Flight Path

Summary: What if the School never existed? What if the Flock were just normal kids? If you want to know, read on…
Fandom: Maximum Ride
Pairings: None as of yet - I'm working on it. I'm still unsure if I should take the slashy path…
Warnings: Bad language, underage drinking and smoking, sex drugs and rock 'n' roll
Disclaimer: See that word back there? It says 'disclaimer. If I owned these characters, it would not be a disclaimer. Do we see the connection here, dear readers?
Author's Note: I'm not entirely clear on some of the details here. But do you know what the great thing about AU is? It doesn't matter! Anyway, most of the differences can be explained by the fact that they're completely human and were never at the school.

Chapter 1 – Sometimes

When you look around
You can't tell me honestly
You're happy with what you see…

from Sometimes by Depeche Mode


"Andrew! Get out of your bed right now!"

In a tiny, untidy bedroom somewhere outside of Washington DC, Andrew Green moaned and buried his face in the pillow. He winced at the sound of running feet coming down the hall. Crap – sounded like his mom had sent his little sisters to get him out of bed. His pounding headache increased its tempo in some sort of protest as his door flew open and banged loudly against the wall. Suddenly he was covered in sister.

"Come on, Andy! Get out of bed!"
"Yeah, mom made breakfast!"

That was sufficiently unusual for Andrew to raise his head. Their mom never made breakfast. Hell, they were lucky when there was enough money to buy any. Anyway, wasn't she supposed to be at work by now? He sat up and swung his legs off of the bed, sending his six-year-old sisters Laura and Lisa tumbling to the floor. They giggled, grabbing his wrists and pulling him upright.

"Okay, talk to me," Andrew said, fending off the sibling attack; "Why has mom made breakfast?"
The twin girls exchanged looks; "We think it's because of her boyfriend," Lisa said eventually. Andrew groaned. Fantastic. Sounded like his mom had hooked up with some idiot…again.
"Okay, okay," Andrew said, disentangling himself from his two little sisters; "Go get dressed or something – I need a shower."
"We're already dressed."
"Not the point…jeez, just go do something for five minutes and give me some damn peace!" They left obediently, talking in whispers and giggling.

Five minutes later he staggered out of the bathroom, attempting to dry his hair and zip up his jeans at the same time, which was so difficult as to be damn near impossible. He walked into the kitchen with a vague idea of getting some food while he figured out where the hell he'd left his favourite t-shirt, only to find his mom and her new boyfriend staring at him. Especially the boyfriend…Andrew suddenly became acutely conscious of the fact that he was stripped to the waist, and abandoned his hair for a moment to zip up his jeans. Laura and Lisa were sitting at the battered table, eating what looked like eggs and bacon. Andrew felt his mouth begin to water: Damn, I haven't had food like that since the last time I stayed at Jamie's place.

"Um…what's the occasion?" he asked a little suspiciously.
"No occasion," his mother said brightly; "Just making breakfast for my darling children like I usually do." Ah, so that explained it. Probably the guy had kids, and she was advertising her mommy-skills. The man gave a smarmy smile that made Andrew want to throttle him. Apparently there was such a thing as hate at first sight.
"So you must be Andrew. Your mother told me all about you."
"I'll bet she did," Andrew replied flatly; "And who are you supposed to be?"
"I'm Mark," he said, offering a hand. Andrew looked blankly at him for a moment, pointedly ignoring the extended hand. After an awkward pause, he grabbed a plate from the counter and left the room.

"I've gotta go get ready," he yelled indistinctly over his shoulder around a mouthful of bacon; "I'm s'posed to meet Jamie in five minutes." He could feel the dirty look his mother was shooting him as an uncomfortable prickling sensation between his shoulderblades. He usually got his sisters ready for school. But if she was going all super-mom on them, he was happy to leave her to it. Let her try – he ran the house practically single-handedly, since the only time she wasn't at work was when she was out with the boyfriend of the week. There was no way she could cope.

Five minutes later, Andrew was on his way out of the shabby apartment. His headache had subsided a little, but the bright sunlight outside still hit him like twin needles in the eyes. He winced, raising an arm to cover his eyes, and lit a cigarette as he began the walk to school.

At the bridge over the freeway he met his best friend James Griffiths, better known as Jamie. Jamie was one of those boys who are fairly short for their whole childhood, then hit puberty and suddenly shoot up three feet. He was more than six feet tall, which made Andrew – a fairly respectable 5'10" – feel quite short. He had pale skin, strawberry blonde hair and bright green eyes: a sharp contrast to Andrew, who was in all aspects some shade of brown. He was perched dangerously on the concrete wall, traffic roaring past below, and from the bored look on his face had probably been waiting for quite some time. He brightened up when he saw Andrew and jumped lightly down from the wall.

"Hey, man," Andrew said. Jamie scowled as he caught sight of the cigarette hanging from his friend's lips.
"You're a fucking idiot."
"I though you were quitting."
"I'm trying."
"Try harder," Jamie said firmly, grabbing the sorry-looking rollup and tossing it over the wall onto the freeway.
"That was my last one!" Andrew objected.
"You know you love me anyway," Jamie smirked. Andrew rolled his eyes and blew him a mocking kiss.

It was a twenty minute walk to school, and Andrew was silent for most of the way. Monday – not his favourite day at the best of times. But when slightly hung-over and deeply worried about his mom's new boyfriend, they turned into a form of hell. Jamie remained tactfully quiet for a while, but it wasn't long before his curiosity got the better of him.

"What's up, Andy?" he asked; "You look sorta depressed."
"My mom's got a new boyfriend," Andrew replied gloomily.
"So?" Jamie said; "She's got a new one every week – just wait it out till the next one comes along."
"Cheap shot."
"Anyway, the thing is…" Andrew said uncomfortably, "He creeps me out. I walked into the kitchen half-dressed – you should have seen the way he was looking at me…"
"Oh," Jamie said, "Oh right. My sympathies, man." Andrew shrugged indifferently.

They arrived at school early, a marked change from their usual habit. It was about ten minutes to the bell so they headed for the music department. Jamie spent the time playing one of the school's guitars. He was good…very good. Andrew listened wistfully – he had absolutely zero musical talent. In fact, he had been charitably described as a 'ten-thumbed tone-deaf noise polluter'. Andrew was the writer – Jamie was the artist.

In fact, they were so absorbed in the music that they didn't actually register the bell right away. Then students began filing into the classroom.

"Shit," Jamie said, placing the guitar back on its stand. Andrew grabbed him by the arm and dragged him out of the class.
"What are we in first?" Andrew asked distractedly, looking around.
"My feelings exactly."


In case you haven't guessed, Fang is Andrew and Iggy is Jamie. Next chapter will feature Max, and possibly Gazzy and Angel.