"Your radio is broken," Eloise Weather said as she stood in a grungy supermarket on a cold winter night. The employee that sat behind the counter looked up with a bored expression on her face, not even registering the words. She chewed on what Eloise assumed was gum then scrunched her nose up.


"Your radio," Eloise said in a strained voice, one hand hovering over her throbbing ear, the other poised at the speakers hanging near the ceiling, "is broken."

The employee paused and was quiet for a long moment, tilting her head toward the direction of the radio. Eloise was silent, holding her pose as the employee listened half-heartedly.

"Sounds fine to me," she finally said, easing back against her chair as she blew a bubble of her gum. Eloise dropped her arm with an agitated look on her face and she didn't press it for a moment; she merely gazed at the employee in disappointment, her other hand now pressed hard against her ear.

"I know it seems fine," Eloise finally spoke again. "There's a high-pitched shrieking noise it's letting out because of some faulty wiring."

The clerk's bubble popped. "It may be broken to a dog or something."

Eloise finally decided the teenager wouldn't do anything about it, so she mutely tossed away the pack of gum and water she had been planning on buying before she marched out of the tiny store. She hadn't planned on buying gum or water—she was only there to buy some dinner, since her dad wasn't coming home yet again.

Somehow she ended up holding boring things in her hands instead, mentally planning to run away and save the money he left behind to buy a ticket somewhere. In the end, she decided that the broken radio and lack of gum was too exhausting to handle and that the idea of running away was childish, so Eloise resolved on going home. She could probably get some leftovers from her over-helpful neighbor Mrs. Downry, who loved sticking her nose in the Weather's business.

Eloise popped open her umbrella, glaring accusingly at the rain as it poured down violently. Eloise knew she looked horrible; she hadn't had time to take a bath since she woke up late that morning, and after school she tripped on her way home and got grass and dirt all over her jacket. Now, her dark red hair stuck to her pale face and neck, her grey eyes probably exhausted as they observed the street light as it flashed red, refusing to let her cross.

Eloise spun her umbrella in boredom, looking at the sky solemnly.

Eloise had expected to see birds flying around to find shelter or something, but when she saw several figures gliding through the sky, she knew in an instant that they were way too big to be birds. She stayed where she was, frozen in place as she watched the figures fly rapidly, desperately, before they began to fall from the sky like dropping bombs.

Without thinking (which, considering how impulsive Eloise is, isn't very surprising) Eloise dashed toward the falling—whatever, struggling to keep her umbrella upright despite the fact she was already pretty dirty and wet. Her heavy boots splashed in the small puddles in the streets, her breathing coming out in quick gasps. She had no idea what she was doing, or why she was doing it, but before she knew it she was standing in front of wet, unconscious winged people, her throat burning as she gasped for breath.

Eloise stared at the quiet mutants, stunned. One was a girl with blonde hair, her brown wings limp against the wet ground, her eyes closed and blood gushed from her head and chest. Next to her was a tall black-haired boy, who was actually conscious and struggling to sit up, his wings perked up but sopping wet and un-flyable, his hand pressed against a gushing wound on his shoulder.

Eloise didn't move or speak, but suddenly she was moving and she didn't know why she was moving, but she was, and she was approaching the bleeding bird people with her umbrella now hanging at her side and scratching her legs.

"Are you okay?" she asked, feeling stupid as soon as the words left her mouth. The boy looked up sharply and his face scared Eloise, who stumbled back and fell on her butt, shivering in fear as well as the cold rain water that soaked into her skirt from the fall. Her umbrella rolled away from her scarred hands and she stared at the boy in anxiety, trying to keep calm. He noticed this, however, and seemed to relax slightly.

"You should go," he said as he dragged himself to the girl, letting a low hiss. "Max! Shit, Max, wake up!"

"You're not okay. I can help," Eloise blurted out. "Oh. I'm Eloise. I study in the medical field—I'm not exactly a doctor, but I can clean and treat your wounds. If we don't take the girl to a warm, dry area and treat those injuries, she could be in real danger."

He looked like he was about to claw her face off, but he looked more concerned for the girl than anything else, so he reluctantly agreed. Eloise nodded and slowly rose to her feet, her knees shaking in fear as she instructed him to help Eloise get the girl (Max, was it?) to her on her feet. They struggled to lift her up and the boy put her arm around his neck and Eloise did the same, not even bothering to try to pick up her forgotten umbrella.

Thankfully Eloise's house was close by so they made it there safely. Once Eloise opened the front door she led them into the bathroom, setting Max onto the toilet. Once she was safely propped against the wall with the boy helping her so that she wouldn't fall, Eloise opened the cabinet and pulled out a white box.

She popped it open and was hasty to clean the dirty open wounds, making sure they wouldn't get infected in the future. Eloise then bandaged her up and checked her wings, which looked fine. Good thing too. Eloise didn't study animal medicine.

"Now let me see your wounds—" Eloise said, only to be slapped away by the angry-looking boy.

"No. We help her first."

Eloise was silent, staring at him in astonishment before she cleared her throat. "Okay, then. Help me bring her to my room," Eloise said as she slid her arm under Max's armpit. "She needs to rest."

"Hn," the boy said. They managed to lay her onto Eloise's bed safely, turning the lights off as they let her relax. Eloise led the boy into the living room, suddenly scared again. The rush of doing what she loved and helping someone in need was gone, and now all she was aware of was the boy's sharp, frighteningly cold eyes on her.

"Take your shirt off," Eloise said. He blinked dully and Eloise felt her face grow hot. "So I can treat your wounds!"

He looked like he wanted to smirk as he stripped out of his shirt. Eloise bit back a gasp as she witnessed the extent of his injuries; a rather big gash that looked like an animal bite ripped into his shoulder. Eloise ran to the bathroom and returned with the first aid kit, hastily cleaning and treating the wound. Once she was done she brought him one of her dad's shirts, which he refused to wear but eventually gave in and pulled the black shirt over his head.

This left them standing in the living room alone, with those frightening eyes on her again.

"Um, do you want something to eat?" she asked nervously.

He didn't say anything.


"We can't stay long," he suddenly said. "How long does she need to rest?"

"Oh, um, maybe until morning, if you want to push it," Eloise said. "Uh, what's your name?"

He looked at her coldly. "Fang."

She laughed. "No, really."

His glare made her realize he wasn't kidding. She blushed, embarrassed at how rude she was and tried to apologize, but he didn't seem to care all that much. He asked if he could wait for Max to wake up so Eloise let him sit by her bed as Max slept, and Eloise went into the kitchen to make some water. She returned to the room and handed Fang the glass, which he didn't take or respond to. So, she put it on the nightstand and gently told him she was going next door for a second for some food. Fang didn't like that idea but she managed to convince him to let her go.

After the second knock on Mrs. Downry's front door, it flung open and there stood Mrs. Downry in all her glory. She was a short, taut woman; tightly-pulled-up black hair and sharp green eyes hidden behind thick old-school glasses. She was a little stubby, but she wore long dresses that made her look more elegant than she actually was. Like always, she had a huge grin on her face.

"Eloise! So good to see you!" she crowed happily. "Come in, come in!"

Eloise smiled and stepped inside, comforted at the smell of warmth and food. Mrs. Downry chatted about goodness knows what as they walked into the kitchen and she prepared some leftover lasagna. It was funny how Eloise didn't even tell her she needed food; the older woman already knew. She knew that her father was never home and Eloise always had to fend for herself, so she was more than happy to help the "sweet young girl" out.

"Thanks," Eloise said when Mrs. Downry handed her a tubaware full of food. "This means a lot. I love your cooking."

She laughed. "Oh, you flatter me! Take care, and please do stop by again soon! Tell your father I said hi!"

"I will. Bye," Eloise waved as she left the house and shut the door behind her. When she got back to her house she had to glance into her room to make sure Fang was still there, which he was, before she heated up her dinner.

She was in the middle of eating when Fang stepped into the kitchen looking grim.

"Are you hungry?" Eloise asked. He didn't reply so she stood and made him a plate, setting it on the chair furthest from her before she sat back down and continued eating. Fang didn't move for a while, pressed against the counter staring at her with hard eyes, before he slowly inched toward the plate. Before Eloise knew it he was digging in, which made it hard for Eloise not to giggle.

Eloise washed their plates in silence, respecting the worry the other boy had for the unconscious girl sleeping in her bedroom. Eloise washed her hands when she was done and smiled at Fang, still scared and anxious around him. He was so dark and intimidating.

"I'll sleep on the couch. If you want, you can sleep with Max tonight," Eloise suggested casually. "I don't mind."

He didn't say anything but she could see gratitude in his eyes. Eloise grabbed some blankets and pillows and set up a comfortable bed on the couch, snuggling into the thick blankets as Fang disappeared behind her bedroom door. Before she knew it, the exhaustion set in and she was out.

She slept for what felt like minutes. Usually, Eloise slept lightly, so she wasn't surprised when a sound woke her up. But she thought it was Fang or Max, or maybe just something outside that hit the window or wind or something.

But out of all the things Eloise expected to be awakened by, it wasn't a giant snarling werewolf.

When her eyes opened she found herself facing a big, bulky looming wolf-man thing like from the movies and she found she was unable to scream.

"I suggest you keep your mouth shut. We wouldn't want the injured waking up," he sneered in a frightening, deep gravely voice.

Eloise gulped, tears springing to her eyes as she nodded furiously.

"Good girl," the monster chuckled as he scooped her into his arms—literally—which actually did make her scream a jumpy, sudden scream that she couldn't control. He growled at her and she clamped her hands over her mouth with a whimper as the werewolf lumbered toward the door.

Eloise closed her eyes and began to cry, scared and confused, unsure of what was happening. She knew that by taking in kids with wings, something unnatural and fishy was going on, but she didn't expect to be harassed by a giant werewolf—much less carried away by it romantically.

"What are you?" she managed to gasp through her sobs.

"Shut up," the monster snarled. "You don't need to know anything."

"Why are you taking me?" she whispered in horror. "Am I a hostage? I—I just met those two, I swear, I only—"

"I said shut up. I'm not here for them." His grin made Eloise's skin crawl in repulsion and she felt like she could vomit at his next words; "I came here for you."

That was when Eloise found herself tucked safely in Fang's arms, who had apparently came crashing in at the last minute and managed to rescue the terrified girl. She closed her eyes and cried into his shoulder, too scared to care about being embarrassed at her bold actions. Fang hugged her tightly to his chest; his black wings were propped up and extended far around him in what almost seemed like a threatening manner.

The werewolf had apparently been kicked, because he was crouched and snarling, his paw hovering behind his head.

"Save your energy, freak. I'm here for the princess." At this, the monster grinned at Eloise, who thankfully had her head buried in Fang's shoulder so she didn't see it. Fang did, and he narrowed his eyes.

"Leave her alone."

"I'm following my orders. Not even a reject experiment can stop me!" he roared as she lumbered toward Fang, swiping his chest with his paw. Fang dodged, but the claws grazed his earlier wound and he flinched, his strength draining for a quick moment.

The werewolf took this opportunity to shove Fang's wound with his paw, which made Fang cry out in pain, his grip on Eloise loosening. The monster grabbed Eloise by the arm, digging his sharp claws into her skin, which made her scream in agony as blood gushed from between her flesh and the wolf's claws.

"No…" Eloise whimpered, covering her eyes with her hands.

"Sorry princess," the wolf cackled. Fang scrambled to his feet, but Eloise noticed that the wolf had reopened his wounds; blood stained her dad's old shirt and Fang was getting paler and paler, staggering in an attempt to approach them and save Eloise. But the wolf was too fast; one second Eloise was staring at a bleeding, sickly-looking Fang, and the next she was screaming as she was being carried through darkness by thick, furry arms.

Eloise woke up hours later in a cold, white room. She hadn't even realized she had passed out; though honestly she wasn't surprised. Eloise had a tendency to faint when she was overwhelmed; tests at school were a nightmare for Eloise and her father.

But this was different. She passed out because of the sounds and smells, and it made her whole body hurt, and fear made her head throb and her skin feel like it was bubbling and burning. And now she was lying on a cold metal table, thick binds keeping her still against the gurney. All around her she saw white; she smelled metal and breath, and realized she wasn't alone. A man stood behind her with a clipboard scribbling things, clad in the same white as the ceiling and walls. She could hear him and even though she wasn't facing him, she felt like she could see him. For a moment Eloise only stayed there, still and quiet, stunned and scared.

Then she began to gasp in hysterics and managed to let out one long, high-pitched shriek.

In an instant the man was on her, stabbing her arm with a needle.

"Damn it, that sedative should've lasted for hours!" he grunted as he struggled with Eloise, who was thrashing frantically. Eventually she faded again into darkness, but somehow, she could hear everything going on around her. She could hear the shuffling of paper and scratch of the pen. She could hear the man's breathing and soft mumbles, and she heard the door swing open with a low groan. She heard foot steps. Then murmurs.

This is her?

More breathing. More papers.

She isn't one of ours?
No. She was born like this. The Director was fascinated with this natural ability so she's been keeping tabs on the subject for years.
And she finally decided to catch her?

More breathing, more pens, more papers, more mumbles she couldn't make out, then a sharp laugh.

Well, she's unusual alright.
The first experiment we have who doesn't have wings or scales.

They laughed again. More talking and foot steps. The door opened then shut. Then there was silence.

Eloise tried to move but she couldn't. Everything was paralyzed and no matter how much she willed her body to move, it didn't obey. All she could was lay there and listen.

After what seemed like hours the door opened again and footsteps—lighter, this time—entered along with two familiar heavy steps.

Papers shuffling. Mumbles.

"Eloise Weather, age 18, blood type O. Born with a natural ability that has stumped every genetic scientist who has gotten a hold of her charts—me, specifically. Interesting."

More talking…all Eloise could do was tune them out. She thought about her father. She thought about Mrs. Downry's lasagna—the taste, the smell, the way it made her smile because of the friendly and warm feeling it gave her. She thought about Max and Fang, and those brilliant black wings she got to touch. They were soft. They were magnificent.

"Cut her open."




She never lets us dissect the experiments. This will be fun!
Hand me that scalpel.
She's already under anesthesia, right? Not that it'll matter…
I don't expect her to survive this.

What what what what what what? Eloise began to panic, screaming at her body to move. She heard movement around her; clank, clatter, smash, breathing, steps, mumbles—a sharp snap and more steps approaching her. Eloise screamed and screamed in hysteria, willing herself to sit up and run. But she couldn't move. She was frozen. She was paralyzed.

She was completely and utterly terrified.

She began to cry.

What? Are those tears?
Amazing! She shouldn't be able to move at all!
Quick, give her more anesthesia.

Eloise struggled and struggled, and before she knew it she was moving her fingers; clench, unclench, tremble, clench, twitch—then they moved, and she realized she had a tube down her throat. She shook and shook and yanked it out of her, gasping for breath and coughing as she staggered off the metal table.

She saw the voices; men in white. Faceless, unimportant men.

"How did she—"

Eloise ran for the door, slamming her body against it as she struggled with the handle. Her eyes were unfocused and she was slumping against the wall, her knees weak.

"Get her!"

"Quick, grab the needle—"

"NO!" Eloise cried, hitting her head against the door.

Then it was quiet. Utterly, terrifyingly quiet.

Very slowly, Eloise turned to the men. She was horrified to see the men slumped on the floor in a pool of blood. She keeled over on her knees and vomited, confused and scared and numb, and she didn't know if she had any strength left to run anymore. But she had to run—all she knew was that she had to run away.

She shakily fumbled with the door again and gasped in relief when the door popped open. Eloise staggered out of the room, gripping her numb cold body. She realized they had taken off her clothes and she wore a hospital gown, which was falling off of her due to her rapid movements. She shivered and crept down the hall, trying to silence her own tears as she slid against the wall and kept an eye out for any other men in white.

She was so confused. She didn't know where to go.

Eloise continued wandering aimlessly, dodging passing white-men and any other that she saw wandering the halls. She somehow managed to find an elevator, which she was terrified to use but found she had no choice. She pushed the down button and let out a breath when the doors opened and stepped inside, pressing her back against the elevator wall as the machine jerked downwards. She stared at the wall as the flashing buttons got lower and lower, terror gripping her throat.

The doors opened.

She found herself face to face with—nothing. She cried out in relief as she made a run for it, not caring about who saw her anymore. She saw the door; shock and gratitude rushed through her as she approached the large doors. Closer, closer—she was so close she could smell the air outside, feel the soft warm wind. She wanted to go home. She wanted to see her dad again, and even Mrs. Downry. She wanted to eat that lasagna.

She wanted to get out of there.

But she was too late; pain shot through her body and she was falling, face first against the cold tile floors. Hands were all over her, tugging her around, pulling her up, snapping at each other and shouting. There was a distant alarm.

She passed out.
Perfect, let's get her upstairs.
But there's been another break in! We have to get her in some kind of restraints—we can arrange the dissection for tomorrow. They're requesting for some extra help.
Fine, I'll handle the subject.

Why could she hear them? It was like before, just like before, in that white cold room—


What? Who's calling me?


She forced her eyes open. "What?"

It was Max. Wait, Max? "Why are you running around? You should be resting," she rasped out. Max snorted, as if about to laugh, and smirked slightly down at her.

"I'm a fast healer."

"I don't know you. Why did you come?" Eloise murmured as she found herself being carried, though she didn't know where. She didn't know where those earlier voices went, or where the alarm was, or the men in white coats who were talking about bringing her up stairs…

"I'm the hero type I guess," Max said.

Eloise forced a smile.

She closed her eyes and relaxed, she finally relaxed, and listened to the sudden rush of wind whistling in her ears. She found herself moving, arms clutching Max's shirt, pressing her cheek against her chest, trembling in relief and gratitude. She didn't think anyone would save her. She thought nobody would come.

She knew it without looking. She knew they were flying.

"What are you, Eloise?" Max mumbled, as if Eloise couldn't hear her. The red-haired girl didn't reply. She could only slowly let herself fall asleep in the thin but warm safety of Max's arms. As nice as her rest was, she woke up moments later and blearily looked up at Max's face. Then she looked around her and her eyes widened.

She cried out and almost fell out of Max's arms. Max tightened her grip, startled.

"What is it?"

"Who…" Eloise sputtered in fear. Max followed her gaze and laughed.

"They're my flock. That's Fang, as you know. That's Nudge, Gazzy, Iggy, and Angel. Oh, and Total. They helped us to rescue you. Trust me. It was harder than it looked."

Without thinking Eloise whispered, "They were going to open me up, Max. They were going to dissect me. I felt the scalpel on my stomach. I could hear them laughing. What am I?"

She opened her mouth then closed it, hesitant. "I don't know."

Eloise sighed and closed her eyes again. "I know. Nobody should."

When Eloise woke up again, she was warm but uncomfortable. She found herself lying on her back on a dirty ground, a sleeping bag wrapped around her like a cocoon. Eloise blinked away sleep from her eyes, observing the darkened skies. She wondered if her father was home yet. She wondered if he was worried about her or if he didn't even notice she was gone. Slowly, she sat up and held her head, biting back tears that she felt might fall. It was over now. She didn't need to cry.

"You're awake."

She looked up at the little girl—Angel, she remembered—who was smiling at her curiously, her head tilted slightly. Eloise found that she couldn't say anything; she could only stare at the little girl in silence. Then she nodded very slowly.

She noticed the boy, Gazzy, watching her with wide eyes. He beamed when he saw that she noticed him, and turned to say something to the tall one sitting next to him—Iggy, Eloise remembered. Then Fang was there with Max, who were the only ones standing. Their backs were turned to Eloise and the others and they were talking what looked like serious business.

"I'm Eloise," Eloise said lamely.

"We know," Angel said happily. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine."

"You're not from the School, are you?" Gazzy asked. Eloise shook her head, confused. "Well, that's who captured you. It's weird. They usually don't do stuff like this. What are you? I don't see any wings or animal parts on you."

Eloise flinched.

"Leave her alone," Angel said, surprising Eloise. Angel sent her a soft, sympathetic smile. "He can be annoying, sometimes."

"Sometimes?" Iggy mumbled, snickering when Gazzy roared and tackled him. Angel ignored them and just smiled at Eloise. She leaned in closer; her eyes were set on the red-haired teen, some kind of knowledge and comfort in her gaze that unsettled Eloise.

"Don't worry. Killing two white coats isn't a crime. Not knowing how you did it is okay, too. Max says she'll find out for you. She really likes you."

"Why? I mean, what—how did you…"

Angel giggled. "No reason. Are you hungry?"

Eloise looked away. "I need to go home."

At this, Max and Fang appeared seemingly out of nowhere. "I'm sorry Eloise. I don't think you should go home. With the School after you, it's not such a good idea."

Eloise trembled. "I don't care. I want to go home."

"I'm sorry," Max said.

Eloise slowly turned her back and buried herself under the sleeping bag covers. Very quietly she whispered, "Fine then. Just leave me alone."

They obeyed, leaving her by herself as they went along talking and laughing together. Eloise felt a pit in her stomach, loneliness washing over her. She slowly stood, tugging her covers over her shoulders like a cloak as she walked away from their small fire. She stopped at a safe distance from them (so they wouldn't run after her, thinking she was running off) but she was out of ear shot. She sat down and buried her face into her bent knees, pulling her blanket over her entire body.

She sat like that for a while, still and silent, remembering the smells and sounds and voices of that place—that "School"—and the way somehow, she doesn't know how or why, she had killed those two men without even looking at them.

She was about to cry again when she heard somebody approaching her from behind. She peeked up and was surprised to see the tall one from earlier—Iggy, that was his name—and he sat next to her without facing her.

She didn't know what to say. This was her first time meeting him, and she didn't know anything about him—and now he was there to…comfort her? Or, she assumed that was why he was there. After a long moment of silence Eloise spoke.

"Iggy, right?"

He nodded. "Eloise, right?"

She couldn't help but smile. "Yeah."

They were quiet again until Iggy spoke, "You know…thanks. For taking care of Max and Fang. They told us about you, that was why we decided to help out."

"Oh," she said.

More silence. This was getting ridiculous.

"Did Max seriously say she was going to help me figure this all out?" Eloise asked meekly. Iggy turned to her and she was surprised to see his eyes, though beautiful and magnificent, were completely blank and empty. He was blind.

Before Eloise could ask him he answered her question; "Yeah. We know what it's like, to not know what you are or where you came from. We don't have anything else to do, so…" he smiled a charming, lopsided smile that made it hard not to smile back. "Count on us. We're like detectives."

Eloise laughed a little. "With wings."

"With wings," he agreed, stretching his wings as if to show off. Eloise stared at them, once again awed at their beauty, and without thinking she reached out and ran her hand down the side. She pulled back when the wing shivered.

"I'm sorry," she said softly. She was surprised when Iggy smiled at her.

"It's alright. It felt nice."

Her face turned a dark, dark red color. "Ha-ha, o-oh. Okay."

He ended up staying with her while she collected herself. He talked with her about random, trivial things that, oddly enough, helped ease her mind. Eventually she found that she was calm and Iggy walked with her back to the fire and the rest of the flock, who actually noticed her return and smiled when they saw her. For once in her life, Eloise felt like she had a home.

Eloise had expected to be with the flock for a day or two, tops. But she ended up staying with them for a week. During that week, she found that being around the flock was nice. She didn't have to worry about anything except the now, and though she worried about her dad, she liked being around Max and the others. It was comfortable.

She couldn't fly so she ended up waiting at different boring places all day while the flock went off to do hero-y things. Eloise didn't expect much but a week after their first meeting, Max handed Eloise a folder and told her the truth was all inside. Apparently they had broken into the right place at the right time and got a hold of her files.

"I haven't read them," Max assured her with a smile. "You can read it whenever you want."

"Can I go home after this?" Eloise asked. She knew it was selfish, and she liked the flock…but her dad had to be freaking out by now.

Max hesitated with a frown that told Eloise all she needed to know. "I can't promise anything."

Eloise looked away and clutched the folder. After Max walked off to set up for the night with the others, Eloise stared at her folder in terror. She didn't want to open it, but she did—the fear made it impossible to move her fingers. She could only stare at the truth as it sat cruelly in her hands, taunting her. Read me, read me, watch as a single piece of paper changes your life forever—

"Are you alright?"

Eloise whipped her body around to face a concerned Iggy. Her body relaxed.

"No," she admitted. Iggy sat next to her and didn't say anything.

"I can open it," he finally offered. "I can't really read, so don't worry about me seeing it."

Eloise couldn't contain a smile. "You'd do that?"

"Sure I would. I mean, I will."

Eloise smiled again. "Thanks," she whispered as she handed him the files. Iggy easily flipped it open and put it down between them in an empty space, revealing the paper. Eloise gulped in air and slowly picked the small pile up. She scanned the papers, mostly just generic information on her, but then she reached her 'stats'. Without thinking she mumbled out loud.

"E. Weather has a blood type labeled as UNKNOWN. This is theorized to be connected to her abilities, which include a powerful mental…" Eloise's voice became a gentle rasp as she struggled to read on, "a powerful mental influence."

She stopped reading. "When I was in the School, I killed two men without even touching them," she whispered. "Is that a mental influence? What am I?"

Iggy didn't respond at first; he just stared straight ahead, as if thinking. Then he smiled a little, which caught Eloise off guard.

"You're a teenage girl with a strong mental influence being targeted by the School with a bunch of mutant bird freaks protecting you."

Eloise stared at him.

"That's what you are."

She laughed. "What? Why would you say that?" she grinned at him, somehow relieved he didn't look at her any differently after they found out what it was exactly she could do. "But you're right. Thanks."

"Only stating the truth."

There was a long pause, and then Eloise asked very quietly, "I can stay with you guys?"

Iggy turned to her and turned his face toward the rest of the flock. They were all chatting and smiling as they smoothed out dirty sleeping bags, and it felt like a warm home—a real family. Iggy turned back to her.

"Of course you can stay."

Eloise's smile wavered, and she felt like she was so happy she could cry.

"You're family now."

TASK: to write a one shot centered around a new OC.
STATS: Completed within 3 days, right before the deadline.
FURTHER INFO: written for a friend's unofficial contest concerning Maximum Ride. She's writing a fan manga and told us to write a one shot explaining relationships between our OC and the flock, the OC's personality and past and such, their powers/abilities/relations to the School, and imply any potential love interest (Iggy/OC). So there, this is my crappy one shot thrown together in a span of two days. XD READ IT AND WEEP. Hahaha. Hope I win. *laugh* R&R, please and thank you.