SN Ack! Sorry everyone! I really want to get this finished right now... if it sucks... then my writers block is evident. And if it doesn't suck I'll be amazed. But it'll be done. And I'm listening to "damn you look good and I'm drunk" ... it's very ... interesting. Anyhow... lets see if I can do this. ooh, yay, Taylor Swift. Better than that cobra starship stuff. Right. Writing now. Trying.

Oh my goodness. Has anyone else taken the PSAT's? Because I just did and now I'm getting all these letters from colleges and it's really annoying. It's like, I'm a freshman people, jeez, lay off. Just shows you not to check that little box that tells you to release the information to colleges. They make it sound like a good thing. Whatever.

I'm procrastinating and talking about irrelevant things. But just as a warning, I haven't written Max in a while, I've been on fictionpress, so if everyone is OOC... don't shoot.

This was not fun, this was not funny. And yet every one else seemed to think it was, when they were shoving me into a dress.

You know, at least they tried. I applaud them for their effort. But honestly, they were going to have to try a lot harder than that. Did they think I was going to give into their pleading, especially with Fang standing off to the side, glancing over every once in a while? Ha.

So, no. In the end I ended up in flowy-ish brown top that apparently matched my eyes. Whatever, it was comfortable. I wore my jeans with it, obviously, because I've never been the girly-girl type.

Although I do have to admit that when a girl is deprived of clothes and cute shoes her whole life, when the girl is stuck in a huge house with a closet full of many of these things, it is not exactly a bad thing. I mean, just because I can kick anybody in the school's butt in about 15.65 seconds doesn't mean I don't enjoy a cute top or letting my hair down occasionally.

Okay, maybe the hair thing was going a little too far, but you understand my point. The point is that yes, I have a reputation to keep up here, but believe it or not, I am a girl. That means I have the right to go to a school dance.

Okay, really it was Kelly who did the convincing. Even if I was into that kind of thing, I've heard that the school dances are lame. Of course, it's not like Kelly has ever cared about being lame, so she always goes and this time she decided to drag me with her and Jack.

Of course - the eye-rolling should be included here - Fang was into the whole thing. He's been in a weirdly...actually good mood since he was allowed to get up. I'm still watching him, though, always noticing when he gets tired.

Anyways, he's very into the whole thing. Along with the good mood came the whole me "agreeing" to him. So since we've gotten back to school he's been very...enthusiastic about us being together, as in boyfriend and girlfriend.

Yes, it is weird. Yes, it is Fang. And I still refuse to grasp the concept of being any more than basically brother and sister with him. But, surprisingly, he's making it easy. Of course, he's still Fang, what with the mocking and the dark and mysterious demeanor, but it's almost like...he gets what I'm thinking, sometimes. Like he knows that I'm not used to anything yet.

Which, frankly, is unlike him. He kissed me the first time, when I wasn't ready, and the second time, when I was even more super-duper not ready, and then had his whole issues with high school and whatnot. But I guess I've been having issues too, as much as I hated to admit it.

So, tonight - take a deep, very deep, very, very, deep breath, Max - I was going to show Fang that I was ready. Because after the first two times, I realized that it really wasn't something I wanted to do without. Kissing Fang, I mean.

And, as much as I hate to say it, I don't mind him too much either. What I told myself as I walked out of the room was that at least by doing this I was keeping the people like Barbie off of Fang. Yeah, I swear, the only reason.

"Thinking hard?" Fang asked as we were leaving.

I gave him a look, hoping it wasn't that obvious that I was lost in thought. I grabbed my jacket and scowled at Fang until he did the same, grudgingly. At least I still had some authority around here.

"Honestly, Fang, next time you jump off a water tower I'm waving adios and telling the flock there was nothing I could do. You're just so difficult."

He shot me a dark look and shrugged his jacket on. "Happy?"

"Exuberant."

"I think you've taken one too many vocabulary quizzes."

I shrugged, saying, "The sacrifices I make for you kids," and proceeded to push him out the door.

I had left Nudge in charge, and even in the chaotic process of getting Fang and Iggy off their butts to go anywhere, I could still feel twinges in the pit of my stomach telling me not to leave the younger ones alone. I swallowed, trying to forget, remembering that we were safe here and hadn't seen any erasers the whole time, and that Angel and Gazzy and Nudge could kick the butts of anyone who tried to mess with them. I trusted them.

Well, to an extent. I had a feeling they would be ordering a pizza and Nudge and Angel would be flirting with the delivery man, but I figured they could keep themselves out of serious danger for 2 and a half hours. Two if I could get Kelly and Fang to let me leave early.

I felt a gentle pressure squeezing my hand. Fang. I looked at him with my eyebrows raised but he just said simply, "Nudge'll take care of them. They know where we are if there's any trouble, so calm down."

I really need to get those facial expressions in check.

We started walking towards the school, just like we did every morning except for the fact that I was dressed a tad differently and Iggy looked more upbeat than he does in the mornings. He was probably looking forward to dancing with Abby, and I couldn't blame him. Everything here was new, something we'd never experienced before.

I hadn't noticed until now, but Fang was still holding my hand. My head snapped up and I shot a glance at him, but he wasn't looking at me, talking to Iggy about something or other. I debated snatching it back, but that would just seem... rude.

Psh, like that mattered. Need I recap Fang's latest rudeness?

No, I scolded myself, We're not thinking about that tonight. I am forgiving. I am a forgiving person.

When we got to the dance - and, thank goodness, Fang let go of my hand to buy tickets, now that weird feeling could go away - we were immediately attacked by Kelly, with Jack in tow.

"Max!" she squealed, hugging me. "I'm so glad you showed up! I thought you were going to ditch at the last minute, thank god you're here. I knew you would come, though," she lowered her voice, "I mean, you've obviously never been to a dance before. You have to try everything at least once, right?"

I just grimaced, thinking of Fang, and allowed myself to follow Kelly inside, Fang and Iggy on opposite sides of me.

When we entered the gym, Iggy immediately made a face. The music was loud. And by loud I don't mean turn down the music loud, I mean sitting in the front row of a rock concert with Nudge yelling in your ear loud. I rested my hand on his shoulder, reminding him that I was here, and he nodded in acknowledgment.

Fang and I both helped him find Abby, who immediately smiled when she saw him and ran up to hug him. He jumped when she first attacked him, but then recognized her and smiled too. "Want to dance?" she asked.

"Did you say something?" he yelled, trying to be heard over the annoying rap music that was pulsing through the overly decorated gym.

"LET'S DANCE!" she yelled back.

He looked nervous, but she took his hand and led him to the edge of the crowd of dancing teens where there was plenty of space for a blind kid to awkwardly move around.

I watched them for a while, then looked around distractedly. This whole thing was ridiculous, really. The music was obnoxious and much too loud, the decorations were over-the-top, and the kids who had organized this whole thing were still running around in the dark gym with frenzied, distracted looks on their faces. I almost laughed, but Kelly and Fang had made me feel guilty enough already for refusing in the first place.

Kelly and Jack joined Iggy and Abby on the dance floor, leaving Fang and I standing there awkwardly. Fang nudged my shoulder, then glanced out to where the DJ's lights were flashing and everyone was dancing.

There was no way I could pretend I didn't see the question in his eyes. So, not looking at him, I marched off to join the bouncing mob of people. I was in for some big fun. Really.

It was awkward at first, to tell the truth. Growing up the way I have, there isn't exactly much time to practice dancing or attend these kinds of stupid events. If I had even thought about attempting it in the first place, Iggy and Fang wouldn't have let me forget it for years.

But I let my super-sensitive ears become accustomed to the loud, fast beat and the sexist lyrics and before I knew it my genetically enhanced body was swaying in ways I didn't know it could. Not that I'm saying I'm a good dancer - that's funny - but I'm just not designed to look awkward.

They started playing some loud rock song, and the whole room cheered (This wasn't anything special - before, the only way I could tell the song was different was because there was a random burst of screaming).

"I love this song!" Kelly shouted, jumping up and down in time to the beat. I discovered that when they play the music that isn't hip-hop, all you really have to do is jump up and down and kind of raise your arms. You don't even have to worry about looking stupid, because everyone is doing it with you.

Of course, squished in-between a bunch of people I didn't know immediately set me on edge, but I glanced around me to find Kelly and Jack, dancing together, Fang rebelliously bopping up and down, his feet firmly on the ground and his hands in his pockets, and Iggy losing his strained look and beginning to enjoy himself. Right. This is why I was here.

Everyone was shouting the chorus, and I recognized it to be the first song on my Boys Like Girls CD, The Great Escape. And I realized I was dancing, surrounded by happy people my age, recognizing the song I was dancing to. And instead of furrowing my brow at the thought, I actually smiled.

When the song was over, I immediately extricated myself from the large group and breathed in gulps of fresh air, Fang behind me and discreetly doing the same thing. Iggy soon followed, leaving Abby in the crowd, and the three of us walked to where the food was, as far away from the huge speakers as we could get.

We grabbed some of the free snacks set up on a table and chowed down in silence - even far away the music was pretty loud, so there'd be no point anyway. It was actually kind of hard to think.

We were all uncomfortable - it was easy to see the identical looks on all three of our faces - but for once we were trying to overcome the feeling. I saw Fang put his hand on Iggy's shoulder and I read his lips as he said, "How're you doing?"

Iggy nodded and said something back to Fang that I didn't quite catch.

I smiled at them. "We're really turning into normal kids, aren't we?" I said loudly.

Iggy smiled back at me. "As normal as we can be with our... issues, right?" Right. With our luck the music would stop as soon as anyone said 'wings.'

"It's not as bad as you thought it would be, was it?" Fang asked me over some rapper telling everyone how much he loved exposed women. Fang obviously meant coming here in the first place, not the dance.

I thought about it, then said. "No, it was."

He and Iggy seemed to consider it, and Iggy laughed. "But it turned out okay, right?" he asked me. I nodded slowly.

"I'm sort of..." I was about to say 'glad we came here,' but before I could say it and face the consequences of the smug look I knew would come to Fang's face, I stopped short.

The song had changed abruptly to a slower one. "Hey everyone, here's a slow one for y'all," came the DJ's voice from his stand. I'd vaguely heard this song too. It was on the Boys Like Girls CD... the last one, I think. I hadn't felt like listening to it before - it wasn't my kind of fast paced song.

Fang jostled me again and pointed to Abby, who was frantically looking for Iggy across the room. "Ig," I told him. "I think Abby wants to dance with you."

We waved her over and, ignoring Iggy's blush, she dragged him back out onto the dance floor with her.

My stomach flipped over - this was it. Fang was going to -

Yup. There he goes. Taking my hand with that question in his eyes again.

Ugh. I want to. I don't want to. I want to. I don't want to. I really want to. I really don't want to.

But it was too late. We were already out on the dance floor, and his hands were already settled on my hips, and we were already swaying to the slow beat. I looked up at him and saw him looking back at me, his expression in that Fang-like state where it was impossible to tell what he was thinking.

Honestly I don't know how it happened, but seconds later I swear I was closer to him than I had been before. And he was closer to me. And we both had the same idea and I was pressed up against his chest and his hands were on my back and ohmygod we were still swaying to the freaking music.

I was probably going to hyperventilate. I'd never slow danced with Fang before - heck, I'd never slow danced with anyone before and here I was in this tight embrace like I'd done it a million times. I breathed in through my nose - Fang had evidently taken a shower before we'd come - and pressed my cheek to Fang's chest, looking out at the rest of the dancers (the only people I could really see were Rachel and Brent, who were doing a lot more than slow dancing, if you catch my drift).

Yeah, this could definitely work out, this whole thing. Fang was so... familiar, and comfortable, that I almost forgot how much this all freaked me out. And if I just took a deep breath, it all seemed normal, for once. Really, actually normal.

A few minutes more of this pressing together, this soft, comfortable heat, and the song ended.

Fang pulled back and his mouth twitched up in a smile. I was ashamed when my cheeks heated in response, but he didn't seem to notice, leaning down in towards me.

Oh, god. He was going to do it. He was going to -

Our mouths met and I forgot what I was thinking. I forgot everything except Fang and me with our mouths pressed together. His warm hands were on my back, one of my hands was resting weakly on his arm, and my head was spinning. It was so ridiculous that he could turn me into this kind of mush. Me, invincible Maximum Ride, brought down by on pair of lips.

Crash.

Fang and I jumped apart, interrupted, and looked around.

Uh-oh.

0-0-0-0

Iggy relaxed slightly, relishing in the feel of his arms around Abby.

"This is perfect," she whispered, swaying with him to the music - some obnoxious boy band, but who was he to complain?

He just nodded into her hair, giving his silent agreement.

"I know I kind of forced you to come, Jeff, but I'm really glad you did. Are you still uncomfortable?"

He smiled even though he knew she couldn't see it. "I'm plenty comfortable."

The music was still too loud, though, for his comfort. He couldn't tell if there were people near him, couldn't sense if he was about to smash into a bulky football player. But Abby was there. He trusted her.

"Max and Fang are about as close together as we are," Abby whispered to him.

Iggy grinned, wishing he could see them. Instead he told Abby to grin at Fang for him.

"Wow," said Abby in amazement. "He's actually smiling back at me."

Now that was strange. Going to school really was changing everybody... including him. Who'd have ever thought he'd be here, embracing a short girl in a gym full of giggling teenagers who thought he was just like them?

No, he'd never have imagined it, but he wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

After a few more lines of the song, everything seemed to go quiet. He figured he was supposed to let go of Abby seeing as the song was over, but somehow he couldn't bring himself to. He wanted to stay in this position for ages.

And then there was the sound of saliva-swapping from behind him. "Is that Fang and Max?" He asked Abby, still pressed against him, in amazement.

She shook her head. "Kelly and Jack," she said.

Ew. Okay.

Still, though, he didn't want to move.

That is, until he heard an ear-shattering crash that sounded suspiciously like breaking glass, screams, and Fang shouting his name from behind him.

He pulled away from Abby and kissed her on the mouth, hard. What if this was goodbye?

"Iggy!" Max yelled.

Okay, okay, he was moving.

0-0-0-0

For a moment I was confused, lost in the screams of the dancers, but the second I saw the giant, flying machines bursting through the windows, everything snapped into perspective.

"Flyboys!" Fang yelled to me. Like I didn't already down.

People were running, teachers were shouting orders, and Kelly, Abby, and Jack had disappeared. Fang immediately went to grab Iggy and inform him of what was happening, while I yelled at everyone to get out of the building. Hopefully they could come up with that idea on their own, but you'd be surprised what some people try to do in these kinds of situations.

Oh god. What about Angel and Gazzy and Nudge? What if the School already had them?

I couldn't think about that; I had to focus on getting Fang, Iggy and I out of here. My eyes focused on the gaping holes that used to be the windows.

I nodded my head in the direction of the windows and Fang immediately understood, yelling to Iggy. And then we were up, up to the high ceiling of the gym, using the chaos to our advantage to avoid the flyboys. Gasps could be heard from below us. Someone shrieked, "Oh my god, is that Nick?" I was pretty sure it sounded like Rachel. "Holy shit Kelly, is that Max?!" Well... Jack had to find out sometime.

Outside, we saw Angel, Gazzy and Nudge waiting in the air on the opposite end of the school. "Thank God," I breathed.

"Max!" Nudge screamed. "We came to warn you, but the flyboys were already here, we tried," she begged. "I'm so sorry..."

"It's okay," I told her. "I'm so proud of you, avoiding them and keeping Angel and Gazzy safe. You did great, Nudge. But we've got to get away from here."

Everyone nodded, and together we flew at top speed away from the school, away from California.

I sighed, but couldn't be completely unhappy. We may be leaving behind a lot of things, but we still had each other and that was all that mattered. Iggy would get over it, Kelly and Jack would have each other, and normalcy could be thrown out the window.

Well, most of it, anyways. I felt Fang's hand on my shoulder mid-flight, felt him give me one of those searching stares, and I realized we could never go back to exactly the way it was before.

I just attempted to shrug (come on, in the air) at Fang, trying not to think about it, think about how everything had changed in a second.

But isn't that the way it always is with us?

We'd experienced everything we'd wanted to - okay, maybe not me, I was still a littler bitter about the whole thing - but hadn't Angel, Nudge, Gazzy, and Iggy had the chance they'd wanted to be like other people?

Of course it couldn't last forever. Of course I can't ever get too used to anything.

Fang squeezed my hand, still flying. Okay. Maybe except that. I could get used to that.

And we ran. And I don't know how long we'd be running for, or where we were going, but that was just the wonderful unpredictability of it all - it could all change in a second, we could all change in a second.

And I loved it.

0-0-0-0

THE END.

That is the end of this story. Yay. I just felt the need to end it like that. Sorry if it pissed you off :D But come on, it's Maximum Ride. They're just not supposed to settle down.

Anyhow, review.

And thanks to EVERYONE for reading this story and giving me so many reviews. I'm spoiled, I admit it, and I keep everyone waiting WAY too long for updates, but I can't help it. But thank you thank you thank you for all your nice comments (and the mean ones, I like those too :D) I'm shocked that people liked this as much as they did - it was a stupid idea that came to me at camp and starting with a horribly cliched purpose, but I'm still glad for all the reviews. And did I say THANK YOU?

Click that button one last time.