I own them not.

"Oh, Ig..Iggy..."

He was floating between waking and unconsciousness, aware only of the large, caloused hands that was stroking his hair, of the high, frigtened voices that seemed to surround him, and the cool washcloth that was being pressed to his arm.

"Gerroff me, Max, 'm allright." Iggy's voice was mumbled and he tried to raise a hand to his face. Max pinned it down. He felt tiny droplets of hot tears fall onto it as their leader cried over him. He felt embarrased and turned his head in the direction of Fang. "What's the matter?" He had nearly forgotten that he hated Fang. Nothing really seemed to matter when Max started crying.

Fang's hands glided through Iggy's short spiked hair. "You're pretty messed up, Iggy." he muttered softly. "They...they did some horrible..." his words broke off and Iggy had the sudden impression of Fang's face as it had been years ago, scared, terrified, as he left their shared cage for another one of the whitecoat's experiments.

Suddenly a head rested on his chest. Iggy had to bite back an excalmation of pain when the young boy touched his broken ribs. He managed to free his arm and stroke the Gasman's feathery hair. "Hey Gasser, you're not crying, are you?"

"No." The word was thick with tears and the small hand wrapped itself around Iggy's broken fingers. Iggy hissed in pain, causing the Gasman to drop them and back away. Iggy could picture his scared face. "It's okay, you didn't hurt me." Iggy lied, motioning for the young boy to come back.

"Iggy, what happened?" Nudge, obviously, "You look real tired, and a lot of things are broken." he could feel her hands skimming his wings and wished she wouldn't. He didn't want her to feel what he felt right now. Pain, anger, frustration, pain, betrayal, pain, guilt, pain. He groaned. "You look really hungry. Can he eat, Max?"

At the mention of food Iggy tried to sit up straight. His enhanced DNA made him more hungry than ever, since his metabolism was so fast and he needed to burn so many calories to fly even a short distance. A wave of diziness engulfed him and he sank back into Fang's waiting arms. "No more doing that, buddy, not for a while."

His soothing, familiar voice comforted Iggy and he found, to his embarrasment, that tears were pooling in his eyes. Every emotion he had felt while in that stupid cage came flooding back to him in one moment. He used his working arm to brush the tears away. They were replaced by more.

Fang enveloped him in a hug that was gentle enough not to deisturb his bruised, broken, and bleeding body, yet firm enough to prove that he was there and to convey his feelings. "I'm sorry," Fang whispered, meaning so many things. I'm sorry for being a jerk, I'm sorry the whitecoats hurt you, I'm sorry you're in pain...I'm sorry.

Angel was suddenly next to him. "Iggy," she said, sounding serious and much older than six, "Iggy, did they ever tell you why you were taken? 'Cause usually, you know, they want Max."

Another memory came flooding back, Ari, jeering at him through the bars of his cage, "You're the first slated for extermaination." Suddenly his hunger didn't matter, his fear and pain didn't matter. he sat up straight. "Fang." he said, trying to keep his voice calm. "Fang, is there anything on my neck?"

Iggy could sense the Flock's strange, startled looks, "Why?" Fang asked, and Iggy had a sudden flash of furrowed eyebrows and a small, habitual frown. But the next moment Iggy could feel Fang's fingers on his neck. He knew that Ari must have been lying, but still...if he could only know...

And exclamation of pain and grief so strong and sad made Iggy's hair on the back of his neck stand up. Fang was huggin him again. Max was there too, and the Gasman, Nudge patted his hair comfortingly. Angel reached out with her mind, trying to calm everyone's grief. It was useless, they all knew the truth. Iggy was the first to die, and he only had days to live.

They stayed huddled around the blind boy for...nobody really knew how long. Eventually everyone dispersed, looking for food or fisrt-aid, leaving Fang alone with Iggy. Fang was still crying. Iggy was beyond tears. He had one question left, one that was so important to him, "Fang? Are you...will you...you'll stay with me, right? Until the end?"

he felt Fang's nod, heard his deep, rattling, calming breath, "Until the end."