All That's Left of Yesterday by rootlessdream

Category:Maximum Ride
Genre:Hurt-Comfort, Tragedy
Characters:Fang, Max
Published:2009-01-15 04:06:57
Updated:2009-02-02 05:24:18
Packaged:2021-05-07 01:44:33
Summary:Unspoken worries lead to unwelcome consequences. Some things remain forever unrequited. Fang/Max.

Table of Contents

1. Chapter 1
2. Chapter 2
3. Chapter 3

1. Chapter 1

First, let me tell you this is going to be just a few chapters. It's also a songfic, but rather than limiting it to a single song, there are several songs by Evanescence used, with just a few lyrics scattered throughout. There's a link on my profile that will take you to where you can listen to them all.

You may remember a drabble or two I wrote that loosely relate to this. So here we go…

All That's Left of Yesterday
Chapter One

You're not alone
No matter what they told you, you're not alone
I'll be right beside you forevermore

Fang stood motionless on the edge of the cliff, absorbed in a stream of thoughts and memories. Around him, an unspoken sadness filled the air, so thick he could almost taste it.

The blanket of darkness that surrounded the Flock was brightened only by the light born of the moon, and as Fang looked down at Max, her feet draped over the rocky edge of her perch, he noticed how the light outlined her features so perfectly.

With a resigned sigh, he sat down next to her and watched as she regarded him with careful eyes. After a few quiet seconds passed, the two both looked out ahead. A valley lay below, cast with unforgiving shadows as wispy clouds danced overhead.

Light footsteps could be heard from the cave behind them and Fang turned his head to find Angel cautiously approaching. His eyes flicked from her face to the inside of the cave, where he could see lambent flames slowly fading into ashes.

"Is everything going to be okay?" Angel asked quietly when she was just a few feet away.

Unforgettable scenes of the day's events instantly burst into his mind, blurring his thoughts again. Flyboys. Close to eighty of them had seemingly come from nowhere and descended upon the Flock with newly programmed vengeance, leaving the bird-kids bloodied, bruised, nearly broken, but alive and victorious, if only for now. But he could still hear the shots that rang out from their attached weaponry. It made him flinch ever so slightly…

"It's all going to be fine, sweetie," Fang told her, trying to force the sound of reassurance into his voice.

Her gaze lingered on him for a moment longer as her lips formed a tight, sad smile, before she turned and walked back to the others, letting silence reclaim its reign outside the cave.

Fang let his eyes wander to Max again, taking in the sight of her as if terrified to forget a single detail. The simple idea of forgetting her, his best friend and leader extraordinaire, made him feel an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of his heart. It would be intolerably tragic.

"Max, we need to get out of here," he said finally, his sullen voice shattering the discreet stillness of the wintry air.

"In the morning," she said, slowly nodding in agreement.

"No, I meant… out of this lifestyle. We need to find somewhere safe and just hide until this mess is all over." He'd said it all before, time and time again. All of the distress and suffering of the past year could have been avoided if she would have just considered the notion for more than thirty seconds.

"Fang, the Flock kicked major Flyboy butt today," she grinned half-heartedly. But Fang was too exhausted to return the fake expression that Max tried to lighten the grave mood with.

"We almost died today, all of us. You can't deny that," he paused. "It was too close." His tone held a certain asperity, which he knew would make Max uncomfortable, but he wanted, needed, her to understand the rarely experienced fear that had recently built up to unnerving proportions within him.

"I know that. But turn around and look in that cave. They're all alive. They just had a decent meal and they're getting rested. Do you think I stopped caring about that? I didn't. Everything I've ever done was for them…and you. But I just think it would be best if Itex was destroyed and the world was finally saved, instead of the Flock running away and hiding while all hell breaks loose out here."

Fang nodded hesitantly, understanding her point, but not exactly acquiescing with the logic.

"So then, what about you? What if-" he stopped abruptly, not comfortable with elaborating on the thought.

Fallen angels at my feet
Whispered voices at my ear
Death before mine eyes
Lying next to me, I fear

"Hm? If what?" Max prompted.

But he had fallen back into a silence, outfitting himself yet again with his stoic, reticent demeanor.

It was safer that way. If he didn't show it, it didn't hurt as much, didn't scare him as much. He knew that was a lie, though. It only scared him that much greater that he didn't tell Max these things more often. Because perhaps she would have been more careful, had she known he still worried about her and still cared just as much as ever before. Far too often, he'd seen her at Death's doorstep. But only once did he ever voice how much it killed him to see her like that, and ironically enough, it was the one time she'd put herself in the position.

Fang considered the possibility that maybe a profound weight would be lifted if he just came out of his recluse for a moment and said something…

So he tried, making a quick, determined statement…

"You can't leave me," he whispered matter-of-factly, a blank stare concealing the anxiety and fear he so blatantly felt inside. Much to his complacence, the sound of his voice held no feeling, either. Yet he watched as Max's expression turned incredulous.

"I- Wh-" she stammered, then quickly shut her mouth, and after a moment she lightly shook her head, wearing a barely existent smile. "Fang, they won't take me away, if that's what you mean. I promise. But, since when do you need me, anyway? You're my right-hand man for a reason. You're perfectly capable of taking care of the Flock alone." She quickly added, "Not that I plan on going anywhere, anytime soon."

He seemed to absorb what she was saying, but he was obviously not satisfied with her answer. He took a deep breath and looked away with an involuntary sigh.

"We've only talked about this once before, and Max, I honestly don't know what we would do without you… What would I do without you?" he asked, his voice betraying a slight hint of the emotion he's always been able to hide expertly.

Don't leave me here by myself
I can't breathe

Blinding wall between us
Melt away and leave us alone again
Humming, haunted somewhere out there
I believe our love can see us through in death

A faint, transient, wistful smile lightened his brooding face as she laid her cold hand delicately over his.

"You would be fine. Just like you told Angel a moment ago, it's all going to be fine," she said softly. It was a convincing statement, for a bystander's ears, but Fang could hear the lie behind it. They both knew the Flock wouldn't be okay if they lost anyone, especially their leader.

Sure, he could take on her responsibilities. He could make sure the kids were fed and had somewhere to sleep. He could embrace the same lies that she always did, telling the kids they would be free from this life one day, that they would settle down, live as a family. But that was all he could do. He couldn't be Max.

Fang's eyes locked with hers and he knew she was looking right through him, right through the impassive mask that took all of his remaining energy to hold in place. She could see all of his thoughts laid out in a display of doubt and hesitation, laden with fear.

And suddenly, Max turned her whole body to face him, slowly reaching her hands up and placing them on his cheeks. Her skin felt cool and soft against his, like a gentle, snowy breeze. She held his gaze firmly as she spoke with unwavering certainty.

"You don't need me. You never really did. And you'll be fine when I'm not with you anymore."

Fang's eyes widened the slightest bit, unnerved by the seeming finality in her words, and he placed one hand over hers, where it still rested on the side of side face.

"Stop talking like you'll be gone tomorrow," he said in a half-choked whisper. Fang wanted her to stop talking altogether if this was the only thing she would talk about, to stop bringing on these waves of cold anxiety, to be as sparing of speech as he was.

"I might be," she countered, so low he wasn't sure if he'd heard correctly.

"Max…" he frowned, feeling his stomach tighten into a legion of knots. She responded with a warm smile, one reserved only for Flock-comforting purposes, but rarely had it ever been used on Fang.

"Isn't it usually me drowning in pessimism? What's gotten into you?" she asked, aiming to put his mind at ease more so than looking for an actual answer.

With a sigh, Fang closed his eyes, trying to figure out exactly what had gotten into him. So he almost surprised himself when an unanticipated question escaped his own lips.

"Fine. But how can I be sure we aren't going to lose you?"


At that, he opened his eyes, staring back at Max expectantly.

Her next words came out barely louder than a breath, yet Fang heard them as if she had shouted them with a fiercely honest determination, resounding throughout the deserted valley below them…

Hold on to me, love
You know I can't stay long
All I wanted to say was
I love you and I'm not afraid

"I love you."

Whoa, right? So… I know I'm usually first in line to oppose Max and Fang saying those words, especially in the first chapter, but it was necessary for the purposes of this story. Out of character, I know. Just roll with it for now. You'll see… And remember, it's only a couple of chapters.

Reviews are wonderful.

Next chapter will be posted… Tuesday, unless demanded otherwise.

2. Chapter 2

All That's Left of Yesterday
Chapter Two

You won't cry for my absence, I know
You forgot me long ago
Am I that unimportant
Am I so insignificant
Isn't something missing
Isn't someone missing me

Max stood and stretched her limbs, trying to shake off the weariness from the last three hours of musing in solitude during the first watch.

Unbeknownst to the Flock, it wasn't a coincidence that they happened to be staying in this particular cave, in this particular area, just a few miles from the Pacific coast. It wasn't simply another night of rest at just any convenient location. Max had purposely brought them here, taking an unannounced detour, all because of one single tidbit of newly learned information.

From Jeb.

Apparently, he had tracked down the whereabouts of Angel and Gazzy's parents. Max wasn't sure, at first, which part of that she should be more shocked about. There was the fact that the siblings' parents could possibly be found, which was an astounding thought in and of itself. But there was also the fact that Jeb – Jeb, of all people – had been the one to fork the details over.

The only reason Max believed his claims at all was because he had, soon before, revealed the mystery of her own parents, which her mother confirmed to be nothing but the truth.

It couldn't hurt to check it out, right?

She walked to the southwest corner of the cave, where Fang was sleeping, and frowned at how tense and rigid his body seemed, even at rest. It shouldn't have to be like this, she thought, for the ten thousandth time in her approximately fourteen years. She wanted this whole ordeal – being mutants on the run, trying to take down the force of baddies, resting in caves and trees along the way – to just… be over, once and for all, to not have to deal with it anymore.

Fang's eyes opened immediately, but sleepily, the moment Max nudged his foot with her boot.

"Your watch," she whispered, hers eyes darting away from his in an instant, as if she thought they might expose her little secret.

A hollow feeling crept its way into Max's abdomen as she turned on her heel, not waiting for acknowledgement. She hated that he didn't know.

But Max couldn't tell him yet, not when she still remembered the way disappointment had washed over him the last time they failed to locate their families. So why throw out that false hope? Instead, she chose to bear the burden of it alone.

Well, that, and she also just wasn't… ready, yet. Wasn't ready to let them go.

She couldn't let them go, any of them.

But she would.

If the offer of a better life presented itself for any of the bird-kids, she would accept it, embrace it, and let them go, even if it left her heart mangled and tattered, burning like a salted open wound.

All that I'm living for
All that I'm dying for
All that I can't ignore

"I need to go for a fly," she said quietly, walking back toward the opening as Fang followed.

Abruptly, she turned around and cocked her head to the side, briefly looking past Fang for a moment, still considering that it might be pointless to even bother checking the place out. But she saw the way Angel clung tightly to Celeste, probably enduring another nightmare, the way Nudge was curled uncomfortably beside the small girl, protectively surrounding Total, and the way the boys were sprawled on either side, brows slightly furrowed, ready to be on guard and fighting at the drop of a dime, if need be… and an overwhelming sense of guilt smothered her residual inhibitions.

When this was all over, when Itex was no longer a threat, the kids needed more than she could ever offer them. More than a pebbly stone floor to sleep on. More than roasted rabbit, with a side of charred squirrel, for dinner. More than one bath a fortnight. Just… more. So, even if it meant losing them, giving up her role in their lives – mother, sister, friend – she would put up her brave front and face it, for them, her family, the only people in the world she would sacrifice her whole self for.

Give unto me your troubles
I'll endure your suffering
Place onto me your burden
I'll drink your deadly poison

"I won't be long," she added, unfurling her wings as she strode nearer to the rocky ledge of the cave front.

And with that, she was in the air, beating her wings almost reluctantly as she escaped Fang's scrutinizing gaze. She hadn't lied, but her omission of details tugged uncomfortably at her insides.

Max tried to vanquish to feeling, unsuccessfully. The only reassurance she could provide for herself was in the knowledge that she wouldn't be giving anyone up right now. Even if the location checked out as OK and she deemed it worthy of further appraisal (a.k.a. making sure the family was suitable to relinquish her "babies" to), it wouldn't be safe to hand them over just yet. Itex needed to be out of the picture first, and that gave her time…

She suppressed a humorless chuckle as she suddenly found half an ounce of comfort in Itex's existence.

Fending off the ludicrous thoughts, Max started to focus on the earth below her, remembering with precise detail the route Jeb had described for her.

The barren landscape below, shrouded in winter's icy cloak, mirrored the aching dread that was slowly encompassing her mind and forcing her chest to tighten. She frowned at a small quintet of evergreens surrounding a fallen sequoia, tragically covered in the season's frost.

Above, the stars winked relentlessly, vying for her attention as the wind spoke to her in cautious whispers, almost comfortingly. And she was ever-grateful for the distractions Mother Nature now offered.

The chaotic sound of the sea, relentlessly beating against the tall cliff face, saluted her arrival to the could-be future home of Angel and Gazzy. She took notice of how the liquid scenery stretched far past the horizon, like a silvery sheet embalmed in moonlight.

The sight was something to be marveled, for sure. Something she could be satisfied about the young kids waking up to every morning. Certainly, this was the kind of place they used to dream about, back in the days when they still dared to dream about living a normal life – in the days before Iggy had experienced the ugly letdown of finding out that his parents were nothing more than money-grubbing disappointments.

Max wondered what exactly Iggy would do when all of this eventually played out. She considered the possibility that he may want to stay with Gazzy, his little pyro compadre. She didn't really know if the siblings' parent's would accept him into their family, if that was the case. Then again, maybe he would want to stay with the remains of the Flock…

But should all of the others' parents be located, what would become of his situation? Obviously, she wouldn't abandon him if he didn't want to try the "family" thing again, but would it ultimately end up with Iggy and Max as the skeletal fossil of what used to be a family? And would Iggy acquire Fang's role as her right-hand man?


What the hell was she going to do without Fang?

Would he really leave her, though? Or would he fulfill his oath of never parting with her again?

Feeling utterly revolted and nauseated at the mere notion of losing them, him, Max shuddered and wedged the thoughts into the back of her mind, from where they would, no doubt, spring forth and torment her again, soon enough.

Within minutes, she spotted the very home she'd seen in the pictures Jeb had provided and found a suitable perch in a nearby tree, again taking in the sight before her, while the murmur of the surf boomed in melancholy mockery.

She roosted there, momentarily, entirely unaware of events the night would soon deliver…

It's not what it seems
Not what you think
No, I must be dreaming

Please, please forgive me,
But I won't be home again.

You still rolling with it? I am going to try with ridiculous determination to get the next chapter up tonight because it's a shorter one. But, as always, I'd like to see how people felt about this chapter before we move on.

So… your thoughts? Review? Purdy please?
Do you even
want another chapter?

3. Chapter 3

All That's Left of Yesterday
Chapter Three

Fallen angels at my feet
Whispered voices at my ear
Death before mine eyes
Lying next to me, I fear

Fang stood motionless on the edge of the cliff, absorbed in a stream of thoughts and memories. Around him, an unspoken sadness filled the air, so thick it was almost tangible.

The blanket of darkness that surrounded the Flock was brightened only by the light born of the moon, and as Fang looked down, Angel noticed how the light cast a shadow over his suddenly spirited eyes.

She watched from inside the cave as her big brother sat down on the rocky edge outside, unprotected from the light veil of snowfall. After a few quiet seconds passed, Fang looked out ahead at the valley below, his thoughts as hectic as ever.

With light footsteps, she cautiously approached his still form. Fang turned his head and his eyes flicked from her face to the inside of the cave, and she noticed the fractional remnants of their fire pit dancing in his pupils.

"Is everything going to be okay?" Angel asked quietly when she was just a few feet away.

She felt his memories pour through his thoughts. Scenes of Flyboys, mostly. And the gunshots. He remembered the cracking sounds of the shots clearer than almost anything else. It made him flinch ever so slightly…

"It's all going to be fine, sweetie," Fang told her, but she knew he had to force the false sound of reassurance into his voice.

Her gaze lingered on him for a moment longer as her lips formed a tight, sad smile, before she turned and walked back to the others, letting silence reclaim its reign outside the cave.

I'm numb to you, numb and deaf and blind
You give me all but the reason why
I reach but I feel only air at night
Not you, not love, just nothing

Angel took a seat on the hard floor, watching Fang again. Every so often, he would gaze at the empty space beside himself, lips whispering, pleading to the void.

She frowned as a faint, transient, wistful smile lightened his brooding face when a small clump of snow had slid from the cave's overhang and landed on his hand.

She was afraid to pick through his thoughts any further, nervous about what she might find there, both at the surface and in the memories repressed by deep, unrelenting sorrow.

There were things Angel didn't want to be reminded of, and yet every time she looked at Fang, she saw that day. She wasn't there, didn't see what happened with her own eyes, but Fang remembered. Boy, did he remember. Every single day, he thought about it, and Angel could feel what it was doing to him, how it burned like a searing flame against his delicately bare skin.

Fang felt a light tap at his foot and instantly awoke, finding Max with his sleepy gaze.

"Your watch," she whispered, her eyes darting away from his in an instant, immediately alerting him that something wasn't right.

While the chilling night air kissed the sleep from his eyes, he had also noticed the way she hesitated for a single split second, causing his ever-present curiosity to bubble up. And again, as he watched her walk towards the opening of the cave, Max seemed to lack decisiveness, almost as if she was rethinking something.

"I need to go for a fly," she said quietly.

Fang followed, knowing she meant alone

As if he was really going to listen to her now, of all times.

Abruptly, she turned around and cocked her head to the side, briefly looking past him for a moment, a look of doubt clearly splashed across her face. But soon enough, she turned and took to the skies with a few determined downstrokes.

Be careful, he wanted to shout.

But he kept the verbal concern to himself, instead walking hastily over to Iggy and waking the boy up to replace him for the watch.

Fang couldn't help it. He was seized by the urge to follow, rather than staying behind at the cave and becoming worn to shreds by pestiferous anxiety.

And so he silently flew behind her at a safe distance, remaining unnoticed. He easily kept at her pace, as she didn't quite use her super speed. The problem was remaining at a distance. He was maintaining it fairly well. But... the distractions... God, was she graceful in flight. He could describe it as nothing less than a flawless triumph of art. And the exquisite sight was his alone at this moment. Several times, he had to shake his head and force himself to just follow and make sure she wasn't ambushed…

Max had slowed as she neared the ocean, ending her flight as she glided to a landing in a large tree. It was barren of it's leaves in this harsh season and sat crookedly on the edge of a tall cliff face, her chosen branch leaning dangerously away from the security of land below it. Yet he couldn't understand why she'd perched herself outside of someone's house…

He found himself a perch of his own, a whopping 300 feet from Max, careful not to disclose his position – not a difficult task when you can practically manipulate the smothering silence around yourself. He stayed there, remaining concealed amidst the black, inky night, as he watched her and the surrounding area like… well, like a hawk.

But why here? he wondered.

Had she really come this far just to think?

You're too important for anyone
You play the role of all you long to be
But I, I know who you really are
You're the one who cries when you're alone

Or could it be possible that she had wanted him to follow? Fang allowed himself to linger with his thoughts on that possibility for a few moments, absorbed slightly, but knew it was ridiculous to consider.

Even so, part of him wanted it to be the truth. He couldn't deny that there was a part of him that had a ravenous thirst for reckless abandon – which is exactly what would follow any action he took toward the matter.

His occasional flashes of tenderness were few and far between, but so far, the constant remained that it never got him anywhere. She was always pushing him away. Still…

He had his reasons for being persistent…

Suddenly, he found himself presented with two clearly defined choices. Stay safely concealed or venture over to Max.

The latter choice was all but flashing in neon lights.

Take advantage of the opportunity. Indulge. Make her see how things could, should, be.

On the one hand, it was likely that he would be pelted with an interminable torrent of words.

On the other hand…

Although it was highly unlikely, he realized, it was a possibility – however grave that outlook might be – that Max would give in, go for it.

That thought single-handedly elicited a riot of joy within him. Sheer, exuberant, instinctive, unreasoning, careless, inexplicable joy.

Fear not the flame of my love's candle
Let it be the sun in your world of darkness

But just as Fang stood to take the leap, he watched as her face twisted, her eyes snapping shut as her hands frantically flew up to her head.

Whipping his wings out, a dangerous mixture of fear and adrenaline burned in his veins, watching Max stumble backwards on the wavering branch…

A sickening crack resounded through the air as the limb fractured and snapped from the truck, sending her into a freefall towards the wave-eroded cliff base…

Fang couldn't remember a time when he'd ever beat his wings faster…

I run to you, far away from this land
Call out your name, giving up, giving in
I see you there, still you are
Farther away

But as she had crashed among the surf below, he was simply too late.

Too. Late.

Some days, those were the only words Angel could get from his thoughts… The only words he allowed himself to contemplate.

And then Max was there again… riding his wave of denial deep into his very core.

It scared Angel. More than Flyboys, more than the School, more than losing Max. Whatever Fang was doing to keep himself together was absolutely frightening to her. Yet she prayed it wouldn't change. Because no matter how alarming it was to see Fang "with Max," it would be downright terrifying if Max left him, as was his own constant fear.

She felt her tears – tears she was previously unaware of – start spilling over, flowing in warm cascades down her face.

Through her now hazy vision, she watched a gentle breeze thrust bits of falling snow into Fang's face. Strangely, Angel felt his thoughts swell as he brought a hand up to his cheek and closed his eyes.

And she knew then what he was feeling. Just… love. He had never lost that sensation he had always felt from Max and she suspected he never would.

Nothing real love can't undo
And though I may have lost my way
All paths lead straight to you

Because even now, after one year's passing, Fang still whispers almost inaudibly into the vast emptiness around him…

"I miss you, Max."

Has no one told you she's not breathing?
Hello, I'm your mind, giving you someone to talk to
If I smile and don't believe
Soon I know I'll wake from this dream
Don't try to fix me
I'm not broken
Hello, I'm the lie living for you so you can hide
Don't cry
Suddenly I know I'm not sleeping
Hello, I'm still here, all that's left
Of yesterday

That's…all. I hope you liked it, even if it wasn't what you wanted or expected. Please review. If you have any suggestions about what could have been better, please let me know and I'll consider it when I edit. Constructive criticism is greatly appreciated. Like it? Love it? Hate it? Does everything make sense (continuity between 1st and 3rd chapters)? Let me know what you thought of it, please. :)

Thanks for reading. Again, I hope you enjoyed it.