A/N: Takes place after STWAOES and at the beginning of Order of the Phoenix. And if you are really nitpicky, it's AU to Dark Blue (my fanfic, not the TNT TV series) after the one that's labeled "Chapter 20."
Beta: eclipsed heart
Maximum Ride: Wings vs. Wands
I sighed as we took roost (don't get me started on the rooster jokes, I will kill you) in a cave somewhere in Europe.
The Voice had told us to go to some coordinates. Not that I was too pleased with that. As soon as we get back from Germany, we have to go straight back to Europe, and make Angel go to all that trouble (okay, so she has some sort of morbid like for it) of "convincing" the airport people to let us on and get us the first class seats.
And the trip here was a bit…icky.
Claustrophobia and whatnot since we were in the tinnier of planes, but the first class meals and stuff was nice…And plus, we didn't have to worry about the plane going down. If it did, we could just open the emergency hatch thing, snap our wings open and be all "Hasta la vista, baby!"
Who are we?
Well, you would know if you had read books one through three!
Anyways, Angel is seven, (as she loves to tell me) she is my baby. And she has a freaking long list of things no other seven year old should be able to do. The Gasman (Gazzy) is nine. Don't ask about his name, just stay upwind and know that the kid has one funky digestive system. They are also related.
Then there's Nudge, she twelve and a big talker. We call it the Nudge Channel: All Nudge, all the time. It's how she got her name, we'd used to have to nudge her to get her to shut up. It just fits.
And Total, who is Angel's talking Scottie dog.
Then we get to us older kids.
Iggy is fifteen, and the youngest of us fifteen year olds. He's blind, he's good with matches and bombs, is a très bien chef. He's also sarcastic as heck.
If you are up to date on who Tally is, good for you. If not, that's fine too. You'll learn who she is anyways.
Talon Ghost, well, we found her a while ago. She had escaped from a place called the Facility, apparently some sister company to the School and collapsed in front of us. Well, she's also fifteen, mute, is very obsessive about cleaning (watch out if she starts glaring at you, probably means you left a speck of dirt on your shoes or something) and an overall near opposite of her brother. Meaning she loves to prank.
Her brother? A Mister Stoic, voted most likely to become a cult leader, Fang. Fang is my second in command, dark, elegant, all over great kisser—what the heck am I doing thinking that? Anyways, Fang is the older twin brother of Tally, and it's very eerie how much alike they are. And how different.
Then there's me. Maximum Ride. But that's a mouth full, so call me Max. I am the all powerful freak that both leads the little band of misfits I have come to call family and flock, not to mention the person that's supposed to save the world.
No pressure, right?
"What's so special about you guys?" You probably are asking.
We have wings.
Some whack-job scientists decided that they wanted to mess around with the DNA of birds and human babies, so they got super enhanced kids that had wings on their backs and one heck of a rebellious streak. (If wanting to be free of torture and experiments is rebellious)
So they would try and get us any time they wanted with Erasers (lupine-human hybrids. The scientific equivalent of werewolves) and Flyboys (the robotic version of the Erasers that don't have any smart comebacks programmed into them).
Anyways, so why are we in Europe? Because I have a nifty Voice in my head that tells me what to do…not my own Voice, but somebody else who talks to me, so no hauling me off to the loony bin yet. Yet. (Though I'm sure Fang would love to do that to me, take me kicking and screaming while the rest of the Flock laughs their butts off.)
And so, after we got off our ritzy airplane ride, we flew around and ended up somewhere in Surrey.
Iggy got a kick out of all the food names and us older kids nearly turned blue when we saw the desert menu. (Spotted dick anyone? Yes, we're immature. Deal with it. We need some comic relief in our hectic lives.)
"Why aren't you in a hotel?" Well, because Tally about had a hissy fit when she saw the shady characters in cloaks walking by everywhere (not that I didn't) and so we opted to stay incognito and sleep in the nearest cave.
Which always turns out to be a bad thing when you are suddenly tied up and knocked out by a bunch of weird lights.
I woke up feeling like an Eraser had clobbered me, groggy and completely grossed. Pissed off.
But then I felt the rope tied firmly around me and it all came back to me. I was on watch and them we were captured.
Well, that's the last time I reminisce while on watch.
I turned my head to look at my flock. Tally was awake and tugging against the rope with Fang in front of them, their black hair flopping in front of their eyes as they attempted to get out of their bindings with fierce determination.
Iggy was limp, but his eyes were open and he had this hopeless expression on his face, Nudge right by his side with a mirror image expression.
The Gasman was just waking up and Angel had turned to look at me hopefully. Total was hogtied next to her, muttering things not very kind for a seven year old to hear.
"Ugh…where are we, Max?" asked Gazzy.
I frowned and looked at our surroundings.
It was a very dreary room, peeling wallpaper, wrought iron beds and that moving picture—
Wait! Moving picture?
Should I be surprised? No, the whitecoats had come up with moving pictures before, except it was more of a "zoom" than actually moving person. Maybe it was prerecorded? Like a TV, yeah.
"I don't know, Gazzy," I admitted, turning to glare at the door. "But whoever captured us is going to regret it."
"Albus! But why did you have them capture children! They don't have wings!" Molly Weasley said, outraged.
"Those children will be of help," he said sagely. "And the Volaticii are able to hide their wings, Molly."
"But they're children! They shouldn't be tied up!"
"As much as I trust you, Albus, I don't think tying up a bunch of specky little brats is going to do us much, either," Sirius Black said, summoning a butterbeer lazily.
Albus Dumbledore gave a serene smile, "On the contrary, the Volaticii that I had you capture have been known to rebel violently against authority, so they might help with the situation at Hogwarts."
Molly balked, "You brought them in to revolt against the Ministry of Magic?"
Albus's eyes twinkled, "Of course not Molly. They have free will; they can do what they like."
"But that doesn't answer my question!" she protested as the Headmaster walked away to the room in which the "children" were being held.
A snarl almost immediately came to my features when an old crippled looking man in a bright purple and stars robe came in. Was he trying to look like that guy Merlin from The Sword in the Stone? He sure as heck looked like it.
"Hello, Miss, my name is Albus Dumbledore, I suppose you must be wondering why you are here," he said loftily.
"No duh, freakazoid," I leered, narrowing my eyes into a glare.
The people behind him stiffened. Obviously, this was the head honcho.
"Well, I do apologize for the manner in which you were contacted," he said.
Contacted? More like bound, gagged and thrown into a room to seethe! Maybe Fang should haul this guy off to the loony bin instead of me.
"But there was no other way. Your guardian, Jeb, said that this would be the most efficient way to ensure your cooperation."
I think a cold bucket of water went down all of our backs, because we all froze when he mentioned Jeb.
In case you're wondering, Jeb is the Spawn of Satan, quadruple agent, and apparently my father. He was a whitecoat who let us out of our dog crates, (yes, that is not a big typo. I mean dog crates. Like for things that go, "Bow-wow."And I don't mean Total.) raised us, backstabbed us, and then came back saying he was a good guy all along. Just more complicated stuff in the life of a bird kid.
"Well, Jeb," I spat the name out like it was some horrible tasting cookie. I was never going to accept him as my father. "Can go jump off a cliff. I would've paid attention if you had contacted me politely."
"Okay, so maybe I wouldn't have listened, may I would've. Now what the heck does Jeb want?"
Tally sighed as she was untied. Max loved to protect them, really, but did that mean she had to snarl at everyone?
So the funky weird dude with the pointy hat and weird glasses was a bit loopy, fine, and no one really trusted these people that had kidnapped them, but did that mean Max had to blow a gasket?
Well, yeah. It probably did mean that.
Tally looked at the man that had brandished a polished stick of wood at them (also in robes) and removed their ropes with a lazy flick of his wrist.
And that freaked the heck out of everyone, so now they were all on guard and giving everything a suspicious look. At least the older kids who could see. The younger ones were just in awe from what she could tell.
"Why don't I take the rest of your…flock to eat something? Let you and Albus talk, Miss…"
"Max Ride," she said. "Guys, follow this lady…be careful."
Translation: Don't eat anything. Try feeding it to Total first. Map out escape routes and make notes on anything fishy.
Tally gave a covert nod before walking out first behind the red haired plump woman, stuffing her gloved hands into her pockets.
Iggy was right behind her, his finger looped through the belt loop of her jeans.
"So, you want us to basically raise heck and help you guys out…and in turn we'll get protection and learn about…magic," I said slowly.
"Yes, yes, essentially."
I leaned back onto my left foot, cocking my hip and propping my hand on it. "You do know that I'll need some sort of proof about this whole magic gig."
"And I shall need proof that you really are a Volaticus, Miss Ride," he said.
I glared at them, they had been calling us Volaticii ever since I started the conversation. And I wasn't sure what the heck it meant. "You first."
"That is fine. Sirius?" Dumbledore called.
The man with shaggy black hair and gray eyes strode purposefully in front of me and waved his wand at me, saying "Wingardium Leviosa."
And then I was in the air.
Without using my wings.
I was floating there for a few seconds before he let me down. Smothering my urge to let my mouth drop open and resemble a gaping fish, I sighed and shrugged off my windbreaker and looked around the room.
Then I let out my wings in all their thirteen foot glory.
Sirius looked like his jaw was going to unhinge and Dumbledore just had that twinkle in his eye.
When all the hubbub was over with, I went down stairs and saw the flock eating and stuffing their faces in only the way us recombinants can.
Angel was giggling, probably at something random Tally had thought and said dark haired bird girl was looking at the tea untrustingly and sniffing it.
"It's tea, Tally," Iggy said with a mocking tone. "Not like it's going to splash out and bite you."
The little kids laughed some.
Oh, I didn't mention that? I must've forgotten to mention that while we were being kidnapped for the umpteenth time.
We have special abilities.
Angel can read minds, communicate with animals, control minds, breathe under water, and God only knows what else that child can do. I don't want to know. She may be my baby, (not really, but I treat her like my own) but sometimes that kid is just a tad bit creepy.
Gasman can mimic any voice he hears (like a parrot), and his other ability…really stinks. Not stinks as in bad stinks, stinks as in smells stinks. If that makes sense.
Nudge is a brilliant hacker and tell who was in a place by the left over vibrations. And we recently found out she could attract metal to her as well.
Iggy has the best set of ears in the world. And I ain't bragging. He can feel colors too. And sorta read Tally's mind since they are that close.
Tally can…she calls it molecular acceleration. The whitecoats had messed around with her power and discovered that she could make the molecules in things go so fast they explode or slow them down until they freeze in mid air. And she could make them appear in your head so that you had a "picture" of what she wanted to see in your head.
A few months ago, in November, well, Tally, being just the wonderful and generous mutant that she was, decided to freeze Anne Walker while she was freaking out over the little thingy on the turkey and about everything going to ruins. Much to the relief of some and the horror of others.
(Gazzy just yelled out, "COOL!" for the record.)
I gave Talon a stern talking to (which she just smirked at) and told her to unfreeze Anne before she noticed anything. Tally had sighed before doing as she was told, then proceeded to pick Total off the ground and take him to the couch, petting him, much to his delight.
It became sort of obvious that Tally didn't want anything to do with Thanksgiving. Or Anne for that matter. I don't blame her, that woman forgot that Tally was mute every three seconds.
Back to the topic. Fang can blend in with almost any of his surroundings.
And I have a Voice and can go into a supersonic speed. And I got wicked leading skills. Not to toot my own horn or anything.
I sat between Angel and Fang, raising an eyebrow at the food in front of me before shrugging and digging in.
After being on the run and sometimes not even eating for days, you learn not to be picky with your food.
I dug in and told the Flock the deal that I had struck with that old Merlin-wannabe.
"So," Iggy said. "These people are going to wave their magical wands and protect us while Max does what she usually does and cause violence, mayhem, and tears?"
Tally elbowed him, her eyes closed as she took a careful sip of the tea.
"Thanks, Tally," I muttered. "Yeah. Basically. We all have to work to make sure this Umbridge woman doesn't go psycho lady on the students, while we pose as these Volaticii ambassadors and take some classes."
"What the heck is a Volaticii?" Gazzy asked, speaking around a mouthful of crumbs.
"It means 'winged' apparently," I said, covering my laughs when Tally spat out the tea on top of Total.
Just a typical day in the lives of bird kids…and wizards I guess.