Animorphs 27 The Return

Author James the Lesser

I do not own the characters, Applegate and her many Ghost Writers do! But I do hope any who read this will enjoy, even if I change things up!

Hey, I just realized... the website doesn't record or keep the marks that Applegate used for indicating a thoughtspeak. Not sure what I should do, uh, let me try... Ok, using ( and ) for the thought speak. It is the only solution I can think of.

1

Hello, I'm Rachel. You know the drill no last name, no city, not even state or nation. Although I remember putting stuff about the president before so I guess that narrows it down. Well, any ways...

Cassie and I were in her back yard near the barn. "So, you and Jake? Any thing happen since the kiss on that weird Dr. Seuss planet?"

"No, we haven't even talked. Rachel it has only been two days. And I'm not sure if it was any thing more then a spur of the moment. I was just so happy too see him still alive." It was true she was really happy he was alive. I was so scared he had been killed and Cassie, Jake, like each other you know in a special way. So it must have been twice as hard for her.

"Oh come on! He comes over and helps you much the stables, shove a pill down the throat of a wolf, and even your parents like him."

"My dad likes a Jake that likes his doom chilli. A Jake that is actually the morph of a certain alien." We both laughed. Ax was always interesting if not entertaining.

"You like him and he likes you what's the big deal?"

"And how many dates have you and Tobias been on?"

"That is totally different. We haven't shared a mouse under the moon or any thing but we uh, hang out, alone." Always as birds. He didn't like being human. He didn't have the vision or the freedom of flying.

(Really?)

"Huh?" It didn't sound like Tobias or Ax. Oh no please don't let it be Jake. My cousin wasn't exactly big at showing emotions.

(You two haven't forgotten about me have you? It has only been a month or two hasn't it? Of course I did lose track on that island.)

"No, David, how did you get off the island?"

(The better question would be how did I get my morphing powers back?) I saw him finally in his lion morph. (What? Do I have a little blood on my face?)

"No, you can't be here. And the Ellimist wouldn't give you your morphing powers back." Oh crap oh crap oh crap this can't be happening. How could David get off the island and get his morphing powers back? Should we morph? He could get us in mid morph. We didn't have enough time.

(Think bigger and badder.)

"Crayak. He wants revenge on us for making his main shock troops useless." Cassie would be right. Crayak hated us. This would be his perfect revenge.

(You know better then any one you have many enemies. Powerful ones. Now how about you make this interesting and morph? Bear versus lion? Wolf versus lion? Bring it.)

He was giving us a chance? Bear or elephant? "Rachel, both go wolf."

"What? We can take him."

"My mom is home. If she sees a bear and wolf fighting a lion it will be hard too explain. Wolf morph then run." She was right. How could we fight and explain what happened too her mom?

"Fine David." I focused on the wolf. Soon my nose started growing out and gaining hair all over my body.

The morphing process isn't painful just creepy. Hearing the bones shift and crack and seeing Cassie morph knowing I was going through the same process.

When it was done I could see, hear, and smell so much more. Including the gasp of Cassie's mom. She had seen us morph. Which defeated the purpose of morphing in to wolves. If I had known she would see us I would have morphed my grizzly bear.

(Run!) Maybe Cassie hadn't noticed. I hoped David hadn't noticed it either.

We ran and ran as hard as we could. David's lion was a powerful hunter and could kill us one on one but he couldn't catch us. Wolves are incredible runners. We could run for miles and not tire. But David wasn't a lion he was a human and he wouldn't give up.

We ran deeper and deeper in to the woods. We were putting as much space between us and Cassie's farm as possible. (Tobias! Ax!) Cassie was screaming for back up. We needed it. But Tobias couldn't hurt him. Ax and his tail would be deadly but he would need help.

(Keep running you're making this fun for me!)

(Cassie he has a time limit. He may have morphed a minute before showing up or an hour before. We can run and wait for his time limit then attack.)

(What do we do? We can attack him but then he can just morph again.)

(I, I meant, of course not we can't do that.)

(You meant attack and kill him? Rachel are you insane?)

Maybe but who wouldn't be after all this time? David was an enemy unlike any other. He knew all our secrets and could morph. (Maybe but David can't be taken lightly. We kill Taxxon and Hork Bajir by the buttload.)

(I, yes, but, I mean, we can't.)

(You aren't a vegetarian and neither are I. If you want I'll do it.) Cassie might not see it or feel it but I did. After what happened with him last time I couldn't risk it. I hated him. I hated him more then I hated the Yeerks. I hated him more then the lawyers who were part of my parent's divorce. He made me think Tobias was dead. He made me cry over Tobias's death. No one would cry over his.

(Rachel we don't do that we don't kill humans.)

(David isn't human.) I would do it. I could do it. I had the mighty powerful jaws of a wolf. I could crush his neck with a single bite.

We ran and ran some more but started slowing down when we started losing him. His muscles must be tiring. Mine felt fine. I had more then enough power left for killing him.

Ha! Finally we had him. (Cassie keep going looking for help.)

(Don't kill him!) I lied.

(I won't.) She kept going as I turned on the demorphing David.

David was wearing his morphing outfit. "So now what? Are you Cassie or my little Rachel?" I raised my hackles and growled. "Rachel how are you? Sorry we didn't talk back there but Cassie was there."

(You messed up.) I started walking towards him.

"Ooo the big bad wolf. You'll huff and puff but you won't touch me I'm a human." His smirk made me angry.

(I'm sorry David but you aren't human.) I leapt at him and he raised his arm up. I bit down hard and could hear the bone break as my teeth clamped hard.

"Aaaa!" I kept my mouth on his arm and started shaking. I heard his shoulder dislocate and I kept shaking harder. Blood filled my mouth as his screams echoed across the trees.

(Stop!) I heard the voice. It sounded like Tobias but I didn't care.

(Stop it Rachel!) Another wolf slammed in to me. I lost my grip on David's arm.

(No let me kill him before he escapes!)

(We will stop him.) Ax was here.

"She's a psycho! She was going to kill me!"

(She still might.) Ax whipped his tail forward and stopped his blade just under David's neck.

"Hey Ax-Man you won't kill me either and you won't be capturing me again." He backed away. He called Ax's bluff and won.

(Let me kill him now!) I was going to attack again when Cassie bit down on my back leg.

"Bye losers. I'll be back." He did it in a horrible Austrian accent as he morphed in to a golden eagle and took off.

When he was long gone Cassie let me go and we morphed back. "I could have stopped him. I could have made it so he couldn't hurt any of us."

"We don't kill humans."

"He isn't human Cassie."

As much as I hate him I agree with Cassie. Sorry Rachel. Tobias staid up in a tree out of my grasp. I hated them all. David got away from me.

"I would have done it so none of you would have his blood on your hands."

"We don't kill humans. Even David."

"We tried before. When we were desperate. I'll do it."

(He flew out of my sight. He knows well enough how well I can see.)

"I could have done it! I would have done it! I don't care."

(I do, we do.) I couldn't win. There was no point in fighting about it now.

"I know, Tobias, Cassie, Ax, thanks. But we must tell Jake and Marco." And Cassie's mom. Oh man, Cassie didn't know yet did she? "And Cassie, I, your mom."

"What? What about her?"

"She saw."

"Saw? Saw what?"

"Us morph." Her eyes went wide with shock. She hadn't known.

2

We went back to Cassie's house. Ax staid back and Tobias flew overhead. Her mom was still standing on the back porch. "What do we do?"

"I don't know."

"She's your mom."

"What would you say to your mom?"

"Uh, work stress got to her? And she couldn't tell any one or she would be locked up in a straight jacket like a former client of hers."

"Yeah and I bet a bear would come and release her as well."

"This is not a time for jokes." But what time was it for? Panic? Confusion?

"Mom?" Cassie walked up to her mom. "Uh, did you see that?"

"I saw you and Rachel turn in to wolves and then a lion chased after you. I did see that right? And now a red tail hawk is following you." Of course she noticed. Cassie's mother was really good with animals.

"Uh, that is our friend. Um, Tobias, say hi to my mom."

(Hello. Yes you are hearing me.)

"I see. Well, hear. I clearly must have breathed in some fungus in the stables. It is causing a reaction I haven't had since the seventies." Her laughter didn't make me feel any better.

"No mom it is real." Cassie sat down next to her mom. I just stood there speechless. "It is really hard too explain or understand but it is real."

"You and Rachel are werewolves?"

"No. We're what Marco calls Animorphs."

"Marco is one too?"

"Mom, um, Rachel go use the phone and call the others." I walked past them and found the phone. Jake was majorly upset and Marco just sounded annoyed about going over to Cassie's farm.

When they got here Cassie's mom was crying. Why I didn't know. "Mom, I'm not taking drugs and neither are you. We can prove it. Tobias can you come down here?" The red tail hawk flew down and landed in the yard.

"This is our friend Tobias. Uh, human form?" He started morphing in to his human self.

He wasn't hunky but he wasn't skinny either. He was cute. Although a little embarrassing standing there in a tight shirt and boxers. "We can't really morph clothes."

"Um, you know all those times you saw me in a leotard? And Rachel? We had just morphed back from some animal."

"So he is your friend? I never saw him before."

"You saw me a lot of times I was just in my normal hawk body."

"So you are a hawk who turns in to a human?"

"Well, complicated." I went over and held his hand. It was rare I could do that.

"And we have a friend who is an alien. His brother gave us the power." I heard footsteps and looked up seeing Jake. He must have morphed because he was wearing the same kind of clothes Tobias was.

"Uh, should we be telling her all of this? What if she's a controller?" Oh crap I didn't even think of that.

"A what?"

(A controller is some one with a Yeerk in their head.) Ax came out of the woods.

"Oh my God!" I was impressed. Cassie's mom got up and threw herself in front of Cassie protecting her from Ax. "Get back what ever you are!"

"Mom calm down he's a friend." Cassie pushed her way past her mother. "Mom, this is Ax, an Andalite. His brother Elfangor gave use the morphing power."

(Hello it is nice seeing you again.)

"I never met you, ever, I'd remember you."

(I was morphed as Prince Jake. I enjoyed the meal called chilli.)

"That was you? I, it did seem odd." She looked over at Jake. "Prince Jake?"

"It is a thing the Andalite's do. Um, we need a plan."

"For what?" I finally spoke. I was so stunned it was hard coming up with any words.

"For keeping her mom away from any one else for three days."

"Why three days? I don't get what you kids are doing but it isn't funny any more." She was panicking now. I would too if it all fell in my lap like this. Oh wait, it had, and I did panic back then.

It took us a few morphs before Cassie's mom finally started calming down and believing us. "And you've been doing this for months?" We all nodded. "And that lion was some one who turned on you." We nodded again. "But he wasn't a Yeerk." We nod again. "Aliens, morphing, parasites, this is all too much."

"Well we need too add a bit more stress on you. I'm sorry but we can't risk you being a controller."

"Some one with a Yeerk in them. Who eats some ray stuff every three days."

"Yes." Cassie had a hand on her mom's hand. I could see her mom's hand shaking. She must be freaking out. I remembered how I shook after I got home from the construction site. "We will go camping ok?"

"Camping? It is the weekend but I have work here."

"No you don't. For the next three days you are camping."

"Because you think I might be a controller?"

"No because we can't take chances of you being a controller." Cassie found it hard, I would too. Accusing her mom of being the enemy.

"But I'm not. I, Cassie, when you were seven, you had a stuffed bunny you called Blue." I remembered that. Cassie loved that doll. Now she had real bunnies she took care of.

"A Yeerk would have all of your memories. It would know every thing you knew." Tears rolled down her cheeks.

"I'm sorry but this is what we must do Cassie's Mom." I didn't really call her that but I can't let you know her real last name. I never felt comfortable calling her Michelle and always called her Misees, well, I can't let you know. "We'll bring you supplies and keep an eye on you at all times."

"But, work, and your father, he must know about this."

"No! You knowing is bad enough. I'm sorry but he can't find out. He could be a controller. You can't tell any one because any one could be a controller."

"But, I mean, one would know wouldn't they?"

"I didn't know my brother Tom was one."

"We didn't know Chapman was one either."

"Chapman? He I could see but your brother? I'm so sorry Jake. Are you sure?"

"Yes. He was taken against his will. We saw him in the Yeerk Pool."

"The what?"

"Uh, stuff we'll explain. We have three days for explaining things ok?" Cassie stood up. "We should pack. Rachel keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn't use a phone."

"Well, I, I can just, your father should be told."

"No."

"I mean about us camping. He would get worried if we just disappeared." She was right.

"Cassie and Rachel get the packing done while she writes a note. Tobias and I will keep an eye on her while Ax and Marco look for a good camping place."

"Didn't we just do this like five months ago?" Marco making a bad joke. Of course he never makes a good joke so I should say a worse joke.

(That time we knew Prince Jake was infested.) I watched Marco become an Osprey then follow Ax in to the woods.

I took first watch with Cassie. I was in my Balde Eagle morph while Cassie was a human. She was helping her mom set up a tent. "I understand you're worried but I'm not a Yeerk and neither is your father." She was still in shock, denial.

"Mom we can't know that. They can be any one. They have all of your memories. So we can't ask you some thing only you would know because they would know it."

"And you can't fight them when they are in your head?" She shakes her head.

Sorry Cassie's Mom but we can't take chances. I doubt you are, we all doubt you are, but we can't take chances.

"That is so weird. I can hear you in my head." She looks up and sees me. "So will you be like that all day?"

(No. We have a two hour limit.)

"But your friend Tobias must have been that red tail hawk for a lot longer then that." We hadn't told her every thing yet.

We still weren't sure what we should tell her and not tell her. Of course now that she knew all of us what did it matter? If a Yeerk grabbed her we were screwed. (He's a complicated story.)

"Ok, and that blue centaur you called Ax is one of the good guys?"

"Yes mom. He's our friend."

"So he's your leader?"

"No, Jake is." I saw the twitch of a smile on Cassie's mom's face. "Ax is a cadet, a teen like us."

"But where are the others? Where is that Elf guy or his friends?"

(Dead.)

"Oh. I, how long, I mean, how could you be doing all of this and none of us noticed?"

"We've been careful. Especially Jake since Tom is a Controller. Mom where are the stakes for the tent?" Cassie was going through a green bag.

"Uh, here."

It was weird watching them put the tent up. It seemed so normal except for why they were camping.

I saw the watch on Cassie's wrist. (I have thirty minutes left. I'm going back. Tobias where is Ax?)

(He is still feeding. I'll be fine alone.) I spread my wings and took off.

3

At the barn we got another shock. Erik the Chee was waiting for us. "I have bad news."

"So do we but what is your bad news?" Erik was a Chee, an android made by a race of aliens wiped out thousands of years ago. He didn't look like an android because he could project a hologram of a normal teen.

"The Yeerks are getting suspicious about who the Andalite bandits are. Ever since the incident with Tobias they are thinking more and more that some of them may be humans."

"But?"

"Visser Three has beheaded several people for suggesting it. He knows the Andalite Law forbids it. Seerow's Kindness. But several others are moving behind his back."

"How do you know this?" Jake was taking the lead with out even being asked. It was just what he did.

"I can take many forms." His hologram changed in to Chapman then when back to normal. "I have an idea that will protect you but I wanted your permission first."

"We have our own crisis going one, two of them, three, several." Ah yes because the Yeerks weren't enough now we had a loose David and Cassie's mom.

"Then I'll be quick. I can use my hologram and project several Andalite warriors. Another Chee would record it and send it in to a video show. It would air and the Yeerk forces would clearly see six Andalite warriors."

"Wow, sure. Thanks Erik."

"Your welcome Jake. Where is Cassie?"

"She's with her mom. That is one of the crisis we're having."

"May I be of assistance?"

"Uh, maybe. She's on a camping trip for three days," He made the connection.

"Yeerk?"

"We don't know. But she saw us morph. We're making sure she isn't a Yeerk."

"I could ask a fellow Chee too take her place."

"Yeah, cause the weekend is only two days long. I didn't know what we would do on Monday." I had an idea of my own.

"I was wondering. If we ever had to do some thing major that might take a few days couldn't you guys take our place?"

"Yes, we could."

"Or say we have a mission that might run late? That way we don't get grounded."

"And hey, if we had some homework lying around we just couldn't find time for." Marco's goofy smile didn't cover the seriousness of his joke.

I knew how he felt I was behind on homework too. I had hoped with the weekend I would find time for it but now we had Cassie's mom.

"Wait," Jake stepped forward. "You don't normally volunteer like this or come to us with information. Why now?"

"After what we did with the Howler's I realized how much good work I could do. I lost one race to the Howler's and I won't lose another to the Yeerk. I discussed it with the others and we agreed that the dogs would be a race wiped out by the Yeerk. We must protect them as best we can. And you wiped out the race of aliens that exterminated my creators. We Chee can not do enough in gratitude."

"We need all the help we can. A former member, David, just came back with the help of a certain enemy we just pissed off." Crayak had sent his children, the Howler's, after Erik's creators.

"I will help any way I can."

"Ok right now uh, hey, follow Jake and I out to the camp site then send some one else out later. They have the weekend for knowing enough they can pass as Cassie's mom on Monday." Marco and Jake left the barn with Erik leaving me behind.

4

Saturday was going well. Cassie's mom mostly sat and listened as we told her as much as we could. "So Tobias was trapped in his body but got his powers back because of the god like being who can't interfere but does?"

"Yes." Jake was on watch while Cassie went back too check on some of the animals in the barn. Her father was at a meeting and wouldn't be home. Can't be camping and be seen by her dad at the same time.

"And you are the leader huh Prince Jake?"

"Don't call me that."

"Yes Prince Jake." Her joke would have made me laugh if I had been human. "So, now that we're alone, about my daughter," He stiffened. They must not know I was there.

"She's a good fighter but she feels bad about it. She's like our moral compass."

"Not as a fighter, you two."

"I, um, we're friends."

"You two are dating. I saw you two holding hands this morning. And I know it is more then just a friend who comes over and helps her with the barn."

"I, we're just really close friends."

"Jake, I find it nice you can see past her skin color. And my husband and I have no problem with her dating a white boy. But what does your family think? At least your parents since your brother is one of those Yeerk controllers."

"I, it, we're friends. Really close friends."

(Really close friends who kiss?)

"Rachel!"

"Oh, she's here." Cassie's mom looked around before seeing me. "They've kissed?"

(When we were on another planet.)

"You were on another planet? When? How come I didn't notice? I mean, even at the speed of light any planet would be too far away."

"Our friend, the god like being, he did it."

"Oh."

(We saved a race of aliens and stopped another from being vicious killers. It was one of our few clear victories.)

"So you've been off planet?"

"A couple times."

(We don't normally have a choice. Have we ever had a choice when we were taken off planet? First time was when we were captured and taken to the mothership in orbit.)

"Yeah, that wasn't fun."

"How big is it?"

(Pretty big.)

"How come no one sees it? I mean, we have astronauts in outerspace and stuff."

"Cloaking technology. They had this giant truck ship that would fly over the city to the mountains and suck up water. But it was totally invisible."

"And all you have is the power of morphing?"

"And a couple allies." Oh, we never told her about the Chee. They hadn't sent some one out here yet.

(Uh, Cassie's Mom, we have an ally coming out here. I thought they would be out here by now but they haven't made it.) What was taking them so long? Did Erik not know where we were? Did they get lost?

"Allies? More aliens?"

"Androids made by aliens who are all dead."

"Ok and? The god man you called he Illusionist?"

"Ellimist. And the Chee who are androids. And some free Hork Bajir."

"The ones you said are covered in blades?"

(Yes. We could morph in to one for you.) I flew down and demorphed. "I have one."

"A Hork Bajir morph? So like the blood is in your blood? But what if you donated blood?"

"I don't donate. And I'm not sure how that works." I focused on the Hork Bajir. The snake like necks, the blades, the dinosaur feet.

"I tried asking Ax about it before but he doesn't know. He was distracted in class by a girl he thought was special." Cassie's laugh was covered with the sound of my bones grinding and cracking.

When I was a full Hork Bajir I was attacked. "Tseeeer!" Tobias clawed at my head,

(Stop!) I raised my hands and backed away. (Tobias it is me! I was showing Cassie's Mom what a Hork Bajir looked like.) He landed in a tree.

(Sorry. I saw a Hork Bajir creeping up on them.)

(Where is Ax?)

(Leading a Chee here.)

(Ok, Cassie, did you hear Tobias?) She nodded.

When Ax made it with the Chee I recognized them. (Whoa she's a Chee?) She was a cheerleader one grade above us at school.

"Yes I'm a Chee." She, it, walked over to Cassie's mom. "You must be Michelle." The hologram changed so it was a mirror copy of her.

"I, that, I, what are you doing?"

(You can't miss work on Monday so we are asking our allies for help. They produce holograms so they can pass as humans.)

"Or trees." The hologram changed in to a tree. "Or any thing else we want." She morphed back to Cassie's mom.

"Amazing. I, so like, you're here for my schedule?"

"And mannerisms and other knowledge. It will only be one day but I do not want suspicion cast on you."

And so it was. Eventually we got more worried about David then Cassie's mom.

Sunday night I was a Great Horned Owl keeping watch. My Chee replacement was in my room doing my homework. I made sure she would get a couple answers wrong. I was a good student but I wasn't that good.

Cassie's mom got out of the tent and started going off in to the woods. What was she doing? Had we been wrong? Was she a controller this whole time? As an owl I could fly silently.

She went about four hundred feet before stopping and resting against a tree. She started crying. I felt bad watching, listening. This was a private moment for her but we couldn't take the risk.

When she was done crying she went back to the tent. She was trying too be strong for us but when she thought she was alone she broke down. I needed too demorph soon. Ax, are you there?

(I am nearby. She had me worried.)

(Me too.) I landed and demorphed. After a few minutes I morphed back in to the Great Horned Owl.

I was going home after Marco took my place when I heard it. Wings, too loud to be an owl. It was still dark so the sound of wings flapping was off. I turns my head nearly a hundred and eighty degrees. It saved my life.

I dodged David's attack. He started recovering but now I was attacking.

His Golden Eagle morph was bigger and stronger then my Great Horned Owl morph but I was the king of the night.

He dove towards a street lamp but I knew not too follow. The darkness was my friend and the street lamp would steal that. (Try that again David!)

(I will Rachel.) He was gaining altitude again.

But I was the king of the night. His eagle needed thermals for quick ascension. I didn't.

He kept getting closer and closer but I was letting him. I would do it this time. Rip one wing so he couldn't fly. Up high enough the fall would take him out so the others couldn't get mad at me for it. Even if I did it on purpose. (No! David please stop!) Lure him in.

(Never Rachel! What you did too me was horrible. Left me on that island as a mouse. But tonight I'll start my revenge!) Closer and closer as we got higher and higher.

(Now!) I turned and ripped through his right wing with my talons. I heard the bone break as we slammed together. He tried reaching up with his own talons but I pushed away and started flapping harder.

(No! I won't let it end like this!) He was falling now unable too use his broken wing.

But I had made a mistake. I went up too high. I gave him time for demorphing. I don't even think he had demorphed all the way before remorphing. You see the DNA wasn't broken only the wing. But the second it had demorphed he remorphed a completely healed wing.

I started flying for the woods. I wouldn't trick him twice but maybe I could use the trees for cover. (I won't let you get away!) I could hear him coming after me fast.

But once we reached the trees I would be safe. My night vision would let me dodge branches he couldn't see. But he was coming up on me faster then I could fly.

No, no, no. I must do this I couldn't let that, that, monster get me. I had so many rude words going through my head I could hear my mom yelling at me for using them.

The treeline was close but by the sound of his wings he was closer. I needed a little extra speed. Or make him go slower. (Now Tobias!)

(What?) It worked. In the few seconds he spent looking around for Tobias I had reached the trees.

He tried following me but while I could see the branches he couldn't in the darkness. When he crashed I kept going. One brush with death a morph was enough.

5

Later that morning I told the others what happened. I hadn't even gone home. I slept in the tent after Cassie and her mom got up. But then the rest came out to the camp site. "He came from out of no where. If I hadn't heard him and turned I would be dead."

"What do we do? Later today my mom will be cleared. But then what?"

"Do you think we can trust her? What if she tells your father?" I had no idea. But thankfully Jake did.

"I asked a Chee to play your father. He'll greet her and get her alone. If she says any thing then we will have a problem."

"I tried telling her it must be a secret but I don't know if she understands how serious this is. She hasn't tried running away so I'm guessing she isn't a Yeerk. But if she talks she'll be one."

"And she knows who we are."

"I don't think she'll talk." I hoped not. After seeing Cassie's mom crying in the woods I think she understood how serious this was. She wouldn't talk.

Later that day we all went back to Cassie's barn. The Chee who was playing Cassie's dad was waiting.

Tobias was watching as a hawk. I was in my cat morph while Jake snuck around as his dog. "Oh hello dear how was work?"

"Fine. How is the barn holding up?"

"The animals are fine. But can I talk to you alone for a minute?"

"I'll go check on the animals." Cassie left for the barn.

They went in to the house. I got in just before the door closed. "What is it Honey?"

"Well, the camping trip, what was it about? You gave me no warning and it just seems strange. Was it Cassie? Or are you covering for yourself?"

"No, it, it was a spur of the moment. Cassie seemed sad about some thing but wouldn't open up. So I took her camping."

"And?"

"She made a fool of herself in front of Jake and was worried he wouldn't like her any more. Silly teenage stuff but for a girl her age it is the world." Wow, great story. She had the whole weekend for coming up with it so I guess it would be good.

"Is that it? Well, those two are close. I enjoy the boy and have no problem with those two dating but if they were doing any thing more serious maybe we should have a talk with them." I heard Jake's heart beat faster. Well, the dog heart beat faster.

"They've only kissed and held hands. But for them it is the most important thing. Remember how you were when you were that age? I remember when I was that young and Curtis Young was all I could dream about." Her husband cleared his throat. "But then I went off to college and met you and forgot about him."

"Well, maybe we should invite him and his family over for dinner. Get too know them better. I'll make some of my chilli he loved so much."

"Oh dear, no, you two would be the only ones who eat it. How about instead we make a roasted chicken? Or a ham, some thing every one would enjoy."

"Isn't Jake's last name," I of course am omitting that part.

"Oh, well, I'm not sure if he follows the faith or not. But his parent's might so I guess no ham. I'll have Cassie call him and see if they are available say, Thursday?"

"That sounds wonderful dear."

It went great until Cassie's real dad got home from the store and had no idea any thing Cassie's mom had said. Both became suspicious but what could they do? He had no idea about us or the Chee and she thankfully didn't tell him.

We kept an eye on her as best we could. The Chee helped out as well so we could go back to school.

"Test? I didn't study any of this."

"Didn't you get a B on the homework?"

"Uh, yeah." Crap. I was not getting a B on this test.

In lunch I sat with Cassie. "So you nervous about the big dinner?"

"It, it doesn't mean any thing. Jake and I have barely talked since the incident." I rolled my eyes.

"The incident? You two kissed hard. It was the kind of kiss Leo would give his girlfriend at the end of a sappy movie."

"And he hasn't said any thing since."

"Well have you said any thing? This is a new decade of girl power."

"I'm not doing any thing or saying any thing. It was just a rush of emotion."

"And all those times you held hands? Or hugged him after a battle?"

"No one was supposed too see us holding hands." If she could she'd be blushing.

"Fine don't say any thing. But enjoy your dinner."

(I know I will.) I stood up so fast my chair went flying backwards.

I looked around the cafeteria before seeing him. He was a human so how could he thought speak? (A little gift from Crayak.) Could he read minds too? (I'm not reading your mind by the way I just know you so well Rachel. Oh and don't tell the others I'm here or I might become a big bad lion and eat some one. Leave the cafeteria and go to the boys bathroom nearest the janitor's closet.)

What did he want? I would find out. "Cassie I'll be right back." I got up and left the cafeteria as David ordered.

He was waiting for me. "What do you want?"

"Some fun. Torture, denigration, what ever I want. You can't morph in here."

"Why not?"

"Chapman ring a bell? Tom? And who knows how many other Yeerks. They might find it suspicious the same grizzly bear shows up here that shows up at every Andalite attack?" He held his left arm out and it morphed in to a lion paw! "Another gift from Crayak. I can control my morphing."

"Crayak is using you. He hates us because we wiped out his pets."

"I know. He said as much. So did his lackey the Drode."

"The what?"

"A lackey of his. He said he'd give me my powers back and a few extra things if I tortured then killed you in return. And I must say this is fun. I could smack you around a little then have my fun with you." His smile sent chills down my spine. "By the way the Chee? Really? Those peacenik," I'm gonna cut off what he said next. This is my journal and I'll write and edit out what I want.

"How do you know about that?"

"How do you think? I was in the barn listening. I love watching you. Not Cassie, I mean, she's ok and Jake likes her but you're so much better." Little creep. I'm editing what I said for the next few minutes.

"Ooo what a dirty mouth." He raised his lion paw. "How about I smack it out of you? I could probably take your head clean off." I would have worried but I saw some thing he didn't.

(I hope I'm in time.) Cassie, in wolf morph, bit David on the leg.

"Aaaa!" He swung with his paw but missed. A wolf is a lot faster then some little punk.

Distracted by Cassie I took my chance and kicked him where it counted. Let him morph away that pain.

"Oh you stupid," Omitting again. Gah, David is making me keep stuff out. But if my mother or my little sisters ever read this journal I'd be in trouble for even writing some of the words going through my head. They'll never read this will they? If we lose humanity is doomed. And even if we win I doubt I'll live. We've gotten lucky so far but we can't stay lucky forever. So why not? That bastard isn't controlling me or what I say or write.

"Get out of here David." I would have loved morphing and ripping his head off by Cassie was there. She'd never let me do it.

"Fine, but I'll be watching." Creep.

I left the bathroom and made sure it was clear for Cassie. "Where are your clothes?"

(In the closet.) I opened the door for her and waited a few minutes while she demporphed and got dressed.

"How did you know it was David?"

"You got up and left and didn't come back. I heard him and you talking so I went in to the janitor's closet, morphed, and bit him."

"Thanks. Did you see his hand?"

"Yeah how did he do that? I can't even do that."

"A gift Crayak gave him. The bell will ring soon we should start heading towards class."

"Yeah, ok."

6

We told the others after school. "I'm not going home. He said he would be watching me. I'm not taking a shower or changing clothes until we get him." My skin crawled just thinking about it.

"I'll call Erik and see if he can't send the Chee who played you before back to your house." Marco was actually being sweet. "Since Xena didn't take him down when she had a chance." Grr...

"How? In school? Which morph? My Grizzly Bear? He can morph faster and can choose how he morphs. He could have killed me before I became dangerous."

"Marco this is no time for jokes." Jake's glare made Marco flinch. Even in the most dangerous of times he let Marco make jokes. But David was different. David was far more personal then the Yeerks.

"I will use my new free time for hunting him down. I'll check his house first."

(You won't be going alone.)

"Won't a Bald Eagle and a Red Tail Hawk draw attention?"

(I don't care.) I flashed Tobias a smile.

"Then we'll go hunting. Lions, Golden Eagles, and any other animal acting suspicious beware." I left the barn.

Tobias and I flew just close enough we could hear each other's thought speak. So where will you sleep? You can't stay an animal for more then two hours.

(I know and I'm thinking. I can't stay any where can I? David will be watching. I was thinking of borrowing Cassie's tent.)

(I'd keep watch. So much as an insect and I'll be on it.)

(I'll bring plenty of bug spray.) We kept flying but spotted nothing.

For the rest of the day I would demorph then morph back in to the Bald Eagle and keep searching. I saw a Golden Eagle near the woods but it was eating a rabbit so couldn't have been him. (Rachel you're scary how about you scare him off so I can get a free meal?)

(No Tobias he caught that fair and square.) Tobias hated Golden Eagles even before David had one as a morph.

When night fell and my eagle vision would be of little use. I could have gone to my Great Horned Owl morph but I was tired and hungry.

I flew to Cassie's house and saw her and her mom working in the barn. (Hey, can I get that tent you used?)

"Already have it ready near Ax's Scoop." Cassie was holding a sleeping wolf's mouth open as her mom worked on a tooth that had broken.

(Thanks.) I took off towards the woods.

The tent was close enough to Ax's Scoop I could hear his television. He was watching a game show. (The moon.) I couldn't hear the question. (No, the moon! How could you answer an elephant? Rachel this human is claiming the elephant is larger then your moon.)

"She isn't claiming she is just answering wrong." I tossed and turned for another hour before finally falling asleep.

When I woke up I was hungry. I brought some money and clean clothes with me. Did I want fast food? Mall food? Or maybe share a mouse with Tobias? I was hungry enough that sounded good even if I wasn't in morph. "Tobias?"

(He is out hunting.)

"Oh, ok. Uh, I'm going to the mall."

(Cinnabon?)

"Uh, no, breakfast foods. Gonna hit the McD's there."

"It is nearly twelve of your time."

"Ok, lunch food then." I had a smaller bag I could carry a pair of jeans and a shirt as a Bald Eagle. I would just fly high enough the clouds would cover me then dive down fast so no one would see an Eagle carrying a bag of clothes.

The mall was busy. If David was following me he'd have a hard time keeping up.

This was a second home for me at one time. Before the war. Before it all went to Hell. Meeting Elfangor changed every thing. Of course if we hadn't met him how many of us would be Controllers? I doubt I would have been made one. I would never need the Sharing. But Tobias? He was always a loner, some times hanging out with Jake and Marco but not really a friend. If it wasn't for Elfangor I never would have known how strong and brave he was. He would have been a prime candidate for the Sharing.

Jake? Maybe Tom would have pressured him but what about Marco? Marco would have called it lame and Jake never would have joined. And Cassie, no, no way. She would be too busy with her animals for the Sharing.

But Tobias, he would have. Instead we meet Elfangor, join the fight, and he gets stuck in that stupid hawk body.

After eating I drew some unwanted attention. "Little lady school is in session and you should not be here."

"Little lady? Just how young do you think I am?" I was good at a quick lie. After telling so many it came naturally.

"Don't try that on me I know a teen when I see one." I rolled my eyes.

"Excuse me? I get a couple days off from work and try enjoying them and this is what I get? Don't you recognize me? I'm a model for a very famous company. You must have seen me in a magazine, buying some thing for your wife." I made my voice a little lower hoping it would sound older.

"Well, I, I'm sorry Ma'am." The mall guard turned and walked away.

Ha, I should remember that lie.

I was in Gap when I felt a tap on my shoulder. "So, which magazine?" I recognized the voice.

"David," I reached for a shirt that was hanging on a clothes hanger. I could use the hanger for a weapon.

"Come on what magazine? Victoria Secret?" His hand was on my shoulder. Good it let me know where he was.

I turn and swung with the corner of the hanger. It hit him on the side of the head dazing him. "Help! Help!" I started screaming at the top of my lungs. I saw the mall guard from before.

"Calling for help like a wimp?" He punched me in the face.

"My face! This is my money maker!"

"Hey! Stop right there!" I almost laughed. David was done for. "Stop!"

"Back off old man." I couldn't hold back now.

"No! He's got a knife!" I saw the guard pull some thing out. It wasn't a gun it was some thing maybe even more painful, pepper spray. I covered my face and turned away as David took a full blast to the face.

"Down on the ground!" I saw him pull out a club, yes. Beat the little punk. "Ma'am wait and we'll make a report."

"My face! I can't let any one see me like this!" I took off as the guard dealt with David.

7

When I got outside I saw a red tailed hawk. "Tobias!"

(Yes?)

"David was here. A guard used pepper spray on him and I escaped."

(So? I can't call the others they are in school.)

"We don't need them. When he comes out you distract him and I'll rip him apart."

(Out in the open? If a Controller sees it they will be suspicious.)

"Let them be. Even better all the kids should be at school so it will throw them off."

(Isn't that why the Chee are making a video?)

"Add it on." I focused on the grizzly bear. I would kill David while the others were at school and couldn't stop me.

(Rachel don't do it. The others will flip out if they find out.)

I waited a minute before I responded. (I'll tell them. I'll tell them I did the job.) I couldn't see very well. (Just tell me when he comes out.)

(No.)

(Then I'll go in and attack every one.)

(You wouldn't Rachel.)

(You have hawk eyes you can definitely watch me do it.)

(Rachel you're being reckless.)

(And that is what the group needs from me.) I was the reckless one. I was the crazy one. I was the one who would go in and attack when every one else would hold back. I was the one who would do the things the rest wouldn't. (So guide me or let me loose either way I am taking him down.)

(Fine but I hope you are ready for the consequences.) I was. What ever the others said didn't matter. I would take him down now.

I waited for the right time. (Tobias?)

(I see two police cars pulling up. They might be arresting him.) Not what I was planning. (Or not.)

(What?)

(Ambulance. Maybe he morphed and attacked the guard. You shouldn't have left him alone.)

(I was worried about the guard finding out who I was. How would we explain me being at the mall and at school at the same time?)

(Why did you go to the mall?)

(I was hungry. I slept past breakfast. I didn't feel like sharing some grass with Ax or a rat with you so went to the mall.)

(A problem I haven't had.) I heard his laugh. It took some of the edge off my anger. But I still wanted David dead. (He might have escaped as an animal. I was looking for him not a rat.)

(How would you tell the difference? I'll go and hide before demorphing.) I wanted him dead so badly but that wouldn't happen today.

After demorphing Tobias landed nearby. (Are you okay?)

"Yes. Please don't tell the others about this."

(They will find out. I was sent after you so I could tell you Jake has a plan.)

"When did you see him?"

(Met him at lunch. He spoke to me through the window. We're meeting at the barn after school.)

"Fine, I'll be there. I'm going Bald Eagle."

(Better hope no one thinks you were eating out of the garbage. A Bald Eagle doesn't do that.) Only Tobias could think of a bird joke.

8

We were at the barn. "The last time he wanted the blue box. We already had it hidden but he might have found it so I had Tobias re hide it."

(Took me a new morph just so I could do it. I was too big but none of you are capable fliers for what was needed.)

"Mister Big Shot? Tobias where did you hide it?" Marco being a jerk. Tobias was our best flier and he knew it.

(I can't tell any one in case he's here. We know he's been spying on us.)

"Good. Right now he's focused on us but he might want the blue box."

"Jake what do we do?"

"Cassie I'm not sure. He won't fall for the last trick. He'd want us bringing it out on our own with out his help if we broke it down."

(Why I hid it whole. It was hard with my smaller morph but I did it.)

"But then what? We, we can't kill him." That was my cue.

"I will. You guys can stay back but I want him. If he gets close I'll go bear and rip his head off. Or just rip his guts out and feed them back stuffing them down his throat."

"Uh," Ax finished Marco's comment.

(That is a disturbing image. I hope tonight's welcome back can clear it.) Him and his television. (But if you can not do it as he is a fellow human I will try.) He whipped his tail forward.

"I can do it."

"No!" Jake stormed over to me. "Rachel we won't kill him."

"Why not? We kill Taxxon, Hork Bajir, Gedd, and Yeerks by the hundreds. David is one, not even human, scum. If you can't stomach it Jake then I'll do it on my own."

(No you won't.)

"Tobias no. We can't let you or Rachel do this."

"You won't be letting me do any thing." I punched him as hard as I could.

(Prince Jake!)

"Whoa Xena you can't be punching Hercules!" I glared at Marco and he backed off.

"Tobias I think we should go."

(Yes, we should. Sorry Ax.) We left the barn.

We went to where he hid the blue box. I was in Bald Eagle morph. (Wow. That is a heck of a hiding place.)

(It was the best place I could think of. I could barely get up there in a Kestrel morph. No way is David ever getting there.)

(So, now what?)

(We keep an eye on it just in case.) And so we did.

With the Chee taking my place at home I was free for watching the blue box. And I spent a lot of time with Tobias. It was nice. Like a camping trip with my uh, bird friend. Who was some times my boyfriend. It was so strange holding hands, hugging, other things several days in a row. Normally he'd be busy hunting or we'd be off on a Yeerk mission. But now that we had left the group and were waiting for David to make a move we had a lot more time.

Lying under the stars, Tobias up in a tree, was sorta romantic. "Tobias? Think you could become a human for an hour or so?"

(Sure. I had a good dinner.) He flew down and landed near me then morphed in to his human self.

I might be Xena the Warrior Princess when we fight but lately now that I was away from the group and alone with Tobias I was becoming Rachel. Blonde teenage girl with a boy who she liked. I was in my leotard which made me think of gymnastics. How long has it been since I last competed? Could I even remember how a tumble was done? "Wow, even with out my hawk eyes I can see the most beautiful thing." I couldn't help but blush.

"Um, thanks." It wasn't the first time we kissed but there was more, emotion, to it. More passion in his lips.

(Can you hear this?) I jumped up.

"David?"

"No, me. I've been wondering if my thought speak would work since this was technically a morph." I couldn't believe it.

"Jerk! You scared me half too death." I smacked him on the arm. But I knew what it meant. We must get ready.

I was a Great Horned Owl and he was back in his red tailed hawk morph. It wasn't best for night vision but it was the one he knew best. And we needed the best flier.

When we got where Tobias had hidden the blue box we say a small owl. I wasn't sure what kind it was. Cassie would but she wasn't here. This was what Tobias and I had planned.

We knew David would be listening in the barn so we set a trap. The space would be small and easily closed off by a larger bird. A bird like a Great Horned Owl.

We saw him struggling with the blue box. (Now you see why I had such a hard time.)

(Just block him off until I get that rock pushed.) I landed above the small cave and pushed the rock we had set.

As soon as it landed I started demorphing. The cave was too small for a full demorph but David could demorph with his new power an arm and try pushing the rock away. I would be on the other side holding it in place. "Tobias go tell the others."

(On it.) He took off. I could handle keeping David in the cave for two hours. Hell, I'd leave him in the cave until he starved but the others wouldn't allow it. Weaklings. No, the ones who kept me from getting myself killed. If it weren't for them I would have been dead after the first battle. I wouldn't have retreated. I would have kept fighting, and fighting, until I couldn't fight any more.

The others landed and demorphed. "He's in there?"

"Yes and pushing."

(Let me out! I won't be trapped again!) His screams, his panic, made me happy. (I'll kill you! You won't leave me in here!)

"No, we won't. But as a small morph you won't be much of a threat." I smirked as I pressed against the rock.

(Even I could take you.) If Tobias could smirk he would have been.

(I'll find a way out of it! Crayak will save me!)

"Maybe. We'll find out in less then an hour." I pressed harder against the rock.

9

We had done it.

We had trapped that son of, I, I better not curse any more. Hopefully we'll have the Yeerks beat before I become a legal adult. And so cursing would get me cursing. Even if in a journal I plan on showing my mom, and maybe the others, when this Hell was over.

But now we were at Ax's scoop. The Chee had done the video and submitted it. "Tonight on Amazing Home Videos we have proof of radiation affecting the wildlife! A strange mutant cross of a deer and human with bright blue fur! And not just one but six! They could have been an entire herd of deer mutated by radiation. Is some one dumping toxic waste illegally? We have the video and the state can start the investigation!"

"Ha, the Chee set it up perfectly." The video was shaky, the Andalite's out of focus, just like a real home video. You could even hear voices.

"Dude, whoa, what are they?"

"Man, those mushrooms must have been the good kind!" It was hilarious thinking the Chee were playing stoners.

"No way man they were fresh. What the heck are they?"

"No idea man."

We all high fived, shouted, Ax even tried a high five except he got Jake right between the eyes. (I am sorry Prince Jake.)

"Hey you tried." He rubbed his forehead and smiled.

It was a victory. Not a barely got out alive battle. Not a we did a little damage congratulations on not ending up dead. No, we won. We trapped that, that, scum again. Yes an owl is a huge step up from a rat but he was trapped. Unless Crayak...

Hello Animorphs

"Ellimist?"

(What are you doing here? You are late for helping us with David.)

Andalite your mistrust of me is unfounded. I have only helped you.

"Ha, that's a load of bull."

A bull is some thing you have not been yet Marco.

Finally Jake took control. "Why are you here? Did Crayak fix David again?"

No. I am here for that reason though. Crayak overstepped his bounds with David. Not just gave him his morphing power back but extended them.

"Yeah, noticed the control of his morphing." I couldn't help but have the image of him with his lion paw hand in the bathroom.

Yes. And because of this I was allowed a chance of saving a new species. The next time he interferes in a way not authorized I may use it for helping you.

"Why not now?"

(Yeah we dealt with David why don't we get the bonus help?) I was glad Tobias and I were on the same page.

You may get help in the future. In fact I can almost guarantee it. Of course as you have shown the future is not set in stone.

"Well, thanks." I couldn't believe it. What could happen? What if we messed it up? What if it was better that we did? I hated him except he gave me back Tobias. The human Tobias. "Um, yeah, thanks."

Your welcome.

And like that he was gone.

A/N And so my first shot at an Animorph book. I might have made a couple mistakes but as I focus on it I will hopefully clean them up. Well, reviews will be gladly welcomed!