Thunderstorms and Lightning.



I don't own JP's work. The rest is mine.

I like this half-of-a-twoshot, and it was easy to write because it's fairly uncomplicated, with simple sentences and common words. Only 1000 words too, although I know that's longer than some people's story chapters. This is a two parter, the other half is called Watching the Watchers.

Max, Fang and Iggy watch/listen to their first thunderstorm.

Jeb watches Max, Fang and Iggy watching/listening to their first thunderstorm.


"It's Nudge's birthday next week, remember?" Iggy reminded them.

Max looked at Iggy. She looked back out the window to see the storm clouds getting closer. Max sighed, more to herself than at the others. "She only chose next week because it was close, so she can have a birthday first."

Fang nodded in agreement.

"Eight years old," Max continued. "Remember when we were eight?"

Fang nodded his assent. Iggy said 'yes' out loud, if only to encourage Max and Fang to speak instead of gesturing. They still hadn't completely got the hang of it yet. Hand signs were the best things to use around the Whitecoats.

Max was oblivious to them both anyway, caught up in her thoughts and storm watching. A bolt of lightning slammed into a tree miles away. "We never got thunderstorms when we were eight," she said.

Fang mumbled something and was drowned out by the roll of thunder.

"We have to give her presents, y'know, like Jeb said." Iggy told them. "We have to give her something nice. What are you getting?"

"I haven't decided yet," Max said, wrapping the blanket around herself. "I don't know what's a good present. We never got presents when we were eight."

Another lightning strike, another roll of thunder. "It's pretty, the lightning," she said.

Iggy was curious as to what could make so much noise. "What does it look like. I've never seen lightning." He asked.

Max sighed in pleasure. "Like a huge big taser in the sky. It blew that tree apart." She said.

"It would fry Erasers." Fang said.

"Mmmm," Max hmmed.

Iggy pictured teeny Erasers getting chased by a huge hand with a glowing taser, and grinned. Boy, it'd be good for the Erasers to get some of their own back. And the Whitecoats too!

"Jeb's going to help me make birthday cake for her," Iggy told them, just to because it was nice to tell them something that they didn't know and he did.

"What type?" Fang spoke audibly for the first time that evening.

Iggy frowned, "I'm not sure, but I liked that chocolate stuff and so did Nudge, so I think we might make that."

"I've never had birthday cake before," said Max. "You know what you're getting Nudge as a present, don't you."

Iggy smiled and rocked back and forwards in delight and anticipation. "She's gonna love what I…!"

Another crash of thunder, this one much closer, drowned out the rest of his sentence. Max's awed intake of breath made him lean forwards eagerly. He tugged on her sleeve and she brushed him off. "Come on, Max! Tell me what's going on!

"Lightning strike." Fang said shortly, just a touch of amazement in his voice. Iggy was impressed. Not much amazed Fang. How he wished he could see what they were seeing right now. "Real close."

"How close?"

"I don't even have to squint to see it," Max breathed. "How come we never got to see lightning before?"

"Why would they let us?" Iggy retorted. He knew, and Max did too, that the Scientists, the Whitecoats, thought they were nothing but experiments, and that experiments didn't have privileges.

Max flapped a hand at him. "Shuddup Iggy, I want to watch. We never got to watch stuff like this when we were eight."

Iggy snorted. "I couldn't have watched stuff when I was eight. And even then, we'd be scared of it 'cause it's so loud."

Max bounced on the bed. "D'you think that the littlies are scared? Angel's only two, and Gasman's four and Nudgie's eight."

'Duh!' Iggy thought, but he didn't say it out loud.

"I'm gonna go see they're okay!" Max said, and she bounced out of the room, slamming the door behind her.

"Girls are weird, eh, Fang?" Iggy said after listening to Max bounce down the corridor of the E-shaped house and open the door to the littlies' room. That door was closed really quietly, though Iggy didn't know why, because the thunder noise would have woken them up.

Fang made a noise of agreement that Iggy barely heard over the next roll of thunder.

"C'mon, Fang!" Iggy wheedled. "What did you get Nudge!"

Fang ignored the question, and instead shifted to Max's spot to get a better view of the lightning. Iggy bounced on the bed impatiently, he couldn't see the lightning and it was boring.

"Hey, you're not being fair! I can't see it, and you're not describing it and I'm booorrrrrreeeeedd!" Iggy said, bouncing on the bed to try and annoy Fang into answering.

It worked. "It looks pretty, and white, and spiky. Now stop bouncing on the bloody bed!"

"Fang said a swearword!" Iggy jumped up and down on the bed because it worked.

"What did Fang say?" Max asked as she opened the door. "He shouldn't be swearing," she said disapprovingly.

"He said 'bloody'," Iggy tattled.

Fang turned around and smacked Iggy's shoulder. "I did not! And you just did!"

Max humphed and stamped her foot. "Well, none of us should be swearing. It's bad. And don't hit Iggy. He can't see it."

Iggy grinned, and stuck out his tongue at Fang. Max hit his shoulder. "And that doesn't mean you can stick out your tongue at Fang!"

There was a huff and a smack. "That doesn't mean you can stick your tongue out at Iggy!"

"He started it!" Fang complained.

"Don't care! And move, you're in my seat!"

Fang grunted and shifted back to his old spot, with a little bit of under-breath mumbling. But not too much, just in case anyone got the idea of what was being said. "I was keeping it warm for you." The darker boy said. "How're the littlies?"

"Curled up under Nudge's bed in their 'Fort'" Max told them. "They're scaredy cats! We were never that scared of noise when we were eight!"

Fang added a quiet 'yeah' of agreement, and settled into the old spot with a bit of bed shaking.

"Still, Nudge isn't quite eight," defended Iggy. "After all, it's her birthday next week."

"We know."

"And you still haven't got her a present." He accused.

Max gave a 'hah' of agreement or argument, Iggy wasn't sure which at first. "I got her a teddy bear. Happy now, Iggy?"

Iggy grinned contentedly. "Yep, although I'll be happier when I know what Fang's is!"

Max snorted. "That's easy. He got her a colouring book and some pencils."

"How did you know!" Fang exclaimed with actual surprise.

"Easy. Jeb left the presents on his desk. All I had to do was look in the bag and see. It was easy to pick which was which!"

"Hey, that's no fair!" Iggy complained.

"Tough!" Max said. "Now shuddup, I'm watching the thundy-storm."

Watching the Watchers

The video feed from the experim...children's bedrooms was grainy with the interference, but still, Jeb could see them quite clearly. The thunderstorm had knocked out communications with the Director, so he was so his own for now – but he wasn't worried. They'd get the feed back soon, and the experi…children were too busy with watching the storm to wonder at what he was doing.

He had to finish the latest report on their progress before the storm was out, it was late enough as it was without this unexpected but not unwelcome delay. Some people, the Director included, did not know that the exper…children took up a lot of his time, and there was only one of him, and six of them. That certainly did not make the situation any easier. Most people only had to deal with becoming a parent to one child at a time, six distrusful children, three of them already ten years old was quite another matter.

"The Interactions of the Avian-Hybrids within a Non-Laboratory Environment" was a boring enough report. He didn't know these expe…children very well, he hadn't been their primary scientist, but that, of course, was why he'd been chosen for this. Roger Andrews was brilliant as the Avian project's director, but he had no patience with the expe…children. And of course, as the Director had said, 'you have a son of your own, Dr. Batchelder'.

A son who was still back at the School, who, he was assured, was being taken care of well. Jeb himself wasn't sure what to think of the boy, he'd taken to hanging around this set of expe…children, which wouldn't do. Ari couldn't have any sympathy for the experiments that he would one day do himself, when he'd finished his education, of course. Jeb was looking forward to teaching him.

But, he'd gotten off topic again. Sighing, he straightened his glasses and turned back to the footage. Three figures in Maximum's room, three in the one belonging to the younger two girls. The older trio had proved more suspicious than the younger trio, but over the last month they'd accepted their current situation. That was a good place to start, and he supposed he'd be able to shorten his report if he included some of the footage he'd stored.

Then next, he might report on each of the ex…children, because their own personal development was interesting to him, and might just perhaps be to his peers. Also, it would be good to have a record from the very beginning to this to compare when this experiment finished.

Maximum herself was the most interesting. She'd proved in the past to be strong and determined, but now she was showing extraordinary concern and caring for the younger trio, and had assumed leadership of this 'flock' as they called themselves, despite Fang being the stronger alpha male, as they'd thought. The dynamic was an interesting one. Fang had accepted this leadership without any comment, but then the boy spoke so little that at first they hadn't thought he could speak at all. He was strong, stronger than unmodified humans twice his age and three times his weight, and intelligent. But, all the children were, and they'd made more than a few leaps of logic that had been mind boggling, even to one so educated as himself.

Iggy was with Fang and Max in the room, watching, or in his case, listening to the thunderstorms. Andrews had been all for the termination of this particular experiment after that shocking failure of the night vision enhancing operation, but they'd reasoned that, even blind, this one still had it's uses. Iggy was turning out to be almost as interesting as Max, though in a trivial kind of way. He wasn't strong enough to be Alpha male, and physically impaired. He was the proverbial 'spanner in the works', another to disrupt the Max-Fang dynamic that they'd all expected, and hadn't quite got. Both treated Iggy kindly, but seemed to include him in with the younger trio of children more often.

Nudge, as the older in that trio, had turned out to be a complete opposite of Fang, and, once given the opportunity to speak, had barely stopped for breath. The girl seemed to idolize Max, and often followed her around. She also imitated Max's caring for the two-year-old Subject Eleven, who had only recently been named Angel.

The Gasman, despite the early predictions of gastric failure, had managed to flourish, and while only four, had already developed a distinct personality. He seemed to have the protecting instinct, as the grainy camera shot showed him hiding his younger sister from the unknown noise of the thunderstorm. There were a few doubters among the scientists, and he'd never been one of those, who'd thought that these children acted on nothing more than instinct – for the first few years that was certainly true.

Eleven, Angel, she'd turned out to be more than they'd hoped. They'd never before attempted the Psi-grafting into an experiment of another kind, and certainly not the very valuable Avian-hybrids. The girl, though only two, had shown that she was indeed the most perfect hybrid they'd ever created – highly intelligent and almost perfect in proportion, with a seamless grafting between her human structure and avian-altered physiology. He did not know why they'd chosen to send the girl – surely they would want her for experimentation?

The monitor flickered back into life – they'd obviously managed to rig up a better system as the storm still raged around the mountain. "Have you got my report, Batchelder?" the monitor snapped.

"Just about to send it," he replied distractedly. "Is the line secure?"

"Of course."

I hit send, and then quickly close the window as footsteps pound down the hallway. "Jeb, Jeb!"

Another crisis to deal with.