This was inspired by that charming little gift Mother Nature sends all women once a month. I suppose, inspiration from pain makes the pain a little more bearable. Of course, Fang would make it a whole lot more bearable. :')

--

Max slammed the door in Iggy's face as he asked her again if she wanted to go shopping with Nudge and Angel. She stalked back into bed and threw the covers over her head, moaning miserably as she did so. Outside, Iggy walked away, guffawing to himself as he went. He passed Nudge on the way and she squealed and clapped her hands together excitedly.

"Max wants to go shopping?!"

"No," Iggy sniggered "it's that time of the month again."

Nudge's mouth formed an O shape. She turned and followed Iggy back down the stairs of the Martinez house and they flopped onto the sofas in the living room. Angel was sprawled on the floor with Total, scratching between his ears. Gazzy was playing with a games consol Dr Martinez had gotten him.

Nudge looked up just as Dr Martinez brushed past the door holding a wet cloth, a hot water bottle and some tablets. She followed her upstairs and into Max's room. Nudge surveyed her usually fearless leader. She saw Max as mother figure; she was a defender (although she knew how to defend herself, of course) but she was also a comforter, someone who Nudge could go to for anything. Right now, Max wasn't either of those things.

"Mom" she groaned from under the bed sheets "it hurts"

"I know, sweetie" Dr Martinez said, pushing back the cover and Max's hair so she could put the damp cloth on her forehead. She got Max to sit up a little so she could swallow the Tyenol with some water. Max flopped back onto the bed and placed the hot water bottle on her stomach.

"You going to be okay, honey?" Dr Martinez asked. Max nodded.

"I just want to be left alone" she mumbled, her eyes closed.

Her mom stood up and turned. She looked a little surprised to see Nudge behind her but smiled and put her arm around her, drawing her out of the room and closing the door gently behind her.

"Is Max going to be okay?"

"Sure she is" Dr Martinez smiled "she's just hurting a little."

"Why?"

"It's just part of growing up, you get hurt sometimes" Dr Martinez looked thoughtful. "Sometimes you can stop it and sometimes, like now, you can't. Has anyone seen Fang?" she said, suddenly changing topic.

"He went out, I think" Nudge said, returning to the previous subject "but Max never gets like this when she gets hurt, she's so tough"

"This is a different kind of pain, honey" Dr Martinez led Nudge down the stairs "it just has to be ridden out though, like all pain. She'll get better" she said warmly. "Now, I'm going to do some housework. Would you like to help?"

They disappeared into the kitchen just as upstairs, Fang swooped into his bedroom.

--

I can't believe this Max grumbled to herself I'm stuck in bed; I can't even move it hurts that bad. I feel so pathetic.

The door opened again. She stayed where she was, eyes closed, breathing heavily. Her legs were curled around, tucked up in a ball. She didn't hear anyone enter. Slowly, she opened her eye halfway and peeked out.

"What do you want Fang" she groaned, closing her eyes again and turning her head away from him.

"Max, what's wrong?" he sounded worried. He was bent down, right next to her, his face anxious.

"I just feel like there's an Eraser pummelling my stomach nonstop, but other than that, I'm super" she mumbled into the pillow, turning onto her front.

"What?" Fang was genuinely bemused "is it something to do with the Voice? Can they hurt you now?" he was getting more worked up as the ideas popped into his head as he spoke. His usual quiet, impassive demeanour was long forgotten. He placed a hand gently on Max's shoulder and rolled her onto her back. Her forehead gleamed with sweat.

"Max" he mumbled, cupping her face "speak to me. What is it? How can I make it stop?"

Max cocked an eye open. "You really don't know?" her voice was weak, but laced with humour.

Fang shook his head. Max was touched at how worried about her he was and simultaneously amused that he had no idea.

"I thought you were Mr Smarty Pant's" Max said, grabbing his forearm. She could feel the contours of his hard muscles and his battle scars, stark in comparison to the way he was acting; they showed the tough, brave side of Fang, while Max saw the gentle, affectionate side.

She smiled as she brought his hand down, removing the hot water bottle with the other one and placed his hand on her stomach. She raised an eyebrow at him and something seemed to click with him.

A horrified look crossed his face. "You're... you're pregnant?" he whispered.

"What?!" Max spluttered "no you idiot! I'm on my period!"

The look of relief that passed across his features was comical. He breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh."

"Oh? Do you even have two brain cells to bash together, doofus?"

Fang sat back on his haunches. "It seems I was... mistaken" he said slowly.

"Hec yes you were! Whose did you think it was? An over friendly Eraser?" Max snorted at her own joke "really Fang. Even Angel understands!"

Fang was looking slightly embarrassed now. "Well" he hedged "uh, I'm just gonna..." he stood up really quickly and moved towards the door.

"Wait!" Max cried out as another wave of pain hit her "Fang" she said, looking over at him "please don't go."

He wrestled with something internally before nodding. He moved back over to the bed and sat down next to her. Slowly, not wanting to scare her into running away again, he reached up and brushed her hair from her overheated face.

"Sucks to be you" he whispered, reaching down and tangling his fingers with hers when she didn't run from him.

Max glanced down at his hand and bit her lip, smiling a little. "Not really" she sighed, a content look gracing her features. Fang couldn't stop a huge smile breaking onto his face as she closed his eyes. He leaned forward and kissed her forehead gently.

"Anything I can do for you?" he said, still whispering.

"Just don't go anywhere" Max replied sleepily "oh. And don't let Iggy and Gazzy explode anyone."

"Don't worry about it" Fang said.

Max moved over a little so there was room next to her in the bed. She used the grip she had on Fang's hand to pull him down next to her. He wrapped the arm that was attached to the hand he was holding around her waist and used his other hand to rub her back gently. He heard her sigh happily and leant forward, pressing his lips to her neck.

"Thank you, Fang" Max said suddenly, after a comfortable silence between them.

"Thank you for what?" he replied, rubbing his thumb gently over her knuckles as he kept a grasp on her hand.

"For wanting to help me. For trying to protect me." She mumbled. She rolled over in his arms, dropping his hand so that she was facing his chest. She looked up into his eyes.

"I don't want you to run away" he suddenly whispered. Because it was her, because it was Max, the one person who knew Fang unlike anyone else did, she knew what he meant.

With a steely determination in her eyes, she replied "I won't."

Fang leant down and kissed her softly. Max couldn't help but smile when she felt him smile into the kiss. He pulled away.

"And don't bleed to death either."