No Longer Hatchlings by St. Fang of Boredom

Category:Maximum Ride
Genre:Family, Hurt-Comfort
Published:2010-05-02 00:28:47
Updated:2013-01-10 22:23:28
Packaged:2021-05-07 02:45:22
Summary:Takes place after FANG. Two Flocks, two destinies, one annoying Voice, and a whole lot of growing up to do. Throw in a kidnapping and you've got a teenaged bird-kid's worst nightmare.

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

1. Chapter 1

So, I was feeling a bit off the other night, and started to write this fic...

Fang: Sounds like the inspiration for Avian Flu. You get sick, so you write about me being sick because...

Me: Misery loves company.

Fang: Right...

Me: So, it started out with Fang being sick, then I just kept adding to it over a couple of days and turned it into my first real 'after FANG' fic.

Right now, it's kind of a random oneshot as I'm not really sure what to do with it. It doesn't really have much of a point, as I wrote it out of boredom and well...Pulled it out of my behind. No clue where some of this stuff came from or where I could possibly be going with it. I'm sure you'll all want me to add to it, but since I'm working on way too many fics as it is, I wouldn't expect that to happen anytime soon. Plus, as I said, I have no clue where I'm going with this...

Fang: Unless you start to write your own 7th book.

Me: ...So, basically, give my own twist on an over-done cliche?

Fang: It's what you did with Fly by Twilight.

Me: ...Who are you, and what have you done with Fang, the guy who rarely gives me good ideas and usually tries to discourage all my Fanfiction ventures?

Fang: He's on vacation. I'm actually his evil twin, Diego.

Me: ...I'm sensing sarcasm here.

Fang: You're in a sarcasm fog, Saint.

Me: I thought so...

Fame I Will Miss if the Claim I Don't Dis: Guess what? I don't own Maximum Ride! Oooo...Big shocker there. I don't own Fang, but I figure kidnapping him through the space-time continuum was good enough.

But, I Shall Be Claiming: OCs, people. They're mine. Don't touch them, don't steal them. Easy as that.

And if anyone can find proof of Fang's evil twin, Diego, please tell me.

Fang's POV

I am NOT sick.

At least, that's what I kept telling myself as I dragged myself out of bed. After everything I'd been through, after even dying and returning to life, there was no way I could be getting sick.

Of course, my stupid cough and scratchy throat had different opinions.

I stumbled out to the kitchen, still half asleep, and just managed to stare at the fridge for five minutes. So far in my search, I had yet to aquire someone who was even close to Iggy's skill in cooking, so I had had to start learning to cook myself. My first attempts probably could've been considered nuclear weapons, though I was getting better. At least my group had been able to stomach my last concoction.

But now I didn't feel like making anything. Instead, I did exactly what I felt like doing and leaned forward to rest my forehead against the cool fridge. My face felt like it was on fire, despite the fact that the rest of me was shivering. I felt like a mess.

"Is it breakfast yet?" A little voice said sleepily from behind me.

"Not quite, but soon." I answered, pulling myself together and turning around to the youngest member of my psuedo-Flock, Anita. I smiled at her, pulling out a chair and lefting her up to sit her down in it, ruffling her bushy black hair. "Why don't you take a seat and try to wake up? I think you're making your flowers in the window close back up."

Sure enough, Anita's little flower garden was starting to close up like it was nighttime again. Anita's power was over plants and growing things. I remembered when I'd first found her, I'd scared her and she set a rose bush and a huge vine on me. I had to explain who I was while dangling upside down in the air being pinched to death by rose thorns. Not one of my shining moments.

I poured Annie some orange juice to help her wake up and attempted to find something simple to make for breakfast. I stared into the fridge, but my overtired brain was unable to piece the random food items into a meal.

Suddenly, I felt a hand pat me on the shoulder. "Fang, just because the orange juice bottle says 'concentrate' doesn't mean you have to stare at it."

I rolled my eyes. "Hilarious, Toby." I said, turning to glare at him.

Tobias just grinned and reached around me to grab an apple. I was careful to give Toby a bit of space. Toby's special ability happened to be inhuman strength. I'd seen this guy throw a Hummer at some Erasers before. He had my utmost respect. If he didn't, I'd probably be a bird-kid pretzel.

Luckily, though, Toby had a great sense of humor and a pretty much 'happy go lucky' type attitude. And the guy wouldn't hurt a fly. Well, unless said fly was carrying an AK-47 and was intent of shooting the guts out of any of our Flock. I'd seen this guy whistling to birds outside, and heard him singing to Anita at night.

I watched him now, trading jokes back and forth with Annie. Talk about your typical gentle giant. The guy was taller than me, not to mention freaking huge. And he was all muscle. Toby was older than me, too, already with the beginnings of a goatee to go with his shoulder-length brown hair. Yet, he was content to let me be leader so he could sit back and just take orders all day. Heck, if it was up to Tobias, we'd have all been on the first flight to Trinidad or Antigua. Basically anywhere tropical. The guy was obsessed with life on the islands. I really hoped he got his wish to go one of these days.

I finally had to ditch my musings over my oldest Flock member and get back to the conundrum that was breakfast. I finally decided to start making toast, then I'd work from there. Toast was easy, I could handle toast. The first thing I did, though, was pour myself a glass of orange juice, hoping to cool my scratchy throat. It worked for about five seconds before the pain was back. Screw it.

I used most of the bread to make toast for everyone and made a mental note to start making a shopping list. We were staying in a small village in Mexico where I had found Anita. Anita had been rescued by a renegade scientist who then left her in the care of this village, where he believed her parents were orginally from. The villagers had been fine with caring for her until she first displayed her little gift with plants. Most of the villagers were apprehensive of her at best. When I came along, they were more than happy to have me be her primary caregiver. When I mentioned needing a place to stay, they offered this out-of-the-way house and said they'd help with groceries and utilities as long as I took good care of Annie. Though her powers made them nervous, they still cared for her as a member of their village.

I usually had to take Annie into town with me to get food or anything. Though many people in this close-to-the-border village spoke English, I still sometimes needed Anita to play translator.

As I stood there, boredly toasting bread, I had to almost pinch myself to stay awake. I was so tired. My face still felt hot, the rest of me still cold. My throat hurt. At least I was able to control the cough. All I wanted to do was sleep...But I couldn't let them know that.

"For a guy who's supposed to be our leader, you really are an idiot, you know that?"

I froze. Crap. "Morning, Lark..."

Skylark was the only other person in our group who was a hybrid. She also had Avian genes like myself. Lark had the palest white skin I'd ever seen on a person before, she had to where sunscreen whenever we flew. She also had, get this, fire engine red hair. Was it just me, or was I attracting red-heads to me now? Max wouldn't be happy to know she was living with me.

Then again, she had Dylan the Teen Heart Throb Wonder living with her. Can't say I was too happy about that myself.

As for eye color, I couldn't tell you what color Lark's eyes were. They changed depending on her mood. Right now, they were gray for tiredness. But they were quickly shifting to mocha brown for concern, with a slight tinge of yellow for annoyance.

You see, Lark was an empath. She had the power to sense emotions.

"You're sick." She said, putting a hand on her hip.

"Well, that's a nice thing to say to the guy who's trying to make you breakfast." I shot back.

She rolled her eyes. "You know what I mean, idiot." She walked over to me and placed a hand on my forehead, unessesarily adding to the heat. I attempted to back away, but had the counter behind me.

"You're running a fever." She stated. Her eyes narrowed. "Don't get annoyed with me. It's not my fault germs are attracted to you."

It was my turn to roll my eyes. I pushed her hand away. "I'm fine, Lark. Can you just leave me alone?"

But now she had gotten the attention of the other two. "Fang's sick?" Anita asked. "Is he gonna turn into a chicken?"

"What?" Tobias asked her.

"I heard of people getting sick and turning into chickens." Anita explained. "They got poxes."

"I think you mean 'chickenpox', Annie." Lark said. "Don't worry, Fang doesn't have that. Besides, he's too close to being a chicken to really worry."

"So are you..." I pointed out to Lark.

She shrugged, her reddish-brown wings shrugging along with her. "Not the point, Fang. The point is, you should be in bed, dude."

I shook my head. "I'm fine. I haven't been sick in years. I'll work through it."

"You're not supposed to work off a fever, dumbass." She said. I noticed her eyes turning more yellow. "You're supposed to sleep it off. And that's exactly what you're going to do."

"I think I can figure out how to take care of myself." I snapped at her.

She glared back, her eyes almost fully yellow now. Creepy. "Face it, if one of us was sick, you'd be forcing us into bed. Same rules apply to you, Fang."

That was the one thing that drove me nuts about Skylark. She was always ready to pick a fight with me. She was the only one who ever really challenged my decisions.

She gave me some insight into how Max must feel.

I opened my mouth to give her a piece of my mind, but something stopped me, forcing me to close it again. My stomach felt like it had just flip-flopped. I took a couple deep breaths, trying to settle my stomach down, but it just flip-flopped again. I put a hand to my mouth, trying ot take a couple more deep breaths, but they didn't seem to be doing much.

"Toby, be a dear and go get Fang a bucket." Lark said suddenly. "He's gonna need it..."

I practically crawled back into bed. After my little episode with my new friend, the bucket, I felt like crap times two. Anita told me I looked like someone had squeezed all the juices and stuff outta me. At least I knew that I looked like how I felt.

I just lied there on the bed, letting my wings stretch out and almost hang over the sides. I was chilly, but on the other hand, I was too tired to move to warm myself up. I just let my face rest on my cool pillow and hoped for the best.

Suddenly, my blankets were pulled out from under me and were laid over me one by one. I closed my eyes as Iet Skylark basically tuck me into bed, something I hadn't even let Jeb do when I was younger.

"Bucket's on the floor on your right." Lark told me. "If you need anything, just make a loud noise, we'll be listening."

She ruffled my hair up a bit, then started to leave.

"Hey, Lark?"

She turned back to me, her eyes turning back to mocha brown again, this time with tinges of blue. Happiness. "Yeah, Fang?"

I managed to smile up from my pillow. "Thanks."

"No prob, dude." She replied, smiling warmly back. She turned again and left, letting me finally sink into sleep.

I dreamt I was back with the Flock. With my family again.

It was perfect.

There were Total and Akila, happily playing in the grass together. Angel, looking a whole lot more innocent than she had the last time I saw her, was chasing them around playfully, carrying a ball. Gazzy and Iggy were working on something (illegal and dangerous, no doubt) under a tree. Nudge and Ella were chatting away on Dr. M's front porch. Dr. Martinez herself was inside, baking cookies. There was no Dylan in sight.

And, to top it all off, there was Max. She was sitting next to me, looking absolutely beautiful in the sunlight. She turned to me and smiled, the wind blowing her hair slightly. I only managed a smile back. It was moments like this I wished I was better with all those wordy displays of emotion. I wanted to tell her how much I'd missed her, loved her, how I didn't want to leave again, but I just couldn't find the words.

She didn't seem to mind that fact. I mean, she was Max, she was used to me by now. We just sat in contented silence, happy to just have each other's company.

But, of course, these moments can never last.

Erasers suddenly surrounded us, snarling and growling, claws and teeth poised and ready to kill.

We were all on our feet in seconds, in fighting positions. The Erasers flew at us from all sides, but we were ready for them. We were like one big fighting machine, taking out Eraser after Eraser. For a while, not one of those Erasers could really touch us. We were unstoppable. We were The Flock, and no one messed with us.

Soon, the other Flock members were locked in combat with their last Erasers and Max and I were fighting back-to-back taking out what Erasers were still brave enough to take us on.

Suddenly, I heard a familiar scream.

I turned to look towards the woods and saw an Eraser holding Anita. How had she gotten here? The Eraser gave me an unpleasant toothy grin and ran off, carrying the screaming Anita into the woods.

Another scream made me turn again. An Eraser had grabbed Angel and was flying off in the opposite direction of the last Eraser, carrying her away.

Max began to run off to follow her, but stopped and turned to me. "Are you coming?" She asked me.

I stood there, feeling torn in two. My Flock was going that way, to save a girl that I loved like a little sister, maybe almost like a daughter at times. I belonged with my family.

But, I couldn't abandon Anita. I couldn't abandon my new family, my new Flock.

It almost hurt to shake my head no, but I did. I started to back up to go in the other direction, but Max reached forward to stop me. "Fang, stay." She pleaded.

I tried to loosen her grasp. "Max, go after Angel. Go save her." I told her. Didn't she realize she was loosing precious time talking to me?

"Fang, don't go." She pleaded again, but I pulled myself loose.

"Focus, Max!" I said. "Go rescue Angel, save the world. Focus on that!" But she still tried to follow me, stop me. I ran faster, finally getting into the woods and hiding. Max didn't follow me there. I ran through the woods, after Anita and her captor.

But, just as I had them in sight, my foot caught on something and I began to fall...

I shot up in bed, sweat beading my face. I took a couple deep breaths to calm myself. I'd had a couple dreams like that, though none as vivid as the last. It always involved being with Max, then something tearing us apart. Always something necessary, an unavoidable tasks, two different priorities. It's like I was constantly reliving the reason I left.

Like I needed the reminders.

I lied back down on my pillows, thinking. I often wondered if I had done the right thing. Maybe I had been wrong, maybe I should've stayed. At least, I could've really said goodbye. Stayed in contact. Hell, maybe I should've toned down my opinions and acted a bit more like Dill Weed the follower. Then maybe everyone would've left us alone.

But I couldn't act like Dylan. It wasn't me. I wasn't gonna be someone I wasn't just to make some other people happy.

And if I'd stayed in contact, Max would beg for me to come back. And I would go, and the cycle would start all over again. I at least updated my blog once in a while, giving vague reports on how I was and the current status of my Other Flock. And I checked up on The Flock's blog. Nudge had mostly been keeping it up to date, though the others posted off and on. We still could contact one another if we needed to.

Max had tried to send me a message or comment on my blog for a while, but I ignored them, which just about killed me. Eventually, she gave up.

I still regretted that note, and on Total's wedding day, of all days. But I couldn't see a better way at the time. Maybe I could've done it better if I hadn't been in such a nervous rush, and it was the only day everyone was out of the house. At the time, I couldn't see a better choice.

As for me doing the right thing, I had wondered that up until I started picking up Flock members. Anita, living as a 5-year-old outcast in a village, Tobias living on the city streets, stealing to live, Skylark constantly on the run from the Institute she had escaped from. I gave each of them home, safety, security, and family. I couldn't see how any of them would've been helped otherwise.

At least, by them, I'd done the right thing.

"Well, this thoughtfulness of yours is a lot easier to handle that the fear and anxiousness your dream caused earlier."

I looked up to see Skylark walking in, carrying a steaming cup in one hand and what looked unnervingly like medicine in the other. Unfortunately, this time, looks were not decieving.

"You should take a couple of these." She said, holding up some pills. "Bottle says they'll help with fever. Plus, I made you some tea. Tea is good for you. Drink it or die."

I attempted to swallow the pills without making a face and drank a bit of the tea. I don't know where Lark gets all these interesting tea flavors, but she seemed to have a knack for finding every single type of tea made on the planet. This one tasted a bit like apples and cinnamon. Not bad.

"Let me guess...Dreaming about your Flock again?" She asked me, taking a seat on the edge of my bed.

I nodded. "Most vivid one yet."

"That's what I guessed." She answered. "I came to check on you, just to make sure that you were just dreaming. You always start out happy in your dreams, then move somewhere between anxious and downright scared. Then, when you wake up, your sad and...Pained." Her eyes turned that mocha brown color again. I was breifly reminded of Max's eye color.

"You miss your Flock more than anything." She stated.

I just nodded again. Lark also had a knack for hitting the point right on the head.

"You'll see them again." She said. "I know it. When you care about people that much, you can't be kept apart forever."

"What if keeping us apart is the best thing for us?" I asked miserably.

"Well, maybe it's the best thing now, but it won't be forever." She answered. "You'll see them again."

"But...What will it be like when I see them?" I asked. "What if...Things aren't the same?" The fears that had been lying under the surface, the thoughts that I tried to forget having came spilling out. "What if what all those scientists have said about each of my Flock members getting their own Flock is true? What if we all end up splitting apart, one by one? What if we're never 'The Flock' again? And I would have been the one to start it, the one that ruined everything. And what if Angel gets dragged back to the dark side and we have to fight her? Or if Iggy finally gets fed up with us and does something...Drastic? What if Max and Dylan...What if they...Well..."

"What if Max falls for Dylan?" Lark finished for me.

I nodded. "What if my entire life as I once knew it gets turned into something I can't understand?"

Lark seemed to think for a moment, then she sighed, smiling at me sadly. The mocha color of her eyes seemed to become richer. "Fang, may I be blunt with you here?"

"Sure, Lark. What is it?" I wondered if she was going to tell me I was an idiot again.

"Fang, hun, that's life." She said. "Despite the fact that you, like most of us in this Flock and your old one, have been through more crap than most regular adults, you're still only 15, well, we think." She added. "You're still just a teen, and I think a hard fact of any teenage life is that things are gonna change, they're gonna change fast, and you're probably not gonna like it. Friends, family even, grow apart, go and strike out on their own. You make new friends, find new family sometimes. Your goals in life change, your world view broadens. You feel your life is falling in around you when, really, it's only just begun. You've got a lot of life left to live, Fang, so you better get used to unpleasant changes, because they're more of them to come. My advice? Learn to look at them as gifts rather than curses, because they're going to teach you something important in the end. Change what you can, accept and move on from what you can't, and try to realize the difference between the two. And, for the love of all that is holy, please don't try to make scalloped potatoes again. My digestive system is still reeling."

"I'll make a note of that..." I said. "And...Thanks for being blunt."

She smiled. "Anytime, doofus." She answered. "Speaking of being blunt, you look like death warmed over, dude." She reached over and ruffled my hair again. "Get some sleep, why don't ya?"

I nodded again. I hadn't realized how tired I felt until just then. I was suddenly having trouble keeping my eyes open.

Lark gently pushed me back down on the pillows. I didn't try to stop her. I was just so tired all of a sudden...


"You're....Projecting..." I accused Lark between a yawn.

She grinned at me. "Had to get you to sleep somehow."

If I hadn't been falling asleep, I would've rolled my eyes. I just loved it when Lark used her powers to project emotions onto me. (Sarcasm here, for all you airheads.)

I let myself drift off to sleep, thinking about The Flock, about changes, about life.

And wondering how much of it I had the power to change.

And there you have it. One random oneshoty thingy that I don't know what to do with.

Fang: Very deep at the end there...

Me: I have thoughts. I put these thoughts to writing. Big whoop.

Fang: So...Now what?

Me: We post as a oneshot and leave it 'till later?

Fang: -shrugs-

Lark: So, we only get to be a oneshot? I feel freaking loved...

Me: Oh, stop complaining or you won't get to be in anything.

Toby: Don't wreck this for us, Lark Ness Monster.

Lark: Shove it.

Fang: Chill out, both of you.

Anita: No fighting!

Me: Good girl, Anita.

Fang: Quick, post this before an OC war breaks out.

Me: Not again...


Oh, and because of the Fiscal Fiasco I've currently found myself in, I shall be shamelessly plugging my Zazzle store here as well as in any of my other updates. Link on my profile in the 'Find Me On' section. Maximum Ride and St. Fang of Boredom related stuff. Support the starving writer/college student. You know you want to...

2. Chapter 2

Me: Well, look at this. I was able to write a chapter two.

Fang: And the damn thing still doesn't have a real plot.

Me: Oh, but it will. Just give me time...

Fang: Time. A dangerous tool in Saint's hands...

Lark's POV

"Alright, troops." I said, walking into the kitchen. "I suppose now would be the time to inform you that, since Fang is out of commission for the day, I'll be in charge."

"Says who?" Toby asked, leaning on the counter and crossing his arms.

"Says me, dude." I answered. "Annie's sure as heck not leading us and...Do you want to?"

"What'll you be leading today, anyway?" Toby asked. "It's not like we're going anywhere."

"Well, if something comes up, just so you know, I'm leading it." I said. I would've fought with him more if he had actually been annoyed with me, but all I felt rolling off of Toby was boredom. He just wanted to give me a hard time. Typical Toby.

Instead, I made my way over to the fridge and began trying to figure out what to have for lunch. "Luncheon meat, come on down." I thought, scanning the fridge for a package of ham or a slice of turkey. The last thing I wanted to do was anything that involved turning on an appliance. The last time I had tried to use the blender, I gave the kitchen a strawberry smoothie makeover, and use of the oven usually ended in us being smoked-out.

Finally, I pulled out something that is considered by the majority of the American public to be, somehow, consumable: Bologna. Oscar Mayer's finest, to be exact. I wondered where Fang had found this stuff. Certainly not in the village. I checked the package and, miraculously, the expiration date hadn't passed yet. I just shook my head. I didn't know how Fang found some of our food, but it was nothing short of amazing. (I also had a theory that it wasn't all quite legal, either, but hey, I wasn't complaining.)

I found the emergency back-up loaf of bread and used it up to throw together a plate full of bologna sandwiches, some with mustard, some with mayo, some with lettuce and tomato. (Isn't it annoying when you accidentally rhyme like that?) I carried them out to the living area and dropped them on the table in front of the TV. "Order up!"

"In a minute..." Toby said, leaning around me in his attempt to get a better look at Keira Knightley in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie they had stuck in. I could feel the mild traces of lust rolling off of him. Ew. I rolled my eyes.

"Seriously, Toby, find a real girl and get a life." I told him.

He just shook his head and kept watching.

Meanwhile, Annie had already downed two sandwiches and was heading for a third. Man, tht girl could pack 'em down almost as well as Fang and I. "I'm gonna eat 'em all on you, Toby!"

"Not if I stop you!" He exclaimed back, pushing her gently back onto the couch and commencing to tickle her senseless.

I grabbed a Processed Meat Special (PMS) sandwich and watched as I chowed down. I loved how Toby was so good with Annie. It gave me something to take notes on, seeing as society and I had kind of got it off on the wrong foot. I didn't know the first thing about little kids. I almost felt like a disgrace to all Woman-dom next to the boys, Toby with his relatable childish antics and Fang with his almost father-like ways. But I was learning, just as Fang said I would.


"Why the HELL are you FOLLOWING ME?" I sceamed back at whatever the heck had taken an interest in ripping out my throat this time. "Leave me ALONE! I'm not bothering anyone here! Go find someone else to inject with crap!"

I ran as fast as I could, zipping around buildings, hoping to lose whoever (or whatever) it was. Maybe I'd even find a place to take off. I felt a bit insecure. This city was new and unfamiliar to me. One wrong turn could be my last. It was like a Labyrinth.

Heck, my life was a Labyrinth.

I zipped around a corner into an alley between an apartment building and a butcher's shop. Shit. Dead end. That's what you get for not looking before you leap. I ripped my jacket off, ready to jump and take off right there, praying I'd get air on the first shot, but before I could move, someone grabbed me by the arm.

"Just hold on a-" A voice started to say.

"LET GO!" I screamed. I spun around, swinging an arm in a circle through the air and breaking his grasp.

Then, I kicked him straight in the groin.

Whoever it was went down with a pathetic squeak, but now that we were in close range and I wasn't focused on escape, I was truly picking up on this guy's emotions. There was pain, obviously. Exhaustion. But then, something I wasn't expecting. Concern.

"Way to be, Skylark." I thought to myself. "Kick the guy's balls off first, ask questions later."

"Look, dude, I'm sorry I had to ruin your chances at offspring, but you shouldn't chase a girl like that." I said. "A girl gets nervous being chased like that in these parts."

The guy looked up at me in the half-light from the streetlamp, attempting to stand up straight. "I think a girl like you would get nervous being chased anywhere." He managed between gasps. "You gonna pick up your jacket? Don't want the wings to freeze off."

I had been just about ready to snatch my jacket off the ground, but when I heard his last sentence, I froze. "And how would you know about that kind of stuff?" I asked, once again poised to take off.

By now, he'd managed to stand back up straight, despite looking slightly pained. He shrugged off his own jacket and, in one swift movement, I suddenly wasn't the only of my kind I knew.

I blinked a couple times. "I'm gonna guess you didn't get those on ebay."

He shook his head. "Had 'em my whole life. You?"

I cautiously let mine extend. "Same..."

"You have a name, girl?" He asked.

"Depends if you've got one." I countered. He had stunned me, but not out of my wits. I wasn't stupid.

I could see him grinning in the shadows. "Name's Fang."

Fang? Fitting. He kind of reminded me of a vampire. Though...Wasn't Fang a girl's name in some country? Eh, forget it. "Skylark." I replied.

I probably would've ditched the guy shortly after that encounter if he hadn't made me an offer I couldn't refuse. I mean, he could've done it the nice way and talked about it, but no. He used under-handed bribery at its finest.

He took me out for pizza.

"Give yourself time to breathe, Lark." Fang reminded me as I inhaled my sixth slice of pizza. I just nodded in response and proceeded to stuff my face with breadsticks.

Luckily, Fang, unlike the people staring at us from the next booth over, seemed used to these kinds of eating habits and was unphased. "So, how long've you been on the run?"

I shrugged. "Months. Haven't kept track. Don't look at calenders often. Do I look like one of those yuppies with a 2 million app iphone I can schedule myself to death on?"

"Chill." He said, holding up a hand. "Just wondering."

"What do you want from me, anyway?" I asked, dipping my breadstick in the ranch dressing from my salad. Marinara sauce is so overrated. "I doubt you're here talking to me just because you're a nice guy."

I caught a wave of nervousness rolling off of him. Oh, I could play with this guy so bad...

"Well," Fang answered. "You looked like a girl who needed a place to go, and I need someone to go with me. You know, birds of a feather...flock together." I felt a slight pang of sadness at the word 'flock'. Strange.

I raised my eyebrows. "If this is some kind of kinky bird mating thing, I'm out."

He shook his head vigorously. "No, no! I just... I'm trying to get a group of people like us together. You know...Mutants."

"So...You're starting a freak show?" I asked.

"No..." Fang answered. "More like an army of mutants."

"Ah, so we're America's new secret weapon. We're so freaky, the enemy won't know whether to cry or laugh." I said.

Fang looked about ready to whack his head off of his plate. Frustration was stabbing through the air around him. "No. It's an army to go against the people who did this to us and people like them. Stop the cruelty, the insanity. The...Madness."

"Ah." I said. "Are you working with that group? I saw them in a newspaper. CSM, is it?"

Another pang of sadness. Hmmm... "I was." He answered. "Not anymore, really."

"What went wrong there?" I asked.

Fang made a face. "Let's say...Artistic differences."

I nodded. "Yeah, I didn't like their logo, either." I took a sip of soda. "So, you want me to join your army. Well, how big is it?"

Confusion. "How big is what?"

I rolled my eyes. "The army, genius."

"Heh." He said, all nerves again. "Well...You have the possibility of being my first recruit."

"Well, I'm just really going places these days..." I said sarcastically.

"You'd have protection." Fang pointed out. "You wouldn't have to always watch your back. You'd have food, a roof over your head."

"A teenager like you can promise me all this?" I asked, skeptical.

"I'll make sure of it." He said, nodding.

I just sat there for a moment, staring at and playing in my ranch sauce. It all sounded to good to be true.

"You'd have companionship." Fang added.

I let out a short laugh. "What if I don't know how to work with 'companions'?"

He just smiled. "Oh, you'll learn."


And learn I had. Despite my misgivings and my attempts to rebel against my own changing attitude, I had made friends and adjusted to a whole new way of life.

It was, to say the least, beautiful.

Too bad I knew it'd never last.

Fang: What are you going to do, have a chapter from every character's POV?

Me: I...Dunno yet. Yes, there is a real plot coming up, but I wanted to get some background info and stuff in here first.

Fang; So...Since we're here...

Me: Oh, yeah, this is the last A/N that we have to say something about the contest in!

Fang: Really? You mean we're almost done?

Me: Yeah!

Fang: Finally!

Me: So, the contest...

Fang: Saint's Sequels Contest.

Me: We're going to get reallu sick of typing 'Saint's Sequels Contest' soon...

Fang: I know, but oh well.

Me: Anyway, it's a contest I'm holding.

Fang: The details about it are in a forum bearing the contest's name and in the newest chapter of the Poetry Corner.

Me: So go check it out!

Fang: Vamanos!


3. Chapter 3

I am going to at least start the next chapter for No Longer Hatchlings before school starts on Tuesday. When I'll finish it, I have no clue, but I'm starting it.

Fang: Thank God...

Me: What's with you?

Fang: You kept waking me up all night to tell me all the ideas you had for this fic. Just write them already!

Me: Sorry! Had to tell someone!

Fang: Why me?

Fang's POV

I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like I hadn't slept at all. I was exhausted, still feeling slightly like I was going to be sick, too. I sat up for a minute to check the time. 12:26. Ack. I flopped back on the bed, closing my eyes, but not able to fall asleep yet.

After a couple minutes, I began to throw the blankets off of me, one by one. It seemed so hot in here. I figured I must have one Hell of a fever. As soon as the blankets were off, I was trying to roll up my shirt and pant legs. If I'd had a bit more energy, the shirt would've came off altogether.

I thought feeling this hot was strange. I hadn't felt like this since when I had that hot flash after Max's blood donation. But I hadn't had any problems with that since.

I rolled around in bed, trying to find a cool spot, but with no luck. Every time I found a good spot, it'd get warm in a couple minutes. Useless.

I thought of getting Skylark to get me a fan or ice water or something, but I didn't want to wake her up this late. I thought of getting up to get these things myself, but I was too tired. I just wanted to sleep, but for some reason, it's hard to nod off when you feel like someone just stuck you in a dysfunctional EasyBake oven on a hot summer day. I just stared at what I could see of the ceiling in the dark and hoped that I would just fall asleep already so I couldn't feel this heat any longer.

Finally, I could only take so much of the heat. I needed something to cool me down. I ran ideas through my tired brain. I didn't really want to stand up for a cold shower. A cold bath probably wouldn't be that good for me. Cold water might help a bit...Wait, didn't we have some popsicles left? Those would taste good...

I was starting to like the idea of popsicles. I guess my topsy-turvy stomach decided popsicles were ok. I didn't get another wave of nausea at the thought.

"I'll just get up, walk to the kitchen, and get a popsicle." I thought to myself. "I should be able to handle that."

Still, I hesitated for a moment. Something was definitely wrong with me, and I didn't know what. I should probably stay in bed. But I was hot, uncomfortable. I needed something to help. I was going to have to get up at some point, might as well be now. I braced myself, pushing myself into a sitting position.

Then, my brain exploded.

It was like there had been a little bomb inside my head and someone had just pressed 'detonate'. I wasn't even able to scream. Nothing but I high-pitched whine escaped me as I fell back on the bed, clutching either side of my head, sure that if I let go, pieces of my skull would come falling off into my hands.

I was just lying there, my eyes shut tight in pain, going back and forth between panting and whimpering. The pain would not let up. It would start to fade slightly, for a moment, then would come back, like a wave, stronger than ever. I was beginning to see dots like stars dancing in my closed eyelids. If I passed out, it would be a relief. At this point, I'd take a bullet to the brain. It couldn't feel much worse.

I was going to die, I was sure of it. Yep, after everything I'd been through, my brain was just going to explode and kill me. Typical.

Finally, it started to feel like it was really letting up. The pain began to slowly ebb away. I started to loosen the grip on my head, opening my eyes a crack.

I moved too soon. The second brain explosion hit harder than the first.

I was gripping either side of my head now. Not only was my brain disintigrating into millions of fiery pieces, there was this loud noise vibrating through my skull now. What was that?

...Was that me screaming? Oh, it was. Oh well.

Might as well let my Flock know where they could find my dead body.

Skylark's POV

I ended up staying up with Fang 'till morning.

He woke us all up screaming. When I first ran in, I thought maybe he'd had a bad dream, but as soon as I stepped through the door, the wall of pain hit me like a truck. I let out a yell and stumbled baxkwards, landing in Toby's arms as he had run in behind me. I put a hand to my head, rubbing my throbbing temples, taking deep breaths, trying to tune out Fang's emotions. If I was going to be any help, I couldn't have Fang's feelings effecting my own.

I finally got myself enough under control to walk over to Fang and put a shaking hand to his forehead. The fever was still there, but not as bad as it was. What was causing this pain?

I tried to pull Fang's hands away from his head, but he rolled away from me, still whimpering and panting. I moved to try again, but stopped when I felt threads of worry and anxiety coming from behind me. I turned to see Anita standing at the door behind Toby, watching me.

"Toby, Anita, go get me a wet cloth and some cool water." I instructed them, wanting to get Anita away from here before she got too upset. "Might want to find some Tylenol, too."

Toby gave me a salute. "Aye, aye, captain." He then gently lead Anita away by the arm before she could say anything.

I sat down on the bed next to Fang, reaching over to move his hand again. He just twitched away from me and let out a whine. This was so strange. What could be hurting his head this badly? Did he have brain cancer or something? I cringed at the thought.

I wished he'd let me move his hands so I could see if he'd been hurt, but it was like he was trying to hold his brain in or something. He was too much in pain and too panicked to do anything else.

I was considering just grabbing his arms and wrenching them from around his head, when I thought of something Fang had said earlier.


Oh, duh!

I cleared my mind, even more than I did the last time. I was going to need a lot of concentration to break through his pain. I thought of the emotion I wanted him to feel. Calmness. Sleepiness, even. I focused on these two emotions, remembering what it was like to feel these two feelings. Feeling them without really feeling them. Becoming these emotions. I pictured them as two balls of light in front of me, one blue for calm, the other gray for sleepiness, and pictured myself pushing the two balls toward Fang and having them absorb into him. The little light balls didn't exactly absorb well on the first try. The hit and stuck, but Fang's current emotion of pain, glowing white around him, wouldn't let them in. It was a battle of my will against Fang's emotions. I pushed harder, forcing the two emotions through him.

Slowly, Fang's breathing began to even out. His grip loosened. I reached over and gently moved his hands away from his head and to his sides.

After a short examination, I couldn't find anything wrong with Fang's head. No bumps, bruises, or blood. Anita and Toby came back and I used the water and cloth they brought to wipe the sweat from Fang's face. I put the Tylenol aside. Couldn't exactly force it down his throat.

I didn't know what to do after that. It seemed like I should do something, but...Really, what? I just stared at him. Alright, I'd done all the obvious stuff, now what else does someone do for a friend?

Damn it, this 'having friends' thing was a lot of work.

"Someone should probably stay the night with him." Toby said. "Make sure he doesn't have another attack or need something."

"I'll stay." I offered at once. Besides feeling the need to do something, Anita was too young and Toby, well...He needed his sleep at night. I did not want him cranky in the morning.

After some discussion, Toby and Anita agreed and I was left to watch Fang sleep. I hunkered down in a chair nearby his bed and watched him awhile. I couldn't figure it out. There was nothing wrong with him, at least not in a way to cause such pain.

Suddenly, another thought occurred to me, and I jumped up, feeling panic start to rise. I tried to push it back down again, unnerved. It was strange to feel such concern for someone else. I'd lived my life only concerning myself with my own safety, why should I worry about another now? But Fang had done so much for me. Not to mention, if he were gone, what would happen to our little...Family? It was stupid of me to worry, I knew. Good things never last forever, but to lose it all now? It wasn't a pleasant thought.

I walked over to Fang, taking his head and shoulders as gently as possible in my arms and lifting him off the bed a little. I examined the back of his neck closely.

No date. No writing. No nothing. I let out a sigh of relief and lowered him back down on the bed.

I went back to my chair, relieved that an expiration date wasn't our problem, but still worried, nonetheless.

If that wasn't the problem, what was?

Me: Told ya a plot was coming.

Fang: -eyeroll-

Me: What?

Fang: Face it. You never had a plot 'till the other night.

Me; ...Shut up.

Fang: Hey, you going to explain all of Lark's eye colors sometime?

Me: I have a Lark Eye Color Chart. I'll get to it.

Fang: Whatever...

Me: -whacks Fang's head-

Fang: Ow! What?

Me: There's where the pain came from!

Fang: -headdesk-


4. Chapter 4

Me: Alright, so after reading the reviews for my last chapter, I've realized my plot is way too freaking predictable.

Fang: Duh.

Me: And I KNOW this isn't exactly the most original idea! Heck, neither was Fly By Twilight, but that worked out pretty well.

Of course, that had a better plot...

My plot sucks!

Fang: It does not! It just needs...Tweaking...

Me: It does...I'm tweaking it. But I'm sticking with one of my ideas, just because I can't really see turning back now...But, I think this a tweak-able.

Sometime Later...

Me: Ok! I think I've tweaked the plot! It might not seem too original for awhile, but as we go on, I think you'll see where I'm going...Actually, you won't, which is my goal. PLOT TWISTS!

Fang: Oh, great. More twistedness...

Fang's POV

I was surprised by the blinding light that met my eyes when I opened them. I automatically wondered if this was 'the light' they always told you about. I thought the light would've been a bit nicer, not burning a hole into my retina. Then, my pained eyes began to adjust and I saw my room with the sun streaming in through my window.

So I was still alive, huh? Who knew?

"You with us, dude?" I heard a familiar voice say somewhere to my left. I turned my head to see Lark sitting in a chair, watching me. "You scared the shit out of us last night, you know."

"Sorry..." I muttered. I tried to gingerly lift myself into more of a sitting position, praying I wouldn't set another bomb off. Thankfully, my brain didn't explode this time.

"What happened?" Lark asked me, getting up and walking over to sit on the bed next to me. "I don't understand what all that pain was coming from."

"Neither do I." I answered. "I've never had that happen before."

"Great, mystery migraines." Lark said. "You don't remember, like, falling or anything that could screw you up?"

I shook my head. "I haven't done anything like that. Could it have to do with me being sick?"

She shrugged. "Anything's possible. We'll get some answers to this, eventually. Either that, or we'll just continue with our ignorance, whichever's more convinient." She smiled. "I'll go see what's taking your breakfast so long."

"You're making me breakfast?" I asked. "You guys don't have to do that."

"Sure we do. You can't." She said matter-of-factly. "Don't worry, we didn't do anything crazy."

I leaned back against my pillows again, wondering what I'd be getting for breakfast and if it was going to be safe for consumption. I was getting thos nagging feeling, like I was forgetting something, something important, but I couldn't remember what it was.

Guess it wasn't too important if I forgot it.

Lark's POV

After checking to make sure that Fang's breakfast was ready and on it's way to his room safely, I swiped Fang's laptop off of his desk and proceeded to surf the net in the kitchen. I started looking up Fang's symptoms.

Googling 'brain attack' brought up a whole bunch of links on strokes. Could Fang have had a stroke? But strokes usually led to paralysis, if not treated properly. At least, I think. I couldn't decipher all the information Googling was tossing at me.

'Brain explosion' brought up a bunch of jokes and urban legends, basically. I tried 'causes of extreme head pain' and found an entire page on head pain. It listed causes from tumors, to illness to brain injury. It was almost scary to read.

Almost as a joke to myself, I looked up 'head pain in mutants'. The first link that came up said, "Are red-haired people more sensitive to pain?" I could've laughed. Yeah, right.

I ended up surfing around YouTube for awhile, watching stupid videos. Seriously, what is so funny about 'Fred', anyway?

After about ten minutes of attempting 'The Ninja Glare', I moved on to some news videos. My eyes were drawn to a video about Fang's former organization, the Coalition to Stop the Madness. I found a video of Fang's flock doing some kind of formation flight. They were absolutely amazing to watch. They all moved together so well and new tricks that I only wished I had learned. I made a note to bug Fang into teaching me some of this stuff.

Newer videos led me to Dylan. I'd heard about Dill. To be honest, I kinda pitied the guy. He had never asked for the life he was saddled with. Even his obedience to Max, it was programmed into him, he couldn't help it. But I could understand Fang's anger with him, too. Fang never admitted to it, but I felt it roll off of him every time Dill was brought up. Sometimes, I didn't even think the anger was actually directed at Dylan personally, but at the situation. It wasn't Dylan's fault that he had been brought to the Flock or that he was the way he was, but he was still there, and that's where the problems lie.

I saw a new CSM video had become popular. I clicked on it, wondering what they were up to now.

The shock was enough to make my feathers stand on end.

The Headline: Ella Martinez Kidnapped.


Fang: That's the best you could come up with?

Me: . . .-whacks Fang with herring- Yes, yes it was.

Fang: Ok, jeez...

Me: You know, I think this calls for another chapter...The cliffy is almost too much for me to handle...


5. Chapter 5

Me: That last chapter just needed another chapter to go with it.

Fang: And I'm falling asleep.

Me: And I have a headache.

Fang: So let's post this, shall we?

Fang's POV

"Do they know who kidnapped her?" I asked, madly searching the article on my laptop.

"No, they didn't say. An anonymous villain." Lark rolled her eyes. "But I bet they have some prime suspects..."

"Dr. G-H." I said. It had to be him. A regular kidnapper might ask for ransom money. Not very many would demand that the entire Flock turn themselves over to research.

And notice, I said the entire Flock. The ransom note had left me out. It specifically mentioned that they had better get ahold of me quick, which was probably why this article had quickly spread all over the internet. I also had about a million messages on my blog. I might as well just press 'delete all'. No way I could read them all, plus, I knew what they would all say.

"We have to go to your Flock, right?" Anita asked me, curled up at the end of my bed.

"As long as you're sure this isn't, like, some kind of trap." Toby pointed out.

"Of course it's a trap." Lark said. "He's trying to draw Fang out. But you're going to fall for that part of the trap, aren't you?"

I sighed. "I need to go to the Flock and see if I can help save Ella somehow. Trust me, I'm sure they're trying to think of a plan to avoid turning ourselves in to science. We've been through kidnappings before." Angel, Max, Dr. M... "I still need to go, in case they need me."

"In case the plan doesn't work, so you can turn yourself in." Lark said. Her voice sounded bitter. "You think they'll just take a blood sample and let you walk? You're out of your mind, dude."

"Maybe, but what do you expect me to do, just leave Ella to...Whatever they have planned for her?" There was another word I almost used, but I couldn't bear to say it.

"You gonna just leave us to whatever the world wants to do with us?" Lark shot back.

"I won't ditch you guys..." I started to say, but Lark cut me off.

"Oh, you won't, will you? What, you have the power to split in two now? Clone yourself?" She asked, clenching her fists. "I see where you're going, Fang. So much for our Flock, our protection, huh?"

"Nothing's been decided yet." I said. "I want to go, I want to see if I can help. With any luck, we'll get Ella out of this mess without getting ourselves into one."

"You can't promise that." Lark said.

"No, I can't promise anything." I said. "But I'll do my best, and, no matter what, I'll make sure you're all safe. I promised I would do that and I will."

"Even if you're being sliced open and salvaged for parts on the operating floor?" Lark asked. "What, you gonna drop us with the CSM or something? Strangers we're supposed to trust? Whatever, Fang."

Before I could reply, she turned on her heels and stormed out.

"I'm willing to go, Fang." Annie said, crawling up and giving me a hug. "I want to help rescue your friend."

I smiled, giving her a hug back. "Thanks, Anita."

"All for one and one for all." Toby said. "I'm in. I'd like to travel."

"Well, at least I have someone convinced." I said.

"When do we leave?" Toby asked.

"As soon as I feel up to it." I answered.

It was a couple days later, and Lark had barely spoken to me. I finally told her when we were leaving and that, if she didn't want to come, she could hold down the fort 'till we got back. By the way she was acting, I'd be surprised if she was still here when we returned. She didn't even acknowledge me when I told her the news.

We started out the long dirt road that served as our driveway.

"How much farther 'till we get to the train station?" Anita asked.

"We just have to get to town, then catch the bus to the city where the station is." I explained. "That will get us over the boarder into the states." Well, I hoped that and our forged passports would.

"If you get tired of walking, Annie, just let me know." Toby told her. "I'll give you a lift."

We had only made it halfway down the road when I heard footsteps behind us, catching up fast.

"Hey! Yo, dumb and dumber! Hold up!"

I turned to face our newest addition. "What a surprise, Lark."

"Well, I figured I better see this thing out to the end." She said. "You never know, right? You might not be turned over to the dark side or whatever." She fell into step with our group and kept walking. "Besides, I've missed the states. It'd be nice to see what the old red, white, and blue is up to these days,"

"Taxes." Toby said jokingly. "They taxes are always up."

"Very funny, Tobias." Lark said, rolling her eyes.

We made it to town with no problems, jumping the bus to the city as soon as we got there.

From there, I was starting to think I should've flown.

I felt like I was riding in a wheeled sardine can. My claustrophobia was kicking in bad and all the bumps we hot didn't make me feel any better. Anita seemed happy enough, but I could tell Toby and Lark were feeling equal feelings of being trapped.

We practically launched ourselves out of the bus. After buying our train tickets, we wandered around for a bit, waiting for our train to arrive. Even with her dark sunglasses on, hiding her eyes, I could tell the crowd was making Lark uncomfortable. I mean, besides not being the most social bird-kid anyway, all those unfamiliar feelings and emotions washing over her must have had her jumping. I began to worry what bringing her into the Flock's slightly more public world was going to be like.

Finally, our train arrived and we hopped a ride back to the good old USA.

Please, dear God, don't let this be a mistake.

Me: Still have headache.

Fang: And still sleepy.

Me: So we're skipping the cool A/N and finishing this thing.


6. Chapter 6

Me: So, it's 5:21 in the morning and we're sitting in an airport terminal, waiting to head to Florida.

Fang: ...

Me: And Fang is asleep.

Fang: -jumps up- Am not...

Me: Well, half asleep.

Affie: What's another word for ghost? Ends in 'ition'.

Me: Apparition.

Affie: Thanks!

Me: And Affie's doing crosswords.

Fang: Yeah...

Me: Oh, go back to sleep. I'll wake you up when the plane comes.

Fang: Whatever...

Me: He didn't sleep much in the hotel. So anyway, I've decided to use the airport's internet and update this fic, since I finished this chapter last night...

Here goes...

Max's POV

"I'm telling you, Max, we've had people question Dr. Gunther-Hagen, search his house and properties, there's nothing to pin him as Ella's kidnapper."

"Except the fact that he's Satan's Spawn." I pointed out.

"There are other suspects, Max." Dr. Abate told me. "You have enemies, and lots of them. There are enemies you haven't even met yet."

"Way to be optimistic." Iggy muttered cynically. "Giving us a lot of security here."

"Just stating the facts, Ig." Dr. Abate replied.

"Well, this meeting has been totally misinforming and useless." I said, pulling myself up from my chair. "If anyone has something useful to tell me, I'll be in the kitchen, then in my room." I headed out to the ktchen, and noticed the rest of my Flock taking the cue and dispersing as well. This was the third meeting that Dr. Abate had set up at our new safe house for us, and it had been just as useless. No one could tell us anything on Ella. No clues, no sure suspects, no nothing. Just a ransom note.

And it was that note that was on my mind right now. I started warming up a cup of water for hot chocolate while I thought about it. The note had specifically said that all of my Flock must be present, and this included Fang. Now, even though everyone and their mother had sent out messages and such telling him to come, I hadn't heard a thing from him and still wasn't quite sure if I ever would. If we couldn't contact him, then what? I, of course, had no intention of actually turning my Flock in to these nutcases, but we might have to fake giving in or who knows what. Either way, it would be nice to have my second in command back, even if I was still having a hard time deciding if I wanted to hug him or slit his throat.

"You ok, Max?"

I mentally groaned. My stalker was back. "I'm alright as I can be right now, Dill." I told Dylan. "Don't worry about me."

"Too late, I'm worried." He said. "You wanna talk?"

The last thing I wanted to do was talk, but I had a feeling he wasn't going anywhere. "I'm just worried. And I wish they'd do something already, ya know? And then..."

"There's Fang." Dylan said. "You think he'll show up?"

"I...Just don't know." I answered. "I mean, if he heard about Ella and such, I think he'd be here, but we have no proof that he's listening. What if he stopped checking his messages and blog comments? I know its been a while since his last update. He may be somewhere where he doesn't get the news, or even access to it. He could be...Be...Unable to come." There was one more possibility on my mind, but I didn't want to think it. We have no idea what kind of trouble Fang could've ran into on his own. It was best to avoid such thoughts.

"We'll figure out something, Max." Dylan said. "Don't work yourself up just yet."

Suddenly, Nudge came running into the kitchen, practically barreling into me. "Max! Outside! Quick! Dr. Abate needs help!"

"What's going on?" I asked her as I headed for the door, Dylan at my heels.

"You're gonna have to see it to believe it." Nudge said, following us.

I rushed outside, but didn't immediately see the problem. Dr. Abate's car wasn't even parked outside our house anymore.

Then, I looked farther down the drive.

Dr. Abate's car was pulled over with the driver's side door open. And Dr. Abate was outside of it.

Dangling from a crazed, rabid thorn bush.

"Holy crap..." I whispered, before running towards the scene, Dylan and Nudge following.

As I got closer, I made out more details. There was a gun on the ground, one I recognized as the gun Dr. Abate kept in his car for safety purposes. There was also a little girl staring up at Abate. She looked about Angel's age, with a sort of tan complexion and black hair in braids. Behind her was some thug-looking guy-

Who was lifting up a tree. Not a branch, a tree. I recognized it as one that had fallen beside the drive earlier that month.

"Put down the tree, Superman!" I yelled, coming to a halt near the scene.

The guy stared at me for a minute, still holding the tree.

"I said to put it down." I ground out through gritted teeth.

"Hey, he pointed a gun at us." The guy answered. "I wanted to let him know that wasn't acceptable."

"Well, whacking people with trees isn't acceptable, either." Dylan added beside me.

"I wasn't gonna whack him!" The guy protested. I suddenly found it strange that he was still holding the tree. It was an oak, for crying out loud!

"He scared us." The little girl added. "We had to stop him."

"Are you doing the thing with the plant?" I asked her.

She nodded once. "Plants are my friends."

I was about to tell her what she could do with her 'friends' when another voice cut me off. A deep voice. A familiar voice.

"Toby, put the tree down. Anita, tell the bush to back off. It's ok, I know that guy."

Slowly, the bush began to unravel. I noticed then that the vines had been wrapped around Abate's mouth, which is why he hadn't spoken for himself. The Hulk guy put the tree back down on the side of the road.

I looked past the two to where the speaker's voice had come from and, sure enough, my ears hadn't decieved me.

Fang was walking towards us, wings still out like he had just landed from a flight. He hadn't changed much at all. Same face, same hair, same movements, same dark clothes. He was just a steady and familiar as ever. It was like he'd never even really left.

What was different was the girl beside him.

Another avian hybrid. Rust-colored wings stretched out behind her. What really bugged me, though, was the hair. Of course, a red head. Fang had yet another red-haired wonder. Surprise, surprise.

Fang and the girl walked past Hulk and Plant Girl, Fang never taking his eyes off me. I stared back at him, not sure what to feel. I had a million different feeling simmering inside me. I wanted to run to him, walk away from him, hug him, slap him, yell at him, cry in his shoulder. It was completely unfair. No guy should have that effect on a girl.

"Max?" He asked me, as soon as he was close enough to be heard without raising his voice.

My blood ran cold, not sure what to do. Totally at odds with myself, I did the only thing that seemed sensible at the time.

I spread my wings, jumped, and took off into the afternoon sky.

Me: Jeez, my chapters are short for this fic... -shrugs- I guess I just have to hope the quality makes up for the quantity...

Fang: ...Saint?

Me: Yeah, Fangles.

Fang: You know how you asked me last night if I was going to feel claustrophobic on the plane, and I said no?

Me: Yep.

Fang: ...That plane's not too big, is it?

Me: -facepalm- Here we go...


7. Chapter 7

Me: I think I am the most fail Fanfiction Writer when it comes to updating.

Fang: You have a job and school. You have priorities. You're not in high school anymore.

Me: Still...

Fang: -sigh- Well, let's make you feel better by updating something!

Me: I'll give it a shot...

Lark's POV

"That's typical Max." Iggy said, rolling his sightless eyes. I recognized him from pictures on the CSM website. "When faced with a battle, she charges in. When faced with an argument, she starts screaming. Throw emotional baggage at her? She disappears into the clouds."

"I was kind of afraid she'd do that..." Fang muttered, pouring himself and Annie drinks from a pitcher in the fridge.

"Well, you did mysteriously disappear, ditching all of us without saying goodbye and refuse to keep contact." Iggy pointed out. "But I guess that's not really the big deal here..."

"Thanks, Ig. My guilty concscience needed that." Fang said

"Just stating a fact." Iggy told him. I could practically watch the feelings of betrayal dripping off Iggy's words. It hadn't occurred to me until now how... Uncomfortable this whole reunion could be. The Flock, strangers to the rest of us, had some major resentment towards Fang right now. Our little Flock of four were going to be the outsiders here.

You'd think I'd be used to this.

"I give up. I can't get ahold of Max." Angel said. She had been trying to reach Max for the past twenty mintes using her...Telekinesis? Teleprompter? Oh, whatever you call it, I could never remember the word... Either way, her powers couldn't be all they were cracked up to be. If they really wanted Max here bad enough, I could just follow the twisted trail of mixed-up emotions she'd left in her wake. Right now, from what I could sense, she was a little less than a mile off, flying high above the treeline. I was amazed. I usually couldn't sense emotions that far off, but hers were so strong... For someone who relied on stealth, Max was sure broadcasting to the world with her feelings.

We sat in silence after Angel's comment, no one sure what to say. I think Iggy was trying his best to glare, sitting with his arms crossed in front of him, but his eyes were pointed more towards the top of Fang's head, like he just really hated Fang's new haircut or something. Gazzy stood next to Iggy, trying to imitate Iggy's glare. His aim was right on, but a glare from this little pipsqueack could only be thought of as cute, at least to me. Nudge was sitting, looking down at the floor. Even without powers like mine, I think the girl was sensing the tension in the room. From the way that she sat, farthest from the rest, her body twisted slightly away, it was like she was trying to escape the crushing emotion around her.

Then, there was Dylan. Leaning against the wall, his glare was spot on and there was nothing cute about it. The emotions rolling off of him had anger, but most of it felt...Protective. He didn't want Fang to hurt anyone twice.

Now that I saw the kid in person, I couldn't quite get what was so special. Honestly, he looked like Zac Efron meets Saint Michael the Archangel. So, unless you were a psychotic tween or a devout Catholic, I couldn't see the attraction. I mean, sure, he was good-looking, but in an unreal sort of way. He's the kind of guy you see on TV. You can look, you can dream, but you can't touch. Except, he was...Touchable. But somehow, instead of seeming like a dream come true, it seemed...Wrong to me. He just wasn't a real guy. He was too perfect.

I moved my attentions to my own group, the unfamiliar feelings of The Flock beginning to overwhelm me. But my group wasn't much better. Fang's stance was much like Iggy's, except he was staring at the ceiling, feeling highly uncomfortable. Anita, shyness kicking in, seemed determined to try to hide behind Toby's huge frame. Toby put an arm around her, protective feelings of his own mixing with the strong ones Dylan projected.

The swirl of emotions, all of them negative, was beggining to be too much. I was starting to feel sick.

My eyes darted around the room and I was thankful for my sunglasses, so no one noticed. I needed a distraction or I was going to barf all over The Flocks lovely (-cough- Horrible -cough-) algae-green rug.

My eyes landed on Angel, the only, calm-looking person in this room. Angel, from what I had learned, was dangerous. She did not always use her mind powers for good. She had tried to become Flock leader more than once. She turned Fang over to the side of evil and almost got him killed. Ok, she did get him killed, but his being brought back to life somehow nullified that.

But she was calm. I needed that calm. I needed distraction.

I needed some noise.

"So, dudet, I hear you go mind-surfing in your spare time." I told her. As soon as the silence broke, the short confusion of emotions brought me some instant relief. "Tell me, honestly, is there really anything going on in this dude's head." I motioned to Fang. "Or is he as braindead as he acts sometimes?"

Angel smiled. I had a feeling she wasn't happy with the silence, either. "Oh, he has stuff going on up there. It's Iggy we worry about."

"Hey!" Iggy exclaimed. "Since when am I the braindead one around here?"

"Since you tried to use Dr. Martinez's digital camera." Angel told him.

"Hey, I bet I could've gotten some awesome pictures!" Iggy said.

"If you'd remembered to take the lens cover off.." Nudge said.

"Shut up." Iggy said, amid a couple snickers from the Flock side.

"I had a camera once." Anita said, the conversation making her brave. "But it was a throw-away one and it ran out of film."

"Did you take any good pictures with it?" Gazzy asked her.

"Just some of different animals, mostly goats. I was trying to get a picture of la chupacabra, but I couldn't find him."

"What's that?" Gazzy asked.

"It's a monster who sucks blood out of goats." Anita said. "Es muy mal."

"I'm guessing you're from Mexico, am I right?" Dylan asked Anita.

Anita froze up, her eyes quickly darting to Fang. I looked at him, too. We hadn't really discussed how much of our lives we wanted to disclose. Did he want The Flock to know where we were?

Slowly, Fang nodded.

"Yeah, Mexico." Anita said. "My parents were from there, but I was kidnapped when I was a baby. A nice scientist returned me to my village, but my parents didn't live there anymore. That's where Fang found me."

Sparks of curiosity began to glow around The Flock's side of the room.

"How about you?" Angel asked, her eyes fixing on Toby. "How did you and Fang meet, uhh..."

Toby grinned. "Name's Bruce Wayne, kid."

Our whole side glared at him.

"Kidding! Jeez... My name's Tobias. Toby." He said. "Fang picked me up on the streets. He made some comments about my current living technique, I made some about his street savoir faire, he made me an offer I couldn't refuse, and I took it. The rest, as they say, is history."

"Talk about brief and mysterious, Toby." I said.

He shrugged. "Maybe Fang's rubbing off on me. I'm becoming like him, only funnier. And sexier." He grinned and I rolled my eyes.

"Sounds interesting." Angel said. "What about you, Lark, right?"

"Yeah, Skylark." I said, feeling a lot more comfortable as emotions evened out. "Kinda the same deal. Fang got me off the streets. I was on the run from some whacked-out whitecoat dudes. Fang won me over with pizza."

"Key to every bird-kid's heart." Fang said.

"Guess we can't say you're leaving was all bad, Fang." Angel said. "These guys obviously needed some help and you gave it to them." I didn't like the way she said 'needed'. "I wish you had given us more warning, though."

"I just... Wasn't sure..." Fang said, trying to take off his jacket as he spoke, streching his wings. "I didn't think, if...Anyone begged me to stay, I'd be able to leave. And I needed to leave."

"Debatable." Iggy said.

"It doesn't really matter now, anyway." Angel said. "What's done is done, right? The past is gone. Right now, we have some present problems to fix."

"Do you have any clues about what happened to Ella?" Fang asked. He lowered himself into a nearby chair, probably to get more to Angel's level.

Angel shook her head. "We don't have much. She went out for a walk and never returned. We found the ransom note shoved in our door the next day. We don't have enough information to pin it on anyone yet."

"Great..." Fang muttered, rolling up his long sleeves. Strange, I didn't think it was that warm in here. I looked to his face and saw beads of sweat forming. Was he that nervous? Why should he be? He didn't feel that nervous...

Then, I remembered how Fang described to me how he felt right before his brain attack.

I turned to Fang again, ready to ask him if he was ok, but the words never left my mouth. I watched his eyes widen, his hands shoot to his head. I had about five seconds to shut my emotions down to his, barely avoiding an onslaught of pain.

The entire Flock were out of their chairs as Fang slid out of his, clutching his skull and letting out a high-pitched whine. I dropped to the floor where he landed, instinctively pulling him into my arms.

I saw Anita begin to run towards us, but Toby grabbed her, lifting her off of the ground and holding her close. His eyes looked right into mine, begging me to do something.

The fear and tension in the room was bearing down on me. The confusion from the Flock wasn't helping. I couldn't calm Fang with all these people freaking out around me.

"What's wrong with him?" Nudge asked worriedly.

"We don't know." Toby answered her. "He had an attack like this once before. He'd been sick the day before, and he recovered the next morning."

"We need to get Max." Gazzy said.

"Yeah, well no one knows where she flew off to!" Iggy said.

"Northwest." I called out.

The Flock turned to look at me

"She's flying northwest of us, getting slowly closer." I told them. "I can tell by the confused emotions she's broadcasting to the freaking universe."

"What are you talking about?" Iggy asked.

"I can sense her emotions." I told him, my patience wearing thin. "I'm an empath. Now, get the Hell out of here and go get her! Your panic attack is driving me up a wall."

Fang: I know what's gonna happen...

Me: We've already had speaks over the predictableness in this story. -sigh-

Fang: What now?

Me: I can't update this yet. It needs another chapter. I just feel it...

Fang: Alright, then we'll write another. In the meantime...


8. Chapter 8

Me: I should win an award for predictability with this chapter.

Fang: I'll agree to that.

Me: I just couldn't get rid of this part. Oh well. Predictability happens. I'll just deal.

Fang: They've been waiting long enough, Saint. How about we show them what they've predicted?

Me: :) Got it.

Fang's POV

It was even worse than the last time.

I was thrown into my own little world. And my own little world was in Japan. During the earthquake. While someone dropped nuclear bombs on it.

And I wasn't making that comparison just because of the pain it was causing. Images were flashing across my eyes. Nuclear plants, burning buildings, oil-filled oceans.

Then there was that horrible noise that I guessed was me screaming my head off, but I wasn't exactly sure.

Besides that, my other senses had dulled to almost nothing. I knew there were people around me, but I couldn't tell what they were doing. I knew my hands had flown to my head when the first wave of pain hit, but I could barely sense or control my own body now. The horrible feeling of my head splitting in two and the images flashing around me took up all of my attention.

And I didn't care. I didn't try to pull myself out of this Hell. I didn't try to make sense of it. The only thing I could do was pray someone had thought to just put me out of my misery. I couldn't take this crap.

Finally, the pain began to dull slightly. I took a couple deep breaths, seeing if I could regain some control of myself. This calm feeling swept over me and I realized Lark was projecting emotions onto me. I didn't mind at all, opening myself up to it as best I could. Anything to get away from this pain.

The images began to slow and fade along with the receding pain. I was able to lie back against the chair behind me as I slowly became aware of the world around me again.

Something about this whole experience seemed familiar, I realized. Something like this had happened before, but not to me. I'd remember if it was me. But someone I knew had described the same thing happening to them. As my thoughts slowly cleared, I began to piece together the clues, trying to remember where I'd heard of this happening before.

Then, I had my question answered for me.

"Hello, Fang."

Great. I was hearing Voices.

Max's POV

"Watch it! I'm flying here!" I yelled at a poor couple of Canadian Geese who had accidentally flew into my path. I hadn't been paying attention, flying around erratically, trying to let off some steam.

I didn't know how to feel. I was pissed off at Fang for leaving, then having the audacity to show back up again, towing along his little posse. I wanted to cry seeing him here, thinking about how much I missed him. I was nervous about he and his gang being here with the Flock, especially Dylan. And I was happy to see him alive and well.

It was a lot of emotion to feel all at once, and not easy for me to handle.

I realized after I flew away how childish I was being. Since when do I run away from my problems? For some reason, when it came to Fang, that seemed to be the only thing I was good at. Seeing him brought up so many feelings that I had no way of dealing with or controlling, it was almost an instinct to take to the skies and get away.

So off I flew, like a little kid having a tantrum.

But then again, why should I have to know how to deal with all this? I was a teenager, and not one that had been blessed with a couple of great parents to teach me how to deal with these kinds of social issues. Could I really be expected to know what to do 100 percent of the time?

"No one expects you to be perfect, Max." Ah, the Voice was back. "But now that you've realized you've done something wrong, you need to go find a way to fix it."

"I don't know what to do!" I shot back at it. "What am I supposed to say to him? What do I do?"

"Honesty is the best policy, Maximum. Tell him what you're thinking, how you're feeling. You need to get these things out in the open rather than bottling them inside. Both of you do. If your groups are to work together, it's vital that you two work through your differences."

"Work together?" I asked. "You mean, to save Ella?"

"There's that, yes." The Voice answered. "But after... He won't be disapearing, Max. To survive, the members of the new generation will need to work together. You will be a leader in the times that are to come, but so will Fang. You are both natural-born leaders, part of the reason your splitting-up was vital. We need as many leaders as possible out there, Max. In the future, you may find yourself in command of a handful of different people, each with their own 'Flock', and there will be times that you don't all agree. You need to learn how to deal with these situations, Maximum. Start with Fang. You'll learn the best from each other."

"Thanks for giving me so much to look forward to." I said, rolling my eyes. "Well, since you're so talkative today, how about you walk me through exactly how to talk to Fang about all this? I don't even know where to start."

Of course, then, the Voice was silent.

I cursed the Voice to the darkest corners of Hell and made a slight turn, heading back towards the house. I wasn't sure if I was ready to go back and face them all yet, but I didn't see much of a choice. I couldn't put it off for too much longer.

As I flew, I tried to come up with ways to talk to Fang in my head, planning out the scenarios.

"Hey, Fang, how you been? See you picked up another red-haired wonder."

"Fang, whenever I think about you, I want to punch you, hug you, chain you to a bed, and sob uncontrollably all at the same time. Which should I do first?"

"Fang, as an emotionless brick wall, you probably won't understand this..."

"What would you rather do? Have a heart-to-heart about our emotions or eat some cookies? I personally vote cookies."

"Fang, I love you."

"Fang, I hate you."

"The Voice says we have to get along, so I showed up."

"I'll resume talking to you when I get my apology."

"The Voice wants us to share emotions. I figured I'd let you start. Here, I even brought tissues."

"Why the Hell don't you get a haircut?"

No matter what I came up with, nothing seemed to work. I was considering making Fang start the conversation when a sharp whistle pulled me out of my thoughts.

I looked ahead to see Nudge and Dylan flying towards me, shirts flapping in the wind as they sped. One look at their faces and I could tell something had gone wrong.

"What happened?" I called to them as we got closer.

The two almost crashed into me as they tried to stop and turn around in mid-air to fly with me back to the house.

"Max, I don't know what happened, oh my gosh." Nudge was so upset, she was talking even faster than normal, which was amazing. "He was fine, and then he was screaming, and he sounds like he's in pain. He doesn't respond to anything. Lark's doing this weird emotion thing to him, since she's, like, an empath, whatever that is, but it's an emotions thingy and-"

I held up a hand to her to call a ceasefire to the flow of words. "Dylan, what's up?" I asked him.

"Fang." Dylan said. "Something's wrong with his head."

A sinking feeling entered the pit of my stomach. I had been nervous about saying anything to him, but if something happened and I never got to say anything to him...

Forgetting the two people with me, I poured on the speed, leaving them in my wake.

I needed to get to Fang.

Me: It's two in the morning, and I just finished this chapter.

Fang: -yawns- So much for homework...

Me: I felt like this.

Fang: You felt like procrastinating.

Me: ...-nods-

Fang: -sigh- Let's just go to bed...

Me: Deal...


9. Chapter 9

Me: I'm supposed to be packing right now. In case you haven't heard, Fang and I are moving in with our co-workers, Jay and Niki (details in Poetry Corner).

Fang: And we're procrastinating on the actual packing and moving part.

Me: But frankly, the loads of unfinished fics on here (not to mention a certain practically ditched contest) are driving me crazy. It was bugging me in the middle of class Tuesday. I need order. I need happiness.


Fang: In which Saint attempts to return to FF in her former glory.

Me: -shrugs- Worth a shot. At least, I can update some stuff.

Lark's POV

"You're hearing voices."

Yeah, folks. Our fearless leader has lost his mind.

"Not voices, Lark. Just one Voice in particular. You know, like Max does." Fang told me. His voice sounded strained, tired from his little 'attack'.

"I don't like the way you said 'Voice'." I told him. "Like it's a name or something. Like it needs to be capatalized."

"Well, if this were being written down, I suppose it would be capatalized."

"Well, alert the author!" I said sarcastically. But I couldn't joke too much. I could sense how serious he felt about this. "So... The mythical Voice has entered your brain..."

He nodded, leaning back against the wall. As soon as he had recovered from his brain-attack, he'd had me help him into another room where the two of us could talk in private. At least, that was his reason. I think he really just wanted to get out of the crowded room full of staring, concerned eyes for a bit, personally. Couldn't say I blamed him.

"Well... Now what?" I asked him. "We sit back and wait for further instruction from the mothership?"

"I guess..." Fang said. "I'm not sure what else to do. It hasn't said much else to me besides telling me it's there.

Just then, there was a knock on the door, followed by a girl's voice. "I'm respecting your right to privacy by knocking but I'm enforcing my right to barge in anyways." The door swung open and in marched WonderGirl herself, Max.

Fang looked up at her and managed a small smile. "You're back."

"So are you." She replied, hands planting themselves firmly on her hips. "What's wrong with you?"

"Nothing, now." Fang said. "Just had a little... Episode..."

"What kind of 'episode'?" She asked.

"Just felt like my head was exploding."

"And what-"

"And images starting flashing before my eyes of complete destruction."

Her eyes widened. "Fang, that sounds like-"

"And then a little Voice started talking in my head." He finished.

Max just stared at him, dumbfounded for a moment, but her recovery was quick. "You've got a Voice in your head."

Fang shrugged. "Might even be the same one. It never specified."

"Well, whatever, lovely." Max said, not sounding amused. "Gotta love the Voice..." She moved her arms from her hips to a crossed position. "So, I suppose you're planning on staying."

"If you've got the space." Fang answered.

Max sighed. "Alright, this house just happens to have a small apartment upstairs. Has two bedrooms. You should head up and take a break, you look like crap."

As I helped Fang to his feet, I tried to tune out Max's emotions. They were so jumbled; wanting to help Fang and hit him at the same time. Focusing in on Fang's wasn't that much better, though. In Max's presence again, his nerves seemed to be getting the best of him, as well as his pride. He tried to shrug me off when I offered to help him down the hall, but I persisted and took hold of him, anyway. He'd know shame if he fell face-first into it.

This whole household, I was finding, was an emotional wreck, and adding our little group in wasn't going to help. We were about the board the Emotional Roller Coaster.

And I was the lucky empath who'd get stuck dealing with it all.

Fang's POV

I slept through the rest of the day. My usual dreams of the Flock had been replaced by the visions I'd seen earlier when the Voice decided to infest my brain. Explosions, oil spills, guns, smog. It was like ad for some end-of-the-world horror flick. I half expected to see zombies next.

I saw something that was possibly far worse. Suddenly, I was getting visions of children. Starving children, homeless children, children choking on dust-filled air, being beaten, working in a hot, dry field.

I woke with a start, the last child's face seared into my retinas. I sat up, taking deep breaths to calm myself.

Max had never mentioned children.

"You and Max have two seperate but equal destinies."

I nearly jumped through the ceiling. This Voice was going to take some getting used to. "So, you do speak."

"Both of you will save the world in some way, Fang. Max has her part to play and so do you."

"Could you try to be a little less cryptic?" I asked, not expecting much.

But the Voice seemed talkative tonight. "Max can take care of the threats; it's what she was born to do. She enjoys the challenge, the adventure. She needs to tackle problems, to lead. You are a leader as well, Fang, but a different type. Where she would lead armies, you will lead the relief groups."

"What are you saying?" I asked, still trying to process where the Voice was going.

"Many top scientists believe mere humans will not survive the impending apocolypse, but others are of a different opinion. There will be survivors. Those who are young, adaptable. Children, teens, young people." The Voice paused for a moment, letting this all sink in. "They already look up to you, Fang. When trouble comes, they will need someone to look after them."

"I can't look after that many kids!"

"You will not be alone. You will be leading this part of the movement, but there will be others to help. While Max is off saving the people, you will be ensuring their safety."

"And how do you think I'm going to do that?" I asked.

If the Voice could chuckle, this is where he would have done it. "All in good time, Fang."

"Well, you're nuts!" I told/thought to it. "I'm not what you'd call a 'people person' you know! I'm not cut out for taking care of people! Max is the girl, isn't she supposed to have, like, mothering instincts or something? Aren't these roles kind of reversed? Hello?"

But the Voice was silent.

"Figures." I muttered, lying back down on the bed. So that was my destiny? Max was to go off cleaning up oil spills and beating up bad guys, and I would stay behind and take care of those left in the aftermath? I don't like people, I don't do well with people. This could NOT be where I belonged in the scheme of things.

But, strangely, as I lied there, cursing the Voice to the deepest depths of Tartarus, I began to feel a bit... Relieved. Strange as it was to admit it, even to myself, I didn't want to run off to fight and fix things. I'd done so much fighting already. And I didn't see any real desirable difference between fighting an Eraser and a natural disaster.

Just like that, it hit me. I was tired. Tired of fighting, that is.

Max, she had enough fight in her for the next ten years. Me? I was done.

Maybe looking after the refugees of the world wouldn't be so bad.

Me: I have no idea where the second half of this chapter came from.

Fang: No idea?

Me: Well, after I wrote Lark's part, I'm like, 'This is short for the first update in a while. Let's add more.' So I'm writing about Fang's visions, trying to think of things that went with oil spills and smog, and, for some reason, 'starving children' seemed to fit in, then... I don't know, this happened.

Fang: I'm to lead starving children. To where? McDonald's?

Me: Subway's better for them.

Fang: -eyeroll- And you think this is gonna work?

Me: You like helping people, even if you don't relate with them well. And jeez, you kept talking about running off to hide on a deserted island and was always trying to talk Max out of saving the world and just settling down and taking care of the Flock. I think you've been sick of fighting and struggling for a while.

Fang: ...Touche.

Me: Hope this works... One way to find out...


Seriously, R&R. I'm curious as to how well this actually works...

10. Chapter 10

Me: I just posted Twilight hate on Tumblr just to see if anyone would get pissed off.

Fang: ...Why are we discussing Twilight here?

Me: I need to find something interesting to say in the A/Ns, and this is all I've got.

Fang: So...

Me: So... Yeah, that's kinda boring. Ummm... I just ate pasta.

Fang: So did I...

Me: I'm reading The Serpent's Shadow! Really good, so far. :D

Fang: Kane Chronicles, right?

Me: Correct.

Fang: Yeah... Uh... You're gonna borrow a book from Niki, you said?

Me: Fifty Shades of Gray. :D

Fang: I don't want to know...

Me: Heh...

Fang: Yeah...

Me: I give up, let's just start the chapter.

Lark's POV

"So, from what I understand, you guys have no definite leads?" Fang asked, reaching for a piece of toast.

It was our second attempt at joining the two 'Flocks' since last night with Fang's brain attack and it seemed to be going a bit better, though that may be because there was food involved. Surprise, surprise, we mutants are less likely to fight each other if you put a table of food into the mix. How could we risk missing a perfectly good meal?

"We've got nothing." Max answered, leaning back in her chair. "We've got suspects, obviously, but we haven't been able to proove anything to back up our suspicion, so the feds won't help us."

"Dr. G-H?" Fang asked.

Max shook her head. "We've had his place searched and everything. There's no evidence to pin it on him."

"Oh, like he'd be keeping her at his house." Fang said, rolling his eyes.

"I know that, but try telling the feds." Max said.

"We figure, if he has her, he's probably keeping her in a facility that has no connection to him directly." Dylan chimed in. "That way, not only will no one probably look there for her, if she was found, it would be pinned on someone else."

"And you can't tell us where his facilities are?" Fang asked him.

Dylan caught Fang's gaze with a steady glare. "I've already told the feds about every facility I know of and they've been searched. I doubted the doctor would use a facility I knew of, anyway."

"So... Back to the drawing board, huh?" I said, picking an apple out of a basket of fruit on the table and giving it a crunch.

I noticed Max and Dylan both felt mildly startled when I spoke, probably still not used to the idea of me and the other two members of Fang's Gang here.

"Well, we're still pursuing him as our number one suspect." Max said.

"But you're looking at other people too, right?" I asked. "I mean, you guys are known for making more enemies than friends."

"But Dr. G-H is our best bet." Dylan said. "Who else wants the Flock for testing?"

"Ummm... About every curious scientist, philanthropist, politician, and concerned citizen on the planet." I answered. "I mean, this doctor is the perfect cover-up. While you're going after him with all you've got, this person is getting away without a second glance. You can't just go with the most obvious, especially if that's not working for you."

"Lark has a point." Fang said. I immediately wanted to clap a hand over his mouth. The stabs of anger and jealousy coming off of Max were almost painful. "Have you guys looked into anyone else?"

"A bit." Max answered after a short pause. "But I usually tend to go with instinct, and instinct is telling me it's this epic jerk."

"What if your instinct is off, Max?" Fang asked. "Can you risk losing Ella or ending up with the entire Flock being lab rats just because instinct makes you think it's this guy?"

"He makes the most sense." Max told him.

"Exactly why we should look into others as well." Fang answered. "Everyone expects you to go after him."

"Wow, Fang, if you're so smart, why don't you take your little "Flock" and you can look into all the other possibilities." Max said sarcastically. "In the meantime The Flock and I will go after the real bad guy. Sound like a plan?"

Fang sighed, dropping his fork onto his plate. "Is every conversation we have going to come back to this? You're mad at me? Fine. Be mad at me. But at least focus on being madder at the guy who kidnapped your sister so we can save her. Then you can give me as much crap as you want."

Max threw her fork down on the table. It bounced on its end and catapulted itself into the scrambled eggs. Any side conversations that had still been going on automatically ceased at the sight of impaled egg.

"I'm so sorry if I find it hard to work with the person who told me to my face that he would never leave me, that he loved me, that this Flock meant more to him than the world, and then LEFT ME TO GO IT ALONE WITHOUT SO MUCH AS A GOODBYE! WHO HASN'T BOTHERED TO EVEN LET ME KNOW HE'S ALIVE!"

I winced with each word. The air around Max was picking up an orange tint, my empathy power's color for rage. I closed my eyes, rubbing my temples to try to prevent the inevitable headache. This was exactly why I hated working with people. They were so... Volatile. And totally inconsiderate of the empath in the room.

"Yeah, you've missed me so much. I suppose Dylan's been there to wipe your tears and pick up all your loose pieces." Fang answered, sounding more bitter than I'd ever heard him sound. The orange colors were beginning to pulse behind my eyelids. "But since I mean so much to you, am I invited to the wedding? Can I be your kid's godfather?"

"As if." I heard Dylan mutter.

"Oh, like you have any right to talk!" Max's voice had reached a high pitch that reminded me of a bird's screech. It was not helping my head. "What about you, running around with another red-haired wonder?"

My eyes flew open and I felt my face slightly flush.

Oh, Hell no, dudet. You did not go there.

I blocked out the rest of their fight. I blocked out whatever the two Flocks were saying or feeling about Max's little... Theory. Instead, through the sea of orange Max and Fang had created, I pulled forth a cloud of blue. I took a deep breath, imagining the cloud getting bigger as I inhaled. When I let the breath out, I blew the cloud straight at Fang and Max.

I watched the two of them as they almost immediately fell back into their chairs, muscles relaxing, breathing becoming more regular. Fang shot me a look and I just rolled my eyes back.

"What... Just happened?" Max asked, sounding bewildered.

"Lark projected." Fang explained.

"Lark can project emotions onto people." Toby added. "She's a hit at parties."

"As if I'd go to a party." I said, my voice sounding slightly strained. Way too much emotion to handle in this room.

"And you felt the need to mess with my emotions, why?" Max asked, turning a glare on me. I noticed her eyes suddenly widen slightly, probably at my sudden change in eye color. From what I was feeling, I was pretty sure I was rocking a lovely shade of annoyed yellow.

"You were giving me a headache, dudet." I snapped. "And accusing me of stealing one of your little boy toys. Look, I could be about a million other places right now, but I'm here because Fang's done good by me and I think I owe him one. But I'm not gonna sit around and listen to either of you try out for an episode of Jerry Springer." I made sure Fang caught my glare as well. "Get your acts together so we can save the girl."

I dropped my own fork onto my plate and hopped out the nearest window,

Right now, all I needed was clear, colorless, emotionless air.

Toby's POV

After finishing up breakfast in awkward silence, Max and Fang got up and went their seperate ways, Fang out the window after Lark and Max to her room, probably to brood. Dylan followed her shortly after. I swear, he didn't let her leave his sight for five minutes. I wondered if he stood outside the bathroom door when she had to go.

That left the rest of us sitting at the table, poking awkwardly at our plates.

"Should probably, um, update our blog, let the world know Fang arrived." The mocha-skinned girl, Nudge, finally said, breaking the silence. She looked my way. "Should I... I mean, would you guys mind if I mentioned you were here with Fang? Like, tell people he's got some other... Hybrids with him? Can I mention names? Powers? Or should I just keep it short. I understand you guys are probably on the run from stuff, too, so I can keep it pretty anonymous if you want. Or just not mention you, though I think they'll find out eventually. And I won't take pictures or anything, I'm not crazy but I just need to know."

I blinked a couple times, letting the air clear a bit as my brain processed the stream of words it had ingested. "Ah, probably shouldn't mention too much yet. I'd keep it simple. You can mention we're here, but no identifying information. Wait 'till we have Fang and Lark here to make a final decision."

"Sounds like a plan to me. Thanks. I'll go type up that blog now." Nudge was off in a flash. I may not be an empath like Lark, but I got the feeling Nudge wasn't big on awkward silences. Actually, I didn't think she was big on silence in general.

"Wow, most people don't take their first conversation with Nudge that well." Iggy said. "She usually has their heads spinning after the first five run-on sentences."

"I still don't know what she said." Anita said next to me.

I shrugged, taking my last bite of scrambled eggs. "Seemed easy enough to get. Just had to take the time to process." I threw down my fork and leaned back in my chair. "So, what do you guys do for fun around here, anyway?"

"Fly." The youngest boy with the flatulence-related name answered automatically. Gazzy? Right, Gazzy.

"Ok, well, since I'm lacking certain necessary apendages..." I made wing movements with my hands. "Anything else, shortstop?"

Gazzy's eyes narrowed at my nickname, but I just grinned and he went on. "We've got TV, a computer, board games, books. You can go outside..."

I held up my hand. "Shush, child. You had me at 'TV'. Where is it and does anyone else want to lay a claim on it first?"

There was no response from the Flock, except for the slightest movement of Angel's head, pointing me into the other room. I got up and Anita followed me closely from behind. Poor kid was a nervous wreck around these people. I was sure, once she got past the initial silence, she'd give that Nudge girl a run for her money with conversation, but for right now, she was gonna stick with what she knew.

Which was exactly what I was going to do. And what I knew happened to be TV programs.

I wouldn't say I was addicted to TV. It's not like I felt withdrawals or anything when I was without it. But I was the only one out of our group who watched it regularly when I could. I was adopted at the age of four out of my sixth foster home by two scientists posing as loving parents. From there, I was injected with things and tested until I was the human form of an ant. I can lift at least ten times my own body weight, if not more. It's how I escaped in the first place. Idiot science nerds didn't know the strength of their own experiment. The only thing that my foster homes and the science lab had in common was TV. All the foster homes relied on TV as their babysitter and the scientists would keep a TV on in the room I was kept in to keep me quiet. Unfortunately, they gave me a remote and I found 'The Hulk' movies. Not a good idea in hindsight.

But TV felt like home. And as I hit the on button on the remote, I sunk easily back into that feeling of familiar.

"What're we watching today, Toby?" Anita asked, crawling up onto the couch with me.

"Well, travel channel's doing something on Russia, so that's out." If it's not sunny and warm, I don't wanna hear about it. "So... Wonder if they've got Disney..."

"We do." Angel said, walking in. I swear, she's the friendliest of Max's whole Flock, and I still wasn't sure if that was good or not. "But they mostly play kinda dumb shows. I don't really get them."

"Yeah, Disney's not the Disney I grew up with." I said, flipping through the channels mindlessly. "Oh, God, I thought they only played Glee at night... Oh, it's just a clip on Ellen."

"You don't like Glee, either?" Gazzy asked.

"Iggy says he doesn't like it, but when Nudge watches it, he listens." Angel said. "I think he likes the music."

"Glee's more Lark's thing." I said. "It's the only TV show she'll really watch. I think she has a thing for that Puck guy."

"Puck's, like, a man-slut." Nudge said, walking in. "Computer's being stupid again, so I'll post on the blog later." She sat down next to Anita. "Oh my gosh, I love Ellen! She's probably one of the best talk show hosts ever."

"Agreed." I said, leaning back on the couch. I heard it creak slightly under my weight. I hoped it wouldn't break, I hated when that happened.

"What're they doing?" Gazzy asked, jumping up next to Nudge. Angel sat on the floor as Total, who had been outside with the other dog, Akila, came over.

"Interviewing that kid from Glee, by the looks of it." Total said, bending his head towards Angel for a scratch behind the ears.

"That's Kurt." Anita said.

"Actually, his real name is Chris." Nudge told her. "But he plays Kurt."

Anita shrugged. "Oh. I like Santana."

I rolled my eyes. "You would."

"I wanna grow up to be like her." Anita said.

"Like Santana?" Nudge asked. "She's, like, mean."

"People like her." Anita answered. "She kinda looks like me, too. But people aren't afraid of her. At least, not 'cause she's a freak. And she has Brittany."

"Can't say I don't relate to that." Nudge said.

"Yeah, it ain't easy being part of the Freak Show, huh?" I asked.

"At least we're not alone." Angel pointed out. "There's others like us."

"Yeah." I said, turning my attention back to the TV. Well, there is now, at least.

Me: I was gonna end the chapter with Lark flying off, but I felt like it needed more and I wanted to see how the two groups would react to each other without their fighting leaders nearby.

Fang: Finally! Something relevant in the A/Ns!

Me: It's easier at the end, when there's actually something to say.

Fang: Did you have to add Glee into the chapter?

Me: Yes, yes I did. :P I don't get to watch a lot of TV currently. Glee is what I know, television-wise.

Fang: We need cable.

Me: We have Netflix and Hulu.

Fang: Cable's better.

Me: -eyeroll- You dish out the cash, we'll get cable.

Fang: ...Internet's fine.

Me: Thought so.


11. Chapter 11



Fang: About damn time...

Me: Hey! I've been writing more lately! Just...Not always stuff that makes it on

Fang: You mean your rping stuff?

Me: No! Well, some of it, but not all of it!

Fang: Ok, ok, no one cares for your excuses, give your poor readers their chapter!

Me: Grouchy, much?

Fang: I'm hungry.

Me: Oh jeez...

Lark's POV

"Lark! Lark, slow down!"

Leave it to Fang. Couldn't leave well enough alone, could he? I need some time away from people and their messed-up emotions, so what does he do?

He follows me.


I poured on the speed, hoping, if I couldn't lose him, he'd at least get the picture and give up.

"Lark, damn it! Come on! I just want to talk to you, then I'll leave you alone!"

I sighed loudly, almost a groan, really, and flipped around, doing my best to hover in mid-air and wait for him to catch up. Not that either of us could really hover, but we could stay in relatively the same space, moving up and down slightly in the air, depending on how we flapped. "What do you want, dude?" I asked as soon as he was close, not even trying to keep the annoyance out of my voice. Not like my eyes wouldn't betray me, anyway.

"I... Just wanted..." He was breathing hard. Obviously, it had taken more out of him that I thought to catch up with me.

"Breathe, Fang." I told him, crossing my arms. "Or do we need to land?"

He shook his head, catching his breath. I made a mental note that he and I needed to go flying more. Obviously, he was out of practice.

"Just wanted to tell you... You're right." He finally said, able to raise his head and look me in the eye.

"Well, duh." I replied, rolling my eyes.

"Let me elaborate." Fang continued. "You're probably the most focused person in this group. You're not bogged down by the all the Flock drama, you're more... Mature than some of the others. You're able to see the bigger picture better than any of us."

"Your point, Fang? 'Cause I know you're not just here to flatter me." Would he just get to the point? He was all hopeful, confident. Not like I didn't know his words had intentions.

"I'm just saying, Lark... I'm gonna need you." Fang replied. "I need someone to keep me focusing, someone to hold me accountable."

"You want me to be your babysitter?" I asked, scoffing slightly. "Not exactly my dream job, birdboy."

"Not a babysitter, no." Fang corrected. "More like... A second-in-command. And a peacekeeper for all sides, sort of. You can keep things under control."

"Second-in-command, huh?" I shrugged. "Sounds like a glorified babysitter to me."

"It's not." He reassured me. "It's giving you a bit more responsibility in this group."

"Oh, because I don't have enough." I said sarcastically, rolling my eyes.

He smiled at my response, his confidence levels a bit higher than I would expect them to be. "It's nothing you won't already do. Now you just have my permission. Keep me from letting my emotions control my actions."

"What emotions?" I asked, smirking. "I'm reading nothing but boring, emotionless brick wall." Far from the truth, of course. I was the only person Fang couldn't completely hide his emotions from, but I had to pick fun at his attempts.

It was his turn to roll his eyes. "Right. Well, I'll leave you to ponder that. Enjoy your flight." We nodded to each other and he turned, starting to fly back in the direction of the house.

I turned as well, determined to enjoy what was left of my long flight in silence, when I heard him calling back to me. "Lark! Hey, Lark!"

"NOW WHAT?!" I practically screeched, flipping around and having to swat a strand of my red hair out of my face.

Even from as far away as he was, my sharp eyesight caught his grin and my powers sensed his amusement. "I'm glad you decided to come!" He called to me.

I just nodded to him again and flew off, tired of his crap.

He was glad I had come along on this drama-filled rescue mission. He had a use for me.

But was I cool with all this?

Guess I was gonna find out...

Dylan's POV

"Max, just chill. Deep breaths."

"Don't tell me what to do right now!" She snapped back at me, kicking the bedroom trashcan over, causing old tissues and soda cans to spill across the floor.

"Max, please-" I tried to get her attention again. She need to calm down before she hurt herself or broke something.

"I can't BELIEVE that little... Red-haired wonder!" She snapped. "It's always the redheads with him, isn't it?!"

I just nodded, giving up my attempts to calm her rage. She was going to go on this rampage whether I wanted her to or not.

"How dare she change my emotions like that?! She has NO RIGHT!" She sat down on her bed, her hands shaking like she wanted to punch something, but there was nothing to punch. "And she can't act like she knows us and knows are situation! Though I'm sure Mr. Charming has told her everything!" She added snidely.

I nodded again. "Trust me, Max. I hear ya." Lark's empath powers were a lot like Angel's telepathic powers. They shouldn't be used on just anyone. Yes, it was hard for Max and Fang to stay on task around each other (a great reason for him to NOT be around), but that was only to be expected after he left. I still didn't understand why we had to let him and his little rag-tag band of mutant misfits stay here. We could work with them just as well if they were staying elsewhere and we just got together to plan.

"How are we supposed to find Ella like this?" Max asked me. "God, if Fang and I can't get along for even a day... We'll never get anything done."

"I think it's too much at one time." I stated. "After he ran out on you like that... He can't just waltz back in here with his new friends and move in."

Max sighed, her gaze dropping to the floor. "But he can, Dyl. He's Fang. Yeah, he ran out, and I'm not exactly happy about that, but... He's family. I can't act like he's not welcome. He's always welcome. And at least if we're all together, and can make sure we're all safe. He's better off here than anywhere else."

"So he's better off causing drama here and making it harder for you to focus?" I asked, stepping closer to her. "We need you focused now, Max. Ella needs you to be focused. There's a time and a place to make nice with Fang and let him back in the family, but this isn't it." Yeah, let him back in as family. Like a brother.

"Look, Dylan, this isn't a simple fix kind of problem." Max explained to me. "I can't just kick him out."

"Why?" I asked, sounding a bit more irritated than I meant to. It sounded like she was just making excuses. I hated it when she did this to herself, made sacrifices so that everyone else could be happy. Everyone but her.

She sighed. "It's complicated, Dylan, alright?"

I could tell by her tone, she was done with the conversation. I was tempted to try and push the subject further, but I knew how well that would end with her. "Alright, fine."

"Dylan, don't be mad-"

"I'm not mad." I told her. "I'm... Frustrated, but I can deal with that. You know what you're doing. I trust you. I just don't always understand."

Before she could respond, I stepped out of the room and headed down the hall towards the back door. I needed some air so I could calm down and think.

Once outside, I decided against actually taking off and flying for a bit. Lark was out there, somewhere, possibly with Fang, and I didn't feel like running into either of them. Instead, I just started walking, taking deep, calming breaths as I went.

I needed to find a way to deal with all this.

We needed Fang to get Ella back, but we didn't need his whole group here, screwing things up. We had enough mutant kids under this roof to deal with.

As I walked, I set my mind to work on our predicament. We couldn't go on with all these mutant kids shoved together. Hell, just expecting Max to put up with Fang and his crap was enough. The good news, I realized as I thought things through, was that Fang's group wasn't exactly as close-knit as the Flock was.

It probably wouldn't take much to tear that group apart.

Without the group, Fang would have to come back to us to stay, but as a failure, proving Max right that he was better with us than on his own.

His group would be scattered, far away from us.

And, sure, Fang would be back in the picture, but I'd deal with that later. Maybe, if I could show Max how much of a better second-in-command I was, she wouldn't really feel like she needed Fang anymore. He could stick around, be part of the family, I didn't care, so long as he wasn't a threat to me being with Max anymore.

Now, how exactly to put this plan into action...

Fang: This proves that Dylan is evil.

Me: -eyeroll- Oh jeez...

Fang: Trying to tear my group apart...

Me: Calm yourself. Alright, might as well just get this chapter up.

Fang: So you can go on your Maximum Ride rp and waste time, right?

Me: NO! ...Well, maybe... BUT NO!

Fang: -facepalm- No wonder you never get writing done..

Me: -.- Shut up.