Goodbye, Hello by SilverScreech

Category:Maximum Ride
Genre:Angst, Romance
Characters:Fang, Max
Published:2010-01-05 19:51:05
Updated:2010-12-26 21:39:30
Packaged:2021-05-07 01:46:02
Summary:The day he didn't come back, she left. FAX.

Table of Contents

1. Goodbye
2. First Impressions
3. Armed Forces
4. Warrior Girl

1. Goodbye

AN: Yes I know I should be updating my existing stories and not starting a new one… But this one was just eating at me! And when was the last time I wrote a good Fax fic? I think it's about time anyway. I promise to update Definition this week okay? Please don't hate me!

Goodbye, Hello

Disclaimer: I do not own Max or affiliated.

Chapter One: Goodbye

The day that he didn't come back, she left.

Not physically of course, she wasn't capable of that. She existed still. She still sat beside them during meals, flew with them from place to place, fought with them with each new attack. She was physically there, but otherwise she wasn't. She didn't speak unless to give an order, didn't eat except when forced, and didn't stop pacing through the nights. But it wasn't that which convinced the flock she was gone. It was her manner, her eyes. She didn't curse Itex for taking him from her. She didn't curse him for leaving her. She didn't yell. She didn't cry. She was empty, vacant. She wasn't mourning him. She wasn't sad.

She was gone.

Iggy was there, but she didn't let him fill the void of her second in command. She was in command. She didn't need a second. She wasn't going to give in to Itex; she didn't need a shoulder to lean on in times of stress. She always knew what she was doing; there was no danger of her breaking.

She was already broken beyond repair.

She threw herself into her flock. Into protecting what was hers and taking down Itex. It wasn't in revenge she did this, it was simply her duty. It was what she did. She was the girl destined to completely destroy whatever might be left of the purification corporation. Missions went through without much incident, she settled arguments within the flock with a firm hand no one questioned. If they did provoke her in anyway, it was only to encourage a meltdown. Maybe if they got her to release her pent up feelings, the anger and depression, maybe then she would come back to them.

Except there was nothing left to provoke, nothing left to release.

The day she started to carry a gun, the flock didn't say a word but they were shocked. She began to lead more destructive missions. She began to take many nights off on her own private missions to dangerous for a group. She armed herself with a side arm holster constantly strapped to her thigh. She was ready and dangerous, a force no one was able to ignore.

She trained too, studied hours on hours with books on various martial arts. Iggy suspected that she was fighting in the underground wrestling circuit at nights to sharpen her skill. He was right, but she wasn't admitting it and no one was about to ask. She had Nudge hack into the military's training files. She acquired weapons, all of which she quickly learned to use.

One day she came back from one of her personal missions with extensive blood stains. She didn't answer any questions. Had she killed? Was she hurt? Had she tried saving another? Angel, who had long ago lost the ability to discern extensive thought chains from her, assured them she was not hurt. Some prying discovered that one of her handguns was missing five bullets. No one brought up the subject again. Maybe she had lost it, maybe she had finally grieved, but they doubted it.

She never told any of them about the day she had grieved. The day she had known for sure he wasn't coming back. The day she'd locked herself in Ella's room. The flock had all been out waiting for signs of his return, Ella was still at school and if Dr. Martinez heard anything, she said nothing. It was then she cursed Itex for taking him from her. She cursed Fang for letting it happen. She yelled. She cried. She mourned him and she sobbed huge, body-wrecking sobs. Eventually with a heart-crushing scream she sent her fist flying through one of Ella's two bedroom widows, then sat in the glass and watched as her tears mixed painfully with the running blood.

She sat there for a good hour, then she got up, slashed some cool water on her face and gone down stairs to inform her mother she had tripped on a wayward shoe in Ella's room and fallen fist first into the window.

To Dr. Martinez's credit, she didn't even blink.

It was then, when she had sat in the blood and tears he had caused, that she realized she had a choice.

She could close herself off to everyone; let herself fall into deep depression. She could cry everyday in Ella's room, live with her mother and never go back out into the sky that reminded her so much of him. She could continue to mourn him and weep for his memory for years to come.

Or she could make him proud.

She could take all the things he had taught her, had ever said to her and apply them. She could learn to defeat their enemy. She could equip herself to defend her family and the world. She could exemplify his bravery and courage in herself. She could be self-sacrificing. She could flinch every time she toughed a weapon and wince each time she pulled a trigger, as long as no one noticed. She could show that his sacrifice had not been in vain, that even in death, he made her stronger.

So, three years later when a tattered looking boy in his late teens made a stumbling landing into Dr. Martinez's backyard She, against her better judgment, went out to investigate.

Fang didn't know the woman aiming the P-90 at the dead center of his chest.

Max wasn't sure she knew her either.

2. First Impressions

Chapter 2: First Impressions

He was there, right there.

Right in front of her.

So why couldn't I move? Why couldn't I lower the gun? I could actually feel my fingers tighten around the trigger. Like he was a danger, the gun a lifeline.

"Max?" Fang said.

Fang said. My Fang said.

But still I couldn't move.

I did manage to lower the gun slightly. He couldn't be here. It couldn't be him. This had to be a trick. Or another dream. How many nights had I waked to an empty house, reaching for him? This was happening. It wasn't real.

Was it?

It doesn't matter. I have to act. I am the leader, my job is to act.

I could feel the flock behind me, holding their breaths. They were expecting me to do something. But what? Run over and throw my arms around him? Cry into his chest and demand he never leave me again?

Maybe the old Max would have done that. But I won't.

I can't.

I manage to lower the gun all the way with a clench of my jaw. Time to toughen up fearless leader.

"Angel? Can you confirm it's him?" I ask, looking Fang directly in the eye with a cool stare. He looks taken aback, but doesn't lower his eyes.

"Yeah, Max. It's him." I heard a soft voice say behind me. She was confused. She had only been six when he left, three years was a long time to a nine year old girl.

I nodded slightly, watching with carefully practiced indifference as Fang searched my face for something, something he wasn't finding.

Without another glace I turned around to face my flock, my back to Fang.

"Iggy, escort him over to Mom's office and have him checked over." I said with my best command voice. I could feel the nails of my free hand curling into the skin. I would draw blood soon, so I best be out of super-smelling range by that time. I walked up the stairs to the house without another word leaving my flock behind me. Not our flock, mine.

"Max!" I heard him shout as the others rushed forward to greet him.

I didn't look back.

You have to understand. Back when he was gone, from the moment I realized he wasn't coming back, I was so lost. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to go on. I didn't have anyone I could trust to turn to when I honestly needed help. Not opinions or advice but help, both as a leader and a person. In the moment I realized I was all alone, my mind was made up for me. He made it up for me when he was gone.

But now he was back.

No. No, I wasn't going to let myself believe that yet. Not until Mom had preformed a full service DNA test and any other scans she could think of. Not till Angel had probed every corner of his mind for falsehood. Not until all evidence proved without a shadow of a doubt that he was back here for real.

I opened the doors to my room and as the door shut behind me I slowly let reality set in.

The look on his face.

The disbelief.

The… the hatred of what he found there.

And then I cried.

I pulled a box out from under my bed. His box. It held everything he had left behind when they had taken him. This was the first time I'd cried in three years. A replaced window pane and a white lie about the neighbor boy's baseball were all that remained of that day. That and the angry scars around my hand and wrist where the stubborn shards of glass had refused to leave my body without a fight.


Mom's voice rang through the house com-link system, now hooked up to her office as well, only a couple buildings down.

"Yes?" I replied, a little too quietly for my liking.

"I'd I appreciate it if you'd come down to the office, honey."

"… I'll be there shortly."

Well that didn't take long.

3. Armed Forces

Chapter 3: Armed Forces

Max stood outside her mom's office, trying to remember how to move. She could see him, right their across the hall from her, right through a single window. He was surrounded by her – no, his family. And he was smiling, it took her breath away. She stared at him right there but she still couldn't believe it. He was gone. She had lived with that for so long. She wasn't sure that could ever change, even with him right in front of her.

So she didn't move, just watched as Nudge laughed at something he said and Gasman smiled his wide childlike smile so rare in the years he'd been gone.

Dr. Martinez noticed her first, detangling herself from the group around Fang, exiting unnoticed form the room into the hall.


Max briefly considered hissing about the volume of the question, but knew it wouldn't make a difference. They had all heard, super hearing did that. Max forced herself not to look in the flock's direction.

"Mother." She said with a nod.

Dr. Martinez frowned, looking back at her patient. Max didn't follow her gaze. "I guess you want to know for sure-"

"If that is Fang, yes." She added another nod. Nodding was good, easy, simple, betrayed no emotion.

"A little battered and bruised, but yes I do believe it is. Right down to his DNA structure." Dr. Martinez looked back at her eldest daughter. "And to be honest, Max. If that's not Fang they're pulling off a really good impression."

In the background Nudge whispered something just below Max' hearing range. "You're positive?" Max asked Dr. Martinez, refusing to give the flock any attention.

"Well I could cut him open and look him over, but short of dissection-"

"Not funny, Mother." Max snapped.

"Just joking, Max." Dr. Martinez said dryly, watching her carefully.

Max tried to force a smile, it was a weak attempt. "Of course, Mother." She reached out to lay a hand on her mom's shoulder, only to realize she still had blood on it from digging her nails into her fists minutes before. She drew her hand back, but not quickly enough.

"Max… What happened?" Dr. Martinez asked, concerned.

"It's nothing Mother, don't trouble yourself." Max countered.

"It's obviously not noth-"

"It's nothing, Mother." Max said more firmly. "I dropped something in my room just now. A bookend. Got caught on a sharp edge while I was cleaning up." She was babbling, her mom was going to catch that. Crap.

"Alright," Dr. Martinez said after a moment, "Just promise you'll come and see me about it as soon as we get all this sorted out."

"Promise, directly afterwards." Max lied smoothly.

Max passed by her mother and started towards the bed. The bed with Him in it. She kept her eyes calmly averted as she approached.

Iggy was the first to get his bearings, yanking himself up from the chair he'd collapsed him, he headed towards the door. "I have to go. You know, things to do. Harmless forest creatures to blow up. Very important." He stopped in the doorway. "Glad to have you home, Fang." And then he left.

Fang smiled slightly, nodded after his brother.

"We really missed you Fang." Nudge added, hugging him tightly. "I missed you." She was crying, but managed to pull back. "I should probably let you get some sleep. That's really important you know, sleep. If you don't get sleep then you won't heal and if you don't heal we could lose you again, only for good this time! That'd be horrible, Fang you know since we just got you back and-"Nudge continued to ramble.

"Well some things never change." Fang muttered, the others laughed nervously.

Gasman jumped up. "I better go make sure Iggy doesn't need any help." He smiled a sideways 12-year-old smile at his elder brother. "We missed you Fang, stick around okay?" And then took off before could answer.

Angel laughed quietly. "Well I'm not making up an excuse. Me and Nudge are leaving so you and Max can talk. Love you Fang!" Then the blond dragged the still-rambling Nudge out the door.

"See you later." Fang muttered, looking up at Max. She wasn't looking back. He frowned. Since when did she carry a weapon? The sidearm strapped to her thigh, the military-issue dagger hanging off her hip. And that machine gun she'd had earlier… It wasn't like Max. What had happened?

"Hello, Fang." Finally looking up at him. Her eyes were hard, careful.

"Hey," Fang said. He didn't use her name, for the hour or so he'd been back he'd yet to find Max here to greet him.

"How are you?" Max cursed herself inwardly. Small talk? Oh yeah, that was going to help the situation.

But Fang just smiled half-heartedly. "I've seen better days." And so have you.

"Yeah." She replied awkwardly, adverting her eyes from him.

"How about you? How have you been?" He asked carefully.

"I've been" she paused, struggling for words "fine. I've done some thinking, taken some training. The while flock is probably sick of me by now."Her faint laugh reminded Fang of someone chocking. She took a deep breath, as if she hadn't been really breathing for a while now. "We did look for you, you know."

"I've heard." He said quietly.

"A lot." She pressed.

"That was risky." He helped her along.

She was about to reply, but kept it to a nod. She suddenly felt a desperate need to escape. Why was it so difficult? Had she changed that much? Or was it him?


"I've got to get back," she interrupted, as if she hadn't heard him. "I've got some Intel incoming, if all lines up I'll be heading in to sort some things out." Max nodded again, more to herself than him.

He bobbed his head. "Guess I'll see you when I get out of here," he mused aloud.

She was already halfway across the room. "Yes. Yes, you will." She halted at the door, finally turning back. "…It's good to have you home, Fang."

"It-"Fang sighed; she had escaped before he could answer. He shook his head. "Doc?" he called.

Dr. Martinez entered the room moments later with a frown. "What's wrong, Fang?"

He was still staring at the door, somewhat confused. "…What…I mean…Max, she…"

"She made some decisions about her life." Dr. Martinez tried to explain what she only vaguely understood the details of. "Some we approve of…some we aren't so thrilled about. She's been training from manuals and we think she's joined a underground fighting ring in the city, leaned how to use the weapons she lifted from military supply with some hacking by Nudge." He gave a half-hearted shrug. "She's good. If she were a soldier fighting by your side, you'd be proud."

"But she's not a soldier," Fang stressed. "She's not a soldier at all."

Dr. Martinez sighed. "Then I think you're in for quite a shock, son."

4. Warrior Girl

What was I thinking? I don't know. It's a weird feeling for me, not knowing what I'm thinking. Lately I've always known. I've known I was a soldier. I've known I was a leader. I've known I was a fighter. That's what I was. What I thought I'd always be. He left, I did what I had to do to get the job done. It was a necessary change. A change that had all but brought about the elimination of Itex. It was supposed to happen. It was supposed to be my new destiny.

He was never supposed to come back.

I never saw it as a possibility. If he was going to come back, if I'd thought for one second that it could happen someday, I would never have left Ella's room that night. I would have curled up and died for every second he was gone. Waiting there for him to come and wake me up again. I would have strived to stay the same Max I'd been then. Stay the same for him. Stay the same so when he came back I would still be here.

He was never supposed to come back.

I don't know what to do now, but life goes on. And so do the dreams. I still have them after all these years. There always the same. Fang is in them of course. He's standing some where out in the open. Maybe a rooftop or an open field. A gun held pointed at his chest. The person holding the gun changes regularly. Maybe it's the face of a guard I killed, a thung I'd beaten or a leader I'd outsmarted. Sometimes it's Anne or Ari or Jeb. Sometimes it's my mother, my sister or one of the flock. And on the worst nights, the kind I've been having lately, it's me behind the trigger. But I'm watching from afar at the same time. Watching my face twist with delight at killing the boy who had caused so much pain in my life. Sometimes who ever was behind the gun would kill me after I watched him fall, the life swiftly fading from him as he told me to run. Sometimes I would run. But usually I'd just stand there and die with him. It was better that way. The nightmare didn't last as long then.

I'm going back to my room. We've expanded the house a lot lately. Many people are very thankful for the work the flock has accomplished. The manor-sized house we now inhabit was our biggest splurge. I decide to take a quiet back way around to my bedroom. Hopefully the rarely-used hall will be deserted.

No such luck. It's been only a day since I visited Fang in mom's office. He probably has free roam of the house now, so when I hear footsteps I freeze. But it's only Nudge. I nod politely in greeting. She studies me carefully before nodding back. She stops and looks like she's about to speak so I quicken my pace. I don't have the energy to make up excuses today.

I reach my room and grab the first book on my self. It's in Russian, but I've studied a lot of things over the last few years. Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.

It's not catching my attention like I'd hoped. This isn't distracting enough. I consider briefly throwing the book against the opposite wall, but instead set it back in place on the self in the manner befitting a leader who has it all together.

It's part of my act, you see. It's an act I've been doing for so long perfectly. I play a leader, a warrior. I'm a hero because I make the hard choices, do the difficult things, protect others from having to face the harshest standards of reality. I know it takes it's toll. That's why the act of course. To hide the pain that I'm so numb of. I know it's hard, but eventually it'll fade into reality. That's how it was with getting over Fang. I worked and pushed so hard through life until I stopped thinking about him all the time. It was a taboo topic. I didn't think of him when I flew anymore, I was focused on where I was going. And I was focused now, as headed to the firing range to focus my feeling, my humanity, into something practical.

It was all I knew anymore.

I headed down to the small firing range built into the side of the house. I swiped a blank cart from the rack at the side of the room, dropping the real bullets from my handgun and reloading it. At least I would have to focus to shoot. Or so I thought. I hit the targets almost mechanically, not caring how accurate my aim was. At least I didn't shake so much anymore.

Some part of my knew I was running away. Running away from Fang, from everything we were and had been. I just needed…some time to think. To think about what, I don't know, because everything seemed to lead back to him.

I can't say I'm utterly depressed or distraught, devastatingly unhappy or on the verge of an absolute breakdown. I'm just confused. I know this is the right thing to do and I had managed to reclaim some normality until a few hours ago. I haven't lost myself by picking up a weapon and taking more control of my life.



I whirled round, aiming wildly, finger curled round the trigger.

Fang actually took a step back in shock, maybe hurt.


"What are you doing?"

I wish I knew the answer to that myself, Fang.