Not by Pyralis Anacreon

Category:Maximum Ride
Characters:Angel, Max
Published:2009-09-09 14:06:22
Updated:2009-09-09 14:06:22
Packaged:2021-04-04 14:48:07
Summary:Itex doesn't exist and neither does the Flock. Things are not as they should be. And they suffer for it. And for just a moment, she flew.


Itex doesn't exist and neither does the Flock. Things are not as they should be. And they suffer for it. And for just a moment, she flew.

Her name is still Max, short for Maxine. She is still the biggest tomboy anyone knows, the best fighter no one wants to know. Her father is distant, her mother loving. Her little sister tries to grow up too fast-sometimes Max feels she never got to be a child at all and she wants to shake Ella and yell at her to enjoy it while she can-and her little brother doesn't seem to grow up at all after their father dies. Her mother is sad, but moves on. Max thinks she never really loved her husband in the first place.

Max doesn't have any friends. They can't keep up with her, can't match her. They are a little too human and she is a little too not.

She chases goals like the world depends on it-but didn't it, once?-with an unshakable determination. She joins the air force despite her mother's protests. She experiences the exhilarating-and yet so disappointing-feeling of flight-it's not the same she should be feeling the wind in her hair she can go faster than this why is she alone-and then quits because it's nothing like it should be. She was their best pilot.

She moves on, like always. She's searching for something, maybe. She feels so empty.

She is alone, and she isn't supposed to be.

His name is still Iggy, short for Igneous. His hands are covered in burn scars and he smells like smoke. He is an only child. His parents want the best for him, and he gets good grades to please them but doesn't even try to stay out of fights. They call him a pyro freak at school; it doesn't bother him, but he can't let them get away with what they believe is an insult. He graduates and becomes an explosives specialist in the military.

He keeps bomb materials on him all the time, so well disguised and hidden that not even airport officials can find them. It makes him feel a little less vulnerable, a little less helpless.

When he looks into the fire, he can almost see the flames twisting into familiar faces, and the crackling almost sounds like voices he's heard every day of his life.

He hates the dark but when the world gets to be too much he scrunches his eyes shut and things go black and everything is all right.

When he looks out the small window of an airplane, he thinks this is all wrong and wants the world to burn because it is not how it should be.

His name is not Fang, but David. He is quiet, and often difficult to notice. He doesn't mind; it suits him to be unseen. Even as a child his parents occasionally misplaced him. At the graduation ceremony his name is called and people wonder who he is. They can't remember ever seeing his face before. He signs on for the military and is soon picked as a spy. He excels.

He has a goal to reach. To find that thing he has been missing from the start, the thing that will finally make him real and whole.

He can't remember his own face, or which mask is real.

Her name is Mia, not Nudge. She starts talking at eighteen months old and never stops. She talks in school, not caring that there's class going on and the teacher is too. She does well enough, graduating at the exact middle of her class. She becomes a news anchor, eventually.

She has a lot of friends, loving parents, and many ex-boyfriends. She never marries. Her friends and parents ask about it, but by then she is an expert at changing the subject.

She will never, ever admit to them, or herself, that she likes to think she's talking to the empty space inside when she's on TV, that she wants to be on national TV because then maybe the people who will complete her will recognize her face and she will be whole. She will never, ever admit to herself that the reason she chatters on even when she's alone is because she's trying to fill the void left behind by people who aren't there and should be. And never will she ever admit that the talking doesn't help at all.

His name is Owen, but he sometimes thinks it should be something else. He likes action, loves to fight. When he's bloody and bruised and exhausted and victorious, that's when everything is right with the world. Then he looks around a realizes he's celebrating alone, and he's struck by how very quiet it is. He really does go looking for a fight, no matter what he tells his parents. He usually finds one, too. He drops out of school early and considers the military.

But then he decides that shooting someone can't give him the same feeling he gets when his fist slams into someone else's nose and the crunching sound tells him it breaks. Instead, he fights in an unofficial, probably illegal, ring. There are no gloves and he is undefeated, nearly untouched. He's just a little too good for them. He is well-off from the prize money of those fights.

He very carefully doesn't think about the little nine-year-old girl he thought he knew and loved. And only in his dreams does he wonder why his beloved, perfect little sister took her own life.

Her name was Angel, as it should have been. She was sweet and kind and loved, always smiling.

And she knew exactly what was missing.

Gazzy's presence hurt her more than it helped. He remembered nothing of what their lives should have been like and that meant the others didn't, either. Gazzy-except he's Owen now-didn't know Max or Fang or his best friend Iggy, Nudge or even her, and she could see how much he suffered for it, even if he couldn't. They were supposed to be together, needed to be together. They were the Flock, even here in this cruel world.

It was all wrong, wrong, wrong, and Angel couldn't fix it.

For all the nine years of her life, the first person she called for after waking from a nightmare was Max. She found herself listening to Nudge who wasn't there, reaching to guide Iggy who didn't need it, looking for Fang who'd vanished again-but wasn't there in the first place-and trying to tell not-Gazzy all the things he was supposed to know already. He just laughed, because she was a little kid making up stories. It killed her more than true death ever could. Owen grew less and less tolerant of her stories until the day he finally snapped at her You're too old to play pretend and walked away.

She jumped from the tallest roof she could get to. And for just a moment she flew, and everything was right again.

Found on her body was a list of six names.







Owen's name in the ring is Gazzy. It is the only way he allows himself to remember a small, tortured little girl.

Mia watches the news and sees the reporter telling of the death of a child, and she is holding back tears. She swears then and there that she will cry, when it is her turn to tell the story of an anonymous girl.

David wondered what had driven such a young girl to this extent.

Igneous imagined the world aflame for its sins, for the actions that caused this.

Maxine found the body.

And for a moment, looking at those six names, something flashes behind her eyes. Sixteen years, a lifetime, blue skies and wind in her hair. Tawny feathers drifting to the ground, a little girl with the ash of a dying world in her hair, cold steel and canine teeth gleaming with saliva and the heartless, innocent eyes of a child who didn't know any better. Tears streaming from her eyes, and a laugh in her throat, and worry in her stomach, and a burning all over, this is rage, this is hate and anger and fear and this is how it should be.

But it is not.

The moment passes. She feels more alone than ever.

I didn't mean to kill Angel when I started this, but it just sort of came out that way. I make myself sad whenever I read this. Must go read crackfic for happy mood again. Maybe I should try writing something not depressing.

Updated 52610- fixed some spelling errors, tweaked some bits, added more to the ending. If you didn't get it, the 'cold steel and canine teeth gleaming with saliva and the heartless, innocent eyes of a child who didn't know any better' is a reference to Ari, and Angel is the little girl with ash-filled hair, possibly after that bomb, in that place... you know the one. I believe it was after the final showdown with Max2 when everyone was like 'THIS CANNOT BE!'