AN: this is set between book 23 to 40 about.

One Saturday morning, Rachel was home alone, trying to catch up on unfinished schoolwork. Her mother and younger sisters had gone to visit their maternal grandparents, but Rachel decided to stay behind. However, the work wasn't going so well.

"You know math used to come easily to me before," Rachel said to nobody in particular. "I guess part of my problem is I just don't pay attention in class anymore. Arghh. It's not that I don't try." Just then the doorbell rang. Finding an escape rout form her problems she was happy to answer.

"Hey Rachel," Jake greeted her at the door.

"Oh, it's you Jake," Rachel said as she let him inside the house. "What's wrong? A lecture, another mission, another problem? What?"

"No, nothing Animorph related," Jake said. Rachel gave him a look. "What I can't come over here unless it is?"

"I never said that," Rachel said while going over to the kitchen to get some drinks. "So…what did you come here for?"

"I come to you as a friend who wanted to see his dearest cousin," Jake said as he took a can of Pepsi and sat at the counter. He was silent for a while, waiting for Rachel to say something. Seeing that he was only getting a critical look, he heaved a sigh. "And I'm desperate."

"Oh, of course," said Rachel looking satisfied and convinced.

"I need your help…with Cassie."

"What's up?" Rachel asked as she took a seat next to him.

"Well," Jake began, "as you know her birthday is coming up and well…I have no idea what I could do for a date."

"Jake, you're her unofficial but pretty official boyfriend. You figure it out," said Rachel.

"Well if I could I wouldn't be here, would I?"

"I thought you came here to see your dearest cousin. Well anyways, let's see," began Rachel but just then the doorbell rang again. "Hold on a sec," she said to her cousin as she walked to the door.

Jake sat back and was taking a sip of his soda, his mind wandering about. He heard Rachel answer the door and heard her say, "Hello, may I help you?" But instead of hearing a response he heard a huge crash of things being topped over and Rachel's scream.

"Get up you miserable Animorph," Jake heard a man's voice say.

"Rachel!" Jake called warily. "Whose there?"

"And then there were two," said the man to himself and he took off the way he came in, through the front door with a slam.

"What the…" Jake said under his breath. He ran into the living room where Rachel lay. Rachel moaned as he neared her, Rachel moaned as he came near her; he saw that she was a bit bloody from various cuts. "Are you okay?" he asked her.

"What does it look like?" Rachel replied. "Help me up."

Jake pulled her up by the arm and asked, "Do you have any idea…."

"No," Rachel replied looking just as confused. "Barn time, maybe?"

"Probably so. I'll call Erek as well; maybe he will have an idea of who else would know about us. I'm pretty sure it's not the Yeerks or the Andalites for that matter, but of course we can't forget about them…"

"The Yeerks might have found out about us."

"Gee I hope not, and I doubt it too but just to be sure not to forget them…who else…." Jake trailed off.

"Well, Crayak and the Drode could have started something," Rachel said.

"Yea," agreed Jake. "Okay, I'll go get everyone to meet us in the barn, and you should well," he looked Rachel up and down, "morph to a bird or something and get rid of your cuts and bruises."

"Alright, I'll see you…"

"In about thirty minutes at the barn," Jake said.