BloodWings by Emaryllis

Category:Maximum Ride, Twilight
Genre:Adventure, Supernatural
Published:2006-11-30 00:32:18
Updated:2007-11-23 15:20:17
Packaged:2021-04-21 23:24:45
Summary:On hiatus - Twilight crossover. Max: I can't let that Eraser kill her, or take her for experimentation. I just can't.Even though she's a complete stranger, I would never let someone suffer the way I've suffered, not when I can still save her.

Table of Contents

1. Chapter 1: Destiny Calls
2. Chapter 2: Setting Out on a Journey
3. Chapter 3: Discovery
4. Chapter 4: Convergence
5. Chapter 5: Mistake
6. Chapter 6: Never Going to Be the Same
7. Chapter 7: Torture

1. Chapter 1: Destiny Calls

A/N: Hey people! I am attempting a crossover between Maximum Ride and Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer. In MaxRide time, this story is set right after SOF. In Twilight time, this story starts off while Bella is still in the hospital after her encounter with James (Note: Sadly, the prom scene is destined never to happen). Please read, enjoy, and review too; this is especially for all you MaxRide and Twilight lovers out there! And if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Disclaimer: I do not own Maximum Ride or Twilight. Wish I did though…they're awesome:D


Chapter 1: Destiny Calls

Max's POV

Ow. By the powers of all that is good and holy, ow. My poor, aching ribs. I attempted to breathe normally, but, failed miserably. Funny. I felt almost hysterical…must be the aftereffects of that stupid isolation tank back at the School.

"Fang," I gasped. "Quit. Laughing. Can't. Breathe."

Next to me, sitting up against a tree, Fang smirked and rolled his eyes. But, needless to say, he was able to stop laughing almost instantaneously. How the heck did he do that? I'm still laughing like I just inhaled a pound of sugar, for crying out loud.

"Yeah, Max, we shouldn't be laughing. There's nothing funny about your cooking."

Why thank you Fa–

"We should be crying. In terror."

Thanks Fang. Thanks. I whacked him with the empty coke can.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not one to break down after being offended by someone who, all things considered, is pretty much King-Of-All-Lame-Insults. See above insult if you want proof, not that you need any. But something was different this time. My head started pounding as all the horrible events of the past few days, hours even, came back and hit me. Hard. All the fear and adrenaline came and, whoosh, caught me completely off guard. Teeth chattering, I wrapped my arms tightly around my knees, and threatened the tears that were suddenly trying to shove their way out of my tear ducts. Get back in there, you traitors.

I could feel Fang's eyes on me, and when I glanced at him, I knew he was worried, by the grim set of his jaw. Regretfully, I remembered how happy we had been, just seconds before…that is, up until I suddenly decided to freaking fall to pieces. I'll admit it. I was confused. Unbeatable Savers of the World (in training) don't cry. Don't act so…beaten.

"Max? You ok?" Fang reached out and wiped away the single tear that had managed to escape. Wonderful. "What did they do to you?" he asked quietly.

"I don't know," I muttered, choking as my throat suddenly locked up. "It's just that, right now, everything feels so…I don't know, hopeless. I know we escaped this time, and, who knows, maybe we'll do it again. But one of these days, I'm going to make a mistake. And I can't afford that. We can't afford that. Not if we want to survive."

Outwardly, I had on my best poker face (ignore the fact that I've never played poker before in my life. It's a sissy game anyway – we gamble with our lives. Next to that, how pathetic is it to gamble with poker chips?...I digress). But on the inside, I was mentally smacking myself. Why the heck was I falling apart now, of all times, when I needed to stay strong for the flock?

Maximum, think about it. Returning to the place of your traumatic childhood, getting put into an isolation tank, fighting Erasers and whitecoats, and setting off explosives can really do that to a person. It's normal to cry when you're frightened. You need to relax, stay focused. (A/N: Yes. This is the voice. Yay!)

I bristled at the F-word: 'frightened.' I was not.

"Shut it, you freaking idiot."I snarled back.

Pleased by the empty silence that followed that very eloquent speech, I looked over at Fang, to see how he was coping with Max, his newest basket case. Well…he looked…offended. Maybe even a little hurt. Huh?

"Max, why'd you just tell me to shut up?"

Oh, crap. Was I talking to the Voice out loud?

"Um. Did I say that out loud?"


I grimaced and tapped my head with a finger. "Sorry. Having a little squabble with the extra Voice that has currently taken up residence in my head."

"Oh." He still looked worried, and rightly so. I'd just proved that yes, I really was a basket case. I mean, I hear voices in my head. Definitely not normal. Or is it? What's normal for someone who was born a freak? I watched as Fang's frown deepened.

"Fang, don't worry, I'm ok, really. I was just–

Startled, I was cut off from my ramblings as Fang suddenly pulled me into a hug.

"I know you're ok. You're the indestructible Maximum Ride, after all," he said lightly. I could hear the smile in his voice, though I knew, that if I bothered to look up into his face, all I would see was his expressionless mask. But still. There's a reason why Fang's my best friend.

Returning the hug, I smiled.

"Thanks, Fang."


All the way on the other side of the country, an exceedingly worried and nervous vampire was watching over a girl, as she lay sleeping in her uncomfortable Arizona hospital bed.

Edward stared intently at the girl's white and fragile face, which was accented by deep purple circles around the eyes. They even rivaled with the perpetual bruises on his own pale face. Just one of the many perks of being a vampire. His eyes, a perplexing, beautiful mixture of black and topaz, flickered at lighting-fast speeds, catching her every movement, every sigh, every smile, every wince of pain.

Gently, he reached out and gently brushed a stray lock of dark hair from Bella's face, with one long, icy finger. Edward bit back a snarl of anger, as he looked once again at the bandages that covered Bella's broken leg and ribs, and at the crescent shaped scar on her hand. Trailing his finger across the scar, he was consumed by a feeling of disgust. He hated its cold, dead feeling, so different from her warm skin. He wiled away the long, sleepless hours, fantasizing about how satisfying it would have been to kill the causer of her many injuries.


Sighing, he leaned over and kissed Bella on the forehead.

As he got up to report to the nurse on duty, he bent down and whispered in her ear. "Bella, what am I going to do with you? Alice says…Alice says that one day, you'll be like us. Just like us. And I don't think I can let that happen. You have a life to live, and I will not, will never, keep you from that life. I can't."

I love you, Bella. Maybe too much. But…when the time comes, I don't know how I'm going to leave you, let you fly free. You've stolen my heart, nonexistent as it is. And even though it hasn't beaten for over a century, even though I never needed it before I met you, I…I don't know how I'm going to fill up the emptiness when you're gone. Because my heart will always stay with you.

Goodnight, sweetheart.


Max's POV

It was getting to nightfall as I swiftly shook the younger kids awake from where they lay in exhausted heaps on the ground. I'd let them rest for nearly the whole day, while I traded the watch with Fang and Iggy during the long night; Fang had helped me forget my momentary breakdown by dragging me along with him to scout out the area for danger.

Trouble was, I was getting antsy. To put it lightly. Very lightly. Experience told me that pretty soon, we'd be up to our necks in Erasers of both the flying and the stupid variety. Wait, did I just say that? I totally meant to say that we'd be up to our necks in Erasers of both the stupid and the stupid variety. That's the only kind there is, after all.

Angel and Gazzy were sitting up, and rubbing their eyes, feeling disoriented by the fact that they were waking up to pitch-blackness. I was just on my way to attempt to wake Nudge up (I'd already tried five times), when Iggy's sudden exclamation from behind me made me stiffen and spin around.

"What?!" Iggy whisper-shouted, "Fang, what's wrong with you, are you insane?"

"Uh, no. I just suggested that we go and check out the old house, see what's happened to it. You got a problem with that?"

Grinning, Iggy held up both hands, palms facing forward, and took a mock step backwards. "Nope, no problem with that. I was just talking about the fact that you actually talked. To me. A talking Fang is definitely not sane, no way."

A pretend look of fury on his face, Fang rushed at Iggy, fists raised. Iggy, the dang smart little birdkid that he is, anticipated Fang's mad rush and sidestepped him completely, grin widening as he listened to the delightful sounds coming from somewhere to his left, as Fang surprisingly failed to stop his charge in time, and consequently, ran into a tree.

I snorted. Mr. Calm, Cool, and Collected, the great one himself (insert sarcasm here), incapacitated by an unsuspecting tree. Hilarious.

Iggy found his way over to where Fang was sitting on the ground, rubbing his head, and looking vaguely embarrassed. Tapping Fang's leg lightly with one foot, he grinned, and said, "Kidding. You've got to work on improving your reflexes though, old man. Just two months older than me, and you're already a wreck. Pretty soon you'll have arthritis, and you won't be able to beat me up any more. Imagine that." He walked away over to the Gasman, still sniggering.

Fang rolled his eyes at me, and I grinned back. Man, I love these guys.

Straightening up, I called out in a commanding voice. Just to show them that, unlike some people, I've got poise. Not to mention brains.

"Ok everybody, get your butts over here!" That got them moving.

Nudge finally woke up, looked fuzzily around, and would have promptly fallen back to sleep, if I hadn't waved an energy bar under her nose. She revived herself immediately, snatched the bar, and grinned up at me, chewing like her life depended on it. I lived for mornings (err, well, in this case it was night), when everything about Nudge was functioning except for that danged motor mouth of hers. Jeez, sometimes I can never get that girl to shut up. But I love her anyway. Always will.

I bundled little Angel into her jacket, because after all, it is December, even if we're in Florida. Poor Angel looked so tired, as she stood there rubbing her eyes, too tired to even complain that the jacket was too small and old to be worn any longer.

Now, where should we go next? We have to get out of here soon, or else those idiots from the School will catch up to us…

Angel impatiently pushed her golden curls out of her face and looked up at me. "Don't worry about me Max, this jacket's ok, and I'm not cold anyway." She tugged on my sleeve, so I knelt down next to her. She whispered in my ear, "I don't care where we go. As long as I'm with you. And the Flock." She smiled. I smiled back. I mean, come on, how could I be worrying about Angel's mind-reading talents when she looking at me with those big blue eyes of hers?

Ruffling Gazzy hair, I looked at him solemnly and said, "Keep those bombs coming, big guy, I have the feeling we'll be needing them soon." An utterly mischievous and devilish look flashed across his face, and then was gone. Uh oh. Maybe that wasn't such a great idea after all…

I turned to Fang, and squinted at him. Just to bug him. An idea suddenly came to me. A silly idea, but who cares? It'll make Fang look stupid. Yeah, I know what you're thinking: why are you so hideous to your 'best friend?' Because…he's my best friend. And he knows I love him, no matter how awful I am to him….Yo. I heard that. Don't pretend it didn't happen. That little squeak of surprise. No, I don't love him, love him. I love him as family. Because that's what he is. Sorry to get your hopes up.

I zoomed over to where Fang was slouching, grabbed him by the shoulders, and shook him.


His awareness levels went through the roof. "What, Max?"

"There's something on your face!"

Fang wrinkled his forehead in confusion. "What?" Seeing the look of horror on my face, he rubbed at his face with his hand. "What, Max?"

I smiled widely up at him. "It's your nose." Grinning, I poked him on the tip of his nose and stepped back. I widened my eyes at him. The picture of innocence…. Hey! I can hear you snorting out there, so stop it. I'm innocent, aren't I? Yeah. I am.

He glared at me. Knowing it would annoy him even more, I turned my back on him and called out to the rest of the flock. "You guys, get ready for take off. Let's head to the nearest McDonald's." I glanced back at Fang. "Coming?" He shuffled his feet slightly, so I eyed him in confusion. Fang never shuffles. Never.

"Well, Max, I really was thinking that maybe we should check on the old house. Since we haven't anywhere else to go right now." I considered. Can they handle that long of a flight? "Yes, we can," Angel piped up. Eerie, isn't it?

"Ok guys, here's what we'll do then. We'll fly westward, hang a left at Arizona, and head for the mountains. Who knows, maybe the Erasers didn't burn the house down. If they haven't, then we can hang there for a while, get our bearings, rest up, and refuel, and then move on from there. Sound ok?"

There was a chorus of yeses from the younger kids. Fang and Iggy both just nodded in my direction. They knew the risks we were taking. But I was willing to take an unnecessary risk, just this once. God knows we all needed this trip. To reconcile with that life we had once had with Jeb, and put it forever behind us. No kid should have to be weighed down with memories like those. Besides, I already had an agenda all laid out.

As we were taking off, and stretching our sore wings, I filled Fang and Iggy in on the details, while the younger guys hovered above us in the cool night air, wheeling playfully and doing spins. Little buggers.

Once we were all up in the air, we stacked, and tapped. Good luck to ourselves. Turning in the air until we were pointed in the right direction, I couldn't help but welcome the grin as it stole lightly across my face. God, if there is one good thing about this whole godforsaken avian recombinant crap, it's the flying. Flying free of all earthbound troubles, with an entire horizon waiting, just for us. We could make it.

And we were gone. Erasers, eat our dust. Or whatever.

Note to self:


First: Find the house.

Second: Send reconnaissance to the School, figure out as much as we can about ourselves and our enemy's next move.

And last: Don't forget to kick some serious Eraser butt.


A/N: So people, how did you like it? I started thinking of this after I read KWSN's awesome crossover fic, The Twilight Incident. And I adore Twilight. Who doesn't?

And…If you're bored (gasp), try out my other fanfic, Reality? No Such Thing. It's a Maximum Ride fanfiction too.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!

2. Chapter 2: Setting Out on a Journey

A/N: Here you go, my wonderful fellow Twilight readers…I'll admit that I'm sort of happy with this chapter, although I am a tad bit nervous about possible OOCness.

Chapter Flashback (Ch. 1): The Flock is heading for their old house in the mountains, to see what is left of their old home and their old life, while Edward and Bella are still in Phoenix, as Bella is recovering from her horrific, vampire-induced injuries. Basically Ch. 1 just set up the characters and the setting.

Thanks to:








You guys ROCK for reviewing

Disclaimer: I own Maximum Ride and Twilight….NOT. Just kidding. Please don't sue me.


Chapter 2: Setting Out on a Journey

Max's POV

Inside my head, I was groaning so loudly that I was surprised that no one else could hear me. Besides Angel. Of course, I couldn't groan out loud, because that would give Fang way too much satisfaction. He'd be so darn pleased about being the 'strong and silent' one. Oh please. Wait, why's he looking at me like that? He didn't…hear me, did he? I mean, Angel's the only mind-reader here, right? But seriously, it always feels like he's the one with the creepy psychic powers…

"Max?" Fang interrupted my deep, philosophical ponderings (cough), by waving a hand in front of my eyes. I jerked back in mid-air (Is that even possible? Well, I guess it is. I just did it. So deal.), and then glared at him.

"Dude, get out of my face."

Fang rolled his eyes. "Well, dude, you were spacing out. Weren't you paying any attention?" It was only then that I noticed that Angel was flying next to me, and tugging on my sleeve. She looked up at me with her big blue eyes and, in a small voice, confessed something that I knew must have been bothering her for a while…

"Max, I'm hungry. Could we maybe stop somewhere soon?" I smiled and ruffled the feathers on the tip of her tiny dove wings. "Sure Ang. Soon." Angel smiled over at me, and then, her grin turned into something scary. Like, really mischievous, sinister, Hello-Kitty-Gone-Sadistic scary. Um, maybe that's a bit too specific. Let's just say it was scary and leave it at that. With a flick of her wings, she flew up so that she was flying above me, and then plunked down and landed on my shoulders, right above where my wings met my back.

Embarrassingly, I screamed. Really screamed. A 30-decibels-too-loud-pathetic-girl-who-just-saw-a-spider-scream.That's how surprised I was. I think I gave Iggy a migraine. I think I gave everyone a migraine. Including the Voice. Just imagine that: me giving a migraine to a Voice in my head. I think it's safe to say that, based on those pieces of evidence alone, I was, quite frankly, long overdue for a trip to the funny farm.

Grimly, I thought to myself, two can play at this game. I think Angel heard me, since she suddenly started struggling to get off of my shoulders. Too late. Abruptly, I folded my wings and together, we started falling. This time it was Angel who was screaming. My wings snapped out – ouch – and I streaked off, pouring on some speed at the same time. Together we went whizzing through the air, corkscrewing, diving, flipping, and a heck of a lot of other dangerous stunts. Angel kept screaming, and she wrapped her arms tightly around my head and over my eyes, struggling to stay on. Okay. I might be a daredevil, but I mean, come on, would I really go around flying blind like that? When's the last time I did something that stupid?

Don't answer that.

I spun around and flew back to where the rest of the Flock was hovering, watching us with open mouths. Angel was giggling hysterically, so I knew she was okay. I cracked a grin when I noticed that Fang watching me with narrowed eyes, and that Iggy was "looking" in my general direction with a flattering "Is she on drugs?" expression plastered on his disbelieving face. Angel jumped off of my back and flew over to hover with Gazzy. I could tell that he wanted a turn on Max the Roller Coaster, too. Oh boy.

I glared around at them. "Why the heck are we just waiting here? Let's get moving. Wouldn't want an Eraser finding us, right?" Pretending that nothing had happened, I flew off, a calm, very innocent (Stop snorting!) expression on my face. No one followed me; they still looked kind of shell-shocked. I looked pointedly back at them. "Well, come on." That got them moving, flying behind me in a loose, spread out formation.

I could just barely hear Fang flying behind me. He was always so unnaturally quiet, like a shadow come to life...a shadow with an annoying fondness for eye rolling, of course…

"Fang, stop rolling your eyes, it's rude," I said, without turning around to look at him. The long silence behind me told me that I'd been right in my guess. I didn't see the smile that flickered quickly across Fang's face. "Max, you know you're insane, right?" I ignored him. Fang, annoying nuisance that he was, did not deserve the honor of an answer from moi.

Fang sped up a little so that he was flying beside me. "So, we're stopping soon to get food for Angel and the rest of the Flock?" he asked for clarification.

"Yep. Angel looked pretty hungry."

"And what about you? You're all…red and sweaty…getting tired, are we?" He smirked. Damnit.

"No, Fang, I'm not. Go and bother someone else."

He actually listened to me, so I almost forgot to keep flapping. Angling his wings, he swung over to fly next to Iggy, and all I could do was glare after him. He and Iggy started laughing about something. You know what? I really don't want to know.

I sighed. Much as I hated to admit it, Fang was right, we were all exhausted, including me. We'd been flying for about 12 straight hours, with only 3 rest stops along the way. The first had been to get some much-needed delicacies from the nearest McDonald's. McDumpster's, more like. The second had been due to Total's sudden realization that, apparently, flying and eating at the same time didn't really agree with him. The third time…let's just say that it involved a hamburger, a bomb, and one's of Gazzy's wonderful 'gifts.' Trust me. I was not looking forward to the next rest stop.

But, we needed to eat. We were just getting to Arizona, and I knew that soon, we'd be in the School's territory, and there wouldn't be any time for breaks. So seriously, we needed food, and fast. Otherwise, thanks to our freakishly fast metabolism systems, we'd all drop right out of the sky, probably onto some poor, unsuspecting granny down below. The last thing I need is a heart attack victim on our hands.

I noticed that the Fangster was now flying above me with Nudge, the rays of the setting sun glancing off of their wings, one fledged with tawny feathers, the other with feathers of black. Light and dark, in more ways than one. I grinned, as I noticed the blank and detached look on Fang's face. Poor Fang, he was probably tuning out the Nudge Channel next to him; out of all of us, he was the easiest to drive insane with incessant chatter. Deep down, I was pretty sure that he didn't mind all that much. I mean, he loves Nudge just as much as I do.

Abruptly, there was a pause in the one-sided conversation above me; so of course, I craned my head up to look at the pair of them, gaping in astonishment. Nudge….had stopped talking. I waited for the crash of thunder and the ominous voice to come booming from the heavens, saying that the apocalypse was at hand. Nothing. I quickly snapped my mouth shut – it had been gracelessly hanging wide open – when I realized that Nudge was looking down at me. Looked like she wanted to ask me something…

"Max, where are we going?"


"Max, seriously!"

I hid a smile.

"Somewhere on the outskirts of Arizona."


"Because we are. Don't worry, Nudge. There's not that much longer left. We'll be home soon."


Bella's POV

Keep running, come on, you're almost there. Run, run, Run, no don't stop, breathe. Edward, where are you!? Come back, I need you!…Run…Run…Run…

I woke up suddenly, gasping for breath. Stupidly, I tried to sit up, and suffered the consequences. Groaning, I fell back onto the hospital bed, only to be greeted with yet another stab of furious pain. I bit back the tears and squeezed my eyes shut. What had I been dreaming about? It felt important…all I could remember were…white walls…medical instruments…dog crates? I must, must, be doomed for insanity. It's the only possible explanation…

Something cold and rock-hard slid gently across my cheekbone, so I opened my eyes and smiled. Ow. The person sitting next to my bedside pulled his finger away and narrowed his eyes as he watched me wince and cringe in pain.

Edward was leaning over me, the too-bright hospital lights glancing off of his pale face and almost completely black eyes. I imagined that I could see the faintest sparkle on his skin, but knew that that wasn't possible. No sun, after all. I grimaced, as I noticed the blank and detached look on Edward's tight face. He smiled down apologetically, but the smile didn't quite reach his eyes. Before I'd fallen asleep, we'd been arguing over the whole, me turning into a vampire and facing eternal damnation situation. But really, what could be so bad? Hell or purgatory or whatever it is that happens, they wouldn't matter to me, not in the slightest. Not if he was there with me, my own personal heaven. I could tell that he was still brooding over my apparently suicidal wish to become an evil, blood-sucking, mythical monster. Well, that's the way he saw it.

Even though I knew that I would never back down, would never stop hoping, at the same time, I loved him too much, so I tried to mollify him a little.

I reached out to grab his cold hand. "I'm sorry, Edward. It's…it's just what I want."

I cringed slightly as he glared down at me. Probably shouldn't have added that last bit…

Edward responded by sighing and running a hand through his hair.

"Bella, please don't. Not now. In a lower voice, he muttered, "I can't risk losing your soul, not when you have a life still to live." I couldn't tell if he was talking to me or to himself. He frowned slightly, when he realized that he'd unknowingly started arguing again.

I opened my mouth to speak. Ouch. I wanted to tell him about the peculiar dream I had had. Dreams can mean quite a bit, especially in Alice's case. I've learned from experience. Of course, Alice is always right, what with her "sight," the "dreams" that she has though she never sleeps, the dreams that tell her about the future…

"Edward, I–

Abruptly, he changed the subject. "Wait, Bella, there's something I want to show you."

After I nodded my head, he very carefully unhooked the IV that I really didn't need anymore, and gently picked me up in his very cold, very strong arms, careful not to jostle my broken leg in its cast. Leaning my head on his shoulder, I sighed.

He's just too perfect. This must be a dream.

If it is, I never want to wake up.

Edward glanced down at me anxiously.

"What hurts?" he whispered in a low voice. "Nothing. I'm fine." I whispered back, truthfully. Really. Then something occurred to me…so I looked back up at him, instantly caught by his eyes – they were still stunning even when they were being swallowed up by blackness.

"Edward, where are we going?"


"Edward, seriously!"

I thought I saw a smile flicker across his face, but he bit his lip to hide it. Somehow, that was comforting.

"Somewhere on the outskirts of Arizona."


"Because we are. Don't worry, Bella. There's not that much longer left. We'll be home soon."


A/N: Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed! Uh…only 2 things that I'd like to say:

First, the action will pick up in the next chapter.

Second, hopefully you people noticed my used of parallelism (at the end of Max's POV and at the end of Bella's POV, the conversations were exactly the same).


3. Chapter 3: Discovery

A/N: Okay, I have a ginormously long chapter prepared for you guys (8 and a half pages on Word)…and sorry for the long wait! You guys are patient. Anyway, this chapter's supposed to be kind of funny, at the beginning at least. Enjoy!

Chapter Flashback (Ch. 2): Well, err, there's not much to say. Basically, both Max and Edward are planning on heading for the outskirts of Arizona (hint hint). Max is also looking for food for her Flock. Haha, that's basically it for the actual plot line, the rest is just a bunch of talking and random joking…ON WITH THE SHOW!!!


Chapter 3: Discovery

Max's POV

Where to eat, where to eat… I scanned the river below us with my super eyesight, hoping that we would get lucky, and find some wayward travelers to mooch off of. Sure, we had the Maximum Ride bank card, but I didn't know how much longer the money was going to last…and I didn't feel like taking any more chances. Plus, we were basically out in the middle of nowhere, so it wasn't as if there was anything to buy in the first place…Can I take your order? Yes, I'd like that dirt over there with a side of grass, and some dust to wash it all down… Right.

We were flying above Arizona, and heading for the borderline between Arizona and California (that's where I planned to change direction and head for our old house). On the plus side, being in the middle of nowhere was definitely safer than anywhere else, but on the negative….no food. I could see cliffs, far off in the distance. Dry, hot, uninhabited land stretched out all around us, and we followed the lazy little river snaking below us, lined by scrubby bushes. At least we had water…

My eyes snagged on a little camper vehicle thing parked beside the river. First thought: What idiot would be out here, camping, in this way too hot, godforsaken place? Second thought: Score! Then, looking around, I noticed that the owners of the little camper were standing near their vehicle, apparently looking for something in the duffle bags that were strewn all over the ground. Crap…that's inconvenient. But we'll find a way around it…

I nudged Fang and tilted my head in the direction of the camper. He followed my movement, frowned at the little vehicle once he caught sight of it, and then grinned slightly, as comprehension dawned on him. "Great." He rubbed his hands together. I gave him a look. "So Max, you want me to handle it?"

"Sure Fang, go ahead, knock yourself out." My eyes widened in alarm. "Actually, Fang, on second thought, don't knock yourself out…"

"Duh." He rolled his eyes. He threw me a you-can't-be-serious look, and I squinted back at him with a glare that screamed, Oh, I am.

"Just checking," I added with a smirk.

Before he could respond, I called the rest of the Flock over, from where they were flying in various parts of the sky. "Iggy, Nudge, Gazzy, Angel, get over here, I found dinner." They flew over eagerly. Iggy was practically drooling. Nudge was drooling.

I quickly came up with a plan in my head. "Okay, Fang, you're in charge of the 'robbery.' Take Iggy with you and – I hesitated for a fraction of a second – take Angel too…you might need the help of some persuasion if those people get difficult. Remember, ask first, 'persuade' later." All three of them nodded their heads in understanding.

"I'll take Gazzy and Nudge and we'll find somewhere to bunk down for the night. It's getting dark. Everyone ok with what they have to do?"

"Yeah Max."

"No problem."

"Sure Max, come on, let's go, I'm starving, I can't wait to eat."

"Guess so." Courtesy of Iggy

"Whatever." Courtesy of Fang

I sighed inwardly. Teenage boys…no manners whatsoever…

Fang, Iggy, and Angel angled their wings and started to descend; it was important that they land a good distance away from the camper, so our wings wouldn't accidentally get exposed. A twinge of worry and apprehension poked at me, deep down in my gut, so I called after them, "Be careful you guys! I have a bad feeling about this, so just stay alert, ok? If you guys die or something I swear I'll, I'll, uh….kill you!"

Angel looked back. "We'll be fine Max, don't worry." She smiled and waved back at me. Fang, on the other hand was staring at me in disgust. Haha.

I turned to Nudge and Gazzy. "Ok you guys, whoever finds the best camping spot first gets the biggest share of dinner. Let's meet back here in 10 minu…guys?" I looked around me and smiled. They were already gone.


20 minutes later…

Nudge and Gazzy were playing a game of hangman in the dirt ground near the fire I had started. It was getting pretty gruesome…so for the millionth time, I wondered what sicko had made this game up. I mean, it involves a freaking noose. Not exactly very family-friendly, if you think about it.

We had discovered a rocky outcropping that provided a bit of protection from the night wind and cold. I was sitting with my back to the rock, one eye on my little executioners-in-training, the other on the trailer/camper in the distance. What's taking Fang and Iggy so long?

That's when the screaming started. Far off, in the distance, I could hear the campers starting up a ruckus, and I had a pretty good idea why…my eyes picked out the three shapes that were quickly winging their way towards our little fire. Two of them were dripping wet. All of them were laughing.

"Okay. Fang and Iggy. Are. So. Freaking. Dead."


5 minutes later…

"I was right Fang. That was a disaster. A complete and utter screw-up."

"What was?" Fang looked at me innocently. He started to roll his eyes when he thought I wasn't looking, but I scowled at him, so he stopped. Good choice, Fang…maybe I'll let your head stay attached to your body….

I crossed my arms over my chest defiantly and glared sourly at the two of them, standing in front of me, looking every bit as defiant and annoyed as I was.

"You know what I'm talking about, Fang. Don't fake innocence, it's not going to save you from the butt kicking that's coming for you. Same goes for you too, Iggy." Tapping my foot impatiently, I trailed off, still muttering. "I knew this would happen…"

Iggy butted in, a trace of sarcasm touching his words. "Oh yeah, Max? And how did you know that this would happen?"

"Because I'm the boss around here, so it's my job to know these things. That's why they pay me the big bucks." I wish.

This time, both Fang and Iggy managed to roll their eyes at me before I had the chance to get in a good defensive glare. Fang, of course, ignored my look completely, and Iggy remained completely oblivious to the death glare I was shooting viciously in his direction. Yet another frustrating instance when Iggy's infuriating blindness came in handy, for him at least. But just because he can't see my death glares, doesn't mean he won't be able to feel my hands wringing his sorry little neck. What a nice thought.

The corner of Fang's mouth twitched up. Not a good sign. "Max, please, deflate the ego. Your head might explode, if you keep this up…"

Iggy, that smart-ass, jumped in; after all, to him, sarcasm is the world's greatest (and most misunderstood) of all art forms, second only to the arts of pyromanicism and Bomb Building 101.

"Well, Fang, if you think about it, she already has her brain exploding on a daily basis, so it's not as if that's such a big deal. I'm worried about our heads. I doubt I can take much more of this loser – I definitely have a migraine coming on…"

I squinted at him in disbelief. Iggy wisely stopped talking as soon as he heard my screech of outrage.


Fang grinned. "I'm with Iggy. He's right, loser." …Of course, an insult contest quickly ensued…






Iggy chuckled. "Show-off."

I snapped at him. "Freak."

"Bite me."

I went for him. I mean, hey, it was an open invitation after all. Disappointingly, my teeth didn't get anywhere near Iggy, since, at the very last possible second, Fang jumped in front of him, saving him – for the moment – from the wrath of the all-powerful Maximum Ride…

Fang's right, Max. You ego is getting dangerously out of hand. You are much too cocky.

Jeez, Voice, I was kidding. And you know what? I know something else in my head that's getting out of hand too…

Maximum, you cannot be so immature when it comes time for you to save th–


I barreled straight into Fang, and sent both of us reeling back into Iggy. Together all three of us collapsed onto the hard, sandy ground, creating a Fang sandwich. Iggy shook us off of him, grumbling darkly all the while. He swiped the dirt off of his jeans, and stood up, muttering to himself. "Nice, Max. That was painful."

I put on an appropriately fake concerned expression on. "Aww, did wittle Iggy get hurt? Does he have a boo-boo? Come on, a big hug and kiss will make it all better." I stood up, pretending that I was following through with my words. Yeah right. A look of absolute horror and disgust spread across his face, as he backed away from me and ran in the opposite direction, over to where Nudge, Gazzy, and Angel were sitting, watching us. Well, where they used to be sitting. Now, they were rolling around on the ground, laughing their heads off. I snickered…Iggy – that coward – was hiding behind them.

I started to slap Fang a high-five, thought better of it, and whacked him upside the head instead. "You guys are still in mucho trouble, you know."

Angel interrupted me. "Max, don't get mad at Fang and Iggy, it was really all my fault." She hung her head in shame, and, even though I knew she was probably partially right, it was so much easier to get mad at Fang and Iggy, then at my little angel.

"Okay, fine then, Angel, please explain to me why you and Fang are dripping wet, and why you didn't bring back any food."

Iggy spoke up, from where he was still hiding.

"Aw, come on Maxie, just let it go. I'm telling you, you don't want to know."

He was right. I didn't.

Ig cleared his throat. "Let's just say that we were putting on a pretty good show, acting like we were homeless…" – I scoffed. Loudly – "but then, while we were dramatizing it all, um…Angel fell into the river by accident."

Angel grinned sheepishly. "And Fang had to jump in and save me."

I glared at the trio of miscreants in front of me. My glare didn't have quite the effect I wanted, seeing as two of them were taller than me, and one was giving me an angelically repenting smile.

"But did you expose our wings?"

"Well…we kind of had to, to save Angel." I groaned.

"That would explain the screaming, wouldn't it?"

"Yup Max, that definitely explains the screaming."

I raised both hands up into the air. "Okay, thanks to you guys, we still don't have any food. And you can't let this happen again. We're so close to the School, and this kind of thing would alert the whitecoats." I was angry, but I decided to let it slide, just this once.

"Let's go, U and A, right now. We have to leave, before those campers come looking for us."

Fang smirked infuriatingly. "Oh, I don't think they will. They looked pretty freaked."

I scowled, he grinned, and we all went winging away, heading in the direction of the setting sun.


Bella's POV

Edward held me close as he soundlessly crept by the receptionist at the front desk of the hospital, and headed for the automatic doors. Frozen, I stared at the receptionist, hoping and praying that she wouldn't look up in time to see us making our escape. I needn't have worried. She was completely engrossed in some romantic novel. Her face was practically smashed up into the book, and I could see her lips moving as she read to herself. Wasn't this a hospital. Where people are dying?

Edward made his move as another couple walked in through the doors, walking quickly out of the hospital, with an air of confidence, so that when the receptionist and nurses looked up to receive the new patients, they wouldn't suspect us of anything. The couple looked at us strangely. Well, the guy looked at us strangely…his girlfriend looked after us, or more specifically, after Edward, for a little longer than was absolutely necessary.

I smiled. Edward looked down at me and smiled too. And then, we were free, walking out into the warm, muggy, Phoenix air. The sun was setting, and it was nearly twilight. I looked up at Edward in sudden understanding.

I blushed as I noticed all the stares that were being directed in our direction. So, of course, I distracted myself by focusing on Edward.

"Edward, I'm serious, tell me where we're going. We're going to get into a heck of a lot of trouble when the nurses figure out that I'm gone."

He snorted. "Hardly. We're coming right back, after I show you what I wanted you to see."

"Which is…?" I prompted.

"You'll see." I glared at him. I attempted to hold the glare in place, but I failed miserably.

Edward headed towards an unpopulated little street, looked around, and then glanced back at me.

"Hold on tight," he whispered. I opened my mouth to respond…but before I could, he was off, running like a bullet, always on the verge of taking flight, as if he were part-bird, rather than a vampire.

I was used to Edward's maniac running by now, and in only a matter of minutes, we were out of Phoenix. As he was running, he bent down and kissed the top of my head, and I was only vaguely worried about the fact that he wasn't looking where he was going.

We stopped. I looked around in confusion, and then grinned in delight.

We were standing on the very edge of a cliff, out in the middle of nowhere. And there, resting over the dry, hot, uninhabited land below us, was a gorgeous, breathtaking sunset. The sky was streaked with reds and oranges and odd purples, and Edward set me down on the ground, so that I could better enjoy the view.

We dangled our legs over the edge, and even though the ground was far enough below us to make me feel queasy, I felt perfectly safe once Edward wrapped his arms around my waist, and held me tightly against him. Sure, I was cold. Sure, every part of my body was aching. But nothing could make me want to move, except maybe Edward himself.

We watched the sun set and cast long, dark shadows over the ground. This was something that Renee would have really loved, if she were here. Edward stroked my hair with his cold fingers, and I quietly slipped my hand into his. I looked up at him, and slowly, cautiously, reached up to kiss him on the cheek.

"Thank you, Edward. For bringing me here."

"You're welcome. We'll stay while its still twilight, I think. Your nurses make their rounds in the late evening, and your mother's away with Phil for the night. We're safe."

Twilight. I sighed in happy satisfaction. And jumped, when I heard the screaming coming from somewhere below us, way beyond the cliff's edge, where we sat. Edward was instantly tense and alert, as his eyes roved over the land below us, looking for the cause of the disturbance. He gave a cursory glance over the area somewhere to our right. He narrowed his eyes at something that I couldn't see with my incompetent, human eyes. And abruptly laughed.

"What is it?"

"Oh, just birds, bothering some campers." (A/N: hehe)

I smiled too, and snuggled closer to him, wanting to prolong the moment. But then, something else caught his attention. Edward cocked his head, concentrating, so I knew that he was listening to the thoughts of someone far away. I sighed.

He looked at me and smiled apologetically. "Sorry Bella, Carlisle needs to talk to me about something."

"Where is he?"

"He's over there…" – Edward pointed at a tiny speck, standing far away in the distance behind us – "He didn't come closer because he didn't want to intrude, apparently."

"I'll be right back, in a minute or two. Do you want to stay here, or come with me?"

"I'll stay here." I looked back at the sunset with longing. Edward nodded. My back was turned, so I didn't see the conflict in his eyes, as he worried whether or not it was safe to leave me here.

Edward picked me up again, and set me down a few, safe feet from the edge of the cliff. Edward turned, and was gone, as if he'd never even been here. I would have watched him go…except for the fact that it was next to impossible to watch Edward when he was running. I turned back to the free light show in front of me.

I rubbed absent-mindedly at the scar on my hand. James had gotten so close…but for some reason, I didn't feel all that frightened. Actually, if I was being truthful, I would have said that I felt almost regretful. Being changed into a vampire was my greatest, my most forbidden wish. If only Edward wasn't so protective. I couldn't understand why he didn't want me to change. Did he…not want me enough? Grimacing, I pushed the thought far, far away. Edward loved me, right?

Turning my gaze back to the sunset, I sighed in disappointment when I realized that the show was already over. I'd wasted time daydreaming and worrying about my future. And where was Edward? He must have been gone for what, 10 minutes? Feeling a bit apprehensive, I glanced around into the darkness that was slowly descending.

And heard a weird, scrabbling noise. It was coming from directly under the edge of the cliff. Carefully, I crept towards the edge, just to see what was making the sound. Big mistake.

Cautiously, I peered over the edge, and found myself looking straight into a pair of black, inhuman, half-crazed eyes. The blood pounded in my veins, and my head spun with sudden fear.

I screamed.


Three miles away, Edward stood solemnly, contemplating what Carlisle had said. Carlisle was already gone, heading back to Phoenix, and the hospital.

His head jerked up in alarm, as the sounds of Bella's terrified screams reached his sensitive ears.

"No." he breathed. The word grew into a roar of fury and fear, as he started running, back towards his Bella.


In a darkened hotel room in Phoenix, Alice's eyes snapped open, as she awakened from her vision-induced trance. She choked, and Jasper grabbed her gently by the shoulders.

"What's wrong, Alice? What did you see?"

Alice's eyes were black with fear and horror. She choked out a reply with difficulty.

"Bella's in danger. Grave danger."

"From what?"



A/N: Okay, I know some of it was kind of unnecessary, especially in the MaxRide section, but I felt like being funny, so I made it funny –shmile–

Please leave comments, and thank you to previous reviewers!!!

4. Chapter 4: Convergence

A/N: Here's another chapter on the lives of Max and Bella and Edward, all mixed into one possibly crappy fanfic. Hopefully, it won't explode with all the stuff happening. I mean, seriously, mutants and vampires, all crammed together into the same space? Unthinkable :p

Chapter Flashback (Ch. 3): The Flock tries to steal some food from some campers, but it ends in complete failure, followed by some Fang-and Iggy-bashing by Max. Bella and Edward escape from the hospital so Edward can show Bella a beautiful sunset. Edward leaves to talk to Carlisle. Bella gets attacked by a…werewolf? Edward starts running to save her, and Alice has a vision of Bella in trouble. Sorry, that's really short, but that's the meat of what happened.



Chapter 4: Convergence

Max's POV

With a twitch of my wing, I signaled everyone to move closer to the cliffs that bordered the wasteland below us. We banked to the right, and curved in a wide arc, so that we were flying parallel to the cliff area, which was two miles away. Even so, those cliffs towered ominously above us. I shivered involuntarily.

"Hey you guys, let's gain some altitude and get above those cliffs." I thought that I had careful control of my facial expression, but, as always, Fang was able to tell, just by looking at my face, how I was really feeling.

"Those cliffs too creepy for you, Max?" Fang asked, with a smirk. Of course, I ignored him with practiced ease. But that's not to say that it didn't bother me. Because trust me, it did. I just didn't want to give him the satisfaction of caving in. He grinned at me, and my downward wingstroke faltered just a bit. I was surprised. It's a rare occasion when Fang smiles like that.

We flew upwards into the sky, high enough that it was almost uncomfortable to breathe in the thin, cool air, and high enough that we were far above the offending cliffs. I turned my head westward to take a swift peek at the setting sun, musing quietly to myself.

How could something as beautiful as this sunset, and something as ugly as human experimentation, both exist on this one earth together? Sometimes, it's hard for me to believe that people can really be that sick, even though I'm living proof of such madness. Yeah, I know there's a lot of good out there in the world too, but, really, if you think about who I am, what I am, and what I've been through, it's pretty tough to stay optimistic all the time…

I turned back to look at Fang, and realized that he'd risen to even greater heights. He was soaring above us, and I could see from the look of concentration on his face, that he was practicing some new flying techniques. Bored, I raked the ground and the cliffs below us with my eyes, looking once again for food, or anything else of interest. As I scanned quickly over a patch of dangerously high clifftops, something caught my eye…

I refocused, and tried to look closer, without breaking off from my regular flight pattern. I had to focus really hard, since the cliffs were a couple miles away. It looked like…people? Why were people out there, on those cliffs? I squinted. It looks like there's two of them…

I swooped down slightly, to get a better look, curiosity getting the better of me. I looked again, and grinned, when I realized what I was seeing. A couple, enjoying the quickly fading sunset. I scrutinized them carefully, glad to have something to do. The teenage boy had his arms wrapped around the smaller girl next to him. Her long, dark hair contrasted sharply with her pale skin, and his hair was this odd reddish-brownish-gold…I couldn't quite place the color…

Fang flew down next to me. "What is it?" he asked quietly.

I pointed. "Look."

He followed the direction that my finger was pointing in, and saw the couple, just as the girl was snuggling closer to her boyfriend. In response, the boy with the interesting hair said something, and then started to get up. I could tell that the girl, whose leg was in a cast, was quite unwilling to move. I smiled, almost wistfully.

Next to me, a certain someone gagged suddenly, startling me from my observations, and totally, totally ruining the moment.

I turned and looked reproachfully at Fang. "Fang, what was that?" He grimaced at me.

Wistful again, I glanced vaguely in the direction of the setting sun. "What do you think it feels like, Fang? To live a normal life? To be human and perfectly ordinary, like those people? (A/N: Ahem. Very ordinary people.)

Fang didn't answer; he just looked away. I sighed, and flew back up to join the rest of the Flock, who were watching us curiously. Fang followed close behind me.

It was only ten minutes later, when the girl's terrified screams reached my ears. My stomach clenched, and I looked back at the cliffs, knowing already, somehow, what I was going to see. I tensed.

The girl, the one with the dark hair and cast, had dragged herself over to the edge of the cliff, and she was staring down at something that was clinging to the side of the cliff. Her screams suddenly broke off, as her brain registered what it was that she was seeing.



Adrenaline pounded through my veins, and my eyes narrowed in anger. A tiny portion of my brain was wondering why the heck the girl was alone, when just ten minutes ago, she had been with her boyfriend. That inconsequential little thought got pushed aside, however, as my mind moved on to much more important matters.

I can't let that Eraser kill her, or take her for experimentation. I just can't. Even though she's a complete stranger, I would never let someone suffer the way I've suffered, not when there's still a chance that she can be saved…

I made one of my infamous snap decisions, not even stopping to think about the fact that the girl was two miles away... I might not make it in time. Quickly, I shoved that thought away too.

I've got to save her.

No, Max, don't do that, you don't know what you're doing.

The heck I do, Voice. I'm trying to save an ordinary, innocent human, who doesn't deserve my kind of fate.

She's far from ordinary, Maximum. Don't even try. This will completely ruin all ou– The Voice abruptly shut up.


Silence. The Voice didn't speak up again…but even so, I could still feel the undercurrent of its deep disapproval.

"Fang, gotta go, I'll meet up with you a little later." Naturally, he started to protest, but I was already gone.

The wind whistled past me as I pushed my wings to go faster, automatically slipping easily towards Mach speeds. My eyes stung, and my hair was whipped out of its ponytail, as I poured on more and more speed. Letting the exhilaration and adrenaline whiz through me, I locked my eyes onto the girl on the cliffs. My stomach clenched again as I realized that the Eraser was reaching out to grab the girl by the wrist.

Stupid Eraser…I just need one more second…

Thank god for mutant powers.


Bella's POV

My fingers were clenched on the very edge of the cliff, and my screams finally gave out, as I realized what it was I was facing. The pupils of its eyes, dark and slightly elliptical, locked onto mine, and I couldn't look away. The creature was covered in thick, shaggy gray fur, and looked similar in structure, to a wolf, with its elongated snout and dripping fangs. It was enormous. Almost as big as Emmet.

I gulped.

There was something funny about its eyes. They seemed almost…human. Childlike. The thought was just barely crossing my mind, when a vicious, guttural snarl erupted from deep within the monster's chest. It grinned hideously, flashing a sickening set of deadly incisors in my face.

"Surprised to see me?" It chuckled in delight, as I choked and started to hyperventilate. I'm sure that it could smell my fear. And my shock. It just talked, for crying out loud.

Edward, where are you?

Somehow, it was gripping the side of the cliff with ease. A flicker of gleeful enthusiasm crossed its expression, and its chuckles instantly became crafty and demonic. Reaching up with one hairy hand, edged with razor-sharp claws, it grabbed me by the forearm. I hissed in pain, as its claws drew blood, scratching a deep line that extended from my elbow to my wrist. I tried to suck in enough breath for one last decent scream, but by then, it was too late.

Viciously, it yanked backwards, and I was airborne. Humorlessly, it occurred to me that I was flying, in a sense, for the first, and what was most definitely going to be the last time in my life. No one human could survive a fall from this height. And that's what I am. A normal, pathetic, little human. I clung desperately to the image of Edward's face that was searing through my mind.

I didn't even get to say goodbye.


Edward's POV

I already know that it's too late. Just a few more seconds, and I would have had enough time to catch her. I keep running. But I know, in my cold, dead, unbeating heart, that it's far too late. She's dead. She's gone.

That last time, with James, I thought it was too late to save her. That nearly killed me. And it's killing me now.


Alice's POV

I held up a hand. The vision twisted persistently deep into my mind, and it pulsed with dark power.

"Wait, Jasper."

Jasper tensed beside me. He knew perfectly well what Edward was capable of doing if Bella di– if something happened to Bella.

"What is it now?"

"Something's strange…that werewolf…"


I didn't answer. Suddenly, an eerie, fuzzy blackness began to gather at the edges of my eyesight. For the first time in over half a century, I felt something unfamiliar, and impossible, something I'd thought that I would never have to feel again.

Fear. Real fear.


Max's POV

Heart pounding, I swooped down and snapped out both legs, catching the Eraser sharply on the shoulder. He cried out, whimpered in pathetic pain, and then snarled. But I had better things to worry about than some stupid cry-baby, an Eraser, a sad excuse for a mutant.

That girl, that falling girl, though, was definitely on my list of top priorities. Kicking Eraser butt, though vitally important and hugely entertaining as it was, got knocked down several notches.

I corkscrewed, to increase my diving speed, and shot down after the girl. For some utterly perplexing reason, she wasn't screaming. Not even whimpering. She just had a look of complete concentration on her face, like she was trying to remember something that could, under no circumstances, be forgotten.

Wrenching roughly out of my severe spin, I skidded to a halt in midair, and caught her. Thankfully, she wasn't all that big, and therefore, not all that heavy. The Eraser was cursing vividly, some hundreds of feet above us. Great. I perform a daring rescue and the only witness is a stupid piece of crap. Just wonderful. I looked closer, and chuckled. That was an Eraser with wings. An Eraser who, apparently, couldn't come after me, because it was stuck on some vines hanging from the side of the cliff. Talk about idiotic.

Right about now, I was pretty sure that, if Fang had been with me, he would be rolling his eyes. And I might be other things, but one thing I am not, is someone who needlessly passes up a perfectly good eye-rolling opportunity. So, I rolled my eyes for him. It felt great.

I looked down at the girl I was supporting with my arms, and realized that her eyes were open. Well, not a girl, really, since she was definitely older than me. Her brown eyes looked ready to pop out of their sockets, as she stared at something over my shoulder. My wings; my huge, flapping, impossible, wings. This isn't good.

Crap. Crap. Crap.

I'll deal with it later. Right now, I've got some Eraser butt to kick. And stomp on. And mangle. And tear into a million tiny pieces. You get the idea.

Still carefully holding onto the girl, I zoomed up, and landed lightly on the cliff top. I tried to set her down gently, but, lucky me, I chose precisely this time to get clumsy. I dropped her, gracelessly, onto the ground, far from the edge and…far from the ground. Several feet, to be exact. She hissed in pain, and grabbed her leg, which I again noticed, far too late, was in cast. Whoops.

I turned quickly, to face the monster on the cliff. I had two lives to protect now, the girl's and my own. And I wasn't going easily, no sir.

Time for some fun.

I snapped out my wings to their full, impressive extent. But that's when I realized just what Eraser this was. A special friend, in fact. So special, that I felt dizzy with anger and a want for revenge.


That's when something hit me. Hard.


A/N: Err….that was probably awful. Oh well. The next chapter's gonna be an exciting one though. Thanks for reading and reviewing!!

5. Chapter 5: Mistake

A/N: Okie dokies, hope you guys enjoy this next chapter, I sorta like it myself. Warning: There's a CLIFF HANGER!!! Bwa hahaha…

Disclaimer: I do not own Maximum Ride or Twilight/New Moon.


Chapter 5: Mistake

Eraser's POV

Max skidded to a stop, dumped the brown-haired girl on the ground, far from the cliff's edge, and then whipped around to face the Eraser that was still clinging to the side of the cliff. I snorted. Of course, Ari bungled things, as usual, and instead of capturing both girls, he got tangled in the mess of vines on the cliff's edge. What a little kid.

I on the other hand, was a real Eraser. I had experience. Not like that idiot there, that Ari. He's only a stupid kid, after all. Seven years old? Come on! The only reason he has a hold on all these privileges is because of who his father is. Jeb Batchelder. One of the School's top scientists. I earned my wings, the ones that the whitecoats grafted onto me a month ago…but Ari gets to be the leader and kick everyone around because he thinks he isn't expendable. Like his father cares less about whether he lives or dies.

I stretched my wings, and continued to hover, high above them, in the air. I decided to wait until Ari had made a complete fool of himself, before stepping in to help the idiot finish our mission. Our task: to capture the Flock, and take any witnesses, as future experimentation subjects. Collateral damage, I guess you might say. That's what happens when you're a mutant on the run: innocent people get hurt, like that human girl, down there.

Speaking of 'down there'…

"What the–

Just a few seconds after Max landed on the cliff, someone else came speeding towards the trio. Damn. It's the bloodsucker…he's coming back.

The bloodsucker lunged for Ari, the fury rolling off of him in lethal waves. The expression on his face clearly showed his intent: to rip Ari limb from limb, for laying hands on his darling girlfriend. Which is what should have happened, since bloodsuckers are, as a rule, inhumanly and freakishly fast…but then, at the very last second, Max, completely unaware of the new threat bearing down on her at lightning speeds, snapped out her wings.

She was directly in the vampire's path.

If what they say about those bloodsuckers is true, then, at any other time, he should have been able to change direction and maneuver around the obstacle, easily. At any other time. But this wasn't just any normal situation. That screwy little Max-freak just had to shock the vampire with the two pieces of bird-flesh sticking out of her shoulders.

He crashed into Max.

I heard a couple ribs snap, and her head cracked against the ground. Ouch. The vampire of course, didn't fall. Instinctively, he turned the situation to his advantage, and lithely tumbled into an upright position. Though he didn't fall, he did hesitate. Probably from surprise. Surprise that Max was still alive, with only a few injuries. Any other human would have died immediately upon impact. Of course, Max isn't just any other human.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that Ari had finally untangled himself from the vines, and I spied the brown-haired human girl trying to inch away from the danger zone. Every few seconds she would wince in pain. The vampire's second of hesitation was all I needed. At lightning speeds, I dropped down out of the sky, swooped down, grabbed the brown-haired girl around the waist, and with a spurt of energy from my genetically-enhanced muscles, threw her over to Ari. Ari caught her (badly), and immediately placed his claws to her fragile throat.

All movement on the cliff ceased.

A snarl ripped from out of the vampire, and his already pale face was white with fury and anxiety. I couldn't imagine what he was so anxious about. I mean, the girl's just a human. He bared his teeth savagely and roared in complete, insane anger. Moving fluidly down into a crouch, he prepared to attack…

Ari spoke. "Don't. Move. I won't hurt the girl if you stay right where you are."

Max tried to get up from her awkward position, but froze, when Ari's eyes flicked over to her.

"I said, don't move!"

He paused, then spoke up again. "…Hey you, bloodsucker, I think I'm going to have to steal your girlfriend here. You mind?"

I was amazed at both Ari's bravery and his utter stupidity…didn't he know that his life was in danger? The "werewolf" attacked the mate of the vampire. There would be consequences. And none of them would be to our advantage. Well…if the vampire managed to kill Ari, that would most definitely be to my own personal advantage…

Ari must know something about the vampire that I wasn't informed of at the debriefing back at Eraser headquarters. Why else would he feel so safe, taunting the bloodsucker like that? I've seen vampires in action. And trust me. It's not a pretty sight.

Ari extended one lethally sharpened claw, and pressed the point to the girl's throat. She whimpered in panic, and he pushed down harder. A drop of blood slid down from the wound and dropped down to the ground.

The vampire immediately covered his nose and mouth with one hand, and held his breath. The black eyes were wild with pain and frustration and horrible, murderous anger. He took a step forward, but then stopped. His entire body was rigid, and he couldn't take his eyes away from the girl, held in the clutches of a horrifying beast.

"No! No Bella!" His voice came out sounding strangled, distorted by the hand clamped tightly over his mouth and nose, distorted by fear and disgust towards some inner weakness.

Now I understood Ari's confidence. The vampire could go no farther. Now, there was blood involved. If he attacked Ari now, the smell of all that blood could overwhelm his self-control.

And he could kill the girl. Entirely by accident.

(A/N: Yeah, yeah, I know, Edward should have been able to grab Bella, kill Ari, and incapacitate the Eraser and Max in less than second – or at least, that's what we'd like to think. But please, just think about it my way: It would be so much easier for him to lose control of his blood-sucking tendencies while he's fighting, and he also thinks that Ari is some weird kind of werewolf. He can't afford to make any mistakes, with Bella's life at risk, and he knows this. So, since he hesitates, the chance passes, and it's too late for him to save her. That's sorta feasible, right?...well no, maybe not. Use your imagination. xD)

Ari slid his claw down the girl's throat, taking care only to draw blood, not to kill. The girl was valuable. Finally, Ari was doing something smart. Instead of losing captives, he was torturing them. He grabbed her wrist with a hand. The girl, whose face was deathly pale, ashen, hissed in pain.

"Oops, sorry dear. Bella was it? Forgot to retract my claws, didn't I." He dug his claws into her arm again, this time a tad bit too hard. She cried out and her eyes rolled back into her head. The bloodsucker viciously snapped his teeth together, and cried out as well. Somehow, he was in just as much pain as the girl. Not physical pain. Vampires hardly ever feel physical pain. Clearly, the emotional bond he and the girl shared was one that wouldn't tear apart easily. Ari cackled demonically. I resisted the extreme temptation to roll my eyes. Why all the drama? Why?!? Is he a complete nitwit or what?

She whispered something. With my enhanced hearing, I just barely heard what it was that she said.


Vampire's have names?...I didn't know they could be that…human.

I nodded my head in Ari's direction, giving him the signal. He nodded back, and then viciously smacked the girl across the face, effectively knocking her out. I didn't say he did it neatly though. His claws left deep, bloody gashes across her cheek, and bruises everywhere else. Taking advantage of the enhanced flight-speed that Jeb had "given" us, immediately before we left on this particular mission, we shot up into the air, and sped upward. Ari dragged the girl's limp body up with us. We had a hostage who had some unknown connection to vampires. Perfect.

We kept flying upwards, until we were lost in the clouds and the darkness of night, high up in the sky. This way, the vampire wouldn't be able to track us, seeing as how he didn't have wings, nor did he have eyesight powerful enough to follow us from the ground and know where we were heading.

I glanced down, to take one last look at the freaks we were leaving behind…and something collided viciously with me, knocking me over and making me see stars.

Max's POV

Tears of anger and pain pricked at the edges of my eyes, as I glared after Ari and his companion Eraser. I struggled upright, and spread my wings, ready to launch myself after them, in revenge, and in pursuit of the girl. But I doubled over, gasping in pain, as my broken ribs finally made themselves known. Ouch.

A freezing cold…stone? reached down and grabbed me by the arm, yanking me up with horrible force. It nearly pulled my arm out of my socket. I whirled around to face the offender…and stumbled back when I registered exactly what was standing rigidly in front of me, the heat of his fury so tangible that I could nearly feel it.

The boyfriend…how the he-eck did he get here so fast? He wasn't here two freaking seconds ago

His black eyes were narrowed in anger and desperation. When he spoke, it was the voice of an angel…albeit an angel so angry he choked on his own words and bared his teeth.

"What. Was that. And who are you?" His words came out in a vehement hiss, spoken so quickly that I could barely understand what he was saying. I could tell he was agitated. More that agitated. Well, I wasn't putting up with this crap. I straightened up (mistake), clutched my ribs in pain, and looked defiantly up at him, my dark glare meeting his own. Something inside me quailed a tiny bit, as the anger and hopeless pain radiated out from his eyes into my own, but, me being Max, I stood my ground.

"I could ask you the same ques–

His furious eyes flicked up to something up in the sky, and then, half a second later, widened in shock. I spun around to look. What now?

This time, it was my turn to freeze in shock. I began waving my free arm, giving them frantic hand signals.

"No! Go back, don't come down here! I'll be there soon, just stay away! It's not safe!"

It was my Flock. They'd arrived late, since after all, they didn't have freaky Superman speed like moi. They hovered in the sky, and watched the two of us, clearly feeling equally frightened and confused. Nudge was twisting her hands together in anxiety, and Angel was clutching Iggy's hand for comfort. Fang narrowed his eyes at my words, and they narrowed further as he caught sight of the boy, still grabbing onto my wrist. I tried to shake him off. But the cold stone hand didn't loosen his grip on my arm.

Beginning to panic, I yelled up to them.

"Fang! It was Erasers. They took a girl. And they went that way, maybe towards the School." I pointed frantically in the direction Ari had taken. Fang nodded quickly, clearly furious with the situation. He glared balefully at the strange boy next to me, and changed direction, shooting off after the girl. Hunting. I knew Fang would be able to find Ari. And I needed to be with him when he did. With quick hand signals, I motioned for the rest of the Flock to stay put in the air.

Yanking viciously, I tried to free myself, so I could help Fang fight. Vaguely, I wondered why I couldn't break free from the boy's grasp. Humans aren't strong enough to do that…

"Let go of me! I'm helping you to find your girlfriend, so back off ."

The boy's voice was bleak and still sounded strangled. "No. You have explaining to do." I cursed inwardly. I knew perfectly well how he felt. He couldn't trust us to come back, if he let go of me. And he knew that, without me, without us, he wouldn't ever get his girl back, as slim a chance as that was. He couldn't take the chance that we would leave him.

I struggled wildly. But Fang. He can't fight two Eraser's all on his own. He'll get hurt. A spasm of worry flitted through me. My ribs were aching, but I could deal. I'd had worse before. Images of Fang hurt, Fang dying, Fang dead, seared their way into my mind. No. Not Fang. Not Fang. That would hurt more than anything. I turned to look back up at the heartbroken boy beside me. I watched as his face closed off and his eyes went dead. He smothered his pain and he became an emotionless statue. Like Fang.

Angel cried out from the tension. "What do we do!?" My heart twisted at the panic in her voice.

My eyes were still mesmerized by the dead, black eyes of the boy. Like black holes, they were empty, and revealed an enigmatic darkness that hid secrets and alien worlds. I answered Angel's question inside my head. Because I didn't have the heart to say it out loud.

I don't know Angel. I don't know.

We waited. I waited. He waited.

But Fang didn't come back.


A/N: Again, I'm not sure if all that was feasible. I did the best I could. Thanks so much for reading my faithful reviewers!

Oh yeah. Sorry if the extra Eraser seemed kind of too sophisticated (for any of you who read this story before I edited it, yes, he used to be called Rusl. But I changed him into an anonymous henchman-eraser so he wouldn't have too much personality). I just needed someone to act as a third-person narrator.

6. Chapter 6: Never Going to Be the Same


Ok. Here it is. First, I'm really sorry about my long absence, but here's the next chapter! Finally. What I really wanted to say though, was, before you read this chapter, can you please please reread the other chapters too? I know I'm asking you guys a favor, but the thing is, I edited the whole thing and added stuff, and it would be a good thing for you guys to get reacquainted with the whole story. Thanks! And enjoy :D


Chapter 6: Never Going to Be the Same

3rd Person View

Fang forced his powerful, raven-colored wings to push him upwards, racing after Ari and the kidnapped girl. He clenched his teeth in anger. Those whitecoats just didn't know how to leave people alone…

He angled his body so that it was more streamlined, as he cut swiftly through the clouds. He would do just what Max had ordered. Save the girl, because he would do anything to stop the School from carrying out their sick plans. Max wasn't the only one who needed to save the world. And he couldn't disappoint Max. Fang glared sourly at the bright stars that twinkled above him and narrowed his eyes against the wind that was slamming into his face as he sped upwards into the dark night.

Two bulky, awkward shapes came into view. One, an unknown Eraser – was it Ari? – was holding the small limp body of a teenage girl. Fang bared his teeth and crashed into the other Eraser at full speed, hoping to get rid of one before attacking Ari. The Eraser yelped in surprise and clutched its spinning head. Fang smiled grimly before kicking the Eraser twice in the chest and landing a punch on the side of its grisly snout. The Eraser howled in pain and started falling. One down, one more to go.

Ari was snarling as he tried to throw the unconscious girl over his shoulder so he could be in a position to fight Fang off. Fang zoomed rapidly towards Ari, dropped down right before he drove into Ari's stomach, flipped over, and delivered a stinging two-footer kick into Ari's backside. Ari choked in pain and surprise and tried to claw Fang in the face. One claw grazed Fang's face and the blood began dripping over his eyes – blinking furiously he launched himself at Ari again.

Fang slammed both hands over Ari's ears and the 7-year-old Eraser clutched at his ears in pain. A second later his face was transfixed in stupefied horror as he realized what he'd done in order to clutch his ears…or more precisely, what he'd let go of…..

Fang was already gone, speeding down after the still unconscious girl as she fell through the cloud cover.

Half-blinded by blood, he almost missed her, but he was finally able to scoop the girl up in his arms and skid to a stop in midair. The girl's head flopped onto his shoulder; for a second he thought that Ari had killed her, her face was so pale and the rest of her body so cold. The bruises and cuts on her face badly disfigured her – Fang could barely make out her facial features. He checked her pulse and confirmed that she was still alive. Barely alive, but still breathing.

Quickly he began his descent. But in his haste, and distracted by the girl, Fang forgot one crucial detail.

The other Eraser.

Suddenly, it rammed into his back and roughly yanked Fang's wings in opposite directions. The Eraser grabbed Fang around the neck and started squeezing. Dizzy with lack of air, but still not panicking, Fang held onto the girl as tightly as he could and began thrashing about widely, kicking out with both legs. He landed a few kicks onto the Eraser gripping him in a stranglehold, but they weren't enough to force him to let go.

Where are you Max?

The edges of his vision grew fuzzy. He felt as if he was dissolving into an endless void, and finally, his numbing fingers let the girl slip from his grasp. He tried to force his eyes to stay open – if he started seeing tunnel-vision, then it would be too late. Too late to find his parents. Too late to help destroy the School. Too late to tell the Flock goodbye. Too late to tell Max that he–

Fang slipped into unconsciousness, and the Eraser let go of his throat. He grabbed Fang's arms and legs to keep him from falling, and watched as Ari came flying up towards him, holding the girl. Apparently, he'd recovered enough from his earache to use his brain cells and catch the girl before she hit the ground.

"Didn't know you were still ok," Ari growled.

"Yeah, fell a bit after he landed those punches on me, but got him now."

"Right," Ari said. "Let's get out of here and take these two with us. Jeb ordered us to capture the whole Flock, but it's impossible now. The vampire's probably joined forces with them."

The other Eraser nodded curtly. "But now that we have Experiment #00F12S we can lure the rest of the Flock right to the School. Batchelder can't argue with that. We'll bring the Flock and the vampire right to our doorstep. Let's go."

They sped off in the direction of the School, not bothering to look back. They left behind six horrified people in their evil wake: four of them were transfixed in anxiety. One was balling up her fists and biting her lip in frustration. And the last. His heart was breaking. Even though he didn't even have one.


Edward's POV

"Face it," I said through my teeth, voice strained and menacing. "The kid isn't coming back. So explain yourselves and tell me what the hell is going on."

The girl with wings that I was still gripping by the arm whirled around and tried to punch me in the face with a hardened fist. I didn't flinch, and her fist rebounded off of my skin. She tried to yank away, her eyes almost black with anger and pain. Surprise too. I could already see the bruise forming on her knuckles.

"He's not just some kid. He's our family, and he's the one risking his life trying to save your freaking girlfriend."


"Where is she? Where have they taken her?" I was breathing harshly, every breath a pain in my chest. I almost looked down to see if there actually was a gaping hole in my chest. But I stopped myself in time. I had to control myself if I wanted to save her. There wasn't time to break down, no time to cry. "Who are you? And where is she?"

"The School." Her voice was a mixture of disgust and fear and something else that I couldn't place.

"The what?"

"You heard me, idiot." Now her voice was shaking with rage. God, I didn't have time for this. Bella was in danger. The hole in my chest unleashed a wave of pain through my body. Ignoring it with difficulty, I tried to read the girl's mind.

Sccreeech chirp chirp screech chirp tch tch School screeck chirp sccreeeech danger Fang screeeeeck tch.

What the hell? All I can get from her mind is...what? It sounds like there's a hawk screeching in her head. Are those her thoughts? And there's an undercurrent of another presence in her mind….something alien.

I stared down at her. "What areyou?" She flinched slightly.

Coldly, she answered. "We're freaks. Can't you tell?" Her wings flared out behind her back as she spoke, tan and speckled and utterly impossible. Impossible.


"Let go of me first, you….." She glanced up at the other kids hovering beside us, and she shut her mouth. But the heat of her fury was so strong, I didn't need to hear the profanities she viciously wanted to throw at me.

"No. Just explain." I glared at her. Surprisingly, she was able to meet my gaze with a glare of her own. Without turning her head, she rapped out curt orders. "You guys, get down here, now."

The rest of the kids fluttered awkwardly down and stared at me in…fear? Anger? No, it looked more like hate. The smallest girl, one with blond hair and white wings suddenly rushed at me; she beat at me with tiny fists. Tears were running down her face as she shrieked at me.

"Let go of her. It's your fault that they've taken him away. Let go of her!" She recoiled as she felt how cold and hard my skin was. She threw her arms around the oldest girl's waist and hugged her hard, staring at me now with fear and disgust.

The oldest boy, one with strawberry blond hair, was looking vaguely in our direction, his face contorted in confusion as he tried to piece out what was happening. Obviously, he was blind. "What's going on?"

It was the oldest girl that answered. "God, we have to find Fang. They must have taken him and the girl to the School. Fang's strong, but he can't escape on his own." The African American girl standing next to the blind boy was holding the hand of the youngest boy tightly. She watched the oldest girl with large eyes, and it was to this girl, who was obviously the leader, that she directed her question. "What we gonna do? We can't let Fang die." I noticed how they were, very pointedly, not revealing any names, other than that of the boy who had been taken. Fang.

The leader girl slowly sank down onto the ground until she was kneeling. She wrapped her free arm around the shoulders of the little blond girl standing next to her, and she looked up at me with angry, calculating eyes. She opened her mouth to speak. Her words came out in a hiss. "Are you with us?"

I looked down at her, confused by the strange statement and still trying to block up the hole in my chest. Somehow, I knew that I had to trust her. If I ever wanted to find Bella again. Ever wanted to see her beautiful face, smell that fragrance coming off of her skin. I had to find her, at whatever cost.

"I'm with you."

She watched me, the violent mistrust written all over her face.

"That may be, but how willing are you to go through hell to help us?"

I thought of who I was. What I was. A monster.

"I go through hell every day." She nodded slightly. But the mistrust didn't leave her eyes. Nor did I expect it to.

"Fine by me."


Bella's POV

I opened my eyes, then shut them again. Wind was running fiercely past my face, almost snapping my head back with its force. I felt like I was flying. Had I died and gone to heaven? Then where was Edward? Squinting, I tried to see what was happening. I looked up.


It's that wolf thing again. Holding me. Why the heck is he holding me? Frantically, I turned my gaze to my right. There was another one of those wolf creatures, flapping his huge, ugly wings with frightening power. Wings. My god. He was carrying…a boy? A teenager like me. Dark hair flopped over his eyes, and I could just barely make out the blood that had dried on his face, leaving gruesome stains. It was night. Pitch black.

I peered out into the darkness ahead of us. All I could see was the ground far below us, stretching out in all directions, no buildings, no lights, nothing in sight for miles. But in the distance in front of us, something loomed. A rectangular slab of cold cement. No windows. No doors. Nothing. Just the building, if that's what it was, and a massive, wire fence topped off with barbed wire surrounding it. It looked dead, uninhabited. Searchlights swept across the ground, covering the entire premises with harsh, revealing light. What were they trying to keep out? Or…in? Hazily, I forgot about the fact that we were flying, miles above the ground, as a sickening feeling came over me. That's where I'm going. Into that dead place.

I heard a rough growling voice. "God, she's awake," it said. Who's awake? My mind felt so lightheaded, I couldn't focus. Hazy. Wings? Wolves? Where was Edward? When was I going to wake up from this nightmare?

Something came up out of the darkness and smacked me across the temple. Darkness.


Max's POV

I glared at the boy…man…person…whatever he was, standing in front of us. Jeez, he still hasn't let go of my freaking arm. Not that I blame him. The second he let go of me, heck, we'd already be gone.

He said that he was with us. But did he trust us? He claimed that he did, but we both know that he's lying. He trusts us about as much as I trust him. Which is not at all.

I remembered what I'd said to Fang before we set off on this godforsaken journey. Was it really only yesterday that is happened?

"One of these days, I'm going to make a mistake. And I can't afford that. We can't afford that. Not if we want to survive."

I'd made my mistake. But it wasn't me that had to pay for it. It was Fang.

"Ok," I said briskly, to fight off the wave of guilt and pain. "Name?"

He hesitated for a long moment before answering. What could he have to lose? Nothing, really.

"Edward. Edward Cullen."

I wrinkled my forehead. Why so old-fashioned? Whatever.

We stood there, watching him. He looked back at us coldly. His voice was biting when he spoke. "And your names would be…?"

I gave him a pitying, condescending look before I answered. "We never promised you anything. Why should we tell you who we are? You might not have anything to lose. But we have everything." His glare deepened, and his body language clearly took on a more defensive, angry position.

"You'll just have to go by what we decide to tell you. It won't be much. Just enough to know what you're going up against." God, why am I even putting up with this? We should just leave him behind. I mean, yeah, I'd feel bad about it, since the Erasers took his girlfriend too, but I have to put family first. I have to put Fang first. No question.

I decided to voice my opinion. It's not like he could do anything about it.

"You know what Edward? If that's even your name. We can't afford to bring you with us. You'd just be weighing us down. So let go of my freaking arm an–

The look that came over Edward's face was inhumanely angry. It flashed across his face, leaving it even paler than it was before. I was still tugging viciously on the deathgrip he had on my arm when he lunged for me. He slammed me into the ground and crouched over me, the icy glare in his black eyes pinning me down.

He said in a dangerous voice, "You're not leaving me behind." What was really scary was how dead his voice sounded. A monotone. Pain stabbed through my ribs again. Jeez, I'd almost forgotten about those…

My head was still spinning with pain as I looked up into his possessed face. There was something just purely inhuman about his eyes and how powerful they were. I tried to kick out with my legs but every time I lashed out, it felt as if my feet were connecting with rock-hard cement. What the heck? No one, no human at least, is strong enough to fight us off on their own. My mind twisted in panic. Did he work for the School? Was this another test? Another genetic mutant?...

My whirling thoughts were interrupted by several raw-throated yells coming from behind Edward. As I tried to breathe around the pain of my ribs, two pale hands grabbed my attacker around the neck and tried to throttle him. Unsuccessfully. "Iggy…" I managed to croak out, before Edward started pressing down on my neck. God, was he seriously trying to kill me?

I could hear Gazzy yelling in a panicked voice, and Nudge too, crying as she beat her fists into Edward's back, to no avail. Just as I was starting to lose consciousness, he let go of my neck, impatiently shook off the rescue attempts of my Flock, heaved me up into crouching position, and resumed possession of my arm. I choked as a wave of sweet air filled my lungs. Breathe Max, breathe.

Iggy was furious. He grabbed me around the shoulders, and tried to pull me away from the psychopath in front of us. But he wasn't any more successful than I had been. Angrily, he snapped out in Edward's general direction, "What the heck is it that you want?"

His face contorted. "Her."

You probably already know this quite well about me by now, thanks, but people, namely me, tend to get nasty after, well, almost dying.

"I don't speak idiot mister, so try to dumb it down a bit for the rest of us here. What are you talking about?" I rasped out snidely.

"Bella. That's her name." I was about to retort with a 'That doesn't matter now' just to shut him up, but something in his face made me bite my lip. How could a pair of eyes hold that much agony? He kept talking, unaware of my silent observation. "Those…werewolves took her and…flew away with her." Oh. Her.

"What the hey do you mean by werewolves? We're not little kids. We can't be fooled by fairy tales." My voice was extremely hostile as I rubbed at my sore neck. "Those were Erasers." I immediately regretted giving out unnecessary information to an almost-murderer. My almost-murderer. He looked at me skeptically.


"Why should I tell you?"

He watched me and his voice was cautious this time, like he was worried about angering me further. Not because he cared about my feelings, but he still needed us to save…Bella. Or whatever her name is.

"You…you don't trust me, do you." Damn right I don't.


"Well, we have to work together from now on, so you better get used to it."

"Who said we were working together?"

"You did."

"Well that was before you tried to kill me. When I asked if you were with us, I was going through a phase. An idiot phase. But I'm over it now," I snapped.

"You don't have a choice." He looked pointedly at my arm, which was still imprisoned by his freezing fingers.

"You won't last forever. I can wait."

"So can I." He had the strangest look in his eyes, and the corner of his mouth quirked up a little in this freaky little smile. I wasn't sure I wanted to know what his problem was. Iggy squeezed my shoulder warningly, and I used my free hand to finger a hand signal to him. Wait. He looked awful, so tense and confused, but he nodded. All of them, my Flock, trusted me to get them out of this mess. I couldn't disappoint them.

Angel's voice was strained as she called out to me. "Ma–" She caught herself in time before she said my name. We could never be too careful around strangers. "–ke it quick. Fang's in trouble. I'm scared." She looked on the verge of tears. "He's at the School."

Edward watched us suspiciously. His fingers dug painfully into my arm. "Where? Is that where they took…"

"Fang? And your girlfriend? Yeah."


"Whatever. Yeah, that's where the Erasers took Fang and…Bella."

"The what?"

I glared at him. "There's only two things that you're ever going to find out about us. And I'm only telling you because you'll need to know what you're up against. First, those were Erasers. E R A S E R S. Bodyguards at the School, they're part human, part wolf. Don't ask. You're not going to get more of an explanation. Stupid brute strength, no brains, that's all they are."

"Second, we hate the School, hate it. It's a sick, sick place. And it won't matter to us if you die once we get there. We'll show you the way, but that's it." Again, I regretted giving him information (who knows who he really was?) but this was the only way that we'd be able to get rid of him. Maybe his freaking steroid-induced strength would come in handy too. "After that, you're on your own. But to get Fang and Bella back, that's where we need to go." That contorted look on his face again. He swallowed slightly before speaking. "So she's not dead."

"No, she's not. If they really wanted to kill her, they would have done it already. But for some reason, they want her alive. Believe me, Edward. If we don't get there in time, she's going to wish she was dead. Because she's going to go through hell there if we can't save her."

His breath hissed out, and I swear I heard a feral growl. Whoa. Jeez he's angry. I looked pointedly at Angel. She shrugged at me and mouthed, I can't read his mind. I shot her a confused look. What? Angel can read everyone's mind. She got a concentrated look on her face, then looked back at me and shrugged again. Nothing. It's just emptiness, she mouthed.

Ok. Definitely weird.

I tuned back and faced Edward. "You're just a human –" he snorted. I ignored him. "– so it's going to take a lot longer than normal to get to the School, unless you're light enough for us to carry the whole way. So just stay here. You don't die." He snarled, and I took that as a no. I looked skeptically at his 6 foot tall frame. About as tall as Fang. And I sure as heck couldn't carry Fang fifty freaking miles. He was always the one to catch and carry me….I pushed the thought away as quickly as possible.

I looked at him disapprovingly. This whole situation was so…surreal.

"Edward?" He looked at me, his face unnaturally white and drawn. A beautiful face, sure, but, there was something about him that just wasn't…right.

"Yes?" He narrowed his eyes at me.

"Shouldn't you be going into shock? Why aren't you freaking out?"

He smirked slightly, though the pain in his eyes remained. "Because I'm just as bad as you." The heck?

"….what do you mean?"

"Nothing." He looked away again. Jeez, that annoyed the heck out of me. No one says No to Max. No one. Except maybe Fang. And my Flock. And they're the only people who count in my book anyway. But whatever. I reached forward suddenly and grabbed him roughly by the wrist. "If you're going to be traveling with us, you have to follow by our rul–

I broke off. His arm was so…dead feeling. Like a statue. It was scary. I'm serious. And something else was wrong. I felt with my finger at the base of his wrist. Something wrong…

He had no pulse.

I threw his arm away from me, and scratched unsuccessfully at the hand that was still gripping my arm. He had this…look on his face. Like he wanted to laugh. But it wouldn't be a happy laugh. I stared at him, horrified.

"What are you?" It was hard to breathe, I was so freaked out. Iggy's hold on my shoulder tightened. "What is it?" he asked quietly, his voice tense. I hissed through my teeth. "The guy has no freaking pulse."


"Yeah, you heard me right."

Nudge opened her mouth cautiously. For once, she wasn't blabbing. She faced Edward uncertainly. "How can you not have a pulse? Only dead people don't have pulses. Are you, what, like, dead?" The doubt was glaringly apparent in her voice. She was almost on the edge of laughing at her own, let's face it, silly question.

I watched Edward carefully. One corner of his mouth was lifted up into this strange smile. Scary. Very scary. I waited for his answer. In his eyes, I could already see what he was going to say. God, he can't be serious…



Bella's POV

Ow. First thought. Ow. Jeez, I don't want to wake up yet. Something cold and hard was pressing into my arm. I sighed in relief. It was all just a weird dream. I was back, at the hospital in Arizona, and Edward was sitting right next to me, holding my arm. Thank God.

I opened my eyes, expecting to be greeted by Edward's lovely, probably worried face. But I was doomed to be disappointed.

A white harsh light surrounded me and blinded me for a few seconds – it seemed to be coming from somewhere directly above me. Suddenly I realized that I wasn't lying on a hospital bed. The bed under me was made completely of cold, shiny metal. And Edward? Nowhere. A thick metal bar was clamped around my wrist, chaining me to the…bed? It looked more like a hospital operating table. What?

Oh my god.

I started hyperventilating. This wasn't a dream. I really had been kidnapped. I looked down at myself. The cast was gone, and so were my clothes. Instead, I was wearing this cold, clingy, white hospital gown. And an IV was hooked to my arm. I flinched and looked away, trying to breathe without heaving up whatever was still in my stomach.

The room around me was completely white. And small. There were no windows, no doors. Just me, the walls, the table, and some machines in pristine condition, whirring and beeping away. My mind was blank with confusion. Where was I? Why was I here?

Suddenly, a hole opened up in one of the walls, and a man in a white lab coat stepped in, carrying a pen and manila folder. I bit back a scream. This couldn't be happening.

The man walked over to me, and smiled at me in a kind manner. I was surprised. He didn't seem cut out for the part of a psychotic kidnapping rapist. Maybe nothing would happen. Maybe.

I lifted myself up into a sitting position, and watched him, waited for him to do something. Say something. He had light brown hair, looked to be in his forties, or maybe fifties, and there were already worry lines etched around his eyes, frown lines in his forehead. He had a name tag on. I squinted at it to try and make out the small, precise letters.

Dr. Batchelder

Nope, that didn't ring a bell. He was a complete stranger.

He turned away from me and picked up a vial that was lying on top of one of the whirring machines. It held something dark and red, sinister looking. It looked almost like blood, but with a translucent, shiny quality as well, like it had been mixed with liquid silver. He inserted the vial into a hypodermic shot, and turned back towards me. I started shaking.

Finally, he spoke. My head snapped up as he began speaking.

"I know you must be frightened, but no harm will come to you. I'm not going to hurt you sweetheart."

I narrowed my eyes at him at the word 'sweetheart.' I didn't trust him and his supposedly kind words.

"What are you doing with that shot then?"

"It's perfectly alright, Bella." How did he know my name? "It's just going to…" He hesitated. "It's going to change you."

Change me? Into what?


He said he was going to change me.

I looked at him eagerly. "You…you know about them too?"

He must be talking about vampires.

He wrinkled his brow. "Know about who?"


He seemed confused. Again, he hesitated. But he answered me. "Yes, we know about vampires. We know all about them."

I made my decision. I looked him in the eye, my gaze unwavering.

"Then change me."

He looked shocked, and then concerned. "What? You want me to administer this shot?"

"Yes." It's what I've always wanted. Edward is never going to change me. I knew that now with absolute conviction. God, it hurts that he doesn't want me badly enough. So this man, this Dr. Batchelder, he can give me my greatest wish. And then I can be with Edward forever.

"You don't have any other choice anyway, sweetheart." For some reason, his expression was a little sad. I held out my arm.

"Thank you." I smiled at him. Slowly, he inserted the needle into my arm, and squeezed every drop of the blood-silver liquid into my arm. I shuddered as something that felt like ice slid into my veins. So cold it felt like fire. Dr. Batchelder watched me sadly. How can you want this? he mouthed. I closed my eyes.

It wasn't until he left the room and sealed the wall behind him, that I started screaming.


Fang's POV

I opened my eyes. One look at the color of the walls around me, and I knew exactly where I was.

The School. God, not this place. Again.

I turned my head painfully to the side. And sucked in a breath when I saw the pair of booted feet standing next to my head. I was lying on the ground. Great.

A horribly familiar voice spoke, coming from the boot-wearer. Ari. I hate that kid.

"Not so high and mighty now, eh Fang?" I ignored him. I didn't have to try and move my legs and arms to know that I was chained to the ground. I'd already gone through hell before.

"We've got something new for you, Fangy." Fangy? Idiot. Jeb's probably giving me some horrible mutant steroids. Make my wings bigger or some other crap like that. Or maybe I'll finally get my powers, I thought bitterly. Who cares about powers. Not me.

"Jeb told me to give it to you. Boy, is it going to be painful." He brought his hideous face down close to mine and grinned. His breath reeked. His grin widened as he waved a needle in front of my face.

No. Not needles.

He started laughing as I thrashed around. Anything to escape the horror that Ari, that freak, was twirling in front of me. Memories from my past flashed before my eyes, and they rolled back into my head.

Without warning, he jammed the needle into my neck. I choked as I felt something slide into my veins. Liquid fire. Pain.

I bit my lip.

Ari stood over me, his insane laughter just barely reaching my ears. He kicked me viciously before leaving the room, but not enough to knock me unconscious. Freak. He wants me to suffer.

Max? Max, where are you? I can't fight them alone.



A/N: DUN DUN DUNNNNN! Huge cliff hanger. But I made it uber long to make up for my really long absence. :D Did you guys like it? Are they getting OOC or are they getting OOC. Jeez, I think my writing skills are rusty. Very very very rusty. Whatever. Leave a review and tell me what you think!!

7. Chapter 7: Torture

A/N: I'm so horribly sorry, you guys. I know many of you have been waiting months! Literal months! But please believe me when I say that I have very little time for continuing this story, much as I love it. Please bear with me, and thank you so much for your incredible patience.

This chapter is sort of on the short side – I wanted it to be longer, but I thought that it would be better if I published something soon, rather than much later. But I feel so bad! Because this chapter doesn't really reveal as much as I wanted to.

Again, many many many apologies! I'll try to work harder, and get the rest of the story out to you!!

Chapter 7: Torture

Bella's POV

She gasped in agony and clutched her arms tightly around herself; she barely felt the additional, shallow pain as her nails bit into her skin, leaving long thin gashes. She gnawed savagely at her lip and, slipping desperately in and out of consciousness, she only noticed that her teeth had broken through when her mouth filled with the metallic taste of blood. Somewhere, filling the air around her, she could hear horrible, gasping wails, and the noise pierced through her already pounding forehead. Vaguely, she wondered where the sound was coming from, but the thought was almost instantly snatched away, only half-formed, when a wave of pain pulsed up along her spine and curled sickeningly in the pit of her stomach.

Ice was crawling through her bones and her mind shuddered away from the unbearable pain. She slid limply to the ground, pressed against the cold tiles, and only seconds later, jerked upright again, maddened by the river of acid that was eating away at her body.

The wails of pain abruptly stopped, only to be replaced by ragged breathing and sobs, and she realized that they were coming from her own groaning mouth.

No. No. It has to stop. It had to be Edward. Edward should have changed me. Not. Not. Them. Not them. Not… She couldn't straighten out her thoughts. Couldn't keep them focused.

Edward…Please please please end it end it, it has to end. I'm not strong enough. Can't take it. Please just make it stop, stop, stop, any way you can. Even through the pain, she was suddenly horrified with herself. No, I do want this. Because then I can love. Love Edward for. For all. Eternity. But still, nothing in the world had prepared her for such agony. Not even the hideous preview that James's lingering bite had left on her hand.

Abruptly, the pain changed. It didn't stop, but instead of waves of white-hot pain sizzling through her body, she felt like she was being twisted and pulled. Like two people had grabbed her and each were pulling at her for possession. Like her skin might rip and come apart with the pressure. She curled into a ball, trying to keep her body from falling apart.


Her spinal cord shattered. Or at least, that's what it felt like. Terrible bolts of pain were shooting through her shoulders and back, and with a scream, Bella unknowingly slammed herself into the wall beside her. The thudding sound it made against the cement barely filtered through her head. She only had space in her pain-crazed mind for one thing. One person.

Edward! Please. Please. Save me. She grabbed for something in the distance that she couldn't see, and when she failed in her intentions, the cry of despair caught in her throat, ravaged by screaming.

I love you.

For a moment, she could see his eyes, his beautiful golden eyes, burning in her retinas. Then they faded to a wild, fathomless black. She could feel herself teetering on the edge of those empty black irises, and with blood trickling from her bitten lip and sweat dripping from her pale-as-death face, she welcomed the fall. To continue to take the pain would be to flirt with insanity. Already slightly demented with terror, she smiled a little as she released her tentative hold on consciousness, and leapt into the darkness of his eyes. And fell.

Feels like I'm flying…

She blacked out. The pain was still there, rippling on the surface of her unconsciousness, but it was deadened somewhat.

Tears trickled out from under her twitching eyelids, and they ran down the sides of her clammy face. There they collected, in a puddle around her, their purity ruined, as they mingled with her blood.


Fang's POV

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.





You know what? Screw that.

If only the Flock could see me now. Where flying acrobatics had once been second nature, remembering to breathe was now a difficulty. Actually, not breathing just might have been a pleasant distraction. Who needs breathing? Slumped in an undignified heap against the wall, I clenched my fists tightly together. My knuckles were white with straining. I tried to open my eyes, but they were forced shut again as another flare of fire burst through me, radiating out from the spot where Ari had plunged in the syringe.

The School had been my waking nightmare. For almost ten years I'd been there. I'd been forced to run laps until I passed out. Starved and kept in cages meant only for wild animals. Trapped in mazes like a lab rat. Stabbed by syringes and scalpel knives. Mauled by Erasers to test my pain resistance and fighting abilities. Prodded by psychologists until my mind snapped.

But never had I been tortured over a blazing fire.

But I didn't back down then, and I wouldn't now. I'd only ever surrender for one person, and even though she'd never let me live it down, if I had to let go of my pride to save her…I would.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

I clenched my hands to my temples, tried to lose myself in the safety of fighting tactics and flying techniques, of logic. Not that logic has ever really been on my side. You know. With all the wings and being able to fly crap. And having a dysfunctional family that still hasn't gotten itself blown up or massacred by Erasers. And all the minor things, like having a mind reader and a talking dog and knowing that our genetic material just might be unraveling. Little things like that.

We were lucky, not logical.

But logic's all I have left now. The pain had to end sometime. I gritted my teeth. The blaze of fire had reached my shoulders. I half expected my skin to fall away in a layer of ash and blackened flesh. I was a hotdog on a grill. Fried Fang. Fang-on-a-stick.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

My face twisted slightly with each stab of explosive pain that seemed to stab through my chest, once, twice, three times. Vaguely I heard a thudding sound against the wall opposite the one I was slumped against. It sounded like a body had been thrown against it. But the thought barely connected in my brain as a trickle of fire slid slowly and tortuously through my blood vessels.

Max always told me that I was good at hiding my feelings. I'd always been able to hide my pain behind a layer of thought and rationality. I had this freaky little talent for becoming an invisible shadow, albeit one with a crappy attitude problem. Her words, not mine.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

The tiniest moan escaped me as the pain turned into agony. I'd never be able cook my meat over a campfire ever again. My Thumper eating days were over. I was being immersed in a vat of boiling acid, skinned alive, pricked by dozens of knives…

I tried to pretend that I hadn't moaned. In all reality, there was no reason for me to be this masochistic – like there was anyone else in the room to see me. It wasn't like I had to prove anything to anyone.

But to get out of this alive, and get back to Max and the Flock, I'd have to prove that I could survive. I'd be damned if I let her down again.

As if it had heard me, the fire suddenly leapt up with all the manic rage of a caged animal and enveloped me in agony. I glared defiance, but defiance can only get you so far.

The darkness swallowed me up, and I welcomed it. I'd been there before. Many times.

Darkness has always been a better friend to me than the light has ever been, or ever will be.


Jeb's POV

I winced as the faint sound of the new girl's agonized screams reached my ears, even through the thick walls of her room. The walls doubled as hidden, one-sided mirrors, and I was treated to a full view of her pain and delirium. My stomach lurched with pity and sadness.

The new girl. I laughed hollowly, disgusted by such an ironic euphemism (A/N: Euphemism is like a nicer way of saying something, like "passed away" is a "nicer" way of saying "died"). Such a phrase should be used only for trivial, everyday situations. The new girl at school. The new girl in the neighborhood. Not, the new girl-soon-to-be-inhuman-creature. She wouldn't even truly be a girl anymore, once her ordeal was over.

I sat stiffly in the chair in the observation room, holding my clipboard with white fingers. Framed in the observation window before me was the new girl herself, shuddering as she underwent her painful transformation. My laboratory superior had instructed me to record changes in the girl's appearance as time passed, but there didn't seem to be words to describe such unending pain.

What shocked me the most, deeply shocked me, was the fact that, irrational as it was, the girl had chosen her own fate.

She'd never truly had a choice, since I would have administered the shot whatever her opinion. But her mind had been set. She hadn't resisted.


I continued to watch the twitching girl, but soon, my mind was wandering and my eyes were seeing something far different from the scene before me…

Max has always been full of both bravado and real bravery, and in whatever situation, she has almost always known how to conceal her fear. It's a skill she was born with and it's what has brought her this far. But I'd known her when she hadn't always been so careful with her emotions. Max had been much younger then. Not small, but young. Old enough to think on her own, but not old enough to understand the world around her. Or so I'd thought. I learned later that she had understood it all too well. She didn't know me, and didn't quite trust me either. But sometimes I could make her smile, as much as she might not want to. I'd known her from her birth after all, helped to rearrange her genetic material. To this day, I still feel like a smaller man for the crimes I have committed in the name of science.

I should have known that I could have taken a much different path.

It took me fourteen years, and one beautiful, bright-eyed girl, to realize that the only crimes worth committing are the ones that protect the ones you care about.

It had been a routine avian check-up. Two shots, one to immunize the body against sickness, the other to inject tracking radiation in order to prepare for the MRI session scheduled for later that day. One injected in the arm, the other to the largest vein in the wrist. We were still unsure how long these bird specimens could be expected to live. Everyone was hoping that this time, the human-avian recombinant project would succeed. Otherwise, we would have four more bodies on our hands. Two girls and two boys, fairly close in age, though one of the girls was several years younger. They were all very similar in structure, beautifully built, with delicate bones and small, not fully developed wings. All very much alike, and quite similar to the past avian-children who had failed to survive. But infinitely stronger. Stronger in body and stronger in heart.

But only the girl with a challenge in her name had ever really mattered to me. Maximum Ride.

The girl had looked up at me, from where she sat on the lab table, cringing violently as I administered the necessary shots. Her eyes were hollow, surrounded my gray circles and deep bags. Empty of hope.

She was only six years old.

I did my best to seem cheerful. Despite the work that I had done throughout my life, I was not a heartless man. Something in me felt deeply uncomfortable, as I looked at her, and so I tried to cover the discomfort with kindness.

"Sweetheart, you need to cooperate. It's important that you get these shots. You don't want to get sick, do you?"

"If getting sick means that I will die, and if dying means that I can escape, then let the sickness come. I'm not stopping it." Her hard, cold eyes watched me, and I jerked away slightly, alarmed not only by her statement, but by the knowing attitude behind it. Too knowing. The words seemed alien, as they tumbled coldly out of the mouth of a girl only 4 feet tall.

"Maximum, getting sick is nothing to joke about. Getting sick brings pain. Do you want that?"

She looked at me again with that same hollow, hopeless expression.

"You can't want what you already have." Unconsciously she lightly touched the deep purple bruise on her cheekbone, inflicted upon her as a punishment during her daily training session. It was already yellowing at the edges.

Hiding my discomfort, I said. "It'll all be over soon, Max. If you'll just coopera–"

She narrowed her eyes. "What do you mean, it'll all be over soon?" I was thrown off by her question.

"I meant that this check-up will soon be over and you can return to your…room." For some reason, this just didn't seem like the right time to speak the truth, Max's terrible reality. She'd never had a room of her own. Only a cage. A cage meant for animals.

But she wasn't so inclined to slip quietly around awkward situations; quite the contrary, she rushed headlong into this one with the grim determination of a hawk. Or maybe a suicide bomber. She snorted scathingly, the derision twisting her features. "My room? Like that's such a privilege. I'd love to go back to my cage. I'm just dying to get back." At this statement, she raised her eyebrows at me defiantly. Continuing with her angry confrontation, she spit her next words at me, like somehow she hoped that if she loaded them with enough venom and enough hatred, she could inflict real pain. It saddened me that this was her way of thinking. But I couldn't truly blame her.

"I think that when you say it'll be all over soon, you say that my time is up. That I've outlived my usefulness in this place and pretty soon I'm either going to fall apart or you're going to feed me to those uncoordinated dolts you call Erasers." But despite her bravado, a flicker of fear flashed across her face, and then was gone.

I turned away to disguise the sudden weariness in my face. I was halfway out the door when I heard the tiny sniffle behind me. I looked back sharply.

A single tear slid down Max's sunken cheek. She hurriedly wiped it away and resumed her expression of indifferent neutrality. But in that moment I saw exactly how terrified she really was. And just how hard she had to work to hide that fact. Suddenly, she seemed very small, and very young. Like the child she could have been.

I came back, and knelt before her. She refused to look at me. It was several minutes before she finally spoke, in a miserable whisper.

"I never had a choice."

"None of us ever have a choice sweetheart. No one ever has a choice about being born."

"But I was born a monster. I'm not even really human, and I'll never, ever be." She looked up at me then, finally. "If I'd been given a choice, I'd never, never in a million years, have chosen to be born with wings. I'd rather have been born chained to the ground like everyone else, if it meant that every time I looked at my reflection, I wouldn't have to see the animal in me."

"Max, you're not an animal. And this…none of this, is your fault."

"I don't care whose fault it is. I have wings. Wings! I need to be free, Jeb. And freedom means having a choice. I've never been allowed to make my own choices. So I was doomed from the moment I was born."

Another tear ran down her cheek, and this time she didn't bother to wipe it away. So I reached out and dabbed at it with a finger.


She turned her head away.

Gently, I took hold of her face with both hands and turned her to face me.


"What?" Her rebellion and her brave face was back in place, filling up the vulnerable cracks in her armor.

"I'll find a way to give you that choice. Someday. Trust me on that."

Her face was anything but trusting, but she nodded her head.

A thought occurred to me. I smiled slightly. "Max, there's someone that I'd like you to meet."

Her eyes narrowed slightly. "What?"

"His name is Fang."

A/N: How was it? Please review and let me know if there's anything you'd especially like to see, any suggestions you'd like to make, or if you just wanna say hi :)