It never occurred to her until that moment, that once her little chicks lost their baby feathers and flew from the nest that saw them born, they'd be something. They'd grow, learn, develop, live, love…be.
They've got so much potential.
The tiny babies she sees shipped in each month, premature by weeks, some barely alive but for the respirators are nothing special, or so she tells herself. They're more machine than child, wired up like a piece of hardware, unrecognizable even to the parents who would be right now grieving for their baby.
She can forget.
She'd never had children, and had been an only child herself. Maternal instinct was a myth, she supposed.
Most survived. They fought to live, fought for each breath. Some already showed what had been done to them, what had been changed. Their purpose.
They fought for what?
Caged, barred, beaten, starved, repressed, locked up, tortured. Killed.
This was no place for children.
They're not, she tells herself. They're not children, they have no family, they have nothing. They're petrie dishes, test tubes. They're lab rats, guinea pigs. They're not children. Not looking like that.
She doesn't watch the babies as they come in, especially not the Avi combos.
She just fills out another order for babies to the St. Bridgette Orphanage, and signs the deposit. Who needs the babies anyway? They do, and the orphanage can't afford them.
Because now she's seen six amazing children who can fly. Who have been caged, barred, beaten, starved, repressed, locked up, tortured. Who've seen death, and know that they face it.
She's seen Max on her first date, kiss a boy. She's seen Fang fixing up Angel's scraped knees. She's seen Iggy and Gazzy plot their mischief and carry it out full force. She's seen Nudge enter the Talent Show with her friend Alania, and win second place. She's seen Angel's Tea parties for Celeste and Total.
They aren't just names on a sheet of paper.