Brand New You by St. Fang of Boredom

Category:Maximum Ride
Genre:Drama, Romance
Characters:Fang, Iggy
Published:2009-08-09 19:32:26
Updated:2012-09-14 10:24:20
Packaged:2021-04-22 01:57:43
Summary:Written for bkworm's Musical Challenge. After 2 years apart, Iggy goes to a 'Flock Reunion'. He finds that 2 years has changed his Flock considerably, especially a certain tall, dark, and formally silent Flock member...Figgy.

Table of Contents

1. Chapter 1
2. Chapter 2
3. Chapter 3
4. Chapter 4
5. Chapter 5
6. Chapter 6
7. Chapter 7
8. Chapter 8
9. Chapter 9
10. Chapter 10
11. Chapter 11
12. Chapter 12
13. Chapter 13
14. Chapter 14

1. Chapter 1

So, I was cruisin' around max-dan-wiz...

Fang: A dangerous habit of yours...

Me: And I came across this little challenge called 'Musical Challenge'. Basically, it's...Well...Here are the guidelines!

Pick a number from 1-100 for a song title from a musical. Keep in mind I'm running this on other sites as well so I'll go with whoever posted first.

-Write a story using the song I give you as inspiration. I don't really care what fandom as long as it's a book fandom.
-Please make sure you post the song, part of it, or at least the title somewhere in your story (or as the title).
-No exchanging songs please, unless you have a good reason (if so message me)
-Some songs have some explicit content*
-Message me once you start/finish your story!
-Post on please
-To claim post like this:
Number- Pen Name- Fandom- Pairing/Main Character*


So, I chose, number 44, which was Brand New You from the musical 13!

And I also chose to do a Figgy fic...

Fang: God, help me...

Me: And the song works so well....

Fang: Seriously, does anyone have a gun? I want out...

Me: Time for...

I See a Brand New Disclaimer!!: Though I may have kidnapped Fang, I do not own him. I don't own Iggy, either, even if Bell has him locked up in Australia. I don't own anything from Maximum Ride. I also do not own the rights to 13, though I do love the song and it may be on my ipod before the day is over...

Note: Takes place after The Final Warning.

Me: I've always wanted to do a Figgy fic! This is gonna be fun...

Fang: -is trying to tie a noose-

Me: Well, fun for me...

Iggy's POV

Two whole years.

Two years since Antarctica. Two years since the Uber-Director. Two years since the Flock has last seen each other.

You see, after the whole thing with the Uber-Director and the 'Stop Global Warming' kick, the government really stepped in. Let me tell you, Ronald Reagan wasn't kidding when he said the nine most terrifying words in the English language were, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." The government had this splendid idea that we needed families. Well, the Flock would've put up more of a fight if they hadn't offered to help them find their real families. Angel, Gazzy, and Nudge never really gave up hope of finding their families, I guess. After a couple 'Flock meetings' we decided to give it a shot, for the younger kid's sake.

The first person to come up was Nudge's dad. He and her mom had gotten divorced shortly after her mom let the School have her. He had re-married and his wife seemed like a nice person.

Second was Gazzy and Angel's parents. Their mom had had a rough time. She had gotten pregnant with Gazzy as a teen and her parents made her gve him to the school. Then, when they found out how much they could make off of selling babies to science, they had her get pregnant again. Well, she ran off at 18, married Gazzy and Angel's father, and was more than willing to get her babies back.

Then, though Fang had never expressed much of a wish to find his family, our ever-helpful government found them, anyway. His mom had lived a pretty wild life as a teen, but not long after getting pregnant with Fang, she got her life together. She cleaned up, went to a community college, and was now a registered nurse. She ended up getting married and having a daughter. She had been told Fang was stillborn, so you can imagine her surprise when the government officials showed up on her doorstep and said 'Congratulations! It's a boy!'

I remember Fang debating for a while if he actually wanted to go with them or not. I never thought he would until the day his family came to visit, bringing his five-year-old sister along. I guess even the great, emotionless Fang can't resist the powers of a cute kid, especially when the first thing she did when she walked in the door was run over, hug Fang, and say, "Hi! You're my big brother! I'm Megan. Will you come beat up Tyler at school for me? He's a bully."

She was kind of like a mini Nudge.

Then, since Max already had Dr. Martinez, there was me. I already knew who my family was and had made it clear I didn't want to go back to them. So, our problem-solving government decided to find me a foster home. Joy. I almost didn't go, but when I saw the rest of the Flock with their families, I guess I figured I'd need to go somewhere. I mean, more than one of their families offered to take me in, but I didn't want to intrude, I guess. They had all just met their families, and I didn't want to take away from that.

So, in the end, we decided we'd go live with our families, keep in touch, and meet back in two year's time.

My time in my foster home wasn't as bad as I had thought. Ok, actually, it was pretty damn wonderful. Especially when it started off with my foster mom saying, "We're going to try to get your eyesight back." It turned out my foster dad's father had worked at a hospital and knew a lot of doctors, including an eye surgeon. He had the guy take a look at me, run a couple tests (It took everything I had not to run out of the room.), and finally decided that he might be able to fix my sight. There was some kind of new surgery he thought would work, or at least help. Most of my mind had been screaming at me to get the hell out of there, but there was a small part of me that wanted to finally be able to see again. So, I agreed.

And now, our two years were up.

"You know, Ig, those things kind of make you look.....sophsticated."

I rolled my eyes. "Sophisticated? Whatever. I hate these things." I said shoving my glasses back on my face. Yeah, glasses. You know, surgery can only do so much. Yeah, I tried the whole contacts thing, but I just couldn't get comfortable sticking anything in my eyes, so glasses it was.

Max just shook her head and looked back at her watch. "They're late."

I rolled my eyes again. "Chill, Max." I had gotten to Max's house, where we were all meeting, a day early. Seeing Max for the first time since I went blind was interesting. She definetely looked different from the 7-year-old Max I remembered. And heck, if I thought I was surprised, you should've seen her face when she found out I could see.

Also, arriving early got me the priviledge of meeting Max's new boyfriend that Ella had set her up with, Aiden. Yeah, for a while I thought Max and Fang would get together, too, but I guess it just didn't work out. I could see why, in a way. Fang had always been someone who was kind of hard to get close to. At least, Aiden seemed like an ok guy, anyway.

Max checked her watch again and began to tap her foot impatiently. "What part of '2 o'clock' didn't they understand?"

I shrugged. "It's only 2:10, Max. Don't worry, they're coming." Max and I were sitting on a park bench, where we had agreed to meet the others, waiting for them to show.

"I swear, if they don't show up soon-"

"Max! Really, chill!" I said, almost laughing. I hadn't realized 'till now how much I missed Max and her almost-psychotic leadership skills. I missed the whole Flock and their interesting quirks.

Suddenly, a loud ringing went off, almost making me jump. "Sorry, Ig." Max said, pulling out a cell phone. She flipped her phone open looking at the screen. She started hitting the keys on the phone. It took me a second to realize what she was doing. Texting. Maximum Ride, texting like a typical teenage girl. How things change in two years. Max, Fang, and I were 16, Nudge 13, Gazzy was 10 and Angel was 8. Max was texting and had a boyfriend and I could see. Who knows how the rest of the Flock had changed as well. I was both nervous and curious at the same time.

As Max continued her conversation, I went back to watching the crowd. I had no idea if I'd be able to recognize the Flock or not if I saw them, but it was worth a shot. I noticed a lot of people, but none of them struck me as familiar. There was an old couple sitting on another bench, feeding birds, some kids skateboarding, a dog walker who looked like her dogs were walking her, and some biker-looking guy with red streaks in his hair.

I sighed, leaning back on the bench to stare up at the sky. If the Flock showed up, let them recognize us. I was done searching. I noticed a couple birds up in the sky and smiled. Living my new life as a 'normal teen', I didn't get to go for long flights as much as I used to. One of the things I was most excited about was being able to fly with the Flock again. I was just daydreaming about flying again, when I felt Max jump beside me and heard her yelp.

I shot up to see the biker-type guy I'd seen before standing over Max. How'd he get over here without us noticing? I glared at him. "Hey, leave her alone!"

The guy shot me a cocky grin. "What? Is it illegal to say hi to an old friend now?"

I'd recognize that voice anywhere. My jaw dropped. For a second, my brain stopped working. Then, I just spilled out the first thought that entered my head. "Fang? What happened to your hair?!"

Fang let out a short laugh. "Iggy? What happened to your eyes?!"

I jumped up, not believing what I was seeing. "Fang, you look..."

"I look...?"

"Like some freaky biker dude." Max cut in. "Fang, what happened?"

Fang shrugged. "Well, my dad owns a bike shop so I kinda get stuff like this jacket for free. He considers it adveritising."

"And the hair?" I asked.

"Grew it out. Played with hair dye." He gave me a look. "Now, Iggy. The eyes?"


His eyes widened a bit. "Surgery? Did you have a moment of insanity?"

I smiled a bit. "Kinda..."

He grinned back. "Well, thank God for moments of insanity." He gave me a light punch in the shoulder. "Great to see you again, Ig."

I smiled and nodded. "Yeah, you too." I was surprised when a sudden bout of nervousness struck me. Why should I be nervous around Fang? I've known him my whole life!

Maybe it was because he came back a very different Fang.

Max gave Fang a hug, asking him how he'd been, if he was doing ok, and all the usual 'Mother Max' questions. I turned towards them, determined to get around this weird nervousness moment. Ok, so he'd changed a bit. So had Max. So had I. He was still Fang. I opened my mouth, ready to ask him something, anything...

"Oh my gosh! Iggy? Max? Fang?! What'd you do with your hair?! And I hope that's not real leather, I'm a vegetarian again, you know. Wait, Iggy, are you wearing glasses?!?! OMG, can you see?!?! Oh my gosh!!"

Do I even need to tell you who that was? No? I didn't think so.

Well, it was long after Nudge arrived, that Angel and Gazzy showed up with Total in tow. Suddenly, it was one big family reunion that consisted of tears, laughter, questions, and other bystanders giving us 'WTF?' faces. It was almost exciting and hectic enough to make me forget about talking to Fang.


"You should have been there, Iggy." Gazzy told me, eating some more food off of his plate. "The explosion was so awesome! It was huge!"

"Yeah." Angel said. "And so was the bill we had to pay the restaurant for damages, according to Dad."

Gazzy just shrugged. "It was worth it, anyway."

Dr. Martinez sighed, getting up. "Gazzy, hun, I pity your parents." She walked over the fridge, grabbing something out of it. "Now, I hope someone saved room for this cake I made for you guys."

"I'm all over that!" Gazzy nearly yelled, jumping out of his seat.

I pushed him back. "Down, boy!" I said, laughing.

I was surprised to hear laughing from the other side of the table as well. "You want me to get a leash for him, Ig?" Fang asked.

God, I hoped I was just imagining that I could feel my face turning red. "Funny, Fang, but with this kids appetite, he'd probably just eat the leash." I said, messing up Gaz's hair a bit.

"Gazzy wants to be a professional eater." Angel informed us. "You know, like those people who eat a hundred hotdogs and stuff."

"Yeah, doesn't that job sound awesome?!" Gazzy said, not taking his eyes off the cake.

"Sure, Gaz." I answered. By then, I'd become pretty distracted by a certain bird-kid at the other end of the table. It wasn't just Fang's looks that were different. His whole personality seemed to have done a 180. He was still the same Fang, but more open. Not the good old emotionless brick wall I used to know. It was like we'd traded in the old Fang for a brand new one.

And this new one was making me nervous.

I was lying awake in bed, staring up at the ceiling, which was blurry without my stupid glasses.

It seemed stupid that this whole 'new and improved Fang' deal was keeping me up, but I couldn't stop my mind from dwelling on him. The hair, the jacket, those were shocking enough. But then, there was his new outgoing personality. Instead of getting the usual 2 word sentences out of him, we were getting whole conversations. Not that I was complaining about that. Now that he was talking, he had a lot to say, and what he had to say was interesting. I found myself spending most of the night just listening to him talk. With that deep voice of his, he could probably read the phonebook and I'd still be interested. And then there was that new habit of smiling he'd seemed to have got into. He had a nice smile and every time he shot it in my direction, I'd feel those nervous butterflies in my stomach again. It was getting pretty weird being around this new Fang.

Finally, after a couple hours of tossing and turning, I pulled myself out of bed, threw my glasses and some clothes on, and headed for the door, thinking maybe a midnight flight might help me sleep.

I had just put my hand on the doorknob when a noise to my left made me jump.

"Shhh..Ig. It's just me."

Well, speak of the devil. "Fang?"

He stepped out of the shadows. God, that kid was creepy sometimes! "Can't sleep, either?"

I just nodded.

"Well, Ig, if you ever open that door, maybe we can get out and get some fresh air."

"Oh, yeah..." I said, opening the door.

In minutes we were in the air. For a while, all my worries were gone. I was in the air again, where I belonged, and nothing could go wrong.

Then, Fang's wing brushed against mine. Suddenly, I was nervous all over again. I could feel my face get hot as it turned a bright shade of red. That's it. I needed to do something about this. Talk to him, convince myself that it was just Fang, so I could stop getting so nervous around him.

I landed in the branch of a tree, Fang following me close behind. We sat in silence for a while, but not for long. I could feel Fang's eyes on me, and it was making me jumpy.

I turned toward him, trying to think of something, anything to fill the silence with, but Fang beat me to the punch. "So, things are....different, huh?"

"What do you mean?" Was this kid reading my mind?

Fang laughed. "Iggy, look around! Take Nudge, for instance. Is she wearing designer jeans, or is it just me? When was the last time that girl could afford any jeans? And I think she has a Blackberry, too. Angel was showing me her second grade report card, Gazzy says he might be in the school play, and Max! Is it just me, or is she glued to that cell phone?"

I found myself laughing with him. "Max has discovered the joys of text messaging."

"It's like she's playing a Gameboy or something." Fang said. He began doing an imitation of Max's texting that had me in stitches.

"What about you?" I said, catching my breath. "Let's face it, you're not the same Fang that relunctantly left two years ago. The way you dress now. You used to dress to blend in, now you dress to stand out. And your personality is different, too. I mean, you were just joking with me, for crying out loud! And you're talking, laughing out loud, and....yeah." I said, suddenly realizing I was rambling.

Fang leaned back against the tree. "Yeah, I guess I've changed a lot, too." He looked at me and gave me a grin that made my heart jump. "You know, you're not the same Iggy, either."

"I'm not?"

He shook his head. "And it's not just the whole 'sight' thing, though, I guess it may have helped. You're more....observant, as you just demonstrated." I felt my face grow warm. I was thankful it was dark out. "And, you know, Ig? I think you've matured a lot, too." He laughed. "I've just imatured."

I laughed with him. "Yeah, Fang, well you needed to. You're less of a drag now." I said, punching him in the shoulder.

"Bet I surprised Max, huh?" He said.

For some reason, him mentioning Max made me feel...strange. Like, why mention Max? Weren't we having a great conversation minus Max? Suddenly, a thought struck me that made that strange, stomach-sinking feeling worse. "Fang? You didn't, uhhh...Try to be more...outgoing for...Max?"

Fang was shaking his head before I finished my sentence. "Nah, Ig. Max and I are done." He shrugged, picking some bark off the tree. "Some things just need to stay dead, and whatever I had with Max is one of them."

"Oh." The feeling in my stomach started to fade, but one more thing bugged me. "So, are you...with anyone? You know..." I was suddenly having a hard time looking Fang in the eye. I stared up at the moon instead.

"No." I heard him answer. "At least, not now..."

"Not now?" I asked, turning back towards him. I was surprised to see that he'd moved closer to me in the tree, and hoped my surprise didn't show. Of course, the feeling of heat rising in my face made that highly unlikely. "Do you have someone in mind."

He shot me the same cocky grin I'd gotten at the park. "Maybe..." His eyes shot towards the moon. "Hey, it's getting late. We should probably head back."

"Yeah..." I said. I could hear the same disappointment I felt in my voice. I wasn't ready to go back yet.

We both started to pull ourselves up, getting ready to take off from the branch.

"Hey, Ig?"

I turned around to see another new look for Fang; nervousness. He wasn't looking at me, just staring up at the stars, but I could see his nervousness in the way he clenched and unclenched his fists, or in the weird angle of his mouth.

I guess Fang was right. I was more observant.

"What is it, Fang?"

Fang opened his mouth to say something, then sighed, shaking his head. "Nevermind, Iggy. Let's just....get back to the house." Before I could try to drill whatever it was out of him, he took of from the branch, back towards the house.

I sighed myself and followed him. It occured to me at that moment that maybe the butterflies I got in my stomach around Fang might not just be because he had changed a bit. Maybe it had more to do with the fact that Fang had become someone I could get close to.

And maybe Fang felt the same way.

Me: -whacks head off keyboard- Great. I go to do a oneshot and, once again, I can tell this story has more potential...

Fang: Great.....And I can't figure out how to tie a noose...

Me: So, before you people ask for it, about doing another chapter....We'll see. Obviously, I could go on with this, but since I meant to do a oneshot, I don't know yet what I should do next, so you'll probably have to wait a while. Plus, I have way too many other stories going now to think about focusing on another full-length story.

Fang: Does anyone know how to tie a noose? Anyone?

Me: Please, don't show him....

R&R? Remember, it's my first attempt at non-parody Figgy, so I could probably use the critique. And yeah, they didn't 'get together'. If I continue this, they will, but you'll have to wait....Suggestions on what to do next welcome!

2. Chapter 2

Me: Before I begin, a question. How come, when I ask all of you to not tell Fang how to tie a noose, you all tell him?

Well, I hope you're happy, because now, Fang died.


Ok, I'm kidding.

But he could've died!

Fang: Eh, suicide is too much work.

Me: You're not helping.

Fang: Anything that makes writing Figgy harder for you is good for me.

Me: For that, I shall just jump into the long-awaited Brand New You chapter 2!!

Fang: Damnit...

Note: If other chapters go like this one, I may up the rating on this fic. Consider this a warning.

Iggy's POV

That first week we had together just seemed to fly by. We caught up more with each other, learned about our new lives with our families, and just hung out and did some good old Flock stuff, too.

I paid close attention when Fang described his new life. His mom, as I already knew, was a nurse at a local hospital. His dad (who was really his step-dad, but whom he considered his dad) ran a bike shop and auto repair place. Because of this, Fang was one of the lucky few teenagers to get a car when he turned sixteen. Actually, he got a truck plus a motorcycle. Just too unfair for words...

He and his little sister were both in public school. Meggy at a local elementary school and Fang in High School. I noticed he hadn't mentioned too much about his school except a couple classes he hated. I'd have to drill him for more info at some point.

He'd also made mention of his family owning a small menagerie of animals, including some horses. Once again, he hadn't said too much on that, either. I guess there was still some of the quiet, close-lipped Fang in there...

On Saturday, we went out for a long flight, packing lunch with us and just getting back in time to devour dinner. I found myself having a hard time sleeping that night and wandered outside for some fresh air.

It was a clear night, all the stars were visible. I started picking out constellations out of boredom. At least, the few I knew. I hadn't been able to see for long enough to know many star formations.

"You see that constellation up there?"

I nearly jumped up and became a constellation myself. Fang had snuck up on me again...

"It's called Cygnus." He went on. "Meaning, 'The Swan'. It's part of Greek Mythology. When Zeus wanted to seduce the Goddess, Nemesis, he transformed himself into a swan and asked the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, to chase Nemesis into his lap in the guise of an Eagle. He was successful, and to celebrate, he put Cygnus and The Eagle, Aquila, in the stars."

I smiled. "Fang, where do you get all this information?"

He shrugged. "History class." He said, taking a seat next to me on the picnic table.

"Ahh..." I replied, nodding.

We lapsed into silence for a little while, but I just couldn't stand having Fang there without getting some of my curiosity-induced questions answered.

"Tell me more about where you're living now, Fang." I asked him. "Come on, you've barely really said anything. I'm curious."

"Curiosity killed the cat..." Fang warned kiddingly.

"Do you hear me meowing?" I replied.

Fang nodded. "Touche. Alright, well, it's a nice house. Big garage, obviously, since my dad likes to fix up bikes, cars...Well, anything he can get his hands on that has an engine, really. And we have a barn..."

"What's in the barn?" I asked him.

"Horses." Fang said, smiling.

"You're kidding, really?" I asked. "Do you know how to ride or anything?"

"No, I'm not kidding, and yeah, Mom taught me how to ride." Fang answered. "And don't get so excited, we only have four horses."

"That's four more than me." I pointed out.

We talked for a while, mostly about Fang's new place, though we touched on my life a bit, too. Frankly, mine sounded boring in comparison. On top of the horses, Fang had a big German Shepard named Brisk and his sister had a Siamese cat named 'Mittens'. (Fang hated the cat.) He still skirted around his school life a bit, but I was determined to get something out of him, eventually. In the meantime, I was glad just to get something more out of him.

"So, here's a good question for you." I said. "How did 'dark and broody' Fang get traded for 'open and wild' Fang?"

"Open and Wild?" He asked. "Never heard it put like that before."

I shrugged. "Well?"

"Well...High School caught up with me, I guess." Fang admitted after a moment. "Fell in with an...Interesting crowd."

"Oh?" Is this what he'd been avoiding saying?

"Guess I attended one too many wild parties." He said. "And threw a couple, too."

"Fang? You threw a party?!" I asked. "That sounds way to 'happy go lucky' for you."

He shrugged. "It's true. And they weren't exactly 'happy go lucky' parties. More like, well, the illegalish kind..."

"Alcohol?" I guessed.

Fang wasn't answering me.

I whistled. "Smooth move, Fang. Good way to get in trouble."

"I cut down on that a lot." Fang said. "Though...Ever heard of a White Russian?"

I just gave him a 'You're kidding me, right?' look.

"Obviously...Not." He said. "So, you gonna tell Max on me?"

I cracked a smile. "Yeah, Fang, I'm gonna run to Max and tell her you're an alcoholic."

He smiled back. Woah... "She'll probably enroll me in the AA."

"So, what did you do at these parties?" I asked. "Besides getting drunk off your ass, of course."

Fang shrugged. "Just...Stuff."

Suddenly, a thought crossed my mind. "Fang did you....Are you...Still a virgin?"

Fang winced.

I laughed. "Oh my gosh. Who, Fang?! I gotta hear this story!"

"Well, it was after a party..."

I grinned. "I guessed it had something to do with a party. Go on."

He sighed. "Ig, do you really have to hear this story?"

I nodded, grinning. "Yes, now I definetely do."

He sighed again. "Fine. It was with my, er, sister."

I nearly fell backwards over the table. "What?!"

Fang put his hands up in a 'woah!' gesture. "Hold on, that came out wrong. She's not really my sister, she's just really close to me. It's not Meggy, jeez!"

I blinked a couple times, still in shock. "You probably should've said that first."

Fang laughed nervously. "Yeah...Anyway, it was a close friend, she's really close to my family, so she's practically like a sister to me."

I thought about this for a moment. "This still doesn't get you off the creeper list, Fang. You're saying that you'll screw people you consider family."

Fang sighed again, seeming frustrated that he couldn't figure out how to say what he was trying to say. "Well, we weren't exactly ourselves that night..."

"Ah!" I exclaimed. "You were drunker than a skunk, weren't you?"

He just gave me a slightly exhasperated look.

I snapped my fingers. "Knew it. Go on."

Fang ran a hand threw his red-streaked hair. "Well, the next day was awkward. Jacy, her name's Jacinda, but we call her Jacy, and I woke up next to each other and, well...We knocked each other out of bed scrambling to get apart."

"That must've been fun..." I commented.

"Yeah." Fang agreed, looking up at the stars again. "We didn't talk to each other for a couple days. A long time for Jacy and I. We'd become pretty good friends. Like I said, she's my sister in some ways. But she finally showed up after a couple nights, climbing in through my bedroom window."

I smiled. "So you guys worked around it and became friends again?"

"Nope." Fang said, shaking his head. "She jumped me and we ended up in bed with each other again."

My eyes widened. I felt a small knot form in my stomach. "So...You guys started dating?"

"Not a chance." Fang answered. "We're still just friends. We're just....Really close friends sometimes..."

My jaw dropped. "Your friends with benefits?!"

Fang managed a small grin. "I guess that's one way to put it..."

"So you just...Call her up when you want to...You know?" I asked awkwardly.

Fang shrugged. "She, uh, actually usually calls me..."

We were silent for a while as I mulled this over in my mind.

Then, I came to a conclusion.

"So, you're, like, Jacy's bitch." I said.

Fang jumped slightly beside me. "What?"

"She booty calls you and you go on over or invite her over or whatever." I said. "You're the bitch."

Fang just stared at me for a solid minute, like I had two heads. Great, now he thought I was a freak...

Then, he started to crack up.

"Of all the....Oh man, Ig. I never thought....Out of you....Wow." He stammered out between laughs.

I started to laugh with him. "Well, it's the truth."

"Obviously, I'm not good with the 'be assertive' part of the relationship..." Fang said.

"I'm cool with that." I said. Then, I froze. Why did I say that?! "Not that that means much, just saying..." I muttered after.

"Yeah, yeah." Fang said back, staring at the sky again.

I looked up at the stars as well as the two of us sat in awkward silence. I wondered how he could stare at them for so long. I mean, they were just twinkling lights, right? What was so special that someone could just stare at them?

Then, I realized I had just been staring at them. I guess there's not much to star gazing.

"See that constellation?" Fang asked, breaking the silence and pointing up to the sky. "That's Cassiopeia. She was a vain Queen who was punished for her vanity by being stuck upside-down on her thrown in the sky. To hang there for all eternity."

"Ah." I said, looking up and trying to see the eternally hanging queen. Unfortunately, all I saw was more twinkling lights.

Fang yawned, stretching. "I think I'm going to hit the sack." He looked over at me. "You coming?"

For a split second, my tired, wandering mind imagined following Fang to his bed, but I quickly shook the thought away, shaking my head 'no'. "Nah, I'll go to bed in a few minutes. See you in the morning."

"'Night, Ig." Fang said. He pulled himself to his feet and walked off back toward the house.

I watched him leave. Part of me hoped he'd come back, but another part of me was, well, enjoying watching him leave, if you catch my drift.

I looked back up towards the stars, Fang's constellations. trying to pick out Aquila and Cygnus again. How fitting. A hawk and a swan. And the swan had the hawk chased into his lap.

As I stared up at the stars, I wondered...

Where could I find an Aphrodite to chase Fang to me?

Me: Don't you love it when you find little pieces of literature or myth that just fit so well?

Fang: No.

Me: Oh, shut up. Anyway, if anyone thought I got a little close to the Rated M category with this, I doubt that it'll get any worse than that. I don't like going into the 'M' category if I don't have to. Actually, should move Double Date out of it...Maybe...

Fang: Another evil fic...

Me: You have no idea...


3. Chapter 3

You know, because just one brand new Brand New You chapter really just wasn't enough.

Fang: So you have to continue the humiliation?

Me: Of course! It's so much fun! Plus, I want to give people a better idea of what I'm planning to do.

Fang: I say you should plan to ditch it.

Me: You only wish.

Fang: -shrugs- A guy can try...

Iggy's POV

Time flies when you're having fun, and for a Flock of bird-kids, time can fly pretty fast. It would only be a couple more days before we were supposed to go back to our families.

And I was miserable.

Don't get me wrong, my foster family had been awesome, but it wasn't them. Yeah, you guessed it. My latest obsession.

The ever-unreachable Fang.

So, I'd managed two in-depth conersations with the guy, neither of which had answered all, or even most of my nagging questions. What did he do in school? What was his home life really like? What's with the sudden personality switch? Not to mention the makeover? What about this Jacy girl? Why did he make me so damn nervous? Did he ever question his sexuality? Was he available?

Those last ones I wasn't planning on asking. I'd rather keep that to myself.

I just couldn't let him go without getting some answers. Sure, we could exchange e-mails and Skype screen names, but I had a funny feeling that Fang wasn't the 'I'll keep in touch' type. He'd drift off, not to be seen or heard from 'till the next get-together.

Well, I wasn't going to let that happen.

I'd talked to my parents over the phone, made arrangements. They were ok with my plan. Now, just to get Fang to agree...

I'd racked my brain, trying to come up with the best excuse possible. It wasn't easy, but I found one that would suffice.

"Yo, Fang?"

He looked up from where he was shoving some of his clothes into a travel bag. There's one thing that hadn't changed. Fang still had something against folding clothes.

"Yeah?" He asked, turning back to his work for a second to shove a pair of boxers into the bag. Black with blue flames. Yeah, I could see those on him...

Oh, bad thought. Dear God, what was up with me lately?!

"I...Wanted to talk to you about something." I started, somewhat nervously.

"Shoot." Fang said, still working on packing.

"Isn't it kind of sad that we've grown so far apart, ya know?" I said, forcing myself not to stutter.

Unfortunately, Fang must've sensed my nervousness. He turned those dark eyes on me, raising an eyebrow suspiciously. "Spit it out, Ig."

"CanIcome hangoutat yourplacewith youfora while?" I asked so quickly, the words came out all jumbled together.

Well, so much for playing it cool.

I had to repeat what I'd said slowly, so Fang could actually understand it. He'd stopped packing at this point and was just standing there, hand to his chin, thinking. His eyes became so focused when he was thinking, like he was going to stare the problem down until it just gave in and went away for him. I didn't think, under that glare, I'd dare to disobey Fang, either.

Of course, maybe I wouldn't want to...

You know, I'm sure there's a special asylum out there for my kind of sick mind.

"So you want to....Come hang with me for a while?" Fang asked. "Why? Is something up with your family?" I thought I heard his voice get a bit defensive when he said that. My heart skipped a slight beat.

"No, no, nothing like that." I said. "I just thought it'd be...Fun, you know? Hang out for a while...Yeah." I found myself avoiding his eyes. This was getting awkward...

"You want to come to my house and stay with me and my family..." Fang stated. "For how long?"

"Well, until the end of summer, I guess. Or whenever you get sick of me and toss me out." I answered jokingly.

"You know, I won't always be around and stuff." Fang said. "I'm...Busy. Part of something for school over the summer." I noticed a slight hesitation in his voice. More mysteries...

"Well, I'm sure I'll find some way to entertain myself." I answered. "Babysit Meggy. Get to know you mom and dad maybe."

There was a long, deafening silence as Fang thought over my proposition. If he said no...I shuddered mentally. I didn't want to consider that.

Finally, to my great relief, Fang slowly nodded. "Alright...I guess it couldn't hurt..." He smiled slightly, looking up at me. "Maybe it'd be...Kind of cool. You could help me throw one of my wild parties." He added with a wink.

If my heart keeps skipping beats like this, I'm going to go into cardiac arrest...

"I think I better leave the wild party-throwing to you." I said, smiling back. "I think I'm more the type of guy who would stay home from those parties."

"Oh, I don't know...." Fang said, his eyes inspecting me. I prayed that I wasn't blushing or something. I'm sure that would go over well. "I think there's a party animal in there, waiting to claw itself out."

"Heh, sure, Fang..." I thought of Aquila and Cygnus again. You have no idea...

"Oh my gosh, I'm gonna miss you guys soooo much! Remember to write! And e-mail! And Skype! And tweet! And text! And call! And im! And-"

"We get it, Nudge." Max said, giving her a hug that, luckily, shut her up. Jeez, that girl had every form of conversation on the planet.

We were all saying our goodbyes. We were in front of Max's house and Nudge's folks had shown up, followed by Gazzy and Angel's. Max, Ella, and Dr. Martinez were all there to say goodbye. I had already thrown my stuff in the back of Fang's truck. He was driving us back to his place in Vermont. It was gonna be a long haul, but I could deal. More time to interrogate his Fangliness...

Soon Gazzy, Angel, and Nudge were gone and Fang and I were saying our last goodbyes. We had to start out soon, or Fang would be driving in the dark. I wished I could help him out on that, but I hadn't gotten my license yet, damnit. My parents wanted me to practice more, first.

Max told us to be careful, Ella reminded us to call, and Dr. M gave us a batch of cookies for the road, and then we were off. Just me and Fang.

In a truck.


Cue awkward silence.

Obviously, Fang was as much of a fan of awkward silences as I was. He couldn't seem to stand it, either.

"You mind if I stick some music on?" He asked.

I shook my head and Fang, without taking his eyes off the road, somehow got a CD out of a case in the middle of the seat between us and stuck it in the slot. He obviously had gotten the driving practice my parents wanted me to have...

The first song to come up was 'It's my Life' by Bon Jovi. Finally, a conversation starter.

"Didn't know you liked Bon Jovi." I stated.

Fang grinned. "Are you kidding? Bon Jovi's awesome."

"What else are you into for music?" I asked.

Fang shrugged. "A lot of stuff, actually. Fall Out Boy, Billy Joel, MCR, Bo Bice, Johnny Cash..."

"Johnny Cash?" I asked.

"You ask me who Johnny Cash is, and you're in trouble." Fang stated.

"Isn't he, like, a dead country singer?" I asked. "I think my foster dad has a record by that guy."

Fang shook his head. "Old, dead country singer...The guy was kick ass! A rebel! He was rebellious before rebelliousness was cool."

I put my hands up in defeat. "Alright, I respect the greatness that is Cash." I said.

Fang nodded. "Good work, young grasshopper."

The rest of the ride consisted of us discussing our musical likes and dislikes. I ended up going through Fang's huge CD collection, asking questions about each one. We pulled into the parking lot of the motel we were staying at, just as I found the most interesting one...

"So, Fang, care to explain to me your love for Miley Cyrus?" I asked, holding up the CD.

He rolled his eyes and reached over, snatching the CD away from me. "That's Meggy's. Not mine."

I laughed. "Sure, Fang. Tell me, what are the 7 things you like about her?"

Fang just rolled his eyes again and got out of the truck, walking over towards the main office to check in. His dad had been able to reserve rooms in a couple different motels for Fang to stay at, even though they usually didn't let unaccompanied minors stay. Obviously, Fang's dad had some connections. Fang had explained to me that there were a lot of people who owed his dad favors from back when he travelled around the country on his motorcycle. Fang had told me he was a regular 'Duke of Hazzard'. I made a mental note to find out exactly what a 'Duke of Hazzard' was.

I had just pulled our travel bags out of the back of the truck when Fang came back, swinging a key around in his hand. He lifted up his bag in one hand and pointed with the other. "Our room's this way. Come on." He started off.

As I followed him, it occured to me that I was about to share a motel room with Fang for a night. All alone...

I quickly shook the dirtier thoughts out of my head. None of that was going to happen. We were just going to go in, watch T.V., and fall asleep. That's it.

But, a guy can dream, right?

Me: I've got so much to say, and my arm is cramping up...

Fang: Better hurry up, then...

Me: Well, I guess it's not too much...Just, yes, I put Fang in Vermont. I'm not answering if I'm from Vermont, but I have been there, and I like writing stuff that takes place in familiar territory so...Yeah.

Whatever else I had to say can wait. My poor arm...

Fang: I'll get an ice pack...-walks off-

Me: Thanks.

R&R? And ice pack?

4. Chapter 4

Me: W00T! Another chapter!

Fang: Is it just me, or do you always act overly-excited in the A/Ns for this story?

Me: YES!

Fang: Why?

Me: -shrugs- To annoy you...

Fang: -sigh- -headdesk-

Me: Just a couple note to start off. It's pronounced 'Care on' not 'Char on'.

And I would like to disclaim... Jackie Don Tucker. The character belongs to a song by Toby Keith by the same name. I just felt like using it...It fit...

Fang: What?

Me: You'll see...

Iggy's POV

Well, we ended up staying at four different hotels, and the most interesting thing that happened was when a crow accidentally got stuck in our bathroom. Took forever to get him out of there. Anyway, the rest of the trip was surprisingly uneventful for an underage cross-country road trip.

Now we were winding our way up an out-of-the-way country hill road and I was trying to figure out where in the world they had stuck Fang's house up here.

"So, I'm picturing us turning a corner any minute here and seeing a little log cabin with a mule tied outside of it." I told Fang, scanning the road ahead of us.

Fang chuckled. "Jeez, Ig, we may live kinda out in the sticks, but we're not Hillbillies."

"Nope." I said, shaking my head. "You're far too educated to be a Hillbilly. You're a Mountain William."

"A what?"

"Mountain William. Smart form of the Hill Billy."

Fang rolled his eyes. "I get it..."

So far, coming up this hill, I'd seen a couple houses, spaced pretty far apart, most of them small farms and such. Fang kept calling them his 'neighbors'. I always thought neighbors lived a bit closer...

Suddenly, without warning, Fang slammed on the breaks. I was thrown forward. Thank God for the seatbelt, or I would've been another piece of the pavement. (Remember that, kiddos. Always wear your seatbelt in case your psychotic mutant chauffer decides to test the breaks.)

"What the heck, Fang?" I asked, rubbing my shoulder where the seatbelt had been.

"Over there!" He said, pointing and getting out of the car.

My eyes travelled to where he had pointed, towards a field to our right. There, running loose, was a huge, black horse, kicking up its feet and booking it across the tall grass. At one point, it reered up, just like the movies or something, and let out something between a whinny and a scream, then hitting the ground with a 'thump' that I could hear from where I was and charging off again.

I was awestruck. I got out of the car, not able to take my eyes off of the powerful creature in front of me. I was only drawn out of my fascination when I heard a sharp whistle to my left.

I turned and saw Fang, watching the horse intensely. He let out another sharp whistle in the animal's direction, but the horse just kept up its wild dance through the field.

Fang shook his head. "I guess I'll have to go get him..."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"That's my horse, Iggy." Fang said, shaking his head again. "He must've jumped the fence again, the pain in the ass." He cupped his hands over his mouth and called out to him. "CHARON!"

The horse reered again, shaking out his mane and landing on the ground again so hard, I swear I felt it shake.

"Charon?" I asked, not taking my eyes off the horse.

"It means 'fierce brightness' in Greek." Fang explained. "It's also the name of the being that's said to ferry the souls of the dead across the River Styx into the realm of Hades."

Oh. How fitting. I could imagine riding this horse to Hell.

Fang shook his head again and looked around the area. When he was sure there was no one around but us, he shrugged off his jacket and extended his wings, giving them a flap to get them moving again. He threw his jacket onto the hood of his truck, then began running towards the horse. He leaped and was airborne in seconds, flying towards Charon like a rocket.

I watched with a mixture of fascination and fear. Couldn't this horse kill him? It was so wild and powerful, jeez!

Fang landed on Charon's back, grabbing a fistful of mane. I could see him doing everything he could to stay on as the horse started to buck and kick. But Fang wasn't so easy to get rid of.

"It's me, you idiot! Woah! It's me!" Fang yelled at the horse, holding on for dear life.

Slowly, Charon's bucking and kicking stopped. The horse cautiously turned around to see who this intruder was who had rudely landed on his back. He sniffed Fang's boot, then looked up at Fang and whinnied.

"Now, come on." I heard Fang say to him. "You're supposed to be so smart, how come you didn't know it was me?" He patted the horse's neck, taking a more relaxed position on his back. Then, with just a slight tug on his mane, he turned the horse towards the truck and walked him to where I stood.

If I hadn't been completely amazed before, I was now. This horse, who looked about ready to murder anything that fell into its path just a minute ago, now seemed completely docile, listening to Fang's every command.

Fang rode right up to me, stopping the horse just a couple feet away from where I stood. Then, he reached into his pocket and pulled something out, tossing it to me. I reached out and was able to catch it just before it hit the ground. It was the keys to his truck.

"You drive the truck, I'll walk the horse." Fang stated, already moving Charon around to the driver's side of the truck.

"You want me to...Drive?" I asked, looking down at the keys inmy hand.

Fang rolled his eyes, smiling. "No, Ig. I want you to push the truck home. Now come on, you can do it. Just keep her going at a crawl so Charon and I can keep up."

I nodded, walking over to the driver's side and sliding in. I hadn't been driving in a while and wasn't exactly that close to getting my license. I found the ignition and stuck the key in, turning it. The engine roared to life, almost making me jump.

"Alright." Fang said, talking to me through the open window. "Now, put the truck in drive and just give it a little gas. But make sure your foot's on the break before you move it into drive."

"Ok..." I said, praying I would be able to tell the gas from the break. Obviously, I was better at this than I thought. I successfully put the truck in drive and got it going forward at a crawl, letting Fang keep up with Charon.

"You're doing great, Ig." Fang said, riding along beside me.

"You really think so?"

"Sure." Fang answered. "I haven't heard any old grannys screaming from under your tires yet."

"Very funny..." I replied, rolling my eyes.

"Ok, you're going to want to turn here." Fang said, giving Charon a light tug on his mane, steering him to the left. I turned the truck as carefully as I could and found myself pulling into a dirt driveway that had a rock wall on each side. To the left of the driveway was a good-sized blue house with a porch out front. On the other side was a large, colorful garden, and straight ahead was a huge garage that looked like it had once been a barn. Behind that was a building that still was a functioning barn. It had a couple good-sized paddocks around it.

I stopped the truck as soon as I was safely in the driveway and got out, looking around me in amazement. "Impressive."

Fang nodded, hopping off Charon like he was a kid hopping off the merry-go-round at the mall. "It's home."

I walked with Fang as he walked Charon back to the stables in the barn. I was actually able to pet Charon, which amazed me, as I was convinced Charon would attempt to bite my hand off, but he was actually friendlier than he first looked.

"He's just a bit high-strung at times." Fang had said.

"Yeah, sure, and I bet Osama bin Laden is just a little moody." I thought.

Fang had me slide open the barn door and he walked Charon in, putting him into the last of the six stalls that were in the barn. If there were any other horses in the barn, they were all out in a paddock or field or something.

"I told you that horse would be trouble."

I spun around to see a man standing in the open doorway of the barn. As he walked towards us, I began to make out some familiar features. The same walk, the same color eyes with the same mischievious glint.

Yeah, this was Fang's dad.

"Not as much trouble as you." Fang pointed out, throwing his horse some hay.

"And certainly not as much trouble as you." His dad added, ruffing up his hair a bit. Then he turned to me. "Who's the friend, Fang?"

"Mr. Tucker." I said, trying not to act as nervous as I felt. "I'm Iggy. I don't know if you remember-"

"Iggy!" He exclaimed. "One of Fang's Flock! Yeah, hey, didn't you used to be blind or something?"

I tapped my glasses. "Surgery does wonders these days."

"Well, that's awesome, man." He answered. "You stayin' here awhile?"

"He's gonna hang with us for a bit, if that's ok." Fang answered for me. "Thought it might be cool, ya know..."

"Fine with me." His dad answered. "And please, Ig, none of this 'Mr. Tucker' crap with me. You can just call me 'Jackie Don'. That's what I've got the name for, after all."

"Got it...Jackie Don." I answered. That was gonna take some getting used to...

"Come on, Ig." Fang said, motioning for me to follow him. "I'll take you inside and show you around."

We left Fang's dad in the barn and headed back to the house, walking in the side door to a kind of mud room which was filled with people's shoes and boots on the floor and jackets, umbrellas, scarves, etc. on the walls. There were two doors besides the one we came in leading out of that room. One, which was slightly open, led upstairs. The other, which is the one we took to the right, led into the kitchen.

"Fang!" Someone exclaimed the minute we walked in. Within seconds, Fang's mom had him in a tight hug.

I could tell now where Fang got the olive skin and dark hair. That was all from his mom. Though he obviously hadn't inherited her touchy-feely personality.

"Oh, I remember you! You're Iggy!" She said, and I, too, was suddenly engulfed in a tight hug. "How have you been, hun? Oh, glasses? You can see now?"

I just nodded. She didn't give me enough time to say anything.

"That's wonderful! Are you going to be staying with us for awhile? Oh, but I bet you two are hungry after that trip! Let me make you something..." She finally left us alone to go attack the loaf of bread and start making us sandwiches.

Fang shot me a grin and rolled his eyes. "That's my mom."

"Yeah." I said, rubbing my shoulders where she had squeezed them. "I guessed."

"Fang!" A little voice yelled, running down a hall into the kitchen. "You're home! You're home!"

In one swift motion, Fang scooped his little sister into his arms. "How've you been, Meg? Staying out of trouble?"

"Yeah..." She answered, not sounding very convincing. She spotted me standing on the other side of the room. "Who's that?"

"Iggy." Fang answered. "You remember my friend from the Flock, right?"

Meggy stared at me for a moment, then nodded. "Oh, yeah!" She waved to me. "Hi!"

I waved back. "Hey."

The rest of the afternoon went...Interestingly. Fang's mom was just throwing food at us left and right (not that we were complaining) and didn't stop drilling us with questions until his dad came in and rescued us from our interrogation by telling his mom we should probably get our stuff inside and settled. Then, Fang and I, with a very little help from Meggy, got our bags and brought them up to...

Fang's room.

One place I was both excited and nervous to see.

We climbed up a flight of stairs, dragging our bags along. "That's my parent's room." Fang said, motioning to a set of double doors on our left.

"And that's my room!" Meggy said excitedly, pointing to a room a little farther down on the right.

"Bathroom's there." Fang said about another room on the left.

"And...Fang's room!" Meggy said excitedly, jumping in front of the last door on the right. "Don't worry Fang. No one's been in here since you left, not even mom!"

"Good to know..." Fang answered, reaching forward and opening the door.

I craned my neck forward to peek inside. The room was fittingly dark-colored with two huge windows on the opposite wall. To my right his bed was sitting adjacent to the wall, black blankets thrown over it. On one side of the bed, a closet door stood open, revealing that Fang didn't seem to know how to use a coat hanger well. The room, despite having to hold two dresser drawers, a TV, and a huge desk with Fang's laptop on it, was fairly spacious, with enough room for us to drop our luggage in the middle of it and still be able to maneuver.

"What's that door for?" I asked, pointing to a door on the left side of the room.

"That door goes to the attic." Fang explained. "Remember the stairs back down in the mud room?"


"They lead up here to the attic. Great escape route." He added with a grin. "Now come on, you better start getting unpacked while I go find the air mattress. We've got a busy day tomorrow..."

"What do you mean?" I asked, grabbing my first bag.

"Well, you can't expect to stay and not let me show you around town." Fang said. "We'll be leaving at 10 o'clock sharp in the morning."

"Sounds like a date..." I thought.

Fang: -gags-

Me: -eyeroll-

Fang: Why do you have to write a fic that'll give Skit's Ig ideas?

Me: 'Cause it's fun!

Fang: -facepalm-

Me: Fang has a pony! :D

Fang: How about we skip to talking about the contest?

Me: Oh, yes, the contest!

Fang: The Saint's Sequels Contest!

Me: The one that has it's own forum and it's own chapter in the Poetry Corner that has all the information on it!

Fang: Yeah, that one! Let's talk about it!

Me: ...I think we just did.

Fang: Oh...

Me: But yeah, people, check it out!


Me: They get it.

Fang; Just using emphasis.

Me: -facepalm- Oy vey...

R&R&Contest Contest Contest!

5. Chapter 5

You know, I figure it's nice to update once in a while...

Fang: Ya think?

Me: Hey, I update when I can these days. I'm proud of myself for finishing this tonight. I'm trying to see how many fics I can update before I head to Florida on the 25th.

Fang: Ah, yes. Florida. Vacation. Disney. Being warm.

Me: A week of no Subway...

Fang: Are we leaving yet?

Me: Couple more weeks.

Fang: Damn.

Me: In the meantime, let's update!

Iggy's POV

Thank God I'm a bit groggy in the mornings or I might've ended up whacking a seven-year-old.

"Wha'?" I asked, trying to push the pencil out of my face.

"Good morning!" Meggy said, moving the pencil she had been dangling under my nose and beaming down at me. "I thought you guys might like to wake up."

I blinked, trying to get my eyes to adjust to the blinding sunlight coming in through Fang's windows. "What time is it?" I asked Meggy, sitting up on my air mattress.

"9:45." She answered. "I heard Fang say he was going to show you around town at ten, but he slept in and so did you. Mom said you guys were tired and needed to rest, but I figured you needed to wake up sometime."

"Well, uh, thanks." I said. I was just glad I wasn't the only one that slept in. I'd have hated to keep Fang waiting.

"You're welcome!" She said cheerily, grinning from ear to ear. I had to wonder, had Fang been allowed to have a normal childhood, would he have been this cheery as a seven year old? Even though Fang had changed a bit since the Flock's split, I still couldn't picture him acting this cheerful. It was surreal to try and imagine.

"Fang!" Meggy yelled, making a flying leap onto Fang's bed. I heard a sharp exhale of air, marking the fact that Meggy had succeeded in landing squarely on Fang's back. "Time to get up!"

"Ugh." I heard him say, his voice muffled slightly by his pillow. "Meg, girl, off."

Meggy slid off the bed and began bouncing around the room, reminding us that it was time to get up. I watched Fang slowly rise from his bed, still wrapped up in his blankets, not looking nearly as awake as he should after being assaulted by a seven year old. He looked over at me slowly, looked at Meggy, then looked back at me, sending one of his smiles my way.

Oh, God.

"Better than an alarm clock, huh?" He said, starting to shrug the blankets off.

"Yeah." I said, starting to get up myself. "She's a pistol."

"No, I'm a cheerleader." Meggy corrected me. She struck a pose, sticking her arms and legs out so her body seemed to form the shape of a star. "When I'm old enough, I'm gonna cheer for the high school football team. Well, when I'm done with theatre, student council, and the keys club, of course."

"That's Key Club, Meg." Fang corrected her. "And I thought you were doing the National Honor Society, too."

"Yep!" Meggy said. "And the Ski Team!"

"You've got a fall and winter sport in there." I commented. "What about spring?"

"Well, I don't know yet." Meggy said, looking perplexed. "I don't think our school has a horse riding team."

"With all the stuff you wanna do, Meg, you may want to leave that time open to chill." Fang said, giving her a pat on the head as he stood up. "Do me a favor? You wanna go tell Mom we're up and we'll be down soon?"

"I'm on it!" Meggy said with that wild enthusiasm of hers. She raced out of the room and down the stairs, already yelling for her mother before she reached the bottom step.

Fang stretched, giving his wings a couple good flaps. "Damn, I was enjoying my sleep, too."

"You look like you're still half enjoying it." I commented. "Are you awake yet?"

Fang smiled again. "Barely. I just don't come flying awake like I used to."

"You're not on the run anymore." I said. "No need to."

Fang nodded. "True."

The two of us gathered our clothes and got dressed. I changed in Fang's room while Fang insisted he needed a shower and changed in the bathroom.

And that's where my headache began.

At first, I was disappointed that Fang decided to change in a different room. Then, I was mad about that because, I mean, what did I expect? Fang wasn't going to do a personal strip tease for me here. Then, forced myself to think of something else. I ended up thinking about Fang in the shower, which meant, after a while, I needed a new thought so I would be able to change my freaking pants. So, I ended up thinking about the fact that Fang was showering and if that meant I should take a shower. What if Fang thought it was gross that I wasn't showering? But I had planned to take one tonight! Should I tell him that? Or would that be stupid? All this led me to wonder if this entire time at Fang's was going to be one big stress ball of doom.

By the time I was dressed and headed downstairs, my mind was slowly sinking into a sea of worry.

"Scrambled? Sunny side up? Over easy?" Mrs. Tucker asked as soon as I entered the kitchen.

"Sunny side up is good." I answered, taking a seat. "Thanks."

"Oh, my pleasure." Mrs. Tucker said as she worked over the stove.

At that point, Fang came in, hair still dripping from his shower. Without a word, he went straight to the fridge and grabbed a carton of orange juice and a bottle of ketchup.

His mother looked over her shoulder at him, then shook her head and went back to the food. "Yeah, I know. Scrambled. You're a creature of habit, kid."

Fang shrugged. "Makes your life easier." Fang turned to me. "So, what do you want to do?"

I could name about ten things I wanted to do that involved him, but they would all get me thrown out of this house. "Not sure. You're the tour guide here. I'm not even sure what there is to do in this place."

"Just take him around town. Fang." Mrs. Tucker said. "You'll find something to do. Aren't any of your friends around you could introduce to him? What about Jacy?"

It took all I had in me not to react at Jacy's name. That girl. Fang's little 'friend with benefits'. I had a feeling meeting her my result in some kind of spontaneous combustion on my part.

"Jacy's working today." Fang said, pouring himself some juice.

"Oh, hey, what a concept." Mr. Tuck- I mean, Jackie Don said, walking in the room. "A job. Work. Oh, wait, 'work' is a horrible four letter word to some people in this room, huh?"

Fang rolled his eyes, but said nothing, taking a drink from his juice.

"I could get you a job down at the garage." Jackie Don said. "There's an opening."

"No thanks, Dad." Fang said boredly.

"What does Jacy do?" Jackie Don asked. "Can you get a job with her?"

"Jackie Don. leave him alone." Mrs. Tucker said, waving a spatula at him menacingly. I never knew spatulas could be so menacing. "He's doing well in school right now. He'll get a job when he has the time."

"It's summer." Jackie Don started to say.

"And he deserves a bit of a break." Mrs. Tucker said. "Heck, he's not even really getting a break with-"

"Are we done talking about me like I'm not here?" Fang snapped suddenly. The kitchen fell into an awkward silence for a bit, broken only by the mewing of Fang's sisters cat as she begged me for a sip of my milk I had gotten when I came down.

We sat in the awkward silence of the kitchen as Mrs. Tucker served us breakfast. Finally, Meggy appeared from wherever she had ran off to and broke the silence by telling me the story of the time she found a frog and brought it to show Fang in his room while he was sleeping. By the end of the story, Fang and I were both done and I was still trying not to laugh at the mental picture of Fang's face when he woke up to a bullfrog staring into his eyes.

Next thing I knew, Fang had led me out to his truck and we were climbing in to head to town.

"Do you have any plans on where we're going?" I asked him.

Fang shrugged. "Winging it, so to speak."

"Well, say I wasn't here." I said. "What would you normally do on a Sunday if you were heading into town?"

Fang leaned back, thinking. "Well, it's not a high holy day or whatever, so my family's not going to church...And I'm not taking Meggy anywhere...Guess I'd probably go hang on Main Street and see if anyone's around."

"Main Street it is, then." I told him.

Main Street wasn't exactly much of a street. It was a short drive, but shops and restaurants lined it on both sides, with apartments above them. Fang parked the truck in a nearby parking lot and we walked down the street, looking for signs of familiar life.

"Really not much around here." Fang told me. "Thrift shops, a couple little restaurants, bookstores. I mean, they're nice hangout spots, but nothing interesting."

"I think it's interesting." I said. "I'm trying to get some insight on this 'new and improved' Fang. So...This Fang likes thrift shops?"

Fang rolled his eyes. "I don't like the way you said that. Look, there's this really cool antique/thrift shop place down the street a bit. Come on."

The store Fang brought me to was wall-to-wall...Stuff. There was absolutely no rhyme or reason to the place. It was like they'd dumped the contents of a couple people's closets and attics into the store, then shook it up a bit and left the stuff where it fell.

It was awesome.

At the front of the store, right in front of where the register was, they had a couple glass cases full of knives, swords, and other weapons, along with even more knives and such displayed on top. I even found a rack of sword canes nearby. Fang started his tour of the place there. Having spent a good chunk of our lives fighting to survive, weapons sort of had an extra appeal for us, though we both found that our tastes were a bit different. I was amazed by the more decorated pieces, like the curved throwing stars and the knife that was disguised as the top of an alligator's head until you pulled it out of its holder. Fang, on the other hand, was quick to point out the impractibility of these weapons and gravitated more to the long swords and less ornate knives.

From there, we moved back through the store, where the items became less and less organized as we went. Books, toys, knick-knacks, furniture, kitchen ware, and more. Signs and stickers, puppets and playdough. This place had it all and more. I swear I even saw a kitchen sink. The place even had three floors. Fang explained that each floor belonged to one of the three owners of the store. Each put their own things on their floor and colored price tags helped keep track of whose was whose. No wonder there was so much stuff here.

Fang and I explored for what seemed like hours. We'd pick up things to show each other, laugh at the more ridiculous, stare in awe over the amazing. At one point, I found a pair of those toy light sabers that light up and make noise when you swing them. I drew the green one and challenged Fang to a duel.

Fang was quick to grab the other, flicking the red extendable plastic out and taking it with both hands. "Fear the power of the dark side, Ig."

I swung my saber at him and he quickly blocked it with his own. "Funny." I said. "I always had you pegged as more the Han Solo type."

"Nah, Anakin's my guy." Fang said with a grin, swinging at me so quickly I almost didn't have time to block it. "Anyone that evil can't be all bad."

"That made no sense." I said, aiming a blow at his head that was easily parried.

The two of us continued our Jedi battle until we started to get nasty looks from one of the woman who worked there. Fang decided, after that, it might be best to move on to the next store.

So we ended up spending our day like that, going into little stores and shops, checking out everything that was there, being obnoxious to the point of being thrown out, and leaving. We hit up a thrift store with some of the ugliest clothes ever stitched, a gift shop run by Mrs. Scrooge herself, and a military supply store that had me making out my Christmas list in my head. We made it to the end of the strip to find ourselves at a small rotary surrounded by even more shops,

Fang gave my sleeve a tug. "Come on, there's an awesome little book store down here. We'll see how long it takes them to glare us out."

I followed him across the rotary to where a small book store stood between a deli and a Chinese restaurant. Inside, the place was a bright a cheery little store that was crawling from floor to ceiling with books.

We strolled through the place, checking every nook and cranny for entertainment. We went to the back, where the kid's books were kept and read the most ridiculous ones to each other as dramatically as possible. Then, we wandered downstairs to where they kept the religion books, plays, and historical fiction. We spent a good amount of time in the religion section, looking through a book on our horoscopes and seeing what was in ours and the rest of the Flock's futures. With what little clues the book gave us, we began to construct a future for ourselves that involved the apocolypse coming in the form of angry racoon armies wielding sporks and potato chips.

By the time we started heading back upstairs, we were laughing so hard, I thought my sides would split.

"And Jeb is totally leading the raccoon army." I told Fang as we walked up the stairs. "Can't you see Jeb leading an army of raccoons? Waving a spork in the air and spurting out fortune cookie wisdom?"

"He could use the Voice on them!" Fang said.

"Follow me, furry minions!" I said, trying to be The Voice. I pretended to wave my spork-scepter in the air. "Tonight we dine in...The dumpster behind Wendy's!"

Fang start to laugh so hard, he was leaning on my shoulder for support. And, of course, I have this complete inability to play it cool and began to get nervous. I couldn't take him in that close proximity. I tried to just laugh with him, but I had to fight back to urge to either shriek, run, or hold him all at once. My life was just getting more complicated by the second.


I was relieved of my duties of guarding Fang from my loony self for a moment by the sound of a female voice. I looked up to see a girl, just a little shorter than Fang, with short, spiky red hair standing in front of us, a couple books tucked into the crook of her arm. She cocked her head to the side and gave us a sly-looking grin.

"Fancy seeing you here, Fang. And with a friend, no less. Wow, socializing voluntarily, this must be new for you."

Fang, got control over his laughing fit just long enough to look up at this new girl, smile, and say two little words.

"Hey, Jacy."

Oh, crap.

Me: And we meet Jacy. Who, I'd like to add, is only loosly based on the Jacy in my NaNoWriMo story. They basically have the same nickname and physical appearance. That's it.

Fang: Why do I keep getting paired up with redheads?

Me: Fandom cliche, mostly. For me, it's just 'cause that particular OC is a redhead.

Fang: ...That question was slightly hypothetical.

Me: How can a question be slightly hypothetical?

Fang: ...I don't know, it just was.

Me: -sigh-


6. Chapter 6


Shocking, I know...




And... Fang is STILL asleep! Damn it...

It's 9:39 a.m. and he has yet to wake up, even though he conked out before I did last night. I just barely finished these two new chapters before I had to get some shut-eye.

Well, since his majesty is still sleeping, I'll tell you about... My Blog!

Started a blog on Blogger in which I review every book I read this summer. Why? Well, I decided I don't read enough anymore. Spend too much time surfing the net when I'm not at work or in school. Not enough time reading or (as I'm sure my faithful readers have noticed) writing.

So, my goals for the summer are read more, write more, and get my driver's license already!

The blog is my motivation for the first one.

So, if you want to read about what I'm reading, for some odd reason, encourage me in my summer goals, or you're just one of those crazed stalkers I've seemed to have picked up...Follow my blog!

Link to it under the 'Find Me On...' section of my profile under 'Blogger'.

...Yep, Fang's still sleeping. Guess I'm just start the chapter...

Iggy's POV

Sitting at a small, square table in a Chinese restaurant next to this girl was bad enough.

Watching Fang hang on her every word was just salt in my wounds.

Since we hadn't had lunch yet, Jacy had the wonderful idea of inviting Fang and I over for Chinese so she could catch up with Fang and get to know me better. Now, she and Fang were having this animated conversation about people and things I had no clue about. I just sat there and tried not to feel awkward.

"You should've seen Ms. Mayhill's face, Fang, it was priceless." Jacy said, going on about some teacher they had. I had tuned a lot of the conversation out, not being able to follow it, so the little I did pick up told me nothing. It only occurred to me halfway through that, if I wanted to learn about Fang's life here, I should probably listen up. "She couldn't believe what they'd done with that skit."

"You guys know what you'd like to order? Maybe start off with a drink?" Asked our waitress, finally deeming it safe to break into the conversation.

"Coke and a pot of tea would be great." Jacy answered, giving the waitress a warm smile.

"Mountain Dew would be awesome." Fang said.

"I'll have the same as him." I wasn't sure what else to say.

While the waitress went off to get our drinks, the three of us looked at our menus.

"Hey, uh, I'm guessing you've been here more than I have." I said to Fang. "What the heck do I order?"

Fang looked up at me, probably just remembering I was there. I could feel Jacy watching us and I got the urge to push her out of her chair. Then, Fang gave me a slow smile and, suddenly, I forgot she was in the same room.

Fang snatched the menu from me. "Hey, I've got an idea. You just sit there and manage your appetite, and I'll order."

I rolled my eyes. "What, I can't order my own food?"

Fang's smile never faltered. "Trust me."

Don't worry, I do.

"So... You're Iggy." Jacy said, dragging me out of my magic moment. "You used to be blind, right?"

Was I ever gonna hear the end of this question? "Yeah, but hey, modern medicine. It does wonders."

"That's awesome." She said, smiling. "So...You're, well... Like him?" She made flapping movements with her hands.

I shook my head. "Nothing like him. I actually know the difference between a toaster oven and a blender."

Jacy laughed as Fang rolled his eyes, never looking up from his menu. "And a sense of humor, too! You left that part out of the description, Fang."

Description? Fang had been... Talking about me? What did he say?

Oh, jeez, I'm obsessed.

Fang just shook his head, not looking up from the menu. Jacy rolled her eyes then let them settle back on me. "So, what brings you around here, anyway?"

I shrugged. "Just wanted to hang with an old friend, ya know?"

"MmHmm." She hummed, nodding. The waitress brought over our drinks and tea, interrupting the conversation for a moment. As soon as she left, Jacy started again. "So... Where's Fang got you sleeping? Knowing him, he stuck you in the barn. Barbarian." She laughed a bit at her joke.

I couldn't bring myself to even fake a laugh. I had a feeling I knew why she was asking me, and the idea made me want to gag all over her. "Actually, he has me in his room. Air matress."

"Oh, how civilized, Fang." She was lazily stirring the tea she had just poured around with her spoon. It occurred to me I hadn't seen her put anything in it to stir.

Fang shrugged. "Hey, I'm no hillbilly." He glanced at me over the menu and smiled.

Oh, God. We had an inside joke. I smiled back, nodding, butterflies threatening to come flying out of my stomach.

Jacy's eyebrow arched slightly, but she shook her head. "Whatever... By the way, Fang, can you still come over to my place Wednesday night? Need your help... Practicing..."

Practicing what? Sticking money in her thong while dancing at the same time?

Fang, still not looking up from the menu, just nodded.

Now I knew how Max felt about the 'red-haired wonder'. It seemed I had one of my own.

Just when I thought Fang's eating habits consisted of fried desert rat and dumpster diving, the kid surprised me again. He had ordered me sweet and sour chicken, beef and chicken teriyaki, pork fried rice, crab rangoon, broccoli, and a bowl of hot and sour soup.

"You need to order for me more often." I told him, digging into the fried rice. "Thanks."

Fang smiled. "Consider me your personal menu guide while you're here. I know the best food in every part of this town."

Jacy rolled her eyes. "He can even pick apart our McDonald's menu."

"They don't put enough pickles on their cheeseburgers."

"It's McDonald's."

They went back and forth for a while as I half listened-in. The other half of me was trying to figure out their relationship. I mean, despite what could be just barely considered flirting here or there, they just acted like a couple of good friends. Friends with benefits, huh? Could it really be so... Easy? Things must get complicated eventually, right? Sex was kind of a big deal. Heck, if it wasn't, maybe I would've tried it by now. Maybe.

"Oh, my gosh." Jacy's loud voice jogged me out of my thoughts. "Remember that time, after re-"

"Jace." Fang's tone made her name sound like a warning. Odd. What was she about to say?

Jacy's eyes narrowed. "Whatever, Fang." She dug into her lo mein violently, nearly bending her fork.

I looked at Fang, wanting to ask what was up, but he was going after his soup so murderously, I decided to let it drop... For now.

There was something fishy going on, and I intended to find out what.

Me: It took repeated taunting, throwing clothes at him, and threatening to bodyslam him into the mattress, but... Guess who's up!

Fang: Saint is the essence of evil. I was sleeping...

Me: It's 10:03 now, Fang.

Fang: -yawns- I was tired... And there was no need for you to toss your... Undergarments at me...

Me: But it's a pretty bra... With blue stripes!

Fang: -.- No one wanted to know that...

Me: :P

Fang: Just post the chapter. If I'm up, I'm gonna need breakfast...

R&R&...Give Fang breakfast?

7. Chapter 7

Me: The secret's out!

Fang: Yeah, we know, Arnold has a love child...

Me: -.- Not that secret...

Fang: ...Someone stole Spiffy secret lasagna recipe?

Me: No, in the fic!

Fang: Oh... Yeah, still tired.

Me: -eyeroll- Moving on...

Iggy's POV

There are some instincts that never die, no matter how long they go unused.

So when I woke up to two small, blurry eyes staring straight into my face, it only took me a couple of seconds to roll out of my bed and into a defensive position. Fight-or-flight mode.

A small giggle snapped me out of it. "Fang does that, too, sometimes. It's kinda funny."

I sighed. Meggy.

"Well, it's a little scary for me, kiddo." I told her, grabbing my glasses from on top of my backpack and putting them on.

"I just wanted to wake you up for breakfast. Fang said I probably should before ten." She handed me a digital watch that had been lying on Fang's desk. "See? It's already nine thirty-five."

I nodded, then looked towards Fang's empty bed. "Where is he, anyway?"


My head snapped back to the little girl. "Gone? What do you mean 'gone'?"

She shrugged. "I don't know." But something about the way she was looking at the ground, for once, instead of me told me she did.

"Meg..." I said. "I think you do..."

She shook her head. "I know nothing, I see nothing, I am nothing."

I raised an eyebrow. "Fang use that line when he needs a quick lie?"

Meggy nodded.

I sat down on my mattress in front of her, crossing my legs. "Alright, Meg, I need answers. And I think you're the girl to get them from. How much info can you give me on your brother's whereabouts?"

She rolled her eyes to look up at the ceiling for a moment, thinking. "Well...He took his truck..."

I nodded. "And?"

She rocked back on her heels. "I'm...Not supposed to tell you..."


"Fang asked me not to."

Now this was interesting. What was Fang up to that he didn't want me to know? A horrible thought crossed my mind. "Meg, is he going to visit one person in particular? Jacy, perhaps?"

Slowly, Meggy shook her head. "Nope, there's lots of people."

So, as long as it wasn't an orgy, I had nothing to fear. "Do you know where?"

She bit her bottom lip, shaking her head quickly. "Can't say...Nope."

I sighed. "Can you give me a clue?"

Meggy looked back up at the ceiling to think again. "Lots of people go there and they have apples and taxes."

...Huh? Government-owned orchard?

"Can I have another clue?" I asked her. "Please?"

"Well..." She spun around in a circle. "Oh! Shakespeare!"


She nodded. "And that's that! Good luck!" She skipped out of the room, humming some tune I was sure was featured on Barney.

People, apples, taxes, and Shakespeare. What did these four things have in common? I got dressed and wandered downstairs, rolling the words around in my head.

"Pancakes?" Mrs. Tucker offered as I entered the kitchen.

I smiled. "Sounds awesome."

"Too bad Fang decided to rush out this morning without you." She said, serving up four pancakes onto my plate. She handed me a bottle of maple syrup. Yeah, maple syrup. And not that fake pancake syrup, either. The real kind, from trees. I was beginning to like New England.

"Do you know where he went?" I asked her.

She shrugged. "Oh... I don't know..." She shot me a smile. Oh, yes she did.

"Not even an idea?" I asked her. "You'd think he'd let his mother know..."

She gave a dramatic sigh. "Teens these days... So secretive. And usually for the silliest of reasons."

"Do you think he has a silly reason?" I asked her.

She just winked at me.

I finished the food and brought my plate to the sink, thanking Mrs. Tucker. "I guess I'll just have to find something to do..."

"You could always fly into town." She suggested. "There's a great spot to land in the park by the school."

"Sounds like a plan." I said, heading for the door. "Just follow the road, right?"

She nodded, attacking the dirty dishes. "And remember, by the school."

"Yep." I took off from the driveway, climbing high into the sky.

"Land near the school..." I thought to myself.

Schools had people.

School teachers had apples.

Schools sucked up taxes.

Schools taught Shakespeare.

School... Might have Fang.

Fang's high school was, well, old. I was pretty sure Noah learned ark-building here. It was a large brick building covered in ivy. It stood three stories high and the parking sucked, with only one small parking lot and the rest on the street.

Lucky for me, though, it wasn't hard to spot Fang's truck parked on the side of the road. He had managed to park diagonally in a parallel parking spot. He'd better hope a cop doesn't come by.

I stood outside the building, at the bottom of the gray stone steps, staring up at the double doors nervously. Weren't schools closed during the summer? Why would Fang be here? Summer school?

But no, his mom said he got good grades earlier. So... Why?

I noticed his vehicle wasn't the only one here. There was a fair number of cars and trucks, even one motorcycle parked around the building. Something was going on in here.

Finally, I took a deep breath, gathered my courage, and marched up the steps and into the building.

The school seemed very empty. The only person I saw in the entry way was an older lady behind a secretary's desk in the front office as I passed, and she barely acknowledged my presence. I stepped into the first hallway, trying not to disturb the strange silence that echoed through it.

I passed a dark band practice room and a locked guidance office. Lonely stairwells and classrooms sat with doors ajar, waiting for the student's bustling return. I noticed pictures lined the walls on either side and I began to inspect them on my way through. They seemed to show highlights from previous years. Pep rallys, spirit weeks, shows, field trips, and games were all immortilized. I even picked Fang out of a couple; standing with his arms around friends at a pep rally, getting ready to run a relay for field day, he and Jacy at Homecoming...

Other items caught my interest as well. A trophy case showed that this small school was not lacking in talent. Nor in bravery, when I saw the wall dedicated to those former students serving in the military. Student artwork was placed strategically high on the walls as well, keeping it out of the easy reach of vandals.

Fang's school had made that first hall a showcase.

Finally, I tore myself away from all the high school nostalgia and turned into a second hall on the end. Here, I was met with two sets of double doors, spaced evenly apart, with a smaller door in the middle. One of the double doors was ajar, and through it, I could hear the sounds of people talking.

Cautiously, hoping to go unnoticed, I stepped through the door.

Inside, I was met with a huge auditorium lined with old, wooden fold-up seats. Down a set of stairs in front of me stood a huge stage sporting a red, velvety-looking curtain and a set of removeable stairs to one side. At either end of the auditorium they had a huge painting; one of George Washington and another of Abraham Lincoln.

And, down in front of the stage, there was a battle.

Two students were face-to-face, cardboard swords drawn. Their allies stood behind them, cheering each side on. The two enemies stared at each other menacingly. One looked bloodthirsty, out for the kill. The other gave off a sort of vain confidence, dodging the other's advances with ease, nearly laughing at each miss.

That fighter was Fang.

I watched, amazed, as the battle went on. Fang's moves and skill were proficient, but not enough for the other's blind rage. Eventually, the other boy sliced at Fang's arm, then delivered a final blow, sending his recyclable weapon right under Fang's arm.

I guess Fang had enough experience in almost dying that pretending to die was a piece of cake. If the swords hadn't looked so fake, I would've been in a panic by now, rushing to his side. Fang dropped to the ground, looking both stunned and pained, his one hand gripping where the sword had struck, the other hanging uselessly at his side. He looked up at the other boy, his eyes still filled with anger, yet begging for some sign of mercy. The boy gave him none. With gasps and cries from both sides, the boy dealt one final blow, sending Fang crashing face-first to the ground.

"Ok, CUT!" A voice yelled. I looked around and spotted a young woman sitting in a director's chair at another end of the auditorium.

"Fang, Michael, you guys are awesome, no worries." Fang was getting up at this point, shaking out his overlong hair and grinning. He gave the woman a thumbs-up.

"But the rest of you..." She continued. "COME ON, guys! Tybalt's men, Romeo is KILLING your friend, your leader, your relative. Can we have some emotion there? And Romeo's people, less gasping, more cheering. I know you guys should have some shock for what he's doing, but none of you like Tybalt. The only reason any of you are upset is because you don't want Romeo getting hung for murder."

"Yeah, guys." Fang had stood up and turned to the people behind the other boy, Michael. "I'm a dick. Laugh at my pain."

"Not a problem." Someone from the group replied.

Fang pointed his sword at him, grinning. "You asking for a fight, Vick?"

"Oh, death by papercut. I'm so scared." The group plus Fang began to laugh, Fang pretending to rush him with the sword, only to be blocked by Michael and thwacked over the head with the deadly piece of packing material.

"Alright, alright!" The woman called. "We haven't got all day! Let's move on!"

"Got it, Mayhill!" Fang called back, rolling his eyes.

She pointed a pen at him, smiling. "Remember, Fang, I own your soul."

"RENTING TO OWN, MAYHILL!" Fang yelled back. The others laughed at the obvious inside joke as they took their places on the floor.

I leaned up against a wall and spent my morning watching actors and actresses move about, piecing together the scenes of what I soon realized was a production of Romeo and Juliet. The group of actors I had seen earlier were only a few of the students that were here. Others were backstage or in other classrooms, going over lines and working on costumes and scenery, only popping out when they had a question or were needed for a scene.

The acting, itself, was amazing. The students at Fang's school had some real dramatic talent. Sure, there were some flubs here and there, but they were still fantastic. These guys and girls had me trying to contain laughter at one moment and trying not to cry the next. I was sucked into Verona, watching the Capulets and Montagues spill each other's blood.

And Fang was surprising. He played Tybalt, Juliet's fierce cousin who was constantly itching for a fight. He pulled off Tybalt's proud air perfectly, almost making me want to slap the smirk from his face.

Finally, Mayhill called for a lunch break and the students began to file for the doors. Realizing my predicament, I raced out of the auditorium and leaned against a wall next to the door, where I could hopefully go unnoticed, at least from Fang. I had decided, if Fang came out with a group of friends, I'd leave him alone and sneak away. No use intruding.

But then, Fang exited alone, looking intently at something on his phone. Now I had a choice. Let Fang keep his secret, or let him know that I'd discovered it. I had no idea how he'd react. What if he were pissed off? I didn't think I could deal with that.

But... Why would he keep this a secret from me? Curiosity wanted me to bug him for answers.

I stood frozen to my spot, indecision blocking my way. I watched, shadowed behind the auditorium door as Fang waved to a couple friends and moved from checking his phone to going over a script he was carrying.

I couldn't do it. I couldn't deal with it if I made him angry. All I could do was hope he'd leave soon so I could get out. I began to silently curse my own curiosity.

Finally, Fang folded up the script, sticking it into his backpack. Then, he leaned against a locker and sighed. "I know you're there, Ig."

Shit. Shit shit shit. I sheepishly stepped out from behind the door. "Uhh...No you don't. It's a mirage..."

Fang's dark eyes locked with mine. "What are you doing here?" His tone was flat. This was old Fang; emotionless and deadly.

"I...Got curious. Couldn't help it." I rocked back on my heels, praying he wouldn't kill me or, worse, toss me out.

Fang opened his mouth to say more, but I couldn't keep silent. I had to save myself. "You're really good, you know."

Fang's mouth snapped shut, an eyebrow raised.

"You make a great Tybalt." I continued. "We read the play at my school for English class. Honestly, it was really boring there, but you guys make it interesting."

"That's because plays are meant to be acted, not read." Fang said. His voice was still deadly, but his expression had softened ever so slightly. "You think we're pretty good?"

I nodded. "You're awesome. You can really suck a crowd in with a performance like that. Jeez, if it wasn't for the cardboard swords, I would've thought you were dead."

Fang slowly smiled. "Good thing we didn't get the more realistic-looking ones until next week then." Fang jerked his head to the side, motioning for me to follow. "Come on, we'll go get lunch."

As we walked down the hall, Fang looked up at the ceiling, taking a deep breath. "So...You don't think that it's... Stupid?"

I smiled. "What? The acting thing? No way, it's cool. Is... That why you were keeping it a secret?"

Fang shrugged, not looking at me. "I...Suppose..."

"Well, I think it's awesome." I told him, giving him a reassuring nudge. "So...Can I come back and watch a bit more?"

Finally, Fang looked at me, all of that deadly anger drained from his face and voice. "After lunch, Ig. We'e going to kill off R and J next."

Me: In case someone out there thinks it, I'm not trying to support any 'gay guys do theatre' stereotypes. I just... Like theatre. So Fang got stuck in it. My story, I do what I want.

Fang: At least I get the epic death on stage scene.

Me: Of course, Tybalt. :D Also, any resemblance Fang's school has to any other school on the planet is purely coincidental. ...Unless you went to my old high school, then I completely copied it.

Fang: -eyeroll-

Me: Let's see... Anything else... Oh yes, don't worry, I'll be explaining the whole 'summer theatre' thing and a lot more. It'll all make sense!

Fang: You don't even know what to talk about anymore. Just post the chapter.

Me: You just want breakfast.

Fang: Yep. :D

Me: -sigh-

R&R&... Maple Syrup!

Fang: ...Maple Syrup?

Me: Leave me alone...

8. Chapter 8

Yes, I know, my updates are slow. Been over it a bunch of times on a bunch of different fics. if you'd like to, you may bring any complaints to my Comments and Suggestions Manager, Thor.

Thor: -holds hammer menacingly- -grunts-

Fang: When'd we hire him?

Me: Just now.

Fang: First, you hire Aragorn as a bodyguard. Then, Leonidas as a... God knows what, he's just always around. Now Thor?

Me: I got a thing for big, burly, medival-ish guys. Leave me be.

Fang: ...King Leo isn't 'medival-ish'.

Me: Ok, I have no idea why he's here, but it explains the other two.

Fang: Moving on...

Me: Quick note: Strawberry is Meggy's horse, in case that isn't clear.

Iggy's POV

"At my school, we don't do Honors Theatre. At my school, we're lucky if five kids join theatre."

"Sounds depressing." Fang grinned at me before slurping down the last bit of his slushie. We had gone to a nearby pizza joint and chowed down while Fang explained his 'summer hobby' to me between bites. Turned out joining Honors Theatre around here meant spending some of your summer enacting Shakespeare plays.

Now we were walking through the auditorium doors, Fang explaining what was coming up next in the rehearsal.

"Fang! Fang Tucker, get your butt down here or your soul is forfeit! You're late!" The teacher, Ms. Mayhill called up from her chair.

"Two minutes, Mayhilll! And is it ok if my friend stays and watches?" Fang replied, throwing his bag into a chair.

"Fine, whatever, just hurry down! I need you to go backstage with Bianca and find out what's up with that back curtain."

"I'm on it." Fang called back, pulling the script out of his bag.

"Hey, quick question." I said. "What's with this 'owning your soul' thing?"

Fang rolled his eyes, smiling. "Oh, funny story. The week before a play, we have what's called Tech. Week or 'Hell Week' where we spend, like, our entire day here all week, going over scenes and getting things really set up. Since we're here so long, we usually get parents to bring in food for us to have for dinner. Well, during my first ever Hell Week, the people from Act Two and some techies ate all the food while the Act One people, like me, were on stage."

"Techies?" I asked.

"Backstage people." Fang replied. "Anyway, I was, of course, one of the most starved people there. Mayhill wasn't going to get more food, but I begged her, making all the deals I could think of. I finally offered to lease my soul out to her until graduation. She bought it. Seriously, we have a contract hanging in a frame in her office. Anyway, she ordered pizza and I became her Theatre Slave. She has my cell number and calls whenever she needs a hand. It's kinda cool, actually. I've been pulled out of class to do tech stuff, gotten to co-direct plays, and during Macbeth, when we didn't have enough people to play all the parts, she called me in, changed the lead witch to a warlock, and stuck me in the part."

"Cool." I tried to imagine Fang as a witch... Heh...

Fang grinned for the second time, erasing my thoughts. "Very."

"Come on, Fang, we're waiting on ya." Jacy walked past us, motioning for Fang to follow. Then, she pointed to the middle row of seats. "Since Fang finally let you join us, best view's from there, Ig."

So the friend with benefits was here, too? Lovely...

"Thanks." I called after Jacy, but she was already almost to the stage. Fang had sped up to catch up with her. He jumped to her side, sharing some quick joke with her, out of earshot for me, that they both laughed at. She gave him a good-natured shove, sending him on his way. He rolled his eyes, but waved as he walked away.

I never got a wave. Jacy got a wave.

Seems like Jacy just has everything.

We arrived home later that night to something I hadn't seen since Angel was four years old back at the E-House.

A temper-tantrum.

I couldn't even tell you what Meggy was screaming. I couldn't make out the words. I was just a lot of crying, screaming, and that sound like she's trying to catch her breath and sob at the same time.

Jackie Don had a newspaper over his head, in a futile attempt to drown out the noise. Fang's mom was attempting to put the little girl in time out, but she didn't seem too keen on staying put, rolling out of the chair and onto the floor, where she pounded her little fists and kicked.

The minute she spotted Fang, she flew off the floor and attached herself to his leg, sobbing out what sounded like a foreign language.

Fang bent down to her level, pushing her hair out of her now-red face. "Meggy, hun, I'd be glad to hear about what's wrong, but I can't understand a word you're saying right now. How about you go sit and calm down while I put my things away, then we can talk. Ok?"

The little girl nodded slowly, still letting out choked sobs and headed back to her chair, where she curled up, head on her knees, and whimpered.

I saw Fang's mom mouth the words 'Thank God' after Fang had gotten Meggy into her chair. Fang went about putting his things away, seeming to drag it out a bit, probably to give Meggy time to chill. I sat down next to Jackie Don, who silently handed me the comics section of the newspaper.

"She listens to him." Jackie Don commented, not looking up from his paper. "Screams at me, screams at her mother, but Fang? Very rarely does Fang have a problem with her."

"He used to kind of help Max raise the younger kids back when we were on our own." I told him.

"And what did you do?" He asked.

I grinned. "I spent my time acting like one of the younger kids."

"Ready to talk, kiddo?" Fang asked Meggy, sitting down in a chair next to her.

I watched them over the corner of the comics page. "I wanted to take Strawberry and Charon some apple slices, but mom said no. But we always take them apples, so it's not fair."

"You wanted to take them apple slices by yourself?" Fang asked her.

"Yeah. But I know how to feed them!"

"Meg, you're not allowed in the barn by yourself."

The crossed her arms tight around her chest. "It's not fair."

"How is it not fair?" Fang asked her.

"Everyone else can go in the barn alone. But I can't."

"Meggy..." Fang paused for a moment. "You remember that time I cut my arm when I tripped on that pitchfork?"

She nodded.

"And the time Charon got out and knocked dad over?"

Another nod.

"Or when Strawberry stepped on my foot? Or when Dad found the fox hanging out in the hay loft?"

Vigorous nodding.

"What if any of those things happened to you? You could get really hurt, Meg." Fang said. "We're all bigger, we can handle these kinds of things better. But you could get trampled or cut or worse."

Meggy nodded again.

"You understand?"

"Yeah..." She didn't sound to happy about it.

"Look, tomorrow morning we'll go out to the barn together and gives those to a real treat. Sound like a plan?"

Meggy nodded. "Can we bring carrots, too?"

"Sure. And hey, try not to give mom such a hard time, ok?"


"Meggy." Fang's mom said. "If you guys are done, it's time to get ready for bed."

Meggy looked ready to protest, but Fang shot her a look and she went off quietly.

A short time later, we were up in Fang's room, and I was still amazed on how he handled his little sister.

"You're pretty good with kids, you know that?" I asked him.

He shrugged. "With Meggy, at least. She doesn't freak out like that often, but when she does... It's a mess."

"Well, you did a great job with her."


As we got ready for bed, I kept having these visions of Fang pushing a little kid on a swing, or taking them riding, or he and I taking the kid for a walk, each of us holding one of his little hands... I was imagining them looking like us until I realized, 'Oh, heh, we can't exactly... Have kids like that.' Then, I started to imagine us with this group of adopted children, each of them totally different in looks, but each totally ours. We could adopt children, give them homes.

I was lying in bed, imagining my future children and giving them names when a pillow hit me in the face.

"Hey!" I whisper-yelled.

"I've been trying to get your attention." Fang said. "I was wondering... How would you like to be part of one of my... Wild parties?"

"What are you talking about?" I asked warily.

"My parents are leaving for the weekend, taking Meggy with them." He said. "Going to visit an aunt. Told me we could stay here, since, well, you do NOT want to visit my Aunt Tina. Trust me. She has, like, 300 cats."

"And you're going to throw a party?"

"Just a little one. Invite some of the people from the play..."

"Get drunk, break the law, act like an idiot." I added.

"It's a party."

Under normal circumstances, I would try and talk my friend out of this. Under normal circumstances, I would refuse to attend. Under normal circumstances, I would be lecturing him on bad decisions and drunken mistakes.

But this wasn't normal circumstances. This was Fang.

"Oh, fine. Just don't let anything stupid happen, ok?"

"I'll keep you safe, Ig, don't worry."

Oh, great, now my heart stopped.

"Heh, got it."

Me: Skittles, my mind-twinny, was thinking of this fic as I was working on it... Freaky...

Fang: I'm throwing a party!

Me: Not really.

Fang: Dream-killer. -.-


R&R&Who wants to visit Aunt Tina?

P.S. If you're boredomsucks101's sister, yes, I did leave the comment. :D

9. Chapter 9

I am suffering from some of the WORST writer's block lately...

Fang: And all you do is complain to me about it.

Me: I'm serious! I just sit here and stare at the blank screen... -headdesk- So -headdesk- Frustrating!

Fang: Well, at least you got this one chapter out.

Me: -headdesk- -headdesk- -headdesk-

Fang: ...Let's just read it...

Iggy's POV

Sure, Fang.

Let's have a party, Fang!

I'm fine with that, Fang.

Whatever you say, Fang.

What the Hell is wrong with me?

This whole party idea had been awesome so far. Invite some theatre people over, mess around, eat some food, watch Fang and his friends drink, they go home, I help Fang to bed... Yeah...

Yeah, it occurred to me that Jacy would probably be invited, but I tried to let it go. Like, he wasn't gonna run off with her and leave me alone at the party.


What I didn't bank on was that she might be asked to help plan the party.

"Trust me, supplies won't be a problem." Jacy was telling Fang. I did not want to know what these 'supplies' were. "It's what I've got an older brother for."

I wanted to say something, anything to get my input in, but, for the fifth time that day, Strawberry decided to turn around and start picking the leaves of trees for a snack.

"Pull her away, Ig!" Fang called to me.

"I'm trying!" I said, tugging at the horse's reins. Not that it did anything. Strawberry was a fat little horse, and now I knew why.

Fang turned around, pulling Charon up next to me and taking the reins, pulling Strawberry's head out of the branches. He led her to the middle of the path, away from the trees. Not that she'd stay there long.

"I think you need the alignment checked on this thing." I told him. "It keeps drifting towards anything green and leafy."

Fang grinned at me and my body suddenly lit up like a torch. God, I hoped I wasn't blushing. "You know how much an alignment costs, man? Just keep her in the right general direction."

"You don't think I've been trying?" I asked, but he was already riding off ahead of me. Jacy began to talk again and I fell back a bit, trying to get the hang of this riding thing.

Obviously, Fang and Jacy planned a lot of parties together. The whole thing seemed very commonplace to the two of them. They were talking about who to invite, what to bring, where to get things from, using names and words I'd never heard before.

Discussing different types of drinks...

A little knot of worry had started to form in the pit of my stomach. This was a bad idea. All of Fang's parties were bad ideas. This isn't right. It isn't good. It isn't Fang. At least, it shouldn't be. Sure, I liked him happier, more friendly, but this? This was... Heck, it was illegal!

And I was going along with it.

Now that we were on this roll, I didn't know how to stop it. What was I supposed to do? I couldn't suddenly change my mind, Fang would probably think I was a loser or something. But I didn't want this. And, even more, I didn't want Fang in this.

"Iggy? You ok, man?"

"I'm not getting up." I told Fang from the ground. I had gotten off of Strawberry and promptly fallen to the dirt, my legs hurting in places I didn't know they could hurt.

"I remember when I first went riding." Jacy said, hopping off of her horse with ease. "I hurt for days."

"It takes some getting used to." Fang had jumped off Charon and walked over to me. He bent down, holding out his hand. "Need a lift?"

"I'm not sure if I can stand." I told him, but I took his hand anyway.

Fang grinned at me. "Then I guess I'll have to carry you."

Oh, yeah. I'm definitely blushing now. I can't even talk. I'm just giggling stupidly.

And then, before I could fire up enough brain cells to speak, I was in his arms, being carried to the house. Just like that.

I'm dead. I'm just... Dead. My heart, my brain, my very being can't handle this.

...Alright, I lied. It can. It's enjoying every minute of this.

Fang dropped me on the couch inside and grabbed me a couple ice packs for my legs. Jacy followed us inside and sat down on the couch to watch.

"You didn't carry me in when my legs hurt on our last ride." Jacy said, mock hurt in her voice.

Yeah, take that, bitch.

"You would've punched me." Fang replied. "Iggy's appreciative."

Fang grabbed us some lemonade as Jacy flipped the TV on. Obviously, the party talk was over for a bit.

Thank God.

Fang walked off into the kitchen and came back with his hair soaking wet. He gave it a shake, getting us both wet.

I laughed. "Bad dog!"

"Down, boy!" Jacy added.

"It was a hot ride." Fang said, shrugging.

Then, just like that, his shirt came off.

Oh my God...

I am not checking Fang out.

I am NOT checking Fang out.

I am... Ok, how can I not check that out?

Jacy let out a whistle and Fang threw his shirt at her, laughing. "Oh, shut up. It's hot in here. Plus, the wings needed a stretch." He gave them a short flap, sending a blessed cool breeze my way.

"Do you always give strip teases on hot days?" Dear Lord, I did not just say that. I can't say that. Where the heck did I get the guts to say that?

Fang grinned my way and winked. "Only to the right audience."

This man will be the death of me. I'll die happy, but still, I should sue him. Cover my funeral costs.

In an attempt to make it look like I wasn't checking Fang out, and to calm myself down, I glanced over at Jacy for a moment, only to find her looking straight at me. I quickly looked at the TV.

It's not like she saw me checking Fang out. Or blushing. She can't prove it. The thought probably wouldn't cross her mind, anyway.


Me: Ok, I'm on a roll now. I'm not posting this chapter until I can finish at least two more chapters of something. I can do this. I WILL do this. I AM AUTHORESS, HEAR ME RAWR!

Fang: Don't forget, NaNoWriMo is coming.


Fang: And you have homework.

Me: I CAN- ...Really?

Fang: Yeah.

Me: Shit.


P.S. I was going to describe shirtless Fang, but... My brain died.

Fang: -facepalm-

10. Chapter 10


Fang: Took you long enough.

Me: Hey, I'm making progress. Soon, I'll have a chapter for each one of my active fics done and I can post this for all to read!

Fang: So... What do we put in the author's note?

Me: ...I don't know.

Fang: Well, this is awkward.

Me: Not as awkward as you drunk!

Fang: ...-facepalm-

Iggy's POV

The whole day had been pretty quiet. Fang's parents and sister left early in the morning to go visit Fang's grandparents for the weekend. Fang claimed he had theatre stuff and couldn't leave.

'Theatre stuff' alright...

Not an hour after Fang's parents were gone, Jacy was over, bringing along all the 'supplies' she'd been able to collect. The... Controlled substances came in first, and quickly. There were two kegs and an assortment of bottles that were loaded into the fridge. This was followed by nacho chips, cheese, salsa, sour cream, soda (you mean there was more than just alcohol?), and, at Jacy's insistence, a boatload of M&M's.

"It's not a party without M&M's." She claimed. Fang just rolled his eyes.

From there, I was dragged out to pick up hot dogs and hamburg for hamburgers. All the while, Fang and Jacy laughed and chatted, having the time of their lives, while I silently walked behind them, feeling the knot in my stomach tighten with each step.

By the time we got home, I was resisting the urge to throw up from nerves. But, just when I thought Fang had forgotten I existed, he made me an offer I couldn't possibly refuse.

"Hey, Ig? Jacy and I have to get this place party-ready, so... You still like to cook, right?" Fang asked me, putting the groceries on the counter.

I looked up from where I had been staring at the floor. "Yeah, of course!" It'd been a while since I'd been let near an oven or a stove, not since I'd left my place to visit the Flock. I was itching to do some cooking.

"Ah, yes, the great cook." Jacy said, smiling in my direction.

A smile that was soon diminished by the warm glow of a grin from Fang. "An amazing cook, Jacy. He's sure kept me alive with his skills more than once." He handed me the hamburg and hotdogs. "I know it's not that exciting, but would you be willing to make up the hamburgers and stuff for us?"

"Sure, no prob." I said, taking the supplies from his hands. As I took hold of the packages, our hands gently brushed together. A jolt went down my arm and through my stomach, making my spine tingle. It was the first pleasant feeling my body had felt all day.

So there I was, happily cooking over a stove, enjoying the tingling, floating sensation going through all my limbs.

It wasn't until I was halfway done with the hamburgers, and the tingling sensations finally wore off that I remembered exactly what I was making this food for.

I felt my stomach drop to the floor.

I couldn't go through with this madness, it was insane! Having a party like this could only spell trouble. I had to wonder why Fang wanted to do this. I knew he had changed a bit, but this just seemed... Totally out of character, even now. Fang had a newly-developed sense of fun and excitement, but this was just recklessness. Stupidity, even. What was he thinking?

Was he thinking?

As I finished up the rest of the food, I tried to think of ways to get the party cancelled. Poisoning the food to make everyone sick seemed a little extreme and risky. I didn't know how to dump all the alcohol out without getting caught. I doubted I could successfully pretend to have a contagious tropical disease. And blowing the place up would just be stupid.

I could always just tell him I'm gay and see if that would shock him into reality.

The minute that last thought crossed my mind, I froze.

Did I really just think that? Am I... Gay?

Oh, Hell, who am I kidding? I'm mooning over Fang like a lovesick puppy. I'm at least bisexual.

..Why didn't I think about this before?

...Do I need to change my orientation on my Facebook account?

I made myself turn my focus back to the current problem at hand. How to I stop this crazy party idea?

I had a load of crazy schemes swimming through my head, but I knew none of them would really work. Sure, I could stop this party, but what about the ones in the future? I didn't know why Fang was going down this road, but I needed to find out and maybe get him to stop.

I was just going to have to straight-out ask him.

I had to step away from the food for a minute. The nerves in my stomach made me feel like seriously throwing up.

I closed my eyes, taking a couple deep breaths to calm myself before finishing up what was left of the food. I would just talk to him. Fang was one of my oldest friends. He respected me. He'd at least listen. If I approached this calmly, even if he didn't agree he might at least not get mad at me or anything. Maybe even stop this party, at least. I could talk to him, I could do this.

Just as I was turning to go find Fang, a sound chimed through the house, followed by voices at the front door.

The doorbell.

I was too late. The party-goers were already here.

I was seriously wishing I could be blind again. And deaf, too.

Someone had brought in a strobe light and it was making me feel like my head was going to explode. That, combinded with the metal music blaring over some unseen speakers just put me over the edge. I pushed and shoved my way to the door and let myself outside into the cool night air.

Only to have to quickly move away from the doorway so as not to disturb the couple that was practically having sex right next to it.

The party was a disaster from the beginning. It started out with a bang as about fifteen people all showed up at once. Within ten minutes I'd lost Fang and Jacy and spent an hour wading through unfamiliar faces, trying to find them. More people showed up, more people than I thought Fang knew, more people than I thought went to Fang's school. At least, it seemed like that. After a while, I just gave up and tried my best to melt into the corner as I watched the alcohol supplies slowly disappear down people's throats.

As I stood out by the barn, trying to clear my head, all I could think about was Fang, but this time, it wasn't all the nice feelings I'd been having before.

Why the heck was he doing this? Did he really think this was a good idea? And hey, what part of ditching your friend at a party with a load of complete strangers seemed ok to him here? Did he know where I was? Did he care? Or was he too drunk to remember who his friends were?

I kicked open the door to the barn, just wanting to distance myself from that party as much as possible. Fang was probably making out with his friend with benefits up in his room right now. I should never have come here. I should've known. How could I be so stupid?

Upset as I was, I hadn't noticed what stall I had wandered close to until a soft nose gently butted my arm. Startled, I jumped around to come face-to-face with Charon.

I froze.

The huge horse breathed into my face, snorting slightly, but not as threateningly as he had sounded when I first met him. For the longest moment, he just stared at me, head hanging over the stall door. Then he turned, nickering softly, to face his empty food bucket that hung from the wall.

"Oh, yeah. Guess your owner forgot to feed you in his mission to get wasted." I said. I looked around the barn, finally spotting a bag of feed off in a corner. I used a scoop I found sitting next to it and added a couple scoopfulls to Charon's bucket. He began munching immediately. I went on to feed the other couple horses in the barn, who were equally out of food, checking their water supplies as well.

I couldn't believe this whole situation, it was so ridiculous. It just blew my mind that Fang was involved in all this partying. I just wanted to go home. I didn't even want to see Fang's face at this point.

I found a horse blanket hanging on the wall and took it down, figuring it would be better than nothing. Sleeping in the barn was the only option I could see. I doubted I was going to get any sleep in that house tonight.

That's when I heard the sound of shattering glass.

I raced out of the barn, needing to make sure, for some moral reason, that nobody was hurt. I immediately saw a group of people crowded around one car. I raced toward the crowd and pushed through, trying to hold my breath against the smell of alcohol that surrounded everyone in the group.

Then I saw Fang, lying on the broken windshield of someone's car, trying to pull himself up.

"Did I tell you to get up?" A burly football-player type asked. He tossed a beer bottle at Fang, hitting him on the shoulder. "That's what you get for telling me what to do."

"'S my house..." Fang said, speech slightly slurred. "My rules, right?" He pulled himself onto the hood of the car, grabbing the beer bottle and tossing it back, hitting football jock in the leg.

"Fuck you, man, I don't play by no one's rules." He grabbed the bottle and clocked Fang on the side of the head with it. "By the way, I expect you to fix my car."

He moved to hit Fang again, but found that someone had grabbed the other end of the beer bottle and pried it out of his sausage-like hands. "Stop throwing people into it and your car won't need fixing." I told him, tossing the bottle away. "Now how about you head for home?"

"Now you're gonna tell me what to do?" He asked. He pulled himself up to his full height and looked surprised to find that I still stood a couple inches above him. His surprise quickly turned to anger. "Step aside, nerd. The theatre geek and I got business."

"I think your business is settled for the night." I told him. "Now get out of here before I blow you and your precious junk heap to bits." I said, gesturing to his car.

The guy laughed in my face, blowing the smell of beer and nacho cheese straight into my face. "Blow it to bits, huh?"

"Yeah." I said, reaching into my back pocket. "Blow it to bits." I held out my hand, showing off my newest project. I hadn't given up my love of bomb-making. In fact, I loved it now more than ever since I could actually see the explosions. This new baby was the epitome of portability. Small enough to fit in my back pocket with a large enough explosion to take out a couple cars. I hadn't tested this particular model out yet, but thought the jock's car might be a good place to start.

He looked at my creation, slightly bewildered. "What's that?"

"Bomb." Fang said from where he still sat on the ground. "Iggy, he... He makes bombs."

I nodded. "Care to see what this baby can do to your little vehicle?"

He paused, looking from me to Fang as if to figure out if we were bluffing or not, but before he could answer, yelling was heard from near the front door and everyone's attention shifted that way.

"Clark! God, what the Hell did you do this time?" A second guy had come running out of the house. He looked creepily like the jock in front of me, except with slightly longer hair.

"Dad is going to kill you!" The second guy said. "Look what you did to the car!"

"Well he-" Clark started to say, pointing at Fang, but his sibling cut him off.

"I don't care what he did! Oh my God, Clark! And I've gotta figure out how to drive that home?" He grabbed his sibling by the arm. "Sorry, dudes." He said, nodding in mine and Fang's direction. "I'll just take this neanderthal home."

"It's alright." I told him. Now my attention had turned to the rest of the crowd, who were still watching the scene warily (and drunkenly).

"Look, guys, shows over!" I called out over the crowd. "And I don't think it would be a bad idea if the party got moved elsewhere, too. I've seen enough crap for one night!"

I heard some minor protests ripple through the crowd, but for the most part, people seemed to get the picture and began to file off towards their cars.

I turned back to Fang, who barely seemed aware of the commotion going on around him. "Come on, Fang, time to go in." I told him, grabbing him by the arm.

He grabbed onto my arm with both of his and allowed me to pull him up. I let him lean on me as I led him back towards the house.

"'S my party over?" Fang asked, glancing at the vehicles that were pulling away.

"Yeah, it's over, thank God." I told him, waiting for a couple guys with a boom box to push their way out the back door. Some thoughtful guy held the door open for Fang and I to walk in.

"Alright." Fang answered. "Was it a good party?"

I rolled my eyes. "You tell me. Oh, wait, you can't. You're fucking drunk. And I spent most of it wedged in a corner or hiding out in the barn so I'll guess you'll have to ask one of your friends who came, if any of those people who came are actually your friends."

I was sure that Fang wasn't understanding half of what I was saying, so I was surprised when he responded. "A lot of Jacy's friends come... And people... Bring people. I jus' try to fit in and... Stuff..."

I stopped at the bottom of the stairs, noticing someone curled up, sleeping on the couch. I almost went to wake the sleeping partier until I saw the bright red hair peeking out from under the pillow. Jacy.

I looked back at Fang, who looked like he didn't know which end was up, then up the stairs to where his room was and sighed. There was only one option I could think of.

Just as Fang had done the other day, I picked him up into my arms and began to carry him up the stairs.

"So, just trying to fit in?" I asked him.

Fang just nodded, looking around him, seeming bewildered by how everything was moving while he was standing still.

We got to the top of the stairs, but I kept him in my arms, figuring it'd be easier than trying to put him down and make him walk the short distance. "Is all this crap worth fitting in, Fang?" I asked him, kicking his bedroom door open. "Is being so drunk that I have to freaking carry you worth it?"

Fang managed the best shrug he could with the way I was holding him. "Don't really have anyone else 'round here. No Flock. Gotta... Have some people..."

I had been ready to berate him more, but my words caught in my throat. I guess the idea of Fang feeling... Alone had never entered my mind. Fang had always been the loner type when he was with the Flock, but... He'd always had the Flock for when he needed the back-up. Here, sure, he had his family, but not at school. Not in that place where social status was everything and peer pressure was the name of the game.

It was beginning to dawn on me why Fang had changed so much. It was a survival technique. He had to change to make it without the Flock to back him up. Some of the change was good; his personality and sense of humor being so much more prominent. But some of it, like this reckless behavior... That needed to stop.

At least now I understood.

I lowered Fang into his bed, then pulled him into a sitting position so I could get his jacket off. The shirt he was wearing wasn't one with any slits in the back, so I had to take that off, too, knowing how uncomfortable it could be at times to try to sleep with your wings trapped up against your back.

Fang, I then found out, was a very cuddly drunk. He had just inched closer and closer to me as I tried to help him remove his extra articles of clothing and, as soon as he was shirtless, he wrapped an arm around one of mine and nuzzled his face into my chest.

And there before me was the perfect picture of temptation.

I could understand how easy it must have been for Jacy and Fang to end up in bed together with how close Fang insisted on getting. And I could tell, by the way he was acting, he would put up no resistance to... Anything that anyone might try on him. I could make his little one-night-stand with Jacy seem like nothing if I wanted.

A small stab of fear suddenly shot down my spine as it occurred to me how lucky Fang had been. As I had discovered, when Fang was this drunk, he put up no resistance. What if someone else had tried something on Fang? Something more... Damaging?

Even the mildest thoughts of fulfilling any of my secret fantasies drifted off at that moment. I could never take advantage of anyone like that, especially Fang. If Fang needed anything from me, it was help to change this partying habit of his.

Wanting to move so I could head to bed myself, I tried to pry my arm free from Fang's grasp, but he was having none of it. He clung to me tighter, mumbling something unintelligible. I sighed, too tired to fight with him over my arm. Not having much else for options, I slowly lowered myself into Fang's bed, bringing him along with me. I figured I could pry myself free once Fang was asleep.

The minute I was lying down on that bed, Fang practically crawled on top of me, nestling his head into my chest. One of his dark wings came to drape over us both.

I sighed, bringing my hand up to stroke Fang's hair. It was going to be a long night.

But I can't say that I completely minded.


Fang: How is that 'awwww'?

Me: 'Cause it's so true! You drunk = Annoyingly flirtatious. You drunk + tired = Cuddle bug.

Fang: Do you really need to tell people about this?

Me: No, but I will anyway.

Fang: I could start telling them secrets about you...

Me: You could also drink hemlock, which you will if you tell people my secrets.

Fang: Hemlock?

Me: It's lethal. Look up the Trial of Socrates.

Fang: I'll just take your word for it...

Anyway... R&R?

11. Chapter 11

Me: I feel like part of this fic is slowly turning into a public service announcement against teenage drinking.

Fang: Everybody drink responsibly!

Me: And, to your delight, dear readers, the other half is becoming a Figgy extravaganza.

Fang: ...-grabs beer-

Me: Put that down, you're making a horrible example.

Fang: After this chapter, I may need it.

Iggy's POV

I've been woken up in a lot of odd ways in my life. From explosions to talking dogs, I've had more than my share of awkward mornings.

But never by someone else's hangover.

I was awakened by the feeling of something attempting to burrow itself into my chest. My eyes opened slowly, blinking against the sun's rays that were streaming through the bedroom windows. It took me a moment to orient myself, remembering the party from last night, then having to bring a drunken Fang to bed. I realized that I must've fallen asleep next to Fang rather quickly after that.

Seeing Fang's head squished into my chest helped draw out that conclusion.

I tried to gently move him, but he let out a low moan, an odd sound to hear coming out of Fang. He grasped my shirt in an effort to get me to stay put.

What horrible things hangovers must be, to reduce someone like Fang to this state.

Despite his meek protests, I pushed Fang off of me, giving him a pillow to bury his aching head in instead. I made a quick trip to the bathroom, grabbing a glass of water and a couple aspirin on the way. I thought about checking on Jacy, but figured she could take care of herself, and went back to Fang's room, pulling the trash can closer to his bed, just in case.

I sat back down next to Fang on the bed. "Hey, you, wake up."


"Fang? Dude, rise and shine."

He gripped his pillow a little tighter, but ignored me.

"Hey! Otis the drunk! I'm talking to YOU!"

Fang groaned, turning his head so one eye could look up at me. "Could you please not yell, Ig?" He asked, voice slightly muffled from the pillow. "You're making my skull vibrate."

"Well, you'll stop drinking so much then, won't you?" I asked, holding out the glass of water and pills. "Take these, it'll help."

Fang sighed, but slowly pulled himself into a sitting position, keeping his eyes closed against the bright light of the sun. I handed him the pills and water and he took them quickly, downing pills and water in one gulp. He put the glass on a bedside table, then bent his head down to rest his forehead in his hands. "Man, this sucks."

"So why do it?" I asked him. "Wait, don't tell me. So you can fit in and have a load of friends to surround you in place of your broken-up Flock?"

He picked his head up, finally opening his eyes to give me one of those emotionless stares that was so Fang, the old Fang.

I smiled back. "You're a very talkative, honest drunk." I told him.

Fang sighed again, placing his forehead back in his hands. "Think what you want, Ig. It just... It wasn't all that easy for me, being without you guys."

"It wasn't easy for any of us, Fang." I told him. "And we all handled it in different ways. But you've got no reason to handle your life like this. You've got people who will accept you, the theatre people. I think a lot of them are real friends, not the type you've got to throw an illegal party for to impress them. If you keep this up, Fang, something really bad is gonna happen one of these days, something worse than becoming someone's booty call or getting thrown into a windshield."

"I got thrown into a- ...Oh, yeah, I did, didn't I?" Fang asked.

"How much of last night do you actually remember?" I asked him back.

Fang shrugged. "Bits and pieces. You... You had a bomb..."

"Yeah, I did. Does that surprise you?"

"Not really... Just... You brought me to bed, too." Fang said, memories slowly flowing back to him. "And... Kinda saved my butt."

"Totally saved your butt." I corrected him. "You owe me."

Fang nodded. "Totally."

"You want me to make some breakfast?" I asked.

Fang shook his head, lowering himself back down on his bed. "You can eat something if you want, but I don't think my stomach can take it..."

"You probably should eat something eventually." I told him. "Get something in your system."

Fang smirked, rolling his eyes before closing them and draping an arm over his face. "Yes, mother."

I was about to walk downstairs, maybe go poke Jacy with a stick and see if she was still alive, when I realized something. "Hey, wait. I was just lecturing you on your lifestyle and you got me sidetracked. You do not get out of my lecture that easily!"

"Damn..." Fang muttered, not moving his arm from his face.

"So, what about your ridiculous party habits? Are they gonna change or what?" I asked him, crossing my arms.

Fang sighed. "Can we do this later?"

I glared at him, but he continued to leave his arm draped over his eyes.

"I'm glaring at you, Fang." I told him, barely supressing a grin.

Fang groaned. "Funny. Why are you picking on the kid with a hangover?"

"Retribution for all those times you picked on the blind kid." I answered. "So, my question?"

"We'll see."

"We'll see?"

Fang sighed. "What am I supposed to do? Just become a different person overnight?"

"No." I told him. "You can be the same person, just that person is going to stop partying because it's stupid."

"But, people will-"

"How many of those people were actually your friends? Really, Fang?" I asked.

No reply from Fang. I hoped this was because I was finally getting through.

"Tell me something, Fang Tucker." I said. "Would you rather you stopped now, maybe lost your 'cool' factor, but kept all your real friends, or is being popular so important to you now that you'd rather take the risk of winding up dead or something?"

Fang finally moved his arm and looked up at me. "I'm not gonna wind up-"

"Alcohol poisoning." I said, cutting him off.


"Alcohol poisoning." I said again. "Killed in a car accident. Head smashed in on a windshield. Drug overdose. Just to name a few. Or, you don't have to be dead. How about you get arrested for being a minor in possesion of alcohol? You could get seriously hurt. Oh, and for the record, girls aren't the only ones who get raped."

Fang started to sit up, that emotionless death glare on his face, but he wasn't going to win this battle. In one night, whatever power he had over me was no match for how angry and hurt I felt right then.

"You know, I kinda liked some things about this new personality of yours, but if you really put popularity so high on your list, you're willing to risk all of that, maybe I need to get out of here before I end up visiting you in jail. Or at the hospital. Or at your goddamn funeral."

I spun on my heels and stormed out of his room. I didn't want to look at him, I didn't want to hear him. I wanted to get out of there before something could convince me to stay.

I nearly fell down the stairs in my attempt to get down them so quickly. Thank God for railings. Jacy was on the couch, sitting now. She started to stand up when she saw me, but I ran by without a word. Fang would probably stay down this path because of her. He would choose her. And of course he would! She was pretty, fun... Female. I nearly smacked myself as I realized the fantasy I'd invented in my head.

It was never real. It was never going to be real.

I waded through the sea of cans and trash in the kitchen, ripping open the door. I barely needed a running start. A couple good strong, angry flaps of my wings and I was airborne.

Third Person POV

It was noon before Fang and Jacy finally crawled out of bed and began the slow process of cleaning up the after-party disaster zone.

It was normal for neither of them to talk during this process. Hangovers didn't exactly inspire anyone to be the chatty type. But the silence between the two friends seemed to hang heavy in the air, thick with the sudden absence of their visiting friend.

Jacy couldn't take it anymore. "So, what the heck did you do to him?" She was never one to beat around the bush.

Fang nearly dropped the cup he had picked up off the floor, startled. "What?"

"Iggy. What did you do to him to get him all upset?" Jacy asked again, pulling what looked like toilet paper out of the fridge.

"Why do you assume I did something?" Fang asked angrily.

"Hey, don't get snipey with me." Jacy warned, shaking the toilet paper roll at him threateningly. "Now, ok, what happened?"

More silence ensued as Fang seemed to ignore her question, now just furiously shoving trash into a bag.

"Fang, talk to me. You need to." Jacy told him, now just standing there, arms crossed

Fang sighed, finally meeting her eyes. "We had a fight about... My partying."

"He's not a fan, huh?" Jacy asked, already knowing the answer.

"Nope." Fang said. "Actually gave me a lecture. Told me I needed to stop before something 'bad' happened."

"And I'm guessing you refused." Jacy said.

"Kinda, yeah." Fang answered, going back to shoving trash into the bag.

"And now you're pissed off because he's right and your failure to admit it scared him off."

Fang nearly dropped the whole bag of trash, spilling some of its contents in his attempt to keep his grip. "What?"

"You throw some awesome parties, Fang. And we've had some... fun times." Jacy grinned at the memories. "But things have been... Out of hand, lately. We're getting older, we've got obligations. We'll be seniors before you know it. We need to focus on school. I've got college apps to fill out. And... Maybe it's time things got a bit more serious in the... Relationship department..."

Fang did drop the bag of trash then, barely noticing the trash scattering, once again, across the floor. He stared at his friend, feeling his stomach churn with unpleasant nerves. "Jacy... What do you... I-"

Jacy let out a short laugh. "Relax, Fang. What I'm trying to say is... Alright, we don't work as a couple, you and I. And I don't think the string of one-night stands is helping our friendship. I want to be your friend, Fang. And I don't need you in my bed to do that. I think... I think it's time I had more of the right people in my bed... And that you did, too."

Fang's body was still frozen in shock, but he felt some of the nerves start to fade in relief. "It's like you're breaking up with me, but... Not as bad..."

Jacy smiled. "Yeah, it kinda is. But you get what I mean?"

Fang finally found the ability to move again. He reached down and lifted the trash bag, staring at all the trash that still needed to fit inside of it. He sighed. "I'm actually kinda getting sick of picking all this shit up."

Jacy started laughing, an infectious sound that could always at least get a smile out of Fang. He loved her laugh. It was one of those things that made him think he wanted to be more than just friends. One of the ways he tried to convince himself that he could be attracted to her. But he'd made it all up in his head. "Yeah, this is getting to be bullshit."

"Hey, Jace?" Fang asked. "Did you ever consider... There... Actually being something between us? Like, not now, but... Did you ever?"

Jacy paused, absentmindedly picking a couple things off the table as she thought his question over. "I did." She finally answered. "You're a catch, Fang, with your... Unique body." She winked his way, causing Fang to send her a small, sheepish smie. "But, as time has gone on... The way you think, the way you act... The way you are in bed..." Jacy faced him, both hands on her hips. "Ok, spill. Are you gay?"

The trash bag ended up back on the floor and Fang's jaw nearly joined it. He stared at Jacy, sputtering, trying to come up with words, or remember what words sounded like. Finally the synapses in his brain reconnected. "What? Jacy, I'm not-"

"You're not gay? Bullshit." She said. "You're not comfortable with me in bed, you never have been. Any attraction you have to me is based completely on friendship. You don't date in school because you're 'just friends' with every female-"

"So I have to be attracted to every girl I see to be straight?" Fang shot back, crossing his arms.

"Well, they certainly shouldn't be considering you one of the girls." Jacy said. "Heck, what do you, me, Gina, and Charice do every Friday after school during the year? We go shopping, we go out to dinner, and we go over to Charice's and watch chick flics on Netflix. Face it, Fang, you've been in on girl's night for over a year now."

Fang rolled his eyes. "That doesn't mean anything. It's a stereotype. If I was gay, wouldn't I be... I don't know... Mooning over guys at school or whatever?"

"You're not the type to 'moon'." Jacy said. "You're the type to live in denial so you can fit in."

Fang was about to answer, but suddenly, he was watching Jacy talk, but hearing Iggy's voice.

"You don't need to try to fit in anymore, Fang, you already do." Jacy told him. "Now you've got to just try to be... You. People like you a lot better when you're not trying to impress them. Trust me, I talk to people, I know. Just be yourself, and don't be afraid of it. You're talented, smart... You're on high honor roll, for crying out loud! You're fun, you're kind... And all these traits come out so much better when you're not partying."

Fang couldn't look at her anymore. His eyes were glued to the floor, his mind reeling with her words and Iggy's words earlier. He was starting to feel like throwing up, but the hangover wasn't the cause this time.

"You... Don't need to live in denial anymore, Fang." Jacy told him. "You can be yourself."

Fang was silent, trying to swallow a strange lump that had formed in his throat.

"Do you see the way he looks at you?"

Fang's head shot up to meet Jacy's eyes. "What?"

"Iggy, the way he looks at you and interacts with you." Jacy said, smiling. "Fang, I really hope I'm right and you are gay, because you and Iggy are quickly becoming my OTP."

"You're what?" Fang asked.

"Blogger speak. One true pairing." She answered, grinning. "Fang, you're little friend has a crush on someone tall, dark, and handsome, and I think it's time you dealt with that."

Fang head was reeling. Iggy? Iggy? But... No. Fang tried to throw the very idea out of his mind. But it wouldn't shake. Iggy asking to come with him back at the reunion. Iggy's smile. his gaze. His actions. That red tinge to his cheeks when Fang carried him into the house. The way he protected him at the party and took care of him after.

That broken-hearted look on his face before he flew out of the room.

How could he have been so oblivious?

Still reeling from this first mental blow, the second nearly threw him off his feet. He'd taken note of it all. Fang could remember every smile, every laugh. Still remember the shade of Iggy's cheeks when he blushed, still feel the gentle rise and fall of Iggy's chest as he had been lying there, face buried into it. He'd catalogued every one of these moments and, on top of that, had been egging them on. He remembered winking to Ig after his strip-tease joke. Ordering for him in the restaurant. The compliments, the comments, the showing-off.

"I had better be gay." Fang thought, nearly shocking himself that the words had crossed his mind. "Or else I've been seriously leading him on."

Fang closed his eyes, taking a deep breath, trying to clear his mind. But his thoughts were confused and racing around his head all at once. Nothing made sense. He wanted to scream, to throw up, to cry, to bash his head into a wall. But he just stood there, frozen with indecision.

Finally, he opened his eyes again, locking his gaze with Jacy's. "What do I do?"

"I'll clean up." Jacy said simply.

Fang didn't need to hear any more. He tore out of the room, nearly taking the door off of its hinges in his attempt to get outside. He took a running leap, launching himself off of the hood of Jacy's car and into the sky.

He needed to find Iggy.

Me: Drama, drama, drama... And so many of you hated on Jacy... She's a partier, but she's not stupid. :P

Fang: Saint... Your hair is... Fluffy...

Me: Stop petting my head, you drunken mutant.

Fang: I just don't understand all the fangirls and their 'OMGEEZ, FANG AND IGGY NEED TO SCREW!' Like, I don't wanna screw Iggy. Not for anything. Nooo... Well, maybe for, like, a billion dollars. If we each got a billion dollars, I think we could do each other. But only then. ...And I'd need another one of these beer things. And sour cream and onion chips. Those are good chips.

Me: ...I demand someone set up a fund. Right now. We need two billion, a beer, and a bag of chips to make a fandom dream come true.

Fang: I'm going to use my money to buy myself a pet red panda and I'mma name it Nicole.

Me: ...Uh-huh...

R&R&I love drunk Fang, don't you?

12. Chapter 12

Fang: You're updating this again?

Me: Felt like it.

Fang: What about your other fics?

Me: If I feel like working on one thing, I might as well work on it while I've got the inspiration. Plus, great background music!

Fang: What are you listening to?

Me: Stereo Hearts. :D

Fang: I don't want to know what that will inspire you to write.

Me: :P

Iggy's POV

It wasn't until I nearly crashed into a tall oak tree that I finally decided I needed to land for a bit.

I'd been flying aimlessly for what seemed like at least an hour, though I wasn't really sure. I hadn't been paying attention to much of anything. I'd just wanted to put as much distance between myself and my biggest mistake possible.

I'd complained so much about Fang not thinking that I hadn't realized I hadn't been thinking much, either. Why had I followed Fang home? Why did I ask to spend the summer with him? It sure wasn't just so two old friends could catch up. I couldn't believe that I'd not only developing a crush on my old friend but that I'd let it go this far.

It was ridiculous. I'd invented this little dream romance in my head, let myself live in a fantasy world.

And now that I'd realized just how untrue it was, I was crushed.

I sat down under the tree, burying my face in my hands. I wanted to be angry at Fang. Angry at his stupidity, how completely immature he was acting. Sure, I'd said before that he had needed to lighten up a bit, but now he was just being an idiot. All that was going to happen to him was that he'd wind up in a load of trouble. See how much fun his parties were when the cops showed up or when they ended up in the hospital.

But, as much as I tried, I couldn't be mad at Fang. His life was his business and I had just stepped in and tried to change it. And why? Because I wanted to make him fit into my fantasy. He was smart, funny, kind, and undeniable attractive. Just erase his party habits and he would be perfect for me.

Except, he wasn't. He had Jacy. He had Jacy. Wasn't that enough of a clue for me? Earth to Iggy, he's probably straight! Figures the first guy I fall for would be straight. Maybe this is a sign to stick to women.

Though, if I were really being honest with myself, as attractive as I found many women to be, I'd never been able to really connect with them, not like I'd connected with Fang.

It just wasn't fair.

In any case, I knew what I had to do now. Get home. I knew I could do it, I'd flown farther distances with the Flock. Thing was, I'd been flying aimlessly for so long, I wasn't quite sure which way I was supposed to go from here. I barely knew which direction I came from.

And, on top of all that, I'd left all my stuff back at Fang's house.

I cursed, getting to my feet, realizing I'd have to go back to Fang's. At that rate, I might as well call my parents and have them book me a flight or a bus or something. Kind of ruined my dramatic storming-off scene, but I had to admit, I was a bit relieved that I wouldn't have to fly the whole way on my own.

Now to figure out which way Fang's house was.

I could remember which way I had come from, but I also remembered zig-zagging a bit, so God knows from which way I'd actually started out. I considered just flying up and looking around until I spotted Fang's roof when a low rumble in the distance caught my attention.

Thunder. Great.

I got a running start, leaping into the air off of a nearby large rock. I'd have to find Fang's house quickly, before a lightening bolt turned me into a KFC party bucket.

I'd thought that I'd still have enough time before the rain started to search for a bit, but obviously, thunderstorms travelled faster in Vermont. It was only a couple minutes before raindrops began pelting me from above, slow at first, but picking up speed with every flap of my wings.

I really didn't want to have to fly too close to the treeline, especially with the winds picking up, but I couldn't really see through the rain so far up, plus I wasn't really to keen on finding out what it was like to be struck by lightening, so I descended a bit, telling myself that if things got too bad, I would just land and find shelter.

I decided at that point that someone needed to invent glasses with windshield wipers. As the winds and rain picked up, it was getting harder and harder to see, especially with rain water coating my glasses. I was soaked and trying hard not to shiver. I knew at that point I needed to land, but couldn't see any place to do so safely without hitting about fifty different trees on my way down. Damn forest.

The thunder was loud now and I could catch flashes of lightening around me. Where had this storm come from? Was the weather in New England always changing this suddenly? Why hadn't I seen a house or something yet? How far off into the woods had I flown? Was I even going the right way?

The winds seemed to be reaching hurricane force, and soon, I wasn't even really controlling where I was flying. I just had to fly in whichever direction the wind decided to blow, because to fly against it was to risk having some feathers ripped off. I was desperate to land now, to get out of the sky. But everywhere was just trees, trees, trees. My only real hope was that the storm would clear up just as quickly as it had appeared, but with how it was moving, that didn't seem likely.

A strong gust of wind swept up under my wings, causing me to lose what little control I had. I went spiralling downward, flapping madly to try and regain flight. I braced myself for impact, hoping I'd be able to grab hold of whatever tree I hit rather than have any bones broken by it.

I was hit much sooner than I expected, causing me to yell in alarm. Something had slammed into me, wrapping around my waist and chest. Now I and whatever it was were both falling. And fast.

I didn't have enough time to even process what was happening. We hit a tree and I heard a yell from whatever was holding me, he had taken the brunt of the impact. Then we were falling, both of us hitting branch after branch all the way down. I'd been able to think fast enough to use my one free hand to grab hold of my glasses before they were lost or broken in our freefall. Though it was a painful trip down, the branches slowed our fall, so that when we finally hit the forest floor, it was like we had just fallen out of bed rather than falling out of the sky.

By then, I had no question about what had grabbed me out of the sky. "Fang? Fang, are you ok?"

"Ow..." Fang croaked after a few, nerve-wracking seconds.

I untangled myself from Fang's grasp and, trying to be as gentle as I could, took hold of him around the chest and half-carried, half-dragged him under a pine tree. I knew trees weren't the safest thing to be under during a thunderstorm, but I needed shelter from the rain. I was a bit surprised I was able to move so well after our fall, but Fang had taken most of the hits, it seemed. He didn't protest me moving him much, except with a couple low groans, which had me worried about how badly he'd been hurt.

As soon as I got him under the tree, I took my glasses off, wanting to dry them so I could get a better look at Fang. But it turns out to be pretty much impossible to dry something when everything you have to dry it with is soaked.

But I wasn't completely helpless. I'd been blind before, I knew how to manage without sight. I closed my eyes and used my hands. I checked around his head first. There was a small bump on the back of his head, but nothing serious, as well as a small scratch on his left cheek. His wings were fine, though I did take a minute to gently brush some feathers back into place. He defintely had some bruises on his back as well as his arms, but thankfully, no broken bones. My hands gently began to move over his chest, looking for broken ribs, when his hand shot up, taking hold of one of my own.

"I'm alright, Ig," Fang said. "No need to feel me up."

I felt heat rushing to my cheeks and could imagine just what shade of red they were turning. Damn him! "Had to check." I told him, opening my eyes. "And kind of hard to see through rain-soaked glasses."

"Right, right." Fang said, sitting up against the tree trunk. "Are you ok?"

"Yes." I answered. "Thanks to you."

"Don't mention it." Fang said. He held out his hand. "Give me your glasses. I might have something still dry in my pocket I can clean them off with."

I handed my glasses over to him. I tried to watch what he did, but my vision was so blurred, I could just make out him removing something from his pocket.

After a minute, I made out his blurred figure moving closer to me. "Hold still." He said. He reached forward, gently placing my glasses back on my face.

I was finally able to get a good look at him. The cut on his cheek, was still bleeding, but it was small and only skin-deep. He was wearing the same clothes he wore yesterday, minus his jacket. I could see a dark-colored bruise forming on one arm. His hair was a tangled mess, the red streaks were finally starting to fade, leaving more of his natural jet black. He leaned back up against the tree, wincing slightly as he tried to find a comfortable position. I detected a slight shiver. With only a t-shirt and soaked jeans, he must have been nearly frozen.

How was it that, when he was at his worst and most vulnerable, I had never found him more attractive?

The things this kid did to me were totally unfair.

"This storm came out of nowhere." I said, breaking the silence before it became awkward.

"Yeah, that's New England weather." Fang said. "Wait five minutes, it'll change." He sighed, looking down at his lap. "Iggy... I'm sorry. I-"

"No, I am." I said, cutting him off. "I shouldn't be barging into your life and telling you what to do."

"Actually, you should." Fang told me. "I should have more people with common sense like yours telling me what to do, since I don't seem to have any of my own."

"Fang..." I said, but Fang held up his hand.

"I don't really like parties that much. I mean, I like... I like people liking me. I like belonging to something." He went on. "When I was with the Flock, I didn't need to do anything to, like, get attention because I already just belonged. But when I came here, I was just this outsider. I got desperate, trying to find out where I fit in. And I guess I made some really crappy choices along the way. I don't even really like who I am anymore. It seems like almost everything I do is to get people to like me. I barely get to do things just because I like them."

I just sat there, silently listening as words came pouring out of Fang's mouth. Even with his more outgoing personality, I'd never heard him talk to much. It was like a dam had been broken, releasing a sea of thoughts and feelings Fang had kept held back for far too long.

"My life has just turned into this big stress ball. Like, I don't dare to let my grades slip because my parents will be disappointed. But I have some friends who I can't let know that I get good grades or they'll be jealous and hate me. I have all these stupid parties I throw and go to so people won't think I'm lame. I'm in so many clubs and activities and stuff I can barely keep them straight. And my dad wants me to get a job! How am I supposed to work and do all this CRAP!"

Fang's hands were clenched in his lap and he was staring down at them, suddenly not wanting to look at me. And I had a feeling why.

I reached over and took one of his hands. "Maybe you should just worry about impressing the important people instead of trying to impress everyone."

"I wanted to impress you." Fang said quietly. "You showed interest in me, more than the rest of the Flock did. You were interested in me when I was even trying to get your attention. You acted like I was someone... Cool. I didn't want you to find out that I really wasn't."

"But you are cool." I told him. "You're even cooler when you're not trying. That's when you're more real."

"You have no idea." Fang said, finally looking up at me. His eyes had a slight red tint and my suspicions about why he wouldn't look at me were confirmed. "I'm not even half as cool as everyone thinks I am."

"And why is that?" I asked him.

"I don't just like theatre, I'm obsessed with it." He told me. "I kinda want to do the school musical next year. Ok, I really want to. I kinda have this crazy Broadway pipe dream. I haven't told anyone about it because I think my parents will tell me its unrealistic and any of my non-theatre friends will just think I'm...I'm..."

"Gay?" I said.

"Y-yeah." Fang said, barely able to keep eye contact with me again.

"I think everyone should have dreams, and everyone should get a chance to follow them." I told him, giving his hand a reassuring squeeze. "If that's what you want to do, Fang, you shouldn't worry what other people think. If anyone would actually make fun of you for that, then they probably aren't the kind of friend you want. And I don't think your parents would completely shoot you down if you explained what it meant to you. They seem pretty cool."

"But people-" Fang started to say.

"Screw people." I told him. "There are a lot of people out there, Fang. And some of them are gonna like you, and some of them will hate your guts. You're better off having the right people like you for who you are than having a bunch of assholes liking you just because you're playing the part they want you to play. It's like people hating, say, Tom Hiddleston just because he played a bad guy in Avengers, when he really might be a good person."

"Actually, most people like him." Fang said.

"Well, most of them like him for a part he played, not for who he really is." I said. "He's not Loki, he's Tom. And you're Fang the future Broadway legend, not Fang the future teen alcohol statistic."

"Future Broadway legend?" Fang asked skeptically.

"Don't sell yourself short, I heard you singing a lullaby to Meggy the other night. I nearly started applauding." I told him. "You get my point though, right?"

"I think so..." Fang looked up at me and smirked. "Something about me being the Tom Hiddleston of Broadway."

"Right..." I said, smiling.

Fang looked down to his lap again, his eyes falling on our clasped hands. I was afraid he would pull his away, but he didn't. "I'd like you to come back home with me." He said slowly. "Maybe after we get the house cleaned up I can work on just... Being myself rather than always putting on this... Act..."

"I'd be glad to help with that." I told him. A thought crossed my mind and I had to know. "Is... Jacy still there?"

"Yeah... She told me she'd handle the mess so I could come after you." Fang said. "She, uh... I told her why you left and she thinks you're right. Told me what you've been telling me. That I don't need the parties..." Fang let out a quiet laugh. "She, uh, cut off the 'benefits' part of our friendship, too. Said it was time we had... More of the right people in our beds."

Well, well, Jacy. And to think, just yesterday I was imagining your head in a noose. "Must have been... Disappointing." I said nervously.

"Actually, I'm kinda relieved." Fang told me, letting out another laugh. "It was just another thing I did to be cool. I really just don't like her that way. I was beginning to dread her calling me because I was afraid of what that call might mean. I just wanted to be her friend, not her living, breathing sex toy."

I held back a laugh at that description. "I don't think she's your type, anyway." I told him.

"Then what is my type?" Fang asked me. With his hand in mine, one finger placed on his wrist told me his pulse had sped up. It just about matched mine.

"Your type, Fang, is someone who's going to apprieciate you for all you really are." I said. "Someone who you can tell all your hopes and dreams to and never have to worry about them shooting you down or thinking badly of you." Without thinking, I reached forward with my other hand, using it to gently lift his chin up so he could look me in the eye. "Your type will always make sure you belong so you never have to try to find your place on your own again. No matter what, no matter what the rest of the world thinks, you will always have that one person backing you up. Your type will see you for everything you really are, all the talents as well as all of the flaws, and love you for it."

Brain working on autopilot, I leaned forward, sliding my hand from his chin across his jaw, to the back of his neck. I kept waiting for him to protest, to pull back, to ask what I was doing, but he only sat there, watching me with his dark eyes. Only his pulse under my hand gave me any indication of his feelings; his heart was pounding. And it was that steady beat that drove me forward.

I leaned in closer and brought my lips to meet his.

At first, he didn't move, didn't react. He let my lips gently press a kiss onto his. I kept my eyes closed. No matter how this moment ended, I wanted to live in it for as long as possible. Just feel the warmth of his lips against mine, breathe in his earthy scent.

After a moment that seemed to stretch for an eternity, I felt Fang move, but not to pull away. Instead, his one free hand came to rest on the back of my head, holding me closer as he returned my kiss.

The kiss deepened as I tentatively slid my tongue across his lips and his mouth opened without a second thought. There was still a slight taste of alcohol to Fang, but it was toned down by a strong mint flavor; he must have brushed his teeth at some point. My hand slid from his neck down his chest to finally rest on top of our other two hands, already intertwined on his lap. Fang leaned back against the tree, pulling me with him using the hand that was now laced through my hair.

We probably could have stayed like that for hours, at least I could have. I was living a dream. But the slightest vibration, travelling down Fang's arm told me he was shivering. I relunctantly pulled us apart.

"We, uh, need to get you back home before you catch pneumonia or something." I told him. "You must be freezing."

"I didn't notice." Fang replied. His fingers were now combing gently through my hair.

"We really should get back." I said. I attempted to pull away from Fang, but his grip on my hair suddenly tightened.

"Iggy, that storm is going to be going on for another couple minutes, at least." Fang said, a smirk slowly working its way across his face. "And it's too far to walk back. We should stay here until the rain slows down, at least. I'm... I'm sure you could keep me warm until then."

"We'll have to keep each other warm then." I told him. I crawled over closer, letting go of his hand so I could wrap my arms around him. The way we were sitting, his head fit perfectly into my chest. One of his dark wings came out to lay over both of us like a blanket.

And, like that, we waited out the storm.


Fang: Oh jeez... You... God...

Me: Please tell me how well this little kiss scene went. I had a hard time getting it to a point where I was pretty much happy with it, so feedback is awesomesauce!

Fang: Why me?

Me: Will it make you feel better if I say it's 'cause you're hot?

Fang: ...Kinda.

Me: -eyeroll-

Fang: Also, I think this chapter is proof you spend way too much time on Tumblr. You're making Avengers refereces now.

Me: It's my life. :P


13. Chapter 13

Me: First off, this chapter goes out to Alexis Ride, as it was her birthday on the 2nd and, since I couldn't get this chapter done in time, I shall have to wish her a late happy birthday. Happy Birthday, Alexis!

Fang: Happy B-day and all that.

Me: -eyeroll- Nice try. Also, I must warn you all, I doubt this fic will go on too much longer. I know this is sad for you guys, but I'm honestly relieved. It's nice to actually finish a fic once in a while, especially one that been in progress as long as this one has. So soon, alas, our time together wll come to an end, dear readers.

But not today. :D

Fang: Damn.

Me: Oh, stop whining and let's get to the chapter.

Iggy's POV

"God, I'm like everyone's definition of gay."

"Fang, get over it." I told him, sliding him the bowl of M&Ms we were passing around the table. It was the last shred of evidence from the party, and we were 'disposing' of it as quickly as possible.

"What makes you say that, Fang?" Jacy asked, leaning back in her chair.

"Look at me." Fang said, taking a handful of candy. "I'm this theatre nut with a soft spot for musicals, most of my close friends are female, I stood in line in the pooring rain to see the last Twilight, and, face it, I have awesome fashion sense." With that, he downed the whole fistfull of chocolate in one gulp.

I stared at him, one eyebrow raised. "You went to see Twilight?"

Fang shrugged. "Taylor Lautner's abs."

"Ah." I said, nodding.

"Preach." Jacy said, stealing some candy out of the bowl.

"But, anyway, Fang, seriously, screw stereotypes." I went on. "You're all those things, but you're also a kick-ass guy who knows how to street fight as well as some martial arts, you own a truck, a motorcycle, and a beast of a horse, and you're also a pretty good shot with a gun, if I remember."

"We've all got some masculinity and femininity in us." Jacy went on. "Doesn't matter what your sexual orientation is. And hey, it's not like you're running around in a sparkly scarf and being all sassy." She grinned. "Besides, who decides what's 'girl stuff' and 'guy stuff' anyway? I watch Spike TV all the time, and that's supposed to be the 'men's channel'."

"I still fit the stereotype way too well." Fang said. I noticed him shiver slightly and pulled myself closer to him so I could wrap us both in my blanket.

"Well so what?" I said. "All those things make you who you are. And I'm loving every one of them."

"Awww... You guys are so my OTP." Jacy said, a hand placed to her heart.

Fang rolled his eyes, leaning to rest his head on my shoulder.

As soon as the rain had stopped, we'd rushed to get back to Fang's house, where Jacy had been nearly out of her mind with worry about us. She'd started to chew Fang out for not bringing his cell phone, but by then, Fang had started shivering like mad, teeth chattering and everything, so the two of us worked quickly to bring his temperature back up. In my efforts to help Fang, I hadn't noticed how cold my own body was until Jacy draped a large quilt over my shoulders, telling me to sit. The minute I'd sat down and was finally able to focus on myself, I was shivering so badly I nearly fell out of my seat. Luckily, some time curled up on the couch together with hot chocolate and the heat turned up just about cured our chills.

Another bit of luck, when Jacy is stressed, she cleans things. So by the time we got home, there was little, if anything else, to pick up.

We'd since moved to the kitchen with plans to make dinner, but we'd ended up just sitting around the table, chatting.

"So, Ig." Jacy said when she was done mooning over our 'adorableness', as she put it. "You were saying you're pretty sure you're, like, bisexual."

I shrugged. "I guess. I mean, yeah, there are women who I find attractive, definitely. But I just... Connect with guys better, you know?"

Jacy nodded. "You connected with Fang, anyway. A rare feat."

"Bite me, Jacy." Fang mumbled.

"Pick a spot." Jacy replied.

"So, what does all this make you, Fang?" I asked him. "Think you're in the bisexual category, too?"

Jacy smiled. "Nah, Fang's all the way, capitol 'G' Gay."

"Are you sure about that?" I asked her. "I know of some females in Fang's life..."

Fang sighed, pulling himself into a sitting position, away from my shoulder, sadly. "She... She may kind of have a point, Ig."

"Seriously?" I asked. "Come on. What about, say, Max?"

"Max and I were, like, the Flock's parents. It was almost expected that we were supposed to be together. So I tried to make it happen." Fang explained. "But I think I just nearly screwed up a friendship trying to make up feelings that didn't exist."

"And we all know he was just screwing me because, hey, what are friends for?" Jacy said, shrugging. "It's like, 'My mom's making lasagna. Wanna come over, watch a movie, and screw? Great, see you at seven.' ...Yeah, I don't know why I thought that was gonna work out."

"Me neither..." Fang said.

"What about... Brigid." I asked.

"Smart woman. Very interesting. But that was all in Max's head." Fang said.

"Oh, Lissa!" I shot back. "Can't forget her! You kissed her!"

"Heh, oh yeah..." Fang said, his voice slightly tinged with nervousness. "There's a story there..."

"Please, do tell." I said, motioning with my hand for him to go on.

"Remember that guy in our class, Asher? The one I told you to stay away from 'cause he was kind of a jerk?" Fang asked.

"Yeah..." I replied slowly.

"I started getting the biggest crush on him. I couldn't help it." Fang said. "And it totally freaked me out. Like, I didn't get why I was feeling like that and why it was another guy, and I just got really confused. Lissa had a thing for me so I used her to sort of try to force myself to feel 'the right way', you know? I seriously thought the School had screwed something up and that making myself have relationships with girls would, like, rewire my brain right." Fang smirked, shaking his head. "Didn't work."

"Thank God." I added, leaning closer to lightly plant a kiss on his cheek.

"Guys, you're killing me with cuteness." Jacy said.

"Sorry." Fang said, though he didn't sound too sorry about it.

"It's alright, I'm just glad to see you happy." Jacy said. "I mean, really happy. You're not faking it one bit right now and it's just giving me all sorts of warm, fuzzy feels inside."

"Please, stop." Fang said. "You're associating me with feelings and mushy stuff."

"Well, let's talk about another important subject, then." Jacy went on. "So, we've come to the conclusion that both your sexualities aren't what we all thought they were. How and when are you guys going to be telling everyone else?"

"You mean, like, coming out?" Fang asked. I swore I heard his voice rise half an octave. Fang may have realized he no longer needed to impress people, but he wasn't going to break the habit overnight.

"We'll ease into that." I said, taking Fang's hand under the table. I could hear him breathe the faintest sigh of relief.

"Of course." Jacy said. "Just, you know, if any of you guys need back up, support, I'm your girl. For anything, not just popping out of the closet. You're my OTP and I will defend you guys better than Dumbledore's Army defended Hogwarts. I go down with this ship."

"Good to know..." I told her, smiling.

"My only price is that I help plan the wedding." Jacy added, grinning as she stole another handful of candy.

"You are the maid of honor, no question." Fang said, resting his head back on my shoulder.

I'll admit it, it took every ounce of will I had not to drop to one knee and ask him to marry me right then. Like, heck, why not?

But I decided we should probably get out of high school first.

We finally pulled something together for lunch out of whatever leftovers needed to be eaten in the fridge. After putting all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, Jacy announced that she had to head for him, saying that her parents might actually start wondering where was if she stayed away any longer.

"What does she mean, 'they'll actually start wondering where I am'?" I asked Fang after she left.

"Jacy's got these, like, free-spirit, hippie-type parents." Fang explained. "They sort of let her do what she wants or, how did they put it? 'Cultivate her own spirit fruits in the gardens of her choice'? Something like that. Anyway, they basically don't care what she does or where she goes as long as she doesn't do anything harmful or illegal and doesn't eat meat in the house. They like her to tell them where she's going to be, but they don't usually check in unless she's been gone over 24 hours with no word."

"She must enjoy all that freedom." I said.

Fang shrugged, hitting a couple settings on the dishwasher and turning it on. "Sometimes, I think she'd rather have them, like, yell at her or something, you know? Show that they give a shit. And not just get excited whenever she finds a new tofu dish for them."

I nodded, suddenly understanding Jacy a lot more.

"So... Now what?" I asked.

"I don't know." Fang said, turning towards me and leaning against the kitchen counter. "My parents won't be home until tomorrow."

I took a step towards him, leaning down slightly to gently brush my lips against his. "Not home 'till tomorrow, huh?"

Fang reached forward, pulling my head forward to turn my gentle touch into a less-than-gentle kiss. I felt teeth graze against my bottom lip. I stepped closer until we were pressed together, Fang pushed against the counter. I rested both hands on Fang's hips as Fang wrapped both his arms around my neck.

What started as a simple kiss soon became so intense it was hard to keep it restricted to just our lips. I was soon trailing kisses across his face to his ear, and then down to his neck. The room was completely silent except for the sound of Fang's breaths, which came out in soft pants, punctured every so often by a muffled moan or a sharp intake of breath.

"You seem to have an addiction to kissing me." I whispered into Fang's ear before moving down his neck again.

"It's nice to be with someone... And actually enjoy it." Fang said between breaths.

My lips, pressed against his warm skin, curved into a smile. "It's nice to be with someone who actually understands me, and who I can understand." I pressed my lips against his and he opened his mouth, welcoming me to him. I fell into a blissful trance, only aware of the feeling of Fang's body melting into mine. I wanted him closer, as close to me as possible. My hands began to run from where they had rested on his hips, upward, going under his shirt to run against his warm skin.

Fang's side of the kissing suddenly became less enthusiastic. I felt his body tense slightly.

I broke our now-uncomfortable kiss. "What is it, Fang?"

"N-Nothing." Fang said, not sounding very convincing. He pulled me towards him, trying to kiss me again, but I pulled back.

"Fang, talk to me. Be honest with me." I said. "You're a terrible liar, anyway."

Fang's gaze broke away from my, glancing downward. "It's stupid, Ig..."

"Tell me anyway." I told him.

Fang paused, probably gathering up his courage before meeting my eyes again. "It's just... The first time I was... With someone, well, it wasn't what I wanted that to be. A moment that I should've saved for the right time and person, and I let it go, turning myself into a living sex toy in the process. I don't want to make another mistake. I- I think you're the right person, Iggy, but I'm not sure if now is that right time. I'm sorry, it's not you, I-"

"Shush." I said, before he could carry on. "It's alright."

"But-" Fang started to apologize again, but a pointed look from me silenced him.

I smiled, letting my hands slowly drop back down to his waist. "I'm proud of you. You're standing up for yourself and what you want, not doing something just because someone else wants it. And I understand. If you don't want this yet, then I don't want it, not until it's something special for us both."

Fang smiled back before pulling himself towards me, gripping me in a tight hug. "You're awesome. I don't deserve you."

I wrapped my arms around him, stroking the feathers on his wings. "No, you deserve even more. And I'm going to make sure you get the best. Always." I pulled away slightly so I could rest my forehead against his. "Now, come on, I've got an idea." I gave him a quick peck on the lips before taking him by the hand and leading him towards the living room.

"What?" Fang asked.

"I figured you might as well show me how Taylor Lautner's abs make Twilight worth watching."

Fang: Seems like you addressed a couple issues here.

Me: Yes. We finally know why you kissed that whore, Lissa.

Fang: -.- Your story is a fabrication.

Me: Sure... :P Also, I'd like to note, for future reference, if my original story ever gets published, the character Jacy in that story is in no way connected to Jacy from here. Two totally different characters.

Fang: But not to worry, as Saint can barely update a fanfic, let alone finish an original novel.

Me: Oh, shut up.

Also, hope no one was too disappointed by the steamy lemon that never was. I almost wrote it ending with them in Fang's bedroom, but it just didn't seem right. I thought of their relationship being very respectful and steady-paced. Doesn't mean they can't have their steamy moments, but finding your soul mate doesn't mean jumping straight into bed with them. Plus, I figured Fang had been into enough of that crap and should try taking it slow. Base this relationship off of love and mutual respect instead of sex.

Fang: Trust me, I wasn't disappointed.

Me: Wasn't asking you.


14. Chapter 14

Fang: I'd like to have the honor to be the first to announce... IT'S OVER!

Me: Well, someone's enthusiastic.

Fang: You should be, too. Actually finishing a fic. Not something you've been good at lately.

Me: But here it is. The last chapter... Though I did leave room for a sequel-


Me: I'm not doing the sequel. At least, not in the near future. Consider this fic over for the time being. Just saying... It's never a bad idea to leave room for a sequel. :)

Fang: ...Oh. Good then.

Me: You done yelling?

Fang: ...Yeah, think so.

Me: Great, then we'll get to the fic.

Iggy's POV

"I don't want you to leave. Not ever."

"I'll write and call all the time." I told Fang, burrowing my face into his hair, trying to breathe in as much of his scent as I could. "You've got my e-mail, Skype, everything."

"Still... I won't be able to touch you..." Fang said, the arms he had wrapped around me squeezing me close. "You're going to be so far away. It seems like I just got you in my life, and now you're going away."

"Not forever." I told him. "You know that. Your parents invited me for Thanksgiving, we're all meeting up to go skiing for winter break, and then, next summer..."

"I'm coming to visit your place." Fang finished.

"With Ms. Mayhill's permission, of course." I said, smiling. "She owns your soul, after all."

"Renting to own." Fang corrected.

"And you can tell Jacy that she's invited, too, of course." I added

"I think she'd just invite herself anyway." Fang said.

"Which reminds me..." I pulled back a bit from Fang, forcing him to relunctantly loosen his grip on me, so I could look him in the eyes. "I have Jacy's contact information, too, and she will be keeping an eye on you, making sure you stay out of trouble."

Fang rolled his eyes. "I don't need a babysitter, Ig."

"Prove it to me." I told him. "She will send me any reports, and I swear, if you make me have to fly up here-"

"What are you going to do?" Fang asked. "Ground me?"

"If I have to." I said. "If I hear that you've so much as downed a shotglass, I will come up here and make you wish you'd never even heard of alcohol."

"In that case, I'm going to go down a bottle of my mom's wine right now." Fang said. "That way you won't even have to bother with leaving."

"Don't even think about it." I told him, trying to sound menacing. "I will tie you to this bed if I have to."

"I don't think I'd mind that." A mischievious smirk stretched across his face. "I might even have some rope under my desk..."

I just rolled my eyes, pulling him closer so I could kiss that smirk off his lips.

"Mommy says you guys need to get downstairs already!"

Our lips broke apart like they'd released an electric shock when we heard Meggy's voice outside Fang's door. We'd learned not to kiss anywhere near that little girl. She tended to start singing songs about her brother and I sitting in trees.

"Your daddy's been honking the car horn for you, Iggy!" Meggy called to us. "Can't you hear him?"

Actually, I couldn't . Sorry, Dad, the sounds of mouth-to-mouth bliss were drowning you out. "Tell everyone we'll be right down." I told her. "Come on." I said to Fang, taking his hand. With my other hand, I reached over and grabbed the last bag I had sitting on the bed. "Let's not piss the parental units off."

Fang grumbled a bit, but let me lead him down the stairs and out the side door, only dragging his feet a little. He knew I was going to have to leave sometime.

Summer was coming to an end and we were both going back to school- On serperate ends of the country. It was something we both knew was coming, but had ignored, just trying to enjoy what little time together we had left.

And now that time was up.

Outside, our parents were talking. Fang's mom and my foster mom, Natalie, had made friends immediately and were chatting it up by Fang's mom's garden. My foster dad, Kendall, was fascinated by Jackie Don's house. Ken had this huge interest in old architecture and obviously, the house and barn were pretty old.

Ken and Nat had 12-year-old twins, a son and a daughter. Their daughter, Rose, had made friends with Megan and they were chatting by the car. Jacy was standing near them, looking on. Rory was in the car, playing with his Nintendo DS or whatever, trying to pretend the rest of us didn't exist. Normal for him.

"About time." Natalie said, spotting us. She had one hand on her hip, giving us that look that she always gave me or the twins when she knew she should be annoyed, but was too amused to tell us off. "Quite a long time just to say your goodbyes." She and Fang's mom both smirked our way.

"I know, aren't they cute?" Jacy called from the car. Megan and Rose grinned. I saw Rory make a gagging face through the window.

"Shut up, Jace." Fang called. He was hanging slightly behind me, not totally comfortable with the attention. I was worried about him. Jacy said she'd look out for him, but I still wished I could be there when he started school. When he started trying to tell his friends.

"You mean the boys have decided to grace us with their presence?" Ken called. "I thought we'd have to spend the night if you guys took any longer."

"I'm sure Fang would be fine with that." Jacy said, grinning our way.

Before Fang could get snippy or fade into the background, I dragged him forward toward the car.

"No need to hang in the background." Nat said, walking over to meet us. "I know we're taking him away from you, but we let you hog him all summer, after all."

"Well, you hogged him for the past two years before..." Fang retaliated.

"Yeah, well you spent your whole life before that being one of the most oblivious people I know, pretending you weren't gay, not realizing how much you liked me, and repressing your personality." I said. "So cut it out." I grinned his way and he just rolled his eyes.

"So, I hate to cut the goodbyes short, but we're going to be driving in the dark as it is." Ken said, walking up to us. "So wrap things up. You'll get to talk on your Bookface or Skip or whatever."

"That's Facebook and Skype, sweetheart." Nat told him.


I smiled, giving Fang's hand a squeeze as our families bantered back and forth. I was so glad everyone had taken our... Announcement so well. (Well, besides Rory, but he was just miserable to everyone.) My foster parents barely reacted with more than just a, 'Oh, that's nice! I'm happy for you!' kind of attitude. They didn't care who I was into as long as I was happy.

Fang's mom took it about the same way. Actually, when Fang told her he wanted to talk, her first words were, "You're gay, I know." She'd guessed it ages ago so the announcement was no surprise.

Jackie Don, on the other hand, well, I could tell where Fang's obliviousness came from. The news shocked him, causing some awkwardness for a day or two around the house before Fang's mom had a long chat with him one night about it out in the barn. Once the shock wore off, Jackie Don was fine with the situation.

Rose and Meggy took it the best. Meg kept making us pictures with hearts at first, then rainbows when she heard about what they symbolized in this case. The best moment with her was when she told a friend of hers over the phone, 'My brother is brave because he likes boys and isn't afraid to say so.' Though he'd probably deny it now, Fang choked up hearing her say that.

Sooner than I would've liked, I was going around, saying my goodbyes to Fang's family. Jackie Don shook my hand, cheerfully informing me that I was great to have around, that I had been good for his son, but if I broke Fang's heart, he'd drag me down the highway behind his Camero. He was joking. ...I think.

I got hugs from both his mom and Jacy. Meggy gave me yet another picture she'd made, this one with extra glitter. Fang's mom had put it in a large plastic bag to cut down on mess.

Then, it was time for one last goodbye to Fang.

We'd already decided a kiss goodbye in front of our families was a bad idea. Intimacy between us still made Jackie Don a little uncomfortable and I was pretty sure Rory would start making gagging noises. So we settled with a hug. One where I was able to sneek him a subtle kiss on the cheek.

"We'll see each other soon." I told him. "It'll be here before you know it."

"If it's not today, it's not soon enough." He whispered back.

I rolled my eyes. "Don't go all hopeless romantic on me now, baby." I whispered back. "Come on." I said, a bit louder. "You can work on a plan on how to tell the Flock to tell me when we next see each other."

We'd decided that it would only be appropriate for us to come up with some... Creative way to come out to the Flock. So far, our ideas had either not been exciting enough or just not plausible. But we were working on it.

"I'll work on it." Fang said, though he didn't exactly sound enthusiastic.

We finally broke apart. While we had been talking, Ken had put the last of my stuff in the back of the car. I had offered to ship my stuff and fly home, or take a plane home on my own, but Ken and Nat had insisted. They wanted to see me and didn't like the idea of me travelling on my own. For the first time, I looked at everything they'd done for me and everything they were willing to do, and I realized how lucky I was to have them. Not many would take in a kid that wasn't even their own, especially one like me, and take care of that kid the way they've cared for me. I needed to find a way to thank them one of these days.

I turned toward the car just as a thought crossed my mind. "Hold on, I forgot something." I spun on my heels, running off in another direction.

"You forgot something in the barn?!" I heard Jacy call after me, but I didn't answer, intent on this final goodbye.

I slid into the barn, nearly falling into the sawdust, catching the attention of its occupants. One in particular locked his eyes on me, snorting.

There was no fear this time. He and I had long since reached an understanding after the night of the party. I walked up to him, reaching out to stroke his velvety black nose.

"Goodbye, Charon. I'll see you soon, bud." I told the horse. His ears pricked up, listening intently to my voice. "You take care of Fang, alright? Keep him out of trouble. And don't be giving him a hard time, he'll be having enough stress this year."

Maybe I was going crazy, or maybe Fang's horse-whisperer status was rubbing off on me. But I swear, I saw Charon nod.

"He grows on you, doesn't he?" I didn't bother turning around, letting Fang walk up behind me. One hand went to my waist while the other reached up to stroke Charon's nose with me. The horse nickered quietly, enjoying the attention.

"Yeah. He seems intimidating at first, but once you get to know him, he's kind of a softie." I looked over at Fang. "Just like his owner."

Fang smirked. "Don't go telling people things like that. Charon and I have reputations to uphold."

"Your secrets are safe with me." My hand slid off Charon's nose, instead reaching to gently turn Fang's face towards mine for just one more soft kiss.

There was no more sadness in this one. No more goodbyes. This kiss was a promise to him and to myself. I may be leaving for now, but I was coming back. This wasn't an end, but a beginning.

To a brand new life.

A brand new love.

A brand new us.

Me: So, I realize I never once in the fic said which state Iggy was from and gave up trying to pick one. Like, use your imagination. And I had to quickly invent Iggy's family, as I never really said much about them, either.

Let's see... Nat is no way associated with my friend of the same name and... Cool points to anyone who knows where I got the names for the twins from!

So now... How about that ending?

Fang: If it wasn't Iggy... That would've been really sweet.

Me: Coming from you? I'll take that as a compliment.

Fang: Well, how are you feeling?

Me: Good. I'm making time to write other fanfics, plus I feel like this fic's been in progress long enough. I love this fic, I loved writing it, now it's time to say goodbye.

Fang: Well, with that, I guess there's nothing else to do but leave a final...

Me: Let me do it. Thank you, all you readers who stuck with this fic, as long as it dragged on. Thank you for all the awesome reviews I've gotten as well as all of those yet to come. Which reminds me, I must ask...