I am so, so, so, SO sorry about not updating. It's just that there has been a lot going on right now, like the end of the trimester, and I haven't had any time. So, I am so very, very sorry for not updating soon enough. To make up for it, I'll try to make this a long chapter. But I need ideas! I was a little stuck at this part, and so if anybody has any ideas at all, please say them. No idea will be put down!

By the way, has anyone else read FANG? Because it's awesome. Not as long as I would hope, and a little odd, but still good. I advise you all read it. :) Now, onto the story!

Disclaimer: JP owns, not some -x- year old girl who goes by the penname of BoOk-NeRd38.

As I fell, my hair whipped around my face and felt like it was slicing up my features and turning them into a big fat mess. I closed my eyes, loving the feeling of just dropping through the air and forgetting everything that was happening in my life right now. I thought of the better things that had happened, before any of this drama showed up and screwed with my life.

Flashback

I peeked around the trees, making sure my target was still there, and looked around him to see if anyone had seen me. There was nobody in sight, and I smiled to myself. Perfect.

I stood up, quiet as a mouse, and ran to the other tree silently, dodging the slits of sun that flowed through the trees. He didn't suspect a thing, just sitting there carving something into the branch he was sitting on. I jumped up and landed on the branch closest to his that he wouldn't see me, careful not to let my wings touch any part of any tree, in case a branch snapped or created a sound that could give me away. He didn't even look up, but I thought I saw him tense a little. He just continued carving.

I was getting anxious, and I looked down at the bulge under my shirt. It was a bright pink water balloon, and it was filled as much as it could handle. I had hid it under my shirt so he wouldn't see it, up until now. I slowly took it out, aimed it at Fang's head, and cocked my arm back to throw it at him. He hadn't been part of our water war yet, but he was going to be soon. He never backed down from a fight if I started it.

Suddenly I felt something cold and wet splat against my back, and I was so surprised I let out a squeak. Fang's head immediately snapped up, only to see me lose my balance and fall from the tree. I saw Iggy flying above the tree I was in, clutching his stomach and laughing at me as I fell from my branch. I saw Fang laughing too, as I twisted in the air and landed on the ground on my back. I saw a little pink ball flying through the air and realized I had lost my balloon, but just a little too late. It landed right on my stomach, exploding all over me and soaking the rest of my body when I tried to curl in a ball to cover myself from my own weapon.

I sat up, spitting out some dirt that landed in my mouth and looking at the damage my balloon had made. I found a few pieces of the shrunken balloon next to me on the dirt.

Iggy and Fang couldn't stop laughing. They both were leaning over and clutching their stomachs, tears flowing down their faces. Fang was trying to explain to Ig what had happened, but he was laughing too hard. I glared at both of them, which was wasted on Iggy, and stood up. I jumped into the air to try and dry off a little, and to go find two more balloons to get them back.

(~~~~~~)

"Oof!" I coughed, sucking in air as someone jumped on my stomach. They weren't really that heavy, but they kept jumping up and down, keeping the needed air out of my lungs. I finally managed to open my eyes, only to see a little blond whirl of curls in front of my face. Angel stopped jumping on me and just sat on my stomach, smiling happily with her two front teeth missing.

"Happy birfday Max!" she squealed. I caught my breath and looked around, seeing the rest of my family clouded in my room. They all had a wrapped gift in their hand, giving me broad smiles. Iggy had a mischievous look on his face, and he smiled even wider when he felt me looking at him. I'll never know how he does that.

"1, 2, 3!" he shouted, and my eyes went wide. No, no, no, pleasedon't-

"Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you!" I groaned as they sang as bad as they could, just to get on my nerves. It was a flock joke. "Happy birthday dear Ma-ax…. Happy birthday to you!"

"You look like a monkey…." Gazzy sang, and I groaned again. "And you smell like one too!" the rest joined in, then burst out laughing as I scowled fiercely at them. Angel was laying across my legs clutching her stomach, tears rolling down her cheeks from laughing so hard. I didn't really see how that was so funny….

"Your… face… was… hilarious!" Angel said between giggles, and then burst into another fit as the others nodded in agreement. I rolled my eyes but smiled, rolling the laughing girl off my legs and swinging my feet off the bed. The cold tingled my toes, and I readjusted my pj pants and tank top.

I pushed past a laughing Iggy and Nudge, and quickly strode to the bathroom before they could catch me. I shut the door and locked it quickly, sighing in relief as I heard their footsteps retreating back into the kitchen for breakfast.

So, today was my birthday, obviously. I was a year older, but it didn't seem to make me feel any different. I was now fourteen. I was the leader of the flock, since Jeb had left us about a two years ago, and I was the oldest. Fang and Iggy were right behind me, though. We still weren't sure exactly when my birthday really was, so I had decided about two weeks ago that it was time for more birthdays. After mine it would be Fang, then Iggy, Nudge, The Gasman, and last, Angel. All a year older. Growing up.

I didn't like to wallow in that information, because these were my babies. I was responsible for them, helping them with their decisions and practically being their parent. It was a lot to put on a fourteen year olds shoulders.

I smiled at the thought. I had been thirteen for long enough.

I stared at myself in the mirror. I didn't look different, and didn't feel different, but I knew inside that I was different. More wise. More in charge. I don't really know. I knew the real feeling hadn't fully settled in my gut yet, but it would. I would just have to wait for it.

I washed my face with cold water and quickly took a shower, making sure I looked okay because I knew Nudge would have found the small digital camera we owned that I had hidden from her when she went on a total picture-spree. Let's just say, there were many pictures on there that could have been used as blackmail.

I had forgotten to grab some clothes, so I quickly opened the door to check if the coast was clear, then sprinted to my room in my pjs. Safely in I changed into my usual jean and T-shirt, then crept out into the kitchen, preparing to be bombarded. Birthdays were a big deal in the flock.

When she saw me, Nudge bolted into the living room and snatched a brightly wrapped present off of the pile, which I cringed at, and ran back to start shoving the gift in my face while jumping up and down.

"Open mine! Open mine! Oh pleaaasssee Max open mine first! I made it specially for you with my own two hands! Of course Angel helped, but I mean it was my idea and I found the fabric at the store when you weren't looking. Oops I shouldn't have said that because I probably jus-" thankfully, Angel and Gazzy slapped their hands over her mouth before she gave me a big headache. She mumbled the rest of her sentence into their hands, then shrugged her shoulders and gave me an apologetic look when they removed their hands. I smiled at her.

"After we eat breakfast, Nudge. Then we can do presents." Her face dropped when I said it for a split second, then lightened back up immediately.

"Alright." She chirped, then skipped to the table. Fang rolled his eyes, and they all turned to follow Nudge.

We ate a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, hash browns, and juice, all made by Iggy. None of them ever even let me near the kitchen utensils, because of one incident that had happened years ago. Fang still had a scar.

When we were done, Ig brought out a giant chocolate cake, and I was practically drooling when he set it on the table. But I didn't let anyone eat it. Hey, I needed to be strict with these kids. If I let them eat cake early in the morning, what kind of parent would I be? Plus, I would be seriously paying for it later. Though cake at night didn't do much, either, it was a little more acceptable.

They all grumbled and Gazzy stuck his tongue out at me, but then Nudge and Angel started jumping up and down about opening presents. Gazzy and Iggy looked mischievous, which scared me. Fang just looked like… Fang. Impassive and bored. But I could see a tiny muscle on his lips that were twitching, fighting a smile. Hmm…

We all sat down, and everybody grabbed their own present and sat in a circle around me. Nudge and Angel were practically shaking with excitement, smiling up at me from the floor. I saw the digital camera in Nudge's hand, as I predicted, but I didn't fight it. She might as well get her fill now, I would just have to delete them later. Fang sat next to me on the couch, close enough to feel the heat coming off his skin, but not close enough that it was awkward. Iggy and Gaz sat across from Angel and Nudge, looking at each other and then back at me.

"Max you have to open mine first!!" Nudge said, and I hoped she hadn't made me something extremely girly, but of course that was too much to hope for. She handed me her wrapped gift and I opened it. The first thing I saw was the fabric. It was soft and had a light blue, lime green, and white polka dotted pattern over it. I pulled it out of the rest of the package, and saw it was a dress. I would never wear it, of course. It had thick tank top straps, and gathered in the middle, then flared out into the bottom. There was a strip of thick blue string that matched the light blue dots and went around the gathered section under the bust. It was amazingly well sewn, for a ten year old. I peeked around the dress at Nudge, who was staring up at me expectantly.

"Nudge, this is amazing. How did you sew it so well?" it really was amazing. I totally would have worn it, had I not been myself. She beamed as I talked, and I was afraid her face might just stay that way she was smiling so huge.

"You like it?" she squeaked.

"Yeah, it's beautiful." I nodded, and her and Angel squealed together. I was getting sick of the squealing.

"You need to go try it on!" Angel said to me. I guessed she hadn't heard that I was never going to wear it.

"No, guys, really, I don't know…" but it was no use. They had already jumped up and grabbed my hands, dragging me back down the hall to the bathroom. They shoved me in there and told me I wouldn't come back out until I had the dress on. And they also made me promise to wear it all day.

I grumbled the whole time, but I eventually got it on. It was pretty comfortable, but it was still a dress. I never wear dresses. They're impossible to do anything in, especially fly. Really, who wants someone behind you looking up your skirt? I made a mental note not to go flying today. When I looked in the mirror, I had to say it actually looked pretty good. It hugged my practically non-existent curves, and made it look like I actually had some. My legs felt extremely exposed, as the dress came to my knees and poofed out above it.

I sighed as I opened the door, and refrained from giving Nudge and Angel a glare for putting me in this situation. But they had worked hard on this, so I had to be nice to them. As soon as I stepped out of the door I saw a flash go off, vowing I would crush that thing when I got my hands on it. I walked into the living room behind them, and they stuck out their arms and went "Ta-da!" as I walked in. I felt my cheeks go on fire and Fang smirked at me, Iggy wolf-whistled (he had no idea what I looked like, he just did that to annoy me), and Gazzy laughed so hard he cried. When I walked past them I smacked Iggy and Gazzy on the head, which shut them up. This was so embarrassing. More embarrassing than the time my pants ripped when we were learning how to fly.

You look beautiful, Max. Angel's voice filled my head, and it was surprising to hear it. She had just learned how to project her thoughts, and it took a lot of her energy, so she rarely did it. I looked at her, surprised, and she smiled up at me. I had no choice but to smile back. She thought I looked beautiful? That was new. I shook my head.

From Iggy, Angel, and Gazzy I got a new black sweatshirt, a lamp for my room, and a blank sketchbook pad. Nudge took her fill of pictures with every gift when I least expected it. And now it was Fang's turn. I turned towards him expectantly, and he reached behind him to pull out a tiny white box with just a mini red bow on the lid. He handed it to me slowly, and I felt everybody's stare at the box. I had an odd feeling in my gut, and I had no idea why.

I slowly lifted the lid, only for there to be a little white piece of fluff. I pulled that off, and below was a key chain. The key ring was metal and storebought, but nothing else was. There was a wooden hand carved wing hanging on the small chain, and a string of beads next to it. There were six, all different colors. They were meant to represent our family. There was a hot pink one (Nudge), a light blue one that was almost white (Iggy), a dark green one (the Gazman), a black one (Fang), a light purple one (Angel), and a dark magenta one (me). It was simple, but it was pretty. The wing was detailed and just plain wood, but it looked fresh from a tree right outside. It was one of those things that had more sentimental value than anything else.

I looked up to see all of my family watching me intently, watching for my expression. Even Iggy had his pale eyes fixed on my forehead, waiting for the others to react. I looked back at the keychain in amazement, and wondered why they would do something like this for me.

"This is so amazing, guys. I love it." I smiled at them. I was doing a little too much of that today; my cheeks were going to be sore lately.

Again, they smiled at me.

"Fang worked really hard on the wing! He spent so many hours in his room at night that he hasn't gotten any sleep for weeks! He wanted it to be perfect for you, Max." Angel smiled up at me, and I looked at Fang's face to see the slightest bit of color in his cheeks. Barely noticeable to anybody else, but I knew him so well that I could tell the slightest change. He was blushing! No way. I nudged him with my shoulder playfully, and he nudged me back.

"Hold it up! I want to see it!" Gazzy whined, craning his neck to see the box. I lifted it up to show him, and he awed at it. "Nice work, Fang." He complimented. I also let Ig feel it, and he also complimented him on his work.

"Okay, everyone up. We need at least one good photo of the whole family! Don't fight it, Max!" she got up and pulled my hand up, and we all got together and actually got a nice picture of all of us. i decided to not delete that one, for once.

(~~~~~~)

I opened my eyes, and saw the ground much closer than I thought. I gasped slightly and forgot about my little sentimental memories, and whipped out my wings. The air caught and my wings felt like they were being ripped out of their sockets, worse than it normally was. I wasn't slowing down, and the ground was getting closer and closer dangerously. I pushed down with my wings as hard as I could, but I wasn't getting any slower.

The ground had some trees scattered around, with a bunch of dead logs between them, with green bushes and shrubs filling the rest of the space. Mostly spiky, scary looking shrubs.

I managed to slow down a little bit, but not enough to make a nice, soft landing. So, I ended up tumbling through some bushes and over some logs, and finally came to a stop as I rolled, on my side, straight into a tree. My wings were mostly pulled in, but it felt like there could be some broken bones in there. I definitely had at least one broken rib, maybe two or three. My thigh was on fire, and when I looked down my jeans were soaked red, and I noticed a hole in the middle of my leg. My face and arms had scrapes all over them, and every bone in my body felt either bruised or shattered. I dropped my head back onto the ground and groaned as I realized I was stuck in a prickly bush. Here I was, in the middle of nowhere, with my leg all bloody and most likely broken, in a bush.

Way to go, Max.

I am so absolutely sorry about not updating! It's just my life has been really hectic these past weeks, and I've had barely any time to write. And I know this isn't really a good chapter, and it's sort of pathetic, but I made it as long as I could for you. Though it probably won't be satisfying to anybody, if there's even anybody reading this story still. For all of you out there that still are, thank you so much! And I know this probably won't make anybody really happy, or even work at all, but I would like at least 10 reviews this time! And if it really does work, I promise to have a new chapter up by next week! I need some ideas to help me a little, and I would love anybody's suggestions about anything in the story. I hope I haven't made everybody mad at me because of this, and I'm sorry if I did.

Please review!

BoOk-NeRd38