Nothing to say except this: I hope you guys are liking these new chapters!


Chapter Twenty-Seven: Gazzy POV:

I found the hardware store no problem. Walking through the 'downtown' area once, anyone could navigate it no problem. Even people with a terrible sense of direction.

I walked into the hardware with a sense of purpose. I was going to be helpful. Iggy would see just how valuable a member of the flock I am. I know I can never hold a candle to Nudge…but there had been a time when Iggy was less concerned with girls and more interested in talking about bombs and the like with me. I miss those days. Well, not the time spent in a cage.

I found the cement mix no problem. The bag wasn't even that heavy. Flying it home would be no problem. I smiled as I walked up to the cash register. Iggy would see. He would.

"Hey," the man behind the counter said as he rung up the price. "You were in here earlier right? With the tall blond kid and the black girl?"

I nodded. Why did he care?

"Good, your uncle was looking for you."

"My uncle?" I asked. I felt a chill go down my spine. Before I could turn and run, there was a hand gripping my shoulder. Hard.

"There you are, kiddo. I've been looking everywhere for you," an oily voice cooed. "Thank you for your help, sir"

"My pleasure. Have a nice day now." If only the cashier knew. He wasn't helping anyone.

"C'mon." The hand on my shoulder turned me and pushed me forward. The vice-like grip never loosened.

We rounded the side of the building. There was a black van waiting.

"I'm not going to tell you where they are, Ari," I spat trying to act tough. I wasn't going to let him see me afraid.

"I don't need you to. They'll come to me. You can count on it."

Max POV:

Nudge poked her head in the door. She looked like she was near crying. She had definitely heard the whole argument between Fang and me. There were no secrets in this house: not with a girl with super-sonic hearing.

"Um…dinner's ready." That was the shortest sentence I'd ever heard Nudge say.

"Okay, thanks. We'll be right down," I replied quietly.

"Um, also, Gazzy isn't back yet," Nudge muttered.

"What? How long has he been gone?" I asked. I was already standing without my realizing it.

"Iggy said it's been exactly 32 minutes and 8 seconds since Gaz left." Nudge looked like she was going to cry again.

I looked at Fang. He was standing too now, so I had to crane my neck. "It shouldn't take that long, should it?"

Fang shook his head, his expression dark. "It's a five minute flight, tops."

"He also knew exactly where the cement was. We walked by it on our first trip to the hardware store," Nudge supplied.

"Shit." Fang hissed.

"Maybe he got some extra things?" I said hopefully. Yeah right. Fang glared at me. Apparently, I was really in the dog house. I'm not even allowed to hope. "Let's go downstairs," I muttered as I walked past Nudge.

In the dining room, Iggy had cleared away the bomb making supplies and was setting the table with the spice orange placemats.

"Gazzy should be back by now," Iggy said when he heard us enter the room.

"Yeah," I mumbled. I knew I shouldn't have let him go. I knew something bad would happen. This was my fault.

"We should split up and look for him," Fang said.

"No way," I countered. "That's too dangerous. If we split up, they can pick us off easier."

Fang looked like he wanted to snap my neck. "You guys stay here then and I'll go check Main Street. If I'm not back in twenty minutes, start worrying."

I blocked Fang's way. "You can't go. Either we all go or no one goes."

"How about Nudge and I go. You guys stay here and figure out all this sexual tension," Iggy grumbled.

"No!" I shouted. "And that is really not helping, Iggy."

A loud, angry knock sounded at the front door. Everyone froze.

I grabbed two of the steak knives off the table and threw one to Fang. He caught it easily. I slipped the other in my back pocket.

"Stay here," I mouthed to Nudge and Iggy. I beckoned Fang with my hand.

Slowly, Fang and I crept to the front door. Fang pressed himself against the wall by the door and held the knife at the ready. I placed my hand on the door knob. Fang nodded. I threw the door open.

No one was there.

I breathed a sigh of relief. A white slip of paper was on the doormat. I stooped down and picked it up. Closing the door, Fang and I walked back into the dining room.

"What is it?" Nudge asked in a small voice.

I read the note aloud. It had been penned in a perfect square hand:

Caught One. Chirp, chirp, birdies.


"Shit. So he did get Gazzy," Fang hissed.

"He knows where we are now," Iggy said the color draining from his face.

"He always knew." Fang punched the wall. "I was too predictable. He knew I'd come here. He knew I wouldn't be able to stay away."


I cut Nudge off: "He wants us to go to him."

Fang nodded. "And we will, too."

"We can't leave Gazzy," Iggy stated.

"It's a trap though. He's even told us as much in his note. We'll get creamed." Nudge shuddered. "But, Gaz doesn't deserve to be in a cage ever again. We have to go get him."

Everyone looked at me (well, Iggy looked in my general direction). "What? Of course we're going to get him." As if they thought I would say no.

So, the decision was unanimous. Our mission to destroy was now a rescue and destroy mission.

We ate dinner in relative silence. Iggy was tinkering with bombs while he was eating. Nudge was watching him in awe. Fang was stewing. I was stewing. The tension was so thick between Fang and me that even Iggy could see it.

While we were arguing, Fang was going to say that we should never have had sex. Maybe he was right. It had already complicated things to no end. But his words still stung. How could he say I was self-righteous? How could he say any of those things to me? How could he think I didn't understand? For the longest time, I wanted nothing but revenge. I guess thinking about what my parents would want for me, I got over it. Maybe that meant I was a bad daughter. Should I want to avenge them? Should I want to see Ari tortured and in pain? Maybe I was just being selfish. Maybe I wanted to move on so I could forget. But…hadn't I once told Fang that I didn't want to forget anything, even if those memories were painful?

I looked over at Fang. He looked so much older than nineteen when he brooded. His eyebrows were etched together, his lips set in a grim line. His cheekbones prominent in his god-like face. I hated seeing him like this. Even though he was keeping his thoughts and feelings securely locked away, I could still tell he was in pain. I had caused that pain, I thought guiltily. Revenge has been holding Fang together for so long that my questioning has probably turned his world upside down.

How could I do that to him? Maybe he was right…maybe I didn't understand. But I should. Revenge may not be the best way, but Fang was right: Ari shouldn't be allowed to live. And, if revenge somehow helped ease Fang's guilt, helped wipe away some of his pain, I would do it. I would do anything for Fang. Anything.

"Do you have a game plan?" Iggy asked suddenly.

I felt myself blush. I had forgotten about that.

"Yes," Fang replied.

"Care to enlighten us?" Iggy prompted.

Fang looked at me for a moment before explaining. "You and Nudge stay here. Max and I will go get Gazzy."

"That's not fair!" Nudge cried. "Gazzy is our brother too! We have a right to go rescue him just as much as you and Max!"

"I agree with Nudge," Iggy interjected.

Fang shook his head. "Look, if just Max and I go, we'll be easier to hide. It's easier to coordinate maneuvers with just two people. Plus, Max has had formal training in fighting, and she hasn't had time to teach anyone else. She can teach me quickly as we fly there. It's hard to train more than one person at a time. Plus…I'm not putting anymore of you guys at risk."

"But it's okay to put Max at risk?" Iggy clarified.

He had a point. I should probably be offended. Oddly enough, I wasn't.

"Like I said, Max has formal training. She can take care of herself," Fang grumbled.

"I still think it's a terrible idea," Iggy countered.

"Me too!" Nudge jutted out her chin defiantly.

"Iggy, make as many bombs as you can in three days," Fang ordered ignoring their protests.

"I need the cement," Iggy reminded Fang. "Gazzy was buying it when he got captured."

"Go buy some them," Fang replied.

"Fang, I don't think-" Fang glared at me and I stopped talking. Man, he was really pissed at me. I mean, if looks could kill.

"Fine. Nudge and I will go," Iggy snapped. He slammed the bomb he was tinkering with on the table. "Let's go."

"There's cash on the table by the front door," I called after them. "Maybe I should go," I whispered to Fang. I got up and ran after Iggy and Nudge. "Hey, guys, I think I should go. I really don't want anything to happen to you two. For some reason I don't think Ari will try and capture me. I think he wants me to go to him…so, let me go get the cement?"

Iggy shook his head. "I think I'm going to punch Fang if I stay in this house much longer. Who got him all worked up anyway?"

I looked down. "That was me…sorry."

Iggy shrugged. "Goes to show how much he loves you. You're the only one who can affect him like this…Well, you and Ari."

"Yeah…right now I think he hates me almost as much as he hates Ari." It was so comforting to be compared to Ari.

"Hate is the cousin of love…or something," Nudge muttered.

"Anyway, we'll be fine," Iggy reassured me. "I don't think it would be good if Fang and I came to blows before we go rescue Gazzy."

"So, you guys are coming?" I smiled.

"How could we not?" Nudge asked. "Gazzy's part of our family. We're not going to let Fang keep us from coming just because you got his knickers in a twist."

"Knickers?" Iggy asked.

"It's, like, British or something…for underwear," Nudge replied.

Iggy opened the door and started leaving. "Jesus, woman, the things you say."

Nudge giggled and followed Iggy out.

I couldn't help but feel like I was sending them into the lions' den.

I paced back and forth in the living room. Fang was sitting on the couch drawing out a map of the forest that surrounds the dance academy.

"Max, stop," Fang ordered.

"They should be back by now," I hissed. "I knew I shouldn't let them go. It's been at least forty minutes. God, Iggy's useless power would come in handy right now."

"They're fine. They probably snuck off to make out somewhere," Fang grumbled.

"They wouldn't do that. They know what the situation is like. They already knew I was worried about them going…they wouldn't make the trip longer than necessary." I started pacing faster.

"Max! I get sea-sick every time I look up and see you pacing!" Fang said harshly.

"Then don't look at me!" I snapped.

There was a sharp knock at the door.

Fang stood quickly. The color drained from his face. "Shit."

We ran to the door. I didn't bother with the knives. I knew what was coming. I wrenched the door open. The slip of paper was on the doormat.

Now I'm starting to think you're just delivering them into my hands.

Stop being so careless, birdies.


"Shit, shit, shit," I cried as I slammed the door shut. "I knew this would happen. I shouldn't have let them go." I glared at Fang. "What are we going to do now? There're two of us and hundreds of sharks. We have no bombs, no weapons. What the hell are we gonna do genius?"

"…I don't know," Fang muttered.

"Well, start thinking!"

"I am…if you would shut up and let me think," Fang quipped.

"Fine…you think about it. You can even sleep on it: on the couch!" I yelled as I stormed upstairs.

I kicked the door to the bedroom shut and sat on the bed heavily. I drew my knees to my chest. We'll never be able to rescue everyone if we keep arguing. Fang and I needed to be united against Ari. I didn't want to fight with Fang. I hated that he was mad at me. I hated that I was mad at him. It was for a stupid reason too…well, not completely stupid. But still, we had more pressing matters.

I banged my head on my knees. This was a disaster.

So…more action coming. Things are gonna get pretty intense. This is it for tonight though. I probably won't have a chance to update until this weekend... but I'll try to have something up by Thursday if I can.

Review if you feel the need.