Lost till you're found
Swim till you drown
Know that we all fall down
Love till you hate
Jump till you break
Know that we all fall down

Fang twitched, his heart feebly stuttering. Light flared and pulsed behind his eyelids like flames or lightning. He knew he was dead. It wasn't a surprise. He'd known since the second he saw Max fall. What reason had he to go on now? Who was there to care if he died?

He wasn't afraid to die, not frightened of the unknown void reaching out for him. He'd never been afraid of the dark. At least in death he would be uncaged.

He saw Max fall in his mind, saw her limp form plummet to the ground. She was dead. He might have cried if he could have, but he was beyond even tears. He didn't have any reason to stay, no promises left to keep.

No, he wasn't afraid to die, but he was afraid to wander, so afraid of walking, walking alone and in silence down a hard path for all eternity. He would walk alone, and he was afraid of that. He who had ever known true fear, never known what it meant to be alone, would be forced to wander into death, through death, forever.

Would Max and the others find him? Surely he had warranted some type of relief. He had saved as many as he killed. But he had killed them, killed the Flock with his failure. And there would be no forgiveness. No one would find him as he wandered through the wilderness. No one would cast forgiving eyes upon his lonely form.

His shadow would be his only companion, a permanent piece of darkness.

Fang drowned, fell beneath the dark waters of unconscious. He was not dead, but he floated. And he fought, fought not to stay alive, but to stay undead, to keep from wandering. Max was not in the world of life, but neither would she be in the world of penance.

She was too good for that. Leaders take the blame, shoulder it in life, but that is their penance, their forgiveness. Fang did not have that. He might never see her again.

They had all fallen, literally dropped from the sky. Their wings were too fragile to shoulder such a burden. The weight of the world had crushed them. He was not the only failure, but he would willingly pay the price to save their souls. It was what he did.

He would save them in the only way he could, protect them as he always had, his trouble going unnoticed. He would pay for their salvation; pay his debt and theirs (although his was probably the greater of the debts).

He would pay until he was too bitter and lost and alone to remember where he had been or where he was going, pay until their faces, her face, were all he could see. And at that point he would hate. He would hate them because he loved them too much. All the emotions unspent in life would find him.

And he would keep going. He would walk and suffer until it destroyed him.

There was no one left to save him, no one to lift him. But it was better than a cage, better than the guilt he was now crushed under.

He could not stand from the weight. He felt it would crush him flat. To lift off the ground, to jump for the stars, for the sky, for flight…would break him. And he couldn't afford to break yet. He had to pay for them, pay their toll.

He would pay it by walking, slow and mortal-like; pay it in seconds and minutes, days and weeks, months and years of eternities of solitude. He would pay it in forgetting, in yearning, in guilt, in never seeing them again. He would pay. And he would do it willingly by walking down the road of death for them, for her, forever.

She, they, had fallen in the fight, died at his side. He should have saved them. The destruction was his; the destruction was him. They were one and the same. He would bear the shame and pain of their deaths, watching again and again as she fell, her fall more graceful than his.

It was his fault and therefore his blame. They had all fallen, but they did not all have to suffer for it.

He winced at the pain that shot through his body, but the wince was just a twitch. His muscles were too numb to spasm, his wings too crushed to beat. But the darkness was welcoming him, promising to heal all wounds.

So, no, he wasn't afraid to die. His fear was far greater.

His feet were already set on the road, the darkness morphed into death. The lights flickered and went out. And there was solitude.

If ever your world starts crashing down
Whenever your world starts crashing down
Whenever your world starts crashing down
That's where you'll find me