The Stars are Laughing by flYegurl

Category:Maximum Ride
Genre:Angst, Tragedy
Characters:Ari B., Max
Published:2010-08-12 15:11:32
Updated:2010-08-12 15:11:32
Packaged:2021-04-22 01:23:45
Summary:Ari pulled the trigger, because he wanted Max to feel pain. And it was Max's fault what happened next, because she did nothing to stop it. She could do nothing. So that night she slept next to a body that would never wake up.

The Stars are Laughing

Disclaimer – I do not own Maximum Ride, nor any of the characters.

Ari held the gun in his quivering hand, pointing it directly at Max. Max, whom he hated with every fiber of his being. Max, whom he loved with all his heart. Max, who had abandoned him. Max, who had left him all alone. Max, who had stolen his father.


He wanted to hurt her.

"I'll shoot you," Ari growled, his lips trembling. "I want you to suffer. Suffer like me."

Max's glare was fierce, the look in her eyes determined. Her pitiful flock was huddled in clumps around her, wings spread, quivering. The little blonde ones were hugging each-other, protected by the dark one. The other girl and the blind one stood on Max's other side, seeming ready to fly away at their leader's first command. Ari's heart dropped into his stomach; Max had friends. Ari had none.

"Yeah? I don't think it's going to work." Max sneered, curling her lip at the pitiful Eraser. The boy was just seven, yet here he stood, deformed, mutated, and scarred. He wasn't even human anymore, not in her eyes. Just one of the everyday monsters she was supposed to fight against for her life.

Ari narrowed his eyes. Max, with her high-and-mighty attitude. Who had everything handed to her on a silver platter. There was no doubt in his mind about how he felt; he loved her, he hated her, he wanted her to feel terrible pain. But no matter which way he looked at it, she was right.

"Why won't it work?" he snarled, though he already knew the answer. Max grinned, and stood tall, arms crossed over her chest. The rest of her stupid mutants stood straight, staring at Ari as if he was a sideshow attraction, a beast, some sort of deformed monster locked in a cage and put on display. Ari didn't like that look. It was the look the scientists gave him as they ran tests.

"Because," Max began, shrugged. "A bullet. Two bullets. Three bullets. You can't kill me, or fact is, you won't. You don't want me to die. But however way you look at it, bullets are just things. They'll hurt me, they'll cause my blood to pour; but the scars will always heal." She laughed, and Ari grimaced. "However you try, Ari, you'll never be able to cause me the unending pain you want to. You're just not strong enough; you don't have the brains, either, for that matter."

Furious, Ari scowled. His blood ran hot underneath his tightly stretched skin, his hide crawling with the numerous ticks and fleas that never left him in peace. His fur bristled, his hair tingled, and he could feel his pulse pumping in his wrist and neck. He tilted back his head and howled to the night sky.

The stars sparkled. They laughed at him, the tiny creature tormented by grief and pain. He wanted the sky to swallow them up, those stars that gazed at him at all times, that saw and knew and understood whatever he did. Ari wanted to be able to reach up and snuff out the little lights, silencing their tirade of laughter, making the buzzing of numerous voices finally cease. But he couldn't, because he was just one speck of life in the universe, one small, infinitesimal being that had no meaning, no purpose, and no reason to exist. Just someone who was born, and who was going to die, and the stars laughed as they reminded him of what he could never forget.

So the stars laughed, and on the inside, Ari cried out for the life he could have had, the life he had always wanted. A warm family, a home, a loving father who would take him by the hand to come play with his sister, his best friend.

Maximum Ride.

Ari howled once again to the sky, and the gun held in his hand quivered. He nearly dropped it, and he knew that no matter how many times his finger pulled the trigger, no matter how many times the bullets pierced the girl's skin, he would never hurt Max.


Ari's resolve hardened, and he felt the overwhelming sense of an idea brewing inside his mind. He wanted to cause her pain. He wanted her to feel what he knew daily. He wanted her to know how it felt to be tormented by voices, ideas, pain, grief, misery. He wanted her to know what his life was life, so she would never again look at him and laugh.

And if he couldn't manage that by shooting her, he could do something better.

Max smirked. She could see the torment in Ari's eyes, and knew she had beaten him. Ari couldn't shoot her, he didn't have the guts, and it wouldn't work for what he wanted. It wouldn't solve his problems. So she was safe, and she had won, and Ari would leave.

But Ari suddenly stiffened, the pain leaving his eyes and leaving only burning hatred and resolve. She could almost sense the emotions, the rage rolling off of him in waves of heat and anger. She could see as his lips turned up in a cold sneer.

"Maximum Ride. Apparently shooting you will make no difference. So I won't…" Max frowned. The Eraser did not look like he was giving up, but she had know idea what Ari could be planning. His mind was too complex, no matter how many times she tried to deny it. Max knew that Ari was unpredictable, and sometimes, it scared her.

"Max," Ari repeated her name, almost with reverence. "Maximum Ride. I want you to know that, what's going to happen, it's your fault."

Ari held the gun, raising its barrel until he was pointing it directly at Max's chest. Her eyes frowned, and he smiled at the confusion he had brought her. Maximum Ride didn't know what was about to happen.

Grinning with self-satisfaction, Ari clenched his clawed finger down harder on the trigger of the gun. The metal was cold, it was hard, it felt… powerful. Ari was holding death in his bare hand.

Without any warning, Ari changed the direction the gun was facing and pulled the trigger.

Avian-human hybrids. The most successful form of recombinant beings. Gifted with ninety-eight percent human and two percent bird DNA. Lighter bones. Air sacs. Better hearts and lungs. Wings. Super strength. Super reflexes. Raptor vision.

When Ari moved the gun, most of Max's flock could detect the flinch in the Eraser's arm, the ripple of muscle, the motion Ari was going to make before it happens. Most of them could see that Ari wasn't going to be aiming for Max. After Ari fired, most of the Avian-human hybrids would be able to see the motion of the bullet, would be able to use their raptor vision and super reflexes to dodge, so that the bullet passed harmlessly by, riding on air until it either hit a different target or lost momentum and fell, useless, to the ground. If Ari had pointed the gun and fired at each individual Avian-human hybrid in turn, most of them would have been able to dodge the bullet and emerge unscathed.

But 'most' is not all. And the 'most' of Max's flock was not who Ari aimed at. Because Ari was smart, he was intelligent, besides what Maximum Ride may like to believe. And Ari knew exactly what he had to do to cause Max pain. And it worked, because Ari fired at the one in Maximum Ride's flock who wasn't able to dodge bullets.

Max watched the bullet's path as it sliced through the air. She could see the air it was displacing as it charged towards its target. She knew who the bullet was going to hit. Maximum Ride could see the outcome before it even happened. But she was too far away, too slow, too surprised, too terrified to do a thing about it.

It hit him directly in the stomach. Max could almost hear the grinding of metal as the bullet exploded into tiny shards, spreading and slicing as they forced their way deeper. Max could hear bones snapping and shattering deep inside, could see the surprised and utterly confused look on his face. As blood burst from his wound, Max watched, her eyes distant. There were screams that were coming from everywhere and nowhere at once, and she couldn't decipher the difference in pitches, in tones, couldn't tell if the screamer was a girl or boy, until she noticed the burning in her throat and realized it was her.

Ari pulled the trigger a second time, and the boy he had shot was still too shocked to respond. Maximum Ride hadn't moved yet, and the rest of the flock was staring, dumbstruck.

The Eraser bearing the gun laughed as the second shell entered into the mutant's chest, and Ari knew that it had pierced his heart. More blood exploded from the second wound, red and gleaming and bright and beautiful, such a happy color. Ari heard as the boy's ribs snapped, heard as air whooshed out of the mutant's lungs, and saw as blood burbled up from out of the mutant's throat to fill its mouth and pass it lips, running down its chin. Then Ari shouted to the world.

"See, Max? See what I did! I've won, and you know it! Pain, Maximum, feel the pain I've always wanted you to…"

And Ari spread his misshapen, lopsided wings and turned, dropping the gun, took a running start, and leapt into the night. He left Nudge, Gazzy, Angel, Fang, and Maximum Ride to deal with the bloodstained body.

Max walked slowly towards the body. It was lying on the ground, having fallen after the second shot. Max could see torn, ragged skin and blood, so much blood. The body's chest and stomach was dripping, puddles forming around it and seeping into the ground to fertilize the soil. Maximum wondered vaguely if flowers would grow there, or if that patch of land would remain barren, forevermore.

Kneeling down, Max gazed more closely at the body. Its eyes were still open, staring sightlessly at the stars. Blood was stained on its chin where it had bubbled up from inside its torn and ravaged stomach. Maximum Ride forward and put her hands on the wounds, wondering exactly what she was doing, and hoping it was all a dream.

Blood cam away on her hands, sticky and red and wet and sweet and warm. The body was warm. The body was still warm.

Her family gathered around her, staring at the body as well. They all knew what the future held. One less flock member. One less pair of wings. One less friend. One less brother. One less voice. One less opinion. One less laugh. One less Iggy.

Maximum Ride didn't cry, because that wouldn't do the body any good. She just sat there, staring for a while. No matter how long it was, she stayed, just staring. Wanting the mouth of the body to open and laugh.

Eventually, Maximum Ride reached out with her bloodstained fingers and closed the body's eyes so she wouldn't have to look at them anymore. She didn't want to see the eyes that had been blind, that had been blind for so long, and were still sightless. She didn't want to look if they couldn't see.

Her fingers left streaks of red across the body's face, but Maximum Ride didn't care. She just sat, and thought, and ignored the rest of her family around her. Max knew that eventually she would have to lead them again, eventually she would have to smile again and talk again and laugh again and pretend everything was alright again. But now, she didn't have to. Now, she could just stare at the body. It was just a body now, it wasn't a person anymore. No, not anymore. It was a body, not her brother. It was a body, not her best friend. It was a body, not Iggy. It was just a body.

Maximum Ride bit back her tears and lay down beside it. She lay in the blood, in the damp grass. She lay and got as close to the body as she good. And she stayed there, sleeping with the body.

It was the first time Maximum had ever slept with a body. It grew cold during the night; at some point, all the warmth had left it. The body's arms were stiff, it's face set. It looked as if it was sleeping, but Max knew it wasn't, because bodies didn't sleep. They were just there.

Maximum Ride didn't stay asleep for more than an hour. She woke up at some point, to look at the face. The face looked exactly like Iggy's face, which she thought was weird, since it wasn't Iggy. It was a body, that looked like Iggy, but wasn't.

She wouldn't cry. She wouldn't laugh or talk. She would just lie there, looking at the body, and wondering where Iggy had gone off to. Maybe he was off making some more bombs, or perfecting a recipe. Maximum Ride's head was full of all the memories she had of Iggy. Happy memories and funny memories. Sad memories and angry memories. But the whole time, she didn't smile or laugh or cry. She just lay there, gazing at the body.

Because Ari was right, and it was her fault. And because of that, she was lying with a body instead of Iggy. And she was sad.

And somewhere in the night, far away, miles away, Ari cried.

And high in the sky, the stars laughed. Because Maximum Ride, and Ari, and Fang and Nudge and Gazzy and Angel and Iggy and everyone… everyone out in the world, every speck of life that existed… they were all just one speck of life in the universe, one small, infinitesimal being that had no meaning, no purpose, and no reason to exist. Just something that was born, and that was going to die. And the stars laughed as they reminded them of what they could never forget.


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