AN: Yes I know I should be updating my existing stories and not starting a new oneā€¦ But this one was just eating at me! And when was the last time I wrote a good Fax fic? I think it's about time anyway. I promise to update Definition this week okay? Please don't hate me!

Goodbye, Hello

Disclaimer: I do not own Max or affiliated.

Chapter One: Goodbye

The day that he didn't come back, she left.

Not physically of course, she wasn't capable of that. She existed still. She still sat beside them during meals, flew with them from place to place, fought with them with each new attack. She was physically there, but otherwise she wasn't. She didn't speak unless to give an order, didn't eat except when forced, and didn't stop pacing through the nights. But it wasn't that which convinced the flock she was gone. It was her manner, her eyes. She didn't curse Itex for taking him from her. She didn't curse him for leaving her. She didn't yell. She didn't cry. She was empty, vacant. She wasn't mourning him. She wasn't sad.

She was gone.

Iggy was there, but she didn't let him fill the void of her second in command. She was in command. She didn't need a second. She wasn't going to give in to Itex; she didn't need a shoulder to lean on in times of stress. She always knew what she was doing; there was no danger of her breaking.

She was already broken beyond repair.

She threw herself into her flock. Into protecting what was hers and taking down Itex. It wasn't in revenge she did this, it was simply her duty. It was what she did. She was the girl destined to completely destroy whatever might be left of the purification corporation. Missions went through without much incident, she settled arguments within the flock with a firm hand no one questioned. If they did provoke her in anyway, it was only to encourage a meltdown. Maybe if they got her to release her pent up feelings, the anger and depression, maybe then she would come back to them.

Except there was nothing left to provoke, nothing left to release.

The day she started to carry a gun, the flock didn't say a word but they were shocked. She began to lead more destructive missions. She began to take many nights off on her own private missions to dangerous for a group. She armed herself with a side arm holster constantly strapped to her thigh. She was ready and dangerous, a force no one was able to ignore.

She trained too, studied hours on hours with books on various martial arts. Iggy suspected that she was fighting in the underground wrestling circuit at nights to sharpen her skill. He was right, but she wasn't admitting it and no one was about to ask. She had Nudge hack into the military's training files. She acquired weapons, all of which she quickly learned to use.

One day she came back from one of her personal missions with extensive blood stains. She didn't answer any questions. Had she killed? Was she hurt? Had she tried saving another? Angel, who had long ago lost the ability to discern extensive thought chains from her, assured them she was not hurt. Some prying discovered that one of her handguns was missing five bullets. No one brought up the subject again. Maybe she had lost it, maybe she had finally grieved, but they doubted it.

She never told any of them about the day she had grieved. The day she had known for sure he wasn't coming back. The day she'd locked herself in Ella's room. The flock had all been out waiting for signs of his return, Ella was still at school and if Dr. Martinez heard anything, she said nothing. It was then she cursed Itex for taking him from her. She cursed Fang for letting it happen. She yelled. She cried. She mourned him and she sobbed huge, body-wrecking sobs. Eventually with a heart-crushing scream she sent her fist flying through one of Ella's two bedroom widows, then sat in the glass and watched as her tears mixed painfully with the running blood.

She sat there for a good hour, then she got up, slashed some cool water on her face and gone down stairs to inform her mother she had tripped on a wayward shoe in Ella's room and fallen fist first into the window.

To Dr. Martinez's credit, she didn't even blink.

It was then, when she had sat in the blood and tears he had caused, that she realized she had a choice.

She could close herself off to everyone; let herself fall into deep depression. She could cry everyday in Ella's room, live with her mother and never go back out into the sky that reminded her so much of him. She could continue to mourn him and weep for his memory for years to come.

Or she could make him proud.

She could take all the things he had taught her, had ever said to her and apply them. She could learn to defeat their enemy. She could equip herself to defend her family and the world. She could exemplify his bravery and courage in herself. She could be self-sacrificing. She could flinch every time she toughed a weapon and wince each time she pulled a trigger, as long as no one noticed. She could show that his sacrifice had not been in vain, that even in death, he made her stronger.

So, three years later when a tattered looking boy in his late teens made a stumbling landing into Dr. Martinez's backyard She, against her better judgment, went out to investigate.

Fang didn't know the woman aiming the P-90 at the dead center of his chest.

Max wasn't sure she knew her either.