Two Birds

Disclaimer- Maximum Ride belongs to James Patterson.

You would have thought that with all this crap going on, I'd be tired enough to sleep. But, nope. I had been lying in bed, wide-awake for nearly three hours. Enough was enough. Although my limbs and wings were tangled in my sheets from tossing and turning, I managed to twist myself over enough to see the glowing red light of the alarm clock on our hotel room's bedside table. 2:37 A.M. Fan-freaking-tastic.

I unraveled myself from the mess of blankets. The rest of the flock (and Dylan. What ever he may say to you with his idiotic male-model smile, he is not part of my flock) were spread out in various beds, cots and chairs, all completely exhausted. They, unlike me, really had been asleep for about three hours. The moon shone onto the chair where Dylan slept, bathing him in a blue glow, making him look like some kind of fairy-tale prince.

No, shut the hell up, Maximum, I said to myself, in my head.

Stupid subconscious. Stupid hot, tall, blonde clone.

I silently padded over to the balcony, sliding the glass door open and stepping out. I closed the door behind me and leaned against the balcony, looking down at Paris. Everyone watches movies and reads books that talk about how Paris is amazing and beautiful and all that jazz. Let me tell you, it's that and better.

While I stared, mesmerized by the city's glittering lights, something caught my eye. Usually, when I see something weird out of the corner of my eye, my only instinct is to prepare for a fight. But I relaxed when I realized it was only a bird. No, wait. It was way too big to be a bird.

I leaned forward, using my raptor vision to scan the night sky. It was a dark shape with huge black wings. But still too big to be a bird. What ever it was, it flew through the air with a beautiful, fluid grace. Fang.

He glided down and landed on a tree. I gritted my teeth. I wanted nothing more than to join him. But I was afraid that if I did, I'd say something dumb and sappy. Or, I'd end up punching him in the throat. I wasn't sure which was worse.

Apparently my body didn't listen to my brain, because I suddenly found myself crouched on the balcony ledge. I pushed off, feeling myself fall for a split second, before my wings spread out, lifting me up and away. I flapped towards Fang's tree. He must have heard me, but he didn't react at all. If it were the old times, I would have barreled into him, or yelled something to make him laugh. But that time was long past. Instead, I glided onto the thick branch behind where he was seated.

"Hey," he said quietly, without turning around.

"Hey," I replied.

We lapsed into a totally awkward silence, just Paris and us.

"You, uh, cut your hair," I noted, eloquently spoken, as always.

"Yeah," he said, running a hand through his stupid, shorter hair and finally turning to face me.

"Nudge likes it," I said. "She says you have Bieber-hair now."

"Crap, I hope not," he smiled, in the way that only Fang can.

"She missed you. The rest of the flock did, too," I purposely didn't mention myself.

"I missed them too."

Notice how he didn't say he missed me? Yeah. I did too.

"So… How's your new flock?" I asked, trying to be as casual as possible.

Fang shrugged. "They're alright, I guess. Some are pretty cool. Star and Ratchet are sometimes a bit tough to be around, but they're fine."

"Cool," I said. "It's great too see you're getting on just peachy, with your new and improved flock."

He glared at me, for my scathing tone. "It's not really a flock. Only two of us have wings."

I smiled, bitterly. "Right. You and my clone."

"Her name is Maya."

"Whatever. I was here first. She's an exact copy of me. She's my clone."

Fang scowled. "Look, I didn't ask you to follow me. I came here to be alone."

"Well, excuse me," I said, standing up on my branch. "I am so freaking sorry to have intruded on such a personal time. I'll go back to my room, with my flock."

I bent my knees, completely prepared to take off. But a little part of me wanted him to try and stop me. Just a little.

Unluckily (or maybe luckily) for me, he stood up, reaching forward to grasp my arm. I spun around to face him. He hopped onto my branch, never looking away from my eyes.

"Max?" He asked, softly.

"What?" I snapped, much harsher than I had intended.

"When I said I missed the flock, I meant everyone in it."

"How nice."

"Really, Max," he smiled, sadly. His hand was still on my arm. "I missed you the most."

I couldn't help it. I smiled like an idiot. "I missed you too."

"I'm sorry everything changed," he said. "Sometimes I wish it would go back. You know, when it was all of us, in our house. Nothing to worry about, except the occasional homemade stink bomb that Iggy and Gazzy would hide under our beds."

"Yeah," I said, sniggering, despite everything.

"I wish time would go back," he continued. "But it can't. We both know that. Everything has changed. For good."

Fang leaned down, always slightly taller than me, and kissed me softly on my forehead. His warm lips on my skin made me think of the times when we had kissed for real. He looked at me, and finally took his hand off my arm.

"Later, Max," he said, pushing off from the tree and speeding away. I watched as he soared back to his hotel room.

I sat back down on the branch, feeling lonely and empty. It wasn't fair at all. But I guess life never was. Still, this completely sucked.

On the branch that Fang had previously occupied, two birds had landed, staying oddly close to each other. One was a starling, I think, and the other was a crow. I wondered how two birds who were so different from each other were able to bear each other's company. If they could do it, maybe Fang and I would be able to somehow do the same, one-day. Maybe we could even become friends again. That would be pretty great.

I stepped off the branch and let my wings catch me, and I glided back to the hotel. Things were pretty bad, but maybe they weren't as bad as I had thought. Even if Fang didn't think so, I knew that we would work things out, eventually. Even if it was ages from now. We had to.

Whatever. I had more important things to think about, like saving the world and wondering how to get Total to shut up for more than a minute and a half.

I swooped back into the room. The flock and Dylan were exactly where I had left them. Suddenly exhausted, I climbed into bed and fell asleep immediately.