Happenstance (CC,MATURE/ADULT) Part 71 [WIP]

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Angel
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Part 21

Post by Angel » Tue Sep 16, 2003 9:54 am

Part 21

“But why? What…what does this mean?” She’s completely confused. If her bond is still there, does that mean that for the last three years she’s been sending out signals? Are they just sitting out there, watching her…waiting to make their move?

“I don’t know what it means.” He can feel her fear building and quickly reassures her. “You’re not sending out signals…Isabel and Michael would have felt it. Don’t be scared…please.” He gets up and walks around the table, pulling her up into his arms. “I won’t let anything happen to you, Liz.”

She nods against his chest and asks, “So, when you asked me if I could tell what you were feeling…does that mean you can always tell what I’m feeling?”

He hesitates. “Yes.”

“Wow…I mean, I could feel it before but I thought it was just because of the intense situation we were in. So, you know what I’m feeling right now?” She hopes he knows, because she’s not sure she does.

He runs his hand down her hair and says, “You’re feeling confused, and afraid…but safe right now. You’re worried and a little insecure…you feel inadequate. I thought we covered that, Liz. There’s nothing for you to feel insecure about.”

She looks up at him and asks, “Then why…”

He grabs her arms and pulls her away, looks into her eyes and says, “Liz, when I’m with you…when I’m touching you, I can’t control myself. Just now…when we almost…I felt this power inside of me. It was so strong…and it was searching for you. If we actually made love, I wouldn’t be able to control it…it would break through that barrier in your mind. The bond I have to you…I can’t rein it in. It wants to be whole again, and I won’t be able to keep it from getting what it wants. If that barrier were broken, your bond would be open. You’d be tied to me forever. I…I can’t do that to you.”

“Oh.” She looks down at the floor, understanding now. Realizing quickly that her hands are on his bare chest, she pulls them away as if burned. The reality of the situation kicks in at that moment and she practically falls back into the chair she was just in. She can’t be with Max…they can’t be together…they can’t make love. She can’t go through her life like this…there has to be a way.

She looks up at him, tears in her eyes, and says, “What if I want it?” She sees the protest he’s about to make and she stands up, putting her hand on his chest. “Max, I love you. I know I love you…without the bond. And I know you love me. It doesn’t matter if I have the bond or not…I can’t live my life without you.”

He shakes his head and backs away from her. “No. You don’t know what you’re saying. You’d be bound to me the rest of your life. I won’t do that to you.”

“And you’re already bound to me…it doesn’t matter, Max. I don’t care. I want to be with you…only you.” She steps toward him, pleading.

He grabs her hands, pulling them away from him. “No, Liz. I do love you…so much. And that’s why this won’t be happening. I refuse to do that to you. If you won’t look out for your own safety, I will. Don’t you see? This is probably what happened in those other timelines. It’s why I went back in time…twice. To keep it from happening again. I won’t put you in that kind of danger again…and I won’t bind you to me either. Please don’t ask me to.”

She hears the catch in his voice when he tells her not to ask him. Because she knows that if she really pursued this, he wouldn’t be able to say no. She could make him let go of that damn control of his and get what she wants. But she can’t. She can’t do it again…once was fun…twice is desperate. She has too much pride. Amazing after the events of the last hour, but she does have just enough of it left to keep her up.

Max watches the emotions cross her face, and he can feel the internal battle she’s waging with herself on whether or not to pursue this.

She looks up at him then, knowing he can feel what she’s feeling. “It’s not fair, Max. You know everything that’s in my heart right now.” Tears pool in her eyes and this time he does touch her.

He steps toward her and threads his hand through her hair. “Yes, I do. But you know what’s in mine, too. You own my heart, Liz. It’s right here.” He puts his hand on her chest, over her heart. “This is where it’ll always be.”

As her tears spill over, he pulls her close to him and she whispers, “What are we gonna do?”

Tucking her head under his chin, he strokes her hair and says, “I don’t know. But I know where to start.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Isabel is almost at panic stage. Sitting at the kitchen counter, she’s ignored her tea for so long it’s turned cold while she taps her well manicured nails on the counter. The ticking of the clock is mocking her as she sits there…mocking her with time. Michael’s holed up in his room with the door shut. Max is God knows where. And she’s just waiting.

When the phone rings, she practically falls off the chair she jumps so high. She picks it up quickly, breathing a sigh of relief and says, “Max.”

“How’d you know it was me?” He asks.

“Liz’s number showed up on Caller ID. Please come home, Max. I think we should talk about this…I really want the chance to explain.” She doesn’t even try to shield the begging tone of her voice.

“I know. Is Michael there?”

“Yah, why?” She asks, wondering if he wants to talk to him.

“We’re coming over. There are things we need to talk about.”

“We? You’re bringing Liz?” She looks around at the mess that Michael made in the living room and she remembers that there’s no food in the fridge. Liz is gonna think they’re a bunch of slobs.

“Isabel.” Max says in a warning tone, not believing she’s still harassing him about Liz. After everything she told him.

Isabel grimaces and says, “No…I…I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just the place is a mess and we don’t have any food. The only thing we have to drink is that crap in the fridge that Michael drinks.”

Max sighs in relief. She was just being the neurotic hostess. He can already hear her moving around and putting things away. “Get Michael to clean up and we’ll stop on the way and get a few things. Oh, Alex is coming, too.”

“What?!”

He has to pull the phone away from his ear. Confused as to why that’s a problem, he shrugs and says, “Yah. We’ll be there in about an hour. Bye.”

He barely gets that all out before he hears her hang up on him. Setting the phone down, he looks up just as Liz walks out of her bedroom. She’s changed clothes again and put some make-up on…although he doesn’t know why. She looked great before. But he learned from Isabel long ago never to question a woman about her grooming habits. Although, as Liz walks into the kitchen, he can’t help but admire her.

Liz tries to keep her emotions in check as she walks back into the living room. She had to take several deep breaths before she finally emerged. She had to wash her face…feeling like she’s been doing nothing but crying for the last day. Then she pulled out an outfit in her closet that’s in the ‘power’ section…where she puts all the clothes that make her feel best about herself. After a few items of make-up she stood in front of her mirror to brace herself for what the rest of the day would bring. Good clothes and make-up are like her armor. She presents to everyone around her exactly what she wants them to see. Confidence…even though she’s anything but confident right now.

“So, I guess I’ll call Alex and just tell him to meet us at your place.” She picks up the phone without waiting for Max to answer her.

Max just watches her and sighs. She’s going to be distant now…not wanting to get too close to him. Physically or emotionally. He can understand, but he doesn’t have to like it. His gaze drifts over her in appreciation. She’s pulled her hair back in a ponytail low on her head and she has on a black, lightweight sweater over a white and gray striped shirt. He can see the cuffs that fall down halfway over her hands. She has a tweed skirt on that follows her curves perfectly to just below her knees where a pair of black leather boots begin. They’re propping her up a good three inches taller than her normal height. And even though she’s covered from neck to toe…literally…there’s something erotic about the way she looks and he tries to look away and get himself under control. But just before he gets the chance, she turns away from him and he sees the slit in the back of her skirt.

Liz hangs up the phone after talking to Alex and turns quickly back to the living room when she hears Max suddenly start coughing. Is he choking on something? She looks at him worriedly and takes a few steps over…seeing his bright red face turn a deeper shade of purple as he coughs. “Max?”

He shakes his head and holds up the bottle of water he’s holding. “Went down the wrong way.” He croaks and she grabs him a couple of paper towels and brings them to him.

“You ok?” She asks with concern when his coughing finally stops.

He nods and stands up. “Yah. You ready?”

She grabs her purse from the table and steps in front of him…eliciting an involuntary moan from the back of his throat. Holy crap…if that slit were any higher…

“Did you say something?” She’s turned around looking at him.

“Uh…no.” He shakes his head and opens the door for her…and immediately hears screaming.

He automatically grabs Liz and shoves her behind him to face whatever’s on the other side of the door with his arm outstretched. Only when his eyes focus clearly, he sees it’s a very annoyed and pissed off Maria standing there with her arms crossed over her chest. Instead of saying anything, she shoves his arm out of the way and walks around him into the apartment.

“What’s he doing here?” She says as she gives Liz a hug.

“Maria! I should be asking you that question.” Liz says back, more than surprised and happy to see her friend.

“I was worried about you last night and got on the first plane out of L.A. I called Alex…he told me what this jackass said to you on the phone. I’m sorry Liz, I should have never encouraged you to call him. He’s obviously the world’s most complete idiot and doesn’t deserve you anyway.”

Max winces and shuts the door.

“Anyway…” Maria pulls away from Liz and looks her up and down. “Christ, Liz…you look like a god damned evil librarian.” She sweeps into the living room and throws her jacket on the couch and turns to Max. “So, what exactly is he doing here?”

“Maria…it’s complicated. You really didn’t have to come all the way here just because of last night.” Liz says before adding with a smile, “Not that I’m not thrilled to see you.”

Maria hasn’t taken her eyes off of Max. He doesn’t want to move for fear that she’ll suddenly attack. Instead, she says, “Go be useful and help my driver with my bags. While I help Liz here with her poor fashion choices.”

Max looks at Liz and sees her smile indulgently as she rolls her eyes a little. “I like her outfit.” He protests, cringing at how small his voice sounds. But he’s rewarded with a grateful smile from Liz, so he’s happy as he turns to go help Maria’s driver. How much luggage could she have anyway?

Liz turns to Maria and says, “Alex didn’t tell me you were on your way.”

“I didn’t tell him…I though it’d be surprise.” She says with a grin.

“Really, Maria. You didn’t have to. I’m fine…it was just a huge misunderstanding. It was silly, actually. Michael thought I was married…to Greg.” She smiles at the absurdity of that and she also tucks away the fact that Maria’s eyes suddenly got brighter at the mention of Michael. “Anyway, he told Max and when I called and said I was glad he wasn’t dating that woman…”

Maria’s eyes widen and she says, “Ohhh…he must have thought you were being a grade A bitch.” She smiles, though, thinking he deserved it for talking to Liz that way. “So, I take it you got the air cleared. Why the sad face, then?”

“It’s…”

“Complicated. I know.” Maria says as she watches with satisfaction as Max struggles through the door with a huge suitcase in each hand and a carry-on under his arm. “So where were you off to?”

Liz looks at Max quickly before saying, “Well, it’s actually a good thing you’re here. We were on our way to meet Alex, Isabel and Michael. There’s been…there are things we need to talk about.”

Maria groans and says, “Oh God…we’re getting sucked back into the alien abyss, aren’t we.”

Liz looks at her sympathetically before standing up when Maria tells her driver to wait down on the street. It looks like she might need him after all. “Well, let’s go, then.” She says, putting her jacket back on.

Liz thinks she looks entirely too happy for how she’s making it sound and she smiles knowingly as she follows Maria out the door…throwing Max an apologetic look on the way.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Michael, did you make your bed?” Isabel yells at him from the kitchen.

He rolls his eyes and says, “Yes, mom.” She’s had him running around like a headless chicken since she found out Liz was coming over. What’s the big deal? He doubts that Liz is gonna run screaming if she sees some dirty socks lying around. She lives with a guy…she knows.

“Michael, can you go up to the loft and get the nice napkins and the box of candles?”

He passes her on the way through the living room and sticks his tongue out at her back. Childish, he knows…but still satisfying. Just as he reaches the stairs, he hears a knock on the door and immediately backtracks.

“Michael…”

“I know, I know…I’ll get the door.” He rolls his eyes and mutters, “Even though you’re ten feet away…let me rush over and get that for you.” He yanks the door open and stands back. “Whitman. Come on in…I’m on an important napkin mission.” Michael rolls his eyes again and walks away.

“Alex! Hi!” Isabel turns around, wiping her hands on a towel. When she sees him, her stomach does a little flip and suddenly she loses her tongue. “I um…do…would you like something? To drink…I mean, would you like something to drink? We really only have water and Red Bull, but Max is stopping to pick some things up on the way and he should be here any minute.” Shut up, Isabel…what’s wrong with you?

Alex smiles and says, “I’m ok for now, thanks.” He can tell she’s nervous and has no idea why. At least she’s talking to him. “Need help with anything?” He asks as he steps into the kitchen.

“Oh, no…everything’s taken care of.” She shoots him a brilliant smile and ignores Michael’s scowl when he drops the napkins and box of candles on the counter.

Alex walks over and helps her anyway to take the candles out of the box and says, “You don’t have to go through so much trouble for us.”

“It’s no trouble…I’ve been wanting to get more candles out for a while now that it’s getting colder.” Isabel places candles around the kitchen and on the table in the living room. She has no idea why she’s turned into a nervous, blabbering idiot suddenly.

As she stands back to study the placement of them she raises her arm and they all whoosh up with flames. Smiling, she turns and sees the look on Alex’s face and she freezes. “Oh…I’m sorry. Does that freak you out?”

He just smiles and laughs. “No…Liz is always doing stuff. It’s just still…strange to see.” Sitting down on the couch, he pats the cushion next to him and says, “Sit down, relax for a minute.”

Taking a seat next to him, she smiles nervously and takes a last look around and is satisfied that everything looks ok. “I don’t know why I’m nervous. Just ignore me.”

“Well, that’s a problem because I don’t think anyone could ignore you Isabel.” He’s rewarded by the first unguarded smile he’s seen on Isabel’s face since he got here.

When they hear the door open, Isabel pops up off the couch like they’d been caught making out by their parents and she smoothes her skirt before bringing her hands up to her hair. Alex sees that forced smile appear on her face and he shakes his head.

When Max walks in he takes a look around and says, “Geez…who lives here?” He carries two big bags into the kitchen and sets them on the counter as Michael walks over.

Isabel walks over, throwing an annoyed look at Max and says, “Hi Liz.”

“Hey Isabel.” Liz looks around and says, “Wow…you guys have such a great place!”

Isabel smiles and says, “Thanks.” She looks Liz up and down and says, “You look…great. I love those boots.”

Liz looks at them nervously wondering if Isabel is serious or just trying to be nice. “Oh, thanks. Hey, um…we didn’t get a chance to tell you, but…”

At that moment, Maria breezes through the door snapping her phone shut and she says, “I swear, is it too much to ask for just one day of peace?”

“…Maria showed up unexpectedly.” Liz finishes, offering Isabel an apologetic smile.

There’s the sound of breaking glass in the kitchen and everyone turns to see Michael staring at Maria with his mouth open. He looks down at the broken glass, then back up. “Sorry.” He bends down to start cleaning it up.

Isabel recovers quickly and turns to Maria. “So what brings you to town, Maria?”

Maria welcomes a warm hug from Alex and says, “I need my Liz and Alex fix on a regular basis.” She squeezes him back and she says, “Sorry I didn’t tell you this morning. I wanted to surprise you.”

“Hey, color me surprised!” Alex says with a big grin.

“Here, let me get your jacket Maria.” Isabel says, taking it into one of the bedrooms. She walks back into the kitchen and is thankful to see that Max got already-prepared trays of cheese and crackers and fruit. She’s trained him well. She pulls out a couple bottles of wine along with fruit juice and soda. She feels someone step next to her and sees that it’s Liz.

“Let me help.” Liz says, throwing away the plastic bags and looking in the cupboard for glasses. “You have a corkscrew?”

Isabel looks at the wine and frowns. “Oh…um…no. We don’t have a lot of wine around here.” She smiles at Liz and offers to do it herself, but before she can Liz wraps her hand around the neck of the bottle and slowly pulls it up.

She opens her hand to Isabel and smiles when she shows her the cork. “Who needs a corkscrew?”

They look at each other for a few moments before they both burst out laughing. Isabel suddenly realizes that it’s really nice to have another female around who has powers. She’s never been able to have close girl friends, but as she takes a closer look at Liz she thinks that maybe she should remedy that.

Max is in the living room talking to Alex and Maria and when he hears Liz’s laughter, he looks over and is completely shocked to see her and his sister actually laughing together…genuinely laughing. He can’t remember the last time he’s seen Isabel actually laugh and it brings a smile to his face.

Liz looks up at that moment and meets his gaze and her smile suddenly falls…twisting at his heart. He looks away quickly as Maria asks him, “So, where’d Michael run off to? He didn’t even say hi.”

Max shrugs and says, “Michael’s not really into socializing.”

“I didn’t think this was a social visit. What’s going on, anyway?” She asks in her usual blunt way.

“We’ll get to, just keep your panties on Maria.” Alex jokes with her.

Max sees Michael come out of his bedroom and start walking over just as Maria jokes, “Panties? I’m not wearing panties.”

Michael freezes a few feet away when he hears that and immediately turns around to go back to his room. Max watches him quizzically and decides to find out what his problem is. He excuses himself from Alex and Maria and follows him back to his room.

He knocks once and opens the door. “Michael, what’s up?”

“Huh? What?” Michael looks up from throwing his clothes into a pile in the corner of his room.

“Well, don’t you wanna come out…maybe say hi?” Max is totally confused at his behavior.

“Not really.”

The tone of Michael’s voice tells Max that the issue isn’t open for discussion. “Ok. I’ll just come get you when we’re ready to talk. We have a lot of things we need to discuss.”

Michael just nods without looking over and Max backs out of his room, shutting the door. When he turns around he bumps right into Liz and grabs her arms to keep her from falling. “Sorry.”

She jumps away quickly and says, “Oh…um…no, it was my fault. I was um…looking for the bathroom.”

“That door, right there.” He points to the open door next to Michael’s room.

“Thanks.” She gives him a small smile before turning to go.

He stuffs his hands in his pocket and heads to his bedroom to change his shirt. He’d ripped the buttons off of this one earlier and did his best to fix it, but it’s hanging by a string. Just thinking about how the shirt got ripped gets his blood boiling and he pushes the memory away as he walks through his bedroom door.

Liz stands in the bathroom looking in the mirror and takes several deep breaths. She pulls some lip-gloss from her purse and applies it, studying her reflection. She feels…she doesn’t know what she’s feeling. She wants Max, she can’t have him. Is the fact that she can’t have him making her want him more? Because right now she’s having a hard time keeping herself from shaking with need for him. What she needs is for someone to have a brilliant idea about how to fix this problem.

Taking one last deep breath she straightens and yanks the door open. At the same moment Max has opened the door to his room directly across the hall from her. They both freeze before hesitating and moving forward. But as they both move, they both stop…waiting for the other to go first. They stop and start a couple times before they both take a step back and share a smile.

“This isn’t working.” Liz says and she leans against the doorway. “You go first.”

Max continues to look at her, completely mesmerized by the flush of her cheeks and the shininess of her lips. He wants to take those two short steps over there and kiss the lip-gloss off of her. He wants to pull the rubber band out of her hair and watch it fall down around her shoulders and down her back.

Liz sees the look in Max’s eyes change and her lips part involuntarily. No, no, no…don’t look at me like that. She can’t take it, she can’t even be in the same room with him. Her heart is hammering in her chest so hard she can feel the blood pounding at every pulse point in her body.

In a split second, Max sees things so clearly. Fuck the bond. She wants him, he wants her. Not even thinking, he rushes across the hall and raises his hands intending to push her in the bathroom.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Where were you?” She’s sitting at the computer in their small, run-down apartment when he walks in. He didn’t come home last night…not that that’s anything new, but he could have at least called.

“Don’t give me shit.” Zan says as he throws his jacket on the couch. “I don’t need it right now.”

Ava sighs dramatically. “Awww. Rejected again?” She gives him a totally condescending pity look before rolling her eyes and turning back to the computer. “You’re wastin’ your time, Romeo.”

“Shut the fuck up.” He kicks his boots off and falls onto the couch, staring at the ceiling. If she says one more word, he’s ready to knock that smirk off her face. It’s not even fuckin’ noon and his day is crap already. First he waited all morning for her to run by her usual path in the park. Then when she finally showed he could smell the god damn king all over her as she ran by.

He picks up the remote and flips through the five channels they get before flinging the remote across the room…shattering it against the wall.

“Jesus, Zan. Knock it off.”

He sees red as he looks at her. She thinks she’s better than him…thinks that she’s the one in charge here. He stands up, preparing to show her how wrong she is.

When she looks up, her eyes go wide and she says, “Zan…I’m sorry. I just…you know I didn’t mean it.”

“I told you to shut the fuck up.” He grabs her by the throat and lifts her out of the chair. “I ain’t gonna tell you again.” He smiles in satisfaction when he sees the fear in her eyes and her face turn red, then deepen to a nice shade of purple. “Got it?”

She nods quickly, seeing spots in front of her from lack of air. “Yes.” She wheezes and he drops her in a heap on the floor.

“Good.” He walks to the small kitchen and yanks open the fridge, getting a can of soda out. “What’ve you been doing today?” He asks her before popping the top of the can and taking a long swig. He leans on the counter as he watches Ava crawl across the floor and pull herself back up in her chair. He gives her a couple minutes to recover.

She takes a drink of water between fits of coughing…trying to get the burning in her throat to go away. Without looking at him, she says with a croak, “Nothing.”

He nods and throws his empty can in the trash as he looks back over at Ava and says, “Get over here.”

She looks at him warily and her shoulders sag. Getting up, though, she sees the look in his eyes and she smiles knowingly at him as she comes to a stop in front of him. She loves it when he’s demanding like this. Almost as much as she loves doing the same to him. But that’s for another day…after she kicks is ass later for choking her.

“Why do you make me hurt you?” He asks softly, not really wanting an answer and he raises his hand to her neck, healing the damage he caused. Kissing her roughly, he smiles with satisfaction as she drops to her knees in front of him. As she undoes his pants and gets to work pleasuring him, he groans and closes his eyes…picturing Liz’s ass in her tight running pants as she runs down the path in the park.

~TBC~

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Angel
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Posts: 258
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2001 4:58 pm
Location: Kansas City

Part 22

Post by Angel » Tue Sep 23, 2003 6:04 pm

Just a quick note to thank everyone for their great feedback! And also to thank those of you who nominated this fic and Ruins. I was totally surprised to see my stories as I was glancing through the nominations. THANK YOU!

Ok, so...I know it's been a week since I updated and I apologize. I got on a roll there with my every other day posting...I think I spoiled you. ;)

Part 22

“Max, what are you doing?” Isabel’s voice freezes him right in front of Liz, like a bucket of cold water being dumped over his head.

He looks over at her before looking back at Liz’s wide eyes and he realizes what he was about to do. Horrified, he backs away and takes a deep breath, and then he turns and follows Isabel into the living room.

Isabel just gives him a weird look and says, “What’s Michael doing? Is he coming out?”

“I don’t know.” His voice is terse. When they walk into the living room, he sees Alex and Maria sitting on the couch with glasses of wine. He picks up a glass of soda off the counter and walks around the counter, taking a seat on a barstool. What the hell was he doing back there? It’s like he took complete leave of his senses and was aware of nothing else besides what he wanted that very moment…which was to grab Liz and make love to her on the bathroom floor. This isn’t going very well. He swallows and notices the hand holding his glass is shaking so he turns to set it on the counter and sees Liz.

She looks up at him briefly – her face a mask of control – before pulling the wine bottle toward her and pouring some into a glass. Her hand is shaking so badly, betraying the calm she’s trying to portray, and he can hear the clinking of glass on glass. She picks it up without looking at him and walks into the living room scanning for a place to sit.

“Hey, there she is.” Alex says, moving over to give Liz room to sit between him and Maria.

She smiles weakly at him as Isabel takes a seat next to Max.

“So what’s this about Max?” Isabel asks, all eyes on him.

He’s just about ready to say he should go get Michael when he hears Michael’s bedroom door open. He walks into the living room and sits in a chair opposite the couch and scowls at Max. Mumbling something no one can hear, he shifts uncomfortably in his chair, avoiding eye contact with any of the humans.

Liz glances from Michael to Maria and tries to stifle a grin as Alex nudges her in the side. Now that everyone is silent, Liz hears a faint whining sound and she looks around, trying to tell where it’s coming from. She hears it again just when Max starts to talk and she says, “What’s that noise?”

“What noise?” Isabel asks her, looking around the living room.

Liz hears it again, along with a scratching sound. “That.” She looks at Alex to make sure she’s not hearing things and can tell he’s hearing it, too.

“Oh, that’s Bailey. He’s in my room.” Isabel says dismissively. She put Bailey in there before everyone arrived so he wouldn’t jump all over them.

Isabel sees the three humans looking at her in confusion and her eyes widen. “Oh! Bailey’s a dog…Max’s dog, actually. The one that I had to walk this morning.” She looks pointedly at Max to make sure he knows of her favor.

Liz looks at Max and smiles. “Oh.” A dog? It seems so…normal in the middle of all this weirdness. “You don’t have to keep him locked up because of us.”

“He’s wild when people are over…he’ll just jump all over the place. He’s fine.” Isabel tells her dismissively just before they all hear a high-pitched, pathetic howling from her bedroom. Isabel rolls her eyes and says, “You’d think we keep the poor thing locked up in there all day by the way he sounds.”

“Really, Isabel. Go let him out. It’s ok.” Liz tells her, giving her an encouraging look.

After a glance at Max for permission, Isabel gets up and goes back to her room. Within seconds they hear the loud sound of claws scraping on the floor. Max stands up just as they see a blur of brown fur run into the room and slide across the floor as he tries to make the turn.

Alex laughs and says, “It’s like watching Scooby Doo…you know, when their legs start running but they don’t move.”

Maria immediately says, “Awwww…he’s so cute!” And she drops to the floor as the dog hurls himself at her in a flurry of fur, legs, and tongue.

Bailey quickly leaves Maria behind as he runs over to Michael and jumps on his lap, then quickly off. Max is chasing him around the room and clearly Bailey thinks it’s fun as he runs around the room, stopping quickly to say hello to everyone with a quick lick or jump…staying just out of Max’s reach.

“And to think, Max is supposed to be the superior species here.” Alex jokes as Liz and Maria laugh while Bailey makes a quick detour over all three of their laps.

The fun stops when Michael claps his hand on his leg and says loudly, “Bailey, come here.” The dog quickly does as he’s told and jumps up in Michael’s lap, sitting…looking around at all his company with his tongue happily hanging out the side of his mouth.

“Well, I guess that settles who wears the pants in this family.” Maria laughs as Max rolls his eyes and sits down at the counter.

Isabel sits back down and smiles apologetically. “I warned you.”

Max glances at Liz and notices her head tilted to the side, her brow furrowed in study. When he follows her gaze, he sees she’s staring at Bailey. Maybe she doesn’t like dogs. His thoughts are interrupted when he hears her whisper, “Bailey.”

Bailey immediately flies off of Michael’s lap and over to Liz’s as Isabel gets up again in an attempt to pull him away from Liz. Liz turns to Isabel and says, “No, it’s ok.” Amazingly, Bailey lays right down in her lap…uncharacteristically calm. She runs her hand over his silky coat and looks up to see everyone looking at her.

“I…I know him.” She looks down at him with a smile before looking up at Max. “I guess he recognizes me, too.”

“What are you talking about?” Maria asks.

Liz hasn’t looked away from Max and he asks, “One of the visions?” She nods at him before looking away.

“I um…I guess we should talk about why we’re here.” Liz looks at Isabel and suddenly Isabel understands. Liz turns to Maria and says, “I know this is gonna sound…strange. But, have you…been seeing things…like memory flashes…visions?”

Maria’s face turns pale and Liz instantly knows that she has. “What? No…what do you mean?” She laughs nervously but Liz is far from fooled. Especially by the quick glance Maria throws in Michael’s direction.

“Maria. We’ve all been seeing things. For over three years now, ever since…you know…since we were in Roswell.” Liz tries to get Maria to look at her.

Maria studies her for a minute before her gaze sweeps over everyone else. “Like…what kind of things? You never told me about this.”

“Well…” Liz looks around, hoping inspiration will strike. “Memories maybe…or they seem like memories. But you know they never happened.” She sees Maria fidgeting and glancing around nervously, unable to make eye contact.

“Maybe…” Maria says in a small voice. “I…it’s just…you know, stress. When I’m on the road I don’t get a lot of sleep.”

“No, Maria…it’s ok. That’s why we’re here. Max, Alex and I thought we should get together and talk about it. We just found out today that we’ve all been getting them.” Liz tries to reassure her that she’s not the only one. Maybe if she tells her about one of her visions, Maria will realize that it’s ok.

Looking at Bailey, Liz says, “Ok…Bailey.” She looks up at Maria as Bailey raises his head back to Liz when he hears his name. “I’ve seen him…had visions of him. Like one, in the park…you know, on the path by the pond I really like?” Maria nods, remembering Liz taking her there. “I’ve seen visions where I’m there with Bailey, and Max…and we’re playing. And when I saw it…it was so real in my mind. Like I was remembering something that had actually happened.”

“Wow.” Isabel says. “What else have you seen?” She’s curious to hear about everyone else’s visions.

Liz looks at Alex and Max and says, “Well, um…we were talking earlier and…um. Something happened…we found out something.” She gets a nod of encouragement from Alex and she says, “It’s probably not a good idea if we get too into what our visions have been about. But it might be helpful to stick more to who’s in them and stay more general…with the sharing.”

Isabel looks between Liz, Max and Alex and asks, “Why…what happened?”

“Ok…I’m missing something here.” Maria finally speaks up. “So, we’re all getting these visions. So what? What do they mean?”

“We think they’re glimpses. Of another timeline…a timeline that should have happened instead of the one we’re living now.” Max says.

“Why would there be another timeline?” Maria is completely confused. At first, she thought the stress of working and being on the road was causing her to hallucinate. But now…of course it has to be some alien related thing. “Would someone just spit it out and tell me what this is all about?”

All eyes turn to Isabel and she clears her throat. “Well, I guess it started when we were in high school…” It takes Isabel about fifteen minutes to get through her story about Max visiting her from the future. Alex, Liz and Maria listen in fascination and Liz’s heart skips a beat when she hears about all the people who end up dead. Her parent…her parents knew about the aliens. And they ended up dead.

“So…you think these visions, or whatever they are, are from this other timeline…or the other one, the original one?” Maria asks once Isabel finishes.

Isabel nods and says, “That’s the only explanation we’ve come up with so far.”

“But you kept them, your enemies, from getting that Granolith thing. Right? So we don’t need to worry about Earth being taken over anymore.” Maria voices the thought that everyone else is wondering.

“We don’t know. We don’t even know what, or where, the Granolith is. There’s no way to know.” Max says and sees an odd look cross Liz’s face.

“Then how do we even know that anything’s different? Seventeen years from when we were 16…that would be next year, right? A lot can happen in one year.” Maria wonders.

“We know at least one thing that’s different. In that other timeline, I died when I was 17.” Alex tells her.

Maria gasps and puts her hand to her mouth, immediately turning to Alex. “What?! How do you know that? Did he tell Isabel that?” She looks at Isabel and sees the truth.

“Max and Kyle saw it, too.” Liz says this as Isabel and Michael snap their eyes to her.

“Kyle?” Isabel looks from Liz to Max in question.

Max holds his hand up to stop the assault he can see coming and says, “Alex had an idea that if we were all getting these visions, then it might mean that the people in them…the ones who knew about us before…that they might be getting them, too. So Liz called Kyle this morning.” He sees the look of fear on his sister’s face and he quickly adds, “She didn’t tell him anything. Nothing about us. She got him to say something about seeing a vision of Alex…dying in a car accident at 17.”

“Well, that too. He also mentioned something about Liz and you having sleepovers and pillow fights.” Alex jokes with a half grin. “So who knows what’s going on in that guy’s head.”

“The point is…” Liz smiles at Alex, grabbing his hand. She knows he’s trying to lighten the mood and the situation. “That this is affecting other people…and enough is different to know that the future has been changed.”

Maria sits back on the couch with a heavy sigh. She puts her hand up to her forehead and realizes it’s shaking. “I um…I need a minute here.” She looks around and stands up, heading for a glass door that looks like it might lead outside. “Mind if I…” She looks back at Max, motioning toward the door that leads to the balcony.

Max shakes his head and she smiles in thanks as she slips outside and takes a deep breath of the cool air. It’s late afternoon and she looks out over the street in front of her…at the random people walking down the sidewalk…and she wishes she were them. Happily going about their day with no idea that aliens exist.

She reaches a shaking hand to her pocket and fumbles with her pack of cigarettes trying to get one out and into her mouth. She curses when she can’t get the lighter to light, repeatedly thumbing the metal gears in frustration. The door to the balcony opens and Michael steps out onto the balcony with her, seeing her struggle.

“God dammit.” She spits out around the cigarette hanging in her mouth as she tries the lighter once more. Suddenly, Michael’s hand is in front of her, a flame flickering from the tip of his thumb and she looks up at him in shock, then gratitude as she leans in and lights her cigarette. Leaning back and inhaling deeply, she says, “Thanks.”

He steps back and says, “Didn’t know you smoked.”

She shrugs and asks, “Why would you?”

They stand in silence for several minutes, each wrapped up in their own thoughts. After Maria went outside, everyone got up for a much-needed break and he decided to come out and join her…maybe test the waters a little. “So, how’ve you been?”

She takes a drag of her cigarette and studies him for a moment. Did the others send him out here to check on her? No, why would they do that? He looks good…her stomach doing that fluttering thing it did the last time she saw him in the Roswell airport. God, she’s acting like a fucking teenager. “Good. I hear you paint…Liz said you were pretty talented.”

Michael looks surprised when she says this. Then he shrugs and looks down onto the street. “Not really.”

“So uh…what do you think about all this vision stuff?” She asks hesitantly, wanting to hear what he has to say.

“It’s fucked up.” He says.

She lets out a loud burst of laughter at that and says, “Yah…you can definitely say that much.”

He smiles and laughs with her, feeling a little more relaxed for the first time since they got there. “So what are you doing in New York?”

“Getting ready to go on tour. And I was worried about Liz. She told me about the little mix up last night.” Maria takes a drag of her cigarette and Michael watches as she exhales a stream of smoke…watches it drift out into the air away from the balcony.

He nods, not wanting to get into his part in Liz being upset last night. “You’re a good friend.” Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she has the money to just jump on a plane whenever she wants.

She smiles, pleased with what he said and quietly says, “Thank you.” She drops her cigarette on the floor and crushes it with her shoe as she takes out a breath strip and puts it on her tongue. Scrunching up her face in disgust, she says, “Ugh…these things taste awful.”

He looks at her in amusement and says, “You suck on that cigarette like it’s candy, and don’t like the taste of a breath mint. That’s some crazy logic you have going on there, Deluca.” He opens the door for her and waits for her to walk inside before following her.

~~~~~~~~~~

“This has to be because of the Granolith. We have no idea what it is or what kind of power it has. Maybe when we were all together in Roswell it set off a trigger of some sort.” Isabel tries to think about this rationally and looks to Max for any insight he might have.

He rubs his hand down over his mouth and says, “Maybe. What I’m concerned about are the ramifications of the visions we’re getting. If they are a result of changing time, then is everyone seeing things? Why would it just be us…and those who knew about us before? Our futures wouldn’t have been the only ones changed. You would think that if hundreds of people suddenly started seeing things, we would hear about it in the news.”

“Well, we don’t know that everyone who knew about you before is having visions. Just Kyle.” Liz offers. “I guess there’s no way to really know, though. Considering we never told each other until today. They could all be thinking the same thing we were…that they’re the only one.”

Max opens a drawer in the desk next to him and grabs a notepad and pen. “I think we should start with everyone we’ve ever seen in our visions. Then move on to where they take place and try to work out a tentative timeframe.” He looks to Liz and sees that she agrees.

Maria and Michael walk back in then and Maria takes her seat next to Liz. “You ok?” Liz asks her friend, glad to see some color back on her face.

“Yah, thanks.” Maria smiles at her as Max fills them in on what they’re doing.

“We’ll just go one at time for now, and I’ll make separate notes for each person.” Max says. “Who wants to start?” He looks around and sees Michael avoiding his gaze before Isabel speaks up.

“I’ll start.” She takes a deep breath and wipes her hands on her slacks.

“Ok, we don’t need details, just people…keep it general.” Max says, encouraging her.

“People…ok, I’ve seen us, all of us here. As far as who I’m sure knew about us, I saw our parents. But…I don’t think they knew until we were older. I was married, at least I think so, when they found out. The Sheriff and Kyle…I’m sure they always knew. They’ve been in a lot of my visions. Tess, or Ava…could be both since I can’t really tell the difference. Tess, I think…I think she was with us early on. I’ve seen her at school with us.” Isabel watches Max quickly write all the names down with notes next to some of them. “And other people…people I don’t recognize. Maybe when you guys go through yours, something will come to me.”

Max writes a few more things down before flipping the page and looking up. “Ok, who’s next?”

“I’ll go.” Alex says, not exactly sure, but wanting to get it over with.

Max writes Alex’s name at the top of the page and waits for him to start talking.

“Ok, um…I’ve seen everyone here. Ava…I’ve seen her. Tess is her double, right? Could have been her I guess if she was in school with us like Isabel said. The Sheriff and Kyle. I uh…I never saw Isabel married.” He looks at the floor nervously before looking back up. “I um…I saw her and I together…with uh…kids. My parents, they knew I’m pretty sure. Not until we were older, though.”

Max writes, nodding his head. “Ok, this could be a sign of the two different timelines.” He looks up and notices Isabel’s confused expression. “We know that in one timeline, Alex died when he was 17. Maybe in the other one he didn’t.”

“That makes sense.” Liz says. “I wonder if the rest of us are getting visions from both timelines, and Alex is only getting them from one.”

“We’ll start seeing patterns once we move on to places and time, I’m sure.” Max says, and then looks at Alex. “Anyone else?”

Alex shakes his head. “No…that’s all that’s been clear.” He’s kind of glad they won’t be getting into specifics because some of the things he’s seen…there’s no way he could make sense of them. He glances up and catches Isabel watching him but she quickly looks away.

Max flips the page and looks at Michael. “Michael? How about you?”

Michael gives him an angry look as his gaze flickers over to Maria and back. “Just uh…all of us. And the Valentis.”

Max looks at him expectantly, waiting for him to continue. “That’s it?” He wonders what Michael’s not telling them.

Michael glares at him and says, “Tess…and some old Indian guy. Can we move on now?”

“Ooookay.” Max makes a note on Michael’s page and writes to the side, may be more, before flipping the page. “Liz? Maria?” He looks at the two of them.

Liz looks up and says, “I’ve seen all of us and the Valentis. And Bailey, of course.” She smiles and looks down at Bailey as she scratches his ears. “Um…Tess, or Ava…I’m not sure which. And I saw this guy…he has red hair…I saw him with Max a lot.” She sees that Max doesn’t seem surprised to hear that and guesses that he saw that, too. “Your parents…I think they knew. I saw them with you…and a baby. I’m pretty sure it was yours.”

Max stops writing and looks at her in confusion. “Mine? Was it…” He wants to know if the baby was hers, too…but she said it was just his.

Liz shakes her head and says, “No…just yours. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t…you know, mine.”

He scratches behind his ear in confusion wondering who else he would have a baby with and continues to write.

“I’ve also seen some strange ones with you, Max. Almost like there were two of you at one time…I saw you, but older. And I was young…still in high school…still living at home.”

Isabel speaks up when she hears this. “Max…he told me that the first time he went back in time, he went to you, Liz. A year after the shooting. I bet that’s what you’re seeing.”

Liz nods and says, “Yah…that makes sense.” She’s quiet for a minute, thinking about what else she’s seen. “I think I’ve seen the Granolith, too. I’m not sure…I just have a feeling that that’s what it was.”

Max looks up in surprise, then makes a note to ask more about that later. “Ok, Maria?”

Maria looks to Liz for support, then says, “I’ve seen everyone the rest of you have…all of us, Tess and/or Ava, the Valentis. The guy with the red hair…his name is Brody. He owns the UFO Museum. I used to bring him lunch from the Crashdown every day.”

Liz’s eyes go wide and she says, “Oh my God! I totally didn’t realize. Now I remember who he is.” She looks at Maria and they both smile, and say at the same time, “Galaxy sub with extra pepper jack cheese.”

Maria smiles and continues. “Um…that’s about it.”

Max flips the page and start writing without saying anything. After a few minutes he looks up and says, “I really haven’t seen anyone different than who you’ve all mentioned. Why don’t we move on to places the visions took place in.” He looks up at Isabel and waits for her to start.

“The Crashdown…we definitely spent a lot of time there, I think.” She looks at Max and says, “That place we were taken to in the desert. Those rocks…I’ve seen them.”

Max nods, knowing he’s seen them also. He rips out a blank piece of paper and makes a quick drawing of the rock formation Isabel is talking about and holds it up for everyone else to see. “Does everyone else recognize this from any of your visions?” He sees everyone nod in surprise and he puts it down before making a note about it and looking at Isabel to continue.

“Of course, home and school. I’ve also seen something that looks like a large camp…there was fighting going on, a battle or war…something like that.” She looks at the floor, trying to remember more about where it might be.

“How old were you…could you guess at the time period?” Max asks her, curious.

She looks up and nods, “Older…we were definitely older. We looked tired, dirty…beaten.”

“Who did you see there?” Liz asks her.

“Myself, Kyle, Max and Maria. Alex was there.” She glances nervously at Max, then Alex, not sure how detailed to get. Max gives her a look that says to go on. “He was…hurt I think. We were kneeling in the dirt around Alex and Max was trying to heal him or something. I’m not sure what was going on…the whole thing was kind of chaotic. There was a lot of other activity going on around us.”

As Max writes, a silence descends on the room as everyone thinks about what Isabel’s vision could mean.

“Jesus, I can’t seem to stay alive in any timeline.” Alex jokes with a small smile.

Liz wants to laugh and cry at the same time as she wraps her arms around his neck. They’re both chuckling softly and Liz says, “Maybe we should just lock you up now in a padded room.”

“Ok, since we know that I went back in time twice…Isabel, can you remember what I looked like. Scars, hair, anything that stands out?” Max asks, getting an idea on how they can distinguish between the two timelines.

“Um, you looked…tired. Like you’d been fighting for a long time. You reminded me of videos I’d seen of soldiers in war. You were dirty and your clothes were torn. Your hair was short.” She shrugs and says, “I don’t know…you just looked…old. I mean, I was sixteen…so of course you’d look old to me then.”

Liz realizes what he’s doing and she speaks up. “When I saw you, you had long hair. So now we know we’re seeing two different timelines.”

“Maybe.” Max says. “Isabel, what did I look like in that vision you were just telling us about?”

“You had long hair.” She’s nodding and looking at Liz, knowing that they’ve seen the same Max from the same time period. “You were wearing leather…we all were. But your hair, it was long. You looked worse when I saw you in my room…thinner.”

“Ok, so maybe when I went back the first time, no one had really died yet. He told Isabel that he was the only one left when he went to her. I wish we could know more about why I went to Liz that first time.” He’s tapping his pen on the counter in thought. “Let’s just move on for now.” He looks at Isabel again. “What else?”

“That place in the desert, I’ve seen us there. Kyle was with us, but Alex wasn’t. But the area looked different, like the rock formation had exploded or something.”

“I’ve seen that, too.” Max says, thinking back to the day that he, Isabel and Liz were there and he saw the vision of all of them walking down the rocks…dust and debris all around them.

“And I’ve seen us all in an old van. Kyle was there, too, and Alex wasn’t. It looked like we were living out of it or something.”

Alex looks at Max and says, “Sounds like maybe those happened in the second timeline since I wasn’t there.”

Isabel continues, “There are other places that I don’t recognize. A house, or apartment…I think I lived there.”

“Ok, anything else you can think of?” Max asks as he writes.

“No…not really.” Isabel says.

Flipping the page, Max looks at Alex.

“The Crashdown, but I was always there as a kid so that doesn’t surprise me. The UFO Museum. There was also one where we were all in some lounge…looked like a casino or something. Maria was singing on stage. We were all there with Kyle and Ava or Tess. You weren’t there, though. And another time…there was an old bar. I saw myself, Isabel, Michael, Maria…and you and Liz.” Alex glances at Liz and takes a sip of his wine.

“How old were we? Could you tell what was going on?” Max asks.

“Young. In both of those we were really young. I don’t know, the first one where Maria was singing…we were all dancing. Except Liz, she was sitting by herself. I didn’t get that anything major was going on besides Maria singing. The other one, we were all happy…celebrating. You and Liz…uh…looked like you just got married.” He sees Liz jerk her head toward him in surprise and Max looks up…his gaze flicking briefly toward Liz before he looks back at Alex. “Like I said, we were pretty young…I’d say late teens, early twenties at the most. We were younger when we were in the lounge at the casino.”

Max makes more notes before motioning for Alex to continue.

“Ok, um…I’ve seen a house, a backyard. I was there with Isabel and two little kids. I think we lived there but the house didn’t seem familiar to me. I’ve also seen the school, my house, Liz’s house…just normal places around Roswell.” Alex looks at Liz and sees her give him a knowing look, then says, “There’ve been other places, places I don’t know how to describe. In my dreams…they’re more disjointed, like I’m seeing things that happened to other people, not myself. I saw death…lots of death.” He shakes his head of the memory and says, “I’m not really sure I should go into it.”

Liz grabs his hand, remembering how he would wake up from nightmares and listening to what he’d been dreaming about. It all just seemed so awful.

“Was it us? Were we the ones who were dead?” Michael asks.

Alex looks up at him and says, “Everybody…everyone was dying. Not just us…everyone.”

~TBC~

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Angel
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Part 23

Post by Angel » Fri Oct 03, 2003 9:47 am

Itzstacie, Everyone has different memories...some are the same, some aren't. Alex's are unique because he was dead-but you'll find out more about that later. And yes, Isabel is almost as bad as Maria. ;)

extingman, First, you'll find out more about Max and Liz's bond in this next part. Max had his reasons for wanting to keep himself and Liz apart...reasons that will come to light as we go along. Can't tell you everything at once...where's the fun in that? ;) Dreamer Insurance...well, I am a die hard dreamer and all of my stories have happy dreamer endings. BUT that doesn't mean I won't drag Max and Liz through hell and back a few times before I get them there. I don't plan on this being as painful and angsty as Ruins, but I don't do fluff either. I like to think that Zan has been alive in all the timelines. shrug We don't know that much about him, do we. ;) We'll find out soon why he's drawn to Liz and what's been going on these last few years with he and Ava.

Gigo, This part will give you more of a glimpse of Michael and Maria. Remember, Michael is still resistant to having humans there and talking about alien stuff with them. He's uncomfortable. This is a Michael that's never really spent any significant time with humans...or had significant relationships with humans who know about him.

roswellluver, I don't know that they'll get the entire picture...but they'll be able to make enough sense of them eventually to get them where they need to be.

frenchkiss70, Ahhhh, you know me too well. LOL I can't make it easy AT ALL! Muahahaha

mareli, I wanted to show the group as being able to work together. Because they didn't have all the misunderstanding and *cough*stupidplots*cough* from their youth, they've become intelligent adults who know how to sit down and talk things through and come up with a solution together. Well, maybe not Michael. ;)

vegas312, Lurkers Unite! I admit...I'm a lurker more often than not. I'll hang my head right along with you. Thank you for reading, though! And sorry about the kleenex's needed for Ruins. Why does everyone think that story is sad? LOL Actually, I thought Forget was worse. shrug But maybe because it was my first story and I'm more attatched to it. Thanks for the feedback, and feel free to lurk all you want. ;)

out of this world, I'll definitely be finishing this story. I don't have one that I haven't finished yet. ;) knock on wood Thanks for reading!

Ner, thanks for the bump! :)

Ok, on with the show...you guys will learn a lot in this part, so pay attention. :::Angel taps her wooden stick on the chalkboard::: And I know you guys want me to get Max and Liz together...they will be...somewhere along the way. But this story has a lot more places to go and I just can't do it yet. You all know I can't help but torture those two. I won't be putting them through too bad of a wringer, though. At least, not as bad as Ruins. Of course, in this story, we don't have to account for all the assinine things both of them did in seasons 2 & 3, so that helps me tremendously. ;)



Part 23

Alex drains his glass as everyone’s eyes remain on him. “So, that’s it for me.” He gets up and walks into the kitchen to pour himself another glass. He glances over and Liz offers him a small smile and he knows everyone is still stuck on what he just told them. He can empathize with their shock…he’s had a lot of time to think about the things he saw.

Max thinks about what Alex said and wonders again at the wisdom of knowing these things. He knows that they have to, they need to figure out where they go wrong. They need to understand what decisions they made before and where they made the wrong ones. Or all the sacrifices made to change the future will have been made for nothing.

He thinks back to what Liz said to him earlier about not knowing if or when she’ll die and he realizes that she knew. She knew what Alex had been dreaming about. He glances at Liz and wonders for the hundredth time why he would have been so determined that they not be together. Both times he went back…out of all the things he could have wanted to change, keeping himself away from Liz was at the top. Why? Because she dies? That can’t be it…why not give some kind of clue about how it happens so he can prevent it instead of insisting they never be together?

And why didn’t Cal tell him about the bond? Why make them think that that Liz’s bond was gone when all he did was put up a temporary barrier? He had to have known that if he and Liz ever got back together that the barrier would be broken. He’s still not even quite sure how the bond developed in the first place. He has so many questions and so few answers. When they’re done here, he’s calling Cal to get some.

He shakes his head and looks at Michael. “Michael? You next.”

Michael looks up, startled, and says, “Yah, um…the Crashdown. I’m pretty sure I worked there. I also saw a crappy apartment…I think I lived there while we were still in school. I’ve also seen the Valenti’s house. And a cave…I’ve seen it in a couple of different visions. I don’t know where it’s at, though.” He shifts uncomfortably in his chair and his gaze darts around nervously. “And a house…don’t know where it was either.”

Max nods and asks, “Who was with you at the cave and the house?”

“At the cave, all of us plus Kyle and Ava. Alex wasn’t there. It seemed pretty intense, whatever was going on. Everyone was pissed at Ava and you told everyone to leave. Another time at the cave, it was just me and Kyle…we were older. A lot older than when we were all there together. We had guns and we both looked hurt…I don’t know, we had blood all over but it was hard to tell if it was ours.” Michael scratches at his eyebrow and looks up, hoping Max will forget about the house he mentioned.

“Ok. What about the house?” Max asks and Michael rolls his eyes.

Michael shrugs and says, “Just me…and uh…Maria.” He says the last word as fast as he can, mumbling as he turns his head away.

“You and who?” Max looks up, confused. He didn’t hear the last part.

Michael glares at him and says, “Maria.”

Max raises his eyebrows and tries to hold back his smile as he leans down and writes.

Maria feels all eyes on her and she cries, “What? Why are you looking at me? It wasn’t my vision.”

Max looks over at Liz then and says, “Ok, your turn.” as he flips to the next page.

“The Crashdown. I’ve had a couple of visions from there with all of us. Those rocks out in the desert, too. But each one was different with different people. I never saw Alex there, though.” She smiles a small smile to herself and says, “My old balcony. That’s where I saw the older you with long hair. And you, the younger you, were um…singing to me from below.”

Max meets her gaze and can’t help the smile that comes to his face. “Singing?”

Liz nods and notices the way his ears turn slightly red. “With a mariachi band in tow.”

“That is just about the sappiest thing I’ve ever heard.” Maria chuckles as Max looks more embarrassed by the second. “But very sweet.”

“I’ve had other visions from my balcony. Mostly just Max and I were there, though.” Liz continues, wanting to move on.

“So what were you guys doing in the other visions?” Maria wonders what other romantic ideas Max has up his sleeve.

Liz ducks her head slightly and says, “Oh, um…that’s private. It’s nothing really…important.” She watches Max as he writes and scratches behind his ear. And her heart skips a beat when she sees his lips curve into a small smile.

“Can we move on?” Michael says impatiently.

“Yah, um…a cave. I think that’s where the Granolith is, or was. I’m not sure, but it’s just a feeling I get. I don’t know exactly where the cave is, but there was a separate chamber that had a black cone-shaped object in the center. I sensed that it had a lot of power.” Liz looks at Michael and asks, “I think I saw the same thing you did, at least it sounds like the same people were there.”

Michael nods and says, “Yah. Now that you mention it, I did see that black thing. I was just paying more attention to what was going on around it.”

“I’ve seen your parent’s house, too.” Liz says to Max. “And an apartment I didn’t recognize. We were all young when I saw us there. I’ve also seen visions that take place outside but I can’t be sure where they are. Except the one by that pond in Central Park. There are other places, but I don’t recognize them. Could be the same places everyone else has mentioned. Oh, and the prom. I saw us all at the prom.” She shrugs her shoulders and says, “But I’ve never seen anything that looks like we’re fighting, or at war.” A thought suddenly occurs to her and she says, “Wait, that’s not entirely true. I saw Max and I running, and stopping on a bridge. It looked like we were running from something or someone and then we just jumped.”

“How old were we?” Max asks.

“Young…really young.” Liz says, her brow furrowing at the thought of living such a dangerous life at such a young age.

“Have you seen any where we’re older?” Isabel asks, wondering why Liz only sees visions from when they were young and thinking that can only mean she wasn’t around.

Liz is silent for a moment as she thinks and she can feel Max looking at her. “Well, there are the ones with Bailey. How old is he?”

“Almost three.” Max answers with relief.

“There you go. See, I at least made it long enough to meet Bailey, right?” Liz offers a shaky smile to Max, knowing he’s thinking about how she dies.

“Ok, so…Maria? You’re next.” Max says, pushing thoughts of Liz dying out of his head for now.

Maria shrugs and says, “I haven’t really seen anything you guys haven’t.” Her gaze darts to Michael for a second before she looks away. “Um…I’ve also seen one where we’re running, but I don’t know what from. We were in the desert and um…” She looks at Liz nervously, suddenly thinking she might know what was going on in her vision.

Liz smiles encouragingly at her and says, “It’s ok, Maria. Who was there?”

“Me, Michael, Kyle and um…Max.” Maria bites her bottom lip.

“Do you know what we were running from?” Max asks her.

She looks up at him and says, “No. We were struggling, though. Kyle was carrying me and I was screaming and hitting him, like I wanted him to put me down. And Michael was dragging you. You were struggling with him, trying to get him to let you go. We were all upset…crying.” She says the last part so softly, Max has a hard time hearing her.

“What did Max look like, Maria?” Isabel asks, wondering if they can figure out which timeline this took place in. “Could you tell how old you were?”

“I’m not sure how old we were but Max had short hair. We definitely weren’t wearing leather, more like cargo type clothes.”

“Maybe this is the second timeline, then.” Isabel offers, wondering what was going on in Maria’s vision. Why were they upset? Did someone just die? Could have been her or Liz since neither one of them was there. Judging by the fact that Maria was so upset in the vision, she’s guessing Liz.

Only the tapping of Max’s pen interrupts the silence as he stares down at what he’s written. Is Maria seeing the aftermath of Liz’s death? How did he end up alone? He can’t imagine everyone around him dying…everyone he loves. What would his goal be in going back to Isabel? Was it just to get them out of Roswell? To keep the Granolith from their enemies? To keep he and Liz apart? Why didn’t he tell Isabel more specific details? They could be doomed to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again if they don’t figure this out.

His thoughts are interrupted when he feels Bailey licking his hand. Looking down, Max scratches Bailey’s ear and says, “Hey buddy.” Looking back at Maria, he asks, “So, the other visions you’ve had…which ones are the same? And if you could add anything, that’d be great.”

Maria was afraid he’d ask her that. “I’ve seen all of us at the Crashdown. There was an apartment, I think Michael lived there…I’ve seen it a few times.” She looks down and before Max can ask, she mutter, “Just Michael and I were there.”

Liz grins and looks at Maria. “And what were you and Michael doing in these visions?” She watches her friend squirm and feels a little bad for her. She knows how she feels…she was in the hot seat just a few minutes ago.

“Nothing.” Maria says quickly. “Nothing any of you need to hear about, anyway.”

Isabel eyes Michael, noting his discomfort and says, “Interesting.” Michael glares at her and she shoots him a brilliant smile before saying, “Anything else, Maria?”

Maria shakes her head and says, “No.”

Max flips the page on the notepad and says, “That leaves me. I’ve also seen us in the Crashdown. And Alex…I was with him in a car, or a van. I think…I was trying to heal him but he was um…I think he was dead.” He looks at Alex in apology and Alex just shrugs and says, “Hey man…thanks for trying.”

Max shakes his head at the absurdity of this conversation and continues. “Yah, um…the rocks. I’ve seen us all there. Not Alex, but I think Kyle was there. I didn’t recognize him at first, but now that I think about it, it had to be him. I’ve also seen…” He glances at Maria for confirmation. “Brody?” When she nods, he says, “I’m pretty sure I worked at the UFO museum with him. I saw fighting…it looked like we were older. I was there, and Liz, Alex, and Michael. I had some sort of…shield coming out of my hand and Michael was blasting at someone or something out of my sight.”

“A shield?” Isabel knows she’s never seen Max put up any kind of shield.

He turns to her and Michael and says, “After I saw that, I tried to do it myself.” He shrugs. “I couldn’t. We must have had a lot more practice with our powers before.”

Isabel makes a distressed sound and puts her head into her hands. “God! This is all my fault. Look at how much I changed…I mean, we don’t even have control over our powers. Liz has more control than we do, and she’s a human.”

“Isabel…” Max puts his hand on her shoulder, trying to tell her it’s not her fault.

“No…it is. What was I thinking? I took everything you told me in complete faith and just blindly did what you asked. I should have made him tell me more before I agreed to help him.” She runs her fingers angrily through her hair.

Liz gets up and sits on the coffee table in front of Isabel, putting her hands on her knees to get her attention. “Isabel, you were sixteen years old. And he was your brother…of course you would do what he asked. Especially since he told you that everyone would die if you didn’t. You can’t blame yourself. Look at it this way, obviously I didn’t do it right the first time either…hence the need for Max to go back a second time.”

Isabel glances up and sees the smile on Liz’s face and she feels her own lips involuntarily curl up themselves. “Yah, there is that.” Isabel says as the two girls laugh at themselves.

“If we want to start taking blame, I think I get to claim the grand prize. If no one died in the first timeline…except for Mr. Gets-himself-killed-in-any-timeline Whitman…then I managed to kill everyone off but Max in the second timeline with whatever decisions I made.” Liz turns to wink at Alex before looking back up at Isabel. “So, the fact that we’re all here and alive right now…I’d say you’ve got a pretty good track record so far.”

Isabel puts her hand over Liz’s and says, “But you were almost killed…”

Liz rolls her eyes. “Almost schmalmost. I wasn’t. I’m still here, right?”

Nodding her head, Isabel looks at Liz gratefully and says, “Yah.” She squeezes Liz’s hand and says, “I’m really glad you are.”

Liz smiles up at Isabel and says to the group, “I think that maybe we’ve got enough to think about right now. Why don’t we break for the night and go over what we have so far and try to come up with some kind of tangible timeline?” She looks to Max for his input and stands up.

“I think we should call Cal.” Michael offers.

Max nods and says, “I was going to anyway. There are other…things I need to talk to him about.” He sees Liz turn toward him and he says to her, “We can go up to the loft and call him from there.”

“Wait. Why can’t we all be there…put him on speakerphone.” Michael protests as he stands up.

Max feels everyone’s questioning gaze and doesn’t exactly want to share he and Liz’s problem with them yet. “Liz and I need to talk to him…privately.” His tone tells Isabel and Michael that it’s not up for discussion.

Liz glances over at Alex and Maria and gives them a look that says she’ll tell them later.

“You guys take your time. We can just have something to eat.” Isabel looks toward the windows and notices the fading daylight. “Maybe we should order some Chinese or something. I didn’t realize it’d gotten so late.” She looks over at the meager food offerings sitting on the counter, realizing that it’s not enough food for a meal.

“That sounds great. You have a menu?” Alex stands up wanting to put Isabel at ease.

~~~~~~~~~~

Liz looks around the loft once they climb the stairs. Their place is just huge…she can’t imagine having this much space in New York. “Wow…you guys really have a great place. I’m jealous.” She looks over the large wooden desk, a lamp and computer monitor sitting on top of it. There are two comfy leather chairs sitting nearby and the walls are lined with bookshelves.

“Thanks. It’s ok.” He says, pulling out the desk chair for her.

She sits down as he takes a seat in one of the leather chairs next to the desk and pulls the phone on the desk closer to him. He grabs a leather Franklin planner and flips through the addresses, looking for Cal’s number and Liz absently wonders if her name is in there.

He looks up at her and says, “So…that was a lot of information. More than I expected.” Liz thinks he sounds nervous and wonders if it has anything to do with what happened in the hallway earlier. She’s confused about what exactly did happen…or didn’t.

“Yah.” She nods, studying his face…his eyes. In the soft lamplight, the color looks almost translucent and she’s sure she’s never quite seen eyes like his. As her eyes travel down to his lips, she sees his adam’s apple jerk reflexively as he swallows and she looks away quickly. “Part of me wants to know what happened in the past two timelines. I mean, it’s so fascinating that we’ve lived these completely different lives. But the other part thinks it’s just really wrong to know anything about them.”

Max nods, agreeing. “I just wish we knew more about the ultimate goal I had in mind to travel back in time. I wish I would have given more details about what exactly we should be looking out for.” He looks at the phone and takes a deep breath, not exactly looking forward to calling Cal. He told Cal that he would only contact him in an emergency…but he would qualify this as an emergency. Sort of.

Giving a last reassuring look to Liz…or is it to get one from her…he pushes the speakerphone button and dials the cell phone number Cal gave him. They listen to the quiet ring one, two, three times…both of their stomachs twisting in anticipation. After the third ring, they hear Cal’s voice. “Call me back in five minutes.” His tone is abrupt and before Max can say anything, the line goes dead.

Liz flinches and says, “And I thought everyone in Los Angeles was supposed to be laid back and friendly.” The corner of her mouth quirks up as she looks over at Max.

Max glances at his watch, noting the time and says, “Sorry. He probably won’t be…friendly.”

“You don’t have to apologize for him, Max.” Liz says, leaning back in the comfortable leather desk chair and crossing her legs. She swings the chair back and forth as she studies the books lining the wall next to her. There’s quite a variety…everything from business and marketing textbooks to travel books to romance novels. She plucks a Danielle Steel book from the shelf and turns to Max with her eyebrows raised.

“Isabel’s.” He says. “Although I caught Michael up here reading one once. He’ll deny it if you ask him, though.” He chuckles softly and the sound causes the hair on the back of Liz’s neck to stand up.

She tucks the book back in its spot and says, “I don’t even know what you do. You know, for a living.” She glances over all the books again and guesses he went to school for business. She knows that Michael’s in school and paints. And Isabel works in fashion…at least she did three years ago.

“I’m a mergers and acquisitions consultant.” He sees the confusion on her face and smiles. “Basically I help companies take over other companies. It pays the bills.” He shrugs, thinking her job is probably much more exciting than his.

She looks at him curiously. “Sounds like you don’t like it much.”

“Someone around here needs to make money. Besides, who really likes their job anyway?” He looks away, thinking of all the fights the three of them had in the beginning about money. Michael always wanted to just change dollar bills into higher denominations. Isabel wouldn’t settle for anything but fashion and it doesn’t exactly pay a lot. So it was always up to Max to keep their heads above water financially.

It’s not like he hates his job. In the beginning, it was exciting…challenging. But now he has a senior level position, an office with a view and a department of 35 under him. Sometimes the monotony gets to him, though. His mentor and boss, Bill, often comes to his office at night after everyone goes home and they sit and look out over the skyline while Bill smokes a cigar and drinks whiskey. Bill’s the one who gave him a chance out of college and he’s watched Max’s career with a keen eye. During their late night chats, they talk about work, their families, and their lives…well, Bill talks and Max listens. Max doesn’t contribute much, sometimes throwing in a generic story here and there so as not to make himself seem too mysterious. Hell, they don’t even know his real last name. They know Max Campbell. And Max Campbell has a carefully crafted background, family and education…all of it completely false.

No, he can’t exactly enjoy his job because he can’t ever really be himself. He’s lied to everyone he works with for the last ten years and it’s just become second nature. Max Campbell likes his job. Max Campbell has many business friends and acquaintances. Max Campbell is dedicated, outgoing, and ruthless when it comes to business. But Max Evans…he’s a completely different person.

“I don’t really like talking about work…it’s extremely unexciting. I’d rather hear about what you do.” He changes the subject, really wanting to know about what she does…what kind of research she’s doing.

Liz smiles, knowing he wants to talk about something else, and says, “I’m part one out of ten different research studies in the Cancer Institute at NYU. I work on the stem cell team.”

“Stem cells.” Max has heard about stem cell research but doesn’t really know anything about it. “So…you’ll have to humor me because I’m not really sure what that is.” He smiles, embarrassed and thinking he should probably know more about it.

“Well, right now I’m trying to prove that adult stem cells can be totipotent.” She sees the blank look on his face and smiles. “Totipotent stem cells are capable of developing into any kind of cell…liver, pancreas, brain. Typically, scientists think that the only place you can find totipotent stem cells is from a human embryo. For a long time, adult stem cells have been thought of as only multipotent…meaning they’re only capable of developing into a limited number of tissue types. I’m trying to prove that theory wrong.”

“So…what would that mean if you could prove it?”

“It would mean that instead of using embryonic stem cells in research and clinical trials, we could use adult stem cells. It would put an end to the debate about the ethics of using unborn embryos for scientific research. We wouldn’t have to anymore.” She shrugs and nervously tugs on the end of her ponytail as it hangs over her shoulder.

“Wow. That’s…what you’re doing is so…important.” He’s blown away. He always knew she was intelligent, but he had no idea.

She laughs a little and says, “Well, I’m not the only one doing this research…but hopefully I’ll be the first to prove it.”

“I just…wow. Your parents must be really proud.” Max smiles at her and sees her smile fade as she looks away. He can’t imagine why they wouldn’t be, or why she suddenly has a sad look on her face.

“Yah. Um…” Liz looks at her watch and says, “I think it’s been five minutes. We should probably call him back.”

Max nods and dials Cal’s number again, still wondering what’s going through Liz’s mind. Is she sad because she doesn’t see her parents very often? Or maybe something happened to one of her parents. No, Kyle’s wife specifically said that her parents wanted to see her. While he’s still contemplating the workings of Liz’s head, he hears Cal pick up.

“Max.” He says simply…already knowing who it is.

“Cal. I hope I’m not interrupting anything important.” Max says.

“What do you need?” Cal doesn’t answer Max, wanting to get to the point of this phone call as quickly as possible.

Max takes a deep breath and asks, “Do you know anything about the Granolith being used to go back in time?”

They can hear the tinkling of ice against a glass before Cal says, “You’ve seen the visions…and you’re just calling me with questions now?”

“You know?” Max feels a small thread of anger twist through him. “Why didn’t you let us know?”

“What for? Time’s been changed…twice. Nothing you can do about it now. Unless you wanted to take another stab at it. What is it you think I can tell you?” Cal’s voice sounds annoyed.

“We…we didn’t know until today. Isabel told us…”

“She shouldn’t have. That’s kind of the whole point of changing the future…no one should know about it.” Cal says.

“But the visions. We’re all getting them. We’ve been trying to piece together what happened in both timelines…but…”

“Why would you do that?!” Cal almost yells. “Look, you don’t need to know anything about those timelines. They have no relevance to the here and now…it’ll just misguide you. Don’t worry about the visions…the Granolith can fix that.”

“The Granolith. We think it’s the reason we’re getting the visions…because we were close to it in Roswell.” Max tells him.

“Probably. That combined with the fact that it was the first time you’ve been close to the Granolith since you matured into adults, it messed with your memories. If you were close to it all the time, it would have adjusted eventually to your alien biorhythms. The three of you need to get to the Granolith and let it adjust to your presence…then the visions should eventually go away.”

Max looks at Liz, and sees the confusion on her face that probably matches his own. “But…everyone’s getting them. Not just me, Isabel and Michael. Liz, Maria, Alex and at least one other…human we know of are having them also.”

Silence. For a moment, Max thinks Cal must have hung up on them. Finally he speaks. “That’s…uh…Jesus. Liz, I understand. You changed her when you healed her. How many people have you been going around healing?”

“No one. Just her. Well…and my dog. He had an infection when I got him…”

“I don’t wanna hear about your fucking dog, Max.” Cal sounds angry now…and frustrated. They hear him take a deep breath and he says, “You must have healed these people in another timeline. It’s the only explanation. It would have had to be a life or death healing situation for them to change that much.”

Max runs his hand through his hair and says, “We saw them all. We’ve all seen fighting…war…death. That’s why I went back in time. What we need to know now is if it worked this time. If we’ve avoided that future I wanted to change.”

“I can’t tell you that, Max. I’d say that you all just need to do what your future self told Isabel and trust that he knew what he was talking about. You’ve done ok so far…staying out of sight and keeping yourselves anonymous. Besides that incident a few years ago…” Cal starts thinking and asks, “What exactly did your future self tell Isabel?”

“He uh…told her that the three of us had to get out of Roswell immediately and never go back. He told her to keep the Granolith away from our enemies and he uh…” Max glances at Liz and she nods to him, telling him to tell Cal everything. “He told her that she needed to keep me away from Liz. He actually said that that was his goal the first time he went back also…to keep Liz and I apart.”

“Sounds like he had all the bases covered. It was Liz that led your enemies to you three years ago. That could have ended disastrously. You’re lucky. Like I said, do what he told Isabel and you should be ok. You have to trust that he knew what he was doing.” More ice against glass, then, “You got out of Roswell and avoided whatever shit would have gone down there. You still have control of the Granolith. Liz is your problem…I hope you’re staying away from her.”

Max has been watching Liz’s face, watching the crease on her forehead get deeper and deeper as Cal spoke. He knows exactly what she’s thinking…and feeling. Guilt and fear being the predominant emotions at the moment. He grabs her hand in his and makes her look at him as he shakes his head, telling her that it’s not her fault.

The silence is obviously too much for Cal and he asks, “You have me on speakerphone, don’t you?” They hear him slam his glass down. “Shit. She’s sitting right there, isn’t she?”

“Yes, I’m here.” Liz says, her voice sounding steadier than she feels.

“Hey, nothing personal sweetheart.” Cal’s voice sounds suddenly softer, sincere.

“I wanted her here because we have something else to discuss with you.” Max keeps Liz’s hand in his when she makes a move to pull it away.

“What would that be?” Cal asks carefully, thinking he knows what Max wants to discuss.

“The bond.” Max says, knowing perfectly well Cal knows what they want to ask him. “You lied.”

“For your own good, Max. And for Liz’s. When I saw that the bond couldn’t be broken…it took everything out of me to just get the block up on her end. It was for your safety…and hers.”

“But why couldn’t you break it. You said you could if we hadn’t uh…consummated it.” Liz says. “And we didn’t.”

“I couldn’t. Your bond is strong…probably started years ago, maybe when Max healed you. I don’t know what happened to cause the awakening…usually that occurs during intercourse between a bonded king and his chosen queen. Obviously that’s why the others assumed you were with child…when the bond is initially consummated, an heir will be conceived to continue and protect the royal line. The block I placed is for your protection. As long as it remains, no one will know who you are.”

“So there’s no way to get rid of it and keep me from sending out signals to every alien on earth?” Liz can’t believe there’s nothing they can do.

“No, I’m sorry. Technically, you are Max’s chosen queen. There’s no way to undo that. Once we choose our mates…it’s for life. There’s no breaking that bond. As much as it sucks…there it is. I’ve done all I can do to protect you.”

Max rubs his forehead with the tips of his fingers. “There has to be something that can be done.”

“There’s only one thing that will break your bond.” Max and Liz sit up straight when they hear this. “Death. If one of you dies, the bond will be permanently broken.”

Liz rolls her eyes and her shoulders sag. That wasn’t exactly what she was hoping to hear.

“Look, I don’t think you understand how strong this thing is. For an awakening to occur without consummation…that bond is deep. It had to have been long before. Liz, I’ve given you a normal life by putting that block up. Take it and go. You’re human for the most part as well as Max. And I know neither one of you realizes what will happen if this bond were fully connected. Think about what it was like before…if you actually consummate this thing…you won’t be two people anymore. You’ll never be free.”

It’s the same argument Max had earlier when Liz wanted to throw caution to the wind. But to hear it confirmed…she just doesn’t know how she can just go and cut Max out of her life forever.

“What about the others?” Max asks quietly. “Is it the same for them?”

“In a way, yes. They’ll only be able to bond once, so they better be sure about their choices. But it’s not quite the same…their mates won’t be in danger because of it. Liz is special because she’s marked as the queen and that comes with its own boatload of baggage.” Cal explains, feeling a tinge of regret that they never learned these things when they were supposed to.

“What if we did…you know, consummate the bond and break the block? What if we decided to do that?” Liz asks, seeing the shocked look on Max’s face. She knows he’d never agree…she just wants all the facts while she can get them.

Cal laughs and says, “Besides attracting every alien on this planet…and off…to you? I guess you’d have some mind-blowing sex before you die. Sugar, you can’t possibly be considering this…it’d be suicide. We aren’t equipped to protect you on this planet. I’m it, your only line of defense. At home…you’d be surrounded by guards 24/7. Look at what happened last time. You made it what…a few hours? Not only would you be putting yourself in danger, you’d be a liability to Max. They’d use you…just like they did before.”

“But they’re dead. Aren’t we somewhat safer now?” Liz asks.

“Those weren’t your only enemies. Not only are there still skins out there…but others can come here at any time. Earth isn’t exactly ready to deal with intergalactic travelers.” Cal says sarcastically.

“You have to protect me, though…right?” She asks carefully.

And just as carefully, Cal says, “Yes.”

“Because I’m your queen?”

“Yes.”

“Does that mean you have to do what I tell you?” The corner of Liz’s mouth turns up, knowing she’s making Cal nervous. She hears Cal quietly tell her yes and she says cheerily, “Just checking. I won’t ask you to do anything you don’t want to do…don’t sound so worried.” She chuckles softly when she hears his sigh of relief. “Ok, just one more question about this and I’ll stop bugging you.”

“Just one?” Cal asks, amused.

“Or two. What if you put up like, multiple blocks…or maybe a block on Max’s side, too? Is there any way to make the barrier so strong that it can’t be broken?” She blushes, thinking it sounds so obvious that she just wants to find a way to have sex with Max.

“Good question. I don’t know. But there’d be no way to ever know…what if I put up a hundred blocks and they still broke? There’s no way of knowing what would happen…the risk of finding out would be too huge.” The tone of Cal’s voice is firm and he tries to convey the seriousness of what Liz is talking about.

Liz sits back in defeat and says, “Thank you…for answering my questions.” Her voice is soft…sad.

Not wanting to deal with the fact that he and Liz can never be together, Max thinks about the other problem at hand…the visions. “You said we had to go to the Granolith…that it would help us with the visions.”

“Yah, if you can connect with the Granolith…it will adjust and repair the damage that’s been done…adjust itself…so you won’t get visions of other timelines anymore. The Granolith is like a living thing. It’s aware. And without you there, close by, it probably picked up on your biorhythms like I said and it got confused. You’re going to have to bring everyone who’s having visions…anyone who was healed by you in another timeline will be getting visions too. If I had known what had been done sooner, I would have told you that when we were all still in Roswell.” Call tells him. “You should go as soon as possible.”

“But we don’t even know where the Granolith is.” Max says.

“I don’t either. Browan hid the Granolith from me after the crash.” Cal says in defeat.

“I think I know where it’s at.” Liz says quietly as she looks at Max.

Max looks at her a moment, thinking. “Do you have to be there, Cal? Will we need your help to get it to work?”

“Maybe. I can be there if you want me. Just let me know when you plan on going and I’ll meet you.”

“What about people who don’t know anything about Max, Isabel and Michael in this timeline? We can’t risk letting them know now.” Liz wonders how they’d get Kyle there without him knowing what’s going on.

“Don’t worry about that. They probably don’t even know what it is they’re seeing.” Cal says. “Call me when you make the arrangements, Max, and you can tell me where to meet you.”

“Ok. Thank you…and I’m sorry for having to call you again.”

“Right. Remember what I said, Liz. Take the chance I’ve given you and move on with your life. I’ll see you all later.” The line goes dead then and Liz closes her eyes thinking that it’s a lot easier said than done. Just move on with her life? If it were only that simple.

~TBC~

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Angel
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Part 24

Post by Angel » Wed Oct 15, 2003 11:33 am

frenchkiss70, awww...I'm sorry. Of course I'll fix it...but not quite yet. ;)

mareli, thanks for your perspective on the differences between Ruins and Forget. I guess I always wondered why everyone thought Ruins was more angsty than Forget. It's good to get other opinions about it because I'm a little biased. ;)

Itzstacie, Your questions will be answered in part 25, I believe. Patience young grasshopper. LOL By the way...I'm waiting for an update of Closer. I know I'm a terrible feedbacker...but I do follow it and print out your updates to read at night. I just wanted to let you know that I absolutely love that story.

out of this world, thanks for the feedback and the bumps! Hope you found my other stories ok.

Liz Parker Evans, Hmmm...maybe you and Breathless should form a support group for my fics. LOL But no, I hope I don't shatter anyone's heart...ever...so rest assured, everything will be answered and it'll all be good in the end. I just can't promise that the road there won't be rocky.

roswellluver, thanks for the feedback! Don't despair yet!

Gigo, :oops: thanks for the banner feedback...you know, not like I ased for it or anything. LOL And of COURSE I'll fix this...just...not anytime soon. *grin*

Breathless, I've been following Aftermath and A Walk in the Park and am anxiously awaiting for updates. :::tapping my fingers::: It's quite a distraction, especially when I'm trying to write this story. You know, I'd probably get this written faster if I had something more inspiring to read. HINT HINT ;) Anyway, I suck at the feedback thing and just wanted you to know that your stories are great and always inspiring.

vegas312, LOL about the Lurker's Club. I guess that would be the problem, wouldn't it? We'd all just lurk outside and never show up. LOL Thanks for the great feedback and you have great points about how they're dealing with everything now versus how they dealt with it when they were younger. We'll find out more about Cal and his motives and whether or not we can trust him in time.

moonlight, thanks for the great feedback! I'm trying not to make this one too angsty...seeing as how I've left a path of broken hearts all over the place with Ruins, apparently.

WindsorW, thanks for the feedback! And thanks for reading! Good thought about Cal. Hmmm...I too wonder if they should trust him. Guess you'll have to wait and see if they do. ;)

Raychell75, thanks for the bump!

Sorry about the delay in updating, everyone. But I've spent the last week rereading this fic and rewriting future parts. I came across another story that is kind of based on the same idea that this one is and because I think she's a much better writer than I am, I started having doubts about finishing this. But I know the other story is going to go in an entirely different direction than this one, it's just based on the same general principles that this one is. I just don't want anyone getting bored with this story and feel like they're reading the same plot. Just feeling a little insecure with this right now. I will finish it, because I just can't stop writing it. And also because I can't stand the thought of an unfinished story. And for being so patient, I might even post another part tomorrow instead of making you wait.

Thanks for the great feedback everyone!


Part 24

“Ok, how about some egg rolls. Gotta have egg rolls.” Alex says as he and Isabel both lean over the Chinese delivery menu laying on the kitchen counter.

Isabel adds egg rolls to their ever-expanding list and says, “Alright. We’ve got Garlic Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork, Vegetable Lo Mein, Moo Shu Beef, Beef with Sugar Snap Peas, and Egg Rolls. We’ll also get some fried rice and egg drop soup with that. Does that sound like enough?”

“Sounds like more than enough.” Alex smiles. “You guys will be eating Chinese leftovers for days.”

Isabel smiles back and picks up the phone to make the order. Considering the seriousness of the situation they’re in, she can’t help the contented feeling she has. There’s just something that seems so right about the three humans being here. That, or she’s just really sick of being with just Max and Michael all the time. It’s nice…no, more than nice…to have other people around that she feels like she can be herself with.

While Isabel orders their dinner delivery, Alex goes back into the living room to rescue Maria. He can see how uncomfortable she is around Michael. But when he gets there, he doesn’t see her.

At Alex’s confused look, Michael says, “She’s outside. Smoking.” He rolls his eyes slightly and continues flipping through the channels on the TV. “When did she start that?”

Alex sits down, taken aback by Michael’s question. It’s not like Michael would know if she ever smoked or not, they basically only spent a couple of days together three years ago. “Um…a few years ago, I guess. We’ve tried to get her to quit, but…” He shrugs, knowing that Maria won’t quit until she decides she wants to.

“Yah, well, I guess she’s got enough money to keep her in the habit.” Not many people Michael knows smoke. It’s just too expensive. Packs of cigarettes cost almost ten dollars and they’re usually hard to come by. Ever since all those lawsuits in the late 90s, smoking has pretty much nose-dived among the middle and lower classes. No one can afford to be addicted to nicotine anymore.

Alex doesn’t know what to say to that so he chooses to say nothing. Instead, he turns his attention to the rapid changing of channels going on and thinks about Michael’s comment on Maria’s money. Sure, she’s loaded…but she works hard for it. And she’s made sacrifices to get where she is. He certainly doesn’t envy the life Maria leads.

Michael glances toward the balcony door and itches to go outside with her again. But he guesses that she probably went out there because she wants to be alone, and he can’t blame her. Thankfully, he didn’t have to reveal the fact that most of his visions have had Maria in them. It was bad enough telling them that he thought they lived together. But he can’t help but wonder if her visions had him in them…and what she saw. He looks up toward the loft and wonders how Max’s conversation with Cal is going.

“Food should be here in about thirty minutes.” Isabel says as she enters the room and sits on the arm of Michael’s chair. She can sense tension in the air and sees that both Michael and Alex are staring at the TV as Michael absently flips from channel to channel. “Where’s Maria?” She suddenly notices they’re missing someone.

“Outside smoking a cancer stick.” Michael grumbles.

Isabel looks at Michael with a strange look and gets up to join Maria outside. As she steps through the door, she sees Maria leaning against the railing. “Hey. Mind if I join you?”

Maria looks back, startled, and says, “No.” She sees Isabel eyeing the pack of cigarettes she’s holding and says, “Did you…?” She holds them toward Isabel.

Isabel shakes her head and says, “No…thanks. Just thought I’d come out and see how you’re doing.”

Maria puts the pack in her pocket and shrugs. “I’m fine…a little weirded out right now, but fine.”

“So, you’re getting ready to go on tour?” Isabel sees Maria nod her head. “What’s it like? Being on the road all that time?”

“It’s not so bad. I get to go to a lot of places I probably would never see otherwise. I enjoy meeting new people. But yah, sometimes it gets to me not having a place that really feels like home.”

“Don’t you have a house in L.A.? I remember seeing an article about it in InStyle once.” Isabel remembers the pictures of Maria’s house, and thinking that it looked so different than what she expected in a place Maria would live.

Maria snorts in laughter. “Oh…that? They had decorators and designers in there for days to make it look like that. It’s a place to sleep for a few weeks out of the year. My agent insisted I buy it for appearances.” She shrugs.

Isabel studies Maria and asks, “Sounds lonely. Isn’t there anyone…you know, that you spend time with? I’m sure you hate that Liz and Alex are on the other side of the country.” She sees Maria stiffen and hastily adds, “I’m sorry…that’s probably a little personal.”

“That’s ok. I do miss Liz and Alex…a lot. I just don’t have a lot of time for a personal life. It’s not easy…anyone I date has to put up with being in the spotlight. And most people can’t handle that. I get out here as often as I can, though, even if it’s just for a day.”

Isabel thinks about how lonely she’d be without Max or Michael around. As she looks at Maria, she can sense a sadness about her…something she would never guess by seeing the way she appears in public. Isabel has somewhat followed Maria in the press, seen pictures of her at various events…always on the arm of a different guy. She always appears so happy…confidant. But looking at her here, Isabel can see now that it’s all a show for the public. She can’t help but feel sorry for her.

Maria sees the way Isabel is looking at her and she smiles. “You don’t need to feel sorry for me. I’ve got everything anyone could ever want. I’m famous, wealthy, and I get to do what I love…it’s a lot more than most people get.” She turns away then, not wanting Isabel’s pity. Wanting to change the subject, she turns back to Isabel. “So, you…I bet you see all kinds of crazy stuff in the fashion world.”

Isabel rolls her eyes, knowing Maria wants to talk about something other than herself. “Oh God, you have no idea. You have no idea how often I feel like zapping people. It’s amazing the egos some people have. And models…ugh!”

Maria laughs with her, wondering how she’s managed not to fry the models she undoubtedly works with over the years. Maria’s met enough models in her career and she knows if she had Isabel’s powers, she’d be tempted to use them.

“But I really like the design process. I’d love to have my own label, but you know…it’d be a little too high profile.” Isabel says, thinking about Maria’s high profile job. Sounds like it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

“It wouldn’t have to be high profile. You could have a front…use someone else while you stay in the background and keep control. If that’s what you want, I’m sure you could find a way to do it.” Maria tells her.

“Yah, I probably could. It’s just not practical.” Isabel shrugs. “We never know when we might need to pick up and leave. ‘Can’t have attachments’, to quote Michael.”

“Right. I never thought…” Maria’s voice fades, realizing that she has no idea about what their lives have been like. “How many times have you had to do that since you left Roswell in high school…pick up and leave?”

Isabel laughs and says, “I lost count. We moved around a lot when we were younger. It was easier then…Max and I were trying to go to school. We ended up having to stay in Pennsylvania for two years so we could actually graduate with degrees. We’ve been in New York ever since we graduated, although we’ve lived all over Manhattan. But yah, we’ve lived in so many places…I can’t even remember them all.”

“Sounds lonely.” Maria gives Isabel a knowing look.

Isabel gives a small smile and says, “Yah…I guess it does.”

~~~~~~~~~~

When Liz leans back and closes her eyes, Max feels her sadness. “Liz…I’m sorry.” Sorry seems to be such an inept word for what he really feels, but it’s all he can say.

She opens her eyes and looks at Max, seeing the defeat on his face. “I hate to sound childish, but it’s just not fair.” She gives him a small smile. “I didn’t realize how much hope I was pinning on a solution from him. It’s just…too much to think about right now.”

Leaning forward in her chair, her knees touch his and she places her hands over his. Looking at them, she studies the difference…her hands seem so small compared to his. She can almost feel his hands running through her hair, down her back…caressing her and she sighs.

Biting back a moan as he feels her desire wash over him, he pulls his hands out from under hers and reaches forward…brushing his fingers along her cheekbones. Her skin is so soft. He shouldn’t be touching her, but he can’t help it. Reluctantly, he pulls back and takes a deep breath…getting ready to say something.

Liz sees he’s ready to speak and says, “Max, you don’t have to say anything. I know. We can’t get…involved. I just don’t think I’m willing to completely cut you out of my life. I mean, do you think maybe we could at least try to be…”

“Friends?” Max finishes for her. He fully admits to himself that he’d rather cut off his right arm right now than let Liz walk out of his life forever. But friends? Could he do that? Could he be around her and not want more? It’s not exactly fair to her considering his bond. He would never turn down the opportunity to be around Liz. He fell in love with her as a child. He can remember sitting in the Crashdown everyday waiting for glimpses of her. And when her dad finally allowed her to start working, you couldn’t drag him out of there. Just the small bits of contact when she would come to his table and take his order…it was more than he could hope for.

Looking at her now, he’s more than aware that she’s a different person now. Older, wiser…she’s lived a lifetime away from his constant childhood vigilance. Just the idea that he’d get a chance to know her now…to learn more about her life…it makes his heart thunder in his chest. That childhood love still glows inside of him. And obviously there’s enough sexual desire between the two of them to set a room on fire. But all they can offer each other is friendship. Is it enough for her? Is it enough for him? Knowing it can’t ever be more? He’d never be able to feel her lips on his…feel the soft skin of her back or run his hands through her hair as she…

“I know what you’re thinking, Max.” Liz says after a few moments of silence.

He chokes and looks up at her. “You do?” His voice cracks and he wonders if she’s suddenly developed the ability to read his mind.

“You’re thinking that you’ll just put me in danger by being around me. You’re wondering how we could be friends when it’s obvious that what I really want is to throw you on the floor and have my way with you.” She misses the shocked look on his face and continues. “But I’d really like to try…to be friends, that is. We don’t have to cut ourselves completely out of each other’s lives. I mean, we do have a few things in common. And it would be nice to have someone around that I could talk to about my powers.”

She looks up then and sees the rattled expression on his face and freezes. Oh God. How selfish could she be? He still has a bond to her and here she is babbling on about trying to be friends. That would be entirely unfair to him. “I…I’m sorry. I didn’t think. I didn’t think that it might be hard to be around me…because of the bond.” She’s mentally slapping herself as she continues to look at the dazed look on Max’s face. “Max? Really, it’s ok. I’m sorry…it was a bad idea. Max? Are you ok?”

He shakes his head when he realizes she’s still talking to him and expecting some kind of response. “Um, yah. No. I mean, I would like that…you know, being friends.” Honestly, he’s still hung up on her saying she wants to throw him on the floor and have her way with him. “And yes, it might be difficult to be around you…for a while. I guess I’ll just have to get used to it. Because I’m not quite ready to cut you out of my life, either.”

She smiles then and he thinks it’s the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. “Oh. Ok…good.” She lets out a deep breath, glad to have some kind of definition attached to her relationship with Max. As crazy as that sounds. She just wasn’t ready to walk away from him completely. “So, um…should we go tell everyone what Cal said?”

Standing up and reaching for her hand, Max says, “I’m sure they’ll be so excited when they find out we’re going back to Roswell.” She laughs with him at the sarcastic tone of his voice and clasps his hand as they head down the stairs.

~~~~~~~~~~

The tentative group of friends sit around the living room passing around Chinese food containers a half an hour later. The sun has long since set and the room is aglow with candles and lamps. Maria, Isabel and Max sit on the floor around the coffee table with Liz and Alex on the couch and Michael alone on his big chair.

“Did you tell Max about Zan?” Maria asks Liz before biting into her egg roll.

“What about Zan?” Michael looks over at Liz in surprise.

Max looks over at Maria, then Liz. “Yes, she told me.” He clenches his jaw at the thought of what Zan has been doing.

“He’s been stalking Liz.” Maria says while chewing her egg roll.

“What?!” Isabel cries out. “Are you serious? What’s he been doing? Why didn’t you tell us?”

Liz waves her hand and finishes chewing her Lo Mein. “It’s not a big deal.” She shoots Max a look, telling him not to over react. “He’s just been asking me out, that’s all.” She looks at Maria and says, “He’s not stalking me.”

“Sounds like it to me. He shows up out of the blue…at all the places you hang out at. Liz, it’s been going on for three years now. Usually you tell a guy no and they don’t keep hounding you for three years.”

“What the hell does he want?” Michael asks, looking over at Max. He doesn’t like the sound of this.

“I’ll take care of it.” Max says, hoping Liz doesn’t give Michael the same answer she gave him at her apartment when he asked her that very question.

Liz looks ready to respond to that, but is interrupted when there’s a knock on the door. Isabel stands up and says, “I wonder who that is.”

Surprised when she opens the door to find Amy, she turns back toward the group then back to Amy. “Amy! What are you doing here?”

Amy smiles and says, “Well hello to you too, Isabel. I’m fine. How are you?” She rolls her eyes as Isabel laughs and stands back to let her in.

“Sorry. I’m just surprised to see you here.” Isabel apologizes and closes the door.

Amy sees the group of people in the living room as Max stands up and walks toward her. “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt.” She looks around self-consciously. “I just came by to see how you were…you know, after last night.” She says to Max.

Last night. God, so much has happened that it’s hard to believe that it was just last night that he went to the party with her. “Oh, yah. No, I’m fine. You didn’t have to worry about me.” He smiles at her.

Isabel is cringing inside with Amy here. She’s been trying to fix her and Max up for years and now here she is. And Liz is in the other room. Hopefully this doesn’t get awkward. “Come on in…let me introduce you.” Isabel grabs her arm and leads her into the living room…Max following close behind.

“Everyone, this is Amy…a friend from work. Amy, you know Michael.” Isabel points to Michael, then over to the others. “That’s Alex, Liz and Maria. They’re um…old friends from high school.”

They all smile and say hi as Amy looks at Liz. “Yah, Liz and I met last night.” She doesn’t know if she and Max worked anything out over the phone last night, but she hopes so…for Max’s sake. She looks at Maria and widens her eyes in recognition. “Wow…I’m a big fan. Isabel didn’t tell me she was friends with you.”

Maria smiles and looks at Isabel, seeing her redden in embarrassment, then says to Amy, “Thanks.”

“So uh…sorry I interrupted your dinner. It was nice to meet you all…and it was nice to see you again, Liz.” She smiles at the brunette before turning toward Max. “I’ll uh…just head out. I was just curious about how…you know…” She glances back toward Liz and leans in to Max and says in a lower voice, “your phone call went.”

Max looks over at Liz and sees her looking down, hiding a smile. “It went fine. You don’t have to go, though. We’ve got plenty if you want to stay.”

Isabel grabs her arm and says, “Yah. Come on…you came all the way over here. You could at least eat with us.”

Amy looks at them, unsure. “Are you sure?”

“Yes. Come on.” Isabel goes into the kitchen and grabs a plate and fork, bringing it out into the living room where Max has led Amy.

As Amy fills her plate, Alex tries to include the new addition in a conversation. “So, you work with Isabel?”

Amy nods and says, “Yup. Going on…six years now?” She looks over at Isabel for confirmation.

“Seven almost.” Isabel says. “I can’t believe we’ve known each other that long.”

“What’s it like working in the fashion industry?” Liz asks her, hoping she’ll forget about the scene she made last night at the party and the phone call last night.

“It’s crazy…but I love it. Although sometimes I wish the hours weren’t so long. I’m sure Isabel’s told you all about the craziness of the shows.” Amy can feel the tension in the air, and tries to look at the people around her and figure out what the story is. “So how did the auction go, Michael?”

Michael looks up, startled, and says, “Fine.”

Amy grins at his answer…she’s used to the taciturn Michael. “And how exactly did you get out of Isabel setting you up with Jennifer as your date last night?”

“I know how to tell Isabel ‘no’. Unlike some people I know.” Michael smirks in Max’s direction.

Amy smiles at Max and says, “Aw, Michael…you’re just jealous that Max had first dibs on me.”

Isabel looks over to see a dark look cross over Liz’s face as she looks down at her plate of food. At the same time, she hears Michael laugh and say, “I don’t think Max had a chance to dib anything of yours, if you know what I mean.”

Amy sees the glint in his eyes and smiles back at him. “Ok. How about we change the subject before you embarrass yourself, Michael.”

“Whatever. You started it.” Michael grins, knowing she doesn’t want to bring up the fact that she’s a lesbian in front of Isabel.

“Yes, please. I don’t think any of us want to hear about any of Max’s ‘dibbing’.” Maria says disgustedly as she sneaks a glance at Liz. She’s not sure what’s going on, but obviously this is the woman that Liz was telling her about last night on the phone. She glares at Max when she catches his eye before she takes another bite of her egg roll.

Liz looks down at her plate of food, suddenly not very hungry. Max told her last night that he and Amy were just friends. But there’s obviously a history there. Did they have a relationship before? Did they sleep together? She can’t help the sudden jealousy that surges through her at the thought. Then she cringes, thinking how stupid it is. Of course he’d have had relationships over the years. They’re in their 30s for crying out loud…what does she expect?

Max notices Liz’s reaction as well and hopes that she remembers him telling her that he and Amy are just friends. He looks at her, hoping she’ll look up at him…but her eyes remain steadily fixed on her plate. Frowning, he tries to change the subject. “You got any new stories about Greg?” He nudges Amy’s foot with his own to get her attention.

Amy grimaces and rolls her eyes.

“Who’s Greg?” Alex asks, jumping on the subject changing bandwagon.

“My roommate.” Amy says disgustingly. “He’s a pig.”

Isabel looks toward the three humans and says, “Let’s just say Greg is the epitome of the stereotypical male.”

“Get this.” Amy turns toward Max and Isabel. “I get home last night to disgusting-discovery-number-one…two used condoms laying on the floor by the couch.”

“Ahhhh…gross!” Isabel cries out along with a chorus of ewws and icks all around.

“No wait, it gets better. I could deal with just that…it’s not like it’s the first time. So, disgusting-discovery-number-two…I hear him in the bathroom – because the door is wide open – with his chick of the night, in the middle of using condom number three, apparently.”

“Oh. My. God.” Maria exclaims. “And you live with this guy…why?”

“He’s a friend of my brother’s and we moved in together to save on rent.” Amy says. “Anyway, I left to go down to the corner store and when I get back he’s sitting on the couch in his boxers, scratching himself and watching Sports Center and drinking beer. Yes girls, that man is a keeper. I know you’ll all wanna stand in line to snatch him up!” Amy laughs.

Maria laughs with her and says, “Doesn’t sound as bad as some of the guys I’ve gone out with.”

Alex groans and says, “Please don’t regale us with tales of The Jimmy.”

“Jimmy, huh? Man Isabel, you lucked out having two civilized men to live with.” Amy says.

Isabel grins and says, “That’s just because I’ve got them trained the way I like.”

“I guess their wives will have a lot to thank you for someday.” Amy jokes innocently, noticing the strained looks that get passed around after her comment.

“Hey…I turned out ok, if I do say so myself.” Alex says, wanting to end the tension.

“Well yah…look at your roommate.” Maria smiles and nudges Liz to let her know she’s joking.

Liz lifts her chin in mock indignity and says, “I’ll have you know that Alex was perfectly fine from the first day we lived together.” She pats Alex’s knee in support of her friend.

“Thank you, Liz.” Alex shoots Maria a wounded look.

Maria laughs and says, “Oh….right. I haven’t forgotten all the calls when you two first moved in together and Liz was horrified when Alex left his underwear and socks lying around. And when he would leave dirty dishes in the sink. And when he would drink milk out of the carton. And…”

“Ok, ok. I think everyone gets the idea, Maria. Geesh.” Alex interrupts her. “You know, I had to get used to all that girly stuff lying around, too. It wasn’t easy for me either. Every time I went in the bathroom, it was like avoiding land mines…I never knew what I’d find.”

“I feel your pain, man.” Michael says with a nod as he continues to eat and avoid Isabel’s death glare. “At least I didn’t have to grow up in the same house with her.”

Isabel glares at Max and he throws his hands up, laughing. “What?! Michael said it, not me!”

“I’m pretty sure you two don’t want me telling stories about you in front of our guests, would you?” Isabel says, looking toward Liz and Maria.

“I was just kidding, Isabel. No need to extend the claws.” Michael grins at her.

“No really, Isabel, do tell.” Maria says with a gleam in her eye.

“Well…” Isabel taps her finger on her chin in thought and smiles at Max and Michael. She sees the fear in their eyes and says, “Nah. There’s nothing really to tell.”

“Well that’s no fun.” Maria grumbles and smiles.

“So you guys all went to high school together? In Roswell, right?” Amy asks.

“Yah…um, not really. I mean, we moved during our sophomore year.” Isabel says quickly.

Amy nods and eats some of her chicken. “What were these guys like when you were growing up?” She looks toward Alex, Liz and Maria.

“Oh, um…well, we didn’t really…” Liz starts but feels a nudge from Maria and sees Isabel’s eyes pleading with her. “Um, yah…they were pretty much the same as they are now.” Liz shrugs and looks away, wondering if she said something she shouldn’t have.

Amy blinks, hiding a frown and says, “Oh.” There’s something more going on here and she gets the feeling that she interrupted something important here tonight. She senses that most of the people in this room are very uncomfortable…not what she would expect from old friends reuniting. A phone suddenly ringing makes her jump just when she realizes it’s her cell phone.

She looks at the caller ID and apologizes to everyone as she stands up to take the call. After a few moments in the kitchen, she walks back in and says, “Sorry guys, that was my um…friend, Shelly. She needs my help with something, so I better go.”

“I bet she does.” Michael says sarcastically as Amy narrows her eyes at him in feigned anger.

“Thanks for the food…and it was really nice to meet you guys.” She looks over toward Alex and Maria. “Sorry to eat and run.”

“That’s ok. Hold on, I’ll walk you out.” Max gets up and follows her to the door as everyone calls out their goodbye. He walks out with her into the hallway and says, “Thanks for stopping by.”

She turns to Max and says, “So…I’m anxious to hear how it went last night.” She smiles at him expectantly. “But…you need to get back inside. Let’s meet for lunch this week and you can give me the scoop.” At his agreement, she says, “Just tell me, she’s not married…right? And she’s still madly in love with you?”

Max fidgets, scratching behind his ear. “No, she’s not married. And…it’s complicated.”

Amy nods. “Complicated…right. It seems I’ve heard that word before from you. We’ll talk later.” She winks at him and heads toward the stairs.

He smiles and watches her go before walking back inside. He groans internally as soon as he does, though, hearing an argument already in progress.

“…just sound weird that you were here if you told her you didn’t even know us!” Isabel says.

“Well how are we supposed to know what Max has or hasn’t told his girlfriends?” The anger in Maria’s voice is evident.

“Maria.” Liz says calmly, laying her hand on her friend’s arm. “Isabel, you’re right…I wasn’t thinking.”

Isabel lets out a deep breath and says, “It’s not your fault, Liz.”

“It’s bad enough we had to sit here and hear about Max’s sex life.” Maria huffs and sends Liz an apologetic look.

Liz rolls her eyes and leans forward to set her plate on the coffee table.

“She’s not my girlfriend. She’s never been my girlfriend.” Max says as he walks in and sits back down.

“That’s an understatement.” Michael says with a snort of laughter.

Isabel looks at Michael in irritation at his tone. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Come on, Is. You’ve known the girl for seven years and you haven’t figured it out yet?” He says, raising his eyebrows. At her blank look, he says with satisfaction, “She bats for the other team.”

“The what? What are you…” Isabel sees his look and says, “Oh! You mean…” Sudden realization dawns on her and she sits back. “Oh my God…she never said…and all this time I’ve been trying to…” She looks over at Max in shock and he just shrugs and smiles at her apologetically.

“She didn’t want anyone from work to know.” He explains to her.

“How long have you known?” She asks Max.

“Since the first time you tried to set us up.” He tells her sheepishly.

Isabel cringes and says, “So all these years that I’ve been trying to get you two together…you’ve both been humoring me?”

Max shrugs and says, “It got you off our backs in the matchmaking department.”

Maria smiles and says, “So let me get this straight. Isabel has been trying to fix you up with a lesbian? Oh man…that’s good.” She laughs as Michael and Alex reluctantly join in.

Liz can see how embarrassed Isabel is and says, biting back her own laughter, “Maria, it’s not funny.”

“Yes it is!” Michael laughs and Isabel throws her egg roll at him as she laughs with him.

“Shut up!” Isabel sits back and calms down. “I can’t believe I didn’t know. I can’t believe she never told me.”

Amid all the joking and laughing at Isabel, Liz looks down at her watch and sees how late it’s gotten. At her first opportunity, she stands up and brings her plate into the kitchen.

“Liz, don’t. I’ll get it later.” Isabel says immediately.

Liz sets the plate in the sink before Isabel can get up and she walks back into the living room. “It’s ok. I just noticed the time and I really have to get to the lab.” She can sense Max staring at her as she says to Maria and Alex, “You guys should stay…help figure all this stuff out. I just really need to check on my cultures.”

“Are you sure? You want me to go with you?” Alex says worriedly, looking at the darkness outside the windows.

Liz raises her eyebrows at him. “You know I can take care of myself, Alex. Don’t worry…I’ll see you and Maria later tonight.” She turns to Isabel. “Thank you so much for everything…the food, the wine. You really didn’t have to go to so much trouble for us.”

Isabel stands up and waves her hand dismissively. “Please. I was happy to. It was…it was really good to see you again.” Isabel smiles warmly at Liz.

“Yah, it was.” Liz smiles back before finally looking toward Max.

He’s standing now behind Isabel with no less than a full panic attack broiling within him. What if he doesn’t see her again? No, that’s stupid. Of course he will. She has to go to Roswell to the Granolith. Why is he getting so freaked that she’s leaving? “You want me to call you when we make plans for Roswell?”

She looks at him strangely as well as everyone else in the room. He and Liz hadn’t told them about Roswell yet.

“Roswell?” Michael asks.

Liz shakes her head at Max and smiles. She knows what he’s thinking. “I’ll see you tomorrow, if that’s ok. So I can get caught up with what you come up with tonight.”

Relief sweeps over Max and he smiles shakily back. “Oh, ok. Yah, that sounds good.” He glances outside as well and says, “Someone should go with you. It’s dark.”

She shakes her head and says, “I’ll be fine. I’ve got pepper spray, and a little something extra.” She wiggles her fingers at him with a grin.

“What about Roswell?” Michael asks again, irritated that Max and Liz are getting all googly eyed and not answering him.

“Bye Michael.” Liz smiles sweetly at him before going to the door. She can feel Max watching her and as she opens the door, she glances back at him over her shoulder and their gazes lock one last time. She feels heat racing up her neck and into her face and she steps outside before looking away and letting the door shut. God, this is gonna be hard. Maybe over time this feeling will fade and they can actually have a friendship that’s not complicated by all this…desire.

As she steps out into the cool night air, she closes her eyes and lets the breeze wrap itself around her. She could get on the subway to get to her lab, but she feels like walking tonight. The air is chilly, but not too cold, and she can smell fall in the air as she walks. Her mind turns from thoughts of Max to the cultures she needs to check on. She really should have gone earlier in the day, but there was just too much going on. She can hardly believe it was just this morning that she found Max sleeping outside her door.

Smiling at the thought of him curled up on the floor of her hallway, she’s startled when she looks up. “Zan. Wha…what are you doing here?”

~TBC~

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Angel
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Part 25

Post by Angel » Fri Oct 17, 2003 11:47 am

Here's a nice, long part to get you all through the weekend. I'm preparing myself for the major stoning I'm gonna get...so don't hate me too much. ;) It'll all be ok, though...have faith.

Thanks for all the great feedback!!

Part 25

“Are you gonna answer me?” Michael is really starting to get angry now.

Max looks over at him and says, “We all have to go to Roswell. Cal said the Granolith will be able to get rid of the visions we’ve been having.”

“So we all have to go?” Maria asks, not relishing the idea of going back to Roswell.

“Yes. Apparently, anyone who’s getting visions of other timelines is either an alien or has been healed by me at some point in time.” Max explains.

“We all know you healed Liz, but Alex and I? You’ve never healed us.” Maria says, confused.

“Not in this timeline, no. But we know that Alex died twice…and I know I tried to heal him at least once. There’s no way to know, but I obviously healed you somewhere in another timeline…as well as Kyle.” Max runs his hand through his hair as he sits back down.

“Oh.” Maria says softly, looking down at the floor in thought.

“But we don’t even know where the Granolith is.” Michael says. “Does Cal?”

“No, Liz thinks she knows.” Max says.

“So when do we go?” Alex asks. “How long do we need to plan on being gone?”

“I’d like to sort through the visions first, make sure we have all the details we can get. I also need to call Ava and Zan.” Max says, making a mental to-do list. “We need to all talk about this, because I’m not completely sure I trust anything Cal says.”

Maria nods and says, “You’re gonna set Zan straight on his stalkerish behavior in the meantime, right?”

Max nods, still thinking. It’s been a long day and he has too much to think about and try to get straight right now. He feels like he’s on information overload and on top of everything he’s got a serious case of Liz On The Brain. He doesn’t want to rush to Roswell without knowing everything they can first. Cal isn’t exactly on the top of his list of people to trust. There has to be someone else who knows more about the bond that he and Liz has…maybe Ava.

About an hour into their work, Max feels a strange sensation at the back of his head. He closes his eyes, thinking that he’s been looking at these notes too closely. He feels a headache coming on. Probably from all the information swirling around in there. A vague thought comes to him that something’s wrong, but he shakes it off…thinking that the last two days are catching up with him.

The five of them spend the next two hours going over the notes that Max took and adding things they remember. They try to get everything categorized by age, date, and timeline as best they can. Max still can’t shake the strange feeling he has and he briefly thinks about calling Liz.

“I think we’re losing her.” Alex says from the floor when he glances over at Maria and sees her head resting back against the front of the couch at an uncomfortable angle and her eyes closed.

Isabel looks over and grimaces at the position Maria’s head is in. She’s gonna have a sore neck if she doesn’t wake up soon. “I’m sure she’s exhausted…didn’t she fly all night to get here?”

“Yah. She’s used to weird sleep schedules, but I should get her back to our place.” Alex pulls out his cell phone and dials the number for Maria’s driver, telling him to come get them. “He’ll be here in a few minutes.”

Max stands up and stretches as he looks down at the note covered coffee table. “We got a lot done today, it’ll help to get Liz’s input on this.”

“She was always the little scientist.” Michael says as he too stands up.

Alex leans over and gently nudges Maria. “Maria…wake up.” When she doesn’t move, he nudges her harder.

“I’m up.” She mumbles, still asleep.

“Maria.” Alex sings and pulls her arm. “Come on, get up. I’m not carrying you home.”

She moans and says, “My tacos are cold.”

Isabel, Max and Alex laugh at her comment as they hear a car horn outside.

Max walks over, intending to pick her up off the floor to carry her out, but Michael beats him there. He bends over and gently lifts her up and says, “Let’s go.” as he walks toward the door.

Alex follows him and says, “Thanks for dinner and everything. I’m sure we’ll see you tomorrow.”

“No problem…see you later, Alex.” Isabel says as she and Max follow them to the door. When Alex and Michael walk out, they look at each other and trade grins.

“Well…that was interesting…Michael and Maria?” Isabel says to Max after they’re gone.

“Almost as interesting as the revelations about you and Alex.” He says with a smile and walks away, avoiding a slap on the arm.

When Michael walks back in, he sees Isabel looking at him with a knowing smirk on her face. “What?”

“Nothing.” She says, innocently. “Help me clean up.”

He rolls his eyes at her as he walks into the kitchen.

~~~~~~~~~~

3 hours earlier…

Liz stares in shock at Zan when she looks up to see him standing in front of her. He hasn’t answered her question as to what he’s doing there and she feels a shiver of fear run down her spine at the way he’s looking at her. “Zan, what are you doing here?” She asks again as she takes a slow step back.

He shrugs and says, “Just out for a walk.”

For some reason, she can’t believe him. It’s too much of a coincidence that he’s shown up here…on a route that she’s never really taken before. “Well, I have to go…Alex is waiting for me.” She lies to him, not wanting him to know that no one is expecting her.

“Really?” He asks with a note of disbelief. He knows that she just left Alex and Maria at Max’s apartment…because he’s been watching them for the last few hours. He takes a step toward her and grabs her arm. “Come with me. I got somethin’ to show ya.”

She looks down at where he’s grabbed her and she tries to shake his hand loose. “Let go of me.” She starts to panic when he doesn’t. “I have to go…let me go.”

“I ain’t playin’ with ya anymore. Come on.” He yanks her arm forward and drags her with him as he turns and walks down the street. She struggles and he grips her arm harder to keep her in line.

Liz feels a flash of pain as he drags her with him and she tries to plant her feet on the ground to keep him from pulling her. She whimpers slightly when she feels his grip tighten and she cries out, “Stop it! Let me go!”

He doesn’t say anything as he forces her to walk with him quickly down the dark street. The farther they walk, the faster his pace gets until she has to almost jog to keep up with him. She looks around wildly, trying to see where he’s taking her but the pain from his grip is so fierce that she can’t see through the tears in her eyes.

Suddenly, he turns and drags her into a side alley and throws her ahead of him and she stumbles into a stack of boxes. “Zan, what are you doing?!” She cries out, feeling the energy in her build up. She tries to gather and strengthen it as she struggles to stand up. She doesn’t have the blasting power she used to have, but she might be able to disable him for a few seconds…long enough to get away.

“I know you’ve been with him.” He growls at her as he advances. “You fuckin’ whore.”

Her eyes go wide and she says, “What are you talking about?” As he steps closer to her, she raises her hand intending to blast him if she can.

But he grabs her arm and yanks her up, throwing her against the brick wall behind her…pinning her arms above her. “You’re mine.” He growls again, pressing himself against her. He feels a primitive need to take her, to stake his claim. He hasn’t understood what’s been happening to him, but all day he’s been filled with an all-consuming need to find her and make her his.

“No!” She cries out and struggles against him. “Leave me alone!” She waits until one of legs is between his and prepares to jerk her knee up into his groin. But he anticipates her move and blocks her, kicking her legs apart and planting himself in between them. He’s pissed at her attempt to knee him and brings his fist up, flying against the left side of her face.

He grinds against her, pushing her more firmly against the wall and reaches down to grab her breast. Bending his head down, he brutally crashes his lips to hers and runs his tongue along them before bringing his other hand up to force her mouth open. Plunging his tongue into her mouth, his hand grips her jaw tightly, keeping her from biting down on him.

Tears are streaming down Liz’s face as he assaults her and she cries out at the feel of his tongue in her mouth…his hardness grinding roughly between her legs…her arms held above her head and scraping against the brick. Why is he doing this? She feels helpless and she stops struggling, hoping he’ll ease up. She can taste blood in her mouth when he painfully bites down on her lip.

“That’s it, baby.” He whispers when he feels her calm down. He moves his mouth to her neck to suck and bite it. “I want you so bad.” Keeping her arms pinned above her with one hand, he moves his other down her hip and leg, pulling her skirt up and reaching between her legs.

A sob escapes her throat when she feels him groping her and she starts struggling again. But it just makes him angrier and he reaches up under her sweater, ripping it down the center and ripping the buttons apart on the shirt underneath. He grabs her breast again so hard that she cries out, begging him to stop but it only makes him bite into her shoulder and shove her so hard against the bricks that her head slams violently back into them.

He’s driven and feels no control over his actions. He can’t explain it, doesn’t even know how to as one thought consumes him…telling him to make her his. His blinding need suddenly falls away when he notices that she’s not struggling anymore and he looks up to see her head hanging to the side and her eyes closed.

As if waking from a dream, he freezes when he sees what he’s done. There’s blood running down her face, from her eye and from her lip. Her eye is also starting to swell and he looks down to see bite marks on her neck and shoulder…blood slowly leaking from them all. He lets go of her arms in a panic and takes a quick step back, watching as her body slumps to the ground and the panic swells when he sees her ripped sweater and shirt and bleeding scrape marks on her hands and wrists.

“Shit!” He cries as he kneels down in front of her and feels around her head. He feels the back of her head…feels that it’s wet and when he brings his hands back, he sees them covered in blood. “Fuck!” What has he done? His head is suddenly clear…clearer than it’s been for a very long time…and he remembers the need for her that’s been crawling through him…gaining intensity until he snapped when he saw her and drug her here. What in the hell is going on with him?

Trying to think, he moves toward her intending to heal the damage he’s done when he sees a flash of light from the street pointed in his direction.

“Hey! What are you doing?!” He hears a voice yelling at him and he looks over to see two cops pointing their flashlights in his direction.

“Shit!” He jumps up and runs down the alley in the opposite direction. He can hear their feet hitting the pavement behind him…and knows that one of them has stopped at Liz and the other is chasing him. He ducks around a corner and runs as fast as he can…he knows these streets like the back of his hand. Then again, that cop probably does, too.

As he feels himself get farther and farther ahead of the cop, he makes another turn and skids to a stop…prying a manhole cover up and jumping down into the sewers. He takes off, splashing his way through familiar territory and he looks back to see a flashlight shining down through the hole he jumped down. Not stopping, he follows the familiar tunnels for over an hour until he’s sure he’s not being followed anymore.

Finally, he stops and leans against a wall, doubled over with his hands on his knees and breathing hard with exertion. He’s screwed…he fucked up royally this time. He didn’t mean to hurt her…he didn’t want to. There’s something seriously wrong with him…like he’s slowly been taken over by someone else over the last three years. And now it’s like a switch was just turned off and it’s gone away. All he knows is that his need for have Liz Parker has been escalating out of control and now he thinks he probably killed her.

Standing up, he starts toward home. He needs to call Max. Hopefully it’s not too late and Max can heal her. He’ll probably kill him first, but the first priority right now is Liz.

~~~~~~~~~~

Alex opens the door to his apartment and leads the driver inside to carry Maria back to Liz’s bedroom. “Thanks a lot, Austin.” He says to the man when he comes back out into the living room.

“No problem. See you later.” The driver lets himself out and Alex looks around, his brow furrowed at the fact that Liz isn’t home yet. She couldn’t possibly still be at the lab, could she? He picks up the phone and dials her lab, listening as the phone rings until the machine there picks up.

Confused, he puts the phone down and walks into the kitchen to see if she left a note. Not seeing one, his eyes return to the phone and answering machine and he sees the light blinking. Feeling a pang of worry, he walks over and presses the play button, listening to their greeting call out to him.

“Hi, you’ve reached Liz and Alex. We can’t take your call right now. Leave a message and we’ll get back to you.” A short beep sounds before he hears a male voice start talking.

“This is Officer March, NYPD. I’m calling about an Elizabeth Parker. We brought her in to NYU Medical Center this evening. Please call me at 555-4748.” Another beep and the machine turns off.

“Oh my God.” Alex whispers and frantically snatches the phone back up, dialing the number the officer left for him.

When he answers, Alex says, “This is Alex Whitman. I live with Elizabeth Parker…you called earlier? What happened?” His thoughts are racing as to what could have possibly happened to Liz. Why’s she in the hospital? Why didn’t she call? He feels nauseous at the thought of something terrible happening.

“Mr. Whitman. Yes, I’m Officer March. Are you Miss Parker’s emergency contact?”

“Yes…what’s going on?” Alex says frantically.

“You need to come down here to the hospital. We brought her here after checking her ID and saw that she’s an employee here at NYU…my partner and I found her after an assault in an alley near 105th and Columbus.”

“Oh my God. Is she ok?” Alex runs his hand through his hair in agitation.

“I think you should just come on down here.” The officer says calmly.

“Ok. Ok. I’m on my way.” Alex hangs up the phone and runs into the bedroom. “Maria, get up.” He says loudly as he turns the light on. He walks over to her and shakes her. “Maria…something happened to Liz. Get up.”

Maria sits up groggily and asks, “What?”

“Liz is in the hospital. Come on, we have to go.” He tells her and turns to leave the room

“What?! What happened?” She scrambles from the bed and follows him as they quickly walk out the door.

“I’m not sure. She was attacked…I don’t know.” He’s relieved to see that Austin is still outside, talking on his cell phone, and he says, “Hey…sorry, man. Can we get a ride to the NYU Medical Center?”

Austin nods and gets in the car quickly as Alex and Maria climb in the backseat. On the way there, Alex tries to stay calm and not think the worst. He should have never let her leave by herself. What if she’s seriously hurt…or worse? No, he can’t think that. But why wouldn’t that officer tell him anything? That has to be bad, right? They don’t just tell people over the phone that a loved one is dead, do they?

“Oh my God, Alex. What’s going on?” Maria asks him frantically.

“There was a message from the police when we got home. He wouldn’t tell me anything over the phone.” Alex tells her.

“No, no, no…that’s not good. Why wouldn’t he tell you? Liz would have called if she could have. Oh God, you don’t think she’s…I mean, she’s not…” Maria buries her face in her hands and starts crying.

“We don’t know anything, Maria. He just told me to get to the hospital.” Alex puts his arm around her and watches the streets fly by out the window.

They’re both out of the car as soon as it pulls to a stop in front of the emergency room and they race up to the check-in desk. “Liz Parker…we’re here for Elizabeth Parker. Officer March called me.” Alex says.

The woman behind the counter types into her computer and nods as she looks up. “Officer March is right down that hall…you can go on back.” She points toward a set of double doors behind her, eyeing Maria closely in recognition.

Alex grabs Maria’s hand and they quickly make their way through the doors and down the hallway. Toward the end, they see three policemen standing in the middle of the hall talking to a doctor. One of them looks up when they get closer and he steps away from the group. “Alex Whitman?” He asks.

“Yes, I’m Alex. Where’s Liz? What happened?” He asks him, looking around to see if he can see her.

“She’s in the trauma unit now…the doctors are working on her.” He looks back toward the doctor he was talking to earlier and says, “Doc, can you come over here? They’re here about the Parker woman.”

The doctor walks up and asks, “Are you family?”

“No, I’m her roommate…we’re her friends. Her family is in New Mexico.” Alex says.

The doctor nods and says, “I’m Dr. Franklin…I was here when she was brought in. We’re trying to get her stabilized right now.”

“Stabilized?” Maria says, her eyes wide.

The doctor pauses when he sees Maria, then mentally shakes his head and continues. “She’s in critical condition right now. She has massive trauma to the head, which right now is what we need to concentrate on. We’ve stopped the bleeding and we’re getting an MRI as soon as possible to see if there’s any kind of subdermal hematoma activity going on.”

“Wait, what?” Maria is trying to process the words ‘massive trauma to the head’.

“Bleeding on the brain. That’s our number one concern at this time. When she came in, she was in the middle of cardiac arrest due to the head trauma. We were successful with attempts at resuscitation, though, and…”

“Resuscitation? You mean her heart stopped?” Maria’s eyes are wide and spilling over with tears.

“Briefly, yes. But like I said, resuscitation was successful and right now we’re concentrating on her head injury.”

“Is she gonna be ok? Is she in a coma?” Alex asks. This has to be some kind of nightmare. What happened to her? Was she hit by a car?

“It’s too early to tell. I’ll be honest with you, she is in critical condition. We’ll do everything we can for her, and right now we just don’t know. But I’ll keep you updated as I find out anything.” A nurse walks toward him, saying that they need him and he looks at Alex and Maria. “I have to get back there. I’ll come out when I have more news.” He quickly walks away, following the nurse down the hallway.

Alex pulls Maria closer to him and asks Officer March, “What happened?”

“My partner and I interrupted an attacker leaning over your friend in an alley. He chased him, but lost him several blocks away. Looked like he roughed her up…maybe hitting the back of her head against the ground or brick wall. Hard to tell. She was unconscious when we found her.” He tells them before he flips open his notebook and looks up at Alex. “I know this isn’t the best time, but I’m gonna need some information.”

Alex nods numbly and says, “Yah, of course.”

“Let’s step over here. There’s a waiting room where you can sit.” Officer March leads them to a small waiting room down the hall. He looks at Maria and asks, “You’re Maria Deluca, right?”

She turns to him and nods, knowing what’s coming.

Officer March nods and says, “I’ll arrange for security when we’re done here.”

She smiles gratefully at him before sitting down. It won’t take long for the press to figure out she’s here and the last thing she wants to deal with is reporters and photographers.

As they sit down, Alex stays standing and says, “Maria…can you? I should call them, you know…” The overriding thought in his head right now is to call Max. He can heal Liz. There has to be a way.

Maria looks up at Alex blankly and says, “Um…sure.” She wipes the tears from her face and looks around the waiting room for a box of Kleenex.

Alex nods and walks back into the hallway and toward the bank of phones he saw earlier.

~~~~~~~~~~

Isabel is cleaning up the last of the dishes as she looks into the living room and sees Max and Michael sitting on the couch watching a movie. They conveniently snuck away, leaving her to clean everything. She shoots them an irritated look when she hears the phone start ringing. When neither one of them moves to answer it, she rolls her eyes and says, “No, don’t get up.”

She picks the phone up and says, “Hello? Alex? What’s…” She freezes as she listens and sees Max and Michael turn toward her. “Oh my God…is she…” Her eyes widen and she looks at Max. “Yah, ok. Of course…we’ll be right there.” She brings a hand up to cover her mouth as she clicks the phone off.

“What?” Max gets up, fear thrumming through his body.

Isabel looks up at Max, tears in her eyes, and she says, “It’s Liz. She was attacked…they’re at the hospital. It’s…Alex said she’s in critical condition and they…they don’t know if she’s gonna make it.”

Michael stands up, too, and asks, “What the hell happened?” But before Isabel can say anything, the phone rings again.

“Alex?” Isabel answers it before the first ring even stops.

“Max…Max needs to get to the hospital.” She hears a man’s voice…out of breath. Sounds like he’s calling from a payphone.

“Who is this?” She asks.

“Liz is…she’s hurt. Max needs to help her.”

Isabel’s eyes open wide when she recognizes her brother’s voice on the other end. “Zan?”

“I’m sorry.” He whispers into the phone and she barely hears him before the line goes dead.

She puts the phone down and looks at Max. “That was Zan. He said that you have to heal Liz…and he said he was sorry.” A look of confusion crosses her face as Michael and Max stare at her.

The blood drains from Max’s face and he can’t move. Liz. He knew something was wrong. He knew it, and didn’t do anything about it. He needs to go to her…he can heal her. That thought gets his feet moving and he runs back to his room to put some shoes on. Isabel and Michael do the same and grab their jackets just as Max comes back out and they quickly leave the apartment. The only thought running through his head right now is that he can heal Liz…he needs to get to Liz.

Practically sprinting down the sidewalk toward the subway station, Isabel keeps her eye out for a taxi. No one says anything as Michael and Isabel follow Max as he flies down into the subway.

“NYU. We need to get to NYU.” Isabel pants when they reach the station. When they get to the right platform, Max paces back and forth impatiently until the train comes. Thankfully it’s not that far and the three of them stand near the door as the train barrels closer to the hospital.

Isabel stares out the window, hoping they can get there in time. She glances over at Max and watches as he shakily runs a hand over his face. Liz can’t die…they’ll make it. Max can heal her and everything will be all right. She thinks about the weird phone call from Zan and wonders what he has to do with it.

As soon as the doors open at the stop for NYU, Max runs out and up the stairs…Isabel and Michael close behind. They find the emergency room quickly and Max tells the woman at the desk that they’re there for Liz Parker. She nods and says, “They’re in the waiting room down that hall.” She points them in the same direction toward the double doors.

Max races down the hall until he gets to the waiting room and sees Alex and Maria. Alex has his arm around Maria, who’s leaning over with her face in her hands crying. His heart pounds wildly, thinking that he’s too late. No, no, no, no.

Alex looks up and says, “Max…” He stands up and meets Max in the middle of the room and he sees Isabel and Michael run around the corner and into the waiting room. “They’re working on her right now…we don’t know anything.”

Before Max can ask Alex anything, Officer March walks back in the room carrying three cups of coffee and stops short when he sees the new people here. Damn, celebrity stalkers already. Obviously the security he asked for hasn’t made it yet.

Maria looks up at Max hopefully, and Isabel sees that her eyes are puffy and red…tear marks running down her face. She walks over and sits next to Maria, grabbing her hand.

“I need to see her. Where is she?” Max asks Alex.

Officer March looks at Max and asks, “And you are…”

Max looks toward Alex, then Maria. He needs to get in to see Liz and he knows they won’t let anyone but family in. “I’m…”

“He’s her fiancé.” Isabel says quickly, thinking that’ll give him the best chance of seeing her.

“I see.” Officer March says. “Have they filled you in yet?” He nods his head toward Alex.

“I just got here.” Max shakes his head.

“Well, you can’t see her yet. The doctors are in with her right now, but they’ll come out when they have any news.” The policeman looks at Max with sympathy and brings the coffee cups he’s holding over to a small table for Maria and Alex.

“What happened to her?” Max asks anxiously.

“She was being assaulted in an alley when my partner and I came across her. He roughed her up pretty bad.”

Max’s heart is thundering wildly in his chest. “Did he…was she…?” He shakes his head, not able to form the words to his question.

“We don’t believe she was raped, but they’re processing a rape kit just to be sure.” The officer informs him before he turns back toward Alex and says, “I think I have all I need here.”

Alex nods and says, “Thank you. You’ll let us know if you find him, right?”

“Of course. I’m heading out to the scene right now…I’ll call you if we find anything.” Officer March nods his head in farewell and turns toward the hallway to leave.

Alex takes a deep breath and drops into the nearest chair. “They found Liz…someone was attacking her in an alley about halfway between your place and here. The guy…he ran off and they lost him. She was unconscious when they brought her in…massive head trauma…” He stares at the carpet as he recites the same thing the doctor told him. “I guess…she had a heart attack or something on the way here…her heart stopped…but now they’re worried that she’s bleeding from her brain.”

Maria sobs hearing this all again and Isabel squeezes her hand in support. She looks up at Max and sees the horror on his face as he listens to Alex’s monotone.

“You can heal her, can’t you?” Maria cries and she looks over at Isabel. “He’ll heal her, right?”

Isabel looks up at Max before looking over at Maria. “He has to get in first. We need to wait until she’s alone.”

“But what if she doesn’t make it? They said…they said they didn’t know if she would make it!” Fresh tears run down Maria’s face and Max sits down next Alex.

“Do you know where she’s at right now?” Max asks him, icy fingers of fear are gripping his heart.

“They’re doing an MRI. The doctor said he’d come out and tell us what they find.” Alex looks at Max and asks, “Can you? Do you think you can heal her?”

Max nods and says, “I’ll try…but I need to see her first.”

“There’s a doctor coming. I’m gonna go see if I can find out where she’s at.” Michael says before taking off down the hall.

Dr. Franklin walks into the waiting room and glances around at the new faces.

“How is she?” Alex stands up when he sees the doctor.

“There’s definitely some bleeding going on. But it’s not as serious as I thought. We’re going to keep her in ICU and see if it clots itself in the next few hours. Hopefully, she’ll stop bleeding on her own and we don’t have to go in. We’ll do another MRI in the morning…but for now, she’s as stable as she’s going to get. She’s been drifting in and out of consciousness, so that’s a good sign.”

“Can I see her?” Max asks anxiously.

“Are you family?” The doctor asks him.

“Yes.” Max says quickly, then sees that the man is waiting for more clarification. “I’m her fiancé.” He glances toward Isabel, hoping her lie will be enough to get him in. Maybe he should have told him he’s her brother. Brother ranks above fiancé, right? Crap.

Dr. Franklin can see how worried the man is and he looks over to see all the concerned faces around him. “Alright. Five minutes.” He nods his head at Max for him to follow as he turns.

Max doesn’t hesitate as he follows the doctor down the hall toward the main ICU area. He sees several rooms surrounding a large square desk area…all the rooms have glass walls so the patients inside can be seen from the desk.

Dr. Franklin stops at the desk and says, “She’s in room 5.” Before Max can walk away, though, he grabs his arm and says, “She doesn’t look good. She’s been in and out…so try to keep it short.”

Max nods and makes his way around the desk to the room with a 5 above it. It’s dark inside and from where he stands, he can see the glow of monitors surrounding her bed. He walks inside and chokes back a sob when he sees her. He can’t believe this is actually Liz. Pushing back everything he’s feeling, he makes his way to her side knowing he doesn’t have much time. She has a large white bandage circling her head, as well as another one on the side of her face. Her left eye is swollen and purple and he can see stitches in her lip.

“Liz.” He whispers painfully. His gaze moves down her arms and he sees an IV sticking out of the top of her left hand. Her wrists are bruised and scraped as well as her hands. Taking a deep breath he glances out at the nurses station and sees two nurses hunched over computers, not paying him any attention.

Gently, he places his hand on the top of her head and hopes he can get her to open her eyes. If not, this is gonna be hard to do. “Liz.” He leans down and whispers in her ear. “Liz…I need you to look at me.” He runs his other hand over her cheek, then down her arm to wrap his hand around hers. “Liz. Please wake up.”

He watches as her eyes move behind her lids and hopes they open just a fraction of an inch. That’s all he needs. Instead of her eyes opening, though, he sees her working her mouth as if she wants to say something. He leans in closer and says, “Liz, please…open your eyes.” He waits…ready for the first sign of her eyes opening…and freezes when she whispers one word.

“Zan.”

His eyes search her face, wondering why she thinks he’s Zan. And then it hits him…Zan…Zan stalking her…showing up out of nowhere over the last three years. Zan’s phone call earlier. He did this. He feels white-hot rage take hold as he looks over Liz’s injuries again. He’ll kill him.

“Max.”

His gaze snaps back up to her eyes and sees that she’s looking at him and he refocuses all of his energy back on her. He gets the connection he needs and quickly searches for the damage to her head. Assaulted by sudden flashes from her, he impatiently pushes them away for now so he can heal her. He stops the bleeding and searches for any other injuries to her head that tests might have missed. Seeing nothing, he moves his hand down to her chest to check her heart. It’s damaged slightly, weaker from the heart attack and he uses his power to regenerate the muscle…making it strong and healthy.

He resists the urge to heal her other injuries…knowing they have to remain to avoid suspicion and he pulls back out of the connection. He sees her looking at him with droopy eyes and he knows that they have her drugged. “You’re ok now.” He whispers to her as his head drops to the bed in exhaustion…his breathing ragged.

He lifts his shirt to wipe the sweat from his face and when he looks back up, he sees that she’s fallen back asleep. But now he knows that she’ll wake back up. She’ll be ok now. He runs his hand over her cheek again and he looks up at the monitors, watching the steady beat of her heart.

“Sir. I’m sorry, but you’ll have to leave now.” He turns around to see a nurse standing in the doorway. “She needs to rest.”

He nods before turning back around and placing a light kiss to Liz’s forehead. He walks out of the room on shaky legs and the nurse watches him go in sympathy. Dr. Franklin told her the young man was the girl’s fiancé.

On his way back to the waiting room, Max bumps into Michael. “Did you get in?” He asks Max.

“Yah, she’s ok now.” Max says, looking around to make sure no one can hear him. He looks at Michael and says, “Zan did it.”

Michael’s eyes widen in shock. “She tell you that?” He remembers the phone call Zan made to them earlier and wonders why he would call and tell them what he did.

Max nods and says, “I…I saw it, too. When I was…connected to her.” He swallows the bile that’s fighting its way up from his stomach as he remembers. He felt everything she felt. “He…he tried to…” He can’t get the words out before he rushes across the hall into the bathroom and makes it to a toilet in time to vomit.

Kneeling on the floor, Max wipes his mouth and face with toilet paper and leans his forehead against the metal wall. While he was healing Liz, he had to push everything back so he could use all of his concentration to heal her quickly. But now it’s all flashing through his head and he can still feel traces of the terror she felt while she was attacked.

“Maxwell.” Michael walks into the bathroom and can see Max sitting on the floor under the walls of the first stall. “I have water.” A nurse down the hall, ‘Julie’ is what her nametag said, brought him some when she saw Max rush into the bathroom.

Julie could see when she told the man he had to leave his fiancé’s room that he didn’t look well. He was probably understandably shaken by the condition of his fiancé and when she saw him race into the bathroom, she met his friend with a cold cup of water.

Max struggles to stand up and he walks out to the sink to splash cold water on his face. He needs to get himself under control before he goes out to face Alex and Maria. He gratefully accepts the cup of water from Michael, rinsing his mouth with half and drinking the other. “Thanks.” He says, throwing the plastic cup in the trash.

“She that bad?” Michael asks, seeing Max’s pale face.

“Yah, but she’ll be ok now.” Max nods and takes a deep breath before opening the door and walking back to the waiting room to tell everyone else. He sees three expectant faces snap up when he walks in and they all rush toward him.

“She’s ok.” Max tells them immediately. “She’ll be fine now.”

Maria sobs as Alex pulls her close into a hug, closing his own eyes in relief. But Maria quickly pulls away from him and launches herself at Max, squeezing him tightly. “Thank you.” She whispers.

Isabel looks her brother over, noticing his ashen face and wet hair. Did healing Liz take that much out of him?

When Maria pulls away from Max, Alex grabs his hand between both of his and with a voice full of emotion says, “Thanks, man…really.”

Max just nods and looks at the floor.

“Is she awake? Did she talk to you?” Maria asks.

“Just for a few seconds. She um…didn’t say much.” They don’t need to know right now that he’s pretty sure Zan did this to her. They’re frazzled enough worrying about Liz. He’s going to take Michael and take care of Zan himself.

“What did you have to heal? Did you just have to stop the bleeding on her brain?” Alex asks, wanting to make sure she’s really ok.

Max nods and says, “And I repaired the damage to her heart. I didn’t see any other internal injuries, but I had to leave the external ones…I’ll get those when she goes home.”

Alex stares for a few beats at the way Max shifts his gaze to the floor and the way his lips press together in a thin line. “Is it bad?” He asks softly, not wanting Maria to hear.

Understanding, Max glances at Maria as she talks quietly with Isabel before giving Alex a quick nod. Bad isn’t even the right word…he can’t even think of a word to describe it. He turns to Michael and says, “You guys can go if you want…I’m gonna stay here tonight.”

Michael gives him an odd look before glancing at Isabel. Should they stay? Before he can contemplate it anymore, Isabel speaks up.

“We’re staying, Max. We should stay and make sure she’s ok in the morning.” She turns toward Maria and asks, “Maybe we should go down and get some coffee or tea…get away from here for a little while.”

Maria looks down the hall toward the ICU and nods. They won’t let her go back there and see her yet anyway. Maybe this is one of those times where she could use her fame to get her what she wants. When they realize who she is, they’ll let her see Liz…right? Maybe. But she can’t see Liz right now…she’d break down and if Liz wakes up, she doesn’t want her to see her like this. “Yah…I could use some tea. And a smoke.”

Isabel smiles and looks toward Alex in question. He nods and starts to follow them into the hall before turning around to Max and Michael. “You guys wanna come?” Max shakes his head and Michael sits down in answer. “You want us to bring you anything?”

“Coffee would be good.” Max says with a shrug. “Thanks.”

When they’re gone, Max sits next to Michael and stares at the dark blue wall in front of him. There’s a painting on it – some kind of beach scene – and it’s crooked. His eyes move down to a small table…kid sized…that has two small chairs on either side of it. Sitting on top are a stack of children’s books and he recognizes the spine for Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham. On the floor are various toys, one of which is one of those wood and wire things with the balls that slide all over the place. Isabel bought one of those once for some baby shower she went to and it sat on the kitchen counter for a week. Sometimes when he was on the phone he would find himself playing with it…sliding the colorful wooden balls along the thick wires from one end to the other.

He absently thinks that he’s never really sat in a hospital waiting room before…or even a doctor’s office. He and Michael are the only ones there right now and the only noise he can here is an occasional distant call on the overhead speaker system. He wonders how many people have been in here…just waiting…not knowing if someone they loved was going to live or die.

A nurse suddenly appears, the same one he saw earlier outside of Liz’s room, and she walks toward them with a clipboard. “I have some paperwork here that I need filled out. Insurance…medical history…” She holds the clipboard toward him.

He absently reaches for it, looking at it questioningly. “Um…ok.” He’ll give it to Alex when they get back.

“Take your time…just bring it back over when you’re done.” She smiles at him kindly and turns to walk back toward her desk.

He looks down at the forms in front of him and sees her name typed across the top. Elizabeth Parker. He glances over all the blanks that need filling in and wonders if he should start filling in her address and other personal information. They must all think he’s really her fiancé. If only that were true.

Why did he just let her leave by herself like that? When she said she could take care of herself, he knew that was true…she could take care of herself against any random human. But Zan? No, not Zan. Zan could easily over-power her. He should have called her a cab. He should have walked her to the lab if she wanted to walk. Why did he let her leave by herself?

~TBC~

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Post by Angel » Wed Oct 29, 2003 8:55 am

Thanks for all the feedback you guys!


Part 26

The door crashes open, startling Ava from her snack in the kitchen. She rushes into the front room and her eyes widen in shock at the sight before her. “What the hell?”

Zan turns and seals the door with his powers and looks around the room frantically. He can’t stay here, but he needs to get a few things before he goes.

Ava looks him over and sees blood on his face and hands and knows that it’s not his. She takes a few steps toward him and asks, “What did you do, Zan?”

His eyes meet hers and the first thing she sees in them is fear and it makes her gasp. Fear isn’t something she sees in him very often and she feels the panic start to swell inside of her. “Zan…what happened?”

He swallows hard and looks down at his shaking hands. “I…I don’t know. I hurt her…I didn’t…I didn’t mean to.”

Ava looks from his bloodied hands to his face and she asks the question that she’s afraid she already knows the answer to. “Who?”

“I have to get out of here. They’ll be comin’ for me.” He answers instead and stumbles toward the bedroom.

She hears him opening drawers and cursing to himself and she follows him, standing in the doorway. “Did you kill her?” She asks quietly, hoping his answer is no.

He freezes as he looks down at the backpack he’s packing. “I don’t know.” He says softly before turning to look at Ava. “I don’t know what’s happenin’ to me.”

“Do ya want me to check it out?” She asks. He looks like a skittish rabbit that’s about to bolt at the slightest movement. But if he did what she thinks he did, there’ll be no escaping. He can run now…but he’ll never get away from the vengeance he’ll have coming to him.

He considers her offer for a moment, not sure if he wants to know what she’ll find. But he has to know. He looks back up at Ava and nods slightly, watching as she walks toward him. He sits on the bed as she stands in front of him and places her hands on either side of his face.

She makes the connection easily and searches for the familiar thread that’s been woven through Zan’s head for the last three years. She also gets flashes of what he did tonight and she almost gets knocked out of his head with the shock of what she sees. Strengthening her hold on him, she continues to search.

Zan looks up fearfully as Ava drops her hands and takes a step back. He can see the fear, the revulsion on her face but he waits…his heart beating wildly, knowing already what she’s gonna say.

“It’s gone. You…she’s dead. You killed her.” Ava says with venom in her voice right before she slaps him and turns from the room.

~~~~~~~~~~

Michael glances over at Max and sees him staring at the wall in front of them. He said earlier that Zan did this to Liz and he wonders what they’re gonna do about it. He knows that Max won’t leave here until he knows that Liz will be ok, though. Slumping in his chair, he feels like he’s failed somehow. He doesn’t know why…it’s not like it’s his job to protect Liz. But he can’t stop the feeling of disappointment with himself…for letting her leave alone…for letting this happen to her.

As Max continues to stare at the crooked beach scene on the wall in front of him, he suddenly realizes what the strange feeling is that he’s had all night. When Liz left their apartment, he could feel his connection to her stretching thinner and thinner as she walked away. He can always feel her presence strongly when she’s near, but the further away she is, the thinner the thread to her gets…it’s always there, though.

But the longer he sits here, the more he realizes that he can’t feel the thread to her at all anymore. He wonders if it’s because she’s unconscious, but quickly dismisses that because he would feel it even if she were sleeping. He starts to feel panic rise again as he wonders if he missed something when he was in there. Is she dying? Is that why he can’t feel her anymore?

Michael notices Max fidgeting restlessly and he asks, “You ok?”

Max stands up, not able to get rid of the feeling that something’s seriously wrong. “I think I missed something. I need to get in again.” He looks at Michael helplessly as he walks back in the hall and paces, glancing at the nurse’s station as he reaches the corner.

Michael follows him and asks, “You said you got everything before. What makes you think you missed something now?”

“I…I don’t know. I…just feel like…” Max runs his hand through his hair uneasily. Michael doesn’t know about his connection to Liz.

“What…what is it?” Michael doesn’t understand Max’s behavior or agitation.

Max looks once again toward the nurse’s station and sees the nurse from earlier looking at him. “I can’t feel her anymore.” He looks at Michael, sees the confusion on his face. “Cal never got rid of our bond…he couldn’t. Instead he created a block on Liz’s end so she wouldn’t feel the connection and so she wouldn’t attract any…anyone to her.”

Michael freezes, his jaw dropping slightly. “What? Are you saying you’ve had a connection to Liz ever since we left Roswell three years ago?” Max nods. “Why didn’t you tell us?”

Max shrugs and says, “No reason to.”

Michael’s flabbergasted. No reason to? All this time…he’s been tied to Liz and hasn’t seen her, hasn’t… “So she…she’s not connected to you because of the block?”

“She is…she just can’t feel it.” Max says, starting his pacing again. “But I can’t feel her anymore…and I always can. Something’s wrong. I need to get back in there.”

Michael watches Max pace, in shock over what Max has just told him. He can’t even remember anymore what Cal told them about the bond. He just assumed Cal broke it and that was that. He never gave it another thought. He should have known…the way Max never wanted to hear or talk about Liz. The way he would just get up and leave if conversation ever turned toward her. He should have figured out something was wrong.

Turning his mind back to the problem at hand, Michael says, “Maybe I could go distract them and you could sneak in.”

Max shakes his head. “I don’t think so. They can see right in all the rooms…you’d have to get them both away from the desk.”

Suddenly they hear an overhead announcement calling for security in ICU and both Max and Michael turn around, realizing that’s where they are. Max turns toward the nurse’s station to see them both look up in his direction, but he doesn’t see anyone else around.

“I wonder what’s going on.” Michael says, looking around, just as confused as Max.

Just when he says that, they hear a loud commotion at the end of the hallway behind the swinging double doors. People yelling and shouting and flashes of light pulsing through the small square windows in the top of the doors.

When the doors are shoved open, Max sees dozens of people all crowding around Alex, who has Maria shielded in front of him…his sister close behind. It’s a tangled mess of cameras being held above heads, microphones shoved in front of Maria and bright spotlights being held up while video cameras surround them.

“Maria, who are you here to see?”

“Is it true you’re postponing your tour because of your health?”

“Maria, over here!”

“Maria, are you in New York with your new boyfriend?”

Questions are being shouted from every direction, reporters yelling above each other to be heard. Max watches Alex and his sister struggling to get ahead of the crowd as Michael races to the end of the hall along with the two nurses guarding the ICU. He sees his opportunity and takes it.

Quietly slipping around the corner, he makes his way back into Liz’s room and steps up to the side of her bed. She looks exactly the same as she did when he left her. Glancing back to see the still empty nurse’s station, he places his hands over her and scans her entire body. He checks her head, her arms, legs, neck, chest, abdomen, spine…everything. But he can’t find one thing wrong with her internally.

Confused, he looks up at her face and grabs her hand. He still can’t feel her. He’s right here…touching her. He should be able to feel her throughout his entire being right now. But all he feels is himself…there’s nothing else there.

He hears more shouting coming from down the hall…it sounds like security finally arrived and the din of the reporters is getting quieter. Not wanting to get caught back here, he leans down and places a kiss on her forehead, then lifts her hand to brush his lips across her bruised and scraped knuckles. He turns and sees Julie the nurse looking at him with a mixture of annoyance and sympathy.

“Sorry…I uh…just wanted to make sure she was ok.” He looks down at the floor before peeking up to glance at her, expecting her to throw him out of the hospital.

But instead of anger, he sees her smiling indulgently. “It’s ok, I understand. You must love her very much.”

He looks at her for a moment before saying, “Yah.”

“You should get back to your friends. It’s kind of crazy over there.” She nods her head toward the waiting room as she walks back around the desk and sits down.

He nods and says, “Thanks.” as he walks back down the hall and turns the corner. He sees five or six security officers herding all the reporters out of the double doors as he makes his way into the waiting room.

Michael is standing in the doorway watching the doors down the hall close and he turns toward Max. “Jesus, they’re like vultures.”

Max nods and looks inside to see Maria sitting in a chair against the wall with her knees pulled up to her chest. Alex is next to her, stroking her hair. He walks in and asks, “Everyone ok?”

Isabel turns and says, “It was like a swarm. We came out of the cafeteria and they just…attacked. God, aren’t there like, laws or something against that?”

Maria puts her legs down and rubs her face. “Sorry guys. I expected this…just not so soon.” She sighs and starts digging around in her bag.

“Is it like this all the time? Every time you go out?” Isabel asks incredulously.

Maria shrugs and says, “Not every time. Depends on the circumstances. Eating at a restaurant…going to a party…not such big news. But being in a hospital emergency room suddenly…” She shrugs again and pulls out her cell phone. She needs to call her manager and let him know what’s happened so he can field phone calls. She’s actually surprised she hasn’t heard from him yet, but then she sees that her battery is dead and the phone is off.

“Crap. Are there payphones around here?” She looks up and searches around the waiting room.

“Yah, just around the corner.” Alex points her toward the hallway.

She nods and stands up, heading in the direction Alex pointed. When she’s gone, Max asks Alex, “How does she live like that?”

Alex looks up and says, “She doesn’t go out much. Usually only when there’s an arranged appearance…controlled circumstances.” He takes a deep breath and says, “It’s not normally so bad when she comes to New York. Most of the time we can go out and not have anyone bother us. That’s why she likes to come visit whenever she can…L.A. is like a prison for her.”

From the doorway, Michael looks down the hall and sees Maria on the phone. How does she deal with this all the time? Why would she put herself in the public eye like that if this is what it’s like? He thought the mob earlier would crush her if they had the chance. They had absolutely no regard for her personal space…no regard for what she was feeling. He just wanted to go swoop her up and carry her out of here to safety.

Michael walks up to Max and asks in a low voice, “So, did you see her?”

“Yah. Everything’s fine. I don’t understand.” Max shakes his head and drops into a nearby chair. He looks at his watch and sees that it’s after midnight and he feels exhaustion settle in. He didn’t get much sleep last night on the floor outside of Liz’s apartment, and the emotional day on top of the use of his powers tonight has him wiped.

“Don’t understand what?” Michael asks, dropping into the chair next to him.

Max shakes his head. “There’s nothing wrong with her.” He looks up at Michael with a mixture of confusion and pain. “But I can’t feel her anymore. I should be able to…but I can’t.”

Michael sees the look of defeat in Max’s eyes and still can’t believe that he didn’t tell them about this. “I don’t know, man. Maybe Zan did something to her.”

Taking a deep breath, Max looks down to the floor and wonders if Michael’s right. Every cell in his body is screaming at him to go after Zan…the only thing keeping him here is Liz. But as soon as he knows she’s ok, he’ll be having a discussion with Zan. One that won’t involve a lot of talking.

But right now, all he wants to do is curl up in a ball and sleep for a couple of hours. He doesn’t realize that his eyes have drifted shut until Michael’s voice breaks the silence.

“What are we gonna do about him?” Personally, Michael thinks they should go and kill the bastard now.

“Do about who?” Maria walks back in the waiting room just in time to hear Michael’s comment to Max. Michael’s head snaps up and he quickly stands as he throws a guilty look toward Max.

“Everything ok?” He asks motioning toward the phones she just came from.

Maria doesn’t bite the bait. Instead she cocks her head to the side and narrows her eyes at Michael. “Do about who?”

Michael sighs, feeling a sense of déjà vu with Maria standing there looking at him like she’s ready to bite his head off. At any moment now, he expects to see her eyes blaze red and smoke pour out of her ears. Bringing his hand up to scratch at his eyebrow, he glances down at Max hoping for a little interference but he’s still staring at the floor. “Just a guy we know…nothing important.” He shrugs, hoping to show a sense of indifference.

She knows he’s not telling her the whole story, but decides to drop it. She’s tired and just doesn’t have any fight left in her. Sighing instead, she walks over to Alex and sits next to him. “I called my manager and gave him the heads up. He’ll take care of the press.”

Alex grabs her hand and asks, “Are you ok?”

“Yah.” She lays her head on his shoulder and yawns. “I’m so tired.”

Alex pats his lap and says, “Lay down for a little while.”

She smiles at him and does as he says, thankful that Alex is here to take care of her. With her head in his lap, she closes her eyes and takes a deep shuddering breath, and tries to relax. First she has to be in the same room with Michael all day. Then Liz…and the press. Her nerves are shot, and as she forces her eyes to remain shut, she can still feel Michael’s eyes on her.

Her thoughts wander to the past and she thinks about a happier time when Liz and Alex were still in college…two years after they graduated high school.

Spring Break, 2004

“I still can’t believe you actually live here.” Liz says with a smile as she leans back on her towel. The three of them are lying on the beach and Liz is enjoying the feel of the sun beating down on her and the smell of the ocean.

“You are definitely living the good life, Maria.” Alex throws his head back and glances around at all the scantily clad women around the beach.

Maria snorts and says, “Right. The good life consists of sharing an apartment with three other people and begging for a spot at open mic night at the corner bar.”

“You’re gonna make it, Maria. I just know it. Someday the right person is going to be there on a night you’re singing and you’ll be discovered. Then you’ll be rich and famous and you’ll forget all about us and your crowded apartment and open mic nights.” Liz smiles at her friend.

“What, can you predict the future now?” Maria jokes, not noticing the way Liz flinches. “I’d never forget you guys. Although I could go with forgetting about the apartment.” Maria laughs and lies back on her towel. “So how’s Jack?”

Liz rolls her eyes and says, “He’s fine.”

“Wow, don’t overwhelm me with all the details.” Maria says sarcastically.

“There’s nothing to tell. We go out, we have fun…”

“How much fun?” Alex asks, wiggling his eyebrows.

“Alex!” Liz laughs before she notices Maria looking at her with raised eyebrows.

“Are you sleeping with him?” Maria asks.

Liz blushes and lies down fully on her towel, not really wanting to talk about this with her friends. “Sometimes.”

Maria looks at her knowingly and says, “Liz, you don’t even love him. What are you doing?”

“I don’t need you to judge me, Maria.” Liz says, irritated at Maria’s tone.

“I’m not judging you. I just don’t understand…I mean, you dated Kyle for three years and wait until you’re in college to have meaningless sex with someone you don’t even know?”

“It’s just sex. I’m an adult, he’s an adult. There’s nothing wrong with that.” Liz closes her eyes and her hand drifts to her stomach as an unwanted image of Max Evans appears behind her eyelids. She imagines what it might feel like to have Max in her bed instead of Jack. Maybe that’s why she chose Jack…he looks a little bit like Max. Tall, dark hair. After all these years, she still can’t get the thought of him out of her head.

As if she’s reading her mind, Maria quietly says, “He’s not who you want him to be.” Maria met Jack once and immediately recognized the similarity between him and Max Evans. She’s still convinced that Max Evans did something to her friend that day in the Crashdown, but Liz refuses to talk about it. She’s also noticed how her friend has changed since that day. Liz isn’t the same carefree girl she used to know. She has secrets now…secrets that she won’t share with her closest friends.

“He’s what I need him to be right now.” Liz says in answer. “Can we not talk about this?”

“Yes, please. I love you guys, but hearing about your sex lives is a little much.” Alex cringes.

Maria laughs and says, “You’re just jealous. Have you heard from Molly lately?” Molly Young was Alex’s girlfriend during their senior year, but they decided to break up when they both went to different colleges. Although they still get together during breaks.

“Yah. She’s not going home for the summer. She got some kind of internship in Chicago and decided to stay there instead.” Alex says sadly.

“Awww…poor Alex won’t be getting any this summer.” Maria says as both she and Liz look toward him with pouty looks on their faces.

“Shut up.” Alex laughs at them and squeezes his water bottle filled with ice water at both of their stomachs.

They both scream and jump up from their towels, looking at Alex in shock…then mischief. He backs away slowly as both girls stalk toward him and he breaks out in a run toward the water. They catch up with him then, and the three of them go crashing into the water…all laughing.


Maria smiles at the memory of that week. The three of them had so much fun, going to clubs and hanging out at the beach. They went to Disneyland and Universal Studios. They never got to spend a spring break together again, because as Liz predicted, Maria did get discovered in a nightclub later that year and her career took off, leaving her with little time for her friends after that.

Liz’s prediction…after she found out about Liz and her alien powers, she spent a good amount of time reviewing the things Liz had done and said ever since high school. Her encouragement and belief of Alex and herself, the unexplained pain relief Liz would offer…there were so many things that seemed innocent enough at the time, but upon reflection, Maria realized she had been performing some of her alien mojo.

No wonder Liz couldn’t wait to get out of Roswell. She had these powers that she knew nothing about and the Sheriff was on her back almost 24/7. In fact, Liz left Roswell the morning after they graduated to spend the summer in Florida with her aunt before going to Boston for school in the fall.

May, 2002

“I wish I were going with you.” Maria says as she hugs Liz in front of the Crashdown.

Liz hugs her back. “I know. But I’ll see you in a few weeks and we’ll have a whole month together before school starts.”

The Parker’s car is loaded down with two big suitcases and her parents are standing by the car waiting to drive her to the airport. Maria lets go and lets Alex have a chance to say goodbye. As the three friends linger on the sidewalk in the early morning sun, Maria sees the Sheriff pull up next to them.

Mr. Parker steps up as soon as the Sheriff gets out of his car. “What can I do for you, Sheriff?”

“Jeff.” Sheriff Valenti tips his hat in his direction before looking toward Liz. “Just had a couple questions for Liz, here.”

Knowing Jim’s obsession with his daughter, Jeff steps between them and says, “Well, we’re running late. We have to get to the airport so Liz won’t miss her flight.”

“Kyle told me she’s going to Florida…to visit her aunt.” Jim says skeptically.

“Yes, she is.” Jeff will be glad when Liz can get out of here and away from Jim’s curiosity about her.

“Why the rush, Liz? There wouldn’t happen to be someone else there that you’re going to see, would there?” Jim questions, hoping to see some reaction from Liz.

Liz turns to him and says, “If I were, it wouldn’t be any of your business. But I’ll tell you why I’m leaving so soon after graduating. So I can get away from
you. You’ve done everything you could to destroy my life, but you won’t succeed. I’m getting away from this town and from you, and there’s nothing you can do to stop me. Have fun chasing your aliens, Mr. Valenti. I really hope you find whatever it is you’re looking for someday. In the meantime, I’m going to delight in the fact that I never have to see you again.”

Maria sees a flash of something cross the Sheriff’s face…regret, sadness? But it’s gone quickly before he smiles stiffly and turns back toward his truck.

Minutes later, Alex and Maria stand with their arms around each other, waving as the Parker’s car heads down the street and out of town. In the years that followed, Liz only went back to Roswell less than a handful of times and only for two or three days at most. Maria went straight to L.A. after she spent a month in Florida with Liz and never went back to Roswell. There was nothing there for her anymore. Alex was the only one to return regularly for breaks and holidays. But after college, his visits home tapered off and his parents came to New York to visit more often instead.


~TBC~

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Post by Angel » Fri Nov 07, 2003 10:13 am

Ding Ding Ding! jjjane gets the prize for figuring it out first. :) As for the thread in his head (hey, that rhymes)...that was the bond to Liz.

extingman, I'll let you in on everything...by the end of the story. ;) *veg*

FloridaGirl, Cal told them back in Roswell that once a bond is broken, it can never be put back. And they can never bond again...it was a one-shot deal.

Looks like everyone has pretty much figured it out in the last part. Yay! Although this next part has the characters figuring it out, I'm happy to see that my faithful readers have gotten it at exactly the time I wanted you to. Thanks for reading...and leaving all the awesome feedback!



Part 27

By 4am, all five of them have found sleep in the waiting room. Michael is slouching in a chair, his head leaning against his hand. Isabel is curled up in a chair in the corner while Alex sleeps sitting up with his head thrown over the back of his chair as Maria rests in his lap. Max is on the floor with his jacket serving as a pillow.

Julie walks in and sees them all sleeping, not wanting to wake them up. But Liz Parker has woken up and she came to see if anyone wanted to see her. She shifts, not sure who she should wake up, when Isabel opens her eyes and sees her standing there.

Blinking away her sleep, Isabel sits up straighter and asks, “Is something wrong?” Thinking the nurse is coming to tell them some bad news.

“No, nothing’s wrong. She’s awake…and I thought one of you would like to see her.” She offers, looking around at the sleeping figures in the room.

Waking up fully, Isabel stands up and says, “Oh. Yah…um, I’m sure they’ll want to.” She walks over to Alex and Maria and gently shakes Maria’s shoulder. “Maria, wake up.”

Maria jerks awake with a start and sits up. “What? What’s wrong?” She looks around, confused to see the nurse standing there.

“Nothing. Liz is awake. She said you could go see her.” Isabel tells her as Alex slowly wakes up.

“Oh my God. Yes, can we?” Maria shakes Alex to wake him totally as she stands up.

“Just two of you for now.” Julie says to them and nods toward Maria and Alex, assuming by their reaction that they’ll be the ones to go with her.

Maria grabs Alex’s arm and they follow Julie as Max and Michael wake up.

“What’s going on?” Michael mumbles as he yawns and stretches.

“Liz is awake.” Isabel tells them.

Max watches Maria and Alex go and wants so badly to go with them. But he’s already seen her twice. She’ll want to see her friends.

When they walk into Liz’s room, Maria rushes to the far side of Liz’s bed and grabs her hand. “Oh Liz…I’m so glad you’re awake.” She sees Liz’s head turn toward her slowly and she tries not to cringe at the bandages, bruises and marks that cover her. Instead, she tries to smile in reassurance.

“Hey.” Liz says weakly as Alex steps next to Maria.

“How do you feel?” Alex asks with concern.

“Better than I look, prob’ly.” Liz winces and brings her hand up to the side of her face.

“God, we were so scared.” Maria whispers and looks Liz over. “I’m so sorry.”

Liz shakes her head. “S’not your fault.” She slurs, still feeling the effects of the drugs in her system. She tries to smile at her friends but it ends up looking like a grimace. “I’m fuzzy.” Her eyes droop when the room looks like it’s starting to tilt.

Alex looks over her I.V.s and says, “They’ve probably got you on some good drugs.” He reaches up and touches her cheek. “But you’re gonna be ok now. Max was here.” He looks up to see the nurses at the desk outside.

Liz closes her eyes and says, “Mmmmaax.” She struggles to keep her eyes open. She doesn’t remember Max being here. “He’s here?”

Maria nods and says, “Yah, and Isabel and Michael. They’ve been here all night.” She smiles slightly at the dreamy look that came to Liz’s face when she slurred Max’s name.

“Mmmmiiiiichael.” Liz mumbles, which causes both Alex and Maria to chuckle.

“We better let you get some more rest, you big druggie.” Alex jokes and leans over to kiss her cheek.

“I love you, chica.” Maria does the same and by the time they’re to the door, Liz’s eyes have shut again in sleep.

As they walk back to the waiting room, they look at each other and both start laughing at the way Liz said Michael’s name. “I would kill to have seen the look on his face if he had heard that.” Maria laughs as they round the corner.

Max, Michael and Isabel are all waiting for them when they walk back in the waiting room. They’re faces turn from anxious to confused when they see Maria and Alex laughing.

When Alex sees Michael, he almost starts laughing harder. Instead he says, “She’s pretty drugged up. But she’s sleeping again.”

“Is she ok? Does she feel ok?” Max asks, wondering what’s so funny.

“I’d say she’s feeling pretty good right now.” Maria smiles at him, before throwing a smirk toward Michael. “The way she was moaning Michael’s name and everything.”

Alex laughs out loud at the looks on Max’s and Michael’s faces…shock and horror on Michael’s, jealousy and anger on Max’s. “Don’t worry Romeo, she was moaning your name, too.” He says to Max.

Maria decides to put them out of their misery and says, “You guys, she barely knew we were there. I think she was just repeating what we were saying. It was just funny as hell.” She sits down and says, “She did say she felt ok, though. I think she’s just really tired and groggy from the drugs.”

Isabel looks at her watch and says, “Well, I probably won’t be getting anymore sleep. I’m going for a coffee run…anyone else want some?”

“I’ll go with you.” Alex offers before turning to Maria. “Maybe you should stay here.” He glances nervously toward the end of the hall, worried that there might still be press out there waiting for her.

Maria nods…resigned. “Get me some coffee, would you? A lot of it?”

Alex smiles at her as Michael gets up to join them. “I’ll try to find you something, you look like shit.” Michael says to Max as he walks away with Alex and Isabel.

Max smiles weakly and slumps back down in a chair.

Moving to sit across from him, Maria says, “He doesn’t hold anything back, does he?” She shakes her head as she looks Max over. Michael’s not too far from the truth, though. She sees that Max is pale and his hands are shaking…along with the dark circles beneath his eyes, he looks like death warmed over. “But he’s right…you do look like shit.”

He smiles up at her and rolls his eyes. “Thanks, but flattery will get you nowhere.”

“Is it because you healed her?” She asks, suddenly concerned.

Max nods and says, “That, and the last couple of days haven’t exactly been relaxing. I just need to sleep…for a very long time.”

“Why don’t you just go home? We’ll call you if anything happens.” Maria feels bad for the guy.

Shaking his head, Max says, “I’m staying until they do the second MRI. I wanna be sure.”

Smiling slightly, Maria looks at him for several moments…thinking back to the boy he used to be. The boy who would spend hours in the Crashdown staring at her friend. The boy who would sit on the other side of the playground in grade school and watch Liz playing with her and Alex. “Have you always loved her?”

Her voice is so soft that Max isn’t sure she actually said anything and he looks up at her. “What?”

She clears her throat and looks him in the eye. “Have you always loved her?”

A protest is fighting its way out of him, as if by reflex. But the look on her face tells him that she already knows the answer to her question. Of course she would know…she always caught him watching Liz when they were kids. She always offered up a sympathetic smile or an encouraging look, but he would look away…blushing from embarrassment at being caught. So instead of denying it, he nods and says, “Yah, always.”

May 1999

“What is he waiting for? A sign from God?” Maria grumbles from the booth she shares with Liz, who is currently on her break. On the other side of the Crashdown, Max Evans and Michael Guerin are sharing another booth and Max is currently on the receiving end of Maria’s evil glare.

“Maria…just drop it. This whole theory of yours is totally based on your imagination.” Liz says, trying to get Maria’s attention.

“I just don’t get it. That boy has been in love with you since grade school. I’d bet my first born on it.” Maria frowns at Liz when she snorts laughter at her statement. “This is the perfect time for him to make his move. It’s the end of the year…a party coming up…”

Shaking her head with a smile, Liz says, “Have you ever considered that he just doesn’t like me that way? I mean, Max Evans would never be interested in someone like me.” Maria notes the shadow that crosses Liz’s face and she once again throws an impatient glance in Max’s direction.

Maria snorts in dismissal of Liz’s comment before changing the subject. “So…we’re going tomorrow night, right?” There’s an annual bon fire party the next night signaling the end of the school year and everyone is going.

Groaning, Liz shifts uncomfortably in her seat. “Do we have to?”

“Come on! We have to go…we’re officially not freshman anymore and we have to celebrate. Alex already said he’d go, but only if you did.” Maria begs and gives Liz her puppy dog face.

Liz rolls her eyes and looks at her watch. “Alright, fine. But right now I have to get back to work.” As she stands up, Maria claps her hands excitedly.

Maria spies Max glancing over at Liz as she stands up and says, “Why don’t you go check on Max’s table.” She bats her eyelashes as Liz smiles indulgently and walks away. Once Liz is in the back room, Maria catches Max’s gaze and gives him an exasperated look followed by one that says, ‘What are you waiting for?’

After tying on her apron and putting her antenna back on, Liz walks out and takes a look around at her tables. Shaking her head with a small smile, she sees that Max and Michael both have empty glasses and she starts to make her way over there…throwing an annoyed look in Maria’s direction.

Just as she’s about to ask them if they want refills, the bell over the door jingles and Liz looks up to see Kyle Valenti walk in and straight over to her. “Liz, can I talk to you for a second?”

Liz looks at him in confusion for a moment, wondering what he wants. Kyle hardly ever talks to her and when he does, it’s only in relation to the history class they shared this last semester. He’s popular…a jock…and they don’t exactly hang around in the same circle of friends.

Shrugging, Liz turns to him and says, “What is it, Kyle?”

He steps up to her and shifts nervously, glancing around briefly before nodding to the empty table they’re standing next to. “Can you…sit for a minute?”

She sits down with him and glances over to see Maria watching in suspicion. She turns her gaze to the left and sees that Max and Michael don’t seem to be paying any attention to her and Kyle. She looks at Kyle and lets him know she’s waiting to hear what he wants to say.

He laughs nervously and says, “I was uh…wondering…if you wanted to go to the party tomorrow night. You know, with me.”

Liz’s mouth drops open slightly and she asks, “Are you asking me out? Like on a date?” Kyle Valenti…the most popular guy in her grade is asking her out? Why? Is it some kind of dare? “You’re not serious?”

“Yah…I’m serious. Really. Look, I know this seems like it’s coming out of nowhere…but…” He shrugs, searching for the right words. “You’re…different.”

“I’m different?” Liz asks, her eyebrows rising.

“No, no…I didn’t mean like…I just…” He sighs and looks at her helplessly. “I meant that you’re different from other girls. And I like you. And I thought we could just hang out.”

Liz can feel the blush creeping up to her face and she smiles…embarrassed. She glances to the side again and freezes when she catches Max looking at her. He looks away quickly, but for that split second she held his gaze she saw something in his eyes. A mixture of resignation, pain, and something else she couldn’t define. He looked so sad. But it couldn’t be because of her…he and Michael must be having a conversation about something that put that look on Max’s face and he happened to glance over at her at the same time she looked at him.

She stares at him for several more moments, but he doesn’t look over again. She can hear Michael whispering something to Max and Max just looks down at the table and says angrily…almost under his breath, “I know…just drop it.”

“Liz?” Liz jerks her head back to Kyle…forgetting about the scene next to her.

“Oh, sorry. I just kind of…sorry.” She smiles at Kyle and says, “I’d really like that…to go with you to the party.”

Kyle smiles and exhales loudly as if he’d been holding his breath. “Great! I’ll pick you up around 7 tomorrow night.”

Liz nods and stands up. “Sounds good. I should really…”

Kyle stands up, too. “Get back to work. Sure. I’ll just see you tomorrow, then.” He gives her a wave and leaves the restaurant.

After Kyle is gone, Liz remembers what she’d been doing before Kyle came in. She turns toward Max and Michael and gestures toward their empty glasses and asks, “Can I get you refills?”

Michael grunts and shoves his glass toward her. A move that Liz is familiar with…Michael’s indication that he does, indeed, want a refill. She grabs his glass and looks at Max. “Max? Refill?”

He doesn’t look up as he says, “No, I’m fine. Thanks.”

Maria meets Liz at the counter as she moves around to fill Michael’s glass. “What was that about? What did Kyle want? Did he ask you out? It looked like he was asking you out.”

Liz smiles and nods her head. “He asked me to go to the party with him tomorrow.”

“Oh my God!” Maria shrieks, causing everyone in the Crashdown to look toward them. “Did you say yes?”

“Yup. You have to come over tonight and help me pick out something to wear.” Liz says.

“You know it.” Maria says, watching Liz walk away. She sees Max look back toward her and she shrugs her shoulders and gives him a sympathetic look, as if to say, ‘You blew it.’


She doesn’t react to his answer, just sits back in her chair with a nod of acknowledgement. “I know you won’t believe me, but it’s the same for her. It’s always been you, Max. Even when we were kids.”

Max stares at her in disbelief. “I don’t think so, Maria. What about Kyle?”

“You never made a move…never showed her any interest. And Kyle did.” She tells him. “Then you were gone. I never understood. All these years, I never got why she couldn’t get over you. But it’s always been you. Every guy she’s gone out with, dated, been with…they’ve all been you. I thought she had some serious mental problems for a while and I begged her to get some help. But I understand now…three years ago, I finally got all my questions answered.”

Max doesn’t know what to say. He looks at Maria in confusion. What’s she saying? That Liz only went out with guys who looked like him? That she’s felt the same thing for him that he’s felt for her since they were little kids?

“You know what I think? I think you two were made to be together. And I don’t mean in that sappy love song way…I mean, seriously. I think something out there, your alien people or whatever…I think they created the two of you to be together. Because that kind of love…it just doesn’t exist in the real world.” Maria shakes her head. “At least not with normal people.”

“I think you’re delirious, Maria. You know Liz is completely human. You’re right though, I’ve always loved her. But it doesn’t matter.”

“Of course it matters. You can both be happy. I know about the bond, she told me. And I know she has the crazy idea that if you weren’t bonded to her, that you wouldn’t love her and she thinks that you can’t be together because then she would never really know for sure. But that’s bullshit and you and I both know it. You need to…”

“Maria.” Max interrupts her nonstop monologue. “There’s more going on than you know. I appreciate your enthusiasm, but there are other issues here that you don’t know about.” He sighs at her looks of irritation. “We found out this morning that our bond was never broken. Cal couldn’t break it, so he put up a barrier in Liz’s mind so that she wouldn’t feel it and so she wouldn’t send out her…signal.”

Maria looks at Max blankly. “Huh? Wait…so you two are still bonded? Both of you? To each other?”

“Not completely. The block in her mind is keeping it from being complete and we have to leave it there, or Liz will be in danger.”

“So leave it there. That doesn’t mean you can’t be together, does it?” She’s not seeing a problem here.

Max closes his eyes and sighs. “The block is temporary. If we were to…if we were together, my energy would knock it down so the bond could be complete.”

Maria’s eyes widen in understanding and she says, “And you know this because…”

“Because it almost happened this morning.” He says, once again wondering why he can’t feel her now.

“Did you ask Cal about it earlier?”

“Yah. He said the bond was too strong…that it had been there for a long time. So he blocked it instead, so that she would be safe. There’s no way to break a bond once it’s been created. Not unless one of us dies.” His forehead wrinkles in thought as he says this and he looks at the crooked beach scene once again, thinking back to what Cal told them on the phone. Thinking about the fact that he can’t feel Liz anymore. Thinking about her injuries…her heart stopping…

He thinks it just as Maria says it. “She did die…kind of. Her heart stopped and they had to resuscitate her.” She says it off-handedly but looks in shock as Max bolts up out of his chair and starts pointing at her with a crazed look on his face.

“That’s it. That’s why. I didn’t even think about it before…you know, I was worried…and there was so much going on…” He’s looking around wildly at the room and she thinks that he’s finally gone over the edge. Maybe she should go find Michael.

She backs up in her seat as he walks toward her with a wild look in his eyes and a smile on his face. “You’re a genius, Maria. You do know that, right?” She’s frozen when he bends over and grabs her face between his hands and plants a big kiss on her lips.

“What the hell are you doing, Maxwell?!” Michael yells as soon as he walks in the room, Isabel following close behind.

“Max!” Isabel cries out and she runs over with Michael getting ready to run interference.

Max doesn’t acknowledge the angry and shocked expressions on everyone’s faces. He stands up and looks at Michael with that same smile on his face. “I know why I can’t feel her.” He declares this like it’s the biggest discovery of the century.

“Feel who? And what are you doing kissing Maria?” Alex asks.

“What?” Michael stops in front of Max, completely confused by the look on his face. He looks down at Maria to see the same look of confusion on her face, knowing it mirrors his own.

“Why I can’t feel Liz anymore. It’s because she died. For a few minutes, she was dead…that’s why our bond isn’t there anymore…that’s why I can’t feel her anymore.” Max looks toward the hallway and says, “Do you think they’ll let me see her? I have to tell her. I have to check…know for sure.”

“Max, she’s asleep.” Isabel walks over to him, putting her hand on his arm in an attempt to calm him down. She can’t remember ever seeing him like this before. He’s…giddy. And giddy isn’t a word she would have ever associated with her brother. Especially since the reason he seems to be giddy is because Liz died for a few minutes. He must be delirious with lack of sleep. Maybe she should get him out of here and take him home.

Max nods enthusiastically. “Yah…yah. You’re right. I’ll wait until she wakes up.” He can’t keep the smile off of his face, though, and he’s anxious to test his theory…to connect with her again and see if the bond is really gone.

“I think he’s gone crazy.” Maria says as she looks up at Michael. “Do aliens go crazy when they’re in love?”

Michael looks at her moment, then says, “I wouldn’t know.” before walking away.

Maria raises her eyebrows as she walks over to Alex. Letting out a big, noisy breath, she stretches her arms over her head and asks, “What time is it?”

Alex looks at his watch and says, “4:30.”

She grabs her coffee from him and breathes in the aroma deeply, blows gently across the surface and takes a sip. “Do you think we should call her parents?” She asks Alex.

Alex shrugs and says, “Maybe we should wait and ask her if she wants us to.”

“Did the doctor say what time they would do the follow-up MRI this morning?” Max asks as he paces in front of the doorway. This waiting is killing him, but he’s too wound up now to go back to sleep. He has a quick thought that he should use this time to go find Zan, but he’s reluctant to leave until he’s sure that Liz is ok.

“No, he didn’t say.” Alex says and notices a security guard hovering in the doorway.

“Um, Ms. Deluca.” The man clears his throat and everyone looks toward him. “There’s woman outside, says she’s a friend of yours…Ava? Should I let her through?”

Max and Michael exchange knowing looks and Maria says, “Ava? Yah…she can come back here.” She hesitates for a moment then asks, “I hope you’re not making other people who want to be back here with their family or friends wait outside because I’m here.”

“We’ve diverted other patient’s visitors to another waiting room, ma’am.” He nods to her before leaving.

She had been wondering why they were the only ones here all night…knowing that Liz couldn’t possibly be the only patient in ICU. “I wonder why Ava’s here.” She questions, looking between Max and Michael and not missing the meaningful glances they’re throwing each other.

Max looks at her and says, “I don’t know…we’ll take care of it.” He motions for Michael to follow him out into the hall to wait for her.

Isabel joins them and they form an intimidating front as Ava walks toward them. She looks frightened as she steps up. After she found out what Zan had done, she called every hospital in the phone book until she found out where they’d taken Liz. She knew she had to get down there…knew that Max and the others would come looking for her anyway. This way, she’s at least in a public place where a scene can’t be made.

She’s not surprised to see everyone here already. Zan told her he called and told Isabel that Liz was hurt. She looks up at Max and sees nothing but pure rage.

“Where’s Zan?” He asks her instead.

She maintains eye contact, not wanting him to think she’s not telling him the truth. “I don’t know. He took off.” And she really doesn’t. After she found out what he’d done, he quickly packed some stuff and took off without saying a word to her. He kept mumbling to himself, but she didn’t care to listen and went into the other room. He fucked up…and now she’s gonna have to clean up his mess.

Max studies her, looking for the slightest hint that she’s lying. But he knows she wouldn’t have come down here just to lie to them. She’s not stupid.

“Is she dead?” She asks, barely above a whisper. She already knows it, she saw the truth in Zan’s head.

“No, she’s not.” Max says and looks in confusion as Ava’s head pops up in surprise.

“But…I…she’s not?” Ava is thoroughly confused now. She saw it. The connection in Zan’s head to Liz…it was gone. The only way that could have happened would be if she died.

“You’re surprised.” Isabel notices and wonders why. Did Ava have something to do with Liz’s attack?

Ava shifts on her feet and looks around for anyone else listening. “Look, Zan came back earlier totally freaked out. He was a mess…he looked like a crazy person. And he had blood on his hands. I knew he did somethin’ to her…I knew it then. So I connected to him and saw…it wasn’t there anymore, so I assumed that meant he killed her.”

“What wasn’t there?” Isabel asks, but Max knows. Now he knows why Zan’s been following Liz around all this time.

“The bond.” Max says, still studying Ava. “He’s had it since I claimed her as my queen three years ago.”

“What are you talking about, Max?” Isabel looks at him.

Ava nods and says, “You share the same alien essence, you’re both the king. When you bonded to her, it bonded him to her, too. It’s for safety…he’s the…”

“Back up.” Max finishes for her.

“But…the bond was broken. Cal broke it when we were in Roswell.” Isabel doesn’t understand what’s going on. Max motions for Michael to explain to her what’s going on and he leads Ava down the hall.

“Have you talked to Cal since Roswell?” He asks her. “Did he tell Zan what he did?” He’s wondering why Cal didn’t fill him in with this bit of information and he feels his anger rise another notch.

“No. We figured it out after we got back.” She tells him.

“Why? Why did he do this to Liz tonight?” He asks, wondering how he could if he had the same bond to Liz that he did.

She shakes her head and looks up at him. “I don’t know. I think he snapped or somethin’.”

“You don’t know where he is, then?” Max asks her. When she shakes her head, he says, “But you could help find him. You know where he would go…you must have some sort of connection to him.”

“I’m not gonna help you hunt him down and kill him.” She says defiantly. “He knows that’s what you’re gonna do, it’s why he took off. He’s scared…and he did a really shitty thing. But I’m not helpin’ you kill him.”

Max takes a deep breath and runs his hand through his hair. “No one said anything about killing him. Besides, I don’t think you want to be responsible for him doing this to someone else. I can’t go around healing all of his victims.”

Ava rolls her eyes and says, “He ain’t gonna do this to no one else. You don’t understand what he’s been like.”

“I don’t care what he’s been like…I don’t care that he’s scared, and I certainly don’t care about anything he might be going through right now.” Max advances on her and pins her to the wall with his steely gaze…one that’s turned from golden brown to pitch black. In a measured, even voice, Max says, “He will pay for what he’s done. And if you don’t help me find him, you will too.”

Isabel and Michael step up to them when they hear the change in Max’s voice and Isabel gasps when she sees her brother. His eyes have turned completely black and what’s even more shocking is that Ava’s eyes have turned as well.

Michael takes a small step back, not sure why he does exactly.

Ava bows her head after Max’s proclamation and says meekly, “Of course, my lord.”

Michael watches Max nod his head at Ava and take a step back. “What the hell is this ‘my lord’ shit?” He looks over at Isabel who’s watching the scene in front of her in fascination.

Isabel steps close to Michael, not able to take her eyes off of Max and Ava. “I don’t think that’s Max.”

~TBC~

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Angel
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Post by Angel » Fri Nov 14, 2003 11:29 am

mareli, there will definitely be more M&M interaction, as well as A&I.

Gigo, you're right. Cal told them earlier that once a bond is broken another one can't be formed...ever.

vegas, you've got a good understanding of what's going on and why I've done what I've done with the bond. ;)

I know some of you think it's bad that Max & Liz don't have a bond anymore. But that's not how I perceive it. Actually, I encourage you to read vegas' post for a good insight into the reasons why it's good they don't have one. Also, I think it's much better to have Max & Liz love each other free and clear of a bond. I don't like the idea of something making them want to be together.

So happy to see all the new readers! Thanks so much for the feedback!!


Part 28

There are very few times in his life that Michael can remember ever being afraid of Max. Generally, Michael considers himself bigger and stronger than Max…and though they’ve had few occasions to fight over the years, Max is always the first to back off.

Max is the practical one, the smart one, the one with the college degree and the office job that pays their bills. He’s always been steady and dependable…and always predictable. Michael on the other hand has always thought of himself as the protector. He always watches their backs…is always aware of what’s going on around them. He researches their co-workers and friends to make sure they’re safe. He’s the only one who seems to care about their vulnerability…the only one who cares about their safety. And he and Max often butt heads over Michael’s diligence. Max thinks he’s being paranoid, and Michael thinks Max is being lazy. But ultimately, Michael knows he’s physically stronger and he guesses that if they got into a full-blown battle of powers, Michael’s pretty sure he could blow Max away.

So he finds himself looking at Max now and is shaken when he realizes that he’s terrified of the Max standing in front of him now. There’s a power radiating from him that Michael can feel in his bones and he even feels Isabel take a step back. She’s right, this isn’t Max.

He catches the security guard at the end of the hall paying a little too much attention to them and says, “Maxwell, we’re being watched. Back off.”

To his surprise, Max immediately steps back although his gaze never leaves Ava. “You stay here until we know Liz is ok, then you’re going to take us to find Zan.” Max says to Ava before turning around and leaving the three of them gaping at him.

Michael sees that Ava’s eyes are back to their normal blue and he asks, “What was that?”

She shakes her head slightly and looks at him in confusion. “What was what?”

“That thing…with your eyes.” He clarifies for her, impatient.

“Our alien sides.” She says simply, as if he should know this. “You haven’t ever turned before?”

“Turned?” Isabel asks.

“The people we used to be…in our other life.” She looks at them both in question. “They come out when we need them.”

Michael watches Max walk down the hall and through the double doors to go outside and he says, “I’ll be right back.” As he follows Max, he thinks about what Ava just told them and what he saw. That’s never happened to any of them before…not that he knows of. Has it happened to Max and he never said anything?

When he gets to the reception area, he sees that there are in fact a few reporters still lingering around. They give him a disinterested look when they realize he’s not Maria and he slips past them to go outside.

It’s dark and chilly when he steps outside and the old saying, ‘It’s always darkest just before dawn.’ runs through his head. He glances around and spots Max leaning against a square pillar a few feet away. He walks up and leans on the adjacent side. Max can’t see him, but Michael’s pretty sure Max knows he’s there.

They stand in silence for a few minutes, both caught up in their own thoughts. Max looks up at the stars and feels a hatred for them that he’s never felt. When he was a kid, he used to look up at them and wonder which one was his home. As an adult, he would look up at them in curiosity and think about all the other worlds that were out there.

But now, he has this irrational need for them to go away. They’re always there…mocking him and reminding him of what he is. Reminding him that he’ll never have a normal life, that the people he loves will always be in danger because of what he is.

He knows Michael is there, waiting for him to say something…or not. But the fact that he came out here to be here if he needed him calms him. “I’m responsible.” He says quietly.

Michael turns his head toward Max and can only see his shoulder around the corner. He doesn’t respond, knowing Max doesn’t need his empty reassurances.

“All the things we’ve seen…those other timelines. I’ve realized tonight that you were right all those years ago.” Max’s voice is quiet, tinged with regret. “Letting people into our lives, telling them our secret…it’ll only end badly and all we do is put them in danger.”

Michael thinks for a minute, then says, “Maybe.” He sighs and runs his hand through his hair. “Maybe not.” When they were kids, the three of them agreed to never tell anyone what they are. And when Max healed Liz that day in the Crashdown, Michael was the most vocal about how wrong Max was. Through the years that followed, he constantly rode Max about the mistake he made and how they were all going to have to pay for that mistake for the rest of their lives.

But seeing glimpses of the other timelines, he can’t help but think about the fact that the same people always seem to be a part of their lives. It’s like it’s always been fated to happen and no matter what decisions they make along the way, the end result is always the same. Liz, Maria and Alex always come into their lives anyway. Is there some great, cosmic plan out there for them? Always ensuring that these three humans become part of their destiny?

I’m missing something in all of this.” Max says, still looking up to the sky.

Michael looks to the ground and snorts a derisive laugh. “I think we’re missing a lot of something in all of this.”

“If everything stems back to the shooting in the Crashdown…why let the shooting happen?” Max muses. “Why not go back in time to before the shooting and prevent it?”

Leaning his had back against the cold brick, Michael shrugs to himself. “Dunno. There must be a reason. You went back in time twice and it had to have been an option each time that you chose not to take.”

“I couldn’t have been that selfish, could I?” Max turns now and faces Michael. “I can’t help but think that I chose not to prevent the shooting because I was too selfish to live my life knowing Liz Parker didn’t know what I am. That I was too selfish to let her go completely. And that thought terrifies me.”

Michael just looks at Max a moment and sees the strain on his face. He’s been thinking about every possible angle of this and analyzing it, even though he hasn’t said anything. And it’s eating away at him. “Maybe you were. But I know you Maxwell. If stopping the shooting had been the best and safest choice, you would have made it. Even if you had to sacrifice Liz knowing. There has to be more going on here than we know. And you need to accept that we may never find out those reasons.”

Max rubs wearily at his eyes and says, “When did you turn into Mr. Patient and Logical?”

Michael looks away and smirks. “A few years ago…when I grew up.”

“I guess I must have missed that.” Max smirks back at him and turns to lean against the pillar again.

“What was that back there…with Ava? Has that happened to you before?” Michael asks.

Max sighs. “I don’t know…I couldn’t even control what I was saying. I don’t know where that came from. I was just so furious that she was defending him.”

“Ava said it was your alien sides coming out. She seemed surprised that it’s never happened to us before.” Michael explains and waits for Max to respond. When he doesn’t, he asks, “What are we gonna do about Zan?”

Max is silent and for a moment Michael doesn’t think he’s going to respond. “I want him dead.” The tone of Max’s voice sends a chill down Michael’s spine. “But I don’t know if I can kill him.”

Michael nods, knowing that Max would never be able to. But what kind of justice can there be for Zan. They can’t exactly call the police. He thinks about the other two that are with the FBI now…or at least he thinks they’re there. Who knows what happened to them over the last three years. Are they still alive? Did they escape? Is the government performing experiments on them…finding out all their secrets? There’s no way to know.

“I will. If that’s what you want.” Michael offers.

Max steps away from the column to stand in front of Michael and looks at him with no small amount of admiration for his willingness to do something that he, himself, would be unable to do. “As much as I want him to pay for what he’s done, there’s something wrong with this whole thing. First, he called us to tell us that Liz needed my help. Whatever happened, he couldn’t heal Liz before the cops stumbled across them and chased him. Second, Ava thought Liz was dead when she got here. Why? If Zan thought he’d killed Liz, why would he call us to go help her?”

Max runs his hands over his face, scrubbing the weariness away. “Thank you, though…for offering.” He tells Michael sincerely as he puts his hand on Michael’s shoulder.

Michael nods and walks with Max back inside the hospital.

~~~~~~~~~~

At just after nine in the morning, a new nurse on duty tells them that Dr. Franklin is on his way in and they’re taking Liz down for an MRI. They’re also told that Liz is awake and alert, which helps further everyone’s belief that Max was successful in healing her.

By 10:30, Maria has just about had enough of the waiting room. “Where is he?” She questions as she paces around the room…stepping out of it for a glance down the hallway on every pass.

Alex is getting antsy with Maria’s pacing, and he can see that everyone is on edge. They’ve all been holed up in this room for twelve hours with little sleep. He has little doubt about what they’ll find with Liz’s MRI and he hopes they’ll be able to take her home soon. He’s somewhat surprised that Max, Isabel and Michael decided to stay all night. But he’s grateful. Especially to Isabel, who has been a big help in keeping Maria distracted. The two of them have spent a lot of time talking and he knows that Isabel has done wonders in keeping Maria calm over the course of the night.

Max and Michael have stuck together most of the night and morning, often huddled together talking quietly. He’s pretty sure their intense discussions have to do with Liz, but he doesn’t know why. Max doesn’t look well. He’s pale and shaky and looks like he could use a few days of solid sleep. Healing must take a lot out of him and he’s watched Isabel and Michael go out of their way to take care of him by bringing him juice and food from the vending machines.

What Alex can’t figure out is why Ava is here. Yes, she helped them get Liz back all those years ago, but he can’t figure out what her connection in this whole situation is. It’s not like she and Liz have kept in touch over the years.

Everyone looks up when Dr. Franklin enters the room. He’s carrying a clipboard and he looks around, surprised to see that the group of people in here has apparently been here all night. He glances around as they all step toward him anxiously, his gaze finally settling on the man who said he was the fiancé. “We’ve got the MRI results back and it looks good. The bleeding has completely stopped.”

They all have the good sense to act surprised and relieved before Maria asks, “Can we take her home?”

Dr. Franklin looks at her and says, “Not quite yet. Considering the condition she was in when she was brought in last night, I’d like to keep her here.”

“How long does she have to stay here?” Alex asks.

“At least until tomorrow, and that’s if I see that everything is ok with her heart and her head during the next 24 hours. Although, she seems to have recovered remarkably since the last time I saw her. We talked for a bit and after she’s moved, I’m sending a staff psychologist in to talk with her.” He sees the questioning looks on their faces and continues. “It’s standard after such a severe attack and also part of her coverage as an employee of NYU.”

“Will we be able to see her when you move her?” Maria asks.

The doctor nods and says, “She’ll be moved here shortly and you’ll be able to see her all you want…within the hours of visitation, of course.”

Maria steps forward and says, “So, she’s ok, though…right?”

“Physically, I think she’ll make a complete recovery. Like I said, she’s doing great right now…much better than I expected.” He waits to see if anyone has any more questions before stepping back and saying, “I’ll have someone let you know where she’s being moved and I’ll be back to check on her later this afternoon.”

“Thank you.” Alex says.

The doctor nods and looks back to Maria. “She’s asking to see you and Alex.” He glances toward Alex, trying to remember if that’s his name. “Why don’t you come on back for a few minutes before she’s moved. She should be more coherent this morning…I took her off the morphine.”

As the three of them walk out of the waiting room, Max watches them go sadly. He knows he shouldn’t feel rejected because Liz asked for Maria and Alex and not him; they’re her friends. But a small part of him was hoping she would ask for him. He looks at Michael and Isabel and can see how tired they are and he stops Alex before he reaches the hall.

“We’re gonna…I think we’re gonna head out. It sounds like Liz is going to be fine. If you need me, just call.” He says, his gaze wandering to the floor.

Alex looks at him quizzically. “You sure? You don’t wanna wait to see her?”

“I’ll come back later…after she’s settled in her new room.”

Alex nods and says, “Ok. Max…thank you…for everything.”

Max gives Alex a small smile and nods his head before Alex walks off to join Maria. When they disappear around the corner, Max turns to Ava and says, “We’re going home…you’re coming with us.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Liz’s eyes light up as soon as she sees Maria and Alex and a broad smile appears on her face. “Hi!”

“Hey, Lizzie.” Alex says as he approaches her and gives her an awkward hug while trying to dodge the equipment surrounding her bed. “How’re you feeling?”

“Good. Were you guys here all night?” She looks over at Maria when she grabs her hand, bringing it up for a small kiss.

“Of course we were. You think we’d just leave you here?” Maria says with incredulity. “Even though we had to sleep on ugly, uncomfortable chairs.”

A look of mock disbelief comes to Alex’s face. “What are you talking about? I seem to recall you using me as a pillow…not the chairs.”

“Awww…I’m sorry Alex. I’m forever in your debt. Although, I think Max had the right idea with the floor.” Maria laughs.

“Max? He’s here?” Liz asks suddenly.

Alex and Maria exchange a look before Alex says, “He just left, actually. But yah…don’t you remember?” Liz shakes her head. “He, Isabel and Michael have been here all night. Max…healed you.” He whispers the last part, throwing a glance toward the door to make sure no one was near.

“Oh.” Liz says, her gaze drifting away from them. She vaguely remembers Max, but thought she was dreaming.

“Do you remember what happened to you last night?” Maria asks, scared that Liz lost her memory.

Liz shrugs and says, “Yah…kind of. I remember Zan, and then…” She turns her head away, not wanting to think about it.

“Zan?!” Alex and Maria both exclaim.

“He’s the one who did this to you?” Alex demands. But he knows. Now that he thinks back to Max and Michael’s hushed conversations…Ava showing up and looking scared. They knew and didn’t tell him and Maria. “Dammit.” He curses under his breath and turns from the bed. Why would they keep this to themselves? Are they protecting Zan?

“Oh my God. We should tell Max and Michael!” Maria says excitedly.

“They already know.” Alex says with clenched teeth. He can feel his face redden with anger and he sees Liz watching him with concern. Forcing himself to calm down, he smiles at her and says, “I’m just glad you’re ok now.”

Liz nods and wonders why Max would leave now if he’d been there all night. He probably just wanted to make sure she was ok before he left. Her eyes drift toward the glass that looks out over the nurse’s station and the hallway and she hopes she might catch a glimpse of him. But he’s not there.

Seeing the look on her face, Maria says, “He said he’s coming back later when you’re settled in your new room. They don’t allow a lot of visitors in here.”

Liz looks around the cramped room. There’s hardly enough room for both Maria and Alex with all the equipment. “I really just wanna go home.” She gives Maria a sad smile, knowing the doctor said he wanted to keep her here longer.

“I know. Maybe just another day, though. Then you get to be spoiled senseless by me and Alex.” Maria says with a bright smile.

Liz smiles back and says, “Cool. Will you get me a bell?”

“Don’t push it, Parker.” Alex says with a laugh.

~~~~~~~~~~

Silence reigned for the four aliens as they made their way back to the loft. Max didn’t talk and Michael and Isabel took their cue from him and kept silent as well. Ava followed, knowing she didn’t really have a choice in the matter.

She can tell that Max is physically exhausted and probably wants to regroup before going out to find Zan. She’s not sure what they’re gonna do to Zan, but she knows that she’ll have to help them find him. He can’t have any hope of hiding.

Having only been to the loft one other time, she immediately sits on the couch when they get there. Max tells them he’s going to take a shower and Michael and Isabel start foraging around for something to eat. Ava glances at her watch and sees that it’s almost noon and she settles back, thinking about Zan. Their relationship hasn’t ever been a smooth one, but in some way they’ve always helped take care of each other; knowing that they were all they had.

Cal left them when they were 12. He took off without a backward glance, calling them rejects and saying he wasn’t going to waste any more of his life acting like a nanny. He told them that he couldn’t help them anymore and that they had to start making a life for themselves on this planet because this was where they were staying.

The money he left them ran out quickly and they couldn’t afford the rent for the apartment they’d lived in with Cal since they broke out of the pods. So they went back to the only other place they knew would be safe…the abandoned underground area where their pods were hidden.

Lonnie and Zan were constantly at each other’s throats and Rath never helped things. Zan always protected Ava from Lonnie and Rath…from their torment and teasing. And as she got older, she returned the favor when her mindwarping power developed more fully. She helped him sneak away without Lonnie knowing…sometimes for days at a time. And she would use her powers to wipe things from Lonnie and Rath’s minds if Zan asked her to.

Things got really bad when Nicholas and the other shifter contacted them. Lonnie was all fired up to go back to their planet. Nicholas fed her a bunch of bullshit about Khivar and how much he loved her and wanted her home. She wanted nothing more than to get out of the sewers and take her place by his side.

But Zan didn’t trust them…never did. They did everything they could to get him to go to the summit and things came to a head when he refused to meet with the emissaries of the five planets. But when Rath shoved Zan in front of the truck, Ava used her mindwarp to make Lonnie and Rath think the truck hit and killed him. When, in reality, Zan used his shield and flattened himself to the pavement as the truck passed over him. Afterwards, he saw what Ava was doing and took his chance to get away…leaving Ava helplessly behind.

He contacted her several times over the years to check on her. But she couldn’t leave without raising Lonnie’s suspicions as well as the shifter’s. Besides, what else was she gonna do? She never had the same goals as the others…to find the king and go back to their planet. But she always thought it was a good idea to stick around so she would know what they were up to.

She saw her chance at a new life that day they kidnapped Liz. It was the opportunity she’d waited a lifetime for…the chance to get rid of Lonnie, Rath, Nicholas and the shifter. The chance at a new beginning.

But when they returned from Roswell and she agreed to move in with Zan, she knew something was wrong immediately.

Three years ago…

“What’s up with you?” Ava walks back into their apartment with Zan one afternoon, three months after getting back to New York from Roswell.

“What’re you talkin’ about?” Zan asks, annoyed, as he avoids her and stalks into the living room.

She follows and throws her keys on the counter. “I’m talkin’ about you sniffin’ after Liz Parker like some dog in heat.” He had just spent three hours leading her around the city following Liz like some kind of freaky stalker. “And don’t tell me again about how you’re just keepin’ an eye on her.”

“You jealous?” He smirks at her. But she can see it’s bravado…she can see he’s trying to distract her from the subject.

Ava narrows her eyes at him, telling him she’s not buying his bullshit. “You wanna fuck her, then fuck her. You know I don’t give a shit what you do. But we both know that ain’t what this is. This ain’t you, Zan. Just tell me what’s goin’ on. Maybe I can help.”

He studies her for a moment and his shoulders slump. She knows he can’t keep things from her for very long and he knows she can see right through him. She watches his face screw up in confusion as he falls back onto the couch. “I dunno. Shit, Ava…I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

She walks over and stands in front of him, concern etched on her face. Hesitantly, she asks, “You want me to take a look?” Asking to see into his head is probably fruitless because that’s his number one rule for her…never mess with his mind. The first time she did it when they were kids, he was so furious he threw her down some stairs with his powers…breaking her leg. He was so horrified at what he’d done, he ran down and knelt over her…sobbing that he was sorry and helplessly running his hands over her limbs. That was the day they found out he could heal. After that, she promised him she’d never go into his head unless he asked. And when her mindwarping powers developed, she promised to never use that power on him either.

He sits in silence a moment and she’s sure he’s going to turn her down. But she’s surprised when he looks up at her…defeated…and says, “Yah. I think maybe you should.”

She stares at him in shock before nodding and kneeling down on the floor between his legs. Reaching her hands up to each side of his head, she says, “I won’t do nothin’. Just look…I swear.”

He nods and says, “I trust you.”

Nodding in return, she takes a deep breath and forms the easy connection between them. It doesn’t take her long to find what’s wrong with him and she quickly breaks the connection and drops her hands. “I don’t understand.” She shakes her head and stands up.

“What? What’d you find?” He asks anxiously.

“You got a bond.” She says simply…both of them knowing the implications of that.

He takes a deep breath and says, “That asshole. He fuckin’ lied.”


He tried to keep it under control over the years. But it steadily drove him crazy. And more violent as time went by. Granted, they never had a sweet, sappy relationship. They always fought and they fought hard, tough and dirty. And they both took pleasure in each other any way they wanted. But lately when they’d have sex, she would hear him call out Liz’s name and she always knew he was picturing Liz in his mind.

But she never thought he would go this far. Sure, she was worried about him. But they always knew they’d be faced with the possibility of an unwanted bond. They were back-up. They knew their place. She just wouldn’t have ever thought he’d be capable of what he did. Something had to have made him snap…drove him over the edge.

She’s brought of her reverie when she sees Max walk into the room. He goes up to the loft briefly before returning with a black address book and the phone. He leans against the counter and dials the phone, watching Ava out of the corner of his eye.

When Max hears the now familiar voice answer on the other end, he cuts it off by saying, “We’re not going to Roswell. You’re coming here. Tomorrow.” He hangs up the phone then, and tosses it onto the counter. “I’m gonna go get some sleep. Make yourself at home, but I expect you to be here when I wake up.” He says evenly to Ava before walking out and into the kitchen.

She bites her lip, understanding how he wouldn’t trust her. She doesn’t exactly trust him, either. Shortly after Max leaves, Isabel walks in and says, “There are some books and magazines up in the loft. Or you could watch TV. We’re gonna get some sleep, too. It’s been a long night. Just help yourself to whatever you want in the kitchen.”

Ava smiles at her and says, “Thanks. But I think I might catch some shuteye, too.”

“There are blankets and some pillows in that chest over there.” Isabel points to the far wall. “We plan on going back to the hospital around 5.” Then she leaves Ava alone as she and Michael head back to their rooms.

Eyeing the remote on the coffee table and the big screen TV, Ava shrugs and thinks she’ll just watch a little TV and take a nap. She’s pretty sure that was Cal that Max called earlier and she has a feeling she’s gonna need all the rest she can get.

~TBC~

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Angel
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Post by Angel » Sat Nov 22, 2003 9:27 am

Thanks for all the great feedback! this new part is gonna have to tide you over for a little longer. I'm going out of town for Thanksgiving and won't be back until the 2nd. But I don't think there's anything too traumatic in this part, so I should be leaving anyone hanging. ;) Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!!

Part 29

Her heart races as she struggles to keep up with him. She stumbles a few times and feels the painful jerk of her small wrist being crushed in his grip. What is he doing? Where is he taking her?

Sirens in the distance. Maybe one will come close and see…save her. But her hope gets dashed when she’s pulled into the alley.

His body pressed roughly against hers…bruising her. Her wrists scraping against the bricks above her head. She turns her head to the side and sees the dumpster…smelling the stench of rotting garbage. Her gaze drops down to the ground and she sees a rat scurrying underneath the rusting metal…searching for a meal. She’s not scared of the rat. Funny, usually she’d be screaming if she saw a rat so close to her.

No, she’s not scared of it because right now there’s something scarier grinding against her…grinding and groping so hard that she thinks she’ll just disappear into the bricks scraping against her back.

She looks back at him when he grabs her face and she sees his golden eyes so close…the individual hairs of his eyebrows…the stubble forcing its way out along his jaw-line…that freckle on his lip. His soft lips that she felt just this morning on her neck. No…not these lips. Different lips. Max’s lips.

“That’s it baby. I want you so bad.” His velvet voice growls in her ear. She can’t fight him. She can only hang limply, pinned between him and the brick. She can feel his hands on her wrists and she tries half-heartedly to wrench them free but they only tighten their hold.


Her eyes fly open and Max smiles at her, his hand stroking hers. But her eyes only open wider and she screams at him as she pulls her hand away from him and scrambles across the bed. “Get away from me!”

Maria and Alex run over to her as Max backs slowly away from the bed. He looks on in confusion as she continues to look at him like he’s a monster about to attack…and realization hits him. He looks just like Zan…and waking up to see him hovering over her probably scared her. “I’m sorry.” He says softly before looking up at Maria. She glances over at him in sympathy and he says, “I’m gonna go…out there.” He nods his head toward the hallway and turns to leave as Maria and Alex try to calm Liz down.

He can still hear Liz’s cries as he shuts the door behind him and finds Isabel on the other side waiting for him. “What happened?”

“She woke up and saw me.” Max says, giving Isabel a pointed look…knowing she’ll understand.

Her eyes widen with understanding. “Oh.” Then she frowns in concern. “Are you ok?”

He nods, walking with her down the hall. “Yah. I didn’t think.”

“Don’t beat yourself up about it. How were you supposed to know that she’d freak when she saw you?” Isabel tries to defend her brother, knowing he’ll feel guilty about it.

“I should have anticipated it, though. I was just so…anxious to see her. I forgot that I look just like him.” They reach a small vending area where Michael and Ava are waiting and Max takes a deep breath. “Why don’t you guys go see how she’s doing? See if Maria and Alex need anything.” He looks at Ava and says, “Ava and I need to have a discussion.”

“Are you sure you’re ok?” Isabel asks once again…concerned.

“I’m fine.” Max waves them off. “Go. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

As Isabel and Michael walk toward Liz’s room, Michael asks, “What was that all about?”

“I guess Liz woke up and saw Max there and…didn’t react very well. I heard her scream at him to get out.” Isabel explains.

“Hm.” Michael grunts with nothing else to say.

Isabel cracks the door open slightly when they get there and she peeks her head in. “It’s just me and Michael.” She says as Maria waves them in.

Michael follows her and they step in, just inside the door. Alex is sitting next to Liz, who is wiping her eyes with a Kleenex.

Isabel doesn’t know what to say…relieved when Maria speaks up. “Did Max leave?”

Isabel glances at Liz before saying, “He took Ava somewhere to talk about something. He said he’d be back in a little while.”

“And what are they talking about?” Alex asks, his back to Isabel. His tone is dripping with accusation and both Isabel and Michael frown.

Isabel looks up at Maria in question, only to see her shrug and hand Liz another Kleenex…as if to say, this is your problem to deal with and I’m not helping you.

“Alex…um…I don’t…” Isabel starts to deny what she knows when Alex turns around and pins her with a gaze so icy she feels the chill down to her bones. She realizes then that he knows Zan attacked Liz. And he thinks they’re trying to hide it. There’s no point in covering anything up now. “I guess you know what they’re talking about.”

“Maybe we should argue about this later.” Michael interrupts the staring contest between Isabel and Alex and makes his way closer to the bed. When Liz looks up at him, he offers her a small smile and says, “Hey. How you doing?”

Liz laughs slightly, blowing her nose, and says, “I’m ok. Just got startled a little when I woke up.” She throws the Kleenex away and says, “I hope I didn’t scare Max off with my screaming.”

“He’s a big boy. He’ll live.” Michael says with a grin. “It takes more than a woman screaming at him to scare Max off. If not, he would have left Isabel on her own a long time ago.”

Liz laughs as Isabel scoffs, “Michael!” She looks offended, right before she gets a gleam in her eye. “If anyone around here screams like a woman, it’s you when you see a spider.”

Even Alex laughs at that as Michael’s face turns red and he shoots a death glare at Isabel. “Spiders can be dangerous.” This just makes everyone laugh harder and causes Michael’s face to turn a deeper shade of red.

~~~~~~~~~~

“I’m going to find him tonight.” Max tells Ava when they reach an inner courtyard to the hospital.

Ava nods and says, “You won’t kill him, right? At least let him explain.”

“I won’t kill him. But I need you to tell me the places he’s likely to have gone.”

“You don’t want me to go with you?” She asks.

“No. He’ll know when you’re near and he may bolt. I’m taking Michael.”

“He never woulda done something like this if he was himself. You have to believe that. I know you don’t care, but he was terrified. And I’ve never seen him like that. Will you at least listen to what he has to say?” She doesn’t know what else to tell him…doesn’t know how else to protect Zan.

“I already said I won’t kill him. What is it you want me to…” He sees the fear in her eyes and he understands what she’s afraid of. “You’re scared I’ll turn him over to Cal.”

She nods and he says, “I don’t know what we’re gonna do yet. I can’t give you any guarantees. But I’ll hear him out. That’s all I can offer.” Her shoulders sag in relief…it’s the best she can hope for…and she tells Max about the most likely places he’ll find Zan.

~~~~~~~~~~

After everyone’s done laughing at Michael’s expense, Alex stands up and says to Isabel, “Can I talk to you for a minute. Out there?” He nods his head toward the hallway.

“Sure.” Isabel agrees quickly, throwing a glance to Michael telling him it’s ok.

Gaining some privacy down the hall a ways, Alex turns to Isabel and asks, “I’m assuming you guys have a really good reason for keeping the fact that Zan attacked Liz a secret.” He levels his gaze at her, hoping she tells him they do.

“Alex, we didn’t mean to. I didn’t even know until Ava showed up. I guess Max saw it when he healed Liz, but he only told Michael. He didn’t think you needed anything more to worry about when we weren’t sure Liz would be ok.” She sighs and cuts him off when she sees he’s ready to argue. “We weren’t trying to hide it from you. There just wasn’t anything you could do about it, and Max was trying to decide what to do with him.”

“You mean Max was worried about your secret.” Alex accuses. “He was worried we’d tell the cops and lead them to Zan…thereby risking your exposure.”

“That’s not it.” Isabel defends, then waits a beat. “But it’s a valid concern if that’s what you would really do.” She assumes an offensive stance, suddenly concerned about what Alex is thinking of doing.

Alex sees the look in Isabel’s eyes and sighs dejectedly. “You don’t trust us. After everything…you still can’t trust us?” He searches her face, sees that he’s right. “If we were gonna turn you in, we would have done it three years ago. I’m sorry that you probably can’t ever trust us completely…I really am. And I understand. But you should have told us about Zan.”

Isabel doesn’t know what to say. Her natural inclination is to start trying to defend her actions and feelings, but for some reason doesn’t think she needs to defend herself to Alex. “I’m sorry Alex. Maybe Max should have told you, but there’s something you don’t understand. We live our lives as a unit. The three of us…we don’t make decisions or take action until we all agree. We can’t just make decisions…like telling you about Zan…without discussing the ramifications first. I’m sure he wasn’t planning on keeping it from you forever. He was waiting for a chance to talk to all of us and he was waiting to make sure Liz was ok.”

Alex takes in what she says, thinking about it and understanding. He still doesn’t like it, but there’s no reason to argue about it now. “So you guys must have been pretty pissed when Max healed Liz that day she was shot.”

Isabel snorts and says, “You could say that. But it’s not like we could have had a quick pow wow on what to do. Liz would have died. Max made a judgment call…one that we’ve been living with ever since.”

“Well, I can’t say I’m sorry he did it.” Alex says.

Isabel smiles and says, “I’m not either.”

Smiling back at Isabel for a moment, Alex shakes his thoughts back to what he brought Isabel out here to ask her. “So what are you guys planning to do with Zan?”

“We need to find him first. Ava said he took off, but she’s going to help find him. After that…I don’t know. I don’t think Max knows yet, either.” Isabel explains.

“I guess you can’t exactly turn him in.” Alex frowns, unable to think of a suitable punishment for what Zan did. Especially for someone with alien powers.

“Ava said he was bonded to Liz also. That at least explains his fascination with her. It doesn’t explain his attack, though. If anything, it makes it more confusing.”

“He was bonded to Liz, too? Is it because he’s basically Max…because they share the same alien DNA?” Alex is thrown at this latest revelation.

Isabel shrugs and shakes her head. “I think it has something to do with our alien essence and that Zan is Max’s back-up. I don’t know that much about it…this whole bond thing kind of freaks me out to be honest.”

“I can see how it would. I can’t imagine being tied emotionally to someone for the rest of your life if you didn’t want to be.” Alex’s curiosity is peaked and he has even more questions than answers. But for now, he wants to get back in to Liz and Maria. “Come on…let’s get back.”

~~~~~~~~~~

“I’m sorry they all showed up at the hospital.” Liz apologizes to Maria after hearing about the press showing up. She knows how much Maria hates having her privacy invaded.

Maria waves a dismissive hand at her. “Please. Like it’s your fault.” She rolls her eyes. “Besides, you should have seen Michael here fend them all off. He’s a regular bodyguard-in-training. Maybe I should hire him for my personal security whenever I’m in New York.” She winks at Liz dramatically to show that she’s joking.

Liz smiles and looks over to Michael. “Looking for a job, Michael?”

Michael scoffs and says, “Like I’d wanna follow her around all day.”

“Hey!” Maria protests. “I happen to lead a very exciting life and you should be so lucky to be allowed to follow me around.”

“Whatever. I’m sure all that excitement involves carrying lots of shopping bags and hailing cabs for you.” Michael smirks at Maria. “Maybe I can hold your purse while you get manicures.”

Maria narrows her eyes at him in mock indignation before turning back to Liz. “I’ve never needed security when I’m here, and I don’t plan on starting now. This was just a fluke…I should hope that I won’t be making regular appearances at the hospital that require a full security detail.”

“Let’s hope not.” Liz smiles at her friend and looks toward the door.

Maria notices her and says, “You know, the door’s still there. Not going anywhere.”

Liz rolls her eyes at Maria and says, “I was just hoping the doctor would come back soon and tell me I could go home.”

“Uh huh.” Maria says, unconvinced.

Ignoring Maria’s knowing look, Liz turns back to Michael. “So, did your paintings sell at the benefit the other night?”

Michael nods and says, “Yah.”

“I meant it. They were really good.” Liz turns to Maria. “You should have seen them…Michael’s really got a lot of talent.”

“So you’ve said.” Maria says. “Have you got any others that we could see?” She levels her gaze at Michael and notices his discomfort at the discussion turning to him.

He shrugs and says, “Not really. I mean, I have some at the apartment…but they’re not really any good.”

“Well maybe we should be the judges of that. You know, I have some friends…maybe I could get you in touch with a couple of galleries here.” Maria says.

“I don’t need your help.” Michael says quickly before noticing the frown that comes to her face. “I mean…I’d rather just do it on my own.”

Maria nods and says, “Sure. But if you change your mind, just let me know.”

He can tell that he hurt her feelings by refusing her help and tries to lighten the mood. “Plus, you know…being an artist kind of loses its charm if you don’t have to struggle.”

“Right. Because that’s the fun part.” Maria smiles and rolls her eyes.

Isabel and Alex walk in then and Maria looks at Alex. “So, you think we could head back to the apartment after the doctor comes? I’m in serious need of a shower, food that’s not of the vending variety, and some sleep.”

Alex smiles and says, “That’s probably a good idea. Besides, Liz will be coming home soon and we’ll have to stock the freezer with ice cream. Oh, and I guess I need to stop and buy a bell.” He winks at Liz and receives a smile in return.

~~~~~~~~~~

As Max and Ava make their way toward Liz’s room, Ava stops Max and says, “Maybe I should just wait out here.”

Max turns to her and says, “She already knows you’re here. But if you don’t want to go in, it’s up to you.” He waits a few moments and watches as she plants herself against the wall.

“I’ll just wait out here. I don’t wanna upset her.” She says.

He shrugs and turns to the door, opening it just a crack and peeking in. Everyone is inside and the mood seems to be light. He can see Liz smiling at something Alex is saying. Hesitantly, he steps inside and all eyes turn to him. “Hey.” He says, keeping his eyes on Liz to see if she has a negative reaction to him being there.

“You can come in, Max.” She says with a smile.

He steps further into the room, sticking close to Isabel and staying as far away from Liz as he can. She doesn’t seem to be upset that he’s there, though.

She notices the distance he’s keeping and says, “I’m sorry about earlier. I was just…startled when I woke up.”

“You don’t have to apologize. I shouldn’t have been hovering.” He sticks his hands in his pockets and shrugs.

She looks around him at the door and says, “I thought Ava was with you.”

“She thought she should wait outside. She didn’t want to upset you.” Max tells her.

Liz looks back at Max and understands what he’s saying. Ava probably thinks Liz would blame her for Zan’s attack. “Oh. Well, she can come in…it’s not her fault.”

But before Max can move back toward the door, it opens and Dr. Franklin walks into the room. He smiles when he sees how crowded the room is and he looks at Liz. “Well, I guess you’re not too tired for visitors.”

Liz brightens, hoping she can convince him she’s well enough to go home. “Nope. Not tired at all.”

Dr. Franklin looks around and says, “Could you all give Liz and I a moment alone so I can examine her?”

As everyone files out of the room, the doctor makes his way over to the bed. “So, let’s see what’s going on with you.” He says as he flips through her chart, checking the status of her vitals. “Looks like everything has been going well today. All your vitals look normal.” He looks up at her and asks, “Any headaches? Nausea? Dizziness?”

“None.” Liz shakes her head. “I feel perfectly fine.”

He smiles at her eagerness, knowing she wants to go home and he puts the chart down as he takes his stethoscope off his neck. “Let’s have a listen to that heart of yours.”

Liz sits up so he can have access to her back as well as her chest and breathes deeply, letting him listen to the steady beat of her heart. When he pulls back, she asks, “Everything sound ok?”

He sighs and says, “Perfectly fine.” He shakes his head in confusion and says, “I have to say…I don’t see recoveries like yours very often. You’re a very lucky woman. When you came in last night, I didn’t hold much hope for a full recovery…let alone any recovery. And I’m not saying that lightly.” He pauses for a moment, thinking about how much of an understatement that is. “I know you want to go home, but I can’t bring myself to let you go without monitoring you at least until tomorrow.”

Liz’s face falls but that’s what she expected him to say. “Maybe tomorrow morning, then?”

He nods his head and smiles indulgently. “Maybe. Get some rest tonight and I’ll see you in the morning. I’ll send you for a final MRI early, then we might talk about you going home if it still looks good.”

She smiles and says, “Thank you, Dr. Franklin.”

He nods and turns to leave the room, only to find that everyone who just left is crowded around the door waiting. He laughs and says, “All done…you can go back in. But let her get some rest tonight…no staying after visiting hours.”

As they all make their way back in, Maria confirms from Liz that she has to stay tonight. She seems resigned to it and waves Maria off, telling her and Alex to go home and get some sleep. “Really…I’ll be fine here. Go home and get some rest so you can come spring me from this place in the morning.” She smiles encouragingly at them as they both hug her goodbye.

Walking toward the door, Alex stops in front of Max and says, “I want to make sure that you’re going to do something about this. I want you to tell me that and I want you to tell me Liz won’t have to worry about something like this happening again.”

Surprised by the steeliness of Alex’s voice, Max quickly nods and says, “It’ll be taken care of, I promise you.”

Alex studies him for a moment and sees that Max means what he says. “Good.” He glances at Isabel and Michael once before he follows Maria out of the room. He’s pissed about the whole situation. He knows it’s not their fault, but Zan is one of them. And since laws can’t protect them from aliens, then he fully expects Max – as their supposed leader – to do it.

“You’re such a badass.” Maria teases him as they walk down the hall.

He grins and shrugs. “Yah.”

~~~~~~~~~~

“Can you guys give me a minute…and go outside with Ava?” Max asks Isabel and Michael after Alex leaves. He wants to talk to Liz alone. There’s a lot he wants to tell her…and he wants to assure her that he’ll make sure Zan is taken care of.

Isabel looks over at Liz and smiles. “Sure. Liz, we’ll be back in a little while.”

Liz nods and watches as Michael and Isabel walk out, leaving her alone with Max. He looks so pensive, like he’s been laden down with responsibility since she last saw him at his apartment. She watches him shift uncomfortably for a moment as he stares at the closed door to her room…almost like he expects it to open again.

“Max.” She says, getting his attention. He’s still on the other side of the room and she thinks he’s probably scared that she doesn’t want him to be nearer. “Come over here and sit down.” She gestures toward the chair next to her bed that Maria was sitting in earlier.

He nods and moves toward her, taking the offered chair.

“Maria and Alex told me what you did last night. I don’t even know how to thank you.” She says sincerely.

He looks confused for a moment, then says, “I should have made sure you got home safe. I shouldn’t have let you leave alone.”

She smiles and says, “Max…you didn’t let me leave alone, I insisted. You can’t protect me all the time. There was no way for you to know what would happen.”

He shakes his head. “I should have known. I should have taken Zan’s behavior more seriously…I just thought…I didn’t even think he would do something like that.”

“Why would you? I wasn’t ever really scared he would do anything. I’m just as guilty as you are…for underestimating what he’s capable of.” She says. “I thought he was harmless.”

“I’ll make him pay for what he did, Liz. I’m taking Michael tonight to find him…and I’ll make sure he doesn’t ever come near you again.” He swears, looking into her eyes.

Her eyes widen and she asks, “What are going to do to him?”

He settles back in the chair and says, “I don’t know yet. But Cal is coming tomorrow. Right now, I just want to find out why he did it. A lot has happened…I’ve found out about things that have been going on.” He runs his hand through his hair in frustration. “I think there’s more going on than we know about and I plan on getting some answers.”

“Tell me.” She gives him a look of encouragement, hoping that he doesn’t think she’s too weak to hear what he has to say.

He nods almost imperceptibly…knowing he wants to tell her everything, but not sure where to start. “After Alex called to tell us to come down here, we got a call from Zan.” He sees the shocked look on her face and continues. “Isabel said he sounded weird…frantic. He said that I had to help you…that you were hurt. Then he hung up.”

“Why would he call you?” She wonders.

“I’m not sure. I didn’t think that much about it until I healed you…and I saw…I saw what he did. The police said that they caught him attacking you and tried to chase him, but he got away.” Max explains. “Then Ava showed up at the hospital. She thought you were dead. No, I’m pretty sure she knew you were dead.”

“Why would she think that?” Liz asks.

“Apparently, because Zan and I share the same alien essence, he also shared a bond to you. He’s been bonded to you for over three years. That’s why we think he’s been following you around.”

“But…that’s crazy. Cal said we’d had the bond long before then…that maybe it started when you healed me. If he shared the bond, too, then he would have had it for a lot longer than that.” Liz says.

“I don’t know how to explain it. The only thing I can think of is when I…when I claimed you, or whatever happened then…that it somehow transferred over to him. It was programmed into his DNA to protect you…Ava said it’s the same for all of them. They’re the back-up, as she calls it.” He shrugs. “I don’t know why he wouldn’t have felt the bond before that, other than we didn’t really know it was there, either. Maybe it took that one event to bring it to full power.”

Liz looks away in thought and says, “Maybe he did feel it, but didn’t know what it was. We didn’t know what it was. I just thought I had an abnormal attraction to you all those years…that weird feeling that we should be together…like I told you yesterday. But he didn’t even know me. He probably just felt like he was missing something, but didn’t know what. Kind of like losing your car keys.” She smiles, trying to lighten the mood.

Max smiles at her analogy and continues. “Anyway, she told us that he came home and had blood on him…that he was scared…and he started packing his things to leave. She connected with him and saw that the bond was gone. So they assumed that meant you were dead…that he’d killed you.”

He watches her, waiting for her to process what he’s just said…waiting for her next question…one he already knows she’s going to ask.

“Gone?” Her brow furrows in thought and she looks up at him. “If it’s gone…does that mean…is yours gone, too?”

He nods slowly and says, “I think so. I stopped feeling your presence after you left last night. But I just thought it was because you were getting farther away. I realized it was gone after I healed you and I couldn’t feel you at all…even when we were in the same room.”

“But…wait…what does that mean?” Liz sits up further in her bed. “How can it be gone? Did Zan do something? Is that why he attacked me? I thought it was permanent.”

He can see the wheels turning in her head trying to figure it out and he leans forward, taking her hand in his. “Liz, when they brought you in last night the doctor told us your heart had stopped. They had to bring you back, and thankfully they were successful. But for a brief moment…when you heart stopped beating…you were dead.” He lets that sink in and he watches as she falls back onto her pillows.

She looks at him and searches his face as she realizes what he’s saying. “Are you sure?” She whispers.

“I want to check…but yah, I’m pretty sure.” He says, not completely sure how she feels about it.

She shakes loose from his hand and sits up impatiently. “Well what are you waiting for? Why haven’t you checked already?”

He smiles at her impatient questions and leans forward. “I haven’t really had the opportunity.”

“Well? Come on. Check already!” She waves her hands in the air, practically bouncing on the bed in impatience.

Max laughs as she grabs his hands and plasters them to the sides of her head. She looks into his eyes and says, “Ok, mind is blank…come on…do your stuff.”

~TBC~

ACK! They're pruning this of feedback. :shock: I got an extension until Monday to save it...I've been gone all week and didn't know they were having problems. :( I don't get tons of feedback, but I wanna save every scrap that I DO get! LOL
Last edited by Angel on Sat Nov 22, 2003 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Angel » Thu Dec 04, 2003 11:53 pm

I'm sorry I'm so late with this update. I really had the best intentions when I went on vacation to get busy writing more of this story. But...now don't kill me...but I started a new story that I just couldn't get out of my head and it totally consumed me. I'm weak. I like to finish one story before starting another, but I couldn't resist. lol Anyway, I hope you like this next part and I promise to post a new one before I leave on my next vacation. Then there'll be a little dry spell until after Christmas. Thanks for being so patient and thank you for all the great feedback!!


Part 30

Isabel leans against the wall opposite Ava and studies the other girl as they wait for Max to talk to Liz. Michael is pacing up and down the hall and she can feel his anticipation. She knows that they plan on going after Zan…she just doesn’t know the details. Michael is agitated about the upcoming confrontation and she’s trying to focus her concentration on Ava instead.

“Do you think Zan knew you were coming to see us?” Isabel asks her.

Ava looks up, startled by Isabel’s voice. She had been watching Michael pace. “He knows. I’m sure he expected I would.”

“Won’t he know to stay away from places you know he’d go?”

Ava shrugs. “I don’t think he’s thinking that clearly right now. He’ll go somewhere familiar to him…somewhere safe.”

Isabel thinks about what Michael told her earlier about the bond. That if one of them forms a bond, their duplicate will also have it. She’s anxious to talk to Cal about it and get more answers from him. But the thought of becoming bonded with someone and going through what Max and Liz have scares her. She wouldn’t want that for herself or anyone else. “So do you have a bond, too?” She’s curious about how Ava seems to know so much about it.

“No. Tess never bonded to anyone.” She says.

“You can’t do it yourself?”

Ava thinks for a moment, then says, “I don’t think so. I’m not sure. Never thought about it.”

“Do you know what’s happened to them? Tess and my duplicate?” Isabel wonders if they’re still with the FBI. She’s thought about it a lot over the last three years…wondering what’s happening to them.

Ava shakes her head. “No. Never thought about that, either.”

Isabel raises an eyebrow at Ava’s simple answers. Is she really that uncaring, or does she just not want to reveal what she’s thinking? Shifting her attention away from Ava, Isabel pushes away from the wall and goes to join Michael. The funny thing is, she’ll probably get more conversation from him than with Ava.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Have you started yet?”

“You’re not helping.”

“Well maybe you’re not trying hard enough.”

“I think you’re too wound up right now for this to happen.”

“I’m not wound up.”

“Liz.” Max sighs and drops his hands. He smiles at her look of frustration and says, “I can’t do this if you’re about to fidget right out of the bed. Look at you…you need to relax.”

She freezes, realizing that he’s right and she bites her lip. Uncrossing her legs, she takes a deep breath and stretches out on the bed. “I’m sorry. I’m just finding it hard to relax right now, I guess.”

“It’s ok. We can try later.” Max assures her, picking her hand up off the bed and holding it between his own. He runs his fingers lightly over the scrape marks marring her hands and wrists and he looks up at her. “I’ll heal the rest when you go home.”

Liz smiles gratefully and asks, “So when are you leaving to find Zan?”

“Soon.” Max glances up at the clock on the wall and knows that Michael is impatient to get going.

Liz follows his gaze to the clock, then back to his face. “Do you know where he’s at?”

“Ava has a few places in mind. We’ll try those first.” He tells her.

She nods and looks down at her lap, wondering what they’re going to do to Zan. Her feelings about it are mixed. In a way, deep inside of herself, she thinks that he didn’t want to do what he did…that he didn’t mean to attack her. From what Max told her, it sounds more and more like there’s something alien related involved. But then she thinks about how scared she was…how much he hurt her. And she wants him to pay for it. She wants him to hurt as much as he hurt her.

“Liz, I promise you that I’ll find him. And you won’t have to worry about him coming near you again.” Max can see the emotions crossing her face and he doesn’t want her to ever be afraid.

Liz takes a shaky breath and tries to force a smile on her face to show Max that she believes him. “I was so scared.”

“I know. I wish I could go back and change what happened.” He realizes what he’s said less than a second after he says it and they both lock gazes. And they both bark out a short laugh. “That’s probably a dangerous thought, considering.”

“I think maybe we should put a moratorium on changing the past. We’ve screwed things up enough as it is.” Liz smirks and adds, “We have so many pasts right now, I don’t think we’ll ever get them straight.”

Max nods his agreement and becomes completely serious as he continues to stroke her hands. “There’s one thing I’ve got straight.”

“What’s that?” Liz smiles softly, the butterflies in her stomach making their presence known with him so close.

“That you and I need to be in each other’s lives.” He brings her hand up and gently kisses her knuckles…willing his kiss to take the pain away that she must be feeling there.

“I really want that to be true. But we have to consider that a pretty good argument could be made that our pasts are telling us the complete opposite.”

He sets her hand back down on the bed and says, “True. But I won’t believe that.”

Liz smiles at that and then thinks back to what they were talking about before. “So do you think something with the bond caused Zan to attack me? From what it sounds like, he was pretty confused about the whole thing afterwards. It doesn’t make any sense that he called to tell you that I needed help if he really wanted to hurt me.”

“That’s one of the reasons I want to find him.” Max says as he looks at his watch. “Maybe we should try connecting before I leave.”

She nods and says, “Alright…I think I’m more relaxed now.”

Leaning forward, he places his hands on both sides of her head and looks in her eyes. It takes a few seconds, but he finally gets in and he’s bombarded with images from Liz. He sees the attack again, then he sees them at his apartment yesterday up in the loft. Before the visions can take more of his concentration, he pushes them away to look for the bond or even the block that Cal put there…but he doesn’t see it. He stays longer than he thinks is necessary, but he wants to be sure.

Liz watches lines of concentration appear on Max’s forehead as she tries to breathe evenly and not break eye contact. She’s not seeing anything from Max and she guesses that he’s holding back images from his mind from her.

Finally, he breaks free and lowers his hands. “I don’t see it. I didn’t really expect to, but I think it’s really gone.”

She lets out the breath she was holding and says, “That’s…it’s a good thing, right?” Biting her lip, she searches his face for any sign of regret or disappointment.

He nods, not sure what she’s looking for him to give as far as an answer. “Yah.”

Frowning, Liz says, “And you won’t ever be able to form a bond again…with anyone.”

Max looks at her for a moment, wondering what she’s digging for. He’s not sure, but he thinks she’s expecting him to be disappointed that the bond is gone. “And that’s a good thing. This is a good thing. I think so, anyway.” Considering how much they’ve been through together, and what they were doing just the day before, he feels awkward and unsure of himself suddenly. Like finally being free of his bond to Liz has cast him adrift and he’s on his own now to make what he wants happen.

Liz nods, bites her lip and relaxes against the pillows behind her. She knows Max has to leave. She wishes she could leave, too.

“I better get going. Michael’s pacing.” Max quirks a smile at her as he stands up. He leans forward and brushes his hand across her forehead, tucking her hair behind her ear. As he stands up, he hears a light knock on the door and looks up to see Isabel peeking in.

“Sorry. But Michael’s driving me nuts.” Isabel shrugs her shoulders and Max steps away from the bed.

“That’s ok. I was just leaving.” He walks toward Isabel and asks, “Are you staying?”

She looks over to Liz in question. “If Liz doesn’t mind.”

“No…I don’t mind at all.” Liz says with a smile as she glances at Max. “Will you call…and let me know what happens?” She can’t hide the nervousness in her voice. She’s worried about what will happen and she doesn’t want Max to get hurt because of her.

“Yah. But try to get some sleep…maybe you’ll get to go home tomorrow.” Max says. “Don’t worry. Everything will be fine.” His gaze lingers on her for a few last moments before he turns back toward Isabel and says, “I’ll call your cell when we find him.”

Isabel puts her hand on his arm as he goes and says, “Be careful.”

He nods at her, and with one last glance toward Liz he opens the door and leaves.

~~~~~~~~~~

“I have magazines.” After Max leaves, Isabel swiftly makes her way to Liz’s bed and sets down a stack of magazines on the rolling tray hovering near Liz’s feet. “I didn’t know what you’d like, so I got most of what they had.”

Liz eyes the stack of magazines in amazement and says, “Wow…thanks. You really didn’t have to do that.”

Isabel shrugs and says, “No big deal. I imagine this place can get pretty boring.” She takes a look around the room and sees a TV hanging from a bracket in the corner. “At least you have a TV.”

Glancing up at the ancient looking TV box, Liz can see her small reflection in the screen. “Yah. I um…don’t really watch a lot of TV.”

“Me either.” Isabel sits in the chair next to Liz’s bed. “Work keeps me pretty busy.”

“Me too.” Liz smiles and looks around the room uncomfortably. She gets the feeling that Isabel wants to talk to her about something, but maybe she’s just feeling on edge being in here. Some people don’t like hospitals. “So…”

“So.” Isabel smiles, pauses for a moment then says, “I’m glad you’re doing so well. We were all pretty worried last night.”

“I wouldn’t be if it weren’t for Max.”

“Yah, well…if it weren’t for…” Isabel starts, but Liz interrupts by holding her hand up.

“Let’s just stop, ok? We don’t need to go back and forth placing blame anywhere. It happened. Zan is the only one responsible for his actions.” Liz says firmly, not really sure how she even feels about everything that’s happened. The confusion surrounding what Zan did is overriding everything else. She decides instead to change the subject. “So tell me about where you guys went when you left Roswell.”

Isabel is confused by the request at first, then realizes that Liz is asking about when they were teenagers. “Wow, that seems like a lifetime ago.”

Liz smiles sadly and says, “I always wondered where you were…what you were doing. Your parents used to come to the Crashdown and I wished I could have told them something to make them feel better.”

Isabel nods, not wanting to talk about her parents. The thought of what they must have gone through…what they must think happened to them still haunts her. “We went to Dallas first. A big city where we could get lost for a while.” She looks down at her hands as she remembers what those first few months were like.

“I can’t imagine what it must have been like…just leaving everything you’d ever known like that.”

“It was hard. And Michael was totally annoying back then…so paranoid. He and Max used to get into the worst fights.” Isabel remembers having to get between the two of them and play the peacekeeper when all she really wanted to do was let them kill each other. “It got better. We went to St. Louis, Chicago, and Philadelphia before finally settling for New York. There were smaller towns in between…I can’t remember them all.”

“But you still found a way to go to school. That’s pretty admirable considering the circumstances.” Liz says.

Isabel gives a bitter laugh and says, “I wouldn’t have been able to if it weren’t for Max. Michael was so hard on him.” She looks up sheepishly at Liz and says, “Well, we both were.”

“You blamed him.” Liz says, remember how she accused Isabel of holding onto this grudge against Max for all these years when the three of them were being held in that apartment.

Isabel nods. “Yah, we both did. It just became…normal to hold him responsible. And he took it.” Her brow furrows before she continues. “It wasn’t just that he took responsibility for us being in that situation…it was everything else, too. He made sure the bills were always paid. He made sure I got to go to school. He decided where we went…how long we stayed. And we let him…because we thought it was his fault we had to be there in the first place.”

“You sound like you don’t think that anymore.” Liz says carefully.

Isabel shakes her head. “I don’t think Michael does, either. Everything that’s happened…I don’t know. I just get the feeling that you, Alex and Maria were meant to be a part of lives in one way or another. I can’t make up to Max the awful way we treated him all those years, though.”

“I’m sure he doesn’t think you need to.” Liz tells her. “You were so young and we all do things we regret. It’s what you do now that matters. You know, Max just said the same thing to me…about how maybe we’re supposed to be in each other’s lives.”

This makes Isabel smile. She doesn’t know why those words comfort her, but they do. “Well then I must be right.”

~~~~~~~~~~

“How much further?” Michael grumbles as he follows Max and Tess through the dampness of the underground tunnel they’ve been walking in for the last fifteen minutes. It’s dark and smells like something died down there.

“Not far.” Ava says, easily making her way through the familiar territory.

Michael grunts and mumbles just loud enough for Max to hear, “I’m too old for this shit.”

Max grins at Michael’s remark…having heard Michael say that about pretty much any physical activity they ever have to do. Like carrying groceries.

Ava stops in front of Max so quickly that he almost runs into her. “What is it?” He whispers.

She holds her hand up behind her telling them to be quiet as she listens for the faint sound she heard just a moment ago. They all hear it then…a pounding sound, almost like…

A small rubber ball suddenly bounces from around the corner, ricocheting off the wall and hitting Ava in the calf. The three of them freeze then, as they hear footsteps coming closer to them from the tunnel running perpendicular just ahead.

This is it, Max thinks. And he positions himself in front of Ava as the shadow of someone walking toward them slowly gets smaller.

As Zan rounds the corner in search of his ball, he immediately sees Max and stops in his tracks. He doesn’t try to run…knowing that he won’t get away this time. He can see the look of surprise on Max’s face and he studies him for a moment before noticing Ava behind him and Michael off to the side.

He trains his gaze on Ava, letting her know the how deeply he feels betrayed by her. She led them to him…no doubt to save her own skin. In a way, he knew she would, though. It was just a matter of time. Taking a deep breath, he says, “What a surprise…I wasn’t expecting company.”

Ava steps out from behind Max and says, “Zan, I’m sorry. It had to be this way.”

Zan raises his eyebrows and studies the three in front of him. His shoulders sag in defeat. Yah, he knew it would have to end sooner or later…he just thought sooner wouldn’t be so…soon. “S’pose so.” He says with a nod. “Don’t worry ‘bout it sweetness. It’s all good.”

He stands up straighter and looks squarely at Max. “Guess you came her to kill me, right? I don’t blame you…just, you know…can you make it quick? We don’t need some drawn out drama about the whole thing.”

Max looks at Zan closely and can see that that’s exactly what he expects…that he’s even accepted it. He probably didn’t think they’d find him so quickly, but he knew they’d find him eventually. And even though Max can see that Zan thinks he deserves this punishment, he can’t feel any respect for him. All he can see is what he did to Liz and it’s taking every ounce of his control to not fling him against the wall with all the power he can build.

Michael steps up next to Max, ready to do whatever Max says. Max told him earlier that he didn’t want to kill Zan, but he can tell from the look on his face that it’s something he’s seriously contemplating now. “What do you wanna do?” He asks, directing Max’s attention away from Zan.

His red haze of anger dissolves when he hears Michael’s voice and he reminds himself of what he came here for. “We don’t plan on killing you. Yet. Don’t think I wouldn’t do it in a heartbeat, though, if you try to run again.

Not understanding where this is going or what they’re doing here if they don’t wanna kill him, Zan asks, “So what is you do want?”

“An explanation.” Max says simply.

Zan’s brow furrows in even more confusion and he looks at Ava. Was she somehow able to talk them out of killing him?

“Just tell him what’s been goin’ on, Zan. I tried to explain as much as I could…but he wants to hear it from you.” Ava explains.

“Whadaya talkin’ about? I followed Liz, grabbed her, and killed her. What is it you wanna hear?” Zan says, clearly bewildered as to why they would even want to hear his version of events.

“That’s it? That’s all you have to say?” Max asks.

Zan shrugs and stuffs his hands in his jean pockets. “I could say I’m sorry…that I didn’t mean to do it…that I wasn’t tryin’ to kill her. But would it matter?”

“But you…” Ava starts but Michael grabs her arm roughly, silencing her.

“Enough. Let him talk.” Michael warns her not to say anything.

“Why? I want to know everything…I want to know why you attacked her.” Max says carefully, not wanting to let him off the hook quite yet. He still thinks Liz is dead and for now, he wants to keep it that way.

Why. Isn’t that the question of the day? Zan scrubs at his face with his hand and nods back toward the tunnel he just came from. “Come on…might as well get comfortable.” He turns slowly, motioning for them to follow him.

They follow him around the corner and into a large, cavernous area and Max and Michael look around in shock. There’s furniture here, almost like someone lives down here…or used to. It’s all old and ratty…a sofa, a couple of chairs, tables. But what gets their attention are the four, large oval shaped objects hanging high up on the wall in a row.

“What the hell?” Michael says in awe as he steps closer to them.

“What is this place?” Max asks, walking with Michael toward the odd, slightly familiar things on the wall. There’s something about them…like he should know what they are.

“This is where we used to live. After Cal left us.” Ava explains and watches Max and Michael eye their pods with wonder. “Those are our pods.”

Max whips his head around to look at her before his gaze is drawn back to the pods. “Your pods.”

“I forgot…you ain’t ever seen yours, have you?” Ava says, now understanding their fascination with them.

“These are yours? So we have some that look just like this somewhere?” Michael asks.

“Yah. You should anyway. Unless they’ve been destroyed.” Ava says as she sits down next to Zan on the sofa. She turns to him and says, “I really am sorry, Zan. I had to…he’s the man, you know? I had to.”

Zan nods and says, “Yah, I know. It’s ok, don’t sweat it.” He assumes she’s saying that the king ordered her to…not Max.

“I don’t think they’re gonna hurt you. They just wanna hear about what’s been goin’ on with you…why you did it.” She tells him.

“So, you done gawkin’? They’re just old, dried up membranes. Nothin’ special.” Zan says to Max and Michael.

Michael turns away from the sight in front of him then and leads Max to the two chairs adjacent to the sofa. He still can’t help but look around and take in his surroundings. To have to live down here…it smells for Christ’s sake. He doesn’t think he’ll be able to stay down here for very much longer without gagging.

Max doesn’t say anything as he sits down, he just looks at Zan expectantly…waiting for him to start talking.

Seeing that they’re waiting for him to start, Zan cracks his neck and starts. “Yah, so…you probably ain’t gonna like what I tell you, but there’s nothin’ to do about that.”

“Just start at the beginning.” Max says.

Zan glances over at Ava and says, “She tell you about when we got back from the dust bowl three years ago? About what she found in my head?” Max nods. “I don’t know how to explain it really. It started out just bein’ annoying. I was drawn to her and wasn’t really sure why. She’s not really my type.” He shrugs and says, “I mean, really not my type, you know?”

He pauses, remembering how confused he was by his attraction to Liz Parker. “Usually I go for the more…uh…curvaceous type of chick, you know what I mean? A woman with a little more to, uh…offer.” He looks pointedly over to Ava’s sizable chest and smirks when he sees her roll her eyes.

“Anyways, I thought maybe it was some kind of lingering feeling from that bond you two had. And lemme tell ya, that was some uncomfortable shit when we were back in Roswell.” He shrugs and continues. “But that’s the way it is. We always knew it would happen. But see, I thought it was all good when Cal said he got rid of it.”

“But didn’t you realize he didn’t really break the bond? Didn’t you feel it then before we all got back here?” Max asks.

“Sure I felt it. But like I said, I thought it was like some kind of lingering thing…like maybe the feeling would go away in a few days. I just wanted to get out of there and back home.” Zan says. “But we figured out what happened…a few weeks later when it didn’t go away. I couldn’t stay away from her. I’d go out, meaning to go one place and I’d end up outside Liz’s apartment…or her school. It was like I couldn’t control what I was doin’.”

Max clenches his jaw and asks, “That’s what I don’t understand. Why couldn’t you control yourself? I had the same bond…I had the same urges to be near her. But I was able to exert some self control. I stayed away from her for three years.”

“Wow. You want a shiny gold star? Guess I don’t have your iron will, man.” Zan says in a tone thick with snark.

Max feels his anger boiling up again and asks, “That’s it? That’s your excuse? That you have no self control?”

“I don’t know what you want me to tell you. Yah, I guess that’s it. Maybe that’s why I’m the back up and you’re not. I didn’t get as much of the human DNA they was shootin’ for…didn’t mix it up right and give me that self control you pride yourself so much on.” Zan leans forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “Look, I didn’t mean to do it. I’m tellin’ you, it was like I wasn’t even in my own body…all I wanted was her and I couldn’t see anything else. She musta hit her head or somethin’. I don’t know. I wanted to heal her…but the cops saw me and I had to take off. That’s why I called you…I knew you could.”

His voice gets quiet. “I never wanted to hurt her. I could never…I just, I don’t know what happened. It was like it had all built up and…I never wanted to hurt her.” His voice cracks at the end and he hangs his head down, staring at the dirty floor beneath his feet. “But I did. And there’s nothin’ I can do to change it.”

Max leans back in his chair and rubs at his eyes wearily. He doesn’t know what to make of this whole thing and he can tell that what Zan is saying is the truth. “What am I supposed to do with this? What am I supposed to do with you?” He sees Zan look up at him, his face drawn…pale. “What would you do if our positions were reversed?”

“I’d have probably killed you the minute I saw you.” Zan says immediately. It’s the truth and he knows Max will see through any bullshit answer he might give.

Max nods and stares at Zan. “The way I see it is I have three options. One, I could kill you. I should kill you, but you’re right…we’re different. Two, I could turn you over to the FBI and let you rot in a cell with your sister and Tess…if they’re even still alive.” He takes a small amount of satisfaction in the fear that descends on Zan’s face at that prospect. “Or Three, I could believe everything you’ve told me. I could believe that it was the bond making you do what you did and that you didn’t have control over it. I could trust that this won’t happen again and let you walk.”

Zan nods and says, “Fair enough. I don’t suppose I get a vote on which one you choose?”

“No.” Max says. “I really don’t like any of those choices. But only because I’m not buying your story.” He sees Zan about to protest and stops him. “Not that I don’t believe you think you’re telling me all of it. But because I think there’s more to it that we don’t know. It just doesn’t add up…not even if you’re right about not having as much human DNA in you as I have.”

“So now what?” Zan asks.

“Cal is coming. He should be here tonight and I plan on getting some answers from him.” Max says, noting the surprised look on Zan’s face. “He knows more than he’s saying…he’s kept things from me that he shouldn’t have. That’s going to end now.”

“Well shit, he’ll just tell you to kill me for what I’ve done. In his eyes, Liz was still his queen…you were still bonded to her. He’ll never agree to let me live.” Zan slumps back into the sofa. “You might as well kill me now.”

Max sighs and decides to tell Zan the truth. “You might have one thing going for you, though. Liz isn’t dead.”

~TBC~

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