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What Happens in New York: A Maximum Ride Fan Fiction
I hate it. Everything in New York was loud, crowded and dirty. The alleys were ten times worse than the city on all accounts except the last. They weren't crowded at all save two scrawny kids (us), a few rats, and one or two shabby strays. We ourselves could be considered strays- no one to provide for us, barely enough food to eat, and tattered clothing. We couldn't get any work since we were both minors, and getting adopted was out of the question. Who'd adopt a kid with wings and a kid who was part feline? A nice zoo might. “Hey, Al,” a gravelly voice greeted me, interrupting my thoughts. “Where've you been?” I asked, barely looking up from two rats that were having a battle over who would get the bread crumb that was barely big enough for one. “Out,” was all I got as a reply. “Wish you'd tell me where you've been going,” I said aloud without meaning to.
“Penny for your thoughts?”
“We're poor; you don’t have a penny to spare.”
“Tell me anyway,” the boy said gently, sliding onto the floor beside me. Outside of our makeshift shelter, thousands of people passed by without a glance. For a moment I didn't reply and just took him in, though it was unnecessary. I had memorized every strand of messy red-brown hair, every inch of grime-streaked, tan skin; head to tail, literally, I knew him like I knew myself. “Just how unfair the world is,” I replied with a sigh. “You're always thinking about that.”
“I just don't get it, though. We're here freezing our butts off in New York while they are probably sitting by a fire munching on lobster and prime rib.”
“Again, nothing new there,” he said with a smirk. “You know they thought they were doing us good.”
“Key word being thought. I bet they sent us out into the sewers without a glance back. Right now, Max and the rest are having the time of their lives saving the world and eating 'til they're fat, and here we are watching rats fight it out for food. They’ve forgotten all about us!”
“You're not being fair. They had their hard times, too.”
“Gabe! Sweet little Suzy just DIED the other day. Did one of them die? No. Other than that Ari guy, they're all still alive. We're the only ones left, and we're about to go, too.”
“No we're not,” Gabe said with an unusual certainty. He wrapped his arms around me in a sideways hug and rested his head on mine. “As long as we have each other, nothing will hurt us.” I smiled as he kissed my forehead lovingly. “You're right. If I'm with you, everything will be fine.” With a laugh Gabe pulled himself away and stood up. “Where are you going now?” I asked, making no move to hide the feeling of disappointment. “I'm going out.”
“You always say that. Just tell me where you go every day.”
“No. You won't... You won't like it.” I frowned at his words. What could he possibly mean? Was he selling drugs on the corner? Did he show off his ears and tail? Was he at some really embarrassing job? “You could just tell me,” I persuaded. “No,” was all he replied before grabbing his hat and tucking his tail into his saggy pants. Without a word, Gabe continued out into the unforgiving streets of New York City.
I only waited a few seconds before tucking in my wings and pulling a tattered hoodie on over them. Without a glance back, I searched for Gabe and followed him with a silent stealth. He was the only one I was hiding from; all of the Erasers either expired or went on a man-hunt for Max and her gang. We were just left to die. I shook off any stray thoughts and continued to follow him through New York.
After many twists and turns on the dirty sidewalks, Gabe finally turned into an alley much similar to our own, except this one was much cleaner. “I know you're back there,” he said suddenly without turning around. “Just leave; go back home.”
“Show me where you go and I will.” I could see his hands clench and unclench; every muscle in his body was as tight as a coil that could be snapped at any moment. “Fine,” he muttered reluctantly after a long silence. “Stay close and don't say a word.” Gabe held his hand out and I took it. Together, we shuffled silently through the alley.
At last, he stopped at a rusty-looking door. “Wait here,” he murmured, dropping my hand and pushing the door open. I couldn't see the inside very well, but there was a small light that glowed dimly in the room. Before I could make out anything more, Gabe slammed the door shut. Minutes felt like hours that dragged on. The door slid open again, but instead of seeing his face, I was greeted by an ape-like man who roughly pulled me into the small room.
“He was right, boss,” the large man said in a thick Brooklyn accent. His leather jacket reeked of cigarettes, alcohol and something else. A small voice whispered that I wouldn't want to know. The only reason why I acknowledged it is because said jacket was causing a bruise on my side. “So he did,” a skinnier man mused in a nasally voice. “Now, Gabriel, let's talk business. Today's ya' last day, buddy. Where's my money?” The second man had turned his attention to Gabe. “I don't have it,” he replied bluntly. What money? What the heck had he been doing this whole time?? The pair before me glanced at each other. “Gabe, Gabe, Gabe,” the skinny man said, standing. “We don’t like it when people don’t get the money, do we Ape?” Ape, I mused. What a fitting name. “Gabe,” I started out slowly. “What did you do?”
“Provided for us,” he hissed in reply. This was not the way to get money, I wanted to screech, but the words caught in my throat. “What should we do with ‘im, Slick?” Ape grunted. “We have to get the money some way,” Slick, the skinnier man, replied. He rubbed his jaw thoughtfully, but I had a gut feeling that he had already decided what to do. Ape grinned evilly. I didn’t like that smile. Slick began to rummage in a drawer before pulling out a shiny pistol. I wasn’t too familiar with guns and the like, buy I knew what it meant. The slight twitch of the index finger sent a small, round object flying straight toward Gabe.
Time slowed as the bullet raced toward him. I was too shocked to do anything. Too shocked to move, breath, or react to what happened. Contact. Gabe fell backwards and onto the dirty floor. The two men exchanged looks, smiled, and silently left the room. They must have believed that I’d call the police, but that wasn’t going to happen; I was too busy fluttering over Gabe, trying to bring him back.
I couldn't believe it. He was gone. Gone. Not the gone where you know they'll be back in a few minutes, but the gone where you know they won't be coming back. I chocked back a sob as a knelt by his body. Dang. It was a stomach wound. Those were fatal, but they took the longest to kill you, and the road there was very painful. Tears began to pour freely from my eyes as the blood started to seep through his t-shirt. Gabe's eyes parted open slowly. My hopes rose, only to remember that no matter what happened, he'd die. His mouth formed words, but none came out. At last he managed to gasp out, “I love you.” With those three words the tears began to pour out with more vigor. My hands clung to his blood soaked shirt like it was the only life vest in a vast, endless ocean. “Go,” he whispered, voice hoarse. I shook my head. “Leave. I don't want you to see me like this.”
“You said that if we stuck together, nothing would hurt us,” I screamed. His eyes closed, but the slow rise and fall of his chest was still there. “I guess I was wrong,” he chuckled. His fingers began to brush a few strands behind my ear. Then, his hand fell away and I knew he had left me for good. I couldn't imagine how I could go on without him. My fingers stroked his still-warm cheek mechanically. Every warm smile was gone. Gone. Gabe. The Gabe who would tell stories to the younger ones when they woke up from nightmares or were on their deathbed. The Gabe who provided for everyone somehow would never breathe again. My Gabe was gone.
I don't know how long I sat there, but eventually his skin became cold. With slow movements, I closed his eyes, stood, and turned away. Right there, I decided something: Maximum Ride would pay for this. I'd make her wish she never found our lab and set us free. If she hadn't, Gabe and the others would still be alive. I had nothing to live for anymore, so I was willing to die.