Summary: Maximum Ride was 14, going to a regular high school in a bad town, with no friends. From an onlooker's perspective, she had nothing going for her. But there was something kindling underneath that nobody ever saw. Three years on, she's a singing sensation, the girl of your boyfriend's dreams… and about to revisit her childhood.

A/N: Hello, peeples! That summary wasn't my best, but I see it drew you in any way! So basically, the plot of the story is that Max was a high school student, living in my story town, Greyhound (it's in Florida for this story, because that's the only state I've ever been to. :o) Nobody ever liked her in school, because she was just too out of it all. Then one day, her half-sister Ella recorded her singing in her bedroom and got in touch with a big-time producer – without Max's permission. The producers had a few other hopefuls and decided they would be a big hit if they formed a band, and thus, The Freefall was discovered. Three years on, Max is seventeen and the band is the biggest musical phenomenon there ever was. Unfortunately for the residents of Greyhound, nobody remembers the girl in the corner with a guitar on her lap. But the girl remembers them.

Most of their songs will actually be by Paramore, because it's my inspiration for this, and I can actually picture Max singing with Hayley's voice. So, I take no credit for any of them, and I'll post a YouTube link to any songs I use in the chapters in the starter A/N so you can hear what it sounds like.
Before I continue, I'll say something that I've forgotten to mention before: I don't live in America, but the Flock does, so I do try to use American phrases. If I get something wrong, please tell me the right way to say it.

I really hope you like this first chapter, because I usually only spend about 6+ hours on a chapter, and this took me a few days to perfect. I also went over to proof-read and edit it to perfection, because I just felt like it wasn't good enough. The first version was so frantic and crappy that I scrapped the whole thing and rewrote, which I don't usually do, because it seems like a shame. But I just didn't like it. So, when I say enjoy this, I MEAN IT! D:

Disclaimer: I don't own MR, any songs or anything linked to any references you find in this. This is the only disclaimer for the entire story, so if you forget and think I own rights to Gazzy's fart-in-a-jar, please refer back! All the arenas/stadiums/clubs are made up.


Chapter One – Brick By Boring Brick

Fang's POV Monday

I sit with Iggy on the basketball court, his nose still buried in that magazine of his, Locker 57. I'm not dissing it – even I have to admit, it's the most popular unisex teen magazine in Florida. It's not just a magazine; it also has a radio station and a talk show. But Iggy definitely has a problem with it, because wherever we go, he's always snuffling in it. One thing you should learn now about my friends is that they're completely obsessed with celebrities. Yes, especially the boys.

"So, what's going on with that, Ig?" I ask him, deciding to find out what he's engrossed in this time.

He doesn't look up at me when he replies. "They've been doing regular specials on The Freefall lately. I think they're hinting something. But… what?" he mutters, angrily. It's just like Iggy to get suspicious about something that doesn't matter. "I'm going to need some backup. Sergeant Fang, call in my snap team of military code-cracking specialists." I can see even behind the pages that his ginger brows are furrowed with concentration. Sighing, I flip out my cell and text the boys to come over.

The basketball court is our regular hangout. Since the school got a new and improved one built, nobody comes over here anymore. It's peaceful and quiet, which means we don't get any funny looks when Iggy busts out his moves or Gazzy busts out a… yeah.

Soon enough, I hear a wildebeest stampede and turn around to see a pentagon of prancing pillocks heading our way. Well, a triangle +2 because they seem to have brought the girls with them too.

"Fangarang! Iggle-Piggle!" Ella cries as she sits down next to me and slings her arm around my shoulder. She loves to peeve me off; it's her favourite pastime, and before you get any ideas about the arm around the shoulder, she's not my girlfriend. It's just another of her tactics.

Iggy's cheeks turn a pale shade of pink. "Heya, Ellie-Belly." Ella giggles, and he smiles triumphantly. If anything, they're in an Eggy situation, ha-ha. They're both completely oblivious to it, but they'd be really good together. It's just another little thing we share behind their backs. He then sits up, deciding to take his face out of his magazine for once, and takes charge. "Right, do you all know why I have called this family meeting today?"

His gaze is met by five confused expressions and my arrogantly lop-sided smirk.

"I know that you are all very well acquainted with my favourite band, The Freefall?" Varied nods, and a surprisingly quiet Ella. "Well, I'm in need of some serious assistance. This, Locker 57," he turns it around to display the cover, "is the tenth issue that's had a reference. I'm beginning to get suspicious, because it's just like them to put some big news into a code for the fans to figure out. So, my friends, I have decided that we are going to single-handedly crack this thing. Who's with me?"

The guys all cheered. "So, d'you think the number ten has anything to do with it, then?" Dylan frowned.

"Good thinking, Dyl. I say we all split up and look for clues." Said Fred – I mean, Sam. "We've got forty more minutes of lunch, so I suggest we go our separate ways for twenty and then pow-wow back here to report our findings." I was hoping to just sit here all lunch. And I would've gotten away with it too, if it weren't for these meddling kids and their stupid dog! "Fang, teams?" Oh, fabtaculous! *please imagine this in a hillbilly cheerleader's voice*

"Uh, right. Shaggy and Scooby, you go to the library." Iggy and the Gasman are off in a flash. "Daphne and Velma, you go to the ICT block." JJ grabs Ella's hand and runs off, almost as excited as Ig was. "Fred and Scrappy, you're on radio duty." Sam and Dylan get themselves settled, pulling out their cells. "I'll study that copy of Locker 57 that Ig left behind." Plonking it on my lap, I flip to the contents and search for the page with the special on it. Page 56 - 57, the last pages. I flick through, glimpsing all the different sections, until I reach the page. Sure enough, a double page has been taken up, with a picture of their lead singer, Maximum Ride, at a concert. She had her fist up, pumping the crowd, and the microphone up to her mouth. I have to admit, she's actually really pretty in the pictures.

Her dirty blonde hair was flying off to the side, and her naturally large, attractively feline hazel eyes were framed by tanned skin that resembled Ella's, arching eyebrows, and long, black eyelashes (which would've been thicker if she'd used mascara, but I doubt it). She had a narrow nose above full, rose-pink Cupid's bow lips and a straight, jutting but soft jawline. I hate to be this primitive, but that girl had curves, and most guys are attracted to long, tanned, smooth legs like that. I can't say I'm any different.

Taking out a notepad, I start to scrawl useful points that might be clues.

Ten Locker 57 specials.

Last concert in Seattle.

Currently staying in Portland.

I didn't get any more down, because my phone buzzed. Checking it, I saw that Iggy had forwarded a text around the group.


About five minutes later, each team had arrived at the court; Iggy and Gazzy last of all. Iggy was frantically waving a stack of magazines and printed sheets at us, his eyes wild, and Gazzy was practically skipping with excitement.

"WEEEE found the code! WEEEEEEEEEE found it!" he yelled, ironically looking like he really was going to wee himself. Dropping down beside us, they suddenly became silent.

"Well? Spit the dirt, man," Dylan pried, prodding the ribcage of Iggy, who took a deep breath, looking like he was about to explode – which he did, and the whole world died the end. Okay, no he didn't.

"RIGHT." He spread the magazines and sheets out in front of him. "On the homepage of the website, they've announced that The Freefall is going on a state tour, but they haven't said which states, where in them they'll be performing, or when: which is whythey've opened a competition! Whoever can figure out where they're playing will win tickets. We totally hit the jackpot, because on the forums, the Angel posted a bunch of questions to help us. So all we have to do is figure out the answers, and we are so totally going to meet The Freefall."

Cue squealing girls, explosive fist-bumps and the bell that signals lesson five.

"Hey Ella, need a ride home?" I call, trotting over to where Ella's sitting on the front steps. School ended ten minutes ago; I wonder what she's still doing here. She turns and smiles up at me, but I can see the worry in her eyes, like she doesn't want me to be here. Shaking her head, she slowly stands up and brushes off her jeans.

"Nah, I've got someone coming. What're you still doing here?"

"When Iggy got home, he called me, and I was still changing from Phys Ed, so it took me twice as long to get dressed." I smile when she laughs, and notice a slight pink come to her Hispanic tanned skin.

"What was he talking about?" she asks, looking curious.

"He was talking about his plan for the 'Maximum Project'. I honestly didn't realise he was this serious about getting to meet that girl; I thought he was just going to fangirl over her for a few more years, but by the way he was talking obviously not." I laugh, and Ella flashes me some teeth, but she looks a little put-out. And as she checks her watch, I can see in her eyes she looks a little scared, too.

"You mean fanboy?"

"Oh, yeah, that's… what I meant." Our conversation is cut off by a demanding feminine yell.

"You gon' get in, Ellsa, or am I gon' drive away without you?" the girl is leaning against the passenger door with her legs and arms crossed in a casual position. She has dark shades and a faint Texan accent. Ella panics a little, looking round at me. She looks like she's trying to cage a raging knot in her stomach.

"Well I'll see you bye." She waves, hurrying off towards the open-top, and I can hear her hissing urgently at the girl, who vaguely resembles Ella herself. The girl shrugs, spinning the keys round her index finger, and gets in.

Once they've driven away, I sit down on the marble steps, thinking about what just happened. Usually I would think nothing of it, maybe just assume that was her cousin visiting Greyhound for the weekend. But Ella looked so nervous, and didn't want me to see this "cousin". I wonder why she would worry about me watching one of her relatives, or just an uncanny friend, drive her home. And then it hits me.

That girl's Cupid's bow lips. Those long, smooth, tanned legs. Her flyaway dirty blonde hair.

But it couldn't be. Could it?