Well, I've been off writing HP fanfics for a while, this is my return to Maximum Ride . It's not AU exactly but it definitely takes place before Fang. I think it's a reflection of Max's feelings towards Fang and her tendency to be horrible at picking moments to make important discoveries.

He sat outside, back up against the rough bark of the gnarly tree that grew so, so, so tall. There was a certain peace to the moment, and though she wanted to join him, she knew it was not up to her to disturb it. Looking at his profile, she saw the grass never greener and the sky never bluer, everything looked so much better when he was there.

She loved him. She hadn't known it before but she knew it then. She loved him, and not the family love, real love. She almost, almost broke the crystal silence to tell him, but shut her mouth before any words escaped. Because it was enough already, it was enough to just watch him and right now was not the time to make confessions that could later break her heart.

And maybe they weren't perfect for each other, maybe some instinct had kept them apart for this long and there was some reason for that. Maybe not. Maybe, just maybe, he was everything she'd ever need. Maybe he was exactly what she had always wanted, even when she deluded herself into believing that she wanted something –someone- else.

The sunlight was filtering down through the clouds, casting a golden halo around him which illuminated his features in breath taking detail. His skin light up, looking like it was glowing, and his hair tousled slightly in the playful breeze. Around him, sunny dandelions poked up their smiling heads and danced in the wind.

It was so perfect, the moment was so delicate and breakable yet, yet it was pure and innocent and everything she had never had. She felt jealous stabs plague her stomach, she had never felt as carefree as he looked, she had never been able to completely let go and just be, just live. But she didn't hold his peace against him, she couldn't, it was too beautiful to be the origins of hatred.

She didn't know what to do, it felt awkward to just stand in the shadows and watch, but she didn't want to leave because he was just so, so (sunny day with no clouds and an ice cream truck barreling down the road) perfect. He turned to her, she was shocked, she had thought that he was unaware of her presence. With a small smile, he patted the ground next to him. She was hesitant to sit, worried that she'd be ruining the most beautiful scene she had ever seen. She sat anyway.

The two just sat there, her and him, silent as the sun rose a little higher in the flawless blue sky. And in time, very slowly, he slipped his hand into hers, entwining their fingers in a complicated knot. She just held on and sat with him.

The silence was beautiful and the pair was perfect for each other. It was quiet as the sun tracked its bright path across the sky, and only after it had begun to sink did he speak.

"I love you," he told her.

She didn't say anything, but let his words hung like jewels in the air, glittering and sparkling with some sort of exciting mystery. She didn't want to speak, she didn't know the words she was expected to say, so she just sat with him until the sun had left the sky and the dark fingers of dust were creeping up the horizon. He waited for her, first years then hours, but she didn't tell him that she loved him too. He waited and waited until, finally, he left. He just got up, shattering the bond that was shared between them, and left.

"I love you," she whispered to his empty seat. But it was too late and the sun was long gone. She was sad, but numb. She sat, as still as a statue, and prayed he'd come back. He didn't.