So I'm slowly going through and rewriting this fic chapter by chapter, as well as actively update, so apologies if all of a sudden the quality turns to absolute cringe for a few chapters. It's been nearly 10 years since I've started writing this, and nearly 6 since I'd stopped. So, with renewed interest, I'm going to make an attempt to update and finish this fic since every so often I come back and reread the whole thing. Who knows, maybe I'll finish the prequel…

Chapter 1: Prologue

I flipped on the light, revealing the shabby motel beds, and I sighed one more time. I can't believe I gave in. Again. Who was the leader of this flock? I didn't know anymore.

Nudge suggested we slept in actual beds, and Gazzy had to help her team up on me and point out every. Single. Hotel that we just happened to fly over. Angel joined in after a while, knowing from my thoughts that they were going to crack me. Fang was absolutely no help. Some second-n-command he was…

No use crying over it now.

Though I couldn't help but shudder as my eyes swept across the deep red walls, the cream-colored sheets, and the orange-gold glow of the lights. It was all too familiar. Oh yeah. The last time we'd spent the night in a hotel, I'd been kidnapped and—

"Max?" I looked up to see Fang watching me. The littler ones were dividing the two king-sized beds up. I shook my head at him minutely and then decided to intervene on the argument over the beds.

"I don't wanna sleep next to Iggy," Gazzy was whining. "He kicks."

"Girls in one bed, guys in the other," Iggy retorted.

"Iggy and Gazzy in one bed, Nudge and Angel in the other. Fang can taken the couch, I'll be in the arm chair on first watch," I muttered. I felt Fang's scrutinizing eyes on me until I turned the lights out, not letting anyone argue.

I settled into the lumpy armchair, listening carefully as the whispering around the room quieted and breathing slowed, evening out. Except one.

"Go to sleep," I whispered as soft as I could, trying not to wake the others. Sure, I had my reasons for not wanting to sleep. Last time we stayed in a hotel, three years ago, I was kidnapped. But Fang had no excuse.

"I can take first watch," he whispered back. "You need sleep."

"And I'll get it," I argued, "when it's your turn to watch."

And then I heard something and I held my breath.

Ka-chlunk!

A bullet sliding into a chamber. We didn't hear it often, but it was definitely a heart-stopping, unmistakable sound. Slowly, I sat up the same time Fang and Iggy did. We shared a long, wordless stare. I moved across the room as fast as I could and tapped the kids' hands near me and Fang did the same.

But before we could get everyone out of the beds, the walls caved in around us and we were surrounded like never before. They didn't even pause before they came at us. Smoke from the broken plaster made my eyes water and sting, but I strained through the fog to find a silhouette to swing at that wasn't one of the Flock.

As it settled, I could see Fang standing over a flyboy with his foot pressed firmly on his back, leaning back to rip the wings out. I took out one of my own, watching as a few surrounded me.

We fought each one off, knowing the Flyboy's weak points, but there were way too many. It was like a never-ending line. I would destroy one, and another two would show up. I felt like more and more were flooding into the room with us faster than we could take them out.

I heard an explosion that made my ears crackle and I paused for a second, looking for the rest of the flock in the stillness, my ears ringing. Hands wrapped around my arms and legs and I let out a scream as something tore at one of my legs. There was an intense pressure, like someone standing on the back of my calf, and I could hear it snap. A sickening sound that made my stomach lurch as the white-hot pain ripped through my nerves.

And then color exploded behind my eyes and it was dark and silent...