Teo's scales were cold on my skin as he wrapped himself around my neck. They couldn't make him give up his poison and no one here was immune, so he had to stay in my room most days, but we were leaving today. Escaping the base. Well, they didn't know we were escaping, they just thought we were going to another base. But the Sergeant who was taking us was bringing us somewhere else.

McGarth walked into my room, "Ready?"

I glanced around, "I think so."

She frowned as she said, "You're not planning anything, are you?"

My heart skipped a beat, but I managed to sound calm as I said, "No."

"Good. The Sergeant has been giving neutralization syringes if you do."

My brows drew together. "What are they? And why would you tell me?"

She pulled out a long needle, "This a neutralization syringe. I'm telling you as a scare tactic."

I stood a little taller, "You're bluffing. You want to scare me, there's nothing in there but some coloured water."

A slow, terrifying smile crept across her face. She bent over, grabbing Cira by the scruff of her neck and lifting her. To slow I realized what she was doing. "No!" I screamed, but she'd already stuck the needle into the squirming cat, and injected the liquid.

I jumped forward, trying to grab my kitten, but her eyes were blank. McGarth said matter-of-factly, "That poison attacks the brain first, and quickly, so you won't be able to work your magic."

A tear fell from my eye onto the dead kitten's soft fur. I was shaking, I was so angry. She tutted at me, "So upset over so little."

I spun around, grabbing the sharp pair of scissor's I'd found on my first day in the base. I'd hidden them in my belt this whole time, just in case. She managed to stop my hand, an inch from her throat. She pulled the scissor's from my hand, "Well, what do you know. Kitty's got claws. Where did you manage to find this?"

I didn't speak, still shaking. She shrugged, "No matter. Move."

Teo hissed at her, baring fangs, but I moved. There was nothing I could do to save Cira now, and the guys were waiting. Teo's black eyes met my silted ones, Focus child. Escape is within our grasp.

I looked forward again. I didn't feel much like talking. If felt like someone had punched a whole through my stomach with a dull object. My anger subsided, but I kept shaking. We were so close, and yet so far.

V and M were waiting by the loading dock, two guards with big guns for each. It was the first time I'd been outside since we'd arrived a month earlier. I'd forgotten what wind felt like on my skin, how it rustled my hair, the scents it carried. Scents of grass and dirt from far away, trees that stood in the forest, just like I remembered. It was all I could not to start running, trying to make it to that distant freedom.

I walked quietly, as they expected, though, to the truck that was waiting. The Sergeant had made an extremely fast recovery, fast enough they hadn't sent someone else to take us. He was standing by the door of the truck.

I stopped by V. He had the same look in his eye as the first day I ever met him, sharp, planning, willing to do anything to escape what confined him. His strange eyes met mine for a second and softened, but not by much. I looked at M. I hadn't seen him for sometime. He looked bigger, as if that were possible, Like he bulked up more.

He was staring at me. Like he was making sure I was okay, and they hadn't done anything to me. I wondered if they'd used scare tactics with him, threatening me to make him cooperate. I wouldn't put it past them.

McGarth crossed her arms as she addressed us, "This van has been prepared to transport you to the airport. It is electric proof and thick steel that cannot be destroyed by brute force. You boys understand?"

She said it pointedly, like there was nothing I could do to escape. Trying to make me feel worse about being useless, more helpless then I am. I glared at her, but I doubt it was as menacing as I wanted it to be.

Two guards opened the back of the van for us. I made sure the Sergeant met my gaze before I got in. There was a metal screen between the driver, thick enough that we couldn't do much about it, but the driver could still hear us, just in case we were planning anything.

He got in the van with one of the other guards. Only one. That was a good thing. better for us. The guard glanced through the screen at us, before looking at the road. The Sergeant started up the van and I could hear the gaits being opened outside and we rumbled through.

Every once and a while the guard would check on us, to make sure we weren't using hand gestures to communicate or anything. We weren't. We didn't need to. Me and V were having an entire conversation with only our eyes.

He was going to melt the metal around the window, just enough that M could punch through it and grab the guard. That way it would be easy enough to knock him out.

V moved over to the wall, putting his hand on it. He sent electricity up the wall, letting it move around the window. I glanced at M. He inched forward silently, waiting, waiting, and then hitting the wall suddenly. The Sergeant swerved as M cut off the guard's air supply. The man wriggled feebly, but M had grown stronger, and even with one arm easily banged his head against the poorly padded seat.

The guard went limp. M moved back, and V moved forward. His voice was sharp as he said, "Pull over."

The Sergeant gulped, "What?"

"I'm not letting you drive us wherever you please. Pull over."

"You're just going to leave me on the side of the road?"

"I'm not that stupid. You're coming with us, but I'll be driving."

"I don't have the keys to unlock the back," the Sergeant said, "They're waiting at the airport."

"Damn," V cursed, and looked at the window. Not quite large enough. He looked back at M, "Make a bigger hole."

M had gotten used to taking orders, I think, so he grabbed the edge of the window and pulled. The thick metal bent easily for him. V crawled through and put his fingers to the Sergeant's neck, growling, "Pull over."

The Sergeant did as he asked, and V took his place. He glanced back at me before telling the Sergeant to trade places with me. I wonder why, until I saw M again. To a stranger, he wouldn't be a big silent lovable goof. He'd be terrifying. I slipped through the hole easily into the front.

V started driving, and driving fast. I asked, "Where are we going?"

"Away," he said flatly.

"You don't have a plan?!" I exclaimed.

"I've been a little distracted lately, okay?"

"Distracted? Distracted by what?"

He snorted, "As if you don't know."

My brows drew together, "No, V, I don't know. What are you talking about?"

He glanced at me, and then scowled at the road, speeding up slightly. He muttered, "Some of the soldiers at the base were noticing you. That's all, okay?"

"Well I saved half of them, of course they noticed me."

"No!" he snapped, "They were noticing your body. They were noticing the fact that there's only males at the base. They were going to—" he stopped himself, blushing. He mutted, "Let's just say some of them were planning to do something bad."

I didn't know what he meant, but something in the tone of his voice made me stop asking questions. I stroked Teo's head absently, watching the land roll by the window. Part of me wanted to yell with joy that we were free, but the other part wasn't so naïve. That part knew we weren't nearly done yet. That part was right.

Author's note: Happy holidays! Please review!