The characters belong to James Patterson, and my favorite song of ALL time 'Vulnerable' belongs to the best band on the planet: Secondhand Serenade

Share with me the blankets that you're wrapped inBecause its cold outside cold outside its cold outside

Tonight was frosty, and I sat on watch. Angel, Nudge, Iggy, and Gazzy were sound and huddled together to keep warm. The snow was falling from the mountains roughly two hundred feet up. I turned my head to my side and there she was: dirty blonde hair and all. My wings were being whipped slightly behind me from the intensity of the wind.

I was thrown off balance, and made a 'thump' on the rocks; then I regained my former position. There was a rustling sound next to my leg, and she jolted up looking around, and very alert. I sighed and pressed gently at the spot between her wings and her eyes met mine. I shivered; geez it was cold. She smiled and took the blanket she had, wrapping it around my chest.

She playfully drew circles on my collar bone and looked like she was going to say something, but as always- well at least while everyone was around kept very quiet.

"Max?" I breathed in her ear. I felt her tense for a split second and then relax against my arms.

"Mmhhmm?" She mumbled, and she was obviously drifting to sleep beside me.

"I love you…" I just sighed to myself; she couldn't hear me.

She shifted and then her breathing became normal and I was out of luck. Ever since I kissed her by the fire, she wouldn't open up to me anymore. I always thought it was because she was trying to protect the flock. The interest of the family first and whatnot, but recently I have found her to be beyond hesitant when she would talk to me or touch me. I wanted to tell her. I really did, but it wasn't the right time.

The flock slept soundly until sunrise, and Max woke to me caressing her cheek. She smiled, and then backed away.

Share with me the secrets that you kept inBecause its cold inside cold inside its cold inside

She was colder these days; emotions were running higher. It made me sad to think of her like that. We were just getting ready to scavenge for breakfast and then they showed up. Relatively quiet morning- yeah right! The freaking erasers! God! I ducked and one flew sideways into the wall.

I turned my shoulder and screamed to Max," I thought they were all gone?!"

She leapt up to respond back and got jabbed in the face by an eraser fist. She hurled backwards and knocked into a tree. Max shook her head and jumped up. I freaked, but I had to keep myself aware. There was an eraser grabbing Angel, and I flew down and snapped their spine. A disgusting crunch rattled the air and it dropped.

"Obviously, they're not!!!!" She smiled and brushed my wing with hers.

A wave of relief washed over me. Max was fighting beside me to destroy the eraser that left the bloody mess on her cheek. She side kicked the one that was overly entertained with throwing me around, and I punched its head back into the rocks.

Max dove down and grabbed the eraser, and broke its knee caps. It flew horribly, and so Max threw it into a river. The blood turned the river water a nasty brown color.

The erasers left standing were relatively broken apart, so they got the hint and zipped out of there. Angel was signaling Gazzy to come back, and Nudge followed Iggy back to the resting spot.

And your slowly shaking finger tips,Show that you're scared like me so.

"Ok.. We have to relocate. Let's go over to the canyon that we past an hour back." Max was breathing heavily and I could tell she was scared that they were back. Her arms shook and I was the only one who could tell this. I was afraid of losing her, and this was not what we expected at this stage in the game.

"Max…" I whispered behind her and she tilted her head toward me; her breathing leveled.

"Let's go gang," she motioned for the rest of them to go.'' I just need to talk to Fang for a minute."

"Okay," they all said and left in unison, and hovered about two hundred feet above us.

Let's pretend were alone

She turned entirely around to face me and I was abashed by tears filling the corners of her eyes. "Yeah?"

"We'll be fine… I promise, I'll never leave you again."

She walked over and stopped half way. She looked like she was debating with herself. Then she came over and ran into hug me. I wrapped my arms around her, and then tilted her chin up. Her eyes were watery and she blinked trying to sustain the tears. I wiped them away, and she whispered, "What are we gonna do now? I'm scared."

This was the side of Max that no one ever saw…Except for me.

"Don't be I'm here, I'll never let you get hurt." I was scared too.

I saw the emotions. I bent down, and kissed her. She shivered against me, and I just hugged her closer. We broke apart at the sound of wings flapping behind us.

"You guys coming or not?" Iggy said in an exasperated tone , me and Max looked at each other and mouthed an oh yeah! They sent the blind one back, I thought to myself.

"Yeah", she said; I saw Max wipe a tear off her cheek. I brushed my hand against hers and flew up to meet with the others. I needed to be alone with her. She flew past me and I could tell both of us were spinning from what had just happened.

And I know you may be scaredAnd I know were unpreparedBut I don't care

I loved her and that's all I needed to know. No eraser, white coat, or anybody was going to change that. Later that day at our new spot, Max sat up on one of the higher cliffs and brushed the blood off her face with water that she scooped up. She winced and yelped at the cleansing water and Nudge looked over at her; Max just shooed her to play with Angel.

I continued to flex my leg, and the muscles repaired quickly enough. Then Iggy came over to me and sat down with his hands on his knees.

"Fang… If there were something going on with you and Max- you'd tell me right?" He was quiet, but then again we were around the little ones.

"Yeah, totally man."

"Okay," he walked off.

She tried so hard. I loved that about her so much. Whether or not it was just because we were fourteen and the mother roll was remarkably imbedded in her blood or what, it made me happy to see her care for us so much; I wish I had that much ability to love, even after everything we've all been through. She put up such a thick barrier between her emotions and keeping us safe that at this point I think she was even fooling herself. She thought she was unbreakable.Tell me tell meWhat makes you think that you are invincible

I decided that since everyone was well preoccupied with their break from running I'd coast around for a while, and make an excuse to go see Max while she was up that high. She had asked to be alone, but oh well. When I flew right above her- silently so I could watch her for a little while- she was thinking hard and talking to herself. Then I dropped about ten feet and I heard her talking to 'the voice'.

She mumbled what sounded like," I do not love him that way… I can't love him that way." Which followed with a pause and then," Shut up. Even if I did- this wouldn't work." I got tired of hearing her argue with herself and decided to swoop down next to her. One last 'leave me alone' left her mouth, but it was directed at both me and 'the voice'- I think. She turned over to me and jumped back slightly surprised.

"Don't freak out. It's just me." I said soothingly.

"Yeah… Just you," this was a new Max voice- what was up with it?

"Umm, well anyways are you feeling any better?" I moved over and covered her with my wings. She nestled her head into my chest and breathed a soft 'no'.

"I promise I'll make sure everything's ok. You wanna go coasting for an hour before night fall?" I encouraged her to do something that I knew calmed her down.

"No, I need to stay here and think about our next move." Her voice was back to the solid strong and totally sure one that I'd fallen in love with every time I saw her.

"You don't have to do this," I muttered.

"Do what," she perked up.

Before I said another word, I moved over and kissed her again. It was short, and I enjoyed the gentleness of her whole body. This seemed to take the place of words this time and she pulled back.

"Yes, yes I do…" She almost cried again, but looked deep into my eyes and put her hand on my chest. I shivered and she giggled; she smiled! I was so happy to see her smile.

"No, you don't have to pretend around me. I know I'm not the only one who's an open here." I was bravely saying more than was needed.

"I don't know how to stop…"

I can see it in your eyes that you're so surePlease don't tell me that I am the only one that's vulnerableImpossible

She leaned in and kissed me this time. I pulled her under me and she wrapped her arms around my neck, our bodies fit perfectly together. Her arm moved up to my hair and tugged gently at it. This sent shivers up my spine, and I didn't want to stop, so my arms continued exploring her whole back, but then reality snapped back into place and we broke apart, my weight entirely on her hips, but she didn't seem to mind.

I went back for one more kiss and then leaned off her, and stood up. She looked confused and vulnerable, but I pointed down at the flock.

I flew down to meet them and sent them all on a dinner mission. I told them to be back no sooner than dusk because I wanted to make a good catch for the next few days. God, I was even impressing myself with how bizarrely good I became at lying.

So I figured we would have about 4 or 5 hours. They all thought nothing of it, and as I flew back up to meet Max her eyes were wide. I sat down beside her and smiled. She came in close to me and kissed my collar bone. I got goose bumps and she massaged that back of my ear, then she backed away.

"No." She said. She was scared that it was going to go too far.


Then to calm her down I came up with the only words I always wanted to say, but never came around to it.

I was born to tell you I love youIsn't that a song alreadyI get a B in originality

"Max, I have needed to say this since the moment I realized it. Since the moment I realized I would never care about another person more than I care about you." I pulled her into my arms and tilted her head up, then whispered into her ear, "I love you. I was born to love you."

What I said wasn't very original, but I could tell by her smile that the message came in loud and clear. I felt warmed by her, and she bit her lip hesitating to reply back.

"You know I love you." She beamed at me with her big brown eyes. The tears fell like the rain. It was soft and I kissed her cheeks and her neck, and then just held her in my arms.

"What are we going to tell the flock?" She anxiously questioned.

"Whatever you want…" Then I just stared out at the horizon and stayed quiet for however long it took not to hear the sounds of the world.

I opened my arms up and told her one more time. She blushed as if her saying it back broke the barriers she tried to keep up so hard. I began to stare into her eyes and noticed something I never noticed before. They were hazel, and grey, and really dark brown. I didn't deserve her, but I wanted her so bad- not necessarily in that sense either.

And it's true I can't go on without youYour smile makes me see clearIf you could only see in the mirror what I see

"Max?" I kissed her forehead.

"Yeah,'' breathed into my chest.

"You're so beautiful. You know that?"

"No, but now I do."

She turned around and threw me down. She took her hands and kissed my neck slowly. I was unaware of what my hands were doing that they traveled down to meet her stomach and pulled up her shirt. I touched the soft skin and she stopped what she was doing.

"What did I do wrong? I'm sorr-," I went to say finish and she stopped me by putting one finger on my lips. She went to her shirt and pulled it off herself. I continued happily, and was very gentle along her collar bone. I let my other hand slide to her back and massage the small space in between her wings. This caused her to moan, and then Max tensed up. She let go of me, and her hands were shaking- not like seizer shaking, but scared, just as mine were…And your slowly shaking finger tipsShow that you're scared like me so Let's pretend were alone

I kissed her stomach and I watched cheerily as the goose bumps climb up her arms.

I wanted this to keep going in the direction it was, but I didn't know what to do about the fact that being me I had neglected to ever pick up a pack of condoms! I was growing… happier with every kiss and she decided to play with me a little. She grabbed my arms and threw them above my head, so I couldn't move. She pulled my shirt off with her teeth! I was very, very happy right now. She sighed and kissed my bare chest and she ground her hips against mine, then she noticed what was going on in my pants.

"Ok, um do you have a…a-a- condom?" She said shyly.

I gulped and prayed she wouldn't freak out. "Nope." I was shocked at the look on her face when she looked like she didn't care.

I kissed her chin because that's as far as my lips could reach and then she pulled back slightly. She looked kind of afraid.

"I love you," she said searching my eyes for something.

"I love you too, and if you don't want to do this, it's ok."

"No, I want to.''

"You don't care we don't have-," she stopped me and kissed my stomach- very low by pants. I shuddered. She smiled and seemed to be enjoying the fact that she could have this effect on me. I unzipped her pants and she pulled down mine. I was scared and exhilarated all at the same time when I let all my inhibitions loose.

And I know you may be scaredAnd I know were unpreparedBut I don't care


I cradled her in my arms and she smiled at me from beneath the blanket. The rest of the flock would be back soon, so I pulled on my clothes and she did the same.

"You're doing it again." I pointed out.

"Doing what again?" she pretended to be oblivious.

"Making me happy to be alive again," I caught her off guard.


"Max? Don't be afraid to let your guard down around the other's either. They know you're human too."

"Yeah, right; I have to be the impenetrable super Max for them"

I just sighed and kissed her forehead.

Tell me tell meWhat makes you think that you are invincibleI can see it in your eyes that you're so sure

She got up when the flock came back down about an hour before sunset. Iggy had a radio of all things! Angel caught six rats, and Nudge had a bunch of sticks, and Gazzy got stuck carrying Total.

We put the fire together and Max just kept eyeing me. No one knew what was going on, and they didn't need to… until dinner.

"Iggy, turn on any station you can find." Nudge pulled Iggy's hand to the radio dial.

"Okay." Then he pulled the dial a couple times, got a hazy signal, then found a clear station playing a soft rock song. It was in the middle of it and I listened compulsively drawn to whatever music I could get my hands on. Max was listening too and we both turned to gaze at each other as the lyrics played. It was soft and beautiful.

"Please don't tell me that I am the only one that's vulnerableImpossibleSlow down girl you're not going anywhereJust wait around and seeMaybe I am much more you never know what lies aheadI promise I can be anyone I can be anythingJust because you were hurt doesn't mean you shouldn't bleedI can be anyone anything I promise I can be what you needTell me tell meWhat makes you think that you are invincibleI can see it in your eyes that you're so surePlease don't tell me that I am the only one that's vulnerableImpossible,"

The lyrics faded out and Max just smiled at me. I thought happily to myself, I'm going to marry her someday; after we're done running from the erasers, and after we can have normal lives, whenever that may be, but I'm gonna do it. She mouthed 'I love you.' I walked up to her and shielded us from view momentarily with my wing and kissed her."I love you more." I smiled. I drew my wing back and sat down across from her; she watche me as I crossed the path, and I remembered that there was something I needed to tell Iggy. I walked up- with Max watching- and whispered in his ear. Then his face turned crazy and he spend a little time searching for her voice. Then she gawked at me and Iggy shot her thumbs up. I almost died- the look on her face- the face I loved.