(Set during the third book)
I really should have gotten used to be knocked unconscious by now. But still, as usual, I was groggy when I awoke. As usual, I was a different room than I'd gone to sleep in. And as usual, I was restrained.
I was at least upright this time, which was a blessing, though my wings were scrunched uncomfortably between my back and the metal table I was strapped to. They would fall asleep and go numb before long.
This room was smaller than the one I had been in with the Flock, made for only one person. To my left, too far to reach, was a wheeled table with some scary looking machines on it.
Oh well. Can't be any worse than what I'm used to.
I eyed the camera in the corner of the ceiling. I wouldn't have to wait long before they realized I was awake, and true to form the door began to creak open only a few minutes later. I had been expecting that. What I hadn't been expecting was for Fang to enter the room.
He looked pretty much as he had when I fell asleep. Black t-shirt, stained black jeans, bare feet. But something wasn't right. Why would he be here, walking in so obediently without an Eraser escort? Fang wasn't one to play along, as soon as they let him go he'd be a whirlwind of fists. He came closer, and I opened my mouth to ask what was going on. But then I met his eyes, and something there gave me a pause. No, not something, nothing.
There was nothing. I'd grown up with Fang, I was a champion at reading his body language and his moods and especially his eyes, but right now there was nothing there. He'd looked at me a lot of different ways over the years, but never like this. I knew before he'd even made it across the room.
"You're not him."
The-boy-who-was-not-Fang paused in his steps and tilted his head at me. Then he turned away, towards the table, not even seeming bothered.
"Hmph, he was right." he mumbled. It was jarring to hear Fang's voice coming from someone else, and somehow managing to sound distinctly not Fang.
"Who was right?" I demanded, though part of me already knew the answer.
"Jeb. He said you'd see right through it." The clone picked up something from the table and turned back to me. It was an alcohol wipe, so innocuous and yet so sinister.
"Then why bother?" I tried my best not to shiver when he pressed the cold synthetic cloth to my skin. This close, it was even more obvious this was not Fang. He smelled sticky, like antiseptic, and even his breathing and heart rate were all wrong.
"They're not listening to Jeb anymore. His way hasn't gotten them anywhere."
"A clone didn't work the last time either." I pointed out. He dabbed one more spot of skin before tossing the wipe back to the table.
"I don't know." he said carelessly. "Maybe they thought it would be different this way."
I couldn't think of anything to say to that. So I went with sarcasm instead.
"Tell the whitecoats they need to invest in better method acting for their clones. The real Fang doesn't talk nearly this much."
"Good thing I'm not him then." He pressed a button on the table, and across the room a small screen lit up. I immediately recognized the room it displayed and the people inside.
"So you can see their reactions." said Not-Fang, nodding towards it. "That one was Jeb's suggestion."
"Their reactions?" I didn't like the sound of that.
"They have a screen too." he explained, fiddling with more equipment on the table, just out of my sight. "They're watching."
My eyes darted up to the camera in the corner. "You guys are sick."
"They are." Not-Fang agreed with a slight nod. His attitude was so strange. Detached, like none of this was real. Well, screw that, it was real enough to me.
"You don't seem totally on-board with this." I tried. I wasn't great at sweet-talking my way out of situations, but I could give it a shot at least. This guy was just as much a victim as any of us were.
He just shrugged, turning back towards me with several electrodes in his hands. So that's where they're going with this.
Very cliche. Come on Jeb, be more imaginative.
"It's what I was told to do."
"Yeah, you're definitely not him." I snorted. "Fang never follows orders."
For some reason, that made the clone pause.
"Not even from you?"
"Especially not from me."
"Hm." He didn't say anything else while he stuck the electrodes to me, and I kept my eyes on the screen. The Flock was all crowded around one corner of the room, presumably watching their own screen. I couldn't see their faces very well, but their body language screamed anger and fear.
There must have been a sound on their end, because all of their heads snapped around at the same moment. My eyes followed the blurry black blob that had to be Fang as he crossed the room towards the door. Then his clone spoke, jerking my attention back to my own predicament.
"I think they're going to be disappointed." he was murmuring, half to himself. "They're not going to break you this way."
"Of course not." I meant to sound brave, but my voice came out slightly choked. "They couldn't break me after ten years, why should I break now?"
For the hundredth time he swiveled back to the table, and only now did I noticed how he held his wings. Not like we did, up off the ground and ready to take flight at a moment's notice. He let his drag behind him, and every so often they twitched, like he didn't know what to do with them. A sudden thought had me blurting out before I thought better of it.
"How old are you?"
He paused, finger poised over the button on a machine that would undoubtedly shock me. He didn't answer, but he also didn't move, so I pressed on.
"I bet you don't even know how to fly, do you?"
His shoulders tensed up. Not in a tiny motion, not almost imperceptible the way Fang did, but all at once like he was a turtle trying to hide in it's shell. That was a yes.
"I'm sorry." My voice dropped to a whisper, and I thought he didn't hear me until he whirled. Now his eyes showed something; complete blazing rage.
"Don't you dare feel sorry for me." he hissed, fists clenching at his sides. "Don't you dare."
Before I could answer there was a quiet, far away crash that caught both of our attentions. We both looked to the screen this time, just as Iggy and Fang teamed up to body slam an Eraser into the floor of their cell. The door was left wide open, and alarms started blaring.
"Huh." mumbled the clone, previous flash of anger forgotten. "That wasn't supposed to happen." Alarms began to sound in this building as well, echoing in the hallway right outside the door and instantly giving me a headache. One by one, the Flock disappeared from the screen, undoubtedly escaping from the room.
"You should leave." I told the clone. He didn't look at me. "Before the others get here. Fang's gonna be pissed."
"Yeah, probably." He looked at the door, seemingly pondering. "I'll leave the door open."
Before I could comprehend what he meant he had left, leaving the door open as he'd promised. Mere moments later the real Fang was crashing in, the rest of the Flock at his heels.
(A/N So... I'm not dead. And yes I'm very much aware I haven't been updating my other stories, and I am genuinely sorry about that. I have to admit it... I've been seeing another fandom. A few months ago I got sucked into Voltron Legendary Defender and I've been writing like a maniac for it ever since. I've written ten oneshots and I have two AU's in the works, one of which is over 56k already. None of them are posted, but they will be eventually. If you want to blame anyone for the lack of updates, blame my friend (Lyall Black on here) for encouraging my life destructive writing spree.