Diary of a Lovesick Mutant by Phoenix Fanatic

Category:Maximum Ride
Genre:Humor, Romance
Language:English
Characters:Fang, Max
Status:Completed
Published:2009-06-02 20:05:40
Updated:2010-06-12 21:11:07
Packaged:2021-04-03 14:01:32
Rating:T
Chapters:62
Words:239,551
Publisher:www.fanfiction.net
Summary:Ever wonder what it's like to be inside Fang's head? Follow Fang's diary as he attempts to tell Max he loves her in just one year, while also trying to save his neck. It's hard to be a guy...Fax. Complete.

Table of Contents

1. June 2 2009
2. June 6 2009
3. June 17 2009
4. June 24 2009
5. July 1 2009
6. July 7 2009
7. July 16 2009
8. July 21 2009
9. July 27 2009
10. August 1 2009
11. August 11 2009
12. August 19 2009
13. August 31 2009
14. September 5 2009
15. September 9 2009
16. September 19 2009
17. September 26 2009
18. September 30 2009
19. October 10 2009
20. October 11 2009
21. October 17 2009
22. October 22 2009
23. October 31 2009
24. November 3 2009
25. November 7 2009
26. November 13 2009
27. November 21 2009
28. November 27 2009
29. December 4 2009
30. December 11 2009
31. December 19 2009
32. December 25 2009
33. December 31 2009
34. January 1 2010
35. January 8 2010
36. January 15 2010
37. January 16 2010
38. January 22 2010
39. January 27 2010
40. February 5 2010
41. February 13 2010
42. February 14 2010
43. February 20 2010
44. February 27 2010
45. March 5 2010
46. March 12 2010
47. March 24 2010
48. March 27 2010
49. April 2 2010
50. April 10 2010
51. April 18 2010
52. April 30 2010
53. May 8 2010
54. May 15 2010
55. May 22 2010
56. May 23 2010
57. May 29 2010
58. May 30 2010
59. May 31 2010
60. June 1 2010
61. June 5 2010
62. June 12 2010

1. June 2 2009

A/N- Who doesn't want to get inside of Fang's head?

I have no idea what this story is about. I do know that there will be ridiculous scenarios, a ludicrous plotline and preposterous characters.

Thanks to axisfiraga. If someone were to say that I was Kirk, then I would say she's my Spock.

I'll only say it once: reviews are loved.

Disclaimer- No one reads these things. I can ramble on about pink elephants and no one could tell the difference between this and a real disclaimer. Pink elephants are awesome, by the way. And for the lawyers, the characters aren't mine.

Let's see where this goes…


June 2nd, 2009

Dear Diary,

Telling someone you love them is the equivalent to shooting them with a rifle in the middle of the Sahara Desert while force-feeding them monkey brains during the Apocalypse.

It's anyone's definition of Hell.

Then again, love is Hell. It's all hot and sticky and you're under the control of someone else. Who invented love, anyway? Romeo? I don't know why girls are all, "I want to be like Romeo and Juliet!" I mean, I hate to spoil the ending, but they die.

I mean, seriously. Girls need lives. Badly. I'm sure they're somewhere on Ebay.

Anyway, I have a bit of an… enigma. A mystery. A puzzle. A conundrum. Whatever you want to call it, I've got it. At any rate, I'll say it now, and I'll say it proud:

I, Fang, am madly in love with Maximum Ride.

There's just one problem:

She doesn't know it yet.

So I guess that's my goal for the year. Tell Max that I love her. And to make sure that I actually make a good, solid attempt at it, I went out and bought this diary. And once again, there's another problem:

Men don't own diaries.

They don't even have journals. Men aren't supposed to show any emotion or feelings, which is exactly what a diary is for. So I guess I'm turning my back on the Man Universe.

But, oh, God, I'll screw it up my confession somehow. I'll accidentally tell her that for the past fifteen years of my life she has been my life. Which doesn't make sense, really, since we're both fifteen. But whatever. I'm sure that, even before I met Max, I loved her. She is my sun, my sky, my heart-

Oh, crap.

I sound like Romeo.

I'm as good as dead.

There are 365 days in a year. Well, excluding leap years, but that doesn't matter. 365 days to tell Max that I love her. Oh, geez….

What've I gotten myself into?

At the point I realized I was already dead (did that mean I was a zombie?) I surreptitiously stuck my head out into the hallway. No one was home, just as I thought.

The Flock had all temporarily ditched ourselves at Max's Mom's – Dr. Martinez- house. We weren't sure she'd take in six soaking kids standing on the doorstep in the middle of the night, but she made us feel right at home. The one-storey house in Mesa, Arizona was pretty cramped –me, Iggy and Gazzy shared a room- but was a palace compared to the caves and forests we've slept in before. Hell, just a bed is a luxury.

Everyone but me had decided to grocery shopping – you can imagine how much seven kids (including Ella) and one dog ate in a day. We loved food shopping, mainly because it was such a foreign concept (we get to choose what we want to eat!) but today I opted to stay home. Dr. M had given me the whole don't-blow-the-house-up-or-you'll-pay-for-it speech but left with surprisingly few threats.

Then again, she would never have let Iggy and Gazzy stay home alone. The smoke as a result of the house exploding would have lingered over the area for days.

So, back to my problem: confessing my passionate love. To make this easier, I'll plan out a timeline. There are twelve months in a year. It's June, now, so…

Fang's Timeline of Death

June- Think about confessing love. Do nothing about it but sulk in corner, looking emo

July- Think more. When all else fails, go play Xbox

August- Read Twilight. If Edward can score a chick, so can I. Find out what makes him so attractive. Apparently mythological creatures are a pretty hot specimen now

September- Bleach eyes from reading Twilight

October- Bake pies with Max. Tell her that they're "baked with love". Awww

November- Save Max's life so she owes you a life debt. If that means shoving her in front of a moving truck only to chivalrously tackle her out of the way, so be it

December- Corner Max at Christmas, telling her I know what she wants. Cue heavy, hormonal lusting and telling her that if she's a good girl this year, Santa will be very, very nice

January- Consider asking Flock for help

February- Repair damage that Flock caused from help

March- Lock self in room. Starve self until good idea

April- Make up final plans for confession

May- CONFESS LOVE

As I looked over my bullet-proof plan, I noticed something: it all counted on us staying with Dr. M for the next year. Hmmm. We haven't settled down in a while. How hard would it be for Dr. M to keep us all? A veterinarian's salary couldn't cover seven kids.

Oh!

Light bulb!

I'll get a job.

A real job. You know, contributing to society, helping our crummy economy get back into shape, give back to the United States of America-

What's a job you can do with wings?

I mean, the health and sanitation people at McDonalds would have a nightmare. Or maybe not. That place is sketchy. I'll definitely have to keep a look around, though. It's not every day you see a poster saying "ARE YOU A LOST FREAK LOOKING FOR A JOB? CONTACT US AT 1-800-IAM-FREAK".

If only, if only.

At this point I heard the car door slam outside, followed by several shouts and a general clamour. I shoved the loose piece of paper I had written Fang's Timeline of Death on into the diary, not wanting to be caught with anything incriminating. I shoved the diary under the mattress of the top bunk of the bunk bed, smoothly sliding it to the centre of the bed. If someone found it, it would be the equivalent of standing naked in front of a firing squad while someone sings the Greek national anthem nearby.

Suddenly, the door burst open. Nudge, who had evidentially had a run-in with sugar, bounded into the kitchen with arms laden with groceries. "HEY FANG."

"Hey, Nudge." I kept my groan back as I stood from the cramped desk and made my way over to the kitchen. By now, the majority of the Flock was in there, sorting through the tons of food.

"Hey, Fang," Max called. She was standing on a chair, looking over her shoulder as she placed a can of beans into a cupboard. (Was it sheer coincidence that my favourite food immediately switched to beans?)

I just nodded back. Here's the thing – everything thinks I'm so dark and full of angst, but the thing is I'm just too shy to say anything half the time. The other half of the time I had so much to say I didn't know what order to put it in and just shut up to save myself any embarrassment.

Which basically means Max thinks I'm an emotionless brick wall.

Would you want to enter a relationship with an emotionless brick wall?

I think not.

Anyways, I helped put back the rest of the food. As I went through the Pop Tarts, Lucky Charms, Gushers and Pop Rocks, I asked, "Did you get anything other than chemicals?"

"Nope," Iggy said, placing the cereal in the precisely correct spot. "But they're delicious chemicals."

"Ah." I continued on with the food absently, always aware of Max's presence. Did you know she has a habit of twirling her hair when she's thinking? It's always with the left hand, too, and always on the same strand.

Oh, God, I'm such a stalker.

The rest of the night continued on amiably enough, with me saying a grand total of thirty words, which was at least better than last night (twenty-three). Ugh, if only I could sweep Max off her feet majestically and acknowledge my undying love for her which will last beyond eternity into the forever known as infinity…Ok, that was weird. My poetic skills are lacking.

And so, after dinner and cleaning up, I bumped into Max on the way to the washroom.

"Sorry," I mumbled, but inside, I said, MAX, PLEASE LOVE ME FOREVER.

"It's all cool," she said, rubbing the tip of her wing. Dr. M had been really nice and cut all our shirts for us to allow us some breathing room for our wings.

"So what's up?" I asked. CAN I WORSHIP YOU EVERY DAY?

"Ugh, just on my way back from the bathroom…" She looked down, semi-awkwardly.

"Oh, right." I WANT TO MAKE OUT WITH YOU THIS VERY SECOND.

"I'll…see you in the morning," she said, her eyebrows coming together in an arch. She was confused at my behavior. Then again, so was I. Stupid hormones. "'Night."

"'Night." YOU'LL BE IN MY DREAMS TONIGHT.

After I finished with the bathroom, I blearily made my way back to my room. Gazzy and Iggy were, surprisingly, asleep. Grabbing a flashlight off the floor, I climbed into the top bunk of the bed. Ducking under the covers, I wriggled the diary out from the mattress. You know, I'm going to promise to myself right now that under no circumstances am I going to re-read this diary. I don't want to read about how much of a freak I am.

And so that's where I am right now, writing away, under the covers, wondering how in the world I can confess my love in just one year.

So I guess this is the diary of a lovesick mutant.

It's going to be a long year…

-Fang

2. June 6 2009

A/N- I love speaking French. Some of the words are awesome, like phoque. It means "seal" but its pronounced fock. So, in a seal-like way, it's fun to run around shouting "FOCKFOCKFOCKFOCK." Isn't life fantastic?

And for the most-asked question: Yes, this story is going to last an entire year. For the second most-asked question: this is after book three.

There's also a tip-of-the-hat reference to Dave Barry's magazine article titled "Breaking the Ice" that I stole one of my favorite jokes from.

Thanks to fLuFfL0V3R who gave me the EBW idea.

Reviewer of the Week:

Flyingtothestars: Very interesting :) I am intrigued as to whether or not Fang commits suicide by July.

Comment of the Week:

axisfiraga: You can't go wrong with bacon.


June 6, 2009

Dear Diary,

Last night Max was naked in my bed.

Okay, let me backtrack before you think I'm a creepy teenage perv who stalks Max. (Well, maybe I am. It depends on your definition of 'perv'.) See, it was a dream. But it was more than a dream: it was bloody well fantastic.

I guess it's weird that I had a dream like that. But it wasn't overly awkward, since all of her "private parts" were blurred, mainly because I have no friggin' idea what any look like.

But that was beside the point.

She was just so…alive. Maybe that's why I'm so attracted to her. (I refuse to believe I am attracted to just her body, no matter what my testosterone believes).

I woke up sweating rather uncomfortably after the aforementioned dream. And you know what sucks? Sleeping in a room with two kids who have hyper-sensitive hearing. Thus, when I woke up breathing heavily, they were on me in within seconds.

Gazzy was the first to attack: "What was that?"

Iggy was slightly easier to understand. "So who've you got the hots for?"

I shook my head profusely. From the lack of light in the room, it was still the middle of the night. "Guys, what time is it?" I pressed a button on my ever-present watch on my wrist. The screen lit up: 3:32 a.m.

"Have I ever told you guys how much I hate you?" I was tired. I was hungry. I was cold. I was pissed.

They, however, were vultures.

"So what was your dream about?" Iggy asked in a wide-awake, singsong voice. Stupid mutant/cook/pyro.

"Not a girl," I said, which naturally led them to two different conclusions.

"It's probably you, Iggy," Gazzy stage-whispered.

"Shut up, Gazzy. Wait- Fang? If it wasn't a girl…were you dreaming about…a guy?" Iggy paused. "I mean, that's perfectly fine, of course, but I never thought…But I think you're lying."

I blanched. Crap. I was spiraling deeper and deeper into Hell. Maybe, in Hell, Iggy and Gazzy will question my sexual tastes night after night after night.

"No, it wasn't a guy!" I yelled.

Iggy continued. "Fess up. Britney Spears? Beyoncé? Or maybe closer to home…Ella? Nudge? Ewww, please, no… or is it Max?" Iggy asked from below me, in the bottom bunk. Across the room on a pull-out couch I could see Gazzy's eyes burning into mine.

"God, obviously not," I said, trying to lie (and failing, I might add).

"The dream woke you up; it must've been exciting."

"Yeah, come on, we're all guys here."

"Come on, tellustellustellus."

"Please?"

"Please?"

"Please?"

"FINE!" I half-shouted, not wanting to wake anyone else up. I racked my brain for a safe topic. I grabbed on to the first thing I could find. "The dream was about… bacon."

Pause.

Pause.

Pause.

"Fang, what the hell?"

Woah, did I just say I dreamt about bacon? That isn't weird at all.

"Yeah," I said, trying to cover myself up. "You know…it's just so…savory…"

Pause.

Pause.

Pause.

Gazzy spoke. "Well, bacon is delicious…"

I could tell Iggy was nodding from the rustling of sheets, but I could also tell he was trying extremely hard not to break out into hysterical laughter. "I agree. I mean, we all have our…preferences…"

I was never going to live this down. Ever. I could see it now: I'm lying on my deathbed, about to croak, when Iggy and Gazzy come rushing in. Right before I'm about to say my final, melodramatic monologue of my life, they yell, "FANG HAS THE HOTS FOR BACON."

For the rest of the night they shut up, but would occasionally mutter "bacon…bacon…" which naturally caused the other to stifle their giggles. When I finally fell asleep again, I didn't dream. And that's a good thing, since chances are I would've dreamed about roast beef or something.

I specifically woke up late that morning so I wouldn't have to face Gazzy and Iggy. My plan was to stay as far away as possible. But as the scent of bacon drifted into my room from some faraway place, I had to quench my murderous tendencies (which had just shot upwards by a tenfold). As I stumbled out of bed and down the long hall to the kitchen, the Terrible Two had, indeed, begun to make bacon. The rest of the Flock was gathered in the kitchen and the family room, which bordered the kitchen. The bacon seemed to put everyone –except me, of course- in a good mood.

"Heyyyy, Fang…" Iggy said suggestively as he flipped a piece of the bacon over. One day, that kid is going to sleep and never wake up.

"Morning, Fang…" Gazzy said, his voice equally full of innuendo.

I fell down into the only empty seat around the old wooden table. I refused to acknowledge them. (That was another reason why I didn't like to talk. I'd end up biting their heads off.)

"Good morning, Fang!" Angel said cheerfully as she bit into a piece of her toast. It was nice to hear something that didn't reference last night. More greetings went around the table, with Max being the last.

"So how did you sleep last night?" Max asked innocently.

"Fine," I said, with a little more force than I intended it to have. Behind me, Iggy and Gazzy were holding on to each other in silent laughter.

Must…suppress… homicidal…tendencies…

But they just kept laughing and laughing and laughing and laughing-

For dramatic effect, I slung my knife down into the table. The metal tip lodged in the wood, leaving it standing upright. "GAZZY, IGGY, SHUT UP!"

Silence.

Now that I think about it, that wasn't the best thing to say/do.

Having bloodthirsty thoughts isn't the best way to get a girl. Unless both of you are zombies or vampires, but that wasn't the point…

"Are you okay, Fang?" Angel asked with a quiet voice.

But oh, Evil Fang wasn't done his rampage yet. "NO!" I yelled, standing.

What was I doing? It was like extreme PMS. It was the weirdest feeling, as if I wasn't controlling myself. But I could hardly sit down. I couldn't face the Flock.

"Fang!" Max stood while the rest of the Flock watched with pale faces. Even Gazzy and Iggy had stopped laughing. "What's wrong?"

I bit my lip. "Nothing." You know what's wrong, Max? For some reason, you're making me do crazy things, and that really sucks. So why don't you just kiss me and we can forget about this little incident?

She looked exasperated. "Come on, Fang, why'are you so mad at Iggy and Gazzy?"

"I'm not. I just didn't get a good night's sleep last night, so I'm just tired." I shouldn't have been mad, I know. But with all my frustration, I couldn't really release it. I was Fang, the Emotionless Brick Wall. The Emotionless Brick Wall (hereby referred to as EBW) would never have spazzed at Gazzy and Iggy. It was really out of character, and it bothered me.

Max knew I was lying. (I needed to take lying lessons. Badly. How many times have I lied in the past while?) "Sit down, Fang."

I sighed. I had screwed up madly. Now Max thought that I was an unstable nutcase.

Fantastic work, Fang.

As I sat down, I descended into what was the most awkward silence I have ever encountered. It was one of those silences where you wanted to shoot a small, cute woodland animal just so you'd have something to talk about. Isn't it crazy how life can change in just a minute? (That was a rather ominous thought. I apologize.)

"Sooo," Nudge said, breaking the silence. "What're everyone's plans for today?"

That's one of the questions no one likes to answer. It's sort of like the comment 'Wow, the weather sure is nice today'. It's just awkward for everyone around.

Everyone shifted in their seats uncomfortably. Max was the only one of us to answer. "I'm going shopping for some clothes with Angel," Max said. "Want to tag along?"

"Sure!" Nudge said, and the thickness in the air dissolved as Nudge went on and on about what she wanted to buy.

I left the table as soon as the bacon was served. I could feel Max watch me as I trudged back to my room. As soon as I climbed the ladder to the top bunk and fell back on the mattress, Max opened the door quietly.

"You wanna talk?"

"No." Yes.

"Come on, what's bothering you?

"Nothing." Everything.

She sighed and realized she wouldn't get anything from me. "Okay, Fang. Just remember: if you can't trust me, who can you trust?"

She left after that rather deep thought that belonged in an Oscar movie. I sighed. Why is it she always had to be so right? If I can't confide in her, I can't confide in anybody.

Well, not really. I'm confiding in you, diary, which is weird since I'm talking to an inanimate object. (Isn't that one of the first signs of insanity?) If these words were read by any real person…well, I would have to hunt them down. But luckily, I won't have to hunt anyone down, because no one – and I mean no one – will ever read this. I would be banished from the Man Universe if someone ever found this. Maybe I shouldn't have started a diary….well, it's too late now, and I'm not about to waste a good journal. Damn me and my high morals.

So it's not even the middle of June yet, and Max already thinks I should be locked up in a white room with lovely padded walls. Maybe I should start to really let her know how I feel. Pshhh- no. I can see it now:

Me: Hi, Max.

Max: Hi, Fang. Oh, by the way, I won't go out with you.

The Rest of the World: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

See? It would never work. I'm just not special enough…

Wait a second-

I AM A GENIUS.

You know those moments where everything just clicks? What do they call it…an epiphany! You know, a "EUREKA!" moment. But I won't go running down the street naked, which is what the first guy to yell "EUREKA!" did (It's true).

I'll douse Max with "mysterious" gifts from an "anonymous" source. Then, Max will gradually start to fall in love with her "mystifying benefactor". Girls love mystery. It goes up there with chocolate and the Jonas Brothers, I bet.

So anyways, I'll keep giving her romantic stuff, like flowers and candles and I'll sign it with a note with sweet poetry or something. And I can write poetry. I'm actually pretty good at it. (I'm normally pretty humble, so when I say I'm good at something, I really am.) Look:

I love Max,

So much that I want to send her a fax,

And then play the sax,

All the way to Halifax.

Max won't know what hit her.

-Fang

3. June 17 2009

A/N- My theme for my Cooking Class cook book is Twilight. It is widely agreed upon in my class that I should be shot for some of my puns. (DOES ANYONE WANT SOME "WEIRWEINERS" OR "VAMPASTA" OR"QUILEUTE QUICHE?")

My social life has taken a severe dive since this project.

Reviewer of the Week:

Sparrow Logan: I can just picture Max getting that poem and just kinda looking around and saying "um gross" and Fang would cry or something. Or go sit in his emo corner with some bacon. Lol.

#1 Comment of the Week:

Employee at local bookstore: Would you like that with or without zombies?

#2 Comment of the Week:

Guy in Cooking class: I didn't harness the power of bacon.


June 17, 2009

I think that if I wasn't a mutant bird kid, I would be a mass serial murderer.

Think about it. It only makes sense. I have all the makings of a serial killer. (And no, not a cereal killer. I don't sit in front of my Cheerios with a knife yelling, "DIE! DIE! DIE!")

I'm quiet. I don't sleep well. I hate authority. I like blowing stuff up.

So yeah. I'm screwed.

It was Gazzy and Iggy, naturally, who brought this whole thing up. And they're the reason why I'm going to be on America's Most Wanted next month. Well, remember how I said I was going to romantically woo Max by "mysteriously" courting her? I wrote another poem.

I love you

I really do

And I know you like chocol-ate

Which does not make you fat

You're so thin

I want to take your for a spin

In my car

Which would go far

Into the sunset

Isn't the image of the car driving into the sunset romantic? I certainly thought so, even though it didn't rhyme with anything. But anyways, I was just going to place the poem on her pillow or something.

The thing is, when I was proof-reading it, I thought it would be an awesome idea to put some chocolate with the poem. You know, it would link the poem to what girls love most: chocolate.

There was just one problem: our house runs out of chocolate ridiculously fast. Seriously. You bring in a bulk box of chocolate bars, lock it in a room with Gazzy and Iggy, and the bars will be gone within ten minutes, hands down.

They're like a black hole of nothingness. It's rather hypnotic to watch them eat.

For the past while I've saved up a fair bit of money, most of which was obtained by not-so-legal methods from the past. (I don't do anything like that now, so it doesn't really count.) But all in all, I've got about three hundred dollars saved up.

And since I knew I was going to throw myself into the Project of Doom (as I was now calling this year-long adventure) I might as well invest in it.

One of the most awesome things about not having to go to school is having control over your own timetable. Since I didn't want anyone catching me, I woke up ludicrously early (10 a.m.) and caught the bus to downtown Mesa. Downtown, which was basically a collection of low-lying stores clustered along one long strip of road, luckily had a dollar store.

As the air-conditioning nearly blasted me away as I stepped through the front door, I was met by the smell of too many air fresheners and perfumes. I was glad it was so cool: I had my wind-breaker on to cover my wings, and the jacket tended to keep in the heat. A scarily-perky girl waved at me from the empty cashier. "Good morning!"

I mumbled something like "Morning…" but I think it came out as more of a snarl. I have that habit. Maybe my mouth is lazy and that's why I hate talking.

Or maybe I'm just shy.

I scanned through the aisles and found the chocolate section immediately. My mouth was watering. There was everything from Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, (delectable) to Mars bars, (delicious) to Snickers, (divine) to Aeros (delightful).

I was in heaven.

Maybe I'll die by drowning in chocolate. Wouldn't that be awesome?

But I had a more pressing question.

What to get Max?

Chocolate was a relatively new phenomenon. I mean, when we were on the run, we'd occasionally get it, but other than that we hadn't had a steady stream of it for years. So Max had never come up to me and said, "Hey, Fang, if you're ever trying to go out with me, pick me up some Smarties and it'll all be cool."

That would've been nice.

But since the world doesn't automatically put itself together, I'd have to take a guess. And since I had quite a bit of money, I could take my chances…

I grab a bunch of the products, not really paying attention to the brightly-colored packaging. I frowned, noticing that they were slipping through my arms to the tiled floor below. I dumped them on a shelf, went to the front, grabbed one of those free baskets, and came back. This time I put my original items in the basket, plus a few more for good measure.

I went up to the perky girl who had greeted me. "Did you find everything you were looking for?"

"Mmmhmmm."

"Excellent!" She looked at what was in the basket. She looked slightly confused for a second at the basket (which was overflowing) but said nothing as she scanned each item. I helped bag the items and then went to pay.

"That'll be $60.79," she said, slightly wary. I nodded, taking out my wallet.

I handed her the money. She looked a bit surprised that I had just paid sixty dollars for chocolate, but in my opinion, I had just paid sixty dollars for the love of my life.

As it turns out, sixty dollars of chocolate fills quite a few plastic bags. (Oh, the environmentalists of the world would love to kill me right about now.) I grabbed the bags and carried them out into the bright sunlight of the afternoon. I made my way over to the bus stop, where I looked at what time the bus would come next at. It was 12:21 p.m., and the bus didn't come until 12:45.

And let me tell you, it's pretty hot in the middle of Arizona in the middle of June in the middle of the day.

And I had mass amounts of chocolate.

Outside.

In the heat.

It doesn't take a nuclear physicist to realize what would happen.

So, I had sixty dollars worth of chocolate that, in a few minutes, would quite literally be running down the drain.

I sighed. Brilliant work, Fang. Brilliant.

Looking around, there wasn't any place I could go for refuge. The shops around were all pretty sketchy and I really didn't want to risk missing the bus. There were no trees around, and since the sun was directly overhead, there wasn't any shade. Frustrated, I kicked a stone at my foot.

The stone cast a shadow.

I narrowed my eyes. I cast a shadow.

I took the bags and positioned them close to each other. Then, I stood about a foot away from them. Sadly, my shadow only covered half of the bags.

I threw my arms wide and stepped back. Now my shadow covered the bags. So I stood there with my arms outstretched, happy at how smart I was.

Which was when I realized how stupid I looked.

"Hey, Jesus, are you blessing the chocolate?" asked a dumbass as he passed by.

"Say it again and I'll smite your ass back to wherever you came from," I snapped. The guy smirked and kept walking.

I noticed the drivers' faces in their cars as they passed by. In one car, with the window down, I heard a little girl yell, "Look, Mommy, it's a crazy person you warned me about!"

I groaned. I wanted to bust out my wings and fly home, but I'd promised Dr. M to keep the flying to a minimum.

Finally, I saw the bus coming up the street. I let my arms down, which was a relief: sweat was started to roll of my arms. I picked up my bags and stepped onto the bus, the automatic doors opening before me. (Don't you feel like a Jedi when they go swoosh?)

I went to the very back of the bus and sat in the very back corner. The bus took off as soon as I sat down.

My eyes were unfocused as I stared out the window, thinking of how much Max would love my gift. I thought of the perfect scenario…

It was midnight and pouring rain…lightning crackled outside the window. Max was staring outside the cold, empty window. She was dreaming of her absent friend, her lover…

A dark shadow moved in the corner of the window. Max took in a breath with excitement. She threw open the door, the cold wind blowing rain drops into her. She jumped down the porch steps and ran with all her power over to the forest, where I had arrived.

"Fang!" she gasped. Her clothes clung to her body in all the right places.

"Max…" I said in a deep, guttural voice.

Behind her, the lightning increased in its power and strength. Max lowered her voice an octave. "What're in the bags?"

"All the chocolate you desire, my love…"

"Oh, Fang! How much I love you! You make my heart beat wildly like the hooves of a herd of horses! Kiss me, Fang!"

I dropped the bags and picked her up bridal style. By now, her wet hair was running down her back. With a gasp she threw her head back as I brought my lips to hers, with the sound of thunder synchronized with her cry of passion.

"Fang…" she yelled… "Fang! Fang!"

"Nick?"

"Woah!" I yelled, snapping my head up. Get a hold of yourself Fang…

There was a red-headed girl with her head taking up the majority of my vision. My brain snapped into overdrive, like it had smelled something from a long time ago…my memory was clawing forward…

Oh my God.

"Lissa?"

"Nick! You remember me!"

Jesus Christ. These are the things the happen in bad stories: your semi-ex shows up in the middle of nowhere only to ruin your life.

If only I hadn't shouted her name I could have pretended not to have known her. "What are you doing here?" I asked.

"My family moved! What are the chances of seeing you here? It's such a small world!"

I sighed inside. What were the chances? Lissa had been a one-off thing. So one day I had been a little, well…horny…and she had picked up on my vibes. And afterwards, when I realized my mistake, I had tried to cut my ties to her…

But no, she has to bloody well stalk me.

She was a small, shrewish girl whose kindness matched the number of freckles she had. I felt bad for ditching her, but she was just a first crush. So yeah, I was the total bad guy in the situation.

"I was so excited when I saw you get on the bus! I thought to myself, 'Could that really be him?' And I was watching you for a while, and you started to smile, which was when I was really sure it was you."

I did one of those awkward laughs. "Ha ha…yeah… it's me." There was a pause and I realized I had to keep the conversation up. "When did you move?"

"Last month. My Dad got fired, so that sucks. But it's all cool. Oh, random topic change – do you still live with that girl? I don't remember her name...she was our age..."

I nodded, suddenly wary. "Yeah."

"Oh. Okay. Just wondering."

I nodded, and saw with slight relief that my stop was approaching. I grabbed the wire that ran the length of the bus. A little red sign lit up at the front. "It's my stop…" I said. "See you later."

"Bye!"

As I stepped off the bus, I couldn't help but wonder why she asked about Max. But at least if Max suddenly died in her bed in the middle of the night, I'd have a suspect. I decided to forget about Lissa. In a town the size of Mesa, I shouldn't have to worry about running into her.

As I reached the house, I was disappointed to find that a) it wasn't raining and b) Max didn't come running to see me. As I stepped inside, I could hear Max and Nudge talking to each other from their room. I walked down the hall, ditched my bags on my bunk, and leaned outside their door.

"Fang's hair is getting long," Max mumbled. "It's really annoying."

"Yeah," Nudge said solemnly. I heard something that sounded like plastic moving and a crack.

"Ugh, how can you eat that?" Max asked. She sounded slightly disgusted.

"It's delicious!"

Max shook her head. "Ever since I saw Gazzy down five Snickers bars in three minutes, I can't eat chocolate again."

I froze.

No…fricking…way.

I sighed. Well. It looks like I'd have to re-write my poem AND go out and buy more junk food…

What do teenage girls like to eat other than chocolate? I thought about it….I knows…chips! Who doesn't like chips?

So my newfound idea led me to once again being on the bus back to downtown. As I walked back into the dollar store, I grabbed a basket and started loading it up.

I grabbed all my favorites: Lays (amazing), Doritos (awesome), Pringles (astonishing), Tostitos (astonishing), Humpty Dumpty (awe-inspiring)…

Maybe it would be better to die by drowning in chips. But they're all sharp and poky. So maybe not.

Either way I ended up back at the counter. The perky girl was still there and looked extremely surprised as I dumped my stuff on the counter.

"Hi again!" she said.

"Mnmmm…"

This time, the total was $71.90. As I forked over the cash, I couldn't feel slightly annoyed.

At least this time no one thought I was Jesus as I waited for the bus. By now it was early afternoon, and shadows had begun to grow. No one I knew was waiting for me on the bus, either. (I was half-expecting Jeb or Ari to stop and say hello.)

I dragged myself into the house, tired of walking. I dumped my bags on my bunk bed along with the chocolate. You could hardly see the mattress now.

I walked into the kitchen, hungry. I grabbed a spare slice of pizza and shoved it in my mouth, glad to finally be home. I leaned back in the kitchen chair, wondering what rhymed with "chips".

Suddenly, Max walked down the hall with Angel. "Hey, Fang," Angel called out. I waved slightly in greeting.

Angel walked over to the pantry and grabbed nothing other than chips. She opened the bag with a pop. "Want some, Fang?"

I shook my head. "No, but thanks."

Angel turned to Max. "What about you, Max?"

"No thanks, love," Max said, bending down to Angel's eye level. "I don't really like chips."

GOD DAMMIT.

I threw myself back over the chair and groaned loudly. "Something wrong, Fang?" Angel asked sweetly.

"No…" I said, my voice sounding weird. I…hate…my….life…

So.

Ten minutes later I was back on the bus. The bus driver grinned as I got on. Right as he opened his mouth, I just glared at him. Apparently, I have quite the glare. I should trademark it. You know, Fang's Glare of Destiny©.

After the bus ride, I found myself staring at the candy aisle in the dollar store. It was the only junk food left. I didn't even pay attention to the brands as I grabbed whatever was closest.

The girl was openly shocked to see me again. "It's a shame we don't have a frequent buyers' card!" she said.

I glared. Fang's Glare of Destiny©, actually.

The total was $82.37. I was quite sad to see all this money go to waste, but when Max fell into my arms, it would be worth it.

Once again, I made it home without any incident. Thank God.

I trudged through the hallway down to my room. I dumped out my bags of candy onto the bed and did the same with the rest of the bags. Some of the candy spilled out to the floor, but I was so exhausted, I didn't bother to pick it up.

Actually, I was even hungrier than when I had eaten the pizza. And since I was surrounded by chocolate that Max wouldn't eat…

Let's just say I beat Gazzy's five Snickers bars in three minutes record.

I went through a lot of the chocolate, since I didn't want it to go to waste. And this is where I go back to the opening on this entry.

Gazzy and Iggy happened to walk into the room then, and stopped dead when they saw me surrounded by $215.06 of junk food, with the tons of wrappers surrounding me and all over the floor. It didn't help I had a Mars bar stuck in my mouth.

"Heh guyz," I mumbled. "Wasup?"

There was a pause.

Then:

"HAHAHAHAHA! IGGY, HE'S GOT HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS OF JUNK FOOD. FANG IS PMS-ING!"

"NO WAY!" Iggy cut in. "I THINK HE'S PREGNANT."

"Shut up!" I yelled, rolling off the bunk bed. However, I didn't calculate the fact that my balance was extremely off from all the chocolate, which basically meant I rolled off the bunk bed and onto the floor with a huge BAM.

"HAHAHAHA!"

I had landed on some of the candy, which poked into me uncomfortably. My back throbbed. "Damn… you… guys…hate…you…help…me…"

Then there was a flash from a camera.

"Gonna…kill…you…"

Their laughs wouldn't stop. I closed my eyes, gathering my strength. They leaned over me.

"Gonna…pay…" I said. Then, I jumped up and tackled them both to the ground. Both of them hadn't been expecting it.

They both blindly hit me, but they still had the advantage, especially considering I was choking on a Mars bar. I ran them into the dresser, rattling a mirror as we did so.

The noise attracted the girls. Max took in the strange sight. "What in the WORLD is going on here?"

"Fang…is…going…through…menopause…" Gazzy chocked out. Literally choking I might add, seeing as I was throttling him by the neck.

"Fang!" she yelled. "Let him go!"

I held on a few second for good measure – it wasn't as if I'd actually hurt him – but let go.

Max took in the sight of my bed. "I'm not going to ask…" she mumbled. "Come on Gazzy, Iggy, let's leave Fang to his emotional-eating."

They closed the door on me. I groaned and collapsed on Iggy's bottom bunk. I pulled out my diary from my mattress, which is how I ended up here, in a room full of two hundred dollars worth of junk food, which I could no longer give to Max, seeing as she'd know it was from me.

Well then.

If I'm trapped in a room full of junk food, I might as well make the most of it.

-Fang

4. June 24 2009

A/N- I can't be the only person who's been chanting High School Musical's "What Time is It?" song for the past month.

I reference vjgm's "You May Now Kiss the Bride". Go check it out.

Reviewer of the Week:

Shadowleaf264: What? No bacon?

Comment of the Week:

J. Kelly Nestruck: One hesitates ever to recommend pelvic thrusts, but if ever a song needed one, it is this.


June 24, 2009

Dear Diary,

For the past six days, I've had the worst stomach ache possible. It felt like minions from Hell were clawing away at my soul. (Look how poetic I'm getting!)

I guess this was brought on my binge-eating on hundreds of dollars of chocolate/chips/candy. Maybe, for the rest of my life, I'll avoid things that start with the letter "c" and I'll be alright.

But I'm still rather sore after Max, Nudge and Angel's "experiments". You see, I don't like the word "experiment". After how-many-years in the School, there are some words you just don't like. (For example, "test", "trial", "research", and "Zac Efron". Well, I learned to hate the last one after Nudge pulled an all-night High School Musical event… with the volume on full blast.)

After I had purchased all of the food, Max, Nudge and even Angel would follow me around the house in a rather furtive manner. I even noticed that they had started to snap pictures whenever I walked around a corner.

This, m'dear, is known as stalking in some countries.

Gazzy and Iggy, however, knew nothing of the girls' plans. In fact, they had recently gotten their hands on some element known as bismuth and were now quite content with blowing stuff up in the backyard. I was tempted to join them, but I was too curious with the girls' plans.

That was my first mistake.

My second mistake was allowing them to get me alone.

I walked into the kitchen, perfectly content. I noticed that the three girls were gathered around the kitchen table, and Gazzy and Iggy were nowhere to be seen.

By this point, I should have gone running and screaming in the opposite direction.

But I didn't.

Max had a glint in her eye. "Morning, Fang."

"Morgghnning…"

Angel looked shockingly evil for her age as she also greeted me. Nudge didn't even bother saying anything. It looked as if she was vibrating with excitement. Weird.

I noticed that we didn't have any left over bacon (damn). I grabbed some Trix from the pantry, seeing as that rabbit makes me so gosh darn happy. As I poured in the milk, Max cleared her throat.

"Fang, we need to talk."

My heart leapt to my mouth. What? How did she know about my undying love for her? Did she return my passion? Had she read my journal?

"Abougght whaght?" I had forgotten that I had cereal in my mouth. Thus, as I spoke, my cereal and milk spilled right over my chin and into the bowl.

How charming. I'm such a ladykiller.

"Ewww," Nudge complained, her face contorting.

Max sighed. "Okay. I'm just going to forget the last five seconds didn't happen."

I nodded. "Mmkay."

She leaned back in her chair, and as she did so, Nudge and Angel stood up and went to either side of Max. All three of them crossed their arms. I have to admit I felt a flutter of panic. They just looked so badass. And that's pretty pathetic on my part, since their average age was what, ten?

"Fang," Max started. Please don't kill me, I chanted in my head. Please don't kill me.

"The three of us have noticed something rather disturbing."

I paused. Why couldn't they just say what was up? That was women for you: always dancing around the subject. Ladies, let me tell you: Men don't like words.

Max continued on, watching me carefully. "Are you aware that the only guys with long hair are either musicians or druggies?"

I blinked.

"Are you calling me a druggie?"

She rolled her eyes. "No, even though that would explain a lot. And we know you're not a musician, after that disastrous clarinet incident in 2004."

I just stared at her. "So what are you saying?"

Her shoulders dropped, like I was missing the most obvious thing in the world. "Because you're aren't a musician or a druggie, you can't have long hair. It's just not…right. "

I started to get a little defensive. There was absolutely nothing wroth with my hair. Actually, it was rather nice. No – my hair was amazing. I'll admit that my hair is my one vanity point. (Guys actually have vanity points. They're just better at hiding them than girls.) "Are you saying my hair doesn't satisfy you? That it's too long?"

All three of them nodded. "Yes."

Angel laughed brightly. "Fang, it touches your shoulders."

"So what? And no, it doesn't."

"Level your shoulders."

I was still standing at this point. I shoved my shoulders down as far as they'd go. Then, out of my peripheral vision, I saw that my hair just grazed my shoulders. I personally thought it was very stylish.

Nudge smiled as she added, "You look like a girl."

"Woah!" I stood up. "Are you calling me a girl?"

Again, nods all around.

My third mistake was not busting out my wings, breaking open the window, and booting it over the Mexican border by daybreak.

Next, Max disappeared under the table and brought up three items. The first was a pair of sharp scissors; the second was duct tape, and the third was a few yards of rope.

My eyes narrowed. "You wouldn't."

Max smiled. "We would."

Nudge looked up at me innocently. "Look, Fang. We can take you to a barber's shop or do this right here, right now."

I shook my head. "There's no way you'd have the guts."

That was my fourth mistake.

All three of them exchanged glances. "Let's do this," Max said, reminding me of dozens of action flicks I've seen.

Suddenly, all three of them lurched towards me. Their combined weight shoved me back down on to the chair. I kicked and punched, but they outnumbered me. And besides, nothing, and I mean nothing, gets past a pissed-off Max.

"Stop!" I yelled, struggling. I was willing to break one of their noses to show that NO ONE TOUCHES MY HAIR.

"Too late!" Nudge cackled. God, she was a demonic child.

Max kneeled next to me, rope in hand. As Nudge and Angel held me down –Wow, they were strong- she started to rope me down to the chair. She started with my waist and moved to my torso quickly. As she tied a few deft knots, she went over her previous pattern but with duct tape, just to seal me off.

And I loved her, still.

I am such a messed-up kid…

Next, Max, Nudge and Angel stood back and admired their handiwork. I was effectively tied/duct-taped to the chair, and I was glaring at them with all the power I had. I swear, lasers would have been shooting out if my eyes if I had had that power. (Shame, really, that I didn't.)

Max picked up the scissors slowly. She opened and closed them with a snip, looking smugly at me the whole time.

I snapped.

"IF YOU TOUCH MY HAIR I WILL BURN YOU ALIVE AND SCATTER YOUR ASHES TO THE WIND."

She leaned closer to me, the scissors snipping ominously the whole time.

"Sorry, Fang," she said, not looking sorry at all. As I rocked back and forth on the chair in vain, she took hold of one of my locks.

"ASHES TO THE WIND," I roared.

She chuckled, and cut off the piece of hair.

I yelled and screamed like a child, but she wouldn't stop. Snip…snip… "You could've at least used an electric razor…" I grumbled once I realized it was useless to fight. Angel and Nudge were giggling like rabid hyenas.

"You lost that chance a while ago," Max said, sticking her tongue out in concentration. I closed my eyes, trying to wake myself up from this dream. But wait…

Max was so close…

I inhaled her scent. It was delicious. (Okay. That made me sound like a total perv. I apologize. But why am I apologizing to a diary? Anyways, back to Max.)

I kept my eyes closed as I concentrated on Max. It was a glorious feeling, having her so close to me…

Oh, Fang, get a room. I'm sick of hearing your thoughts.

I paused, petrified. My stomach dropped and my head lurched.

Angel.

I had forgotten about Angel.

She can read minds.

And now…she knew…

"It's okay, Fang, I won't tell!" she said cheerfully, smiling. Despite the fact that she was a horrible heathen for going along with Max's plan, she most certainly did look adorable.

"Won't tell what?" Max asked, deeply focused on her work. My hair was falling all over the floor, and some had fallen down the back of my shirt. It itched like mad.

"Nothing!" I said, far too quickly and urgently for her to believe me.

"Mhmmm. I believe you. Completely. One hundred percent. Now shut up and let me ruin your life."

I sat there and I attempted to muster up a look of pure hatred. Angel caught my eye.

We're going to have a chat, later, I said to her.

She giggled.

And so, I was stuck to that chair for the better part of half an hour. Max really was trying to do at least a decent job on my hair, which made up for something, I supposed. Finally, she stepped back and grinned. "Am I good or am I good?" she asked.

Nudge and Angel got up from my side and went in front of me. Nudge tapped her chin with her finger, looking pensive. "Excellent job, Max. He looks like a guy now! It's the first time in what, five years?"

My eyebrows furrowed at her comment.

And that was my final mistake.

"But the eyebrows!" Nudge screeched. "They look like caterpillars that're crawling across your face!"

Oh. That's one way of putting it.

Max nodded. "You're right. And besides, he is strapped down…"

I saw where this was going. "Please. Haven't you sucked my soul away enough for one day?"

The love of my life shook her head. "A woman's work is never done."

She suddenly ducked away and ran down the hall. I heard her rummaging in the bathroom for a moment before re-appearing within seconds. She had tweezers in her hand.

This was such a FML moment.

"God," Max said, staring at my eyebrows. "It's like they're alive."

"I told you!" Nudge said.

Angel just kept looking at me with a smug look. You know, she should be re-named as Demon, 'cause she sure isn't any angel.

Max cocked her head to the side. Then, like a hawk going after a mouse, she descended upon my face. I felt a sharp pull, like someone had poked me. "OW!"

"Don't be such a pansy. Prepare to die."

If that wasn't proper warning enough, Nudge disappeared and brought back another set of tweezers. Thus, the next twenty minutes of my life were so painful I'm just going to rush over this part so I don't have to recall the memory.

But really, girls had to this every day to look good for the guys?

Wow.

Sucks to be them.

Finally, after what seemed like eternity multiplied by infinity, Max and Nudge stepped back. "Perfect!" they cried out in unison. Max ran off down the hall again and brought back a hand mirror.

"Ready for your unveiling, Cinderella?" Max asked. "Or should that be Fangerella?"

"Just get it over with," I growled. She held up the mirror so I could see it.

I looked in the mirror.

The only thing that looked the same was…nothing.

"WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME?" I yelled. "I look like Harry Potter!"

"And look how many millions of girls are madly in love with Harry Potter!" Nudge said, sitting on the table.

While still holding the mirror, she fingered my new "shaped" eyebrow. "These are so nice now…" she murmured. "And your hair looks so…windswept!"

Windswept? I thought that word was only used in crappy romance novels describing to hero.

Nudge stared me down. "He's got a Chase Crawford thing going on."

I kept looking at the reflection. I glared at myself, but after a few moments, my expression softened. The look was a radical change, but it could grow on me. Max had done a pretty decent job, no matter how much I didn't want to admit it.

My hair, indeed, was about a foot shorter. It was sort of scraggly looking, but I guess that's what "windswept" meant. And now you could see more of my face. And, according to Nudge, I finally looked like my own gender.

"He likes it!" Angel screeched. "He really does! He just doesn't want to say anything."

I shot her a look but it was intercepted by a hug from Nudge. "Aww, thanks Fang!"

I mumbled. I didn't want to insult her…

But my poor, poor hair…

Sigh.

I guess I'd have to get used to it. It won't be that bad. I mean, hair grows back, and I certainly got some close time with Max, and I didn't make a total fool of myself. (Well, maybe when I spazzed over the hair. But at least I didn't screech an octave or two higher than what any respectable man should be able to hit.) And I was looking forward to next time, when-

Jesus Christ, someone just screamed bloody murder.

-Fang…

5. July 1 2009

A/N- My story: I was making Caesar salad in the kitchen when I hit my plate and knocked it onto my toe. It hurt unbelievably, and I stumbled out of my kitchen and into the front foyer of my house. There, I caught sight of my big toe in a mirror, and it was covered and gushing with blood. After I had stumbled around and my parents had helped me out, my Dad had to mop the floor because I had tracked tons of blood around my house in my haze of pain.

But it's all cool, because the salad was delicious.

Reviewer of the Week:

Lilacsarepurple: The chapter reminded me a bit of an icon I saw once:

Max: Fang, you need to see a barber
Fang: ?
Gazzy: No, cause his hair's so emo it cuts itself!

Comment of the Week:

FoieGrasie: Irony: The protesters in Iran using Twitter as communication are unable to get online because of all the posts of 'Michael Jackson RIP.' Well done.


July 1, 2009

Dear Diary,

Okay. Let me get my thoughts straightened out.

After that scream-from-the-depths-of-Hades I sprinted to the bathroom, where Nudge was cowering against the wall. The rest of the Flock was seconds behind me.

"Nudge! What's wrong?" I looked all over the bathroom, and even with my Iron Man-like vision, I couldn't see anything out of the ordinary. Nudge, however, was crying the Nile River. She just pointed her finger at the mirror, blubbering the whole time.

And naturally, I just stood there.

Maybe I have a defunct gene or something. I just don't know how to comfort people.

Max, however, was perfect. She kneeled down to Nudge's level and tucked her hair behind her ear.

"You didn't start your…cycle…did you?" I asked hesitantly. The glower that Max sent me could have killed newborn puppies.

"It's there!" she screeched.

"Sweetie, what's there?" Max asked. I knew she'd also given the bathroom a once-over and hadn't found anything.

Nudge threw her arms around Max and sobbed. Max patted her on the back. (Seriously. Max was like Martha Stewart with wings.)

"LOOK AT IT! IT'S GOING TO BITE MY HAND OFF!"

I looked at the mirror, and I couldn't help it:

I screeched.

Just a little bit, though.

There was this holyfrickenGodbadass spider crawling on the mirror. It was honestly huge. It was the size of the cap off of a Pepsi bottle. It's legs were all spazzing and twitching and such. It was pretty nasty.

"Jesus," Gazzy gasped. "That thing is on steroids!" He paused, remembering the past few seconds. "Fang, did you just screech?"

"No," I said quickly. "My shoe squeaked against the floor."

I leaned in closer to the spider as Max giggled. "Hey!" Nudge and I both yelled in unison.

"Sorry," she choked out. "Nudge…it's fine that you're scared of the spider. But Fang…wasn't that a little…out of character?"

Of course it was. I never yelled, and I certainly didn't screech. But when I was younger, Gazzy had once gotten hold of a tarantula (I still didn't know how he got it) and put it in my bed. Ever since then, spiders have made me…nervous.

You know, now that I think about it, Gazzy is the source of what, seventy percent of my problems? I needed revenge…

"Get rid of it!" Nudge said, shaking as she watched the spider making its way up the mirror.

Either way, I had to help Nudge out first. With a sigh, I took off my shoe. In one swift movement, I slammed my shoe into the mirror. The shoe fell to the counter, a thick, brown squish on the sole.

"Fang!" Nudge admonished. "You killed it!"

"You told me to!" I yelled. Did a leg just twitch on my shoe?

"I told you to get rid of it, not kill it!" She started to cry even harder. She seemed genuinely distressed over something that she had hated with a passion only a few seconds ago.

I slammed my head against the wall. Women…were…so…messed…up…

"But…I was just trying to help!" I said. The look on her face was equivalent to the time she figured out what "If U Seek Amy" really meant.

"You squashed it's soul! Smooshed it's spirit!"

"It's only a spider, Nudge," Iggy cut in. Immediately she rounded on him. She was furious, and I felt a surge of pity for Iggy.

"It was alive! PETA would shoot Fang from fifty paces if they found out what he did!"

"PETA would shoot anyone from fifty paces. Remember the Obama fly fallout?" Iggy asked, leaning against the wall.

Nudge just threw up her hands in frustration. "Look! It doesn't matter! It's dead. And since you killed it, Fang, you should throw it a funeral."

God, if you can hear me: kill me now.

"No," I said adamantly. "You could have saved it. I just got rid of it."

Nudge shifted on her feet, battling herself mentally. Finally, she sighed. "Okay. I'll throw it a funeral myself. I want to make sure it gets to Spider Heaven."

Aww. That was cute, actually. Now I feel bad.

"Sorry, Fang," Nudge said. She disentangled herself from Max and ran over to give me a hug. Her weight dragged me to my knees as she jumped me.

"It's okay, Nudge," I mumbled against her hair. Suddenly, she stiffened. It felt remarkably like I was hugging a plank of wood.

"Nudge?" I asked. "What's wrong?"

Very, very slowly, she dropped her arms and stepped bad. Her face was ashen, like the time she had seen Gazzy naked (not a good day in our household). Angel, too, gasped, after reading Nudge's thoughts. "What's wrong?" Max and I asked. "Are you okay?"

"Yes," Nudge breathed. "But you're not."

"What do you mean, sweetie?" Max asked. She had a perfect façade of calmness, but I knew her well enough to know that she was panicking inside.

"Fang," Nudge said slowly. "Turn around."

I did so, still not understanding. It's sort of like when you're watching a murder mystery movie and everyone but you has figured out that Jeeves the Butler was the murderer. Max gasped, as did Gazzy. Iggy, meanwhile, looked just as confused as I did. "Can someone please elaborate?" I asked calmly, trying not to let my aggravation get into my voice.

Since my back was still to them, I couldn't see what Max was doing, but I could tell from the sound that she was opening one of the cupboard doors. After rummaging for a few seconds, she drew something out and shut the door.

Without speaking, she positioned me so that my back was to the bathroom mirror. Next, she gave me a hand mirror and held it up in front of my face. "Look at the back of your neck," she said, trying to keep all of her emotions inside of her. I couldn't tell what she was thinking.

By looking in the hand mirror, I could position myself so that I could see the reflection of my neck in the other mirror.

I saw it.

Without meaning to, I dropped the hand mirror. Luckily, the glass didn't shatter. The mirror just rocked back and forth and eventually came to a stop. No one moved. Carefully, I breathed in and out.

A black, nondescript font had read:

06/01/10

That was June 1st, 2010.

"Maybe that's the day global poverty will end," I said in a short breath. "Or the day it's revealed that Miley Cyrus is just a robot in humanoid form."

No one heard me.

"What's going on?" Iggy said in a terse voice. "Someone tell me!"

"There is a date," Max said very slowly. "On the back of Fang's neck."

Iggy froze. He turned around, revealing his perfectly normal neck. "Do I have one?"

"No," Gazzy mumbled. After that, everyone turned around. I was the only one with the expiration date plastered across my neck.

I feel so special.

It was the most curious sensation, knowing when you were going to die. Secretly, we had all been hoping the expiration dates would never appear. We never talked about them, as if that made sure they would never come.

But there was this sinking feeling in my stomach. I was going to die…

It wasn't like the heat of the battle, if-I-die-you're-coming-with-me sort of death I'd faced so many times before. Then, there was always a chance you could get out alive. But now, when there was a guarantee…

After that, no one spoke. It was a horrible silence. Sort of like the silence you hear right after someone tells you that something horrible has happened.

It sucks.

And you know what sucks more? June 1st was the day I was supposed to tell Max I loved her. I can picture it now:

Lightning cracks against the window as I lay dying on my deathbed. The Flock is gathered around me. Mascara is dripping off of Max's cheeks and onto the bedspread.

"I'm about to die," I gasp, my voice cracking. "But as my one last thought, I just want to say that Max…Max…I…"

And then I die, my one true secret staying with me forever.

"Fang! No!" Max screams, throwing herself over me. "Fang! Fang!"

"Fang!"

I snapped back to reality. Weird. I was zoning out a lot lately. Was spacing out a symptom of dying? Or was I just a few fries short of a Happy Meal?

"You okay? You want to sit down?" Max led me out of the bathroom and over to the kitchen.

"It's good you cut his hair," Iggy said, sitting down in the chair opposite me without feeling for the handles. (It still bothers me slightly that the blind kid has more grace than I do.) "Otherwise, you wouldn't have seen it for a while, if ever."

He did have a point. Now that I looked like your average Eragon cosplayer my neck was exposed entirely. My hair before would have completely covered the date. I felt a rush of gratitude towards the girls. It wouldn't have been any fun to just suddenly drop dead – it was better to at least know it was coming.

Right?

"I have an idea," Max muttered, more to herself than anyone else. She disappeared into the bathroom and came back moments later with some bottles in her hand.

She stood behind me. "Since this is going to be bothering us for a while, it's best to try and minimize the damage," she said. "You know, out of sight, out of my mind."

"What are you talking about?" I asked. Then, I felt a brush against the back of my neck.

"Jesus!" I yelled, jumping out of the chair. "What was that?"

"Nothing!" she said, flustered. Her hair was loose, tangling slightly. It was windswept, too, from running around…it was rather wonderful, really…

Angel cleared her throat. I blushed slightly. (Me? Blushing? Oh no, I've gone over to the Dark Side completely now…)

"It's just cover-up! You know, the stuff that girls use to cover up blemishes or whatever? I'm just going to plaster it over your neck, so that the date isn't always glaring at us."

"Oh," I said, sitting back down. It was a good idea, but I still winced as the brush danced across my neck. After all the years at the School, it was still hard to have someone touching my neck, one of the most vulnerable parts of the body. I mean, if Max wanted to, she could snap my neck before I could say, "Shucks". Hell, just letting her touch my neck was a big trust move.

Finally, she stepped back. "Mmm, it looks alright. You can tell where the makeup starts, but it's better than nothing. And you'll have to re-apply it after you're out in the rain or you take a shower."

I nodded. "Isn't there waterproof stuff?"

She thought about it. "Probably, but chances are it's really expensive. Welcome to America, land of the stores and home of the over-priced goods."

I snorted. Then, before I could move, she sat down on a chair next to mine. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the rest of the Flock had disappeared. She took hold of one of my hands…

Oh my God…oh my God…oh my God… don't get too excited, that would be awkward…

"Really, Fang?" she said, leaning closer. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," I said softly. "I mean, it's weird, considering I have eleven months to live." I looked down. "It sucks, but there's got to be a way out of this."

"Of course there is," she whispered. She reached out a hand and placed it under my chin. She tipped it upwards so that I was forced to look in her eyes. "I promise."

I bit my lip. "Thanks, Max."

"Of course, Fang."

We stayed like that for about five seconds, which were the longest and shortest and most awkward five seconds of my life. We realized the position we were in and jumped backwards, as if we'd been shocked.

"We'd better talk to the Flock, too," I said, looking for a safe conversation topic. "They're probably all freaked out."

"Yeah," she said, glad I had found something. "But it's strange, how only your date showed up, especially considering I'm older than you."

"Yeah, but only by a few months." Something occurred to me. I narrowed my eyes. "Your birthday is coming up soon, isn't it?"

We had all chosen our birthdays at random. Max was originally going to choose May 26, since that was Sally Ride's birthday, but she figured that she had already stolen enough of her identity. I knew her birthday was in July, but...

"The 27th of July," she said, answering my unasked question. "It's Audrey Moore's birthday. She was an African-American civil rights leader, and she did a lot of fantastic stuff. She died only two years after we were born."

"Oh. That's too bad." I wasn't sure what she wanted me to say.

"Yeah," Max said, sounding exasperated. She stood up quickly. Had I said something wrong? We were having such a good conversation!

"There's extra bacon buried in the back of the fridge. Don't tell Gazzy or Iggy. It's my Bacon Stash. You tell, you die. Get it?"

"Got it."

"Good." She clapped a hand on my shoulder. She took a deep breath. "It's going to be alright, Fang."

It sounded as if she was trying to re-assure herself. "I know," I said.

"I'll see you later?" she posed it as a question.

"Yeah. I won't drop dead today. Hopefully," I grinned.

She shot me a half-smile before going out the back door. I wondered why before I saw a flash of brown hair run past the window – Nudge was outside, and Max was probably going to go talk with her.

I sighed. I knew Angel was inside, and it was time we had a talk about a certain annoying ability of hers…

-Fang

6. July 7 2009

A/N- It turns out one of my closest friends has been diagnosed with swine flu. She says that everyone keeps pig-snorting at her now.

And I was completely floored to find out that the director of Twilight is going to direct the MR movie. Thoughts, anyone?

Reviewer of the Week:

iBanana: At first, when Nudge flipped out, I was thinking. If Spiderman dies, what heaven does he go to?

Comment of the Week:

A drunken Fourth of July celebrator: I LOVE EXPLOSIVES!


July 7th, 2009

As I walked down to the hall, I had the most peculiar sensation that I was walking on Death Row as I went to go talk with Angel. I had no idea why I could stand up to guys that walk straight out of Stephen King novels, but I'm scared of talking to a six-year-old who could probably win America's Next Top Model.

Right as I was about to knock, she opened up the door. Oh, right. The whole mind-reading thing would have given me away.

"Hi, Fang!" she chirped. "What's up?"

I just stared at her, knowing full well that she knew why I was here.

"Okay…" She said, looking up on me. "You're in one of your moody phases?"

I sighed, leaning on the doorway. Just because I didn't talk people assumed I was moody. You know, I'm the butt of so many bloody assumptions…

"You know," she said, as she twirled into her room and sat on her bed, "You're more hormonal than Max, and that's just weird."

A temper flared in me. "I'm not hormonal."

She shrugged. "Oh really? First, your thoughts are all, I'm going to jump Max this very second and then they switch over to I'm going to spend the rest of my life as a creepy old man with a lot of cats. And now you think you're going to die."

"I know I'm going to die."

"But you're not dead yet, so that's good."

Angel always had a different way of looking at things.

"A lot of people think that their lives suck, but they're just looking at it the wrong way. Life could always suck more," she said. Suddenly, she smiled brightly, flashing teeth that any dentist would kill for. "But that's not why you're here."

Okay, Fang. You can do this. I chanted my new motto over and over.

"Of course you can do this, Fang!" she said. She bounced up and down on her bed, happy as a clam, unaware that this conversation would kill me faster than any expiration date.

"Stop doing that!" I snapped.

"Stop doing what?"

"Answering my thoughts!"

"I can't help it!"

I paused, catching myself. I had to have Angel on my side. I wouldn't want her as an enemy. I suddenly had an image of Angel standing over my bed at night, holding a knife dripping with blood…

"That was weird," she said, being perfectly honest. She twirled a curl of perfect blonde hair around her finger.

"Yeah, it was. Sorry."

I didn't know what to say. That if she told Max about my thoughts, I would not rest until her head was dismembered from her body?

"That's a violent thought," she said perfectly happy, but her eyes furrowing. Abruptly, they snapped back to normal. "But okay, Fang, I won't tell Max about your thoughts. I promise. But if you don't tell her, who will?"

"I will," I whispered. "Eventually."

"Eventually might be too late," she said quietly. "You have to pack a lifetime of experiences into less than a year, Fang."

We both stopped, looking away from each other. The conversation had quickly become very tense.

"I really won't tell though, Fang. I would prefer to keep my head attached to the rest of my body."

I laughed darkly as I ruffled the top of her head. "Thanks, kiddo. I owe you one. And I'm really sorry if my thoughts start to get too angsty or romantic."

"It's fine, Fang. At least you don't have to listen to Max's thoughts – " she cut herself off, as if she'd accidentally said too much.

"What's wrong with Max's thoughts?" I asked, genuinely interested.

She blushed. "Oh, you know, she just has a lot more to balance than the rest of us. A lot more. But it's all alright. So I guess I'll see you later?"

Huh. I just got dismissed by a six-year-old.

"Yeah," I said, smiling. "Pizza night tonight."

"Score!" she said, smiling. It really did brighten me up as I got up and left her room, closing the door behind me.

I thought about what Angel said. You know what's weird? Death makes things perfectly clear. Everything suddenly makes sense. It makes you realize what's important in life.

And you know what matters to me the most right now?

Getting revenge on Gazzy.

It's weird, I know.

I didn't have a sudden passion to go donate the rest of my life helping poor children in developing nations, but to make sure my brother suffers as much as possible before I kick the can.

If I'm going down, he's going down with me, and I've got a limited time to do it. He's got to make up for years of suffering he's inflicted on me. At least he won't know it's coming: no one expects the dying kid to have a sense of humor. But how to do it? What would crush the kid's soul?

And then, it came to me. It was as if a light bulb turned on, like in those old cartoons.

I always had my laptop with me, so that I could update the blog whenever I needed to. And I knew for a fact that Dr. M had a laptop, since Ella would need it for her schoolwork. The fact that there are two laptops in the house would be key for my evil, genius plan.

I crossed my room to get to my laptop. After I had powered it up, I opened up the Internet. In the URL, I typed in what would drag Gazzy down. I laughed rather evilly as I read the opener in the top-left part of the page:

Welcome to Facebook!

I kept reading the rest of the page:

Facebook helps to connect and share with the people in your life.

Oh yes, I thought to myself. To connect and share with people – even if said people weren't real.

I was going to set Gazzy up with a Facebook account, and then I'd set up a second account. That account would belong to a good-looking girl Gazzy's own age, and I'd make sure Gazzy and the "girl" would be friends. Over time, they'd fall in love – only to have Gazzy realize that his dream girl was me.

God, I am such a good villain. I'd give Lord Voldemort a run for his money.

Before, Max and I had banned the Flock from using Facebook, because it was so easy to get our information from it. But I'm sure if we carefully monitored the accounts, it'd all be fine. Besides, Gazzy's downfall was worth the risk.

Hopefully, he wouldn't find it weird I set up only his account, and not the rest of the Flocks'. Whatever.

I had never been on Facebook before, but signing up was rather elementary. I gave Gazzy and email (pyro4life at gmail) and plugged in his information. And then, it all fell together. The account was completed. I still needed to get a picture of him, but that could come later. I quickly made up the "info" for him. I knew it was all false and that he'd change it later, but it was still fun to write.

Interests: Blowing stuff up

Favorite Music: Beethoven is my bitch

Favorite TV Shows: The Bachelor, Pokémon

Favorite Movies: The Notebook, anything with Angelina Jolie

Favorite Books: Twilight, Nancy Drew series

About Me: I am your worst nightmare

Then, I logged out of his account and created a new email: ilovewingedboys727 at hotmail

I went back to Facebook. For the full name part, I was stuck. I needed a name that Gazzy would find hot. What was a hot name?

I typed in Beyoncé Spears.

I made the password gazzyifyoufallforthisyouareanidiot09

I made the sex female and the date of birth was April 2rd, 2001 – a day after Gazzy's own birthday. If that wasn't "fate", what was it? Well, it was me, messing with his life. But whatever.

Still, this dream girl of Gazzy's needed a profile picture, and one that was really attractive.

I opened up a new tab in the window and Googled "hot girls".

And you know what?

As it turns out, "hot girls" will burn your eyes out.

I didn't have any of the Google filters turned on, so the pictures that flooded my screen were all full of scantily-clad porno women. Heck, most of them didn't have any clothes on at all. They were all sweaty and shiny and…I just needed to bleach my eyes, badly. There was one with a girl and her legs were open and… dear God my innocence just got butchered…

I tried desperately to click Backspace, but there were so many pictures on the screen that the laptop froze. And then-

"Hey, Fang! Hey, do you want – JESUS CHRIST WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?"

Max had walked in behind me, totally unnoticed.

"HOLY CRAP FANG THOSE GIRLS ARE NAKED."

"I KNOW!" I yelled. "It won't unfreeze!"

With her eyes shut, Max reached over my shoulder and pressed the laptop's power button. The screen instantly faded to black.

Her eyes were still closed as she talked to me. "Fang. Do I want to know? Do I really want to know?"

"No," I answered truthfully. She wouldn't be happy if she knew of my plan with Gazzy.

"I mean, I know guys your age need your alone time…"

Oh Lord.

She thought I was about to…you know…mast-

"Just remember to lock your door next time, 'kay?" Her hand was on her forehead, as if she was fighting back a headache.

"But, but I swear, I wasn't do-doing anything, or, y-you know, about t-to do anythi-anything…" I was completely tongue-tied. See? When I get stressed, I just can't talk. I end up looking like a total loser.

"I know, Fang. I know." She put a hand on my shoulder. "I completely understand. I…I guess I'll, you know, go now…how long will you be?"

I stood up quickly, her hand falling off my shoulder. "I'm not going to do anything!"

She looked taken aback for a moment before shrugging. "Okay, Fang. It's cool. I mean, I always knew that guys needed that, but I never really thought that…" Her words dragged on, uncompleted.

I bit the inside of my cheek. "What were you going to ask me?"

Wow. I am so smooth at changing the topic.

"It's nothing," she said, giving me one of those fake smiles you give when you just really want to get of a situation. "I'm just off to the mall; I need to pick some stuff up. See you later, don't forget that it's pizza night."

"Okay," I said, smiling back. "I'll have fun."

I froze. What had I just said?

Oh no, oh no, oh no-

I meant to say just, 'Have fun,' not 'I'll have fun'. It totally slipped!

Both of us blushed madly. "I'm sure you will," Max said, before neatly ducking through the still-open door. I was left alone in my room, wondering how the hell I had gotten myself into this situation.

And it all came back to Gazzy.

If I hadn't been looking up a hot profile picture for his dream girl, Max wouldn't have walked in on me, making the wrong, but natural, accusation. But something came to me – I had to look for a hot eight-year-old. Ewwwww, how pedophilic is that? There are no 'hot' eight-year-olds. They are 'cute'. Not 'hot' or 'sultry'.

Even though it was my fault for not paying attention, I could still blame Gazzy.

He was going down.

I went over to my bed and brought Fang's Timeline of Death out from beneath the mattress. Beside the July entry, I wrote, 'Make sure Gazzy eternally regrets what he's done'. Oh, yeah. All of a sudden, July looks like its going to be the best month ever.

Now all I have to do is delete my Google History and somehow convince Max that I'm not a complete and total perv, which is a lot harder than it sounds.

It looks like my work is cut out for me.

-Fang

7. July 16 2009

A/N- So I've been nominated over at Myrah's Maximum Ride Fanfiction Awards: 2. Kudos to St. Fang of Boredom for telling me about it, and I owe a sincere "thank you" to the people who have nominated some of my work. If you feel I deserve it, I would love if you guys could nominate me, but the most important thing is to nominate in general. It's a great way for authors to get more recognition. Let's give a round of applause for Myrah and all of her hard work! –applause-

Reviewer of the Week:

whenchickensswim: Aww no bacon in this chapter? And I was really looking forward to the way you would cleverly incorporate those rectangular greasy yet delightful pieces of pork. xD

Comment of the Week:

A tattoo artist: A woman doesn't understand that a butterfly on her chest will turn into a pterodactyl in a couple of decades.


July 16th, 2009

Dear Diary,

I think that if I wasn't so madly in love with Max, I would have fallen in love with Beyoncé Spears.

Haha.

Right.

I'd much rather subject myself to endless songs of Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance than date Beyoncé. (Do you KNOW how annoying it is to have everyone associate you with "emo" music? For the past three years, I've received only from the previously-mentioned bands for my birthday because, apparently, I 'remind them of the band members'. And yet, half of those band members wear eye shadow. Maybe it was a message.)

Actually, Beyoncé was the kind of person you meet and then want to kill.

It was hard to create a girl that Gazzy would fall for seeing that a) I was seven years older than him and b) his voice hadn't cracked yet. Was it even possible for someone that young to find their soul mate?

Normally, I'd say no. But seeing as crushing Gazzy was now the driving purpose of my life, I'd say yes.

I went and turned on the Disney channel to see what eight-year-old girls are interested in. According to Disney, eight-year-old girls are soulless and are controlled by the media. Thus, her Facebook profile went as such:

Interests: Eating chocolate, LOL

Favorite Music: Who doesn't love the Jo Bros???

Favorite TV Shows: Gossip Girl is my life!

Favorite Movies: BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA (omg, they are so cute!)

Favorite Books: Twilight!! (EDWARD CULLEN SQUEEEEE)

About Me: Heyy, I'm Beyoncé!! It's nice to meet you! So I'm eight years old (nine this November!) and I love my life! I'm blonde and 4"10 and I get straight A's and my Mom's really proud of me and my life goal is to get into Harvard, but I could settle for Princeton!! I absolutely love love love Fang's blog (there's a link on my Wall!!) but I love another member of the Flock even more. :) :) See you later, message me!

Is it weird I want to kill a figment of my imagination?

I have no idea why almost every sentence ended with an exclamation mark. I was choking on the perkiness.

Next, I went back onto Google. I searched for "young girls" and found a picture that I thought would go well with Beyoncé's description. (I made double-sure to delete my Google History. I could only imagine Max's face when she discovered that I had Googled "young girls".)

After I had uploaded the picture, her profile was completed. But it didn't look right: there weren't any "wall posts" or whatever, and she didn't have any friends. With a sigh, I searched for the "Mesa" community and added dozens of random people. I took a few quizzes and whatever, just to fill out the profile.

Now I can see why people want to take over the world: the satisfaction of doing something bad is just so fricken awesome. I took a step back from my laptop, happy at my work. I was alone in my room, having no idea where everyone else was.

Now, all I needed was Gazzy. I opened up another window on top of the Facebook one to 'hide' Beyoncé's profile.

I had no idea if Gazzy was in the house. Seeing as I was far too lazy and actually look for Gazzy, I just yelled, "YO. GASMAN. FRONT AND CENTER."

Nothing.

Well, then. Fine. Be that way.

"FREE FOOD."

Five…

Four…

Three…

Two…

One…

"Where's the food?" Gazzy asked, not even panting as he flew right through the door (literally). He was shirtless, surprisingly enough.

"What happened to your shirt?" I asked, momentarily sidetracked. Not only was he shirtless, but he was missing his left shoe, and he had curious scratches all over him.

He blushed. "It involves garden gnomes, Total, and a flamethrower. Please, don't ask."

Okaaaaayyy then.

Gazzy: 1 Society: 0

"A flamethrower?"

"Please, Fang, it's all cool."

Times like these, I wonder how normal kids live. You know, kids who don't have access to flamethrowers. Sucks to be them, I guess.

But by now, I had learned that if the kids said something was alright, chances were it wasn't. Either way, I didn't smell smoke, and chances were that everyone was alive, so I wasn't going to worry about it.

"So where's this free food?" That's Gazzy for you: a one-track mind. It also shows you how the Flock functions: respect is given through bribery. If you think about it, we're not that different from Washington.

"I lied. There isn't any."

Gazzy frowned. "Then why'd you call?"

Okay. I had to keep a straight face here. This was one of the most crucial parts of the whole plan. "Remember when Max and I said you couldn't get Facebook?"

He nodded, hope in his eyes. "Yeah…"

"Well, I've decided to throw that rule out of the window. Here, I've already made you a profile."

Quickly, in the new window I had brought up, I brought Gazzy to his profile. As he looked at it, he yelled, "Sick! Thanks, Fang. This is awesome. Hey…"

Although a few blows were exchanged as he read through his "interests" and whatnot, he was really pleased on the whole. Suddenly, he saw that I had another window open.

"Hey, what's in the other window?"

"Oh, it's nothing." HAHAHAHA: Gazzy, your life just ended. You just walked right into my trap, sucker.

"No, lemme see it." He could see from the little tab on the bottom of the screen that it was open to Facebook.

"This really nice girl linked her Facebook from her comment on the blog," I said. Secretly, under the desk, I was cracking my fingers in delight. "She looks really nice."

"She sure looks nice…" Gazzy commented. He sat down on the chair beside me, squishing me over. As he read her information and all of the stuff in her profile, I couldn't help but think of all of the possibilities.

There was no way he couldn't fall for "Beyoncé's" charms. While Gazzy would be on Dr. M's laptop and me on mine, our "Facebook Chats" or whatever they're called would be interesting, sweet, funny, and most of all, romantic. And right when things get really close – BAM – Gazzy's hopes and dreams will fly RIGHT out the window.

"Huh," Gazzy said, leaning in to the screen so much that it lit up his face.

"Well, I'll leave you to it, have fun!" I said, quickly leaving the room. I needed to give him time to go through her profile and to message her. This was working too well!

I paused momentarily right outside of the room. Guilt slowly started to crawl up my veins. Could I really break his heart? Could I tell him that his one true love doesn't exist? Am I that bad of a person?

...

Yup.

Heh heh heh.

I walked down the hall to the kitchen, bored. I could hear screaming outside – it was Dr. M, yelling something about "A FLAMETHROWER?" – but I ignored it, even though I could faintly smell burning flora, and I'm pretty sure ash was drifting by the window.

I flopped down on the couch that separated the kitchen from the family room and opted for Xbox, seeing as that's what my plan told me to do. I plugged in the game Halo, mainly because besides killing someone in real life, killing innocent pixels is the second-best way to let off steam.

As I completely blasted my way through levels and levels of bad guys, I was vaguely aware that the screen door opened and closed fiercely behind me in the kitchen.

My Max-senses tingled.

I paused the game. "What's up?" I asked, turning to face her.

Oh, my. Someone wasn't happy. Her hair had a striking resemblance to a tumble-weed, and were the edges…singed? She sat on a chair in the kitchen, the legs screeching against the wooden floor. Her eyes burned with such passion that I was suddenly exceedingly glad they weren't directed at me.

"Remind me why I let them live in this house."

"First of all, it's not your house. Second, deep, deeeep down Gazzy and Iggy responsible young adults." She just laughed at this, one of those laughs that Satan would back away from.

"Do I want to know what they did?"

She shook her head. "No. I never knew they could be that creative. I have to give them points for originality." She stopped suddenly, then looked at the screen. "Halo?"

"Yeah."

"Can I play?"

I chuckled. Never before had she showed even the slightest interest in Halo, or any game in general. "Good joke."

She looked slightly taken aback. Her eyebrows were slightly narrowed, and that look of 'did you just challenge me?' passed over her face. "I wasn't kidding."

Woah. Wait a second. Max wants to play Halo? Since when?

"You do realize that the average Halo player is thirteen, male, underpaid and undersexed? And that at least fifty percent of your body mass should be testosterone?"

"Fang. Seriously. If I don't kill little computerized minions, I may take out my current homicidal tendencies on Gazzy and Iggy. So please, pass me the controller."

I threw it to her, and she caught it neatly. She leaped over the back of the couch to fall neatly beside me, one of her legs touching mine.

This caused my brain to explode. How can girls touch guys like that and expect them to act normal? I will admit I was exceedingly close to jumping her right then and there. As in, so close that I physically had to reach out with my right hand to grab my left from stroking her hair. As a result, I awkwardly sat there, clutching my twitching arm.

"You okay?" she asked. She tucked her singed hair behind her ear. (HOW COULD SHE POSSIBLY PULL OFF A SINGED-HAIR LOOK?)

"Yeah," I said, pulling my hand back to my side, where it still jolted occasionally. "Since you've never played before, I'll show you the buttons for the controller."

I wrapped my hands around hers, which were already on the controller. She looked up and blushed madly. She dropped the controller quickly.

"Did you wash your hands?"

I just sat there. "What?"

She couldn't meet my eyes, and she turned away from me. The atmosphere suddenly thickened. "You know…after your…alone time at the computer…did you wash your hands?"

I wanted to die.

"Of course I washed my hands!"

Woahwoahwoahwoah, what did I just say? "No, no – I wasn't doing anything, God, Max, believe me, I wasn't…"

ARRRRRRRG.

If you look up the word 'frustration' in the dictionary, you will see a picture of me and my clean, sweet, virgin hands. Not that Max knows this, though. No, she sees CREEPER HANDS.

Maybe I was put on this planet just to shoot myself in the foot, over and over and over.

"Max," I said, closing my eyes. There was no way I could look at her. "I don't…do…anything like that. Okay? Please, please believe me."

I opened my eyes. Max was looking at me sympathetically. "Of course Fang," she said. "I believe you."

Right. She believed me as much as she believed that Oprah was Jesus in disguise. (And trust me; she didn't believe that for a second, despite Gazzy's best efforts.)

She picked up the controller. "So what were you saying?"

I carefully and slowly wrapped my hands around hers for the second time. She winced slightly as I did so, which made me mentally slap myself, but she didn't comment. That was a start.

"See here," I said slowly, pressing on a finger. "This is the start button."

"I gathered as much," she breathed. "I can read."

Ah. Right. It said 'start' right below the button.

I covered myself. I smiled dashingly (or what I think to be dashingly) and said, "Just checking. See, here's the Y button…" For each button, I would press down on the corresponding finger. Basically, it was just a cheap ploy for me to get my hands all over Max.

Finally, I finished with all of the buttons. "So you want to play now?" I asked, sad that I couldn't hold her hands as she played. Or maybe I could say that I could help her for her first level…or two…

"Not really."

"Why?" I honestly wanted to see her in action. A girl that plays video games – that's just awesome

"Well, the whole button-explaining thing took up half-an-hour, and honestly, I'm tired. I'm just going to crash for the night."

"Ah."

She got up gradually and leisurely, as if she had all the time in the world. She stretched as she got up. Her sweater was raised just a little bit, and if I cocked my head to the right, I could see a little bit of skin between her pants and her sweater…

"HEY FANG I'M GOING TO BED NOW." Angel barged right into the kitchen from outside, glaring at me.

Those weren't nice thoughts, she said. For my sake, please, please keep your thoughts just a little more innocent. Otherwise, I'll have to barge in more. And you wouldn't like that, wouldn't you?

I just came to a startling conclusion: Angel was practically an extortionist.

Sorry, I thought. Really. Maybe if she wasn't so nice, and kind, and trusting, and hot…

Stop!

Okay, okay, it's all cool…

Max was looking at us curiously, knowing that we were conversing silently. She turned to Angel herself and started a conversation herself. After a moment, Angel shook her head slightly, smiled, and bounced down the hall.

We were left there, alone. By now the sun had set, and the windows were purple with shadows of nearby trees. Strangely enough, Iggy, Nudge, Dr. M and Total still hadn't come in from outside yet.

"So," Max said, swinging her arms. "I'm off to bed."

I just stared at her. Oh – right, I had to respond. That was generally how conversations worked. Lately, conversing with Max was becoming harder and harder as my brain turned to mush more and more.

"'Kay," I said. "G'night."

We stood there, the only sounds being the ever-present tick, tick of the clock and the chirping of crickets outside.

"Oh, and Fang?"

"Yeah?" I turned to her hopefully.

She looked down at her crossed hands, then looked up to me. "That whole hands-over-mine thing? That was a nice ploy. Inventive."

And just as she said it, she disappeared down the hallway, leaving me standing there, dumbfounded.

DID SHE KNOW?

She was obviously aware that I had shown her the buttons just so I could touch her hands, but did she know the whole extent of it? For that matter, did she like it? How did she know? Was she going to –

"Hey, Fang?"

Gazzy was standing there before me. I hadn't even noticed him coming down the hall. By now he had found a shirt, I was glad to have noticed.

"You know that girl? Beyoncé Spears?"

I nodded, hopeful. "What about her?"

"She's a total weirdo. She likes really random things and she's just stupid."

My heart plummeted. My chance for ultimate revenge was going down the drain! "Really?"

He continued on his rant. "Yeah. She's a total stereotype. And my conversation with her was just messed up."

My blood froze. "Your conversation?"

"Yeah, you know, over that 'chat' feature Facebook has. She started talking to me, and she was really weird. Anyways, I'm tired. Thanks for the account, though, I really appreciate it. G'night."

I ruffled his hair automatically, my breath still caught. He was gone before I could question him further.

I had been with Max for the entire time Gazzy was on the computer.

If I wasn't Beyoncé Spears, then who was?

-Fang

8. July 21 2009

A/N-It seems that the majority of my reviews now involve a reference to bacon. I love you guys so, so much.

Shoutout to axisfiraga, who stapled two fingers. Together.

Reviewer of the Week:

MissStud: I don't even LIKE bacon and I missed the bacon.

Comment of the Week:

A friend: Why is it that the majority of your fanfics all involve bacon of some sort?


July 21st 2009

Dear Diary,

So who the hell is Beyoncé Spears? She's my fake persona.

It has to be one of the Flock - but still, how did they get the password? I mean, gazzyifyoufallforthisyouareanidiot09 isn't the most popular password in the world. It couldn't be Iggy, seeing as - newsflash of the year!- he's blind. It wouldn't be Max, probably not Angel...which left Nudge. I started to plan out my revenge on Nudge - and to extract from her how she'd gotten into the account - when I suddenly stopped.

I just remembered something. I've got more pressing problems at the moment than finding out if Nudge really was Beyoncé. (You know, diary, that was a really weird sentence to write.) Anyways, my problems:

First: I'm supposed to die in a couple of months. That just sucks

Second: I smell something burning, and I don't know where Gazzy is

Third: Max's birthday is in six days, and I have absolutely no idea what to get her

And out of all of the above problems, the third one was certainly the most pressing. As for the first, well, I'd cross that bridge later. For the second, well, I'm sure he can sort out any problems, hopefully without the aid of the Mesa Fire Department (whom we have gotten to know quite well lately, unfortunately. We're even on a first-name basis.)

But the third problem – oh, boy.

What do you get a fourteen-year-old girl with wings? A wing-clipping set? (Bonus: wing-clipping sets are on sale at Sears for only fourteen ninety-nine each. Goodie!)

I sighed. I'd have to forget about Beyoncé for now. In the past week I'd gone through every possible idea for a gift, and I had shot them all down. The list that I'd written them all down on was thrown on my desk. It read:

Flowers: Flowers die. Not a good thing if I want to show my everlasting love

A diary: Oh, yeah, I can see Max writing in a diary. I can only imagine it: 'Dear Diary: Today Fang was acting all weird, he's such a creeper, I hate his guts'

Cash: Right, like I have any left after the whole junk food fiasco

A subscription to Playboy: In my dreams

I had completely given up: I needed Man Advice. And seeing as Gazzy really didn't qualify as a man yet, I could only go to one other person: Iggy.

I drifted down the hall to the kitchen, guessing that Iggy was there, since why would he go anyplace without instant access to food? He wasn't, though (shockingly enough) but I could hear…a beat?

I saw feet and an arm hanging off of the couch in the family room. Iggy was sprawled there, his iPod stuffed in his ears. He must've had the volume on full blast, since I could hear it from the kitchen. The beat quite was quite bouncy and upbeat. Some of the lyrics drifted into the kitchen.

Dreams…come…true…we're all…together…

Why did I recognize it? And then it hit me.

Nudge's all-night Zac Efron movie marathon.

Iggy was listening to the High School Musical album.

And it was my new personal goal to never let him live it down.

"HAHAHAHA!" I jumped over the couch and landed directly on his stomach, the wind coming out of him in a big oof! Sure, it was pretty mean of me to sneak up on the blind kid, but after all the years of torture, it was time for payback.

He ripped his earphones out. "FANG GET THE HELL OFF."

I laughed as I rolled onto the floor. "How'd you know it was me?"

"You weigh the most, dumbass."

"Oh. Cheap shot, loser."

He narrowed his eyes at me, pissed. "Why the hell did you jump on me?"

I cackled, delighted that I had found a little secret of Iggy's. You know, now that I think about it, it's a daily miracle that the entire Flock is alive and in one piece after all of the stuff we put each other through. "Nice song choice. Are you and Zac Efron going to get it on?"

His cheeks colored slightly. "Look. The music makes me happy, okay? You have your bacon, I have my High School Musical. So please, go away and die in a corner." He started to put his earphones back in, but I hit his hand away.

"Look, Iggy," I spoke quickly to get his attention. "I need your help."

He paused, and I could tell that he was curious, probably thinking if he could use the situation to have me in his debt. "I'm listening."

I sat on the floor at his feet and he was leaning back on the couch. "You know how Max's birthday is coming up?" He nodded slowly, his eyes somehow meeting my own. "What do you think I should get her?"

"Strippers."

I wasn't phased. "Something legal, preferably."

"Nothing legal is ever fun."

"Look, I know. But really, I need to get her a present, and it should be legal, cheap, and not a weapon of mass destruction. Preferably. I mean, if there's a great deal on a Toyota Hybrid that shoots missiles, then I'm all for it."

He shrugged. "Just get her a Jonas Brother CD with flowers and chocolate. Isn't that was every girl wants?"

"That's what I thought!" I said. "But I was thinking something a bit more original. What did you get her?"

"If I told you I would have to kill you."

I closed my eyes, frustrated. I chanted in my head, He is family. I do not kill family. He is family. I do not kill family. He is family. I do not kill family.

"You're macabre today, Ig. Well, if you don't give me some ideas, Nudge is going to be the first person to find out about your little obsession, and then you'll never hear the end of it."

He opened an eye. "You think I care? The second you tell her, she finds out about you and the bacon." He chuckled to himself. "Heh heh…bacon…"

I snapped. "Shut up! It's delicious IT MAKES ME FEEL GOOD INSIDE."

Ah, crap.

Again: this is why I don't like talking.

If there was a Shooting Yourself In The Foot award, I would be a shoe-in for the grand prize.

Iggy was just staring at me, most likely contemplating how he was lower than me in the Flock's chain of command. "You know," he said slowly, "at first I just thought you were weird. But now I'm pretty sure that you're certified insane in a few states – including Alaska, and they've got some crazies up there."

I just glared at him, not trusting my mouth any more. Note to self: Don't speak to anyone. Ever.

"Are we done?" Iggy asked, hinting that I should leave. He was fingering a necklace at his throat, one that I'd never seen before. It wasn't feminine or anything – just a few beads strung together in a homemade fashion. It was actually pretty cool.

"Yeah," I said miserably, since I was still present-less. "We're done."

I got up and trudged back to my room. Would it be okay if I didn't get her anything? Or if I just split Iggy's present with him? Or something?

Not if I wanted to keep my soul intact, at least. And Iggy would never let me share.

I climbed up the ladder to my bunk bed, where I collapsed. I absently drew designs on the ceiling, deep in thought. Something was nudging the back of my head…what was Iggy's necklace about? Where did he get it?

And then it hit me.

I knew what to get Max.

I quickly sat up, excitement running through my veins. It was the perfect idea! Unfortunately, this whole "getting excited" thing didn't work out too well for me, as:

Nubmer one: I sat up too quickly, whacking my head on the ceiling, little bits of plaster drifting down

Number two: In my haze of pain, I rolled off the bed, falling off the top bunk to the hard, wooden floor below

Number three: The sound brought Angel running to my room

"Wow, Fang," she said, watching me moan and groan. I felt like I had run into a tank.

And have you ever run into a tank?

Chances are, no.

And if you have, then we need to have a chat, dear diary.

Even though I was WRITHING ON THE GROUND IN PAIN, Angel chose to just laugh, even if I deserved it. "You are officially the smoothest person ever."

"Pain…" I gasped out. "Today…I…die…"

She rolled her eyes and helped me into my chair. "That's a good idea for Max's present, actually. She'll love it."

I guess it was sort of weird that she knew what I was getting Max, even if I had just thought of it. But heck, that's just your average mutant-mind-reading-underwater-breathing-and-a-lot-of-other-abilities-that-I've-forgotten-about-six-year-old.

"Thanks. But how am I supposed to make it? And in only six days?"

A glint passed through Angel's eyes, one of those glints that make you want to run for cover. "I have my ways," she said mysteriously. "Follow me."

We walked swiftly out of the house and past Iggy, who was mumbling something along the lines of how "you are the music in me". And he thinks I should be the one in therapy…you know, I bet there's a two-for-one therapy deal someplace downtown…

I wasn't paying any attention as we walked out of the house, down the porch steps, and towards forest. Now that I look back on it, I'm lucky Angel didn't lead me into the forest and kill me or something. It'd make a great horror movie.

"Here," Angel said after she had grabbed something from the ground. "Catch."

I barely had time to register what was happening. All I knew what that Angel had just chucked a freaking rock at me, and I barely caught it before it gave me a concussion.

"Oh, so in order to show affection, we throw rocks at each other?" I asked, annoyed. Well, it could hardly count as a rock. It was small and extremely thin and smooth to the touch. I looked up to Angel, who was rocking on her heels.

At our feet was what had been dubbed the Fire Pit. Actually, it had been the site of one of Iggy's experiments that had gone awry a few weeks ago, leaving a circle of land with a seven-foot radius that was permanently unable to harvest life. Since then, Dr. M had made Iggy and Gazzy promise to do their experiments only in the Pit. That promise had held true for about two hours, until Iggy wanted to "introduce more variables" into the explosion.

Either way, there was a pile of ash and rock in the Pit, one of which was now in my hands. "So what's with the rock?" I asked at Angel's silence. It was unusually thin.

"What do you think?" she asked. "I saw this rock a while ago. One of Gazzy's bombs flattened it so now it's really thin and breakable."

It all suddenly dawned on me, what she was getting at. I quickly swept her up into my arms and kissed her on the forehead. "Angel, you're an angel."

She giggled. "Now get to work."

"Aye-aye captain!" I said, setting her down. It was time to get going on Max's birthday present.

And so, my dear diary, you're probably wondering: Am I going to give Max a rock for her birthday?

The answer: No.

I was giving her half of a rock, which makes all of the difference. Just let me keep talking, dearest diary, and all will be explained. (God, it is SO weird that I talk to you like an actual person.)

I mean, I can picture giving Max half of a rock for her birthday.

Everyone is cheerfully gathered around the kitchen table as Max opens her birthday presents. She receives excellent gifts, such as a Toyota Hybrid that can shoot missiles, but her eyes are drawn to mine.

"So what did you get me, you big, bad boy?" she asks in a sultry voice, seemingly unaware that Angel is glaring at her.

"Only the best," I answer in a whisper, "Half of a rock."

Her eyes light up. "Oh, Fang! Half of a rock! It's exactly what I always wanted!"

Right.

Why can't reality be Fangity? It would be so much easier for everyone.

Anyways, I happily threw the rock up and down in my hand to get a feel for it. Now all I needed to do was split it in half.

I sat down on the porch steps, wondering how to go about the task. I could have used a power tool or something, but the rock was small, and I didn't want to risk breaking it. So instead, I grabbed the rock with two hands and pressed in the center. The stone broke in a jagged line, but both sides were even enough. Perfect.

Isn't it awesome when you're strong enough to be your own personal power tool?

Anyways, now that I had half of a rock, all I needed to do was find those craft markers I knew Ella had. I went into the kitchen and rummaged around in the junk drawer until I found what I was looking for: a gold pen that could write on pretty much everything – including rocks. I don't know why the people who made the pen made it be able to write on rocks. Maybe the CEOs of the company gathered around and were all, 'Tons of people write on rocks. Let's incorporate that into our next design.'

I sat down in one of the kitchen chairs, placing the two halves on the table so that they lined up. On the first rock I wrote 'FOR'. On the second I wrote 'EVER'.

All I needed to do was find two chains and attach them, and then, presto, it'd be finished. Iggy had given me the idea for Max's present from the necklace that he had been playing with when I'd talked with him.

I had made two halves of a necklace. One for her and one for me.

And when you put the two halves of the necklace together, it sort of summed up everything that we didn't have:

FOREVER.

-Fang

9. July 27 2009

A/N- I will shamelessly admit it: today is my birthday, and I made Max have the same day.

As for my age, it's sort of ironic: when I first started to write on FFN, I was really young. People asked for my age, so I made one up. And now, here I am hitting the age that I had made up years ago.

The first person to guess my age gets an Internet Twinkie. (I JUST had my first Twinkie a few days ago. It was intense.)

Reviewer of the Week:

bookworm411: What happens in Fangity- are there strippers that look like bacon?

Comment of the Week:

Gordon Korman: Why is that when someone invents a girlfriend, they're always from Canada? Why aren't they ever from Uzbekistan?


July 27, 2009

Dear Diary,

What the hell is 'polyglycerol esters of fatty acid'?

It sounds like it'd be a material used in the Death Star or something, not something that'd be found in frosting. You see, m'dear diary, Nudge got it into her head that we should bake a cake for Max, since today is her birthday.

Unfortunately for my sanity, Nudge had this epiphany at 2 a.m.

She crept quietly into the room that Iggy, Gazzy and I shared. And when I say quietly, I mean that she didn't make a single flipping sound. So when she whispered in the middle of the dark, "Pssttt, guys. Wake up," we all flipped.

My eyes snapped opened, I flew off the bed and tackled Nudge, thinking she was some sort of minion from Hell - who else would wake us up in the middle of the morning? We both slammed into the desk, my laptop rattling precariously close to the edge. Pain slammed into my arms, which absorbed most of the blow. Gazzy had also launched out of bed, and his arms were around Nudge's neck. Iggy, meanwhile, was standing in the middle of the room, mightily confused.

"Fang!" Nudge half-whispered, half-yelled. "Are you trying to wake up the whole house?"

"Are you trying to give me a heart attack?" Indeed, I was close to cardiac arrest. "What are you doing?"

"I would tell you, but Gazzy's trying to strangle me!"

Gazzy let go slowly. Nudge took a deep breath – I could see red marks around her neck where Gazzy had been choking her. Oh, it's so good to know I sleep in the same room as an eight-year-old that could kill me in ten seconds flat.

"So why do we have the honor of your visit at 2 o'clock in the fricking morning?" Iggy asked, his voice low and tired. He looked ready to pass out then and there.

Nudge got up and sat in the chair at the desk. She switched on the little desk light. The light burned my eyes, and I looked away quickly.

"So I have this idea," she said.

And for future reference, diary, those are the scariest words in the English language. (Or maybe second. According to Ronald Reagan, the scariest words are 'I'm from the government, I'm here to help.')

"Okay," I said slowly. "Can this wait until morning, when we're conscious and we don't want to kill you?"

"No!" she said quickly and loudly. She immediately lowered her voice. "It can't wait."

"So then what is it?" Iggy asked, quickly running out of patience.

"Well, it's Max's birthday tomorrow-" she started. Gazzy cut her off.

"Technically, today. It's past midnight."

"Yeah, whatever. Anyways, it's Max's birthday today, and we don't have a cake. So I was thinking that we should make her a cake!" The shadows that played across her face made her look like an axe-murderer.

I bit my lip. Nudge was such an awesome person, but at times like these, she could have tied Malibu Barbie in a smartness competition.

"Nudge," I said. "Dr. M was just going to buy an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen or something. So we don't have to make one."

"But that's so impersonal!" she said. She looked down at her hands. "Dairy Queen employees don't care about Max."

"They might! It'd be creepy, but they might," Iggy said. "Problem solved. Let's go back to sleep, and we can all get back to our dreams." He gave me a pointed look, which prompted me to flip him off, even if he couldn't see it. It's the thought that counts, no?

"Iggy, we can't!" Nudge was horrified at the idea. "We have to bake Max a cake!"

"Can't we do it in the morning?" I asked, trying to compromise. Sleep...so close, and yet, so far…

"No! How cool would it be if Max woke up to a cake?"

"How cool would it be if Max woke up to three, well-rested guys?" Gazzy asked. "Please, Nudge, let's just go back to bed."

She crossed her arms. "Sorry, Gazzy."

"And where exactly would we get the materials for this cake?" I asked. "It's a shame Safeway isn't open at two in the morning. I wonder why..."

"It's okay!" Nudge said. "The gas station around the corner is 24-7, and I know that they have the cake stuff there."

"No," Iggy said simply, falling back into his bed. "Tired. Sleep. Bed. Good."

Gazzy yawned. "Same. G'night, Nudge."

"Fang!" she yelled. "Please? Please?"

"No," I said simply, looking at her pointedly in the eyes.

And that was my latest mistake.

She looked like Bambi, with those huge, brown eyes, begging me…

"Please?" she whispered, her expression filled with hope.

"Fine!" I snapped. "Get your coat on, and be quiet. And you owe me for life."

She barely suppressed her shout of excitement. She quickly ran down the hall and back, her coat and sneakers on it record time. I grabbed a sweater from the closet and shoved it on, along with some shoes. Luckily, I was fully dressed- years on the run had taught me to always wear the next day's clothes to bed.

"You have money?" she asked, her eyes dancing wildly.

"Yeah," I said. I had taken the remnants of my money, which amounted to a little over twenty bucks.

We silently went through the house, and very carefully opened the door and slipped out. It was a warm night, a half-moon shining behind a mountain range of clouds. Nudge skipped off.

Let me say it again: Nudge skipped off. How can someone skip at two in the morning? I'd be willing to bet that Nudge's father was the Energizer Bunny.

She babbled on as we made our way to the gas station. "Fang I lovelovelove you," she said. "And Max will be soso happyyyyyyy! I can't wait to see her face! It'll be awesome, we have to make sure to have a camera on hand-"

I tuned her out, after that. I can barely keep up with Nudge when I'm awake, so there's that when I'm half-dead I could make any sense of her words.

Finally, we arrived at this sketchy little gas station, where several teenagers were smoking outside. "Hey little girlie, you're out past your bedtime," one of them called towards Nudge.

She paused. I could practically see the wheels in her head turning as she started towards them, a murderous look on her face.

"Nudge, no," I said, grabbing hold of her jacket. I practically threw her into the gas station.

"But Fang!" she protested once we were inside, "They were practically asking to have their asses handed to them-"

"They don't know that you can kick their ass." I changed directions. "What type of cake do you think Max would like?"

My distraction worked. "Vanilla! You know, the kind with the rainbow bits!" Nudge happily went off down the one of the aisles and began to search for the right box.

I waited up by the front desk, where a bored-looking cashier stared at me as if I was some sort of freak. (Well, I am a freak. But you get what I'm saying.) I kept getting that feeling that I simply shouldn't be here. The only times we were ever up at this time was when, oh, you know, we were running from a bunch of people who wanted to murder us.

Nudge poured the stuff on the counter. She had gotten that vanilla-rainbow-box as well as vanilla frosting and rainbow sprinkles. It was like My Little Pony barfed on the counter.

On the way out of the store, I kept a protective hand around Nudge's shoulder. The teenagers started shouting again, this time in Spanish. Living so close to the Mexican border means most of the people around here speak it.

"Vaya al diablo!" Nudge yelled at them. I groaned as the teens looked to each other, astonished.

You see, when we were younger, the Flock had once spent an entire day looking up swear words online. Now, I can proudly tell someone to go to Hell in Spanish, French, Italian, Hungarian, and Japanese.

The thing is, these teens looked like bad business.

I don't speak Spanish, but I could tell they were pissed off. The five of them walked towards us, dropping their cigarettes. One of them lunged towards Nudge, ready to punch her.

She got there first.

I could hear the snap as his nose broke.

"Nudge, run!" I said. I grabbed her hand and we started to sprint away while the guy's buddies crowded around him.

Once we were a safe distance away, we paused to catch our breath. "Okay," I said, panting. "You drag me out in the middle of the night, and then you break some stupid kid's nose. Can this night get worse?"

She just rolled her eyes. "You know as well as I do not to tempt fate."

We walked the rest of the way back to Dr. M's. Once there, we made quick work of the cake. In order to not wake anyone up, we actually did most of the work outside in the light of the light bulb above the porch and the moon. We basically just brought all the ingredients outside, mixed them, popped them in the oven, and waited until the cake cooled so we could frost it.

It was a miracle we didn't wake Max or Dr. M. I'm pretty sure Iggy's snores cancelled out most of our noise.

Once it was frosted and garnished, we stepped back to admire our handiwork. "Nice," I said. She nodded.

Even at four in the morning, I was impressed. The sprinkles spelled out '15' in the middle of the cake, and it was all very professional. Well, as professional as two kids can make in the middle of the morning.

We set the cake on the counter in the kitchen, then walked quietly down the hallway.

"Hey Fang?" Nudge whispered.

"Yeah?"

"Thanks."

She hugged me for a long time. She muffled something – a sob? – but quickly escaped to her room.

I sighed and went to my room, where I didn't fall asleep for another hour. There's something about baking a cake in the middle of the morning that sure does wake you up.

In the morning, it was Angel who woke us up with "IT'S MAX'S BIRTHDAY." In some states this is also known as capital punishment, because I sort of wanted to die I was so tired.

It was early, but Dr. M was hunting around for matches for Max's cake. Max, meanwhile, was just staring at it.

"You made it?" she asked when she saw it.

I nodded. "It was Nudge's idea."

"When did you do it?"

"Oh, I'd say around three in the morning."

She threw her head back and laughed. "I'm sorry you didn't sleep. But thanks, it's wonderful. It's the best cake ever."

Suddenly, I felt a surge of gratitude towards Nudge. She was so awesome…

"Found them!" Dr. M called from the far side of the kitchen, holding up matches. "Cake time!"

"At-" I glanced at the clock, "-ten in the morning?"

"It's always been a bit of a tradition," Ella explained. "What's better than cake for breakfast?"

"Sex," Iggy answered, trudging into the kitchen. "Followed by cake. But sex first."

I sighed. More and more Iggy was gaining a one-track mind.

Ella turned off the lights, and we gave Max a rousing rendition of the Happy Birthday song with all of us having British accents. After she blew out the candles and the lights were raised, I asked, "So what did you wish for?"

She raised an eyebrow. "Doesn't telling someone undo the wish?"

"There's only one way to find out," I answered. She smiled, but didn't reply.

After the cake, we gave Max her presents. Presents were still a relatively new concept for us (well, presents that we didn't scavenge from dumpsters) so we all excited to see what she'd get.

Dr. M gave her a new watch, and Ella gave her some tickets for the movies. Angel and Nudge gave her several hand-made cards, all saying stuff like, "Get out of cleaning your room card". It was Gazzy and Iggy, though, who had the most…creative... gift.

"Here, catch," Iggy said. With amazing precision, he tossed a brown package tied with twine to Max. It looked remarkably like one of those homemade bombs you see on TV.

She tossed the package around, sniffing. "No way."

"Yes way," Gazzy replied.

Tentatively she untied the twine bow and opened the package. At the contents she immediately laughed. "Nice, guys. Nice."

She showed it to the rest of us. I dropped my head, ashamed to know Gazzy and Iggy.

It was bacon.

"A whole pound of it!" Gazzy yelled. Total, who'd been lying around in the kitchen beforehand, now trotted over.

Grinning, Max placed the bacon package next to her. I caught her eye and gave her the thumbs up. Her smile grew.

"Fang's turn!" Angel shouted.

The nerves that had been in the pit of my stomach for the whole day shot through me as I stood from the chair, walked over to her, and handed over the small box. I fell into the empty space beside her.

She quickly opened the box, fumbling it slightly. When she opened it, she looked surprised (most likely at the lack of bacon).

It was only the one necklace – the one that said, 'FOR'. She looked confused for a moment. Then, I grabbed the necklace that was under my shirt and brought it out. Once she saw the 'EVER', she took in a small breath.

"They fit together?" she asked. I nodded.

Max looked genuinely thrilled at the necklace. She placed the stone at her chest, placed the two ends of the chain behind her neck, and asked, "Can you do it up for me?"

I slowly pulled her hair up so I could have access to the nape of her neck. Her hair was just so soft, so smooth, so sweet, so-

"IT'S OKAY MAX I CAN DO IT FOR YOU."

Angel burst into my vision and quickly did up the necklace. I closed my eyes, and I heard in my head, Geez, Fang, I can't leave you two alone for more than what, five seconds? And you weren't even alone. It's called getting a room.

It was sort of weird that six-year-old Angel was telling me to get a room, but whatever.

"Thanks Angel," Max said, hardly noticing Angel's outburst. She was still admiring the necklace. She turned to me.

"Thanks, Fang," she said. She kept playing with her fingers. "Really. This means a lot."

Okay, pause.

You see, this is the point where I should have looked Max in the eye and blurted out my feelings. Max would have stated her own love, we would have kissed, and we would have flown to Vegas and been married by an Elvis impersonator by the next day.

Instead:

I shrugged. "No problem."

"I still think my present is better," Iggy mumbled from the couch. I noticed that he was eating part of his present, too. "It's unique and crunchy."

Max didn't even glance back at him. It was as if our eyes were locked together.

"Really," she said so quietly, I was the only person who was able to hear it. "Thanks." She leaned towards me, and for a fraction of a second, I thought she was going to kiss me.

In my dreams.

Instead, she gave me a massive bear hug, which was still nice. She took a breath in, as if to say something, but she stopped herself.

"Thanks, guys," Max said, untangling herself from me. "This has been awesome."

"It would have been more awesome with strippers," Iggy mumbled.

"What?" Max turned to him. I resisted punching Iggy's face in (it would really improve it, I think). The thing is, Iggy can't even see and he still wants strippers. If that's not overactive testosterone, I don't know what is.

"He said 'It would have been more fun with streamers,'" I answered. "You know, the party decorations."

Max nodded slowly, not believing me for a second. "Right. Sure. Okay. Just make sure to tip those 'streamers' well, it's hard to get a job in this economy."

Iggy just laughed. "Sure, Max. Sounds good."

After that, we all drifted off to do our own things (a.k.a. sleep). The rest of the day was spent lazily, not really bothering to do anything.

Later, at night, I had the room all to myself. I was on my laptop, in Beyoncé Spears' account, still trying to figure out who would bother to impersonate a fictional character. Probably someone with no life to speak of whatsoever. Then again, I made a fictional character. That's worse.

There was a soft knock at the door, and I instantly knew it was Max. (Iggy and Gazzy didn't knock, Nudge just yells for me and doors just don't stop Angel.)

"Hey," I called. "You can come in."

She timidly walked in, something that was strange. I glanced up at her. She was biting her lip. She slowly walked over to Iggy's bottom bunk and sat there. I knew she was eventually going to talk, so I just had to wait.

It took a solid five minutes before she spoke. "Fang," she said so quietly, I almost missed it. Instantly, I shut my laptop closed and pivoted towards her.

"Yeah?"

"I'm scared."

She said it so matter-of-factly I was nearly blown away. Max never, ever confessed that she was afraid. Ever. It's pretty much as likely as Iggy taking up vegetarianism.

I didn't talk, refusing to blow this moment. She continued, "I don't know what to do. Fang, when I turn sixteen, you won't be – you won't-"

"I'll be there," I said softly. I got up and walked over to sit beside her. "I promise."

"You can't," she retaliated. "You can't. You're going to die, Fang, and I'm the one left behind."

What did that mean?

"Fang, I can't keep the Flock together without you. Hell, we can barely keep it together when we're together."

Wooooaahhhhh.

Hell yeah!

But really. Max doesn't say these things.

Jumping off a figurative cliff, I tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear. I left my hand there. "We'll figure out a way to stop it. Itex was full of brilliant scientists. They wouldn't have made us have expiration dates unless there was a way they could get rid of them."

"I keep telling myself that," she said, not meeting my eyes. She paused. "How can you be so calm?"

I laughed, surprising us both. "I've faced death on a daily basis for years. At least this time we can prepare."

She nodded. "Why is it you make everything make sense?"

"I think I was dropped on my head as I child."

She laughed, and smiled slightly. "Thank you, Fang. Really. For everything." She cut herself off and looked away, but looked back only seconds later. She was pursing her lips.

"Thank you…" she whispered and drew closer. Her face was inches from mine, and coming closer…

The door – the closed door - burst open and hit the wall fiercely with a gigantic BAM. The person silhouetted against the doorway was none other than Angel. Max and I shot back from each other as Angel roared, "HEY MAX CAN YOU HELP ME GET READY FOR BED?"

"You've never needed help before," Max groaned softly, but raised her voice and said, "Sure thing, Angel!"

She stood up and left the room without even a backwards glance. I HAD A ROOM! I yelled mentally. I could hear Angel giggle from down the hallway.

I fell back on Iggy's bed, staring at the bottom of my own bunk.

If Angel hadn't interrupted, what would have happened between us?

-Fang

10. August 1 2009

A/N- Kudos to kishimat12 for knowing more about Arizonian geography a heckofalot more than me, and to whenchickensswim, who was the only person to guess spot-on what my age was.

ALSO- I've been nominated over at the Maximum Ride Awards, which are different from Myrah's. Any nominations for any story are INCREDIBLY awesome. The link is on my profile – but once again, nominate stories by authors who deserve the award.

Reviewer of the Week:

Reiko Rose: Iggy and his perverted comments keep me entertained to no end...

Comment of the Week:

A friend: What did the zero say to the eight? NICE BELT.


August 1, 2009

Dear Diary,

Today's the day: according to my Timeline of Death, I need to start reading Twilight. Remember: Edward and I are both mythological creatures. And he's dead. So if a dead guy can get a girl, I'll be damned if I can't.

And I need Edward more than ever. (Creepy. I sounded like a totally fangirl there.) But ever since our near-passionate moment that Angel completely destroyed, shattered and crushed, Max wouldn't stay in the same room as me. The last time she stayed away from me was when I wouldn't stop speaking in a British accent. (I read on an online guide that girls dig British accents. Apparently not.)

"I'm heading over to the library," I said, sliding a messenger bag over my windbreaker. I'd been doing more research into the complete disappearance of Beyoncé Spears, but with no luck. It was as if she didn't exist. Well, technically she didn't, but...oh, God, this is just a headache waiting to happen.

Everyone was gathered in the family room, watching the local news. "Shh!" Ella said. She was petting Total absently. "They're about to interview the kid."

"What kid?" I asked, perching on the back of the couch right behind Nudge.

Ella answered calmly, but there was an undercurrent of panic in her voice. "A few nights ago some local teen got attacked. His nose was broken, and he was in such pain he couldn't talk. But the doctors just said he could talk without pain now, so the local TV people are going to interview him so they can profile the attackers."

I paused, panic starting to crawl up through my body. "What?"

Dr. M continued. "Crazy, isn't it? The whole town is petrified that they're going to be attacked. Practically everyone is going to be watching tonight. Hell, the interview was announced in the paper."

Below me, Nudge was a stone wall.

"Oh yeah?" I asked. Dr. M was about to say something when dramatic music started to play on the TV and a graphic popped up, reading 'CRIME WATCH'.

The anchor, a perky blonde type, said in a serious voice, "I'm Cassy Grace, and this is the evening's top story. Five days ago, an innocent teenager was brutally attacked outside of a local gas station. His injuries were life-threatening. Only recently were we able to get doctors' permission to interview the teenager. Here's his story."

Oh, no. No, no, nononono-

A voice cut off my dramatic monologue. "It was so horrible," a voice croaked. In horror, my worst fears were confirmed: the teen was the one Nudge had punched. He was lying on a hospital bed. Honestly, he didn't look that bad. He was a bit pale, and his nose was in bandages, but other than that, he looked just like the jerk had a few nights ago. Life-threatening my ass.

"There were two of them," he said in pain, obviously milking it. "A guy and a girl. The girl was short, around twelve, with fuzzy brown hair…the guy just looked like Harry Potter."

GOD DAMMIT.

"I was just trying to say hello to them," he continued. "They looked like nice folks. But – but they came over to me and started beating…beating the crap out of me! They kicked me all over...puched me everywhere...they were even swearing at me in Spanish! There was this horrendous crunch, and I knew my nose had broken. Then they suddenly fled, scared. My buddies went after them, but they got away. I don't think I'll ever get over…the pain…"

Cassy, the anchor, suddenly appeared back onscreen. "Luckily for the folks of Mesa, one of Antonio's friends is an artist who managed to get a good look at the two perpetrators. The friend was able to talk to witnesses at the event, including the gas station attendant, who sold several wares to the attackers, to come up with the following sketch." Suddenly, a black-and-white drawing appeared on the TV.

It was as if someone had taken a picture of Nudge and me.

The whole room exploded.

And I mean in literally, too. As in, if I managed to stick twenty tonnes of TNT into the room and set it off, it would've had the same effect as the drawing.

"FANG! NUDGE" Max roared, jumping to her feet from the opposite side of the room. "WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO?"

"YOU NEARLY KILLED HIM!" Dr. M shouted, also on her feet. Well, by now, everyone was standing. Ella had bolted to her mother's side, now realizing that the people she'd been fearing had been standing right beside her and had just eaten breakfast with her.

"JESUS, FANG, YOU'RE A WANTED CRIMINAL ON TV. THAT IS SO COOL," Gazzy said, something along the lines of hero-worship in his eyes.

Everyone else started to yell, too. I sighed. "Shut UP!" I yelled. They did so.

"Okay," I said, realizing I was skating on thin ice. Max was ready to kill me, then and there. I leaned on the back of the couch with one hand. Even if I was nervous, I wasn't going to show it.

"One, we didn't nearly kill him. He was an asshole and we broke his nose. Two, he was an asshole, as previously stated. He started coming onto Nudge. Three, there was only one punch delivered, and we bolted as soon as it happened. Four, there was nothing seriously wrong with him. I've delivered enough punches to know which ones are fatal."

Silence fell onto the room. And then-

"Fang, you are officially the coolest person on the planet. Cooler than bacon, even, and that's pretty damn cool."

Dr. M had her head in her hands. I didn't envy her for that kickass migraine she was about to endure. "Which one of you broke his nose?"

"I did," I spoke quickly. Nudge just looked at me, astonished. I shook my head slightly. It was my fault we had gotten into this mess – I shouldn't have allowed us to go out in the middle of the night so we could bake a cake. I mean, it was a good cake, but for a cake to be worth being on a criminal watch, it fell short. I think most cakes would. Well, maybe not one of those thousand-dollar ones that have gold all over them...

"I think you should leave," Dr. M said slowly. "Just give me a second to think this through."

I nodded. Okay, it was understandable she was angry – she was harboring two of Mesa's most wanted criminals.

"I'm off to the library," I said, grabbing the first library card I saw on the counter. "I'll be back by sunset."

"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Iggy asked. Out of everyone in the room, he was the most calm. He was so apathetic he made No Drama Obama look like the queen of tantrums. "I mean, you're a wanted criminal. Don't you think someone's going to recognize you?"

I shrugged and zipped up my windbreaker. "Anyone who was watching that program was at home, and they probably won't go out to the library of all places."

I left at that, seeing as I really didn't want to be argued with. I started the short walk to the bus stop, thinking everything over. Mesa had a population of over four hundred thousand, and if a lot of people had been watching the news program, I was pretty much screwed.

The bus arrived quickly. As I put my change in the little slot, I couldn't help but feel all of the occupants of the bus sizing me up. Their eyes followed me as I sat at the very back.

There was no way they could have seen the program and have also been on the bus. But still…their beady little eyes…

"Nick! Hey, what a coincidence!"

God, please stop playing practical jokes on me.

It was none other than Lissa.

"I can't believe we've seen each other twice now, and both times on the bus!" she squealed, sitting beside me. The bus was pretty full, and a figure stood right beside her seat. She noticed that I was looking at the guy.

"Oh, right, sorry," she said, blushing slightly, "This is my boyfriend, Ryan."

Ryan looked like the person who would murder children with an axe as they dreamed at night. Lissa couldn't be older than fifteen, and Ryan looked twenty or so. He had some pretty awesome muscles under his shirt, and he even had a beard. The only people with beards are creepy old men and Santa Clause impersonators. I nodded towards him. "Hey."

He just nodded as well. See, in the Man Universe, guys nod to each other as a form of a greeting. None of that wussy, "Hey girl, how have you been?" crap girls out through. Nods scream badassness.

"So where're you off to?" she asked politely, noticing a lull in the conversation.

"Library," I answered quickly, looking out the window. Don't ask why, don't ask why, don't ask why…

"Anything special you're looking for?"

"No," I answered quickly. "Maybe something manly, you know, like the novel form of Die Hard or Transformers. Not something girly or anything, obviously…"

She nodded, and I felt a surge of happiness that she didn't continue. Actually, she wasn't all that bad. At least she wasn't looking for a boyfriend, then.

"So did you hear about that poor kid that got attacked? I missed the interview with the kid, but my parents taped it," she said. I sighed. What was with this town?

"I'm going to go watch it right now, actually. My parents don't want me out late anymore." She shifted her eyes nervously.

"Huh," I said, nodding. Well, in a few minutes, Lissa was going to see my picture. What the hell, I might as well have some fun. "You know, I heard one of the attackers was really good-looking. Hot, even."

Shock ran through her features. "You mean it was a girl who attacked him?"

I proved my strength by not rolling my eyes at her stupidity. "No, it was a really hot guy who attacked him-"

I cut myself off.

Why do I say stupid things like this?

Damn.

"Oh," she said, not sure what to say. Ryan, meanwhile, was lost in his own thoughts. (Probably thoughts of decapitating kittens, but whatever.) "So a hot guy attacked him? Anyone else?"

I shrugged. "I don't know, that's all I heard."

She pursed her lips awkwardly. "Oh."

"Oh, indeed."

More awkwardness followed that was punctuated only by the sounds of snoring from someone at the front of the bus. I couldn't help but wonder what Ryan did for living. An assassin, probably.

"Here's my stop," I said, sliding out of my seat. "See you later,"

"Bye," she said, rather sadly. Ryan sat in my empty seat. He nodded, as did I. (Diary, if I could, I would recommend that you nod to someone at least twice a day. It feels so kickass, let me tell you.)

It was late out, which was evident from the setting sun. I quickly made my way through the many stores around downtown, finally arriving at the public library. It was pretty shabby and run-down, the city no doubt spending its budget on things like doughnuts for the Mayor's meetings.

There were two levels: one for children, and one for adults. Where would Twilight be located? With a heavy heart, I went up the stairs to the children's department.

All the little kids stared at me as I went through the many bookcases. It didn't help I was three feet taller than most of them. "His back is so lumpy!" one of them squealed, only to be shushed by an embarrassed parent.

Humph. A lumpy back? The Hunchback of Notre Dame has a lumpy back. Mine is simply…curvy.

With a sense of relief, I pulled a copy out of the bookshelf that was tattered and dog-eared. As I brought it up to the front desk to sign it out, I couldn't help but feel embarrassed as I set the book down.

The frumpy librarian broke into a grin as she saw the book. "Oh, Twilight," she said, starting to scan the book. "It's so romantic. I broke up with my Freddie because he wasn't enough like Edward. He's such a prince…"

Woah.

She broke up with someone because he wasn't enough like a fictional character?

I was never, ever going to let Max read the book.

"Oh, sorry," the librarian said, frowning. Her glasses were starting to slip down her nose. "A book can only be signed out by someone with their own card. You can't borrow someone else's."

I vaguely remembered grabbing the first card I had seen as I escaped out of the house. "It is mine."

The librarian lowered her glasses, as if to get a better look at me. "You're Ella Martinez?"

I bit my lip. Why couldn't I have taken Gazzy, Iggy, or even Max's card?

I nodded. "Ella, yes, that's me. My parents had already picked out the name, since they thought I was going to be a girl. They had the name printed on all of my baby stuff, and they didn't want to replace it."

Huh. That wasn't that bad of a lie. Nice one, Fang.

The librarian just shrugged. "That's a shame. You must get teased mercilessly."

"You have no idea." Then again, Fang is a pretty weird name. But 'Fang' is a lot cooler than 'Ella'. If I had to rename myself, it'd probably Claw or something cool like that. I mean, you get in a fight for the death with someone named 'Fang'. You go shopping with someone named 'Ella'.

"Here you go, Ella," she handed the book over. "You'll love it."

"Thanks," I mumbled, taking it and shoving it in my messenger bad. There was no way I'd let anyone see it.

I quickly made my way out of the library and back to the bus stop. By now, the sun had set and the city looked remarkably like a horror movie waiting to happen. I practically expected the people from the Thriller music video come out and turn me into a zombie or something.

Downtown was busy at this time of night. A lot of university kids from Phoenix came here to party, obviously, since they were all dressed up in shiny, flashy clothes that looked shockingly like aluminum foil. I was walking on the sidewalk, trying to make the bus, happy that I could get some tips on how to get a girl – even from a fictional character.

And then it happened.

I caught a pretty girl's eye as I passed by her on the crowded sidewalk. Her eyes narrowed, checking me over, and they suddenly widened. She stopped in her tracks and screamed.

"OH MY GOD IT'S HIM, THE ATTACKER! SOMEONE HELP HE'S GOING TO KILL ME."

...Damn.

Everyone around the girl suddenly jumped back, forming a circle around me. They were all talking loudly, trying to figure out if I really was the person they'd seen on TV.

"No way!" one of them yelled, drunk. He stumbled into the circle as more people joined the circumference. He walked right up to me. "I'll take care of him! It's okay, girls, you're safe with me!"

He threw a lazy punch towards me which I dodged easily. "It's not me!" I yelled. "I'm the wrong person!"

Everyone around me laughed and shouted, "Liar!" and "Asshole!" (Actually, there were worse insults, including a rather inspired one that included my mother and a monkey.)

"Come on boys, let's bring him to the cops," someone said. Four older teenagers stepped into the ring, grabbing me.

"Let go!" I shouted. I couldn't let them bring me to the cops – the first thing they'd make me do was take off my windbreaker. And the definition of 'keeping low' does not include 'get caught by the cops', sadly enough. Bummer.

Each teen grabbed a limb each so that I was suspended above the ground. I felt like a pig that was about to be roasted. There were two things I could do: Let them take me to the cops, or escape.

Escape was the only option.

Mentally, I sighed. This wasn't going to be pretty.

"You've got five seconds!" I yelled above the turmoil, people crowding my vision. I didn't hear what they said, but three seconds later, I reacted.

I ripped my legs out of their grasp, my feet hitting the ground, but my arms still being held. With a huge effort, I tore my arms free and started running. The crowd was weaker where it bordered the street. I pushed through them easily, most people thinking I was trying to attack them. I jumped from the curb and sprinted across the street, nimbly jumping over a moving car that would easily garnered a million hits on Youtube if someone had caught it on camera.

"Get him!" I heard one of the guys yell.

Even though I was sprinting like crazy, I rolled my eyes. Yes, why don't you chase after the alleged attacker? Probably for the glory of getting me in jail.

The bus was completely out of the picture by now, since I'm pretty sure Mesa Transit doesn't like supposed assailants on their buses. I kept running, the sounds of running footsteps gradually disappearing as the stores thinned out and I went into the neighborhood surrounding downtown.

Cookie-cutter houses lined the streets as I kept up my job. I was in luck – the community bordered onto a forest. I headed towards there, hearing shouts behind me. I turned.

They had a car.

A freaking car.

I was officially in an action movie. I was half-expecting a helicopter to appear on the horizon with half-naked women shooting at me with bazookas.

I can outrun a car, easy, but not while trying to keep a low profile. Cursing at the royal assholes in my head, I sped up, my messenger bag bumping uncomfortably against my leg. I just managed to make it to the forest, jumping over the curb and disappearing into the trees. I whipped off my windbreaker and bag, holding them close to my chest as my wings spread out behind me.

I bent my legs and sprung upwards, the cool night air feeling nice. (Isn't it awesome that I can still think about how nice the air feels while running from a group of half-drunk men?) Seeing a tree perfect for perching on, I sat carefully, watching the events going on below.

The guys had gotten out of the car and were tramping around the forest, shouting, "Come out, come out, wherever you are!"

Haha, right.

I sat there for a good ten minutes, until finally they gave up and went back to their car. After another five minutes of waiting –safety first, kiddies – I jumped down and started the walk home.

It took about half an hour, since I kept mainly to the forest and the occasional side street. Whenever a car came along, I'd jump behind the nearest bush. So basically, now I'm going to get arrested for trespassing, too.

Don't you just love life?

I mean, today was one of the more memorable days I've had in a while. I'm a wanted criminal with a copy of Twilight. I can't help but wonder if there's some sort of link. Finally, I could see the house.

"Where've you been?" Max called from the front porch. As I came closer, she asked, "Damn. Did you get in a fight with a tree and lose?"

I looked at myself. Hmm, she was right. My clothes were all dirty and cut from my forest escapade, and there was a scratch through my jeans that you could see blood through. When had that happened? I guess my pain tolerance is higher than I thought. So really, chances are I'll be chopped in half one day and I'll just be all, 'Oh, my, what a curious tingling sensation!'

"It was a big tree," I answered sadly. "Mother Nature struck back."

"So Mom went out," she said, taking my bag from my as I climbed up the steps. "I have no idea where she is."

"Is she mad?" I asked, opening the door. The house smelled like gasoline and vanilla. (Just so you know, diary: never, ever let Gazzy cook.)

"Pissed."

"Always better pissed off than pissed on," I replied, sitting in one of the kitchen chairs. Max, who was still holding my messenger bag, starting to unzip it.

"What'd you sign out?" she asked curiously, peering in.

"NOTHING," I yelled, lunging for the bag. She held it behind her, teasing me with it. She was leaning against the counter, so I took the opportunity and pinned her there with one hand. We paused, locked in the embrace.

"Oh really? Why so possessive?" Something had changed. We weren't brother-and-sister Max and Fang. We were let's-get-hot-and-heavy Max and Fang.

"I tend to be possessive over the things I love most," I whispered, very aware of my hand on her waist. I leaned in. Her eyes were wide, she was breathing heavily, and her mouth opened up ever so subtly-

Closer…

Closer…

"Hey Fang, I'm glad your back, I sat on your laptop and no one can get it to turn on."

Iggy came stumbling into the kitchen, going straight to the fridge. Obviously, he had no idea of the position that Max and I were in. "And I think Gazzy ended up burning your favorite pair of jeans. I have no idea how he did it, but somehow his toast ended up on fire, and things went downhill from there…"

Max and I were frozen against each other in fear, not making a sound. Iggy looked up. "Fang? You okay?"

"Yeah," I breathed. He didn't know Max was there! "Um, it's okay about the laptop. And the jeans."

"Cool beans." He took out a can of soda and popped the tab. He took a long sip. "I'm off to bed."

"Night." I could barely speak.

"Night, Fang." He started to walk down the hallway. Halfway to our room, he paused. He didn't turn around, but I could hear the smile in his voice. "Night, Max."

Max and I stared at each other in horror. "He knew," she said softly.

I shook my head. We were so close my hair brushed against her forehead. "I don't think so. I think he was just trying to fake me out." But saying that didn't stop that horrible pit in my stomach.

Did Iggy know that I was in love with Max? And for that matter, did the rest of the Flock?

Well then.

This sort of sucks.

-Fang

11. August 11 2009

A/N- Actually, I'm in Ecuador right now on a volunteering trip. Kudos go to axisfiraga for uploading this from my account.

Reviewer of the Week:

Flyingtothestars: Give them back Twilight, Fang, it's all they want really.

Comment of the Week:

Dan Bergstein: Just as things are beginning to heat up between Bella and Jacob, Edward comes galloping into town on a white horse. He grabs Bella by the scruff of her neck and flings her onto his horse. Before charging away with the giddy, lovesick Bella, Edward looks back at Jacob and shouts, "Don't hate the player. Hate the game."

Axis' Notes:

Do you know why I'm so much cooler than all of you? I read this chapter DAYS before the public, and the chapter for the 19th as well. It's an honor to be capable of spamming Pho's account. Enjoy the chapter! (I certainly did.)


August 11, 2009

Dear Diary,

Do you have any idea what it's like to be a wanted criminal?

(Don't answer that question. I really don't want this diary to end up like Ginny Weasley's, since it tried to kill her.)

Anyways, it sucks royally. I haven't gotten a chance to tell this story yet, since Dr. M has pretty much assigned someone to be with me every hour of the day so I don't go out and 'murder the innocent people of Mesa'.

The day after I had gotten Twilight out of the library, someone knocked at the door. It was one of those ominous knocks that you hear in the middle of a stormy night, even if the weather was perfectly clear and sunny.

Max opened the door, although I could see from my position on the couch that there were five police officers there.

Huh. When you're a wanted criminal, five officers at your door have a rather…charming presence. I muffled my yell and rolled off the couch, hitting the floor. I listened to their conversation while my face was stuffed in the carpet. It smelled like Cheetos and wet dog.

Wait, how did the cops figure out I lived here? Or maybe…maybe they weren't cops at all…hmm…

Holy crap.

Iggy ordered his strippers.

"Is Ella Martinez here?" one of the officers asked.

Why would Iggy order strippers for Ella? It was a nice gesture and all, but wasn't she a little young? And I'm pretty sure Iggy would want the strippers all to himself.

But then again, four out of five of the cops were male. So unless Iggy's preferences had changed overnight, they were legit cops.

Oh, crap.

"Yes, sir," Max replied. I could hear the surprise in her voice. "One second please."

She disappeared down the hall, and I could hear the officers talking in low tones. I caught the words 'arrest', 'station', 'wanted' and 'bacon'. (Ella always made the best bacon out of all of us. It's a shame it would be her downfall.)

Three pairs of footsteps came down the hall, belonging to Max, Ella, and Dr. M, probably. I would have loved to have seen what was happening, but I didn't want to risk being seen.

Huh. There was a cockroach crawling into my vision…

"Can I help you, officers?" Dr. M asked.

Ew, that cockroach was getting close…

"We need to take your daughter in for questioning, m'am," one of the officers replied.

"What for?" Ella asked, starting to panic. "I didn't do anything!"

Damn cockroach was getting too close. With a rather final movement, I squashed him. I shook my head – I needed to concentrate on Ella, not on weird species that inhabit this planet for no reason other than to be killed.

"We have reason to believe you may have had a part in the assault of Antonio Rodriguez."

"What! Of course it wasn't me! It – it was…" Ella trailed off, and I suddenly realized that she couldn't say who it actually had been out of loyalty.

Uh-oh.

This was going downhill faster than Dudley Dursley rolling down a mountain.

Wow. What is with my life and all the Harry Potter references?

"Why do you think it was her?" Dr. M's unsteady voice asked. It sounded like she was bordering on tears. "We have that right."

"We had a report from a young girl saying she talked to a 'Nick' on the bus who matched the picture that was drawn by one of Antonio's friends," a female voice started.

"She said that Nick was going to the library. Once we showed the librarian Nick's picture, she immediately remembered his name – Ella Martinez. She said she remembered because it was such an odd name for a male. There's only one Ella Martinez in Mesa– and that's you. Naturally, we believe you may have some connection with the assault."

She stuttered. I felt horrible. She was in this position because I had grabbed the wrong library card. I mean, it was an innocent mistake. If I had pressed a large red button with 'DO NOT PRESS' on it, I could understand that something bad would happen.

"If you'll come with us, Miss?" I could hear some footsteps and the rustle of clothes.

"No!" Dr. M shouted.

"M'am, please do not obstruct the law."

Hmph. Cops actually say things like that? I thought Law and Order just made it up. "I'll go with her, then," Dr. M said.

"Of course," the cop answered.

"I'll – I'll just get my things," she said, and quickly ran down the hallway. She returned moments later, the keys attached to her purse jingling.

Dr. M said something to Max, but I missed it, seeing as another freaking cockroach launched out from under the couch and jumped on my face. My yell came out as, "Mrrmphhmph!"

"What was that?" one of the officers asked. I took great delight in flicking the cockroach into the wall, where it left a mark that looked remarkably like England. I felt immediately guilty afterwards.

"The dog," Max answered automatically. I take it the officer nodded or something, because he didn't reply. There were more footsteps, and the door closed rather gloomily.

We waited for the sound of tires moving against the gravel driveway. I counted down to Max's explosion…five…four…three…two…one…showtime.

"FANG!" she yelled, throwing herself over the couch. "YOU GOT ELLA ARRESTED, IDIOT."

"She wasn't arrested, she was brought in for questioning!" I said, standing up and brushing cockroach dust off of my jeans.

"You assaulted an un-armed teenager, you snuck out in the middle of the night, and you, you…I don't know what else you did but I bet it has something to do with why the national debt is so high!"

Max was beside herself. She never really spazzed at anyone, so this was a little new, to say the least.

"Max," I said calmly, "Breathe. Hum. Sing 'Hakuna Matata'. Take a chill pill."

She gave me one of her trademarked glares. "What should we do?"

She was asking me as the second-in-command of the Flock. I was tempted to say we should all head for Nevada and enjoy the nightlife, but I didn't think she'd appreciate it. "Let's see what happens."

"That's a stupid plan." She stretched out on the couch, closing her eyes and probably wishing she was in Tahiti with naked men handing her margaritas.

"Do you have a better one?" I hopped on the chair opposite her, near the TV. I was secretly hoping we could all jail-break Ella or something exciting.

"Not one that won't land us in prison by the end of the day."

"You say that like it's a bad thing."

"You are one messed up child."

"I will take that as a compliment."

We paused, not really wanting to keep up the bantering much longer. There's only so long we can go tête-à-tête without one of us exploding. "We really do have to wait," I said. "Rushing it would be stupid."

She looked at me pensively. (Diary, is it just me, or is my vocabulary growing exponentially? Heck, ex-po-nen-tial-ly is five syllables.) "That almost sounded mature."

I shrugged. "Hell just froze over, too." I paused, thinking over my words. "Okay, hypothetical situation: we do something like bust Ella out if she's arrested. Chances are I'll get caught, since half the population will recognize me within seconds as the next OJ Simpson. So really, we need a way to change that."

Max was staring off into outer space, apparently not listening. It's so good to know I'm appreciated around here. "Max?"

She didn't reply. "Max?"

Still, nothing. I decided to see how much she was zoned out.

"I'm sleeping with your mother and I secretly bang Total on the side."

"Hmmm," she responded. "Kinky."

I gave up. Clearly, she was having a Max Moment, in which she comes up with a brilliant plan to save the country/world/galaxy/universe. That's how she rolls.

Her eyes lit up. "I've got it!"

Told you.

"Well, Einstein, what's your plan?" I asked lightly, knowing full well this was probably going to be our course of action.

"I'll be right back," she said, vaulting off the couch and grabbing both her purse and a jacket. All in all, she was out of the house within five seconds of announcing that she had an idea. I shrugged to myself - after living with Max for most of my life, you sort of got used to these types of things.

Alright, then. I had the house to myself, since the rest of the Flock had opted to go out to the mall for the day. It was a blessing in disguise: it was the perfect chance to start reading Twilight.

I quickly got the book out from my bag, which had been buried deep, deeeep in my closet. If any of the Flock – namely, a blind mutant chef - found out that I was reading it, then toiling under Satan's coiled whip would be preferable over living with him.

The cover was of white hands holding an apple. Hmm. Covers of books should not make me hungry, but this one does.

I read the back of it – it doesn't give away much. I do know, however, that I already hate Bella Swan. She needs to grow some balls. (Figuratively, of course.) It seems that without Edward, she's just some whiny chick.

Settling on the couch, I read the prologue. It basically described that Bella was about to die at the hands of the 'Hunter'. Oh, my, that's ominous. If the villain is named the 'Hunter', than that is the crappiest villain name ever.

I was about to start the first chapter when the door burst open. "Guess what I've got!" Max yelled.

I jumped a mile and shoved Twilight under the couch. "A few pounds of marijuana?"

"Yeah, I got it half-off from that old-guy down the street." She rolled her eyes. She placed a bag from the local pharmacy on the counter. "Of course not, loser. I got something better."

"Cocaine?"

"At times like these, it's a wonder I have any semblance of sanity. No, not marijuana or cocaine or even heroin. Hair dye."

My heart dropped, knowing what she meant. "No. Absolutely not."

"Oh, come on!" she came over to me and put a hand on my shoulder, forcing my stomach on another roller-coaster ride. "Fang, it's the only way. If you dye your hair, you'll be harder to recognize. And it's temporary – it'll come out after ten washes."

"No!" I was honestly sort of angry. "First you cut it, and now this!"

She shrugged. "In a few days, all the hype will die down. But for now, we can't take any chances."

I sat in one of the chairs, knowing I was fighting a lost cause. "And what about Nudge?"

"Oh, that's easy. I can just straighten hers out."

I stared right at my hands. For some reason, knowing Max was going to dye my hair scared me more than the fact that I was going to die in a few months. I really need to sort out my life priorities.

"Ten washes?" So, a little over a week and it would come out, assuming I took a shower at least once a day. And seeing as I was not hygienically challenged, that wouldn't be a problem.

"Yes." Max seemed pleased, knowing I was giving in.

"What color?"

"Blonde."

"Ugh, seriously? Only Californians and Swedish people can pull of blonde. Well, I've seen a few others, but you know what I mean…"

She just looked at me, smiling. Why does Max always have to be right? Maybe once, just once, she could be wrong and the normal people (aka: me) wouldn't suffer for our choices.

"Fine."

She grinned. "Score!" Her face screwed itself into a serious expression as she grabbed the box of hair dye from the bag. "Welcome to Salon à la Max. Please follow me."

Suppressing my own smile, I followed her to the washroom. The door was kept open so we wouldn't pass out from any noxious fumes. "Please, have a seat on our specially-designed chair," she said, indicating the toilet. Putting down the lid, I did so.

She read over the box. "Oh. Never mind, I lied. Get in the shower."

"Clothes on or off?"

"Optional."

I looked at her. She was busy deftly opening the box and pouring out its contents. "Seriously?"

She didn't even bother to look up. "No, of course not. Just kneel at the edge of the bathtub so your head hangs over the edge."

I followed her instructions, even if the bathroom floor was far too cold for my tastes. I hung my head over the bathtub. "What now?"

I was answered by a stream of jet-cold water hitting my head, "Arrphmm!" I half-yelled, half-muffled. "What're doing?"

I managed to look up at her. She was mouthing the instructions on the box was also holding the shower head, pointing it directly on my face. "Following the lovely box's instructions. Is your hair soaked through?"

"I think my soul is soaked through," I answered as she shut off the water. I sat up, which was a mistake – the ice water ran right down over my shirt.

"Ack!" I shouted. Quickly, I stripped off my shirt and used the dry part to towel-dry my hair.

"What now?" I asked, glancing in the mirror. I wanted to take in my hair as long as I could before it would be…defiled. I met Max's eyes in the mirror. "What?"

"I never noticed. You have a nice chest."

Well, then.

Hot damn, that's a way to change the mood.

"I could say the same about you, but that'd be sexual harassment."

She blushed madly, and I almost –almost- did the same, seeing as that was the gutsiest thing I've ever said to her. And, with no one in the house, there would be no interruptions…

Her mouth opened and closed, as if she couldn't find just the right words for the situation. Finally, she said, "Bend down, I need to put this stuff in your hair."

I raised my eyebrow. "Bend down, or bend over?"

"Fang!" she admonished, punching me on the shoulder. And it wasn't one of those wussy punches, either. It was a punch that screamed, That was really funny but I can't admit it.

By now, she had this white gooey stuff in her hands. I was on my knees, and she straddled them as she started to work the white and foamy stuff into my hair. Her motions were smooth and soft.

"You know," I said, "I'm shirtless, you're straddling me, and we're alone. If someone were to take this out of context, we would be in some serious trouble." She shrugged, not taking her eyes off my hair. She was practically giving me a head massage…it felt so nice…

She straightened. "There. We leave it in for ten minutes and then wash it out." She stopped herself, as if she had just processed my last sentence. She then promptly ignored it.

For those ten minutes, we made awkward small talk. (So, what're your plans for tomorrow? Not much. You? Not much. Oh. Weather's nice. Yeah.)

Once I get into a serious conversation with Max, only the glory of the English language can express my emotions: Ajkawkneanaqljasfdml. (Also known as: I can no longer talk.) That's why I add sarcastic comments to most of our conversations. I can do humor. I can't do serious stuff. I had enough of that at the School.

Finally, Max deemed the stuff had been in my hair long enough. I washed out the foaming bubbles, and looked at myself in the mirror. I was...blonde. I was so shocked I had to take a step back.

Max opened her mouth, smiling. "Don't say it," I warned.

"Say what?"

"The comparison you were about to make. Don't make it, or you will open up a can of whoop-ass that you've never seen before."

She was biting her tongue. "What comparison? You mean, the one about how you are a dead ringer for -"

I cut her off. "Yeah," I said, striding out of the bathroom. "That one."

The rest of the afternoon was spent watching TV, waiting for a phone call from the police station. None came, and instead Max and I were forced to watch re-runs of Dora the Explorer. Well, we didn't have to watch it, but that show is strangely addictive. I can officially say three words in Spanish, now. Why yes, I am cool.

From outside came the sounds of footsteps and yelling; within seconds, the rest of the Flock barged in the house. Seeing me, they stopped in the doorway.

"Why is Draco Malfoy sitting on our couch?" Gazzy asked in a perfect, innocent voice.

Everyone burst into laughter, excepting Iggy of course. He just looked at me, his mouth full of a banana. "Wpmhat?"

Max answered. "Since Fang had to go get himself on a most-wanted list, we needed to disguise him. And what better way to hide him than to dye his hair? It's a shame we had to cut it before all this, but he looks pretty different now."

Nudge nodded solemnly. "He looks like he's about to cast Avada Kedavra."

"If I had a wand, I'd know where to shove it," I muttered, causing everyone to laugh again. We were all interrupted, though, by the door banging open once again. It was a distraught-looking Ella and Dr. M.

"How'd it go?" Max asked as the rest of the Flock looked on in confusion.

"They're placing Ella on probation, since she hardly said anything. We need to wait for a lawyer," Dr. M said. She got a glass of water and an Advil and downed them easily. "What happened to your hair?"

"Max," I answered simply.

"I'm sorry for being out of the loop," Iggy said, the banana completely gone by now, "But what happened to you two?"

"Long story short: Fang got Ella taken away by the cops," Max answered, amusement crawling along in her voice. She turned away from him. "Nudge, love, I need to straighten your hair."

Nudge frowned, but in the end, agreed. As everyone drifted away to do their own thing before dinner, I noticed Angel stayed behind in the family room. She was playing with a bracelet in her hand as she stood right in front of me. "Max's thoughts are very conflicted," she said slowly. "I thought you should know."

I was taken slightly off-guard. I wanted to get back to reading... "Conflicted about what?"

One corner of her mouth raised up. "I can't tell you, but it's pretty obvious. She – oh, that's interesting."

Hmm. If Angel found something interesting, chances are it wasn't good for me.

I was right.

She dived to the floor before I could stop her. She stuck a hand under the couch, fished around, and brought up my prized possession: Twilight. She was grinning like a maniac.

I sighed.

Busted.

-Fang

12. August 19 2009

A/N- Thanks go to axisfiraga once again, since I'm still in Ecuador. She's doing the Comment/Reviewer of the Week, since I obviously can't.

Axis' Notes:

Sorry I'm not as tank as Phoenix by uploading this at 12:00am like she usually does. I am not free to roam my domain at the early hours of the morning. First reviewer of the week was because I was happy how she mentioned yours truly, my far away flaming bird, and her very OWN life. This made me happy, and our second reviewer of the week becuase I really want to see a flying ferret. :3 Sorry for those of you who are back in school already! Best of luck!

It is italiziculifled, becuase they are much longer than usual. :D

ReviewerZ of the Week:

Jocelyn: You're lucky, axis. We poor readers have to wait until the 19th for more. Which coincidentally, is the day that school starts again. Now I have some kind of complex going on where I can't wait until 8/19 and How I am dreading it to come. I think This fan fiction overpowers the dread though. It made my day, and I wasn't having a good one. With school fees being paid and waiting to get schedules changed, then having a flat tire. But After I read this chapter I can say that today wasn't that bad after all. Hope Ecuador is fun, Pheonix. And I'm so jealous, Axis. :)

P.S. So Ella makes the best Bacon? No wonder why the flock stays at Dr.M's. I had always thought it was for the comfy beds and warm showers

.Poets:

So here's the question running through my mind: if Fang gets turned into a ferret like Malfoy, will he still have wings? haha, Fang: the amazing FLYING ferret take that Malfoy.

Anyway, this is officially the most random fanfiction I've read this summer, congrats.

Comment of the Week:

Axis' Fortune Cookie: You and you wife will be very happy together... (in bed).


August 19, 2009

Dear Diary,

Let me make myself clear: If it were legal in the United States, I would kill Angel.

Now, as I'm sure, that creates a most fascinating mental image. I'm sure it's a rather disturbing one, but she deserves it. Right after she'd found the book, we had quite the...interesting conversation.

"Huh," she said, looking the book over. I started towards her, but she pulled away. "Curious."

"Angel, please," I said, lowering my voice. "Someone could see."

Her face lit up. "So you don't want people to know?"

I resisted punching her, but just barely. "It was stashed under the couch. Of course not."

She started to pace through the family room. "So you don't want the Flock to know that you're reading about the immortal love of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, how time nor death can rip them apart, how eternity is but infinity in a single moment for them, how Edward's topaz eyes seem to dance as he gazes upon his forbidden lover, how-"

"Shut up! It's useful, okay? And how do you know so much about it?"

She gave me a look equivalent to Do you think I'm as stupid as you? "Of course I've read it."

Huh. I would've thought it would've been a little...advanced for her, seeing as most kids her age were still on See-Spot-Run books.

"I resent that," she said. "Twilight is actually very easy to read."

Oh, right, her little 'habit' of reading my mind. It's so easy to forget about that.

Lunging forward, I snatched the book from her hand. "Look," I said. "Please, please don't tell anyone. Okay?"

She cackled, which raised the hairs on my arm. "Sure, Fang. Sure."

Angel never let me live that day down. She didn't ever say anything to the Flock, but she was one step away from it. She took to whispering "Edward…Edward…" under her breath in what was an attempt at a lustful voice that actually sounded like someone was choking her.

She had also discovered the horrors that are puns. If we ate something spicy for dinner, she'd be the first person to say, "Wow, this has got some BITE." And afterwards, she'd corner me and whisper, "Sorry for the PUN-ishment."

Hell, I nearly jumped through the roof when I found gummy fangs in my bed at night. (I will shamefully admit that I ate them though. It's not like I'm going to pass up free candy.)

At least it's easier for me to read the book, now that I can read it whenever Angel's around. It's a pretty fast read, so I'm about three-quarters of the way through. So far, I've learned the following from the book:

In order to get girls, I must apparently:

1. Sparkle in the sun

2. Talk in a slightly old-fashioned way with a lack of contractions

3. Eat vegetarian

4. Have mortal enemies who happen to be werewolves

5. Be a complete and total pervert

So out of all of the above, I have none of them. Think about it:

1. I don't sparkle. Well, I'm sure glitter-paint would work…

2. I talk in slang. Y'all homedogs say WORD

3. Just…no

4. I have mortal enemies, but they aren't fuzzy and they don't howl at the moon

5. Well, I guess I have that one

The book itself is alright – there are a few too many adjectives for my taste – but I'm sort of mad at Bella. She's just so bloody dependant on Eddie-boy. I like Emmett, though. He's big, he's funny, and he's awesome. The world needs more Emmetts, not more sexually-repressed Bellas.

I was just finishing a chapter as Dr. M came storming into the house with Ella. Lately, Dr. M had only stormed in the house. She was the equivalent of the tornado that brought Dorthy away from Kansas. "I can't believe it!" she yelled. "I can't!"

"What's wrong?" Max asked. Within seconds, the Flock had gathered in the kitchen. I sat at the back of the kitchen on the counter, my back pressed uncomfortably against a cupboard. For some reason, I've had bad luck in choosing where I sit lately. First, the cockroaches, now the cupboard…

"Ella's under house arrest! The probation officer is going to come over tomorrow to attach the ankle bracelet!" Dark circles were under Dr. M's eyes – a fresh wave of guilt rolled through me, especially as I caught sight of Ella's crestfallen face.

"Seriously?" Nudge asked, eyes wide and leaning forward. I had known that for the past few days Dr. M and Ella had been regularly meeting with cops, but I never thought anything would actually happen. For fifteen years, I've never been caught by the cops, since we always had the option to move. But now…

Ella nodded slowly. "Yeah. I couldn't prove that I wasn't involved, so…"

"Ella, I'm so sorry," I said, honestly meaning it. It was entirely my fault…God, I was getting as masochistic as Edward. Also, I will completely admit I learned that word from Twilight.

She held up a hand, laughing slightly. "Fang, it's okay, really. It's only for two weeks."

I shook my head. "That doesn't make it okay – "

"You're right," Dr. M said, standing right in front me. Damn, she moves fast! Strands of hair were escaping the tight bun at the back of her head. "I expect you to stay with Ella this whole time, since technically, it should be you under house arrest. I hope you understand. Get it? Got it? Good."

The way she was talking to me was far too close to the way some asshole-adults have talked to me before. "Don't talk down to me," I said evenly. My hands closed at my side as I hopped down from the counter. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the Flock exchanging uneasy glances.

"And what if you deserve it?" she leaned in. Her eyes were wild, and for a brief moment, I actually felt afraid for the first time in a long, long time.

"I deserve it because I felt I needed to protect Nudge? I deserve it because I helped her? Then yeah, I deserve it."

"Fang," Max said in a low voice. "Out of line."

I barely heard her. I was locked in a staring contest with Dr. M. Finally, she sighed and backed off. She put a hand on my shoulder, not noticing my flinch. "I'm so sorry, Fang. I'm just really stressed."

"Of course," I said slowly. "I'm sorry, too."

But I wasn't. Not at all.

Dr. M faced the rest of the Flock, her back to me. What's she thinking? I asked Angel, momentarily forgetting that she was Mortal Enemy One for her Twilight shenanigans.

She responded after a brief pause. She feels bad.

What else?

She didn't get a chance to respond, since Dr. M suddenly said, "Hey, Angel, I need your opinion on something…" and dragged her off to Dr. M's room. As soon as I heard the door shut, I went to my room as well, seeing as I couldn't really deal with the Flock at the moment.

I stayed there a while – a few hours, maybe, trying to cheer myself up. I failed miserably, seeing as contemplating why your last fight was with your semi-adoptive mother was not conductive to life happiness. Why is it that once you're depressed, you can't get back out? It sucks as much as a vampire. (SEE? Angel is rubbing off on me! Ughh…)

Eventually, there was a knock on the door. "Yeah?"

"It's my room," Iggy drawled, "So I shouldn't have to knock. But I thought you'd appreciate it."

"Thanks," I said as he walked in and sat on the bunk right below my own. I was staring at the ceiling. (For future reference: an excellent waste of time.)

"You need cheering up," he said, his voice light.

"Meh."

Iggy clicked his tongue. "Well, I would suggest we all belt out some LoveGame lyrics, but I don't think you'd respond too well to that."

I snorted, going with the flow. I might as well. "Let's have some fun-"

"This beat is sick-"

"I wanna take a ride-"

"On your disco stick!"

Wow...

You know, I think the above conversation shows just how much society has degenerated over the ages.

"Damn," I said lethargically. "That was so pathetic of us."

Iggy nodded vehemently. For a brief moment, I was almost overcome with emotions – Iggy had this crazy way of making people feel better without knowing it. (Ugh. Emotions. Just the word is banned in the Man Universe.)

"Thank you, Iggy," I said.

He didn't say anything. I was about to repeat myself when he suddenly said, "Bacon is edible sex."

You know, maybe I need hearing aids. That would explain a lot of problems.

"You know, Iggy, that takes the cake for the most random comment I have ever heard in my entire life. So why exactly are you thinking of bacon – and edible sex, for that matter?"

The dark curtains in the room were drawn, so I couldn't see his reaction, but I heard the bed springs creak. "I was thinking of what could cheer you up. Naturally, I thought of sex, bacon, and cake."

I thought about it. "You are a very simple person."

The bed creaked even more as he laughed. "I never said I wasn't."

We didn't speak for a moment. After five minutes of comfortable silence, Iggy said, "I think lunch is ready."

"How do you know?" I couldn't hear anything from the kitchen, and there weren't any smells drifting into the room.

"You know how Spider Man has spidey senses? My food senses are tingling. Let's go." He got out of his bed as I crawled down the ladder the floor.

As we walked down the hallway, I saw that Iggy, somehow, had been correct: Max was placing sandwiches on the table as we arrived in the kitchen. Gazzy and Nudge sat at the table already, heads together and whispering conspiratorially.

Max looked up, surprised to see us. "How did you know it was ready?" she asked.

I pointed to Iggy. "Maybe it's a new power?" I asked. He just smirked as he annihilated half of his BLT in one bite.

"The power to know when food is ready," he said between bites. He nodded approvingly. "Damn. If that's not life-saving, I don't know what is."

Max smiled, but it suddenly turned into a frown as she thought about something. "Hey, have you seen Angel or Mom?"

I shook my head. "No, but I've been in my room for the past while. Sorry."

Max exhaled. "About that, Fang. Look, I'm sorry-"

I held up a hand. I noticed that Gazzy stood up, his full plate in his hands, and started walking towards us. "It's okay, Max. It's in the past; let's not worry about it, okay? Let's just move on."

She looked at me inquisitively, but smiled. "Sure thing. You know, we should- Gazzy, Jesus!"

I was confused as to why Gazzy and Jesus were suddenly the same person when I felt something wet and slimy all over my hair. With a start, I realized it was a slice of tomato as I felt the gooey mush with my fingers. Gazzy, who was on the floor, looked up at me, unrepentant. "Sorry, Fang," he said. "I tripped."

"And you just happened to manage to get your sandwich all over me?" Indeed, he had done a good job. I was officially a walking garbage can. A piece of buttered bread stuck to my shirt, and various forms of vegetables were sliding down my clothes.

"Huh," he said. "Look at that."

I knew I should have been more careful, since he was obviously planning something. However, the thought didn't even cross my mind that it'd be anything overly bad.

How wrong I was…

"I'll be in the shower," I said, noticing Nudge was giggling far too much to be normal. Well, normal for Nudge, anyways. I pointed two fingers at my eyes, then back at Gazzy and Nudge. "I'll be watching you," I said forebodingly.

It didn't take me long to grab new clothes –all of my clothes are pretty much the same - and hop in the shower.

As I shampooed my hair, I couldn't help but think about Dr. M this morning. She seemed way off, as if she hadn't gotten her coffee this morning or something. But I'm not sure if even a lack of caffeine could have caused her to act so differently. Well, I wouldn't know. Nudge has recently gotten addicted to coffee, and when she doesn't get it – well, you'd better watch out.

I got out of the shower quickly, dressed, and started back to the kitchen, seeing as that was usually where all the action was. No one was there, though, so I amused myself for a few minutes by picturing that shot-gun wedding in Vegas with Max. That would be so cool…

"Fang?" Max asked slowly. She had just come in from outside, her hair skewered all over the place. Her eyes were locked on the top of my head. Did I have a massive pimple or zit or something there?

"Yeah?" I asked, angling myself slightly so that whatever she was looking at wasn't so apparent.

"What happened to your hair?"

That was a marvelously strange question, considering the circumstances. "You happened to my hair."

She shook her head. "No, I turned it blonde. Why is it…green?"

I froze.

"What?"

She snorted, biting her lip at the same time in a move of extraordinary grace. "Never mind."

"What do you mean?" I called behind myself as I sprinted down the hallway to the bathroom. I pounded on the doorway, slightly frantic. Not my hair, not my hair, not my hair…

"Gimme a second!" Iggy yelled from behind the doorway. He must have gone in there while I had been in my daydream world. "God, can't a guy do anything alone anymore?"

I had a curious look on my face as he opened the door moments later. "What?" he asked, sensing I was just standing there.

I was going to ask what he'd been doing, since he had answered in such a strange way, but I dropped it. "It's nothing. Let me through."

He moved out of the way, holding his hands up. I rushed through. "Someone's in a hurry," he commented dryly. I ignored him.

And as I caught sight of myself in the mirror, I yelled in frustration.

My hair…

Lime-green.

Words…fail me.

"HEADS WILL ROLL," I bellowed, moving into the hallway. I immediately recalled Gazzy and Nudge, their heads bent together. "Gazzy, Nudge, front and center, now!"

Other than Iggy snorting behind me and Max laughing her ass off in the family room, there weren't any other voices or sounds in the house. "Where are they?" I said in my best death-voice.

"Surprisingly enough," Max answered calmly, "They went out. I wonder why."

"The shampoo…" I said softly, figuring it out. Although with some hair dye you needed to leave it in for a while, other high-end products could do the job with just rubbing it with running water. That was what they had been planning… "The conditioner, too…"

I clenched my fists together, trying to get my anger together. It wasn't a big deal. It was just my hair. It would come out eventually…eventually…

Oh, screw it.

THEY MESSED WITH MY HAIR.

I like black hair. I don't want to look like Harry Potter or Chace Crawford or Draco Malfoy or someone from Sesame Street. I want to look like me.

Luckily for me, the dye hadn't been in long. I jumped in the shower, clothes still on - I could deal with them later. I vigorously scrubbed my head, watching the green fall out of my hair and swirl down the drain. I stayed in for ten minutes until it looked like I had gotten most of the dye out.

Stepping out of the shower, I realized my other mistake: I didn't have a towel. Luckily I was still in my clothes, but seeing as said clothes were soaking and sticking to me, it was mightily uncomfortable. I caught sight of myself in the steamed mirror: I looked a drowned rat come back from the dead. My hair was once again blonde, but there was a definite green tinge.

I didn't have a choice: I stepped out of the bathroom, only to have a bright, flashing light go off.

"Perfect!" Gazzy's voice rang out. "Excellent! The framing on that picture was perfect...God, he looks like a deer in the headlights."

"Gazzy!" I yelled, blinking away the spots in my eyes. In one swift movement, I ran over to him and scooped him up, trying to get him as wet as possible. He didn't seem angry at my half-ass attempt at revenge - he was too busy laughing.

"So priceless," he said. "So, so priceless." He looked up at my murderous face. "Hey, Fang, you don't look good. You know, sort of green..."

I bent down to whisper, "You are a dead man walking." He just snorted, writhing in my arms still. I set him down, since he was surprisingly heavy.

"Did you eat bricks for breakfast?" I asked, shaking out my arms. "You're heavy, man."

He shrugged. "I'm a growing man. I think-"

Suddenly, there was a pounding at the door. From across the house, I could see Max look over her shoulder and gesture for me to disappear. I quickly jumped into my room, Gazzy going down the hall to greet the police officers who had come to give Ella the ankle bracelet for her house arrest. So here I am, listening to far-away voices explaining the rules of the bracelet.

If only Max and I were under house arrest together - maybe something could finally happen.

Maybe.

-Fang

13. August 31 2009

A/N- So I'm back from Ecuador! Thanks again to axisfiraga and all of her help.

Note: If you just feel like chatting, drop me a PM or an email. Believe it or not, I'm a real-life person. (SHOCKING, I KNOW.)

I start school tomorrow, so my chapters will most likely be every Friday or Saturday.

Reviewer of the Week:

Kina Kalamari: You add 'in bed' to your fortune cookies too? Interesting...My mom got one about good equipment or something like that, which of course was downright hilarious when you added the 'in bed'.

Comments of the Week:

A chaperone, as we were chasing alpacas across Ecuadorian tundra: Right now, we need a really good spear.

A person on the Ecuador trip: I THINK I JUST KILLED LIZ.


August 31, 2009

Dear Diary,

Did you know the state of Arizona has capital punishment?

Luckily, I'm a minor, so I'll probably just go to juvie or something. The death of Gazzy and Iggy would be completely worth it. I know I've joked a lot about how I'm going to kill the two of them, but I've never really meant it.

That is, until now.

Do you want to know how I woke up this morning?

Naked.

That's right, one-hundred-percent clothed in nothing but my birthday suit. Naturally, I had some pretty weird thoughts running around my head at the time of this discovery.

One: Gazzy and Iggy weren't in the room.

Two: I'm one hell of a light sleeper, and I didn't wake up

Three: There wasn't anything in the room that could cover me

Let me elaborate on the third point: there wasn't a single bedspread in the room, or even a sheet. I woke up on my side, shivering, with my wings wrapped around me.

I recalled my entire night, but I had slept soundly. I mean, I would've been more paranoid if, say, Max had been beside me while I had woken up, but chances are I would've at least been satisfied.

Random thought: is sex even possible for bird-kids? I would just imagine it to be…uncomfortable. You know, lumpy. ("Oh, Fang, that feels so wonderful! But darling, could you move your wing to the left just a tad, it's digging into my hip…")

But back to my horror story: I was naked, freezing, and worse, hungry.

It was then I noticed a small piece of paper taped to the headboard of the bed. I tore it off quickly and read it.

Hey Fang, good morning! So here's the thing – you supposed to die in a few months, which sucks like hell. But we're not going to let you wallow in self-pity for the next while. We've had some good pranks laid out for the next year, but naturally enough, we're going to have to condense them. So basically, what we're trying to say is, you're naked right now, buddy. Go check your closet – don't worry, we left you some clothes. We're not that mean.

See you later!

Sincerely, your BFFs

Okay, then.

Their pranks sure were going downhill – why was getting me naked so bad? It's not really embarrassing, since I was unconscious as they stripped me down. It's just weird and creepy. I quickly maneuvered myself down the ladder and jumped the last few rungs to the floor. I went over to the closet to grab some clothes, which is when I realized Gazzy and Iggy's true plan.

They had left some of my clothes.

But they'd modified them.

Basically, there wasn't a single T-shirt, sweater, or jacket in the closet. There were, however, shorts.

Short-shorts.

"What the hell?" I cursed to myself as I picked up a pair. I noticed that the hem of the short was frayed, as if…as if it had been…cut…

They had turned all of my jeans into short-shorts.

All of them.

"YOU ARE GOING TO DIE," I roared, pounding on the door. I heard giggles and snorts of laughter from behind it. "GIVE ME SOMETHING TO WEAR," I yelled, my fists starting to really hurt. Eventually, I stopped.

You know how at some points in your life, you have to choose between two evils? Here were my choices:

1. Find Gazzy and Iggy and kill them while naked

2. Find Gazzy and Iggy and kill them while wearing short-shorts

And please, let me clarify. These weren't the shorts that gave the eighties a bad reputation. No, these were the modern-day short-shorts that Paris Hilton wannabies wear with half their ass hanging out, thinking that it's 'hot'.

I was this close to choosing the first option, but sheer modesty demanded that I put on the remnants of my poor, poor jeans. At least the hem was cut nicely. There was absolutely nothing else in the room to cover myself with – Gazzy and Iggy had stripped the room bare. There wasn't a single blanket, pillow, poster, or handy crotch-sized textbook. Everything was empty and blank. Grimacing, I slid on the shorts.

I wanted to crawl in a hole and die.

What option did I have, really? I'm Fang, the emotionless brick wall. Nobody mocks me and lives. Nobody catches me off guard. And sure as hell, no one makes me wear short-shorts.

Well, that's to say, except Gazzy and Iggy, because they're…Gazzy and Iggy. There's no adjective that can describe them adequately. (Believe me, I've tried finding one. But evil, conniving, brilliant, diabolical and scheming don't seem to do them justice. You should've seen what they did with an old refrigerator, a pound of bacon, nail polish remover and a copy of George Bush's autobiography. The fallout lasted for days.)

Anyways, back to the situation at hand: maybe, just maybe, I would discover that I was a wizard and figure out how to teleport myself to Sweden within the next minute.

But sadly, J.K. Rowling isn't writing my life story, and no magic powers suddenly appeared. Damn. Why couldn't the scientists at Itex be all, "Hey, we should give this kid to teleport himself to Sweden so that's he's never in a position where, say, he has to wear short-shorts."

No, they had to give me wings.

Way to be, Itex. Way to be.

Alright. I needed a plan of action. Basically, I would just boot it down to the family room, where blankets were always lying around. After that, Gazzy and Iggy could start digging their own graves.

I took a deep breath, something Oprah says to do when faced with a stressful situation. (My secret shame: I watch Oprah episodes online. Where do you think all my sage wisdom comes from?)

One breathe in, one breath out. Damn, my wings were shaking I was so cold.

One breathe in, one breathe out. The shorts were completely riding up into my crotch and giving me some serious chafing issues. Just so you know.

One breathe in, one breathe out. Jesus, I could go for McDonalds. Specifically a Happy Meal. With a toy. Don't judge me.

And just like that, I whipped open the door, ready to punch the face off the first person I saw. But the hallway was completely empty. No one was there.

That was disappointingly anti-climatic.

Haha, no one would see me! I restrained my shout of triumph, since men don't shout for anything, unless it's for a second helping of meat. I sprinted down the hallway, running at full speed. No one was in the kitchen, either! Oh, this was so –

Crap. Crap with sprinkles and little decorative cherries on top.

I guess now is an okay time to mention that Dr. M's book club meets at the house on the last day of the month.

Twenty-four women from all ages and professions father to read smart, intelligent novels – and to see me in short-shorts, as a bonus. Oh, and I guess the wings were rather unusual, too.

Although a healthy amount of chatter had been going on, it all stopped as they took in the small amount of fabric that could've barely dressed Barbie.

"Fang?" Dr. M asked, standing. She was stuck between laughing and looking appalled.

"His name's Fang?" an elderly lady asked. Eww, she was drooling out of the corner of her mouth. "That makes sense – he could take a bite out of me!"

"Agnes, please," another women reprimanded. Her hairstyle hadn't changed in the past five decades. "Keep it in your pants."

I was horrified, but quickly went into Fang-mode. "Hey, Dr. M," I said, trying to sound as if wearing short-shorts and walking around half-naked (with wings!) was a perfectly normal pastime. "Aren't these wings realistic-looking? The drama department is going to be so thrilled."

Dr. M nodded vacantly. "Well done, Fang. How much glue did you use?"

"Tons," I said. "But I got it all over my jeans, so I had to…tear them…off?"

Well. That went downhill fast. Excellent job, Fang. Excellent.

"Right," Dr. M said, still not really understanding. "You should probably run those wings over to the school, then. I know the drama department is itching to get started on taking stock of their props, since school starts soon."

"Yeah," I said gratefully, glad she was giving me a way out. I turned to the book club. "Ladies, have an excellent day."

"It'd be better if you'd stay around, Fang!" Agnes-the-horny-old-lady said. When she said my name, she did it with a bit of a growl. "I'll be waiting."

She officially tops my list of Top Ten People I Never Want to Meet Again. And that list includes every single villain I've come across and the asshole who served me at Subway the other day.

I quickly made my way over to the coat rack, where one of my jackets (thankyouthankyouthankGod) was hanging. I slung it on, feeling less self-conscious. "Bye!" I called amiably over to the women, who were still staring at me, and left the house, whistling.

I cut off the tune as soon as the door shut behind me, since standing right there were Gazzy and Iggy, camera in hand. The rest of the Flock was right behind them, laughing hysterically.

"Nice legs, Fang!" Nudge said in between tears. "No wonder you've got so many fans on your blog!"

"You should see the picture we got," Gazzy said, holding his stomach and waving the camera. "He looks like he's posing or something."

"The eighties called," Iggy shot in, "They want their short-shorts back."

I looked over at Max to see what her reaction was, but she was just laughing, not saying anything. Is it weird that I want to know what she thinks of my legs? I mean, I wear shorts (regular, non-scarring ones) sometimes…well, maybe a few years ago was the last time I wore them…

But before they could say anything else, I launched myself at Gazzy, who wasn't expecting it. In what could only be described as a brilliant tackle, I knocked him clear off his feet and we went flying a few yards, landing in a rising mound of dust.

"Give…me…the…camera!" I managed to wheeze out in between punches, which he was dodging with accuracy, even though he was laughing like crazy. I had him pinned to the ground.

"Never!" he yelled, kneeing me in the stomach. For the record: it felt like a bulldozer hit me, since he had a clear shot. He scrambled out from beneath me, and before I could stop him, his wings suddenly burst out and he jumped into the air.

"Gazzy!" I yelled, spreading my own wings. "There're people nearby!"

I knew he could hear me, but he just kept flying. Stupid kid…

"You do realize you're going to have to go get him?" Max asked, watching Gazzy disappear rapidly. She spread her own wings and crouched, ready for a takeoff. "It's a game to him. Go on, play along."

I sighed, glancing back at the window to the house. No one was looking out, so I took the opportunity to launch into the air. I was surprised to find something cold against my neck – it was the one half of the stone necklace that I always wore, but I hadn't ever worn it while flying yet. It felt nice…comforting, almost. Normally I didn't even notice I had it on.

My wings beat rapidly as I shot straight up. I had to admit, it felt nice – the morning air was cool up here, and I hadn't been flying recently. Still, it was a little chilly against my legs (WHICH SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN EXPOSED).

"Come here!" I yelled over the wind. Gazzy looked back, grinning like a fool.

"What do you want?" he asked, flipping backwards and coming to a stop. I quickly caught up, so that after a few moments, we were hovering a few feet away from each other. We were at least a few hundred feet up, so there was no way we'd attract any attention.

"The camera," I said simply, putting a hand out. He smiled as he threw it up and down repeatedly, catching it neatly each time.

"There are some genius pictures in here," he said, very content with the situation. "But, if you really want it…"

And just like that, he whipped the camera downwards, into the sky. I gaped for a second –that was a digital camera! – but I quickly pivoted and chased after it.

It didn't take too long to catch up to it. I snatched it tidily out of the air, and I stretched my wings out, slowing. I took the camera, pressed the power button, and switched it over to the 'view' mode.

To my surprise, there was only one picture: it was of the Flock. All of them were smiling and giving the thumbs up – the sign between them all read 'WRONG CAMERA'.

UGGGGHHHHH.

Damn. All that effort…

I could hear Gazzy laughing above me, as well as four others below – by now, the rest of the Flock had joined us.

"So where's the real camera?" I asked, hands on my hips. This was actually quite a bit of fun, even it was all craziness. (Or is it spelled crazyness? This stupid diary doesn't have SpellCheck.)

"Right here," Max said, taking it out of her pocket. She flashed the silver camera. "You want it?"

"Yeah," I said, not sure if I was talking about the camera. "Can you give it to me?"

She laughed, the heavy wind tossing her hair back. "You've got to get it."

Right as I blinked, she blasted away in typical Max fashion. I grinned, glad I had chased after Gazzy in the first place.

Leaving the Flock laughing behind me, I chased after her, grinning in a marvelous Cheshire cat impersonation. She did a few swirls and loops to slow down, but as soon as I'd catch up, she'd use a burst of speed and get out of my reach.

"If you give me the camera, everything will be so much easier!" I called out. "World hunger will stop, nuclear weapon production will cease, and Miley Cyrus will stop singing! We'll all be saved!"

She laughed. "Is it just the camera you want?" she yelled, the wind hurtling the words back at me. We were going so fast, tears had started to well up in my eyes. It hurt to have them open.

She stopped quickly, leaving me to almost ram right into her. I only managed to stop an inch away from her. Up here, we were in the clouds. Drops of moisture were clinging to both of us.

"Thanks for playing along," Max breathed out. We were so close… "Gazzy is hurting more than you know over you're expiration date. He really just wants your attention for…for as long as you're around."

"He's a sweet kid," I said. Both of us were breathing heavily from the fast flight. Our noses were almost touching.

"I think all of us are hurting," she continued, closing her eyes. "We just take it in different ways."

My stomach dropped to my feet. "All?" I emphasized.

She nodded, opening her eyes. "All."

And just like that, I wrapped my arms around her in a massive hug. And during next June, when I'm dying, I'm going to remember today as one of the most emotionally-powerful days of my life.

It was just so perfect: both of us alone, in the clouds, our wings beating in perfect harmony. Our faces and clothes were soaked with moisture, with little beads of water running down ourselves. We were freezing –the temperature was definitely below freezing – but I've never been so warm in my life.

Yes, I could have kissed her. But that wouldn't have fit: it would've been perfect bliss for a few moments, but the awkwardness after would be deadly.

We stayed there for at least a solid two minutes. Finally, I heard shouts of laughter from below us, and we began to untangle ourselves.

Angel burst into my vision, tendrils of clouds wrapping around her. "Hey! So who's got the camera?" she asked, her curls floating away.

Oh, right. The camera. It wasn't the most important thing on my mind…

"I do," Max said, taking it out of her pocket. "And Fang is certainly not getting his hands on it."

I groaned, mainly for show, since the rest of the Flock had arrived. "Really, Max? Really? You'd do that?"

She nodded. "Most definitely. Now come on, let's get home – I haven't eaten breakfast yet."

"I would love to do that," I drawled. "But I've got several problems. First, Agnes-the-horny-old-lady is at the house, and she's ready to jump me. Second, I don't have any clothes."

"Actually, the book club just ended," Nudge said, glancing at her watch. "But Agnes might be there, you know, staking out the house or something."

"And second, we only cut up your jeans, since they were really ratty. Mom went out and bought some new ones. The rest of your clothes –and all of your furniture, really- is in my room," Max explained.

I was relieved at the prospect of having clothes, but there was a pronoun problem in the previous sentence. "We only cut up your jeans?"

"We couldn't let Gazzy and Iggy have all the fun," Nudge explained, smiling.

"I had the honor of cutting them. Notice how straight the hem is," Max added. (Is it weird that I had indeed noticed how straight the hem is? Please refer to a paragraph near the beginning of this entry.)

"Indeed, they are rather stylish," I said sarcastically. Max just laughed.

"Come on!" she yelled, and went into a dive, her wings streamlining behind her. I followed, almost catching up by the time we landed near the outskirts of the forest.

The rest of the day was spent putting my room back together. Apparently, Gazzy and Iggy had pulled an all-nighter trying to get me out of my clothes. Over the course of nine hours, they'd cut most of my clothes right off my body. They specifically said that when they got to my 'underwear area' they were 'very careful with the knife' and that they 'didn't see nothin'".

Also, Max and I never talked about the hug.

But honestly, I wish we'd had. Because then, I might get another.

-Fang

14. September 5 2009

A/N- The world needs more books like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

A note on slang: "Sick" means cool, or awesome, and "sketchy" means creepy. I'm not sure how popular the terms are outside of North America.

Reviewer of the Week:

Miss Stud: So, IMPORTANT QUESTION: is Fang going to take advantage of poor Agnes-the-horny-old-lady to make Max jealous?

Comment of the Week:

Tracy Morgan, on 30 Rock: Live every week like its Shark Week!


September 5th, 2009

Dear Diary,

A word to the wise: if Max has an idea, I would recommend running in the opposite direction, hiding under a table, and hoping that she doesn't notice.

Let me elaborate: most of Max's plans involve a potential loss of life, running away, killing a whole bunch of guys that walked out of Alien vs. Predator, and doing more dumpster diving than the average American hobo. Unfortunately, Max's plans are usually the only way to get something done.

I was sitting in my room, contemplating on whether or not to read New Moon, the second part of the 'Twilight saga'. (How is it a saga? Lord of the Rings – now that's a saga, with intense battle scenes, powerful characters and an epic plot. But a girl falling in love with a vampire… that's a series, not a saga. Learn the difference, young grasshopper.)

I didn't know if it was worth the time to read it. However, I've heard there's werewolves in it – how freaking sick would it be to read about vampires and werewolves going at it and trying to rip each other limb to limb? The vampires would be all, "HISSSSS" and the werewolves would be all, "RAWWRRR" and the readers would be all, "GASSSPPPP!"

Awesome, I know. I might as well try reading it.

At this point, Max barged into the room, the door banging off the wall and rebounding a little. Her eyes were ablaze. "I've got a plan," she said.

When Max says "I've got a plan," she's really saying, "Unless you've got something better, this is what we're doing, so shut up and listen."

"Does it involve European clubbing?" I asked, looking hopeful.

She cast my comment off with one of those 'you're an idiot' looks. "No, that's next week's plan. But we are going to be travelling, so pack your bags."

I frowned. Moving was always a pain. "Where to? Please tell me it involves five-star tourist resorts with abnormally hot people running around having hot sex on the beach under the glittering stars with the whispering breeze carrying the memories of yesterday."

She blinked. "There were a lot of adjectives in that sentence. Sounds like someone's been reading Twilight."

DID ANGEL TELL?

But Max continued on, blissfully unaware of my panicky heart rate and sweaty palms. "But, in answer to your inquiry, we are going to a place that involves five-star tourist resorts with abnormally hot people running around having hot sex on the beach under the glittering stars with the whispering breeze carrying the memories of yesterday." She took a deep breath, having said that all in one sentence. Actually, I was impressed she remembered it all.

I turned my head, working out a kink in my neck. I couldn't help but picture a semi-naked Max and I reclining on beach chairs, sipping margaritas and laughing like those people in tourism commercials. "Seriously?"

She nodded. "Seriously."

I leaned back against the chair I was sitting in. "Don't keep me in suspense. Where to?"

Since she'd been leaning on the doorway this whole time, she took the opportunity to lazily walk in and stretch out on Iggy's bed behind me. "Guess."

"Bahamas."

"Nope."

"Paris."

"Nope."

"The Vatican."

"No, but I hear that's the place to be when the sun goes down. Think in this country."

"Uh, Iowa?"

She sighed. "No. California."

Hmm. Personally, I didn't like where this was going. Sure, California is great –any state run by the Terminator is pretty badass- but we were usually only there to, oh, I don't know, be subjected to thousands of different tests and experiments. All I'm saying is that I'd rather vacation in the Yukon.

"Anywhere…specific?" I asked. "How about Venice Beach? I liked Venice Beach."

She smirked. "I know you did."

See, there had been this incident where we'd all been in Venice Beach, and Gazzy, Iggy and I had been rating girls…and things had gone downhill from there.

Max kept on talking. "Actually, I was thinking Death Valley."

Diary: where would you want to go? Death Valley or Venice Beach? I don't know, the decision is pretty tough…

I didn't really know what to say. "I think I know where you're going with this."

She nodded, staring at the ceiling. "Fang, we can't just wait for you to die. We've got to do something. It's been killing me, sitting around for so long. We need to go back and re-trace our steps, starting at square one."

I knew she was right. "The kids will hate it."

"Hate what?" Gazzy interrupted. The four remaining members of the Flock had appeared at the doorway, wearing various facial expressions that ranged from confusion to slight anger.

Max breathed out heavily from her nose. "We need to go back to Death Valley."

No one reacted. "I know what you're thinking," she continued. "But we need to help save Fang. I was thinking that if we went back to Death Valley, where Itex used to be, then we may be able to, you know, do something."

"They could at least have named it something…less morbid," Angel said dryly. "Like Unicorn Valley."

"But what would we do in…Death…or, er… Unicorn Valley?" Iggy asked.

Max shrugged. "Anything. There's got to be something…we can't just wait and do nothing. There's got to be some remnants of Itex."

The four of them exchanged glances (well, three of them did, Iggy just stared ahead) and nodded. "How long will we be gone?" Nudge asked.

"Well," Max started, "I was thinking around a month, but we can always come back early, since it's not that far of a flight. We just need to cut over Nevada. And I was thinking of leaving today – you know, the earlier we leave, the more time we'll have."

Nudge smiled. "Okay."

Nudge and Angel left to go to their room, while Gazzy and Iggy walked in and immediately started to pull clothes from hangers. Max opened and closed her mouth, trying to say something, but she eventually just paused and walked out of the room.

Within ten minutes, we were all packed and ready. Normally we didn't have any time to pack, so it was a bit of a new experience. Max had stressed that we weren't leaving Dr. M's house –this was more of a temporary excursion, and that we'd be back by the end of the month.

I opted to leave you, Diary, at home, since most of the stuff we take with us tends to disappear. Before Gazzy and Iggy could tear apart the room, I stuffed you under the couch in the family room, where no one ever looks. Sorry… (It is so weird I'm apologizing to you.)

"You're sure you have to go?" Ella asked tearfully once we had all assembled in the kitchen. I love Ella – I had nearly gotten her arrested, but she was still sad to see us go. By now, her ankle bracelet was off and she had been released from probation.

Max nodded sadly, and turned to Dr. M. "We've got enough food and money to last us until October, and I'll try to call or email when I can."

Dr. M came in for a hug. "Can't I just drive you there? Or get train tickets? And why do you even have to go back there?" Dr. M and Ella didn't know about my little…problem.

"We can get there faster," she replied. "And we need to go there."

Dr. M just looked on solemnly. She was good at not asking too many questions. "Keep me updated."

And just like that, we walked out of the door. None of us really wanted to leave, but it was necessary. The kids weren't even complaining.

Without looking back, we walked towards the forest. Right when we hit the edge, we turned around to wave at Dr. M, Ella, and Total, who had elected to stay behind this one time, citing something about wanting to sleep under a roof.

"So I guess this means no bacon for the next month," Iggy sighed, his shoulders down. We were tramping into the forest, looking for a clearing. "Fang isn't even going to get excited any more."

It was a shame he couldn't see my Glare of Destiny©. Gazzy just giggled.

"What do you mean?" Nudge asked. "Ew," she added, flicking off a spider that had landed on her arm.

"Oh, nothing," Iggy replied in a singsong voice. Suddenly, he paused in his tracks, and held a hand up. We all stopped dead and quieted our breathing.

See, when Iggy stops, it's usually since he's picking up something we're not. My senses went from chilling-in-a-forest to pay-attention-or-die.

Okay, senses check.

Touch: Clothes on body, weight on shoulders from backpack. I wish I could be holding Max's soft, supple hand…

Taste: Leftover cereal in mouth, stuck in teeth. I wonder what Max tastes like.

Smell: Rotting leaves, etc. Max doesn't use perfume, she doesn't need it. If I want to be creepy like Edward, I'd say she smells like Tide mixed with lemon.

Hearing: Birds chirping in distance, some trees moving with the breeze. Max's voice has such a nice melody.

Sight: The Flock, trees, and the barely-there path we've been hacking through. Max's curves look so nice through her T-shirt.

So all in all, nothing dangerous.

Which is exactly when Max launched at me, effectively tackling me to the ground.

I skidded against the dirt and whammed my head into an inconveniently-placed trunk of a tree. See, in any other circumstance, I would've been thrilled that Max had just jumped me. But being jumped in the middle of a dark forest isn't the same as being jumped in a dark room. Just saying.

"Whawazafor?" I croaked, my head spinning. It felt like a brain freeze, multiplied by a billion.

Max didn't answer, since the trunk we were leaning against effectively exploded, and having a tree explode right behind you isn't very conductive to starting a conversation. We both threw our heads to the ground and covered them with our hands as with a huge groan, the remainder of the tree snapped in half and fell over.

It didn't take very long to figure out that if Max hadn't done her NFL-approved tackle, that tree would've been me. Not only can that girl make one mean grilled cheese sandwich, she goes and saves my life in the same breath.

Everything happened quickly. Real-life action isn't like the movies: reality doesn't have cool background music playing, which is a major bummer, and it doesn't have close-up shots in slow-mo, either.

There were a series of bangs, followed by huge, creaking snaps, which I took to realize that more trees were falling. I just thought it was ironic how we'd been searching for a clearing, and now we were making one. Also, for future reference, you haven't heard loud until you've heard a tree fall over. It's like someone's opening some sort of portcullis and then drops it down in one, swift movement.

"Where is it coming from?" Nudge yelled over the commotion. "What's hitting the trees?"

It was a good question, one I hadn't been thinking about, seeing as I was rather preoccupied about staying alive at the moment. But then again, I was even more preoccupied by the fact that Max was still on top of me, and unless she had grown two abnormal growths on her body, than her boobs were totally squashed on my back.

(Diary, I'd like to interrupt this action segment with a little note: don't you love how I was paying more attention to the placement of Max's boobs than my life? God, my testosterone needs to chill.)

All of us were on the ground by now, surrounded by trees that looked as if they'd been struck by lighting. Jagged strips of woods stood straight up from where the top of the tree had unevenly fell over.

"Okay," Gazzy breathed. "That was interesting."

'Interesting' is the word we use when we don't want to say 'Jesus Christ, we nearly died back there'.

Carefully, Gazzy stood up, his sharp eyes watching everything. Just as he reached his full height, something – I had no idea what – flew towards him. He dropped to his stomach just in time, and once again, a tree directly behind him got the brunt of it. Once the tree had crashed to the ground, there was a dead silence. No birds, no bugs, no wind.

"Who are you?" Max yelled to whoever was attacking us. "What do you want?"

No answer. We were all lying down, looking at the surroundings of the forest. It was mid-morning, but we were so far into the forest, the trees diluted the area and it was surprisingly dark.

"I'm going to try and stand up," I mouthed clearly to Max. It was sort of awkward turning to face her, since she was still on top of me.

"Be careful," she mouthed back. Moving very slowly, she rolled off of me.

First, I sat up, the folds of my clothing gently rustling. The rest of the Flock was stuck between watching me and trying to scan the environment. Okay, I was sitting in a cross-legged position, and my head was still attached. Bonus!

I went to my knees, and still nothing happened. Moving so slowly I nearly got bored with the situation, I went to a standing position.

And that's when the pain exploded in my left arm.

"Fang!" the Flock screamed as one. Max dived towards me and caught me as I fell, my vision blacking out near the edges from the pain.

I'll try not to delve into the description of the pain, seeing as I'd probably sound like some emo/scene kid trying to write beat poetry. But I'll just say that I'd rather undergo the transformation of becoming a vampire opposed to experiencing the pain in my arm again.

Angel, Gazzy and Nudge stood and ran towards me, which naturally set off even more of the explosions, but they managed to dodge them until they lunged towards me. Iggy wisely stayed where he was, although I could tell he wanted to move.

"Fang, stay with me," Max said, slapping my face. She could tell I really want to drift off into La-La Land. She leaned down to my ear and whispered, "If you die, I die too."

Hmm?

I had to fight my eyes, which were burning to roll back into my head. Quite honestly, I'd never experienced that sort of pain before, and I do pain pretty well.

"Mnarrrgggg," I mumbled, which was supposed to have been, "Have mercy and shoot me now."

Max was looking over my arm. "Jesus, Fang, I'm impressed you're still awake."

"Arruggmmm."

"I don't know if I should tie a tourniquet around it, I don't want to infect the wound. But there's so much blood – Jesus!"

"What about Jesus?" I wanted to ask, but nothing really came out of my mouth.

As it turns out, an arrow – yes, a real Robin Hood-style arrow – had flown from the woods to pierce the trunk right beside Max's head. And still in the same Sherwood Forest fashion, a handwritten note was attached.

Max grabbed the note, which was written in extremely untidy handwriting. The letters were cramped together, but it was still easy to read, considering the note was only two words long.

Turn around

"Sounds like a good idea," Gazzy said, reading the note over Max's shoulder. "We need to get Fang back to your Mom."

"We're leaving!" Max shouted to the forest. "So please let us stand up."

There wasn't an answer.

"Let's see how this goes," Max muttered to no one in particular. Bridal-style, she gathered me in her arms and stood. Nothing happened.

"Finally," she said under her breath. Raising her voice, she said to the Flock, "Come on, we need to hurry."

They began to tramp their way back through the forest. Here's the thing about forests: they're hell to fly with when the trees are all close together, and you can't burst through the top, because the leaves are too thick.

So for one of the first times in her life, Max couldn't use her wings to get out of a situation, and I could tell it bothered her. As a side note, I feel bad for Max's T-shirt. She looked so nice in it, and I had to go and bloody it up whenever my arm banged against her, which was often.

It took about twenty minutes to clear the forest. I was still awake at this point, but everything blended together in a haze of pain. All I know is that when Dr. M opened the door to the Flock, the look on her face was of pure shock and horror.

"What happened?" she asked, shuffling us inside and depositing me on the couch. She placed the ottoman next to me and placed my arm on it.

"No idea," Max said. She quickly explained the situation as the Flock gathered around me.

"Jesus, that arm looks bad," Dr. M said. She went into the kitchen and brought out a First-Aid kit. "He's going to have to go to the hospital."

"Out of the question," Max said, shaking her head. "He's still a wanted criminal."

Oh, the pain…I think I see the light…

Dr. M frowned. "Right, I forgot about that." She narrowed her eyes in concentration. "How fast can you guys heal?"

Biting her tongue slightly in concentration, Max thought about it for a second. "Hours for a deep cut, sprain or bruise, a few days for a broken bone. We haven't suffered anything worse."

Dr. M was also deep in thought. Her eyes were unfocused as she looked at my arm. "I'm thinking of cleaning out the arm and setting the bone – which is a clean break, luckily – and letting his body do the rest."

Max nodded. "That sounds like a good enough plan to me. But why does it hurt so much?"

Dr. M shrugged. "The shrapnel is bad, something you guys haven't had to deal with before. I can pick it all out, though."

Oh, that sounded like fun.

"Shrapnel?" Max asked. "I didn't see any."

Dr. M pointed at something in my arm. "See those little gray spots? That's metal."

Max stared. "Huh. They're so small…"

"It's okay, I've dealt with worse," Dr. M said, snapping on white latex gloves. She grimaced, looking at my arm. Oh, come on, it can't look that bad… "Is Fang left-handed?" Dr. M asked.

"He's ambidextrous," Max answered. "We all are."

Max was right: we're all ambidextrous, which means our left hands are as good as our right. I prefer to use to my left for things like writing, though, since I feel more…unique.

It took two hours for Dr. M to remove all the shrapnel in my arm. That's right, two freaking hours that I will forever remember as the worst hours of my life, and that includes the whole makeover thing. Sure, Dr. M had numbed it and all, but every time her tweezers pulled out a piece, she couldn't help but hit a bit of the wound.

Setting the bone was hell, too. "On three," Dr. M had said, standing and awkwardly grabbing my arm. "One, t-"

I mentally screamed as she yanked my arm on two, but outwardly I only groaned. The snap echoed in my head, although the arm did feel a little better after the initial pain.

"You did it on two!" Max said, not letting go of my hand.

"Sorry, Fang, but it makes it easier," Dr. M said, patting my hand. "But I've done all I can do. The wound is clean and sterilized – all we can do is wait. If it doesn't improve by the morning, we're taking you to a doctor."

"Arrrugmmm." I was so conversational today.

Dr. M kept a close eye on me as I slept throughout the day, but near midnight, she went off to bed. I breathed a sigh of relief, and I awkwardly dug my right hand under the couch for you, Diary. I'm writing this by the light coming in from the window, where the porch light is on.

I'm tired, my arm hurts, and I'm starving. I haven't eaten since my Lucky Charms this morning.

Today wasn't the best day of my life, but I didn't die, so that was a plus. But something Max had said really stuck with me.

If you die, I die too.

What did she mean by that?

-Fang

15. September 9 2009

A/N- So I was biking over to a friend's house when I passed this guy on a trail. And you know what he did? THE BADASS HEAD NOD. That's right, we both did the 'hey, we're both on bikes, that makes us badass' head nod. Once I passed him I burst out laughing.

Voting is now open at OutsideJoke's website for the MR awards, which is linked to on my profile. Votes will be forever loved and cherished just as much as my fictional pony Sparkles.

Reviewer of the Week:

Miss Stud: "If you die, I die too." Kind of self-explanatory Fang. A little slow from all that blood loss? I think so. ...I don't have anymore witty comments. Damn, I'm all witty-ed out.

Comment of the Week:

A friend, on how to deal with a stagnant conversation: There's always the "Have you ever seen a little boy naked?" comment.


September 9th 2009

Dear Diary,

I think I'd like to break my arm more often.

While I was chilling out on the couch, someone was always with me, trying to somehow help. These "someones" were usually Dr. M or Max, but on occasion the rest of the Flock would drop in. (Gazzy and Iggy's get-well present? Three guesses.) Angel, too, has completely redeemed herself: she went out and loaned me a copy of New Moon from the library, so I guess I'll start that soon.

But really, reading the books haven't really given me all too much information on how to win Max over. All I've really gotten out of it is that Edward sparkles more than your average senior Texan cheerleader, and so should I. I can only imagine Max's reaction… ("Hey, Fang? Can you tone down the glitter? You're blinding me.")

The thing is, my arm healed relatively quickly. By yesterday, I was back in tip-top shape and ready to head back to California.

Dr. M, however, quickly ix-nayed that idea. "No way," she said. "Someone is out to get you guys, and you should know what you're dealing with before you go back out there. I went out into the forest, and although it was obvious where you guys were attacked, I didn't see anything else."

Max was pretty adamant about going, but Dr. M managed to convince her to wait a week or so, which is why we're still hanging around here, eating more chocolate-chip cookies than the Pillsbury Doughboy.

But anyways, I should probably get on in describing the day's events, which will probably go down as one of the best in my life for the sheer fact that it was completely unreal.

And it was all because Gazzy set his shoes on fire. Again.

So without further ado, I'll set the scene: I was hanging around reading the newspaper. Yes, that's right, the newspaper, don't laugh. Occasionally an article would turn up about me since I was still 'on the run', and it was good to know how much the police knew. I happened to hear laughter outside, followed by violent swearing, which is not at all unusual.

"Hey, Fang?" a voice called a few minutes later. I turned from my position on the couch to see Gazzy standing on the doorway, his hands behind his back.

"Yeah?" I asked, slightly disgruntled. The comics in the newspaper were good today - Peanuts was my personal favorite. Oh, Charlie Brown, how your antics amuse me...

"So here's the thing," he started nervously. "Iggy and I were experimenting…"

Oh, God, those were scary words.

"…And who knew that the fluorine would react with the metal like that? Anyways, well, something sort of blew up, and well…yeah." He held out his hands to show completely ruined shoes, which looked more like burnt fruitcake than anything else.

"Huh," I said, not letting on that I was actually pretty impressed he was alive. "Are your feet okay?"

"Oh yeah," he said. "I got 'em off really fast and watched them burn, since Iggy didn't have a fire extinguisher handy."

"Well," I said, turning back to the TV, "It looks like we're going to go shoe-shopping today, then."

His face lit up. "Really? Thanks!"

See, here's the thing: shoe shopping is very different for us bird kids. Shoes these days run up to a hundred dollars for a good pair, and sadly, the money god hasn't blessed us lately. We can usually make a pair last a few years, but eventually we need to get more.

And when I say, 'get more', I mean 'steal them'.

We usually asked the attendant to see some shoes, and once we had them on our feet, we'd boot it out the doors and escape. We'd done it a few times and been successful each time.

Yes, it was illegal, but necessary. Well, I guess a murderer could use that term as well, but whatever. Besides, I needed new shoes as well. Something tells me the heel should stay on and my socks shouldn't be seen through the toes.

"Come on," I said, standing. "Let's go tell Max."

It turns out Max was in her room along with Nudge and Angel. Nudge, who was lying on her bed, had big, puffy eyes, and it was obvious she'd been crying. Oh, God, maybe she had started the 'cycle'-

"Hey," Max said, quickly standing in the doorway and purposely blocking out my view of Nudge. She was very, very close to me. Very close. Obscenely close.

"Hey," I said, trying to keep it cool, which I was failing miserably at, "So, Gazzy set fire to his shoes, and they look more like bricks now. Anyways, how about we go steal from the innocent people of Mesa?"

Max frowned. She always hated stealing, but she knew it was necessary. Sure, Dr. M would have given us a few hundred bucks if she knew that we needed it, but supporting seven kids (and Total, who counts as another kid) was expensive. We couldn't burden her more.

And we couldn't cheapen out and get those fifty-dollar shoes or whatever. Our shoes tended to get a lot of mileage on them, so they needed to be those super high-tech Japanese ones that could probably shoot lasers from them in a few years.

"'Kay," she said eventually. "I guess we all need some new ones." She looked back at Angel and Nudge. "Did you guys hear that?"

They both nodded. "Can I get pink ones?" Nudge asked. Sure, she'd been crying and looked like a train wreck with her frazzled hair, but she was fashion conscious to the very end.

"You can get whatever ones you want," Max said, grimacing. "It's not as if we're paying for them."

"Not paying for what?"

Jesus -freaking- Christ!

Dr. M was right behind me. That woman could sneak out of the middle of nowhere.

Max quickly backtracked, realizing we were on dangerous ground. "Not paying for some songs on the Internet," she lied. "There's a new legal-" she heavily emphasized the word "- way to download songs for free, so we can get whatever we want now."

"Ah." Dr. M looked skeptical, but changed the topic. "What are you guys up to today?"

Max shrugged. "We were actually going to see the matinee movie."

"What movie?"

Dr. M fired off the question so quickly, it was as if Max was in the spotlight in some sort of interrogation room. I started to panic at Max's shocked look.

"Inglorious Basterds," I quickly said, trying to sound smooth and borderline bored. "There's nothing like Brad Pitt in all his glory."

Max gave a grateful look as Dr. M rounded on me. "What time is it at?" Dr. M asked.

"1:30, so a half-hour from now," I said. And how, Diary, would I happen to know what time a certain movie was playing on a certain day? It turns out the local newspaper lists movies, and I just happened to glance at it today.

"I can drive you guys, but we'd better get going. It's at the theatre in the strip mall, right?"

I barely held back my chuckle. Strip mall...heh heh...

Dear God, Iggy must be rubbing off on me. And honestly, I can think of nothing scarier in this universe.

I barely remembered that Dr. M had asked me a question. I nodded. "Yeah."

And so, within a few minutes, we all piled into Dr. M's minivan. It was cramped like crazy – Angel ended up on my lap, Nudge was on Max's, but at least we had a ride. Dr. M drove us about twenty minutes south to a large strip mall with an assortment of all sorts of stores.

And so, Diary, you're probably thinking, 'Hey, Fang, why are you going to the movies? Gazzy doesn't even have shoes on right now'.

Well, here's the thing: there's a Payless shoe store in the strip mall, right beside the movie theatre. We had been to this theatre once before, and I just happened to remember it.

So yeah, to sum it all up: I'm a genius.

"Have a good time!" Dr. M called back as she drove off, waving. We waved back and entered the theatre.

"We're not really going to watch Brad Pitt shoot people up, are we?" Iggy asked. "And for me…well, I'm not really going to hear Brad Pitt shoot people up, am I?"

"Nope," I said, although I was tempted to grab a bag of popcorn, since it smelled delicious. "Time for some new shoes, Ig."

A look of comprehension dawned. "Ah."

We left the theatre and walked right into the large Payless right beside it. It was huge, with rows and rows of shoes, and it was so violently orange that it hurt to look at. "Welcome to Payless!" an employee shouted at us from the cashier.

"They're not going to be that nice in a few minutes…" Max mumbled under her breath. We started towards the Kids and Teens section.

"It's a shame we can't actually buy them," Nudge said, eyeing some pink Adidas (they have those?)

"But you can't buy happiness," I said.

"That's not necessarily true," Iggy interrupted. "I once met a very nice stripper named Happiness."

I was pretty sure Iggy's idiocy levels were borderline fatal. Either way, I completely ignored his comment, something I've become remarkably practiced at lately.

Then, I noticed this really creepy guy in the Kids' section, just sitting there. On the pedophile scale, he hit an eleven on a scale of ten. He was all greasy and gangly and just…wrong. And his smell...oh God, he must have just rolled in fecal matter...

"Heads up," I said quietly, doing a small gesture to the man.

"Ugh," Nudge said. "When was the last time he showered? The nineties?"

"Probably," I said. Weird, he was eyeing us up. But before long, the shiny new shoes caught my attention. "Hey, those are cool…"

Within twenty minutes, all of us had our new shoes on. Luckily, Payless has the shoe boxes right there, so there was none of that crap where you can only wear one shoe at a time. "Okay," Max said, gathering us in a circle. "So are we just going to make a break for it, or are there any other ideas?"

Gazzy and Iggy raised their hands. Max sighed. "No explosions. Put out, the two of them put their hands back down, but still grinning.

And now this is where the day's events take a rather dramatic turn.

How intense is the above line? I should probably just end the entry here and let you die of suspense, Diary, but I'm too nice for that.

Remember the creepy pedophile guy? Yeah, he came back, and he came right up to Max. "Hey girl," creepy-pedophile-guy said. And you know what he did? He put an arm on Max's shoulders. If that's not screaming, 'I want you in bed,' I don't know what is.

"Excuse me?" Max said, sliding his arm off her. Her face was a mixture of horror…and a bit of laughter.

A piece of slimy hair fell onto his long, peaked nose as he breathed into Max's ear. This, m'dear diary, is known commonly as a WTF? moment.

Then, he said loudly, "How about you give me a blow?"

Max's mouth dropped open, floored, as were the rest of us. Hell, even Angel knew what the man wanted. Personally, I wanted to punch the man in the face, since I'm sure it would've been an improvement.

But Max didn't miss a beat. "Sorry," she said. "I choke on small objects."

Wait, wha-

Oh.

HAHAHAHA BURN.

Have I mentioned that when Max disses someone, they usually burst into tears and run away to Canada?

The man, however, was unfazed. Get this: he thrust his crotch out (dude, that dance move was so 2008) and reached up to tuck a piece of hair behind Max's head, when –

I snapped.

You know how you snap a Kit-Kat bar? Yeah, that was me, but just not as chocolately.

"GET AWAY FROM HER," I roared, and punched him straight in the nose, hearing the satisfactory snap when it broke. He cried out and stepped back, holding his nose and trying to stop the blood.

At this point, Diary, you're probably thinking, 'Hey, nice work on the punch, but you should probably boot it out of there.'

Right?

Wrong.

There's absolutely nothing like the feeling of kicking an asshole when he's down.

I jumped on him, and we both fell to the ground. My feet hit a stand next to us, causing some rather stylish Crocs to fall on us. With one hand I grabbed the lapel of his shirt, and with the other, I went to town with punches.

Wham! "GO TO HELL."

Bam! "NEVER TOUCH HER AGAIN."

Slam! "YOU'RE CREEPIER THAN EDWARD."

Suddenly, I felt the back of my windbreaker being jerked back by none other than Max. She was saying something to me – yelling, actually – but I wasn't listening. I did, however, hear the next words being said.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?"

I turned, ripping the jacket out of Max's hands. A huge, six-foot-something guy that ate kittens for breakfast hulked over me. It looked as if he should work at a nightclub in Los Angeles, not at a Payless in Arizona.

And also like the movies, he jumped towards me, getting ready to drag me to the cops, no doubt. But I was one step ahead, as was the rest of the Flock. Before he could get his meaty hands all over me, I danced out of reach and booted it through the front doors, laughing. The Flock was right on my heels as we burst into the sun and started sprinting across the parking lot.

And you know what?

We still had the shoes on.

It was a good day. Not only did we score free shoes for everyone, but I also got to practice some punches. It's always good to stay in shape.

Oh, life was good, life was good. I turned around, just to laugh-

And you know what?

That bouncer guy…he was right behind me, his hand an inch or so from my throat.

In all my happy thoughts, I hadn't noticed I'd lagged behind.

And another thing: sure, I could outrun him, but not without giving away the whole 'yeah, I have wings and am ten times faster than you, sucker' aspect. So I had to lose him on the trail, then.

Angel, tell Max to meet me at home! I yelled mentally, hoping desperately that Angel would hear. Ew, I could feel the guy's breath on the back of my neck…

Sure thing, Fang, she said as if she was sipping lemonade on the porch, not sprinting away from The Incredible Hulk. But seriously, what is it with you punching guys and running away?

She had a point.

Suddenly, I veered to the left, catching the guy off guard. (Diary, I need to name this guy, because I'm tired of writing 'this guy' or 'that guy'. Let's call him something short and manly… like Bob. I like that name. Maybe because if you add an 'o' it becomes 'boob'. Heh heh, boob joke…)

Now, all I needed was a place to ditch Bob. I quickly took in my surroundings: running full tilt in the parking lot of a strip mall. The mall was opposite a busy intersection, beyond which was nothing but open ground. And in the class of Running In Order To Avoid the Cops 101 the first lesson is to avoid open ground. (No, that's a lie. The first lesson is to not get caught, but it was a little late for that.)

So there was no way I could go that way, unless I wanted to run across some sort of Arizonian desert, which wasn't in my top ten list of what I wanted to do today. Sure, I could have punched Bob and incapacitated him, but I had hit my quota for the number of punches I wanted to throw in a day.

I looked up at the various stores I was passing: American Eagle, Victoria's Secret, Best Buy, Sexy Sally's Secret Store, (wait, what?) and Walmart…

Wait a second…

Walmart!

There're so many crazy people in Walmart, they'd probably scoff at a bird-kid being chased by some insane Payless employee.

This wasn't your average Walmart, either – it was a Walmart Supercenter. Those things were huge, and other than putting out dozens of local businesses, also served the purpose of having a trillion hiding places.

I pushed through the many people milling about the front of the store and dived through the sliding blue doors. The Walmart greeter, a bored elderly man, was completely unfazed as he saw me dash in. "Welcome to Walmart…"

Okay, where to go? Let me re-phrase the question…Diary, in a hypothetical situation, let's say you were being chased by a Bruce Willis lookalike and ran into Walmart. Where would he look?

Well, big men are stereotyped for hated fruits and vegetables…

I quickly went left to the produce section and ducked behind one of the long stands of plums. Bob, however, must have no problem keeping up with the six-fruits-and-vegetables-a-day rule since he saw and came right after me.

I took the opportunity to vault right over the stand that divided the plums from the peaches, so that he was stuck on one side and me on the other.

"Dude," I said, noticing that he was running out of breathe. "Give me a break. What do you want?"

"Payless…employees…are not allowed…to let…customers leave the premise…without paying…for their goods." It sounded as if he was quoting it from a textbook.

"Look here, buddy," I said. "My friends have already gotten away. So what does one more pair of shoes mean?"

"It means my job!" he said. "I've got a sick wife at home…seven kids who all want to go to college…I need those shoes back!"

Oh, crap. What if I just ruined seven kids' lives? I can only imagine…

"Daddy! Daddy! Can I go to Harvard, just like you promised?"

"Sorry, Tommy, but some big mean kid took my job away. It looks like you're going to have to spend the rest of your life in the sewage treatment plant, just like your brothers and sisters…"

"Aw, Daddy..."

Guilt, how I hate you…

But wait, if he was married… "Why don't you have a ring on?" I asked, noticing that both hands were bare.

His face was blank, and I immediately knew he was caught. "Haha, liar!" I said, pointing like a little kid. I was pretty happy, noticing that he didn't have a ring. It was so Sherlock Holmes-y.

"Whatever," he shrugged. "It's cool."

I was taken aback. He didn't chase me across the parking lot just to give up, did he? "What?"

He just smiled. "See you later."

Huh? I turned around…

To be greeted by Walmart security.

Yuppers, Walmart has security people, believe it or not. And you know what's ironic? First I escape from the Mesa City police, then those drunk people from downtown, then Bob, and then I go and get caught by Walmart security.

That's a new low for me.

There were five of them, too. Five! How could I get out of this one, preferably without spilling blood? Damn, this would require actual thought…

"Excuse me! Excuse me!" A familiar voice called. A figure broke through the crowd that was beginning to form.

It was Max.

She ran up to me and grabbed my arm, looking frantic. She looked at the security guys as she said, "Thank you for finding my dear, dear brother!"

One of the security guys looked incredulous as he said, "You know him, m'am?"

"Oh yes," Max said as if this were a secret. "The hospital was taking him out, you know, to integrate him back into society, but he escaped, and we were looking everywhere for him!"

"The hospital?" Bob asked.

Max nodded. "Nick here has been in the Insanity Ward ever since..." she narrowed her eyes, trying to grasp for words. "Ever since he walked in on his grandparents doing…unspeakable acts. He just hasn't been the same since…"

Unspeakable acts? Like what, playing naked Parcheesi?

I noticed that Max was gradually pulling me towards the exit, and I followed, putting a blank stare in my eyes. "Really, this means so much to me," she went on. "The hospital staff will be so relieved…"

"But what about the shoes?" Bob asked. Max and I were close to the exit by now.

"Well, uh… oh screw it, run!" Max and I turned and sprinted harder than we ever have before.

And you know what hurts?

Running into a glass door at full speed.

That's right – when Walmart wants to, it can lock down its doors.

Did you know that?

Ten bucks says no.

"Back door!" Max yelled over the sudden commotion. I nodded. We both pivoted and started dashing to the right, where the clothes were. We quickly made our way through the racks and racks of clothes, all while being chased.

This will forever go down as one of the most epic moments of my life.

People were calling out, "Stop!" and "Get them!" which just furthers the whole movie metaphor thing. Max and I, however, had started to laugh at the ridiculousness of the whole situation.

"Over there!" I pointed, seeing the red exit sign. We ran past the electronics section and quickly hit the back door, which thankfully hadn't locked.

We stumbled out into the back alleyway, which looked run-down and smelled worse. "The roof!" Max said, quickly stripping off her windbreaker. I did the same, and within five seconds, we launched into the air and onto the roof.

I landed awkwardly on the gravelly surface near a vent. Surprisingly enough, the rest of the Flock was up there as well, looking relieved at seeing us.

"Fang!" Max rounded on me. Oh, boy, this wouldn't be fun. "You could've been captured! You could've given away our secret! You could've easily escaped from that guy…"

Max went on, but I tuned her out, since that's what guys do when a woman is angry.

"And…you know what, let's just go home…" she eventually finished. And before I could say anything, she launched up so fast it was hard to watch up. It was a sign of how mad she really was, to do a takeoff like that in front of so many potential witnesses. The highway was right there…

"Up and away, I guess," I said to the rest of the Flock, who looked just as confused as I was.

So that was my day.

What did you do today, Diary? Stay under the mattress again?

Maybe because it's 9/9/09 today, weird things happened. It's sort of like how on 6/6/06 everyone thought the world was going to end (it didn't) and how on 7/7/07 everyone thought they'd win the lottery (they didn't).

So maybe this whole thing is just fate.

Side note: I don't believe in fate. Fate wouldn't say, 'Hey, Fang, what's up? Oh, by the way, you're going to die in a few months. Sucks to be you! Yeah, see you around!'

Fate is a jackass.

And here I am now, back at home, with an angry Max and new shoes. It was a notable day, for lack of any other word. Now, when I'm dying on my deathbed, I can say that I was chased through Walmart and ended up with some pretty slick shoes.

But now, all I need to do is one huge task.

I need to get Max to forgive me.

The next few days will be… interesting.

-Fang

16. September 19 2009

A/N- I love my life, although I am marvelously horrible at microwaving objects safely. "Liz, do I smell something burning?"

Reviewer of the Week:

cleo272: I once got stopped by some Walmart security guy ... he said my singing was "inappropriate to those around us".

Comment of the Week:

A friend: Dementos: Guardians of Azkaban with minty fresh breath.


September 19th 2009

Dear Diary,

Just so you know, trying to get on Max's good side is about as hard as making Iggy choose between a pound of bacon and a trio of Russian playboys.

In other words, impossible.

Max, quite honestly, was pissed after that whole 'hey, let's go get shoes' fiasco. Although just because I beat up some creepy-pedophile-guy and got chased by some Hulk Hogan person and ended up running through Walmart and crashing into shockingly solid glass doors while being chased by security with stolen shoes and acting like a total idiot doesn't mean I deserve to be mad at.

After all, deep inside, every guy is an idiot. There's just no way around it.

But really, I don't get why she's mad. I didn't exactly ditch her and leave her to a broken heart just because I wanted her to be safe, which is exactly what Edward just did to poor Bella in New Moon. Jerk.

You should see Max when she's angry. She pretends as if she's not, which just gets her more flustered. Her face becomes a little bit flushed, her eyes a bit more wild, and her skin seems more…glittery.

In other words, she's freaking beautiful.

In this whole while, she's hardly said a word to me. But I really didn't do anything that bad. No one died, no blood was spilled, and the stock market didn't collapse. I didn't even embarrass her, which is more than Kanye West can say after that whole Taylor Swift thing at the VMAs. (Nudge made me watch them. My secret? I enjoyed it.)

Dr. M still hasn't let us going to California, saying that she still wants to see how my arm is doing. It sucks, seeing as we're all just sitting around waiting for me to die, but we respect Dr. M enough to not run away. It's tempting, though.

These past few days have been packed with emotions, needless to say, even though the word 'emotion' is shunned by the Man Universe. As such, I will summarize the top three feelings I have felt this week in emoticons:

Me before this argument:

:)

Me after this argument:

:(

Me finding out Edward ditched Bella:

:O

I do realize that no one is ever going to read this, but girls: tell guys what they did wrong. You know how on TV, they have all those dog whisperers and such that claim they can talk to dogs? I think we need a girl whisperer, and tell us guys what girls are really thinking.

Seeing as I really, really wanted to get on Max's good side again, I did the only thing left to do.

I Googled.

God bless Google. Where would we be without it? We'd probably be some cannibalistic Neanderthal society.

I typed 'how to make up with a girl' into the search engine.

I clicked around, but most of the sites were just really stupid. But finally, a few pages back, I came across a four-step guide to success:

1. Make her breakfast in bed

2. Play a song for her on a guitar

3. Kiss her passionately

4. Talk with her

Those were all well within my reach, excepting number three (which, by chance, was the one I wanted to do most).

I quickly turned the screen off on my laptop, glad that I could already start on number one. See, here's the thing: as I Googled, it was six in the morning.

Yes, that's right. Six in the morning.

Those words shouldn't even belong in the same sentence together.

More and more often, I've had to use my laptop at weird times of the day in order to hide it from Iggy and Gazzy. Ever since I'd broken my arm, they'd become a lot more clingy, and I rarely had time to myself.

Sleeping, too, was difficult: I couldn't get this argument with Max out of my head. Aww. If I wasn't a half-insomniac, I'd say that was an adorable sentence.

But I'm getting ahead of myself: it was six in the morning, and if I wanted to make breakfast, I'd have to start soon, since Max was an early riser.

I frowned. Quite honestly, I sucked at cooking. (Who knew aluminum foil doesn't go in the microwave?) There was only one person in the house who wouldn't risk giving food poisoning to us all.

Which is why, exactly five seconds after I came to this conclusion, I was shaking Iggy awake.

He mumbled something unintelligible, and reached out for my hand, instantly recognizing it as mine. "You're going to burn for getting me up so early," he said.

"Suck it up," I said. "You've gotten up at worse times. Now hurry up."

"Why?"

"It involves food."

He was up, standing and awake, within seconds.

"Where's this food?" Iggy asked, clasping his hands behind him. "Does this food involve gratuitous amounts of grease and fat?"

Gazzy stirred in his pull-out bed beside me, so I dragged Iggy into the hall. "It involves us making it," I whispered.

His face fell. "Oh," he said loudly. "Well, this sucks. I'm going back to bed."

"No!" As he turned, I reached out and clasped his arm. "Please, Iggy?"

Maybe it was the desperation in my voice, or maybe he was suddenly hungry, but something about his demeanor changed. "Why?"

"Max is really angry at me right now," I said, so quietly that Iggy had to lean in to hear me. He looked interested. "I want to make her breakfast in bed without poisoning her."

He didn't move. Finally, he sighed. "You owe me. Big time. Like, I'm expecting a Porsche for this."

Relief flooded through me. I could've made breakfast without his help, but it wouldn't have been pretty. "Thank you. Really. What color Porsche?"

"Silver…" he dragged out as he made his way down the hallway.

I'm not going to bore you with the breakfast making, Diary, since it went by rather quickly and there was no property damage. All in all, by seven in the morning, we had made such a large breakfast that it probably would've fed the population of Rhode Island.

I grabbed one of the trays that we use for TV dinners and put Max's breakfast on it. It included some cereal (which was the only thing I had made by myself), bacon, eggs, toast, a muffin and orange juice. Gordon Ramsay, eat your heart out.

As Iggy sat down to eat his own portion of the food, I picked up the tray and started toward Max/Nudge/Angel's room.

Breathe, Fang, I told myself. For some reason, I was sort of nervous. Maybe since, technically, I was sneaking into the girls' room at night, which was really sketchy if you think about it. Silently, I opened the door.

It was quite dark in the room, since the curtains were closed. I still knew my way around the room, though, since I'd been in there plenty of times.

I knew that Max slept in the top bunk, the same as myself. (It's a sign: we're soul mates.) I carefully balanced the tray as I shut the door.

Wait a second.

I had a tray of food, which required two hands to hold.

And Max was on the top bunk.

Which required at least one hand to climb.

Goddamn.

I took a few steady breaths. I had planned on just setting the food in front of her, and waking her up then, so the first thing she'd see in the morning was the food.

Well, I had good balance- it sort of went with the whole package of the wings. Being very cautious, I held the tray in one hand and stepped on the ladder. With my other hand I grabbed a rung, and I heaved myself up. I held steady.

I took another step up, and with my hand on the ladder, I inched it up to the next rung. I repeated the pattern until my head was right beside her own. She was deep asleep; her eyes were closed delicately, her hair was a halo around her head…

Right. Moving along, now.

With my one hand, I placed the tray over Max, and put the little supporting legs down so the tray could stand itself up.

Everything had gone perfectly. I stood on the ladder for a few seconds, just watching Max, and thinking of how to wake her up. She looked so perfect…

And then-

FANG WHAT IN THE WORLD WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

"JESUS!" I yelled. Angel's mental voice had shocked me out of my state of half-hypnosis.

I really, really hadn't been expecting Angel or Nudge to wake up, which is why, needless to say, she scared the crap out of me.

Which is why I banged my knee against the bunk bed.

Which is why the plate of extremely hot food spilled on Max, instantly waking her up.

Which is why I fell off the bunk bed, landing on my back, instantly waking up the rest of the house.

"FANG!?" three voices – Max, Angel and Nudge – shouted incredulously. Through the pain in my back, I saw that all three were gathered around me. Max's shirt, I noticed, was soaked with milk and orange juice, while little bits of egg were stuck in her hair.

A few seconds later, I noticed Gazzy, Ella and Dr. M joined the circle around me.

"Do I even want to ask?" Dr. M said.

I shook my head. Everything was spinning so prettily… "No…" I slurred.

"What happened?" Gazzy asked, looking from me to Max and back again. "Max? Why are you…wearing your breakfast?"

"That's a good question, Gazzy," she said, looking at me blandly.

"Don't…be mad," I said, my vision clouding as the pain was reduced to a dull throb. "I'm sorry, I just wanted…"

I was going to say, 'to make you breakfast', but at that precise moment, I fell asleep. Or maybe I fell unconscious. Who knows? The point is, I never got to finish my sentence, and I completely conked out.

I woke up to the sight of the ceiling.

And believe me, I would've given a million dollars if I could've woken up to Max's face.

But no, I woke up to the ceiling.

Joy.

I glanced at me watch: it was a little past noon. Exhaling, I swung my legs over my top bunk and started down the ladder.

I made my way to the kitchen, where Gazzy had some matches out and was now thoroughly occupied in cutting the heads off and stuffing them in a tennis ball. By this point in my life, I've learned not to ask.

"Where's Max?" I asked, far too quickly.

"Out flying with Angel and Nudge. They've been having some major girl time lately." As he said this, he took a swig of milk straight from the container.

I was going to comment on his lack of glassware, but he kept talking. "Max wasn't too happy about the breakfast thing. But personally, I thought it was freaking hilarious. Just saying."

The conversation was clearly over as Gazzy turned back to his matches, cutting them up with a steak knife with more fervor than ever. (Shall we count the safety violations in the previous sentence?)

Basically, I was back at square one. No – I was at square negative one. And, going back to that article I had found on the Internet, I didn't know how to play the guitar, much less read music. (I do, however, know music jokes. I'm a fermata; hold me. Heh heh heh.)

But if music and kissing were out, then there was only one point left on the list: talking with Max.

In case you haven't figured it out yet: I despise talking.

I've desperately been trying to be more 'open' and 'fun' lately, since I am the emotional equivalent of a concrete tank. I meant, I sort of think that if you're close with someone, talking shouldn't be necessary. They should already know what you're thinking, what you're feeling, etc.

Obviously, my sentiments are not felt by the majority of the Earth's population.

But if I must, then I'll talk it out with Max. I decided I might as well go flying in the meantime, since there wasn't anything I could do at the house except contemplate my upcoming death, which isn't the most optimistic of topics.

It was remarkably windy out. I was secretly glad of my short hair: it couldn't get in my eyes. I took off immediately, calculating my ascent so that the wind wouldn't take me off course. It was cloudy out, too – all in all, a bad day for flying, but it fit with my mood.

I hadn't been up in the sky long before I saw three large figures on the horizon: Max, Angel and Nudge, no doubt. As they came into focus, they looked surprised to see me.

"What are you doing?" Nudge yelled over the wind, which was picking up. "We were just coming back since the weather's turning bad."

I answered her question by looking at Max. "Can we talk?"

She didn't say anything for a moment. "Nudge, Angel, go on without me. We'll come later."

Both of them frowned and looked confused, but they gave in and kept on flying, leaving Max and me in the torrent of winds. We were hovering a few thousand feet up. I couldn't help but be reminded of our embrace a few weeks ago.

"So," she yelled. We both came in extremely close to each other for the sole reason of needing to hear each other.

"I'm sorry about this morning," I said. "And this whole week, for that matter. I don't understand why you're mad."

There, I said it. It felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off of me.

But she laughed.

Okay, then, that goes up on the list of things I wasn't expecting. It's sort of as likely as Iggy entering priesthood on his own freewill.

"You're right Fang. I am mad. And I'm not going to say why."

I narrowed my eyes. That was weird. "Why?"

She grinned. "Neither of us can handle the truth."

Our wings were beating in sync with each other. I couldn't help but note in the back of my mind how epic this scene would look from anyone else's point of view, with the wind and the wings. But we were alone in our own moment. She continued on. "What's happened to you, Fang? Why are you becoming so…so…immature?"

"What do you mean?" Honestly, I was lost. As in, not even a bloody GPS could get me out of this mess.

Her shoulders suddenly sagged, as if she had just...given up. "You know what? I'm sorry for being such an ass, Fang. Let's just forget about it all, okay?"

I wanted to say 'No, let's sort out this whole mess. And while we're at it, I'm going to tell you how madly in love with you I am.'

Instead, I said, "Sure."

At least that way, we could move on, even if we just pushed our problems away for the moment.

We landed quickly, not wanting to be caught in any sort of storm that might pass through. As we trampled into the house, the rest of the Flock was already assembled in the kitchen, waiting for us. Dr. M was there, too.

"We were getting worried about you," Dr. M said, standing. "You shouldn't be out in the bad weather. Then again, you shouldn't be out at all, seeing as the people who broke Fang's arm are still around somewhere."

With that, she stood up. She paused for a moment, slipped on some shoes and went outside herself, which was sort of hypocritical.

"I've got a feeling…" Max muttered, slinging off her jacket.

"That tonight's going to be a good, good night?" Iggy cut in.

Max sighed as she fell on the couch in the family room. "Will you ever run out of witty ways to end my sentences?"

Iggy shook his head. "Don't plan on it."

She kept going. "It seems Dr. M is really protective, but really, we've done a lot worse than be out in some windy weather." She glanced out of the window. "And it looks like it's calming down, too. It's just weird."

"She's your Mom," Angel said. "It's her job."

Max did one of those half-smiles and dropped the subject. "Yeah. I guess."

I was glad Max and I were back on good terms, even if we didn't really talk our problems out or anything. It was almost as if she wanted to say something. But, if you don't take into the account that I spilled her breakfast on her this morning, I'd say it was a good day.

Still: I would love to know why she thought I was 'immature'. Was I changing too much? Did she like me before, but not now? You know, Max really has complicated my life, even if it was for the better.

Women. Can't live with them, can't live without them.

-Fang

17. September 26 2009

A/N- Dear Europe: Please send us some of your musicians. They rock. Sincerely, North America.

Also: Thank you to my spectacular reviewers! 100 reviews for Rating, a oneshot, is just insane.

Reviewer of the Week:

Botherer 1337: ~mocking tone~ Like, OMM (Oh, My Meyer) How dare you make fun of Stephenie Meyer's brilliant work that is sent from heaven chagrined? ~/mocking toned~

Comment of the Week:

Someone on the Internet: I was listening to my college radio station, and they started to play a Kanye song, but then the DJ interrupted it with, "Kanye, Imma let you finish, but-" followed by silence. It made my day.


September 26th, 2009

Dear Diary,

One of the strangest miracles of this world is that I have yet to explode into bite-sized pieces of stupidity.

Let's sum this up into a handy-dandy cooking recipe.

Take one overdue copy of Twilight. Mix in one invitation. Put into oven at three hundred and fifty degrees for twenty minutes. Congratulations! You've just made a DISASTER.

I think you can tell that I suck at cooking.

But let's start off this show: it all began because I completely forgot about returning Twilight back to the Mesa Public Library. Cut me some slack: I sort of only have a year to live. I think I have other things on my mind than returning a book.

I was at home chilling with the Gasman when the phone rang. (And when I say 'chilling with the Gasman' I mean 'convincing the Gasman not to blow up the next door neighbor's shed, even if it looks ugly'.) I lazily answered it on the last ring.

"Hello?" I said. (Why do we always say 'hello' as a question? I mean, we know someone is on the other end. Otherwise, it'd be like every horror movie when the phone rings and no one is on the other end.)

A slow voice answered. It took about ten seconds for the person to say the whole sentence. "Hello, it's the Mesa Public Library. Is Ella Martinez home?"

"No," I answered; Ella was over a friend's house. "Can I take a message?"

"Sure," the voice said. "Can you tell her that her copy of Twilight is overdue?"

Oh, crap. I had completely forgotten about that. And since I had taken the book out on Ella's card, she was getting the call. "Yeah. Thanks. Bye." Hmm, it looked as if my conversing skills were rotting away again.

"I've got to go," I said to Gazzy, who was flicking a barbeque lighter off and on. "Please don't set anything on fire. Or blow anything up. Or kill anyone."

"Geez," Gazzy said sarcastically, throwing the lighter down on the table. "You take the fun out of everything."

"It's my job," I answered. I quickly went to my room, rummaged around in the back of the closet for Twilight, and shoved it into my messenger bag. As I made my way out of the house, I passed by Gazzy again.

"So where are you going, exactly?"

"The mall," I lied easily. I opened the door, "I need…stuff." Oh, yeah. Me, the smooth liar.

It was noon, so there was no way I could fly without being seen. I couldn't take the bus, either: that picture of me was still occasionally shown on TV. (If only I knew that being a TV star would involve me being a wanted criminal. Bummer.) Even going to the library was a bit of a risk, but I needed to do it for Ella. I decided to walk.

But naturally, with my life being what it is, I didn't get very far.

"Nick! Oh my God, Nick!"

Nick… ah, right, I was Nick. I pivoted on the sidewalk to see an SUV pull up on the side of the road.

And, lo and behold, Lissa was hanging out of the passenger window. Her boyfriend – whatever his name was – was driving. I bent my knees, getting ready to boot it out of there. I mean, Lissa had told the cops about me.

"Wait, Nick, just hear me out!" She quickly opened the car door and got out while the car was idling. Way to kill the planet, dude.

"I need your help," she said breathlessly. (If you re-read that previous sentence, Diary, it sounds like I should be in the middle of some crappy romance novel. Sadly, no.)

I didn't say anything. Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing.

"Look," she said. "Ever since I told my friends that I knew who you are, I became sort of a celebrity since you're a wanted criminal, you know? But a lot of people didn't believe me, so I said that I'd invite you to my birthday party. So…here I am now, officially inviting you. For that matter, you can bring your friends… you know, Max, that chick who you always hung out with, and Jeff, the blind kid. It's going to be a small thing, at my house, 15 Sparling Drive. It starts at nine tonight. Please come."

She said that all in one breath. Impressive.

"No," I said simply and started to walk away. That was such a badass move.

"Nick!" she called back after me. "I wouldn't walk away, if I were you!" That was such an over-used line.

I kept walking away, to maintain the whole badass thing. But why would I want to go to a party with people who thought that being a wanted criminal was cool?

"I know your secret!" she yelled. I paused mid-step and turned.

"Oh, wow," I said sarcastically. "You know about my skills at Dance Dance Revolution? I don't think I can show my face I public again." I turned back. And yes, actually: I am good at DDR. There had been this one crazy night a while ago…

"The wings, Fang! The wings."

Oh.

Crap.

This was interesting.

"I don't know what you're talking about."

I kept on walking away, but my heart was pounding. There was no way she knew. It was impossible for her to know.

"I'll tell everyone about them!" she yelled, starting to run down the sidewalk after me. The boyfriend - Ryan! That was his name- just looked on, bored, from the driver's seat of the car.

"Why would people believe something so crazy?" I yelled back. I stopped walking and let her catch up to me. "And why would you think I have wings?"

She rolled her eyes. "We made out, Nick. It's hard to not notice when you're so close. I could see them down your shirt. So I tried to be your friend, since I knew it had to be hard to be…you."

Alright. There were a few problems to address.

1. Lissa looked down my shirt? Creepy

2. She knew I had wings

3. I was starving. Chances were I could eat a horse, and I meant that literally, too

"I won't give in to your blackmail," I snarled. Now is a good time to mention that my snarl is like a freaking Saber Tooth Tiger's. "Go back to your boyfriend."

She glared at me, and whipped out a cell phone. I'll admit I thought she was going to take out a gun or something and blast me away, but no. The gun thing would've made a really neat story to tell later.

She furiously looked down at it and started to type violently. She showed me the phone, and I could read the words from where I stood. It read:

Hey guys, big secret: you know Nick, right? He's got wings. :D

She had selected to send it to her entire contacts list.

"Just show up, that's all I ask," she pleaded. Her thumb hovered over the 'Send' button.

"And if I do," I said cautiously, "You swear on your life you won't happen to spill a certain secret?"

She nodded. "Cross my heart and hope to die."

"No one would believe you."

"You don't know that. I've got hundreds of people in this phone. One of them would go to the cops."

This was one of those moments where you've got to choose between the lesser of two evils. Okay, showing up for five minutes at a small party couldn't be so bad, as long as I could drag Max and maybe even Iggy along. God, you know my life is weird since I'm a teenager and I don't want to go to a party. "Five minutes."

"Yes!" She shot her hand into the air. "You're the best, Nick!"

I didn't bother to reply; instead, I headed back towards the house while Lissa hopped back into her boyfriend's car.

Max was going to kill me.

And you know, she nearly did.

I had previously neglected to tell her that Lissa was even living in Mesa, which, in retrospect, was a bad move.

"So let me get this straight," she said, leaning back in a chair in the kitchen. The rest of the Flock was gathered around us, watching carefully. "We have to go to The Red - Lissa's party, or she's going to tell everyone about the wings."

"Yeah. That sounds about right."

She sighed and stood, pouring herself a glass of water. (Chances are she was wishing it was a margarita.) "How do you get yourself into these situations?"

"I've been wondering about that since June."

"But why didn't we get invited?" Nudge asked with indignation in her voice. "She knew who we were."

"You mean Tiffany-Krystal, Zephyr and Ariel didn't get invited?" Gazzy said sarcastically. "I wonder why."

"We might as well go," Max said, which sort of surprised me. I thought she would have ix-nayed the whole idea. "Five minutes can't be all that bad. Iggy, are you coming?"

"For sure!" he said. "Free beer!"

"Lissa isn't that type of girl," I said. "Chances are there will be five sexually-repressed teenager girls there watching Titanic and crying their eyes out while eating Ben and Jerry's ice cream."

Max nodded. "That's what I'm counting on. But I still can't believe you're a party attraction because you're a wanted criminal."

I shrugged. "Maybe I'm just that cool."

She laughed. "Yeah, for sure. For sure."

All in all, when nine o'clock rolled around, Max, Iggy and I were dressed in our party best: T-shirts and jeans. Dr. M was working an emergency surgery, so there was no chance she could catch us.

"Where are you guys going?"

Ella came walking down the hall, looking at us strangely. We were literally halfway out the door.

But this was no longer awkward-preteen Ella.

This was wannabe supermodel Ella.

She had straightened her hair and put on so much makeup I couldn't help but wonder if she could still breathe. She had on high heals and a short silvery dress. She looked pretty, but remarkably fake. It was like Barbie had walked out of the local Target.

"I think the question is where are you going?" Max said. "What's with…you?"

"I met this new girl the other day," Ella explained with a flip of the hair. "She's been teaching me a lot of stuff, and I really like her. She seems really nice, and I even got invited to her birthday party!"

All of our eyes suddenly widened.

"Is her name Lissa?" Max asked.

Ella was dumbfounded. "How did you know?"

"We're going to the party, too," Max explained. "Aren't you a little overdressed?"

"No," she said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "But it doesn't matter. The house isn't far from here; we can walk together."

It was sort of disconcerting that Ella had been thinking of walking there alone dressed like that, since she was asking to be the next unsolved murder mystery for Mesa. (Oh, wow, that was a lot of alliteration.) So I guess, in a way, things have a habit of sorting things out. We quickly set off into the cool night, with Max, Iggy and Ella chatting amiably. I maintained my Figure of Silence.

Sparling Drive actually was only a block away. But as soon as I saw the house from the end of the street, I knew I had made a very, very bad mistake.

Cars were parked al along the street, and even from there I could hear the thumping of the music. Lights were on in every room in the house, with writhing silhouettes plastered up against the windows. People were milling about the front of the house, and as we got closer, I could see that they were watching me closely.

"I'm going to kill you," Max whispered as we stood at the open front door. "Seriously."

"I deserve it," I said back as we stepped into the house.

Techno was pounding through the wals, and someone had evidently borrowed a lighting system, as flashy seizure-inducing lights blazed over the walls. People were everywhere – each room was packed, and a few people were hanging from the upstairs balcony. The smell was a mixture of alcohol and smoke. It was a real classy place.

"Nick! Oh my God, everyone, it's Nick!"

My eyes managed to find Lissa on the staircase right in front of the doorway in the middle of a tangle of people. She was pointing right at me, Uncle Sam style, and people were quickly noticing me.

"You were right, Lis!" some guy yelled over the music. "You do know him!"

Suddenly, it was as if I was the star quarterback: everyone moved towards me, yelling and asking questions.

In other words, a nightmare.

I quickly shoved my way past them all and fought my way into the adjoining room, hoping that Max and Iggy would follow.

This room had obviously been cleared away for a makeshift dance floor. Hell, there was even a DJ at one end. I noticed that there was a refreshment table at the back, so I headed there, since I might as well get some free food out of this. There were the usual brownies and cakes, but there was also this delicious-looking jug of something that looked like it had been barfed up from a Care Bear. And, surprisingly enough, the Care Bear-barf stuff really looked amazing.

"It's alcohol-free," Lissa said, appearing at my side. "Go ahead."

I sniffed it to make sure, and she was right: there wasn't a drop of alcohol in there. I poured myself a glass and took a sip.

God, it was amazing. It was like combining all of the awesome things in the universe into a drinkable form. So basically, my drink was flavored like ice cream, Pepsi, and Chuck Norris.

"Thanks for coming," Lissa said as some drunk guy reached over her for a brownie. Evidently, Iggy could probably get some of that free beer. "You know, I wouldn't have sent the text."

I shrugged and drank the rest of the glass. Sure, I was a bit pissed at her, but this drink was worth it. I didn't say anything, so she took the hint and left, leaving me to awkwardly stand there. Since I was in the corner, no one saw who I was, and I was left in relative peace. I was tempted to find Max and Iggy, who were probably together, but I didn't want to risk being bombarded with questions about me being a fugitive.

Around twenty minutes passed before I realized that I needed to get back to Max. I was surprisingly comfortable where I was standing; no one was bothering me, and it was fun to watch the drunk people vomit over each other.

I downed my fifth drink, the cool flavors sliding down my throat. I reached for my sixth, but before I could touch the jug, a hand shot out and smacked it away.

"What was that for?" I yelled over the music, which had officially shattered my ear drums. It had been Max; she was standing there, furious.

"How stupid are you?" she hissed. If the whole awesome-hearing thing hadn't been included in the package deal with the wings, I wouldn't have been able to hear her.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," I said.

"You're drunk!" Max said, astonished. She grabbed my arm and started to cut through the dance floor.

"No!" I said, stopping and holding steady, even though we were in the middle of the dance floor and were being pushed and shoved by thrashing bodies. "Lissa said that they were non-alcoholic! And I checked!"

"Lissa is a liar," Max said simply, narrowly avoiding an elbow to the face. "I can't believe this!"

"Don't be angry," I said. "I'm seriously not drunk."

She just shook her head and took a few deep breaths.

And that was when the inspiration hit.

It was inspired by the atmosphere, yes, but I was suddenly seized with an overwhelming desire for Max to know the truth. And not just the truth about me not being drunk – I wanted her to know the truth of what I was feeling for her. Everything just clicked.

Why couldn't I just live up to the moment? Why couldn't I just tell her my secret now?

"Max, I need to tell you something," I said. "It's really important."

"Oh, yeah?"

She looked at me skeptically. This was it. This was my big moment. This was my moment in the spotlight. I wouldn't need a year to tell Max. I just needed now.

"Yeah. I love you, Max."

Silence.

Nothing.

She just stared at me.

She opened and closed her mouth, but nothing came out. Everything seemed to slow down; the movement of the bodies, the throbbing of the music, the flashing of the lights. It all just…stopped as Max turned away and started to make her way through the mob of bodies.

I started to go after her, although I was sidetracked briefly by a few girls attempting to dance with me. By the time I had gotten off of the dance floor, I knew that Max had already left the house.

People crowded around, recognizing me, but a few well-placed punches took care of the crowd quickly. But as I reached the door, the world suddenly flipped over.

There, in the corner, were Iggy and Ella.

Together.

As in, they were eating each other's faces off.

That's right: Iggy and Ella were making out at Lissa's party. If this was an episode of Gossip Girl, this would be the highest-rated episode of the series for the sheer amount of drama.

I didn't know what to do, so, frustrated, I stayed on my previous path and ran out of the house. The night was a lot colder than what I remembered.

Max was standing on the front lawn, her arms crossed and her back to me.

I slowly walked towards her, the grass squishing below my feet. She could tell it was me. "We're not ever going to bring up tonight again, and everything will be just fine." She turned to face me. "Come on. Let's go home."

"Should we get Iggy?" I asked. My heart was a roller coaster. Did Max just reject me after I told her I loved her?

"No. Ella's going to bring him home. But come on. I'm cold. Can you walk steady?"

It clicked: Max thought I was drunk, and that's why she wasn't treating my proclamation seriously.

"I'm not drunk," I said. "You can smell my breath. Really, I'm not drunk. I would never do something that stupid. I smelled the drink; it was completely alcohol-free."

Max just shook her head. "That's…not the point."

God! Women were so confusing.

"Let's go," she said, and held out a hand. She was smiling wryly.

I took it. I was tempted to bring up the fact that I was head-over-heels in love with her and would be her slave for life if she wanted it, but I decided to leave it for next June. "Tonight was interesting," I said as we walked down the driveway, the music gradually faded.

"Nudge is going to be crushed," Max commented. She was staring ahead, not meeting my eyes.

I was very, very aware of the fact that our hands were together. It felt as if every sense in my body was suddenly magnified there. "What do you mean?"

"You remember when you walked in on Nudge crying?" she asked, kicking a pebble along.

"Yeah," I said. It was right before the whole Walmart incident.

"It's time to put two and two together," she said, smiling. "Nudge is quite hormonal."

I laughed. "Understatement of the century."

We arrived home relatively quickly, where the rest of the Flock demanded to know if, in fact, the party was full of weeping girls watching chick flicks. We gave them a toned-down version of the night's events, seeing as they probably didn't want to know about my failed announcement.

"Where're Iggy and Ella?" Nudge carefully asked, keeping her voice even.

Max pointedly gave me a look. I could tell she wanted to lie, but she couldn't do that to Nudge. "They wanted to…stay behind. They'll be home soon."

"Oh. Okay," Nudge said. She hopped down from the back of the couch. "I'm off to bed. Night."

After Max gave me another 'told you so' look, we went off in our separate directions for bed. I went through my routine slowly, thinking everything over. Here's a quick summary:

I was in love with Max.

Nudge was in love with Iggy.

Iggy, apparently, was in love with Ella.

It's like we're living in some sort of sit-com. Or maybe I'm just in the middle of a sick story where everything is scripted out for other peoples' amusement. But if someone is writing my life, here me out: please sort out my life for me.

I need all the help I can get.

-Fang


A/N2- Niggy or Eggy?

18. September 30 2009

A/N- I have once again been reminded that I cannot cook and need to keep a fire extinguisher handy.

On the topic of European musicians rocking: I am willing to trade Newfoundland for Cascada, Daft Punk, and Alexander Rybak. And on the topic of North American musicians: yes, Britney Spears did release a new song yesterday.

Oh: grab a piece of paper. Now grab a pencil, and write down 3.14, also known as pi. Take the piece of paper and look in a mirror. It will blow your mind.

Reviewer of the Week:

SarcasticLost: OMGSRSLYNICKHAZWINGZ! - the reply from several hundred of Lissa's contacts...

Comment of the Week:

A friend: I want ANYTHING that can destroy humans and eat berries at the same time.


September 30th, 2009

Dear Diary,

Drama happens in high schools, movies, and crappy soap operas that are on in the middle of the day. It just doesn't happen in my own life.

Let me elaborate: real drama happens. As in, running for your life or contemplating whether or not to kill your roommates out of frustration is a rather daily phenomenon. But that drama where people run around crying about their relationships and all that such? Yeah. It doesn't fly with us.

But I guess the rest of the Flock didn't get that memo.

Max, as she promised, never brought up my proclamation that I loved her. She and I interacted as normally as ever, but she seemed a hell of a lot more guarded.

Nudge has refused to talk to Ella whatsoever after the whole Iggy-hooking-up-with-Ella thing a few nights ago. She's taken to staying in her room and doing whatever crushed hormonal girls do, so she was probably belting out Justin Bieber or the Jo Bros and eating Toblerones.

Ella was taking it all pretty badly. She knew Nudge was avoiding her (it was hard to not notice Nudge running out of the room whenever Ella entered) and tried to talk to her, but nothing helped, even though she and Iggy were rarely in the same room together.

Gazzy was picking up on everyone's bad mood, and had even stopped blowing stuff up, which was a serious indicator that something was off. He hasn't even touched matches once in the past few days. The last time that happened was when he had burned his eyebrows off.

Angel was bumming since she knew everyone's thoughts, but she couldn't tell anyone about them, since she was working on the whole moral issue. She seemed really stressed, and used Total as a companion.

Iggy, meanwhile, didn't notice a thing. If it wasn't edible or illegal, he wasn't interested.

The tension in the house could've been cut with a knife - oh, God, I'm sorry, that was a cliché. I would erase that line, but I'm writing in pen, and if I scratch it out the ink will leak through the page. I hate clichés with a passion. I mean, yeah, sure, they're around for a reason, but writers need to move on.

Okay. That was a random Fang-Fact. Moving along, then.

Since the house was a bit of a battlefield, I wanted to honestly know Iggy's opinion on the whole thing. Surely some part of his brain was logical and understanding. Deep, deeeeep down he was a very intelligent person. Deeeeep.

I found him draped over the couch that bordered the kitchen, one hand tossed lazily over the arm of the couch that supported his head. He looked so comfortable that I doubted he'd blink if the Apocalypse suddenly blazed down from above. There was an iPod stuck in his ears.

He loves his music more than anything else.

Because sight is taken away from him, the rest of his senses are super-pumped. So basically, music takes on a whole different dimension for him. Whenever he listens to his iPod, you know he's seriously thinking.

Which is remarkably rare.

I stomped my feet hard on the floor, knowing he would feel the vibrations. I didn't want to touch him, since it would probably scare him half to death. (What would happen if you were scared half to death twice? I've always wanted to know.)

He took out one of the earphones. "Hey."

I decided to start the conversation out lightly. "Hey. What are you listening to?"

He looked right at me with his clear eyes. Iggy rarely looks right at you, but when he does, it is the weirdest feeling in the world. You feel all tingly, like you're being microwaved. (Not that I've ever been microwaved. Just...go with the simile, okay? It works.) "You'll laugh," he accused.

"Yes, I will. What are you listening to?"

He smiled brightly at me. "Britney Spears released a new song yesterday. It's called '3', as in the number."

I let out a huge burst of laughter. Iggy's musical tastes were always questionable, to say the least. I remember the High School Musical phase. "Oh, God, that's priceless. What's it about?"

His smile grew. "A threesome."

I snorted. "Seriously?"

"Seriously. You should hear the lyrics. They're even better than LoveGame."

"How could anything be better than riding a disco stick?"

"I don't know, but Britney does it." He paused, and we were left in a semi-awkward, semi-comforting silence. "You didn't come here to talk about disco sticks, Fang. Get to it."

I let out a huge breath of air. I had been trying to talk to Iggy about this all day, but someone was always around. Right then, Dr. M's book club was meeting outside (it was the last day of the month – remember last August?), since it was such a nice day. The meeting was running late, though – it was nearly dinner time. The rest of the Flock had decided to join in anyways, leaving Iggy and me alone.

"I honestly want to know what happened that night. You know what I'm talking about."

Iggy just stared. Finally he took out the other earphone. "Do you really want to know the truth?"

I nodded, even though he couldn't see it. Habit, I guess. "Yeah."

He took a deep breath. "I had had a drink. I don't know Ella's characteristics as well as the Flocks'. I was just standing there with Max, and the next thing I knew, I was pinned up against the wall by Ella. I didn't know it was her – would you pass up a free make-out session?"

"Depends on whose jumping me."

He shrugged. "I didn't care. Only later did I realize it was her when she spoke. But by that point, I didn't care. I just liked, you know, being with someone. And Ella's a really nice girl."

I decided to jump right in, screwing the consequences. "You know that Nudge likes you, and Ella, too. But what about you?"

He didn't say anything, but he tipped his head back even more over the back on the couch. "That's a damn good question. Nudge is young, but Ella's only a year older. I've always liked Nudge as a friend, and Ella as well. But… I really don't know. Is it weird that I'm scared out of my mind? As in, more scared than all the times we had to face Erasers or Flyboys? How the hell can girls be scarier than death?"

"Dunno," I responded. "But they do a damn good job at it."

He laughed. "Touché, my man. Touché. Now, if you don't mind, I'm going back to Britney, bitch." He said the last part in a valley girl accent.

"Have fun," I said, smiling. I was halfway to my room when the front door opened, with a laughing Dr. M and Flock entering.

"What's up?" I asked, surprised. Iggy had taken out the earphones again and was listening with interest. The Flock filed into the kitchen, trying not to look at me. I was instantly on alert, knowing this couldn't be good.

Gazzy giggled. "Man, this is going to be great."

"We have a guest for dinner," Dr. M said, slinging off her jacket. She went over to the sink and washed her hands - ever since the H1N1 flu came about, she'd been washing her hands every time she had the chance. "She was going to be home alone tonight, so I invited her to stay."

I cocked an eyebrow. Guests never came over; not even Jeb, who I hadn't seen or heard from in months. "Who is it?"

"Agnes is staying for dinner."

Agnes…Agnes…why did I remember that name? It was familiar. For some reason, there was this negative feeling associated with the name. Oh, wait -

AGNES, THE-HORNY-OLD-LADY.

"NO." I couldn't help it; I blurted it out. The Flock repressed their laughs, but their shaking shoulders gave them away. Agnes was the old lady who had fallen in love with me when she had seen me in those short-shorts (not a high moment of my life). She was a hardcore member of Dr. M's book club.

Dr. M shook her head. "I know she's…sexually repressed. But you should be honored that she's…interested…in you. She must've seen a lot of handsome young men in her lifetime."

I was sort of confused on why I should be honored by someone who was probably born before the turn on the century hitting on me.

And that was when Agnes came in.

She was dressed in a violently pink suit and was carrying a large pink handbag that probably used to be something that woofed and barked. Her hair was in a short perm, with every white curl in place. She was grinning madly.

"Fang…" Agnes purred. Actually, it came out more as "Fangrawr…"

"Hello," I barely managed to whisper. This was not happening…

She winked at me. "Busy tonight, love?"

My eyes widened. Was this lady serious? There was no way. "Actually, yes. And tomorrow night, too. And you know, I'm busy pretty much every night for the rest of my life."

Her grin grew. "I'm just as flexible in the day."

I blushed – a full-out Man Blush. Max had tears of laughter in her eyes, while Iggy had rolled off the couch and was on the floor silently laughing.

Her innuendos didn't stop as Dr. M prepared dinner, which consisted of mashes potatoes, steaks, and various vegetables that were re-heated. I placed myself opposite Agnes at the table; I had my back to the kitchen counter, while she was closest to the couch that bordered the family room.

"I knew you couldn't keep your eyes off me, Fang," she said sultrily, coquettishly blinking. "If you had sat beside me, it would've been much harder."

I took a deep breath. Killing a senior would get me the death penalty, for sure. And Max wouldn't be pleased.

Right as I took a bite of potatoes, I felt someone kick my leg. I glared at Gazzy, who was usually the perpetrator of such an act. I glared even more as someone started to play footsies with me. He looked at me, confused. I couldn't help but notice that Gazzy was sitting beside Agnes, who was innocently looking away.

But if it wasn't Gazzy –

FRICK NO.

"No! Seriously… just stop!" I was clutching my knife far too tightly. There was just no freaking way I could deal with this any longer! I could put up with horrible experiments and fights to the death...but a horny old lady is just TOO MUCH. "Stop hitting on me!"

Everyone's eyes widened. "Fang!" Dr. M admonished. "Apologize!"

I looked to Agnes. I was expecting her to be in tears over her lost love, but instead, her face seemed to darken. She was hunched over a bit, too, with her violently-pink suit crinkling with her movements.

"That's not necessary," Agnes said darkly.

Alright, Diary, it's time to press pause. At this time, re—read the above sentence. I wrote, 'Agnes said darkly'. I should have realized then that things were going horribly downhill. Agnes doesn't say things darkly. She says things huskily, or sultrily. But darkly? No.

Think about it: when was the last time your grandmother said something darkly? Probably never. It just doesn't work. Grandmothers talk about candy and unicorns. They don't, say, try to kill you.

This dinner is about to get ridiculous. I'm trying to warn you now. I'm sure that you're thinking, Diary, 'This could never happen.' But you know what? Kids with wings shouldn't happen, either. Think about it.

The scene is still on pause, Diary, but it won't be for long. The next few bits get pretty fast and furious. There will be swearing. There will be blood. And there will be a crazy-horny-old-lady trying to kill me.

Welcome to my life.

Ready?

Let's press play.

"What do you mean, not necessary?" Dr. M asked, shocked. Her hands were pressed under the table, obviously not understanding how Agnes could let me off the hook for my outburst. "He should pay for that!"

"He'll pay in other ways!" Agnes cackled, ducking below the table. I couldn't help but snort; that was such a cheesy line! What, was she going to put on some lipstick and try to make-out with me right then and there?

She brought out the fluffy pink purse that looked like it had once been a Shih Tzu.

As we all looked on, stunned, she drew out two handguns, one in each hand.

Yes, that's right.

Freaking handguns.

And this is a ninety-year-old-lady who goes to book club once a month to get her kicks.

Out of everything I've seen in my life –which is a lot- that was the most memorable scene, and I don't think that'll change for a while.

We all reacted instantly as the plates of food started to explode in a spray of bullets. I tackled Dr. M to the floor, since she was sitting beside me, while Iggy took down Ella. A female voice screamed, but I didn't know who it belonged to. I did, however, know it wasn't Max's.

Max never screams.

We had all fallen to the floor in an initial attempt to dodge the bullets. And for some reason, the line of fire just happened to be right at me. She wasn't shooting at anyone else. No – just me, the same person who she was trying to jump thirty seconds earlier. Talk about hormones.

Her aim was off, and since I moved quickly, never staying in the same place, she never got a close shot. But if I got into point-blank range, I'd be one dead lovesick mutant.

I had to get out of the kitchen, since Agnes obviously had a one-track mind. She couldn't, however, bend all the way down to the floor – obviously her arthritis prevented that. Instead, she opted to shoot through the table.

"Stop it!" Dr. M shouted. "Agnes-"

Her words were silenced as glass shot out from a bowl and flew into her, scratching her deeply. Blood quickly started to fall from her face, hands, and arms.

Agnes clearly only wanted me. She had a clear shot of Angel, who was crouched beside her. But no, her blazing eyes of inferno (that was quite descriptive of me) were locked on my own.

I needed to get out of there, fast. I knew Max and the rest of the Flock wanted to take her down, but there was no way to get close enough. Even though now she only had an eye for me, she could easily turn on them. As well, if they tackled her, her aim would go off, and that would introduce far too many variables into the equation.

You know, who would've thought I would've ever written a paragraph on wanting to take down Agnes?

"Holy shit!" Iggy yelled over the crashing of glass that resulted from Agnes' poor aim hitting the glasses on the counter. "This is hilarious!"

And, surprisingly enough, I agreed.

At this point, I would like to take a moment and reflect on the strangeness of the situation. It's not everyday an old lady tries to hit me up and kill me. I'm quite the popular fellow.

But with Agnes' frizzy hair adding a demonic halo to her satanic, laughing face… I couldn't help but laugh. This is one of those stories that when you look back on it, you laugh awkwardly, and then change the subject.

"Come meet your maker, boy!" she cackled, bullets spraying every time she clicked the trigger.

Okay, admit it. That was a really funny line she just said.

However, she was quickly figuring out the whole gun thing. She may have had them for a while, but she certainly didn't have much practice. But now, after a solid minute of shooting (isn't it crazy what a minute can do to your life?) she was getting better. A bullet splintered through the cupboard next to my head. Jolly good fun, Agnes is.

"Fang, couch!" Max shouted over the clamor. I could tell she was frustrated at not being able to do anything.

I was about to go there, anyways. I quickly crawled over the bleeding Dr. M and to the side of the table. As Agnes paused to conveniently re-load, I launched over the couch and hit the floor, rolling to break the fall.

All I could see was a rather mysterious stain on the carpet, but I could hear Agnes' screech as Max tackled her, got her in a vulnerable position, and emptied the bullets from the guns.

…God. My life is so weird.

I tentatively popped my head over the couch to see Max straddling Agnes' stomach. One hand was in Agnes' thinning, frizzy hair while the other was on her neck. Agnes was growling, but instead of the growl saying 'I want to see what's in your pants' it said 'You're going to die at midnight'.

"Easy does it," Max said, pulling on the hair. Agnes didn't flinch. "Care to tell us what that little scene was about?"

Silence.

"Did someone make you do this?"

Nothing.

"Why did you only go after Fang?"

She shook her head.

Max sighed gently and rolled up her sleeves. She inspected the nails on her right hand slowly, one at a time. "Darn," she said. "I hate to mess up my nails."

She pulled her arm way back, which was when I realized her plan. If you're going to punch someone, you never pull way back like they do in the movies. You do it really fast and up close, so they don't have time to react. Max was giving Agnes time to stop her.

"Wait!"

But it wasn't Agnes who had said it; it was Dr. M.

Max looked at her, both shocked and curious. Her arm was still pulled back, and Agnes, on the floor with all her dignity, looked unfazed. "What?"

"Don't punch her, Max; it could kill her," Dr. M nearly pleaded. Her face was smeared with blood, but it was starting to clot on her face. "She's frail."

"And she tried to kill Fang!" I honestly couldn't tell if she wanted to punch Agnes or not. I was guessing at the former.

Dr. M spit spat blood out of her mouth. "Someone tried to kill Fang. Maybe not Agnes."

"You know, it would be fantastic if you could get to it," I said, getting frustrated. I stood up and went back over to the destroyed kitchen. The rest of the Flock had gathered around Agnes. "What are you talking about?"

Dr. M shrugged and leaned against the cupboard. She was still sitting down. "Look at her eyes."

I walked slowly over to her, making sure not to step on any glass. I stood right over Max so that I could get a clear view at Agnes' eyes. Dr. M was right.

She didn't have any pupils.

Her eyes were just…black.

And if that's not the definition of weird, I don't know what is.

"Day-um," Gazzy drew out. "She is one messed-up lady."

"No kidding, Gazzy," Max said, trying to figure the eyes out as well. "But…when she came in, I noticed that she had these really bright blue eyes."

No one spoke, with the only sounds coming from the crinkle of glass whenever someone shifted. "Okay," Nudge said, not catching the hint. "We're all implying something, and I'm not sure where you're going with this. Are you saying that Agnes was, like…taken over or something?"

Max nodded. "That's exactly what we're thinking of." She kept looking at the eyes, when she suddenly drew back. "Woah," she breathed.

We all crowded around her, trying to see what had caught her attention. We figured it out quickly; Agnes' eyes were changing back. Gradually, in the course of about a minute, her eyes faded from black, to a dark brown, to hazel, to green, to blue. Once they reached the blinding blue they had been at the beginning of the meal, she shuddered, and her eyes snapped shut, and then open again.

"Oh my," she said, looking at us all, confused. "Have I taken a fall? Fang, darling, I always knew I'd fall for you, but never in this way."

Agnes was back. The real Agnes. I never knew I could want the horny Agnes so much.

"Agnes?" Dr. M asked softly. "What's the last thing you remember?"

"My darling Fang had just yelled something, although I can't recall what. I'm sure it was a proclamation of love; I'm so sorry I missed it, dear!"

Dr. M exhaled. "Has anyone…talked to you recently? Strange people?"

Agnes shook her head. "Not at all. The only exciting part of my life has been Fang." She looked around, suddenly realizing where she was."But, oh, Val! What happened to your kitchen? Did Fang go on a rant when he realized I fell?"

The rest of Dr. M's interrogation continued in the same fashion; barely a sentence went by without my name mentioned. Dr. M showed her the guns, asking her if she had ever seen them before; she replied in the negative. All in all, it looked as if Agnes had no idea she was ever possessed. Unless, of course, she was lying.

Once Agnes had kissed me goodbye (was that Paris Hilton perfume I smelled?) Dr. M went to drive her home. Before she left, Dr. M whispered, "I'm not letting her off the hook. I'll be watching her closely."

Right as the door closed, Iggy said, "That was an excellent way to end the day. How about an encore for tomorrow? There's a very kind old man in the seniors' home down the street who I know has an AK-47 in his possession."

Max looked around at the destruction of the kitchen. "So Agnes was…possessed."

I nodded. "Yeah. Just one more thing for us to figure out."

"Do you think there could be any connection between the people who shot at us in the forest and Agnes?" Nudge asked. We were all surprised; this was the first time she had voluntarily spoken in days.

"I'm not sure," Max said. She put her head in her hands. "This is serious headache material."

"I'm pretty sure God made Advil for such situations," Ella said. She went to one of the cupboards that had escaped destruction and tossed the bottle to Max, who downed two of the little red pills with a glass of water with half of the top shattered of.

"So," Max said, continuing. "Anges is normal, until Fang tells her to stop hitting on him. Then, she goes crazy. But she had the guns on her; obviously, whoever possessed her had pre-planned this and was waiting for the ideal time."

"Was she even possessed?" Angel asked. "Other than the eyes, she could be one good liar."

"Maybe," Max said. "They could've been transitional contact lenses or something."

There was a lull in the conversation. "So, now that we've all escape death from someone who knits socks on a daily basis, what do we do now?" Iggy asked.

"We need to think of a plan, and one that involves us going to California," Max said. "We're going, and soon. I'm sure Agnes is involved with Itex somehow. She has to be. But first, we've got some serious cleaning up to do."

That was pretty much saying there was a lot of cleaning up to do after the Bush Administration.

Haha. Burn.

We stayed up until well after midnight sweeping up all the glass, throwing away the wood splinters, and scrubbing Dr. M's blood from the floor. Normally we just made the mess; never have we had to clean it up.

We all called it an early night, but I knew Max was going to be plotting plans all night long. We needed to act, and act soon. Nudge and Ella were on better terms, too: a near-death situation does that to people.

I was extremely relieved to crawl into bed and drag you out, Diary. It honestly takes about an hour or two to write this all down, but it's worth it. It's nice to have someone that listens without judging.

And so that was my day.

How was yours, Diary?

And you know what the really messed-up part is? No matter how much complaining I do, no matter how many times I've risked death, no matter how many times I feel like I just want to give up-

I wouldn't trade my life for anyone else's.

-Fang

P.S. Iggy totally just said, "Nella…" although he's dead-fast asleep. Weird. Who's Nella?

Oh…

I get it.

19. October 10 2009

A/N- This was actually written in Vermont; I have a dual citizenship between Canada and America, since I was born in Florida but raised in Ontario. Either way, it means I'm in both countries a lot and it's awesome. I must say, Canada, you need VH1, and America, you need health care. (Oh, snap.) On the road to Vermont, my parents were listening to a book on CD. There was one pissed-off character named Agnes, with these "dark, dark eyes..." It took everything in me to not burst out laughing.

For the pi thing: some people got it, some people didn't. If you read 3.14 in reverse, it reads PI.E. So pi is pie. SICK.

People have been asking me where I get the ideas for this story. Most of it comes from life experiences; I lead an incredible life with many amazing stories I could tell. (Seriously. There's a picture of my father shaking hands with Ronald Reagan, the former US President, hanging in my bathroom.)

One more note: Go tell someone that they look pretty today - it will make their day. Trust me.

Reviewer of the Week:

books r a gurls bestfriend: Those horny ladies are extremely lethal you know.

Comment of the Week:

A person in my English class: It's really sad when a girl who draws a dinosaur in class accomplished more than you did.


October 10th, 2009

Dear Diary,

Britney Spears is officially on my hit list.

Remember that Britney Spears song Iggy was listening to a while ago? The one called 3? It pretty much ricocheted up to Top 40 list, which means the radios can't get enough of it. And thus, my current predicament.

The song won't freaking get out of my head. And it sucks even more that the lyrics, are, indeed about a threesome. Iggy, being Iggy, memorized the lyrics and would prance around singing them. "Are you in?" he would ask the person nearest at hand. "Living in sin is the new thing!" A punch in the gut shut Iggy up only for a minute.

But, two things struck me (other than Iggy's punches in retaliation).

1. How ironic was it that Iggy was singing a song about a threesome? It certainly would solve his problem with Nudge and Ella. Oh, ew, just that thought is cringe-worthy. I am so going to scratch that out.

2. With lyrics like those, it's hardly a surprise so many kids are messed up these days.

But really, Diary, if the US Army got the rights to this song, they'd win any war. All they'd have to do is blast the song 24/7 at their opponents, who would probably shoot each other out of compassion. Although I tried to fight the song, I'd occasionally hum it accidentally. It was like heroin. But hell, at least heroin can kill you.

There was such an instance, when I was in the kitchen chopping up a tomato to make a BLT, when I heard snickering behind me.

"Are you humming Britney Spears?"

I whipped around; it was Max, of course. Who else would find me in a potentially embarrassing situation?

"Of course not. I don't know what you're talking about."

She grinned and went over to the kitchen table and sat on it, crossing her legs. She looked remarkably at ease. "You're humming a song about a threesome. Don't tell me I have to keep an eye on your room at night…"

I took the opportunity to throw the knife at her; she caught it by the handle neatly, just I knew she would. "Well. Someone's in a mood today."

I shook my head, and she lightly tossed the knife back to me. "No, if I was in a mood, you wouldn't have caught it."

Max nodded, still smiling. These were the moments I loved with her. Not every girl could take getting a knife thrown at her with such ease. Then again, most girls wouldn't have even caught the knife. Not that I loved her just for her knife-catching skills. She was also extremely beautiful, incredibly intelligent, unbelievably kind…

Wow. I am so whipped.

"So why do I deserve the pleasure of your visit? Any words of wisdom to bestow upon me today? Any confessions of a secret love?"

This is what I wished would have happened:

Max looked at me strangely. "Fang…" she whispered, coming close…too close, or maybe not close enough. She dragged a soft finger down my cheek, and I leaned into it.

"Fang…darling…I've held myself in for too long. I want to be your lover! Your mistress! Fang, take me away now to the lush beaches of Tahiti where we will love each other every moment of our fragile lives! Love me, Fang! Love me!"

And this is what actually happened:

Max looked at me strangely. "Fang…" she laughed, staying seated on the table. "You're my best friend, my right-hand man."

WHAT?

Okay, look: if a guy is a 'best friend' to a girl, it basically means he has no chance at all with her. None at all. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

I really never thought I was Max's 'best friend'. We don't have best friends; the Flock is a collective best friend. Best friends only exist in TV shows and even there they stab each other in the back (metaphorically) all the time. Right-hand-man, yes. Best friend, no.

Besides, men don't have best friends. They have buddies. Enough said.

"Oh," I said slowly, holding the knife a little too tightly. "Yeah. Thanks. Cool. I'm just going to…cut…this…tomato."

I turned back to the tomato and began cutting it with fervor. I sliced quickly and with precise movements, but I was cutting so hard the knife occasionally got lodged in the wooden cutting board. "But I never answered your question," she said. "As to why I'm here."

I didn't say anything.

She continued on. If she was aware that my soul was being crushed under this new best-friend status, she didn't comment on it. "I have officially cleared it with Mom: we're leaving for California in exactly two hours."

I had been expecting this; Max was getting antsy about the whole let's-go-to-DEATH-FREAKING-VALLEY-to-save-Fang-yay! plan. I glanced at my watch; it was a little after ten.

"Sounds good," I said. "Is everyone packed?"

"Yeah, Iggy and Gazzy are just trying to extinguish a chemical fire in the forest that they started last night. But other than that, we're pretty well organized."

I placed my tomatoes on the bread. I layered on scant amounts of lettuce and an unhealthy portion of bacon before finishing it off with some mayonnaise. I took a bite and nodded in satisfaction. Max looked at the sandwich.

"That looks really good," she said. In one swift movement, she hopped off the table and took the hand that I was holding the sandwich with. She moved my hand towards her mouth; quickly, she took a bite, smiled, and disappeared down the hall.

…Woah.

First: When she grabbed my hand, my everything literally sparkled. Everything went all tingly, too.

Second: I had taken a bite of the sandwich. Max had taken a bite of the sandwich. We had practically half-kissed!

Third: Why was Max in this strange mood? It was probably because we could finally go on to California.

I won't bore you with the details of us getting the final details ready. Believe it or not, my whole life isn't one exciting shoot-'em-up movie all of the time. We had all grabbed our usual backpacks and had shoved a month's worth of food and clothes in them.

"Call at least once a week," Dr. M said, frowning as she hugged Max yet again. "Don't forget!"

"Of course not!" Max said. But honestly, we all knew Max would never call. It could be traced back to the house, which could potentially put Dr. M and Ella at risk of whatever we're chasing/attacking/running for our lives from.

Suddenly, Dr. M's hands flew to her mouth. "Oh! I almost forgot!" She rummaged around in a cloth bag that was sitting on the couch. She fished out six pairs of sunglasses and tossed a pair to each of us.

"I bought these for you guys," she said. Was she tearing up a bit? Oh, this could get awkward. "It's really sunny up in the sky, and I don't want your eyes to hurt."

I thought about it; in actuality, the glasses would help. Because our eyesight is so good, everything is heightened. At times it can be uncomfortable with the glaring sun, and we had never actually considered the option of sunglasses. "Thanks, Dr. M," we all chorused. I tried on the sunglasses and looked in the mirror.

I look liked a pimp.

Fang the Pimp.

Nice.

"Ready?" Max asked. The rest of us nodded; after a few last-minutes hugs (especially from Ella, who looked as if she was groping Iggy) and a quick run to the forest (no one shot at us, score!) we shot up, and we were finally flying.

It was the perfect weather for flying; sunny but cool, some clouds, and some updrafts. We went into our standard V-formation and started headed west. Those sunglasses really did help, too. We looked like badass flying CIA agents about to crash a James Bond party.

"So what exactly are we going to do in Cali?" Gazzy asked, flipping over and flying upside down with his hands behind his head. "Like, ask around and see if we can get a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and get rid of Fang's…problem on the back of his neck?"

No one ever said 'expiration date'. Expiration dates belong on old milk cartons, not on people. And speaking of old milk, Iggy gave himself food poisoning for the past week because he didn't know the milk at the back of the fridge expired back in 2007.

"We'll go back to the Itex buildings; they've still got to be there," Max yelled over the wind rushing past us. "It's better than sitting around. Things are better when you actually do something. "

"Not true," Iggy said. "I am currently suffering from a horrible lack of Vitamin Bacon."

Although I couldn't see it, I'm sure Max rolled her eyes. After that, we fell into a comfortable silence as Arizona fell beneath us. We spent around an hour like that, each of us content with our own thoughts.

But, as you know, Diary, something happened today. I don't write in this every day; first, I'd run out of pages, and second, no one wants to read, 'Dear Diary, today I sat around and wished I was a vampire because they get all the girls, sincerely, Fang'.

Alright, let's get this action started!

The scene: The middle of the sky

The characters: The Flock

The plot: Me pulling an Agnes move

That's right. I was just flying along, minding my own business, when things started to go downhill quickly.

My eyes started to hurt like hell- I'm sure I said "damn," or something along those lines (the letter f was involved liberally), but no words seemed to come out. For that matter, everything started to hurt – it was as if my body was convulsing, but I couldn't see it.

My head, too - it was like a headache on steroids. And there was this horrid ripping feeling, as if my head and body suddenly became Velcro, and someone tore them apart. I gasped; or, at least, I thought I did. It was like I was removed from my body; I knew I hurt, but I just couldn't control my body. And for the record, it's not a nice sensation. I tried to move my hand; I couldn't. I tried to talk; I couldn't. I kept breathing and kept flying, but it wasn't me.

And, when I made the whole oh-crap-this-isn't-good-I-can't-move connection, I realized what was happening.

It was the exact thing that happened to Agnes.

I was being taken over, or possessed, or whatever you want to call it.

And this is not how I wanted to spend my Saturday.

Something snapped, and I lost all connection to my body; I could think but not act. I tried desperately to call out of wave or something – but nothing happened. I was completely trapped. And things became even worse, because this is my life, and when something goes bad, it goes bad in style.

My body decided to attack Max.

It was sort of like my body went, 'Hey, Fang, what's up? I'm going to attack Max, and you can't do anything about it. Sucks to be you!'

I shot forward, and within a horrible instant, I latched onto Max's back. I had grabbed onto her backpack; she instantly faltered, and we began to plummet. "Fang, what the hell are you doing?" she screamed, trying to desperately untangle herself from me. Her fingers were trying to rip my hands from her back, but she couldn't turn enough to get a good grip. Meanwhile, I was clawing at her throat. Good times, good times.

We were falling too fast; the ground was rushing up far too quickly. Not only were we risking being seen, but also becoming some tasty new Bird-Kid style pancakes at IHOP.

"Get off of me!" she yelled, and finally managed to twist out of my grip. She skyrocketed upwards, with me not far behind her. But why couldn't she tell it wasn't really me? Couldn't she see that my eyes were all wrong, like with Agnes?

But I was wearing sunglasses.

I could see the Flock out of my peripheral vision; they were chasing after us, but they would never be able to catch up. Max was the fastest of all of us, but I wasn't far behind. And, seeing as wasn't really myself, I didn't know if I had any boundaries.

Before she could go into Uber-Fast Max Mode, I was unfortunately quick enough to grab onto her leg and drag her down to eye level, whereupon I proceeded to wham her in the face with a well-placed punch.

And what's worse, I seemed to be even stronger than normal. That punch totally killed; I could see it in Max's face that she was horrified.

I reached out, and my hands grabbed at her soft neck. Her life was literally in my hands as we both hovered. I squeezed, and her arms and legs were flailing, but it wasn't making any difference. I was just too strong. Her eyes bugged out, and my hands constricted.

"STOP IT," I screamed at myself, but I just kept going! "STOP IT!"

She was moving less. I could hear the Flock rushing towards us.

"STOP IT!" I was saying the words in my head only. "STOP IT!"

She was weighing a lot more, and I have strangled enough people to know that she was dying, and I was killing her.

"YOU LOVE HER," I yelled at myself. "SNAP OUT OF IT."

Her eyes closed.

And at that moment, I gave one more scream – "LOOK WHAT YOU DID, BASTARD" – and I let go.

She instantly plummeted.

I was in control of myself again; I started to dive after her, but Gazzy literally ran into me, and started whamming punches and kicks. "What are you doing?" he shrieked at me. "What are you thinking?"

I whipped off the sunglasses; I knew my eyes still had to be unnaturally dark. "It was the same thing that happened to Agnes!"

Gazzy's own eyes widened exponentially. "No way," he breathed quietly. But I didn't spend any more time with him; I instantly dived towards Max, who was now being supported upright by Iggy, Nudge and Angel. Her wings were fluttering softly behind her.

She slowly looked up at me. Her eyes held the worse mixture of betrayal and mistrust I have ever seen; my heart dropped to my stomach, and I felt like throwing up. But once she saw my eyes, her expression softened.

"You weren't…you," she said softly. "It was like Agnes."

I nodded. "Max, oh, crap, Max, I just…"

She shook her head softly, her hair falling across her face that was red from being cut off from oxygen. "It doesn't matter right now. Let's just land."

We didn't have to search for long; we had been following a major highway, but once we turned away from that, there was plenty of empty land to land in. It was many rolling dunes filled with dusty bits of desert. Max and I landed first at the base of a mountain in a poof of dirt. Max immediately went over to a rock and collapsed onto it.

"Well," she drawled. "Things had been rather slow lately."

I smiled grimly. "It's always good to keep the blood pumping."

She lay down fully on the rock as the Flock landed around us. They were all seriously confused – almost as much as I was. "Alright," Iggy said. "This is like in Scooby-Doo, after the mystery occurs, and at the end the gang gathers and figures out what happened and who did it."

"Since when do you watch Scooby-Doo?" Nudge asked; Iggy only shrugged, blushing slightly.

"Geez, Fang, you could've at least missed," Max said, interrupting their conversation. She was gingerly touching her face. "That was some nice aim."

"Well, it certainly wasn't my aim." I ran a hand through my hair – it was a habit I picked up now that it's short. "I might as well explain what happened."

"Charming idea," Max said. "Go on."

I explained it to them; how, quite suddenly, I had experienced the horrible sensation of separating my mind and body; how someone else had most definitely been controlling my actions. How when I attacked Max, it wasn't me. Angel, too, was willing to back me up; she had heard all of my mental thoughts.

"But how did you break it?" Nudge asked slowly. "I mean, Max had to tackle Agnes to get her to snap out of it. But you just…stopped."

I looked quickly to Angel, who wouldn't meet my eyes.

I had stopped the second I thought I had killed Max. Because if she died, then I would have no reason to live. That's the reason I snapped out of it. That's why I let go with only a second to spare. That's how she survived.

"I don't know," I lied softly. Angel looked up, but this time it was me who didn't meet her gaze. "I just… could."

"But who did this?" Gazzy asked. "That's the real question."

Everyone threw out answers.

"Itex."

"Jeb."

"Ari."

"Satan."

I laughed. "The only real possibility in there is Jeb, which is actually a pretty good hypothesis to go off of right now. Where is he right now?"

Max shrugged. "Last I heard, Norway. Although I highly doubt he was there for the lovely tourism they offer. But while we're in Death Valley, we should ask around for him. Someone has to know."

We paused, letting the wind blow around us and the sun beam down. In the distance, we watched all of the cars and trucks make their way across the famous Route 66. It was a nice piece of normality in our world of insanity.

"We need to keep going, but we should probably keep it easy and crash near the Nevada-California border," Max finally said.

"Nevada?" Iggy piped up. "How about a trip to Las Vegas?"

For some strange reason, I shivered when Iggy mentioned Las Vegas. For some reason, I had this really strange feeling as if something really bad happened there. Weird.

I noticed Max looked distressed at that idea, too. "Sorry, Iggy, no flash weddings for you with Katy Perry lookalikes."

He sighed. "Damn. I've always wanted to wake up in Vegas and see what would actually happen."

The rest of the day was spent in full travel mode, with limited stops. It was alright, although I was constantly on guard, hoping that nothing that involved a high mortality rate would be involved. We got lucky; the rest of the day was remarkably normal (when I say normal, I mean Flock-normal) and we eventually crashed at a motel.

That's right. A motel.

Part of the deal with Dr. M involved Max taking large sums of money. We decided to cash in on some of it and spend it on a room. It's actually a pretty big deal, since most of the time while we're travelling, we live in trees or caves or sometimes just nothing. A room is just… extravagance.

We only bought one; it was safest that way. But I couldn't help but secretly wish that, for some inexplicable reason, our rooms got messed up and I had to sleep in the same room as Max…alone. Yeah, that would rock…

It was a basic motel room: two beds, one couch, one bathroom, and cockroaches. Did you know that a cockroach can live without its head for nine days? It's my random fact of the day.

Angel and Nudge were in one bed, with Gazzy and Iggy in the other. I made Max take the couch, meaning I spent the night with my new best buddies the cockroaches. It was hard to fall asleep, so I even had time to name them all. There was Fred, and Bobby, and my favorite was Johnny-Boy, who looked like a moving chocolate bar.

I waited for everyone to fall asleep before pulling you out, Diary, and now I'm writing this in the light that's coming from the outside hall. It's really straining my eyes, and I'm drop-dead tired, so this is where I'll say goodnight.

And one more thing: If I had killed Max, I…

I…

I don't think I can finish that sentence.

Think about it.

-Fang

20. October 11 2009

A/N- Sometimes I experience events in my life where I step back and go, "This is going to end up in an author's note." But then I step back and say, "Do people really want to hear that story?" (Examples include how my underwear ended up in the middle of the street overnight and when I accidentally groped someone on the bus.)

Reviewer of the Week:

MissStud: "If I had killed Max, I would"… have thrown a party. I mean, who needs that bitch anyway? It's not like the entire story is about her…no way.

Comment of the Week:

Two kids in a Halloween store:

"Mom, can I get this pimp stick?"

"Mommie, what's a pimp?"


October 11th, 2009

Dear Diary,

I think I ate Johnny-Boy the cockroach last night.

I am one hundred and twenty percent grossed out right now. When I sleep, I sleep with my mouth open – it's just a habit, because that way I have two ways to breathe (one through the nose, and one through the mouth). It's just a survival instinct.

But when I woke up in the morning:

A) Fred and Bobby, the other two cockroaches, were in my eyesight, while Johnny-Boy wasn't

B) My stomach was going crazy

C) There was something really crunchy and large in my mouth

I slowly sat up; it was early morning, and no one else was up yet. Feeling something really gross in my mouth, I tentatively stuck my hand in my mouth and latched onto something. I brought it out, and do you know what I was holding?

Half of a cockroach.

Yes, that's right. The head and half of the body was missing, and the carcass was oozing all sorts of guts and cockroach-organs…

I immediately threw the remnants of Johnny-Boy down and gagged. I quickly got up and rushed to the bathroom, where I proceeded to vomit out the contents of my stomach. I couldn't help but note that I could still see pieces of cockroach in my own vomit…which caused me to retch again.

Within seconds, the concerned and bleary-eyed Flock was gathered at the door to the small bathroom, watching me puke. What an excellent way to impress Max – I could puke for five minutes straight!

"Oh, wow," Iggy said, squinting at the smell. "Does Fang have morning sickness?"

I took the opportunity to lean against the toilet. "I ate… I ate a cockr-" My body rebelled at the thought, and I puked yet again.

Suddenly, Iggy burst out into hysterics. "YOU ATE A COCK?" He was laughing so hard he had to grab onto the doorframe to support himself.

"Screw you," I said, wiping my mouth with a towel that hung on a rack. I was so not in the mood. I retched, but nothing came out. Apparently, I had nothing left to throw up. I took a deep breathe, feeling the cold porcelain beneath my hands. Poor, poor Johnny-Boy.

"Maybe you want to," Iggy said, cackling. There wasn't anything to throw at him, so I just glared.

And you know what the kicker was? I wonder if the half of Johnny-Boy that I had spat out was still alive. If you remember yesterday's Fang-Fact of the day, I said that cockroaches can live without their heads for up to nine days. It's weird that I mentioned that the day before I ate one…

"Cockroach," I said, flushing the toilet and standing up, wobbling only slightly. "I ate half of a cockroach." I shivered.

Nudge gagged, and looked as if she'd be sick as well. "That is so gross, Fang. So, so gross."

I nodded. "You don't have to remind me." I felt like crap… but then again, Johnny-Boy probably felt a hell of a lot worse.

Remembering that Max was watching this whole scene, I glanced at her; she was shaking with laughter. "You think this is funny?" I asked, slightly amused.

She continued with her silent shakes of laughter. "Well, I'm sure it was good protein," she said.

I smiled. At least Max didn't think I was a total wuss for puking my guts out. I mean, if some manly guy like Chuck Norris learned he had eaten half of a cockroach, he probably would've been like, 'I want seconds!'

"But I'm not sure any of us can go back to bed, now," Max continued, her laughter starting to subside. "We might as well get a head-start on the day."

"What time is it?" I asked.

"Time for you to get a watch!" Iggy interrupted. Obviously, he was still in his let's-torture-Fang-in-every-way-possible mood.

Max smartly ignored him. "It's a bit after six."

Internally, I sighed. I had finally finished the diary entry around two thirty in the morning…so I had only had three and a half hours of sleep.

"Let's just get out of here," I said, running my hand through my hair yet again. (Wasn't that a habit of Edward Cullen's?)

The Flock agreed; within minutes we had gathered all of our stuff, and we had semi-cleaned up the room. I also took the time to properly bury Johnny-Boy – aka flushing the other half of his body down the toilet.

Once we had checked out and had found a suitable launching site, we were up in the air once again, heading straight for the place we had tried to escape from so many times. The irony was delicious.

Luckily, no one tried to take over/posses me or any of the others mid-flight. I mean, Max forgave me after I tried to kill her once; twice, she'd probably kick my ass. Fortunately, it only took about three hours of a chilly, cloudy flight to see that we had crossed the border into Death Valley. Honey, we're home!

"Spooky," Nudge said as we flew over the empty plains of…nothing. Seriously, Death Valley earned its name for a reason. I mean, there was not a single Starbucks in view, which probably happened only here in the entire country. It was so repetitive out here: nothing, nothing, and more nothing. Don't get too excited.

"There we go," Max said as a distant outcropping of buildings appeared on the horizon. "Home sweet home!"

As we sped up to the Itex buildings, we all couldn't help but feel apprehensive. Nasty things had gone on here, and we spent most of our life fighting said nasty things.

"Do you think they've got sensors?" Max asked as we neared them. We could see details like windows and doors, so we slowed down to an eventual hover.

"Doubt it," Iggy said. "Last time we were here, it sort of got smashed to bits."

Iggy was right: most of the building had been run into my cars or had had homemade bombs thrown at them. It was strange, seeing a well-guarded building in such ruin. The large fence, too, which had surrounded the complex, now lay in the dust.

"Where you be if you wanted to stay in the Itex buildings?" Max mused aloud.

"Well," I drawled, "How about we knock on the front door?"

See, each of us knew the layout of this complex front-to-back after years of trying to escape. There was one sprawling building; all-white and built sometime in the sixties, if you looked at the architecture of it. In the middle of it was the courtyard, which was where we had fun and played games and sat in a circle singing Kumbaya! (Yeah, right.) Other, smaller, buildings of similar style surrounded the main building, each with barbed wire fencing on their roofs, which is an excellent way of saying, 'Come on in!'

"Let's try…but watch your back," Max said slowly.

We landed a hundred meters or so from the building. Nothing came sprinting at us, wanting to decapitate us, which was a nice surprise, and nothing blew up. So far, so good.

Carefully, we slowly walked forwards, in plain site on the main driveway. There was no point trying to be mysterious about it; we wanted to talk to the Itex people, and breaking-and-entering isn't the best way to get on someone's good side (believe me, I've tried it, and it doesn't work).

Finally, we walked up the crumbling steps to the main doors of Itex. Rubbish and other trash (including a tire, somes shoes, and a thong) was on the ground near the destroyed gardens. We stood in front of the main doors, which had once been those ones that slide when you get close. Glass shards from the doors were everywhere; Itex definitely needed to get a better janitorial service.

"Hmm," Gazzy said as we stepped into the main office. "You guys did well."

He was referring to the fact that he, Iggy and myself hadn't actually been here during the fall of Itex; this was entirely girl-run destruction. The ruins of the building prove that you simply do not piss off women. Even though the girls had been in Germany at the time, this branch had gone through the same destruction.

It was dark, seeing as there was no electricity. The main desk in front of us was overrun with papers and pens and all sorts of secretarial materials; the main office was a large but closed-off room. There were three doors: one behind the desk, and two on each side of the room. Chairs were turned over and the stuffing ripped out; painting hung off the walls; on the back wall someone had spray-painted 'YOU DESERVE THIS'.

We took the opportunity to look around the main room and the little office behind it; no one was there. After immediately clearing the area for any potential bad guys, Max called out, "Anyone here?"

Apparently, yes, because that would explain the knife that suddenly flew out from the middle of nowhere.

Max was too quick, and jumped away as the knife lodged in the wall where her throat had been a second earlier. We all turned to the direction of where the knife had come from, and there was a woman who looked like a turtle was standing there, shaking. How did she appear there?

"Nice to meet you," Max said with a twang in her voice. "Good aim. You should think of joining the circus, they could use a trick like that."

"You're the bird-kids," the turtle-woman said. She was short and squat and had the infamous white coat on.

"Oh, you're a smart one!" Max said sarcastically. I could see where Max was coming from; our wings were out and wide open. It was like going up to rock and saying, 'You're a rock!'

"What are you doing here?" she was backing away.

"Actually, we need your help," Max said, her tone becoming a little more soft. "We were wondering if you could point us in the right direction."

The woman looked confused, and then did a little scoff. "Excuse me?"

Max pointed a finger at me. "My friend here has a date plastered on the back of his neck, and if we don't do something about it, he's not the only one who's going to kick the bucket." Her meaning was obvious as she smoothly pulled the knife out of the wall.

The woman laughed a little. She had obviously been through a lot; her hair was frizzed out to the Max, and her clothes were torn. Then again, compared to what we had been through, the past few months had probably been easy. "He has an expiration date?"

Max nodded. "Yeah. Can you help us, or can you find someone who can?"

She gave us an incredulous look. "Are you serious?" Suddenly, something in her eyes clicked, and we all knew that she was about to go on a rant. "You destroyed this building, threw me out of a job, and undid years of work and research! You just wasted millions of dollars of government grants! And you seriously want me to help you?"

Max cocked an eyebrow. Instead of coercing her into helping us (most likely with assistance from the knife) Max just asked, "Don't you ever worry about your soul?"

That caught the woman's attention. "What?"

Max ran her finger over the sharp blade. "You tortured and experimented on other beings with souls, all in the name of science. You didn't kill, you murdered, and last time I heard, murderers go to Hell. And yeah, you can't go back into the past, but helping us is probably going to serve as some type of atonement."

Wow. I wasn't expecting that. And neither was the woman.

She looked up at us through her mousy hair; Max's speech had had the desired effect. (Then again, Max is so good at persuasion, she could probably convince the Devil to donate to charity.) The woman's shoulders dropped."Come back tomorrow," she said softly.

"Why can't we talk now?" Max asked.

"Tomorrow," the woman said. She gave us a pitiful look – and then she disappeared.

As in, one second, she was standing there, and then PRESTO, she wasn't. It was quite the party trick.

We all gaped. "But- but how?" Gazzy sputtered. "Sh-she just went poof!"

Max went over to the spot where the woman had disappeared from and inspected it. "Weird," she agreed. "Although that was pretty cool. But I guess we can't do anything about it for now. We can ask her tomorrow how she pulled that little nifty move."

"But what do we do now?" Angel asked, peeling her sweater off – it was surprisingly hot in here.

"Well, let's explore around a bit. We should look for any illegal stuff, and we can go from there, I guess," Max said. "We can see what the place looks like."

Well, it turns out it didn't look like much. We took the day and explored nearly every corridor and room of the place. Most of the rooms – including the one Max and I were in at the moment – didn't have windows or even doors. But even though the wind was blowing in, it was still quite warm.

I couldn't help but admire the efforts of the people who had gone through the place. Most of the rooms had obviously been searched through and trashed, but there wasn't a single piece of incriminating paper or machinery. I mean, we even went through the corridor where we had been experimented on and held captive, and nothing was there – no cages, no equipment. Just empty rooms.

And then I figured it out.

"Oh, crap," I said softly. Everything suddenly fit together: why we weren't finding anything, how that woman disappeared, why it had been so warm in the building…

"What?" Max asked, rifling through a desk at the other side of the room. We were alone – the kids were checking out other rooms in this hallway.

"Be very, very quiet," I said, and Max immediately stopped moving. She knew when I was drop-dead serious.

I could hear the kids in the other rooms down the hallway talking and laughing, so I immediately called out, "Quiet!" Within that second, they all shut up.

Which is when I heard it.

Breathing.

From behind my left shoulder.

And Max was on the other side of the room.

This was one of those, 'oh, shit,' moments.

Max was too far away to hear the breathing, but she could tell something was seriously wrong by the way I opened by eyes in shock. So I did what I do best: fight like hell.

I pivoted, and launched a punch over my left shoulder, whereupon I connected with something substantial, even though it looked as if I had rammed my hand into thin air. But something tells me that thin air doesn't go "Oomph!"

Which was when two somethings tackled me; I fell to the floor, although my backpack broke my fall. It felt like someone was beating me up, landing punches and kicks all over me. But here's the thing: there was no one there.

I was just on the ground, getting the crap kicked out of me by the air, which is probably one of the lower moments of my life, when Max the Genius suddenly grabbed a handful of dirt from the corner of the room and threw it on me.

So if you're wondering Diary, as to why Max just threw dirt on me, listen up: the dirt never landed on me. Instead, it became suspended in the air, which now took the shape of two people leaning over me. The good news was that I was no longer being beat up by the air, but the bad news was that invisible people were.

The Flock rushed to our room and saw what was happening; Max charged at one of the figures, which was substantial in the dust, and pinned it to the wall. However, she never got around the beating the crap out of it, since she also got tackled to the ground – as did the rest of the Flock.

So today I got beat up by invisible people. Yet another life goal accomplished; that was right under the one about how I wanted to eat a cockroach.

"Window!" Max called, which was a smart move. There were too many variables in this situation for us to gain the upper hand. With one burst of movement, I threw off my attackers, and jumped towards the open window. As soon as I saw that the rest of the Flock had managed to wriggle past their own assailants, I launched out of the window.

One by one, we escaped from the room at top speed. The wind had picked up; it was twilight now, and cold compared to how warm the room had just been. I flipped over and flew upside down to count the Flock; I took the head of our V-shape, since Max had gotten out of the room last.

We didn't talk as we flew hard and fast; I steered us west, which was closer to civilization. We didn't talk; it was hard to carry out a pleasant conversation after being beat up. After twenty minutes of frantic flying, I landed us near a cropping of rocks, where it looked like some caves could be found.

"That was unexpected," Iggy said as he preened his wings of dust. "Delightful, actually. Nothing could have made my day better."

Max looked at me; by now the sun had set completely, with some distant clouds lit up with leftover neon colors. Her face was in the shadows. "But Fang, how did you know people were there? We were lucky you caught them; otherwise, we could've said or done something…"

I shrugged. "Just some observations I noticed. First, we looked through every room for some sort of report, or paper, with incriminating stuff on it; we only found perfectly innocent documents. Isn't that something in itself? Everything Itex did was illegal; there was no way everything that we found would be legal."

I continued on, aware that my voice was the only sound in the vast expanse of the desert. "And then the woman disappeared, which was just freaky. But then I also remembered Angel taking off her sweater in the main office, because it was so warm, even though there wasn't any heating in the building."

Max's mouth formed an 'o' as she figured it out, but the rest of the Flock were wearing blank faces. "I mean, if you trash a place, you don't take everything out – you just mess it up. The rooms were too empty.

"And then, we forgot what Itex does: it experiments. And because it no longer had its experiments, why not use its employees?"

Nudge got what I was getting at and gasped. "The Itex employees – they were there, all of them – but they were invisible. So it was really warm in the main office because there were so many people in there, but we couldn't see them."

I nodded. "Exactly. And whatever they're doing – well, they need to be invisible to do it. Because they trashed the place – and they trashed it too perfectly. When you guys were here last time, you never actually went in to destroy it. We just assumed that after you left, the kids who helped you out went into the building. But they didn't – they left. And you never actually killed any of the employees; we assumed that Jeb or someone sorted it out.

"But in actuality, the Itex people who remained after it 'fell' went through it and made it look run-down and uncared for so that no one would bother coming here. And they've advanced their products in the last few months – they can support invisibility now. And as soon as we came in, they all started to follow us."

"And they invited us back tomorrow," Max said grimly. "Shall we bring a housewarming gift? Sears has some lamps on sale."

That broke the tension; we quickly decided to camp out in a nearby cave. It was a tad bit less comfy than the motel, but it was better than most of our sleeping locations. We each took different shift watches; I opted to go first, and here I am now, sitting at the edge of a cave in the middle of Death Valley which is in the middle of Badwater Basin which is in The Middle of Freaking Nowhere. I brought a flashlight with me, so it no longer kills my eyes to write.

So. Itex is still around. And they're up to something.

Well…things were getting a little too normal for us. I mean, we had a few months of fun and games, but now we were back in the full swing of things.

And it sucks.

I would love to ditch this cave and go with Iggy's suggestion and fly to Vegas and elope with Max and make millions in the slots. Everyone would be happy; Max and I would have each other; Angel and Nudge would have shopping; Gazzy would have a huge black market; and Iggy would have his foreign strippers.

But we've got to investigate this Itex thing, so tomorrow will be interesting.

Vegas can wait.

-Fang

21. October 17 2009

A/N- I would like to use this time to plug Glee, the most hilarious show currently airing. "Every time I try to destroy that club, it comes back stronger than some sexually ambiguous horror movie villain." Along with 30 Rock, it actually makes me smile and laugh throughout the whole episode.

And to answer a question: this all takes place after book three, and ignores the books afterwards.

This is a heavy science chapter; thank you, Wikipedia.

Reviewer of the Week:

Harashio:

Reporter: "Today is a very sad day, full of mourning. President John, better known as 'Johnny Boy' of the United Cockroach Nation, or the UCN, has died by violent decapitation. Friends and colleagues, Senator Fred and Vice President Bob or 'Bobby', were there to witness this tragic event. We have Senator Fred here to tell us what happened, since now President Bobby is running errands. Senator Fred, can you tell us what happened?"

Fred: "Truthfully, Bobby told him that it was the magical cave of Infinite Bacon, and he believed him…"

Comment of the Week:

A waitress: So, wait. You want that with…all bacon?


October 17th, 2009

Dear Diary,

You know, waking up with nothing in your mouth is such an awesome experience. My mouth was completely cockroach-free when Max, the last person on watch, shook me awake. And for the record, cockroach tastes a bit like chicken, but crunchier and the arms and legs get caught in your teeth. Ugh. I totally just shivered.

"What's for breakfast?" Gazzy slowly asked from the other side of the cave.

"Bread à la mystery meat," Max said, throwing a Ziploc bag of something at each of us. "I took it from the fridge at home."

Mystery meat was common with us. Usually it ended being up beef or ham or something, but there was one time we all suspected we had just eaten a squirrel. I opened up my bag; there were two pieces of bread and some sliced deli meat that I was going to convince myself to think was bologna.

I watched as Iggy opened his bag and smelled the contents. He reached in, tore off a piece of the meat, and ate it. "Mmmm…" he said. "Tastes like bacon… and cock."

Iggy's time alive is slowly coming to an end, I swear.

I chose to ignore him and instead stuffed the Ziploc bag into my backpack, saving it for later. After a few moments, when the rest of the Flock ate a portion of their delicious and nutritious breakfast, Max asked, "Everyone ready?"

That was pretty much the equivalent of asking, "Everyone ready to go back to where you just got your asses kicked?"

We all reluctantly nodded, gathered our things, and took off from the charming little cave that had a delightfully few amount of creepy-crawly insects that liked open mouths.

The sky was dark, which wasn't a good way to start the day. Rain storms in this area were rare, but when they hit, they had more punch than Chuck Norris on steroids. (Geez. Isn't that, what, my third Chuck Norris reference? And it's even sadder that I'm keeping track.)

Once we were up in the air, Iggy called out to the rest of us, "Don't you think we should have a plan?"

Half of the time, plans were constructed while we were in the middle of hunting or being hunted, which shows a considerable lack of foresight on our part. But still, plans are pretty hard to make when you're, oh, I don't know, dying.

"Let's just go in the same way," Max said. "We don't really have any alternatives. If those creepy-ass invisible people decide they don't like the way our faces look, we'll boot it out of there and start from square one. Capiche?"

"Capiche," Iggy called back. You know, saying capiche always makes me feel Italian. And hell, I might be Italian, but I doubt it. I'm pretty sure the white coats mentioned I was Greek or something, which is cool, because I pretty much have a perma-tan, since I have a rather wonderful olive complexion, thank you very much.

We didn't have to fly long to reach the Itex buildings. We landed just as the winds started to pick up; it was all rather ominous, really. I mean, if we had to escape, it would seriously suck to fly through the oncoming storm. To the south, the sky was all mixed up with blacks and blues and purples.

"It's a shame I forgot to pick up that lamp at Sears as our housewarming present," Max mumbled as we stepped through the doorway to the main office.

Which is when we got our first surprise of the day.

See, we had all been secretly expecting to fight within the next ten minutes against invisible people or whatever. But as soon as we walked into the office, we were met by ten whitecoats standing there, smiling.

Right. Does this not scream, 'I AM A TRAP'?

The turtle woman who we had met before stepped forwards with her hand outstretched towards Max. Glass crunched under her feet as she moved. "Welcome back, we're glad you made it. My name is Julie."

Max waited a second, taking this all in, before slowly shaking Julie's hand. "I'm sure you already know our names."

She nodded. "Yes, we do."

There was a pause where no one moved; each party was sizing the other up. Luckily, it was Iggy and his infamous bluntness who saved the day.

"So," he said. "This is awkward. Let's just get this over with: you're invisible people. That's a stupid ability. Who wants to be invisible? Geez. Way to waste a good ability. You could've wished to fly or something cool like that."

Julie looked somewhat surprised. "I don't know what you're talk-" she paused, and comprehension dawned on her face. "Ah." She turned around to face the nine whitecoats behind her; I noticed that one large African American man nodded.

"I think we need to have a little chat," Julie said softly. "Follow me?"

"Why can't we talk here?" Max asked. Usually, 'chats' involve large amounts of blood in our lives.

"We're not going to attack you or anything," Julie said, starting to get annoyed. "Just this way, please."

The Flock exchanged glances; we were outnumbered by four, and this was not a good situation. But still, we couldn't not follow Julie; there was too much to lose. We started to file one at a time behind Julie, with the whitecoats following behind us as we walked down a long hallway to the right.

"What do you see right now?" Julie called from the front of the line.

Hmm. Maybe these whitecoats were a tad daft. "A run-down hallway," Max said, confused. "There are burned-out light bulbs dangling from the ceiling at regular intervals. There's dust everywhere. The tiles are cracked. There aren't any windows, and there's glass scattered all around, too, and I'm pretty sure the lady in front of me is crazy."

Julie laughed softly. "You'll see. Literally."

We walked down the long hallway for a few minutes, turning occasionally. I would describe the hallway, but Max already did a good job of that. (My hand is killing me from writing so much lately, so I''m trying to cut corners. Then again, just writing this sentence made me write even more. It's some sort of horrible loop. Anyways, moving on with the day...) "Here we are," Julie said, ending at a door at the end of the hallway. She slid a card into a slot, and a little green light went on, and the door opened. Nifty.

Julie held the door open for us as we all piled into the room. It was small, maybe the size of an average school classroom. There were a few defunct-looking pieces of machinery, knocked-over chairs and the ceiling was strangely high. There were no windows.

So basically, an excellent place to trap us.

"Don't tell me you paid to have this room decorated," Max said aloud. "Because it looks like crap."

For some reason, this caused the whitecoats to chuckle among themselves. Julie smiled at someone behind us. "Nathan? Can you come over here?"

The large African American who had nodded at Julie before came right beside her. "You can see Nathan right now, correct?"

"Actually, no," Iggy said. The whitecoats looked at him strangely. "Believe it or not, you guys are assholes, and if you're going to try and kill us, please get it over with. Survivor is on tonight, and I don't want to miss the episode."

Julie and Nathan looked sympathetically at Iggy. Julie glanced at Nathan pointedly, and I understood: Nathan was the real leader here, and he held the power. (Heh heh. That was a cool line.)

"We're on your side," Nathan said in a low timbre that reminded me of smooth chocolate. "Can we prove it to you?"

"Try me," Max said. The way she said it was so badass.

Nathan fished into his breast pocket and held a small remote that looked like a smaller version of a Wii remote. "Close your eyes, Iggy," he said, and waited.

Iggy looked skeptical. "It's not going to make a difference, dude. Newsflash: I can't see with my eyes open or closed."

Nathan sighed. "Are you guys always this untrusting?"

"It's sort of hard to trust the people who used us as experiments," Max said, putting her hands in her pockets and rocking back and forth on her feet. "Believe it or not."

But Iggy still closed his eyes. "Wow. The world didn't end. Shocker."

"Just bare with me," Nathan said, and he looked at the remote. He pressed a button, then pressed another button twice. He scrolled down a screen, selected something, and it looked as if he was turning the volume up on something.

"If you would kindly open your eyes, it would be much appreciated," Nathan said with a smile.

And Iggy opened his eyes.

And you know what he did?

He screamed, and he fell to the ground on his knees.

That was all the invitation I needed; I launched myself at Nathan in a perfect spear-tackle and brought him to the tiles below, cracking them. Right as I was about to re-arrange his face into a much more pleasing pattern, Max shouted, "FANG, NO."

An inch from his nose, I stopped my punch. Nathan's face was shockingly calm, considering I hadn't planned on stopping the punch. I was breathing heavily, while he looked like he had just come from walking through a park of dandelions.

"Explain," I said to Max, not feeling very verbose. If anyone ever caused pain to my family, they would pay… (That sounded sort of bitter. Sorry.)

"Turn around," Max answered breathlessly.

Slowly, with my arm still posed for a killer punch, I turned my head to face Iggy. He was on the ground with his head in his hands. Very, very slowly, he took his hands away, and he looked up.

And he met my eyes exactly.

As in, he was seeing me.

And that was the second interesting thing that happened that day.

I wanted to say some sort of sarcastic comment, but nothing was coming. Instead, I let go of Nathan's lapels and stood up slowly. Iggy followed my every movement.

He stood up, and within that second, I grabbed him into a huge bear hug.

"I can see," he whispered. Then, he let out a soft chuckle. "This brings a whole new dimension to strippers now."

I laughed – and get this, my eyes started to tear up. Crazy, I know. But they weren't regular tears; these were Man Tears. You know, tears made of testosterone and manly things like that. But I mean, there were more emotions in that room than in the average sorority at Harvard.

He took a deep breath and hugged the rest of the Flock. I heard him say, "You're beautiful, really," to Max, which made me take back every death threat I've ever wished against him.

And I must say, Iggy's eyes are blue. Before they were sort of clouded over, but now they were piercing, and I say that in a literal sense. Every time you saw them, you got the feeling Iggy has seen a lot…even if the exact opposite is true.

After a few lovey-dovey moments, Iggy turned back to the whitecoats. "Why?" he asked simply. "Don't tell me this was just an early birthday present."

Nathan smiled. Although he was very friendly looking, and he totally just gave Iggy his eyesight back, I was still wary of him. I have issues with trust, yes. "First, it was a bit of an apology, because I know what some of my colleagues did to you." He looked at the rest of us, and brought his Remote of Wonders back out.

"This," he said, "Is what Itex has been working on for the past few months. This is the most incredible piece of technology in the United States, and potentially the world. The only catch is, it only works on you six."

He continued on after a brief pause to let the dramatic moment sink in. "We already had your data in our files, and you were the only reliable experiments we ever produced."

"But what does it do?" Nudge asked.

Nathan nodded. "I'm getting to that. I'm sure you're all familiar with deoxyribonucleic acid?"

Max blinked. "I'm sorry, I haven't gotten around to my Ph.D yet, sadly enough."

"Don't mind Nathan," one of the yet-unnamed whitecoats interrupted from behind us. "He's too smart for his own good. He means DNA."

Max softly laughed, "Why yes, we are all remarkably familiar with DNA, seeing as two percent of ours is from a bird."

Nathan went on as if nothing had interrupted him. "Deoxyribonucleic acid – er, DNA – is like a blueprint for a house. It stores information, and it determines everything about your body."

At this point, Nathan stuck his hands in his pockets, and I could tell he was about to go on some huge speech. And I was right. This guy was like, Einstein on crack or something.

Nathan looked at all of us square in the eye, something I liked. "The most important part of DNA for our experiments have always been the nucleobases, and especially adenine and guanine. Adenine and guanine help to form nucleotides, which thus make up DNA.

"You see, you were the first living experiments that have had such radically-changed DNA. It's always been thought that DNA has been a constant – as in, you can't change it. You can mutate it yes, but change it, no."

See, Diary, I hate writing out this speech, because it's taking up a full page, but it's necessary. Let's just say that my hand is killing me right now, and this science stuff is seriously dull. I mean, if Nathan was talking about something funny, like penguin sex, I would've been a lot more interested.

"But we wanted to see if we could alter DNA, and without damaging it. We had no place to start, until one of our scientists went off on a random idea: he mentioned gamma rays.

"Gamma rays are incredibly dangerous; the ionizing radiation has been known to mutate DNA. Gamma rays can also kill cells, and are actually used to kill some sorts of cancer cells.

"But here's where we had our big breakthrough: what if we could keep the gamma ray from ionizing? We added more electrons and protons into an atom, which was the hardest part of the whole deal; because the strength between the electron and protons were stronger now, the atom wouldn't split, which means that ionizing wouldn't occur – which meant that the DNA could be changed, without the negative side effects."

Holy crap. I was lost a long time ago. But I kept nodding along, pretending I understood. Glancing at Max, I could tell she was just as stumped by the word 'ionizing'.

"This remote is exactly like a TV remote. I put in the information of what I want to happen, which is transferred back to this machine behind me, which lets out the no-longer harmful gamma rays. The gamma rays change your DNA, but can also change it back, since your original codes are stored in the machine.

"It's hardest when you deal with eyes, and especially blindness, because Iggy didn't inherit his blindness. Basically, we just programmed his DNA to re-build his optic nerves, which is why it hurt so much. I'm truly sorry about that, but the ends certainly justified the means."

He finally stopped. "So, yeah," he finished stupidly.

"You know, it would've been a lot easier to just say Yo, guys, this wack remote changes your DNA," Iggy deadpanned. "For future reference."

"But you mentioned the machine behind you," Max said. "And…there's nothing behind you. I hate to be the bearer of bad news."

Nathan smiled. "Believe it or not, you're standing in one of the most sophisticated rooms in the world in one of the most sophisticated buildings in the world."

I personally thought the room looked like a crack house.

"We're modifying your DNA at this exact moment," Julie said. I had honestly forgotten about her. "You're seeing what we want you to see."

Nathan took a minute to rapidly punch instructions into the remote. During this time, Angel whispered to me, "They really do want to help." She smiled. "But they're keeping something from us, and I don't know what, but they're going to tell us soon."

Then, Nathan paused. "This is going to be really cool," he said, smiling, and he pressed a final button.

Which was when the third interesting thing happened.

I blinked; and in that millisecond, the run-down room transformed into some James Bond headquarters. The room was suddenly the size of a warehouse, with large machines on every wall; a large glass ceiling was above; there was a large winding staircase in the middle of the room that obviously led up to the floors above that looked over this central area. We were standing at the very edge of the room, but it felt like we were in the middle of chaos. Hundreds of whitecoats were moving around, talking amiably and working at the machines. Nathan clicked a button on his remote –

And it all disappeared.

"Holy shit!" Iggy yelled. "What the hell was that?"

I felt bad for Iggy; first, he sees nothing, and a few minutes later he sees the craziest thing ever. His brain must've been on overdrive.

"Technology," Nathan shrugged.

"So wait," Max said. I could tell she was starting to panic a bit. "What are you seeing right now?"

"What you just saw. Currently, I am standing in a very large room with every surviving Itex employee working away. You think that you are currently standing a defunct-looking room that doesn't actually exist."

I wanted to see if this would work. I walked carefully over to the wall, and I put my hand on it – but my hand went right through the wall.

"The wall doesn't exist," Julie said. "You were, however, very close to groping a female Itex employee just then, though."

I blushed. "Sorry," I said, hoping she'd hear me.

"But I don't get it," Nudge said. "Why are you doing this?"

One of the whitecoats that were standing behind us spoke up. She was very young; she must've been in her early twenties ahd probably had resorted to Botox already. "First, this project could open up huge new platforms. This could wipe out genetic diseases forever. Second, we need your help. And third, we're keeping you from seeing the room because we don't want to freak you out."

Wait – we were a project? "You were experimenting on us?" I asked in a low voice.

The tension in the room suddenly jacked up. Nathan realized he was skating on thin ice. "In a way. But that's not what we're getting at."

"Why did you attack us, before?" I asked, stepping forwards. "Why were you invisible?"

"We weren't invisible – we had programmed it so that you wouldn't see us. We 'attacked' you because we were trying to get you down here, to this room. Because it's true: we need your help."

I paused. I wanted out, but I wanted to know the truth more. "Why?"

"Itex has changed," Nathan said simply, turning around. It looked like he was staring at the back wall and contemplating the awesomeness of this wall, but he was actually probably taking in that high-tech room we were sort of standing in. "We're trying to get away from experiments and focus more on research."

He turned back to us. "But the thing is, we have a problem: there's someone out there who is trying to get us to turn back to experiments. We're finding that our funding has been inexplicitly cut, with the only explanation saying that we need to go back to experiments. We're guessing that there is blackmail involved. But our problem is that we don't know where this blackmail is coming from.

"If you six can find out who is doing this, we'll give you what you want: the cure to Fang's expiration date."

We all froze. They could actually save me?

"And, as a bonus, we'll throw in Iggy's eyesight," Julie said kindly.

"But he already has it back," Max said slowly. Nathan punched a few buttons on his remote –

And just like that, Iggy was blind again. Clouds seemed to instantly appear over his eyes; Iggy rubbed them and frowned.

"What the hell?" he shouted. "Seriously? Really?"

Angel took this time to say, "They're being jerks, but what they say is true. If we find out who is cutting off their funding, then they'll save Fang and give Iggy back his eyesight."

"The only lead we have is Jeb Batchelder – he's somewhere in Arizona right now. Try to find him," Nathan said.

ARIZONA?

Damn.

At least we didn't have to go to Norway. But I kind of wanted to see all of those pretty lakes and trees…

"That's blackmail," I said simply, going back to the topic at hand.

"Yes," Nathan agreed. "But the thing is, blackmail works. If we get what we what, you get what you want. That's a good deal, in my opinion."

"We'll escort you out of the building, now," Julie said. "We'll keep in touch."

Julie, Nathan and the other whitecoats showed us out of the building; evidentially, they hadn't changed any of our DNA back to what it should be: the building was still run-down to us.

We ended up back in the main office. It was pouring outside by now, and lightning crackled nearby. "See?" Julie said. "That only took an hour."

"Joy," Iggy said, glaring daggers. "I'll get to see Survivor tonight."

All ten of them walked us out of the building and to the edge of the property, which looked like a broken-down chain fence. We were all drenched to the bone and looked like drowned rats. "Does the US government know about this place?" Max asked quickly over the roar of the downpour. "And why won't you let us see the place?"

"Of course they do," Julie said. "They're one of main supporters that have been cut off."

I noticed that she didn't answer Max's second question. Julie was quickly climbing my 'Do Not Like' list. (Number one is Edward Cullen, if you care to ask.)

Iggy faced Julie. His hair was plastered over his forehead. "I would say thank you for those few glorious minutes I had, but since you took it away, I guess I'll just say go to hell."

Julie shrugged. "You can get it back. Now, if you excuse me, we need to get back to work."

Looks were exchanged between the Flock. "Up and away," Max sighed, and we did so. It hurt, going directly into the rain, but we've faced worse. We headed back to the cave we ended up in last night; although it had taken only twenty minutes to fly in the morning, it took an hour in the storm.

We landed hard on the edge of the cave. "Everyone okay?" Max asked as she shook her hair like a dog. (Not that I'm implying she's a dog. It's just a simile.)

"We're going to find this person," Iggy said, shivering, "And I'm getting my eyesight back. There. Problem solved."

"We should go back to Mom's house," Max said. "She'll probably know where Jeb is."

"Sure," Gazzy said. "That sounds like a good idea."

"Shouldn't we scout out this area, beforehand?" I asked, turning the idea over in my mind. At times, I can actually think of good ideas. (Shocking, I know.) "I think it would be best to wait. I don't want to run around all the time – we should get a good idea of what we're dealing with."

"Are you suggesting we stake out the building?" Max asked.

"Yeah. I mean, we can't see the building – but that doesn't mean we can't see cars or trucks or whatever coming. I just want to wait…if that's okay with you." The last part was directed at Iggy.

"Sure," he said slowly after thinking about it. "It might be good to know as much as possible about this new Itex before we go rushing back to where we started."

And that's how we spent the next few days: we'd fly out to the edge of the Itex property and watch. It was like watching paint dry, but occasionally large trucks would pull up into the long, broken driveway – and once they hit a point on the driveway, they turned onto the dusty ground, where they would just vanish.

Cool, no?

We watched where the trucks disappeared and where they came out – we managed to get an idea of where the building's new boundaries lay. We scribbled down an approximate layout of the building; from what we could tell, it was huge and was double the size of the building we currently were seeing.

But after we had done as much as possible, we hit a point where we had to move: it was decided tonight that we were going back to Arizona. It feels weird: I've counted myself as half-dead since June. Could I really live? Could Iggy actually get his sight back?

Everything is changing, and everything I thought was stable isn't.

It's an interesting feeling.

The only stable thing I have is Max: but I'm too chicken to admit my feelings for her.

Because if she rejected me, then there'd be no chance at all with her. And I'd much rather live with the possibility of maybe than the guarantee of never.

-Fang


A/N2- The story can go in two ways, with two very different endings. So: do you (yes, you) want Iggy with sight or without sight?

22. October 22 2009

A/N- That last chapter put me over 1000 reviews; a wholehearted thank you goes to my reviewers, because this story is for you. First Conundrum, and now DOALM; you make my life so amazing. I do believe this is a cause for celebration – go make some bacon and phone up some strippers, and we'll have a hell of a good time tonight.

Reviewer of the Week:

iBanana: You know, I'm convinced that you've now given us this secret unknown bacon fetish with all these bacon-y references to bacon. See?! Look at how many times I've said the word "bacon".

Comment of the Week:

Sue Sylvester: I once walked in on my parents. It was like watching two walruses wrestling.


October 22nd, 2009

Dear Diary,

It's sort of shocking that no one has written a book on my life. But I'm thinking that my life is blockbuster-movie worthy.

I'm sure that flocks of people (get it? Flocks of people?) would run to the movie theatre to see me eat a cockroach, or get shot at by a crazy horny old lady, or watch me molest Gazzy while Pirate Max had to save my ass.

Yeah. It happened.

The day started out normally enough: we were all flying back to Dr. M's house to try to find Jeb. It was a cold morning, but we were dealing well enough. By 'dealing,' I mean that we were all secretly wishing we were on Mexican beaches playing volleyball while hot tourists cheered us on.

"Hey," Gazzy suddenly said, breaking over an hour of silence, "I've got an idea."

That wasn't a good thing. Normally, Gazzy's ideas centered around a potential loss of life.

"Does it involve scantily-clad women?" Iggy asked.

"I'm sure I could throw them in somewhere," Gazzy said, rolling his eyes. "But can we, Max?"

"Can we what?" Max shot back from the head of the V-shape we were flying in. Her hair was streamlined behind her. "You haven't told us what this plan that may or may not involve scantily-clad women is about."

"It's about Halloween."

Hmm. I didn't like this. Obviously, we all knew what Halloween was, but we had never participated in it. I mean, we sort of have a permanent costume attached to us.

"I'm listening," Max said slowly. She suddenly veered to the left to avoid some oncoming birds flying south. We matched her new route naturally.

"Well, your Mom gave us a lot of money, since we thought we'd be in California for a longer time, and she forgot that we're so cheap we re-use Kleenexes. So why don't we splurge and actually do something for Halloween? Like buy costumes? And go trick-or-treating?"

Max kept on flying, but didn't immediately response. I could tell she was thinking it over. I mean, Halloween is a huge waste of money; you buy a costume, wear it once, and never see it again. But on the other hand, Max wanted the kids to have at least some normal experiences.

"Can't you just go as… bird-kids or something?" she asked, knowing she'd be shot down.

"But…that's like, going halfway. Please, Max? Just this once?"

The last time Gazzy said, "Just this once?" was when he was five and asked if he could blow up this Coke can, just this once. I could tell Max was very aware of this fact.

Max thought it over for a few minutes and was silent. Gazzy started to talk to Nudge about what they'd be if they could go, which was the final straw for Max.

"Fine!" she said as the kids began to cheer. "But just this once."

We decided to get the costumes sooner rather than later; that way we could wear them as we flew, so that they'd warm us up. Well, warm them up – there was no way I was dressing up. I mean, there's nothing more degrading to your masculinity than dressing up as Tinker Bell.

We flew uncomfortably low until we saw a large building surrounded by an even larger parking lot. It was most definitely a mall, as people were walking out of it with shiny, colorful bags. After landing in a nearby forest (you know, these forests are remarkably convenient) we walked the mile back to the mall.

"Do you have any idea where we are right now?" I asked Max. We were standing at the front entrance to the mall, with dozens of people walking in and out. She shook her head. "No, but I think we're near the Nevada-Arizona border."

"I'll ask," I said, looking at a group of giggling teenage girls near the doors. I walked over to them – they immediately stopped talking and a few of them looked at me as if I was a piece of meat that they wanted for dinner.

"Can you tell me what city this is? And what state?" I asked, frustrated. One of the girls licked her lips.

"Mesquite, Nevada," a drop-dead gorgeous blonde girl said. She was hot, yes, but she wasn't beautiful like Max. She was wearing a tight pink tank top (it's freaking October!) and a short black skirt. Beside her was a girl who looked almost the exact same, and was wearing a similar outfit.

"We're twins," the smiling blonde girl said, flipping her hair over her shoulder. "I'm Mary – and she's Sue."

"Mary, Sue," I said, nodding to each one of them. "Thanks for your help," I said, and started to turn away, but another girl – a brunette – caught my shoulder and spun me around.

"You can't leave quite just yet!" Sue said. "We haven't been properly introduced."

Actually, we had been. "I'm sorry, I have to go…"

"Stay!" the brunette whined. The other girls skittered a bit.

"He can go if he wants to," Mary said. "But that would make us sad. I mean, only recently have Sue and I recovered from anorexia and bulimia, and you leaving would make us sad again…"

What the hell?

"But you shouldn't be sad," the brunette said, patting her arm. "I mean, you're co-captains of the cheerleading squad, have top grades, and you can dance and sing better than anyone else I know!"

This was getting really weird. "Um, I'll see you guys later…" I said, and I quickly walked away before someone could catch me. Without even looking at Max or the rest of the Flock, I walked into the mall, hoping they'd follow me.

"They were really into you," Max said blandly as we walked through the mall, casually glancing at stores to find a Halloween-related one. "I like them."

"Oh, come on," I said. It was embarrasing embarrasing to think that she had to watch me get hit on. "Hey – look at that."

There was a large banner pinned on one of the walls – it said, Party Plus Halloween Superstore downstairs!

"That makes things easier," Max said as she looked up on the directory to see how we could get downstairs. Once she had figured it out, the six of us trooped down the long hallway. It was a nice mall, with Spanish influences in the architecture.

Nudge was practically shaking with excitement as we rode down the escalator to the lower level of the mall. She skipped the last few steps, and waited for us impatiently at the bottom.

"That is so cool," Nudge said, eyeing up the store. She was right: it seemed like hundreds of people were screaming and laughing. There were tons of people in costumes – there was a gorilla making out with a witch in the corner.

"Do you think they'll have a bacon costume?" Gazzy asked as we walked into the store. It was large, and filled to the brim with everything Halloween-related. There were laughing witch figurines, huge spiders over the walls, and plastic ghosts hung from the ceiling. The dozens of aisles were packed.

"If they did, it'd be sizzling!" Iggy finished, cackling.

I snorted at Iggy's comment, and an employee dressed as Spider-Man greeted us. Actually, all of the employees were dressed up, which must suck for them, since I saw people dressed as ketchup and mustard trying to help people out.

We split off into groups; Gazzy and Angel, Max and Nudge, and Iggy and me. "Do you know what you want to be?" I asked Iggy.

"Yeah. I'm going to be a pimp."

These are the moments when I love Iggy.

I looked at him. "Seriously?"

"Hell yes. The girls will be crawling over themselves trying to get to me."

"The girls are already climbing over themselves," I said, although I mentally winced. I had meant the comment to be just an offhand joke, but both of our minds went to Iggy's decision between Ella and Nudge.

Luckily, he glanced over it. "I'm a lucky man," he smiled.

We were in the aisle full of accessories. I looked skeptically at a pair of handcuffs, with a scantily-clad woman modeling them on the front of the package. I wonder what Max would look like with them on…

Fang! Angel interrupted from across the store, That's just sick and wrong.

I reddened a bit (reddened, not blushed) and moved away from the handcuffs. "Sorry," I said.

"What?" Iggy asked.

"What?" Oh –I had said that aloud. Sorry, I said mentally to Angel, and to Iggy, I said, "Nothing. What are you looking at?"

He was next to a large barrel with things like canes sticking out from them. He had picked one up and was now holding it, with a curious expression on his face.

"Is it just me, or do I feel like I'm holding a mini-naked woman?"

I looked at the pimp stick in Iggy's hands. "No, you felt right." There was a plastic, gold-colored lounging woman on the end of the gold pimp stick in Iggy's hand. "That is indeed a naked woman. I am remarkably impressed that you knew it was a naked woman just by feeling her up."

"I can always tell when I am feeling up a woman, fake or real," Iggy said proudly. "Can you hook me up with the rest of the outfit?"

"Excuse me?" I asked. I noticed that an elderly woman was looking at us strangely, and was now shuffling her two little children into the next aisle.

"I'm a pimp. Every pimp needs a pimp hat, a pimp stick, a pimp cape… you know, the usual."

I coughed, desperately trying to cover up a laugh. "Pimps have capes?"

He looked at me as if I was a three-year-old who didn't know any better. "God, Fang, get in loop."

"Wizards have capes. Pimps have bling. It's just common sense," I answered. I mean, I personally have never seen a pimp with a cape. Then again, I've never seen a pimp at all; but that wasn't the point.

"Whatever. Capes are cool. Get me the rest of the outfit; the gaudier, the better."

I sighed. If I didn't do this for Iggy, he'd never shut up. I left him happily standing there, feeling up the plastic naked woman in his hands.

I went into the aisle next over, which had the main outfits lined up in bags on the wall. There was a pimp outfit that I took out of the package; it was violently purple with some leopard print occasionally thrown in. As I was wondering if it included a cape or not, I turned towards laughter at the end of the aisle.

Gazzy had discovered the prosthetic body parts; specifically, plastic boobs. He had stuck them under his shirt, so two well-pronounced lumps were now visible. He came barreling down the aisle, grinning like a madman. "LOOK FANG I HAVE BOOBS!"

…Dear God, I have a cross-dresser on my hands.

"Gazzy!" I reprimanded. "Stop feeling yourself up!"

He was…exploring himself happily. He couldn't get his hands off himself. "Why?" he whined. "They're so…round…" He spotted Nudge, who was looking at the wigs at the end of the aisle. He grinned.

"HEY, NUDGE," he started to yell, "YOU ARE SO FREAKING LUCKY YOU GET THESE THINGS EVERY DAY."

Nudge gave him a disgusted look, flipped him off, and went back to the wigs. Gazzy cackled evilly. He looked down. "How do girls balance these things? I feel like I'm about to fall over on my face. But these would probably cushion my fall…"

I could feel a headache coming on; I could see some employees eyeing us up, and I was so not in the mood to be kicked out. "Gazzy, give me your boobs," I said sternly. He cackled more.

"Come get them!" he laughed, and stuck them out at me.

I rolled my eyes. He actually thought I wouldn't do it. "Prepare to be molested," I said, glaring. Right before he was about to dart away, I gathered him up close, and placed my hands on the boobs. I was trying to drag them down, out from under his shirt, but they wouldn't come out.

"Get…out…" I said, trying to jiggle the boobs free. Obviously, there was some sort of adhesive involved…

"Sir!" a shrill female voice suddenly called out. "Stop groping that young girl!"

An old, squat woman was staring at me in horror, while Gazzy looked at her in the same way. "A young girl? Are you freaking kidding me?"

Gazzy was right; first, other than the boobs, he didn't look a girl at all; second, I have yet to meet an eight-year-old with D-cup breasts. But the aghast-looking woman wasn't pleased. She opened her mouth, ready to yell for the employees, when I heard someone call, "Fang!"

It was Max, in a pirate costume, striding towards us.

And now would be a good time to mention that my hands were still on Gazzy's boobs. (That was such a weird sentence.) I quickly backed off from Gazzy.

Max quickly assessed the situation and smiled prettily at the woman. It was an interesting scene, as Max the Pirate was acting perfectly normal. It was a good costume she chose – it was loose and it had a high collar, so you could hardly see the outline of her wings. "Please ignore my brothers. They're both a little… troubled. I am so sorry for disturbing you."

And that marked the second time Max had to say I was insane in order to get myself out of a situation. It's a good trend I've got going on.

The woman still wasn't pleased and looked at Gazzy closely. "Are you even a girl?"

"No!" Gazzy said. "Way to crush my self-confidence, lady." Gazzy put his hands under his shirt and maneuvered the boobs free; they fell down into his hands.

He took the opportunity to glare at the woman one more time, and then went back to where he had gotten the boobs from. The woman stuttered, blushed, said, "Sorry," and scuffled out of the store.

Max and I stared at each other with looks that said I won't talk about this in the future if you won't. We both smiled.

And then something changed.

The atmosphere went from I-just-molested-Gazzy to we're-alone-and-you're-in-a-hot-pirate-costume.

I noticed that the feather in her large pirate hat had fallen and was now dangling in front of her face. I carefully reached out, grabbed the feather, and set it upright again.

And you know what my hand did?

It stayed there.

As in, I put the feather back in its proper place, and my stupid hand just hovered at her cheek, gently brushing it.

This was not a conscious act on my part. My hand had simply detached itself from the rest of my body, had grown its own brain, and was now proceeding in hovering near Max's cheek.

And then Max closed her eyes.

If I wasn't me, I would've said this was romantic.

But I'm me, so I'll just say it was awkward.

And luckily, it was Iggy who interrupted our little moment. "Yo, Fang!" he called from the aisle next over. He was obviously tired of waiting – I had honestly forgotten about him in the midst of all the action that had happened in the past two minutes. "You need to pimp me out!"

Max's eyes snapped open, and met mine. Her eyes were almost panicked.

And you know what sucks?

I'm going off on a bit of a tangent here, but it's necessary. Both Max and I use sarcasm as defense mechanism. I mean, if you use sarcasm to block out all the bad stuff, it makes things a lot easier.

Max uses her sarcasm all of the time; I keep it in my head. Iggy, too, uses his many sexual jokes as a form of defense. Max, Iggy and I are the worst, because we're the oldest, and we've seen and remembered the worst. Angel, Nudge, and Gazzy are okay so far, but Max is secretly scared they're going to end up just as jaded as us three.

But whenever something bad happens, or even something new, then Max, Iggy and I revert to sarcasm to make it easier. And if we don't use sarcasm, then we just make some other type of joke.

So when Max opened her eyes, and met mine, and I noticed they looked panicked, she said, "I can't believe you just molested Gazzy. You're such a pervert."

I snorted, and my hand dropped to my side. "It's my dirty little secret. Don't let Iggy know; otherwise, he'd join me."

See? It was a prime example. Instead of talking about what happened, we both made jokes, even though we both knew that what just happened was huge. We rarely talk about our true feelings or emotions or whatever. Because that's hard. Sarcasm is easy. And there are too many hard things in our life.

"You'd better go pimp out Iggy," Max said, smiling as usual. A cynical smile, yes, but a smile nonetheless. "And I like how the word pimp is now a verb."

"Sounds good," I said, and gave her an I know what happened look. I grabbed the items I had picked out for Iggy and went into the next aisle, not looking back.

"Did I hear you molest Gazzy?" Iggy asked as he heard my footsteps. "That's talent, even for you. But you and Max were in the next aisle, and there was silence for a bit. What happened?" He said the last part in a smooth, sultry tone that implied everything that had just happened.

"Shut up and stand still," I said. I took out the baggy purple velvet pants and threw them at him. "Those are pants."

"Thanks, Sherlock, I think I could've figured that out." It didn't take him too long to get dressed. When he was done, I stepped back to take a good look of Pimp Iggy.

Honestly, he looked freaking fantastic.

It was hilarious. He had on those velvet pants, which had a leopard print on the edges of them, and the same style for the shirt. Even the cape - which had been curiously easy to find - and hat matched perfectly. He had on a large necklace that had a huge money sign on it, and various gold necklaces. The pimp stick with the naked woman on it finished off the picture.

"Damn," I said. "No one could tell the difference between you and a real pimp."

He laughed. "I look good?"

"Pimp-tastic."

He smiled, and the smile gradually grew. "Have you found a costume yet?" he asked.

"There's no way in hell I'm dressing up," I said honestly. "My testosterone levels are low enough."

"Screw that. Come on, you need a costume." Iggy thought about it, and fingered his cape. Suddenly, his face lit up. "A cape! I've got it!"

He said that last line as if he was a mad scientist who had discovered how to make a zombie virus. "What?" I asked, somewhat worried.

"A wizard! You can be Harry Potter!"

These are the moments when I hate Iggy.

"No," I said simply. That was that.

"No," Iggy replied. "Come on. Do it for the blind kid. Just try the costume on, okay? Please?"

I was tempted to stay on the safe side, and do the emotionless brick wall thing, but I stopped myself. You only get to live once, so you might as well live it loud.

"Fine," I said, and quickly retrieved the complete Harry Potter outfit from the next aisle over. Once I came back to Iggy – I didn't want to leave him alone for too long, since he'd probably run off with some Russian chick if he was bored – I started to pull on the costume: black pants, a white shirt with a sewn-on Gryffindor tie, and finally, the robe/cape thing. There was even a wand in the bottom of the bag that I drew out.

"There," I said to Iggy. "I'm Harry Potter in the flesh."

I noticed that a lot of people were looking at me strangely, and when I caught a look of myself in the mirror, it was true: I looked exactly like freaking Harry Potter. I wasn't Daniel Radcliffe, necessarily, but I was scarily close.

"That's sort of freaky," Max said, coming up behind me in the mirror. She was holding the package with the pirate outfit. She looked at the wand I was holding. "That's a nice wand you've got there."

I laughed. "Want to see what I can do with it?"

She nodded eagerly and went into a falsetto. "Oh, yes!"

I quickly took off the outfit, since I had just put it over the rest of my clothes. Max watched me very closely. "Do the kids have their costumes picked out?" I asked to break the slight tension.

She nodded as she looked curiously at the same handcuffs I had noticed before. "Sorry," she said, and then blushed. She backed away from the handcuffs. I had no idea what the "sorry" meant, and I was going to ask, but Max suddenly said, "Yeah – Nudge is a fairy, Gazzy's the Grim Reaper, and Angel, is, well, an angel."

"Huh," I said as I shoved the Harry Potter costume back into the package. "So are we ready to go?"

"Yeah. But…there's a bit of a problem."

"Oh?" See, in order to properly understand my life, Diary, you need a vocabulary lessons.

Situations are the worst of the worst. A situation is if we get captured. Usually situations are long-term. Next to situations, we have issues, which are still very bad, but there's a chance that we can get out of it. Issues usually are resolved within the day – so for example, if we get attacked. Finally, we have problems – normally, problems haven't occurred yet, but have the possibility to become an issue.

"It's not that bad," Max said, reading my expression. "But…just wait for it. The kids will tell you later."

"Alright," I said, trusting Max. None of the little kids running around chasing each other with swords were morphing into Erasers or anything, so I figured we were safe momentarily, at least.

We quickly bought our costumes – the total was over two hundred dollars, but Dr. M had given us five hundred, so Max hardly blinked as she handed over the cash. That was easily the most amount of money we had ever paid for one purchase. I hoped to use the costume again, but I wasn't sure how many instances would call for a Harry Potter lookalike.

We walked out of the store and crashed on a nearby bench. "So what's this problem that we apparently have?" I asked, wanting to get this over with.

Gazzy, Nudge, and even Angel smiled a little evilly. "Well, we were thinking," Gazzy said, "About the whole trick-or-treating thing."

Oh. It was this sort of problem. And honestly, I prefer the oh-crap-we're-about-to-die problems than intra-Flock problems. I always win the fight to the death, but I always lose against the Flock. It's just a fact of life.

"I know that there's a really good medical university nearby," Nudge said, "Because I overheard some people talking about it in the store."

"And we were thinking that we should go there, and see if they know anything about Jeb, and if we're really smart, we can somehow ask them about a 'theoretical' expiration date and how to fix it," Angel added.

"But what does this have to do with trick-or-treating?" I asked. I had a feeling that the big bombshell was coming.

"Well," Nudge said, looking down, "It's the University of Nevada Medical School. And it's in Las Vegas."

Huh. A problem, indeed.

I blinked. "And?"

"And we were thinking that we could stay around there for a while, and go trick-or-treating there."

Oh, no, no, no, no. "You want to go trick-or-treating in Vegas?"

"Not downtown; the city limits. There're a lot of homes there. But then we could say that we went trick-or-treating in Vegas! How cool would that be?"

"Not cool at all!" I said, and I looked at Max. "What did you say?"

Max looked at me sheepishly. "I said I'd talk to you."

I sighed. There were so many potential problems with this. I mean, trick-or-treating in Mesa would have been safer. "But what's wrong with that?" Nudge asked. "I mean, we're not going into downtown, and we're together. And we might be able to get information at the university."

This was not going well. I mean, yeah, it sounded alright theoretically, but in my experience, theory is crap. I hated Las Vegas, and I didn't know why. But you know what I said?

"Fine."

The younger kids – and Iggy – burst into high-fives and grins. Max mouthed 'thank you'.

And you want to know why I said yes?

Because I'm about to die, and I want the kids to remember Vegas as a fun night that we had.

"Let's go," I said, still not in a good mood. We quickly went up the escalator, with everyone but me smiling and laughing. Score one for the dark raincloud over the group.

As we went out of the main entrance, I noticed that Mary, Sue, and their friends were still there. I looked away – but it was too late. "Hey!" they called, and I ignored them.

"Will we see you again?" they called as we crossed into the parking lot.

"Meet me in Vegas!" I said with a grin, and watched happily as their faces fell.

After walking back to the forest, we launched back into the air. "We've go to turn around," Max said, "We've already passed Vegas, but it's still close. I mean, we're already in Clark County."

Vegas was close: it only took us a few hours to fly to the city limits. It was weird: we were flying over miles of empty desert, and then BAM, there's a city on the horizon.

The outskirts of Vegas weren't anything special. There were a few housing complexes and casinos, but nothing special. We touched down right outside a run-down motel; we were going to be staying for a few nights, and we only had three hundred dollars left, which can be blown away remarkably quickly.

"How many nights?" the receptionist asked in the motel. It stunk of cigarettes and perfume.

"Uh, can we pay on a night-by-night basis?" Max asked. The receptionist nodded – she had probably seen a lot. As in, I was guessing Elvis impersonaters drenched in blood probably came here.

We bought one room again, and I once again took the floor. It was a cheap room, with broken doors and cracked windows, but I didn't see a single cockroach, which meant that I approved. (I will admit that I feel guilty in Johnny-Boy's death, and I legitimately feel bad about it. Personally, I would hate to die by having someone eat half of me.) But tonight is remarkably similar to that night a while ago; I'm writing from the light coming from the hallway once again.

I'll admit that I'm nervous about Vegas. I shouldn't have said yes… it's too dangerous. But then again, now that we're here, I'm going to do my best to let the kids have a great time while also keeping their heads attached.

It's going to be an interesting next few days.

Because what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

-Fang

23. October 31 2009

A/N- Guess who is now the owner of a freaking SLAP CHOP?

Reviewer of the Week:

Harashio: Waking Up in Vegas! (Flock version)

Somebody help me out, I can't feel my ha-an-ands. Why am I tied to this chair-air in the hall? Where is Gazzy and Iggy...they did this didn't they? Hmm, I smell bacon, wonder where it's cook-ing...

Get up, and shake the glitter out your wings now, Oh my God, is that another cockroach?! Those girls from the mall are running down the hall now, somebody get me out of here!

Comment of the Week:

Hugh Gallagher, in a college application to NYU (he got in): I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.


October 31st 2009

Dear Diary,

Mary and Sue need to go rot in Hell and die in a corner.

Alright. That probably wasn't the best way to open up a diary entry, because I sound like a macabre madman who is about to attempt to destroy the world. But you know, if I could destroy Mary and Sue and take half the world with them, I'd probably do it.

But, Diary, you're probably thinking, "Wait – Mary and Sue were two random people who won't have any effect on your life and surely won't lead to Iggy's downfall, right?"

Uh, wrong.

But I'm skipping ahead of myself. But then again, as I'm writing this, I'm panicking and freaking out so much I'm like a toddler who wasn't allowed an extra scoop of ice cream. But on the outside, man, do I appear calm. Max is staring at me right now, and I can read her expression perfectly: how can he be so calm right now?

Remember: I'm an emotionless brick wall. I've had practice at not showing emotions.

Because if I did show emotions, I would currently be tearing though Las Vegas and burning down every stripper house in the city.

Ugh. Calm down, Fang. Be cool. Be calm. Be collected.

Alright. I need to just get this story out so I don't contemplate how I could stab this pen into Mary and Sue's necks. (Wow. That was a weird and gory image. I'm sorry, Diary.)

If you remember back to what, last Thursday or something, we all got Halloween costumes: Max is a pirate, I'm Harry Potter (Iggy won't stop talking about how nice and slick my wand is), Iggy's a pimp, Nudge is a fairy, Gazzy's the Grim Reaper and Angel is an angel.

And because I am secretly a pushover, I agreed to their crazy plans: we would go to Las Vegas in order to go to the University of Nevada Medical School, and we would stay until Halloween, whereupon we could trick-or-treat in the outskirts of Vegas. I knew it was a bad idea, but I fell victim to the Flocks' Bambi eyes. We spent our first night in a cheap motel room.

And in that motel room, do you want to guess how many cockroaches I ate?

None.

Aren't you proud of me, Diary?

I was feeling great that morning, which was mainly caused by the lack of bugs in my mouth. So when I woke up in Vegas, I was feeling better than I should have. And yeah, that last sentence was a reference to the Katy Perry song.

I quickly went through my morning routine, which involved:

a) Making sure no one was attacking us.

b) Making sure there were six of us in the room.

c) Making sure Max and I were both dressed. Sadly, we were.

d) Making sure that you understand, Diary, that c) was a joke. I'm not some sex-crazed pervert. That's Iggy's job.

It was somewhat surprising no one else was waking up, since the sun had lit up the windows and was shining underneath the door. Normally, we all wake up with the sun, but I guess everyone was just too tired to care.

I trudged into the bathroom, where I took the opportunity to shower, since they're are rather rare. I'm pretty sure the mold in the corners was deadly and giving off radiation, and the water was as cold as Kanye West's heart, but it was still nice to be clean.

So naturally, once I had toweled off and dressed, I went back into the main room that joined onto the bathroom.

Let's pause this scene. Re-read the above sentence, Diary.

Done?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that sentence, right?

Wrong.

My timing is always perfect for embarrassing situations. I'm sort of like an awkwardness magnet. It just happens. You know how Bella Swan is a walking calamity? Well, I'm a rolling ball of awkwardness.

Because when I walked back into the room, I walked in on Max.

Who was getting changed.

Who was topless.

And that's not even the best part. She was topless-

And she was facing me.

Yes, that's right diary. It's time to put it all together. I'll just get it over with: I TOTALLY SAW MAX'S BOOBS.

And damn, they were nice boobs. I won't describe them, because that is way weird, but I don't think any Playboy girl could outdo her. (I would know. Iggy, somehow, had once ordered a subscription to the magazine. We received only one issue before I cancelled the subscription, but that issue was enough to teach me about a woman's body.) But this was the first time I had seen real boobs in real life.

So I was standing there, wondering if, indeed, I was actually seeing Max's boobs, when a look of comprehension dawned on her face. And then I understood.

I was a total creeper.

"JESUS, FANG, WHAT THE HELL?" she yelled, and quickly dove for the shirt she had just discarded on the floor.

"SORRY, SORRY, SORRY," I yelled back, and turned away and buried my head in my hands. What has been seen cannot be unseen – and Max's boobs were still dancing in my head. (Wow. That was one of the weirdest things I have ever written. I just pictured dancing boobs… you know what, never mind.)

But Max and I had made a very large mistake: we had both yelled, which was enough to have the rest of the Flock up and wide awake. They all sat up in their beds, trying to figure out what was happening.

"What's up?" Iggy asked, holding his head with one hand.

Gazzy looked at Max, who was clutching her shirt to her chest, and then to me, with my tomato-red face. He figured it out instantly. "Fang just saw Max's boobs!"

Iggy let out a bark of laughter. "Finally!" he shouted, and fell back onto the bed.

Max was completely flustered – more flustered than if we had been cornered by Erasers or if we were about to die a horrible painful death. "What were you doing?" I asked, stuck between being horrified and ecstatic.

"Everyone else was totally asleep!" she said, turning so her back was to me. She slipped on the shirt and turned back. "And you were in the washroom! And everyone knows you're freaking silent when you walk, so I didn't even notice!"

"It's not my fault that I'm quiet!" I started. It was weird something like this could get me so riled up – but Max's boobs apparently make my emotions go haywire. "You should've known better!"

"You should've warned me!"

"How was I supposed to know you were naked?"

"Half-naked!"

"Whatever!"

"That's all you can say?"

"What am I supposed to say?"

She sighed and crossed her arms over her chest – it was wonderfully obvious that she didn't have a bra on. "You're supposed to say, Geez, Max, I'm awfully sorry I walked in on you. How about I go and bleach my eyes and we never mention this again?"

That was acceptable. "Geez, Max, I'm awfully sorry I walked in on you. How about I go and bleach my eyes and we never mention this again?"

She nodded. "Better."

And then Gazzy coughed awkwardly; both of us had forgotten the rest of the Flock had watched that little scene. "So were they nice boobs?" Gazzy asked, which prompted Max to chuck a nearby pillow at his head.

But after that, no one could sleep, so we all got ready for the day. It was a nice, bright day, although I was still shaking from seeing things that I shouldn't have seen. I mean, isn't seeing a girl's boobs, like, hitting third base or something? And that means we completely skipped over the first and second bases, which is the fun part.

We made it to the front of the motel before we looked at each other. "Isn't downtown Vegas, like, ten miles from here or something?" Nudge asked, gazing over the parking lot. She was shielding her eyes with her hand as she stared off towards the direction we needed to go.

"Yeah," Max said, frowning. I could see what they were concerned about. We couldn't just fly there – there were far too many people around, and we couldn't walk, because that would take too long. But then again, this was Vegas. So people with wings would probably be considered just as normal and acceptable as talking bacon.

"We could just fly and say we're promoting a movie or something," Gazzy offered.

"Or we could hitchhike with prostitutes who are trying to make it big in Sin City," Iggy added. Sadly, part of him really did think that was a logical plan.

"Ooooooh," Angel suddenly said, pointing at a yellow car on the opposite side of the parking lot. "Let's take a cab!"

Huh. That was a good idea. It sort of sucks when a six-year-old completely defies your logic and comes up with a brilliant plan. "That way," Angel continued, "We don't even have to look around for the building."

Max put her hands to her mouth and whistled loudly to get the cabbie's attention; I've always been a little jealous that she could do that. The cab's rear lights lit up as it backed out of its parking space and drove towards us, eventually stopping right in front of us. The cabbie rolled down the window. "Where to?"

"The University of Nevada Medical School," Max answered quickly. "Can you take us?"

The rough-looking cabbie grinned toothlessly. "Lady, I can take you anywhere."

Is it just me, or does the whole world enjoy hitting on Max? But hey, if this guy could get us to the University, I was all for him.

Max glanced at me; the look pretty much said, Dear God, I hope he isn't going to break out a chainsaw and kill us. I shrugged, and we all filed into the cab, with Max and Angel sitting in the passenger's seat. The car smelled of alcohol and vomit, which was an absolutely amazing combination. And Diary, that was sarcasm, in case you couldn't tell.

The cab lurched forwards the second I slammed the door. "For you, girlie, I can get you there faster than you'd believe," the driver grinned. "I do everything fast."

You know, sometimes it feels as if everything in my life is one huge innuendo.

We seemed to be driving at vampire speed as we tore out of the parking lot and into traffic. But, no, traffic laws were pointless to this driver – he started to weave through the different lanes of traffic, causing me to slam into the wall of the car whenever we took too sharp of a turn.

Horns blared as we went into the opposite lane of traffic at some points. This was Vegas traffic, which was virtually at a standstill, but we were in the middle of some sort of action movie.

"Jesus, slow down!" Max yelled as she whammed her head into the seat when he suddenly braked violently, only to hammer down the gas a second later.

"The faster, the better!" the cabbie said as we barely missed hitting a Volvo. He turned to face Max. "So, darling, do you have a boyfriend?"

"Watch the road!" Max yelled as we started to drift into the opposite lane again. He jerked us back on course as a semi roared by us.

"Well, I lived a good life," Iggy said, clenching his teeth together. "Do you think Heaven has strippers?"

I just love how Iggy is putting legitimate thought into his post-death thoughts.

I decided to not focus on the fact that chances were I would end up splattered on the road. Instead, I watched as the scenery changed from a dusty desert, to miles of suburbia, to tall buildings clumped together. All of us were silent as we contemplated that our deaths would, ironically, occur in a cab as opposed to dying at the hands of curious scientists.

"You should make people sign a waiver," I said as a sharp turn made me crack my head against Iggy's.

"Oh, come on. Look, we're already here," the cabbie said as he suddenly slammed on the brakes, which forced us all forward and caused all of our seatbelts to lock. I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding. He smiled at Max. "And for you, it's free. Here's my card," he added, handing a business card to her that looked like it had been burned by a cigarette.

"Thanks," Max mumbled as she fumbled around, trying to open the door.

We all piled out of the cab, and as soon as I shut the door, the cabbie took off as the exhaust pipe let out a puff of smoke.

"That totally beat any ride at Disneyland," Gazzy said, holding his head.

"No kidding," Max said, and we took the opportunity to get our bearings.

We were on the outskirts of downtown Vegas, but this was the professional part of Vegas, not the Sin City part. It actually reminded me of cities like New York, with all of the blaring horns and rushed-looking people running about. We were standing in front of a large, nice-looking building that was painted a very pretty yellow. (Did I just very pretty yellow? My testosterone is screaming in pain.) A large sign on the front proclaimed it was, indeed, the University of Nevada Medical School.

"This is interesting," Max said, and I followed her gaze. She was staring at the parking lot.

Which was completely empty.

And remember, this is America: parking lots are never empty. It's just a fact of life that goes up there with the fact that you need oxygen to breathe.

"Intriguing," I said. "Let's see what's up."

We walked up the steps to what we assumed was the main entrance. But the doors were locked, and the lights were off, and there was a large sign on the window. It read:

To whom it may concern,

Due to the outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus, all staff and medical professionals have been re-directed to walk-in clinics around the area in order to administer the vaccination. Any personnel doing research will have their work transported to the University of Nevada. We will re-open in November once all vaccinations have been administered. We apologize for any inconvenience.

"Huh," Max said. "Well, that's interesting."

"Do you think we should go to the University of Nevada? Or even those walk-in clinics?" Angel asked.

Max shook her head. "No – they wouldn't have the right information. They're too focused on non-medical research, so we wouldn't be getting reliable information." She rubbed her arms absently, and I couldn't help but notice how smooth her skin was…

Fang, Angel warned. Really? Is your mind always in the gutter? I coughed to cover my blush.

Gazzy peered up at the sign as I tried not to meet Angel's eyes. "This H1N1 thing is pretty big."

"Yeah," I agreed. "But we're probably immune to it." I was praying that the kids wouldn't want to get the vaccination, because believe me, I've had enough shots in my life.

"But what do we do now?" Nudge asked. She sat down on the stone steps. "This place doesn't open up until November, but we need to stay until Halloween, so we can go trick-or-treating here."

Remember, Diary: this was all happening on the twenty-third of October. And you're probably thinking, "Hey, Fang, it's cool you got to see Max's boobs and you nearly got yourself killed in a cab, but what does that have to do with Mary and Sue?"

I'm getting there, Diary. But it was Nudge's question that really set it all off.

"Why don't we do research?" Iggy asked. "Like, I'm sure there are plenty of Internet cafés around. So we can spend the next day Googling around, and seeing what happens when you search for expiration dates or Jeb or whatever. And I can sleep, which is always a plus."

I couldn't help that Googling was a verb nowadays, just like pimp.

Max bit the inside of her cheek. "Really? Spend all that time just doing stuff on computers?"

Iggy shrugged. "Why not?"

And so, just like that, it was decided. It was easy for us to find an Internet café that was surprisingly well-maintained. We spent the first day Googling the terms that Iggy had suggested. Nothing came up when we searched for Jeb, and when we searched for expiration dates, we only found sites talking about the shelf life of grocery items.

All in all, it was a complete waste of time.

But the younger kids always found new things to search for, and I knew that they were desperately trying to keep Max and I interested, because they wanted to stay until Halloween. But really, there was nothing. We moved between libraries and Google, but we always came across the same articles and the same information. At one point, I started up a Neopets account just so I'd have something to do.

"I'm so bored I'm about to eat myself," Iggy mumbled on the third day, and after that, he stayed at the motel all day, where he amused himself by listening to the TV and the books on tape we had stolen from the local library. Although, on the fifth day, we came back to the motel only to discover that Iggy had dismantled the room and had somehow made a bomb out of the TV, Max's shirt, and a few matches.

We felt bad about ditching him, but he was having a dandy time, since he was free to imagine all of his fantasies that included bacon and hookers and all sorts of weird combinations that involved the two of them together. He promised that he wouldn't leave the room, since he could just get food ordered in. All in all, he was thrilled with the situation.

I was sort of worried Iggy would phone up some…adult entertainment, but I was hoping that common sense would prevail. And so, absolutely nothing occurred over the next few days.

But it wasn't until today – Halloween – when everything…happened.

We were in the Internet café, worshiping the Google gods, when two girls screeched behind us. All of us jumped up, ready to whoop some ass, when dread suddenly flooded my veins. You want to know who was suddenly running towards us?

Mary and Sue, the two girls from the mall we had met earlier.

"Get off of me!" I said, shoving them off as they hugged me. "How the hell did you find us?"

"You said you were going to Vegas!" Mary –or Sue, whatever – said. "And since it's the weekend, we decided to search everywhere, and look at how lucky we are!"

Let's say it together, now, Diary: Damn it, damn it, damn it.

"Go away!" I said, batting their clingy arms away. But dude, they were like octopi, with their arms everywhere at once. Actually, they caused the key to our motel room to fall out of my jacket pocket, and Sue bent down and picked it up quickly. She looked at it briefly, and handed it back.

"Where's your friend?" she asked as I snatched the key back. "The blonde one?"

"It's none of your business," I said, and sat back down at the computer. I couldn't help but notice that Max was snickering into her screen. "Please, go away!"

They stayed for around ten minutes, looking at all of our screens. They were good with computers - were they good at everything?- and showed us a few search engines we had never heard of before. But they were so freaking perky I wanted to puke my brains out. "Thank you for your help. But can you please leave?"

"Alright!" Sue said perkily, and I couldn't help but look back at her; she gave up far too easily. "See you later!"

And, just like that, the two of them skipped out.

It was like freaking magic.

"Woah," Gazzy said. "That was so weird."

I nodded. "Totally." And after that brief interruption, I went back to the computer. I was so, so bored – but at least tonight was our last night in Vegas, since we were going to go back soon to get changed into our costumes.

But, about an hour after Mary and Sue left, I realized that my key was poking me through my jacket, so I took it out and was about to put it in my jeans, when something caught my eye.

There were words inscribed on key: Lady Luck Motel, Las Vegas, NV, Room 11

"Oh, crap," I said, looking at the key. I shoved my chair back. "We're going back to the hotel. Now."

Everyone logged off quickly, and we sprinted out into the street. The sun was directly on the horizon by now – crap, crap, crap, crap.

"What's wrong?" Max asked, and I shoved the key in her face.

"Our room number is on the key! And Sue looked at the key when she picked it up! And she and Mary probably went back there, because they're creepy like that! And if two attractive girls show up at Iggy's door, what's going to happen?"

The above paragraph has more exclamation marks than normal, and I'm sorry, Diary, but I was really worried. I wasn't scared of what Iggy would do to them, but what they would do to Iggy. They seemed like really, really weird girls.

We hailed a cab, and we drove back to the motel. At a time like that, I wished that we had used the same cabbie as before, even though he was probably the sketchiest driver ever.

It took around thirty minutes to get back to the motel. We shoved a wad of cash at the cabbie, told him to stick around, and we sprinted to our room. I shoved the key into the lock, slammed open the door-

And the room was empty.

Iggy wasn't there.

I slammed my fist against the wall. "Damn it!"

"Wait, wait, wait!" Max said, jogging over to the desk near the far bed. There was a note on it, which read:

To everyone,

Mary and Sue are taking me to the Luxor's annual Halloween bash! I'm sure that it's going to be awesome! See you there!

-Iggy

"That's not Iggy's writing," Max said, and I looked at the note. It most certainly wasn't Iggy's writing, as the i's had little hearts over them, and it was neat and tidy in general. Iggy's writing was like chicken scratch.

It was at this point I started to panic. A blind, horny birdkid in Vegas is probably more dangerous than the Canadian army.

"We need to get to the Luxor," Max continued. "Hopefully he'll be there."

"What's the Luxor?" Angel asked.

"It's a massive hotel on the Strip, and it's shaped like a pyramid." And, FYI, Diary, the Strip is the part of Vegas where all the crazy stuff happens. Like, on CSI, that's where all the crazy murders happen.

"Let's go," Max said, running back out to the cab. Everyone filed in, although once everyone left, I stood alone in the motel room. Where are you, Iggy? I thought to myself before sprinting out the door, making sure to lock it behind me.

By the time we arrived on the Strip, the sun had set, and it was a shady sort of twilight. But the lights were so, so bright: the Strip was unbelievable. Massive hotels dominated the sidewalk, with expensive fountains are architecture everywhere. Neon billboards advertised products, movies, TV shows - everything and anything. All of the pedestrians were dressed up, too – there were a lot of bunnies and kittens walking around.

"Here's the Luxor," the cabbie said, dropping us off at an unbelievably huge pyramid that was shooting a laser out of the top that pierced the clouds above. "Now pay up."

"Come on," Max said after we paid; we ran into the nearby soaring doors guarded by men in black suits. They let us in, since kids were allowed in all of Vegas's hotels - but not the casino portion.

But inside the Luxor…even Nudge was silent, which was something.

There aren't enough adjectives in the English language to do it justice. Soaring, huge, massive, tall – those words aren't any good. It was packed full of every sort of costume- there were cowboys and witches and all sorts of animals making out with each other. The hotel rooms were all on the walls of the pyramid, while right in front of us was a huge carved sphinx. A banner was spread across the chest of the sphinx, which read, Party Downstairs!

We didn't say anything as we sprinted off in the direction of the arrow. We elbowed past all of the people until we came to a majestic golden staircase that led downstairs. We nearly killed ourselves getting down the stairs since there were so many people milling about, but we managed to get to the bottom safe enough.

The staircase ended at a huge, black room that was pulsing with lights and sound. If you squinted, you could make out people grinding against each other on the dance floor. I've never really understood why grinding is so popular - it looks painful. I mean, I once looked it up on Wikipedia, and it said that people "rub genitilia", and that just sounds nasty.

There were guards carding people at the entrance, making sure that they were at leas twenty-one. "How are we supposed to get past them?" Gazzy asked.

But I never got a chance to ask, as at that moment, one of the guards looked up, saw us, and motioned towards him. I looked towards Max, who nodded. I picked my way through the people, and walked up to the guard. "Some girls told me to give five kids a message," the guard said. "They said to go to Southern Boulevard… and that you should go to Love Chapel."

Adrenaline pumped through me. "What?"

"You heard me, kid, now get lost."

I went back to the rest of the Flock. "They said to go to the Love Chapel on the Southern Boulevard."

"What?" Max screeched. "Are they going to get married?"

"I don't know! But we have to get out of here!" We sprinted back up the steps, out of the Luxor, and we ended up on the sidewalk once again. The Southern Boulevard was only a few blocks away, and we opted to run it.

"Move! Move!" Max yelled at whoever got in her way. Everything was happening so, so fast – everything blurred by us as we shoved our way through the crowds. People were laughing, screaming, yelling...

The night was so hot, and my shirt was covered in sweat by the time we arrived at the Southern Boulevard. We finally found the Love Chapel – it was a small, white quaint building that looked like it should've been in the middle of Pride and Prejudice, not Las Vegas.

We ran up the steps, and shoved open the door. Inside, it was all white, with a few couples laughing with each other scattered around. The decorations were tacky, with big white and pink bows and streamers everywhere.

I did a quick scan of the room-

And there was Iggy, Mary, Sue, and another girl, standing with their backs to us. They were talking to the receptionist at the desk. "Iggy!" Nudge shouted.

He turned, as did the other three girls. Iggy leaned against the desk. "Nudge? What'chu doing here?"

"Where have you been, Iggy? Why did you just disappear like that?" Max asked, exhausted.

Iggy's eyes narrowed. "Mary and Sue said you knew. Hey! That rhymed! Heh…heh…"

There was something wrong with the way Iggy was talking. He was slurring his words, and he was…swaying. That was the major hint. "You're drunk!" I accused.

"So?" he said, starting to get mad. But his face suddenly dropped. "Hey, I haven't introduced you guys to my fiancée, Oksana!"

Oksana smiled at us, and I took her in. Oksana was most definitely a Russian name, and she was dressed in red booty shorts and a short black tube top. She had short, black hair and red high heels that made her legs look a mile long. And you know what else I noticed?

She was a Katy Perry lookalike.

"You're actually trying to get married?" Max asked, dumbfounded. "You're too young!"

"Ve're trying to conveence this loveleh secretahry othahwise," Oksana said with a thick accent. The secretary looked at us.

"Please get them out of here," she said to the five of us. "They don't have the proper documents to get married."

"I'm so sorry to bother you," Max said to the secretary, and she went over to Iggy, grabbed his shirt so that they were eye level. "What the hell are you doing?" she asked him. He grinned wildly.

"Gettin' married! What does it look like?"

She grabbed his hand. "We're going." But she stopped, and turned to face Mary and Sue. "Did you force him to do this?"

Both of them were near tears, which was surprising. "Oksana is our friend, and she was lonely! And we thought -"

Max rolled her eyes. "Oh, never mind. I don't want to hear it." And she slapped Mary so hard she had to turn away.

"Girl fight! Yes!" Iggy said, laughing like crazy.

"We're leaving. Now," I said, grabbing Iggy's arm and hauling him out of the chapel. The rest of the Flock filed after us. Mary, Sue and Oksana were yelling something at us, but we didn't bother to listen.

Once we were back outside where we could clear out heads, we called for another cab, which took us back to the motel. Iggy fell asleep almost instantly, his head resting on my shoulder. I watched as the lights of Las Vegas disappeared behind us, and I swore to myself to never, ever, set foot in that city again.

We arrived at the motel, and it took three of us to carry Iggy's sleeping body into the room. From anyone else standing nearby, it would've looked like we had killed Iggy and we were trying to hide his body or something. We threw him on the bed.

We all stood around him, looking at him as he started to drool. None of us knew what to do, or what to say. I mean, after running around Vegas on Halloween, you sort of just want to collapse.

"I'll be outside," Max muttered, and left the room. The rest of the Flock looked at me for advice.

"Just get ready for bed," I said, shrugging. "We'll sleep in tomorrow."

The three of them exchanged looks. Gazzy looked up at me shyly. "Go get her, Fang."

I looked at him strangely. "What are you talking about?"

He looked at me sadly, almost as if he was near tears. And believe me, the Gasman hates crying, because it removes that tough guy image he loves to uphold. "Max is upset. You should go talk to her."

Angel and Nudge nodded. "She needs you," Nudge said. "Go on."

I looked at the three of them. It was almost as if… they knew…Without another word, I left the motel room, and walked down the hallway.

I found Max sitting on the curb of the empty parking lot. The motel sign behind her was flickering, and she had her face in her hands. "So. Today sort of sucked," I said as a conversation opener. I sat down beside her. She didn't say anything, so I added, "You know, if you stay in that position, the blood is going to rush to your head, and it's going to hurt like hell."

She looked up slowly. "How could he possibly do that? Just disappear?"

I looked up at the sky. You couldn't see a single star because of all of the nearby lights. "It probably wasn't his fault. Give him a chance to explain himself."

"It's not fair!" She slammed a hand down onto the concrete, which broke the skin on her knuckles. The blood started to drip down her hand.

"That wasn't very smart," I said softly. I reached over and grabbed her hand and put it in my lap. I took off my jacket, wiped off the excess blood, and wrapped her hand in it.

"That's always been my worst fear, you know," she said, looking up. Her eyes were glistening. "That one of you guys would disappear. And I mean, you're going to disappear, too. In June. You're going to die."

"Everyone's going to die," I said quietly. "It's a fact of life. But we can't really stress over it too much, because I don't want to spend my whole life worrying about death."

She stared out at the nearby highway as the cars and trucks roared by us, oblivious to our world. It was still hot out, and I could feel sweat running down my back. Max was still for such a long time, I thought she had fallen asleep.

"But," I said, thinking over my words carefully, "Even when you're dying, you can still live."

Very, very slowly, she turned to look at me.

And very, very slowly, I moved my face closer to hers.

And very, very slowly, I kissed her.

It was unbelievable. Yes, I've kissed Max before, but I was half unconscious the first time, and the second time was rather rushed. But this was slow and steady and perfect.

That's right, Diary, I kissed a girl…and I liked it. And yes, that was yet another shameless Katy Perry reference. But just thinking back to it, I sort of get this little rush of a thrilling sensation.

We kissed for a minute, for eternity, for infinity. We only broke apart when we needed to breathe.

"What happens in Vegas-" she started.

"Is put on the Internet," I finished, causing her to chuckle.

But after the moment was broken, we both stood up and walked back to our room silently. We didn't talk. There was nothing to say.

By the time we got in the room, everyone was in bed and was asleep, or at least was pretending to be. Max went straight to bed, not bothering to change into different clothes or brushing her teeth. I grabbed you, Diary, and here I am now.

Max has been watching me the whole time I've been writing, even though it's well past two in the morning right now. No one has ever seen me write in this before.

So that's what happened in Vegas. I'm looking forward to tomorrow, when Iggy can fill us in on what he was thinking. Hopefully, Max won't kill him or anything, although I'm guessing she will. But I'm guessing it was Mary and Sue's fault - which is why I'm still angry with them.

But my mind keeps going back to that kiss. What was I thinking? What was Max thinking? And are we going to ignore this kiss, like the other ones?

Something changed between the two of us tonight. It was something big; something huge. But the only thing is, I don't know what something is.

Goodnight, Diary. Happy Halloween.

-Fang

24. November 3 2009

A/N- A few people have been confused about my gender; I'm a girl who's writing from a guy's perspective. Although, the second I was born, my Dad, who was really excited, shouted, "IT'S A BOY!" and the doctor laughed and said, "You'd better look again."

Also, I was in science class today, and the teacher puts on a video about IONIZING RADIATION, which I taught myself all about via Wikipedia for this story. I knew the entire video. It rocked.

Reviewer of the Week:

Zeze: So, I was trick-or-treating with my little brothers, and Ethan says, "Why is there bacon?" I reply, "What?" and he points over my shoulder. I turn my head so fast I thought I got whiplash and lo and behold, a dad in a bacon suit with his two daughters dressed up as sunny-side-up eggs. I was laughing the rest of the night; it was one of the most epic moments of my life.

Comments of the Week:

A friend: Every time you laugh, a bit of your soul dies.

Another friend: The only scary part was when the guy chased me with a chainsaw.


November 3rd 2009

Dear Diary,

So, I kissed Max. If I was female and sixteen and had raging hormones, I would be giggling madly and prancing around like a unicorn. (I will admit that I just pictured myself giggling madly and prancing around like a unicorn. It was not a pretty sight.)

Do unicorns even prance? Or do they just canter? And how the hell did I end up writing about unicorns?

But, as a note for future reference, it's hard to contemplate your messed-up romantic life when Iggy has a hangover. "Oh, crap," he said when he woke up. "I'm going to puke."

I was barely able to duck down, grab the garbage can next to his bed, and shove it in his hands before he vomited all of the alcohol he had consumed the night before. I was glad I could avoid his spew; I wasn't in the mood to smell like eau du puke.

"My head," he gasped, "Who the hell punched me in the head? Did you kill him Fang? Did you?"

I took the opportunity to punch him in the gut, since he deserved it, but also because there's nothing like kicking someone when they're down. (See, the reason you have a best friend is so that you have someone to laugh at when they're at their lowest moments.) He gasped and puked again.

"It's called a hangover," I said. "You get them after being a total jerk the night before."

He leaned his head back against the headrest. We were still in the motel room, as the rest of the Flock was out getting breakfast at McDonalds and was going to bring some food back for us; I had responsibility over Iggy until he woke up, because I was the person least likely to snap and kill him. Or so the Flock thought.

"Last night?" he asked. "I don't even remember this fabled thing called last night."

He was being completely honest. "You don't remember Mary and Sue and the Russian stripper named Oksana who is a Katy Perry lookalike?"

Iggy smiled. "Wow," he said. "It's a shame I don't remember it. It sounded like I had fun."

I stood up and dug into my bag for a granola bar. "You might have," I said, savoring the chewy chocolate chips and the fluffy marshmallows. (Huh. That totally sounded like a commercial.) "But you ruined the night for the rest of us."

He looked at me quizzically and wiped his mouth off with his sleeve. "What do you mean?"

"Well," I said slowly, "You happened to get totally wasted and somehow two girls named Mary and Sue picked you up and you ended up in downtown Vegas trying to get married to the Russian stripper Oksana who I will admit looked hot but we missed out on Halloween and I'm pretty sure Nudge is going down to the sports shop today so she can buy a rifle to shoot you between the eyes."

I said all that in one rather hypnotic sentence without taking a breath.

"Huh," he said, coughing a bit. You know, if he died from choking on his own puke after his hangover, I think I'd laugh a bit. "Tell me more."

I rolled my eyes, not thinking about how he couldn't see the gesture. "That's what we were hoping you could do. But what's the last thing you remember?"

He thought about it. "I was sitting here, and I was trying to figure out how to get some plutonium for a project of mine, and then… here I am now. So maybe plutonium did this to me or something."

I decided to ignore the fact that Iggy was trying to get plutonium, as I was smart enough to know that if you had a handful of that element, you could destroy a city. See, when I "babysit" the Flock, I have to worry about them destroying cities… not, like, chugging paint or something.

"But I don't get it," he continued. "Why does Nudge have my name on her hit list?"

"Dude," I said. (Ignore the fact that I just said dude. I have come to realize that anyone who is not an incredibly gorgeous blonde Californian should not say dude.) "Last night was Halloween. We were all going to go trick-or-treating for the first time. And we totally wasted our money on our costumes."

"Ouch," he said, nodding. "That sucks. And what sucks more is that yeah, Nudge is probably going to kill me… and I'm going to die a virgin. Dear God, the irony…"

Well, he was a virgin to the best of his knowledge, but I wasn't going to mention that. But I decided to use this time alone to my advantage. "The thing is… Nudge won't kill you, because everyone knows she likes you. And when I say everyone, I'm pretty sure that, like, Frodo and Legolas know."

"Frodo…and Legolas?"

"It was a joke. You're supposed to laugh."

"Oh. Right. Ha, ha, you're funny, Fang."

His sarcastic tone was evident, and I could tell this was a touchy subject for him, which meant I was going to push it further. "But really. Nudge likes you, but you ate Ella's face off at Lissa's party. You're such a womanizer."

"Are you just a walking Britney Spears advertisement?"

"You're avoiding the question."

He shrugged. "Of course I am. It's like… choosing between strawberry cake and an all-bacon sandwich."

Something didn't click here. "Why would you eat a sandwich with only bacon? Isn't that, like, overdosing?"

He looked at me as if I had just announced my undying love for Donald Trump. (Side note: Donald Trump has the sketchiest hairpiece in the world. I feel like it's going to start breathing or something and jump out and attack me.)

But Iggy looked seriously disturbed. "You can never have too much bacon. Ever. Like, even if you were drowning in bacon, you couldn't have enough."

You know, Iggy has this incredible talent of getting a conversation to take a total one-eighty. One minute, we're talking about Ella and Nudge, and then, BAM, the topic is bacon. If topic-changing were an Olympic event, Iggy would take gold. (You should have heard him the time we were talking about Erasers, and the next minute we were debating over who designs Lady Gaga's outfits.)

"But you're completely losing the point!" I said. "You can't lead two girls on!"

"I know." His shoulders slumped. "And I know which one I like more, but I'm going to crush the other one. And I don't know if I can do that."

Aww. The angel-Iggy was coming out now, which happens as often has Haley's Comet, but whatever. I leaned closer, feeling rather Gossip Girlish, but I really did want to know. "So who do you like more?" I asked.

He paused. "You won't tell?"

"Of course not."

"You promise?"

"Yeah."

"Alright. It's-"

"TIME FOR BIG MACS!"

Iggy and I jumped a mile apart as the Flock burst through the door, swinging bags of McDonalds. But why…did they have… such horrible timing? My heart was racing just as madly as it had been when I had kissed Max; if there is a way to age quickly, just have someone burst through the door. Iggy and I were still shaking as Gazzy tossed us a bag each.

"What's in it?" Iggy asked, opening the bag and smelling it. "Smells like… tasty chemicals."

"Three Big Macs, four large fries, two apple turnovers and two Cokes each," Max said, coming through the door last, holding the drinks. She placed two near each of us. "It's good to know I'm promoting such good nutritional values."

"Excellent," Iggy said, eating one of the turnovers in one bite. "You know, Max, if you were a burger, you'd be called the McMax. And I bet it'd be delicious."

She laughed. "What would be on it?"

Hotness, I thought to myself. With a few slices of kindness, a slab of wit, a dash of passion and a sprinkling of compassion glazed with awesomness.

Wow, Angel thought to me, That was really, really, awkward for me to hear.

Ouch, I said, letting a wince slip through my distanced-yet-interested facial expression. (That's the expression I usually wear; anything else shows too much emotion.) Sorry about that.

Did you really just think about what Max would be like as a burger? Angel said it more to herself than me, and I could feel it when she broke the connection between us.

"So we're going back to Dr. M's?" Gazzy asked. "To see if we can find any leads on Jeb?"

"Yup," Max said, stealing a fry of Iggy's. Somehow he noticed and whacked her hand, but she was still able to shove it down her throat. "We're leaving in ten, so if you haven't packed, get on it."

Well, getting packed involved throwing arbitrary items into our backpacks, something that can be done in a minute flat. We were out of the motel within five minutes.

We hiked out into the dessert – no, the desert, sorry. I always get the two mixed up. However, I would totally prefer to hike into a dessert instead of a desert. So instead of the problem of "Hey, what happens if we run out of water?" the problem turns into "Hey, what happens if we forget our spoons?"

Although that was a totally random and unnecessary paragraph, we did indeed hike into the desert. It wasn't that bad, since it was overcast and we were all powered by the Epicness That Is McDonalds. (Yes, all capitals are necessary.) As soon as we ducked behind a few dunes, we re-adjusted our backpacks, and prepared to take off.

"Wait!" Gazzy suddenly said right as I bent my knees to start my takeoff sprint. "I've got an idea!"

"But why do you want to blow something up?" Nudge asked. She was tying her hair back with an elastic, since we'd be flying with the wind at our backs.

He rolled his eyes. "Not all of my ideas involve some sort of destruction. Well, this might be the first one, but whatever. Anyways, we should race back to the house!"

"But why?" Max asked. "It's not a good idea to split up."

"Aw, come on, Max, think about it," Gazzy continued. "We can have three groups: one cuts a straight line to Phoenix; another can go over the Grand Canyon; and the last can go by Meteor Crater. I mean, we've been in Arizona so long, but we haven't really gone sight-seeing!"

Max sighed. "It sounds great, Gazzy, but if we're attacked-"

"No ones going to attack us, Max- Itex won't, now that we're technically working for them. And if we go to all three places, then we won't make it back to your Mom's place by tonight. We can each buy a disposable camera, and show the pictures to everyone else!"

Max was adamant against the idea, although I wasn't, actually. I mean, Gazzy was right: we didn't have any enemies anymore, to the best of our knowledge. It might be stupid to assume we don't have enemies anymore, but sight-seeing could be fun. And if we got to sight-see… then I could see something cool before I died.

"It'll be fine, Max," I said, and did a little half-smirk that I knew drove her crazy.

"Are you all for this idea?" she asked, and all of us nodded. She put her hands up. "Fine. I'm tempted to veto this... but fine. What are the groups?"

"You and Fang, me and Iggy, Nudge and Angel," Gazzy said, way too quickly. And it didn't seem like much, but Gazzy's little slip-up made me understand.

Gazzy was trying to get me and Max together.

On Halloween, Gazzy was the one who suggested that I go out and comfort Max. And most likely, the rest of the Flock was in on this plan too. I couldn't help but admire their efforts.

"We'll go straight to Phoenix," Gazzy added.

"And we'll take Meteor Crater," Nudge cut in.

Which left Max and I to go to the Grand Canyon.

"And we all have to take pictures, and the first one to arrive at Dr. M's place wins," Gazzy finished, smiling. He crossed his arms over his chest, looking weirdly like Max. "Any questions?"

"No, sir," Max said, smiling. "But if you're not at Mom's place by eight tonight, I'll have to come after you and skin you alive."

Gazzy nodded. "Alright!" he shouted, and shot into the air, Iggy on his heels. Nudge and Angel went right after them. Within seconds they had disappeared from sight.

"This is such a huge mistake," Max muttered. She looked at me, and smiled wryly. "But come on, we don't want to be last."

After a quick sprint we took off into the air directly beside each other, the edges of our wings brushing occasionally. Everytime they touched I got a little jolt and was reminded of the fact that we hadn't talked about the kiss.

The Grand Canyon wasn't that far out of the way of our original path; I had seen it on TV and in books and stuff… but wow doesn't cover it. We noticed pretty early on that the ground started to change, and then we ran into a cloud which we stayed in for a good half an hour. But when we came out of the cloud…

I will admit that my jaw dropped.

It's time for a little descriptive scene: the canyon stretched on forever. The horizon just didn't exist anymore. The dusty red rock was seemingly cracked open, leaving an humongous gap. Erosion had weathered away the rock, leaving neat designs on the pieces that jutted upwards The Colorado River neatly cut through the bottom, making it the perfect Kodak moment.

We swooped over the canyon, far away from any sunburned tourists. And as we fell through the sky, twisting and making patterns together and laughing madly, there was only one word flitting through my head: perfect. Max's smiling face filled my vision. I had never heard her laugh so clearly and so high before. She did a flip, followed by a double helix.

I officially owed Gazzy for life.

"Let's sit on the edge!" Max yelled over the wind. She pointed down a few miles.

We dove towards the edge of a cliff. We sat so that our legs were dangling over, but the ground was firm enough to support us. And hell, even if the ledge broke, it wasn't as if we would get hurt.

"This is… unbelievable," she said. Our eyes could pick up every single minute detail in the soaring canyon, which magnified the whole experience.

"Moments like this sort of make up for everything, don't they?" I asked. "I mean, most kids are sitting in school, bored out of their minds right now. And we're sitting on the edge of eternity."

She couldn't get that smile off her face. The wind was blowing against us, swooshing her hair back from her face. She looked up. "Yeah. They really do."

If I could have a moment like this just once a year, I'd put up with Erasers the other three hundred and sixty-four days. But then again, these moments are going to come to an end soon, since I'm destined to die in a few months. It's ironic that right when life gets good, I've got to die.

But this moment...

I mean, there was not a single sexual joke I could throw into this situation. It was just too wonderful.

I looked down below my dangling feet; there were miles of empty space between them and the hard rock below. I couldn't help but think that in one jump, I could be soaring down there.

Life rocks.

But one jump…one jump…

"So I kissed you," I said, and believe me when I say totally, completely, one hundred percent slipped out. But the atmosphere was totally welcoming. It seemed as though, up here, the world was ours and no one else existed or mattered.

Max didn't look embarrassed, or angry, or even uncomfortable. She looked relieved. "Yeah," she said. "You did."

We sat there for a good ten minutes of silence, watching birds climb and wheel in and out of the canyon. It was beautiful. "Did you like it?" I asked.

"Yes," she answered, although I wasn't looking at her.

A few more minutes passed. It was strange, how our conversation was stretched out, but it was also sort of nice. "But what do we do now?" My voice was almost lost against the canyon. But then again, we were two lost kids holding onto lost dreams.

Max smiled and watched the horizon. "We watch the sun set."

And it was decided: we waited there for hours, not saying anything, and hardly moving. Yeah, we were going to give the kids a heart attack for being so late, but it was worth it. We watched as the sky gradually turned from a light blue to the bright reds, pinks, oranges and yellows that set the sky on fire. Honestly, it was breathtaking, and this comes from a guy who hates adjectives. And then, as the fire started to fade, Max stood up.

"I guess we're going to be last in the race," she said, smiling grimly.

"But it's so late," I said, noticing that the stars were beginning to peak through the velvet blanket of the sky. (Wow. That was really poetic of me. Huh, I'm getting better.) "How are we going to get there tonight?"

Max thought about it, and then she smiled. "Grab my shoulders."

"What?"

"Grab my shoulders, and streamline your wings. Hurry up, I'm getting cold."

I did what she said, and grabbed onto her shoulders. Suddenly, she unfolded her wings and shot up into the air, with me barely holding on.

"Hang on tight!" she shouted, mirth in her voice.

I was able to wrap my hands around her neck, and I fit in between her wings nicely. Just as I tucked my own wings in tight Max launched into super-Max mode with her crazy-awesome speed. I understood: Max could cut hours off our time if she flew both of us at super-speed.

Everything blurred together as Max jetted towards Mesa. It was awesome how she could do this; I was madly jealous, I'll admit it. I wanted to talk with her, but the wind carried away my voice. We made insane time: we covered half the state in only an hour and a half. We touched down in the forest right beside Dr. M's house, and I stepped away from Max.

"My hands are numb," I said, shaking them out.

"And you're heavier than you look," she said, stretching out. "You nearly broke my back."

We grinned at each other, and randomly high-fived, because we're cool like that. "Awesome day?" I asked, and she nodded.

We walked quickly towards the house, where the Flock burst out onto the porch. "It's ten o'clock!" Nudge shouted. "Are you okay?"

But Gazzy punched her, and she suddenly blushed and went "Oh."

We stepped onto the porch, which was barely illuminated by the one porch light, where the rest of the Flock hugged us. "You won't believe what's happening," Angel said. "We were all so shocked."

"What's wrong?" Max asked, stepping into the house. And then we saw what Angel was talking about. If Max and I had known, we would've skipped the Grand Canyon vacation, even if it was one of the best experiences of our lives.

Because standing there in the middle of our kitchen was none other than Jeb Batchelder.

He was holding onto Dr. M with one arm in a loving half-embrace. He smiled at us. "Max. Fang. It's nice to see you two. We were getting worried." See, here's the thing: we knew Jeb was in Arizona…but this was like having that Where's Waldo? guy come walking right up to us and saying Yo, I'm right here.

"Jeb," Max said tightly. "You're… here. How long have you been staying here?"

"I arrived a day after you left." Hmm… that was a little too coincidental. "But we've got some news."

"Oh?" Max asked, looking at them and waiting for the bomb to drop. She scrutinized them, and so did I.

Dr. M smiled and clung onto Jeb a little tighter. There was something very, very wrong: they were too close and they were smiling too much. Their expressions on their faces looked almost… sheepish. Dr. M eventually broke the strange silence. "We're getting married," Dr. M said.

Woah.

Like, WTF?

Dr. M and Jeb…getting married?

But you know what, Diary, I'm tired. My watch reads past midnight and my body aches all over and more than anything else, I just want to sleep. I'll tell the rest of this story later.

So I guess this is what you'd call a cliffhanger.

-Fang

25. November 7 2009

A/N- The glasses that I swear are really stylish, but they're also "transitions", which means that whenever I step out into the sun, they turn into sunglasses. So I step outside, and then it's like INSTA-PIMP.

And credit goes to an anonymous person on deviantart for that really witty joke.

Reviewer of the Week:

Kenzi Ivashkov: And unicorns do prance, unless they are mamicorns (mammoth unicorns) who bellow "Aurrghh!" And stab people with their horn.

Comment of the Week:

A friend whose computer was overloaded with porn: ANNE HATHAWAY'S BOOB IS IN MY FACE.

The same friend on her relationship: It was like watching the Titanic sink.


November 7th, 2009

Dear Diary,

So. Jeb and Dr. M are going to get married.

That's like saying Barack Obama is going to hook up with Hilary Duff; it's sick and wrong on so many different levels.

"That was a funny joke," I said. "Really witty. I don't give you enough credit."

"Your sarcasm is killing me," Dr. M drawled, holding on to Jeb like he was Edward. But if Jeb was Edward, than Dr. M would be Bella, and we would be the Cullen family…and this simile is just getting ridiculous and I totally forgot the point that I was trying to make.

"We've been gone, what, a month, and you've suddenly decided to get married?" Max was calm as she said it, but I could tell she was hurt beneath. None of us had joined any fanclubs for Jeb in the past few years. Dr. M was always Max's, in a sense… and now Max would have to share with Jeb.

If you look up asshole in the dictionary you'll see a smiling picture of Jeb, which is right beside a picture of Iggy making out with Oksana the Russian Katy Perry lookalike stripper. Jeb reminds me of Ari; they both flipped sides time after time. Trusting that man with anything would be equivalent to trusting Perez Hilton with celebrity gossip.

"But…why did you come back?" Iggy asked. "So you could get a steady piece of ass?"

ZING!

Points go to Iggy for making an awkward situation even more awkward.

The Flock tried to stifle their laughs; Jeb looked surprised; and Dr. M looked pissed. "Actually," Jeb responded after he collected his thoughts, "The world doesn't revolve on sex. Shocker, I know."

Iggy narrowed his eyes, but didn't continue his attack. Also, I would like to take this opportunity to say that Jeb, in the time he was in Norway or whatever, grew the dodgiest mustache. Ever. It was like a caterpillar had died right above his lip.

"You never answered the question," Max reminded him. Oh, damn, I love it when she's in this mood. She goes all leader-style and gains so much confidence.

"Can't we talk later?" Jeb asked. "I mean, you just got back."

"Look, Jeb," Max said, casually walking over to the counter and grabbing an apple from a fruit stand. She took a bite. "Can't we skip over the I love you crap that neither of us mean and get to why you're actually here marrying my Mom?"

I went over and stood right beside Max, because I know for a fact that we look freaking intimidating when we stand next to each other and glare. See, we were standing so we were sort of facing each other, but our eyes were piercing Jeb's…and we just looked awesome. You've always got to keep the intimidation factor in mind.

And if Max and I dated, we could so do these poses more often.

"Well," Jeb said slowly, taking us in, "It's late. I'm going to bed."

"Not before explaining everything," Max said, crossing her arms over her chest.

"I'm going to bed," Jeb said, starting to walk down the hallway.

"No, you're not," Max said simply. Jeb turned and looked at her incredulously. "Look. You've messed with our brains for years, and honestly, I don't know if I can trust you. So tell me why you're here."

Jeb rubbed his forehead. "Itex. That's why I'm here, okay? Itex. Now, if you let me go to bed, I promise to make bacon and pancakes in the morning, just like we used to."

Just like we used to. Those were the best days. But Nelly Furtado had it right: all good things do come to an end.

Iggy, however, smiled. "Pancakes? And… bacon?"

You know, I've noted my mass amount of Harry Potter and Chuck Norris references, but only now am I realizing that an unusual amount of bacon has been present in my life since June. Huh.

Jeb nodded and grinned. "Of course."

Iggy looked pitifully at Max, who ignored him completely and continued to glare at Jeb. "Tomorrow you'd better get ready to make one hell of a speech."

He bowed slightly. "Of course," he said, and softly walked down the hallway and slipped into Dr. M's room. The rest of us were left to stare at Dr. M.

"Don't look at me," she said, raising her hands and following after Jeb. As soon as Dr. M shut the door to her room after herself, Max drew her arm back and was about to wham her hand into the counter in frustration, but I caught her hand mid-punch.

"Don't," I said quietly. "That'd hurt, and you'd probably break the counter."

She closed her eyes, and I was acutely aware of the fact that I still held her hand, and the Flock was still watching with wide eyes. She opened her eyes, and said, "That had better be some damn good bacon he makes in the morning."

True say, true say.

After unpacking our stuff, we went to our original rooms that we had left about a month ago. It was weird – normally, after we leave a place, we don't come back. I liked this room, since it provided normality, but I felt weird, and I didn't know why.

Sleep came relatively easy. And you know what else did?

A dream.

About Max.

And it doesn't take a genius to put this together. I'm fifteen. I love Max. So it was only natural that she would invade my dreams as well as my life.

And, to provide you with ease of reading, Diary, I'll slant this journal so I can write this most interesting dream in italics.

I'm in my room, on the top bunk. Strangely enough, Iggy and Gazzy aren't here. The room is filled with a hazy smoke, but I'm not concerned. It seems like the smoke is coming from a cigarette as opposed to a fire. The room is dark, but the floor – which is normally wooden – is now a plush red velvet.

Someone slowly enters the room surreptitiously, and laughs slightly.

Max is standing at the foot of my bed. She is dressed in a black leather tube top, a garter belt, and shiny black short shorts. In one hand she is holding a whip.

"Fang," she snarls, "Want to go for a Maximum RIDE?"

"ARRGGG WHAT THE HELL?"

I launched upright in bed, shaking and sweating like mad. Sadly, I wasn't all too smooth with the whole waking-up concept, as my outburst immediately woke Gazzy and Iggy up.

"Yo," Iggy said, staring at me. "What's wrong? Dreaming about a world where pigs enjoy eating our stomachs because they taste so damn tasty?"

I put my head in my hands and tried to get rid of the black spots in front of my vision. What had that been about? Why was I dreaming of such a provocative Max? But really, it's all in her name: Maximum Ride. Maximum, in Latin, means very great. (I know. I looked it up. I am so whipped.) So, if you translate her name, it's very great ride.

It's not my fault I'm such a pervert!

But I needed to come up with an excuse for my outburst, and fast. Otherwise, Iggy or Gazzy would latch onto something funny for them and embarrassing for me. What was non-funny and non-embarrassing? "Sheep," I blurted out, since counting sheep was the best way to fall asleep. "I had a dream where this sheep was chasing me… with… a flamethrower…"

They looked at me. "Fang, I'm going to ask you this in entire seriousness," Iggy said. "Are you high? You can talk to us about it. We won't judge you."

He said it in a falsely-sympathetic voice, so I threw my pillow at him. "No. But come on, let's get up."

I said that mainly to change the topic, but in reality, it was already seven in the morning, and there was no way any of us were going to fall back asleep. But as we walked down the hallway to the kitchen, I couldn't help but notice something that was wrong.

"There's no bacon," Iggy said, standing in the center of the kitchen. He looked shell-shocked. Max, Nudge, and Angel were sitting at the table already.

"There's no Jeb," Max said, staring at the table, "Or Mom."

I froze. Had Jeb kidnapped Dr. M? I wouldn't put it past him. People with creepy mustaches always kidnap other people. "What?"

She passed over a note to me. "Read it."

To the Flock,

I'm sorry we couldn't be here this morning, but I need to go away on business, and Val and I will be back around the eighth of November. Again, I'm sorry. Oh, and Max: we're not trying to avoid your questioning.

I love you all,

Jeb

"He expects us to believe that," Angel said in a monotone voice. She was sitting on Max's lap, and Total, who I honestly haven't written about in, like, forever, was sitting on her lap. The three of them reminded me of a sandwich. Mmm…a sandwich… I'm getting hungry…

"Jeb expects us to believe that he's the Easter Bunny," Max said, still not looking up.

"You mean there's no Easter Bunny?" Iggy asked. "There's yet another dream of mine shattered."

"But what are we going to do in the meantime? Before they get home?" Nudge asked. We could hardly question Jeb when he wasn't here.

Well, to answer that question in a movie, there would be a montage scene with music in the background showing the passage of time. But, since that isn't available in a Diary format, I'll have to do my best.

November 4: Talk with Ella. Find out we missed her birthday. Lounge around eating copious amounts of Doritos. Contemplate puking it all up later.

November 5: Sneak out to Mesa Public library for a copy of Eclipse. That series is like heroin.

November 6: Think about how awesome it was that the Yankees won the World Series. Get into a fistfight with Gazzy, who likes the Phillies because of Philadelphia cheesesteaks.

And then came today. It all started with Nudge when we were all watching TV after dinner, and she looked so bored I thought she was going to melt into the chair.

And then her eyes lit up.

"You guys remember our costumes?" she asked, almost frantically. We nodded.

"Nudge," Iggy said. "Not that many people want themed stripper parties."

"But they were a total waste of money. I have an idea. It's weird, but I think it'd be really funny and cool and please can we do it?"

"Do what?" Max asked with a raised eyebrow. "The last idea you had – to go to Vegas – didn't turn out so well."

"But this doesn't involve anything overly crazy," she explained. "Why don't we go trick-or-treating?"

Pause.

"You're three hundred and fifty-eight days off," Gazzy mused. "Why do you want to do that?"

"Think about it!" Nudge stood and faced all of us. "We have our costumes, and people probably have leftover candy, and we can say we were ill in the hospital or something and we couldn't go on Halloween!"

Ugh. I could tell we were going to lose this argument.

Nudge went into Bambi mode and looked down. "I just want to do something normal."

Which is why, ten minutes later, I was dressed as Harry Potter and standing at the front of the house, wondering if it would defy the rules of physics if I dropped dead from embarrassment.

Thus, we can see the power of Nudge.

Isn't it crazy how my life works? One minute, I'm watching TV, and the next, I'm Harry Potter.

Iggy opted to stay home, and I didn't blame him. The only thing that pissed me off was the fact that I knew he was going to eat my candy later.

"Are we ready?" Nudge asked, throwing pillowcases at each of us. She was in her fairy costume; it was quite revealing, as it was meant for someone older. She had her wings out, as did Angel, who was dressed as an angel.

"Fo'sho," Gazzy said through his Grim Reaper mask.

"Aye, matey," Max added from under her pirate hat.

"Have fun," Iggy said from the family room. "Feel free to give me all your candy."

We left after that, and stepped into the warm night air. There weren't a lot of cars out, which was good, because I was feeling self-conscious in my outfit. We walked on over to the neighbor's house; we walked up the stone pathway and rang the doorbell. An older-looking woman answered it.

"Trick-or-treat!" we chorused.

We looked steadily at us. "What?"

"Trick-or-treat," Gazzy said, less enthusiastically. "Also known as give me candy."

"Aren't you out a little…late?" she asked, which prompted Nudge to go into an elaborate story which involved all of us being on our deathbeds on Halloween, only to miraculously recover so that we could get candy tonight. The old woman had tears in her eyes as Nudge finished her story.

"Oh, you poor darlings! I'm sure I can find some candy for you."

She disappeared into the house, and Nudge whispered, "Boo-yah!" When the woman came back, she dumped handfuls of candy into each of our bags.

I felt too old to be doing this, but as the night progressed, I began to loosen up and have more fun. All of the houses were the same; they'd question us at first, Nudge would tell her tale, and we'd get tons of sympathy candy. All in all, we had quite the racket going on.

After an hour and a half and an almost-full pillowcase of candy, we came to a large, multi-storey house that looked strangely Victorian. The lights were on and people moving in the window, so we decided to give it a go. I couldn't help but notice that the mailbox said Rodriguez – but why did that name sound so familiar?

Gazzy, Angel, and Nudge lunged for the doorbell; Angel won by sneaking under the other two as they started to punch each other.

I could see a figure coming down the hall, and when they opened the door, we chorused, "Trick-or-treat!"

Which is when my blood froze.

I instantly remembered why Rodriguez stuck a chord in my memory.

Antonio Rodriguez answered the door. And, if you recall, Diary, Antonio Rodriguez was the punkass teenager Nudge punched back in July that eventually led to me being a wanted criminal.

It's such a small world.

"What the he-" he started, but once he saw Nudge and me, he got a perplexed look on his face. Please be stupid enough to not figure it out, I said in my head. Pleasepleaseplease.

"You're the girl who punched me!" he accused, pointing a finger at Nudge. His jaw dropped as he looked at me. "And Harry Potter, too!"

This situation was going downhill very, very fast. Rodriguez was a tall teenager, with thick, muscled arms and he even had a little stubble going on. He could easy chase us for miles. Although, this was the kid Nudge nearly reduced to tears.

And just a note: I say Rodriguez instead of Antonio, because there are some people whose last names just fit them more than their first name. And when you call someone by their last name, they seem a lot more intense. It's true – try it.

"You think you have the balls to come right to my door?" he said to me. But when he looked at Nudge, something changed. Instead of immediately ranting at her, he paused.

"You know," he mused, leaning against the doorway, "That's quite the punch you have."

"Uh, thanks," Nudge said, caught between being worried and pleased.

"You should teach me. I could use that punch against a lot of kids who try and do stupid things," he said, flashing a bright smile that belonged in a toothpaste commercial.

And then something else clicked.

Rodriguez was hitting on Nudge.

Let me elaborate: we all look older than we really are. Max and I can pass for seventeen, even eighteen, while Iggy even pulled off twenty-one once. (I'm once hundred percent serious. He bought alcohol, with Gazzy's help and a fake ID.) Nudge can do fourteen easily, but tonight, in her skimpy-short fairy outfit, she could pass for fifteen.

Rodriguez was perhaps seventeen; and a fifteen-year-old was perfectly acceptable to him.

And Nudge is really pretty, too; I should have been expecting someone to hit on her. I put an arm around her, although Rodriguez leaned forward.

"Do you guys need a map?" He looked right at Nudge. "I do, because I keep getting lost in your eyes."

Cue groans of that was the worst pick-up line ever.

I was waiting for Nudge's smartass sarcastic reply; but it never came. Instead, she looked at him with something short of wonder in her eyes.

She was attracted to him!

"We'll be going now," I said, spinning Nudge around and forcing her to walk with me down the porch steps.

"Wait!" Rodriguez called, but we kept walking with the confused Flock at our heels. And for the record, it feels so good to walk away from someone while they're calling out for you. Nudge was quiet as we walked.

I led the Flock towards the house. We walked mainly in silence; no one really knew what to say. The only time something unusual happened was when some teens drove by and shouted, "Kinky costumes!"

I was walking ahead of everyone else, but Max caught up to me. "You said before that you punched Rodriguez, but he said Nudge did."

There was no point in not telling her the truth. "I lied," I said simply. "I was protecting Nudge. You were pretty pissed at the time, and she was scared."

Max let out a stream of air from between her teeth. "But I should know the truth."

"Even if the truth hurts?"

"Especially if the truth hurts."

We arrived back at the house, where we deftly stripped out of our costumes and dumped our loot on the floor. We had done well: mini packages of brand name products formed a large pyramid in the middle of the floor.

"It's like, Christmas," Iggy said as he bit into a Crunch bar. "If only we were famous. That way we could do some serious product placement."

After gorging on some of our candy, we all went to bed feeling like our heads were going to explode. Iggy and Gazzy fell asleep relatively quickly, but I updated the blog, and then opened you, Diary.

Changing the topic to my blog: for the record, Diary, my email is fangoftheflock at hotmail (dot) com. When I filled out the online form to get the email, I had to put a last name… so I put Ride. Is it emasculating that I stole Max's last name? Because that would imply that we're married.

I can't help but wonder what it'd be like to be married to Max. Who would do the cooking, the cleaning, the housework? We would most definitely not have kids, as Iggy would twist their minds so that they'd be some sort of psychopathic sex-fiend who hordes greasy foods.

But back to the email: I use it for the blog, which is really getting popular. But if someone out there emailed me, I would totally respond. I'd love to see how normal kids live. (By normal, I mean that they shouldn't have wings. That's a good normalness test.)

As for normalness: you know what's really been bothering me? It's creepy, but…

How the hell does Max get a bra on?

Think about it. Her wings start at her mid-back, which is below where a bra would sit. She would be able to get the straps on, yes, but how could she attach the main part of it? It would go over her wings, which would restrict movement.

And yes, questions like that keep me awake at night.

This started as I was watching Max sit on the couch, and she was wearing a too-small T-shirt, and you could see the outline of her bra…

It was a good afternoon.

Although I have to admit that I got some really weird looks from the Flock, since I was pretty obvious about the whole I'm-staring-at-Max's-boobs-thing... oh, someone just rang the doorbell. That's weird… it's a bit past ten. Who shows up at a houseful of birdkids at ten at night?

This will be interesting.

-Fang


A/N- On a scale of one to ten, what's your favorite color?

And by the way, feel free to email fangoftheflock at hotmail (dot) com. Fang is an awesome correspondent.

26. November 13 2009

A/N- I really wish I could respond to each review, because with each chapter the reviews are getting progressively funnier. Also, the conversations I have in my own life are suspiciously close to this story. Sometimes I'll just walk away from a conversation thinking, "Didn't I write that scene?"

Random: Today I was walking and a girl comes up to me and starts speaking French. But when I responded... I replied in Spanish. I clamped my hand over my mouth, and the girl was like, "YOU DO THAT TOO?"

Reviewer of the Week:

Flyingtothestars: The best normalness test is to cook bacon without making dodgy references.

Comment of the Week:

A commercial on the radio: When man first discovered how to run faster than pigs, we had bacon.


November 13th, 2009

Dear Diary,

Sometimes things happen in life when you have to step back and wonder if you're on drugs.

Like, legitimately, too. Iggy must have spiked the brownies. There's just no other explanation.

Diary, do you remember the entry I made on July sixteenth? I made a fake Facebook account to fool Gazzy into falling in love with a fictional character. So, it was ten o'clock at night, and the six of us cautiously crept down the hallway while Ella and Total were in bed together. (Ew, no, not in bed like that. Get your mind out of the gutter, Diary."

"Erasers wouldn't ring the doorbell," Max said. "And same with Jeb and Mom."

"You haven't phoned over any entertainment, have you?" Gazzy whispered to Iggy, who shook his head.

"There's only one way to find out," Max said grimly. She put on her "confidence face", walked through the kitchen and opened the door. And honestly, I would've preferred if the person at the door had been Agnes the horny-and-deadly-old-lady, which is a huge statement.

It wasn't an Eraser. It wasn't Jeb or Dr. M or Antonio Rodriguez or even Oksana the Russian Katy Perry lookalike stripper.

It was Beyoncé Spears.

YEAH, I KNOW.

She was exactly as I described her in my fake Facebook profile. Eight years old. Blonde. 4"10. Wearing a Harvard T-shirt.

At this point, I blinked, rubbed my eyes, swore violently, and rubbed my eyes again.

Seriously. I invented this girl, and here she was, standing on our doorstep. On a scale of weirdness, this hits a good-old-fashioned infinity.

"Hi there!" she spoke with a distinct Texan accent. "I'm Beyoncé Spears!"

Max was stunned. "What?"

Beyoncé flashed a beautiful smiled and stepped into the house, just like that. She looked around. "Nice place!" she said. She took off her jacket, slung it over her arm, and she collapsed on the couch. "It has been such a long day."

We all just stood there like cows with our mouths wide open.

"Say what?" Nudge faintly asked under her breath.

"Woah. Wait just a second. Your name is Beyoncé Spears? Like, seriously?" Iggy asked. Iggy was probably thinking that anyone with two popular celebrity names would have to be hot themselves.

She nodded. "Yeah. I get that a lot. See, my last name is Spears, which is pretty common, right? But then, back in 2001, my parents were at a Beyoncé concert. And well, one thing led to another, and the next thing they know, they were in the back seat of a car…"

Wow. Just wow.

What are the freaking chances?

She didn't have to finish the sentence. And Beyoncé's accent was explained then – the real Beyoncé was born in Houston, Texas.

"But why are you here?" Max asked.

Beyoncé rolled her eyes. "So, here's the thing. I was trying to make a Facebook profile, but I noticed that someone else had the same name as me! And so when I took a look at the interests and all that stuff, it fit me perfectly! So after taking a look at the IP address and researching a bit, I found that the signal was coming from this house."

Wait, what?

"How did you see the interests and activities?" I asked. "I set that on the private mode."

She glared at me. "So it was you? Why are you so pervish that you'd go around impersonating an eight-year-old girl?"

"What?" Max asked, swinging around to face me. "You impersonated a little girl?"

"Yes!" I shouted, and the looks on everyone's faces ranged from disbelieving to horror. "Well, no! Maybe! Sort of! But how did you access that, how did you get the IP address, and why did you even come here?"

For the record, Diary, an IP address is a bit like a GPS that every computer has.

She sighed dramatically and sunk lower into the couch. "Questions, questions! First of all, well, I am related to Britney Spears, actually. I'm her cousin, and my Dad is Britney's accountant, so we're, like, uber-rich."

"And humble…" Iggy muttered.

"Dad's got all this crazy stuff that can hack into so many computers and sites and stuff. And I just asked him to get the IP address from the Facebook profile, and I took your digital footprint. And I was bored and decided tell you to delete your profile, because there is only one Beyoncé Spears."

Actually, there shouldn't even be a Beyoncé Spears. I turned to Iggy. "Is this happening?" I asked.

"Nah," he said. "Some random girl didn't just crash in our house and isn't claiming to be Britney Spears' cousin."

"Ugh!" Beyoncé moaned. "No one at school believes I'm Britney's cousin! Well, until I show them the pictures and autographs and stuff. But it's so annoying."

I was suddenly struck with the urge to punch this girl in the face.

"I'll delete the profile," I said to her. "So can you go now?" There was no point in sugar-coating the request. It was one of those GTFO moments that seem to always happen on the Internet.

"I thought I'd stay a few days," she said, staring at the ceiling. "My flight isn't until the thirteenth."

Remember, diary: this was all on seventh.

"You flew out here alone?" Max asked.

She nodded. "All of my flights are alone. And the Phoenix airport sent a very nice chauffer to drive me here."

I know it was petty, but I was jealous of her lack of respect for money. I can't help but wonder what I would have been like if I had grown up in a house full of money…

"Would you like more wine, Fang?" Max is sitting next to me in her Gucci sunglasses and Prada high heels. We're sitting on a beach in Tahiti. She is wearing a skimpy bikini that covers less than a few Band-Aids would.

"No thanks, darling," I say, glancing out to sea at our seven-level cruise ship that is complete with its own personal circus and skating rink.

"Are you too full from that rare chocolate ice cream from over fourteen countries dipped in caramel sauce and glazed with shavings of almonds and infused with 23-carat edible gold?" she asks as she flicks her hand. It is a signal for our servant, Jeeves, who is waiting in the lush tropics behind us, to leave.

Max stretches. I can see how the sun illuminates her tanned and athletic body that has spent much time under the carful hands of renowned masseuses. She stands up from her plush, more-expensive-than-a-small-country beach chair and straddles me. She grins down at me. She starts to come closer, and closer, and I can smell the wine on her breath. Quietly, as if it is a secret, she whispers, "I'd love a new pair of shoes. Italian, too."

"Of course, dove," I say, "Anything you desire is yours."

And I close the space between us-

"Are you okay, Fang?" Gazzy was waving his hand in front of my face. I snapped to attention.

"Yeah. For sure. I know exactly what we're talking about," I rambled on, trying so hard to get that picture of Max and her skimpy bikini out of my head…

And that task was colossal in itself.

"So you hacked into your own account, talked to Gazzy online, and now… you're staying here? With us?" I didn't bother to leave the incredulous tone out of my voice.

Beyoncé nodded. "Yup!"

"But why are you staying?" Nudge asked. "What's the point?"

"Well," she said, drawing out the word, "We're doing fractions in school, and I hate fractions, so I thought I'd take a bit of a vacation."

So she was skipping school to take a vacation because she hated fractions. Sometimes life is unfair, you know?

"But thanks for letting me stay," she added, realizing that technically, we could kick her out on the street. "I'm sure we'll get along great."

And just like that, it was decided. There was no point in arguing - we couldn't leave an eight-year-old to fend for themselves. Well, Gazzy would be able to do it... but that's Gazzy. And if Gazzy was left alone for a week, I don't think the planet would survive.

Beyoncé woke Ella up and slept in her room. It was completely crazy that we were letting her stay with us; but did we have any choice in the matter? "Jeb and Mom will be home tomorrow," Max said. "We can ask them what to do about her."

And you want to know the real kicker?

Jeb and Dr. M didn't show up on the eighth. Or the ninth. Or the tenth. Or at all.

That's right. They skipped out on us.

"No way," Max said on the eleventh. "They've just been delayed. Jeb's business takes him all over the world. They'll be back soon."

Max was deluding herself, and she knew it, which was worse. Max has been betrayed so many times, sometimes… you just sort of give up. Max refused to believe that her Mom, the one person so close to her, would run away.

Personally? I think Jeb kidnapped Dr. M.

I told that to Max, but she just brushed it aside, although I know it's really been troubling her. We decided, eventually, to stay for a while. Max said we were staying for Ella's sake – although really, we were staying for Max. It was killing all of us to stay... but Max was rock solid on the matter. I decided to talk to her soon.

All through this, Beyoncé stayed with us. She was annoying, but one day she pulled me aside.

"You've got to see this," she said, flashing that smile that had probably been slaved over by dentists. On a piece of paper, she wrote down:

OK

"Now," she said, "Tilt your head to the left, and what do you see?"

I tilted my head, and I didn't see anything. In fact, I felt like a loser, staring at an OK sign with my head tilted. But suddenly, the O turned into a head and the K turned into arms and legs.

"It's a person!" I nearly shouted.

My mind had been blown.

Oh, the simpl things in life.

It felt like the time I realized that there was an arrow in the Fed-Ex logo and when I realized that cupcakes were just mini-cakes. So after Beyoncé showed me that, I really warmed up to her. Surprisingly, Iggy didn't hit on her, so the group dynamics functioned well.

Until today.

I was walking along, minding my own business, when BAM, my world changes forever.

It was just another day in the life of Fang, that crazy kid with horrible timing.

So as I said, I was walking along, wondering how fast I could get to Tahiti, when I heard something strange. I thought I was the only one home – everyone else was out at the movies, but I said I just wanted to stay home and chill, which actually means stay home and read Eclipse while stuffing my face with Oreos.

But you know what I heard?

Groans.

And thumps.

My first thought was, Iggy, what have you done now? while my second thought was, Jeb and Dr. M are engaged, after all. But that just didn't make sense; Iggy would never do something like that, no matter what he says (he pretends he's "easy" but he's actually, like, the Ice King) and Jeb and Dr. M weren't even home.

The sounds were coming from the family room; I had been in my own room for most of the afternoon. See, this was all giving me a heart attack, since I thought I was home alone, and I hadn't heard anyone come in.

It had to be Erasers.

Who had groaning issues.

Whatever.

I was wary as I started to creep down the hall. If you look down the hall, you get a straight view of the main door; to the right of the door is the kitchen, and to the left is the family room. I clenched my fists as I continued down the hall. There was no one in the kitchen, so I turned to the family room –

And you want to know what I saw?

Two octopi engaged in an epic life-or-death battle on our couch.

Or at least, that's what I thought I saw. Once I stood there in shock for a few moments, I realized that:

a. They weren't octopi, they were two people.

b. Did you notice I said octopi as opposed to octopuses? My grammar is that good.

c. They weren't trying to kill each other, they were making out.

Now, diary, if you haven't been getting what I've been saying, I'm trying to say that there were two people making out on the couch, with me just… watching. Now, Diary, I'd like you to try and guess who was making out on the couch.

Iggy and Ella?

Iggy and Nudge?

Iggy and Dr. M?

Nope.

Get this. Fasten your seatbelts and keep your hands inside at all times:

It was Gazzy and Beyoncé.

I KNOW, DIARY, I KNOW. PLOT TWIST, MUCH?

"My eyes!" I shouted out of reflex and stumbled back a few steps. But think about the irony; my purpose of creating Beyoncé's account was to make Gazzy fall in love with her. And now that Beyoncé was here, Gazzy actually loved her.

Well, I'd assume so, since it looked like he was trying to gnaw off her head.

I realize the weirdness in the situation – two eight-year-olds making out. It was such an, "Aww, they're all grown up now!" moment.

And that was sarcasm, in case you couldn't tell.

And the best part of the whole thing? I just stood there, floored, and wondering what to do. I mean… they were so… vigorous. They had clothes on, which was a bonus, and they weren't grinding… but Gazzy was slobbering over Beyoncé's face so much I thought she was going to drown.

I need to teach the kid some techniques.

Ahem. Yes, Diary, I do have techniques.

But what could I do? I certainly had to interrupt them, because this was looking like the beginning of a Harlequin romance gone wrong. But how? Should I rip Gazzy away? Or say something instead? Yeah, I should say something. But what to say? Something serious? Something sarcastic? Something –

"What are you DOING?"

Max.

I should have known.

Me plus compromising situation equals Max. There's no use fighting the equation.

I had been so hypnotized by Gazzy and Beyoncé that I hadn't heard them all on the porch. Now, the Flock and Ella watched as Gazzy and Beyoncé sprung away from each as if they were the same pole of a magnet.

Max was flabbergasted (that's such a good word) at the scene in front of her. Both Gazzy and Beyoncé were looking down, embarrassed.

"Don't tell me that she had some ketchup on her face and you were trying to get it off," Max said sarcastically with her hands on her hips. She wasn't angry yet… just shocked.

"Look, Max," Gazzy began, but Max cut him off.

"Bed. Now. Go before I decide I don't want to spare your life."

Gazzy looked shamed as he tramped down the hallway with heavy feet. We didn't start talking until he closed the door. Max rounded on Beyoncé. "What were you doing?" she nearly hissed.

"What did it look like we were doing?" Beyoncé asked, bored. She yawned. "That was funny. But his breath stunk like he had been eating feces or something."

Max closed her eyes. Ooooh, this wasn't good. When Max closes her eyes, there's only a twenty percent chance that she won't kill the person standing in front of her. But luckily for Beyoncé, the odds were with her, and Max opened her eyes.

"You're going. Now. I don't care if you have to wait longer for your flight. Just… go. I'll call a cab."

Beyoncé looked up from the nail she'd been picking at. That had caught her attention. "You're kicking me out? Into a cab?"

Max shrugged. "You can walk if you'd like."

And just like that, Max picked up the phone and dialed for the taxi company; Beyoncé, who realized she had just lost, let out a huff and went to the room she shared will Ella. She dragged her bags out, whining a lot, and we all stood there uncomfortably and not saying anything.

Within twenty minutes, Beyoncé Spears had disappeared from our lives.

And somehow, I doubted she'd ever bring her cousin to meet us.

Her depart was uneventful; she didn't wave or say goodbye or do anything dramatic like I'd expected she would have. She was just a silhouette in a taxi driving away to Phoenix. Slightly poetic, really.

Everyone noticed that Max was fuming and was like a TNT bomb that was about to go off, they all scattered to their respective rooms, leaving us alone. It was time for damage control.

"He's eight," Max muttered as soon as Nudge and Angel shut their door behind them, with Total trotting at their heels. "That's… too young."

"You know why he's doing it, right?" I asked. I noticed that she was eyeing a glass figurine on the mantle, so I put myself between her and it, since I could tell she wanted to throw something.

"No, I don't," Max said, looking past me at the figurine. I put my hands on her shoulders, and her eyes snapped to mine.

"I'm going to die," I whispered. "No more Fang. Poof. Gone." I made mini-explosion hand gestures with each word.

That was intended to make her laugh, but it just did the opposite. A tear slid out of one eye and she quickly wiped it away. You know, I am so bad at dealing with girls. It should be illegal for people like me to converse with the female species.

"Give him someone to look up to," I said softly. Max refused to meet my eyes. "He's looking for lost love. I mean, I'm the only father figure in his life, and since I'm going away, he's looking for different types of love. In a way, it'd be easier if I just dropped dead and we didn't know anything about it."

Max was quivering, but not crying. I needed to word my next thoughts well. "Max, I'm your right hand, right?"

She nodded.

"Well, you're both of my hands. Actually, you're my arms, too. You know what? You're my whole body. And I can't watch you die as I die too. For you, for me, for the Flock; be strong, Max."

She finally met my eyes.

"I totally just sounded like a Hallmark card right there," I said, and she sniffed back a laugh.

"I am going to keep him on such a tight lease from now on," she said; this was her way backing out of the dangerous grounds of our relationship. "That kid will hardly be able to go to the bathroom without me watching."

"That's creepy," I said as she wiped her eyes with her sleeve. She smiled weakly.

"Yeah," she said. "Definitely."

Without another word, we left to our rooms, leaving our problems for tomorrow. So here I am now, under the covers with a flashlight.

As I'm writing this, I notice two things: first, it's Friday the Thirteenth. For some reason, Friday the Thirteenths have always been lucky for me. For example, on the last one, Gazzy had rigged a bucket of flour to fall on me as I walked into the bathroom; luckily, Nudge walked in first, and I had the pleasure of watching two of my friends trying to kill each other. But today hadn't been lucky or unlucky; it had been just... interesting. That's a good word.

The second thing I notice is that my birthday is coming up.

For most kids, birthdays probably bring to mind over-expensive Dairy Queen cakes and candles and ponies and trips to the zoo. Most of my birthdays have been spent, oh, cowering in pain or whatever, but all in all, that's not why I hate birthdays.

Here's the thing.

Max was born in July, right? And I was born in November, and Iggy in January. But, not really – see, when Jeb had taken us away from the School, we were all able to pick our own names and birthdays. So none of us know the day we were actually born.

But that's not true.

I remember the day when I chose my birthday very, very clearly.

We were ten. Max was the first to choose her birthday; she chose July twenty-seventh because of all the sevens involved. She was really happy with her choice as she waited for the rest of us to choose our birthdays.

"Which day do you want, Fang?" She smiled at me; her smile was less jaded than it is now. She hadn't endured years of running.

And I said, "I'll take the twentieth of November."

Why?

Well, I have to go back even further to explain properly. I was probably six or seven, and there were two whitecoats doing an experiment on me – it was a pain test. They wanted to see how much pain I could endure before crying out. For the sake of sanity, I'll write slanted in italics.

"This one is good," one of the whitecoats said as he made a checkmark on his clipboard. I was huddled on the floor, mentally wishing I was dead, but not crying out. "He's the best we've had so far."

"Well, he should be," the other one responded. "He's the oldest."

"Really?" the other one asked. "I didn't know that."

"Yeah. This one was created on 5/23/94; the girl was 07/27/94; and the blonde one was 10/02/94."

Did you catch that, Diary? I was created, not born.

And I was born on May twenty-third, 1994; Max was born on the twenty-seventh of July.

I'm older than Max.

Isn't it weird she guessed the right day of her birthday? I guess that's the way life works out sometimes. But now you're probably wondering why, for most of my life, I've held back on our real birthdays – and why I never told Max that I'm older than her.

When Jeb took us away, I knew there would have to be a leader. There just can't be a group without a leader. And I knew that Max had what it takes to be a leader; confidence, compassion, and intelligence. I had that, yes… but Max was better. Max could communicate; Max could inspire; Max could lead.

And I knew, then, that the oldest was going to be deemed the leader.

So that's why I said, "I'll take the twentieth of November."

And that's why I'm here, wishing that birthdays weren't necessary in life, since they remind me that I'm lying to Max about so many things. And, I'm scared that I'll let it slip that I'm older than Max. It's just one of the secrets I can never tell her. And it's killing me.

But enough of that sad-secrets-and-lies crap.

I want to end my day on a good note, since it's always nice to think of happy things before sleeping. Oh! I completely, one-hundred-percent forgot to write about something that will change my life forever. Which is sort of sad, if you think about it. Before bed, I grabbed my laptop and did something I should be forever ashamed of.

I don't deserve to be a man any longer. You know what I did?

I bought myself a ticket for the midnight showing of New Moon.

I know! I know! I've pretty much handed in my card saying I'm officially a girl. But hopefully, since it's the midnight showing, I'll be able to sneak out, see the movie, come back, and wake up exceptionally cheerfully with thoughts of how Jacob so deserves Bella.

There would be no other time to see the movie… and I really want to see it. I've been watching the trailer on Youtube far more often than what is considered mentally safe, and I even played with the idea of buying a commemorative keychain.

Oh, wow…

It's official; I like the Twilight series. The feminization of Fang has begun.

-Fang

27. November 21 2009

A/N- I went to the midnight premiere of New Moon, and wow, it was crazy. My theatre did the whole yelling/squealing/laughing thing, and it was an incredible experience. This chapter is spoiler-free, although I must say that the movie was awesome.

You know, I used to really love my locker location; there was my locker, an empty one, another girl, and then there was gap between the next row of lockers. Now, the girl is dating a guy and he took the empty locker. And the thing is, they enjoy making out on my locker. It's hard to say how awkward it is to interrupt them. They get so into it…

Reviewer of the Week:

sparkleglitz01: The last thing we need to see is Fang prancing down a catwalk in a pink tutu, giggling like there's no tomorrow.

Comments of the Week:

guineaman56 via Youtube: I wish I had a narwhal for a pet....life can be so cruel.

A police report via Failblog: Suspicious people were reportedly doing something with flashlights by the North 5th Street in Custer. A deputy checked and found the people were not suspicious, but merely Canadian.


November 21st, 2009

Dear Diary,

I did it.

I went to the midnight opening of New Moon.

I think I'm starting to grow boobs.

But naturally, I didn't just sneak out, see the movie, and come home. I mean, there's nothing special about that. If it's not dangerous or stupid or just messed up, then it doesn't happen in my life.

On the nineteenth, I went out "flying" for the day, which basically means that I went to the local park, found a nice tree to lie under, and I read a large portion of Eclipse. Eclipse was so awesome, with all the battles and stuff, but poor Jacob. (For the record, Diary: I am indeed Team Jacob. I can practically hear the Team Edward girls sharpening their knives.)

Around dinner, I walked back to the house far too excited to be considered socially acceptable.

"Hey," Max said as I walked into the house. The kitchen smelled wonderfully delicious, and I noted that Iggy was stirring a pot. "How was flying? Where'd you go?"

I blanked before remembering my alibi. "Flying… right! It was good. I made it to the Mexican border." I decided to change the topic before she could find any loopholes in my lie. "What's that smell?"

"It's a pork roast, gravy, mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts," Max said, and grinned at my surprised face. "We splurged, since it's your birthday tomorrow, and Iggy wanted to try something more advanced."

"Brussels sprouts?" I asked. "What's that about?"

Think about it, Diary; our idea of a well-balanced meal includes McDonald's hamburgers (protein), fries (carbs), and apple turnovers (fruits).

"It was Ella's idea," Max said, glaring at the pot Iggy was still stirring. "She's doing a health unit at school, and she's scared she's going to drop dead unless she eats more greens."

"Brussels sprouts are a punishment to humanity," Iggy muttered.

Iggy was right. I had had brussels sprouts once before, at Anne's, and it was like trying to swallow cotton dipped in cyanide. All in all, not a pleasant experience.

But a look of comprehension dawned over Iggy's face. "Stand back," he advised us gravely. Max and I barely had time to jump onto the kitchen chairs before Iggy whacked the pot off the stove. The water flew over the floor, and the sprouts rolled everywhere.

"What a shame!" Iggy said. "That was such a terrible, terrible accident. Now we can't eat them! The shock! The horror!"

It was such a classic Iggy moment.

We helped him clean up, and Max and I were both glad we didn't have to choke down the brussels sprouts for Ella's sake. The actual dinner was amazing; I mean, eating actual food and not a bunch of chemicals thrown together was a nice change. After dinner, I sat in my room, typing the latest entry for the blog (which was New Moon-reference free).

But as I typed, something struck me.

I was actually born in May, right? And my expiration showed up a month after my fifteenth birthday.

What if Itex planned for all of us get the expiration mark a month after our fifteenth birthday? Now that I think about it, it makes sense why I got the expiration date first. But I wasn't the only one of us who was fifteen.

Max could be dying, too.

And we wouldn't know; Max's hair covers the back of her neck.

I had to know. But how could I see the back of her neck? Max doesn't ever wear her hair up completely, and if she ever wears a ponytail, then her neck is still covered.

Crap-tastic.

I had to do something. There's nothing worse than not knowing.

And then, just like in the cartoons, a light bulb went off over my head.

It was a little past seven; I had almost an hour before I had to get going to the New Moon opening. It was perfect timing, and Max was lying alone on the couch watching TV. "Hey there," I said smoothly, sitting on the empty space of couch beside her feet. She looked up, confused. "Long day?" I asked.

"No," she said, still puzzled. "Not particularly."

Ugh! Max was so not going along with my plan.

"Well," I said, cracking my knuckles. I'm good at thinking on my feet when I'm about to die. But hitting on Max? Not so much. "Mind if you do me a favor?"

"Does it involve blood, sex, or the complete destruction on humanity? Otherwise, yes."

Blood? No. The complete destruction of humanity? No. But sex… no, Fang, no. Get your head out of the gutter. "Awesome. Sit up with your back to me, and turn off the TV."

She did so, and my plan suddenly seemed daunting. This is coming from a guy who's as smooth as sandpaper. And as for my actual plan… I was going to give Max a massage, and that way, I would be able to see the back of her neck.

Although it would be totally creepy at the same time.

I took Max's hair, gathered it into one long bunch, and put it over her shoulder. Damn! She was wearing a sweater with a high neck. "I need you to take your sweater off."

She stiffened under my hands. "I said no sex."

"I said to take off your sweater. And that's not sex; otherwise, life has lied to me."

I could tell she fought a smile as she wrestled off her sweater with as much grace as an army tank doing a ballet dance. (What the hell? An army tank doing a ballet dance? That was the weirdest analogy I have ever used. The image in my head is messed up.)

She gathered her sweater into her arms. She was wearing just a T-shirt, and I could tell she was cold by the little bumps on her arms. Slowly, I put my hands on her shoulders and started to rub.

She flinched just a little; I would've, too, since it was impossible for anyone to touch our necks or backs without a reflex going off. Just her allowing me to touch her in that area spoke volumes about her trust. "You're giving me a massage," she said. It was a statement, not a question.

"Is there something wrong with that?"

She paused. "You know, if we were Tetris, you'd be the missing piece."

Wait, what?

Girls are so confusing.

I wish I could somehow allow everyone to hear my thoughts. If so, I'd tell all of the girls in the world to stop talking in riddles and just speak plain English, thank you very much.

"I like Tetris," I said.

UGH. SMOOTH, FANG, SMOOTH.

"It's a fun game," she agreed. Awkwardness ensued, so I decided to get it over with and check if she had an expiration date. I moved her hair again, I pulled down her shirt a little-

And the back of her neck was bare.

She didn't have an expiration date.

Yet.

That was the greatest relief I've ever felt. If Max had had an expiration date, I probably would've passed out right then and there. And believe me, that is not manly.

"Fang?" Max whispered.

"Yeah?"

"Can you please pull my shirt back up?"

Oh, crap, I had pulled it down way too far. I put it back in the proper place. "Sorry. Uh, you know, just trying to get to the muscle…"

"Yeah. Whatever. If you're trying to hit on me, just make it less obvious, 'kay?"

Woah!

This was a time for alarms to go off and sirens to wail. Max thought I was hitting on her? For that matter, was I? I was just trying to see the back of her neck; the flirting thing was totally accidental. "I'm not hitting on you," I said, still massaging her.

"Of course not," she said, voice rich with varying tones. "It's so not flirting if you randomly decide to massage my back and then pull the collar of my shirt down. Yeah, that's not flirting."

"If I tried to flirt, someone would probably end up dying."

"Touché."

I kept massaging so she wouldn't be curious as to why I massaged her for only a few seconds. And before you ask, Diary, I was not massaging Max's back because of her strong, thick muscles beneath her shirt, or because you could feel the warmth of her skin through the thin fabric. No, not at all.

All we needed was some Barry White music, and this would turn into an R-rated movie.

It was hard to keep my hands from misbehaving, especially near the small of Max's back. As my hands went curiously low (I swear, it wasn't my fault) Max finally spoke up, even though she kept her back to me. "You know," she said slowly, "I've been thinking. A lot. We don't have a lot of time left, so I think we should make the most of it. I think we should try goi-"

"MAX PLEASE GIVE ME PERMISSION TO SHOOT IGGY."

The shout made us fly apart and raised my blood level exponentially. Max jumped over to a nearby chair, and I lounged on the couch, perfectly casual. Gazzy came sprinting down the hall. "Iggy is such a douche!" he shouted.

"I don't think you know what that word means," Max drawled.

"So why do we hate Iggy today?" I asked, stretching my hands out over the armchair of the couch, going with the whole relaxed look. I mean, Max and I so hadn't been about to confess to each other...

"He said that Chuck Norris armed with a pile of bacon and an issue of Playboy could bring down Darth Vader and an army of lolcats! But everyone knows that the lolcats can't be beaten!"

What the hell?

Fail.

"Does it really matter?" I asked, trying to keep the derisive tone out of my voice. I mean, Max and I had been so, so close…

Gazzy looked as if I had just announced my engagement to the refrigerator. "Dude! Are you serious? I mean, we can't let Iggy get away with saying something like that."

"Did you just say dude?" Max asked.

"Ugh!" Gazzy saw that he was getting nowhere with this conversation. "Fine. But just because I don't have permission to kill him doesn't mean I won't."

He stormed back down the hallway, and Max and I were alone again. "Damn," she said under her breath. She looked up at me. "That's such an excellent way to kill the mood."

I nodded. "For sure. For sure."

Cue silence from stage left.

We sat there for a while, before I looked up at the clock and saw that it was almost eight o'clock. If I wanted a good seat for New Moon, I had to get going.

I had no idea when I should arrive at the theatre. The movie started at midnight, but knowing the obsessive nature of Twihards, some people would probably start lining up at noon. I was thinking that eight would be a good enough time.

"You know," I said, yawning on the couch, "I am awfully tired right now. I guess I'll go to bed."

"Already?" Max asked.

"Yeah. Uh, I want to be awake for tomorrow, you know?" It was still the nineteenth; my birthday was the following day. The look she gave me proved that she didn't believe me, but she let me go.

"G'night," she said, still staring at me.

"Night." I walked down the hall, trying to do the badass thing by sticking my hands in my pockets and not looking back; but right before I opened the door, I glanced back at Max. She was still staring right at me.

Blushing a bit, I opened the door, only to find Gazzy strangling Iggy.

Ugh. You know, most people get paid for watching over kids like them.

I mean, Gazzy wasn't really into it; Iggy could easily get out of Gazzy's strangle, but they were having fun. But still, it would be so much easier if the kids got their kicks from like, reading the dictionary or something.

"I'm going to bed," I said. "Can you take it into the kitchen?" Asking them to take the fight outside would be too much effort for them.

"Fo'sho," Gazzy said, letting go of Iggy. Both of them complacently walked into the kitchen. Once I heard the clash of metal and the thump of something heavy hit the floor, I went into Ninja-Fang mode.

I stripped off my clothes and put on a more comfortable outfit. Next, I propped my bed up with pillows to make the shape of a human body under the covers. Hopefully, Gazzy and Iggy wouldn't try and involve me in any of their schemes. If they did, I was a dead man walking.

Finally, I made sure that I had my ticket and a few extra dollars for popcorn. I walked over to the window, opened it, and felt like a total FBI agent as stepped into Dr. M's garden. The house was only one floor, and the window wasn't that high, so I could straddle the ledge easily.

It would've been cooler if I had had to drop more than one floor and then roll to break my fall. That would've been sick.

I flew to the movie theatre, since it was dark enough to cover my flight, and I knew that there was a convenient alleyway behind the theatre. It was a short flight, and by the time I dropped down, my hands hadn't even numbed from the cold.

I walked around to the main entrance of the theatre – whereupon everything nearly exploded.

The place was crawling with prepubescent girls and married women of all ages. It seemed like every girl in the state of Arizona was there, screaming and wearing either Team Edward or Team Jacob T-shirts. As I walked to the entrance, I maneuvered through all the girls, who's T-shirts were actually rather witty. One read, "Team Edward, 'cause Jacob doesn't sparkle," while another had a button that read, "Jacob is a WILF."

And if you don't know what a WILF is, Diary… well, ask your mother. Actually, that's a bad idea. Never mind.

I walked into the theatre, which was large and shiny and had posters for every upcoming movie lining the walls. On my ticket, it said to go straight to the person who took the ticket, rather than going to the box office, which took up the whole left side of the building.

"I'm here for New Moon," I said, handing over the ticket to the attendant. She was over fifty and looked over her glasses at me.

"Where's the second ticket?" she asked.

"What ticket?" I started to panic. I couldn't have forgotten anything; I had double and triple-checked.

"For your girlfriend." She blinked, and I stared.

"I don't have a girlfriend," I said.

"So you're here alone?" she asked disbelievingly.

"Yeah," I said, drawing the word out. I didn't understand what she meant, until I looked around; it seemed that almost everyone in the theatre was female and in large groups. The only guys that were there were with their girlfriends.

"Oh," she said. "Oh. Well, enjoy the show." She stamped the ticket and gave it back to me. "Stand in the line behind me. And don't sit down."

I nodded and went to the appointed line. There were a few people in front of me, but they all looked really hardcore. I was guessing that most people didn't want to wait in line yet, and were just socializing in front of the theatre. I sighed and leaned against the wall. I had almost four hours to kill.

My thoughts immediately went to Max, of course.

What was she going to say before Gazzy cut her off? We should try what? Kissing? Holding hands? Doing a threesome?

Ew. I think I just puked a bit in my mouth.

Within a few minutes, two girls had entered the line right behind me. From the way they whispered, I could instantly tell they were going to be trouble. They both looked around my age.

"Holy crap. That guy in front us is so cute."

"I know. But why would someone dress up as Harry Potter for the New Moon opening?"

Damn it.

"I have no idea. But where's his girlfriend?"

"I don't know. He doesn't look like he's waiting for anyone. Do you think he's single?"

"Probably. Think about it; this place is the perfect place to pick up girls. Do my boobs look good in this shirt?"

"Girl, you always look good. If only he'd hit on us…"

Oh, come on. Isn't it possible for a guy to just watch a girly movie without being hit on or scrutinized? I whirled on the girls, who looked shocked at me acknowledging them. "First," I said, watching as they melted under my glare, "I can hear you. Second, don't you have any self-respect? Third, don't gossip. Get it? Got it? Good."

I spun back around.

And that, dear Diary, is known as a pwn.

And for the next few hours, the girls were strangely silent. I spent the time mulling over the relationship (or lack thereof) between Max and myself. But then, around eleven, something huge happened.

"Come on, Max," a voice called out. "Hurry up." I looked up, alarmed.

You know who I saw?

Ten bucks says you can guess.

Max, Nudge and Angel gave their tickets to the attendant before proceeding down to the end of the line. "I can't believe you dragged me into this, Angel," Max said. They were getting closer to me!

"I bought the tickets a while ago," Angel said sweetly. They kept walking down the line, and right when they got to me, Max and Nudge kept walking and looking ahead, while Angel gave me this Look-what-I-did look. They kept walking.

Oh no oh no oh no.

Angel must've bought tickets after I had. But was she trying to get Max to see me? I mean, what was the point? I spent the remainder of the time hunched over, hoping Max wouldn't see me. How could I possibly explain? I mean, "Hey, Max, these crazy Erasers kidnapped me and forced me to watch New Moon," probably wouldn't go over so well.

After what seemed like eternity, they finally let the crowd into the theatre. Everyone rushed in over the yells of, "Single file, please!" from the employees.

I sprinted up to the top row and into the corner, so that I'd be as invisible as possible. I had even thought ahead and dressed in all black. (Well, I dress in all black most of the time, but that wasn't the point.)

But you want to know the kicker?

Angel is a jerk.

There is actually a much stronger word I could've used as opposed to jerk, but I would feel weird calling Angel anything stronger. But anyways, Angel did the unthinkable.

Angel led them to the seats in the row right in front of me.

FRUSTRATION, MUCH?

I mean, Max was directly in front of me, with Nudge on her left and Angel on her right. They munched happily on popcorn – which I could no longer get, since I'd have to eventually come back to my row, which would allow them to see me – while I contemplated if it was possible for me to suddenly gain the ability to self-combust.

The theatre was completely full of every type of girl, from eight to eighty. I'd say that ninety-five percent of the theatre was female, too. And ninety-five percent were insane, for sure.

As soon as the lights dimmed, everyone cheered. The previews came on, which, in my opinion, is always the best part of any movie. The first trailer they showed happened to be for Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief, a movie I'd never heard of before.

"Don't you think that that guy looks like Fang?" Angel asked, gesturing to the main character, who happened to be cowering in the corner of an elevator.

"Wow," Max said. "They really do."

I looked at my so-called twin; we were not similar, although I noticed that a lot of the girls were screaming out at the screen, which made me feel sort of good.

Remember Me, an upcoming Robert Pattinson film, was the last preview screened. The whole theatre exploded in screams as he appeared on the scream. "MARRY ME, EDWARD," one person yelled, while another shouted, "YOU CAN BITE ME ALL OVER."

These people have no shame.

Finally, the previews finished, and the title screen came up. And that was the first time in my life I thought I could go deaf from hearing something so loud. Everyone – with the exception of Max- screamed as loudly as possible. The girl in the seat next to me looked like she was having a heart attack.

I won't go into the details of the movie, Diary, but it was amazing; it was fifty times better than the book. There were too many shirtless men in my opinion, but the fans certainly loved it when Jacob randomly and needlessly stripped off his shirt in one second flat.

There was one point that floored the audience – my mouth dropped open – but I won't say it, since you should see the movie, Diary. But just… wow.

And, I noted in satisfaction that while everyone was drooling over Jacob's eight-pack, Max remained silent and didn't squeal. Nudge, however, was having trouble not jumping the screen.

Once the movie ended, I slunk down in my seat, hoping that Max didn't happen to look back. "That rocked!" Nudge said rubbing her eyes. Even I was tired – it was past two in the morning. "I am officially going to marry Taylor Lautner."

"Not Iggy?" Angel asked.

"Shut up," she shot back, and even in the dark, I could see her blush.

They were trapped right in front of me, since their row was moving slowly. I couldn't move either, since my row was just as lethargic.

"You didn't seem that responsive, Max," Angel said, smiling slightly. "You didn't like it?"

"It was alright," she said. "But couldn't we have seen it another night? I mean, it's Fang's birthday tomorrow, and now we're going to be really tired."

"I have a feeling Fang will be just as tired," Angel said, causing me to send some serious hate waves her way. "But even Jacob's abs didn't get you excited."

She shrugged. "I guess I'm taken."

SAY WHAT?

Who the hell would Max be "taken" by?

I needed to have a chat with this boy, who may or may not end up being castrated.

My row finally started to move along, but my progress was parallel to Max's. Their conversation was light, and I was only half listening. But then, the girl in front of me dropped her purse, and all of its contents spilled along the row. All of the coins on the ground caused quite a racket.

Max started to turn around.

Without thinking, I dropped to the floor, my face directly in a pile of sticky Coke. "Do you need any help?" I heard Max asking the girl.

"No, it's okay, I've got someone here helping me," the girl said, gesturing to me. I couldn't see Max at all – my face with still in the floor – but I could tell that she smiled and nodded.

I stayed on my hands and knees as I helped the girl pick up all of her stuff; by the time we were finished, Max was gone from the theatre.

After the girl thanked me – she gave her phone number, too – I sprinted out of the back entrance to the theatre. I didn't know how Max planned to get home, but I thought it'd be best if I got there first.

I flew as fast as I could, arriving within five minutes. I decided to be obvious and walk right through the door, since nothing wakes us up faster than someone opening a window.

Iggy and Gazzy slept right through me getting into bed and digging out the Fang-shaped pillows. I was dead tired, so I didn't bother writing. I mean, I didn't even bother writing yesterday, since it was rather busy.

It was a good day. I got to massage Max, I learned that she didn't have an expiration date, and I got to see an excellent movie. The only thing I didn't understand about the day was Max's comment on how she was "taken".

Does Max have a boyfriend?

-Fang


A/N2- Fang: boxers or briefs?

Answer wisely.

28. November 27 2009

A/N – This one's for you, M.R.E.

Reviewer of the Week:

.'.PixieDustyy.'. : NO! Fang ISN'T on team Jacob. He is on... (drumroll) TEAM BACON!

Comment of the Week:

Doug Larson: Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.


November 27th, 2009

Dear Diary,

Life is so crazy, you know? One second, you're happily sleeping and engrossed in the warmth of the covers, and the next second, you're being blindfolded and dragged out of your bedroom, kicking and screaming like someone who realized that New Moon was sold out.

And that is an excellent way to sum up the morning of my birthday, way back on the twentieth of November.

I felt my hands being tied forcefully behind my back, and I couldn't see anything because of the blindfold. I started to thrash, and I sacked one of my kidnappers in the balls, because I heard a male voice scream, "The jewels!"

So. I was being kidnapped on my birthday. It was officially the suckiest present ever.

I was lifted off the bed, although I didn't make it easy. Whoever was holding me was strong, since I wasn't able to break free. I yelled as loudly as I could. "Max! Iggy! Nudge, Gazzy, Angel – run!"

And then, my kidnapper set me down on the couch, and my first thought was, This is the worst kidnapping in the history of ever. Someone ripped off the blindfold, and the grinning faces of the whole Flock and Ella stared back at me.

"Happy birthday!" they chorused.

I just sat there, until I realized what they'd done; they had been my kidnappers. I leaned forward and plunked my head against the table. I let it sit there. "I thought you were supposed to let people sleep in on their birthday."

"Well," Iggy said thoughtfully, "We didn't know what to get you, so I think that our collective gift is you not getting kidnapped. And you totally just whammed me in the balls, which you're going to pay dearly for in the future."

"Oh." Iggy's methods of revenge were illegal but creative. Still, he didn't explain how every Flock member had a wrapped gift of varying sizes in front of them. (When I say "wrapped," I mean, covered with newspaper and duct tape.) "I see."

"But," Iggy continued. "Max didn't think that was fair, so we all had to come up with something. But after I thought about it for like, a split second, I knew I picked the right gift." He picked up his ball of newspaper and duct tape and smiled.

"Who's going first?" Angel asked, antsy.

"I'll go," Ella said, smiling kindly. She picked up a small box and handed it over. "Max said you didn't have one, and in Girl Scouts, we were taught to never be without one."

"Girl Guide Cookies?" Iggy asked, and Ella blushed.

I opened the box, and I grinned at the thoughtfulness; it was a Swiss Army knife. "Wow," I said. "This is great. Thank you." And the truth was, that gift could probably actually help me in the future.

Gazzy ended up giving me a twelve-month Hooters calendar, while Nudge gave me a gift certificate to McDonalds. But, it was Angel, Max, and Iggy who surprised me most with their gifts.

As soon as Angel did her evil grin, I knew it was in trouble. I undid her package with trepidation; when I opened it, it was the Twilight soundtrack. As soon as I saw the title, I drew in my laugh, and I tilted the package upwards. "Wow!" I said. "It's a screamo music CD! Thanks so much, Angel! You rock!"

Everyone could tell I was being obnoxiously sarcastic, and Angel thought my response was hilarious, but no one saw that it was the Twilight soundtrack other than her and me.

And the sad part?

I really, really, liked her gift.

As for Max, she just smiled and said, "My gift isn't ready yet. I'll give it to you later." And that one sentence nearly gave me a heart attack, because I suddenly had a picture of me going to bed and seeing her dressed in lingerie and casually thrown about my bed.

…Okay, then. Moving on.

But Iggy's gift… I don't think that boy should be allowed in public. He grinned as widely as I've ever seen when he handed over his package. "Enjoy," he said.

I was nervous as I undid the package, and it turns out, I had every right to be just as scared as I was. Three guesses as to what I pulled out of the package.

Bacon? No. Oksana-the-Russian-stripper-and-Kay-Perry-lookalike's phone number? No. Pictures of naked girls? No.

I pulled out panties.

Not underwear, panties.

As in, I pulled out legit, lacy red panties that did not belong anywhere in a ten-mile radius of this house. As soon as I drew them out, everyone burst into laughter.

Except for Max.

I bet you can see where this is going, Diary.

"Iggy, you asshole!" she yelled. She burst from the couch, grabbed the panties, and sprinted down to her room. It took her less than five seconds. I was stunned; my hand was still up.

"Be chill, Max!" Iggy yelled down the hall after her. "We're tighter than the Jonas Brothers' pants!"

Ooooh. Bad image; good analogy.

"Did you just give Max's panties to Fang?" Gazzy asked, floored. Iggy nodded, barely containing his smile. "Alright, Man!" They proceeded to fist bump.

I was dumfounded by the style of panties, though. I mean, I always thought Max would have plain underwear, not frilly or anything…

Ella saw the look on my face and understood. "Mom and I took her out shopping for her birthday," she explained. "We went to Victoria's Secret, since Max wanted to bu-" she stopped herself.

"But?" Iggy asked, grinning like the fool he was.

"But nothing." Ella stood up and smoothed out her skirt. "I'll be with Max." She swished down the hallway.

"How did you even get those?" I asked Iggy, who just laughed.

"Trade secrets," he said. "You'll learn one day."

And that was my birthday.

I was honestly expecting a real kidnapping or a bomb explosion or a national threat, since the protagonist can never have a normal birthday, if you know what I mean. After the whole cake-for-breakfast tradition, I just hung out with the Flock for the rest of the day.

Actually, that continued for about a week.

I know. A week. If you discount the whole wings thing, then I guess you could say I had a tediously boring week. I rarely saw Max, and when I did, she never met my eyes.

But no, that's a lie. One interesting thing did happen on the night of my birthday.

I had a dream.

I know that you're thinking, Fang, I really don't want to hear about your horny bacon- or naked Max-related dreams. And you want to know the real shocker?

It wasn't about bacon or a naked Max.

It was a legit dream that wasn't pervish in any way, which hasn't happened since I was like, six, and I dreamt of a panda bear that ended up eating the Eiffel Tower.

But this time, I dreamt of a woman. And not Agnes (ewww) or Dr. M (just… no) or any other woman I've met before. In fact, I've never seen this woman before.

In the dream, I was in a completely white space. It was white all around me, and there was no horizon to judge the length of the area by. No walls, no floors. Just me.

"Well, crap," I said. "Did I just die?"

And then I jumped a mile when I heard a voice behind me. The soft, high laugh caused me to spin around to see who was attacking me. "Of course not, Fang. Not yet."

And it was the woman.

She was beautiful and tall and elegant. Her dark hair was piled neatly on back of her head in a tidy bun. She was wearing a white halter dress, and when I looked down, I saw I was dressed in loose, white pants and a white T-shirt.

"Who are you?" I asked.

She smiled. "You'll figure it out, Alex. I know you can."

Two things jumped out at me: first, she called me Alex, and I'd never heard myself called that before, but it was strangely comforting coming from her mouth. Second, I realized the words we were both speaking weren't English. I could understand and speak the language, but I didn't know how.

She held her arms out. "Come here, Alex."

I found that I was strangely enticed by this woman, so I did so. She took one hand and placed it on her hip, and took the other and placed it in her hand.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

Another smile. "I'm going to teach you how to dance."

I was surprised. It wasn't a normal day when my dreams were invaded by a well-dressed woman who wanted to show me how to dance. "Alright."

Her eyes were dark, but they seemed to sparkle whenever she looked directly at me. "Let's start with the waltz. It's all about giving and taking." I nodded, understanding. "I put my right leg back; you put your left leg forwards."

We did the movement perfectly in sync. "Excellent!" she said. "You've always been a quick learner. Now, I step to the left, and you step to the right."

I don't know how long we waltzed for; it seemed like a second and a year all wrapped up into one moment. But eventually, once she had taught me the movements and how to lead, we began to spin gracefully around the white area. There wasn't any music, but we didn't need any. The woman tipped her head back and laughed. We spun around and around, and her dress fluttered whenever I twirled her.

Finally, we began to slow, and we eventually stopped. She let go of my hands and placed them on my shoulders. "Do you understand?"

"Yeah," I started. "Left foot forwards, ste-"

She cut me off. "No. Do you understand that I love you?"

I blinked, confused. "What?"

She smiled so sadly I wanted to cry. "Alex, please, think about this. Remember me." She leaned forward and kissed me on the forehead.

And then I woke up, gasping and feeling like I'd just been run over by a stampede of Twilight-obsessed prepubescent girls. "What's wrong?" Iggy muttered, half asleep. "Did we run out of bacon? Oh God, we ran out of bacon… that's it, the world's over…I wish I told her I loved her…" With a snort, he fell back asleep.

Oh, Iggy. Sometimes he's annoying, sometimes he's awesome, but he's always just Iggy.

So other than that dream, which I still haven't really thought about, nothing happened for that who week. I got so bored I didn't even bother to write.

And then came today.

And yes, that was an excellent example of literary foreshadowing.

We were all sitting around TV, watching Gossip Girl (Nudge wouldn't change the channel. It's not like I enjoy the show or anything). As usual, the conversation quickly went downhill, since Iggy kept shouting "That's what she said!" at the screen.

Max, who just rolled her eyes, finally said, "Look, I'd love to just sit around and make sexual jokes, but I need to get some stuff at the mall. I mean, Black Friday sales, you know?"

Hmm. Interesting. Max was volunteering to go shopping. I wasn't the only one to pick up on this. "Damn," Iggy said. "I swore that you were the real Max, and not a clone."

Max shrugged. "Volunteering to shop isn't the same as volunteering to cook, since cooking would probably end up with at least one of us dead or dying. Does anyone want to come with me?"

Silence.

Think about it; it was Black Friday, the day after the American Thanksgiving, and also known as the start of the Christmas season. The sales were crazy, but so were the stores; places would be packed.

"Sorry, I'd like to keep my sanity," Iggy said.

"I'm out, too," Nudge said.

"And me," Gazzy added.

"Same," Angel put in.

"I'll go," I said, surprising myself.

"What?" The question was asked instantaneously by all five of them.

I pointed to myself and pounced each word separately. "Me. Go. Shopping. You. Comprehend?"

Iggy poked me. "Dude. Are you serious? Shopping? With a girl?" He leaned down and fake-whispered, "Girls have got diseases, man. Like cooties."

Nudge and Ella both blinked coquettishly as if they both wanted nothing more than to give Iggy their cooties.

That previous sentence sounded a lot dirtier than what I had intended; sorry, Diary.

"Well," Max said, "Let's go."

And so, within twenty minutes, we were in the middle of hell.

But who would have thought that hell would have included hundreds of snot-nosed little kids running around and screaming adults pulling at their hair and an inconceivable amount of salespeople trying to shove products down your throat?

As soon as Max and I had landed and walked to the mall, we were overwhelmed by the chaos. The stores loved it; it's called Black Friday because the companies finally start to make money and get out of the red - also known as debt. Oh, just Google it for a better explanation.

Right as we stood in the main entranceway to the mall, I looked over to Max and said, "I can't believe I volunteered to do this. Tell me again."

"I need to get Ella a Christmas present," she said, staring at a few kids who had jumped into the ornamental fountain and were now stealing the coins people had thrown in. "She probably wants something a little more… shiny than the presents we normally give."

"Ella wouldn't mind. She's cool like that," I said.

She nodded. "Yeah. But she's my sister. Come on, let's get out of here as soon as possible."

And the whole experience?

A nightmare.

If I had the option to either repeat the experience or be chased by Iggy with a flamethrower, I would take Iggy any day of the week.

The whole place was packed. I mean, if Taylor Lautner's abs were on display somewhere, this would be the crowd that would come. It seemed as if half the state was trying to fit inside the mall; I got elbowed in the stomach a few times, so I just elbowed back. After a while, Max and I were able to clear a good path out of fear alone.

At one point, Max started to eye Victoria's Secret. "No," I said. "Just, no."

"I wouldn't do that to you," she said as we walked past the store. I kept my eyes averted, since out of the corner of my eye, I saw a picture of a seductive blonde model wearing a skimpy Santa suit that looked shockingly like Max. "Ella snapped one of her bras a few days ago."

"I really didn't need to know that."

We were walking side-by-side, but since the crowd was tight on each side of us, we were pressed together, and our hands kept touching as we were jostled along.

"A girl needs to keep good care of her breasts," she said, grinning and looking up at me. I shifted uncomfortably.

"Can we change the subject? I would be fine talking about your boobs, but are you comfortable with that?" I asked, staring ahead. Why was I the embarrassed one? It was insanely unfair.

"We were never talking about my boobs, but we certainly know what's on your mind."

I spun to face her, and we stopped in the middle of the crowd. We got some death glares as the crowd parted around us. "No!" I shouted. She looked taken aback, so I quickly added, "I just assumed you were talking about yourself. "

She smiled a bit and kept walking, so I figured I was forgiven. We were being pushed together again, so I took a huge jump; when our hands bumped together again, I grabbed her hand and didn't let go.

She glanced up at me curiously. "We don't want to get separated," I murmured. She looked away, so I didn't see her reaction.

We walked like that for a long time; we never went into any stores. We just walked in circles, always holding hands and let the crowd guide us along. Occasionally Max would point to something in a window, and I'd keep note of it for future reference.

"Oh my God," she suddenly said. "Two o'clock."

My knees instantly buckled as I looked across the food court to see what Max was talking about. "Where?" I whispered. Everyone was moving so much…

"In front of Dairy Queen," she said. "It's Jeb and Mom. Look! At the counter."

There were only a few teenagers buying some ice creams; I looked for Jeb's distinct creeper-moustache and Dr. M's dark hair, but I could pick out each person individually, and they weren't there. "They're not there, Max."

"Yes they are!" She started to push through the crowd, with one hand shoving people out of the way, and the other hand firmly attached to mine.

We sprinted across the food court, or sprinted as much as possible. It was like everything was moving in slow motion as we raced to find Jeb and Dr. M. The Flock was convinced that they had ditched us, but Max still thought that they'd been caught up in business. Maybe the business of like, destroying the world or something.

We arrived breathless at the Dairy Queen counter, but Jeb and Dr. M were most definitely not there. "They must have seen us and left!" said Max. "Come on! We've got to go after them!"

Before I could say anything, Max kept running. She had an iron grip on my hand, so I was helpless as we kept on running. We ran the length of the entire mall before she eventually slowed to a stop.

"Max," I said, trying to catch my breath. "They're not here."

"Yes they are."

"No, they're not."

"Yes they are!" she looked angry, but she was still holding my hand. "I saw them!"

"Look," I said, staring down at her. "Maybe you did, but maybe you didn't. But I think we should leave, because in case you haven't noticed, we ran over most of the people in the mall, and they're pretty pissed. For our own safety, I think we should leave."

She frowned. "The were here."

I put my arm around her shoulder. "I believe you, Max."

That was a lie, and we both knew it.

But that wasn't the point.

We flew back to the house in the late afternoon; we hadn't managed to buy Ella a present, but the hand-holding thing had made the whole journey worthwhile. By the time we walked into the house, the whole Flock was gathered at the table, looking intently at each other. "What's up?" I asked.

"Iggy's issued a challenge," Gazzy said darkly.

"Oh, crap," Max whispered, and I was worried as well. The last time Iggy challenged us, it was to see how much food we could stuff down our pants. ("Talk about junk food!" he had yelled as he stuffed fries into his pants.)

"He's got us all beaten," Gazzy continued.

"But what's the challenge?" I asked. I hoped it didn't involve a loss of moral dignity and respect like the other normal daily events I go through.

"It's better than last time," Iggy said. "It's a lot harder. Try making the sentence 'I want to put my blank in your blank' sound not dirty."

"Wait," Max said. "We fill in the blanks with nouns?" Iggy nodded. "And is this what you do in your spare time?" He nodded again.

It was an interesting challenge – certainly more interesting and more hygienic than stuffing junk food down our pants. I racked my mind for potential answers, but they all led my mind straight to the gutter.

"Um," Gazzy thought about it. "I want to put my car in your garage… ah, crap… dirty."

"I want to put my lion in your cage?" Max suggested, but she stuck her tongue out immediately afterwards, realizing that it didn't work.

"I want to put my pencil in your pencil case?" Ella said as a question, but laughed aloud as she said it. It was one of those things where it sounds good in your head, but once you say it, you realize how dirty it is. That happens, like, every day in my life.

Everyone kept throwing out ideas, but they just kept getting more and more ridiculous. Iggy had beaten us – there just wasn't any way you could keep that sentence clean.

"I want to put in my child in your daycare," Angel eventually said, and we all stared at her, dumbfounded.

"Woah," Iggy said. "That was crazy. Even I couldn't find something dirty in that, and my mind can take a brick wall and turn it into a sexual joke."

It was not the time to mention that I refer to myself as a brick wall all the time, then. It was such a self-awkward moment. Don't you hate it when that happens? But after a few more attempts at Iggy's challenge, we ate dinner (re-friend rice and beans… tasty…) and eventually went to bed.

And so that was my week.

It was largely boring, with the exceptions of:

a) My attempted kidnapping

b) My dream where I learned to dance

c) Max and I at the mall

It was a good week, yes, and I can't help but feel that things are going to change, since they've stayed the same for so long now. But for now, I'll stay happy, and I'll never wash my hand again since Max touched it for so long today. (Gross? Yes. Romantic? Yes.)

And for the rest of the night, I'm so going to try and find an answer to Iggy's challenge. Chances are I won't be able to do it, since I think I've earned the unofficial title of the most pervish person in North America.

-Fang


A/N2 – Did you know the literal translation of Voldemort from French is flight from death?

Random: Does anyone know of any good techno/trance songs?

Also:

QUICK QUICK QUICK THINK OF A NOUN GO FAST FAST FAST

What noun did you choose? I'll take all reviewer suggestions and put them into the next chapter. So if your noun is Timmy the Two-Tongued Tyrannosaurus, then Timmy will be making a cameo. The boxer/brief debate will also be discussed in the next chapter, so votes are still awesome.

29. December 4 2009

A/N- There's a picture of me in the local newspaper reading a short story. There's a small caption below the picture, but below the caption, there's a large headline reading, "POLICE SEEK ATTACKER AT UNIVERSITY." It completely looks like I'm the attacker. It's hilarious. And the responses to Iggy's challenge were fantastic, by the way - I really don't think I'll look at bacon the same way ever again. Ever.

Irony: the hardest noun to fit into this story… was noun.

And thank you, Alexander Rybak, for your awesome lyrics that I shamelessy referenced.

Reviewer of the Week:

The District Sleeps Alone: The letters in "Jacob" can be rearranged to spell "Bacon", minus one letter.

Comment of the week:

My Dad: So by tomorrow you'll either have a boyfriend or a police report?


December 4th, 2009

Dear Diary,

"Fang, what's the most efficient way to hide a dead body?"

Oh, crap, it was going to be one of those days.

I opened my eyes and blinked. I was staring up at the ceiling, very aware that Iggy's head was less than a foot away from mine, since he was standing on the edge of the bunk bed below mine.

"Please tell me that this is a hypothetical situation," I said. I leave Iggy alone for one night, and the next thing I know, he wants to know how to hide a body. It was so typical.

He did a wooden laugh. "Hypothetical. Of course. So how would you do it?"

"I would find a shovel and go out in the forest and dig a hole and go with it. But the real question is why you need to hide a body in the first place."

"Hindsight is 20/20, darling. I'll be right back." He jumped down from the bunk bed and left the room. I highly doubted he'd actually killed someone (although I wouldn't put it past him). Chances were he had blown up something of Max's and needed to hide the remains.

I closed my eyes and tried to get back to sleep (it didn't happen, if you care to ask) before Iggy came back around an hour later. He jumped up onto the bed below mine and went back to his previous position.

"Fang, do you wear boxers or briefs?"

"Why can't you just say, 'Good morning, Fang, I don't have any illegal or perverted questions to ask you'?"

Think about it. The first question he asks me is how to hide a body; the second is if I wear boxers or briefs. I really hope that there isn't some sort of correlation between the two. (But why can't I ever wake up normally? I'm either eating a cockroach or naked or getting kidnapped or something else considered abnormal by general societal standards.)

"That's not the point," he said. "Answer the question."

"Well, Iggy, why don't you check for yourself?" I deadpanned. "Go for it."

"Are you aware incest is illegal?" he asked. "But then again, we're not biological brothers, and we've broken almost every other law out there…"

I decided that I might as well go along with it. "I always knew you had the hots for me. I know you can't keep your eyes off of my well-defined biceps, my chiseled jaw, my - "

Iggy put up a hand. "Okay, that was over the line. But really, what do you wear?"

"A G-string."

Point for Fang the smartass.

My answer didn't faze Iggy. "The one with the pretty flower design I gave you for Christmas last year, right?"

"Yeah. It's great. It keeps everything in place."

He snorted and grinned. See, Diary, this is how Iggy and I converse. I don't think a single day goes by without one of us making poorly-placed sex jokes or references. Messed? Yeah. Fun? Yeah.

He continued to try for an answer. "Alright, another hypothetical situation: your G-string snaps. Would you wear boxers or briefs?"

"I go commando. My motto is drop and go, you know?"

"Fine," Iggy said, taking a breath. "Let's say you had to wear boxers or briefs. Like, the world would just spontaneously combust if you didn't wear boxers or briefs. So which would you choose?"

"Why does the fate of the world depend on my underwear choice?"

"Because you're that cool. So which one?"

I was getting tired of my smartass replies, so I answered, "For the record, boxers. Man boxers," I added at the end. Not, like, flower-printed ones.

"I knew it!" Iggy shouted, thrusting a fist of victory into the air. The thing is, he didn't calculate in the fact that he was so high up, because he ended up punching the ceiling and making a small dent. Bits of plaster drifted down.

"Damn!" he said. "That would've been really intense."

He hopped down from the bunk bed and walked into the bathroom across the hall, no doubt to clean and bandage his heavily-bleeding hand. Only Iggy would injure himself for a potentially epic moment.

I took a moment to contemplate the world of weirdness that I live in before jumping out of bed, skipping the ladder entirely for the coolness factor. I booted up my laptop and decided to post a new blog. It consisted of:

Iggy wants to know what's in my pants. I always knew he was interested.

-Fang

Don't you love it when things aren't in context? It adds so much more fun.

A few minutes later, while I was replying to some crazed fangirls who were probably breaking a few stalker rules, Iggy walked back into the room. He looked shocked, which is rare. "The proverbial crap has just hit the proverbial fan," he said.

"What do you mean?" Trying to get a straight answer out of Iggy is like trying to find a spelling mistake in the dictionary; impossible, but important.

"Walk into the kitchen. And before you get your hopes up, there's no bacon."

"If there isn't any bacon, why should I walk into the kitchen in the first place?" But my heart dropped when Iggy didn't smile. Something was wrong.

Whatever it was wasn't dangerous, since Iggy was physically calm and no one was being thrown out any windows. (I would love to throw someone out of a window. Visually, it's a very stunning effect.)

It is so sad that one of my life goals is to throw someone out of a window. I'm every physiologist's worst nightmare.

I walked down the hall, my hands stuck in my pockets. I decided to go with the cocky and arrogant look, since I know for a fact that I look completely cool when I do it. There were raised voices coming from the kitchen, and when I saw everyone in the room, I could see why.

The Flock and Ella were on one side of the table… and Jeb and Dr. M were on the other.

They were back.

Max had been right; she had seen them at the mall… and here they were now, sitting calmly while Max was leaning on the table, looking as if she wanted nothing more than to rip Jeb's testicles off.

Ooooh, there was totally a collective groan from every guy in the word right there.

"You say you're going to be back in early November and now it's December and you don't even call or email or anything! You just expect us to accept this all and move on!" Max shouted.

I noted that Jeb had (finally) shaved off the dodgy mustache, so it no longer looked like he wanted to jump me in a dark alleyway. He gave a saccharine smile and he reached over to the counter and started to peel an orange. "Max, we couldn't contact you for business reasons."

Max crossed her arms, and collectively, the rest of us did as well. Even Total glared at them. Max fanned her wings out a bit, too, for extra effect. "Explain. From day one. Go."

Jeb put his hands up; his orange was still half unpeeled. "Well, on day one, I was born…"

Max slammed her fist on the table; everyone, even Jeb, jumped back at the large sound. Max had never had an outburst like that. "Stop. Being. A smartass," she hissed.

Damn. This is the part of Max I'm actually sort of scared of. Think of Max and myself as springs; the more you push us down, the stronger we'll come back. The rest of the Flock can get angry, yes, but not to the same degree.

Jeb folded his lands over his lap. "I'm sorry," he said honestly. "I was just trying to lighten the situation. Now, let me see. To answer your questions: yes, I know about Itex's ability to mutate DNA. Yes, I work for them. Yes, I love Val. Yes, I came back for her. Anything I missed?"

"Do you know who's withholding Itex's funds?" Max asked. She was still fuming.

"Unfortunately not. And before you ask, I don't know where you should start."

…Damn. We had been searching for Jeb to ask him about that, and just like that, our one lead is shot down. This never happens on CSI.

"And thanks for asking – the wedding is on Christmas," Jeb continued with a faint smile on his face. Dr. M looked pleased.

"Christmas!" we all said. "Isn't that a little soon?" Nudge asked. "And isn't it weird to be cutting into others' family time?"

Jeb shrugged. "A lot of the people we invited are scientists, and lonely scientists at that. They have nothing else to do on that night."

I clenched and unclenched my fists in my pocket. It was just… tacky, in my opinion. "How many people are coming?" Angel asked, doing the whole "polite" thing. (Polite! Ha! Angel is the only one of us who is young enough to be polite. Small talk is just as important to me as only doing legal things. Psh!)

Jeb shrugged at Angel's question. He had finished with his orange and casually started to eat some blueberries from a bowl. This guy is totally going to make his fiber quota for the day. "A few hundred, I guess."

A few hundred!

I only thought, like, celebrities had weddings like that, since they cost so much money. Or maybe Jeb was a celebrity! (Now that I think of it, he could probably be a popular cross-dresser in Japan or something cool like that.)

"I didn't know a few hundred people actually cared for you," Max said. "Then again, I'm surprised anyone does."

Uh oh. This was going downhill as fast as the stock market. (Zing!)

"Excuse me, Max?" Dr. M said, venom creeping into her voice. "Apologize."

"I don't apologize for things I meant," Max answered. She smirked, and the whole situation prompted Jeb and Dr. M to stand to make eye level. The tension skyrocketed, and everyone else in the room felt totally weird.

"I'm…going to… go pee, or, er, something that doesn't require my presence here…" Gazzy said, escaping down the hallway.

"And I've got to, you know, call some… girls…," Iggy said. He made a did a really just say that? face before disappearing down the hall along with the rest of the Flock, who made equally bad excuses.

I stayed leaning against the wall.

Jeb motioned his head at me. "He's not leaving?"

"I have a name," I said.

Jeb acknowledged his mistake and turned to my cordially. "I'm sorry, Fang. But this is a bit of a family matter."

"Fang and I are family," Max nearly spat. "He's my brother."

HER BROTHER?

The brother position is even worse than the best friend position! I mean, there's still the slightest chance a girl could get together with her best friend, but her brother? On the outside, I was still showing my cool, calm, and collected persona, but on the inside, I was screaming, "I'm your lover and not you're brother!"

That would make a cool country song title, Angel interrupted from her room. I could sense the mirth in her voice.

"Shut up!" I said.

Sadly, if you re-read Max's last line, Diary, it sounded like I just denounced Max. She turned to me. "What?" she asked.

"I mean, shut up about this whole thing!" I said, facing Jeb and Dr. M. "You're missing the point!" I said. "You made a mistake, now own up to it, and fix the problem. Can't you understand how many times we've been betrayed? That's how I learned to count."

Actually, that was a complete lie. I learned to count when I was younger by watching how many times one of the whitecoats picked his nose.

Jeb sighed and his shoulders slumped. "Fine. Max, we're sorry, and I know you're feeling animosity towards me, and I should expect that. But up to Christmas, let's at least fake being nice, okay?"

"I can do fake," Max nodded.

There was a pause.

Normally, at such a pause, something cool would happen, like have a llama crash through the window or something, but no such luck.

Dr. M clapped her hands together. "But there's so much work to be done before the wedding! I can't wait to work on it with you, Max."

Max's face softened. I could tell that she was happy for her Mom, but she couldn't get over the fact that her future husband was as sketchy as the homeless dude who tries to sell me watches at the bus stop.

"Fine," she breathed. She looked like she wanted to say something else, but she just swept down the hallway in that Max-like way that always makes it seem like you can't breathe. I followed after her as she went into her room; no one else was there.

I'll take a moment to describe the room, since it was a juxtaposition of three different styles of people. (I used the word juxtaposition! That's five freaking syllables!)

On Angel's side of the room, there was every type of stuffed animal, from a wolf to a cat a bunny rabbit that looked surprisingly rabid. Above her bed was a picture of none other than a shirtless Jacob Black. (I know, I know, she's six and she has a picture of him. You know, part of me wishes I could be a werewolf just for the amazing body.) She had random posters everywhere, too, like tap-dancing pineapples and a whale with glasses that was riding on a turtle through clouds. People will make anything nowadays…

On Nudge's bed were tons of preteen magazines and a half-finished Madlibs book. There were some lima beans and cheesy bacon fries on the polka-dotted bedspread, too, and I really didn't want to know how they got there.

And finally, Max's bed was neatly made, with all of her belongings tucked away in a backpack at the foot of her bed. She was lying there, looking everywhere but at me. I was surprised that she chose to speak first. "We should just check ourselves into a mental institution and be done with it," she said. "I've accepted I'm insane. It's so much easier."

"I'm sorry I didn't believe you at the mall," I said, meaning it, and trying to get her out of her self-pitying mood.

"If the positions were reversed, I wouldn't have believed you," she said. "But I wanted them to come back so much, but now that they're here…" Her voice sharpened. "You know what? You can't get your heart broken if you don't give it away. Have you ever thought that love isn't worth it? That it costs too much?"

"But someone is always willing to pay..." I muttered. And honestly, her ideas scared me.

It was because she was right. If you never gave yourself up to another person, then they couldn't break or betray you. You'd be safe.

"I get it. But Max… come on." She looked up at me. I smiled softly and sat beside her on the bed. "That's not the point of life. The point is to take risks. In the end, it's worth it to give your heart to someone, because they'll give theirs to you." She didn't say anything so I switched tactics. "Turn that frown upside down!"

She pushed me. "That was cliché."

"But why won't you smile? There's got to be a way…if only I could have, like, a Fang doppelganger, then there could be two of me, and there'd be twice the awesomeness."

She did smile weakly, which was my goal. "Thank you, Fang. Really." She paused. "This is a random topic change… but do you ever wonder what your real name is?"

For some reason, that really caught my attention. My mind snapped back to my dream with that woman in white, when she had taught me how to dance. "Why do you ask?"

She shrugged. "Sometimes it feels like my life is a lie. We don't know our names or ages or birthdates. We don't know anything."

"That's not true," I said, re-adjusting my position and looking at the poster of tap-dancing pineapples. Was that even biologically possible…? "Things like that don't matter in the long run. Your name is Maximum Ride, you're fifteen, and you're birthday is July 27. Done." I was going to stop there, but I continued. "And my real name? It's Alex."

I had figured it out a while ago. It only made sense; I still didn't know who the woman was, but I sensed that I would figure it out later. Max grinned. "Alex? I like it; it's fits. But there's no way I'm not calling you Fang."

"Obviously. I'm glad it isn't, like, Fitzwilliam or something like that."

"True, true."

And just like that, the conversation ended.

I sat with her a little longer before leaving her alone with her thoughts. I decided to spend the rest of the day watching over Jeb and Dr. M, which was a bad idea. I'm sure they would have jumped each other if I wasn't present. They had a few heavy make out sessions that I was madly jealous of, actually.

…That is so pathetic…

But the real shocker of the day was at night, when everyone was gathered in front of the TV except Nudge. I went to go and check up on her to make sure she wasn't, like, planning Iggy's death or something.

I knocked on the door, and she called me in. She was sitting at the desk, staring at a laptop screen intently. "Hey," she said absently.

"Are you okay?" I asked. "What are you doing?"

She finally turned towards me. "I found this great website. I signed up for an account a week ago – my name is NudgeWantsFudge. It rhymes! How great is that?"

I was worried – for all I knew, she had signed up an account on some porn website. "But what exactly is this website called?"

"You should try it. It's called 'fanfiction'."

For some reason, that word brought to mind twisted images and horrible ideas. Strange. "What's fanfiction?"

Nudge sat up straighter and gained an air of professionalism. "It's exactly what it sounds like. People write about authors' characters and stuff like that. So, in a fanfiction, I could, say, have Bella hook up with Jacob instead."

Hmm. Interesting. "Have you written anything?"

"Not yet, but I will. I've already read some great stories – you would really like it. Do you want to see my account?"

I was curious, so I looked over her profile information and such. Basically, Nudge was a thirteen-year-old girl living in Alaska who liked pie, apparently. I saw that there were tabs at the bottom of her profile, so I went over them.

I leaned over Nudge's shoulders and read some of the authors' names in her "Favorite Authors" list. Some of them were:

FANGBANGER, Iamsosexyxoxolove, Lily Bunker the Radish, Booger Bunny, Mrs. BluesClues, Philip The Muffin-Eating Alpaca, Phoenix Fanatic (for some reason, I mysteriously shivered at that name. Creepy), Edward-Cullen-is-Sexy, Abeyance, watdoesstrumpetmean?, Charlie the Constipated Walrus, Proshute!!11!!!one!!!!, My Name is Bert the Orange Bacon What Puppy, Grrness Monster, Fitzy the Dusty Fairy, FrankenKitty, Chippytheprehistoriclizard, Jimmy John Joe the Clown, Bobthepurplefireeatingdragon, and BACON4LIFE.

I read over the list again. "Dear God, these people have issues," I said.

Nudge nodded sadly and reached over to her desk and started to liberally apply some chapstick. "You have no idea. Do you know what a lemon is?"

Hmm. Nudge must have gone daft or something. "Yeah. A citrus fruit."

She snorted and nearly ate the chapstick she was still applying. "No – you know what? Give me a second." She clicked a few times and grinned.

"Read this," she said, and pivoted the laptop towards me.

AND THAT WAS MY BIG MISTAKE.

EW EW EW LEMON EW.

I won't tell you what I read, Diary, because honestly, it will haunt my dreams for eternity. It involved Harry Potter, Hagrid, Hedwig, a jaguar, and liberal amounts of cupcakes.

Nudge didn't tell me that a lemon is not a small evergreen tree native to Asia. A lemon, apparently, is a highly descriptive sex scene between fictional characters. There are plenty of nouns and adjectives I could use to describe it… but…just…no. Some things should not exist. Fanfiction is officially one of them, hands down.

I stumbled back from the screen in horror as soon as I read the line, The fluffy pink couch was smooth... smooth as the skin on Harry's bottom…

"What the hell!" I shouted. I kept stumbling backwards, since believe me, I have a very descriptive mind. And, adding to the horribleness of the situation, I hit one of Max's backpacks and fell onto her bed. Nudge laughed as I put my head in my hands, groaning.

"Just glue my eyes shut, please," I said, rolling over and over. "The image won't go away!"

"Welcome to the world of fanfiction!" she cackled. "Once you come in, you don't come out."

Stupid, damn fanfiction…

"One second, I'll be right back," Nudge said, standing and still grinning. "But I'll leave the story open, so if you want to finish it…." She left after that, although I have no idea. Maybe she wanted to do the girly thing and fart when no one was around.

As she left, I still couldn't get that picture out of my head. Ughh... the chunky peanut butter reference was just too much…and that poor, poor hamster…wait a second.

Hey, that was weird.

As I was rolling around, I noticed that the mattress felt a little strange in a certain place. It was like I was in the middle of that princess and the pea fairy tale or something.

I got off the bed, and after checking the hallway to make sure no one was coming, I heaved up the mattress with one hand. I dug my hand around underneath- and my hands met something. I pulled it out, and you know what it was?

A diary.

My heart was pounding as I realized I just found Max's diary.

Oh. My. Goodness.

But there was no way I could read it. It would be a horrible breach of privacy. If someone found my own diary, I would hunt them down and kill them before they could tell anyone about it. The paper holds every secret. Max would never forgive me. It's not like I could just open it…and suddenly know everything she wants…and likes…

I ripped it open to the first page.

It read:

July 1st, 2009

Dear Diary,

I can't believe I'm writing in a diary. Diaries are meant to express emotions, something I really don't have. I mean, sometimes I feel like a total emotionless brick wall. But today we learned that Fang is supposed to die on June 1st, 2010. That's exactly eleven months.

What am I feeling?

I know what I'm feeling, but I just can't write it, because that's making it true, and I can't deal with that now.

How could I ever tell Fang that – oh, crap, the fire alarm just went off, and the last I knew, Iggy was trying to make a soufflé with gasoline. Gotta go.

-Max

Woah.

Holy macaroni, that was crazy.

I thought about it while I got ready for bed, which is where I am now. First of all, how crazy is it that both Max and I refer to each other as emotionless brick walls? It's official; we're soul mates. Second, Max's entries are just as short as Nudge's stint as a mime. Third, what was she going to tell me?

There's part of me that thinks Max was going to confess her love for me and blah blah blah. The part of me that believes that is also the part that believes in unicorns and fairies and cute kitties and free parking on Saturdays.

The thing is, it would've been totally cool if Max was about to profess her love for me.

But of course, that would never happen. Remember, this is my life, not some Disney movie with wishes and dreams and happy endings.

…Disney has totally given me unrealistic life goals. I want to be the prince, and Max to be my princess.

-Fang

30. December 11 2009

A/N- I love how the school guidance teacher calls me out of class on Thursdays to discuss the latest episode of Glee.

This week has been incredible. I won a huge scholarship for a Latin essay that I wrote, and I got first place in another competition I entered. I also completely wiped out in the middle of the hallway, but that was just hilarious.

Reviewer of the Week:

EveryoneisMISunderstood: Not to kill Fang's cutesy Disney moment, but prince of what? Bacon?

Comment of the Week:

Sue Sylvester: I will go to the animal shelter and get you a kitty cat. I will let you fall in love with that kitty cat. And then on some dark cold night, I'll steal away into your home and punch you in the face.


December 11th, 2009

Dear Diary,

I hate the color pink.

So automatically, I'm a bit manlier than before. But really, whoever invented the color pink must have been high on whiteout and rainbows because the color pink makes me want to curl into a corner and cry because its so perky.

I like black, though.

Yeah, yeah, I'm perpetuating the Fang-the-emo-birdkid stereotype, but I have never and will never use mascara or eye shadow. Black is cool because it allows you to blend in with your surroundings. If you wear pink, you'll be the first to die.

See? The color pink is bad for your health.

But I'm stuck in this die-pink-die campaign because of Dr. M and her wedding. Ten bucks says you can guess the theme for her wedding: Pink Paradise.

Or, in my words, A Slow And Painful Death.

Dr. M obviously felt bad about ditching Max for a month so she was trying to cram in family time. Basically, it meant that Dr. M was using us as slaves in order to plan for her upcoming wedding, which is only a few weeks away. In my opinion, she's just too cheap to hire a wedding planner.

We each had our jobs: Iggy was doing the food preparation (he made the menu so that there was hardly a dish without bacon); Gazzy and Angel were picking out entertainment; Nudge was doing tables and invitations; Max was Dr. M's personal assistant; and me? I could do whatever I wanted, as Dr. M and Jeb stayed away from me most of the time, since I think they're sort of scared of me.

I was helping Nudge stuff the invitations in their (hot pink) envelopes when Dr. M came up to us, asking how it was going. Her hair was frizzled out of her bun and she was carrying a bunch of papers.

"It's going alright," Nudge said, looking at the mass of envelopes still left. "But don't you think the color scheme is a bit…much?" And for Nudge to admit something was over the top, you know it has to be bad.

"I always wanted a princess wedding," Dr M. said, the first smile of the day breaking onto her face. "And pink has always been my favorite color."

"You could've fooled me," I muttered. Even the eighties didn't have stuff this bad; and from what I've seen, the eighties were a time when the world was collectively addicted to the worst fashions physically possible. (Shoulder pads? Really?)

"Excuse me?" Dr. M said, and I turned to her, looking bored and cocky, which is always my favorite look when I face authority. "Did I miss something?"

"Nope," I said, popping the word. I did a little half-smile.

I guess that was my mistake. See, I need to learn to not piss of chocolate-deprived PMSing women. (Dr. M was trying to lose ten pounds before the wedding, so she cut herself off from everything remotely tasty. Sucks to be her.) "You know, Fang, I can't deal with your sarcasm today. Do you mind… leaving?"

I put up my hands in a mock self-defense gesture. Yeah, Dr. M was stressed and all, but she was acting pretty nasty. "I don't think I want to stay around. I'll be back later."

As Nudge watched with her mouth open, I got up, grabbed by jacket from the back of the chair, and walked right out of the house. I was not going to be harassed all day.

Besides, I was about to leave the house in five minutes anyways. I desperately needed to do something, so this morning I had stuffed a wad of bills into my jacket pocket. (As for where the bills came from… well, that's between me… and Dr. M's wallet. She's a veterinarian, and that's a type of doctor! And besides, it was for a good cause.)

What I needed to do?

Buy Max a Christmas present.

Also known as Mission Freaking Impossible.

The fly to the mall was quick, cool, and boring; I decided to skip the bus because sketchy systems of public transit never fare well with me. The mall itself – the same one Max had seen Dr. M and Jeb in – wasn't as busy as Black Friday, but it was still bustling that early in the morning.

And as I was standing there in the middle of the atrium of the mall watching a young crying kid pull off Santa's beard, I realized, I have never been this dumbfounded in my life.

In my head, I went over possible presents a teenage girl would like:

- Clothes (I don't think Max has said the word "fashion" once in her life. Really.)

- Flowers (I bet I'd get some species that Max is allergic to and she'd end up having a reaction and die, and killing someone on Christmas isn't the intended goal.)

- Lingerie (Alright, I want to get Max lingerie. Heh heh heh.)

Arrrrrg. Girls need to be like, "Hey, get me this and this and this," and I'd be like, "Of course, darling," and then on Christmas they'd exclaim, "Oh, what a wonderful surprise!"

Yeah. Not going to happen.

Girls are like the Bermuda Triangle. They're mysterious and weird and will probably end up killing you.

So I kept standing there, watching as security guards started to drag away the now-screaming boy away from Santa Clause who apparently knows some rather creative insults. Ideas for Max's presents kept swirling in my head; should I get her something more personal, like the necklace I gave her for her birthday? I never take my half off, and I know she doesn't either.

And then I heard his voice.

His voice. The voice of the one person I truly despise for no apparent reason. The voice of the person who I am tempted to make a voodoo doll of and stab. The voice of the person who is Public Enemy Number One.

Sam.

Yeah. First Lissa, now Sam.

Arizona totally just overpowered California to become the state with the weirdest coincidences.

I know for a fact that Sam kissed Max, since I was…well, I was spying on them from upstairs as they kissed on Anne's front porch back in Virginia. Basically, that makes me a total creeper, but it was worth it.

Anyways, I could easily pick Sam's voice above the rest of the crowd, since he was walking right towards me along with a gaggle of other pubescent teenage boys who need to get lives. "- and I finally pulled it out!" Sam finished saying. Alright, I know I didn't hear the first part of the sentence, but just those few words ignited a fire within me.

If I had to make a comparison, I'd say that Sam is like Mike from Twilight. Luckily, I'm Edward, and Edward ends up crushing Mike's soul. And yes, Twilight metaphors control my destiny, thank you very much.

He kept walking and laughing with his friends, and I knew that he'd brush past me if I didn't do something. I started to walk, and right as we were going to pass each other, I rammed my shoulder into him. "Hey, sorry, man!" he said, but once he caught my eye, he did a double-take and went, "Hey – why do you look familiar? Wait – Nick! Nice seeing you!"

Damn, why does he have to be such a nice guy? They're so much harder to hate.

I was going to do the whole polite thing and ask him how he's been and why he's in Arizona, but an image of Max and Sam pressed together under the stars suddenly flashed through my mind. Before I could stop myself, my first words to him were, "You're an asshole."

His face twitched, as if he wasn't sure if he'd actually heard that. "What?"

"You're an asshole."

You know, the English language has over a million words, and yet, "You're an asshole" was the only thing my brain comprehended.

Sam looked back to his friends, who started to sway and tried to attempt to look badass (and failed miserably, may I add). "Uh, Nick? Excuse me?" Sam didn't seem like the person to rise to a fight, but his friends did.

"It's Alex, actually." I smiled. "And I meant what I said." Okay, I was being a jerk, but I was feeling really possessive of Max at the time.

"Well, Nick, er, Alex, I don't understand why you're calling me an asshole." He paused and a look of defiance passed over his face. "Asshole."

I bristled. "Did you just call me an asshole?"

"You called me one first!"

"You deserved it!"

"I didn't do anything!"

"Asshole!"

And just like that, my hypothesis proved wrong and Sam swung a punch at me. I caught it neatly, since his punch was practically slow-mo in my vision, and I easily connected my fist with his face. There was a satisfying crunch as he dropped to my feet.

As Sam's friends watched in horror, I started to smile in victory – but the smile quickly faded. See, my punches are meant for super-powered people I want to injure. I forgot to tone down the power of the punch, which basically meant I could've just killed Sam.

And killing a girl's ex-boyfriend is not the way to get her on your good side.

"Oh, crap," I said, dropping to my knees and checking Sam pulse. It was there, but there was a ton of blood gushing from his forehead. I must say, I pack an impressive punch.

"You killed him! You killed Sam!" one of his friends shouted. By this point, shoppers walking by were watching us with shocked expressions. "What the hell?"

Kneeling on the floor, I went through my options:

1. Fight Sam's friends. Feel satisfactory. Get jail sentence.

2. Run. Run more. Run even more and go to Europe and change name and start a new life.

3. Make Sam better.

Horribly, I realized that the third option was the only one I could go with. But wasn't it ironic how I wanted Sam out of my world for so long, and now I was responsible for his life? But all my death threats are all talk, no action. It's one of those man things, you know, to talk about something you know and everyone else knows you'll never do.

I gathered up Sam in my arms, which sucked, because he was bleeding all over my jacket. (The fifteen-dollar jacket was stolen from Wal-Mart, but whatever. Do you know how hard it is to get blood stains out of your clothes?)

I started to sprint out of the mall, with Sam flailing in my arms. I few people yelled after me, but I was far too fast. By the time anyone realized what had happened, I was out of the mall and running across the parking lot to a nearby crop of trees from where I could take off. I knew where the hospital was and I knew I had to take Sam there, since him dying in my arms would be way uncool. Like, way uncool. (Sort of as uncool as Tiger Woods cheating on his wife. That was a really bad...)

But naturally, as I was running across the lot, I heard a voice say, "It's a shame Fang couldn't be here. He'd make this fun."

"I know, eh?"

I froze, and that wasn't a good idea, because Sam had completely passed out from blood loss by now. But from where I stood between two cars, I saw that Max and Nudge were getting out of Dr. M's minivan.

Max had her back to me, but Nudge saw right over the low convertible between us and her mouth dropped. She'd seen me. "What's wrong?" Max asked, and as she started to turn, I darted behind a large Toyota. Toyota instantly became my new favorite brand of truck.

"I just realized that I forgot to send a dozen invitations," Nudge lied easily, and I let out a huge breath and started to run again. I knew that Nudge was covering for me just like I'd covered for her when I said I'd punched Antonio as opposed to her. I was so going to make cookies for her later.

I reached the outcrop of trees easily, and I took off quickly, realizing that Sam was in serious trouble. It took less than two minutes to reach the hospital – much faster than an ambulance, in my opinion. There was shady alleyway behind the hospital, and I landed there, which surprised the crap out of some rats hiding in garbage cans.

I sprinted into the Emergency Room, which was white and sterile and boring. As soon as one of the doctors saw who I was holding (Sam looked like a zombie halfway through his transformation by now), a bunch of people rushed over and took Sam from me. A gurney instantly appeared, and he was rushed away in a blur of noise and sounds.

A doctor tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to face an ashen woman whose eyes were as wide as Gazzy's when he had stumbled across a porn site last year.

"His name is Sam, he got punched by some random dude," I said, realizing I was a bloody mess. "And I think that-"

Hmm.

I realized my fatal mistake.

I had been so rushed and focused on getting Sam into the Emergency Room, I hadn't put my wings back in. They were fanned out nicely behind me.

Oh, lovely.

"You know," I said, catching my breath and sighing. "I have had such a long day." I immediately took off sprinting through the shiny sliding doors.

But crap, crap, crap! I can't believe I forgot. It was a horrible mistake to punch Sam in the first place, but it was in an act of self-defense. (Is it just me, or have I punched a lot of people lately?) I was called after yet again, but I took off as soon as possible and skyrocketed into the sky. A few people ran out of the hospital and shaded their eyes as I started to blend with the sun, which was a rather neat effect that'd look good if someone ever made a movie of my life.

And this whole mess was all because of Sam. Ugh! There's nothing worse than hating the person whose life you just saved. Well, normally that'd be true, but I was the one who nearly killed him…but that's just a technicality.

I flew home as fast as I could, wanting to get back and change out of my clothes as soon as possible. I landed hard on the ground, causing some dust to stir, and I heard Total bark nearby.

As I walked out of the forest, I saw that Gazzy and Iggy were sitting on the front porch. Iggy was stroking Total and looking like a madman at the same time.

"What's up?" I asked, noting the bored looks on their faces.

"Dr. M sort of went crazy and kicked us out. Well, she kicked us out and then went out with Max and Nudge to get something at the mall. But apparently she doesn't like it when we set her flowers on fire, but that's just ridiculous," Iggy said, but Gazzy just stared at me.

"What happened to you?" he asked, obviously referring to my clothes. I looked down – the blood had dripped from my shirt to my pants to my shoes. I was a walking vampire steak with extra sauce.

"I tripped and fell," I lied blandly.

"Into what? A tank of piranhas?"

"Rabid fangirls," I said, and stepped past them both into the house. I made sure to take off my shirt and shoes before walking down the hallway to minimize the dripping blood. After changing, I lounged around with Iggy and Gazzy, since everyone else was out. It was nice to sit around, since lately we've been doing the whole wedding thing.

An hour later, two cars pulled up the driveway, from which everyone piled out. As everyone extracted themselves from their seat belts, Jeb walked right up to me and handed me a piece of paper. His face was all smushed up like he'd run into a door, but I guess it was just a mask of confusion. That, or he'd actually run into a door.

"I got this in the mail," he said. "There wasn't a return address, but I'm sure it has something to do with Itex."

The note had only a name on it:

Sir Adam Beck #2

"Weird," Max said, looking at the note. We passed around the note and went inside. "Just a name? And why the number two?"

"Maybe number one wasn't good enough," Jeb said, smiling. We all stared at him. He has the crappiest jokes ever. The piece of gum stuck to Angel's shoe is funnier than him.

You see, Diary, I don't know how people found out anything decades ago. I mean, they actually had to look in books and stuff. The Flock? We just gathered around the kitchen table, pulled out my laptop, plugged the name into Google, and bam, we had our answer.

I was surprised that the first hit wasn't Wikipedia. (For the record, Google and Wikipedia should marry and give birth to a super-baby website that will solve all the world's problems.) Instead, it gave a hit to a power generation plant in Niagara Falls.

I clicked on the link, and read the following text from the "Niagara Parks" website:

For millennia man has been fascinated by the overwhelming power of the Falls. Since 1958, Sir Adam Beck 2 Generating Station has captured that potential energy in one of Ontario's largest hydroelectric facilities. It's a wonderful example of a natural, non-polluting and reliable power source that has worked in harmony with the beauty of Niagara for over 4 decades.

"You mean Canada has things other than moose and maple syrup?" Gazzy drawled. "Everything I've ever known is wrong!"

"That is weird," Jeb said, looking over my shoulder. "I mean, why did we get a hit for a random power station in a different country?"

"It's obviously a huge station," I said, clicking around the site more. "Like, huge. And isn't Canada the perfect place to funnel funds into? It's nearby, it's similar to the States, and it's a different country. It's easier to hide money in a foreign country."

"But where was Itex's true headquarters? Weren't they in Europe?" Nudge asked. She was staring at Iggy. Again. And for the record, so was Ella. Again.

Jeb shook his head. "No. The headquarters changed every few years so that there would never be too much information in one place. But obviously, whatever we need to find is here." He tapped the screen. Doesn't he know you're not supposed to touch a computer screen? Jerk.

But I instantly saw the problem flit across Max's face. It would take at least three days to cross the country, and three days to get back, and that didn't count how much time we'd spend at the Falls. Chances were we'd get kidnapped/captured/tortured, etc, and there was no way we'd be able to make the wedding in that case.

I leaped over Max's leadership momentarily and made an executive decision. "We'll leave on the 26th." Max sharply turned her head to me and mouthed, We're running out of time! I mouthed back, Shut up. She grimaced but nodded. I knew how much this wedding meant to her, even if said wedding was going to result in my death by pinkness.

"You're sure?" Jeb asked. "I mean, of course we want you at the wedding, but this is important…"

"We're leaving on the 26th." I enunciated every word carefully. "Get it? Got it? Good."

I was running out of patience. It was one of those moments where I was so frustrated I just wanted to grab Max and start passionately making out with her.

Dr. M, who had still been gathering bags from the car during all this, suddenly burst into the house. "Iggy! I need to see the full menu! Nudge! Did you send all the invitations? Gazzy, did you…" I tuned her out, and walked away without turning back. Plus one cool point for Fang.

In order to cheer myself up, I went into Facebook, logged into Gazzy's account, and mentally added "in bed" to each status update listed on his home page. So when someone said that there was "A huge blowout event at Sears!" I couldn't help but snort.

And so that was my day. I discovered my hatred for pink, I nearly killed Sam, and we're taking a vacation in Canada. Yay.

You know, the year is halfway over. How crazy is that? There's only six months left until June. These past few months have gone by way too quickly.

But I'm finding that I'm actually looking forward to the next few weeks. Not the wedding, but after that. I just feel like doing something. And now that time really is running out for me, it's time to buckle down and save my life.

But first, I'm going to get some bacon from Max's hidden stash. I'm in a pretty crappy mood, and its midnight, and there's nothing better than a Midnight Bacon Marathon. Believe me.

-Fang

31. December 19 2009

A/N- I love how even though Glee is over, my guidance teacher calls me down to give me the soundtrack for Christmas. I also love how Spell Check changes Pokemon to Pokémon.

And happy birthday, axisfiraga! Thank you for not killing me yet. That's really appreciated.

Reviewer of the Week:

rurouni007: What's the difference between Santa Claus and Tiger Woods? Answer: At least Santa stops at three ho's.

Comment of the Week:

Tina Fey: I like to crack the jokes now and again, but it's only because I struggle with math.


December 19th, 2009

Dear Diary,

You know what sucks? I totally just snapped my pen, and it broke in half, and the ink has soaked through my shirt and is now officially dripping down my pants.

So, yeah, I wasn't planning on starting this entry that way, but if I die of ink poisoning or something, I want to make sure someone knows how I died. Is it even possible to die from ink poisoning? Or maybe just me? Why am I even wondering this?

Anyways, let's skip to last night, in which I had a non bacon-or-hot-girls dream. Shall we jump right into it, Diary? I'll even write in handy-dandy italics again.

I looked around; yet again I was in the all-white world. I had on the same outfit as my last dream, with the white pants and shirt. If I ever spilled wine on this outfit, it'd be torture to bleach it out.

And the woman in white from last time? Yeah, she was there, too, just like the average creeper who haunts my dreams.

She smiled at me as she grabbed my hands and placed them in a position for waltzing. She didn't say anything, but we immediately started our strange dance. It was slow and graceful, with sweeping arcs around the wide open space.

I noticed a few more things about the woman this time. First, she smelled faintly of pine trees, and second, her skin was weirdly smooth. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't make a wrong dance move.

As we twirled, the woman sighed, and began to speak. "Alex," she breathed. "I want you to remember something for me." Once again, we weren't speaking English. Why can't I be as talented when I'm awake?

"I'll always remember you," I whispered into her ear. By now, I had figured it out: this woman was my mother. There was no doubt about it.

"We don't have much time." Our dancing became faster and more frantic, but we kept moving seamlessly together. "The next month is going to be difficult."

"You mean January? What's wrong with January?" I asked. "I thought June was going to be bad."

"You won't get to June if you don't survive January."

"What's wrong with January?" I repeated. I tried to stop our dance, but I just couldn't. It felt like, no matter what, I had to keep dancing.

"Remember that the people closest to you are the ones who hurt the most."

Oh, that was lovely. Way to cheer me up, Mom.

"What do you mean? Why can't you tell me what's wrong?" Was the expiration date wrong? Was I going to die in only a few days? But Max… didn't know…

"Fang, promise me that you're not going to die in January." Her face was over my shoulder, so I couldn't read her expression. But if I could have, I'm sure I would've seen her crying.

"I can't make promises I can't keep."

"Promise me!"

By now our dance was so frenetic and so fast I realized that I had to be dreaming, because in real life, I suck at dancing.

"I promise."

Silence.

"Thank you."

We kept dancing, but the tempo slowed, and I realized that her body was feeling blurry and hazy. As the lines around her started to blur, I knew I was waking up. "Bye," I said, and then I snapped my eyes open.

I knew immediately why I woke up. Dr. M was banging on the door, yelling, "Time to get to work, boys!"

Fun stuff, this wedding business is. And I could've drowned in that sarcasm I just used.

You know, Dr. M would be a fantastic dictator. Like, Dictator of Hell or something. Honestly, she was taking this wedding thing way too far. It was sort of freaky, actually. Yesterday I was addressing envelopes, and I had to get up to go to the bathroom, and she snapped, "Where do you think you're going?"

So naturally, I replied, "If you'd prefer, I'll piss over the envelopes."

Man, she's perfected the Death Stare down to an art.

As I got up and started to get dressed, I couldn't help but wonder how Jeb can put up with her. This whole month she's been doing a fantastic Chris Crocker impersonation, and I'm pretty sure she's melted down more times than the average rogue nuclear reactor.

But I could cut her some slack, since I'd seen that Bridezilla TV show, and I knew how much work was involved. That is, until she showed the Flock the outfits we were going to be wearing for the wedding.

I say "outfits" because "clothes" is too kind of a word. As she dragged me and the rest of the Flock down the hall, the pit in my stomach grew.

They were an abomination to society and to everything I stood for. "Aren't they darling?" Dr. M asked, lying one of the girls' outfits and one of the guys' over the kitchen table.

Just so you know, I thought she was kidding, so I burst out laughing.

It looked like the Care Bears had come in and zapped poor, innocent dresses and suits and turned them into some sort of peace-and-sparkles propaganda pieces.

First of all, both outfits were pink. Hot pink. Hot pink as in, "Look at me, I never got past the nineties, and I am so much more rad than you are."

I'll start with the girls' dresses. The bodice only went down to right under the boob area (I honestly can't think of a better way to describe it), meaning that the skirt started extremely high up. That skirt consisted of only obnoxiously huge ruffles, and there was a massive bow at the small of the back. The outfit was high up to the neck and very loose, meaning the girls' wings would fit, but with it came looking like a Valentine's Day decoration gone horribly wrong.

The guys' outfit was a standard tuxedo that looked as if it had fallen in a vat of hot pink dye. The tie that went along with it was also hot pink, which stood out against the light shade of pink that the shirt underneath was.

"I think my brain just puked," Gazzy whispered to me.

"We're all going to be princes and princesses!" Dr. M crowed. "I can't wait for you all to see my dress!"

"It's a shame I'll die of mortification before I see it," Nudge muttered to no one in particular under her breath. Even Total looked disgusted.

"I say we drop them all off of a bridge, by accident of course," Max said in my ear. Her lips were barely moving. "How tragic."

"That would be such a loss," I said back.

"What did you say?" Dr. M's head shot over to me. Wait a minute... everyone had been whispering sarcastic comments… and yet I was the one who was called out for it. Classic.

"Nothing," I said, and went back to looking at the outfits. I felt the fabric – it was smooth, silky, and cheaply-made. The hemline was practically coming apart while I touched it. I snapped my hand away, not wanting Dr. M to have another reason to be angry at me.

I decided to make myself scarce for the day, which was probably a good idea as I'm sure Dr. M would have voluntarily converted to cannibalism and chewed my head off if presented with the chance. At one point, Dr. M, Jeb, and Ella, all went out to talk to a bunch of different caterers and whatnot, meaning the Flock was left alone at last.

I was sitting on the couch, and I finally finished Eclipse. It had been good – better than New Moon – but Bella totally screwed Jacob over. Someone needs to punch Bella in the face, thank you very much.

I heard footsteps coming down the hall, so I whipped the book under the couch. Sadly, I whipped it too hard, and it went sliding all the way under the couch – and into the kitchen.

"Damn!" I whispered, and hopped over the couch – but right as I was about to snatch the book, Iggy's hand shot into my vision and grabbed the book. We both stiffly straightened, and he handed the book over.

"What book?" he casually asked. "Why were you so pathetically trying to hide what it was?"

It was actually a rare streak of luck that of all people, Iggy had found the book, since he didn't know what it was. "Uh," I said, trying to find a plausible lie. "It's…The Alphabet of Manliness, by Maddox."

"You're reading Twilight, aren't you?"

My blood froze over. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

Iggy shrugged. "Deny it all you want. Look, I listened to it on tape. Bella is such a jerk, Edward is a creeper, and Jacob needs a hug. That sums up the series pretty gosh darn well."

Hot damn.

"You mean… it's not a sin to the Man Universe to read the series?"

Iggy scoffed at the idea. "Are you serious? In order to be a true man, you have to read Twilight. That way, a guy can get into a lady's mind. And then her pants."

I laughed. I was about to reply, when Iggy interrupted me. "If Edward doesn't have any blood in his body, how in the world can he get an erection?" Iggy stared right at me as he said it, keeping his face perfectly straight.

And honestly, I was dumbfounded. Because first, Iggy needs to find something to fill his spare time with, and second, I didn't know the answer to that question. "Did you really just ask me that?" I asked.

"Hmm." He looked up and thought about it. "Yeah, I guess I did."

Screw it, my new job is to find something for Iggy to do. (Oh, God, in my head I totally just said "girls".) And this something cannot be edible or alive.

"Oh, and guess what I found out?" he continued. I was scared about what he was going to say next, because it was probably going to result in the destruction of the universe. "If you say 'beer can' in a British accent, it sounds like 'bacon'."

Maybe bacon will result in the destruction of the universe. I wouldn't doubt it.

"It does not." There was no freaking way that would work, although he did look rather smug and confident perched on the arm of the couch.

"How can you say that? You haven't even tried it." He had a point.

"Beer can," I said, trying to inflict my voice – and I broke out laughing.

"That was so good!" Iggy said, getting up from his perch and looking rather excited. "You sounded more British than the Queen herself!"

"It looks like I've found a totally useless skill," I drawled. "Spot-on accents. Think of the possibilities! The world is my oyster!"

Iggy nodded, smiled, and went back down the hall to our room. I had no idea why he came here in the first place, but hey, at least I learned I'm still a man according to Twilight standards.

These random encounters are awesome.

A few hours later, I was alone in my room, checking if the Mesa Public Library had a copy of Breaking Dawn. Suddenly, I felt my pocket vibrate – Jeb had left his cell phone with me, saying he or Dr. M would text the Flock if they needed anything.

I read:

Can u ask max about what the secondary color scheme is for the wedding

I winced at the horrid grammar and general laziness of the message, but I still got up, seeing as I wanted to help Dr. M. I decided to check if Max was in her room first, even though I heard the sounds of laughter coming from the family room.

Alright, let's press pause on this scene.

You remember when I walked in on Gazzy and Beyoncé? Multiply that horrification by a billion. And before you ask, no, I didn't walk in on Jeb and Dr. M going at it. I walked in on something worse.

You want to know what it feels like to have your heart broken? I can't describe it. It hurts physically, as if each piece of your heart drops to the bottom of your stomach. You feel…shattered. As if not even that super glue stuff could put you back together.

And that's what I felt on December 19th, 2009.

Talk about a sucky Christmas.

But I haven't explained yet, have I? It's hard. Really hard. I'm sitting in bed now, and I'm shaking, and I just want to go to bed, but I need to write. Need to. So, let's rewind and go back to when I was knocking on Max's door. She wasn't answering, but I needed to ask about the wedding, so I decided to open the door anyways.

I saw them as soon as I opened the door. They were on the top bunk – Max's bunk.

I bet you ten bucks you caught the plural "they" in the previous sentence, Diary. And you're right. Because there, making out and seeming to have a hell of a good time, was Max.

And Sam.

Yeah. I go and save the guy's life, and this is how he repays me. Well, I was the one who nearly killed him in the first place, but that's not the point at hand.

The real point was that I felt like I'd been stabbed.

I knew it was Sam, because first, Max was the one on top of him, and he always struck me as a wimpy guy. Second, he had a bandage over the back of his head. And third, who else would make out with Max? Iggy? Please, don't even make me thing about that.

I remember what my Mom had said to me in my dream.

"Remember that the people closest to you are the ones who hurt the most."

Is that what she was talking about? How could she have known that Max would have done this? And just as quickly, something Max recently said came back to me.

"You know what? You can't get your heart broken if you don't give it away. Have you ever thought that love isn't worth it? That it costs too much?"

I clearly remember my response:

"But someone is always willing to pay…"

I was wrong.

Because eventually, once you've been screwed over so many times, it's just easier to give up. Trust me on that one.

Fang: 0

The Rest of the World: 2755

All of this was going through my head as I watched them slobber over each other. They weren't going to go any further – Max was making that very clear from her movements – but they were both going at it.

I quietly slipped out of the room.

And before I knew it, I was running, and running as fast as I possibly could. I didn't want answers. I didn't want to know how he found us. I didn't want to know why Sam remembered Max. I didn't want to know why Max remembered Sam.

"Where are you going?" Nudge called after me as I jumped the porch steps. I knew most of the Flock was watching me.

"Away!" I yelled, and without looking for bystanders, I whipped out my wings and launched into the air, reveling as the wind streamlined past.

My wings won't betray me.

But as I kept skyrocketing upwards, I knew something was off in the atmosphere. It was too turbulent. Too cold. Too comforting.

This would be a perfect advertisment for Sears. Come on down on December 19th for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to buy a heartbroken emo birdkid! Available only today in Mesa, Arizona... don't miss out!

I should've checked the sky before launching, but I'm spectacularly known to overreact when I want to. See, here's the thing: the southwest United States rarely gets rain… but when it does, it's a downpour. I felt the first drops of wings instantly, and they felt like pieces of ice. I should've turned back… but I wouldn't. I couldn't.

I kept flying even as the storm got worse. Pathetic fallacy, much? I couldn't see my own hands it was so dark in the clouds. A few streaks of lightning flashed by, causing me to laugh.

Chaos is so easy.

I rammed through the sky, twisting and turning and almost wanting to get hurt. The athletic movements made sure that I couldn't stay on one thought for long. But I had to stop eventually. I didn't care if my new life goal was to hunt Sam down and turn him into a piece of roadkill on Route 66, but I had to stop.

Gradually, I descended and eventually landed in the forest. It was still cool, but not nearly as cold as the freezing temperatures above.

I breathed in the cool, earthy scent, and I started to cry.

Before I knew what I was doing, I slammed my fist into a tree, eliciting a huge crack similar to the thunder around me. My fist was bloodied with wooden splinters, but I slammed my fist again. I wound up for a third punch – when someone grabbed my shoulders and pulled me back.

Between the punch and the backwards movement, I was caught off-balance, and went toppling into the person behind me. We crashed to the wet ground below.

"Fang! What the hell are you doing?" It was Iggy, and I was on top of him. Normally, he would've made some perverted joke, but neither one of us was in the mood.

"Get off of me!" I said, even though I was on top of him. I pushed myself off of him and stood. I held my injured hand out, letting the drops of rain falling from the above branches wipe away the blood.

Iggy stood as well and looked at me with a lopsided grin. "You look like the face of death."

I didn't think about his words. "Screw you."

We stood facing each other, only a few feet away, and then what he said started to sink in. "Wait. 'You look?'" I quoted. I met his eyes-

And sure enough, his blue eyes pierced mine back.

He could see again.

"Iggy, man," I said, closing the gap and hugging him. "When did this happen?"

"Right before you left, which was about an hour ago. I was hanging out with Max, and then I got this kickass headache…And then we heard the door slam, which was you, and since then we've been looking for you."

Woah, woah, woah. This was all too much at one time. "Max wasn't hanging out with you."

His eyes were so full of expression, and I could easily see his confusion. "Yeah, we were. It was me and Max and Nudge. We've been watching TV and taking the opportunity to laze around. Max has honestly been around me all day."

"That's not possible." How could Max have been with both Sam and Iggy?

"Dude, I might be perverted, but I'm not stupid. You can ask Nudge."

"Wasn't… Sam there?"

"Sam? Who's Sam? No one's come to the house today."

I honestly felt like I was going to collapse. Had I imagined it? No… that wasn't possible. I saw them! And out of all people, I should recognize Max. They were so detailed! How could they have been fake?

And just like that, it all fell in place. The pieces of the puzzle finally started to come together, and I didn't know if I was relieved or horrified.

Iggy getting his site back.

Me seeing "Max" and "Sam".

Max seeing "Jeb" and "Dr. M" at the mall.

And it all had to do with January.

Remember Itex and its nifty DNA-controlling abilities? They must know that within the week we'll be heading off to Canada. They'll also know that in order to fully contribute to the team, Iggy will need his sight. So Itex, being Itex, is giving his sight back momentarily.

Itex must have the ability to place images within our heads so we can "see" whatever they want us to see. But why would they want me to see Max and Sam? To get me jealous? But why would they want that? Or was this even Itex's fault?

But Itex must know that this January is going to push us to the limit, and they're trying to help us in a roundabout way.

So I hadn't seen Max and Sam.

Max hadn't betrayed me.

I had to lean against the dented tree for support. In a way, I had betrayed Max – I hadn't trusted her. I had completely overreacted, Perez Hilton style. You know, there's more drama in my life than in an episode of Jersey Shore.

But Itex was so not going to win "Employer of the Year" award. Did this mean none of us could trust what we saw any more?

"How did you find me?" I asked. Iggy smiled.

"You didn't make it hard," he said, sticking his hands in his pockets. "Smashing a tree isn't exactly the smartest thing to do if you want to stay hidden. FYI."

"Good point." I looked at him. Iggy always carried an air of confidence around him, but now, with his sight, the confidence was real. With his sight, Iggy is just as powerful as Max and myself.

Here's a little insight into Flock politics: The chain of command sort of goes with age (or, well, the ages we created). It goes Max, me, Iggy, Nudge, Gazzy, and Angel. The Flock could really be divided into two groups – the older kids (Max, me, and Iggy) and the younger ones, since the older kids have experienced and remembered more. But Max and I have always secretly worried what would happen if she and I were both injured. Iggy would have to take over – but could he?

But with his sight, Iggy could do everything Max and I can do.

"How long do you think my sight will last?" he asked as we started to walk towards the house. "I'm assuming Itex gave it to me for the Canadian jaunt we're about to go on."

"Probably until January," I said, and I caught my words. Why was everything coming back to January? "But for now, enjoy it while you can. Want to go clubbing?"

He laughed. It felt weird to talk to Iggy with sight – in a way, I felt very open and unguarded, since those eyes could pierce a forty-foot wall of cement if need be.

"Maybe we can call up Oksana, the Russian stripper." I laughed that time. "Oh – and Max has something for you," he continued as we broke through the forest and walked towards the house. "Remember your birthday present – or lack thereof?"

"Yeah," I said, but honestly, I'd forgotten all about it.

"Well, it arrived today. Ordering stuff from the Internet can be so sketchy."

Ordered from the Internet? What was I going to get, a real life lolcat or something?

"Should I be scared?" I asked, grinning.

"I'll pay you twenty bucks if I can have part of the present." He was smiling – and I knew that the present had to be good.

"What, is it a striptease?" I asked.

"In your dreams," he replied as we walked up the porch steps.

Jeb, Dr. M, and Ella still weren't back yet, but the rest of the Flock was worried-looking and scattered around the kitchen and family room. Their faces lightened the second they saw me and Iggy. "You're alright!" Nudge said.

"Yeah." I felt rather embarrassed about how I'd left the house earlier in the day. "What's up?"

"So, ignoring the fact that you randomly decided you want to go fly in the middle of a freaking huge storm, then I can finally say happy birthday!" Max ran up to me and placed a cardboard box in my hands. She led me over to a kitchen chair and sat me down.

Grinning widely, I opened the package and took out the contents. And you know what Max got me?

Bacon vodka.

It exists.

The clear bottle read, "A premium bacon flavored vodka". The drink looked rather professional and shiny and clean. The name of it was the stylish "Bakon".

I think America has just either raised or lowered itself in the eyes of the world.

I was about to ask how she'd gotten in when there was a thump from a car door outside – Jeb, Dr. M, and Ella must've arrived. "Put it away!" Max hissed. "They'll kill us!" Oh, right, the whole under-age drinking law. I've smashed so many laws, the small ones really aren't relevant.

I grabbed the bottle and ran to my room, where I stuffed it under my pillow, and just as I sat back down again, Dr. M walked through the door.

"Can someone help me?" she asked, frazzled, with dozens of bags hanging off her wrists. "There's flowers in the car, and invites in my bag, and some decorations right here…"

We were all quickly whisked back into wedding mode, and I never got a chance to properly thank Max for her gift. The day was spent surprisingly well, as I got to work with Iggy and balancing out the menu. (Being the voice of reason, I suggested we have a few non-bacon plates for vegetarians or people who don't eat pork. He punched me.)

I forgot about the vodka until I went to bed, and I smashed my head against the bottle, since I'd forgotten I put it behind my pillow. Tomorrow, I'm so going to drink a shot with Iggy.

Overal, today was interesting. Iggy can see, temporarily, at least. None of us can trust what we see. And I don't trust Max enough.

But I kep going back to what my Mom said: "Remember that the people closest to you are the ones who hurt the most."

If she wasn't talking about Max, who was she talking about?

-Fang


A/N2- Thanks to cleo272 for teaching me about bacon vodka (it's real) and thanks to whoever realized that "beer can" with a British accent sounds like "bacon".

To thank you guys for being awesome reviewers, I have a two-part gift. First, a series of things to Google:

Bacon mania

Republic of Bacon

6 reasons why bacon is better than true love (third link down)

It's all about the bacon

googlegooglegooglegoogle (excellent for school work)

Hugh Gallagher essay (second link down)

The second half of the gift will be either on Christmas or the day after- and thanks again for being so awesome!

32. December 25 2009

A/N- Weird and awesome: in the summer, my brother went up north to tree plant, and he came back with a wicked tan. The thing is, I spent most of the summer writing, so I didn't tan at all. When my brother came back, my parents thought that the difference between us was incredible, so they took a picture.

Here's the thing: in the picture, he looks exactly like a werewolf, and I look exactly like a vampire. It looks like we're Jacob and Bella hanging out. My whole family was floored by the similarities.

Reviewer of the Week:

MarauderetteLily: And some random quotation from one of my best friends: "Nerd? We prefer the term intellectual badass." And the best part is? He said it with a completely straight face while eating bacon. *WIN*

Comment of the Week:

axisfiraga, when I gave her a package of bacon for her birthday: Yes. Just… yes.


December 25th, 2009

Dear Diary,

You know what rocks? Getting drunk off of bacon vodka at six in the morning.

I'm certainly not praising underage drinking, but man, it was fun. I know that I'm a horrible example, and that its way uncool for kids to drink, but it was bacon vodka.

I managed to save the bottle all the way to Christmas; but on Christmas morning (a.k.a. today) I knew I had to drink the stuff. There's just something about Christmas that demands getting drunk off bacon.

Yeah, yeah, I would never purposely get drunk. But honestly, I didn't realize that the vodka was as strong as it was.

My watch said it was six in the morning; I noticed that Gazzy wasn't in his bed. He was probably in the family room, staring longingly at the wrapped presents. Iggy, however, was sprawled over his bunk. (Why is it when you feel badass, you have to get other people to join in the badassness?)

"Iggy, man, wake up," I said, shaking him. He lolled around and snorted.

"Fuarrgg," he managed to get out. I decided to ignore whatever he was trying to say. He rolled over.

"Want to drink bacon vodka?" I asked. Instantly, he snapped back over, and his clear blue eyes locked on mine. Jeez, I've had the past few days to get used to him seeing, but those eyes are freaky. But freaky in a good way, don't get me wrong.

"Why didn't you say that? Come on, we're wasting time!" I laughed as he sprinted across the hall and came back with some Dixie cups.

"Aren't you not supposed to drink alcohol before five o'clock?" I asked, staring at the bottle. I tilted it and watched, hypnotized, as it stirred around the bottle. Oh, the simple things in life.

"It's five o'clock in India," Iggy said wisely, and I nodded. I screwed off the cap and smelled it.

"Man!" I yelled, thrusting the bottle away, and Iggy shushed me. "That stuff is strong."

He smelled it. "Hell yeah, that's what I'm talking about!" He took one of the Dixie cups and gradually poured some of the vodka into it. He repeated the process with another cup, and handed it to me.

We held the glasses up. "Cheers," Iggy said, grinning like he'd just spied on the girls' changing room at the YMCA.

"Cheers," I repeated. We touched the glasses together, and we swallowed the stuff in one shot.

And honestly?

It tasted like crap times infinity.

I know what you're thinking, Diary. How do you know what crap takes like, hmm? And everything bacon-flavoured is good!

Uh, no.

I gagged as soon as the liquid slipped down my throat. It tasted like… rubbery bacon, but with the burning sensation of vodka. Rubbery bacon on fire! That was an excellent way to describe it.

Both of our eyes were watering as we gasped for air. "Holy crap," Iggy said, his head rolling upwards. "That was an abomination of everything I believe in."

"But we have a problem," I said. "We can't just pour the rest of the stuff down the drain, because that would waste Max's gift. And we can't give it to the other kids, because that's just weird."

He looked at each other, and the answer graced us both at the same time.

"It's up to us," we both said in unison.

Yeah, yeah, the previous line should have belonged in some sci-fi action movie where the heroes have to save the world, but it was the same thing, really.

"It's for the good of us all," Iggy continued, psyching himself up.

"We can't hurt Max's feelings," I said, eyeing the bottle.

"And to give it to the rest of the Flock would be illegal," Iggy said, tacitly not mentioning that us drinking was just as illegal. He poured two shots again.

"Ready?" I asked. I shivered.

"I was born ready." And just like he, he slugged down the shot, with me right behind him.

Let me take a moment to explain something; Iggy and I have never drunk alcohol, which means that neither of us can hold alcohol very well. Let's just say, half an hour and three quarters of the bottle later, we were smashed.

"This stuff is delicious," Iggy said, reaching for the bottle. He put it to his lips and swallowed, hygiene be damned.

"We should order more," I agreed. I was on my back, staring at the pretty ceiling. I opened my mouth, and Iggy poured some vodka in.

"We should write something," I said. "I like writing. How about a poem?"

"Let's call it Ode to Bacon!" Iggy said, raising his Dixie cup as it was the finest china in all of the world. "It will revolutionize the world!"

We started with the stanza:

Just the word can make me shiver

Just the idea can make me quiver

My mouth starts to open; I can't seem to think

I think I've found my missing link.

I won't write the rest of it, Diary, because it was so pathetic Shakespeare is rolling in his grave at our horrid rhyming abilities. Believe me, writing poetry while drunk is not easy.

"We're drunk on Christmas. Soooooo pathetic," Iggy mumbled.

"We're not drunk!" I said, mainly because being drunk was something I would never, ever do. "We're… we're…bacon!" I said, and I laughed. Iggy thought that was hilarious, so get let out these booming laughs, which caused me to laugh more, and then were rolling around and clutching each other and hysterically laughing.

Remember: this is almost seven in the morning on Christmas. Within ten seconds, our door was wrenched open, revealing a livid Dr. M with curlers in her hair.

Her mouth dropped. At the time, I remember thinking she looked like a cow, so I laughed even harder. In retrospect, this was not smart.

"What are you doing?" she screeched, holding onto the doorframe.

"I wish I was doing your daughter!" Iggy yelled, loud enough for the whole house to hear.

Even though I was drunk, I remember thinking, Oh, this is craptastic.

You should have seen Dr. M's face, Diary. It was the definition of a Kodak moment. First, she just stared, as if her brain was trying to process if Iggy had just said that. Second, her face got so red it looked like someone had painted it. Third, her features froze.

She finally snapped out of it and snatched the bottle off of the ground. "Bacon vodka?" she read, astounded at both the product and our stupidity.

"Not bacon," Iggy said, sounding sophisticated. "Bakon."

Dr. M certainly had no idea how to proceed with this, as no parenting book could ever have covered this scenario. I felt bad for her; we take over her house, triple her expenses, and get drunk on her wedding day.

"Where did you get this?" she asked through clenched teeth.

"It was from me." Max appeared behind Dr. M with her arms crossed over her chest. The entire household was behind her. She looked upwards to the astonished Dr. M. "I gave it to Fang for his birthday. I thought he was responsible."

Oh, man, I didn't count on this.

"I am responsible!" I said, attempting to sit up, but falling back down when my head started to spin and all of these lovely neon colors started to flash before my eyes. "I didn't pour it down the drain or give it to the kids!"

Max shook her head. "It's her wedding day," she said, trying to understand our actions, probably.

"Sorry!" I said, holding my head in my hands and trying to put it on straight. "I just… I just…"

"Just wanted to break my heart?" Nudge hissed before turning away and running down the hall. She had been looking right at Iggy.

"Oh, man," Dr. M said, leaning into a wall. "Not today, not today…"

"Its okay, Mom," Max said, slinging an arm around her. "They'll sober up by tonight."

Dr. M nearly snarled at us. "Take a cold shower. Drink coffee. Dance. Do whatever the hell you want, but sober up, and do it fast. You'll get and exchange your gifts tomorrow."

I knew for a fact that time was the only thing that could sober someone up, but I decided to shut up. Dr. M looked like she wanted to add something, but she spun out of the room so quickly I barely saw her blink.

Everyone but Max dispersed. She stared at Iggy and me on the floor. "Are you angry?" I asked, waiting for her to get her wrath out.

She glared at me, and I thought she was going to leave, but she only looked up and down the hallway before turning back to us. She grinned widely. "Angry? This is hilarious! You guys got drunk off of bacon vodka? Oh, man, this is going down in the history books."

Hmm?

As she worked on getting Iggy into a sitting position, I eyed her suspiciously. I spoke slowly, the words hurting. "I just drank alcohol. I'm underage. I pissed off your Mom on her wedding day. And you're not angry?"

She shrugged. "Yeah, you're underage, but seeing you make a total fool of yourself made up for it. And Mom needs to chill out; she's getting on my nerves. There are better things to be angry over. Either way, you should probably take a shower."

"Can you help me?" I asked, looking at her pathetically.

"You want me to take a shower with you?" She scoffed, and helped Iggy onto his bed. He fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

"You know what I mean." She came over and helped me stand. I stood there, swaying, while she grabbed a towel and new clothes. She led me to the bathroom.

"Don't tell me I need to help you get undressed," she grinned.

"I won't tell you to, but I sure can ask you," I grinned, slumping against the wall.

She pushed me into the washroom. "Go take a shower, Casanova," she said before closing the door gently. "Don't drown," she added, her voice muffled by the door.

"I don't plan on it," I mumbled, stripping down and hopping in the shower. The shower helped to clear my mind, but the buzz was still there when I stepped out.

As I walked down to the family room, I was surprised to find only Jeb and Max there. I noticed that a whole pile of wrapping paper was surrounding the tackily-decorated Christmas tree near the TV.

"Where's everyone else?" I asked.

"They've headed over to the banquet hall already," Jeb answered easily, his feet up on the ottoman. "But we don't have to leave for a few hours, as Val is… less than pleased with you and Iggy."

"Huh," I answered, shivering as some drops slid down the back of my shirt. I hadn't bothered to dry my hair. It's grown out, now, and touches the top of my ears. I like it there – I probably wouldn't let it grow out again.

"Oh, another thing," Jeb added with a wry look on his face. "We were holding the dresses and suits in a few boxes, which happened to spontaneously catch on fire outside yesterday. I personally believe it was a complete coincidence that Iggy and Gazzy were missing at the time. Either way, Val was a complete wreck last night, but all of the girls are wearing white dresses – whatever style they might have – and guys just wear regular suits."

Oh, Iggy, my drunken and obnoxious friend, how I love you and your pyrotechnic ways. Then again, Gazzy deserved some credit, too.

"I've got to go find a dress," Max said, standing. "I'll probably steal one of Mom's." She left, leaving me and Jeb. Not fun.

I realized that this was a time where I should politely converse. Normally, I would never initiate a conversation, but for Jeb's sake, I decided to try. "Are you nervous for the wedding?" I asked. Ugh, those words sounded so wrong from my mouth.

Jeb looked as surprised as he should have been. "No, not really. Should I be?"

I shrugged. "They're your emotions. But good luck tonight."

"Thank you, Fang. Really." Somehow, I knew he wasn't talking just about my wishes for his marital bliss.

A side of my mouth rose up without my permission in a sort of half-smile. "No problem." I chose that moment to return to my room, where a suit had been laid out on my bed, probably courtesy of Jeb.

Iggy was completely unconscious, so I decided to follow suit. I fell asleep almost instantly. My Mom didn't come into my dreams tonight, which both surprised and disappointed me. I would have thought that, on Christmas, she would have come to say hello.

I must have slept well, since when Jeb woke me up later, it was four o'clock in the afternoon. My head pounded, but it was manageable. Iggy, however, moaned and groaned as Jeb woke him up. I put on my suit – I looked like a penguin – and waited for Iggy to finish with his tie. We both looked pretty darn sharp, I must say.

We walked out of our room, and waiting in the family room was Jeb… and an angel.

Well, that was my first thought when I saw Max standing there, looking more angelic than Angel. Her white halter dress flared below her knees, and her hair fell softly around her face. "Your mouth hanging open is really attractive," Iggy whispered in my ear before smiling at Max. "You look great," he added.

"Thanks." She sounded almost… shy?

"Yeah. You look good," I said, even though I wanted to say, Holy crap, Max, I think you just gave me a heart attack. How about you and me right now?

Her face fell only slightly at my lacklustre reply. "Are we ready to go?" she asked no one in particular.

"You're wearing high heels?" Iggy asked in disbelief, skipping over her question. He was looking at the sharp and pointy objects on Max's feet.

She sighed. "Yeah. It's a favour to Mom. At least I have a handy and portable weapon that can take out someone's eye if need be." She said it as if she took out people's eyes on a daily basis. "But yeah, it takes bravery."

"True bravery is cooking bacon naked," Iggy laughed, and I had to agree with him.

Jeb nodded at Iggy's original question, skipping over our random conversation with ease. He was dressed nicely, and true to his word, didn't look nervous. "Yeah. And we're off like a herd of turtles!" he said, shuffling us out of the door.

The drive to the banquet hall was only ten or twenty minutes, leaving me plenty of time to realize that Iggy and Jeb provided most of the conversation in the car, leaving Max or me to go "Mmhmm" at appropriate intervals. I am so good at communicating.

I couldn't help but think back to what Iggy had said. "I wish I was doing your daughter!" Did that mean he wanted what I think he wanted?

"We're here," Jeb said, and couldn't help but almost laugh. I had mistaken this place as a temple before, since it was so large. As we walked into the main reception area and dodged the frantic caterers and florists running about, I couldn't help but sneak into the main ball room to see where the reception would be held.

It was amazing. The roof was curved, majestic, and was extremely high. The actual ball room was the size of an Olympic soccer field, definitely. (Er, would that be "football"? It says you were "made in Britain", Diary, so would you consider yourself British or American? Why am I even considering this?) The floor was shiny and polished, and on the second floor was the balcony for the band. At the end of the room was a series of three large balconies covered by tall glass windows.

Tables were surrounding the sides of the room, looking onto the dance floor. I saw Angel placing some flowers in a vase; she waved, and I waved back as well.

"Damn," I breathed, and Iggy looked in as well. "I feel like my life isn't as awesome as this room."

"It's sort of sad a room is cooler than you," Iggy said, but I could tell he was just as impressed as I was.

"Yeah. Totally."

"There you are!" We spun around to face Dr. M in a bathrobe. Her hair was pinned up nicely, though, but it didn't match with the scowl on her face. That lady needs Botox.

"I need you in the main church; people are already starting to arrive! Can you believe it? Talk to them! Be witty! Be charming!" Dr. M swept past us, so we turned to Jeb to elaborate on her instructions.

"The weddings itself is at six," he said, watching Dr. M storm away, "And its four thirty now, and some guests are already arriving. The banquet hall has a church attached- it's down the hall, and you can't miss it."

"So what do we do, exactly?" Iggy asked. "Flirt with the guests?"

"Do whatever is necessary," Jeb said, his mouth trying not to smile. For some reason, I was trusting Jeb more – and that was not okay. How many times has he betrayed us?

Iggy clapped his hands together. "Excellent! This will be exactly like Wedding Crashers!"

He snorted, grabbed my shoulders, and spun me around to walk down the expensive-looking hallway towards the church. "I hope all these scientists they invited research, like, how little clothes its acceptable to wear in society," Iggy said, squeezing through the large ornate wooden doors that obviously led to the church.

The church was large and beautifully decorated; it had classic stained-glass windows and large paintings behind the altar. Pews of wood faced the front, where around ten people were already gathered.

The sound of the creaking doors drew everyone's attention. "Fang! Iggy!" I heard Nudge exclaim. It was easy to hear the relief in her voice – it would have been hell for her to entertain nine people at once.

Iggy and I strode down the aisle to meet the group. "Hi, there," Iggy said, meeting everyone's eyes in the group. "I'm Iggy, and my verbose friend here is Fang."

How in the world is he so relaxed? Honestly, I felt that he was Mr. Bingley and I was Mr. Darcy. I did my best to smile, and took in the group.

There were five men and four women, all wearing stunning dresses and suits. None of them really stood out to me – just boring, scientisty nerds who did nothing but watch Star Wars in their parents' basement for their teenage years.

I basically just stood there, awkwardly adding, "Yeah, I agree," or some other stimulating piece of conversation. Luckily, when Jeb strode down the aisle rolling up his sleeves, Iggy, Nudge, and I were able to leave.

"I hate talking," I mumbled as we slipped out of the church.

"Really? I had no idea. None at all, actually," Iggy sarcastically added. His face suddenly became thoughtful. "Are we in the wedding? Or just watching?"

"We're just watching," Gazzy interrupted from beside us, making us jump a foot in the air. He was as random as…as random as… oh, screw it, I'm tired of making weird-but-clever metaphors and similes. "Dr. M was pretty pissed, so she cut us out of the wedding, which is awesome."

"So what do we do now?" I asked. "Wait around until six o'clock?"

"Yeah. Let's just hang around the food table, away from Dr. M's wrath. Does that sound like a good idea?" Nudge asked. Actually, I was surpised how well she going through the whole Iggy-choosing-Ella-while-drunk thing.

We all agreed with her, so we walked over to the main reception area, where tables of delicious chemicals (aka deserts) we laid out. I was starving – I had skipped breakfast, and that's the most important meal of the day, according to all of the PSAs on the TV.

We spent an hour shoving our faces with deserts, which is another great example of how responsible I am. Luckily, by now, my head wasn't trying to escape my skull.

What seemed like a million beautifully-dressed people came through the doors, and eventually, we were all ushered into the church for the wedding. I'll admit I was feeling excited, which goes against the whole emo/darkness vibe I represent.

Since we were "family" we got the front pew. Max was sitting in the aisle seat, with me beside her, and Iggy on my other side. Up at the front, Jeb was talking to a short and squat man – evidentially his best man.

We waited for everyone to be seated, and after a few more minutes, the wedding march began to play. We all stood, and everyone craned their necks to see Dr. M walk down the aisle.

I'll skip past the actual wedding crap, because it was just Dr. M and Jeb doing googley eyes at each other and talking about "their ever-lasting love" and how it was "love at first sight" and blah, blah, blah.

But here's the thing:

Throughout the whole wedding… I couldn't help but picture me and Max up there instead.

I know, I'm only fifteen, but sometimes it feels like I'm a decade older. A lot of the time, I watched Max instead of the wedding, and I knew that she knew that I was watching her (that was a complicated sentence) but she kept her eyes trained on Dr. M. She didn't look at me the whole time.

I was second behind as everyone got to their feet and started to clap as the happy couple descended down the aisle arm-in-arm. My only thought was, Finally, Dr. M can get back to normal.

The reception was immediately after the wedding, so we had to wait for everyone to file out of the church. It took around twenty horrible minutes of Max ignoring me for us to get through. By the time we made it back to the banquet hall, almost all of the tables had been filled. Jeb hadn't been kidding – there must have been around two hundred laughing and chattering guests.

Without saying anything, Max started to weave between the tables, with me barely keeping up. There was a reserved table that she sat down at.

And, in addition, this whole reception wedding was boring as hell. (Is hell boring? What a weird expression.) People made long and boring toasts and I almost fell asleep.

The food, however, was spectacular. I think part of Iggy died when he saw the steaks, marinated to perfection with a bacon sauce, and the gently roasted potatoes with bacon gravy, and mmmm, Diary, I've got to stop describing the food, because it's making me hungry.

After a few more speeches (Iggy mimed stabbing his eyes out with his fork, showing his boredom) the food was cleared away, and the band came out on the balcony and started up a song.

People laughed and partners were chosen as around half of the room stood up to watch Dr. M and Jeb do their first dance. I was hoping they'd switch into some hip-hop breakdance routine like they do in Youtube videos, but they were just swaying back and forth. Eventually, more people joined them, and the dancing really began.

I looked over to Max. She was eyeing the dancing couples with an expression I couldn't recognize… but I pegged it as jealously. The mass of blurry colors was rather hypnotic to watch, actually.

I would have asked her how to dance, but I didn't know how to...

And then I clued in.

I did know how to dance. My Mom taught me.

Well, she taught me in a dream, and that was probably the sketchiest dance class ever, but it was time to take the leap of faith. I stood up, and Max looked up at me, surprised. I held out my hand. "May I have this dance?"

"May I have this dance?" Did you see that, Diary? I was such a gentleman!

She looked as if I'd asked her to be my business partner in a lingerie company. "You don't know how to dance," she said, without tone or pitch in her voice.

"I know how to dance. I just don't do it that often. There's a difference." My hand was still outstretched, and Max eyed it warily.

"Why?" she asked. I wasn't expecting that; I had thought she would have thrown herself at me and we'd do the whole Cinderella thing.

I shrugged. "Why not?"

She continued to just stare.

"My arm is getting sore," I sarcastically complained. She smiled sheepishly.

"I guess I'll have to dance with you just so your arm doesn't have to suffer any more." She stood up slowly, and smoothed out her skirt. With a grand gesture, I bowed to her with my arm still outwards, and she curtsied. Her warm hand grabbed mine, and we both grinned.

I led her out to the dance floor, my heart pounding. I don't think the girls in the world out there realize how fricking hard it is for a guy to always take the lead in a relationship. It's time for girls to man up! (Alright, that was an oxymoron, but whatever.)

We stood on the edge of the floor, and I painfully realized that we'd have to jump right into the dance, as the band was already half-way through the piece. At that moment, I also realized we were, by far, the youngest people dancing.

"Ready?" I asked. My palms were practically dripping sweat.

She nodded, but didn't say anything.

There was a break in the crowd, so I whisked her in, and just like that, we were part of the multitudinous number of couples and colors.

I just used the word multitudinous. That's freaking five syllables! I think I just went up ten IQ points or something.

The actual dance was easy, but the most surprising thing was that Max had no problem at all keeping up with me, since I highly doubted her mother had invaded her dreams and taught her how to dance. "I didn't know you danced," I murmured in her ear. We were getting closer and closer.

"It's just a pattern. But I know what you mean. The next thing you know, I'm going to divide by zero or something."

"I never knew the destruction of the word would be caused by you dancing," I smiled.

"Then you know nothing," she added, and we both grinned even more.

The waltz continued for another ten minutes, but the band faded into another song, one I didn't know how to dance to. I panicked for a moment – and then my eyes caught the balcony on the other end of the ballroom.

"Want to go outside?" I asked. Pleasepleaseplease say yes.

"Sure."

We manoeuvred our way through the tables, occasionally stopping whenever someone called out to us, since apparently our dance moves had been quite the topic of conversation for anyone watching. From across the room, I saw Iggy looking right at me and doing pelvic thrusts.

"Is he doing what I think he's doing?" Max asked as he kept going.

"Yes. Remember, societal standards mean nothing to Iggy."

"Of course."

After being stopped one last time by some friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend of Jeb's, Max and I finally made it to the balcony. It's almost impossible to describe: honestly, just picture your average Disney princess balcony, and bam, you've got it.

We slid past the large glass doors that stretched to the ceiling, and once we were outside, the noises of the party behind us seemed to fade away. The balcony was completely empty, of course, but it was large enough to hold at least fifty people.

Max walked over to the railing and leaned on it. I couldn't tell if she was staring at the golf course right in front of us or the stars above; for the poetic aspect, I'll hope for the latter. "It's cold out here," she finally said.

"Do you want to go inside?"

"No!" I was surprised by her vehemence. Her demeanour changed instantly. "It's usually not this cold at night."

"Do you want my jacket?" Is that what a real gentleman would do?

She shook her head. "I'm fine, really."

We stayed like that for a while; me, standing in the middle of the balcony completely out of place, and Max, leaning on the railing looking like she'd been born there. I couldn't help but notice Max was right; it was getting colder.

"Of, Fang, look!" she gasped, and pointed. I tried to see what she looking at. I narrowed my eyes, and then I saw it-

A snowflake.

"It doesn't snow in Arizona," Max said, turning around and watching as the flake drifted down and landed on my finger.

"It snows in Flagstaff," I said, naming a northern Arizonan city. "Occasionally the Phoenix and Mesa area will get some. Normally it's just rain, but…"

"It sounds like you've researched it," Max grinned.

"So what if I have?" Secretly, I'd been hoping for a white Christmas for a while now. As the sky started to open and more and more snowflakes came down, I couldn't help but wonder why I'd ever doubted it.

She didn't reply, but instead stepped over to me. She put a hand on my shoulder, and grabbed my left hand and raised it. I recognized the position immediately, and put my other hand on her waist.

"Shall we dance?" I asked, tipping my head to her. A snowflake landed on her nose.

"Of course, Romeo," she grinned.

Look, look, look. I know that was probably the worst dialogue you've ever read in your entire life, Diary, but we were caught up in the moment and just leave me alone, okay?

Although the only music was the sound of the snowflakes swirling around us (ouch, that was practically a descriptive sentence out of Twilight) we began to twirl all over the balcony, never leaving each other's eyes.

I didn't know how she managed to manoeuvre the slippery balcony in her high heels, but each step was perfect and in time. All I could think was Thank you, Mom, since her dancing lessons had somehow manifested themselves in reality.

But as we spun around and around in the blizzard of snowflakes, I realized that this was probably going to be one of my last happy moments for a while. I was nervous for January… a month I would apparently have a hard time surviving.

I decided to enjoy it while it lasted.

I laughed as we spun more and more, and Max's face lit up brighter, and I swear to God she was an angel on earth.

However, at that point, my shoe slipped on the wet balcony. Since this is my life, such a wonderful event has to come to an end, of course. Ten bucks says you can guess what happened, Diary.

Naturally, I lost my balance, totally accidentally grabbed onto Max's boob to try to keep myself up, but managed to crash into her and bring her to the ground in one massive heap.

"Fang!" Max yelled. I was on top of her, pinning her to the ground. "That was really smooth."

I smiled. I was an inch away from her face. "Why, thank you. I consider making a total fool of myself one of my many talents." I paused.

She was so close.

So close.

Closer than the creepy people on sketchy public transit systems who sit beside you.

Closer than the time I nearly killed Iggy when he took a picture of me in the shower.

Closer than what I would've appreciated for the sake of my blood pressure.

"Merry Christmas," I breathed.

"Merry Christmas."

I kissed her.

And you know what? This is the longest diary entry I've ever written, and my hand feels like it's going to fall off, so I'm going to stop. But for now, Diary, I'll leave you with the image of Max and me kissing in our little snowy world.

Why does life have to get good now?

Happy holidays.

-Fang


A/N2- Happy holidays! I still need to put some finishing touches on the other half of the thank-you gift, but I'll mention when it's posted. (And how weird is it that this is the last Christmas of the decade?)

Side note: Please be responsible around alcohol. Cool beans?

Also: Can you guys review with your favourite song? I spend a lot of time travelling, and new songs are greatly appreciated.

33. December 31 2009

A/N- Thanks for all of the songs! I really appreciate all of them.

Random: I was in a fancy restaurant when I locked myself into the bathroom. Twice.

Also: Goodbye, 2009! We had some good moments, we had some bad moments, but the important thing is that we had these moments.

Reviewer of the Week:

Sammy's in LaLa Land: After that whole thing where Fang was wondering about if it was football or soccer, I couldn't get the question out of my head. So I called my Grandma Estelle, who's a Brit through and through, and said, "It's football, right?" You know what she did? She said, "Yes, but I prefer the American version. The players tend to be more sexy." I promptly hung up and bashed my head against a wall to get rid of the picture of my 80 year old grandmother drooling over Brett Farve and Payton Manning.

Comment of the Week:

A random person I overheard: You know, asking about Team Edward and Team Jacob is really asking Team Necrophilia or Team Bestiality.


December 31st, 2009

Dear Diary,

Let me describe kissing Max.

It tastes like a bunch of different things like starry nights and snowy dances and sunny dreams, but it's also like pulling your stomach out of your gut and putting it up in front of a bunch of drunk Marine veterans who just want to shoot something.

Alright, let me explain. The first part of that sentence is the normal romantic crap you'd expect, but my stomach literally dropped the second our lips touched. I'd love to write, "And yeah, I was totally cool and suave and awesome" about the whole thing, but really, I was freaking out.

Like, freaking.

Believe it or not, I'm an insecure person. It's hard to be self-confident when there was always a person saying, "You can do better, honey." So when I was kissing Max, I was horrified that I was kissing her wrong. How much pressure? How long? Should tongue be involved?

Ew, no. French kissing is just asking for H1N1.

But as I was kissing Max, I realized three things.

First: I was so happy it was like I was on Dora the Explorer happy pills.

Second: I didn't want the moment to stop.

Third: I really, really needed to use the washroom.

I hate how in books and movies and TV shows the characters never need to pee. It's so unrealistic. But how unfair was this situation? If only I had the power to, like, magically make a Port-a-Potty appear. Man, that'd be cool. Weird, too, and kind of nasty. But still cool.

Anyways, since we had to worry about the trivial issue of breathing, Max and I eventually broke apart, leaving her shivering in my arms. I pulled her close. (Cue "Aww!"s.)

"Did that just happen?" her muffled voice asked, since her face was smothered in my chest. (You know, out of context, that line could've been awesome.) "Or are we going to ignore that like everything else?"

It was a good question. I decided to go with the well-tamed man approach which every guy should learn. "What would you like?" I absently noticed that we were rocking back and forth.

She didn't pause swaying, but I knew she was thinking hard about the question. "Let's just… muddle along, okay?"

"Sounds like a plan," I agreed, but at that point, the washroom was practically screaming out my name. "But can you wait for me? I'll be right back. Promise to dance with me?"

"Of course," she said, looking slightly confused as I pulled back. I never left her eyes until I hit the glass doors behind me. I slipped through them and started to make my way through the ballroom, which was now filled with drunken yells and shouts. (Something told me that bakon vodka wasn't available at this wedding. Talk about a disgrace.)

"Hey." Nudge was suddenly at my side as I threaded my way through the crowd watching the dance floor. "Can we talk?"

"It's really, really, not a good time," I said, not pausing in my frantic walk. "But what's up?"

"It can wait." She seemingly melted into the crowd, which was both cool and creepy. (Why are so many cool things creepy? Think about it.)

I sprinted to the washroom, and once I came back out, I had a much better opinion of the world. I was excited to get back to Max for one specific reason:

It was time.

I was going to tell her I loved her.

My adrenaline was spazzing in my veins, and it was hard to not knock everyone out of the way as I made my way to the far side of the ballroom again. I was seriously considering decapitating some of the people in the room, since they seemed to be everywhere.

But it's time to press pause.

This is being written on the thirty-first, and yet, I'm talking about Christmas. And since I didn't open this entry with, "OMFG I TOLD MAX" then you can tell something interrupted me, Diary.

…Damn.

I should have been expecting it, I really should have. Things had been going too well.

Let's start up this scene again, shall we? (Side note: I love saying "shall". I sound so… Shakespeary. And all the girls love Shakespeare, right? But not, like, Shakespeare himself, since that's just weird…you know what, I'm just going to stop talking about Shakespeare. This is pointless.)

I had just shoved a couple people out of the way, so I was in a relatively clear spot when it happened. You remember those massive glass doors that led out to the balcony? The ones that reached the ceiling?

I was looking right at them when they shattered.

A note to whoever is controlling the events in my life: you suck.

Have you ever heard pounds of glass shatter? Think of prepubescent girls screaming, and then add in a few pterodactyls screeching, and mix in a dying cat for fun, and you've got the sound.

If the glass had just shattered and fallen to the floor, that would have been bad enough. The thing is, the glass burst inwards – towards everyone in the room.

In movies, everything goes in slow-motion.

That is complete and utter nonsense.

When your life is at risk, your first thought is usually along the lines of, Oh, shit, and the second thought is usually, I really don't want to die right now. However, this is an excellent time to provide the definition of craptastic: an adjective to describe a situation where everything is as good as crap.

As soon as the glass shattered, I turned away, crouched, closed my eyes, and put my hands over my head. I had the reflexes to do this; most people, wanting to see where the horrendous sound was coming from, looked right at the incoming shards of glass.

Talk about Darwinism.

The shards of glass pelted my back, stinging like mad, but from the sounds of screaming around me, I knew there had been a lot of damage done. The actual glass only rained down for about ten seconds, but those were some pretty sucky ten seconds, let me tell you.

Once I was sure there was no more I carefully stood up, the glass crunching under my feet. It was suddenly cold from the snowy wind blowing into the room, and strangely silent. No one knew what had just happened.

Everyone was kneeling or bent over; I was the only one standing. I know I should've helped the closest people around me or look for attackers, but my only thought was Where's Max?

I jumped over anyone on the floor and sprinted to the other side of the destroyed ballroom. There wasn't a single shard of glass left in the panes of the doors, so I stepped rights through the frame onto the balcony.

"Max!" I called out, nearly hysterical. I had never lost control of myself like that before.

I spun around; she was standing there, completely unharmed.

"What the hell was that?" she asked, running up to me. She had to shout over the screaming that had started up. "Are we being attacked?"

"I don't know! Are you okay?" I looked all over her, but she didn't have a scratch. I will admit that I looked more than I needed to. (Did I mention that her dress was low-cut? I'm sorry! Men really do have one-track minds.)

"Of course I'm okay! I was outside – the glass blew away from me! Are you okay?"

I held out my hands and did a double-take; up until now, I hadn't noticed how much they were bleeding. I plucked out a particularly large shard, shuddering as the blood flowed from the wound. "Hmm. That's interesting."

"We need to go see if everyone else is alright!" Oh, right, everyone else. Max sort of has a habit of taking over my mind and forcing everyone else out. I nodded. "Watch your back. This was caused by something." Well, obviously.

We carefully picked our way into the ballroom to assess the damage. We found the relatively unharmed Flock first, since they were smart enough to look away. Most of them just had the same cut hands as me.

As for the rest of the guests… damn.

It was a nasty sight. There was a lot of blood, glass, and strange mixtures of the two. Cell phones were being whipped out, and there were probably a dozen or so people talking with 911.

"What should we do?" Angel asked, wiping her hand on her now-bloody dress. She left a long, bloody streak on the ruined fabric, and I couldn't help but think that the streak looked like a constipated Demi Lovato.

"You should get out of here!" Dr. M came charging up to us. Her hair was a complete wreck (I mean that in a literal sense – a train probably could have run over that style) and her dress was ripped all over. She had a particularly nasty gash on her forehead that came dangerously close to her right eye. "This is all Itex's fault! This has got to be a warning – telling you to hurry up!"

You know, this was probably the worst wedding in history. I mean, the only way to make this situation worse was if there was suddenly an outbreak of a zombie virus and the guests started to eat each other's brains as opposed to the canapés.

"You mean we should leave? Now?" Nudge asked.

Dr. M nodded. "Think about it! Who else would do this?"

She was right; Itex trying to tell us to hurry up was the most plausible answer. But why rain destruction down on innocent guests instead of sending us a nice note saying, Hey, mind if you speed this up a bit? And how did they do this?

Jeb walked up. His bloody hands were a testament to his good reaction time, since the rest of him was unscathed, including his five hundred dollar suit. That guy is always classy. "Val is right. You should fly back to the house, grab your bags, and get away while you can."

"Are you sure?" Leaving them with this mess felt like dining and dashing.

"Just go!" Dr. M said, pushing us towards the balcony. "Don't forget to call!"

And just like that, we left the bloody bride to deal with her wounded guests as we all flew off on a mysterious jaunt to Canada.

…That was a time when I seriously needed a shot of bakon vodka.

We jumped off the balcony, flew home, stuffed some backpacks with enough supplies for two weeks, and flew back out. Total, surprisingly, had opted to stay home with his new BBF Ella. I had a feeling that he was really enjoying a steady stream of food, and I couldn't blame him. Living off of mystery meat is neither fun nor sanitary.

As we shot up into the sunset, Iggy caught my eye. "What do you call someone who preaches about the apocalypse?" he asked, grinning. It was random... but it was Iggy.

I knew I was walking (er, flying?) into something. "What?"

"The Pastor of Disaster!" He cackled, and I rolled my eyes.

"How long did that take you to think of?" I asked, moving my backpack around, since a can of tuna was jabbing into my back.

"I was bored during those mushy vows… I was trying to make some sort of sex joke, but I figured that in a church, it wasn't the greatest idea…" He smiled again, but as soon as he made eye contact with Nudge, the smile dropped and he focused on levelling himself against the wind.

Ugh! How long was this going to go on for?

You know what? Sometimes, it's best to just rip the knife from the wound.

"Hey guys, can you hold up?" I shouted over the wind before I had time to think about what I was going to do. We had barely flown a hundred yards.

"What's wrong?" Angel asked as the Flock congregated in a circle around me.

I put my hands on my hips, and I suddenly felt like some ornery old pre-Algebra teacher who just needs to get laid. "We have a problem."

Iggy knew exactly where I was going, and he was shaking his head ever so slightly to tell me to shut up while I could still breathe.

"Everyone here knows that if there's a major problem with the politics within this group, then things get ugly." Everyone winced at the mention of the time when the Flock had split. "I think we need to address the problem between Iggy, Nudge, and Ella."

Oh, snap.

You should've seen their faces.

Normally, rifts between us lasted no more than three days; this had lasted for months. But Nudge looked like she wanted to cry, Gazzy looked like he could go for a Big Mac right about then, Angel looked torn, Max looked surprised, and Iggy glared at me like he was wondering how I'd look with my small intestine wrapped around my neck.

This was probably the most words I'd spoken to them in such a small amount of time. Isn't it strange how, last June, I could barely communicate an idea? "Nudge likes Iggy. Ella likes Iggy. Iggy likes Ella. Oh my freaking God, it's a soap opera. Am I missing anything?"

Oh, scratch that, now Nudge looked apoplectic too. (Wow, my vocabulary is getting so much better! First "multitudinous", now "apoplectic"! I'm just a walking dictionary. Or, in Iggy's words, a DICKtionary...That was such an immature joke. Let's move alone.)

"Why are you saying this?" Nudge nearly hissed, and I could understand why she was so angry. I was mortifying her by doing this, but we couldn't go into a near-death scenario wanting to shoot each other already.

I closed my eyes. This was a huge risk, and I was slightly worried that her right hook might connect with my jaw. "Nudge. Think about it. You're eleven. You have the rest of your life to worry about romance and love and all that jazz. Don't you want to have as much worry-free time as possible? Time to just… be a kid?

"Yes, I know you love Iggy. But think about it. Is that really love love? Maybe it's just sibling love. I know since we're not really related it can be confusing, but out of everyone here, you should know your feelings the best.

"I know it sucks to be us. I know that you're thinking that you'll never be loved because of your wings, and that's just nonsense. One day, your Prince Charming will come along. I promise. And when I say I promise, I mean, like, I promise every delicious, mouth-watering piece of bacon in the world that there is a great guy out there waiting to fall in love with you.

"Don't be angry at Iggy or Ella. No one can help who they fall in love with. Would Romeo have fallen in love with his enemy Juliet? Would Antony have fallen in love with his rival Cleopatra? Would Edward have fallen in love with his dinner? No, they wouldn't have! The mind and the heart are two separate entities. Sometimes they agree, sometimes they don't. And sometimes, they can be misguided."

I paused.

Nudge broke down crying.

Well, that's dandy.

She lunged towards me, and I backed off defensively until I realized she was tackling me… into a hug. She sobbed into my shirt, and I wrapped my arms around her.

Hot damn, that was a good speech. "Thank you, Fang," she whispered, so that only I could hear her. She extracted herself and wiped off the last tears from her face. She turned to face the shocked Iggy. She looked down towards the treetops that reminded me of brocolli.

"I'm really sorry, Iggy. It was rude of me to be so nasty to you. And now that I think about it… maybe I was settling, just because I thought that, you know, no one would love me because of the wings…I do love you Iggy, but Fang is right. You'll always be my brother first. Always. And… can we please just be friends?"

There was more than ten feet between them, but Iggy closed the gap within a few seconds as he enveloped her in a massive bear hug. I knew that the tension between him and Nudge had been eating at him for the past while, and now that it was over… it was just a huge relief for all of us.

As they were still hugging, Max shot me a look of pure gratitude. I felt bad for sort of one-upping the chain of command, but now that this whole thing had been sorted out, we could hopefully get back to normal.

Normal? Pshh, of course not. Don't be ridiculous!

"I hate to break up this little sob-fest we've got going on," Gazzy suddenly said. "But we've got a country to fly over. Just, you know, FYI."

Nudge and Iggy broke off their hug, smiled at each other, and hoisted their backpacks up. "We're all ready?" Nudge asked.

"Yeah, let's get going. I'm sure that all of those asses we're about to kick are lonely," Max added. Her wings flew out even straighter as she shot off in a north-east direction.

"How long do you think we could wait here before she realized we aren't following her?" Angel mused.

I shrugged. "She'd probably be over Colorado." I shot off after her, quickly catching up. Looking back, I saw that the Flock was trailing us from a distance.

We spent the next six days flying across the States. Normally, the trip would only take three, but there was an incident involving a tiger, a contingent of the Kansas police force, and a few dozen Mexicans that landed Iggy in jail for a while, and it took us three days to figure out how to bust him out.

Other than the above incident, it was, overall, a very calm flight. But on the night of the thirty-first (also known as today) Nudge had one of her classic ideas.

"Oh, guys, guys, I have such a good plan!" She stopped dead in her tracks, leaving Gazzy to plough right into her. The second I realized that we were flying over northern Pennsylvania, I knew what she was thinking.

"What is it?" Max asked, wary.

"New Years! Think about it! New York City is only a few miles away… we could watch the ball drop in Times Freaking Square! Last year the Jonas Brothers and Taylor Swift were there, but that was right after Taylor got jumped by Joe and it was so awkward and we could be there this year!"

"I refuse to be in the same state as any Jonas Brother," Iggy drawled.

"That was last year! Anyone could be there!" Nudge was desperate.

Wait for it…wait for it…

3…

2…

1…

Nudge unleashed the full power of her Bambi eyes.

"Fine!" Max instantly gave in. "But if you go out of my line of sight, you are so dead. Get it?"

Nudge was barely listening as she thrust a fist of victory into the air. "Yes! I mean, of course, I'll be totally responsible. And I promise to keep Iggy away from the alcohol."

"I make no such promise," Iggy grinned, winking at Max.

"But come on, it's getting dark already! We can just land in Central Park, since no one could possibly see us. Come on, we can't be late!"

Nudge was practically a military commander as she drove us at a breakneck speed toward New York City. In general, New York basically looks like some kid with a Lego set went a little crazy and had a tantrum and spilled his stuff everywhere. I'm sure I could go on and on describing New York, but is it really necessary? Everyone knows what the city looks like.

The landing in Central Park was easy, since no one was around. It was easy to find Times Square, too – I couldn't see a single star since the bright neon lights flooded them out.

"Stay close!" Max was having a heart attack as we were jostled along the overflowing sidewalks. The huge buildings towering over us were all lit up (talk about a waste of energy) and everyone had boas (those fluffy scarves, not the type of snake) or wacky hats or huge glasses that spelled out 2010. Even with wings, we were the most normal people there.

We passed by security easily enough, and we were admitted into Times Square. Think of Times Square like a giant Y, but with advertisements everywhere. It's honestly beyond words. Just… Google it, okay?

"This is so awesome!" Nudge said as she shoved her way through the crowd. It was unbelievably packed. If you picture a concert between every past, current and future Disney star together, you can imagine the sounds and insanity surrounding us. Her eyes flickered to a massive stage constructed at the fork of the Y. "Is that J-Lo?"

"Hmm? Jello?" Iggy nearly screamed over the roar of the crowd.

"No! J-Lo, like, Jennifer Lopez!" Nudge yelled with the rest of the crowd as she started a new song (of which Nudge knew all the lyrics).

...It was a long night.

The next two hours were probably some of the more uncomfortable ones of my life, and please take into account I've spent many hours dying and being tortured. There was just so many people that it was impossible to think. Some crazy lady shoved pom-poms in my face, and Max had to step between us I didn't black out her eye.

"But what are we waiting for?" Gazzy yelled just as I realized my frostbitten fingers would probably never be the same.

"The ball drop!" Max yelled back. "It's like a giant disco ball. When it hits the bottom, it's a new year!"

So we were in the middle of the giant freaking crowd to watch a disco ball. Oh, yay.

Out of all of us, Nudge had the most fun, since we were basically just standing there. I knew, though, that she would always look back on the memory fondly... after I died. Oh, how optimistic!

And then, after was seemed like forever, it was 11:58.

I knew that there were a bunch of famous people who were going to start the ball drop, but I didn't know who it was. All of a sudden, at the fork of the Y on the tallest screen, a giant LCD sign started the countdown at 60.

The crowd roared. Absently, I noted that the advertisements near the ball drop – which happened to be Toyota – must have paid, like, a billion dollars, since millions of people were focused on that ball.

50

With each second going by, there was a large tick sound. We were in a bad spot in the crowd. We were right in the middle, meaning there was a bunch of elbows pressing into my stomach. I was tempted to puke over them just so I could get some space.

40

It would be awesome to puke over all these people. That's a story for the grandkids. "Did I ever tell you the story when I was a youngin' just like you and puked over a bunch of hardcore New Yorkers just so I could have some space? Now that's dedication!"

30

Then again, I wouldn't even have grandkids. I will admit, however, that I was consciously aware of Max pressed beside me when I thought about this. Wait a second… Oh, crap, aren't you supposed to kiss someone on New Years?

20

The Flock was right there! How could I possibly kiss Max? But then again, it was New Years, and it's the perfect excuse. You know, I could say how I was just caught up in the moment or whatever.

10

The crowd pitched forwards as everyone – even Max and me – started to scream the pulsing numbers on the screen. But I couldn't kiss Max. I couldn't.

9

But I was going to die in June!

8

And kissing in Times Square on New Years is classic!

7

Would the Flock even notice?

6

Of course they would, dumbass.

5

Do it, do it, do it!

4

No, no, no!

3

Live in the moment!

2

I'm scared.

1

SHUT UP AND KISS THE GIRL.

Everything exploded.

In a burst of confidence, I turned, grabbed the back of Max's head, pulled her towards me, and pressed my lips against hers. There was a rush of relief going through me – I had the balls to go through with the kiss, at least.

Wait, this wasn't right-

She pulled back immediately, whereupon I realized that she was actually a he.

Iggy, to be exact.

"What the hell are you doing?" He screamed, spitting. In that split second, I realized that as the ball hit 2010, the crowd had surged forwards, meaning Iggy had been beside me… not Max.

Arrg, stupid world, out conspiring against me!

"Woah!" I yelled, stepping back and landing on Angel's foot as confetti floated around and made visibility nearly impossible. "Sorry!" I said to her, but she didn't seem to mind. All around us, other people, more successful with their kisses, were making out just like how I wanted to make out with Max.

"'Sorry'? You just made out with me, and 'sorry' is the only thing you say?" Iggy was half disgusted, and half amused. He wiped off his mouth. "Geez, if you'd wanted to kiss me, you could've asked!"

Max was standing right in front of Iggy, giving me a little half-smile. She knew exactly what happened. "I thought you were-" I smartly cut myself off, and Auld Lang Syne and the screams from the crowd flowed over me.

But that's when it occurred to every single one of us that something was off.

Those weren't screams of joy. Those were screams of terror.

I lied, Diary; this is written late at night on January first, not December thirty-first. I needed to split that one night of my life into two halves; the 2009 half and the 2010 half.

On the 2009 half, right before midnight, I realized that my New Years resolution was to tell Max I loved her before June.

On the 2010 half, right after midnight, I realized that my better New Years resolution was to stay alive that night.

-Fang

34. January 1 2010

A/N- Wow. 2000 reviews in 2009? That's unbelievable. Thank you guys so, so much.

Thanks goes to MoreThanHer who pointed out to me that instead of writing "…it was right after Taylor got dumped by Joe and it was so awkward…" I wrote "… it was right after Taylor got jumped by Joe and it was so awkward…" It totally changed the context of the line, and the mistake made me laugh so, so hard. Honestly, I don't want to fix it.

Reviewer of the Week:

Jabberwockyandthevorpalblade: Sing with me: Fang kissed a boy and he liked it! I sure hope Max don't mind it!

Comment of the Week:

Paul Beatty: If all the world's a stage, I want to operate the trap door.


January 1st, 2009… oh, crap, 2010

Dear Diary,

It's weird to think that, by the end of the next decade, Angel will be sixteen, Max is going to be twenty-five… and I'll be dead. (Oh, yay! Fun! Exciting! My sarcasm is drowning me!) My impending death seems all the more… real, now that I know I'll never have the chance to kiss Max on New Years.

And how sucky is that I kissed on Iggy, of all people? It's a shame there hadn't been, like, a tour-bus full of Swedish models that just happened to be beside me.

I totally realize that you're probably wondering what happened last night (er, this morning?) but before I go into that, I just want to review 2009, since I'm trying to decide if it sucked or rocked.

Pros:

I kissed Max (twice!)

We met some… interesting people. For example, Agnes-the-horny-and-lethal-old-lady and Oksana the Russian stripper Katy Perry lookalike.

I read Twilight.

The whole Iggy-Nudge-Ella love triangle was sorted out, courtesy of an Oscar-winning speech by yours truly.

Cons:

I ate a freaking cockroach. RIP Johnny Boy.

I was given a death sentence. And believe me; an expiration date can totally put a damper on the year.

I read Twilight.

I was a total doppelganger for Harry Potter.

The Conclusion

Yeah, 2009 wasn't my favourite year, but at least I'm still alive and the world hasn't been taken over by Justin Bieber fangirls. Yet.

I can't really describe if 2010 has been good or bad, since, well, you can't judge a year with a day. Well, actually, maybe you can, since I would've preferred having piranhas eat me alive while listening to Iggy make awkward and obscene sex jokes than going through last night again. And that metaphor should mean something, since if Iggy's sex jokes were the last thing I ever heard, I think I would cry.

But I think it's about time to explain the whole Times Square catastrophe.

So, if we rewind, let's go back to where I kissed the non-Swedish model Iggy. After we had broken apart, that's when things went downhill faster than when Iggy was sprinting from the tiger at his heels and the Mexicans were throwing pitchforks at him.

"Duck!" Max yelled, and Angel yelled the same thing a second later, so instinctively, part of me wanted to yell, "Goose!" Still, all of us dropped to the snowy ground a second before the explosion. I was crouched down, but when I looked up, I could see a fiery plume rise into the air from the other side of the Square. Why, hello, 2010, it's nice to meet you.

Have you ever been in a mosh pit, Diary? (That was probably the weirdest question I have asked you. I totally just had an image of a diary grinding up against these hot girls… oh, wow, I need some eye bleach…) Anyways, the crowd freaked, and I was knocked off of my heels as the crowd surged. I managed to stand up so I wouldn't be trampled to death, but the crowd carried me away from the Flock. Fun times, fun times.

There was a series of more explosions, and, as one, the entire crowd fell to the ground. And this is a crowd of at least a million people, so visually, it was really cool. The explosions were so loud, though, that the pain drove everyone down.

It didn't help that everyone was screaming, either, and then the worst thing happened:

There was a blackout.

Fu-rick.

It was like a light switch had been turned off; Times Square was instantly plunged into complete darkness, with the only light coming from five fires scattered around the area.

The screams intensified, if that was even possible. Luckily, it was still possible to see, since the fires cast a red glow over everyone.

I closed my eyes. Don't worry, Diary, I know you're thinking, Fang, what the hell? But when you remove one sense, the others get stronger. "To me!" I heard Max yell over the roar of the crowd. Her voice came from about ten yards back. (Isn't it cute that I could hear Max about everyone else?)

There was no point in yelling at people to get out of my way, so I just charged backwards and punched anyone who got in my way. Yeah, I know, that wasn't the best way to promote calmness and peace, but whatever.

The Flock was assembled by the time I got there. "Fang!" Nudge called out in relief.

"Up and away," Max screamed. I could barely hear her. "No one is going to notice if we move fast."

"How?" I yelled back. We were being constantly pressed from all sides; there wasn't nearly enough room. From the drop in her face, I could tell she hadn't thought about that.

"Wait!" A light bulb went off, just like in the cartoons. I went down on one knee (no, I wasn't about to propose to Max, sadly enough) and cradled my hands together. "I'll boost you up!"

It wasn't the best idea, since I could barely hold my position without moving, but it was enough. Gazzy planted a foot in my hands, and I helped him launch up by standing and shoving all of my strength into raising him. He clumsily shot up into the air, and I did the same with everyone else. Max was last.

"How will you get up?" she yelled in my ear.

"I'll just do a vertical launch! Now go!" I went down on one knee again (I made a promise to myself – the next time I was on one knee like this, I was going to have a freaking ring with me) and practically threw Max into the air.

Now was the hardest part. Vertical launches are easy – when you've got fifteen feet of space to spare.

I battled my way to the fence that was around the section of the crowd that we'd been in. It was one of those crummy neon orange ones, so I jumped right over it. I was pushed to the side, and got smashed against the door was an amazingly huge McDonalds.

Wait a second…

I had two options: I could either make space or get to a place with space. (Heh heh. That rhymed. I'm such an unintentional poet.) Seeing as the first option would probably result in a few broken bones and the occasional death, I knew I had to take the second option.

I took a few steps back, and then I ran forward and smashed through the glass door of the McDonalds.

Bet you weren't expecting that, Diary. There's nothing like smashing a few doors to get the adrenaline pumping.

And also, thank you, McDonalds, for not only supplying me with greasy food, but an escape route. Man, is there anything McDs can't do?

My shoulder burned with the impact, but I brushed off the glass pieces as I ran to the back of the empty and dark McDonalds. There was a door conveniently marked "Stairwell" which I pushed through, and I found myself in a huge stairwell that seemed to stretch up forever.

At the time, I didn't even realize that the lights were on in the stairwell, which was my big mistake. Smooth, Fang, smooth.

I took the stairs two at a time. I had gone up probably around twenty floors, when, oh, look, I get my face smashed in.

Random.

Yeah.

If only I had gone up probably around twenty floors, when, oh, look, there's a scantily-clad woman giving me a cheque for a million dollars!

Uh, no. Sadly, randomness sends me an attacker, not a million dollars. Crap.

I recoiled and fell down a set of stairs. Right as I smashed into the wall, a person appeared right in front of me, grabbed the lapel of my jacket, and started to wham right into me. Naturally, going along with the whole evil-bad guy thing, they only wore black and I couldn't see their face.

Craptastic.

I took the opportunity to kick the person in the crotch. From their reaction, my attacker was most definitely a guy. I launched myself at him, and the situation was reversed as I pinned him to the wall.

"Who are you?" I asked in between punches. "Speak now or forever hold your peace."

He didn't say anything, and I was stuck with what to do. I decided to ditch the guy – there was no use in questioning him, since he was already unconscious (oops – that's why he didn't respond. Heh heh.) and we really needed to get going.

I was more cautious as I flew (figuratively, not literally) up the stairs. At the very top of the roof was a metal door with the sign "Roof". I grabbed the handle-

And it was locked.

"Arrrargg!" I kicked the door, but that did nothing but hurt my toes. I jiggled the handle, but it wouldn't budge.

Could I take it down with my shoulder? It was metal.

I didn't have a choice.

I stepped back, and with ramming speed, I aimed for the door-

Right as I was about to hit the door, it opened right up, and I fell at the feet of none other than Max. "Fang!" she yelled. She thrust down a hand and helped me stand. Once I was up, she brushed the gravel off of me. (She touched me!... That sounded nasty.)

"How did you find m-" I cut myself off. Why did I do so?

Because my Swedish models were there? No.

Because there were Starbucks employees who wanted to give me some free samples? No.

Because twelve of those people-in-black were gathered around the Flock in threatening positions? Yeah, actually.

"We had a little bit of a problem," Max said, glaring at her captor who had her arm twisted behind her back. If that glare had been shot at me, I would've melted into a pile of nitrogen or something.

"Oh, how adorable," I said as two of the people came and wrenched my arms behind me. "Wanna-be ninjas. I hate to be the one to break it to you guys, but Halloween was a few months ago."

They didn't say anything as they shoved us down a set of stairs. They opened up a door that led to the top floor of the building; it was completely dark, of course, but light immediately flooded the room, burning our eyes. I turned to see that one of the wanna-be ninjas (hereby referred to as WBNs) had simply flicked on a light switch.

Spooky.

They led us into a boardroom that didn't have a single window; I noted that a WBN turned out the light in the hall and turned on a light in the room. The WBNs shoved us down in the huge, comfy chairs, and they took off their ski-cap mask things. They looked so... normal. I was at least expecting half-mutant turtles or something.

At the time, I remember thinking that if they wanted to shove us into chairs, then they shouldn't choose an expensive-looking room with uber-comfortable chairs. Shouldn't we be in, like, an alley or something?

"So why are we gathered for this meeting today?" Iggy asked, calmly putting his hands together. "If you had sent us nicely-scented invitations, I'm sure we would've come."

A WBN slid over a piece of paper to Max. She picked it up and read:

To the Flock,

Consider this a warning. Yes, tonight was caused by Itex. Yes, these attacks will continue if you don't find who has been taking our funds. Yes, we will help you if you succeed.

Max put down the note.

"If you wanted to lie, you could've done it better. I've seen better six-year-olds lie," she said, and in my head, I went, Hell yeah. Sure, she was referring to Angel, but whatever.

One of the female WBNs looked at Max curiously. "Why?"

"How could Itex be doing this without funds? Explosives cost money. Thugs like you cost money. Everything costs money, and Itex doesn't have that. I'd actually be willing to say that you're being controlled by whoever is taking Itex's funds."

Bullseye.

Normally when you hit a bullseye, you're rewarded, you know? You get extra points or whatever. Well, Max got thrown to the ground, and damn, I just can't catch a break these days.

I snapped my arms upright, instantly breaking the noses of the two WBNs who had been holding an arm each. I turned, took both of their heads, and rammed them into the wall, bringing a rather lovely painting of a pony crashing to the ground with the two.

Angel had been sitting next to me, and she'd already taken care of one of them (I sound like a Mob boss) but I helped her break the other one's leg.

The WBNs weren't well-trained at all; by the time I was finished helping Angel, all of them were incapacitated or unconscious or crying (Max's fault). "What do we do with them now?" Gazzy asked.

"Let's leave them," Max said. She was shaking, and I had to quench the urge to smuffle her in a hug. (Is "smuffle" a word? I don't think it is. But it should be, along with "awesomesauce" and "bacontastic".) "We need to get going."

We quickly went over each of them, but they didn't have any ID pieces on them or anything. I felt really bad for the janitor who was going to find a bunch of sad, failed ninjas in the morning. We turned off of the light (how did they get it on in the first place? Did they have super powers or something?) and ran up to the roof.

I could hear the screams from below. There was not a single light on in the city. I did a complete circle, and there wasn't a single light in sight. (More rhyming!)

Even the hospitals were dark. "This is wrong," I muttered. "There should have been back-up generators or alternative sources of energy. It's impossible to shut an entire city out of the power grid. Especially New York."

The fiery plumes illuminated the throbbing crowd below. Sirens were going off. "It was the perfect moment," Max said quietly. "There are millions of people gathered in one spot in the nation's most symbolic city. It's the start of a new year… a new decade. This will crush peoples' morals."

"Is it a terrorist attack?" Nudge whispered quietly. We were all thinking back to the recent failed terrorist attack in Denver. It sucks to see what the emotion hate can drive people to do.

"It could be," Iggy answered. "But I think it has to do with us."

I nodded, and told them about my random attacker. "How could he have known what I was about to do?" Oh my freaking God, my attacker was Edward Cullen.

"I don't know," Max said, and we continued to be absorbed by the hypnotizing sight before us. "But come on. We need to get to Niagara Falls as soon as possible."

Silently, we took off, leaving the panic and destruction far below.

Oh, man, the above sentence was really dark and poetic and totally depressing. I'd love to say, "silently, we took of, leaving the group of New Yorkers happily singing Kumbaya and hugging each other" but just the thought of New Yorkers singing is a little disturbing.

We flew through the night. It was amazing – once we got up high enough, we could see that there was a perfect blacked-out circle around New York. Everywhere else had power. "It's New York," Max said, sensing my horror at the situation. "They'll be okay."

The flight was easy, since we managed to keep Iggy on a tight lease and didn't let him near any carnivorous animals. By early dawn, we touched down on the American side of Niagara Falls.

Let me describe Niagara Falls, Diary. There's the American side and the Canadian side. There are three waterfalls that make up the tourist trap – the Horseshoe Falls (the one you always see in postcards) the American Falls (the one where no one could think of another name) and the Bridal Veil Falls (the one no one cares about).

Honestly? The Canadians owned us. (I know. I didn't think it was possible.)

They had capitalized on the Falls, and their side was a miniature Las Vegas. Huge hotels and casinos were posted along the ridge, and from their viewpoint, they could see the three falls.

The American side, though, was remarkably run-down. It's was sort of like looking at a Mac and then looking at a PC. (Yeah, I'm probably going to have my American citizenship revoked for saying that, but it's true.)

"So we're looking for the Sir Adam Beck power generation station?" Gazzy asked. We were standing upstream from the falls in a thick area of forest. "Isn't that across the border?"

"Yeah. It's in Canada." Max frowned. "I hate crossing borders."

"Really? I love it," Iggy said. Trust him to enjoy illegally crossing into foreign countries. "But can we find a place to camp for the night? Er, well, the morning?"

He had a point; we'd just pulled a pretty intense all-nighter. (Most kids' all-nighters involve alcohol and the cops and homework. Ours involved explosions, illegal border crossings, and ninjas. Beat that.)

I could tell Max didn't like the plan, but she agreed with it, and here I am now, about a mile upriver from the Falls, trying to hide this Diary from Iggy. ("Fang, are you having your private time?")

So, all in all, the first six hours of 2010 had been remarkably crappy. And I can't help but remember my Mom's dire warning about January... if I had such an issue with the first six hours, I hate to think what the rest of the month will be like.

But the ninjas were cool. I'll admit that.

-Fang

35. January 8 2010

A/N: Officially the most awkward song to have playing when your father walks into the room: Jizz in My Pants by The Lonely Island.

Also, to the people who asked: "cheque" is the Canadian form of "check". I try to Americanize my words, but I slip up occasionally.

Reviewer of the Week:

Fang not Fnick: It would be way more 'awesomesauce' to 'smuffle' the 'bacontastic' vodka than to be attacked by ninja-wanna-bees. … It took me ten freakin minutes to figure out how to write that sentence.

Comment of the Week:

Tracy Morgan on 30 Rock: A book hasn't given me this much trouble since Where's Waldo? went to the barbershop pole factory!


January 8th, 2010

Dear Diary,

Three things I have learned about camping out in the middle of January:

One – it's cold.

Two – it's cold.

Three – it's cold.

It was colder than Vladimir Putin's heart; colder than those wicked brain freezes you get when you eat a slushy too quickly; colder than my naked body in a Dairy Queen freezer. (What was up with that last analogy? I am such a creepy child.)

On the way north, we had stolen jackets and gloves and hats from a WalMart (which happened to be in Kansas, which started the whole tiger/Mexican fiasco) so we weren't in t-shirts and flip-flops or anything, but after constant Arizonan heat, New York seems like a nuclear wasteland. (Maybe it actually is.)

Either way, when I woke up, I felt as if I'd been hit by a train. And for the record, I have been hit by a train before (2006; Iggy; truth-or-dare gone horribly wrong. Need I say more?) so I know how it feels. (And have you noticed I've used a ton of parentheses in this entry? Weird.)

Basically, to sum it up, it felt as if my spirit had been drained from me, leaving only a limp, empty corpse behind.

Alright. Seriously. What the frick is wrong with me? That was a lot less macabre in my head. Next thing you know, I'm going to be wearing eye shadow and pledging my soul to Hades or something.

Anyways…

Surprisingly, I was the last one up. By the time I stumbled towards the main camp, everyone was disgustingly awake and cheerful. "Hey, Fang!" Angel greeted me enthusiastically.

Man, to tone down her happiness, she needs to watch Titanic or The Notebook or some other horrible, soul-wrenching movie that makes you want to cry your sorrows because the sadness is eating at your every thought feeling, and emotion.

Not that I've seen either movie, of course.

"Mnnarrg," I greeted, which translates roughly to "Good morning Angel, it's such a nice day. How are you?" Sadly, though, Angel doesn't speak the Morning Fang language, but she managed to pick my meaning out of my thoughts.

"Today is going to be awesome!" she said, roasting a marshmallow over the campfire. (No, I don't know how they started the fire, and no, I don't know they got marshmallows, but sometimes its best not to ask questions when you don't want to know the answer.)

I went and grabbed a fistful of marshmallows from the bag and stuffed them in my face. "We can finally start to figure stuff out!" Angel continued.

"Hopefully," Max muttered between a mouthful of food.

Hopefully we'd be able to find a way so that I'm not going to die in one hundred forty-four days. Hopefully we'd be able to find out who's taking Itex's money. Hopefully we'd be able to find a way a way to get Tyra Banks off TV.

But I think it's sort of weird that I've counted down the days until I'm going to die. Normally people count down the days until vacation or their birthdays, not when they're going to die. But look at me, I'm Freakazoid Fang.

You know, "Freakazoid" totally sounds like a raving dinosaur at some nightclub.

That was a totally unnecessary observation.

Let's move on.

As a side note, I'd like to point out that I never read past entries in you, Diary, because I think I would think that I'm insane.

Most of us had finished our breakfasts (marshmallows – mmm, I love the taste of diabetes) and we gathered together. "Are we all ready to cross the border illegally?" Max asked cheerfully.

"Yeah!" Iggy answered enthusiastically, thrusting up a hand of victory. "But you know, we should be sneaking into, like, Area 51 or something. Not Canada. What, are the moose going to shoot us?"

"I wouldn't put it past them," I muttered. "Damn moose." I hoisted my backpack on, and one at a time, we all launched upwards.

And for the record, it was a piece of cake to get across the border. We just flew directly upwards for a ridiculously long time before crossing a short distance, and coming back down on the other side. We didn't see a single person since we were crossing so far upriver. Ten bucks says I could invade Canada within a week. No, make that three days. (But for the record, I do love Canada. Where else would we get hockey, maple syrup, and people to be punch lines of our jokes?)

"So where exactly is this place?" Gazzy asked. "The power station? What was in called?"

"Sir Adam Beck. Its south of here," I said, looking towards the Falls themselves. You could barely see them through the clouds. "It's not far."

"The last time you said that, we ended up in Oregon," Nudge said as we started to fly. "And we started in Oklahoma."

"That was a completely isolated event," I rebuked, but she just laughed.

It literally took all of five minutes to fly downriver, and contrary to Nudge's belief, I didn't end up in a different state or province. (See? I know that Canada doesn't have states. I do know my geography.) We stayed over land, but kept track of the river.

"But how do we get in there?" Angel asked, looking down. "Is there even an entrance?"

Angel had a point. Let me paint a picture, Diary. (A metaphorical picture. If I painted a real picture, you'd want to scratch your eyeballs out and torch them.)

Picture a river cutting a piece of land in two. On the right, you've got the States, and on the left, you've got Canada. On both sides directly opposite each other you've got two mother-freaking-huge hydroelectricity plants. These plants basically look like giant water slides.

Okay, that was a crappy description. Ermm…so picture those water slides, and then picture a massive cement rectangle at the bottom with a bunch of crazy-looking dials and generators on top. Basically, it looks like where an evil villain would have his lair. Totally.

And sadly for us, there was no "ALL BIRDKIDS ENTER HERE!" sign. Geez.

We circled above, trying to think of a plan. "Maybe we shouldn't be here at all," Iggy said. "So we get a random note with this power station name on it. Big whoop."

"You know, we should've talked about this, oh, I don't know, back when we were in Arizona," Nudge said, rolling her eyes. "We can't start doubting ourselves now."

"Nudge is right," Max said. It was hard to meet her eyes, since she was circling directly behind me. Did that mean she was checking out my ass? Why was I instantly assuming she was checking out my ass? Why am I asking rhetorical questions about my ass? "Let's just… find the main entrance."

We landed immediately, and we instantly transformed into badass werewolves who were out to get bloody revenge for our slain kinsmen.

Or not.

But I wish we had. Because that would have been the badass thing to do.

But no, we had to land normally and not tear anyone to pieces. Stupid societal standards.

The official main entrance was easy enough to find. We found ourselves in an extremely large atrium that totally made me think of the Ministry of Magic in the fifth Harry Potter movie…Why can everything be related back to Harry Potter? There were multiple levels of glass balconies that all looked down on the atrium. It actually made me feel like a CIA spy or something nifty like that.

"So, what do we do now?" Gazzy asked as we awkwardly stood in the middle of the atrium watching dozens of people quickly thread through the atrium. (Side note: when I say "awkwardly," I don't mean I-just-saw-you-naked awkward, but everyone-here-wishes-we-weren't awkward.)

"Yeah, are we just going to walk up to the secretary and ask if someone sent for six random kids from the States?" Nudge finished. "I mean, that's totally cool with me, but we'll probably get kicked out."

We were all at a complete loss. We looked like idiots, too, since we were just standing there. Normally if we're completely confused we all pull out our wings and look cool at least, but now we just total losers.

"Are you Maximum Ride?"

HEART ATTACK MUCH?

All six of us jumped a foot and turned towards the voice that had come from directly behind us. A man around sixty stood there with a Tim Hortons cup in his left hand. He inclined his head. "Did I frighten you?"

"No, but your face did," Iggy whispered under his breath to me, while Max said, "Of course not. Yes, I'm Max."

"I'm David. It's nice to meet you." He shook each of our hands, which was just as much of a shocker as if one of the Teletubbies had suddenly burst into the scene with a bazooka.

I know it was stupid of me to instantly like an adult, but David came pretty darn close. He smiled softly. "Please, follow me. And no, I'm not going to shoot you or capture you or kill you. At least, I won't if you let me drink my coffee."

A sense of humor? This man wasn't physically possible.

We followed David over to an elevator. He gathered us all up into the tiny box, which was hell for all of us, but the wonderful elevator music helped.

"Welcome to the Sir Adam Beck power station," he said, taking a swig from his coffee and leading us down a smartly-decorated hallway. To the left was a series of board offices and to the right was the open area above the atrium. It was nice to know that if need be, we could pull off some awesome acrobatic stuff in here.

We passed a few people on the way to wherever we were going. David spoke rapidly to a few people in another language, but I couldn't tell if it was Spanish or French. (I was assuming French, but other than swear words, the only Spanish I know comes from that awesome Pitbull song "Calle Ocho". Uno, dos, tres, cuatro!)

"Here we are," David said, ushering us into a boardroom. It was rather continental and Spartan in style, but the interesting thing was the five people on one side of the table. They were all dressed casually, but these people screamed brilliance. They all stood as we entered.

"Please have a seat," a man with an Indian accent said, gesturing for the six chairs opposite them. David sat in the empty chair at the end of the row on the other side. Out of the remaining four people in the room, three were female. Although I couldn't tell their ethnicities, I knew each one of them came from a different part of the world.

This didn't seem like a particularly deadly boardroom. I was thinking that David would turn down the lights and tell us how the fate of the universe was in our hands and do a whole dramatic scene, but it wasn't meant to be. Shucks.

"So," David said lightly. "We need to talk."

I was tempted to say, "Well, duh," but Max smiled sweetly. It was the smile that said, I'll play nice for now, but if you mess with me I'll tear open your throat with my bare hands while drinking your coffee.

"Why are we here?" she asked, crossing her legs. Oh, man, were those nice legs... Angel cleared her voice, and I jumped a bit.

An Asian woman leaned forwards. She spoke kindly, and I couldn't help but think that they were all about to try to kill us, since the only time people are nice to me is when they think I'm going to buy something (it's a fact of life). "Well, let's start with you. You wanted to ask us questions, right?"

Max was visibly shocked at how the woman had turned to conversation. "Actually, yeah." She looked at me, and then back at the woman. (Oooh! Secret glance!) "Do you know of Itex?"

"Do you know of Oprah?" David cut in, chuckling. "Of course we've heard of Itex. And we also know that someone's been stealing their funds."

We were all floored that they knew why we were there. I silently started to hope desperately that these weren't mind readers and/or WBNs. But if they had to be one or the other, I was hoping for the ninjas.

You know what my life needs more of? Pirates. I have yet to encounter a single pirate.

"Are you saying that you have no idea who's taking the money?" Gazzy asked. "Like, no idea?"

"We really don't," a man who was obviously British said. "Itex has contacted every large business in North America, asking for information."

"Then why are we even here right now?" Max asked bluntly. "Dazzle me."

"Well, we can warn you," the Indian man cut in. His handy-dandy nametag read Hassit. "About Itex."

"Oh?" Max said, threading her fingers together. It is so not smart to piss her off.

"I know that they say they're moving away from experiments and towards research. But you do research by experimenting. This new technology they're using… we know about it," Hassit said. His elbows were resting on the table. "It accidentally slipped out when they were sending documents to us; the schematics for that new technology they have was included. They swore us to secrecy."

"They're using you," the British man said without emotion in his voice. I couldn't help but think of how awesome his voice sounded. British people rock. "They say they'll give you what you want… but they won't. Not now, not ever."

"How do you know that?" Max's voice was instantly sharp.

"Itex doesn't have the resources or the money to back up their empty promises. But if you don't find a way to get their money back, they'll try to speed you up."

"How?" Nudge asked softly.

"They can change your DNA however they please. If they wanted, they could kill you this very second." A woman with a melodious voice said. Once I thought about it, I realized that she was a total doppleganger for Rosalie Cullen. (Pshh. What other Rosalie is there?) "Itex can do whatever they want."

"But if they kill us, we can't do their dirty work," Iggy said. "They need us." You know, the word "dirty" has multiple connotations...As soon as I thought that, Angel kicked me under the table, and I winced in pain.

"But for how long?" David asked. "That's the real question. It's all about time! There's never enough of it!" He paused and thought over his words. Silence fell over the table. "But what else did you need to ask us?"

"Do you know about the massive blackout in New York?" Max asked, and everyone nodded. That's like asking if you know that Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner broke up. (When were they together? But they were "Taylor Squared"! Get it? Because they were both named Taylor? Haha... and if they'd married, they'd both be named Taylor Lautner! ... I can't believe this is what I think about in my spare time. Excuse me while I purge my mind.)

"Of course. We don't know for sure, but we think it was caused by Itex," Hassit said, which didn't surprise us at all. He looked at David, who shrugged. "But didn't you come here for something else?"

Max narrowed her eyes. "No. You sent us a message."

All six of them looked shocked. "What do you mean?" one of the nameless women asked. She spoke in a hushed voice, and I shivered. I could see where this was going, and it wasn't going to be pretty. Ugh. Right as I was sorting my life out, this happens. Impeccable timing, really. ("Impeccable" has two "c's", right? You should know these things, Diary.)

"I mean, we got a note with the name of this generator plant on it. We assumed we had to come here for some important reason," Max said, pushing her chair in. She didn't want to believe what she was thinking.

"No one sent that note," David said. "We got a message saying to expect six kids, and one of them should answer to 'Maximum Ride'."

Oh, my, the plot thickens.

"So we both got notes implying to come here?" Iggy said, trying to clear up the situation. He leaned back, and I had a vision of him as Donald Trump or some other rich guy. I could picture him ordering unlimited amounts of bacon and strippers. At the same time. "That's trippy."

"That's very trippy," David agreed. "But you should get back to wherever you came from as soon as possible."

"Are you saying someone led us here, just to get away from Arizona?" Angel asked, and David nodded. I looked over to Max, and I knew she had gone over the edge. We had been betting on finding a solution for my death here, and now, poof, it had disappeared as fast as a plate of fresh bacon on a Sunday morning.

"It was a trick," Max said, spacing out and staring at a lovely picture of a cottage on the wall. "The whole time was a waste. We're back at square one. Again."

"That's not true," I said, speaking for the first time since we'd entered the building. "Something's wrong in Arizona. And we need to leave." I had no idea what we'd find back in Arizona, but I was seriously hoping it would involve nachos, because I haven't had nachos in forever. Mmm, nachos...

"It was perfect," Max said, still off in la-la land. "We were led off on false hopes across the country. To a different country! It was perfect…"

I snapped my fingers in front of her face, and she jerked back to reality. I stared straight at her eyes and said, "Its okay, Max, but we need to go." She blinked and turned to the six strangers.

"Thank you so, so much," she said, nodding her head towards them, which was a huge sign of respect. "We'll keep in touch."

"Of course," David said, standing. "Good luck."

We swept out of the room, and within five minutes, we were out of the power plant and flying above. The sky had cleared of clouds by now, so we had to fly up even higher than normal so we wouldn't end up on the six o'clock news. At least I wasn't a wanted criminal up here, which was a total bonus.

"That was productive," Iggy drawled, flapping his wings lazily. "So we crossed the country for no reason at all."

"We need to get to get back to Arizona. Who knows what's going to be there?" Max asked. She frowned, and I knew she was thinking of Dr. M, Ella, Total… and maybe even Jeb. Maybe.

"But we haven't even seen the Falls!" Angel said. "We can't come all the way out here not to see them."

"How about we cross the border over them?" Max suggested. "We don't really have time to land." I could tell even flying upriver for five minutes was frustrating for Max, but she just wanted to make Angel happy.

"That sounds great!" Angel said, and she sped of towards the north. Max shot me another glance before the rest of us went after her.

Let me tell you, even from above, the Falls are an impressive sight. If you really want to see what I saw, Diary, just go to Google Earth and zoom in on the Falls. (I don't know why I'm giving instructions to something that doesn't even have a brain. I hope.) Basically, it was just a huge, white, rolling mass of mist, which sounds stupid but is surprisingly cool.

Max was practically sweating with anxiety since we were uncomfortably low and still above Canadian land. We hovered for a few minutes, listening to the distant roar of the Falls, when Max finally said, "So we're all ready?"

"I guess," Angel said, somewhat sadly. She turned west and waved, causing her to bob up and down with the air currents. "Bye, Canada!" Aww, that was as cute as that video I watched of two otters holding hands.

"I'll go first. Fang, you'll take up the rear?" Max asked, gesturing to the invisible border ahead of us. I nodded.

But just as she said that, my stomach nearly dropped, and…something… coursed through me. I couldn't peg it down, but I felt like I wanted to puke. Everything felt like the world had just been turned upside down, and I had no idea why.

Max started to fly to the other side.

Something was wrong.

Instantly, questions slammed into my mind. Why Niagara Falls? Out of all the places to send us, why here? And why the hydroelectric plant?

As soon as I said it like that, I figured it out.

Oh. My. God.

I remembered what the woman back at the plant had said:

Itex can do whatever they want.

We had already run out of time, and this was the perfect way to cut us loose. Max was right; everything had been perfectly planned out. They – whoever "they" are – had planned on us crossing over the Falls on the way to Canada. We hadn't, and we'd passed the trap the first time, but we fell right into it this time.

"Hypothetical situation," I said extremely quickly, "Let's just say Itex can't change our DNA if we're too far away. Don't you think they would make some sort of…trap?"

Iggy looked at me. "What are you saying?"

"What if we're too late?" I asked, and a horrifying thought entered my head. "Itex can't kill us, because they still want us to work for them. But they'd do the next best thing."

Nudge started to figure it out, too. "They figured we'd cross at Niagara Falls, since we'd want to see it. And I bet that the trap is right on the border, too."

Horror crossed Iggy's features, and he physically recoiled. "Electricity travels through water," he said. "And the hydroelectric plant is so close… and in order to make us fall, they'd-"

The five of us figured it out at the exact same time.

"Max, no!" I yelled, instantly launching myself towards her. "Stay back!" I yelled to the rest of the Flock. "Whatever you do, stay back!"

Max was still barrelling ahead, trying to cross the border as fast as possible. I hoped desperately that I was wrong...but I knew that no matter what, I had to get to Max. I flew faster than I thought possible. "Max!" I yelled, no, screamed at her. "Stop! Max, stop!"

She turned to look at me, which slowed her down, but not enough. I sped up even faster, and did a mid-air tackle. She oofed as I used her momentum to drag us slightly back to the Canadian side.

"What the hell are you doing?" she asked, thoroughly pissed. Before I could explain that under absolutely no circumstances could we cross the border right here-

She pushed me-

And I crossed the invisible border.

The effect was instantaneous.

One second, I was flying.

The next, I was free-falling into Niagara Falls.

Damn.

-Fang

36. January 15 2010

A/N- Text "Haiti" to 90999 if you would like to donate ten dollars to the Red Cross for the Haiti relief effort. (Don't worry, it's legit – go ahead and Google it. Don't worry, you're not texting ten bucks to me.)

I was sitting at the kitchen table when my Dad looked at me and deadpanned, "So are you going to be writing about Fang tonight?" The only other time I was just as speechless was when I ran my bike into a fence in front of a really cute guy.

Also: To the numerous people who noticed that I said Fang had forty-four days left to live; I completely missed the "one hundred" in front of that. Whoops.

Credit goes to Flight at Midnight whose PM supplied me with two excellent one-liners.

Reviewer of the Week:

iBanana: I think Canadian jokes are ftw. Like that one about how Canada got its name- they picked letters out of a hat! "C, eh? N, eh? D, eh?"

Comment of the Week:

From the Wikipedia page about Barbie: In 1993 a group in the United States calling itself the "Barbie Liberation Organization" modified Barbie dolls by giving them the voice box of a talking G.I. Joe doll, and secretly returned the dolls to the shelves of toy stores. Parents and children were surprised when they purchased Barbie dolls that uttered phrases such as "Eat lead, Cobra!" and "Vengeance is mine."


January 15th, 2010

Dear Diary,

So, when I dropped through the air like an uncoordinated rock and fell into Niagara Falls, I died.

Sucks to be me, right?

Hah.

Right.

So, obviously, I didn't die.

(I just thought I'd start off by addressing the elephant in the room, you know? It would suck if you thought I was dead while you were reading this, Diary, and that's just weird.)

But think about it - I couldn't have died, because I couldn't be writing this. Unless, perhaps, I'm dead and I don't know it.

Maybe I'm a zombie.

Zombies are cool. I would be pretty chill with being a zombie.

The thing is, I don't have the overwhelming desire to eat Max's brains, so I'm pretty sure I'm not a zombie. I'm also pretty sure that dead people don't feel like they want to die. But perhaps I'm some sort of Neo-Zombie.

I think that the ultimate zombie test is bacon or brains. If you choose bacon, you're human, but if you choose brains, congratulations! You're a zombie.

I think I'm missing the point, Diary, and I apologize. Let's go back to the whole hey-look-at-me-Ma-I'm-flying-with-no-wings! ordeal.

Ugh. Let's get this over with. (That line totally should have been said by James Bond as he bursts into a casino full of rich bankers and trophy wives while trying to save the President of the United Nations. But moving along, then.)

In my credit, I didn't scream or yell as I dropped like a stone. I didn't even call out Max's name, which, while poetic, would have been horribly embarrassing. The thing is, I didn't scream because I was legitimately too terrified. I've never had to free-fall, because I've always been able to recover.

But this time, my wings just weren't working.

Let's try to look at the situation from a different perspective. Pretend you're running from a T-Rex, Diary. First off, let's pretend you're human, okay? Now, I don't how or why T-Rex is chasing you, but whatever.

So you're sprinting from this T-Rex, thinking, Hey, I might be able to out-run this, when all of a sudden your legs stop working. And then the T-Rex eats you, because that's what T-Rex's do.

That's basically what happened to me. Just sub out Niagara Falls with a T-Rex and my wings for your legs.

Now that I think about it, that was a crap metaphor, but you get the idea, right?

Let's say I was falling into a giant bowl of bacon. While tasty and awesome, I still would have been freaking out. Still, since I happened to be unfortunately plummeting towards the raging Niagara River (which, coincidentally, was roaring over the actual Falls) I think you can imagine my pure, utter, complete terror.

Anyway, I totally just spent the last ten minutes procrastinating about writing this entry. And as some random person once said, procrastination is like masturbation – its fun at the time, but later on you realize you've screwed yourself.

Alright, I'll just get this over with. I wish the next bit could be happier, with sparkles and glitter and ponies, but there are no ponies in my life. (Awwwww…)

Ready?

Set?

DIE FANG DIE.

I crashed into the freezing water.

Basically, it felt like somebody had stabbed a bunch of red-hot needles all over my. My skin instantly felt like it was on fire. For the record, that is not a nice sensation. I didn't have time to worry about drowning, though, because the current was incredibly fast, and the next thing I knew, I was going over Niagara Falls. I love Canada.

My fall wasn't even graceful.

It should have been dramatic and graceful and all pretty, but no, I've got to look like a total idiot. At least Romeo looked hot when he died.

Instead, I was a writhing mass of a person as I was thrown off the cliff and did yet another free-fall towards the jagged rocks below. You know, when my Mom said to survive January, I had no freaking idea this is what she meant. She could've at least dropped me a hint.

I didn't even have time to think, Well, shit, before I crashed into the bottom of the river.

Now that hurt.

Just so you now, dropping into water from a large height is quite similar to jumping into concrete. As I tumbled through the crashing water, I was so numb I couldn't move. (You know when you sit still for a long time and your foot falls asleep and you hit it over and over because it's really funny how you can't feel anything? Image that all over your body.)

I went down maybe twenty feet, and it was at that point when I worried about drowning.

Yes, I can swim, but I'm designed for the air. It didn't help that I tried to inhale, which basically meant I was choking on water. It was a totally smooth move on my part. All around me, the crashing of the water kept pushing me down, and I absently remember thinking that I wished I was Percy Jackson at that exact moment. (I look like him, so why I can't I be him? Damn it.)

Either way, I was pumped that I had missed the rocks below and survived. Fang: 1 Canada: 0

And I must comment on the absolute OMFG FREEZING temperature of the water. I mean, water is never warm outside (unless, like, you're in Iceland at those cool hot spring places) and this is in freaking January.

I was a Fang-sicle! Get it? Like a popsicle? ("Get your Fang-sicles now, limited time offer only! They won't survive much longer, so order now and enjoy your bacon-flavored treat!")

Despite how morbid that previous thought was, it was also kind of cool. If I did die and was re-incarnated as a popsicle, I would definitely be bacon-flavored.

…It's really weird how easily I get distracted.

I swam out a few yards to get past the incredible pressure of the pouring water still coming off of the Falls before clawing my way upwards. I burst through the top of the water, and puked out all of the litres of water I'd swallowed. Oh, yes, now that's attractive.

I coughed like mad and managed to wipe my eyes off before the waves dragged me under again. Ugh. Why can't I at least die quickly?

That time, there was only a brief moment of panic before I burst to the top. Where could I go? There wasn't a convenient sign pointing out where half-drowned kids should swim.

It was at that point when I thought I had died.

I thought I was imagining it, but there was this huge boat coming towards me. Since I'd just had my brains half-smashed out of me, I swore it was that guy who ferries dead people along the river Styx. I dog-paddled towards it, thinking that I might as well get the whole inconvenient death thing over with.

And you really want to know the sad part? I'm assuming you've seen the first Twilight movie, Diary. Bella has this line at the end of the movie, and in a dramatic voice-over, and she's all like, "Death is easy – peaceful. Life is harder." And you know what? She's right.

And it is so, so sad, that not only does a Twilight quotation describe my life, but there's the fact that I can quote the Twilight movie directly.

Craptastic.

(Isn't it weird how a Twilight quotation bothers me more than almost dying? It really shows you my priorities.)

I continued my horrible excuse at swimming and treaded water beside the boat. Someone threw me a life preserver, which I grabbed onto. It was at that moment when I realized where I was, seeing as a bunch of people clad in what looked like blue garbage bags were leaning off the side of the boat and taking frantic pictures. I highly doubt that Heaven or Hell have tourists.

The side of the boat read Maid of the Mist – it was the famous boat that went right up to the Falls for tourists- and a bunch of people started to haul me up to the deck. Once they dragged me over the edge of the boat, I fell down into an unimpressive heap.

Which was when it happened.

And you want to know the killer part? This is all happening on a Friday. And everyone knows that after Monday and Tuesday, the rest of the week goes W T F.

If you recall, before I launched after Max when was about to cross the border, the Flock and I had a brief conversation. We had figured a bunch of stuff out, just like a puzzle. (But one of those stupid impossible puzzles when all the pieces blend together. Those are the puzzles that make me feel like a total fool.)

You see, Itex can change our DNA, but they can't do it from far away. They can, however, change our DNA at set up pre-determined locations where they know we'll be – such as over Niagara Falls.

I know, I know. Assholes.

But why Niagara Falls, and why the power plant? Well, they knew the fall wouldn't kill us – but electricity, combined with water, would.

It's like how you have to get out of a pool when there's a lightning storm coming, you know? (Not that that's ever happened to me, of course. It was on an episode of The OC.)

Itex did it perfectly. Right after their trap had been set off, there would be a horrible, disastrous "accident" at the Sir Adam Beck power station that would involve extreme amounts of electricity being pumped through the river.

The whole Flock should have been in the river when it became electric. But Itex didn't count on the fact that only one of us fell, and that I was rescued too quickly.

Because right as I fell onto the deck, the river became live with electricity.

It was actually pretty cool. It was as if small lightning bolts were dancing over and in the water. The Maid of the Mist must've been made of some sort of electricity-resistant material, like some sort of advanced rubber, because we weren't zapped and turned into bite-sized pieces of ash. There were, however, screams from both sides of the border as the river lit up. It only lasted for about five seconds, but it would've been enough to kill anyone in the river.

"What the hell?" A woman dressed in the captain's uniform came charging towards me. She grabbed my hand and supported me as I stood shaking and dripping wet. (I looked like a wet dog, and probably smelled like one, too.) "How did you manage to live through that?"

Good question.

"Because that's how I roll," I said, and puked on the deck. My badassness just went down.

"Let's get you into the cabin and into some new clothes," the woman said, grabbing me by the shoulder and helping me walk through an aisle of clamouring tourists. "You'll freeze to death."

I was actually really looking forward to getting out of my clothes (no, not that way) when once again, there was an unexpected development.

It was at that point when Max landed right in front of us.

Oh, snap, that's right.

"I think you have something of mine," she said, grinning at the captain. Max strode right over to me, grabbed me in her arms, and launched upwards, just like that. I could hear dozens of cameras going off, and I even saw flashes from both sides of the border. If I had been dressed better, I would've felt like a movie star. (But then again, I've seen some celebrities dress like their closet was the trash can.)

"You suck," Max yelled over the freezing and intense rush of air, which was such a classic thing for Max to say. I would've replied with some sort of witty and snarky comment, but my lips had pretty much frozen together in coldness.

She flew back over the Falls, being very careful to stay on the Canadian side. She flew for about five minutes of silence before landing in a forest where the rest of the Flock was anxiously waiting.

She let me out of her arms, and I almost collapsed, but she caught me. I felt like the damsel in distress, but without the cool dress they always wear. (Did I really just say that?)

"Fang!" she said as she sat me down. "Are you okay?"

Um, no. Next question. I opened my mouth to speak, but I couldn't say anything,

"You pushed him over the border!" Iggy accused. Aw, craptastic, now they were going to fight. This was so not needed.

"I didn't know!" Max yelled back, kicking some snow around. Iggy must've filled her in on what we'd figured out about Itex. "How the hell was I supposed to know the border was rigged?"

"You didn't have to push him!" Iggy said, stepping forwards, with his eyes flashing.

"I'm sorry!"

"Say that to him!"

"I think we have other things to worry about!" That was Angel, always the practical one. "If we don't get Fang out of those clothes, he'll freeze."

"Here." Iggy dug around in his backpack for some of the clothes we'd stolen from Wal-Mart. He threw them at me. "Do you need help?"

I slowly shook my head, shivering like mad. I gradually stood up, grabbed the clothes, and changed behind some trees. After ditching the sopping clothes, I felt a million times better, but I still happily sat dangerously close to the campfire someone had started.

"We should cross farther upriver, where we did before," Nudge said, which was actually a pretty smart idea. (Remember, her last two ideas ended in disasters. Next thing you know, she's going to suggest a coup d'état in some sort of small European country.) "But we need to get back to Arizona as soon as possible."

"Are you okay to fly?" Max asked, turning to me.

I nodded. "Yeah. My wings are okay now. I don't know what Itex did to me."

Max gave a weak smile. "I'm sorry for what I did," she said softly.

"It's alright," I said, staring into the fire, since it was rather hypnotic and I was still thawing myself out. "Really."

"I don't believe you," she said, standing up, and disappearing off into the trees. Um, okay, that was a random exit.

We stayed by the fire for another hour until I had completely dried up. After we'd smothered the flames, we launched upwards and crossed the border upriver. (Yes, I'll admit I was terrified when I re-crossed the border, but I just pictured a pound of bacon on the other side beckoning to me. Sadly, it worked.)

The fly back to Arizona was tense and long and incident-less, seeing as we skipped around Kansas since Iggy now shudders when we mention that particular state (even though the tiger incident was completely his fault). The only strange thing I noticed was how close Max flew to me.

Wait, I lied- something did happen.

We were somewhere in Freaking Nowhere, Nevada, and getting ready for bed when Iggy suddenly fell to his knees and gasping in pain. When he looked up at us, he was blind again. Itex had taken away his sight, since I've come to the conclusion that a bunch of douches run that company.

"Well, this sucks," he said, before going right to bed.

After that, the rest of the flight was short. It only took us another half-day to land in the forest at the back of Dr. M's house. We were relieved to see there was a home –we had no idea what to expect.

It felt weird to keep coming back to a "home". It was always this creepy yet welcoming feeling. (You know, I bet that's how pedophiles are described, too.) But at least when we walked in the door in the late evening, we smelled some sort of chocolatey goodness.

"You're home!" Dr. M had just pulled out a rack of a dozen chocolate cupcakes from the oven. (Believe it or not, guys like chocolate just as much as girls. We just hide it better.)

"Yeah," Max said, which was pretty much the only thing she could say, seeing as that was a rather one-sided greeting. Dr. M swept Max up into a big hug before moving on to the rest of us while Total jumped up into Angel's arms.

There was an uncomfortable silence before Max asked, "So how's the married life?"

"It's only been a few days," Dr. M said, grinning as leaned against the back of the couch bordering onto the kitchen. "But I love it."

Wait a second. She emphasized the word it, not the word love-

Oh.

I get it.

Awk-ward.

Max caught on right as I did. "Oh, yeah, right."

Dr. M realized her faux pas and blushed. She wisely changed the subject as she grabbed a can of icing from the cupboard. She placed it next to the cupcakes and turned back to us. "So how did Canada go?"

We all exchanged What do we tell her? looks.

"It was… useless. We didn't learn a thing." Max's frustration crept into her voice sort of like how I creep Max's Facebook profile. (Completely unrelated metaphor FOR THE WIN.)

And yes, she does have Facebook. I think she just wanted to monitor my online activity.

"I'm sure you learned something," she said, trying to do the Mom thing and cheer us up. At least she had recovered from her Bridezilla phase. "For example, you know that Canada has nothing to do with Itex's funds." She paused and looked thoughtful. "So at least you've removed that variable."

"I guess." Max sighed. "But I'm going to bed. I'm so tired I can't even shove one of those cupcakes in my mouth, and that's just pathetic."

"Totally," Gazzy said, catching on to Max's yawn. "G'night, everyone."

We all followed Max down the hall to our appropriate rooms, and we were barely able to make it to our beds before we crashed.

The following days were horrible. None of us knew what to do – we were practically expecting some sort of WBN to burst into the house and tell us who was behind all of this. (And ninjas randomly bursting into the house would make my day.)

Still, considering the hell we went through on the first day of January, it felt weird to go through an entire day without almost dying (score!).

Iggy and Ella were in that awkward pre-dating situation. It was weird – Iggy could always tell when Ella was in the room and when she was looking at him. He'd make the best creeper ever.

Luckily, Nudge took it all well, and even cornered Ella and told her that if she hurt Iggy then Nudge herself would punch Ella in the face. After that, both girls hugged and promised to go to the movies together sometime. (Do I understand girls? No. Will I even try? Of course not.)

So all in all, we wasted a ton of time, and Max was worrying herself to death.

But that was before tonight.

It was totally foreboding and weird and unexpected, but I woke up at three in the morning for no apparent reason. And me waking up at three in the morning for no apparent reason is like seeing a shark in the water and swimming up to it and hugging it and naming it Bob.

I rolled around all restlessly for a while, but I eventually just gave up and let my thoughts do whatever they wanted. Naturally, they floated over to our current situation.

Why would someone be blocking Itex's money? Why was Itex developing a DNA-changing technology? Why sending us all the way to Canada to die?

And the thing is, it all sucked because it was probably going to be coming back to money. Everything is about money, and that's stupid, because money is a bunch of coins and bills and digital numbers. But what's to gain from doctoring Itex's funds?

And that's when it clicked.

I got it.

Everything.

We just hadn't been wording the situation right. Because once I thought about it, I understood who was messing with Itex's money. It was all about the wording of the situation that messed us up, and it was completely coincidental.

The doctoring of the funds.

I have all the evidence and logic I need. There are so many instances where I should've picked it up, and all of them have been recorded here, in you, Diary, but I never re-read you and I always missed the clues. I'll explain later.

There was so much evidence… from Agnes to Canada to cupcakes, we never realized how close this betrayal was. My Mom was right. Remember that the people closest to you are the ones who hurt the most.

It's six o'clock in the morning right now, and I figured this out only three hours ago. Even writing this down, everything makes so much sense! I'm tempted to go wake up the Flock, but there's one very special reason why I'm worried about telling Max who's the ultimate villain.

I can't believe it, but I know I'm right.

Our number one enemy is none other than her mother, Doctor Valencia Martinez.

-Fang

37. January 16 2010

A/N- Did you know that "rex" means "king" in Latin? So a Tyrannosaurus-Rex is KING OF THE DINOASAURS. MY MIND WAS BLOWN.

Random: when I was five or something, I really, really wanted to be a spy, so I dressed up as one. My parents were able to snap a picture of me, and years later, I came across it and laughed crazily, so I put it on Facebook. Everyone commented on how cute I was, except for one friend. He said: "Okay, everyone is saying that this is really cute. I'm going to walk a different path and say that i think it is creepy. Imagine walking by your house and there's this little creeper kid crouching down watching you with a big smile on her face. Creeper."

I posted the picture in my profile; is it that creepy? (I think I agree with him. I would be totally freaked if I saw a kid doing that.) I'll delete the picture in a week or so.

Reviewer of the Week:

mebeemmy: How's he supposed to tell Max? She'll think it was one of these really annoying jokes when the punchline's always 'your mom'...

Max: Who is the enemy?
Fang: Your mom.
Max: -whacks Fang-

Comment of the Week:

A teacher, about Taylor Lautner: Is it weird that I'm attracted to a seventeen-year-old?


January 16th, 2010

Dear Diary,

READ THIS, FANG, READ THIS.

(You'll understand later. Just read it, okay?)

Alright. Let me say it now so I can get it over with: Dr. M is the biggest Bitch Queen ever. Haha, Bitch Queen totally reminded me of Dairy Queen, but less delicious.

Damn it, I can't even last one sentence without get sidetracked.

Okay. I can do this. But really, this is probably the most important entry of my life, and that sucks more than a blowfish. Do blowfish even suck, or do they blow? (GODDAMN IT KEEP ON TRACK FANG.)

You won't believe what just happened. It might seem confusing and messed and totally craptastic, but this is my life. And the real irony of the situation is that it all comes back to you, Diary. You're the way out of this mess.

It's ten o'clock. I only have two hours to write this before everything disappears.

Let's start from right where the last entry left off, shall we?

Obviously, I couldn't fall asleep last night, because I was more awake then at the time I was at the midnight opening of New Moon. Instead, I went over and over the evidence I had against Dr. M. I need to write this down – you'll see why later, Diary. (I totally realize I'm acting all mysterious, but mysterious guys are hot, right?)

As for the evidence, I need to rifle through past entries to prove my point. The evidence…the truth… it's been in you the whole time, Diary.

First: We never told Dr. M why we were going to Canada. I quote from my January fifteenth entry:

"For example, you know that Canada has nothing to do with Itex's funds." She paused and looked thoughtful. "So at least you've removed that variable."

I even wrote that she paused. She realized her mistake and tried to cover it. But no, Detective Fang is on her case!

Second: She and Jeb got married so, so quickly. They got engaged over a one-month time span, too. I quote from November third:

Dr. M smiled and clung onto Jeb a little tighter. There was something very, very wrong: they were too close and they were smiling too much. Their expressions on their faces looked almost… sheepish. Dr. M eventually broke the strange silence. "We're getting married," Dr. M said.

See? Again, I noticed that they both looked sheepish. Jeb has got to be connected with Itex, and Dr. M is using him to get to whatever she wants. That bitch be crazy. (Say that last line while doing a Z-snap. You'll feel cool. Trust me.)

Third: Dr. M has been a total witch before she got married, but especially towards me. From December nineteenth:

You know, Dr. M would be a fantastic dictator. Like, Dictator of Hell or something. Honestly, she was taking this wedding thing way too far. It was sort of freaky, actually. Yesterday I was addressing envelopes, and I had to get up to go to the bathroom, and she snapped, "Where do you think you're going?"

There's something that I'm not supposed to find, and it's in the house. She was totally micromanaging our lives. Hell, if she wasn't getting married, I would've punched her in the face.

Fourth: Dr. M was against me before she got engaged to Jeb. Remember when Agnes went all crazy? From September thirtieth, right after I spazzed at Agnes for hitting on me:

"What do you mean, not necessary?" Dr. M asked, shocked. Her hands were pressed under the table, obviously not understanding how Agnes could let me off the hook for my outburst. "He should pay for that!"

I'm thinking that there's something under the table, and I bet it's got to do with controlling Agnes. Was it a coincidence Agnes was only shooting at me? (Unless, perhaps, she's just crazy and ornery and horny. That's a possibility, too.)

Fifth: I've commented a bunch of times that Dr. M has bitten back her words. For example, on Christmas, when Iggy and I went a little crazy with the bakon vodka (to say the least):

Dr. M nearly snarled at us. "Take a cold shower. Drink coffee. Dance. Do whatever the hell you want, but sober up, and do it fast. You'll get and exchange your gifts tomorrow."

I knew for a fact that time was the only thing that could sober someone up, but I decided to shut up. Dr. M looked like she wanted to add something, but she spun out of the room so quickly I barely saw her blink.

I bet she wanted to give up her act right then and there, but she was able to hold it back. Skillz. (And yeah, "skills" needs to be written with a z because it looks hardcore that way.)

Sixth: This one might be a little far-fetched, but think about it. From yesterday:

"You're home!" Dr. M had just pulled out a rack of a dozen chocolate cupcakes from the oven.

Why make a dozen cupcakes for three people? It's as if she knew the second we would be home and tried to influence us. The cupcakes always tell the truth!

Seventh: She bought us sunglasses when we went off to California. From October tenth:

Suddenly, Dr. M's hands flew to her mouth. "Oh! I almost forgot!" She rummaged around in a cloth bag that was sitting on the couch. She fished out six pairs of sunglasses and tossed a pair to each of us.

"I bought these for you guys," she said. Was she tearing up a bit? Oh, this could get awkward. "It's really sunny up in the sky, and I don't want your eyes to hurt."

Remember how I became possessed just after we left the house? And how when someone is possessed, their eyes become only black? By giving me sunglasses, no one could tell I was possessed. Now that was a brilliant-evil-genius move, I'll admit it.

Eighth: Adults always screw us over. End of story.

So there we go.

That's it.

Now, all I needed to do is go tell Max that her Mom is the person we've been trying to hunt down (and presumably kill) from day one. Oh, that'll go over like sparkles and rainbows, I just know it.

But then I made the biggest mistake of my life.

Not even a funny mistake, like plugging "London" into a GPS and ending up in Ontario instead of England.

But I knew that Max would hate me forever if I falsely accused her Mom. So I did the stupidest thing ever: I decided to approach Dr. M. Alone.

Dun dun dun dunnnnnn. (That was supposed to be Beethoven's 5th Symphony, in case you couldn't tell.)

Everyone else in the house – even Total and Ella's dog, whatever its name was – had decided to spend the night in Phoenix since there was a huge outdoor concert going on. Dr. M said she had too much work to go, and I… well, I needed time to accost her.

"Are you sure you don't want to come?" Max asked as she zipped up her jacket. "It's going to be great, and its outdoors, which is even better."

"I just need to do something," I replied, smiling softly. "Have a good time, okay? And be careful. I can't save your ass from back here."

She shot me a glare and laughed as she walked down the steps.

I sighed and shut my eyes. This was it. It was a risky move, talking to Dr. M on my own, but I had to be one-hundred-percent sure that Dr. M was the bad guy. She was sitting innocently at the table, going over some paperwork.

Looking back on the moment, I should have killed her then.

Huh, that was weird. I just had a total random craving for chocolate. Mmm… I'm starving, I missed dinner… ugh, I'm doing it again!

But naturally, I didn't kill her, since the state of Arizona looks down on killing people for no reason. Instead, I sat down opposite her and folded my hands on the table. She looked up from her work and smiled. "Want some?" She pushed a plate of warm, chewy chocolate chip cookies in front of me.

I was stuck with a horrible decision.

Interrogate her…

Cookies…

Question her…

Cookies…

Attack her…

Cookies…

"Is there anything wrong?" she asked, and her voice and mannerisms were perfectly calm, controlled, and normal. I remember thinking that I would probably never see her like this again, and part of me didn't want to give up my mother figure. It would be so easy, to just live out my last months happily, instead of fighting and grasping and still dying-

But no.

"With all due respect," I said, smiling sweetly, "Fuck off."

Snap that.

"Language!" she barked before her eyes instantly narrowed. She realized what she was doing, and her eyes widened again, and she blinked a lot. "What are you talking about?"

I started to pick at my nails. "So why are you taking Itex's money, hmm? Want to save a little money to buy your own Caribbean island? Want to get revenge on someone? The choices are endless when you're a bitch."

Haha. The choices are endless when you're a bitch. I actually really like that line.

"I don't understand," she said, and the look on her face was so convincing there was a second when my stomach dropped and I doubted myself. But then, for a split second, her mask dropped.

I got her.

"You tried to kill us," I said, leaning forward earnestly. "Your own daughter. Was that really necessary? Man, you're a perfect textbook case for people studying whack jobs, you know."

She didn't respond and stared right at me.

"I don't get it. Please, enlighten me. You're taking Itex's money, you sent us to Canada, and you're trying to kill us. Why not kill us directly? You don't want to get your hands bloody? You of all people know that bloodied hands never come clean."

She looked down at the table as if it was made of bacon. (Furniture made out of bacon? That would be awesome! You could be sitting at home watching Gossip Gi- a football game, when BAM, you're hungry, so you take a bite out of the couch! How great is that? I'm totally going to patent that.)

"And why marry Jeb?" Something occurred to me, and another puzzle piece clicked. "Max wasn't conceived through artificial insemination, was she? You said that you donated an egg and Jeb donated sperm… but no, you screwed each other, didn't you? And then you donated Max to Itex because of Jeb…"

I found her weak point – Jeb.

She snapped. It was actually kind of funny. One second, she's a Mom. The next second, she's .

"Don't talk about him!" she snarled, and the next thing I knew, she jumped across the table and tackled me to the ground.

Yes, that's right, that just happened.

For a woman who looks like she could be blown over by the wind, she certainly does pwn me pretty gosh darn well.

I figured her out right as my head snapped against the wooden floor. Dr. M must've modified her own DNA, because there was no way she could have moved so quickly and with such strength.

She straddled me and grasped my neck with her hand, strangling me. "Jeb is nothing but a bastard."

I kneed her in the chest, throwing her off of me. I launched myself at her and we both stumbled back and hit the counter. "So it is about revenge," I said, slamming her head into the cupboard with one hand. With the other hand, I clumsily reached for the cutlery drawer. (I bet IKEA never expected their kitchens to be used like this.)

Dr. M knew what I was doing. She pushed me, and I stumbled back, which gave her time to dig out a steak knife from the drawer. "But why the money?" I asked as I dropped to the floor. Her knife went whizzing over my head and clattered to the floor after hitting the wall. I kicked out my foot, catching her in the knee, and she fell.

"A magician never reveals her secrets," she said. She was too fast for me and jumped me yet again; she trapped me in exactly the same position as before. She was sitting on top of me, with one hand strangling me. "How'd you figure me out? I was good."

Um, lady, in order for me to respond, I sort of need to be able to breathe. She frowned, realizing this, and I gasped for air as her clasp lessened.

"You're good, I'm better," I said, because that's something Chuck Norris would say. I tried to throw her off of me, but her hand tightened again.

Her mouth twisted up. "Now that I think of it, I'm going to keep you alive for now." Okay, that was good. She continued talking. "You know what I'm going to do?"

I didn't respond. Well, I couldn't, since my face was turning a stylish blue.

"I can't have you crawling back to Max and telling her everything, but I can't kill you either." The question in my eyes was answered seconds later. "Do you know what lacunar amnesia is?"

Uh, duh, of course not. I flunked out of Med School.

She leaned down close to me, and for a horrible second, I thought she was going to kiss me. (Had Jeb's previous pedostache rubbed off on her?) At the last second, she turned and whispered in my ear, "It's the memory loss of a specific event."

My stomach dropped. I knew exactly what she about to do. Way to suck, Dr. M. Way to suck.

"I have the ability," she said, "to modify the very shape of your brain. With a twitch of my hand, I can modify the hippocampus of your brain…which means that you'll forget everything from the last twenty-four hours. When Max and everyone else get home, I'll explain how you had a horrible, horrible accident, and hit your head, and lost some memory… but not much, of course."

If I lost the last twenty-four hours, I would lose the time when I figured out Dr. M was evil.

She was erasing her footsteps.

Thinking back on her speech, what the hell is the word "hippocampus"? Those are two completely different words. Who was the guy to say, "Hey, let's take the words hippo and campus and put them together to mean a part of the brain!" That's like saying a kitchen appliance is called a narwhalelevator.

…Let's forget about that last paragraph, okay?

Dr. M reached back with the other hand and grasped under the table. When she pulled it back out, she was holding the same type of remote the Flock had seen at the Itex headquarters in California.

Man, she was good. But I did absently notice that I had destroyed her perfect hairdo. Oh, yeah, that totally counts as getting a hit on her.

I started to thrash about as she dialled in numbers and switched gears, but I was running out of air. "It's a shame," she said. "That this doesn't work instantaneously. Oh, look at that! It'll cut off your memory at midnight tonight. You'll instantly fall asleep and wake up tomorrow morning, thinking that it's January sixteenth, but I'll tearfully explain that you were unconscious for a whole day and I was barely able to save you."

She looked down at me pitifully. "I always knew you were the smartest out of them all."

I managed to say, "Does that mean I get some sort of flowers and chocolates as a reward? For the record, I hate dark chocolate."

She slapped me.

Next, she jerked me up and led me down the hall by my throat, which was majorly painful. As we arrived at my room, the words from my Mom clicked: Dr. M had been the ultimate betrayer so close to us all.

Max will be destroyed when she finds out.

But I still can't believe I approached Dr. M alone… It's the worst mistake I ever made. (The second worst was the time when I used Max's underwear to start a fire when we were out in the wilderness when we were ten. That was not a good day.)

Still holding me, Dr. M grabbed all of the pens, pencils, and paper in the room and threw them out into the hall, followed by her grabbing my laptop and placing it right outside my door. "I'd smash it, but it'd be impossible to explain it," she reasoned.

After carefully checking through the room – still holding me by the neck – she relaxed. "The windows are storm windows, and are locked from the outside, just so you know," she commented, smiling. "I've been predicting this. I've always been one step ahead. It's only seven o'clock now; you've got five hours before today never happened. You'll pass out instantly at midnight. Go ahead and try to get out. I'll see you in the morning!" She slammed the door shut and I heard the snap of the lock.

And then, from the opposite side of the door came the ultimate betrayal. "Max has never and will never love you!"

…Woah.

That's officially number one on the list of Top Ten Ways to Piss Fang Off. (Number two is taking my bacon away.)

She walked down the hall, laughing like a total stereotypical villain. Can't she at least be a tad bit original?

Well, then, there I was.

In my defence, I tried as hard as possible to break out of the room. For hours I smashed myself against the window and door, but neither gave way. I even gave a little thought to pulling a MacGyver and digging my way out, but that was impossible. There was no way out.

And that's when I remembered.

Dr. M doesn't know about you, Diary. No one does, except for Max, and even she's probably forgotten about it.

You were her only mistake.

And that's what I've been doing for the past while. I wrote down absolutely everything in the hope that one day, I'll re-read this entry and realize that Dr. M is the bad guy.

HEY! FUTURE FANG! READ ME!

…Ha ha. Right. There's no way that's going to work. As I said in my very first entry:

You know, I'm going to promise to myself right now that under no circumstances am I going to re-read this diary. I don't want to read about how much of a freak I am.

I screwed myself over from the very beginning.

But then again, you might be able to save the day, Diary. Maybe if something comes over me and I feel like I just have to read this entry, then we can apprehend her… and save my life while we're at it.

You know, it also really sucks that I'm going to forget about my bacon-furniture idea. Damn it. I could've been a millionaire…

There's no other way to leave myself a message; I can't rip a piece of paper out of you and hide it somewhere because Dr. M is sure to search the room thoroughly. But there's no way she would find a reason to search through an average book.

It's 11:59. I have one minute.

I'll say goodbye now, and hide you away on the shelf.

All I have to do now is remember.

-Fang

38. January 22 2010

A/N- In Environmental Science one day, I got bored while reading a package about wastewater treatment facilities. On the top of the page I wrote, "BACON IS ATTACKING" and drew pieces of bacon firing bazookas and flamethrowers at the plant, which now had flames and smoke spewing from it. Basically, it was awesome.

Then, a few nights ago, I was studying for my upcoming test, when my Mom walked over to talk to me. She looked down at my page, and was just like, "Bacon is what?" I just threw back my head and laughed.

Reviewer of the Week:

MagnusMinion: …And my iTunes was on shuffle and "Thriller" by Michael Jackson came on. I totally expected you the Creeper Child to pop out and kill me. Thanks a lot.

Comment of the Week:

The Facebook status of the same person who said that picture of me was creepy: Dear Biology: That dark figure at the end of the bed with a gun pointed at you.... Yeah, that's me. Sweet dreams.


January 22nd, 2010

Dear Diary,

YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE WHAT I FOUND OUT.

This is unbelievable.

I can't believe I didn't figure it out before. Wow. Just… wow. It makes so much sense, you know? It's about as obvious as Albert Einstein in the middle of a rave party. I can't believe I missed it, because once you go back and look at the facts, the truth is what glares right back at you. I feel like a fool, but at least I've figured it out now-

Dr. M must put marijuana in her cookies.

There is no freaking way they can taste that good without illegal substances in them.

I figured this out about halfway through my seventh gooey, warm, succulent (I'll admit I just shivered) chocolate chip cookie. And yes, I contemplated selling my soul if I could have a never-ending supply of these cookies.

But ohmyfreakingGod, words cannot describe the wonder. Bacon is edible sex; cookies are edible orgasms. Think about it. Bacon lasts longer and involves foreplay, while cookies, like orgasms, are over in a second.

…I am such a perverted child.

Cookies… and orgasms? In the same sentence?

My apologies, Cookie Monster, I have forever tainted your image.

But Dr. M was totally amazing about the whole cookie thing. You see, me, being a complete spaz, slipped on some water while I was cooking, wiped out, whammed my head, and basically made a fool over myself.

Dr. M was the only one around at the time, so she made sure I was okay and put me in bed. And basically, ever since then, she's practically been waiting on me hand-and-foot to make sure I recover. It's awesome; everyone needs their own personal cook.

Dr. M is awesome. I can't believe I was every angry at her for the whole wedding thing.

The thing is, since I've had a lot of time off (from what, I have no idea), so I've started to read the newspapers and try to make some sort of heads-or-tails of the month's events. From the New Yorker came this small blurb:

Police are still dumbfounded as to the cause of the massive New York City blackout back on January first. Officials were surprised to find that only the NYC power grid was blacked out, and other areas were completely untouched.

And then, from an Ontario newspaper:

So who or what is the mystery surrounding Niagara Falls? Most of North America has seen the famous video of the figure falling off of the Falls, but no one has yet to offer an explanation how the person managed to fly away…

Yeah, you read that last paragraph right, Diary. "The famous video" happened to be taken by a tourist from the Maid of the Mist and showed me in all my glory tumbling over the Falls. In my defence, I already have eight million views on Youtube. "You could've at least tried to look cool," Nudge had muttered as the digital me smashed into the digital water. It was so weird seeing me make a fool of myself over and over and over.

So other than reading newspapers, my main source of entertainment has been cookies. I think I'd like to wipe out more often.

Still, the only sucky thing about my graceful (sarcasm) accident was that I completely lost my short-term memory, but all in all, that's not a big deal when you consider what could have happened. I'm just lucky Dr. M was around.

And the other awesome part about being a spaz?

Being able to play the sympathy card.

"Arrggg," I groaned from the couch as I heard Max step into the kitchen. This actually happened just this morning – I'll fully admit I stretched out the whole ordeal for extra cookies. "Ughh… my head…oh, poor, poor, me… I'm sure a full-body massage would help me so, so much…"

"Do you really expect me to believe that?" Max asked. I couldn't see her, but I heard the fridge door open and close in rapid succession. "I bet if some random person breaks into the house and tries to kill us, then there will suddenly be a wondrous miracle and you'll feel marvellously better." She perched on the arm of the couch, but I had my eyes closed.

"Are you really expecting some random person to break into the house and try to kill us? Please, we're above that. They would be hardcore pirates with katanas." Well, actually, they'd be ninjas. Whatever.

OH ME GOSH.

(I totally meant to say "Oh my gosh" but the Irish accent crept in there somehow, and I hate crossing words out in you, Diary, because it looks like some poor stickman bled to death on the page.)

YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD BE SO COOL?

Pinjas.

Pirate ninjas.

HAHAHAHAHA.

I really hope no one's thought of that before me, because it's a brilliant idea, thank you very much. But you can't get more legit than pinjas. (I have to admit, "pinja" sounds like a Spanish snack food. Are Nirates better? Nah, that sounds that a chemical.)

But I think I should get back to the conversation Max and I had. I literally think it's impossible for me to stay on the same topic for more than a page without some totally unnecessary side note. (My notes are just as unnecessary as Jacob randomly stripping off his shirt when Bella got that little cut – OH MY GOD I'M DOING IT AGAIN.)

"Are you expecting pirates or something? I thought I said no pirates." I opened one of my eyes and found an amused Max staring down at me. "They have an annoying tendency to steal the loot and mutiny against me."

"But they have cool parrots."

"I agree. The parrots are cool."

Yeah, that's right. My attempt at flirting involves parrots.

"So you won't believe who I was talking to last night on Facebook." This caught my interest, and my other eye popped open. I had a feeling this wasn't going to go in my favour.

"Oh?"

"Yeah." She paused. "Aren't you going to ask who it was?"

Ugh, darn, she called me out. In my gut, I knew who she was talking to…and my gut is always right. (Especially when my gut says it wants bacon. Then, it's faultless.) My voice was accidentally sarcastic. "Who?"

"You remember Sam, right?"

OF COURSE I REMEMBER THE BASTARD.

"Yeah, actually, I do." Oh, and by the way, I knocked him out and sent him to the hospital. "He's a cool guy."

I must tell you, saying those last four words was about as painful as threading a needle through my tongue. (Eww…) But I knew Max appreciated it. "What's up with him?"

"Did you know he's in Arizona?"

"Get out." My voice was stupidly bland, and Max totally saw something was wrong. Max and I have this thing where we can tell when the other person is "off". This ability should be romantic, but it sucks when I just want to be emo. (That previous sentence was a joke, Diary. If I'm emo, so is Selena Gomez.)

"What's up? You don't like him? Why not? Don't tell me you're jealous."

How in the world could she possibly get it so accurate? If she told me to pick a number between one and ten, and I' picked "tomato," then she would guess it spot on. She's freaky like that. "Me? Jealous? Psssh. That's like saying Chuck Norris can feel pain – ridiculous and slightly insulting at the same time."

She laughed. "Of course. Anyways, I'm meeting him for lunch."

"Oh, really?" WHATWHATWHAT?

"Yeah, it's going to be great."

"Where are you going?" I'm going to stake out the place and punch him in the face.

"Applebee's."

"What time?" He'll never come out of there alive.

"One."

"Cool." I've already chosen my weapon.

"Are you sure? I feel sort of bad about leaving you here alone after that accident." She put a hand on my shoulder, which caused my heart to leap out of my chest. "But it's not as if it's… a date." She said the word like diarrhea. "I just want to chat with him."

Oh, come on. Forty-year-old ladies with Chihuahuas chat. Two teenagers make out. I'm not totally crazy. (Only, like, ninety percent.)

"That's fine with me. Say hi for me."

"Of course." She patted my shoulder again. (How could she not hear my heart pounding out of my chest?) "But I'll get going now."

"Already?" I glanced at my watch; it was 12:30. Time flies by really, really fast when you're shoving cookies in your mouth. Try running on a treadmill for one minute and then stuffing your face with cookies for a minute. Which one is more awesome? Yeah, I thought so.

"Yeah. We're catching the 12:40 bus together."

"And you're going to the Applebee's downtown, right? Not the one in the south end?"

"Yeah. Why do you care?"

"No reason. Just curious." Curious so I wouldn't bomb the wrong Applebee's.

"Okay, sounds good. I'll see you later." She got up from the couch and grabbed her jacket before waving and leaving the house. The door banged harshly behind her. I noticed that as she moved, her hair curled around her shoulders, and her jeans were rather hip-hugging today... let's just say that after a few more descriptive sentences, I'm glad Angel wasn't home at that precise moment.

As soon as the door shut, I sprang into action. I flew off of the couch, shedding blankets as I went and changed into new clothes. (I may or may not have been wearing the same shirt for three days.)

Within two minutes I was outside and flying. As I glanced down, I saw Max waiting at the bus stop, and I smirked.

So, yeah, I officially hit a new creeper level.

I was just going to keep an eye on Sam and Max to make sure he didn't hurt her or anything, since there was no way he was going to be pulling any moves today.

My motives were purely for Max's personal safety, and had absolutely nothing to do with my own feelings, of course.

Not at all.

(Liar.)

I beat Max and Sam to Applebee's by a good twenty minutes. In order to stake out their arrival, I hid out in a bush. (Yeah. A bush. You wouldn't believe the stares I got.) The restaurant was in the middle of downtown, too, which made it even weirder. (Me and Weird are like Paris and Nicole.)

Basically, just as I was about to stand up, since my legs felt like they were on fire, I saw Max and Sam walk over to the entrance of the restaurant.

He held the door open for her.

Asshole.

As they disappeared through the doorway, I knelt down and ran across the street, looking like a total douche since I was dressed in all black looking like a ninja in the middle of the day in the middle of the street.

I am so cool.

(Sarcasm, again.)

I waited for a few seconds before slipping through the doorway. The most wonderful smells of over-salted and greasy foods filled my nostrils, and for a second, I was sidetracked. But when I saw a waitress seating Max and Sam in a private booth near the back (well, as private as you can get in Applebee's) I remembered what I was doing.

"Can I help you, sir?" A bored waitress looked at me sceptically. She seemed to match the tacky decor. (Did I really just comment on the decor of a restaurant? How low can I go?) "Oh, right. Welcome to Applebee's."

"Yeah. Um, can you get me that booth right there?" I pointed. "I'll wait there. My…friend is coming later."

She blinked. "Excuse me?"

This wasn't brain surgery. (And even if it was, she should still know freaking brain surgery. It can't be that hard.) "Can you seat me there, but not serve me? I'm waiting for a friend."

"Oh, okay. Follow me." She led me past all of the other tables and sat me down at the booth behind Max and Sam's. You see, the headrests were high enough so that you couldn't see the person in the next booth. As a bonus, Max was sitting in the seat directly behind the one where I was sitting, meaning that she didn't see me as the waitress sat me down.

I glared at Sam as I sat down, but he didn't notice, since that lovesick puppy's eyes were glued to Max's soft, warm, caring face-

"Do you want something to drink?" The waitress asked.

"No. Go away." Eh, screw manners.

The startled waitress did a sort of weird snort and walked over to a table with some five-year-old dancing on the table. I settled down and creeped Max and Sam.

"So," Sam began, "How have you been?"

Max took a moment to answer, no doubt calculating some sort of simple life she never lived. I mean, saying, "Yeah, I'm good, my best friend is going to die in June, and by the way, I have wings," isn't the greatest icebreaker.

"I'm good," she said, "I really like Arizona. It's great to have a relatively warm winter."

"I know what you mean…blah, blah blah, blah…" As you can tell, I zoned out then, Diary. Honestly, everything they talked about was innocent and totally platonic. I mean, you couldn't have picked two more guiltless teenagers in the whole state. I felt like I was in the fifties or something.

That was, until –

"Hey, do you still live with that Nick, er, Alex kid?"

Woah. Do you want to die today, kid?

Even though I couldn't see her, I could tell Max was taken aback. I quickly thought over my escape plan; if Max hinted that she was going to leave, then I'd boot it into the bathroom, where she obviously couldn't go. (Unless she was a pervert, of course.) "I live with Nick, yeah. You remember him?"

"You mean he didn't tell you?"

"Tell me what?"

Stop now, Sam, preferably before I kill you and get arrested and am forced to serve twenty-to-life in some sort of hellish prison where there is a serious lack of cookies.

"Never mind, I'm sure it wasn't him."

"Why, what happened?"

"It wasn't a big deal. I just happened to end up in the hospital."

"What?"

And just like that, Sam spilled the beans on our little encounter that occurred on December eleventh. No matter how much it pains me to say, I agree with Sam; it so wasn't a big deal. It's not like he's dead or anything.

"So let me get this straight," Max said calmly. "He punched you, and then next thing you know, you're in a hospital? That's all you remember?"

"Yeah. I think I blacked out from blood loss."

Silence. I could feel the tension rolling off of Max, and I grimaced. I wasn't going to get away with this. "I've got to go," Max said suddenly, and within the second, she had grabbed her coat and got out of the booth.

I repeat: within the second.

I didn't have time to hide.

As soon as Max stood up, she happened to glance right at me.

Her mouth dropped.

"Fang!" she yelled loudly, catching the attention of anyone within a five-table radius. ("Fang" isn't the most inconspicuous of names, I'll admit it.)

"Fancy seeing you here," I said blandly.

Note to future self: When a girl is pissed, don't add fuel to the fire.

She was pretty much trembling she was so angry. There was a little part of my brain that thought she looked like she was about to transform into a werewolf. She said each word as a sentence, which was a grammatical tragedy. "What. Are. You. Doing. Here?"

"Enjoying my lunch," I said, before looking down at my empty table. This was a total example of how my sarcasm is a defence mechanism, since all I really wanted to do was grab Max and make out with her passionately on one of those Applebee's tables. (I will admit, however, that Applebee's isn't the most romantic place in the world.)

"You followed me here. How could you? Don't you trust me?"

Admit it. That was a cliché sentence.

I couldn't really think of anything that I could possibly say to cover up my tracks, so I sat there stupidly, until Sam finally said, "Your name is Fang?"

"Shut up!" both Max and I yelled at him. By now most of the restaurant was looking at us, and some waiters and waitresses were eyeing us dangerously. (Not eyeing us sexily, but we're-about-to-kick-you-out-ily.)

"We're leaving," Max said to me, and an instinctive part of me wanted to go, "Yes, dear."

"I'll phone!" Sam shouted as we burst through the doors and out into the sunshine.

We hurriedly walked to the bus stop, seeing as we needed to keep up appearances if Sam followed us. Max was fuming, and as soon as we arrived at the blue pole that signified it was a bus stop, and turned on me.

"Did you really just follow me on a date?"

My heart died. "You said it wasn't a date."

Max laughed lightly, which was a good thing. "A lunch date. There's a huge difference between a lunch date and a date date."

"But can a date date lead to a date?"

"No!"

She paused, closed her eyes, and breathed out. She looked down and started to twist the end of her unzippered jacket. "Look, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to spaz at you. It's just… I've been screwing up a lot lately, and I keep getting worse."

What? This conversation had taken a total twist. It's like saying, "Hey, how are you? I like turtles."

"You haven't been messing up!" I said. "Not at all."

"Are you kidding? Fang, we just blacked out New York City, and you just plunged into Niagara Falls! And you're saying I didn't mess up? I'm the one who lost their temper! I pushed you over the border, and that's why you fell. It's my fault, Fang, and let me deal with that!"

"You're just self-pitying yourself! Snap out of it, Max!" That must have been why she agreed to have lunch with Sam. She was just looking for someone to talk to. Or maybe I was just trying to convince myself that. Who knows?

She closed her eyes again. "Look. Let's forget it and move on."

I smiled. "Forgiven, but not forgotten."

The bus came shortly after, and we talked amiably enough during the ride. When I say "amiably" I mean I didn't blast Sam and/or make out with Max. Bummer. (About the latter, not the former, of course.)

We arrived home to find Dr. M hanging up the phone with a slight smile on her face. The smile grew when she saw us walk in the door. "Who was on the phone?" Max asked as she slung off her jacket.

"Hmm? Oh, I just phoned the Red Cross. I donated some money for the Haiti relief fund."

"That's great!" Max said, kissing her Mom lightly. But for some reason, the fact that Dr. M donated to charity sort of felt… weird.

"What's with the weird look, Fang?" Dr. M asked kindly. It took me a moment to realize what she said, since I was watching Max as she walked down the hallway to her room. Dr. M added, "You know, not everything is black or white. Sometimes, life is in shades of grey."

"What do you mean?" Talk about a random comment.

She waved a hand away. "Never mind. And if you see Gazzy, can you tell him to come here? I'm missing some flour, and I'm pretty sure a white Total just sprinted past the window."

I laughed. "Sure thing."

And so, the rest of the day was mainly spent eating more cookies. Gazzy got grounded, Iggy got away free, and Nudge had caught everything on camera. Max hasn't spoken to me since the bus ride, but I'm pretty sure she's finally chilled out.

Right now, I'm sitting in bed, which is where I've spent a lot of time lately since my accident. The only annoying thing is whenever I need to eat, I need to get out of bed. Hey, wait a minute… what if I invented bacon furniture? How cool would that be? The convenience would be astounding!

And why do I get the feeling that someone's already invented it? That's a shame, I could've been a millionaire.

But I guess that's all that happened today. I feel that something is... wrong, but I guess having only a few months left to live will do that to you. I can tell Max is ready to fly to Australia and back in order to find a solution for my expiry date.

But maybe… maybe I should just go with the flow. Maybe everything happens for a reason.

Maybe I'm supposed to die.

Still, I can't help but think back to what Dr. M said.

Not everything is black or white. Sometimes, life is in shades of grey.

-Fang


A/N2- So, this story is past the halfway point now, and I've got some questions:

What's your favourite and least favourite part of the story?

What has been your favourite scene?

Who is your favourite character?

What's your opinion on sex jokes/swearing/the stuff half this story is made of?

If I say, "Duck," what do you say?

What would you like to see happen next in the story?

What do you NOT want to happen?

Do you picture that creeper child writing this story?

ARE YOU SICK OF BACON?

Thank you guys so, so much for making this story work. I really can't thank you guys enough! (Internet bacon props, fo'sho.) (Also, links and emails are taken out of reviews. If you want to send me something or guarantee that I respond to you, feel free to email me.)

39. January 27 2010

A/N- Exam week is actually one of my favourite weeks of the whole year. They make me feel like I'm in Harry Potter. (Get your mind out of the gutter.)

The answers to the questions were really interesting, and there wasn't a consensus on any of the questions. Basically, people are going to kill me whether I keep or drop the bacon. (I am, however, truly sorry to whomever doesn't eat bacon for personal/religious reasons.)

Awesome moment: when my Dad was holding a pot of (only) flames over the sink and quizzing me on fire safety.

Reviewer of the Week:

shadowleaf264: Yesterday, I was washing my hands in the school bathroom when I saw a mysterious device disguised as an automatic hand dryer. Feeling very creeper-child-like, I leaned closer to investigate, and on the Mysterious Device, in very official-looking pen in very official-looking small, curly handwriting, was the legend "free bacon." I half-expected the James Bond theme to randomly play from somewhere, but the only thing that played was "Love Story," by Taylor Swift, which I assume was somebody's ringtone. It still felt like destiny. Anyway, I placed my hands under the bacon-dispenser and waited for the universe to pay homage to my awesomeness, but nothing happened. They must have been out of stock.

Comment of the Week:

A random person: Do you believe in love at first sight? Because if you don't I can walk by again.


January 27th, 2010

Dear Diary,

When I woke up in the morning, I most certainly did not feel like P. Diddy.

Alright, I'll admit that was a shameless reference to that Kesha song "Tik-Tok" which Iggy keeps blasting from the stereo. Other than the song totally and completely giving off the wrong message to young girls, it's addictive. Admit it, and life will be easier.

But man, I had one seriously messed-up night. I had three dreams, which was a first for me. The first one, which seriously disturbed me, consisted off Iggy and lingerie and lipstick and I'd rather not get into that dream.

The second, though, was more nightmare-worthy.

I was in the white room again.

Naturally, I was dressed in all white again. I was looking forward to continuing my dance lessons. I shifted my weight from my toes to my feet, anxiously waiting for my Mom to come. I heard a cough from behind me. I turned, grinning.

She wasn't there.

Someone else was.

It was Jeb.

I jerked upright, sweating, and all because of Jeb. (Ughh, don't say it Diary, don't say it.) But why would Jeb appear in my dreams? It's not like he's been around too much.

And then there was the third dream.

There wasn't a build-up. All of a sudden, I was in the banquet hall where the reception for Dr. M's wedding was held. Max was in my arms and we were whisking around the dance hall to our own private song.

No one else was in the building.

We were both dressed impeccably. My suit must've been worth a fortune, and Max's dress belonged in fashion magazines. We were both wearing the necklaces I'd made for her birthday. The thing I noticed the most was that we were both much older than we are now. We looked like we were going on twenty. Nineteen, definitely.

"This is perfect," Max whispers, and I dip her so low her hair brushes the tiled floor. I laughed slightly.

"Did you ever think this would happen so soon?" I whisper at her throat while still in the dip. I'm not saying the words – it's as if I'm in my own body, but someone else is saying the words.

"Of course not." As I carefully take her out of the dip, I can't help but notice that I feel something cold against my right hand, almost like metal-

And my eyes snapped open.

I took moment to re-adjust myself, before turning over, whereupon I came face-to-face with Max.

"Jeez!" I recoiled back from the shock, whammed my head against the wall, and kicked the ceiling. (Ten bucks says my gracefulness will land me a spot on the Paris Fashion Week runway.) "Are you trying to give me a heart attack? Or is that just a side effect of giving me breakfast in bed?"

She smiled ruefully and jumped down from the ladder. Holding the back of my head (it was bleeding – by the way, I've calculated that I draw my own blood at least once a week) I leaned over the edge of the bunk bed. Since she had jumped down, I had to look down at her now.

It was a total coincidence I could see down her shirt.

"Sorry," she said, putting her hands on her hips. I shiivered. She was here... in my room... "I was using your laptop, since Ella is on Dr. M's, and you started to thrash around, and I was about to wake you up."

She was concerned for me? "Wow. Um… thanks." I can respond to evil bad guys who want to take over the world. That is so old school. But people being nice? I'm not so smooth.

"So, yeah, Iggy and Gazzy were up an hour ago, and I think they wanted to talk to you. Dr. M and Jeb aren't home; Dr. M had to send a fax, and we don't have a fax machine here."

A fax? Why in the world do I really, really like the word "fax"? Now that I think about it, it's probably my favorite word.

Shouldn't a fifteen-year-old boy's favorite word be "meat" or "food" or "sleep"?

No, mine is "fax".

I am so strange.

"Why a fax? Can't they just email it?" I asked. I sort of considered fax machines to be like VCRs; cool in the nineties, but relics now. (It sucks that all of Ella's old Disney movies are on VHS, so we can't watch them now. That bums me out more than it should.)

"I don't know. It must been confidential. Faxes can't be hacked." Huh. Part of me felt like that was an interesting thing to note, but why would such a stupid thing like that be noteworthy?

"It's not as if she's dealing with FBI papers. Unless, she's like, secretly an evil villain bent on destroying me and everyone else. You'd have to admit, that'd by pretty funny. Cookie-maker by day, megalomaniac by night." The very thought was ridiculous.

Max laughed. "You've got a point." I didn't reply, and she sighed. "You can see down my shirt, can't you?"

"Yeah."

She rolled her eyes. "Dear chivalry: thank you for dying centuries ago."

I shrugged, and blood rolled onto my pillow. "If you were in my position, you would too."

"Of course. You've got to capitalize on coincidence. Anyways, I'll let you get up." She smiled again before leaving.

Why is it that I forget to breathe when I'm in her presence? It's way unfair that I have to suffocate in our relationship (or lack of one). Still, I didn't really have to get ready, since I slept in my clothes again.

But that's when the screen of my laptop caught my eye.

Max had left her email account open when she left the room. Max had a Hotmail account, just like the rest of us. Heck, even Total had an account. (Angel's idea - she emails him and reads him her emails. The cuteness kills me.)

The words Max said only seconds ago floated back to me: "You've got to capitalize on coincidence."

True say, Max, true say.

I made sure the door was completely closed before sitting down. Yeah, reading someone else's mail is illegal, but please, this was the Internet, and everything's legal there. Besides, the screen was on the homepage – it's not like I was actually reading her emails. I just wanted to see who the emails were from. I mean, who would possibly email her?

And that's when I saw it.

The email.

From Sam.

The subject line read: "Please, come on." The email hadn't been opened yet. The time on the bottom of the screen was 10:12; the email had been sent only a minute before.

I only had time to think, This boy has signed his death sentence before I clicked it open. It read:

Dear Max,

It's me. Um, Sam. Yeah. I'm assuming you've read my other emails, but if you haven't, read them b4 this one, okay?

THE WORD IS 'BEFORE', NOT 'B4,' YOU TOOL.

I guess you know how I feel about you. And I swear, I'm not kidding! This is real, Max. I'm in love with you, and I want you to know that.

You're beautiful, Max. Not just outside, but inside, too.

When I'm with you, I feel complete. It's like my life is one huge puzzle, and you're the piece that makes the picture makes sense. Without you, that piece, the rest of the picture is complete nonsense. That puzzle means nothing.

I don't know how you do it. It seems like your compassion, your charm, your everything comes so naturally to you. How do you do it? How did you make me fall so hard for you?

Please respond,

Sam

Oh my.

I remember I once compared Sam to Mike from Twilight. But no, I was competing with flipping Romeo.

But luckily for me, Romeo dies in the end.

But what could I do? I couldn't let Max see this. What if she believed him? What if she liked him? What if she fell in love with him and married him and had a life with him with house and cars and money and then there's me with my cats sitting in a dark corner?

No.

I refuse to live with cats as my only companion.

I don't even like cats!

I hit the "Reply" button. I typed:

Sam,

You are a creeper and a messed-up child who can't even spell a six-letter word like "before" correctly.

Your attempts at romantic metaphors were such failures that I thought it was appropriate to stab my eyes out with a fork so I could drown out my mental pain. Obviously, my attempts to tell you to shove off were ineffective. Hopefully, "go to hell" will sum up my current feelings.

Please do not ever try to contact me again,

Max

I clicked "Send".

All in a day's work.

Satisfied, I deleted Sam's original email so that Max wouldn't see it, and minimized the window. That, Diary, is the dictionary definition of an awesomesauce move. Or a jerk move. Same difference.

After my good deed had been done for the day, I went to go find Gazzy and Iggy, who had spent the last two hours doing completely socially inappropriate experiments including a rat and a panini grill.

"How did you possibly accomplish this?" I asked in horror as I looked at the machine that had once been known as the dishwasher. Apparently, you can't put a panini grill in the dishwasher – when it's still plugged in.

Who would have thought?

Sometimes, Iggy and Gazzy are as smart as NASA scientists. Other times, I worry that if they have kids one day, then their stupidity will be carried on until it morphs into some genitive dysfunction that will kill the human race.

"Sometimes you shouldn't ask questions when you don't want to know the answers," Gazzy said, looking down on his feet. "But have you seen Bobo anywhere?"

I sighed. "Who's Bobo?"

"The rat."

"There's a rat loose in the house?" I asked. Iggy nodded sadly, and I shrugged. There was no way I was going to get involved in this. "Good luck."

Rats are so passé. Now, if a shark was loose in the house, that would be mildly concerning/awesome.

"But that's going to be so hard!" Iggy complained, until his face lit up. "That's what s-"

Oh, man, I knew exactly what was coming. (Arg! I did it to myself! UGH, I DID IT AGAIN, JUST BY SAYING I DID IT TO MYSELF. That joke is inescapable. It's just one horrible cycle. And if you understood the past paragraph, Diary, then you desperately need to bleach your brain.)

"Don't even say it," I said, holding my hand up. "Didn't that go out of style in, like, 2009?"

"Which was what, twenty-eight days ago? Come on. But let's go look for Bobo, Gazzy. Obviously our sexually inappropriate and demeaning comments are not welcome here."

He smiled, and the pair skipped off outside, preferably to look for the rat so that Total wouldn't be suspiciously full tonight. I snorted to myself as I thought about jokes that went out of style a while ago. And since we're on that topic, you just lost the game, Diary.

I had just sat down with a plate of nachos, bacon, and potato chips (I should be the McDonalds poster boy) when I heard Max from down the hall yell, "What?"

"What's wrong?" I jumped up, spilling my food (No! The tragedy! The horror!) and sprinted to my room, where Max had yelled from. I was prepared to fight to the death in order to save Max from Erasers or sharks or ninjas (pleaspleaseplease ninjas) when I saw that she was looking at my laptop screen.

"What's wrong?" I repeated, but Max just stared at the screen with an open mouth.

I glanced at her again, concerned, and read the screen.

She was reading an email.

A new email.

From Sam.

It was his reply to my reply.

I really need to learn to think ahead. He said:

Max,

I can't believe it. You are such a –

Honestly, I won't write out the rest of what he said, because it would be a waste of my time and energy. Basically, to cut it short, he called Max things that I wouldn't hear anywhere but behind a Walmart in a dark alleyway at three in the morning. (Walmart is the breeding ground for every sketchy thing that goes on in America.)

But I'll admit that his insults were skilled. Never before have the words, "whale" "nuclear winter" and "scissors" been used to construct such an interesting diss.

"Why would he send me this?" Max asked, her eyes wide. "I didn't say anything to him."

Yeah, about that.

What I wanted to say was: Yeah, he's a jerk. I'm not. Max, you've been in my heart and mind every day and night for the past ten years. I love you. Let's elope. If we leave now, no one will notice we're gone.

But what I really said was: "Huh. Weird." I stared closer at the screen. "Did he really call you 'a marsupial who eats hearts as much as bamboo'? What the hell is that about? What's a marsupial?"

"I have no idea," Max said. I knew Max was hurt by this, but she wasn't letting on to it. She would never admit that words can hurt just as much as physical pain. I knew she had considered Sam to have been a friend. "But that was really rude of him."

An idea struck me. "Do you have Sam's cell number?" She nodded and dug a scrap of paper out of her pocket.

I took the paper from her and grabbed the wireless phone from the kitchen. When I came back, Max looked at me curiously. "No one calls you 'the death of love and life and all good things' except for me." She smiled weakly.

Looking down at the paper, I dialled the number. I stood up and wandered around the room as the phone rang. On the third dial Sam picked up. "Hello?" he said, sounding exhausted. For a second I was about to turn back, but Max deserved this.

I lowered my voice to a ghastly and grating low tone. "You're going to die in seven days," I hissed, and promptly hung up.

There was silence in the room for a split second before Max burst out laughing. "What was that? Some sort of horror movie knock-off?"

I threw the phone up and down. "Yeah. He'll regret that email." I looked at Max, and I saw the appreciation in her eyes.

Wait just a minute. I felt the beginning of a plan.

"You know what I think?" I asked. If I could pull off this idea, I'd be a genius.

"You think?"

"Haha. You're so funny I forgot to laugh. You know what we're going to do? We're going to go out, rent a chick-flick, buy some junk food, and pull an all-nighter."

She blinked. "Why?"

I shrugged. "A guy just sent you a horrible email. If we were in the movies, you'd call up your girlfriends and cry with them over his assholeness." And if I was lucky, I'd be able to cuddle up to her.

"Asswholeness is not a word."

"Does that matter?"

"Not at all."

And just like that, it was decided.

As soon as Dr. M and Jeb got home, we managed to catch a ride over to Blockbuster, where we rented Iron Man, since that was Max's version of a chick-flick. (I was hoping for something like 27 Dresses where the guy and the girl preferably don't have to dodge murder attempts in order to be together. Still, random stuff blowing up is good.)

We managed to swing by a grocery store, too, and we picked up some of Max's favourite junk food items. It turns out she likes ice cream! Not candy or chips or chocolate, but ice cream! Why couldn't she have just said that months ago when I needed this knowledge?

"So wait a second," Nudge said. "You mean, you're just going to camp out in the family room tonight?" It was around ten o'clock by this point, and Nudge was pretty pissed that we were taking up her prime TV-watching timeslot.

"Sorry, Nudge," Max said, always the peacemaker. "Is that alright with you?"

Nudge was about to respond when Angel suddenly burst into the conversation. "OF COURSE IT'S ALRIGHT," she yelled. Nudge gave her a weird look, and Angel said to me, You two need to be alone. I think I'm going to drown in your hormones.

Nudge still looked irritated, so Angel added, "You can give me a make-over!"

Nudge's eyes snapped open. "Really?"

"Yeah! Come on! Let's leave those two alone…" Angel grabbed Nudge's hand and half-dragged her down the hallway. Right as she disappeared from my sight, she winked at me.

Let's pretend that never happened.

"So," Max said, jumping onto the couch and taking one of the ice cream containers and whipping it open. I thought she was going to continue her sentence, but instead she looked wistfully at the ice cream.

She grabbed her spoon, and was about to dig in, when I yelled, "Wait!"

"What's wrong?" Her spoon was poised in mid-air.

I took my own spoon, dug into the ice cream, and took a bite. Once the chocolatey goodness slid down my throat, and I grinned and said, "I had to make sure it wasn't poisonous. Don't worry, it's safe to eat."

She laughed and tapped me on the head with her spoon before digging in. "That was cute." She said it so… nonchalantly, but DID SHE JUST CALL ME CUTE?

"So," she said, not looking at me whatsoever, and I thought that she was going to finish the thought, but instead she opted to stuff her face with ice cream. Some of it dribbled down her chin.

Max is so cool.

Her body seemed to melt after a few mouthfuls. She took a deep breath and leaned over the back of the couch. "Chocolate doesn't have a legal right to taste so delicious." She dug her spoon in again. I nodded in agreement.

Let's pause this scene, Diary.

This whole time, we were just sitting there alone, in the dark, and eating ice cream silently. That might seem sort of weird and PMS-y, but it was actually sort of… cute. Sometimes silence says the most.

For the record, we never even put on the movie.

Let's start this scene up again.

It took us two hours, but we managed to eat the entire ice cream container. Basically, I wanted to puke my guts out, but that was so not the way to attract a girl. "Do you want to die as much as I do right now?" Max groaned, lying on the couch. By now I was stretched out on the floor.

You know that feeling you get like you've over-eaten? Surprisingly enough, it feels an awful lot like getting drunk off of bakon vodka.

I didn't answer the question. "How many calories do you think we consumed?"

"Like… a billion." She paused. "I'm going to puke," she said, sitting up momentarily before sprinting over to the kitchen sink. There was a brief pause before she proceeded to vomit out her guts. At least she had style points for not spewing over the family room.

I rushed after her, and as she barfed into the sink (Ew ew ew chocolate puke ew ew ew) I took her hair and gently pulled it away from her face. She puked again, and I grimaced at both the smell and her pain.

Finally, she took a deep breath, and said, "That was a total waste. I didn't even have a chance to enjoy those calories. Just my luck."

"Are you alright?" I asked, still holding her hair.

"Yeah." She hit the tap on the sink and washed it. "Thanks. You know, for being here." I had a feeling that she wasn't talking about just that moment.

"That's my job."

I dropped her hair, and she shook her head. "No, it's not. In the job description, it never said, 'applicant must be awesome'."

We walked back over to the family room, where we both crashed on the couch. It was well past midnight, and we were both bushed. ("Bushed" is an adjective, right?) As Max stretched out on the couch, I wedged myself between her and the couch.

Remember, I was half-asleep, and I didn't know what I was doing.

Or maybe I did.

"What are you doing?" Max whispered.

"Trying to fall asleep, but you're making that marvellously difficult right now," I muttered. I let my arm fall over her. (WHAT WAS I DOING?)

"Oh." She didn't say anything else, and she didn't remove my arm, which I took as a good sign.

And that's how we both fell asleep.

Cue "Awwww's".

It felt amazing to be pressed so close to her. But, Diary, you're obviously thinking, "But how can you write in me and fall asleep in the same night?"

Well, I didn't. I'm writing this on the morning of January twenty-eighth.

But when I woke up on the twenty-eighth, I once again most certainly did not feel like P. Diddy.

Three guesses why.

-Fang


A/N2- I totally forgot to ask the most important question in my last chapter: If you could change one thing about DOALM, what would it be?


I found this on allrecipes. Drop everything you are doing and make these cookies.

Oh. My. Gosh.

Just do it.

Ingredients

2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 13 to 16 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.


Honestly, I wasn't going to upload this chapter until Friday, but I just made these cookies, and this recipe needs to be spread across the world as quickly as possible. So I guess I can officially say this chapter has been brought to you by chocolate chip cookies.

40. February 5 2010

A/N- I can't describe how much I love life right now. I mean, if it was socially acceptable, I think I'd run out into the street and scream at the top of my lungs, "HAHAHAHA". Oh, screw social acceptance, I'll do it anyways.

To dfak: Yuppers, it's one egg and another egg yolk. To Rian: Although it's pretty much impossible to top the Bacon Explosion, I would recommend chocolate-covered bacon. You can Google it (or Giveoogle it) for a plethora of recipes. (For the record, to anyone whois reading this, if you have Google as your homepage, I'd recommend changing it to Giveoogle. It's the same thing as Google, but Google donates the money from the advertisements to fight cancer. Cool, no?)

And while we're at it, check out GivesMeHope (GMH).

Reviewer of the Week:

Zypher teh Geekazoid: YEY! GO MARSUPIALS!
Why do I-
Koala koala koala koala koala koala koala koala koala koala koala koala koala koala koala koala koala koala koala koala.

Comment of the Week:

A girl giving me advice on how to deal with a new teacher: Whatever you do, don't look him in the eye.


Febuary…No wait, isn't it spelled February? 5th, 2010

Dear Diary,

Do you realize how difficult it is to spell "February"? Why isn't it "Febuary"? There's just a random r that someone put in there for the sole purpose of messing me up. It's sort of like the n in Wednesday! It must be a conspiracy to make me a poor speller.

But moving along, I guess you're wondering how I woke up.

First off, I'd like to write this entry a little differently than normal. Instead of giving you a linear version of the events that transpired today, I would like to skip to the end to show you how today ended.

By four o'clock in the morning, I ended up in jail.

With Iggy.

And a package of bacon.

So now you're thinking, You're in jail? With bacon? How low have you fallen? The answer, dearest Diary, is very low. Extremely low. More low than that song by Flo Rida.

While I was thoroughly freaking out, Iggy thought the whole event was rather hilarious. "Man," he said more to himself rather than to me, since we were alone in the cell. It was damp but led onto a well-lit hallway that was traversed by a guard who looked like he had some constipation issues. "It's been, what, just a bit over two months, and I've been in jail twice. This is a new record."

He was referring to the Kansas-and-tiger-and-angry-Mexicans incident, which I have barred from my memory, but at least in that case we were able to break him out.

"But I never had bacon last time," he said, looking down at the package in his hands. Even though he couldn't see it, it looked like he was basking in its glory. (Is that even possible?) "Hey, what time is it?"

I glanced at my watch. "Four."

"Huh. It's my birthday."

I looked at him; of course, this was his "fake" birthday. He was turning "fifteen" – but really, he'd been fifteen since October. If you recall, I once mentioned how I knew the birthdays of Max, Iggy, and me.

"Happy birthday. Umm… I'm sorry about the lack of strippers. Their plane from Russia must have gotten sidetracked."

"Eh, whatever. Life happens." He shrugged. "Actually, this is turning out to be one of the best birthdays ever."

Only Iggy would include jail in his list of things to do on his birthday.

"I can't believe this," I mumbled with my head in my hands. The guard at the end of the hallway gave me a look that said he wanted to make out with me. I was very, very afraid. (He wasn't even good-looking.) "It was a trap the whole time."

"A delicious trap."

"If you don't shut up, I will slap you."

"No you won't."

He was wrong.

So now, Diary, let's press rewind and go back to the morning. You'll start to piece the puzzle together once you get all the facts.

If you recall, I went to sleep rather wonderfully. I was squashed between Max and the couch, so I could barely breathe. Still, I can never breathe properly when Max is around, so that's nothing new.

But Iggy and a camera… well, that's something new.

You see, I woke up to the sounds of clicking, almost if someone was snapping their fingers over and over. (For the record, I can't snap my fingers. I am such a failure at life.)

And when you wake up to someone taking your picture, you certainly do not feel like P. Diddy. (P. Diddy would have half-naked gorgeous women hanging off his arms. That has never happened to me. My life sucks.)

"Look where his arm is!" I heard someone whisper. "Oh, man, this is going viral on the Internet."

Looking back on the incident, I don't think pictures of me would ever go viral. But a cross-dressed llama being catapulted into a Japanese shark tank… now that would be Internet material. (Oh, my, I do believe PETA is going to hunt me down for that thought.)

I blinked groggily to see several figures floating around me.

"He's waking up!"

I snapped my eyes open, instantly aware of Iggy, Nudge, and Gazzy looking guiltily down at me. Iggy shoved his left hand behind his back, which was officially the most unobvious thing in the world. (Sadly, I can't convey my sarcasm through pen and paper. There needs to be some sort of sarcasm punctuation mark. Ten bucks says someone's already thought of it and there's a group on Facebook.)

"No, we're not taking pictures of you and Max together and putting them on the Internet," Iggy said, grinning with that devilish grin of his. (The grin that says Haha, you're screwed, sucker.) "Why in the world would you think that?"

"Be quiet," I whispered, giving my best go-away-or-die glare. I glanced down at Max, who was still asleep in my arms. "She's still sleeping."

"Awwwww!" Iggy, Nudge and Gazzy all chorused.

"You're concerned for her!" Gazzy continued. "My heart is bleeding. And it's Valentine's Day soon! Ooooh! Will you ask her to be your girlfriend?"

"Shut up!" I hissed.

"Mphrm?" Max muttered. She stirred and I hoped desperately that she wouldn't wake. But naturally, she started blinking her eyes open. "Where am I?" After a moment she seemed to understand. I felt her twitch.

And thus ends my fairytale night.

She instantly rolled out of my embrace, but she didn't calculate in the fact that her legs were intermingled with my own. Basically, to cut things short, we both fell off the couch and whammed into the floor.

Skill.

"That was about as smooth as a pre-pubescent Iggy trying to hit on a girl," Nudge said as Max scrambled upwards. I just stayed on the ground, trying to figure out that twenty seconds ago, I was fast asleep in wonderland.

"So… what'cha doing, Max?" Gazzy asked petulantly as Max stood there awkwardly opening and closing her mouth. "Need to tell us something? About you and Fangy-poo?"

"No!" she instantly said, but her eyes flew to mine. She reacted as if my glance burned her; she recoiled and said, "Um, I need to…change my clothes…"

Max walked as quickly as possible out of the room while Nudge called after her, "For the record, I think you're an adorable couple!" She looked down at me. "Well, she's the adorable half. You have to admit you look pathetic right now."

I glanced down at myself. I was wearing yesterday's clothes, I smelled like Max's puke, and my hair hadn't been washed in a month. (For the record, I no longer look like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson or some other fictional character. But then again, fictional protagonist characters are always hot. I wish I was fictional sometimes.)

"Pathetic, yes," I said, "But I think I can work the look."

"I always knew you were a model at heart," Iggy said, grinning. "I bet Max would love to see you in some Calvin Klein underwear ads." His face twisted. "Ugh! The image in my head…it burns..."

I wryly raised my eyebrows and was about to shoot back a sarcastic comment when none other than Jeb came walking down the hallway in sweatpants and a t-shirt. I'd never seen him in anything that informal. He was shocked when he saw us gathered together. "You didn't invite me to the party?" he asked.

He didn't laugh. We didn't even smile. Burn, baby, burn.

"Uh, well, yeah…" he continued as he realized we weren't responding. He scratched his neck. (Why the hell did I just write "he scratched his neck"? That was a completely unimportant and uninteresting fact that does not impact me whatsoever.) "I totally forgot, some mail came for you yesterday."

That, however, did eventually impact my life greatly.

That letter threw me in jail. But I'll get to that later.

"For which one of us?" Nudge asked.

Jeb walked over to the kitchen table. It was cluttered, as per usual, and he dug around in a stack and brought out an envelope. "It's addressed to all of you, actually." He handed it over to me, and I quickly opened it. I pulled out a short typed letter. The Flock congregated around me and read over my shoulder.

To the Flock,

I'm sure you're all worried about Fang's impending death. But of course, there's a way out. What scientist doesn't have a back-up plan?

23 Harrison Drive, Mesa, Arizona

That was it.

"What does it say?" Jeb asked.

"Sports Illustrated wants Max for their swimsuit edition," Iggy deadpanned. "I guess they just don't take no for an answer."

"Oh." He paused. Yeah, I know that guy has an IQ of like, a billion, but he can be pretty thick sometimes. (Is "thick" an American expression, or did I pick it up from watching too many British sitcoms? Just so you know, Diary, the original Office is the best version.) "I see."

"I'll show it to Max and Angel," I said, standing. "We can figure out a plan."

But lately, our plans haven't been working. They usually end up with a national disaster or someone dressed as a pimp. The only plans that work are during Canadian politics and the Superbowl. (Colts! Colts! Colts!)

I walked down the hall and knocked gently on their door. Angel opened it, knowing it was me (creepy mind-reading child) so she laughed lightly and slipped right passed me, leaving me alone with Max.

I completely forgot about the letter in my hand.

"Hey," I said. She was on her top bunk staring blankly upwards. "Is the ceiling more interesting than me?"

"…No."

I stood there, waiting for her to continue the conversation, but she wasn't continuing her sentence. I glanced around the room, and my eyes caught the obnoxiously large poster of a shirtless Taylor Lautner plastered on the wall.

"I really don't get why all the girls like him," I said.

"Who?"

"Tay-Tay Lautner. I think half the girls under the age of fifteen in America would sell their soul in order to keep a napkin he used."

"Nudge would be one of those girls."

"Definitely." I stood there, realizing that she had to be the one to initiate this conversation. She got the hint and pursed her lips.

"I'm not perfect," she said. Her face was turned away.

"No one expects you to be."

"You say that but you don't mean it."

"That's not true." Max was doing the whole I'm-not-good-enough routine, which she occasionally regressed into during times of stress. I really don't know how she does the whole leadership thing without shoving her face full of stress-managing chocolate all day. "I can't show weakness."

"You're ridiculous."

"Excuse me?"

"No one's perfect." I was getting pretty riled up. "Max, you think that you always have to be right, and you're wrong. The only things that are perfect are funny Youtube videos and Johnny Depp. And besides… perfection is in the eye of the beholder."

"Excuse me?"

"Never mind." I was this close to telling her everything.

Because Max may not think she's perfect, but she is to me.

I cleared my throat and she looked at me, confused. Would it really kill me to tell her? I'm dying in June anyways. I might as well die beforehand from a broken heart.

I handed her the letter and shoved my unimportant romantic thoughts down to the pit of my stomach, where, hopefully, they'd never be seen again (not going to happen). "What do you think of this?" She quickly read it.

She gracefully hopped down from the bunk, making my descents look like a crime against humanity. "We don't have any other choice. We should go over there tonight and see where and what this place is."

"That sounds like a plan," I said, taking back the letter. So yeah, basically, by calling it a "plan," I was dooming ourselves to failure. We should have called it a "kickass way to save the day". Yeah, that sounds better.

Together we walked down the hall and told the plan to the rest of the Flock. The rest of the day was spent casually, since it was a Friday. (Then again, in our world, every day is a Friday. But if you remember what I said about Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday spelling W T F, then I guess that was even more foreshadowing about our lives since we're constantly stuck on the F.)

After dinner, we dressed in all black, looking remarkably like WBNs. (I totally just realized that WBN can also stand for Walruses Burn Nerds. Damn walruses are out to kill us all.)

We all left the house at about midnight, since that's the time anything dramatic happens. We had gotten directions from Google Map, so it only took a few minutes to fly over to Harrison Drive. We landed in front of a rather charming suburban home.

"This is totally the place where evil bad guys chill," Gazzy said, looking dubiously at the minivan in the driveway. "Right as they bake their chocolate chip cookies and drive their mini-evil villains to soccer practice."

"Are you sure this is the right place?" Nudge asked. "Gazzy has a point."

"I'm sure it's right," Angel said, zipping up her sweater. "There are four people in the house right now, and they're all asleep, so I can't really read their thoughts very well. It's all sort of… fragmented…"

"Do you think we should just come by in the day? It'd probably be easier," Iggy added. Max shook her head.

"Nah. We're already here. If we're quiet, they'll never know six freaky birdkids invaded their home in the dead of night." She stretched her fingers inside her gloves. (Gloves equal no fingerprints. Clever, no?) "Ready?"

"I was born ready!" Iggy said, marching off towards the back of the house (Nudge had to steer him).

"Yeah, but ready for what?" Max muttered as we followed them. We certainly weren't going through the front door since that was just a tad bit conspicuous.

Nudge was able to pick the lock within a minute. ("If this was the home of a super-villain, shouldn't we be swimming with piranhas right now?") We stealthy snuck into the house.

These people certainly were wealthy; we were standing in their family room facing fifty-eight inches of high-definition splendour (also known as the best TV I've ever seen in my life). Above us was a balcony, so that anyone on the top floor could see the family room and the nearby kitchen. The house was styled with expensive paintings and stuff I'd never be interested in.

Iggy couldn't really search for anything, so he found his way over to the refrigerator. (Classic.) He searched around and his face lit up when he reached into one of the drawers and pulled out a package of bacon. "I knew my bacon-senses were tingling!" he said proudly, shoving the package into the bag at his side.

"What are we looking for?" Nudge asked so lowly we had to really on our hyped-up senses to hear her. (If you want to imagine being us, it's like drinking Red Bull 24/7.)

"Anything labelled Top Secret would be a good start," Gazzy said. He had just made a brief tour of the house as we began to search through all of the cupboards and drawers. "There's no basement. That's weird."

"Yeah," I said blankly, trying to see why we were summoned here. Who wrote that note? It was pretty sketchy. As I thought about it, a picture on the mantle above the fireplace had caught my eye. I slowly walked over and picked up the frame. There was a picture of a teenage boy-

I instantly dropped the frame to the floor, which made a huge racket as it crashed to the wooden floor.

Sam's face had stared back at me.

"What the hell?" I heard someone yell from upstairs, while the sentence was repeated by the rest of the Flock as well.

"It's Sam's house!" I said to Max's horrified face. It didn't cross my mind that I was speaking normally, instead of in a hushed tone. "That's who the house belongs to! Well, not Sam's house, but his family's – you know what I mean!"

A thundering came from the staircase. Nudge, who was closest to the back door, whipped it open and disappeared into the night, followed in quick succession by Gazzy and Max. I was about to sprint through it when I was jerked backwards by someone pulling on the back of my sweater. Iggy yelled, too, meaning he was just as trapped as me.

Max looked back, but I yelled, "Go, go, go!" With a torn look, she ran off and I heard the swoosh of wings. Iggy and I were alone.

I was shoved into the wall, and the next thing I knew, I was being handcuffed.

Yeah, that's right. Sam's father is a cop.

Dandy. Just dandy.

Sam's Dad even gave us the whole "right to remain silent" shing-ding speech. (I really don't think I used "shing-ding" in the right context, but you know what I mean.) He wasn't very nice about the whole arresting thing, either. I don't think it was possible for my face to be shoved into the wall more than it already was. (A new talent! My face can be shoved into anything. Now that's useful.)

"Dad? What's wrong?" I managed to cock my head over my shoulder enough to see a bleary-eyed Sam watching us. His mouth dropped when he recognized me.

"You again? What is wrong with you?"

"Damned if I know," I muttered, and Iggy snorted beside me. He had been thoroughly cuffed as well. Considering this was his birthday, he was taking the event rather well.

Iggy and I didn't say a word as Sam's father questioned us. ("Who the hell are you? What the hell are you doing? What in hell sort of drugs are you on?") He was a tall, bearded man who yelled right in our faces. Still, we were silent as he piled us into the back of his car and drove us to the police station, where we were promptly thrown into the waiting cell.

And that's the story of how I ended up in jail with Iggy and a pound of bacon. I couldn't have done it if I had tried.

The whole day was full of mistakes. First, we should have figured out who had sent the note. It was a blank envelope, meaning it hadn't been sent in the regular mail. Someone had placed it in the mailbox, meaning that whoever sent the note was nearby. I just don't know if that's good or bad. And why Sam's house? There's no way he could be involved.

But this is where I'll leave off.

This is being written later, of course. This entry was the story of how I got into jail.

You won't believe how I got out.

-Fang

41. February 13 2010

A/N- It's official; I can't write this story to any of the High School Musical songs. I just end up singing and dancing. ("Bet on meeeee!")

Reviewer of the Week:

Zypher teh Geekazoid: Wait, aren't marsupials the ones that have pouches?

...

Kangaroo kangaroo kangaroo kangaroo kangaroo kangaroo kangaroo kangaroo kangaroo kangaroo kangaroo kangaroo kangaroo kangaroo

Comment of the Week:

A note on a desk: IF YOU DON'T PUT MY PENS BACK, I WILL CONSUME YOUR SOUL. Thank you for understanding.

A CNN correspondent: I don't know about you, but any time I see a guy playing a carrot as a musical instrument it makes me want to see flying robot penguins.


February 13th, 2010

Dear Diary,

Do you ever have the feeling that someone is walking right behind you with a gun to your head and ready to blow your brains out at any second?

No?

Really?

I'm speaking metaphorically, of course. It's not like I have some trigger-happy creeper following me; in that case, I could beat him up and shove his face into a wall. But lately, it feels like every move of mine is being watched.

…I think my fangirls have found me.

There's just no other explanation. But these fangirls must be pretty darn sneaky, because Max has been feeling the same way and we went and searched the nearby area but found nothing.

Still, things are getting messed up. My life is a tragedy, not a comedy. I guess that's a bit of a self-warning. I mean, I'm going to die soon. But that's not supposed to be until June; so why are things happening now?

Oh, crap, I'm getting ahead of myself. I totally forgot that I didn't explain how I got out of jail.

Ughhh…

Do I really have to recall the event? I never, ever want to lower myself that much ever again. Iggy officially has the best blackmail material ever.

Remember, there was literally no other solution. Keep that in mind.

Let's introduce the variables in the situation: there was me, Iggy, bacon, and the guard. (Keep in mind that Iggy had stolen the bacon from Sam's house – he stole bacon, not jewels or cash or even dirty magazines. We need to have a chat.)

You see, after an hour, Iggy had eaten half the bacon (yes, he ate it raw – and he didn't die. It was singularly the most disgusting thing I have ever seen in my entire life) so we couldn't use the majestic super-powers of bacon to burst open the cell and fly away to freedom and victory.

That just left the guard.

And if I recall, I wrote something down in my past entry about how the guard was eyeing me up. Well, as Max says, you've got to capitalize on coincidence.

"I've got an idea," I whispered.

Somehow Iggy knew what I was thinking. I couldn't help but think about how much of a genius he was; but since he was licking his fingers to get more of the raw bacon taste as I thought of this, I had to be sceptical of his intelligence. (Can't you die from eating raw pork?) "No, don't do it," he said softly. "You'll never live it down." I really didn't think he should be the person to be telling me what not to do.

"But it'll get us out of here."

"You'll regret it for the rest of your life."

"You're supposed to be giving me motivation and inspiration right now."

"I'm not going to be a part of your downfall." He shook his head again. "Max will kill you when she finds out, especially 'cause Valentine's is so close. What flowers would you like at your funeral? Roses are nice at this time of the year."

"Oh, come on. When I die, you'd better put the fun in funeral. I expect fireworks, streamers, the whole shebang." I looked up to find that he was looking down and scuffing his feet. Oh, right, no one likes to talk about the Fang's-gonna-die thing.

This is why I'm never invited to parties.

"When you die?" he repeated with a dark tone, and he looked away from the floor to stare in the general direction of the wall. I realized my mistake and backpedaddled. (I totally spelt that wrong. Um, back-pedlled. No, that's not right… back-pedalled! There we go! I back-pedalled!)

"Um, yeah. I'm not channelling the Cullens or anything; I'm not going to live forever."

"Stop making Twilight references."

"Otherwise, you'll sic the wolves on me, right?" Hehehehehe. I'm a clever one.

"No bacon for you," he growled as he pulled the half-eaten package towards himself. "But can't you think of a better way out?" I had actually spent the last hour trying to think of a way to get out with my dignity intact, but I couldn't find one.

"Not unless someone's dying," I said, before shivering and pulling my sweater closer.

Alright. It was game time.

"Excuse me!" I called down to the guard who was sitting at the end of the aisle of cells. He cocked an eyebrow up and I beckoned with one finger through the bars. "Can you come here for a moment?"

He got up and started to walk down the aisle. As he did so, I chanted, "I'm going to die, I'm going to die, I'm going to die," below my breath. Iggy didn't help by muttering, "Yeah, you are."

"What's the matter?" he asked. His eyes caught Iggy and the package of bacon. "Son, are you eating bacon? Raw?" He gagged, and I had to hold my breath so I didn't too.

"Don't judge me," Iggy said, and the sad part was that I honestly couldn't tell if he was serious or not. He dangled another piece above his mouth before snatching it with his tongue. "It's my comfort food."

I just puked a bit in my mouth.

The guard's jaw dropped a bit, and he tore his eyes away from the gross sight. "You wanted something?"

I smiled. "Yes. I wanted you."

And thus let me fill you in on the plan, Diary, so you're not under the impression that I was doing this willingly.

I knew that the guard had been eyeing me up. (What's not to like? The chiselled arms? The muscular legs? The well-defined jawline? – I hope you caught my sarcasm, or otherwise you'll think I'm more egoistical than Paris Hilton, and if that's possible, then Hell just froze over.)

So, if I could just flirt with the guard a bit… yes, flirt. I know what you're thinking. I can't even flirt with Max; how was I supposed to flirt with a thirty-year-old man who smelled like cheese?

"Do you have a problem?" Dear God, his voice dropped an octave. Iggy snorted behind me and it took all of my resolve not to cut my plan short. I clenched my fists and knew that if I failed, then we might actually have to face criminal charges.

"Yes. I couldn't dare to be so far away from you." DID I ACTUALLY SAY THAT?

"Well, I'm here now."

"Will you stay?" W.T.F. (I DON'T MEAN WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAY.)

"I… I don't think it's appropriate."

"It never is, Steve, it never is. Don't you ever want to live a little? Do something bad? Something unexpected?" KILL ME NOW KILL ME NOW KILL ME NOW.

I had read his name off of his nametag. He leaned closer to the bars, which was my plan. He was at my level, and I shivered at his dancing eyes. This guy was supposed to be a guard? He was the dangerous one. "What do you mean? How bad?"

I could do this, I could do this, I could do this-

This was it. This was the moment where Iggy would've sold his soul for a camera. The moment that follows my days and haunts my nights. The moment where I would have preferred to watch Nudge's High School Musical marathon than going through that moment again. And if I chose six hours of a sweaty and pubescent Zac Efron comapred to this moment, then you know the nastiness of the moment.

"Very, very bad," I hissed, and I leaned through the bars and kissed him.

I KNOW, I KNOW.

GIVE ME A SECOND TO EXPLAIN.

As I kissed him, I reached through the bars with my right hand and grasped along his belt. (NO, YOU SICKO, NOT LIKE THAT. AND NOW I AM GOING TO STOP WRITING SO MUCH IN CAPITALS.)

As I inched my way over the belt, I found the hook I was looking for. As I hit the catch, a circle with a bunch of keys attached fell into my palm. I instantly broke off the kiss. (Honestly, the only way I got through the kiss was imaging that I was kissing Max instead.)

"You, sir, are a sicko for liking an underage kid, and worse, you suck at kissing. Goodbye." I punched him in the face through the bars, knocking him unconscious. He fell against the opposite wall in a heap.

He just got owned.

I reached through the bars and undid the lock. I swung open the door. "After you," I said to Iggy. He walked through the door slowly.

"Did you actually just do that?" he asked, slightly in awe. I noticed that he was still carrying the package of bacon, which was almost completely finished. "Effective. Disgusting, but effective."

We went out the back door of the station, which wasn't guarded at all since it was five in the morning. I would've expected more security, but then again, this was Mesa; all of the hardcore criminals were carted off to Phoenix.

We were just juvenile delinquents. They didn't know they needed a bunch of hardcore Marines and SEALS with flamethrowers and cannons to keep us in jail. (When I say SEALS, I mean United States Navy SEALS, not arf-arf seals. But I bet arf-arf seals are a heck of a lot cuter than SEALS.)

"So what are we going to tell Max and the Flock?" Iggy asked. By this point we were flying through the dawn back to the house. "The truth seems rather far-fetched."

"I know what you mean. How about we managed to steal the keys when the guard came over?" The house came into view, and we picked up our conversation again when we landed in the forest.

"No. The only way to do that would be to punch him first, and then you would've knocked him out of reach. Sadly, your genius plan was the only solution." Iggy sighed. "Hey, what's that-"

This is when things get interesting.

"Hey, what's that?" is usually a statement that precedes our asses being kicked. We have a nasty tendency to see things too late, since no matter how hard we try, we can't see everything. (The only person on the planet who can see everything is Martha Stewart. Think about it.)

So when Iggy said, "Hey, what's that?" I knew something was up.

I was right.

He had heard something to his right, since his head was jerked that way. We stood there completely silently, the dawn masking even our breathing. Still, a light fog was making it difficult to see too far.

About thirty yards away, I could make out a silhouette leaning against a tree.

I tapped Iggy's hand three times, letting him know to hold his position. He stuck his tongue out, obviously unimpressed, but he stood still.

My steps were completely noiseless, since there weren't any leaves or twigs on this well-travelled portion of the forest. I felt like a total ninja slipping in and out of the trees; I actually managed to lean up against the opposite side of the same tree as the silhouette was standing against. It was a dangerous position, but at least I could hear everything.

The silhouette was Dr. M, and she was talking on a cell phone.

At five in the morning.

If that's not sketchy, then free candy at midnight isn't either.

"There's been a problem," she whispered frantically into the phone. She paused, letting the other person speak. "No! We're not going to stop. I just need more time. I know! I know! I just need to… take care of something. Yeah. Uh-huh. Okay. See you." She clicked off the phone.

For a second, we were both so silent, it was like neither one of us existed. That woman's got skillz, y'all. (Why is butchering the English language so much fun?)

But why was Dr. M phoning someone out here? And why did I feel like a character in a novel a page away from the climax? (Climax of the novel, Diary. You're such a perv.)

Finally, she swore softly to herself before starting towards the house. Luckily for me (did I really just say "luckily for me"? I'm never lucky. The rules of physics must have had a temporary lapse) the house was in the same direction that Dr. M was facing, so she didn't see me as she started to traipse out of the forest.

I waited five minutes before I started to breathe regularly. I quickly ran back to Iggy, who was in the exact same position that I left him in.

"What's up?" he asked. "Why do I get the feeling that whoever I heard wasn't a bunch of lost European models?"

"You're not going to believe this," I said, which wasn't true at all, because heck, we're bird-kids. We believe in everything, including the possibility that it will one day rain nachos.

I quickly filled Iggy in on the phone call. His face darkened uncharacteristically. I really hate it when we have to snap into life-or-death mode; it's like we're all Hannah Montana or something. (On the outside, we're a bunch of sarcastic and crazy teenagers, but on the inside we're a bunch of hurt mutants, and we've got to balance our two lives. Did I really just compare us to Miley Cyrus? I just hit a new low.)

Iggy shrugged. "Maybe she was talking about an operation or something."

"Way out here? At five in the morning?"

"Well, everyone else is asleep. Maybe she didn't want to…wake…them…up." His voice trailed off, and he realized how much of a pitiful attempt that was. He sighed. "We need to tell the rest of the Flock."

By the time we reached the house we could see four worried faces looking out of the window. Nudge saw us first and she broke out into a grin as she whipped open the door. "Iggy! Fang!"

I walked up the porch steps, and Nudge hugged me. Everyone else poured onto the porch behind her, so we were all crammed on the tiny steps. Coincidentally, I was pressed up against Max. Coincidentally, Diary, coincidentally.

Nudge's grip made it hard to breathe. (If only Max could have been hugging me instead…) "We were so worried! But I guess Dr. M was right."

I managed to pry myself out of Nudge's hands. "What do you mean?"

"Well, as soon as we got home, we woke her up and told her all about you getting carted off to jail! She left really quickly and said that she'd bail you out. And she just walked in a few minutes ago, too, but she didn't say anything, so we were all really worried, but she kept her promise!"

Hmm.

I'll admit that at the time, my only thought was sketchsketchsketchsketch.

"I think we need to talk," I said gravely. Their faces dropped. Everyone knows that when I use my Fang Voice then something is going down. Gazzy once described the Fang Voice as "That creepy voice you hear right when you're going to die."

"Can't it wait?" Gazzy asked. "It's five in the morning, and I'm starving. Can't we at least eat and talk? Otherwise, if I die of starvation, I'm blaming you."

I shrugged. I would have preferred to have talked immediately and outside of the house, but if Gazzy was hungry, then he wouldn't pay attention to anything I was saying. "What do you want to eat?"

That was a stupid question.

They all gave me, Are you freaking serious? looks.

"Bacon," Total deadpanned. I jumped; he had been right at my feet, and I hadn't noticed him. He would be a great FBI spy, if, you know, the FBI ever felt the need to employ dogs. I opened the fridge and dug around, but the only thing of relative deliciousness was a piece of leftover vegetarian lasagne that was labelled as Ella's lunch. This wouldn't go over well.

"We don't have any," I said, closing the fridge. The Flock looked devastated, as if the entire country had just been plunged into an apocalyptic nightmare.

"Well," Max said, absently rubbing a hand over Angel's back, "I'm sure that if we can handle a bacon deficiency then we can handle whatever you're about to tell us. Do you want to go outside?"

I nodded. "That'd be great."

So, once we had all donned jackets, the very pissed Flock walked into the outside reaches of the forest. Total stayed behind, saying that if he didn't eat "that very second" then "heads would roll". He was obviously going to raid some cupboards, although I had no idea how he'd go about that.

Once we arrived in a small dirt clearing, I stayed on the ground, while everyone else perched in the trees. I was in the centre of the circle they created, which made me feel rather epic. "Dr. M never bailed us out of jail," I said, cutting right to the centre of why we were out here in the chilly morning. (I love saying "chilly". I feel British. Do British people even say "chilly"?)

They sat there for a few seconds, not saying anything, until Gazzy caled out, "Then who did? Don't tell me Sam did. That would be such a plot twist."

"No one bailed us out," Iggy said, drawing everyone's attention to him. He was stretched out lazily on a low branch, looking perfectly comfortable. He's chiller than Frosty the Snowman. "We broke out."

I closed my eyes, praying that no one would ask how we got out. "Uh, yeah, so I totally made out with a jail guard. No big deal."

"How did you do that?" Max asked, while Angel coughed lightly, trying not to laugh at my thoughts.

"Um, through a combination of finesse, skill, and determination," I said, while Iggy slammed his head back into the tree, mumbling something about, "Liar."

"But that doesn't make sense," Angel said. She was sitting in Max's lap, dangling her feet. "I read Dr. M's thoughts, and they said that she had bailed you out." She paused. "But I might be wrong. Back at Sam's house, I wasn't able to change Sam's Dad's thoughts around and convince him to let you go. It was like facing a cement wall. But Dr. M isn't like that."

"And that leads me to my second point," I continued. I scuffed my feet, causing a poof of dust to rise up. "Iggy and I landed in the forest, but Iggy heard something, and when I went to check it out, it was Dr. M. She was on the phone, and she was talking about how they weren't going to stop some sort of plan or operation."

"Why did she go so far away from the house to make the phone call?" Nudge asked.

"You know just as much as me. We don't have any concrete evidence right now. Iggy and I just thought you should know what we know."

Max shook her head. "Are we actually considering my mother as the bad guy? After everything she's done for us? She's taking care of seven kids, two dogs, a husband, a house, and a job. Give her a break."

(For the record, the other dog Max was talking about was Mongolia, the Martinez's dog. I've honestly never really had a reason to write about her. I just thought this paragraph was necessary so you didn't think we had gone out and bought a Chihuahua from Beverly Hills or something.)

"We're not accusing anyone," Iggy replied. "We're just letting you know what we saw. That's it. Now come on, let's go back to the house. I'm so hungry I could eat a horse." And knowing Iggy, he probably would.

Everyone gracefully jumped to the ground, which would have looked great in an action movie. The Flock started to drift back towards the house, but Max motioned for me to stay where I was.

She walked over to me, and we were surprisingly close. Part of me instantly thought OhmyfreakingGodshe'sgoingtotellmethatshelovesme but the other part thought Oh my freaking God, she's going to punch my brains into my skull.

"Why are so against my Mom?" she asked softly. "What did she ever do to you?"

I closed my eyes briefly before opening them again. I was treading on thin ice. (Cliché alert! Cliché alert!) "Max, we would be stupid if we didn't consider every variable."

"I know." She turned away so abruptly that some of her hair brushed my cheek. She walked a few feet away. "But don't you ever get tired of being betrayed? By everyone?"

"Not everyone," I said quietly.

"Not everyone," she echoed.

We waited.

Finally, she exhaled noisily. There was another pause before she turned back to face me. To my absolute and utter horror, I noticed that her eyes were glistening and shining with tears. Cue me going into panic mode.

Have I mentioned that guys have no freaking idea how to deal with crying girls?

Like, no idea?

Girls are like explosives. You never know when they're going to go off, and when they do, there's a hell of a lot of damage.

"Um," I said, which showed the brilliance of my language skills. Should I ignore the tears that had started to slip down her face, or go into Prince Charming mode?

And you know what? Screw Prince Charming. Girls always have him in their heads when they're searching for a boyfriend. Do you have any idea what guys have to live up to in the age of Edward and Harry and Darcy? We can't turn girls into vampires or cast love spells on them or even talk with the airs of a nineteenth-century gentleman. We're screwed.

But Max made the decision for me.

She threw her arms around me and sobbed into my shoulder.

Robotically, I placed my arms around her. I am so not cool with showing emotions. Why can't I ever just relax? It's like I'm an android or something who parades around as a human (or, at least, ninety-eight percent of a human).

Max stayed there for a minute, and then pulled away.

She looked me in the eyes briefly before turning around and heading back to the house. I followed a few steps behind. We never said a word, and that was fine with me. It didn't take long to get back to the house, but watching Max walk away from me is always one of my least favourite sights.

One day, I'll always walk beside her.

Back at the house, we were met by a tearful Angel. (What is with all of these hormonal girls? Do six-year-olds even have hormones?) I noticed that the rest of the Flock was running around and looking under objects and furniture.

"Have you seen Total?" she asked, running into Max's open embrace. "I can't find him – or hear his thoughts. And I can always hear his thoughts!"

"Maybe he just went to walk himself," Max said practically, wiping away Angel's tears. I stood there in awkward Emotionless Brick Wall mode. "I'm sure he's around here somewhere."

And you want to know the crazy thing?

He wasn't.

That's how we've spent the last week. Total has completely disappeared off the face of the planet, and normally he was rarely away from Angel. The Flock has searched everywhere, from the house to the grocery store to the dog pound. We've even resorted to putting up posters around the neighbourhood.

Angel has been zombified. She loved Total as a sibling, and he certainly wouldn't run away by choice, which left only one other option. He must've been taken.

So that's a problem.

But how had he disappeared? He had vanished in a five minute time span. We were out of the house only momentarily, and we hadn't heard anything from the house. And why Total? Why not me or Max, the ones with the most information? And why didn't-

OH. MY. GOD.

CRAP CRAP CRAP.

I JUST REMEMBERED.

VALENTINE'S DAY IS TOMORROW, AND I HAVEN'T GOTTEN ANYTHING FOR MAX.

It's still the morning. Okay, Fang, chill out. It'll be cool. It's not a big deal that you forgot about the day when you're supposed to worship your one true love, not a big deal at all. Don't worry, you'll think of something. I'm sure chocolate and flowers and boy-band singers with obnoxiously high voices will help you out-

I'M GOING TO DIE.

-Fang


A/N2- A few things:

First of all, go watch the Canadian Winter Olympics! Hockeyhockeyhockey...

Second, I went to see Percy Jackson on opening night. My thoughts: Logan Lerman, the guy who plays Percy, is ridiculously good looking. And he's eighteen, so it's not creepy to like him. Annabeth was… awful. Grover was amazing, and his parts were fantastic. Finally, the Vegas scene was freaking hilarious. They play two great songs during that scene; you'll know the two when you hear them. Half the theatre started dancing. Overall, they completely changed the plot, but it was (usually) well-done. Have I mentioned how hot Logan Lerman is? Make sure you wait about two minutes into the credits, since there's an extra scene.

Oh, and the amazing her-bloody-majesty created a Phoenix Fanatic Facebook group (!!!). Search for "Order of Phoenix Fanatic" on Facebook to find it. Also, back in chapter 39, I mentioned Bobo the rat (who happens to be my friend's rat). You can find his page if you search for "Bobo Franchistco".

I also just spent an hour watching all of the best High School Musical songs on Youtube. ("What time is it?" "TIME OF OUR LIVES!")

42. February 14 2010

A/N- You know what I love? Spontaneous dance-offs. Legit.

Random: I was on the phone with axisfiraga when my phone died. She didn't notice and kept talking. For minutes.


ALEXANDRE BILODEAU, YOU GIVE ME HOPE.

Because everyone needs to believe.


Reviewers of the Week:

Monopoly: I noticed that I talk a lot about flamethrowers and weapons ever since I started reading this.

rainbowstrike: You know something? ...This chapter totally made me picture Arf Arf Seals with flamethrowers…Someone SO needs to train seals to use flamethrowers. The arctic areas of the world would be screwed.

Comment of the Week:

My favourite Facebook groups/pages:

"Let's eat Grandma!" or "Let's eat, Grandma!" Punctuation saves lives.

I wonder if P. Diddy wakes up in the morning feeling like Kesha.

Were you dissing Canada? I couldn't hear you over my health care benefits.


February 14th, 2010

Dear Diary,

This is it.

Who would've thought everything would have happened today, on Valentine's of all days? Epic things don't happen on the one day allotted for all things pink and fluffy and useless. I guess Dr. M never got the memo.

Yeah, Diary, it's all over. For all of us.

I guess I'll start from the beginning.

You know what? This was a depressing way to start an entry. I've totally bummed myself out even more, if that's possible. Let's re-start this show with extra sarcasm and pointless jokes, shall we?


February 14th, 2010

Dear Diary,

Today sucked more than any other day of my life. It sucked more than Iggy singing Spice Girls songs in the shower, and that's saying something-

STOP BEING SO FREAKING EMO, FANG.

Okay, one more time.


February 14th, 2010

Dear Diary,

For Valentine's Day, I got Max a single red rose.

Look, Diary, I know you're thinking, "Oh, man, a rose? That is so fifteenth century," but that's just the beginning. (Although I'll admit that the lesser-known name of Valentine's is Singles' Awareness Day.)

My plan was to give Max the rose, and then tell her that I was head-over-heels in love with her and that maybe, just maybe, I could be her Prince Charming.

This morning, I sat on the top bunk, rolling the flower between my thumb and my pointing finger. (What's the right name for the finger right beside the thumb? I really doubt that the scientific name is "pointing finger". Is it the forefinger or the index finger? Why am I even mildly concerned about this? Why am I still asking rhetorical questions?)

I kept thinking about how I'd present the rose to Max. Should I get down on one knee? Nah, I'm not proposing. (Although I'm not ruling it out for the future…) Should I lead her on a scavenger hunt? No, I want it to be more romantic. Perhaps a candlelit dinner? Pssh, come on, that's as much of a ridiculous thought as thinking that Google will one day take over the universe. Well, actually, now that I'm thinking about it…

But that's when it happened.

This is when things get sad. This isn't going to be a funny entry, Diary. I'll try, yes, but just listen to what I say. I mean, sure, normally I'm all cynical and sarcastic, but sometimes it's best to shut up (just don't tell that to Nudge, I think she'd implode).

We should have been expecting it. It shouldn't have been a surprise. But I guess we never get good surprises - the last time I had a good surprise was when Nudge showed me that ipod! is the same thing upside down.

I was sitting there with my rose when I heard the scream.

It belonged to Angel, and that was the scream that defined this year. Up to now, things have been relatively easy. No one's been hurt or maimed or killed.

That is, until now.

I knew instantly that something was wrong. This was a scream I'd never heard before, and my stomach dropped so much it hurt. I was out of my room and in the kitchen within ten seconds. You know that feeling you get when you know something is wrong? Not like, Dear God, we've run out of bacon wrong, but more like, This changes everything wrong.

Everyone – including the Flock, Dr. M, Jeb, and Ella – was gathered around the kitchen table. They were huddled over the table like football players discussing a game plan. Angel was sobbing hysterically.

I didn't have to ask what was wrong.

There, lying silently and limply on the table, was Total.

Dead.

"Total!" Angel screamed, throwing herself at the table. Max caught her by the shoulders and held her back. Frenzied tears rolled down her cheeks in tidal waves. "TOTAL!"

Everyone else was crying too – even Dr. M, the heartless bitch, but I'll get to her later. Ella and Iggy's hands were clasped together, while Gazzy and Nudge looked on in absolute horror. Other than Angel's piercing screams, we made no sounds.

Angel turned around and started to punch Max in the stomach, yelling, "No! No! No!" Max just bent her head and took the hits without complaint. It was almost like she wanted to be punched.

For an Emotionless Brick Wall, I'll admit my eyes were slightly more moisturized than normal.

I've gone through torture and injuries and hell, but never death. I've always been the killer, not the killed. Sure, Angel's always been the closest to Total, but over the past while, I considered him family.

…I'm supposed to be the one to protect my family, and I didn't.

I can't tell you how long we stood there.

It felt like years, but it had to be minutes. Looking at Total, there was a long and bloody gash on his side, and I couldn't help but think that he was staining the table. But I knew that he hadn't had an easy death. He'd been killed. Murdered, to be precise.

"Come, on, Angel," Max said softly, clutching Angel closely as her punches gradually subsided. Max picked her up, and she buried her head into Max's soft curls, her sobs just as strong as before.

"It's going to be all right, it's going to be all right," Max whispered kindly, walking down the hallway. Angel's eerie shrieks could still be heard even after Max closed the door to their room. It seemed like my throbbing heart was on the same beat as her screams.

"Well," Jeb said, breaking our silence, "I guess I'll bury the body out back."

"Shouldn't you wait?" Ella asked, brushing away her tears with her sleeve. But every time she wiped away the tears, more came pouring out. "Angel should be there when you bury him. You know," she sniffed, "For closure."

Jeb nodded and ducked his head down to wipe away his own tears. "You have a point. But I'll still put the body into some sort of box." He blinked rapidly before exhaling and going out to the garage.

"I'm going to check on Angel…" Gazzy mumbled, and the kitchen quickly emptied afterwards. No one wanted to see Total's body any more. It was almost like a relic of past happiness. Today marked the loss of our innocence. We were reminded of our mortality.

Dr. M and I were left alone. I didn't know it then, but I should have killed her at that moment. Preferrably painfully, perhaps with some sort of kitchen utensil or food product. I'm sure death by bananas wouldn't be fun.

Dr. M's (fake!) tears dripped on to the table. "Can you believe it?" she whispered. "Who would do this?"

"I don't know," I said softly. I shoved my hands in my pockets. They somehow felt dirty in the presence of death, as if for the first time I was seeing what I had done to so many people. "I really don't know."

Jeb came back in with the box, so Dr. M and I watched solemnly as Total's body was lifted into the box. Jeb placed the lid on the box, and that was the last time I ever saw Total. I closed my eyes in respect. I took a moment to breathe before snapping my eyes open.

I turned around and walked down the hall.

I didn't look back.

My room was empty; everyone was with Angel across the hall. I didn't think that that was the greatest idea, but whatever. At least I had a chance to be alone. But maybe Angel needed everyone; I'm judging her by my own standards. I need to be alone sometimes. Yeah, it's a total loner thing, but at least being alone is easy. Remember, some French guy once famously said "Hell is other people."

But what could I do? I didn't want to update the blog or email someone or watch TV – that just seemed too cruel. We needed to find out who killed Total, because they were probably the ones who were going to kill me.

Oh, joy and puppies and all things that sparkle.

So I went back to square one. I decided to read you, Diary, because you're one of the only constant things in my life. But maybe I had unconsciously picked something up about Total and written it down. I thought that it would be a long shot, but you never knew.

I turned back to Christmas, which was when things started to go downhill. It was the first time re-reading my Diary, but I felt like I needed to be doing this. Basically, after re-reading my stuff, I have come to the conclusion that I am a complete and utter freak who should probably be arrested for being so creepy. But here's the catch-

I read all of the latest entries.

Including the January sixteenth. I figured it out.

That's right. I still don't remember that day, and I never will, but that's okay.

Dr. M...she's the one...

My mouth was completely open as I read the entry. Everything made so much sense it was ridiculous. And, as it turns out, I was the one who came up with the bacon furniture idea! I didn't steal it from someone!

But I can't believe I didn't think it through more. Why didn't I just write "READ LAST ENTRY" on every page or something? Man. The one time I get to show my brilliance and I mess up miserably. It was a textbook case of an epic failure.

Dr. M...wow, I have trouble thinking about it. I guess sometimes the most unobvious thing is to be obvious. She was hiding with us the whole time and we never even thought about questioning her.

And it was at that moment when I realized that she must have been the one to kill Total. Just yesterday I wrote about how unnoticeable Total can be at times.

"Bacon," Total deadpanned. I jumped; he had been right at my feet, and I hadn't noticed him. He would be a great FBI spy, if, you know, the FBI ever felt the need to employ dogs.

He must have overheard something. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But now that I knew it was Dr. M, I could learn from my past mistakes. I had another chance to make things right. I would re-write history. I instantly threw you down, Diary, and jumped off the bed and ran into the hall.

That was my big mistake. I tossed you against the wall, thinking that you'd slide down to my bed. I was wrong, but you'll see how later.

"MAX! EVERYONE! GET OUT HERE, NOW." I pounded on the door before sprinting down the hallway. I was correcting my past mistake; this time, everyone would see her admit her guilt. When I arrived in the kitchen Dr. M was sitting at the table talking softly with Jeb. They both looked at me curiously as the Flock assembled behind me. Angel's cheeks were stained and everyone looked uncharacteristically tired.

"What's wrong?" Max asked while Dr. M's eyes suddenly narrowed at me.

"Dr. M killed Total." I had to get it out; this was a secret long in waiting. Everyone gasped on cue, while Dr. M sat completely still. "She's the one messing with Itex's funds. She's the one who we've been trying to find."

Max stood there completely still while the rest of the Flock shifted uncomfortably.

"Fang, are you sure you know what you're doing?" Dr. M asked sweetly but with a hint of menace. Behind her placid eyes, I could see something glimmer, as if she was looking forward to this.

"With all due respect," I said, echoing my exact words from the sixteenth, "Fuck off."

"Language!" Dr. M, Jeb, and Max all snapped. Dr. M all but snarled at me. "Fang, I have done so much for you, and now you're accusing me of the worst thing imaginable. What faulty evidence would lead you to this conclusion?"

For a split second I was stuck there. The only evidence I had was you, Diary. I still couldn't remember January sixteenth's events, which means by now I've completely forgotten the points I chalked up against Dr. M.

You were my only proof.

I had to admit I had a diary.

(And for the record, to clear this up, when I say Diary, I mean you, Diary, but when I say diary, I mean diaries in general. It's actually been really bothering me, which is a pretty sad fact.)

"I have it written down," I said quickly, noting the brief astonishment that passed over Dr. M's face. It fleeted away just as fast. "I keep a diary." Iggy was barely able to cover his snicker as I said that.

I continued on. "I've always hidden the book and a pen below my covers so that you guys couldn't find it. And on January sixteenth, Dr. M tried to kill me."

"Fang," Max said in a low tone as a warning.

"Look, I'll go get the Diary! Just give me a second, okay! Make sure she doesn't try to escape!" I sprinted down the hallway once again, whipped open the door-

And I couldn't find you.

That's right; you had completely disappeared.

"No, no, no!" I whispered to myself. I turned over all the covers and checked under the beds and couches and desk. I searched everything and everywhere; not a single item was left unturned.

"You stole it!" I yelled the second I launched back into the kitchen. I lunged towards her, but Max caught me by the shoulders and pulled me backwards. I wrestled with Max, but I was practically baring my teeth at Dr. M. "Where the hell did you put it? WHERE DID YOU PUT IT?"

"Fang!" Dr. M stood up and braced herself on the table. "I cannot believe this accusation. I am horrified that you're turning against me in this way. Where's your respect? Your dignity? Your honour? Has my help meant nothing to you?"

That lady deserves an Oscar.

"Just… go." She waved a hand away. "I can't believe this."

"Neither can I!" I said, and stomped back to my room. I must have missed something…something…anything! But I was about to shut the door behind me when someone caught it so that it didn't shut.

It was Max.

Her eyes were on fire; those were the eyes she had when facing Erasers or Flyboys or evil things. She doesn't use those eyes on me.

"I can't believe you," she hissed. "You've messed up, Fang. How dare you accuse my mother! I can't believe you. I thought… I thought…" She threw her hands up. "Who cares what I thought? That doesn't matter now."

"It is her," I said, stepping closer to Max. "You know I have a diary. You saw me writing in it when we were in Vegas. You saw me! Do you really think I would throw some a huge accusation around lightly? Do you think that lowly of me? I meticulously thought through every aspect of why she was doing this. And I wrote it down! She must have somehow taken it!"

"But how?" Max yelled. She pushed me and I was forced to take a step back. I hit my hand on my desk and it stung smartly. Anger flared up from the pit of my stomach. "Someone's been with her all of today! It was impossible for her to steal it!"

"Maybe she got someone else to do it!"

"And how would she know the exact time when you just happened to leave your Diary alone? There're too many variables! God, Fang, just admit you're wrong! But then again, you can't admit anything."

We weren't just talking about Dr. M now, but I didn't take the bait.

"Why would I accuse her if I know I'm wrong? I don't have any reason! Max, you're letting your affection for your mother blind your judgement! I know you love your Mom and betrayal hurts, but you have to know the truth!"

Even though I didn't lay a finger on her, she took a step back. She hurt me physically; I hurt her emotionally. Sometimes words are the best weapons.

She recovered the distance between us. Our noses were almost touching, but I had to listen carefully to hear her next words. She hissed, "Don't mess with my family."

"I am family."

"Are you sure?"

I was right. Words are the best weapons. Max couldn't have hurt me more even if she had stabbed a knife through my heart.

I lost it. I swung my arm up to punch her, but she ducked and tackled me into the desk. I gasped as my back slammed into the desk. My backwards momentum carried me back even further, so I was half-lying on the desk.

I kicked my legs up, catching Max in the jaw. She yelled before coming back, grabbing my leg, and dragging me down to the floor.

I was getting owned. By a girl. Not that Max is any girl, of course, but still.

And let me explain; we were fighting for several reasons. First, we were both equally pissed at each other. Second, we both try hard to keep our tempers down, but when we lose control, anger can totally consume us. Third, it was an escape. Just going through the motions of fighting someone who's on equal ground with you is an emotional vent.

Max was straddling me, so I brought my legs around her waist. (Under different circumstances, I'd say this was an awesome Valentine's Day.) I was impressed she could see me, though; her hair was all but covering her face. (I'll admit, an upside to my shorter hair is easier fighting. And less shampoo, too.)

With a monumental effort, I threw myself upward. The force behind it knocked Max off balance, so she slammed her head into the bottom bunk head. Something clunked, but I didn't think much of it.

Just like out, all of our energy disappeared. Max leaned against the bed breathing heavily while I was stretched out on the floor and coughing. Max wiped some blood away from her nose. "Damn," she said. "That felt good."

"Uh-huh," I said, watching as the ceiling started to spin.

We sat there for minutes.

Max broke the silence by sniffing her nose. (Do girls even have snot? That's a half-serious question.) "I'm sorry."

"I'm sorry, too."

"I am being blinded."

"And I don't have enough proof."

"I don't know what to think any more."

"Trust me, Max. If you're only going to trust me once in your life, let it be now. Please. Have I ever let you down?"

"No."

"Was that a no to trusting me, or the whole letting you down thing?"

She didn't reply and instead dropped her head into her hands. "That was a nice kick to my jaw. I'll feel that one for a while. Jerk."

"My back will never be the same."

"I have a question."

"Shoot."

"When I slammed against the bed – that was a nice move, by the way – I heard something drop. What was that?"

"I don't know. I heard it to; I just thought it was your head."

Max frowned. "No. It didn't hurt enough." She slid down to the floor and stuck her head under the bed. "Oh. This is interesting."

"What?"

Max disappeared under the bed and a second later she brought out you, Diary. My heart sped up; she was holding all of my confessions, dreams, fears... and she didn't even know it. At least, I think she didn't.

"It must have gotten shoved between the wall and the mattress," she said slowly, looking at it curiously. "And when I hit it, it must have fallen down." She slipped her figners beneath the covers and opened you. She must have been able to hear my beating heart... would she see something?

But the thing is, she didn't read the first entry, which caused to let out a huge sigh of relief. Instead, she flipped to January sixteenth and read the entry.

Wait for it-

…January sixteenth is the only entry where I didn't talk about my love for Max. Dr. M hinted at it, yes, but I never explicitly stated anything. My secret was safe.

Part of me wished that she had discovered my secret.

Max didn't make any movement or noise as she read it. It took her about twenty minutes to get through it all, and when she finished it, she closed it softly and handed it back to me. She looked down at her hands. "Will you ever forgive me?"

"Will you ever forgive me?" I echoed.

We smiled at each other.

Next, we both stood up and brushed ourselves off since we both looked like we'd been dragged to hell and back. We were about to leave the room when Max caught sight of the rose on my pillow. "What's that for?" she asked curiously.

Oh, come on.

There's nothing like telling a girl you love her after giving each other a mutual ass whooping.

But it wasn't the time. We had to take care of Dr. M. I wryly grinned. "I'll tell you one day. Now come on. Don't make me beat you up again."

"Beat me up? I beat you!"

"Tell that to your jaw," I said, and Max smiled again. See? After getting your emotions out, things are so much easier. All that was left was for us somehow take out Dr. M, which, with both of us, should have been easy. I opened the door.

Dr. M was standing there right there, grinning.

WAY TO GIVE ME A FREAKING HEART ATTACK, WOMAN.

"It's like déjà vu," she said, cocking her head to the side. She burst her way into the room and closed the door behind her. Max and I stood beside each other, our arms crossed over our chests. And the real kicker was how Dr. M was wearing purple, just like every other unoriginal Disney villain. She crossed her arms as well. We were at a total impasse.

"How long do you think it will take?" I asked to Max. My voice was light, causing Dr. M to look at me crazily. You see, there was no way the Flock wouldn't think that Dr. M coming into my room – and closing the door- wasn't sketchy.

"Hmm," Max answered. "I would say ten seconds."

"Ten? Really? You're underestimating them."

"True. Let's say five."

We both grinned wildly at Dr. M. I started off the countdown, and for each number, we alternated who said it, just for the badass effect.

"Five."

"Four."

"Three."

"Two."

"One."

Max snapped her fingers.

As if by magic, the door burst open, revealing the rest of the Flock. Dr. M spun to face them and her face dropped. Of course, the Flock had been listening at the door the whole time, which was how Max timed the whole finger snap thing. (I really need to learn how to do that. I can't get across how cool she looked.)

"Well, hi there," Iggy said. "Ass-kicking parties are my favourite."

Dr. M just shook her head. She was trapped between the Flock and Max and me. There was no way she could escape.

I was wrong, of course.

I should have seen it coming. We all expected her to launch towards the door, but instead, she turned towards Max and lunged.

Naturally, everyone charged. It became one massive heap of kicks, punches, and jabs. I'm pretty sure I kneed Iggy in the balls (which may or may not have been an accident – heh heh) and there was a long gash on Nudge's arm that one of my fingernails caused.

"Stop! Stop!" Max yelled after a few minutes of frantic fighting. All of our attacks quickly stopped. "Where'd she go?"

She'd snuck out.

The whole time we'd been fighting ourselves, and she'd managed to sneak out of the melee.

Dammmnn it.

(So many times I'm on the blog, and all of these really preppy girls comment and feel the need to streeettcchhh thhheeiirrrr woooorrrdddsss fooorr nnooo rrreeasssoonnn. That previous sentence took me a whole two minutes to write.)

"We need to go get her!" We managed to untangle ourselves and run into their kitchen, where Jeb was looking out the window. He instantly knew what we wanted.

"She left around five minutes ago. She ran into the forest."

Five minutes!

We all filed out the door as quickly as possible and flew into the forest. Max and I flew in and out of the branches while everyone else stayed on the ground. That way, at least one of us would see her. We split up, but there was nothing. We must've covered the whole forest, and we spent at least five hours out there.

She'd completely disappeared.

Finally, once we realized it was pointless to continue right then, Max let out a loud and piercing whistle. We came back to the small clearing where we'd been yesterday. This time we all sat in the trees and looked sullenly across at each other.

"So where do we go from here?" Nudge asked. She put a hand over her eyes to shield them from the setting sun. All in all, it was a rather hypocritical day, since it was so nice outside.

"Well, we should tear the house apart for documents and things. I can't believe it! She's been so close this whole time!" Max slammed a fist into the thick branch she was sitting on. I knew she meant "close" to mean two things. "We've – no, I've – been so clueless…"

That's the sign of a good leader. Max was willing to admit she made a mistake, but she was moving dangerously close to self-pity. "It wasn't just your fault," Iggy said logically. (Iggy? Saying something logically? Pshh...) "We all missed it. Well, except Fang, but even he didn't figure it out until recently."

"We need to get back to the house, though," Angel said. She sniffed back more tears. "Jeb is really worried about us."

Jeb… I never really thought about him. All this time we had considered Jeb to be our main suspect. He was actually just a good guy. For the past few months, we'd looked at everything upside down and backwards.

We had it all wrong.

Back in the house, we quickly explained the situation to Jeb and to Ella. They were both completely floored and said they knew nothing about it; Angel said their thoughts were honest. Ella was crushed and stuck to Iggy like superglue, but the type of superglue that doesn't come off anything.

And so that was the worst Valentine's Day ever.

Or, as those hypothetical preppy girls would say, evverrrrrr.

We spent the rest of the tearing the house apart and we couldn't find a single piece of incriminating evidence. Actually, the only things we found were things like volunteer records and tax receipts for charity donations.

Believe it or not, Max and I are closer than ever; since our fight, we've sort of… revolved around each other, like our movements are in sync. We both said things we regretted, and we both forgave each other, but the memories won't ever go away.

I don't know what to say. It's one or two in the morning right now. I'm tired and cold and hungry. I'm heartbroken. I'm grieving. I'm wishing I told Max.

Goodnight, Diary.

-Fang


A/N2- Ten bucks says your legs are crossed, you're touching your left hand to your face, you're slouched over, or anything of those three in a combination. And if you're not doing any of those, you just blew me away.

Also, please note that Total's only dialogue in the whole story was "Bacon".

43. February 20 2010

A/N- Thank you guys for three thousand reviews! I do believe that it's time to crack open the celebratory bacon package.

Sprinting on a treadmill and laughing hysterically do not mix well together. (AMERIGASM! HAHAHAHAHA.) Ahem.

Reviewer of the Week:

Daughters of Night: How the hell did you know I was slouched over with my left hand touching my face? Are you psychic? Are you stalking me? Oh, if you are stalking me, would you mind going down to Wal-Mart and getting some bacon and nachos? And spray cheese? That'd be awesome.

Comment of the Week:

Sue Sylvester from the Glee promo: No, no, no, I will not be burying any hatchets – not unless I get a clear shot to your groin.


February 20th, 2010

Dear Diary,

This is the story of Total's funeral.

For the record, it was not a FUNeral. Iggy suggested that we bring in some circus clowns and a carnival ("Total liked fun stuff! It would end his life with a bang!") but Angel's sobs and tears convinced him otherwise. Personally I wished that we had brought in some cotton candy stands or something, since that stuff is delicious.

The funeral happened on a warm and windy day, which meant that the poets were weeping at the lack of storms and rain. We were all gathered at the edge of the forest right at noon when there were hardly any shadows falling on the ground.

Total's body was placed in a small cardboard box. Angel had spent the whole morning digging out a proper grave and had refused help from anyone else. Every time she dug the shovel into the dirt, it felt like she was digging into my heart. With every cry of hers, I felt my anger against Dr. M grow.

I know that it's dangerous to be angry. I know the motto; don't get mad, get even. When your emotions are compromised, logic is thrown out the window and mistakes are everywhere. Maybe Spock was right. Maybe emotions are worthless.

"We are gathered here today…" Jeb started saying. He kept talking, but it seemed like his words were swept away and thrown into the trees. (And by the way, isn't "we are gathered here today" the way a wedding starts? But then again, weddings are a synonym for death.)

The only one who cried was Angel; the rest of us stoically watched as the little cardboard box was placed into the hole once Jeb had finished his speech. Angel got on her knees and piled dirt onto the box, refusing the shovel that Jeb offered.

I've mentioned before that Max, Iggy and I are the most jaded of the Flock since we've seen and remembered most of the horrors we've had to face.

That's not as true any more.

Because you don't forget some things.

Once Angel had finished packing the dirt, she stuck the homemade headstone at the head of the makeshift grave. The headstone read:

Total,

Not just man's best friend.

May eternal bacon be with you.

2005 – 2010

Look, I know it's totally shameful to laugh at a funeral, but "May eternal bacon be with you" totally reminded me of Star Wars. How great would it have been if Han Solo had said that? So naturally, I snorted and was barely able to cover my laugh.

Man, you should have seen Max's Death Glare. I think puppies just died on the other side of the world.

After a minute of silence we all went back into the house. Angel wanted to stay by the grave, but Max managed to convince her to come back inside since the horizon was looking dark. I knew that if Max hadn't brought Angel inside, she would've been out there all night.

So, look. That funeral was back on Monday; today is Friday. During that time span, we did some serious Dr. M hunting. We managed to cover most of the Phoenix area thoroughly, but she'd slipped through our fingers. There was no point in searching randomly any more, since she could be in Japan playing DDR with robots as I write this. (Man, I once had this crazy DDR experience…you'd never believe me…)

Basically, we'd hit a wall. It was a worldwide hunt, which sounds like an amazing concept for a reality TV show, but it certainly made things difficult for us. It was like Where's Waldo? but without the Waldo part.

This morning, at least, was the most fun I've had in a while. I have been told something rather interesting:

I am a sexy man beast.

Or at least, that's what Iggy told me when he caught me reading Breaking Dawn, the last (and crappiest, in my humble opinion) book of the Twilight series. The whole conversation was pretty messed, actually. When I walked into the kitchen, I noticed Iggy sitting at the kitchen table. His sleeves were pulled up to his elbows, and his face was pure ecstasy.

On his overflowing plate was at least three pounds of bacon.

"Dear God," I said, "What are you doing?"

He looked down at his sleeves, and then at the bacon. "What do you think I'm doing?"

I didn't answer his question. "Think of your arteries. Please." He rolled his eyes and jammed his hand into the center of the bacon pile. He extracted a handful of pieces before shoving them in his mouth.

"You know, I was under the impression humans had evolved from Neanderthals. I was wrong," I said in horror as bacon juices dribbled down his chin. "You're eating pounds of bacon."

"Thank you, Captain Obvious."

"You're welcome, Lieutenant Sarcasm."

For the next five minutes, I stood there riveted in horror as Iggy annihilated his plate. It was like watching a vulture descend on a carcass. "So," Iggy said, the second he finished, "Please tell me the last time you felt as good as I'm feeling right now."

"You're disgusting," I said, and took the opportunity to throw the book in my hand – which happened to be Breaking Dawn – at him.

And the freaky part?

He caught it.

"STOP BLOWING MY MIND!" I yelled as Iggy grinned.

"So what book is this?" Iggy asked, frowning. He flipped through the pages. "Hmm. It's a Mesa Public Library book, since I can feel the bar code sticker on the cover. It's hardcover but damaged, meaning it's relatively new but has already been through a lot of hands. Someone's written in the pages… Oh, come on, Fang, really? Breaking Dawn? Are you legit?"

"Shuddup," I snapped and grabbed the book away from him. I didn't let my shock at his recognizing the book go into my voice. "You knew I read Twilight."

"Ah," he said. "There's a difference. All guys should read Twilight since it revolves around every hormonal girl's dreams. But there's no reason for you to continue with the series unless you're actually interested. You're such a sexy man beast."

"Excuse me?" Talk about random. That's like walking up to a police officer and saying, "Officer, I lost my wallet. I want to talk with you about the mating habits of marsupials."

Iggy sighed. "Any guy that can get through all four books simply must be put into their own category. I would say there's maybe, oh, ten guys in the world who have read the series. Congratulations, you're so much of a woman that you're a man."

I blinked. Iggy Logic (capitalization is needed, yes) was never my specialty. "What?"

"Well, I think of you like a double agent. You've invaded the minds of women so much that you know everything about them – thus being a manly man as opposed to a wimpy woman."

"Um, thanks. I guess."

Iggy thought it over in his mind before nodding to himself. "Yeah, I say you're more masculine than feminine. I think you proved it when you had that hardcore crush on the pink Power Ranger."

He was not going to bring that up. I crossed my arms over my chest and glared at him. (I get that he couldn't see the glare, but it was the thought that counted.) "Give me a break! What happened in the nineties stays in the nineties."

"Whatevs," he said, taking his plate and licking the leftover bacon juices from the plate. I think I can hear his heart clogging even now.

The phone rang suddenly, making us both jump; sudden noises are way uncool in our books. I mean, if someone ever ran up to us and shouted "BOO!" we'd probably break their nose. I walked over to the phone and picked up the receiver. "Hello?"

"Hi! My name's Jane and I'm representing Harwood Windows and Doors-" I hung up the phone, cutting off dear old Jane. Iggy looked up at me curiously.

"Telemarketer," I said, shrugging. I was about to sit down when the phone rang sharply again. "Hello?" I asked, not bothering to sound nice.

"Hi, this is Jane, I think our last conversation got cut off-" I slammed the phone down again, grinding the phone into the base a little bit more than necessary. Telemarketers are like the McDonalds of fast food; they're everywhere and will always find you.

"I guess they don't take no for an answer," Iggy said, but right as he finished the sentence, the phone rang again. I stalked over to the phone and picked it up.

"LOOK, JANE, I DO NOT FREAKING WANT WINDOWS OR DOORS. Okay?" I was about to whip the phone down when someone who was not Jane answered.

"I want you to pick up a piece of paper and a pen," the voice said, and I'll admit I laughed out loud. A mysterious phone call? I think the Cliché Police need to arrest whoever was on the phone.

"Um, okay," I said, grabbing the two items. "Lemme guess. You're one of Dr. M's cronies, right? And she hired you because you sound like Darth Vader. Well, I'd recommend dropping her and getting a real job. Burger King down the street is hiring; I can put in a good word."

The voice said, "Chase Field," and hung up.

Man. Why can't villains ever give a straight answer? Would it really be that hard to say, "Hey, come here at this time. If you'd like I can give you the bus schedule." It would make smackdowns so much easier for everyone involved.

"Was it a villain phoning with some mysterious directions or something of that nature?" Iggy asked calmly as he put his plate away.

"Yeah. Where's the originality in today's evilness? It's all about power and money and mystery. Whatever happened to the good villains – the villains that had a point? The villains that were the lost heroes?"

"That's a rhetorical question, right?" He didn't give me a chance to answer as he stood up and said, "Come on. Let's tell Max, and then we'll go to the Google gods."

Max was easy to find; she was with Angel, who had become extremely reclusive since Total's death. Angel was once again sitting in Max's lap. Instead of forcing them to relocate, I just brought my laptop into their room and searched for "Chase Field".

"Oh, look, its America's favourite pastime," Max said, reading over my shoulder. She grinned. "Man, that is such a trap. They couldn't bother to make it less obvious? Really? I'd prefer an alleyway at midnight. At least it's more poetic."

Max had a point. It turns out that Chase Field is a baseball diamond in downtown Phoenix. I mean, come on. A big stadium? A downtown location? A mysterious call? We can be pretty stupid, but we're not that bad.

"But what should we do?" Nudge asked. She and Gazzy had just walked in. "Attack the ambush?"

"That's probably the best way to approach it," Max said, nodding. "We should go at night so there aren't any crowds. There'll be security, but then at least if something goes wrong, then there will be minimum casualties."

Do you see how awesome Max is? Going in at night is more dangerous for us, but safer for the public. Occasionally I wonder if Max really is human or if she's some super-creature that's good at everything except cooking (and cleaning, and showering, and keeping her temper, and – okay, maybe no one's perfect…).

"Should we leave tonight?" Gazzy asked. "We're running out of time."

"No!" Angel yelled. "We're not going!"

No one knew what to say until Max softly asked, "Why not?"

"We're not going without Total!" Angel yelled, pushing Max away. She was about to stand up and run, but Max caught her around the waist and managed to keep Angel on her lap. "He would know what to do!"

Oh, man.

Max looked down at Angel. "Angel, honey, Total can't come with us…"

Angel bit her lip. I knew the majority of her wanted to be grown-up and responsible, but the six-year-old in her just had her best friend die. Everyone has a breaking point. She looked down at her shoes and didn't say anything.

"How about we leave tomorrow?" Max said quietly, and we all nodded. Angel needed time, which was something we didn't have a lot of.

I snapped my laptop shut and was about to leave the room when Angel said something that surprised us all. "Fang? Can you wait?"

I turned to face her. "Yeah. Of course."

Max extracted herself from Angel and set her on the bottom bunk bed. Max kissed the top of her head before leaving. The rest of the Flock followed and shut the door after themselves.

"What's up?" I asked. The bunk bed sank a little as I sat beside her. Tears were threatening to pour out of her eyes, and I started to panic. You see, Diary, there are three things you should know about me:

One: I'm not good with girls.

Two: I'm not good with children.

Three: I'm not good with children who are girls.

"I'm messing everything up," Angel said, running a dirty sleeve across her face to get rid of the tears. "I'm so sorry."

"Why would you think that?" I asked. "You're not messing everything up." That's what a caring, compassionate individual would say, right?

"Yes I am!" She said it so desperately it was like she wanted me to hate her. "It's all my fault, Fang! Don't you get it? I should have been able to see into Dr. M's mind! And now I'm keeping us all here when we should be going to Phoenix!"

"No one knew what Dr. M was up to. Not even Jeb, and he's her husband. How could you possibly know with all of the tricks up Itex's sleeve? And besides, we all could use a good night's rest before we go to Phoenix."

"How do you think Total died?"

The question caught me so off-guard that I started a bit. "Why do you want to know?"

"I want to know so I can do the same to Dr. M."

She said it so blandly, so emotionless, that I shivered. If Angel of all people was feeling this kind of hate, then we were all screwed and should just live in the basement of the house for the rest of our lives watching Star Trek and playing World of Warcraft. I shook my head. "Don't lower yourself to her level. Once you do, you're no better than her."

Angel whispered so lowly that I struggled to hear her. "Don't you just want to hurt her? Make her feel the same hurt she made you feel?"

I wanted to say no, but I couldn't. "Of course I do. But I'd rather get my revenge through doing the right thing and by being a better person."

Angel took a deep breath and swung her feet back and forth. She began to hum a haunting tune that's still stuck in my head as I write this. It was as if the melody was crying, and the song made me want to cry, too. (Men don't cry. They have moisturized eyes.) After a minute she stopped humming. "Okay. Thanks, Fang."

I took that as my dismissal and left the room, not bothering to say anything else. Angel was right; I wanted to hurt Dr. M so badly it hurt me. And that was the problem.

"Hey, Fang?" I jumped and nearly punched the person in the face. (Remember the person-breaking-nose thing I told you about earlier, Diary? I wasn't kidding. I don't think Nudge ever really forgave me.) Waiting in the hall for me was Max.

Her eyes lit up a bit and she grabbed my hands. She pulled me into the bathroom.

"Hmm," I said, once she had locked the door behind me, "You certainly want to speed things up."

She rolled her eyes. "Actually, I just wanted to do this."

Before I knew what she was doing she threw her arms around me and enveloped me in a huge hug. I placed my arms stiffly against her shoulders. We held the position for a few moments before Max pulled back. She kept her hands in mine.

"Thank you for talking with Angel. She really respects you."

"Why would she respect a freak like me?"

"Because you're the most adorable freak out there."

WOAHHHHH.

And then she kissed me.

Well, here's the thing. She went to kiss me on the cheek, but I turned my head at the same time, meaning she ended up landing right on my lips.

It was like turning on a light switch.

Maybe I was wrong about emotions. You see, the second our lips met, it was like fireworks. I totally get that every kiss is described as fireworks, but it's true.

I slammed Max against the door, making it shake under our combined weight. Our lips reconnected as we thoroughly made out. I was pretty sure that I was cutting off Max's air and crushing her wings since I was pressing so heavily into her, but she just laughed.

Yeah, I know. We were making out in a bathroom. I can't do anything right, can I?

She ran her hands through my hair (actually, that really hurt, since I hadn't combed it in a while) while my own hands stayed on her waist. They wanted to roam all over her body, but I didn't think that was the most gentlemanly thing to do.

Waitasecond.

Me? A gentleman? HAHAHA. Right.

My hands suddenly flew up to grasp her face. We were so close together it was as if we were one person. Every thought, emotion, feeling was connected. If emotions let me feel like this all the time, I don't know why the hell I ever wanted to be an emotionless brick wall.

"Hmmmm," Iggy's amused voice said from the other side of the door. "Are you having trouble in there, Fang? There's a lot of grunting that I hear."

Max and I flew apart. Actually, I jumped back so far I hit the edge of the tub, which threw me of balance, causing me to careen into the tub and wham my head against the wall. Did it hurt? Yes. Did I want to hurt Iggy more? Yes.

"Ouch," Iggy said again as I was trying to stay conscious, "That must've hurt."

"Go away," I yelled groggily to Iggy. Why were there six Max's swimming around in my vision? "Go while you can."

Max immediately came over and hoisted me out of the tub. My vision blacked out for a minute (don't you hate that feeling when you stand up too quickly?) but the very first thing I saw when I was sentient again was Max's worried face.

"Let's think of a way to kill Iggy," she breathed heavily. "You hold him, I'll shoot."

"I heard that!" he cackled from the other side of the door. I manoeuvred myself around Max and whipped open the door to face a completely unabashed Iggy. "Why, hello there," he said jovially.

"We'll give you a ten-second head start," I snarled. "Run."

Iggy laughed openly and happily skipped down the hall, singing something about how his work was done for the day. Once he had disappeared into the kitchen I closed the door gently. I closed my eyes and slammed my head into the door.

Max sat down on the edge of the tub. "Huh," she said. What could we possibly say to each other after something like that?

"Huh," I echoed.

"That was interesting."

"Indeed it was."

"You're unfairly good at kissing."

"Huh?"

"How do you do it?" Max cocked her head to one side causing some of her tousled-up hair (courtesy of moi) to fall onto her shoulder. "You're so… dark and suave and graceful, and then you go and be a great kisser. How do you do it all?"

If only she knew I was the exact opposite of all of that.

I shrugged. "How do you do everything? You lead us and protect us and managed to look damn hot while you do that."

Oh, shat. (Yes, that's a word.) That wasn't supposed to have slipped out. I clamped my hands over my mouth and bit my tongue. I couldn't look at her, so instead I moved to sit down on the toilet. I didn't want to see the look on her face... the expression of rejection...

"I look 'damn hot'?" Max quoted, looking sceptical but amused.

"Maybe," I muttered. Ugh! This was all happening too fast! Here I am, finally making out with Max, and I was getting nervous! It was horrible! I've waited for months for this moment, and my first make-out session was ruined. First, it happened in a bathroom. Second, Iggy interrupted. Third, I knew that this was the closest I'd ever get to telling Max that I loved her.

"We should pack for tomorrow," Max said with a small smile. I knew immediately that she was giving me a way out of this situation.

I nodded to acknowledge what she was doing. We both knew that we needed to talk, and soon, but it's hard to talk about your undying love when you're sitting on the toilet (you try doing that, Diary. If you're successful, give me a call.) "Yeah, sounds good."

I left the bathroom, leaving Max there alone, since it would be just a tad bit conspicious if we both left at the same time. I went to my room to pack, which, naturally, took all of thirty seconds. How in the world did Max know that I was so uncomfortable? But do you see how awesome she is? She's more awesome than awesomesauce. (…That made sense in my head…)

I stayed reclusive for the rest of the day, since if I saw Max, I'd be embarrassed and if I saw Iggy, I'd kill him. Instead of accidentally causing another death in the house I thought over the bathroom incident. We had been getting pretty hot and heavy – what would have happened if Iggy hadn't interrupted?

And what did that mean about Max's feelings towards me? It was impossible that she could love me – there's a difference between love and lust. But they're so easy to confuse.

Despite my emotions (or lack of them?) I'm so, so happy. Max and I have kissed, sure, but this was different. The kisses before were like those small samples Starbucks sometimes gives out, but today was like ordering a Tall Peppermint Mocha. (I did not just compare my make-out session with a Starbucks drink... Oh, man, I'm am such a horrible person...)

Still, Diary, I'm shaking. It feels like I've taken a huge step today.

But if I'm so happy, why am I so scared?

-Fang


A/N2- I try to respond to reviews, but I usually end up failing miserably. If you want me to reply just add, "YO, PHOENIX, YOU'D BETTER FREAKING RESPOND TO THIS" at the end of your review/PM. But yes, I do read every message, and I love all of them, especially the ones that mention nachos. (Mmmm…nachos…)

I'm assuming that most of the people reading this (at least, reading this in 2010) are nineties kids. How cool is it that we've lived in 3 decades, 2 centuries, 2 millenniums and we're not even twenty? (Naturally, I learned that from a Facebook group.)

44. February 27 2010

A/N- I wore my Zac Efron socks today. But the socks are meant for kids a good ten years younger than me, so his head is stretched out across my whole foot. And yet, I'm still attracted to him. But does that mean I'm attracted to my foot? This has the capability to get really weird really quickly.

Reviewers of the Week:

rootlessdream: Did you know that 43% of Canadians prefer bacon over sex? The BaconToday website says so. Is Iggy Canadian?

JaggedPeak: Dude, I just realized that the symbols for barium, cobalt and nitrogen (Ba, Co, N) spell bacon. What a win.

Comment of the Week:

The best math pickup line ever, and it would be awesome if someone other than me found this funny: Hey, girl, you must be an asymptote 'cause I keep getting closer and closer…


February 27th, 2010

Dear Diary,

DIARY AHWRXSD MRJARR IHATEMYLIFE ARRJMS

Today we are gathered here to mourn the English language. And while we're at it, let's mourn Fang, that guy that life screwed over and who no one really remembers expect for that fact that he was wacked.

Blarrrg.

I guess you can say I'm slipping into depression.

Well, it's just dandy.

I'm dying in ninety-four days. That's it. Then I'm no more than some hopefully-stylish ashes. I guess you've turned into more than a diary, Diary. You've turned into a chronicle of my last days.

Part of me says I should just go to Vegas or Monte Carlo, steal some money, and spend my days with hot women (aka Max-look-a-likes) and nice cars. But could I really settle and wait for death? But what's the point of living if you're not actually living? But will I ever be able to stop these pointless rhetorical questions?

But of course I can't do that. First, I suck at gambling. Second, I'm a fighter, and I'll fight my death until I'm dead. (Yeah, that was a Captain Obvious statement. Whatever.) And Third, Max would kill me, bring me back from the dead, and kill me again.

But I'm going to die. Part of me is going, FIGHTFIGHT MORE BLOOD YEAHHH but there's another part going, Well, shit.

There're a lot of things I have to consider, like religion and science and Max.

But maybe death isn't that bad. Maybe it is just another adventure. It's weird thinking about these things, you know? At least it's midnight, and I'm in the dark, so it's the perfect setting for me to think about these things. You can't exactly think about your death when, you're, oh, I don't know, making out with Max.

Or, as the lovely Brits would say, snogging Max.

Mmhmm.

I guess I should shut up and start talking about the past week, right? Right.

Some people make their careers by deciphering other people's dreams. But you know, if someone ever tried to figure out any deeper meaning behind my dreams, they'd probably think that I belong in an asylum. And they'd be right.

Shall I describe my first dream?

It was a dark and stormy night. I know, cliché, right? Oh, wait, I'm supposed to write all dramatically when I'm writing in italics. Sorry, let me start over.

It was a dark and stormy night. The house rocked with each wave of thunder that threatened to drown me. I was home alone, and the power had been knocked out. Darkness enveloped my senses. (Haha. I could totally win the Worst Descriptive Scene EVER award.)

The wooden stairs leading to the basement creaked.

I was wrong.

I wasn't alone.

The creaking continued. Then came the steps. Thud, thud, thud. Pause. Thud, thud, thud. I could hear someone breathing heavily. My heart beat wildly and almost leaped out of my chest.

Slowly –so, so, painfully slowly- the door creaked open.

His face was dripping with blood. In his right hand was a red-covered knife. In his left was a chainsaw. I stood up and the chair harshly grinded against the floor as I pushed it away and held it in front of me.

He smiled.

"Get ready to die," Justin Bieber whispered.

"ARRAA AHHHHG!"

I'll admit that I screamed when I suddenly woke up from my dream. Naturally, Iggy and Gazzy near had a heart attack from my awkwardly high-pitched scream. (Don't laugh! If JB invaded your dreams, what would YOU do? And did I seriously just call him JB? Failfailfail.)

"What's wrong!" Gazzy and Iggy shouted. They were both on their feet and in defensive positions. Calling them confused would be the understatement of the year, right next to calling Charlie the Unicorn only slightly insane. ("Shun the non-believer! Shuuuuunnn!")

"I thought I heard something at the window," I lied quickly. How the hell could I explain that a fifteen-year-old male teen celebrity had been haunting my dreams? It feels like with each passing day, I hit newer and newer lows…

They both immediately relaxed, seeing as there was no longer any chance that their heads would become dismembered from their bodies any time soon. "That's a lie and we both know it," Iggy said, lying back down in the bunk.

"Well, I certainly didn't expect that..." Gazzy said in a low tone, stuffing his face back under his pillow, while Iggy muttered something about how "nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition".

I stared up at the ceiling as Iggy coughed to catch my attention. I could hear the grin in his voice. "You had a dream, didn't you? I bet you ran out of tacos or something. Man, that would be such a travesty."

Tacos?

He was back asleep in five seconds.

Stupid Iggy. Now I want tacos.

Luckily, Gazzy nodded off soon after. It took me a while to get back asleep – after a nightmare like that, I didn't know I could ever sleep again – but instead of falling into a perfect, restful, peaceful sleep, I of course had another dream. Since, obviously, life couldn't cut me some slack for one night.

On that topic, I sometimes think Life is making a big joke out of me. I bet that Life just points and laughs at me and goes, "HAHAHA, SUCKER." That would explain a lot.

My dream went like this:

This time, I am in a room of black.

I know that I am wearing black clothes, too, even though I can't see anything. The strangest thing is that although I am blind to my surroundings, I'm not worried at all. I hear footsteps and I turn towards them.

It's Jeb.

I can't see him, but I know he is wearing the same thing as me. He smiles apologetically at me and shrugs.

"Where am I?" I ask.

He appears to ignore me. "You've had a similar experience, right? In a white area?"

It doesn't bother me that he knows this. "Yeah. So why is it black here?" My stomach churns – I don't mean to sound petulant. "I mean, it's perfectly nice here, too. I'm just confused."

Again, he ignores me, but I'm not upset by it. "You do realize you can't have white without black, right? Think about it. If you turn on any light, there will always be a shadow. If there's a shadow, that means that there's light. They're in balance."

"I'm not looking for a philosophical lecture," I say, but I don't mean it to sound as bad as it does. Jeb smiles and turns around so that his back is to me.

From the rhythm in his voice I can tell he's quoting poetry. "With black and white/It's never right/But starting today/I'll live my life in grey."

My eyes snapped open.

First, Justin Bieber. Next, Jeb Batchelder. Maybe it was just my night to have people with the initials of JB haunt my dreams.

If only the initials had been MR.

Still, the good thing about the nightmares was that I woke up at a good time and had already eaten and dressed before the rest of the Flock got up. After putting it off for far too long, we were finally going to Chase Field in Phoenix after receiving that totally stupid phone call that told us to go there. ("Alex, I'll take "Trap" for two hundred." )

I knew that leaving here would be a big step forward for all of us. It was hard to remember a time without Total.

Angel spent most of the day trying to appear as perky as possible, which basically meant adding exclamation marks to the end of all her sentences. But beneath her happy exterior, anyone could see that she was crushed inside.

"So what time are we leaving at?" I asked Max sometime near lunch. We were alone. My fingers twitched to run through her hair, to brush her cheek, to…stop it, Fang, stop it while you have some dignity left.

She shrugged. "Nine-ish. We need the dark so that we can just fly into Phoenix. There'll be a lot of light there, but if we're fast, no one should notice us."

I nodded. "Cool."

Yeah. Not all of our conversations are badass or end with us making out.

The thing is, we haven't talked about our make-out session at all. (The worst thing about a secret is not being able to tell anyone – believe me, I wanted to run to Iggy and rub it in his face that I had just made out – but I could never do that to Max.) But she didn't even wink or nudge me or do anything to show that she even remembered the bathroom incident.

Maybe someone had taken over her body. Sadly, that made more sense.

The day was spent prepping and going over possible action plans. We left the house at nine, just as Max had predicted. We flew off into the night stealthily and at a steady pace. I was half-expecting ninjas or pirates or Pokémon to come out and attack us, but sadly enough, nothing cool like that happened.

The flight to Phoenix was cold and quick; we flew in standard V- formation, with Max at the head. I was at her right-hand side, which may or may not have given me an excellent view of her shapely legs…

The worst part was Angel was still too sad to reproach me.

"So how are we going to find this place?" Iggy yelled over the roar of the wind. We were coming above downtown Phoenix now, and the whole place was lit up with lights from buildings and cars and advertisements. I'll admit that even though it's dangerous, I love flying by night in cities.

"I really don't think it'll be hard," Max drawled. I looked down to follow her gaze.

Most of downtown was a bunch of skyscrapers and tall buildings, but right smack dab in the middle of them was a large, low-lying building with a large baseball diamond. I recognized the building as Chase Field, since I'd done some Google Images searching beforehand. (The say society collapses is the day Google or Wikipedia goes offline.) But then again, I would seriously hope that I'd still be able to recognize a baseball field in the middle of a city without the help of Google.

"That's weird," Max said, looking down at the building. "The roof is open… and it most definitely should not be."

I highly doubted that Max was an expert in the nocturnal habits of baseball diamonds, but I decided not to comment. She was right, though- only a few low lights were on, meaning the field was just barely visible.

Gazzy started to mutter, "I'm a trap, I'm a trap, I'm a trap," to the tune of that Dora The Explorer song about the map. (Look, it was one episode, and I picked up a surprising amount of Spanish. So just shut up, Diary.)

"What should we do?" Iggy asked. He had flipped over so he was flying upside down leisurely. (I bet that if there was a sudden nuclear attack, Iggy would mutter, "Damn, I can't watch Vampire Diaries anymore," and then eat bacon.) "I can break us in. Just give the word, and presto, you can bask in the glory of my awesomeness."

Max shook her head. "No. I'm thinking that either way we're going to find out who's waiting for us. Let's just get it over with."

I was surprised at Max's rashness. "Are you sure?" I asked in a low voice so that only she could hear me. I didn't want to show the Flock that I didn't completely trust Max with this choice of hers.

"I'm sick of waiting," she whispered back, and nosedived towards the stadium.

She certainly knows how to make an exit. All she needed was a cape, and it would've been perfect.

I bit my tongue in frustration before diving right after her. Although the dive only took around ten seconds, it felt like forever. Diving at that speed sort of feels like getting a facial peel. Not that I've ever had a facial peel, of course.

We all landed on the pitcher's mound in the middle of centre field. We were able to see the field, but only dimly. The bleachers were completely dark, and I had the impression that I was in some sort of movie scene for some freaky porno movie with the title of Fast Balls or some other horrid title.

That is it was completely dark until all of the outfield lights and advertisements suddenly blazed on, blinding us all.

My eyes burned from the light, causing me and everyone else to grab our heads and shut our eyes as tightly as possible. It was sort of like when you're in the dark, and some jerk (aka Iggy) comes along and flicks on the switch.

There was audio playing, too. Behind us, the electronic screen started into an Arizona Cardinals animation. An announcer came over the announcements, yelling something about introducing the players. And the most obnoxious of all was the cheering.

Remember, we were the only people in the whole stadium. And yet, there was raucous cheering and clapping and shouting coming from the stands, as if the place had sold out.

After a few moments I blinked away the spots in my eyes. We were all on edge and ready to boot it out of there. "Well, this isn't creepy at all," Nudge muttered. We were in a circle, all facing outwards.

And just like that, the cheering stopped.

Only one person remained clapping.

Standing on home plate was Dr. M.

"It's been a while," she said, smiling. Her hands were clasped behind her back. "I hope you're doing well. How's Ella? Did she tell you how she did on her Spanish test? I know she was worried about it."

"What do you want?" I could tell it was absolutely killing Max to see her Mom like this. Dr. M was dressed casually, in jeans and a blouse, but I felt more scared than when I'd faced Ter Borcht or Erasers. Betrayal hurts more than plain evilness. Trust me on that one.

"Can't I see my own daughter?" Dr. M asked so normally for a split second I couldn't help but forget what Dr. M did to us.

"I'm not your daughter." The words that flew from Max's mouth were filled with so much hate I actually took a step back. Poison dripped from her expression, and even Dr. M raised her eyebrows at Max.

"Don't lower yourself to her level," I hissed. Why is it that evil inspires more evil? It's like all those morals thrown at me in The Dark Knight are coming back to haunt me.

Max opened her mouth, no doubt to rebuke me, but Angel interrupted her.

"YOU KILLED TOTAL," she screamed. Before I could reach out and grab her, she broke out of our circle and flew directly towards Dr. M like a bullet.

Right when she was about to be wiped out by the (literal) flying tackle, Dr. M casually stepped aside, causing Angel to reel around mid-air. Dr. M took the opportunity to snatch Angel right out of the air dragged her back down to the ground.

For a horrible second, we thought Dr. M was going to strangle her. Instead, she enveloped Angel in a massive hug.

"Stunned" would be appropriate in this situation.

Angel tried beating her fists against Dr. M's torsos, but Dr. M just buried her face in Angel's hair. Believe me, none of us smell that good.

"Angel, come back," Max said in a measured voice. Only the twitching of her fingers showed how nervous she was. "Get away from her."

Dr. M looked down at Angel and said something too quietly for me to hear, but from reading her lips I could tell she said something about "Thank you." Angel was able to smack Dr. M in the crotch before casually walking back to us with tears streaming down her cheeks. That's my girl.

"Why are we here?" Max asked as Dr. M regained her composure. Behind her back, Max held up three fingers, which signalled to us to be ready to take off at a moment's notice. I tapped Iggy's hand three times to relay the message, and he nodded. "We know this is a trap, so why can't you just get to that part? Why all the social politeness?"

And just like that, Dr. M disappeared.

Like, whoosh, one second she's there, one second she's not. Freaky-tastic.

"Watch everything!" Max yelled. Since we had our backs together, our circle was effective because we could see all around ourselves. Still, the feeling that she could be anywhere was terrifying. Normally at least we know where to attack. "Watch for movement!"

For a horrifying minute, all we could hear was our own breathing and the sounds of cars from the nearby streets. But you know, our circle didn't account for one thing.

"This is so poetic," a voice behind us said.

And when I say "behind us," I mean, behind all of us.

She was standing in the middle of our circle. Before we even had time to comprehend how the hell she'd done that her arm lashed out and grabbed me. She hauled me forwards and put pressure on the back of my neck, instantly subduing me. By twisting my neck she looked me in the eye. "How does it feel being the real villain?" she asked with wide doe eyes that was a total Bambi rip-off.

"How does it feel being a bitch?" I whispered back. I hooked my leg around her knee, which brought us both crashing down onto the pitcher's mound.

The Flock converged on us in a giant heap, and the next ten seconds were full of frantic fighting. Punch, kick, thrust - it was like I was on auto-pilot. It was almost exactly like the pile-up that had happened in my room. Max thought the same thing the second I did, which proves that we are totally are connected to each other. She yelled, "Fall back!"

Once again, Dr. M had disappeared right in the middle of our fight.

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me," Max said quietly as we surveyed the empty arena. Right as she finished saying the phrase the blinding outfield lights shut off in succession. The LCD screen went blank, and we were standing in complete darkness.

"I guess that's a dismissal," Gazzy drawled.

"Let's go home," Max snapped. We all looked at her, confused. She spat on the pitcher's mound – I think I had accidentally punched her in the jaw during the fight – before rubbing her arms from the cold. "Something might have happened to Jeb and Ella."

"Shouldn't we check the security tapes?" Nudge asked. "There might be something on there."

"Dr. M's too smart for that. And besides, no security guards came out. Something tells me she took care of them." Max looked down at the fake grass on the field and refused to look at any of us.

For the first time she called her mother "Dr. M," not "Mom".

Maybe heartbreak happens on different levels.

"Let's go," I said, suddenly realizing that Max was pretty close to an emotional outburst, which usually ended with someone in the hospital or the destruction of a small city. She looked up at me and mouthed, "Thank you."

We took off immediately, only detouring slightly to stop at Iggy's favourite all-night grocery store to stock up on various meat products. During the short flight back to Mesa, we all thought about the same thing, even if we didn't voice it aloud. Why had we been summoned to Chase Field? Nothing had been accomplished for either side.

As we all secretly knew, there was no risk of an attack on Jeb and Ella. Dr. M appeared to actually love them, and chances are she wouldn't hurt them. (Key word – appeared.) When we arrived home around eleven, they were both safely in bed.

"Hey, Fang?"

I was on my laptop updating the blog when Max came into my room. She had changed and was wearing her pjyamas, which had penguins plastered over them. They had been a Christmas present from Dr. M; I didn't comment on them. Instead, I couldn't help but recall that the last time we'd been alone in my room, she'd tried to kill me.

"What's up?" I swivelled around in my chair to face her. She sat on Iggy's bunk bed, so we were pretty close to each other since it was a small room. Normally it was hard to share a small room with three guys, but if it allowed Max and I to get closer, I would glady accept sleeping in a closet.

"I wanted to give something to you." In her hands she held a small notebook that she was turning over repeatedly. I recognized the faded cover instantly, since I'd been constantly scared that I'd reveal to her that I knew it existed.

It was her diary.

I'd read one of her entries before – off the top of my head I can't remember the day when I found her diary, but I knew she kept one. She held it out for me to take.

"I want you to read the entry I made on February 20th. You can give it back to me in the morning. Goodnight." She stood up and walked out of the room.

…That girl drives me insane.

I opened the diary and was this close to reading every single secret she had ever poured out of herself. But I knew that if anyone read you, Diary, that I would find myself personally responsible or their painful and long death.

I only looked at the dates as I flipped to the twentieth. I couldn't help but notice that most of her entries were only paragraphs, but there was an entry for every day. After a few seconds I found the right entry.

This is what I read:

02/20/10

Dear Diary,

I don't know what to think any more.

Maybe I was wrong.

-Max

What the hell did that mean?

I wish the entry had been something along the lines of, "Dear Diary, I wish could tell Fang to do this and this and this in case he ever wanted to hit on me. –Max." That would've been great.

But the twentieth was the day we made out, and she wrote that maybe she was "wrong". Did she think that she was she wrong in kissing me? Did I kiss that poorly? It's not like I'm able to practise something like that. And the only person I'd ever been able to practise on is you, Diary…and I'm just going to stop that thought now before it becomes even weirder.

Well, that was today. I know that something went on at Chase Field. I just don't know what it is.

And that's the worst part.

-Fang


A/N2- I watched a Dora the Explorer episode maybe three years ago. I still remember that map song.

First off, feel free to add Liz Bacon on Facebook. It's me, just an alternate account.

Second, tune in TODAY (also known as February 28th) at noon PT or three ET to the Olympics to watch the US/Canada hockey smackdown. This is legitimately going to be the biggest hockey game in the history of ever.

A bit of background: the Olympics are in Vancouver (aka Canada) and hockey is unbelievably important to Canadians. The thing is, in a previous match a week ago, the US beat Canada. Canada managed to stay in the competition, and now it's a complete shot at redemption.

But since I'm half-American, half-Canadian, these matches are horrible for me to cheer for since I'm torn between sides. I think I'll just cheer for the Norwegian curling team's pants.

45. March 5 2010

A/N- THAT WAS THE MOST FREAKING INTENSE HOCKEY GAME I HAVE EVER WITNESSED. UN-BEL-IEVABLE.

And in answer of questions I sometimes get; check out chapter seven of The Village Idiot's Pet's story "The University of Maximum Ride Fanfiction."

I'll be in Italy for the next while. The lovely axisfiraga has agreed to post the chapters like she did when I was in Ecuador. Let's give her a round of applause! (But for the record, she spams my profile like crazy, so if she writes something about a threesome and bacon, please don't judge me.)

The thing with Italy is that I'm way over my head with the language. I'm comfortable with French and Latin and my Spanish is equivalent to an above-average rock, but I don't know a single Italian word other than gelato. Luckily, my friends have already thought ahead and have translated need-to-know phrases like, "I want to press my cold, naked body against yours" for the Italian boys.

Reviewer of the Week:

MoreThanHer: And by the way, my first thought when you mentioned Norway's pants was: "Oh good, so you saw them too."

Comment of the Week:

The Sleep Talkin' Man (Google him): Awesome has a new name. Let me introduce myself.


March 5th, 2010

Dear Diary,

Have you ever had the urge to take someone you hate, burn them in a fiery pit, grab their ashes, scatter them to the wind, suck the ashes back up with a vacuum and ignite them with twenty pounds of TNT off the Siberian coast?

No?

Really?

Come on, admit it.

You must have thought of hiring man-eating narwhals to find them and selling their souls to one of those street musicians with monkeys. Must have.

If I got the chance, I would do that to Dr. M a million times over.

You won't believe what happened. If I saw her, I'd give her a remix of my GLARE OF DESTINY©. (All caps, all bold, all the time.) She would wilt. She would melt. She would do whatever bitches made of ice do. But since she's a bitch she'd probably go get her nails done or something.

Since I could be the poster child for Creepers of America, maybe I could stalk her. Perhaps I could paint numbers in blood wherever she's staying, and the numbers would count down to the day she died.

Yeah, that'd be sick.

I'm so pissed of and so freaking ANGRY that I just tore a hole in the page with my pen. Way to go, Fang. Way to go.

I.

Am.

Going.

To.

Kill.

Her.

Legit.

Maybe I could drown her in bacon. Nah, that'd be way to kind, since she'd have a few seconds of bliss before she would lose consciousness. Drowning her in asparagus – now that's an idea. Even I think that's cruel.

So I guess you're wondering what's up, Diary.

You want to know what's up? I can tell you what's not up! ME! HAHAHA.

Um, yeah.

Things started off normally, all right. Actually, I got through the day easily enough. Nudge had hacked into Dr. M's emails account, and we had spent the day sorting through which emails were junk (aka all of them) and which were important (aka none of them).

I guess it started when Ella came home from the library, grinning from ear-to-ear for the first time since she had learned that her Mom had turned out to be an insane bitch bent on destroying us all. She came flying through the door and surprised all of us, since we were all engrossed in a Lost repeat. (Seriously? A polar bear? It could have at least been an amphibious lion or something cool like that.)

"I'm part of a new group!" Ella shouted, dancing into the space between us and the TV. She pinned a pink-and-purple badge on her shirt. "We're called the Friends United Creating Kindness!"

"I bet that group has an interesting acronym…" Iggy murmured so quietly only I could hear him. After thinking about it for a second I snorted. "What does the group do?" he asked kindly. The scary part was that he actually sounded interested. (Wow. If love could make Iggy act like this, I bet love could also divide by zero or wear stripes and plaid together while still looking good.)

"I think the name speaks for itself," Nudge drawled. She was spread out on the couch and shoving potato chips into her mouth at quite the astonishing speed.

"I'm so excited!" Ella said and flopped down onto the floor. She threw her shoes over to the door. "We're going to be doing so much volunteer stuff. I've already signed up Emma and Jenna and me to go over to the church tomorrow to help out with their bake sale, and on Tuesday night we're going to be planting trees, and Thursday night we've signed up to help the Senior Center, and on Friday-"

And after that, she was probably going to eradicate poverty and stop global warming.

"Do you want to leave?" Max whispered to me softly. She was pressed up tightly against me (mmhmm, that's right) since four of us were sitting on the couch. I may or may not have had something to do with that seating arrangement.

"Why?" I whispered back. My lips barely moved.

"Don't you ever want to get away?" I looked over at her, but her face was curiously open, as if you could suggest anything and she'd be up for it. (Unless that something involved me, of course. I think that she thinks of me as a disease. Yeah, I bet I'm Fangitis or something. If you get infected then you'll suddenly stop listening to pop music and your hair will instantly become classically stylish.)

"Did you know that there is a movie called Zombie Strippers?" Iggy asked, interrupting my thoughts. "The tag line is, 'They'll dance for a fee, but devour you for free.' I'm not kidding."

This is what happens when I don't pay attention to conversations.

I always come back in at the worst parts. I zoned out for what, ten seconds? And yet Iggy managed to turn a conversation about the Friends United Creating Kindness into one about zombie strippers.

"And did you know that your earlobes line up with your nipples?" Iggy continued.

…Really?

Mentally, I drew a line… and OMG WOW THAT IS ACTUALLY KIND OF COOL BUT I WOULD NEVER ADMIT THAT.

"Iggy, just stop talking," Gazzy said, but I could tell that he was secretly just as impressed as I was. "Just…stop."

"But there are some things everyone needs to know!" He grinned. "For example, did you know that-" Max suddenly stood up, and Iggy cut himself off. She looked confused, as if she didn't know what she was doing.

"I'll be outside," she said randomly. Almost robotically she walked over to the door, slung on a jacket, and went outside. We could hear her walk down the porch footsteps and the sound of her wings swooshing open.

"Um," I stood up as well. Everyone looked up at me, surprised. I wanted to go after Max, but how could I? I couldn't think of an excuse, since if I went after her, would I look too desperate? "I need to…uhm…"

Nudge gave me a knowing smile. "Go get her, Romeo."

"I'm not Romeo!" I said, frowning at her and running outside. I didn't bother putting on a jacket, so I was outside in my T-shirt, which wasn't my most brilliant idea since it was unusually chilly out. But hey, thinking ahead isn't one of my qualities. (Failing miserably at life? Now that's a quality I have.)

Something bothered me, though, and I hated to admit that a fictional character got under my skin. Even though Nudge didn't mean it negatively, I am not Romeo. I actually despise being compared to him. But the sad thing is, we're both way too similar.

Romeo died; I'm going to die.

Romeo was fifteen; I'm fifteen.

Romeo was a love-stricken fool; I'm a lovesick mutant who is also a fool.

Freaky-tastic.

Still, I couldn't help but think that at least Max wasn't similar to Juliet. They're completely different, other than the fact that they're both devastatingly beautiful.

Max was easy to find. She was standing at the outskirts of the forest, staring into the vast nothingness. Her back was to me but I could tell that her arms were crossed over her chest, which, for those who don't know, is Max's I-Am-Pissed position.

"What's wrong?" I stood beside her and stamped my few in the mud out of coldness. She continued to stare moodily ahead.

She answered me quickly, which was something I didn't expect. "How can they be happy?" she whispered. A second later, something in her flared, and she rounded on me. "How can they be so freaking happy? They're laughing, and yet, you're dying! Why aren't we doing something?"

"You just spat on me," I said calmly.

"What?" She came up short and backed off a bit.

"You spat on me. You got really riled up."

"Oh. Sorry." I could tell that I had really thrown her off, which was what I was going for. Max had completely forgotten about being mad. "What was I saying?"

"You were going to kiss me."

OKAY, THAT SLIPPED OUT.

Max didn't even smile or laugh or jump me. Instead she looked down at the mud and squished it around and drew lines with the toe of her shoe. "They were all so happy in there… but how can they do that?"

"Oh, come on," I said, taking her hand and fanning out my wings. Perhaps I could salvage the situation and still get that kiss... "Don't tell me that I, out of all the people in the world, need to tell you how to have fun."

I jumped up off the ground, so I was floating about two feet above Max. Our hands were still connected, and she finally smiled. She fanned her own wings out and jumped up to match my height.

"Where are we going?" she asked as manoeuvred ourselves up to the sky. A few stray branches cut my arms.

"Does it matter?" I shot back, the wind almost carrying my words away.

Now, if my life was a Disney movie, Aladdin's "A Whole New World" would suddenly start playing. Max and I would miraculously find ourselves touring over Europe and covering insane amounts of land in a short amount of time. We would look into each other's eyes and swear our love to each other over and over and over…

Instead, we froze our asses off.

Remember, we were at least a thousand feet up, and I was wearing a T-shirt. (Target, $2, on sale now!) Basically, saying that I was once again a Fangsicle would not be unrealistic. (Fangsicle? Fangitis? Fang overload?)

We went for speed rather than for style points. Instead of twisting and turning through the clouds like normal romantic couples would do, we pushed each other to go as fast as possible. Luckily for my pride, Max didn't go into Super-Max mode and leave me in her dust.

Minutes flew by (Get it? Flew by? Hahaha- I'll stop now) as we shot over the urban areas and ended up over the desert, where there is honestly nothing to describe. It's just a bunch of hills and dust and dirt and cacti, which I would hate to land on.

Talking was impossible, so instead, we chose our direction through subtle gestures. It was actually pretty wicked, and we were both feeling so alive.

That is, until RANDOM BITCH ALERT.

I just can't be happy. I should give up. Every moment goes wrong. But this is just an over-the-top-why-are-so-such-a-bastard move. It was worse than Niagara Falls. It was worse than Iggy's Madonna impression. It was worse than Britney Spears' 2007 VMA performance.

One second, I'm flying in tandem with Max and about to confess my love.

The next second I'm catapulting towards the ground.

Without wings.

Yuppers.

That's right.

Words do not express my anger or my fear or my sadness. Well, one word does, and I bet you already know what the word is, Diary.

This time, I did scream as I fell. I'll admit it. Do I get points for honesty? I mean, first off, I'm crashing towards the Arizonan desert. Second, my wings were just…gone, and that was bad enough. My whole body felt wrong. My balance was non-existent as I flipped over and over through the air.

I stopped screaming after the first ten seconds, since I decided, hey, what the hell, I might as well do the whole cool-and-calm thing as I plunged to my death. No big deal.

Max had other ideas.

I was a good hundred yards above the flat and rocky tundra when Max did a perfect spear-tackle, which basically crushed my ribs to a pulp. (What's the point of saving me if she's just going to kill me two seconds later?)

Her tackle threw me off course and slowed my momentum. The extra time allowed her to get her hands awkwardly under my armpits, so that she hooked me in her arms. Once she started to fan out her wings and descend slowly, I started to breathe for the first time in a solid thirty seconds.

The second her feet touched the sandy ground, she let me go and I fell to my knees. I then proceeded to puke my brains out all over the dusty shrubbery that lined a small mound of earth.

"What the hell?" Max was yelling and screeching and doing all sorts of things. I didn't know it was physically possible to hit the octave she was at. "What the hell?"

"Fushggh," I said, coughing up some more bacon from this morning's breakfast. (It's true! Bacon isn't always delicious, especially when it's going the wrong way.)

"Where are your wings?" Max was hysterical, and I couldn't help but think that it should probably be the other way around. Now that I was back on solid ground, I could barely stand. I was so used to factoring in my wings, I had no idea how to live without them.

"Dr. M," I said, trying to stop swaying. "Dr. M did this."

Max slammed her fist into a nearby rock, shattering it to pieces. Part of me shivered, realizing I'd never seen her do anything like that before. "I hate her," she said without emotion. She threw herself away from the rock and started to pace.

"We need to get home," I said as Max tore at her hair and ranted uttered rather creative obscenities. (Never before have I heard the words "mother," "garden gnome," and "burrito" used in the same sentence.) Internally I could tell that it was three in the afternoon and that we were fifty miles west of Mesa.

"No! We need to find Dr. M, and we need to find her now." The look on Max's face made me think that she would go to the ends of the world in order to kill her mother. Something flashed over her face. "Wait. Your wings are just… gone?" She couldn't believe her own words.

"Yeah." I felt like an aberration of humanity. Is that what normal people felt like? So powerless? I've never imagined what's it's like to not have wings. They give me a chance to escape.

And that escape route was cut off.

"I need to carry you back," Max said apologetically, and I understood where she was coming from. For the first time, it felt like we belonged to two separate groups. Max was still a bird-kid… I was human. Normal.

"Sorry…" she mumbled as she picked me up bridal-style. Shouldn't this have been the other way around? I mean, seriously. Come on, universe. Cut me some slack.

Max shot upwards, but my weight held her back significantly. It had taken us only a half an hour beforehand, but with Max carrying me, it took at least an hour to fly back to Mesa. The flight was awkward and tense and all I could think about was the fact that my face was buried in Max's chest. (Maybe nuclear mushroom clouds do have silver linings.)

"I'm landing," Max said, breaking our silence. Looking down I could see that we had reached the edges of forest. I mumbled so that she knew I'd heard her, and a few seconds later, Max's feet hit the ground roughly.

Once she let go of me, I took my few first steps without wings.

…I wanted to cry.

But I'm Fang, and I can't cry.

No one came rushing out of the house, which I half-expected. But in all actuality, we hadn't be out for very long, and the Flock had no reason to be worried.

"What are we going to say?" Max asked as we stared at the house. We could see the shadow of someone – from their height I would say it was Angel – walking past the window. If it was, then she would already know what had happened from our thoughts.

"The truth?"

"Why does the truth always hurt?"

The answer was quick and simple, but it was actually impossible to answer. Would it be better to live in a world of ignorance and happiness or a world of truth and pain? Well, I would pick whatever world had McDonalds.

"I just don't know if I want to talk right now," I said honestly. I mean, my world had just been shattered. My wings have been the one thing I can always count on. Even now I can't really wrap my mind aorund the idea.

You know, maybe I can stay a step ahead of Life or Fate or whatever was screwing me over. Maybe I could pretend to hate something so that Life would leave it alone. But that wouldn't really work, since I don't know if I could hate Max if I tried. Except for the time when she stole my toothbrush and gave me the flu.

"What do you think caused this?" Max mused. Another shadow joined the one at the window, and I guessed that it was Nudge. "I'm going to guess that Itex was messing with your DNA."

I nodded, and things started to come together. "Wait a second. Didn't we discuss how the more messing with DNA, the closer you had to be to the subject? So that you have to be really close to someone in order to change something big?"

Max stared for a second before her eyes widened.

"Chase Field," she breathed. She thought over everything in her head. "Dr. M touched you! She grabbed your neck, too! She must have done something!"

For convenience's sake, Diary, here's what I wrote in you last week:

She was standing in the middle of our circle. Before we even had time to comprehend how the hell she'd done that her arm lashed out and grabbed me. She hauled me forwards and put pressure on the back of my neck, instantly subduing me. By twisting my neck she looked me in the eye. "How does it feel being the real villain?" she asked with wide doe eyes that was a total Bambi rip-off.

Actually, looking back on that as I re-write it, what did she mean by me being "the real villain"? Why can't bad guys ever talk in straight sentences? It's always riddle me this, riddle me that.

Still, Max walked over the looked at the back of my neck. "The date is still there," she said. "It doesn't look any different…but I bet you my best pair of pants that she brought us to Chase Field to get to you."

"But why me?" I hadn't done anything wrong to Dr. M. Well, sure, I might have set fire to one of her blouses and I might have eaten more than the average household does in a year, but none of that counted.

Max shook her head. "I have no idea. Are you sure you have no idea? But now that I think about it, she's always been gunning for you, which is really strange. I would have thought that if she was angry at anyone, it would be me."

"Why?" That didn't make any sense.

Max shrugged as the wind caught her hair and whisked it in front of her face. "I probably bring up a rough period of her life. I mean, under what circumstances was I born? I don't know anything other than the fact that she's my Mom and Jeb's my Dad. I don't even know if Ella is a full sibling or a half-sister. Not that it matters; I'm just curious."

"I'm sorry." I didn't know what else to say.

"Don't be." She looked up at me. "Things could always be worse."

"Don't jinx it. Otherwise Tyra Banks could fall out of the sky right this very second, and I'm blaming you."

She laughed, and the tense moment was broken up. We both turned to face the house and we saw that the two shadows at the window disappeared.

We're here. Angel's voice was soft in my head, but I caught her meaning. She had told the Flock about what had happened, just as I'd predicted. They were going to stay away for the time being and give me time alone, but when I needed to talk, they'd be there.

This is why we're family.

Aww. That is such an emoticon moment.

:)

"Are you ready?" Max asked. She held out her hand and I took it. Slowly we walked towards the house. It felt as if we were in our own slow world, as if I was just learning to walk. Maybe I was. My eyes were a tad bit more moisturized than usual, yes.

I was embarrassed and horrified by the fact that I could barely stand. But Max was with me every step of the way, and deep down, I knew that she always would be. All six of us – we could never be far apart. We've done too much together.

"Are you okay?" Max asked as we arrived in the empty kitchen. I had no idea where the Flock was, but I appreciated their sentimentality.

"I will be."

That was the closest I could get to optimism.

As I walked slowly down the hall, using the wall as a support, Max said, "You get one night of self-pity, Fang. Tomorrow, we're going to Itex, and you're getting your wings back. I promise."

My room was empty when I got in. I locked the door to show that I wasn't ready to talk yet. I sat down on Iggy's bottom bunk and looked around at everything. The wooden chair with a jacket strewn overtop; the overflowing closet that held as many chemicals as all of the high school chemistry rooms in Arizona; the windows with their sills full of dead flies.

It all seemed so empty, like I was in a room without walls.

The irony is that I'm locked alone in my room, and if you look back at Fang's Timeline of Death, March's task was to "Lock self in room. Starve self until good idea." I've already locked myself in. Maybe back in June I thought that a "good idea" would be how to tell Max that I loved her. Now, a "good idea" would be how to kill Dr. M.

Talk about foreshadowing.

I've spent a long time writing this, Diary. I'm too tired to be angry any more. If you re-read the beginning of this entry, you can tell that I was pissed. I still am, but I have other things on my mind. Maybe justice. Maybe revenge.

Just a note, Diary:

Max doesn't break her promises.

-Fang


A/N2- I am so happy that I can legitimately put "Team Captain of Team Awesome" on my résumé. (Team what? TEAM AWESOME.)

46. March 12 2010

A/N- TEAM AWESOME, WHATUP? We won the Team Spirit award, and I got a picture of myself screaming in the newspaper. Lorissa: get better soon. The event broke the national record for the most money raised. Cancer can screw off, and you know that better than me.

Reviewer of the Week:

iBanana: Ohmygod, Fang losing his wings?! Dude, that's as devastating as bacon not being as tasty and fattening bacon should be!

Comment of the Week:

My Dad, on giving me driving instructions: Half of it is fine. Half of it is pure terror.


March 14th, 2010

Dear Diary,

"I have become a Baconatarian."

I looked up from my laptop. I had been posting a new blog post, ("If you see Dr. M, please do us a favour and drop her in a pit of fire – Love, Fang") when Iggy burst into the room with his new announcement.

"And what exactly is that?" I drawled. It was early in the morning, and I wasn't exactly in the mood to do verbal sparring with Iggy. The hey-look-at-the-birdkid-with-no-wings thing was still pissing me off. I kept itching my oddly-smooth back. It's not like there were any holes or anything... just a regular back. I didn't even have sparkles. (Sarcasm alert!)

He scoffed and jumped on his bunk bed, so I had to twist uncomfortably to face him. His tone suddenly became serious. "It's exactly what it sounds like. Hey, how do you put out a chemical fire?"

I love Iggy. Remember those random topic changes? Yeah, I wasn't kidding.

"What chemicals are involved?"

Iggy looked up and thought over it for a second. "Good question. We ordered them online, so some of them might be kind of sketchy. But I think we've got Iodine, Lutetium, Vanadium, Barium, Cobalt and Nitrogen."

I blinked. "How the hell are you still alive?"

He shrugged. "An excellent question. I think that I'm giving off radiation as we speak. But whatever – we've drifted away from the source of this conversation. I have converted to Baconism."

"I really don't get it. I don't think I want to get it either."

Iggy shook his head. "Fang, Fang, Fang. You and your over-driven hormones are obviously interfering with your judgement. Baconism involves only eating bacon – thus, I am a baconatarian. It's like vegetarianism, just with bacon. And no vegetables."

"You're going to die."

"Not at all. Via Gazzy's eyes, I researched it on the Internet. One guy actually ate bacon – just bacon – for a whole month and lived. I feel like I should double this."

"This is the Internet we're talking about."

"Touché."

Our conversations tend to do this; we were talking about two things (a possibly fatal chemical explosion and Baconism) but they tended to merge together. I was about to say something witty, sarcastic, and generally mind-blowing when Max suddenly burst into the room.

Her hair was a mess (but a pretty mess) and her eyes were frantic as they locked on to mine. "Are you guys ready?"

We both nodded and Iggy turned to Max. I couldn't help but think it was incredible that he was this awake at this horrible hour that should not exist (also known as eight-thirty). "Are we going over to Death Valley? To have a little chat with our buddies over at Itex? About that. We're allowed to smash their faces in, right? Excellent."

Max rolled her eyes and didn't even bother answering his question, since he'd technically answered it himself. "Have you packed your backpacks?"

"Yeah," I said. I got up and slung mine over my shoulder as Iggy did the same. His bag looked suspiciously heavy, but I really didn't want to think about whatever illegal-or-nasty things were in there that could probably take Rhode Island off of the map.

We followed Max out to the kitchen, where the rest of the Flock was assembled with their own backpacks. They looked just as antsy to get out of there as I was. "We're good?" Max asked, checking for a final confirmation.

"Um," Nudge said awkwardly. She looked at all of our curious glances. "I really hate to be the bearer of bad news… but how are we going to get to Death Valley if Fang doesn't have wings?"

Oh.

Good point.

I could tell that Max and I were thinking on the same level. No one could carry me, because it was a far distance and everyone needed to be in top shape in case there was a fight.

Max slung off her backpack, not looking dejected at all. Instead, she looked as if this setback had given her more determination. She walked over to the phone, picked it up, and dialled. After waiting a second, she started talking. "Hi, this is Yellow Cab? Yeah, I'm in Mesa. We need someone to come over to pick us up, we need to get to California…"

We were getting a cab.

Because of me.

"Embarrassed" would be the understatement of the day, right next to saying that Iggy's attempt at singing "One Time" was only slightly terrifying.

After giving them our information, Max hung up the phone. "See? No problem."

I didn't speak. Instead I stared ahead at the wall. Yay. Wall. How exciting. At least the wall didn't drag everyone down with it. Instead, everyone relied on the wall for stability and support. I can't believe that a freaking wall is better than me.

But wait, there's more! I'm supposed to be an emotionless brick wall, right? But I guess EBWs don't feel shame and disgrace. So I'm a failed wall.

…This metaphor stops right here, right now.

We really didn't talk much as we waited for the cab. I tried to think about the logistics of the ride – usually there was space for four people (not including the cab driver), and we had six. And we'd have to stop for the night, too, since there was just too much distance to cover.

Since the cab came from Phoenix – Phoenix drivers were usually prepared to drive longer distances than Mesa ones – we had to wait for a half hour before a blaring honk came from the front of the house.

"That's weird…" Max mumbled. "They're usually nicer than that…"

Nice or not, we all filed out of the house. We kept our backpacks with us instead of putting them in the back, even though that made it more uncomfortable for us.

The cabbie looked at us strangely as we got into the smoke-filled car. Max and Angel sat in the passenger's seat while the rest of us squashed together in the back. I wished Max had sat back with me, so I would've had an excuse to be so close to her…

Angel glared, and I covered my laugh with a cough.

A cigarette dangled lazily from the cabbie's fingers. He rolled down the window and threw it onto the ground; I was temped to tell him off, but seeing as I was going to spend the day with this guy, I thought it would be best if we didn't want to kill each other in the first minute.

"Hey," he said. His voice was thick with laziness. "Do I know you kids?"

Waitaminute.

NO WAY.

Remember when we were in Vegas, Diary? When we hired a cab to get us to the University of Nevada Medical School? Let me give you a recap of that day.

Horns blared as we went into the opposite lane of traffic at some points. This was Vegas traffic, which was virtually at a standstill, but we were in the middle of some sort of action movie.

"Jesus, slow down!" Max yelled as she whammed her head into the seat when he suddenly braked violently, only to hammer down the gas a second later.

"The faster, the better!" the cabbie said as we barely missed hitting a Volvo. He turned to face Max. "So, darling, do you have a boyfriend?"

"Watch the road!" Max yelled as we started to drift into the opposite lane again. He jerked us back on course as a semi roared by us.

"Well, I lived a good life," Iggy said, clenching his teeth together. "Do you think Heaven has strippers?"

"You drove us around in Vegas, right? I thought you were part of a Nevada company."

He shook his head and scratched his crotch. He was such a first-class gentleman. "I dropped someone off from Phoenix in Vegas, and I picked up you kids for some extra money. That's not technically allowed, but what is these days?"

"Please, just get us to Death Valley. He can stop for the night if we have to," Max said, looking through the windshield as Angel settled herself in her lap. "Please…go."

"Anything for you, doll." He grinned, showing tobacco-stained teeth. He slammed on the gas, and the car roared forwards. Oh, right, I forgot he had a thing for Max. I wasn't going to let that pass.

"So what's your name?" I asked tersely. Everyone looked at me strangely, since I never asked social questions. Hell, I barely gave social answers.

"Call me Big Bob," he said with a huge smile. I shivered and he turned to Max, not bothering to notice that we were once again driving in the wrong lane. "Want to guess how I got the name?"

"No," she said shortly, and Bob shrugged, as if he didn't really care about her answer. That was the end of conversation in the car for a while.

Luckily, this car ride wasn't as bad as the one in Vegas. We took back roads, meaning we hit insane speeds (ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILES PER HOUR IS NOT GOOD FOR MY HEART) but we didn't have to worry about hitting anyone else. It was also better since the road was cutting straight through the desert, meaning we didn't have any sharp turns.

The desert itself was the most boring thing you will ever see. It seemed like there were always low mountains on the horizon, and the rest of the landscape was dusty tundra with a bit of low shrubbery that certainly held bodies according to CSI.

But wait! There's more. Call now for a special deal to nearly kill Fang and his family.

We were driving along, bored out of our minds, when we got a dose of pure panic and mortality. The road we were driving on was a dirt road, and suddenly, in the rear-view mirror I could see two black SUVs gaining on us.

That's not sketchy at all.

But seriously? A black SUV? That's screaming of bad guys. A true intelligent bad guy would have his cronies riding in Smart Cars. But I guess that would take away from the whole imposing thing.

No one else had noticed them yet. I was about to say something along the lines of, "Hey, guys, we're about to land ourselves in the car chase scene of Transformers" when the first bullet pierced through the back windshield. The bullet went right through the space between my and Nudge's head and lodged in the passenger's seat.

Cue CHAOS, PANIC, and DISORDER from stage left.

I mean, seriously. If that bullet hadn't gotten lodged in the seat, it would've killed Max. That is also known as the definition of "way uncool".

Big Bob veered to the left, and I gave him credit for staying on the rode at all. There were more bullets flying through the back windshield, which cut the back of our necks horribly. The bullets, luckily, went straight through the front windshield or through the windows.

"Get down!" Max yelled redundantly, since all of us had plastered ourselves to the floor. But four having people try to fit in that tiny space didn't exactly work out the best.

"Mphhgj akhrh mi aka ga arwfg!" Iggy shouted, which I translated roughly as "your foot is in my mouth!" But since he was currently kneeing me in the balls, I thought it was a fair deal. Meanwhile, my hand was somehow stuffed down the back of Nudge's shirt, which was way weird for both of us.

"Hit the brakes!" I yelled, while everyone else collectively screamed, "What?" Big Bob, however, did what I said. With a horrible screeching sound and the instant smell of burning tire, we skidded to a stop.

The two SUVs sped right past us.

"Alright!" Gazzy said, thrusting his hand up in victory. He didn't calculate in the fact that Iggy had been above him, though, so he effectively punched Iggy's nose. He also didn't calculate the fact that within ten seconds, the two cars had braked just as hard and were now coming towards us.

"Go the other way!" I yelled. "Go, go, go!"

I felt like Shia LaBeouf. All that kid does is run and shout and look good. (Well, I've got two out of three, at least.)

But you want to know the real kicker? First off, now that I think about it, that's a weird expression. Second, I'm getting really distracted. Anyway, the real kicker was that Big Bob wasn't driving away.

And that's because Big Bob was dead.

From my position I could see that there was a bullet hole in this side of his neck that was bleeding profusely. If that didn't make it obvious enough, his head was lying heavily on the steering wheel, which caused the horn to blare.

"HE'S DEAD!" Nudge screamed, while Gazzy screamed back, "YA THINK?"

The SUVs were gaining on us.

"MOVE," I shouted, and I managed to extract myself from the backseat. I catapulted myself over the barrier separating the back seat from the front one, but I could only make it halfway. I effectively had my ass in the back seat and my head in the front. I reached for the steering wheel while I turned to Max and yelled, "HIT THE GAS."

She couldn't get her feet over to the driver's side, so she ended up going headfirst down to the pedals. One hand supported her while the other hand slammed on the gas pedal.

So, yeah. I was steering. She was the gas. Teamwork is the bomb.

"FLOOR IT," I yelled, which completed the action movie sequence. Max pressed the pedal down to the floor while I cranked the steering wheel as far right as possible, not bothering to put the car into reverse.

"GO FASTER," Nudge yelled, watching in horror the SUVs gained ground. I think some of her panic came from the fact that she was also watching Big Bob's blood sink through my shirt. I screamed back, "NO BACKSEAT DRIVING."

But seriously, this was ridiculous. Quentin Tarantino couldn't come up with this if he tried.

"I THINK WE NEED A BETTER IDEA," Angel yelled, and I have to admit I'm sick and tired of writing in capitals, since it slows me down. So just imagine that everything following this is in capitals, okay, Diary?

"Like what?" I was concentrating on not running off of the road and impaling ourselves on a cactus. I know I've never liked those damn plants for a reason.

"Well, what would the average action hero do?" Gazzy asked, and all of us racked our brains for the last Chuck Norris/Macgyver movie we saw. More bullets hit the rear bumper of the car. Big Bob's insurance company would never believe this.

"They'd get the hot chick to sacrifice herself and blow up the bad guys, only to come back later and marry the hero. Obviously." Iggy was the only one of us acting calmly. That guy simply does not know when to panic.

"You're not helping!" I yelled, right as Max said at the same time from below me, "That's brilliant! Angel, take over."

"What are you doing?!" No one answered as Angel slid beside Max and replaced her hands on the pedal, while Max went back into the passenger's seat. Since I couldn't take my hands off of the wheel, I was unable to stop her as she whipped open the door and threw herself out of the car. I kicked my feet uselessly, knocking Gazzy in the face.

"WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT?" I screamed at Iggy. Okay, I get that I said I wouldn't write in capitals any more, but that line deserved it. "WE ARE NOT IN AN ACTION MOVIE. THERE ARE NO ROCKETS ATTACHED TO THIS CAB. WE WILL NOT SUDDENLY WAKE UP FROM A DREAM. THIS IS REAL."

Iggy just blinked lazily at me. "Stop being such a diva."

"ARRGGG!" I don't get what I was trying to say. All I could do was desperately try and see what Max was doing, but since there wasn't a skylight, I couldn't see anything. It was only when the bullets stopped when I realized what she was doing.

"She's distracting them!" I said, glancing out the rear view mirror. The two cars had stopped and I could see guns poking out of the windows and firing at the sky. I turned around to face the rest of the Flock. "Who wants to go on the bumper cars?"

They instantly grinned, catching my meaning.

"Slow down," I said through gritted teeth to Angel. As I did a perfect three-point turn, Big Bob's head fell on my shoulder. "Nudge, can you open my door for me?"

Nudge slid her hand between the space between the seat and the door. Although she was stretched out uncomfortably, she managed to hit the lever and opened the door. For the brief few seconds we weren't moving, I undid Big Bob's seat belt and shoved his body out of the car.

"You did not just do that," Angel said from below.

"Would you rather we all died?" I shouted. I totally got that it was really disrespectful to do that, but we needed to crash this party ASAP. Angel got my thoughts and floored the gas.

We sped directly towards the two cars.

The second before impact, Gazzy asked, "Do you think this thing has airbags?"

They did.

At least, that's what I figured what those massive white marshmallows coming towards me were. My senses were suddenly overloaded. I could hear the grinding sound of metal on metal, and screams were coming from everywhere. I had hit both cars, since by crashing into one, it caused a domino effect.

"Get out of the cab!" I said, hoping to make a clean escape. It would be amazingly ironic if the gas suddenly blew up the cab. We all shoved our way out of the car, and we nearly collapsed on the dirt road.

I ducked as I ran around to the back of the cab, away from the black SUVs. But as I ducked for cover, I noticed something odd-

It was completely silent. At least, silent enough for six people – but not enough for three cars worth of people. I stood up, even though Angel tried to drag me back down, but I wasn't afraid anymore.

"They're gone. Disappeared. Again." The two black SUVs were completely empty, and Max, seeing that everything was fine, quickly descended.

"What happened?" she asked, landing neatly beside me.

"What did you think you were doing?" I asked, nearly out of my mind. In my frustration I pushed her, with both of my hands pushing on her shoulders. How could see put herself in such danger? Anger flared on her face.

"Saving your ass! I distracted them!"

"But now they're gone!"

"Yeah, but now-"

"If you two could leave your lover's spat for later, I think we should check out the SUVs and see if we can find anything," Iggy said blandly. Max and I glared at each other for a second longer before tearing ourselves away.

Although it was a good idea, the SUVs looked exactly like the average family car. There wasn't a single piece of incriminating evidence. No blood, no bullets, and no note saying, "Hey, sup? This is what we're doing and here's where you can find us."

"So what should we do?" Gazzy asked. "The cab is totalled."

"How about we take one of the SUVs?" Nudge suggested. Everyone nodded, thinking that it was a good idea.

"We need to go back and get Big Bob's body, though. We should bury him. He didn't have a family, since he didn't have a ring on and there weren't any pictures of kids or a girlfriend in the cab." I surprised myself with my words. "I don't think it would be hygienic to carry a body with us. And we need to keep going to Death Valley – I'm betting Itex is behind this. Or Dr. M, of course."

"Or perhaps the Burger King guy," Iggy interrupted. "That guy wakes up in random girls' beds. Tell me that's not creepy."

"I really doubt that Burger King is causing our problems," Max muttered. She set her mouth in a grim line. "Come on. Let's get this over with."

We went a mile away from the road and dug a respectable grave for Big Bob into the side of a small hill. It wasn't anything special, but at least it was a proper resting place. "I still feel bad," Angel muttered once we went back to the road. I had to agree; now that he was dead, I liked Big Bob a lot more.

"Are we ready?" Max asked tensely. We all nodded and piled into the SUV. Luckily, there were enough seats for everyone now. The only sucky part was that we had to hotwire the car, which wasn't that hard. (I know Max hates talking about hotwiring cars, and it carries the risk of giving you such a shock that you'd be a living lightning bolt, but it certainly is effective.)

So that's what happened today.

Right now we're driving through the desert. Max is at the wheel, and I'm in the passenger's seat. Since its night, we switch in shifts so we don't fall asleep at the wheel. I'm pretty sure that we're only an hour away from Death Valley now, so I figured I might as well finish this entry while I had the chance.

Max is still mad at me, and I'm still mad at her, but we both deserve it. And I'm pretty sure that through the rear-view mirror, she's trying to read what I'm writing this very second. Max, stop reading this. Ha! She just blushed and looked away. Point for Fang.

At least within the day we'll know what's up. We'll know how and why those people disappeared. And best of all, I'll get my wings back.

Tomorrow will be awesome.

…I totally jinxed it, didn't I?

-Fang


A/N2- Iggy looked up and thought over it for a second. "Good question. We ordered them online, so some of them might be kind of sketchy. But I think we've got Iodine, Lutetium, Vanadium, Barium, Cobalt and Nitrogen."

Write down the chemical symbol for each of those elements. dimistar546 is a genius.

(Ironically, only anonymous reviewers have been telling me to respond to reviews. As a reminder, I can't respond to anonymous reviewers unless you space out your email. FFN takes links, large numbers, greater-or-less-than-than signs and emails out of reviews. But since I'm still in Italy, I won't be able to respond to anything, unless you want to pay for a personal hot male courier to send me your message. In that case, GO FOR IT.)

A/NBacon- Yo, this is axisfiraga/disneydork. Having read this March 9th, 2010, I have to say this chapter blew my mind... Lyk, to-to-lee. Tribute to Big Bob, btw, for being one letter away from sharing the same name as Bobo Franchistco, and dying because he was that letter away. Be sure to give a big thank you to Phoenix for writing you guys this chapter in advance (or you will feel the pain of a thousand boiling drops of bacon fat on your skin). Good health! ^^

47. March 24 2010

March 24th, 2010

Look at this. I have Fang's diary.

This makes things interesting.

I know you're going to read this, Fang, because you're not that stupid. I know you have questions for me; I have questions for you. Fair is fair; an eye for an eye.

When you're gone, I won't even look back.

Love,

Val

48. March 27 2010

A/N- Apparently on the back of FANG (the book) there's a quotation by a person named Phoenix- I'm pretty sure that's not me. Also, I would TOTALLY enter that contest to write a chapter of Maximum Ride, but I don't live in the States. I'm a half-citizen, but since I don't live there, I'm invalid. (I haven't read the book yet, but apparently there's bacon. And Vegas. But no strippers.)

I guest wrote chapter seventeen on Tassel630's One Letter Stand; bacon is involved.

(And to the people who asked- look up the atomic symbols of the elements, not the numbers. So for example, Hydrogen would be H. Bacon would be B.)

Reviewers of the Week:

StarsLeanDowntoKissYou: I was in English, explaining to my friends that while bacon is edible sex, cookies are edible orgasms, and then our teacher comes over. We continued to talk about cookies, and she just randomly blurted out, "My motto is 'life is better with cookies'." Epic moment.

girlwithwings329: I don't think even Alexandre Bilodeau can save us this time.

Comment of the Week:

A friend: "Why doesn't Lady Gaga like sushi?" "Because it's rah-rah-rah-ahh-ahh."


March 27th, 2010

Days until I die: 65

Dear Diary,

WELL, SHIT-TASTIC.

Good morning, Diary, how are you?

Want to ask how I am? NOT FREAKING GOOD. Pissed simply does not describe me. Livid would be an understatement. Wanting-to-kill-someone-by-shoving-toothpicks-in-their-eyes is better.

You wouldn't believe what happened.

And when I say you wouldn't believe it, I mean it. This isn't one of those instances where you find five dollars in a sweater you haven't worn for months, and you can't believe your luck. This is one of those instances where you've realized you've been making a horrible mistake, and you can't believe you were that stupid.

Not even bacon could make this better. And if bacon can't make a situation better, then you know there's a problem.

As in, actually-

I.

Want.

To.

Kill.

Her.

And I'm not even being sarcastic.

Alright. I can't get into the story about what happened quite just yet. I need to rant. So just shut up and listen, Diary? Okay? Get it? Got it? Good.

As you can see from above, I've decided to start the official Death of Fang countdown.

You know, if you had told me a year ago that I'd be counting down to my death, I would have laughed and said that was the day all of the Disney stars were coming together for a mass concert. (If Miley Cyrus and Nick Jonas had a baby, the world would explode.)

I guess I sort of hate and love that number. If there're 65 days until I die, then assuming I tell Max I love her on the same day, then there's 65 days until we get together. Well, we get together… and then I die.

…This blows.

Of course, Shakespeare would applaud me for having such a dramatic ending, but Shakespeare and I sort of have a tiff going on right now. Sure, that guy was a literary mastermind and whatever, but I'm tempted to haul myself over to England and kill him again. Well, maybe I'm just using that as an excuse to go to England, since I've always wondered if the people there really do have accents, or if everyone fakes it so that the rest of the world is in awe of the way they speak.

Erm, okay, that was an unneeded segue on my part. I guess I'm sort of hypocritical – I keep talking about how I'm running out of time, and then I go and spend a solid three hours writing out this entry, and half of that three hours is writing about bacon and sex jokes.

Life has a horrible sense of humour. As do I.

But once again, I have completely overshadowed recent events with my own pointless writing. I'll admit that my goal was to immediately write down everything that's happened, but that's just as impossible as Lady Gaga outfits making sense. (You should have seen Gazzy's face when he saw the music video for Telephone. ("I like Beyoncé, she's really innocent. Hey, what's she doing with her hips?– OH MY GOD.")

I did it again! I was all set to write something of meaning, and BAM, Lady Gaga appears. I officially promise that Lady Gaga will not appear in the next paragraph.

So the last time I wrote, there was that badass action movie car chase that belonged in a Lady Gaga music video. (WHAT THE HELL, FANG, WHAT THE HELL.) To sum it all up, I finished my last entry when we were driving one of those sleek-and-sexy SUVs into Death Valley.

Okay. I think I'm ready to tell the story now. All pop star references end NOW. I'll even put an official line-thing to separate this random rant from the rest of my entry.


Basically, we were all pissed and tired. Although car chase scenes are wicked to watch, they really leave you exhausted, believe it or not. And in the movies, the action heroes somehow manage to still have perfect hair (albeit a tad bit tussled) and their makeup is still intact.

That's not how it happens.

Even though my own hair is easy to maintain (my masculinity just died a bit more since I mentioned "my hair" and "maintain" in the same sentence) there were hunks of glass and all sorts of crap tangled into it. Gazzy and Angel had cuts all over them and were bleeding over the snazzy leather seats of the car; Max had bad arm wounds with glass sticking in them; Nudge looked as if she'd taken on a fight with Chuck Norris; Iggy looked as if he'd just walked out of a beauty salon.

The rest of the drive to Death Valley was made in relative silence. We fixed up everyone's wounds to the best of our abilities, and by the time we arrived in The Worst Place in the World, U.S.A, we were ready to ask some serious questions to the Itex bastards.

"So what exactly are we going to ask?" Gazzy asked from the backseat. Judging from the bland-and-deathly-looking landscape we were only ten minutes away from the Itex buildings, where we could do some ass-kicking and then go for ice cream.

"Why they took Fang's wings, how to get the wings back, if they knew anything about Dr. M, if they knew anything about the people who shot us up, how they get their hair to stay that way…" Max listed them all of on her fingers, which was a feat in itself, since she was thus driving with no hands. Safety first, kiddies.

"Well, at least we know one of the answers to those questions," Iggy said from the backseat. He could feel our curious gazes. "They must get that hair from those Bump It pieces. That eighties hair is not natural to this world."

We all snorted and turned back to the windshield. We were waiting for the old Itex buildings to appear on the horizon. Waiting, and waiting, and waiting...

…They never appeared.

We drove for at least twenty minutes, but we didn't see the buildings.

"I feel like the Jeopardy theme song would be appropriate here," Iggy muttered as he stared out at the completely barren and empty landscape. Even though he couldn't see it, he knew that the buildings weren't there, because he's weird that that.

"You're joking me…" Max said, with her hands clenched to the steering wheel. She was grinding her teeth. Without warning, she made a sharp U-turn that threw us all to the right side of the car.

"If this was a driving test, I would have failed you!" Gazzy said as he pushed himself away from Nudge, who was smushed against the window.

Max shot him a glare (another point against her driving skills, since she was now driving forwards and facing backwards) and didn't shoot back a witty response like I expected. "There aren't even any ruins! It's just disappeared!" Max pounded on the horn as we circled the area where the buildings should have been.

I shrugged. "It's only natural. If they send people out to shoot at us, then it's rather probably that they don't want to talk with us. If people shoot before they talk, that's usually indicative that they want to kill us and don't care what we have to say." 47 words; next thing you know I'll be making my Oscar speech.

"In-dic-a-tive. Four syllables. Nice, Fang," Iggy drawled from the back.

"Shut up!" Max and I yelled at the same time. Aw, we're so in sync.

We drove in circles for a solid hour, and yet there was nothing there. Nothing. As in, the most likely scenario was that aliens had come and taken away the building and then gone back to Mars for those insanely long parties that come with having such a long orbit. We all had built in GPS's, and we definitely should have hit the Itex buildings. Somehow, they had completely disappeared.

By this point, I should stop being disappointed.

"But what are we supposed to do now?" Nudge asked. She was near tears – no, no, no! Tears make me as uncomfortable as the time I walked in on Nudge changing. (The Jonas Brothers bra – EW EW EW BAD MENTAL IMAGE RESURFACING.)

As if on cue, a cell phone rang.

And FYI, the ringtone was Single Ladies.

This basically had the same effect as sneaking up on someone in the middle of the night and spooning with them before suddenly screaming bloody murder. (I will never, ever forgive Iggy. Ever.)

We all jumped and ducked, since a bomb blast of some type was certainly inevitable. But after five seconds, the ringing continued, and we weren't blown to itty bitty pieces. It's sort of sad that's it's considered a good day when I don't die.

"Where's it coming from?" Max asked. I reached for the glove compartment, and a tiny black cell phone fell neatly into my palm.

"Answer it!" Nudge yelled. I flipped open the phone (I'll admit it – that part always makes me feel like a badass spy) and pressed the little green telephone that presumably connected the line.

"Hello?" I asked. What was I supposed to say? "Hello, weird random person, how are you going to make my life a living hell today?"

"Hey, Fang, what's up?"

Well I'll be damned.

It was none other than Her Royal Bitchiness herself, Dr. M.

Does that woman not understand that in order to be a proper villain, she needs to never show herself? Villains who always mess with the protagonists are stupid and not as enigmatic as villains who have their cronies do stuff for them. Hell, I need to show her how it's done.

Sarcasm dripped over my tone. "Hey, what's up Val? How's the whole let's-try-to-kill-my-daughter thing working out for you?"

"Marvellous, thank you for asking. But it's not her that I want to kill."

I didn't point that her two statements contradicted. "I know you want to kill me, I just don't know why. Want to clear that up? I'm sure we could talk it out and then go see a movie together. I really want to see Alice in Wonderland. Johnny Depp is so great." He really is. That was an unnecessary sentence. Moving on.

"I presume you want your wings back."

"I presume you're about to make me a deal."

She laughed, although interference cut in and made it sound a bit fuzzy. Seconds later the static receded and I could hear her perfectly again. Bummer. "That sounds about right. Do you want to know what the deal is?"

"How about I get my wings back, and you let me kill you?" I might as well ask. You never know.

"How about you get your wings back, and I get to talk to Jeb?" Her voice was even as she gave the strange request. She wanted to talk to Jeb? Why couldn't she call him herself? And now that I think about it, that marriage must be pretty messed. The Rule of Sketch is that two sketchy people together equals even more sketchiness.

I took the phone away from my ear and covered the mouthpiece with my hand. I turned to Max, who had stopped the car by now. "She says I can get my wings back…if I let her talk to Jeb."

Max blinked and thought it over briefly. "How did she sound when she said it?"

"Confident."

Max's eyes flickered to the mouthpiece, but she relaxed when she saw that I was covering it. Still, her voice was hushed. "What have we got to lose?"

I wanted to say "Everything," but I didn't.

I put the phone back up to my face. And with the shiny black car and shiny black cell phone and my shiny black clothes, I felt like an emo spy. Awesome. "Fine. We'll head back to Mesa. But what was the point in leading us all the way out here, only to have us go straight back?"

She hung up.

Even I'll admit that was a badass move.

"Looks like we're going back to Mesa," I said, flipping the phone shut. Everyone groaned at the prospect of even more time in the car, but since the only other option was dying in the middle of the desert from starvation and hunger and being brutally eaten by coyotes, (does California even have coyotes?) they shut up rather quickly.

The ride back was fast, since we drove straight through the night and into the morning. We stopped at Mickey-D's for breakfast (Iggy's new name for McDonalds – "It sounds classier that way!") and pretty much bought all the food they had in stock. (Don't ask how we got the money. It involved Iggy and a duck and Chinese tourists and – please don't make me repeat the next bit, okay?)

Max and I switched driving, as normal, and although it was effective at keeping us alive, both of us were sleep-deprived by the time we pulled up at the house around nine in the morning... an this is where things get strange. Sort of like Agnes-the-creepy-and-horny-old lady-pulling-a-gun-on-you strange.

As we stepped out of the car, we could hear the thumping of bass coming from the house, as if there was a huge party going on. Max and I exchanged, "Seriously? Life, you're joking, right?" looks.

But wait, there's more!

Here was the shocker:

As we walked into the house, we were met by none other than Kesha and Rihanna and at least twenty giggling and screaming girls who were running around in bikinis.

That's right, you just read that.

Of course, not the actual Kesha and Rihanna. But I could definitely hear both of their songs blasting from opposite ends of the house, which created quite an interesting effect. Meanwhile, half-naked girls (in bikinis, remember) threw pillows and streamers and balloons at each other.

This is nine in the morning.

The feminine part of me was saying, "What the hell?" The masculine part was saying, "HELL YES."

...And I'm totally going to post this on MLIA. (Today I came home to find a bunch of under-age girls running around in bikinis. And yet, I wasn't attracted to any of them because I'm a one-woman man. MLIA.)

We all stood in the entrance, not knowing what to do or say. From those few seconds, I could definitely tell that it was someone's birthday. The remains of a devoured birthday cake were spread over the table, and a "Happy Birthday!" banner was strung across the kitchen.

That was when Ella saw us. She stopped running around the house, causing another girl to smack right into her, which caused another girl to smack into her…and so on and so forth. Someone stopped the music, and suddenly there was silence.

And then the screaming began.

All of the girls dived for the couches and chairs and blankets and desperately tried to cover themselves up, but since there were so many of them, it didn't work so well. Basically it just resulted in the girls screaming and running around the house. We were just lucky that the Flock had their wings covered up. Otherwise, some eardrums would have been broken.

Iggy, who was overwhelmed by all the noise, shouted, "Just stop!" Naturally, the girls kept going on and on like a broken alarm clock at two in the morning. He sighed and rolled up his sleeves. He yelled, "SEX."

All the girls stopped dead in their tracks.

"Works every time," he said with a grin.

Max crossed her arms over her chest and looked right at Ella, who had wrapped herself up in a blanket. "Explain. One minute. Go."

Ella didn't even take a breath before she started. She motioned to a girl standing next to her. "It's my best friend's birthday today, and you know how I have the tradition of having cake for breakfast, so all of my friends slept over here and we had cake this morning and we were about to head over to the community pool but then Rachael threw cake at Jess, and Jess threw some back but it hit Sarah, and Sarah thought it was Hillary, so Sarah started to chase Hillary, and then they ran into Laura and Julia and Abbey, and anyways we all started to run around and we put on music… and then you walked in."

One sentence. She didn't die from lack of oxygen. Impressive. And how could she tell her friends apart? In their skimpy bikinis they all looked the same.

"Happy birthday," I said to Ella's friend. I mean, if we're crashing her party, we might as well try to blend in. (Waitjustaminute. Did I just say something voluntarily and socially acceptable? The next thing you know, health care in America is going to undergo a radical chance that is going to polarize the country. Oh, wait…)

Max just shook her head slightly, as if trying to understand what was happening. "I shouldn't have asked…" she muttered so only I could hear. I murmured in agreement. Speaking up, she asked, "Where's Jeb?"

Ella laughed. "He skipped town last night."

Outside, I blinked. Inside, I screamed, "WAY TO FAIL AT LIFE, JEB, WAY TO FAIL."

"What do you mean, skipped town?" Max asked. Her face was ashen.

Ella smiled, as if recalling a memory. "You should have seen his face last night when I told him twenty girls were coming over. He said he had some business to take care of, and he might as well do it now. He'll be home next week."

That's what they all say.

"Excuse me while I go puke up my breakfast," Max said before spinning around and slamming the door behind her as she stalked outside. I didn't even think as I immediately followed her.

She didn't get very far; she leaned on the SUV on the driveway and stood facing the street, which was deserted at this time in the morning, since the nice and sane people were currently sleeping and dreaming of things they could never afford. I came up and leaned next to her on the car. Even though it was morning, the metal still warmed my back.

"He's gone," Max said blandly.

"He'll be back." I watched as some birds above dived and soared and were free. I was madly jealous. Of birds. My life sucks. I always wanted to be a regular human, and now that I am…Hello, Mr. Irony, how are you on this fine spring morning?

"We don't know that." Her hands were stuffed in her jean pockets.

"We don't know anything." I suddenly started forwards so that I was facing Max. I stretched out my right hand to the car, effectively pinning her. Her mouth opened a bit, and I realized I was doing that sleek-and-sexy move by crowding into her space. "Max. Chill. Please."

She closed her eyes. "We'll stay for the week. And that's it. Okay?"

"Okay." I let my hand drop, and Max let out a breath she didn't know she'd been holding. I stepped back. "I can't believe there are twenty girls in bikinis in the house. I can't tell if this rocks or sucks."

Max laughed, and we headed back to the house. "Maybe both?" she suggested. I nodded.

When we got back in the house, most of the girls had thrown on a T-shirt or skirt, much to Gazzy's disappointment (and Iggy's imagination). Luckily, we hadn't totally ruined the party, since the girls still went on to do whatever teenage girls do while the Flock met up in Max's room for a meeting.

"So we're staying here for a week, and then go from there?" Nudge asked, although her thoughts were out in the family room. I could tell she wanted to join in.

Max nodded. "Yeah, that's about it. Is there anything else?"

"Would anyone care if one of those girls mysteriously disappeared?" Iggy asked, while Nudge just punched him in the arm. We all laughed and went to do our own thing, and that was that.

All in all, the week passed by nicely, since there weren't any adults around. (Ever notice that the less adults there are, the more simple our lives?) But naturally, it was interrupted by the disappearance… of you, Diary. It was a diarynapping!

On March 23rd, I couldn't make an entry since I couldn't find you. I looked everywhere and asked everyone, but you had completely disappeared.

"What are you looking for?" Max asked as I threw off the sheets on my bed. I tossed the pillow across the room and stuffed my hands under my mattress. I found two dollars, half of a taco, and a thong (Iggy and I are going to have a chat), but no diary.

"Have you seen my diary? Or, erm, Man Journal."

She laughed and shook her head. "No, but I'll keep an eye out."

Still, you had disappeared just as fast as common sense in the twenty-first century. At least, until this morning, when you were sitting on my pillow, wide open to the entry on the twenty-fourth. I read the entry, since I wasn't going to make the same mistake twice and blindly keep writing.

Look at this. I have Fang's diary.

This makes things interesting.

I know you're going to read this, Fang, because you're not that stupid. I know you have questions for me; I have questions for you. Fair is fair; an eye for an eye.

When you're gone, I won't even look back.

Love,

Val

If that entry doesn't make you want to ask, "What the hell?" then nothing will. Well, maybe Robert Pattinson actually having neat and styled hair – that would blow anyone's mind. But really- "Love, Val?" That's not pedophilic at all. We only have a perfectly acceptable twenty years between us.

But you know what that means?

DR. M WAS IN OUR HOUSE. IN MY ROOM. READING MY DIARY.

She knows everything know, and she knows my every thought. But why didn't she keep it? She gave the evidence right back to me – but why? There're so many questions, and so few answers. It's sort of like when you can't figure out what type of meat you're eating; you keep asking the waiter questions, and he keeps giving dodgy answers.

But remember how I told you at the beginning of this entry how I made a horrible mistake? That mistake would be trusting people other than myself. Aren't I a basketfull of sunshine?

I haven't told Max yet... knowing that her Mom was so close would probably kill her. But then again, Dr. M would probably kill us beforehand. Why am I sudenly so protective of Max? She can hold her own. You should have seen the time she had nothing but an eraser when she faced an Eraser. She managed to kill him by blocking off his breathing...yeah, I try to stay on her good side.

But life isn't all bad at the moment. Nudge is yelling at me right now to come watch the Eclipse trailer with her on Youtube, and Gazzy is shouting something about how there's a plastic flamingo on fire on the front yard-

Huh.

The doorbell just rang, and since my stranger-danger senses are tingling, then I feel like I should be the one to answer it. Wish me luck, Diary. If I die, then Iggy gets none of my stuff. Max gets it all.

-Fang


A/N- Yesterday I went over to axisfiraga's house to experiment with bacon. Basically, we would eat bacon and shove some other food product into our mouth at the same time. What we determined:

Bacon is good with:

Gummy Bears

Sprinkles

Cheetos

Plum Sauce

Bacon is not good with:

Gingerbread men

Candy stars

Candy canes

Candy necklaces

Mints

Thus we can conclude that bacon is not good with candy, but that's probably because bacon is meat candy.

49. April 2 2010

A/N- I think I got a 98 percent average in Cooking class. And yet, I still manage to catch my popcorn on fire.

In Ancient Civilizations, we have to write a classical Greek hero story. My hero is Tayloris Lautneris. And for a different project, we had to pick a famous person, and dress up as them and say why we're the most significant historical figure. My person? Roger Bacon. As soon as I saw his name on the sheet, I knew that somehow the universe would conspire so that I would end up as him.

I also ended up in the yearbook photo for Chemistry Club. I'm not in Chemistry Club. I don't even take Chemistry.

(And as it turns out, there are a lot of people named Liz Bacon on Facebook. To find the account, search for the email fangoftheflock (at) hotmail (dot) com.)

Reviewer of the Week:

annabethchase45: You know, if I was Fang when he found out that Dr. M was in his diary, I wouldn't be so worried about her knowing their plans as her stealing the bacon furniture idea. Because THAT would be pure villainy.

Comment of the Week:

Another clever Facebook group: There's a fine line between tan and looking like you rolled in Doritos.


April 2nd, 2010

Days until I die: 60

Dear Diary,

When I went to answer the door, I was actually sort of panicking.

It's a lot easier to face your fears when you know whose ass you're about to whoop. But absolutely anyone could be behind the door – Jeb, Dr. M, a bloodthirsty zombie with a fetish for oranges. You just never know these days.

No one else was in the front of the house as I quietly crept towards the door. Even though it was sunny out and the whole house practically screamed "American wholesomeness, now complete with apple pie" due to Dr. M's admittedly good interior design skills, my heart still pounded. The last time I had been this afraid a teen celebrity (I refuse to repeat his name) accosted me in my dream.

Wait a second.

Did I seriously just compliment Dr. M's interior designing skills? But really, the curtains match the plates so well…

You are a sick, sick person, Fang.

Carefully and slowly, I continued to the door. Behind the glass I could see the outline of a person, but the glass distorted the shape. The shape was moving, and it didn't look like a human any more. Who could it be…?

I opened the door, and-

There was a pack of bloodthirsty alpacas. I screamed and threw up my hands, but that did nothing to stop the onslaught. Instead, those furry animals of doom leapt for my throat, and the group of them quickly brought me down.

"Max!" I yelled, but my voice was weak, since I was in the middle of all the alpacas. "The alpacas have come for revenge! Help!"

Max came sprinting down the hallway, and her eyes widened as she saw what had become of me. And the last thing I ever saw was the alpacas tearing out her throat-


April Fool's.

Well, I'm a day late, but whatever. Close enough.

I'll be perfectly honest; bloodthirsty alpacas would certainly scare the crap out of me. Alpacas are just the uncool version of the llama, you know? They must feel pretty bitter that everyone knows what a llama is, and no one knows what an alpaca is. So they must want to start a Alpacalution (Alpaca plus revolution) where their goal is to increase the world's awareness of alpacas…

...

I'm glad Dr. M didn't get to read that paragraph, 'cause I'm a total freak.

But anyway, back to the door.

I actually was pretty scared as I went to the door. I was half expecting to see Jeb there, but I had a feeling that it wasn't. Still, I prepared for the worst. I grabbed the handle and quickly opened the door, ready to smash Jeb's face in-

And I barely managed to catch myself from punching the Italian guy who was holding up some bags of Chinese food. "You ordered this?" he asked in a thick accent, holding up the goods. (That made it sound like he was dealing me drugs, or something.)

"Yeah, thanks," Iggy said, AFTER APPEARING OUT OF FREAKING NOWHERE and snatching the bag out of the guy's hands. He shoved some money at the guy. "It's exact change. Thanks, see you later." He shut the door.

Yeah. That whole stranger danger thing? Chinese food.

I know Chinese food is dangerous if you have a weak digestive system and a hatred for mysterious sauces that may or may not contain ingredients that were banned in the sixties, but I guess it shows how paranoid I am.

Still, I was pissed that Iggy ordered Chinese food and didn't tell me… I love that stuff. I turned to Iggy. "What did you order?"

He looked down at the bags, and then back up at me. "Food. You know, I thought I was the blind one."

I rolled my eyes, even if he couldn't see it. "Whatever. Just give me some, and Max will never find out about this."

Iggy nodded. "Sounds like a deal."

We sat down and scattered all of the food on the table. Iggy must have stolen a fortune from Dr. M, since the entire menu was layed out before us. There was everything from fried rice to spicy beef and broccoli; but the best part was definitely the stuff called lop yuk, which was Chinese bacon.

"So," I said, stuffing some random food item in my mouth, "What's up?"

He shrugged. "Do you think we should help Gazzy?"

I looked out of the window, and true enough, Gazzy was hosing down the garden flamingo that had somehow caught fire. "Nah," I said. "He's got it under control for now." Iggy nodded, and something occured to me. "How are you and Ella?"

Iggy swallowed a chicken ball without chewing. Don't ask me how he didn't choke. "Good enough for a mutant birdkid and a girl who deserves more."

Look at the above, Diary. Iggy just said something that didn't involve the words "bacon", "strippers", or "sex". The next time that'll happen will probably be when I run for Presidency on a platform of introducing Baconism as the new national religion.

I frowned. I didn't want this to get all emotional, because Deep Man Conversations either end with the world exploding or with both people swearing that the conversation never happened. "Don't say that. You're everything she wants! Now shut up and make sex jokes."

He laughed softly and looked down as he stabbed at his food. "You know just as well as I do that we use humour as a defense mechanism. Especially you and me...especially with what we did."

I shook my head as hard as I could without puking up that Chinese food. "No, Iggy. What you did. You were the hero in that situation."

Confused, Diary?

About ten years ago, Iggy and I did something we don't ever talk about. Ever. Even now I was shocked he was bringing it up, because we swore we never would. It was one of those things that you erase from your memory. It was sort of like the time I watched The Jonas Brothers in 3D movie - I refuse to believe that actually happened.

I shouldn't even write down what we did.

Diary, have you ever done the right thing, but have always lived with the consequences of that decision? I get that you're not real and I'm talking to nobody, but I think everyone's made some hard choices.

But Iggy made the hardest one.

We were seven.

We were seven, and we had already lost our innocence.

Iggy - who could still see - and I were housed in the same cage, while Max was in the one right beside ours. If I reached out with my hand, and if she did the same, then we could hold hands. Sometimes, if the whitecoats didn't notice, we'd fall asleep that way.

One day, Max had been taken away for an experiement, while Iggy and I were in the cage. Two whitecoats were nearby and talking in a low tone as they looked something up on the computer. One of them asked a question, and the other responded in a curt tone. "Yeah; we're taking the girl to do the eye test tomorrow... we're going to try and give her some super-vision or something. But I was talking to Stevenson; he's a genius, and he says that there's a nine out of ten chance that the girl is going to go blind."

Shocked, Iggy and I looked at each other in horror. We already considered each other family. "They're going to take away her sight!" I said loudly as soon as the whitecoats left. Experiments in nearby cages grumbled at my outburst.

"No, they're not," Iggy said, with strength in his voice. He was sitting calmly against the bars in his cage, but he still radiated stubborness. "Max is my sister. They're not going to take away her sight."

"Then what are we going to do?" I asked, tears gathering. I wiped them away before they could fall. I would not let the whitecoats have that satisfaction.

"I'm going to go in her place," he said, eyes blazing. I just stared at him dumbly.

"No, you're not," I said, just as stubborn. "You're my brother, and I won't let you. We'll find another way. We'll run away."

Iggy shook his head. "No. Let me do this, Fang. Please don't make me fight you. Please let me do this for Max. Max is our leader; you know that. Everyone relies on Max; me, you, and even Nudge." Nudge, at this point, was living in a different lab because she was so young.

"Let me do it, then," I whispered.

He shook his head again. "No. This isn't something you can do lightly. I heard them talking about it before, when both you and Max weren't here. I've thought about it a lot. This is something I need to do."

I couldn't help it; I started to cry. It was the first time in two years that I let the tears fall down my face. I wanted to punch, kick, and tackle him just so he could take it back. The unfairness of the situation flooded me. "I can't do anything to stop you, can I?"

He nodded and brushed some of his hair away from his eyes. They were piercingly blue, and I couldn't imagine seeing them any other way. How could the whitecoats do things like that and still sleep soundly at night? Science stops when tyranny begins. "Can you do me two favours?"

"Anything."

"Promise me that, no matter what, you won't tell Max. Ever. Don't even bring it up. Forget this conversation ever happened. As much as you know, the whitecoats came for me, and not Max. It was always like that."

I took a deep breath. I decided to agree, since, in my eyes, Iggy deserved anything for his selflessness, even if I didn't agree. In my mind, we should all run away and start life far, far, away, but that was the dream of hopeless child. "Okay. But you said you wanted two favours?"

He grinned and I was reminded of a lost puppy. "You never smile, Fang. Can you smile so that I'll know what it looks like, even when I'm blind?"

I smiled for him.

And that's what happened.

Iggy volunteered himself when the whitecoats came for the sleeping Max. They didn't care; actually, they were thrilled that their experiments finally weren't complaining. And they still didn't care when the sightless Iggy was thrown into the cage at the end of the day, refusing to talk to me for a week.

"Hey, do I smell Chinese food?" Max's voice snapped me out of my thoughts. She was standing there with a mock frown on her face, and she was sarcastically tapping her foot while her hands were on her waist. She looked down at the table. "Awesome, there's tons left. Move over."

Within five minutes, the rest of the Flock managed to smell the food and were drawn to it like moths to a flame. (But when moths go to a flame, they die. But whatever, not all similies have to be exact.) I picked up some sort of mystery meat and managed to convince myself that it was a delicacy.

"It's not a delicacy," Angel said, reading my thoughts. "It's Americanized Chinese food."

I raised an eyebrow. "Whatever. It's good either way."

I remember, at the point when my arteries were screaming in pain, that I was just so happy. I was with my family; we were safe; we had food. Everything else wrong with our lives sort of disappeared as we sat down for those too-few minutes.

"So let's try and sort things out," Max said, sticking an egg roll into her mouth in one bite. (Why, yes, she is that talented.) I had a feeling that she was getting frustrated with not doing anything. "Itex wants to find whoever is withholding their funds, right?"

Angel nodded. "Yeah. But we know that it's Dr. M. But even though we know it's her, Itex doesn't care unless we bring her to them."

Nudge stuck some noodles in her mouth using her hands. At least we didn't have to do the dishes… "So, basically, Itex took away Fang's wings so that we know they're serious."

"That sounds about right," Iggy cut in. "We can't get the wings without Dr. M, and we can't get Dr. M without wings. There's no way we can chase her down without Fang." Iggy had an eerily clear way of looking at the situation; we were caught in a classic Catch-22.

"But Dr. M said she'd give me my wings back if we let her talk to Jeb," I said. Using my finger, I drew designs in the leftover sauce on my plate. Simple amusements are awesome like that. "We have to take that into consideration, too."

Max immediately shook her head. "No. We're not going to make a deal with the devil." Well, that devil made damned good cookies, but I wasn't going to mention that.

"So we're screwed either way," Gazzy said bluntly.

We all sighed. That pretty much halted the conversation, so we sat there silently and picked at the remnants of our breakfast/lunch/brunch. "So why don't we just call Itex and see what's up?" Nudge asked.

I couldn't help but laugh a bit. "You mean just call them?"

Max was just as sceptical as me. "The Itex building was gone; do you think they'll answer the phone?" She paused for a second. "Ah, screw it. We might as well try."

Ever since the fall of Itex, the company hasn't been putting out any new promotional material and the website had been taken off the Internet, but after digging around a bit, we found the old Itex number from a third-party. Max picked up the phone and dialled.

We waited in silence as Max dialled. "They're not going to pick up," Max said. "I mean, why would they- oh! Um, hi! This is Max, Maximum Ride."

No way.

Someone had answered.

This is just as surprising as the time when I figured out that aluminum foil doesn't go in the microwave.

Jaws open and looking like cows, we were all dumbfounded as Max had her call transferred. She stood there shocked until someone obviously picked up. "Hi!" She said.

"Oh, so this is Nathan?" she asked. Nathan…Nathan…the name rung a bell. Nathan! He was the guy at Itex who was essentially running the show. He had shown as the nifty DNA-switchy-thingy that I pretended to understand all those months ago.

And if you really don't remember him, Diary, then this is from my entry on October seventeenth…

For some reason, this caused the whitecoats to chuckle among themselves. Julie smiled at someone behind us. "Nathan? Can you come over here?"

The large African American who had nodded at Julie before came right beside her. "You can see Nathan right now, correct?"

"Actually, no," Iggy said. The whitecoats looked at him strangely. "Believe it or not, you guys are assholes, and if you're going to try and kill us, please get it over with. Survivor is on tonight, and I don't want to miss the episode."

"So what's up with you guys disappearing?" Max asked Nathan. She leaned against the counter, effectively staining her white T-shirt with ketchup I had spilled earlier and neglected to clean up. Whoops. "What do you mean? We came to see you guys. The buildings had completely disappeared, and you took Fang's wings, meaning we can't chase after Dr. M…wait, what?"

It was majorly annoying to only hear half of the conversation. Now I know how Bella feels when Edward communicates with one of the Cullens-

DON'T GO THERE, FANG.

"You mean…? You don't know about them? She…no…" Max couldn't wrap her head around whatever information Nathan was giving her. "So what does he need to do? Is there any other way? Nah, fine, he's used to it. There's no way we can go out to Death Valley – we need to wait for Jeb. I feel like he's an important piece of this puzzle. But hot damn, she's good. The best I've ever seen. Yeah. Yeah. I'll call later. Bye." She hung up.

"You're going to want to kick yourself," she said to us en masse as she sat down at the table. (En masse! A French expression! I'm so cultured.)

"Don't tell me we've been tricked again," Gazzy muttered, while Max gave him a sympathetic look. He just sighed in response.

"You know how when we were in Death Valley, we drove around the area where the Itex buildings were supposed to be?" she asked. And ironically enough, I mentioned that in my entry only a few days ago, on the twenty-seventh…

Max shot him a glare (another point against her driving skills, since she was now driving forwards and facing backwards) and didn't shoot back a witty response like I expected. "There aren't even any ruins! It's just disappeared!" Max pounded on the horn as we circled the area where the buildings should have been.

Read that again: As we circled the area where the buildings should have been.

That was our mistake.

"We didn't drive up to or through the area," Max said. She looked down at the table and brought her hands up to rest in her hair. "Just around."

Iggy shrugged. "What's the problem with that?"

Max glanced upwards to the ceiling, almost as if she was having issues controlling her emotions. (Madness! Simply madness! Max doesn't have emotions.) "The problem is that the buildings were there the whole time."

We didn't know what to say, so we sat there looking dumb and stupid. "Would you care to elaborate?" Iggy asked.

"You know that Itex has the ability to modify our DNA, and if you remember back to when we were there last time, they showed us how they have the ability to control what we see."

And since I'm really into flashback mode, Diary, here's what Max was talking about. This is also from that entry I made in October…

I blinked; and in that millisecond, the run-down room transformed into some James Bond headquarters. The room was suddenly the size of a warehouse, with large machines on every wall; a large glass ceiling was above; there was a large winding staircase in the middle of the room that obviously led up to the floors above that looked over this central area. We were standing at the very edge of the room, but it felt like we were in the middle of chaos. Hundreds of whitecoats were moving around, talking amiably and working at the machines. Nathan clicked a button on his remote –

And it all disappeared.

"Holy shit!" Iggy yelled. "What the hell was that?"

I felt bad for Iggy; first, he sees nothing, and a few minutes later he sees the craziest thing ever. His brain must've been on overdrive.

"Technology," Nathan shrugged.

"So are you saying-' Gazzy started, but Max's nod cut him off.

"The buildings were there the whole time. But we couldn't see them, since our eyes were being messed with. It explains everything, like why there weren't even ruins!" Max was barely able to control her voice.

"I'm confused," Nudge admitted. "Why would Itex block off their buildings from our sight, and why would they take away Fang's wings?"

Max laughed coldly. "Itex didn't." It was times like these, when life was devoid from her eyes, when I was scared of Max. Although we were physically matched in a fight, she had the brains to come out on top.

I didn't understand, until something clicked. "Oh, crap. It was Dr. M?"

Max didn't even have to respond. I already knew her answer. I leaned back in my chair, causing the front legs to rise up as I thought about this new development. Of course; we had been so concentrated on thinking that Itex was always going to be the villain.

"Want to explain for those of us who are less intelligent than emo boy?" Iggy asked.

"It was all Dr. M; Nathan told me that they'd had a break-in back in November, and Dr. M was able to obtain the technology to develop her own version of the whole DNA-switch-amobobber thing-a-ma-jig."

"That's a good name for it," Iggy said blandly. "So basically, that means Dr. M can change our DNA?"

Max nodded. "And get this. You remember how Dr. M invited us all to Chase Field? And you remember how she had managed to get Fang into that lock?"

Now how could I forget the time I looked like a total idiot? (Well, more of an idiot than normal.) I even wrote it down, once again...

She was standing in the middle of our circle. Before we even had time to comprehend how the hell she'd done that her arm lashed out and grabbed me. She hauled me forwards and put pressure on the back of my neck, instantly subduing me. By twisting my neck she looked me in the eye. "How does it feel being the real villain?" she asked with wide doe eyes that was a total Bambi rip-off.

"Dr. M touched Fang; at that close distance, that was when she was able to start the process of making your wings disappear. You didn't notice the pain because you were so close together, but the wings didn't disappear until later, right when Dr. M wanted them to."

Max kept talking, meaning we couldn't interrupt. "Basically, Dr. M was the one to block the buildings; she was the one who took Fang's wings; and she was the one who sent those SUVs after us. Admit it, she's good."

"And what about Fang's wings?" Nudge asked. "Can he get them back?"

Max nodded and bit on her tongue out of habit. "About that; Itex didn't even know Fang didn't have them. They can give them back, too, but it's going to be difficult and painful since we're so far away."

"You mean I get my wings back?" I felt like I was getting a second chance at life. Yes, I once used to value the thought of being normal, but now it seemed...wrong. Living life without wings just wasn't me. "When? How?"

"That's what I was asking Nathan about," Max said, frowning. "That's where things get hard."

"That's what she said!"

Ten bucks says you can guess who said that one, Diary.

Iggy continued on. "But really, were things ever easy?" He snorted and shoved his chair back, looking like he was modelling for the Bachelor's Edition of People Magazine. "It looks like the Drama Llama is in town."

Um, okay, then. "What do you mean?" I asked to Max.

Max bit the inside of her lip. "Here's the thing. Like I said, it'll be hard to do since we're so far away from the source of the ionizing radiation back in Death Valley. Basically, we have two options." She paused. "First, you can spend the night in horrible, mass amounts of pain wishing you were dead as your DNA is reworked. Second, you can give yourself a boost."

"A boost? You mean chug ten cans of Red Bull?"

"No. Nathan went on one of his science-y rants that sounded impressive but meant nothing to me. Basically, he said that they have already started to monitor your life signals, even from California. If they see that your adrenaline is up, then they'll do the switch immediately. Apparently the adrenaline blocks out some of the pain receptors or whatever, meaning that instead of a really long transformation, it would only take a few seconds. It's sort of like how when you have an adrenaline rush, you can do anything."

"Wasn't this discussed in the Twilight movie?" Gazzy asked.

I couldn't help but laugh a bit since I knew the line he was talking about. The laugh was rare, since laughing out loud was usually left to the drones of girls who type lol lol lol all the time. Then again, those are the girls who are going to cause the world to explode out of peppiness and pinkness. "Let me guess. There's another catch."

"Of course. That adrenaline rush has got to be the most powerful thing you've ever experienced. Basically, the only thing that could give you a rush like that would be throwing yourself off a building."

I laughed at Max's sarcasm. But she just sat there.

Wait… "Are you serious?"

She nodded. "Nathan said that was the only thing. If you throw yourself off a building, your body is going to think you're going to die, thus the adrenaline rush. But Nathan assured me that if you jump off a building, then you'll get your wings back before you hit the ground."

I sat there. "So, in short, I can suffer in absolute pain fo