* I apologize for taking so long to update this story. I had most of it written, then went on vacation for ten days with NO INTERNET! The vacation was great, but I missed my fanfiction fix.
I't been a while, so rather than make you go back and reread, I thought I'd put up a little recap of what's going on so far.
- Max had her baby, Dylan Ivy, but she wasn't born with wings. They finally started to grow in. And now, they're small with downy feathers. They still don't know if she'll be able to fly.
- Nudge, Gazzy and John are planning to go to the new Pierpont Acadamey. Being tutored by Troy, Maeve and Jane. Angel and Sunny don't want to go to school or be tutored, so they made a deal with Jane to help her change her image.
- Gazzy found out he has celiac disease and can't eat wheat products. Tried to change his name to Zephyr. Not gassy anymore and can think straighter
-John's telepathy is stronger. He can communicate with almost everyone, now, not just Angel and Jump
- Ella finally got to know her dad, Roger. And he and Valencia hooked back up. He works at PARC-Pierpont Academy Research Center
- Jump and Miranda were dating, but after finding out he's sterile, he broke up with her, so she could move on. But he didn't tell her why.
- James is one year old and beginning to learn to fly. Iggy decided he wants a job to take care of his family. Fang too
- Max and Fang hit a few rough patches but they're back on track
That's it in a nutshell. I'll try my best to update more frequently. Thanks for sticking with it!
Remember, when written in the first person, it's Max, unless it's specified to be someone else.
I don't have any rights to Maximum Ride, sadly. I'm just borrowing them, because I didn't like ANGEL.
When I saw Fang walk through the front door, I did a double take. He was smiling. Like, a real smile. It had been so long since he really smiled, I forgot how gorgeous it was. He immediately walked over and kissed me.
"What was that for?"
"I can't kiss my girl just because?" he grinned.
He looked like the cat that ate the canary. Which, considering we're part bird, is a disturbing analogy.
"Oh, wait, you had an interview, didn't you? Did you get the job?" I asked.
"Yep. And without Jeb's help," he smiled again.
"You know he was only trying to help," I reminded him.
"I don't need or want his help," Fang said. "We can take care of ourselves. Well, partly anyway. The job doesn't pay very well, but I think I can work my way up and be a trainer."
I kissed his cheek. "I'm proud of you. So what will you be doing?"
"Cleaning up, mostly. I gotta wash towels and wipe down all the equipment. Some janitorial stuff. But Bob, he's the owner, told me about a training program I might be able to get into."
"You'd be great," I told him. Then I realized he was going to be at work a lot. I was so used to having him around. It was going to be strange to have him gone. I missed him so much when he left the flock a couple of years ago. I knew it wasn't the same, but still . . .
"What's wrong? This is good news." His voice pulled me out of my daydreaming.
"When will you have to work?"
"A lot," he answered. "Every weekend for sure. That's the busiest time. And probably a lot of nights, too. Actually, mostly nights. I could be there until midnight when it's busy."
I pouted. "Every weekend?"
"But I'll be home during the day. I'll still be able to help with Dilly."
"It's not that," I said. "She's been much better since her wings started growing in. By the way, I think she's molting or something. I keep finding downy little feathers all over the place."
"Then what's wrong," he asked.
"I wish you didn't have to be away from us at all. You know, you don't really have to work. Jeb could get us more appearances. And there's still the lawsuit he's been working on."
"No," Fang said flatly. "I need to do this. We'll just make our time together count." Fang glanced around to see if anyone was watching. He put his hands on my hips and pulled me closer until out bellies were touching. When he kissed me, my heart fluttered and I couldn't help wrapping my arms around his neck.
"Gross," a voice said. It was Gazzy. "Don't you have a baby to take care of or something?"
"She's napping," I told him, taking a peek at the video monitor we had set up. "And kissing isn't gross. Someday it'll be all you think about," I laughed.
Fang joined me. "Don't let him fool you. He's already got that on his mind."
"Do not," Gazzy blushed.
"Then what was all that goofy grinning about the other night when we all listened to music with the new kids?"
"What goofy grinning? Maeve and I are just friends."
"I wasn't talking about Maeve," Fang smirked.
I raised my eyebrows and looked at Fang. "Do tell."
Fang must have taken pity on Gazzy, with the expression of panic on his face, because he said he was only teasing. I made a note to ask Fang later what he was talking about.
Gazzy skulked away, muttering to himself.
"Where were we?" Fang asked, and leaned in for another kiss. I liked his renewed confidence. Maybe the job was going to be a good thing, after all. His hand slipped under the hem of my shirt and ran up my back to rub between my wings. I let my hands glide through his silky hair and got completely lost in it. I didn't even try to stop him when he moved his hand around to my front.
"A-hem!" Iggy pointedly yelled. "I really don't enjoy catching you two in this position. Especially in front of my kid." He had James on his shoulders.
We immediately broke apart and murmured our sorries. How does he always know these things?
"Have you seen Dani?" Iggy shook his head. "Of course not, you were a little busy."
"I think she's on the deck." I looked out the back door. "Oh, no, not anymore."
Just then, Dani came out of the powder room.
"There she is," I said.
"Duh. Do you think I can't tell?" Iggy said. "I can tell when my own wife comes into a room."
"You don't have to be so - wife?"
"Girlfriend, whatever." Iggy turned away from me and spoke to Dani. "Are we still taking him flying?"
"Uh, yeah," she said hesitantly.
"Are you sure?" Iggy frowned.
"Yes. Come on little man. Daddy might actually let you get off the ground by yourself today," Dani laughed.
Fang and I watched the three of them walk out the door.
"That might be us in a year," he said. "But even if Dilly's wings don't come in all the way or they don't work or something, it'll be okay."
We had tried not to get our hopes up too much, since Dilly's wings started coming in. They still seemed small and Roger, being the realist, told us that if they didn't get big enough, she may not be able to fly. So we convinced ourselves we were cool with it. But today, Fang seemed to mean it.
Speaking of the little devil, she started making noises in her crib.
"The princess is up. We will definitely have to reschedule what Iggy interrupted," Fang grinned and smacked my behind.
I had to wonder what the heck had gotten into him. He'd never been one for PDAs. Yeah, I decide this job idea was a very good thing.
Fang had only been working at the gym for about two weeks when he came home one night, exhausted but totally psyched about something. He practically came skipping into the bedroom as I was putting Dilly down.
"Sshhhhh. I just fed her and got her to sleep." Dilly twitched in my arms as I lowered her into the crib. I held her in my arms, hovering over her crib, before ever so gently placing her down. I stood up and crossed my fingers. Once she was out, she was out for the night. It was getting her out that was the hard part. Satisfied, I finally turned to Fang.
"What's got you so pumped?" I whispered.
"I think I got another job."
"Another job? You mean, you'll have two jobs?" I was missing him at night as it was. Weekends sucked. And he had been only working for two weeks.
"No, a different job. Maybe Iggy too." He was actually excited.
"What are you talking about?"
"It's a long story, but basically, there was a guy that came into the gym and tried to start a fight. A big, body builder type. He was hitting on some girl, who happened to be the girlfriend of some rich, famous guy . . . "
Fang shrugged. "I guess he's not famous enough for me to know who he is. But that doesn't matter. So this guy hits on her and her escort tells him to stop . . . "
"Escort? Like a body guard?"
"Stop interrupting," he said impatiently. "No, he was more like a chaperone. Some skinny guy to make sure she didn't do anything stupid. And to keep paparazzi away."
"Is she famous, too?"
"I don't know," he said, exasperated. "Anyway . . . that first guy pushed the chaperone guy down and I stepped in. 'Cause, there was no way he was going to be able to defend himself," Fang laughed. "He may as well have been carrying a purse."
I frowned. "That's not nice. Not every skinny guy has freakishly superhuman strength."
Fang rolled his eyes at me. "Do you want to hear this or not?"
I shut my mouth.
"So, anyway, I took everyone by surprise, to say the least. Especially muscle guy. And the chaperone takes me aside and tells me that his client needs a bodyguard." Fang chuckled, "He actually used the word client."
"And you told him you were interested? Isn't that going to be longer hours than you have now?"
"Not if Iggy and I share it. I figured that we can split the time. The money would be for all of us anyway."
"And this guy was okay recommending a blind bodyguard?" I asked.
Fang scratched the back of his neck. "I may have left that part out. It's not like we've got the job already. We've got to go and meet the guy, show him what we can do, stuff like that. I didn't want him to have ideas about Iggy before he even met him."
Fang seemed to have thought things through. Surprisingly.
"Does he know you're a bird kid?"
"I'm not a kid."
"You know what I mean. Do these people know who you are?" I questioned.
"No. I don't think so. I always wear my hoodie at work," he told me. "Nobody said anything."
"Make sure it stays that way. Just because we haven't had anybody come after us in a while, doesn't mean they won't," I warned.
Troy, Jane and Maeve showed up at their usual time, went off in their usual corners, with their usual flock members to tutor. Or not, as the case may be.
"I think we should cut your hair," Angel said.
Jane covered her braid. "But I've always had long hair."
"Maybe that's the problem," Sunny suggested. "You need something sassy."
"Yeah," Angel agreed. "You know, when people look at you, they see glasses and a braid. They think 'brainiac' before you even say anything."
"You know this for real?" Jane asked.
"Trust me," Angel said. "Technically speaking, I'm not supposed to be invading other people's minds. But, when we meet knew people, it's in the name of reconnaissance. I checked you three out right away." Angel told her. "You can just forget about Fang, by the way. No matter how good we make you look, it's Fang and Max forever."
Jane blushed. She wondered what else Angel knew about her. And the others.
"Troy's a tough one to figure out. His thoughts are all over the place," Angel laughed. "But he definitely sees you as a girl with a 'nice personality'. Pretty much everyone has the same opinion."
"But that's a good thing," Sunny said. "That means people like you. They think you're smart and nice. Now you just have to get them to notice that you're pretty, too."
"But I'm not. I wear glasses and braces."
"Those things don't make you ugly. Lots of people have them," Sunny pointed out.
"None of you wear glasses. Or braces."
"Okay, so none of us need glasses, but our teeth won't be as straight as yours." Sunny removed the glasses from Jane's face and held her bangs off her forehead. "You have pretty colored eyes."
"I wish they were almost black, like yours."
Sunny laughed. "I wish mine were blue. Maybe we should get contacts."
"You girls really need to learn to like what you've got," Angel chimed in.
Both girls looked at her blankly.
"Well, if we looked like you, we wouldn't complain," Sunny said.
"I already look like me. You need to look like you. Small changes are okay, but don't go too drastic."
"Should we get Nudge in on this?" Sunny asked.
"I think we're gonna have to. She'll know what to do," Angel agreed. "In the meantime, Jane, you've got to loosen up. I mean, who dresses you?"
"I usually wear a uniform to school. What's wrong with this?" Jane looked down at her outfit.
"It's not that bad, but unbutton the shirt a little, and lose the vest. Even I know they're not in style," Sunny giggled. "There won't be uniforms at Pierpont. We need Nudge, now."
"But Troy is tutoring her," Angel said. "And no way are we going to tear her away from him."
"Why not?" Sunny was still naive in some ways despite her overall maturity.
Angel looked at her is if to say 'duh'.
"She likes him? Does he like her?"
"I told you, he's hard to figure out." Angel answered. "Sometimes I think he does, then other times, it seems like he's . . . it's hard to explain." Angel paused. "Actually, it's not. He thinks about sex constantly. But he's not really sure what it's all about. He's kind of emotional. Maybe I ought to see if Jump can pick up anything."
"Maybe you shouldn't be reading his thoughts, Angel," Sunny warned. "That's really personal stuff."
In all seriousness, Angel said, "But if he's thinking those things about Nudge, don't you think somebody should know?"
"Fang will kill him," Sunny said gravely.
"Is Fang overprotective?" Jane asked.
"No," Sunny clarified. "I meant that literally. Fang might actually kill him. Remember Jump? And all he did was kiss her."
Jane perked up. There seemed to be some juicy gossip about the flock.
"He kissed Nudge? I thought he and Miranda were dating."
"They were, but Jump just broke up with her," Sunny said.
"Yeah, there's more to that story too. I can't get much from him, because he's getting better at blocking me."
Curious about the flock, Jane continued questioning. "What about Iggy and Dani? Why aren't they married?"
Angel shrugged. "I don't know. I don't think it ever came up. Why?"
"Just curious. What about Ze-oh wait, what's his name?"
Sunny giggled. "Gazzy. What about him?"
"Do you like him?" Jane asked.
"Why? Do you?"
"I don't really have an opinion one way or another," Jane said. "I haven't had a chance to talk to anyone except you two. Oh, that reminds me, I have study guides for you."
"Study guides? The whole point was not having to study," Angel said.
"It's just the answers to a quiz I'm supposed to give you. It's word for word. Memorize it for the quiz and you're done."
Sunny took the paper and looked at it. "It's not that bad, Angel. Ten questions. We can do that."
Angel took hers. "I have a better idea. When we take tests and quizzes, Jane can feed me the answers telepathically. Then I'll send them to you. I don't know why I didn't think of that sooner."
Sunny tossed her paper aside. "Perfect."
Jane was disappointed. She was hoping to get the girls to learn a little something. She thought memorizing the answers would be better than nothing. But it seemed Angel had a way around that. She sighed. Well, it wasn't her problem.
Suddenly, Angel sat up straighter. "Nudge and Troy are taking a break. Now's the time to grab her. Sunny, can you get him away from her for a minute, so I can bring her in here. Once she starts with fashion and hair and stuff, she won't want to leave. It's getting her in here that's tricky."
"What should I do?"
"He's thinking about training. Maybe you could suggest he go watch Iggy and Fang. Is Fang still home?"
"He doesn't go to work until 5," Sunny told her.
"Go. Quick." Angel pushed Sunny out the door and peeked around the corner to watch.
Sunny glanced outside and saw Fang and Iggy doing some exercises. She kept walking into the Great room and saw Troy sitting on the couch while Nudge was in the kitchen getting drinks.
"Hi," Sunny smiled her sweetest smile.
"Hi," Troy said back.
"What are you up to?" she asked.
"Taking a break right now. Shouldn't you be with Jane and Angel?"
"We're taking a break too. I thought I'd go watch Iggy and Fang fight."
"They're fighting?" he questioned.
"You know, just for training. Do you like to exercise? Maybe you could join them," Sunny suggested.
"Wait, we're not finished yet," Nudge protested.
"Just for a little bit," Troy said as he followed Sunny out the door.
"Nudge, come here for a sec," Angel called.
Sighing heavily, Nudge put down the drinks she got for Troy and herself and walked to Angel's room.
"What's up?" she asked.
Angel pulled her inside. "We need your help with something. We're trying to decide how to cut Jane's hair, and what kind of clothes she should wear."
Nudge put her hands on her hips. "You're supposed to be studying in here."
"We're done," Angel said curtly. "What do you think?" she asked, gesturing to Jane.
Nudge walked over to Jane and undid her braid. "Actually, your hair is nice. It just needs a style. Maybe some layers," she said as she spread her fingers through it.
"Do you know how to cut hair?" Jane asked nervously.
"I've trimmed the boys' hair from time to time."
"Are you any good?"
Nudge laughed. "Well, I'm better than Max. She uses a machete." Angel laughed with her.
Angel pulled some clothes from a pile that didn't fit her any more. "Can you do something with these, Nudge?"
Nudge pawed through the pile, picking out a few shirts and a skirt she never saw Angle wear. "I could sew some flowers on this. And maybe hem this. I could turn this long sleeve shirt into a t-shirt." She put the clothes in her lap and paused. "Wait, why are we doing this?"
"Because I want to look cool for a change," Jane answered. "Nudge, you're so stylish all the time."
"I am, aren't I," Nudge joked. "I'll work on these. How about we look up some hairstyles on the computer?"
Sunny walked in and gave Angel a thumbs up on the down low. Angel was right. Nudge forgot all about Troy, once she started on Project Jane. And Troy was hooked, watching the boys train. The girls spent the next half hour finding pictures of hair cuts Jane liked, then Nudge printed them out.
"So, we'll have to do this next time, Jeb will be here soon to pick up." Angel noticed the time.
"Maybe Jane can sleep over on Thursday, when they come to tutor," Sunny said. "Do you think you could?" she asked Jane.
"Probably. My parents are always busy anyway. They wouldn't notice if I was gone."
Nudge narrowed her eyes at Angel and Sunny. "If you're spending so much time trying to do a makeover on Jane, how are you learning anything? You're supposed to be getting ready for school."
"Are you learning anything besides the color of Troy's eyes?" Angel smirked.
Nudge blew a raspberry at Angel.
"I am learning stuff. I'm getting better at math," Nudge said. "And do you have any ideas how many wars the United States has been part of? It's crazy." She shook her head. "That's part of the reason we're here. Troy says that the government started trying to build super people to fight in wars. And not just our government. That's why we kept finding facilities all over the world. I wonder how many other people there are like us."
"There could be thousands," Jane said. "I've heard my parents talking about it too."
"And if you must know, his eyes are milk chocolatey brown with little flecks of olive green," Nudge giggled.
"Be careful, there, Nudge" Angel warned. "He seems a bit confused about stuff. I get conflicting thoughts from him all the time."
Nudge gasped. "Angel! You're not supposed to be doing that."
"Hey, I'm protecting my family. We don't know these guys that well." Angel glanced at Jane. "No offense."
"None taken. It's a wise precaution, given everything you've been through," Jane agreed. "I assumed you've been keeping tabs on my thoughts all along."
Nudge narrowed her eyes, "But, still . . . " Then she couldn't resist asking, "Does he like me?"
Angel cocked her head, thinking. "I think so. He likes your company. But sometimes I get the feeling he thinks of you as more like one of the guys."
"Oh," Nudge slumped.
"But then, he thinks a lot about kissing. Maybe he's thinking about kissing you? His thoughts are just hard to sort out."
Nudge sat up a little straighter.
Hearing a car outside, Sunny pulled the curtain away from the window. "Jeb's here."
She noticed Troy, still out with Fang and Iggy. Fang was showing him how to block a punch from Iggy. He seemed eager to learn their fighting methods and was studying Fang and Iggy's moves closely. There was something about Troy that made Sunny uneasy. She couldn't put her finger on it, but she was glad Angel was monitoring him.