Take Me Over by Ashily

Category:Maximum Ride
Characters:Fang, Iggy
Published:2005-07-31 13:44:42
Updated:2006-04-17 17:38:25
Packaged:2021-05-07 02:21:36
Summary:Ch.10 Fang suffers an unfortunate accident, whilst the Flock does their best to move on. Note: This story has been abandoned, but I will put up the rest of what I have written anyways.

Table of Contents

1. Fall Behind Me
2. Going Under
3. Dear Enemy
4. Here's To Mourning
5. Scars
6. Sugar, We're Going Down
7. Welcome To Paradise
8. An Honest Mistake
9. Hey You
10. Heart Shaped Box

1. Fall Behind Me

Chapter I: Fall Behind Me.

Fang and Iggy had only recently discovered rock music, but they were already hooked. They'd attended around thirty concerts, all without a ticket of course, and had a total of forty-seven band tee-shirts. All bought via the endless Maximum Ride bank account. "Is this my Nirvana tee-shirt?" Fang turned at the sound of Iggy behind him, only to be hit head-on by a flying tee shirt. He muttered something to himself grumpily as he un-crumpled the black tee-shirt, he found himself staring into the face of a cartoon stick figure. He moaned and curtly told Iggy, "No, let me find it for you." And shuffled over to the pile of tee-shirts. "No! I'll do it!" Iggy insisted, motioning for him to go back to wherever he was before. Fang sat back down on the thin mattress, sighing at Iggy's stubbornness.

Fang was hit with at least a dozen more flying tee-shirts before they found the vintage Nirvana one Iggy had been searching for. Iggy insisted that he needed that exact tee-shirt. After all this was a Nirvana tribute concert. "Well you could have let me find it." Fang muttered incoherently as opened the door leading out of the small hotel room. "We. Are. Leaving!" He yelled, making sure that they were heard. If Sargent Maximum didn't know where they were Angel went into hysterics and Max into a very foul mood. Gasman was, thankfully, indifferent, as long as they eventually got home. As they each spread their wings on the top of the building, he couldn't help but wish that the very unique attachments on his back did not exist.

—At the Concert—

"Iggy!" Fang heard himself yell hoarsely as he pulled the other boy out of the way of another patron taking a stage dive. "Geroff!" was the reply from Iggy. He hated it when other people looked after him, but common? A six foot blind guy? At a rock concert? Fang heard himself yell again, this time he was cheering as Green Day left the stage and The Exies entered. As they set up their equipment, the lead singer came up to the mic. "If we could have a minute of silence to honor Kurt's memory as we play one of the most deeply touching songs to date," He said tuning his guitar. Fang immediately realized that what they were playing was Smells Like Teen Spirit. A few people cheered, but the majority took the words to heart and lit their lights in honor of the man. As the famed instrumental at the beginning of the song began those in the Mosh Pit thrashed wildly, the stage dives became more violent and the crowd lapped it up. They were abiding the request of the band, but they continued with their antics. "Load up on guns... bring your friends..." The words floated through the crowd, when a thought struck him. Why shouldn't he take a stage dive? There was really no reason! No reason at all that he shouldn't enjoy himself! He grabbed Iggy's shoulder and yelled in his ear "I'm gonna take a stage dive! YOU STAY HERE!" Iggy, who was quite pissed, answered with "I'm coming!" Fang raised his hand to protest, once again, Iggy was blind and Fang couldn't hold his hand the entire time. But something inside him told him he shouldn't care. Iggy could take care of himself. Instead he told Iggy to find him at the tee-shirt stand when the next band started. Iggy nodded, he had clearly not expected Fang to agree with his request but he was very excited. He clambered after Fang enthusiastically. When the pair arrived, they realized it had been crowd surfing, not stage diving, that had brought the moshers to them. There was a large security bar, and a rather nasty looking security guard. Fang was extinguished by this news, but he made the best of it and placed his hand on Iggy's shoulders and whispered to him, "Crowd surfing! Same plan! Boost me up!" Iggy complied and lifted him, and Fang felt a thousand hands on him. He drifted away, towards the back of the crowd. Leaving Iggy to his own devices. For some reason, he had no doubt that Iggy would end up okay.

With the lights out... It's less dangerous... Here we are now... Entertain us...

He felt the crowd let him down. He was now, unfortunately, at the back of the mass of people. Iggy would probably get here soon... Yes, Fang was quite pleased with himself. "Should we get him?" A low growl sounded from behind him. Fang paid it no mind, he was trying to see how he could get back in the pit. "Yes." Came a low disgruntled voice. And then everything went black.

A/N: Hi everyone! It's MascaraTears from the MaxRide site. This story is up there too, but I decided to bring it here!

2. Going Under

Chapter II: Going Under

It wasn't the noise that woke Fang, it was the lack of it. He heard no cheers or guitars. All he heard was silence. He pressed against the ground, it was cement. The concert was over, he missed it. Max was going to be so mad at him and Iggy. Wait, where was Iggy? He opened one eye, this wasn't the arena and Iggy was no where in sight. As far as he could tell, no on was there. An urgent question struck him, where was he? He combed his memory for answers, but found none. All he remembered was... stand in the back of the crowd and then... he didn't know. That's all he could remember. Shaking, he pulled himself up, tasting sweet blood in his mouth. But that was the least of his concerns. As he stood up he began to walk a circle around himself, where was he? And where was Iggy?

Maybe he went home.

That little voice chimed in again, the same one that said everything would turn out alright. It wasn't like Max's. This one Fang recognized as his own. It was the part of him that wanted everything to be normal, they didn't want them to be mutants. That didn't want them to be fighting the Erasers. That wanted everything to be okay... Fang wanted to believe it, but he knew better. The voice was wrong. Nothing was okay. It never had been and it never would be.

Fang looked to his right, and recognized the tree they had slept in so many weeks before. They- he, was in central park. Where Iggy was he didn't know. He eyed the bushes, could Iggy be lurking just beyond their confines? Fang rubbed his arms, he was freezing. This was his only lead, what else could he do? He trampled off through the bushes, just as he did so he was rammed by another person. Fang felt the wind knocked out of him as he fell back. He angrily picked himself up, spewing venomous looks at the foliage surronding him. He was just moving on to the grass when he recognized Iggy sprawled out in front of him. "Iggy!" He cried out in surprise, hurrying to pull up his comrad. "What- where are- what happened?" He said jerkily, he had a thousand questions he hoped Iggy could answer, but they were pretty much all summed up in that phrase. Iggy shook his head, putting his palm up as he caught his breath. He had been running, from where? Fang would have loved to ask. He scuffed the grass, waiting, hoping for his answer. Anytime now Iggy... "The- Erasers! Over there- other thi-" He panted, but was cut off by Iggy at the word 'Erasers'. Those monsterous beasts were here? He could hardly believe the words coming out of Iggy's mouth.

He's hearing things.

But Iggy had never been wrong about things like this... still...

Erasers wouldn't come here.

"A-are you sure?" Fang asked cautiously. "Well of course I am! I heard them! I smelled them! They're there!" Iggy yelled angrily, "I-" Fang tried to cut in, but Iggy was on a very angry roll. He'd only seen him like this twice before. When Max made him stay behind and when some lady on the street tried to coax him into getting a guide dog. He'd blown up at her in the middle of the street with everyone watching. Max, Fang and Gasman had to pull him down the street while Angel and Nudge set to the task of apologizing. But out of all the times, this was the angriest Fang had seen him.

"Sure! Don't trust the blind guy! He can't see anything so he can't know anything or be right about anything can he! CAN HE!"

"I didn't-"


"That's not what I meant!" Fang cried desperately.

"IT'S WHAT YOU WERE THINKING!" Iggy screamed, his anger still rising as he clenched both his jaw and fists.

"I- Iggy- Go back. Get Max and The Flock. I'll hold off the Erasers." Fang said, firmly clamping his hand on Iggy's shoulder. Iggy was still mad that he didn't stay behind but he seemed to realize now was not the time to talk about this. So instead of screaming at Fang he nodded and slipped off his shirt as he unfurled his wings. Flapping them gently, he slipped through the brush. Fang tore off on the ground, brushing away a stray branch and gapping in awe. There stood six full grown Erasers. Iggy was right. Suddenly Fang felt very guilty for doubting his friend, but he pushed the feeling back. Fang threw caution to the wind and launched himself at an Eraser as that was what he usually did in fights. The nearest one was a bit smaller so he easily jumped on it's shoulder, using his spare hand to box in it's head. The Eraser grumbled something under it's breath in an annoyed fashion and threw Fang off him. As Fang landed with a thud he distinctly heard a crack. Pain raced up his spine, through his wings, to every part of him. He felt his breath go ragged, his vision go black and the world spin. He couldn't breath, there was something on his chest. His eyes fluttered open and glimpsed the School's latest innovation.

It was, by school standards, powerful. The body of a jaguar, but instead of sleek black fur was covered in shining black scales. It's face was oddly snakelike, slits for a nose and narrow milk white eyes. Oh yes, and it had four inch venomous, Fang suspected they were venomous at least, fangs. How fitting. Fang didn't have the energy to fear it, he felt the pain going numb. He couldn't breath, he gasped shallowly, but he was unable to draw a breath. Fang remembered the other day he yelled as Gazzy for using his CD player, he shouldn't have done that. And when he was watching The Empire Strikes Back and Angel wanted to watch cartoons he should have let her. He shouldn't have tried to duct tape Nudge's mouth shut. He shouldn't have doubted Iggy, he shouldn't have read Max's journal, he shouldn't have-... he was too weak to carry on... The sounds of the hissing beast and the growling Erasers subsided as the silence took over his world.

Thanks guys!

GIRL IN STORY: Really? Thanks. Sorry this took so long!
Edward Elric 1467: I love Fang and Iggy! They rock:P

I'm SO sorry this took so long. I'm busy with this on another site (if you go over to the MaxRide website you'll find this somewhere on the boards, a word of warning though. It's up to chapter IX right now, so you'll get some huge spoilers.)

I hope to get the next chapter up in about a week, m'kay?

3. Dear Enemy

Chapter III: Dear Enemy

Is this what dying was like? Fang couldn't help but wonder. Pain was rocketing through every part of him...everything was spinning... was dying this painful? The only person that ever talked about death was Iggy... he was always very calm about it. He said it could happen at anytime so we couldn't just go around fearing it. He said he wasn't afraid of it. Now that Fang thought about it... it wasn't that bad. Not really... He felt a wave of warm sleepiness wash over him. Death was just the next great adventure... wasn't that it? Something of that sort... he hoped it was true. He would like to have a nice adventure after he died...Why were his ears ringing... wait, was it just his ears?


No, that wasn't just in his head he decided, but all the same he paid it no mind. He was dying after all... more important things to think about...

It's funny how calm he felt. Dying was suppose to be this big momentous thing and yet... he felt nothing. No resentment or regret at least...

An image of Max flickered across his vision.

So one actually... not bad. Fang relaxed a bit, and then realized he couldn't move. How perplexing. He tried to open his eyes, but no luck... sad, he would have liked to be looking at something when he died... was it just him or was the ringing getting faster?


Yes, it was definitely faster. Hey, it was louder too. Fang felt his senses heightening. The pain was getting worse, definitely worse.

"I think- I think he's coming to."

"Your kidding, he's been out of it for two weeks."

"No, I'm not kidding. See that line? That's his heart rate, it's- it's racing!"

Voices now too? Those definitely weren't in his head, this- this wasn't what dying was suppose to be like. This wasn't suppose to happen like this. Fang felt his heart thumping madly. Death, it was coming, right? He was going to die, right? Fang felt a tiny prick in his arm and just like that, everything was gone.

—Two Hours Later—
Fang's eyelids fluttered as he came back to his senses. His first thought was, he wasn't dead. Fang felt himself relax slightly, that had to be good, that he wasn't dead. After all being alive had it's advantages. He blinked rapidly, taking the room in all at once. It was very brightly lit and a rather vivid shade of white. Dots flickered before his eyes from the stark brightness of the room. As his mind began to calm questions buzzed in the back of his mind.

How did I get here? Where was here? But those mattered little, for immediately a more important question arose in his mind...

Why aren't I dead?

Fang couldn't help but wonder if some higher power saved him... or perhaps it was sheer luck... then a thought struck him like a blow to the chest, maybe he hadn't been dying.

Bleep, Bleep, Bleep

That sound was still here? Fang looked for the sound of the obnoxious noise. He looked to his left, then right, where he found the culprit. Next to the bed he was lying in was a rather bulky machine, little green lines ran across it turning into peaks and valleys as they cut through the screen. Each time there was a peak, the machine bleeped. There were numerous wires running in and out of it and that made Fang realized, for the first time, there was a needle in his arm. He eyed inquisitively. From the needle ran a tube and that tube came from a pouch of clear liquid next to him. He reached out to touch the pouch, perhaps find out why this liquid was being put in his body but he faltered. Both of his forearms were heavily bandaged in gauze. By the looks of it the bandages also needed to be changed soon as they were damp with his blood. Fang looked to the table by his bed; there was a paper with his name on it. He leaned over and stretched out is arm, grasping the paper with his index and middle finger as an audible gasp came from the doorway.

Fang dropped the paper as he looked to the direction of the disturbance; in the doorway was a girl who seemed to be about his age. She had wavy pinkish-red hair knotted in the back of her head, her face was slightly girlish but her demeanor was not. She wore a knee length lab coat, rectangular glasses and carried a clipboard with her. Fang waited for her to do something, to see if she was friend or foe, but she just continued to stare at him as if he was the living dead. Fang sort of awkwardly waved at her, cringing when there was a great clang from her fallen clipboard. She scurried to pick it up and quickly hurried out of his line of vision. Seeing that she was gone, he went back to the paper he had been about to read, but much to his displeasure, it had fallen to the floor. Seeing he couldn't possibly reach it he laid back down on the white linen sheets. This place had to be a hospital, but if they'd already done all this for him why hadn't they run to the government? That was what any other hospital would have-

"We're not any other hospital."

Fang looked in the door, the girl was back. "How did you...?" He asked, confounded that she had answered one of the questions he had asked himself. "Read your mind? The School's effects aren't always on the outside." She said casually, now that she had gotten over the initial shock he was living, she seemed more confident. "The School?" Fang sputtered in a hoarse whisper, could she really be- "Oh, I am there's no doubt about that." She said equally casually. All Fang could do was gape, this girl had answered all of his questions. "Quite a magnificent skill isn't it?" She said, gracefully sitting on the chair nearest to his bed. She waited not for the answer but continued on. "You will undoubtedly want to know exactly what happened, will you not?" She did not wait for the answer.

"I think we may need to start a bit... farther back then two weeks ago-"

"Two weeks ago!"

"Yes, now let me continue." Fang sulked greatly at this, but listened anyways.

"Three months to this day, the School got a new grant. The word has been it was over 6.2 million, but that is only a guess. The grant came from a wealthy retired man who now sponsors both the Institution and the School, without so much as a two week notice they had purchased a new building, hired new staff and started a new project or two. I believe you met one of them. Shadows they're called. Well anyways, we were left with this old building and a few old wheezing smokers. Turned out to be fair doctors, caring for out mutant needs and such. About three weeks ago the old geezers just disappeared. Well except for Arty and Fin, but they were the oldest of the lot.

"Of course we stayed, we had no where to go, but we picked up on a few things. All the old experiments are here, even the Erasers-"

"Erasers!" Fang gasped, Erasers had always been a favorite creature of the School, why wouldn't they take them to the new building?

"Yes, we also reside here." Came a cold voice, Fang didn't even have to look, he knew this man was an Eraser.

"Ah! Daggy, how kind of you to joins us!"

"Get on with the yarn you were spinning, I should rather like to hear the ending."
"Very well then, so we've been here for about three weeks with only Arty and Fin for guidance. I expect they'll die any day now... but then again they're still kicking. But that's not the point. We, especially the Erasers, have been a bit...er, desperate to join the ranks of the Shadows. That's why when Daggy-"

"Dagan to you, boy." The Eraser growled.

"Same thing, when Dagan and Arthemus went to that concert and saw you, they bagged you. Thought they'd get on old Jeb's good side by doing that, but of course they were attacked by the Shadows on their way to the Laboratory. When they found out that the Shadows had been sent by the Lab to kill them... well they got a little angry and discarded you in order to properly attack them. Your friend, the blind one, witnessed all of this and, as we gathered, told you what was happening. When you launched yourself at Arth he threw you from him and that's where we come to your current state." She gestured to the bleeping machine beside Fang. He nodded heavily, letting her continue on.

"You landed directly on the joint of your wings, and you subsequently fractured the vertebrae."

"When you were down, a Shadow decide... decide to... to kill you." She waited for either of her companions to speak. Neither took the chance. In fact Dagan looked rather pleased at the discomfort of the girl.

"It slashed you arms with it's claws... then it put it's paws on your chest and tried to... suffocate you. Because of the harm that caused for your lungs and heart, not to mention your back trauma, you slipped into..." She was unwilling to speak. Fang couldn't help but notice she looked nervous, she kept glancing at Dagan who muttered something sounding very close to "coma".

"Yes, that's right. A coma. And well... here we are." She threw in a chuckle half-heartedly. Fang then asked the question that had been on his mind the entire time.

"When will I get better?"

"Erm, that's- that's a matter that um, Daggy should handle."

"Put the blame on me why don'tcha!"

"Daggy. Daggy, please?"

"Fine, fine. We pulled up your files, you're 2 bird-"

"The other 98 percent human of course."

"What did you expect him to be? Pig?" Dagan said gruffly, "Because your 2 bird your healing will be quicker than the usual. We would usually expect your injuries to heal in about 6-16 weeks-"

"But I need to get back-"

"Let me finish, we would expect a normal person with your injuries to completely heal in 6-16 weeks, but because of your bird DNA we can anticipate you healing at 3-5 weeks." The man continued on,

"You will probably be able to get out of bed in a week or so. When you've fully recovered you may have... a bit of a limp. Shouldn't bother you at all..."
Dagan drained on for a good half hour or so before the pink haired girl stopped him. "Dag, you should go make rounds. I'll stay here for a bit." She practically shoved him out the door, shutting it with a loud swish. "God he's a prat, isn't he?" She smiled weekly, returning to her chair. "I guess I should introduce myself, I'm Angela." She stuck out her hand, which he gingerly shook with the awkward bandages wound around his palm. "Can I ask you something?" He said as she watched the machine next to him. "Yes, go ahead." She said airily.

"Have you- have you tried to contact my friend?"

"Oh... oh, we tried but... they never answered us back."

"They, they didn't?"

"No, I'm afraid not."

"Did you tell them I was...sick"

"Yes, we did...but they never sent us a reply."

"I- I see." His voice quivered. He jerked his shoulders to the away so Angela would not see his silent tears.

It's up! This chapter is the begining of a very important time for Fang. The next chapter will be up about the same time next week (unless I forget, if I do I apologize ahead of time). There will be two more stories following this (not exactly sequels... not companions... I don't know what to call them) so if you guys want to submit a few ideas for those, I wouldn't object.(Not for this one tho, because like I said I already have chapter ten in the bag). A hint about the future though... one of my makeups in this chapter will be very important further on...

MyWishIsOfTheNight: Thank you! I love your penname btw, very origninal.

xPockyNoMikox: The website is if you click the messageboards then go to fanfiction mine will be up there. Anyways, I love a well rounded review! I agree, the chapters are a bit short and fast paced in the begining but just wait, they'll get much longer. And romance? Oh yes I cannot write a story without romance! Max and Fang? Well... we'll just have to wait and see.

4. Here's To Mourning

A/N: Okay, A/Ns are now at the top. Because I said so. I love this chapter, Max is so vulnerable and Iggy is so strong. Oh Iggy... Well anyways, I didn't forget! Yay me! I'm not going to really have much of Gassy, or Nudge or Angel in this chapter. Nudge'll get a bigger part a bit later, but for now it's gonna be mostly Angela and Fang, and Max and Iggy. I got some nice reviews on the MaxRide site, so I'm pretty happy. I hope I get some good reviews here. Anyways... up coming... more on Fang's recovery, Max gets sick, moving... um... a funeral... romance, hot tubs, a very special Fang/Iggy chapter, babies... yeah. I'm getting way ahead of myself. Anyways, hope you guys like.

xPokyNoMikox: I'm gonna call you xPNMx, because that's a hard penname to remember. M'kay, confusing? How so? Well, as long as you get it m general direction we should be fine. Good guys or bad guys? Isn't that the question? That's the best part! cue evil laughter Short? Mmm... well, I thought it was a bit longer... Sailor moon? I've never seen it! But maybe I should, if my characters look like them. Anyways, thanks for reviewing. (it's maximumride dot com. Arg, URL's aren't allowed I guess)

Yesterday's Hope: Thank you! What's your username on MaxRide?

Chapter IV: Here's To Mourning.

"In other news, the funds from the Nirvana tribute concert that occurred-"

Iggy did Angel the favor of changing the channel. He could hear the small girl choke back tears at the mention of the concert, as she had done whenever concerts, Fang, death and missing people were brought up. He himself felt a pang of sadness as well. They hadn't seen Fang since that night... Iggy's head snapped in the direction of the door, from which there had been a loud rasp. The blind youth stood and walked slowly to the door as there was a second loud knock from the other side. As he opened the door he felt a bag of groceries forced into his hands. "Back with the groceries Gassy?" He asked stepping aside. The smaller boy brushed past, followed by another body. Nudge. She hardly ever spoke since Fang went missing. She sat herself in front of the tv with Angel and the two sat in silence for hours. Gassy would spend that time scanning the papers for a mention of Fang, and Max... well she was the worst of the lot. "Yeah." Gassy mumbled. "I'll get Max, why don't you get dinner started?" Iggy said as cheerfully as he could muster, but he knew he sounded hollow and fake. "Yeah, yeah, I'll do that..." He heard the Gasman mutter softly. Iggy smiled, at least there'd be one less moping soul around.

Iggy edged slowly his way to the bathroom, Max's new found haven. He softly knocked with his ear to the door. "Max? Max, come on out." He said in a hushed voice. From the other side he heard a muffled sob. "Max, I'm coming in to get you." He said a bit quieter, still she did not respond. He reluctantly turned the knob and cracked open the door. Iggy slipped in, "Max?" He said softy. Once again all he heard was her desperate sobs. Iggy eased onto his hands and knees, he felt a sticky liquid on his palms and a cracking sound under his sneakers. He paused, rubbing the substance between his index finger and thumb. Blood, and under his feet? Glass. Iggy sighed and crawled to where he thought Max might have hid herself from the rest of the world. "Max? Max, it's Iggy." He said settling himself next to her. He sat, pressing his back against the bathtub with his knees to his chest, listening to her sobs. "Max, please tell me what's wrong." He said putting his arm around her thin shoulders. He felt her press her cheek into his collar bone, still crying. He gently pulled her into his lap, taking her bloody hand in his. "Please tell me what happened, Max." He said quietly. His voice was soothing and calm, as if he was simply reprimanding a child for not saying 'please'. "I-I don't know... I guess I-I just got mad or something and- and I smashed some of the glasses on the counter." She choked. Iggy felt her ribs shaking with every word. "I'm sorry, I'm bleeding all over you." Max said, she gave a sort of half laugh, half sob.

"Do you really think I care about that stuff?"

Max didn't answer.

"Max, why did you smash the glasses in the first place?"

"Iggy... Iggy I don't know... I was just mad at him..." She didn't have to say the name, he knew she meant him. Fang.

"Why?" Iggy cooed, stoking her hair.

"F-for dying."

Iggy felt his heart stop. He slowly thought over the words. Fang. Dead. Those two words rang out in his ears. Was... was Fang... dead?

"It wasn't suppose to be like this!" Max said with sudden rage.

"I know, Max. I know."

"He wasn't suppose to die!" She cried, pushing away from her fellow flock member. Iggy let her slid off his lap and crying with an abundance of new tears.

"He wasn't suppose to die." She repeated softly, once again curling into a ball of tears. Iggy felt what Max was feeling. She was feeling vulnerable for the first time in a long time. For the first time she couldn't hide her emotions from everyone, and for the first time since she was quite young, she needed someone. Iggy knew how that felt, he knew it all too well. Someone always had to lead him around, read to him because the School never bothered to teach him braille, tell him what was happening, save him. He hated it... but he didn't know where he'd be if it wasn't for the people who led him around, read to him, told him what was going on, saved him. Without the flock... he couldn't even picture it.

Now in Max's time of need everyone was wallowing in self pity? That really wasn't fair to her. Especially after everything she'd done for everybody. Maybe Iggy was crazy but...

Iggy extended his arms out in between him and Max. "Max." He said firmly.

"Oh, Iggy, I'll get blood all over you."

"Max, I. Do. Not. Care." He repeated unwaveringly.

"Oh...oh okay." She reluctantly embraced Iggy. Gradually falling into Iggy's arms in tears.

"I feel like it's all my fault!"

"Shh, Max, it's okay. It's not your fault. Shh." He said rubbing her shoulders affectionately.

"I just, I didn't think he would die!" She cried in sorrow.

"Neither did I Max, neither did I." Iggy cooed softly.

The girl then pulled away, saying, "Iggy... I'm sorry about this... I mean, I'm suppose to hold everything together and..."

"No, Max. Your not suppose to do that. No one asked you to do that. You are allowed to be human."

Max let out another half laugh at this.

"Max, put your arms around my neck."


"Please Max." he pleaded. She complied. He wrapped his arm around her back and he hooked his other under her knees. Iggy gently lifted her up. He felt her body relax as he nudged open the door and lay her down on the bed. He leaned on the edge of the bed and pushed her hair out of her eyes. "Max, I'm gonna be right back, okay?" He said gently, as if speaking to a very scared child. Her eyes filled with panic, unbeknownst to Iggy, and her breath went short. "I'll be right back, I'm just going to be in the other room, Max. I swear I'll only be a second." He said as he stood up to leave the room. She whimpered but didn't protest. Iggy trampled his way back into the kitchenette of the hotel room. "What are you making?" He asked as he felt along the wall for a first aid kit they kept at hand. "Grilled cheese sandwiches." Gassy said hollowly as Iggy grabbed hold of the first aid kit's handle. The blind boy scurried over to his friend saying, "Gimme a few." He felt a plate shoved into his gut. "Thanks Gassy." He said sarcastically, attempting at provoking the younger boy into shedding some type of emotion. The Gasman remained silent. Iggy sighed and returned to the bed room. He sat on the end of the bed and pulled Max up by the wrist. "Give me your hand." He said gently. She opened up her bloodied palm to expose her many cuts. He opened up the first aid kit and gently blotted off the blood with a tissue. He pressed a folded cloth against her hand, using medical tape to hold it to her skin. He did the same with her other hand, then handed her a grilled cheese sandwich, commanding she eat. He knew she looked thin. She hadn't eaten in two weeks unless someone shoved something down her throat. Usually Iggy.

They sat there in silence for a few minutes. Iggy heard Max fall back unto the pillows of the hotel bed, as she gave a weighty sigh, Iggy laid down next to her. He combed through her hair, matted with tears and blood, with the tips of his fingers, "Max, you can't carry on like this." He said heavily. She looked at him with tear strained eyes. "At least I'm not ignoring the fact he's... he's gone!" She choked, her throat obviously burning with tears. "Max... Max, Fang... he was -is- my best friend. I'm... I'm not ignoring his death." He said quietly. "Then- Then what are you doing?" She said sitting up as her voice got stronger.

"I'm... I'm-"

"Well? What are you doing?" She said louder.

"Max, please just-"

"What? Pretend he isn't dead? 'Cause I won't!" She yelled, stand up.

"No, no, Max. Calm down!"

"Calm down? Iggy! Fang just died!" She picked up a roll of socks and threw them at Iggy.

"Max! Max please!" He said as a lamp shade came in contact with his shoulder.

"He's dead!" She shrieked, "He's dead!"

"Max! Don't do this!"

"He's dead!" She choked, falling to her knees.

Iggy rushed to her side, petting her hair and tenderly rubbing her shoulder.

"He's dead... How can he be dead?" She cried.

"Max, you and I both know that Fang would have never let a hoard of Erasers take him without a fight."

"He can't be dead! He just can't be!"

Iggy paused, thinking of his words carefully.

"What if he isn't?"

Max, my dear Max. sigh Review?

5. Scars

Ah, how things change.

In this chapter we'll get a bit more of Fang's side of the story and his recovery. Some steamy stuff in a hottub (you'll understand). Oh! And I came up with a wonderful idea for some upcoming chapters! Right now, there's a lot of Angela/Fang and Iggy/Max in the chapters, it's going to have a few more characters a bit later, plus some more of Nudge, Gassy, and Angel, of course. Just a little fun fact for my readers, all my chapters are named after some of my favorite (or at least half decent) songs, not original, but oh well. I want to see who can name all the songs and artists.

On to the reviewers!

livXfoXmiXmusic: Max/Fang? This will answerthat question at least. Is the suspense really that terrible? Oh, it will get worse. And Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! I love that movie! "Everything in this room is edible, even I am edible. But that dear children is what we call cannibalism and is infact frowned on in most societies." -Willy Wonka

xPNMx: Let me first say, thank you! I can't believe I got that good of a review! Anyways, yeah, I thought it was a bit emotion on Max's part. Some more Iggy aserting himself and Max being weak to come, but not now. I am also sad to say that, though I'd love to lead you on, no it's not a Fang/Iggy slash. That idea was taken by the author of Belt Loops. Is that how it sounded? I didn't mean it to be... it's more of... oh what do I want to call it... brotherly love? male bonding? something along those lines, though there's nothing romantic between the two. But there is a lot of romance to come (I can't stress how much there really is). Hope you like this chapter!

IndigoWolf: You know, I have a friend named Indigo. How random of me. Anyways, yes. Poor Max. A lot of sympathy for her, isn't there? We should have a candlelight vigil later (just kidding!). Oh and yes, I agree, Maximum Ride is awesome.

Chapter V: Scars

"Ow." Fang muttered as his already bruised hip collided with the white wall of the corridor. He clenched his jaw as he pressed his palms against the wall for support. He cursed as he continued to stumble his way down the hall. He winced as he stiffly dragged his right leg along with him. Pain was racing up and down his back, but he had to do this. He woke up this morning and set himself to this task, he had to do this. If he didn't... then he would be a failure. Failure was not an option. He felt himself lean too far back, and went staggering backwards for the other wall, where his shoulder collided with the plaster painfully. A slight grunt escaped from his lips as he squeezed his eyes shut. Crap, Crap, Crap! He gasped as white hot searing pain burned from his right leg to his wings, but Fang gritted his teeth and rolled his shoulders to face the wall. He glared at it, in all of it's plaster embodied glory, his greatest enemy at the moment. He banged the heels of his palm against it, silently willing it to stop sending him, as if magnetically, across the hallway. He was already banged up enough, he didn't need a broken shoulder.

Fang knew if Arthemus or Dagan, or any Erasers for that matter, caught him he was as good as dead. For some reason, the Erasers hated him with a passion. For the life of him he couldn't figure out why. No matter though, he didn't like them either. Fang sighed and set his right leg, then continued down the hallway. His swagger was proud, determined and powerful, but it was paired with a heavy limp. Fang moved his right leg stiffly, with very little bend of the knee. As if it pained him just to move it. And it did. Why did this have to happen to him? What did he ever do? If only he had never been so foolish as to crowd surf at the concert...

Nice time for if-onlys.

That damn voice! Fang thought he'd gotten rid of it, but apparently not... Fang shut his eyes, just for a fleeting moment, and as he did he felt his delicate backbone slammed against the wall. He felt his body screaming out in pain as Fang slowly opened his eyes and looked up, into the gaze of Dagan. "Go back to your room." He growled, pinning Fang by the shoulders. "Gerroff me!" He said desperately. "Go back to your room." Dagan repeated. "Why should I?" Fang croaked, struggling to break free of the Erasers's grasp. "Because I said so you little maggot." The Eraser pressed harder on Fang's shoulders. He knew he had little power over the man. He, Fang, was weakened by his injuries and bed rest, and Dagan was at his prime. Four or five probably. Soon, he would start the journey down hill, to weakness, then, to death. But for now, he was at his strongest. "Let me go you throw rug of a being." He countered, giving a good kick with his better leg. Dagan showed no effect. "Go back." He snarled. Fang searched his mind for an excuse, any, to get Dagan off of him. "Hey! Dagan! Get off him!" Another voice broke in. Fang felt Dagan's grasp release as he was pulled off the bird-child by Angela. Fang fell to the ground in a collapsed heap, with his right leg stretched out in front of him. "Angela, I'm so glad you came! This little worm was trying to go somewhere." Dagan said, throwing a sneer at the collapsed Fang. "For your information-" Angela snatched Fang up by the forearm. "He was coming to see me." She said fiercely. Dagan looked dumbstruck. Fang wanted to laugh but had not the strength to do so. "Sorry then, misunderstanding." Dagan spat at Fang, who was standing limply, half supported by Angela. "If you hurt him at all you will be out on the street before you can say misunderstanding." She snapped, as Dagan set off in the other direction. "Come on, let's go to the living room." She said, turning Fang about. "No." He mumbled. "What? Why?" She asked, looking at her companion strangely. "I have to go down this hallway, by myself." He breathed. Angela nodded, "Go ahead." She said as she let him go. Fang resumed his place, limping with the wall for support. But Angela did not leave. "You know, when I first learned that you guys, the bird-children, had escaped my first thought was 'They are so lucky, they'll never have to see this place again.'"

"Yeah, lucky, right." Fang grunted.

"I guess I was wrong."

"I guess you were."

Angela laughed heartily. "Yeah, I was."

Fang smiled.

"You know, if... if you know, your friends never call... you can stay here."

Fang paused, slowly turning his head to look at Angela in pure shock.

"I'm, I'm not saying that they won't! I'm just saying you can stay here... you know, if they don't." She added quickly.

Fang, still in shock could only nod. Of course they would call! They wouldn't just ignore the fact that he almost... he almost died. They, they'd come for him. They had to... if they didn't...

"Never mind, pretend I didn't say anything." Angela flustered, blushing so hard she had turned as pink has her hair.

Fang was willing to comprise. As far as he was concerned, nothing had been said.

He looked back down at his feet. The one size fits no one hospital gown hung loosely by his ankles. Sometimes everything just felt like a dream. He wasn't here, he was at the hotel with the Flock and he would wake up any minute. Angela was just a dream, she wasn't a real person. He didn't have this horrible limp. This? This couldn't be real. But then... the pain came back and he knew... he knew it was all real.

"Here we are." She said softly as she took him by the elbow into another room.

There was a mismatch of leather couches, tweed swivel chairs and plaid lazy boys. It looked like the basement that a college drop out would live in when he moved back into his mom's house. "Take a seat." Angela said, gesturing to a large couch. She herself plopped down on a blue plaid lazy boy just next to the black pleather monster. The brown haired boy sat himself down weightily. He rested his fingers on his temples, deep in thought. He had to find a way to contact the Flock. Get out of this place. He could go find them... but he could hardly walk, he wouldn't stand a chance on the streets, and he didn't have the money for a cab. He was pretty sure that no one around here would loan him any cash. He couldn't let any of them find out what he was doing... the phone and the mail were out of the question... How was he suppose to get out of here?

"Can you even feel this?"

Fang looked down, the pink haired girl was massaging his right calf. Could he feel it? He concentrated on his leg, but he felt nothing. What did this mean? "No." He said breathlessly. Angela shook her head, she began rubbing his knee, then his thigh, she moved through his whole leg. At best all he felt was a slight tingle or a bit of pressure. "W-what does this mean?" He asked, slightly panicked, as Angela resumed her seat. He couldn't be paralyzed, he could move his leg, so what the heck did that mean? Angela leaned down to her knees and ran her fingers through her waves, eyes wide with worry. "Angela, what does this mean?" He demanded, throwing his hands up. Shaking, she turned to him and said "It could mean a lot."

"Like what?"

"A lot."

"Angela, tell me. I can deal with this."

"Fang, that limp... it could be permanent."

"Like... I'll never be able to walk normally again?"

"Mmm-hmm." She choked.

The words took a second to hit... but then, they consumed Fang. He would always walk like this. He'd never be able to run again, he'd never be the same. Salty tears clouded his vision and ran down his cheeks. He felt an arm around his shoulders. "It could mean a lot more... your muscles might have just tightened. We can fix that." She said softly. He looked up at her, he didn't know if it was the tears clouding his vision or if he was just delusional but she looked... she looked like an angel.

"Honey, I'm not angel." She smiled.

Fang laughed, it was just a trick of the light. No way she could be an angel.

"Who ever asked you?" Came a loud wheeze from a neighboring chair. A very old man was sitting in the corner of the room in a rocking chair, he wore thick glasses, a checkered shirt and tight suspenders, he was also missing the vast majority of his teeth. "Go back to sleep Arty." Angela said carelessly. "In my day... uh... what were we talking about?" was the reply. Fang had to suppress himself from laughing. The old geezer had totally lost his marbles obviously. "Sleep. We were talking about sleep." Angela replied.

"Right, in my day we slept for three hours if we were lucky! We got up at four to load the docks, worked as a soda jerk at nine, and until one o'clock we sold apples on the street corner! Three hours of sleep! If we were lucky!"

"That's very interesting Arty."

"Don't be short with me!- Oh, and who are you?" The old man blinked at Fang as if seeing him for the first time.

"I'm, uh, Fang."

"Fang! What a name! They called me Cobra when I was with the army!" The man said triumphantly.

"I'm sure they did." Angela replied gently.

"I've never met him before." The old man shook his cane in Fang's direction "What's he doing here?" The old man added squinting at the brown haired boy.

"He's just... erm," She paused, searching for the word, "visiting." she decided.


"Go back to sleep."

The old man obliged, leaning his head back and snoring loudly.

"Crazy old bat." She shook her head, Fang could have sworn the corner of her mouth twitched in a bit of a smile. "Come on then, we'd best head back." She said standing up. Her lab coat swished behind her as she opened up the door, she was about to leave when she spotted Fang, who was rooted helplessly to his seat. Blushing she walked over to Fang and pulled him up by the hands. "Do you want to do the hallway by yourself?" She asked quietly. Fang considered this, but feeling how tired he already felt he thought it best to take the secondary option. "Right then." She said suddenly, obvious she had read his mind again. She offered the crook of her elbow and he wrapped his fingers around it. With Fang clutching Angela for support the two walked into the hallway. Like some strange type of siamese twin. Fang cringed at how pathetic he probably looked. Being held up by Angela as he walked down the hall. How was he suppose to fight the Shadows with the rest of the Flock? Was he suppose to just stay home and play housewife? Fang lowered his gaze, ashamed if his worthlessness. By chance, he glanced at a door. In peeling back letters the words HYDROTHERAPY were printed across it's frosted window. "Hey, Ange, what's that room?" He asked, jerking his thumb at the door. "Oh..." She said thoughtfully, "Oh!" She repeated, but this time it sounded more like an idea. "Oh! Oh! I don't know why I didn't think of this before!" She said excitedly, almost jumping with happiness. "What? What is it?" Fang asked, whipping his head from the pink haired girl to the faded door. "Come on!" The girl said, practically wetting herself with excite as she dragged the confused boy with her into the room.

Fang's first impression was that the room was simply a very large bathroom. But then he realized it was actually twelve small, circular tubs. Every inch of the room was tiled, even the ceiling. "Here, take this." She handed him a pair of black board shorts and shoved him into a closet like stall. He fumbled around slipping off the hospital gown and pulling on the shorts at the same time. After many painful collisions with the door, as if he needed anymore, he stepping out into the open, to find Angela laid out in one of the tubs. She had a one blue one piece bathing suit on, which she had obviously changed into much quicker than Fang had. "Come in!" She said giddily as she beckoned him forth. Fang nodded and slipped into the water, which was swirling with bubbly warmth as Angela put on the jets. "What are we doing?" He asked as she laid her hand back and closed her eyes. "I am soaking my troubles away, you are fixing your limp." She sighed. Fang cocked his eyebrow, but didn't question it any further, instead he relaxed and let the heated water take him over.

This was what perfection was. He felt his muscles relax as well as his mind. This is what his heaven would be like. A hot tub.


Fang looked up. "Wanna go under the water?" Angela asked mischievously. "Sure." Fang smirked and they both dunked their heads under the water. Fang came up gasping in only a few seconds, but Angela stayed for a good minute. As he waited for her to come up he felt his hair graze his shoulders. It was about time to cut it. He'd ask her about that later. Just then, a gasping mass of pink appeared in the water. Angela's hair completely covered her face as she sputtered for air. "Roots." Fang said softly. "What?" Angela said flipping her hair back. "I can see your roots." He said picking up a lank lock of her hair. At the roots of her pink was brown. "Oh, time to dye it again." she blushed pulling her hair back. Their faces were but an inch apart. He could see every fleck of gold in her hazel eyes, he could count her eyelashes and all he could think of was how pink her lips looked. Without warning, they leaned in towards each other. Just as their lips were about to meet, a buzzing alarm went off. "Oh!" Angela jolted. "Fang... we really can't do this." She said knotting her hair as she pulled her clothes over her bathing suit. "I-I have to go." She said swishing out the door.

Fang suddenly realized what he'd done... who he'd done it with. He swore loudly as he wrapped a towel around his waist and he swore once more as he opened the door. As he limped down the hall all he could think of... was the fact he had almost kissed Angela, who was not Max. If only he hadn't been so foolish...

If only... if only... your not getting yourself anywhere.

"Yeah, yeah." Fang muttered, as he closed his eyes and shut out the world.

:Shakes head: Oh dear, poor Fang. Poor Max. Sympathy party!

Review for the sympathy party?

6. Sugar, We're Going Down

Alright, as promised here is the next chapter dears. I have a new muse, and things will be getting VERY interesting. I think this chapter might sound a bit repetitive (though no one said so on the MaxRide site, which is MaximumRide dot com.) let me know if it is.

I have naught more to say but, reviews!

IndigoWolf: Well, hanging a pairing would spoil the fun now, wouldn't it:D Oh my twisted little mind.

xxbluemoonxx: Aren't smiley faces better with open mouths:D:D:D I think so. Anyways, here's the update for you. I hope you like this chapter.

lillanie121: Yes, I think many people are pulling for a Fang/Max. But that's not how my mind works. Oh, and I was referring to everyone's sympathy towards Max in their last reviews. I think we'll have even more sympathy after this chapter.

DeeCohan: Many people seem to think that... well, maybe we'll have a mistress versus girlfriend show down a bit later? Won't that be fun!

KristenTheHomocidalManiac: Really? Thank you very much. And my compliments on your taste in music. And your penname.

Where has dear xPockeyNoMikox and xlivxfoxmixmusic gone off too? Was my last chapter that terrible that they were scared off?

Chapter VI: Sugar, We're Going Down

"Max." Iggy said softly. They had been sitting on the couch, watching, in his case listening, to the television when she fell asleep. He felt her foot twitch, near the foot of the couch their legs were entangled. He put his hand over her belly as Max's stomach slowly rose and fell. "Wake up Max." He said shaking her shoulder gently. "Mmm, Iggy. What?" She murmured softly. "Max, honey, time to get up." He said, kissing her hair lightly. With a moan she slipped off of him and on to the other end of the couch. Iggy yawned as he sat up. He leaned his head on his fingers and tousled his hair. He blinked rapidly, dispelling sleep from his eyes. Slowly, he stood up and stretched his arms. "Come on." He said, turning to Max and pulling her up by the underarms. He felt her sway as she stood. He put his hand on the small of her back and gently guided her to the kitchenette. In the last few days, she'd gotten a lot better, mourning wise that is. Though, Iggy could still hear her cry at night.

Iggy hung around her a lot. He was her keeper, no one else really seemed up for the task. The others were still unable to deal with Fang's... disappearance. Iggy refused to believe his best friend -his brother- was dead. Fang would never -and didn't- let a hoard of Erasers take him down.

He felt a shoulder hit his. "Huh?" He asked clamping his hands on the shoulders. They were bony and thin, it had to be Max. "Just... just a little nauseous." She said slowly. "Okay, well take it easy." He pushed past her and into the kitchenette. "Nudge, Gazzy, Angel, living room. Now." He said as he walked in. Silence. Then the scrap of chairs was heard, followed by the shuffle of feet. He sighed. He needed to stop all of this moping. It wasn't doing anything for them. He perked up his ears. Something was missing... then he realized no one had turned on the coffee pot. He heaved a sigh as he waltzed over to the coffee pot. He pressed the on switch and he once again heard the familiar hum. God he was addicted to this crap. He needed to enter some type of twelve step program. For coffee addicts. That's what he needed... and Max needed a twelve step program for getting over dead boyfriends... and Nudge, Gazzy and Angel needed to just go to a 'snap out of it' program. Iggy snorted. As if a twelve step program was going to change anything.



"What?" He asked twirling to face the doorway. "Iggy!" Gazzy's voice was more urgent. "What? Gazzy what is it?" He said poking his head in. "It's Max." Nudge's voice was shaky. Iggy's heart leapt. "She's..." Nudge stopped. Iggy felt something brush against his leg, he kneeled down. Max. He heart stopped as he fell to his knees. He laid himself down on his stomach next to her, praying that she wasn't dead. "Max?" He whispered in her ear. He only heard her breath, which was short and struggled. "Max." He breathed. Still she said nothing. He pressed his palm against her cheek. She was burning. "Max! Max, talk to me." He said, leaning down with his cheek touching the carpet. His chest filled with panic. "Max, speak to me!" He demanded. Her breathing was getting softer. "Max!" He cried out, he put his hand in front of her mouth. He felt her soft breathing against his palm. And then, it stopped.

"Gazzy, get her something to eat. Nudge, get water. Angel, come with me." He ordered, holding Max's limp body close to him. He laid her down on the bed. What if she died? What if she was already dead? He felt as if he was being pulled in a thousand directions, what was he suppose to do?

Wait, what was it that she had told him the other day? About reviving people? God if only he paid attention! He did the only thing he could think of doing, he mashed their mouths together and breathed into her. Wait... that wouldn't work... wasn't he suppose to pinch her nose? He pulled himself away from her, he took a deep breath, then pinched her nose and breathed into her lungs once more. As he did so, he suddenly realized, Angel was standing in the doorway, whimpering. "Angel, go! Just go!" He yelled, pointing out the door. What else could he do? Wasn't there another part? Something to do with the heart... He pressed his fingers against Max's heart. "One, two, three." He said desperately as he pumped her lungs. "Max... please breath. Please." He whispered to her resting his cheek on her collar. Thump. Thump. His eyes widened. Thump. Thump. Her heart was still beating. "Max!" He realized tears were streaming down his face. She was alive. At least she was alive. He pressed his palms against her cheeks, her face was burning. Iggy heard foots steps behind him. "Iggy... Iggy w-what's happening?" Gazzy's voice wavered. "I don't know." He said as Nudge handed him a glass of water. "Max, drink this." He tipped the glass to her mouth. He heard the water gurgle in the back of her throat as she drank it. "Max... oh Max." He smiled, resting his head on her collar. Listening to her heartbeat. Thankful for that much.


"Gazzy, coffee." Iggy said plopping down on the chair. He felt a mug of coffee thrust at him as Gazzy replied. "What's wrong with Max?" The boy's voice was soft and unsure. "Sick. Max is sick." He said shaking his head. "That's it? I mean you don't stop breathing just because your sick! Are you sure she doesn't have something worse? Like pneumonia? We left the window open the other day and it was like really, really cold. Could that be why she was sick? Because if it was then I would feel so awful! Because-" Nudge started, but was cut off by Gazzy. "Nudge, quiet." Iggy nursed his coffee thoughtfully. God he needed to get on that twelve step program. "The flu Nudge, people die from the flu all the time." he shrugged, drinking deeply from the coffee mug. "They do?" She asked, slightly in awe. "Yeah. They do." He said sadly. "Is... Is she getting better?" Gazzy asked shakily.

What a question.

Max had insisted on sweating out the fever, no drugs, just sweat. Her fever was down, true, but she was by no means better. She was weak, hardly able to wobble to the bathroom to puke. Though she had to ever five minutes or so. She was resting now, asleep after all this time. But he was still worried about her. She could stop breathing, or faint, but he had to address Gazzy, Angel and Nudge. They were Max's family too. "Guys, I don't want you in there. You can't catch whatever Max has." He said sternly, pouring himself a second cup of coffee. "Yeah, ok." Nudge said quietly. Iggy sighed. They were impossible. And silent. He suddenly realized that Total was no longer yipping. Which was unusual. All that Total ever did was yip and knock over things. He racked his brain, had Total yipped at all today? Iggy stood and stooped to where Total was sleeping. "Has anyone fed Total?" He asked. No one spoke. "Oh guys. You have to feed Total everyday, you know that." He said pouring some food into the dog's bowl. He slurped the last of his coffee, and poured himself a third cup. Twelve step program. That was on his to-do list for sure. "Where do we sleep... if we can't go in there?" Angel asked suddenly. The poor girl had been silent the entire time, Iggy realized. It was good that she was speaking again, not to mention this was why he had come in there. He had thought of this and he finally had the answer. "Come with me." He said turning on the coffee machine again. Twelve step program. One of these days. The four waltzed into the living room. Since they had moved in Angel, Nudge and Max had slept in the big bed, while Gazzy, Iggy and Fang had slept on the pull out. Now, Angel and Nudge would have to sleep somewhere else. It was extremely important that they not catch Max's flu. "Did anyone pull out the bed yet?" He asked, leaning against the armchair. "Yeah." Gazzy replied, Iggy heard the springs moan as he sat down upon the couch pull out. "Angel, you can get ready for bed." He said, gesturing for Angel to leave the room. The girl obliged and swept out. "One of you, will sleep with Angel in the pull out," He said gesturing to Nudge and Gazzy "But one of you must sleep on the floor." He continued. It made sense. Angel and Nudge were girls, but Angel and the Gasman were siblings. Either combination worked. But it wasn't really a mix and match combination. "I'll do it." Gazzy volunteered immediately. Iggy smiled. That was Gazzy for you. "Thanks Gasman. If you guys have to do this again, switch okay?" He clamped his hand on Gazzy's shoulder as Angel re-entered the room. "Hey," Nudge said as Iggy poured himself one final cup of coffee. "Where are you sleeping?" She asked. "With Max." he shrugged.

"Here." Iggy said, holding back her hair as she emptied her stomach once more. She stood, bent over the toilet for a minute, then shook her hair out. "Thanks." She said hobbling back to the bedroom. "Your welcome." He said, putting a trash can by her bedside. "God, I feel like crap." She moaned, tossing under the sheets of the bed. "I could get you some over the counter stuff." He offered, flipping off the light switch. It really made no difference for him, other than the strange yellow glow he'd see if he looked directly into it. "No, I'm fine." She said firmly, but he could tell she had almost said yes.

"You don't have to do this." Max said as Iggy laid out on the floor next to the bed. "Yes I do." He replied simply. He sighed as he stretched out. Sleeping on the floor was suppose to be good for your back. Straightened your spine or something. If his spine was crooked, it sure wouldn't be in the morning. "Iggy." Max said suddenly. He sat up, "What?" He asked in a dazed and stupid manor. "Could you... you know." She said slowly. "What?" He repeated. What was she pulling at? He couldn't for the life of him figure it out. "It's just... I'm used to Angel and Nudge... being with me... in the bed." She said slowly. Iggy blinked several times, what? "Never mind." She said quickly. "No... no. I understand." He said quietly. "C-could you then?" She asked hopefully. "Um... yeah." He said as he slowly walked over to the opposite side of the bed. He sat down, slowly, unsure of what he was suppose to do. "Iggy..." She said softly, he felt her press her body against his. She took his hands in hers and wrapped them around her waist. "That's better." She sighed. And it was innocent. Just like that.

—In The Morning—

The sound that woke Iggy was not the most pleasant. It was the sound of Max puking. Apparently her fever had passed, but her nausea had not. He blinked as light filled his eyes. The sun was up. Man, he had got up late. He sat up. Coffee. That's what he needed. He stood up and faltered into the kitchenette. "Hey." Nudge said quietly. "Hey." He replied sleepily. He heard the soft hum of the coffee machine. The Gasman had turned on the coffee machine. Thank god. He picked up a cup from where they usually sat. Mmm nothing woke a person up in the morning like this. He sipped the brown liquid slowly. Now, he was awake. Iggy suddenly felt a weight on his shoulder and turned. He felt Max fall into his arms. "Hey." He held her up by the shoulders. Her skin was no longer flushed, her fever was down. Iggy silently thanked god, or whoever was up there. "Hey, um, listen, let's go over here." She muttered, pulling him to the living room. He trotted after her, thinking of what she might be talking about. He sighed as she offered him into a chair and she took the couch. For a minute, the two sat in silence. "Hey, um, thanks for... what you did yesterday... and last night." Max said softly. "No problem. What are friends for?" He smiled. "No, really." She said putting a hand on his knees. "Really, it's no problem Max." Iggy insisted. She pulling him into a hug. "Really, Iggy. I love you, thank you, for everything."

Take a moment and gasp with me, ready? one, two, three...


Alright, now that that's out of our system, review?

7. Welcome To Paradise

SO sorry, I forgot to update. (. Anyways... um, yeah.

Whenever I try to reply to your reviews the screen gets screwed up (, I must fix that, for now I just have to say thank you SO much! Yes, smileys are wicked and Kristen, I hope you feel better.

Chapter VII: Welcome To Paradise

Salad. He was living on salad. He missed Iggy's usual breakfast of coffee, waffles and cold cereal. Even though he always had complained, living on salad was much worse. The hospital had a kitchen you could use at any time, of course he couldn't cook for beans. The most he could do was unwrap an energy bar or two. So he always had lunch with Angela. Angela's crowd was a bit obsessed with health food. And that meant salads galore. "We are not obsessed." Doxy piped in. Oh right, the mind reading thing was annoying too. "We can't help it." Wake said, poking at her lettuce. "Most people here know how to close off their minds, but you don't. Your thoughts are all just out there. Floating for anyone to hear. And I'm sorry but it's very hard to ignore." She continued. Every nodded happily and chewed their salad at this. "How exactly did you guys, get like this?" He asked, drenching his limp leafs in dressing. "Long, long story." Iris said, rolling her brown eyes with each 'long'. "But we have time." Down said defiantly. She'd never been one to follow the group.

"It all started with eight pregnant mummies. They were promised their kiddies would be the smartest in school if the School could just put some drugs in their womb. They readily agreed and the School was very happy. There were going to be five boys and five girls. One was having triplets you see. So just into the second trimester they pumped the womb with drugs that would slow the development of the brain, then in the third trimester they sped it up. Well you know how boys and girl's brains are different? They didn't realize that and they just shot us up with the dope. All the girls were born fine, but three of the boys were still born. The dope killed them. For some reason, Zion and River survived."

Zion and River were Iris's sickly looking triplet brothers. They were pale, had lank hair and were very frail looking. In fact, Fang was rooming with them. They spent a good deal of time laying on their beds, staring into space and sleeping. They were never seen without each other. Until today. Only Zion was at the table today. In fact... he hadn't seen River since he went to the hot tubs at lunch the other day.

"We think it's something to do with Iris absorbing most of the drugs-"

"And it did not make me loopy! I'm just a bit more sensitive to thoughts." Iris piped in.

"Sure you are." Down sighed. "Well, they survived but they are physically very unhealthy. We were born fine but the poor mummies were forced to give us away, the School said we wouldn't survive unless they gave us up. Load of bull but they believed it. We got stuck in a nursery with a loony who gave use weird names like Down."

"Iris... River... Zion."



Angela said nothing. "What? Hun don't be afraid of your name." Wake said poking her with the end of a fork. Angela sighed. "Amesia." She muttered. "Amesia?" Fang sputtered. What a name...

"Yes, that's her name. She changed it. We on the other hand, deal with it." Down said proudly. "Telekinesis, telepathy, we never forget, we learn very quickly, overall we just have a super brain. We used 30 of our brains. 20 more than the average person. It's really quite wonderful."

"What else can you do?" Fang asked sarcastically. These guys were good. A lot better then having wings attached to your spine.

"A lot." Zion whispered hoarsely as a sly smile crossed his face. Fang's eyes widened. That was the first time one of boys had spoken. He just thought they were incapable... but now, maybe not.

"Observe." He croaked, he pointed a shaky finger at a vase of flowers. Suddenly, the greenish buds bloomed into bright pink roses. They were beautiful but just as they had blossomed they burst into the flames. Fang heard himself gasp, but the others stayed calm. When the flames subsided all that was left was greenish buds. No ashes or traces of the fire at all. Fang heard Zion laugh huskily, as if an elephant at the circus had just done some marvelous trick. "Optical illusions." Angela smiled. "Zion and Riv like optical illusions. It's been ages since they've had an open mind to work with." Fang nodded. He had to learn how to close off his mind. "No, don't do that! It's quite pleasant. You'll see." Wake said, pouring a glass of water. For them maybe...

"Well I have to go make rounds." Angela said, putting her plate in the sink. "I'll come too!" Fang offered, limping to the door. He was not about to stay here with them... reading his thoughts and making things turn into other things. He'd had enough of that for now. Angela cocked her elbow, and Fang wrapped his fingers around it. This was the first time they had been alone since the kiss that almost was. "I'm glad you came." She said quietly. "River is sick. I think he'd like a visitor besides the seven of us." She smiled. "Why doesn't anyone else visit him?" Fang asked a bit puzzled. Sure the two sickly boys were a bit creepy, but they weren't horrible. "Oh, morbidity is not well dealt with in this hospital." She sighed, shaking her head. He could understand that. Death was scary for most people, but once you've brushed with it, it's not really that bad. At least it wasn't for him. "Hey, do you want to get there a little bit faster?" She asked suddenly stopping, Fang back tracked, staring at her confusedly. "Sure." He said cautiously. He wasn't quite ready for another optical illusion, but maybe this one wouldn't be as bad. "Alright then." She blushed. He felt a bit of wind under him, then he realized that the Hospital had disappeared from under him, in fact the Hospital had completely disappeared. But quick as a wink, it was back, but now, they were in another room. Fang recognized it as his old room. The one he had stayed in before being moved in with Zion, River and Grey. The only difference was the flowers. There were a dozen vases of flowers. "Gifts from his brother and sister." She said, picking one of the many tiger lilies. Fang looked at the bed, there were so many tubes and wires that he thought it empty at first. But then he saw River's lank black hair laying askew on the pillow. He realized that the boy was far worse than he had been, even when he was in a coma he did not have this many wires. Angela took his hand and sat him down in one of the chairs by the boy's bedside. Fang chocked back tears as he watched River's stomach slowly rise and fall with each passing breath. The boy had an oxygen mask covering his mouth and nose, wires coming out of his chest, stomach, arms and several suctions stuck to his forehead. "He collapsed the other day. Right on the stairwell. Fell down two flights. Had a seizure." Angela choked, tears were blotting her lab coat now. "He had the effing flu. He's dying from the effing flu." She cried, laying her head next to his. Their hair entangled with each other. It was impossible to see where her newly dyed black and purple waves ended and his bluish black locks began. "His brother's a wreck, Iris is losing it too. I don't know what will happen to them if he dies. I really don't know." She said wiping her eyes on her sleeve. "I'm sorry, I didn't think I'd get this emotional." She choked. Fang nodded, he limped over to Angela and put his arms around her. "It's okay." He whispered as her tears ran down his back. "It'll all be okay." He said softly. "Promise?" She said weakly. Fang stopped for a split second, then replied. "I promise."

"Thanks, for holding me up back there." Angel smiled as they walked down this hall. "It's no problem." He said squeezing her arm. "Um, but there is something I need to talk to you about." She said softly. "The other day... when were about to kiss... I'm sorry about what happened."

"No, it was my fault. I shouldn't have-"

"No, that was okay. Fang I really, really like you. But I just don't want to get hurt again."


"Before... before you. Was someone else. He was everything. He was wonderful and w-we were so in love, I thought that this would never end... and then..." She choked, her voice cracked. But he understood.

"H-how did he die?"

"He tried to take on a Shadow. He survived the first time... he got better. I begged him not to go again... but he did. It killed him... and just like that he was gone." She burst into sobs as Fang took her in his arms. "Angela, I'm not him. I wouldn't go chasing Shadows. You don't need to worry." He cooed. "I know... but I do. If they killed you... I don't know what I'd do." She cried softly. "I know." Fang said softly. "I know."

"Bye." He said quietly as he and Angela parted at his door. She was okay, now at least. The door flew open, much to Fang's surprise and Grey pulled him in. "Hey! Fang! Man!" He said loudly over the Guns 'N' Roses playing in the background. "What have you been up to? I mean, haven't seen you since lunch!" He said turning off the CD player. "That's okay. I'll talk to you about it in the morning." Fang said sleepily as he collapsed into his bed, which was in between Grey's and Zion's. He looked down at River's empty bed. He hoped River would be well soon. Zion just wasn't the same. In fact, as Fang rolled onto his side he heard the sound of Zion's muffled sobs. He wanted desperately to reach out and comfort the boy, but just then, the lights went out. "G'night!" Grey said enthusiastically, apparently he did not hear Zion's sobs. "G'night." Fang sighed. He closed his eyes and breathed heavily. Faces raced in front of him. River- Max- Angela- Iggy- Zion- Grey- Angel- Wake- Nudge- Dagan- Gazzy- Jeb, and then... the face that always came last. The Shadow. And so his nightmare began.

( Frowny face party, reveiw? please?

8. An Honest Mistake

A/N: As everyone can tell, this story has been abandoned both on the Maximum Ride website and here, though I have decided I will put up what is finished of the story here to be far. I might also go back and fix some grammatical mistakes, (like the paragraphs, which I fixed in this chapter), because it bugs me very much.

I have not given up on MaxRide though, and I have several Fang/Iggy slashes lurking around the site. I may also rewrite what I have so far completely, just for heck of it. Who knows.

edward cullen rocks my socks - sarah: I have to disagree with you there, Fang/Iggy all the way. -grin- Thanks for reviewing!

xxShadow53xx: Well, I'm updating.

GlitterStar: If you're planning my funeral, than at least make sure I'm cremated. 'Kay, thanks. Anyways, thanks for reviewing!

maniacmouse: Thanks! I can't believe you really think this fic is all that good, because I really prefer my latest projects to this one. But if you say so.

Kristen: -Hides- I am prepared for your wrath of doom, which I fully deserve. Just don't kill the author before she has a chance to put up the last of the chapters. Yes, Fang is probably a bit OOC, I think I have a tendency to do that with him.

Queen of the Leos: Aye, Fang is OOC. But I kind of like him that way, oddly enough.

Indigowolf: Haha, yes, the curse of the salads continues. Thanks for reviewing.

DestinyOverRidden: Yeah, it takes most people some time to warm up to this pairing (if they do) anyways, thanks for the review!

Chapter VIII: An Honest Mistake

Max... Max... That was all Iggy could think about, Max. She was well now, but still she remained forever in his thoughts. Why did he feel this way about her? She and Fang had something before he disappeared, did she still feel for him? Did she even want to feel like that at all? And the coffee wasn't making it any better. It just made the voice of doubt louder, faster and cleverer. He poured himself a third cup of decaf.

Decaf. That was all they had left. They were buying more tomorrow, the Maximum Ride bank account always got an anonymous deposit on Sundays, usually $500 but sometimes as high as $1,000 or as low as $50. Right now, they didn't have that much money left so he'd have to wait until tomorrow for his caffeinated buzz to return.

"Iggy, settle down with the coffee." Gazzy said, taking Iggy's fourth cup away.

"Hey!" Iggy said taking back his coffee.

"He's right you know." Max said from the living room where she was reading the newspaper.

"Drinking coffee while under stress causes you to be much more stressful. It adds to your cholesterol. Your doing nothing right for your heart." She said carelessly.

"Well I don't have an average heart do I?" Iggy said drinking deeply from the mug.

"I think Total has been eating the coffee again." Angel announced, walking into the room with both the little dog and Celeste in tow.

"Really?" Iggy asked slightly curious.

Angel replied "Yeah, he made another dent in the wall, plus there was a trail of coffee on the floor."

Iggy turned around, thoughtfully saying, "So that's where my regular went..." He trailed off as he settled in front of the television. Mad TV. God that was a funny show... unfortunately, a popular skit was one with a coffee addict. And most unfortunately, that's what they were playing today.

"That's you in ten years." Gazzy laughed. "Shut it." Iggy said, throwing a pillow at him. They quietly watched, and listened, to the television until Max announced:

"We just got a deposit."

Damn that voice thing was creepy. But useful he did have to admit. "Coffee!" He cried out happily.

"Yes, we'll get coffee now." Max sighed, putting down her paper.

"Yes!" Iggy cried, jumping to his feet. Thank god! He couldn't live on decaf forever. Iggy soon found himself rushing the rest of the flock out the door of the hotel with a $850 deposit in hand.

"Iggy, grab my hand, Angel, grab Iggy's other hand, Gazzy take Angel's Nudge you follow up the rear." Max said as they stepped out on the sidewalk. He obliged, knowing why Max insisted on linking all of them. New York in the summer and spring was one thing, New York in the winter and fall was another entirely. In the summer, tourists wandered through out the streets and the one could do so without being injured. But in the winter, most people were seasoned New Yorkers who just wanted to get out of the cold as quickly as possible. And a group of weird looking kids weren't about to stop them. People shoved them back and forth, it was the Mosh pit all over again.

Iggy felt a briefcase collide with his hip as Max cried "Hey! Watch it!" She repeated this several times before the group hurried down the block to the health food store. When they arrived, Max pulled them in and began dishing orders.

"Nudge, Iggy you guys get us some food. Gazzy, Angel and I are going to get some winter coats. We meet up back here at six." She said sternly.

"Aye captain." Iggy said saluting the girl.

"What are we now? Pirates?" She sighed, heading off with Gazzy and Angel.

"Shall we?" He said heavily. "Let's." Nudge smiled, linking their elbows.

"What's first on your list?"Nudge asked in mock curiosity.

Iggy smiled, "Oh, Ramone noodles, cereal, we need more waffles, macaroni... oh and COFFEE!" He screeched the last word so loudly the elderly clerk dropped to the floor, cradling a very long carrot like a machine gun. Nudge started laughing, Iggy, who couldn't see what had happened, only shook his head and dragged her to the coffee section.

He felt along the wall till he found the good stuff. The actual coffee beans. He'd bought a grinder a few weeks ago, and since then, the coffee had only gotten better. "We need some of this." He pointed to the forth one. He wasn't sure what it was. But it was good.

"Alright." He hear Nudge say as the coffee beans fell into a plastic bag.

"Now come on. I'm going to go get some rice milk." Nudge said thrusting the bag into his one hand, and grabbing the other.

"Rice milk? What's wrong with regular milk?" He asked feeling the cool from the frozen foods department.

"Vegans can't have regular milk." She said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

"Since when are you a vegan?" Iggy snorted.

"Since Tuesday." She shrugged. True, Nudge was a vegetarian, but what the crap was up with being a vegan?

"But milking cows doesn't hurt them." Iggy said tentatively.

"So naive..." She sighed, handing Iggy the basket. He had no idea what she meant. None. But that was Nudge for you.

Once they had a basket of vegan friendly foods, it was almost six. They stood outside in the freezing cold, waiting for Max, Gasman and Angel. Five past six. Ten past six. Fifteen past six.

"Maybe we should go back to the hotel." He finally said at nearly twenty past six.

"I second the motion. I mean we could get frostbite and have to have our hands amputated or something. And then how would we write and how would you cook? I mean you are the only one who really can cook, so it would be absolutely awful if you had your hand amputated. Absolutely. Then Gazzy and I would probably try to cook. We'd burn the spaghetti and no one would want to eat it so we'd spend all our money at restaurant and probably get noticed. And then we'd go back to the school and die. Yeah, we should probably get back to the hotel." Nudge on her legendary raves. They trudged down th street, carrying four heavy bags of groceries.

"Yes, I'm sure I'll have my hand amputated." Iggy said sarcastically.

"Well, it could happen! Just like a tiger could escape from the zoo or-" Nudge stopped as she was cut off by Iggy.

"Just leave it." He sighed, pushing open the door to the hotel.

"Ok." Nudge said quietly. The two lugged their bags down the hall.

"Do you have the key?" Nudge suddenly asked as they reached the door.

"No..." Iggy said, turning on the balls of his feet. "Oh sh-"

The door opened. "Oh... that one girl said you'd be here." said a rather bored looking maid as she walked back to where she was making the beds.

"What do you mean?" Nudge asked, peering in. All of their stuff was gone, vanished.

"Look. We don't want you staying here anymore. It's weird, it started out with six kids and a little dog staying here. Then sixth kid doesn't come home. Guests heard moaning, in pain moaning I hope, coming from your room. You kids have been here for what? A month? Two? We want you out." The maid said, tying off the trash bag and tossing it in a large bin. Iggy swore as he put his two grocery bags down.

"Hey, that one girl left a message for you. Here." The honey haired girl handed Nudge a piece of paper. She read it over and then pulled Iggy into the doorway.

"It says, guys I'm sorry about this. Meet us at the corner of 67th and Smith around 6:30. We'll hopefully have a place to stay by then." She whispered in his ear. Iggy nodded. That was Max. Always thinking of the common good.

Ring... Ring...

Iggy and Nudge looked up, who would be calling them? Nudge edged to the phone slowly. She hit the speaker button loudly.

"Hello?" She called softly.

"Hi. This is Angela from the Hospital. I don't know if you got my last few messages... Fang," Fang... Fang. Fang! "is still here. He's okay." He was alive... So Iggy was right. "Still has a bit of a limp but it doesn't pain him as-" Nudge suddenly jerked the phone out of the wall.

"UGH! I wish she would stop calling!" She screamed with anguish. Iggy felt the maid prod him with her elbow.

"Is that one right in the head?" She asked quietly.

"Yeah... yeah." He said dazedly.

"Wait." His head snapped up.

"That girl, Annie or whatever, she called before?" Iggy asked, stepping towards the girl tentatively.

"Yeah." Nudge spat.

"What if she wasn't lying?" He yelled, grabbing her shoulders.

"What if she was!" She screamed, pulling away from his grasp.

"But what if she wasn't?" He loudly asked.

Nudge's voice wavered, "Then... then I screwed up."

Iggy shook his head. "The hell you did."

—The Corner of 67th and Smith—

"Damn it's cold." Iggy shivered.

"It's about time, they should be here any minute." Nudge replied coldly. She was still mad at him for yelling at her. But what was he suppose to do? Let her just keep deleting these messages and leave Fang wherever he was? He couldn't do that. It just wasn't right.

"Hey!" Iggy felt Max's arm around his shoulder.

"Did you find somewhere to stay?" He asked, wrapping his arms around her.

"Yeah." She rested her cheek on his chest gently. They rested there, in each others arms, for a fleeting moment before they pulled away.

"Come on then." She said, taking them both by the wrists. "Now, we're in the basement of a boarding house. We get a plain room for $150 a month. Furniture for another fifty. And they'll cook for us for yet another fifty. Dessert for an extra twenty five. So that's $275 a month. We can swing that, right?" She said, pulling them down the street.

"Yeah, I think so." Iggy said. He had done the math. They could make that. They'd have to cut back on spending a tad bit, but they could make it. And boy was he glad. "Well, here we are." Max said, shoving them down a stair well.

"The owner is inside." She said hastily as they tripped their way down the crumbling cement stairway. As Iggy felt his way down the stairs he already knew that the building was shabby. It was just the aura he felt from the building. It reeked of dust, dirt and age. The paint on the railing was peeling, the steps were crumbling and he could heard the windows and doors creaking from the outside. It wasn't the Ritz, but it was a place to stay. At least they had that much. Suddenly, there was a low moaning creak. Iggy felt himself thrust into the open doorway by Max, and then pulled to the side by Gazzy.

"Glad you made it." He whispered, guiding Iggy to a moth eaten couch.

"So, there is a disabled one." He heard a deep voice mutter across from him.

"Excuse me! I am not disabled! Just because I can't see you doesn't mean I am mentally incapacitated!" He snapped. How dare he! He didn't even know Iggy and he already thought him stupid! Just because he was blind!

"No, of course. That's not what I meant." The man trailed off, mumbling to himself.

"Mr. Maxwell, what are your conditions?" Max asked, clearing her throat loudly. It was becoming clearer this man could barely focus on the task at hand, let alone remember what he said minutes before.

"Yes, yes, conditions. You must agree to my conditions before I let you stay here. First condition, you pay every first of the month. I don't care if your kids, I need money to get by and it doesn't help if I let you people freeload. Miss Ride has confirmed that you have jobs... illegal or otherwise, you have jobs. So I expect you to pay. M'kay? Second condition, if anyone asks you are my cousin's kids. Got it? My cousin Richard Ride's kids." He said firmly.

"Got it. Richard Rid's kids." Nudge replied as Mr. Maxwell began to speak again.

"You're home-schooled. But you're going to start attending a private school next year. Right? Okay? Another thing, don't hang around here. Be out as much as possible." Everyone nodded, who would want to hang around here? It was a moth eaten filth bag!

"And uh," He started hesitantly "you guys are runaways right?" Everyone fell silent. They were runaways, in a sense. But they couldn't tell him a cock and bull story about kids with wings and mad scientists. He'd kick them out! Call em looneys! Send them away...

"Well, n-not really." Iggy said shakily. He suddenly felt all their eyes upon him. He prayed, for a fleeting second, that he would sound convincing before starting with his yarn.

"You see, Angel, Alex and I, we're brother and sister. I'm twenty-two, she's nine and he's twelve." He hoped the ladies in the coffee shop were good at guessing ages.

"Monique is our cousin, and Max is our step sister." He continued. "Our parents had gotten divorced when I was fourteen and since then our dad had remarried, but mum and dad stayed good friends. That's why our mum, dad and step mum were all escorting me back to Elderwood, the private school in uptown New York." He willed his eyes to water. "We were on the train, almost six years ago, and I had gotten up to go get us something to eat, at the back of the train, when it happened. When the train crashed... everyone in the first three cars was killed. The last two though, only had seven fatalities. When the trains collided, I was thrown forward and I smashed my head against the wall. That's how I went blind. After that... we were all orphans, Max included for her father had committed suicide when she was six. The four of us were bounced from relative to relative for two years, no one could take us in long before having some type of tragedy in their lives... Monique's father was already a widower, his wife had been taken by cancer only months earlier, when he was killed in an industrial accident. So it became the five us, roaming from relative to relative till no one would take us in." He felt fat tears stream down either cheek. "So, we were taken to a foster home... an elderly woman who died of a heart attack only two weeks after we came. In the chaos, we just... slipped away. We've been on our own for three years. They've given up, we have no family to keep them searching. The only family left... is us." He choked.

When had he become such an actor? He had never been able to lie convincingly, or tell Angel proper bedtime stories, but he could all of a sudden make himself cry? What was up with that? He suddenly felt Max wrap her arms around his shoulders, sobbing. Good, she was going along with it too.

"I-I'm sorry kids." Mr. Maxwell said sincerely.

"That's okay, you can go now. We'll be fine." Max cried. Iggy felt a hand on his knee, and then he heard the stairs creak as the man left the basement. As the door squeaked closed he felt a everyone's arms around him.

"Iggy!" Max squealed, laying a kiss on his cheek. "That was brilliant!" She cried, pulling him to his feet.

"Y-you think so?" He asked shakily.

"Yes of course!" She replied happily. He couldn't help but feel his pride swell.

"G'night." Max said softly reaching her hand out for Iggy's. They had set their cots next to each other's, only inches from each other. Gazzy and Angel slept on the pull out, and Nudge on the bed. A few unused sleeping bags and four unused cots lay, heaped in the corner but other than that they had very little furniture. Iggy speculated this was simply the Maxwell's garbage they had been given, but he couldn't really complain.

"Night, Max." He replied, interlocking their fingers. He had heard that your fingers were your strengths, the spaces in between were your weaknesses, so if you laced your fingers together you were filling each other's weaknesses. He liked it.

"I'm sorry." She yawned.

"About what?" He asked, squeezing her hand.

"For getting us kicked out of the hotel." She replied, her voice filled with sleepiness.

"It wasn't your fault." He said, kissing her knuckles. And through the musty air, the thin quilts and the tiredness that filled him, he could feel her smile.

A/N: It's weird to read this stuff over... Just because I have a totally different writing style now. Not to mention everything I write is pretty much shonen-ai. Anyways, I'll put up the next part when I have time to edit.

9. Hey You

A/N: I'll be using the review reply thingy now, because that's actually what I was suppose to do anyways. In any case, here's chapter nine.

Chapter IX: Hey You

In one week at the Maxwell's and Iggy had realized that they had not been given the house garbage. All furniture was like that.

Within one hour of waking, Mrs. Maxwell had given them a complete tour and introduced them to everyone. Everyone being the other residents. On the second floor there were seven bed rooms and one bath. At the end of the hall was Mr. And Mrs. Maxwell's room, it was decorated with a large bed, shaggy carpet, a screen-less window and peeling wall paper. Most rooms followed that basic design, with a few modifications.

For instance, the room to the direct right of the master bed room belonged to Mr.Oatsmen. Otis, for that's what everyone called him, was in construction. He was a squat man with huge bulky arms and a low rumble of a voice. His room had been modified to fit his numerous drills, axes and hammers. He kept them slung on the right wall, as well as left. His window had a large crack in it, allegedly Otis had taken a practice swing and lost his grip. That was also his testament on the large holes next to his door. The flock had hurried out of the room and into Flea (Flee-uh)'s room.

Hers was a gentler room. A water bed with a down feather blanket and matching pillows. Her carpet was also much softer, he suspected that was her own addition to the room though. She had a wooden desk and rows of books, she was in college and spent a good deal of her time studying. Iggy liked the room, he wanted to stay a bit longer but Max had rushed him out. Max claimed she thought her French accent was fake and annoying, and that was why she had hurried them out of the room and into the Merriweather's room.

The Merriweather's were a young married couple who always seemed a bit nerved. Mrs. Merriweather was heavy with pregnancy, and Mr. Merriweather was a very thin man who was rather frazzled with work and his wife's bulging middle. They had barely sat down when they were whisked out again by Mr. Merriweather, insisting that his wife needed rest and he needed to pay bills. They had not seen any of the rooms on the left side of the hall, two were for rent and the other belonged to an old widower who spent a good deal of his time asleep. If the flock thought they were done, it turned out to be far from it.

They were lead into the attic. In the attic was four rooms, there was a bathroom and then two normal sized bedrooms. The two bedrooms were occupied by Natalie, the Maxwell's daughter, and Sargent Lork. Sargent Lork was a police officer who worked the nightshift, he was heard from very little, but seemed very kindly and intellectual. Natalie though, she was something else. She was a piano teacher and she insisted on giving the flock lessons. Max and Gazzy stumbled over the keys, awkwardly turning out 'Yankee Doodle'. Nudge and Angel were more interested in singing the songs then playing, to be honest. But Iggy, he had taken to it like a duck to water. Natalie claimed he had a gift that was not to be wasted and gave him daily lessons at no charge. She would sit next to him and hum the tune, or perhaps play it, then Iggy would simply play it back. She taught him by ear since he couldn't read music. She said it was the best way to learn really. From what he heard she had frizzy red hair which she hid under a green and purple ski cap and gray eyes. But the thing that was so different about Natalie was that she was in love with the Artist.

The Artist's real name was Ike, but Natalie was the only one who called him that. The Artist lived in the remaining area of the attic, which was a large room he referred to as 'The Studio'. The Studio had only one piece of furniture, a rather smelly mattress he had laid out in the corner. The rest of the room was taken up with half finished sculptures and paintings. Iggy had yet to hear him say anything besides "I'm busy." but apparently he and Natalie had very meaningful conversations, judging by the way she fawned over him at dinner. The only person the flock had yet to meet was Fred. Fred was the Maxwell's young son who often came home drunk. He lived in the basement as well, which was divided into a bathroom, a living room, a small bed room and a large studio. Of course, the flock lived in the large studio, and Fred in the small bedroom. They often heard him throwing up in the bathroom or mumbling in his sleep but had yet to meet him. Personally Iggy wasn't too stoked to meet Natalie's younger brother.

"You know, he's been gone almost two months now." Max said quietly. Her head was resting on his shoulder gently. They had been laying on the couch for about fifteen minutes, thinking of a place to go, after all Mr. Maxwell did not want them around.

"I guess he has." Iggy stroked her hair softly.

"Do you think he's still out there? Do you think that girl was telling the truth?" She asked, sitting up again. Iggy paused. He had to put this gently. He was the only one who truly believed Fang was still out there. He knew the rest of the Flock were still trying to get over his death, and for him to be suddenly alive... that would be harder for them.

"Yeah. I think so." He kissed her hair as he stood.

"Really?" She asked, following him to the living room.

"Yeah." He said, sitting down in front of the television.

"Do you?" He asked suddenly.

She took his hand in hers, "Yes. Yes, I do."

He let the water sink over him slowly. He'd been in the hot tubs already today, but here he was again. He was back because, he still was limping. True, it didn't hurt him as much, but he still couldn't walk normally. So, naturally he thought if he was in the hydrotherapy tubs a little more, maybe then his limp would go away. That's what simple logic said, anyway.

"You know what might really help?" Angel said, her head snapping back up. She often joined him in the hot tubs now, though she claimed it faded her hair color. He saw no evidence of that to be honest, but he went along with it.

"What?" He asked sinking deeper into the bubbles.

"Ballet." She declared, hopping up and pulling a towel around her waist.

"Ballet?" He stood up and pulled his sweat pants on.

"Yes, ballet." She said, holding open the door. Fang sighed and limped through the doorway. He pressed his palm against the silver head of the walking stick Fin loaned him.

"How the hell is ballet going to help?" He mumbled, leaning heavily against the stick as he limped down the hall.

"Take a look at this." She pointed her foot and he saw what she was talking about. Her upper calf popped a muscle. She did the same with her left leg.

"It gives you leg strength hun. Real leg muscle." She said tossing her hair back. She had cut it the day before. It now just grazed her shoulders, instead of her mid back.

"I can see that." He murmured as they turned into a draped doorway. As they stepped inside Fang saw himself reflected in at least twenty mirrors which covered the walls of the room.

"This is my studio." She sighed, pulling on a black skirt over her red swimsuit.

"Your studio?" He asked, plopping down on the floor.

"Yes, mine. It was an empty room. I bought the mirrors, I put them up. I've been studying since... since I was very small." She said, pulling on some pink satin flat toed shoes. She laced them around her ankles with care, then stood on the flat toes. Fang's eyes widened, she was standing directly on the tips of her toes. Then she began to turn and leap. She walked directly on the tips of her toes and lifted her leg much higher than her hips.

"Come on, I'll help you warm up." She pulled him to his feet slowly. Was he going to do that? It seemed physically impossible!

"This is first position." Her heels touched but her toes were turned out to face opposite ways. He did the same, but he just couldn't turn his toes out quite as far without falling over.

"Good, now this is second position." She slid her foot out so they were shoulder length apart. He followed her lead.

"Third is only used for young children so we'll skip it. Forth position though, we will do." She placed her right foot against her arch then brought it out about three inches. He once again followed.

"And lastly, fifth position." She put her heel against the ball of her foot. "Now, let's start the warm up." She smiled, Fang on the other hand frowned. And with good reason.

In twenty minutes he was already sweating through his clothes. "Can-we-take-a-break?" He panted, leaning on his knees for support.

"Yes, yes. I think you've had enough for today." She smiled, handing him a white towel. He took it and wiped the sweat from his brow.

"Let's go visit River, shall we?" She said, briskly walking out the door. Fang groaned and stiffly limped after her.

"Can't you wait for me?" He pleaded, catching up to her.

"I guess I could..." She stopped and turned on the balls of her feet. He clamped a hand on her shoulder and pulled himself up right.

"Let's get going then." He said, turning to the end of the hall.

"No... you know what I just realized? I have to run some errands in the city today. I'm sorry." She said looking down at her watch.

"When are you going to be back?" He asked, slightly deflated. Angela stopped in mid step.

"You should come with me!" She threw her arms around him.

"Come on! I'll get my coat and we can catch the bus and get out of this place!" She cried gayly. She pulling him by the arm down the hall into what he could only guess was her room, nearly dislocating his shoulder all the way. She had a single, which was lucky. You often got placed with looney roommates, or just people who didn't like you. Fang had of course gotten River and Zion, as well as Grey. They were fine roommates, but he couldn't help but wish he had a single most of the time.

"Come on, let's go!" She grinned, she had traded her lab coat for a brown over coat and bright pink shoulder bag. She had pulled back her hair into a small ponytail at the nape of her neck, thought a few strands of dark hair escaped. She handed him a black jacket and pulled him into the elevator.

"Where exactly are we going?" He asked as the door chimed open.

"Central park!" She said happily. Fang cringed... the last time he was in Central park...

"We need to get out of here." Gazzy said for the thousandth, going on millionth, time that commercial.

"I second the motion." Nudge said flatly. Iggy couldn't help but third it. Mr. Maxwell had been ducking in and out, growling about their agreement.

"Where would we go? Bloomingdale's?" Max laughed.

"Well we have to go somewhere!" Angel whined, one of her recently taken up hobbies. Whining.

"You know what?" He said, standing up so quickly his chair fell over.

"What?" Gazzy asked dazedly.

"We're going out." he said firmly. He heard the creak of the rusty couch cushions as the remaining flock members stood up and followed him up the stairs.

"Where are we going?" Gazzy asked as they stood at the bus stop. Iggy stopped, had he even thought about that? No... but it's not like he couldn't think of something off the top of his head.

"Central park." He decided as the bus pulled in. They boarded it's sticky confines and sat down in the very back, where their conversations wouldn't be disturbed. Nudge and Gazzy sat in the seats across from Iggy and Max, Angel sat on Nudge's lap so she could properly see out the window. Max sat in the window seat on Iggy's side.

"You know, I wish I could look out the window. Just once more." He said quietly. He felt Max's head on his shoulder.

"Why would you want to do that? You know what I see through this window? It's clouded, dusty. All I see are bare trees and children playing in the streets, which are filthy to begin with. A stray dog digging through the trash. The world isn't that beautiful." She whispered to him.

He smiled and kissed her forehead. "But you are."

"So what are these errands of yours?" Fang asked as he limped slowly next to her.

"They're already underway." She said pulling her arm around his shoulders.

"What do you mean?" He asked, as he cocked his head to the side.

"My errand was to get you out of that gloomy place." She said laying a kiss on his cheek. Fang smiled. He was glad to get out the Hospital... he'd been coped up there for more than a month. And half of that time he had been on bed rest. It was good that he was out for once.

"Yeah, it is." She smiled.

"You know, I almost forgot you could do that." He smirked.

"Almost, but not quite!" She giggled.

"Yeah. Almost but not quite." He said quietly... he'd almost forgotten the flock. He could hear Nudge's voice, recite her rants, but her face... he couldn't remember what she looked like. And Max, remembered every curve of her body, but weren't her eyes blue? Or where they green? Iggy, was his voice low? Or high? How tall was Gazzy? Angel, didn't her hair reach her mid back? He could hardly remember...

"I'm glad we got out." Nudge said sprinkling a cracker over the ground where squirrels soon followed.

"Yeah so am I!" Gazzy said from the tree above. Iggy on the other hand wasn't that happy. The park brought back memories of the night Fang disappeared. He could hear those hideous shrieks still... they haunted his mind still.

"Is... is that Fang?" Angel's small voice asked suddenly.

"I-it is." Max choked. "It's Fang."

Fang suddenly felt a body against his, someone else's hair on his face, lips on his cheek. "Max?" He called softly. He held her at arms length. She was thin, gaunt and had hollows under her eyes. Her grey eyes.

"Yes, yes it's me!" She cried as tears streamed down her cheeks.

"And, and Angel." She said pulling the little girl to her side.

"Gasman and Nudge." She pointed to the two of them.

"Ah-ah-and Iggy." She said pulling the blind boy from where he had tripped unto the grassy lawn when Nudge had run into him.

"Oh we've missed you so much!" She threw her arms around him again.

"I-I missed you guys too." He said softly patting her back.

"Where have you been? What happened?" She asked, stepping back and finally taking a good look at her long lost friend. Her gaze lingered on the walking stick he was clutching, but then she looked back at his eyes.

"A lot happened." He said, scuffing his shoes.

"Like what?" She asked desperately.

"Maybe he doesn't want to talk about it." Iggy said flatly as he examined the scrapes on his palms. Ow, God, why did he have to do that?

"Oh... okay." Max quietly. Iggy felt his heart sink. He wrapped his arms around her, she didn't deserve that. He shouldn't have said it.

"Oh, hey! This is Angela." Fang said suddenly.

"Hi." a feminine voice squeaked, who was this girl? How did Fang know her? He hugged Max tighter. She didn't deserve any of this. It was going to tear her apart. Why had Fang changed so much? Before he was the strong, silent type. Now... he wasn't quite sure what Fang was. His voice sounded hollow, his words were generic. They might as well have been talking to the wall. Because this wasn't Fang. At least, Fang as they knew him.

"S-so if you don't want to talk about it that's okay. I can totally understand that. I think everyone can really, I mean we've all gone through that." Nudge said, her voice wavered. She sounded close to tears. He couldn't blame her.

"Yeah, we've all gone through that." Max said softly, Iggy felt her tears drip down onto his sleeve. Couldn't Fang see how Max was being torn to pieces? Iggy sighed. Maybe Fang being back wasn't such a good thing.

"No... um, maybe tomorrow though..." Fang said quietly, scuffing the ground with his shoe. Angel didn't get it, what was wrong with Fang? Why didn't he want to talk to anyone? Why did he walk so funny? He looked so thin, and his arms had weird criss crosses across them. His hair was longer, his eyes looked sad and his mouthed always frowned. He was so different... what happened to him?

Angel looked at the girl he held in front of him. She was small, but muscular. Her face was thin and her features were delicate. She was very pretty... but Angel didn't understand and her. When she read the girl's mind, she'd been thinking ...and now he's going to leave me... What did she mean? It seemed Angel had a thousand questions, and yet no answers.

"Yeah, yeah... like um three?" Iggy shrugged coldly. Why was Iggy so mad at him? He was thinking about Max... not Fang. Maybe she could... but when she reached into Fang's mind, there was nothing there. What was wrong with Fang?

"Yeah. That's fine." Fang shrugged.

"So, so we'll see you tomorrow?" Gazzy asked, he hoped so. Maybe, if Fang came back... then Max would stop crying, and then everything would be back to normal.

"Yeah. I guess so." Fang nodded. Gazzy would have smiled, if he hadn't doubted him. He wouldn't look any of them in the eye.

"Bye then." Gazzy awkwardly stuck out his hand, which Fang shook. Why didn't he want to come home with them? He almost asked, but instead bit his tongue. Maybe Fang didn't want to talk to him. He watched as Fang shook Nudge's hand. It all felt too formal, too... too old. But then, Angel walked up to Fang and wrapped her arms around his waist.

"I missed you. Total and Celeste did too." The little girl said, looking up at him with total admiration. Maybe things would be better now that Fang was back. Maybe they could be a family again.

Iggy came up and gave Fang a one armed hug. "Glad to see you alive."

Lastly, there came Max. She threw herself into his arms and sobbed on his shoulder. "I'm sorry." Max cried wiping her eyes on the corner of her sleeve.

"It's okay." He said squeezing her hand. "Bye." She said and kissed him on his cheek.


10. Heart Shaped Box

Chapter X: Heart Shaped Box

"Hun you reek of cologne." Angela laughed. She had perched herself on the top of the picnic table, watching as Fang paced back and forth furiously.

"Good cologne? Or bad cologne?" He asked, cutting her a wild eyed glance. He didn't know why he felt the way he did. Unruly... unnerved... jumpy... the feelings were so unfamiliar to Fang. He'd always been in control, calm, ready to face the world. But now his carefully crafted reality was spinning... tumbling downward. And he couldn't stop it.

"Honey, your too tense. You need to relax." She crept behind him and began to rub his shoulders. He felt himself melt at her touch, she had the magic fingers. How many times in the last day had she told him this? That he needed to relax? Countless it seemed. He opened his mouth, unsure of what to say but sure he was going to say something. She beat him to it.

"Shh... don't speak. Just relax, close your eyes and dream." She whispered seductively. Relax? As if I've ever done that! He thought to himself. But she was right. He needed to relax, calm down. His eyes fluttered open and closed. Max... the flock... they could wait... He swayed forward and back, he closed his eyes, for just a moment... just a moment...

"Fang! Fang!" His eyes snapped open. Angela was standing over him, shaking his shoulders.

"What? What happened?" He said, trying to sit himself up only to be pushed back down by Angela.

"You passed out." She said breathlessly.

"I-I what?" He blinked rapidly, adjusting his eyes to the light.

"You passed out, come on. It's almost three." She gently pulled him to his feet.

"Are you okay?" She asked, petting his hair and leaning into him.

"I'm... I'm fine." He shook himself off and stood as straight as he could manage.

"How long was I out?" He asked suddenly, furrowing his brow.

"Three minutes? I don't know." Angela shrugged sitting back on the table. He hadn't missed the flock. Good. He really did want to make it up to them. Yesterday... he just couldn't comprehend it. There they were. The people who haunted his dreams, who he'd only wished to see. He thought he'd never see them but then, there they were. Right in front of him. Alive. Fang felt his eyes water as he thought of the events of the day before. He wiped his eyes, then sat down at the table. They'd arrived at 2:30, prepared to wait for an hour if needed. But now, as three o'clock neared he felt his nerves unravel, bit by bit. His leg was shaking... his palms were sweaty... and he jumped at the smallest noises.

"Three o'clock." Angela said quietly. She was as uncomfortable as him. Maybe more so because she barely new them.

"There they are." He watched as the five bodies walked into his line of vision. Iggy, Max, Nudge and Gazzy. Wait! Where was Angel? Then he realized that Angel was trailing behind, with Celeste and Total in tow. Fang's lips twitched as the little dog pulled against the blonde haired girl. Total had never been exactly mellow.

"I'm going to go to the café on 78th, do some people watching and what not." She pointed to his right and then walked through the trees to her destination. Fang nodded. It was his place, not hers.

"Hey." He said as friendly as he could manage. They nodded with their plastic smiles stuck on their faces. Fang felt a twinge of anger as Gazzy, Nudge, Angel and Max squeezed themselves together on the bench across from him, which was clearly meant for only three people. Iggy though ventured to sit next to him. Fang felt his mood brighten just a bit as his friend clamped him on the back with a giant grin painted across his face.

He's faking it.

"So, your ready to talk?" Max asked softly.

"You don't have to, we would totally understand if you didn't." Nudge added quickly. Fang would have smiled at the speed of Nudge's speech if he wasn't in the middle of sulking.

"Yes, I guess I am." He replied half heartedly. He'd thought about what to say... there was really nothing he could do to make it any different for them, easier for them to understand. He had to just... say it.

"What happened, man? After I left... we came back and everything was gone. No trace... nothing." Iggy said, trying to give him a nice place to start. He silently thanked Iggy as he began.

"I... I did something stupid. I tried to attack one of the Erasers, well it through me and I landed on my back. I cracked my vertebrae, or something of that nature, and that's why I have a limp." He said it as calmly as he could manage. But it was hard, saying it out loud meant that it was true. That he would always and forever be a gimp. Never to be the same. Always a follower... never a leader. He felt a pang of emptiness rocket through his chest... never was a long time.

"After that?" Max asked softly, Fang realized he had been staring at the table for quite some time, unaware he wasn't finished speaking. Great now they'd think he was mental. Mental and a cripple. What a great combination.

"Right, um, well. I just kind of... slipped away for a bit." he cringed as Max gasped and her eyes started to well. They knew what he meant. Coma. It was the last state of consciousness before dead. They all knew it due to the volumes of medical text Max had simply lying around.

"But I'm fine now." He added quickly, then paused. Was he? He'd fainted only minutes ago. And he had an awful limp. Could he really call that fine? Probably not but... glancing at his friends, he knew he'd best fake it.

"So... yeah. I've just been at the Hospital waiting for you guys." He finished quietly. He didn't exactly want to blame it on them, but... it kind of was. He'd been there, rotting in that stark white room waiting for them while they went out and enjoyed life like nothing was wrong. Like he was never there. It hurt... even if he was faking it.

"Is there... anything else?" Gazzy asked, refusing to meet Fang's gaze. He was a afraid. Fang knew it.

"Yes, there's really nothing else for me to say." Tears burned his throat as he choked out that last sentence. They sat in silence, no one really wanted to speak, but they were all silently willing each other to.

"Hey, man, let's go talk over here." Iggy said jumping up. Fang gave him a puzzled look, though Iggy could not see it, but reluctantly followed him through the bushes into a small clearing. What was it that Iggy didn't want to talk about in front of the group? Fang couldn't help but wonder.

"What's up?" he asked as the boy sat down and crossed his legs. Iggy turned his face up towards the sun, which had come out for a fleeting moment from behind the clouds. He basked in it for a minute, his skin was illuminated by the light and his eyes shown bright under the effects of the sun. Fang blinked, another thing he'd forgotten. Iggy loved the sunlight. Iggy took a deep breath before turning his attention back to Fang.

"Take a seat." Iggy patted the grass next to him. Fang sat down on the dew soaked grass without hesitation. What the hell was it? He prattled his brain, there was none he could think of for this conversation.

Fang turning to the boy, "Iggy, what is it?" He asked firmly. Iggy didn't answer, instead his put either thumb on Fang's cheekbones. He stroked Fang's cheeks and gingerly moved his fingertips over the rest of Fang's face.

"What are you doing?" Fang asked when Iggy put his hands down.

"I'm looking at you. I haven't looked at you in a long time." Iggy said with a shrug, turning his attention back to the sun. He swayed gently as a breeze rushed through.

"Oh, okay." He forgot Iggy would look at you when he wanted to talk to you. He'd forgotten a lot of things.

"Your hair is longer." Iggy added. Fang knew, he felt his hair tickle just past his shoulders as the breeze came through once more. Fang shivered, rubbing his upper arms. He looked at Iggy, who had slipped off his sweatshirt and held it out toward Fang, who took it graciously. He pulled it around his shoulders, thank God for Iggy.

"What I wanted to talk to you about, was Max." Iggy said, still basking in the light. Fang felt his heart pang. Max. Him and her... so long ago...

"What about Max?" He asked, shaking himself out of his memories.

"You. Her. Stuff." Iggy shrugged once more.

"I see." Of course he didn't. What was Iggy getting at? He racked his brain for an answer to why Iggy and he were about to have such a bizarre conversation, but he came up with none. Maybe he was mental after all. Or just stupid. Probably, after all Iggy was the brain, he was the brawn, Max was the leader, Nudge was the voice, Gazzy was the stink and Angel was the innocence. No one really expected him to do rocket science.

Iggy continued without a hitch, "When you left, Max was a wreck." Wreck. Such a strong word. Fang couldn't picture Max as a wreck. She couldn't picture her as anything more than what she was. The leader.

"Sh-she was?" Fang ventured, his voice shaking against his will.

"She locked herself in the bathroom, made herself sick, she was a wreck." Iggy said as if he were commenting on the weather. What? That was nothing like the Max he knew, the Max he knew would have been out, fighting. Not locked in a bathroom sobbing.


"Yeah, I'm just giving you a heads up she's gonna get pretty emotional."

Fang thought for a second... "How do you know all this?" It was a good question. Iggy and Max weren't exactly close, they'd liked each other well enough, but they just weren't... they didn't click. Fang and Iggy clicked. Max and Angel clicked. Against their will, Nudge and Gazzy clicked.

Iggy blushed madly and mumbled "I've spent a lot of time with her."

"Oh, like...?" Fang cocked an eyebrow.

"Yeah... in that sort of way." He said thoughtfully.

"I didn't think you had it in you!" Fang clamped a hand on Iggy's shoulder. Oh how things changed. Wasn't it just the other day Max had kissed him... but now he had Angela. And Iggy had Max. He'd never have seen it coming, but it was true.

"Well I do." Iggy declared with a stupid grin painted across his face.

"That it?" Fang asked, standing up. He was pretty much done talking about this. He wanted nothing more than to go and rest his leg in the hot tubs. He gazed around the clearing, suddenly realizing this was where everything had started. His eyes welled with bitter tears... he could see it so clearly... Shadows... Erasers... screaming... blood... pain racing up and down him... spinning... spinning... blackness.

"Hey, Fang, geroff me." A muffled voice broke through his vision. He suddenly realized that he had collapsed into Iggy's arms. Losing his mind... going mental...

"Hey, you okay?" Iggy asked, holding Fang up at arms length, as if not wanting to touch him. Why should he? He'd just collapsed. For the second time in one day. Maybe he wasn't just stupid. Maybe his mind was addled. He'd talk to Angela... maybe she could run some tests, see if he was sane. Or maybe he was epileptic. But he wasn't having seizures...Maybe he just had black outs, but he hadn't been blacking out... He'd been having a flashback... God, he was just losing his mind!

"Fine... Fine." Fang repeated, more to himself than Iggy.

"Here, lemme help you." Iggy said, throwing Fang's arm around his shoulder. It was so funny Fang almost laughed. After years of leading Iggy around and keeping him out of trouble, who would have thought this would have happened? Fang's first reaction was to tell Iggy to buck off, but he stopped himself. Instead he rested his weight across Iggy's shoulders.

"Fang, are you sure you're okay?" Iggy asked, walking slowly with Fang through the trees.

"Yes, just a little... I'm fine." He said, not even paying attention to the fact he'd trailed off in mid sentence. He could tell Iggy didn't believe him. But why did that matter? Why did anything matter?

"Fang, you're my brother. I don't care if we're not biological siblings like Gazzy and Angel, you're my brother. And I care about you, man. You can talk to me. You know that."

"Yeah, whatever, I love you too man." Fang sighed, ignoring Iggy's point.



Iggy groaned. Fang didn't really care. God he walked so slow these days... They'd gone about twenty feet in five minutes. He remembered when he'd just beaten Max at racing when they were kids, a mile in five minutes. A real record. Now, it was all he could do to hobble.

"I walk so damn slow." He moaned, his voice dripping in vexation.

"Like I care." Iggy grunted. Fang suddenly realized he did not want to walk in on Max and everyone, limping with Iggy for support. God... he would feel so embarrassed.

"Iggy, I can take it from here." Fang said, pushing away.

"Fang, I can tell when your lying, I'm not stupid." Iggy pulled Fang back.

"I'm fine!" Fang insisted.

"No, your not. Fang, people don't just black out like that. It's not normal." Iggy said, pulling Fang along as if he were nothing more than Total, out for his daily walk.

"I will carry you if I have to." Iggy said, giving another tug on Fang's arm. Fang let himself be pulled in surprise. Carrying or half-carrying? Half-carrying was the obvious choice. So Fang let Iggy half-carry, half-drag him through the brush, dreading the moment they would come into view.

"Hold out your arm." Iggy said, stopping. Fang shook his head, but held out his elbow all the same. Iggy wrapped his fingers around the crook, holding Fang up with one arm. Fang suddenly realized what he was doing. Iggy was making it look like Fang was helping him, when he was really holding Fang up. He silently thanked Iggy, for what seemed like the thousandth time that day. Slowly, the pair walked through the forested area and into the clearing.

"Hey." Iggy said, pulling Fang towards the general direction of Max's voice. She was jabbering loudly with Nudge. When she saw Fang she immediately stopped. She looked from Iggy to Fang, then stood up and pressed her fingers against his stomach.

"Ohmygod. Fang, your so thin!" Max exclaimed, running her fingers over his rib cage.

"Like your not." Fang laughed, pointing at her hip bones, which jutted out from her stomach.

"Well, I guess your right there." She said, patting her belly.

"Listen... we were thinking... do you want to come home with us? Just for a bit of a visit. And then, if you want to, maybe you could... move back in with us?" Max asked softly. Visit? Yes. Move in? No. But he wouldn't tell her that, instead he pasted another fake smiled on his lips.

"Yeah, sure. I just have to go talk to Angela at the café first." He said hollowly. Amazingly, she believe him.

"Oh! That's great! We were gonna go to the café!" She said, hugging him. But despite her efforts, he still saw her kick Nudge in the shin when she opened her mouth.

"Okay. Let's go!" She said cheerfully, skipping ahead of everyone. He felt Iggy wrap his fingers around his arm, he put his hand on Iggy's and squeezed it. Thanking him as they walked, ever so slowly, after Max. Things almost felt normal again. He glanced back at the clearing, almost.

A/N: I had to resist, very hard, the urge to slash Iggy and Fang in this chapter as I broke up the paragraphs... -sigh- all the same, I've got Then and Now, dont' I?

ANNOUNCEMENT: Take Me Over will have a REWRITTEN, REVISED edition up around May or June, back ONLY by popular demand. (I'll keep this story up, but don't forget to review the rewritten piece.)