Birthday by Supergirrl

Category:Maximum Ride
Genre:Drama, Romance
Characters:Ari B., Max
Published:2008-03-29 11:01:26
Updated:2008-03-29 11:01:26
Packaged:2021-04-21 22:49:13
Summary:Birthdays. For a young suitor, they can either make or break his attempts at wooing his lady love. Will Ari rise to the challenge? Mari


Hey, people! Some of you may remember this from last spring, but this is exactly the same as the old version, just resposted. The sequel to Surrender-Now titled Seventh Flying-is coming along well, as is the second chapter of Catalyst. I hope to have both of those posted within a week or so. As always, this fic is AU, meaning Max and Ari are not siblings and Ari is not dead. Anyway, I hope you guys like this, and review!

Disclaimer: I do not own Maximum Ride, or any of the characters affiliated with it.

"Hey, it's your birthday tomorrow, isn't it?" Ari's question came completely out of the blue, confusing Max for a second.

She looked at him, then glanced back at her cards, "Yeah, it is. Do you have a seven?"

His dark eyes skimmed over the hand he was playing. "No, go fish. So you're going to be fifteen?"

She pulled a card from the small stack between them, adding it to her collection. "Yes, Ari, generally the birthday someone has immediately after their fourteenth is, in fact, their fifteenth birthday."

Ignoring her sarcasm, Ari continued, "Anything you want?"

"Nothing you'll give me, unless freedom and Jeb's head on a platter are options. Why do you ask?"

He shrugged. "No reason."

They had returned to their card game, neither bringing up the brief conversation again. Max didn't think about it for the rest of the day, and that night, she had other, more important things on her mind.

One can imagine Max's surprise upon waking up the next morning, going to open their bedroom door and finding it to be locked. She had banged on the door, shouting Ari's name.

"What is it?"

"Why am I locked in?"

He was silent for nearly a minute before replying, "It's a surprise. I'll bring you something to eat, what do you want?"

"Bagels would be fine, just get me a few of those. Ari, does this have anything to do with my birthday?"

"What kind of bagel? We've got…blueberry, salt, sesame, and plain."

"Two of each works, and answer my question, does this have anything to do with my birthday?"

A minute later, the lock clicked and Ari quickly stepped into the room, shutting and locking the door behind him before she had a chance to dive through it. He sat down on the bed, still holding the eight bagels. She sat down next to him, and when he offered her a sesame bagel, she accepted it, taking a large bite out of it.

"So." Ari watched her eat for a moment, vaguely noticing that she attacked the bagel with more ferocity than most Erasers did their prey. "What's your favorite food?"

She looked at him, confused. "Er, chocolate chip cookies."

"That's a dessert. What meal?"

"Well, I like fish. Salmon's good, I guess. Salad, potatoes, maybe some soup, bread, and cookies. Lots of cookies."

"What kind of potatoes, soup, and bread?"

"Mashed, tomato, and French bread. What's with all the questions?"

"What kind of flowers do you like? What sorts of chocolate?"

"Answer my question, and I'll tell you."

Ari shut his eyes. "Fine. It does have to do with your birthday, I want to make it good for you. Now, will you answer my questions?"

"Let's see…I like roses, I guess, and tiger-lilies are pretty. As for chocolate…I love dark chocolate, it's my favorite."

They were both quiet as he processed this information. She had moved on to her fourth bagel, and was wondering if she could ask for something to drink when he nodded, leaned forward, kissed her forehead before standing and leaving the room.

With a sigh, Max leaned back on her bed. This was going to be a long, boring day.

True to her prediction, nothing of interest happened for the next few hours. She took a shower, played solitaire for a while, re-read the newest of the Harry Potter books, and had a very brief conversation with Ari when he brought her lunch. All day delicious and intriguing smells wafted into her room, and strange sounds filled the house. She was curious, but not enough to try to interrogate Ari to find out what was going on, because she knew that she would have no success. He could be as stubborn as Fang when it came to being silent, and it bugged her just as much with him as it had with Fang.

Max had remade their bed-It was large, with red sheets and pillows. Red was Ari's favorite color- and was playing Ari's Gameboy when he came in, collapsing on the bed next to her.

Her voice was slightly cautious as she asked, "So, can I come out now?"

Ari nodded. "Yeah. Come on, I want to show it to you."

She put the game on pause, setting the toy down on the bed and standing up. Ari climbed off the bed and stood behind her, covering her eyes with his hands. His fingers were warm on her face, and they walked slowly out into the main room of the house.

When he slowly removed his hands from in front of her eyes, Max sucked in a breath, and took a step back, causing her to collide with his chest.

"Oh my God."

There were roses and tiger lilies scattered throughout the room-How had he gotten them on such short notice, she wondered- and the entire room smelled like flowers. The lights had been dimmed, and there were candles alit everywhere. It appeared that Ari had bought dozens of random scented candles, and lit them all, not knowing that the smorgasbord of smells teetered between overwhelmingly disgusting and pleasant. Max could see food sitting on their small table at the end of the room, though she could not identify it.

This was possibly the most romantic thing anyone had ever done for her, even though she was still unsure whether or not she liked it.

When she turned to look back at Ari, she noticed that he was wearing the black shirt that she had once remarked looked like one of Fang's. He had done…something to his hair, maybe actually combed it, because the thick brown curls had been tamed and were in the general neighborhood of neat. She could still smell the soap on him, he had obviously just taken a shower.

Ari's body never ceased to slightly startle her; he was twice as wide and nearly three times as thick as she was, and the tight shirt he was wearing only emphasized that fact. She knew he wasn't entirely aware of his superhuman strength, and he had unintentionally hurt her more than once, just squeezed her too tightly in his sleep, moved into her too quickly in the heat of passion. Usually, all she had to do was wince or stiffen, and he would stop, wanting to make sure she was okay.

Though she had to admit…Any sane female would find the highly muscular Eraser body attractive, and Max fell into that category. She absently extended a hand, running it down Ari's chest. They both shivered slightly; She could feel him through the shirt. His heart was racing, and his breaths were coming quick and short.

"Do you like it?" Ari's voice was quiet, as though he was almost afraid to hear the answer.

She looked up at his face, feeling pity for him. The raw childlike pleading in his eyes for her to like it, to be pleased by his efforts, for her approval, was so intense and pathetic that even if she had hated what he had done for her, she would have said she loved it anyway.

And she didn't hate it. Sure, it was kind of cheesy, but he had tried, and it wasn't a half-bad effort, either. The flowers were very pretty and smelled good, the candles were nice, and she was sure that no matter how horrible the food he had thrown together was, it was his best effort.

Ari was staring at her, his brown eyes searching her face for any sign of whether she liked it. He looked slightly scared, and she realized that she should say something.

"I like it, Ari. Really, I do. It's…great." Max knew her own voice sounded insincere, and Ari's face fell.

"You hate it." He sounded bitter. "It's horrible, isn't it?"

"No, I like it. It's good, you did a great job." He still looked upset, not meeting her gaze. For a moment, she thought she saw the glitter of a tear at the corner of his eye.

She sighed. "Oh, Ari." Stepping forward, she hugged him, pressing her face into his chest. Ari hesitated for a moment, then wrapped his own arms around her, resting his head on top of hers. He inhaled deeply, liking the way her hair smelled, and after a moment, pulled away.

"Do you want to eat?"

Max nodded, still shocked at her own affection towards Ari. She had never been so…kind towards him.

Max sat down at the brown table as Ari went into the kitchen to get their plates. She watched the flame of the small candle in front of her dance, liking the smell it produced. When he returned, her eyes widened slightly with shock.

The plates he was carrying were laden with food. A large piece of healthy-looking salmon lie on each plate, flanked by a white mountain of mashed potatoes. Nestled on the side were several wedges of steaming French bread, with a healthy amount of butter on each slice. Crammed between the bread and the potatoes was fresh-looking salad, with delicate lettuce leaves and bits of carrot. He set the plates down, then hurried back into the kitchen, this time emerging with two bowls of bright red tomato soup, along with silverware. Placing the soup in front of her, he asked, "Do you just want water to drink?"

For a moment, she was silent, still in shock over the time he had clearly put into this meal. She suddenly realized he was waiting for a response, and said, "Yeah, water's good."

When he returned, he was carrying water for her and another plate, this one heaped with the small pieces of heaven on Earth known as chocolate-chip cookies. The rich aromas made her mouth water, and Max realized that she was quite hungry.

Ari sat down across her, waiting for her to start eating. She took a bit of salmon on her fork, brought it up to her lips, and…

It was good.

Really good.

She scooped up some potatoes, swallowed them, and realized that it was also very, very good.

Taking a bite of the French bread, she moaned softly at the taste. It was crispy and seemed to melt in her mouth, probably the best bread she had ever eaten.

Ari was watching her face, waiting for a sign that she liked it. He looked nervous, and when she opened her mouth to say something, his back stiffened.

Hesitantly, she said, "This is…good. Amazing, actually. Did you make it?"

He grinned, and said excitedly, "You can buy the bread dough pre-made and bake it yourself, that's what I did. The soup's from a can, but I made the rest myself. You like it, though?"

She nodded. "Yeah, it's good. I didn't know you could cook this well. How'd you learn?"

"When you're an Eraser, no one feeds you. You learn to cook for yourself, and most of your team, usually. And right after I got…Eraserfied, I couldn't walk or anything for about a month, so I read books, whatever I could get someone to bring me. Mostly science stuff, but one was a cookbook, and I learned how to cook fancy food. I never used it until now, so I'm kinda glad I learned. Not a complete waste of time, anyway."

Max graced him with a small grin, now polishing off the large bowl of soup.

Ari had begun to eat, and she watched with amusement as he devoured his own food, eating quickly. After a moment of devouring food with at a disgusting rate, getting it all over his face, Ari looked up at Max over the bowl of soup he was holding up to his mouth as he slurped it down. He looked confused at her soft laughter, seeming unsure why she found this funny. It dawned on him, and he smiled back, the tomato soup lining his mouth giving him a red mustache. She laughed harder, and he grabbed a napkin off the table and wiped it from his face.

Their conversation was varied, moving from good music to favorite colors. It was lighthearted, innocent talk, sweet and affectionate.

Eventually, both finished their meals, and Max reached for a still-warm cookie, knowing that this would be the ultimate test of Ari's culinary skills. Taking a bite, she shut her eyes, savoring it. "Warm from the oven, that's a plus. A bit heavy on the chips, but I'm not complaining. A bit of a vanilla taste, but overall, not a bad cookie. This is your first time making them, right?"


"In that case, a pretty good cookie. Good job, Ari, I liked it."


She leaned back, stretching her legs out until her left foot brushed Ari's. He didn't pull away, nor did she. Instead, they just watched each other for a minute, enjoying the moment.

"It's been such a long time since we just…talked."

Ari blinked at her, confused. "What do you mean?"

"We hardly ever talk. You either want me to read to you or a play a game with you or cuddle, and when it's not that, we have sex. We don't have actual conversations, outside of 'Which do you want to play, Monopoly or Parcheesi?' and 'I hate to ruin the moment, but you're crushing me, could you get off me for a bit so I can breathe?' It's been so long since I was more than just your toy, your pretty plaything for when you want to feel good."

Ari sighed, and grabbed Max's chin, making her look at him straight in the eye. "Trust me, Max, you're more than just my toy, I promise you. You're my friend, and my mate, that's all I need."

She didn't reply, instead studying his face intently. They were both silent, lost in their own thoughts.

It seemed like hours had passed when Ari finally said softly, "Come with me, there's something I need to give to you."

Obediently, she followed him as he led her down the hallway towards the door she knew led to the outside, the place she hadn't seen in nearly six months. He pulled a small silver key and unlocked the door, swinging it open.

Fresh air blew into their house in gusts, and the sweet smell of the forest hit Max full-on. The stars glittered brightly, the air smelled fresh and clean, and for the first time in months, she saw the sky

"You-you're letting me go."

He looked mournful as he replied, "Yes, I am."


"Because…because I can't make you stay here with me forever. I know you're not happy, and that you never will be. I wish you could be happy with me, be happy with loving me, but I know you never can or will. So…I'm letting you go. I'd rather you be happy without me than unhappy with me. Just promise me that you won't ever give yourself to another guy, human or one of your Flock, and I will let you go. I just want you to always be mine, even if I can't keep you with me."

She stared at him, still wondering whether or not he was telling the truth. Then, completely without warning, she grabbed his head and dragging his face down to hers, kissing him fiercely.

((This scene is cut, if you want to read it, go to my ficjournal.))

She collapsed on top of him, letting herself be supported by his chest. He lazily ran his fingers through her hair as they both enjoyed the aftershocks, basking in each other's warmth.

"Max." His voice was soft, and she turned her head towards him, resting her chin on his chest so she could look him in the eye. He didn't say anything else; All that he needed to tell her was conveyed with his eyes. He loved her, very much, and wanted her to be safe and happy, even if it wasn't with him. He cared more about her than himself, and didn't want her to hate him. He would kill for her love, even though he knew it was unattainable, and even though he would never stop wanting it, he would not pursue her further.

There was pleading in his eyes, and he silently asked her if she would stay with him, give up her chance to live freely to instead be with him.

And without words, she told him, sadly, no.

But when she kissed him again, he forgot.

Because they had tonight, and tonight was all he needed.

I hope you guys enjoyed that, and review!