returned for days, but… but none of us had been gone this long.

And Iggy was more fragile than the rest of us, I knew that much.

What if he was dead?

I worried myself sick until I fell asleep.

In the morning, Iggy was in his normal cage right next to mine, curled up into a little ball of pale skin, visible bones, and strawberry hair. He was shaking.

"Iggy," Max was saying in her little girl voice. "Iggy, I know it hurts, it always does, but you'll get through it… just hang on, 'kay?"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, 'kay, 'kay," Iggy murmured, rocking back and forth, clutching his head in his hands, his eyes scrunched up. I could tell he had no idea what he was talking about.

"Iggy, hey, I didn't know if you were coming back," I whispered to him. "I'm really happy to see you're okay."

"Yeah, yeah, I'm okay," he muttered, then I heard a sniffle.

"Iggy? You alright?"

"Uh-huh, yeah, yeah…" then he fell silent.

Everyone was quiet for a while, even though we'd all woken up once Iggy had started talking. We all just sort of sat there for a long while, not saying anything, and staring at the ball of tousled hair and gold-spattered feathers that was Iggy. We didn't really know what to say, because no one ever knew what to say after one of us came back from a long experimentation. There really was nothing to say.

So we sat there for a few hours, just staring. Then Jeb came in with some other Whitecoats, and they all picked a cage and took us away.

They took us to the whiteroom, the blank room with blank walls and a blank ceiling that they always took us to when they wanted us to fight.

They opened our cage doors and tipped us onto the blank floor, where we furiously scrambled to our feet.

This time, a pile of weapons stood in the center of the room. Weapons like daggers, knives, and metal spikes. Weapons that I had never used before, but seen Erasers use.

I scrambled forward to grab them. I lifted them all off of the blank ground and hurried back to my flock, handing one to each of them. A spike to Nudge, a knife to Max, a dagger to Iggy, and kept a knife for myself. We would have to defend the young Gazzy and Angel.

The doors to the whiteroom opened again – started, having not noticed them shut – and in rushed a sea of Erasers and other strange mutants.

"Kill them all," a Whitecoat's voice echoed out of the crackly loudspeaker. The bad thing was, I didn't know who exactly they were talking to.

And then the fight began.

It was everyone for themselves… except for my Flock. Max and I grouped protectively over Angel and Gazzy, ushering them and Nudge into the far corner to avoid as much of the fighting as possible. We fended off Erasers and mutants, who tried to slash us with claws and fangs and all manor of weapons.

And then I noticed that Iggy wasn't with us.

"Max!" I shouted. "Protect them! I have to find Iggy!"

She nodded and began to fend off a giant, lizardy mutant.

I rushed back into the fray, battling through the fight, looking for Iggy… and found him exactly where he had left him, ducked beneath the racing blows of the other mutants, and staring at the dagger in his hands with a strange expression.

"IGGY!" I screamed at the top of my lungs; an Eraser was bearing down on him, a ferocious grinning snarl on its face and its claws ready to slash. I dove between them and pushed my knife deep into the brute's chest.

"Fang," Iggy said softly, still staring at the dagger. He slowly brought it down to his wrist and began to draw the blade across his flesh, thin ribbons of blood forming.

"What the heck are you doing?" I screamed again, grabbing the hand that held the dagger and pulling it away.

Iggy looked up at me…

And I noticed he wasn't looking.

The blue eyes I loved so much, the blue eyes of my best friend and brother… were faded, the pupils barely perceptible and not even dilating.

"I'm blind, Fang. They made me blind. I can't see."

I loosened my grip on his wrist, surprised by the blankness in Iggy's eyes. Iggy yanked his hand back and plunged it towards his chest.

I managed to recover fast enough to stop the blade.

"Don't," I managed, not able to say anything else. "Don't."

Iggy screamed, one that didn't even echo in the room and instead mingled with the shouts and yells of the other battling experiments.


I grabbed his hair, pulling it harshly.

"Don't you dare! You're not leaving me! You're my best friend!" I pulled him into a hug, not even conscious to the fight-to-the-death that still raged around us.

"Please… just let me do you all a favor and die…" Iggy whispered.

"Don't," I said, coming out of a sort of daze. "Iggy, don't you dare. You're not leaving us. You're… you're my best friend. I love you. And don't say you're not worth it, either. Iggy, you're worth anything."

"He's absolutely right," Max said. "Iggy, you're worth going back to the School. You're worth killing for. Iggy, you're worth dying for."

Iggy's lower lip trembled again. He clenched his eyes shut.

"No I'm…"

"Yes you are. Now listen up, Iggy," Max started, her leader-voice on. She stood up, stepping away from him and the rest of us. She stared silently at his X-Rays for a moment, then turned around with a confident smile on her beautiful face. "Flock, we're going back to the School. We are going to get this thing inside Iggy turned off and taken out, even if we have to kill a bajillion Whitecoats in the process. And Iggy, we're doing it without your permission. You can either deal, or we can knock you unconscious till it's over. Understood?"

"Yes," Nudge said, looking up at Iggy with a spark in her eyes.

"Deffinately," Angel and Gazzy said simultaneously, standing and trying to look as tough as the could.

"You don't have to ask," I answered, loudly, looking towards my brother.

There was a long, strangled silence, in which we all waited for Iggy's answer with baited breath. Then, he looked up, and I could see a new light in his eyes.


All I wanted right now, even more than I wanted Max, was Iggy to be safe and whole and healthy and out of danger. I wanted him to be back to normal.

And luckily, that was about to happen.

Thank you for reading. This chapter really gets stuff a-rollin'. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

In the future, there will be more flashbacks, so be ready…

Please review and tell me what you thought. I enjoy those reviews. They're like candy.

You know what I want right now?

That's right. A yellow cake with white icing, and some of those little sugar flowers. Yeah.

12. Counting

Thank you all so much for your caring about my parents! I told them a bunch of reviewers were telling them to get better and they thought it was pretty cool. Just so you know (in case you're even vaguely interested), mom's fine now, just a bit stressed, but dad has to wear a neck brace for about three months, and won't recover fully for six… and now I've gotta do a bunch of chores I didn't have to before and it sucks. Oh well.

Well, thanks again, and on to the next chappie.


"You're leaving again?"

I turned to look and saw Ella, her eyes trained on the ground.

I stuck my chin out. "Yup, Ells. We're leaving. But I hope this will be the last time."

Ella sniffled, and I suddenly realized that my Flock wasn't my only family. Ella and mom, they cared for me too. And they were probably worrying about Iggy as well.

I stepped forward and wrapped my little sister in a hug. "Listen, Ella, it's okay. We're gonna get Iggy fixed, then we'll come back and I don't think we'll ever have to leave again. So stay happy, okay? We'll be back as soon as possible."

Ella looked up. "I wish I could come too."

"No, you don't. You really, really don't. Just stay with mom, and we'll see you soon. Chin up now. Stay happy for mom."

"Max, we really will miss you. But of course we understand. You need to fix Iggy as soon as possible. Just return the instant you're done." It was mom.

"Of course, mom. We'll come back as soon as we're done."

"Yeah, probably won't take too long. Just get those Whitecoats to slice me open real quick, and boom, it's over."

Fang elbowed Iggy in the ribs, and Iggy winced; Fang realized that, of course, Iggy's ribs had just been broken, and compromised by ruffling his hair. Iggy scowled.

"Yeah, it'll be real quick." I hoped.

Fang POV

We'd set off that night. Well, it had pretty much all ready been night, so it really didn't take too long to leave; all we did was go home so me and Iggy could wash all the blood off and change clothes. Then we set off quickly.

I had never seen Iggy so happy. Never in my life.

Sure, I'd seen him ecstatic, I'd seen him excited, I'd seen him eager, I'd seen him smile, smirk, grin, laugh, chuckle, guffaw, and even giggle; I'd seen him in so many good moods. But I'd never realized that he had never been truly happy at those times until… well, until now that I was seeing him truly happy.

You know how, when people are euphoric, they just never stop smiling? And their eyes sparkle, and their face lights up, and everything about them seems weightless, and they just bounce around and they're bubbly and happy and make everyone around them smile? Well, that was Iggy right now.

The sad part was that I knew the only reason he was happy was because… well, it was because we didn't want him to die, and he knew we cared. Isn't that sad? He's happy because we don't want him to die. And he's the very happiest he's ever been.

God, Iggy's such a freaking idiot.

I actually feel like crying, which would be about the second time ever in my entire life after about age six. The first time was when we found him in the School, plugged up in that tank to all those tubes and needles, naked and asleep and emaciated.

How come Iggy's such a freaking idiot?

I feel like punching him.

Of course, I would never do that with him about to die and all.


I flew quickly up beside Max. Looking back, I saw Iggy laughing with Nudge, Angel and Gazzy, completely blissful, his eyes alight with happiness and his face lit up like the sun.

"Max," I hissed through my teeth. She glanced over at me. I could see how distracted she looked.

"What?" she whispered back.

"When does Iggy turn sixteen?"

Max froze for a second, dropping like a stone a few feet before flapping her wings harshly to rise back to the proper height.

"Why? Do you think it's soon? You don't think it's soon, do you? Oh gosh…"

"Max, calm down," I muttered frantically. "I don't know how soon it is, that's why I'm asking. Do you have any idea at all?"

Max paused. "According to Jeb's notes, Iggy actually is… well, was exactly six months younger than me. What's the average number of days in a month?"

I thought a moment. "Thirty days pass September, April, June, and November, all the rest have thirty-one, except for February alone, and that has…"

"… twenty-eight days clear, except of course on each leap year," Max finished the nursery rhyme with a slight smile. That was the very first thing any of us had ever learned whilst in the School; Jeb found it necessary for us to learn the days of the month for some reason, and ever since none of us had ever forgotten.

"Well, that means most of the months have thirty-one days, then, right?" Max continued.
"And thirty-one times six is…" It took a few minutes of her furiously calculating in her head. I waited patiently; she was faster at math than me, so it would've taken longer if I helped. "Um… one hundred eighty-two days, give-or-take… I'm pretty sure I'm wrong. Anyway, now he's five hundred days older than that, so he's… um…" a few more minutes of mental calculating… "I think about three hundred twenty days older than me. Which is like, eleven… no, a little more than ten months. And, um… my birthday…" she frowned and turned to me. "So… when was my birthday?"

I thought a moment. We knew Max's exact birthday because of the knowingness of Dr. Martinez (after all, she had given birth to Max, so she would know). Max had just turned fifteen a while ago. "Um…" I continued, wracking my brains, trying to remember the exact date. After all, we had used her made-up birthday for most of her life. "Wasn't it, like, five weeks ago?"

I remembered now. It had been about a month after we'd rescued Iggy, and he was still pretty thin. For a present he'd gotten Max a pendant with these wings he'd made himself. There were six of them, one black, one creamy with strawberry and golden specks, one fawn-colored, on brown and white with black tips, and two pure white ones; each was perfect size in proportion to their model (aka, me, Gazzy, Nudge, Angel, Max, and Iggy himself). The color was enamel, and he'd done it perfectly one these perfect wings. It had been beautiful; I'd wondered at first where the heck he'd had time to make it, what with recovery and all, but he'd told me he'd made it almost four months prior to the entire incident when he'd been forced to go to art class my Dr. Martinez. Anyway, Max had been mega pleased with the necklace and wore it always. All of us had spent practically the entire remainder of Max's party stuffing Iggy with as much junk as possible in an effort to get him to fatten up.

I smiled slightly at the memory; it had been fun, with Iggy back and all of us doing stuff together again.

Then my blood went cold, and when I glanced over at Max, I realized she had realized the same thing; her face was stricken.

Because if Max's birthday was over a month ago, that meant, due to all of our rough calculations… that Iggy had less than a month until he turned sixteen.

Iggy was going to die in less than a month. Well, unless we got him fixed up. Which of course we were.


Angel? I thought.

Yeah, Max? my baby answered.

You know about Jeb's notes, right? I thought she would, what with all her mind-reading powers.

There was a pause, then her voice appeared in my head again. Yeah, Max.

That's okay, Angel. So you know everything Fang and I do about Iggy? You know all about Jeb's notes?

Yes. I'm sorry, I was just so curious and I wanted to know what was wrong with Iggy… I'm sorry I didn't listen to you.

I grinned. Angel was so sweet sometimes.

Absolutely fine. I knew you'd find out through our minds. Actually, I wanted you to know anyway, I just didn't want to leave out Gazzy. He'd have gotten jealous.

Ah. Okay Max, I totally understand.

Good. Listen, since you know, you're going to be me and Fang's main confidante. Will you be able to do that? It means if we need to talk about something in the notes, or if we need someone else to do something about it, you'll be our first choice. We don't want to tell Nudge or Gazzy. And we need you to help Iggy out. Okay?

Of course, Max! I'll do anything for Iggy. I love him, you know?

Yup, I sure do honey. We all love him.

I let out a sigh of relief. I knew with the whole Iggy-now-has-less-than-a-month-to-live-unless-we-get-him-to-the-School-in-time-and-manage-to-convince-them-to-take-out-the-hing-they-put-in-him-on-purpose stuff, Fang and I would need help with someone else who knew about the notes. I mean, we weren't about to tell Nudge ore Gazzy because they were young, they would treat Iggy differently, and because it would be unfair to Iggy if everyone in the Flock knew but him.

Wait; did Iggy know? Maybe he did. Maybe he did and had just never told us? I wondered if that was even a plausible idea.

But it didn't matter anymore. All that did matter was getting Iggy to the School and making them cut him open and take out that machine… wow, that sounded worse than it was supposed to. Anyway, that was all that mattered for now. I'd deal with the whole him-maybe-knowing think afterwords.

My bottom lip quivered as a tiny little thought entered my mind; what if we don't get there in time. Or what if we do, but the Whitecoats won't perform the operation? But I couldn't think such sad thoughts right now.

Because Iggy only had less than a month.

Thank you for reading. I hope to include a happier chapter in the near future in which the Flock goes to an amusement park for Iggy's benefit (sure to be interesting). Anyhoo, thanks for reading… but I already said that… well, please review and stuff. Yeah. Seeya.

13. Laughing

If you truly care about this fic, if you like it, love it, or would get real pissed if I stopped writing it, I want you to review this chapter.

I mean, has anyone else noticed that, in their fics, if all of the people who actually read it also reviewed then they'd have, like, two thousand reviews? Does it not make you angry?

Well, anyway, have fun reading.

Fang POV

We touched down after a few hours. The young kids of the Flock flopped down immediately, sighing and looking up at the night sky. Iggy grinned.

"Max!" he called happily. "Where's the food?"

Max looked at him for a moment. "Uh… food?"

"You know, the stuff you eat?"

She grinned, lifting her shoulders. "I dunno."

Iggy slapped his forehead. "Wow, Max. I guess we'll just have to pick up breakfast tomorrow."

"Nah," I spoke up. "Hey Iggs, let's go pick up something. I saw a town up ahead, they're sure to have a McDonald's or something."

Max threw me a what the heck are you trying to do? look, but I shook my head, sending her a message through my eyes. I wanted to tell her what I was feeling, but I didn't have time what with Iggy awake and right next to me.

My thoughts were; Iggy has less than a month to live. We're going to the School to help him.

But there are so many things that could go wrong; we don't get there in time, the Whitecoats won't operate, they do something wrong, or they kill Iggy on purpose. And if anything like that happens, I want Iggy to have had the best days of his life beforehand. This means letting him do stuff we'd never let him do otherwise.

"Really?" Iggy asked, looking surprised and slightly… well, honored I guess. I winced inwardly, realizing that, before, the people who went out to get food had always been me and Max. If one of us couldn't do it, the second choice was… Nudge. Never Iggy.

"Yup," I answered, standing and stretching. Iggy jumped up.

"Okay," Max answered, having realized what I had. "You two, get enough food for dinner and breakfast. I'll hold the fort back here."

I backed up, then took a short run and leapt into the air. Iggy followed shortly, spreading his wings. They spanned a good eighteen feet or so, due to his height and all. I frowned for a moment, remembering that he hadn't always been the tallest in the group.

"You six, settle down!" Jeb hissed. "Listen, if you don't cooperate, you realize that they'll have your head on a platter?"

"Wha?" Max asked, pausing in her activity. She had been wrestling with Nudge. Angel and Gazzy glanced up from a little pile on the floor, a tangled mass of arms, legs, white wings and golden hair. Me and Iggy stood; we had just been sitting there, annoyed at all of the commotion.

"They're going to be testing you differently today," Jeb informed us after the rest of the flock had settled down. "Don't worry, it will be quite painless. They will just measure and weigh you, take your ages and everything."

Nudge giggled. "I'm eight!"

"Yes, yes, we know already," Max answered. "I'm ten."

"We know that already too," I told her.

"Listen up, they're coming in soon. Please, please be quiet," Jeb tried to shut the four chatterboxes up. It didn't work too well. Luckily, though, when the first Whitecoats walked through the door, all of us fell totally silent. Max and Nudge even stopped squabbling. The magic of submission.

"Get up," a Whitecoat snarled, and the six of us stood anxiously, awaiting tests. We knew by experience that if we didn't listen to their orders, we'd end up pretty much battered nearly to death, maybe even injected with foul liquids and serums. I really wasn't ready for a heavy dose of anything at the moment, and since Jeb, the only Whitecoat we even vaguely trusted said that the tests today weren't gonna hurt, I wasn't going to make them.

The scientists pushed the six of us through several doors into a plain white room. Iggy was clinging nervously to my shirt, his eyes trained in Max's direction. Max was walking out in front of us, like the leader she said she was. Bossy, much? Still, she seemed the best for it, and I was going to follow her wherever she led me. She kept us all together.

"Line up according to age," the Whitecoat ordered, standing before us and tapping a pen against his thigh impatiently. Max arranged herself on my left, and Iggy stayed where he was on my right, knowing that if he was supposed to move than we would tell him. Nudge stood next to Iggy, Gazzy next to Nudge, and Angel sat on the ground at the end of the line.

"Right," the scientist sighed. "Okay. You first," he gestured to Max. "Come here."

The five of us watched – well, Iggy listened intently – as the Whitecoat stood Max up on a scale and took her weight, then put her next to a wall and measured her height. The scientist next took a tape measurer and measured around her stomach, then her chest, then around her head. He took the measurement of her forearms, around her neck, and the length of her thighs. Then he led her to an open doorway and gave her to another scientist. As she entered the doorway with the new Whitecoat, the old one gestured me forward.

By the time the Whitecoat had finished measuring my neck, Max was led out of the room, looking slightly shaken. Not injured, though.

The scientist finally handed me to the other that had examined Max in the other room and began measuring Iggy. As the new Whitecoat pushed me through the door, I looked around. It was a room full of computers and other contraptions. The scientist dragged me to a metal table.


I did it without question. After ten years of experimenting with scientists who could see fit to strip you naked and stick wires or tubes up your 'holes' at any time, you got used to it.

The man strapped me down on the table and stuck some tiny needles into my temples; they were so small I couldn't even feel them. Then, while recording the readings and responses of my body, he proceeded to touch and examine every single freaking inch of my body.

Fortunately, it didn't take long. After a few minutes, he let me up and allowed me to dress. Then he pushed me out the door and dragged Iggy inside instead.

It took an hour or two for the scientists to finish examining all six of us. Then they made us line up again, and began reading their findings.

The scientist first stepped before Max, gazing at his clipboard.

"Right. Ten years. Seventy eight point six pounds, five foot exactly… the rest of the measurements show that she is developing naturally. The physical examination reveal no signs of cancers, disorders, or genital diseases. Fine shape."

Jeb nodded, looking over the shoulder of the Whitecoat and reading whatever data was on his clipboard.

The scientist next moved to me. He flipped the papers on the clipboard so that he was reading the second one. "Nine years and nine months. Eighty one point two pounds. Five feet and four inches. The measurements show natural development, no signs of cancers or genital diseases, although there is a hint of Scoliosis… Bacheldor, you'll want to check that out."

Jeb nodded. "Of course. Is there any need for a brace?"

"Not as of now, and there may not be any in the future. Just a slight bend in the spine close to the tailbone. Nothing quite serious." Then the scientist moved on to Iggy.

Iggy was wincing slightly, and when I examined him I saw that there was a slight tear in the skin on his temple lightly oozing a drop of blood. The scientist must have pulled the needle out the wrong way.

"This one…" the Whitecoat shook his head, flipping to the next paper. "Nine years and six months. No signs of cancer or disorders, no genital diseases..." he tapped the clipboard with his pen. "Bacheldor, this male is barely sixty three pounds, and is only four feet and four inches… that's half an inch shorter than the younger African female." The Whitecoat gestured towards Nudge, who was standing next to Iggy looking annoyed. Iggy seemed nervous, trying to mentally compare his height to Nudge's. "And his physical development is seriously delayed. The other two eldest have already begun adolescence and puberty."

I looked at Iggy. It was true that he was extremely short, but he'd always been like that… although Nudge hadn't passed him in height until recently. She was going through a growth spurt.

I frowned. What if the Whitecoats thought Iggy was too weak and small that they terminated him? We had seen it happen before to other mutants. No, Iggy was just as good a fighter as the rest of us… or he would be if he weren't blind, and weaker…

Oh gosh, what if they terminate him?

Of course, Iggy hadn't been terminated. But he hadn't gotten any stronger…

Until a few months later, when Jeb kidnapped us and took us to live in the E-shaped house. After that, Iggy had totally blossomed; he'd filled out and never looked sickly or weak again, and he'd grown about three feet in four years. I wondered vaguely if that was a world record.

But… I had just realized it, but the reason Iggy had been so small must have had something to do with the injections the School was giving him. Didn't Jeb say, in his notes, that they gave him injections so he wouldn't get very strong or something? It must have seriously effected his growth and development, so that he only started on the whole growing and developing after he left.

Come to think of it, what with the underdevelopment and all, those injections must have been what delayed Iggy hitting puberty until he was fifteen.

"Hey, Fang," Iggy called, and I was roused from my daze to look up and see him doing loop-the-loops and pointing towards the ground. "Is that where the city is?"

I looked down and saw that we had crossed almost half of the town. "Whoa, yeah. Good job Iggy, I totally wasn't paying attention."

Iggy beamed. "So, we touching down?"

"Yup…" I scanned the buildings until my eyes met the yellow M of a McDonald's. "Hey Iggs, touchdown in a quarter mile at two o' clock."

Iggy nodded and began to descend. I sped up a bit so my wingtips were brushing his and he knew exactly where to go.

We landed in a dark place a bit behind the restaurant, then walked up to the drive-through speaker.

"Yes, this is McDonald's, what would you like on this fine, fine night?" a bored voice droned over the speaker. Iggy stifled a laugh at how amazingly dull the person sounded, and I smiled as well.

Iggy nudged my arm, then whispered in my ear. "I bet our order's gonna excite this guy, huh?"

"Yeah," I answered, grinning.

"Okay then," Iggy spoke to the disembodied voice. "Well, I'd like six twenty-count chicken nuggets, twelve large fries, six hamburgers, six large chocolate shakes, a large Caesar salad, three apple pies, and four Happy Meals."

There was silence on the other end of the line, but I could hear frantic breathing crackling over the speaker. Iggy and I both stifled laughter.

"Um… uh… So, is that six twenty-count chicken nuggets, twelve large fries, six hamburgers, six large chocolate shakes, a large Caesar salad, three apple pies, and four Happy Meals?"

"That's right," I spoke up. "And can you put all that in a few plastic bags? Thanks."

There was another long pause, then

"Right then. Please come around to the window to receive your purchase."

We walked around the lot to the window. The teen in there was surprised at the sight of us two teenage boys, no car, and looking rather disheveled. I bet he was expecting a bunch of college boys in an SUV or something.

"If you could wait, your order will take a minute."

"Right-y-o, then," Iggy said, reaching out next to the window for a wall. When his palm met the bricks, he turned to lean back against it. He shrugged. "So Fang, what were you and Max muttering about on the way here?"

I thought a moment, then thought Iggy deserved to know. "We were wondering when you turned sixteen."

"Ah," Iggy answered, nodding knowingly. "You know, this is all really interesting. The Whitecoats must have actually cared more for me than I thought. I mean, some 'sweet sixteen' birthday present they have planned for me, am I right?" He laughed. I cracked a reluctant grin. Iggy was just someone who, whenever he joked, made you want to laugh.

Iggy smirked. "What about you and Max, anyway? That seems like it was quite a romantic conversation. Maybe, for a different topic, you could talk about all the ice melting up north. Those polar bears are dying off pretty quick, if I'm listening to the news right. I even think scientists have got some sort of date set until the rest of the ice melts and the species goes extinct."

My grin widened, which I hated myself for seeing as Iggy was joking about his death. Still, Iggy… was just like that. He joked in the face of danger.

It was one of the things I had always admired him for.

Suddenly, Iggy sighed and his eyebrows furrowed. "Okay, Mister Rock, don't laugh. What do I care? My snappy fashion sense and eye for interior-design is more than enough for me to live off of. I mean, hey, I wasn't planning to hit it off as a stand-up comedian. Maybe I'll go to clown school and graduate, then live in a circus, huh? Then I'll get some laughs…"

I reached out, took Iggy's hands, and held it to my mouth so he could feel the broad grin that was threatening to crack my face in half. Iggy's eyes widened and he smiled again.

"Hey, if bottling up your laughter makes you look like that, you should do it more often. All the girls go for those Joker look-alikes."

I couldn't take it any more. I cracked up. Doubled right over, laughter streaming out of my mouth. Iggy started laughing with me, and by the time the guy in the window told us our food was ready the two of use were lying flat on our backs on the warm and sticky asphalt, guffawing our butts off.

After recovering, we stood and took the bags the man handed us; four each.

"Right then, that would be…" as the man told us the price of the meal, my mind went blank. I had no money whatsoever.

"Fang?" Iggy asked. I looked over at him to see him giving a look. "Here, let me get out my wallet." Silently, he mouthed 'up and away'.

I grinned. "Okay. Get it in three seconds."

"Sure, just a…"

Then we both took off running in the opposite direction. The man in the window was leaning out of it behind us, shouting obscenities and no doubt calling the police. After we escaped from the lights, me and Iggy stretched our wings, leapt, and took off flying back to the Flock.

When we got back, all four of the others were already asleep. So Iggy and I drank three of the milkshakes each (hey, we couldn't just leave them to melt, could we?) and set the food in the center of our circle. Then we lay down to sleep.

I liked this chapter. It was funny.

And I love the brotherly love between Fang and Iggy, don't you? It really makes it mad when JP doesn't give them much of a relationship in the books, because I think they seem like the best-friends-more-like-brothers type. THEY NEED MORE WRITTEN BONDING! YAY!

It also angers me that JP made Iggy's best friend Gazzy. I mean, yeah they get along, but he made his best friend six years younger than him.

Did you know that the first book of Maximum Ride I read was MAX? And did you know that JP had so little descriptions of anyone but Max and Fang and Angel that a) I thought Iggy was YOUNGER than Gazzy, b) I thought Nudge was older than Iggy, and c) I thought Iggy was the baby of the Flock, not Angel.

I KNOW! JP was so bad at describing my favorite blind pyro, I didn't even know Iggy was the same age as Max and Fang until I read the first volume of the MR manga. The first time I saw Iggy's picture I fell instantly in love with him, then frantically read the rest of the series. Now, even though MAX was originally one of my 'favorite' books, it is my least favorite in the entire series. At least in The Final Warning Iggy got some new powers, and in FANG he got a little angst and the guy who offered to give him new eyes.

Anyways, please review! I really like reviews!

14. Dreaming

Okay. I really appreciate all of your peoples' amazing reviews. I want to shout out to someone:

Pandorad24: Hello, you are one of my favorite reviewers. I love reading your reviews! I see one of them and I'm all like, 'YIPPEE!' I just love long, full reviews… they satisfy me. Also, I LOVED your suggestion. Let me say that I already have everything set up for the entire fic… but let me also say that I might include a little of your idea! Anyway, I was so happy that someone FINALLY gave me a suggestion. For some reason I never get any of those… -sigh-. Anyhoo, I'd really appreciate if you continued to leave those long reviews. If so, I might just give you a virtual Iggy plushy, you never know… maybe even a virtual Whitecoat plushy, so you can stab it with needles!

And thanks to all who agreed with me about the annoyingness of MAX, and how hot Iggy is in the manga… I've been waiting AGES for the third one, and when I looked it up and saw the cover, I was all like 'SQUEE! IGGY LOOKS SO INCREDIBLY HOT AND ANGSTY!' I just can't wait, because School's Out – Forever was my favorite MR book (due to all the Iggy angst). So, yeah, I'm really looking forward to it.

Just wondering, did anyone notice that the writer of the manga never mentioned the reason Iggy was blind? It seems to me that anyone who didn't already know why would just think he was born blind…

Iggy POV

I frowned around me. This was the place I always went in my dreams… but it was different, somehow. I couldn't really tell. It was still blank, empty… just a vast expanse of nothingness.

Oh. That's what was different. It wasn't vast anymore. Far away, I could see walls; four of them, encasing me in a huge box.

Why did the walls suddenly appear?

I looked up, and saw a ceiling as well. It was several tens of stories above my head, but it was there.

Are you wondering? Meagan asked. I looked over to see that she was here with me now. She hadn't been a moment ago, but that was usual. It almost always took a few minutes before she joined me.

"Yeah," I answered, gazing about at the walls. They were strange, somehow alien. I wasn't used to seeing anything in my dreamworld besides blank, open nothingness, and Meagan.

It's because your end is coming, Meagan told me, this sad sort of smile on her face. Every moment you grow closer to dying, the walls and ceiling will grow closer. Eventually there will be barely any room at all.

"Okay then," I nodded. "That explains a bit."

We sat down, and started talking. We talked and talked for hours. Meagan was so easy to talk to. We just talked about everything, anything, and even nothing at all. Then, we sat in silence, and just gazed at each-other.

"You know, the first time I saw you, I thought you were Max," I noted, leaning back on my elbows. Meagan smiled.

That's because we're very similar.

"Yeah, I know," I grinned. "You sound just like her sometimes."

Suddenly, I felt the familiar tugging at my soul.

It's time for you to wake up, Meagan said, stating the obvious.

"Yup." I shut my eyes for a moment, and then opened them again. "I guess I'll see you later."


As I faded away, I looked around. I thought I saw a very slight difference in my dreamworld.

It was just that little bit smaller.


"C'mon, Iggy," I said, shaking him. He moaned and grumbled something about being asleep, but of course I didn't believe him. I mean, what sleeping person says to leave them alone because they're asleep? That's a fail attempt to sleep later.

I sighed and moved on to waking Fang, Nudge, and Gazzy. Angel was already awake.

"So, Fang, what'd you and Iggy get us for eating?" I asked, moving towards the plastic bags sitting in the middle of our circle. I peeked inside and found a mound of food.

"Iggy! Wake up, or you won't get any food," Fang grunted, shaking awake my blind brother. Iggy sighed and sat up, scooting towards the crinkle of wrappers that was me opening the food.

"Okay," I said a few minutes later, divvying up the findings. "Great job, guys, you got enough food for everyone. No drinks, though… weird…"

Fang and Iggy both looked nervous. "Uh, yeah, we didn't get six chocolate milkshakes," Fang muttered. He really wasn't very good at lying.

We ate the food and then started off.

The days didn't seem to take long at all. Before I knew it, five days had passed, and we were extremely close to the School… that is, the original School that we had been in for the first years of our life. We figured, hey, if any School would have the means to turn off Iggy's machine and operate on him, it would be the freaking School that put the contraption in him in the first place.


Of course right.

So, we're in California…

"Hey!" I realized that the rest of my Flock was lagging behind me. "What's going on?"

I turned a sharp 'U' and soared amidst the five mutant bird-kids. Gazzy and Nudge's eyes were sparkling eagerly, and Angel and Iggy looked excited. Fang even seemed a bit eager, which was a new one.

"Max!" Gazzy blurted out, pointing below us. "Max, look! It's an amusement park!"

I turned my face down towards the ground and saw what he was pointing at; a huge, crowded amusement park, filled with water rides, a giant wave pool, too-expensive games, too-expensive restaurants, and mazes of roller coasters. I looked back up at the flying kids.


"Can we go? Can we go?" Nudge squealed, bouncing up and down… while hovering in midair. Don't know how she pulled that off. "It will be so fun! There's roller coasters, and those swing things, and food, and booths, and gift shops, and water slides… oh my gosh, can we go?"

I was about to open my mouth and say 'no freaking way, we have to get to the School'… but then I looked over and saw Iggy. His eyes were alight, his face totally eager, his smile catching. My gaze turned first to the silvery scar under his eye, then to his chest, which was still bandaged from the broken ribs. They weren't so much broken now as almost healed, but they still needed support.

Iggy wanted to go to this amusement park. I couldn't say no, when this might be the last time he ever got the chance.

I sighed. "Okay. But we have to be careful. And it's just this one day."

Nudge, Gazzy, and Angel cheered, and Iggy laughed, holding out his hand for Fang to high-five.

We flew around in circles for a while, looking for a good place to land. Finally, we saw a secluded area cloaked in shadow behind one of the restaurants. I beaconed them down, and Iggy followed behind me with Fang, their wings brushing.

The place was like a picture from a nightmare. Kids and parents everywhere, teens shoving past, loud voices, people shouting and laughing and running around. I saw that Iggy wasn't looking very happy about the noise or the crowds either, but he had his fingers holding tightly to Fang's belt loop, and didn't seem too distracted or upset.

"Where are we going first?" Nudge asked, looking around, bouncing on the balls of her feet. "There's so much stuff! Look, over there's the swings, and a roller coaster called 'The Boss,' and bumper cars, and one of those booth games where you can win stuffed animals…"

"Let's ride a roller coaster!" Iggy said, grinning.

Guess we were staying, then. At least for now.

Well, then. The next two or maybe even three chapters will be about the amusement park… then we get to the School, the surgery, an unexpected turn of events, and a terrible cliffhanger that ends the fanfic…

You'll have to let me know, then, whether or not you want another sequel so the series doesn't just end, leaving you hanging!

Anyway, please review.

15. Swinging

Yay! Pandorad24, you rock. You have officially deserved this Iggy plushy –holds out adorable Iggy plushy-. May you use it well. And, duh I liked your idea! It was well thought out. Plus, it was pretty epic. Hmm… and you should totally read the manga, because it's awesome… although if you do read it, you'll have to cope with my long list of things I hate about it… like the artist making Iggy the same height as Fang, instead of taller… and him making Nudge crush on Fang, instead of Iggy… and him leaving out the epic scene in the first book where Iggy hacked into some guys PIN on an ATM… and leaving out the whole the-reason-Iggy's-blind-was-because-of-a-terrible-experiment thing… Anyhoo, also, about Take Away What You Love, that is such an incredible fanfic! I love it, it's on my favorites.

And to all of my other reviewers, you all ROCK! I LOVE YOU ALL! I WILL EVEN EAT TEARS OF JOY FOR YOU GUYS! YAYZ!


I don't really know how I got into this. We had just had about seven turns on 'The Boss,' and I was about to barf. Well, not literally, just figuratively. For some reason, we mutant bird-kids don't get motion-sickness. I think it probably had to do with riding wind-currents most of the day.

Anyways, next Nudge dragged all of us over to the swings. I didn't really see the appeal of it; just a circle with swings hanging down on long chains that when in circles as the ride rotated. But Nudge claimed it was one of the best rides ever (which I somehow doubted, seeing as she'd never ridden them before), and each of us ended up in one of the seats, ready to 'fly'.

"Max?" Iggy asked. He was in the swing in front of mine, behind Fang. "Where are you?"

"Behind ya, Iggs," I answered. "Don't you worry."

Iggy blew a raspberry, turning and sticking his tongue out at me. "I wasn't worried; silly Maximum."

I grinned. "I'm smiling, Ig."

Iggy laughed. "I thought you might be."

Suddenly, the swings started turning. Iggy jumped and clamped his hands on the chains. "Whoa!"

"WHEE!" Nudge shouted, although we had just barely started and hadn't even rotated half the circle yet. If this was all this was, it was pretty dang boring.

"Nudge, if you're excited by this, you have some serious brain problems."

Then, the swings started rising into the air. Iggy laughed.

"This feels way weird! I'm lifting into the air, and my wings aren't even open!"

"No duh, Iggy!" Fang called back. "You're in the swing, and it's lifting into the air. It's part of the ride."

"I knew that much," Iggy muttered under his breath.

The swings continued spinning, and I have to say, it was actually pretty nifty. I mean, I had been in the air without flying before, while in that jet to Antarctica or wherever… but this was sort of different, you know? I mean, it was like zero-gravity, minus the wings, minus the jet, plus swings, and also plus rushing about in a repeated circle for a few minutes. And though it sounds boring, it… well, to repeat myself, it was pretty nifty!

Nudge was squealing even louder than before, shouting to the world.


Fang and Iggy were shouting random things at the people below, and Angel was grinning broadly with her arms in the air. Gazzy, though, had a concentrated look that I recognized; I hoped the person behind him either had clogged sinuses or a nose-plug handy.

Eventually, the swings slowed, lowered, and came to a stop. Nudge groaned, complaining as we started to get off.

"Can we go again? Please?" she pleaded, and I looked at everyone else. They had all had fun.

"Sure, one more time. I mean, we've got plenty of time here."

Nudge cheered and raced back in line. The rest of her followed, a little slower.

A while later, the six of us were walking around the asphalt paths, looking for more rides. Iggy had switched from Fang's belt loop to my own, and was holding tightly. I remembered Jeb's notes suddenly; Iggy was created for the soul purpose of loving me.

I didn't feel uncomfortable, though, because he was my brother, plus I knew he would never make a move since I was with Fang. That was the kind of person Iggy was.

"Ugh, it's getting hot," Nudge complained, tugging at her collar. I noticed Fang, the master of not-sweating-even-whilst-in-the-desperate-heat-in-a-long-sleeved-black-shirt, had sweat rolling off his forehead.

I tugged at my own collar, and glanced to Iggy. His strawberry hair was plastered to his forehead.

"Well, what'dya want me to do about it?" I asked, panting. It really was hot.

"How about the water park?" Nudge suddenly got an eager look on her face.

"Uh, hello, wings?" I reminded her. She pouted.

"But Maaaax…" she pleaded. "We can buy swim-suits at the gift shop, and wear T-shirts over them; it's not like we'd have to wear a bikini or anything like that. It's just it's so hot, and I'm totally sweating, and all of us want to get on the water slides anyway…"

I thought about it for a moment as we were walking. Then I sighed. After all, the water slides were sounding pretty good right now.

"Okay. Do you know where we can get bathing suits?"

"There's a shop left of the entrance to the water park," Iggy spoke up. I was surprised for a second that he knew that, then I remembered. His all-knowingness power.

"Well then, let's head that way." I started off, wiping sweat from my forehead and sticking out my tongue. My hand was now soaked. I was really sweating.

When we finally reached the shop, we stepped in into blessed air-conditioning. I welcomed the cool.

"Come on, Max, the swimsuits are over here!" Nudge called. Iggy dropped his hand from my belt loop and walked over to where Nudge was. I followed them.

Nudge was looking with reverence at a bikini. I frowned at her.

"I thought no bikinis?" I said, raising an eyebrow.

"Aw, come on, Max, I'll still be wearing a shirt!"

I relented, and she skipped away to try it on. What do you know, this shop had a dressing room.

I looked around the rack for a one-piece, but unfortunately the only ones they had were for younger girls. I settled for a bikini that was hopefully in my size.

"Hey," I said to Fang and Iggy. "You got anything yet?"

"Nope," Iggy said, shrugging. "I've got no idea what I'm supposed to do. Never bought a swimsuit before."

"How about this Speedo?" Fang asked, laughter in his voice and holding up a neon-green Speedo.

"Sure thing, buddy-boy," Iggy said, taking the item. "I'll wear this the very second the sky turns orange." He put the hanger back on the rack.

Fang chuckled. "Well then, here. This suit looks about the right size, and there're little sharks all over it."

"Gee, thanks," Iggy muttered, taking the swim-trunks.

"Okay, let me help Angel, and Fang, find something for Gazzy."

I turned, and within a few minutes had found a one-piece for Angel.

After trying the suits on and deeming they fit right, we all bought them. I had just enough money in my pockets. Then, we went into separate bathrooms (of course, the boys' and the girls' room) and put on the suits, with our shirts over them.

Fang, Iggy and Gazzy were out already when we emerged. Fang's was plain black – shocker there – and Iggy had got the one with sharks. Gazzy's had the Batman logo on his butt.

I shook my head and sighed.

"Well, then, guess we go swimming now," I said.

Nudge and Gazzy whooped, racing forward. Angel hung back with me, Fang and Iggy, holding Iggy's hand, because now he had no belt loops to grab.

"WATER SLIDE!" Gazzy bellowed, running along the concrete. The slipped in a puddle and fell flat on his face.

"Bummer, that sounded like it hurt," Iggy chuckled.

Gazzy stood and turned to look back at me. His chin was scraped up and bleeding, but he was otherwise fine.

"Aw, he's okay," I said. I moved forward and wiped the blood off with my shirt. "Right?"

"You are such a mom," Gazzy grinned, giggling.

"I try," I answered.

Iggy grinned, and Angel dragged him ahead as we headed towards the water slides.

Hoorays, another chapter already! I am so happy. I hope you liked some fun in the middle of such a sad fic!

Also, readers, please check out a new oneshot I just published. If you like Ari, Max or Iggy, you'll want to read it. It's mega-sad (and this coming from the girl who gets her daily kicks off of writing down chapters including various Iggy-hurting, you know it's true). So, yeah, please please PLEASE read and review that fic!

And please review this chappie!


16. Sliding

Gosh darn it, guys, but I'm going to have to say this;

I am canceling this fic. I've decided I have too much going on right now, and this chapter is going to be the very last. To give a rough overview, Iggy dies a terrible death, and Max sinks into depression. It basically ends with the Flock all saying things at Iggy's funeral. I'm sorry if you wanted more, and I'm sorry I won't be able to do the sequel I promised, but it's just too much.


Or August Fools, whichever suits you best. No, I am NOT giving up this fic. However, I will be starting school again (O HORROR!), so I will definitely not be able to update as fast. PLEASE DON'T KILL ME! I hope you enjoy the next chappie!


The water slides were the funnest. Is that a world? The funner? More fun? Ah, most fun. The water slides were the most fun. Well, actually, we haven't even done anything yet; we've just been waiting in line for the first slide. I'm just saying they were the most fun because they certainly look damn fun.

We finally reached the top, and Gazzy bounced up and down while the worker – or whatever the heck he was – got ready our giant red raft. It could fit seven people, so we all got on fine.

"Hold on to the straps on either side of the you on the raft, keep you legs crossed, don't let go, and don't stand up at any time," the worker said in a rushed monotone. "Have fun."

He shoved us out. The initial length of the slide was straight and had just a slide decline, but after about ten feet we turned a sharp corner and chaos emerged.

We all screamed as we crashed down a steep slope, turning around bends and curves, getting water splashed in our faces. All of us had our eyes closed so the slide would be more fun (queue not knowing when we're turning, hence more suspense), but the one time I opened my eyes to look at the others' expressions, I noticed that Iggy had his eyes opened wide.

For a moment I wondered what the heck why, then I realized that Iggy was, of course, blind, so that it didn't really make a difference whether or not he had his eyes open or closed. Still, he probably should close them, since I could see water getting sprayed all over his face – and bird-kids don't do well with chlorine.

When the ride was over, we all jumped off and cheered. Our shirts were clinging to our backs, but since our wings retracted so well, we just looked like a group of humpbacks (or something). That wasn't necessarily the look we were going for, you know, seeing as we're all extremely attractive (hey, it's true), but it's better than the 'mutant bird-kid' look.

"Can we do that again? Pleasepleaseplease?" Nudge asked.

"No, let's go over there!" Angel interrupted, pointing to a series of speed slides across the way.

"How about this," I compromised. "Let's go on all the other rides first, and after that we can come back. 'Kay?"

"Okay," Nudge answered, pouting.

We headed out in the direction of the speed slides Angel had wanted to ride. Then, I felt someone grab at my hip, and looked over, expecting to see some perv trying to hit on me, ready to punch his lights out.

It was Iggy, who had yanked his hand away and was blushing furiously.

"Max? Sorry, Angel went ahead, and I forgot you didn't have a belt loop…"

I grinned at his red face.

"Seriously, Ig? You're the one in the family with the brilliant memory. And aren't you all-knowing or something?"

Iggy muttered something like "I try to suppress it", but I cut him off.

"Here," I grabbed his hand. "Come on."

Iggy was still blushing as we caught up to the rest of the Flock.

"SPEED SLIDES!" Angel and Gazzy chorused, rushing up the stairs.

"Slow down, or you'll slip and fall and crack your head open!" I called after them.

"Gosh, you're such a mom," Iggy remarked, smirking.

The line to the slides was really short. I don't know why, because they looked mega fun. I mean, there were a blue and a red one on either side that were enclosed fully in tube and swirled all around. Then there was a green one that started higher up and looked as though it went down almost vertically. That one was not enclosed.

Of course, that was the one we all wanted to go on.

Angel and Nudge were the first to the top, then Gazzy, then me, Fang and Iggy.

"Um, I'm sorry, but those two won't be able to go on this slide," the worker said, gesturing to Angel and Gazzy. "They are too short."

"No we're not," Gazzy protested.

"I'm very sorry, but yes you are," the worker retorted.

"No, we're not," Angel said instead.

"Oh, yes, you are right. Of course you're not. Here, go now."

Angel grinned her little-girl grin and climbed in.

"Please keep your arms crossed at all times. Never try to stand or slow your descent. Have fun," the worker informed her.

She shoved off.

"WHEEEEE!" we heard her shriek as she slid down. Next was Gazzy's turn, before the man woke from his trance.

"WAHOO!" he shouted.

Nudge was quite similar to Angel's; "SQUEEEEEE!"

"I'll go now," Fang said. "Be down there when Iggy finishes."

"'Kay then," Iggy nodded.

Fang went, and I really wasn't expecting any sounds out of him, but to my – and Iggy's – shock and amazement, he yelled "EPIC!" all the way down.

Iggy laughed, and I giggled.

"That's Fang. Always with the surprises," Iggy commented. I agreed.

"Who's next?" the worker droned.

"You go on, Iggy. I'll meet you at the bottom."

I guided Iggy to the slide opening and he sat, shoving himself off. Then he lay and crossed his arms over his chest.

"WHOA!" he shouted, and I laughed again.

Next was my turn. I sat and waited until the worker told me Iggy was out of the way, then lay, crossed my arms, and slid.

Air whooshed past me in streams as I raced down the slide. It didn't feel like I was laying in the streaming water, more like skimming the surface. I could see the sky rushing past. As I descended, I looked down and saw Fang and Iggy shouting towards me and pumping their fists in the air, and the younger kids were screaming and grinning.

"OH YEAH!" I shouted, thinking I just had to complete the chain.

The worst part about the slide was the end; mega wedgie, and with a bikini, that's not fun. Plus, I had to hold the hem of my shirt to make sure it didn't come up over my head and reveal my wings.

"That was awesome!" Gazzy cheered, and Nudge agreed uproariously.

"Now to the wave pool!" Fang said.

Fang? He actually sounded hyped. I raised my eyebrows.

"Ahem…" Fang cleared his throat at my look. "I mean, maybe we should probably go to the wave pool now, like I even care."

Iggy grinned and elbowed him in the ribs.

We made it to the pool in record time. Well, that was partly because we were running as fast as we could (Iggy was holding my hand again), which, since we're mutant bird-kids, is pretty darn fast.

The waves had just started when we got there, which was awesome. Gazzy, Angel, and Nudge plowed right in, while Fang, Iggy and I followed slower.

Eventually, though, we started a splash fight.

You know, with the waves and everything, splash fights were mega fun. Tons of water, being bowled over by waves, laughing, shouting; totally awesome, right? Of course.

You know, that is, until the whole bad stuff started.

Gosh, you know, I wish just once in our short lives we could have a fun day without anything bad or unfortunate happening. Just our luck, right?

Because we were splashing, and having fun, until suddenly Iggy frowned. He straightened up and lifted his right arm up and down. Then he frowned more.

"HA!" Nudge squealed, splashing Iggy dead in the face. Shocked, he stumbled back and fell into the water on his butt.

He didn't give up, just supported himself with his right arm and frowned some more. I walked over with Fang; he had noticed too.

"Ig," Fang said, grabbing his arm and lifting him up. "What's up?"

Iggy frowned and said, "I can't move my left arm."

"Huh?" I asked, startled. "You sure? Show me your hand."

Iggy's arm didn't move. His shoulder lifted, but his arm just hung limp. He frowned and grabbed it with his other arm, holding it up to show me his hand.

"Uh… can you move your fingers?"

Fang sighed.

"Obviously not," Iggy said. By now, Gazzy, Angel and Nudge had stopped playing.

"What's wrong?" Nudge asked, curious.

"Iggy can't move his arm," Angel informed her.

Then, Iggy got a funny look on his face.

"Iggy?" I asked, wondering what else was wrong. "Hey… Ig?"

He dropped his left arm and clasped his right hand over his mouth.

"Uh-oh…" Fang muttered, stepped forward, in front of me, and taking Iggy's shoulders. "Hey, Iggy, please try to hold it in…"

Iggy bent forward and puked blood into the wave pool. Fang caught him and steadied him as he wavered, almost falling in.

People all around us started screaming and backing away as the red spread through the water.

"Ugh…" Iggy muttered, wiping his mouth. The red rubbed off onto his arm, but his teeth and chin was still stained.

So was Fang's shirt.

"That tasted like blood," Iggy continued. "Can't be good…"

"Let's get out of here," Fang said, turning. A bunch of lifeguards had started blowing whistles, and everyone had backed up out of the pool and was staring at the cloud of blood surrounding us bird-kids.

I struggled to look for exits, but some sort of emergency vehicle had pulled up to the side.

"Please help the injured person to the shore. The paramedics are prepared for reparations and damages."

There was no other choice, really.

"U and A, guys," I whispered.

"What? Now?" Nudge asked incredulously.

"No!" Iggy protested. "We'll reveal our identities! Don't try to get out of this quick on my behalf…"

"If they get you to the paramedics, they'll see your wings and the identities will be out anyway!" I argued. "Iggy, just remember what I said back at mom's office. We're saving you whether you're for it or not, and if you're gonna struggle, we'll just knock you out and carry you there. Now; U and A!"

There was a slight hesitation from the Flock, but when Iggy opened his wings, so did they.

There was a gasp and some cries from the crowd, and I heard the flashing of cameras. I opened my wings and spread them wide.

And we took off into the air, Fang gliding cautiously under Iggy, ready to catch him if he fell.

There, a long filling chapter… I think. Anyway, end of the happy stuff. The following will be the going-to-the-School, the getting-of-the-surgery, the flying-home, and the discovering-of-the-cliffy. Have fun reading!

Oh, and Pandorad24, see? I used your suggestion! Originally I only had the whole arm-paralysis planned, but I thought the puking blood like before was a good touch.

17. Entering

Okay, I'm really sorry about the super-late updates, but high-school is pretty tough. I mean, picture this; homework in honors bio, honors geometry, honors LA, French, and art. All in one day. And a LOT of it. That's what my afternoons are like.

So, anyways, just be glad I've decided to take the time to update. Yeah.

Here goes.

Iggy POV

I wasn't so much hurting right now as feeling sick to my stomach. I mean, I really feel like I'm about to puke. Up blood. Yeah, that's what I've been puking up lately. Nifty, huh?

When we were in the water park, I'd been slowly developing a stomach ache. At first I put it off to me getting motion-sickness for the first time in ever, but it gradually got bad enough until I felt like there was a hole in the wall of my stomach.

Which I guess there was, seeing as the puking-up of the blood, according to Dr. Martinez, was due to some sort of ulcer.

You know what? I can confidently say that I HATE ULCERS.

"Iggy? You're drifting there, man," Fang said from below. I shook my head and frowned.


I heard Fang swerve upward and grab my hand – the one that wasn't dangly limply, being paralyzed and all – to lead me in the right direction.


"No prob…"

"Flock! I think… I think that's it, up there," I heard Max call from the front. There was a cold silence among us, as if everyone was holding their breath. I wondered for the umpteenth time why the Hell everyone was risking so much for little ol' me.

I guess they're just determined to make a point. Like, 'hey School, we're not afraid of you'. I mean, no one would go that far for me otherwise.


Fang POV

When Max said she'd seen the School, the entire flock – minus Iggy – immediately stopped breathing and snapped their heads up to look at it. And, if it weren't for the fact that we had to get Iggy there as fast as possible, I'm sure we all would be hovering in midair and having panic attacks by now.

This was the place that we grew up in. This was the place where we were experimented on. This was the place where we lived in dog cages. This was the place where we were tortured. This was the place that put the stupid machine inside Iggy in the beginning, and that had caused him to develop a mental disorder and an inferiority complex.

Welcome back to our childhood home, huh?

Barely five minutes later, we were circling over the huge, blank white building. There was, if you'd believe, a car lot in the front. Iggy followed our wing-beats as we swooped to land on the hot asphalt.

"Uh…" Max said, uncertainty revealed in her voice. "Well, first, lets get changed back into our regular clothes. Guys, go behind that car, girls, follow me."

So, silently, we went behind cars to peel off wet (and bloodstained, on Iggy' and my part) swimming-suits and shirts, to change into our normal pants and dry shirts. As I changed, I stared mutely at the surrounding cars.

You'd think that stupid Whitecoats would have the decency to all own sleek black SUVs or something, so they would give off an aura of evil on the highway (SUVs, the evilest of cars). But no, there were convertibles, and slug-bugs, and mini-vans and even some Priuses. Of course, there were a few SUVs amongst them, but not enough for what I had pictured.

Don't you think any devil that performed daily experiments and tortures on children should actually appear the part? Otherwise, it's a bit deceitful.

"You done?" Iggy asked, and I turned to see him and Gazzy standing, fully dressed, and staring inquiringly at me. I had just been standing there thoughtfully for about five minutes, I'd guess.

"Oh, yeah," I muttered in response, and we turned to meet up with Nudge, Angel and Max.

They were already standing there, clothed, and looking pale and nervous – exactly how I felt.

"Do we have a plan?" I asked Max, staring deep into her chocolate eyes.

"Go in there and beat the snot out of 'em until they agree to fix Iggy," Max said, shrugging.

"Right then. Let's go."

And we walked across the parking lot to the big double-doors that were the entrance to the School. And we opened the doors and we walked through them.

And we entered…


A lobby.

That's what was right indoor. A lobby, complete with front desk and waiting room, decked with chairs and old magazines.

A freaking lobby.

A lady at the front desk dressed up like a receptionist turned her head up to us as we stepped in.

"Hello," she greeted us, cheerfully enough. "What may I do for you? Are you looking for your parents? Work hours end in a while, but if you want to wait…"

I stalked up to the lady, my flock following behind me. This was just too damned friendly, this place that we hated and feared with a passion. It was too damned friendly, and too damned innocent, and too damned not how we remembered. Where was the evil? Where was the maniacally grinning scientists, armed with needles and tubes and tools? Where was… everything?

"Hello, I'd like to introduce myself," I said, smiling sweetly. "My name is… wait a second, could I please borrow that pen?"

The lady receptionist looked slightly surprised, but nevertheless handed over the blue pen she had been writing with.

"Thank you. Anyway, to continue…" my expression changed from cheerful to frosty in a matter of moments, and I leapt over the desk to grab the lady in a chokehold. I pressed the tip of the pen into her neck and pushed it enough so that any normal human would be in pain. "My name is Maximum Ride, and you will call in the scientists and you will get them to talk to me, or so help me I will jam this pen so deep into your jugular that you'll be able to see through to the other side."

The lady was terrified, quaking in her shoes, an expression of pure fear on her face. I looked back to see the rest of the flock looking grim, but none of them seemed to think I was overdoing it. Which was good, because I wasn't.

"P-please," the woman stuttered, shivering. "P-p-please, I'll call them, just d-don't k-k-kill me…"

"Do it," I snarled, and she raised a finger to press a red button on her desk.

"P-P-Professor Jordan! Please come to the lobby! Some p-people want to talk with you!" she almost screamed into the speaker.

I continued to press the pen into her neck as we all waited with baited breath for scientists to appear.

And so they did, and this time, there was nothing innocent or friendly about it. The scientists that we knew, with white lab coats and syringes in their pockets, evil frowns and cold eyes. Four of them, lead by one that looked even more evil than the others. This one must be 'Professor Jordan'.

"Nancy, what is this?" he asked coldly, gesturing at the six of us, and me holding the pen to 'Nancy's' throat.

"Sir, these children came in, and the girl attacked me and she wants to speak to you…"

Without any of the scientists noticing, I subtly twirled my finger around, sending a signal to Fang; surround them. I saw him nod his head barely a fraction out of my peripheral vision, and begin to move slowly.

"What do you want?" the man asked snidely, glaring at me. "You know, we have human cross-breeds with advanced strength, you wouldn't stand a chance…"

"You mean human-lupine hybrids, right?" I asked coldly. "Erasers? Yeah, we know them, and we can each handle about ten. My name is Maximum Ride."

And I rolled my shoulders and snapped out my wings for the world to see.

The woman I was currently holding hostage was gasping, and two of the scientists took a step back. 'Professor Jordan' smirked.

"So, you're the famous Maximum Ride? Then you must have Subject 9 with you."

When he said that, Iggy winced, suddenly widening his eyes. He began to nervously tap his fingers against his side. Mr. Evil Scientist turned to him, and his sneer grew.

"Why yes, there it is! Subject 9, I hear you caused quite a commotion out east. How could a little mistake like you do all that?"

Iggy shrugged halfheartedly, and it hurt me to realize that he wasn't going to protest to being called an 'it' or a 'mistake'.

"Don't call him that!" Nudge shouted at him, an angry glint in her eyes. Mr. Evil Scientist turned to look at her.

"Why not? It's what it is."

I growled, pressing the pen even harder into Nancy's neck, and she screamed.

"SHUT UP!" I shouted, anger burning in my stomach. "You're going to listen to me. There is a machine inside Iggy that's set to kill him once he turns sixteen. You are going to turn it off, get rid of the little wires or whatever they are that are attached to his vitals, and you will have your scientists perform a surgery to take it out. And you will do it now."

Mr. Evil stared frigidly at me. "And what if I say no?"

In response, I nodded… towards Fang, who had, during our discussion, moved around the group and behind Mr. Evil. Fang reacted instantly, jumping foreword, spreading his wings quickly to knock the other scientists out of the way, and grasping Mr. Evil Scientist's neck in his arms, ready to break it at a moment's notice.

"Then our friend Fang here will snap your neck like a moldy toothpick. And he will do it without mercy. So, will you agree to our request? Or are you going to die today?"

Mr. Evil looked around the room coolly. Nudge was fuming, Gazzy was furious, and Angel was clutching tightly to Iggy's hand; they both looked serious and ready for any action. Fang was expressionless, tightening his hold on Mr. Evil Scientist, and the receptionist was sobbing quietly. Taking pity, I loosened my grip on the pen and she sucked in breath, tears still running down her cheek. The scientists Fang had knocked out of the way were standing unsteadily, confused at what to do with their leader in a death-grip.

"You don't know who I am," Mr. Evil stated, a grim smile growing on his face.

"So what if I don't?" I asked angrily, ready to snap and just flat-out tackle the man and beat him into a bloody pulp. His smile just grew.

"You don't know who I am, but Subject 9 does. It remembers me."

I frowned and flicked my eyes over to look at Iggy, who I suddenly realized was shaking like a leaf, pure fear in his blind eyes. Why was Iggy reacting so strongly to this guy?

"Stop calling Iggy an 'it'. He's a 'he'," I merely said in response, my voice stony.

Iggy turned his head towards me slightly, opening his mouth to say something – what it was I will never know – but the man interrupted him.

"Subject 9, you know not to speak in my presence," Mr. Evil said snidely, and Iggy closed his mouth and turned his gaze to the floor.

I frowned, glaring.

"What are you doing? I don't care who the Hell you are. Stop talking and just decide whether or not you'd like to die!"

Mr. Evil Scientist shrugged, still smiling. "I don't want to die today. I'll go ahead and keep the mistake from dying. How do you like that?"

"I like it just fine," Fang growled in the man's ear. "Order your scientists to do it. And we'll all be coming along, just in case you dishonor our agreement."

The man frowned. "We can't have so many in the operation room at once. One of you may come with Subject 9, but that is all."

"I'm going," I said, and released my grip on the receptionist at last. "Get out of here," I hissed at her, and she stumbled frantically out from behind the desk and towards the exit.

"Very well then. Boys, set up the operation room for a surgery. It will occur in four hours. Until then, Maximum Ride and Subject 9 will come with me. The rest can be led to the waiting room."

Fang very carefully untangled his arms from around Mr. Evil's neck after being sure the rest of the scientists weren't about to jump up and attack him. In fact, three of them had already left the room to comply with their leader's request. The last one beaconed for Nudge, Gazzy, Angel and Fang to follow him.

Fang looked to me with questioning eyes. I nodded, and he led the rest off. I moved quickly over to Iggy's side, taking his hand and holding it firmly in mine.

Usually when I touch Iggy, whether it be a pat on the back, a comforting hand on his shoulder, or a hand in his, he completely relaxes. Becomes calm, almost serene.

This time, he didn't change at all. He was still standing straight, stalk-still except for the quivering, mouth clenched shut and jaw stiff. The scar under his eye stood out painfully against his fair, pale skin.

Mr. Evil walks foreword, arms spread wide.

"Maximum Ride! You have no idea how happy I am to finally see our prize experiment back inside these walls. What an honor."

I stiffened my resolve.

"I thank you then, for having us. Now, please show us to wherever the heck we're supposed to be."

"Oh, I thought, since we've got four hours until the surgery procedures can begin, we could take a trip down memory lane."

My eyes narrowed. Did he honestly just propose..?

"Yes, let's visit your childhood memories, shall we?" Mr. Evil asked snidely, his eyes glinting.

I wanted to shout 'no' at the top of my lungs, to shove Mr. Evil against the wall and run away and force the scientists to begin the procedure now… but I knew, from the way this man was acting, that if I refused anything I would practically be begging Mr. Evil to say 'oh, sorry Maximum, poor Iggy won't be getting his surgery today'. Or ever.

"Okay," I managed, my voice gruff. Iggy was still stiff next to me. I wondered again how Iggy knew this man.

"Right then. If you will just follow me… and bring the mistake with you, too, it'll want to witness this as well…"

I growled under my breath, clutching Iggy's hand even tighter in my grasp. I'm not gonna punch him, I'm not gonna punch him, I'm not gonna…

We were lead through a door and down a long hallway. Then through many twists and turns, past open doors and closed doors, rooms containing equipment and rooms containing storage. I didn't see any rooms containing experiments, though.

"Ah, here we are," Mr. Evil Scientist exclaimed, standing in front of a shut door. "Your old home!"

He reached forward and pressed his palm against the pad on the wall, and it scanned the print. Something beeped and the door slid open.

Before me, I saw six cages. Six dog cages. Everything surrounding them was stark white, but the cages themselves were musty and rusted. There was mine, Fang's, Gazzy's and Angel's, Nudge's, and Iggy's, all forming a semi-circle of painful memories.

I winced.

Iggy didn't react, just stood, continuing to shiver.

"Now, isn't this nice? But we have limited time! If you and Subject 9 will just follow me…"

I shut my mind off for the rest of the time. Rooms full of needles, rooms full of torture devices, blank rooms where we had fought other experiments to the death in, rooms, rooms, rooms… I ignored it all, merely repeating again and again in my mind I'm going to be okay. I'm going to be fine.

But then we reached a room I had never seen before. I frowned as Mr. Evil opened the door.

It was a small room with two chairs, one large and comfortable-looking, one small and metal, with straps on the arms that looked like they were meant to restrain wrists. That chair looked very uncomfortable, even painful to sit in. I could see sharp spikes sticking on the straps that would pierce whichever wrists were clasped inside.

The walls were beige, and the floor was carpeted, though dusty. A lamp hung from a small fan in the center, and though the fan was turned off the light was shining brightly.

The second we walked in, Iggy froze completely, unmoving, not even breathing. His eyes widened, and his lips parted. He then doubled over and started hacking, coughing into his hands.

"Iggy? Iggy, you okay?" I asked, worried, bending with him and rubbing his back as he coughed.

"Subject 9, silence! Do you know how irritating that is?" Mr. Evil said, annoyed, frowning.

Iggy immediately choked down his coughs, straightening and wiping the back of his hand over his mouth. I saw blood speckling his palm.

"What..?" I muttered. This was not the Iggy I knew. This was not happy, laughing, joking, fearless Iggy. It wasn't even helpless, depressed I-don't-know-how-anyone-could-love-me Iggy. This was an Iggy I had never seen before. And I didn't like it.

"Now then… Maximum, I'm very sorry, but you're in the way of mine and Subject 9's reunion. If you would excuse us, I'd like to talk with it privately. If that's alright." The way he said it made it clear he was going to force it to happen either way.

"Are you going to hurt him?" I asked breathlessly.

Mr. Evil raised his eyebrows. "Of course not!"

Of course, I wouldn't trust him. I turned to Iggy.

"Iggy," I said in a low voice. "Is he going to hurt you?"

Iggy shook his head mutely, but his eyes were still wide and fearful.

"Now then, please leave," Mr. Evil Scientist persisted, pushing me out in the hallway. "You can wait outside."

And he shut the door.

I stood there for a while, staring at the closed door, waiting for sounds from inside. If Iggy started screaming or anything, I was breaking the door down. But nothing sounded.


"Maximum?" I heard from behind me. I didn't turn until it was right behind my back. "Max?"

I turned around to glare at the speaker.

Jeb Bacheldor.

Shocker, huh?

I thank you for waiting this long. And, since it took so long to post, I gave you an extra-long chappie! Happy birthday!

Oh, and Pandorad24, the only reason I didn't fall in love with Iggy the first time he said anything was because I thought he was six years old. –laughs-


And I have decided the sequel will be titled either Dreaming or Daydream, so keep on a lookout for it.

And review!

18. Finding

Okay. I actually decided to start this chapter now, even though I'm so tired I actually fell asleep on the bus ride home from school and MISSED MY STOP. I had to get off after the next few (when I woke up) and walk about fifty-bajillion miles home. Yeah. So, be grateful.


"Jeb?" I asked, incredulous. It couldn't be Jeb. Not here! Not back here, not when we had left it all those years ago…

And not when, despite everything, I had finally started to believe in him again…

"Max, what are you doing here?" Jeb hissed, sounding hurried. "Why are you here? Where is the rest of the flock? The director has me readying the operation room for surgery, and it sounds like it's for…" he broke off, his voice drifting away on the still air, and staring at me in expectation.

"Why should I tell you?" I asked coldly, still keeping my ears open for noises from the room.

Jeb sighed, rubbing his temples. "Max, if this is what I think it's about…"

"We're here to save Iggy from the machine inside him," I stated, my voice hard as rock.

Jeb shook his head. "Max, no! You can't risk everything for him, Max, you have to…"

"I'm not going to listen to a thing you say." I glared at him. "You lived with us for two years and didn't even mention the whole machine-inside-Iggy-going-to-kill-him thing? You're terrible."

Jeb shook his head furiously. "Max, that's beside the point, you don't understand the big picture."

"Which is..?"

Jeb looked up suddenly. "Max, where is the flock?"

I shrugged. "Fang has Nudge, Angel and Gazzy in some waiting room, waiting until the operation's over."

"And Iggy?"

I jerked my head, motioning towards the door behind me. "In there, with Mr. Ev… Professor Jordan."

Jeb paled visibly. I frowned. There was the fact that Iggy was terrified by this man, who he knew somehow, and now Jeb was scared as well? This was just too…

"You left Iggy in… in that room… alone with the director?"

"Yes," I stated cautiously. "He's not going to hurt him. Iggy said so… well, he nodded so…"

"No, Max, you don't understand, you have no idea…"

Jeb stepped past me and put his palm nervously to the door, and anxious expression clear on his face. Was he worried about Iggy? I wouldn't think so since he was saying not to risk ourselves to save him, but…

"What is it? Why not?" I asked, beginning to grow even more worried than before. "Why shouldn't I have?"

Jeb shook his head, looking towards the floor.

"The director… Professor Jordan… he was the one who organized Experiment 9 in the first place. Arranged for the injections, the disorders, everything… but he himself was in charge of… of Iggy's psychological torture."

If I could see my own face, I think I would be paper-white. "What?"

"Every day, Iggy was taken into that room to be mentally tortured," Jeb said softly. "I… I couldn't stop it, even when it was happening right under my nose, I…"

"Wait, what does that mean?" I asked frantically. "What is that man to Iggy?"

Jeb looked up at me. "Max, he's the man who convinced Iggy he was… that caused Iggy's inferiority complex, to put it simply, and his DME…" He paused and took a shuddering breath. "Max, that man is the one thing Iggy fears most in the entire world. And you left him with him, alone, in the room Iggy fears most in the world…"

Iggy POV

Max was gone. Everyone was gone. So now I was alone with Him.

He turned towards me and chuckled slightly. "Come now, Subject 9, don't look so stiff. Why don't you have a seat?"

I moved silently to the chair. I knew where it was; I knew where everything in this room was by heart. I knew this room like I knew the feel of Max's feathers. I knew this room better than that.

The chair had gotten smaller than the last time I was here… which had been five years ago, in my view – going back in time had sort of screwed up my perception of time. But it was okay, because I wouldn't trade my times with Meagan for anything…

"So, how are you?" He asked me, and I could hear Him sit in His armchair. The fan above me whirred to life, blowing dust down into my face; it must not have been on in a long time. I struggled to hold in my cough, not wanting to make a sound. I wasn't allowed to. Not in front of Him.

I shrugged in response to His question. I never talked. Unless He told me to. Why would I go against Him, anyway? He knew everything about me, He was the only one who told me the truth… not even Max had the guts.

"That's very good. I see you've gotten closer to Maximum. Do you still love her?"

I nodded; the answer came instantly into my head, an absolute, unequivocal yes.

That was the one flaw in my all-knowingness gift; I knew all the answers, but I had to be asked the questions first. Meagan figured it out. Even if I asked myself, it didn't work. It had to be on paper, or words from someone else's mouth.

Unless it was with traps and stuff… that was automatic, and I don't know why.

"That's too bad," He answered, pity in His voice. I nodded again, knowing He meant every word He ever said. He always told the truth. Always.

There were no lies.

You're worthless.

No lies…


Never, not any…


Max will never love you.

"You know, because Max will never love you. She never has, and she never will. Oh, I'm so sorry, I shouldn't be reminding you of such painful facts… but I don't want you to get your hopes up, so I'm torn…"

I could hear that He was biting His lip in contemplation, and felt apologetic. It wasn't His fault He had to tell me all of this stuff. If I wasn't such a failure, He wouldn't have to go through all this trouble.

I tried to show in my face that I was so, so sorry He had to do this. I felt like crying. This man had to go through so much trouble, as He had told me several times… I curled my fingers into claws and dug my nails into my thigh, as a slight, ever-so-slight punishment for the annoyance I was forcing Him through.

"So, how have you been holding up since the escape from our other School? Ever since I heard, I've been wondering, 'now how is it holding up? That little mistake must be pretty upset after waking from the dream…'"

I turned my head to the ground. I was putting Him through this, and despite it all He was worried about me! I bit my tongue and shrugged again.

"Yes. You know, just the other day I was reminiscing about our past experiences! Remember the first time we met? Ah, how could you forget? Wasn't that the time I had you shout 'I'm worthless' for twenty-four hours straight?"

I nodded, grimacing at the memory.

"I know it seemed harsh, but you had to realize the truth sometime, right? Oh, I remember you couldn't speak for a weak afterwards."

I nodded again, cringing and remembering the ache in my throat after the incident. I was grateful, though; He had helped me realized what I really was. And now this meeting was bringing it all back.

It was good, in the long run. My self-esteem had been lifting too much. I couldn't forget any of the truths He had told me, that would be deceitful.

no one needs you…


no one wants you…


no one loves you.

"It's still true though, Subject 9. No one needs you, no one wants you… and no one will ever love you."

I clenched my jaw.

Fang POV

"When's it gonna be over?" Gazzy moaned, upside-down in his armchair. Nudge was sitting with Angel in a different one, and I was sitting in a wooden one by myself, being nervous. What was going on with Max and Iggy? It shouldn't really take this long, should it?

"I don't know," I answered, sighing. I wanted to know something. Was everything going fine? Was Iggy okay?

Suddenly, Angel jolted. Then she frowned.

"What's up?" Nudge asked her. "Cramp? Wings hurt?"

Angel shook her head in reply. "It's nothing… Iggy just sent me a message…"

"He's okay, right? They're okay?" Nudge asked urgently.

"Yeah, yeah, nothing's wrong…"

"Well, what was it?" I asked. Angel had formed psi-links with Max and Iggy, just in case. Of course, Iggy could block out whatever was going on unless he wanted to send a particular message… so it must have been sort of important, wouldn't it have?"

"Well… it's, it's private, I guess," Angel answered cautiously. "He doesn't want me to tell you unless I need to."

"Okay." I stared at the door. Then I realized no one was in the room.

No one was guarding us.

"Hey, guys, exploring time," I said, jumping up. "Let's check this place out."

Gazzy, Nudge and Angel leapt up eagerly; being cooped up in a small room for hours on end was not good for us bird-kids. Very uncomfortable and claustrophobic.

Therefore, without any further ado, we left the room – making sure no Whitecoats were in the hallways first – and began to walk.

The first rooms we looked into were absolutely blank. Then we came to a few that housed discarded electrical equipment. Then some with cages. Then some with desks.

After about thirty minutes of looking at rooms, we were actually getting sort of bored. Where were the scientists? Where were the computers? Where were the labs with secret files for us to steal?

"Ugh," Gazzy moaned. "Look, this hall's a dead end."

I looked up and saw he was right. There were only five doors left, and then a solid wall; not even a window.

"Wanna just turn back?" Nudge moaned. "We can go to the room and sleep on the chairs. I'm tired."

"Come one, let's explore the last rooms," Gazzy said, re-energized a bit.

"I can sense someone in that one," Angel spoke up suddenly, pointing to the fourth door. "It sounds familiar, but they're blocking me, so I can't really tell…"

"Okay, that last room," I said, and we trotted over there and peered inside; if it was a scientist, we were going to bolt.

But it wasn't a scientist. Just an empty room, filled with a bunch of equipment, computers and other electrical gadgets… and a cage…

With Max in it.

"MAX!" I shouted anxiously, bolting forward, prepared to let her out. Then, she looked up at me…

"Fang! Fang, is that Max? Why is she here?" Nudge asked, sounding confused.

"Wait, that isn't Max, is it? Is it, Fang?" Gazzy asked nervously.

And it was Max, but it wasn't.

What I mean is, it was Max in all but her hair, eyes, and wings.

Her eyes are grey. Like, a silvery-grey, sort of how I would picture a vampire's – or some other mythical creature's – eyes to look. Her hair is blonde, like Max's, but with streaks of red, dark and light brown, and some black. Her wings are pitch black, like mine, but with shimmery indigo at the end feathers that glisten as she moves them.

The girl stares at me quizzically with Max's face, and I stand stalk still. This is like one other time… with Max II.

Is this Max II?

But then a dawning look of realization enters the girl's face, and she suddenly lurches forward, grasping the bars of her cage, her eyes opening wide.

"Wait… Max? Are you Fang? Are you… do you know Iggy?"

Duh duh duuuuuh. Yeah. Real surprise, right? I certainly hope so. And I'm so mad at Iggy, blaming himself and being apologetic towards Mr. Evil when it's all Mr. Evil's fault in the first place! Mr. Evil, go die in a hole!

Anyways, please review! PRETTY PLEASE!

19. Beginning

Ooh, I'm already starting the next chappie! How exciting, huh? I hope you all take my lead and update quickly on your fics! Yay!

Fang POV

"What?" I asked the girl. She was obviously another clone of Max… but if that was the case, then how did she know Iggy?

The girl pressed her face against the bars, her fingers clenched so hard the knuckles were white.

"Please! Do you know Iggy? Is he with you? Where is he? Is he okay?"

"How do you know Iggy?" Nudge asked slowly, staring at the girl.

"I'm Meagan!" the girl answered in reply.

The room was silent. Still. Breathless.

Because 'Meagan' was…

"But Meagan was the girl in Iggy's dream!" Gazzy shouted, sounding confused. "And she was fake! And you look just like Max!"

The girl just stared. "Is that girl with you? Angel? She can read minds, right? She'll tell you I'm telling the truth!"

"I can't, you're blocking me," Angel responded, staring at 'Meagan' penetratingly. The girl blushed.

"Sorry, let me turn that off… okay, now!"

I saw Angel concentrate for a moment, then her face went blank. A moment later, though, she surfaced from the girl's mind with a cheerful look on her face.

"Fang, that is Meagan! She actually is the girl from Iggy's dream! She's real!"

"Yes, yes!" Meagan agreed, nodding furiously. "Now please let me out, and let me see Iggy!"

I stepped foreword to open the cage, but found myself met with a complicated lock.

"Here, Nudge, you try," I said, gesturing. Nudge stepped forward and nervously concentrated on moving the gears.

She unlocked the cage in a record time for her, though nowhere near as fast as Iggy would have been able to. The door swung open, and Meagan jumped out, stretching her wings and grinning. Her wings were beautiful, all shimmery and glossy and indigo and black. Then she turned towards me, her eyes shining.

"You guys are here to fix him, right?" she asked, practically jumping on the soles of her bare feet.

"Yes," I answered cautiously, still caught off-guard by the girl, who was almost identical to Max. Besides the hair, wings and eyes, the only difference I caught was a slight lack of nourishment.

"Really? Is he with Max? Is he having his surgery?" she pushed on.

"Yes," I replied again, once more caught off by the questions she was asking.

Meagan let out a sigh of relief. "Good, that means he won't die. I'm so happy."

The look on her face made it clear she was.

The rest of us just stared at her, comparing her and Max in our heads. I wondered suddenly why I hadn't realized how alike they looked on the little clip from Iggy's dream we had seen when we rescued him from the School. Meagan scowled.

"Please, I know we don't know each-other very well, but I'm in love with Iggy, so you better get used to seeing me around."

It was so blunt, I jumped. Then I smiled.

Gazzy laughed, relieved. Angel smiled, and I saw tears run down her face.

I thought I saw a flicker of hurt and jealousy flit across Nudge's face, but it was quickly replaced by a reluctant grin.

I held out my hand. "Iggy loves you too. And anyone Iggy loves is fine with me."

Meagan grinned and shook my hand. "That's good. Do you know when Iggy's surgery will be finished? I don't think he actually believed I was real in our dreams… I can't wait for him to see me!"

"You mean hear you," Gazzy corrected cheerfully.

"What?" Meagan asked distractedly, starting forward with us to walk out of her room.

"You mean, you can't wait for him to hear you," Gaz repeated. I smirked slightly to myself, knowing how cautious he was with not saying anything to upset Iggy about his blindness.

"Yeah, but what do you mean by that?" she asked, seeming confused.

"You know, he can't see you," Nudge pushed, sounding snappy. I raised my eyebrows in her direction and she blushed.

"What?" now Meagan sounded positively frantic.

"Because he's blind," Nudge reminded her, this time with a softer voice.

"Since when?"

"Since he was five."

And then I realized at the same time as the others that Meagan had only ever known Iggy in the dream, in which he could see.

She hadn't known he was blind.

Iggy POV

I was frozen in place. Because He was touching me. His hand was on my shoulder. He was touching me.

My heart wasn't beating. My heart was supposed to be beating, right? If my heart stopped beating, then I was dead.

Which is why my heart beat again, just a moment later. Skipped a beat, it did. My heart had just skipped a beat.

His hand was on my shoulder. He was touching me.

My brain stopped working for a second. And then His other hand was on my other shoulder.

My heart wasn't beating. I was dead.

Oh, no, false alarm. There was that beat. That steady beat. It was usually steady, except, you know, when it skipped a beat.

My breathing hitched as His grip tightened. I could hear Him smiling.

"What's wrong, Subject 9?"

You're touching me.

And I'm terrified.

That was the instant answer that rang in my head.

I could remember Him touching me before. His hands on my back.

His fingers plucking feathers off my wings. It hurt so much then.

"You know what? Your eyes are so weird," He said suddenly, randomly, and I blinked. "I mean, how they're open, but you can't see a single thing. Don't you think that's kind of odd?"

One of His hands lifted off my shoulder, and a moment later His finger was probing at my left eye.

I winced, and wanted to say 'ow' – you know, one of those reaction words to pain – but I couldn't say anything since I was in His presence. I didn't move, though, except for the wince. He chuckled.

"Wow. Your eye rolls all the way back when I do that." He poked my eye again, and again, harder. I struggled not to cry out, and instead envisioned in my head how stupid I must look now, since I looked as He had said; my eye rolling back in my head without any change in the ever-present blackness that was my life.

And I suddenly felt bad about lying to Max about Him hurting me. It wasn't right for me to… I mean, I had known the answer to the question, that He would hurt me, but I had lied anyway. I bet she's going to be mad at me.

But I had to lie, because He obviously hadn't wanted her to know He was going to hurt me.

Finally, his hand withdrew from my face and shoulder, and I let out a breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding. My heart stopped skipping. I found the strength to move.

So I started crying.

Surprised, I raised my eyebrows as tears rushed down my cheeks in a tirade of wet fear. Crying had always felt so weird since I went blind. Just a feeling of warmness over my eyes, then water running down my face. No blurring of my vision, of course. A choke in my throat. A knot in my stomach.

"Why are you crying, Subject 9? We're having such fun."

I don't know.

He leaned in close, and I could feel His breath on my face. My heart skipped a beat again.

"You're a mistake. You weren't meant to be alive. You're not supposed to be in this world. Aren't I right?"

A question. With my gift, I knew the answer.

Yes. A resounding yes, echoing dully in my skull.

I felt a pang in my chest. I realized I had had some vague hope that He actually was lying. That I wasn't actually a mistake. I wanted so much to belong. It was a dull ache that always resided in me; at all times. Please let me be important. Please let me be needed. Please let me be loved.

I nodded.

"Of course. And you are unwanted. You are unneeded. Those people out there, your flock… they don't care if you live or not."

I felt another pang. Of course not. I knew it. He wasn't lying – I had found that out when the answer to His previous had been yes.

So now I had resounding proof. They didn't really care if I died. So why did they risk this all? Why would they do that?

"Now, your surgery should be prepared right now. Why don't we leave? I did love this little reunion of ours, though. Thank you ever so much for it."

I nodded and followed Him to the door. It opened, and Max was there.

"Iggy!" she gasped, rushing forward to hug me. "Oh gosh, Iggy, J… someone said that the preparation was finished. It's time."

I felt her fingers brush my cheek. "Iggy, have you been crying? Why… why does your eye look swollen?"

I smiled weakly and shook my head, then gestured accidentally poking my eye. Max didn't sound convinced, but didn't say anything further.

"Okay then, why don't we go?" He said congenially.

"Yes," Max said, and she took my hand and lead me after Him.

"What's wrong?" she suddenly whispered, so low I knew that only I must have heard. I shrugged and shook my head yet again. So we continued on in silence.

"Here we are," He said after a while – about ten minutes of walking. And then the stench hit me.

Hospital aromas. Bleach. Blood. That unmistakable aroma of blood.

"Ugh," Max muttered softly, and I could hear her pinching her nose and shivering. I winced, feeling horrible for forcing her to go through this. I wished she would just leave me alone in here. I mean, since she actually didn't care about whether I lived or died, why was she forcing herself through this?

"Iggy," Max said quietly. "You're supposed to put this on." I felt her hand me a white robe, the kind you're supposed to be naked under. "I'll turn around."

Vaguely I thought to myself, what's the point? But nevertheless she did turn, and so while Whitecoats around me prepared to slice me open I peeled off my old clothes and pulled the robe over my head.

"Ready, Iggy?" Max asked cautiously, and in return I stepped forward and found her shoulder with my hand. She turned abruptly, causing me to stumble.

"Oh gosh, sorry!" she frantically apologized, and I shook my head; no problem. "You know Iggy, he's gone now," she suddenly said, much softer.

"Really?" I asked quietly.


I felt the tenseness leave my body, and I felt a heavy weight lift off of me. I sighed and breathed deeply.

"Subject 9 needs to get over here now," an unfriendly voice suddenly echoed.

"Okay," Max replied. "Iggy, come here. Lay down here."

I lay on a hospital gurney, my back pressed against the cool metal, and remembered the day I went blind.

Then, within the next thirty minutes, I was covered in a sheet with a bare patch open for them to reach my chest. Wires, needles and tubes were poked into me at all angles, and spare blood was on hand; I wondered vaguely how the heck they had got bird-kid blood without getting some from Max or the rest. I didn't know.

"I need you to exit the operation room now," a scientist spoke to Max.

"No! Why?" Max furiously responded, and I felt her hand grip mine. I was slowly fading; I guess they had already put in some sort of knock-out drug.

"You can watch from the observation room, but you can't be in here," the scientist continued. "And if you don't leave, we won't operate."

Suddenly, Max's grip slackened. Then tightened again.

"Okay," she finally relinquished. Then… "Iggy!"

"Yeah?" I replied drowsily, slipping deeper into sleep.

"Iggy, Angel just told me! Your gift? It only works for questions?"

"Yeah," I answered, even drowsier.

"Then Iggy, me and the flock, how much do we love you? How much do we care? How much do we need you?"

And as I slipped further into unconsciousness, suddenly, and for the first time in my life, I knew the answer.

And I was utterly happy.

And then… everything was black.


The director silently watched from his private observation deck as the surgery took place. Skin and muscle was sliced open and peeled aside, revealing live organs and bones and lots of slippery blood.

Typing into his computer, he focused instead on the data. The mistake's data. The secret project, yet to be finished.

He downloaded every single bit of it onto his special computer. It was technology advanced by several, maybe even dozens of generations. No other place on Earth had technology like it. And would most likely never have it.

Highly developed technology to read the mental files. And to download it onto a single, highly advanced hard-drive.

He grinned as the computer whirred, and then it was gone; the file was empty, and all the data was on his computer. Then, in another matter of minutes, it was off his computer and onto the hard-drive.

The next step; uploading new data. Data that had been developed and perfected over ten years.

So he uploaded the data and filled the then-empty file. So it was full again… just with different data.

And he laughed. What a surprise was in store for Maximum Ride.

I thank you all for reading this far. And yes, there will be a sequel; I have decided on the title Daydream. Okay? So keep a lookout for it after this fic is over.

And yes, I have a feeling it will be over within at the very most four chapters. So I hope you have all enjoyed it so far.

And I hope you keep reading! Thanks so much for your support!

And… hoh boy, the cliffy's gonna be a doozy.

Also, by the way, does anyone out there play Wizard101? If so, tell me!


20. Flying

Sorry I haven't updated all weekend, but believe it or not, I actually had a life! I know, shocker there. Yeah. But I'll try to make this chapter extra-juicy! Thanks for reading!


Okay. What's the very worst thing you've ever seen?

And I'm not asking lightly. I know some people have seen some truly horrible things. Some people have witnessed murder, rape, death, and suicide. Some people have witnessed the cruelty of war. I assume some of you out there may have witnessed terrors in the School, like I have. But despite all that, you know what the worst thing I ever witnessed was?

Yeah. Watching my Iggy get sliced open by a bunch of demonic Whitecoats.

I was standing tensely in the observation deck, which was basically this big, empty room with a huge glass window that overlooked everything. I was the only one in here, which was good, because I wouldn't have been able to stand it if scientists were here with me.

To start the operation, they had set up this huge screen over Iggy that was basically an X-Ray, but it showed exactly what was going on at every moment. Like, a movie of Iggy's insides. But present-time. Ugh. Anyway, then there was this huge set of controls that Mr. Evil had with him in this other room. He fiddled with it a bunch, and then suddenly those little wires that connected with Iggy's vitals twitched. I watched on the X-Ray as the electricity suddenly fizzled out… and then the wires detached and just zoomed back into the mechanical machine.

Iggy, who was unconscious on the gurney, suddenly arched then, his eyes flashing open. I had freaked out, banging against the Plexiglas window, wanting to rush down and make sure he was okay. But a moment later, he had fallen back, his eyes closed. It must have been a pain reaction, but he wasn't awake or anything.

I imagined for a moment what that would have felt like; wires that snaked around in your insides suddenly slicing through you as they retracted. Pain beyond anything I had ever felt. Like rope-burn on the inside.

After that, I had gotten a better look at the machine's situation in Iggy.

It was huge. As in expanding-his-ribcage-and-squishing-all-his-organs-to-the-side huge. It had expanded by a whole lot since mom's examination.

But with another few moments and another fiddling with the control pad by Mr. Evil and the machine spiraled and shrank into itself. It did so slowly, I guess to not shock Iggy into dying or internal bleeding or anything, but eventually it was merely the size of a Clementine.

It took me a moment to realize I had broken most of my fingernails scratching them down the Plexiglas, and I now had a world of hangnails. But then my gaze and attention was drawn away from it all as Whitecoats inserted scalpels into Iggy's chest.

And for the rest of however long, I was watching with unblinking eyes as Iggy's skin was sliced apart and peeled back, revealing wet and bleeding muscle. Then the muscle was cut away, and I could see his white ribs…

Oh gosh.

They cut aside more muscle, tendons, and then carefully moved aside his stomach and liver.

And, gosh, I could see his heart.

A human's heart in no way resembles the dinky little shapes covering everything around Valentine's day. It is… well, nothing I had expected to see. The organ keeping Iggy alive, beating and pulsing and throbbing and bathed in his blood.

I put my hand over my mouth. I had the sudden impulse to puke.

I was seeing parts of Iggy that no one else in the flock had ever seen. I was seeing parts that he had never seen. I had no right, not when he had no vision to begin with.

I sank to my knees, on hand clamped over my mouth, the other clawing down the window, leaving handprints and fingerprints.

Images began to race through my mind. Iggy laughing, Iggy smiling, Iggy crying, Iggy frowning, Iggy sad, Iggy happy, Iggy scared, Iggy angry, Iggy confused, Iggy surprised, Iggy wondering, Iggy thinking, Iggy…

He didn't know what he looked like.

His eyes. The way they could meet yours without him even knowing. That beautiful ice-blue of his, glowing and sharp and pointed and harsh and warm and soft and brave and weak and sad and happy and the way they reflected everything he was feeling, all at once in that jumbled mess of emotion and sparkle. The way they crinkled when he smiled.

His lips. The way his mouth twitched when he was trying hard not to grin. The way he smiled with his lips together when he wasn't truly happy, but when he was the way they parted to reveal his white teeth. He didn't know it, but he had the cutest dimples. His half-grin, half-scowl that he always gave me when I was sarcastic. The way he sad-smiled whenever I made a crack about his blindness.

His face. How pale he was. Like porcelain, I would say, if he was a girl. But the way he didn't have any freckles. His cheeks blushed easily, whenever he was happy or mad or embarrassed. You could clearly tell what he was feeling by looking at his face.

His hair. It's beautiful strawberry, not-quite-red, and not-quite-blonde. How he always kept his bangs so long they flopped all over his eyes. I had never said anything about it, but I'd always known he kept it like that because he thought it made the way his eyes never actually focused on anything less obvious. How it was always so glossy and perfect, and never tangled, not even if we hadn't had showers or brushed hair in a week.

Him. Him. Iggy. Iggy in all of himself. With his long, lanky arms and legs. How tall he was. How shy. How comforting and protective. How strong and brave.


I loved how his nose crinkled when he laughed. I loved how he rolled his eyes when he thought I was being too 'motherly'. I loved how whenever he was zoned out, he twirled a lock of his hair just like I did. I loved how whenever he was nervous or tense he tapped his fingers against his thigh. I loved the way he picked at the hem of his sleeves when he was self-conscious; all his sleeves were worn and threadbare. I loved how he could be shy, and how he could be arrogant. I loved him. My best friend, my brother…

It took me a moment to realize I was crying. So I wiped my eyes and stood to look through the window again.

And I had missed it. They were already stitching him up, and in his X-Ray I could see that the machine was out of him. And next to the gurney, on a metal table amidst a sea of surgery tools and inside a glass bowl, was the blood-covered machine. And I was so relieved, I started crying all over again.

I resolved myself to watching the rest, as the gaping wound in Iggy's chest was stitched and cleaned and healed.

And then the door opened, and Mr. Evil himself walked in, grinning like a maniac.

"Well, Maximum, the surgery was a complete success. I am sad to say that the mistake will be living until he dies a natural death. Or something of the sort."

"That's great. Let me see him."

"That can be arranged. Oh, and the sedatives we gave him won't be wearing off for about three days. You will have plenty of time to return home. I will be supplying you with a private helicopter, so returning home with an unconscious mutant won't be a problem."

"Thank you. Now, I'd like to see him."

Mr. Evil Scientist sighed. "Very well then. Follow me."

He led me down stairs and into a room with an empty hospital bed.

"It will be brought down momentarily. Now, would you like me to bring you the rest of your flock? You can all wait here until the helicopter is ready."


Mr. Evil left, and I sat in a hard armchair, waiting anxiously. A moment later, two Whitecoats brought Iggy in on a stretcher. I jumped up, but they didn't even acknowledge me, just dropped the unconscious Iggy unceremoniously onto the bed.

As soon as they left, I rushed over to him and grabbed his hand, clutching it tightly in mine. Then I bent over and sobbed. Again. Gosh, I was crying a lot today. But this time, not because I was sad and scared and remorseful; because I was happy.

I was so happy. So very happy. Iggy was okay. Iggy was going to stay alive until he died of old age. Iggy was with me, and he wasn't about to die. Iggy was okay.

I was going to watch him grow even older. Watch him turn sixteen, then seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty. I would watch him mature and grow up. I would watch him fall in love and make friends. He could do all that.

Iggy wouldn't be dead. He would be able to live. And we could put everything about the School in the past. Every day I would ask him how much we loved him. So he would never have to wonder about it again. And he would always know. And he could forget about all that psychological torment, and we would all be happy.

It may have been a rather one-sided perspective. It was doubtful that Iggy would ever forget anything. He had constant reminders. And I'm sure psychological scars don't just disappear.

But that aside, everything was perfect.

Fang POV

We returned to the room with Meagan just in time for her to hide behind the chairs as a Whitecoat entered.

"Professor Jordan has requested me to take you to your fellow mutants. Please follow."

"Wait, what are the details of… stuff?" I asked hurriedly; Meagan was supposed to be in the cage, but she was coming with us. She had to know what was going on.

The scientist sighed. "The surgery was a success. You six will be transported via helicopter back to your home within the next hour. Now, please follow."

Angel, tell Meagan to go to wherever the helicopters take off, and follow us through the air, I thought loudly. There was several moments before she answered.

Okay, Fang. I told her. She says she'll go wait now.

I nodded, and the four of us followed the scientist out of the room.

We walked down hallways for about ten minutes. In one of them, a few scientists walked hurriedly past, muttering furiously about "Subject 14" having escaped from its cage. I would assume that was Meagan.

I worried about her for a moment, but remembered that Angel had formed a psi-link with her as well, so we would know if anything went wrong.

So we continued walking until the Whitecoat stopped in front of a door.

"Right through here. Please enter."

Then he walked away. So I pushed open the door.

The room was small, containing merely a hospital bed, a few chairs, and Max and Iggy. Me, Angel, Gazzy and Nudge rushed forward to the bed instantly.

"Is he okay? He's going to be fine, right? The machine was taken out of him and everything?" Nudge clamored, standing opposite Max at the side of the bed and holding Iggy's other hand. I saw that Max's face was tear-streaked and her eyes were red and swollen, but she smiled broadly and nodded.

"Yeah," she answered. "Yeah. He's fine. He's going to be okay."

Iggy's face was slack, his eyelids closed, relaxed. All of his muscles were loose; therefore, whatever sedatives or knock-out stuff they used on him hadn't worn out yet.

"Can I see where they took it out?" Gazzy asked eagerly. Max hesitated for a moment.

"I don't know. I guess. Just don't touch it, it'll probably hurt him."

Max reached over with the hand that wasn't holding Iggy's and pulled open the top of his hospital robe, revealing his chest. I wondered why she didn't just pull the robe up, but realized he would of course be naked underneath it.

On Iggy's chest was a stitched-up, giant red X. Gazzy gawked at how big it was, and Angel just looked on with tears in her eyes.

"He's… not going to die anymore," Nudge suddenly spoke up, and I glanced at her to see that she was crying. "I'm so happy."

Gazzy, the little trooper, started crying as well. And then Angel was sobbing and smiling, pressing her face into the pillow that Iggy's head rested on, and Max teared up again.

Crying is okay when it's because you're happy, right? It doesn't count? Because just then, I started bawling like a baby.

Holding in your emotions… I've got to stop that. I had just learned that when that happens, when you finally let them out, it's like a tidal wave. Rivers of water streaming down my cheeks, my face in my hands, my body shaking. I really didn't want to be sobbing like this, being an almost-fifteen-year-old-guy and all, but I just couldn't stop.

I've never been so happy in my life.


They came in to take us to the helicopter promptly an hour later. We had all cried ourselves out by then, and all our eyes were practically swollen shut. But we were all grinning madly, and all that put together with our smudged faces and tangled hair must have made us a sight. Iggy was the only one who looked halfway-decent, and he was the one with the gaping, blood-encrusted X on his chest. Plus, he was naked except a blue robe. And he was unconscious.

We learned that Iggy's hospital bed had wheels then, so we rolled him out as we followed the leading scientists. I was so freaking happy, it was almost hard to restrain myself from racing down the hallway… since, you know, I was carting an unconscious Iggy on his hospital bed.

It took another ten minutes to walk to the helicopter launching-pad, or whatever those things are called. Gosh, everything was so far away in this place. Then we rolled Iggy's bed up a ramp on the copter and sat.

"You'll have to remove the mutant from the bed, ma'am. The bed is not allowed on the helicopter."

I sighed at the stupid scientist, then me and Fang tugged Iggy out of his position on the hospital bed and arranged him sitting up in the helicopter in between us.

The blades of the helicopter began to rotate then, and the doors of the copter shut as they whirled faster and faster. Scientist who weren't on the copter ran and ducked into the building as dust blew around in clouds. It took five minutes before the blades were going fast enough for us to take off.

So we did, and pretty soon, we were hovering high in the air and headed towards mom's house.

I realized yet again, self-consciously, that Iggy was naked under the robe.

"Hey guys, no looking. Fang, put Iggy's swim trunks on."

Everyone looked at me, and Fang raised his eyebrows. I rolled my eyes.

"Put them on Iggy. Okay, yeah."

I focused out the windows along with Nudge, Angel and Gazzy as Fang dressed Iggy. I was reminded of that time not really so long ago when we had saved Iggy from his 'dream' in the other School. Fang had had to help him dress then, too. Only difference was that now, Iggy was unconscious.

"Okay then," Fang said, and we turned and found him relaxing calmly next to unconscious, and now shark-patterned swim-trunk wearing, Iggy.

The helicopter ride was actually fun. We could forget that it was Whitecoats in the pilot seat, forget that we were flying away from our worst nightmares, and focus instead on playing tic-tac-toe on Iggy's stomach with a Sharpie I had found in my pack. It was fun.

Eventually, though, I settled to gazing out the window and holding Iggy's limp hand while Fang battled the younger kids in a game of connect-the-dots, or rather who-can-make-the-best-picture-out-of-connecting-Iggy's-moles-with-the-Sharpie.

The clouds rushed past, and I could see birds flying out of the way of the blades. And, in the distance, I could see a bird bigger than all the others, spiraling and twirling in the air.

It looked an awful lot like a bird-kid.


It's Meagan, Angel spoke up in my mind.

Who? I asked in reply.

Meagan. The girl Iggy loves. From his dream.

Ah… uh, huh?

So for the next thirty minutes or so, Angel mentally told me all about them rescuing Meagan, who apparently was another one of my clones.

She's identical except the hair, wings and eyes, Angel informed me. And I think, since she's your clone, that might be why Iggy was able to fall in love with her.

Ah, yes. Iggy was made to be my soul-mate. I was so glad he had found someone else; I didn't like hurting him, but I loved Fang. That was it.

Okay, baby. How about we go to sleep?

Sure thing, Max.

So we slept.

Fang POV

When I woke up, it was because we had touched down. It was in the field in which Iggy had been taken back in time a little over two months ago; the place was about a mile from Dr. Martinez's property.

"Get off," the scientist pilot commanded as the doors opened, and without further ado we clambered out of the helicopter, me and Max dragging Iggy.

The helicopter lifted off, and minutes later it was a distant speck in the sky.

Meagan touched down ten minutes later, and she went directly to Iggy, hugging him tightly and crying. Then, after a little, she introduced herself to Max.

"Hi, Max. I'm Meagan, your not-so-carbon-copy. Nice to meet you."

"Yeah, nice to meet you too," Max muttered in response.

And then we awkwardly left to Dr. Martinez's, me and Max supporting Iggy between us.

Have a nice read? I hope so, since I was supposed to be studying for my surprise French test, which takes place tomorrow. So, yeah. And I hope to post the next chapter soon (the next chapter may, in fact, be the last. Isn't that exciting?)

So, be on the lookout! And please REVIEW! They make me happy!

21. Waking

So, I do believe this is the last chapter. But, yes, last chapter. Hooray for me! I made it through the sequel! I feel so awesome!

I have had lots of fantabulous reviewers, and I shout out to them. Thank you all. Without your encouragement, I would never have got this far.

Thanks, also, to those who read but did not review. You helped as well. However, it wouldn't kill you to leave a review now, at the final chapter? Ha ha.

So, yes. I hope you have enjoyed. And PLEASE, keep a lookout for the sequel, Daydream!


After I knocked on the front door, it took about five seconds for my mom to open it. But there she was, standing, frazzled and anxious and hopeful, still in her bathrobe with her toothbrush in her mouth.

"Oh my, Max!" she gasped, putting her hand over her heart. "Thank goodness…" She glanced us over and noticed instantly me and Fang supporting the limply unconscious Iggy. "But Iggy… he's…"

"He's perfect," I answered, grinning. "Unconscious, but perfect."

Mom sighed and stepped back to usher us in.

"Let's bring Iggy up to his room," she suggested, and Fang and I nodded in agreement. We may be mega-strong mutants, but Iggy was about half a foot taller than both me and Fang. So yeah, after practically dragging him a mile, he was getting heavy.

However, we managed to pull him upstairs and down the hall to lay him in his bed. Mom was with us, and raised her eyebrows when his robe was pulled up to reveal numerous tic-tac-toe games and the connect-the-dot pictures drawn on his stomach.

"So, you gave him the surgery," mom said. "That's wonderful. I did all the calculations down to the hour while you were gone, and discovered that Iggy turned sixteen yesterday. Since you weren't back yet… I was worried you hadn't made it."

"But we got it. Actually, Iggy just got out of surgery about two days ago… I think. He's sleeping off the sedatives they gave him. They said it'd wear off in about three days, so I'm thinking he'll wake up tonight."

Mom smiled broadly. "Well, Ella will be home from school by then. We should get a Sweet-Sixteen party together for Iggy."

"That sounds so great!" Nudge exclaimed. "I mean, it's a much better present then the stupid Whitecoats were going to give him, right? We should go out and buy him presents and stuff! And make him chocolate cake! That's his favorite!"

"The presents sound good, Nudge, but I think we'd better buy the cake," Meagan spoke up. "Iggy told me none of you can cook to save your life."

Mom seemed to notice Meagan for the first time, and raised her eyebrows.

"Max… who is this?" she asked.

"It's Meagan," I answered, still slightly awkward about my newfound clone. "She's one of my clones. To put it her way, she's my not-so-carbon copy. She was the girl who Iggy fell in love with in his dreams."

Nudge frowned when I said that and huffed, but mom smiled broadly and opened her arms.

"I guess, genetically, that makes you my daughter! Welcome to the family, Meagan."

Meagan looked utterly surprised, but nonetheless accepted mom's hug with a small, happy smile.

Fang POV

By the time Ella arrived home from school, we had completely decked the house. Dr. Martinez and Nudge had rushed off to the store and bought streamers and party stuff. Now, colorful paper streamers hung low from the ceiling, not so they would be in the way, but so that they brushed you as you walked by; Iggy would be able to feel the colors. We had set up the kitchen with one of those ridiculous party-hats at each placement (I had argued against them, saying Iggy wasn't going to want it anyway, but Nudge had finally forced me to give in).

After returning home with the chocolate cake and some other choice items in hand, Dr. Martinez had set to whipping up a delicious Mexican meal, all consisting of flour tortillas and chicken and avocado, tortilla chips and salsa and burritos. It all looked and smelled delicious, and I was sure Iggy would love it. Even if he loved to cook more than eat others' cooking, he really liked Mexican food. Especially really spicy Mexican food, which was Dr. Martinez's specialty.

While Nudge and Dr. M had been shopping, Max, Angel, and Gazzy had gone out to find some things. They'd managed to get to a second-hand shop and bought some presents they knew Iggy would enjoy; a smooth, glass orb that was a rainbow of colors, some wires and other materials Gaz had said were perfect for bomb making, a metal lighter with 'Ignite' engraved on it (Gazzy thought that was a hoot, since it had Iggy's nickname in the word), and a few other small items.

While they had been gone, Meagan had helped me fix Iggy up. We'd pulled off the stupid hospital robe and wrapped gauze around his torso (so he wouldn't burst his stitches). Then we got soap and water and tried frantically to scrub the Sharpie off his stomach. It didn't work too well, though, so we knew he was going to be mad about that. Then I chased Meagan out of the room so I could get Iggy in some proper clothes. Now, he was dressed in his favorite sweatpants and his South Park T-shirt.

Meagan and I were downstairs in the front hall when Ella burst through the door. The instant she saw us, she shrieked and rushed forward to throw her arms across both of us.

"Fang! Max! I'm so happy you guys are back!" she squealed, and Meagan patted her back with a nervous look and a glance to me that said 'what the heck am I supposed to do now?'

"Uh, Ella," I said softly, and she pulled away in reply.

"Oh, Max, you died your hair!" she squealed again. "And what's with the eyes?"

"Um, actually, I'm not Max," Meagan muttered, switching supporting her weight from foot to foot. "I'm Max's not-so-carbon copy."

Ella raised her eyebrow. "So, you're a clone? Like Max II?"

"Yeah," I nodded. "Actually Ella, it's Meagan. You know, from Iggy's dream."

Ella's mouth dropped open, and instead of being suspicious or cautious or anything, she threw her arms around Meagan all over again.

"Oh my gosh! You are totally, like, genetically my second sister! Oh my gosh! And you're gonna marry Iggy! That is so cute!"

Meagan herself seemed downright terrified. "Who said anything about a wedding? I don't want a wedding! I'm too young! There's rules against that, right?"

"Yeah, yeah, whatever. MOM!" Ella switched subjects and ran into the kitchen where Dr. Martinez was still working on the Mexican meal. "Where's Angel and Gazzy and Nudge and Max and Iggy?"


It was hard to buy Iggy presents. I mean, I knew that the stuff we go him he would really like and enjoy, but it was hard. I kept feeling like I needed to get him something that really expressed how utterly happy we were to have him with us now. I knew, though, that nothing in the history of anything could express that. I guess, when he'd woken up and had his head all cleared of fuzzy post-sedated blurriness, I'd just ask him how happy we were. Then he'd really know.

Now that I'd learned all about his whole question-thing, I'd be able to make him a lot happier. 'How much do we love you?' 'How much do we care about you?' 'How happy are we that you're not dead?'

Yeah. Things were going to be so much better around here now. No more machines, no more School, no more Iggy in serious trouble and need of saving. Just us, and just Iggy, living peacefully and normally, just like we always want. Yeah. It'd be perfect.

After the entire preparations for the party were finished, the six of us, my mom, Ella, and Meagan walked up to Iggy's room. The presents we'd got him had been carefully wrapped in glossy, colorful paper. We'd covered the table in this rainbow table-cloth mom had tie-dyed in the eighties. The cups, plates and silverware had all been color-coded, and the food was laid out on the table in a specific pattern for Iggy's convenience.

As we walked up the stairs and down the hall, the colorful streamers just brushed my arms, so I knew Iggy's would be able to feel them as well.

Iggy's door had been closed (Nudge had told us all that noises heard when one was under sedation could cause odd dreams or nightmares, and we didn't want that). I was the first one there, so I opened it carefully and walked in. Mom had put in some sort of monitor, and from all the scientific mumbo-jumbo it had picked up, apparently Iggy was waking in the next ten minutes. I took my place standing by his head, while Angel took the other side. Fang stood with Meagan at the foot of the bed, and Nudge and Gazzy gathered around them. Ella and mom stood slightly behind them, not wanted to wreck the 'emotional family moment'.

So we waited. I watched Iggy carefully. It was true that he seemed about to wake up; a while ago he hadn't moved much except for the whole breathing thing. Now, I could see his fingers moving slightly. His eyelashes were fluttering and his nose and mouth were twitching adorably. Fang had, at some point, propped him up a little, so that he was sort of halfway sitting up. His chest was rising and falling softly, slowly, as he breathed.

Gazzy was bouncing eagerly on the balls of his feet, and Nudge wasn't faring much better. The only thing that put a whole damper on her parade was, as far as I could see, that she was standing next to Meagan. She kept throwing her small scowls in-between her whole barely-contained-excitement thing. I wonder why she didn't really like my clone all that much.

So, minutes passed as we all waited with baited breath for Iggy to wake up.

And, precisely six minutes and eighteen seconds later (I had been eyeing the clock), he did wake up.

It started out with him making little sighing noises in the back of his throat that made everyone fall completely silent. Then, his hand clenched and unclenched. His eyelashes fluttered even more furiously, and then he made a motion to prop himself up on his elbows.

Then his eyes opened partially, and suddenly, Angel froze, her eyes wide.

I frowned at her and darted forward to help Iggy sit up. What was wrong with Angel? Shock? Surprise? Obviously something weird.

"Ugh…" Iggy muttered, his voice soft, whispered. "Where am I?"

I thought his voice sounded higher than usual, shy almost. Obviously having almost died, been reunited with his psychological torturer, then been operated on had effected him a little.

"You're safe. We're out of the School. We got you out, and you're going to be fine."

Iggy stared straight ahead, his eyebrows furrowing. "I'm out of the School? Really?"

"Yeah, we totally got you out. After they operated on you and everything, we got out in a helicopter, then we flew back here and brought you into the house," Nudge spoke up, excited now that Iggy was awake.

A small, amazed grin began to form on Iggy's face. "Wow. Wait, who's here?"

"It's me, Fang," Fang started, "And Max, Gazzy, Nudge, Angel, Ella, Dr. Martinez, and… Meagan."

Meagan looked so eager, like she was just waiting for Iggy to jump up, all excited and everything, and hug her.

We all stared at Iggy again, waiting for him to respond. His eyes were bright and clear, looking eager and beyond happy. His expression was really soft, and reminded me strongly of when we were younger, living in the E-shaped house with Jeb. His smile was broad, and he reached up and brushed his bangs out of his eyes.

Meagan was still waiting excitedly, leaning forward, her arms slightly spread from her hips as if they were her wings and she was about to take off. Gazzy was still bouncing on his feet, and he was so happy his wings were subconsciously opening and closing, sending gusts of air back to blow Ella's hair from her face. Ella was grinning, and mom was holding her with a caring smile on her face. Her eyes were crinkled, and she still smelled strongly of her magical Mexican cooking. Fang looked so relieved, all the tension eased from his muscles, leaning forward and examining Iggy's face with this small, happy smirk and his dark eyes gleaming. Nudge was looking absolutely thrilled, her eyes sparkling, beaming, all her actions nothing but happy.

Angel still looked odd, her eyes wide and absolutely stiff. I couldn't detect what expression she had; it could have been amazement just as easily as it could have been terror. Sometimes my little baby was confusing like that.

Iggy finally looked about ready to say something else, so we all waited as he opened his mouth, his smile growing.

"I'm out of the School. Wow. Thank you all so much! My name's James, and I'm seven years old."

My heart stopped beating.

This final chapter concludes the sequel of Asleep. My readers have been amazing. My reviewers have been awesome. I even thank the people who have clicked on this story on accident and never actually read a word. All of you have helped make this finish possible. You are all awesome, amazing, and fantabulous. I luvles you so much!

The sequel to this sequel will be titled Daydream. I don't know when I will be able to post the first chapter, so if you want to know instantly, you might want to put me on Author Alert (not forcing you at all, just a suggestion). Otherwise, I hope you all love this series enough to check my profile every day (ha ha). I hope I will be able to post it in at least two weeks. If not, you know I'm dead. Ha ha again, just kidding.

Once again, you have all been an amazing audience. And, if you've liked this series, the following are some amazing fanfics I would advise you to read:

Take Away What You Love, by HideTheDecay

With Wings Once Lost, by Pandorad24

Forgetting Yesterday, by Fangfan1

I Remember, by blue-eyed-cow

Icaria, by Kimsa Ki-Lurria

If Only, by eclipsed heart

Kamikaze, by Fire Wolf12

Missing, by FullMetal Alchemistress

Misunderstood, by Maiyri

What Kind of Fairy Tale is This?, by Edna Baudelaire

I also, of course, advise you to read my own fics.

All of these fanfictions are in my favorites list, if you want to find them rather quick. And, of course, all the other fics in my favorites list are free for your disposal. I actually advise pretty much all of them. Those are just the best MR angsty Iggy ones.

So, yeah. Please, REVIEW, and continue to read my fics. I love you forever.