I'm back! For now. I will not be updating anything soon (sorry!) because I have a whole bunch of excuses that you don't want to hear anyway.
Soo.. who else is way uberly excited for MR4?� I had a countdown.. from up to 30 days. My friends are getting rather exasperated with me. :D
I cannot wait until tomorrow.
So.. to help ease the pain of waiting - here's a story!
I sneaked quietly down the hall, attempting not to wake up any of my sleeping flock. I checked my watch, the numbers glowing up at me in the semi-dark.
Coming to a halt in front of the last door in the hallway, I prepared myself with a small grin.
With a deep breath, I grasped the doorknob and turned carefully. The door opened with a soft snick and hung open a crack. I peered in, trying to adjust my eyes to the darkness cloaking the room.
I slid in, silent as a shadow, and shut the door gently behind me. I padded softly across the wooden floor, skillfully avoiding the creaky boards.
The bed was shoved back into a corner, almost completely saturated in darkness. However, my super bird-eye vision allowed me to make out the shadowy form that was sprawled across the top.
Fang was on his stomach, his arms almost hugging the pillow that was under his head. The dark blue comforter was pulled up to his waist, but one leg hung out, exposing his black sweats. I took one more step, and he stirred.
Fang's dark head turned to the side facing me, and he lifted his head slightly, supporting himself on his forearms.
"Max?" he asked, his voice husky from sleep. "That you?"
I grinned and shook my head in amusement. "Who else?"
Fang sat up and leaned against the wall, pulling his blanket over his legs again, leaving only his bare torso exposed.
"Why are you in here so early?" he said in his low voice.
"'Cause it's your birthday, lunkhead!" I grinned, joining him on the bed.
"Oh yeah." Fang's face was wreathed in shadows, but I could see the flash of pleasure.
"I brought offerings of peace," I laughed, reaching into my hoodie pocket. I pulled out the package and handed it over.
His dark hands felt the object and I saw him grin.
Fang is such a sucker for chocolate.
"…happy birthday to you!"
I collapsed, laughing, onto the couch. The Flock's off-key rendition of Happy Birthday was painful, to say the least. And it didn't help that Gazzy was imitating some crazy vibrato opera woman that he heard on the radio.
Fang untwisted his features from the pained expression that had manifested itself on his face. "Thanks, guys, but you really didn't have to sing…"
I grinned and punched him on the shoulder lightly. "Tradition. Or so I'm told."
"You know what else is a tradition?" Iggy said with a grin. "Food! I'm starved."
Fang stood up and headed for the kitchen. "Me too. I get dibs."
As we sat around the table, eating Iggy's best chocolate chip pancakes, the kids were chattering exuberantly.
""Maxmaxmax can we go to the movies for Fang's birthday?"
"No, Nudge, that's dumb. We should go outside and have a mud war!"
"Gazzy, that's disgusting. We should all do whatever Fang wants to do. It is his birthday, after all." Angel said sweetly.
Danger signs. I decided that is was high time I intervened. "How about we just do whatever it is normal people do on birthdays?"
"Great, Max," Fang deadpanned, "Calling us abnormal? On my birthday, too."
Iggy laughed. "Well, Fang, we all know that you're not normal."
Iggy ducked Fang's fist, still laughing.
Angel whispered to Nudge, and a wide grin spread across her face. "Presents!" they both shrieked, practically dragging Fang to the living room.
"Come on, guys." I laughed, heading out after them.
I settled myself comfortably onto the couch next to Fang. The younger kids had taken up residence on the floor in a semi-circle in front of him.
We sat a moment in silence.
Fang twiddled his thumbs.
"Uh, what now?"
Angel grinned angelically and handed him a colorfully wrapped gift. I saw Fang flinch slightly at the neon blazing up at him, but he accepted it with good grace.
Fang ripped off the paper and scrutinized the box inside.
"A digital camera?" he said cautiously.
"Yep!" Angel chirped. "So you can take pictures of us and we'll always remember stuff like this."
Fang thought for a moment, then a flicker of a grin crossed his lips.
Angel smiled happily and launched herself at him, wrapping her arms around his neck in a hug.
Now everybody say 'awww'.
Fang started in surprise then hooked an arm around her waist, pulling her over to his side and settling her down beside him.
I swore the backs of his ears were turning red.
Nudge couldn't contain her excitement anymore. "Me next!" she cried, tossing a large package at Fang.
He caught it with his usual dexterity, and in a few short seconds it was unwrapped. A brand new (all black) backpack fell onto his legs.
"So, Fang," I teased, "now you have no excuse to carry around that ratty old thing anymore."
"Hey, it had character."
"Yeah, a characteristic smell."
Nudge reached out and grabbed the camera from Fang's lap, flicking it on deftly and snapping off a few pictures before we could react.
I blinked rapidly, trying to get rid of the light spots in my vision from the bright flash.
She just grinned.
"Gasman, your turn."
Slightly awkwardly, Gazzy dropped a present onto Fang's lap. He blushed slightly. "I dunno if you'll like it…" he muttered.
Fang shrugged and opened it quickly. He tossed aside the wrapping paper, showing us a thick book.
"The Da Vinci Code. Nice." Fang shot a quick grin at Gazzy, ruffling his hair. The Gasman blushed again, this time with pleasure.
Nudge kept snapping off pictures, giggling as she looked at the results.
"Oi. Nudge. Here." I held out my hand for the camera, and she handed it over with a grin.
As I flipped through the pictures, I glanced up at her with raised eyebrows. "These are good. Maybe you're going to be a photographer."
Nudge laughed. "Yeah, after National Geographic starts hiring Avians."
Iggy chucked a crudely wrapped package at Fang.
As we watched expectantly, Fang looked at the unwrapped object with a funny look on his face.
"What is it?" I asked, leaning forward to see. It was a bright green T-shirt that read "Kiss me, I'm Irish!"
"…Nice, Jeff," I grinned.
Nudge grinned from behind the camera, having captured Fang's pained grimace.
Suddenly Fang shoved his presents off to the side, a dangerous gleam in his eyes and a grin on his face.
"I'll give you Irish,"he muttered to himself, and whacked Iggy over the head with a couch pillow.
I'm sure you can imagine the chaos that ensued.
Pretty soon it turned from a pillow fight into a lets-see-how-many-times-we-can-tackle-random-people-fight. I laughed out loud at the sight of Gazzy throwing himself at Iggy, only to be swept off his feet and over the tall boy's shoulder.
"Help!" he chortled.
Suddenly two strong arms wrapped around my waist and picked me up easily, tossing me off to the side and onto the couch.
"Fang!" I hollered, scrambling back onto my feet. "No fair! Attacks from the rear are not legal!"
He smirked, then made an innocent face with his hands out to the side. "But Max, it's my birthday!"
I growled and launched myself at him. We collided with an oomph, struggling in vain to take each other down.
I heard the camera shutter clicking again. I blew a stray strand of hair from my eyes irately as I glared up at Fang as we wrestled.
"Just give up, F-Nick."
Fang grinned back at me, his hair all tousled. His arms locked around mine, pinning them to my sides. One of his legs hooked behind my knees, putting me off balance, and then he shoved lightly.
I felt myself going down, so I grabbed fistfuls of his dark shirt so that he came down with me. We hit the ground with a thud, and I wheezed as the air was forced out of my lungs.
"Fang… can't… breathe…"
He rolled off of me, still smirking.
"I like this birthday thing."
Later that night after the kids and Iggy were in bed, I retrieved the camera from the kitchen where we had left it. I rapped on Fang's door, calling quietly, "Fang, bring your laptop to the living room, will you?"
I settled on the couch as he came in, and I patted the spot next to me for him to sit. "Picture time."
A faint smile was still on his face from the lightheartedness of the day as he sank into the soft couch and opened the glowing computer.
He thumbed the trackball deftly, the shine from the screen highlighting his contoured face. A grin split his face as he looked at the pictures.
We flipped through them, pausing to laugh at a funny
expression or 'aww' over a nice picture.
I grinned. "That's a good one." It showed Fang sitting on the couch next to me, Angel nestled happily into his side as he opened a gift.
Fang just grunted and clicked to the next one. A smile stole over his lips as he glanced at me. The picture showed the two of us struggling in our tackle fight. I was glaring at him and he was laughing, our arms around each other. The next picture showed us on the floor, laughing hysterically.
I smiled back at him, shaking my head.
I heard paper rustling as Fang pulled something out of his pocket. He pulled back the paper some more, and took a bite. I grinned to myself as the sweet smell of chocolate filled the air.
Fang ate his chocolate slowly as we looked at the photos. I laughed as I saw one of Gazzy with frosting on his nose and his eyes crossed as he tried to see it.
"Well, I guess we succeeded on the whole birthday thing."
The next picture almost made me catch my breath when I saw it. It showed Fang and I sitting together on the couch, leaning against each other and smiling. It was probably the only picture that Fang had had willingly taken the entire day. His dark eyes were soft and content, his posture relaxed.
Fang stared at the picture for a while with an unreadable expression on his face, then he finally broke the silence.
"Chocolate?" He proffered it.
"Sure," I broke off a piece and popped it into my mouth.
I sighed and leaned my head against Fang's shoulder as we continued to look at the pictures. He shifted his shoulder so that it was more comfortable, sliding his arm around my shoulders. I nestled into his warm side, smiling as I savored the taste of the sweet chocolate.
I like chocolate.