scene cuts / changes: nothing major, just words, etc.

a/n: at end.





She sat on the hood of the car, hands pressed beneath her thighs, humming an idle tune. Sunlight streamed down at her, glinting off the windscreen, catching in honey coloured hair that glittered. She smiled when the automatic doors slid open, jumping from the car and opening her arms to the figure that appeared.

"Brian!" she cried. The figure stopped, suitcase dropping from his hand, eyes glued on the girl that stood awaiting an embrace.

"Gr-Gracie?" he stammered. His dark eyes flickered over her, taking in the healthy rosiness of her skin, the shine of her eyes and the broad white-toothed smile she was aiming at him.

"Sure is. Who'd you think it'd be?" She swept her hands down her shirt, tucking her fingers into the front pockets of denim jeans. Her smile became shy, unsure. "I know I didn't come to see you, but I thought it'd be even harder seeing you and not being able to be with you…" Her voice trailed off, and she said tenderly, "I'm sorry."

But in a few short steps, Brian had his arms wrapped around her. The hug was tight, intense. Yet it was just what she needed. Everything from the last few weeks seemed pointless now, now that Brian was out, Brian was with her. She hugged him as tight as she could, to the point her arms hurt from squeezing him so fiercely. She breathed in his scent of hospital soap and knew it was one of her favourite smells, right up there with grass and rain. When he pulled away, he held her out at arms length.

"Look at you, Gracie!" His wide-eyed gaze swept down her. "You looked like a scared little mouse the last time I saw you!"

Something inside her tensed. 'You're like a little mouse', a voice said inside her, echoing in memory. 'Any minute now you're going to bolt.'

She forced a smile, pushing painful memories behind her. "And what am I now?" she asked softly. Brian's eyes found hers and softened. His smile was small yet powerful.

"Now…you're a great big lion," he said. Grace's laugh burst from her, sudden, and she slapped him playfully like she had used to do.

"Thanks." She rolled her eyes but was still grinning. His words meant more to her than any other. "So, are you ready to go?"

"Ready?" Brian said in disbelief. He looked over his shoulder at the closed doors of Redbank Institute. "Hell, I've been ready for months!"

Laughing, Grace linked her arm with his, waiting as he lifted the suitcase. She led him to the car, sudden apprehension clenching her insides when she remembered who was sitting inside. She could see him in the backseat. She knew when Brian had spotted him, for the muscles in his arms tensed. "Who's that?"

"That's…my friend, Lucan." Her voice was soft and tender. Brian looked down at her, eyebrows raised.


Heat tickled her cheeks. "Yes," she said. "Friend."

Grace went around to the driver-side door, opening it and slipping in the same time as Brian. She forced herself to calm, to get ready for what was to come. She knew it was coming, she knew as soon as Brian turned in his seat, turned to look at Lucan. "Hey, mate, I'm—" His voice stopped abruptly. And Grace knew the cause of it. Black wings, the feathers sleek and shiny on the seats, spilled around Lucan, who looked calm. But Grace knew he was just as nervous as she, nervous for the reaction of Grace's most loved friend. He wanted Brian's acceptance, more than anything.


But he turned quickly to her. "Gracie, why has he got wings? Is this some sort've joke?"

Her stomach twisted. "N-no, it's not."

"You mean, he—" Brian jerked his thumb to the backseat. "—he really has got wings?" At her hesitant nod, he let out a bark of laughter. "Right. Sure. He's got wings."

"It's a long story," Lucan finally spoke up, his voice soft and slow, but they heard it as clearly as if shouted. Brian's eyes shot to him, dark and hard.

Before he could speak, Grace added, "A very long story." Grace and Lucan shared a long look, which Brian noticed with a furrowed brow and tight set of his lips.

"How long is this drive?" he asked, breaking their moment. Grace looked at him.

"A few hours."

"Good," Brian set, settling down into his seat. But he kept his eyes in the rear-view mirror, on those black feathered wings and the green-eyed boy. "Then start your story."

Grace glanced at Lucan once more, and at his short nod, she sighed. Starting the car and pulling out, they began the long tale of the Factory and their journey inside. Mrs Yuledale. The C.I's. Jameson. The domed world. Jynx. The fight. The escape. When they finished, Brian was pale and his entire body was tense. Grace rubbed his arm.

"Are you serious?" His voice was surprisingly calm, calm and quiet.

"Yes," Grace answered, flicking her eyes from the road to Brian's face.

He turned to her. "And you believe all this?"

Images and sounds flashed through her mind, phantom smells and pains. Memories. It had been a few months, so long a time compared to the days in which everything had happened. Every day on the news it showed images of the Factory. The surviving doctors had been interviewed, interviewed and questioned and questioned some more. The whole world now knew of the winged people. Animal activists were outraged, as were humanitarians and religious groups; all were horrified to discover another race of humans, of non-humans, created by science. Their existence had been announced: they were either accepted or…weren't. Her hands tightened on the steering wheel. "Yes, I believe it," she said again. "I lived it."

Brian sighed. "I'm glad you found what you were looking for," he said with a shaky exhalation. "Even if it is all so…" His silence was answer enough.

Grace frowned. "What I was looking for?"

"Yeah," Brian answered. "The green-eyed angel. Your demons. You wanted the truth, and you found it."

She started to nod, thinking, realising. "Yeah," she breathed. "I did."

There was silence after that, thick and thoughtful. Each of them was lost in their own thoughts. Grace and Brian staring out the windscreen, with his eyes flicking occasionally to the rear-view mirror, where Lucan sat, watching the scenery flash by outside. Flickering sunlight caught the gleaming feathers, flashing them raven and white as the day flew by.

Finally, Brian sighed, and turning to her asked, "Are you sure this is what you want?" Are you sure He is what you want? His second, silent question asked. And she nodded, smiling as she glanced to Lucan, who met her gaze and smiled the same smile.

"Yes," she answered. "It's definitely what I want."

There was another pause, in which Grace kept meeting Lucan's gaze in the rear-view mirror. Finally, Brian blurted, half-desperately, almost unbidden in its disbelief, "But he's winged!"

She had to let out a startled gasp. But she shook her head, grinning. "Yeah," Grace laughed. "And I'm crazy."


a/n: --phew-- finally finished, again. i decided to post it all today because i'm in a good mood :) i got my first tattoo on wednesday: an egyptian ankh on the inside of my wrist. and it felt like they were carving it into my skin with a scalpal. heh. but it didn't hurt as much as i thought it would. and plus, my tattooist guy was named rafael (yeh, like oh my -freaking-god. how sexy can you get??) and he was gorgeous. so the whole time he was doing it i was checking out his tatts and when he looked up and asked if i was alright, i couldn't help staring into his big brown eyes with like massively long eyelashes and nodding dumbly.

sigh. if only...

right. --coughcough-- more about the story and not my damn pointless lustings. heh. yep, winged is over, for the final time (unless i do a total revamp later on, which i doubt very muchly).

i've actually been fiddling around with another idea for a sequel. but if i do one sequel, i'd have to do another, like a series sort of thing. but i dunno yet. if i was going to do that i wouldn't post anything until i've got emery & me out of the way as well as walls apart which i hope to finish soon.

so i like to give a MAJOR thanks to everyone who has read, reviewed, favourited & alerted, as well as added me to their fave authors or author alerts. you don't know how much it means to me. so thanks everyone for coming along for the ride and i hope to see you again if i ever get aorund to doing (a) sequel(s).

peace out ♥