James Patterson owns Maximum Ride and its characters; I own nothing.

This is dedicated to all the Maximum Ride fans who realize that the odds are slim to none that any of the flock will be able to reproduce successfully.


"Push, push, Max, come on!" Mom looks terrified as she frantically pulls at something between my legs, blood everywhere, Fang's face hopeful and repulsed by my side, while Iggy sits against the wall, disgusted with the whole process and furious at Fang and me for doing this again. Nudge's voice drifts out to me between the pains, the waiting room is stuffed full with my family, and all I want to do is curl up somewhere and cry.

But not yet. Because right now my legs are heaving, and my breath is ragged, and why did I ever let Fang talk me into this again? Didn't the last four times teach him anything? Why did he act so surprised when I woke up and said nothing's moving below my skin, no movement, no life, dead stillness? Why the shock when he began the frantic drive to Mom's, following the pattern started three years ago? Damn him, why did he keep doing this to me?

One heave, one last one, that's all I keep myself going with, just one more, come on Max, God it hurts but I can't stop now. Red sweat, slick thrashings, and now I collapse, breath churning, mind spinning, and all I have to do to see what happened is look at my mom's tearful face, and then I barf to the side in shame and disgust and disappointment and why again?

I turn my face away so I don't have to see the limp, compact little body, vestigial wing slowly unfolding as Mom holds it in her hands. Don't have to see Fang's face crumple, like it did the last two times, the sharp despair cutting through his fa├žade like a dagger and making me feel guilty- why was it my fault anyway? What did I do to deserve this weight of broken hopes and unfruitful bellies? Why does Fang need to have this work? Angel's enough for me, my family's enough, but not for him. Has to have his own DNA and his own blood inside someone else for him to feel that's his kid. Territory marking, his piss against the wall, but doesn't he get that it's never going to happen with us? They fucked with us too deeply, screwed our genes over too thoroughly, and I don t believe Mom's fake hopeful faces and encouraging talks, half of which are for Fang's sake anyway. There is no hope for us, no next generation in our future. Why can t he accept this?

Fang leaves, his tread heavy, to take the failed result out back to the incinerator, and suddenly Iggy is right next to me, squeezing my hand in shared sorrow, but at least I know his hopes and dreams hadn't been riding on this, not like Fang's had. And that makes it slightly easier to hear Angel's quiet tears and Gazzy's shocked voice, still sleepy because he'd been woken up less than an hour ago to come out here in the cold, dark night to witness another letdown for Max and Fang. Though it isn't fair to say Max and Fang, since Fang was the only person who'd really lied to himself about the possible success of this kid, not me.

And I still can't go back home and sit next to a silent Fang who will try to say it isn't my fault, even though he'll be secretly thinking I'm worthless, a failure, never going to be able to do this. Because I still have to expel the fucking afterbirth, useless thing that it is, because it can't even keep any of them alive past a few months. So I hang on to Iggy's hand while Fang burns the product of our bodies out back, crisping this failed combination of ours, just like all the others.


Inspired by several rants from fans on this very topic. Let me know how I did, please; reviews are always welcome.