That night Evan asked her about her family.
When Max went to tuck Evan in, she was playing with her cards. That's right. Cards. Evan was trying very hard to get those tricks with cards. The shuffles, the games. All that stuff. Why, Max had no idea. And Evan was getting very good at it. Almost like those magicians who do the card tricks. But she wasn't perfect. And Max didn't expect her to be. After all, she was blind.
Max sat beside her on the bed. "Honey, it's time for bed."
Evan didn't answer her. Instead she showed her all the cards, trying to balance them in her hands. "Choose a card."
"Please mom," she smiled sweetly. "Just once?"
Max sighed. "All right, but just these once. You have school tomorrow."
At the mention of school her face fell a little. But she perked up again when Max told her that she had chosen one. She started to shuffle the cards, and then did some more tricks, which Max didn't recognize and didn't know how Evan knew. Then Evan stopped shuffling and held up a card, her face full of hope.
"Is this the one?"
Max tried not to flinch and tried to cheer her voice up. "Yes!"
Evan's face fell instantly and Max knew that she had to work on her fake cheery voice more often. "I didn't get it, did I? It's the wrong one."
"Honey," Max threw her arm around her shoulder and drew her close. "I'm sure you'll get it." she kissed the top of her head. "You just have to try a bit harder."
Even Max knew it was a lie. Evan was blind. How could she possibly get a card trick, a one she'd never even seen?
Then again, Max grew up with a kid who was blind and could cook better than anyone else in the world.
And Evan was doing pretty well even with blindness, almost as good as Iggy. Max wasn't sure where she got the idea. Evan first knew about the card tricks from Charlie. But she didn't seem interested at first. At least not that Max knew of. Then four months ago, she started playing with them. It was literally out of blue.
Sometimes-Max thought if it was a power. But it seemed too weird. Then again, Max had seen weirder things. But she sure hoped it wasn't.
Max tucked Evan in and kissed her head. She was about to leave when Evan spoke.
"Yeah, what is it?"
"Who was it that came today?"
Max froze. She knew this would come up, but she wasn't sure what to say about it. Should she tell the truth? Or should she just dodge the question like she always did?
But it wasn't the same now. Fang was here and Max could bet that the rest of the Flock would be here soon too. So wasn't it better if she knew about it first?
Max decided to tell her the truth, some of it at least.
That night, Max spent her time with Evan. She lay on the bed with her, her wings wrapped around her protectively, and she told her daughter the stories about her past. Obviously she didn't tell her all of it. She left out the erasers, she left out the School, she left out the tortures that they had went through, she left out a lot.
But she did tell her about the Flock. She told her about Iggy, who was blind but also an amazing cook, who loved explosives and blowing things up. She told her about the Gasman, her little trooper with a vicious digesting problem. She told her about Nudge the Motor Mouth. She told her about Angel, her baby, who could read minds and was the smartest kid in the world…and she told her about Fang.
Well, of course there was the occasional disbelief about things like Angel's mind reading. But she just told her that they were special.
And they were. Max knew it in her heart. They were special and they were her family.
And for the first time Max finally thought about it.
She thought about going home.
Home to her family.
Max knew that Fang would never wait for her to think about it. She knew that he'd show up with the Flock anyways. She just didn't expect it just the day after.
They showed up right after Max came home with Evan. She just had enough time to shove Evan inside her bedroom and to tell her that she'd be right back. Then she went to the kitchen where they were waiting for her.
Though Max couldn't help but feel happy to see them. She didn't realize just how much she'd missed them until she saw them again.
But there was also the fear.
Max knew just how much resemblance Evan had with Omega. What if they couldn't take it? What if they hated her?
And there was the time gap. Max had missed so much of their lives. What if she couldn't keep up?
And it hurt the most whenever she looked at Gazzy and Angel. They were both so big now. Okay, that sounded weird, but it was the truth. Gazyy was at least two inches taller than her, and seeing that Max was six two, that was something. And Angel was at least six. Max counted the years in her head. Gazzy was 18 now, and Angel 15.
Then there was Iggy.
He was way taller than Max now, and his once skinny and pale frame was now changed. He still wasn't as muscular as Fang, but he wasn't as skinny either. Though the most shocking were his eyes. His once pale blue eyes were now clear and piercing and the most beautiful shade of blue that Max had seen.
Yep. Iggy could see.
Whenever she saw him, she wanted to jump up in the air and do a mid air loop dance (if there was a thing like that).
And there was Fang, who was obviously changed. For some reason his talking had increased. She glared at him again; he just raised his hands in the though-it-looks-like-it-but-it-isn't-my-fault-I-had-nothing-to-do-with-it-they-are-responsible-for-this gesture.
The only exception was Nudge. She hadn't come. When Max asked about her their faces fell and they changed the subject so suddenly that Max knew something was up. But she decided to drop it just for then.
"Max please." Angel said for the umpteenth time. "Please…"
"No Angel." Max stopped her. "I'm not going, forget about it."
"You have to come." Iggy said. "You don't understand we need you."
"No, you don't understand…"
"Max please," Angel said again. "I know what you're worried about, I understand." And by the way she was looking at Max, it was clear that she really did understand. "But Iggy's right. We do need you. It's…nothing's the same without you, no matter how long it's been."
What? Max thought. What's that supposed to mean?
'Max, I can't tell you everything right now.' She jumped a little when she heard Angel's voice inside her head. 'But so many things have happened and they won't be the same without you. We need you.'
Max stared at her, so did everyone else.
"Angel?" Gazzy asked, clearly they understood that Max and Angel were having a conversation.
"It was nothing." Max dismissed it with a wave of her hand. "I'm not…"
This time her daughter cut her off.
Evan was standing on the doorway, her hair was a mess and her shirt was wet. There was also a very good patch of something black, which suspiciously looked like mud on her cheek.
Not a very good first impression.
She looked nervous and she was fidgeting with the hem of her shirt. Max was sure that she could feel all the pair of eyes on her. Then she looked right at Angel and Angel gasped very audibly.
"Hey." Max tried not to look at the others. "What happened?"
Evan looked away from Angel and stared at her feet instead. "I fell."
"Oh." She hurriedly went to her and before leaving she looked at the others. "I'm sorry guys, I'll be right back."
Max didn't ask her how she fell or where. She didn't ask her how it involved water or how in the world it could've involved mud when she was inside the house the whole time. She just helped her to clean up and to get dressed again. When Evan was trying to button up her shirt, Max finally noticed that her hands were shaking and she was still nervous.
Evan wanted to tell her something.
Max knelt in front of her and started to button up her shirt.
"You wan to talk about something?" Evan nodded. "What is it?"
"I think you should give it a try." Max stared at her confusedly. "You should go with them."
"Evan," Max said as softly as possible. "They don't even know you and you don't know them. What if you don't like them?"
"Why did you leave mom?" she asked suddenly. "They're your family and you love them, don't you?"
"Yes, I do." Max whispered.
"Then why did you leave them?" When she didn't get an answer, she voiced her own suspicion. "Was it because of my dad?"
Max stared at her with shock. But Evan knew that she wouldn't say anything, so after a few seconds of silence she continued.
"Maybe you should give it a chance. Maybe you should go with them." Then she smiled. "And don't worry mom. I think I'll like them."
Right then and there, Max had her decision.
She took Evan's hand and led her to the kitchen. They were still there, waiting. She put her hand around Evan.
"Hey guys." She smiled. "This is Evan. My daughter." she looked at the expectant gazes of the others and her smile widened. "We've decided to go with you."