I own nothing except 2 packs of oreos and a stuffed whale, so obviously Maximum Ride is not mine. Sadly, I don't have that kind of imagination. Okay! Here goes!


Another failed attempt at finding our real parents. This address was supposed to bring me to my own little family. I didn't expect much of them; my real mother was eighteen when she had me. Actually, I was expecting nothing. That's what happened to everyone else. All of the flock, except Max, had a chance to find their parents, and every address was a dud; a dead end. Why should mine be any different? So why was I so upset when my address was fake too?

I don't know. Don't ask me. I usually just override the feelings that come up. All I have to be is strong.

"Be strong like max," I said to no one, willing myself to keep control over my body. I was taught that emotions can control the mind. I'd seen it first hand when max had almost killed herself on the beach in Florida. .

Life was a battle, the mind it's field

Life was a war.

Body verses feelings.

And I was losing.

"Fine," I hissed under my breath. I didn't like giving in to my emotions. It scared me. I'd never admit that to anyone. But I would give in to them for the first time in years. I would let go during watch.

But for now I had to "Be strong like Max."

I was the first to reach the cave that we were currently residing in. I stumbled at the entrance, less graceful than usual. My hands were automatically thrust out of my pockets to steady myself. I sighed as the rest of the flock landed and sat down.

"I'm beat," complained Total as he wriggled out of Iggy's arms. Perfect I thought.

"I'll take first watch," I announced. Max looked at me with confusion plastered on her face. First watch was her domain.

" You work too hard. Get some shut eye. I'll take first watch." She watched me for a couple more seconds before she turned to help the little kids get settled. She knew me better than any one, and she knew something was wrong.

I sat myself against some smooth rocks out on the ledge. My emotions were bubbling. The day's occurrences were rushing back at me knowing that I was willing to let my guard down tonight. And suddenly, I was afraid; afraid that if I let my feelings show, I would lose control of my body like Max had done. I was afraid that after keeping all of that disappointment, fear, sorrow, love, happiness and a thousand others, locked away in my heart, I wouldn't regain control. But the feelings were too much for one man to hold in so I allowed my head to wander to all the emotional points in the past couple of years. I remembered the pain of Ari's swipe, the love of flying free with Max and the flock, the sorrow I felt whenever Max pained, the happiness I felt when Max would look at me... It was like our souls were tied together as one. Didn't they have a word for that? Soul mate?

Tears left tracks down my face. This was all too much for me, I watched the moon and the stars. They started to blur as more saltwater came to my eyes. The great Fang, second to max, who never showed any recognition of joy or sorrow, broke down in sobs. "Be strong like Max," I tried to regain control, "Be strong for Max." I was sobbing freely now. I hated this feeling. I absolutely hated it. My body was racking with sobs, and the cold wind froze my fingers and toes. I laid my head on my knees and took deep breaths, trying to calm myself down.

"You don't have to be strong for me, Fang." I whipped my head up and turned towards Max, my eyes were blood shot from crying.

"Why aren't you asleep?" I asked in a raspy voice.

"I knew something was wrong, and I'm a light sleeper."

I looked down into my knees. I didn't like having been caught like this, so vulnerable. I had to be strong. I had to be strong so Max didn't have to be strong all of the time. I had to be strong for Max. So I started crying again.

" Oh Fang," Max whispered. She came and sat down next to me, her arms holding me in an embrace that made me feel safe and whole. She held me and calmed me like she would one of the littles. I leaned against her warm body; I felt so safe that I didn't even bother to feel embarrassed. "Fang, You don't always have to be strong," She whispered.

"I have to be strong for you, Max," I replied. I looked into her eyes, and said, "I have to be strong for you." My face inched towards hers until my just brushed hers. I expected her to leave me, but after I pulled away, she looked into my eyes, and pulled my face back down to hers again. Right before our lips touched, she said,

"We have to be strong for each other, Fang." And there was that word again. The only thing I was thinking of as her warm lips parted… the word that means two interlocked souls, designed to fit together as one… A soul-mate. Yeah, that was the word.