A/N- I checked the amount of stories for the Shadow Children and was actually pretty shocked to see nineteen, maybe twenty. I mean, I love this series, so I thought there would be more. Oh well, enjoy!

Mark P.O.V.

Just another ordinary day. That's not exactly what we wanted; it's what the population police wanted. Because of them, my mother and father were forced to hide my younger brother, Luke, into hiding. But now he was gone. He was sent to an all-boys school with a fake I.D. to hide his identity. It was pretty boring around here without him. I didn't see that much until he was gone. We all hoped to God he was okay.

Matthew and I were about to sit and eat breakfast with Dad and Mother when there was a pounding on the door.

"Who could that be?" Dad asked. "This early in the morning."

Mother sighed, "I'll get it."

She walked off to the door, and we all heard her when she opened the door and said, "OH, Lu-," she was cut off.

Then she started again, "you've gotten taller and more muscular, and your hair's darker, and- are those braces? Is it safe for you here?"

Matthew, Dad, and I all looked at each other. There was only one person to whom that question could be asked. Luke.

We were frozen for a few minutes, then, as if we planned it, we all got up and rushed to the front door. And there Luke was. He really did change. He did look slightly different , like we heard mother say he was. And it must have been safe for him here, at least for a while. Because no one had seen him and he looked a little different, no one would recognize him, but he still looked like the rest of us in his genial structures. Someone would put that together sooner or later.

I smiled and said, "Luke? You couldn't be Luke. I could always whomp Luke with one hand behind my back. And you- with you I might have to use both fists."

Luke smiled in response to my welcoming. No matter how many friends I had at school, Luke would always push them down the list because he was at the top. He was my brother and best friend.

There was another boy with him. Smits, he said his name was. He was tired and had a sad look in his eyes.

"Have you had breakfast? We were just getting ready to sit down," Mother asked the two boys.

"I could eat," Smits told them in a weak voice.

Matthew and I brought in chairs from the other room, and we all sat and ate.

"Are we going to have to put up with you when we get home, too?" I asked Luke just as we were about to leave.

"Probably," Luke said with a knowing smile. "Today, at least."

"Too bad," I said, grinning.

When I got home, Mother told me she was keeping us home from school the next day because she had a feeling Luke's time here would be limited. We skipped our homework to spend time with Luke.

At supper, there was a happier air and smiles going around the whole table.

Then Luke spoke, "I won't be able to stay here long."

We stopped and looked at him. "Why not?" Mother asked.

"It's not safe for me here. At least, not for too long. We were heading to Mr. Talbot's house, actually, with a few friends of mine. They're third children, too- exnays." He thought before he said, "All of the kids at Hendricks' school for boys and Harlow's school for girls were exnays.

"It's not safe for me, but it is for Smits. Will you keep him here?"

"Of course, Luke," Mother said while Dad nodded.

"Good," Luke said. "Because tomorrow I have to walk across to Mr. Talbot's. We're going to figure out what to do next.'

"What was your time at the school like?" I asked, totally serious now when I heard that Luke really was only staying for a limited time.

"Well," Luke said. "I guess I'll have to start with the garden..."

And so he went on to explain his adventure so far, with the garden, the outdoor group, the traitor for the population police, the sports program, Nina, Trey, and the others, Smits coming to Hendricks, the Grant family, Oscar and the almost assassination of the president, and how he got here.

The family hung on to his every word.