Darker Than Midnight by M1dnite

Category:Maximum Ride
Genre:Humor, Romance
Characters:Fang, Max
Published:2010-08-13 05:18:04
Updated:2018-02-19 19:56:07
Packaged:2021-04-04 13:13:59
Summary:Meet Max, your average human teenager; looks, brains and a violent personality to match. But when Max meets Fang she's finally met her equal—a guy who's much darker, more dangerous, than Midnight itself. For with this man, nothing is what it seems...

Table of Contents

1. Chapter 1
2. Chapter 2
3. Chapter 3
4. Chapter 4
5. Chapter 5
6. Chapter 6
7. Chapter 7
8. Chapter 8
9. Chapter 9
10. Chapter 10
11. Chapter 11
12. Chapter 12
13. Chapter 13
14. Chapter 14
15. Chapter 15
16. Chapter 16
17. Chapter 17
18. Chapter 18
19. Chapter 19
20. Chapter 20
21. Chapter 21
22. Chapter 22
23. Chapter 23
24. Chapter 24
25. Author's Note
26. Chapter 25
27. Chapter 26
28. Chapter 27
29. Chapter 28
30. Not a chapter, but a chapter :O
31. Chapter 29
32. Chapter 32 eight years on

1. Chapter 1

A warning to all readers! I'm not really known for updating my work, or spell checking it if I am tired. But don't worry, it should be fine! Oh, and I write really different stories to other FF writers, so prepare yourselves for…weirdness. I have a kind of different sense of humour, so I hope this is a breath of fresh air =)) Please review! That way I know if it's any good or not. Thanks!


Not the pet store, not the pet store, not the pet store…


I couldn't tear my eyes away as, as if in slow motion, my priceless black Pontiac Firebird sixty-nine crashed through the seemingly invisible walls of the local pet store.

Oh yeah, did I mention fuck?

The totaled car rolled to a rather ungraceful stop as horrified parents stared at us through the windscreen of the car. I cringed at the howling of animals as I realized that we had crashed into the dogs" section of the store. Red was slashed across the shattered glass and previously clean marble floor. As if this were some kind of movie, my door creaked open without my touching it, the metal screeching as it echoed through the silence of the stunned crowd. Children looked pale as the colour drained from their faces, the sight of dead animals probably haunting their dreams for the next seven years. My head turned toward Iggy who sat beside me, his white hands clenched around the steering wheel in sheer terror. Or maybe it was just shock that had him so frozen. I didn't know. Didn't really care either, not after what he had done.

I took a deep breath, stepping out of the care and trying to keep myself composed. My stiletto heels crunched as they crushed the glass beneath my feet. I looked around the store, dismissing the angry and sickened faces that were looking my way. Surveying the animals, some lying bleeding across the floor, others limping as far away from my totaled car as they could, I brought my attention to Iggy (who was now out of the car as well) and the scratched, bent and destroyed state of my ride.

Violence is not the answer, violence is not the answer, violence is not—

Oh fuck that.

"Iggy you totally destroyed my car!" I near screamed. "Do you know how much this is going to cost me to fix?" I kicked the wheel out of frustration (cough, anger, cough).

"It's not my fault," Iggy protested, crossing his arms across his chest.

"Oh this is so your fault! What, did the shop just magically appear in front of you?"

"Hey, you were the "designated driver." I blame you."

"Oh I am going to cut you open and eat your intestines! All fifty meters of it!"

"Actually, the intestines aren't fifty meters long, they're—"

Before he could finish his stupid smart-ass sentence, someone else's voice blared over his.

"Step away from the car immediately!"

Sighing, I did as the policeman said, dragging my hand down my face in annoyance. I watched out of the corner of my eyes as Iggy did the same. God, we were so screwed.

"What happened here?" The officer asked, his voice somewhat more composed.

"An accident sir," I replied, trying somewhat to sound formal. Though I was sure my outfit really didn't help my situation—somehow I didn't think stiletto boots and halter-neck top without a back screamed "mature" or 'sophisticated."

"Really? And you just happened to crash into the pet store? Do you realize the mess you've caused here?" His eyes moved toward Iggy, who was staring back at him squarely. Oh please, don't do anything stupid, I thought. Iggy was known for…well, for things that would get him arrested if anyone found out about them.

"Sorry officer, my sister has been teaching me to drive. I guess she's not a very good teacher." Not a good teacher? He totaled my firebird!

"Can I see your license please Miss?"

"Sure," I grumbled, fishing through my bag for my wallet. I was so screwed. What was I going to do now about a ride? There was no way I could get my car fixed! And my insurance wouldn't cover this much damage.

The officer snatched my card from me, grunting as he looked over it. "Maximum Ride? Is this some kind of joke?" The policeman looked me over, scanning my body. It was a few minutes before he shook his head. "There's no way this is real. Maximum Ride? You don't even look—"

"Actually, it's Max. And yes, it's real. I'm seventeen sir, would you like my I.D?"

The officer frowned but shook his head. "What about you, other one. Got a card?"

"Yes sir," Iggy replied, flinging his brown hair out of his eyes. He literally tossed the piece of laminated paper to the policeman, who now had a squad of four other officers joining him.

"Iggy? Your name is Iggy Ride?" He tossed glances from me to Iggy, shaking his head.

"That's the name. Don't blame me, I didn't get the choice. But is everything good here?" The officer threw him an "are you serious?" look his way and told us to wait where we were before walking away. I saw the RSPCA and pet store staff tending to the animals. Forget the animals, what about my car!

"Iggy, we are so dead!" I whispered furiously to him.

"I know. I don't think Jeb's going to be happy…"

"Yeah, he's going to be just peachy," I growled. What a tool. I knew just how happy Jeb would be once he found out he would have to foot the bill for us destroying a store. I mean, it was bad enough after Iggy set the Forman's house on fire with an explosive made of C4, but this? Living beings died! Sure they were smelling, hairy dogs, but they were alive, right?

Had it have been the birds, I think I might have vomited.

And my car!

"Alright, you, Iggy, got parents? Legal guardians?"

I visibly saw Iggy gulp. "Yeah."

"Got a phone?"

Pause. "Yeah?"

Another pause. "Don't you think it would be prudent to call them then?"

"Well actually—"

"I can drive him home Officer. I'm his older sister," I cut in. I could literally see another repeat of the Forman's yard happening in the pet store. God, and they thought I was the violent one. "If he gets anywhere near the wheel again I will literally cut off his hands so he has nothing to drive with. His feet wouldn't go amiss either actually. Hmm…I could just keep chopping, bits of him off, until he couldn't do anything ever again—"

Huh, okay, maybe I am the violent one.

"Okay, I get it, but either way call the parents. Now."

Don't tell him to fuck off… "Sure," I said, plastering a smile to my face as I dug through my bag. Okay, prepare for sudden death…

Jeb picked up the phone after the second ring, his cheery voice slicing through the silence.

"Hey, what's up?"

Okay, here goes. Break it to him in small fractions. Don't just blame Iggy. That will make you seem guilty. Slowly, slowly, slowly…

"I was teaching Iggy to drive like you said and he tried to do a stupid U-turn in the middle of the street, almost hit a seven seat mini bus before swerving into a pet store. He smashed all the glass walls on the west side of the building and there's glass everywhere and I had absolutely nothing to do with it!" I took a deep breath, trying to catch it. Okay, so that was an epic fail. I saw Iggy scowl, the frames of his sunglasses sliding down his nose fractionally. I shrugged, closing my eyes as I readied for the explosion…

"He didn't blow anything up did he?" Jeb asked after a moment of silence and deep breathing.

"Uh, no."

"Is anything or anyone hurt?"

"I think I see a dog lying on the floor with a crooked leg. It looks like it's unconscious…oh, no, it's dead. Never mind. Well…there's one who looks blind—oh, one of his eyes are gone. Poor thing. Ah…oh there's one with a missing tail. That one's hurt I think—"

"Max! What did you do?"

"I didn't do anything. Iggy was the one that was driving!"

"You were the designated driver! You should have told him not to do a U-turn in the middle of an intersection!"

"I was reading my book, I didn't see him do the stupid turn until we were through the windows of the store."

"You were reading a BOOK!"

I cringed, holding the phone at a length from me. "I was at the part where the girl was getting saved by the baddie-turned-kinda-good. I couldn't just not read it!"

"Just get home. Now. We'll talk about it then."

"Uh, problem. My car has been totaled."

"Then catch the bus!" There was an audible snap before the line went dead. I gaped, my eyes wide.

"He hung up on me!"

"Huh. Give me the number and I'll call him later. You two get out of my sight." The officer wrote down Jeb's number before stalking off.

"Wait, what about my car!"

"Pah, what about it? Got the twenty or so grand to fix it? More than that actually, seeing as though it's ancient and vintage. You've trashed the ride kid."

I gaped. "I'm going to rip off your—" Iggy's hand clamped over my mouth.

"Idiot, don't get us arrested for assaulting the police as well!" I fought the urge to scream. I wish Iggy was blind sometimes, so that he wouldn't know where I was to stop me from doing stupid things. Not like he could talk, he was the one who blew up the comic book store because they didn't have the right issue of Spiderman out. Psycho.

When Iggy finally dropped his hand the policeman was gone, leaving us to bus it back home. I took a deep breath. I didn't think screaming and stamping my foot right then would make my situation much better.

"Jeb said to catch the bus back."

"Yeah, I gathered that. I'm not deaf."

"Whatever," I sneered, shoving the car door aside to grab my stuff out of the car. I sighed. It would take forever to get my car back. I was sure Jeb wasn't going to foot that bill, and my shifts at The Grand weren't really going to pay for twenty K's worth of damage any time soon. Don't throw anything, don't throw anything, don't throw anything

"Hey Max, what the Hell are these for?" My head snapped toward Iggy, who had in his hand a pair of shining silver handcuffs. I was sure my face had drained of colour as I snatched the steel cuffs from his grip.

"None of your business," I answered bitchily, shoving them into my bag. God, what else did I have in here? Iggy rolled his eyes in exasperation, mouthing the word "right" slowly. "Fuck you," I said, my brows pulled toward my eyes.

"Language," Iggy imitated in his best posh British accent.

I rolled my eyes and shut the glove box with a snap. "Got any change?" I asked, eyeing Iggy with a look of annoyance.

"Sure do," he said, smiling.

"Good, "cause I got none."

Iggy checked his watch, the large square face so distinctive that you'd think he was blind the numbers were so big. "Bus comes in a few. C'mon, we'll miss it if we don't go. I don't particularly want to wait another hour for the next one."

'then you shouldn't have crashed my car," I grumbled, trudging through red stained fluids. God, you'd think someone could clean up this mess. Tossing one last wistful glance over my shoulder, I sighed. Looks like I would have to use Jeb's hunk of shit for the next few years. Bah, and it was a Holden. What a piece of crap they are. Not to mention it freaking ate fuel like Jeb devoured Iggy's food. Which reminded me… I gasped, coming to a stop. Spinning on heels, I ran back to my car, diving into the back seat and snatching the silver foiled item that I had shoved into the back as I'd left home. How could I forget the brownie? Iggy made the best brownies. As I shoved the whole thing into my mouth at the same time, I saw Iggy having a spaz at a bald man in front of him. I froze, my mouth gaping. The door behind Iggy snapped shut and the vehicle began moving, Iggy's face watching me helplessly as it the bus disappeared from view.


Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!

I don't think I'd sworn this much in my entire life. I took out my phone, punched in Iggy's number and waited for the dick to answer his phone. One ring, two rings, three rings… After eight rings I hung up. As usual he was avoiding my call. Oh my God, this can't possibly get any worse…

And what do you know, it starts freaking raining.

Why? Why is that when you think things can't get worse, it begins to rain? An electrifying bolt streaked through the sky followed by an ear-piercing screech that rang through the air. Okay, my limited control broke. I screamed.

And screamed and screamed and screamed.

I trudged out of the store, which was now taped with yellow "do not cross" tape. It had long since been abandoned. And, like a bad horror movie, no-one was around as thunderous clouds marked the sky. What the Hell happened to the sunshine? That's it, God hates me. Probably because I helped Iggy blow up the church…yeah, that might explain it. (What? They were trying to convert us or something. They wanted me to give up alcohol and sex outside of marriage. What the Hell, who would agree to that?")

I walked along the muddy pathway, cursing myself for wearing heels. And nice ones too. When I got home, Iggy was going to freaking wash them until they looked out of the box new. And if he refused, then there was a fist in his face waiting for him. Little turd, so what if he was taller than me, I'd slice "dick" across his forehead so that everyone could see his—

Lost deep in vengeful thought and being drenched in rain, I didn't see the massive pothole right in front of me until after I landed butt first in it. Filled with muddy water and other dirt, I slid into it, my pants becoming soaked with muddy water and my emerald top splattered with dirt. I was sure I began hyperventilating I was so pissed at this point. Knowing my luck today, if I got up again I'd trip on a crack, break my leg and have to be carted to a freaking hospital in an ambulance. So I continued to sit in the mud, my blonde hair becoming more drenched in the torrential rain. Why? Why am I having such a shit day? I balled my fist and banged my head with it, continually hitting myself. So not cool. How can one person have such a crappy—

"Fuck!" I yelled as I pulled the novel I had in my bag out. It was soaked to the point where the ink was literally smudged and the pages were tearing of their own accord. "No! No, no, no, no, no, no, no! I was up to the part where they were kissing…!" I whined, throwing a nearby rock at nothing. The rain was so torrential that I couldn't see where it landed.

I had covered my face with my hands when I heard the very distinctive "clank" as the rock I had thrown connected with something. I looked up in time to see blaring headlights blind my vision. The roaring of the rain spraying the ground had blocked the engines of all the vehicles on the road, so I hadn't realized that I'd thrown the stone right into the middle of the road as a vehicle was passing. I also realized as I squinted through the downpour that I had in fact thrown the stone straight, it just happened to be that the road veered to the left further up ahead where the rock had landed. Oh shit, not another bill…

The screeching of tyres just in front of me drew my attention to the vehicle that had stopped. I swallowed, really not wanting to have to pay for something else today. What was the time anyway? Like, four? And it was literally black outside. At four in the afternoon! I groaned, pulling myself out of the puddle of mud that was steadily growing around me. Great, I was soaked in mud now. Sighing, I stood in the rain, hoping it would rid me of the dir, as the figure got off the two wheeled bike that was in front of me. Okay, who rode a bike torrential rain? What a freaking moron. I squinted as a shape bounced up and down on his palm. The stone. So I had definitely hit a vehicle. I fought the urge to grunt.

"Sorry," I practically yelled through the rain. "I didn't mean to hit you."

The rock dropped from the figure's hand. "Right, I'm sure you didn't. What are you doing out here anyway?" I realized that the figure was a guy, his voice all too masculine to be anything but. That and the fact that he was well over six foot tall, and far too broad, to be feminine gave it away.

"Thought I'd take a stroll in the sunshine," I replied sarcastically.

The guy, whose features were shadowed by the rain, paused for a moment before he replied. "Need a ride?"

"On that," I asked, peering through the rain at the dark monstrosity that was his "ride." "Are you kidding me? And I don't take rides from strangers."

I thought I saw him shrug. Either that or it was just the rain. "Whatever, suit yourself." He turned back to his bike, swinging one leg over it and straddling the seat. "Oh, and if you ever hit my bike again," he said, yelling now himself, "you won't leave my presence unscathed." After revving his bike, the man was gone, leaving a stunned me in his wake.

What the Hell?

If it had been any other person, any other person, I would have laughed. Except this guy…he was freaky.

And whoever he was, I really wanted to see him again.

2. Chapter 2

I actually updated quickly this time! I'm amazed =)) The next chapter is going to be amazing, I can tell you because more characters come into it. However, that's all I'm telling you about it XD Thanks guys!


Note to self—take rides from strangers next time.

It was six o'clock by the time I had finally gotten home. I figured I should have taken the freaky guy up on his offer—my left heel on my shoe had broken by the time I got home and my satin top had literally fallen apart. When I walked through the front door and was blasted by a full dose of our heater, I think I died from hypothermia. I eyed the mirror that sat in our hallway, my literally blue skin and icy lips stark against my drenched clothing. I was so cold; I thought I was going to drop unconscious any second. After I was reincarnated from the hypothermia of course.

I trudged mud onto the white carpets, not really caring that I was leaving dirt footprints on the newly cleaned rug. Serves Jeb right for not picking me up. I threw my bag onto the wine rack underneath the hallway mirror and trudged into the open kitchen, a murderous face plastered to my face.

Our kitchen looked like something you'd see in a restaurant. With a double sized gas stove, walk in pantry that I swear was more like a cellar, and several spacey cupboards, our kitchen was huge. Add an island smack bang in the middle, and you've got a freaking monstrosity of a kitchen. I was sure it was Iggy's pride and joy, which is why I wasn't surprised to find him at the stove. Coming up behind him, I snared his collar in my unbreakable grip of iron and hauled him backward into the island where Iggy had been preparing some kind of indescribable dish. Well, no amount of delicious cooking was going to make me forgive him tonight.

I threw him against the pantry wall, pinning him there with my forearm. Caught by surprise, Iggy blinked, clutching a spatula in his right hand.

"Max, you're back."

"Yeah I'm back you little twit," I growled, clutching his shirt again and shoving him back into the door. "What the Hell, you freaking left me in the downpour!"

"I tried to get the bus driver to wait, but he wouldn't! He said he was running late and I had better get my arse down on a seat before he threw me out as well!"

"And you, I don't know, couldn't have gotten off the bus and walked back with me? Instead of leaving me to find my way back by myself? In the rain?"

"I didn't know it was going to rain," Iggy replied, shoving me off him. I stumbled backward, scowling. Iggy, despite being a year younger than me, was still around six-foot, much taller than my five-foot-eight. Damn him and his genetic freakiness.

"And you also destroyed my car, so now I have to use Jeb's!"

"Actually, you're not using mine either," Jeb replied, coming to stand behind me. I whirled on angry heels, my icy gaze settling on his.

"What?" I asked, astounded.

"You're not using my car. You've destroyed your own, and you weren't responsible for Iggy when he was driving. So not only are you not using my car, you're literally grounded."

"Pah, grounded? I'm seventeen, as in, you can't tell me what to do."

"You're not eighteen yet," Jeb said, pulling the flip out of Iggy's hand. He turned his back on me and began flipping some kind of meat that was sizzling away in the fry pan.

"You have got to be kidding me! I didn't do anything. Whose fault was it that the freaking car crashed into a pet store?"

"Well, if you had of actually been watching what Iggy was doing instead of reading, you wouldn't have crashed, would you?" Jeb asked in his all-too calm voice.

My nails dug into the palms of my clenched hands. "I had to walk for two hours in the downpour just to get home! Cut me some slack!"

"I am. You're lucky I'm not taking your money to pay for this mess you've caused."

"And what about Iggy?" I asked, literally seething now.

Jeb turned, tossing the flip back at Iggy. "What about him? He doesn't know how to drive. You do. I'm not placing any fault on Iggy right now. He was your responsibility. You screwed up royally this time Max."

I stormed out of there before I said something I'd regret.

I pulled off my boots as a walked through my all-too-white home, tossing the muddy things into the laundry on the way. Jeb didn't blame Iggy? He totaled my car and made me walk home by myself in the torrential rain! How the Hell was this not Iggy's fault? Muttering curses under my breath, I stepped into the spacious living room, the plasma wall T.V. muted. My feet sunk into the squishy carpet as I trudged over toward one of the, you guessed it, white lounge chairs. Falling into it, I let the softness mold around my butt as I un-muted the plasma. The Channel Seven news blared through the room, slicing the silence in half. I sighed inwardly, glad to hear something other than rain.

"Could you please turn that down hon.? It's hurting my ears."

Okay, on second thoughts, I liked the rain.

I came to a stand, not bothering to turn the T.V. down. "Who the Hell are you?" I asked, more bitterly than I was meant to.

The woman across from me, sitting at the table staring at a Woman's Day magazine stared at me in shock. Her blue eyes were staring at me in alarm, her brown tresses cut short to her neck. "I'm sorry?" She asked, sounding too prissy to belong in my home.

"What are you doing here?" I repeated bitchily. "I'm sorry, I thought you spoke English. Would you like me to translate that to the language of the dull?"

"I beg your pardon?" the woman asked, sounding appalled.

"Oh dear Lord," I groaned, turning my back on the woman and falling back into the leather lounge. I turned up the volume as loud as it would go, switching my attention to the news reporter on screen. He was babbling on about some kind of gang that was wreaking havoc around the city. Gangs? Were they kidding? Gangs were nothing, not today. Just a bunch of teenagers wanting to mess with people—and failing to do so. I was pretty sure I could take down a gang using my own two—

I watched in horror as the plasma T.V. magically switched off, the colour draining into a dull black. I gaped, before turning my angry eyes back to my "visitor," who was now standing next to the television with her hands on her hips.

"That's quite enough rude behavior," she started sternly. "I can only presume that you are Maximum."

I blinked, amazed. She could only presume? What the Hell was that supposed to mean? "Yeah, it's Max," I replied, extremely pissed off. "I'm glad you took the time to find out my name. However, I really don't give a shit in regards to yours, so I'd greatly appreciate it if you got your old aged butt out of the T.V,'s way."

The woman huffed out a breath of air and plastered a smile to her face. 'my name is Dr. Valencia Martinez. I'm a psychiatrist and I run my own firm in the city. I—"

"Yeah, um, Vanessa? I think you missed the whole, I don't give a shit. It means, wait, you guessed it—I don't give a shit." I rolled my eyes. God, how could someone be so retarded?

"Actually, it's Valencia," she repeated, crossing her arms across her chest. "Now, I'm going to be living with you, so you had better start giving me some more respect."

I swear, time literally froze.

"You what?" I screamed, jumping so fast out of my chair that I was a blur.

"Max?" Jeb was in the living room in a second, his tall frame coming to stand beside the bitch that was "going to be living with me." 'max?" Jeb asked more coolly, "calm down okay?"

My piercing gaze flickered toward Jeb, my eyes so wide with anger the brown in them must have been noticeable from miles away. "Calm down? Calm down? Who the fuck is this bimbo?"

"Max!" Jeb shouted, astounded by my language. I realized then that I had scarcely cussed in front of him before.

"What's going on?" Iggy asked, coming to stand beside me, flicking his brown hair out of his eyes. The brown dye however was beginning to fade, turning the tresses back to its natural strawberry blonde colour.

"She is supposedly moving in with us," I snarled, my murderous gaze staring the woman down once more.

"What?" Iggy asked, his brows pulling toward his pale blue eyes in confusion. "What do you mean?"

"Guys," Jeb said, sighing, "this is Valencia. I've been seeing her for a few months now, and we've decided that she should move in with us."

"What do you mean by we?" Iggy shouted, his eyes as wild as mine. "You never talked to us about this!"

"I didn't need to, it wasn't your decision to make," Jeb replied calmly.

"Like Hell it wasn't!" I yelled, my nails creating red crescent moons on my palms. "This is our house as well! You can't just let her stay! We don't even know her!"

"Then this will be good. You can start to get to know Valencia." Jeb put stress on the woman's name.

"So where is she going to stay?" Iggy asked, folding his arms across his chest angrily. "I'm not moving out of my room," he stated without emotion.

"Well actually, she is going to stay in my room. However Iggy you'll have to—"

"So you're going to pretend she's mum then," I stated flatly, my eyes burning with long unshed tears. (They were tears of frustration I assure you [cough])


"No, she's right dad. Is Valencia meant to be mum's replacement? Or have you already forgotten about her?" Iggy asked, silent tears running down his cheeks.


"Did getting run over by a train finally make you forget about mum?" I finished angrily, successfully holding back tears. The memory flared across my mind, mum's mutilated body, mangled and burnt, lying across the train tracks, a black metal bike lying atop of her. I was sure motorbikes and trains would haunt my dreams for the rest of my life. Never would I get on either of them.

"That's enough!" Jeb shouted in one of his rare outbursts of anger. 'dr. Martinez is living with us, so deal with it. Iggy, you can either give up your room for Valencia's two children and share with Max, or share with them. Your decision."

"Two kids?" Iggy and I yelled simultaneously.

"Yes, my two adorable children Angel and Gazzy. His father named Gazzy, horrid name, but there is no use changing it now."

"Oh we so care!" I near screamed sarcastically, so angry I thought I would burst. My life was becoming more like a movie than I had ever thought possible. First, the stepmother, then her two kids. Then the father gradually begins to forget about his original children. Oh dear Lord, my day was getting worse by the second. Next thing I'd have to start "bonding" with the bitch. Or start sharing my clothes with her perfect idea of an "angel."

"Max, I think you should go to your room and calm down," Jeb said quietly. Night had long since fallen and the torrential rain had lessened to a slight drizzle.

Iggy grabbed my arm, his hand clenching around my bicep. "C'mon Max, lets ditch this Hellhole. We'll figure out something, just come on." Iggy dragged me upstairs, his stride and wide eyes the only sign of his anger. He had inherited Jeb's great calmness.

"Oh, and James? It was a pleasure to meet you!" Doctor what's-her-face called from below us.

"It's Iggy!" he yelled back, slamming my bedroom door behind us.

"I think I'm going to vomit," I gritted in disgust. I rubbed my head, trying to relieve myself of my now thumping headache.

"Tell me about it," Iggy agreed, falling into my bed. "And I have to share a room with you."

"That's the least of our problems," I groaned, trying to calm down. "This bitch is moving in with us! Did you hear what she said? We need to "respect her." What the crap, she's not even freaking related to us!"

Iggy shook his head, his hair flipping back and forth. "Come on, let's ditch this place. I'm pissed off an afraid that I'll destroy something if I don't get out of here."

I nodded. "Okay, sure. Let me get dressed and we'll blow this joint."

"Cool, I'm going to grab the last batch of brownies and something else to eat. I suppose we could crash somewhere for the night. I really don't feel like hanging out here."

"Whatever," I replied helplessly, trudging over toward my bathroom and slamming the door behind me.

When I was out of the shower and clad in my jeans and T-shirt, Iggy was already waiting for me on my bed. He was dressed in dark clothing, a bag slung over his right shoulder. I slipped my feet into my skate-shoes and began shoving things into my backpack.

"I just talked to dad," Iggy said, flicking his nails and avoiding my gaze.

I sighed, "and?"

"I don't think you'll want to hear this…"

"Then why did you bring it up?" I asked angrily.

Iggy sighed. 'dad's transferring us."

I froze. "He's what? Please, please tell me he's not transferring our schools."

"Okay, he's not transferring our schools." There was a moment of silence before I realized that Iggy wasn't going to say anything else.

I growled. "Come on, let's get the Hell out of here before I kill something."

"Well, Nudge is having a party. She told me that she told Jeb to tell us that it was going to be on just down the road at hers, but Jeb obviously didn't mention it."

"Jeb hates Nudge, what did you expect?"

Iggy sighed. "I know he does, but unfortunately I don't know why he does. So, you in? I just called her, she said we could crash there."

"Yeah, okay, doesn't seem like we have a better idea."

"Well, at least we'll be transferring to her school, that's one good thing about it."

"We're transferring to Nudge's school?" Don't scream, don't scream, don't scream…

"Yeah. Well, you ready? The party started about an hour ago. Nudge is waiting."

"Okay, sure."

This day couldn't get any worse. I'd finally hit rock bottom.

3. Chapter 3

I'm the law bitches! Bahahaha, okay, sorry. Hey Jess and Tracie, what's cracking? Don't know why I said that, but there's your mention=))

Anyway, I hope you guys like this one, lots of fun writing it that's for sure. But the next chapter will be better….if you like Fang. Yeah, I know, stupid right? EVERYONE loves Fang=)) If you like Dylan you are dead to me and I will literally eat your head off my silver platter.

I'm not violent (**cough**) but here, just read it=))


For some reason, when I walked into Nudge's party half an hour later clad in worn jeans and a shirt, I felt extremely under-dressed.

I don't know, maybe it was the fact that he girls was wearing dresses of various colours and styles, and all the guys were dressed in sexy clothing.

Iggy and I strolled through the front door of Nudge's double story house thinking that this party was going to be some kind of teenage party—not a freaking fancy dress. Well, it wasn't exactly fancy dress, it was just that everyone was wearing dresses. And let's just say, I'm not exactly a "dress" kind of girl. We caught Nudge's attention as we stood in the doorway, debating whether to turn and flee while we could.

"Hey guys!" she greeted in her light, bouncy tone that was distinctively Nudge. She held up a red plastic cup as she made a beeline toward Iggy and I. She pried herself from her boyfriend Declan, who Iggy distinctively hated (more on that later), and came up to us. "Hi, I knew you'd come." Nudge grinned at Iggy before turning her gaze toward me. "So, I've got something for you to wear. Come, it's upstairs." Nudge grasped my arm and began dragging me toward the stairs before I realized what was happening.

"Whoa, what? I don't need anything to wear!"

"In case you haven't realized, you are extremely under-dressed. As I knew you would be. So, I took the liberty of buying you a dress. I know, I'm such a great friend, right?" Yeah, that was Nudge, she didn't love herself at all—cough, not.

"Look, Nudge, who cares?"

"Uh, I care. This is the party of the century! Do you know how long it took me to organize this? Everyone who's anyone is here! I literally had to pay my parents to get out of the country for the weekend so that I could host it! So yeah, you're changing. You are so not going to embarrass me in front of my school-mates by being underdressed. And besides, Iggy told me you were moving schools, so you may as well socialize while you can." Nudge tossed me one of her "yeah, listen to me because I am awesome" smiles that she did too well.

I scowled. "Fine, what "brilliant piece of artwork" do you have for me today?"

In about three seconds flat Nudge was holding a red satin dress in her hands, holding the soft fabric in the light. I gaped, before tossing my head back and forth.


"Uh, yes."

"No," I stated again, staring at Nudge defiantly. "No. No, no and Hell no."

Apparently, "no" means "yes" in Nudge's language, because about five minutes later I had literally been forced into the slinky red dress.

I looked at myself in the mirror, my tall frame extremely distinctive in the clingy floor length dress. As I pirouetted I groaned inwardly. Why me? The dress Nudge had picked out for me was so unlike me I had the urge to hit her. It was one of those "cling to every curve of your body" type dresses that pretty much spelt "skank" in block letters across my body. With a slit that literally reached my hips, the dress was one of those halter-neck dresses that had crisscrossing lace along the length of my back, from my shoulder blades to my tailbone. Yep, nothing said "fuck-me" like satin, blood red, skin-showing clothing. Lord help me, I hoped there were no pedos downstairs.

"You look, amazing. Yes, I can definitely say you're my friend now."

"Oh, great, so I had to literally be dressed up like a slut so that you can tell people I'm your friend?"

"Hey! You are transferring to my school right? Head's up, not everyone is all high and mighty and rich and classy. It's called blend in. And besides, it's fun to taunt people with what they can't have. You've already got a heart of iron, so what's dressing up? You dress up sometimes, right?"

Yeah, that was before I was drenched in torrential rain.

"I only dress up when it doesn't involve dresses. Like shoes. I like shoes, they're much better than—"

"Perfect, here." Nudge threw a pair of shiny red shoes at my face, and I instinctively ducked before they scarred me.

I scowled. "What, the Hell?"

"Sorry," she said, hiding a smirk. Little bitch. "They're a nine, they should fit."

"A nine?" I asked, picking up the red heels. "Are you kidding me, they should be a like, fifteen!" I stared at the heels, shaking my head in denial. "What's with the break-your-neck heels?"

Nudge shrugged. "Just shove them on your feet and get your butt downstairs. And for God's sake get rid of the pony! I can't see the brown streaks when it's tied back. And you'll get one of those hideous hairlines that are pulled back tightly." Nudge shuddered superficially and I fought the urge to throw something at her. "Oh, and I'm going to make up your face. I'm sorry hon. but you're not shining to your full potential. A little eye-liner here, some mascara there and you'll be perfect—"

A stiletto heel was finally thrown at her face.

"I swear, do you ever shut up? I'm in the dress, wearing the shoes and taking my hair out! I'm not wearing make-up too. Fuck that shit."

"Okay, fine, but I think that you could really make yourself look—" the screeching sound of tires just outside the house brought Nudge's sentence to a halt. I was amazed, not even I could do that. Well, that was a lie. A cricket ball in the face and a Hell of a lot of duct tape could shut her up. But I was sure this was much faster.

"What the Hell?" she muttered, tossing the shoe back at me so I could put it on. "C'mon, better see if the hoons have passed. Damn it, I hate them." Nudge gestured for me to follow as she whirled on her heels, her deep blue dress swirling around her knees as she did so. The sparkling sequins on the bodice of the dress caught the light as she moved. What was it with that girl and sparkly things?

After slipping my foot into the last shoe, a ran to catch up to Nudge, who, by the time I had found her, was literally frozen on the sixth or so step down from the top platform. Her large, colourful eyes were trained on the doorway of her home, the entrance blocked by three tall guys, each one wearing dark, glossy clothing. The one to the right was clad in a black jacket—silver buckles and chains attached to it—with blonde hair and deep jade eyes. He was the second tallest of the three, only the middle guy towering over him. The person to the left of the three was similar in height to the guy on the far right, with deep brown hair and equally brown eyes. He was clad in a black denim jacket that sparkled in the light. The two flanked the tallest one, who stood proudly in the middle, an expensive looking black leather jacket wrapped around his shoulders. His arms were crossed across his chest, black hair and eyes shining like bottomless pits. If that were possible I mean. His onyx features stood out starkly against the pallor of his seemingly perfect skin, and I thought that if vampires were real, this guy would be the very foundation that they were based on.

As the others began to notice the new arrivals, people began to suddenly freeze, much as Nudge had done herself, though nowhere near as gracefully as she had managed. The music droned on, but I was sure it was just background music to what was happening here. Which, I had no clue about. What was happening? The three began to walk slowly toward Nudge, and I stood my ground at the top of the stairwell, watching from above as they advanced on her. I figured these guys hadn't been invited, so I waited to see what they wanted before I made my "appearance." I watched with interest as the blonde guy on the right pulled a white piece of paper from his jacket, folding it into perfect creases so that it made a very pointy, very scary looking plane. And by scary, I mean it was extremely definite in terms of the way it was folded. The guy threw it so that it glided through the air gracefully to land perfectly at Nudge's feet. She didn't bend to pick it up, instead glaring at the trio as they made an advance on her up the stairs.

When the three were only in range for Nudge and I to hear, the middle guy, who I guessed was the trio's leader, began to speak.

"Hello Monique," he said quietly, his black eyes sliding down her face to meet Nudge's eyes. I waited for him to say something else, but he surprised me by saying nothing instead.

"It's Nudge," she gritted angrily as I myself shook my head. I knew how much Nudge hated being called Monique. I'd literally seen her tear people's clothing to shreds for calling her by her birth name.

"Hmm…" was the only reply, as the tall one twirled a ring of silver keys around his index finger. Had I seen him before? There was something about him…

"What are you doing here?" Nudge almost yelled, her olive skin turning a deep, dark red shade. She tried to keep her angered voice as low as she possibly could.

"Checking out what all the fuss was about," the blonde one answered, his rough voice complimented by the stunning grin that was sliced across his face. I myself found it difficult not to stare.

Nudge however just seemed pissed. "Get out," she said quietly, dead serious.

"Aw, come on Monique, we won't bug anyone. If they don't bother us, our knives won't slip, we promise." The brown haired guy smiled, a horrible mischievous grin that made me want to vomit. What the Hell was wrong with these guys? And the one in the middle was starting to look oddly familiar…

Nudge looked horrified, and I swear I thought I was going to burst out in laughter. She wasn't really afraid of these pussies were they? I mean seriously, the only slightly freaky one was the one in the middle, and he wasn't even saying anything! Was this the act for the night or something? I gazed around, expecting to see laughing faces, but it seemed the colour had drained from all the guests" features. Even Iggy's, but he was currently having a spaz at Ari, so I didn't think that counted.

Nudge pulled a glimmering silver item from her clutch and pulled it out to show the trio.

"Aw come on babe, don't do that," b said, smiling still.

Nudge's finger dialed three distinct numbers before hovering her finger over one last one. "If you don't get out now, I'm calling the police," she said, her voice icy.

The leader looked bored as he continued to twirl his keys around his finger. "Don't be stupid Monique. How are you going to explain to the cops all the alcohol? I'm sure your parents would just love to hear about the illegal party you had while they were in Paris."

Nudge's mouth floundered open and closed as her brightly manicured fingernails snapped the lid of her phone shut. "What do you want?" she growled, clutching the phone tightly in her destructive grip.

"Like I said, we're just chilling," brownie said again, his jacket stretching around his muscles as he leant onto the mahogany railing. "Why, what else are you offering?"

"Oh Hell no, that is it," a new voice called, and it took me a moment to realize it was my own. I stepped away from the wall and trailed down a few steps to meet Nudge, my frame coming up beside her slightly shorter one. The material fell around my leg every time I moved, and I tried desperately to ignore it. As I stood in step with Nudge, my arms came to lie across my chest in my "you don't want to piss me off" stance.

Three new pairs of eyes came to rest on me, and though two of them wandered…elsewhere…one chilling set met my own brown swirl of colour. The deep obsidian of the middle guy's eyes locked gaze with my own, and for one heart-sickening second, I forgot my place. It took the words of one of the other guys to pull me out of this trance.

"Hey Monique, who's the little treat you have over here," brownie asked, leaning in toward me. "She's quite something isn't she guys? I swear I could—"

"Dog, you're in my personal space." I held up my right hand in a back off gesture, a smug smile spread across my face.

"You little bitch," the guy said, shocked. A second later he had twisted my wrist and forced my arm around as he snared it in his grip of iron. I was shocked at the sudden outburst of force, let alone anger, as he encased me in his steel grip. "Listen here Blondie, I—"

It took me second to react, but my instinct soon took over and I twisted back around, my arm popping back to its natural posture. I brought my knee into the guy's balls, using the momentum of my turn as I pounded my knee into his, er, "man-business." The guy keeled over, literally wheezing as he attempted to regain his breath.

"Do the world a favour brownie, and drop dead. I don't appreciate the way you're stealing my air with your unnecessary, however minute, existence. Talk to me like that again and I'll be plucking grapes. Or in your case raisons." I smiled sweetly as the guy's deadly eyes locked with mine.

I watched with a renewed interest as the guy ripped himself from my grip, his breath caught and shoulders shaking in anger. My eyes met his and I thought I saw them flare red. I blinked, frowning. Surely that had been a trick of the light—

"Ari!" the middle one snapped, shoving his arm out in front of the brown haired guy. The leader's eye flickered toward the one called Ari, and I could see, if not understand, the silent messages sent from one to the other. After a moment, Ari took a calm breath and closed his eyes, inhaling deeply as he calmed. Okay, someone hand a temperamental problem.

And no, it wasn't me!

Well, not very often.

At least not at the present time.

Humph, shut it.

The middle guy's eyes turned back toward Nudge, though the corner of those limitless black eyes stayed trained on me. I stood there, glaring. I was not happy that someone had been able to actually keep me bound, if only for a short time.

"See Monique, no harm done. We'll just be chilling, right guys?" Head tosses were thrown around in agreement as he turned his back on us and headed back down the stairs.

Nudge's face was bright red in anger when I saw her.

"Okay, I'm guessing they're not your friends then…"

"Yak think?" She shrieked, throwing her arms up in exasperation.

"Well, who are they?" I asked almost tentatively, not really wanting to piss her off anymore tonight.


"Oh, and just a heads up? If anyone scratches, hits or even touches the bikes, they won't leave my presence unscathed." As other guys, dressed similarly to Ari and his friends, soon began to file into the room, I finally realized what had been bugging me since the second the guys had walked through the door.

That's when I realized who the guy was.

"Those guys, the ones who you just publicly insulted and assaulted, are part of some gang called the "Dark Angels." That guy there?" Nudge paused, drawing a deep breath. "That's Fang. He's their leader."

I gaped. He was the guy who had offered me the ride on his motorbike.

He was also the leader of a gang.

Well shit.

Did you like it? Well, review even if you didn't=)) thanks!

4. Chapter 4

He's in a gang, he's in a gang, he's in a gang!

But he's gorgeous.

He's threatened you twice about touching his motorbike! He rides a motorbike! You're afraid of them!

But he's gorgeous.

He's a criminal! He's trespassing just by being here! He is the leader of a gang and has weird friends!

did you miss the part where he was gorgeous!

You don't want to run with the wrong crowd, and this is definitely the wrong crowd! Don't be an idiot Max—He's dark, he's mysterious, and he's dangerous.

That's what makes him so God damned gorgeous!

Max, you're being stupid! He is so, so, so, so wrong for you!

Why was I having this debate with myself again? Oh right…So? He's the epitome of gorgeo

"Am I disrupting your thoughts?"

I whirled, stumbling in my stupid heels but managing to stay upright. I glued a scowl to my face.

"Nah, you're not disrupting me at all. I mean, who thinks right? I was just, you know, staring into space."

"Good," he replied, onyx eyes searing my own with their gaze. Fang, the leader of the gang "Dark Angels" (seriously, who named their gang the Dark Angels?) snared hold of my arm, locking it in a grip of iron. I could feel the difference in strength between Ari and Fang. It shocked me, as I tried to pull my arm from his grasp. And he didn't even look as if he were trying to stop me.

As I was literally dragged to the furthest wall from the crowd, my anger melted into my voice. "You obviously don't get the meaning of sarcasm."

"Why recognize sarcasm when it is such a low form of wit?" he asked, pulling me around to face him. Was this his warped way of asking me to dance? What the Hell?

"Actually," I gritted, barely keeping my fury at bay, "I'd say puns were a low form of wit, not sarcasm. Sarcasm isn't even a wit, not truly. Just a warped way of getting your point across to the dull, such as yourself," I finished. Huh, a pretty good attempt at keeping my irritation on place. Score one for Max.

"Perhaps," he agreed without really agreeing. His eyes found mine again and I had to literally blink to clear my head from the blaring thoughts that suddenly entered it. (I'd rather not explain what those thoughts were.) "I agree, puns are a low form of wit. So low I would not even recognize it as wit. However, sarcasm can be used by anyone, and any person can discover the meaning behind it, no matter how "dull" they may be. Though other forms of wit cannot be understood by those with such low levels of intelligence. That is true wit."

"Hmm…" I almost hummed. I was amazed, for a gang leader, this guy actually sounded smart. Not like that animalistic, sexist pig Ari, who I would crush with football cleats attached to my steel-capped boots I would be buying just for the occasion! (er, not violent, not violent, not violent…)

When my eyes found Fang again, I was amazed to see him smiling, ever-so-slightly. For such a tiny smile (if I could even call it that) it lit up his face exponentially, giving just a tiny bit of light to his ever dark features.

"What are you smiling about?" I asked, scowling again. "If you're mocking me I'll kill you, you know that right? I'll—"

"Are your thoughts always that violent?" he asked, and I noticed, without trying to show it, the way his arms curved around my waist, locking at the small of my back. It left me standing there awkwardly, encased in his arms. And to my dismay, I had the urge to put my arms around his neck. Oh God, queen of cliché right here. Nudge would kill me if she saw what I was doing…

But he's gorgeous! I groaned inwardly. Stop thinking Max! since when did you give s shit about what people thought? Since like, forever. I mean, if people thought I was soft, mushy and superficial, I think I might barf. Mental shudder right there. I mean, how could people—

"I'm sure that's the part where you answer," Fang said, smiling slightly still. Though this smile was more of a smirk, more of a "I've just one something" smile.

"What's so funny?" I asked, or rather, growled.

"I'm liking what you're thinking," he said, that smirk growing wider. He had his back to most of the crowd, so no-one was seeing his face but me.

"About how much I want to slit your throat for man-handling?" I snapped, shoving at his chest in a quite valiant attempt to throw him. It failed.

I didn't like failing.

"I'd say you were more or less thinking about how gorgeous you think I am," was his soft, if not shallow, reply. Saddest part? That was exactly what I was thinking.

"Fine, okay, what am I thinking about now?" I asked, my mind instantaneously turning toward my current "MSN" Personal Message. I couldn't help my own smile, remembering the words of it. "I stopped fighting my inner demons—we're on the same side now."

I thought I saw Fang's eyes flare red for no more than a micro-second. I blinked. What was it with these people's eyes? Or mine…maybe I should get them checked. The flare was gone when he spoke.

"You're thinking you want to dance with me," he whispered, closer to me than he had been seconds before. If that were possible I mean. We were pretty close…

Oh God shoot me.

I just had a horrible urge.

And it wasn't to kill someone. (Figuratively speaking…cough)

It was to giggle.


Fuck, fuck, fuck.

"Well," I said, recovering myself before the silence continued for too long. "You're wrong. I don't want to dance with you," lie, "and I certainly don't want you touching me." Pah! Definite lie.

"Really?" he asked, taking a step forward, consequently moving me backward.

"Really, really," I replied, stressing the words to increase the emphasis and meaning of it.

"Are you sure?" he asked, taking another step back.

"Yeah…" I replied uncertainly. I was confused, what was he doing?

"Are you positive?" Another step. As he closed in on me I took another step back, before hitting a very real, very solid wall behind me. Fuck, he was boxing me in. I already knew he was stronger than me, now I had nowhere to go either.

Mental scream!

"You know what I've noticed?" Fang asked, his voice taking on a predatory voice, that soft, sweet voice that was lined with danger.

"Uh…Holy shit that chick looks like a skank?" Where was Nudge? Hello, of all times, now would be the perfect time to show up. She could have talked this guy's ears off or something, because I was not on a very good position at the present time. As much as it hurt my pride to say that.

Yeah, okay, so I was a little but screwed.

Okay, I a lot screwed.

"No," Fang continued, oblivious to my mental debate. "I've noticed that you never look me in the eye at certain times," he said, completely surprising me.

"What do you mean?" I asked, frowning.

"Well, about two seconds ago," he said, raising his hands to rest beside either side of my head. "You told me that you didn't want to dance with me, or for me to touch you. Is it a coincidence that you couldn't look me in the eye when you said that? Like before, when you were thinking that I was gorgeous. You didn't reply, yet then again, you also weren't looking at me."

"Is it impossible for you to comprehend that maybe you're not as stunningly handsome as you think you are?" I asked, biting the inside of my mouth as I said them.

"Stunningly handsome? Well, that's a first. And yes, it is impossible to comprehend," he said, his smile back again. He was mocking me, I knew it. Son of a…

"Well so what? I wasn't looking at you. Big. Deal. What's your point anyway."

"The point is that, when you don't look at me, you're lying. You want to dance with me, you know you do. I'm irresistible." Usually I would have burst into laughter if someone else had said that. However I just couldn't bring to make a sound, let alone say anything! I found myself entrapped in his obsidian gaze, the ending abyss captivating me.

Gang, gang, gang!

I shook my head, blinking as my eyes tore away from Fang's. Oh my God, what was going on here? I was literally letting him prey on me. I was letting him mock me, letting him make me feel beneath him. That really wasn't my style.

Trying to steer the conversation back on him, I focused on his gang. "You're the leader of a gang right?" I asked, feigning casualty as I was literally boxed in by him.

Fang frowned. "What about it?"

"Sounds…interesting." I tried to keep my voice even, attempting to keep the disgust from seeping into it. If you ask me, I did a pretty good job at.

I should tell you, I'm not known for telling the truth.

"It sounds like you hate the idea of gangs, so drop it." The threat was there, in his tone, in his eyes, if not in his actual words.

Standing my ground, I ignored him, overlooking the serious nausea in my gut. "You sound too smart to be part of a gang. Let alone one called the "Dark Angels." I mean honestly, what's with the name? Doesn't sound very gang-ish to me."

"It doesn't matter what you think," he growled, his jaw set. I could picture him grinding his teeth together and wondered if he was actually doing it at the present time. Considering the stiffness of his jaw, I voted no.

"I beg to differ," I said, grinning on the inside. I'd struck a chord. His gang was obviously more than just a gang to him. Interesting… "So what do you do then? Do you cheat in algebra tests? Do you steal from the canteen? Oh, oh, I know! You perve on random chicks, right? Oh, that's so gang-like." I was using my best bitch voice to tease him, and for a minute, it looked like I was truly getting to him.

"That's rich, portraying my gang and I as the wimps," he said, his voice recovered and his jaw no longer stiff. That was quick…why had he recovered so fast? How—

"And what about you?" he continued, cutting off my own thoughts.

"What do you mean?" I asked, confused. What was he—

"You don't like motorbikes?" he asked, another smirk sliced through his skin. This one was different to the others though. This smile wasn't mischievous, like someone who knew too much. This one was evil, wicked.

"Why would you say that?" I asked, frowning. Surely he couldn't have known it was me he'd seen in the rain. The only way I'd known it had been him was because he had given the guests of tonight the same threat he had given me! "If you're talking about earlier, I don't take rides from—"

"I'm not talking about that," he said, his usual (or what I guessed was his usual) impassive face watching me with an almost uncaring look stretched across it.

"Then what…" My voice trailed off. Surely he wasn't talking about my—

His face came to hover just beside my ear. "I hear you're not one to favour trains either," he whispered. My mouth fell open and I felt it as my eyelids were literally stretched away from my eyeballs. An empty shock settled over me and I found it hard to breathe. No-one knew about mum's accident. No-one. And here was this stranger, who was literally throwing it at me, throwing the tragedy back in my face like a cup of water being poured through my hair. Except I wasn't being drenched by water—I was being drenched in emotional horror.

"You don't know shit!" I near screamed. I was hyperventilating, my breath coming in short, painful bursts. I was being stabbed, repeatedly, time and time again. The differing shades of red and brown, all swirling together to make one mass of death. Oh God, no. No, no, no, no, no! I brought my hands up to cover my face, shaking it in denial. Of all things, of all things, he had managed to uncover the one thing I just couldn't handle. Why!

Fang grabbed hold of my wrist, prying it from my face as his features filled my vision. "I promise you now girl, I will get you onto my bike. Then you can see just what it is we actually do in our "little gang." No-one insults my people without being harmed in return." His grip on my wrist was transferred to my arm as Fang hauled me into his chest, his eyes roaming over my body before landing on my eyes again. I stood there, for once in my entire life, scare fucking shitless. I hated motorbikes, I hated threats, and I hated being manhandled. I just got all three in the period of about twenty-five seconds.


"Dance with me," Fang said as he dragged me away from the God damned wall and closer toward the heart of the music.

"Do I have a choice?" I asked bitterly.

Fang thought for a moment. "No," he said, his voice back to calm and quiet.

"Of course," I gritted. I didn't know why girls fantasized about wanting to be controlled or told what to do. It sucked. Screw feeling important, I felt like a freaking ant in a tornado. And I was sure Fang was more dangerous than a tornado.

He was a tornado, tsunami, volcano, earthquake, mudslide and tidal wave all in one!

Fang has his arms wrapped around my waist once more, and I refrained from putting mine around his neck. That would be called compliance, and I was anything but willing to comply. You know those football cleats? I was wrong, they were daggers, and they were going to be used on Fang.

And ruin that breathtaking figure? Hell no!

Argh, shut up.

I think I needed to see a councilor. I was having conversations with myself.

Actually, I think I might accidentally kill the councilor and be sentenced to the loony bin. Maybe that's not the best idea…

Note to self—killing the councilor is never an accident.

"You know, it's usually at this point that your arms go around my neck," Fang said, his hands wrapping my own around him. I watched in fascination as my arms wrapped around his head and across his neck. Before I realized what had happened fully, I was swaying to the music with him. What the Hell…

And no, I didn't like it.

Well, not completely.

Just about, oh, ninety-nine point nine-nine-nine-nine percent?

"So Blondie," he began, his eyes shining with humour.

"Are you mocking me again?" I growled, royally pissed off now. Well, even more.

"I don't know, what kind of mocking are you accusing me of?"

I blinked, becoming the perfect picture of a blonde who had NFC about what was just said. "Uh—"

Sirens in the background cut off my dumb-ass reply, thank God. Fang turned toward the nearest window, his onyx eyes growing larger in anger.

"Fuck," he gritted, turning back to face me. "I gotta jet Blondie," he said, almost grinning again. "You won't miss me too much will you?"

"Not one bit," I sneered.

"You're doing it again."

"What?" I asked. "What this time?"

"Hey Fang!" a random voice called.

"I'm coming!" he yelled back, his eyes never leaving my own. He leaned toward me and my eyes widened in surprise. Oh my God, he was going to kiss me. I tried not to gape as I literally forgot all about his threats and gang business. He was gorgeous, and he was going to kiss me.

When our lips were only centimeters apart, I caught my breath, not wanting to breathe even a little in case my breath smelt bad. Oh, now that would be hilarious. Not. As his lips opened, I expected him to bring them down on mine. I tried to evade my eyes, not able to look at him, his gaze was so strong, yet I couldn't. I just couldn't.

"Why do you look like you're waiting for someone to kiss you?" Fang asked, completely stunned. My mouth dropped so low I couldn't possibly close it. That was what it took, Fang actually laughed. Though, it was so low no-one but me would have heard it.

"Oh now that is gold!" he said, shaking his head in exasperation. "What I was going to say, was that you better keep your guard up Blondie. I'm coming for you, and I'm staying true to my promise. You'll be on that bike, and you'll be holding onto me for dear life, your arms wrapped around me in pure terror."

I finally regained control of my mouth. "Keep dreaming Fang," I scoffed, beyond pissed off now. Someone was going to die, and I suspected it would be Iggy.

He smirked, nowhere near a smile this time. "Whatever you say Blondie."

I gritted my teeth as he turned his back on me and walked toward the door. "It's Max!" God, he could get Nudge's name right, and she didn't even want to be called by her true one!

"I know," he said, puckering his lips and giving me an air kiss without the whole hand thing. He managed to make it look extremely masculine, despite the fact that it was a chick's thing. "Until next time," he replied, though I barely heard him.

The last thing I heard was the undeniable sound of motorbikes roaring away as the cop sirens grew even louder.

Fuck, I was screwed now. So much for this day not getting any worse.

Now I'd be having nightmares for the next few thousand years. Again. But if there was something I knew…

It was that Fang was going to die a horrible, painful death. By my hand.

5. Chapter 5

Okay, I have two very pissed off friends at the moment. One because I hid her USB in my sock for the duration of IT and therefore she had to restart all her work again, just to find out that I had it all along (tehehe, I thought it was funny)…and another because I said that if I could make someone dead with my mind it would be them…so, to make it up to them I did a chapter in Fang's point of view. It's kind of explaining everything about Fang—to a point. Anyway, read it. I've introduced some new characters too=)) Oh, and here's the quote. It's one of my favourites. "Perhaps it's an illusion, to think that somewhere behind the clouds, we'll find the sun…" I thought that was appropriate for Fang=)) Thanks!


I'd lost count of how many times she'd thought I was gorgeous.

I guess I shouldn't have really been surprised—I had that effect on people. Nearly every girl I'd met managed to fall head-over-heels for me sooner or later. Usually sooner rather than later. Even at the trash school I was currently attending people couldn't stop staring at me, their plain human eyes mesmerized by the idea of such beauty. It was an instantaneous trance, one that simply compelled them. It was one of the reasons I was such an ass; I hated human attention. A dangerous reputation and violent background would send any reasonably intelligent human running for the hills, not matter how good looking I was.

But then, there were always those few people who were too stupid for their own good. They were the sadists. There were plenty of girls who wanted to get into the guy's pants, who wanted to have "fun" with the members of my gang. There were also guys who wanted protection or in with the gang. We always declined the guys wanting in, and most of the chicks that came to us, unless they were completely and utterly stunning. And they were very few and far between.

However, the ones that truly appealed to us were the impulsive people, who acted with their gut before they even thought things through with their head. They continually threw themselves into the line of fire with their heads held high and a stubbornness even I had to commend, ignoring the very plain, very obvious warnings my gang and I kept enforced to keep the humans away. They were the girls that reminded me of my own kind. Though their plain features failed to make them truly comparable. It was the way all humans were—ordinary, mundane, all so similar to each other. There was nothing that made them stand out. Their eyes were all a miserable shade of blue, brown, rare green or near never violet. All of four colours. Or a mix of a few. They were all so small, so fragile. It was pitiful truly. Despicable.

But that girl, Max, hadn't been despicable. She hadn't been pitiful. No, she had been the complete opposite. Of every girl I had ever had the displeasure of meeting she had been the most outstanding, the most breathtaking. Her stubbornness was a breath of fresh air compared to the superficial, under-confident, sadists and other indescribable people I had met in my lifetime amongst the humans. And this girl was none of those things. She was overconfident, a little too stupid and extremely naïve. It was no surprise that she had also found me attractive, yet it was surprising that she had tried to fight the pull my people naturally had over humans.

And she did it time and time again.

I exhaled my breath in a sigh that was caught instantaneously by the wind and thrown far back behind me as I raced by on my bike. Ari and Dylan were riding on my left and right, slightly behind me instead of exactly vertical in a sign of respect. The rest of the gang rode in an extremely large V behind me as well, different styled bikes all in the same shade of black. As much as I loved riding my bike, a black Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14, I just couldn't focus enough to concentrate on the road. My thoughts continued to steer back to the girl from Nudge's party. Dressed in sleek black satin, my all time favourite shade, I was sure she could have easily been mistaken for a woman of my own kind. She had thought she looked like a skank. She looked anything but compared to my people's women. I'd never seen her before today that was for sure. I hadn't realized she was the same girl I had offered a ride to either. If I had of known that I probably would have forced her to get on. Though, I probably wouldn't have taken her home either.

I'd read her mind multiple times that night, and each thought was either on me, or something violent. I was surprised—I'd never met a human who enjoyed violence so much. It was like she craved it, like she needed it to fuel her existence, her very being. Or at least, it had seemed that way until she began insulting my gang. It was then that I had ended up digging into her deepest thoughts, playing with the hidden emotions, the hidden memories and horrors I had found there. It was then that I realized why she lived on the violence—it was to steer her mind away from the awful tragedy she had witnessed years ago. I had noticed, with astonishment, that she had veiled those terrifying memories deep within herself, so that she didn't have to face them time and time again.

I had also noticed the complete horror that had crossed her face when I dug them back out with tooth and claw. She literally shut down, her train of thought just…stopping. I felt her pain as if it was my own, could feel the fear, the panic, the ache that radiated from her mind as I brought up the one thing she truly couldn't stand, the one thing she couldn't handle.

The one thing that would kill her from the insides.

But there was no way she could insult my people without some consequence in return. Usually that punishment would be physical, but I thought I would resort to mental pain. Max already knew physical pain—she indulged herself in it. However, she simply couldn't register such a blow to her mind. It was as foreign to her as a mobile phone to a third-world country. Her fear of motorbikes was understandable—considering her mother's death. It was also fascinating, foreign to me. I'd never been afraid of a bike—they were the only reason I could survive in this God damned place. Her fear had ultimately made my decision, and decided the other half of her punishment for insulting my people.

I would get her on my bike.

I could imagine the pure terror that would radiate from her, the very panic that would fuel my own pleasure, a pure stream of ecstasy. It was the way I operated—someone else's pain was my own sense of bliss. It came with being what I was, and being the higher order of my people, I needed more pain than others of my kind. Physical, mental, emotional. They all gave me strength in their own way. But Maxis pain wouldn't sustain me.

It would leave me buzzing in ecstasy.

I'd never let anyone touch my bike, let alone ride it. Not even Dylan or Ari have dared go near it. They knew the consequence of such a mistake. I didn't get angry. I got mad. I turned demonic, uncontrollable. It rarely happened; I'd learned to control myself, my "inner demons." And yet, Max had made lose it, for a microsecond. I'd seen the confusion on her face when my eyes flared red for that millionth of a second. She'd noticed it, almost a clearly as she and Nudge had noticed Arias. I'd read her mind again, and for once she hadn't been thinking something violent. Instead, her mind had wandered to "MSN." The sentence that had momentarily caused me to lose control was so unexpected, so personal that it had caught me off guard.

I stopped fighting my inner demons—we're on the same side now.

Images had flared through my mind the minute I heard her think it. I hadn't lost control out of anger—quite the contrary actually. No, I hadn't been able to control the sudden flare of lust that blazed throughout the walls of my mind and depths of my eyes. Of course, I hadn't acknowledged the thought, but steered it in my own direction the second I regained control of myself, of the animalistic need that suddenly burned through my body so powerfully. I hadn't had a feeling like it in years—I was textbook perfect at control, heartlessness and being a dick. The three things that kept everyone at an arms distance from me. This girl, this Max, was destroying what it had taken me years to build.

And I was as determined to crush her as I was to kiss her.

She'd thought I was going to kiss her. It was written across her face, in plain letters emblazoned across her features. I'd been tempted, don't get me wrong. But the fact that she had though I would…it was hilarious. I hadn't been able to contain my own laughter as I mocked her, the naivety that had shone in her eyes, the look on her face when I asked her why she looked as if she were waiting for someone to kiss her. To her credit, she hadn't turned red. No, instead her thoughts had completely changed to her tearing me apart with her bare hands. I would love to see that.

All in all, Nudge's little friend was extremely surprising. She wasn't as predictable as most people tended to be. Max was smarter than she looked, than she sounded. I had seen the capability that streamed through her mind, the intelligence that swirled through the brown mass of colour that was her eyes, which seemingly glowed whenever she was being sarcastic, or thrilled, or ecstatic.

She was definitely an attention seeker, that was for sure.

When she had walked down the stairs to stand beside Nudge, her dress literally falling away from her as she moved, I couldn't seem to take my eyes from her frame, her eyes. Ari and Dylan had instantaneously roamed over her body, but as usual, I found the eyes the most fascinating part of any person, and Max was no exception. They were the doorway not to the soul, but to the secrets that lay inside the mind. And as I continually noticed, she could never look me in the eye when she lied. About the dancing, the touching. She couldn't face my gaze, as though if she did, she might just spill what she was really thinking. Not that I needed her mouth to tell me that.

An incessant honking sound tore me from my musings, and I instantly skidded to a halt in the middle of the road, my black bike sliding one-hundred and eighty degrees, leaving great big black tire marks along the road. Ari and Dylan followed suit, their monstrosities of motorbikes releasing ear-piercing screams as they both stopped in unison. The rest of the gang halted as well, each one wearing a shade of midnight black. We looked like a horde of darkness, a mass of danger. We were a force not to mess with.

Dylan got off his VRSCA V Rod Harley Davidson, pulling off his black visor and releasing his blonde hair, allowing it to blow freely in the cool wind. He nodded solemnly, his now turquoise eyes literally glowing in the darkness. Dylan had amusing eyes; they varied in shades of green all the time. Ari stepped off his own bike, a 2008 Yamaha YZF-R6 racing bike, pulling off his riding gloves as he strode toward me.

"They didn't follow us," Dylan said, his mouth spread in a straight line.

"You think the little bitch Nudge called?" Ari asked, his face displaying pure disgust over her.

"No, the police were called by someone else, someone not at the party. She knew that they'd get caught for under-aged drinking, they wouldn't risk it," I replied coolly, my voice pitched low.

"Then why did they come? Who called them?" Dylan asked, frowning.

I shrugged. "I don't know, probably the neighbours."

"All the matters is that we weren't caught. I'd say I feel sorry for the humans, but I honestly don't."

I nodded, knowing how strongly Arias hate toward humans was. "I'm sure they're going to have some fun being bailed out of prison," I said, my thoughts instantaneously switching back to Max. Would she have someone bail her out? I would have to assume so. I'd seen snippets of her father, Jeb. He seemed to be understanding, the silent-but-deadly type. Well, not deadly per se. Humans didn't even begin to scratch the surface of deadly.

"You think any of them got out?" Dylan asked, gliding his hands through his golden hair.

"I doubt it," I replied as Ari snorted.

"As if, God, they probably didn't even hear the sirens until they were a block away. Not with the pathetic senses they have."

My eyes scanned the mass of bikes that were stretched across the highway. I was surprised no trucks had passed yet—it was a highway.

"Come on, move out. I don't particularly want to be hit by a truck anytime soon." I nodded to Ari and Dylan, whose reply was to nod solemnly back.

"Headquarters?" Dylan asked, straddling his Harley.

I nodded. "Headquarters."

You'd expect HQ for a gang would be some kind of Warehouse or abandoned building. Ours wasn't. No, our Headquarters was big, it was fancy, and it was certainly one of the biggest buildings in the entire city.

It was a mansion.

The structure itself was over two-hundred years old, built sometime in the nineteenth century. It was made of deep gray bricks, and all together looked like one massive gothic castle. Or haunted house, take your pick.

The gang drove up to the front gates, a large steel fence that bordered the entire house, looking like wrought iron for decorative purposes. That decorative purpose was to scare off any trespassers. No human would come within kilometers of this place, and if, for some reason, they managed to get lost and find this place, they'd turn back and run for the hills within seconds. It had that effect on people, which is why I found it so welcoming.

The fence was decorated with intricate patterns of some description, but I'd never really taken the time to look at them, despite my desire to notice small and seemingly insignificant details. I typed a pass code into the electronic opening device and waited for the fence to creak open. Over the years we'd tweaked the place up a bit, making the house a little more modern for us. The fence itself was impossible to climb over it was so tall, so we didn't have to worry about people mountaineering over. But either way, I always had people patrolling the area—the land took up acres upon acres. When all the motorbikes skidded to a halt in the large, round driveway, I switched off the ignition and began toward the large wooden doors of the home. They were painted obsidian black, seeming to blend in with the environment around it.

The doors opened before I had the chance to open them myself, and standing before me was Ella, clad in clinging black jeans and an extremely short black tank top.

"Hey Fang," she literally purred, her clawed hand raking across my chest in a gesture that was more animal than human. Her manicured hand gripped the edge of my jacket, dragging my forward so that she was even closer to me. "What have you been up to?" she hummed, gliding her tongue over her canine teeth. I suspected the gesture was meant to draw my attention to her mouth, but my eyes stayed steadily glued to her eyes.

"Riding," I growled, shrugging out of her hold and pushing her backward. She stumbled, the picture of feminine innocence, but I knew that if she wanted to, she could have stayed firmly in place.

Ella scowled. "You've been gone for hours," she whined. "And you haven't even brought me back a present."

I rolled my eyes in exasperation. "Aren't you ever the drama queen?" I asked before stepping around her and walking into the kitchen. Ella muttered something under her breath before turning to Dylan with a gasp. There was an audible thump as she no doubt crash tackled him as he walked through the door.

"She is such a try-hard," Lissa purred, a smile slice across her face that could have made any lesser guy fall weak at the knees.

"Perhaps, but she wasn't being serious. She's got Dylan, and she's faithful to him. Which is more than I can say about you," I snarled, remembering what she had done to Ari.

Lissa frowned, her red hair shining around her face as she tilted her head. "You're losing your temper? My, my Fang, what have you been up to?"

I took a calming breath. I was beginning to lose it. And it was all thanks to that God damned Max. "Stressed," I replied, coming to lean against the kitchen bench.

"Mhm, I'm sure," she said, grinning maliciously. She raked her hand down my neck and chest, similar to what Ella had done moments before. However, Lissa's eyes were glowing red, signaling that she was either extremely pissed, or extremely aroused.

I decided on the latter.

"Lissa, how many times have I told you now?" I said, shoving her away from me with more force than I had Ella. I caused her to move back a few steps against her will. "I'm not doing anything with you, so forget it."

Come on Fang, you know what you want, she whispered in her own mind, which unfortunately made it echo in mine. Mind reading wasn't always helpful.

"Lissa," I warned, crossing my arms over my chest.

What's the matter Fang, you liking what you hear? Or do you do graphics better? Before I could mentally block her from my mind, images began popping up in my head, one horrible one after another. I sighed, that was Lissa for you, as irritatingly obstinate as ever.

"I said that's enough," I snarled, forcing a mental wall up in my mind that slammed Lissa's pictures from it. However, I also shoved one into Lissa's, the force sending her reeling into the furthest wall from me.

"God Lissa, get with the program. Fang's all eyes and ears for someone else, so stop being such a, how did you put it? Oh yeah, stop being such a try-hard." Ella was now firmly locked in Dylan's arms, her tiny frame encircled in ribbons of muscles and tendons.

Lissa looked up from where she had landed, her eyes still glowing red, but I suspected it was with anger this time. "What?" she tried to hide her shock, and her outrage, from the crowd that was now filing into the room, one gang member after another.

"You heard her," Ari growled, leaning against the wall, arms folded across his chest. "He hasn't got eyes for you m'dear."

Lissa looked like she was going to murder someone. She probably would, after she stormed out of the room. Which I anticipated would be in the next ten seconds…

"You have got to be kidding," she said, too furious now to remember her pride. Everyone knew she was attempting to get with me, but she preferred to act as if that wasn't true. She wasn't doing that now.

I shrugged. "What's it matter to you? My business is my business." Five seconds…

"Oh, did I tell you the best part?" Ari asked, scorn and hate dripping from his words. Three seconds… "She's human."

Lissa stopped dead, the only movement being a twitch in her left eye. Her jaw stiffened as her black nails cut deeply into the palm of her hand.


The scream of bloody murder that poured out of her mouth was so inhuman that it almost sent shivers up my spine. About a microsecond later, she was gone, out to kill whatever unlucky bastard that crossed her path.

"That was uncalled for," I told Ari, though I didn't actually scold him for it. I was glad he had said something to Lissa, to finally make her give up.

"I knew you'd appreciate it," Ari said with a grin I hadn't seen in a long time. "So I guess you've called dibs on the human girl then?" he asked, flicking his nails casually as he attempted to feign calmness. But I could see the need that burned in his brown eyes, could see how much he wanted Lissa…Wait, no.

How much he wanted Max.

"She's mine," I growled, making sure everyone understood. Dylan, Ari and Ella looked at me in shock, their eyes all displaying the same question. What the…? I knew what they meant—I was always calm, in check of my emotions. But the idea of someone else wanting her

…Well, it made me want to cut their throats out, no matter how much we were like brothers.

"Does everyone understand?" I growled, my "alpha" voice taking command. Everyone nodded once solemnly, even Ella.

"The human is mine."

Okay, so, I need you guys to review so that I knew whether it's good or not=) Oh, and if you're not a bike or a car fanatic like moi, I'm thinking of putting up the different things that each person is wearing, riding etc. Should I? Anyway, review, review, review=) haha, I hate Lissa XD Wow, I have updated this so quickly. My other one has like, 2 chapters for about 4 months. Anyway, thanks guys!

6. Chapter 6

Okay, a big thanks to Jess (BookNerd7) and Tracie (Molnija) check out their stories too, they're amazing...okay, so only Jess has a story, but it's a Max and it's good=) Anyway, I am really tired, and I promised I would update before tomorrow, which means I have exactly 30 minutes to update this... Hope you like it, please review, I KNOW I am sounding like a broken record, but honestly, who doesn't like people telling them that their writing is good? Haha, I'm only being honest=) Okay, so here's the quote everyone: "I have many doors—let us see which one you open. Just know that behind each different door there is a different me behind it." Don't worry guys, I'm not gothic or anything. I just like dark quotes. And that's another one of my favourites. Okay, I now have 20 minutes. Sorry, I had to put my brother to bed=) Anyway, I hope you like it.

I had a feeling I was going to suffer from eternal grounding when Jeb found me.

You see, when Fang and his little horde left Nudge's place last night, the guests had literally cheered. The gang had left us alone, ditched, gotten bored. As the rest of the "normal people" applauded the sudden depart of the group, I couldn't help the coiling feeling that had knotted inside of my stomach. I listened as the sirens had gotten louder, not quieter. By the time I had truly realised that they weren't following Fang, it was too late. The cops had pretty much swarmed over Nudge's house, one uncontrollable mass.

And now, I was in fucking prison.

I never realized how illegal under-aged drinking was. I can tell you now, it is extremely. I also hadn't realized that you were tried in court as an adult at the age of seventeen, not eighteen, which managed to become yet another thorn in my side. Nudge sat beside me, her tear-streaked face as red as a freaking tomato. I fought the urge to slap her, to snap her out of this blubbering mess. Though I knew better—Nudge was more screwed than I was, and her way of letting off steam was through tears. Her parents were still in Paris, so she had had no choice but to call her grandparents to bail her out. I think I should warn you—Nudge's grandparents were completely and utterly, without a shadow of a doubt, insane.

They were Christians.

You guessed it; there was no sex, no alcohol, no violent videogames, church every Sunday morning and youth on Friday nights. Usually I have nothing against religious people, believing that we should all have the chance to believe what we wanted, (no matter how wrong they were) but Nudge's grandparents were those "don't read vampire books, they're evil. Read the bible," kind of people that always gave me the urge to kill them.

Iggy was perched on the cell bench, dragging his hands through the strawberry blonde mess that was currently his hair. His eyes were a darker shade of blue then they usually were, and I was sure it had come from a lack of sleep and irritation. Next to him was Declan, his black hair a shade lighter than Fang's. (Why was I comparing him to Fang?) Declan looked freaked out, his deep brown eyes on the verge of hysteria. The cell was filled with other hung-over teenagers, most of the girls as upset as Nudge, their eyes spilling tears that I seriously wanted to slap off their stupid puffy faces. What a bunch of freaking pansies. Get over it, you were in prison—wasn't it everyone's dream to go to prison for something stupid? All they had to do was get someone to bail them out. Which reminded me...

...Jeb was going to be pissed. After crashing through a pet store, trudging mud through the house, having a bitch fest at his new cow of a girlfriend, ditching home for a party and landing myself in prison, I was sure Jeb was going to kill me. I was just hoping I wasn't pinned for the blame of Iggy as well. Knowing my luck I probably would be. Thinking of him, I plonked my butt beside him and sighed exasperatedly.

'I think we're officially screwed,' I stated, slumping against the wall of the cell. You'd think they could make the prison a little more comfortable. 'I'm really not digging the whole "got nothing to do" part of being shoved in prison either.'

Iggy snorted. 'They haven't even given us any chalk so that we can count the amount of days we're in here before we go insane,' he said, dragging a hand down his face.

'What?' One of the other girls shrieked, renewed tears streaming down her face. 'I don't want to go insane! Please, someone please let me out of here!' The blonde (yes, ironically she was blonde) began rattling the gates of the cell, her manicured nails shining in the, however dim, light. I couldn't help it, I laughed, my voice shaking the room in my hysterics. Iggy tried to hide the grin that was spreading steadily across his face.

'Calm down Kate,' Nudge shot, rolling her eyes and giving Iggy a pointed glare. Iggy's face fell, the smile completely vanishing from his face, his head bowing in melancholy.

'Do I at least get my one phone call?' she wailed, burning tears spilling from her eyes. What a drama queen. When the policeman caught sight of the girl, Kate, he opened the cell after a less than graceful eye roll.

'You're not going to go insane,' the guard said, his voice expressing clear irritation as he glared pointedly mine and Iggy's way, similar to what Nudge had done earlier. 'Come on then, call someone to get you out of here.'

'Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you...' Kate looked as if she were about to hug the guy before she ran out of sight to call someone to bail her out. Oh brother.

'You know, that was quite funny, you have to admit.' I tried to lighten the gloomy mood that had extended across the room and all who stood in it. 'I mean, what's better than a blonde thinking she's going to die in prison?'

'Max, something is seriously wrong with you,' Nudge said, her face literally falling to the floor, melting to a puddle at her feet.

'Come on Nudge, things can't possible get worse, stop freaking.'

'Wait until my grandparents get here,' she groaned. 'They already hate you enough, without my being in prison as well.'

I huffed out a breath of air. 'Gee, thanks. I've always loved knowing people hated me. Yo Iggy, got any, you know, firearms on you by any chance? Right now would be the perfect time for operation blow-up-the-prison-and-escape-without-Jeb-knowing-we-were-caught-drinking-under-aged.' Not that I had actually being drinking. Damn it, the one time I hadn't been doing anything wrong. Fate was cruel.

'You know, for some reason I think Jeb would still realise we were in prison. And besides, I got none.'

I gaped. 'The one time we actually need them and you haven't got anything! Fan-freaking-tastic Iggy!'

'Hey! I didn't want to risk bringing bombs around to Nudge's just in case I ended up hurting someone out of anger!' Iggy yelled back, his eyes on Nudge as he said it. She, however, wasn't watching him. Though I caught the hidden message behind his eyes, his words.

I grinned maliciously. However, before I could begin singing "Iggy and Nudge, sitting in a tree," the door of the cell clicked open, a new officer opening the door and stepping inside. He gestured with his head to Declan, who stood so quickly he was almost inhuman in his movements.

'Come on kid, you've got someone waiting for you. I'd better not see you round these parts again, you got it?' Declan nodded, his brown eyes scared beyond belief at the idea of seeing the police officer again. I refrained from calling him a coward and settled for rolling my eyes instead. Iggy scoffed lowly, so that only I could hear him. I patted his back, feeling for him. He was practically in love with Nudge, and she as dating that cowardice son of a bitch. God, what was happening to women these days?

'Thank-you sir,' he said, moving toward the cell. As he was about to pass over the threshold, Declan paused, eyeing Nudge and capturing her attention. She smiled weakly up at him, her tear stained face splotchy and red. Two of her friends sat next to her, patting her shoulders in sympathy. If anyone should have been giving her compassion it should have been bloody Declan. I mean, they were going out.

'Look, Nudge,' Declan began, his eyes soft as they watched her. Declan was one of the jocks at his school, one of the "tough" guys. He was pretty, I'd give him that, but he seemed like your stereotypical ass if you asked me.

'It's been great, it really has. But, you're just not my type. I'm over you, and I really don't desire going to prison again anytime soon. Sorry, but it's over.' Declan shrugged, turning away from a completely shell shocked Nudge, whose face was so beyond believing what she'd heard that I was sure her mind had turned blank, was sure that crickets were croaking inside her head. I had an uncontrollable urge to jump him, to claw this guy's eyes out for saying such a horrible thing to my best friend in a fucking prison, right before he ditched her. As I reeled off my bench, preparing to snap this guy's neck in half and hit him so hard he'd time travel, I was shocked to find that someone else had already beaten me to it. I watched in surprise as Iggy clutched the back of Declan's collar, hauling him backward into the cell and throwing him to the floor as if he were nothing but a ragdoll. Declan swiped, trying to fend Iggy off, but the madness in Iggy's eyes had given him a pure adrenaline rush, giving him inhuman strength as he literally pounded the jock's face in. I felt like someone watching on the sidelines.

Uh, maybe because you are watching on the sidelines?

Shut up.

'Hey kid hurry up and get your scrawny little butt outside—' the police officer froze as he eyed Iggy smashing the crap out of Declan's face.

'That's for not speaking to her properly,' Iggy yelled as his fist connected with an extremely bloodied face. Iggy launched another punch. 'That's for being a complete dick!' Iggy stood on Declan's balls with all the might he could muster. Declan let out a horrible scream, his voice a shrill pitch that hurt my ears. 'And that's for letting go of the one good thing your pathetic little life form could have ever had. And you still weren't fucking good enough for her!' Before Iggy could get off another hit, the guard crashed tackled him from behind, sending him to the ground and snapping silver handcuffs around his wrists.

'Jenna! Get this kid to a doctor. I'll deal with the other one.' The officer dragged Iggy to his feet, shoving him against the wall and grinding his face into the bricks.

'Hey!' I yelled, my anger snapping. 'Get your hands off him!' I refrained from hitting the policeman and getting into even more shit.

'I suggest you shut it girly before you spend another night in jail,' he growled shoving Iggy into his seat.

Don't kill the policeman, don't kill the policeman, don't kill the policeman...

'Okay, look. He's touchy at the moment. Just let me make my call so that we can get out of here. You're not liking this any more than we are.'

The policeman narrowed his eyes before gesturing with his head to go make a call. Thank God, I'm getting out of here!

Just to be grounded the second I got home. Great.

I dialled the only number I possibly could. Jeb. I prayed that he would be merciful to me, that someone would at least pick up the phone. It rang four times before anyone did.

'Hello?' came a seemingly innocent voice from the other end of the line. I hadn't possibly dialled the wring number had I?

'Uh, is Jeb there?' I asked, feeling stupid to have to ask for my own dad.

'Who is it?' the girl asked. I had the image of some little twit twisting the phone cord around their finger. The only problem was that I didn't have a cord on my phone.

'None of you freaking business! Just put him on!'

'I'm sorry, but mum said I couldn't put anyone on unless they said who they were.'

I tried not to scream. 'Look here you little twit, I live there, put my freaking dad on the phone!'

There was a gasp on the other end of the line. 'My mum's not going to be happy that you're being rude to me,' she barked, and I had the urge to rip the phone off the wall.

'Look, can you please put Jeb on? It's Max and it's an emergency.'

'Max? I've never heard of you—' there was another voice on the other end of the line, followed by the undeniable change of speaker. I was about to gush out what I needed when someone else's voice blared through, someone that wasn't Jeb.

'Well, well Maximum. Where have you been?'

Oh, it was the bitch. 'I need to talk to Jeb,' I said urgently.

'You mean your father?' she asked, correcting me.

'Yes, it's an emergency.'

'Well then, tell me. I'll figure it out.'

I fought the urge to scream. How long were the calls for? 'This is a family emergency,' I gritted.

'Then spill it!' she literally growled into the phone.

'In case you haven't realised bitch, you're not my family. Now fucking put dad on or I swear you're dead.'

'Oh really?' she mocked, laughing. 'You need to see a psychiatrist Maximum. I think I might talk to your father about that.'

'Can you just—'

'He's not here. Whatever problem you're facing deal with it.' There was a beeping sound as the line went completely dead.

Don't, don't, don't...

Too late.

I screamed, my destructive hand clutching the phone and snapping it, destroying the cord that connected it to the wall. I threw it with all the force I could possibly pack into my arm, the phone flying until it hit something solid, causing the frame to shatter. Fuck...

'Hey! What are you doing?' the same cop asked once more.

'Fucking little bitch of a woman wouldn't put my dad on the fucking phone!' I yelled, marching back to my cell and slamming the door shut as I flopped to the floor. Someone was going to die.

Nudge sniffled. 'My grandparents can get you out,' she said, obviously overhearing my conversation with the copper and my phone call.

I shrugged. 'I don't know. All I know is that I really hate this new chick.'

Iggy sighed, metal handcuffs strapped around his wrists. If this situation hadn't been so depressing I would have laughed at him. 'Who am I supposed to call then? I don't know his work number, and he doesn't have a cell.'

I shrugged. 'I'd be fucked if I knew. Hey Nudge, are you going to call you grandparents?'

Nudge collapsed in defeat. 'I don't know. My party's ruined. My house is trashed. My parents will kill me, and my boyfriend just dumped me. In a freaking prison cell!'

'You should never have gone out with him anyway,' Iggy near snarled, his eyes trained directly on Nudge. She diverted her eyes, biting her lip. Oh brother.

'So, who are you going to call then?' I asked. 'Mrs. What's-her-face and some kid were the only ones at ours. Dad's not home, so I have no idea who to get to bail us out.'

Iggy groaned. 'There's no-one we know that's old enough.'

Well shit. 'I don't know who else. All I know is—'

The copper came back to the gate for the millionth time, his burly build filling my view.

'Someone's here for you three,' he said pointing at Nudge, Iggy and I. We looked at each other, confused.

'Uh, all of us?' I asked, pointing at the three of us huddled in the corner. 'Because if you're yanking my chain—'

'Get out, I'm sick of all of you. You're lucky there's someone extremely rich waiting for you. Now get out of my sight.' The three of us filed out, still dressed in our clothing from the night before, determined not to piss off the guard any more than we already had. When we moved into the front of the police station, I expected to see an extremely pissed off Jeb standing before me. I was wrong. So very, very, very, very wrong.

When the three of us came to stand in front of our bailer outerer (yeah, I just made that up. So what, I was aspiring to be Shakespeare) we all stopped dead. I was embarrassed to say that I actually wanted to turn around and head back to my cell, but it was true. The person who stood before me, I really wanted to kill. The person before me I was going to murder. I guess I should just head back into my prison—I was going there anyway after I was finished with this bastard.

'I suggest you get out of here,' he said, turning on his heel and heading outside into the brilliant sunshine. We stood there, stunned.

'Uh...what?' Iggy asked, attempting to blink away his confusion.

'I have NFC Iggster my friend, NFC.' Nudge stared after the one person I was sure she absolutely loathed.

Or maybe that was just me.

I shook my head. 'Who cares? I'm outta here, no matter who bailed us out.' I began toward the sunshine I had been deprived of when my brother and friend soon fell in step with me.

'Okay, so your party was a failure, but at least you didn't have to call your grandparents to get you. At least you can clean up your house before the 'rents get home.'

Nudge sighed. 'I guess. I still don't get why Fang bailed us out though. It doesn't make sense.'

'I don't get it, who is Fang?' Iggy asked.

'The guy who just bailed us out,' Nudge replied, gliding her manicured nails through her hair.

'I agree though. Something doesn't make sense. I have the feeling that Fang doesn't do anything without something in return.' There was another thing that was playing at the corner of my mind, coiling in my stomach—I hadn't heard Fang's bike roar away yet...

'Okay, whatever. I'm just glad I didn't have to call anyone. I hate using phones that aren't my own.' Nudge sighed superficially.

'Oh, shit.' I turned back on my heel, heading back toward the station.

'Max?' Iggy called, stopping momentarily.

'I'm just grabbing my phone! I'll meet you at the bus stop.'

'Whatever,' Iggy said, shrugging casually as he walked out of sight.

When I had finally convinced the copper (who was not overly pleased to see me again) to give me back my phone, I headed back out toward the bus stop. I was still pissed that I actually had to catch the bus. Iggy wouldn't get off lightly with that one. Not to mention he would be footing the bill for new car parts—

'I was wondering when you'd ditch them,' a new voice murmured, cutting off my own musings, or rather, strategic plans to formally destroy whatever unlucky bastard stood in my way.

My eyes instantly found Fang's, who was standing half in the shadows, half in the sun, his face masked by the darkness while his legs stayed shining in the sunlight.

'I didn't ditch them,' I growled. 'And what the Hell, are you stalking me or something?'

'Maybe,' he said, pushing himself off the wall and stepping into the light.

'Well fuck off, I'm in a seriously pissed off mood,' I snapped, turning my back on him and storming toward the bus stop. If he thought he was getting something in return for saving my butt from eternal grounding he was dead wrong

'I don't appreciate being told to fuck off,' Fang replied, his calm voice so close it was as if he himself were—


As I raised my eyes to look where I was going, I ran head first into Fang, my body colliding with him and causing me to plummet to the ground. As I spiralled downward, Fang's hand snared my arm, his fingers digging into my bicep and hauling me back to my feet.

'You better watch where you're going,' he said, a dangerous smirk spreading across his mesmerizing—I mean, extremely plain (yeah right!)—features.

I made a noise that was halfway between a sigh and a growl before shoving him away from me. Fang stumbled backward slightly, though by the look on his face I could tell that if he'd wanted to, he could have stayed firmly in place.

'Well then, that's two things you owe me now,' he mused, his onyx eyes shining hazardously.

'I owe you nothing,' I spat, ripping my arm from his grip. 'So stop stalking me!'

'Hmm...' he stepped closer to me, his tall frame towering over mine.

'Take one more step and I'm calling the police out,' I yelled, holding up my hand to ward him off.

'You really think the police and a pathetic hand gesture will stop me getting what I want?' he murmured, gripping my arm again and pulling me forward. 'You'd better start thinking again Blondie.'

'Fucking, it better be you thinking again Fang. If I have to freaking go to your shit-faced school I better not have to see you after hours as well!' I attempted to shrug out of his hold, but it had grown much stronger instead.

'My school?' He asked, his dark eyes growing seemingly darker.

Oh. Shit. 'Uh, yeah...about that, I was simply making my point—'

'Again with the eyes liar,' he countered.

'Look, would you just leave me alone?'

'Do you want the truth?' he asked roughly, his eyes watching me steadily.

'Damn straight I want the fucking truth you stupid bastard!'

And then he freaking kissed me.

Of every time he could have, he just had to kiss me then. Outside a police station. When Iggy and Nudge were waiting for me at the bus stop. Just great. When Fang let me go, pulling back to look down at me with a victorious look spread across his face, I still couldn't process what had happened, didn't fully understand why he'd done it.

'Does that answer your question?' he asked, his voice feigning boredom once more.


'Next time, you'll kiss me back, and you'll be wanting it so badly, you'll kill for it.' Fang had stalked back to his vehicle and ridden off on his bike before I even had the chance to scream, retaliate or peg something at his ride.

It was decided—I hated life.

Good, bad, otherwise? Review please=) Even if you hated it. Thanks everyone, I can't believe I've updated this quickly! I'm actually liking where this is going at the moment! I'll update as soon as I can!


7. Chapter 7

Okay, so first things first—this chapter is a filler, so it's short. Second thing is, as a special request, I've toned down on the swearing and vulgarity because I guess yeah, and it is kind of offensive if I keep using it. Thirdly, (and most importantly) people keep asking about Fang. He's not human, but I'm not telling you exactly what he is. I'm not spilling anything about him, his gang, or his "people." Sorry =P So I hope that makes things a little less confusing for people. Oh, and about Fang continuously threatening Max, and about her "owing" him stuff, all I mean by that is that Fang keeps telling Max that he's going to "collect" things that she owes—favours, threats etc. I really hope that helps you understand…I don't know if it does though. Anyway, here's the quote, and like I said, it's ONLY A FILLER, so don't kill me if it's not that good. The next one should be updated tomorrow, but I currently have NON-READING friends here (Taylah and her sister), so I can't write. I know, freaks right? Anyway, the quote is: "You come to this world alone. You leave this world alone. What makes you think that you can escape loneliness while you're here?" Anyway, until I update again=) Thanks…oh yeah, and lastly, REVIEW! Thanks=)

I was happy to say that for the next two weeks, I didn't see one bit of Fang. It was as if he had suddenly fallen off the face of the earth after he'd bailed Iggy, Nudge and I out of jail. Which, unfortunately, Jeb had found out about. Apparently Nudge's parents had found out about the party and the arrest from the police, and they'd found it prudent to tell Jeb as well. Personally, I'd say they hated us. I guess I was just lucky I wasn't fired—they were my bosses. So, Iggy and I were literally under house-arrest. I know, who calls grounding a "house-arrest?" But you haven't heard the best part yet. Iggy's stuff had literally been thrown into my room, his own room being covered with pink paint and a mountain of toys that Iggy and I weren't able to comprehend when we saw them. I don't think we'd seen so many in one room at the same time. We both had the pleasure of finding this out when we got home, our jaws dropping to the floor in shock.

"I—I…my room is pink!" Iggy had almost fainted at the sight of the newly painted room, a bright Barbie doll pink that had completely masked the original cream walls of his room. His ACDC posters had been torn down, and his Harry Potter books had been ripped off the shelves, replaced with multiple Go-girls books and a bright pink CD player. Dolls that looked suspiciously like Hannah Montana and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen lined the rest of the shelves, were all Iggy's most prized trophies and novels had once sat. He stepped over the threshold of the now purple door, stepping into the extremely girlish room. Two beds sat in opposite corners, one covered in frilly shades of, you guessed it, pink, the other a plain red cover with pictures of dynamites slapped across it. It was the most boyish feature in the whole room. Iggy toured the space, stopping in front of what I could only guess was Barbie's dream house. Oh dear lord, how old were these kids?

"My skateboards…they've been replaced with Malibu Stacie!" I flinched at the anger in Iggy's voice. He wasn't usually so verbally irate. Iggy usually bottled it up inside, just like Jeb.

"Uh, actually Iggy, that's the Simpsons. I'm pretty sure this is Barbie's Dream house. Just so you know."

"Does it really matter Max?" he snapped, holding his head in his hand.

I shrugged. "What's with all the little kid's toys? Seriously, how old are they. Five? And wasn't one of them meant to be a boy?"

"I don't know," Iggy groaned. I watched with renewed interest as he banged his head against the pink walls of his former room.

"Hmm…well, this sucks. I guess you're sleeping on the couch." I turned my back on him and prepared myself to go and dump his stuff in the lounge, but Iggy's tortured voice stopped me dead.

"You're not seriously going to make me sleep on the couch, are you? Where will I put all my stuff? Your room has a bathroom too—I don't want to have to share with Mrs. What's-her-name's kids! Max, please, don't leave me room-less."

The act was pretty melodramatic, but I had to admit, it was convincing. My litter brother was being kicked out of his room; I felt it was my obligation to share mine. Or at least that's what Jeb had told me. I'd already had a conversation with him before I'd found Iggy—I had to share my room with him. I thought I'd at least seem like a nice older sister by sharing with him of my own free will. (Cough, yes, free will.)

I sighed. "Fine, but my room, my rules. Got it? Maybe we could convince dad to let you use the garage soon. You'll have to dump half your stuff in their anyway, why not just move in there?"

Iggy looked grateful. "Thanks Max."

"I know, I know, I'm such a great person and all, but you're moving your own crap, so don't even ask me."

"Sweet. Can I set up my computer?"

"No," I answered instantaneously.

Iggy scowled. "Can I use my phone?"

"Again, no. Mine's already set up and there's no room."

"Okay, what about my books?"

"That's a no, definite no and Hell no. I have absolutely no room in my shelves, none. Nada. Sorry Iggy. Books are important, but mine are more so. How about you can put your clothes in the top of the wardrobe?"

Iggy stared at me like I'd just told him that the colour of an orange was orange. "Really Max, really?"

I snorted. "Did you just quote that off "Sonny with a Chance?""

Iggy put on a guilty looking face and I laughed. "No…" his pale blue eyes looked from side to side in an overdramatic attempt at looking accountable.

"You know, you're a really weird guy."

"I know," Iggy replied, smiling.

"Hey guys? Can I talk to you?" Jab's voice sounded like it was coming from the kitchen. Oh God, the kitchen. That meant this was serious business, a family meeting.

"Yeah, we're coming," I called from the top of the stairs as I began down the winding path that lead downward to the first floor.

"What do you think it is this time?" Iggy asked, putting stress on the word this.

I sighed. "Maybe we're grounded from talking to each other as well. I mean, we're already banned from reading, writing, MSN, computers, phones, friends, going out, T.V. and sleeping in. The only thing left to ground us from is freaking each other at the moment." I fought the urge to swear. I was currently attempting to stop the vulgarity my mouth was so constantly pouring out.

Iggy laughed as I rattled off the consequences of our grounding. "Tell me about it, what more is there for him to strip from us?"

"I guess we're about to find out," I said as we both stepped into the kitchen. Jeb stood at the island, and to my surprise Dr. M wasn't with him. I'd refrained from calling her Dr. Bitch or Mrs. What's-her-face, and resorted to Dr. M. That way, I didn't have to actually think about her name.

"Hey guys," Jeb said. He watched us as we both took seats at the bench, blue eyes looking extremely tired. I wondered if it came with age, or if he was just really tired at the moment. I didn't know, maybe it was a mixture of both.

"What's up?" Iggy asked, so much like Jeb that you couldn't mistake them for anything less than father and son.

"I need to talk to you guys about school," he said, pulling a chair to the island and facing us. A scowl instantly settled onto my face. Jeb laughed. "Don't look at me like that Max," he said, shaking his head. "The school break is over, you know that." Yeah, and I had had to spend the last two weeks of it doing nothing."And, as you know I'm transferring your schools so that you can be close to Angel and Gazzy. This way you can walk them back after school when Valencia is at work."

"Walk them back after school?" I asked, extremely piss—uh, annoyed at the fact. "How old are these kids?"

"Angel is eight and Gazzy is ten," Jeb said coolly. "And Valencia expects you to bring them home every day in one piece."

"Wait, Valencia expects us to? What the, she's not even our legal guardian. I don't even know these kids. You're not seriously moving our schools because she can't pick them up after it, are you?"

"The transfers have already been signed and handed in at the Admin. You're officially an Eagle Ridge High School student now," Jeb said, smiling.

My face was so far from smiling at the present time. However, before I could explode, Iggy's own frustration beat me to it. "I can't believe you've done this to us dad," he said, his voice sounding so betrayed that I felt like my eyes had been stabbed with a pin. Iggy was always good at making people feel bad, even if they had nothing to do with the situation.

"Look, guys, I'm sorry. But I think this will be good for us, a new start."

"Oh my God, we're not moving too, are we?" I asked, stressing.

"What? Oh, no. We're not. I hope you two don't mind the cramped space."

"Are you kidding me? We're two teenagers. We have minimal room, so yes, we do mind the cramped space. Especially when we had to basically move everything for a heap of Barbie dolls!"

"Stop being so selfish Max," Jeb said. The very words grated on my nerves, cutting deeply until I thought I would scream. I bit the insides of my mouth to stop from saying anything.

Iggy, obviously sensing my very palpable torture, used the opportunity to say something and calm me down. "Uniforms?" he asked, the simple question no more than a word.

"None," Jeb said, eyeing me when he said it. "At least there's one good thing about this. I seem to remember you guys complaining every time you put on your, how did you put it? Fugly uniforms?"

"That still doesn't negate the fact that you've completely changed our schools, living arrangements and personal space without even talking to us," Iggy muttered, his pale eyes darkening in colour. "Why would you do that to us dad?"

"We'll never forgive you for it Jeb," I snapped bitterly, propelling myself backward from the island bench. The chair screeched as it squealed across the floor.

"Max," Jeb sighed. He hated it whenever I called him Jeb. It was a sign that I no longer thought of him as my dad, but as a person who kept telling me what to do. "You've been so touchy these last couple of weeks. You're so depressed, and it's leaving a gloom over everything."

"Oh, I wonder why," I stressed, emphasizing the half-question as if he were an idiot.

"You're getting worse. The violence, the swearing…it's getting more appalling every day Max. I suggest you lighten up soon, or I may start taking drastic measures."

I didn't really want to know what theses "drastic measures" were, so I shut my mouth. "Understand that I hate you for this," I stated flatly before heading back to my room and slamming the door behind me. I figured it wouldn't be very long before Iggy followed me, much to my dismay, but I didn't care. I settled for plugging in my iPod and drowning myself in music.

I know, it's kind of disappointing, but you can BLAME MY FRIENDS! Yeah, I so take responsibility for my actions…**cough** Review please, I'll update soon with a good chapter (I hope) to make up for this one! Thanks. If you want it updated now, this is the price you must pay. (Prices?) Whatever, I'm pulling a Nudge. Thanks everyone!

8. Chapter 8

Hey guys, this is a long one. And about Fang I will explain everything about him, just not yet. And no, he's not human. But yeah, that's all I'm saying. I was kind of almost saddening writing this chapter =( But anyway, hopefully you won't judge too badly...actually, you probably will…you know what? Just read it. Sorry, I haven't spell-checked. Again, not enough time! I'll fix it tomorrow, so excuse mistakes. It's just that the majority of people who read this are American so their times a different. I'm pulling a Nudge, so here's the quote: "The darkest souls are not those which choose to exist within the hell of the abyss, but those which choose to move silently among us." REVIEW! Thanks guys=)

When I woke up the following day, I felt somewhat, if still only mediocre, better. I guess I needed the sleep. Or at least, that's what I told myself. I'd woken with a start, rushing into consciousness from a dream I barely had any memory of the second a landed back in the world of the living. I'd woken, drenched in sweat and feeling really groggy. It was still dark outside, and the red numbers on my alarm clock stated that it was only four-thirty in the morning. Brilliant. Eying Iggy on the floor of my room, I draped a blanket over his slight frame, stepping over him and into the bathroom. As I let the warm water drown my body with its relaxing rhythm, I tried to piece together the broken fragments of my dream. And currently, I wasn't having much success. The only things I could relatively remember were blaring music, a brilliant explosion and the roaring of hundreds of motorbikes riding into the magnificent midnight world. Curse dreams and their never-ending nonsense. When I had finally decided to get my ass out of the shower the water had run cold, basically leaving the house warm-water-less. Well, it was their problem now, not mine.

Eying the clock once more when I had changed into something more comfortable than jeans and a shirt, I noticed that I'd spent a whole hour in the shower. Wow, how time passed. Iggy however was still snoring sleepily on the floor, his tall frame looking small along the length of my room. However, despite its size, I still didn't know how they were going to fit another bed in. Talk about cramped spaces. I peered through the curtains of my room, the sun only just visible behind the horizon. Hmm…nothing like a sunrise to start off the day. I slipped into some slippers (no, they weren't bunny slippers, as much as that might amuse you) and trudged outside, stopping at the fridge on the way and grabbing the carton of milk and packet of M&M"s. Nothing like chocolate ad sugar to kick-start the beginning of a new school year. Yippee, a new school and everything. I was so looking forward to that. Not.

I collapsed into one of the lawn chairs that had been set up on my back porch, my butt filling the wooden space easily. Yeah, I pretty much just called myself fat, but who cares right? At least I can laugh at myself. I knew many a person who couldn't stand the thought of people laughing or mocking them. Well, actually, I couldn't stand the thought of people laughing or mocking me…well, I didn't mind people "paying me out." That was okay—most of the people that did, or rather, tried to, were too stupid to make much sense, and it wasn't very difficult to come up with a fast quip. There was only one person that really pissed me off when it came to insulting me.


Yeah, my thoughts were basically back on him. Again. I just couldn't help it—there was something about him, something I just didn't get. He was meant to be the leader of some legendarily "bad-ass" gang, but his friends had seemed like dicks, too stupid to be very threatening. Or at least, one of them had. I hadn't really had much of an insight on the other one, the blonde one. And another thing I didn't get. Fang seemed, well…smart. He seemed like someone who was moderately intelligent. So I didn't know why he was burying himself in the shit that only a gang could bury itself in. Unless of course, he had founded it. But the question still stands; why create a gang? Why waste your life doing dumbass things only a gang could possible undermine? Unless he thought it was cool or something. Well, I had news for him—it wasn't.

There were a couple of other things grating at my nerves. One of them was what did the gang actually do? Nudge and her party guests had hinted at them being dangerous in some way. I hadn't thought so. I mean, what extremes could a gang actually go to? I mean, honestly? Theft? And if so, what kind? And what was with all the motorbikes? I'd seen gangs on T.V. with big Harleys, but I hadn't seen many of Fang's group drive off with such bikes. Then again, the only thing I had truly seen was the great mass of darkness that his disappeared into the Midnight coloured world. How many people were actually in the gang? They all seemed to be wearing dark jackets of some kind, but there had been too many people at Nudge's party to truly tell. My guess was around twenty people. Yet, that was only at Nudge's. Who knew, there could have been another fifty or something at their base, or home, or headquarters or whatever it was they called it. Some abandoned building or something, I bet you.

I ripped open the packet of M&M"s as I continued my musings. The sun was steadily rising over the horizon as I poured some into my mouth. Nothing like chocolate for brain food. And I was certain I would need brain food to try and figure out what the hell was up with Fang. I unscrewed the lid of the milk container and took a huge swig from the bottle. There was something strange about Fang himself. Like the red eyes. That was just weird. And actually, now that I thought about it, Ari had had them as well. Was there something genetically wrong with them or something? Arias had flashed crimson when he'd been pissed off. Or at least, it had seemed that way. But that didn't explain why Fang's had. He hadn't been annoyed, irritated or pissed off. Not to the naked eye at least. Hmm…

…okay, so I was seeing things. I needed to check my eyes. Well, at least that was one mystery out of the way. However, I was interested in Fang's complete dedication to his bike. He had literally threatened everyone in the room, no, everyone in the house are Nudge's house. So it was obviously his pride and joy. Okay, so I had something that I could bribe or threaten him with. Not that I was counting on seeing him any time soon, if ever. But just in case I did, and he tried to corner me or make me do something, then his bike was toast. His threats meant nothing to me—I'd do much more than touch it. I'd engrave my name into it with a list of vulgar words that I would absolutely love to scratch into the sparkly paint job. Well, I doubted it would be sparkly per se, but still. I wondered what kind of bike it was, how expensive it was. Well, considering he was in a gang I doubted it would be very expensive. Probably a cheap second hand bike or something like that.

The last thing that was grating on my mind was Fang himself. There was something…I don't know. I couldn't exactly say dark. I mean, there was definitely something dark about Fang. But there was something else, something that hinted at danger. Which was kind of stupid, seeing as though in a way everyone could be dangerous. But this…this was something in a league of its own. I couldn't really explain it, but it was as if Fang was hiding deeper secrets, more sinister secrets than I'd ever thought someone could hold. Of course, this was just what my gut feeling was telling me. Though I'd learnt over the years to trust my instincts. They seemed to be more intelligent than my mind was.

Then again, this was more like jumping to conclusions than being impulsive. I mean, everyone had secrets. I guess the only difference with normal people and Fang was that I was actually interested in this. I was feeling an extremely weird pull to the mysterious gang leader, an intrigue that was shocking, uncanny and extremely freaky all wrapped up into one. But if there was one thing about myself that was absolute, other than a need for violence, it was the need to dig into other people's lives. I needed to know everything they weren't telling me. I guess maybe you could call it OCD, but if someone wasn't telling me something, it was as good as being lied to in my eyes.

I hated being lied to.

Yes, I know, hypocrisy at its best. I hated being lied to, but wouldn't take a second thought at lying to someone else. Sigh. And where did that leave me? Extremely confused, extremely pissed off and extremely weird-ed out in a way I couldn't really explain. Ugh, and to think I was meant to be forgetting him. Chances of that? Slim-to-none. Unless of course, I didn't see him ever again. Hmm…hold on, let me do the math…take into account the spontaneous way he had bailed me out of prison, the constant threats he continued to give me…the promises I was sure he was going to keep, the "debt" as he called it that he was going to collect…(by the way, I didn't remember owing him debt) Well, I'd say I had no chance that he'd forget about me and stop looking around for me, despite the fact that he hadn't found me in the last two weeks. Though, I hadn't left the house in two weeks either, so I doubted that counted.

It was six-thirty before I was finally pulled from my musings. God, how long had I been thinking about Fang? The saddest part was that it was someone else's distraction that had pulled me from my thoughts. Joy.

"Hey Max, you're up early," Jeb said, coming to sit beside me and my half empty packet of M&M"s and milk carton. Hey eyed my breakfast and smiled. "Nice," he said, shaking his head. I shrugged, turning silently to watch the sun's rays pour over the scenery around me. We literally lived in a forest, greenery surrounding our house. We only lived about ten minutes from the main city and about fifteen from the school I was soon to be attending, but out here it seemed like miles away. Like I was living on an uninhabited island.

"Look, Max…" Jeb sighed. Unlike me, he always found it hard to tell people what he thought, explain exactly why he did something and what he meant. He wasn't a big sharer. "Max, you're right. I should have talked to you and Iggy about everything first. About Valencia, about moving rooms, about me dating. I guess I was just so worried I'd lose her that I rushed into everything without even worrying about what you and Iggy would think." Jeb took a deep breath and I groaned inwardly. Aw man. I had really worked up a bitch fest to present to him, and now I was feeling guilty. Jeb was apologizing. He was telling me why he had done what he'd done, and it was turning my argument to mush. Damn my freaking conscience.

"Maximum," he began again quietly, re-discovering his voice once more. I screamed on the inside—he was using my full name, which meant he was either really upset, or really angry. I guessed he was upset—Jeb never got upset. This was bad. "I know how much you miss your mother. I know that no-one could ever replace her. It's part of the reason I thought that you would be fine with the arrangement. You and James both know who your mother was. You both know that no other person could ever take her place. I thought that with this knowledge and your age you'd be fine with Valencia. I didn't realize you'd react so vehemently toward her."

I shook my head violently. "Dad, you don't get it! It's not just about her replacing mum! It's the fact that we're literally being cast aside for these two little kids! Do you honestly think we're any more than a pain in this woman's neck? Look at what she's made you do! She's completely changed our schools for her two kids! She didn't give a fuck about us! I mean honestly, look at the situation. She's changed our lives dramatically over the course of two weeks. Two weeks! Iggy and I have to leave all our friends for two little kids we don't even know. Not to mention we've both been shoved into one room for these people."

"I'm sorry Max, I truly am." Jeb looked pained and I instantly snapped my mouth closed. Oh God, what was this, a guilt trip? "I just didn't want to see myself alone after you and Iggy left. I guess I couldn't handle the ache that would settle over me once you two were gone and I was alone in this great big house by myself. Max, I didn't mean to hurt you, and I obviously have. Both you and Iggy."

I shook my head in disbelief, my eyes feeling as if they were being plucked by needles. I was not crying. I was simply sweating though my eyeballs damn it! "What would honestly make you think we'd leave?" I asked, my voice catching in my throat.

Jeb shrugged his shoulders. "You're turning eighteen. You're in senior year. Why would I think anything else of you? Iggy turns eighteen early next year as well. Max, honestly, why would you stay?"

"Have you seen housing prices?" I asked and he laughed.

"Yes, I have. What about Nudge though? I know how much she wants to leave her parent's place."

"Please, you hate Nudge. You'd kill me before I went with her."

Jeb paused. "Yeah, I would." He grinned.

"And besides, she'd talk my ears off the first night. I find it hard to stay over at her place, let alone live with her."

Jeb was laughing loudly now. "Pass me those M&M"s would you?"

I tossed him the packet and took a swig of milk. It was starting to lose its chill. "I remember doing this all the time," I mused, smiling, a true smile that I hadn't felt cross my face in such a long time.

Jeb nodded, eyeing my face. "I haven't seen that smile in some time Max," he noted, voicing my exact thoughts. "You should wear it much more than you do."

"There's not much to smile about these days," I said, the grin fading from my face.

"Hmm…" Jeb thought aloud, tossing out my statement with a flick of his hand. "You know what we're missing?" he asked, grinning a smile that looked like it belonged to a seven year old, not a forty -seven year old.

"Iggy?" I suggested, pouring coloured round chocolates into my palm and shoving them into my mouth.

"Other than that," Jeb said, rolling his eyes.

"Oh, so Iggy's a that now?" After no reply I began guessing. "Uh…more food and drinks?"

"Other than the obvious things," he said, shaking his head.

"Okay…comfier chairs?"

Jeb rolled his eyes. "No, we need Karaoke."

I snorted, coughing up milk back into the container. "What?"

"Ew, Max that's disgusting. It's simple, we need Karaoke."

"Okay…please explain?"


"Jeb!" Valencia's voice rang out, cutting Jeb off completely. My nails dug into the palm in attempt not to yell back to her and tell her to shut up. She was ruining my good morning.

Jeb sighed. "What?" he called as he stood. He tossed me the packet of M&M"s.

"Can you help me cook breakfast or something? And I swear, you people have nothing but junk in this place."

"Wait, cook? But Iggy—"

Jab cut me off. "Yeah, sure," he called back to her. "Max, just let her have her fun this morning. She wants to cook for the first day of school."

More like poison us. For surely without Iggy cooking, everything else was simply the equivalent of dirt beneath my feet. "Fine," I grumbled as I stood, following Jeb back inside and into the kitchen.

"Oh, thanks babe. I still need help navigating this kitchen. I swear, who needs this size kitchen? And all I can find is junk food…" Dr. M let her words drift off as she eyes me, or more specifically, the carton I held in my hand. I had the bottle lifted to my lips, taking another swig at the milk as she stared at me. She gulped, looking angry. "Max, what are you doing?"

I blinked, licking the milk from around my mouth. "I'm sorry, are you like, retarded or something? I'm drinking milk."

Dr. M"s left eye twitched. "From the container?" She shrieked.

"Max, don't speak so rudely. And would you grab a glass next time please?" I gaped at Jeb, my anger coursing back to my mind. What the Hell, he had literally been fine with me doing it before. Now he was grilling me on not having a glass? What, the crap. Dr. M looked expectantly at me with raised brows and I looked at the contents left in the bottom, smirking on the inside.

And then I downed it.

Trust me, it was no easy feat. There had been about a volume with the height of about an inch high from the bottom left in the container, and I managed to drink it all before anyone had stopped me. As I walked past Jeb and his new girlfriend, I tossed the empty bottle at Dr. M. "I'll try to remember for next time," I said in a voice that was way too sweet for anyone's liking. Oh, I was such a bitch. The look on "Valencia's" face was so shocked as I headed upstairs that I fought the urge to break out in hysterics. Today may shape up to be a good day after all.

"I agree, her food is poison," Iggy stated irritably as we walked through the gates of our new school. Jeb had offered to drop us off at school as a peace treaty. We'd taken the ride, then firmly stated that it meant nothing. He'd driven off seconds later looking what I like to call pissed off royally with a sprinkling of added infuriation on top. Of course, you couldn't forget the exasperation added for decoration.

"Told you," I said, fixing up my backpack as we walked toward admin.

Iggy's pale eyes gazed around the car park. "There are so many cars," he said.

"There'd be and extra one if you hadn't totaled mine."

"Are you still going on about that?"

"What do you mean still. It was two weeks ago! And it was a Pontiac Firebird. Sixty-nine! Do those words mean nothing to you?"

"Honestly no. Do the words—"

"Yeah, I know, you're going to rattle a list of pastries and crap off. The answer is no, so don't bother." The little sucker had a point.

"Exactly," he said as he pushed open the glass doors of the admin block.

"Classes started five minutes ago," an old looking woman literally growled as we walked into the building. What do you want?"

"We're new here," Iggy said. "We were told to come here to pick up our timetables."

"Humph," she huffed, looking through her draws for something. It took her a whole five minutes to find ti, but when she did the old hag of a woman began reading off a sheet of white paper. Wow, all that effort for one scrawny piece of paper? Sheesh. There was a reason we had computers.

"Maximum and James Ride?" she asked, her steel coloured eyes scanning us from head to toe. Come on, my Skinnies and white spaghetti string top weren't that interesting. I had a burette sitting on top of my head too, but I doubted that was much of a curiosity grabber. And as much as I craved attention, I really didn't want this woman's gaze upon me. Her long skirt and chunky black shoes must have been in fashion how long ago? As much as I didn't care about fashion, I at least cared about how I looked, no matter how minutely. We both nodded and she handed us two coloured slips, mine blue and Iggy's yellow.

"These are you classes. I suggest you move it." Her attention moved to something else and we got the memo. We pretty much got out of there as fast as we could.

"Okay, so I have—it's Monday right?"

"Nah, it's Saturday," I said, rolling my eyes.

"Okay, so I have English first. Mr. Jackson. Hmm…I think I can handle that."

I stared at the first box on my timetable. "I have…oh God, Physics. What the Hell, who takes physics? I couldn't stand year eight science let alone physics."

Iggy snorted. "Sucked in. What have you got second? I have Culinary Science."

"Culinary Science? Is that like, cooking?"

Iggy nodded. "Yeah. You have…?"

Let's see, second box, first column. "Um…Chemistry?" I shrieked.

Laughter erupted from my brother and I punched him in the stomach. There was a loud oomph as he recoiled from my hit.

"What's with all the sciences?" Iggy said, recovering from his hysterics.

"I don't know," I whined. "I have Ancient History next, what about you?"

"HPE," he said, grinning. Oh my God, who the Hell picked his subjects?

"And last?" Please be math or something as equally boring…

"Hospitality," he said, surprised. "Awesome, I love Mondays! Two cooking subjects in one day. Sweet."

"That isn't fair," I said, looking at my last subject.

"What have you got last?" he asked, one brow raised.

I looked at him enviously before checking my last class…and stopping dead. "I—no way."

Iggy frowned. "What?"

I gulped, my eyes wide in what I could only guess was fear. "Swimming."

Iggy looked startled, before his expression changed to sympathy. "Don't worry, they can't make you swim. And besides, you have no swimming gear. We'll have this changed, don't worry Max."

The problem was I was worrying all day.

You're probably thinking—a fear of bikes, trains and swimming? What, did my mum die by getting hit by a train on a motorbike before landing in water and drowning? Well, don't worry, that didn't happen. My fear of water didn't come from my mum. It came from myself. And it wasn't water per se, but rather large bodies of it. The fear wasn't sparked by my mum's death.

It was sparked by my own.

When I was about five, my dad had taken Iggy and I on a boat just off the coast. We'd thought we would go fishing while the weather was good. A couple of hours into it, we hadn't caught much and dad wanted to go home. I'd been in such a good mood, was having such a good time, that I didn't want to go. Jeb had ignored me and said we could come out another day. However, with him working so much, I knew it wouldn't happen. So, I'd jumped into the water to stop him from leaving him. The problem was, I didn't know how to swim. After jumping over the edge, I soon found myself pulled under the currents of the crashing waves that had been throwing our boat around on the open water. Jeb hadn't seen me jump in—he'd been too busy setting our course back to land. That left me practically drowning. I hadn't known who had saved me. I'd just remember the burning ache that had torn through my body, ripping through my insides before the darkness had come.

I'd woken up in hospital a week later.

Ever since, I'd been scared shitless of water. So, you can guess just how well I'd reacted to seeing that I had swimming fourth period. And to make matters worse, I was currently being forced to get in the water.

"Get in Ride," the teacher snapped, using my last name in an attempt to be menacing. It failed.

"Here's a thought," I said, smiling sweetly. "How about you go down to the bottom of the pool, count to a thousand and then come back up?"

The teacher went red in what I suspected was anger, his balding head turning an unnatural shade of crimson. "I suggest you get in the pool."

"I suggest you shut your face moron. What part of I don't have any swimming gear does your limited mind not understand?"

The coach, Coach Hannigan, looked like he was about to shoot someone. "I swear Ride, just because you're new here—"

"Coach Hannigan, I wouldn't bother with her," came an all too chillingly familiar voice. "What you do," he said, closer to me than I'd realized, "is get another student to do something about her," he finished. I vaguely saw the owner of the voice beside me before a force shoved me sideways, sending me to spiral downward.

Into the water.

I wasn't sure if I had screamed out loud or the chlorine infested water had muffled the sound, but it didn't matter. As I fell off balance, I fell sideways into the pool, the water splashing around me as I crashed into the body of water. My instincts made me breathe, despite the fact that my mind was screaming head toward the surface. But which way was the surface? Where was up in this warped place? I flailed my body thrashing as I fell further and further into the water. As darkness threatened to take over my vision, and my insides burned like the flames from Hell itself, solid arms locked around my body and I was pulled from the water.

When we broke the surface and I was almost thrown over the edge of the pool, hitting the concrete and coughing up water, I realized I'd been in the water for all of about fifteen seconds—it had felt like forever. The class was standing around me as I hyperventilated and Coach Hannigan came out of the pool, his clothes as drenched as my own.

"Huh, so you can't swim," Fang stated, so matter-of-factly, so uncaringly that I stood up, before the teacher could pull me back down, and walked out of the swimming gym.

I stepped into the car park, so angry the ground must have been melting away under me. I walked by, everything a blur. The events of the last three minutes had happened so fast that a barely realized what had actually happened until I got outside. It was only then that I realized how much I hated Fang. I was literally declaring war on the son of a bitch. He wasn't dangerous. He was just a fucking asshole that was going to be obliterated.

I searched the car park until I found what I was looking for—a row of black bikes, all sitting in a straight line, about thirty of them. As I picked the one that was no doubt Fang's—midnight black without so much as a mark on it—I pulled a Swiss army knife out of my bag and homed in on it.

He would pay.

I KNOW I am forgetting something, but I can't remember (obviously) and well frankly, I am SO tired. As I said, I had friends over and had to work the next day. Bleh, so, I'll fix it up later. Thanks guys, and REVIEW! DO NOT LEAVE THIS PAGE UNTIL YOU DO! =)) Thanks…I'm not a dictator AT ALL **cough** Until the next update guys=)

9. Chapter 9

Okay, I'm sorry about the wait—I had a friend say that I shouldn't update so fast, so that I can leave everyone "hanging." And I guess, that's what I've done with this chapter; you'll know what I mean after you've read it. All I know is I'd be peeved if I was reading it. Anyway, that's why I haven't updated for like, 3 days. A little bit of insight on my private life, yeah, I know, so interesting. (cough) I lost the grand finals of my debating, so we came "runners up." Bleh, they couldn't even call us "Second Place." At least we got trophies =| Well anyway, here's the quote: "What do we need to defeat evil after good has failed? A greater evil of course." I think everyone will hate me for this short as chapter, but I'm going to leave you "hanging." I've taken into account reviewer's comments too, so thanks guys, and no, I am not telling anyone what Fang is! Review!

I hadn't realized she couldn't swim.

As I dried my hair with my towel, I watched Ari laugh in hysterics.

"You mean you pushed her in, and she couldn't swim? Dude, that's hilarious!" Of course Ari would find it so, he despised humans, no matter how pretty they were.

"I didn't know she couldn't," I said, voicing my thoughts. At the time, Max hadn't been thinking about not being able to swim, or her fear of water for that matter. No, at the time she had been imagining ways to permanently impair the swimming coach.

"You read people's minds, how could you not know?" Dylan asked, looking moderately concerned. I didn't know why—he had no reason to care for humans. Perhaps living for so long on the Human Plain was getting to him and tampering with his emotions. And by that, I meant that perhaps it was giving him some. I didn't read his mind to discover his reasoning—I had long since stopped trying to read my friends" thoughts willingly.

I shrugged, feigning indifference. "She wasn't thinking about it at the time." When she was in the water however…well. That was a completely different story. My mind has still been in hers as I shoved her sideways, and so every feeling that had coursed through her mind had also seared the inside of mine. Usually I could overcome the feeling—not with Max. I wasn't able to push her out of my mind, and so when her lungs had begun to burn, the fear that radiated from her had also caused me to lock down, to freeze. I had had only enough control to stop my own body from quivering as hers had done in the water. For a few seconds, I hadn't been Fang anymore. I had been Max.

"Do you know why she hates water?" Ari asked, still shaking his head in disbelief. "I mean, trains, motorbikes and water? Is there anything she isn't afraid of?"

"Water isn't really a fear per se," I said, thinking back. "She's only afraid of it because of a past experience. I bet if you could get her into the water and teach her, she wouldn't be fearful of it, she'd just despise it. And she's not exactly fearful of trains either, not really. The motorbikes on the other hand…I think she might collapse in total panic if you get her on one of them."

Ari snorted. "I say she fears them all. Pah, humans. They're so God damned weak."

Dylan shrugged. "I don't know, she got a pretty good one off you a few weeks ago…"

"If I hadn't of been distracted I could have ripped her head off," he snapped. That was Ari for you—if anyone called him weak, up went his defences.

"And then we would have been charged with murder," I said. "And this time they would have had a full room of witnesses to charge us with."

Ari huffed out a breath of air. "We could take the police with both hands behind our backs and our eyes blindfolded."

I shrugged. It was probably true.

"That would blow our cover, and shoot this mission to pieces," Dylan snapped, his golden hair shining in the sunlight as we entered the car park. "I haven't spent the last few decades here just to find out that this has all been a waste of time, because your freaking pride got in the way of the bigger picture."

Well, there was no arguing with that reasoning.

As the three of us moved into the lot, I was surprised to find it packed with people. My gang members, all noticeable in their distinctive black jackets, stood around the row of parking spaces that was permanently reserved for our bikes. Surrounding my people were random humans, wearing varying colours of the colour spectrum. That was what surprised me—no-one would willingly come near our bikes, let alone an entire horde of people.

Ella skipped up to us, her perky attitude kicking in. However, I noticed the slight miss of the beat, her rhythm unnaturally out. Hmm, what's going on here...? Ella's eyes met mine for a brief second, before they seemingly shied away and focused on Dylan. Second strike, something was definitely up. Ella never evaded me, no matter how annoyed I was.

"Hey Dylan," she said, her voice quivering for a single second. "Tactic nine, move seven, now!" I had just enough time to blink before Ella's petite frame suddenly slammed into my own, shoving me to the ground with a force that was phenomenon. She went for my eyes, her body pinning my own with her experience and strength—move seven. I then realised what she was doing—she was preventing me from seeing something. I vaguely heard Dylan yelling something about a fire as bells began ringing somewhere from inside the school—tactic nine; distraction. Strike three. Something was definitely wrong here.

I didn't waste another second as I literally threw Ella off my body, spinning over her and pinning her to the ground, stomach to the concrete. I heard her huff out a breath of air.

"I'd advise you not to go over to the rest of the group," she murmured. "Or at least wait until the humans have cleared.

"The human's have cleared," Ari stated, coming to stand above Ella and I. "Dylan just got Jake to pull the fire alarm bells. What the Hell is going on?" he asked, looking annoyed.

"I expect someone is about to get extremely pissed," she replied, attempting to turn her face toward me despite my strength smothering her into the ground.

I pushed myself off her, shoving her harder into the concrete as a consequence. "I don't get pissed," I said deeply, turning toward the other gang members, who stood solemnly in front of our bikes.

I came to stand in front of them, my arms folded across my chest with my eyebrows raised in silent question. I gestured at what they were standing in front of, my head nodding in their direction.

"Alright, what's up? What have you scattered the mortals for?" I asked in near exasperation.

Tess stood forward, her head held high as she came to stand in front of me. "I really suggest you leave now Fang," she said, her eyes dead serious.

I frowned. "Why?" Tess was one of my six Generals, and by far one of my most serious. She didn't ask something like this unless everyone was in danger. I just didn't know what they were in danger of.

"Tess, what's going on," I said, ordering her to tell me now. "Step aside, let me see what it is you are hiding."

I saw her visibly swallow as she took a deep, calming breath. "Everyone, get back. Precautions people, keep destruction to a minimum if you would. I don't want anyone hurt on my watch today." Her eyes sought Ari and Dylan and she nodded to the both of them, causing the two Generals to come stand beside me.

"Okay Tess," Dylan began, "show us."

Tess braced herself before she and the last five people in front of the bikes moved, giving us an extremely clear view on what it was that had made them so wary, the reason they had scattered the humans and tried to keep it a secret from me.

But they could never have kept this a secret.

My eyes fell prisoner to my Ninja, the black orbs settling instinctively onto the motorbike. I then realised, so very clearly, why Tess had gone to such precautions to stop me from seeing this, why she had caused the humans to flee our presence. Why she had asked me to just leave.

My Ninja, my priceless black ZX-14 Kawasaki Ninja, had been defaced.

My eyes seared as they bled into a bright crimson colour, my body shaking in, well, I didn't even have a word the described how I was reacting. My nails cut deeply into my skin, my frame growing in size so that I towered over everyone else. And still I couldn't take my eyes off the bike. Someone had scratched the paint off it with a knife, cutting the metal into twisted words that were sprawled across the entire vehicle, one distinctive name etched into the black paint job, so deeply engraved that the metal was shining bright silver.

Maximum Ride.

"Oh fuck," Dylan blurted as I shoved past Tess, knocking her out of the way like she were nothing but an oversized fly in my path. I strode toward my bike, the ground beneath my feet cracking like electricity striking down from the skies. The air around me sizzled with power as the madness that radiated from my body and mind finally drove Dylan and Ari into action. Ari was the first one to run at me.

"Fang, you're going to blow us to shit!" he yelled as he charged at me, his bulky frame leaping at my own. Squinting my eyes in anger, I ducked as he flew over the top of me. Too predictable. Ari crashed into the ground seconds later, rolling back to his feet to stand next to Dylan before running at me once more. I growled, a hiss escaping from my throat. Arias eyes had streamed red, the black dripping from the globes to be replaced with crimson.

"You're going to screw us over," he hissed as he threw himself at me again. This was wasting my time—I was going to destroy the human. I threw my hand out in front of me, clutching Arias jacket as he came within distance of me, and threw him so far he landed at the other end of the lot. When he had vanished from my immediate sight my eyes flickered toward Dylan, who was preparing his battle stance.

"Fang, don't do this. We can ruin her some other way, because she should pay for what she did to your bike. But I can't let you go near her in this state, you know I can't. You'll tear her to shreds!" Dylan's eyes looked pleading, and I shook my head in disgusted denial.

"No, she wants a fight, well she's damn well going to get one."

"Fang it's already started God damn it! You won't be able to stop yourself! You'll go completely—"

"I know!" I hissed, annoyed with his now incessant talking. I malicious grin sliced across my face. "I plan on using that to my advantage."

"Your father has put me in charge of stopping you when this happens. Fang, I don't want to hurt you."

I laughed, throwing my leg over my vandalized bike as my head was thrown back in hysterics. "You may attempt it, my friend." I revved the defaced bike, causing it to release a deep growl.

"What happened to her being yours?" he asked, his turquoise eyes darkening in shade.

"Oh, she's mine alright," I barked, somewhere between a snarl and a rumble. "And I intend to make that very clear to her."

See, I would be really annoyed, especially after that last line ^^^ anyway, review, that way you can tell me how much you hated it XD I intend to have the next chapter up soon. Whose POV do you think? Haha, thanks, and REVIEW!

10. Chapter 10

Okay, so I think this is more like my normal chapters=) People wanted me to right in Fang's point of view so I did. Sorry it took so long, but I have literally been working my butt off at, well, work =| Anyway, I'll keep this short. Here's the quote: "You laugh because I'm different. I laugh because you're all the same." Thanks guys, and review please!


The ten minute drive from the school to Max's house had left me moderately more calm than I had been after I'd left. My bike came to an ear-piercing screech outside of the extremely white house, the dark shade of my ride stark against the light of her home. The tires left huge black marks down the road as the vehicle came to a squealing stop. I pushed the visor of my black helmet up, my now black eyes staring up at the retreating sun, the bright globe almost dimming in radiance as it was pulled behind the darkening clouds. At least the earth knew what it was dealing with, even if the ignorant human girl didn't.

I kicked down the Ninja's bike stand before positioning myself at the front door of the girl's house. It took my entire will power not to shatter the glass as I knocked on it. My anger may have diminished as my common sense and logic kicked in, but I was pissed, and Max was going to pay for it one way or another. Speaking of Max, the blonde haired girl appeared behind the door, her black fingernails clutching the knob and prying it open lazily.

"What now?" she asked in exasperation, pretending to focus on her sharp talons as she flicked them in what I could only assume was faked boredom. Her deep brown eyes were shining as they gazed at her nails, an impish smirk hidden in the depths of them. I clenched my fists.

"There's something else you owe me for now," I said coolly, despite the raging fires searing my insides. Hit her, hurt her…

The girl snorted. "Oh? And what's that?"

"You know full well," I replied calmly, stepping aside to show her the defaced state of my bike. "I hope you realize Blondie you're paying for the repairs."

"Are you kidding me?" she asked, before laughing. "I've already got my Firebird at the panel beater, I'm not paying for your piece of crap too. And besides, I didn't do anything to your 'ride.'"

She's lying to you… "And what about the name engraved into the sides?" I asked, trying to ignore the voice cutting into my mind, cutting into my logic. Of course she's was bloody lying to me. And a Firebird? The girl liked vintage cars…

"What name?" she asked coyly, playing with the hair coiling around with her shoulders. "I don't know what you're talking about. Now, if you don't mind…" Max moved to close the glass door, attempting to shut it in my face before my hand stopped it dead.

"Here's the thing Max," I snarled, pushing the door back effortlessly. The human recoiled, blinking in the sudden outburst of power. "Co-operate and I won't beat the shit out of you. Here's the deal, you owe me payment for fixing the bike, or a new one. Your choice."

The girl's eyes narrowed maliciously. "Here's the thing Fang," she mimicked, and I had to give it to her, she played a good bitch. "I'm not paying one cent for your bike. And besides, how much could it have possibly cost you in the first place anyway? A few grand? Let me guess, two for the bike and one for the paint job? I have to hand it to your guys; they did a good job covering up that piece of junk."

I gritted my teeth, but didn't let my ever growing anger into my voice. "That piece of junk cost twenty thousand dollars."

Max went to say something, but lost the words, instead her mouth just opening and closing without sound. When noise did finally return to her mouth, she sounded slightly shaken. "I'm not paying for your bike. And I don't believe it cost twenty thousand."

"On sale the bike is fifteen grand. Brand new it cost more. You'll either pay for the entire fee for repairs or buy me a new bike."

The human smirked, her red lips spreading into an utterly smug, completely evil smile. My eyes narrowed. "Okay, I thought you might say that. Wait here." The girl turned on her heels, sauntering into the completely white house and disappearing into the very heart of it. Figures, the house was pure white. Looking down the hallway, I spied the lounge room straight ahead. I caught sight of the grand mahogany stairwell that spiraled upward a little off to the left. So the girl's parents had money. Looks like I'd be getting a new bike sooner than I'd thought.

"Having fun spying on my house?" the girl asked as she came back to the front doors. She held in her hand a small black box. "Here," she said, sighing almost regretfully. "I felt sorry about your bike. It's just, I don't handle being thrown into water very well," she said as she leant against the doorframe. Her arms were resting across her stomach as they folded over each other. They covered the skin that her short black top wasn't. I eyed the low cut jeans and lost my train of thought for a moment. She looks like she belongs in my gang, I thought.

The girl cleared her throat. "If you're done checking out what's not yours, here." She threw the tiny box at me. I take what I want, I thought smugly as I shook the box. A metal ringing clinked around inside.

"Got me a new bike already?" I asked, my voice rough.

Max shrugged, propelling herself off the wall with her shoulder. "I think you'll like it," she said, smiling.

I lifted the lid of the black box, tipping the contents into my hand. A small item fell into my palm, the green plastic so unlike what I expected I had to blink away confusion. I stared at the turtle, with little pink bells around its neck. Well, that explained the metallic clinking. I looked up at the human, who was keeled over laughing.

"The look on your face was priceless. There you go Fang; I bought you your ninja." She slammed the glass door in my face, before her distorted figure began to walk away from my view.

Hit her, hurt her!

My eyes became consumed by redness as they flared crimson, the whites of my eyes draining into a deep red shade that glowed in the darkness that was beginning to envelop the city. My hand clenched around the plastic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, with pink bells wrapped around its neck, as I stepped backward. My eyes narrowed in anger, mind becoming completely lost to the madness that had been streaming through the back of my brain since I'd seen my bike. I drew my arm backward, so fast it was a blur, and threw the toy at the glass doors. The translucent frame shattered, splintering into thousands of shards and pouring to the floors. I stepped over crushed glass, the shards crunching further as my boots pressed against them. Max froze, her back toward me, as the small green toy skidded to a halt just in front of her feet. The human spun to face me, her blonde hair fanning as she did so.

"What the H—"

I stepped up to the second glass door, the only one still intact, and ripped it off its hinges, prying the door from its frame with ease. Alarms were going crazy, the high pitched sirens wailing. I stepped over the threshold, dropping the door behind me before punching the silver panel beside the door. The siren gave one last dying scream before going dead.

"You owe me," I snarled, taking a predatory step toward a now frozen Max. The blonde's mouth was hanging open, and her eyes were wide in shock, terror and confusion all in one. My mind was dragged into her own, every thought passing through her brain entering mine as well. What the Hell is he? There's no way he's human…Oh my God, what kind of fucked up dream is this?

I eyed the girl as she stepped backward, the fear and confusion splayed across her face and in the deep abyss of her eyes. Before she could step backward farther I appeared in front of her, my speed so unfathomable to the human mind.

"What's the matter Max? Am I scaring you?"

"What are you?" she whispered, her eyes connecting with mine as she tried to understand why my eyes were glowing.

"Are you going to make up for the bike?"

"Hell no," she spat, attempting to shove me. "Get out of my house!"

"I hoped you would say that," I growled. Now, hit her now! I brought my right hand to her chest so fast I was unable to be seen by her mortal eyes. My palm connected with her body as I shoved her so hard she went flying, her light body airborne for about ten seconds before she crashed into the far wall with a thud. Her head connected with the whiteness, red smears painting themselves across the wall as she slid down it. I appeared in front of her once more, her pain feeding my excitement. I crouched in front of her as her brown eyes looked up at me.

"Are you going to make it up to me?" I asked, smiling maliciously.

Max coughed blood as the same sticky redness ran through her blonde hair and brown highlights, staining them. She shook her head. "No," she breathed.

I grinned. "Such insubordination," I rumbled coarsely. I snared her arm and hauled her upward. My body was humming in ecstasy, Max's pain making me even stronger, making me lose any semblance of control that could have been found in my mind. I shoved Max into the wall, my hand clamping around her throat as I whispered into her ear. My mind was in hers as she soon became deprived of oxygen.

"Are you going to make it up to me?" I whispered once more. She attempted to shake her head in denial, but her thoughts streamed through clearly into my head. Dad will be home soon…just a little longer…

I smiled, her stubbornness intriguing me, as it had the very first day I'd met her. She wasn't paying for the bike, and she wasn't apologizing. As the human's lungs were about to burst from lack of air, I dropped her, my foot coming to rest, or rather, compress, on top of her chest. She coughed blood, spitting it over the white carpet. I closed my eyes in bliss, her pain more pleasuring, more elating than anything I'd ever felt before. If I'd been thinking straightly this would have puzzled me, but I couldn't process anything other than hurting her, anything other than needing her pain to feed my indulgence. I shoved my foot harder into her stomach, until her mind was screaming for me to stop. Her mouth however, didn't utter anything other than a broken gasp. I dug the heel of my boot into her, grinding it into her body.

"Are you going to apologize?" I asked, smirking.

"When Hell freezes over," she spat viciously, spitting blood at me. I frowned. Odd behavior for a human. Fascinating didn't even begin to explain it. When Hell freezes over…well, that may not be a problem.

"And the bike?" I asked.

"You'll have to kill me first," she gasped. Her badass nature wasn't being obliterated by the continual strikes her body was receiving…interesting.

"Now, now Maximum," I taunted, coming to crouch on top of her. "I don't want to kill you. However, pain is a whole different field…"

"Bastard," she sputtered. I frowned, my glowing red eyes narrowing down at her. Gripping her shoulder, I hauled her upward once more before throwing her into the glass mirror beside the timber cabinet. Fragments were sprayed everywhere as they rained down on the girl. "Okay Max, I'm getting tired of this." I watched with interest as she flung open the cabinet doors and pulled out a black revolver. She struggled to her feet, cocking the gun as she aimed it at my chest.

"Really, what do you think that will do?"

"Unless you…haven't realized…my fingers on the trigger, and you're in my…way," she threatened brokenly.

"That would have been a much sexier line if you weren't struggling to stay upright," I remarked, leaning carelessly against the wall.

"Screw…you," she panted.

"Hmm…Now that may prove interesting," I commented, crossing my arms. I smiled crookedly at her shaking hands as they were trained on the trigger of the revolver. I shook my head, wondering if she realized that it was empty.

"What are you?" she whispered.

I cocked my head to the side as I studied her. "If I told you what I was, I doubt you'd believe it."

"I—" without warning Max dropped to the floor, her fingers barely holding onto the gun.

"You right?" I asked, my voice completely monotone and uncaring.

"Emotionless, psychotic, bastard," she remarked.

I shrugged. "Are you going to shoot me, or what?"

"Do you like beating the shit out of people?" she asked, gaining her breath once more. She tried to stand, dragging herself back up using the wall. Her eyes spun as her dizziness streamed through my mind.

"I do," I said, nodding. "More than anything. It's what drives my…" well, she didn't need to know that.

"So, are you…a vampire?"

I snorted. "Vampires?" My eyes flared red brightly, illustrating my point. I was no vampire.

Max swallowed, watching my eyes. "Werewolf?" she whispered, still training the gun on my chest.

I smiled, stepping away from the wall. Max steadied the weapon, eyes wide. "Sadly, no. Not quite."

He's not attacking me…why the change in character? My head fell to the side slightly at the thought. So, she was as curious about me as I was of her… "The change in character," I said, coming to stand above her, "is because my need for making you pay for my bike is almost satisfied."

Max gaped at me. "You're a telepath?" she asked. Her eyes were beginning to roll into the back of her head as blood continued to pour from her body.

"I guess you could say that," I said silkily, my eyes glowing brighter as my interest amplified.

Max frowned. "You're something…more?"

I bent low, so that my lips were hovering just beside her ear. Max inhaled sharply, swallowing the air in a large gulp.

"Maximum…do you want to know what I am?"

The human nodded slightly, biting her lip until she drew blood. "Yes," she rasped.

"Are you sure?" I asked, taunting her.

"Yes, damn it!"

"Max, I'm a—"

My words were cut off by Ari's sudden presence beside me, prying me from Max and throwing me at Dylan, who immediately clamped a metal collar around my neck. I growled, snapping my jaw as the electric band clasped around my neck.

"Dylan, get me out of this—"

"Sorry Fang," my General said, pressing a small remote that caused the collar around my neck to strike my body with electricity. My eyes grew wide as I gritted my teeth. Fuck, electricity killed.

"Oh God, he's beaten her to a pulp," Ari groaned, near sighing.

"Get the Hell away from me," Max gasped, holding the gun at arm's length.

Ari squinted his eyes in frustration and looked at the human as if she were stupid. "That gun's empty moron," he said, shaking his head.

"What are you?" she asked, directing the question at Ari now. She still wouldn't drop the God damned gun.

Dylan frowned, coming to stand in front of her. "How much do you know?" he asked, eyes wide.

"I know he's a freaking telepath," she spat, coughing blood again. I cringed as Ari's thoughts streamed into my head.

"Knock her out and I'll knock your block off," I snarled, springing at him. However, before I could land a body part (any body part) on him, another electric bolt was shot through my body, landing me on the floor once more.

"Fang, stop it. She can't know anything," Dylan said, gaining on Max. "We'll have to get rid of her memory, and this is—"

"Not the only way," I snapped, coming to a stand once more. "I'll get rid of her memory," I said, leaning against the wall as I panted for air. Screw this electric collar!

"Would you all just get out of my—!" Max gasped, her eyes stretching to an impossible size as she collapsed to ground, the gun falling out of her hand as her eyes rolled into the back of her head.

"What the?" Dylan crouched beside Max, before he shook his head in dismay. "God Fang, she's bleeding everywhere," he remarked. "Look at her stomach." He lifted Max's lifeless, and extremely white, body so that I could see the blood that was pouring from her stomach. Her arms must have been covering it.

"She's fainted, typical," Ari muttered. "We'll have to take her with us then. Great, a human in a house full of—"

"Okay, we get it," Dylan said before turning toward me. "You almost blew this Fang," he said, shaking his head.

Eyes trained on Max, my head falling sideways once more. "I don't regret one thing," I replied, sounding extremely animalistic.

Dylan continued to shake his head as he slung Max into his arms completely. "Your father would have murdered you."

"Perhaps, yet I still wouldn't have regretted it," I replied, grinning evilly.

"Get your ass onto that piece of shit that you call a bike," Ari said. "I'll get someone to clean this crap up."

Dylan nodded. "I've got the human." My eyes narrowed as a growl caught in my throat. Dylan rolled his eyes. "Dude, seriously. I have a woman."

"Take this thing off me," I gritted.

"Hell no, not 'till we get back home, and you are far away from this one," he replied, gesturing at Max. "I don't know what it is about her, but you're acting like an animal around her man. It's weird."

"Especially when you're Mr. "Oh So Calm and Peaceful" most of the time," Ari replied kicking glass out of the way.

"Just get your ass on the bike," Dylan sighed.

"Are you ordering me to do something?" I snarled, challenging him as his higher commander.

Dylan shook his head before walking out of the room. "In case you've forgotten, I have the remote and the human you're obsessed with," he called out, before disappearing from sight.

"He's got a point you know," Ari replied before following the blonde haired guy into the sunless environment.

Hmm…this was becoming more interesting by the minute.


My breath escaped my throat in an exasperated sigh. Where the Hell was Max? She was meant to be meeting me at the cinemas over half an hour ago. She couldn't have possibly forgotten—she'd only called me to confirm an hour ago. Maybe she was still at home, doing her hair or something. Or pigging out on the chocolate éclairs I'd made the previous night. I went with the latter—I mean, Max? Hair? When Hell freezes over. Twice.

I trudged toward the bus stop, too lazy to wait for Max any longer. The sun had disappeared behind the darkening clouds, shrouding the city in gloom almost depressingly. It was almost chilly, except I wasn't actually cold. I don't know, I just felt…weird. Like something was off. My eyes scanned the streets, which had emptied of people as the darkness covered the skies. As Max would say, how cliché.

I stopped at the pedestrian crossing, leaning against the metal pole as I waited for the little red man to switch to green. How could Max have forgotten about meeting me? It's not like things usually slipped her mind. As I practically willed the lights to shift, my eyes strayed until they were captured by a house just across the street. I squinted through the darkness as I attempted to focus on the large sign that read for sale. Frowning, I began to cross the busy intersection, forgetting completely about the lights. It was as if some weird magnetic pull was forcing me toward the house, was compelling me forward. Only once I was standing in front of the house did I realize what they were selling.

A large cardboard sign, decorated with black lettering, leant against a midnight black vehicle, the glossy black paint slightly scratched in multiple places. As I pulled the sign away from the machine, I saw the deep scratch that was engraved along the entire length of the bike, a deep silver cut that streamed through the darkness of the vehicle. I blinked. Whoa…what a bike. I glided my fingers along the machine, unsure of where my sudden fascination of the bike had come from. Whatever it was, I was suddenly finding it irresistible, I had to have it.

"Oh my God, just take it!" A woman screeched as she caught sight of me. "My husband hasn't been able to sell the thing after he dropped it. Please, it still runs, but I can't stand having this thing on the front of my lawn any longer! It's a gsxr 600, really expensive!"

"Then how come you would give it to me for free?" I asked suspiciously.

"No one will buy it with that massive scratch! Just take it, please." Was she kidding? The scratches seemed to make it even more beautiful, like they were the bike's battle scars or something…was that weird?

"Uh, sure, I'll take it…" I looked around almost awkwardly. Was this woman for real?

"Yes, yes, take it! I'll grab the keys! And the helmet, yes, that the helmet as well!" The woman scurried inside, throwing the door aside as she ran through the entrance. What the…?

A few minutes later, I was wheeling the bike along the footpath, feeling stupid. Why did I even get this bike? I couldn't even drive a car, let alone a bike. Not to mention I knew nothing about them. And people were giving me funny looks, the few people that were still outside I mean. What would I tell dad? "I got this bike for free from some woman who couldn't sell it…" And what was with the sudden need to just have that bike? I was sure the feeling I just had was the same feeling Max had around cute shoes or fast cars. The same feeling Nudge had with talking. Sigh, that's it, it's official. I was a freak.

When I finally got home, I leant the bike against the garage and stepped into the open doorway, ready to question Max on her lateness, or rather, her lack of showing up. Huh, that's weird. The door was open. I stood in the entrance, looking around the empty hallway. Was anyone even here?

"Uh, hello?" I called into the nothingness. Oh my God, if Max suddenly showed up at the cinema's I swear I would—

My eyes suddenly came imprisoned by the white piece of paper pinned to the wall.

Hey Iggy, sorry I couldn't get to the movies. Freaking Nudge made me stay at hers tonight. Kill me now. Oh, and do me a favour and don't blow anything up. See you round loser.


That's it, that's the last time I attempt go anywhere with her. And yet still, there was a horrible coiling inside my stomach, a horrible stabbing sensation that was leaving me on the brink of nausea.

Something was wrong.

What'd you think? Do you know what Fang is? XD REVIEW PLEASE! Thank you everyone=)

11. Chapter 11

Sorry about the wait…I haven't edited this one, so excuse spelling mistakes please! But it's late and I couldn't be bothered. REVIEW PLEASE, and sorry if it's not that good=) You can tell me if I sucked or not though. And the next one shouldn't take so long! SORRYAGAIN =S I've just been really preoccupied with life unfortunately… thanks=) "I'm as happy as the Devil is on any given Sunday."


"If you get one bit of red on my new carpets, you'll be refurnishing the whole room, furniture and all," Ella snapped as she flung the double doors of her room wide open. She trailed her way inside, Dylan, Ari, Sam, Tess and I following after her. My gaze met Ella's in exasperation, as crimson blood seeped over my arms and soaked the shirt I was wearing, dripping from the lifeless body cradled in my arms.

Ari snorted, his eyes on the lifeless human. "Chances of that happening is pretty much non-existent at this point."

Ella groaned. "I know," she replied in a whine as she fell into the sofa. "Put her on the bed, you've already ruined the floor." Dylan sat beside Ella, his expression grim as I refrained from rolling my eyes. It was just carpet.

I lay Max down as gently as I could, the great four poster bed swallowing her tiny frame. Her skin was smeared in red, the bloody juices marking her body vilely. I blanched, blinking at the crimson mess that was lying beneath me, a coiling sensation piercing my insides. I shook my head in an attempt to clear the feeling, to quench the nauseous reaction that was exploding inside me. Confused, I turned to Sam, who was standing beside me.

"Can you fix her?" I asked him, whose only reply was an are-you-serious look before rolling his eyes.

"Move out of the way," Sam said, shoving me aside and taking up the space I had previously stood in. Eyes narrowed, I came to stand beside Tess, who was watching the exchange with a perplexed look engraved into her marble-like skin. I waited for her to explain the look, as I had no doubt that she soon would.

"There's something…" she began, her eyes narrowed in mystification.

"There's something…?" I asked slowly, prying whatever she was thinking out of her head and into her words. I brought my arms to my chest, crossing them as I observed Sam.

"About her," Tess finished after a long pause.

"Yeah," I replied softly, my eyes falling upon the prominent features of Maxis face. Her blonde hair was fanned out across the pillows of the bed, her head slightly angled to the side as she lay there. My stomach clenched as I noticed the extreme pallor of her skin, stark white against the emerald green of Ella's bed.

"No," Tess said, making it clear that I hadn't caught her meaning. "There's something…familiar about her."

This time, it was my turn to frown in puzzlement. "What do you mean? You haven't even met her before. Have you?"

"No, not in my life. But it's not exactly her that I've seen…it's like she reminds me of someone, you know?" Tess" head was cocked to the side as she studied Max, her crystalline eyes squinted in concentration.

"Who?" I asked, looking around the room. The only person Max reminded me of was Max herself.

Tess sighed as if she were millennia old. "If I knew who it was I wouldn't be so confused," she remarked in annoyance. I quirked a brow at her and she grunted by way of apology. Tess never snapped at me, was never that disrespectful. Not that I really minded, the brow was more of a question than a cue for her to apologize.

"If you ask me, I say she reminds me of Super-Extreme-Barbie," Ari said as he leant against the post of Ella's bed.

An annoyed look crossed Tess" face. "This is serious Ari. There's something…weird about this one. And besides, she looks nothing like a Barbie, let alone acts like one." Tess huffed out a breath of air in resignation.

"She's blonde isn't she?" Ari asked.

"With brown streaks," Tess replied. "And why are we arguing over what she looks like?" she asked no-one and everyone at the same time.

"I wonder if that's her natural hair," Dylan said, his arm around Ella in what I recognized as a possession. He held her to his chest in a gesture that had claimed written all over it in big fancy letters. If anyone tried to touch her they'd be slaughtered. And to think, Ella didn't even realize the claim that had been laid on her.

"I'm guessing it's brown," Sam said, as he came to stand at his full six feet again.

Ari snickered. "No way, she's a pure-bred blonde, I bet you."

"Well, there's only one way to find out for sure," Sam said, grinning, and before I could stop it, a harsh snarl escaped my throat, my teeth bared in fury. My eyes were wide, the blackness fading into a bright crimson.

Dylan sighed, blowing his hair out if his eyes. "Sam, stop being an ass. Fang, you alright?"

I blinked away the crimson as I ran a hand through my hair. "Fine," I said, glaring at Sam. I'd never been so bad at controlling my actions, my anger. It was ethereal, the way I was snapping so easily as of late.

"Well Fang, what do you think? Blonde or brown?" Ari asked, smirking at Sam.

I forced calmness back into my voice, and the next time I spoke my voice was its usual quiet, deadly demeanor. "Brown, definitely brown."

The smile was literally cut from Arias face. "What? You're meant to be on my side here," Ari near whined.

"I'm on my own side. Her hair is definitely brown, like Ella's."

Tess stiffened beside me, her eyes wide in sudden realization. "That's it!" she yelled, excited now. Everyone stared at her in confusion, waiting for her to elaborate. "Ella! That's who it is!"

Ella frowned, looking over the couch at Tess. Dylan released her ever-so-slightly so that she could actually see. "That's who what is?" she asked.

Tess rolled her eyes, coming to stand in front of Ella and Dylan. I watched curiously and silently from beside Max, not leaving her side.

"Haven't you been listening?" Tess asked, folding her arms in annoyance.

"Actually, no. After blood was dripped across my new white floors, I decided that I didn't want to listen to you guys or look at the human."

"Well Max? She reminds me of someone. She reminds me of you."

A weird look crossed Ella's face. "Uh, why? Because of the brown hair? You don't even know that she has brown hair naturally."

"No, it's not that, it's just…she just reminds me of you," Tess finished lamely, her point literally lost. There was a long silence before someone said anything. Unsurprisingly, it was me.

"Well, we might as well rid her of the memory now. Or rather, the memories."


It was decided. Nudge was officially going to die.

I stood in the middle of my new school's gymnasium, clad in stretchy short-shorts, a sporting singlet and Nike sneakers, with my long hair pulled back into a pony. My arms were folded across my chest as an entire squad stared at me, varying looks displayed transversely across their features. Humph.

"In case you haven't realized Nudge, we don't need another team member. We've already got four Flyers, several Bases and enough Tumblers to create two teams. We don't need anymore." I watched the girl who was addressing Nudge. Her eyes were light brown, with bleach blonde hair that I guessed was originally the same brown as her eyes. Wow, so original.

Nudge snorted, flicking her side-fringe out of her face. "What are you, the captain? Or are you afraid that Max will take over your position?"

The girl glared at me through her poisoned fringe. "Are you kidding me? She's too tall, and she had no muscles on her body. How will she even balance in the air doing a simple Basket Toss?"

"Uh, you know I don't actually want—" I began, but Nudge cut me off before I had the chance.

"Shut up Max," she whispered vehemently before turning toward the black-haired beauty that was sitting on the middle of the three chairs that had been set up in front of me. "Jackie, Max was a gymnast. She'll be perfect on the team. And she'll be a fantastic additive. It's not like she's much taller than any of the Flyers, and I'm sure she'd be a fantastic Tumbler at least. Just let her show you what she can do."

Jackie, or as I liked to think of her, The Raven, turned emerald green eyes on me, so bright they almost hurt to look at. "You were a gymnast?" she asked calmly, raising a hand to her chin in thought.

I shrugged. "At my old school, and I wasn't very good at it. But I've never cheered in my life, and frankly, I don't really want to."

Nudge shot me a toxic look. "Ignore her, she's a little crazy today. Lack of water." I raised a brow in a "that's the best excuse you got?" look that earned me an inconspicuous middle finger that was hidden from the others as she scratched her eye with it. Humph, how cliché.

"Look, Jackie, I don't really want to be a skanky cheerleader, it's not my kind of gig—"

"Did you just call us skanky cheerleaders?" Bleachy asked, her mouth forming a delicately superficial "O" that really irked me. "Our uniforms are made specially to help us fly."

I rolled my eyes. "Okay, whatever floats your boat. All I know is I'm not the superficial type, so sorry." I picked up my bag as if to leave, Nudge's eye literally twitching. Though before I could take a step Jackie's voice stopped me.

"Believe it or not Max, we're not actually that superficial. The guys get shit all the time because they're cheerleaders. This isn't some Hollywood movie, this isn't Bring it On. So firstly I'd appreciate it if you didn't stereotype us like everyone else in this fucked up place. Secondly, I want a round off back hand spring back tuck, now."

"I…what?" I noticed Nudge out of the corner of my eye doing some form of "happy dance." I didn't take that as I good sign.

"Do I have to repeat it? Gymnast. Round off back hand spring back tuck, now!"

My eyes narrowed as my arms came to rest across my chest. "Excuse me? I don't take orders well," I snapped, dropping my bag to the floor.

"Well if you want to be in the team—"

I cut the girl off. "I don't want to be on the team! I'd much rather join the football team." Jackie's head fell slightly left as she watched me in confusion.

"Max, just do the damn stunt!" Nudge yelled, so unlike her that I was actually stunned into performing it. When I landed back in the pencil position, Jackie was clapping.

"You're perfect," she said, grinning. The grin looked scarily evil, like someone who was plotting a bomb scare.

"But like I said—"

"How is your cheering?" she asked, eyes wide now. Her calmness had vanished, and she was now looked eerily freaky.

"Shit," I replied. If I was forced onto this team…

"Well, Monique can deal with that. But for now, welcome to the squad."

"Jackie, I already said I don't want—"

"Yo Jackie, how's it hanging?" All eyes turned toward the new voice, and mine were no exception. I spied the intruder angrily, for they were ruining my line for escaping this gig. However, instead if one, there were three, all of which looked extremely familiar. I frowned as I tried to remember where I'd seen the, before. In class? Passing by in the hallway?

Jackie squinted her eyes angrily. "Ari, get lost."

The one called Ari snorted but continued toward us with his two friends. As I was the closest, I was the one they reached first, though it seemed they weren't willingly to continue as the trio came to a stop half a metre away from me. I raised my eyes to meet the eyes of the person directly in front of me, who was already watching me with a gaze so intense I almost flinched.

"Max," he near whispered, his voice so smooth I had to blink to register the word. Which, weirdly enough, was my name.

"I have no idea who you are, so…" I shrugged by way of apology. How did this guy know my name? Nudge probably. Although she, weirdly enough, was standing completely still a few metres from me. And even more unfathomable, she was standing completely silent, near the bleach blonde bimbo too. Wow, I think Hell just froze over.

I watched with interest as the guy facing me smiled, ever so slightly, as if he thought something was funny. I frowned. "What?"

He shook his head. "I didn't say anything."

No, but he was thinking something.

"Fang, seriously, we're training here, can you not disturb us?" Jackie was standing now, striding toward me.

The black eyed one, Fang, gestured at me with his head. "You're recruiting her?" he asked, his voice oddly soft. It was also scarily predatory.

"Depends if she'll join," Jackie replied, eyeing me as she came to stand beside me. I noticed she was at least two feet taller than myself, so she literally had to look down at me. Great.

"I already told you, this isn't my gig. It's not my thing." I could honestly think of nothing worse than wearing little mini-skirts and jumping around in the air. God, I hated gymnastics as well!

Ari was looking at Jackie, shaking his head. "Practice? Please, your cheerleaders need more than practice. They need a freaking miracle."

It was right about there that I just tuned out. For some reason my head had been aching all day, and all I wanted to do was go to bed. That round off back hand spring back tuck really hadn't done me any wonders either. Picking up my bag, I barged through the trio, hitting Fang and the silent one beside him as I left. Yep, bed was sounding much too good right at that minute. As I pushed open the doors of the gym, sunshine rained across my skin blissfully and I sighed in content. Oh yeah, way better than a stuffy gym with a heap of cheerleaders. Damn Nudge. As I fell to the concrete floor I heard the doors open once more before another body fell down beside me, leaning against the wall, face toward the sun, basking in its light. I stared, my eyes trapped by his deep coloured features. I didn't know how long had passed as I continued to study his prominently masculine characteristics.

"You usually stare that long at one person without at least blinking?" he asked, his eyes opening as he turned his face to look at me.

I bit my bottom lip, a habit of mine. "What's your name?" I asked instead, despite the fact that I already knew.

The guy half-laughed. "Fang," he said, his eyes locking with mine.

"Weird name," I acknowledged, nodding as the wind blew my hair around. The clouds began to enclose over the sun, blocking its light from us. "Your parent's alchos?"

Fang snorted in what I thought was laughter. "No," he said, grinning as he watched the clouds steadily veil the sun depressingly.

"Nickname?" I asked instead.

"I guess you could say that," he replied, shrugging.

"What's you actual name then?" I asked casually. Obsidian eyes met mine with raised brows and I nodded. "Okay, you're not telling me. That's cool. Why Fang then?"

Fang pulled back his lips from his teeth revealing scalpel sharp incisors that protruded through his gums. "That, and the fact that I bit the doctor when I was a kid. Enough said?"

I laughed. "Yeah, enough said. Werewolf," I remarked, grinning.

"I didn't know you were a gymnast," Fang began conversationally.

"As far as I knew, you didn't even know me."

Fang paused. "You just don't seem like a person who like gymnastics."

I snorted. "I didn't, I hated it. I was recommended by a councilor to go into some kind of sports to get my mind of, um, certain things. Dad wouldn't let me get into football, and I wasn't one for running around a field in a skirt. So, gymnastics it was."

"Interesting story," Fang said, his eyes on the darkening sky.

"That's so weird," I remarked, lifting my eyes to the heavens as well.

"What is?"

"The sky. How it can go from beautiful and light to dull and depressing like that. Actually, I've never seen it before. It's like a person switching emotions, or losing control. It's just…weird."

Fang opened his mouth to say something, but closed it a second later.

"What?" I asked. "Say it."

The corner of his mouth lifted as the wind blew obsidian hair across his face. "You're extremely observant for a—you're extremely observant."

Speaking of observant, what was with the sudden change in word? "Well, little things amuse me. You know what they say, small things amuse small minds."

"You are aware that you just insulted yourself, right?" Fang asked, lips twitching.

"Yeah, I know. Basically I couldn't remember what it was, so I just said the first thing that popped into my head."

Fang nodded. "Well okay then."

There was a companionable silence before I spoke once more. "You know Fang, I can't shake the feeling that I've met you before."

Fang frowned, looking down at me with deep night shaded eyes. "What?"

"I don't know. I just feel like I've seen you before."

He relaxed. "Probably in the hallways or something."

"Well, maybe I said that wrong. I mean, it's like I've met you before. Like we've seen each other and actually talked or something."

"Well, I don't think I've ever met you before, but if that's what you think…"

"No, it's not what I think, it's what my gut is telling me. But, you know…" I shrugged and stood. "Whatever it is, it's just a feeling right?"

"Right," Fang said, coming to stand too.

"Well, I better go. Unless I want to miss the bus. My little brother destroyed my car, so the old Firebird's now in shop."

"Firebird? You like cars?"

I nodded. "Yeah. Well, I'll see you around."

Fang nodded, his eyes darkening in shade, becoming an endless abyss of darkness. "Yeah, I'll see you around Max."

I shivered, the sound wrapping around my body as I walked off.

PLEASE REVIEW. Sorry about the wait everyone=))

12. Chapter 12

Okay, so firstly, I want everyone to read Within Temptation by Myster1a please =) She's a new writer (I think it's a She=S) so please review for her. The first chapter is just a prologue I think? But it gives you an idea of her writing. Here's the link for it: .net/s/6315214/1/Within_Temptation Thank you everyone! I know how it feels to be new, so give people support! Anyway, I had like, an epic idea, and I think everyone will like this one, just because of, well, read it. Here's the quote: "Your little light is like a candle trying to outshine the sun.

God I loved cars.

Sure, this was no Pontiac Firebird or "65 mustang, but God I loved cars. As I coasted down the dead highway in Jab's burnt orange Saleen s7r01 I couldn't help the feeling that I was flying. A total cliché, but the feeling was the same. Though that may have been caused due to the fact that I was racing along the road fifty kilometers over the speed limit. Well…take your pick. Either way, as the music blared and the sun streamed over my features, I couldn't help but notice the imposing building that came into sight a minute later. The structure was some kind of gothic looking castle, huge and intimidating as it seemingly blocked out the sunlight. As the car streamed by I couldn't help the unmistakable surge of déjà vu that sparked to life inside of my body. Odd; I didn't seem to remember walking into that mouth of Hell, for that's what it looked like. One massive structure that was prepared to swallow its victim's whole. It reminded me of some old movie set. Jeez, whoever lived there must have been gothic or something. No insult intended of course.

As I turned off the highway and began the last leg of my journey toward the Grand, I turned the radio on, the hum of the engine dying down slightly as the road changed and the speed limit significantly dropped. What was the point of driving fast if the limits were freaking grandma slow? Sheesh.

As the radio blared, stuck permanently on Jab's favourite channel the ABC news, I moved to change the station, before some extremely monotone reporter caught my attention. I know, amazing right?

"Police have found another man brutally injured yesterday afternoon just after four o'clock near the Eagle Ridge High School. Detectives assume that the man was attacked by local gang members, who are thought to attend the school. The man is suffering from multiple knife wounds and is currently in critical conditions. Greg Parks reporting."

I frowned. Four o'clock? Eagle Ridge High? That was just after I left the school after talking to Fang. I blinked, confused. That could have been me…Though the man was brutally injured, that was not the most interesting, or rather, the most bewildering part of the article. It was the fact that there was an actual gang at Eagle Ridge. Where was my heads up about this? I didn't particularly want my life threatened—I hadn't dragged enough people to Hell with me yet! Annoyed now, I switched the station and drowned myself in crappy music. I guess my reactions were a little bit screwed up. Who got annoyed about gangs? I probably should have been scared, right? Oh well, I guess that's what I get for living with a terrorist—cough—I mean Iggy.

I pulled into the Grand's car park ten minutes later, the door of the Saleen opening vertically, much like a Lamborghini. I stepped out of the low sitting car, my converse hitting the pavement lightly. I straightened out my white t-shirt and black shorts, thankful that my work uniform wasn't too skanky. I shrugged on my leather jacket and locked the car, walking toward the great building that was, wait for it, a pub.

The Grand was the biggest restaurant/bar we had around this joint, and it was also owned by Nudge's parents. It used to belong to her Christian grandparents (God help us all) before it was passed on and became the most popular joint around. I was one of seven waitresses, and the minute I turned eighteen they were moving me to the bar. I was guessing that was a good thing, but I really didn't want to have to deal with drunk morons every day. Joy.

When I stepped through the door Nudge's incessant talking instantaneously captured my attention. She was standing, pen and pad poised at the ready, in front of a group of teenagers around our age. They all had smirks across their faces, all seven of them. Nudge looked like she wanted to shoot them all. I smiled. Looked as if I'd trained her well. I strode over to her, ignoring the customers that wanted a refill (seriously, have they hear of getting their own?) and came to stand beside her. I took up my natural stance that screamed arrogance as I watched Nudge attempt to stop her head from exploding. It was a humorous sight, but I figured I needed to take her side, not laugh at her.

Which is what the customers were currently doing.

"Monique I think I'll have a…well, nothing really looks too appetizing here now does it?" My eyes left Nudge and settled on the guy who had spoken, and I had to blink away the surprise. Facing me was the three guys from the gym, plus four…others. The shock eventually ran dry as Nudge's frustration leaked into me as well. I was already tired, I didn't need more annoyances.

"Look, if you're not going to order something, get lost." My voice was unsympathetic as every eye turned my way, distracting them from Nudge, who blew out an air of aggravation. I took in the features of all seven of them, who I noticed were all eerily beautiful. Each and every person had a different mixture of colours and shades as their eyes shone, with hair done in extravagant ways. Another thing I noticed were the dark jackets, each and every one of them wearing the same black shade. It looked almost as if they were part of some kind of club or something. Though as much as I tried to focus on the others, my eyes were drawn back to the one person sitting in the very centre of the U shaped booth.


His bottomless obsidian eyes were connected with my plain brown ones, his black hair messed up to the point that it looked like he had just gotten out of bed. My breath hitched slightly, but as the guy next to him spoke the moment was shattered and my breathlessness was turned to anger.

"Look sweetie, we'll order when we're ready. We'll call you over then, okay?" The guy's name was playing on my tongue, and I had the urge to spit it at him. The only problem was that I couldn't remember what it was.

"Look honey, order of get the fuck out. Oh, great. You just broke my non-swearing streak. Fan-freaking-tastic."

"Would you like me to get the owners?" Nudge asked, her pen tapping against her paper in annoyance. "It won't be a problem, I assure you."

The brown haired guy snickered. "You think we're afraid of two humans?" he replied disdainfully, the way he said the word human sounding as if he were talking about dirt. Odd…and why was that familiar?

"Ari, shut up," one of the others said, one I didn't know. That was his name. Ari…yeah, it was definitely familiar.

"You do realize you are human, right?" Nudge rolled her eyes in exasperation, and I suddenly felt as if I were stabbed, like a knife was slicing its way into my entrails. I blanched, trying to blink away the pain as I sucked in a breath of air.

Ari had a weird smirk plastered to his face, just like the other guy, the one who had told him to shut up. "Sure, whatever you think princess."

Nudge's mouth fell open in mock surprise, and I fought the urge to laugh. "I am not a princess!"

"You look like one from where I'm sitting," Ari replied, grinning evilly.

"Look, seriously, dog-breath? I don't have time for this and my head still freaking hurts. So do the world a favour and, I don't know…die?" I asked it as politely and seriously as I could, but the look on the guy's face was too hilarious to keep a straight face. I started laughing.

"Excuse me? Waiter! Can I grab a refill? We're ready to order as well." I turned toward the table of four, a group of very wealthy looking people. I rolled my eyes.

"Just wait, sheesh!" I yelled back, shaking my head.

Nudge sighed. "I'll do it." She glared at Ari, Fang and the others before leaving.

"One down, one to go," Fang said, the first words he'd uttered since I'd stepped into the restaurant. They were quiet, even and intimidating, as I assumed all his sentences were. I folded my arms across my chest in a smug gesture.

"Do you want something? I can get a healthy dose of security on your ass right now if you'd like." The words were directed at Ari, but I was facing Fang. As much as I hated the brown haired dipshit, I actually liked Fang. He'd been nothing but nice to me since the second I'd met him. I caught the slight twitch of his lips, as if he thought something were funny. And I was sure it wasn't my threat, however subtle it was.

"I think we're fine," Fang said, leaning forward toward me slightly.

I shook my head in exasperation. "What the Hell, why didn't you just tell Nudge that? You know what, whatever." I stalked off from the group, their snickers audible as I did so. Ugh, I hated customers. As I took the orders of the next table and took it to the kitchen, I saw Nudge ripping orders from her notebook viciously. I came up behind her.

"What's wrong Nudge?" I asked, coming to lean against the wall as I passed the order to the Grand's cook. He was good, but he was no Iggy.

"I hate them, I really do," she said blowing her fringe out of her face. "I have a headache and you won't join the cheer squad. Kapeesh?"

I shook my head. "You know I hated gymnastics, and frankly I don't want my life to become one big stereotypical cliché. And frankly, your captain kind of freaks me out. Just saying."

"Jackie? Are you kidding me, no-one freaks you out. If you can deal with those losers, you can handle Jackie."

"Well the point still stands, I hate peppy people, I don't like performing in front of people, and I don't particularly like the idea of being held in the air by a heap of guys. I'd probably get dizzy whenever I was thrown. Not to mention I have no determination or motivation when it comes to school things. Sorry."

Nudge sighed. "Fine, whatever, don't join. I just figured it would be good for you to like, get some other friends, start you off at the top of the social ladder, not at the bottom."

"You think I can't cope socially? I just love your faith in me Nudge."

She smiled, which had been my intended reaction. "I just love the sarcasm there Max. It is ever so welcome here." Nudge headed back out into the dining room and I followed her. Kate and Nicky had finally arrived, so it freed up some tables with the number of waitresses doubled.

"Hey princess, I think we're ready to order now," Ari called as Nudge and I came into view. Everyone but Fang, the guy next to him and the girl he had his arm around laughed.

"Come on, I'll go with you. Play it cool." I winked and she laughed, the line so cliché that it would have been weird if she hadn't.

"Do you even realize how scary these guys are? Seriously Max, you're a freak if you think it's fun to torment them."

"Scary?" I asked before snorting. "You have got to be kidding me. They're just teenage guys with their girlfriends. How "scary" can they be?" I laughed as I began toward them, Nudge close at my heels.

"No, Max you don't get it. I thought I told you before…"

"Told me about what?" I asked, still laughing.

"That they're in a—"

"Okay, so I want…" Ari began, cutting Nudge off. I plastered a smile to my face as I waited for the ass to order. This could take a while…

"I don't know what I want. Sam, you go." My eyes moved from Ari to "Sam," whose chestnut hair was lying limply across his forehead, blocking one of his tortoiseshell eyes. I had my pen ready to scribble, waiting for him to order. Instead he lifted the menu and sat there, pretending to look for something. My knuckles went white as I clenched my fingers around my pen.

"I have no idea. Lissa, you go." My eyes migrated to the other end of the table, where the red-haired wonder named Lissa sat, checking out her black manicured nails. I rolled my eyes and turned to Nudge, who was turning red in frustration. This could go on for hours…

"So Nudge, I was thinking we check out that new store on Wilson Avenue? Didn't they just open it like, last week?"

Nudge frowned for a second before catching my meaning. "I guess. Isn't it like, a clothes store or something?" I saw the smile in her eyes as she realized what I was doing.

"Yeah. You think they have a sushi shop down there? I'm craving it at the moment. We could go check it out later today…?"

"I guess. Maybe I could get mum to let us off early?"

"Hey, I think we're ready," Ari growled, attempting to get our attention back. I suppressed the smile that was about to spread steadily across my face.

"Yeah, yeah, hold on," I said, putting my hand out in front of me in a stop gesture before ignoring him again. "That would be perfect. You think she'd let us?"

Nudge shrugged, attempting to hold her grin back. "I don't see why not."

"Cool, let's check it out." I turned toward the group, who were watching Nudge and I"s exchange with varying emotions. "I'll get Kate or something to take your orders, seeing as though you're still deciding." I smiled brightly and prepared myself to walk away, but Fang's voice stopped me dead.

"I already know what I want," he said, staring at me with night eyes. I took an involuntary step backward, and didn't understand why. It was as if my sub-conscience was afraid of something, and was now directing my body. I shook it off and prepared to reply, but Nudge beat me to it.

"Seriously, out if your league," Nudge spat. However, instead if a witty retort as I expected, the entire table began laughing, even Fang, who was shaking his head condescendingly.

"More like when Hell freezes over," I said, rolling my eyes.

Nudge grinned. "Oh! Can we go skiing? Best holiday destination." My eyes met Fang's, and there was a strange look in his eyes, one that was mirrored throughout his friends' eyes as well.

"Ugh, I hate the cold," I said, shaking my head in fake exasperation.

"Looks like we'll have to unfreeze your kingdom then," Nudge said, sighing regrettably. The grin in her eyes however was undeniable.

We turned toward the group of black jackets and I blanched. The look that crossed each of their faces was complete shock, as if we'd said something that was completely and utterly alarming. They soon morphed into glares, each and every one of them. I frowned, what the Hell?

"Your kingdom Max?" Fang asked, his head slightly cocked to the right. The abyss that was his bottomless eyes captured my own and kept me prisoner. I tried to say something but my mouth wouldn't form words. There was just something about that look…

Nudge didn't face the same problem. She never did. "Didn't you hear? Heaven didn't want her, and Hell was afraid she'd take over. Well, I've got news and it's all bad. Looks like you better bow down to you new queen."

What happened next was too fast to possibly comprehend.

Before I even had time to blink everyone but Fang had gotten up from their booth and were now surrounding Nudge and I in stances that were too predatory to be anything but intimidating and vicious. Fang sat directly opposite to where I was standing, his eyes narrowed in near anger, but the interest that shadowed the anger softened them ever so slightly. All in all they were still black and as sharp as razor blades.

"Bow to our new queen?" The red-haired one hissed, her teeth bared. Her eyes were crazed, and they looked as if they were taking on a reddish tinge. Okay, did I need glasses or something?

The tallest girl, the one who had been sitting next to the red-haired cow stood in front of Nudge, her eyes squinted in anger. "The height of disrespect," she spat, leaning over Nudge in intimidation. Nudge receded, her eyes wide in panic.

The shortest girl came to stand in front of me, roughly my height with similar coloured hair and eyes to mine. She was followed closely by the guy who had had his arm around her moments before.

"You've already been pulverized once," she jeered threateningly, the tone sounding too harsh to belong to someone as innocent looking as she was. "Don't make him do it again."

I blinked, nowhere near as freaked out as I felt I should have been. "Excuse me, I don't get pulverized. I've got no clue what you're talking about."

"Well that's obvious," the guy behind her stated.

"God you're an idiot," Ari sneered.

I faked mock surprise melodramatically, slapping a hand to my cheek. "Oh my God, I'm literally crying over that comment."

"Do yourself a favour Max," the girl in front of me said as she moved inhumanly fast to snare my wrist. "Go—"

And that's all she got out before she screamed.

Though the scream was hers, it was amplified by my own. I stared at her in shock as the burning pain seared a path of unbearable fire through the centre of my body and through my mind, splitting me in half as images began to pour into my head. I fell to the ground, the girl collapsing with me as her boyfriend tried to keep her standing. But the hold she had on my wrist was stronger than the one he had on her, and as I heard the audible snap of bones crushing I couldn't take my mind from the pain cutting its way through my body. The girl held her chest with her spare hand as I held my head, my throat continuing the scream despite its dryness. People began yelling and crying out but it was all in the background. The only thing I could really concentrate on was the pain, the girl, and the images that began to paint themselves on the inside of my mind. My eyes went wide as I filtered each one, before I realized that each picture, each image, were my memories. Nudge's party, the threats, water, the defaced bike, blood, pain…Fang. The scream died as the last image streamed through my mind and the pain suddenly stopped. The girl's clenched hand that was wrapped around my wrist let go, unclamping. I was shaking, and unsurprisingly so was the girl. Her boyfriend held her as her body shuddered violently. While all I could do was look in horror as people surrounded me. Or more specifically, as he surrounded me, as he looked down on me in shock, surprise, astonishment…whatever word that could possibly explain the completely mind-blown look on his face. As he crouched in front of me I tried to scramble, the memories of him, of what he was, or rather, what he wasn't, flowing through my mind once more. He'd done something to get rid of them, he'd hurt me…as the girl had put it, he'd pulverized me. He'd, he'd…

What was he?

"Max—" the awe in his voice was palpable, but then again, so was the sudden desire that was streaming through it as well. My eyes went wider as I tried to shove him from me. It didn't work of course. Instead he grabbed hold of both of my wrists. His eyes were red again as he pulled me closer to him.

"Get off me!" I screamed, but it came out as no more than a whisper, my throat was so dry. I flailed, anything to get him away from me. Fang held me still as his friends blocked he and I from the rest of the restaurant. Why wasn't someone doing something? Where were the police!

"You're coming with us Max," Fang, said before dragging me upward with him.

"No! Get away! Someone help!" Again, I couldn't scream, couldn't yell, but I was in total panic mode now, something I had never been in, not in my entire life. I was almost hyperventilating. These people weren't human! I tried to yell again for help, my pride completely disintegrating. Where was Nudge?

"Dylan, get Ella out of here. I suspect there may be quite a few visitors coming down here soon," Fang ordered as he pulled me into him via my arm. "Both of them together at the moment is dangerous. Ella are you okay?"

"Max," she whispered, her eyes still on mine. "Are you…is she okay?" she asked Fang, changing the direction of her question.

He nodded slightly. "Get out of here. Dylan go!" the blonde carried the girl, Ella, out of the restaurant and into the darkness that was now the sky. Once again the sun had retreated, leaving only darkness at two in the afternoon. It looked as if a electrical storm was about slice through the sky. I was shaking again, and as I looked up at Fang I tried to scream again, but my voice was muffled by Fang's chest.

"Max, you're getting more interesting every day." Fang grinned, a chillingly daunting smile that left me frozen.

"What are you?" I whispered, tears stinging my eyes. And to think I'd thought he was nice yesterday.

"You claimed that you were the queen of my home, I'm sure you already know exactly what we are."

It was the last thing I heard before I was enveloped by ribbons of black smoke and my mind spun into unconsciousness.

Please Review. Did you like it? I know, broken record, and don't forget Within Temptation! Thanks guys =)

13. Chapter 13

Okay, so basically it was the continuous emails sent to me by people telling me to hurry up and write before I'm hunted down and killed that actually made me write this. Yes, amazingly, filling my inbox with mail IS the way to get me to write. That, and re-reviewing me and telling me to hurry up, just like love me hate me did. I have to say, you got me off my butt and made me DO something=)

Anyway, here's the quote: "You have never known anger until it is a coiled, white-hot fire in your stomach. Your words rise like bile in your throat, and choke the air from your lungs."

OH! And just quickly, I'm really sorry but I can't remember who told me, but they said that for speech you have to use quotation marks? (Don't worry, I know what they are! =]) I know you are meant to use them, but I'm one of those lazy writers that can't be bothered holding the SHIFT key on my laptop and then pressing the apostrophe/quotation key every time someone speaks. So I just did it like Richelle Mead (VA!) does in her books. Actually, a lot of people do that…anyway, I'm pulling a Nudge. Review, and sorry for the long wait AND A/N! REVIEW! Thanks=)


I could tell the moment she woke up. The distinctive change in her breathing pattern, the slight hitch of breath as she entered the world of the living was too noticeable to miss. That and the thoughts that screamed through the walls of my mind, the feelings that burned to life made Maxis consciousness well known. I stood in the shadows of the gothic castle, my arms folded across my chest as I watched Max blink away the grogginess and figure out where she was. I could see in her brown eyes, as well as the world inside her mind, as the memories of about an hour ago flared through her. Her thoughts quickly morphed from remembrance to escape, and I watched in amusement as she moved about frantically, attempting her non-to-well planned getaway. Three, two, one…

"I wouldn't use that door if I were you," I said, watching with interest as Max came to a halt, her hand just above the old handle of the door. She stood frozen, her back to me, blonde hair limp against her sweat-drenched body. Humans never coped with tracing.

But then again, Max wasn't exactly human. Not at all.

"Where am I?" she asked, her voice hoarse as she turned to face me. I found my head angled sideways as I watched her. Over the last hour I had found myself piecing together everything I knew about Max, and things had started making sense. Why she had never backed down from me, why she was so violent…why I had always thought she belonged with my gang. It all fell together like one complicated puzzle. But like all puzzles, when each piece was placed together perfectly that entire complication became one simple, easy picture, one easy story to read.

"My place," I said casually, stepping out of the shadows slowly. I could tell that without even meaning it to be my stance was intimidating, that by just being what I was I was daunting, chilling.

"And where is that?" she asked, her eyes on my body, as if she were preparing for an attack. Again, what she was explained her actions, her thoughts, her pride, honour…and this whole time it had been right under my nose.

"It doesn't matter. We won't be here for much longer." As soon as the others came back we were gone, back to our real home, our real realm.

"Why? Where are we going?" The panic was returning to her voice, as it had back at the human restaurant.

"Home," I replied in a casually, albeit cryptic, tone.

"I thought you were home," she replied, her voice shaking.

A half smile crossed my face almost evilly. Again, not my intention, but I couldn't help it. "I said we were at me place. I mean we'll be going to my real home."

Max frowned, backing up again. "And where is that?" she asked slowly, drawing a deep breath.

"You'll see," I said, smirking.

Narrowing her eyes, Max folded her arms in what I guessed was more of a defensive gesture than an act of arrogance. "What are you?"

"The same as you," I replied, falling into one of the lounge chairs.

"No you're nothing like me," she shot, a spark of anger flaring through her words. My eyes rolled into the back of my head as her thoughts streamed into one, her memories of me, of what I'd done to her, to others. It took me a moment to pry my mind from hers, but when I did I was finally able to talk again.

"Well, not completely," I said, blinking away excess images.

"Not at all, more like," she said, breathing hard. "I don't believe in superstitions or the supernatural, but it's the only thing that can possibly explain you. I hate science, so I'm not even going to lean that way, but…" her words drifted off as she literally ran out of things to say. "What are you?" she breathed, the only thing she could possibly think of to ask. And as her thoughts were continuously streaking my mind, I knew this for a fact.

"You really want to know? Really Max?"

"I want to know why I'm here," she said, her voice reaching panic mode again. "I want to know what the Hell it is you are. Why the fuck you're here, because you obviously don't belong."

Another half smile spread across half my face. Well, easiest first I supposed. "I'm a Demon Max," I said bluntly, watching in amusement as Max blinked away the surprise, watched as she attempted to keep her mouth closed. I continued on blatantly, moving onto her other questions. "As to your other two questions, they're more-or-less based on the same thing."

"You're a Demon?" My eyes narrowed in annoyance as I turned toward Max, who was hitting hyperventilation. "You've got to be fucking kidding me. There's no way you really think I'm going to believe that, you do realize?"

I shrugged indifferently. "I'm simply answering your question. Whether you believe the answers or not is another matter entirely."

"But the red eyes, the strength, blatantly vicious and violent personality…Oh God. No way, no, no, no, no, no, no…" Max took a deep breath and paused for a moment before continuing. When she did, her voice was nearing calm, or at least, as calm as one could be in her situation. "Okay Demon boy, what do you want with me?"

"Do you believe in prophecies Max?" I asked, coming to a stand. I stepped around the chair and came to lean against the large wooden dresser.

"About as much as I believe in Demons, but hey, I'm bloody looking straight at one!" She laughed hysterically before taking another long, deep breath. "Okay, what about them?"

"Years ago, one was foretold," I said, my eyes meeting Maxis darkly.

"Really? I never would have guessed. Look, is this some Hollywood movie or realty T.V. show? Seriously, get to the point!" I shook my head in near exasperation—Maxis emotions were changing quickly and dramatically.

"Well, this, this "prophecy," involved two women. With these two women came two extraordinary gifts, two extraordinary heritages that would tip the balance of a centuries old war between realms." My eyes met Maxis once more in an act to emphasis what I was saying, adding heavy meaning to my words.

"This is sounding cliché, corny and is kind of beginning to freak me out," she stated bluntly.

"The two would be intertwined by blood as sisters, though the blood that ran through their veins would belong to both factions of the war. They would be exactly half and half, half one race and half the other. In turn, either sister could fall into one realm or the other, their allegiance lying either way. And so, it was the jobs of the warriors from each faction to convince the girls to join their kingdoms."

"Wait, what two factions are these?" she asked almost tentatively.

"The Demons of the Demonic Plain, and the Angels of the Angelic Plain."

"Wait, I don't understand. There are Angels now?"

I nodded. "For millennia they've been our rivals, our enemies. For thousands upon thousands of years we've been at war."

"War over what?" she asked, her eyes wide in interest. "Earth?"

"Earth is a very vague term, but no. Max, there's something you need to understand. Our universe has been split into three Plains—the Human, the Demonic and the Angelic. Millennia ago, there were no Plains, but instead two rulers to control the entire world as you know it. But as history shows, there can only ever be one ruler, one alpha if you will. And so, the two kings split the world into its Plains, each taking their respective lands and leaving the Human Plain as a no-man's-land. The rest of the People followed the king they thought could best rule the lands, and so we became two factions."

"So then the war between the realms is over whom should be the ruler of everything? Even the Human Plain?"

I nodded, relieved that Max was smart. "Yes, but as both sides had its king and its followers, they were even, so the balance in power was equal and there could be no true victor. Which is why these two girls were very important. Are so important."

"And you're thinking this half breed, this half Angel half Demon…thing is me?" she asked, a brow raised in question.

"You don't miss a thing, do you? And I truly expected you to ask what all this had to do with you."

"I'm not an idiot Fang," she replied in annoyance. "I'm also not anything other than human. So I'm sorry to disappoint you, but—"

"That little screaming fit you had with Ella?" I asked, crossing my arms arrogantly. "That proved a Hell of a lot. There is only one way that my mind work could have been unlocked and it's by having the two of you together."

Max frowned. "Mind work? You mean getting rid of my memories?"

I simply smiled.

"Look, there's one serious flaw to your plan dumb ass," she spat, pissed off now. "I don't have a sister, I have a brother, got it?"

My eyes narrowed as I pushed myself from the dresser. "Brother?"

Her eyes grew wide. "Uh, figuratively speaking I mean."

"I'm sure," I replied, smirking as I pushed my mind into hers. Seconds later images began to flash across my vision. Of course, she had a brother. Or rather, a half brother. Related through…the mother? Which would make him…?

It would make him a Demon as well.

"I forgot about your half brother. James?"

"Leave him out of this. And he's my full—"

"No," I said, cutting her off, "he's not. He is however Demonic. Does he have a bike?" I asked, the answer intriguing. As all Demons loved motorized vehicles of some sort, it would be interesting to know whether Maxis brother had some sort of vehicle himself. Would be interesting to see how Demonic he was, seeing as though he was only a half-breed.

"He wouldn't," she said, crossing her arms in another defensive gesture. She didn't know then…

"Well, we'll have to track him down then," I said, more to myself than to Max.

"So what about this prophecy?" she asked in an obvious attempt at changing the subject from her brother. I allowed her to do so.

"Well, we've already found and convinced the first of the two girls."

Max shook her head. "I told you, I'm not a Demon. And if you think kidnapping me is convincing me—"

I half-laughed. "I'm not talking about you Max."

"Then who…Oh my God. Ella, its Ella isn't it?"

I smiled. She was paying attention alright. "Yes. Ella is one of the sisters."

"Well then if I'm what you say I am then I would be Ella's sister…" I could see the mental cogs spinning in her head as she slowly began to believe what I was saying. Looking at Max again I could see the similarities between her and Ella, despite the limited amount of them. Though I was sure that if Maxis hair were brown like Ella's they'd look even more alike…

"So if I'm this, hybrid thing, then that would mean Jeb isn't actually my dad?"

I shook my head. "No, he isn't."

"And my mother was a Demon?"

"Yes, that would explain her love for bikes."

She frowned. "Love for bikes?"

"There's something about motorized vehicles that Demon's absolutely love. Bikes, cars…each person has their own particular style."

"Cars…" the word was whispered as more of a thought, and there was a long pause before she spoke again. Her next words were words of accusation. "That man, the one that was wounded just by the High School, did you do that?"

I didn't even blink. "Yes."

"How…why did you do that!" she nearly screamed at me. "You literally almost killed that guy! What is wrong with you, are you mentally retarded? Let me guess, it's because you're a Demon right? I can't believe—"

"For me to be nice to a person, I have to pay the price afterward. That price just so happened to be a harmless person I saw minutes after talking to you."

"I—what? Are you pinning the blame for what you did on me?"

I shook my head. "No. What you need to understand is this—Demons? They don't function like humans do. Where they need food, we need pain. Where they need water, we need physical touch. To survive on the Human Plain we need to hurt people physically to survive. Mentally or emotionally doesn't sustain us. It needs to be physical. Why is why I couldn't stop hurting you the day you destroyed my bike. The strength I was getting from that was phenomenal."

She swallowed. Hard. "What about the Demonic Plain?"

"Pain, it makes us stronger. We still need to eat to survive, we still need to drink, but it's the pain that makes us stronger, that allows us to be what we are. Angels are the opposite. Instead of pain, they gain strength from emotions. Love, hate, jealousy, anger. It all fuels what they are. You and Ella however. You gain your strength either way, which makes you stronger again. Which is what makes you two so important. That, and some other gifts as well." I wasn't about to explain what those gifts were. And from the look on Maxis face, she knew I wasn't about to either.

"You say that Ella and I hold the balance of power? Well, you have Ella, but one isn't exactly enough, is it? What if I decided that I would never join your kingdom?"

I looked thoughtful, though I already knew what I'd do. "Then we'd kill you."

Max snorted, but it was more in anger than disbelief. "Fine then, kill me. Because I'm sure as Hell never joining your side!" I watched lazily as Max spun and pried the door open, her hand clasping the handle desperately as she pulled the wooden frame backward. I thought I told her not to go that way…

Oh well.

I watched Maxis face with interest as her features morphed from smug success to complete disbelief. In front of her was a wall of murky blackness, a wavering mass of obsidian darkness stretching across the space where the doorway should have been. I smirked, smug, as Max turned to face me with wide eyes.

"What is this?" she asked, so low even I barely heard it. Well, not really. I heard it loud and clear.

"That would be the Stairway to Hell. Literally. Or at least, one of them. Although, we prefer to call it the Underworld. Hell sounds so uncouth. And the Demon King doesn't want his kingdom confused with Christian belief."

"Where is the door out of here?" she asked, panting again.

"When I want it to appear, it will."

"And when will that be?" Max continued, panicking again now. Jeez, what was it with Angels and their emotions?

"Actually, right now." I threw my hand out to the right, my index finger uncurling to point at the space where a door suddenly appeared in a puff of smoky black ribbons. About a second later there was a loud, repetitive knock sounding on the wood. With a click of my finger the door was pulled open, as if it were attached to strings. Ari, Lissa, Tess and Sam walked in first, followed by a heavily cloaked Ella and a protective Dylan wrapped around her.

"You ready Fang?"

My eyes met Maxis deep brown before I replied. "I believe we are."

"Max I—"

"Please Ella, not now," Dylan murmured into the chocolate brown of her hair. Her voice was instantaneously cut short as she obeyed, falling back into him.

Sam stepped around Max, careful not to touch her (at my request, or rather, command) and stood next to the wooden door.

"His majesty first," he said with a bow that was both disrespectful and humorous at the same time. I rolled my eyes and shoved him out of the way, a grin sliced into my features.

"Shut it Sammy boy before you're face is permanently damaged by my fist." I turned back toward Max, who was standing staring at me with wide brown eyes that were horror-struck. I grinned even brighter just from watching her features.

"What?" I asked, tormenting her.

"You're…you're a Demon Prince?"

Ari snorted. "Babe, he's the Demon Prince. One and only son of King Lucifer himself."

"You may be powerful dear, but I've got a lot of strength on top of you." I smirked at her before stepping through the portal of night ribbons and into my Homeland.

Home sweet home.

So tired now! Going to Bed. Review PLEASE=)) Next chapter SHOULD be up soon…I hope. And I also hope that cleared everything up for people! If not, tell me and I'll explain it even better=)

14. Chapter 14

Okay, because people decided to keep emailing me, I've updated quickly=) But, mu T.V. show is about to start so I am NOT editing today. Sorry, but if you like it you'll excuse mistakes=) Sorry…anyway, quote time: "They say when you get knocked down get, back up. But what if you have been knocked down so much you're tired of getting up?" And sorry, but I just couldn't be bothered changing everything to quotations marks. So sorry! =S Anyway, REVIEW!

Everything aside, I thought I was handling everything quite well. Or at least, I was until I had been kidnapped, told I was a Demon and then forced through some wavering pool of darkness that was actually a portal into the Demon Realm and the Underworld's infamous kingdom of Hell. Now, everything aside, I thought I was lucky to still be standing. The shock had knocked me sideways, and I was spiraling further into the depths of hyperventilation and insanity with every passing second. As soon as I thought I had hit rock-freaking-bottom some new twist just had to be thrown in my face like a glass of cold water. Maybe a bucket was more-like what I was feeling? Or a hose. Take your pick.

Just thinking of the cold made a shiver run through my spine. Whatever dumb-ass said that Hell was fiery, hot and scorching was a retard, because where I was felt more like the North Pole than the Underworld. The chill was numbing, and the freezing climate was making my body extremely stationary and hard to move. My teeth were chattering together painfully, and as I looked around in disdain I was unsurprised to see that I was the only person suffering in this cold, frozen Hellhole. Ironic that a Hellhole meant fiery flames and blazes of heat. I didn't expect to see fire, as I would have about ten minutes ago, but rather I expected hail storms and mountains of snow. Oh, the world was cruel. Cruel and wrong.

"Why…the Hell…is it so cold?" I stuttered, my teeth gnashing together painfully. But before anyone could answer me two figures clad in black metallic armour appeared in ribbons of black smoke, their forms materializing in front our group. Through their helmets I saw the flashes of red stream through their eyes, rivers of crimson staining the globes and dying the original colours of their eyes. It must have been a Demon trait, the blood eyes. I was definitely not seeing things.

"Prince Xavian," the guy on the right acknowledged, sweeping his head low in a respectful bow. His companion followed, his eyes cast toward the floor. I tried not to gape. Fang…his name was Xavian? Didn't Avian mean bird?

Fang nodded in response. "Is his majesty ready?"

The guard (or what I guessed was a guard) took his obsidian helmet off, revealing hair as blonde as Dylan's. Actually, after taking in the fair hair, green, almost turquoise hair and sharp defined features, it was impossible to think he was anything other than Dylan himself. Except Dylan was standing next to Ella, so he must have been his brother. The guy's next words confirmed as much.

"Brother," he said with a slight smirk plastered to his face. By the gleam in his eye, he must have been older than Dylan.

"Irial," Dylan replied flatly, his arms holding Ella closer into him, jaw tight. It didn't look as if the two got along very well, that was for sure.

He grinned evilly, almost smugly, and I instantly took a dislike to him. Well, a greater dislike to him than I had to Dylan anyway.

"The Demon King has requested that I direct you to the Palace. He is very, interested in meeting you Max. As are many…others."

I blinked, confused for a moment. Was he actually addressing me? Oh God, how the Hell did he know my name?

Note to self; I needed to stop using Hell and God so much. They seemed wrong, especially in the same sentence.

Irial's green eyes, not turquoise I noticed, but rather aqua, met mine and he grinned lazily. I narrowed my eyes. Was that his attempt at flirting? Sheesh, I was pretty sure Iggy did a better job at it.

"I'd rather stick pins in my eyes and rally with the Demon King empty handed and weaponless than meet you," I replied in the snarkiest voice I could come up with. For as freaked out as I actually was, I thought I was putting on an excellent façade.

"I suggest you take us to His Majesty," Fang snarled viciously and I blanched. Holy Hell, did an actual person make that sound? It sounded more animalistic than anything. Even from a Demon.

Irial's eyes widened as they instantly fell to the ground. "Of course My Lord. This way." I watched in amazement as the warrior and his companion spun around and left, our group following behind them. Irial…he was afraid of Fang. I looked around and noticed the rigidness of my captors and realized with a pang of worry that they too were afraid of him. And they were stronger than I was. So theoretically, I should have been shit scared.

Well, maybe not theoretically.

I knew the second we entered the Demon Kingdom. The huge imposing castle/palace thing sat directly in front of us, the onyx structure much more intimidating than the mansion Fang lived in. Or rather, stayed in. This castle was larger in comparison by tenfold, and it was literally shrouded in a thick, foggy darkness that emphasized exactly where we were.

The Underworld. Oh, Joy.

I had expected to see some kind of moat or drawbridge, like in the Medieval Era. Then again, those structural techniques had been used as a means of defense, not decoration, and I was sure that the Demon King himself was enough of a defensive mechanism for one kingdom.

As we stepped up to the great doors, I noticed with awe that the doors were well over fifteen feet high. What was this, the Land of the Giants? They began to open of their own accord, and to my surprise they did so silently. No creaking here. Though, I didn't know what was worse—the eerie quiet or the intimidating squeaking. When the inside was revealed to me, again I was surprised to find the great hallway ahead of us brightly lit, crystal chandeliers and modern day lights illuminating the insides.

"Nothing like a warm welcome home," Sam said before chuckling to himself. As we began down the path, with black carpet lined in gold, the silent companion of Irial's began down a separate hall attached to the main one we were walking down. I took a deep, freezing breath to calm myself. It didn't work, to my complete and utter dismay.

"I'll drink to that," Ari replied with a cheer I hadn't seen in him before. I had to say, it lit up his face. With a swirl of his hands, a drink appeared in the form of a huge black glass, materializing out of black fog. What was it with things appearing out of blackness and smoke around here?

It took us a fare few minutes, but after a path of turns, stairs and confusing hallways, we finally found ourselves at a set of doors as large as the ones on the front of the palace. I realized that these doors were only used for important rooms, like the grand entrance or an exit into a courtyard or ballroom. Which meant this must have been where the Demon King was. Scary prospect, but okay.

"Whatever you do, do not speak unless you are spoken to." My breath hitched as Fang's soft, calming words were whispered into my ear, his breath a contrasting warmth compared to the freezing temperature around me. His arms were wrapped around my waist, so he must have been behind me. I blinked—I hadn't even noticed him until he'd pulled me into the back of the crowd and into him. Which, at the moment, seemed almost comfortable. His body was like a sun in this place, the burning disparity to the frozen world that had previously enveloped me.

"You will get hurt. Pretend to agree with him, even if you don't. You're important to this kingdom, but show any signs of disagreement or loyalty to King Gabriel and my father will kill you."

King Gabriel. He must be the King of the Angelic Plain. "I can't believe my ears," I said breathlessly, much to my dismay. "You're actually giving me words of wisdom to make sure I don't get hurt. Who are you and what have you done with Fang?"

I couldn't be sure, but I thought I heard him chuckle. Not a good sign. "I'm serious Max. This isn't a game anymore. If you show connections to the people of the Angelic Realm you will be punished. And trust me, death is the easiest, least painful option. You'll be begging for it if you anger the King."

"And why should I trust you?" I whispered, breathing fast and heavy. "I have no reason to. Why would it matter to you if I get hurt? It's not like you haven't brought that fate on me before."

Fang took a long, deep breath and I blinked in surprise. The arms that were wrapped around my body tightened ever so slightly. "That would be extremely…undesirable," he replied, and I could tell, without seeing him, that his eyes were staring hard at the doors we were currently stationary behind.

"Undesirable?" I asked flatly. Wow, that would be undesirable. Way to make me feel amazing. Not that I cared. This was the Demon that had, as Ella had put it, pulverized me. Then again, it had been out of his control…

…oh my God, I was not making up excuses for Fang, not matter how hot, cute or sexy he was. I couldn't forget; he was only being moderately nice because he was trying to convince me to join his side.

"When I thought you were a human," he began thoughtfully, "you were nothing. You meant nothing, because of your weakness, your pathetic mortality. The disrespect you showed me and my people meant that I had to do something to you, as punishment. It's kind of like a law if you will. You should be dead. And then I found out what you really were. Then everything changed. You weren't weak, you weren't unimportant. Max, you were what we needed, what my Kingdom needed." Fang paused, dipping his head down toward my collarbone so that what he said next would only be heard by me. "Max, you're what I want," he whispered, so low I barely caught it. But I did hear him, and my breathing pattern, however uncoordinated, stopped altogether. I literally couldn't breathe. No, I was not going to even think about Fang that way. Not this violent, impassive, uncaring Demon.Two words—Hell no.

Despite my complete mental rejection and denial, it took every bit of will power to tell him to get off me. Well actually, it took every bit of will power to think of telling him to get off me. Actually saying it? Well, that was a different story.

"I distinctively remember a comment you made just a few hours ago."

I frowned and tried to move out of his grasp. My body however had different plans. "What comment?" I asked hoarsely. Why weren't we going in to meet the God damned King? I'd rather face him than Fang at the moment, the way my body was reacting.

"When Hell freezes over," he said, his voice sweet and extremely seductive. What happened to the vicious, evil Fang I had come to know! This can't possibly be the way he acted with people that weren't humans, could it? If it was…

…God help me.

"Max, Hell's been frozen for a very long time," he whispered at the exact moment the doors sprang open. Well, they didn't exactly spring. More like creak open dauntingly without actually creaking. Fang's arms left my body and the frozen climate enveloped me once more in one great rush. I began shivering. I hadn't realized how much Fang's presence had warmed me. Not that I wanted him next to me again. No way, that was just absurd. Stupid. I hated Fang, hated he was, what he did. He killed people. There was no way I could change what I thought of someone in a mere few hours. What he was and what he was doing was just a façade, a mask that was created to convince me to join his kingdom, to become part of his realm. I, did not, like him.

Sigh, was I convincing anyone?

My eyes were on Fang's body as he became the head of our group, coming to stand in front of me. I thought I saw a shadow of a smile cross his face and I frowned. What could he possibly be smiling about?

"His majesty the King will see you now," Irial said regally, stepping aside to let us through the open doorway and into what looked like one massive throne room. And I mean massive.

"Remember what I told you," Fang said quietly and seriously before he stepped foot into the brightly lit room. Being behind him, I couldn't see much, though I sure as Hell didn't miss the overwhelming presence in the room, the imposing air of a creature much more powerful than myself. Much more than Fang, and that was a scary prospect in itself.

Before long, our group folded out into one line, and then I could see everything. Parallel to our line was a dais where two thrones sat, one large, black imposing one with razor sharp edges attached to the top at two points, and the other made of deep grey stone. The larger one looked as if it were made of onyx. And atop this majestic chair was what I could only pick as the Demon King—all freaking seven feet of him. He wasn't standing, but his height was palpable, along with his unbelievable amount of similarities with Fang. There was no doubt that he took after his father, and if I hadn't known prior to the occasion that he was a Demon Prince, I would certainly know now. They had the same sharp, regal features, the same dark hair and eyes. Same emotionless appearance. Fang was like a clone.

The King was dressed in complete back, (big surprise there) with huge laced boots and black armour. Masking his hands were leather gloves, one of which was rubbing his chin in thought. A smile crossed his arrogant face, which scared the Hell out of me.

"Well, well, well. It seems I recruited the perfect people for this job." I was surprised by the King's voice. It was steady, peaceful, laced with arrogance that I would expect from nineteenth century England. Arrogance that could only be brought from age, and could only be used by someone as stunningly handsome as he.

"Ella," he said cheerfully, a grin spread across his face. "So good to see you again." I blinked, for he actually sounded genuine. Why was I meant to be afraid of him? He seemed so…nice.

"My Lord," Ella replied, bowing her head slightly. Dylan stepped closer to her protectively. Seriously, what was it with him and being so protective with her?

"And you must be Max then," he continued fluidly, coming to a stand. Okay, he wasn't quite seven feet, but he was getting there. His dark eyes met mine, and I could have sworn I was looking at Fang.

I nodded, mimicking what Ella had done. I evaded my eyes slightly, and keep my voice respectful. Despite his gentility, I knew this guy was dangerous. "Yes, I am."

"Well then Max, please enjoy the hospitality here. Do you understand your importance to me and my people? I would like nothing other than your happiness here. You and your sister's."

I took a deep breath, but didn't falter. I knew he was just buttering me up, but I was determined to get out of here. "Of course, Your Majesty."

The King's head titled slightly to the left. I could tell by the look in his eye, the slight gleam as he narrowed his night eyes that he'd noticed that I had called him his Majesty, not My Lord, or My King. I hadn't addressed him as if I were a part of his kingdom, and he'd picked up on it. Damn.

"Max, how much of your history do you know?"

And I'd hoped that would be all the King would say. "Not much."

"Did you know that you and your sister are the only people that can possibly tip the balance of power?"

Nodding, I replied cautiously. "Yes."

"Then you realize that if you do not join our kingdom you will be killed?" the genuine kindness had evaporated. Apparently, by addressing him differently I had pissed him off. Joy.

"Yes," I replied, swallowing hard.

"But you do understand that before I kill you, I must try every method I can to make you join our army?"

Army? "I—yes."

In the time it would have taken me to blink, King Lucifer was standing in front of me, and it took me every ounce of will power to stop myself from stepping away. The warmth that radiated from him chased away the chill that my body was slowly adapting to, but I would have taken the freezing temperature over the King's close proximity any day.

"Do you know what you can do Max?" he asked calmly. Why was he directing all his questions my way?

"No," I replied honestly, knowing that I couldn't possibly lie without being caught.

"I see…Well then, this may be a very interesting ride then." Apparently bored with me now, the King turned toward Fang, and I realized that I had as well. He dark features instantly caught my attention and captured my gaze, keeping me locked with him, despite the fact that he wasn't actually looking my way.

"You've proved yourself worthy of your title son," the King said, a smile plastered to his face. "You've brought not one, but both of the sisters to me. All we need to do now is convince the other."

Hmm, I just loved being talked about in third person while I was in the same room.

"Thank-you father. I'm sure the other will not need much…convincing." Fang shot me a look and I was sure my face turned red. Why? The reason was lost to me. Either way, I still couldn't pry my eyes from Fang. Damn it to Hell.

Huh, guess it already was damned to Hell.

"Well then, it seems we're done—"

"Wait!" There was complete silence as the new voice rang through the throne room. Everyone, including myself, turned to face the new person. When I caught sight of her I lost my breath. I truly did. The beauty that radiated from her was so strong I felt the urge to drop to my knees and bow to her. She had regal features, with bright emerald eyes and deep brown hair that made them stand out even more than they did. She was reaching around five-foot-eight, and her green dress was so regal, so royal, I guessed that she was no other than King Lucifer's Queen. Her skin was perfect, yet the slight lines around her mouth made it clear to all that she was someone who laughed and smiled a lot, which was currently being proven. Her red lips were lifted into a bright smile that looked completely out of place here. Her shoes tapped as she walked across the marble floors and up to Fang.

"Xavian," she said, the pride and love in her voice astonishingly palpable. She couldn't truly be so…genuine, could she?

"Welcome home," she said, one of those moments where tears were to be expected.

"Mother," he said, and I watched in shock as his eyes fell closed slightly with affection. His arms wrapped around her in a hug that I found hard to watch. In about two hours all my thoughts toward him were changing. This was not helping. I turned away until they had finished and the Queen was standing beside Lucifer.

"I thought I told you not to come in here," he said, but the affection in his voice outweighed the disappointed comment. I blinked, for it seems the King's impassive nature was dispersing into nothing. What was going on here? How was this one woman changing the entire room? It was as if her presence were chasing away the darkness.

"I wasn't not going to," she replied, shocked. "Not when my son is back after fifty years!" The Queen crossed her arms across the bodice of her dress, and a slow smile spread across Lucifer's face as he unfolded them and wrapped them around himself. I wasn't really seeing this, was I? It must have been an illusion, the loving look he was casting down on her…right?

"I believe we're finished here," the King murmured, keeping his eyes on his wife as he addressed us. I stood frozen in shock until someone began towing me along, through the same set of doors we'd entered through.

"I wouldn't want to stick around there, not with the Queen in my father's presence." Fang pulled me out the doors before stopping me in my tracks. "He doesn't particularly like people being around my mother, and he hates people not following his orders as well."

"I can't believe that. People literally lightened up when she walked in." I still couldn't get over that.

"She has that effect on people," he replied with a shrug.

A thought struck me. "Your name is Xavian?" I asked, interested.

He nodded grimly. "Yeah, it is."

"What does it mean?" I asked, confused by the grim look.

"It matters not. You need to sleep."

Well, talk about dodging the question. "I'm not tired."

He shrugged, grinning. "I don't care, you need to sleep."

I shook my head and threw my hands into the air in exasperation. "I don't get why you're suddenly caring about what I want or need!"

Fang clamped a hand over my mouth, shoving me gently into the cold stone wall in the process. "Because, now that you're no longer a human, I can have you." He smiled mischievously before black, smoky ribbons wrapped around his body and caused him to disappear into nothingness. I slid down the surprisingly smooth wall and collapsed onto the floor. This was a joke. Fang was only acting the way he was because I was important to his people. Because I was needed so that he and his father could take over the known world. He's hurt me, destroyed me, tortured me, fucked me over and threatened me time and time again.

So why the Hell was a falling for him?

Sorry about mistakes! Anyway, REVIEW!

15. Chapter 15

I had so much fun writing this chapter, and I really think Iggy is my favourite character! Well actually, that's not true at all—Fang is always my favourite=) I found there was so much to write about in his Point of View hence I just couldn't stop writing! So, excuse the big blocks of text you continually see. Again, I want everyone to check out the Story Within Temptation by Myster1a. I think it's good, especially if you like the Mortal Instruments series. She's a friend of mine, so…=) Anyway, here's the quote, one I think everyone can relate to: "I don't obsess! I think intensely." Thanks for the reviews guys, loving them=) So keep reviewing please! Oh, and just to let you know I WAS going to update yesterday, but the internet was stolen from me by my dad. Sorry guys!

The queasy feeling caused me to drop the sandwich back onto my plate and retreat into the living room. Why was I feeling so…horrible?


I spun just in time to see Nudge flying full speed through my front door and crashing into the living room floor. I should have known it was Nudge—no-one else was capable of such a high pitched, ear-piercing scream. I noted the line that sliced through the window of the nearby wine cabinet, a splintering crack running through the centre of the glass. Wow, now that was just freaky.

"You know, Nudge, I love it when you visit and all, don't get me wrong, but seriously the screaming? That's just a little bit over the—"

"Iggy, please! They've—they…" Nudge broke off, her mouth opening to an impossible size, collecting as much air as she could. That's when I began to take in her tear-stained features, one piece at a time. Her usually perfect complexion, the one I had come to know and love, had been shattered, the normal perfection that was simply Nudge completely gone. Her olive skin looked too pale to be healthy, a shade of green thrown into the mixture creating an image I found difficult to look at. Her clothes were rumpled and one of her shoes was missing. Her mascara was running, leaving long black lines down her face, and yet I couldn't stop staring at the one thing that was truly marring her appearance.

One long, crimson scar lined her face, blood seeping from the wound and soaking her uniform like blood-red paint.

My eyes grew wide and my heart accelerated, the sound jumping through my ears as loud as thunder.

"What happened?" I could hear the anger in my voice, could feel the way my body began to shake. Like something was taking over me.

"They have her Iggy! They've taken her, please, please help me!" Nudge was hysterical, screaming over and over that they'd taken her. Who were they?

"Nudge? Nudge! Who are they? Who have they taken?"

Nudge breathed hard and fast, unable to capture her breath. Tears spilled from her red eyes, and she was doing that horrible sniffling cry that I really hated on anyone except her. "Max. Iggy, they've taken Max. Fang and the rest of his gang. They're not, they're not human!"

I blinked, unable to comprehend what she'd said. "Max?"

"Yes! They've taken her! This is all my fault…Oh God, they're going to hurt her Iggy! Please, help me!" Nudge collapsed into the floor, screaming into the ground as she soaked it with tears. I fell down beside her.

"Nudge? You need to tell me where they've taken her."

She lifted her head from the floor, her wide, frantic eyes staring at me as she clutched my shoulders desperately. "No…you can't go after her! No! They'll hurt you, just like they do with everyone else! We need to call the police, your dad can help! He's a detective! He, he does this stuff! You can't get hurt…"

I'd never seen Nudge in such as state. I soothed her as I tried to pry the truth out of her mouth. All the while my jaw clenched and my head burned with anger. "Okay Nudge, but you still need to tell me where they are. Tell me what happened."

"I—we were working, and they…they were mocking me."

I took a deep calming breath. "You mean Fang and his friends?"

Nudge nodded. "You know, those people that showed up at my party, then disappeared on the motorbikes? They…they're a gang. They hurt people Iggy. They prey on them before torturing them!"

I smoothed down her hair. "It's okay Nudge, settle down."

"No, it's not okay! Iggy, they're—" she broke off into tears again, hitting the level of hysteria once more.

"Monique, calm down!" I said harshly, snapping her out of the trance. "You need to tell me exactly what happened so I can get the story straight. What happened next?"

"Max came in, and she came over. She was being her normal self of course. Then we…" she sniffed, blinking away tears. "Then was started mocking them. We ignored them right at the table. And then we…we said something, and for some reason they, they flipped. But it was a joke! And then…then they took Max."

"What did you say?" I asked, concerned. Nudge usually had a big mouth, but with Max by her side, and a violent, uncaring, vicious attitude, they tended to do stupid things. Max wasn't the…nicest of people, and there were a lot of words I could use to describe her that didn't overly flatter her ego. Or at least, they didn't flatter other people's perceptions of her. I was sure calling her a psychotic bitch from Hell would fuel her ego. Actually, I was certain of it.

"All I said was that Max was the ruler of Hell, and that they should bow to their new queen! I didn't say anything disrespectful! Then they all jumped at us and their eyes turned red and they took Max! The restaurant was in shambles and people were screaming. I…it was my fault Iggy! And now Max is going to be hurt. Please, we have to find your dad, he can help! He can do something! He works with the police. Please Iggy, I…I have no-one to turn to."

"She's my sister Nudge, of course I'm going to help you. Where do these clowns live?" I asked, seething now. I didn't believe some high school guys would really hurt Max, but I did believe that if I didn't get to her soon, something bad could happen. High School guys, not to mention senior High School guys could be extremely dangerous. And Max was one of the most provoking people I'd ever met. I was sure she was the epitome of trouble.

"No!" she yelled, clawing at my jacket. "Your dad! He can help. Not you, they'll destroy you!"

I half-laughed, whether in disbelieve, shock or rage I didn't know. It was probably a mixture of all three. "Nudge, Jab's part of the science department of the police force, like a forensic scientist, not a detective. There's an enormous difference."

"James! You aren't leaving this house!" she was bawling, tearing at my arm. I smiled, shaking my head. How long had it been since Nudge had called me James?

"You don't understand," she whispered, eyeing me gravely. "I saw what they did to that man. The man on the news. They stabbed him. Fang did it, right after talking to Max. I was coming out of the gym at the time…Iggy, you can't go there! The mansion is huge! Huge and dark and horrible and intimidating and it looks as if it's going to swallow you whole!"

"Mansion? You mean that massive cathedral like thing through the trees off the highway?" That was where they lived? I came to an abrupt stand, pulling away from Nudge. "I know where it is. I'm going to get Max back. This is all probably some big misunderstanding."

"What have I been telling you!" she yelled, sounding a little more like herself—in the controlling sense.

"Look, they're just a bunch of school guys. Max is pretty, even I know that. They're probably just tormenting her. And that guy wouldn't stab anyone, okay? You were probably just seeing things." This story was just a little bit too warped for me.

"Iggy—please." The desperation in her voice hit my soft spot and I slumped against the wall.

"Look, Nudge, it'll be fine. I'm just going to go over there and see what they're doing with Max, okay?" Or rather, what Max was doing with them. Knowing Max, this was probably all one big joke.

"Then I'm coming," she said, pulling herself to her feet with a determined look across her face.

I shrugged. "Okay then." The look that crossed Nudge's features struck me as something I'd describe as more than hilarious. It looked as if she'd expected a fight, and when I hadn't risen to the challenge she'd deflated. Literally. Even so, I kept my face perfectly blank, calm.

"How are we getting there? I don't have my car." Nudge was breathing deeply, trying to even out her voice.

I smiled crookedly and snatched some keys off the bench. "I got it."

"You don't have a license. I'll drive."

Grinning, I shrugged. "Sure, okay." I flung open the front door and stepped onto the front porch. A gravel driveway met my gaze, the large O round-a-bout greeting me. As far as anyone could tell there were no cars around, and they'd be extremely right.

"Wait, where's your car?" Nudge asked, sniffling as she stepped out after me. "Do you even have a car?"

"Nope," I said, stepping onto the driveway. My feet crunched over the uneven gravel path, my black boots crushing them.

"Then what…" Nudge followed me around to the side of the house, her ballet flats oddly quiet on the path. When that quiet faded to silence I knew she'd seen our…ride. The black beauty that faced me, metallic battle scar and all, had turned out to be my pride and joy. I'd washed it every night, gotten the tires changed. Gotten the bike looked at, fixed in every way possible. Except, of course, for the scratch. That would stay there forever I had decided. It made it look altogether fiercer, more dangerous. And for some reason, I thought it seem more like me.

"I'm not driving that," Nudge stated flatly.

"I know," I said as I straddled the vehicle. "Coming?"

"You don't even have a license. You'll kill me!"

"Well, unless we bus it or catch a taxi this is all I have. So you can come and get Max back with me, or stay here. You're choice M'dear." I gunned the bike, the deep growling purr of the machine musical to me. Hell yeah.

Nudge walked up cautiously to the bike, stopping just before me. "And what happens when they bring out the weapons?" she asked, swallowing hard. My head titled to the side of its own accord, an idea striking my mind. I knew that these guys couldn't really be this dangerous, but still, it didn't hurt to be prepared.

"Monique, I have an idea."

To her credit, Nudge didn't scream the whole way there. No, her voice died after about ten minutes of yelling, her voice so hoarse she could barely speak let alone scream. And yet, I still ended up the deaf one.

When I stopped the engine and moved to get off the bike, Nudge clung to me, the dark strands of her hair blowing about in the wind.

I chuckled. "Nudge, you can't cling to me like that when I'm trying to get off. Unfortunately gravity will win in this little tug of war and you'll go sprawling."

"Is it over?" she whispered, sounding as if she was going to vomit.

"Yeah, and if you're going to be sick I'd rather it be on this guy's driveway, not me." I grinned as I looked ahead at the problem that faced us. For an old house, it looked as if it had been modernized, with electrical safeguards everywhere. The gate for a start had a code just to get in, and I didn't particularly want to try my luck climbing over. That and the structure was massive. If the house was any indication, this guy was rich, and rich people had a lot of security. I knew this from firsthand experience. I wasn't rich, but I sure as Hell wasn't poor either.

I stepped off the bike, hauling Nudge off it with me. "This may be a problem," I stated slowly after looking at the coded device. I also noticed the security camera out of the corner of my eye. By the sharp intake of breath I guessed Nudge had seen it too.

"You think?" she asked rhetorically. "How are we going to get in? We can't just go knocking around on their door! Can't you like, hack into it or something? Didn't your dad teach you anything police-like at all?"

Okay, I stood corrected. I wasn't deaf to her chatter, and Nudge had most definitely not lost her voice.

"My dad is a scientist. He doesn't know how to hack. And to answer your second question, no I can't hack either."

Nudge threw her hands up in exasperation, frustration and annoyance. How she managed to pull that off I had no idea. But Nudge's emotions had always run high. And by that I meant she had thousands of them, changing all the time.

"Well then how are we getting in!" she yelled to no-one in particular. "I mean, who the hell uses these things on a house like this?" she asked, tapping the code machine with her index finger. "I mean, if they're strong enough to take people out it's not like they need—" Nudge's voice stopped dead, her brows pulling downward as her eyes narrowed, her face contorting into a look of confusion.

"What—" I began.

"Shush!" she hissed, closing her eyes in concentration. I guess I should have been glad that she'd finally shut up, but to be honest the look on her face was kind of freaky. I moved to touch her but her words stopped me instantly.

"Don't." she warned, no longer the sniffling mess she was a mere fifteen minutes ago. "Type these numbers into the pad."

I was about to question her thoughts but the string of numbers that she read out to me stopped my query.

"Seven, three, nine, four, nine, eight, eight, one, six, nine, five, three, two, zero, zero, zero, six, five, nine. Got it?"

"Got it," I confirmed as I pressed the last button.

"Now press the hash button followed by the number…four." I did as she said, hitting the hash key followed by the number four. It took a few seconds, but after every key was hit the doors slid open silently and my head turned toward Nudge in disbelief.

"You been here before?" I asked, knowing I was accusing her but not letting the tone into my voice.

"I—no, of course not. You couldn't pay to make me come here. I can't explain it, but the second I touched it, it was like a string of numbers were whispered into my head. Like I was inside the machine and hunting down each part of the code."

I frowned. "You must have overheard someone talking about it and remembered the code."

"Yeah, the only problem is that I have a shocking memory, and I'd never go near Fang or his friends. Who has a code that freaking long and confusing anyway? How anyone could manage to remember that I have no idea."

I shrugged. "Well, I don't know how to explain it then."

She sighed. "Neither do I…Do I have to get back on that bike?"

Shrugging, I replied; "only if you don't want to walk." I gunned the engine, waiting for nudge to straddle the bike with me.

"I'm just glad you haven't killed me. The way you speed down the highway on this death machine is God damned stupid. Didn't you learn anything from your mum's crash? I mean, she was going seriously fast, trying to beat the train across that rail. Iggy, does Max even know about—"

"Nudge? Shut up." I shook my head in laughter as her pissed off face met the back of my head. She had a good one, I had to admit, but she was no Max. And I had to live with Max, not to mention I was currently sharing her room thanks to "Valencia's" two little brats. The eldest one, Gazzy I thought, seemed bearable. The other however, "Angel," was a little shit that I really wanted to hit. If this was what Max felt 24/7 about everyone, I felt sorry for her.

I speed up the long driveway, which was more extravagant than both Nudge's and mine joined together. It had the whole O thing going, although it was four times the size of mine. In the middle was a fifteen feet tall statue of a man, made of complete…onyx? Who had a statue made of onyx? A crown sat atop the guy's head, and the sword that he had raised in his hands was almost the same length of his body. All in all, the statue seemed…odd.

"Who has a statue of himself in their own home? God, love yourself much you arrogant, kidnapping son-of-a—"

"I don't think it's of himself…" I said slowly, cutting her off.

"Of course it's of himself! It looks exactly like him!"

That may have been true, but this statue…well, I didn't know. It just seemed significant in a way that I didn't truly understand.

"I don't think anyone's here," I said instead, steering the conversation back toward our task.

"They have to be," Nudge replied almost desperately.

"Well, we've already trespassed, we may as well continue inside."

"Wait, you think we weren't going inside? What, were we just going to go knocking on their door or something? Iggy, do you understand how serious this is?"

I grinned, sliding off my black backpack. "That's why I brought this, just in case your crazy story turns out to be true."

Nudge gave me the death stare, or at least her version of it. "You think this is a joke? You think this is a crazy story?" She was seething through her teeth as she got off the bike with me close at her heels. Together we walked up to the front doors, two large French doors that were too big to estimate in size. I moved for the handle.

"Hopefully this one isn't locked." I pushed open the door after turning the handle. Well, it definitely wasn't locked. As the left door swung open, I found myself staring around inside the mansion, my eyes locking with the main wall that faced me. Hanging along it was weapon upon weapon. Swords, guns, bows, arrows, whips, maces…I blinked, unable to fully comprehend what I was seeing. And they were just there, for anyone to see as they walked in. Though I doubt many people walked into this home.

"You believe me now?" Nudge asked, her eyes trained on the weapons wall ahead of her.

Unsurprisingly I found myself nodding. Maybe these guys were more dangerous than I'd initially thought. As I looked at the blades of the swords I knew these weapons weren't just for show. It made me feel sick to my stomach. "Well then, in that case…" I dropped my bag to the floor, crouching down and unzipping it. Black leather wasn't the easiest thing to move around in, but it was warm and safer to ride in than jeans and a T. Plus, it made me feel more…I don't know. More like myself didn't seem right, seeing as though I never wore black leather jackets or steel capped boots. And saying it made me feel real, or more homely for that matter, just made me sound like a tool.

"What are you doing?"

"Just in case we need something to fall back on," I replied, pulling out my stash.

Nudge sighed. "This is going to be another episode like the Church isn't it?" she asked, tapping her foot nervously as she gazed around. "I feel so exposed being out in the open like this, like I'm just waiting to be attacked."

"Hey, you owe me for blowing up that church," I said as I pulled out the last bomb. Altogether there were five. Some of my handiest work if you asked me.

"When I said "please, help me get out of going to Church with my grandparents tomorrow" I didn't mean go and blow the thing up!"

"You said you'd do anything, through any means possible. So, I gave you what you wanted, did what you said."

"And you dragged Max into it as well. Now my family hates her."

I shrugged. "Not my problem."

Nudge sighed. "Okay, so what are we doing?"

I zipped the bag up again and slung it over my shoulder. "I'm used to Max helping me, but I'm sure you'll be just as good. All these bombs are connected to one main power frame." I pulled out the pen-like device and showed it to her. It looked exactly like a black pen with one of those clicking tops. "When the device is pressed…kaboom."

"It's that simple?" she asked, surprised.

"It's that simple to blow people up. Not so simple to actually make the thing to blow them up. But, if we scatter them then we can take down the entire building. However, we don't want that, just in case Max is somewhere. So, I say we just blow up the West Wing."

Nudge grinned. "You know, I've never seen this side of you Iggy."

I shrugged, a smile sliced into my face. "What can I say? When I'm good I'm good, but when I'm bad I'm better."

Nudge snorted. "Okay, whatever hotshot. So, we place these on the West side, but make sure no-one is there?"

I nodded. "That's it. Most people use the East Wing when they live in a mansion. The West Wing is usually the hospital or the attic or something equally as boring. East are rooms. And I doubt they're wanting to heal Max."

"Okay genius, how do you know that?"

"Hollywood, duh." I began up the spiraling staircase, Nudge muttering something as she followed me upwards.

"As long as we don't blow up Max, I'm fine."

"Let's get to it then."

Turns out Max wasn't in the West Wing at all, to my relief.

After setting up what I liked to call my black apples of inescapable terror (BAIT for short) we headed toward the East Wing. It wasn't difficult to find the main bedroom either; it was the one at the end of the corridor, the only door there. Many other doors veered off into other rooms, but this just had the distinct feeling of monarchy infused with it.

The black door wasn't locked as we swung it open, stepping over the threshold and into a room as darkly bare as I expected from a Hollywood vampire. Aside from the bed and bookshelf, there was nothing much more here. And yet, it was the largest room, by the looks of it.

"She's not here," Nudge stated flatly, walking toward the perfectly made bed that was situated at the far end of the room. I blinked, feeling a little disoriented, as if the room was moving, rearranging itself, like it was spinning on an axle. Nudge fell to the floor, but in defeat, not dizziness.

I sat down beside her. "We'll find her Nudge, don't worry. She can't have gotten too far away, she'll be fine."

"Well, I hate to burst your little bubble of naivety children, but I'll have to disagree with every statement you just made."

I jumped to my feet in surprise, dragging Nudge with me as we turned to face the intruders. Or maybe we were the intruders? Two people clad in all black like myself faced us, standing in front of the door we had just entered through. Wait…had the door been there before?

"Where's Max?" Nudge asked defiantly, crossing her arms in a gesture that I knew was defensive. I could tell.

"We can show you better than we can tell you," the male one replied.

"Look, we don't want to hurt anyone," I replied, crossing my arms angrily. "But if you don't give me back my sister—"

The girl looked at me we renewed interest, the boredom fading from her crystal eyes and pale features. "You. You're Max's brother James?"

"The name's Iggy. What do you want?"

The guy drew a sword I hadn't seen at first. "You're coming with us."

I heard Nudge's gasp at the sight of the sword at the same time I pulled the "pen" from my jacket, spinning it around my fingers. "Really?" I asked, feeling more arrogant than I was usually.

What happened next was far too supernatural for me to make sense of.

The guy with the sword was in one place one moment and in another the next. That other location just happened to be the bed, with Nudge pinned down and the sword placed at the base of her neck.

"We can do this easily, or we can do it difficultly. Your choice."

"I agree," I replied coolly, suppressing the anger from my voice. "You can give me Max and Nudge, or this house goes shish kabob."

The girl smiled, a challenging smirk that made my skin boil and my heart race. Two opposing feelings that utterly confused me. She was pretty, I'd give her that. "Is that so? And how will you manage that?"

"In three seconds. You haven't left Nudge alone and given me Max in three seconds, this house is history. Three."

"Boy, you have no idea what you're dealing with," the one threatening Nudge growled, his blade cutting into her neck.

"Two," I said, still spinning the pen around in my fingers. I could feel eyes on me, and as I turned I saw the girl staring at the pen, her head angled slightly. I smiled. "Well this has all been so interesting," I said, at the same time the girl yelled "Shit!" My thumb came down on the cap of the "pen," clicking the device's button.

And then came the musical flames, dancing along the West Wing as it devoured all it touched.

Thank you everyone! REVIEW! Until the next chapter…

16. Chapter 16

READ THIS BEFORE YOU GO ON! Okay, here, I did it in Fang/Max's point of view for all those people that got annoyed that I didn't do it in the last chapter=) Sorry, but I had to bring Nudge and Iggy back into it!

Oh, and first things first—mentions. Firstly to Risn, otherwise known as Leigh I think? Don't worry I've read the Mortal Instruments, LOVE ALEK AND MAGNUS. Second is to Nikki Ride? I can't believe you read this in one shot. That's insane! Thanks for reviewing it too. Then there's Booknerd7 who is AMAZING and Molnija, who despite the fact that she doesn't really like this particular story of mine is good enough of a friend to still read it! =) My two terrorist friends we WILL take over the world! (About BAIT the apples bit was an inside joke with these two=]) And lastly everyone who thinks this should be a book? Thanks, but I don't think it ever will be. But if it EVER get's put into a book YOU WILL BE THE FIRST PEOPLE TO KNOW! And I do love mentioning people…=)

Anyway, here's the quote: "Doctors say I have multiple personalities. We disagree with that." I know this is a total Nudge Authors Note, but I had a lot to say=) Please, review, it makes me want to write faster! Thank-you guys…I LOVE HATSUHARU SOHMA! Black Haru FOR THE WIN! I would so have both of his personalities, black (devilish) and white (goodish)…yeah, the quote was related to the amazing Haru from Fruits Basket, which they MIGHT BE MAKING A SECOND SEASON FOR! YAY! I signed the petition. Anyway, read!


This was turning out to be more interesting than I had expected.

I thrust the bar into the air once more before dropping it back onto its holder, the weights leaving my hands and seizing to strain my arms any longer. I sat up, breathing deeply as sweat drenched my body. Living on the Human Plain didn't leave much in the way of physical exercise, as most of the tools they had were a walk in the park for my strength. So being home allowed me to truly test my power. The weights alone were a thousand times stronger and heavier than that of the Humans'.

The rapping against my door echoed throughout the inside of my room, the sound pulling me from my musings. I huffed out a breath of air in annoyance and came to a stand. To think I'd been back less than a day and already I was finding it difficult to find peace and solitude. I pulled a towel off the nearby rack and wiped the sweat from my chest, calling angrily through the door as I did so.

"What do you want?"

"Uh, Fang? There's a…situation."

I took a deep breath. "You've got a King for that. Go bug him." Knowing Sam his "situation" was probably something along the lines of not being able to find a cute woman to screw around with tonight.

"He's otherwise…occupied."

So he was with mother then. "Don't bother me with your lady problems Sam. I'm occupied." I moved toward the shower before Tess" voice caught me off guard.

"Fang, this really is important. May we come in?"

I was surprised everyone was calling me Fang still. Surely if my mother or father heard anyone call me by that name, or anyone else for that matter, they'd be extremely pissed off. So why risk their wrath? Well, my father's wrath, not so much my mother's. My mother couldn't hurt a fly. But anything was better than Xavian and its God damned meaning.

I swiped the water bottle of the bench and told them to come in.

"This had better be important," I muttered as I swallowed the contents of the container. After emptying the bottle I tossed it onto the chair a few meters away and turned toward Tess and Sam with crossed arms. I made to speak but came up blank. Well, well, we always find our way home in the end.

"I see, this is a situation," I muttered, wrapping the towel around my shoulders before crossing my arms once more.

"We found them at the old manor house. Snooping." Tess had hold of the boy's arm, holding him in a death lock.

"Looks like our old friend was with him as well." Sam shoved the boy's companion ahead of him and my head fell to the side in thought. Well, well, what to do with these two?

"Monique, good to see you again," I said before cringing mentally. Was I sounding like my father now?

"Dick! Tell me where Max is!" The dark featured girl struggled in Sam's grip, and I suppressed a grin as my General's face turned into a look exasperated annoyance. He looked frustrated.

"Okay, so what of these two? The boy I understand but why have you brought the girl?" The boy, the strawberry blonde one, must have been Max's brother. He didn't look like her, not in the way Ella looked like her, but there was something about his presence that was extremely similar to that of Max's. Odd.

"We didn't even know this was him. He looked nothing like Max or Ella. But after we found the two at the house and he introduced himself as Max's brother it was unmistakable. I could just tell they were related." Tess looked deep in thought for a moment, probably musing over the same thing I had a mere moment before. "We were going to leave the girl, wipe her memory and ditch her. But—"

"See, I just love being talked about in third person while I'm standing right here," the boy stated, trying to shake off Tess" grip. She struggled for a moment, frowning as she attempted to keep her hold on his arm. Intriguing.

I realized that there was his similarity to Max—the sarcastic personality. The cynical, mocking, sardonic characteristics. "But?"

"But," she said, stressing the word as she glared at the boy, "she just happened to, well…" Tess struggled for a formal, educational way to put it, but Sam beat her to the punch line.

"But, this guy happened to turn all cocky, threatening us. I snapped, Tess underestimated him, and, well…the house went shish kabob, as he so interestingly put it."

I blinked, sure I had heard wrong. "It what?" I asked, eyes narrowed in anger as they fell on Max's brother James. The boy's own eyes grew wide, but interestingly enough they didn't wander. Maybe he was more like Max in personality than looks, the opposite of Ella.

Tess huffed out a breath of annoyance. "They planted bombs in the west wing before we even got there. He set them all off with this before we even realized what it was." Tess threw a pen like object at me and I caught it with my left hand. I frowned at it—it looked like no more than a mere pen with a click top lid.

"Though they were planted in the west, they spread along the entire structure and burnt it to the ground," Sam continued, oddly serious for once.

I couldn't believe a human and a Halfling managed to best two of my strongest warriors. "And what does this have to do with the human?" I asked. They still hadn't answered my question.

"Well that's the thing Fang. The explosions were huge, monstrous. They should have burnt these two to a crisp. Sam and I should have been recovering from burn wounds, the damage was that bad. We'd still be burning in the flames helpless. But…" her head fell toward Sam and the girl that he had forced to kneel on the floor in front of him. Nudge looked around nervously, looking as if she wanted to fiddle with something. It was one of her anxious, panicky habits. For once it looked as if she didn't want the attention.

"What did she do?" I near sighed. Why couldn't they just get to the point?

"Well, first she fell to the ground screaming as the flames burst through your bedroom door," Sam replied, looking down at the dark haired girl in front of him. "Then her hands were thrown up defensively, as if it were going to stop the flames from getting her. That's when this strange blue shield-like thing enveloped all four of us, blocking the explosion. Whatever it was…Fang it wasn't human." My eyes moved from James to Nudge, the blackness forcing both to cringe slightly.

"That's impossible," I said, shaking my head. "If she's not human, and she's not a demon…"

"Yeah," Tess said, "that's why she's here. We didn't think killing her was right. It's not like she's ever lived anywhere other than the Human realm, and she obviously doesn't know about her heritage if she screamed that way. She was just as surprised by the shield as we were. And besides…she potentially saved our lives. Granted, she was the ones that endangered them in the first place, but it still didn't seem moral."

Hmm, it seemed Tess was gaining emotions as well as Dylan. Interesting.

"The decision to kill her isn't my decision to make," I said as I crouched down in front of Nudge. Her eyes grew wide in an expression that I distinctly knew as fear. I could smell it just as clearly as I could read it from her appearance.

"Nudge, this is much more important than you realize," I said slowly. "If you want to live, you're going to have to do exactly what I tell you."

"Why would you want to help me?" she whispered, trying to edge away from me. "You've done nothing but torment me ever since I met you."

"That would be because I thought you were human. Understand something, both of you," I said, drawing James" attention to my words. "Humans are nothing more than a means of recreation and amusement to people like us. They are like a bug under your shoe that you just want to squish, but have the morals not to. But when you become more than a human being, more than a bug, then you become more important, you become worthy. You could be of use to us Nudge, but if you're not willing to help us then you will be killed, simply because you're not…one of us. James on the other hand has it much easier than you do." My onyx eyes fell upon James, who was hanging onto every word I was saying. He took a deep breath.

"What am I?" he asked. I smiled—he was smarter than I had given him credit for. He knew what all this meant, knew the meaning of my words.

"James, your mother was like me. She was like Sam and Tess here. She was a Demon. I know you can guess exactly what you are then."

The boy nodded slightly. "And Max?"

"She's your half sister. You have the same mother, but your fathers are different." I could see the realization in his eyes, the ever-changing blue registering all this as true. He was much easier to persuade than Max was.

"And what about me?" Nudge asked, looking completely disheartened and dejected. "I'm not like you, that much is obvious. And frankly I don't think I want to be. You're all so evil, and you want to hurt everyone. You took Max. You took us for Christ's sake! Not to mention that you're all so—"

"Shut up!" Sam near whined, rolling his eyes in frustration.

"You my dear are what we like to call Angels. Exactly the same as us except for their apparent like for heat."

Nudge's eyes went wide. "Angels? So I'm not evil? Wait, what do you mean exactly the same as us?"

"I mean exactly what I say. Angels differ no more from us than a child differs from their twin. There are those tiny dissimilarities that allow you to tell them apart, but other than that they are no different. The only true difference between us and them is our leaders, or Kings and Queens. Both have a common goal and personality."

"And what is that common goal?" James asked.

"Another time perhaps," I said, coming to a stand. I turned toward Tess and Sam. "Find the King, he must know immediately. He will decide what to do. If it looks as if he's going to kill her, find me."

They both nodded before Sam pulled Nudge to her feet.

"Nudge, you'll most likely be brought into my father's presence. In that case, whatever you do, do not aggravate him. You know nothing, understand? Do not rant about how Angels are good and we are evil or you will be killed. The King has the tendency to be either extremely understanding or extremely pissed off. Do not speak until spoken to, and do not look at anyone in the eye unless told. It will be extremely disrespectful, seeing as though you are what you are. And whatever you do, do not bring up Max, and don't rant about her being the new Queen of the Underworld. You'll just end up dead."

Nudge frowned. "Wait, your father? He's the…he's the King of this world?" My only response was a nod.

"That's why you all snapped when Nudge said that, isn't it?" James asked, a new revelation in his eyes. "When Nudge said to bow to your new Queen, it was a sign of disrespect, as you will be the new King, and your parents are the current monarchs. That's why all this started."

I nodded. "I must say, I have to thank you Nudge. I probably wouldn't have realized what Max was unless you did that."

Nudge frowned. "You speak of Max as if she is something else…"

I smiled. "Do I?" I turned from the group and stalked off, walking into the adjoining bathroom that led into my actual bedroom if you headed through the other door. I heard the four leave and turned the shower on. Though there was one thing still bugging me.

How the Hell did those two get through the security system?


He's a Demon!

But he's hot.

He's still a Demon Max! And a Demon Prince no less!

Doesn't that just make him even hotter? He's almost irresistible.

Demon, Demon, Demon!

I sighed. I was sure I'd had this conversation with myself before. And besides, as handsome, as positively sexy as Fang was, he was a Demon, and he was a Demon who had taken me from my world and attacked, threatened and endangered not only me, but my friends and family as well. That made for a huge barrier between him and me. And if he went after Iggy…

I dropped into the red chair by the kitchen. I'd literally been given an apartment as a quarters, and I had to admit I really liked it. It was cute, modern and made for some really comfortable living. It almost made me forget where I was. Almost. I turned on the flat screen embedded into the walls and drowned myself in some kind of Music. I longed for Music Max, but we take what we can get. I had stripped down to jeans and a singlet, my body having adapted so well to the extreme cold. It simply felt like a rainy day in town now.

As I began to doze, a new voice sliced through my serenity and splintered it into pieces. I sat up abruptly, prepared to face whatever was thrown at me. I wasn't expecting to see a girl sitting across from me on the opposite couch. I eased into a sitting position cautiously. This was one of Fang's crew, the red haired one that had tried to jump me that night at work. Her nails were painted blood red today, a colour that was much brighter than her hair. She mirrored what I was wearing, jeans and a black top, though a thickly chained necklace was strapped around her, the pendant hanging in the "V" of her shirt. The silver pendant was of some sort of snake coiling around an awfully sharp dagger. I had to admit, it was cute.

"You done admiring me?" she asked with a smirk.

I smiled back just as evilly. "I sure am. Some tips though? De-frizz your hair; it looks like a bird's nest. Oh, and while you're making that smaller I think you should work on your nose too. I mean, if it gets any bigger it'll take up your entire face! And honey, the cat's nails are so out."

The girl's eyes narrowed angrily but she kept her cool. "Well, I'll keep that in mind. Anything to be perfect for my Xavian," she added, smiling. That smile was cold, and it screamed back off.

At the mention of Fang being claimed by her a shot of envy ran through my body. My jaw tightened and my hands clenched, teeth grinding together as I tried to contain myself. I was not jealous over Fang. This red-haired wonder could have the Demon Prince. I mean, what was he to me? Other than a lying, backstabbing pain in my ass? So what he was a prince. So what he was hot. He almost killed me!

No, I wasn't jealous at all.

"What's the matter Max? Envious? You should be. I have Fang, so don't even bother trying."

"In case you haven't realize, I hate Fang, so why would you think for even a second that I would have an interest in him? So do yourself a favour and beat it, before I get physically violent."

The girl snorted but stood either way. However, instead of heading toward the door she walked up to the table, and to the fruit bowl sitting in the centre.

"Well, I'm glad we're on the same page then." She picked up one of the apples and bit into it, visibly savouring the juice. She picked up another, the Pink Lady shining almost unnaturally red in the light. "Want one?"

I sighed. "Fine." The girl threw the fruit at me and I caught it with ease. For such a cold place it was oddly warm.

She smiled as I wiped the fruit against my clothing. "Well, I'm out. See ya." She disappeared into a curtain of black smoke.

I rolled my eyes as I sunk my teeth into the fruit, the juices running onto my tongue and down my throat. What was it with everyone disappearing into black ribbons of nothingness?


As I moved to throw a shirt over my bare chest I heard the door of my bedroom open quietly before shutting with a click. I growled. Why wouldn't they just leave me alone? I stepped out of the bathroom and into the adjoining chambers, dropping the towel on the way out. Surprisingly I was met by nothing and no-one. Sighing I turned toward the shadows.

"I know you're here, what do you want?" If it was Lissa trying out her nonexistent wiles on me again I would shoot her. As I awaited for them to show themselves to me I prepared myself for anyone.

Well, almost anyone.

"Hey Fang," she said, before she erupted in giggles.

I frowned, concerned now. "Max? What are you doing?"

"What does it look like I'm doing? I'm coming to say hello to you Fang. Or should I say, Xavian." Max replied, her giggles subsiding and morphing into something more disturbing, more dangerous than that. She stepped toward me, her bare feet silent against the carpet. Her black top was sliding up her waist ever so slightly and I breathed a sigh of deprivation.

"Max, what kind of hello are you talking about?" I asked suspiciously, my brow rising as I leant against the bathroom doorframe.

She walked up to me, her significantly smaller frame stepping into the shadow that was being cast by my own.

"The kind that involves you, and me," she replied, and I found myself closing the small gap between her and I against my will. My eyes flared red as they looked down on her, my gaze raking her features intensely. Her body caught me in a spell, a trance that somewhere behind my bewilderment I knew was no more than an illusion, a trick. This wasn't Max, this wasn't the way she acted. She was never this open, this willing with me, and I expected nothing less after the way I had treated her. She may have been a part of my people biologically, but she was nothing like a Demon, not truly. Not yet. And still I couldn't help myself, couldn't stop myself from snaring her arms in my unbreakable grip and pushing her gently into the wall next to where I was previously standing. My hands moved to rest on either side of her face, my red eyes reflected in the brown of her own, eyes that were wide with excitement. But inside them, swirling in the very depths was a fear that made me recoil, made me push myself away from her. No, this wasn't Max. What was I doing? Someone, something was controlling her. Inside she was watching, unable to stop her body from doing what it was being commanded to do.

I shut my eyes tightly, forcing myself to calm down, forcing the crimson to drip away into a chilling black. In time I would have Max, but I would have her of her own free will. Forcing her, or taking advantage of her in a weak state was not how I was going to convince her to stay in the Demon realm. Shaking my head and falling quickly out of my trance, I pulled Max along until we were at the doors of the bedroom itself.

"What are you doing?" she asked, her voice unnaturally coy, sexy. But it wasn't her. I would wait until I was listening to her real seductive voice. This was the first step to gaining her trust. She was watching everything that was going on, but she couldn't control what she was doing. Someone had done this to her, and that someone was officially dead. Why they had done it though was a lost concept to me.

"Your eyes make me fall under your curse Max. Your body is what I crave, it's what I thirst. Believe it or not you're unbearable to be with without me constantly wanting you. But this isn't you. I'll have you when you're back to who and what you are. When you want me. I'm not the complete bastard you make me out to be." She didn't understand what it meant to be a Demon, not yet. But when she did, she would understand why I did the things I had done to her.

"Then take me, have me. I want you Fang. Play by your rules and I will too. I want you, so you can have me."

I shook my head, opening the doors as I did so. "No Max, you're not."

My hand met her pale cheek and my eyes rolled into the back of my head as I drew the energy from her body. Black lines were drawn across her skin like veins of onyx blood as the force keeping her conscious was taken from her body and absorbed by my own. The obsidian lines travelled from her frame to my own before seeping into my skin and disappearing. When it was over Max fell limp into my arms. As I began the trek back to her room, I found my anger over the situation building into a white hot rage. I was going to murder Lissa, cut out her internal organs and place them into translucent display jars.

I'd present them in the throne room for all to see.

Enjoyed? Well, REVIEW! BLACK HARU! Jess will be rolling her eyes, but still…Hatsuharu ends up with the Horse Jess, he's not Bi…and they may be making a season 2. In the anime she likes Yuki AND Kyo, so it's different to the anime…YAY! She could end up with Yuki! Anyway, REVIEW EVERYONE!

17. Chapter 17

WARNING! This is an EXCEPTIONALLY long chapter to make up for the time I haven't updated for. Really, it should be broken into two chapters, but if I did that it would seem anti-climatic. Thanks for the threats, it got my ass into gear=) Heads up, this is one of my favourite chapters because it had my favourite characters. OH, and don't bother skipping through to make sure it's only Max and Fang—it's only Max and Fang. Anyway, quote: They say "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." Well I think the guns help. If you stood there and yelled BANG, I don't think you'd kill too many people." Okay, REVIEW! And if you hate lengthy chapters, stop at the 3rd page break—trust me this is SERIOSULY LONG! Sorry about the blockiness, but I needed to make up for my lack of writing. Thanks guys! =)


"Fang? Hey! So…" Lissa stared up at me, her red hair falling over her shoulder as her voice trailed from excitement to smug victory with the look crossing my face. She backed up a bit, holding the door open for me to step inside. "So, what do you want?" she asked, grinning.

I stepped around the barrier between us and into her room, the crimson red a perfect match to her bitch of a personality. I slammed the door closed with the strength of my arm before crossing it across my chest. I stood completely still, my calm face betraying the storm of fury that was itching to be released. Lissa stood frowning, waiting for me to do something. Not wanting to give her that satisfaction I stood stationary until she gave up. It didn't take long.

"So…" she began smoothly, a grin slicing across her face once more. "What's up? Don't get me wrong, I love you and all, but is there something I can—?"

"You don't care much for fruits, do you Lissa?" I asked, cutting her off. The mere sound of her voice was infuriating.

"Uh, no?" she answered, questioning her own reply. "Hey Fang is everything—?"

"No, I didn't think you did. That's a shame." I pulled out a perfectly red apple, the skin shining seductively in the light. Someone had sunk their teeth into the crimson flesh, and the mark was still there. I brought the fruit to my own mouth and bit into it, my teeth protruding through the skin as Lissa's eyes went wide, her mouth hanging open in shock.

"Fang don't!" she yelled, stretching out her arm in "stop" gesture.

My eyes rolled into the back of my head momentarily as I propelled her spell from my system, stopping it from taking over my mind and body. I could taste the magic in the fruit's juices, the unnatural tang as it streamed through me and attempted to fight for dominance over my control. But Lissa was weaker than me, and considerably so. Her power was nothing compared to my own.

"Don't what Lissa?" I spat as I pegged the fruit at her, the object hitting her square in the chest. The impact caused her to crash into one of the lounges before it toppled over her body with the force of the apple. I was there a second later, kicking the chair away from her and forcing her into the ground with my foot.

"Listen here and listen well," I hissed, the venom in my voice palpable. "I am your superior, and you will not use your power against my guests. Is that understood?" My eyes were glowing red, my rage seeping into my features. Lissa scowled up at me, not completely unexpected but a look I truly hadn't wanted to see. Fear, perhaps, would have been more suitable right about now. Maybe I was turning soft.

"The stupid spell didn't even work damn it, relax!"

The pressure keeping my foot down eased off as my thoughts reached borderline confusion. "What do you mean it didn't work?"

"What do you think Prince? I mean it didn't work. I was meant to make her inner emotions soar to the surface and take over her mind. She was meant to attack you, attempt to kill you then get thrown in prison. Her rage over being kidnapped, her anger towards you was meant to come out. She wasn't meant to be all over you. Jesus, you know my power, you know how it works." I did know her power. Like all demons she had a specialized skill, one that was all her own. And, being as powerful as Lissa was, her power was rare. It also included making whatever someone was truly feeling rise to the surface and take over their mind, their body and their actions. It caused the person who was being cursed by her power to be overcome with their deepest emotions, whether it was anger, rage, jealousy, need. For example, if someone was guarding a prisoner, but all they truly wanted was to kill them, then Lissa could make the guard kill the captive by using her power. She could also control the extremity of those emotions, and could make them show in differing ways, whether it was through words or actions.

"So you're saying that you were bringing out Max's true feelings about me so that she would attempt to kill me and consequently she would be imprisoned or worse, killed herself?"

"Yes!" Lissa exclaimed, please I got what she was on about.

"So then if her real emotions weren't violence and anger toward me, they were the complete opposite…"

"That would mean that she actually—wait, what?" Lissa's eye flared red as she attempted to move my leg from her torso. In answer I shoved it harder.

"Well, this is getting even more interesting," I muttered, my eyes wide as I thought it over. Max didn't want to kill me as Lissa had thought. She also didn't hate me either. No, she was feeling quite the opposite.

"Fang, you can't seriously be thinking about this! She's weak, pathetic!" I ignored Lissa, turning from her and heading toward the entrance, this new revelation consuming one hundred percent of my brain.

"Damn it Fang! You promised us you'd never fall for a human!"

I stopped walking, red eyes suddenly flaring once more.

Okay, ninety-nine percent.

"You know what else I promised?" I asked, before drawing a knife and turning on her.

I walked into the throne room, my father's imposing figure the only other person in the room. He stood awaiting my presence, and as I bowed my head low he waved off my attempt at respect.

"I was wondering when you would get here," he began, black eyes cast down on me as he stood atop the dais. Feeling as if I were looking at my own mirrored reflection, I raised my eyes to meet my father's and the King of this Demonic Realm.

"I was finishing off some…business I had."

"I see. Well, I understand you sent the angel to me. What I ask is why?"

"She could be of use to us," I replied as I watched my father step off the dais. He towered over me still, but by significantly less now.

"Or she could completely destroy us."

"Now father that's a bit rash, wouldn't you say?" Speaking to my father and speaking to humans were extremely…different.

"Perhaps, but I would rather see her dead than any of my people."

And by that, he meant that he didn't want her around because of mother. "But you have decided to keep her?"

"I have decided to imprison her until we can be sure that she can be trusted. Or until she could be of use to us." The gleam in my father's eye told me that "being of use to us" in his mind wasn't the same as the "being of use to us" I was thinking of.

"You can be sure that who can be trusted?" asked a distinctively feminine voice, one I had come to know better than even my own heart beat.

"Woman, how many times have I told you not to interfere with things?" My father asked roughly, dismissing me as his eyes strayed toward the figure that had just entered the room. She walked with a grace that came easily to her as she strode up to the Demon King, a palpable kindness about her as she came to face the one man everyone else just happened to fear. Eyes the colours of emerald shone with determination, a stark comparison to the chocolate brown of her long hair. It was but a shade darker than Max's highlights, and instead of straight hers coiled into thick ringlets down her body.

She smiled a charming smile that lightened the room of its darkness, chased away the cold hardness and, still astonishing to me, brought the gentlest of smiles to my father's usually impassive face.

"And how many times have I told you husband," she replied, stressing the word as she mimicked him playfully, "that I wish to know exactly what goes on in my own kingdom and my own home. We are equal as rulers, are we not?"

I hid my grin as my father literally struggled for words, something that rarely ever happened to him. Instead of answering her, the King turned on me, his eyes fading into red.

"I asked you here so that you may know what your next task is. You and your guard will teach Max all she needs to know to harness her power. And Ella as well, she seems a little rusted up after spending all that time on the Human Plain. Then we can start with the real plans."

The Queen sighed, rolling her emerald eyes in exasperation. "You and your plans to rule the world."

"You mean our plans to rule the world," he murmured as his arms wrapped around my mother.

"No, I'm pretty sure I meant your plans. I'm just along for the ride." The King snorted, or did something close to it. His eyes moved from the woman wrapped in his arms to me, the dark globes shining as they strayed. The Angel and the Demon Halfling have both been taken into the prisons. Max is not to know of their presence here, is that understood?

I nodded in understanding, my mother's gaze looking up at me suspiciously. She looked as if she wanted to say something, her red lips opening to form some kind of sentence, but I spoke before she could.

"If that is all…My Lord. My Queen." I bowed my head low and made to leave, but my mother's voice stopped me dead.

"What are you Xavian, a servant? You can address me as what I am, and that would be your mother, not your Queen." My eyes met hers and she smiled gently, something that seemed out of place next to the ruthless, violent and frequently impassive Demon King.

"I shall try to remember that mother," I replied as I turned to leave. However I had walked no further than two steps before I remembered something. "Father, I have a gift for you," I said as I pulled a glass jar from my jacket and threw it at him. He caught it effortlessly, bringing the jar to his eyes as he studied it.

"For display?" he asked, grinning slightly. To an untrained eye it would have been unnoticeable.

I nodded solemnly. "It is. I had to fulfill a promise." And now to complete another. I strode from the room, my mind turning, but not before I heard my mother's question.

"We are Equal rulers, aren't we Lucifer?"


"Curse this fucking Hellhole!"

I screamed my lungs out at the wall, my streak for not swearing obliterated in the period of only a few days. But it wasn't the only thing that had been eradicated over the course of the past days. My disrespect and hatred toward Fang had extraordinarily lessened, much to my freaking dismay. I kicked the wall out of anger, my fury pouring from my body. And Lissa! Oh I just wanted to rip out her intestines! How dare she do that to me? Disempowering me like that? The red haired snake would get it, that's for sure. I just wanted to…

I screamed, the sound being the only thing I could possibly use to articulate how I was feeling about her, about Fang, about this place. I'd been angry before—I'd been so pissed off I had helped Iggy blow up a freaking church—but this, this was on a whole new level. This was personal. I had completely lost control of myself, and that was something I regarded as worth being killed over. Or, at least suffer eternal torture.

I stalked into the large walk in wardrobe, my eyes scanning over the clothes and accessories scattered across the floor. I had pulled them all from their designated spots during my rage, and I really couldn't care less at the moment. Along with my stupidly oversized room, it had been grouped with an enormous bathroom and "Princess Diaries" wardrobe. It was brainlessly huge—as if one person needed all this. I wasn't big on cute and cozy, but this was just ridiculous.

I picked up the first shirt I could find, tossing it over my near-perfect skin. Well, seeing as though it was one of those stretchy, skin tight spaghetti string singlet's I didn't exactly toss it on. More like struggled to get it on over my fat head. As I pulled my arms through my wrist watch got caught on a loose thread, making my arm immobile. I sucked in an angry breath in an attempt to calm myself. I tried to carefully disentangle my wrist but it insisted on staying considerably stuck. "Fine then," I said impatiently as I ripped my arm free. However, the force of my wrist snapping through the threads knocked me off-balance and I fell sideways, my body spinning to floor in a dance I would have rather sat out on. I spiraled downward and crashed onto the floor, the impact causing stars to flash across my vision.

And then came the pain. Joy.

The right side of my face was just an inch too close to one of the glass case doors, and as I fell my cheekbone was cut by the corner of the glass, a huge river of crimson streaking across my face from cheekbone to chin. I barely felt the cut; the frustration pouring from me was much more dominant than the seeping blood. I yelled, screaming bloody murder at the top of my lungs.

I. Blamed. Lissa.

Dropping my head into my hands, I pulled myself upright and leant against one of the glass cases. Why? Why didn't Fang just take advantage of me at the time? Why did he have to turn all noble at the most critical judging point? It was easier to hate Fang—it was easier to despise this place. But no, he just had to do the right thing; he just had to walk away, muttering that he wouldn't have me unless I "wanted" him as well. It frustrated me, these mixed versions of him. Was he good, or was he evil? The fact that I was even questioning all this made me insane, I knew that. But I still couldn't stop that little fluttering of hope…Stop it damn it! I groaned, pulling myself to my feet, my right hand soaked in blood. It then struck me that I should probably do something about it. But first, pants.

After shoving me legs into some shorts I stalked from my wardrobe, shoving my emotions into a black pit and tamping them down until it was inescapable. Still bleeding I made for the bathroom, a red towel pressed to my face with my head turned upward.

I figured looking up and walking at the same time is never a good idea.

I backed into a solid form, rebounding as I spun around. "What the—?"

"Lord Xavian requests your presence in the Battle Arena."

"Who the Hell is—oh." I stopped abruptly, giving myself a mental face-palm. How could I forget? The Prince's birth name, the one he so hated. I found a grin etched into my face as I remembered how much he detested the name. I just had to know what it meant. Maybe I should start calling him by that name…

My eyes flashed upward as what the guy said finally registered in my mind. Narrowing them, I found myself speaking to him.

"Why? What does he want?"

"That is your concern, not mine. My objective is to lead you there, and I will do so in any matter I see fit."

My brows rose as I crossed my non-used hand. "Oh really?" As I said it I took in the guy's features, and was shocked the second I did. He looked about twenty, twenty-one tops, with sandy brown hair cropped close to his head. His arms were roped in muscle upon muscle of brute strength and he stood well over six feet tall. He had a browning gash sliced into his face, with deep brown eyes that looked down at me with near boredom lining them. Okay, so maybe he was a little threatening…

He leaned down toward me, eyes narrowed at my challenge. "You want to risk defying me?"

Okay, very threatening.

"What is it with all the people around here speaking so formally?" I'd noticed the way Fang had talked to his father, the King. He too had spoken like he was millennia old. It was a total drag.

The guy obviously realized I wasn't looking for a fight (well, not with him) and backed off, turning away and striding from the wall. Sighing, I took that as my cue to follow, wondering the whole time what exactly Fang wanted.

And more distressingly, why he wanted me in the Battle Arena.

"The Demon Lord awaits your presence through there," the big brute said, coming to an abrupt halt. He indicated down the hall to a big double door entrance with one massive hand, index finger pointing down the pathway.

"Again with the formalities," I muttered, thinking about the way everyone seemed to be calling Fang "Lord" or "Master" or any other variation of the word. It was so…ugh, weird. I still held the stupid towel to my face, and the blood was now beginning to drain down my arm. I rolled my eyes in exaggeration and annoyance. Why did it continue to insist on bleeding like that?

"I wish you luck, I believe you will need it."

"Joy," I muttered as I walked down the hall. I had long since given up on the idea that I could ever beat Fang at anything. I knew it was impossible for the world to produce something perfect, but Fang was as damn close as it got that was for sure

The doors greeted me after I had cleared the hall. Turning back I realized the guy had vanished, leaving me in this frozen palace to face, well, him. I hadn't seen Fang since that episode in his room, and I had been avoiding him ever since. Not that I could avoid him if he were truly looking for me, but I insisted on lying to myself. I had spent the course of the entire night after that little meeting plotting my escape from the Underworld, and so far had come up with pretty much nothing. I didn't have Iggy to blow my way through, and I had no idea where those damn teleports were. I had no idea where the one I had used, or rather, been forced to use, was, and I had a feeling it was nowhere I would be able to find it. I wasn't a fool—I could put A and B together. I just didn't particularly like the product. Unless I found a ticket out of here, I was officially stuck for life. I'd never see Iggy or Nudge again. Even Jeb. I'd never get to lay my eyes on them, never be able to go home to my old life. I'd basically left them without them even knowing where I had gone. Everyone would just assume I was stolen…or worse. I groaned aloud, my arm now drained with crimson blood. "This is not the time Max," I muttered to myself as I pushed open the doors to the Arena.

And what a freaking Arena it was.

My eyes poured over the oval shaped stadium. I was greeted by a huge black floor, followed by row upon row of chairs, all in an identical ovular shape. And at the very top sat two thrones, both made of black onyx. For the King and Queen no doubt. As I ogled at the impossible size, I didn't even realize the fight going on right in front of my eyes. Directly in my line of sight were two men, each wielding a sword of differing colours. The shorter one, who was currently on the defensive, was over six feet, with a stockier frame than the other. His sword looked to be made of steel, with a jeweled hilt attached to the magnificent weapon. A blue sapphire sat embedded into the hilt, gleaming in the light as he moved to block the other's attack. He was moving too fast to recognize any of his features, and I wasn't sure if I knew him or not. The other though was unmistakable, his graceful movements and dark features standing out like a candle in a dark room. Maybe that was a bad analogy to describe Fang…

Fang moved with a speed that made me feel dizzy, using his sword more like an axe than the graceful moves I saw in movies. He looked ruthless on the battle field, his black eyes lit up with anticipation and excitement, the darkness flaring as he attacked his opponent brutally. He almost looked crazed as he flexed his muscles with his sword, bringing it down on the poor guy he was challenging. Fang wasn't wearing a shirt, so his tanned skin was a show in itself, keeping me entertained enough to stand there silent. The only thing he was wearing across his torso was a roped necklace with an exceptionally sharp tooth threaded onto it. If I hadn't of known better I'd have thought it was a shark's tooth, but this thing was massive, bigger than my longest finger and sharper than anything I'd ever seen. It curved slightly like a crescent moon, and looked more like a claw than a tooth. But there was no mistaking that it was a tooth. Huh, ironic that he called himself Fang.

I watched with unbreakable concentration as Fang hacked at the other Demon's sword, slicing it from his hands and sending it sprawling into the floor, which, I had finally realized, was nothing but dirt. How it was black though was foreign to me. Fang pushed the guy down with his foot, forcing him to the ground with the help of his sword. Pointing the tip into his opponent's throat, I took in the beauty of his sword. Made of complete onyx (big surprise there) the black tip literally gleamed in the light, a threatening shine that almost laughed at its prey. The tip was as sharp as the fang hanging around his neck, and I realized with interest that the entire sword was shaped into a…Dragon? Yes, it was a dragon. The blade of the sword had a Dragon body coiling around it, claws embedded into the sharpness of it. The hilt was molded into razor sharp Dragon wings that could slice an opponent in half. Lastly were the red eyes, two rubies that gleamed threateningly. What an amazing sword! I stood there marveling at it as a smile broke out onto Fang's face. Whoa, was I seeing this? Were my eyes betraying me? An actual smile crossing the Demon Prince's face? And a genuine one no less? No, impossible.

Is it sad that I'm reduced to using sarcasm on myself now?

"I win again Dragon," Fang remarked, pulling the guy from the ground and off his back. I watched as the man stood to his full height, noticing in astonishment that he was a lot taller than I had thought. And God was he handsome! He stood at the same height as Fang now, his frame bulkier than the Demon Prince. He had eyes the colour of rubies, the same as the glowing jewels in Fang's sword. His hair was a coiling gold, framing his face in tendrils of silk. With skin a tad lighter than Fang he was truly one of the most beautiful people I had ever seen, and I just couldn't keep my mouth from falling open. How could I have missed him? How could I have missed how stunning he was?

The man turned his red gaze on me, his brows raised as he finally noticed me and my bleeding gash. His mouth spread into an animistic smile, sharp fangs showing white as he did so.

"Fang, your woman has arrived. And I suspect she was witness to my, oh so embarrassing defeat." The sarcasm dripped from his voice almost inconspicuously, the seductive, honey sweet voice drowning my ears in bliss. Who was this guy?

"Lay off with the charm," Fang replied, and I could tell he was rolling his eyes.

Golden boy retrieved his sword from the dirt before running it through the ground once more. He used the massive thing as a something to lean on, and I realized it was more than half his height. Jesus, I'd never seen such as huge weapon.

He snorted. "What charm? This is pure an-turn-al." He was grinning still, and I soon found myself grinning along with him, my mouth pulled into a smile almost against my will. It was weird, but I took an instant liking to him.

"Ooh, better watch out Ave, she's checking me out. Better claim her before I do."

Fang turned around to face the Golden Boy, allowing me to see his face. He was still grinning. "You're such a tool."

He turned his perfectly angular face toward me with mock offense plastered to the perfection that was him. I never thought I'd meet someone who would rival Fang so easily in looks. "Excuse me miss, but do I look like a tool to you?"

It took me a while to realize that he was talking to me and I stumbled over my words. "I, um…well, no?"

"And there you have it folks, I am not a tool!" His mouth settled into a half smile that spelled trouble. "So m'dear, what might I ask, is your name?"

I bit my lip. Was this guy for real? Was I for real? Oh my God, I was actually embarrassed to talk to this guy. My gaze flickered to Fang, who was smiling crookedly as he sharpened the blade of his sword. He was obviously enjoying this, which confused me a little. Fang was one of those seriously possessive people, and ever since I'd been here he'd treated me like I was some kind of prized trophy that no-one could touch. So I had no idea why he wasn't snapping at this guy's flirting. Why he was encouraging it no less!

When I realized he was still waiting for a reply I gasped in shock, the red burning my face. "Max! My name is Max. Well, Maximum, but I prefer Max. Max Ride." I mentally kicked myself at how stupid I sounded. Dear Lord, help me.

"Well Maximum, who prefers Max but goes my Max Ride," he said, mocking me, "my name is Ares, as in Ares Greek God of Warfare and Strength, and in some traditions, Fire too. Of course, those myths would be correct."

I blinked, gaping at the man. He looked to be around twenty-one, a few years older than Fang. But…he was a God?

Fang, as if reading my mind, smiled, rolling his eyes as he crossed his arms across his chest in a gesture that was all arrogance. His dark eyes watched me intensely, and I suddenly felt as if my stomach had dropped through the floor. Those eyes…

Mental scream, mental scream, mental scream….

"Of course, he's not actually a God," Fang replied, coming to stand beside Ares. "He just happened to be the one who started the myth. He may have burnt down a few cities over time and earned himself that name."

"Come on, it was one city."

"You ate the King."

"He annoyed me."

Fang half-laughed, an exasperated smile on his face. "So you ate him? I was betting that the Greeks would lose! Do you know how much I lost because of you?"

Ares smirked. "Anything to beat you."

"It's no wonder Sparta loved you, you pretty much fought their enemies for them. And really Ares, you actually used your name for their God?" I'd never seen this side of Fang before, this not-so-serious, carefree attitude that I actually liked.

"Hey, I won that God-ship fare and square. And besides, who cares if I gave them my name to use. Better than yours, Hades."

I turned toward Fang in surprise, who was holding his head in his hand. "I told you not to talk about that damn it!"

Ares just laughed and I turned to him in question. "Let's just say when Ave here gets pissed off he's the walking death. Literally. He earned quite a name for himself after walking through the cities of Ancient Greece."

I was afraid to ask what he meant, but my curiosity had been piqued. "The walking death?"

Fang smiled, his dark eyes focused on me entirely. "I never used to agree with the way humans ruled their kingdoms," he said, thinking back. "I think I may have caused all of Athen's crops to wilt as I passed through the fields…whenever I pass into the Human Realm my presence and emotions seem to have a great effect on the Plain."

"Okay, he pretty much caused starvation whenever he got pissed off, created uncontrollable weather wherever he went and struck fear into the hearts of the people everywhere. Hence, he was known as Hades, God of the Underworld. Not too far from the truth now is it?"

I couldn't believe this. I was standing in front of two of the most renowned Gods known to man. After meeting them, I could understand why they were known for their particular Deity. And it explained why whenever Fang was around the weather turned stormy and black.

As I processed everything I had just learned a thought struck my brain and I instantly wondered why I hadn't realized it earlier.

"You guys, everyone here…they're ancient, aren't they?" Fang and Ares turned toward me, their eyes meeting mine in unison. "You're…immortal?" I'd never thought about it before, but it was the only possibility. If they'd been alive in the time of Ancient Greece…

"Not everyone," Fang said, twirling his sword around in his hands. "Only the most powerful are immortal. Everyone else is simply ageless."

I snorted. "And there's a difference?"

Black eyes bore into me. "Yes. Being ageless means you don't age. Being immortal means you don't die." I almost blanched at his bluntness. Almost.

"All those stories about vampires being immortal yet they can still be beheaded or staked? That's not immortality, that's agelessness." Ares had gone serious, his red eyes darkening. He looked a little distant, as if he were thinking about something else, something that wasn't currently here.

"Thing is, it's impossible for women to be immortal," Fang said, his eyes on Ares as well. "We don't know why but we've never met an immortal woman, and so many who are actually immortal are extremely protective of their mates." Fang's gaze shifted back to me with that same intense look crossing his face.

"That explains the Demon King then," I replied, averting my eyes and turning toward Ares. His eyes were burning fire red, and he seemed jumpy. He caught sight of my gaze and I tried a smile. He didn't exactly respond as I thought he would.

"Uh…Ares, are you—?"

"Xavian, I need to leave," he said, cutting me off. I blinked at the bluntness of how he did it, my anger spiking.

"Hey, you know that was—"

Fang nodded. "Go ahead, I understand. We'll catch up soon, yes?"

Ares grinned. "For the rematch? You're on. Sorry Max, but I need to make sure everything's okay back home."

Suddenly I understood, and another smile settled onto my face. "Sure, we'll talk later." I didn't know why I said it—it's wasn't like we were friends or anything, but to me it just felt right to say.

It was obviously right to him too. "But of course, I don't want either of you to be too deprived of me or my Godliness." He flashed one last grin before disappearing behind a wall of flames that danced around him until engulfing his entire form. When the embers died he was gone. Hmm, stylish. It then registered in my mind that I was now alone with Fang…not good, not good, not—

"You don't have to be scared of me," he said, rolling his eyes as he ran his sword through the ground.

Well… "Is he an old friend?"

"Old? Yes. Friend? Well…" The smile that spread slowly across his face answered my question easily enough.

"Is he a…Demon?"

Fang looked up at me before laughing. "No, he's not. I would advise you not to let him hear you call him one either. Ares is a Dragon, fire breathing and all."

"Wait, there are Dragons now?" Dragons? Next thing he'd be telling me there were little fairies that hid your keys and Gremlins that stole children and replaced them with little Fey Halflings.

"Of course. You don't think that Humans could come up with something as creative as a Dragon do you?"

I decided he seriously needed to stop paying out humans. Eyeing his sword, I asked; "why does your sword depict a dragon? I'd expect that to belong to Ares, not you."

"Dragons are soldiers of the Demonic Realm. As mighty as they are they all fall under the rule of the Demon King. Since the beginning of time, Dragons have been used to depict the Demonic race, just like a Human flag represents a certain nation. Then the first Dragon was born, but the price of life for the race was undying loyalty to ours. So despite the fact that they are actually a race in themselves, the Demons are their ancestors. It is the same as the Dark Witches. They too are bound to our race."

Witches…peachy. "So then the Dragons have no King?"

Fang smiled. "I didn't say that. Ares? He's their King. His father died a few centuries ago, hence he's a fairly new King. His mate, Queen Azkadelia, is a Dark Witch. Like you, she always thought herself a human. But Ares, being his old painful self, just loved mucking around with humans. The second he stumbled across that woman…" Fang grinned, shaking his head. "She is the death of him, I can tell you now. That's why he just left. After you reminded him that she is prone to die any second because she isn't immortal…well he gets very touchy over it."

Wait on… "You speak as if Ares is immortal. How does that work if his father died a couple of centuries ago?"

"Immortals are few and far between. Only the most powerful of any race are chosen to be immortal. Out of every single Demon here on this Plain there are but two immortals. My father, and myself. Immortality isn't something you can earn or gain. It's something you're born with, both a gift and a curse."

"A curse? How is being indestructible a curse?"

Fang half-smiled. "If you want to die, it's impossible. At least when you are ageless you can take your life, end it."

Well, he had a point.

We stood in silence for a bit, and I finally remembered the blood running down my arm.

"Oh, crap." I pulled the towel from my check, and to my dismay it was still freaking bleeding. "You'd think that this would stop after a—" I cut myself off as I jumped, falling backward in surprise as Fang's form materialized in front of me. His hand wrapped around my arm to steady me, obsidian eyes focused on my cheek. The heat of Fang's body seared my skin. How couldn't I have noticed how hot his body was? The temperature of his skin was like being in a heated room after hiking across Antarctica. A shiver ran down my spine and I felt as if someone had stood on my grave.

Great, I was quoting Jeb now.

"Are you okay?" he asked, gripping my chin and angling the gash upward so that he could see. "How did you do this?" his finger smeared blood across my face as he touched the cut gingerly.

"Me and glass, not a good combination." No, me and glass was the equivalent of Iggy and bombs together faced with a mathematics classroom. Teacher preferably inside.

Fang frowned and waited for an elaboration. Sighing, I continued. "I was angry at Lissa and at you so I went on a rampage through my room, fell over and my head was just a bit too close to the glass."

"You were angry with me?" he asked. He sounded so innocent…ugh, what the Hell was going on around here?

"Why didn't you just do what you wanted with me while you had the opportunity?" I blurted before realizing what I had said. Well done Max, well done.

"There's something you should know about what Lissa did to you. It's her specialized power—it makes the person under her influence lose control to their most hidden desires and emotions."

I laughed, a suspiciously guilty laugh that sounded almost hysterical. Let's put it this way, if I were to try and convince myself with that laugh I would fail. "I don't like you Fang, so don't even go there."

His only answer was a predatory smile that had me backing up immediately. His onyx eyes locked with mine and I was unable to move them. My body matched a second later as I backed into the second entrance door. His hands came to rest beside my head as he leaned into me, his necklace dangling as I shrunk away. What happened to the bad-ass Max I had come to know? What happened to the girl that didn't take shit from anyone? Because this certainly wasn't her.

"You don't like me?" he asked in a low, low voice. It was all I could do not to close my eyes at the sound of it. I managed a shake of my head but still couldn't shake his eyes. His dark, mysterious, beautiful eyes…

Damn it Max, stop it!

"Not even a little bit?" he asked, his breath hot on my neck. I was still bleeding damn it, why wouldn't that stop?

And no, I wasn't trying to distract myself from Fang using my bleeding face.

Well, not completely…

Okay, maybe a little bit.

"No," I whispered, eyes wide as I watched him move his face until he was inches from my lips. He pulled his right arm from the wall, leaning his body against his left as his right hand stroked the bloody side of my face.

"And if I were to kiss you now you wouldn't react at all?"

Well… "No," I replied, more to myself and my stupid thoughts than him. I then realized how much of a mistake that answer was.

"In that case," he murmured, pulling my face up toward his. No. No, no, no, no, no! If he kissed me I was screwed. I wouldn't be able to help myself. My heart was already beating at a hundred miles per second, and his searing touch wasn't helping. I needed a distraction, anything to stop him from getting any closer to me…

"Where'd you get this from?" I asked too quickly, my hand snaring around the black rope that bound his tooth to the necklace. I pulled it in my panic and in doing so forced his body even closer to me, his whole body jerking forward until he was the only thing I could see. Space was non-existent now. Fang's right arm fell beside my head to brace himself as he was pulled downward. And, seeing as though I was significantly smaller, he was jerked a long way downward.

Well, that didn't work.

Fang smiled seductively, his lips curving into a tempting look that screamed danger. My heart sped faster and my breathing was rasped. This wasn't happening. There was no way this was happening. His right arm moved from the wall as his hand curved around my own, the heat of his touch becoming the flame to this icy prison. He gently disentangled my hand from the fang, allowing him to stand back up again. There was a knowing smile sliced into his features, and for some reason I felt embarrassed beyond belief. And I was still bleeding.

Holding the tooth in his fingertips, Fang's eyes became distant as a less tempting smile and a more befriending one came to his face. "A long while ago, Ares challenged me. He bet me his sword that I wouldn't be able to rip one of his fangs from his mouth in Dragon form. He lost."

"So that onyx sword…it's Ares"?"

He nodded. "Yes."

"It's a beautiful sword…"

"That it is," Fang replied, eyes fading into a deep crimson red. I swallowed the burning lump inside my throat. I swear, you'd think I'd have swallowed a medicine ball or something. And still I couldn't move. I was frozen in spot, yet I was far from freezing, not with Fang's temperature keeping me as warm as molten lava.

And then he was moving again, his hand steadying my face and tilting my chin upward. I had no distractions this time, nothing left to stop what was happening. His bare arms and chest encased me in a prison I simply couldn't escape. One I wasn't sure I wanted to escape. And as he made to kiss me, his black eyes a fiery crimson, I accepted it, accepted him. It was going to happen and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I didn't know if I wanted to stop it. And so I wrapped my arms around his neck, my nails gliding through his hair as I did so. He took a deep, calming breath as I noticed the shudder than ran through his body. Eyes rolling into the back of his head, I shivered as well, my heart threatening to jump out of my chest. I didn't know why I was doing this, didn't know why I was letting Fang touch me like this, but I felt if he stopped now I'd feel deprived, I'd feel wrong. What is the matter with me? Fang's desirable eyes focused on me once more and the animalistic growl that left his throat just happened to make me want him even more. Just another inch…

There was an audible clearing of a throat and Fang was instantly snapped from his trance, stopping short.

"If you two are finished eye-fucking each other, we've got business to attend to." I blinked. That couldn't be…

"Ares, I thought you were going to check on your woman," Fang growled, his breathing angry and fast.

"Present!" came an oddly cheerful voice. It was meant to be antagonizing, and I bit my lip to stop from smiling. Looking up at Fang I placed my hands on his chest and pushed gently. He didn't seem to be in the mood to move. Sighing I shoved him aside with more force and he budged, moving to my right side so that I could see the group that had entered the Arena using the door opposite to ours. Fang rested his arm above my head as he leaned over me in a…possessive gesture? Oh great, what the Hell did I just get myself into?

Ares stood smirking at Fang, his red eyes looking from him to me and back. Next to him was a girl that looked to be my age, with raven black hair streaked with fire red colouring. She had the oddest coloured eyes—honey gold that matched the beautiful tendrils of Ares" hair. She had perfectly shaped red lips with milk white skin to rival my own. A foot or so taller than myself, she looked tiny in comparison to Ares. She was one of those "curves in all the right places" people who would have made the most stunning model if not for her height. Just by looking at her you could tell she looked nothing like a Human. She was far too beautiful, and her golden eyes looked as if they held many secrets. When she noticed my gaze she smiled brightly, showing off perfectly white teeth. So, this is why Fang wasn't annoyed or pissed off by Ares" flirting—he had this raven beauty all to himself. Queen Azkadelia.

And then there were the Demons; Dylan, Ella, Ari, Sam, Tessa and, a personal favourite, Lissa. She was glaring daggers at me and I fought the urge to laugh yelling "Your plan backfired bitch!"

Fang was not happy to see any of them. His eyes, red eyes that had been full of desire a moment before, were now filled with rage, the reddish tinge altering in shade.

"What do you want?" he snarled. It was a rarity for Fang to snap at anyone, so he must be pretty shaken. Oh my God, was I actually talking about Fang as if I'd known him for years? Mental scream, mental scream, mental scream…

"We're leaving for the Human Plain, hurry up." Ares stood waiting and I realized that it wasn't Dylan addressing Fang like usual, it was Ares. It seemed that with Ares around Dylan was just another soldier. Wow, he must have been an extremely important person to Fang.

And then another thing registered.

"Human Plain? You guys are going home?"

Fang's eyes flickered toward me, his face impassive once more. "Yes."


"No," he said, cutting me off.

My anger flaring, I raised my voice. "Why can't I go? Huh? She's going," I pointed at Ella, who Dylan instinctively wrapped an arm around.

"Because she has a loyal bond with my people. You however do not. When you can be trusted then we will take you."


Fang leaned into me again, his body becoming my barrier between the world once again, blocking out every other person in the Arena.

"Alright?" he asked, his eyes flaring again.

I deflated, my head falling against his shoulder and into the crook of his neck without my even thinking about it. I didn't get this sudden attraction to him. Well, it wasn't a sudden attraction to him—I'd always been attracted to him—it was more like a sudden flaring of want, a sudden need to be with him. There was just something about the Fang that Ares brought out. He was…likeable. Actually, he was more than likeable.

"I promise you, I will take you with me when my father okays it, but you have to promise me you'll try to co-operate. If you relax, you'll find you like it here. My father has asked me to train you so that you can use your powers. Would you like that?"

"Hello? We want to go now…" Sam complained. We both ignored him, trapped in our own little world, our own zone.

I nodded against him, feeling kind of depressed. What happened to my emotions being locked away people? Seriously, take the feelings away, I don't need them…

"This'll scar if you're not careful," he muttered, turning my cheek to see the huge gash sliced through my face.

"Oh, I never even thought about it. I guess it will…" For some reason I couldn't make myself care. Why was Fang being so, so…

Why was he being so Angelic?

"We can't have your face marred by this thing," he said, running his hand down the now crusted blood. The wound had begun to close and the bleeding had finally stopped. But my face and arm were both drenched in the crimson juices of my body. Great.

"Sorry about the blood," I said, tired now. I was feeling lethargic, that's what it was. All of a sudden I just needed to sleep.

"You can't help that you bleed," he said, laughing silently. His body vibrated and I sighed in contentment.

"No, I mean it was on my arms when you went to kiss me." Yes, I was definitely feeling tired.

"You need to sleep and shower. I have a feeling I'll be back before you're even awake." For some reason I smiled at that. It would be as if he'd never left in the first place.

"Oh, well I guess people are waiting for you so…" I tried to move around him so that he wouldn't keep them waiting, but his hand on my arm stopped me dead. I sighed, turning toward him. I knew why I was so depressed.

I was being left behind.

Ew, and I was getting emotional over that.

God help me.


I looked downward, swallowing hard. "Yeah?"

"Look at me." Slowly, against my will, I turned to face him. "I will bring you with me when I can, okay?" He looked genuine and I smiled. For once I actually believed him. Wow, maybe the planets were aligning.

I nodded. "Yeah."

"And Max?" He pulled me back to him again, his arms wrapping around my waist and forcing me into him. His lips were on mine a second later, hands running through my hair and sending shivers up my spine. My mouth opened to his willingly as I breathed in his scent, my arms wrapping around his neck. Time stopped as I drowned myself in him, drowned myself in the being that was simply Fang. Please, never let this end…

When he pulled away from me he looked shaken, red eyes wide as he gazed down at me.

"Shower, sleep. We'll be back soon." He smiled before disappearing, his body dematerializing into a cloud of black smoke. I realized that the others were gone too, Fang's body no longer blocking my view. Feeling alone at last I slid down the door, my head in my hands. I knew how to get out of here. My pathway to freedom was right in front of me. All I had to do was get them to take me to the Human Plain. All I needed to do to get there was make them trust me. It should've been easy, simple. But I couldn't deny it anymore. The longer I stayed here the less I wanted to leave…

And my ticket out of this Hellhole may just be the reason I wanted to stay.

See, it was really, REALLY long. Anyway, please review. If you hated the length this is a one off, don't worry. REVIEW! Next one should be up soon, I hope=)

18. Chapter 18

"Well, that was pretty good timing if you asked me," Azkadelia stated cheerfully, her antagonizing tone irking me greatly. But if I made a move to shut her up Ares would have me flattened in an instant. I knew he was the only person other than my father and the Angel King to rival me in strength, so I let her annoy me, enduring her provoking voice. She was the only one that had dared to risk my anger over being interrupted with Max, despite my wish to be left alone. So, she was either extremely courageous or insane.

Ares dropped an arm around his mate, a smirk plastered to his face. He leaned into her, whispering something into her ear. The gesture earned him a bell-like laugh, a distinctively feminine sound that left Ares" eyes shining fire red.

"Now, now Witch," he said aloud as we walked through the Human mall, "play nice."

The woman snorted, tossing black hair over her shoulders as she hip-bumped Ares away from her. "Yeah, yeah, whatever. So what exactly are we doing here anyway?"

"Apparently we were just here to torture humans and cause trouble," Ari replied, a malicious grin framing his face.

Azkadelia scowled, annoyed now. Good. "I really wish you wouldn't talk about Humans as if we're scum, it's insulting." Having lived her entire life out as a Human, Azkadelia frequently addressed herself as one without even realizing.

"In case you haven't realized Az, you aren't a Human," Tess replied bluntly, as was her way.

The Dragon Queen huffed out a breath of air, blowing her fringe out of her eyes. She said nothing, going quiet beside Ares. It was always a touchy subject with Azkadelia—she knew she was a Witch, and a powerful one at that, but in her heart she'd always be a Human.

Ares turned serious, his ruby gaze settling on the Queen's impassive face. "You okay?" he asked quietly, so low I barely heard it.

"Fine," she replied, but her eyes gave away her true emotions. The caramel gold phased into a deep, sapphire blue, darker than the depths of the oceans themselves. "She's right after all."


Azkadelia sighed, gritting her teeth. "They're blue again, aren't they?"

Smiling sheepishly, Ares nodded. "Yeah."

"Damn it." Closing her eyes briefly, the Queen concentrated on forcing her eyes back to their molten gold colour. But to do that she had to drive her emotions back. It took her a few moments, but Azkadelia's eyes soon morphed back into a contented gold shade, symbolizing her happiness, joy and to people who knew her, power. Smiling, she looked up at Ares.


He nodded, "Yes."

"Good. So then, who are we tormenting first?"

I knew how hard it must have been for her to say that, and I respected her strength. She had the makings of a Queen that was for sure.

"Well I don't know about you savage beings, but I'd like to check out the jewelry store thank-you." Ella bounced alongside Dylan, her footing light as she sparked with energy. She was one of those optimistic kinds of people that Humans assumed were on drugs twenty-four seven. Dylan, unable to deny her anything, smiled, guiding her along to the nearest rock store, or at least, that's what I liked to call it. Nothing better than people who sold rocks found in the ground for much more than it cost to mine it. The rest of the group, with nothing else to do, followed them, looking more like a clique of loitering teenagers clad in black than customers. We looked like trouble-makers, which was probably the understatement of the century.

Ella was already pointing things out to Dylan, a mischievous gleam in her eyes. Sam was bickering with Tess over one thing or another—an odd friendship that was; they were both so different to each other. Lissa was flirting with the store manager, her red hair coiling down her front. She smiled a dazzling smile that had the young man blanching at the sight of it. I grinned myself, remembering cutting her stomach in half. She was probably still healing from the wound. It had taken a while for her intestines to grow back, even with the help of Dylan's healing. And then there was Ari, sulking in a corner as usual. Normally I'd just laugh, finding all this amusing. But for some reason I couldn't bring myself to care enough about any of it, any of them. Even Ares, who I hadn't seen in almost fifty years, couldn't snare my attention. And damn it, I knew the cause too. It was Max. She was killing me, weaving her way into my life and turning me inside out. I couldn't explain the instant rushes, the bursts of adrenaline I had whenever she was around. I'd been attracted to her from the beginning, even before I knew she was Ella's sister. But once I'd discovered she wasn't a Human…

…well I couldn't stop thinking about her.

I'd lived through centuries of my life being told over and over by my father that Humans were weak, powerless and extremely mortal. There was no point getting involved with them—they'd be gone in the blink of an eye. I'd stuck by his rule—until I met Max, a girl I hadn't been able to shake. I had even tried using her fears against her and that had failed. She'd just retaliated. And when I'd found out she was the Demon/Angel Halfling we'd been searching for…well, my defensive walls had crumbled and I'd gone for it, gone for her. Even now I was thinking about her, even now I was thinking of ways I could make her trust me, want me. It was insane, these new feelings that were drowning me in a sea of emotion. On the outside I was calm, collected, impassive. Underneath? I was being chipped away, bit by bit. And Max was the one with the damn pick.

Damn it, what the Hell is wrong with me?

I'd seen the disbelief in her eyes when she's heard I was the Greek God Hades, followed by an amused look that I hadn't expected to see. And when I had cornered her, the desire that shone in the brown of her eyes had my skin searing hotter than usual. The second she tried to distract me by pulling on my necklace I realized she wanted me more than she understood, that her body was acting without her mind thinking it through first. And then she jerked me into her during her panic, forcing me to brace myself using the wall to stop from crushing her. I felt the predatory look cross my face inch by inch, until she was smothered by an air of desire that had me slowly choking as well. And when she finally let me in, finally let me kiss her willingly…I could barely contain the animalistic nature that was screaming to burst free from its cage, to burst free from my body.

And then Ares just happened to show up.

I guess that was payback.

"Yeah, it was," Ares said as he came to stand beside me. He leaned on the glass show case, the jewelry shining brilliantly despite its cage. The saleswoman caught site of the two of us and she instantly fell in a trance, her eyes clouding slightly as a lopsided grin slid across her face. I shook my head in annoyance, trying to ignore her lingering stares. If only they understood when people weren't interested.

"You know, I hate it when people read my mind."

Ares looked surprised. "Really? You hate it? I never would have guessed that Xavian, Lord of impassiveness, solitude, violence and seclusion, rivaled by only the Demon King, would hate his mind being read." Ares snorted, rolling his eyes, the sarcasm dripping from his words heavily. "I know you do, but Ave your thoughts are running wild and free, and might I add loudly as well?"

Great. "Still, the interruption was uncalled for," I noted lowly, remembering his disturbance earlier.

Ares shook his head in exasperation. "You walked in on me whilst in a much, much worse scenario. Do you know how long it took me to convince Azkadelia to let me touch her in any way after that? I honestly felt like killing you, except I'm your friend…and that would be illegal. Not that that was my reasoning behind my actions or lack thereof…And do you know how much she screamed? And at me no less!" Ares narrowed his eyes at me, red fire dancing across his perfect complexion.

"Well I didn't know you were attempting to seduce a Witch," I replied coolly, black eyes gazing down at the store's inventory. Humans did have nice things to purchase, I'd give them that.

"Attempting?" he scoffed, a sharp gleam in the depths of his eyes.

"Thought she wouldn't let you touch her," I retorted, brows raised.

The Dragon made to reply, but his Queen cut him off, pushing her way gently between Ares and myself. She was biting her lip like usual, a habit the Dragon King found "adorable" for some reason. Facing me Azkadelia smiled, a dazzling smile that had me blinking as well as the woman behind the counter. Typical of the Humans to find anything supernatural beautiful. Although, I couldn't call the woman standing in front of me anything other than stunningly gorgeous. But it didn't matter, because in my opinion she didn't have an inch on Max.

Shows how much you know, Ares said, grinning mentally.

Fuck off, I replied into his mind as I gazed down at Azkadelia. "What's up?"

"Check it out," she said, ignorant of my mental conversation with the Dragon King. The woman's hands were cupped together to make a bowl-like shape that was holding a flat, rectangular box that shone a deep cobalt colour. I took the case from her small hands, flipping the lid open to reveal a thin golden chain with an equally golden dragon charm threaded onto it. The dragon had a small red ruby for an eye, the jewel gleaming in the light.

"Something to remember the Dragon Realm by."

I smiled softly, almost touched. "You do realize that she barely knows you, right?"

She shrugged. "For now. And besides, every girl loves a gift, you should do well to remember that Demon Prince." She smiled as Ares folded his arms around her significantly smaller frame, his head coming to rest in the crook of her neck as he watched my reactions over her shoulder. I felt a jolt of lightning flare through my body and frowned in confusion. What the Hell was that? That sensation settled in the bottom of my stomach, a coiling feeling that left me feeling oddly angry.

That would be jealousy my friend, Ares said, and for once there was no mocking in his tone, no gloating. He actually seemed sympathetic. Rolling my eyes, I mentally brushed off the comment, ignoring it. I wasn't envious, was I? That couldn't be possible—what did I have to be envious of? I found my eyes cast downward, the dark globes settling on something that almost burnt my eyes it was so blinding. Hmm, interesting…


I turned to face Dylan as we walked, his turquoise eyes light and carefree for once. He looked a little more like himself. Ever since we'd realized Max was who we were looking for Ella had been in constant danger whenever she left the Demonic Realm, and that always took a lot out of Dylan.


"Is it true? Are we teaching Max how to fight?"

I nodded. "We are. Both her and Ella. And then we start on the real stuff, once Max gets into her powers. And once we figure out what she specializes in."

"That will be interesting," he replied, smiling crookedly.

"What will also be interesting is how Max and Ella work together. If this prophecy is true…we'll be unstoppable," Ares remarked, his eyes watching ahead of him where Azkadelia walked arm in arm with Ella. I swear, did he ever stop looking at her?

I nodded in agreement. "Yes, between us, the others, Max, Ella the Demon King and Azkadelia's power…We will be unstoppable."

Ares looked concerned at the thought of Azkadelia being involved in any fight. Well, he needed to suck it up. She was literally our death weapon. Max and Ella would tip the balance—but Azkadelia was needed above all else.

"And what of the Demon Queen?" Ares asked, grimacing at the thought. Dylan and I joined him.

"Well…" Dylan began, not really wanting to elaborate.

"She'll probably be locked up somewhere deep inside the palace." Yeah, to stop her from getting out.

"Do you—" Dylan was cut off before he could even begin to say something.

"Hey Dylan, check it out! Mall Witches," Ella joked, coming to a halt with the Dragon Queen.

The rest of the group, excluding Lissa who had disappeared a while ago, caught up the two women, who were both checking out the "Witch."

"Come on, let's see what's on sale. I love novelties." Smiling she took hold of Ares arm and began dragging him along, all the while muttering about mini potion bottles or something along those lines. Ares, shaking his head, turned back to the rest of us and gestured to follow. I left Max for this? Cheap novelties? Great.

And so, having nothing better to do, we followed the couple into the little Witch's shop, an old styled shop that was meant to give the store a supernatural effect. I can tell you now Human, Witches" homes do not look like this. After moving through the door we were met with a huge cauldron, another prop Witches didn't use. All around were herbs, spices, charms, amulets, spells, books, potions…I shook my head in dismay. If any of this were real the shop would have been raided the second it opened. An amulet was hard enough to come by, let alone a spell book. The best Witches didn't need them to cast spells, curses…but with them, things got messy.

"Hey look, the girl's doing magic tricks," Ella said from beside Dylan. We all turned to face the old wooden stage, where a pretty girl stood bowing. She was grinning triumphantly, sweat beading on her forehead. And then the heat hit me, a rush of searing warmth on the back of my neck.


"The girl is tied in with King Gabriel," I whispered calmly to Dylan. He nodded slightly in confirmation.

"Any threats?"

"None I see. There are no actual Angels around, but this girl is a White Witch. Doesn't look powerful, but I can't tell for sure."

"Do we need to get the girls out of here?" was his next question.

I shook my head, smiling slightly. "No, they'll be fine."

"I hope you're not talking about me," Tess stated bluntly as she appeared on my left side. She leant against the wall as we watched the Witch perform her tricks.

"Don't worry, we're not," Dylan replied as he watched Ella walk away and flip through a tea-stained book. Humans didn't even realize the difference between fake and real.

"Hmm…she's not very good is she?" Tess noted. Her eyes were focused on the girl, who couldn't have been older than twenty-one. She had pretty blonde hair that fell over her shoulders in fat ringlets. Currently her arms were outstretched, her hands encasing thin air. Sweat was dripping down her face as she tried to do…something. What she was trying to do however was beyond me.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," she began, her voice strained. Then, out of thin air, a ball of swirling water appeared, ribbons of transparent liquid chasing itself round and round. A slow smile split across the girl's face as the crowd roared, cheering at her success. And then she let it go, the strain too much for her. The water dripped to the floor before soaking into nothingness, disappearing into a puff of mist. So, she wasn't an elemental Witch, she specialized in Illusions. Nothing she actually did was real then. No, she wasn't a very powerful Witch at all.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," she began again, "thank-you for your support! Now, for this next show of magic I will need a volunteer!"

"I'll be happy to volunteer my services," came an all too familiar voice. Sighing, my thoughts ran down one track and one track only. This couldn't end well…

"Of course Azkadelia's volunteering" Ari said, rolling his eyes.

The White Witch smiled, no idea what she was getting into. As long as she didn't say anything stupid…

"Thank-you, I love it when the People volunteer to help out with my awesome powers. They can be extremely hard to contain."

Azkadelia fought hard not to laugh. "Of course, now what can I help with? I love seeing my Sisters in action."

The girl frowned at that but ignored it, handing the Dragon Queen a camera. "Here, can you take a shot of my next act? I'm sure that's not too difficult for you is it?"

Oh God. Azkadelia blinked, stunned. "Excuse me?"

"It's for a news article. I'm the Witch they're interviewing, and they need a good shot of me."

"Interviewing you? What on Earth for?"

I read her mind before she even spoke the words, but it was too late. By the time Ares heard my warning the sounds were leaving the Witch's mouth.

"I'm the most powerful Witch in the world," she said, smirking at the Dragon Queen. "No-one surpasses my supremacy."

"Well, she's screwed," Ari stated, grinning.

And then Azkadelia's eyes phased into a threatening black shade, a cold, piercing onyx that had the White Witch blinking and stepping back in surprise.

"You?" The Queen asked, stepping further onto the stage. She took a glance at the camera before dropping it onto the floor. "You're honestly telling me that you are the most powerful Witch?" Azkadelia laughed, a dark, menacing sound that caused many in the audience to flinch. Others were hanging on her every word. Things were about to get very…messy.

"I have to get a closer look at this. I haven't seen Az this pissed off in ages. Don't want to pass up the chance." Ari stalked up to the front, pushing kids out of the way to get a view at the brawl that was about to occur.

Tess, sighing, followed her childish friend, rolling her eyes as she did so. Ares soon replaced the two.

"Three, two, one…" Ares sighed as Azkadelia grinned, a predatory look that gave her beautiful face an all too animalistic look. It took a lot to make the Dragon Queen truly angry, but telling her that you were stronger than her was the biggest mistake. Azkadelia was like a Queen to all Witches without truly being a Monarch. This stupid girl didn't even realize the Queen's strength.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I think it's time to have a…Witch off." Azkadelia turned to face the woman, who was probably a few years older than her. "What do you say? Brigid is it?"

The woman just laughed. "Sure, I love shooting the opposition in the foot for them."

"Well then, you may go first. You'll need all the help you can get." The black of Azkadelia's eyes ran into the whites, leaving the globes nothing but Obsidian.

Smiling, the girl outstretched her arms once more, her hands cupping nothing but air. After a full minute of complete silence and concentration a small ball of red fire flickered to life and the crowd cheered, whooping as they jumped on the spot. Azkadelia stood there, as if she expected the flame to escalate into a bush fire. She probably did. When the flame folded in on itself the Dragon Queen stared, mock disgust plain on her face.

"That's it? That's an insult," she spat. The woman, Brigid, looked as if she wanted to snap something back, but Azkadelia was already moving to centre stage with a grace that rivaled my mother's. "Now, in the same amount of time it took my…opponent…to do that pathetic trick, allow me to give you a three phase show. Phase one. Let me show you real fire." With a click of the Queen's fingers and snap of her wrist, Brigid's perfect blonde hair ignited, the paleness becoming quickly enveloped by fire. The woman screamed, her panic hitting extreme as she tried to pat the fire out. The crowd stood stunned as Azkadelia watched the show with an evilly amused smile plastered to her face.

"What's the matter, not hot enough? Allow me to fix the problem. Phase two, in action." Her mouth formed a delicate "O" as she blew a breath of warm air at her opponent. Of course, that was simply for show. Azkadelia could have done what she did next without even thinking about it. Brigid's entire body burst into flames as they began to dance along her body, her screams growing louder, higher. The Queen just grinned.

"Now, what am I missing…Oh yes, I remember," she said with a snap of her fingers. "Phase three, and a personal favourite. Ladies and gentlemen…" With a nod to the audience Azkadelia clapped her hands together. The flames surrounding the White Witch expanded before dematerializing into nothingness, girl and all. Her screams died off in an instant and the crowd roared in amazement, thinking all this was some kind of show. Hmm…they were sorely misin—

"Stop her!" I yelled at Ares, who was next to Azkadelia in an instant. He'd felt them a second after I had.

Angels, and there were lots of them.

"Babe, I need you to bring that girl back."

The Dragon Queen snorted. "Are you kidding me? This is hilarious. How disrespectful is she, thinking that she is so mighty! Nothing can be more tempting than this."

"Oh really?" Ares asked, his voice taking on a Huskier tone at the challenge in her voice. What was it with Dragons and liking a challenge?

His mate brought her black eyes to the King. "Really," she whispered, an even greater defiance.

Ares leant into her, his voice so silent I couldn't even hear what he told her. But it wasn't hard to guess.

"You're right, that is more tempting." Azkadelia's eyes faded into red, her eyes as bright as Ares" as her arms wrapped around his neck.

"I thought you might say that. Now bring her back."

Scowling, Azkadelia rolled her eyes. A second later Brigid dropped from seven feet above the stage to land on the floor, unconscious but not charred.


"Yes, now get that ass out of here and back home before I start getting excited." Grinning he pulled her into him and kissed her, turning his back on the crowd so that no-one could see his Queen.

Angels are coming…now! I shouted into Ares" mind, who in answer threw the finger up at me.

Breaking off, The Dragon Queen stood, red eyes fading back into a shining gold as she attempted to catch her breath. The width of her eyes had grown immensely as she looked at the girl on the floor.

"What happened?"

Of course she forgot.

"Don't worry, just get." Rolling her eyes Azkadelia vanished, her figure disappearing into a wall of flames. Ares was beside me a second later, Sam, Tess, Ella, Dylan and Ari following suit.

"They heard the commotion here. They're coming to check it out."

"So what's the plan Fang?" Dylan asked, taking deep breaths to calm himself. Ella was in danger.

"You three get Ella out of here. Tess, Ares and I can handle the scum." Ares and Tess both nodded their confirmation as the other four disappeared into tendrils of darkness.

"What do you think they want?" Ares asked, gazing around.

"Max and Ella of course," I replied coolly. "But they have no idea about Azkadelia. They probably still assume the Dragon Flame is missing." If they found out that it was inside the Dragon Queen…well, there'd be Hell to pay for that.

"They're here," Ares said at the same time the heat was sprayed across my neck.

"Well, well Xavian, we meet again." I spun to meet the chilling voice that had attempted to intimidate me. A slow, predatory grin cut into my face.

"Hello Valencia."

19. Chapter 19

I had to get out of here God damn it!

Screw gaining trust. Screw waiting for someone to take me from this place of their own accord. I was going to fight my way through, and I didn't care if I got hurt in the process. At this point in time, I probably wouldn't care if I died. I knew that if I spent one more moment in this Hellhole I'd be stuck for life—I'd do something stupid. This place would be my undoing if I wasn't careful.

For once in my entire life I had no idea what was going on. I was confused beyond belief about, well…everything. I'd never truly believed in a God before, but I sure as Hell didn't believe the Demons were meant to be the good guys! I'd spent my life being confident, strong, proud. Arrogant even. I'd used violence as my strategy to keep people at arm's length. I used fighting as my way to deal with the shit that happened in everyone's life. Betrayal, fear, death…And then along came Fang and his dandy little group of soldiers, turning my life to what I like to call a big pile of horse manure. No amount of violence or fighting could possibly turn my life back around. After being assaulted to the point of near death, after being pulverized and threatened to no end, I apparently became some important person and was taken back to this place of torture. And then everything changed. Then everything became what I personally liked to call messed up. Fang wasn't the dick I originally thought him to be, and I had no freaking idea why. His friends had miraculously lightened up, excluding the red-haired bitch Lissa, and I was now somehow related to Ella. Now I was important to them for some reason, and I had no idea how or why. And the saddest part was that I was actually beginning to like these people.

Which was why I was out of here pronto.

Or at least, that was what my train of thought was set on until I opened the door.

"And where do you think you're going in such a rush?" the guy asked, leaning against the door frame as if he had expected me. God, he probably had.

As my eyes scanned their body, trailing from their crossed muscular arms to the extreme red of his eyes, I couldn't help but sigh mentally. Azkadelia was one freaking lucky person. And yet as a stared at the tendrils of gold running through Ares" hair I couldn't help picturing it running into a deep onyx black, eyes fading into a colour as equally bottomless. Argh, was I seriously imagining him? Just another reason to get the Hell out of here…

"Uh, rush? No rush, just going to go…run errands." Wow, was I usually this bad at lying?

"Mm, errands, of course. For who exactly?" he asked, brow raised. Was he mocking me?

I narrowed my eyes in anger, my violent nature threatening to rise to the surface in God knows how long.

"Excuse me Dragon Boy, but weren't you on the Human Plain? How the Hell would you know?"

"Excuse me Demon Girl, but I can read your mind, so don't even bother." Ares was smiling as he shrugged himself off the wall. "What, you actually look surprised that I can. Rule one Max, most high powered beings can. It's a simple skill." His smile turned into a sheepish grin. "Xavian can too."

I took me a while to blink away the surprise and finally manage to shut my mouth. "You mean he…" no wonder he was able to figure out what I was thinking about all the time. It was also how he erased my memories a few days ago. He must have some freaking telepathic ability. And even now as I think about it, it really shouldn't have been very surprising.

"Well either way, I don't think Ave would be very pleased if you somehow tried to escape so please, spare me his anger and get your ass back to the Battle Arena. Apparently we're going to find out what exactly you specialize in."

"I'm not even going to pretend I know what that means, and I'm also not going anywhere near that dick unless my life depended on it."

"Okay then, your life depends on it."

"Screw you," I spat, though nowhere near as vehemently as I would have liked.

"Now how did I know you were going to say that…Oh, that's right, I can read your mind." My eyes narrowed in anger once more as he teased me. "So, are you going to cooperate?"

My mouth twisted into a menacing smirk. "Bite me."

"Oh Max, I live with a woman that will literally turn insane without so much as a warning. You'll have to do much better than that." With that he moved to stand over me, a stance that wasn't predatory as Fang would have made it, but was definitely bordering menacing. He gripped my shoulder, fingers digging into the flesh. Hard.

"Sorry we had to do this the hard way. Kind of." And then he pushed, and by that I mean he literally shoved, forcing his body into my own. The six-foot-four giant sliced into me, his frame molding into my own, mind and all, before throwing my brain into passenger mode and taking over.

What the Hell—?

"Lesson one in Demon Training. Welcome to Possession Max," I heard my own voice answer, realizing all the same that I was no longer in control.

My whole body jerked soundlessly, and I felt as if I were coughing violently without actually coughing. I felt like my internal body was being ripped from its flesh casing, tearing both the breath and strength from me. I watched uncontrollably as another figure exited from my body, their significantly larger frame splitting from my form and stepping out onto the dirt ground. I collapsed to the floor, my body crumpling in exhaustion in the very centre of the Arena. Okay, that was one experience I never wanted to suffer through again. Pain paired with lack of control? Not my most favourable combination at all.

"Well, that was nowhere near as comfortable or as fun as it is with other people," Ares grumbled, flexing his shoulders as he stretched. "Jeez, ever heard of calming down? You're worse than Azkadelia."

I opened my mouth to argue but couldn't form words. I was truly too tired to give a rats arse. Instead I sighed, or rather, groaned, falling to the ground in a starfish shape. "I feel…exhausted."

"Possession takes a lot out of people," I heard Fang say as he appeared above me. Had he always been there…? "And besides, no-one can surpass Azkadelia when it comes to freaking out."

"Hey!" screeched a distinctively feminine voice. The outburst was followed by a blast of white-hot fire, blowing over my body and smashing into Fang's. The force sent him flying backward, his body sprawling toward the floor. As his head was about to connect with the dirt ground I swear I saw the ghost of a smile cross his face before he disappeared, his form avoiding impact as it dematerialized into tendrils of smoky black ribbon.

"Great, now where did he—"

"As I was saying, ignore the reptile, he's cold blooded," Fang continued as he appeared above me once more, hand outstretched. I blinked at his sudden appearance and extended hand like a fool, before he grinned and grasped mine in his unbreakable grip. "And the Queen is insane, so don't mind her. She can't help it." Pulling me to my feet effortlessly, I finally saw the woman that had blasted Fang so easily, so unexpectedly. Fang hadn't even seen it coming. And did she just shoot fire…?

"I'm not insane," she said, waving off the comment with a self-satisfied smile. Her golden eyes met mine and her smile morphed into a grin that I wouldn't exactly call reassuring. "I just lose it sometimes."

"Cold blooded reptile? Hmm, thank-you for that Xavian," Ares said, smirking. "Did I ever get around to telling you what it meant?" he asked me.

That piqued my interest. "Uh, no. I've met you all of twice, remember?"

"Don't you dare," Fang threatened, releasing my arm and turning his heavy gaze toward the Dragon King, stepping toward him and away from me. A thought occurred, and I wondered if Ares could actually turn into a Dragon.

"Oh he can, don't you worry. Massive one too. Scared the Be-Jesus outta me first time I saw that form. Made me realize all my dad's nonsense wasn't actually nonsense at all." Azkadelia had appeared beside me, her slightly taller frame standing proudly. She was smiling fondly, at the thought of her father or her Dragon I didn't know, but it did nothing but enhance her beautiful face.

"You know, it's so weird. People being able to read my mind like that. All this is weird, the Demons, Angels, Dragons, Witches…I still don't believe it, even though the evidence is right in front of me I still can't possibly fathom this. And…" I sighed. And Fang was everything I wanted in a guy, and nothing I wanted in a guy all at once. Although he was steadily becoming the "everything guy" rather than the "nothing guy" by the minute. Unfortunately.

"Trust me, I know the feeling. About this being unfathomable and about Xavian. It's hard believing in nothing then magically believing in everything a moment later. And these Demons…God, they're all so confusing!" Azkadelia laughed, shaking her head. "Who am I kidding? Of course they're confusing. I mean, nothing supernatural is textbook, that's for sure. And this," the woman snapped her fingers and fire shot from the tips before enveloping her hand. I stared wide-eyes at the display of…magic. "This just really sucks." The fire receded back into her hand and she sighed.

"That's really…" I didn't even have a word for how cool that was. Why couldn't I set my hand on fire?

"It's far from cool," she stated in disdain. "I hate it. No privacy, constant danger every second you walk outside of the palace walls…People who want to steal your power—others who wish to use if for their own personal gain. It's horrible and stressful and I hate it." She sighed miserably. "I would be happy to live a Human lifetime without having powers, without being a Queen. I'd be happy to spend a mortal life with Ares and cherish each moment of it." Azkadelia paused momentarily, her eyes falling to the floor desolately. "But it'll never happen. I can die any second, but Ares? He never can and never will. The woes of being immortal. Hence he's forever trying to protect me, trying to make sure I won't break at the next given moment. In that way he reminds me of my father, though it's ironic that my father tried to protect me from the very thing Ares is." Azkadelia was watching her Dragon as he threw Fang into the ground, his grin growing by the second. Or at least it was. Until Fang kicked Ares off him and pinned him with his foot.

"They're not even listening. I know the dirt compliments your face but give up alread—" Ares twisted Fang's leg, causing him to crash downward with the added help of the Dragon's strength. He shoved Fang down. Hard.

"I'm sorry, what?"



"And there they go again," a new voice stated as someone else entered the Arena. Azkadelia and I turned to face her, and were met with a girl that was scarily similar to myself.

"Hey, you took forever," Azkadelia said by way of greeting.

"Sorry, I was going through "safety lesson 101" with Dylan." Ella rolled her hazel eyes and turned toward me. "I see the scar's gone. Looks like Fang is good for something."

Ella was right. Somehow my scar from the glass had been healed after Fang touched me. "Yeah," I said, still not completely okay with the idea that Ella was meant to be my sister.

"So what are they fighting over," she asked, nodding at the two men, who looked more like a couple of football jocks than "all-powerful" beings.

"What do you think?" Azkadelia asked in exasperation. "What Xavian's name means of course."

"What, you mean the Holy One?"

I couldn't help it, I burst out laughing.

"The what?" I asked again, sure I'd misheard.

Ares and Fang had seized their fighting, one laughing the other glaring at Ella. "Thanks Ella."

"You're seriously fighting over that?" she asked, astounded.

"Wow, for once your foot-in-mouth disease has actually been useful," Ares added, still laughing.

"You guys are so immature," Azkadelia said, rolling her eyes.

"What's everyone laughing about?" Ari asked as he stepped into the Arena. Another boy (Sam?) followed, grinning as if he were in on the joke as well.

"Jeez, thanks Ari, we missed the best bit. Fang getting shoved into the dirt by Ares." Sam whacked Ari in the head as he walked in with him, earning an elbow into his ribcage in return.

"Okay, so where's the fighting people? I want to start this training session already."

Fang nodded, becoming solemn once more. His carefree demeanor evaporating into the thick air as his Demonic friends entered the Arena. I felt a pang of sadness as the Fang I was slowly beginning to fall for vanished as if he had never been.

Whoa, did I just think that?


"Present," came a sing-song voice, followed by two girls—one I hated and one I barely knew. Great, there went my mood.

"What are we doing?" I asked, crossing my arms in annoyance and discomfort. I didn't particularly enjoy being surrounded by people…stronger than me. And as much as I hated to admit it, they were stronger than me.

"Kicking peoples" arse. And by that I mean yours," Ari replied, grinning. Usually I"s snap at that, but for some reason I was pretty sure that was exactly what was about to happen.

"First things first, we want to find out what you specialize in," Fang said, ignoring Ari and looked directly at me.

"And that means…?" I asked slowly, gesturing with my hands.

"Oh look, it's like training Ella all over again," Lissa stated sweetly, all the while insulting me and Ella. Bitch.

"Specializing," Azkadelia began, stressing the word and shutting Lissa down. Obviously she didn't like the girl. Hmm, I was really beginning to like this Dragon Queen. "Is when Magic Born beings are dedicated into a specific area or type of magic. For example, I Specialized in the element of Fire." In demonstration she set her body on fire, her entire form swallowed by the fiery flames. And then, as abruptly as the appeared, they were gone.

"Well, I'm not sure that was the best example," Fang said thoughtfully. "Considering your specialcase I'm not sure you Specialized in anything. Either way, that's the main concept Max. It doesn't mean you can't use other kinds magic or that you don't possess other abilities such as telepathy, sight, teleportation etcetera, but it's the one power you're strongest with. Get it?"

Uh… "Yeah, whatever. My main power, like all good cliché movies. But there's one problem—I'm pretty sure that after listening and watching you guys with this magic major crap, I'm not the person you're after."

"Well then, if that's what you believe then that's what you believe. Either way, we're going to find out what your powers are." Fang's face was impassive as he stood next to Ares. That's never a good sign…

"You can do whatever you want because I know I have no "powers." So sorry to disappoint you all…" I shrugged. What could I say, I wasn't really disappointed.

"Well, I thought we'd already established this whole thing, but okay. We're going to run some tests." He grinned, another animalistic smile that had my heart racing. What the Hell was he about to do? This is not going to turn out well…

"Everyone ready?" he asked, his black eyes never leaving my own.

Is it sad that I was the only person that said no?

"Well then, I believe the best way to unleash one's power is to put them on the spot and keep them under pressure. Also known as learning on the job. Ares?"

"How much do you enjoy the heat?" he asked, red eyes coming to life.

"Uh…no comment?" What the Hell was this guy on—?

And then I knew the true meaning of hot.

Where I stood the ground erupted in flames, encasing my body in a fiery prison I couldn't escape. The searing heat licked at my body and I screamed, the pain unbearable. It was like thousands of molten hot needles pricking my skin on a continual basis, forcing me to the ground as the tears spilled from my eyes. Yes, I was crying damn it. I'd never felt anything so painful. I couldn't move, couldn't force myself to even try to get through the vortex of spinning fire that was burning its way into my core. I'm dying, I thought as I choked on the heavy smoke, my hands wrapping around my neck helplessly. They were killing me. These Demons were fucking killing me—

I watched desperately as the wall of fire collapsed into nothingness, the flames dispersing into thin air. As the curtain of dancing fire unveiled itself I locked gaze with Ares, whose red eyes looked pained.

"Aw, look she's crying. God, this can't possibly be the person we need. How can she be the one to trap Gabr—

"Lissa, shut up before I hit you," Azkadelia snapped before Fang had the chance to. She turned toward me with sympathy colouring her eyes. "I'm not sure burning her is the right way to go," she said shoving Ares aside angrily.

"I didn't actually—" Ares began before he was shut down.

"Don't care," Azkadelia replied, cutting him off. I looked down at my body, where not one single mark marred it. Had that been a trick…?

"So if fire doesn't get your heart pumping…" she continued, smiling reassuringly. "I guess we'll have to take a different approach."

"Imminent danger didn't work," Ari noted, face twisted casually in thought. "So…my turn?"

Everyone had turned toward Fang, whose dark and impossibly calm face was observing his surroundings intensely. His obsidian eyes rained down on me and I instantly felt my eyes run dry, my heart jumping as my body sprung to my feet. Fang's impassiveness was maddening, the unfathomable calmness that seemed to shape itself around the Demon constantly. The dizziness sunk in as my disorientated form swayed, blinking away stars as I tried to stay upright. Being caught in the very eye of a literal fire storm had my body near convulsing, the shock and pain unbearable, though through my anger I was strong enough to stay upright, and slowly my façade, my shield of violence, was returning. I hated this Fang, this Demonic version of him. The person that didn't care who or what he hurt. In a way I was thankful—it gave me a true reason to abhor Fang, to despise this place. It made it easier to leave.

I watched the Demon Prince as a startled look crossed the granite smoothness of his face, replacing the usual expressionless features that I personally thought were permanently engraved there. It shocked me before it confused me, the look coming so completely unexpectedly, like snow on a clear summer's day. It was only once the gaze was gone that the curiosity set in. What was that about?

"Go ahead," he replied, addressing Ari without sparing him a glance. Instead he insisted on keeping those onyx eyes on me.

"Thanks," he said as he strode toward me, tossing his brown hair out of his eyes. "Obviously your response to danger is panic," Ari reported casually. I had the urge to hit him, but for once had enough sense not to. That would probably end with me trapped in another well of fire. However, my acid tongue seemed to disagree with my logical thinking.

"Yes well, I think panic is a natural response to being trapped in a veil of fire. But do whatever you want Ari, I've pretty much passed the point of caring." Sort of.

"I have no intention of putting you in danger now. Ares had already proven that that doesn't work. I think I'll take a somewhat easier approach. I'm going to tell you to do something, and you're going to do it."

I snorted in disbelief, stepping closer to him in what I hoped was an intimidating stance. "Try it."

His eyes locked with mine in challenge before the dull brown irises flared crimson red. Externally nothing happened, no lightning, no bright flashes that screamed "hypnotized," but as the smug look crossed his face and my body turned numb and immobile, as if I were frozen in time, I realized that shit, he wasn't bluffing.

Uh, yeah Max, they are Demons, remember?

Shut up.

"I want you to take this knife, and stab it through Lissa's heart," Ari told me smoothly, presenting a plain dagger to me that sported an equally smooth blade and deadly sharp tip. The oversized knife was as long as my forearm and as thin as toothpick. I gripped the dagger and slid it out of its scabbard, pivoting until I faced Lissa. I had no qualms about killing the bitch red-head, but being hypnotized to do so? That caused a rage to flare to life inside me, trapped within my body. For now.

"Ari, I would like to finish this as quickly as possible so that we may move on. Do what you must before I ask someone else to take your place." Fang sounded jaded, as if he truly couldn't care less about this and had better things to do. Ooh, I just wanted to throw this dagger at him.

Ari pouted like a child. "Fine then. Max, I want you to use your specialized power." My body stopped its advance on Lissa and froze. Nothing happened.

"Okay, that didn't work. Obviously her body doesn't know what to do, so it's probably not a physical power. You're free to go," he said as his eyes ran back into brown.

I stared at him, blinking away the confusion. "What the, that was it? Use your specialized power," I mimicked. "Oh, okay, that didn't work, you're free to go? What the Hell?"

Ari shrugged. "Worked on Ella. I just told her to use her power and she did. Her body knew what to do so she just did it."

Lissa sighed. "I am so over this. It's simple—all we have to do is find the emotional state that will force her to use it. Allow me." She grinned, eyes flaring red as Arias had a moment before, her body spinning gracefully to face me. Watching her perfect red waves blanket around her as she moved in one fluid motion, all I wanted to do was cut her.

"No," Fang replied flatly, his tone final.

Rolling ice blue eyes, her arms fell across her chest as she addressed the Demon Prince. "You know I can bring out that specialized gift. Any emotion, any feeling that will release it I can make her feel."

Fang glanced from Lissa to me, his onyx eyes raking the length of my body. He sighed. "Fine. Do what you must. But I tell you now, if you play me…"

"Oh put a collar on it Prince," she remarked, earning an angry glare from Fang. "Okay then Max," she began, finally getting to me. "You know all about anger, hiding behind that pathetic violent streak to stop yourself from mourning your mother's death. Motorbike accident was it?" My mouth floundered open but I couldn't speak, couldn't force myself to create words. "Shame. You have my most sincere sympathy."

"You have no sympathy," I spat, eyes narrowing in anger.

"You're right, I don't," she replied, grinning maliciously. "Now, I'm going to make you angry, and you're going to react, hopefully using magic. If you have any that is," she added bitchily. God I wanted to cut her. I wanted to slit her throat and watch her bleed to death, watch the crimson blood flow from her ice cold body and equally ice cold heart. Wanted to observe how similar the juice of life was to her perfect red hair, watch it stain her body as she lay in a pool of her own blood—

—just like my mother. I gasped mentally at the subtle change of thought, seeing her dead and mutilated in the luminous moonlight, the silver threads of light spilling over her cold and lifeless body. All lay eerily silent, the world at that moment becoming motionless as her blonde hair panned out around her, the golden strands blood-stained. Unresponsive blue eyes stared unseeingly into the dark midnight sky. My mother's Canary yellow bike lay dinged and scratched mere meters from her, as broken and mutilated as she was.

And it was my fault.

"Think of everything he's done to you Max. You hate him. You want to kill him, want to destroy him using your magic." Lissa's voice droned on with similar strings of words but I couldn't care less—not about what she was saying or who she was even talking about.

I choked, unable to breathe. Her death was my fault. The guilt overrode my senses and I could think of nothing but how she shouldn't have died, could think of nothing but how her death was my fault. If I hadn't have shown her that bike, if I hadn't of forced her to buy it…she'd still be here. I hyperventilated mentally as the guilt swallowed me whole, as the horrible coiling feeling struck me down until I couldn't bare it. My eyes burned but tears refused to spill. I can't stand this. No more, I don't want this anymore! I took one last shuddering breath. This will be the last I take. I'm so sorry mum.

My lungs began to burn as they were deprived of oxygen, searing me internally as they were denied the air of life. Soon, soon there would be peace. I'm so sorry…

An unholy roar exploded around me, the terrifying sound jolting my eyes open unwillingly. Surroundings phased into sight and I was encircled by people. The red-head, Lissa, stood in front of me, a self-satisfied grin plastered to her face. Behind her lay Fang, hands wrapped around his neck wide-eyed, deep red irises drilling me. My eyes darted around the room as a dizzy fog settled over my eyes and black spotted my vision. Why is he choking himself…? Lids falling closed, I shut out the Arena and the blurred forms that were dotted casually around it.

Once more an animalistic snarl escaped someone's lips, this time in the form of Lissa's name. I collapsed to the floor, the lack of oxygen making me weak. Unable to keep my eyes shut the lids fell open, revealing to me a frightened looking Lissa. Mouth open in a silent scream, I felt the last of my energy dissipating into nothingness.

No more, I can't live with this guilt anymore. I'm so sorry—

And then came the true scream.

As a the ear-piercing screech tore through the Arena my breath was knocked back into me, the guilt over my mother's death vanishing so quickly I thought that perhaps I had imagined the whole thing. Gasping for breath, I wondered why I had been stupid enough to try to kill myself. Why I had been blaming myself for my mother's death! But the answer was right in front of me, written in clear, sized seventy-two font.

Lissa had forced me to feel guilty over it.

Eyes snapping open I brought my maddened gaze up to Lissa, whose shrill voice had been cut off harshly. And as my eyes scanned over her features I saw why. Her entire form, from the blood red of her hair to the tips of her black boots, was frozen in a capsule of ice, encased in a centimeter of thick frost. Mouth falling open, I could literally say nothing, even as I was dragged roughly upward via my bicep.

Fang wrapped his arms around me as he forced my body into him, his skin warming my entire shell-shocked figure.

"Are you okay?" he asked, his voice shaken,

"I…she tried to kill me!" I screamed, breathing fast and hard. I was sure I was shaking. And she almost succeeded too!

"I know, I felt it, felt you suffocating. I almost couldn't move. I was drawn into your mind as it happened. No-one else knew what was happening. They were all distracted by their emotions." Fang turned maddened eyes on the frozen Lissa, whose face was in a permanent look of shock. "She's taken it too far this time," he hissed as he moved his hand around mine, taking the dagger from my grip gently. Pushing me aside carefully he turned to face Lissa directly. I noticed that he was shaking, his whole body convulsing in anger. Wide-eyed I stepped away from him, unable to keep my eyes from his predatory stance. What was he going to—?

Before I could finish the thought Fang brought the dagger down in the frozen statue, the ice cracking violently before shattering into tiny ice shards. Each piece was sprayed across the room viciously, the crashing sound piercing my ears. I screamed in the shocking show of cruelty, the display of ferocious inhumanity. Lissa's body disappeared, the form shattering into tendrils of black ribbon and dematerializing into nothingness. And yet, I could feel no remorse, no sympathy. I was glad she was gone, glad that I would never have to see the red-haired witch of a girl again.

But then again, I doubted I could ever look at Fang again either.

"You just…you just killed her." I tried to scream. However, it came out as more of a violent whisper than anything else.

"If I didn't, she would just continue to hurt you. That I cannot allow. I'm sorry," Fang sounded pained, as if he truly didn't want me to see what he had just done.

"Xavian, how long has it been?" Ares asked worriedly.

"I'm fine Ares. This," he nodded toward the shards of ice, "will sustain me for now."

"What are you talking about?" I asked, confused. Sustain me for now? It was familiar…

"Don't worry about that for now. We must finish this."

"Perhaps we should use her fears against her?" Tess supplied, eyes meeting Azkadelia's expectedly.

"No," she stated flatly, shaking her hands. "No, I refuse to use her fears against her. There I will not go, do you hear me?" She turned to Fang angrily. "Do you hear me? I refuse to take part in this. I don't see why you can't just wait for her to figure out for herself what power she possesses. You have eternity!"

"That is debatable," he replied, somewhat back to normal. "However I agree, Tess, we're not going to drown her, so stop thinking about it."

"It was just a suggestion," she sighed.

"Well I happen to think Lissa's idea was a good one. However being forced to feel guilty over something that was clearly not your fault was not the line of thought I was taking…" Fang's eyes met mine and he grinned, eyes phasing into crimson red.

"Oh God," I whispered, stepping away. "Please, don't. I don't want any of this, seriously!" When he didn't even pause his advance on me I tried a different tactic. "Fang, there are other people here…"

"What are you talking about?" he asked seductively.

"Uh, I'd be talking about those…people…" my voice trailed off as each and every person disappeared, their forms literally disintegrating. No way.

"Sorry, who?" He was grinning evilly now. Standing over me, I worked up as much anger as I could (which wasn't much) and pushed him, hands shoving his chest and forcing him to stumble. He laughed.

"Seriously, enough games. I think it's time you tell me what the Hell you want with me. You said Ella and I were important for something. I don't see how that works, but I'm over this. What. Is. It?"

Fang thought about it for a moment, before replying in the most casual tone; "you and Ella are going to imprison the Angelic Lord, King Gabriel. And then Azkadelia is going to drain him of all his magic."

I blinked. "Uh, come again?"

"What?" Ella questioned, clearly confused.

"Excuse me?" Queen Azkadelia screamed, her eyes draining into obsidian black before continuing into the whites. The Demons in the Arena all reappeared, (it must have been some kind of illusion) as the dirt from the floor lifted, spinning into one enormous vortex. The band binding the Dragon Queen's braid snapped like a twig, her hair turning wild as it flared around her body, creating an image that truly looked insane.

Clearly, this was the first time either of them had heard about this as well.

20. Chapter 20

Look, technically this is only half of it, as I haven't gotten around to writing the other half yet. I am literally up to my neck stress-wise so sorry that I couldn't get around to finishing it, I'll just have to add it into 21, as most people are seriously impatient (don't worry I'm the same) So yeah, I almost failed my maths exam because I spend more time on Fanfiction than anything else and I'm sure I failed science. I have 3 assignments due tomorrow that I haven't started so sorry I just couldn't get around to writing this. Honestly it just wasn't the most important thing at the time, and it still kinda isn't, which is why I'm just updating this part. So anyway, my bad that I couldn't finish this, but I guess I may as well give you something. Next chapter will be up on the weekend so yeah =/

"I'm going to what?" Azkadelia screeched, black eyes scaring the Hell outta me. The dust was steadily blinding me, black dirt stinging my body as it lashed at it. I hadn't seen anyone this angry in my life, not even Fang, which was saying something. The Dragon Queen looked insane, and I didn't understand why she had morphed from kind and sympathetic to…this.

"Az, come on, calm down and let us expl—" Ares began gently, before being cut off by the Dragon Queen's enraged scream.

"Calm down? Calm down! I'll show you calming down!" Red nails pointed harshly downward, Azkadelia outstretched her fingers as they poised beside her body, before ripping them upward in a clawing gesture. The ground cracked violently, splitting into multiple fragments as the Queen shredded the floor up with her hands, the earth fashioned into extremely pointy shards, the length of each of my arms. Looking like some kind of earth elemental, Azkadelia flung her arms viciously in Ares" direction, the shards following the gesture and spiraling toward the Dragon King like spears.

Ares looked pained as he stopped the earthy weapons from piercing his body, the splinters simply stopping, pausing in midair before falling soundlessly to the floor.


"You knew about this, didn't you?" she asked accusingly. "You knew all about this, and you didn't tell me?" She forced more of the floor upward, flinging it at Ares again.

The rocks moved at a much faster speed, causing Ares to disappear to evade them before reappearing in a cloak of fire in front of Azkadelia.

"Will you please just listen to me?"

The Dragon Queen actually looked thoughtful for a moment. "Hmm…" Azkadelia placed her perfectly manicured hand on Ares" chest, obsidian black eyes rising to meet his. "Nope." She shoved the Dragon backward, projecting the giant across the Arena and into the farthest wall from her. I watched in horrified amazement as white lightning followed him, flaring from Azkadelia's outstretched arms and electrifying his whole body. Falling to the floor with a rebounding "thud," Ares muttered a curse before trying to come to a painful looking stand. His angered gaze reined in on the Queen, ruby red eyes piercing.

"You know what? I think Lucifer and I need to have a bit of a heart to heart." Azkadelia whirled, black hair blanketing around her silkily.

"You're not going anywhere," Ares replied, his tone final. In a way, he sounded all too much like Fang.

"Oh really? Hold on, let me process that…" From the soil deep green vines protruded, cutting from the ground and wrapping around Ares" body in a snake-like manner. The tentacles slid across his entire form, enveloping him in thick plants and effectively trapping him. I stared, unable to comprehend what was happening right in front of my eyes.

"I thought you said she specialized in fire!" I whispered furiously, stepping backward to avoid being suffocated by plants.

"No, she said she specialized in fire. I said that probably wasn't the best example." Fang was watching the entire encounter with a curious gaze, Azkadelia's outrage not overly fazing him.

"Okay Az, seriously you need to calm down. I'm annoyed as well but they were probably—" Ella's calming voice was shattered as the Dragon Queen rose her arm, white light twirling down the length of it in ribbons of blinding light. The glowing brightness radiated into a ball of orb-like power at the base of her hand before projecting in all directions, exploding like a star going supernova. The fragmented light wrapped around Ella's body, swirling from the tips of her toes and top of her head to the base of her throat, before fading into her skin. A moment later her mouth popped open in a silent gasp, the previously white light phasing into a dull pink as it pried itself from her throat. As the light floated gracefully from Ella and back into Azkadelia's outstretched palm, the Queen closed her fingers around the now tiny ball, caging it as it sunk into her palm.

"Well now, that's better isn't it Ella?" Azkadelia taunted.

Ella narrowed her eyes in annoyance, mouth opened in a silent sigh. Oh my God, did she just take her voice?

"Azkadelia, you're going to stop where you stand," Ari stated musically, his hypnotic voice making me dizzy. I almost wanted to do what he said.

"Oh really?" The Dragon Queen turned toward the Demon, eyes still black in anger. "You know what I think? I think your hypnotism doesn't work on me!" In front of her materialized a slim dagger the size of my forearm, the weapon floating in midair. Hand grasping the hilt viciously, Azkadelia lifted the knife and hurled it at Ari, the dagger flipping through the air. At first I thought her aim had missed as it landed at the Demon's feet, but when the blade cut into the dirt and splintered the floor, I realized I was very wrong. Ari looked confused for a moment before the knife exploded, weapon fragmenting into monumental shards of ice, the force shaking the Arena and sending me crashing to the ground along with Ella. Thank God, I wasn't the only uncoordinated person around here.

As the eerie mist that enveloped Ari dissipated a frozen capsule was left in its place, the Demon frozen inside.

"And I suppose you're going to try and do something as well?" Azkadelia asked, addressing Sam. Before her two more knives appeared, forming an "X" shape. I noticed one was slightly bigger than the other as she crossed her arms across each other to grasp the hilts.

When Sam said nothing Azkadelia smiled, blades wavering into nothingness as she turned once more to the exit.

"Well then, that was easier than expected—" The Queen's gloat was miraculously cut short as an onyx black shape cut in front of her mid stride, the colossal thing shaved into one mammoth point. The impact of the point hitting the ground created a cloud of dirt that sprayed across my vision, making it hard to see much. Though I noticed that the shape was much like a rounded off, upside-down triangle with one knife-like apex. What was that thing…?

"Do not touch me!" Azkadelia yelled angrily, her voice slicing through the air vehemently.

"You might want to close your eyes," Fang warned me, his body appearing behind me.

"Look, I'm sure I can handle a little bit of dirt," I replied in annoyance. Did he honestly think I was that fragile—?"

The cloud of dust that had steadied around the Arena was suddenly blasted from my vision, a gust of air propelling the dirt away. Azkadelia's form was the first that came into my view, her body trapped in a spinning vortex, the vortex that was currently driving away the dust. As her body stopped revolving and the last of the dirt died away, she turned her back on Fang and I, focusing on a whole new feature.

I screamed.

As the onyx shape appeared once more, slicing into the dirt centimeters from where Azkadelia was standing, I realized that it wasn't an upside-down triangle, not at all. As the dirt settled I saw the entire thing…including the reptilian tail the point was connected to. As my fathomless eyes widened at the terrifying sight, I realized that the point wasn't an object, nor was it triangular; it was the bare tip of a twenty-five metre long tail shaped similarly to that of a scorpion. That tail extended to an obsidian scaled beast that had to be at least double the size of my house, the four legged creature the most frightening sight I had seen in my life. Its eyes were glowing ruby red, huge black wings folded gracefully into its side.

"Oh my God…" I whispered in terror, backing into Fang unconsciously. His arms wrapped protectively around my waist, breath hot on my neck as he whispered into my ear.

"I told you to close your eyes. And yes, you are fragile."

"There you are you stupid reptile!" Azkadelia hissed, oblivious to everyone except the…dragon. The beast's tail pried itself from the ground, pulling away from the Queen slowly.

"Oh no you don't!" she yelled, knife appearing before her again. Gripping the hilt she ran at the enormous black creature, dagger raised angrily as she charged him. I couldn't be sure, but as the Dragon's huge head came into my view I swear I saw him shake it in exasperation, before flinging it in a whip-like manner straight at Azkadelia. For once she didn't see it coming, not until it had steadily wrapped itself around her body. Arms trapped inside the cocoon, she was forced to drop the dagger, screaming atrocities as she attempted to worm her way out of her trap.

"Damn it Ares! Let me go!"

"Okay, so what did I…miss…?" Dylan's voice drifted off at the sight of, well, everyone.

"Oh, great! You here for a beating as well?" Azkadelia's eyes grew wider as Dylan's body was hit by an invisible force. Not expecting to be attacked, his confused form was thrown into the door next to the one he had just walked through. Sliding to the floor, Ella ran up to him.

"Hey, I heard the racket," Dylan groaned, coming to a stand. "What the Hell is going on here?"

Ella didn't even try to answer, but instead allowed Azkadelia to answer for her. "You Sir are as dead as this stupid reptile and that stupid Demon! You know all about our little plot to destroy King Gabriel, don't you?"

Dylan looked taken aback, but he didn't deny it. Ella's eyes widened in shock, mouth open as she backed away from him.

"Ella…" Dylan made a move to grab her wrist, but she pulled away violently, eyes watering. "Ella, come on, talk to me."

"Oh, sorry my bad." Azkadelia opened her mouth, the same ball of dull pink light escaping her lips and spiraling toward Ella. She opened her palm, the light landing like a butterfly on her skin. She pushed the light into her throat, the voice becoming hers once more.

"You knew about this as well?" she asked, her voice so hurt I blanched. Ella's wounded tone caused something to snap inside me, her upset character angering me.

"I was sworn not to tell you Ella. I'm sorry."

"Like Hell you are!" Azkadelia yelled, attempting to wriggle her way out of her bind.

"You," Ares roared, deep reptilian voice rebounding through the Arena, "are going to stop this now. You are going to unfreeze Ari, you're going to stop attacking me, and you're going to stop talking!"

"Do you think—"

"No, I said you're going to stop talking," Ares boomed, tail lifting Azkadelia to eye-level. She squirmed, trying to break free. "Now unfreeze Ari."

"I need my arms for that idiot."

"I'm not an idiot, I know you don't need your arms." He turned her to face Ari, tail moving gracefully for its size. "Now do it."

"Fine," she grumbled, eyes growing slightly wider. I moment later the ice melted, icy water dripping to the floor and freeing Ari.

"I'm going to kill her!" Ari scooped up one of Azkadelia's discarded knives, hurling the weapon at her entrapped form. Eyes wide, she stared as the weapon flew directly at her. I flinched myself, just waiting for impact.

"That was the wrong thing to do," Ares muttered as his tail unclenched from Azkadelia, causing her to drop to the floor like a ragdoll. The Dragon flung his scorpion like tail at Ari, the onyx spike knocking the knife out of the air and continuing toward the Demon. All eyes were drawn toward the human-sized shard that was the tip of Arias tale. That is, everyone but me.

Azkadelia, momentarily forgotten, crept up behind the massive black Dragon, a mischievous gleam in her black eyes. Hands clasped together, she slowly drew them apart, a sparkling silver chain appearing between her two hands. Grasping both ends of the long shackle, she disappeared.

Oh God.

"Ares Azkadelia—"

Hearing his Queen's name he instantly stopped picking on Ari and looked for Azkadelia—but it was too late.

"Picking on the weaker instead of the true threat. Tsk, tsk Ares." The Queen wrapped the metal chain around Ares" neck so fast she was a blur, the silver shining against the obsidian scales. The chain knotted itself around his throat as Azkadelia pulled it tight, jerking the Dragon's head backward as she stood on his back. She looked miniscule in comparison to his size.

"So, here's the deal Demons," Azkadelia said, twirling the chain around in her hands.

"You're not making any deals," Ares growled, trying to force the shackle out of her hands.

"Shut it reptile you've already pissed me off today. Now, here's how it's going down. Ella, Max and I are ditching this Hellhole."

"Actually…" Ella began.

"Forget it," Dylan replied, ensnaring Ella's wrist in a death grip.

"Take Ella, but Max stays with me." Fang's voice was calm, but as his arms tensed around me I realized he was anything but. Odd. However, getting out of here was sounding pretty good, even if it was with an insane Azkadelia…

"Dude, thanks," Dylan said sarcastically.

"Oh great, I got the okay. Well, see ya—"

"Don't even think about it Ella."

"Dylan, you're absolutely right," Azkadelia said cheerfully. "We're taking Max as well, aren't we Maximum?" Her eyes were still shining obsidian black as she looked at me. Was that what happened when Dark Witches got angry?

"She's not going anywhere Witch," Fang said, anger flaring through his voice momentarily.

"Azkadelia, you need to stop playing with fire," Ares warned, his tone absolutely serious despite the corny line.

"In case you haven't realized, I was born to play with fire." As the wall of flames appeared in front of me I had absolutely no idea what was going on, my world spinning into darkness seconds later.

Sorry again =S Anyway, if you like Harry Potter you should read my new story Firelillies. Hopefully I haven't pissed too many people off.

21. Chapter 21

"Far out Az, a little warning next time?"

"Blah, blah Ella. You alright Max?"

"Jesus, what the Hell was that?" I asked breathlessly, anger flaring through m voice as my body landed butt first on the floor.

"Jesus has nothing to do with it," Azkadelia replied, her docile voice drifting from across the echoing room.

Ella offered me her hand. "Not the most graceful landing, but you'll get used to it. She tends to do spontaneous things whilst pissed off." Yeah, no kidding.

"Hello? I am in the room. No need to speak of me in third person…"

"Sorry. Azkadelia tends to do spontaneous things whilst pissed off. Better?" she asked sarcastically.

"Much," the Queen replied stubbornly. "Honestly, what are you still doing on the floor?" As the question was directed at me, I turned to face Azkadelia to answer—but couldn't. I stared as intense bursts of brilliant fire materialized around her, wrapping around the Queen's body in ribbons of fiery light, the opposite of what I would expect from a Demon. As she moved to sit, the vines rearranged themselves into a solid throne, the colour shining a deep, glittering gold.

Ella heaved me upward, fragile looking arm possessing more strength than I would have guessed.

"Okay Az, why'd you bring us here?" she asked, arms folded across her chest.

"Or more importantly, where are we?" I gazed around, the room's grand decor making it very obvious that this was a ballroom. Two spiralling stairwells curved gracefully from different sides of the room, the two converging to the platform on the second story of the building. People clad in all white milled around the room, journeying in and out as they carried various items. There was one woman holding a clipboard as she gestured at a group of people carrying vases of gorgeous flowers, reels of ribbon and various table settings. It looked like there was going to be a party…

"What's going on here?" I added in a murmur, turning to face a lounging Azkadelia.

She cast her black eyes across the room lazily as if she had just noticed the people around her.

"By the looks of things we're in a palace."

Ella rolled her eyes in annoyance at Azkadelia's mocking tone. "This is the Dragons" Kingdom. It's King Ares" palace." It was weird, hearing him addressed as King Ares.

"This is our palace," the Queen added, stressing the fact that it was her home too.

"It looks like there's some celebration going on here soon," I remarked, voicing my earlier thought.

"A wedding actually," Ella replied, smiling brilliantly, a sly gleam in he usually innocent features.

"Really? I've never been to a wedding before." And, more importantly, I'd never been to one of the awesome after parties either.

"Trust me, you're not really missing much," Azkadelia grumbled, her eyes cast upward in boredom.

"Whose is it?" I didn't know many people, but there was a slim chance that this was someone I had begrudgingly met before.

"Mine," Azkadelia answered flatly, her tone dead. "But the way things are going I'm thinking of ditching the idea."

I gaped in complete shock. "Wait, you're only just getting married?"

"You wouldn't "ditch" the idea," Ella stated easily, eyes rolling as she made mock quotation marks with her hands. "You're too in love with Ares to do that."

"Uh, isn't she already the Queen though?" I asked louder, trying to get a reply out of either of the two girls.

"I hate him," Azkadelia spat, ignoring me. Her eyes darkened, the obsidian growing even more menacing as the sound of rattling plates began to echo across the room. My eyes drifted from the pair toward the group of decorators, their widened gazes fixed on the floating plates as they shook violently.

"Uh, guys…?

"You hate what he did, there's a difference. Don't get me wrong, I want to punch Dylan at the moment too but…"

"Guys…" The plates began to shutter even more violently, the group of people across the room beginning to creep away slowly.

"Are you siding with them now?" Azkadelia asked, moving to sit up, her body tense."

Ella snorted. "God no. I'm glad we're away from them. But I hate to see you like this Az, it's kind of freaky."

"Kind of freaky? And whose fault is that?" she yelled, the levitating plates exploding into shards that rained across the room. The detonation sent people bolting, which finally attracted the girls" attention.

"Crap!" Azkadelia swore, fists clenched. "And where there's an explosion there's always a—"

"Afternoon ladies."

Azkadelia sighed. "Dragon. What do you want?" she asked roughly, moving her arms to fold across her chest. My gaze swept across the room to focus on our newest arrival, who had very subtly appeared out of nowhere—no fire, no black ribbons, just a simple phasing in. Deciding it was a nice change, I scanned the man's physique, which couldn't have been any older than twenty-one, before feeling a surge of recognition flare through my mind. With hair as gold as the sun and eyes as bright as the most vibrant of flames, the similarities were too exact to be anything other than Ares" brother. A little smaller, I guessed that he was probably younger than the Dragon King, but definitely no less handsome.

"Nothing much, just checking out what all the racket is. What do you want?" he asked, completely absorbed with the Queen. Does he like her? Now that would be troublesome. From what I'd seen of Ares, he was all fun and games until you got in his way—then he very quickly morphed into the shoot to kill type man; then he turned into Fang. I shuddered just thinking about it; I knew for a fact that Fang would kill someone if they got in his way—and that was using Lissa as an example.

"The truth," she replied simply, her tense body relaxing back into her throne. "But obviously that's out of the question."

The Dragon's head tilted slightly, a concerned frown decorating his face. "What's wrong Az?"

"Nothing, isn't that right Max?" I blinked at the very subtle change of conversation. I have to remember that…

"Uh…" Yes, that was my brilliant reply. Sad thing was I'd had worse.

The Dragon turned to me. "Hmm…she's not very articulate is she?" Azkadelia shrugged in reply. "Well Max, if I may call you so, my name is Erik."

"He's Ares" younger brother," Ella added as she collected the broken plate fragments from the floor.

"Well that's obvious, he's pretty much Ares incarnate except smaller," I stated without realizing. Only once I recited the blunt line did I recognize how blunt it actually was.

Azkadelia burst out in laughter, nearly falling off her throne. "Well you can't argue with that logic Erik."

"So it would seem…Anyhow, back to the main question, despite the very subtle change of conversation might I add, what's bothering you?"

"Nothing's bothering me Erik! Jesus, why would you think that anyway?"

Erik gave the Queen a very distinct Are-you-serious? look. "You're eyes are as black as midnight. That's reason enough to suspect death to the Demon King. So…what's up…?" He drew the question out dramatically.

"How many times do I have to tell you nothing's wrong!" With her maddened words came destruction once more, which was becoming a habit as of lately. The chandelier in the centre of the ballroom snapped from the ceiling, the crystalline lights falling before hitting the ground and smashing into shattered fragments seconds later. Erik didn't bother turning around, but instead stared at Azkadelia with an irritated look. "If dad was here, he'd be pissed. I'm finding Ares." Erik moved toward one of the grand entrances and a panicked look struck the Queen's face, causing her to fall to her feet quickly.

"No, Erik don't!" Eyes wide, Azkadelia outstretched clenched hands, her fingers flaring outward from her palms in a really cliché way. The move caused Erik to freeze, his body stopping dead. You'd think I'd be used to this continual use of magic…

I wasn't.

"I thought you said that you specialised in fire type magic. So why the Hell do you keep using other types of magic so…fluently?

Azkadelia frowned. "Fluently?"

Ella snorted. "She didn't specialize. Her power makes it impossible to do so."

"Okay then, what is her power?" I asked Ella, for Azkadelia was still mulling over my word choice.

"Azkadelia's power is the source of all power—it allows her to do anything."

"Again with the third person," Azkadelia commented as she fell into her chair gracefully. "If you're going to try and explain this to her, you're going to have to start from the beginning," the Queen stated casually, observing the frozen Dragon across from her.

"Right, my bad," Ella said thoughtfully. "Where to start…"

"Uh, from the beginning?" Azkadelia suggested, her tone implying that Ella's question was stupid.

Ella rolled her eyes. "Okay then, the start. Millennia ago, in this realm of magic, one prime source of power existed, one which all magical beings drew their magic from. This source of light was known as the Emblazon, and was entrusted by King Lucifer and Gabriel themselves, before their separation, to the Dragon Monarchs. Each time the bestowed of this power died, it would pass on to its successor, and they would be crowned the new monarch of the kingdom. Now this magic, this light, was the source of all magical beings" power. Hence, without this magic it was impossible to use one's own. For example, if the magic was to somehow burn out, to theoretically die, then all magical beings would lose their power, effectively making them human. Get it so far?"

"One question—why would Lucifer and Gabriel just give this power away if it was some Godly magic that was all-powerful?"

Ella smiled. "Because Angels and Demons aren't magical beings. We can use magic, as seen through our specialised gifts, but we aren't actually creatures of magic."

"That doesn't even make sense!" I cried in annoyance.

Azkadelia sighed loudly, gaining our attention. "God Ella you're doing a terrible job at this. This Emblazon, Dragon Flame or Fire, whatever you want to call it, is really, really powerful, so everyone uses it. Think of it like a candle. You have one really big candle, do you waste another match to light the other candles, or do you use the already lit one? You use the big candle that is already burning. So, all the smaller candles use the big candle's fire to light their wicks. That's the basic idea; one power source to fuel them all. Okay, do you get that?" I nodded, though I wasn't appreciating the mocking tone. "Good. Next we move on to the actual History."

"I flunked History," I stated. "I hate it, so if this is boring…"

"Hmm, I wonder why you flunked History. Boring, please?" She snorted in disbelief. Humph. I liked Azkadelia when she wasn't treating me like a retard. "This power, it was last seen in the Dragon Queen Elizabeth the Wise. She was one of the greatest Queens the Dragon world had ever seen—beautiful, powerful, just, wise. A psychic, she also had visions of the future. Beloved by as many that were envious of her, this Queen also had a flaw, one that every monarch that bestowed this great power was also cursed with—insanity. Because this magic was so great, because those who held it were drained when others drew on the Flame's power, it caused random bursts of insanity in those who embraced it. This would often lead to the demise of the monarch before being moved onto the next generation. But not with Queen Elizabeth. Seeing in her future the death and destruction of those she loved and those she would grow to love because of this power, she made the ultimate sacrifice—the Queen imprisoned this power into a new being, into a new domain, and in doing so separating this light from the rightful heirs, the Dragons."

Ella cut in next. "With this separation she left one riddle, one for the entire Realm to hear. "The Dragon Flame will arise again in the form of a new era. It is hidden deep within the heart of the Dragon Kingdom." For centuries after this time magical beings sought to unearth this power, but none succeeded. However, as the Flame had not been destroyed those born of magic could still harness its power, so not all was at a loss. Except of course, the Dragon Kingdom was no longer known as the superpower of the Realm any longer. The race split in two, half following King Lucifer, the other following King Gabriel, their independence crumbling without the Flame to ensure their power. Those who believe the Queen to have deceived their race broke away to follow the Angelic King, while those who stayed faithful, who believed the Queen gave up her power for a reason, followed the Demonic King."

"So then there are two sets of monarchs then? Those who follow Lucifer and those who follow Gabriel?"

"Mm, no. There is one Monarch, which would be Ares now. It's his birthright—he is the most powerful Dragon, he's the King. The power runs in the family."

"What Azkadelia said," Ella stated, waving the Queen off. "So, the Queen died because she gave up her magic, and in doing so she changed the future. How she did it, we have no idea. We also have no idea what future it was she saw, only that it drove her to hide this great power. And so, the following generations lived without the Flame, the whole Kingdom entering an era of despair over their great loss. Until the Flame was rekindled in the form of a new being—a new era."

"I'm just taking a wild guess here, but don't tell me, it was Azkadelia?"

The Dragon Queen slow clapped. "Well done Max!"

"Shut up."

"Queen Elizabeth couldn't put the Flame into her son or his wife, for they were both Dragons, and nothing would change. So, she had to think abstract—she looked into the future, in search for a being that wasn't a Dragon, but was somehow connected to the Dragon realm, ensuring that the Flame would stay with the rightful heirs. And in this future she saw her Great-grandson, the first Immortal Dragon this world would ever see—King Ares."

"You've got to be kidding me," I replied dully. "That had to be the most anti-climatic ending I have ever heard in my life."

Ella ignored the comment. "With him Elizabeth saw the insane one over there, and for some reason the very heart of the Dragon Kingdom through her. And so, she hid the Flame inside Azkadelia, knowing one day that she would be involved with the Dragon Kingdom."

"So that's why you're insane?" I asked obnoxiously.

"I am not insane!"

"Is that all you got out of that?" Ella asked in disdain. "Az's emotions shift. She can usually control them, but when she gets hit with a bombshell like before…she loses it. Her eyes shift colours with her emotions. Black for infuriation, blue for sadness, yellow for joy, pink for childish behaviour, oh and a personal favourite, red for—"

"Yeah okay I think she gets it," Azkadelia growled, teeth clenched.

Ella laughed, shaking her head as she did so. "Oh, this is also kind of out of the blue, but when Ares changed into his Dragon form, you were…amazing. I'm guessing you're going to have a lot of potential."

"Uh…what?" I wasn't sure how being scared shitless was amazing.

"No, no, you don't get it. Dragon's have this weird…fear thing. Whenever they're in their true form people run for the hills, it's just what happens with them. It's not that they're ugly or anything, I mean they're some of the most beautiful creatures I've ever seen, but when you first see them, it's like an impression that stops people dead with fear. I think it makes them easier to eat actually."

"Mm, tempting." I think I was going to vomit.

"Anyway, like I was saying, most people when they see Dragons? They faint, run, kill themselves…"

"Man," Azkadelia stated enviously. I laughed.

"What did you do?" I asked, my interest piqued.

"She ran," Ella answered before Azkadelia had the chance to.

"Hey, he was going to eat me! And no I am not joking."

Ella laughed. "I fainted. Shit, it was so freaking horrifying. I don't even know why I was so scared, looking back. Ares has to be one of the most gorgeous Dragons I've ever seen."

"You guys are crazy," I said. "He's so God damned…" I couldn't finish the sentence, it gave me the shudders. "No, but you know what's beautiful?" I asked, gazing around. "This place. It's…wow, I don't even have a word for it. This place is amazing, not like that horrible Demonic Palace."

Azkadelia shook her head, her face becoming solemn once more as she walked out onto the huge…balcony? Considering it was on the first floor I didn't know what to call it. It was definitely too magnificent to be called a porch or patio. Exchanging looks, Ella and I followed, walking outside to meet a very serious looking Queen leaning against the rail. The wind blew the black strands of hair across her unmarred features gently as the setting sun cast golden lights across her face.

"This place is pretty, it is. But Max, this doesn't compare one bit to the Demonic kingdom. That place…it's one of the most beautiful you'll ever see."

"Are you kidding me?" I asked more loudly than intended. "That place is full of death and darkness and despair."

Azkadelia smiled sadly, black eyes gazing into the distance. "How wrong you are Maximum. You see such darkness and despair because you yourself despise the very idea of such an "evil" place." He fingers formed mock quotation marks. "You see darkness because you're fearful of this realm, the kingdom, the people. If you truly open your eyes Max, if you truly notice that Kingdom for what it is? You'll see the true meaning of beauty."

"To do that would be the same as trusting these people, becoming one of them."

Azkadelia's next words froze me solid.

"Oh Max, you already are."

"I—no. I'm not one of these…things, I—"

"Max, I've made the same decision as you, except I made it twenty-seven years ago. I had this same difficult choice laid out before me, a huge puzzle to piece together in order for me to make the right decision. And although you think that these people are soul sucking mother-fuckers, and don't get me wrong a lot of them are, I knew the second I made it that I made the right one."

"But how? Why? What could possibly persuade you to join this side, let alone any?" I knew I sounded incredulous, accusing and a little hysterical all at the same time, but I truly couldn't understand why anyone would join these people. I didn't even know if I could call them people. I wasn't like them—I wouldn't kill someone like Fang had no matter how much I threatened to. These people were emotionless. They were cold, hard killing machines, the only good thing coming out of the whole shenanigan being that they didn't sparkle in the sunlight.

It was because of those thoughts that the next words startled me so completely.

"Because I fell in love."

Ella said the words so softly that the meaning screamed legions, the effect shattering my thought process completely.

"I…what? How could you…" I was unable to finish my question as my broken words drifted off and numbness filled my mind and body. Love? Was that even possible?

You said yourself that you were in love with Fang.

Did not.

Did too, did too, did too!

Ugh, I was so not having this argument with myself right now.

"It is not your place to decide whether one is capable of love Max," Azkadelia said softly, her voice as graceful as the wind swirling her hair, as beautiful as the radiating sun itself. Both Ella and I stared at her, whose voice had taken on a calm and gentle demeanour for the first time in over an hour. And then, against all odds, the onyx black faded from her eyes, draining into a brilliant gold once more. Azkadelia blanched, blinking as she clutched the railing furiously. One of her hands raced to her forehead, clutching it as if to rid herself of a painful headache.

"Oh God, I feel terrible. What happened?"

I felt my mouth fell open at the extremely innocent looking Dragon Queen. Sneaking a glance at Ella, I noticed her features resembled that of an anime character after a friend did something stupid. I almost expected her to fall sideways as well. Obviously, we were in the same boat.

"Max didn't do anything, did she?" Azkadelia asked as she eyed my shocked features. This time it was my turn to fall sideways.

"Are you kidding me—?"

"Let it go," Ella said, her eyes wary as she began backing up. Her browns narrowed as she entered the ballroom once more, disappearing from sight. I frowned, about to head into the room after Ella before Azkadelia once again snared my attention.

Through her tormented screams.

I whipped around to face her once more, the sight of the helpless Dragon Queen one I hadn't expected to see this day. After the way she had easily taken down the Demons and Ares, I hadn't thought Azkadelia was someone to scream in pain. Guess I was wrong. The Queen clutched her head frantically, her eyes wide in both pain and panic. It was the most vulnerable I had seen her, almost as vulnerable as when Ares had trapped me in a vortex of fire. As she sunk to the floor, I finally forced my body into action.

"Azkadelia, what's—?"

"People…people are all…using magic…at the same…time…" Azkadelia let loose another cry of pain, falling from her knees to her backside as she collapsed all the way to the floor.

I backed away from her scream unwillingly. Damn, this girl has a set of lungs… "I don't understand, what do you mean they are all using magic at the same time? What does that have to do with your pain?"

"Remember…candles…the biggest flame…lights them all…" Azkadelia choked as the scream tore from her lungs. "Too many…candles…trying to take the…fire…at the same…time…" The Dragon Queen was panting, her body tiring of the pain quickly. Another thing registered—she'd remembered the history lesson she'd given me.

And then, revelation!

Too many people were drawing the Flame's power at once, causing this pain in Azkadelia. She couldn't handle the extreme pressure, which should have been obvious from the beginning. But I knew, I knew that this was no coincidence. Someone was doing this on purpose to Azkadelia…

…someone who thought she was still on a wild rampage. The one Azkadelia had mysteriously forgotten about. But, as I finally figured all this out, someone had already beaten me to the punch-line.

Bright light pulled me from my musings as Ares appeared crouching behind Azkadelia, a murderous look on his face. I had to say, it gave me the creeps. I saw the wild expression from over the Queen's shoulder, her head dropped forward in exhaustion. Her struggling had stopped, and now she just sat there limply, eyes closed as sweat dripped down her body. Ares looped his arm around her back and beneath her legs before scooping her into his chest gently. As her head fell limply into his torso I noticed the way his eyes softened at his Queen's obvious vulnerability. Azkadelia's hand came to rest almost helplessly at the crook of the Dragon's neck, curling into him defensively. Well, that was definitely a change from earlier on. Ares, finally taking his eyes off his fiancé, gazed down at me, the innocent bystander in all of this.

Wow, I never really though those two words would be used to describe me. Ever.

The last of the sun's rays caught the Dragon's blonde hair, turning it an even darker gold as the star drew even closer to dropping behind the horizon completely.

"Seeing as though you were brought here against your will, you probably won't be…tormented too much." The mischievous smirk that crossed his face made my skin crawl.

"What do you mean?" I asked warily, eyes narrowed as I unconsciously backed away.

"I mean, you're next." With those haunting words he turned from me, cradling Azkadelia as he literally walked into a rectangle of fire. In my opinion, I'd seen too much fire over the last week. Was it even a week? I didn't know. I was losing track of the days, as if time didn't matter, or worse, didn't exist. Oh Lord, I was so unstable. I needed to get out of here…this place was making me insane—

I hadn't realized I was still backing up until I slammed into something solid. Blinking, I tried to figure out why I would have rammed into a wall. There shouldn't have been any close to me…The thoughts lasted about one second before my mind registered what was happening, which had to have been faster than simply looking behind me.

I jumped from that space of time to the next, eyes wide. "Oh God." As quickly as I could I dropped to the floor, my jeans scraping on the rough ground. This may have been a palace, but no matter what extensive materials they used to build it out of, the floor still hurt. As soon as I hit the ground I rolled, spinning toward the ballroom entrance. When I was sure I was too far out of range for my "predator" to snare my body I rushed to my feet, my arms scratched from the rolling. I blinked in confusion once more when I realized there was no-one in sight.

"What the…?"

"You're fast on your feet, I'll give you that," he whispered, his breath giving me the shudders as it crept across my neck. It was at that point that my sluggish mind caught up with my instinctive body, arm flying backward in search of a target. When it hit nothing and sent my body swirling with its force, I found myself facing him.

"Evening," he said, his voice not exactly casual, but nowhere near as intense as usual.

I frowned, not in anger, but annoyance. I felt a spark of my usual self flare through my body. I was tired, I was confused, and I really wanted to punch something. Fang gave me that exact opportunity.

"The sun's still up," I shot, shoving Fang backwards and away from me with as much force as I could. Clearly not expecting my actions, he stumbled backward. I stood firmly in place, arms folded across my chest in my Don't-mess-with-me stance.

After regaining his balance, Fang copied my posture. He just happened to stand a lot taller than I did.

"Looking for a fight are we?" he asked, a light smile just beginning to surface.

"When am I not?" I asked. Ever since entering this stupid Plain I'd been weak, powerless and extremely fragile. Not anymore. I. Was. Over. It.

I didn't know what set him off, whether it was my words, thoughts or the look on my face. All I knew was that in the next instant he jumped me, the predatory grin sliced into his face as his eyes flared a bright, vibrant red. Not expecting the sudden movement, the best I could do was dodge sideways. The move was barely fast enough to miss his attack, and as I spun to face my opponent he had once more disappeared again.

"Damn it! That's not fair!" The best I could do was back myself up against the wall, keeping eyes open to my surroundings.

"Life's not fair," he shot back as he materialised right in front of me. Eyes wide, I moved toward the right, but was too slow. As I began sideways Fang's arm slammed into the wall, effectively blocking my way. He leaned in toward me, causing me to lose even more of my personal space.

"I win," he whispered, a mischievous smile crossing his face.

"No, you don't," I near growled, face close to his in irritation. And then my body acted before my mind had even thought it through.

I kissed him.

I threw my entire body into that small action, forcing him away from the wall. Shocked, Fang stumbled backward, mouth opening to mine willingly. My hands latched onto the blackness of his hair, forcing him onto me fiercely. Not that he needed any encouragement. As he began pushing back at me just as violently, I took my opportunity. Without breaking apart, I mustered as much strength as I could into my arm.

And punched him.

I can tell you know, it was like punching a brick wall.

"Fuck!" I yelled as I shook my hand, trying desperately to make the pain drain away. Of course, it didn't. It just managed to make it bleed even more. My eyes sought Fang's body, which was currently coming to a stand. The blow had forced him to the ground, caught off guard, and now he looked, well…absorbed. Interested. He looked like he was about to have some fun. Eyes narrowed, I refused to back away. It was time to bring back the real Max. Time to bring back Maximum Ride.

Fang stood to his true height, a line of deep red blood running down his face. Wiping the stream away, he observed the crimson colouring his fingertips, an astonished look crossing his face. That gaze then morphed into a predatory gleam.

"You truly shouldn't have done that," he said deeply, voice intimidating as he moved to stand over me. My head snapped upward at his sight, refusing to back down. He rested his index finger under my chin, forcing it even further upward to meet his eyes squarely. The blow to his cheek had already healed, red blood drying to his face. Heart racing, his next words caused a new wariness to set in.

"I have something to show you."

22. Chapter 22

First, this is a long chapter and I didn't edit it because I couldn't be stuffed. Sorry that I didn't exactly, you know…update. I probably shouldn't have told you guys I was on holidays. Second, my excuse for the first part of this A/N is that I went back and changed all of these (') into these ("). You better freaking love me! Third, quote: "Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life." Fourth, Review of course. And fifth? MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL! I hope you guys get EVERYTHING you wish for.

I had to admit, I was freaking out.

So far I'd walked for what felt like miles, and apparently we still hadn't reached out "destination." The anxiety had set in, mixed with a flare of wariness that was currently sinking further into my bones. The sun had long since sunk below the horizon, shadowing the Plain in darkness. As if this world wasn't already dark enough.

"Where are we going?" I asked, suspicion dripping from my words.

"Where all the good things are," he replied, dragging me down yet another set of stairs.

"So…an ice-cream parlor?"

Fang's skeptical look said it all. "Maybe you should stop talking?" My eyes narrowed in irritation and he laughed. "Okay, fine, keep talking. We're almost there anyway."

"We better be," I muttered, the suspense killing me. Paired with that suspense and curiosity was an overwhelming sense of apprehension eating away at me. Uneasiness set my instincts on high alert. For some reason, I wasn't sure I was going to like this one bit.

Fang's intense voice pulled me from my alarming thoughts, drawing my eyes to an altogether plain looking door. Well, doors.

"Mm, interesting. You made me walk the length of the entire North American continent to get here?"

"Has anyone ever told you you're a Drama Queen?" he asked, brows raised.

Well. "Don't make me hurt you," was my brilliant reply.

Wow, I just loved the fact that I managed to be sarcastic even to myself.

Sigh, again with the cynicism.

"I won't hold my breath," he replied, planting both hands on the huge double doors and shoving them open forcefully. A resounding boom echoed through the darkness as the panning doors collided with the walls.

"No, that would make my job oh so anti-climatic. What the Hell are we doing anyway?" I cringed as the words left my mouth. I really needed to stop using that expression around here.

"You have to be the most impatient person I've ever met," Fang commented, his hand flipping a previously hidden switch. As the button clicked downward a light above us flared to life, the glowing whiteness a sharp comparison to the darkness. A trend of blaring lights followed the first, flickering on one after the other down the great hall of a room, creating an evenly spaced room of radiating brightness. With that brilliant vividness came sight, and I was sure my mouth was sitting at ground level by this point in time.

"You have got to be kidding me," I whispered breathlessly, my eyes pouring over the sight before me with awe.

"I thought you'd appreciate this," Fang replied. "For now anyways," he added slyly. I promptly ignored the comment, which I soon discovered was not one of my wisest moves. However, being my usual self I lived for the now, and living for the now including being showered with new, modern, priceless, vintage and utterly gorgeous looking cars of varying ages and styles. To name the few that I could see from here, the collection was compiled of Mustangs, Aston Martins, BMWs, Fiats, Bentleys, Chryslers, Porsches, Ferraris, Jaguars, Lincolns, Nissans, Pontiacs, Chevrolets, Lamborghinis VWs, and Rolls Royce's.

"No way…you've got cars as old as the Sixties! I'd have killed for a "64 Mustang Convertible like that!" I chimed, gesturing at the sleek red car across the lot. "And the Mercedes-Benz SLK300 is such a stark comparison to the vintage." I turned a full one-eighty degrees. "You've even stuck with the practical and stylish Nissan 350z's. Fang…Where did you get these from?" As I stared, not at the room, but the garage, I couldn't keep my eyes off the long line of cars parked evenly spaced from each other on both sides of the lot. The cars had all been backed into the spaces, facing the pathway between the lines of cars on each side. And I thought we'd been well off with four cars. There must have been hundreds in here.

"We've collected over the years. When motorized vehicles became big we decided to delve into the area. As I've said before, Demons are big on such things. I don't know why, but they're…fascinating. Them among other things," he finished intensely, eyes on me.

I cleared my throat, avoiding his gaze. "So are we taking one for a spin? Because if we are, I call dibs on which car and on driving."

"You can't call dibs on driving and style. And besides, I've still got something to show you."

I followed him to the end of the garage, which was no short distance, to another set of doors. My brow rose. "Have you got a line of sports cars or something?" I asked, hopes rising.

Fang looked thoughtful. "Sure, why not. Besides, this is the way out. Well, one of them. The other is through there," he said, gesturing at a doorway halfway down the room. I hadn't realized at first, but there was a break in the line of cars that allowed room for a few vehicles to drive through. My attention was brought back to the doorway as the entrance was forced open, revealing a much smaller room. There were a few cars inside, along with a number of motorbikes, which I promptly ignored. Most of the vehicles were in pieces, the bonnets, doors, engines, spoilers and mirrors pulled from them. I think there was even radiator somewhere amongst the various pieces.

"What is this?" I asked, frowning. It definitely wasn't a line-up of sports cars, that's for sure.

"The workshop. It's where we bring destroyed, damaged or completely totaled vehicles to be repaired."

"And we're in here why…?"

"Because I have something to show you," he replied once again. The answer was so innocent…but that was one word that I would never use to describe Fang. Uneasiness settled down on me, a cloak that was beginning to weigh me down once more.

"And where's this mysterious exit?" I asked anxiously, not seeing any exit whatsoever.

"One thing at a time Max," he replied, slyly evading the question. Strike two on my suspicious scale.

And when he brought me to the end of the "workshop" I hit strike three.

"What the Hell is that?" I asked vehemently as Fang lifted a black sheet to unveil a whole new vehicle. One that stopped my heart.

"Remember my friend?" he asked tauntingly, eyes tinged with a faint red colour.

"I remember slicing my name into its sides with a Swiss Army knife," I spat, unconsciously backing away from the bike. Flashes of blood poured across my vision and I had to blink multiple times to clear the image from my mind.

"Yes well, I've had it remodeled since that little episode. After completely destroying the sides I had to have it completely restored. Thankfully Sam has a real knack for bending metals. Another paint job and it's as good as new."

"Why did you bring me here?" I asked, eyes wide. Having a morbid fear of, well, anything didn't look good on the psychotic job description, but this was something I truly couldn't shake. Something that chilled me until I was cold, hard, frozen ice.

Fang blew a cloud of dust of the gleaming black vehicle. "I've got a deal for you," he said casually, crouching beside the bike as he admired the paint job. I shuddered.

"I don't like your deals," I replied snidely, turning from him and heading back the way I'd come. Well, I began to retrace my steps, before he spoke his next words.

"I will take you back to the Human Plain. But," he added, seeing he'd caught my attention, "there's only one way we're getting there. And it's on this baby."

"Forget it then," I replied flatly, shaking my head in denial.

"Are you sure?" he asked, brow raised. "This is your chance to see your father again. Well, you're human substitution for a father."

"Are you deaf? Or simply retarded? Allow me to put it in even simpler terms for you. No deal."

"What if it freed your brother?" Fang asked slowly as I began walking away once more.

Turning to face him again, my eyes narrowed uneasily. "What do you mean 'free me brother?'"

"I mean, you're brother is currently being held in the prisons of this Kingdom. Come with me and he's free."

"You're offering a lot for a simple ride on that thing."

He shrugged. "I'm one of the few who know how fearful you are of them, hence a hard bargain is the only way you'll get on one. Besides, I promised you that I would get you on this bike, which I intend to make good on. I'm simply allowing you the chance to do so willingly. This fear is an unnecessary phobia, but a phobia all the same."

"Well, you've just made a huge mistake. Now that I know you have my brother here, I'll find him."

"Good luck with that Max. You'll never find the entrance. And even if you did you'd never find your way out."

I frowned. "What do you mean?"

"The doors to our hidden rooms are always moving. If you walk through one door one instant, it will have already rearranged itself into a new position in the next. Even if you manage to find the entrance, you'll never find your way out again."

"That's impossible," I countered. "Physically that's impossible."

"How do you think we caught your brother?" he asked, moving to straddle the motorbike. Gunning the engine, he tossed a black helmet at me, one I caught with ease.

"I never agreed to this," I shot, holding the visor under my arm.

"Well you've got about sixty seconds to agree, because after that, the portal's gone."

The wall behind Fang's bike crumbled to pieces, the black brick disintegrating to reveal a shadowy hole that wavered mysteriously. Max, this is your chance to see Jeb again. And Iggy needs your help. Stop being such a wimp!

Easier said than done.

Well then, I guess Jeb will just think you and Iggy have died, or have run away out of anger, never to be seen again. And to think Iggy looked up to you.

"What is this? You're meant to be siding with me!"

"Max…are you talking to yourself?" Fang chuckled, shaking his head at me.

I had the urge to throw the helmet at him, but his words cut off the thought. "Twenty seconds Max. And I'm being dead serious." One look at the wavering hole and I was sure he was telling the truth. It was already beginning to dissipate.

My next actions should have earned me a freaking medal.

As quickly as I could I pulled my hair into a ponytail, shoving the helmet on and hooking one leg over the bike. As I straddled the vehicle I was sure a mischievous smile had spread across Fang's face. I sat there with my arms folded across my chest, a glare set steadily on the Demon's back.

"You're going to want to hold on," Fang warned, pushing the bike backward so that we had the room to turn around and head into the portal.

"Fuck that," I growled stubbornly.

Fang shrugged in his leather jacket. "Suit yourself." The Demon stopped reversing the bike, hand pushing the accelerator forward slightly. The engine roared louder as the motorcycle rushed forward, knocking the breath from me. I fought the urge to scream as my arm wrapped desperately around Fang, eyes closed in near terror. As the bike drove through the closing portal black met my vision, leaving my mind disorientated and confused. However, one thing I was sure about?

I was never getting on one of these things again.

The bike came crashing through the other end of the portal a few moments later, a sun-filled world meeting my dazed view. Even through the black visor I could tell it was a bright, sunny day, approaching twelve in the afternoon at the latest. I felt like some kind of stuntwoman as the vehicle connected harshly with the road, forcing me to clench even harder onto Fang's body. The wind whipped my jacket backwards, and I cursed myself for not doing it up. Feeling like I was going to hurl any moment, I figured this ride couldn't get any worse.

"Okay Max, when I turn don't try to stay upright or you'll cause us to crash! Go with the bike!" Fang had to shout over the wind and roar of the engine to be heard. I almost wish I hadn't heard a word he'd said.

"What?" I yelled, eyes wide. "We're turning?"

As if he wanted to freak me out even more, Fang gunned the engine once again, causing us to fly down the road like goons with a death wish.

And a death wish it was, I realized as we came to an abrupt T-intersection.

I didn't even have the time to scream, yell or otherwise. My mouth fell open in complete horror, knowing that there was no way we could possibly slow down in time for the turn without sending us flying over the bike's handlebars, vehicle flipping after us. Unable to do anything at all, I hoped to whatever God was out there that I wasn't about to die in three seconds flat.

To my utter surprise, I didn't.

Fang, being the stupid hot-shot that he was, decided that trying to take the turn at over a hundred kilometers per hour was fun. And so, as the intersection neared us, the Demon forced the bike on its side, tires squealing as they burned across the road. Arms clenching around him, I felt my body fall sideways as I fought the urge to sit upright. Go with the bike… Eyes closed completely, I endured the screeching of the vehicle as it entered a spinning fit, causing my mind to shake until the point of dizziness. Oh God let this be over soon…

Apparently God was on my side today.

Fang forced the bike to a Hollywood stop, spinning the motorcycle one-hundred and eighty degrees before burning to a dangerous halt. I lurched forward, the impact causing me to nearly fall off. If I hadn't of been clutching onto Fang so completely I probably would have.

"You okay back there?"

"I think I'm going to vomit," I replied, the world blurry as I heaved myself off the bike. As soon as my feet hit the ground my surroundings spun.

"You'll get used to it," Fang said, cutting the engine.

"Screw that!" I pulled the helmet from my head and pegged it at him, the protective hat hitting him in the arm ineffectively. "I'm never getting on that thing again! You're insane! And that's rare coming from me!"

"Stop being such a baby," he replied, waving me off as he picked the helmet up off the road. I could already feel the sun burning my skin, and I welcomed the heat, the rays a billion times more homely than the freezing depths of the Demon Plain.

"Did you just—?"

"Jeez, to think I brought you all the way up here for you to waste time complaining." Fang was smirking at me, and once again I had the urge to slap him.

"Where are we anyway?" I asked, changing the stream of conversation.

"Your sense of direction is appalling," he commented, pulling the keys from his bike. I looked around, a street surrounded by trees stealing the spotlight. A park veered off to the left, a small corner store situated a little off to the right. Fang had parked the bike in the Park's lot, stopping the bike across two spaces and preventing people from being able to park there. I didn't waste my breath yelling at him, but I did however remember where I was.

"Avian Park," I realized aloud, my memory spinning back to normal. "Just down the road from home, of course. But why not just take me directly there?"

"I didn't want to take us directly there, because I didn't want anyone to know we're here, or what ride I was on."

"You don't even live here, so what does it matter if they see what bike you—"


Both Fang and I turned to the newcomer in surprise. With hair as black as Fang's and eyes that glittered like emeralds, I had to blink away my disorientation at the girl's beautiful features. Features that looked eerily different to the last time I'd seen her.

"Jackie?" I asked, equally as confused as she sounded.

"It is you. You feel somewhat different. And of course, you are still with the Demon boy. For now."

I frowned, not sure I'd heard her correctly. "Wait, you mean you know?" If she truly knew that Fang was a Demon, and not simply stating he was one because of his personality, then she would know what I was talking about.

"I know many things," she replied mystically, eyes shining inhumanely. There, that was why she looked different. Her eyes were so vibrant, so bright they were like tiny green suns staring into my soul. That had definitely changed since the last time I'd seen her. Alarm bells began ringing in my head as Fang spoke his next words.

"Why are you here?" he asked, his voice a deep, meaningful whisper. "What news are you to bring us?"

"I come to you with a message, this is true. However, you Max are the biggest news. Both you and your brother. I think it unwise you visit this Plain now."

"Jacquelyn, what news do you bring us?"

"I bring information regarding an ambush. Soon you will suffer great loss, the unveiling of a grave secret and an irrevocable illness that will see your world crumble into devastation. Homes will be abandoned and lives will be lost, before those of crucial importance will part with the ones they love." Fang looked stunned, which was so rare it caused total shock in me, at this "prophecy."

"What on Earth are you talking about? Aren't you meant to be some kind of cheerleader?" Jackie's chilling voice was giving me the creeps.

"Cheerleading is a useless, mundane sport that for some reason appeals to humans. I only bother with such activities so that I can search for those I seek. Cheerleading is a sport that calls to many, but needs utmost grace and strength to be done properly. Only the supernatural can make a sport look so stunning, and so I trial people to find those who know not of their abilities, such as yourself. To find people who are born from the magic and supernatural worlds. Although, I knew before I even met you that you were more than human."


"Jacquelyn, or Jackie, is a Seer, a nearly extinct supernatural race like their sisters, the Sirens. You can distinguish them by the swirls on their forehead, which," he stressed, seeing that I was about to argue, "they can hide at any given time, which Jacquelyn is currently doing.They don't work on a magical basis; hence they don't used Azkadelia's power to use theirs. Seers possess the ability to foresee the future; however, this one seems to enjoy speaking in riddles instead of giving straight answers." Humph, who did that sound like? Fang's eyes were calculating as he attempted to deconstruct what the girl had previously said. Something about an ambush. I had kind of tuned out after that, too entrenched in watching those freakishly green eyes. Too entrenched in the fact that Jackie wasn't even human. Go figure.

"When will this ambush occur?" Fang asked, eyes narrowing.

"This I cannot tell you, as you already know. Such information is too valuable. Take this as your warning, Prince Xavian of the Demonic Plain. When the time comes, protect those you love, for if any of you fail you will soon see the tide of power tipping into the opposition's hands." Her words were musical, but they sounded depressing, sad. Uncanny.

Jackie's (Jacquelyn's?) next words were directed at me, her form wavering slightly. Okay, that was weird…

"You have not yet discovered the illusions then, I suppose?"

"Uh…" What mojo crap was the girl on about now?

"I shall take that as a strong no. Well Prince, you have received my warning. However, I would once again like to stress my urgency that you leave, unless you wish to be trapped in the land which you so abhor. Until next time, farewell." The girl wavered into non-existence, her form sparkling as she dematerialized. I blinked, a little disorientated.

"Do you feel dizzy?" I asked, blinking furiously.

"Try shimmering with them, it's a whole lot worse," Fang grumbled. He still looked like he was trying to figure out what the Seer was on about.

"Shimmering?" I asked, frowning.

"That's what they call teleporting. Seers don't teleport, they shimmer. Angels trace. They are all a simple variation of transporting from one place to another. Ares likes to call it 'dropping in unexpectedly.' It all differs."

"What did she mean about an ambush?" I asked, knowing he didn't have the answer but hoping he did all the same.

"I have no idea. But, I'd like to make this visit as quick as possible. I fear for what Jacquelyn has foreseen. The Seer is never incorrect in her visions."

"And most are?" I asked, beginning down the short street that housed my place.

"No, they just misinterpret the vision. Others barely foresee anything, so having Jacquelyn on our side is a great advantage. Of course, Gabriel will no doubt have a powerful Seer as well, but Jacquelyn has been with us for centuries, and is a personal…acquaintance if you will, of my father."

"What, the King has no friends?"

Fang simply shrugged. "Anyway, the point is I wish to leave this place as quickly as possible."

Sighing, I complied, nodding as I walked past a large wooden post. Attached to it was a paper flyer, two different pictures plastered to the A4 sheet.

"Perfect. If anyone spots us we're screwed."

Fang ripped the page from the wooden pole, screwing it up into a ball and tossing it onto the street. "We'll be fine. I didn't realize you were so willing to come back with me."

Eyes wide, I searched for an excuse. "I have to free Iggy first," I replied calmly, picking up the pace. A huge white house was coming into clear site, and I felt pang of homesickness kick in. How long had I been away? A week? Sad.

"Nice excuse," he remarked, smirking.

"Right, mind reader, of course."

"No," he said, grinning now. "Your bug eyes are a huge giveaway. But thanks for your confession."

"Funny. Now is there any way you can, I don't know, disappear while I talk to my dad?"

"No," he stated, tone final.

"You didn't even think about it!" I cringed at how naïve I sounded.

"Even if I did you'd receive the same answer."

"Screw you," I snapped, feet hitting an altogether new pavement. The cobblestoned driveway was a sight for sore eyes, and I felt a grin slide into place across my face, scowl dripping away.

"White, typical," Fang muttered, pushing my stationary form forward. "Come on girly, get a move on."

"Don't call me girly," I ground out, pushing the unlocked doors open. The glass looked too clean, and the house sounded eerily quiet. Morbid.

"Or what?" he challenged, brow raised.

"Or I might just permanently rearrange your face pretty boy," I shot back, venturing further into the house. Nothing much looked out of place, same white walls, same white furniture, same white everything. I sighed, sometimes I wondered about Jeb's choice in colour. I.e. the choice that have none. The whiteness was somehow even more depressing than usual, and I figured it was because there were no signs of life here. No dirty dishes, not T.V. blaring or music shaking the house. I guessed that was the problem; this place was a house, not a home.

"Mm, so you think I'm pretty? Thank-you, but I prefer ruggedly handsome."

A skeptical look crossed my face. "Right, any other wishes Demon?"

"Well, if you're taking requests…" Fang's hands wrapped around my wrists, pulling me closer.

I rolled my eyes, heart hammering in my chest so loudly I was sure he could hear it. However, being the brilliant actor I was, I feigned indifference, pulling my wrists from him.

"That is so corny," I said. "Keep your hands off the merchandise."

Fang chuckled. "And you said I was corny."

"Didn't you say you wanted to get out of here as fast as possible? Well then help me find my dad so we can."


"Well now, that didn't take very long," Fang commented, arms folded across his chest as he inched closer to me.

Frowning at Fang's actions, I turned toward Jeb, who looked terrible. His hair was mussed, eyes red raw with black shadows painted beneath them. His skin was a horrible chalk white, and if I didn't know any better I would have thought he was sick. But Jeb never got sick.

"Hi Dad…" Again a frown set in, this one originating from my concern. 'Dad, are you okay? You look terrible."

"Tends to happen when your kids run out on you," he said wearily, brown eyes saddened. "Who is he?" Caution dripped from his words as Jeb's eyes scanned Fang.

"My name is Xavian. I am a friend of Max's." Fang's chin was raised, his form imposing as he towered over the both of us.

"Dad, I've missed you," I said softly, barreling into him as I hugged him tightly.

"I've missed you too Max," he said, his voice sounding a little off. Was that anger intertwined in it? Vindictiveness? Pulling away in surprise, I saw the look that crossed his face, a look that was pure hatred. One that was trained directly on Fang.

"Demon," Jeb breathed, pulling me closer to him in a protective gesture.


"I thought you knew," Fang replied, nodding as he shrugged himself off the wall.

"You took my children, just like she said you would." Jeb's voice grew and octave higher, and a million decibels louder, the anger turning to fury.

"I did what I had to do. You don't think she would have done the exact same thing? You think that by bringing her here it would change Max's opinion?" Fang asked, gesturing harshly at me. He gave a humourless laugh. "She was dancing on the line of darkness long before I came along, long before I knew who and what she was. If you ask me, bringing the Angel into this was the worst thing you could have done."

At this point I had pretty much lost track of the conversation. Jeb knew about the Demons? Was there anyone who didn't?

"What are you guys talking about?" I asked, shaking my head in disbelief. "What on Earth is going on?"

Both men ignored me. "You took both my children from me!" Jeb.

"And you think she wouldn't have? She would have gone a step further! She would have taken Max and murdered James." Fang's eyes were glowing a horrible red shade as he yelled at Jeb. "I had no use for the Halfling, but he and his friend blew up my Human Domain, and so they were captured by my guards. I would not have touched him. If the Angel had of gotten her claws on him he'd be dead, because of what James is. This battle is beyond you. You have no idea the treachery that can occur on either playing field, and have no idea the extent of this war."

"HEY!" I yelled, so loud the house shook. Figuratively speaking. "If someone doesn't tell me what the Hell is going on, I'm going to scream."

"Go ahead, tell her," Fang said, glaring at Jeb. Why was he getting so pissed off?

"I know all about your mother. I know all about these Angels and Demons. And I know that they're going to use you, just like they do with all their other prisoners. Max, you're a tool to them! Nothing more!"

Well, that cleared a whole lot up. Not.

Fang shook his head spitefully. "No, the man didn't want you to team up with the Demons, because they're evil, malicious parasites that think of nothing but themselves."

"I don't understand what either of you are talking about," I said calmly, sounding like the voice of reason around here. That was a scary thought.

"Your 'father' has been trying to persuade you over the years to join the Angels' side, to aid them. The white walls, white furniture. It's almost like subliminal messaging. Bringing in Valencia Martinez had to be the stupidest thing he could have done—"

"Wait, what?"

Fang didn't look happy about being cut off. "Valencia Martinez, Queen of the Angelic Plain. She has a personal grudge against our family and was obviously brought into yours so that she could 'influence' you to join their side. Or so she would have told you," he stressed pointedly at Jeb. "She's a backstabbing Halfling that got lucky with the Angel King. It's the only reason she has any influence. And she would have double crossed you in an instant. Did you honestly think she loved you?"

"God no. I love my wife. Valencia said she would keep my children from turning to the evil side, that she would give them a better life then you would Demon."

"Then you're a fool," Fang stated flatly, eyes consumed by red fire. Why was he getting so worked up? More importantly…

"You knew all about this? You knew all about me and Iggy and you never told us?" Jeb opened his mouth to say something but I cut him off. "You knew I would have to make the decision to join either sides and you never told me? Damn it Jeb why didn't you tell me!"

"Would you have believed me?" he asked knowingly.

"That's not the point and you know it," I replied angrily, stepping away from him. "I had the right to know about Mum, I had the right to know that you aren't even my father!"


"I don't want to hear it Jeb," I said, shaking my head painfully.

"We must leave," Fang said, suddenly urgent.

That urgency pulled me from my anger. "What's going on?"

"Angels, and close. Jacquelyn was right, we need to go, now." I nodded in compliance. "Good to see you're on my side for once."

"Don't push it."

"I'll get the bike and bring it around. I can run faster on my own."

"Why not just—" Fang had already disappeared before I could finish, dematerializing into a vortex of black ribbon. I sighed. "Teleport."

"Max, you can't leave with him. I can literally feel the darkness surrounding him."

"No, that's just what he's like," I replied, still angry. I waited in the doorway for Fang to return with his—crap. I'd have to get on that thing again.

"I'm not letting you go."

"And what are you going to do to stop me? I can't just not go. They have Iggy, and if I'm right and Fan—uh, Xavian meant Nudge when he was talking about Iggy's friend, then I can't just leave them on the Demonic Plain. Like it or not they need me"

"Why them? Why pick them? Max, I don't think you're fully aware of the consequences of this choice—"

"I haven't picked anyone! I just want my brother back, and I'll do whatever it takes to get him back."

"Max…why embrace the darkness inside you when you have the choice to embrace the light?"

My mouth fell open as I scrambled to find a reply. Were the Demons really all that dark? The King, yes. Fang? Definitely. But that was just who they were. The Demon Queen? She had to be the most graceful, light-filled person I'd ever met. Azkadelia—yeah, she went insane sometimes, but that was because of her power, not her personality. Ella, Dylan, Ares…they weren't dark. Dangerous? Yes. Crazy? Of course. There were shadows there, but everyone had some deep, malicious side to them…

And I can not believe I am actually siding with the Demons at this point.

Fang's bike came to a screeching halt just by the doors, jolting me out of my heavy thoughts. An incessant beeping rang out and I ran out to join the Demon, pushing my fears into the back of my mind.

"In case you didn't realize, Mum was a part of that dark side you so abhor." I knew, without even sticking around to see it first hand, that those words would haunt him. And, once again, as I jumped onto Fang's bike, helmet in place, I forced the thought into the back of my mind.

"We need to get back to the portal as quickly as we can," Fang said, gunning the bike. The wheels squealed as the rubbed against the road, propelling us down the street as we backtracked out course.

"But won't they be expecting that!" I yelled over the wind and noise of the bike.


"Oh, great!" I replied sarcastically. My eyes searched the skies, dark clouds thrusting themselves in front of the bright sun and causing shadows to spike across the area dangerously. Thunder rumbled through the heavens, shaking the world beneath as we sped down the road. What did Ares say about his emotions affecting the weather around here? I swallowed hard, tightening my arms around Fang's body.

"Hey, are you okay?" I shouted.

"Fine!" Lie.

"You really hate Valencia, don't you?"

"As much as I hate any Angel!" Mega lie. I wondered what the personal grudge was about, because it seemed pretty mutual.

"Seriously Fang slow down!" I yelled urgently. If he crashed…

"Didn't pick you for a girl who liked to go slow—"

Before us a huge, blinding what wall appeared, rising from the ground so fast I'd have missed it had I blinked but once. The imposing feature cut right into our path, one thing spinning through my mind.

We're dead.

Fang, having faster reflexes than I, saw the wall the second it was about to rise, forcing the bike on its side and coming to a dangerous stop. Or at least, he tried to. Because he broke so fast the motorcycle was pulled off balance, tipping over and scraping against the ground ruthlessly. Moved by the force, both of us went flying, my arms ripping from Fang's body in the process. I braced myself for impact, clenching my hands and shutting my eyes.

This is going to hurt…

And yeah, it did.

My form collided with a solid object, jarring my body and forcing the breath from my lungs. I fought to breath as pain shot like electricity through me, black dotting my vision angrily as I was thrown across the road, skidding along the rough terrain mercilessly. Coming to a painful end I groaned, the sound escaping my throat harshly.

"Are you okay?"

"I think so—Fang?" I spun around as quickly as possible, which turned out to be a huge mistake. I gasped, feeling like someone had slipped a knife through my stomach. My head fell back as I tried to regain my breath.

"Are you okay?" I breathed, blinking away the darkness that threatened to consume my vision.

"Never better," he ground out painfully, hoisting me upwards with him. The solid form I had crashed into happened to be Fang, who had taken the majority of the damage for the both of us. We'd left a huge indentation in the road where we'd skidded, a hole that looked too deep to have been made by us.

"What happened?" I asked, eyes wide in shock.

"Your worst nightmare," replied someone who wasn't Fang. Someone I hated even more than I loathed every Demon combined.

"Been there done that," I replied, my anger rekindled despite my weakened state. I was sure that if Fang hadn't have wrapped his arm around me I would be very much lying on the ground in pain once more, still jarred from impact.

"That was a cowardly move," Fang ground out, sounding even angrier than I did, red eyes so dark they might as well have been black.

"Perhaps, but we couldn't let you get through the portal. Not before we were finished with it." I could barely stand to look at the woman before me, not after everything she'd done. I wasn't one to trust Fang, but I did believe him when he said that this woman was an Angel. More importantly, if that was true, then I knew when she got the chance she would kill Iggy and kidnap both Ella and myself.

"You think you can simply block it? You think you can plug the hole to the Demonic Plain that easily? You forget, I am stronger than all of you, even if you are Queen."

Valencia Martinez, otherwise known as the Angelic Queen, narrowed his eyes in anger, the beautiful light-filled irises bleeding into a horrible, obsidian black. I blanched, so surprised by how evil she looked.

"That may be regrettably so, but not once you are weakened."

Fang laughed humourlessly. "And how do you hope to do such a—" his words were sliced to pieces by the roar that escaped his throat, a sound so horrifyingly loud that it was worse than the thunder booming overhead. Behind Fang a girl materialized, the invisible child appearing behind us. The girl was levitating back to the ground, her feet hitting the road gracefully as she made her way back to the group of people that were now forming a mob in front of us. In her place she left a collar that was steadily wrapped around Fang's neck.

"What the…"

"I am going to kill you, you son of a—" Again his words were stopped short by another bellow, this one created by a mixture of pain and fury. I watched as the collar that had been strapped to Fang's neck let loose a shot of electricity, frying his entire body. The arm that was keeping me standing loosened as he began to fall off-balance. Positions swapped, I wrapped my arm around his waist, holding his huge frame upright. Jesus, how much does this guy weigh?

"What did you do to him?" I snarled, eyes narrowed furiously. I'd felt a zap of electricity flow from Fang's arm into me, but it had been barely noticeable; nothing more than a static shock. So why was it affecting him so badly?

"You sound overly protective of a man you dislike so greatly. Or perhaps I am mistaken, and you are actually falling for him, just like that weak, pathetic excuse for a being. What's her name? Ah yes, Ella. We gave her the chance of a lifetime, the opportunity to join us in our quest to take over this world and destroy the Demonic Plain. Her refusal was disheartening, but with your influence we may change her mind. And so, we shall offer you the same thing we offered your sister. Join us Maximum. Join us in taking what is rightfully ours."

"Just think Max, you can have anything you ever wanted." The comment came from the girl that had snapped the electric collar around Fang's neck, the same girl that had overrun my home. Angel.

"She will never join you," Fang spat, another shot of energy spinning through him in an electrifying pattern. He cried out, eyes red in maddening anger. Again, I barely felt the zap.

"I don't believe I was asking you Prince," Valencia shot back, her voice infuriating. The Queen was smirking at Fang's pain, and that really pissed me off.

"You want your evil?" Fang asked, eyes on me as he struggled to stay upright. "You're looking at it." Maybe he was right. Maybe it wasn't the Demons that were the bad guys here…maybe the humans had it the wrong way around. Maybe—

"Ignore him!" Valencia shouted, her voice shattering my thoughts. "Max," she started again, her voice softer. "Max you must choose a side. There is a reason Demons are known as Demons. There is a reason that Humans call them evil. Max, this is what your father wanted, what Jeb planned for you. Please, help us."

"She's right," Fang said, eyes narrowed as he smirked maliciously. "You do need to choose a side. We need to hear it Max. As you said, no more games, no more tricks. I need the truth. You want your good, Angelic beings? There they are, in plain sight. In all their glory. They stoop down to such cowardice acts, cannot even grasp an ounce of honour!" Fang pulled at the collar, both a gesture and attempt to rid his body of pain.

"And yet Demons feed off pain, of torturing others. They need it to stay sane. They kill for pleasure! And you would live with such monsters?"

There was something I'd never thought of before, something I'd completely forgotten about. Demons fed of hurting others, as Fang had grown stronger after hurting me. So could I really side with them? …Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

"It matters not what you choose," Fang said, looking me square in the eyes as my arms struggled to keep him upright. "But know that if you choose them, I will not easily let you go. I will track you down time and time again, will find you every single time you escape me," Fang pulled himself upright, his arm clasping the collar around his neck, "forcing you to stay where I can protect you. Forcing you to stay with me, even if I have to chain you to my side." With one mighty wrench, Fang snapped the electric collar from his neck the energetic pulse causing his entire form to vibrate painfully. He steadily ignored that pain, dropping the collar to the floor and stepping on it, crushing the gadget with his shoe. Eyes wide, I stayed rooted in spot, utter surprise keeping me motionless. That looked like it hurt.

"Do it now!" Valencia shouted, eyes as wide as my own.

"But…that will destroy the entire portal!" The voice was also childish, this one belonging to a small boy who stood beside a translucent, wavering circle that floated just above the ground.

"We don't have time to plug it Gazzy! Destroy it!" Fang was gone from my side before I even had the chance to utter a word, leaving in his place a howling breath of wind. Wait…did she say destroy it?

"Oh my God, are you going to—?" My question was answered by the huge explosion that had me flying backward again, the wind knocked from my lungs once more. The difference? My body didn't crash into Fang's, not this time. Instead I collided with a nearby building, my form smashing into the metallic structure painfully. I cried out, my voice ringing through the air as I fell to the ground, my airborne figure simply dropping as limply as a ragdoll to the dirt floor. Great, I was no longer on road. I was yet to decide whether that was a good thing or not.

"Max!" Black clouds roared over head as lightning flared through the sky. My vision was blurry as someone pulled me upward by my throat, claws digging into my skin.

"That was the wrong choice Max."


"Oh, but you did, didn't you? In your mind you already know that you've chosen them over us. Just like your stupid sister. You two should be twins, both reasoning your actions with the same mindset. Fools. Now you shall pay. You see, we need you, much to my dismay, but however much I dislike you, I dislike the Demonic Royal family even more. Hence I need you alive. But a little pain along the way is a never a waste of time, don't you think?" Valencia's hand tightened around my throat as black dotted my vision. "You know, I've never seen the Prince react so violently to a girl before. It's actually quite amusing you know? I enjoy seeing him want something he can't have. Even if I'm the one stopping him from having it." The Queen continued to ramble about something or another, but I tuned out about then. Valencia really seemed to enjoy gloating. As much as she seemed to hate Fang, or more shocking, his mother. His father, yeah, could understand why someone would hate him. But the Demon Queen? I didn't understand. I truly didn't.

Max, stop thinking and start acting! If you don't do something soon you'll be choked to death!

Yeah, and how the Hell do I get myself out of this mess? Ugh, am I talking to myself again? Joy.

Illusions Max. Use your illusions…

What the? Now that was not my voice.

"…so are you ready to—" Valencia's words were cut off by an inhuman scream, the earth-shattering sound making my ears bleed. I was force to the ground, having been dropped violently, but thudding against the dirt. I heaved in air, almost unaware that I hadn't been breathing. As my vision locked onto Valencia and her painful looking stance, I saw Fang as he stood over the Queen, eyes red with rage.

"If you ever, ever touch her again, I will rip your head straight off of your shoulders and feed it to the hounds!"

"You dare threaten me?" The woman was astounded, and I fought the urge to laugh, hoisting myself off the ground. The illusions Max…

Who the Hell was that? The voice was male, but it definitely wasn't Fang's… I was sure I'd never heard it before in my life. And what did he mean illusions? Like I didn't already have enough frustrating events in my life.

Fang had thoroughly tied Valencia to a trunk of a massive tree, the woman secured there by the same looking chain that Azkadelia had used to trap Ares. After tying the Angel tightly, Fang dragged me closer to him, his eyes the angriest I had ever seen them.

"We're leaving," he gritted out, pulling me into him roughly. We disappeared seconds later.

"We're in a cave," I stated flatly, standing behind a sitting Fang. The Demon was perched on the ledge of the cavern, the hideaway situated at the top of a huge mountain. The drop to ground level was huge. Well, I was stuck at least. The clouds above weren't grey anymore—they were black, and that wasn't in figurative terms. They were literally that colour, unsurprisingly the same colour as Fang's mood. Thunder roared and lightning flashed, a storm just waiting to be unleashed. That storm seemed to centre around Fang, as if the Demon himself was the eye.

"Well, it's far away from them," he snarled.

My eyes narrowed in concern. "Fang…are you okay? You're really angry."

"No shit," he replied, his tone implying it was a stupid statement.

"Hey, I haven't done anything wrong, so don't get pissed off with me. I'm just trying to help here!"

Fang sighed. "I know, I just…you don't know anything about this world. You only know how to be Human, and that will get you killed. Max…I'm fearful of what will happen when you're alone."

I laughed softly, falling to sit beside Fang. 'Hey, I'm a big girl, I can handle it okay? Why don't we just head back to the Palace?" I suggested. I'd rather be there than a cave.

"In case you didn't realize 'big girl' that portal was destroyed, which means it could take days for a new portal to rearrange itself here. We could teleport around the world to find one, but it will be easier to just wait for one to form here."

"Why can't you just teleport home?"

"Impossible. You have to use a portal to travel to other Plains."

I blinked. "So…you mean we're stuck on this Plain?"

Fang nodded. "Pretty much. My new bike is already destroyed, my neck is killing me because of the stupid collar…this couldn't get any suckier."

And, lo and behold, it starts pouring.

"Perfect," Fang ground out in annoyance, his form soaked from the pelting rain.

Mwahahaha, I hoped you like it. I am so tired, sorry about the non-editing, cbf. REVIEW.

23. Chapter 23

I really hope you people read these authors notes, because quite frankly I put a lot of effort into them. Yeah, okay not really, but still. Now guys, I'm going to do sort of an opposite thing today, and put the long authors note at the END. So, you kinda have to read it. PROMISE ME? If you don't, I will find a way to ruin your lives. And seeing as though you all read this story, well…it shouldn't be hard. But please, know this and don't hate me—there is to be but one more DTM (Darker than Midnight. I put this in brackets because someone reviewed saying this and it took me a while to realize it meant Darker than Midnight) chapter. Ergo, I'm ending it, completely, after this chapter. Sorry, but I am over it.

"You know, this is your fault."

Fang's head turned toward me slowly, his gaze lethal. I laughed.

"Well, it is! You're the one with emotions going haywire. You said it yourself—the weather on the Human plain is connected to your feelings." I was teasing him, which, under normal circumstances, wouldn't have worked. Today however he was a disaster just waiting to happen. And cue evil laugh.

"So it would seem…it looks as if we may be here a while. And I very much doubt that this storm will blow over any time soon. What would you like to do?"

I could feel the skeptical look crossing my face. "Hold on, let me see. What should I do…no, scratch that, what can I do? I'm sorry Fang, but all I see is cavernous wall."

Shaking his head, Fang rolled his eyes. Throw in his cynical voice and snarky comment and I was the one getting annoyed. "You have absolutely no imagination Blondie."

"Yeah, just stick to the weather forecast please," I replied, folding my arms across my chest.

Fang smiled, spinning about to face me. He crossed his legs and patted the space in front of him, eyes watching me expectantly. Sighing I fell to the ground, folding my own legs in the process.

"Okay, what do you want?"

"Really? You're asking me what I want?"

Once again the Demon rolled his eyes. "I am speaking English, am I not?"

"Well, dry clothes wouldn't go amiss," I noted, gesturing at my saturated clothes. Sitting on the edge of a cave while torrential rain pours down isn't the smartest of ideas. Especially when it gets windy.

Fang nodded solemnly, eyeing off his own wet shirt. Hands clasped, Fang began to slowly pry them apart, twisting his hands around an invisible globe. The action looked as if he were smoothing his palms over an orb, the invisible sphere growing larger each second he continued to pull his hands apart. When they reached a certain distance the invisible space between his hands was replaced by a ball of darkness, black electricity sparking to life. The energy ball grew the wider Fang drew his hands apart, forever twisting his palms around the spherical globe of onyx ribbons. When the orb had developed into a sphere the size of a world globe Fang stopped moving his hands, the ball crackling with power. I stared in wonder, eyes wide at the electrical beauty.

"You ready?" he asked, brows raised. All I could do was nod, so ensnared by the ball of power. A half smile crossed Fang's face, one that screamed arrogance. "Metrius, eraklyiun, mazarath noberta." As if in a trance, I watched that same orb retract, so fast it was a blur. The electric currents crackling through the globe were sucked into a void, the darkness evaporating between the Prince's fingers. Replacing the orb was a dress as white as snow, the garb full length and angelic looking. I blinked, the clothing being the last thing I expected. And in white no less.

"All that…for that?" There was really no other way I could put it.

"No, that was just for show." With a click of his finger, Fang twisted his right hand around in a circular rotation, ribbons of onyx darkness swirling around his twirling fingers gracefully. A mere moment later the black strings pulled together, each thin strand converging into a solid object. That solid object turned out to be a packet of gum.

"Want a piece?"

"What, no weird Latin words?" I teased.

"Not Latin. Demon. Question still stands."

So, there was a Demon language now. Great. "No, I'm fine. I'm guessing the dress is for me?"

"That it is," he replied, handing me the garment. "You can go through there to change. Or you could stay here," he added, grinning sheepishly.

"Nice try," I replied, coming to a stand. "Back in a sec." I ventured further into the cave, the faint light from the mouth disappearing completely. Not that it was making much of a difference to my sight—I could barely see anything anyway. But, somehow, I managed to change out of my soaking clothes and strip to my underwear. Of course, they too were damp, but I figured being wet was much more comfortable than wearing none around Fang. Luckily, they were white. And so, I pulled the dress over my head, the material falling around my body as I dragged it on. Huh, perfect length and size. I didn't know whether I should have been freaked out by that. Voicing as much, I made my way back through the cavern, which, I can tell you now, was no easy feat. If it weren't for the bright fire Fang had decided to ignite to life I would have been lost in the darkness.

"I don't know whether I should be glad or wary that you know my exact size." My feet were near silent as I padded along the cavern floor, escaping the darkness and walking into a room of light as fire cast dancing shadows along the walls.

Shadows that were also flickering across Fang's bare chest.

That same necklace hung around his neck, the sharp tooth threaded onto a roped band. His hair hung limply, water still dripping from some of the ends. I watched a particular drop as it slid down his cheek, trailing all the way to his chin before dropping off his body. Dark eyes rose from the enigmatic flames to meet my own, a slow, seductive smile crossing his olive features. His body was utterly still, as if too keep from frightening something off.

"Pretty," he acknowledged casually, giving the dress a once-over. "And to answer your question, I guessed."

Yeah, right. And pigs fly. "What, you couldn't, uh, get clothes for yourself?"

I screamed mentally. Stupid, stupid, stupid question.

"I could, but your reactions to my body are amusing," he replied, muscles tensing enticingly as he stood. I couldn't even blink, too entranced by the roping of muscle as he moved, the smoothness of his skin as shadows danced across him. Fang stepped around the blazing fire, which I don't know how he started, and walked up to me, his tempting body screaming at me. Touch him…

"Blunt, real blunt," I commented at his reply, distracting myself from my disturbing thoughts.

"Blunt is my way," he noted, looking down at me with those mysteriously deep eyes.

"I've noticed." My eyes fell half closed, my body thrumming wildly. It was a weird sensation—half of me felt drowsy, the other felt like it was on the adrenaline rush of its life.

"And I've noticed that you can't keep your eyes off me," he murmured, eyes tinted a slight red. I shivered, a shudder running down my spine painfully.

"I've noticed too," I whispered, not bothering to deny it. What was the point? He could read my thoughts, not to mention the direction of my eyes.

"Agreeing with me are you? Astounding." His fingers tipped my face upward, blonde hair blanketing around my body. Black eyes converged with mine, Fang's soft expression startling me. "I was wrong you know," he commented, his voice almost distant.

"About?" Breathe, just breathe…

"This colour. White. It's actually quite beautiful, if used on the right person."

Well, what to say to that. "Charming," I decided on, side-stepping the Demon. Twisting around the Prince, I padded over to the blazing fire, falling to my knees beside it. I tucked my legs under my body, effectively sitting on my hip as I leaned on my hand. The dress lay across my legs softly, the material relaxing my body, weird as it sounds.

"So, are you going to explain this unbelievable grudge Valencia has on your mother?" I asked, generally curious. I truly couldn't comprehend why someone would loathe, let alone hate, the Queen. Jeez, even the Demon King was in love with her, and he was meant to be the coldest man alive.

Fang, eyes losing their reddish tinge, collapsed to the floor across from me, legs folding beneath him. He looked thoughtful as I watched the way his necklace rebounded off his body when he sat. The Demon didn't notice.

"Well, I guess the most reasonable thing to say is that she's jealous."

I blinked. "She's jealous? Who, Valencia? Of what?"

"My mother. Valencia Martinez is envious of my mother."

"Okay then, next obvious question. Why?" Because the Demon Queen was prettier? Yeah, I could totally imagine Valencia hating someone for their beauty. And Fang's mother was the epitome of beautiful. I could barely remember what she looked like, and if someone asked me what hair or eye colour she possessed I honestly couldn't tell them, but I knew, from that one second I'd seen her, that she had to be the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen. More so than myself, Azkadelia, Ella, Lissa…of any pretty girl I knew combined. You could probably even throw in every Demon and they still couldn't compare.

"She is envious of her because King Gabriel is in love with her."

And there it was, that same stunned blinking. "But…I thought…"

"That Valencia is the Queen? She is—in theory. Her two children, the one that blew up the portal with that explosion and the one that snuck up behind me, are both King Gabriel's children. I was being serious when I said the only reason she was Queen was because she got lucky with the Angelic Lord. Because she bore the King's children, and was the only one to do so, she gained the title of Queen. Unlike my mother, Valencia did not earn the title through marriage—and that pisses her off."

"Yeah, okay I get that. But why…how is the King in love with her?"

"Beats me. All I know is both he and my Father wanted her, and Valencia Martinez now holds a grudge." Fang scoffed. "Angels and their useless emotions. No offense."

I huffed out a breath of air. "Right—half Angel. Of course. Sorry, not used to the terms yet."

"Yes, my little Halfling." Fang smiled crookedly, his almost jeering tone making me frown.

"Halfling? I'm guessing that means half Angel half Demon?"

"Actually, it means to be half Demon half human or half Angel half human. The term we use for people such as yourself and Ella is rather…dishonourable."

Great. "Do I want to know what it is or what it means?"

The Demon shook his head. "No, probably not. I however would like to know something. Why did you choose us over them?"

And boom. Talk about a blow to the head. Do I feign ignorance? I decided no, probably not. So, I went for the next best thing—denial.

"I have not, and I stress the not in this statement, chosen anyone or anything."

Fang snorted. "I'm not deaf. I heard what Valencia said. I'm also not stupid, and every action, every move you've made today points to one logical conclusion—us over them. And so I ask again, without your denial, why?"

"I didn't…I haven't…damn it, I don't know! I look at them, at the Angels' Queen Valencia and I think, how the Hell could I offer my loyalty, my services…myself to someone like that? And then I compare her to people like your mother and I think, shit, maybe I do have it backwards. Maybe the Humans have it warped. That maybe it is the Angels that are evil."

"Max, there is no good or evil in the world, only people's perceptions. If you truly compare us and them you'll see we are almost the same people. Yes, there are differences such as our leaders or our love of cold over heat, but we are very similar indeed."

I scowled as his philosophical words. "Are you trying to change my mind?"

"No, but I am trying to figure you out Max. One second you'd be happy as Larry to stick pins in my eyes, the next you'll be falling all over me. One second you'll believe there's no way people such as I are capable of emotions, of kindness, and the next it'll be the only thing you believe. You're like a walking contradiction. I guess that comes from you being both halves of two Ancient civilizations that are at war with one another…why else do you choose us?"

This time I evaded my eyes, instead turning to watch the dancing fire separating the two of us. "No other reason. Just figured if it was between your parents or Valencia and a possibly worse King than I'd rather your side. Even if I do dislike your father so…completely."

"And there are those same evasive eyes. I was right—you cannot look at me when lying."

"That's not true," I replied, eyes rising to meet his as I said it.

"Okay, allow me to rephrase. You cannot lie about important affairs involving me or us without evading your eyes from mine."

Yeah, that may have been true…

"Well, I just can't process the fact that…well, that you've changed. Or at least, you're acting different to how you did when I first met you. And…I don't know, I guess I like you better. And yeah, maybe that's part of the reason I've leant towards your—this side. There's something about the way you are with Ares too. You're more Human than I've ever seen you."

At the mention of Ares' name Fang's eyes widened to an impossible size. It was an odd sight, seeing such a look cross his face. He looked not quite shocked, but as if he had completely forgotten about something.

"Okay, now that's a freaky look," I acknowledged, attempting to contain a grin. "What's wrong?"

"Ares might just kill me," he replied guiltily, scrubbing a hand down his face.

Or at least try. "Why? What'd you do?" This time, I added silently, smiling to myself.

"That's the problem. I'm not doing anything."

A felt the dubious look settle on my face. "And you said Jackie was cryptic. Elaboration please."

"It seems I've forgotten about an important event."

I gritted my teeth in irritation. "If I have to ask again…"

The ghost of a smile crossed the Demon's face. "Ares' wedding. The day following tomorrow it is to be held. Supposedly I am to be the best man."

I blinked. "Supposedly? You know what, whatever, I don't want to know. I saw people setting up for a wedding. Had a freak out when Azkadelia said it was hers. Isn't she already the Queen? I thought she was already married."

"Yes well, apparently she wanted to wait for her father to die. He and Ares didn't exactly get along."

"What, he couldn't cope with the fact that the Supernatural are real?" I asked, wanting to understand. Well, I wanted a subject change as well to keep the conversation from steering back to me and my reasons for "choosing a side" too.

"Oh no." Fang half-laughed. "No, no, no. He knew all about the Supernatural. He and his people were Slayers, a group of magically gifted Humans whose life goal was to rid the world of the Dragon race. And now that they know of all the other Supernatural races, they feel it their duty to destroy them too. So yes, Ares and Azkadelia's father had a bit of a falling out."

"Magically gifted people?" I asked.

"Yes, Humans who, somewhere along the line, have mixed with creatures of the Supernatural race. Hence, down their line of ancestry, they have inherited small amounts of magic, power or strength from a Magical or Supernatural creature. Azkadelia's father was the leader, the boss if you will, of this band of Humans. They separated themselves from other Humans, living in the seclusion of the forests. More technologically advanced, but still nowhere near as advanced as the Dragons. Or the Demons."

"Okay, that makes more sense. Here I was thinking that Humans could be ageless and have magic too. But, if they get these powers from people like us, then why would they want to kill them? Why would they 'get with them' in the first place anyway?"

Fang simply shrugged. "No, Humans have no powers and even Slayers were not, are not, ageless. To answer your other questions I have no idea why they would want to destroy their own source of power."

"So Azkadelia waited for her father to die before she married him? That's stupid! Who cares if he didn't approve! When did he die? Yesterday? Sheesh." What an idiotic idea.

"Actually, he died a few months ago. And I thought it a brilliant idea. Her father could die in peace, thinking his daughter didn't betray him, and Ares didn't have to slit his throat for trying to keep Azkadelia away from him."

Violence to the extreme. "Well, you've got two days to get back, don't freak."

"Well actually, there's a party tomorrow in honour of the two, which apparently I must attend as well."

I blinked once again in exasperation. "You managed to forget about both? What kind of friend are you?"

Fang's head snapped toward me, eyes flaring neon red. This red tinge was one I'd seen all but once—the day he'd "pulverized" me. I instantly became wary, keeping my distance. This was the Demon's angry red.

"I cannot help it if I was otherwise distracted," he hissed, temper flaring as he narrowed furious eyes on me.

I blanched at the harshness of his words—and how quickly his temper had blackened. "Fang, are you—"

"I cannot help it if had other things on my mind." The Demon moved around the fire slowly, each movement more predatory than the last.

I frowned, my own temper sparking, all the while my body felt stronger by the second, felt as if I was being fed pure energy. I could have sighed in contentment if I wasn't so annoyed. Jumping to my feet, I narrowed my eyes in irritation. "You know what? You're like a walking talking mood swing!"

This time the Prince blinked, his eyes losing some of its reddish tinge as he too stood to his feet. "Sorry. I've been a little on edge lately. It's been a long time."

As his anger began to melt, so did the strengthened feeling my body was receiving. The energetic thrumming I had begun to feel was slowly dissipating, leaving my body strong but longing for more. "Long time since what exactly?" I asked, still a little annoyed.

"Since my strength was replenished, as yours was just then." Fang's breathing was slow and deep as sweat dripped down his face and ran down his bare chest. He looked like someone who had just run a marathon. An extremely tired someone who had run a marathon.

"What, you mean that electric thrumming was making me stronger?" I had felt more energized…

The Demon's chin rose, eyes still intense as they watched me. "Did you feel stronger? Did you want the feeling to continue with every fibre of your being? If the answer is yes to both, then I would most certainly say it was making you stronger."

Well, it was a yes and yes to the questions. "But how? Why?"

"Angels. They're body and mind grows stronger by feeding off people's emotions. By drawing the feelings from those who release them, as I was doing moments ago. My anger made you stronger. Demons are the opposite. They feed of physical pain and physical pleasure, off touching and off hurting. The more violent the act or the more erotic the act, the more strength we gain. Both extreme ends of the physical scale give us power, stop us from going insane."

I'd heard that before. Demons fed off physical touching, both violent and sexual, and Angels fed off emotions, feelings. "Going insane? I thought you said feed, as in, need it to survive?"

Fang shook his head. "No. Without hurting someone or being with someone in a sexual way, then Demons go insane, on violent rampages to hurt, maim, destroy. Angels are the same—no emotions equals insanity, though they tend to manipulate, to toy with the weak in their madness. Of course, it takes much to make this happen; someone must have to be without such feedings for years before it truly affects them. Unless they are higher power beings."

"High power beings? You mean, immortals?"

"I mean the strongest of our kind. Most Demons can go years without going insane. My father? Mere days."

My heart slammed against my chest. "Days? You mean like days, days or a few weeks days?"

Fang frowned. "I have no idea what you mean. I said days, I meant days. As in two or three."

Okay, he meant days, days then. That had to mean… "You. You're so much like your father. So…you…"

"I can last longer, a week or two if I try. That day I attacked you I hadn't…fed in as long. It made me lose control too easily."

Again my heart thumped inside my chest. "Fang…please tell me you've, uh, 'fed' since then." That had been a long time ago…

The Demon Prince eyed me off, his blackened gaze phasing into a deep, crimson red. For the record, he didn't answer my question. "Did I ever tell you that you can draw energy both ways?" he asked, voice a deep, rumbling sound.

"I believe you did so briefly," I answered warily, sidestepping his advance on me cautiously.

"That 'electric thrumming' you experienced? I have a more productive, more sensual way of attaining that feeling, in a much more pleasurable way. Not to mention that energetic pulse will be multiplied a thousand-fold—for the both of us."

An impossible sound escaped my throat, one I hoped I would never repeat again. Thoughts just as wild streamed through my mind, and I literally had to force them out of my head. "I really, really hope you're not, uh, thinking what I'm thinking because if you are I think that maybe you should—"

"I know that I'm thinking exactly what you're thinking. Glad to see we're on the same page beauty." Those bottomless eyes flared a desire-filled crimson red, completely overshadowing the earlier reddish tinge. "And seeing as though you're all but undressing me in your mind, I'll take that as a firm yes to my own thoughts."

"I am not—I was not…argh stay out of my head!"

"What? No denial? Astonishing. Are you in agreement then as well?"

Agreement? "Uh, with what exactly?" He paced another step toward me, one I instantly mirrored—backward. "Oh no. No, no, no, no, no. You can't do that. You can't…how do people as old as you put it? You can't—"

Before I even realized it Fang had taken another measured step toward me. "It sounds as if you're nervous Max." Shadows were cast across the bareness of his chest, dancing in a tangled ballet with the orange flames, both fighting for dominance along the hard planes of his body. "Allow me to raze your uneasiness."

And uneasy I was feeling. Both because of my utterly ridiculous (no matter how detailed) thoughts, and the Demon's close proximity. "Raze…that's and odd word choice—" My foot caught as I stepped backward, heel rolling on a huge stone and sending me sprawling. Feeling like I was slipping on a banana peel I tumbled downward, only stopping when Fang's hand curled around my bicep and pulled me upward once again. In my attempt to get away I had only managed to make the Prince get closer to me.

Fang grinned victoriously, his seductive mouth turning upward slowly. "I'm beginning to think I make you anxious."

I cleared my throat. Only when you hint at wanting to have sex with me… "I really think—" My words seized to spill from my mouth as Fang's hand clamped over it, the warmth from his palm spreading all throughout my body. Tingling sensations vibrated across my skin, leaving me shivering. I blinked, completely surprised by the action.

"I think you should stop talking," he whispered, head tilting sideways as his other hand closing around my left one. Uncurling my fisted fingers he pressed an object into my palm. "From Azkadelia. Originally it was on a necklace chain, but I changed it to a bracelet." Frowning, and momentarily preoccupied, I lifted my arm to observe the piece of jewelry. It was a simple golden charm bracelet with a charm clipped to one of the many loops, the golden decoration depicting a small Dragon. The creature's eye was a ruby the size of a small diamante. I felt a grin tug at my lips despite Fang's hand. Azkadelia had given this to me? It was adorable! Trying (and failing) to slip the bracelet on one handed, Fang shook his head, releasing my mouth and using both hands to clasp the piece of jewelry around my wrist.

Fang acknowledged the bracelet with hunger-filled eyes, silence stretching across the cavern. "Pretty," he finally remarked after what felt like an eternity. "But not pretty enough."

I tried my best to ignore the flattery as a question streamed through my mind, one I voiced instantly. "Why'd you take it off its chain? Why not keep it as a necklace?"

"Because you'll be too busy wearing this," he replied deeply, holding in his hand a new item, an item that forced my eyes to blink a few times before registering what I was seeing. As the light from the fire flickered over Fang's hand the object he held shimmered, sparkling seductively. Across his fingers lay a gleaming black ribbon, a small silver loop threaded onto it. But that was not what caused the dazzling show of light. Attached to that metallic loop was a radiant silver crescent moon, the inside of the glittering charm decorated with beautiful Celtic swirls. At the ends of those beautiful curls were gorgeous silver diamantes, each one shining brighter than the last. The very centre of the moon was marked by a diamante the size of a finger nail, where all the intricate swirls seemed to originate from. I stood gaping wordlessly at the dazzling workmanship.

"By the look on your face I assume you like it?"

"Like it? I love it. I don't think I've seen so many diamantes at once. And the swirls are utterly gorgeous. I'm not a big jewelry fan…but it's so pretty."

And odd smile crossed the Prince's face, one that made me instantly suspicious. Moving my hair around my neck, Fang wrapped his arms around my head, tying the choker to my body. The moon hung from the base of my throat, reaching halfway down my chest and resting mere centimeters above my breasts.

The Demon cleared his throat. "Yes…Diamantes," he replied, stressing the word. However I barely heard him. Instead I was enraptured by the sparkles, fingers tracing the magnificent swirls one by one. I'd never been so completely fascinated by one thing in all my life. Well, that was excluding Fang of course, but to be so enthralled by a mere piece of jewelry was amazing. Eerie actually.

So spellbound was I by this necklace that I didn't notice how close Fang's mouth was to my neck, eyes so deep they should have simply been black. Red globes meeting mine, he smiled a wickedly seductive smile, one that had me instantly forgetting the necklace. I didn't move, didn't breathe. This Demon was just too intense, too powerful to walk away from. My lips parted as his arm curled gently around my wait, pulling my even closer and obliterating any space left between us. Those red eyes that watched me so absorbedly, drifting from my own brown orbs to my throat, gaze fixing on the paleness of my skin there. Unable to deny my body or thoughts its desires any longer, my hands reached out to touch the Demon's bare chest, dragging my fingers down his body. Fang shivered, his form vibrating beneath my touch. The warmth of his body heated my frozen hands; hands I didn't even realize were ice cold.

"You're body is freezing," he murmured, soft lips pressing against the base of my throat. Painfully slow, Fang's mouth trailed up to my neck, burning gentle kisses along my skin until he reached the beginning of my jaw line. It was all I could do not to groan.

"Half my clothing is still wet," I whispered, eyes rolling into the back of my head in total bliss.

The Prince's lips shadowed the line of my jaw, making their way to my own mouth. I sighed in contentment as his warm breath washed over my skin. "But you changed," he argued stubbornly, not really listening to what I was saying.

"Not what I was wearing underneath," I retorted almost breathlessly, shuddering every time I did manage to breathe.

"Well we'll just have to remove them…piece by piece." The last words were literally growled as Fang's mouth met my own, my body molding into his as my arms wrapped around his neck. The Demon picked that moment to straighten, pulling me from the cavern floor as he did so. Hands gliding through his hair I felt the slightest brush of tongues as Fang deepened the kiss, his fingers digging into my back almost painfully. That pain mixed with the pleasure of his body on mine made me gasp for breath, tasting the scent of the Prince as I did so. Feeling drunk on the pleasure/pain of his touch I dropped a hand from Fang's hair and clasped the necklace threaded around his neck, tugging the tooth and forcing the Demon into me. Knocked slightly off balance he bent forward, allowing my feet to touch the ground once more and deepen the kiss once more.

Fang pulled away from me slightly, only far enough to allow words to pass his lips. His breathing was as laboured as my own and I swallowed. Hard. "I need—"

A brilliant light exploded through the cavern, flooding the space with an intensifying beam that sliced the words from his mouth. I tried to tear my eyes from him, from those red, red globes, but couldn't find the willpower to do so. Strong arms encased me, as if to protect me from the blinding power that had suddenly surged through the darkness of the cave.

Blinding power that soon took the form of a woman's voice.

"Please, spare me the details. I don't want to know what you need." The new presence demanded my attention, and I spun in Fang's arms to face it. The Prince did the same, crimson eyes morphing into bloodthirsty neon. His body shook with rage at the interference, and placed a hand on his body. The vibrating lessened only slightly, the neon fading just as faintly, but I figured it was an improvement.

"How dare you—" he begun furiously, fists curling menacingly, but the woman cut him off.

Real fire streaked the girl's raven hair as it floated around her statically, the fire glowing like lava running through a sea of black. One hand rested on her hip, the other pointed at Fang accusingly.

"Do not threaten me. I am tired, I am pissed off, and you owe me big time." The girl's eyes flickered black, a dark shadow that passed over her beautiful honey coloured eyes. Finally looking past the woman I noticed the circular wall of wavering black. A portal.

Apparently, Azkadelia was taking us home.

And lo and behold you have reached the end up my awesomely awesome chapter 23…yeah, 24 is a cooler number, so maybe the next chapter will be better. Anyway, first things first, I shall give you a quote, WHICH, I can proudly say I created. "You wish me pure but fail to see, darkness is the very heart of me, for deep within I cannot resist, the Demon longing to exist." Secondly, I have dedicated this chapter completely and wholly to one girl in particular . I had to say I was truly touched by that review, and I was MEANT to update this chapter on New Years, but time truly just escaped me. And for that, I am sorry. As for your everyone you've lost over this supposedly "joyful" period of the year, I am truly sympathetic beyond any measure of words. I know what it's like to lose a family member, let alone three. And as for the German, I have an uncle who is German so sadly enough I understood some of what you said=) Anyway, I'm sure you don't want all these people knowing about your personal life, so I shall shut up now.

Okay, I shant shut up but I shall move on. Everyone, I know you hate me because I haven't updated in well…forever, but it is not MY fault. Yup, you can all blame Jess (booknerd7) and Tracie (Molnija) it is all their fault that I did not update. Oh, and Maccas. They are partly to blame. So, it's not my fault.

I know there is so much more I need to say, but frankly it's the early hours of the morning and I had to force myself to finish this chapter for you all…and I'm tired so…haha, I hope you've liked the twists of this story, and know that they won't stop until the very last page has been turned. Figuratively speaking of course, considering you're all reading online. Unless you're a freak and print it out or something…anyway, I hope everyone had a brilliant Christmas, New Years and New Years Eve—I know I did. So please, REVIEW! And by the way, I really hope that satisfied everyone's "FAX" cravings.

Okay, last off. I hope I freaked you all out when I said there is going to be only one more chapter. There isn't. Max is far from the end of her epic journey. Hell, she's only just begun. But I needed to make sure you slackers read what I had to say…yeah, that's hypocritical calling you guys the slackers but hey, who cares? (Rhetorical question) So anyway, until next time.


24. Chapter 24

Hello again people…unfortunately I have started school, which, although depressing for me, is VERY good for all of you. In case you haven't realized for some obtuse reason, I have barely updated. That would be because I scarcely update during holidays. I don't know, I just like to Veg during them, not do anything you know? Anyway…unluckily I am once again at school (High school in case you wanted to know XD). Okay, this quote is actually a line from my real life book, the one that I have actually edited and, you know, put a little bit of effort into (=P). So, here goes. QUOTE: "No one holds command over me. No Man. No Prince. No God. What is a claim of age for ones who are immortal? What is a claim of power for ones who defy death? Call your damnable hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming to Hell with me." Anyway, I have tonnes of things to say, but I know you just want to read so review and I will be happy =)

"For the record, both of you so owe me."

Both Fang and I turned simultaneously to face Azkadelia, the wavering black portal folding in on itself behind her. It was only once that darkness had been cast into oblivion that I truly cast my gaze upon the Dragon Queen. Only then did I absorb her features. Characteristics that caused me to blink in worried surprise. Her eyes a silvery gray, all remnants of gold had vanished, leaving in its wake near tormented globes. Beneath that steely gaze was an even darker ring of purplish black smeared below her stressed eyes. Her already pale skin was chalky, bordering death white as it outlined just how red her full lips were. Almost as vibrant as Eve's apple would have been, had that story been real. Swirling with that redness however was a tinge of sickening blue, as if she were suffering from hypothermia. Even her black hair seemed darker when compared to the starkness of her pallor skin. She looks like she's about to drop dead, I thought sorrowfully, brows pulling toward my eyes in concern. Even her proud, graceful posture had been reduced to a painful stance, a burdened position that screamed weakness. And still she rested her hands on her hips expectantly, waiting for a reply. Sweat beaded at her brow as she frowned, scarily pronounced marks framing her forehead as she did so. Breathing shallow, she patiently waited for us to say something. No, Azkadelia did not look well at all. Was she sick? And right before her wedding. Poor woman.

Fang was frowning also, his seething anger already hidden deep within. How he could so easily force his emotions away I didn't know. All I knew was that the only thing perceivable on his face was mild curiosity. His jaded tone implied as much.

"Azkadelia, you do not look well." The Demon's solemn voice was mournful, sorrowful as it morphed from his bored tone. There was a hint of worry woven through his words, concern that wasn't mirrored in his impassive expression but was there all the same.

I mentally face-palmed myself. "Point out the obvious why don't you," I wanted to say, but had the sense not to. Joking at this point in time didn't seem right. The Dragon Queen truly did look horrible, and I wondered how Ares could allow such a horrible condition to fall upon her. The Dragon was as protective of Azkadelia as she was gorgeous, so I didn't understand how she could look so…terrible, gaunt.

"I'm stressed out beyond belief. All this planning and decorating and organizing…it's making me crazy. Not to mention people keep telling me to do this or that to prepare for this stupid party and wedding. I have one tip for the both of you. Never, never get married, because it's not—" Azkadelia abruptly cut herself off, her blinking gaze staring fixedly on my throat. For an instant I thought she was going to jump me, going for the jugular, but I instantly discarded the thought. Why would she attack me? She'd given me jewelry for Lord's sake, she didn't dislike me. It was at the thought of her gift that I remembered Fang's. Gazing down myself I clutched onto the necklace.

"It's a—" I began, explaining what it was and why he'd given it to me, but Azkadelia cut me off brutally, her eyes darkening a little more as they flickered to Fang.

"I know what it is. The question is, does she?" Azkadelia's tone was accusing, her expression hard despite her ill state. Or stress induced state. It didn't look as if she handled pressure well, if this was what it was doing to her body.

Fang's own eyes narrowed menacingly, the first real sign of emotion since the cave incident. "I suggest you mind your own business Witch," he threatened, teeth bared viciously.

The Queen shook her head, sighing. "Do not come to me for help planning, organizing or anything else, because I refuse. And know this Demon; if you do not tell her I will." Her body erupted in flames before vanishing, muttering something about diamonds as she did so. However, I didn't pay much attention to her murmuring, instead turning toward my companion with suspicion filled eyes.

"What was she talking about?"

Fang ignored me. Instead he claimed my hand gently and began tugging, pulling me down the long corridor. A familiar corridor. Where have I seen this before? I thought, frowning as I was pulled along. I hadn't explored this palace before, too freaked out by the notion that Demons would jump me wherever I went. That, and I hadn't wanted to go exploring this huge, imposing structure. I'd just wanted out.

Yeah. Had.

Groaning mentally I listed every place I had been to in this palace. It wasn't long. After cataloguing I had noted down three; my room, the Battle Arena, and the Throne Room. I shuddered, dread befalling me, wrapping me up in its cold, menacing grasp. This was the very corridor that lead to the Throne Room. And where there was a throne there was a King.

And where there was a King I desperately tried not be.

I cleared my throat as I tried to grind to a halt. Fang had no such desire, forcing me forward in that steel grip.

"What are we doing?" I asked, trying to pry my grip from his. Instead he tightened it, eyes determined as he dragged me.

"Informing my Father of Jacquelyn's words to us. Is there a problem with this?" he asked roughly, turning briefly to focus on me. Black brows raced toward his hairline in question and it was all I could do not to stare like a fool at his fathomless black eyes. Thick black lashes shadowed the orbs almost femininely, so dark they were like soot. They cast a spiky gloom across his olive features, making my heart pound against the inside of my chest. Stupid girl, my mind screamed. Falling for a Demon. Stupid, stupid girl! I groaned inwardly. Guess I was as naïve as Jeb had said.

"Good," Fang commented after my silence, nodding slightly. "Good," he repeated quietly, sounding as if he were talking to himself this time, not me. The second word was rough, huskier than the first. But before I could ponder it his next were delivered, and there was no mistaking that he was talking to me.

"When we enter, refrain from speaking. I have no doubt you have the power to aggravate my father, and I'd rather not have to save your backside from his wrath." I narrowed my eyes, annoyed at being commanded but nodded all the same. The Prince's lips twitched ever so slightly and my narrowed gaze morphed into confusion. What on Earth was he smiling about? He barely ever smiled, so why he was amused now I didn't know. And as he dragged me through those black, menacing doors I didn't care.

Showtime baby.


Gods this girl is amazing, I thought helplessly as I pulled her through the large doors harshly. The scent of thunderstorms and rain invaded my senses, distracting me from, well, everything. Both were as strong and wild as Max herself, and had me falling weakly and powerlessly to my knees. How one woman could possess so much power over an immortal astounded me. And yet the most astonishing fact was that I was more than happy to fall, more than happy to give in to this girl. She was tormenting, tantalizing, and still I'd give anything to be beside her, give anything to please her. How such powerful emotions had formed over such a short period of time I couldn't possibly fathom, and yet there they were, bombarding me at every possible second. It took all my concentration to keep those emotions, those feelings hidden deep within, from those that could use them against me, from those who saw such atrocities as weakness.

Such people like my father.

Of course, when that concentration broke, when my thoughts were distracted even the slightest, those emotions clawed their way from their deep, dark prison, rising to the surface intent on showing themselves to the world. And it was always her. It was always this Demon Halfling that forced them from my very core, that dragged these feelings and passions from within. That chocolate gaze was forever seared into my mind, into my thoughts and memories. And I was intent on keeping them in my future too, whether she liked it or not. It had taken a long time to realize the emotions that had ignited after I'd met Max; possession, want, lust, an over-protective need…it had taken me a long time to recognize such things, and even longer to admit them to myself. And yet there was still one more overpowering emotion bounding through deep within, this one the most desperate to escape. It was the one I was intent on keeping locked away, the one I wouldn't admit even to myself. Or at least, one I vowed I never would.

Now, I wasn't so sure I could keep that vow, not with that necklace hanging around Max's neck.

At first, the jewel had been nothing more than that—a jewel. Now it possessed a deep symbolism that every Demon, Angel and Supernatural creature would recognize throughout the realms. Sooner or later you're going to have to tell her, my mind whispered of its own accord. Inwardly I sighed. She'd hate me for it, that I knew. But I couldn't help myself, couldn't envision my world without her. To see her with someone else? If anybody touches her… The thought caused red to spark angrily across my vision, and it was only the smallest of touches, the slightest hint of contact that pulled me from my murderous thoughts.

Snapped from my visions of beautiful red blood pouring from other men's throats, their tracheas torn from their bodies, I gazed down at the girl beside me, her frowning expression causing me to freeze, mind turning to less violent thoughts. Her hand (the one that wasn't encased in my own grip of iron) had circled my wrist gently, a beautiful brown dancing through her irises hypnotically as she watched my neon red eyes. Unblinking, she watched confusedly as that redness gradually faded along with my anger. Unfortunately that deliciously confused face froze seconds later, her body turning ice-cold as they turned from me and focused on a new figure. I barely suppressed the growl desperate to escape my throat. The fear Max expressed was palpable, no matter how well she hid it. I could smell it on her, could see it shining in her eyes if not in her expression. If it was anyone other than my father, I thought bitterly. I'd have attacked had it been anyone else. Then again, it wasn't completely the King's fault that he intimidated every person around him. Still, had I not been bound by blood, honour and pride to the man, I would have ripped out his trachea. Had he not been stronger than I, I would have punished him for causing such fear in Max. I blinked at the impulsive thought, wondering how I could think about hurting the Demon King so easily, but could find no fault in the logic. The thought felt right.

What kind of son am I?

"Intriguing thoughts," the King mused, pulling my mind from my own dark thoughts. "I didn't realize the extent to which you would go in order to protect this girl," he continued impassively, seeing he had my attention. "Considering you do not usually allow yourself to be plagued by emotions, I wonder how it is that you are being so easily inundated by them now. Though I find this answer right before me, still I marvel at how quickly such a bridge between the two of you has been built. Such a connection…" The King sighed, eyes a deep, obsidian black as they watched me. Eyes exactly like my own. "I know you feel it. The need to protect, no matter the threat. To be with her, no matter the situations or problems occurring around you. Such feelings are dangerous, this much I know from my own experience. And though you wish to rip out my throat with your teeth, I doubt you will get close enough to try. Such impulsive actions are weak, unintelligent to put it lightly. Especially when you are the one who brought her here after calling an audience with me. Her fear is not my concern, nor am I at fault." There, at the end of his words, his voice had been edged with poison, barely there but laced enough to sting. Why is he so angry? I thought confusedly. To see even the slightest hint of emotion from my father was unfathomable without my mother around.

I bowed my head solemnly as his words pierced my body. Sadly enough, he was right. I had brought Max here, knowing her fears. And getting angry at my father for something he was not at fault for was brainless. I had requested this audience. I had caused Max's fear. My father was not to blame.

"Father, I apologize. Such thoughts were rash, and I vow it not to happen again." And it wouldn't. If I had to keep Max from him in order to keep such thoughts from my mind then so be it. My eyes rose to meet the Demon Lord's equally black irises as he stared down on me. He relaxed into his throne, his right ankle moving to rest on his left knee as he did so. His elbow leant on the arms of the chair, chin resting gracefully on his fingers thoughtfully, expectantly. Eyes flickering toward Max, he took in the girl's features silently. Equally quiet I stood there, watching those obsidian globes carefully. A moment later they turned back toward me.

"What is it you wish to tell me son? I grow tiresome, and have places I wish to be." Tiresome. So, he was growing as weak as I was. His irritation then was sprouted from his lack of energy, as my lack of control was as well. Odd. Which meant mother was not in the palace. Hadn't been for a while, by the look of the King's face, by the slight passiveness of his words. Extremely odd, that my father would allow the Queen to stray from this place. Unless he had been unwilling, and she had simply left. As Azkadelia had done not long ago, my mother could also create portals to other realms, other Planes, with nothing but a thought. It was her specialized power, and few possessed it. And by few I meant scarcely anyone. Those who acquire the skill are unlikely to share the knowledge with others, as such a power can be extremely…useful. What better way to invade another Kingdom?

Max was fidgeting beside me, her eyes never straying from the menacing Demon before us. Pushing all emotion from my face and words, I answered my father's question.

"I bring news from Jacquelyn. She has given us word of a new vision." I searched my mind, racking my brain for what she had said. "'Soon you will suffer great loss, the unveiling of a grave secret and an irrevocable illness will plague your world, seeing it crumble into devastation. Homes will be abandoned and lives will be lost, before those of crucial importance will part with the ones they love.'" I repeated the words perfectly, devoid of emotion. Max, forgetting her fear, stilled beside me, frowning as she too tried to figure out such a riddle. Why the damn Seer couldn't just tell us exactly what she saw was beyond me. Obviously she enjoyed our confusion and our rage.

My father's eyes widened, his relaxed body tensing ever so slightly. To an untrained eye the action was invisible, but to me? I caught the edge of strain, the worry expressed in his body. How could I miss such an action? I did the exact same thing.

"You're sure of this?" he asked, forcing himself to relax. A slight tinge of red invaded his eyes as I nodded.

"There is no mistaking her words. I—"

"What does this mean?" a voice asked over my own, so low I strained to hear it. My hands clenched painfully as I popped my jaw. Why won't she just listen?

Max's voice was laced with a variety of emotions—confusion, concern, anxiety, (excitement?)—and each one was swirling in her soft, hypnotic voice. My father's gaze instantly shifted toward her, heavy black eyes acting as a weight atop the girl's shoulders. She almost flinched as her thoughts streamed through my mind. It's like looking at a constantly irritated Fang, she mused darkly. I fought the scowl threatening to pass across my face. If she thought my father was irritated now she'd be blown away when he truly was. And when angry? I didn't want to think about such a time. When true anger encompassed the great King then this world would crumble into devastation.

An irrevocable illness will plague your world, seeing it crumble into devastation.

I frowned, remembering the very line the Seer had prophesized mere hours ago. Could my father be the cause of such devastation? As I mulled over the question the King's deep voice shadowed the thought, replying to Max's question.

"This even I know not of," he stated solemnly, powerfully. "I know of no illness that could possibly plague this land, know of nothing that could cause such distress in our world. It seems logic has evaded my mind."

"Or Jackie's," she muttered without realizing. I had the urge to smile but tamped it down with spiked boots. Stop being a fool, I chastised, turning that smile into another scowl. Easier to face. Turning my thoughts back to the question I once more began mulling over the solution. My father could devastate the lands through anger, yes, but such fury would be extremely hard to obtain. The Demon Lord was a master at keeping control, so how he would explode to such an extent as to destroy this Plain was unfathomable. Unless… No, I thought, instantly discarding the thought. My mother was too well guarded, to well protected to be hurt. Besides, this Plain was untouchable by any who would seek to do any damage to the Demon Queen. So then, my father's fury would not be the consequence of our land's destruction. Besides, Jacquelyn had stated an illness.

So then what was she talking about?

"I'm intrigued by this grave secret," my father stated calmly, relaxing back into his chair once again. There was a gleam in his eye as he stared at Max's throat, and the very necklace that rested there. Very intrigued, was the comment uttered in my head, that same calm voice tinged with curiosity. He wasn't talking about the secret this time. I promptly ignored him, showing no signs of telepathic communication to my companion.

My father continued as if he'd said nothing in my mind. He had a knowing glint in his eyes, his lips twitching in the corners. Damn it, I thought, groaning inwardly. Not only had my mother softened this mighty Demon over the years, but he was most likely going to spill the beans to Max.

"This kingdom has a multitude of secrets that we keep hidden from our enemies, though I can think of none as grave as the Seer warns." Again I drew a blank. The King was right—we did have many secrets. But none that could wreak havoc.

Worry not son, I shall not tell Max of your deceit. I shall allow you that pleasure.

I mentally grimaced. Oh yes, my father knew what that necklace represented. And he expected an explosion when I told Max just as much as I did.

Speaking of the girl, she was currently frowning, an idea shining in those lovely eyes. Slowly she turned to face me, blonde hair tumbling past her shoulders gracefully. To glide my fingers through such perfection…

"Um...I can think of one," she offered, her voice stronger than the last time she had spoken. Her fear, albeit still there, had subsided greatly, leaving in its place a great wave of concern. "I don't know much about your hidden secrets, though if everything you've told me about this one is true, then it should be one of your gravest. I'm not certain, but I'd bet my right arm that this secret would be Azkadelia."

I was sure that I was expressing the same look my father was at that point in time. Eyes widened in shock, and stupidity for not thinking about it first, I mentally ran through the possibilities. Azkadelia could possibly be the most important secret we possessed. Could knowing about her lead to our own destruction? Yes, it certainly could. Was such a thing grave? That it was. With such a momentous strike against us many lives would be lost, and with many lives lost the separating of loved ones would be inevitable.

Logic achieved.

Without the Dragon Queen we'd be very much screwed. Of course, the same could be said of Max and Ella, but they were no secret to our enemies. They already knew we were in possession of both girls; the key to any immortal's imprisonment. That only left Azkadelia, a prize we had struggled to keep secret from others for years. And were determined to keep so.

"I believe we've found our answer," the King stated calmly, face blank.

"To tell Ares or not to tell Ares," I mused grimly, knowing that I would have to. As a warrior, as a leader, Hell, as a friend, I had to tell him. I'd expect no less if the positions were reversed. If it was Max who was in danger. She still is, my mind whispered darkly, evilly. I ground my teeth together. Until our enemies were defeated Max would always be in danger. A new need to win shot through my body at the thought, clouding my thoughts. We must be victorious, I snarled mentally, not bothering to tamp down the emotion. She will not be harmed…

Damn it, I needed to hurt someone, kill someone…touch someone. All these raging emotions were destroying me, making me weak. I needed to replenish my strength. And as I gazed upward it looked as if my father did too.

"Find Ares before tonight, warn him immediately. I want full security on the girl, as well as both Ella and Max. Understood?"

From the corner of my eye I saw Max's mouth open, scowling as she was about to refuse such guards. I could practically hear her complaint already. What am I, five? I don't need any babysitters. Suppressing a grin I clenched my hand around her wrist, silently warning her to shut it. Grinding her teeth the girl heeded my advice. For once.

"Consider it done," I replied. Nodding, my father disappeared, black vines wrapping elegantly around the thickness of his body. It was once the King had gone that Max let her complaints leave her lips.

"I don't need bodyguards, I can handle myself."

Hardly. I wonder if she knew just how much people held back around here, around her. Even when we had attempted to draw that ability out of her we'd held back. Ares could have burnt her to a crisp. Ari could have done much more than simply tell her to do something. But instead of telling her this I went for the more reasonable approach.

"If Azkadelia needs utmost security being herself, then you'd be dead within seconds without them."

Eyes narrowed, she continued her argument blithely. "But no-one wants me dead." Her comment was blunt, and I popped my jaw in irritation again. Strike her… the lulled whisper caught inside my mind, the thought nearly irresistible. Think of the strength, the pleasure…just one hit, one is all you need to be strong again… Eyes falling to half-mast I entertained the thought. Such strength, power, bliss all from one tiny bit of pain. Just one…

You know that will not be enough.

This sentence caused me to jerk backward, eyes widening fully. Damn it, I was so close to losing control, so close to taking what I craved. Not again, I couldn't hurt her again. It was a miracle Max could still look at me after I'd pulverized her that first time. A second would not be as easily forgotten, no matter how much I craved it. No matter how much I yearned to slice that all too perfect skin once more, to see the perfect crimson blood drip from my hands so seductively. Just one slice, one penetration of a blade through her body… the voice of my own inner Demon, the very creature I was, was uncontrollable, impossible to ignore. Yes, hurt her. Destroy her!

No damn it!

"Max, do me a favour and walk away, right now."

Another confused look settled on her pretty face, this one shadowed by a shot of pain. Pain that made me feel sick. Better than hurting her, I reasoned, folding my arms across my chest indifferently. My impassive face stared her down, blank features waiting for her to leave. She didn't offer me a word as she ground her teeth together and left, turning away and stalking out though the very doors we'd entered before. When her form had disappeared I sighed. I'll make it up to her, I thought as I walked in the opposite direction. And I knew just how I'd do it. But first, to beat the Hell out of someone.

That damn inner voice growled in anger, longing for the girl striding away from me instead.


To my credit, I managed to find my way back to my room. It just took me longer than normal with a lot of running into things along the way. But I hadn't given my lack of direction much thought. Fang had basically told me to get lost, not sparing me a second glance as I left the room. After everything… Too angry to even stay awake I managed to locate my bed I crash into it, so tired that I fell into oblivion before I'd even hit the pillow.

It was now six o'clock in the evening, and a very pretty, very dressed up Ella was shaking me from my sleep in irritation. Her touch sent painful bursts of energy through my body and I jolted awake. Rocketing to an upright position, I rubbed the sleep from my eyes in my own annoyance. Ella sat on the edge of my bed, one hand resting on her lap the other on my bed. Short brown hair framed her face elegantly with a light blue dress outlining her body similarly, both giving her an air of grace. However, her facial features were a different story altogether.

"What are you still doing in bed?" she asked, stunned. "Do you know how late you're going to be? Are? Get up." The girl clutched onto my arm and pulled, forcing my body off the extremely comfortable bed. She let go as I neared edge, causing me to plummet to the floor. Ella dusted her hands together as she looked down at my body. "Hurry up or Azkadelia will have a fit."

Scowling I lifted myself from the floor. "Late for what exactly?" I rolled my neck, trying to get rid of the ache that had settled there painfully. I must have slept wrong.

"Uh, the party? That started about half-an-hour ago? Did you not get the memo?"

I stared at her like a fool, my mouth hanging open. "So…what party?"Ella face-palmed her forehead, her irritation growing.

"The wedding party? Oh don't look so surprised," she growled, coming to a stand as well as she commented on my stunned features. "You are as much a part of this now as I am, much to your dismay. So I swear you better put this dress on now before I get very annoyed." She shoved into my arms a dress made of sleek obsidian silk, the soft material gliding through my fingers as I brought it to eye level. Being black and still in bed I had no idea what it would look like. All I knew was that I wasn't wearing it, or going to the party. I told the Demon girl as much.

"Look Ella, I'm not going, and I sure as He— uh, I'm sure I wasn't invited anyway. I don't know these people. Well, not very well. Mere weeks ago they probably all wanted me dead anyway. And besides, I don't feel like going out anywhere anyway—personal reasons—and so…yeah," I ended lamely, wondering why I had added the 'personal reasons' comment.

"Are you finished yet?" when I nodded, she continued on as if I'd said nothing. "Good, now put the dress on before I force you into it." Ella's voice was significantly louder as she grinned smugly at me, reminding me a little of the girl I'd met at the Grand restaurant all that time ago. Since then I hadn't seen her as angry or disgusted at anyone or anything, but her actions and tones now were certainly in that neighbourhood. I sighed, knowing when my stubbornness was useless.

"I don't know why I'm being invited," I grumbled as I trudged toward my bathroom. I was content staying in bed all night. Odd for me, considering my love to party, but I was feeling anything but energetic at the moment. And there was no-one to blame for that (cough, Fang, cough) at all.

"Stop complaining and put the damn dress on. I'm already late because of you, and if Azkadelia doesn't skewer me first Dylan will for leaving him alone for Azkadelia to skewer him for my lateness."

Shaking my head for the Dragon Queen's insanity and Ella's ability to make the simplest things confusing, I slid my body into the dress, observing the clothing in the full length bathroom mirror. The cut was made to cling at the bodice and flow at the floor, the dress having a small train that allowed for movement. The excess material was perhaps forty centimeters long and looked as if it were meant to fan along the floor as one walked. The back of the bodice tied together with threads of black lace, made to crisscross across the wearer's back. Almost backless, the lacing reached roughly all the way down to one's tailbone. Being strapless, it was sexy and elegant all in one, and I absolutely adored it. The only problem was its length—it had to be a couple of inches too long.

"Whose dress is this? It's way too long for me to wear." Seconds later Ella was barging through the large wooden door, shoving it open with enough force to move a concrete wall. In her hands were a pair of break-your-neck black heels.

"Not once you put these babies on," she stated cheerfully, her mood instantly shifting. "Oh, and it's compliments of Queen Arianna."

I froze. "Queen Arianna? You mean as in Demon Queen Arianna? Like, Lucifer Arianna?"

Ella blinked. "You sound surprised. And yes I mean Demon Queen Arianna. What other Queen Arianna is there? Pretty name though, don't you think?"

"Yeah, beautiful. Still, not the point. I can not wear this."

The girl frowned. "Why not? It's just a dress. And besides, she requested you wear this, gave it to me to deliver to you. You're not seriously going to disrespect her by turning it down are you?"

"Are you trying to guilt me into wearing this? This dress is fit for a Queen, literally. In case you haven't realized I am not a Queen."

Ella's chocolate gaze lowered to the base of my throat, brows rising mischievously. "Well, not yet anyway. But I'm not taking any excuses, sorry. Here." Seconds later shoes were hurling toward me and I struggled to duck so that I wasn't hit.

"What do you mean 'not yet anyway'?" I asked suspiciously.

"That's not for me to say I'm sorry. But if you're finished complaining we have places to be."

This chapter was actually longer than I wanted it to be, so I can't actually write what I WANTED to write until chapter 25, sorry. So look out for chapter 25 and 26 (maybe 27) they should be really good. Thanks guys, review! Oh, and BTW i don't have a Beta...i edit my own work which is kinda why it's never edite. AKA i cbf EVER editing it. Haha

25. Author's Note


Okay people, I have something to say. I know you were all expecting a chapter when you opened up this tab, email, whatever it is you opened, and I know you are all sorely disappointed and hate me because it isn't. Well, the worst is yet to come I'm afraid =(

Look, here's the thing. To put it simply, I'm deleting this story. I can practically hear the collective gasps and envision the horrified glares, but I'm just completely over this story. I had an awesome idea, but unfortunately I've put this into a new book, one I'm not putting on Fanfiction. And I've found that when I update chapter by chapter, I lose the plot, it drags on, editing is HORRIBLE, and people get bored—like me. And so, I'm basically eradicating the site of this story…

Who knows, maybe I'll leave it on hiatus, and come back to it later, as I had an epic ending in mind, as well as a pretty action packed plot (which none of you would have thought of {my friends don't even know}) but it went too long for me to actually put that plot into action. So now I'm kind of forgetting FF and going to write actual books again—ones that I like and ones that make at least a little bit of sense.

My friends say to have a blog so that people can still read my books, but idk…and besides, I don't really know about it =S

Sorry to anyone and everyone who wanted me to finish this, especially when there was actually a sequel to this book. BUT, be pleased to know that a very similar story could one day be on shelves **hopeful look** that was my look, not yours. =D I've had two people now say similar things that I am thinking, so there must be others out there too. But, I may, may, update a chapter of my new book, my real book, because I know you all hate me right about now.

Thanks to everyone out there, your support was truly epic.

(I think I'll just stop it, instead of delete it…)

For the last time, Fly on =))


26. Chapter 25

PLEASE READ THIS AUTHOR'S NOTE BEFORE YOU READ THIS CHAPTER (by the way I didn't edit this one…it would take too long to read, so excuse mistakes…)

Okay, taking a deep breath here people. I have a lot to say…

Firstly, yes, I updated another chapter. I should tell you now that that author's note was not Hoax. I had every intention of stopping this story altogether. It was for a number of reasons, some of those being personal, and some of those being self-doubting, and some of those being because I have to focus on other things like school instead of Fanfiction. But, it was for a number of reasons none-the-less. I'm not sure you really want to hear those reasons, but know that I didn't mean for them to be selfish, even if they came across that way.

So, I've had a couple of days to think about this, and a couple of days to read all your hate mail. Also, a number of people are keen on using my idea for their own stories. Well, when push came to shove I couldn't give up with Fanfiction. To be honest, this has to be one of the worst books I've ever written compared to my others, which is half the reason why I wanted to call it quits, but then I've read how much this seems to affect other peoples' lives (whether that is true or not I don't know, but still) and I just can't bring myself to do it. Also know that I have actually written and finished a couple of books, so I can actually do it. I just felt the need to tell that to you guys.

Anyway, there is just one thing that really pissed me off (no offense) and I just feel the urge to set this straight. I have absolutely no qualms about being criticized—I am a thick skinned person and like to know what people like and dislike. So, I don't care if and when people do so. BUT when people tell me that my book is a lot like another, implying that I've used other people's ideas? That really annoys me, especially when ALL the books on this site are based on novels. This is Fanfiction. So, for the record, no I didn't not get this idea from any of the following books. Firstly, Personal Demons. For starters, that book is based on a love triangle. I don't even have a love triangle in this. Oh yeah, and the demons are the baddies in that too. Plus, the main character gets turned into an angel. NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN IN THIS. Second; Fallen. I really don't get this one. Max's personality is nothing like Luce's, Max doesn't keep getting reincarnated, Fang certainly isn't an angel, and there wasn't even really a war between the races in that book. Lastly Halo? Never read it, so I couldn't even get the idea if I wanted to. I know I've probably taken this really personally, and I'm sorry if I've offended anyone or have been a bitch, but I just got really pissed off with that.

Oh, just one more thing—for whoever said this, loved the criticism. I know, sounds weird, but I was actually looking for those things you were talking about and they annoyed me. Sometimes I found I kept repeating myself and just write it in different ways? That annoyed me too. So I tried to stop doing that. Oh, and what Max said in chapter 24? Something weird and unlike her…well, that was a typo, but I fixed it. Only thing I didn't agree on was how I keep using something like "orbs" for "eyes?" well, I don't do that to be fancy. I only use things like that because when I describe something like someone's eyes I try to go into detail, and so I have to use synonyms of the words. Because if I keep saying eyes multiple times in the same sentence and paragraph…well that would be really annoying. Oh, and Fang and the King and stuff talk all old like that because, wait for it, they are old. Haha. Although to those people that recommended other things thanks, I've tried fixing them up a bit.

Okay, I know you just want to read this chapter, but I have one last thing to do, and it's thanking all those people that inspired me, forced me or hated me. It was a mixture of all of you that truly made me get off my arse. And so, to those who went to the extreme, I would like to recognize the following people (Sorry I had to use your pen names that you used when you reviewed, so they may not actually be your usernames):

- WAIT I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY (Harsh, true, but needed)

- AC (Mmm, bestseller…not this book, but a book one day I hope. You guys will be among the first to know!)

- Foreverlove6458 (Out of all categories? Mwahaha)

- NightOwlGirl (Yeah, I agree…so much time and effort, though this story needs to be spiced up with more action I think…)

- morbida (Please don't smash me into a "fucking wall" =P)

- pissedashell (You people say I swear too much?)

- sapphire17choco (Well, I guess you're not too late)

- FF reader (Yeah, I definitely had time to read it. You don't think I was actually doing school work do you? And I hope you and your friend are all good again!)

- Anne Taylor (Already burning in Hell and loving it. Duh, Fang is there! Tsk tsk, bad threat. [Jokes!] Look at that, you get multiple brackets. LUCKY! =P)

- August Bloom (What's with all the capitals? Lol, a full day off school, nice)

- wings (sorry about making you depressed)

- XxMax UzumakixX (Sweet)

- maximum destined potter (Awesome name by the way)

- Russian Diana (Yeah, I'm sorry for anyone who had to read that too. That was depressing even for me…so thanks! Haha…I'm not weird at all…)

- ..ashes (Yes, you were being punked…**cough**)

- aleeyXD (Don't cry! Haha, and I'm not telling you what this story is about either missy!)

- dancingonmytoes13 (This is honest to Gods one of the first reviews I got and I was like =O depressing…especially the whole "Well, rock the real world I guess." And the "Dissapointed." **Shudder** so thanks, really)

- ISuckAtUsernames (I need to put a quote on! Thanks for reminding me!)

- Tbaby13 (I am so not **cough** going to give you the ending **cough** of my book **cough**)

- FANGALICIOUS (How long HAVE you been following this for?)

I'd have put everyone, but that would have taken FOREVER! But to anyone and everyone that did review, you are all now my favourites. XD Okay, so if you were one of the first people to review you'll be near the bottom, cause I was just looking through all my reviews again from the newest to oldest. (You know I've had more reviews in like, 3 days then I have in like, a month? Since my chapter 24 update. SAD!) anyway, a few people I actually remembered because they were so…emotional and saddened and upset and angry. I'm not a very emotional person, but by God I was like =OO when I was reading these things. But, I know you all want to get to the chapter (you better have read this thing first people or I will be pissed [I'll never know!]) but I have one last thing. No…two. First? Quote: "They say fear is good. They say fear makes you remember you're not invincible. Well screw fear, I'll be fucking immortal." Like it? I thought of that one in about a few seconds all by myself. So proud =D okay, that annoyed me, did it annoy you?

Well then, I guess the last thing is that I hope I haven't tainted too many of you by telling you I was deleting this story. Whether you hate me or not, there's still a story to be written, and still a story to be read.


"I hate you."

Ella sighed, her façade of innocence slamming back into place. Only now did I realize that the virtue and purity was all really an act. That inside that shell of perfection and incorruptibility was a girl as Demonic and fraudulent as the Demon King himself. Why?

Apparently I was a part of the bridal party.

"I can't believe you're springing this on me a day before the wedding. I don't even know these people, not very well at least. Not to mention I have no idea how to be ceremonious. And all your traditions and cultures are so different from mine. I'll probably do something stupid and ruin everything. By the way, that is not an overreaction. As much as you all think you know me, you really don't." Well, I hoped. "I'll probably blow up the church—" If Iggy was there.

"Ballroom, not church," she cut in, correcting me.

Scowling, I resisted the urge to poke out my tongue. "Whatever. There, see? Point proven. In the Human world weddings are held in churches."

"First of all, we don't have churches, seeing as though there are no Gods. Second, not all Human weddings are held in churches. Traditionally for you? Yes, but so many are held at beaches or houses etcetera, etcetera. And that's only in the last couple hundred years. I mean, before that—"

I groaned. "What. Ever. You don't have to remind me about how crappy I am at history."

"Then stop complaining. I swear it's all you do. 'Oh poor me I'm a Demon. Poor me, I'm one of the most important people alive in this world. Poor me, the very Prince of Darkness is totally, wholly, utterly in love with me and I'm too stupid to realize.'" Ella's eyes met my dumbfounded gaze in exasperation. "Seriously Max, you find the most stupid things to cry about. Any girl, both Human and otherwise, would be mind blown if they were you. Favoured by the King, adored by the Queen, cherished by the Prince…Even the Dragon Monarchs are thrilled to be around. Your rapid involvement in all of this says just as much. Far out Max, I'm just so frustrated at all your damn complaining!"

All I could do was stare at her, my completely shell-shocked form eyeing her in total astonishment. It was as if someone had just dropped a bombshell on me.

"Why do you look like a fish?" Ella asked in irritation, her façade dropping again as her inner Demon shone.

"Fang is not in love with me," I ground out, forcing the words from my mouth.

Ella snorted. "That's denial if I ever heard it. It's like you know he does, but you want other people to say it for you."

"No," I replied angrily. "He is just incapable of emotions like that. And nothing is going to convince me otherwise."

"Fine. I bet every cent, every jewel and every possession I own, that you will eat those words."


Ella grinned evilly. "And when I win, you owe me a favour. Got it?"

Gritting my teeth, I nodded. "Bet accepted."

Smug, the girl turned from me. "Well, I am now satisfied, having a bet I know for certain I won't lose hanging over my head. Have fun socializing little sister."

Blinking, I rushed at her, but she was already out of reach. "You're not leaving me here by myself!" I yelled over the ever growing crowd of partygoers.

"Stop panicking woman. You're an extroverted socialite! Go and talk to someone. Oh, but preferably women. For your sake." Smiling mischievously she disappeared into the crowd, her slender form escaping my view. Breathing hard, I suppressed the urge to scream. The last thing I wanted was attention. Where to hide until the tide blows over… Gazing around the room I absorbed every important feature, eyes drifting from the intricate wooden doors to the tables hosting mountains of food. Chandeliers showered the room in a romantic haze of golden light as live musicians played on the stage to the right of the ballroom. Directly across from the unbelievable orchestra of talent was a grand entrance, two unbelievably huge doors guarding it. The entryway led to an even more magnificent courtyard where a balcony overlooked the striking maze of vegetation. Behind where I stood was another set of doors, this one leading to the enormous circular driveway. That road connected to the main path that trailed through the very heart of the city.

Of course, all of these things couldn't even compare to the incredible majesty of the ostentatious staircase that spiraled upwards from the centre of the ballroom, its imposing atmosphere impossible to describe. Lined in gold it soared upward from both sides of the room before meeting at a central platform above. That platform connected with a multitude of halls and corridors that led to other parts of the palace.

Feeling adventurous, I made my way through the sea of people, elbowing my way across the enormous room. I muttered curses as I moved and almost rolled my ankle twice. "Damn heels," I growled lowly, earning confused looks from those who heard me. One woman in particular scowled at me, her elderly features making that gaze even more critical.

"What?" I snapped at the aging woman before she grimaced and walked away. I sighed. This was one night I shouldn't have been in anyone else's company. And yet still I couldn't help the annoyed emotions trailing through my veins. There were a multitude of things to blame for them, some of those things being Ella and Fang themselves. Of course, there was no way I was even travelling down that road at the moment, especially after what Ella had said. I was already on a short enough fuse without her making it worse. One more little incident and I was going to explode—

As I was about to take the first of many winding steps to that platform, I collided with another, our forms clashing together in a painful dance of two. I stumbled backward, tripping over my heels as I reeled backward. My "friend" fell forward, tripping down the last step and falling to the ground with a thud. A metallic clinking sound rebounded through my ears as I staggered into the crowd. I'd have fallen butt first had I not been caught by another by-stander, their strong arms keeping me upright. But I didn't care—there was the explosion. I was a ticking time bomb, and I had just detonated.

Ripping my body from the by-stander I stalked over to where another girl maybe a year or two older than I was pulling herself from the ground, looking around a little frantically as she did so. Her emerald eyes scanned the area around her, searching, probing. That just pissed me off even more. To think, she could run smack bang into me and not apologize? So help me… I eyed off the girl as I homed in on her, her features a buffet to my eyes. A couple of inches taller than me, she had brown hair a shade darker than my own streaks, and glittering green eyes that put even the most vibrant of jewels to shame. Thick lashes shadowed her eyes and cast black spikes across her pale skin. With perfect proportions and a body to die for this girl had to be the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. So breathtaking, that the thought of hurting her in any way was like choking on bones. However, that contemplation was soon forgotten as jealousy clawed my body dangerously. No one person deserved that much perfection God damn it!

Anger now doubled I lowered my eyes precariously, envy and fury a couple dancing through my veins darkly. This is why I don't express emotions, I mused forebodingly. Bad things always happen. By now I was standing before the girl. As if sensing my presence she turned to face me, blinking as she regarded my features. Slowly, a smile appeared across her face, perfect red lips stretching from corner to corner. Have I seen her before…? I wondered, before discarding the thought. No, I wouldn't have forgotten such beauty. My little friend envy wouldn't have allowed it.

"Maximum, yes?" she asked, her voice so musical it made me want to cry. The bell-like sound was like a full symphony orchestra that played for the Gods. Honestly, was there anything about this girl that wasn't positively perfect? That faultlessness was like petrol on fire for my emotions.

"Why, who wants to know?" I snapped, folding my arms across my chest arrogantly.

The girl's lips twitch. "Ah, now I see the attraction." Chuckling, she blinked prettily. "I am Ria, and I would like to know."

"Will Ria," I near sneered, "it's Max, and you'd do well to remember that. And what do you mean 'I see the attraction'?" I asked suspiciously.

"Don't worry," she replied simply. I ground my teeth together. Yeah, okay, so it wasn't her fault that she was perfect, and it wasn't her fault that Ella and Fang were people I really wanted to deep fry and eat, but she was here, and I was pissed. That was never a good combination. Throw in unanswered questions and someone was asking for a whole lot of hurt.

"Hey, you can't just say something then not explain it. Ever heard of etiquette?" Sure, I didn't have any, but she didn't need to know that.

"Oh, sorry, I didn't mean to offend you." The girl was so sincere, sounded so hurt that I felt a pang of guilt. Or at least, I did—until she spoke her next words. "I just knew you wouldn't understand, so I didn't bother explaining." The words were said so innocently it sounded as if she truly didn't meant to insult me. No, it was like she had foot-in-mouth disease. But that didn't matter. I didn't take kind to people telling me I was stupid, explicitly or otherwise.

"Look here, I am not in the mood for people like you telling me what I understand and what I don't, because frankly? You don't know shit-all about me." I stepped into the girl's personal space, the predatory gesture causing 'Ria' to frown. But her features were only in my view point for about a second before I shot to the floor, painful electric currents scorching through my veins. I flew backward a couple of meters and crashed into people's legs. Faces appeared before me, many of them upside down to me as the gazed down. Amongst the sea of people Ria appeared, her pale skin highlighted by veins of black. Which, by the way, was a literal description. Where blood coursed through her body lines of black was, and that really freaked me out. Her eyes were worried, guilty. Damn right she should be! That was the second time. And that hurt more than the first.

"Oh my God, I'm so sorry. I hate that when it happens, please, forgive me." Sounding as if she were almost in tears, Ria held out her hand. Confused I let her pull me upwards. What the Hell was wrong with this woman…

"When it senses a threat it does that," she explained, or rather, tried to. I for one didn't get it.

"What exactly is it?" I asked as I eyed thepeople that began to gather around us, their eyes on Ria. I could understand the fascination, but it was kind of unnerving.

"My Husband cast a protection spell on me. I can't be touched if someone is intending on hurting me. Or on touching me in a sexual way." I blinked, not believing that she had just said that. She just laughed, her perfect tone pretty to listen to. "My partner is a little overprotective. And possessive," she added, shaking her head. I just shuddered. God, who would want to be guarded like that? And 'overprotective' had to be the exaggeration of the millennium. More like defense obsessed.

"No offense, but I couldn't live with someone so…" I didn't even have a word to describe her 'husband.'"

Again she laughed. I was beginning to like that laugh. Actually, I was beginning to like her better in general. I was over the whole envy thing (mostly) and was truly interested in this girl. Not to mention she took my mind of other things.

"Domineering? Overbearing? Dominant? Arrogant? Please, I could go on for days just naming how pig-headed and stubborn he is. Those words don't even begin to cover it."

"Well, yeah. Someone like that would piss me off royally."

"I see. You yourself are like that then?" she asked, lips twitching. When my eyes narrowed she grinned. "Sorry, I couldn't resist. You truly don't imagine yourself with someone like that? I can picture it."

"What do you mean you can picture it?" I asked, completely confused. Was it me, or was I always missing the plot?

"Again, I don't want to upset you. But, if you don't mind, I'd love to have a look at that necklace. It's beautiful. Though it isn't a shade on you," she offered kindly. Had I not looked into her eyes that moment, I'd have thought she was gay, which I had no qualms with whatsoever. I'd had gay friends before. But there was just some glimmer hidden deep in the green of her eyes, something ancient. It made her look much older, much wiser than her other features. Intriguing…

"Max?" she asked, dragging me from my thoughts.

"Oh, uh, sorry. Yeah sure. I can't really get it off though, so…"

"That's fine. I just want to see it." Her fingers trailed across the uneven surface of the moon. Emerald eyes narrowed at the diamantes, before widening at each of the intricate swirls. After a few moments she looked up at me, smiling.

"That's one pretty impressive charm. And expensive. Diamonds…they're a girl's best friend."

I froze, eyes wide. "Uh, no." I stated vigorously. "They're diamantes, not diamonds…right?" I asked, tone changing from annoyance to desperation.

For once I heard the girl snort. "Oh God no, who told you that? More importantly, who would believe that?" One look at my face and the laughter faded from her glittering eyes. "Sorry, I just found that rather humourous. But honestly, who did tell you that?"

"A certain someone whose head I want to smash through a wall," I ground out.

"You seem upset by the fact," she said after regarding my features carefully.

"Really? I'd never have guessed. Of course I'm upset! This necklace is full of diamonds!"

Ria blinked. "I fail to see why you would be upset by that fact…"

I took a deep, slow breath. "Because one, I was lied to. Two, I'd have never accepted it if I'd known what it was made of. People don't just go around giving out diamond necklaces!" No wonder people kept staring at it. This was why they were always smirking at me, I was sure.

"Then give it back," she replied simply.

"Give it back?" I asked stupidly. The thought hadn't even occurred to me.

"Take it off and give it back to whoever gave it to you. By the way, who did give it to you?" Take it off? Unlikely. The thought of ridding my neck of the choker made me feel ill. It was a beautiful necklace…

Turning my attention back to Ria I noticed there was a suspicious gleam in her eye, one that had been mirrored by a lot of people lately.

"You already know," I replied in annoyance, reading the look in her emerald gaze.

Nodding, she agreed. "Yes, I do know. And to say the least it doesn't surprise me that you're wearing that necklace."

Okay then, no, there was another meaning behind the stupid choker. A reason that little Ria just happened to know. But was she so eager to spill the beans?

"You know why he gave this to me, don't you?"

Surprise registered across her face. "You don't know?" Lips forming a perfect ring, that astonishment morphed into complete shock. Stunned didn't even begin to describe it.

"That little snake! He's just like his Goddamned—" I was sure whatever she was about to say would have been interesting, especially because she was pissed off with Fang for some reason, but as she continued to rant my eyes had slipped past her—over her shoulder to be exact. For walking directly toward us was a seven foot wall of muscle, arrogance, fury and danger. Ria's raging faded from my ears as well as the rest of the noise from the ballroom. Sound was nonexistent as the Demon homed in on us, eyes pure black right down to the whites. Sweat rode my skin like beads of ice as he appeared behind Ria, holding in his hands a circle of metal. Wait a second…was that a—?

"Are you even listening to—you're not even looking at me. What are you looking…at…" As Ria spun one-eighty degrees, she ran smack bang into the Demon, eyes wide as she noticed him for the first time. She had to crane her neck to look him in the eye, but she did, which was more than I could say for myself. Even if she looked as terrified as I felt.

"You left," he ground out, barely containing the fury that was radiating from him so completely.

"Uh…" Ria went to take a step back, but the Demon's left hand snared around her neck, splayed across her skin gently. On the fourth finger was a chunky obsidian ring with a skull carved into it. Shuddering at the creepiness of it, I processed the image of the two, which was somehow familiar. I frowned. How could such a possessive act be so gentle? Especially from this Demon…

Then it clicked.

Suddenly I wanted to take back everything I had first thought about the woman.

The Demon finally brought the circlet of metal to my view, but it was too late. I already knew what it was—and I already regretted everything. Watching in horror I stared as he placed the circlet atop Ria's head. Not just metal, I thought, shocked, but gold. The crown fit flawlessly, perfecting the girl's image. Oh no. No, no, no, no, no! I did not push this woman to the ground and snap at her earlier… Wow Max, you've really out dumbed yourself this time…

"Woman, I believe you dropped this," the Demon said, the whites of his eyes still tainted by midnight. No, not just Demon, I thought. Demon King.

Which would make Ria not just Ria, but Arianna.

Which would make her the Demon Queen Arianna.

Which would mean that you just disrespected one of the most important people in this world. Well done Max.


Ria, no, Queen Arianna opened her mouth to reply, but the King cut her off. "Come with me," he told her. There was no question in it. It was pure command.

"Lucifer, I'm socializing," she said softly, tenderly. Arianna gestured at me as she said so. The King's black eyes met my own and I fought the urge to cringe away. He was like a God gone bad. Really bad. A second later that gaze was on Arianna, and to put it lightly it was a lot gentler.

"Then socialize with me." His voice was so caring that I gaped. Subtle manipulation at its best.

Arianna laughed. "I don't think you get the whole "socializing" concept. I'm talking to Max, not you, alright?"

Those obsidian eyes hardened again as words slammed into my head, so forceful it was like being crushed by a metal door. Leave, was the simple command. If only it had been so simple in my head. Instead I reeled backward with the power of that one, pitiful word. Wow, talk about weak. And as I brought my eyes back to the King I felt every fibre of my being want to turn around and ditch this situation. I would have been happy doing that. For some reason this Demon was very pissed, and that was not a good thing at all. And had it not been for Arianna's next words I'd have been gone by now.

"What is he saying to you? Wait, I know, he's telling you to leave. Yes, by the look on your face that's exactly what he's saying." The Queen shoved her husband, but he didn't budge. Instead he just bore his eyes into mine. "I told you to stop doing that, you insensitive jerk." The comment earned her his attention and he frowned.

"Have I upset you?" he asked. Had I not been as freaked out as I was I would have face-palmed my forehead. Could he not tell that she was dismayed? I didn't even know her and I could tell.

Arianna ignored him. "Max, if you'd like we can—"

"That's a very interesting necklace there," King Lucifer cut in, black eyes phasing into a slight red.

The Queen gasped. "Don't you dare—!"

"I never knew you intended on marrying my son," he continued blithely. I just stared at him like a fool, hearing what he was saying but not really understanding.

"I'm not marring your son," I insistent, completely confused now. "Where the Hell did that come from anyway?" I asked, throwing royal etiquette out the window. Well, what little of it I had, if any.

"From that pretty little charm you're wearing around your neck. I suppose it's the equivalent of what you call a 'wedding ring,' only much more meaningful, powerful. You see, that necklace means that you belong to one man, and one man only. That would be my son."

I just stared, mouth opening and closing like a fish. I just couldn't find words for what he had said, couldn't form a coherent reply. All fear toward him had vanished, replaced by numbing ice that was circulating through my very blood. If what the King said was true…no, it couldn't be. I barely knew Fang. Hell, I barely even liked Fang. Not to mention I wasn't even eighteen! My head was shaking in denial. But if this was true then I could only assume that what Ella said was also true. No, impossible! Fang wasn't…he couldn't be…

Hang on, one man and one man only? Hell-freaking-no!

I stalked off from the King and Queen, all interest in them vanishing for the moment, which had probably been Lucifer's plan. I didn't care. Instead I was going to punch someone's skull straight off their shoulders, that someone being the one person I had hoped to avoid all night. That was no longer my desire. Instead I barged through the crowd violently, shoving people aside as they danced, talked and ate. People shouted insults while others just opted to stay out of my way. I earned glares from many of the girls that had seen the necklace strapped to my neck while the guys looked away in disappointment. But those faces were a blur as I searched for one in particular. And the longer I looked for that face the greater my anger grew. Even more reasons for that fury settled into my mind as I thought about it. I am going to kill him…

He, just happened to be talking to a man a little shorter than himself. Both guys were in suits, which was really a sight to see, and both looked incredibly handsome. Fang looked like himself—black hair, obsidian eyes, same arrogant posture. His friend was the opposite. He had strawberry blonde hair that looked as if it had been dyed recently. His skin was significantly more pale and he was shorter, but that was all I could distinguish. The boy had his back to me.

Fang caught sight of me from the corner of his eye. His gaze flickered toward me for a moment and he frowned. A second later he had focused on the boy again. I took a calming breath. Remember, this is Azkadelia's party. Don't make a scene or she will skewer you. Okay, so kill Fang quietly. Easy. Stalking over to the two, I prepared to shove Blondie over and give the Demon Prince a piece of my bloody mind. Of course, things rarely go to plan, and tonight was no exception.

As I reached the group I ignored the boy and poked a finger at Fang. "You have some explaining to do damn it!" I yelled, jabbing him in the chest with my index finger.

The Demon sighed. "I'm sorry for telling you to leave me earlier, though I was sure you would understand. Actually, that's a lie, I knew you'd take it personally instead of logically, so I brought a peace offering."

"I'm not talking about earlier on, though I'm pissed off about that as well! And what do you mean peaceoffering? What does that even—?"

"Jeez Max, you'd think you'd recognize your own brother? I am standing right next to you by the way. Hi Max!" he mocked, annoyed. Eyes wide in complete shock I finally gave the boy a second glance—and almost doubled over.

"Iggy! Oh my God Iggy! What the Hell are you doing here? Oh my God, what the Hell are you doing here!" I punched my brother in the arm and he reeled.

"What on earth's name was that for?" he asked, shocked.

I couldn't help it, I grinned and lunged at him, wrapping my arms around the boy tightly. "I'm so glad you're alright. What happened to Nudge? Is she okay? Is she still in the dungeons? She is isn't she? Oh someone is going to die—"

"Max! Calm down. I'm fine, Nudge is significantly less fine, but she'll live. I've just been told, well…everything. In depth. So, we have another sister? That's awesome, I really want to meet her. And apparently we have powers? One word. Mad. I wonder if I can like, blow stuff up with my hands. That would be epic."

"I think I'm going to leave you two to your little reunion," Fang said, lips twitching as he made a move to leave. Oh no, he wasn't getting away that easily. Stepping into his path I glared at him.

"What on earth made you think that I would ever marry you?" I shrieked, losing my cool quickly. "You manipulated me, you lied to me, and for Lord's sake you've confused me beyond…infinity! I can barely stand you, let alone spend the rest of my life with you!"

Fang snorted. "That's a lie and we both know it. You're as addicted to me as I am to you. Like you said before, enough games. I've come to terms with my emotions, now it's time to come to terms with your own."

I gaped at him. "No!" I yelled, arms flailing in violent gestures. "You don't have emotions. I'm seventeen! Damn it, what is bloody wrong with you?"

"Uh, I'm going to leave you guys to your, um, thoughts." Iggy edged away slowly and I glared at him.

"Where is your support brother? You should hate this guy! He kidnapped me! Hello?" I sounded desperate even to my own ears. But desperation was better than admitting that I was in love with Fang. But I'd already confessed it to myself before, right? Of all people…

No damn it!

"Hey, I'm a lot more understanding than you are, so I do get what he's done. While I don't agree with the violence, I do believe that, despite it all, this guy's had a better influence on you than anyone else I've ever met. It's almost like you've met your match—and he's beating you." I swear my eye twitched. I wanted to scream, I wanted to fight, I wanted to punch someone's face in…Damn it I wanted a lot of things, and none of them were good for anyone except me.

Fang sighed, shaking his head slightly. "Come with me," he said, offering his hand to me. I glared at the stupid thing, noticing the very same ring his father had been wearing earlier, on the exam same hand and finger. Odd, I'd never seen him wear it before.

"I'm not going anywhere with you."

Fang smirked. "It wasn't a request." Grabbing my arm he pulled me away from Iggy and into the dense population of people. People moved aside for the Prince, parting like the Red Sea. Scowling I trailed behind, forced against my will. All the while my mind was whispering horrible, treacherous things. You know you like him; Perhaps forever with this Prince is a dream come true; imagine being a Queen…

"Shut up," I hissed vehemently.

"I didn't say anything," Fang replied, but judging by the tone of his voice he knew I was talking to myself. "You know, sometimes your thoughts are rather entertaining."

"Will you stop speaking like that? It is so annoying! This is the twenty-first century."

I swear he rolled his eyes. "Yes, and people in the twenty-first century have an extreme lack of intelligence, which is reflected in the way they speak."

"You know, you were more irritating when I first met you, but at least you spoke normally."

"I simply made myself 'fit in' as much as possible."

I inhaled deeply. "Whatever."

Fang came to a stop in the middle of the dance floor. "Dance with me?"

"That depends. Is it a request or a command?" No, I wasn't flirting with him…was I? Mentally I shuddered.

"To which will the answer be yes?"

"And if I said neither?"

Fang looked thoughtful. "Then I shall have to take matters into my own hands."

"Oh God, I think I'm better off giving you what you want."

The Demon nodded. "That would be the logical thing to do. I'm going to get what I want in the end."

Max, you're meant to be pissed off with him, not dancing around having a good time! But it was too late, my arms were already wrapping around his neck, Fang's own limbs encircling my waist.

"Well I've never been one for logics." You are a weak, pathetic, soppy girl who is in love with a freaking Demon. Ella was right, Fang was right, everyone but you was right, just like usual.

And for once I didn't care that I was wrong.

"No, I don't believe you have been." Silence enveloped us as we spun, and for once I simply drowned myself in the music and pure bliss of being close to someone for the first time since my mum died. How Fang had calmed my rage so quickly and so easily, without even a thought, I truly didn't understand. But for once, I was happy not being violent. I was in a rare 'Heaven on Earth' for a few seconds, able to catch my breath, able to think clearly. It was easy, having someone else to depend on instead of myself. And I think I bloody well deserved it too. It seemed everyone else was right. I needed to face my feelings as Fang had done himself. But am I truly in love with this man? I didn't know. I couldn't even answer the question. A mere moment ago I had wanted to kill this boy, and now? Now I just wanted to melt to a puddle at his feet. My anger had fizzled to nothing and was now replaced with things I didn't want to comprehend but had to.

…Maybe I could marry him.

No. Not now, not yet. I was barely ready for a relationship, let alone a commitment like that. Please, mere weeks ago I had hated this Demon. Now? Well, I knew for sure that I didn't hate him. Couldn't actually. But marrying him? There was no way.

"You look deep in thought there. What are you thinking about?"

I snorted. "Like you don't know."

"Actually, I was refraining from reading you mind, much as it tempted me. No matter how loud those thoughts shouted I tried my best to ignore them. Of course, to do that I had to read other people's minds, which has disturbed me on a number of levels, but I have no idea what you were thinking about. Actually no, that's not true. I have a pretty good idea about what you were thinking about, but I shall let you tell me instead."

"That language is really irritating me," I said.

"Sorry, I'm trying to tone it down a bit. But trust me, when you live around people as old as Demons the way they talk really sticks."


"So then, what is it you were thinking about?"

I avoided my eyes as the song changed, this one slowing even further. The sound of a piano and violins echoed through the ballroom. Looking anywhere but at Fang's eyes, I answered his question, painful though it was.

"I was thinking about how I wanted to knock your skull off your shoulders when I walked over to you. And then lo and behold you weren't being an arse and then that intention vanished. I was thinking about my feelings and how long it's been since I've been close to anyone except my brother. How maybe Ella was right after all."

Fang frowned. "Ella?

I sighed. "She said that I was too stupid to realize that you are—" Before I could finish my completely embarrassing explanation every single light blew, the bulbs shattering and raining to the floor in shards. Black enveloped the palace eerily and the music stopped. I expected people to scream in terror like they did if the lights went out at a high school dance, but no-one made a sound. There was no yelling in terror, no collective gasps or whispered words. It was dead silence. Fang's arms tightened around my body as my eyes struggled to see through the darkness. In time figures would dot my vision, but for now all I could see was darkness.

That was, until lightning struck from the ceiling.

Light so intense I could barely look at it shot from the roof to a random spot on the ground, that brightness taking the form of an actual lightning bolt. That bolt smashed to the floor, causing it to sizzle where it was hit. From the line of electricity formed a man that literally glowed, smoke appearing at his feet. With hair as white as the light had been and fire blue eyes as majestic as magic itself, the man had to have the most striking features I had ever seen. Who the Hell is he? There was an odd smile plastered to his flawless skin as he grabbed the woman closest to him, his light transferring to her body and making her flare up in white as he was. It was after she was illuminated like him that I noticed who she was. With that knowledge I watched in horror as the intruder forced her into him and kissed her violently, the circlet of gold atop her head falling to the ground and echoing loudly through the room. Fang had gone rigid and I had frozen as the girl's veins ran black beneath her skin. Like the light, that darkness transferred to the man, causing his blood to run black as well. Why isn't he flying backward like I was? Unable to pry my eyes away I watched as his hands held the Queen's head roughly, the kiss desperate, animalistic. In reality it lasted but a few moments, but as every single person in the room watched it felt like hours. But as quickly as the man was there he was gone, his body contracting into another thin bolt of white lightning. Working in the opposite direction, the bolt flew upward toward the ceiling. But before it electrified the roof its course changed and it was shooting back to the ground, this time landing sharply on the platform above. The man appeared again in his glowing form, wiping his lip with his thumb. Fang was shaking in pure anger, his eyes glowing neon red in the darkness. And he wasn't the only one. The crowd of people had become a crowd of glowing red and gold eyes, a mixture of Demons and Dragons. And they were all pissed as Hell.

More lightning appeared out of nowhere, dotting the entire ballroom with light. Men were materializing in those white bolts of electricity, evening out the number of Demons and Dragons to intruders. Many glowed just as the first intruder did.

A new figure appeared on the platform above, this one materializing in ribbons of black smoke. The look on his face was murderous, predatory, animalistic…it was too feral to possible describe. Both men faced off, their stances already vicious.


"You're wife is still as sweet as ever I see."

And just like that, they were at each other's throats, teeth and claws ripping, slashing and butchering. The glowing men below the two Kings faced off against the Demons and Dragons, their bodies flashing with each blow delivered. It was a majestic sight, seeing such brightness and darkness facing off. And yet as everyone was preoccupied with slicing each other open I was the only one to see Queen Arianna as she fell, her body crumpling lifelessly to the floor.

Well, shit.

Whoo, I actually put up another one! Can't believe it. Anyway, review with thoughts, yada-yada-yada…you can go read your other FF's now =) Until the next update which I have no idea when that will be. Idk, whenever I feel like writing another chapter I guess =P

Fly on guys=)

27. Chapter 26

Okay, not a long A/N here. First, quote: "You say you know how I feel from just looking to my face, but I guess everything I am, I hide on the inside." Second, the reason I haven't updated is because I had an English, Physics and two Chemistry assignments due. Yeah, sucky right? But, enjoy the chapter. Didn't turn out how I reeeally wanted it to, but it will do for now, 'cause I know you would all rather something over nothing at this point in time. Review, and excuse mistakes, no time for editing. Anyway, off to bed now =)

I had to say, not once, in my entire life, had I been caught in the crossfire. Today however seemed to be the exception.

Caught in a flurry of lightning, all sense of time and reality had vanished. Fang himself had done so too, his hold on me loosening before leaving me completely. His neon red eyes had blended with the rest of the sea of colours, providing me with no sense of direction at all. It was eerie in a weird way, being enveloped in complete darkness before the entire room was lit with the white brilliance of the Angels seconds later. And then it was back to the darkness. Even as I watched more bolts of lightning struck through the room, leaving trails of white light in its wake. I had to hand it to them—the Angels had style. They were also one Hell of a fighter, each blow they delivered lighting their bodies in radiance.

However, all of these things were minor details playing in the background of my all too crowded mind. The clashing metals, intense lights, metallic scent drifting sickeningly through the air…the blur of multi-coloured eyes had to be the very epitome of dizzying. And still none of this could compare to the force that was driving me steadily across the room. My legs moved almost unwillingly, using none of my conscious brain at all. Instead they progressed forward of their own accord, forcing me to the place where the Queen of Darkness had fallen. I couldn't make out a single feature of the girl, nor could I see her clearly at all, but as I travelled further forward I couldn't help the whispers of doubt that were tainting my mind and thoughts. She's dead, she's dead, she's dead…

No, impossible.

That pace soon became a frantic run. There was no way the Queen could be dead. Nothing could happen to her, Lucifer wouldn't have allowed it. Where was he when Gabriel showed? I squeezed my eyes shut violently, cursing my thoughts mentally. Lucifer wouldn't have allowed it, I repeated, annoyed at myself.

I pushed my way through the dense population of soldiers, ducking when necessary and shoving past when I could. Swords sliced, guns rebounded…even the men shouting and hissing were weapons in themselves. They faced off against one-another, both men and woman alike, so enraptured in destroying that they didn't pay any attention to me. Or so I thought.

As I paused momentarily, planning my way through a thick brawl of warriors, a cool metal cut into the base of my throat. The slice was fine, just barely penetrating my skin, but the action stopped me dead. Slowly I turned toward the person wielding the blade—and frowned. Before me was a man as tall as my brother, with hair as brown as my own and a figure that was more slender than muscular. His lean body was dressed in a suit that had to be made of silk it was so gorgeous. Perfection was too vague a word to describe him, especially his eyes. The globes were glowing an ethereal purple, shining vividly as they entranced me. Smiling an otherworldly smile, it was all I could to not to melt to a puddle at his feet. However, I maintained some common sense, realizing in my haze that this guy was the enemy. And he was also not the person wielding the sword.

To the left of the man was a significantly shorter woman. She too had a lean body and gorgeous purple eyes, but where the man had brown hair that covered his ears this girl was branded with gold tendrils that were braided down her back. Her hairstyle left her ears bare, ears that were shaped to a sharp point, looking more Elven than Human. A woven leather band was tied around her head, resting just above her brow. Weapons were strapped to her body; knives, guns, whips and (oh God was that a grenade?) even a bow and arrow. The two were like walking contradictions—one graceful and sophisticated, the other rough edged and hard.

"Are you Maximum?" the girl asked harshly, eyes narrowed as she glared at me scornfully. Her tone instantaneously snapped me from whatever trance I was in, sparking my anger.

"Excuse me?" I asked, managing to keep my cool. For now.

That blade dug deeper into my throat. "You heard me. Shall I repeat it again? Are you Maximum?" I opened my mouth to shout atrocities at the girl, but the man beat me to it. Easing the sword from my neck, he pushed the girl aside slightly.

"Sister, allow me to handle this." Purple eyes met my own and he smiled again. Oh no, I wasn't falling for that trick again.

"My name is Aeron," the man introduced. "May I ask what name belongs to such beauty?"

I blinked. There was a full-blown war going on around us and this guy was exchanging pleasantries? And besides, what kind of line was that?

"You're worse than Fang," I remarked, eyes narrowed. In my urgency I foolishly made the mistake of trying to leave, but that damn blade soon found its way back to my neck.

"Avaria, there is no need for such brutality."

The blonde snorted viciously. "I trust this snake less than her father. She's lucky she has King Gabriel's protection, otherwise I'd slice her where she stands."

My eyes widened in rage as I made a move to jump her, but once again that damn 'Aeron' stopped me before I had the chance. My anger drained as he spoke.

"I said allow me to handle this," he hissed, tone becoming threatening. Regretfully the girl dropped her weapon again, and the man's voice became calm once more.

"Excuse my sister. She tends to be a little hot-headed. As I was saying, my name is Aeron and this is my 'twin' as you call it, Avaria. Both my sibling and I come from the realm of Faerie, and we are a part of the Fey race."

I opened my mouth to reply but couldn't. I was just too dumbstruck. The Fey, of course. Sure, there were Demons, Angels, Dragons, why not add Faeries into the mix?

"You seem a little shocked. Understandable, but unfortunately we've no time for it. If you are Maximum, which I can only assume you are, then I'd be most appreciative if you'd follow us."

I blinked, forcing back a snort of exasperation. Was he joking? "I'm sorry, uh, Calen, but I've got more important things to do, namely kicking some enemy butt. So, if you don't mind…" Before I had even made a move the Faerie was before me, violet eyes darkening in colour.

"It is Aeron, and you will not enjoy being in my presence when I am displeased. Now, follow us would you?"

This time I did snort. "In short, no. And what are you, the Incredible Hulk? You will not like me when I'm angry," I imitated.

"How dare you—!"

"Avaria." The Faerie's twin shut her trap, thank God. "Miss Ride, I suggest you do as I say and come with us willingly before I am forced to take matters into my own hand."

"Ha, what are you gonna do? Wave your magic Faerie wand and make me?"

Those violet eyes flared darkly again, changing the man's face completely. His graceful complexion turned toxic, taking on a deadly persona that made me blanch. The beauty that had radiated from him was gone, replaced by an icy air that chilled me to the bone. The other Faerie homed in on me, teeth bared evilly.

"Through your ignorance you shall pay," he hissed, hand clamping around my throat so fast I didn't even see him coming. With one great heave I was pulled off my feet, legs dangling as I clawed at his hands. As the life was choked from me Aeron continued his conversation, or rather, threat.

"Do you know what makes the Fey stronger?" he asked, smiling maliciously. In answer I kicked him as hard as I could, making him stumble backward. However his grip around my neck proved too strong and his hand didn't budge.

"Life energy. Sucking the very heart and soul out of other livings things and draining them dry of the very energy that keeps them alive. You see, like creatures such as yourself, I have an urge to do that to everyone and everything I meet. Currently I am oppressing that urge, but that will only last so long Maximum. I've not a care in the world for your little war, personally I hope you both kill each other off, but I have my orders, and you will come with us or you will die. That is no longer a request but an order."

My eyes narrowed in anger as I struggled to breath, temper spiking as I processed what the man had said. This was all too much. Everything was crumbling in, toppling me with its damn weight. I was caving under stress, and when I was stressed…well, I got pissed. Which right now, I figured I needed to be. Good things can happen when I get pissed. My eyes closed slowly as I cleared my mind, working myself into a state of fury. For so long I had been strong, wild, unbeatable. Of late, those things would rarely be used in the same sentence as my name, unless of course they were describing Fang, Ares, Dylan or someone of equal strength that was kicking my butt at the time. And I was truly over that fact. I was meant to be strong, I was meant to be fast…Damn it I was meant to be the person kicking arse. And now was my time to prove it.

With my hands still wrapped around Aeron's my eyes slowly opened again, lids rising in what I could only hope was a menacing manner. My gaze met the Faerie's evenly, revealing the colour that was reflecting in his narrowed eyes. Despite the purple I could easily distinguish the fire blue that was dancing across the irises of his gaze. With all my strength I began to pull his hands from my throat, still very much aware of the burning sensation deep within my lungs. Snarling, the Faerie clutched tighter, eyes wide as I slowly began to pry his fingers off, one by one. Too slow Max, I thought urgently. You'll die before you get them off!

And that's when the blade came down on the Faerie's arm.

Black blood splattered my face as I fell to the ground, hand still gripping my neck. As quickly as I hit the floor I rolled back to my feet, pulling the bleeding hand from my body and throwing it down in disgust. I prepared myself for an attack, but it never came. Instead a gut-wrenching scream pierced the ballroom, adding to the shouts and shrieks of anguish already echoing within the walls of the palace.

"Taunting Faeries Max." Fang shook his head, tsking under his tongue as he glared at the Fey man he had pinned to the wall with his blade. "I admire your bravery. I do however question your intelligence. Now, what to do with a piece of scum such as yourself?" he asked Aeron, eyes neon red.

"I am not the scum," the Faerie hissed, his own irises glowing violet.

"You will die for threatening what is mine. And that is not a request either."

"You dare—?"

A lightning fast fist connected with the side of my jaw, a sickeningly horrid crack echoing painfully through my ears. I coughed blood as I went down, the crimson merging with the black of the Faerie's. Hitting the floor I just managed to roll over before my jaw connected with the ground as well. As fast as the fist a gun was pointed at my forehead, Avaria's steady hand behind it. Her teeth were bared, showing perfectly white, sharp teeth. She was grinning.

"I've never been one for following orders. I love my father, and as much as I want to repay his debt to Gabriel and set him free, I want to kill you more. I'd love to say it was nice knowing you, but I didn't really know you, and well, I dislike you with a passion, you Abomination." As the girl went to pull the trigger my own instincts took over and I kicked her, hard. Hitting her square in the abdomen she went flying, crashing into a Dragon facing off against two Angels. Forcing the pain from my jaw into the back of my mind I rolled to my feet at the same time as the Faerie, her leather band having fallen off. Like her brother her eyes were glowing as she pointed the gun at me, her hand shaking in fury. At that sight a thought struck me. What use was a gun if you were too emotional to hold it properly? This girl was angry, which meant she wasn't thinking straight…which meant she was prone to making mistakes. I grinned.

"What on earth are you smiling about Abomination? I have the gun."

"Really? I didn't notice," I mocked, rolling my eyes. "It doesn't matter anyway. It's of no use to you. I mean, can you even aim it? I'm wondering if you could hit me from point blank range?"

Eyes widening her shaking increased. "What!" she screeched in disbelief.

I laughed. This girl was worse than I was. "Shall I repeat it so that your small mind understands? Or should I just simplify? You couldn't hit me if you tried."

And there it was. Bang. The sound was deafening as bullets whizzed through the air. None of which penetrated my body. Avaria looked at me with wide, dubious eyes. Again I grinned.

"Well, well, looks like I was right." I said, arrogance tainting the words with attitude. And that's when I attacked. As fast as I could move I slammed my fist into the girl's temple, teeth bared as I did so. Avaria's entire face snapped sideways and I struck again, kneeing her in the stomach. As I went in for another blow she growled viciously, kicking me in the gut painfully. Flying backward at top speeds, I didn't slow until my back slammed into a wall, making me cry out in pain. My head flew backward jarringly and my vision spun, the whole room revolving. The dizzying lightning didn't help. Panting I dragged myself up, gritting my teeth in the process. Avaria watched me, eyes as wide as my own.

"That hurt," I hissed vehemently.

"Good," she snarled, rushing at me. Anticipating her move I dodged sideways, felt her fly past me and spun. Not seeing me coming I kicked her in the back, forcing her to the ground. The sound of bones cracking ricocheted blissfully through my ears. Feeling more Demonic than ever, I smirked evilly as I pulled one of the blades from the sheaths on the Faerie's back. The blade was made of some form of silver metal and glimmered in what little light there was.

"You steal a Faerie's blade? You will die."

I snorted. "Yeah, I've heard that before." Lifting the sword I prepared to lunge, lining it up with the girl's black heart. The metal began to glow a glittering silver, encasing the weapon in light.

"This time will be the last time you do," she spat, drawing the last sword from her back and charging. I had no idea why she was so angry and I had no idea why she wanted to kill me, but by God at this stage I didn't care. Someone was in need of a good slicing. Namely a little Faerie who thought too much of herself.

Avaria brought her sword down, the wide blade barely missing me as I feigned left, ducking under the weapon. Using the same momentum I flew upwards, slamming my sword into her side as I did so. Black blood tainted the blade as she cried out. Though she maintained the grip on her sword I noticed how loose she was holding it. I grinned. The gash down her body must have hurt. I had to hand it to her though—she kept on coming at me. She half spun, using the momentum to swing her sword faster and harder. But once again she was predictable and slow to my eyes and I managed to dodge it easily. This is it, I thought, taking a deep breath. The image of Fang and Ares battling it out flashed across my vision. There is no grace in fighting, only cutthroat violence and viciousness. There are no rules, only those which you create…

It was with those thoughts that I ran the Faerie through with her own blade.

When the sword penetrated her skin the girl froze, her mouth open in a silent scream. Blood poured from the wound, dripping down her body like thick, black ooze. The Fey girl's purple eyes grew small, the colour changing from a vibrant violet to a dull, colourless grey. Ripping the sword from her torso I watched as she fell, first to her knees and then to the floor, tipping sideways and crashing into the ground. Once she had fallen out of my vision I caught sight of her brother, Aeron, still pinned to the wall. His mouth was open in shock, eyes the perfect picture of agony as he watched his sister fall. Those horrible globes slowly found my gaze and widened crazily, before he too was run through with a blade. His head slumped and his irises turned grey before Fang pulled the sword from his body. Aeron slid to the floor lifelessly and Fang wiped the blood off his blade using the man's suit. Slowly his eyes met mine and he smiled crookedly.

"Now that's the girl I've been waiting to see," he remarked, nodding proudly.

"That's a disturbing thought," I near yelled over the grunts of war as I walked up to him. I still carried the Faerie's blade—it was a nice blade—and it dripped a trail of blood as I did so.

"Perhaps," he replied softly despite the noise. The Prince caught hold of my face, drawing me close as he did so. His thumb brushed the underside of my eye. "Do you realize your eyes are fire blue?"

I grinned. "I had a hunch."

"So strange…Ella has eyes just as my own, but you?" he paused, thinking. "You're unique you are."

I opened my mouth to reply but was distracted by the warrior that shoved me aside, sword raised to slice Fang in half. With an infuriated expression the Demon pushed his own weapon forward, the blade piercing the enemy's skin. The man, who was honest to God one of the ugliest guys I had ever laid my eyes upon, tried to scream, but his only sound was a gurgled cry before falling backward. Fang held onto his sword as he did so, the blade coming free in a flurry of crimson blood. The dead man's eyes stared into oblivion, and for a mere moment I felt sorry for him. He was a really ugly guy.

Nice Max, nice.

"Why do they continue to try and kill you when you're immortal?" Idiots.

Fang shrugged and sighed wearily. "Ares is not going to be happy when he has to clean up a heap of dead people off the floors, especially the Dragons."

I frowned at the thought of dead people. "That's going to be horrible, especially if people close to him are dead." I paused. Why was that so blood curdling…? "Oh my God, Arianna!" I made a move to shove past Fang, but his hand caught hold of my arm, crushing it in his grip. His eyes flared so bright it was like watching an angel in action, only in red.

"What?" he asked quietly, deadly.

"You're mother…the Queen…she, she…Damn it let go of me!" I yelled, pushing him aside. There was no time to explain. I had to see if she was okay. I heard him yell after me, his voice more a roar than anything, but I ignored him. I will be fast, I thought as I propelled myself through the crowds, falling back into my routine of ducking, dodging and forcing my way through with my newly obtained sword.

When I burst through the dense population I found the Queen, slumped in one of the most graceful positions possible. Her head was laying sideways, a hand resting just beside it. The second one was lying across her abdomen. Ria's left leg was positioned over her right and her body was resting slightly on the side. Fighting the urge to roll my eyes I fell to the floor beside her, the Faerie's blade clattering noisily to toe ground. I was pissed off that no-one had had the decency to at least move her out of the way. Of course, that was more-or-less in that back of my mind as I placed two fingers at her throat under her jaw line, feeling for a pulse. The second I touched her I wished I hadn't—her skin was ice cold. Holding my breath I ignored the cold as best as I could and waited for a pulse, fearing that it wasn't going to come at all. It felt like a full ten minutes before I heard the faint thump, thump under my fingertips. Releasing the horrid breath I'd kept trapped within, I moved her onto her back, hissing at the cold of her skin against my own. It felt like I was getting frostbite from just touching her. What is wrong with her…? "This is not good," I muttered aloud, blowing the stray hair out of my face. "What the Hell am I going to do?"

"You. Have. Ruined. My. WEDDING!" The scream of infuriation felt as if it were coming from right by my ear it was so loud. I turned to see Azkadelia, her eyes so black they rivaled the Demon King. Her black and red hair looked like snakes as they waved statically through the air. The menacing sight reminded me of Medusa. With each enraged word she spat fire shot from the palms of her hands in thick streams, each blazing line hitting their target. Every man and woman surrounding her fell screaming, flames licking viciously at their skin. Azkadelia just laughed, the sound crazed. I rolled my eyes—I was used to this behaviour, and right now I just needed her help.

The Dragon Queen held her left hand out and I watched as lightning crackled around it. Using her right, she created a cage with her palms and waited for the white brilliance to grow. When it had gotten to about the size of world globe she laughed eccentrically, eyes wild.

"You Angels have so much style, appearing in lines of perfect lightning," she scoffed fanatically. "I hope you find this ironic!" She pushed her left hand upwards, the large ball shooting from her hand into the air. The Lightning crackled and spun, rotating around a central point and forming a spherical like shape. I frowned as I watched it, before, out of nowhere, random strikes of electricity shot from the orb, hitting the enemies that were within the ball's range. Effectively, it was frying everyone that Azkadelia was pissed off with. The Queen just laughed, a horrible sound that was disturbing on a number of levels.

"Azkadelia! Stop torturing people and help me out here!" I yelled. The Queen's eyes flickered toward me for a mere moment, caught sight of Arianna, and widened.

"One moment…" she sang merrily, pirouetting one-eighty degrees. "This will be fun," I heard her mutter as she clapped her hands together gleefully. I sucked in an aggravated breath. There is no time for this I thought in annoyance.

Well, they did ruin her party…

Good point.

My hand clasped around the Queen's cold, limp fingers as I waited for Azkadelia to finish her torture time. With a click of her fingers that ball of lightning caved in on itself, forcing itself into oblivion.

"Now, who here enjoys the thought of nothingness?" she asked sweetly. Wide, terrified eyes met her gaze and Azkadelia grinned. "Oh Goodie." The Queen clapped her hands together once, the sound louder than any gun-shot could possible muster. After holding them there for a few moments, she soon began to pry them apart, a wavering black mass appearing before her. That hole grew steadily bigger until it was the size of a normal portal.

"It was nice knowing you all! Actually, no, that's a lie. In truth, it was terrible. I don't even have words that describe how pissed off I am!" she screamed crazily. Sounding as if she were from some mental asylum, she ended with a happy, "so long!" As the last word left her mouth the wavering pool began to suck, drawing in everything glowing white into its onyx depths. When it had thoroughly destroyed everything within range, the portal vanished and Azkadelia paced over to me, her crazed look fading to be replaced with pure horror.

"What's wrong with her?" she asked, falling down beside me.

"I have no idea. She just…fell. I think she's sick."

"Of course she's sick," Azkadelia snarled, shaking her head in irritation.

My own anger sparked. "You're the all-powerful one. Fix her!"

The Dragon Queen's eyes closed for a mere moment, her fingers trailing the length of Arianna's body. Seconds later she was shaking her head.

"I can't pick up anything. I can't heal her."

I blinked. "You're the most powerful woman alive, and you're honestly telling me you can't heal her? What the Hell!" I shrieked, disbelieving.

"I can't heal what I don't understand. I have no idea what's wrong with her, and even if I did I'd have no idea what to do to help her."

"That's isn't what I wanted to hear Az," I stated desperately.

"Well what do you want me to do?" she asked incredulously. "If you can get either of the Kings' attention they—"

"I want you to stand up and fight me," came a new voice. Both Azkadelia and I turned to the new girl, with platinum blonde hair that fell in fat ringlets down her body. She had a sword pointed at Az, a smirk plastered to her pretty face. She wasn't stunning like the Dragon Queen, but she was pretty in a "girl next door" kind of way.

"Do I know you?" Azkadelia asked, coming to a slow and graceful stand. If possible, her eyes got even darker.

"Obviously you missed the show earlier," I taunted.

"You don't remember me then," the girl said, addressing the Queen and ignoring me. "Well, I remember you perfectly, and since our last battle I've been doing my homework, Emblazion."

Azkadelia looked taken aback, black eyes wide in shock. "What did you say?"

"Oh don't look so surprised your Majesty. I know exactly what you are, and when Gabriel finds out there's no place in this world that you can go that will be safe. Even the Demonic Realm is currently under attack, unbeknownst to the creatures of darkness. And here the Demon Monarchs are, busy fighting for a kingdom that isn't even their own. The precious Queen lies near dead on the floor and you're about to be broken. Tell me Azkadelia, how does revenge taste?"

Recognition flared through the Dragon Queen's eyes. "Brigid. You're that White Witch that I roasted alive."

The girl's nostrils flared. "Prepare to be wrecked, Queen. You're right, Witches do see you as their great leader, I'll give you that. But when the White Witches follow the lead of King Gabriel they'll do whatever he wants. And they know he'll want you as much as he wants the two Twins of Tartarus."

"The girls are not twins," Azkadelia snarled. "And I fail to see your point, as I am more powerful than any Witch."

"That may be, but I've done my homework, as I have previously said, and you don't fare too well when everyone is using magic, do you?" Again Azkadelia's black, black eyes widened, mouth widening in shock. Behind the girl named Brigid a blockade of women formed, a mass not to be messed with. The Queen stepped back slowly.

"Why look so horrified? You are the most powerful, aren't you? No match to my pathetic illusions. So why do you back away? Why do you cower?" A horrible grin crossed the blonde's face as the blockade moved together as one, each summoning their powers at the very same time. Azkadelia, too slow to do anything about it, dropped to the floor seconds later, clutching her head as she screamed in agony. The one named Brigid was laughing and I went to make a move to slam her face into the ground, but something else caught my attention first.

The platform railing that was now above me broke, two entangled forms falling to the floor with an echoing thud. Splinters of wood rained down with them as they crashed into the ground, the sound ricocheting throughout the walls of the palace. The two jumped apart, one black the other white, but both bleeding profusely. However, that blood soon began to dry as the wounds closed over, each man's skin healing nearly instantly. This is it, I thought. This is my chance to get their attention.

Oh, how wrong I was…

"You dare touch her?" Lucifer roared, his voice shadowing every other sound in the room. His eyes were wilder than Azkadelia's had been, black silhouetted by neon red.

"Well aren't you ever the Drama Queen?" Gabriel remarked. "What makes you think she's yours?"

I swear I saw thing Demon's eye twitch. "The fact that I married her perhaps?" Lucifer offered furiously.

The Angel ran his tongue across his teeth. "Only because you beat me to it. Had you not stopped her from travelling to the Human Realm things would be very different."

"She would never have chosen you."

Gabriel's blue eyes flared gold. And they stayed that way. "You have many things I want, and I intend on getting them."

"You're not getting either girl or my Queen," Lucifer snarled, causing me to cringe into Arianna's ice cold body.

"We shall see—"

"You're prettier than people give you justice for." I frowned, head turning toward the guy that has spoken to me. Filling my entire vision was an Angel as tall as Fang, glowing almost as bright as Gabriel. He had kind silver eyes and equally silver hair. Smiling, he offered a hand. I just glared at it.

"Oh, of course, you think I'm the Bad Guy. Understandable. My name's Cadeon." The Angel paused, took a deep breath, "I was a friend of Ella's, back in the day, before she left of course. I haven't seen her in years…sorry, I'm rambling about the past. That's always a bad sign. Look, the short version is, I need you to come with me. Please."

No, I was wrong. Now I glared at his hand.

"Why on Earth would I go anywhere with you? I don't know you and you're an Angel."

"With all due respect, you are too."

I ground my teeth together, dropped the Queen's icy hand and stood predatorily. "I know what I am."

"Actually, you have no idea what you are," came another voice, making my head spin. How many people were there around here? Behind Cadeon a new figure formed, this one much older in appearance. With hair and eyes the same colour as my own, all I could do was stare. Well, that wasn't true—I seemed to manage talking perfectly.

"Who are you?" I asked accusingly. Why my tone was judgmental I wasn't quite sure, but it was.

The man just rolled his eyes and grabbed my arm. "We have no time for this. I need to get you and Ella out of here and apart from each other as fast as possible. Preferably before someone sees."

I ripped my arm from the man, eyes still glowing fire blue. "What on earth are you talking about?"

"Damn it Max, stop being like your mother and listen to me. God, and I thought Ella was bad."

"Uh, Damon maybe you shouldn't—"

"Cadeon, I can deal with my own daughter," the man snapped, eyes turning gold.

I just stared at everyone, everything, and nothing. My surroundings became a thick haze, sounds zoning in and out repetitively. This was it; everything was finally crumbling, pushing me down and compressing me until I was nothing more than a pancake. The sickened Queen, outwitted and outnumbered Azkadelia, the screaming and tortured people around me, my own father who I had never met—

"You had her all along…the Emblazion, she's alive…" Gabriel's shocked voice bellowed through my ears, his golden eyes focusing on Azkadelia predatorily.

I clutched my head, eyes closed as it pounded painfully. There were too many secrets, too much noise…I was going to snap, to explode…I couldn't take the pressure, the stress…I just…I couldn't…

"STOP!" I screamed so loud it silenced every other person in the room, blood pouring from people's ears as they literally froze, becoming statues throughout the ballroom.

Haha, love the oh so dramatic "STOP!" Night people (review) [or morning? Or midday? IDK! =S haha]

xx ~M1dnite~

28. Chapter 27

I am so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, SOOO sorry I haven't updated in, what, a month? I've just been so busy and so lazy that I couldn't. But, it's my birthday this Saturday, so I really wanted to get this update out of the way! (I'm not actually posting this until the morning as I have NO INTERNET! I know, I have to do it at school now! GRR.) I have favour to ask anyone and everyone who reads this too. Can you PLEASE (Because I updated) read a story that my friend has written. She's an excellent writer and asked me to "advertise" on my fanfiction for her. Hahaha, she thinks she sounds desperate! The story is called "The Cover of Darkness, and the link is: .net/s/6733780/1/The_Cover_of_Darkness

Oh, and it's by BookNerd7. And it's Maximum Ride. Anyway, I know you all like to read, so I leave you with one quote, one that I hope fits this chapter; "Don't be fooled by outer strength, for even the most powerful have something to fear and something to hide. When we truly face death, and the death of those we love, the line between strength and weakness fades and life is no longer about such characteristics, but how well we survive." This was something that I just thought of that I think really fits this chapter. No more giveaways! Thanks guys =)

The scream echoed painfully through my own ears, yet it still wasn't powerful enough to stop the sound pouring from my mouth. Every little problem, every little dilemma I'd ever had came out in that scream, bathing the room in an earth-shattering, torturous cry. There was nothing mighty enough to stop the gut-wrenching shriek from piercing the room.

Except for the hand that coiled around my mouth.

An earthy, seductive scent filled my senses in a rainbow of colour. A second arm wrapped around my waist, pulling me backward non-too-gently into another's solid form. A warm breath hit my neck, causing goose-bumps to form across the plains of my skin. Despite the shudder, sound still poured from my mouth.

"Max, you need to stop screaming," Fang whispered softly into my ear, his head resting in the crook of my neck. When the ear-piercing cry continued, warm lips pressed against the delicate skin at the base of my throat.

"Look Mon amour, they are frozen." The voice was soothing, otherworldly. I relaxed into the Prince's form, the scream dissipating to nothing more than a breath as I took in the scene before me. As far as the eye could see was row after row of frozen warriors, their forms eerily unmoving as they became solidified mid-fight. Many were frozen with a look of pain marring their faces, while other lay clutching their heads in agony. Blood poured from their ears.

"Mon Dieu, je ne peux pas le croire. Temps d'arrêt qui aurait cru?"

I blinked, momentarily forgetting the series of frozen people. I turned in Fang's arms, a look of confusion settling across my features.

"What did you say?"

"Hmm?" he hummed dazedly, unable to take his eyes off the room.

"Mon Du je nu poule le croir, Temps qui crew?" I asked, trying as best I could to imitate what he had said. However, I lacked both the knowledge of the language and the accent he had been able to take on.

Fang roared with laughter.

"I'm sorry, could you please repeat exactly what you said?"

I scowled. He shouldn't have been laughing at a time like this. "What did I say?"

"From my naked hen I think, time that—then you said crew in English, which translates to gibberish. Not a very coherent thought, but at least most of it was the same language."

"Well I'm not Italian!"

Fang's lips twitched.


"Actually, it's French."

A blank look crossed my face. "And how on earth would I know that? Better yet, how on earth do you know that? I didn't know you could speak French. I thought you spoke the 'Language of the Demons'."

"I can speak almost any language. I just prefer French over any of the others."

I opened my mouth to argue that French had to be one of the least precise languages out there, but the clattering of metal against floor captured my attention. The sound echoed in a horrible, high-pitched ring, and I cringed away from the sound.

"I̱ agápi̱ mou? Arianna, agápi̱ mou, eínai to láthos? Xýpna, se parakaló̱!" The words were spoken with such desperation I had a feeling I knew what they meant, despite the unfamiliar language. Through the maze of statues my eyes found Arianna, a darkened figure kneeling beside her. The Queen looked even paler then before, especially when compared to Lucifer's shadowed form. The King's eyes were wide in shock, the blackness steadily shadowed by neon red. Beneath the colour his pupils were dilating like an animal's, making him look more predatory.

Making him look insane with rage.

"̱s tolmás na to kánete af̱tó gia na ti̱n! Ti échete kánei!" His utterly infuriated words were directed at Gabriel, who was standing mere feet away from the Demon couple. His eyes were equally wide, equally shocked, and equally enraged.

"You think I did this?" he asked, fuming. His glowing form grew brighter, making it even harder to see.

"Who else would seek to hurt her?" Lucifer snarled viciously, his hands wrapping protectively around Arianna's frozen ones.

The Angel looked taken aback. "I would never hurt her!" he roared, his form growing brighter again. I squinted through the glare, eyes burning.

"And yet here she lays," Lucifer replied, so much malice in his voice I shook. I noticed in dismay that the King was too, violently. "Tha se skotó̱so̱."

"Get down," Fang yelled sharply, flattening himself on top of my body, effectively pushing me to the floor. Hands covered my ears as an intensifying heat blasted above my body, an explosion of sound erupting around me. Fang lay protectively on top of me, his body shadowing mine as the room shook ferociously. It felt like I was in the middle of an earthquake tearing through the ground while a volcano erupted above me. The pressure was astounding, the noise and heat equally so. Red encompassed my vision, fire blazing across the canvas of my mind. I quickly closed them, gritting my teeth as the sound deafened me, much more so than my scream.

The thunderous boom soon became nothing but a dull ringing in my ears, my eye-lids burning with heat. Still I refused to open them. When the buzzing in my ears stopped, sound enveloped me again. The most distinctive sound was Fang's voice.

"Max, are you okay?"

I nodded from beneath him, knowing I couldn't be heard above the sounds of explosions. I was just glad he had stopped speaking in French.

"I should have known this would happen. When my father begins speaking in Greek bad things always happen. Mon amour, are you sure you are alright?"

I inhaled deeply. "Yeah," I ground out, trying to sit up. When Fang noticed my struggle he instantly got off me and helped me sit up. He didn't move off the floor. Black smoke surrounded us, making it impossible to see anything. I was right—the red stretching across my vision had definitely been fire. The fire's black smoke was drifting around us about a metre away, held back by an invisible force. Like a shield. I turned from the invisible, dome-like bubble that covered us and looked into the blackness of Fang's eyes.

"You make shields? That's your power?" I tried to keep the mocking tone from my voice. I wasn't sure if I succeeded or not.

"Dieu Max, no." The Prince looked sad for a mere moment, and for a fleeting second I thought I had offended him. But the look was gone before I had the chance to properly diagnose him.

"Then what is?" I asked instead.

"I would rather discuss yours than mine," he replied, carefully drawing the conversation away from himself. It was then that I realised—I'd never asked what his ability was. And I really wanted to know.

"I'd rather know yours," I stated firmly.

Fang sighed. "You're the one who can stop time, and you'd rather talk about what I can do? That's strange if you ask me."

Every inch of my body knew that what he said was meant to distract me from him. And damn it, it worked.

"Stopping time?" I asked, eyes wide.

Fang nodded slowly, smiling crookedly. "Oui, mon chéri," he said, his slightly French accented voice lulling. "Every person in this room has been frozen within time itself. Because of you," he stated, nodding solemnly at me. The second the language changed from French to English his accent faded, becoming something that was impossible to distinguish. Behind him I saw the black smoke begin to dissipate, frozen soldiers coming into my view.

"Not everyone," I argued, looking pointedly at him.

He shook his head, grinning. "Non, not everyone. Immortals such as myself will always be an exception. But any mortal in this room, this palace, L'enfer, anywhere in the realm, they will all be frozen in this capsule of time. It's incredible. I never would have imagined this."

Thanks for the vote of confidence, I thought. "But you didn't explain. Why immortals?"

"Immortals exist outside of time, which is why we do not age, do not die. That's why we're not frozen like the rest of these warriors."

The last of the thick, black smoke faded into nothingness and the shield retreated instantly. Fang rose steadily, offering his hand. Grasping it firmly, I let him pull me upwards. My gaze instantly found both Lucifer and Gabriel, who were still at each other's throats. I'd never seen the King so angry in the time I'd known him. And to put it simply, his actions scared me like nothing else ever had. Ever would. I wasn't ashamed of that fact—had anyone been in my position, I'd have bet my left leg they'd have fallen dead as a doornail at the sight of such…terror. It was unfathomable to comprehend and impossible to describe. I'd nearly been killed by the man I was "supposedly" meant to marry, and I hadn't been scared then. This fight didn't even involve me and I wanted to run for this hills.

"Let me guess, she did this?" I blinked, spinning to face the newcomer. Ares' tall, broad figure met my gaze. He was wearing a suit that had been torn to shreds, he entire left sleeve missing. A massive hole gaped at his right knee and his white dress shirt was stained crimson with fresh blood. It was torn from neck to navel, gaping in the same nature as his pants. He ran his sword into the smooth ground, causing it to crack open violently. Shaking his head, he leant against the huge weapon, massaging his temples.

"Yes, she did," Fang said simply, watching the exchange between his father and his enemy carefully.

"Sorry," I mumbled, knowing that if something else went wrong, Ares would snap.

"It's not your fault," the Dragon replied, resigned.

"Is there any way to get to her?" Fang asked, nodding at Arianna.

"No, fields are up. Lucifer is currently in a black rage. No-one's getting near her. I already tried." Red was smeared down his face, a deep gash sliced down his cheek from his right eye to his chin. And it wasn't healing.

"Merde. We need to see what's wrong with her. My father's going to tear apart this kingdom if we don't."

"Three thousand years of culture and history." Ares tsked. "That would be quite depressing."

I gaped. "Three thousand years?" I cried, eyeing the blade through the floor.

"Don't look so surprised," Ares replied, grinning. "It's not that interesting."

Like Hell it wasn't. I opened my mouth to say as much but Fang's deadly voice stopped me.

"Ares, this is serious. Azkadelia is in danger."

The Dragon King sobered instantly, eyes darting around the room. "They know?" he asked gravely, eyes wide.

Fang nodded. "She was too conspicuous, too powerful. We need to get her out of here. You too Mon amour."

"Like Hell I'm leaving," I snapped, folding my arms across my chest.

Cold, hard eyes met my own and I flinched slightly. "You will do what I say Maximum."

I shuddered. Fang never used my full name.

"And how will you unfreeze all these people?" I asked stubbornly.

"That is no longer your concern." A loud cracking reverberated through the room, slicing through the air like a knife through butter.


"Ares, find Ella and Azkadelia and bring them to me."

My anger spiked, eyes flaring fire blue. My hands tingled, giving me the urge to itch them. Seconds later a glowing silver blade appeared between my fingers—Avaria's blade. Fang frowned, observing the weapon warily.

"A faerie's blade in a Halfling's control? A powerful match," he mused.

"And to be able to command it so easily is astonishing," Ares added.

I frowned, but didn't say a word. I had no idea what they were talking about. Silence enveloped us and Ares vanished, a wall of fire abruptly swallowing him.

"You are not, and I repeat, are not, leaving me again," I stated firmly, raising the sword.

Fang's finger touched the tip of the blade and a slight ringing escaped from the weapon. Frowning still at the blade's sentient behaviour, I watched as he pushed the sword downward. The ringing grew louder the more he did so, and he chuckled.

"Your sword seems to have quite a connection to you. To be honest I have no idea why. How you can touch it, let alone command it like this is beyond me. A faerie's blade is created for one person and one alone—the faerie. In any other's possession it will become either useless or dangerous. And by dangerous, I mean it will turn on the thief and pierce them through the heart. To take a weapon such as this is the ultimate crime in the Fey realm."

"With which the sword does the punishing, sure, okay, I don't care. What I want to know is what we're doing here. For God's sake Fang, partying and hanging about is fun, but what happened to Gabriel's imprisonment? Or better yet, destroying the Angelic race?"

"You want to destroy their race now?" he asked, brow raised.

"I just want to know what I'm doing with my life," I blurted. I felt like I was pulling out my hair from the roots. "I cannot deal with this anymore, okay? You all say that I have some huge "destiny" to fulfil, and yet what have we really done since the day you brought me through that portal to your realm? Shit. All."

"Patience is a virtue Max," he lectured seriously.

"And with that, your prince is correct. However not in this situation." Fang and I both turned, our eyes falling upon our newest arrival. Glittering emerald irises met our gaze, and they were unusually wide.

"Jacquelyn." Fang said by way of greeting.

"I see you haven't heeded any of my warnings," she commented, her regularly straight hair tumbling down her back in graceful black curls.

Fang look confused. "What do you mean?"

"Take this as yet another word of advice—the worst is yet to come, Prince Xavian. And to you, Maximum Ride. Perhaps you will live to see such a gracious title come to pass before your name as well. I do hope so." As I opened my mouth to ask what the Hell she was talking about, she spoke over me. "This situation is going nowhere fast. Being trapped in a capsule of time is not what these people need. They need fate to play as it was meant to, without the interference of a new variable." The Seer looked pointedly at me. "Do what you must to make this situation right, for no matter the consequence something must be done." A second after she had spoken her prophetic words, Jacquelyn clicked her fingers and disappeared, leaving in her wake all Hell breaking loose.


The warriors that had stood frozen came to sudden life, noise blasting through the walls of the ballroom. Soldiers continued slicing their prey into tiny slivers, cutting them into ribbons of flesh and blood. The rapid change from lifelessness to brilliant existence was abrupt and impulsive, and made me jump with the suddenness of it. I tried to shake the noise as Fang's hand caught around my wrist, pulling me forcefully around the crowds to where his mother lay. When we were standing about fifteen metres from her the Demon shoved me up against the wall unexpectedly, causing me to drop my sword. It clattered to the ground boisterously.

"Stay here. Do. Not. Move." Fang's voice was forceful, domineering and possessive all in one, and it was all I could do not to shudder at the mere sound of it. I froze, watching as he approached his mother's pale form cautiously. Keeping my back to the wall, I observed the Prince, eyeing him as he edged forward. When he was no more than about ten metres from her he stopped dead, and what I saw shocked me to my very core. As if the Prince's foot had stepped on an imaginary switch, a huge spherical shield of black electricity spiked over the Queen, the structure domelike. It zigzagged back and forth around the dome, crackling loudly. Fang stood there, observing the field with a slightly cocked head. Does he always tilt his head when he's thinking? I wondered, frowning.

The Prince finally moved, raising his right hand slowly. Crackling around his own palm was the same black electricity, a ball of translucent darkness with even blacker lightning striking across its surface. He pressed his palm to the wall of obsidian, the two fields of electricity coming into contact. The whites of Fang's eyes drained into a creepy black that flared powerfully, the veins under his skin turning a similar, eerie shade. His second hand began to grow with the same dark electricity, and he brought that to rest beside his right. With all his strength he began to push, forcing the shield backward. This is the same obstacle Ares came face to face with, I realised suddenly, slowly. The one that cut him so brutally. Fang's sleeves began to tear as he shoved the electrical dome, the material simply shredding as it became too small to support the Prince's growing muscles. A guttural look crossed his face and his eyes grew impossibly wider. Seconds later the field collapsed, the dark currents fleeing into Fang's body. Gritting his teeth in pain, he struggled to stay standing as lightning flared around him. Wall forgotten, I ran toward him, grabbing a hold of his arm before he fell over sideways. An unfamiliar shock coursed through my body as I came into contact with him, but I was able to ignore it easily as the Prince swayed. I wrapped his arm around my shoulders and allowed him to lean heavily against me, breathing hard as he did so.

"I thought…I told you…not…to move," he ground out, struggling to breathe. His body was still pulsing with electricity, the lightning crackling around his tall frame.

"Sorry for helping you out with standing. I mean, you're right, I should just let you fall over." My voice was skeptical and Fang turned to face me.

"Thank-you," he rasped, pained eyes staring straight at me. I tried to hide my surprise, though I wasn't sure how well it worked.

"What is it with electricity that makes you all so weak?" I asked, struggling for something to say.

Fang shrugged, or at least he tried to. The action was more or less a half-hearted attempt to move.

"This isn't going to work," I thought aloud. Unhooking his arm from my shoulders, I lowered the giant as carefully as I could. When Fang was settled on the floor I dropped down beside him, still a little shaken by the fact that people were fighting to death around us, and here we were, sitting around talking.

"Will you be okay?" I asked.

He nodded tightly. "Hopefully sooner rather than later." Sighing, he added, "that was more painful then I would like to admit."

My mouth formed a straight line. "What are we going to do? Everything is going to shit. And why did Jackie unfreeze everyone?"

"I honestly do not know. As to you first question, we have to get my mother home. Haedon will be able to help her."

For once, there was real fear in the Prince's voice. He didn't believe this "Haedon" could do shit all.

"And what about me? And Ella and Azkadelia? What of us?"

"So many questions," Fang tsked, eyes staring into oblivion.

"Well answer them," I suggested, nudging him gently.

"But I honestly can't. I have no idea what to do." The Prince looked devastated. "For once in my God damned life I have no fucking idea what the Hell I'm doing. I thought this would be so simple. I didn't take into account any of these…complications," he said, looking at me like I was the plague.

I promptly ignored that look. "I'm not completely useless, I still have some fight in me. We will win."

Fang, finally regaining some of his strength, was suddenly right in my face, eyes neon red in anger. I breathed slowly, careful not to say something that would make him explode.

"That's the problem!" he yelled. I blanched, not used to his loudness. "I don't want you fighting! I don't want you in the line of fire! And yet you seem to walk into a battle like you're walking into a shoe store!"

I flinched. Opening my mouth to argue that shoe stores should never be used in analogies, Fang spoke over me. He shook.

"Don't you dare contradict me," he said lowly, lethally, anticipating what I was going to say. Again I opened my mouth but he silenced me with his own voice. "I know what I will do." Rushing to a stand, his strength clearly replenished, Fang strode over to his mother, sliding his arms underneath her body. The cold didn't seem to bother him as he lifted her gently, eyes distant. Cradling her tenderly he rose from his crouch, the Queen in his strong arms.

"Ares!" he shouted menacingly, eyes still neon red. Seconds later the Dragon appeared, two women tossed over each shoulder. One was kicking and screaming profanities—the other lay there limply. Something resembling a knife through my stomach caused me to lose my breath at the sight. No, not Ella, I thought dreadfully. Panic rose and I ran over to them frantically, having overcome my initial frozenness.

"—damn stupid reptile!"

"Ares, Ares please tell me she's alright!" I shrieked, ignoring Azkadelia.

"She's hardly alright and she needs Dylan, but she's alive. For now."

"Where is Dylan?" Fang asked, tone dead.

"If you don't let me tear that Witch to shreds I will blast this palace to pieces!" Azkadelia's voice was shrill and insane, her eyes as black as night.

"Wench, shut your mouth or I will do it for you," Ares snapped.

"You wouldn't—"

"Azkadelia, I have done it once, I will do it again. Forget your revenge and help us!" Ares' tone was as lethal as Fang's. Muttering curses, Azkadelia quietened. When she had stopped fighting the Dragon lowered her to the ground, her feet hitting the floor gracefully.

"Where is Dylan?" Fang asked again, his voice quieter but far from normal.

"I haven't seen him. He's just disappeared." Ares tossed a blonde lock from his eyes.

"Shit. Where's Erik?"

"Here." Ares' near-twin-only-smaller appeared in a vortex of fire, an angered look on his face.

Fang nodded. "Get them out of here. Find Dylan, find Haedon. They will help. Erik, I'm trusting you."

The Dragon nodded solemnly. "Yes sir," he replied, taking Ella from Ares' blood soaked shoulder. It was only once her stomach was revealed that I saw the true extent of her wounds.

Straight through her was a cut that could have only been made by a weapon as big as Ares', leaking blood like a sift. It was a wound that was only deadly if left untendered. Which, at the moment, it was.

Erik hoisted her over his left shoulder and took Queen Arianna over his right. At first contact the Dragon hissed. "She's freezing," he murmured.

"Azkadelia, go with them. Make sure Ella is alright. If we can't find Dylan you'll have to heal her."

The Dragon Queen nodded, though the look in her eyes made it obvious that she longed to stay. "Be careful?" she asked, voice suddenly innocent and naive sounding. Her eyes were a pale, pale blue.

"I'm the immortal. I can't die. You be careful."

I watched as a dark shadow flittered across the Dragon's features. Frowning, I spun on my heels, only to be faced with my own pain in the butt. He was no longer yelling, which was a plus, but I didn't want to go anywhere, and that was sure to piss him off. I opened my mouth to say as much, but he held up a silencing hand.

"Don't even say it," he ground out. Fang was still shaking, and his eyes were as neon as ever. I longed to bring back the crimson, a sign of his affection over his anger.

"I don't want to go anywhere," I stated quietly, not heeding his words.

"And I do not care. You will do what I say, and that is my final word Mon amour." His hand wrapped around my bicep and he pressed his lips to mine swiftly, the kiss fleeting. It was enough to make my dizzy though, which was his goal, I was certain. But it worked, and as Fang pushed me gently backward toward Erik he disappeared from my vision. The last two things I saw were the tendrils of silky darkness wrapping around my body and Fang's soft yet powerful crimson eyes.

"Damn it, I'm going to…ugh, I don't know what the Hell I'm going to do, but whatever it is it's going to be in invitation to a whole world of pain…" When I realised no-one was even listening to me, I stopped my ranting. I turned my gaze to what had caught both Azkadelia and Ares' brother Erik in such a trance. However, once I saw what they were looking at I realised it was far from a daze, and the words Brigid had sneered at both Azkadelia and I came rushing back to me. "I know exactly what you are, and when Gabriel finds out there's no place in this world that you can go that will be safe. Even the Demonic Realm is currently under attack, unbeknownst to the creatures of darkness. And here the Demon Monarchs are, busy fighting for a kingdom that isn't even their own."

Two words came to mind. Oh. Shit.

"So glad you could make it," snickered the man pacing back and forth in front of us. His body was enveloped by armour made of black metal, and his shoulder length blonde hair was pulled back into a tight ponytail at the base of his neck. His eyes were a shade paler than turquoise, and he was about as tall as Erik.

I gasped. "Oh my God. Dylan, you little snake!" My eyes narrowed angrily. He's betrayed us!

Furious eyes turned toward me. "Stupid girl," he spat scornfully.

"That is not Dylan," Azkadelia snarled, leaning forward threateningly.

"Irial," Erik remarked heatedly. "I never trusted you."

"And yet you hold no influence, so what does it matter? Such a shame your mother couldn't give birth to two immortal sons." By the narrowing of Erik's eyes I could tell the topic was a tedious one, a subject that he despised.

"The same could be said of you," Azkadelia spat. "To have such a pathetic older son, compared to the success of Dylan."

Irial's face contorted into something ugly and twisted. "You walk a fine line woman."

The Queen ignored him. "You let outsiders into this palace? You have betrayed your own race."

Dylan's brother laughed humourlessly. "That's rich coming from a Human that's intent on marrying a Dragon."

Okay, this was going nowhere fast. There was a nearby crash, followed by shouts and screams of agony. Brigid was right. The Demon Palace was under attack.

"Why have you done this?" I asked Irial. What on Earth had led him to do this?

"Simple Iraklion. The Angels could give me something no-one else could." Iraklion? What the…

"And what was that?" Erik asked, sliding both Ella and Arianna to the floor carefully.

Irial's eyes came to rest on Arianna's body. "Revenge."

"Against who?" Azkadelia shrieked, pissed off. Her pale eyes grew in shade, becoming a lethal black.

"My brother firstly," he stated casually. "And that bitch there," he hissed, voice high and shrill. His finger was pointed at Arianna.

My eyes narrowed. "What has she ever done to you?"

"I am meant to be a part of the Council. It is my birthright, and Queen Arianna was going to give it to my brother. When my father dies, I am next in line to be a Councilman in King Lucifer's royal Court, and that bitch was going to name my brother his successor. And she has the power to do it too. Lucifer will give her anything she wishes for. Dylan has already become one of the Prince's Generals, a high position in any Kingdom. And then he also becomes a Councilman? That is not even fair! And where does that leave me? As a lowly palace guard." He snorted crazily. "Well no longer."

Azkadelia's eyes grew wide. "You poisoned the Queen!" Her tone was accusatory to the max.

"The glass she held, it was poisoned wasn't it?" Erik asked, somewhat more calmly.

"What did you do?" Az snarled. "What did you put into that glass? This will kill her if we don't cure her!"

Irial smirked. "That's the point."

"You're a fool!" I shouted. "You'll be killed for this! You won't be anyone's Councilman!"

"If Lucifer doesn't get to you first Gabriel will. You will be safe nowhere." Azkadelia's voice was toxic.

"Well, I don't intend on getting caught anytime soon."

"You think you can get away with this? There are too many witnesses." Erik was getting angry.

"Really? I count all of two."

As I frowned in confusion I was too slow to register the blade that spun past me. I turned, searching for the dagger that had sailed past. It had to have been at least thirty centimeters long. My gaze homed in on the weapon, and I felt bile rise up in my throat.

"Oh God," I whispered, feeling tears spring to my eyes. A shaking hand met my suddenly cold lips, and for once I truly wished there was a God out there to hear my prayers.

Azkadelia stood in place and swayed, frozen in a capsule of pure shock. Her absolute terror was evident in her sapphire blue eyes, mouth gaping in a silent scream. No sound escaped her lips and she wasn't breathing. Instead she just stood, stared, and then collapsed into a pool of horrid, crimson blood.

No matter how hard I tried I couldn't move my gaze, couldn't bring myself to tear my eyes from the horrific sight. The thirty centimeter blade that had sailed past me was now embedded brutally into my companion's throat, crimson exploding from their throat and mouth. My hand met my throat and I swallowed unconsciously, terrified.

"Erik!" the word, that one simple little name, was screamed so inhumanly, so deafeningly that it was impossible to believe it had come from someone as delicate as Azkadelia. The powerful sound ricocheted through the spacious room, piercing my ears until the exploded. A warmth flooded them and still I couldn't care less, not with the sight that was staring me in the face.

Erik. His throat pierced with a dagger the length of my forearm. Blood…everywhere. He gurgled a cry that sounded vaguely like Azkadelia's name, before falling backward with a horrifying thud.

I felt dizzy, my head spinning. My vision was tinged with red, horrible crimson, bloody red. I struggled to breathe.

"Now, to deliver my prize, and take my reward." Irial held out his arm, hand splayed, and the blade dislodged from Erik's throat and flew into his outstretched fingers. The second he held the dagger it transformed, elongating until it was the length of Fang's blade. I watched as he took aim, lining the weapon up with Queen Arianna's pale throat.

"No," I gasped, unable to move. I couldn't do anything. I was frozen, breathing laboured. I was hyperventilating, struggling to inhale air. Azkadelia was just as useless, staring off into oblivion as she lay beside Erik, head resting in a pool of his blood under his arm. She was nestled into his side, laying her head against her friend's ribcage. Four Angels dressed in golden armour appeared above her, striking the ground with lightning. They grasped her by her arms and pulled her upward. She didn't fight, didn't struggle. Azkadelia was gone. Two more Angels appeared at my side and one bent to pick up Ella, their brilliant light blinding me momentarily. Glowing hands wrapped around my biceps, keeping me still. I shook vehemently.

"Irial, they will know it was you. Please, don't do this."

"No Maximum. Beautiful Maximum." I shuddered as he said my name, disgusted. "They will think it is your friend, Erik, that killed your beloved Queen. Or at least, they will once I'm finished here. And no-one will say otherwise, will they?" I opened my mouth to say he was wrong, that I would scream it until I died, but I couldn't. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't make the words Irial did it, leave my mouth. And then I realised, somehow, he had made sure we couldn't tell anyone.

"Please," I whispered once again, begging. Azkadelia was mumbling nonsense, her mouth moving and her eyes unseeing.

Irial smirked, his mouth crooked and his features twisted. "Too late." He let the sword drop, the sharp blade cutting through Queen Arianna's icy throat.

I screamed.

Someone, please help us! Fang, please help us!

No, I realised, a horrible sinking feeling settling in the bottom of my stomach. We didn't need help. We needed saving.

Please, I begged, with every ounce of hope I had. Please Xavian, save us.

Did you like it? I hope so. Well, I am off to bed, still thinking about my party and what I'm actually going to DO AT IT! And to whoever's 20th birthday is this Saturday (Sorry I forgot your name! See, no internet!) HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 2nd OF APRIL RULES THE WORLD! (I hope it was the 2nd?) Anyway, thanks guys, review!

29. Chapter 28

Okay, I have split this chapter into multiple perspectives, mostly Max though, so don't worry. I have a quote: "To love another is to open yourself up to a world of pain, confusion and total, mesmerizing beauty". I can happily say I created that one =) So, I don't really have much to say other than to Amie, who I TRIED to message, but didn't have a username for, so I will say it now—I really laugh every time I read you reviews. They crack me up. But, they make me write, so thanks. And to Anne Taylor, who I have awesome conversations with and who is the only person to have even the smallest insight on what to expect by the end of this…book thing. Haha, anyway, it's the longest I've written I think, but there are page breaks (people decided they would like some to break the chapter up a bit, so I have four) between perspectives, so you can take a break and come back to it whenever you wish. I know most people like long chappies, but a lot of people don't, so hence the page breaks =)) And I think that's all, other than the fact that I haven't edited, but that is kind of obvious because I never DO, but please excuse any and all mistakes =) Tah, M1dnite.


"Put her there." The blunt command was aimed at a man that was sparkling brilliant, virgin white. He wasn't overly handsome, and I was sure the glittering light was doing more justice that it was credited with. However, he was also an Angel, and, judging by the scowl, he didn't take too well to being controlled by a Demon. But he complied, walking none-too-gracefully toward a small, brown checkered couch. For what the man lacked in looks he earned in height, stretching to well over six feet high. He had to kneel to slip Ella onto the rough looking two-seater sofa, but he did so gently. For that at least, I was grateful. When the Angel stood to his full height once again, Irial commanded him to leave the room. Glowering darker than I thought possible for a creature of lightness, the man took a last lingering look at the three of us—Azkadelia, Ella and myself—and left, shutting the wooden door to the room with a rebounding snap. Irial hissed, his voice snakelike, and I truly suppressed the urge to hit him. I was now at the other extreme of my emotional scale—I had passed fear and uselessness. I now needed action, and, more importantly, revenge.

"I have business to attend to before we venture into the Angelic realm. My brother still proves to be difficult. It seems I will have to deal with him." The Demon's greenish-blue eyes met my own in a steely glare. The look then morphed into a sly, creepy grin. "Make sure you heal the girl. She will be no use to anyone dead." Irial was talking to the four other Angels in the room, but he kept his gaze steadily on me. "No-one gets in or out of this room. You know procedures. Now who am I waiting for…?" Before me appeared yet another strike of unbelievable lightning, the white bolt striking the floor mere centimeters from where I stood. A horrified scream followed the Angel, growing louder and louder as he appeared. When the man stood solidly before me the torturous cry was in full swing, and I almost cupped my ears to block the damn sound. It was only my stunned frozenness that kept me from doing so. The Angel dropped the girl, who was no older than myself, and she collapsed to the floor in a hyperventilating state. Her skin was blotchy and red from crying, and in all honesty she looked pathetic.

But what more could be expected from Nudge?

She was a Drama Queen to say the least.

"Well, now that everyone's here, I'd best be off. Until later, beautiful Maximum." I shuddered at the creepiness of Irial's voice as he disappeared into a swirling mass of darkness. It was horrid, watching him do so. Such dark beauty was reserved for people like Fang or the Demon King, not Irial. Never Irial.

"I shall be by the door should you need me," stated the Angel that had dropped Nudge into a blubbering pile at my feet. He too walked out through the door, leaving in his wake four guardian Angels, an unconscious and bleeding to death Ella, sniffling Nudge and an insane, rocking back and forth, psychotic Azkadelia. One thing at a time Max…

And first things first, Ella.

"So, uh, which one of you guys is meant to be a healer?" I asked into the near silence. The Angels hadn't moved since we'd entered the cold, two room cabin, and they stood staring straight ahead like statues.

Nudge, finally gazing around the room, looked incredulous at the idea of a healer, before gasping at the sight of Ella behind me. Her tears stopped for a moment, worry encompassing her.

"She's going to die!" she shrieked, eyes wide in complete shock.

I suppressed my irritation, barely managing to keep the words no shit Sherlock from escaping my throat. Instead I turned toward the illuminated men pointedly, none of which replied or gave any indication of hearing me. Scowling, I picked up a midnight blue stone from a bowl of rocks on the coffee table and hurled it at the Angel nearest Nudge. The action earned me a sidelong glance, but at least it was movement. I gestured accentually at Ella. Looking almost resigned, the first sign of emotion on the man's face, he turned toward one of his three companions, nodding at my sister.

"The girl," he said, his voice a lot softer and gentler than I would have guessed it to be. His companion, the shortest of the four, nodded in reply, walking over to the blood-stained Ella. Her arms were spread open wide, skin pale, and she gaped openly as the blood poured. Leaving her in the man's hands, I nodded my thanks to the first Angel and dropped to Nudge's level, sighing my relief at her safety.

"Nudge, what the Hell are you doing here?" I wasn't sure what was worse—the Demon's dank prison cell, or the freezing cabin.

Her deep, scared eyes met my own and I sighed. Nudge scared was never a good thing. "I, no, we, and by we I mean your brother and I, were saving you from a group of teenage motorcyclist gang members that just happened to turn out to be a bunch of supernatural psycho maniacs that locked me in a dark, cold prison cell right after their stupid house was blown to God damned pieces in one of Iggy's stupidly planned bombings that ended up nearly killing us all, except for some weird blue shield thing that appeared during my freak out session and I nearly fainted, and then the two gang members dragged us through some wavering black hole of doom—"

"Nudge! Shut up. That was more than one sentence, so take a pause every once and a while will ya?" My head hurt listening to her. "Why on earth were you infiltrating Fang's home?" Well, his Human home at lease.

Nudge scowled, but her eyes were still terrified. "Were you not listening? Iggy and I were trying to save you. And then we got thrown into prison, after being taken through some kind of…portal. Fang came into our cell dressed like he was going to a wedding, pulled Iggy out, had some kind of "life-changing" conversation with him, then walked off all "buddy buddy" with the guy! Leaving me to rot in a freaking cell. Max, it had rats!" The last word was a whispered shriek. Nudge despised rats.

For the first time I truly looked at my friend. Her eyes had greenish black rings smudged beneath them and the usual sparkling brown irises were now dull and lifeless. Nudge had lost obvious weight and her skin was pale from lack of sunlight.

"Nudge, how long were you down there for?" I asked, worry, anger and vengeance merging together in my voice.

"Well, if you're assuming I was counting the days with a piece of chalk or something I wasn't. Although, I wouldn't have minded doing that, but of course there wasn't any chalk there. Or rocks for that matter. So I couldn't exactly really tell how long I was really in that horrid, rotting, stinking prison cell—"

"Nudge!" I snapped in exasperation. There was a thankful grunt from one of the Angels. "How long?"

"I don't know," she answered quickly.

"When did you go sneaking through Fang's fortress?" I asked instead.

"Uh…the day you went missing?" She looked thoughtful. "Yes, the day you went missing."

Weeks then. She and Iggy had been down there for weeks. Red sparked my vision for a few seconds but I pushed the fury back—there were more important matters to deal with.

"So you know about the Angels and Demons and stuff then right?" I asked indifferently. Nudge just looked at me like I was crazy. I sighed. How could someone have just been teleported by a glowing man, in a bolt of lightning, and still look at me like I was insane?

"Okay, I don't have much time for a history lesson, so here goes. I am a half Angel half Demon thing. My sister, my full sister, which is the person bleeding to death behind me, is the same. Azkadelia, which is the person rocking backwards and forth inanely is a Dark Witch, and Fang and his "gang members" are all Demons. Your glowing white friends over there are Angels, and are currently in a war for supremacy with Fang's lot." Nudge's eye twitched, but I continued on blithely. "Oh, and I'm pretty sure you're half Angel as well, which would explain how you managed to one, get into Fang's mansion, and two, protect a whole bunch of people from one of my brother's dumb ass explosions. Am I right boys?" I asked my captors who I knew, without a doubt, wouldn't even answer me.

"You're seriously trying to tell me there are such things as Angels, Demons and Dark Witches?" Nudge asked, her voice unusually small.

"Well, and White Witches, Faeries, Dragons and many others that I have undoubtedly not heard of yet. And probably won't hear about until I come throat to throat with one. So, any questions?"

Nudge opened her mouth, a million questions in her eyes, but only one, soul-wrenching query escaped her lips. "Max, why are we here?" The question was whispered, her voice squeaky and girlish. It hurt me to listen to the pain in it, and the fear that was swirling within. There was something I needed to do. And it involved getting the Hell out of here. But to do that, I needed power, and I needed experience.

I needed Azkadelia to snap the Hell out of her damn psychosis, and I needed the guards out.

First step, getting rid of the Angels. Or, you could totally freeze everyone like last time, my mind suggested. I nearly hit myself. Of course, if I just froze time, I could drag everyone out of here. I stood, flipping my gaze around the room. The guards watched me cautiously as I rolled my neck and cracked my knuckles. Okay Max, here goes…freeze this joint!

And then realization hit.

"Crap," I muttered. I didn't exactly know how I had frozen everyone last time. Maybe…I tried pushing at the air with my fingers, letting them flare like Piper out of Charmed. When that didn't work and I thoroughly looked like an idiot, I tried using my mind. Freeze, freeze, freeze, I thought over and over, hoping that something out there would hear my command and make it happen. Again, that didn't work. I couldn't try screaming like last time, so, feeling useless, I figured I'd have to rely on my intelligence and "womanly wiles." I grinned just thinking about it. God I was lame.

Gazing around the room, I debated who was of the most use to me at the moment. Ella, I decided, would be good for cover, Nudge, the perfect distraction. Azkadelia was borderline hysterical and insane, which meant Hell breaking loose if she were angered even the slightest. She'd be the perfect weapon. My mind was ticking over, thoughts, ideas, plans streaming through my mind. The door to the adjoining bathroom caught my gaze and a light bulb switched on.

"Hey, so can I please clean the blood off my sister now?" I asked, trying to sound, well, sisterly. "The smell is making me feel sick." These Angels didn't know me; they couldn't tell that the smell didn't make me sick at all, or that I thought the colour of blood was overwhelming. "And it's making my friend here feel nauseas." That wasn't actually a lie. Nudge looked pale and sickly to say the least.

An Angel with a long, elegant nose and equally refined face met my gaze evenly. "And allow you the chance to formulate a plan to get out of here? You're dreaming."

Shit. I made my face as skeptical as possible. "You have got to be kidding me. What more could I do in there than in here? I've got an unconscious sister, unintelligible Witch and motor-mouth Angel that won't let me speak."

The man looked thoughtful while my friend scowled. "You," he said, pointing at Nudge, "stay here. You," his finger drifted toward me, "you've got ten minutes."

"Well aren't you ever the generous one," I replied sarcastically. The Angel ignored my comment and in turn I ignored him, walking the few steps toward Ella's sofa. I crouched beside her and I felt my face soften.

"Don't worry Ella, you'll be fine." I slapped her forearm gently and stood, clicking my fingers at the Angel across the room from me. Having been the only one not to do anything the entire time we'd been here, I decided to give him a job. He looked to be the youngest of the group and was most definitely the tallest. And to be honest, he was also the cutest. With snow white hair and pale jade eyes, he was something out of a fairytale. The slightly almond shaped eyes and highly arched brows created an air of elegance about him. The curve of his lips told of boyish mischief and an arrogance to match the Demon Prince. Without having spoken I could tell that he was naturally charismatic, and, if given the chance, he could probably have any girl falling to her knees. When I snapped my fingers his eyes flickered instantly toward me and I almost lost my breath, looking into the greenness of his gaze. I had to clear my throat to clear my head, blinking a few times.

"Carry her for me," I commanded. I didn't make the words harsh, but I certainly made them powerful. Both his brows and chin rose, head tilting slightly in thought as he watched me through his lashes. The action reminded me so much of Fang that I felt like someone had stabbed me with a dagger forged from Déjà vu. He continued staring at me for a few moments before complying. The Angel did so without making a sound, as silent as the night was long. Every move was fluent and graceful as he lifted Ella without fault. Gaze still locked with my own, he disappeared into the bathroom. I continued to watch the door he had walked through, as if he were still standing there.

An eruption of hysterical giggles pulled me from my trance. Frowning, I turned toward Azkadelia, who was looking up at me with sorrowful sapphire eyes.

"Our dearest Prince Xavian will be extremely angry with you Maximum," she drawled blissfully. "What a spectacular show that will be, watching the poor Angel be ripped apart, limb by limb. What a spectacular show indeed."

"Alright, that's it, you're insane." My hand snared around the Queen's bicep and I hauled her upward roughly.

In that instant her sapphire eyes receded into a hollow black and she ripped her arm from my grip. "Do not touch me," she snarled, wide eyes truly focused for the first time.

"Yeah, well get your fucking butt inside that room," I snapped. I didn't mean to swear, but I was running out of time, and she was not helping in the slightest.

Azkadelia's head tilted and the Angel carrying Ella exited the bathroom. The Queen's black eyes flickered toward him for a few seconds and she hissed, teeth bared. I blinked at her behaviour. What had he done? Deciding it best to ignore her, I shoved her into the bathroom and slammed the door after us.

"I told you not to touch me!" Azkadelia yelled.

"Shut up," I said in exasperation. "Now have you finished crying about Erik? I need your help." At the mention of his name Azkadelia's eyes faded into a blue so deep it could have passed for black. Her gaze became unfocused and she dropped to the floor. In turn a hit myself. Why the Hell did you mention him? I mentally asked myself.

A shaking hand met the Queen's lips. "He was so young," she muttered, tears welling in her eyes. "A mere child."

I sighed. "Az, I hate to break it to you, but Erik was, a, well, he was a man, not a kid. He was fully grown. He might have been young but—"

"Max, you are a fool," she stated, tone deadly. "You think you know about this realm, this world? You know nothing. Erik was a child, nothing more. His actions were childish, as were his thoughts. Physically I suppose he was fully grown, but in actual fact he was a mere hatchling. Not but a few centuries old. For Dragons it takes centuries to fully mature, such as my Ares. He has been alive for millennia and still he can be so naïve." The Queen's sorrowful voice made me feel guilty for being so harsh. I didn't know Erik, not like Azkadelia did. I had no right to be so…insensitive. Unsympathetic.

"Azkadelia, I understand your pain, but for the moment can you not put aside your sorrow and help me?"

"Put aside my sorrows?" she shrieked, her eyes once again black. They were as wild and untamed as a firestorm. "Obviously you do not understand my pain if you are asking such a question!"

I bit the inside of my cheek and walked over to the bathtub where Ella had been laid. I undressed her and twisted the tap. Warm water shot from the showerhead, drenching Ella's body. Blood stained the water a beautiful crimson and I sighed as I thought over my situation. Azkadelia could teleport us out of this place, if only she could keep a lid on her emotions. I knew her powers were connected to her feelings, but I was pretty sure that she was too numb to listen to me at the moment. It was frustrating. If only she would snap out of it for a few seconds, then we'd be free. We wouldn't need to get rid of the guards, we'd just be out of here. The thought was so tempting I turned to Azkadelia and tried talking to her again.

"Az, we need to get out of here, okay? These people are idiots, they haven't done anything to keep us from using our powers. You can just teleport us out."

Azkadelia's eyes were vague. "No, we're the idiots. We're the ones that got caught, the ones that were so arrogant we thought we were unstoppable. We're the fools."

"Azkadelia, freedom is so close! All you have to do is create your little whirlwind of fire and boom, we're gone."

"No, Max, it's not that simple. Do you really think we'd be able to leave so easily? Irial is no fool. That boy, the one you wouldn't take your eyes off? He's a Muter. And my guess is he's the only one of his kind."

"A Muter?"

"It's the nickname I give to people like him. It's their power. They have the ability to mute everyone else's powers. Including my own, unfortunately. People with abilities like his have been hunted down and murdered for millennia. They are dangerous to beings of magic, and to find one alive and in the Angels' possession is quite unnerving."

His ability affected people of magic like Witches, whose strength depended on magic. No wonder Azkadelia had hissed at him before. "But, you're the source of his power. Doesn't that mean that you can stop him from using it?"

"Not if he blocks mine first, as he has."

"It still doesn't make sense though. To block your power would be to block theirs."

Azkadelia was still in her daze. "Muting someone's power doesn't mean their abilities disappear, it just makes a person unable to use them. Just because I can't use my power doesn't mean those who draw upon it can't use theirs. Like you said, I am just the source of everyone else's magic, so disabling me from using my abilities doesn't stop that Angel from using his."

"Then how did the other Angel heal Ella?"

"A Muter can choose who they mute and who they do not. Face it Max, we're stuck here. We've lost. The Demon King is going to blame Erik for the attack on Arianna and another war will be declared, this one between the Demons and Dragons. Ares will be heartbroken and angry that I have been taken, and so he will not care about whether Erik attacked Arianna or not. He will most likely blame the Demons for his brother's death and welcome a war. Xavian will be in such a rage that he will murder each and every person in his path. His mother poisoned and his fiancé stolen?" Azkadelia chuckled darkly. "In a way I am glad I will not be there to see the carnage this, this snake Irial has left in his wake. And there is not one word we can speak about it, because of his damnable ability. And I know what you're thinking. I'm meant to be the all powerful "Emblazion". Can't I just Mute his power, break his command? Well no, I cannot ignore his ability. I must obey it, as must you. I don't know why, I don't know how, all I know is that I cannot tell anyone that Irial killed Erik or that he poisoned our beloved Queen Arianna." Azkadelia's voice was absolutely venomous, but at least she had snapped out of her trance.

"Come on Az, we can get out of this. You said it yourself—the only reason you can't get us out of here is because of that Angel. So, all we have to do is get rid of him."

"And how do you suppose we do that? Without our powers we are as weak, useless and pathetic as Human women. Yes, you may be a little stronger, being a Demon, but us against pure supernatural muscle equals my face being pounded."

"And besides we have no…weapons." Both Azkadelia and I snapped to attention as Ella's croaky voice strained to be heard over the water. I was surprised. Az was worried.

"Well welcome back to the realm of the living," I muttered, thinking over what Ella had said. True, we had no weapons, but if there was a way to get some…

"You shouldn't be awake. You were just stabbed," Azkadelia reminded her disapprovingly. I snorted. As if she would forget.

"Yeah well a lot of things have happened recently, none of which are overly comforting. But I have to say, this is a really nice bath shower thing." Ella's voice was getting stronger and clearer every second. "So who was the guy that healed me? I better give…him my thanks. Well, you know, after we figure out a way to get out of here." The Demon cleared her throat and settled deeper into the tub, water still spraying from the showerhead above.

"How can you be relaxing at a time like this?" Azkadelia shrieked. I could deal with the shrieking, as long as she didn't retreat back into the shell she had been holing up in for the past hour.

I spoke before Ella could. Knowing her she'd say something stupid, causing Azkadelia back into her withdrawn condition. She was delicate at the moment—one wrong word could put her in another of her states.

"Okay people, think. You're both right. We're weak without our abilities. We're stronger than Humans, sure, but to them, we're nothing more than mortal and weak. We also have no weapons, so what the Hell are we going to use?"

"There's nothing here we can use! A few bits of furniture, sure, but nothing more. No swords, no guns or knives. We. Are. Screwed." I'd never seen Azkadelia so resigned, so…defeated.

"Az, stop moping around. I get you're upset, but everything is just going to get worse unless you really help us." Ella's voice was soft and gentle as she pulled a towel from the rack and dried herself off. "Where are my clothes?"

The soothing sound was contradicted by the loud banging on the door. "Hurry up and get out of there! You've got a minute before I come in." Ella grunted and I pointed in the direction of her dress. She changed quickly, muttering something to herself. I gritted my teeth. If only I had my sword with me, I'd be able to do something.

And then, like magic, it appeared, resting on the bench top beside where I stood.

I blinked and reached for it. "Well what do you know, this thing has a way of finding me in the most dire of situations—"

"Don't!" Ella screeched, turning toward me in a rush. Her eyes were wild and scared as she scrambled toward me, her dress sleeve not properly resting on her shoulder. A little freaked out I clutched the sword and threw it behind my back. If one of the Angels barged in and they saw the sword, we were screwed.

"Ella, what the Hell?" I asked, frowning.

She stopped dead, looked at me, then at the sword behind my back, confused. "I don't…I don't get it. How can you touch that weapon? That's a Faerie's blade, and not just any Faerie, but Avaria, the Fey King's niece. How on earth are you touching that without turning to dust?"

Now I frowned. "You know who she is?"

"Of course I know who she is. I grew up in the Fey realm, didn't anyone tell you? Mother sent you to the Human world, and I was sent to the Fey. They were all too happy to keep me, seeing as though it would stop Gabriel or Lucifer from taking over all realms. I was their glorified prisoner, and then Fang and Dylan broke into the palace, kidnapped me and took me back to their homeland. Avaria was a bitch to say the least, and a brilliant fighter. I've seen firsthand what that thing can do, and transporting to its owner is but one of many. Now answer me this—how the Hell did that thing get into your possession?"

"I killed Avaria."

Both Azkadelia and Ella blinked their confusion at me. "You what?" Az asked.

"I'm sorry, are we talking about the same Faerie here?" Ella replied.

"Long hair, purple eyes, leather rope band around her forehead?" I asked, brows raised. "Had a brother named Aeron I think? Gorgeous guy, shame he's dead too."

"You killed Areon?" Ella asked skeptically.

Wow, real faith in me there. "No, Fang did."

"Still, that sword should have turned to dust as soon as Avaria died. You shouldn't be able to touch it!" Ella sounded shaky.

"Well, I was fighting her, then I stole it from her leather sheath, then I stabbed her with it—"

The door swung open so abruptly that I almost dropped the sword.

"Well, that's quite an interesting story there," the snow haired Angel said, arms folded across his chest. His eye caught sight of the blade and his left brow rose. "I knew keeping you three in here was a bad idea." Ella's bare shoulder caught his attention next. Her face turned a deep, crimson red and she hooked her arm into the sleeve properly. "Nice to see you're awake Miss." There was a mischievous gleam in his eyes when he said "miss", but it was gone when he turned back to me. Realising that I'd been caught I held the weapon up to his neck.

"You're the reason we're stuck here, so sorry, but we're going to have to dispose of you."

The Angel grinned. "I'm shaking in my boots. What will you do dearest Maximum? An untrained girl with no powers and untapped strength? Even this blade will not protect you, mighty as it is." His jade eyes focused on my throat. He tsked. "Poor Irial. He's infatuated with you, you realise? And to find that you're promised to another. Such a shame."

"So is this." Azkadelia's voice was vengeful as she threw her entire body force into one powerful kick. Her leg connected with the Angel's groin and he went down like a sack of potatoes.


My eyes snapped to attention, focusing on the other three Angels in the room. With snowball out for the count for the moment, it left three huge men against us three women. Not a fair fight in the least, but it was better odds than I was hoping for. I tossed my gaze around the room, looking for anything and everything we could possibly use as weapons.

"Where on earth did you find that sword?" The first Angel asked, the one who seemed to be in charge. I ignored him, looking past the men who were closing in on us. Weapons, weapons, weapons… The fireplace caught my attention, the flames flickering lively. The fire was the only form of warmth in the room, and as I took a closer look, it seemed it was the key to getting out of here as wekk. Hanging from the fireplace was a fire poker, the sharp metal object jagged enough to do some serious damage. Resting on the wall next to the burning flames was a huge shovel, the kind used to shovel snow off busy roads. Well okay then.

"Ella, shovel. Az, fire poker. See them?"

"Yes," Azkadelia whispered back.

"Rodger that," Ella replied equally soft.

"Alright then, here's our chance." As soon as the words left my mouth I charged, sword raised and arms strong. I flung myself at the three men, their forms having closed in the three of us. I collided with the first Angel and the two of us tumbled to the ground. The others that flanked him jumped out of the way, clearing a path straight to the fireplace for Azkadelia and Ella. As soon as I felt the two rush past me I scrambled to my feet, blade in hand, and turned to my opponent who, in turn, had found his way up. And frankly, he looked pissed off.

"I don't know how you got that thing in here, but—"

I snorted. "But what? I've got it now, you're just going to have to deal with the consequences."

The Angel grinned and was flanked by the man with the elegant nose. "Gladly." Both drew their weapons, swords of equal length, and attained a battle stance. I looked back and forth between the two. In a way, I was lucky. My entire life I'd been a fighter, one who didn't know they we're capable of using magic. So the fact that I couldn't use any abilities now didn't really affect me as it did Azkadelia, someone who, without them, really was nothing more than human.

"Alright boys, let's tango."


I stood beside the door with my back to the wall, the shovel clutched in my hands. My stomach was still on fire—it had been since I'd woken up naked in a tub of water. Memories of the battle at the Dragon's palace had flooded my mind, no matter how hard I had tried to keep them from my head. The most prominent memory wasn't even the stabbing. No, it was the fact that if it hadn't been for Cadeon, I'd be dead.

He'd saved my life.

My best friend, my "guardian Angel". The boy I'd left behind for Dylan. My entire life he'd been there—he'd left his family and friends to protect me in the Fey realm. And I'd left him for someone else. The guilt swamped me; it always had. But seeing him again, the first time in decades, had made the burning in my stomach nothing compared to the remorse that blackened my heart. I had been grateful when black swarmed across my vision, leaving nothing but haze in its wake—

"Ella!" I blinked, snapped out of my thoughts. My eyes found the girl who has spoken—and did a double take.

"Monique? What the Hell are you doing here?" I asked, eyes narrowed. A slight crunching caught my attention and her reply was no longer important. Instead I became wary, watching the door and pushing myself closer into the wall. The crunching continued. "What is that?" I asked aloud softly.

"Huh? What are you talking about?" When I didn't reply Monique went off on another tangent, explaining how and why she was here. Something to do with an explosion and a prison? I shook my head.

"Monique, shut up!" I hissed. Does this girl have an off switch? Even in the midst of a battle she was unable to be quiet.

"Why does everyone keep saying that?" she muttered. Again I ignored her, my sense prickling. My gaze was captured by the old door knob. It rattled slightly, but that was all it took. I backed up, raised my shovel, and waited for the door to burst open. There are more, I realised dreadfully. Damn it, I didn't realise there were more.

I didn't have time to warn Monique as the wooden door was thrown open forcefully. The girl squealed and jumped out of the way, and in doing so, attracted the Angel's attention. Luckily enough, the door was thrown open in my direction, meaning that the wooden frame blocked my body from the men's sight. Thanking whatever power was out there and using the luck to my advantage, I prepared the shovel. Three, two, one… When I caught the first sight of black hair I attacked, flinging the spade as hard as I could at the man's face. There was a grunt followed by a loud thud as the Angel face-planted into the ground.

"What the Hell?" A second Angel stepped over his fallen partner, throwing the door open even further. Not expecting it, the solid wood crashed into my body and sent me sprawling. The shovel fell out of my grip as the man's hand clutched onto my hair, pulling me off the ground. I cried out as the strands were ripped from my scalp, leaving a horrid burning sensation to dance across my head. The Angel lifted me to his eye level by the back of my skull, an evil look portrayed in the blackness of his eyes. He was angry.

"You just knocked out my brother you little—" The Angel's head snapped forward, cutting off his sentence. The man looked surprised, his head jarring forward again. The second time it happened he dropped me and I thudded to the floor, much like his brother had. I snatched my shovel up off the ground and leaned against the wall, slamming the door shut in the process. From my position I saw Monique standing beside the coffee table, a glass bowl in her one hand and a blue coloured stone in the other. When she realised the Angel's focus was on her she gasped, eyes wide, and threw the stone. It clicked a moment later. The girl, the Human girl, had been throwing the stones at the man. A new awe settled in, followed by a pang of worry as the Angel began toward her angrily. As Monique retreated I struggled to my feet, a renewed pounding making my head hurt. The girl continued to throw the midnight stones, but the closer the Angel became the more worried she grew. The more worried she grew, the worse her aim was. Sympathizing with her, I raised my shovel once again, took a few steps toward the man, aimed, and swung. The rusted metal made a horrid clang when it came into contact with the Angel's head and he sprawled forward, caught off guard. Before he had the chance to come at me I hit him again, this time harder, and he fell to the floor.

"Is he unconscious?" Monique asked, eyes wide.

"I don't know," I replied. "But he will be after this." I hit him once more, gravity helping me smash the spade straight down onto his head. There was a final grunt and the body relaxed, red pooling around him.

"Oh my God, he's dead!"

"He's not dead. He's just a little…hurt." Well, I hoped he wasn't dead. Turning toward the door, I made sure his brother wasn't waking up anytime soon. When I was sure he wasn't going anywhere anytime soon, I checked to see if Max was handling herself. Unsurprisingly, she was faring better than any of us. Her natural ability to fight gave her the upper hand over these men who took her for granted. Took her for nothing more than a woman. She had taken out one of them men with the Faerie's blade, only to be replaced with the one with snow white hair. The cute one. The condescending one. I sighed—that boy could be her undoing if she let him. Knowing getting in the middle of Max's fight would end up badly for the both of us I sought Azkadelia. The room was so small that it didn't take long. My friend was literally backed into a corner, the fire poker pointed none-too-dangerously at her opponent. I gritted my teeth. Azkadelia was almost useless without her powers. I knew how much she depended on them, for without them, she was weak—she was nothing but human.

"Alright shovel, we've got one more score to settle. Monique, stand guard outside. Make sure no-one gets in, okay?" Looking a tad frightened, she nodded and edged warily toward the door. I knew the only other person who would come near this cabin would be Irial, and he'd take on interest in the girl. She'd be safe, and more importantly, out of the way. I caught sight of Max as she swung around behind the shorter Angel, dodging his sword and in turn, attacking with her own. As she moved the blade grew red hot, the metal catching flame. Max's eyes visibly widened at the blazing weapon as she sliced at the Angel's abdomen. He was unable to avoid the blade and was struck, the fiery weapon slicing through his skin. The Angel screamed and fell to the floor in a pool of blood, his clothes catching fire from the blade.

I grinned. "That's my sister."


"Look, come on, let's be rational about this—"

"Oh, I'm being rational alright. I'm not killing you am I?"

I scowled. "Was that really—?" The overly tall man made another move at me and I prodded him with my fire poker, narrowing my eyes. "But I'm outnumbered here!"

"Really? I count one of you, and one of me." The Angel smirked and I had the urge to slap him.

"Yes, but I have no powers, no strength without my magic. Convince your friend to stop blocking my abilities and then I'll happily fight you." My voice was purposefully hopeful. I knew he'd be skeptical about this all. Which was fine—I was simply distracting him. In this pitiful state I was useless. I just needed Max to take out Snowball over there, and we were free women.

The Angel laughed, pulling me from my thoughts. "Ah, girly you are quite the comedian. I'm not stupid. What do you take me for, a Demon?"

I gritted my teeth and looked up at the man through my lashes. "Now, now, I'd never take you for something so positively disgusting," I cooed seductively, forcing my eyes to fade into a deep, rosy red. I lowered my fire poker and the Angel's features relaxed. Mentally I grinned. From my position I could see Ella edging toward us, shovel raised. God praise her and that shovel.

"What are you looking at Witch?" he asked softly, eyes fazing into an onyx black. I barely stopped the snarl from escaping my lips at the sight. Angels. What horrid creatures.

My hands traced the plains of the man's muscles beneath his black shirt. "Nothing, but your comrades fighting my friend." My fingers trailed across the Angel's body, hooking around his neck. I tugged him forward gently, forcing a smile across my face. I made my breaths slower and deeper, biting my lower lip innocently. My thumb brushed the man's cheek in a soft caress and his eyes closed making me feel guilty. This was what I did with Ares when he was upset. It was how I calmed his rages—his and his alone.

When the Angel's hand touched my lower back I shuddered, unable to stand him touching me. My body was wracked with a disgusted tremor and his eyes shot open into awareness. The deep eyes grew a shade darker as he shoved me away by my shoulders forcefully. I crashed into the wall but managed to keep a hold on my weapon. Ignoring me, the Angel turned toward Ella, teeth bared. He morphed from seduced to furious in seconds. When Ella realised she had been caught she flung the shovel, hoping to still catch the man off guard. He dodged easily and sprung, colliding with her and sending her to the ground. Alright Azkadelia, here's your chance. I didn't think, I just acted. Picking up the fire poker I ran at the blazing fireplace. I shoved the sharp metal end into the hot coals and waited for the weapon to grow red-hot. When it was literally glowing I grinned. I turned back to my original opponent, who was too busy trying to take his anger out on my friend to notice me. I rose the weapon above me head and took aim.

"For the record, I'm only attracted to one man," I snapped as I let gravity to its work and plunged the weapon through the Angel's back. A horrifying scream tore through the room and I blanched. Ella covered her ears, dropping the shovel. I let go of the metal stick and helped my friend to my feet. Blood poured at my feet as the man's scream died, eyes rolling into the back of his head. I couldn't tell if he was alive or not, but if someone didn't heal him soon, he'd die. Not unsurprisingly, I felt no remorse.

"Only one more to go," Ella said, panting. We both turned toward Max, who was in turn battling it out with Snowball.

"She's losing," I commented gravely.


"You could let us go," I breathed, hacking at the snow haired Angel with my sword. The blade was no longer flaming, and I was half glad half disappointed about that. I wasn't too happy with the idea of my sword being on fire while I used it to attack people, just in case I set myself alight. But, when the burning weapon had caught my opponent? Well, it had been so effective that I was frustrated it wasn't on fire anymore.

"I suppose, but then King Gabriel will dine on me for lunch." The Angel lunged at me and I spun sideways to dodge him, but he was too fast. The blade caught on my unprotected arm and sliced it open, blood spraying. I hissed in what little breath I had and fell to one knee. I'm losing, I thought depressingly. I knew when I was being defeated, and this was one of those times. I gazed around the room, at the carnage the three of us, no, the four of us, had created. Surprisingly Nudge and Ella had teamed up to take out two off the Angels, and Azkadelia had used a smoldering hot fire poker to dispose of the third. Counting the two I had sliced and diced, that was five, leaving one painful opponent in my wake. And he was too strong, even if all four of us went up against him. Ella and Azkadelia had already realised that. Damn it, and this was the one that mattered! We couldn't leave unless he was out for the count. Unless…

That damn blade came crashing down toward me again, cutting off my thoughts. I rolled to the side to dodge the blow, just barely landing it on my feet. I sprang upward, using the rolling momentum to propel myself. I once again lunged, swinging the Faerie blade at the Angel's head viciously. He ducked and feinted left, spinning around me. I jumped, turning with him. Damn it, he was too fast. I needed to do something, fast. A thought swamped me, one that had been dancing around the edge of my mind for a while now. I'd been too selfish to recognise it earlier, but now there was no other choice. The Angel swung again and this time I met his blade with my own. Sparks flew as I struggled against him. He was far stronger than I. I was slowly pushed backward, my unpractical shoes scraping against the floorboards. I decided fighting in slinky dresses and high heels was very, very bad.

"Azkadelia!" I yelled, losing ground. "How far from this creep do you have to be to use your powers?" My wrist twisted and my blade was lowered forcefully. I heaved in breaths and charged again. I was no longer trying to knock this boy out—I was trying to distract him.

"I don't know," came the shaky reply. She was thinking what I was. And she didn't like it.

I took a deep breath as I held off the Angel's attacks. He was getting rougher and rougher, his facials more fierce by the second. He was sensing something bad was about to happen. Well, it was. I used both hands to hold the blade and attacked not the man, but the sword he was holding. I hacked at his weapon, forcing his attention to the blade. When he was thoroughly distracted I used my leg to kick him as hard as possible in the abdomen, sending him flying into the wall. The second he collided with it and fell to the floor, I ran at my friend and my sister.

"Run. Both of you. Run and as fast and far as you can. When you can use your powers again teleport the Hell outta here."

"Max, you don't understand! I can't teleport you if I can't pinpoint you. If he can't sense us and use his power, I won't be able to sense you and use mine to get you out of here!"

I sucked in a breath. "I figured that out a while ago Az."

"We're not leaving you here," Ella stated defiantly.

The Angel began to stir and a burst of panic hit me. Panic over these two. "Look, someone needs to distract him. I'm the only one with a sword, and unless you want to turn to dust Ella, you're out of the question. Az, no offence, but you're useless, so that rules you out. And besides, like it or not, you're more powerful than me or Ella, so I need you gone. I'm useless to these people without my sister, so if you do not get out of here right now I will hurt you!"

"And the other girl?" Azkadelia asked, eyes a sorrowful blue again.

"Leave her here. She will be better looked after with her own kind than in the Demon realm. Find a way to break Irial's command. Now go!" Both girls threw me lingering glances and snapped my fingers at them, sending them running from the cabin.

"Now, I am angry," came the furious voice I was just waiting to hear.

I spun, forcing a smirk onto my face. "Alright Snowball, let's rumble."


Within seconds my father had the palace cleared of any Angels, White Witches, Faeries or other creatures. He was storming through the halls with a gaze to fearsome to look at. Demons scrambled from his sight, seeking refuge anywhere but where the King was. Not even his Councilmen dared to brave him in this state. The entire kingdom was falling, crashing and burning into a state of complete and utter devastation.

An irrevocable illness will see you world crumble into devastation.

I ground my teeth against each other angrily. Jacquelyn had foreseen this terror, and she hadn't truly warned us. Not at all. A few useless riddles, a couple of meaningless rhymes, and she thought she had helped us? My mother had been poisoned, bringing about an illness that truly had seen our world crumble into ruin. And if my father were any indication, this was only the beginning. He had no resolve for anything or anyone, destroying all those who dared to look at him. Until my mother was healed, our world was truly what the Humans though it to be—a living Hell. There was only one light left in this realm of darkness.

Max. She was safe with Erik and Azkadelia. No-one would hurt her. No-one could, and for that, I was wholly and completely grateful.

My father flung the doors to the palace ballroom open without having even touched them. Black strands flew from the ribbons that were slithering around his body and shoved the doors open fully, allowing he, myself and Ares through the great doorway. The sight before me stopped my stride short, and in turn, caused my heart to freeze. My body shook, both with fear and anger, and my eyes widened to an impossible size.

Before the three of us was a scene so gruesome it was unreal. Unbelievable. Inconceivable. Any word that could possible describe how utterly impossible it was.

"No…" Ares' voice echoed through the silent room, drifting painfully throughout it. I was unable to tear my eyes from the scene. My mother was lying, eyes closed and skin pale, in the middle of the grand room, a blade through her throat and a pool of crimson surrounding her like a bed of rose petals. Across the room was Erik, pinned at the throat to the wall by another weapon. I squinted as I took in the features of the sword. It was brilliant silver, the handle Fey in every way possible. From the delicate swirls to the valuable jewels, the distinct shaping of the blade itself and the very size, it was most definitely a Faerie sword—and one I'd seen before.

Max's blade.

My father didn't get past the Queen. His gaze had landed on her and stayed there, and as he trudged over to her, his voice was dark.

"He did this," the King spat, black swallowing the whites of his eyes. He directed his accusation at Erik, who was pinned through the throat by Max's blade. The blade that only Max could hold.

"You're blaming Erik?" Ares asked, astounded. His red, red eyes were narrowed into small slits of anger. "My brother has been murdered, and you are blaming him for the death of your wife?"

I watched as my father's face contorted from numbness to pure, radiating madness. Ares' words, the scene before him, it all finally sunk in, and what each meant had pushed him over the edge.

My mother was dead.

The Demon King's form was shaking as he hunched over my mother, his body moving with each dragging breath. Ice crawled up the walls, leaving in its wake a tomb of frost. Windows shattered, the floor splintered to pieces, the staircase exploded into shards of wood. Each magnificent piece destroyed in a symphony of rage. And then a thought occurred, one that should have been obvious the second we walked into the near empty room.

"Where is Max?"

Ares stopped dead, worry and anger marring his usually handsome face. But that ruggedness had been replaced with a mask of pure hatred.

"Azkadelia?" he looked around a little frantically, the exploding furniture adding to his distress. "Azkadelia!" Fire spewed from his mouth, his teeth sharpening to extreme points.

"I'm here!" Both Ares and I turned toward her voice, and the vortex of fire she appeared in. Beside her was Ella, alive and no longer bleeding to death. Neither girl interested me.

"Where is Max?" I asked, rushing at Azkadelia. Her eyes were as blue as the deepest oceans, so dark they should have been black. I clutched onto her shoulders, fingers digging into her skin. "Azkadelia, where the Hell is Max?"

The Witch took a deep, shuddering breath. "Xavian, she stayed behind. Max is on the Angelic Plain."

For once in my entire life I didn't see red flare across my vision. Instead, it was enveloped by a black so venomous, so terrifyingly lethal, that it was impossible to describe.

I am so tired. Good morning people =)) M1dnite out.

30. Not a chapter, but a chapter :O

Okay, I know 100% this is not what you wanted to see, but don't freak out. I am just Authoring you (for lack of a better term =p) to tell you that I will be at some stage updating...I can't tell you when, but know that I am. Over the last few months we've hit the busiest period of senior schooling, so I'm stressed out to the max and FF has been the last thing on my mind. However, I thought, "at least if I tell you that I will update DTM sooner or later, then people will stop freaking out about it being over, and may possibly stop stressing..." Can't say as much for the massive cliff hanger I've left it on though xD So, basically, I WILL update, as soon as I have the time :)

Always flying on, and forever darker than midnight...

31. Chapter 29


For anyone that still actually reads this story, I kind of forgot about fanfiction altogether. I got a random email and thought, "oh hey, that site!" Thus, I logged on, took a look, and yeah, I was spammed by, well, everyone -_-

On the plus side, I'm in exams and I needed a way to de-stress. Writing does that for me. So here's a short continuation of this story.


I woke to violence erupting around me, its dangerous claws tearing through any hint of calmness that could have been found moments ago. It devoured the silence and destroyed the serenity, hostility and aggression slithering its sickening way through the very hearts of these people. It blackened all it touched, arriving in a flurry of steely weapons, making the world bleed out in a explosion of horrid crimson. I watched the gruesome fight as it bombarded me, its terrifying arms embracing me in a capsule of blood. I would like to have said that King Lucifer was the most terrifying of them all, with his violent history and infamous temper, but it appeared that he was too shocked to do anything more than sit beside his dead Queen, tendrils of darkness seeping around him. The ribbons threaded through his body, creating an unbreakable boundary from himself and his wife, and the rest of the room; the rest of the world. Ice crawled threateningly along the walls, reaching eternally skyward as it froze all it touched in a cold, deathlike state. All of the Demon's untapped emotions were expressing themselves without his knowing or his will, anger, frustration, grief and misery pouring out in cascade of dark magic. And yet it was nothing compared to the pure, heated rage that was oozing from every pore of Prince Xavian's body. His bloodthirsty eyes smoldered all they saw, rage searing through the darkness that swirled there. His hand was clutched around Azkadelia's throat, sharp fangs bared at her. Sorrow tinged her blue eyes, but as I watched they slowly began to fade into a mixture of black and purple. Guilt and rage, blending together in a horrid deep brown. I could see the emotions in her eyes, the remorse for leaving Max behind and the anger at the Angels for taking her. They created a gaze of shamed regret, and was altogether a painful stare to look at. Xavian felt no such pain as he hissed at her, his voice dangerous.

"You let them take her!" he shouted, his voice growing in octaves. "You let them murder my mother!" The Prince's breathing was becoming increasingly faster. "I will kill you for this!"

Moments later he was flying across the room, a second, more prominent figure falling into my view. Blonde hair as gold as the sun whipped across my vision, followed by eyes as red as molten lava. They were glowing brightly, the red encompassing the whites entirely. Ares' teeth were bared as he crouched before Azkadelia, his face as viciously terrifying as Xavian's. His queen was shaking violently, a result of Fang's temper I was sure. No-one had seen him so angry in his entire lifetime. Her teeth were chattering as she tried to stutter out some kind of sentence. Ares hushed her, placing a finger to her blue lips. Shaking him off, she doubled her efforts and I frowned. What could be so important that she had to spit it out now? Or was so important that it was stopping her from spitting it out now?


"Get out of here, now. They'll destroy you!"

"No, they…they won't…it, Ares you don't underst—"

Fangs began to sprout from the Dragon's gums, the great, off white bones sharper than knives.

"I understand perfectly! They have killed my broth—!"

"I never took you for a drama queen Ares," Xavian hissed, black eyes holding a world of menace within them.

"You dare insult me?" Ares asked threateningly, coming to a slow stand. Standing a foot taller than the prince, he was shaking, the dragon's fiery eyes red hot. Ever so slowly the shape of them changed, becoming larger and more almond shaped the angrier he became.

"Your brother killed our queen, he deserved to die." I was taken aback at the pure indifference about Erik, a friend to the Demonic Prince for so many years. And now it seemed he didn't even care. And those words, those menacing, uncaring words were all it took for Ares to morph completely into dragon form – black, dangerous and too bloodcurdling to look at. I immediately averted my gaze, trying desperately to muster the scream that threatened to escape my throat.

"No…" Azkadelia's voice was weak, hand reaching out desperately to her husband. "Ares you don't understand, please—" The dragon hissed at her, with fangs the size of my own forearms bared at the shaking witch. It wasn't often that I saw Azkadelia threatened like this, and I definitely didn't like the look of it.

Xavian narrowed his eyes menacingly, baring his own fangs at the dragon before him. Tendrils of blackness swirled around the prince as he advanced on the animal in his path. "You attack me? Fine. Join your brother in Hell Ares!"

My mouth dropped open as I watched him spring, complete astonishment at his words causing me to freeze. Fang and Ares had been friends for hundreds of years; they never fought for the other's death. Especially over a girl. And yet, he was more than willing to slice open the dragon's throat, to spill his blood to the point of killing him.

"Stop it! Please! It wasn't Erik!" Azkadelia was leaning against the wall, eyes wide as she watched the onslaught in front of her. Her gaze was deep blue tinged with orange, sadness and urgency swirling together. "Damn it, Ares listen to me please!" My ears pricked at her words and I frowned. What was going on—?


Ice splintered from the walls like spears, forming sharp points as they sailed toward the animalistic pair fighting in the centre of the room. The shards sparkled like crystal on their decent, slamming into the ground in a divisional manner. Forming a distinct barrier between the two fighters, the pale blue shards were half my own height. They startled both Ares and Xavian, causing them to pause their slaughtering in astonishment. Silence reigned.

The shield encapsulating the king and his queen vanished, black ribbons collapsing into his very skin. His angered gaze was focused on the pair currently separated by ice shards. Slowly he stood, hands leaving the paleness of Queen Arianna's own. "You two fighting each other will not fix this!" he boomed, terrifying voice causing me to shake uncontrollably. I had never really accustomed myself to these people or their ways. Though it was home to me, it still scared me to death. On the inside anyway.

"Azkadelia, you saw exactly what happened. So please, enlighten us all. From what it looks like," he stressed, looking pointedly at Ares and Xavian, "Erik has killed my wife, and Max retaliated. I find that slightly unbelievable." His last statement was quiet, mulling over the scene. And the scene wasn't pretty either. Erik, attached to the wall by Max's sword through his throat, and the Queen, deathly pale and bloodstained. And now, two incredibly strong men battling out of pain and regret and vengeance. Ares morphed back into human form, stark naked. I quickly averted my eyes from him again, facing Xavian. He lowered his head, eyes still black, and stepped backward slowly. The ice blocking the two melted seconds later. Neither were calm, but at least they weren't biting each other's heads off anymore.

The king was standing before the Witch a moment later, face directly in front of her. "So, Azkadelia, what happened."

The girl opened her mouth to tell everything and yet words seemed to fail her. I frowned. What was wrong with her? Her mouth was floundering open and closed like a fish, eyes turning more orange in desperation. "I…I can't."

The king lowered his head so they were exactly face to face. His stance was desperate, his red eyes pained. "Azkadelia, tell me who did this. Tell me so I can kill them for murdering my wife. Please."

I'd never seen the king so defeated, and I'd definitely never heard him plead with anyone. It was disheartening, devastating and utterly destroying to my soul to hear it. Azkadelia, obviously, was equally as demoralized by him. Her hand rose to his shoulder, tears pooling in her blue, blue eyes. But she did not release them. Azkadelia never cried.

"No, I can't tell you," she said slowly, her eyes watching his directly. They began to change in colour. Taking on a slimy, pale green, there was a certain cunning in her thoughts and emotions – or so her eyes told me.

The king frowned for a moment, confusion setting in, then, like a light, his gaze lit up with realization. "You've been bespelled. You can't tell us a thing."

"How on earth could she be bespelled? She's a god damned witch for Christ's sake," Xavien snarled.

"It hasn't been done very well if she could hint at being so. Bewitched that is," Ares replied, calmer than his friend, as he strode toward her. "So Erik didn't kill the queen, I'm guessing. Which means, everything here is a set up. A very good set up, but a set up none the less." Azkadelia said nothing to confirm this, but it made more sense than any other conclusion.

"So who would want to kill her then? And more importantly, use Erik as the scapegoat?" Xavien queried. His breathing was less labored; eyes only partially black now. The shade no longer encompassed the whites.

"Someone who wanted a war with Dragons," Lucifer replied, shaking off Azkadelia's hand and striding back toward his wife. He collapsed there, eyes on her, resting his arms on his knees with hands clasped. "As for the killing part, someone who wanted to get to me, surely. No-one would want her dead for any other reason."

"That we know of at least," I added. It was probably unhelpful, the statement, but it was true. Queen Arianna was the epitome of beautiful, inside and out, but maybe, just maybe, someone wanted her dead.

"My king," Azkadelia whispered softly, weakly. Like clockwork, all three men turned in unison toward her. "Perhaps this is a good time to show you," she continued, leaning against the wall for support. Azkadelia held her arms out, preparing for something magical I was sure. "I was too late, too late to save Erik." The witch's hands radiated energy, blinding white magic encompassing the space around her. She was trembling, blood seeping from her nose. I'd never seen her in such a weak state. "But not her," she murmured, almost too low to hear. The space before her exploded in rays of brilliant light. From it materialized another figure, remarkably similar to the one laying dead on the floor. Azkadelia collapsed then, eyes rolling into the back of her head as she plummeted forward toward the woman on the ground before her. Both Ares and I lurched for her on instinct, the dragon reaching her first. He clasped her body in his arms, spinning her so that they were face to face.

"I couldn't…stop the pois..poisen," she gasped, face streaked with blood.

"But she's alive?" king Lucifer asked, kneeling beside the new woman in an instant. The other figure – the one with the knife protruding from her throat – was now a distant memory.

"Sh-she will…d-die soon." Ares placed a finger to his wife's lips, quieting her.

"How did you do this?" Xavien asked, awe evident in the black of his eyes.

Azkadelia tried to smile, but all she managed to do was cough. "Magic," she sputtered. "And ch-chanting. W-words have m-much p-p-power." The witch gasped for breath.

"Stop talking Azkadelia," Ares commanded. It was far from a request, and she knew it. Nodding ever so slightly, the witch relaxed into his arms, lids shuttering over her eyes. Azkadelia was asleep a moment later.

"Clever girl," king Lucifer remarked, lifting his queen into his lap as he seated himself on the floor for a third time. "She saved your mother's life."

"I still don't see how," I commented. It was just…impossible.

"Illusions," Ares said softly. "When I first met her, she used them all the time. She would stand there, muttering something like she was out of it or crazy, and I'd be seeing all kinds of things. Things I thought were real. And I could interact with them – I thought they were there. Which makes sense. Whoever did this genuinely believes that he killed Queen Arianna."

"Azkadelia said something about poison though," Xavien said solemnly. "That she could stop that. Which means we need to find someone who can or she will die."

"I know someone who will be able to help her, but it's going to come at a price." Lucifer stood, lifting his true wife as he did so. "And I know I'm not going to like it." The demon disappeared in the following instant, black tendrils encompassing himself and his queen.

Silence reigned for a moment, the closest to peace there had been in the last hour. It was shattered a moment later.

"I'm sorry," Xavien said softly. It was one of the only apologies I'd ever heard him give.

"As am I." Ares was gliding his fingers through Azkadelia's red and black hair.

"You're both idiots, that's all there is to it. Now, really, we need to find Max." I hated to be the one to bring back the depressing thoughts, but Max was my sister, my friend, albeit it new and unconventional, but both things all the same.

"There's only one place she can be," Xavien said intensely. "And that's the Angelic Plain. She must have been taken by Angels; all this mess must have been caused by them," he shouted, arms raised at the shattered fragments of the room, stained in blood.

"We need to get her back, preferably before she finds out. Who knows how they could manipulate her with that information," Ares established, lifting his queen as Lucifer has done with Arianna. I frowned. What on earth was he talking about?

"I don't understand – find out what? What could possibly be used to manipulate her?"

Xavien sighed. "Ella. There's a reason we want the two of you, together. And it's not just so that we can have a nice little family reunion."

I frowned. "So why then?"

Ares answered me, eyes piercing my own so ferociously that his nakedness hadn't even captured my attention. "Have you ever heard the term Iraklion before?"

I'll try to update a little more, but no promises yeah ^_^ Got tonnesssss to do! (That and I forget about this site all the time…:S)

32. Chapter 32 eight years on

Hello all "Darker than Midnight" readers.

Wow. Its been eight years since the first chapter of this fanfiction was published. I actually find that a little daunting, considering. The time has flown by at an incredible speed. Does anyone even visit fanfiction these days?

I was interested to see whether this story was still published on Fanfiction, after reopening my old email account associated with the site. Turns out, it was. I hate an unfinished story as much as the next person, so I would like to apologise to everyone who started reading this, only to find that it was destined never to be concluded.

I realise none of you know much about me, so here it is bluntly. I was fourteen years of age when I wrote this story; fourteen and completely in love with books and writing. As such, my writing style was in its rawest form; unpractised, and a bit off kilter. I still have this passion within me, and want more than anything to touch readers with stories that ensnare them in another reality. I've never stopped writing for myself, but I want to touch the world. This is why I am still planning on pursuing a career in writing. However, as I have said, eight years have passed on, and life tends to get in the way. Right now, I am a graduated engineer, property manager and consultant, with very little time on my hands. Henceforth, writing must fall between the times of holidays and stolen moments of free time.

So why am I writing to you all know? Well, the reason is simple; I get a lot of fan mail from you guys, even now, typically of a begging nature or "well intentioned" death threats. Many of you wish I'd publish this fanfiction as an actual novel. Well, the truth is, that will never happen. What I am striving for in 2018 though, is the completion of a novel I have been working on for the better part of two years, one that has been revised over and over again as I have experienced more of the world, and developed my writing style over time. The storyline has developed in complexity and been moulded into something more of a fantasy epic with various elements of magic, romance and adventure, rather than a simple story as this fanfiction always was.

So here it is; my goal for 2018. For any of you who would like to see a snippet of what I have done over the past years, I will be posting a small section of the first chapter at some point soon. I think I will also be setting up a writing blog, for anyone who would like to follow me on this journey, give their feedback or simply see what I'm all about as a writer. Bare with me, I'll keep you all posted!

Your friendly neighbourhood dark angel,