Matchmaker by SilverScreech

Category:Maximum Ride
Genre:Romance, Sci-Fi
Published:2008-10-04 11:28:53
Updated:2008-10-19 19:37:52
Packaged:2021-05-07 01:51:20
Summary:Max/Fang. Set about seven years after TFW. Max is feeling overwhelmed, so Fang and Iggy up turn a maybe-might-work-if-we're-lucky solution with... interesting possiblities. Fax.

Table of Contents

1. Brain Power
2. Evaluation
3. The Calm Before the Storm
4. Second Guess
6. Extreme Measures
7. Personal Hell
8. Awkward
9. The Happy Ending

1. Brain Power

Matchmaker or Max's Adventures in The Crafty, Hectic Mess of Acquiring Keen-love through Electronic Resources.

Disclaimer: Do I look like an old rich guy to you? No? Didn't think so.

Chapter One:

It was a yummy kind of sunset. The kind that God must have had for breakfast, the early morning sky was painted a scrumptious array of ripe strawberry pinks and luminescent blueberry smears whilled around sweet smelling orange and dotted with white speaks of glittering sugar. To top it all off the sun had seen fit to add a dollop of golden butter that had melted across the entire picture, making the dusk glimmer with departure of a long fulfilling day.

Maximum Ride closed her eyes, trying to ignore that inching feeling in the back of her mind, the one remaindering her to wake up the flock, to get everyone moving. The one saying their lives were in peril and she was an idiot for sitting here, enveloped in the bliss of morning. She should be worring about breakfast and getting the flock on the move, or scanning the perimeter with her eyes for signs of enemy attack, or searching the web for information of rouge sects of the broken Itex. She should be being responsible.

Instead Max just closed her eyes and sighed, welcoming the sun's gentle embrace as it warmly stroked the left side of her upturned face, trying desperately to ignore the world.

It didn't work.

Max sighed, giving up the fight for relaxation and aloud her thoughts to return to the complications at hand. Letting her thoughts turn to her position as headmistress for her under-staffed, under-funded school for gifted children.

Max smiled a little at the thought, better low on help and staff then prisoners of a unnecessary war run by crazy mad men.

At least it seemed the war was won they were winning. Better to win then lose, of course. Particularly when it came to your life and the lives of your family.

And her family had grown. Over the past seven years they had gone from a flock of six to one of dozens., a warring troop of hybrids, mostly avian, but not all, trying to eliminate the last of their tormenters.

But what worried Max the most, more than running the scariest army in history, more than begin responsible for so many lives, more than saving the world, what worried her the worst was what they were going to do with them all afterward. What? Open a orphanage for the less fortunate hybrids? Continue living off the land, hiding from mankind? Most of them were well over twenty years old. Was this all that life had in store for them? A future of such agony? Or maybe, just maybe, Dr. M could come up with a treatment for hybrids like she had for the expiration date. But could they really do that? Lose their wings? Become normal?

Max sighed deeply, she loved her flock, original, extended, all of them. They were a family, a rather dysfunctional one, but still family.

Speaking of dysfunctional, Max thought, I've got to figure out how to control thing around her.

It seems that no matter how hard she tried she just couldn't keep any amount of control of the whole of the flock. They were either overly-tired or over-worked or completely out of control. Like yester day when she'd caught Iggy organizing a game of tackle football in the cavern center the moment a visiting representative of the government had arrived. How great that had looked! How were they supposed to keep peace if the government wouldn't take them seriously? They didn't need to be fight two wars right now! Fang had practically bowled the pour man over for heaven's sake!
Fang… Half the time Max wasn't sure what she was going to do with him and yet she was sure she wouldn't be alive, or at least not sane, if it wasn't for having him around. And then there was just something almost… alluring about his dark, depthless eyes and mysterious nature. Something that almost made you want to reach out and…

Max shook her head hard. She didn't have time to daydream about anyone right now; much less her second-in-command of what just might be the most important mission anyone had ever undertaken.

Besides, it was high time she went to bed.

After gently shaking awake Silver, who was running this fraction of the flock through the evening patrols today, checking to make sure Force, one of the newer recruits, had started on breakfast for the night flyers, and seen the patrols off into the night, Max laid her head down and closed her eyes, ready for well deserved rest.

Before she could even hope to begin a dream, Max was awakened to the blaring of an insistent buzzing in her left ear. It took her only a groggy moment to realize she had left her headset on, a security precaution devised by Iggy after he was put in charge of the 'smarty-pants' portion of the flock. After a large yawn she finally tapped the device. "Yeah?" She mumbled through another yawn. It wa apparently a very soft acknowledgement because whoever was on the other end of the line continued talking, Max struggled to catch up. "… acutely direct. Max this could be bigger than big, not kidding. You've gotta see this. Max? Max are you even listening to me?"
Max yawned and considered telling Iggy, for it was his voice that had awakened her, to go to hell and leave her be. Instead, she sat up from her cot and rubbed her eyes. Then, catching site of the watch still on her wrist groaned. "Iggy," she growled "Do you have any idea what time it is?"

There was a slight pause from Iggy's end. "Um... around midnight, why?" Max sighed. She'd barely closed her eyes. He did realize that she had to be up, resuming duties at four AM right? Max suppressed a groan. Ever since he discovered coffee around nine years ago, Iggy had apparently developed the ability to run on caffeine alone, a ability that didn't seem to hamper him in anyway. It was actually very useful, to have someone who never had to sleep. Problem was, people who didn't have to sleep tended to forget that other people did occasionally require the odd few hours of rest.

Suppressing yet another yawn, Max pushed herself out of her army cot and felt around for her jacket. She was mostly awake anyways. "Fine, I'll be there in five minute. And Iggy?" Max said curtly into the mouth piece.

Iggy responded with a grunt of acknowledgment.

"This better be good." Max said.

Three caves down in his lab, Iggy smiled and replied. "Oh, trust me. It is."

"Fine, five minutes." And with that, Max shut off her radio and pulled on her red leather jacket, a present from Angel last Christmas, and took a running start into the evening air.

2. Evaluation

Chapter Two: Evaluation

The cave-lab that Iggy had chosen to set up his equipment was quite large.

It was one of the newer ones, just recently cleared by Fang and his team, which accounted for the lack of surprise Max experienced upon discovering Fang himself in one corner, leaving up against a jagged rock formation in his usual brooding manner. His personal, hand-picked team was in similar positions throughout the cave, though their expressions were noticeably more bored. This was fairly more unexpected, as while it was normal to find Iggy and Fang together talking (which is brother-speak for bickering) and generally causing chaos, usually Team Fang (when you're the military commander for the rarest and possibly most important establishment in the history of the world, you get to name your own personal attack team. It's not Max's fault that Fang's just no very creative.) wouldn't be caught dead in the labs with the 'squints' and 'nerds.' They had better things to do, like beating erasers up, or, if none were available, beating each other up.

As Max entered the avian nearest the door, a red-headed women by the name of Sparkler, snapped to attention from her position of half-asleep boredom against the cave wall.

"Evening, Madam." Sparkler said crisply, her sharp black eyes scanning the area behind her for possible threats. His team had long ago acquired Fang's over protective manner in all things Max.

Max sighed. "It's just Max, Sparkler."

Sparkler nodded. "Of course, Madam." She said.

Max rolled her eyes, Fang had trained them well. Deciding to ignore the persistent avian, Max attempted to take a step forward, only to be stopped by the other two members of Team Fang, Cannon and Maxwell (and no, Max did not find it funny that when he needed to pick a name to replace Maxwell's experiment number, Fang had named his burliest body guard thus. Not even vaguely amusing. She'd told Fang as much, but he just smiled in that annoying, you-can't-read-anything-from-this way of his and told her tough luck, name stays.)

"Sorry, Madam. Boss says no one approaches." Maxwell said in a firm, decisive voice. Maxwell's giant arm blocked her path. He was one of those people you read about in books or see in movies, more mountain than man. Not for the first time Max found herself wonder how this mass of muscle ever managed to launch into the air and keep up with the rest of Team Fang, who were well-muscled, but lean and built for speed like 'average' Avian-Americans.

Fang came up next to her and read the question in her eyes.

"Just a precaution." Fang said. Max crossed her arms.

"For what?" Max said, half a smile creeping onto her face.

"Just… in case." Fang replied in that annoyingly allusive way of his. Max raised an eyebrow and Fang sighed.

"In case Iggy gets this thing to work, or he doesn't. It could end very badly, after all, this is Iggy. He's always been better at blowing stuff up then fixing it." Fang said finally. Max rolled her eyes for the third time that hour.

"Just because I can kick butt with a stick of dynamite doesn't mean I have no other uses Fnick." A voice shouted from behind Team Fang. A moment later, Iggy pushed his way through Cannon and Maxwell, coffee cup in hand. "Ah, you came!" Iggy said, smiling in his I-totally-don't-mind-waking-you-up-at-all-hours way of his.

Max raised an eyebrow. "I had a choice?"

Iggy smiled. "Nope, not really. But it's worth it. Trust me." Iggy said. Max frowned, but Iggy didn't notice, squeezing his thin, blind frame back between the body guards. Fang gave a curt nod, allowing Max to follow.

The lab was a mess, not really a surprise all things considered.

Empty coffee mugs weaved their way around various gadgets of various origins. Every time they made a raid on an Itex compound, the scouts came back with experimental technologies they'd pilfered, hundreds of useless gadgets of the research and development (squints and nerds) portion of the flock to swift through. Occasionally something interesting turned up, which is what Max assumed had happened tonight. Printed pieces of data littered the floor, where Max could just make out the unconscious half-buried form of Gasman among the clutter. Iggy stepped right over him, going over to a table with an oddly shaped device with to hand bars protruding from a sphere in the center. Iggy motioned to the object.

"Tah DAH!" Iggy exclaimed dramatically. Max frowned.

"This is what you woke me up for? A deformed po-go stick?" Max asked, one of the body guards, probably Cannon, snorted in response.

Fang smirked and Max swore she could feel the air crackle. "Oh trust me, it's worth it."

Iggy nodded vigorously in agreement. "It's very much worth it. Like 'Iggy deserves a metal' worth it or 'give Iggy all the coffee in the caves' worth it."

Max choked back a laugh as Fang let a snick of his own escape. His chuckle sent a shiver down her spine. And she was suddenly very aware of how close he was to her, standing just behind her in his protective way, as if an enemy were going to drop from the ceiling at that very moment. A warm feeling enveloped her and she promptly clamped her fists to her sides and tried to avoid thinking about the warmth of his body behind hers. Or how easy it would be just to take a tiny step back and press herself against him… Max, snap out of it!

"OK, so we've established that this warped children's toy is more important than my sanity, can we continue?" She asked, smiling. To let them know she was kidding.

Iggy beamed and reached for the device. "This baby doll," he said, picking the device up and stroking it. "might be the answer to all the problems we've ever faced."

Max frowned. "that's an awfully high claim their Ig.." She said.

Iggy nodded, unfazed. "But one it can live up to. This, my unbelieving friend, is a inter-dimensional warp accelerator."

Max frown deepened and she looked up pleadingly at Fang, then ordered her heart to stay firmly in her chest as it began to beat with increase irregularity.

Fang read her thoughts through the expressions in her eyes. "It's a teleporter."

"Oh!" Max exclaimed, her eyes widening, and fleeing from Fang's gaze to return to the object of Iggy's fascination.

Iggy's smile widened. "Yes, oh! With this we could get inside any compound, no matter how heavily guarded, and we could get anyone or anything out of said compound. We could be anywhere and nowhere. We would have full control of space! Once we discovered an Itex compound we could destroy it with a single stealth mission! This is the answer we've been waiting for!"

"If you can make it work." Fang interrupted, taking a step forward and fully pressing up against her as he reached across her shoulder to tap the device.

Max drew in a sharp breath and took a step to the side, immediately fringing interest to hide her blush.

"He's got a point." Max said, thanking whatever gods there may be that her voice came out steady. "You do seem pretty dang sure that this thing does what you say it does."

Iggy nodded. "It does! I'm sure."

Max frowned. "How? It's pretty rare for Itex to leave around an instruction manual. I'm guessing this is an exception?"

Iggy blushed beet red. "W-well, no. Actually, it was kind of an accident. I was just playing around with it when suddenly Gazzy just up and disappeared, at first I thought he must've off and gone for more food, probably something with sugar in it. You know how it is with that guy's stomach, it's an uncontrollable…" Max gave him a glare that clear said, get to the point or I'll wring your neck. Iggy gulped, Max's death glares had only improved over the years. "Uh, anyway, I turned it on by accident, but don't worry! I managed to shut it down and Gasman was the only one affected. He wasn't very happy with me either. I don't know why, we may have just made the greatest discovery of mankind and he's peeved about getting a bit wet."

Fang was the one to snort this time. "Iggy, you dropped him in the ocean, two hundred miles off shore. I'd be ticked."

Max hide a almost-smile, then forced herself to focus.

Iggy huffed. "Whatever. In any case, it looks like Itex may have done something right for once. It's a very complex device with a lot of potential, I've only begun to scratch the surface of what I may offer us."

Which was Iggy speak for 'I have no idea what I'm doing.' Whatever, Max was far too tired to care. She turned back to Fang. "Fine, you can do whatever you have to. Have fun," She said, addressing Iggy. She turned back to Fang. "You, you're in charge of watching him. Make sure he doesn't blow us all to hell."

Fang nodded, a devious smile on his face. "No where else I'd rather be. Besides, Iggy said if we get it to work I could test it on him."

"He did, did he?" For a second Max almost gave herself the liberty of echoing his grin, but caught it before it could surface. Turning back to Iggy to hide her slip, Max did allow herself to indulge in some well earned frustration. "Just out of curiosity, while this is very important and possibly the most useful thing discovered so far, why exactly couldn't it wait till morning?"

Iggy shrugged, "Just figured you'd want to know.

Max sighed, he was probably right. "Yes, fine. Thank you. Now, goodnight."

And with that, Max took the few deliberate steps to the cave entrance, a familiar shiver ran up her spine before she could take off and she turned to face Fang, cocking him an eye brow. "Just to clarify, how exactly is having your team up and about any help whatsoever?" Max asked him.

Fang smiled a full blown smile that took Max's breath away. "Actually, I can't think of any use at all. But if I'm not allowed to get any sleep tonight, it seems fair that I shouldn't have to suffer alone. Just," He turned his head slightly, making his smile, and the full lips that formed it, only that more appealing. "don't let them know that."

And to utter horror, Max couldn't help but smile back.

3. The Calm Before the Storm

Chapter Three: The Calm Before the Storm

It was too early, in Max's opinion, when she hauled herself out of bed a few hours later. Max quickly went about relieving Silver from patrol duty and flipping through a review of the new recruit, Force. Finally, after an informative meeting with Nudge (who had been appointed head of public relations) about some visiting dignitary and Angel (who, despite being only thirteen, was head of medical sciences) about moving the sick bay into a larger cavern to better accommodate their needs, Max was finally free to go about her own business, which today included checking up on Iggy… and Fang.

After refilling her coffee cup, Max head down the land route between the caves, which actually consisted of an extremely narrow stretch of rock up against the face of the mountain, but when you can fly, a few thousand foot fall is really not the top of your worries.

Max walked slowly across the path, quietly enjoying the leisurely moment it allowed her, when that tell-tale shiver ran up her spine. Looking up on instinct, Max spotted Fang not ten feet above her, somehow balancing on the side of the rock face.

"What are you doing?" Max asked, immediately wondering if she really wanted to know.

Fang cocked a smirk. "Watching you." He said nonchalantly, as if this was a perfectly normal, suitable way to occupy his time.

Max felt another shiver coarse through her and desperately tried not to show it. "Why?" She asked, eyes on the ground, making her question less fierce then she intended. She needed to get out of here before she did, or said, something stupid.

Max swore she could feel his smirk widening. "Because you're interesting to watch." Fang replied, and then as if he could read her mind, dropped down and landed gracefully in front of her, effectively blocking her escape. To her immense annoyance Max noted that Fang didn't even look remotely like he'd had to be up all night, in fact he looked very… very alive.

Max shifted uncomfortably under Fang's gaze. "Uh… so how's Iggy's toy coming?"

Fang didn't avert his eyes, instead his gaze only grew more intense. "You know how Iggy is, convinced he knows everything. But he's come to some amount of sense and gotten someone who knows more about temporal-whatevers then he does. So now he and this feline hybrid, Tiger's Eye, are cracking hard at the poor thing." Fang leaned up against the wall, moving him even closer to Max, his gaze never breaking. It was so intense… Max wondered if she was dreaming. "he was going to call you in this morning, but I figured you had enough to handle for the time being. Besides," Fang was still staring at her, and to her horror Max found she couldn't bear to look away. "I think Iggy likes her, a lot. Not that the girl's noticed. She's too wrapped up in helping to save the world to get involved in personal relationships." Was it just Max's imagination that Fang had a hidden meaning behind those words?

Fang was leaning even closer now, voice getting lower and lower till she had to lean closer to, straining to hear. "Yeah... funny how life tends to deal the cards like that." Max said. They were mere inches apart now. The coffee cup slipped out of her hands and shattered, but neither really noticed.

"All work and no play makes Max a dull hybrid." Fang said teasingly. Teasingly?! FANG?! Now she knew she was dreaming.

"You need a holiday." Fan g said decisively.

Max frowned. "I don't have time for a holiday. I'm trying to save the world."

Fang was less than an inch from her face now, they didn't have much room left.


Max winced and took a shaky step back, almost falling off the edge; Fang caught her around the waist, pulling her towards him, towards safety.

Max swore she forgot she could fly, swore she forgot everything she'd ever known looking into Fang's eyes just then, so close to her own. Standing here, in Fang's arms, she found it extremely difficult to remember her own name, much or less why this was a bad idea.

Her eyes were slowly closing shut in anticipation, when the voice sounded again.

"FANG! WHERE IN BLAZE'S ARE YOU?!" Fang looked longingly into her eyes, and then stepped back, muttering colorful curses and death threats as he went.

"Yes, Iggy… of course… yes, I found her… be there in five… no, I'll do it… fine." Fang barked into the radio, taking off swiftly down the path toward Iggy's cave as Max stumbled along behind, struggling to keep up with both Fang and her confused jumble of thoughts.

They continued on like this for about a minute, till they reached the entrance of Iggy's cave. Maxwell, Cannon and Sparkler were standing there, looking equal parts peeved and bored.

"Morning, Boss… Madam, what happened to your leg?" Cannon asked, stepping forward.

Max frowned and looked down. Sure enough, a small gash was seeping blood out her lower leg. "Oh, it's nothing. I probably caught it we I tripped over by the…" But her protests went ignored, Fang, suddenly concerned, leaned down next to her leg and examined it carefully. Max shivered as hi gentle hands tore her pant leg to get a better look.

"It's not nothing. You need to go see Angel in sick bay." Fang said firmly, standing up to look her in the eye.

Max frowned, "No, Fang. Seriously, I'm fine. It's just a little cut. I've had a lot worse and..." But Fang wasn't paying her any attention.

"Cannon, Sparkler, you two go on ahead and tell Angel she's got injured incoming. Maxwell, you carry her." The two smaller hybrids gave but a curt nod before taking to the air. Maxwell scooped Max up and prepared to disembark.

"I'd take you myself, but Iggy said it was urgent. I'll finish up here and come brief you ASAP." Fang reached up and touched her arm. "Please don't do anything stupid, Max. It's not like the world is going to end while you get your leg checked." And with that, Fang nodded and Maxwell took to the skies.

One Hour Later…

"Seriously Angel, I'm fine!" Max protested as Angel fussed about her.

"I'll be the judge of that, thank you." The little blonde said with a smile, weaving in and out between Team Fang and various pieces of equipment.

"You guys can go you know." Max said, turning to the body guards. At least her could get her way in something today.

But Cannon shook his head, as Fang's second in command he was in charge in Fang's absence. "Sorry Madam, but Boss would want us to stay here." Sparkler nodded in agreement. "Sorry, Madam. But you know how the Boss is when it comes to you, he'd be here himself if he could be."

Max groaned and fell back against the hard pillow of the hospital cot, trying to block out the searing pain in her right leg. Funny, how she hadn't noticed it before Cannon mentioned it.

She'd been laying around here forever as her not-so-little baby fussed about, first binding her leg then going off to consider this or that, to tell the truth, Max wasn't sure what Angel was up to.


Max shot up, then grabbed her head to stop the room from spinning.

"Madam?" Sparkler asked. Max waved her off and reached for her headset.

"Nudge, report!"

No response, Max began to panic. "Nudge…"

"I'm here, Max." Nudge responded curtly. "It's sector fifteen, one of the newer ones. I'm not sure what's…"

But Max wasn't listening anymore; she had taken off running full speed, ignoring both the pain and the shouts of Team Fang behind her.

Sector fifteen was Iggy's lab.

4. Second Guess

Hi! This is S.S. Just a quick side note, somebody asked to see the ages of the flock and co. so I thought I'd post it here for all to see, read or ignore.

Max-21, Fang-21, Iggy-21, Nudge-19(I decided she had the earliest birthday), Gasman-15, Angel-13, Sparkler-19, Maxwell-23, Cannon-25, and Tiger's Eye-18.

And also my two cameo characters Silver-17 and Force-22. Kudos and virtual cookies to anyone who can guess my inspiration!

Anyway, enough of that, on with the show!

"I made one of my famous snap decisions, the kind that everyone remembers later for being either the stupidest dumb-butt thing they ever saw or else the miraculous saving of the day. I seemed to hear more of the first kind. That's gratitude for you." – Max, the Angel Experiment

Chapter Four: Second Guess

The lab was in chaos.

Putting on her super speed, Max had well beaten Angel and Team Fang to the lab-caves, what she found put the term 'ruffle her feathers' to a whole new meaning.

Heat, Glory, and Delta, hybrids from a sub-station of Angel's wing Max had set up after one too many singe limbs from assorted lab explosions, stood around in various stages of worry and helplessness.

Their presence wasn't reassuring.

The rest of the cave wasn't in much better shape. Smashed bits of metal and torn shreds of paper littered the lab. The lab didn't look like a tornado had hit it, it looked like a tsunami had flow through, along with a herd of a hundred stampeding zebra, followed by a Gasman who'd had beans for supper. It was beyond chaos. It was the very definition of chaos, something words couldn't describe.

And neither Fang nor Iggy were anywhere to be seen.

Max swore her heart stopped and for a minute. Nothing would process, she just stood there like a dumb animal waiting to be lead anyway from a panic-laden situation.

And then she snapped out of it. She wasn't a clueless brute, she was head of the most influential base in hybrid studies on the planet, she was perfectly capable of handling a crisis, and it was hardly her first time.

Desperately Max looked around for someone, anyone, to give her information. A girl with jet black hair and bright, frightened eyes was staring helplessly at the center of the room. "What happened?" Max demanded, trying to sound in charge and together and not like she was about to fall apart at the seams.

"I... I don't know." The girl said shakily. She looked to be about sixteen years old, her small pixie-like frame quivering in a mix of shock and fear. "One minute Mr. Walker and that dark, shady man were standing there and the next they just... they just…" The girl burst into hard, fast sobs clutching her chest, at which moment Max noticed she was holding, or rather strangling, the teleport device.

"Mr. Walk… Oh, you mean Iggy. And Fang. Crap." Max was practically babbling herself now, she tried to concentrate. "Calm down, It's OK." Max said, not sure if she was talking to the girl or herself. "Just take a deep breath and tell me what happened, OK?"

The girl nodded shakily, visibly growing still. "Yes.. Yes, Madam." Max bit her tongue, now was hardly the time for a reprimand. The girl took another breath. "Mr. … Mr. Walker gave me the warp accelerator to help run the testing becau… Because I had a passing familiarity with the design. I was created as a test subject for it, you see. But… but..." The girl closed her eyes tight to try and get control of herself.

"And then Iggy had you test it on him and Fang?" Max asked. This, unfortunately, was only mildly surprising. Iggy, of course, would want to test it and would probably convince Fang to get it on it. Idiots!

"N-No." The girl said shakily, her eyes slowly clearing as if waking from a nightmare. Max noticed her eyes were slatted like a cat's a finally took in the girl.

She was young certainly; around sixteen-seventeenish is appearance. She wore a light blue tank top that showed off her bare back, a rarity in a compound full of avian hybrids. Her nails had been replaced with claws and she had a certain gracefulness about her despite her obvious fear. It hit Max suddenly that this must have been the feline hybrid Fang had mention, Tiger's Eye right? She'd been at the compound for barely two weeks…

"Are you alright?" Max asked suddenly, interrupting whatever the girl had been going to say.

The girl seemed to finally be getting control of herself. "No, Madam. But I will be. Anyway, Mr. Walker instructed I just use it on the other guy… I don't know his name, Madam. But, please forgive me for saying so; Mr. Walker is the most completely frustrating, utterly humorless, horribly worthless flirt in the universe, Madam."

If it was anything less than Fang… and Iggy's life in the balance, Max probably would have found that really funny.

"But I didn't mean for this to happen! It was only a joke, I pointed it at him a ordered the device to send him across the room, I must have done something wrong, because the next thing I knew they both had just... disappeared! And there was a whirlwind in the lab, sent stuff flying everywhere. I'm so sorry, really I am, I…" Suddenly Tiger's Eye's eyes widened. "I... I won't have to leave the compound will I?" She was shaking again now, but obviously trying to hold it together, as if this would be the final nail in her coffin.

Max shook her absentmindedly. "No, of course not." If they sent away everybody who'd messed something up the compound would be very sparsely populated.

Max stared at the device, and was hit with a sudden wave of likely idiotic impulse.

Summing up every ounce of authority she could muster, Max looked the girl square in the eyes. "Tiger's Eye, whatever you did to them, do it to me."
Tiger's Eye stared at her, uncomprehending. Max saw the utter stupidity of her order reflected in those cat-like eyes. And she knew perfectly well herself that she shouldn't be doing this. But she had felt the beginnings of that wild desperation hit, the kind that warned her Fang was leaving and… and he might not be coming back. She couldn't go through that again. She wouldn't go through that again.

"Nudge, you're in charge." Max order through her radio, only waiting for the confusing demands for answers from the girl before returning her gaze to Tiger's Eye.

"Do it."

And probably because she was still too much in shock to think strait herself, Tiger's Eye obeyed.


Quick note: I have decided to give the hybrid compound/army camp a name. It's Dawna. That is all. :)

Chapter Five: WHERE THE HECK AM I?!

Ouch, was the only thought that ran through Max's head when she finally came to half an hour later.

She let her eyes slit slightly, then reeled back as the strength of a bright light hit her.

OUCH!! Max screamed mentally as her head impacted with something hard and very, very solid.

"Whoa! Careful there, Max." Voice said above her. Max would've bothered to identify it if the sound hadn't sent a second, mind-numbing wave of pain through her skull.

"Ugh…" Max groaned, struggling to sit up, a hand reached out to grasp her arm and steady her.

"Whoa… Hold it there." The voice spoke again.

Max groaned and leaned toward the voice, burying her face in something warm and much, much softer then a rock.

"Mmmm…" Max mumbled, a chuckled sounded above her, but Max didn't care. Suddenly another warm thing came around her side, but it didn't last long.

"Muh!!" Max protested as the warm thing lifted her up on her feet.

"Max, open your eyes." The voice said.

And slowly Max did, only to blush bright red as she found herself only inches from Fang, his arms on either side of her.

It was moments like these that Max wondered if the universe hated her deeply or loved her passionately.

Either way, she was probably screwed.

It was Fang that finally broke the very uncomfortable silence.

"Hi." He said.

And that was it.

But his eyes spoke volumes, so much confusion and conflict behind them that all Max could really discern was 'I don't know whether I'm happy to see you or very put out with you for following me.' Which was the general gist of the thing anyway.

Iggy grunted then, breaking the spell. Fang's arms fell to his sides and Max squashed the part of her that wanted to cry out for him to stay near her, the urge to reach out and grasp his hand.

"What are you doing here?" Iggy demanded, obviously not agreeing with Fang's feeling of conflict.

"Shouldn't you be back in Dawna ordering idiots around to get about the business of saving our butts?" Max's silence must have told him something, because Iggy was suddenly suspicious. "How did you get here, Max?"

Max reached up and rubbed her temples; she certainly hadn't recovered from her hangover/pain-from-knock-her-head-against-a-rock just yet.

"Tiger's Eye." Max mumbled. It came out softer then she intended and Fang reached out to touch her arm. When their eyes met this time Max saw none of his former confusion, only raw concern. The intensity of his gaze forced her look avert her eyes.

Iggy hadn't noted the exchange between the two. "I knew it!! I knew that worthless wrench was going to be trouble. I knew it the moment I heard her raspy little voice. And to think I momentarily even found her attractive! Never, ever trust a cat to do the job of an owl, the most knowledgeable of earth's creatures. Cats just can't die. That has nothing to do with science! Urg!" Iggy the wheeled on Max, his sightless eyes hard. "And tell me, little Miss I-know-everything how come if she could send you, she didn't think to just bring us back, hmm?"

It was a good question, one Max should have asked herself instead of blundering after Fang like a besotted teenager. "I-I don't know." Max mumbled. Fang was still looking at her all concerned, and his hand was still on her arm. It really wasn't doing anything to help her concentration.

But of course Iggy, being blind (or more accurately, Iggy being Iggy) didn't notice her struggles. He opened his mouth to say something, but Fan stopped him.

"Max are you OK?" He asked. Max just nodded slightly, trying to keep her composure intact. "Yeah…"

Fang frowned. "Max I think you need to sit back down, OK?"

Max tried to protest, but wasn't particularly successful. Finally Max gave up and plopped down, leaning her head on Fang's shoulder. This was becoming ridiculous. Slowly but surely, she regained her motor skills enough that she was relatively sure she could stand and walk about, but she wasn't quite ready to relinquish her pillow just yet…

Ugh, Max! Snap out of it! Just do it fast, like removing a Band-Aid Max thought. And then quickly pulled away from Fang, only to fall back fully against him when the dizziness hit.

Fang caught her of course, both his arm coming to encircle her and keep her head from reacquainting itself with a rock.

Max gave up fighting herself and slowly sat up, refusing to completely relinquish her grip on Fang's arm. 'For stability.' She told herself, though even she didn't believe it.

Carefully, Max allowed herself to look around and gasped

"Wow." It was all she could manage as she took in the scene before her. Tumbling waterfalls clear as crystal fell into a beautiful lake. The glass-like water allowed for view an assorted school of fish to be spotted, thousands of tiny beads of color dancing beneath the surface. There wasn't a beach on this lake, a fact Max was very fond of because she hated sand. High cliffs rouse up on three sides, flowing with rock-climbing wild flowers of every shade of the rainbow. The far end of the lake sloped into a rolling hill that shimmered with a sprinkling of summer dew. Fang smiled at her awed expression and she swore she forgot how to breathe.

"Yeah," Fang said, but his eyes never left her face. Finally he looked away and Max wondered if the flash of emotion she caught on his face was in anyway comparable to the anguish she felt when he did so. "I've been trying to describe it accurately to Iggy for half-an-hour now, albeit without much success." Fang said. "Anyway, as I was trying to convince Iggy a minute ago, a place like this just has to have a village or something close by."

"And why is that?" Iggy demanded. He was frustrated and hungry and desperately low on caffeine. He wasn't in the best of moods. "What is that 'All beautiful places must be inhabited', rule twenty-five of the universe al-la-Fnick?" He snapped.

Fang shrugged. "That's just how things work, Ig." He said nonchalantly, only paying attention to Iggy in an attempt to be unaffected by a very distracting grip on his forearm.

"Why?! For all you know, we never even left Dawna." Iggy exclaimed. "We could be experiencing a panic-induced hallucination."

Fang almost agreed with him. Max's hand on his arm, the light strands of her hair brushing against him, was something he would've dreamed up just to torture himself.

However, he wasn't about to let Iggy of all people know how badly it was affecting him.

"Each of us, Ig? At the exact same time of the exact same place?" Fang said in a degrading tone. Max shoved him a little, pushing more pressure on his arm. Fang shivered, and then prayed Max hadn't noticed.

She hadn't, she was too busy shaking her head in exasperation.

"No, Ig. You are most certainly not in Dawna anymore. That's how we knew something had gone wrong. You… vanished. It looked like hurricane had hit the place."

Iggy frowned. "And you thought it was a good idea to follow us because?" Iggy asked, peeved.

Max blushed bright red and she found herself thanking whatever gods may be that Iggy was blind and couldn't detect it. Fang however was studying her again and Max wondered if it was her imagination that his grip tightened a fraction. Max found herself wondering if maybe he really did know her so well that he could discern her real reasons for rushing after him. She knew he would come after her no questions asked. Did he know she felt the same? That every time he had to run a raid or carry out his other duties she had to force herself not to come running after him, leaving the compound to fend for itself? Did he realize that the only reason she had come after the boys at all was because she was horribly and irreversibly in love with him?
WHOA! Hold it! What in the name of all that flies was that?! LOVE?!

Iggy groaned at her lack of response, slumping to the ground in a heap of frustration. His brow was furrowed irritably and his lack of ideas was evident on his face. His hands clenched themselves at his sides, finding nothing of use to put in them and use to make a way home. He embodied misery.

Max finally decided it was time to stand up, but leaned heavily on Fang as she did so. Maybe it was hypocritical, but somehow pulling the 'helpless' card right now seemed to have a very low probability of negative outcome.

"Maybe we should have a look around then." Fang said. He's been watching Iggy pace back and forth for a good hour now. It was like watching a extremely dull tennis match. Left, right, left, right, plop to the ground, stand up again, left, right… That, plus the fact that Max was pressed up against him, which was quite possibly the most distracting thing he'd ever experienced made him desperate for a plan of action, particularly before he did something stupid.

Iggy just groaned and Fang took that as an affirmative.

"OK then. Come on, Max. Let's go for a walk." Fang said, distancing them a bit. Max pulled away completely a moment later, taking the lead down the shore.

Leaving Iggy to his misery, the pair quickly made it a good halfway around the lake before they came to a narrow spot where only a slender strip of land was present between the water's edge and the cliff side. Fang allowed Max to go first, under the pretense of he could catch her if she fell. In all actually, he wasn't exactly unhappy for the chance to admire Max without any observing eyes.

As if she could read his mind, Max got a knowing smirk on her face and looked over shoulder at him, a teasing smile on her face. "I hope you're not checking me out back there, Fang. That would be terribly immature of you."
Now where had that come from? Max blushed and kept on walking. But Fang only managed to trip, almost hitting the surface of the water, then stubble along behind her, desperately fishing for a reply.

"Perhaps… but you know, people will already be talking, you jumping in here after Iggy and me. Now talk about immature…"

Max turned to look at him again, a strangely amused sparkle in her eye.

"What makes you think it had absolutely anything to do with Iggy?"

And then she walked away, leaving Fang standing shock-still behind her.

6. Extreme Measures

Chapter Six: Extreme Measures

Max bit the inside of her cheek as she walked swiftly away. What in the world had gotten into her? Had some slipped something into her coffee that morning? With Maple, a snippy hybrid who, though a genius in the kitchen, and absolutely no people skills, running the commissary no one could be sure… Perhaps Max had managed to tick someone off, it wasn't like that didn't happen rather often, and this was their untimely revenge.

Desperately Max tried to grab onto some level of reason, without success. It was as if all commonsense had fled her, leaving her teetering on whims and impulses. First she jumped in after Fang like she was some sort of inexperienced rookie cadet who didn't know the dangers before her, instead of the responsible, stable women in charge of what could be the most important mission in the history of the Earth. And then, as if that wasn't enough, she had to go and shamelessly flirt with her best friend and military commander! Her heart was pounding blood to her cheeks a mile a minute and Max momentarily wondered at the fact her sanity level was in anyway intact. She hadn't been impulsive in years! She wasn't some runaway experiment anymore! She had purpose, reason! She should be able to refrain from making spur of the moment decisions that put herself, and those around her, in unnecessary danger. To make the entire situation worse, the silence emitting from Fang was driving her mad. They had a solid friendship, better then should have been possible for two very different people. So why did she feel so determined to jeopardize that friendship?

Not trusting herself to speak again, Max stomped along, fuming for the next twenty minutes or so, Fang following quietly behind like a loyal puppy who'd just been given a sound beating.

Finally, they reached the top of the hill at one end of the valley, which at some random moment Max had decided to start climbing and Fang, hardly in a mental state to argue, had followed.

They stopped there, staring at a flat and largely uninteresting stretch of grassland.

"Well," Fang said. "Iggy was right about one thing. Not a cottage in sight."

Somehow that was not what she expected him to say and her face must have said as much, because Fang avoided her gaze and glared at the ground. For a while he just stood there as Max's felt her heart slowly crack. Finally Fang straightened his shoulders, as though he had made some sort of decision, and turned to look at her.

Max gasped, and then found she couldn't breathe. Fang's eyes were dark and searching and… he was smiling. Fang reached up to brush some wayward strands of hair from her face. "Max…" He breathed softly and Max felt her heart skip a beat as his husky tone hit her ears like a wrecking ball, knocking out all resistance to take in whatever would happen next.

But whatever that would have been, she wasn't going to have to deal with it. Because right then the ground began to shake violently. Max immediately managed to trip and fall, but Fang caught her, pulling her against him.

It only lasted a few seconds, but it was enough to thoroughly shake whatever else had been on their minds before hand.

"What was that?!" Max asked shakily, trying to regain her footing.

Fang was looking down into the canyon, where rocks were tumbling down from cliff sides. Iggy was standing near the shore, waving at them to signal he was okay. Fang sent him a low whistle, to low for even Max to pick up. But Iggy got the message, plopping down somewhere to complain to himself about life and there general situation.

"I'm guessing earthquake." Fang said, returning his attention fully to Max.

Max frowned. "Well, duh!" Max said, rolling her eyes. "Do you think that happens often?" Max asked, mostly because she had to say something to avoid the uncomfortable silence pushing in on them.

He let go of her shoulders, which he had still been gripping tightly, and shook his head. "I don't know. We may as well get back to Iggy before he accidently falls down a well or something. At least we can give him the news that he was right about this place being deserted."

Max quirked an eyebrow. "That's good news?"

"Well, no." Fang said over her shoulder as he began to walk down the hill. "But he'll still be happy he was right."

"Hey, guys!" A voice came though the radio.

Fang frowned, he'd forgotten about the radio. To distracted with his pleasantly conflicting thoughts.

"I think I've found something, get down here!" Iggy said excitedly.

"Be right there." Fang mumbled. Fang turned to look at Max, whose eyes echoed his reluctance to go.

Finally Max sighed. "Come on; better go see what he wants before he manages to blow it up." And with that, the two started back down the hill, leaving their emotional conflict behind.

7. Personal Hell

Chapter Seven: Personal Hell

Iggy was still in a bad mood when the pair finally reached their arrival point. "About time you got here." Iggy mumbled irritably. Max rolled her eyes in greeting, a lost gesture on his sightless eyes. It was moments such as these that Max could understand why people such as Tiger's Eye could find Iggy so irritable. Of course, Max had grown up with him. She was used to his remarks. Even so, Fang snapped back. "Well, I'd like to see you fly back as fast as we did." He said, motioning to Iggy's no longer quite-as-slim figure.

Before they could really get to bickering, they were really just like a pair of bratty kids when they really got at it, Max broke in and asked, "Did you feel an earth tremor down here too?"

Iggy nodded absentmindedly, not really paying attention. "Yeah, If I had anything even vaguely useful with me I could calculate the strength ratio and possible points of origin, but unfortunately I don't seem to have that luxury." He mumbled irritably.

"Also I'm starving." Iggy added. Fang rolled his eyes and tossed him a power bar from his back pocket, which Iggy somehow managed to catch and devour within three seconds.

"There, now tell us what you've found." Fang said, obviously echoing Iggy's miserable sentiment.

Iggy licked the last of the crumbs from the corner of his lips them motioned to his right. "Look at the wall over there."

They did so, amazingly uninterested all things considered. Max could still feel where Fang's hand had touched her cheek, brushing against her hair.

The two faced a blank wall with absolutely no purpose.

"I don't see anything…" Max muttered.

Iggy smiled. "No of course not, you have to feel it."
Max frowned. "Iggy…"

"Look at this, Max." Iggy said holding out a small GPA, one he'd modified to alter its underside to protrude dotes in Braille so he could read the screen, Max moved her hands so she wouldn't have to feel the strange sensations it sent through her palms and looked at the pictures and numbers on the device.

"Iggy, this means nothing to me." Max said, frown still in place. But Fang's eyes had widened.

"No. Freaking. Way." Fang said in shock.

"There's no way, Ig." Fang continued " There are cliffs all the way around the lake, we walked right next to some of them. There's no way that…"

"Did you touch them?" Iggy asked, interrupting Fang.

"What? How does that…"

"Did you?" Fang was interrupted again.

Fang frowned, then shook his head slowly. "No… No, I don't think we did."

Iggy smiled. "Touch that wall. And yes, I know there's a wall there. That GPA has a visual description processor.

Fang, still frowning, walked up to the wall and placed his hand against the surface.

It went straight through as if nothing was there but air.

"What in heaven's name.." Max said, eyes widening.

Iggy smirked. "Hologram. See I told you Fang."
"Actually, you didn't say anything." Fang muttered, frowning some more.

"Yes, I did. I showed you the…"

"That's not 'saying' anything."
"Besides the point. Do you realize…"

"Of course. This is… rather ironic really."

"It's big Fang. Like world changing big it's…"

"You don' think the people of Nevada would notice if a military base just up and disappeared?"

"That's just it, Fang. I don't think it's a military base. I think it's a…"

"WHAT IS GOING ON?!" Max yelled, interrupting them.

Iggy smiled, laying a hand on her shoulder and motioning to the wall. "Max," he said. "Welcome, to Area 51."

8. Awkward

Chapter Eight: Awkward

"WHAT?!" Max exclaimed, her eyes widening at the blind hybrid.

"You mean like cover up central Area 51? Secret military base Area 51? Extraterrestrials Area 51?!"

Iggy grinned. "Well, yes and no. This is obviously an older, abandoned lab on the opposite side of Lake Groom. It hasn't been used in years. The real deal, the kind you hear in over-zealous new reels every now and then, is across the lake, past that holographic cliff. Max, if we could find how this hologram is stabilizing itself… Well, any direct retaliation against Dawna concerns would be abolished. This could be…"

"NO! Do NOT say 'big'. That's what you said about the teleporter thing before we got plopped down here in… in freaking Area 51!!" Max interrupted him. She plopped down on the ground and put her head in her hands. Of all the places she could end up being sent to, of course it would be conspiracy theory central. After all, it couldn't just be a nice, harmless cavern or something. No, it had to involve something earth shuttering or it just wouldn't be a 'Maximum Ride.'

"Besides, that's not my point; look at this…" Iggy said, holding out a small device Max had never seen before.

"What is it?" Fang asked, frowning and leaning over Iggy's shoulder.

"I'm not sure, but that's not my point. I found it in the rooms beyond the hologram. There's some sort of bunker over there. But look at this…" Iggy turned the device over to reveal… the official seal of Itex.

Fang groaned. "In Area 51? Figures they'd have ties here too."

"Shut up." Max barked. She had a headache and really wasn't in the mood to discuss Itex or Area 51 or conspiracy theories. Fang frowned and looked her over with concern. Iggy just shrugged.

"Whatever. Sulk all you want. I'm going to go check this out before the next earthquake hits. I think we must have set something off, I'm going to go try to shut it down before someone who actually knows what they're doing shows up and shoots us all." Iggy said, and with that he slandered off through the hologram. Fang came over to Max and laid a gentle hand on her shoulder.

"Heck of a day, huh?" Fang said. Max allowed herself the faintest of smiles. After all, the only person here to see it was Fang.

Fang was looking at her, she could feel it. And, to her horror, she felt her insides melt at his tender touch and soft voice. They both knew better, but suddenly they both found themselves back up on that hill, before the quake hit, just looking at each other. His face was a mix of annoyingly warm concern and an… an appealing look in the depths of his eyes. By some force she found beyond her control Max found herself leaning forward, towards him. Fang, her best friend, her once brother, her life, and, now she found she could finally admit it, her love.

"Max," Fang said in the same low, husky voice he'd used up on the hillside. Max reached up to stroke his cheek they leaned closer…

And then in a bright flash of light, the two found themselves standing before a group of very shocked hybrids. They were back in Dawna.

That was just their luck.

9. The Happy Ending

Last Time on Matchmaker: And then in a bright flash of light, the two found themselves standing before a group of very shocked hybrids. They were back in Dawna.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Make me a match,
Find me a find,
catch me a catch
Matchmaker, Matchmaker
Look through your book,
And make me a perfect match


Chapter Nine: The Happy Ending

Only God himself, and Angel, knew exactly how ramped the gossip raged after that fateful afternoon. It was Gasman that had evidently been able to finally get the device back online. The bird-boy had somehow managed to find a reverse to whatever it was Tiger's Eye had done to the three Dawna commanders. Gazzy even managed to keep them from hitting anything to hard and falling unconscious. Though Iggy did happen to land on a very irritable Tiger's Eye who threatened, in six languages and a extensively colorful script, to kill and dismember him in ways even Fang had never thought of.

Max and Fang hadn't noticed Iggy's discomfort at first. Their reentry to Dawna had been much smoother; which meant no headaches or crash landings.

It also meant that when they appeared back in the lab surrounded by fretting hybrids they were still staring deeply into one another's eyes like bewitched lovers. Max's hand curved warmly around his cheek, Fang's eyes holding her's with that passionate, iron-bound gaze.

And then, after a full second or so, Iggy had dropped in and the cursing began. Like the breaking of a magic spell Max had dropped her hand and looked away.

Just in time to feel the heated blush of embarrassment flood her cheeks.

Then, just like that, the crisis was over.

Oh, there was a cave-wide intercom (another idea of Iggy's) announcement to explain what had been going on (as if everyone and their mother didn't already know) and a required overlook in the sick bay (where Angel, with a mischievous smile on her face, had released Max and Fang long before she technically should have). Then a quick, relatively pointless meeting with Nudge over what had happened while she'd been gone (it was amazing what you could miss in a single afternoon). Then Max accepted Tiger's Eye's apology trice over before the young girl guiltily tugged herself out of Max's office. She gave the go ahead for Iggy to continue working on the device (though it was doubtful he would find any practical use. It didn't seem to have a navigational system, just plopped you down wherever it so pleased.) Max had extended her sympathies at Iggy's failure, and urged him to remember there were other devices that needed decoded and tweaking. Then, finally, she'd gone to watch the sunset. The place where this whole mess had begun. It seemed less appealing now, not as attractive as before, and soon Max took a deep sigh and headed for bed.

She was still staring intently at her ceiling in a hopeless attempt sleep two hours later, when the all-too familiar shiver ran down her smile.

Fang stood in the entryway, he was smiling.

"Come on." And he walked down the hall. Max hurried to follow him.

They walked on quietly for awhile, just enjoying one another's presence. After awhile, they reached a small outcropping extending out from the cliff face under the stars. A bench had been carved out of solid rock and sat there, facing the twinkling lights. Fang sat down and pulled Max after him, setting them on the bench. They sat and watched the stars and when Fang looked at her, Max knew everything was going to be okay.

"Fang…" It was a simple enough word, to say his name, but she meant so much by it. She struggled to convey every well-concealed feeling, every unspoken thought into her voice. This time when she touched his cheek, no magic teleporter came to whisk them away, no earthquake struggled to break there gaze, no annoying pyro managed to blow their moment to smithereens. This time the only thing that happened was the softening of Fang's eyes and the tilting of Fang's head as he bent down to kiss her.

And for the first time in a long time, things felt right.

Three Hours Later…

Max blinked as the soft glow of the just-rising sun warmed her skin.

She felt the steady rise and fall of something underneath and smiled, snuggling further against Fang's chests. His arms unconsciously constricted around her. They had fallen asleep here, on the out cropping. Just talking and snuggling and wondering about the universe. Max sighed deeply, she'd never felt this peaceful, this perfect, in her life. Leisurely Max stroked Fang's forearm, looking out at the waning night sky were the full moon was still visible in the sky, contemplating how perfectly they fit against one another.

We match. Max thought with a smile. And slowly drifted off to sleep once more.