So, I was feeling a bit off the other night, and started to write this fic...

Fang: Sounds like the inspiration for Avian Flu. You get sick, so you write about me being sick because...

Me: Misery loves company.

Fang: Right...

Me: So, it started out with Fang being sick, then I just kept adding to it over a couple of days and turned it into my first real 'after FANG' fic.

Right now, it's kind of a random oneshot as I'm not really sure what to do with it. It doesn't really have much of a point, as I wrote it out of boredom and well...Pulled it out of my behind. No clue where some of this stuff came from or where I could possibly be going with it. I'm sure you'll all want me to add to it, but since I'm working on way too many fics as it is, I wouldn't expect that to happen anytime soon. Plus, as I said, I have no clue where I'm going with this...

Fang: Unless you start to write your own 7th book.

Me: ...So, basically, give my own twist on an over-done cliche?

Fang: It's what you did with Fly by Twilight.

Me: ...Who are you, and what have you done with Fang, the guy who rarely gives me good ideas and usually tries to discourage all my Fanfiction ventures?

Fang: He's on vacation. I'm actually his evil twin, Diego.

Me: ...I'm sensing sarcasm here.

Fang: You're in a sarcasm fog, Saint.

Me: I thought so...

Fame I Will Miss if the Claim I Don't Dis: Guess what? I don't own Maximum Ride! Oooo...Big shocker there. I don't own Fang, but I figure kidnapping him through the space-time continuum was good enough.

But, I Shall Be Claiming: OCs, people. They're mine. Don't touch them, don't steal them. Easy as that.

And if anyone can find proof of Fang's evil twin, Diego, please tell me.

Fang's POV

I am NOT sick.

At least, that's what I kept telling myself as I dragged myself out of bed. After everything I'd been through, after even dying and returning to life, there was no way I could be getting sick.

Of course, my stupid cough and scratchy throat had different opinions.

I stumbled out to the kitchen, still half asleep, and just managed to stare at the fridge for five minutes. So far in my search, I had yet to aquire someone who was even close to Iggy's skill in cooking, so I had had to start learning to cook myself. My first attempts probably could've been considered nuclear weapons, though I was getting better. At least my group had been able to stomach my last concoction.

But now I didn't feel like making anything. Instead, I did exactly what I felt like doing and leaned forward to rest my forehead against the cool fridge. My face felt like it was on fire, despite the fact that the rest of me was shivering. I felt like a mess.

"Is it breakfast yet?" A little voice said sleepily from behind me.

"Not quite, but soon." I answered, pulling myself together and turning around to the youngest member of my psuedo-Flock, Anita. I smiled at her, pulling out a chair and lefting her up to sit her down in it, ruffling her bushy black hair. "Why don't you take a seat and try to wake up? I think you're making your flowers in the window close back up."

Sure enough, Anita's little flower garden was starting to close up like it was nighttime again. Anita's power was over plants and growing things. I remembered when I'd first found her, I'd scared her and she set a rose bush and a huge vine on me. I had to explain who I was while dangling upside down in the air being pinched to death by rose thorns. Not one of my shining moments.

I poured Annie some orange juice to help her wake up and attempted to find something simple to make for breakfast. I stared into the fridge, but my overtired brain was unable to piece the random food items into a meal.

Suddenly, I felt a hand pat me on the shoulder. "Fang, just because the orange juice bottle says 'concentrate' doesn't mean you have to stare at it."

I rolled my eyes. "Hilarious, Toby." I said, turning to glare at him.

Tobias just grinned and reached around me to grab an apple. I was careful to give Toby a bit of space. Toby's special ability happened to be inhuman strength. I'd seen this guy throw a Hummer at some Erasers before. He had my utmost respect. If he didn't, I'd probably be a bird-kid pretzel.

Luckily, though, Toby had a great sense of humor and a pretty much 'happy go lucky' type attitude. And the guy wouldn't hurt a fly. Well, unless said fly was carrying an AK-47 and was intent of shooting the guts out of any of our Flock. I'd seen this guy whistling to birds outside, and heard him singing to Anita at night.

I watched him now, trading jokes back and forth with Annie. Talk about your typical gentle giant. The guy was taller than me, not to mention freaking huge. And he was all muscle. Toby was older than me, too, already with the beginnings of a goatee to go with his shoulder-length brown hair. Yet, he was content to let me be leader so he could sit back and just take orders all day. Heck, if it was up to Tobias, we'd have all been on the first flight to Trinidad or Antigua. Basically anywhere tropical. The guy was obsessed with life on the islands. I really hoped he got his wish to go one of these days.

I finally had to ditch my musings over my oldest Flock member and get back to the conundrum that was breakfast. I finally decided to start making toast, then I'd work from there. Toast was easy, I could handle toast. The first thing I did, though, was pour myself a glass of orange juice, hoping to cool my scratchy throat. It worked for about five seconds before the pain was back. Screw it.

I used most of the bread to make toast for everyone and made a mental note to start making a shopping list. We were staying in a small village in Mexico where I had found Anita. Anita had been rescued by a renegade scientist who then left her in the care of this village, where he believed her parents were orginally from. The villagers had been fine with caring for her until she first displayed her little gift with plants. Most of the villagers were apprehensive of her at best. When I came along, they were more than happy to have me be her primary caregiver. When I mentioned needing a place to stay, they offered this out-of-the-way house and said they'd help with groceries and utilities as long as I took good care of Annie. Though her powers made them nervous, they still cared for her as a member of their village.

I usually had to take Annie into town with me to get food or anything. Though many people in this close-to-the-border village spoke English, I still sometimes needed Anita to play translator.

As I stood there, boredly toasting bread, I had to almost pinch myself to stay awake. I was so tired. My face still felt hot, the rest of me still cold. My throat hurt. At least I was able to control the cough. All I wanted to do was sleep...But I couldn't let them know that.

"For a guy who's supposed to be our leader, you really are an idiot, you know that?"

I froze. Crap. "Morning, Lark..."

Skylark was the only other person in our group who was a hybrid. She also had Avian genes like myself. Lark had the palest white skin I'd ever seen on a person before, she had to where sunscreen whenever we flew. She also had, get this, fire engine red hair. Was it just me, or was I attracting red-heads to me now? Max wouldn't be happy to know she was living with me.

Then again, she had Dylan the Teen Heart Throb Wonder living with her. Can't say I was too happy about that myself.

As for eye color, I couldn't tell you what color Lark's eyes were. They changed depending on her mood. Right now, they were gray for tiredness. But they were quickly shifting to mocha brown for concern, with a slight tinge of yellow for annoyance.

You see, Lark was an empath. She had the power to sense emotions.

"You're sick." She said, putting a hand on her hip.

"Well, that's a nice thing to say to the guy who's trying to make you breakfast." I shot back.

She rolled her eyes. "You know what I mean, idiot." She walked over to me and placed a hand on my forehead, unessesarily adding to the heat. I attempted to back away, but had the counter behind me.

"You're running a fever." She stated. Her eyes narrowed. "Don't get annoyed with me. It's not my fault germs are attracted to you."

It was my turn to roll my eyes. I pushed her hand away. "I'm fine, Lark. Can you just leave me alone?"

But now she had gotten the attention of the other two. "Fang's sick?" Anita asked. "Is he gonna turn into a chicken?"

"What?" Tobias asked her.

"I heard of people getting sick and turning into chickens." Anita explained. "They got poxes."

"I think you mean 'chickenpox', Annie." Lark said. "Don't worry, Fang doesn't have that. Besides, he's too close to being a chicken to really worry."

"So are you..." I pointed out to Lark.

She shrugged, her reddish-brown wings shrugging along with her. "Not the point, Fang. The point is, you should be in bed, dude."

I shook my head. "I'm fine. I haven't been sick in years. I'll work through it."

"You're not supposed to work off a fever, dumbass." She said. I noticed her eyes turning more yellow. "You're supposed to sleep it off. And that's exactly what you're going to do."

"I think I can figure out how to take care of myself." I snapped at her.

She glared back, her eyes almost fully yellow now. Creepy. "Face it, if one of us was sick, you'd be forcing us into bed. Same rules apply to you, Fang."

That was the one thing that drove me nuts about Skylark. She was always ready to pick a fight with me. She was the only one who ever really challenged my decisions.

She gave me some insight into how Max must feel.

I opened my mouth to give her a piece of my mind, but something stopped me, forcing me to close it again. My stomach felt like it had just flip-flopped. I took a couple deep breaths, trying to settle my stomach down, but it just flip-flopped again. I put a hand to my mouth, trying ot take a couple more deep breaths, but they didn't seem to be doing much.

"Toby, be a dear and go get Fang a bucket." Lark said suddenly. "He's gonna need it..."

I practically crawled back into bed. After my little episode with my new friend, the bucket, I felt like crap times two. Anita told me I looked like someone had squeezed all the juices and stuff outta me. At least I knew that I looked like how I felt.

I just lied there on the bed, letting my wings stretch out and almost hang over the sides. I was chilly, but on the other hand, I was too tired to move to warm myself up. I just let my face rest on my cool pillow and hoped for the best.

Suddenly, my blankets were pulled out from under me and were laid over me one by one. I closed my eyes as Iet Skylark basically tuck me into bed, something I hadn't even let Jeb do when I was younger.

"Bucket's on the floor on your right." Lark told me. "If you need anything, just make a loud noise, we'll be listening."

She ruffled my hair up a bit, then started to leave.

"Hey, Lark?"

She turned back to me, her eyes turning back to mocha brown again, this time with tinges of blue. Happiness. "Yeah, Fang?"

I managed to smile up from my pillow. "Thanks."

"No prob, dude." She replied, smiling warmly back. She turned again and left, letting me finally sink into sleep.

I dreamt I was back with the Flock. With my family again.

It was perfect.

There were Total and Akila, happily playing in the grass together. Angel, looking a whole lot more innocent than she had the last time I saw her, was chasing them around playfully, carrying a ball. Gazzy and Iggy were working on something (illegal and dangerous, no doubt) under a tree. Nudge and Ella were chatting away on Dr. M's front porch. Dr. Martinez herself was inside, baking cookies. There was no Dylan in sight.

And, to top it all off, there was Max. She was sitting next to me, looking absolutely beautiful in the sunlight. She turned to me and smiled, the wind blowing her hair slightly. I only managed a smile back. It was moments like this I wished I was better with all those wordy displays of emotion. I wanted to tell her how much I'd missed her, loved her, how I didn't want to leave again, but I just couldn't find the words.

She didn't seem to mind that fact. I mean, she was Max, she was used to me by now. We just sat in contented silence, happy to just have each other's company.

But, of course, these moments can never last.

Erasers suddenly surrounded us, snarling and growling, claws and teeth poised and ready to kill.

We were all on our feet in seconds, in fighting positions. The Erasers flew at us from all sides, but we were ready for them. We were like one big fighting machine, taking out Eraser after Eraser. For a while, not one of those Erasers could really touch us. We were unstoppable. We were The Flock, and no one messed with us.

Soon, the other Flock members were locked in combat with their last Erasers and Max and I were fighting back-to-back taking out what Erasers were still brave enough to take us on.

Suddenly, I heard a familiar scream.

I turned to look towards the woods and saw an Eraser holding Anita. How had she gotten here? The Eraser gave me an unpleasant toothy grin and ran off, carrying the screaming Anita into the woods.

Another scream made me turn again. An Eraser had grabbed Angel and was flying off in the opposite direction of the last Eraser, carrying her away.

Max began to run off to follow her, but stopped and turned to me. "Are you coming?" She asked me.

I stood there, feeling torn in two. My Flock was going that way, to save a girl that I loved like a little sister, maybe almost like a daughter at times. I belonged with my family.

But, I couldn't abandon Anita. I couldn't abandon my new family, my new Flock.

It almost hurt to shake my head no, but I did. I started to back up to go in the other direction, but Max reached forward to stop me. "Fang, stay." She pleaded.

I tried to loosen her grasp. "Max, go after Angel. Go save her." I told her. Didn't she realize she was loosing precious time talking to me?

"Fang, don't go." She pleaded again, but I pulled myself loose.

"Focus, Max!" I said. "Go rescue Angel, save the world. Focus on that!" But she still tried to follow me, stop me. I ran faster, finally getting into the woods and hiding. Max didn't follow me there. I ran through the woods, after Anita and her captor.

But, just as I had them in sight, my foot caught on something and I began to fall...

I shot up in bed, sweat beading my face. I took a couple deep breaths to calm myself. I'd had a couple dreams like that, though none as vivid as the last. It always involved being with Max, then something tearing us apart. Always something necessary, an unavoidable tasks, two different priorities. It's like I was constantly reliving the reason I left.

Like I needed the reminders.

I lied back down on my pillows, thinking. I often wondered if I had done the right thing. Maybe I had been wrong, maybe I should've stayed. At least, I could've really said goodbye. Stayed in contact. Hell, maybe I should've toned down my opinions and acted a bit more like Dill Weed the follower. Then maybe everyone would've left us alone.

But I couldn't act like Dylan. It wasn't me. I wasn't gonna be someone I wasn't just to make some other people happy.

And if I'd stayed in contact, Max would beg for me to come back. And I would go, and the cycle would start all over again. I at least updated my blog once in a while, giving vague reports on how I was and the current status of my Other Flock. And I checked up on The Flock's blog. Nudge had mostly been keeping it up to date, though the others posted off and on. We still could contact one another if we needed to.

Max had tried to send me a message or comment on my blog for a while, but I ignored them, which just about killed me. Eventually, she gave up.

I still regretted that note, and on Total's wedding day, of all days. But I couldn't see a better way at the time. Maybe I could've done it better if I hadn't been in such a nervous rush, and it was the only day everyone was out of the house. At the time, I couldn't see a better choice.

As for me doing the right thing, I had wondered that up until I started picking up Flock members. Anita, living as a 5-year-old outcast in a village, Tobias living on the city streets, stealing to live, Skylark constantly on the run from the Institute she had escaped from. I gave each of them home, safety, security, and family. I couldn't see how any of them would've been helped otherwise.

At least, by them, I'd done the right thing.

"Well, this thoughtfulness of yours is a lot easier to handle that the fear and anxiousness your dream caused earlier."

I looked up to see Skylark walking in, carrying a steaming cup in one hand and what looked unnervingly like medicine in the other. Unfortunately, this time, looks were not decieving.

"You should take a couple of these." She said, holding up some pills. "Bottle says they'll help with fever. Plus, I made you some tea. Tea is good for you. Drink it or die."

I attempted to swallow the pills without making a face and drank a bit of the tea. I don't know where Lark gets all these interesting tea flavors, but she seemed to have a knack for finding every single type of tea made on the planet. This one tasted a bit like apples and cinnamon. Not bad.

"Let me guess...Dreaming about your Flock again?" She asked me, taking a seat on the edge of my bed.

I nodded. "Most vivid one yet."

"That's what I guessed." She answered. "I came to check on you, just to make sure that you were just dreaming. You always start out happy in your dreams, then move somewhere between anxious and downright scared. Then, when you wake up, your sad and...Pained." Her eyes turned that mocha brown color again. I was breifly reminded of Max's eye color.

"You miss your Flock more than anything." She stated.

I just nodded again. Lark also had a knack for hitting the point right on the head.

"You'll see them again." She said. "I know it. When you care about people that much, you can't be kept apart forever."

"What if keeping us apart is the best thing for us?" I asked miserably.

"Well, maybe it's the best thing now, but it won't be forever." She answered. "You'll see them again."

"But...What will it be like when I see them?" I asked. "What if...Things aren't the same?" The fears that had been lying under the surface, the thoughts that I tried to forget having came spilling out. "What if what all those scientists have said about each of my Flock members getting their own Flock is true? What if we all end up splitting apart, one by one? What if we're never 'The Flock' again? And I would have been the one to start it, the one that ruined everything. And what if Angel gets dragged back to the dark side and we have to fight her? Or if Iggy finally gets fed up with us and does something...Drastic? What if Max and Dylan...What if they...Well..."

"What if Max falls for Dylan?" Lark finished for me.

I nodded. "What if my entire life as I once knew it gets turned into something I can't understand?"

Lark seemed to think for a moment, then she sighed, smiling at me sadly. The mocha color of her eyes seemed to become richer. "Fang, may I be blunt with you here?"

"Sure, Lark. What is it?" I wondered if she was going to tell me I was an idiot again.

"Fang, hun, that's life." She said. "Despite the fact that you, like most of us in this Flock and your old one, have been through more crap than most regular adults, you're still only 15, well, we think." She added. "You're still just a teen, and I think a hard fact of any teenage life is that things are gonna change, they're gonna change fast, and you're probably not gonna like it. Friends, family even, grow apart, go and strike out on their own. You make new friends, find new family sometimes. Your goals in life change, your world view broadens. You feel your life is falling in around you when, really, it's only just begun. You've got a lot of life left to live, Fang, so you better get used to unpleasant changes, because they're more of them to come. My advice? Learn to look at them as gifts rather than curses, because they're going to teach you something important in the end. Change what you can, accept and move on from what you can't, and try to realize the difference between the two. And, for the love of all that is holy, please don't try to make scalloped potatoes again. My digestive system is still reeling."

"I'll make a note of that..." I said. "And...Thanks for being blunt."

She smiled. "Anytime, doofus." She answered. "Speaking of being blunt, you look like death warmed over, dude." She reached over and ruffled my hair again. "Get some sleep, why don't ya?"

I nodded again. I hadn't realized how tired I felt until just then. I was suddenly having trouble keeping my eyes open.

Lark gently pushed me back down on the pillows. I didn't try to stop her. I was just so tired all of a sudden...


"You're....Projecting..." I accused Lark between a yawn.

She grinned at me. "Had to get you to sleep somehow."

If I hadn't been falling asleep, I would've rolled my eyes. I just loved it when Lark used her powers to project emotions onto me. (Sarcasm here, for all you airheads.)

I let myself drift off to sleep, thinking about The Flock, about changes, about life.

And wondering how much of it I had the power to change.

And there you have it. One random oneshoty thingy that I don't know what to do with.

Fang: Very deep at the end there...

Me: I have thoughts. I put these thoughts to writing. Big whoop.

Fang: So...Now what?

Me: We post as a oneshot and leave it 'till later?

Fang: -shrugs-

Lark: So, we only get to be a oneshot? I feel freaking loved...

Me: Oh, stop complaining or you won't get to be in anything.

Toby: Don't wreck this for us, Lark Ness Monster.

Lark: Shove it.

Fang: Chill out, both of you.

Anita: No fighting!

Me: Good girl, Anita.

Fang: Quick, post this before an OC war breaks out.

Me: Not again...


Oh, and because of the Fiscal Fiasco I've currently found myself in, I shall be shamelessly plugging my Zazzle store here as well as in any of my other updates. Link on my profile in the 'Find Me On' section. Maximum Ride and St. Fang of Boredom related stuff. Support the starving writer/college student. You know you want to...