Author's Note: Something anyone who wants to keep up with this (or any) of my series should know: I'm a lazy bum. I apologize, but I hate to rush fics because it always ends badly. At the moment I have a vague idea of where the plot is going but it takes me a while to write that out. Hence the long wait between chapters. Once again, I apologize and I give you all permission to bug me about it as much as possible. It helps, I swear!
Oh yeah, one last thing. I upped the rating. Not only because David has the mouth of a sailor, but also because of other things I won't reveal for a long time coming. Okay, I'm done now. Read.

Two - Pawn

I'm David Lee Sargent. Just for you information, the Yeerks are out there and the Animorphs are a bunch of assholes. I learned both of those lessons the hard way, so just trust me, all right?
As anyone who's been through the hells of junior high and high school can tell you, there are two types of new kids. There are the new kids who are accepted into the fold and embraced without a look back. Whatever causes it, be it designer clothes, rich parents, good looks or an amusing stutter, they are loved without a doubt. Good for them.
Then there's the other type. The kids who everyone just gangs up against. Most of the time they don't have a reason, except that something about you ticks them off. Now if you'd started your first day by beating the shit out of your teachers, it'd be understandable why some of the students kept their distance. Hell, even I can get that.
Most of the time it's something much less serious. Either you're poor, ugly, or have an annoying whine for a voice. Also, you're smarter than they are. If I've learned anything from the multitudes of schools I've been through, it's that people hate someone smarter than them. If you ask me, that's why those assholes blew me off from day one. Add that to the fact that I just didn't fit into their little crowd. I happen to think that's kind of funny when you consider that those idiots accepted a talking bird and an annoying-as-hell alien into their fold sans argument.
But I never have fit in anywhere. I accepted that fact ages ago.

Which is fine with me, honest to god. I can't even fake giving a shit about them. The one thing I regret is that those upstart pricks are the ones who are supposed to liberate Earth from the growing Yeerk control. Let me tell you, it isn't working in the slightest. They must be immortal or something else irritating because no normal being, be it Yeerk, Human, or Andalite, should have lived this long fighting Visser Three. They don't deserve to live in the first place. It's the truth, you know. I figure that part of why they've lasted so long is that despite how much they try to deny it, they are just the same as the Yeerks. Just as ruthless, just as sick and twisted.
How do I know this? Because I'm a rat. Look at what they've condemned me to! The rest of my life I have to live like this. There is no fucking way out. I get to spend every waking moment of my life gorging on animals because there is no other way to survive. Even though every time I do it my human mind screams out in protest, there isn't a choice. It's just like how I had no choice before they trapped me. Those moralizing fakes had abandoned me.
It was David vs. The World. If they didn't want me then I would have to go about things my own way. If that meant selling my only possible allies (as in a friend of mine enemy is my friend kind of way), then I could sell them to the Visser (also in a friend of mine enemy is my friend kind of way). All I wanted was my family back again.
My family had been the only people who were constant in my life. I didn't have the luxury of any childhood friend since I was moving all the time. It wasn't like I had that many friends in the first place. To be honest, I stopped trying. There wasn't a point in attempting to make friends if all that was going to happen was that I'd have to move away next month. My parents had always been a part of my life despite that. Which is really kind of sad because I didn't even like them that much. You can't pick and choose your family, though. If I could have done that I would've picked someone other than an alcoholic workaholic once-was general who still harbored delusions of grandeur and his happy little housewife who had bright red scars down her arms. Still, can't choose your family.
And God did I ever want them back. But they couldn't even grant me that. Oh, hell no. It's a rule of the world: nothing nice must ever come to David. I guess they figured they were clever and maybe they were. They got rid of me for a time, but I won't forgive them. Even if they decided to throw down the olive branch and somehow give me back my family and my body, I will not forgive them. I will not forgive her.

I will make her mine. I will make her my slave, my plaything. Then I will crush her. Just you watch.

She was the first person in a very long time that I had any sense of kinship with. I sensed it in her as much as it was inside of me. She was better at keeping up appearances than I was but there wasn't a way to hide it.
Something had gone deliciously askew with her. She'd become an addict to her horrible fate and I loved that.
I'd told her before that she put up walls to hide the truth. I hope she still does.
It will make her surrender even more satisfying in the end. It'll make twisting the knife in her heart even better.
Just like she'd done with me. I'd thought that perhaps she would see the light, see that we were the same.
I had no such luck. After all, it's like I said: nothing good ever comes to me. I happen to blame it on that bird.
I will never, for the life of me, understand her love for him. He was what kept her from falling into the pit. From falling too deep into her own dark soul, and Jesus, did I ever want her to fall. That's why I killed him. That is why I killed Tobias. I'd known that in losing him she would lose her grip. God, it was wonderful listening to her scream. Listening to her screaming over and over that she would kill me and knowing all the time that I'd opened up the darkness in her heart. The memory still makes me smile.
But she betrayed me. My Rachel betrayed me, that bitch. Looking back I suppose I should have expected it, but I had been so sure that she would see I was the only one for her. Now look what my hard work had gotten me.
All for the sake of love, too. For the sake of my parents' love, for the sake of Rachel's love, I was a rat.

It no longer matters. No longer, for Crayak has shown me infinite love.

It is to Lord Crayak that I now swear complete allegiance. Not to my parents, not to Rachel, and without a doubt not to the rest of the Animorphs. In a way I almost pity them for being pawns of the Ellimist. Pawns to that being which cares nothing for them aside from the amusement they provide him. But they deserve it, upstart fucks.
I am so lucky that Lord Crayak found me. It was a few months after I had become a nothlit. He'd found me on the beach as I had been eating. It was still an experience I have never, and will never, be accustomed to. It's an experience you can never really quite accept. It was right about the time that my human brain threatened to upchuck my meal that I had seen him.
It was disorienting, believe me. One moment I had been on the beach and screaming at myself, the next I found myself face-to-face with a being that was...I can only call Crayak a sentient machine. It's the only description that fits. He was horrifying to look at then and he still is now. His blood red eye stared at me, and even though I am not the type to keel over to anyone, I felt my knees lock and my legs collapse underneath me.
Yes, my human knees and legs.

I lifted my head and stared at the Big Red Eye in shock. There was no doubt that this monstrosity was the one who had restored me. Then I wondered what the Big Eye's purpose was. Call me paranoid as hell, but I knew there had to be an ulterior motive. Everyone has them, you know.
It was a second later that my eyes caught the Drode. He looks sort of like a Barney made of prunes. A really messed up Barney made of prunes. He, too, is a servant of Lord Crayak. For the record though, that doesn't mean I consider him an ally. He's too damn annoying for me to do that. Something in my fate has decided I should be stuck with annoying smart guys at every period of my life. The first one was this dork named Robert, a whiny lanky dude that I hung out with and beat up the majority of fifty grade. He kept contact with me until we were freshman. When ninth rolled around, his mother decided I was a bad influence and forbid Robert to ever write me anything again. As far as I know I haven't received anything from my old punching bag since. The other annoying smart guy was, as you can guess, was that asshole Marco. I didn't like him from the start. There was the obvious fact that he was just plain annoying, but I hated that out of all of them, he could see right through me. I hate people that can do that.
Maybe because I'm one of those people, now that I think about it, but back to the more important matter of Lord Crayak. Lord Crayak more or less uses Drode to speak for him. For the life of me I can't figure out why he doesn't use someone with a more pleasant voice, but that's a different matter. Just like always, Drode also spoke to me for Lord Crayak. What, did you expect Crayak to do it himself? He has no mouth and he doesn't use thoughtspeak!
"Oh, look, Master." The Drode teased in his whiny voice. "The Rouge Animorph has dropped in on us."
"What the hell are you babbling about?" I asked Drode. It didn't sound, as tough as I wished it did, I still wasn't used to using my mouth again. The Drode laughed at me which only served to piss me off more.
"I'm talking about you, Mister Sargent. You're the Rouge Animorph, the Outcast of the group." The Drode said.
"I'm not one of those fucks." I told the Drode, giving him my most menacing glare for good measure.
"If you say so." The Drode shrugged and I just knew he was laughing at me. I hate being laughed at.
"Either way," The Drode said as his whine tried to take on a persuasive tone. "My Lord Crayak has a job for you."
"Your Lord Crayak?" I said, paraphrasing the Drode. "I didn't know aliens got involved in that S&M shit."
"Shut up, human. Lord Crayak and I can both kill you." The Drode deadpanned. I couldn't help it, I grinned.
"How? By strapping me to a torture table and fucking me without mercy?" I asked. The Drode glared at me.
"Human, go work out your homoerotic fantasies somewhere else before Lord Crayak tires of you." The Drode said.
"Are you implying I'm a faggot?" I shouted at the Drode. He gave me no answer. Which was just great, having Prune Barney think I like it up the ass. Not that I have anything against gays, they just freak me out.
"If you'd have the courtesy to listen to me, you'd know that Lord Crayak has the kindness to give you your hearts' desires." The Drode told me. I swear to God he was smirking at me. Stupid prune but I took his bait.
"My heart's desires?" I asked the Drode. He nodded at me. "Yes. Your body, your parents, your Rachel."
"Lord Crayak can give it all to you."
I didn't even think about it. "Then tell Lord Crayak that I'm his."

I experienced another disorienting moment. I found myself back in my old house, the one I had before those fucking Animorphs decided to mess up my life. I was standing in my room all alone and dressed in that stupid as shit "morphing outfit" Tobias had stolen for me. I still can't believe those idiots don't realize the riches they can get.
The Drode popped up behind me a second later. My parents were with him.
If I was one of those touchy-feely bastards I would've started crying right then, and I will admit that my throat closed up for a moment. But only a moment, so don't think anything of it. God, how long had it been since I saw them?
It hadn't even been a week before the saints-of-the-world...oh, excuse me, the Animorphs, had decided I wasn't good enough for them. I took a wild guess and assumed it was close to three months that I had been trapped in rat morph. I confess that I'd lost track of the days, which was really a good thing. Why the hell would I want to know how long I had been a goddamned rat anyway? Being a rat was much more important than how long I had been one. Forgetting the days was just one small way I attempted to keep sane. Though I've heard from more than a few sources that I'm a complete fuck-up. But, hey, I believe that sanity is what you make of it.
So says the boy who watched his mother cut up her arms at seven years old but you can't pick and choose your memories. Who gives a shit about the past, anyway?
"They aren't conscious yet." The Drode told me. "Wouldn't want your poor mother to experience another trip to the mental hospital for seeing an alien, now would we?" He asked. It took every bit of my will to not beat the shit out of him.
"You're an asshole." I told the Drode. Just because I wasn't going to beat him to a pulp didn't mean I couldn't speak my mind.
"And you're a messed up sociopath. We're even." He teased. "Now, the pleasantries aside, you're going to need to learn what your job is, David."
"My job?" I queried, forgetting that I sounded stupid as crap repeating the Drode all the time.
"Do you really think Crayak would have given you these gifts for no reason? You have a job to do." Drode told me.
"All right." I said. "So what is it that your Master wants from me?" I asked the Drode.
The Drode smiled. "To steal him a gift. If you retrieve it for us, Lord Crayak will follow through his last promise. You already have your parents and your body. For your Rachel, you will have to do this small task."
I licked my lips as images of Rachel bending to my will flashed through my mind. "What small task, hm?"
The Drode smirked. He must've guessed I would agree. Annoying ass of a prune. "Get us a girl." He said.
It took a moment for that to sink in. "You're not serious." I said. "Crayak's all-powerful, right? Why can't he get himself a date?"
"That's not why he needs the girl." The Drode hissed. "This girl is a freak of nature, an accident. She happens to be an accident that would serve Lord Crayak's needs very well. He needs her, David."
I nodded and let that sink in for a moment. All I had to do was get a girl, and then I would have Rachel. Then I could give her the exact treatment she deserved. She would become my slave. She could watch as I killed that bird of hers, as I plucked every feather off his body and beat him to a pulp. She could watch, as I would force him to morph out of his body and beat him over and over. Then I could hear her screams again. I could once again open up that wound, the darkness inside of that beautiful body. The thought was making me almost salivate.
"Who's the girl?" I asked Drode. "And when should I go grab her?"
"The girl is called Melissa Chapman, and you should pick her up at around six o'clock tomorrow. She'll be in a shack in the woods, according to Lord Crayak." The Drode told me. Then he teleported away.
"Enjoy your family, David."

I did. For the first time in more than I could remember, even before I could morph, even before all of that, I enjoyed my family. Mom and Dad were both pretty confused by the fact that I hugged them. Yes, me. I hugged someone. I didn't like it but I still did it. Mom had hugged me back. She placed her dirty arms around me. I jerked away at first but I let her hug me. She hadn't noticed my hesitation. It was just that even though I couldn't see it underneath her long shirts, I still thought of those cuts on her arms every time she tried to hug me or hand me something.
Not that I'd ever talked to her about it. I wasn't sure I ever intended to. Dad had scoffed at me but he did pat me on the back. It was an improvement; I hadn't expected any affection from him. Maybe Crayak had made them nice people, too? Was that kind of thing possible?
I had asked them if they knew anyone called Mr. Visser. I asked if they'd heard about the guys running around town dressed up as weird centaurs and mutated versions of Jar-Jar Binks. They looked at me like I was nuts.
So they were no longer Controllers, I'd made certain. I suppose that if I wanted one-hundred-percent proof, I would have morphed in front of them but there were three reasons I didn't. One was that I didn't yet know if I could still morph. The second was that I didn't want to run the risk of them getting infested and telling the Yeerks about me. The third was that, if I could morph, I wanted to keep that all to myself. Without any moralizing bastards to mess things up for me. If I could pick and choose the way I was going to handle my powers this time around, no one was going to know. Not a soul. Expect perhaps that Melissa Chapman chick if need be. If she was going to end up working for Lord Crayak then she would more than likely learn anyway. Just what I needed, some annoying bitch working with me. It was all for Rachel's sake, though. All for the sake of My Rachel, so I could handle that.
I left my poor confused parents at about seven-thirty. We'd finished dinner and so I headed up to my room. I told them that I was going to do my homework or some crap like that. I can't believe they fell for it considering that I turn up C's in most of my classes because I blew off the homework thing ages ago. I haven't done it since fifth grade, I think.
I went upstairs to my room. It took me a moment to remember to move as soon as I'd gotten in. Everything was like I'd left it the morning of that day. It was nice and neat, more or less. It wasn't torn to shreds; there wasn't a gaping hole in the wall. There was no blue box. But I didn't have time to be sentimental; I was still lacking the last thing I wanted in my plans. I still did not have my Rachel. So I reviewed all the morphs I had acquired.
In the end I picked golden eagle. I had loved it. I relished the power that little killing machine had and I still loved to envision what it had been like to fly. So I concentrated with all my mind on becoming a golden eagle.
I almost bit my tongue off to keep from screaming as large talons erupted from my feet. My skin started to itch like mad as feathers sprouted from my body. My tongue was relieved from the pain of being close to chewed off when I grew myself a beautiful beak. Which was good because I either would have screamed or bitten my fucking tongue off in the next moment as it felt like I'd just fallen off of a three-story building. What had really happened was that I had shrunken to the size of a bird. A strange half-David, half-golden eagle, but still the size of a bird.
In a moment or two the changes were gone and done with. I was full and total golden eagle, and in complete control of myself by the way. I also had a few things I needed to do.

The next morning there was a report of a diamond-studded Rolex and a mix of diamond, garnet, ruby, sapphire and emerald earrings and necklaces missing from the jewelry store. The earrings and necklaces are in the back of my closet hidden behind my shoes. I move them about every other day. The Rolex is in my backpack.

It was my luck that Dad had taught me all about programming watches, otherwise I wouldn't have known how to set off the damn thing. I had set the alarm to go off at five twenty-five so I'd have plenty of time to go find the damn shack the Drode had told me about. I'd been careful in selecting my watch as well. I had scoped out the jewelry shop a few times in bird morph, once as some drugged-up hippie I had acquired near the mall, and then I ended up stealing all the goods in the form of the human-Controller I had acquired at the convention. Lucky for him that the jewelry store, until that point, had no security cameras. I could have done it in rat morph but that was so much easier. I had also resolved to never morph rat again if I could help it. The watch was well worth the pretty penny it would've cost me. Waterproof, glow-in-the-dark light, switched to military time and had both calendar and stopwatch features, and damn did it look good. I fed my parents some bullshit about going to a party after school. I also have proof now that Lord Crayak did some toying around with my parents because under normal circumstances, they would never have believed that. Luck was on my side though, and they trusted me.
So right after school I dropped my backpack in my locker and ran into the boys' bathroom to morph to golden eagle.

I hope Chapman didn't mind my crashing through the window but I'm sure as hell not paying for it.

God, I know it's corny as crap, but I love to fly. There's such a rush over it, I feel so damn elated when I do it.
The bugger was that I didn't get to enjoy that elation because I had to find some annoying little girl in the woods.
Yes, you idiots, I was pissed at that. Under normal circumstances I wouldn't give a shit what happened to this girl, whatever the hell Crayak and the Drode needed her for, but I had been pulled into this. It wasn't fair, I thought.
It wasn't fair that I had been turned into a rat. I would be the first person to admit that. It wasn't fair that I had been forced to endure months of torture and isolation beyond any kind I'd experienced before. It wasn't fair that I had been dragged into something that really had nothing to do with me all because I was offered my deepest longings. But I had to be a man.
That's what my asshole , oh excuse me, father had drilled into me. I could almost hear his words now. They echoed inside of my head like they would inside a deep and fatal cave, a memory I had no want to replay.
"Raise your head up, boy! Don't you hang your head at me! Damn it David, wipe away those tears!"
It had been when I was five or six after my old cat (pre-Megadeth days) had died. The old man had found me in my room crying over it. He'd picked me up by my collar and shouted those exact words at me. Syllable for syllable.
Lesson learned, though. Only wimpy pansy faggot boys cry, and though I hate to break it to the butt-fuckers of the word, I ain't one of those.
"Don't you cry!" My father's words repeated themselves almost as audible in my mind as in real life.
Then the sharp pitch of squealing tires drowned it out. My eagle eyes spotted it quicker than you can say "Mississippi". A dorky white van with the words "The Sharing" across it in deep black. Making sure my suspicions weren't just guesses, I looked around me as well and guess what I spied with my birdie eye? Yes indeed, a torn up little shack not but a yard away. I had found my little girl. I had found the trinket that would lead me to my Rachel.
I swooped under the cover of some trees that would be out of sight and I demorphed. I had to be ready, just in case.
With the stealth of a cat I maneuvered my way towards the itsy-bitsy-about-to-crumble shack.
I saw a big guy in what looked like his early twenties open the right-side door. He cut something with some scissors in his hand, and out came a girl blonde, pissed, and cuffed. I already liked her.
Maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't have to work with a ditz for the sake of Lord Crayak. That'd be a fucking relief.
There was another man with the burly guy and the ticked blonde. He looked to be mid-forties or so and there was something about him that even alarmed me. Something was not right with this man or whatever he was. Having been around other-worlders for a bit, I had a strong feeling this guy was not human. I also got a feeling that I knew him.
"Good Work, Niar 295. I will reward you handsomely for this." The creepy old guy said. It was then that I knew.
"Let's get her to the shack." I heard him say, but those words meant nothing to me as I began to recollect another time he had spoken to me in person, per se. The fucking asshole, he had tempted me. Tempted me with the thought of getting my parents back. It was because of him that I had lost all respect those shits had begun to grow for me, if they respected me at all. I should have gone back to him but how was I to know that I would be betrayed? That every single last one of them would stab me in the back? I had no idea.
Distracted by my inner musings I almost didn't notice the twenty-something and Visser Three leading the girl into the shack. To do what? I wondered. Infest her, you dumbass. My mind reminded me.
I'd started the changes before I was even all that conscious of them. Not to be all touchy-feely here, but even I can't just sit down and accept what the Yeerks do to people. And if someone as fucked up as me thinks it's wrong, that's telling you something. And I was not planning on letting them infest my key to Rachel. There was just no way.

I heard some sounds coming from the shack as I morphed, but considering my whole body was changing shape, there was no way I could understand them. Human language just doesn't translate to a lion, somehow. Might be part of why they'd like to tear us up if given half the chance. I was waiting with utter patience for the last, and most important, part of the change to begin. The change from a human's annoying squeaks to a lion's tone.
I roared. The sound of it could liquefy the legs of a grown man. Hell, maybe even a giant. That was just what I wanted it to do. On instinct I leaped onto the top of the ramshackle shack. In the next moment it crumbled under me, leaving me standing in a room in the middle of a shocked Visser, a crying girl, and the twenty-something that had just pissed himself. Go me.
*Get on, damn it!* I shouted to the blonde as I ran up to her. She proved she had a few working cells in her brain by leaping onto my back. We ran through the forest like shit. I have no idea how I managed to keep the chick on my back but it might have had something to do with the way she was digging what she could of her fingernails into my mane. For the record, it hurt like hell. I ran fast as I could in what I assumed was the direction of the school.
The chick and I stopped for a moment. I needed to think out what I was going to do next.
"I think we lost them." The girl said. What a fucking idiot.
*Yeah fucking right. Visser Three will catch up to us sooner or later.* I told her. She didn't say anything after that, not even ask me who Visser Three was. Which was a little weird, but I figured that maybe that megalomaniac had told her inside the shack. That seemed like his style.
"Look, I'm way beyond grateful, but who are you?" The chick asked me. I'd pissed her off, which made me pleased as punch. But one mustn't forget good manners. It was only fair I told her who I was.
*Don't scream.* I told her as I placed a paw to my many-fanged mouth. Then I started to demorph back into boy.
To her credit the girl didn't scream. She was freaked out as hell, but no screaming. That was a bonus.
I smirked as the elation of getting My Rachel occurred to me. "I'm David Sargent." I told the girl.
She nodded a very brisk nod. It was so sharp it looked like her blonde little head was going to fall off her shoulders.
I wanted her to tell me her name back (it was only polite), but I didn't have the time to waste with formalities.

I needed to get back to my house. Even though, since I couldn't carry the girl around as a lion all day, that meant the long way. By foot. "We're going to my place." I told her. She followed behind me and it was a minute or two that I heard her ask me something.
"Are those all the clothes you have?" She asked. I'm not like a faggot about what I wear, but I didn't like the comment on my style. I had to set this poor girl straight.
"No. Most of my clothes are in my locker." I told her, then I laughed. "I could hide anything from Chapman's nose, that cokehead. I could have needles and joints stuffing my locker and that motherfucker wouldn't even notice."
The girl stayed silent. It was half-a-second later that I felt her hand slam against my frail cheek. I made a move to grab her wrist and show her her place but I stopped myself just in time. I doubted Lord Crayak wanted the girl to get sour on me.
"Don't you dare talk about my father that way!" She screeched. I couldn't help it, I smirked.
"Oh, what? Can Miss Little Princess not take someone badmouthing her sweet daddy?" I asked. The girl flipped me the bird.
I shook my head in mock disgust. "Obscene finger gestures from such a pristine girl?" I murmured.
The girl scowled at me and I got the privilege of peeking at her pearly whites. "I'm not that pristine." She said.
I doubted it but I didn't say that to her. "Whatever you say." I told her with a shrug. "I apologize."
The girl raised an eyebrow but I could tell by the look in her eyes that she had fallen for it. Wonderful.
We walked along in silence for a while longer until about a block from my place, she spoke again.
"I'm Melissa Chapman, David." She said.
"Nice to meet you, Melissa." I smarmed. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all. Even though I would have to teach that girl her place, it might not be so bad. At least I was going to get my Rachel again.

Oh, reviewers! Glorious reviewers! Flamers, and fans, and the strange ones...

a person who likes your work - I'm glad you like the story! And guess what? You're gonna get your wish, I'm writing more!

Prometheus - Wow. A double review. Anyway, I'm glad you like the story and I will be moving on towards the plot and subplots soon, I just need to introduce a few characters first. I really hope you enjoy the rest of the story. And to be frank, I must admit that just writing David was disturbing, just a bit. He's not my favorite character either. Fortunately, the next chapter is a Melissa one.

Doctor Strangelove - Woohoo! I rendered someone speechless and incoherent! This is the first time I've ever done that! And I'm continuing the story, don't panic! There shalt be more!

Now I beg and plead of you, review! Please? I'll give you a free kitten!