(A/N) Hey guys, I've decided to start a new Fanfic. I know it's kinda dark and I'm sorry. When I started it I wasn't in the best mood. I was kinda depressed. Besides, I wanted to write something a little more serious that EMOtional. Don't freak out though, I'm still going to write on EMOtional.

I know everyone's kinda OOC, but it's my story and I wanted it to happen this way. I'm not sure if I'm gonna have Iggy, Gazzy, or Nudge yet. Probably, but I have to figure out how to incorporate them. Again, sorry if it's depressing/dark...it's just how I was feeling. It'll probably get better, you can't keep Max down for long. :)

Disclaimer: I do not own the Maximum Ride books (wow, that was unoriginal...)



"NO!" Camy shrieked. Tears were gliding down her cheeks. She cried out again, in pure agony. "Stop." She sobbed.

My heart was breaking. I knew that she was in more pain than she'd ever been before. She never broke down like this. She never failed to triumph. I could see her fading fast. She opened her mouth and screamed a string of profanities.

I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't watch her suffer. It was too much. I shoved myself between her and the bat, as if to say "Let her go. Me instead". Walter stopped the bat in mid-air. I knew what this meant. My pain would be six times what hers had been. For once, the amount of pain I was going to endure didn't matter nearly as much. Camy would be safe.

Abruptly Camy's screams halted. Walter stepped back, a grim smile on his face. He tried to look as if this "punishment" was hurting him, but I could see the sick glee in his eyes. I could see his hands shaking in ecstasy. My stomach rolled. Camy slouched onto the floor, slipping into unconsciousness, and I stepped up to the ballet bar in her place.

Mom bought the ballet studio before dad died. Back when she was moderately sane. Back before she married Walter. She slipped in and out of moods faster than the men she 'secretly' dated slipped in and out of the condoms that they wore (probably the alcohol that Walter kept buying for her). Ella, Angel, and I had been dancing since we were old enough to join a class, and mom had bought the studio as an extra place for us to practice. Camy was Walter's daughter, from a previous marriage.

I gripped the bar with all of my strength.

"Close your eyes." I did as I was told. I could hear the swift moving air as the bat closed in on the backs of my legs.

Whop! My legs immediately threatened to buckle. I gripped the bar harder than I ever thought possible to hold myself up. I bit the inside of my cheek to keep from crying out. As usual, I refused to give in to his sick game. He wouldn't see me back down from him.

Whop! I could tell that the backs of my legs were already bruising and swelling. I gritted my teeth.

Whop! I figured out his plan. He had started just above my ankles and was slowly working his way up my legs.

Whop! The pain was starting to leak through my barriers.

Whop! I gripped the bar tighter.

Whop! I heard Camy stir. I took a moment to glance behind me. She was scrambling up the stairs to get as far away as possible from the bat. She didn't stay to help me, and I didn't blame her one bit.

Whop! He leaned forward with his pocket knife and made a slight cut on my upper thigh. I knew it was an extra "punishment" for checking on the well-being of my sister. I felt blood oozing down the back of my leg as he picked the bat back up and resumed his regularly scheduled program.

Whop! I grimaced. He was going to paralyze me. I would never dance again. Tears welled up behind my eyes, threatening to escape.

WHOP! My legs buckled. I tried to hold myself up with just my arms on the bar, but I could feel my sweat making them slick.

"Have you had enough?" I whispered softly in my ear. I didn't answer. Instead, I pulled myself back into a standing position and clenched my eyes closed.

Thud. I opened my eyes in confusion. A young boy, maybe fifteen, had stopped the bat in mid-air. He threw a heavy punch into Walter's gut, and broke the wooden bat easily on his knee. In the meantime, I had slumped to the floor and was almost curled into a complete ball of pain.

"Max?" I blinked at the boy in confusion. Did I know him?

He seemed vaguely familiar. He had dark hair, dark brown eyes, dark olive toned skin, dark black clothes. He reminded me of a shadow that had come to life. Suddenly it dawned on me. This was my next door neighbor, Fang.

Before my dad died, my sisters and I had socialized like normal children. We went to school. We played with other children in the neighborhood. We ate food regularly. We weren't bruised. After dad died two years ago, mom had lost the will to live.

When she married Walter last year, the first thing he did was pull us out of public schools by convincing my mom that they were dangerous. After the first time that he started hitting us, I couldn't help but wonder what he thought was dangerous about them. Freedom? Joy? Friendship? Love? Something about the public school system irked him. It had been an entire year since I'd seen the face of a non-family member.

I hadn't spoken since my father's death. The only people that I even responded to were my sisters Ella, Camy, and my baby (almost, but she was really my sister) Angel. My mother had spoken to me, as had Walter, but none of them had heard a word from me in response.

"Max?" Fang asked again softly, as if I might break. "Are you okay?" I raised my eyebrows at him in a 'are you kidding me?' expression.

Fang had been my best friend once. From the moment he was brought home from the hospital our parents had organized play-dates. We'd grown up together. When my father died, I stopped talking to Fang. I stopped talking to everyone. I didn't even tell them that he died. I simply...stopped talking. When I disappeared from school, I wonder what everyone thought. I hadn't thought about that before now.

"Max." He said my name again, as if he thought that by saying it, he could hit rewind and delete the last two years of my life. He rushed forward suddenly, wrapping me in a tight, yet gentle, hug. "Max, it's going to be okay now."

As I remembered, Fang was never one to talk much. He didn't like to speak unless he felt that it was completely necessary. I knew how he was probably seeing me. Broken and bruised, not even fighting back. He must have thought it was something I needed to hear.

Apparently it was, because as he said it, tears began to spill down my cheeks. I didn't cry at my father's funeral. I didn't cry when I was pulled from school. I didn't even cry during any of Walter's "punishments". Now, a few comforting words, and I was sobbing like a leaky dam.

I wrapped my arms around Fang, and pulled myself halfway onto his lap. I was crying onto his knee, my legs laying bruised-side-up on the ground. I knew they must look awful. I could feel Fang wince at seeing the bruises, and my yellow shorts were turning orange with blood from the cut. I didn't care about any of that. I continued to cry. Fang rubbed my back gently, murmuring soft assurances to me as I lay there.

"Don't touch her." I heard Walter hiss before conking Fang over the head. He dropped backwards to the floor, and I cried out wordlessly. "So you aren't mute!" He screamed at me. In defiance, I shut my mouth.

He took a menacing step towards me, and before I knew it I was flying across the room. My head hit the wall with a disgusting crunch and everything began to blur. I saw Walter take another step towards me, only to be tackled to the ground by a very angry (and very awake) Fang. Then everything slipped away and I was greeted with the all-too-familiar comfort of unconsciousness.

So...what do you think??? Let me know if you hate it or if you have any ideas :D