(9/18/2008 Author's Notes: So I took some time to try and redo the chapters of this story. You might be wondering, wow! This story has been going for 5 years? But, no! :P It has not. I finished it back in 2003, back when the site still permitted .html uploads for stories. So, thought-speak was easy to do. But earlier this year I noticed, upon re-reading my story, that they had all been undone. I was not a happy camper! But I haven't had time to edit it all on my master copy until now. And as such, I'm trying to fix them so that it reads the way that it should. Plus I edited a lot of other crap from back then, because I was a teenager and apparently didn't think editing was important. Failure on my part! At any rate, here's the new, edited versions. One by one I'll update them. Please enjoy!)
Author's Notes: Harvey's mine. Mwah. Take him and face my wrath. Anyway, all the original characters belong to K.A. Applegate. Yeah, that sucks. This will have SLASH, but I'm not going to tell you who it's with. Just know it's an original character with one of the Animorphs. I know it's sort of over-done to have someone come into the group, but it was too hard to resist. Still, hope you enjoy it. I screwed with the time line a little bit, too. This takes place when they're in their Freshman year. Pretty close to the end, but I tend to like squeezing in my little bit. Don't forget to review!
"Honestly, I really didn't know that it was going to be on the test."
I thought he was lying, he being my friend Aaron. He usually likes to see me squirm on the days of tests when I don't know what's going to be on it. But this time he'd told me. Yeah, he told me the -wrong- things. If I fail the test because of that, I'm certainly going to kick some serious butt.
By the way, my name's Harvey. Just your simple, average kid. Freshman in high school, age 15. I'm nothing out of the average, really. I've been described in so many different ways, but in lamens terms, I'm a tall boy with slightly long brown hair (it hangs just about to my eyebrows) with very faintly tanned skin. Just like a lot of the other boys in my school. Different, how, you ask? I couldn't tell you.
I was on my way with Aaron and my other friend, Randy, to the library. It was just after fourth period which meant only one thing: lunch. Yeah I know, nerd, right? Since I'm going to the library for lunch and all. Truth be told, I haven't eaten lunch all week--all my money's being pooled to a savings account for that nice little Gameboy Advance I saw in the window at the local Wal-Mart the other day. I'm about a fourth of the way there.
When we'd reached the library Aaron gave us a wave good-bye. He was off to eat lunch with his girlfriend. Since the library was along the way, he felt it only kind to go with us. Pretty absorbed if you ask me...She'd tell him to beg and he'd probably do it.
"'Bye," I said.
I held the door open for Randy like the gentleman I was (pfft, yeah, okay. Me, a gentleman? I just didn't feel like waiting), but when I turned around he was talking to someone else. I had some pretty easily distracted friends.
"Are you coming?" I asked, sounding much more impatient than I'd planned.
Randy waved a dismissive hand in my direction and I groaned out, shrugging him off and walking into the library.
It was full of kids as it usually was during lunch. There were computers to the right of the entrance and the check-out counter was to the left. After walking past the counter I slid around the left, surprised when I accidentally ran into a table. I guess you could say I'm terribly accident proned. The sound reverberated through the library and I got a couple "shh's!" and "be -quiet-!"'s, which didn't phase me much. I just made my way through the maze of circular surfaced tables and slipped beyond the wall and into the labryinth of shelves.
Of course I knew where I was going. There were breaks in the wall-like shelves, an occasional table being around. There was one section of the library in which I knew I was pretty much the only one who went there, and it was a good distance away from here. I couldn't see over the shelves but I knew where I was going. After about a minute or two I began to notice the familiarly labeled spines, the ones leading to 'my' spot.
But it wasn't just my spot anymore. I had just about turned the corner when I heard someone grumbling something. Not exactly sure was to what it was, I leaned in, pressing myself against the bookshelf somewhat. It was a good thing they had a board in the middle so books could be placed on both sides, or whoever was on the other side would've heard me.
And then I heard it. The familiar voice of Jake, one of the kids in my Algebra class.
"I regret having to meet here, but Cassie here says her dad are gonna be in the barn most of the day. What did you say it was?"
Then I heard Cassie's voice. She was in my English class. "Dad's relocating some animals from the Gardens. He didn't tell me what, so we might have some new morphing forms."
Morphing? Eh? What in the--
My jumbled thoughts were cut off by Rachel's voice. I knew who she was because I'd talked to her more than a few times. Ran into her at the mall one day when I was hanging out with Aaron and Randy. She dropped her shopping bag and I helped her to pick it up. Seemed rather grateful, too.
"I've got a feeling this wasn't the best place for us to meet. Anyone could walk up on us talking about this."
"Meh," It was Marco.
Marco was a friend of mine. Well, more so than any of the others. We sat next together in history; the days he was there, anyway. I ate lunch with him once in a while and joked around. Jake and I got along all right, same with Cassie. Rachel and I were more on acquaintance terms, which was nice because I always had someone to work with in science if I didn't have any other partners for projects. But she always seemed to disappear when we made plans to meet. Never knew why.
Marco continued on, "It's not like anyone comes to this part of the library, anyway. According to some dude I know, it's pretty much his section. Or at least, this tiny secluded part of it was."
"So where do you think this 'dude' you know is?" Jake again.
With the pause that came after that, I can only assume that Marco shrugged. "He's off somewhere. Probably at lunch..." Another pause. "...Like most sane people," he added.
There was a short silence from all of them before Jake began to speak again. "So we'll just see them tomorrow then. Any powerful morphs would be helpful...I think the Hork-Bajir are growing used to our battle morphs."
Powerful battle morphs? Hork-Bajir? What in the world were they talking about? I leaned in closer, hoping the voices would rise just a bit. But they didn't. Instead I heard a light laughter.
Marcos spoke this time. "Not much could beat the morphs we have now, though. I mean, come on. We've got Jake's tiger morph, Cassie's Hork-Bajir morph, my gorilla morph, Rachel's nearly unstoppable Grizzly morph, Tobias' Andalite and Hork-Bajir morph, and then we've got just Ax. It's insane. You'd think we'd be having less problems with taking down the Yeerks."
My mind was swimming. Confusion was pretty much the only word I could sum it up to. I tried to walk away, to act like I'd never heard any of it, but that idea was soon thrown out the window when I stumbled back and tripped over my overly large foot. Nature's a bitch sometimes, you know? My heart was racing as I grabbed a hold of the shelf to regain my balance. That didn't work out too well.
My heart was practically slamming against my rib cage, the beating of my own blood ringing in my ears. I was surely going to be caught. Rubbing my eyes I attempted to listen once again when I heard one of them mutter a shushing sound.
"Is someone there?" Jake called out.
"Of course someone's there, Jake. They're just not going to admit they are!" Rachel sure did sound angry...Not a very good combination. I heard footsteps and my heart sank.
I tried to walk away but my legs didn't seem to want to move. I just sat there, sort of helpless.
"Crap," I muttered under my breath.
I just stood there in wait of what was to come. I had expected Rachel to come bounding around the corner, but to my surprise, it was Cassie. She certainly did look surprised. Giving me a once-over she disappeared back on the other side of the shelf, and I could've sworn she whispered to Marco:
"Your 'dude' is here, obviously not at lunch."
I was surprised I hadn't shot off and left them be. Maybe because I was afraid of what was going to happen if I did. I mean, I could very well have just listened in on something that was of top-secret status.
And I was right.
It was all hush-hush for a few seconds until I saw an arm snake around the corner and grab a hold of mine. After being abruptly dragged to the opposite side, I was rather rudely pushed into a seat by none other than Rachel. Of course, once she'd calmed down, she apologized for being so harsh. But the critical nature of this little encounter was much higher than I must've realized. They were all looking at me like I had this giant bug crawling on my face.
"W-What?" I managed to choke out.
Until Jake gave Marco some kind of look. "Was this the guy you were talking about?"
He just nodded.
I knew they had talked about me, and it took a lot of effort not to let my face turn a bright shade of pink. Rachel's bright blue eyes were piercing into me, and I was sincerely worried for myself. I might just die.
"Harvey man, what's up? Heh."
I just looked at Marco and then back down to the center of the table. I felt like I was on trial and they were the jury: the ones who could decide my fate. After a long pause Jake spoke again.
"How much did you hear?"
I didn't know if I should answer that question honestly. There were two possible choices: One, I lie and might get off easy. Two, I tell them the truth and tell them what I heard. As oddly frightened as I was, I decided to go for the kamikaze choice and tell them the truth.
And from that came even more of that mind-numbing silence. My eyes shifted from one of them to the next, the same look in each and every pair of orbs I met. They were contemplating.
"This is really serious," Cassie said, breaking the veil of quietness. And what's more? She sounded really worried.
"This could be a David issue all over again," Jake stated. Didn't quite understand that, so I let it slide.
"The situation's different this time," Rachel retorted. "...David found the box. His parents were turned into Controllers and there wasn't much else we could do." Her voice seemed to shudder at the name of him. "Harvey walked up on us. This is much, much different."
Cassie lifted a hand to her face and massaged her brows. "But still, this is really serious."
I was sincerely lost. They continued to talk like I wasn't even there, which was fine with me. But they were speaking in code, that I could at least tell. "The you-know-what hidden you-know where." I'm not that stupid, honestly.
But it wasn't like I could up and say something, no. The looks they were giving me between sentences that worried me. Before I could think on it any more, Jake sighed and cut them all off.
"We have no choice but to tell him. He's heard too much."
And of course, I didn't object again.
I sort of wished I had.
. . .
They'd told me. Told me everything. It sounded like some twisted movie plot: Alien creatures taking over host bodies and using them as what they called "Controllers". A war they'd waged for over a year now, hidden in the safety of their anonymity. About how they used the power of a fallen "Andalite" to morph into animals from this world and ones beyond. About the Yeerks. Those were the creatures that could take control of your life. They told me you could never tell who was a Controller. It could be your mom, dad, siblings, next-door neighbor, your teacher. They told me how Tobias, this kid that just sort of disappeared, had turned into a "nothlit", or a morpher who stayed in morph for more than two hours. He even gained his power back from this person called the Ellimist. I even learned about David: the Animorph gone wrong. At least now I knew who he was. Oh, and about The Sharing. The organization that secretly is run by Yeerks. How they 'help' people...how they ruin them. Am I forgetting anything? Probably, but my brain was swimming already because of the ten ton weight that had been dropped on it. It was so much to swallow, and they'd managed to condense it down within the forty five minute lunch period. I don't know how.
But the thing is, everything was different. After I'd sworn to secrecy at least five or six times they let me go, and I ended up going with Marco because we had the same class. From my view, however, it was because they probably didn't trust me enough yet. I didn't complain though, I really didn't want to be alone after hearing that story. Who would? Have to be insane, they would.
I kept giving everyone in the halls second glances. Even people I knew as good friends that I passed got a disbelieving glance from my dark eyes. I felt terrible for doing it, but it had become this...instant instinctive thing. I don't know how to explain it. Just...Well, I didn't know if it was really them, or if it was one of those...slugs.
"Kind of changes your perspective, doesn't it?" Marco asked, giving me a side-glance before returning his gaze in front of him. His hands were in his pockets.
I snorted. "Yeah, it does. How do you guys live with it?"
We turned a corner, slipping into our history class. Taking our usual seats in the near back, Marco glanced around before casually replying, "We don't. Adaptation is the key. We're getting there, at least."
I just kind of nodded. Still hard to swallow. I wouldn't have believed a word of it if I hadn't stumbled in and eavesdropped some. But now it all seemed surreal...And as the teacher walked into the room, he received a rather furtive look from me. I wasn't going to be able to look at anyone the same ever again.
. . .
I went home that afternoon more paranoid than I'd ever been. My mom wasn't home yet, and neither was my dad. Little sis wasn't going to be home for about an hour or so. My older brother Derrick wasn't home just yet either. He was usually at work until about three thirty or so. I looked at the clock.
Good. I needed some time to myself before trying to talk to any of them. I wasn't that good a liar, and my cheeks often turned pink when I tried to. Hiding the knowledge I knew might just make me pink for the rest of my life. However long that would be, now that I knew of the real issues going on.
So I just wandered up to my room, shut the door behind me and jumped on my bed.
Everything looked the same. I knew it wasn't going to actually look different, but it certainly felt different. The possibility that any one of my family members could be lost in the cataclysmic depths of their own minds. Having to surrender control to those gray slugs. The bastards. I ran a hand through my hair and sighed, staring up at the ceiling. All those memories of the past year I had...were they of my actual loved ones, or just their bodies? Why had I decided to go to the stupid library and not just head to the lunchroom?
I heard the front door open downstairs. The abnormally loud slam alerted me that Derrick was home. A little early, too. I ignored it though, reaching over to my nightstand and gathering up my book. I'd had it half read, but the last time I picked it up was last week or something. Derrick stomped his way upstairs, going into his room across the hall and slamming that door, too. Whatever his problem was, it was pretty big—Derrick didn't slam doors often.
Just as soon as I'd started reading my book, Derrick came waltzing into my room.
"I got fired!" he said, sounding quite heated.
I sat up and blinked. "Fired? Why'd they fire you?"
With a groan and a shrug, he plopped down on my bed and glared at nothing. "Well, they laid me off, actually. But that's as good as getting fired. I guess I should go looking for a new job. But I've got class around four thirty. I've gotta job search tomorrow, I guess."
I found myself staring at his forehead while he talked. Marco and the others told me that the Yeerks entered through your ear and spread themselves out over your brain, pushing into the crevices. Were those Derrick's eyes, or was I staring into the tiny, blind eyes of a Yeerk? I'd hoped it wasn't the latter. I dropped my book to the bed and then sighed.
"That sucks. Where do you think you'll be applying?"
"I don't know. I guess anywhere and everywhere. Just whoever's hiring."
I nodded knowingly. It wasn't easy finding a job. Not in this town. Everyone who was anyone was working, which made it very hard for most teenagers to find jobs. Especially college aged ones. I didn't even have a job. But then again, I'm not allowed to have one. Schoolwork comes first. Bleh.
Derrick lifted himself from my bed and walked over to my door, hovering about it with a slightly raised mood since he had ranted. After he thanked me for listening he left, shutting my door behind him.
I just returned to my book and let myself drown in its pages.
. . .
This morning I saw Jake and Marco standing together by their locker. I gave them a friendly wave and made my way in their direction. The both of them looked absolutely bushed. Jake had light bags under his eyes and Marco looked like he was ready to dove off any minute. After I waved a hand in front of their faces I shook my head.
"What were you two up to last night?" I asked in a hushed voice.
They both looked at me, Jake staying quiet while Marco shrugged.
"Lots of homework," he said, emphasizing homework. I got the picture right away. They'd been off...saving the world. How corny did that sound?
"Sucks," I said.
"That it does," Jake agreed.
I felt sort of awkward. I think they did too.
"So Jake!" I said. "Think we should get going for a roaring good time in Algebra?"
I don't know if he thought I was funny or not, but the faint smile that flickered over his pale face made me lean just a little bit toward yes. Jake gathered his books and dropped them into his bag, rubbing his eyes some. We waved goodbye to Marco and made our way down the hall, through the English hall and past the History. Jake didn't say much, and I didn't blame him. The poor guy looked really tired. Drained, even.
When we walked into the room, we took our seats near one another, me just a seat or two ahead and to his right. I wouldn't exactly say Jake and I were friends in a sense that we did things together; we were more of the school acquaintance variety. But I don't know...Ever since yesterday, I saw him in a totally different light. He wasn't just Jake anymore, the Jake who used to ask Mr. Giloske how in the world a Logarithm was going to help us later on in life. He was Jake, the fighter. Jake, the leader. Jake, the one who had the weight of the world on his shoulders.
And he handled it like nobody's business.
The class was over faster than it seemed to have begun. We were out in the hall and on our own separate ways. I gave him a wave before wandering down the hall, slipping around the corner toward the science hall. If all went well, Rachel would be there and I'd have someone to talk to. Well, she really was the only one I talked to in that class—Randy and Aaron didn't have it with me, so I was kind of a loner unless I spoke with her.
When I entered, she was sitting in her usual seat, looking just as spectacular as she always did. Though, her head was sort of leaning down toward the desk. She might fall asleep if she wasn't careful. Choosing not to be too conspicuous (we had free seating), I took a seat a bit away from her, kind of to her northwest. I usually didn't sit by her, so yeah.
I turned around to give her another look, and sure enough her head was slowly making its way closer to her desk. Eventually it met with the cold surface and she jumped up in her seat, wild blue eyes darting around before landing peacefully on the board in the front of the room. Just another normal day in my life...giving stares to each and every one of my peers. I felt so paranoid, but there was no way around it...That was my new state of being. All because I had decided to go the library.
. . .
The rest of the day went by in a flash. It didn't seem like I'd spent that much time in each of my classes, but then again, I was much too busy thinking of other things to actually listen to my teachers. Not that I ever did anyway.
When I arrived home it was much like it had been yesterday: no one was there. I'd grown accustomed to that. Tossing my bag onto the chair in the entry hallway I stepped into the living room, plopping myself down on the couch. I began to search for the remote, but to no avail did I find it. Then I looked over at the coffee table--it was right next to the TV guide. Should have guessed that's where it would have been. I reached forward and grabbed a hold of it, turning on the TV and laying back on the comfy cushions.
Nothing was on. Nothing interesting, at least. Just those annoying furniture redecorating shows and little kids' educational "fun" shows. I didn't understand why anyone in their right mind would watch a talk show, so I just flipped past those. I never realized before how boring and stupid TV had gotten...So I turned it off and made way upstairs.
I took root on my bed and started reading my book again, uninterrupted this time, of course. It was nice considering my house is usually full of hustle and bustle and the only time I ever get to myself is when I'm trying to sleep. Hadn't been doing a lot of that lately, though. Whatever the case, it was still nice to get some rest and relaxation. Bit by bit I could feel myself growing tired, and before long I'd dozed off, book parted over my chest.
I was awoken rather abruptly by a hand shaking me. When I opened my eyes, I saw my sister. For those few blissful moments I saw her as just my sister, not a possible Controller. She told me that someone had called for me and that they were gonna call back in about ten minutes. Naturally I asked who, but she didn't say; she didn't know because they hadn't left their name. I first thought of Randy or Aaron, but they usually left their name. So...it had to be either someone who knew me that I didn't know, or one of the five new 'friends' I'd made. Well, four, since Marco and I were already pretty good friends. But I couldn't help feeling a light ping of worry.
Who called, and for what?
Just about ten minutes later, like Jenny had told me, they called again. I answered the phone on the second ring.
"Yo." It was Marco. My heart was still beating semi-fast, still worried.
"Not a whole lot. Hey listen." His voice grew sort of strained. "Think you could come over to my house? Got some...homework I need your help on."
"Oh sure. Just have to ask my mom, is all. Since it probably isn't a problem, I could be over there pretty soon." Marco only lived about two or three blocks away from me. I could just ride my bike there. But then I had to take the time to re-read that sentence in my mind. Did he mean homework, or...'homework'?
"That's cool. See you then."
I ran down the stairs and asked my mom. She said that since I had my homework done (yeah, so I lied), I could go. So I went.
It only took me five minutes or so to get to Marco's. He answered his door and let me in, taking me to his room. I'd been in his house before and his room as well, so it was no different. Except now I was full of worry because of something that could possibly happen. Something that may change the fate of the world. I really wish that I hadn't told them I heard something.
"We're gonna go to Cassie's barn."
Cassie's barn? Oh...That's right. I forgot. Her parents were veterinarians and worked at The Gardens. I'd been there once or twice. I should have guessed she had some kind of barn or something to hold all those exotic animals that they took care of. I didn't know how far away she lived, but Marco assured me it wasn't that far.
"Since you can't exactly morph...We'll have to go by bike. Good thing it's still light out. Many thanks to Daylight savings time..."
"I've gotta be home before ten, you know. Do you think it'll take that long?"
Marco shook his head, grabbing hold of his jacket before making his way toward the door. "So, let's go."
And off we went.