A/N: I decided to put up some old stuff I sound in my Microsoft Word archives. If you like it, I have more, and I'll put more up. Review and let me know.

Disclaimer: I don't own MR.

But I do own this plot and all the characters I've made up.

"Can we go? Max? Please? Please? Pretty, pretty please with sugar and cherries and chocolate syrup and those cookies you like and--"

"Nudge!" Iggy cut her off sharply. I shot him a grateful look, although he, of course, couldn't see it. I mean, I loved Nudge, but sometimes she went too far. That motor mouth of hers just never quit. I always said she could turn Mother Teresa into an axe murderer; she was about to just that to me.

"Fine, Nudge; yes, we can go," I answered, mostly so that she would just shut up. My head hurt enough without her constant rambles. My reply was greeted with hollers and screeches of joy from the flock. At least they would have some fun.

So, without further ado, we headed over to the local mall. Yes, the mall. I had decided that we all needed some new clothes (my mistake), and, instead of a thrift store or local shop, Nudge had suggested the mall. Needless to say, the suggestion went over well. Well, at least Gazzy, Angel, and Iggy agreed to it. Total didn't seem too happy about having to stay outside, and Fang was silent as always. I didn't like cramped spaces, due to my serious claustrophobia, and so I wasn't really that excited, to say the least. Plus, I wasn't one of those girly-girl types who loved to shop. I figured that, as long as I was wearing clothes, I didn't really care what they looked like. But, whatever. I had had a major headache since the night before, and I wasn't about to listen to Nudge for hours on end. The mall would keep her (hopefully) quiet. Quieter at least. Maybe. I didn't really care, just as long as I could buy a shirt and some jeans, maybe a new windbreaker, and sit down at one of the fast food joints, sipping a nice, cold soda.

It didn't take long to get there. The bright side of wings: they made travel a whole heck of a lot faster. We tucked them in instantly upon landing on the sidewalk, and I made sure everyone had them hidden before I did the same. I wasn't about to take any stupid chances. Then, I led our small group into the vast mall, trying to act as though I knew exactly what I was doing.

"Keep close, guys," I whispered out of the corner of my mouth, seeing the gobs of people milling about, and then, louder, I added, "So…where to first?" I had them stumped with that one. None of us had ever been in a mall, and so we didn't exactly know what to do…besides go into stores and shop. But, which stores did we go into?

"Uh…why don't we just walk around, and if any of us see a place we want to check out, point it out, okay guys?" Fang asked. I shot him a grateful glance. At least he had a plan. A good plan at that.

It didn't take long for Nudge and Angel to find someplace they wanted to go in, and Gazzy had agreed to it (on the condition that they would visit his choice next). Fang was explaining the clothes to Iggy, and Angel had me by the hand and was dragging me around to various corners of the Children's Department. Nudge had grabbed a load of clothes and was busying herself by trying them all on for us and in front of the mirror, keeping some and tossing others, while Gazzy compared various camo-style pants. I seemed to be the only one not thoroughly enjoying myself, and I moped around by the fitting rooms, waiting for Nudge to come out. Mostly, I was just so tired. Confused and tired. Confused and tired and angry and…and frustrated at my stupid Voice and my whole stupid, whacked-up life. No Erasers had attacked us for days, but my headaches were getting worse, almost entirely due to lack of sleep. It had been only a few nights ago that my nightmares had returned, worse than ever. They were just jumbled flashes of images and colors, pain, suffering, and death being most common. And, of course, the Voice showed up, always at the end, to put in its two cents. Save the world, Maximum. Don't get side-tracked, Maximum. Sacrifices happen, Maximum. Keep your goals in mind, Maximum. I was just about ready to rip off my own arm if it would get rid of the thing!

I'm only trying to help, Maximum.

Well, stop,I thought back to it. It always popped up at the worst of times.

You need to trust me, Maximum. I love you very much, and I'm here to help you. But you have to let me. Give me a chance, Max.

I snorted. A chance? No way in hell, I snapped back sharply.

Well, Maximum, I'm here, and I'm helping, and, whether you like it or not, you will listen to me.

Ha. Not a Chance, Voice, I answered, shrugging it off.

You need to focus, Maximum! The Voice sounded impatient. If you're going to save the world—

"I don't want to save the world!" I practically screamed. A millisecond later I realized that everyone in the store was staring at me. Nudge had come out of the fitting room in a new outfit and was staring at me, open-mouthed. I glanced out at the store, and I could see Fang looking at me with concern in his dark eyes. I didn't even have enough energy to smile sheepishly at him. Instead, I moved from my spot leaning against the wall and walked right out of the store, handing Fang the credit card as I passed by him. Without a single word, I made my way at a slow, steady walk into the hallway, looking as dazed and dead as I felt.My empty eyes and shuffling steps drew stares as I made my way far away from a baffled flock and finally sat down on a vacant bench in a surprisingly desolate part of the mall. Closing my eyes, I leaned back against the hard wood of the bench and whispered, "Screw you."

"Excuse me?" A confused male voice startled me out of my thoughts. I jumped about three feet in the air and found my feet on the floor, myself fully standing, alert, and in fight-mode in a millisecond. I stood face-to-face with a, admittedly handsome, teenage boy. He looked to be about my age, with long-ish, messy black hair, fair skin, and gorgeous emerald-green eyes.

"Oh…uhm...s-sorry…I-I wasn't talking…to you—I mean, I didn't know you were there, and I…I was just…yeah," I stuttered. I was so embarrassed at being caught off-guard like this; especially mouthing off to someone I didn't even know. And a very cute someone at that…wait. What was I saying? Bad Max! You don't even know him! I scolded myself. But, really, he was pretty hot. His big gem-like eyes stared quizzically at me, and a lock of his hair had fallen in front of his face, making him look both more confused and more desirable.

"Who were you talking to, then?" he asked, stepping closer to me.

"I—I don't know you," I said firmly, partly to myself. He smiled, and I felt as though my cheeks were on fire. My stomach did flip-flops. What is going on with me? I wondered absently.

"Well, why don't you sit down, and we can fix that?" he offered, and, before my brain had realized what I was doing, I had accepted, and he had grabbed my hand, making me jump a bit, my head light, and begun to lead me to a small alcove off the main hallway. A soda machine was in the corner, and there was a locked staff room on the other side. He pulled me down with him, and we sat on the other side of the soda machine, so that we wouldn't be seen immediately by any people passing by. Not that there were many. This was a pretty secluded part of the mall. What am I doing? I thought more frantically. What if he's an Eraser? Or…or working for the School? He could attack me at any time! And no one would see! Why am I so stupid? Fang is going to kill me…Fang! What about the flock? Oh, God, I've got to get back to them! They probably—

"So…the name's Shane. What about you?" The green-eyed boy's voice cut into my rampage of thoughts. I looked up, startled. Shane? That's a nice name, I mused, then mentally slapped myself. Stop it, Max!

"Uh…I'm…Max," I started unsurely, wondering how much I could tell this strange, beautiful boy. He looked both frantic and excited.

"Max? As in…Maximum Ride?" he whisper-asked, getting right to the point. My mouth fell open.

"H-how do you know my name?" I asked, astonished and dumb-founded.

"Everyone knows you, Max! You—you're supposed to save the world," he finished, matter-of-factly. I cocked my head at him, silently fuming.

"Why is it that I'm always the last one to know these things?" I exasperated.

"You—you didn't know?" he said, confused.

"No…I knew. I just haven't known for long." He nodded understanding.

"Yeah, well, Jeb wasn't about to tell you right after you escaped…he had too much to teach you, right?" Shane laughed, then continued, "And now…you don't trust him, do you?"

"Uh…no!" I said in a duh tone. He laughed again. I liked his laugh. It was light and reassuring, somehow.

"Wait—how do you know all this?" I asked, suspicion creeping into my voice. Chuckling, he answered, "When you're in the School after a few big stir-ups, you hear things, you know?" I smiled at him.

"Totally. I get it." There was a pause, as if he was waiting for me to catch something, and then it hit me.

"The School?" I asked incredulously.

"Well, duh," he replied, "How else could I get my wings?" I stared at him in shock for a long moment, before he stood up, looked around the corner for stray shoppers, and, upon seeing none, pulled off his black hoodie to reveal two huge snow-white wings, streaked with the same emerald-green his eyes sparkled with.

The only word I managed to get out was, "Wow…"

A/N: I have another few thousand words typed out already...just say if/when.