A/N: These characters aren't mine, I'm just taking them out for a spin.
Tangled together, we fell a few hundred feet as I tried to sort out what had happened.
"Guys, guys are you okay?" I heard Gazzy shout from above us.
I was too busy trying to get Fang to release me so I could open my wings and keep from free-falling to my death.
"Max, relax, I have you," he said into my ear. I had been so busy fighting that I hadn't realized he was actually trying to cradle me against him while his wings beat against the air behind him. Against all my instincts, I let myself go limp. "I didn't think you'd want the Gasman to catch us," he said, once I was solidly in his arms, my wings beating in rhythm with his to help keep us airborne.
One of my eyebrows rose, "Because you don't think he can see us right now?"
"What are you guys doing? Did you guys make up? Angel says you made up!" Nudge shouted.
A blush spread from my neck across my cheeks, and Fang's eyes tracked it, his lips smirking in amusement. "Did we make up?" He asked.
I shouted back, "We're just practicing emergency flight procedures."
It sounded lame, even to me, but it was the best I had.
"Oh, cool! Can you show me?" Gazzy asked. I elbowed Fang to release me so I could put distance between us before the entire flock was airborne around us.
"Uh, sure," I said, casting Fang a quick look. His expression was unreadable, but I got the sense that he didn't approve of my decision. But, in spite of that, he demonstrated the roll off the cliff and subsequent synching of wings for the rest of the flock and we all practiced the manoeuvre. As we all went to bed that night, I suspected he was pretty ticked off with me for hiding behind the others to avoid having to deal with all of our emotional stuff. I knew I couldn't do it forever, I just wasn't sure I was ready to leap off *that* cliff with him yet.
We were all up early the next morning, headed for the lake to swim. Nudge was going on and on about some stroke she wanted to try and Angel wanted to know what kinds of fish she would get to meet. I tried to tell her not to bother the wildlife, but she batted her eyes in that oh so innocent manner and assured me that she wasn't going to bug them. I doubted that meant she was going to keep from talking with them though.
If I thought Fang might give me some distance to figure things out, I was wrong.
As we flew, he made a point of staying close enough that I could feel the air flow from the beating of his wings. I tried to keep my eyes firmly fixed on our destination, but I couldn't help stealing a few glances at him. After so long apart, I found myself storing away new images of him. Just in case.
Trust issues = check.
Once we landed, everyone shed the clothes they'd worn over their bathing suits and splashed into the water. I joined them for a few minutes, but then spread my towel out over a rock and settled down on it.
"It's hard not to stare," Fang said. He waited until I met his eyes before lazily looking down my body.
"Don't do that," I huffed.
"Is that your decision then?" He asked, looking out at Gasman trying to wrestle Iggy under the waves.
"I, it's... I wish you wouldn't put me on the spot like that," I said miserably.
"It's not difficult, Max. Either you want to be with me or you don't," Fang said, his tone a little sharp. I realized then my indecision was hurting him.
"I want to be with you," I said, my voice small. "I'm just afraid." I started to sit up, but Fang moved down beside me, and set one hand lightly on my stomach. The heat of his hand seeped through my wet swimsuit.
"It's okay to be afraid," Fang said, "even for you. I'm afraid too. But I'm more afraid of what happens if we're not together."
I swallowed the lump in my throat. He was right. Being apart sucked. It would suck even if I didn't spend some of that time locked up in a dungeon with the threat of death hanging over my head. I reached a hand up to touch his jaw, loving the olive tone of his skin under the paler shade of my fingers. "Okay," I murmured, as I pulled his head down to mine.
Kissing Fang was incredible. It felt like coming home, like finally being whole. The slide of his tongue against mine, the slightly mint flavour of his mouth, the heat of his breath on my neck as he trailed kisses across my skin, it all felt so right. I twisted my fingers into his hair, shaggier now than before he'd split the flock. I wanted to get closer to him, but was conscious of the others, still playing in the water nearby.
A shadow flickered above us, and I let out a sigh as Fang pulled away. I promised myself that one day we would have a chance to do this somewhere we wouldn't be interrupted.