Another fic that is years old that needs a lot of reworking, rewriting and lengthening! But I'll do what I can with it. As I explained in Never Forgive Me, I tend to really like one particular theme or idea in a book- in Maximum Ride it has always been the notion of Max loving the Flock so much that she leaves them, usually because she has found their families for them. I know a lot of people don't like this idea, but I'll post it anyway. I was going to write a Christmassy oneshot but I had visitors so I never got around to it =P

Happy Christmas everyone!! Enjoy it!! =]

~Fang POV~

I pulled my curtains fully open with my daily flourish. This was my nightly ritual. Every night before bed I have to do this: pull the curtains open and leave them like that. It's dark yet clear outside, no clouds and a bright moon. Beautiful silver stars and the hoot of an owl in the deserted skies. A perfect night for flying, but I didn't really do that anymore. Not since... well, not since. Full stop, no more, end of sentence, case closed.

There is no more Flock. What a shock. We were meant to last forever, we were meant to save the world and live in bliss in an isolated island of perfection. That didn't happen, forever and togetherness didn't last. We all started to drift away, lured by the tempts of familial bliss. Then she went. The last to leave. The one we thought would always be there- the one we needed the most, biological families or not. You can't function without a Leader and the void left by ours was far too great to fill. Without her there didn't seem to be a point- she was our spirit.

Maximum Ride.

She left.

Left for the usual noble reasons that seemed to captivate her mind. Her selfless thoughts that made her do stupid things. She wanted us to be happy with our biological parents and have normal lives. She worked endlessly for longer than I would care to think about to find them… and when she did- after checking them out rigorously- she left us to get on with being happy. But what about her happiness? And why did we deserve it when she was alone? We didn't. That was the answer. The cruel blow of truth- she was much more deserving then us. Especially me. Because it was my fault this had happened. It was my job to look after her, my duty and my self-designated role. I was supposed to protect her. How could I do that when I didn't even know where she was?

I missed her more then I thought was possible and I cursed myself everyday for not realising how she felt and what she was thinking. I knew her better then anyone else and I just stood by as heart was torn apart by each joyful reunion followed by willing departure. Departure from Max. But the tumultuous, bubbling emotions of my reunion were too great, and I let myself ignore her. Ignore the way she felt beneath every cheery lie- she would never let us think that she was unhappy. I allowed her to fool me and I paid no attention to each careful smile.

Very careful smiles on her behalf. So carefully orchestrated that I wondered now, as I looked back, if she had practised them in a mirror while we lapped up the attentions of our spoiling so called families. They were fake smiles masking unbelievable pain. We were her everything: Max was a Mother, a Leader, a Best Friend and Protector... yet we just let her go. Just like that- let her walk on out, let her be alone and let her be heartbroken without us. Probably just as heartbroken as I was. As I am.

Sometimes at night, I think I hear the almost inaudible sound of large wings. Larger then any bird, hovering gracefully beyond my window. A sound I was used to- as familiar to me as the sound of my own breathing. A sound I craved.

Every time I started to think I could hear it, I used to scream for her- shouting her name to the seemingly empty skies to no avail... Never to any avail, I only ever got greeted with resounding silence. It began to seem like I had only ever imagined the tiny noise that seemed so real… but even still, I sleep with the curtains open.

Clinging to hope. Maybe she will see my open curtains and know it's all for her, maybe it will let her know I miss her too much to be without, maybe it will convince her to come back to me. I leave my curtains open while she plagues my dreams. Dreams are all I have left of her now. Hope is all I can cling to.