Le Garçon Que J'aime la Fille
A couple of things before this is started: (1) the title is French for "The Boy Who Loved A Girl"; (2) this took me about 10 days to write; (3) this story comes from one of my very first FF ideas (it just took me forever to finally look up the main parts); (4) this has taken up about 11 pages of a word document; (5) this is, in fact, my final fanfiction.
Disclaimer: I don't own: Maximum Ride (and all things relative), Hide and Seek, The Sixth Sense, or Death Cab for Cutie.
I watched as the variety of trees passed my window. The sky was dull, but the plants still allowed color. In the window's reflection, Max's small body sat motionless. Her hand was laced in mine, trying to hide the tremors that were shaking her vigorously. I tore my eyes away from the greenery to look at her. She was scared, confused, and hidden – hidden in the depths of her mind that only she dared to explore. I personally never questioned her about it; her mind should be respected for privacy.
I unlatched my hand and gently placed my arm around her shoulders. I leaned her in slightly and kissed her temple. She replied with a blink. I returned to gazing out the window. Not too long later did we arrive. The building was tall, gated, and modern. I feared the likeliness of it being related to Itex, but quickly shoved it to the back of my mind as I remembered why we came here.
I helped Max out of the car. Confusion and secrecy abandoned fear on her expression. We held hands as Jeb walked us to the front of the place. With one small glance at his face, he was sullen. The probability of it coming from the idea of locking up his daughter was most likely evenly matched with him not being able to tweak around with her mind anymore.
Our walk was short and silent. Once we arrived at the front doors, they opened to a woman in all white. I felt Max tense up at the sight. She squeezed my hand, to which I squeezed back for comfort and to tell her I know. The woman held out her hand for Max to take. She hesitated before complying. I asked the woman if I could join them for the tour, and she warmly welcomed me to.
The tour of the place was all too short. My remaining time with Max was growing shorter with each passing second. All too soon, I was sitting next to Jeb in the main office, Max on the other side of the wall, by herself, in the facility. I clenched my fists and dug my short nails into my palms. The doctor – Dr. Joli, I believe is what she said her name was – was talking about Max with Jeb. When I heard words like "wings" and "unusual", I felt Dr. Joli's eyes snap to me and then back to Jeb. Unwillingly, I waited until their conversation was nearing an end to get out of my seat.
As I stood outside the door, ready to leave, Jeb and the doctor exchanged a few last words. I spotted Max standing alone in the corridor. After quickly glancing behind my shoulder to check how far into their new conversation Jeb and Dr. Joli were, I walked to her. I looked over her, from head to toe, smiled weakly, and then wrapped my arms around her waist. She buried her head into my shoulder, and my black Bright Eyes shirt began to swallow up her leaking tears. I kissed her cheek countless times.
"Why is she there again?" I asked Jeb on the way back to Dr. Martinez's house. I stared blankly out the front windshield. My arms were crossed on my chest, and my shoulders were slightly hunched.
"She needs this. Really, I'm doing this for her benefit," he replied, keeping his eyes on the slick road. His knuckles were white on the steering wheel, and his jaw was set tight in place.
"That didn't answer my question."
"The voice program was only set up to work for three years. Afterwards, it was terminated. The three years mark ended two years ago. Somehow, Max still has the voice in her mind; she needs to have someone help her with treatment." Jeb's voice was flat, but the pain was clearly etched into his eyes. I almost had sympathy for him.
He wasn't loosing his best friend. He wasn't loosing the first friend he ever had. He wasn't loosing half of him, forced to leave it behind in the hands of strangers. All he was loosing was a girl that he pretended to father.
Jeb never saw the way Max would look when she was exhausted, terrorized, or about to explode from no one listening to her. He never saw the look in her eye from relief of her whole family being okay. He never saw the way that she would look at some people, and think Thank God, they're alright. He never saw the way she would look at me when everything was going right.
All he ever saw was a girl with wings, with half of his DNA.
Five years later
I hit my blaring alarm clock. I sighed, threw off my bed sheets, and groggily got out of bed. I scratched my head and put on a white shirt. I walked into the kitchen and grabbed a handful of chocolate chip cookies left over from Iggy's birthday party the night before. I clicked on the television and peacefully ate my breakfast. Half-way through my third cookie, there was a knock at the door.
"Gosh damn it. It's friggin' seven o'clock in the morning people!" I grumbled to myself as I walked to the door. Who ever was behind it was severely impatient; they knocked three additional times more.
Unlocking the door, I closed my eyes to shield the morning light from hitting me. I swung open the door and said, "What the hell do you want?"
I dropped my cookies. I was too in shock to open my eyes. My jaw fell open. I didn't feel myself breathing anymore.
"Say that again," I said.
I opened my eyes slowly and carefully looked at the front door. I analyzed who it was standing in the doorway. Her long blonde hair were in the familiar waves, the rich brown eyes hadn't changed colors, and the amount of freckles placed on her cheeks were unmoved.
"Is it really you?" I lost my voice before even speaking. Smiling, she nodded.
"I got better."
"Want to come in?" I opened the door farther to allow her entry. Carefully, she stepped through the door, alertness clear in her step. Swaying from her hands was a small bag appearing only half-full.
"Is anyone else awake? Is anyone else here? Or do you live here alone now?" she inquired once we sat down at the kitchen island.
"No, we're all here; everyone's just recovering from Iggy's party last night. Can you believe that we're 24?" I got up and grabbed the small plate towered with left-over cookies. I put it on the table, to our side yet still accessible.
"Are we really that old now? Jeez! I feel so old! I am old!" Max hit her forehead with her hand playfully. She slumped against the back of her chair and reached for a cookie.
"Yeah, heard to believe myself." I sighed as I thought about the next thing to say. "What was it like? Living there for five years?"
Max's expression fell, the cookie paused half way to her mouth and then fell down to her lap. "Different. Way different." She picked up her treat and managed to make it to her mouth this time.
"Different…how?" I knew that at some point, this inquiry of mine would get to her and make her explode.
"Time order on everything. Routine everyday. It's just weird." Her eyes flickered to the hallway behind me, leading to the bedrooms. "Will they be up soon?"
"Angel will be up first. Iggy and Nudge will be up last. Everyone else will be within an hour of Angel waking up," I said.
"Iggy and Nudge like their sleep?"
"That and they had too much to drink last night. No loud noises when they get up, okay?" I waited for her to yell at, saying I was horrible for letting them consume such a vile substance.
I tilted my head to the side. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"You just seem a bit different. More relaxed, I guess."
"Ha, like that could ever happen." Though joking, her voice quavered ever so lightly. I shook this away and reached for her hand resting on top of the table. As my fingers began to graze her skin softly, she flinched subconsciously and pulled away, placing both of her hands in her lap.
"Fang, make me a PopTart, will ya?" called Angel's voice. I turned around my shoulder to see the youngest pull up a chair to the island that Max and I also sat at. She folded her arms and placed her head neatly in the nest as if pillows, facing away from Max.
"Why can't you?" I asked. I saw Max open her mouth as if to say something, but I pressed my finger against my lips to tell her not to talk.
"Because I'll burn the house down if I make PopTarts when I'm not fully awake!" Angel retorted, her voice muffled by her blocking arms.
"You can eat them at room temp," I debated.
"Maybe I will." Max started smiling at our small fight.
"Good. But I'm not getting them for you."
"Jerk," she said before unfolding her arms and sitting up. She walked over to the cabinets, pulled out the box of PopTarts and then froze. Slowly, she turned around. Her eyes were huge, shocked, and her mouth agape. Max's stare was at Angel, anticipating what she was going to say next.
Max smiled a huge toothy grin. She nodded deliberately before standing up and hugging Angel.
"I've missed you so much," Max said. "I missed you too much."
"Oh my gosh, me too. You have no idea how much we all missed you," told Angel.
Feeling like an eavesdropper, I looked away from their reunion, but stayed listening to their speeches.
"You've grown so much!" exclaimed Max. "And Fang."
"You've grown a lot, too!" Angel dropped her voice. "Fang missed you so much. Do you want to be around him a lot today? Cause if you do, then I can totally warn everyone else to sort of stay away from you guys." Inwardly, I smirked, but secretly yearned for it to happen.
"I don't see why not," Max replied. YES!
"You want some PopTarts? I'm sure I'm awake enough now to not burn down our house while toasting these babies," Angel offered.
"That's okay, sweetie. I'll just eat a few cookies."
Max replaced herself at her seat at the table. Angel joined us in her previous seat, her breakfast unheated.
Just as we all started eating again, Ella stumbled through the doorway. "I am never having another beer in my life, Fang," she said.
"You had one beer. Surely you can handle more than one beer," I told her. She made her way clumsily to the refrigerator and pulled out some orange juice. She poured herself a cup and put away the carton. She sat next to Angel at our table, her eyes closed. "Ella, why don't you show our guest respect and open your eyes?"
Ella put down her cup, opened her eyes, and I swear she almost fainted. "Max! You're back! No offense, but I'd thought that you wouldn't get out for much longer, but you're out!" They stood up and walked to the side of the table to hug each other.
"Wow, you look good, Ella," Max said sarcastically.
"Shut up. Iggy's birthday was last night; I don't do recovery well," Ella claimed. Lightly, she hit Max's arm.
"Hey! Just making a simple comment about my half-sister. You don't have to get all fussy about it." Though serious, Max was smiling like a fool.
As everyone else – Gazzy, Iggy, and Dr. M – started rolling into the kitchen slowly, their expressions became the same routine, until Nudge – who was last one to wake up. She wordlessly walked to the refrigerator, and like Ella, grabbed out the carton of orange juice and proceeded to pour a glass without noticing Max. She finished the whole thing in one gulp and then poured herself another glass. This one she took her time with it.
"That was an awesome night last night, huh guys?" Nudge commented, turning around with her orange juice in hand. She was smiling, but it faded as she counted all the heads in the room. Her eyes settled on Max and then she fainted.
The glass hit the floor and shattered. Nudge's limp body fell to the side. Iggy was quick to her side. Max and I were stunned, and thankfully Dr. M grabbed a cold rag and started dabbing her forehead with it.
It took a full fifteen minutes for Nudge to gain consciousness again. Her first words were, "Is Max really here?" To which, we all responded with a chorus of yes's.
Once everyone was out of shock and into joy of having Max back, we all went about our daily business, except for me. Max and I went out to the back yard, strolling among the tall trees. She would ask me questions about our lives once she left and I asked her about her life in more detail in the hospital. Somewhere in our conversation, I reached for her hand and, thankfully, this time she did not recoil.
By noon, we were sitting in the lawn chairs placed in a clearing not to far from the house. Our hands were still laced, and our chairs were right next to each, not stretching our arms out. Max's head was leaning on my shoulder.
"Do you remember how we were right before you left?" I asked haphazardly.
Thinking hard, Max shook her head. "Not really, no."
"Do you want to remember?" This question only has one answer, hopefully you get this right, Max.
"I don't know… Do I?" she questioned, unsure of what she meant, it seemed like. Her grin was light, slightly playful.
I nodded and kissed her. She went along with it for a second or two before pulling away. I respected her response and did not push her.
"I'm sorry," she said.
"Don't be; I'm the idiot here," I told her. "I shouldn't have done that so quick after your return."
We relaxed in our seats and waited for the breaker of the silence. My hand was still holding hers, and I leisurely stroked the back of her hand with my thumb. Max's head made it back onto my shoulder. She sighed and closed her eyes.
Then I remembered. "When exactly did you get out? Yesterday?"
"Yeah. I spent the afternoon looking you guys up in the phone book," she replied, her eyes still closed and her head still on my shoulder.
"It took you that long?" Even before she was away from us, we all lived in her mom's house. Surely she would've remembered how to get here without looking it up in a phone book.
"Yeah; my memory's a little rusty, okay." She smiled showing that I shouldn't take her response offensively
"Okay," I agreed and kissed her head. I rested my head on top of hers. "You have no idea how much I missed you."
"I missed you, too, Fang." Her voice cracked lightly. I removed my head from our pile and pulled my hand from hers. I cupped her face in my hands and looked her in the eye. She was turning red, tears building up in her eyes. I stood up and pulled her up with me. I wrapped my arms around her waist, and picked her up. She locked her arms around my neck. Our faces were level now, but we hugged instead of kissing each other, like I really wanted to do.
Later in the day, Max hung out with Angel, Nudge, and Ella. I stayed away from their girl talk, and spoke to Iggy. We sat in my room, with me on my bed lying down, and Iggy was sitting in my huge bean bag. I stared at my ceiling, and he had a Rubix Cube in his hands.
"Do you think that Max seems a bit different now?" I asked.
"Different, how?" Iggy was slowly putting together one side – he had gotten good at the Rubix Cube once there was nothing better to do in our lives.
"I don't know. She just isn't acting like herself anymore." I sighed. "What do you think happens to people in those kind of places?"
"I don't know; maybe a lot of orders, always on schedule, not allowed to keep secrets," Iggy replied, still entirely focused on the toy.
"No, like something that could permanently alter the way some person lives?"
"It's a possibility. I mean, I've never been in one, of course, but there is a possibility of traumatic experiences happening within that sort of place that could, in fact, cause everlasting dysfunctions. Though, I'm pretty sure that those rarely occur." Iggy sighed and put down the finished cube on the floor beside him. "Are you thinking that Max went through something like that?"
"Like you said, it's a possibility. But I am hoping that it's just me reacting to seeing her again," I said truthfully.
Iggy suddenly became very smug, an exposing smile making it all true. "So when are you going to make a move on her?"
"I already did; and before you ask, no, nothing happened afterwards." I sat up on my bed and fiddled with the sheets.
"Tonight, my brothah, I feel that tonight, will be your lucky night to score!" Iggy stretched out his hand for a high-five, of which I slapped.
"I'm feeling it, too, man. I'm feeling it, too," I mused.
"Hey, do you have anywhere to sleep tonight?" I asked Max later that night. We were sitting outside again, watching the sunset in the far west.
"No. Where could I fit?" Max rested her head on my shoulder.
"Well, there's plenty room in Ella's room, Angel's," I started, leaving a long pause between the two options, "or mine."
"I'd like that," she said, closing her eyes and snuggling up closer to me. I let my arm fall over her shoulders, tucking her as close as she possible could go. It was peaceful, crickets chirping in the woods, different birds tweeting, and the chiming of leaves together, about to fall in the autumn wind. Minutes passed and still we sat close.
"It's getting cold; let's go inside," Max said. She started rubbing her bare arms, and goose bumps rose on her skin.
"Okay." I helped her up and we walked to my room. We sat on my bed, our backs against the headboard and our feet straight out in front of us. I turned on my CD player, instantly listening to Death Cab for Cutie. Max's head sat on my chest, her eyes already closed. I started petting her hair. I let my eyes close, and I started falling asleep.
"Fang?" Max's voice whispered in the darkness. "Fang? Are you awake?" My eyes opened to lit bed room I called mine. Max was sitting up on my bed, facing me. Death Cab for Cutie was still playing, echoing throughout the room. "Fang?"
"I'm awake," I mumbled. "What do you need, sweetie?"
Max hesitated before answering. "I need to tell you something, and I need you to not flip out." This isn't good.
Max sighed and closed her eyes. "At the hospital, there were many people," she began. "Many, of which, were of the male gender. And most were not nice. At all. They'd spit on people for no reason; they'd claim normality as they went streaking down the ward halls; a lot of them were older, probably from the war in Vietnam. But some were around our age – and crazy. The girls and boys were always interacting with each other, talking nonsense about politics or playing random children games.
"One day, a boy introduced himself to me, saying his name was Hunter. He was around our age range, and this was probably during my fourth year. I was still a bit crazy, but almost fully recovered. We talked a lot, hanging out together during our free time. He was probably my only friend in the place; he seemed normal enough that he shouldn't have been in there." Max opened her eyes and stared at me. She was sullen, scared one could say. "One day, he snuck me into his room. I thought we were going to talk about all the crazies around us because we had done that many million times before. Instead, he locked the door, shoved me onto the bed, and –" Max broke off, crying into her hands. I sat up, scooped her up, and placed her in my lap. I tucked her under my chin; I pet her hair and rocked her.
"It's okay… Shh, it's okay, baby," I cooed to her. "It's okay. You're here, he's not here. Don't worry, I'll protect you. It's okay." I caught a second of the song that was playing and instantly changed it to Marching Bands of Manhattan, humming to the words softly in Max's ear.
As her tears finally ceased, her eyes were infectious looking and her cheeks red as a hibiscus. She did not move from my lap, but wrapped her arms around my torso. I ran my fingers in a circle between her wings, calming her immediately. Her breath caught up with her. I kissed her head.
"Will you stay awake with me? I keep seeing him every time I close my eyes." I nodded and started moving her from my lap.
"In this case, we're going to need some coffee." I smiled, catching her lips in a smile too. We stood up and carefully walked to the kitchen. I made the coffee and we sat on the couch as we waited for our drinks to be ready.
"Wanna watch a movie?" I suggested, opening up our movie cabinet under the television.
"Sure." Max crouched down next to me, her eyes skimming all the movie titles.
By the time our coffee was ready, we were snuggling up on the couch with a blanket wrapped around us, watching Hide and Seek. I got up, poured us both a mug of coffee, and put some cream and sugar packets on a plate along with our drinks and placed it on the coffee table in front of us.
By the time the sun had started to show, we had gone through about five mugs of coffee each and three movies. We were wrapped up in a warm blanket, laying down across the cushioned couch. My arm was around Max's small waist, the two of us squished up against the back of the couch to not fall off.
When the credits began rolling for The Sixth Sense, Max carefully rolled from facing the television to facing me. She was smiling, although her eyes were welling up with tears. I set down my coffee carefully behind her and grabbed her close to me. She linked her arms around my neck, pulling me softly towards her.
"He left her without even knowing it," she mumbled thickly. "That's… that's… pas terrible!"
"Yeah," I agreed. "Well, he did finally talk to her at the end, did he not?"
"But she didn't even know that she was!"
"But they still talked. And Cole started talking to his mom. That's good," I tried.
"Yes. That is good." She sighed. "Don't you ever die on me." Her voice was somehow both playful and serious.
"I promise, but with one condition."
"And what's that?"
"That you never die on me." Before she could say anything, I kissed her. I felt us both relax, pleasuring the kiss further. As I tried to roll on top of her, we fell off the couch. We smiled at each other, laughing slightly, and I kissed her again.