Young Max and Jondy join their full unit for the first time.

Dedication: for my amazing older brother. I know we fight, and hate each other's guts sometimes, but I still love ya. I always will.


452 and 210 marched side by side after the Colonel. They were too young to wear boots, and their tiny feet made no sound as they marched. They knew that they were going to meet the rest of their unit, but they were still slightly scared. They were the youngest surviving X-5's, and were the only members of the unit that weren't living in the barracks yet.

The Colonel stopped them in front of a large metal door, which he unlocked with one of the many keys that he carried. Opening the door it's full width, he stepped in, and gestured for 452 and 210 to follow him in. They hesitantly took a step forward, and then another, until they were standing just inside of the doorway.

In the room they found more than twenty-five soldiers, some nearly as young as them, and some that were at least two years older. 452 resisted the urge to cower behind 210; she had to be a big soldier now, and couldn't rely on 210 to protect her in front of the Colonel.

The Colonel waited for the rest of the unit to form lines in front of their beds before he spoke to them.

"X-5 599 step forward."

599 was a tall skinny soldier, who slept right next to the door, on the right hand side. He stepped forward, and 452 and 210 could see a look of authority cross his young face.

"X-5 599. I have your last two soldiers. You now have a full unit. You will show them where they will sleep, and what to do. You will help teach them the basics that they need to be equal with the rest of the unit. Understood?"

"Sir yes sir."

"Good 599. Then I give you 452 and 210."

As the Colonel said this, he stepped aside slightly so that 452 and 210 were directly in 599's line of sight. The Colonel indicated that the shorter, brown-eyed one was 452, and the blue-eyed one 210. He then gave them both a pat on the shoulder, before walking out of the door, shutting and locking it behind him.

As if on signal, the rest of the X-5's returned to what they had been doing before the Colonel, and the two new soldiers, had interrupted. Only two soldiers walked up to 210 and 452, 599 and another tall soldier, who's face was full of kindness. Suddenly scared again, 210 and 452 drew closer to each other, and 452 grabbed 210's hand. 599 and the other soldier saw this, and exchanged a look. They stopped coming forward, standing a foot away from 452 and 210.

"My names Zack." 599 told them gently. "We, each of the X-5's, have a name that we use with each other, instead of our designation. This is Tinga."

210 and 452 nodded, but didn't say anything. They just looked at Zack and Tinga with wide-eyed curiosity, each still a little scared.

Tinga spoke next. "If you want, you can pick a name for yourselves. Or you can let one of us choose it for you. If you don't want a name just yet though, that's ok as well. Some of us took weeks to find a name we liked. Do you want a name right now?" She asked kindly.

210 and 452 shook their heads, still not speaking. Zack looked them over, and looked around to see what cots were free. They would want to sleep near each other; he knew that, so he decided that the two empty cots on the left-hand side down the very end of the room would suit them.

"If you don't want names now, then I'll show you where you can sleep. It's nearly lights out time, and we get eight hours in which to sleep. There is no fooling around at night, it is a time to sleep, and if one of the night guards catches you doing anything, you'll get in a lot of trouble. Understood?"

They nodded again.

"Then follow me."

Zack led them down to the end of the room, and showed them the two cots that they were to have. He then showed them how to open the chests at the end of each bed, and where they could store what, and what they would need to put on in the morning. He had just finished when the lights flicked off. His night vision kicked in straight away, and he could see that 210 had pulled 452 into her arms, and was holding her close.

"You'd better get into your beds now. I will wake you in the morning."

He waited for them to crawl into their own beds, before walking back up the aisle, and getting into his own bed. They would do fine, he thought, once they learned not to be so reliant on each other.

In her bed, 210 closed her eyes, but she knew that sleep wouldn't come. Neither her nor 452 slept more than once a week, and they had only slept the night before. She thought of rolling over to look at 452, but knew that she might get into trouble for doing so. After ten minutes, the sound of steady breathing filled the room, and 210 could tell that every other soldier had fallen asleep. Except her and 452.

210 lay still for a few minutes more, before she realized that there was a faint sound coming from 452's bed. It sounded like whimpering, and 210 guessed that 452 had started crying. After all, they were only three, and this was the first night that they had had to sleep in their own beds, and it was scary. Getting up, 210 silently padded to 452's bed, which was the last in the row.

When 452 saw 210 walk up beside her, she tried to stop crying. She didn't think that she had been making enough noise for anyone to hear, but this was 210 she was talking about. 210 always knew when she was upset. Pushing her blanket down, 452 allowed 210 to crawl in next to her. She let 210 wrap her arms around her, and cried into her shoulder.

Come, stop your crying,
It will be all right.
Just take my hand,
Hold it tight.
I will protect you
From all around you.
I will be here,
Don't you cry.

After a few minutes, the tears stopped flowing, and 452 looked up into 210's face. She knew that face off by heart, just as 210 knew her face off by heart. 210 lifted her hand, and gently wiped 452's cheek, brushing away the last of the tears. They laid down, curled up against each other, and let the night pass, until they fell asleep toward dawn.

Zack made sure that he was up before wake up time, so that he could go down and wake 210 and 452 up himself. When he got to 210's bed though, he was surprised to see that it was empty. But then he looked down to 452's bed, and saw that the two of them were curled up together, fast asleep. He walked down, and stood at the foot of the bed for a moment, before walking to the top.

He bent down, and gently touched both of the girls on their shoulders. They both woke immediately, and looked up into his face. Both drew back for a second, before recognition dawned upon them.

"210, you need to get back into your own bed before wake up call. I don't mind if you share a bed at night, just never get caught out of your own bed in the morning. Ok?"

The girls both nodded, and 210 slipped out from under the blanket and walked back to her own bed, just as Zack walked back to his. He slipped in just as the door creaked open. Wake up call had come.

Once the TAC leader had left, Zack hurriedly pulled on his uniform, and went back to 210 and 452. They both stood next to their beds, looking bewildered. He opened up both of their chests, and pulled out a set of uniforms each. They took them from him, and slowly pulled them on. Once they were finished, he realized that there were no boots for them, and none of them had a spare pair.

"210, 452, you will need to follow me. You need boots."

210 stepped up to Zack as he turned to go. "Sir, the Colonel said we weren't to have none. Not yet."

"Firstly, don't call me Sir. My name in here is Zack or anywhere else it's 599, but never sir. And secondly, it's aren't to have any, not weren't to have none. Ok?"

"Yes, sir. I mean 599."

"Good. Now if you don't get boots, then you can come straight to breakfast with us. I lead the line, with Tinga, and you two will be behind us, until you know your way around a bit better. That way, you don't get lost, or become late to a class."

"Ok." 210 replied, as 452 nodded. They followed Zack to the front of the room, and stood side by side behind him and Tinga. When the TAC leader came back, he led them out of the room and toward the mess hall.

After all of the classes and exercises of that day, 210 and 452 were exhausted. As they marched back to the barracks, 452 started lagging behind 210, until the soldier behind her nearly ran into her.

"Easy there, 452." They whispered into her ear, as they gave her a gentle push. Her tired legs nearly crumpled, but she caught herself, and forced herself to keep time with Jondy.

For one so small,
You seem so strong.
My arms will hold you,
Keep you safe and warm.
This bond between us
Can't be broken.
I will be here,
Don't you cry.

When they finally reached the barracks, 210 and 452 could hardly walk. 599 picked them both up, carried them down to the end of the room, and dumped them onto 452's bed. Another soldier came up to them, the one that 452 had nearly collided with, and sat down at the end of the bed. When 599 saw him there, he gave him a smile, before walking back to where Tinga was standing with another three soldiers.

"My names Ben," the soldier said to 452 and 210. "And you, little one, are 452. You, my blue-eyed princess, are 210."

"What's a princess?" 210 asked.

"She's a beautiful lady, who is going to be queen. She lives in a castle, with many other princes and princesses."

"Oh. What's your designation?"

"493. But I don't like that. I much rather being called Ben. Don't you want names? I can give you one each."

"Ok." 210 replied quietly. 452 just nodded, and shuffled closer to 210. When Ben saw this, he smiled at her.

"Are you scared of me little one?"

452 nodded, and let 210 wrap an arm around her.

"You shouldn't be afraid of me. Or of any of the unit. We won't hurt you."

452 didn't say anything; in fact, she hadn't said a word all day. Ben began to wonder if maybe she couldn't talk. But surely the Colonel would have said something about it to them if she couldn't.

"Well, my princess, what shall I name you? How about Jen?"

452 shook her head, and 210 agreed with her. Ben thought for a moment, trying to think of a better name.

"What about Jess? No. Then what about Jon?"

210 looked down at 452, who was trying to nod her head and shake it at the same time. "Jondy" 210 stated.

"Jondy? Well, my princess, you are now Jondy. And what about my little one, what shall we name you? Liz? Kit? Becca? What about Max?"

452 thought it over, moving her mouth as if saying it, but made no sound. After a moment, she looked up at Jondy, who smiled down at her. 452 in turn smiled back at her.

"Then, my little one, you shall be Max. Shall we tell Zack?"

'Cause you'll be in my heart,
Yes, you'll be in my heart,
From this day on,
Now and forever more.
You'll be in my heart,
No matter what they say,
You'll be here in my heart, always.

When Jondy nodded assent, Ben looked around for Zack, and signaled him to come over to them. He quickly came, and stood beside where Ben had seated himself.

"Yes Ben?"

"I've named the new ones. 210 is Jondy, and 452 is Max."

"I see. Thank you Ben. Was that all?"

"Yes, for now."

"Good." Turning to Jondy and Max, he added, "You should get ready for bed now. Lights out will be soon."

They both nodded, and watched him walk away. They then turned back to Ben, who was watching their nearly identical faces for any sign of fear. Sure enough, it was there, more clearly in Max's face, but also visible in Jondy's.

Why can't they understand
The way we feel?
They just don't trust
What they can't explain.
I know we're different but,

Deep inside us
We're not that different at all.

"You really don't have to be frightened of any of us you know. Like I said, we're not going to hurt you. You should learn to trust us. We are a team, and we don't try and hurt anyone in the team. I promise."

Max looked at him with her wide brown eyes, the fear gone, replaced with a look of half trust. Jondy smiled at Ben tentatively, and when he smiled back, her grin became wider.

"Would you like me to tell you a story?" Ben asked.

"Ok." Jondy replied.

"First you have to get changed, and get into bed."

When they had done that, Ben sat at the end of their bed, his legs crossed underneath him.

"In a castle, a long time ago..."

And you'll be in my heart,
Yes, you'll be in my heart,
From this day on,
Now and forever more.

The next morning, Max and Jondy were too exhausted to be able to wake up in time to get to their own beds. The TAC leader ordered them up, and made them march to the front of the room. There, he ordered them to stand and wait for him, while the others got changed.

As soon as he had closed and locked the door, Zack came up to them.

"I told you not to get caught," he said. "You're going to get into trouble now. I can't get you out of it either."

Max's face screwed up slightly, and a tear came to her eye. Zack saw it, and reached over and brushed it away.

"Crying won't help Max. If you cry in front of the TAC leaders, you'll get more punishment. Only cry when you're alone, and try not to even then."

Max nodded, her face downcast.

"I'm sorry, Max. I don't mean to hurt you. You two just have to learn the rules. But you'll be ok, Max. I promise."

Zack turned away from them, and went back to his bed to change. Max and Jondy stood still in the same place the TAC leader had left them, until he returned ten minutes later. With him came the Colonel, who ordered the two to follow him. He led them all the way to a room full of cells, before he said a word to them.

"You are soldiers. You cannot rely on anyone but yourself. The rest is just phony sentimentality. You must learn to work on your own, and not need anyone else. Until you can learn that, you will remain in here."

He then placed Jondy in the first cell and Max in the very last one. He locked the cold metal door of each cell, and left them alone.

Don't listen to them
'Cause what do they know?
We need each other,
To have, to hold.
They'll see in time,
I know.

Three days later, Max and Jondy were let out of the cells. They did not look at each other, just marched behind the Colonel as he led them back to the barracks. He opened the door, to reveal an empty room. Pushing them inside, he locked the door shut behind them. Immediately, they flung themselves at each other, and held on like they would never let go. Jondy could hear Max crying, and realized that she was crying herself. She pulled away from Max slightly, and, taking her hand, walked down to their cots.

They sat down on Max's bed, and curled up together at the head of it. They cried for themselves, and each other, until the tears would come no more. Then they dried their eyes, and turned to face each other.

"I'm sorry Maxie. I really am." Jondy whispered.

"I'm sorry too Jondy."

"Do you think the Colonel is right?"

"No. He can't be. I don't want him to be."

"Neither do I Maxie, but what if he is?"

"My names Max."

"But I'm going to call you Maxie. Is that ok, Max?"


"What if he is right, Maxie? What if we have to rely on no one but ourselves?"

"We'll always be together, right Jondy?"


"Then we'll never have to rely on just ourselves. We'll have each other."

"I'll always look after you Maxie. I'll always be here to protect you."

"And I'll look after you, Jondy."


"Yeah Jondy?"

"What if one of us gets taken away? What will we do then?"

"I don't know, Jondy."

"I don't want that to happen."

"Neither do I."

"I promise that no matter what happens, baby sister, I'll always find you again."

"And I promise that I'll always think of you, no matter what."

"Let's seal it."


"With blood."

When destiny calls you,
You must be strong.
I may not be with you
But you've got to hold on.
They'll see in time,
I know.
We'll show them together.

Max sat on the Space Needle, thinking of the promise that Jondy and her had made when they were three years old, and ran her finger over the very faint scar that lay across her right wrist. Max kept her promise; she could never get through a day, or night, without thinking of Jondy at least once. And she hoped, she prayed, that Jondy would keep hers.

'Cause you'll be in my heart,
Yes, you'll be in my heart,
From this day on,
Now and forever more.

Oh, you'll be in my heart,
No matter what they say,
You'll be in my heart, always,



Disclaimer: Dark Angel belongs to Cameron/Eglee, and the song, 'You'll Be In My Heart' belongs to Phil Collins and Tarzan.