Every Child

Description: Fang reflects on the events of the fall of Itex with the help of a surprisingly thoughtful Gasman.

A young boy stood staring at the stars whose light filtered down to illuminate his upturned face. It had been a week, a whole week, since the fall of Itex. Somehow he just could believe it. It just didn't seem real. They'd been running for so long, threatened for so long… He knew it couldn't be this easy and yet, somehow, he was finding himself falling into a false sense of security.

He had carried the weight of their unconventional family for so long, even Max relied on him in her way, her aloof denial-secreting yet somehow extremely attractive way. He knew this wasn't over. Their lives didn't work like that. It was just a rest stop in between the chaos. It could never end and even though he knew Max wasn't angry at him for leaving her, he still felt horrible. She wasn't holding any grudges, but that was okay, he was doing it for her.

"Fang?" A soft voice called from the darkening shadows.

Fang forced his best attempt at a reassuring smile. "Over here, Gazzy." His voice was low enough to be a whisper, but Gasman's not-so-human ears had no trouble making out the words.

Gasman silently made his way up the hill to the crest of the steep drop to a canyon below them. He sat down next to the taller boy, his blond hair shining in the moonlight.

"What are you doing out here?" Gasman asked quietly, following Fang's gaze up to the stars.

It lay silent for a moment as Fang wrestled with words. How could he tell this little boy how hopeless his life was? "Just doing a little stargazing." Fang said finally, still avoiding Gasman's eyes by fixing his own on the night sky.

Gasman frowned. He wasn't your average eight year old, war and life on the run had hardened him. "Jeb used to do that, back when he lived with us. When he got upset or when sometime would remind him of Ari he'd go up on the roof and stare. When he thought we were asleep."

Fang squeezed his eyes shut but didn't say anything, still staring at the stars in his mind.

Gasman sighed and let his own eyes return to the stars. "You shouldn't worry so much, you know."

Fang opened his eyes, staring at the young boy besides him, letting the emotions and responses roll through him and until he finally settled on, "What?"

Gasman smiled, but kept his eyes on the sky. "You worry, about what's going to happen and how our dreadful lives seem to be somehow fixed in stone. You worry about us, and Jeb, sometimes, mostly, you worry about Max. Though you're not likely to admit it. You shouldn't worry so much, Fang. It's not quite the end of the world just yet."

Fang continued to stare wide eyed at the young boy for several minutes.

Gasman rolled his eyes. "What? You think Angel never talks?"

Fang blinked, then shook his head. "Sometimes it's just not that simple, Gazzy." He said. But astonishingly, Gasman smiled.

"You might be surprised Fang. Everyone deserves a second chance. Even Ari got his. And Jeb and Max and well, everybody. You'll get yours too." Gasman said, smiling. "We're just kids, we've got plenty of time to get all doom and gloomy." And still wearing that annoyingly assured smile, he dived into the canyon, wings spread, his grin upturned to shine with the stars.

On the cliff top Fang looked after him with a dumbfounded expression on his face. Then slowly he turned his face too the sky. The wind blew, disturbing his wings and Fang could have sworn he heard a whisper among the rustling leaves.

"Every child deserves their second chance…"