Okay, another oneshot...This one is pre-MR3, and is also AU(Ari's not dead, they're not siblings). It does have Mari, so if that bugs you, steer clear. I am pretty proud of this one, so it would be nice if you'd review.


Disclaimer: I do not own Maximum Ride.

Ari gave a sigh of contentment as he woke up, feeling warm and the closest to comfortable he'd been in a long time. Max was on top of him, her head pressed into him as she slept, tired from their long night. Her back was rising and falling with her breathing, and he discovered it very enjoyable to rest his hands on her bare back as he luxuriated in the sensation of being between sleep and awake.

Running his palms up and down her back, Ari smiled, closing his eyes again. His hands rested on Max's hips, and Ari realized that he rather liked the way Max was so small and fragile compared to him. She felt nice pressed against him, and tucked into him neatly. Their bodies fit together nicely, her hand was the right size to fit into his, and when they kissed, her mouth always managed to be in the right place at the right time.

She exhaled deeply, warm breath tickling his chest. He shivered, and tried to push the wing of hair that had fallen over the side of her neck closest to him away with his nose. After a moment of frustrated pushing, he nuzzled her neck gently, biting down on it lightly. That was enough for her to moan softly, and turn her head the other way, giving Ari better access to her skin.

He was trailing kisses around Max's neck, licking and nipping affectionately. One spot seemed to taste different than the rest-Though not necessarily in a bad way- and he focused on that, licking at it until the strange taste went away.

He said into her neck, "Love you."

She smiled in her sleep, and shifted slightly, murmuring something incoherent in reply. Ari's eyes opened in response to her new position, and that was when he saw it.

Numbers tattooed onto the back of her neck.

He stared at it for a second, confused before he realized what it was.


Her expiration date.

Ari's eyes widened, and his heart seemed to skip a beat. That was the date, July 2nd, 2007.

Max was going to die today.

Panic coursed through him, and his thoughts were a jumbled mess. Max was supposed to outlive him, have a full, happy life, even if it wasn't with him. He had always known that this day would come, but in those little daydreams, he had always envisioned it as Max finding his expiration date, not the other way around.

That was when it dawned on him what the odd taste had been. It was cover-up; Max had applied make-up over the date to keep him from finding it. That in itself was irritating, but the fact that she had hidden such an important thing for him for so long-She had clearly known what was happening-made him mad and terrified at the same time.

He grabbed her shoulders, shaking them, and she awakened with a start.

"Ari, what is-"

"Your expiration date! I found it, why were you hiding it from me? Jesus, Max, why didn't you tell me that you were going to die?"

She pulled away from him, sitting up and staring at him for a moment, eyes huge as she tried to decide what to do.

"I…I found the date, and I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to scare you, so I covered it up. I was going to tell you, I hadn't decided when."

He said in a low, angry voice, "Well, when you keeled over dead I might have figured it out."

They were both silent for a minute before he realized something. "Does the rest of the Flock know?"

"Angel figured it out, but no one else does. Honestly, do you think I'd tell them and not you?"

He glared at her. "Considering that you lied to all of us about your expiration date, yeah, I can see you doing that."

She turned away, annoyed. "This is stupid, Ari. I only have a day left to live, and we're sitting here arguing. There's better ways we could be spending this time."

"Such as?"

Without another word, Max leaned forward, and kissed Ari, long and hard. He returned the kiss, and Max pushed him back down onto the bed, lying on top of him again, not breaking the kiss. Ari was shaking, and she moved her hands from his head down to his chest, resting them there as Ari pulled her closer.

The next few minutes were bliss, just the two of them being near each other and enjoying their last day together. Max's hands were moving slowly down his chest, and were resting on his lower stomach when suddenly, she went limp against him.

Ari pulled away, and to his horror, saw that Max's eyes had shut, and could feel her skin rapidly growing cold. He pressed two fingers to the side of her neck, and felt nothing.

She had just died, in his arms.

The rest was…the rest was a blur. Crying, biting his arm, talking to her lifeless body. The Flock coming in, blaming him for her death at first, then realizing what had happened.

He had nothing left to live for.

Ari woke up with a start, feeling a pair of warm arms wrapped around his waist, and Max's worried face staring up at him expectantly. "What's wrong?" Her voice was confused, and she obviously had no idea what was going on with him.

Just a dream…it was just a dream.


She obviously didn't believe him, but let it go without another word, reminding Ari why he loved her so much.

They were both quiet for a minute, just relaxing in the pre-dawn silence, when Max said, "Ari, there's something I need to tell you. Something very important, something I've been needing to tell you for a long time."

Oooh, scary ending! And yes, this is the end, and I'll let you decide what Max says.