((Here's the sequel to The Disease!! drumroll IF YOU DON'T REVIEW I WILL MOVE YOUR EXPIRATION DATE TO NOW!!! glares

If you don't like this writing and think it's crappy, then I agree. I hate how crappy I wrote this, I've improved soo much, so please do your best to ignore the writing style and absorb the facts. I write a ton better now.

O btw, the Voice is underline/italics, and thoughts are italics.

IMPORTANT: If you have already read The Disease, then skip this chapter. This is for all of the noobs who want to join in our festivities))

Summary

"Someone's here," Iggy whispered.

"Max, I can't read its mind! Are there such things as ghosts?" Angel exclaimed.

--------------------------

Max collapsed. "What's wrong with her?" Fang asked the strange new girl who had just defeated him, using super speed, invisibility, her bat wings, and her control over heat. "It's a new disease that Itex spread. You didn't really defeat them. There's a small branch left, and they have decided to just destroy Max instead of capture her," she replied. "Oh, and I'm Sam." She had light brown hair with almost a coppery or bronze tint.

Fang: I glanced at her again, and even sweaty, with a twig stuck in her hair, and grass stains on her knees, she was beautiful. Black baggy cargo pants, Avril Lavenge straight hair, dark, big eyes, dark red tight t-shirt with some band's name on it, corded arms, and cunning mind. She was everything I ever dreamed of. Max was pretty, but this girl was drop-dead hot. She had apparently been altered from the bird genes so that she had no chest, ((not gonna go into detail here, sorry guys, but I'm a girl, loyal to her kind)) but I didn't care.

Max: I wanted to tell you something important. Itex-

Yea, I know, I thought quickly, then described the new girl.

Max, you shouldn't trust her, but you need her to survive. I'm not kidding when I say that she is the only chance of survival.

Okay, I'll remember that. I thought.

Good. And back on the subject of Ari, I managed to get him out of the place. They're de-eraserfying him. They made him avian, like you, but other than that it's going to be the old Ari again. He sounded almost excited, and pleased.

Ari is going to survive?? I just about squealed, then scolded myself for acting so ditzy. I laughed out loud, then said, "Old Ari's back! The seven-year-old Ari is alive! They de-erasered him, and now he's avian like us!" I laughed again, then broke into coughing.

Take it easy, Max. You're still in danger. More than you know. If you trust Sam, she might kill you. If you don't, the disease will kill you. Be careful. And as soon as Ari is back to… normal, I'll immunize him and send him to you guys. He might be a lot of help. Jeb said, then I felt him depart.

Sam: From the looks of it, he was crazy about me, and couldn't look away. I tucked that thought away for future reference. "Now we get back to some z's. Nudge, could you put some dirt on the fire? Don't put it out, just dim it. Gazzy, Iggy, go get some good brush to lie on, half of this moss is thistles. Angel, Fang, could you do a quick fly around to check the area for other people? I'll keep first watch, and Fang, you can take second, then Iggy. I'll break the watch up into more, shorter ones. We need to stay rested if we're going to get through this," I said, answering Fang's question. I saw him dissolve under my crocodile grin, but Max looked angry. "Excuse me, but who died and made you leader? 'Cause I'm the current one, and I'm sure as heck not dead." I just raised an eyebrow, and glanced around as the flock listened to me, chatting happily among themselves. Max's face reddened, and I stifled a laugh. This was working out just as I'd planned. The flock already accepted me as leader, Fang, who I'd thought was going to be tough, was putty in my hands, and Max is the only one rebelling. She'll make herself an outcast.

-----------------------------------------

I held out my fist, and everyone stacked them, before curling up on the cushy pine needles. Fang looked confused for a moment when I stuck out my fist, but he still stuck his in, too. I was already practically leader. And I might let Max die… no, that wouldn't solve anything.

It would solve many things, but you still shouldn't. You need her later.

Oh joy. My voice was back. Hadn't heard from it in almost a week. Hey, voice, how's it going? Been a while.

Yes, it has. You need to focus. It's your watch, and you're never safe. Slithards are on their way, tracking you even as I speak.

Seriously? Jeez, I thought those were gone. Some hope. Does the flock know about them?

No, so you need to be prepared. You've proven that you're smart, fast, and good at leading, now you need to show them how you can fight. Show them your skill.

Got it. I answered as the voice faded. I leaded back against the tree, watching carefully. Yes, slithards. Snake men. They got scales, fangs, and claws. They're the newest weapon. They have brains, scales for armor, poisonous fangs, are really fast, and have long claws. The only good thing about them is that they only last for two years, and they're hard to make, so they only send about ten. The most I've ever seen was twenty at once. I sat there, listening and watching hard.

-----------------------------------------

We survived the night, with no sign of slithards. The next day, Iggy was sick. I found him barfing his guts out in the bushes. So now I had to de-heat two of them. Max was still angry at me, and I could tell that she resented the fact that her life was in my hands. I was pretty sure that Angel was going to be the next one down, 'cause she seemed really quiet and nervous, her eyes widening when ever she looked at me. I heard her talking to Nudge that she couldn't read my mind, so that might be what she was so freaked about. And I realized that if I was to go and freeze myself to death in a brook before de-heating Max and Iggy, then it wasn't as bad. It was still tiring, but not boiling hot. After a while, I knew I had to get away for a while, have some Sam time.

"I'm going to get some food and water. Hold the fort," I told them, taking off. I landed about a minute later at a nice cave, almost ten miles away. I yanked out my iPod and turned on my music, leaning against the cave wall, letting fatigue and depression take me.

Furiously, I spun around and banged my head against the rock. When that didn't help, I smashed my fist into a sharp spot. Blood ran down my cracked knuckles, and it felt so good. I punched the rock again and again. It was so good, I couldn't stop. Finally, I collapsed to the ground, sobbing.

I lost track of time, and finally got up. Slowly, I licked my bloodied fist, savoring the stinging. I flew slowly to the town, so that my face wasn't red anymore, and I didn't get many weird looks. I bought antiseptic and bandages, food and water. Carrying the bags on my arms like weird bracelets, I flew back to my cave and wrapped my hand, enjoying the throbbing and the jolts of pain as I dumped the antiseptic on it. Then, I flew quickly back to the flock, planning a lie to give to them that would tell them about me being gone for so long. I had also bought one of those arm-band-wrist-things, dark maroon and black, to put on over the bandages to cover them up.

Gasman: I was so freaked. Iggy, my partner-in-crime, was sick, and could die. I was pretty proud of how well I hid my worries, but Angel found out.

It's okay. He'll be alright, we just need to keep Sam around for long enough. She said into my mind when Sam took off to get groceries. I shrugged, and thought, Okay.

Then I realized something else. She had said, 'keep Sam around for long enough.' Did that mean that we were going to get rid of Sam? No, we couldn't. She was great, an awesome leader like Max, but, I feel really bad about saying this, without the faults. She was funny, sweet, smart, quick, knew how to make all of us laugh, gave us more privileges, but kept some limits. With Max, everything had limits. She even showed me that she kept a beautiful silver gun, an uzi, she called it, in case of emergencies. Max would never allow a gun, so she asked me not to tell her. I agreed, of course. If I said that she had an, an uzi, then she'd throw her out right then and there.

Finally, when we started to get worried, Sam got back. She had tons of groceries, and had bought some good stuff, too, like a few chocolate bars and gummies. She still had the healthy stuff, but with a bit of sugar on top. Not literally, but she got the good and the other good. She was like that as a leader, too. She smiled and greeted us, and told us that she thought she had gotten recognized by a whitecoat at the grocery, and spent some time avoiding him, but then realized that it wasn't who she thought it was. Then I noticed something odd. She had on one of those armband things, sorta like a glove but not, and I saw bandages under it. And if I wasn't mistaken, the bandages had lots of blood on them.

"What did you do to your hand, Sam?" I asked curiously.

Fang: She just landed, and I saw her wings for the first time. Wow. She looked like the height of demons. Demon wings, dark eyes, the height of temptation. Wow.

Sam: When Gazzy asked me about my hand, I feel like I did pretty well hiding my fear.

"I was trying to get the bread with the longest expiration date in the back, and sliced my hand on a sharp bit under the shelf. I'm fine, though," I added. Inside, I was swearing a lot. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Fang walk over. Oh, crud, I thought, and smiled at him.

"Get much? And nice armband," he said, returning my crocodile smile.

Don't loose your head, Sam. You can't let them know that their leader was cutting themselves.

I held back a snarl. The voice always comes in at the worst times. I'm fine! Get out of my head! I can handle this! I practically screamed at it.

Fine. Oh, by the way, there's about twenty slithards coming at you right about... now.

I swore and spun around as the slithards jumped nimbly through the brush. I could take on about three on my own, five if I was pressured, and the others had no idea how to fight them.

"Aim for the eyes and the wings!" I shouted, leaping into the fray at super speed. They apparently had been trained about my Talents, and were smart. They waited for me, and when I kicked at one it used my speed against me. It let my foot hit its shoulder, and spun with it at about 150 mph, swinging a fist at me. But it wasn't smart enough. When it spun, it was going some 100 mph slower than me, so I had time to get behind it. I grabbed its tail, and spun it, smashing down about four others, two of which fell to the ground and didn't get up. Remind me to laugh later. The slithard that I was spinning grabbed a tree, jerking himself out of my grip, his feet slashing my arm. He launched himself off the tree, but was again too slow. I jumped into the air, my feet clearing his outstretched claws, and timing it perfectly. I landed on his spine, breaking it and killing him.

Fang: I could easily tell when Sam lied about her hand. She was hiding something, but when she gave me a crocodile smile, I forgot what I was thinking about. Then, suddenly, her eyes switched out of focus. It seemed familiar how she did it, like I'd seen it happen before. Then she swore loudly and turned around. Then I think I lost my mind, because freakish snake-men were jumping out of the woods. About twenty of them. Sam shouted something about eyes and wings, so I snapped a kick at the nearest one's face.

"What were those?" I asked Sam quietly.

"Slithards. Snake men. They've got poisonous fangs, hard scales, thin wings, and claws. They're the new weapon for Itex, smarter, faster, more powerful." She answered, her soft velvety voice giving me new energy. She was like a drug to me, helping me survive. I couldn't live without her.

Sam: slouched back to the others. "Report," I said weakly, rubbing my hand. The arm thing had been torn off by one of the slithards, and the bandages had been taken with it. Fang asked about them, and I quickly summarized them. Fang nodded solemnly, and then noticed my hand.

"What the he-eck did you do? Don't lie, that's not from a slithard." He growled, tearing off the remains of the bandages. We looked down at my hand. It was shredded, and a small bit of rock was still in it.

"Punched at a slithard. Missed. Hit the tree," I said simply, removing the rock. He looked angry, but didn't say anything else. He grabbed my good hand and dragged me over to the bag with all the first aid stuff in it, and started pouring more antiseptic on it. I resisted the urge to sigh in delight as it burned and stung, instead disguising it as a groan. As soon as he was finished, he sat there, with my hand in his for a moment, then seemed to suddenly realize what he was doing. He yanked his hand away, biting his lip. I gave him a small smile, then checked on the rest of the crew. Gazzy only had a bruise on one knee and a small scrape on his forehead, Nudge was unharmed, but looked shocked, and Fang had a long scratch going down one arm.

"It isn't deep," he said, bandaging it himself. I got up to check on Iggy and Max. I passed Angel, and could feel the heat radiating off her as she sneezed. Stopping, I turned to her. She gave me a weak smile before dashing to the bushes, puking. She collapsed on the ground, crying. I walked over and picked her up, rubbing her hair and whispering to her.

"S'alright, you're gonna be fine. Don't worry." She just continued to cry weakly, so I sang gently to her, de-heating her as I sang.

When I finished, Angel was asleep, and I realized that Fang was staring at me with an astonished look on his face. I set Angel down and turned back to him. We stared at each other for a long second, and then I gave an uncomfortable weak laugh.

Fang: "Heh…" she sort of laughed, and I shook my head weakly, trying to come back from the high she had put me in.

"Wow. Th-that was amazing! I never knew you could sing like that! Just… Wow!" I managed to gasp. She gave me my favorite crocodile grin, and jumped slightly when Nudge started bouncing up and down, ending our moment. Here we go… I thought.

"Wow? Is that all you can say, Fang? That was more than wow, that was remarkable, staggering, divine, flawless, not wow. You should become a famous singer, and you could tell people about Itex like Fang's blog! And then we'd have evghhhfff-" She broke off as Gazzy walked up and clamped his hand over her mouth. He even looked impressed.

"Pretty good, Sam. Iggy's sorta good, too, but he sound's like junk compared to you," the Gasman said, his eyebrows raised. Sam blushed, and gave them all a nervous grin, then let it fade.

"Angel is sick," She stated simply.

14 years ago at The Home: Greg looked over the list carefully. It said that there was a small red vial with DNA that had gone bad, as in, rotten, expired, bad. The list also said that he should dispose of it. But when he moved to grab it, some impulse stopped him. They had told him to throw stuff like that away so many times, and they didn't know what would happen if he was to inject it into one of the subjects, like they did to create other mutants. He examined the bottle critically, then made a decision. He grabbed a needle and left the room.

Sam: We stayed in the my cave, and before we went there, I made sure that all of my blood was cleaned up. I was going there once every two days now, waging war against myself. Nobody seemed to notice the bandages staying on for a long time, longer than what it should take, so that was one good thing.

The next day, I felt like I hadn't slept, even though I had slept longer than usual. Fang was already up, helping the sick ones get a drink at the stream in the back of the cave. I nodded casually to him, and he smiled. We had gotten quite close lately, spending a lot of time just sitting and talking. I knew a lot about him, and he didn't know a ton about me, but knew quite a bit about my personality. He told me about his past, and I kept silent, sticking to comments instead of my own story. He thought his past was bad? A whitecoat had made me without permission. I was tortured every day of my imprisonment, just for existing. They would shock me repeatedly just to see my reaction, testing different concoctions on my skin to see what would affect me worse. They made me sick, then healed me, then whipped me mercilessly. They made me fight against ten slithards alone, and see how long I could take my beating before I passed out. During lunch break, they would cause me pain for entertainment, and wouldn't feed me for a long time, taunting me with scrumptious lunches just out of my reach. Then I got depressed and gave up trying, and they got bored of me quickly. Then the worse things started happening. They would force me to beat other mutants, to whip them and shock them. If I refused, they would beat the mutant twice as hard. They would test different torture devices on me, from Chinese water torture to pouring liquid plastic all over my body, and argue over who got the privilege to tear it off. I realized that I was trembling as I thought that, and Fang gave me a quizzical look. I turned away, clamping my jaw down on a sob. Fang walked over and put his arms around me in a hug. I cried into his shoulder, and he rubbed my hair, murmuring gently to me. After a long time, we pulled away.

"Sorry," I muttered, and started to turn away. He grabbed my shoulder and turned me back to him. One hand was on my shoulder, the other tilting my chin up to his. And, just like that, we were kissing. I remember once hearing someone say that if you can tie a cherry stem in a knot with your tongue, then you're a master kisser. I almost laughed at that. I gently pushed him against the cave wall, my hands on his chest and his on my back. He tilted his head a bit so that I could kiss him better, and then I remembered that I had to breathe. I pulled back for a second to gasp a breath, then his lips found mine again.

I'll spare you the details, there may be young kids reading this. But we kissed, and it was so good. I was actually happy. I remember thinking, Is this what being happy feels like?, then not really caring.

When we pulled apart, I saw Nudge flying speedily to the cave mouth. She ran to a stop, then turned to us, gasping.

"G-guys! There's about six slithards coming our way, so be ready!" she panted. Fang and I stepped apart, trading smiles. Then the slithards were on us.

Nudge: Each of us had two attacking them, and it was pretty hard. I swung a punch at one, and then felt burning fangs sink into my arm. I realized that Sam had said that they were venomous.

Sam: I fought furiously against my two slithards, and turned to punch one when I saw Nudge collapse, her arm punctured from fangs.

Poisonous. If you get to her, you have to suck the poison out of the wound, my voice put in.

Shut up! I know what to do! I hollered at it.

"Nudge!" I screeched, trying to get to her. But while we had been busy with the first six, another ten or so had swamped the cave. Four converged on me, tying my arms, wings, and feet. I managed to take one of them out with a nice snap kick, but another just took its place. In moments, I was bound and helpless in the corner, watching as they started on Fang.

Iggy: I tried to get up to fight, but my legs felt like rubber. I heard a cry, and the sickening sound of flesh ripping, then felt someone fall to the ground. I crawled over carefully.

"Ig?" It was Nudge, panting on the floor.

"I'm here. What just happened?"

"Got bit. I-I think they're poisonous," she murmured.

I swore. "Where?" I said urgently.

I felt her grab my hand and direct it to her arm, onto a pool of blood. I swore again, then lifted her arm up to my mouth.

"Wha' are ya doin?" she groaned. I didn't answer as I carefully began sucking the poison out of the wound. She groaned again, and I kept going until I didn't taste that chemical tang in her blood. Then I ripped off a bit of my shirt and tied it over the bite. She sighed in pleasure.

"Thanks," she whispered, then drew my face to hers, as a bunch of slithard things stomped our way.

Fang: I swore a bunch, then fought harder than I ever had. I turned to one, and snapped a punch, and was surprised to feel ice suddenly shield my fist from the scales, and small icicles spring up on my knuckles, puncturing his neck. He fell to the ground, and I kicked at another, feeling yet another shard of ice form on my shoe and stab right through the scales. I grinned, fighting with renewed energy. I had gotten a new ability! I fought and fought, throwing icicles and suffocating a few with ice, but it only hampered my capture. Finally, a large crowd of them attacked me, tying me up. I saw one lower a needle to my arm, and was out. But not before I saw Nudge and Iggy, lying in a puddle of blood, kissing.

Sam: I woke up to a horribly familiar smell. It smelled like chemicals. I could tell where I was because the chemical smell of this place had one thing that no others did. It smelled almost sickening sweet. I opened my eyes and saw it. This was the only lab that had it. The airfresheners hanging on some cages. I was always scared to wake up and see one on the cage beside me. You could tell who was dead or dying from the airfresheners. It was how they marked the ones who were leaving us. I was back in The Home.

I peered into the cages around me. On my left was Max, and on the right was Nudge. Behind mine was Fang, and on his sides was Iggy and Gazzy. Angel was on the other side of Nudge. So we all were here. I reached over and was just able to touch a finger to Max's arm, and started to de-heat her. After I was finished, I turned to Fang.

"Fang?" I whispered. He stirred and sat up blearily.

"Wha's goin on? Where are we?" he muttered.

"The Home. The lab where I come from. Check everyone's cages for air fresheners." I waited impatiently as he did.

"Nope. Why?"

"That's how they mark the dead and dying," I said softly. I saw him stiffen, and he turned towards me.

"Look," he whispered, and stretched out his hand. At first I didn't notice anything, but then saw a small crystal of ice form in his palm.

"Wow, Fang! You got a Talent! Great! Reach over and try to cool Iggy and Gazzy off. I think I can reach Angel," I said, stretching my arm through a small gap in my cage to touch Angel's heel. I cooled her off quickly, then turned back to Fang. He made a small coating of ice on Iggy's and Gazzy's heads, then turned to me.

"How are we gonna get out of here? We can't carry all of them, and I think we're gonna loose Nudge soon," he whispered as Nudge coughed weakly. I shrugged and started to de-heat Nudge. As soon as I was done, I realized something. I grabbed her arm and examined it. A bit of Iggy's shirt was tied on it, and I pulled it off. There was the snake bite. She would have died by now from the poison. She groaned and shifted slightly.

"Nudge? What happened to your arm?" I asked gently. She groaned again.

"I got bit. Iggy came over and sucked the poison out of it," she murmured. Fang gave her a long look.

"That's not all he sucked. I saw you two kissing," he added. I allowed no surprise to show on my face. He glanced at me for a second when Nudge was distracted, coughing again. I gave him our trademark crocodile grin, and he returned it. I looked around the room again, searching for something that could help us. Then I saw the cage across from me. It had a mutant about my age in it, with blonde hair and silver wings. I narrowed my eyes, trying to see his face better, and he turned to me. His mouth dropped open in astonishment.

"Sam?" he gaped. I just stared back.

"Polo?" I whispered back.

"It's really you! I thought you died when you escaped! What happened? And who's with you?" he asked, smiling. I felt Fang's cold stare at my back, and I turned to him.

"This is Polotheus, A.K.A. Polo. He was here with me, and he escaped with me. We got… separated. He's like my brother," I added at his dark look. It softened the instant I mentioned 'brother,' and I could tell what he was thinking. I didn't need to be a mind reader. I turned back to Polo.

"This is Max's flock. You know, the ones that almost destroyed Itex. This is Max, Fang, Iggy, Gazzy, Nudge, and Angel," I said, pointing them out. "We got caught by slithards. And ya know that plan B that Itex has? Well, it's in play," I said, motioning to Max's crumpled form. "We can't escape until at least one or two of them are better. I think Angel already pretty much is," I added, glancing at her. She was sitting up, looking healthy.

Fang

I was worried about this new kid, Polo. He seemed to know Sam a bit better that I would have liked. But when she talked with him, her… demeanor seemed to be different than it was with me. It was like she was talking to just Iggy, not someone she liked. She told him our story.

-----------------------------------------

"When they set us out to fight the slithards, one Dave dropped his pen, on purpose I think. I grabbed it and used the spring in it to unlock my wrist thing, so they couldn't shock me. I kept it on, but unlocked. When the slithards started to attack, I spun and let their claw hit the ties on my wings, so it cut. It slashed up my back pretty bad, but I managed to get some five miles away. Dave helped me, sent someone with supplies and gave the lab a false trail. I met up with a group of slithards, and managed to beat them, but I got shot and passed out, almost died. A family found me, and helped me get better. I wandered around for a long time, trying to figure things out, when I met up with the flock. Max got sick, then Iggy, Angel, Gazzy, and now Nudge. We got to a cave, and a bunch of slithards attacked. Now we're here," she said. I could tell that she was leaving some details out, but I didn't dig. Just as she finished, two whitecoats walked in and strode up to my cage and Sam's cage.

"Come with me," mine said, and I followed it. I saw a silver table with the evil straps, and I started to turn away. But the whitecoat grabbed my hand and snapped a metal bracelet on my wrist. I froze. This must be the shock thing Sam was talking about. I slowly walked to the table and laid down. The straps were fastened, and another whitecoat taped little sensors to my arms, head, and legs. I was almost shaking from fear. He reached over and turned a dial on the side of the table, and a titanic shock hit me. I clenched my teeth and closed my eyes, refusing to show weakness. I could faintly hear the doctors whispering, then they cranked the shock up. I was shaking from the electricity, and then I felt a wall of pain knock me out.

Sam: They took me on a familiar path. I remembered each turn and twist, they had taken me on it so many times. They opened the door, and I followed them in. It was my room, no, suite. There was Generation Omega, and my real name was Generation Superior, so I had a bit more freedom than other mutants. Polotheus wasn't Polo's real name, either. It was Generation Perfection, but he didn't like that, so he changed it, too. My room was dark red and black, with a deep maroon silk bed, a black laptop in the corner, and a black marble bathroom attached. There was a kitchen on the other side, with dark red tiling and other things. I walked in and they shut the door. I heard the lock click, and frowned. They would put me in here for ages at a time, away from everyone else. I almost preferred a cage to solitary confinement, with or without the luxuries. I flopped down on my bed and pulled my laptop to me. I opened a musicmaker, and started creating a song.

Max: I felt ice form on my face, and it felt so good. I didn't really know what was real or not since I had passed out in the forest. Everything kept flickering from reality to dreaming. Did Fang really kiss me, or Sam? Were there snake men attacking us? Did Angel turn into the devil and kill Gazzy? I looked around blankly, and realized that I must be dreaming again. A blonde angel ((AUTHOR'S NOTE- this is reality- it's Polo)) was in the cage almost across from me, looking at me curiously. I gave him a small smile, ((now it's back to dreamland)) and then he turned into a raven and flew away. I stared back at him, then collapsed into weirdworld again, the scene fading.

Angel: Fang? What's going on? And where's Sam? I asked him with my mind. He shrugged.

We got caught by those slithards. I'm not sure where Sam is. I was hoping you could answer that. They took me off and zapped me a lot, and took her off too. But she's not back ye,. He thought.

I can't read her mind, I replied sadly.

Read the whitecoat's minds, he suggested. I dropped connection with him and stretched my mind out, feeling for whitecoats. I touched one, and went in. What I saw scared me more than any torture device. I saw Sam relaxing in a room with a beautiful bed and a laptop and a kitchen and a bathroom.

She betrayed us! She's sitting in some comfy room, relaxing! I told Fang, then sent him the view. I felt shock and betrayal rip through him, and wondered why he was so upset. I dug deep into his mind silently, and found a memory of him kissing Sam. The memory of time with Max was very deep, buried under Sam. I wondered about that. He used to love Max, but when he looked at her, he only felt pity and guilt. He felt guilty because he loved Sam instead of Max. I hid a shudder as I thought about what it would be like when Max woke up.

Fang: A whitecoat walked to my cage.

"You. Come with me," he said quickly. He unlocked my cage and I followed him out of the room down a series of hallways. I tried to memorize the route, but there were so many turns and twists, and a ton of little other hallways. I was quickly lost. Finally, he opened a door and practically shoved me in.

"Thanks," I mumbled, and tensed, expecting more torture. But what I didn't expect was to be in a place that looked a lot like my dream room. Dark red silk bed, black and red walls, everything was black and red. There was a black marble bathroom, and a tiled kitchen attached. I looked around, amazed, and jumped when I heard someone speak.

"Like it?" Sam asked. I had been so busy looking around I hadn't seen her. Or she had been invisible. She was lying on the bed with a beautiful black laptop and had a pair of discarded headphones beside her. I clenched my teeth and strode up to her. She watched me calmly, not blinking, seeming incredibly catlike, almost like a tiger waiting to pounce. Without hesitating, I swung a fist at her face. She easily ducked it and then spun on the bed, her feet swinging around to hit me in the gut. I doubled over for a second, and it was all she needed. An invisible hand held my throat. I lashed out at her, but since I couldn't see her, I missed.

"What is wrong with you?" she hissed in my ear. I swung another punch to where her voice came from, but missed again. Her grip tightened on my throat, and I began to gulp for air.

"If you don't stop, you're going to get kicked out! They barely let me invite you in here in the first place, don't ruin all of the begging I had to do!" she snarled.

"You betrayed us! We're stuck in cages while you enjoy your stay in hotel effing paradise!" I shouted where I thought her face was. To my surprise, I heard her laughing.

"Oh Fang, you are so… dense! I don't choose to be in here! I'd rather be in a cage with you guys! They lock me in here, thinking that I want this! They put me in here for days without seeing anyone. It's the worst kind of solitary confinement, knowing that you're sitting here in luxury while your friends are in cages, being tortured. You wouldn't believe how terrible this place is," she said, laughing coldly. I stood there, blinking, finally realizing.

"So you… oh," I muttered. She turned visible and took her hand off my neck, and suddenly my hand was on hers, tilting her chin towards me. We kissed for a long moment, then flopped on the bed.

"Max seems to be getting better? That's not good. The dea-" she broke off, glancing at me. I realized what she meant, and my eyes widened a fraction.

"The death? What?" I asked, slipping into my cold calm voice that I spoke in when I was experiencing extreme emotion. I used to speak like that around Max when I liked her, but it was so different with Sam. We were more relaxed, not like a secret crush, like a loving couple. Sam frowned when she noticed my monotone.

"The disease was designed to take out Max mainly. Not you others, that's why Angel was better so quick and the others aren't as bad as Max. It will seem to get better, but suddenly she'll go critical. It will be a delicate situation. It is when the fever reaches the core of her brain, and is supposed to kill her. If her body is chilled at all, then she'll die, so I have to be the one to cool her off. Internally. If I cool it too much, she'll die. If I don't cool it enough, she'll die," Sam said, matching my tone. I just stared at her, concentrating on my breathing so I wouldn't hyperventilate. Max was still important to me, just not in the same way as before. I though about my breaths, and realized that I should cherish every one. Max might not be able to take a breath anymore. No more breathing was an odd concept indeed.

"What are we going to do?" I asked Sam quietly. She slipped her hand into mine.

"We need to get Max in here as soon as she wakes up even for a second. I'll go try to get the whitecoats to listen," she answered, pulling a small walkie-talkie out of a desk drawer. She started talking into it, quickly and quietly.

Polo: I laid back in my cage, wondering when they would take me to my room. There's a door that connects our rooms, so we visit each other often. I wanted to see her bad. Bored, I glanced back at the sickest girl, Max. She must be nearing the critical stage by now, I thought. I saw the youngest girl, Angel, look at me with a look of fear in her eyes. I felt an unfamiliar consciousness touch mine, and instantly lashed out at it. I saw her wince and jerk back, then I realized that she must have mind powers too.

Do you know what's going on? I asked her silently.

Not really, except that Max is really liking being in a cage near you. Or she was for the second she was awake. She thinks that she hallucinated you, she answered.

Oh joy, I said, faking sarcasm. I actually liked her. She was beautiful, her halo of golden hair around her like that.

I didn't notice the whitecoat that came until he unlocked my cage. I followed him to my room, studying his brain all the while. He wasn't an important one. He just followed orders, doing the 'newb work' as they called it. He never got to do much of the scientific stuff, only doing chores like organizing things and taking Sam and I around. Apparently, he had just taken Fang to Sam's room. I knew something was going on between them. Then suddenly I realized that I wasn't jealous. I was thinking of Max.

Fang: Sam did her work, and Max was being brought in. The whitecoats weren't happy about it, though. Max had corrupted MaxII, so she might be able to corrupt Sam. That's what they probably thought. Sam turned back to me, but then her eyes slid out of focus again. After a moment of silence, she snapped her teeth angrily. It puzzled me deeply. That eye thing… it seemed so familiar… Max! The Voice! I suddenly realized what was going on.

"The Voice!" I gasped aloud. Sam tensed.

"What?" she asked, but I continued to stare at her, astonished.

"You have the Voice too!" I said. She started to snarl something, but then paused and shook her head.

"I- yea, I do," she answered. She gave me a small grin. "God, Fang, you're so smart. How on earth did you find that out?" I opened my mouth to answer, but she just shook her head. "Forget it. I don't care. Now I know why I love you so much," she smiled. We kissed tenderly, wrapped up in each other. But just then, the door burst open, and Max was shoved in. She almost collapsed, then stared at Sam and I.

"What the f!!! are you doing?" she gaped, then really did collapse. Sam rushed to her. I helped her pull Max on the bed, then she sat down beside her. I gave her a worried look. She met it with a reassuring smile, and a somewhat nervous look in her eyes, but then closed them and placed her fingers on Max's head, still looking like the definition of beauty.

Sam: Max came in when Fang and I were kissing. Not good. But I didn't have much time to dwell on it. Max's life was at stake. I smiled reassuringly at Fang, then closed my eyes and started to go into Max's head. But suddenly, Polo's connecting door burst open. My eyes snapped open, but he took a single look at Max and was beside Max, his fingers grasping mine. We all needed to work together to save her. He could use his mind powers to help find the right spot, and Fang could help keep me cool. Fang sat beside me, a cool arm around my shoulders. I closed my eyes again, and followed Polo's lead. I wasn't very fast at going down, though, so he just grabbed me and took me down with him. Finally, I felt intense heat. It almost burned my consciousness, but I just absorbed the heat that touched me. I slowly removed heat. It was a tedious job. Her memories kept popping up and distracting me, but I ignored them, Polo doing his best to brush them away. I distantly felt Fang cooling my body down, whispering softly to me. I worked for ages, but didn't think I was making any progress. Every time I cooled it down to the right temperature, it would just shoot back up again. After another forever, I realized that we might only have less than a minute to finish this, or else she was gone. Forever.

I fought against the disease, using every scrap of my energy. But to no avail. Desperately, I paused for a moment, thinking hard. An idea popped up in my head. Not a great one, but a pretty good one. I had seen a mutant get sick, and another one didn't want her to die. So she sucked the sickness into her own body, and she died while the first mutant lived. Maybe if I could do that… but no, I wouldn't risk my life for her. Immune or not, I might die if I did it.

You'll survive, trust me on this. You have to do it, everything is at stake here. Gosh, that darned voice.

A-are you sure?

Positive. Hurry, she only has seconds left.

I dove into the roiling mass of disease, and I felt Polo try to dive in to get me. He couldn't, for some strange reason. Not sure why not. I grabbed the center of the disease and sucked it into my body. Suddenly, I was in my own body. Not sick. Not dying. I was fine, and Max was stirring, starting to get up.

"I-is she all right?" Fang asked tentatively. I laughed, feeling adrenaline rip through me at my success.

"She's fine! I'm fine! Polo's fine! You're very fine!" I laughed. And with that, I kissed him, forgetting about Polo and Max.

We got Max back into her cage, but I was back in my cage beside her. Polo was in his room for the moment, and I had managed to slide my cage to Fang's, just enough space to kiss him, and to hold hands. I saw Max sit up, groaning.

"Wha' the 'ell?" she muttered, glancing around. She seemed to realize she was in a cage, and she jerked up, narrowly missing her head on the top of the cage.

"Hey Max, you sleepyhead. About time you got up," I said, smiling at her. She bared her teeth at me.

"Did you drag us here? Is this your fault?" she growled. My smile dropped.

"No, I didn't. I just saved your life, actually," I snapped back.

"Ohhh, right. So this is your fault," she said, raising an eyebrow.

"Shut up! I just saved your effing live, you ungrateful little f---!" I said, lack of energy getting to me.

"Uh-huh. And Ari's back to life now, too, right?"

"Yea, actually, he is. He's at the School, where Jeb's de-eraserfying him. He's going to be little seven-year-old Ari again, but this time he's avian, like you."

"'Like you?' so what are you, not avian?" I clenched my teeth at that. I never told anyone about my origins, about how I was made from broken and outdated DNA. I'm the only living person who knew that I was, since the whitecoats who had known were long dead, from either being too kind, letting slip about the illegal experiments, or for other dumb reasons.

"Hello? Got brain failure? That probably happens to you a lot. Poor baby," Max crooned. I still didn't answer.

Three days passed, and I was at the end of my patience. Max still hadn't seen Polo yet, and she gave me weird looks whenever I said anything about him. She was taunting me at every opportunity, and she had caught Fang and me kissing again. Fang was being tortured more and more. I could see the angry cuts on his back and arms from the whip, and his hands were shaking most of the time. They tortured me, too, but not as much. Iggy was better, and Gazzy was almost better. All we had left was Nudge, who was getting better and better by the minute, and then we could escape. I wasn't exactly sure how, yet, but I was going to somehow.

"So who is… 'Polo,' anyways? Your imaginary friend?" Max sneered at me. I clenched and unclenched my hands as she continued.

Control yourself, my voice whispered.

"We all know how lonely you are. No feathers, no flock, no life. Fang, what do you see in her? She's dumber than a rock, and just as dull and ugly." I was shaking now, struggling against myself.

Careful! It warned.

"I hate you. You know that, right?" she said, speaking slowly and clearly, as if I was a two-year-old. My hands curled into claws. No, became claws.

Sam! Don't! Get a hold of yourself! Snap out of it My voice said. I ignored it, welcoming the change.

Black scales erupted on my skin, as my anger erupted. My eyes turned pure red; my hair disappeared, while small red horns poked up over my skull. My nose became flat slits. My ears shriveled into my head, and long fangs sprouted from my mouth. My tong became forked and small. I was a demonic creature, a small dragon, and was out for Max's blood.

I let loose a high-pitched snarl and launched myself at Max's cage, melting the bars as I touched them. She cried out and flattened herself against the side of her cage. I felt her fear of snakes in the air, tasted it with my tong. I craved her fear, and I roared at her, saliva and fire licking at my lips. I felt Nudge's, Iggy's, Gazzy's, and Angel's fear for Max, and the succulent taste of fear in the air was delicious. I was high on other's fear, and I faintly heard the door burst open. A group of whitecoats ran into the room. They were destroying my feast of fear. One ripped open my door. Bad mistake. I was out in an instant, tearing flesh from his bones as he screamed in fear. I ignored the taste of blood. I hadn't ripped him for flesh food, but for the sweet taste of terror. I forgot about the other whitecoats, relishing the taste in the air, until I felt a needle jab into my wing, the only place where it could touch a vein without scales, and I was out like a light.

Max: "Okay guys, escape plan time. Step 1: we kick open the door and run. Step 2: we beat up anyone that we see. Angel removes their memory of seeing them. Everyone got that?" I said, resuming my rightful place as leader. But when I opened Fang's cage, his eyes seemed blank. It was scary. His eyes always seemed emotionless, but not blank, like they were dead. He climbed out of his cage without a word. I was worried about him, but I couldn't talk to him now. Wait for later, when we weren't on the road.

Step 1 didn't exactly do great. I snapped a kick at the door, but it didn't move. And my foot killed. So Iggy stepped up and did his thing, but that didn't work, either. So it was Gazzy's turn. FWOOOOMP!! (yes, I know, most people say 'boom' but bombs don't say boom, they sorta 'fwoosh', ya know?) We should have had a moment of silence for the door. We skedaddled out of there, and it was surprising that we didn't meet many people. Only two lone slithards, and five whitecoats. We beat the slithards quickly, but Fang was really starting to freak me out. He slaughtered the slithards mercilessly, his face blank and cold. His face was always blank, but not like this. Fang just snapped his neck quickly.

"That'll learn him," I joked nervously, then when Polo cringed, I realized that it was one of the things Sam always said. Yep, that's me, Max the silent and strong. We were so close to getting out. I could see the sunlight streaming in the window, when Iggy tensed.

"Someone's coming. Not human. It's… Sam?" he whispered, and my blood ran cold.

Sam: I ran through the door, and when it smashed open from my kick, it hit a whitecoat in the face, knocking him out. I kept going, and I met quite a few people and slithards. I took them out quickly and silently, one by one. I knew that I must be near the flock whet I encountered a slithard with a broken neck. I walked silently around a corner and came face-to-face with Max.

"Hey Max," I said coolly, nodding slightly to her. Her only response was to clench her teeth and slip into a fighting position. I raised an eyebrow, and scanned the small group behind her. Angel had a look of cold resentment, which drove in the first knife. After I had sung her to sleep when she was sick, this is how it turns out? Nudge was looking upset but determined, and in goes the second knife. She was like my little sister. Iggy was looking solemn, there's the third knife, and Gazzy looked heartbroken. Four knives. Then my gaze passed on to Fang. His face was blank, almost dead. His eyes seemed gray and lifeless, and his skin seemed to be grayed also. That was past knives. It was a million freaking fracking dull, rusted nails, shoved in one by one. I didn't really care about Max, and Polo I knew was with them because of the plan and because he loved Max. No, he didn't tell me that, but you don't have to be a mind reader to realize it. He gave me a slight nod to show that even if I didn't get back into the flock, he would campaign for my return and try to keep the plan going.

Sam, you can't fight your way into this. You have to talk your way back. Alright, that worked.

"Why are you guys leaving without me?" I asked, letting an edge of hurt creep into my voice.

"Why do you think? You just tried to rip my throat out," Max snarled back. I feigned surprise.

"Huh what? When did this happen?" I asked, a puzzled look on my face. I saw Angel's face blank as she tried to enter my mind, and then saw frustration in her eyes. She still couldn't get in, for reasons even I don't know.

"Don't lie. You just turned into a… a dragon thing and tried to kill us all!" Max said, tensing and getting ready to attack.

"Wha? Hold on a sec, a dragon thing right?" I said, furrowing my brow and looking worried.

"Yea, that's what I just said, didn't I?"

"That wasn't me. I was in torture again," I said, pulling back my sleeve to show them bleeding cuts the scientists had done to me when I was in my dragon form, my wyvern form, they called it. Max looked taken aback.
"Then… who was it?" she said. I just shrugged.

"Beats me. A clone? I didn't know they made a clone of me ye-" I broke off as Iggy raised his hand.

"Slithards. Coming from our left," he whispered. Max nodded, and started to go forwards.

"Hey, wait! The exit is this way. That's the way to the shreddery," I said, pointing to where they had come from. Max gave me a dark look, but followed. She let me stay with them, but didn't accept me. She would never trust me, and I would never trust her. So, continuing on our trek, I led them through turn after turn, struggling not to go into hyperspeed and be out of there in seconds. And they thought they were fast? Psh, yea right. By the time we got to the right exit, I had a little swearword chant going on in my head, and was practically running. I knew the door was going to be locked, so I didn't even try the door handle. I kicked it open, then ran out into the open air, taking deep swallows of the fresh air. It had been almost a week since we first got captured, and winter was bearing down on us. The air seemed crisp, and the dead leaves and plants added a hint of death and decay to the smells. I realized Max hadn't seen my wings very well just before I snapped them out, and I heard her intake of breath.

"And you think Iggy is part bat?" I muttered, turning to them with my wings folded comfortably on the outside of my dark red shirt. It was then that I realized how scruffy looking they were, with ripped and bloodstained clothes, snarled hair, and deep rings under their eyes. I opened my mouth to talk about what next when I saw the army of slithards coming. There was about fifty of them, all changing as they ran.

"Time to go," Polo said, his eyes wide. We flicked out our wings and took off, flying as fast as we could. From the sound of it, the slithards were giving chase.

"Loose them in the trees!" I shouted, and dove towards the thick forest. My bat wings weren't as long as their feathered wings, and so I slowed down, baiting some ten slithards to follow me. Suddenly, I pulled a sharp U-turn and smashed one full in the face with my outstretched fists. I saw Fang ruthlessly pummeling a few, disabling them quickly and moving to his next victim. Iggy was dropping a small armload of explosives onto a pack of them, directed by Gazzy, and Polo and Angel were working together to make the slithards crash, holding hands, while Nudge defended their backs. Max was nowhere in sight, but I didn't have much time to look for her between attacks. It seemed like we were doing good at first, then we started to slow. I saw Max help Nudge with Polo and Angel, and got an idea. I would wait, though, until we desperately needed it. Max and I weren't on good terms, and I didn't want to lower the bar any more. Her trust was essential to my grand plan.

Finally, I convinced myself to do it. Iggy's wrist was bent oddly, and Nudge had a bloody nose. We all had scratches, and were very tired from lack of sleep, food, and being stuck in a cage. Folding my wings and plummeting a few feet below the fight, I reached down the secret pocket on the inside of my black pants and yanked it out. My favorite toy, my silver uzi. I swooped back up and killed about five slithards in two seconds, hearing delighted cheers from the flock. Polo followed my lead and pulled out his black automatic handgun and began firing. Within moments, the slithards were either dead, wounded, or fleeing. I let out a whoop of exhilaration, then replaced my uzi in it's secret pocket. I flew over to the flock, grinning widely.

"Why the hell did you do that?" Max practically shouted.

"Because hell was here, dingbat. I just saved your butt again," I said, raising an eyebrow. She let out a sort of groan/whine/yelp of frustration and flew off. I glanced at Fang, wondering if this was normal. He just gave me a small nod and a shrug.

We camped out in a nice, cozy little cave, and after an hour or two, Max came back. I ignored her and continued to cook my hotdog.

"Okay guys, we really need a hotel. I've got an untraceable credit card from Itex that's wired to have no limit, and my laptop that's a lot like Fang's," I said, realizing that I had taken it as I said it. The flock whooped with joy, and Nudge started bouncing up and down, talking nonstop.

"Oh yay! Max has a credit card like that, but I think it has a limit. I'm not sure, we haven't found out yet. We should go to a really nice hotel, and we could each have our own room, and we could go swimming, and Angel could breathe underwater! It could be a beachside resort! We could spend the whole day in the sand, and the-," she broke off as Iggy put a finger to her lips. She gave him a smile, and they walked to the back of the cave, talking almost normally. I remembered their kiss, and decided to let them have some alone time.

"We'll find one tomorrow. Let's get some z's," I said, lying down. We stacked fists and all went to our own dream places, but Fang, Max, Polo, and I stayed awake.

Polo: We laid back by the fire, just us four leaders. I couldn't sleep, so I got up and sat on the lip of the cave, my feet dangling over the canyon. You had to give Sam credit for finding this; it was perfect. Hanging over a rock face that nobody could climb up to, and nearly invisible in the side of the canyon, and there were tons of other caves lining the canyon, so people searching for us would have to search them, too.

I sat thinking about nothing for a long while, dreaming. Max came and sat beside me, swinging her feet in open air.

"So… I guess you exist after all," she joked.

"What?" I asked, confused.

"Long story…. I thought you were Sam's invisible friend," she laughed. I gave a small laugh, not really understanding what she meant. I didn't try to read her mind. I thought it would be intrusive of her personal thoughts. Plus, liking someone and knowing exactly what they're thinking at all times was a kind of curse.

"I-I don't really know you, and if we're going to be… traveling together, I'd like to know more. So, uhm, wanna play 10 questions?" I said hesitantly. She laughed again, and I realized how beautiful it sounded. Like pure joy, almost like bells ringing. Sam's laugh was a sort of purring trill, like how a tiger would laugh when it cornered it's prey.

"Sure, why not?" she said.

"Great, I'll ask first. How old are you?" I said.

"14. How old are you?"

"Same. What lab were you created in?"

"The School, in Colorado. You were the Home, where we just were, right?"

"Yup. What percent bird are you?"

"No clue. Ask a different one."

"Okay, uhh… what's your connection with Jeb?" I asked slowly, saying each word carefully.

"He's my dad. He's also a little voice in my head that talks to me a lot." I was surprised when she said that, and I must have shown it.

"What?" she said, giving me a weird look.

"Well… I didn't know that Jeb was your father and Ari was your brother, firstly. Secondly…" I paused. "I don't think I should be telling you the second reason." It was the fact that Sam had a voice in her head, too. It might just be Jeb, too… But I wasn't sure. Max gave me a long, steady look.

"Why not?" she asked, tilting her head flirtingly. I knew she was trying to charm me into saying something, but I was going to tell her that anyways.

"You can't tell anyone this, got it? I don't think anyone knows except for Sam, Fang, me. Sam has a voice in her head, too." Max looked startled, and hurt. I sensed that she really didn't like Fang keeping secrets from her.

"And that's two questions you owe me now," I added, trying to keep the atmosphere light and pleasant. She grinned.

"All right, but tomorrow night. I've got to get some sleep," she muttered, rubbing her eyes and getting up. I was sort of sad that our moment was over, but suddenly she spun around, a wild look in her eyes. She dropped down to her knees and grabbed my head. We kissed tenderly and urgently, not wanting for it to end. But she pulled away and gave me her angelic smile, but had a somewhat bewildered look. I just smiled back, then got up to go to bed.

Sam: I pulled out my laptop when Max and Polo left and flipped open the lid.

"Not tired?" Fang asked, looking curiously at my laptop. I shook my head as I opened MSN, logging on as my classic 'redfeatherz66' account. I looked at my e-mails briefly, reading a few of my many e-mails. There was always tons of them, mostly of comments of my homepage. It was a lot like Fang's blog, which I realized he had logged onto and was typing furiously. Except mine had more pictures, of my wings, of the Home, and of some of the other mutants. I carefully and inconspicuously slid my laptop on my lap to angle the camera in the top of the lid, taking pictures of Iggy, Nudge, Angel, Gazzy, and Fang. I thought for a second, then quickly took a picture of Polo and Max, sitting side by side in the cave entrance with the sun in front of them, so they just looked like black shadows. A great kodac moment. I posted all of the pictures, labeling them briefly, including a short description of their wings, personalities, and powers. I typed a little description of what was going on, then I got bored. I logged onto my favorite chat site, iSketch, as Kitten66. Entering the 'Animals (easy)' room, I started playing.

"So…" I said to Fang, after guessing 'aardvark'.

"So. What'cha doing on there?" he said, glancing at my computer screen.

"Gaming. How's Fang's Blog coming?" I said, shrugging.

"Pretty good. Getting about three thousand hits per day. How's redfeathers66 going?" he asked, surprising me.

"How did you…" I broke off curiously.

"I just looked up all of our names, and found your site," he answered, shrugging. I stared at him for a moment, then shook my head.

"You're too smart for your own good, Fang. I tell ya, it's a good thing we escaped from the Home. They mostly killed the ones who were smart and didn't cooperate. Knowledge is as good of a weapon as a gun," I said, rubbing my trusty uzi. He just shrugged again. Bored, I opened up my music maker program and pulled my earbuds out of my bag. I started making a sad song, letting the lyrics flow out of me. After a while, Max and Polo came back and laid down. I was surprised when he wrapped his arm around her waist, but not very surprised. I was starting to feel tired, so I put away my song and fell asleep, Fang watching over me. I woke for a moment when he got Iggy up for his watch, but other than that slept well. Until I heard a faint thud, like someone collapsing on the floor. I jolted up, as someone screamed, Nudge, and then I saw the person lying on the floor, a spot of blood on their wrist and a syringe in their hand.

Iggy

Fang woke me up for my watch at about one, and I waited until I was positive that everyone was asleep. I silently reached into my bag and pulled out a small bottle. I didn't know what it said, but some unbidden instinct told me that it was DNA. I had stolen it from the Home, and it was perfect. It was designed so that when it was injected, the DNA would join into the person's DNA. It was the gene that allowed bats to echolocate, I think. Carefully, I pulled out a syringe from my bag and stuck it in the bottle, pulling the plunger thing until it wouldn't go up anymore. I shook the bottle, making sure it was empty, then took a deep breath. What are you doing?!? my rational part of my brain screamed at me. You don't even know if it's really it or not!! Don't do this!! I shook my head, clearing the doubts from my mind. I couldn't see the label, so that was why I was doing this. So I would be able to. Without giving myself time to think anymore, I poked the needle into my wrist and pushed in the plunger thing. I felt it hit the plastic, empty, and yanked it out. Suddenly, my world started to spin, and my blood burned. Oh no. With the last of my receding energy, I crawled over to Nudge and kissed her. Then the tunnel flashed white, and I faded into blackness.

Fang: I jumped up when I heard Nudge's scream, on my feet before my eyes were open. A confusing scene met my eyes. Nudge was sitting there, staring wide-eyed at Iggy, who was lying on the ground, a needle in one hand and the other hand bleeding slightly from a recent injection. Sam was already beside Iggy, and everyone else was starting to realize what had just happened. I shoved my way to Sam's side.

"What the hell just happened?" I said urgently, while she checked his pulse. She just shook her head wordlessly and shrugged. I grabbed the needle and inspected it, then stuck the end into the ground so nobody would step on it or something. Then I saw a small bottle, like the ones they fill the syringes with, slightly under Iggy. Yanking it out from under him, I read the label. It was covered in numbers and symbols, with no meaning. I growled in frustration.

"What do we do?" I fumed, staring helplessly at Iggy's limp body. I realized that Max and Polo had joined us, and Polo's eyes were out of focus, like they were when he was using his mind powers. Yes, I know about those, Angel told me. I glanced at Sam. She looked just as upset and flustered as I felt.

"I- I don't know! Why would he do this!?!" Sam stammered. "He's alive," she muttered, "but something's not right."

Just then, a loud cracking in the woods made us all jump.

"U and A. Fang and Polo with Iggy," Max whispered. We nodded, and they packed up in record time. Polo and I grabbed Iggy and laboriously took off.

We stopped in at a hotel, sneaking Iggy in so they wouldn't get suspicious. Sam rented a four-bedroom suite with her magic credit card, and each bedroom had two beds. We stayed the rest of the night, taking turns watching Iggy. Gazzy didn't sleep, and he kept waking people up, making sure that they weren't out like Iggy. Nudge was silently staring at him the floor the whole time, and Max wouldn't stop pacing. Polo and Angel were still trying to get something from his mind, and I was spending some time with Sam. My arm was around her shoulders, and her head was lying on my shoulder.

"I hope he'll be okay," she muttered. I nodded fervently.

"He will be. He has to be," I whispered into her hair. We kissed for a moment, then we were interrupted by Max slamming the door open.

"He's awake," she gasped, then was running back into his room, Sam and me right on her heels. We came in and saw him rubbing his face. I dropped down beside him.

"What the he-eck were you thinking?!? What was that stuff?" I growled, hiding my fear and worry. He opened his mouth slightly, but nothing came out. He jumped slightly, then opened his mouth again.

"I- I injected bat DNA into my bloodstream. I think I just used echolocation," he gasped.

Iggy: When I woke up, I could tell from the smell that we were in a hotel. I heard Fang ask something about what I did. I opened my mouth to say something, but a extremely high-pitched screech came out, and suddenly, I could see the room! Not really 'see' see, but see an outline, like a pencil sketch of the room. There was my flock standing around me, and two others I assumed were Polo and Sam. Quickly, I told Fang what had just happened.

-----------------------------------

A week passed, and my echolocation skills got better and better. Sam managed to somehow find a house, and we were currently staying in it. It was amazingly nice, being able to stay in a permanent place and not have to worry about where we were staying, when our next meal was going to be, and all of that stuff. An added benefit was that we didn't see any slithards in the entire time. I almost wished that we would meet some, just so that I could see them.

One night, we all sat around our table, eating lasagna that Sam and I had cooked. She was okay at cooking. Not as bad as Max, and not as good as me. Polo could cook way better than I could, but he and Fang were upstairs, buying songs for their ipods and trying to get into Sam's computer. She changed her password once a week, and had everything in locked folder files, each with a different password. She also kept it in a special case with one padlock, a combination lock, and even a fingerprint scanner. They managed to get past those after a long while, but they were stuck on the layers of passwords.

Anyway, we were peacefully eating supper, chatting and laughing. But then Max stood up, and we all quieted, curious about what she was going to say.

"We're doing very well in this house. And now I'd like to try something newish. School," she said, grinning widely.

Sam: We walked inconspicuously to the school, mingling with the crowds of people. I felt like superman or something, trying to blend in with normal people, but all the time knowing that I have freaking wings. Max told us all to mix and stay normal. Yea, right. I have effing wings! I can turn invisible and move at speeds that are illegal on roads! I can control fire! Blending is not one of my Talents, guys.

So, when the bell rings and scares the bajeesum out of me, and I find the flock. Max did a quick count, then we headed off towards the office. The office turned out to be my personal heck.

The walls were pink with blue flowers. Pictures of happy fields and kittens were set here and there, organized like an OCD spaz. There wasn't a speck of dust anywhere, and shelves with assorted cute things were all around the room. A cozy little white desk with pink and blue flowers that matched the wall was set up by one wall, under a cute little fake chalkboard with sweet quotes on it, like 'smile and the world will smile back,' and 'teaching isn't a job, it's a passion.' The chairs were fluffy little pink things.

It was enough to make the most gothic, emo, suicidal, disturbed teen want to go snuggle with one of the kitten pictures.

The whole room scared the heck out of me. Gimme an army of demented snake-men all out to kill me any day, but this was real torture. Don't let the whitecoats find this, this was a totally new way to disturb and ruin children.

Sitting behind the desk in a frilly pink skirt and white lacy shirt was a short little lady. She looked not fat but plump, and had curly blonde hair that was perfectly arranged on her shoulders. She had way too much blush on, but other than that she didn't seem to have makeup on. Too-eager blue eyes stared out at us, and perfect white teeth were set in a smile under her pink lips.

I looked over at Fang, exchanging a horrified look. I had on a tight black t-shirt with 'Chiodos' in white on the front, the writing chipped and fashionably worn down. Dark tight jeans were low on my hips with a white belt and rips in the knees and around the pockets. Black and silver bracelets were dangling from my wrists, and shell choker necklace was tight around my neck. Fang and I both looked way out of place.

Of course, everyone looked out of place, but not as much. Max and Polo looked slightly bemused, Iggy and Gazzy looked disgusted, Nudge looked a bit bewildered, and Angel looked like she was going to laugh.

"Hello! You must be the missionary's kids! I'm Principal Gwinnia Lites, but everyone just calls me Gwinnia. ((A/N- its pronounced guh-win-ee-ah)) It helps keep people friendly and happy. It's so great to meet you!" she squeaked, standing up and starting to shake our hands. She came to me and held her hand out. I gave her a blank stare that said 'I-have-no-soul-if-you-touch-me-I'll-steal-yours'. Her smile faltered for a second, then she brightened back up.

"Did somebody eat grouchy puffs for breakfast?" she said in a voice that someone would say to a toddler. She would be pinching my face next. My soulless stare intensified. She looked away, her smile drooping a bit. A quick glance at Fang made her decide to retreat back behind her desk.

"I have your schedules right here for you. Everything that you need is on there, so I hope that you won't have a hard time," Gwinnia said. Translation: Please take your stuff and leave. I hope that you won't come back, I thought.

Fang and I simultaneously grabbed our papers and were out before she could blink.

----------------------------

"How was gym?" Fang asked quietly. I told him about soccer, and about my idea to join the soccer team. He was halfway through telling me about his Biology class when I felt a familiar prickling sensation. Fang noticed me stiffen and did a 360 in the air. A dark cloud rose up from the trees, like a huge swarm of giant demon birds. They were too close for all but Max and me to outrun them.

"Guys! Slithards behind! About 30! Get ready!" he called out. We spread out a bit, grimly waiting for them to attack us.

I did a bit of lightning quick calculations about the slithard swarm. There wasn't too many for us to handle, but it looked like it was going to be close. As soon as they got within striking distance, I started attacking. A foot snapped one's spine, a fist breaking a face, a spout of fire melting and drowning one at the same time.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Fang with large ice spikes protruding from his fists, fingers, and feet, sticking out and appearing whenever one broke or he struck with a different body part. Max seemed to be dancing with two of them, darting around them like an insane hornet. Nudge and Iggy were back-to, moving almost at the same time with the same moves. Gazzy was guarding Angel while she did her mind-control thing, and Polo seemed to be adding his power to hers.

We continued like this for about a minute, before disaster struck. All it took was for Gazzy to make one wrong move, his foot missing a slithard by a hair, and suddenly two overwhelmed him. Max and I dove down towards him at the same time, and our wingtips hit, sending us careening into a thick group of slithards. We started to fight them valiantly until one of them decided to use the taser he had been saving.

The small glowing line hit Max in the back of her neck, making her scream. I don't know how she did it, but she managed to keep her wings going. The slithard sneered, and turned his weapon on me, leaving Max to struggle against the three slithards mobbing her. I saw the blue light right before it hit me. Right in between the eyes.

Electricity coursed through my veins, turning my fire Talent against me. I let loose a horrible shrieking sound, like metal being cut slowly. My wings missed a beat, faltering, but I remained in the air. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the entire flock plus Polo descend upon the slithards that were attacking Max and I like a hoard of avenging angels or something. Fang went straight for the slithard with the taser, smashing his foot down on his hand. I stopped screaming and gasped, my eyes shuddering closed. The last thing I saw was Gazzy getting a hard cuff on the head, and slithards envelop him, unknown to everyone else.

-------------------------------------------

',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',',

-------------------------------------------

I blearily opened my eyes, feeling drifty. Instead of everything feeling heavy, it felt unusually light. I glanced down at myself, and saw-

Fang: We defeated the slithards when Max and Sam got attacked. Some sort of madness seemed to envelop us, and we were everywhere at once. The slithards seemed slow compared to the insane hyperdrive we had slipped into, fighting with our lives for our leaders.

Once they were gone, we looked for Max and Sam, who had fallen out of the air. We found them in a tree top, passed out. Good thing they weren't too high up when they fell. It was odd, but they looked kind of misty. Their features seemed blurred, but everything else was crystal clear with my raptor vision. Strange.

Polo and I picked them up without a word. Sam seemed really light. Still strange. We carried them back to our house, exchanging short, curt words. I put Sam down on her bed, which was black silk. The walls were black and white diagonally striped, giving it a vertigo look. The desk was white with black polka-dots, and a bookshelf was black wood with white spray paint. Her door was a white rectangle with a black rectangle inside, then white, then black, and so on. The carpet and ceiling matched the walls, the lines flowing into each other. I gently stroked her hair, and I noticed after a few minutes that she seemed to be getting more clear, and not so blurry. It was such a slow change that I hardly noticed it. I looked curiously at her, and then heard a shout. Jumping up, I ran towards the sound. Iggy was standing in the middle of the living room, looking frozen and shocked.

"Gazzy's gone."

Sam: Smoke. I was smoke, just hovering in a shapeless mess in the air above my bed. No worries, I must just be dreaming or hallucinating, I told myself. It didn't help.

No, you're not. Shit. Now, to top it all off, the voice had to join in.

What do you mean? I demanded.

The electricity from the taser caused your powers to meld. They are gone, and the reaction caused your molecular structure to drift apart. This is your new Talent, as you call them.

I floated silently, dumbfounded.

Ha ha. Is this a test?

Kind of, but this talent is here for keeps. Hope you like it, the Voice said cheerfully. I just glowered.

Fun. How do I get rid of it?

You can't. I said it's here for keeps.

Suure. Well, if you won't tell me that, than at least tell me how to turn back to normal, I growled, spinning in a tiny tornado, frustrated. I could here shouts from downstairs. Something about Gazzy. It sounded like it was Iggy, Fang, and Polo. I also could hear inaudible whispering from the room beside mine. Nudge's room. It was probably her and Angel. Then I realized that I didn't hear Max. She had gotten shocked too. What was going on??

Umm… the Voice hesitated.

Oh, shiit. I can get back, right? I'm not stuck like this, am I? I asked quickly, starting to panic.

No, you can turn back. Just… concentrate on your body. Picture the smoke thickening, turning back into you.

Right. Right, I can do this, I said, slightly hysteric. I imagined myself hardening, becoming solid again. To my surprise, it worked. I could feel fingers, toes, ears, mouth… I looked down at myself, relishing the feeling of having a neck, and sighed in relief. I was looking normal again, dressed in the same clothes I had on earlier. Just my feet left to solidify… They formed quickly, and I tumbled out of the air, bashing my head on my desk. Ow, that wasn't smart.

I relished the feeling of being back in my room, with it's striped walls, and everything black and white and silky. The whole room had a sort of unsteadiness to it, since all the walls were the same as the ceiling and floor. I wanted to stay and curl up in the silk sheets, but I had to know what was going on downstairs. Throwing open the door, I started to go down, Max coming out of her room and following me closely. Her room was all green and gold and blue, making it look kind of underwater-ish. I just nodded curtly to her and continued my race down the steps, taking them three at a time. I wanted to turn into smoke, but I decided to keep it a secret for now. From everyone, including Fang. Sorry, Fang, love ya, but I can only totally trust one person here; moi.

I got to the bottom of the steps and started into the living room. I went past Iggy, who's eyes looked red and puffy. He was storming out, fists clenched. I stepped aside and let him pass, then walked up to Fang and Polo, Max right behind.

"What's going on?" I asked shortly. Fang opened his mouth to undoubtedly blurt out a bunch of junk about me just waking up so I should stay rested, but Polo cut him off.

"Gazzy's gone. The slithards took him when we attacked the group with you and Max. We think they took him to the Home," he said grimly. I kept my face carefully impassive, but Max swore loudly.

"This is your fault!! The slithards have never tracked us yet, it's because of you!" she shouted angrily at me. I just huffed.

"Psh, sure. They were going to start coming after you soon enough, you should be glad I gave you guys a heads up," I retorted.

"You're the one who screamed like that and got everyone's attention. If you hadn't then we would be at the Home instead of them!" she hissed. I laughed.

"Yea, and that would do a ton of good. We wouldn't have any problems then," I said, sarcastically happy. "Why don't you just go in and ask if they'll take us instead? 'Hello, psycho whitecoats, can you please give us Gazzy and put Sam and I in cages instead?'" I mimicked, laughing coldly. She snarled and pushed me. I stepped back a half-step, then shoved her back.

"Don't touch me," I growled. It was her turn to laugh.

" 'Don't touch me!'" she said in a fake high-pitched voice. "You don't touch me, you abomination," she spat. I shoved her again, smiling. Fang and Polo started to say something, but stopped, exchanging uneasy glances.

"Abomination," she hissed again. I felt a familiar roaring sensation in my blood.

Scales broke out across my skin, inky black and hot. My eyes seemed to bleed, turning red. Tiny horns poked up along my scalp, and my hair sucked into my head. Fangs curled over my lower lip, and I let out a horrible shrieking/snarling sound right in Max's face. Except it wasn't Max anymore.

Fur had sprung out of her skin, and ragged claws sprouted from her fingers. Long canines, but not as long as mine, popped out of her gums. She roared right back.

Eraser and slithard eyed each other, preparing for attack.

I slowly moved right, watching eraser Max move slowly with me, her eyes never leaving mine. Just then, Polo and Fang jumped in the way, spreading their wings to make a wall of flesh between us. No matter. Max whipped out her wings, and I did the same. For the first time, we met in the air.

Wings beating hard to keep us in the air, we struggled to get on top. Fang was shouting, and Polo had run off for someone, probably Angel to help him control us. As one, Max and I smashed through a window, alighting on the roof. It was chilly out, but not icy cold. Perfect for fighting. Max tested her footing slightly, then nodded, apparently pleased.

With an unspoken command, we attacked again, rolling and slashing. I was in battle mode, not scare mode, so I wasn't feeding off fear this time.

I slashed at her muzzle, but she pulled back like a pro and did a spinning kick toward me, only to land on air where I had been earlier. She had the strength, but I had the experience of fighting in my form before.

Suddenly, as I struck with my whip-like tail, she wasn't there anymore. It cut through a cloud of smoke. Thinking fast, I converted to yet another form, becoming smoke. We rolled through the air, pulling and yanking on each other.

I saw the flock standing below us, gaping at our shadowy figures. We looked like small storm clouds, Max slightly lighter than me. To complete the whole scene, there was even bright yellow static crackling between us occasionally.

We fought for what must have been an hour, slipping through each of our three forms quickly. Snake fighting smoke, wolf fighting human, human fighting smoke, wolf fighting snake, smoke fighting smoke. The only blows that had landed were maybe two broken ribs on me and Max definitely had fractured her collarbone. There had been a few scratched and bruises, but those were the only major ones.

Max had hit me with a quick fake and a punch when I was switching forms, and I had landed mine with a nice textbook style kick and a feint mix. We didn't talk other than the occasional huff of breath leaving someone, a cry when an injury was hit again, and a bit of insults thrown in.

"Abomination," she snarled.

"Hero," I hissed back.

The flock was now on the roof, shouting at us to stop. Angel and Polo were holding hands, eyes closed, looks of concentration on their faces. Fang was firing ice at us, trying to freeze us, but we were out of range.

Nudge was explaining to Iggy what was happening, and there was a look of grief on his face. I supposed that his echolocation wasn't working very well on us, since half the time we were smoke and the other half we were moving too fast for his clicks.

I rolled out of the way of a kick, aiming my wingtip for her face, but she grabbed it. I spun with it, wrapping my wing around her arm, but she became smoke and drifted out of my grip. I shifted to smoke, too, and launched myself at her, but she pulled out of the way and-

Sam, stop this shit right now, the voice bellowed. I froze in surprise. Max stopped also.

I'm a little busy right now, Voice, I murmured back, attacking Max again. She returned the blows, but we weren't being as vigorous as before.

I'm ordering you to stop! it shouted. I just ignored it. Punch, dodge, drop, shift, kick, shift…

I'm begging you to stop, it tried. I continued my silent treatment, attacking with renewed rage.

Fang

I. Was. Furious.

I wanted to fly up there and kick Sam's ass for playing me like this. I hated it when people lied to me or made a fool of me, and here she was, fucking around with my brain. The only thing that stopped me from handing her butt to her on a platter was that a) Max was in the way and b) she had three amazing forms. As much as I hate to admit it, she even looked hot with scales. Hot in a damned way, a hellish way.

Sorry Angel, if you're listening to this.

They were spinning around in the air. I was throwing all I had at them, but nada. Those bitches sure could fight.

They slowed down for a moment. I glanced questioningly at Polo and Angel. Angel just shook her head, curls bouncing.

"It's the Voice. It's trying to get Max to stop, and I think it's doing the same with Sam, but we can't see her mind," she explained quietly. I nodded, in awe of how she could still seem so cute even with such a wreck going on.

What a fun party. Watching as my leader, pretty much my sister fought against the girl I loved with every fiber of my being. I loved them both, and here I was, watching them wage war alone. Angel was with Polo, pretty much looking like a brother/sister Kodak moment, and Iggy was with Nudge, looking like an ideal couple. And then there was me, standing alone on a fucking roof watching the two bitches I loved most try to kick each other's asses. Gazzy wasn't here because he had been kidnapped by scientists with questionable mentalities so that they could do sick and twisted experiments on him.

Like I said, it was a grand party.

Sam: Sam, you need to stop this. It's ruining the plan, even though it's working out fine. Think about Fang, my Voice said.

Fang. Oh shit, forgot about him.

Yea you did. He's not very happy, to put it bluntly. I was too busy to reply for a moment, fighting. I got in a nice kick when I went smoke, got behind her, then went slithard and managed to clip her shoulder a bit, but she spun with it, whacking me with her wingtips as she rolled through the air, in her 'human' form for more agility. I ducked out of the way, and then we were back to the shape changing whirlwind.

Great. So how do you purpose I fix this?

No clue. You got yourself into this mess, you get yourself out.

That sent me thinking. I had an idea of what to do, but there were no guarantees. Do it for Fang, I told myself, getting ready.

I saw her fist come at my face in a desperate attempt, and it would have been all too easy to dodge. But I didn't, letting it connect. I tasted blood and anger at myself for doing this.

She landed another punch, and I started to fall. We fell in slow motion, me fighting feebly. FangFangFangFang, I thought weakly as I allowed another blow to strike me.

I managed to shift to smoke just before landing on the ground, then shifted back again so that I wouldn't break on impact.

Max allowed me to stagger to my feet, her eyes cold and flinty. God, she looked so much like me at the moment, cold and cruel. Just add a bit of red to her hair, a splash more yellow to her brown eyes to make them the hazelish dirty-yellow mine were, and we'd be twins.

"Leave," she growled, snapping her teeth, still looking like canines from her eraser form. I gave her a last look, stuffing as much hate into it, then turned away toward the woods. I heard the pattering of feet, and Polo ran up to me, his eyes carefully blank. I knew that he would stick with Max. I stared at him for a moment, and I thought I saw his eyes soften for a moment.

Then they hardened again, and he handed me my bag without a word. My laptop was in it, along with most of my most treasured possessions, my iPod, and some necessities. I took it from him, lowering my gaze. I couldn't stand to see the hurt in his eyes.

I glanced at the roof, where both Iggy and Nudge were staring at me with icy acceptance. I was just another enemy, the newest version of Jeb, or Ari. It was apparently my fault that Gazzy was gone.

I could hardly look at Fang. His eyes were blanker than normal, looking dull and lifeless. He had acknowledged that I was evil, no longer part of his life other than yet another obstacle to survive. I wasn't sure how much of him he had left behind, and I probably would never find out. Oh Fang, FangFangFangFang, please forgive me for this. I love you more than you know, and I'm doing this for you. It's either this or tear you in half, I thought, trying to tell him this without words. But he just continued his deadened stare.

Flashback

Fang and I sat quietly in a corner of my room on the floor. He kissed me passionately, and I wrapped my arms around him, wishing there was a way I could pour out exactly how much I was in love to him. Words couldn't describe the intensity of our desire, our craving for each other. Locked in love with body, mind, and spirit, we were forever entwined in each other, never to leave.

"Forever?" I murmured, my lips brushing his.

"Forever," he answered, nuzzling my neck. We embraced, not just teen lovers but honest soulmates. We had each other's spirit and soul, and death upon us if we should ever part.

End Flashback

I turned my back on everything. I was no longer Sam. Fang had Sam, and I didn't want him to let go of her. I had thought we were forever.

As I gaze upon the endless trees, I wonder why we had such complicated lives. Where's my happy ending? I had none. Fang wasn't a part of my existence anymore, so it ends.

I trudge away from the only thing I had that came near to happiness. Goodbye Fang, take care of Sam.

Forever had ended.

((Holy cowzers!! That's 24 pages in Word!!! The actual first chapter will come soon, I want at least five reviews before I start it. And for those of you who are complaining about how crappy this writing is, I'm sorry. I've improved unbelievably since I wrote this, so it WILL be better!!

So press that marvelous little button and make a review! Constructive criticism and ideas are great, but just a 'Hello' works too!))