Author: Flightgirl PM
Angel is dead, Fang blames Max, and the flock is falling apart. None of them are the same. Things go even more downhill when they happen across the 'empty' Cullen house and meet certain vampires. Later, they meet a few more vampires with a bigger secret.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Romance - Max - Chapters: 22 - Words: 45,542 - Reviews: 82 - Favs: 27 - Follows: 25 - Updated: 06-18-09 - Published: 12-12-08 - id: 4711600
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or Maximum Ride.
Ever since the incident in Venice, Fang had been more distant than he ever was, especially with me. I think he blamed me for not deactivating Angel's expiration time-bomb before it was too late.
Angel's death had put a rift between the whole flock, really. Gazzy hadn't exploded since then, Iggy had stopped cooking for us, Fang's become a jerk, and Nudge simply denied to herself that it ever even happened. As for me, I just kept trying to push her still, lifeless face out of my mind. And then there's poor Total, who'd been taking it harder than all of us put together. If only I had gotten there before they…
But it was too late to do anything about it. All we could do was keep going, keep hidden, keep safe. I still had to protect the flock, even if we were one less of one.
"We'll touch down in a few minutes," I called over my shoulder to the others. Only Nudge even acknowledged that I said anything, even though I knew they all heard me. They're probably all just tired, I lied to myself. We'd been flying for hours without any breaks or food or water, and man was it hot! I don't think any of us cared, though.
In a few minutes, the heat was blocked out by a sheet of grey, fluffy clouds. Below us, a short distance ahead, I could see a small, green town. "I'll fly ahead and scout," I yelled back. Without giving them a chance to answer or protest (which they wouldn't have anyways), I sped up my flight and left them behind.
Circling the town, I decided it was too risky to just plunk down in a tree somewhere and call it a night. We'd have to find a house or something. It wouldn't be a bad idea to get some grub anyways.
Grub, I repeated in my head with a slight smile, thinking back to the birdseed in Miami. How we had laughed! I could remember it like it was yesterday, the individual sniggers and howls of the whole flock, from the oldest to the youngest. Me to Angel…
"It wasn't your fault, Max."
"Hi Voice," I replied solemnly. "Long time, no hear."
"You might want to look in front of you," it replied.
I looked ahead just in time to swerve upwards to avoid smacking into the side of a big, three-storey white house. "You could have warned me sooner!" I told it angrily. "I could have been hurt! Who would have protected the flock then?"
The Voice ignored me. I perched on the roof to cool off before continuing my search when I realized why I hadn't seen the house sneaking up on me. All the lights were off, there was no vehicle in the driveway, and it was concealed by many trees: the perfect hideout, assuming no one was inside. Just to be sure, I flew to every window, including the giant one that made up the entire back wall of the house, and took a quick glance in before heading back to Fang, Gazzy, Iggy, and Nudge.
I returned to the house with the others in just a matter of minutes, and once again double-checked to make sure it was empty before we alighted on the front porch. The door was locked, but Nudge opened it easily enough with her ability and we quietly entered.
Instinctively, we moved slowly across the room, to avoid any possible encounters with a dog. We kept our wings ready and the door in sight, just in case. Total kept sniffing the air and making a funny face until I asked what was wrong.
"It smells funny in here," he replied in a whisper. "I don't like it."
"You don't smell any dogs or animals though?"
"I don't know. I don't think so, but like I said, it smells funny."
After establishing that the house was empty, Nudge and Gazzy headed for the fridge while Fang and Iggy went for the cupboards. I watched them without expression, thinking of how there should have been one more raiding this stranger's house for food.
Suddenly, I heard Fang say loudly, "What gives? There's no food!"
Gazzy added, "What kind of person has a fridge full of nothing?"
"Vampires?" Iggy said jokingly.
Nudge ran to me in fear and I glared at Iggy, even though he couldn't see me. "Vampires don't exist, right Iggy?" I asked with ice in my voice to reflect what my eyes would have told him if he could see.
"Sorry Nudge," he replied. "I was only joking about the vampires."
"This place is a no go, Max," Fang said to me. "We ought to just see if there's any dough lying around and beat it out of here. Who knows? There might've been some kind of alarm system built into this place."
"If the cupboards and fridge are empty," I replied, "I doubt there will be any money either. Let's just go."
"I'm still hungry," Nudge complained.
"I know. We'll find something else. I promise."
Suddenly, Iggy hushed us.
"What?" I asked.
"Sshhh!" he hissed.
We stood for half a moment in silence before we heard a very soft thump come from the floor above us.
"We're leaving!" Fang whispered, turning towards the door.
It suddenly slammed shut, and Fang backed away. From what seemed out of nowhere, an impossibly handsome, pale, topaz-eyed boy appeared in front of the door, blocking our way. He didn't look much older than me, Fang, or Iggy, but appearances could be deceiving. If we didn't know that by now, who did? His jaw was set at an angry/serious angle, and his eyebrows were lowered to an intimidating stare.
Fang stepped up again boldly. "Step aside," he said coolly, showing no fear.
The newcomer just stood there, glaring.
"I said," Fang continued, taking another step forwards, "move."
"Don't come any closer." The boy's voice was hard and cold.
"Listen man, I don't want to hurt you, and I don't want to see anyone else hurt either. We're sorry we invaded your house, and we were just leaving."
"You're not going anywhere." Still he stood, unmoving.
"Fang…" I whispered urgently as the others came and stood beside me.
"I got this," he replied to me, keeping his eyes on our new enemy. "So I guess the School decided to give their new droids a test run," he taunted, walking another step. "Well, we beat the Erasers, the Flyboys, those robot-thingies and everything else. You shouldn't be a problem."
I watched Fang's body tense before he leapt—or rather, flew—into action. He headed straight towards the obstacle, ready to take down whatever was in his way. Imagine my horror when I saw him thrown backwards on impact with the newcomer's hand and fly past us and into the staircase, and not with his wings, either. It was more like on his wings.
I waited for Fang to get back up so I could ridicule him for acting so stupid, but he didn't. I waited for what seemed like forever (but was probably only a few seconds) for him to get up, but there was no movement at the stairs.
I stared at the pale figure in front of us with horror. His expression hadn't changed. He still stood there like a drone obeying orders. You killed him, I thought towards him, as though thoughts could express how I felt.
"He'll be fine," he replied coldly, as if reading my mind. "He'll get up any second."
When he didn't, I thought I saw a small flicker of worry cross his face. "Go check on him," he ordered me.
I turned slowly, keeping my eyes locked with his until my back was completely to him. Then I shouted, "To the back!" and the flock and I took off at full speed for the glass wall. I grabbed Fang on the way by and hit the wall first, shattering the glass so that Iggy, Nudge, or Gazzy wouldn't have to, and flew for freedom.
The flight lasted a total of two seconds. Before I had even cleared the enormous window, I felt an iron grip on my ankle that hauled me back inside, Fang and all. I hit the floor hard, with Fang landing on top of me. The other three hadn't even made it to the window. I pushed him off me, gently, and realized he was bleeding. The back of his black T-shirt glistened with the dark red liquid, and now my shirt was stained with it, too.
I was terrified. I admit it. But my terror grew when suddenly a blond monster with topaz eyes leapt towards Fang with a savage snarl. My first instinct was to pull Fang to safety, or to get in front of whatever was after him. The second option was easier, but possibly more dangerous. Whatever.
Turns out my heroism wasn't needed. Before it could reach us, two more pale-skins joined the party. I saw then that the monster was also human-looking, but I knew by then that they weren't humans at all. I didn't think they were even from the School.
"Sorry Ed," one of the two holding the savage said to the one who had blocked the front door. "We couldn't hold him any longer. I think we got it now, though."
The one who had spoken was tall, burly, and extremely muscular, with slightly curly dark hair and dimpled cheeks. The other one holding the blond one was small, with short, spiky black hair. They both had topaz eyes as well.
I saw Nudge and Gazzy cling to Iggy beside me as they watched the horrifying spectacle. I stayed by Fang's unmoving body, frightened and crying.
"Maybe this is all a misunderstanding…" came the unmistakable voice of Voice.
"Shut up, Voice!" I didn't feel like talking to him.
I felt impossibly cold and strong arms grab me from behind and begin to pull me away from Fang, and no matter how hard I kicked, screamed and fought, I couldn't break loose. I couldn't even come close to breaking loose. I saw another girl—an astoundingly beautiful girl with long, wavy blond hair, also with topaz eyes—pull Gazzy, Iggy, and Nudge away from Fang as well.
They're going to let him eat him! I thought in horror, thinking back to Iggy's earlier statement about vampires. But vampires don't exist, I told myself over and over.
I watched in relief when the two holding the struggling beast pulled him outside and away from Fang, but my relief was cut short when another pale-skinned man with topaz eyes—this one as tall as the first, with blond hair and a slender but muscular build—knealt by Fang.
"Get away from him!" I screamed in rage, fighting to get away from the arms restricting me.
The man beside Fang ignored me and lifted Fang's eyelids, peering into each eye. "I thought you said you could handle it without hurting anyone, Edward," he said to the first one we had encountered.
"It wasn't supposed to hurt him that bad," the one called Edward replied. "Can I help it if the thing flew at me like that? It was self-defence."
"You knew he couldn't hurt you."
"Didn't you hear what I said? He flew at me! Do you not see the wings? I wouldn't know if they could hurt us or not!" Edward declared. "Besides, that shouldn't have hurt him real bad. It wouldn't keep a human down for more than thirty seconds."
The front door suddenly burst open, but I couldn't see who had entered.
"Carlisle, what happened?" A new, unmistakably male voice asked urgently. "I saw Alice and Emmett trying to calm Jasper, and the widow's broken, and—" He stopped mid-sentence. "Who are these kids?"
Edward spoke up, "That's Iggy, Nudge, the Gasman, Maximum…" he pointed to the still figure on the floor, "and that's Fang."
The newcomer joined the man beside Fang, coming into my view for the first time. He was extremely tall (I would guess around six and a half feet), with dark, russet skin, black hair, and dark eyes, with a toned and muscular build, and he looked to be in his mid to late twenties; very unlike the others that we had encountered that night.
I was too angry, upset, and scared to care. "Leave him alone," I seethed, making my anger clear to everyone in the room.
Once again, they ignored me.
"Is he going to be alright?" the darker-skinned one asked.
Why did he care?
The blond one they called Carlisle mumbled something in response and said to whoever was holding me, "Esme, go get something to clean him up with."
"But the girl…" the woman Esme said.
"Let her go. She won't go anywhere without him. And even if she tries to, Edward's hands are free."
Immediately, the iron hands holding me released and I ran to Fang's side, avoiding any eye contact with the monsters who had caused this.
"It was an accident," Edward said, and I knew he was talking to me.
I didn't believe him.
"He may be telling the truth."
"Shut up, Voice."
I felt someone kneel beside me, and although I forced myself not to look, I knew who it was.
"Honestly, Dad, I didn't mean to."
His voice was pleading and sincere, and if I hadn't been so mad I might have believed him.
I worked up the courage to say something. "How is he?"
"He has a mild concussion," Carlisle said without looking at me. After a moment, he looked up at me and saw the worry in my eyes. "He'll be fine. Don't worry." He turned to the blond girl keeping the other three out of the way. "Rosalie, take the kids someplace. Upstairs, maybe. Or outside. Anywhere. Jacob and Esme will help me here."
"What about me?" Edward asked from beside me.
"You can stay if you want, but you could help Bella and Nessie on their hunt if you would rather."
Jacob suddenly turned to Carlisle. "Is she avoiding me?"
"I'm not answering that. That's between you and her."
Jacob rolled his eyes. "I knew you were the greatest physician in the world, but since when did you become my psychiatrist? Expanding your field?"
Hearing that this Carlisle guy was the best doctor in the world lifted my spirits a little, though it probably wasn't true.
The three pale people who had left the house earlier returned now, the blond one looking apologetic. "Sorry. I wasn't expecting that, or I would've held my breath."
"It's alright," Edward replied. "I wasn't expecting it either."
"It is not alright!" I snapped at him, tears of rage flowing down my cheeks. "Fang might have died because of you! He still might die! Just because Daddy Dearest is a great doctor doesn't mean that every wound can be healed or every disease cured! If it did, Fang wouldn't be in this situation!"
Edward flinched at my outburst, and I was glad I had struck a nerve.
"I'll go with Rosalie," he said quietly, standing and following the girl with my flock. I watched contentedly as he sulked away, then turned my attention back to Fang, who hadn't moved since I pushed him off me.
"I'm so sorry, Fang," I whispered, pushing his hair off of his forehead with my fingers.
"He will be okay," Carlisle tried to assure me.
Esme came down the stairs with a cloth soaked with something and a roll-up bandage and joined us.
"Why don't you three go for a walk?" she suggested to Emmett, Alice, and Jasper. Without a word, the three of them left.
"We have to turn him over so I can dress his wound," Carlisle said. "Careful, though. I think a few ribs are broken. Esme, turn him slowly and very gently so we don't move the ribs. And hold your breath."
The woman did as he instructed and turned Fang ever so carefully. His wigs spread across the floor. Carlisle cut Fang's shirt off and examined his back. I had to turn my head away for a moment, but when I looked back I saw that it wasn't too bad after all. Most of the wound was only scraped, and the parts worse than that were just splintered from the wooden steps that he had hit. There was one splinter that stuck an inch into his back, but it went in diagonally so even it didn't leave a ver deep wound. He had a few scratches from the glass wall, but it was mostly a scrape that bled a lot. He had a red and slightly bloody lump on his head from where he hit the stairs, but it did not seem serious. I hoped beyond all hope that it wasn't serious.
When Esme put him down again, though, it was easy to tell that he was hurt worse than I hoped. His whole chest was bruised purple, blue, green, and red, especially in the hand-shaped area where he had made contact with Edward. Besides the bruise, I couldn't help but to notice the three parallel pink scars that were forever Fang's souvenir of one of our encounters with Ari, my Eraser brother. Carlisle ran his fingers across the bruise very lightly, feeling for breaks like I had seen Iggy do many times before.
"Only three are broken," Carlisle said finally, "but not too bad. They would have been if Edward had hit him any harder. They haven't moved too much yet, so if we wrap them tight enough, they should heal quite nicely. He'll be sore for a while, though."
As if on cue, Fang moaned slightly and opened his eyes to very thin slits, then closed them again. I grabbed his hand to try to keep him from slipping away again.
"Fang!" I called to him. He remained motionless. I yelled louder. "FANG!"
He flinched at the shrillness of my voice and groaned again. I waited impatiently as his eyes flickered open again. "Max?" he asked hoarsely. Then he saw the strangers and his eyes opened wider as he tried to sit up and back away.
"It's okay, son," Carlisle said soothingly, gently pushing Fang back to the floor. "We're not going to hurt you."
"It's too late to say that," Fang muttered, his eyelids drooping again. "I feel like I flew into a brick wall."
"That probably would have done less damage, actually," Esme said.
Fang nodded slightly and closed his eyes, then opened them wide again, and once more tried to sit up. "Where's Gazzy, Iggy and Nudge?" he asked in panic. The effort of sitting up was too much for him, and he fell back down.
"Your friends are fine," Jacob replied. "One of our friends just took them out for a little while."
"Oh," Fang said, as though it was the most natural thing in the world. For the first time since he woke, he looked around at the three strange faces leaning over him. "Who are you people?"
Carlisle smiled down at him. "I'm Carlisle Cullen; this is my wife Esme and our friend Jacob."
"Where's the one that attacked me?"
"That was Edward. He went off to give your girlfriend some space."
"She's not my girlfriend," Fang replied, and I noted a hint of ice in his voice.
"There are more of us," Esme said to Fang, trying to make him aware of everything that was happening, "but they all went for a walk or something. We can introduce you when they get back."
"Fine," Fang mumbled, and his eyes closed again.
I squeezed his hand nervously and turned to Carlisle, looking for reassurance.
"He'll be fine," he repeated. "He's just sleeping now. He needs his rest." He picked up Fang and began to carry him up the stairs, but stopped and turned to me first. "Don't worry, Max. You're among friends now."