Okay, Kiseki-no-neko, before you kill me for not having finished your oneshot, I have one thing to say: The check is in the mail. Ha! Kidding. I'm working on it as I type, but if it's any consolation, this has Mari and hints of Fudge. I have a challenge, which I will go into greater depth about at the bottom. By the way, am I the only person not getting messages from this site?

Where was she? Ari mentally ran through the list of possible places Max could be. She wasn't in their room, the bathroom, the kitchen, so she had to be in…..

The living room. Of course. Why hadn't he thought of it before?

And there she was, fast asleep in her favorite chair, curled up with her knees up by her chin.

Ari leaned in to wake her up, then paused. She was beautiful when she slept, so peaceful and serene. Angelic, really. It seemed a shame to awake her for something so trivial. All he wanted was for her to come to bed with him, even if she would just sleep there.

A solution to his predicament came to mind, and Ari smiled. Bending down, he slid one arm under her knees and the other around her shoulders. As he straightened himself, effectively cradling Max in his arms, a conversation from a year earlier came to mind.

"What's wrong?"

The simple question startled Max from her almost trance-like state. She pulled the sheet up over her shoulders, efficiently covering herself before answering. "It's just that…"

A slight blush marred her pretty complexion. Ari wondered what she was embarrassed by. "You've been so gentle, it's weird. Kinda creeps me out. As gentle as an Eraser could be, anyway." She said this so quickly, he had to rethink the words a few time before he understood what she meant.

"Why do you think it's odd that I'm gentle to you?"

For once, she seemed truly at a loss for words. "I don't know why, it just is."

"People are usually gentle to the ones they love."

She snorted, as if it were funny. "Well, you sure as heck don't love me."

"What makes you say that?"

"Everything. You kidnapped me and chopped my wings off. You're holding me captive, and probably won't release me. I'm not allowed to go outside, and you don't let me do anything for myself, like I'm a princess for you to wait on and adore. You make me share a bed and a room with you. You do this-" She dramatically gestured to the small bite marks that stretched over most of her bare body."-To me every night, and most days."

Her face was a bizarre combination of sadness and hatred as she choked out," What about this says love to you, Ari? What? I don't know if it's some kind of weird Eraser thing, but when most people love someone, they treat them like people, not pets. Stop treating me like a pet, and I might believe that you love-" Her voice became bitter with sarcasm," me for one second before I go back to realizing the truth, which is that you are an Eraser, and Erasers love no one. You were made to kill. It's your job, what you're meant to do."

He felt an irrational surge of anger go through him. He shouldn't be mad at her for thinking what he was doing was sick, because it was. Ari, deep down, knew that this was all wrong, but he couldn't help himself. It was too good to stop.

Max sniffled slightly, trying to hold back tears. She failed, and Ari watched for a second as droplets of water rolled down her cheeks, transfixed. He gently wiped away the tears, not liking how she pulled away from his touch. When Max jerked away, the sheet fell away from her, and for the first time, Ari truly saw what he had done to her.

Her skin was bruised in many places, and he had left unintentional love bites everywhere. She was thin, too thin, and the non-bruised skin was pale. It was pathetic, what the once great Maximum Ride had been reduced to. And it was his fault.

Ari knew what he had to do. All he needed was the guts and inspiration to do it.

As pitiful as her current state was, she was still beautiful, more so than any other person Ari had ever laid eyes on. Maybe she could give him his inspiration….

Pushing her back down onto the bed, Ari buried himself inside her, both figuratively and literally. Max gave a weak sound of protest, then went very still against him, like she was trying to block him out. Nuzzling her shoulder before biting down on it, tasting Max's sweet blood, Ari could only think one thing," Addictive."

He was addicted to Max, and nothing could stop him. There was a time when he could have stopped wanting her, but that time was long past. He had gotten a taste of that perfection, and could never let go. He knew a way to bind her to him forever, eliminating the chance of her ever escaping.

They had passed the point of no return, the final threshold.

Ari set Max down gently on their bed, taking great care not to wake her up. Getting up to turn the lights off, he started when she said, without opening her eyes," I had one of those dreams again."

Abandoning the lights, he laid down next to her on the bed, moving her so her head rested on his shoulder. Max had been having dreams about the Flock, most of which turned out to be true. "What happened in this one?"

She sighed. "The same as usual. The Flock, off somewhere-This time, it was back in Colorado-, doing stuff together. They were all so happy without me, laughing and joking, even Fang. But that wasn't the worst part. At the end, I saw him with her. They were kissing and cuddling, then they were together. You know, together together. It was horrible. How could they do this to me? How?" Her voice became angry as she finished the tale, her hands balled into fists.

Ari wrapped an arm around her, trying to calm her. He said soothingly, " Fang was with who, Max."

"Nudge." The single word was filled with anger, and hatred. "How could she do that to me? I was like her mother! And him, that jerk, that bastard, that cheating bastard! I thought he cared about me!"

Ari brushed a lock of Max's hair off her neck, and gently kissed the side of her neck. "Maxie, they think you're dead. Besides, you have me. That's all you need, right?"

She turned her face towards him, eyes still closed. "I have you. That's all I need." She took a deep breath. "All I need."

Pulling Max into his lap, Ari asked softly, "What do I do for you?"

"You protect me and take care of me, better than they did, or ever would. You're my world, Ari."

As she opened her beautiful, brown, now-sightless eyes to gaze in his direction, Ari smiled. She was his, through and through. Nothing would ever take Max from him, now that she understood the truth. It had taken so much-The kidnapping, the loss of her wings, and then her sight-but she belonged to him, and that was all Ari wanted. Max stretched up, pressing her mouth against his, and Ari knew that from now on, everything was going to be perfect.

I know it's creepy, but the plot bunny wouldn't leave me alone. Those things are vicious. Reviews would be great, people. Flames? Bring them on.