I do not own Red vs Blue. RvB belongs to Rooster Teeth.
I do not own Maximum Ride. MR belongs to James Patterson.
I adjusted my sitting position. Moving further away from New York. If I was gonna get use to this whole being-around-someone thing, I was gonna break myself in a little at a time. Snuggling wasn't going to happen for a while –if at all.
York stretched his hand out in my direction, hitting nothing.
With a sudden jolt, he sat up.
I about fell out of the tree in surprise.
"What is it!" I said, looking for some sort of attacker I just didn't see.
He calmed himself quickly although his heart was still racing.
"I thought you left." He panted.
He, embarrassed or something, quickly wrapped the blanket back around himself and laid down like he was going to sleep but sat right back up again.
"It's my turn to keep watch. Here." He threw all the blanket at me, still frantic from whatever spooked him.
I slowly wrapped the blanket around myself.
I didn't believe for a second his panic was about me leaving. What did he care if I left? It was probably a nightmare. I sure had plenty of those. That I understood.
It was cold so I left him a good amount of slack blanket for him to use while I tried some attempt at sleeping.
Although, that wasn't going to happen until he calmed down. He was still breathing heavily, and he wasn't being very still. He just couldn't seem to find a comfortable sitting position.
I sat up. I had to fix this.
"What's wrong?" I asked, my voice making him jump again.
"Nothing. I'm fine. You get some sleep, Carolina." He smiled, as he did start to calm down a little, rubbing the crinkly skin around his bad eye.
I looked him down to make sure he was telling the truth.
"You only slept a few hours…"
"I know, but dawn's coming soon; we'll have to get going then. You get all the rest you can. I can't have my partner slowing me down just because they're tired." He teased.
I wasn't in the teasing mood. I was never in a teasing mood.
I guess that was the best answer I was going to get. No sense prying for information I didn't care about from someone who wouldn't be around for very long. Well, however far away Wyoming was.
I leaned on the tree. The bark was scratchy on my skin. I didn't really care though. I had far more taxing things to think about. Like sleeping.
My eyelids were closed, but no sleep was coming. I tried to will myself to sleep. You'd think I'd wear myself out from thinking so hard about things, but my mind just couldn't seem to slow.
Dawn came just as New York predicted. He didn't even need to wake me up. I seemed to recharge when the sun came. Although I didn't sleep, it seemed I didn't need it.
I remembered how the sun looked when it peaked over the horizon of the ocean. The way its rays danced off the excited water.
I stretched my wings out. Letting the morning rays warm them for a moment.
Swiftly, I jumped out of the tree and glided to the ground. York was less graceful, but his wings were in worse shape than mine. It looked like he'd never cleaned them. They wouldn't fold against his back properly with the feathers all dirty and broken. To me, whom the scientists obsessed over the condition of my wings, it looked almost painful. I guess I'd have to teach him to preen later.
With all our gear gathered up into the blanket, we took off again. York insisted on carrying the bag first. I guess even in laboratories, chivalry finds some light to grow from.
We were heading north. Both of us, from what I could tell, had a vague instinct of direction. Still, I didn't like not knowing exactly where I was going.
When lunchtime rolled around, we attempted to eat mid-flight, but all that accomplished was us dropping a bag of pretzels from thousands of feet up in the air down on to unsuspecting countryside below.
We agreed that it was just best to land.
"We gotta make this fast. I don't like being on the ground during the day." I instructed, as we touched down in a field.
We found some shade under a tree, but it was still too close for comfort to a road and small town.
I could hear the cars rolling past. Couldn't we have picked a better spot to land?
"It'll be fine, Carolina. We're just making a quick pit stop for refueling." York assured me, already unfolding the blanket and tossing me a bag of dried fruit.
York was already in his third bag of Oreos when I was deciding how to ration out our food. If we made it to Wyoming, how long would it take to find this guy? If we did find him, we wouldn't need to be so sparing which would give us more energy and make us more efficient. However, if we never found this guy, we'd have a whole other journey to Canada. We would need as much food as we could get if we wanted to get out of there before we could be tracked again.
This was beginning to mess with my head a little.
"Having a little picnic, are we?"
We both jumped as a man must have stopped his car and gotten out. This man had a wonderfully silky voice and looked like he must have been on his way to a runway shooting.
I didn't even have a second of hesitation. I took off running and launched myself into the air. I pumped my wings so hard I didn't care how much they hurt. I just needed to get airborne.
I had the worst sense of deja vu when I began to drop from a sudden increase of weight around my ankles.
"You'd think you'd learn by now!" The Eraser growled, as I began to plummet from the sky.
I fell down hard. I hoped I hurt the Eraser when I did, but, somehow, I doubted it. Pain seemed to be something only I was familiar with.
Struggling, I did my best to get free of the Eraser's grip, but he held me in place on the ground. I was like a fish on a line. He would just wait until I tired. Then he would net me up and gut me at home.
Suddenly, the weight was released as the Eraser was flung off of me! Dragging me to my feet was York, who revealed to me that Erasers could, in fact, bleed. His solid kick had knocked the wolf thing straight in the jaw. Blood fell from his mouth and into the grass.
"Just run!" York shouted, pushing me ahead of him.
This time, I took his advice. I was already scouting ahead to find a place to hide. We couldn't outrun Erasers forever. Their stamina was far greater than ours.
That's when I spotted the tent. It was huge and red and looked like it belonged to a circus. Personally, I didn't care if it belonged to circus or the insane asylum, I was going there. Sure it wasn't the best shelter, but it was big enough to lose someone in. Probably had lots of great hiding places too.
I looked out my peripheral and saw York was keeping up pace. He was clearly synced up with my plan and headed right for the tent.
We approached it and dove under, sliding into the humid tent. There were haystacks piled in a corner, and we jumped behind them. It was probably the worst hiding spot ever, but we didn't have much of a choice.
I could hear the Eraser chasing after us. He approached the tent entrance and started searching for us.
We ducked down, praying that he wouldn't, by some miracle, find us.
"Hey! What are you doing here?"
A stranger called out, sounding angry.
Our hearts froze as we prepared to be lunchmeat.
"Hey! I'm talkin' to you, dog breath! What do you think you're doing?"
"I'm here to track two unusual children. One girl and one boy."
That was the Eraser! Someone was confronting the Eraser! I so badly wanted to see who it was, but I didn't want to see the poor soul beaten to a pulp so I stayed down.
"This is the circus. That's what most of were at one point. Now scram before I throw you out myself!"
"You don't understand, sir. These children have genetically engineered bird's wings and are of extremely high value-"
"Of course they are! They're our star attraction, and they're staying here! But if you want to see them, you'll have to wait until the next show just like everyone else! Now, goodbye, doggie!" With that, I heard some more footsteps come out. The Eraser was now outnumbered considerably. I almost wanted to laugh this was so beautiful!
"Arggg!" The Eraser growled, then left the tent in a huff.
We sunk down against the haystacks.
"I'm just gonna lay here while I restart my heart." York said, as he pretended to faint.
"What did you think he meant by 'star attractions?'" I asked.
"I was wondering about that too. Do you think he was covering for us? Or do you think that there are others like us here?"
"I don't know."
"There's only one way to find out?"
"And that's by buying tickets."
It was the voice from before. The one that intimidated the Eraser. He was peering over the stacks at us. I could see why he was intimidated. He was easily seven feet tall and looked like he had been either bench pressing elephants or had a major steroid addiction.
We didn't need a second hint, and we got out of there.
York started to head toward the crowd that was gathering outside the tent.
"What are you doing?"
"I thought we were going to see the other bird kids."
"Who cares! We need to get out of here before that Eraser comes back!"
"But what about them! What if they want to meet with that guy in Wyoming too?"
"York! There are no others! Even if there were, they're here because they want to be! This is a circus! Not a prisoner of war camp!"
"York! I'll leave you if you don't come!"
That seemed to stop him in his tracks. He seemed extremely flustered over this situation that I deemed to be a no-brainer: Run away before we died.
"I didn't have to save you from that truck! I chose to! Now, let's at least go see if there are actually bird kids in there! If there are, then we can decide what to do!"
I was taken aback. I wasn't expecting this kind of resistance. But he did have a point. He did save me. I couldn't ignore that.
Sighing heavily and gnashing my teeth, I agreed.
The only good thing was we didn't need to hide our wings. Apparently, lots of people wore fake wings to this circus. The only thing we needed to do was sneak in without paying because we had zip-o dinero.
That's not a problem when you have your friendly, neighborhood infiltration specialist with you. That, and the tent isn't exactly a fortress.
We took two seats where they were available. I already determined I hated this because it was wasting precious time, but, hey, if Mr. Hero wanted to save the day instead of going on his little Wyoming mission, it wasn't skin off my back. I was merely making a stop in Wyoming. Canada was my real destination.
The lights dimmed and two huge spotlights circled the center ring of the circus. Stopping when a man in a red tux and huge top hat stood on top of a small platform in the middle. He waved to the cheering crowd, bowing a few times before raising a microphone to his mouth.
"Welcome to the most spectacular event ever to hit this town! Ricky's Rolling Circus has come around!"
The crowd clapped and hollered.
The event was loud and crowded and basically followed the same pattern: ringleader would announce the act, audience would cheer, and the act would preform in one of the three circles.
The three-at-once thing was, in theory, good, but, in reality, no one could see the acts in any of the rings besides the one they were closest to. It was like ADD hell.
Suddenly, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Then I noticed them. Slowly but surely, the audience around us became populated with supermodels and cheerleaders. Perfect features in every way. I glanced nonchalantly at the exit to see many more of them were pouring in –all headed our direction. I softly kicked York with my foot. He reluctantly tore his eyes away from the display and noticed them immediately.
He gave me a look of pure horror.
Suddenly the lights went out and a spotlight appeared. The ringleader was back in the center, and all the other acts had cleared out of the outer rings.
"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Our star attractions! The-"
York jumped up on top of his seat with his arms stretched open wide.
"Thank you! Thank You!" York announced, as he snapped his tan wings open.
The audience, including me, gasped in astonishment.
Then he reached down and grabbed my hand. I stood up as well but completely deer-in-headlights. He nudged me, and I slowly unfurled my wings.
I knew where this was going. It was smart, but that didn't mean I liked it any better.
The crowd cheered. The Erasers growled at us. They couldn't get us with half the audience watching.
York took off, flapping high above the crowd. I took off after him.
We landed on one of the platforms that was practically at the top of the tent. It was where the trapeze artists would climb to before they started their routine.
The ringleader was clearly confused, and the spotlight operator had no choice but to shine on us.
"What are you doing?"
Looking behind us, we saw two of the trapeze artists dressed in purple and green leotards. They were both blonde and confused as heck.
"Um, yeah, we're sorta running for our lives right now. Sorry if we upstaged you or whatever." York shrugged.
"Who are you? And why do you have wings?" The boy asked.
"Long story." I said flatly.
"But we can tell you the story if you let us talk to you for a little bit." York threw in noticing the feathers on their backs.
I gave him a look. This was the reason we were stuck in this situation in the first place. He remained unfazed.
"Sure. Just hang up here if you want until we finish our act. Then the show'll be over, and we can talk after we close up." The boy said.
We nodded. Not like we had any choice.
The boy and girl walked to the edge of the platform. The crowd cheered as they waved. Then, the opened their wings. I couldn't believe it. No strings. No wires. Just bone and flesh like us. York gave me the biggest, snarkiest smirk I've ever seen.
They jumped off the platform together, preforming several midair flips and somersaults in perfect unison. Just before they hit the ground, they snapped open their wings and lifted above the crowd. They preformed several more midair acrobatics before finishing their routine and landing next to the ringleader.
The audience was dismissed, and the boy flew back up to us.
He was sweaty and short of breath from all his stunts, but he managed to relay that he wanted us to follow him.
I was apprehensive. There were surely Erasers waiting for us. But, then again, the crowd provided too many witnesses. We were probably still in the clear, but I didn't want to test it.
Gliding down, we practically shadowed the other bird kids, staying as close as we could to them. They walked outside to where they had erected a short, wide platform where some of the crowd had already gathered.
The banner on it said, "Angel Twins!" in huge letters.
They hopped up and we did too. We just sat toward the back of the platform. The crowd began shouting out questions.
"Yes, our wings are real. Yes, we were born with them. No, you may not touch them. Yes, we are actually twins. No, we do not claim to be actual angels. We have been at the circus our whole lives. We were hatched out of eggs. No, I do not lay eggs. No we do not migrate. No our crap does not look like birds'. We cannot make bird noises. We are actually terrible singers. Anything else?" The girl put her hands on her hips with vehement sarcasm that silenced the crowd.
"What my sister means to say is that of course you many touch our wings. And if you have any other questions feel free to shout them out. We'd be happy to answer them." He glared at his sister as he tried to mentally apologize to the crowd.
Kids slowly ventured toward the front of the crowd as they, the girl rather reluctantly, extended his wings out so they could pet the feathers.
"Who're they?" Someone said, pointing to us.
"Yeah, how come they have wings too?"
"Were you from the same nest?"
"These are… the other Angel Twins. We alternate performances so the other set can have time to rest." The boy tried to explain.
"Yeah, we're working on a new routine that will feature all four of us. We were just testing out the crowd's reaction. How did you like it?" York added as he came forward, the people person he was.
The crowd let out some cheering as the other girl and I sighed in disbelief that they were actually buying that.
"May I have a feather?" I recognized that brand of soft and luscious voice. It was an Eraser. He came up to the circus girl and ripped out a handful of her feathers!
The girl gasped in pain, as he couldn't believe what just happened.
"Hey!" The boy said, but the Eraser quickly flashed his fangs.
The boy stepped back.
"It'll be a souvenir." He hissed as he gave a short glare at us two too. Then he sulked off.
"Can I have one too?"
"Yeah, me too!"
The kids that were petting their wings now began pulling savagely at them.
"No, no, kids. My wings are not- OW! Stop guys! Please! That- that's hurting me!" The boy cried as he tried to pull away from them, but he kids just kept on going. Feathers were flying left and right.
This had to be stopped.
I jumped off the platform and shoved my way, rather roughly, between the kids and the twins.
"Go home." I said. I didn't shout, but I let some venom snake through. I let them know I meant business.
The kids backed away. One almost cried. But slowly the crowd ebbed leaving us four alone finally.
"Thanks." The boy said, as he painfully retracted his wings that were now bleeding profusely.
"And that's why I don't let those vermin touch my wings." His sister huffed, obviously blaming the whole situation on him; tears had welled up in her eyes.
"Who was that guy!" The brother shook his head violently, some anger rising up.
"That was an Eraser. He's actually a mutant like us. Except, instead of wings, they can go werewolf-y. Fangs and claws and all. They're the ones chasing us."
"Really?" The boy asked.
"That's a little hard to believe." The girl said.
"Well, it's also hard to believe that you hatched out of eggs." I retorted.
She shot me a look, but surrendered. She must have had some doubts about that too.
They made their way to the back of the tent where there was some first aid stuff. They began tending their wounds.
"Sorry, but I just can't believe that there's…others! Others like us!" The boy turned to his twin while applying some disinfecting cream onto her wings.
"I can get that for you." York said, walking up to the twins.
Within a few moments, the blood stopped dripping from their wings and the pain stopped. They looked like the just didn't know how to handle that. Not surprising though. The tissue and muscle was healed, but it would be a while before their feathers grew back.
"Who are you? And why did you come here? Did someone send you?"
"Calm down, sis! Let them answer!" He said as he tenderly wiped off some of the blood that stained his sisters purple and green feathers.
"Well, this is Carolina, and I'm New York. You can just call me York though."
The girl laughed dryly again. "Yeah. I thought those were states! Well, in that case, he's Michigan and I'm Iowa. Nice to meet you."
"Actually, I would probably be North Dakota and you would be South Dakota… because we're twins!" North Dakota said, laughing at his own stupid joke. Probably trying to lighten the mood.
South Dakota snorted.
"No, but seriously, what are you guys doing here?" He continued.
"We're running away to Wyoming. There's a guy there that harbors those like us. Gets us back on our feet and into the world. We were wondering if you wanted to come with us!"
North Dakota's eyebrows furrowed.
"Is that true? Are you absolutely sure?" South Dakota was suddenly very interested.
"Well, I'm not one hundred percent, but, I've heard about him for a while. We're going there to check it out. If not, we're going to Canada. We'll be safe there."
"Safe? Why aren't you safe here? Just because of that one jerk doesn't mean that-"
"We told you: The Erasers. They're not here to scare us. They're trying to bring us back to the laboratories where we were created and tortured in most of our lives. Right now, we're kinda running for our lives so you can either join us or not. What's your answer?"
I didn't care if I laid it on a little thick. I wasn't going to sugar coat that we were in mortal danger. People were trying to kill us. I wasn't going to bring in people who weren't prepared for the possibility of a grim outcome.
"I'm in." South Dakota said, challengingly. She aimed her angry look at me like I was just trying to scare her away. That was true. I was trying to scare her away, but I was trying to scare her away with the truth.
"Now, hold up a minute, sis! Don't-"
"I don't care what you say! I hate it here, and I'm leaving! I'm not being a freak just for the entertainment of morons or so Ricky can get rich!"
"But we're safe here. There's no way those Eraser-things can-"
"Are you kidding! Look what happened to my wings! If that's what's going to happen to me again, I'm outta here!"
"But running off with strangers?! How does that even make sense! Where would we get food? Where would we sleep? We're safer here, sis!"
"Not safe enough. I'm going, and you can't stop me."
"Alright, let's go." I said, as I started to walk off. York and South Dakota following me.
North Dakota didn't seem surprised at his sister's rebellion, but he was still hesitant. He only stopped a moment before taking off after his sister and us.
Our group officially doubled. That was two more people to watch our backs, but two more sets of tracks that would be left. We would be easier to track now. We needed to get going as soon as possible. Not to mention the angry circus people that would be searching high and low for their precious star act.
Thanks for the comment and fav badgerfang! :D