So, this oneshot was inspired by the quote below. All the quotes used in this fic were said by various aviators throughout history, and at the bottom, I will explain who they are and what they did. There is mild citrusy stuff in this, and a character death, so be warned.

Disclaimer: I do not own Maximum Ride, or any of the quotes used below.

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." -- Leonardo Da Vinci

He found her sitting there, at her spot beneath the tree, a sleeping Aldora curled up in her lap. She was staring, staring up at the circling hawks, swooping and soaring above the earth. He sighed; this is where she spent most of her free time, watching the hawks fly.

"Max." She didn't respond, but he knew that she could hear him. She just chose not to.

With a sigh, he plopped down next to her in the thick, luxurious green grass, following her gaze.

A moment passed, neither of them spoke. Resting his head on her shoulder, he whispered, "Max, darling, come back to the house. It's getting late, Aldora needs to go to bed." Then as a playful afterthought, he added, "It's time for us to go to bed, too. Don't you want to?"

She ignored his words, instead saying, "I've named my hawks. The one that calls to the others a lot, with the speckled plumage-" Max raised a finger, pointing towards a hawk looping in wide, lazy circles-", her name is Nudge. Then there's the biggest one, the one that's blind in one eye. I named him Iggy." This hawk flew nearest to the one she called Nudge, who let out a series of piercing cries, signaling for him to follow her. "They're mates, I think. Then there's the siblings, the two littler ones. A boy and a girl, I named them Gazzy and Angel. Angel's the one with the white wing-tips, you see?"

Ari opened his mouth to say something, but Max cut him off, sounding excited, "And that one there, my favorite, the big dark one, Fang. He's the oldest, I think, and he hunts the most. Look, he's seen something!"

And sure enough, the great black hawk that had captured Max's attention suddenly pulled into a steep dive, slicing through the air like a black arrow. For a minute, he vanished from their field of vision as he plummeted below the edge of the cliff.

Several heart-pounding moments later, he shot up again, clutching a snake in his beak. Max's face split into a huge grin, and she clapped her hands. "He got it, love, he got it!" In her joy, she forgot that their sleeping daughter was in her lap, and hugged him tightly. Aldora fell from her lap onto the grass. Startled from her nap, she let out a shocked wail.

Max immediately scooped the three-year-old up, pulling her into her arms, squeezing her tightly as she murmured words of comfort in her ear. The child quieted slightly, but still sniffled. After a minute, she said in her sweet voice, "Daddy?" She turned to look at him, opening her arms wide as her lower lip trembled. Ari pulled Aldora into his arms, and closed his eyes for a moment, enjoying the warm autumn evening. When he opened his eyes, he smiled, expecting to see Max watching him and Aldora. Instead, she was staring towards the hawks. One of them-Ari would guess that it was the one called Nudge-had caught a rat, and was sharing it in mid-air with her mate.

Ari frowned, standing up, expecting Max to follow suit. She didn't, gazing out at the horizon.

"Come on, let's go to the house."

Max ignored him. Sighing, he tried another tactic.

"Look, Aldora's shivering. Do you want her to be cold?"

That confused him; normally, Max had enough maternal instincts for a dozen women and would have been sprinting back to the house to warm Aldora up. And yet she still ignored him.

Maybe she hadn't heard him. Perhaps that was why she seemed oblivious to him and Aldora.


Frustrated, he bent down, touching her lightly on the shoulder. Max gave a start, as if he had awakened her from a trance.

"Come on, Max, Aldora and I are going up to the house."

Slowly, she rose, her eyes not leaving the hawks, who were settling down in various crevices.

Ari took several steps forward, but Max didn't follow. Instead, she watched Iggy and Nudge tuck their wings in and land neatly on a ledge that overlooked a dizzying drop.

"Max!" He grabbed her hand, and began to pull her behind him, towing her away from the hawks. She stumbled behind him, reluctantly following, her head still turned toward the cliffs.

Icarus flew too close to the sun.

--Greek Mythology

About a half-hour later, Ari had Aldora tucked into bed, and was kneeling in front of her small white bookshelf. "Now, what book do you want to read tonight?"

Max's voice came from the doorway, "Actually, I was going to read something to her tonight, if that's okay." Ari noticed that she held a thick green book he had never seen before, but her arm covered the title.

Ari shrugged. "Sure, I was going to take a shower."

Max shot him a grateful smile, then laid down next to Aldora. Ari walked down the hallway to their bathroom, grateful for the opportunity to bathe. Aldora had taken over their lives, and neither had a lot of time for personal hygiene.

When, about twenty minutes later, Ari returned, Max was saying, "And Icarus flew too close to the sun, even though his father warned him not too. The wax holding his feathers together melted, and Icarus fell down into the ocean and drowned. And Daedalus was sad, because even though he warned his son, Icarus did not obey, and for that, he paid the price." She shut the book, then smiled warmly at their daughter. "Did you like it?"

Aldora shrugged, and Ari was struck by how similar she looked to Max. Their faces were virtually identical, though Max's face was a bit leaner. "It was okay, Mama. But people can't fly, so why did Da…Da…"

Max gently prompted, "Daedalus?"

Aldora nodded, sending her dark curls bouncing around her head. "Why did he even try?"

"But people can fly, Aldora. I used to."

The little girl perked up, a smile lighting up her small face. "Really?"

"Yes. And daddy still can now."

"Tell me! Tell me!"

She smiled. "Not tonight, love, it's too late. But if you go to sleep now, I'll tell you all about it in the morning. Night night, honey. I love you." She leaned in, pressing a kiss to Aldora's forehead.

"Love you, Mommy. And you too, Daddy." She yawned, obviously fighting the urge to drift off.

Max stood up, turning off the light as she left the room, walking back to their bedroom in silence. Ari followed her, sitting down on the bed, and watching as Max peeled off her blue shirt. He could see the scars where, after cutting after her wings ten years ago, he had cauterized the wounds, leaving two silver-dollar sized burn marks.

She sat down on the bed in front of him, and asked, "Ari, my back's been really tight lately, would you mind rubbing it?"

Ari obeyed, saying, "Why did you read that story to Aldora? She doesn't need to be hearing about little kids drowning in the ocean because their wings melted. She'll be scared to fly, once she's old enough." Aldora had wings, but they were small and so far undeveloped, and they hadn't told her what they were for yet. They knew she would figure it out in due time, and they would teach her when that time came.

Max didn't response for a few minutes, and Ari didn't question her silence. She spoke when she wanted to, and until then, he wouldn't be able to pry a word from her. "I just…I wanted to tell her that story. And it worked, she's asleep now." She turned suddenly, a suggestive grin on her face. "Now, do you want to work on my front?" Her hands grabbed Ari's shoulders, and she pulled him down onto her.

Higher, ever higher.

--Georges Chavez

Ari moaned, pulling Max close as she dug her nails into his sweaty, slick back. She pressed her face to his shoulder, murmuring incoherent praises into his shoulder.

A moment later, her nails pierced his skin, finishing him. She pulled them both back down onto the bed, and stopped rocking.

He frowned, "You didn't -"

"Not tonight. I'm tired.

Ari said softly, "What's wrong?"

"I want to fly."

He smiled, kissing her shoulder. "I'll take you out tomorrow, when Aldora takes her nap. We can fly with the hawks, if you want."

She shook her head, fingers stroking the bases of his wings. "No, Ari, I want to fly. On my own, with my wings."

Ari hissed as Max's fingers played with his smaller feathers close to his back. "You know you can't do that, Max. I'm sorry, but…your wings are gone. You can't get them back. Your days of flying on your own…those are over."

She sighed, turning her head away from him. Ari realized what he had said, and nuzzled her neck in an attempt to console her. He continued, "But you're happy now, even without the Flock or your wings. You have me, and I love you so much. And you love me too, so we're happy. You've got a beautiful home away from the rest of the world, where we can live together in peace. You've got Aldora, your beautiful daughter who adores you, and more babies in the future. Our lives are perfect, Max, and if you just let go of the Flock and your old life, you'll be happy forever."

Max said slowly, "I guess…I guess you're right." With a sigh, she shut her eyes, and murmured, "'Night."

Ari whispered, "Love you." Then he reached over and turned off the light, and drifted off to sleep.

My soul is in the sky.

William Shakespeare, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' Act V. Scene I.

Ari smiled faintly in his sleep. Aldora's third birthday had come and gone, and her little wings were growing. Soon, it would be time for her to fly. And once she was able to fly, it would be time for them to start trying for another child. He couldn't wait to have another baby, another one to love and protect.

A noise startles him from sleep. A man's voice, talking faintly about something Ari couldn't make out. He sat up, listening for a moment before he realized what it was.

The TV. Max was doing it again.

With a sigh, he slid out of bed, walking down the hallway to their living room. Not surprisingly, Max was sitting in front of the television, wide awake. He sat down next to her, and watched the TV for a moment. It was a documentary on flight throughout the ages.

Ari pulled Max close, said affectionately, "Come on, Max, what are you doing up this late? It's three in the morning, you should be in bed right now."

She shook her head slowly, eyes not moving from the screen. "I wanted to watch this."

"Do you want me to record it for you, so you can watch it in the morning?"

"No, I want to watch it now."

They were both quiet for a minute, when suddenly, Max let out a strangled sob, dropping her face into her hands. Alarmed, Ari tried to reach out to her, but she recoiled, pulling away. "I miss it, Ari!"

"Miss what?"

She looked at him with an expression of pure disgust on her face, the tears only highlighting it. "Flying, Ari, I miss flying! Not being carried around like a doll, but actually flying! With my own two wings! I want to fly, I need to, I have to! I'm supposed to fly, my soul, my soul is in the sky! I thought I could be happy here on the ground with you and Aldora, but I'm not! I want to fly! I want to fly!" She went limp, collapsing on the couch.

Hesitantly, he reached out, pulling her into his arms. Pressing his face against the top of her head, he murmured, "It's alright, Max, it's going to be okay. We're going to be fine, Max." She shook her head, tears dampening the worn fabric of the couch as she mumbled unintelligible things into his chest. At some point, she fell asleep, but Ari remained awake, holding his wife, wondering was becoming of her.

What's the hurry? Are you afraid I won't come back?

Manfred von Richthofen

The next morning, Ari was making their breakfast when Max and Aldora came into the kitchen, both dressed. After Aldora chirped a hello to Ari and began to play with their cat, Max came up behind him, wrapping her arms around his waist and kissing his cheek.

"Hey." She sounded happy, calm, perfectly normal. Like last night had never happened.


Max rested her head on his shoulder, staring at something out the window in front of him. A moment later, she said cheerily, "So, watcha making?"

"Chocolate-chip pancakes."

She smiled, "Can I have a bit of the batter?"

He shrugged. "Help yourself." He knew he was being a bit short with her, but her behavior the night before had shaken him to the core.

She stuck a finger into it, scooping some of the creamy mix onto her finger, along with a chocolate chip, then popped it into her mouth. "Delicious." Stepping back from him, he heard her shoes click on the floor. She called to Aldora, and then her voice came from the door. "Aldora and I are going to go out for a walk by the cliffs, call us when it's ready, okay?"

"Have fun." His voice was distracted, and he hadn't really processed what she said.

She gave a short laugh. "Oh, we will."

Suddenly, it sank in.

"We're going to the cliffs."

"Have fun."

"Oh, we will."

He felt frozen for a moment, then spun around, and shouted, "Max!"

She was halfway out the door, Aldora already outside, and turned slowly to look at him. "What, Ari?"

It took Ari a moment to come up with something to say. "Just…be careful out there. Don't do anything crazy."

Max shot him a smile. "Are you afraid I won't come back?" Not waiting for an answer she said, "Well, your concern is valid. Because some day, who knows? I might not." With that, she turned around and walked away.

Do you hear the rain? Do you hear the rain?

Jessica Dubrof

Lying in their bed that night, Max dragged her fingertips across Ari's chest, and purred in his ear, "Do you hear it? Do you hear the rain? I love the rain. I love flying in it. And soon, I'm going to fly in it again." She laughed, rocking atop him, tracing circles on his chest. And then she leaned down, capturing Ari's mouth with a kiss, and murmured against his lips. "I'm going to fly in the rain."

The most beautiful dream that has haunted the heart of man since Icarus is today reality.

Louis Bleriot

When Ari woke up, he reached over to Max's side of the bed, expecting to feel her warm body there, as always.

Aside from him, the bed was empty.

Ari was out of the bed and running down the hallway, looking into the rooms he passed. The TV was off, the kitchen empty.

His heart pounding furiously, he ducked into Aldora's room. His last hope.

Aldora was peacefully sleeping. Alone.

And then something hit him. A cool breeze washed across his face, lifting his scraggly hair, sliding it in caressing strokes along his cheeks. The door was open.

It felt like his heart stopped beating in his chest. Oh, no.

Max was standing on the very edge of the cliff, her toes curled around the rim. She smiled down at the steep drop. There was a strange beauty to this, the sheer cliff face that would bring her to her end. The canyon was about fifty feet deep, more than enough to kill her on impact. More importantly, this was right by the hawks' nests, her favorite place in the world.

The sound of running feet met her ears, but Max didn't turn around. Instead, she said, "Hello, love."

Ari was breathing hard, "Max…Max, please don't do this. Don't do it!" His wet hair stuck to his face and neck, giving him a doglike appearance.

She ignored him, and her tone became more gentle. "Don't try to jump after me. You won't be able to pull up in time, and Aldora needs a father." The frigid rain was falling hard and fast now, and had plastered her clothes to her body.

"No. I'm going to save you, no matter what it takes."

Her voice changed, becoming hard and cruel. "Why won't you just shut up and let me die, Ari? You know I'll be happier gone."

"Please…Max…what will I tell Aldora? That her mother was too weak to live without flying, that her mother abandoned her just because she missed flying?"

She turned back towards the cliff, looking at the drop that awaited her. "Tell Aldora I love her. I wanted to be happy with you and her, really, I did. And I do love you, Ari, but it's not…it's not enough."

"If you loved us, you won't do this."

Max shook her head. "I have made my choice. Now it's time for you to make yours." She gave him a sad smile, and said softly, "I love you, Ari, and I'll be waiting for you. But for now, it just wasn't meant to be."

She took a single step forward, and was gone.

Ari lunged forward, wings snapping out as he dove off the cliff after her, but in his heart, he knew it was too late. His legs buckled on impact-She had been right, the canyon was too shallow for him to be able to pull up, even if he had caught her-, and he knelt next to her body.

Max had clearly died on impact, which comforted him slightly; at least she hadn't suffered. Her eyes were still open, brown and lifeless as they stared up at the night sky. Blonde hair was streaked with blood that seemed to form a halo around her head, and her arms were outspread.

On her lips was the frozen remnant of her final smile.

Ari collapsed onto the rocks, tears mingling with the rain as he cried.

And when an Eraser weeps, the world has lost something truly irreplaceable.

The first quote was from Leonardo da Vinci, which I obviously don't need to explain. The next one is from the Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus. Daedalus was an inventor who was imprisoned in a tower with his son, Icarus, for reasons too lengthy for me to explain here. He made wings for them to use to fly to freedom with made from feathers and wax, and he warned Icarus not to fly too high, because the wax would melt the wax holdng his feathers together. Icarus disobeys his father and flies too high, so his wings melt and he falls into the ocean and drowns. The next quote was the last words of Georges Chavez, a famous Peruvian aviator who crashed while flying over the Alps-He was, I believe, one of the first to do so. 'HIgher, ever higher' became the motto of the Peruvian Air Force. The one after that is also self-explanatory, so I'll move on to the one after that.

Manfred von Richthofen was another famous aviator who said 'What's the hurry? Are you afraid I won't come back?' to a fan asking for an autograph as he climbed into the cockpit of his plane for the last time. Those were his last recorded words.

Jessica Dubroff was a seven-year-old pilot who was speaking to her mother on the phone, shortly before her plane crashed. She was flying the plane in an attempt to break a record. Her last recoreded words were 'Do you hear the rain? Do you hear the rain?"

The final quote is a guy just talking about flying. He may have been famous, I don't know. If you want to read more of these amazing quotes, say so in your review, and I'll send you the address to the site where I found these. Also, if any of you care, Aldora is a name that means 'winged gift', so I thought it would fit Max and Ari's baby. And yes, the rest of the Flock is dead. Ari captured Max and cut off her wings, but they fell in love, got married, and had Aldora.

I hope you liked it, and thanks for reading!