Maximum Ride walked out the door and N1C01_43 breathed a sigh of relief. She hadn't seen him, but she had listened to him. She was confused, but she believed at least some of what he had said. He sat down on the dirty floor of the building and rested his head on his knees.
Maximum Ride had been in the same room as him. Maximum Ride had been within inches of him. Maximum Ride had unknowingly touched him on her way out. He didn't know if he should laugh or cry, be overjoyed or so disconsolate that nothing could cheer him up. He decided to smile. Maximum Ride no longer loathed him. She no longer thought of him as scum, or worse, a whitecoat. She no longer knew what she thought of him, but she no longer hated him. And that made him happy.
He decided that he was still in love with Maximum Ride.
After walking outside, I looked around to make sure no one was watching me then flew up to the roof. I saw Jasmine laying on her back, staring up at the blue sky. "Well, well, well, if it isn't the great Maximum Ride..." she muttered, not looking at me. I sighed then landed on the roof and folded my wings in.
"Why are you upset with me, Jasmine?" I asked, walking towards her. She didn't answer until I had sat down next to her. Her arms were folded beneath her head like a pillow.
"I guess... I'm not as upset with you as I am with my situation. I mean, I was kind of ticked at you and Fang and Angel after finishing the book, but I'm also kind of..." she paused and I noted that the whole time she spoke she didn't look at me. "I miss my mom." the way she said it, sounding so much like a pathetic lost kitten, made my whole defensive posture melt away. I had come up here expecting to argue with her, but instead she was here wiping away tears.
"I know how you feel," I said softly. Jazz sniffled and wiped at her eyes again.
"No, you don't! You have your Flock, which is like your big family, and I don't. I mean, I don't fit in with you guys because I'm not a mutant bird freak, I don't work on the same schedule as you guys, and I just kind of feel like I'm a useless slug who doesn't do anything except slow you guys down." Jazz's body shook and she broke down into tears. "I miss my mom and my dad and my brothers and I want to go home!" she sat up and put her hands to her face as she finished.
"Oh, Jazz..." I said softly as my motherly instincts kicked in and I wrapped my arms around her. She leaned towards me and continued to cry, letting out occasional sobs but being fairly quiet. Her body shook, and I did know how she was feeling, though not exactly. I knew what it was like to miss my mom, but I did always have the rest of my family with me. I had everyone around me to love me, depend on me, make me feel like I was needed and there for a reason. Jazz was right... She didn't have that. She was just the extra tire that nobody needed but was kept around, just in case.
She sat there, crying, for a good five minutes. I sat there, trying to think of what to say to her when she stopped crying. When the time finally came around, the only thing I had thought of was--
Jazz sat up again and wiped her eyes. She sniffled again and stared ahead for a minute before responding. "Apology accepted." she said simply. We sat there for a few more minutes in silence as a few lonely clouds drifted overhead. I glanced over at Jazz once more and decided I wanted to tell her about the Voice and the conversation I had just had with him.
"Hey, Jazz, did you ever really think about who the Voice was while you read the books?"