Reality? No Such Thing by Emaryllis

Category:Maximum Ride
Genre:Adventure, Suspense
Published:2006-11-17 16:31:45
Updated:2006-12-29 21:19:49
Packaged:2021-04-21 23:49:54
Summary:On hiatus! Max: I barely felt the pain as Fang, my best friend, slammed me back against the door. He glared at me, and whispered in a voice so cold and deadly and biting that I flinched…“Who are you, and how the hell do you know my name? Please R&R

Table of Contents

1. Prologue: Losing Memories
2. Chapter 1: Facing the Past
3. Chapter 2 Pt 1: Invisible
4. Chapter 2 Pt 2: Endless Impossibilities
5. Chapter 3: Rejection
6. Chapter 4: Unwanted

1. Prologue: Losing Memories

A/N: Hey everyone. I'm kind of new at this, since this is my very first fan fiction ever. Come to think of it, this is really the first real story I've ever written…so I warn you, the results could be absolutely disastrous. I won't give a plot summary, because I want this to have some semblance of suspense. Well, here goes:

P.S. Just so that you know, this first chapter might seem really slow, since the plot doesn't really start until the second chapter, but I hope you'll stick around to see the other chappies, which will hopefully be more exciting! And although I will be mentioning the Voice, I refuse to include the Voice's actual thoughts in this story, since I would get bored with it, so, anything that's italicized are Max's own thoughts, not the interruptions of her Voice.

Disclaimer: I do not own Maximum Ride.

Prologue: Losing Memories

I cracked open one eye, looked blearily around, and instantly regretted it. I mean, who in their right mind would want to wake up, would ever want to wake up, if all they had to wake up to was yet another fabulous day of being on the run, another hour of being pestered by a freaking Voice in their head, another measly second of remembering that they are only 98 percent human? Yeah, that's right Max, you're a mutant, an avian recombinant freak. Appealing, isn't it?

No seriously. Anyone out there want wings? I'll give them to you for free, and since I like you so much, I'll even throw in an added bonus: Erasers that want to rip yo…

I didn't get to finish my little mental rant, because I heard a slight growl (or was it a snarl?) next to me, and I jackknifed to my feet, fists at the ready. And hissed in surprise as something warm splashed onto my feet. I looked down, and noticed a giant coke stain spreading on the bottoms of my ragged jeans. So this is what it all comes down to, isn't it Max? You're a perfect, scientifically engineered birdkid with superfast reflexes, and the first thing you do is knock over a freaking coke can. Well, there's science for you. Stupid coke can. Why was it even there? Oh yeah, me and Fang had it for 'breakfast'…

I heard another growl, and whirled around to look for the Eraser. But all I saw was Fang. What? I crept quietly over, and looked, with concern, at his clenched teeth, and hunched shoulders. A nightmare? Something worse? He growled again softly, and I was just reaching out to shake his shoulder, when he muttered, "No, no, not the pink…" Grinning, I decided to let him suffer a little longer. Fang couldn't stand pink. But hey, a girl's gotta have some fun, right?

Time to check up on the flock. It was still pitch-black in the clearing where we had stopped to rest, so I guessed that this was why Iggy hadn't woken me up for my watch yet. Glancing at him, I noticed him grinning in my direction, his sightless eyes closed. Hmph. Probably noticed my little coke incident…I was about to retort, when I remembered that Iggy was our resident cook. Hmm. Wouldn't want to upset the only birdkid in the flock who can cook something actually edible, now would we? I had to make do with glaring as fiercely as I could at him. Which, of course, had absolutely no effect whatsoever.

Near where Iggy was sitting, I saw the Gasman, Nudge, and Angel all lumped together, sleeping soundly. Man, they look exhausted. Nudge isn't even sleeptalking. I sighed, and bent over to lie back down on a comfortable spot on the ground (yeah right). Right before I drifted off again I whispered to Iggy, "Wake me up for my watch." I knew he would hear me.


I was dreaming. I don't know how I knew this. Maybe it was the fact that I was floating. Or maybe because I was standing outside my, my flock's, old home. The one is the mountains. I had just gotten over the shock, when suddenly, the scene in front of me melted, and when I could see again, I found that I had moved into the house somehow. As I looked around the disaster, no, more like World War III, of a family room, I felt my throat close up, and I couldn't remember how to breathe. Looking around quickly, I tried to commit the room to memory. Who knew when I would see it again, if ever? And that's when I noticed.

The pictures were gone.

All of them. Just the plain wooden frames, on the walls and on the tables, were left. The blank whiteness sent an unexplainable chill of apprehension down my spine and I was suddenly cold. Very cold. We used to have pictures all around the house, from when Nudge went on a photograph craze and snapped pictures of anything and everything. And for some reason they had all decided to disappear in this strange dream of mine. It was a dream, right?

Slowly, I walked – well, more like floated – over to the coffee table, where I knew my favorite picture had been, last I'd seen it, months before. The one with the whole flock in it, from back when I was just a carefree birdkid of 10. Well, as carefree as a birdkid can get. I could see it clearly in my mind: me grinning toothily, with my arms thrown around Fang and Iggy's necks. Fang, I remembered, had looked slightly pained – big surprise – and Iggy had been smiling in the direction of the camera, eyes unfocused. The younger kids stood with us, laughing and flushed from flying. Suddenly, I needed to see that picture, needed to see it, so I wouldn't forget what had been the happiest days of my life. And that's saying something.

I turned the frame over. The picture was gone. And there were just 6 words in its place.

Please forgive me, my Maximum Ride.

And that's when the world ripped apart.


A/N: Hope it was ok. Thanks for reading! And it would be really really great if someone could please R&R! I love constructive criticism, so don't worry about telling me if someone is completely out of character. I won't mind xD

2. Chapter 1: Facing the Past

A/N: Hey guys! Thanks so much to everyone who reviewed! And yes, I know I'm posting this rather quickly, but I had the idea for this chapter, and I really didn't want to forget it. xP Anyway, there is definitely more action in this chapter, and I can't wait to see what you guys think.

Disclaimer: I do not own Maximum Ride


Chapter 1: Facing the Past

And that's when the world ripped apart.

Or at least, that's what it felt like. Enormous pressure pressed down on me, from all angles, and, curling myself into a tight, tense ball, I attempted to save myself from what I was positive must be the end of the world. Why the heck didn't I listen to the Voice when I had the chance? I could have saved the world for crying out loud. Eyes wide, I struggled to move, run, fight, anything…but I was paralyzed.

The scene around me, the house, the family room, began stretching, pulling apart, collapsing on itself. Pummeled by the roaring scream and rush of, was it wind?, around me, I watched as jagged cracks appeared in the scenery; abruptly, the endless noise of the end of the world stopped, and all I could hear was the quiet, but still bone-chilling, sound of the world as it ripped and cracked apart, and, almost as if the whole world itself was a mere photograph, began crumpling at the edges, revealing an impenetrable darkness…

I'd like to say that, during this whole nightmare of a dream, I sat there, completely unfazed by the fact that the world appeared to be ending, instinctively taking a defensive stance, a jaunty smirk on my face and a dangerous gleam in my eye, and all that other heroic crap. That even with imminent death rapidly approaching, I remained cool and collected (hey, Fang isn't the only one around here who has a stupid reputation to keep up). After all, I was Max the Invincible, Max the Unstoppable, and of course, Max the Holder of the All-important Bank Card, right? Well, as much as I'd like to say that that's what happened, it's not. Here's what was really going on in my head. I'm sure the Voice got an absolutely hilarious front-row view…

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my freaking GOD, what the heck is going on, I'm going to die I'm going to die Die Die Die, string of unmentionable curses, I'm going to die…

Um. Yeah. You didn't hear that from me. I'm Max the Invincible, remember?

Before I had gotten far with my mental gibbering, the world thankfully stopped cracking apart, and shattered, insubstantial pieces of scenery flying everywhere. Only to reveal another scene behind it. What? I opened my mouth to draw in a shuddering breath, the first I'd taken since the world had started to freaking rip apart, but what I saw next caused my throat to lock from shock, effectively stopping any air from reaching my exhausted body…A very, very small corner of my brain was wondering whether I would suffocate if I continued, um, not breathing like this for much longer.

Feeling utterly and hopelessly confused, I watched as, in this new dream scene (I was once again in the family room of the old house, except, that it seemed vaguely different…), a 4-year old blond little girl ran up to a 12-year old Max, who was in the process of cleaning up after Iggy's latest attempt to perfect his stash of bombs (where the heck did he keep them anyway?), and tugged on her sleeve. I sucked in a sharp breath (finally), but I wasn't worried that the younger versions of Angel and myself would look up and notice me standing there in the corner, because I knew exactly what I was looking at. A memory. Something that had happened in the past. A day that would be impossible to sear from my mind, because that was the day that Jeb…

"Ange, what is it?" the 12-year-old-and-still-perfectly-safe version of me said, jerking me from my own painful thoughts.

Angel hesitated, and then said weakly, "Something's wrong."

"Well, if you're talking about the mess Iggy made in here, then you are absolutely right. Would it really kill him to do all this bomb stuff in his own room? Instead of, what, ruining the rest of the house?" My 12-year old self subsided into grumpy, unintelligible muttering; my sensitive ears were able to pick up on the words, stupid pyromaniac… I cracked a grin, but then stopped, when I realized that I already knew what Angel was going to say. I held my breath. Geez, what is it with me and not breathing today?

12-year old Max looked up sharply from the nest of wires, scrap metal, and oil stains on the carpet, when she heard the weird, almost dead sounding tone Angel was using. "Max, Jeb's gone." I watched as my younger self tensed and swallowed slowly; I think she stopped breathing…funny, how alike we were. Well, no duh.


"I can't feel him anymore Max, not his thoughts, not anything, he's just not here." A tear slipped down her cheek, and Angel squeezed her eyes shut, desperately trying to be brave, even though she was only a little kid, 4 years old. I knew what was going through Max's (my?) head. I hadn't believed it at first. Why would Jeb be gone? He'd never left, never, not since he'd spirited us away from that freaking nightmare of a place, The School. He loved us. He even told that to us himself, said that he would never leave us. That he would protect us and teach us. Just like a real father. I noticed that 12-year old Max had a defiant scowl on her face. Denial, I suspected. But I knew better. Knew that, over the next few days, when she and the whole Flock realized that Jeb just wasn't coming back, her heart would break, as she eventually accepted that Jeb, her protector, was dead. And the next time she saw him…I gritted my teeth…the next time she saw him, it would only add insult to injury. Yes, Jeb, the one who had taught her how to fly, how to fight, how to make a couple of danged hotdogs, the one who had given her a family, would be the sole reason behind the fact that, even at age 14, she would always be on the run.

The Angel in the dream began to sob quietly, and since I couldn't stand seeing her cry, I hurried forward, even as she rushed blindly over to hug the other Max. But when I reached out for her, I, surprise surprise, passed right through her. Stumbling, I quickly regained my shaky balance, and when I looked up again, Max and Angel were gone, and the world around me was flickering. Oh no, not again. Please not that again. Isn't it enough to watch the world end once? Come on, I said PLEASE. But, no luck. The scene around me was changing rapidly, flickering and shifting between other scenes, other worlds, at an inconceivable speed, but what I did manage to see was enough to tell me what was going on: these scenes, here and gone the next second, were more memories. More flashbacks of what my life had been like in the past.

Nudge's 10th 'birthday.' She was holding her present from the flock, a camera.

Fang and me, sparring with sticks. Looked like Fang was winning…

Iggy and Gazzy grinning, as they held up a ticking bomb, their first joint effort.

Angel sitting on Fang's shoulders, smiling and patting his head.

The whole flock, crying together…Jeb…dead?






The memories continued flashing erratically, and I noticed the tears that were welling in my eyes. Geez my head hurt. Even with Jeb gone, presumably dead, we had been so happy together…Suddenly, an unsettling scene popped in front of me, but it was not one that I recognized. In it was the Flock, looking exhausted, clothes ragged and stained with the blood of Erasers, and they were all at their current ages. The heck? Fang and Iggy were 14, Nudge was 11, Gazzy was 8, and little Angel was now 6. But there was a glaring problem with this scene. And no, I'm not talking about the Eraser blood; Eraser blood is never a problem.

I wasn't in the picture.

Before I had a chance to think, the pace of the flickering scenes around me abruptly quickened, until I was surrounded by a flashing whirl of pure white. And then, I was being engulfed by a terrifying, dead-looking black, the white growing smaller and smaller. Tunnel vision, I thought through the haze of fear. The white winked out, but surprisingly, disappointingly even, I didn't die. Instead, I was alone in a world of utter blackness…Oh wait. Not completely alone.

There was a door in front of me. I could feel hyperventilation beginning to creep up. Man, I thought, in a last desperate attempt to cheer myself up, if this whole dream is happening because Iggy did something funny with the food, I am so going to kill him…Needless to say, I failed miserably. Hesitantly, I reached for the silver doorknob, hoping frantically that this was my ticket outta here. But before I even touched the door, it changed.

It became transparent. See through. Black one second and clear the next.

I wish it had stayed black.

Because through that door, I could see all my deepest, most terrifying fears, flickering and shifting, just like those fluctuating memories…




The School


The flock, dead.

I watched, petrified, mesmerized, flinching when I caught sight of the Flock's imaginary lifeless bodies. There was no way on earth that I was going to reach for that door, and unlock the dam I had built up, the dam that kept back all my fears and kept me strong enough to lead the flock.

But what happened next, or rather, what I heard, was enough to make me lunge for the door, viciously twist the knob, and grimly race through, slamming the door behind me. Running straight towards my fears and because of my fears.

Angel was screaming.


A/N: Hope you liked it, and again, thanks for reading. This was a really, really exciting chapter to write for me, and I'm sorry, but I adore cliffies. By the way, for any of you who are wondering if there is going to be Faxness in this story, I'm just not sure yet. First, because I'm not sure if it would be possible, for reasons that you will soon find out, and second, because I think that if I even attempted Faxness, I would so mutilate it that all Faxness fans out there will wish that they had never even heard of this story, or Faxness, for that matter. But I could try. Hope that didn't put you off reading this story

There's a couple things I want to say:

Was Max or Angel getting out of character? Did the story sort of slip out of JP-ish style as the story went on? I am more than willing to add more Max sarcasm, but, I wasn't sure if, if I put more, I would be overdoing it.

Did I get all the facts rights? I'm pretty sure I did: The Flock was rescued by Jeb 4 years ago, and Jeb 'died' 2 years ago, correct? I would check the book myself, but, oh woe is me, I can't find it. Gasp )

I'm almost positive that this chapter was confusing beyond repair…but I hope you guys understood it…I guess it's kind of supposed to seem other-worldy, but whatever.

3. Chapter 2 Pt 1: Invisible

A/N: Hey people, here's the next chapter…and here's a little summary of what has already happened, just to make sure people understand it (remember, this is supposed to seem weird).

Prologue and Chapter 1 Summary: Max is caught in a dream she doesn't understand, because her dream has taken her back to the Flock's old house. Once inside, she realizes that something is wrong. All the pictures are gone, all proof that the Flock was once there, has vanished. She finds a message addressed to her: Please forgive me, my Maximum Ride. Upon reading the message, the dream world around her falls apart. Her surroundings crack, shatter, and reveal another scene. This time, this scene is a memory, a playback of the day she first found out that Jeb was gone. Then her surroundings start flashing, showing her bits and pieces of things that happened in the past. The flashing memories move so quickly that they soon become a white blur that is then overtaken by blackness. Max finds a door in this blackness, and through it she can see all her deepest fears. Despite her fear, she runs through when she hears the sound of Angel's screams, coming from behind that terrifying door.

Ok, so I lied, that was a long summary, but that's the gist of what happened. Anyway, here's the next chapter, and I warn you, the first section of the chapter is probably going to be confusing. It's actually designed to raise more questions (and up the suspense). So please please please bear with me. All questions will be answered soon. For now, just read carefully and understand that something very weird is happening outside of Max's dream…

Disclaimer: I do not own Maximum Ride…but I DO own everything that she does in this story. So HA.

XXXXXXXXX Chapter 2 Part 1: Invisible

Fang jolted awake. Well, jolted was a gross exaggeration. Jolting was something Max, wired as always, might have done. But Fang? Nope, not a chance. Calmly, he lay with his eyes closed for a few seconds, and then, after opening them, he turned over to see what it was that had woken him.

Wait, what? The hell? Okay, screw calm and collected…

Struggling up with as much speed as possible, Fang stumbled over to where Max lay, twitching and moaning on the ground. He watched in horror as her eyes rolled back, and curling up into a ball, she rocked back and forth. Abruptly, the twitching stopped and her whole body stiffened. Troubled brown eyes flew open. Glazed and unseeing, they stared straight ahead, and reaching forward, Max moved her hand in a twisting motion…almost as if she was turning something, or opening a door…

With a strangled gasp, Max stopped breathing.

"Hell, we've got a problem!" shouted Fang. And promptly clapped a hand over his mouth. Because instead of his own smooth and controlled voice, a rough, grating growl, edged with a hint of a feral snarl, had scraped its way out from between his lips. An Eraser's voice. He glanced nervously down at Max. But no, she hadn't heard anything. She still wasn't freaking breathing.

A tinny voice rang out faintly. "Damnit, turn on the voice modulator, you idiot!" A slight pause. "No you stupid piece of crap, turn it to the FANG setting!" The voice was coming from Fang. Not from his mouth, but it was clear that the tinny, mechanical voice was coming from somewhere within Fang, like background noise.

"Watch it, Fang." The Gasman snapped, sending a hard glance in Fang's direction.

Fang's voice was back to normal. "Well, what the hell would you have done? I mean, this isn't even our real job, we're just substitutes for god's sake. What do we do?! She isn't breathing. We can't let the subject die, or whatever it is that it's doing. As much as I'd love to finish off that freak, we can't. Batchelder would kill us."


Max stood with her forehead leaning against the chillingly cold door she had just slammed shut, Angel's screams echoing in her ears. As soon as she'd registered what was on the other side of the door, she'd immediately turned around and closed her eyes, sweat starting to bead on her forehead. Gripping the metal doorknob tightly with one hand, she struggled to breathe evenly. Heck, she was struggling to breathe, period. The overpowering scent of antiseptics and the sterile, dead smell of the white walls that enclosed her, were creeping their way into her head, unlocking memories she had buried long ago. Her breath shuddered, and she shivered compulsively as the ice cold and artificial air conditioning washed over her clammy skin – only one coherent thought was running through her mind…


I can't do it.

I can't do it, I can't turn around and face this nightmare, not even to save Angel. Why is it that, even in my dreams, I have to be haunted by this living hell? God I hate this place, I hate the School, it's the only thing I've ever had to run from. And I'm Maximum Ride, I don't run from anyth–

I broke off from my mental breakdown, as I felt an odd tingling feeling spreading across my lower arm, and a stabbing pain concentrated near my left wrist. Looking down, I stared, as the scar on my forearm shimmered, and then started to fade away. The trophy of the one time I'd totally lost it, that day at the beach, was disappearing. Like nothing had ever happened.

"What the hell are you doing?"

"Are you crazy?"

"Want the chip out."

"You're going to bleed to death, you idiot!"

"Max, what were you doing?"

"I wanted to get the chip out."

"Well, forget it! The chip stays in. You don't get off that easy. You die when we die!"

"I'm sorry."

"Don't do it again."

"I won't."

Blood on the ground, on the sand, pooling around a 14-year old girl.


Her bloodshot eyes drip with pain and desperation.

chip out…

He knocks the shell out of her shaking hand. His eyes stand out, dark and burning, against a white, white face.

You idiot



Four kids plus one dog run up and watch her. Horrified.

chip stays in…

His angry, jerky movements hide his fear. He hides everything.

heart attack…

They love her.

that easy…

She hates herself.

I'm sorry…

God, I'm sorry Fang. It feels like its been weeks, months, years even, since that day, with the shell, and the chip, and me, flipping out. What was it, last week? I don't know what was wrong with me. What's the heck is wrong with me now?

I looked down and rubbed at the spot where the pale, jagged scar had once been. Once. It was gone now. What is freaking wrong with this crazy dream? Isn't it enough that my normal life already completely sucks? If you could call it normal, or even believable. Somehow, I doubt that blood-thirsty wolf mutants, sicko scientists that want to take me apart, and an annoying voice in my head, really count as being 'normal.' But what would I know?

I mean, I'm such an expert on leading a normal life. Right.

A harsh voice snarled out from behind me: "What the hell is this?"

I flipped around, and nearly socked an Eraser in the eye with the fist I instinctively shot out in front of me. Not, that that would have been a problem. Baring my teeth menacingly, I launched myself at that furry, godforsaken excuse of a puttycat. 'Cause you know what? To heck with my phobia of The School. Angel needs me. There you have it. Maximum Ride, saving the world, one bird kid at a time.

Readying myself for one of my infamous roundhouse kicks, I took aim…and stopped. My foot thudded back down to the ground as what I was seeing finally caught up to my brain. The Eraser wasn't looking at me. It didn't even notice me, even though it was standing right next to me. I stared, in total astonishment, as I realized that the Eraser had actually been talking to the whitecoat in front of him. And apparently, both were totally unaware that there was one confused and loopy freak watching them in the white hallway.

Wait, did I just say that? Ok, so I lied, there wasn't just one freak in the hallway, there were three. I'm pretty sure that whitecoats and Erasers count as freaks too.

The Eraser and whitecoat were poring over a clipboard together…since when were Erasers intelligent enough to read? Must be some new breakthrough, like, Eraser 5.0. But I mean, smart Erasers? Don't make me laugh. The Eraser was pointing excitedly at something on the clipboard with one clawed finger that was flecked with bits of a dark, sullen brown; blood. Gross. Something about the data sheets and statistics on the clipboard had obviously caught his attention, so I decided that that was the reason for his outburst of, "What the hell is that?" This had nothing to do with me. I could get used to this.

Then I remembered. Angel! I couldn't hear her screaming anymore, but I knew I had to find her, and make sure that she was all right, even if this was only a dream. Setting my teeth and trying to ignore the white walls around me, I started running in a direction that actually, come to think of it, looked rather familiar. But not before punching first the Eraser, and then the whitecoat, in the head. Hey, I couldn't help myself. As I had suspected, my fists passed right through them, as if I was made of air or something. But as I turned to start running down the hallway, I did notice, with some satisfaction, that both men (well fine, one of them wasn't a man) were shivering and looking slightly unnerved, eyes darting suspiciously around the empty hall.

I was running. Hurtling through the hallways. Some force was leading me irrevocably forwards. Left down a hallway. Another left. Right. Left. Right. Right. Straight. God these hallways all look the same. Left. Right.

Suddenly, I started slowing. Gasping for breath, I realized that my sides were heaving, as if I'd just run a marathon. What? I hadn't run that much, why was I already getting so tired? Panting, I stopped in front of a white – big surprise – door, and bent over, leaning my hands on my knees. Can't. Breathe. Too. Tired.

I glanced up at the door I had stopped next to, and looked down again, still huffing and trying to catch my breath. Wait… My head shot up, eyes widening with shock. What. The. He-eck.

Room MFI1471

My eyes ran quickly over the sign on the door. My mind registered the door's long, rectangular window that was covered up with black paint, probably to keep people from looking in. Or maybe to keep any light from reaching the dark little room on the other side. Stepping forward, I reached out my hand, and traced, with one, trembling finger, the outline of the small picture of wings that had been clumsily etched into the black paint from the inside.

Room MFI1471

God, why this room.

This is definitely one strange and twisted dream.

This room…is where I first met Fang and Iggy.

Years and years ago.

Something told me that Angel was inside. Clenching my teeth and desperately trying to control the adrenaline that was rushing through my already too-hyped up body, I moved over and prepared to walk through the door. But I hesitated.


Jerking back, I stared as the door shook in front of me. Clearly, someone inside wanted to get out, and they wanted to get out badly. I waited for my heart to restart, and then, before my mind could catch up with me and tell me to stop, I rushed through the door, without opening it, just as if I was made of air. Made of air, and invisible. I mean, heck, what could happen? This is a dream. Nothing's going to hurt me.

I was wrong.


A/N: Well, there you have it. Part 1 of Chapter 2. Don't worry, I'll be posting part 2 very soon (this chapter was getting long so I'm splitting it in two). I know that this whole thing was probably very confusing, but be patient, and you'll get your answers pretty soon. Something very strange is definitely happening though, both inside and outside of the dream. I'm trying to make this as original and suspenseful as possible. Once again, if you have questions or constructive criticism, or if Max is being totally OOC, please REVIEW! I love reviews, even anonymous ones. They tell me if my fanfic completely sucks, or if I should keep going. Thanks 8D

P.S. Can anyone guess how I came up with the room number? MFI1471

I should probably add that, even though in the previous chapter, Max could see her fears through that transparent door, that was an illusion. It was THE SCHOOL behind the door, not those fluctuating fears. The fears were just part of the whole ordeal Max has been going through in this dream.

And Myrah: who says Maxie's gonna wake up? Maybe she will, maybe she won't…dun dun duuuun

4. Chapter 2 Pt 2: Endless Impossibilities

A/N: Okie dokie people, here's Part 2 of Chapter 2…once again, things are guaranteed to be confusing, but hey, that's what suspense is all about, right? Well, ok, fine, not really, but you get the idea. And, of course, THANK YOU REVIEWERS. I thanked you guys properly on my profile page, so go check.

People seemed to like the whole summary idea, so here's a summary of Part 1 of Chapter 2:

When Max runs through the door in her dreams, her body outside of the dream stops breathing. Fang discovers this, and when he yells to alert the rest of the Flock, instead of his own voice, out comes the rough voice of an Eraser. Fang's voice is changed back to normal, and the Flock tries to figure out what to do with Max. In doing so, they reveal that they are connected in some way to the whitecoats of the School (ok, the summary makes this sound really weird, so just try to stay open-minded and wait to see what's really going on, in the next couple of chapters). Max, meanwhile, is still caught in her dream. After running through the door in her dream, she finds herself in The School. Overcoming her phobia of the School in order to save Angel, whom she heard screaming earlier, Max also encounters an Eraser and a whitecoat. When the Eraser and whitecoat fail to notice her, Max becomes confident that, in this dream, no one can see her. She starts running through the halls, looking for Angel, and eventually stops in front of a room. The same room where she first met Fang and Iggy, while they were all still trapped in the School. Someone inside the room is trying to get out, so Max, already drawn to the room, walks through the door, and into the room, to see if she can find Angel.

Hmm…I am really bad at summaries, so just remember, that these summaries are only to make sure that readers understand the basics of what is happening.

On with the show!


Chapter 2 Part 2: Endless Impossibilities

(A/N: Sorry, I bet my chapter titles suck)

Max was still lying on the ground, and she still wasn't breathing. She looked frozen, like time had stopped somehow, but had only stopped for her.

Gazzy glowered down at Max's still face. "The whitecoats are going to kill us if they find out what's happened."

"Why the hell isn't she breathing, Fang?"

"Just shut up…err…Nudge. How would I know?"

"Um, maybe because you're the leader of this outfit?"

"Whatever," growled Fang. "Maybe something went wrong with the machinery."

A twig snapped next to him, and he swiveled sharply around on instinct, knocking Angel over in the process.

Fang's patience was growing thinner by the second. "Get out of my way, you idiot."

Angel lithely jumped up to her feet and snarled. "I'm not the idiot here." Reaching back, she packed every ounce of power she had into one tightly coiled fist, and brought it slamming up into Fang's cheekbone. Stepping swiftly back, she glared down at her fingers and muttered, "What I wouldn't give for my claws...could have ripped his pathetic throat out…"

Fang, meanwhile, was doubled up on the ground, clutching his face, and uttering a stream of profanities.

"God that hurts…what the hell was that for?!"

Angel glared up at him wildly, a gleam of rebellion and disgust in her eyes. Her hands were still locked into a rigid, claw-like shape, and her teeth were bared. "Just because Batchelder made you the leader this time, doesn't mean you can push me around. Got that? Or next time I'm gonna whup your sorry a–

"Jeez ok, just shut it!" He touched his cheek tenderly and winced as his fingers ran over the large purple bruise that was rapidly spreading over the left side of his face. "Great. I have a bruise now, how the heck am I going to explain that if the subject starts breathing again, and wakes up?!

Angel smirked. "Just say you, oh, I don't know, ran into a tree or something."

The look on his face…Fang only just barely restrained himself from lunging at Angel. His face flushed with rage, he slammed his fist into the nearest tree trunk in frustration, leaving a deep indent…and started howling in pain. His knuckles were a bloody mess of splinters and damaged skin.

"Smart," Iggy grunted, the sarcasm very obvious in his voice.

"Well, Angel," Fang snarled, "If that Max freak wakes up, how am I going to tell her that I ran into a tree, when, according to Batchelder, this Fang guy never does stupid things like that?! Like, he's Mr. Calm, Cool, and Collected, or some crap like that..." (A/N: Yeah, I know Fang was supposedly just talking about himself. That's not a typo. Just go with the flow.)

Gazzy broke into the fight. "Everybody just shut up! While you've been arguing, has anyone bothered to notice that the freak hasn't been breathing for 10 minutes?! Too hell with all your arguing about what's going to happen when she wakes up…she looks like she's dead. So someone needs to tell the whitecoa–

Iggy interrupted. "First of all, I don't know how I got stuck with a pack of idiots like you." Gazzy made a rude gesture behind Iggy's back. "Second of all, she's not dead. I checked. She still has a pulse, and she hasn't gone all cold and corpsy yet.

Total sniggered. "Corpsy? Great word choice."

The blind kid rounded on the smug little dog. "Alright, you know what? I–

Suddenly, Fang cocked his head to the side. Eyes unfocused, he appeared to be listening to something. The other Flock members, minus Max, who was still down and out for the count, stopped their arguing and gathered around him. Waiting for their instructions.

With a dizzy shake of his head, Fang came back to reality. "Okay, the Erasers on watch have finally notified the whitecoats. Ha. I bet it took them so long to sound the alarm because they were worried that they did something wrong. Which of course, is never a good thing." He slid one finger across his throat, in the universal 'You haven't got much longer to live' sign. "Batchelder's coming too. Wants to see what's going on and why the freak, I mean, Max, isn't waking up."

Nudge spoke up. She hadn't said a word during the whole fight. "So…does that mean we're getting out of here? And out of these pathetic little birdkid bodies?"

"Yep," growled Fang, a wolfish grin on his face.

"The real Flock is on their way."

(A/N: Yes, that was probably vastly confusing – and hopefully interesting? –…but anyway, keep reading and it'll all become clear in…2 to 3 chapters. Sorry!)


Max's POV

I gulped.

Five pairs of eyes were watching the door, glinting from out of the shadows. The eyes flitted back and forth, searching for whatever had just entered the room (me). It was almost as if they could sense that something was different, that there was a presence there that didn't belong…eerie.

I'd just walked through that door in the School, and my stomach clenched as I watched those eyes carefully, trying to gauge whether or not those eyes belonged to Erasers, whitecoats, or maybe even some failed experiments, trapped in cages. Why was I torturing myself like this? Why did I feel drawn to this room, when there were so many other hellholes around the School to choose from?

And where was Angel?

The room was dark, but even with my raptor vision, it was still hard for me to recognize anything. I could just barely make out the outlines of the five shapes – were they people? – in front of me. Thank god that no one could see me in this dream…

"What is that?" one of the five shapes whispered.

Oops. Spoke too soon. I guess they could see me.

My eyes were slowly adjusting to the darkness of the tiny prison, and when I could finally see who these people were, I felt both a pang of relief and a stab of pain and guilt.

Relief, because I loved them with all my heart, and felt incomplete without them.

Pain, because they were here, suffering with me.

And guilt…because a very small and selfish part of me was glad they were with me, so that I wouldn't have to be brave in this dream all by myself. Now, I had someone to protect, and of course, that's what I do best. Not that I would admit that to anyone.

It was the Flock. My family.

I skimmed my eyes over them, checking them out to make sure they weren't hurt. Just like in real life. And just like in real life, they didn't look too good.

Breathing a sigh of relief, I registered that Angel was here, and safe. But why the heck had she been screaming before? Angel's golden hair looked limp and unwashed, and instead of being held neatly back in fuzzy cornrows, her hair was out in loose, messy curls. She looked exhausted and painfully thin, and my heart hurt just looking at all the cuts and bruises that covered her little body and face. Actually, everything about her looked vaguely different, from the clothes she wore (a ragged t-shirt and pair of jeans that I'd never seen before) to the defeated look on her face. Only the big, blue eyes, that I knew so well, for all 6 years of her existence, were the same.

Holding her hand tightly was her older brother. Gazzy. I almost smiled at how protective he was being. But then I remembered. Oh, right, this is The School. He has every right to be.

Nearest to me was Fang, his stance tense and darkly angry. Abruptly, I realized that he had been the one who'd been trying to knock the door down. Since when was he that strong? He was frozen in a position that suggested that he'd just been about to charge at the door again. Which I'm sure is what he would've done, if I hadn't come waltzing in out of nowhere, straight through the door.

"Fang, you guys, you're here too?" I cringed as the words left my mouth. Well, no duh.

Instinctively, I walked forward with the intention of a group hug. God knows we all needed one. (And hey, this is my dream, I can do what I want, right?) Who cares if Fang isn't exactly the huggiest person in the world. Or that Iggy is blind and Nudge is a talkaholic. All I knew was that now, I was as safe as I was going to get, because even though we were all trapped in the School, and I was trapped in this creepy dream, we were together. Even though I was sure that this dream flock wasn't real, just a figment of my imagination, I didn't care. It was them, and we were safe. For now. And that was good enough for me.

Fang stepped back, and faster than I thought possible, he and Iggy gathered the younger kids behind them. Slack-jawed with shock, confusion, and hurt, I only just barely felt the pain as Fang, my best friend, slammed me back against the door. He glared down at me, and whispered in a voice so cold and deadly and biting that I flinched…

"Who are you, and how the hell do you know my name?"


A/N: Okay…good, bad, just plain ugly? I don't know why, but I have this weird, bad feeling about this chapter…so can you guys review and tell me what you think? Am I just being paranoid? (i.e., is the part where Max goes to give a group hug too…OOC?) Pick an adjective or two that describes this chapter: good, bad, confusing, cheesy, wonderful, corny, too-convenient, interesting, suspenseful, weird. Feel free to mix and match. Just kidding.

I hope this wasn't too confusing. The next few chapters will really start explaining some of this mumbo-jumbo…like, why the Flock was being so so so out of character. I mean, Angel was being a total beast, Fang was showing pain and emotion, and being mean to everybody, Iggy and Gazzy were definitely not their normally cheerful and sarcastic selves, and Nudge WASN'T TALKING. The Answers…coming soon. If you have any questions about things you don't understand, just ask in a review, or send me a private message. Remember: stay open-minded.

Oh yeah. This is how I came up with the room number MFI1471:

Obviously, MFI stands for Max, Fang, and Iggy, and I got the numbers by corresponding letters to numbers. You know, that system where A is 1, B is 2, C is 3. So, I took N, G, and A, for Nudge, Gazzy, and Angel, and came up with 14, 7, and 1…weird, right?

But I like Set.Me.Free.123's idea better. She guessed that MFI stood for Max, Fang, and Iggy, and that the numbers stood for the years Max was at that room in the School with Fang and Iggy. Ages 1, 7, and 14. Much cooler than my original idea. I might actually use that in my story, so if you see it, you know where it came from.

5. Chapter 3: Rejection

A/N: Here's the next, and very muchly long-awaited chapter. I'm sorry guys and thanks for being patient! Err, I was going to have a summary, but please, I think it would be much easier if you just go back and reread the previous chapter. You know, refresh your memories, since it has taken me so long to post this. That would be really helpful, and you won't be so confused. Thanks.


Chapter 3: Rejection

I just stared. Seriously, that's all I was capable of for the moment. Shock had frozen my brain, and I could barely remember how to breathe, let alone the other exceedingly complicated concepts of talking, moving, or even thinking. I. Just. Stared.

Looking down, I was able to register that Fang, Fang, was holding me roughly up against the door, so that my feet were dangling, my toes just barely grazing the floor. In this awkward position, I was almost eye to eye with him, and for the briefest of seconds, I saw the anger and confusion that were seething in the depths of his almost black eyes. Then they closed off, and became the expressionless chips of stone that I was used to.

His eyes narrowed, and that's about when I came to my senses. Normally, I would have attempted to stay calm longer, but jeez, this dream was getting on my nerves. So basically, I lost it.

"What are you doing Fang?! Get off of me, and hell yes I know your name!" I've known you for what, forever? Wh–

Struggling wildly, I whisper-screamed at him, and attempted to kick him with my lethally swinging feet, so that he'd get off of me. Ignoring my angry words, he suddenly slapped a hand over my mouth. Glaring at him, I tried to bite him (when me and Fang had fought, back at the old house in the good ol' days, we'd always taken it upon ourselves to use the dirtiest, most underhanded fighting moves as possible), but he only shoved me harder back against the door.

The breath whooshed out of my lungs, and I finally stopped struggling, as I tried to figure out if they had collapsed or not. But I didn't stay silent for long. Hey, I might be no Nudge, but I am quite capable of talking, especially when the person I am apparently trying to reason with a) doesn't know who I am, b) is, or was, my best friend, and c) is doing his very best to strangle me while, may I add, crushing me against a very cold, and very hard door.

I choked out my next words. How feeble of me. "Fang, what are you talking about? It's me. You know, the one person you love to annoy the heck out of the most? The one person who can still totally kick your butt? Your best friend? ME. Part bird, human, mom, sister, leader of this Flock. Ring a bell?"

While I was talking, I watched as Fang just looked at me in total confusion and detached blankness. But, surprisingly, it was when I reached the part about me being leader of the Flock, that I got any reaction out of Fang.

He leaned closer, until be were almost nose to nose, and growled in a low and tight voice. "I don't know who the hell you are, but you are not, and never will be, the leader of this Flock. I'm the leader here. Now, you're going to tell us what you're doing here, right now, or I promise you, I'll have to kill you."

I was bewildered for a few seconds, and then I finally realized what had been so shocking. Fang…had actually spoken a complete sentence. Several of them, in fact. Even more astounding. I decided that it would be better if I focused completely on this little phenomenon, instead of paying attention to what Fang had actually said. It sounded too painful. But, no luck. His next words completely blew me away.

"I don't trust you, so answer me!"

A wave of unbidden hurt and disappointment flooded over me, crashing unremorsefully onto my head. I sagged. What's wrong with me? Why should I care what this dream-Fang thinks? It's only a dream. Pull yourself together Max.

But I couldn't.

Abruptly, a look of pain flitted across Fang's face, and he dropped me, backing away from me as quickly as he could. When I'd picked myself up from the floor, the weird look on his face was gone, replaced with one of disgust. I went back to staring; my tongue appeared to have gone on vacation. Go figure.

Feeling suddenly alone, I pulled my gaze away from Fang's face and glanced over at the rest of the Flock, still hiding behind Iggy. All of them looked horribly emaciated, and I was stunned by how defeated they looked. Whenever we were feeling down, we always found a way to keep going, because we had each other. Now though, I could see, from their slumped postures and dead eyes, that they had long given up hope.

Nudge had her thin arms around Angel and Gazzy, and she was staring at me from around Iggy with big eyes. Like a little deer, caught in the headlights of a car. Her eyes seemed even bigger than usual, because the skin on her gaunt face was drawn tightly back over her bony cheekbones. Weakly, I tried to smile at her, but she flinched away. My expression felt twisted and frozen, so I didn't try to move it, for fear that my face would shatter from the tension, just like my heart.

Carefully, I shifted my gaze over to Iggy, and felt only marginally better when I caught sight of his familiar strawberry-blond hair and pale face. I tried to edge around Fang, but he growled at me, so I retreated back to the door. I opened my mouth, and embarrassingly, my voice cracked when I started to talk.


Iggy looked at me warily. I could tell that he didn't trust me either. "…yeah?"

"Iggy, you know me, right? Remember how I would always be up in your face, telling you to quit trashing the house with your bombs? And you'd always steal my stuff to get back at me…" I grinned weakly.

Something's different…

"What bombs? What house?"

"What are you talking about Iggy? Bombs. Your number one pride and joy. Come on Ig, it's me. Your annoying older sister…

Something isn't right…

And that's when I realized what was different.

"Iggy. What's wrong with your eyes?" Or rather…what wasn't wrong with them…

He looked at me again, looking faintly disgusted and confused at the same time. "Um…it's none of your business, freak?" My brain was so messed up by now that I didn't mind the sarcastic tone he was using. Actually, I felt better hearing it.


"Just go away and quit bothering us."

I narrowed my eyes at Fang. You know what? I've had enough of acting so helpless. I've got to do something. Be myself, boss people around, save the world, whatever it takes.

I pinched myself.

I mean, what better way to wake myself up from this freaky nightmare? I pinched myself again, harder, on the arm, and only vaguely felt the pain, as if it was coming from far away, at a great distance. At any other time, I would have been totally psyched to not be feeling pain…but now, pain was exactly what I wanted. Otherwise – a spasm of worry crossed through me – what if I was stuck in this dream, with no way to wake up? How long would I stay here? A minute, an hour, a week? Forever?

I gulped, and then smacked myself on the forehead for thinking such stupid, weak thoughts. I peered over at the five other birdkids standing around me. They were watching me warily, as one would watch an escaped, deranged lunatic. And with good reason. They'd just watched me pinch myself, twice, and then hit myself, for apparently no reason at all. I was definitely crazy.

I clutched my stomach, feeling sick, as another wave of horror came crashing down on me. Fang winced, and I glanced up at him, wondering what the heck his problem was. He met my eyes with another black glare, and this time, I couldn't look away. I probed his eyes with my own, hunting for even the smallest spark of recognition or, at the very least, the ever-present and infuriating smirk that never really seemed to leave his face.

I was doomed to be disappointed. His eyes were as dead looking as the eyes of the rest of the Flock. I looked around at them again.

Nudge was biting her lip, and for once, she wasn't talking…I took that as a bad omen.

Gazzy still looked absolutely petrified, though he was trying to hide his fear from his sister. I saw his eyes rest on something in the far corner of the room, and I followed his gaze apprehensively. There was a tiny metal cage in that corner, and it wasn't empty. My insides lurched horribly. I couldn't tear my eyes away from the sight. Miserably, I caught sight of the wings…another avian, a failed experiment from the looks of it. She…he…it – I couldn't really tell – looked near death, with the gruesome sores and gashes that covered its body, and the faintly glowing, silver liquid that was pooling around its broken body, in place of blood.

I looked away quickly, with a sympathetic and horrified shudder, as my ears registered the horrible hissing sound, and realized that the bird-creature was being burned alive, by its own unnaturally silver blood. And there was no way that I could help it, seeing as it was locked in a cage, doomed to die with no chance at escape. I wanted to help…but in this dream I was, with some exceptions, insubstantial as a ghost.

When I could focus on Fang again, I noticed that he too had followed our glances at the poor thing in the corner. He was still looking, and his already pale face was rapidly turning a lovely corpse-like white. His teeth gritted together, and his eyes looked in danger of rolling back in his head. Alarmed, I pushed away from the wall I was pressed up against, walked quickly over to him, and shook him by the shoulder.

"Fang, what the heck is wrong with you?"

His eyes broke contact with the creature in the corner, and shifted cautiously over to me. He shoved me away, and glared balefully at me again, his voice dangerous and ominous.

"Get. Out."

I felt half-strangled. I knew that I looked and sounded half-strangled as well. Taking a deep breath, I rushed forward, and before he could back away, I grabbed his wrist. My heart almost stopped when I realized that I could wrap my fingers all they way around his wrist. Just how thin was he? Was any of them?

He felt real. I couldn't be sure that this was only a dream anymore. So I did what I knew I needed to do. Holding tightly onto his arm – he was viciously trying to yank away, and I was only just barely holding on – I reached my free hand back, and roughly yanked out one of my feathers. Tan, with a dash of freckly spots across one edge. I grimaced at the sharp pain, and Fang stopped struggling. I looked up and locked onto his eyes, trying to communicate to him my pain, and make him remember me. He stared back at me, frozen, and for once, anger wasn't clouding his eyes. Only confusion.

Roughly I yanked his hand towards me, and placed my feather there, closing his fingers around the feather, just a soft little speck of a memory.

"You can trust me, Fang." My voice was just a whisper, but I knew by the way his jaw clenched, that he had heard me.

I let go of him then, and he opened his fist, looking down at the feather, a peculiar expression on his face, one that I couldn't understand. He looked up at me, and for a moment, he looked almost sad, his forehead creasing. But then the glare returned.

My throat was most definitely closing up. I need to get out of here. Now.

Quickly, I spun around and made for the door, hoping fervently that I was still transparent enough to run through. I glanced back at the five frightened faces – well, only three were frightened, the other two were just angry – and turned away. I was almost at the door when Angel called after me.

"Come back soon…Max."

I froze.

Slowly, I turned back to look at her. She took a step forward, and gazed right back at me, her pale, beautiful little angel's face confident and hopeful. She smiled a tiny smile and I almost ran back, to hug her and thank her for knowing me.

But Iggy grabbed her around the waist and dragged her back safely behind him. The spell was broken. He glared at me, his blue eyes penetrating, and gently scolded Angel for speaking to me, the unwanted stranger, the real freak, amongst all these other freaks.

Forcing the sob that was threatening to explode in my chest back down, I let momentum carry me forward, as I lunged once again for the door. Quietly, I slipped out, and collapsed outside, in the white, sterile hallway of the School. I looked up at the door, and when I caught sight of the wings that were etched into the black paint covering the window, Confusion and Anguish ganged up on me, overwhelming me with their blows.

I slumped against a white wall, cringed back from its coldness, and let my conflicting emotions have me. Not very Max-like, I know, but what would you do if suddenly, the only people that you care about, that you love, in the whole wide world, hate you? Don't know you, and can't remember anything you once had with them? You would cry too, right?

My throat felt raw. The tears slid down my face. I wrapped my shaking arms around my knees and concentrated on not hyperventilating. Not that I expected to have much luck with that…

Where is my family? Where is my real Flock?


A/N: I made it long, to make up for not posting for so long. Hope you guys liked it, and I would absolutely love you guys if you could post comments/reviews! And don't hesitate to ask questions, any questions at all.

Oh yeah, just in case any of you didn't understand why it was so significant that Angel said, "Come back soon, Max."

It's significant because, Max never says her own name, so this proves that somehow, Angel knows her. Max only ever said things like, "It's me."

I'll post the next chapter as soon as I can.


6. Chapter 4: Unwanted

A/N: Okay, here's the next chapter. I think I kind of lost my JP-ish style of writing…no one minds, right? Read on, and tell me what you think. And sorry, no summary this time.


Chapter 4: Unwanted

Max's POV

I clenched and unclenched my fingers. The knuckles became white, as the skin on my hands stretched with each clench. White like the walls around me. Jeez, these whitecoats need to hire different interior decorators. I laughed halfheartedly to myself.

I felt better, now that I couldn't see that Flock, couldn't see the mistrust in their eyes, couldn't hear the sound of the bird-creature as it burned to death. It was easier to convince myself that all this was just a dream, and that I would wake up soon. Feeling more idiotic by the second, I forced myself to stop crying, and get a grip on myself. Why am I wasting time, falling to pieces like this? I'm stronger than that…aren't I?

I rested my head on the wall behind me, and closed my eyes. Something was tugging at the edges of my consciousness. Something important. But every time I got close to remembering, the memory slipped away again.

My thoughts drifted.

Gazzy's POV

Who was she? What was she? She was like, a ghost or something. She just came straight through the door! That would have been super cool, except that she seemed really upset. It's weird, but…I really wanted to give her a hug. Even though I've never seen her before…

Nudge's POV

That girl seemed kind of familiar, even though I'm sure I've never met her before. I mean, it's not like we've ever left the School, so, well, no duh. The only people I've ever known are my family, the Flock. I don't know why I got so scared when she smiled at me. I guess…it was just kind of unexpected. And besides, Fang brought us up to be suspicious of everything and everyone. But still…it felt sort of right, I guess, when she was here. But that's strange, isn't it?

Iggy's POV

Heck, that was the freakiest thing that's happened to us in a long time. And that's really saying something, seeing as how we're winged mutants who live in a laboratory surrounded by sick scientists and wolf-men. What was it that she said about my eyes?..."What's wrong with your eyes?"… How does she know I'm color blind? I mean, I definitely haven't seen her before. She was looking at me pretty strangely, though. Like she expected me to be blind or something. Are you kidding me? I'm not that much of a freak. They fixed me. I'm ok now. Well, almost ok. (A/N: Iggy's color-blind. He used to be blind, but they were able to help him. He hardly remembers that he was ever blind)

I took the girl's feather from Fang, just so I could feel the texture. For some reason, I recognize the feather, by its feel. I know it, just as well as I know any of my own feathers. It's…unsettling. I can hear her crying, on the other side of the door. I can't imagine why she would be crying…I don't even know how she knows us. What I do know though, is that, I don't want her to cry. Somehow, it just feels wrong that she's crying. I guess I'll ask Fang about it later. He'll probably know what to do.

Fang's POV

I don't know what to do. I won't admit it to the rest of them, because I have to be strong for them. I have to protect them, from things like what just happened. Was that another trick? Another test designed by the whitecoats? It had to be. She came through the door. Last time I checked, it's impossible for humans to do that. But…that girl…and her feather. Every time I looked at her face…I kept wanting to tell her that everything would be ok. But I didn't. I'm sure this is all just a sick joke. I've got to be stoic. Stoic and calm and controlled.

I try to ignore her. I try to block out her crying. But I can't. And I don't even know why.

Angel's POV

I don't know why I did that. I mean, that name just popped out of nowhere. Max. And for a second, I was sure that I knew her, and trusted her. I wanted her to come back. It felt like she'd be good at protecting us. But then, what about Fang? He's always protected us, for like, forever. Isn't he good enough?

I don't know. I'm confused.

I wish I could have read her mind. It all just felt like a blur. I haven't told the rest of the Flock yet, but I've started to be able to hear people's thoughts. I don't want them to think I'm a freak. It's kind of scary. I've never been able to do that before.

I…I wish Max would come back.

(A/N: Angel can only just barely read minds. So, she didn't come up with the name "Max" because she got it from Max's mind. Angel came up with the name on her own)

3rd Person POV

All five of them seemed frozen, lost in their own thoughts.

Fang was standing stiffly, his hands clenched tightly at his sides, glaring at the door. Iggy kept glancing at Fang. Every few minutes, he would open his mouth to say something, and every time, he thought better of it, and shut his mouth again. Instead, he kept silent, and absent-mindedly stroked the feather in his hand. There was a peculiar expression on his face. Recognition.

Gazzy, Nudge, and Angel were sitting together, identically confused expressions plastered on their faces. Angel squeezed her eyes tightly together. She stood up, and walked timidly over to where Fang was standing. Taking his hand, she peeked up at him, through the darkness of their literal prison. Fang looked down at her, his eyes softening just the tiniest bit. But then he glanced at the cage, sitting, almost forgotten, in the corner, and his eyes tightened again.

"Fang?" she whispered. "Are you ok?"

"Yeah, I'm fine Ange." He hesitated, and then bent down to ask her something, something that had been bothering him.

"Angel, how did you know that…girl. How did you know her name was Max?"

Angel looked away. She didn't want to answer that question yet. So she ignored it. She squeezed Fang's hand.

"Fang? When's Max coming back?"

Fang's jaw tightened, when he realized that Angel wasn't going to answer his question. Something very strange was happening here.

"She's not, Angel. She's not coming back. I'll make sure of that."

Max's POV

I grabbed for the elusive memory. Somehow, I felt that, if I could just remember that memory, I could understand why I had been so impulsive. Why I instinctively gave Fang my feather. And why I told him that he could trust me.

And then, suddenly, it came back to me. A memory from long ago, when I was just seven years old. I tried to fight the memory. What if I remembered something that I wanted to keep buried? What if I didn't want to remember? I fought. And I lost.


I am seven years old. I hate the color white. I hate needles. I hate The Whitecoats. I have wings, but I don't know how to fly. I am a freak, and my name is Max.

Jeb shakes my shoulder, and I wake up instantly. All I see at first, is the white lab coat, and not the face. So I flinch back, expecting a blow, or a kick. I expect pain. It doesn't come. Cautiously, I look up at the Whitecoat, and I recognize the face looking sadly down at me. It's Jeb. I...I think that I can trust him. When he looks at me, he looks at me like I'm a real person. The others look at me like…I'm a specimen that they can't wait to take apart. I'm scared of them. But I'm strong. I can fight them. I won't let them see my fear.

I look defiantly up at Jeb, and he smiles. Gently, he picks me up, and I wrap my arms around his neck. I'm big for my age, but light, so it's not hard to lift me. I look back down at the ground, and then I do flinch. I see the cage. My cage. I see pain and I see sadness and I see no hope for the future. I see the power of flight, locked up, and that's what hurts me the most. They've locked away freedom, and they don't even care.

For a moment, I'm surprised. Why wasn't I in the cage when Jeb woke me up? I guess he unlocked it, and pulled me out. But why didn't I notice? …my head feels funny. I guess I was drugged yesterday, after the experimental testing session. So of course I didn't wake up right away. I'm used to it. Really, being drugged is better than staying awake. When you're awake, there's pain. And I've had enough pain to last me forever.

"There's someone I think you should meet, Max." Jeb says to me, in a friendly voice. I just look at him, with big eyes. I'm not ready to talk to whitecoats yet. They've hurt me too badly. He sighs. I stare.

He walks out of the room that is my prison, and my home. It's tiny, more like a big closet, then a real room. I guess it's more than I could hope for.

We go up two flights, and turn right, then left, then go straight. We're walking down long, white, cold, sterile hallways. I'm not surprised. So I close my eyes. Tightly.

We stop in front of a white door. It has a long, thin, rectangular window, that's been covered with black paint. I wonder why. I start to get a little curious, so I glance at the room number.

Room MFI1471. I store it away in the back of my mind. Maybe it'll be useful later on.

Jeb pulls out a key, and carefully unlocks the door. It opens soundlessly. Jeb starts to go in, but I cringe back. I see what's in there. More cages. Hesitantly, Jeb strokes my long hair with one hand, to calm me down, I guess. I'm so surprised that I stop struggling.

Jeb walks into the room, and sets me down next to one of the cages. I get down on my knees, and look in, feeling pathetic and miserable and sad. It's a boy. A boy with wings, like me.

I strain my eyes to see the boy, through the darkness. He has strawberry-blond hair, blue eyes, and light colored wings. He's staring at me, and blinking quickly, like he can't believe what he's seeing. I sharpen my bird eyesight, and I can see the freckles that decorate his nose. It makes me want to laugh. So I smile. He looks startled, and then he flashes a smile back at me.

Jeb is smiling. He points at the cage.

"His name is Iggy, Max. Iggy."

I mouth the name. Iggy. He's still looking at me, but he isn't smiling anymore. I think it's because Jeb spoke. And Jeb's a whitecoat.

There's another cage, next to Iggy's cage. In it, I can see another boy. But this one doesn't make me want to smile. He's staring at me too. But his eyes are hostile. They glare at me, and his hands clutch the bars of his cage. So tightly, that his knuckles are white. His eyes are black. His longish hair, covering his eyes, is black. His wings are black too. But I don't mind. Any color is better than white. Black is…safe. It hides you from everything.

The boy is tense. He's shaking a little, and I can see, by the way his eyes are bugging out, that he hates cages even more than I do. Which is saying something.

He doesn't trust me. He doesn't want to be my friend. And that just makes me want to be his friend even more.

This time, Jeb is frowning.

"Fang. That's Fang."

Fang? I toy with the name in my head. What a strange name. I crawl closer to the cage. Abruptly, Fang lets go of the bars, and scoots back in the cage, as far back as he can go, which isn't much. He's still glaring at me. I feel a little hurt. I crawl even closer, so that I am kneeling directly next to both cages. Suddenly, I'm inspired.

Reaching back, I yank out two of my feathers. I wince, and Fang winces too. Dimly, I wonder why that is. I push one feather into Iggy's cage. He picks it up, and examines it incredulously. I smile again. Then I turn to Fang. I reach into his cage, and, since he's still close enough to touch, even though he's trying desperately to get away from me, I grab his wrist. I curl his fingers around my feather, and suddenly, he stops cringing away. He looks at me, an unspoken question in his eyes. I smile, and I speak. Everyone is surprised.

"You can trust me, Fang." I whisper softly, and at first, I'm afraid he didn't hear me. I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to speak again. But he stiffens slightly, so I know he heard me. But then, he's glaring at me again. I don't understand why, so I shrink back. Jeb picks me up again.

"I think that's enough visiting for now."

We leave. We return to my cage. Unwillingly, I'm placed back into my prison. The cage door is locked. Jeb locks the door of the room behind me, but not before throwing one last, sad look, back at me.

I still hate this place, but now, I have something to think about. Maybe, just maybe, I could have…friends? The concept is unfamiliar. I try to wrap my mind around it. It's difficult. Almost too difficult. But I manage.

I'm afraid to hope, but I do it anyway. Might as well.

A week later, Jeb takes me back to that room.

MFI1471. He's frowning. I take that as a bad sign.

Again, when he opens the door, I struggle against him, not wanting to enter the room. But this time, it's for a different reason. Iggy is crying.

This time, Jeb leaves me alone with them. Before he leaves and locks the door behind him, he flicks on a light, and whispers in my ear.

"Help him." I'm not quite sure which one he's talking about.

Cautiously, I look at Iggy. And what I see breaks my heart.

Iggy is lying on the floor of his cage, sobbing. He has bandages wrapped around his eyes, and they look bloody. The contents of my stomach heave around a little. I kneel by his cage, and I say his name quietly.


Startled, he stops crying. He tilts his head in my direction.


"Yeah, Iggy. It's me." Hesitantly, I ask a painful question. "What happened?"

Iggy stiffens. "I'm blind," he says bluntly. "They did something to my eyes." By "they," I know he means the whitecoats.

So I reach in and take his hand. I squeeze his hand, and make my statement. I'm sure of my decision.

"Don't worry Iggy. I'll be your friend."

He smiles slightly, through the tears that are leaking down his face, pouring from his forever ruined eyes.

"Ok." He fingers my feather, and I can see that he's memorizing it. That's the only way he can "see" now.

I get up, and back up until I can feel the door behind me. I'm waiting for Jeb to come back and get me. Absent-mindedly, I turn to the black paint that's covering the window, and I start doodling. I scratch out a pair of wings with my fingernail. Fang makes me jump, by speaking.


I turn back, and sit down in front of his cage. He moves up to the front of his cage, and reaches out a hand. I take what it is that he gives to me. A feather. A black feather, one of his own. I look up at him.

"I can't trust anyone Max." But I see the hint of a friendly challenge in his eyes. So I smile at him.



The memory faded away, and I sat there, frozen in shock. Suddenly, the etching in the door's window, the feather, my promise to Fang, had sudden meaning. I didn't want it to have meaning. And I didn't want it to be true. I wanted to wake up, and go back to my "normal" life, where at least, I could be certain that I had a family who loved me.

I got shakily up to my feet. With one last, fleeting look, at the door behind me, I started running. Running away from a problem that I didn't want to deal with. I never run away. Why am I running now?

I ran and ran, straight down the white hallway. I saw the window, down at the very end of the hallway. It's a window that looks out onto the world. Maybe that's my exit. I didn't feel very hopeful.

In my mad dash, I ran straight through two whitecoats, and one Eraser. They didn't notice. Fine by me.

When I reached the window, I didn't stop running. I kept on going. And jumped through. I was hoping to fly, and put as much distance between me and the School as possible. I passed through the window. But when I tried to stretch out my wings, they flopped uselessly on my back, feeling dead, and numb. They dragged me downwards, and gravity did the rest of the damage. I fell.

The wind whistled past me, as my falling body gathered speed. But strangely, I wasn't afraid. I felt more relieved, then afraid. Because this felt exactly like those dreams we all have once in a while. Where you're falling, and falling, and falling, and right before you hit the ground, you wake up. I was looking forward to the waking up part. I prayed to a god that I wasn't sure I believed in, that I would wake up, and everything would be back to normal.

The ground was rushing up towards me at frightening speeds. I squeezed my eyes shut. I didn't hit the ground. I wasn't going to be Max the Pancake today.

The world around me dissolved into blackness.

I was waking up.


A/N: So…what did you guys think? Was it too depressing? I didn't really mean for this story to take that depressing a turn…Oh well. Please review. And tell me if the characters are getting too OOC. Or if I suck at writing in other POVs besides Max's.

P.S. – I made Max seem weak in the memory on purpose. You'll see.

Thanks for reading, and the explaining chapter is coming up – you'll understand a lot better in the next chapter! AND THANK YOU REVIEWERS!!!