|“||Well, Ari, I'm sorry that it's ended like this. You were a decent little kid, and then you were a total nightmare. I didn't trust you–until the very end. I didn't know you much, didn't care to. Right now, that feels like the biggest tragedy of all.||”|
–Fang, The Final Warning
At the beginning of The Final Warning, Max and the Flock attended Ari Batchelder's funeral along with Jeb in a forest. The hole in which Ari was lain in the plain wooden box took all of them three hours to dig, and then they said their good-byes.
|“||Okay, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that funerals suck. Even if you didn't know the person, it's still totally sad. When you did know the person, well, let's just say it's much worse than broken ribs. And when you just found out that the person was your biological half brother, right before he died, it adds a whole new level of pain.||”|
–Max, The Final Warning
Max remembered how she and Ari both shared a father, and how she'd first known Ari back when he used to follow her around the School...but also how when the Flock finally escaped, he'd been left behind. Later, he'd shown up again, that time as an Eraser, and chased after the Flock...but with horrid results. Max remembered the fight they had in the New York subway tunnels in The Angel Experiment that resulted in him breaking his neck, and how, for a while after, he'd been dead; back when this was the case, she'd experienced an overwhelming amount of various emotions—guilt, shock, regret, but also relief, as their enemy was dead. All the same, though, she'd felt horrible for killing him...especially since he was now dead for real, though it wasn't her fault.
Total then said he needs a tissue and nuzzled around her ankles. Nudge pressed closer to Max, her eyes tear-filled. Max remarked how none of the Flock members are big criers—they've had broken bones without crying about them—but how that day, it was like Noah was building an ark due to a second coming flood. Her throat hurt like she'd swallowed clay from holding back her tears.
Angel stepped forward and gently tossed some dirt onto the wooden box at the bottom of Ari's hole. She told him goodbye and that how, although she didn't know him long and didn't like him for most of the time, she'd miss him.
Gazzy sprinkled some more dirt onto the coffin and said that he's sorry about what the whitecoats did to Ari. As the sun caught a shaft of sunlight, he added that it wasn't Ari's fault.
Max sneaked a quick glance at Jeb to find his jaw clenched and his eyes filled with pain.
Nudge tossed more dirt into the ground, but couldn't speak because she immediately burst into tears.
Iggy then said that he had nothing to say.
Fang then waved for Max to go. Gently shaking Total off her shoes, the Flock leader stepped over to the grave and let two hothouse lilies float onto Ari's coffin. She was supposed to come up with a speech...but she had nothing. Max had killed her own brother, then watched him die again as he saved her life. She'd known him when he was a three year-old human, and she'd known him as a seven-year-old Eraser. She'd almost had to fight him to the death, then she'd ended up choosing him over Fang. Lastly, she'd hated everything about him, then learned that they were half-siblings. However, she still had no words to describe how she felt.
Fang came up behind Max and touched her on her back. Max looked at him, then he nodded, patted her hair, and dropped some dirt onto Ari's coffin. After Fang gave his speech, Max couldn't hold it in any longer. Tears spilled down her cheeks, and she tried to silently cover her mouth with her hand. Then, the entire Flock hugging her, she put her head on Fang's shoulder and cried.