Hi, everyone! Just a Miggy one-shot (make a note of that - it's a ONE-SHOT, so please don't put it on your alerts, it's going nowhere) I came up with last night and thought I should get out. If you don't like Miggy and came here only to whine, "ewww Max belongs with Fang FAX!1!1" please leave now. Max can get with whomever she wants (besides, I like Fax...well, if not as much as Miggy, pretty close). And if you're actually here for the Miggy, please enjoy. I had fun writing this. =)

Disclaimer: Maximum Ride doesn't belong to me. No copyright infringement intended.

- A Staring Problem -

Jeb was the one who first noticed Max's "problem." Maybe he'd known back then what a little staring issue would turn into, maybe he didn't; either way, he took her aside one day and said, "Maximum, you shouldn't stare at Iggy like that. Staring at people is rude."

"Okay," she'd said, because she'd been twelve years old and Jeb's word had been the world to her. But now, fourteen years old and curious, she couldn't help but study him. Every part of him.

His long fingers, smooth, slender, creamy white, lithe and dexterous as he slid together the intricate pieces inside one of his explosives, or felt his way around a new area, or simply waved good morning to her.

(Sometimes she imagined those fingers doing something very different, like tangling in her hair or skating over her shoulders, and those were stupid thoughts, maybe, but they were hers.)

His arms and legs, and the way they seemed to move with an effortless grace that she knew she would never master in a hundred years. How does he do that? She found herself thinking as she watched Iggy maneuver his way through the house. He moved so easily, sometimes she almost forgot that his eyes had been useless for years.

(Vainly, she wished that his eyes would work again, if only so he could see her and think her pretty. Then she scoffed at such a girlish thought coming from her and went out to do something more Max-ish, like kick Fang's butt in a sparring match or wrestle Gazzy into making his bed.)

Iggy's wings were one of her favorite parts of him. Their wingspan was even greater than hers, fifteen feet of cream and red and a beauty that sometimes made her head feel light. Max knew that she shouldn't, that doing so would pull her near a boundary she'd never thought of crossing—the boundary between simple fascination and an obsession that left friendship far behind—but she couldn't resist touching them. When the flock went out to fly, she swooped in close and brushed her wings against his, just for an instant.

She managed to convince herself that she wasn't interested in anything but friendship, that dreaming about being enveloped in Iggy's wings or stroked by those long fingers didn't mean she liked him or anything. Because she was Maximum Ride, the leader of the flock, and she didn't fall for boys like some lovesick tween.

Only, she'd caught herself staring at Iggy's lips more than once, and there was no way she could ignore that.

The worst part, she thought one day, is that he can actually feel me staring.

Iggy noticed at the worst times. "What are you looking at?" he asked curiously, and she thanked her lucky stars that he couldn't see, because she'd been looking at his lips again. "Max? Do I have something on my face?"

"No," she said curtly. Then, because he was still giving her a concerned look, she added, "Hey, did you clean your room like I told you to?"

He skulked off, giving her a dark scowl and a resentful, "What are you, my mother?" and she was safe another day.

Until Angel started to notice.

"I heard that," she said suddenly. Max glanced over to find the blue-eyed six-year-old frowning at her with an air not unlike that of a disapproving parent.

"Heard what?" Max asked, feigning ignorance. I wasn't thinking about Iggy just now. I wasn't thinking about how nice it would be if he looked at me the same way I look at him. Honest.

"Heard that," Angel replied testily. "If you like him so much, why don't you say something?"

Shoot! Max snapped a quick look around the living room. Even though she and Angel were the only ones in there, she felt like any minute now someone was going to walk around the corner and overhear them.

"Could you be a little quieter?" she asked Angel. "Besides, it's not that easy."

Two huge, blue eyes blinked in confusion. "Yes it is. You just go up to him and say, 'Iggy, I like you. A lot. Not in the friendly way, either.' And then you wait to see if he carries you off into the sunset!"

For a moment, there was an awkward pause. "Angel, have you been reading Nudge's teen romance novels again?"

Angel scowled. "Maybe," she said, and bounced off to her room.

Luckily, Angel was quiet about her discovery. The rest of the flock, however, wasn't.

Fang made the connection before Nudge and Gazzy do. He caught her eyes wandering over Iggy's face as the blind boy told the kids a spooky horror story, and there must have been something of her thoughts in her expression, because Fang looked slowly from Max to Iggy, from Max to Iggy.

Then he raised one eyebrow and smirked suggestively.

Max's face felt like it was about to burst into flame. "No way," she mouthed at him, but he only widened that darn smirk of his and elbowed Nudge in the ribs.

"Hey!" The eleven-year-old frowned up at Fang, who jerked a thumb to Iggy and to Max. It only took one look at Max's burning cheeks for Nudge to make the connection.

"Oh!" she whispered, her brown eyes wide. "Oooohhh! How cu-ute!"

Iggy, Angel and the Gasman looked up from their story as Max planted her face in her hands with a smack. Oh, great.

From there it was only a matter of time until Fang and Nudge fill Gazzy in on the big secret, and so began the flock's joined efforts to get Max and Iggy together.

Fang was physical. He stuck out a foot or a leg whenever she and Iggy were in the same vicinity, sending her crashing into the blind boy's lean frame. When Max and Iggy stood near each other, he poked one of them in the kidneys or nudged them in the ribs, pushing them closer no matter how many times Max punched him for his efforts. (He finally stopped, though, when she threatened to color his clothes pink with Nudge's paints. A boy had his limits.)

Nudge and Gazzy were more verbal. "Hey, Iggy," Nudge cajoled one day, her tone wheedling and sly, "isn't Max pretty today?"

"Yeeeah," chanted Gazzy. "Isn't she purty?"

"Uh," said Iggy, clueless and confused. "I don't know if you've heard, guys, but I'm blind."

…Fortunately for Max, Nudge and Gazzy didn't get very far in their efforts.

Sometimes, though, when she was alone and the kids had all been put to bed, Max wished Iggy would notice that something was afoot. Wondering how he would react to finding out the kids were trying to get them together was driving her insane.

Then, one day, she got her answer.

The flock had set out for a quick fly around the treetops, enjoying the first day of sunshine after a long period of rain, when Fang swerved over to Nudge and muttered something in her ear. Max's stomach churned at the mischievous look that overcame the younger girl's face. That can't be good.

Sure enough, a moment later Nudge announced, "Uh, guys, we just remembered…there's something we have to do back at the house."

"Do you want us to come back with you?" Iggy asked.

"No!" shouted Gazzy. "Uh…I mean…you and Max go ahead and fly around. This is something only for me, Nudge, Fang and Angel."

Angel nodded her head enthusiastically. "It's a surprise!" she said cheerfully. "You wouldn't want to ruin a surprise, would you?"

"Well…" Iggy shook his head. "No…"

Angel beamed. "Great!"

And with a couple meaningful smirks tossed her way, the four flock members turned and sped off into the distance, leaving Max and Iggy alone in the sky.

Iggy shot Max a confused look. "Whoa. Do you have any idea what that was all about?"

"No idea," Max lied. They flew on in silence for a moment or two, and out of habit her eyes drifted to Iggy's wings again. They were even more beautiful in motion than when they were still. The sun glinted off his feathers, turning their reddish-cream hue almost gold.

She was so lost in studying him again that she barely noticed he was speaking to her.

"Max," Iggy said. "Earth to Max. Maximum Ride, come in, Maximum!"

"Huh?" Max stirred and blinked at him. Darn it.

Iggy smiled uncertainly and flapped his wings at a slower pace. Max followed him as he began to descend toward a grassy plain surrounded by towering redwoods. Her heart was pounding in her chest as if there were a hundred Erasers after her.

"You were doing it again," Iggy said. His feet touched down on the grass a moment before hers did, and she couldn't help but look at him then. In the sunlight, his eyes shone clearer and brighter than anything she'd seen before. He was…beautiful, if it made sense for a guy to be beautiful. Whatever. Iggy was.

Oh, god, I'm such an idiot…a love-struck idiot, and he doesn't even know…

"Max," Iggy said slowly, "you're staring at me again. Should I be worried?"

"What?" Max started and shook her head. "Oh. Sorry, Ig. I, uh…you've got some…jam on your face, from breakfast."

"Oh." Was it just her, or was there disappointment in his voice? Iggy wiped the corners of his mouth with his sleeve. "There. That better?"

"Err…yeah. It's gone now." Max shifted uncomfortably on her feet. Oh, what was she doing? She was Maximum Ride—she wasn't afraid of anything, let alone telling a boy how she felt about him. This was nothing. It was just as easy as Angel said it was. All she had to do was say a couple, simple words, and she would know.

"Actually, Ig…" Her heart hammered in her throat. "There wasn't really anything on your face."

"Um." Iggy blinked in confusion. She thought she detected a hint of color in his cheeks, but it must have been a trick of the light. It must have been. "Okay. Why were you staring at me, then?"

Max sucked in a deep breath. Here goes nothing. "Because I…like looking at you. I like you. All right?"

Iggy went very still. "You like me," he repeated faintly.


Then, just when she thought the situation couldn't get any worse, Iggy shook his head and chuckled.

Max winced. There was her answer. There was the result of all her useless, pointless pining, standing there laughing at her because she liked him and he didn't like her back. Max saw red.

"Hey! Try laughing a little louder at me, and we'll see who ends up with a broken nose!" She charged close to him and stopped only an inch away, so that her face was right in his.

"Max, stop." Iggy stopped chuckling and encircled her wrists with his fingers. If she hadn't felt the gentleness in his touch, he would be on his back already with her knee in his ribs.

"Max," Iggy said again, his eyes gleaming, "I'm not laughing at you."

"Oh." Max relaxed the slightest bit. "Well, then…why the heck are you laughing?"

Iggy grinned. The look in his eyes suddenly softened, and before she could ask him what the heck was going on inside that big head of his, he leaned forward and kissed her.

Max went stiff with shock. Her heart stopped, then kicked up and started racing in her chest. His kiss was infinitely tender and eager at the same time, his lips firm against hers. He was…warm. Warm and tall and strong, just as she'd thought he would be. She closed her eyes.

Iggy pulled back before she could have her fill. His eyes glinted mischievously when she made a sound of protest, but he didn't lean back in. Instead, he leaned his forehead against hers and murmured, "I laughed, because I never thought you'd feel the same way I did."

Max grinned stupidly. But before she could even open her mouth to reply, a high-pitched squeal rose up from the shadows of the surrounding trees.

"Ohhh my gosssh! They're so adorable!"

Max's and Iggy's heads whipped around. There, their heads poking over a set of bushes, was their flock. Nudge clapped her hands over her mouth. "Oops!" she exclaimed.

"Guys," Max growled.

Gazzy sprang to his feet. "Run! She's gonna—"

"I'm gonna kill you!"

She'd never seen her flock move so fast. In an instant the four mutants were on their feet and running away as fast as their legs would carry them. Even Fang fled as Max pounded after him, shouting threats involving his clothes and pink pastel, her face aflame but her heart light.

In the background, Iggy laughed again, his face tilted into the sun. Max knew she'd never have to only imagine what it would be like to touch him, to be held by him, to stay by his side and not have to come up with an excuse for it. He would give these things to her with a smile and a kiss.

And it was about darn time.

-The End-

A/N: Dude. Look at that, Iggy got the girl this time.

Thank you for reading - I hope you enjoyed the story. If you did, please review. Especially if you're going to favorite. =)