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

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Angel
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Post by Angel » Sat Mar 13, 2004 11:48 am

Milla, you'll find out who's planning to go and who's planning to stay in the next couple of part.

Realistic Dreamer, yes, they do have some shoddy advisors, don't they? And considering that Cal is one of two people left who can give them answers...I sure hope Serena's more willing than he is. ;) You have to remember that Cal doesn't want to go back...he likes it here. And if he can keep the aliens here as well, he thinks everything will be fine. He hasn't seen what will happen in the future and he doesn't think Khivar can come to earth. Everyone will calm down about the visions they saw...that second timeline was a doozy.

vegas, hope you like history...cuz you'll be getting a lot more in the next couple of parts.

frenchkiss, yes, Liz will talk to Max about his plans. But not really to talk him out of it. ;) Zan was being controlled by whoever had him attack Liz and Ava realized it. We'll find out soon who it is.

cherie, yah...Maria's always so quick to blame other people, isn't she? I sure hope she realizes it...although, Max isn't really thinking a lot about Maria and what she thinks of him at this point in time.

Gigo, The new story...no, the white room is not where it all starts for Max. You'll just have to wait and see. ;) And of course! TONS of angst! You know me...

Kath, the main goal I had with this story was to show these characters as mature adults who know how to talk to each other. And by eliminating most of the crap from seasons 2 and 3 in this new timeline...they don't have any of the issues they did on the show. You'll find out all about the visions and why FM came back a second time soon. I think in part 36 or 37? Not sure where you're at...oh, and Kyle will show up soon with a bigger role. :)

Itzstacie, he's not exactly planning on leaving today. ;)

out of this world, don't worry. Max doesn't plan on taking this on all on his own. He'll talk to everyone he needs to and everyone will have the chance to voice their opinions.

BelevnDreamsToo, No one trusts Cal, especially Max. Don't worry, Liz and Max will talk...and stuff. ;)

Breathless, yes, Maria can be irritating at times...she can't help herself. ;)

Welcome to all the new readers! So glad you're all enjoying it. I know everyone's curious about Khivar and Serena. This next part...and the one after...are heavy with back story and history. Hope it's not too boring, but i needed to paint a picture of Khivar because I get bored with Khivar always being this omnipotent evil entity on another planet. He needs depth...

And I know you're all anxious to see Max and Liz talk...or Michael and Maria...or Alex and Isabel. Don't fret, it'll come. But we really do have other urgent matters to deal with and the three aliens are FINALLY presented with a chance to find out all the answers they've wanted about themselves. The love fest will have to wait. LOL Hope you guys enjoy!



Part 40

“…Max…” He jerks his head up to his sister when he hears her loudly call his name.

“Huh?”

“Now is not the time for you to be checking out on us, Maxwell.” Michael says. “Cal’s getting ready to leave.” He nods his head toward Cal who’s heading toward the basement.

Max looks around and notices that Liz is no longer in the living room. At his questioning gaze, Maria says, “Liz and Alex went upstairs until Zan’s gone.”

He nods absently and wonders how he could have let his mind drift so much that he became completely unaware of his surroundings. Bringing his hand up to his forehead, he stands up just as they hear a knock at the front door.

Everyone looks at the door at once…as if it will attack them at any second…and Kyle laughs nervously. “Geez, you guys are jumpy.”

Serena walks over to the window and peeks out through the curtains. “It’s your dad.”

Max looks sharply at Kyle, who notices the look of distress on his face. “Kyle, he can’t know we’re here.”

“Alright. Nobody panic.” Kyle says. “Isabel, why don’t you, Max and Michael head back to my study? Cal, he doesn’t know you…you should stay. It would help explain one of the cars.”

As the three aliens head down the back hallway, Kyle goes to the door to greet his dad. “Hey, Dad. What brings you by?” He opens the door, letting Jim Valenti into the foyer.

“You have company?” He asks, nodding toward the cars parked on the street.

“Just me.” Maria says as she walks into view, smiling.

Jim smiles back and says, “Ah, just who I was looking for. You said you’d call your mom this morning…and I find you here instead.”

“Yah, just thought I’d pop in and say hi to Kyle and Serena while I was here.” Maria says, trying to remain casual.

“Is there a reason you wanted to do that before telling your mother you’re in town?” He lifts a disappointed eyebrow at her.

“You know how she is in the morning. I just thought I’d stop by here first, let her have a few cups of coffee, then go see her at the store.” She explains. “Don’t worry.”

Serena steps forward and says, “Jim, you want some coffee? I can make some for you quick.”

“Oh…don’t you go to any trouble, Serena. I have to run.” He turns to Maria and says, “You wanna ride with me? I was gonna stop off to see your mom on my way in.” Jim looks into the living room and sees a strange man.

Maria follows his gaze and says, “Jim, this is Cal. He’s a producer…came with me so we could discuss my next show.” She doesn’t doubt that he’ll buy it. Although he’s proud of her and brags about her all over town, Jim’s never paid too much attention to the complicated workings of her career.

Jim tips his hat and says, “Nice to meet you, Cal.”

“You too.” Cal says back, hoping he leaves soon.

Maria grabs her purse from the side table and walks over to Jim. “I think I’ll take you up on your offer, Jim.” She turns to Kyle and hugs him briefly. “I’ll stop by later.” She then gives a quick hug to Serena before turning to Cal and saying, “I’ll just leave my car here and pick it up later. Can you find your way back to the hotel without me?”

“Uh, sure. You go ahead.” Cal improvises.

“Ready?” Maria asks Jim as she loops her arm around his.

Jim smiles and says, “After you.” He ushers her through the door while Kyle and Serena wave goodbye.

Once they’re gone and Kyle shuts the door, Cal looks over Kyle’s uniform and muses, “All in the family, eh?”

“You have no idea.” Kyle smirks.

“Yah, I do. I had an unfortunate run-in with your grandfather back in ‘59.” Cal glances out the window to watch the sheriff’s truck disappear down the road. He turns back to Kyle and says, “You look just like him. Anyone ever tell you that?”

“All the time.” Kyle walks back into the living room, wanting to hear more about this shapeshifter’s run-in with his grandfather. Is it that incident that caused is grandfather to begin his obsession with aliens? “They’re gone!” He yells toward the back of the house.

When Max, Michael and Isabel walk out, Max notices Maria’s absence. “Where’s Maria?”

“She went with him…it kind of seemed like the easiest thing to do. Dad was going to the shop before work so she just went along with him.” Kyle explains.

“The shop…” Max and Isabel glance at each other, obviously missing something here.

Kyle narrows his eyes at them in question and asks, “You do know that my dad and Maria’s mom got married, right?”

Isabel’s eyes open wide and she says, surprised, “Oh…no, we didn’t know.”

Max relaxes, then. Finally he understands why the sheriff would come by looking for Maria and why she would willingly go with him. He looks at Cal and asks, “Ok, why don’t we go have a chat with Zan?”

Cal gets on his phone to call Stephanie, telling her to get the jet ready to go back to L.A. When he’s done, he and Max head toward the basement.

“Is your programming going to interfere with this plan?” Max asks him.

“No. I only obey the King…and that’s you.” Cal says.

“And Liz.” Max adds, remembering what he told her on the phone the other day.

“Right.” Cal nods. “I can keep him line if that’s what you’re worried about. I just can’t kill him.”

“Good. I’m really hoping I can trust you with him…because there’s not a lot I trust about you lately.” Max says as they walk down the stairs, ignoring the curious look from Cal. At the bottom, Max surveys his surroundings, impressed by the warmth and comfort of the basement. The carpet is tan, the walls a homey golden color. The furniture looks comfortable and placed for optimum viewing of the large entertainment system on the far wall. Further back, he sees a bar…framed pictures of various sports figures behind it and an antique looking tap jutting out from the top. There’s a pool table and dart board as well, and Max can tell that the basement gets a lot of use because it doesn’t smell or feel like a basement.

He can imagine Kyle and his friends watching football or playing pool while drinking beer. He didn’t see a TV upstairs, so he assumes this is where Kyle and Serena relax together and watch movies or their favorite TV shows.

“Finally.” Zan breaks Max out of his reverie. “Thought you was gonna keep me down here all day.”

Max doesn’t say anything. Instead, he searches Zan’s face, his body language. Anything that might give a clue as to who’s really controlling him…or even if they’re there anymore. “Sit down, Zan.” Max says to him, indicating the sofa that Ava’s sitting on.

It looks for a moment like he’s about to protest, but he sits. “When are we goin’ back to New York?”

Max takes a deep breath and says, “We’re not going back. You’re going to L.A. with Cal and the rest of us are going to New York.” He waits a moment for that to sink in. He doesn’t have to wait long.

“You’re crazy! I ain’t goin’ to L.A. Especially not with him.” Zan nods toward Cal, clearly unhappy with this turn of events.

“Yes, you are. I don’t trust you. And I don’t want you anywhere near me, my family, or my friends. Cal is your protector and that’s where you belong.”

“What about me?” Ava asks quietly from next to Zan.

Max and Cal exchange a look. They talked briefly about Ava earlier, but want her to make her own decision. “You can come back with us, or go with them.” Max tells her. “Whatever you want. It’s not you I have a problem with.” He levels his gaze back on Zan, seeing the sneer on his twin’s face.

“You gotta be kiddin’ me.” Zan looks between Max and Cal, knowing that they’re serious. They actually expect him to leave his home and move across the country.

Max glances at Ava and she shakes her head slightly at him, telling him that whoever it was who was controlling Zan isn’t there anymore. This is the real Zan in front of him.

“Look, I explained to you already what happened. It wasn’t me! I didn’t mean to kill her…I swear. I won’t come near any of you again…just don’t make me go with him to L.A. I’ll do anything you want…anything but that. Please, lemme go back to New York.” Zan is reduced to begging and clearly hating it.

A small part of Max feels a little bad for Zan, knowing that he really didn’t have control over attacking Liz. But he’s not about to let Zan roam free in the same city as her again. “I’m sorry it has to be this way. But I’ve already made my decision.”

“This is fucked up!” Zan raises his voice as he stands up to face Max. “You can’t tell me where to live.”

Max raises his voice back. “I can, and I just did. You’ll do what I tell you.” He stares at Zan, moving closer to him. “I’m in charge here, and you’ll do as I say. Got it?”

Zan stares at him for a few moments, then slumps back in the sofa in resignation and Ava says, “I’ll go with him.”

This surprises Max and he says, “You don’t have to.”

She looks over at Zan and says, “I want to.”

“This is bullshit.” Zan mutters. “I’m the fuckin’ king, man. You can’t treat me like this.”

“No, you’re not the king, I am. And I will decide what happens to you. I decide whether you live or die…and right now, I’ve decided you live. Don’t make me regret that decision, because I could easily change it.” Max holds his gaze for a few moments, allowing Zan to see the truth in his eyes.

~~~~~~~~~~

Cal, Zan and Ava leave without too much more discussion. Cal promises to call Max with any further developments and Max tells him he’ll call the next morning. He wants to talk to Cal about his plans and make arrangements for Cal to come back when he needs him. Max asks Ava once again if she’s sure about going with Zan. But she says she wants to and he can’t really argue with her. Cal tells them that the hotel is paid through for three more days if they want to stay and then they’re gone.

Liz watches them leave from a bedroom window upstairs. “They’re gone.” She turns to Alex, who’s sitting at the end of the bed.

“So, you wanna go down? Or do you wanna wait for a few more minutes?” He knows that Liz is still shaken up by what they saw earlier. He has to admit that he’s feeling slightly squicked about it, too.

Taking a deep breath, Liz says, “We should go down. I can’t hide up here all day.”

He stands up and puts an arm around her. “It’ll be ok.”

“I hope so.” Liz gives him a small smile as they head down the stairs.

When she comes into view of the living room, Liz sees Max, Isabel and Michael talking quietly…Max glancing over at her quickly when he sees her and she tries to figure out what she’s seeing in his eyes. She hates the guilt she sees so plainly, and she wants to wring Maria’s neck for making him feel worse. Actually, she feels like wringing everyone’s necks for how they were all looking at him earlier…like he’d done something wrong.

“So what are you guys gonna do now?” Kyle asks, pulling Liz’s gaze away from Max. “You’re staying a couple of days, right? I mean, aren’t you going to visit your parents, Liz?”

Liz bites her lip and shrugs. “I…I hadn’t really thought about what we’re doing now.” She questions Max silently with her eyes, wondering if he’s planning on staying here now or going back to New York. The look on his face earlier told her what he’s planning. She may not know him that well in this lifetime, but from what they saw at the Granolith she feels that she can make a pretty good guess at what he’s planning to do.

But her parents? She hadn’t really thought about seeing them. It’s been a while and she’d love to see them, but how will she explain her sudden and unexpected trip to Roswell?

Max looks back to Isabel when he sees Liz look away. “…be our brother?!” Isabel is trying to keep her voice down as she looks from Michael to Max.

He shakes his head and sighs, bringing his hand up to run through his hair in agitation. There’s too much to think about right now, but too many answers to learn. And he wants those answers, that’s why they came here. “I don’t know, Is. But we’re gonna find out.”

“Do you think Cal’s been lying to us?” Michael asks quietly.

“Either that, or he doesn’t know as much as he claims. Right now I don’t trust him and I think we need to sit down with Serena and see what she can tell us.” Max says.

Everyone’s attention is diverted when Serena turns and says loudly, “Ok, so what’s the plan? We have plenty of room here if anyone wants to stay. I have the rest of the day off, and I know that we have a lot to talk about.”

Max clears his throat and looks at the others. “We still have our rooms at the hotel if anyone needs to stay there.” He looks at Serena and says, “We need to talk.” Looking over at Alex and Liz, he says, “You’re welcome to stay, but if you’d rather go see your parents...”

“I think I’ll head over to my parents’ house for now.” Alex says. “I need a little…normalcy for a while. And uh…I need time to process…everything.” He misses the hurt expression cross Isabel’s face as he grabs Liz’s hand and looks down at her. “You can come with me if you want. My parents would be thrilled to see you.” He knows she’s wavering about seeing her own parents and wants to offer her an alternative in case she doesn’t want to stay here.

Liz glances at Serena before squeezing Alex’s hand. “I think I’ll stay. But thanks, Alex. I’ll see you later, though?”

He nods and says, “Of course. Call me.” Turning to Kyle, he says, “It was good to see you again, Kyle. Thanks for…well…thanks.” He lets go of Liz’s hand and says goodbye to Serena, then offers a wave to the three aliens…shooting an apologetic look to Isabel before he leaves. He knows Isabel is a little hurt that he’s decided to leave, but he just needs to get out of there for a while…think about things. It’s not even 10 in the morning and already he feels like he’s been awake for two days straight. Chuckling lightly to himself, he remembers that he pretty much has been.

Isabel watches him get in one of their rental cars and drive off as she looks out the front window. She wishes she could have had a chance to talk to him alone but there are just too many people here for that to be possible. Tonight. She’ll get him alone tonight and then they can talk. She could see how tired he was and she feels guilty for keeping him up most of the night. A blush creeps up her face as she looks down to the floor…hoping no one else notices.

“So, are you guys hungry at all? I could whip up something quick.” Kyle offers after Alex leaves.

“We ate.” Michael says as Kyle looks to Liz.

“Yah, we uh…we had breakfast early. But thanks.” She smiles at him, rolling her eyes internally at Michael’s gruff answer.

Serena grabs her Diet Coke and heads toward the basement door. “Why don’t we go downstairs…it’s more comfortable.”

~~~~~~~~~~

“You’re wondering about Khivar.” Serena quickly guesses after everyone gets settled. She’s sitting on one end of the large, curved sofa with Liz and Max, Michael and Isabel are seated on the other. Kyle drug over an easy chair from the other side of the room and is sitting in front of the large screen TV, his feet comfortably propped up on the coffee table.

“You said he was our brother…” Isabel starts, but Serena interrupts her after absently kicking Kyle’s feet off the table.

“No, I said that your mother was also his.” At everyone’s confused look, she continues. “Khivar’s father, Lord Balthor, was your father’s childhood friend. Your families were always close and the two of them grew up together. Lord Balthor was made an ambassador by your father when he ascended the throne…on the nearby planet, Illyad. During his ambassadorship, he married and shortly after, Khivar was born. Khivar spent his younger years with his parents on Illyad, but when he reached schooling age, they sent him back to Antar…to be raised in the palace and sent to school with you.” Serena pauses to take a drink before continuing. “They also sent him back to Antar because there was unrest. The people on Illyad were resisting rising taxes on their exports and rumors of small uprisings against the royal family were spreading.”

“So this Illyad…it was one of the five planets in our solar system?” Max asks.

“Yes, the royal family of Antar ruled over the five planets for millennia. But eventually, a ruling body was created and each planet was to become independent, in theory. Each planet had their own government in place, but the council was always headed by the King of Antar. So, technically, the King of Antar still had ultimate control of the decisions of each planet’s government. There’s a lot of political history that I could go into, but let’s save that for later.” Serena looks to Max for his agreement.

He nods and says, “Go on…you were saying that Illyad was resisting higher taxes?”

“Right.” Serena says. “Lord Balthor was worried about retaliation against his family since they were ambassadors of the royal family and sent Khivar back to Antar to be safe. Zan, Rath and Khivar became the best of friends. They grew up together…caused all kinds of trouble.” She smiles…remembering…before she notices everyone staring at her. “Remember, I was Zan’s council…the guardian…I was close to all of them…all of you. The three of you…Zan, Rath, Khivar…man, you’d get into so much trouble. You’d always be trying to top each other with your pranks. You were always very competitive at everything. Who was the best at sports, who could get into the most trouble, who could get away with the worst prank…and later…there were the girls.”

“During this time, the King and Queen formed an alliance with Illyad hoping to eliminate the bad feelings between the two planets. They arranged for the daughter of the ruler there…Sero…to marry Zan when they became of age. Zan didn’t care. He was young…and too busy being the royal brat prince to care about a future marriage. But Khivar…I could tell it bothered him as soon as the union was announced. Apparently, he had a secret, childhood love for Ava that no one knew about. And the fact that she would be marrying Zan…his closest friend…the one he always competed with for everything…it was just one of many things that started to change him.”

“I think it was shortly after this announcement that Lord Balthor contacted the King, asking to come back to Antar. He felt that there were dangerous resistance groups still on Illyad and he had heard rumors of plots against him and his wife. The King laughed him away, saying that one wasn’t truly important until they had at least one plot for their death. But Balthor was right…there was an attack on his home and both he and his wife were killed, execution style, while they ate their dinner. The King and Queen were stunned…and horrified. They immediately called off their arrangement between Zan and Ava and vowed revenge. But Sero begged them to reconsider…explaining that it wasn’t an attack sanctioned by their government, but by rebels. She insisted that the attackers would be captured and punished…publicly.”

“Khivar was distraught. He blamed the King and Queen for not allowing his parents to return as they requested. And he wouldn’t talk to anyone…not even Zan. Vilondra eventually won over his confidence and I saw her sneaking into his rooms most nights and they would talk for hours. About what…I have no idea. But the two of them became close…and Zan and Rath grew sad over the loss of their friend. They still tried to draw him in, but Khivar politely refused and concentrated on school. After his parents were killed, the King and Queen decided to bring Khivar into their family…officially bring him into their house. It was like being adopted here. It didn’t change much…he was already living there…but the Queen went out of her way to make him feel like part of the family. She loved his parents, as did the King, and they showered him with attention and gifts and anything he ever wanted…trying to show him that they considered him part of their family.”

As Serena told them about their history, Max could see the inevitable events unfolding. Even if she stopped right there, he’s pretty sure he can guess what happened.

“Over the years, he grew closer to Vilondra and the Queen. He loved them both…everyone knew that. But he could never forgive the King and blamed him until the day your father died for the deaths of his parents. The day after Zan became King, Khivar, Vilondra and Rath were called to the Queen’s office. Zan was there as well, uncomfortable with being a King at such a young age and relying on his mother to help him adjust. The Queen told them that the decision had been made for Rath and Vilondra to marry. She knew that Khivar would be upset…his attachment to Vilondra was known throughout the palace. Rath and Vilondra immediately protested, but the Queen said it had already been decided. That’s the day that Khivar disappeared.”

“Over the next two years, Zan and Rath tried to find Khivar…wanted him to come back to the palace. The Queen was beside herself and ordered a group of guards to spend all their time trying to find him. And Vilondra…she wouldn’t leave her rooms. She cried almost every day. But eventually, the search was abandoned. We all became of age and Khivar was no longer a child. He was a grown man and if he didn’t want to return to the palace, no one could make him. Zan hated the way Khivar’s desertion affected his mother and couldn’t understand why it was all such a big deal. He never complained about having to marry someone he didn’t want to. That’s just the way things were. Zan had never been in love, so he didn’t understand Khivar’s devastation. Once Vilondra and Rath were married, they would soon bond and Khivar would be left…brokenhearted.”

“The day Zan and Ava were to be married, Khivar showed up at the palace asking for the Queen. She was so happy to see him and couldn’t stop hugging and kissing him and telling him how much they missed him. I’m not sure about a lot of what happened after he left the Queen. I saw thousands of men storm the palace…there were explosions and people running everywhere. It was chaos. I saw Vilondra, Khivar and Zan arguing at one point and realized then that this was all Khivar’s doing. I remember him looking at me, and I saw the hatred in his eyes…right before he looked away and stabbed Zan where he stood. It was horrible…and Vilondra…she was screaming…and people were running everywhere…shots flying over our heads. I ran to Zan’s side as Khivar dragged Vilondra away and I saw there was nothing I could do. The wound was fatal and he didn’t have the strength to heal himself. I tried…but healing fatal wounds is the King’s power.”

“The Granolith could have healed him…but I couldn’t find anyone to help me. I desperately searched for Rath, but he was dead. I finally found a couple of men from Zan’s royal guard and ordered them to carry Zan’s body to the Granolith Temple. But by the time we were able to make it there, it was too late. I knew what had to be done, then, and I searched for the Queen. I found her room being guarded by two of Khivar’s men and I snuck away from the palace, confident that I was doing what the Queen wanted me to.”

“Years before, Zan’s father started working with our scientists to try and clone our essence and mix it with alien DNA. They found a planet in another solar system…one that wasn’t as technologically advanced as ours…a planet that had a hospitable atmosphere…a place where no one would think to look. The threat against the royal family was always present, and the King wanted options to be in place in case of an attack. I had my two faithful royal guards with me and they brought Zan’s body to the inconspicuous warehouse where the lab was. I found the scientists there busily working…concluding, like me, that the time had come to implement the plan.” She finally stops and leans back on the sofa, sipping at her Diet Coke. “And the rest…you know.”

The three aliens are speechless, and Liz asks, “So how did you get the others there? And what about the Queen? Did you see her again?”

“I ordered the royal guards to use any means necessary and to use any resource they could to bring Rath’s body back. When they returned, I wasn’t very surprised to see that Ava was dead as well, but I was in complete shock to see that they also carried the dead body of Vilondra. I don’t know what happened, or why she ended up dead. That’s why I was a little disappointed that you didn’t have any of your memories. It’s locked in there somewhere, and it would help to explain what happened with Khivar during those last hours. And no, I never saw the Queen again. But she was able to have a communicator delivered to the warehouse, so I knew she was alive and aware of what we were doing.”

“And you? What happened to you?” Liz asks, fascinated by the entire history.

“My memories of Antar stop the day I was podded and the ship left for Earth. Like I said before, most likely Khivar would have sought me out since I am the Granolith guardian. But in that event, I would have made it impossible for him to capture me. With the King dead, he could have gained control of the Granolith through me. That’s another reason I sent the Granolith along with the pods…it has to be kept out of Khivar’s hands. Without it, he will never truly be able to rule.”

~TBC~

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Angel
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Post by Angel » Wed Mar 24, 2004 9:52 pm

Gigo, we'll catch up with Zan and Ava in a little while. And will they be able to work things out with Khivar? Hmmm...I'll never tell. ;) Ok, maybe I will, but not yet.

cherie, thanks! That was one of my main goals with this story...to turn these characters into actual mature adults. I hope I can keep them that way.

frenchkiss, ah...oops. Sorry about that! Of course there's nothing in the universe more important than those two. ;)

vegas, Ava really does love Zan, and I couldn't just send him off with Cal alone. But it won't be the last time we see her. And Alex & Isabel will definitely be seeing each other later. And Maria...she'll be jumping into the abyss with both feet, I think. ;)

Kath, I'm in the middle of saving the feedback now. I'll PM you when I'm done. Should be this weekend. We must be on the same wavelength regarding needing explanations for things. ;) You're not sharing my brain, are you? ;) And yes, soon you'll have to wait with all the rest of my poor readers for me to update. You can join in with the stoning when I don't get it posted every week (my goal. which, sadly, sometimes doesn't get met).

out of this world, thanks!

Hope you guys like this next part. And don't kill me...I know you will...but make it painless, please. ;) At least you candies out there will be happy. I hope. Don't give up on Max and Liz yet, though. I haven't.


Part 41

“So who are the Skins?” Max asks as soon as he can find his voice.

Serena sighs and sets her can of pop on the coffee table. “They’re from Illyad…supporters of Khivar’s. They are unable to survive in Earth’s atmosphere, it’s one of the reasons this planet was chosen. Unfortunately, there was a leak in the plans to send the royal four here and they followed us. They arrived on Earth just a few years after we crashed but didn’t have an exact location since your pods were hidden. They also had to spend time adapting to this planet and its customs. They created husks that would allow them to walk freely without notice, but they had to spend several years after their arrival learning basic things, like talking, reading, and writing. They were like newborn babies in these husks. It bought time, but they’ve been on this planet almost as long as we have.”

“We’re supposed to go back, right? What do we have to do to get ready?” Michael asks suddenly, causing every head to whip in his direction.

“Michael.” Max complains, wishing he didn’t just blurt it out like that before they had a chance to talk to Isabel about it.

“What?!” Isabel exclaims. “What are you talking about? We can’t go back…Cal said…” She turns to Serena in confusion.

But Max speaks up instead. “We can survive. Tess went back…in another timeline…and she survived.” He turns to Serena and asks, “Why would Cal tell us we weren’t meant to go back?”

She shakes her head and says, “I don’t know. He’s been here a long time…maybe he just doesn’t want anything to do with it anymore. It’s hard to tell…but he was always loyal to the royal family. He was one of the King’s personal guards.”

“You’re not seriously thinking about going back, are you?” Isabel asks in disbelief.

Max glances quickly at Liz, unable to look at her for long and noticing that she hasn’t said anything yet. He takes a deep breath and nods. “Yes.”

“Are you insane?” Isabel stands up and paces to the far side of the room. “We don’t know the first thing about fighting in some war. We’ll probably be killed the minute we land there.”

“Isabel, you saw for yourself what will happen. Khivar knows where we’re at and he’ll come here…he’ll destroy this planet because we’re on it. We aren’t prepared to fight him here…we never will be.” Max says.

“And we will be if we go there? You’re crazy if you think the three of us can just go there and fight him.” Isabel argues.

“It won’t be the three of us. There are people there…fighting in our name…waiting for us to return. And I’m not asking you or Michael to go with me.” He looks at Serena and asks, “Can you help me train…help me with my powers?”

Serena nods and starts to say something, but Michael speaks first. “I’m going with you.”

Max turns to look at Michael and says, “I don’t expect you to. Maybe you should stay...in case I’m not successful.”

Michael just stares at Max and repeats, “I’m going with you.”

Liz sits, silent, as she watches Max nod his agreement before he tries to explain to Isabel why he’s made the decision he has. She turns her attention to her hands in her lap, noticing that she’s been twisting her fingers around each other until they’re white. Releasing her tight grip, she looks up and notices Kyle studying her. She tries to offer him a smile, but she knows it’s weak and probably looks like some sort of sneer instead.

He flicks his eyes toward the stairs, inviting her to go up with him to talk alone and she nods gratefully. When she stands, the conversations stops and Kyle says, “We’ll be right back.” She follows him up the stairs, feeling Max’s eyes on her.

Once they’re seated in the kitchen, Kyle says, “It looked like you wanted to get away.” His tone is sympathetic and she can’t keep the tears from coming to her eyes.

She laughs self-deprecatingly as she swipes them away. “Sorry…I just…it’s a little too much to take right now.”

He nods in understanding and says, “I had no idea.” At her questioning look, he adds, “That you were in love with him.”

She shrugs and says, “I think I always have been.”

“That’s why you broke up with me…back in high school, isn’t it?” He asks.

“No…not really. I mean, I guess…but we were better as friends, don’t you think?” She smiles at him. “It would have never worked with us.”

“No, I know that. Now.” He laughs, remembering how mad he was back then. How he kept following her around wanting to know why she broke up with him right before their junior prom. He looks at her closely and sees how she keeps glancing toward the basement door. “Does he feel the same way?”

She pauses…remembering the past few days. She remembers the feel of his lips on hers from the night before and she nods. “Yes.” Yes, she knows that he loves her, too. That he’s always loved her.

“So what do you think about this plan of Max’s? I take it you’re not too thrilled.”

“That’s an understatement. But what can I do?” She shrugs and a frustrated huff escapes from her mouth. “Kyle…what we saw…it was awful. And I know that’s what he’s thinking about. That the same thing will happen again. A part of me even agrees that it looks like the only answer is for them to go back. But…” She shakes her head and rests it in her hands on top of the table. “I just wish I could think of an alternative.”

“Sounds like he’s already made up his mind.” Kyle says.

Liz looks up and asks, “You don’t think Serena will go too, do you?” Her eyes widen suddenly in worry.

Kyle smiles and says, “No. I’m pretty sure she won’t.”

Furrowing her brow, Liz looks at Kyle closely and smiles with him. “Really?” When he nods, her smile gets bigger. “Wow…congratulations! I know how hard you guys have been trying.”

“We just found out yesterday, so wait for her to tell you. She’ll be pissed that I ruined the surprise for her.”

“My lips are sealed.” Liz reaches over and squeezes Kyle’s hand. “I’m so happy for you.”

He squeezes back and says, “Thanks. So what about you? What are you gonna do now?”

“I have no idea.” She says helplessly.

“You should stay here with us for a couple days. Or until you go back home. I know Serena would love to have you here. So would I.” Kyle is sincere with his offer. He doesn’t like the lost look on her face and hopes that spending some time with him and Serena will be good for her.

Liz smiles in thanks and cocks her head to the side. “Kyle, when I called the other day…you knew what I was fishing for, didn’t you? About the visions?”

“I didn’t know, Liz. I mean, I knew what was going on…Serena told me. But I didn’t know you were involved. I saw you in visions I had, so I knew you were involved in other timelines…but I didn’t know. Serena told me you might be having visions because you were involved before. So I said just enough to make you think you weren’t crazy and to get you curious in case you were involved and we didn’t know it.” Kyle leans forward and continues. “When I saw you drive up with Evans out in the desert, I wasn’t really surprised. I mean…I was…but I wasn’t. You know what I mean?”

Liz nods and says, “I just can’t believe that I’ve been friends with Serena for so many years. And all this time…” She shakes her head and looks at the table. All those years she never had anyone to talk to. She had to hide her powers from her family and closest friends. And during all that time, she had someone she could have talked to about it right under her nose.

“She fees awful about it. Especially because of what happened to you over the last few years…the guilt’s eating her up inside.” Kyle says.

Liz furrows her brow before she realizes what he’s saying. “You guys have a connection…a bond. You can feel what she’s feeling.”

“We’ve been married for a long time, Liz. And I have to tell you…it comes in handy.” He grins.

Before she can answer, though, she hears her cell phone ringing in the other room. She quickly retrieves it from her jacket and sees that it’s Maria. “Hey, Maria.”

“Liz, you have to come rescue me.” Maria’s voice is a strained whisper.

“What’s wrong?” Liz immediately worries about what could have happened.

“I’m trapped in my mom’s store with the entire town of Roswell! That’s what’s wrong!”

Liz smiles. “Ok, Maria…I’ll be there in a minute.”

“Thank you! Hurry!” Liz hears her phone go dead and she puts it back in her jacket. “Maria’s being mobbed in her mom’s store.” She says to Kyle as she slips the jacket on.

“You want me to go get her?” He asks.

She shakes her head and heads toward the basement. “That’s ok. I kind of wanna get out for a little bit anyway.” She walks downstairs and hears a heated conversation stop when the sound of her footsteps on the stairs announces her.

All eyes are on her as she walks into the large room and she says, “I need to go get Maria. Does someone have the keys to the other car?”

Isabel stands up and fishes the key from her pocket, handing it to Liz. “Is anything wrong?”

“Not really. I guess the word spread that she’s in town and she’s being mobbed at the store.” Liz smiles weakly, noticing the frown on Michael’s face. “We’ll be back in a little while.”

She turns to go but stops when she hears Max call her name. When she turns her head, he says, “Be careful.” She nods once and walks quickly up the stairs.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Are you ok?” Liz asks as Maria shakes out a cigarette and rolls down the passenger side window.

“I knew this would happen.” Maria says. “I need to get the fuck out of this town.” She raises a shaky hand to light her cigarette before inhaling deeply and blowing out the open window.

“I wish you’d quit.” Liz doesn’t usually say anything about Maria’s smoking, thinking that if she was gonna quit, she’d have to decide on her own. But she’s noticed Maria smoking more than usual lately and she can’t keep her mouth shut anymore.

Maria ignores Liz’s statement and decides to change the subject. “So what kind of alien crisis did I miss in the last hour?” When Liz doesn’t answer, she turns her head and her face drops. “Oh God…what now?”

Liz takes a deep breath and says, “They’re going back. To their planet.” Liz glances at Maria and quietly says, “Max and Michael. I don’t know if Isabel’s going or not…I left.”

Maria turns to face the windshield and takes another drag off her cigarette. Liz sees that her hand is shakier than before and the color has drained out of her face. “Maria, say something.”

“Hmm? What’s there to say?” Maria keeps her gaze, unseeing, on the road in front of them.

Liz has no answer for that and looks forward herself. She thought Maria would fly off the handle at her revelation. She thought there would be yelling and swearing. But she didn’t expect silence. She didn’t expect Maria to pretend she was indifferent.

As they drive up to Kyle and Serena’s house, Liz sees Max sitting on the front porch and he stands as she pulls the car up to the curb and turns it off. He’s been waiting for them. She’s not sure whether she should be happy about that, or worried. She’s surprised when Maria immediately gets out of the car and walks through the front door, sweeping past Max without a word.

“Hey.” Liz says as she approaches him.

He turns from the door Maria disappeared into back to Liz. “Is everything ok?”

“I told her. That you guys are going back.” Liz says, looking down the front walk and noticing the same gray car parked a few doors down that she saw behind her in town. She narrows her eyes and sees someone sitting in the front seat.

“Oh.” He says, shifting slightly and missing the way Liz is looking down the street. “I was hoping I could talk to you…about that.”

“What is there to say? It sounds like you’ve made up your mind.” Liz says shortly, immediately regretting the hurt tone of her voice. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it to…sound like that.”

Max stuffs his hands in the front pockets of his jeans and asks, “Can we get out of here…go somewhere else for a little while?”

Liz looks toward the front door, worried about Maria for a moment. But Kyle and Serena are there…she’ll be fine. “Sure. We can walk…there’s a park around the corner.”

~~~~~~~~~~

The first person Maria sees when she walks in the house is a teary eyed Isabel. The two exchange understanding looks of sympathy and helplessness and Maria walks straight into the kitchen where she sees Kyle and Serena.

“So the word is out.” Kyle comments as soon as he sees her. He sees the look on her face and thinks she’s pissed that she got cornered in her mom’s store. “You know everyone in this town is just desperate for any news about you. They don’t mean any harm.”

“Yah.” Maria says absently as she takes her jacket off and drapes it across the back of one of the kitchen chairs. She looks up at Serena and says, “I’m not feeling really well right now. Do you mind if I go lie down for a few minutes?”

“Of course not…make yourself at home.” Serena immediately goes into action, leading Maria to one of the guest rooms. “Do you want me to make you some tea?”

“No, I’m fine. Thanks. I just…my stomach. I’m feeling a little queasy…probably because I got up so early this morning.” She shares a smile with Serena as she lies down on top of the covers. “I’ll be fine.”

Serena nods and heads toward the door. “Just let me know if I can get you anything.” She closes the door slightly, leaving it open just a crack.

Maria throws her arm over her eyes. They’re going back. To their planet. Max and Michael. The words keep echoing in her head and she fights to silence them. Fucking Michael. Of course he’d go. What else should she expect? That he’d stay here…for her? A bitter laugh escapes when she thinks of the truth that question held in another timeline.

She can hear the faint sound of her cell phone ringing from downstairs and curses silently. Her manager’s probably going crazy. She’s supposed to start her new tour in a few days. It’s the last thing she wants to do right now. But maybe it’ll be good for her…get her mind off of everything else…off of Michael.

The floor outside the bedroom door squeaks and she turns her head expecting someone to come in. But the door doesn’t open. She can see through the crack that Michael’s standing there, shifting back and forth as if deciding whether to come in or not. “You can come in.” She says.

The door opens slowly and Michael steps into the room holding her cell phone out to her. “It was ringing. I thought you might need it.”

She holds her hand out for it and when he hands it to her she turns it off before tossing it on the bed beside her. “Thanks.”

He looks at her, uncomfortable, trying to decide whether he should leave or not. “Serena said you aren’t feeling well.”

She sits up and tugs her shirt down absently. “Liz told me…that you’re leaving.”

He looks surprised for a moment, then sits on the edge of the bed next to her. “Yah.”

Taking a shaky breath, she asks, “When?”

“A few months. We need to prepare…develop our powers.” He says. “I can’t let him go alone.” For some reason, he feels like he needs to explain it to her…get her to see why he has to go.

“How do you know you won’t be killed as soon as you get there?” She can’t help but think about what almost happened in the last timeline.

“We don’t. But we have to do something. Waiting here again for Khivar to attack isn’t an option.”

“Is Isabel going, too?” Maria asks, remembering that Liz wasn’t sure.

Michael pauses, then says, “No.” He doesn’t offer an explanation and Maria doesn’t have enough energy to ask why.

She lies back on the bed and closes her eyes. “Well, I guess we made the right decision. About not getting involved. Now it’ll be easier for you to go. No attachments…right?”

He looks at her, surprised. “You think it’s easy for me?”

She shrugs and says, “I just mean that you don’t have anything keeping you here this time.”

He doesn’t know what to say to that. If only she knew…but maybe she does. Maybe she does know how he feels about her and she’s trying to make it easier for him by denying that she feels the same way. Or maybe she doesn’t. He looks down at her face, confused. Her eyes are shut but there’s a lone tear falling from the corner and down into her hair. Without thinking, he reaches his hand out to catch it. “Maria…”

She slaps his hand away and sits up, angry. “Don’t! Just…don’t.” She furiously scrubs at her eyes, hating that they’re shedding tears over him. “I’m not crying.”

He looks at her and sees that she’s trying to be strong…trying to push him away. Does this mean that she cares whether he stays or goes? Does this mean she might care about him…just a little? “Why are you upset?”

She looks at him in disbelief and rolls her eyes. Jumping off the bed, she paces toward the door and back across the room. “Why am I upset?! How can you ask me that? You’re planning on jetting off to another planet, Michael. I’ll probably never see you again. You’ll probably get yourself killed and I’ll never know what happened to you. I’ll never see your face again…I’ll never get to make you spaghetti…I’ll never feel you watching me when I sing again…I’ll never see you play with our kids, the ones we were supposed to have…I’ll never be able to nag at you to take out the trash…I’ll never watch you mow the lawn…I’ll never feel you kiss me and hold me at night…I’ll never get those things.”

Flabbergasted, Michael shakes his head and says the first thing he can think of. “I don’t know how to mow grass.”

Maria spins around toward him suddenly and slaps at his arms and his chest, frustrated tears streaming down her face. “You asshole!”

He stands up, then, and grabs her wrists to keep her from hitting him. Surprised at her tirade and outburst, he pulls her close and wraps his arms around her tight to keep her still. “Shhh. Don’t cry.” His heart has suddenly swelled with happiness and shattered with heartbreak at the same time. She loves him. And he feels like dying because he has to leave her.

She sobs against his chest, totally broken as he squeezes her tightly to him. Her arms are trapped between their bodies as she shakes in sorrow and anger. “I hate you.” She says weakly as she sniffles loudly and her sobs grow quieter.

“Yah, I know.” He releases his hold on her enough so that he can tip her face up to his. He wipes the tears from her cheeks and leans over to the nightstand to grab a tissue. He brings it up to her nose and says, “Blow.” She does as he asks without thought and he tenderly wipes her nose like he would a child before tossing the tissue back on the nightstand. He grabs another one and wipes her eyes gently and dries her cheeks.

She shudders with the last of her tears as she looks up at him. “Take me away from here, Michael.”

He knows what she’s asking for. And how can he refuse? Not with the way she’s pleading with her eyes. Not with the way she’s trembling in his arms. His mind runs through the short list of protests he could make before rejecting them all. She has a tour starting soon. He has details to go over with Max and Isabel. She has people counting on her and responsibilities to fulfill. He has a life that needs wrapped up in New York.

But he can’t deny her. He can’t deny himself. “Ok.” He bends down and gently kisses each of her eyes before placing a soft kiss on her mouth.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Take me with you.” Liz’s voice pierces the silence as they walk into the deserted park a few minutes after leaving Kyle and Serena’s. They haven’t said anything the entire way, each wrapped up in their thoughts, and Max almost doesn’t hear it when Liz finally does say something.

“What?” He turns to her suddenly, not believing he heard her correctly.

“Take me with you. I wanna go…with you…and Michael. I can help. I have powers, too.” She’s stopped walking and is looking up at him in determination.

His face crumbles and he shakes his head. “Liz, no.”

“Why not? Max, we saw…you saw the same thing I did. We’re stronger when we’re together. I can help you, I know I can. And with Isabel, we’ll have a sort-of four square. It has to be better than nothing, right? I can’t mindwarp, but I can work to develop my powers. I can work on my future sight…and my blasting.” She’s stepped away from him now, deep in thought…growing excited with the possibilities. “Maybe Isabel and I could work on mindwarping…or maybe Ava can help…”

Max steps toward her and turns her to him. “Liz…stop. You can’t go.” He says forcefully. “Listen to what you’re saying. I’m going to another planet…and there’s every possibility that I won’t be able to come back. You aren’t going.” He shakes his head and grips her upper arms tightly.

She wrenches away from his grip and takes a slow step back as she shakes her head. “You can’t keep me from going. I’ll talk to Michael…he’ll see that I’m right. And Serena…”

“They’ll say no…because I’ll tell them to. Don’t do this, Liz. Please.”

“You can’t make me stay. The Granolith will still recognize me as the Queen…and Cal said he still has to do what I tell him. You can’t make me stay.” She says defiantly, grasping at whatever she can.

Max can’t believe what he’s hearing. “Liz, you have to stay. What about Maria, Alex, your parents…your job…”

“Fuck my job, Max! I will not lose you! Not again!” She shouts at him angrily, trying to break through his absurd thought that he has to keep her protected.

“And I’m not willing to lose you! God, Liz! Don’t you know this is killing me?!” He shouts back before angrily shoving his hand through his hair, trying to calm the heart battering the inside of his chest. “I refuse to stand by and watch you die…again…because of me. And if I have to go to another planet to make sure that doesn’t happen, then I’m going. And dammit, you’re not going with me.”

She doesn’t know what to say to that and he takes her silence as a chance to continue. “I love you, Liz. And I love that you’d give up everything to come with me. But I won’t let you do it. If there’s one thing I’m able to stand firm on with you…one thing that I can guarantee you can’t change my mind on…it’s this.”

She crumbles under the weight of his words, realizing that there’s nothing she can do to change his mind. He’s going to leave…without her…and she probably won’t see him again. She’s lost him. For good this time. And the worst part is she never really had him in the first place.

Max watches the emotions cross her face…most prominently, the defeat. And as much as it kills him, he breathes an internal sigh of relief that it’s there. Of all the things he expected her to say to him, wanting to come with him was one he didn’t expect. He takes a step toward her and his voice is softer. “Liz.”

She can’t form any words right now. She doesn’t know what to say. He’s begging her with his eyes to accept his decision. But all she can do is stand there and stare at him helplessly. She feels his hand on her cheek hesitantly stroking it and she feels like crying. But tears won’t come. Maybe she’s in shock. It’s finally sinking in that he’s leaving…without her…and he won’t ever come back.

“Liz.” He says again, bringing his other hand up to frame her face. She’s looking right at him…right through him…and he just wants her to say something. To yell at him again…anything. But her silence is so much worse.

“When are you leaving?” She finally asks him.

“In a few months…maybe three. I’m gonna go back to New York for a week or so and wrap up some things, then I’m coming back here to train with Serena and Cal. Michael, too.” Max says quietly.

Liz nods and asks, “Isabel’s not going?”

“No.” He says simply. Not wanting to describe the scene between he and Isabel when that was decided. He studies Liz closely…confused at her sudden calmness about the situation. He wishes there were something he could say or do. But he’s not sure what it would be.

Liz looks down at her shoes, suddenly fascinated by them. She knows Max is waiting for her to say something, but she has no energy for it. “We should get back.” She says, glancing up at him quickly before turning to leave the park.

“Liz, wait…” He grabs her arm to keep her from leaving.

“What else is there to say, Max?” She looks at him, sadness in her voice. “I’m so…emotionally spent right now. It’s not even noon and I feel like I’ve been up for days and that I’ve been on this…roller coaster that won’t stop. I just…” She struggles to tell him how she’s feeling but can’t do anything other than take a step away from him and run a hand through her hair. “We should get back.”

He nods, feeling his heart shrivel up in his chest at the look on her face…the sadness and defeat in her voice. But before he lets her turn away, he wants to make sure she knows. “You know that I love you, right? That I wish this could be different?”

“I know.” She says quietly. “But it turns out…in the end, it doesn’t matter.” She sees the truth of it in his eyes and on his face and she reaches a hand out for his.

He looks down at her offered hand, then to her face before he intertwines his fingers with hers and they slowly walk out of the park and back to the house…in silence.

~TBC~

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Angel
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Post by Angel » Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:43 pm

out of this world, thanks for the bumps! Twice! You're double cool! And as far as any happiness coming, you know I have to have the angst...interspersed with happy moments, of course. ;) Don't worry, I'm not a complete ogre.

AmeliaML4, Liz won't let anyone tell her what to do. She's pretty stubborn.

roswellluver, Thanks for reading! I can always count on you for feedback and encouragement. :)

frenchkiss, Evil? Awww...I'm not that bad, am I? ;)

Breathless, Max & Liz are so predictable, aren't they? The next few months will definitely change things...for everyone. Thanks for reading and for the feedback!

I am a dreamer, I can promise you some dreamer moments before Max plans on leaving. As for the rest...those are some good alternatives. ;) Thanks for reading!

Craig Beatty, Kyle's my secret crush. ;) Funny how he got the life that Max and Liz should have gotten from the beginning. And Maria's in shock...both from the visions she saw and from the news that Michael's leaving before she ever got the chance to explore anything with him.

Milla, oh...if you've read my other fics, you know I can't ever give Max and Liz a break. LOL Isabel had several reasons for staying...Alex being one of them. That's explained more fully in this next part.

Asabetha, to quote Liz from 'Monsters', "You've got to have a plan."

Itzstacie, Angel's To Do List for the week:
Give Itzstacie an emotional workout. CHECK

vegas, you'll find out more about Isabel staying in this part. And yes, you might wanna stock up on kleenex soon. Not right away...but within the next few parts. Just a warning. ;)

Reven Eid, Glad you like it and thanks so much for reading! I'm probably just as much a candy as a dreamer (and sometime polarist) and often times find it easier to write for Michael and Maria than for Max and Liz. Guess that's why M&M usually have significant parts in all my fics.

VeronicB, Thanks for reading and for the feedback!!

cherie, My angst'o'meter? Pretty high...pretty high. LOL I promised myself I'd keep the angst a little lower on this one than it was for Ruins, but if you'd like I could maybe...kill someone off? That would up the angst factor, right? What do you think? ;)

Gigo, Awww...I'm sorry. passes Gigo a tissue from vegas' box of kleenex.

dreamingofstars, Thanks for the feedback! Max is just so gosh darn noble. Damn him.

Sali, Sorry, but they're leaving. That's all I can tell ya. Thanks for reading and leaving feedback!

Zendorox, cool name! What's it mean? Thanks for reading...glad to hear you liked the other stories, too.:) I'd love to hear what you think about them.



Part 42

After their emotional confrontation in the park, Max and Liz walk hand in hand down the street toward Kyle and Serena’s house. Neither has said a word since they left the park. Neither has anything more to say that hasn’t been said already.

As they get closer, Liz notices the grey car once again and says, “Later…we’re gonna have a discussion about why you have these people following me.”

Max looks at her, surprised, and then nods. She’s right, of course. He should have told her when they got here…and he’s really not all that surprised that she noticed. There’s just been so much going on that it completely escaped his mind. He should have known she’d figure it out. Maria was right.

At the house, Max sees Michael walking out the front door…Maria clutched tightly to his side. He’s carrying what looks like a couple of jackets and Maria’s purse and he’s headed for the car parked at the curb. Max looks at Liz and they both speed up to see what’s going on.

“Maria?” Liz races across the lawn toward her friend, concerned about how pale she looks.

“Michael, what’s going on?” Max asks as Michael opens the passenger door of the car and throws their things in the back.

“We’re leaving.” Michael turns to face Max.

“Leaving? Where?” Max is thoroughly confused and glances over at Liz and Maria huddled together, talking quietly. Did Michael change his mind about going?

“Away.” Michael says simply. When he sees Max’s confused look, he says, “We’ll be back in a week.”

Max realizes then that they’re going away together to spend this last bit of time they have alone and he feels the crushing guilt again. He clenches his jaw and asks, “Is there anything you want me to do for you…in New York?” Obviously, Michael doesn’t ever plan on going back there.

“No. There’s nothing there I need.” Michael watches Maria hug Liz and walk toward them, stopping in front of Max.

Maria puts both of her hands on Max’s upper arms and says, “I’m sorry, Max. For being such a bitch earlier. I didn’t mean to…”

If anyone can understand acting irrationally, it’s him. And he knows this morning was hard on everyone. “I know.” He says to her. “It’s ok, Maria.”

She smiles sadly at how easily he accepts the guilt and blame and says, “It’s really not.” She leans in and hugs him quickly before turning away and getting into the passenger seat of the car.

“Maria left the name and number for the pilot…whenever you guys are ready to go back to New York.” Michael says.

Liz nods at him and walks over to the car, lightly tapping on Maria’s window. Maria turns and smiles sadly up at Liz and presses her palm to the window as Liz presses hers on the other side. After a moment, Liz turns and walks back into the house without a word.

“I’ll be here when you get back…don’t know where I’ll be staying, but I’ll call.” Michael tells Max as he walks around to the driver’s side and opens the door.

Max nods and steps away from the car…speechless. There’s nothing to say, really. And he’s glad that Michael’s finally admitted his feelings for Maria and that they’ll at least get this time together. He stands in the grass on the front lawn and watches Michael pull away from the curb and drive down the street. He stands there, watching, until the car turns a corner and he can’t see them anymore.

If only he could sweep Liz away for a week. If only he could make the ache in her heart go away. If only he could agree and let her come with him. If only he could make the ache in his heart go away. If only…

~~~~~~~~~~

As night falls on Roswell, Isabel stares at the stars from the bench in the park across the street from their hotel. She wonders which one is their planet and searches in vain for the V formation and can’t find it. It must not be the right time of year to be able to see it from Earth.

After they left the Valenti’s house earlier, they came back to the hotel and Liz went to her room saying she wanted to take a nap. Isabel followed suit and woke up just after dinner. She hasn’t seen Max or Liz since then…deciding to go for a short walk where she ended up here rethinking the argument she had with Max and Michael that morning in Kyle and Serena’s basement.

After Michael’s declaration that he’s going with Max settles over them, Isabel sinks down onto the sofa and says, “I’m going, too.”

“No.” Max says quickly. “I think you should stay.”

“What?! No, I’m not staying…I’m going, too. I’m not letting you two run off on this suicide mission and get yourselves killed. I’m going.” She says angrily.

“Isabel, there are reasons I want you to stay here. Besides the fact that I know you don’t wanna go. One of us needs to be here in case…in case we’re not successful. Serena will need your help to protect everyone.” Max says.

“But if you’re not successful, there’s nothing we can do to protect anyone anyway, Max. I can be more help if I go with you.” Isabel argues as she stands up again and paces the basement in agitation.

“Our parents will need you.” He says, interrupting her argument. Off her surprised reaction, he says, “I think maybe we should tell them. Everything. What do you think?”

“You want to see them? You really wanna tell them, Max?” This catches her off guard…it’s the last thing she ever thought Max would agree to. She’s wanted to tell them for so long…wanted to see them desperately.

“Yes. I want them to know…before I leave. I think they
should know.” Max says. “And when I leave, they’re gonna need you. You have to be here for them.”

Isabel suddenly gets angry at his tactic. “Are you only agreeing to finally do this to manipulate me into staying?”

“If that’s what you wanna call it. But I really do want to see them before I leave, and I think they deserve to know the truth.” Max explains. “Call it whatever you want to, but I know you don’t wanna go with us…and I really don’t think you should. Given your history with Khivar.”

“You think I’ll be a liability.” Isabel says, finally hearing the real reason he doesn’t want her to go. She sits back down in defeat.

“Maybe. But first and foremost, I’m worried about you. I don’t know what’ll happen there and I don’t want to take any unnecessary risks.” His voice softens as he moves to sit next to her. “Stay here and protect our parents. Stay here with Alex…help Serena protect the Alex, Maria, and…Liz…I have to know that someone will be here to do that.”

She hears his voice catch when he says Liz’s name and she can’t help but feel the pain he’s feeling. “Promise me you’ll do whatever is necessary to come back, Max. No matter what happens…even if you can’t beat him. You have to come back.”

He closes his eyes, relieved that she’s agreeing to stay and says, “I’ll try.” But she doesn’t believe him. A part of her believes that he’s going there to defeat Khivar…or die trying.


The sound of someone clearing their throat surprises her and she whips her head around to see Alex standing a few feet away. “Hey. What’s going on in that head of yours?” He closes the space between them and sits down next to her on the bench.

“Just thinking about Max and Michael.” She says, looking back toward the stars.

“I heard. I was just up talking to Liz.” He tells her and she looks over.

“How is she?”

Alex shrugs and says, “I’m not sure. Silent. I’m worried about her.”

“Michael and Maria just took off this morning.” She tells him, although Liz probably already told him about it.

He nods, already having heard. “So how are you doing?”

She shakes her head and says, “I don’t know. I mean, like those visions this morning weren’t enough…now my stupid brothers are going off to some planet.” She snorts a laugh and says, “And…I keep hoping that I’ll just wake up…and we’ll be in bed this morning…and I’ll realize today’s just been this bad dream.”

“Hmm. That would be nice.” He looks at her then, and stands up. “Have you had dinner yet?” He reaches his hand out to her.

She smiles and places her hand in his as she shakes her head and stands up. “Dinner sounds good.” She leans in close to him and licks her lips. “But room service sounds even better, don’t you think?”

Alex agrees wholeheartedly and they make their way back across the street to the hotel.

~~~~~~~~~~

Lying on her bed, Liz stares at the curtains in her room and counts the hooks keeping it on the rod over and over again. She woke up a couple of hours ago feeling rested and hungry so she went down and ate a quick sandwich in the hotel café with Alex. Afterward, she came back up here and tried to watch TV, but found she couldn’t concentrate on anything that was on.

Sighing in frustration, she sits up and looks at herself in the mirror over the dresser before pulling a brush out of her bag, intent on doing something about her crazy looking hair. She wonders what Maria and Michael are doing…where they’re at. Then she wonders what Max is doing. Is he sitting in his room by himself…just like her?

Setting the brush down on top of the dresser, she steps closer to the mirror and studies her reflection. She never really paid that much attention to the changes in her appearance as the years passed by. She knew she looked different, but never thought there was that much of a change. But as she looks closely at her face now, she sees lines at the corners of her eyes that didn’t use to be there. And the skin under her eyes is thinner. She places both hands on her cheeks and raises them, stretching her skin upward and she wonders when gravity started taking its toll on her face.

She drops her hands and rolls her eyes at herself. If anyone should know the effects of aging on the skin, it should be her. Why is she suddenly worried about it? She turns from the mirror and tries to think of anything else that might distract her from thinking about Max. She looks at the clock and sees that it’s just a little after 7pm. Maybe a run would do the job.

But she didn’t bring anything to run in. The sneakers she brought aren’t her running shoes. Crap. She glances toward the door and finds that she can’t keep herself trapped in this room any longer. Regardless of the fact that she doesn’t have any shoes on and that she’s wearing her pajama pants and a tank top, she stuffs her room key in a pocket and leaves.

As soon as she steps out into the hallway and her door swings shut, she hears another door swinging shut and she looks up to see Max. He’s standing in the hallway two doors down in almost the exact position she’s in. “Hi.” She says lamely, looking around the hallway for some reason to give for her being there dressed the way she is.

“Hi.” He says back. He seems uncertain…almost as if he were going to walk in the direction of her room. But now that she’s there, he looks from her, back to his door uncomfortably. “I um…I was just going to get some ice.”

She sees that he’s not carrying his ice bucket and she raises her eyebrows in question. “Really?”

He realizes he’s caught in his lie the same instant she realizes he’s lying and his shoulders drop in defeat. “No.”

“Were you coming to my room?” She wants him to admit it. Because she was headed toward his room and she’ll feel a lot better if she knows he was thinking about her as much as she was thinking about him.

The air in the hallway seems thick and neither one of them has moved. Max isn’t sure why she’s standing out in the hallway in her pajamas, but he feels like if he moves she’ll dart away. So instead of saying anything, he nods. He hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Liz since they talked in the park earlier and he wanted to check on her to see if she was ok.

But if he’s honest with himself, he admits that he just wanted to be near her…to breathe the same air she’s breathing…to hear her say his name, even if it is in annoyance, or anger. He clears his throat and says, “I um…thought maybe we could talk.”

He watches her walk toward him and he swears he can smell her shampoo from where he stands. “What did you wanna talk about?” She asks him as she stops in front of his door.

Maybe it’s the husky sound of her voice, or the clean scent of her in the air…but Max is having a hard time getting his brain to understand what she’s saying. “Um…the Granolith…I thought we could talk about what we saw this morning.”

“I don’t wanna talk about that.” Liz says quietly as she looks up at him through her lashes.

“Ok.” Max frowns. He thought she’d already have a notebook filled with observations and analyses about what they saw in the cave this morning. “Do you…do you wanna come in?” He motions toward the door to his room and holds his key card out.

She nods and watches him open the door, standing to the side to let her walk in before him. This is the third time she’s said she doesn’t want to talk about this morning and Max wonders why. Not that he’s really anxious to relive his incredibly shitty behavior, but he really wants to know what she’s thinking…how she feels about it.

“Why don’t you wanna talk about this morning, Liz?” He closes the door behind her and watches as she walks toward his bed and sits on the side.

She doesn’t look at him…instead, keeping her gaze on some point to the right of him…and shrugs. “I just don’t see the point, I guess. Those things happened in another life…another time. To another person. Not me. I watched those two timelines and…I just felt like that person who looked like me was just that…another person. I don’t know who she was, but she’s not me.”

He chooses not to say anything as she finally looks him in the eye. He can tell she’s not done, so he leans against the wall and puts his hands in his pockets and watches closely as she stands up and paces absently across the room.

“When it was over, I was just…physically sick. The only thing running through my mind was the thought that I…no, that any of us are capable of those horrible things that we saw ourselves do. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that those people aren’t us. Every decision…event…circumstance, whatever…that happens throughout our lives makes us who we are. I think…I think that most people are probably capable of becoming anything. But life, and the things that happen to us shape us into who we become. We don’t know what choices we would make if something horrible happened…like someone close to you dying…or a future version of the person you love comes back in time to tell you he needs to be with someone else to save the world.” She pauses…letting that sink in.

“So, we saw what choices we would make in those situations. It doesn’t mean we’d make those same choices today. Our lives are completely different.” She shakes her head and turns to look at him. “I know everyone is freaked out by what we saw. I know you’re feeling incredibly guilty, and I know that the others…no matter how much they don’t want to…hold you to blame for a lot of what happened. But I just don’t see how it matters. None of that affects us now, or who we are. Not one bit. It’s pointless to know what happened before…because it’s impossible for it to happen again. That’s why I don’t need to talk about it.” She shrugs and sits back down on the edge of the bed. “But if you want to talk about it…about how it made you feel, I understand. I’m here to listen.”

“I was just concerned with how you were feeling about it.” He says.

“Well, now you know.” She smiles at him. “But we do have something more important to talk about.” She looks at him meaningfully and he sighs, pushing away from the wall.

“I just want to make sure you’re safe. I asked Cal to arrange it.” He walks over to the bed and sits next to her.

“I don’t like being followed around…or watched.” She tells him.

“I know. I should have told you. But I just can’t let anything bad happen to you again. I wanna know that you’re safe.”

She brings her hand over to cover his. “You can’t protect me 24 hours a day, Max.”

“No, but I can use whatever resources I have to try. I just…I need to know that you’re taken care of. Especially now that…”

“Now that you’re leaving?” She finishes for him. “Max, if I came with you, you could make sure of that yourself.” She lets go of his hand and stands up. “Besides, I can take care of myself. I don’t need babysitters.”

“Liz…” He hopes that she doesn’t start asking him to go with him again. His resistance is low when it comes to her and he doesn’t know how long his will power will hold up if she decides to fight him on this. Especially when she’s standing so close…and her skin looks so soft…and her tank top keeps riding up above the waistband of her drawstring pants just so…

She turns around to face him in a flash and waves her hand. “I know. I don’t agree with your decision, but I’m not gonna argue with you about it.” Taking a step toward him, she says, “But I want you to call off these people you have following me.”

She’s standing so close to him now, that from where he’s sitting he could just reach out and… “Um…” He can’t think clearly with his gaze eye level with her chest right now. What was she saying? He can tell she’s waiting for some kind of answer from him but he can’t tear his eyes away from the soft, pink material of her tank top.

Finally noticing where Max’s gaze is aimed, Liz feels her face flush with embarrassment and realizes that she’s not wearing a bra. “I uh…maybe I should go.” She tries to bring her arms up to her chest to cover herself. How did the mood in here change so quickly?

Max sees her intention and brings both of his hands up to pull her arms back down to her sides. He looks up at her and says, “Maybe you should stay. I think we have some unfinished business to attend to.”

Liz lets her arms drop and feels a tingling low in her gut when she sees the blatant hunger in his eyes. If she just took a step forward, she’d be standing in between his legs…she could just lean down and kiss him…she could feel his hands slide up under her shirt. But what would the repercussions be if she stayed here and did what she’s wanted to do for so long? He’s leaving the planet in a couple of months. Nothing could ever develop between him, and if they slept together, could she just walk away and be ok with that? Could he?

“Max…” She pulls her arms away from his caressing hands and takes a small step away from him.

He sees the apology in her eyes and drops his gaze to the floor. “I’m sorry.” He stands up and says, “You’re right…we shouldn’t. It’s…it wouldn’t be fair and it would just make things harder…later.” He doesn’t know what he was thinking. Well, he does, but he wasn’t thinking clearly. Since they confirmed that the bond was gone, he’s been anticipating the time that he and Liz could finally be together. But now he’s leaving…probably permanently…and he knows that if they sleep together, he won’t want to leave her. Ever.

Liz nods slowly and says, “Yah…it would.” Part of her knows this, but a big part of her just wants to grab onto him and take what she can get while he’s here. Tucking her hair behind her ear, she asks, “So, um…when do you wanna go back to New York?”

Accepting the change of subject, he says, “Isabel and I are going to see our parents tomorrow. So maybe tomorrow afternoon?”

“Your parents? Are you…are you telling them?” Liz is surprised, never expecting this. But if he’s planning on coming back to Roswell to train with Serena, she guesses it makes sense.

“Yes.” He confirms. “We’re telling them everything.”

“Wow. That’s…are you scared?”

He shrugs and says, “A little. But it’s easier knowing how well they’ll take it.”

She nods, remembering the two times they told their parents in the other timelines. They were shocked at first, but quickly accepted and supported them. “Well, just call me tomorrow then and let me know what time you’ll be ready and I’ll call the pilot.” She takes a step back toward the door intending to leave.

“Wait. You…you don’t have to go. We could watch a movie or something…or…” He looks around, desperately trying to find a reason for her to stay.

“Yah…I don’t know if that’s such a good idea.” She smiles, wanting to stay with him…but knowing the battle she’ll have to fight to keep from touching him.

He looks back at her and says, “Oh. Um…right. Ok. I guess I’ll just talk to you tomorrow then.” He can’t hide his disappointment, but understands why she wants to go.

She nods and turns, opening the door. But before she steps out, she hears Max call her name and she turns her head to look back at him.

“I um…” He sighs and shakes his head. “Good night.” He smiles instead of saying what he really wanted to say. Instead of asking her once again to stay…to forget for one night that he’s leaving.

“Good night, Max.” She smiles back, confused, then steps out into the hall and lets the door shut behind her.

~TBC~
Last edited by Angel on Sat Apr 03, 2004 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Angel
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Post by Angel » Thu Apr 15, 2004 10:33 am

Phaedra, Thanks so much for the feedback! I love Shakespearean tragedies! Could you tell? ;)

roswellluver, Michael and Maria are definitely getting some good, quality time together. ;)

Itzstacie, lol Now I'll picture Max and Liz as slugs when I'm writing them.

Smac, Max and Liz are both struggling with the ramifications of him leaving. As much as they want to be together, neither one wants to subject themselves, or the other, to the pain of separating. Thanks for reading!

out of this world, Michael and Maria didn't really do that to hurt Max and Liz. They're just acting on their feelings, where as Max and Liz have a hard time doing that.

frenchkiss, your torture will last for another...2-3 parts. yah...that sounds about right. ;)

Sali, Thanks for reading and for the feedback!

kittens, Hmmm...you're right. No one has explained Liz's queen status yet, have they? Although, I believe Liz and Cal know. ;) If you go back and read part 41 and Liz and Max's talk in the park, she lets something slip that Max doesn't pick up on.

Amelia, I don't think Liz would have to stow away. ;) Parent telling is in this next part...thanks for reading!

Realistic Dreamer, Don't worry...both Liz and Max will come around. They just have to analyze everything to death...damn them. ;)

Milla, Hey, I'm a dreamer, too. LOL But I also like to make both of them suffer. lol

LTL, Argh! is right. :) Don't lose faith in the Max and Liz lust yet. ;)

Craig Beatty, looks around Dee? LOL You must be reading her fic, too. ;) But hey, if you wanna give me credit for her awesome writing, please feel free to do so. ;) Thanks for reading and for the feedback!

I am a dreamer, Thanks for reading!!

Sternbetrachter, Michael and Maria are enjoying their time together...three guesses as to where they drove to from Roswell. ;)

jason's lover, Nope. No breaks for Max in Liz in my fics. ;)

Gigo, Pain and heartbreak. Check. I might be able to throw in some happy moments sometime soon...maybe. ;)

vegas, Maybe we should beat Max and Liz over the head with your box of kleenex. LOL Don't worry...it'll get better. None of my stories ever had sad endings.

qt4167013, whew...that's a lot of numbers. LOL Glad you found me and happy that you're reading and enjoying it! Nookie? Hmmm...maybe we could just knock Max and Liz out and stuff them in a closet somewhere? ;)

Ms Capeside, They'll figure things out between them soon. Thanks for reading!!

cherie, Ok, no killing. Not yet, anyway. ;)

Kath, wow! I'm impressed! Max and Liz are definitely exhausting. LOL I thought about writing two side stories that go into more detail for those two different timelines because I was always curious about what happened in that first timeline to make Max come back in TEOW. And now that I've created a third timeline, I keep thinking about what I could do with those other two. Thanks so much for your feedback!

BelevnDreamsToo, Thanks for reading and leaving feedback!

Ninlil, Glad you found me and I'm happy you're enjoying it! And thank you so much for the feedback!!

Zendorox, hey, thanks for the PM with feedback on my other two stories! I love it when I read feedback that describes my stories the exact same way I see them. Plus...good for the ego. ;) Thanks so much for reading!!

Well kiddos, here's the next part. Late, as is my pattern lately. Sorry about that, but I just couldn't get this part the way I wanted and finally gave up and decided to set it free. I try to stay five parts ahead of what's posted in my writing and I'm approaching ten parts and still revising this one almost daily. So, I'm done...DONE, I tell you! LOL Hope you like it.


Part 43

Max sits in the driver’s seat staring at the house he grew up in. Isabel is sitting beside him, her hands twisting nervously in her lap.

The house looks almost the same. The trees are bigger and some of the landscaping looks different, but it’s still the same. White exterior paint with a red tile roof…the small balcony outside of his parent’s second story bedroom. He can remember when his parents first brought him and Isabel home after adopting them and thinking it looked huge, and thinking that he didn’t belong there.

“Maybe they’re not home.” Isabel says from next to him as she searches for signs of life inside.

Taking a deep breath, Max opens his door and says, “There’s only one way to find out.”

As he walks across the front lawn and waits for Isabel to join him, Max feels his heart hammering in his chest painfully. He’s pretty sure his parents will be overjoyed to see them, but he’s mortified at facing their reaction to learning their long-lost kids are aliens.

They stand at the front door a moment, both of them lost in nervous thoughts for a moment. Finally, Max reaches down and presses the doorbell and they hold their breath, waiting for the door to open. And they wait.

Neither of them is prepared for what they see when the door finally does open. The first thing Max notices is that it’s a woman who’s not his mom. The second…that it’s Liz’s mom. She gasps, surprised, as her hand flies to her mouth and she takes a step back. The third thing Max notices is that her hands are covered in flour and some doughy-type substance.

Taking a moment to recover, Nancy Parker’s eyes widen as she studies the two people on the front porch. She finally lowers her hand and whispers, “Oh my God.” before she turns her head slightly, not taking her eyes off of them, and yells, “Diane! You have uh…Diane!” Her voice gets progressively louder as she calls for their mom.

She then turns her full attention to them and finally smiles as she shakes her head and steps to the side. “I’m sorry…come in. You…you caught me by surprise. It’s…it’s so good to see you…I just…oh my God!” She continues to babble, disbelieving of the sight in front of her until Diane Evans emerges from the kitchen into the front hallway.

“Nancy, what is…it…” Her voice drops off when she sees who’s standing at her door.

“Hi mom.” Isabel offers with a weak smile.

Diane drops the towel she was wiping her hands with and rushes forward, tears forming in her eyes and questions written all over her face. When she reaches them, she reaches shaky hands to both Max and Isabel’s faces and asks, “Is it really you?”

Both of them nod and she immediately throws her arms around both of them as the tears start falling. “Oh God…I thought…I thought you were…” She shakes her head and pulls away to get a closer look…her hands traveling all over their faces, heads, arms. “Look at you…you’re so…”

“Old?” Isabel finishes as she wipes the tears from her eyes.

“Look at us…come on in the house.” She finally realizes they’re making a scene on the front porch.

Nancy watches the reunion with her own teary eyes as they all walk in. She’s beyond happy for her dear friend…knowing how much her kids’ disappearance has haunted her over the years. As Diane leads them into the living room, she’s unable to stop touching them and Nancy says, “Diane…do you want me to call Phillip for you…tell him he should come home?”

Diane suddenly realizes that Nancy has been standing there…and she also realizes that Nancy is right. Phillip needs to get here right away. She dazedly nods her head, feeling totally overwhelmed and Nancy walks over to her friend, giving her a quick hug. “Isn’t this wonderful? I’m so, so happy for you…I’ll go call him now.” Nancy pulls away and they both grin crazily at each other before Nancy walks back to the kitchen to the phone.

“I…I don’t even know what to say.” Diane turns back to her children…her grown children…and laughs nervously as she wipes the tears from her eyes. “It’s been so long…where…what…I don’t have any idea where to start.” Tears flood her eyes again and she feels Isabel hug her closely.

“I’m so sorry, mom. We’re sorry…we never meant to hurt you by leaving.” Isabel strokes her mother’s hair.

Max watches the mother and daughter reunion, knowing how much this means to Isabel. He can faintly hear Mrs. Parker in the kitchen telling his dad that he needs to come home…reassuring him that nothing is wrong, that he just needs to get there as soon as possible.

When she walks back in the living room, she’s taking off the apron she was wearing and rolls it up, setting it down on a nearby chair. “I’m gonna head on back home, Diane.”

Diane turns back toward Nancy briefly, but unable keep her eyes off her children for very long. “Oh…ok. Thank you, Nancy…I’ll um…I’ll…” She doesn’t know what to say at the recent turn of events and Nancy pulls her in for a hug again, understanding.

“I’m so happy for you, Diane. I’ll call you later.” She smiles at Diane and turns toward Max and Isabel. “It’s really good to see you.”

Max nods and says, “You, too. Thanks.” He thinks about Liz and wonders again why she doesn’t seem to want to see her parents while she’s here.

After she leaves, Diane says, “Sit down. Do you want anything to drink…eat? We were just making cookies for the Christmas bake sale at the church. I can get…”

“Mom, we’re ok. Please, sit down.” Isabel says as she grabs her mom’s arm and leads her to the sofa.

Diane laughs nervously and says, “I just can’t believe it. You’re father’s going to be so surprised. When did you get in town? Where have you been? What have you been doing? God, I just…I don’t know where to start.”

Max smiles and sits down in a nearby chair. “We just got here.” He says, not wanting to tell her they were there last night. When everyone is sitting, he says, “Maybe we should wait until dad gets here. Why don’t you tell us about you…how are you guys?”

“Oh…well, your dad…he still has the firm downtown. Let me think…he brought on another partner several years ago so he doesn’t work as much as he used to.” She tries not to break down in tears again and can’t help but ask, “Why…why did you leave so suddenly? Where did you go? We were so worried about you.”

Isabel grasps her mother’s hand tightly and Max says, “I know you have a lot of questions and we’ll explain everything.” He glances around the familiar living room…except the furniture is different and the walls are a different color. “It’s really good to see you, mom. You look good.”

That’s when they hear the sound of a car pulling up in the driveway and Diane stands up, followed by Max and Isabel…all eyes on the front door.

The door bursts opens and Phillip Evans rushes through it yelling, “Diane…honey, what’s going on? I got a call…” He freezes when his eyes land on the sight in the living room. His eyes widen in shock as the to-go cup in his hand slips out and drops to the floor…coffee splashing all over the tiles in the entryway. “What the…”

“Honey, they just got here.” Diane beams at her husband, knowing first hand the shock and surprise he’s feeling.

His eyes travel slowly from Max to Isabel and back to Diane before repeating the whole cycle. His gaze settles on Max and he can’t believe it. It’s really them. Slowly, he steps into the room and the haze clouding his head finally clears and he happily hugs his kids. “I can’t believe it.” He gushes, not knowing what else to say.

“Isn’t it wonderful?” Diane exclaims as she stands to the side, letting her husband feel for himself that they’re really here.

“Dad, mom…why don’t you sit down.” Max breaks away from his father and takes a step back. “I know you guys have questions.”

Diane walks to her husband’s side…his arm naturally pulling her in close to him. Phillip nods and takes a deep breath, unable to get rid of the smile on his face as they sit down on the sofa. “I just…it’s been so long, son.”

Max smiles and says, “I know. We missed you.” He watches as Isabel sits on the corner of the coffee table, wanting to be close to her mother…unable to let go of her hand. Max is left standing in front of this unlikely audience and he pulls in a shaky breath. Looks like it’s up to him.

“Where have you been, Max?” His father asks the most pressing question that’s been flying around his head.

“A lot of places. But for the last several years, New York City.” Max tells them and watches them trade shocked expressions.

“New York?!” Diane exclaims. “That’s where Liz Parker lives…and Alex. Did they ever know…” Her voice fades, knowing that it couldn’t be the case. If Nancy or Jeff had ever heard Liz say anything about Max or Isabel, they would have said something immediately.

“I know. And no, they didn’t know we were there.” Max says.

“They didn’t know…as in, they know now?” Phillip picks up on Max’s wording, the lawyer in him coming out.

“Yes. They’re here as well…Liz, Alex and Maria.” Max says, hoping that they’ll keep that news to themselves and not share it with the Parkers.

“How long? How long have they known where you were?” Diane can’t get past the idea that her best friends’ daughter knew where her children have been.

Max hesitates, knowing why she’s fixated on this one fact. Instead of answering, though, he says, “It’s not important. We have…we have a lot to tell you, so…it would probably be best if you let me just say what I have to say and save your questions until the end.”

Phillip grabs his wife’s hand and says, “Alright, Max. We’ll wait until you’re done…go ahead.”

Max smiles his thanks and glances quickly at Isabel, getting last minute reassurance from her…and not really finding it. She looks as scared as he feels. Looking back at his parents, he says, “Well, you remember…a few days before we left…there was a shooting…”

He tells them everything, then. About how he healed Liz and about how he told her the truth about himself…that he, Isabel and Michael are aliens. He tells them about the sheriff and he tells them about a future version of himself traveling back in time to convince Isabel that they needed to leave town.

As he talks, he watches the expressions on their faces go from total disbelief…thinking that he must be joking…to confusion, and finally understanding. He’s not sure if they believe him, but they think that he believes what he’s saying. And for now, that’s good enough. They can give visual aids later.

At some point during his telling, his mother goes to get him a glass of water when his voice starts to get raspy. He takes it gratefully, aware that this is probably the most he’s ever spoken at once. And through it all, his parents thankfully keep quiet. The occasional surprised look or gasp from his mother the only things that interrupt his tale.

By the time he’s done, he looks at his watch and sees that almost two hours have passed. Two hours was all it took to tell the story of three different lifetimes. Suddenly, there’s a heavy silence in the room…the absence of Max’s voice lies heavily in the air.

After a long two minute silence where Diane and Phillip sit frozen, trying to decide if they should believe any of this fantastic story they’ve just heard, Isabel finally speaks up. “Maybe you should show them.” Her voice stabs through the silence, startling them all. Max looks toward her and Isabel brings her hand up, wiggling her fingers. “You know…I think they need proof.”

Max nods in understanding and looks at his parents. Here’s the moment of truth. He could easily laugh off what he’s just told them and let them think he’s crazy. But when he shows them solid proof of his powers, there’ll be no denying it. He looks around the room for something to use and walks over to the fireplace. He picks up the iron fireplace poker and holds it in his hands. Concentrating for a moment, he runs one hand over the metal, changing the long thin iron tool into a statue of a dog…one that looks just like Bailey.

He sets it down on the coffee table in front of his parents and raises his hand, turning the lights in the room green before placing his palm on the coffee table and turning the light wood mahogany. When he looks back up at his parents he sees the shock on their faces…their eyes wide as they stare at the table and statue in front of them.

“Oh my God.” Diane whispers as she turns her gaze to her son. It’s true…everything he just told them is true.

Once he’s sure his parents have let it sink in, he changes the light back to normal as well as the table and the iron poker.

Deciding not to leave her brother helplessly flapping the breeze, Isabel says, “We can all do that. But Max can also heal and I can…I can go into people’s dreams when they sleep.”

“Dreams?” Diane says, her voice filled with awe.

“But…you’ve aged…you look just like…” Phillip doesn’t know what to say. Are these the same kids they adopted? He suddenly feels very stupid. “Is this your…natural form?” His voice sounds weak, feeling a little dense at having to ask that question.

Max smiles sadly at his father’s confusion. He’s wondering if they’re really three feet tall and green, walking around in human body suits. “We’re almost completely human, dad. Our blood is a little different…but other than some advanced brain utilization, we’re just like everyone else. We can’t change shape like our protectors. We feel what you feel, we can get hurt like you can, we put our pants on one leg at a time…just like you.”

Phillip Evans is, for once in his life, speechless. Aliens. His kids are aliens. “I…I don’t know what to say.” He drags his hand through his hair.

Diane looks at Max, his face a mask that she can’t read. She always did have a hard time figuring out what her son was thinking as he was growing up. He was so good at hiding his emotions…and it looks like not much has changed. But when she looks at Isabel and sees the naked anticipation on her face, she realizes that they’re waiting for a reaction. They’re waiting to see if their parents are going to accept them or not, and she cringes inside that they’ve ever had to worry about it.

“Oh Isabel, I’m so sorry you had to go through this alone.” She immediately draws her daughter into a hug. “You should have told us long ago…we could have helped, or tried to. Nothing could ever make us stop loving you or caring about you.”

Phillip sees the way his daughter breaks down in her mother’s arms and immediately realizes what his wife already has. He looks at Max and is overcome with such sorrow that they haven’t been able to help their children for all these years…that they felt they had no one to turn to. “Your mother’s right, Max. You could have come to us.” He steps closer to Max and puts his hand on his son’s shoulder. “Maybe we couldn’t have helped much, but we love you.” He sees an immense relief settle over Max’s face and Phillip pulls him in for a hug.

Diane pulls away from Isabel and turns to Max. “So is this why Liz and the others are back? Is she telling her parents about what’s happened?” One of the biggest shocks to her during this story was finding out that her best friends’ daughter and her friends were entangled in all this as well. “I just can’t believe it. About Liz, I mean…that she kept this secret of yours for so long.”

Max shakes his head and says, “Mom, no. She’s not telling her parents…and you can’t either. You have to understand that no one can know. Our lives depend on you keeping this to yourselves.”

“Now Max, I think the Parkers have a right to know what Liz has been through. They should know that you…that you changed her and gave her these powers.” Phillip says.

Max scratches the back of his head as he sees the look of panic on Isabel’s face. Did his parents just listen to him tell them what happens when people find out about them? Instead of getting angry, though, he sighs in frustration. “What Liz tells them or doesn’t tell them is her decision. I guess if she decides to, I have to respect that and trust her. But I highly doubt that’s what she has in mind…I’m not even sure she plans on seeing them while she’s here. She hasn’t said anything to me yet, but I’d appreciate it if you didn’t tell the Parkers that she was here. She understands what could happen if this information got to the wrong people…and I’m hoping that you can understand that, too.”

Phillip studies his son for moment, sadly realizing that he’s forgotten that his kids are adults now. “I’m sorry, Max. Of course, you’re right. I just…it’s so much to accept. You showing up suddenly…telling us you’re aliens…and you’re all grown up. I’m going to have to get used to the fact that you’re not kids anymore.”

“It’s alright…I understand how overwhelming this must be.” Max says, feeling bad for dumping all of this on them like this. And for asking them to lie to their best friends. Especially knowing that they’ll be leaving in a few hours to go back to New York.

Once they get past the fear, they all relax and spend the next hour just talking. About life in New York…and life in Roswell. Phillip shows them all the changes he’s made to the house, including the kitchen that Max and Isabel already knew they were redoing. Isabel helps her mom finish the Christmas cookies while Phillip and Max sit in the backyard admiring the new pool and hot tub that’s been added.

“So why now, Max? What made you decide to tell us now?” Phillip asks as they sit around the patio table sipping coffee.

“It was time.” Max says mysteriously with a shrug.

“So how long do you think you’ll stay?” Phillip asks.

This is a tricky question and Max answers with trepidation. “I’m going back to New York this afternoon. But I’m coming back in a week.” He turns to look at his dad and continues, “I’m going back, dad. To our planet. With Michael. We’re going to stay in Roswell for a few months and train, but we have to go back.”

“What?! Wait…you…how would you even get there?” Phillip is totally caught off guard by Max’s announcement.

“The Granolith. We have to go. We have to defeat Khivar and prevent him from coming here and destroying this planet.” Max turns back to the yard and sighs. “I’ve asked Isabel to stay here…with you. In case we’re not successful, she can at least be here to protect you as much as possible.”

Phillip studies his son’s profile for a few moments and sees the lines of age on his face…the strands of gray in his hair…and he’s once again hit with the fact that his son is a man. “Is that why you finally decided to come to us…to tell us the truth?”

“There were a lot of reasons. But yes, that’s one of them.” Max tells him the truth. Maybe he’s being selfish in wanting his parents to know who he really is before he leaves this planet forever. They deserved to know the truth years ago, but this latest turn of events was the final push he needed to tell them.

Phillip lets out a rush of air and sits back further in his chair. “Will Isabel being staying here in Roswell while you’re…gone?”

“We haven’t gone over the details, but yes, I think she will.” Max says before turning back to him. “I wanted to ask…could I stay here, with you, when I come back from New York. I’ll be here for two…three months at the most…and I’d like to be here with you guys if that’s ok.”

“Of course, Max. Of course you’ll stay here.” Phillip exclaims. “Isabel, too. We’ve missed so much of your lives…we’ve missed you.”

Max smiles sadly and says, “We missed you, too.”

~~~~~~~~~~

The Crashdown Café seems so different to Liz. It’s where she grew up, where she spent her afternoons after school serving greasy hamburgers for meager tips, where she experienced her first kiss with Kyle Valenti outside the side door on the fire escape, and it’s where she fell in love with an alien. But looking at it now from outside, she sees flashes in her mind of other events that happened there…events that she didn’t live.

Serena finally turns the engine off, sensing that Liz isn’t ready to go anywhere just yet. She only knows bits and pieces of what the Granolith showed them from the last couple of hours talking to Liz, but she knows it was enough to throw Liz off her axis. Either that, or the fact that Max is leaving the planet has her acting so strangely. Serena hasn’t quite pinned her down yet. But when Liz said she felt like going for a drive and told Serena to stop in front of the Crashdown, Serena couldn’t refuse her. “Are you sure you don’t wanna go inside?”

Liz nods her head and takes a deep breath. “I can’t.” She can see the waitresses inside scurrying around to serve their food to tables crowded with customers. Liz didn’t realize it was lunchtime already. She called Serena early this morning and asked if she could come over and talk…and the hours just flew by.

“What is it, Liz? When are you gonna tell me what happened between you and your parents?” Serena has always been curious, but Liz has never been forthcoming. She and Kyle go to the Crashdown often and the Parkers always brag about Liz, but they always seem sad…especially when they find out news about Liz from one of them. They don’t go to New York very often and Serena knows that something happened to cause a small rift between daughter and parents…she just wishes they could work it out.

Liz sighs from the passenger seat and leans her head back on the headrest. “I don’t know. Nothing…everything. It’s my fault.”

“It’s ok if you don’t wanna talk about it. It’s just that I can tell that you really want to go in there right now. And I know that they both miss you like crazy.” Serena looks at her friend in sympathy.

“I know.” Liz opens her eyes and looks into the Crashdown once more. She can see her dad standing near the back, talking to whoever is working the grill. “We can go now. Thanks for…stopping here for me.” Liz listens as Serena starts the car back up. She’s grateful that Serena’s not pushing her about her parents because she doesn’t really have the energy for any more emotional turmoil today.

She called Max earlier to tell him the plane would be ready to go back at 4pm and asked him if that gave him enough time for he and Isabel to talk to their parents. Then she called Alex, surprised that he was at the hotel, and told him when they were leaving. Obviously, he spent the night with Isabel again and she wonders what’s gonna happen between the two of them now. Will Isabel go back to New York? Will Alex move to Roswell? What will she do if he does?

Sighing and trying not to think about things she can’t do anything about, she leans her head back on the seat and sees Serena out of the corner of her eye…glancing over at her in concern. Serena still hasn’t told her anything about the baby even though they spent the morning together. Instead, they talked about Liz’s powers and what happened to her three years ago when she was kidnapped. They talked about the Granolith and Liz told her bits and pieces of what they saw.

And they talked about Max and Michael’s plan to go to Antar. It felt weird to be talking freely about Max with Serena and even weirder hearing the respect and pride in Serena’s voice when she spoke of him. Obviously, Max’s decision to return to Antar is one that Serena wholeheartedly agrees with.

Liz glances at her watch and sees that it’s almost 1pm. She thinks about going back home and she thinks about the last time she’ll see Max. Will he say goodbye before he leaves?

Serena drops Liz off at the hotel so she can pack her things and promises to come see her off at the airport. “Thanks. For this morning.” Liz tells her before getting out of the car.

“Liz, you can talk to me anytime. It’s so incredible…I know we’ve been friends for years. But…I just feel so much closer to you now. And I hope you feel you can still talk to me about anything.”

“Nothing’s changed, Serena. You’re still one of my best friends.” Liz reassures her and gives her a hug before getting out.

As she rides the elevator up to her floor, she starts to get anxious about going home…going back to normal. She doesn’t think she can take many more life altering revelations right now.

~TBC~

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Angel
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Post by Angel » Mon Apr 19, 2004 9:56 am

frenchkiss, Thanks! And we start to learn a little bit in the part about the problems between Liz and her parents.

Itzstacie, I don't think you'll have to resort to hunting me down. ;)

out of this world, Hmmm...you know that old saying? Be careful what you wish for? ;)

majiklmoon, Hey there sistah! Serena's just an easy character to integrate into stories because she was only mentioned once. There's no development a writer needs to stick to, other than she was a friend of Liz's, and we can just mold her into whatever we want. Kind of the same with Zan, I guess. Thanks for leaving feedback! Because, you know, I suck at doing that. :oops:

Breathless, Uh oh. I have a feeling you're all forming a Dreamer Posse and just waiting for a chance to strike. LOL But don't you worry...it'll be galaxy shattering. Maybe. If they kiss. Cuz, you know, I'm evil like that. ;)

I am a dreamer, Thanks for reading and for the feedback! Of course, I can't answer any of your questions. LOL

cherie, Wait...the angst coming up? Does that mean the current angst isn't high enough? Hmmm...good to know. I better go back and do some quick revisions. ;)

woodwinds, Hey! Thanks for the feedback...you...you...LURKER! LOL Don't fret. I'm not ALL about the torture. ;) I think you all will like the next two parts after this one.

Arianneleigh, Thanks for stopping to leave some feedback! It makes my day!

RedRoze, Ah yes, I'm generally a lurker, too. No sweat. But I really appreciate you talking the time to leave me feedback...and SO MUCH of it! :) Regarding Kyle, I just absolutely love him and I love writing him. And I think that if I didn't include him in my fics, I have some readers who would hunt me down and beat me with wet noodles. Liz's queen status will be delved into at a later time. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten. ;) Tess and Lonnie have reasons for not giving out names and locations to the FBI. The other aliens wouldn't be much use to them if they were captured, now would they? ;) Thanks for reading!!

Kath, Aw, don't worry, pumpkin. It won't all be sad. :)

Well kiddos, I spent two hours this morning revising part 45, getting ready to post it but then started going over all the feedback and realized I hadn't posted part 44 yet. Oops! I was all excited, too, because I know you'll all LOVE part 45! Oh well, hopefully this one is just as satisfactory...and I'll probably post 45 and 46 before Saturday because I'm leaving for vacation after that for a week. Thanks for reading, everyone!


Part 44

Three years. That’s a long time when all you can do is think. About the past. About the future. And most of all, about getting what you deserve. Of course, the not so mighty king will be getting what he deserves, too. The queen certainly has.

The news was confirmed for her and she knew the plan was moving forward…just as he said it would. There were times…long nights…when she took his words as nothing more than empty promises drifting in with the moonlight through the security mesh on her lone window. A smile tugs at her lips as she thinks how his visits to her dreams have become more frequent…tinged with desperate promises of reunion.

Zan is nothing but a fool, and Ava even more so. They have no idea what’s happening. And Ava, of all people, should be able to see it. She never was very bright. It was shocking, however, to learn that she’d kept Zan a secret for so many years. No matter…Zan’s usefulness has expired. Max Evans will, no doubt, make sure that Zan stays very far away. Zan has served his purpose…Liz Parker is dead.

Closing her eyes to await sleep…to wait for her lover to visit her dreams and discuss the next phase of their plans…Tess Harding lets her mind drift to the future. Her planet…her throne…will be hers. Soon.

~~~~~~~~~~

It’s a much smaller group going back to New York that afternoon than the one that came to Roswell. As they file onto the plane, Liz isn’t really surprised to see Isabel and Alex sit close together toward the back…talking quietly with their hands intertwined.

Liz takes a seat near the front to give them privacy and watches Max walk onto the plane as she sits down. He’s on the phone talking to Cal and she sees his gaze flicker toward his sister and Alex before he glances around quickly for a place in the front…wanting, like Liz, to give them some privacy.

He debates for a moment about whether to sit across from Liz or to sit further away from her, he decides to take advantage of any chance to be close to her and sits in the seat facing her. “Alright, I’ll let you know when I’m back in Roswell.” Max says to Cal before turning the phone off and stuffing it into his jacket pocket.

“Is he gonna help you?” Liz asks, knowing the answer already.

“Yah. He’s bringing Zan and Ava back with him…he thinks they’ll be able to help since their powers are more developed than ours.”

“Oh. That’s…good.” Liz tries to force a smile on her face and she shrugs. She searches the pocket on the wall next to her for a magazine to read, not trusting herself to talk about Max leaving without becoming emotional.

“So…are you going back to work when we get back?” Max tries to change the subject, knowing this one is making her uncomfortable.

“Greg gave me the next two weeks off to recuperate.” Liz grimaces and shrugs her shoulders. “It would probably look strange if I showed up at the lab this soon.”

“Oh. Right.” Max remembers now that she told him about her time off. Trying to lighten the mood, he asks, “So what are you gonna do with all this free time on your hands?”

Liz looks up, and stares at Max blankly. “You know…I haven’t really thought about it.” And she hadn’t. Realizing now that she does, indeed, have two weeks of free time to spend doing whatever she wants…she has no idea what she’ll do. She laughs nervously and says, “I’ve never had this much time off. I don’t know. What do people do when they get this much time off work?”

Max shrugs and says, “Go on vacation?”

“Yah, um…I think I’d rather stay home.” Liz’s mouth turns up in a small smile. After the last few days, she doesn’t think a vacation would do her any good. Plus, going away by herself doesn’t really sound appealing. “I’ll figure something out. Maybe I’ll just get a few books and catch up on some reading.” She shrugs and flips open her magazine, not wanting to dwell on the fact that what she would like most of all is to go away with Max. Maybe an island somewhere…they could lie on the beach and listen to the waves…

Just then, the sound of Isabel laughing drifts up to them from the rear of the plane and Liz turns around to see Alex holding a magazine up and pointing to something while Isabel leans back in her seat, her head thrown back in laughter. She watches wistfully as Isabel leans close to Alex and kisses him on the cheek and says something softly into his ear. But when she turns forward, Isabel looks at Max and her face falls with sadness.

Liz turns to look at Max and sees him looking back at Isabel with a small smile on his face. A smile that says he’s happy for her. A smile that also says he’s envious. And a smile that tells her not to worry about him…that he’ll be ok. Liz knows that it’s painful for Max to think about leaving Isabel. They’ve been together their entire lives…more than brother and sister, really. Confidants. Friends. They’re closer than most brothers and sisters because they shared this huge secret. They protected each other from everyone and every thing around them.

Liz envies that type of relationship. When she was younger, she always wanted a sibling. But Maria and Alex became the closest she would ever know. She can’t imagine the loss Isabel will feel losing not just one brother, but essentially two. But maybe Alex can help ease her pain when they’re gone. She has a feeling that she’ll be seeing a lot more of Isabel in the future.

“What is it?” Her thoughts are broken when she hears Max ask her a question. She looks up at him in confusion and he says, “Sorry…it just looked like you were really worried about something.”

She shakes her head and says, “Oh. I…I was just thinking about Isabel. About how hard it’ll be for her…when you…” She nods her head to the side and gives a little shrug, not wanting to actually voice the words.

Max looks at her, slammed with one more reason that he loves her. She’s worried about Isabel? Of course she would be. She worries about everyone around her…everyone but herself. He nods in understanding before turning away from her, thinking she’ll see his love for her practically beaming from his eyes. He smiles as his eyes land on Isabel again and quirks up one corner of his mouth. “Yah. She seems pretty broken up about it.”

Liz furrows her brow in confusion before turning to see what he finds so amusing. She whips back around, having caught an eyeful of Isabel and Alex lip-locked in the back…and getting a little too passionate if the location of Alex’s hand tells her anything. “That’s not funny.” She scolds Max. “Now I’ll have to bleach my eyeballs.”

Max smiles at her and she can’t help but smile back. “Totally worth it to see the look on your face.” He says.

She rolls her eyes at him and says, “Yah, well…it’s your sister he’s groping back there.” And she feels a little internal satisfaction when she sees that fact register as the smile fades from his face.

Turning away from the love fest going on in the back of the plane, Max says, “So Christmas is coming soon. What are your plans? Are your parents coming to visit you?”

She doesn’t answer him right away and he sees her face cloud briefly with something…regret? His curiosity finally gets the better of him and he can’t help but ask. “What happened, Liz? You were always so close to them.” Not only does he remember the closeness he saw between Liz and her parents when they were young, but the other timelines showed that she had good relationships with them then, also.

Liz sighs and folds the magazine in her lap closed, her attempt at distracting herself with it obviously failing. Without looking up at Max, she says, “A few years after I left Roswell, they came to visit me at school. They wanted to surprise me for Thanksgiving and didn’t call to let me know they were coming. I thought I was alone…everyone on the floor of my dorm had already left for the holiday.” She struggles with what to tell him, knowing he’ll somehow blame himself when it’s all her fault. “I had the stereo on in my room and didn’t hear them walk in.”

Max looks at her, confused…wondering what she’s trying to say. Did they…did they catch her in bed with someone? The thought horrifies him…and he feels knives of jealousy stab his gut.

“I was just screwing around…bored.” She shrugs and looks up at him. Seeing the look on his face, she realizes what he’s thinking and quickly says, “I was using my powers.” His eyes widen in understanding…then fear. “They saw me changing the color of my clothes.”

“Oh.” He says, relieved for one reason…and suddenly scared for another reason. “What…what did you tell them?”

“Nothing.” She says. “I acted like nothing happened and that they were seeing things. I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing.”

“And they didn’t believe you.” He guesses.

“Of course not.” She scoffs. “They saw me…I’m sure of it. But I had no idea what to do or what to say. And they were looking at me…they were looking at me like I was some kind of…monster. I saw the fear in their eyes and I heard it in their voices. And I knew…I knew then that I could never tell them.” She shakes her head sadly before continuing. “They dropped their questions over the years. But they don’t trust me. I always see their questions on their faces whenever I see them and I…I just can’t face it. They know I’m hiding something and every time I see them, everything is just tinged with fear and mistrust…and disappointment.”

Max feels the crushing weight of guilt on his chest and he says, “Liz…I’m so sorry.”

“No! Max…don’t.” Liz’s head snaps up. “This is completely not your fault. It’s mine…all mine. I should have been more careful. And thank goodness it was only my parents and not someone else!” She shakes her head and takes a deep breath. “Besides, it’s not like we don’t talk or anything. I still see them and time has helped a little.”

“Why don’t you tell them?” Max asks.

Liz jerks her head back in surprise. “Are you kidding? That would be like, the last thing I would ever wanna do.”

“Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing.” Max says. “I wouldn’t mind…if you wanted to tell them.” He thinks it might be good if Liz could be closer to her parents. He knows how hard it is to keep this secret from the people you care about.

Liz laughs bitterly, surprising him. “Of course you wouldn’t mind. You’re leaving the planet!” Her voice comes out louder than she intended and she sees Max glance back toward Alex and Isabel and she’s sure they heard her.

“Liz…” Max says calmly, wondering if this is how every conversation they have will turn out before he leaves.

She buries her face in her hands briefly before taking a deep, shuddering breath and looking back up at him. “God, I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I…you must think I’m the biggest fucking shrew.” She grimaces and feels her face heat up, knowing it’s turned a brilliant shade of red.

“So who does that make me? Petruchio?” He smiles at her, hoping to ease her embarrassment at her outburst, and clears his throat before lowering his voice. “Come, come, you wasp. I faith, you are too angry.”

She blinks, realizing that he’s making fun of her and she smirks back. “If I be waspish, best beware my sting.”

“My remedy is then, to pluck it out.” He wonders how long she’ll play this out because he could recite the entire play from memory…a convenient alien ability that got him through many English courses in school.

“Alright. I give up.” She throws her hands up and rolls her eyes. “You probably have the whole damn thing memorized anyway.” Picking the magazine back up, she flips it open before looking back up at him and seeing him smiling at her.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Here are your keys, Mr. and Mrs…Smith.” The desk clerk eyes the couple across the counter from him, knowing perfectly well who Mrs. Smith is. “If you need anything at all, please call us and we’ll take care of it.”

Michael gathers the keys and brochures and mutters a thank you before guiding Maria away from the reception desk and toward the elevators. The sounds of slot machines fill the air as they walk past the casino and once they enter the elevator, he sees that he has to enter one of the keys into a slot on the panel to gain access to their penthouse suite.

They ride up in silence, watching the digital numbers climb until they finally stop and the brass doors slide open. When they enter their room, he’s taken aback at its size. The large living area contains two sofas, four chairs, a big screen TV suspended on one wall, and a bank of floor to ceiling windows on the far wall which reveals a view of the Las Vegas strip. “Holy crap.” He mutters, stepping into the room slowly…feeling extremely out of place in such garish luxury.

He sees several open doors leading from the living room on both sides and assumes they lead to bedrooms. He’s never seen a hotel room so large. The carpet is cream colored, as well as the furniture. And the curtains are golden, matching the pattern on the wallpaper. He moves toward the TV and notices a cabinet next to it which is filled with movies, alcohol, glasses, cans of soda, wine, and a large digital remote control.

He eyes the remote curiously before picking it up and touching the display screen. It lights up with the slightest touch and he jumps slightly when he sees the curtains draw closed. He touches another area of the screen and sees the fireplace to his left light up and he grins. This is the coolest thing he’s ever seen.

“Having fun?” He glances up and sees Maria leaning in the doorway to one of the bedrooms and smiling at him.

“I think this thing controls everything in the room.” His voice is filled with wonder as he studies the touch screen display, seeing virtual buttons that say ‘TV’, ‘Stereo’, ‘Lights’, ‘Fireplace’, ‘Drapes’, ‘Video’, and at least ten others that he hasn’t deciphered yet.

“Drapes. Open.” Maria says loudly, and Michael’s shocked to see them do just that and he looks at her with wide eyes. “It’s all voice controlled, too.”

“Wow.” He sets the remote down now…thinking the voice thing is much cooler. He turns back to Maria and says, “You’ve been here before.”

She shakes her head and says, “No. But I’ve been in a hundred hotel rooms just like this. I’ve learned all the secrets along the way.”

He nods and walks over to the wall of windows and looks out over the night view of Las Vegas and the busy strip. He can see cars lined up and crawling down the 8-laned street and he can also see the walkways criss-crossing over the strip. “I’ve never been here before.” He muses, thinking about that other life…that other time when he had.

Maria joins him at the window and looks out on the city with him. They can see Paris, New York, and the MGM…along with countless other tacky hotels with their millions of lights making the night seem like day. “It’s a little overwhelming.” She’s been here countless times. Usually touring…sometimes vacationing. “See that light coming out of the Luxor?” She points to the brilliant beam of light coming from the pyramid hotel next to theirs.

He nods, wondering how much the electric bills are for these places.

“They say that you can see it from space.” She says. “I’ve always wondered if that’s true.”

He turns to look at her and sees her gazing up at the sky where the beam of light disappears. He can’t see any starts…the lights from the city are too bright for that. It reminds him of New York.

“Are you hungry?” She asks, turning away from the window and walking over to the desk behind one of the sofas.

He looks at his watch and sees that it’s 1am. “A little. You wanna order room service?”

She nods and picks up the phone. “What do you want?”

He shrugs, not really craving anything in particular. “You think they have a decent hamburger in this joint?”

Smiling, she starts speaking to whoever picked up on the other end. “Yes, we’d like a few things sent up. A hamburger, fries, chicken salad with honey mustard dressing on the side. Any kind of fruit you have…make sure there’s kiwi, strawberries and apples. Cheesecake with cherries on the side.” She looks up at him a moment before adding, “And a large bottle of Tabasco.”

He smiles, thankful that she remembered and sits down on one of the sofas and listens to her continue.

“Yes. We also need some clothes. Could you send up a rack? Yes, everything. Size 4 misses, 7 shoes.” She glances over at Michael and studies him for a moment before saying, “Size 42. Shoes?” She looks from his feet, up to his face in question.

“13.” He says.

“Size 13. 36 waist. Exactly. We’ll need toiletries also…everything. Yes, thank you.” She hangs the phone up and smiles at him triumphantly. “The food will be up in about 20 minutes. I’m gonna go take a shower.”

“You can just do that? Order clothes over the phone?” He asks, amazed.

She walks toward the bedroom and turns her head to look at him. “It’s Las Vegas. You can do anything here.” Smiling she turns back around and continues on to the bathroom.

Shaking his head, Michael looks at the TV and decides to try out this voice activated thing. “TV. On.” He smiles when the flat screen immediately glows to life. “ESPN.” His smile gets even bigger when the channel, in fact, changes to ESPN and he sees a hockey game on. He could seriously get used to this.

~~~~~~~~~~

“He’s really doin’ it, ain’t he?” Zan reclines out by the pool behind Cal’s mansion in Beverly Hills and sips his iced tea as he admires Ava swimming the length of the pool underwater.

Cal raises his eyebrows and shakes his head, not understanding why Max is insisting on doing this. “Appears so.” He shifts his laptop closer to him and fires off another email to his office.

“Why’d you tell us we couldn’t go back?” Zan asks, knowing Max wouldn’t be planning this if he thought they wouldn’t survive there.

“Why do you keep asking me all these fuckin’ questions?” Cal shoots back angrily. This guy. He’s been bugging the crap out of him for the last two days with his questions.

Zan just rolls his eyes and mumbles, “Cuz you never answer them, you schmuck.”

Cal ignores the comment and continues to work…wishing Zan would just go back inside and leave him alone. He’s got enough problems to deal with without having to deal with him. His household has grown by two and he’s feeling suffocated with them here already.

He’s so busy getting his business in order that he doesn’t notice when Ava gets out of the pool and dries off before going inside…Zan following her. His ringing cell phone gets his attention, though. Especially when he sees who’s calling.

“Serena. I wasn’t expecting to hear from you until tomorrow.” He says with a smile. When he found out she was alive, he couldn’t believe it. He still wants to talk to her about what happened to her after the crash…how she survived.

“I’m gonna be tied up at the hospital tomorrow and thought we should talk about what’s gonna happen when Max and Michael get back here.” She tells him.

He saves the file he’s been working on and sits back in his chair. “Max said he’d be back in Roswell in a week. You should probably find a safe place for us to go for them to work on their powers.”

“I have a place in mind. You’re bringing Zan and Ava with you, right?”

“Yah. They’ll be able to help…if they’re willing. I think Ava will be, but Zan might be resistant.” He says, finally noticing that he’s alone outside.

She’s quiet for a moment before she asks, “Cal, why did you tell them they couldn’t survive if they went back?”

He closes his eyes and sighs. “Serena…you know they can’t face Khivar and his army. They’re half human for Christ’s sake. They can barely blast themselves out of a wood box.”

“It’s not their power that’s needed and you know it. If our people know that their King is alive…they’ll have something to fight for.”

“You’re being naïve. You don’t even know that he has any people left. They’ll be walking into a trap.” Cal says. “They can make a life here. They already have…what’s the point in going back?”

“To free our people!” She exclaims passionately. “To free them from a murdering tyrant!”

“So let’s say they’re successful. Let’s say they can defeat Khivar. Then what? Max sits on the throne again and rules and everyone lives happily ever after? One man won’t make a difference…not even the King.”

“You’re wrong. It’s why they were recreated. It’s why they were sent here. This is their purpose…even it it’s not yours anymore.” Serena says angrily. “You can’t stand in the way of their destiny.”

“I’m not.” Cal tells her. “He’s already made the decision to go and I’ll do whatever I have to. But it doesn’t mean that I’ll ever agree with that decision.”

Serena is quiet for a moment before asking, “When will you be here?”

“Next week. I’ll call you when I leave.” After saying goodbye, he sets his phone down and looks out over the hills and the city. Why is he the only one who can see how foolish this quest is?

~~~~~~~~~~

“So.” The car has come to a stop in front of Liz and Alex’s apartment building and no one has said anything since they got in it at the airport. Liz looks from Alex and Isabel sitting across from her, to Max.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to stay?” Alex asks her. He’s going back to Isabel’s apartment and they were planning on going out for a late dinner but he doesn’t feel right leaving Liz alone tonight.

Liz nods and says, “Yah…go. I’ll be ok…I’m probably just gonna go right to sleep once I get up there.” She gives him her best smile, encouraging him to go ahead. “So um…I guess…I guess I’ll just go.” She grabs her bag from the floor and opens the door before turning back. “Bye.” She looks at Isabel, then Max…her gaze lingering on him for a moment, then steps out of the car and shuts the door.

“Bye.” Max finally gets out, but it’s too late…the door is already closed. When he looks up, he sees his sister looking at him in irritation.

“That’s it? Bye? Don’t you think she deserves more than that, Max?” Isabel says as she rolls her eyes.

Max looks out the window and sees Liz digging around in her bag for her keys to the front door and he says, “Wait for me.” quickly before he opens the door and hops out of the car.

“Liz, wait.” He calls out to her as he runs up the front stairs.

She turns around, keys in hand, and looks at Max in confusion.

“I…uh…I…” He can’t seem to figure out what to say. “I don’t want this to be goodbye.”

“What are you saying, Max?” Is he saying he’s changed his mind? Will he tell her he wants her to go back to Roswell with him? Or is he saying he wants her to go to his planet with him? She feels hope surge inside of her.

“Can I see you this week…before I leave?” He asks and sees her entire face fall in disappointment. The light that had suddenly appeared in her eyes when he ran up here suddenly fades and he wonders why. Does she not want to see him again? Does she want this to be their goodbye?

“Oh. Yah…um…sure.” She shrugs, trying to appear normal and feeling anything but.

“Ok, well…I’ll call you?” He shoves his hands in his front pockets and watches as she nods in agreement and turns to unlock her front door…leaving him alone on the front stoop feeling suddenly lost.

~TBC~
Last edited by Angel on Mon Apr 19, 2004 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Angel » Wed Apr 21, 2004 9:25 am

Ok you guys...I think you're really gonna like these next two parts. At least, I hope so. I'm not a complete monster. ;) I'll be posting part 46 either later today or tomorrow, then I'm leaving for vacation and won't be back until May 3rd.


Part 45

Four days after getting back from Roswell, Max finally feels that he has everything taken care of. After arranging for most of his money and investments to be transferred to his parents, he transferred the ownership of the loft to them as well. He also broke the news to his boss that he was leaving, moving across the country to be closer to his family. They’d come up with a carefully crafted story to tell everyone why they’re leaving. His boss wasn’t happy, but wished Max well and threw him a lavish going away dinner party at the Tavern on the Green, inviting most of the company to bid Max farewell.

He and Isabel also decided to throw a small party for their friends and acquaintances to let them know that both of them were moving out west to stay with their parents for a few months. Their father is ill and they want to spend this time with him. And although most of their friends can say they’d never even heard Isabel or Max talk about their parents, they all wished both of them well and told them they hoped they’d be back soon.

As the small group mingles late into the night in the loft, Max catches a glimpse of Alex and Isabel off to the side. If possible, they’ve grown even closer over the last few days and Max is starting to wonder if Alex will be coming back to Roswell with them. And if he does, what will that do to Liz?

“Penny for your thoughts.” Max is startled and turns to see Amy standing next to him with a small smile on her face.

“Oh hey…sorry. I just have a lot on my mind…a lot of things that still need taking care of.” He says, offering her a smile in return.

“I’m sorry to hear about your dad. But I’m sure your parents will be really glad to have you home for a while.” She says, a little confused about the sudden news.

“Yah. Thanks.” He says, looking out over the living room again. Most of the people here are Isabel’s friends from work…some are casual friends he’s made over the years. None of them know the slightest thing about Isabel or Max, but they can’t just disappear without a reason.

Comfortable with Max’s usually taciturn behavior, Amy pushes on. “So I noticed Liz isn’t here tonight.” She watches him for a reaction and is disappointed when she doesn’t get one.

After a few moments of silence, Max glances over and notices that she’s waiting for some kind of response. “We realized it wouldn’t work out.”

Amy’s eyebrows shoot up to her forehead and she exclaims, “Really? Wow…I’m sorry. I thought for sure there was something there.”

Max doesn’t answer. How can he? Well, yah, Amy. There is something there. We love each other…completely. But see, I’m leaving the planet in three months and you know those long distance things never work out. Right. So instead, he remains silent. The less said about Liz, the better.

Taking the hint that Max wants to change the subject, she looks toward Alex and Isabel and says, “Looks like they found something.”

He nods, thinking about the last few days. Alex has been a constant fixture at the loft; having taken this week off work to be with Isabel. He’s never seen Isabel like this before…with anyone. She laughs. A lot. And when she doesn’t know he can hear them, she speaks more openly and animatedly than she’s ever spoken to anyone. It’s like a flip has been switched with her and this different…this real Isabel has finally emerged. Watching her now reminds him of when they were kids. Before they became afraid of everything and everyone around them. Before they had to form shells of protection around themselves.

Amy’s voice knocks him out of his reverie. “Alex seems like a great guy.”

“The best.” Max agrees. “He’ll make her happy.”

Amy looks up at Max in confusion. She studies the way he’s watching his sister and Alex and it seems…wistful. That, and the tone of his voice makes her think that he knows he won’t see her for much longer. She goes back to people watching and shrugs it off. Max has always been an enigma to her. She could spend years analyzing his expressions…analyzing the small bits and pieces he reveals to her…and she has. But she’s no closer now than she was when she met him to figuring anything out about him. He’s a locked book and she’ll never get the key. But she doubts anyone will get the key, and that makes her feel nothing but sadness for her friend.

~~~~~~~~~~

It’s a little after two in the morning before Alex makes it home. He tries to be as quiet as possible, thinking that Liz is probably asleep. But when he steps into the apartment, he can see light coming from the crack in Liz’s door. Setting his keys down on the coffee table and throwing his coat off, he knocks lightly on her door before pushing it in.

“Hey, you still up?” He asks, seeing her leaning back against her headboard reading a book.

“Yah, just reading.” Liz says, marking her page and closing the book in her lap. “How was the party?”

“Weird…but ok, I guess. You should have come.” Isabel had asked her to come the last time she was here, but Liz said she couldn’t make it.

Liz smiles sadly and says, “Yah…that probably wouldn’t have been a good idea.”

Alex walks into her room and sits on the bed next to her. He can see the emotional pain Liz is in…the depression…and he hopes that she’ll be able to pull herself out of it. “Talk to me, Liz.”

She shakes her head and says, “There’s nothing to say, really. I’ll be ok.” She forces another smile on her face and asks, “So tell me about you and Isabel. You’ve been with her every day this week.”

Accepting her change of subject, his face lights up and he says, “I think I’m falling in love with her.” He glances at Liz from the corner of his eye and sees that she doesn’t seem surprised. “Everything’s great. We can talk about anything, and I get the feeling that this is the first time she’s ever really been able to be open and honest with someone about herself. And I really think she might feel the same way about me.”

“Wow…that’s…that’s great, Alex!” Liz leans forward and rests her head on his shoulder, throwing her arm across his back. “I’m so happy for you.”

He turns and kisses the top of her head. “I wish I could say the same for you, Liz.”

“Me, too.” She whispers back to him, closing her eyes when she feels that familiar sting of tears in her eyes.

~~~~~~~~~~

Isabel finishes tying off a trash bag as she watches Max carry more glasses into the kitchen. He was quiet all night…not that that isn’t normal for him in a crowd, but she’s felt his sadness all week and she doesn’t understand why he’s doing this to himself. “When are you gonna see Liz?” She asks him on his next trip into the kitchen.

He looks up, startled at her question. “Soon.” He says simply before turning to leave.

“We’re leaving in two days, Max. Soon better get here pretty quickly.” She calls after him before pulling another garbage bag from its box. “Why don’t you call her now?”

“It’s two in the morning.” He says in annoyance as he brings in the last of the glasses and turns the kitchen faucet on.

“She might be up. I’ll call Alex and ask.” Isabel quickly picks up the phone to dial, but Max stops her.

“I’ll call tomorrow. Put the phone down.” He starts to grab the phone from her but she spins away from him.

“I’m doing this for your own good.” She quickly dials Alex’s cell phone as she dashes across the living room with Max running after her.

~~~~~~~~~~

ZZZ ZZZ ZZZ Liz looks down from Alex’s shoulder and says, “Your ass is vibrating.”

Alex smiles and reaches back to pull out his phone and looks down to see Isabel’s number on the ID. “It’s Isabel.”

Liz leans back and rolls her eyes with a smile. “She just can’t stay away from you…you big stud.”

He rolls his eyes back at her and answers the phone. “Hey, you.”

“Hey, Alex. Are you home yet?”

Alex wonders if she’s calling to ask him to come back over and he feels his heart pound a little bit faster at the prospect. “Just got here. Why?”

“Liz wouldn’t still be up, would she?”

It sounds like she’s out of breath…and…running? “What are you doing? Is everything ok?”

“Is Liz awake?” This time she almost shouts her question and he hears her give a little squeal. He recognizes that squeal. He’s supposed to be the only one that makes her squeal like that. But now he realizes that she’s almost laughing and he can hear Max yelling at her in the background. Ah. Now he understands.

“As a matter of fact, she is. She’s right here.” He answers, looking over at Liz. “Let me put her on.” He passes the phone to Liz and walks quickly out of the room after winking at her.

Liz looks from her now empty doorway to the phone in her hand in confusion and she slowly raises it to her ear. “Isabel?” Silence. “Isabel? Is everything ok?” More silence. She’s just about to call for Alex to come back when she hears Max on the other end.

“It’s me.” He says, sounding out of breath. “You weren’t asleep were you?”

“No. I was reading…Alex just got home.” She says, feeling butterflies in her stomach at the sound of his voice. “What’s going on?” She thinks it’s strange that Isabel called Alex’s phone looking for her…only to hand the phone off to Max. Did he ask her to call and see if she was awake? Or did Isabel force him to talk to her?

“Can I see you tomorrow?” He asks after a long silence.

“Oh. Um, sure. Tomorrow would be ok.” She feels her heart sink and she can’t help but ask. “Are you…are you leaving tomorrow?”

“The day after.” He answers quietly.

She bites her lip and says, “Ok. What time? Tomorrow, I mean.”

“I’ll pick you up at nine. Is that ok?”

She nods before realizing he can’t see her. “Yah.”

“Alright. I’ll see in the morning, then.” He says.

“Ok. Bye, Max.”

“Good night, Liz.” He hangs up the phone and stalks back to his room, not missing the knowing smirk on his sister’s face. For that, he’ll let her clean the dishes tonight.

~~~~~~~~~~

They’ve spent the whole day walking the strip and Maria feels like her feet are gonna fall off. They just left Caesar’s Palace where they walked through the Forums, shopped a little, gambled a little, and watched all the animatronic shows…which she has to admit, were pretty cool.

She’s noticed that Michael’s been a little quiet for the last few hours, but she just chalks it up to the crowds. She looks up at him now as they ride down to the strip on the moving walkway and she leans in close to him and puts her hand on his chest to get his attention. “I’m in the mood for some ice cream. How about you?” She smiles seductively up at him, remembering what they did with the ice cream they ordered from room service last night.

He’s looking at her strangely, as if he’s memorizing her face…as if he hasn’t just spent the last five days with her…and her smile fades. “What’s wrong?”

He shakes his head slightly and a small smile forms on his lips. “Nothing. Ice cream sounds good.” He leans down and gives her small kiss.

After getting two sundaes, they sit on a bench in front of Bally’s and watch the water show at the Bellagio. As the water dances to the sounds of Christmas music, Maria sees Michael toss his empty ice cream cup in a nearby trashcan and walk over to stand in front of her. She raises her eyes at him questioningly…he’s blocking her view of the show across the street.

“Let’s get married.” He blurts out, and she chokes on the spoonful of ice cream she just put in her mouth.

Maria coughs and drops the spoon she was holding. “What?”

He doesn’t say anything as he kneels down in front of her on the sidewalk and plucks her sundae from her hands…setting it on the bench beside her. Grabbing her hands, he looks intently into her eyes and says, “Marry me. Today.”

Her eyes are wide in shock and she’s completely unaware of the people walking around them, some ignoring the couple, some looking on curiously…thinking they recognize her from somewhere. “Are you serious?”

His gaze doesn’t waver. “As a heart attack.”

“But…you…you’re leaving.” She says stupidly, not understanding what brought this on.

“And I want to be married…to you…before I go.”

Her eyes soften as she looks at him sadly. “You might not come back.”

“I probably won’t be back.” He agrees.

She furrows her brow and searches his face. She can see that he’s completely serious about this. He wants to marry her even though he’ll only be here for a few months. There’s no logical reason why she should do this. But she knows him…she knows the overwhelming desire he’s always had to have a family of his own. And he thinks this is his last chance at that. He thinks he’s going to his death with Max and he wants this one thing that he’s always craved before he dies. How can she say no? Swallowing hard, she nods her head slowly and says, “Ok.”

Michael releases a barely audible sigh of relief and smiles gratefully at her. He squeezes her hand lightly and looks down at it as he runs his thumb across the back. “Thank you.” His voice is so soft that Maria almost doesn’t hear him over the loud finale of the show still going on across the street.

By the end of the day, Michael and Maria make their way back to their hotel and he carries her through the door…both laughing…as husband and wife.

~~~~~~~~~~

Promptly at 9am the next morning, Liz hears a knock on her front door. She takes one last look in the mirror over her dresser, making sure everything looks as it should and makes her way to the front door. When she opens the door and sees Max look her over, his blinking eyes and hard swallow the only movements betraying him, she feels satisfied that her appearance elicited the response she wanted.

“Let me just grab my coat.” She tells him and walks back into the living room, feeling his eyes on her.

Max tries to find his voice…realizing why he’s unconsciously put off this meeting with Liz for as long as he has. Being around her tends to turn him to a pile of goo. As she walks away from him, his eyes automatically fall to her ass…which is encased in a pair of low riding, tight jeans…and he watches, enthralled, as she bends over to pick up her coat. He sees the black tweed jacket she has on ride up and the skin of her back is revealed. Is that jacket supposed to be so short…and so tight? And shouldn’t she be wearing something underneath it?

When she turns around, his eyes are once more drawn to her midsection…at the expanse of skin he can see both above and below the two buttons holding the jacket closed. Then he looks up at her hair falling loosely around her shoulders in waves…the way he likes it best…and he sees her lips moving. Is she talking?

Liz tugs on her coat and walks back toward Max, asking again, “So where are we going?”

As she gets closer, he notices that she’s taller than normal and he looks down to see the tall, pointed black leather boots she’s wearing. And he realizes right then that he’s never going to survive this day. “It’s a surprise.” He finally grabs the reins on his control and looks her in the eye, holding his arm out for her.

She smiles and locks the door behind her before walking with Max down the stairs and out into the crisp, cool morning. They make small talk as they walk down the street and turn the corner and Liz realizes they’re going to Starbuck’s.

Max opens the door for her and asks, “This is where you usually start your day, right?”

Liz smiles and nods, wondering once again what he has planned for the day. When they walk in, Joe looks up from the counter and says, “Liz! Where the heck have you been?”

She walks up to the counter and says, “I’ve been around…I went back home for a couple of days…now I’m on vacation for two weeks.”

“Two weeks?! I didn’t think you knew the definition of vacation.” He teases her as his gaze falls on Max.

“This is Max. Max, this is Joe.” Liz makes the introduction.

Joe narrows his eyes and says, “Hey, you’re that guy.”

“What guy?” Liz asks, glancing at Max.

“The one that dragged you out of here that morning….when Alex was looking for you. Except…you looked a lot younger.” Joe looks at Liz and asks, “What are you doing with him?”

Liz and Max both realize what he’s talking about then and Liz says, “Oh…um…” as she frantically searches for an explanation.

“That was my younger brother.” Max says suddenly, hoping that will explain the similarities between them. He had been watching from across the street that day and knows that Joe will never believe that it was him who was here.

“But you called that guy Max, too.” Joe says suspiciously.

“Oh, yah…I was just surprised. I hadn’t seen Max since we were younger. And you can see how much they look alike.” Liz shrugs and tries to act nonchalant about it, hoping Joe will drop it.

Joe still looks at Max curiously, but says, “Alright. So, what can I get you?”

“The usual.” Liz says with a bright smile, hoping to dispel the tension.

“I’ll just have what she’s having.” Max says, still thinking about that day when the shapeshifter took Liz and what happened after that. He was so scared and confused.

After getting their lattes and saying goodbye to Joe, they walk out and Liz says, “Sorry about that.”

“I saw you that day…I was watching you from across the street.” Max says as he sips his coffee.

“You were?” Liz asks in surprise.

“I was planning on talking to you when you left your apartment, but I chickened out. Then I saw you walking away with…him…and I followed you.” Max glances over at her and says, “I was so scared, knowing you thought he was me.”

“Yah…me too. But I figured out pretty quickly that it wasn’t you, Max.” Liz takes a sip of her coffee and takes a deep breath. “Let’s not talk about that, ok?”

Max hesitates, then nods in agreement and they walk toward the nearest subway entrance. When they emerge from the tunnels at 33rd street, Liz looks up at the surrounding skyscrapers and asks once again, “What are we doing here?”

Max just smiles and guides her down the street. They walk into the lobby of the Empire State Building and go straight to the elevator for the observation deck.

Liz sees him pull two tickets from his pocket and she says, “I’ve never been to the top.”

“I know.” He says with a smile. “Me either.”

Liz smiles then, and loops her arm through his as they step onto the elevator. She feels the change in pressure as the elevator goes up and when the doors finally open, she rushes out and feels the cold wind sting her face. “Wow. This is incredible.” She reaches the edge and feels Max step to her side and she can see the entire city below her.

Max thinks the same thing as they make their way around the observation deck to see the city from all sides. They try to find familiar landmarks…Liz’s lab, Max’s office…and as they come back around toward the elevator, Max sees Liz shivering as she crosses her arms in an effort to warm up. “It’s cold. Do you wanna go back inside?”

Liz nods and lets Max wrap his arm around her shoulder, pulling her closer to his side. She thinks she might be crazy, but she can feel his body heat even through all their layers of clothes and coats. Burrowing into his side, she lets him lead her inside and into the elevator. As they ride back down, she turns her face up to his and says, “Thank you. I’ve always wanted to come up here, but I just never got around to it.”

“You’re welcome.” He keeps his arm around her, noticing that she hasn’t pulled away from him even though the elevator is heated…not that he minds.

After they leave the Empire State Building and start walking toward Times Square, Liz realizes that Max doesn’t plan on having any kind of serious discussion today. Today is for just the two of them…enjoying New York. Once she figures this out, she relaxes and pays more attention to her surroundings. They stop every once in a while to look at something they see in a store window. They buy hot pretzels from a street vendor and they wander through the giant Toys R Us and Virgin stores along with the rest of the tourists.

They have lunch, the best pizza Liz has ever had, and continue walking toward Rockefeller Center. Max leads her toward the ice skating rink and Liz happily follows, laughing. “We’re not really going skating, are we?”

“Of course. Don’t tell me you can’t skate, because I’m counting on you to hold me up.” Max says before going to get them some skates.

After lacing up their skates, Liz helps Max stand up and leads him toward the ice. “I can’t believe you don’t know how to skate.” She smiles at him as she backs onto the ice holding both of Max’s hands.

“I grew up in the desert.” He says in defense as he slowly steps onto the ice, gripping her hands harder.

Liz laughs and raises an eyebrow. “That excuse won’t fly with me.” She continues to lead him onto the ice…skating backwards until he can find his balance. When she’s sure he’ll be alright, she lets go and skates a little further away from him. “See…you’re a natural!”

Max struggles to stay upright while trying to keep up with Liz and he sees a little kid wiz past him while doing some crazy maneuver with his feet. He grimaces as he watches the kid fly around the ice. “Showoff.”

Liz laughs and skates to his side and grabs his hand. “Come on. You’ll be doing that by the time we’re done.”

Max laughs with her and says, “Somehow I doubt that.” He lets her lead him slowly around the perimeter of the rink and after one lap he finally feels like he has a handle on this ice skating thing.

He makes his way toward a side wall and says, “Go on…I can tell you’re dying to go show off.” He smiles at her and shoos her away with his hand. “I’ll just hang out here and watch.”

She rolls her eyes and smiles. “I’ll be right back.” She skates a circle around him before zooming off. He watches in awe as she navigates around the rink, spinning around to skate backwards for a while. She looks so graceful, as if she was born for this and he watches her legs pump as she gathers speed coming around the last turn…crossing over themselves as she leans into the curve. He looks up and sees her hair flowing behind her in the breeze, her nose red from the cold, and a big smile on her face. He’s mesmerized.

But when he sees her coming toward him at a speed that looks too fast, he grabs onto the wall bracing for impact. But just a few feet away, she shifts to the side and slides toward him, spraying ice up as she comes to a stop. He’s so shocked by the move that he actually stumbles while standing in place and falls to the ice.

He looks up, embarrassed that he can’t even stand in one place without falling, to see her laughing at him. She reaches forward to help him up, but someone skates too close behind her and knocks her off balance and she falls on the ice next to him.

He laughs back at her and says, “Serves you right for laughing at me.”

She swats him on the arm, a smile on her face, as she rolls her eyes. Popping back up, she reaches down again to help him up. It takes a few tries to get him standing, but once he is, he gets his nerve back and says, “Ok, one more time around. I think I have it now.”

For the next hour they skate and play on the ice, laughing when Max tries to do something he’s clearly not ready to try and ends up sprawled out on the ice. By the time they’re done, his pants are soaking wet and he has to find a secluded area to use his powers to dry them.

They buy hot chocolate from the vendor and Max convinces her to take a carriage ride with him through Central Park. She tries to say no…saying that the horses smell…that only tourists do it…but in the end, he begs and pleads and she agrees.

Covered with a blanket, they sip their hot cocoa as the horse leads them through the park and Liz’s thoughts migrate toward the fact that he’s leaving for Roswell tomorrow. All day they’ve had an unspoken agreement to not talk about it, but she can’t help but ask, “So what are you gonna do with Bailey? You know…when you leave.”

“Isabel’s keeping him with her.” He looks off into the distance, not wanting reality to intrude on their day just yet. But he can see the beginnings of twilight and knows that the day is almost over. Cursing the fact that because it’s winter, nightfall comes early, he realizes that he can’t put off the inevitable. This day will end, and he’ll have to say goodbye to Liz. Forever.

Sensing his reluctance to talk about it, Liz changes the subject. “So, what’s on the schedule next? I assume you have some other touristy activities planned.” She teases him.

He reaches into his pocket for two more tickets and hands them to Liz. “Radio City Music Hall for the Christmas show. Then a late dinner if you’re up for it.” He grins.

“Wow. You’ve certainly planned a full day.” She says as she looks at the tickets in her hand.

He shrugs and says, “I just wanted to do all the things I’ve never gotten the chance to do before…” His voice trails off before he says, “And who better to do them with than you?”

She looks up at him and says, “In case I forget to tell you later…I had a really great time today.”

He nods, looking into her eyes and he can’t help but get lost. It’s such a familiar feeling to him and he feels the urge to just lean down and kiss her. But that’s not what today is about. Today is about saying goodbye without actually saying the words. Today is about having that one perfect day with the person he loves. One perfect day that they’ve never had the chance to experience, and that they’ll never experience again.

~TBC~

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Post by Angel » Wed Apr 21, 2004 9:47 pm

Gigo, wow...thanks! I kind of threw Amy in there to be an outside perspective and in my rush to name her I forgot we already have an Amy (Deluca). Oops! I'm glad you like her...she is, indeed, a cool chick.

frenchkiss, Forever? No. ;)

Well, guys...here's the part you've all been waiting for. It boarders on NC-17 without exactly getting...gooey...in a bodily fluid sort of way. lol Anyway, I hope I did a good job of it and I hope you enjoy it, although I'm sure by the end of this part you'll be ready to kill me. But that's ok! I'm going on vacation...so neener neener neener. ;) Seriously, love the part...hate the part...as long as you feel something about it. I hate giving dreamer insurance, but I'll just say that all will be right in the end. Just have a little faith. See you May 3rd!

Just watched Angel so I need to go cry now. ;)


Part 46

Liz is the one to break eye contact and she leans into him further, absorbing the warmth from his body. She’s glad their time isn’t over yet. And although she knows they’re not going to talk about the fact that he’s leaving, she’s happy for this time together with him.

But at the end of the night, she feels the weight of that time ending and she just lets go of the panic welling up inside of her. As much as she wants to rail against the unfairness of it all…as much as she wants to try to talk Max out of leaving…as much as she wants to beg him again to let her go with him, she realizes that there’s just nothing else for either of them to say about it. So she lets it go. She feels the stress of it all slowly drift away from her as they walk up the stairs to the front door of her apartment building. Like a part of her is leaving her body. And she feels free.

“Well, thank you…again, Max. Today was…perfect.” She turns to face him from the top step. He’s on the step below her so she’s surprised to see that they’re almost the same height.

Max is a walking jumble of emotions. This is it. This is the last time he’s going to see her. “Thank you for spending it with me.” He says in response. His heart is thundering in his chest…the anticipation of having to walk away from her nearly bringing him to his knees.

“Don’t look so scared.” Liz says with a smile. “You’re gonna be fine, I know it.”

“Liz…” He starts but Liz places her finger against his lips, silencing him.

“Don’t. Please.” She shakes her head. “Don’t ruin the small amount of delusion I’ve got going on in my head. I know I won’t ever see you again, so let me just have this day…this moment…to remember you by.” She moves her finger, tracing his lips and she watches his eyes drift shut in reaction. She brings her other hand up and she lightly traces his eyebrows and forehead before she brings them down to cradle his face.

Not waiting for his permission, she leans forward and brushes her lips across his. She hovers there for a moment, drinking in the feel of him…the smell of him…and she slides her hands back through his hair to the back of his head.

He stands motionless as he lets Liz have control. He’s afraid to move, afraid of scaring her away…of disturbing this perfect moment where he can feel her all around him. With his eyes closed, he can sense her lips just centimeters away from his. He can feel her breath on his face. He can feel her heart beat through her hands as they touch him. When she whispers his name, he can feel it more than hear it and he opens his eyes to see her looking at him intently. And he can see the unshed tears balancing precariously along her lower eyelid…ready to drop with the next blink.

“Touch me, Max.” She whispers with a smile.

His hands shake as he brings them up to her neck and slides his fingers up over the sides of her face and into her hair. He feels the silkiness of her hair sliding over his fingers…something he’s been dying to feel all day. At the same time, he feels her lower her hands down his neck and onto his chest before she wraps them around to his back under his coat. He swallows when her hands travel lower, down his back and back around to his stomach. His eyes never leave hers and he sees his hands almost unconsciously drift lower to her ribs, her stomach, and up over her breasts…feeling, touching, memorizing.

He sees her tears finally fall then and he leans in to kiss them away. “Liz.” He whispers as his lips travel over her face…her eyes…her cheeks, before they finally make their way to their target. He tastes her lips mixed with her tears and he feels his own falling down from his eyes. She makes a small sound as her hands travel down over his hips and thighs and she pulls herself closer. Her surroundings fall away and she wants to just bury herself inside of him and never leave.

His body is reacting violently to her touch, her smell, her cries and he doesn’t even realize that his hands have traveled underneath her jacket until he feels the lace of her bra beneath his fingers and he feels her arch closer to his hands. He hears a groan, and realizes with a start that it came from him. Through the haze clouding his mind, he can feel Liz cupping him through the front of his pants and he presses against her hand in an utter loss of self control. “Liz…”

They’re standing outside in the freezing cold. That’s the first thought that enters his mind. The second is that his hands are massaging her bare breasts…having obviously unclasped her bra somewhere along the way. And the third thought is that if Liz keeps touching him like that, he’s going to embarrass himself in about ten seconds. “Liz…” He pulls his hands out from under her jacket and grabs her hand, halting her seductive motion. “Please…”

She knew the protest was coming and she pulls her hand away from his and brings it up to the back of his head and she leans her cheek against his. “Max.” She whispers, feeling his shudder when her breath reaches his ear. She snakes her tongue out to his earlobe before lightly caressing the outer shell of his ear and breathing, “I want you.”

“Oh God…” He squeezes her body closer to his at the sensation and groans. “We can’t.” He draws strength from parts unknown and makes a feeble attempt at protesting, even though his body is saying the exact opposite.

He feels her tongue dip into his ear briefly before her mouth makes its way down his neck and sucks lightly at the skin there. She bites him gently, causing the muscles in his stomach to contract before she brings her eyes up to meet his. “I gave you this day, Max. We can have this one night…this one, special night for ourselves. I won’t ask you to stay, and I won’t ask to come with you.” He watches her tongue escape to wet her lips and his eyes drift to her mouth. How can she make him feel like completely losing control in the space of a few minutes? Desire is coursing through his body and he can feel the heat radiating from his skin. And what she’s saying to him right now makes perfect sense. Why did he ever question it before? He can’t even remember why he ever thought this was a bad idea.

She can see the moment the objection leaves him and she breathes an internal sigh of relief. She feels her body heat up in anticipation and her hands reach down to pull his shirt from his pants and they travel up his stomach and chest. Looking into his glassy eyes, she says, “I wanna feel your skin on mine, Max. I want you inside of me. I want this night. And when we’re exhausted…after I’ve had you above me, below me, behind me…then you can go.”

She watches his eyes drift almost closed as he takes a stuttering breath at her words and she leans forward to kiss him hungrily. She clashes her tongue with his and runs her nails down his bare back under his shirt. When she hears him groan, she pulls away slightly and says, “Make love to me, Max. Just this one night.”

He nods blindly, feeling only her hands on him…her tongue mating with his. He brings a hand back to her stomach and he caresses the flesh just inside the waistband of her jeans before reaching behind and dipping his hand down to grab her ass and pull her flush against him. He stumbles forward and up to her level, accidentally falling against the door, crushing her. She groans at the full contact of his body on hers and he delights in the realization that he has more leverage now.

“Inside.” Liz moans in his ear and he nods enthusiastically. Yes, inside. Just a few pieces of clothing and he’ll be inside Liz…in heaven. As he brings his mouth down to her neck, his hands reach up and unbutton her jacket, intending to get rid of all this material between them. He brings his mouth down to her left breast as his hands struggle with the fastening of her jeans. He hears her head thump back on the door behind her as she thrusts her hips toward his hand and says, “God, yes…”

Growling in frustration that he can’t seem to get her pants undone, he can’t wait any longer and shoves his hand inside and instantly feels the heat…the wetness. Both of them sigh and moan the second his finger thrusts inside of her and he brings his mouth back up to hers, crushing her lips beneath his. She bucks her hips and he groans at the limited mobility he has because of her tight jeans. “Fuck…”

“Max…inside.” Liz breathes again and he jerks his hand from inside her jeans to join the other one at the complicated buttons holding them closed. He’s two seconds from ripping the damn things off her when he feels her hands on his. “The apartment, Max. We have to go inside the apartment.”

His body freezes and he turns his head, realizing that they’re still standing outside in front of her building. His face flushes in embarrassment as he turns to look at Liz’s smiling face. “Right. That inside.” He nods and reaches out to unlock the door with his powers before pushing her inside. He guides her up the stairs, his mouth on hers, his hands everywhere he can touch. They stumble a few times, and gladly lie on the steps to continue their assault before making the effort to stand up and get inside her apartment.

By the time they reach the top of the stairs, his shirt is completely undone as well as the front of his pants. He stumbles back against the door, Liz’s body flush with his as her hand finds its way inside his boxers and grabs him. “Liz…oh God.” He breathes against her neck. He blindly reaches behind him for the doorknob and uses his powers to unlock it but it still won’t open. Cursing Alex and his many locks, he fumbles up the door, releasing all the deadbolts before the door crashes open and they fall in on the floor.

“Oh my God!” He hears a feminine scream coming from behind them and they both look up, panting, to see Isabel and Alex lying on the couch half dressed.

“Shit.” He swears and scrambles up from the floor with Liz, pushing her behind him knowing that she’s half naked. When he sees the shocked looks on his sister’s and Alex’s faces, he looks down to see that his shirt is open and his pants are undone. Spinning around to face Liz, he leans his head down to her shoulder and tries to get his breathing under control.

“Well, I guess we have a little problem here.” Alex laughs and gets up, straightening his clothes and Isabel’s in the process.

He helps Isabel up from the couch and says, “Maybe we should go back to your place.”

She nods, her eyes wide…looking from Max and Liz to Alex. “Good idea.” She clears her throat and grabs her purse from the end table with one hand and Alex’s hand with the other, dragging him toward the door and keeping her eyes averted. “We’ll uh…yah…leave now. You two have fun.”

Max finally looks up when he hears the door shut and he closes his eyes. How fucking embarrassing. He feels Liz’s shoulders shaking and he looks down at her to see that she’s laughing. He smiles, laughing with her, and he reaches up to slide her coat from her shoulders. When it falls to the floor, he shrugs his own coat off and swoops down to pick Liz up.

She squeals in delight as he carries her to her bedroom and kicks the door shut behind them. He drops her onto the bed and peels his shirt off. “If you wanna save those jeans, you better get them off before I ruin them.” He threatens as he kicks his shoes off and removes his pants and boxers.

Quickly undoing the buttons and ties keeping her jeans closed with shaking hands, she pushes them down her hips, raising her hips from the bed, and pulls her boots off before kicking the jeans from her legs. She pulls her jacket and bra off and tosses it on the floor a moment before Max is on her again. “This is gonna be fast…too fast.” He groans as he hooks his fingers in her panties and drags them down her legs. “God, you’re beautiful.” Kneeling between her legs, he skims his hands up each one, parting them further so he can see all of her.

“Max…I need you…now.” She closes her eyes and lifts her hips when she feels his hands touching her.

She feels the bed dip up by her head and she hears Max whisper, “Open your eyes, Liz.” She does and she sees him hovering above her, his eyes on hers…trying in vain to find a connection that isn’t there anymore. A lone tear falls from the corner of her eye and she knows that Max feels the loss as deeply as she does when she sees the unshed tears in his eyes. “I love you.” She whispers, reaching a hand up to his cheek and tracing his lips with her thumb.

Max closes his eyes, his soul realizing that it won’t find what it’s looking for. He can’t describe the loss…the emptiness…that he feels. It’s something that he never fully missed until this moment…their connection…their link to each other. But when he opens his eyes, he sees Liz staring back at him with so much love that it takes his breath away. He leans down and kisses away the tear track leading away from her eye and says, “I love you, Liz. Forever.”

She gasps when he finally pushes inside of her…it having been years since her body has experienced such an intrusion. He stills at the sound and asks, “Are you ok?”

She nods slowly and reaches her arms up to run down his back. “Perfect.” She pulls him down to kiss her and arches her hips up, encouraging him to continue…and that’s all the encouragement he needs. Their movements are slow and tentative at first, but quickly they find a rhythm and true to his word, it’s over much quicker than he wants when he grinds out her name through clenched teeth at his release.

Knowing that she was close, and hearing her moan of disappointment, he pulls away quickly and brings his hand down to bring her the rest of the way. He watches her face, enthralled with the look of complete rapture there as she jerks her hips against his hand and he feels her muscles contract around his fingers.

With a contented sigh, she closes her eyes and he leans down to kiss her forehead, then her lips before he collapses next to her. He reaches down to grab the covers and pull them over them and feels Liz curl in closer to his side before he drifts off to sleep.

~~~~~~~~~~

Throughout the long, cold night, they make love in every way…every place either of them ever imagined. They shower together before quickly making their way back into the warm comfort of Liz’s bed where they make love one more time before falling into an exhausted sleep.

When Max wakes up a final time, he turns his head and sees the sun starting to peek through the window in Liz’s room and he looks at her alarm clock. 6am. Groaning and closing his eyes, he pulls Liz’s body closer to his and brushes his lips across her temple. He knew this would happen, right? So he just needs to suck it up and do what needs to be done.

He knew if he made love to Liz, he would never be able to leave her. He doesn’t know how he’s going to survive, but he has to do it. A quick break…fast and painful. God, what has he done? He watches the slow, steady rising and falling of her chest as she sleeps and his heart shatters into a million pieces. Lying here naked with Liz is the best moment of his life…and the absolute worst. But he wouldn’t give up one minute of the past 24 hours.

He doesn’t want to wake her, but he doesn’t want to leave without her knowing…doesn’t want her to wake up and find him gone. He rubs his hand on her stomach in circles and whispers in her ear. “Liz.”

She stirs and presses her backside into him and he closes his eyes at the sensation…his hand reaching up to cup her breast. “Liz…wake up.” He tries once again to rouse her from sleep.

“Mmmm…Max.” She moans and reaches her hand up to cover his.

He kisses her ear and whispers, “I have to go.” And he feels her body tense, her hand dropping away from his. He numbs himself to the pain that’s to come and he backs away from her, letting her roll over to face him.

“Now?” She asks, her voice heavy with sleep.

He nods and brushes her hair from her forehead. He tries to force a smile to his face as he leans down and kisses her. When he leans back up, he sees tears in her eyes and he pulls her close to him in a hug.

After a few moments, he feels her nod and pull away from him. She sits up and starts to get out of bed, searching for something to put on. But he grabs her arm and pulls her back. “Stay in bed.” Kissing her on the cheek, he gets up and gathers his clothes, getting dressed quickly and trying not to think about the events that lead to his clothes ending up where they did.

Finished dressing, he sits next to her on the bed and looks her over. Her hair is tousled from sleep and she has the sheet pulled up loosely covering her chest as she leans on one elbow. He caresses her face with his hand and smiles sadly at her. “This is how I want to remember you. Just like this.” He runs his hand down her arm and brings her hand up to kiss her palm before leaning forward and kissing her lips sweetly.

“Max…” She looks up at him, her eyes swimming in tears, and she silently curses herself. She swore that she wouldn’t get blubbery when he left. She wants to be strong, wants to not care. But in the light of morning…and of his eminent departure…she can’t seem to control the emotions rolling through her body.

If his heart were still whole, it would shrivel up at the sight of her tears. But it’s already crushed…destroyed. Right now he’s being split in two. One half wants to get up and get out of here as quickly as his legs will carry him, and the other wants to crawl back into bed with her and never leave.

Liz can’t sit there one more moment and she surges forward, pressing her mouth to his, begging for entrance. The sheet falls away from her body and she can feel the fabric and buttons of his shirt press against her naked flesh. She feels confused at his distance. Even though he kisses her back, she knows that he’s already gone. With a quiet sob, she lets him pull away from her and lets his eyes take in her nudity. His hands trace the path that his eyes lead…down her neck, over her collar bone, down the valley of her chest and to her stomach. She sees him frown fiercely…his brows furrowing…and as quickly as he was touching her, he springs up from the bed and away from her.

Bringing the sheet up to cover herself, she gathers the last shreds of her dignity and takes a deep breath. “I know it probably doesn’t matter, but…please be careful, Max.” She tries to catch his eyes, but he’s staring down at the bed in front of her, unmoving. So she stands up, wrapping the sheet around her and she tilts his chin up to look at her. “I know you have to go…I just…I want you to know that I love you, that I’ve always loved you…and I always will.” She leans her forehead against his chest, inhaling his scent one last time, and she feels him bring his hand up to the back of her head.

When she looks up, she sees tears streaming down his face and she brings her hand up to wipe them away and she smiles. “No regrets, Max.”

He nods and covers her hand with his own, staring into her eyes for several moments with such intensity that she feels the breath leave her body. Then, quicker than she can register, he grabs her face and kisses her fiercely. Still gripping the sides of her face, his lips a breath away, he whispers hoarsely, “I love you.” And then he’s gone.

~~~~~~~~~~

Max goes straight home from Liz’s apartment, his heart and his soul becoming hard shells the further away he gets. Numb…he can’t feel anything. Doesn’t want to. It’s better this way. It doesn’t hurt as much if he just doesn’t think. If he just doesn’t feel.

When he gets out of the shower and dresses, he walks out into the kitchen and sees Isabel making breakfast. She has a big smile on her face and she raises her eyebrows. “So, I guess I don’t have to ask how your night went.”

He doesn’t say anything to her, doesn’t even react to her comment. Instead, he grabs his keys and says, “I’ll be back in a couple of hours. I have one last thing I need to take care of.”

“Ok.” Isabel looks at her brother with concern. “Is everything ok?”

He just nods and puts his jacket on and walks out, leaving a confused sister in his wake. She thought he’d be happy this morning…he finally got to be with Liz. And she was secretly hoping that Liz would help to change his mind about this crazy mission he’s planned. Or at the very least, she thought he would ask Liz to go back to Roswell with them. He wouldn’t have spent the night with her and just left…would he?

“Was that Max?” Alex walks into the kitchen, having just gotten dressed, and gives Isabel a light kiss.

“He’s acting weird. You better go check on Liz.” Isabel says.

Alex looks toward the door, then back to Isabel. “You don’t think he’d…hurt her?”

“No! I just…I’ve never seen him like this. I just have a bad feeling…maybe Liz shouldn’t be alone right now.” She says.

Alex thinks for a minute, then asks, “What time are you leaving for the airport?”

“Our flight leaves at two.”

“I’ll be back before then.” He says as he walks over and kisses her forehead.

She smiles and says, “Go. Liz needs you…and all I’m gonna be doing is packing.” She shoos him out the door and her smile fades, worry for Max taking over…and worry for Liz.

~~~~~~~~~~

His anxiety ratchets up the closer he gets to home. Isabel’s words ringing through his head. I just have a bad feeling… He jogs the last two block and by the time he unlocks the door and rushes inside, he’s out of breath and convinced he’s gonna find something horrible inside the apartment.

And what he does find stops him in his tracks. “Liz?” His voice is drowned out by the volume of the stereo so he walks across the living room to turn it down. When he does, Liz looks over in surprise from the kitchen and smiles at him.

“Alex! I didn’t know you were here.”

Alex furrows his brow and says, “Yah, I can see why.” He walks closer to the kitchen and surveys the mess. Every cabinet and drawer looks like it’s been emptied…their contents scattered across the kitchen table and counters and floor. He turns his head and sees a similar mess in the hallway…seemingly stemming from Liz’s bedroom. “What’s going on here?”

“I thought it was a good time for some spring cleaning.” She shrugs and returns to the scrubbing she’d been doing to the shelves inside the cabinets.

“But…it’s winter.” He says, thoroughly confused. He expected to come home and find Liz in some sort of despair…and instead, she’s cleaning?

She laughs, but he doesn’t hear any humor in its tone. “So…I’m on vacation. I might not get a better time to do this later.”

Alex walks closer to her, trying to get a good look at her face, but she keeps moving slightly away…just out of sight. “Liz, what happened with Max?”

He sees her shoulders stiffen for a split second, but then she’s back to her scrubbing. “I really don’t wanna talk about it right now, Alex. Ok?”

“Ok.” He says softly. “But you know where to find me when you feel like telling me about it.”

She nods her head silently…scrubbing at the shelves with even more intensity, and Alex sighs and walks to his bedroom. He steps over several piles of clothes and shoes to get there, but when he does he shuts the door and calls Isabel to tell her Liz seems ok. Cleaning like a freak, but ok. And he promises to be at her apartment by noon to go with her and Max to the airport.

His thoughts turn to Isabel when he hangs up and he thinks about how much he’ll miss her. He’ll probably fly to Roswell a couple of times to visit over the next few months, but she needs this time to spend with Max and Michael…and her parents. Plus, he needs to work…and then there’s Liz. He’s not sure how to take her reaction to Max leaving. She’s been pretty quiet about it all week…making it clear she doesn’t want to discuss it. But he’s worried that, after whatever happened between them last night, she’ll just bottle it all up and someday it’ll all explode.

~TBC~

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Post by Angel » Mon May 03, 2004 9:01 am

Itzstacie, vegas, ;)

Milla, nope. ;)

I'm glad you guys liked the last two parts. And thanks for being so patient while I was on vacation. :) And hey, great big happies your way for all the award nominations you guys have made for this story and for Ruins. I'm just blown away that people actually read and like my stories! I noticed that this is the only story that's been nominated for Best Candy Fic...does that mean I'll just get it unanimously if no other story is nominated? :lol: If you haven't posted your nominations yet...go do it! There are lots of good stories and authors on this board that deserve recognition.

Ok, as for Max and Liz...I'm keeping my mouth shut. But no, this isn't the end for them. And yes, they will see each other again. And no, I won't tell you anymore. ;) Thanks for reading and for all the great feedback!!



Part 47

For Max, his path started to become clearer and clearer after he arrived in Roswell. He was shocked when Michael told him that he’d married Maria in Las Vegas. He couldn’t comprehend it…but what was more startling to him was the fact that it just didn’t matter. It sealed his own fate and from that point forward, Max thought only about his training and what he had to do.

He can’t think about anyone else…or their lives. His soul purpose from now on is to strengthen his powers and his body, travel to his planet…and kill Khivar. Then, and only then, will he be content…knowing that everyone he loves will be safe. He can’t afford to dwell on the things he can’t change right now…only on the things he can.

So he makes a conscious decision to close himself off. He needs to focus. He has a job to do. And he’s prepared to die doing it. They don’t understand. He can see it every time they look at him. They think he’s crazy. Maybe his is…maybe this plan of his is doomed to fail. But he can’t sit around waiting for the inevitable to happen. This is what was meant to happen. He can feel it…he knows it.

He can also hear the whispering going on when they think he can’t hear. Isabel thinks he’s acting strange and she’s told Michael all about his last night in New York. He can feel them watching him…studying him. They think he’s depressed because of her. They don’t realize that he’s doing this for her.

He’s been in Roswell a week now…Cal, Zan and Ava showed up a few days after him and he immediately started working with them and Serena on his powers in the desert. A task that’s turned out to be slightly disappointing.

“You ain’t concentrating.” Zan says in frustration when Max fails to hit the boulder sitting twenty feet away with a blast.

“Yes, I am.” Max says in defeat as he tries to take deep, calming breaths. He just can’t seem to gather the power necessary and direct it where he wants it to go.

“Why don’t we take a few minutes and try the meditation again?” Serena steps in, sensing Max’s frustration.

He nods and wipes the sweat gathering on his forehead. “I just need a break.” He says as he slides down to the ground and drinks from his water bottle.

Serena walks over to Cal and says, “Can I talk to you for a minute?”

He nods and they walk away from everyone. “You thinking what I’m thinking?”

“What if he just doesn’t have it in him? We know that he got more human DNA than the other set. It might not be possible for him to call up the kind of power he’s going to need.” Serena says.

“We’re screwed.” Cal says bluntly. “We’ve been at it for three days and he can’t blow up a simple rock. He should be able to do more.”

Serena kicks a rock and says, “We’ll work with him for a few more days. If nothing improves, we’re gonna have to tell him. He can’t face Khivar as a human.”

Cal studies her for a moment before saying, “I know you’re disappointed. But maybe this is just how it’s supposed to be.”

“Yah well…I’m not giving up yet.” She gives him a long look before turning and walking away.

~~~~~~~~~~

Two nights later, Max overhears Michael and Cal talking quietly in his parent’s kitchen and he stops in the hallway where they can’t see him.

“What about Zan? Can we get him to go instead?” Michael asks.

“The Granolith won’t accept him unless Max is with him. And I don’t think he’d do it willingly, anyway.” Cal says before sighing and resting his head in his hands.

“Isn’t there anything we can do? Like have Ava or Isabel go in our minds and tap into some kind of hidden power?”

“Doesn’t work like that. You have what you have. There’s nothing else there. Your powers may be great here on Earth, but on Antar…they’re nothing.” Cal’s voice sounds regretful and Max realizes that Serena is there with them when she pipes in.

“Michael, you know I’m the last person to say we should give up…but you and Max don’t have any hope of using your powers to defeat Khivar and his army. It’s just not there.”

Max hears Michael sigh and he can imagine him running his hands through his hair, trying to think of something to do. When their talk turns toward how to tell him what they’ve realized, Max turns quietly and returns to his bedroom.

He’s known for several days now that he’ll never be able to summon the power that Zan has…or that everyone thinks he should have. He knows that there’s nothing else in him to give. But unlike the rest of them, he’s not giving up.

The next day, everyone meets out in the desert at dawn and Max stands in front of them to say what he came here to say. “I know that Michael and I don’t have the power that you all thought we would. So I’ve come to a decision. Instead of focusing on powers, we’re going to shift our attention to strategies and warfare.” He turns to Serena and asks, “There are probably resistant troops still there, right? People willing to fight on our side?”

“It’s hard to tell, Max. We don’t have any communication with the planet. We haven’t for over 50 years.”

Max looks at Michael for a moment, then turns back to Serena. “I think there’s a way for us to find out.”

Serena and Cal look surprised and she asks, “How?”

“I need you to find someone for me. A man named Brody Davis. He’s probably around 40 now…a millionaire from the dot com era.” Max sees Michael shift as he realizes where Max is going with this.

Cal flips open his cell phone and asks, “Any idea where he might be?”

“Try Albuquerque, then broaden your search to the entire southwest. He won’t be in Roswell because we never set off the orbs, but he’ll probably stick to the southwest because this is where most alien activity occurs.” Max says.

“Who is this guy?” Serena asks.

“In another timeline, his body was used by Larek to communicate with us. If we find him, we might be able to contact Larek through him.” Max says, hoping that it’s possible.

“I’m on it.” Cal says as he says hello to someone on his phone and walks away.

Before he gets too far, Max calls out to him. “He had a daughter named Sydney. She probably died in the early 2000s.” Cal nods and turns to continue walking.

“So, if we do find out there are still people there to fight? Then what?” Michael asks.

“Then I get them to fight.” Max says simply and Michael picks up on the fact that he said ‘I’, not ‘we’. But before he can say anything, he hears his cell phone ring and catches Max looking at it with a strange look on his face before walking away with Serena.

“Hello?”

“Michael, I think the washer hates me.” He hears Maria’s voice on the other end and he can’t help the smile that comes to his face. She insisted on renting a house in Roswell to live in with Michael before he goes. She cancelled her tour and he couldn’t talk her out of her crazy plan to be some kind of housewife for the limited amount of time she gets to be one.

“The washer doesn’t hate you.” He says. “What did you put in it?”

“Just some pillows, the comforter, the sheets…oh, and couple of pairs of jeans.” He can hear a loud banging in the background followed by her shrieking.

“Maria…calm down. You put too much stuff in it. Just go up and pull the knob out…that’ll stop it. Then you need to take some of that out…it’s just overloaded.”

He waits for a minute before she gets back on the phone. “I’m the worst housewife in history. Maybe I’ll just get a maid.”

He laughs and says, “Maybe you should. No one told you you needed to do the laundry.”

“Yah, well…I just assumed it was some sort of innate feminine ability. Maybe I’m just missing that gene.” She pouts, then says, “I’m sorry to call so early. Hope I didn’t interrupt anything important.”

“Nah…we’re fine. Go find a maid today, and I’ll see you later.” He smiles again as she blows air kisses to him through the phone before hanging up.

Max watches Michael talk to Maria from a few feet away and feels the beginning pangs of jealousy take root. But before it does, he pushes it away and turns back to Serena. “I’m going to the library to scan any books I can on war and strategy. That should take me a few days.”

“By then, we should have been able to find this man, Brody, and see if he can be used.” Serena says.

Max cringes at the word ‘used’ and says, “Let’s just call it borrowing, ok?”

“Of course. We’ll see if we can borrow him. Having the ability to contact Larek could be very useful.” She says. “What do you want me to work on with Michael?”

Max studies Michael for a moment and says, “Sounds like he needs help finding a maid.” He smirks and heads toward his car to go to the library.

~~~~~~~~~~

Liz has just started getting back into the swing of things at work and she finally feels like her life is getting back to normal. Maria calls her every day, clearly bored with her new role as a housewife. Liz is still reeling from that revelation. But she’s happy that her friend is grabbing onto whatever happiness she can get for as long as she can get it. And at first she was insanely jealous that Maria was going to be in Roswell with Michael and Max.

But when she got back to work, she found her groove again and she dove right in…head first. Anything to keep her mind off of the events unfolding in Roswell is a welcome distraction. Today, she’s at the computer sorting through her data when her phone rings. “Liz Parker.” She answers, frustrated that she can’t get one of her fields to sort correctly.

“I’m a bad wife.” She hears Maria’s voice and she sits back in her chair and smiles…knowing she won’t be able to work and talk to Maria at the same time.

“You’re not a bad wife. What happened?”

“I broke the washer, and then I had to hire a maid because I suck.” Liz hears the exaggerated pout in Maria’s voice, but she also hears the humor and she laughs…causing Maria to break down and laugh with her.

“Oh, Maria. You were never cut out for domesticated labor. Just face it and move on.” Liz smiles as she picks up a pen and starts doodling on a notepad.

“I know.” Maria sighs. “I just thought that this was my one shot, so I might as well give it a try. Turns out that this housewife stuff is not my cup of tea.”

“Well, it’s a good thing you’re keeping your day job as a superstar.” Liz rolls her eyes.

“So how are you? What are you doing?” Maria asks.

“Just working. The usual. I’m fine.”

“Right.” Maria says, unconvinced, then the phone sounds muffled before she says, “Michael’s here. He says he wants to talk to you.”

Liz frowns, wondering why Michael would want to talk to her.

“Liz, you there?” Michael voice comes from the other end.

“Yah.” She says, waiting.

He doesn’t say anything for a moment, and she thinks that maybe he just wanted to say hi. “I need to talk to you…about Max.”

“Michael. I really don’t think…”

“There’s something wrong with him…different. I don’t know what it is, but I have the feeling it’s because of you.”

“Because of me? I didn’t do anything to him.” Liz says angrily.

“I didn’t mean it that way. I just…can I ask you something?”

“You can ask.” She says carefully.

“Would you help him if he needed it? Would you come here and help him…help us?”

“Michael, I can’t…”

“Not now. Just…just in case. If it gets too bad, I need to know that you’ll help because I think you’re the only one who could. This is serious…I wouldn’t be asking you this if it wasn’t.” He says this quietly and Liz can tell that he doesn’t want Maria to overhear him. She can also hear the strain in his voice telling her he hates asking her this…much less admitting that he may need help from her.

Liz rubs her face with her hand, wondering why Michael would think she’d be any help to Max. She doesn’t know what’s wrong with him, and she doesn’t see how anything as serious as Michael’s describing could be related to her. But there’s something in Michael’s voice…something she can’t deny and she says, “Yah. If there’s no other option, I’ll come. I don’t know what I can do, but I can try.”

Michael sighs in relief and says, “Promise me.”

“I promise.” She pauses a few moments and starts to ask him what exactly is wrong with Max, but she bites her tongue and decides that she doesn’t wanna know. “Take care of yourself, Michael. And Maria.”

“Thanks, Liz. Maria said to tell you she’ll call you tomorrow.”

“Ok. Bye, Michael.”

“Bye, Liz.”

She hears her line go dead and she hangs up the phone before turning back to her computer and trying to concentrate on her work again. But she can’t.

~~~~~~~~~~

His shoes hitting the pavement in a smooth, steady rhythm; the cold, desert wind shooting past his ears; his breath escaping his body through his mouth with every other foot fall; his heart pounding in his chest…radiating out into every part of his body. These are the only things he can hear…these are the things he concentrates on. He can feel each of his muscles contracting and relaxing with each stride. He can feel the sweat dripping down his back.

As he nears the park, he slows down and he becomes aware of the second set of shoes hitting the pavement right behind him. He stops at a bench and immediately starts stretching, catching a glimpse of Zan doing the same next to him. It’s odd…they’re the same genetically and sometimes Max sees traits in Zan that he, himself has. Like now, and the way he moves when he stretches after they run.

Two weeks ago when he realized he wasn’t going anywhere with his powers, he turned to conditioning his body. He started out slowly, running in the mornings for two or three miles followed by a workout at the gym. Michael was there every day with him, but eventually Max’s regimen got to be too much for Michael. He’d never been one for working out like Max was. He’ll still meet Max at the gym most days, but he gave up on the running a week ago.

So Zan volunteered to go with Max. If anything, to help him with his pace. They are the same…so technically, Zan would be able to keep up with Max. In fact, it turns out Zan can outpace Max…so he’s a good running companion to keep Max challenged and pushing himself.

And over the last week, they’ve developed a tentative dialogue. Max still questions Zan’s motives constantly, but no one has seen any evidence of possession since that day in Kyle’s basement, so they’ve slowly become more comfortable around him again.

Dropping to the ground, they both continue stretching and Max finally feels his heart rate return to normal. He looks at his watch, which is also a distance and heart rate monitor. “Fifty two minutes, ten miles.”

“Not bad.” Zan says as he leans forward over his legs and grabs the bottom of his shoes. “Just about a five minute mile.”

“What did you and Cal talk about today?” Max noticed that both of them took off for a couple of hours.

“You.” Zan says, with no further explanation.

Max rolls his eyes and glares at Zan, silently telling him to elaborate.

“We talked about the possibility of me replacin’ Michael.” Zan leans back, then, and lies back in the grass…looking up at the stars.

Max raises an eyebrow at this and thinks. It makes sense. Zan has more power to offer than Michael. Zan has fewer ties to this planet than Michael. But he doesn’t trust Zan, and that’s the problem. “You’re willing to go?”

Zan snorts in sarcastic laughter and says, “No. I ain’t pumped up to go commit suicide.” He brings his hand up to wipe the sweat off his face and continues. “But I will. Cuz I owe ya…you know…for…”

“Don’t.” Max stops him before he can say her name. Thoughts of her aren’t allowed anymore.

“Yah, well…ya know what I’m sayin’. So yah, I’ll go…if you ask me to.” Zan rolls up into a sitting position.

Max looks over at him and feels the first small spec of respect for Zan developing. He stands up, then, and waits for Zan to join him for the walk back the house. “You going out tonight?”

They fall into a comfortable stride…identical…as they walk down the street. “Ava’s draggin’ me to some chick flick.” Zan rolls his eyes.

Max smirks and says, “Puss.”

“Fuck off.” Zan says with a smile.

~TBC~

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Angel
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Post by Angel » Mon May 10, 2004 10:10 am

Kath & Gigo, I think that Michael is just grasping at straws on how to help Max. That's why he asked Liz if she would help. Their lack of powers don't have anything to do with Liz or Maria. Michael's understanding of Max's behavior is more fully explored in this part.

Milla, I don't think Max thinks his life is any less important than anyone else's. He just thinks that it's his responsibility.

I am a dreamer, Damn that lurky Tess. ;) I wonder what she's been doing with all this free time?;)

vegas, did you graduate? Congratulations!!

BelieveInTrueLove, I got the washer scene idea from my 17 yr old cousin who was staying with me. I assumed she knew how to do laundry and asked her to do a couple of loads. And I got a phone call one day very similar to Maria's phone call.:lol:


Part 48

As Valentine’s Day approaches, Liz notices Alex becoming more and more distracted. She knows that he’s flying to Roswell for the weekend to visit Isabel and she’s gonna miss him. She’s hoping that seeing Isabel will lift his spirits; he’s been moping around the apartment for the last month.

“So, can I see what you got?” She asks when he walks in the door from his shopping trip. She offered to go with him, but he said he wanted to go by himself.

He grins at her and says, “No.”

“Come on! How do you know she’ll like it? I really think you should have a woman’s opinion before you give it to her.” Liz needles him, dying to know what he bought Isabel for Valentine’s Day.

“She’ll like it.” He says cryptically and walks into the kitchen for a bottle of water. Sitting down next to Liz on the couch, he nods toward the TV and asks, “What’re you watching?”

“Just an old movie.” She shrugs and picks up her book from the coffee table. “I just had it on for some background noise.”

Alex looks at the binding of the book Liz is reading and sits back. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” He muses with a grin. “Geez, didn’t we have to read that in high school?”

Liz kicks him with her foot and says, “I love A Tale of Two Cities. Go read your Wired magazine or something.” She teases him as she wiggles her toes under his leg.

“You still haven’t told me what you have planned this weekend. You’re not gonna hermit yourself away in this apartment, are you?” Alex reaches for the remote and turns the TV off.

“Greg and Jen invited me over tomorrow night for dinner. And Saturday…I figured I’d go rent a couple sappy chick movies, buy a carton of ice cream and do what any normal single woman does on Valentine’s Day.” In reality, she plans on declining Greg and Jen’s invitation and working at the lab the whole weekend. But telling Alex that isn’t an option. He’d just worry about her and give her the twentieth lecture on how she’s working too much.

“Why don’t you come with me?” Alex offers for the umpteenth time. He hates that fact that she’s gonna be here alone for the weekend. “Maria would love to see you.”

Picking her book up and sighing, Liz simply says, “No.”

Taking the hint, Alex gets up to go finish packing in his room and Liz looks up when he’s gone. She sets the book back down on the table and raises her hand to the TV, turning it back on with her powers before staring at the wall in thought…exactly what she was doing when Alex came home.

As he’s packing, Alex thinks about how early he has to get up for his flight in the morning, having taken the day off work for a three day weekend. He could have left tonight and gotten in late, but he still had some shopping to do and didn’t want to push it. He looks at the clock, trying to decide if he should call Isabel or not, but sees that it’s after 9pm…6pm her time. He’ll wait. They’re probably eating dinner now.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Honey, are you sure Alex shouldn’t just stay here?” Diane Evans asks as she passes a bowl of green beans around the table.

“Mom...he’ll be fine at the hotel.” Isabel averts her gaze, wondering why her mom is being so dense. She doesn’t want Alex to stay here…she doesn’t want to have sex in her parent’s house where anyone could hear.

Max eats his dinner, listening to the conversation going on around the table in detachment. His mom is badgering Isabel about Alex’s visit this weekend. His dad is talking to Cal, asking his endless questions. Maria and Ava are discussing their Valentine’s Day plans. And Michael and Zan are busy shoveling food into their mouths, hoping to remain invisible.

It’s Thursday night, and his parents are having their weekly dinner…having insisted that they all get together at least one night a week for a sit down meal. No one bothers trying to talk to him at these dinners anymore. His short answers discouraged them weeks ago and now they thankfully leave him alone. He sees their looks, though. The looks they exchange, indicating that they’re worried about him.

His thoughts turn to Brody…Larek, really. Cal found him three weeks ago and they traveled to Phoenix to meet with him. He was anxious to meet with Max, thinking he was a member of his online newsgroup that talks about aliens and abductions. It took a while, but Max was finally able to connect with him and send a call to Larek, hoping that it would reach him. After a day of waiting to see if it worked, they were pleasantly surprised when Brody called them and asked them to come over…and they found Larek waiting for them.

Larek seemed genuinely excited to find out Max was coming to help them and he confirmed that there are numerous groups still loyal to him, hoping for his return. They relayed their plans to him and he gave them much needed information about Khivar and what’s been happening on their planet over the last 60 years. They left Phoenix, with a promise from Larek that he would be in touch over the coming weeks as much as possible, considering the age and limitations of Brody’s body.

Max feels bad that they’re using Brody in this way. He never knew the man in this lifetime, but he still has memories of him from the previous ones. His daughter, Sydney, did die and Max feels a deep sense of regret knowing that he could have helped the girl if he’d known her.

Finishing the last of his dinner, he gathers his plate and pushes away from the table. “Thanks for dinner, mom.”

Diane looks up at him and smiles sadly. He can practically hear the desire she has for him to talk to her. She wishes there were something she could do for him. He knows that she asked Isabel about it, but Isabel just keeps telling her it’s the stress of leaving and that he usually keeps to himself. Having Isabel here is good…her ability to defuse eruptions building around him are useful and he doesn’t know what he would have done if she didn’t come back to Roswell with him.

After cleaning his dishes in the kitchen, he walks out into the backyard and sits on the patio. He can hear some noise coming from inside and he knows that Kyle and Serena just arrived. He can also feel the presence of their baby. They didn’t have to tell anyone, the aliens could sense it long before they made the announcement. It’s a change in the air…an energy that’s slowly making itself known.

He’s been studying Serena closely, while trying to remain inconspicuous. He looks for changes in her, however small, and files them away for contemplation later.

The sound of the back door opening breaks Max from his thoughts and he turns to see Maria closing the door behind her. “Hey, stranger.” She says as she plops down on the ground next to him. “Haven’t seen you around much lately.”

He nods because it’s true. He hasn’t been to their house in a couple of weeks, instead focusing all his attention on forming strategies with Cal and Zan and conditioning himself physically. “Aren’t you bored with this town yet?” He asks, having wondered what she does with her days when Michael’s with him.

“Always.” She smiles. “But boredom is a small price to pay to get these last few moments with Michael.” She glances at him from the corner of her eye to see if he reacts. He doesn’t.

He continues to stare at the sky…at the stars…and thinks to himself that the price will be a lot higher for her when they’re gone. But he won’t tell her that. They already know. He’s tried to tell Michael not to come with him. They’ve discussed Zan’s offer and Max thinks Michael should stay here. But he keeps insisting and Max is letting it go…for now.

“I’m worried about you, Max.” Maria finally says after a couple minutes of silence.

“Don’t be.” He says.

She looks over at him, his face an unreadable mask as he stares up at the stars. She can’t get him to talk about himself, so she decides to try another tactic. “Ok, then. I’m worried about Liz.” There! She saw a visible twitch of his eye when she said Liz’s name. And something else…something that flashed in his eyes for a brief second.

He doesn’t want to ask. He knows she’s baiting him. But what if there’s something really wrong with Liz? What if…? He sighs dramatically, trying to show her his irritation and he asks, “Why?”

“You know, I talk to her almost every day. And she’s just not herself. Alex asked her to come with him…” Maria’s voice drones on and Max tunes it out once he realizes her concern for Liz isn’t something serious. He doesn’t want to hear about Liz’s life. He doesn’t want to hear about how strange Liz has been acting. He doesn’t want to hear about any of it. Because if he does, he’ll become involved. And if he becomes involved, he’ll start caring about this life again. And if he does that, he won’t be able to leave. And if he doesn’t leave, they’ll all die.

Not really hearing Maria anymore, Max stands up and walks around to the side of the yard and out of the gate. Maria watches him go, her mouth open in surprise that he just got up and left while she was talking.

~~~~~~~~~~

The next day, Max avoids Alex’s arrival by going out to the desert with Ava and Zan. He wants Zan to help him some more with his shield…something he knows from the other timelines that he should be able to do. Ava came along to work with him further on learning to spot a mindwarp. Larek told them that there are people close to Khivar with this power, so Max wants to be ready and know when something isn’t real.

But evidently no one is letting him escape. During a break, he sees a plume of dust coming toward them and he knows that it’s Isabel and Michael. Hazarding a guess, he thinks that Alex and Maria are probably with them. Cal went to L.A. for a few days to take care of some business…leaving Zan and Ava at Kyle’s house where they’re sleeping in the basement.

“Here comes the cavalry.” Zan muses from his spot on the ground nearby.

The three of them watch as the car pulls up and, just as Max guessed, Isabel, Michael, Maria, and Alex all get out and walk over. Max looks at them expectantly, ready to hear why they drove all the way out here.

“Hey, Max.” Alex says as he gets closer. He then looks over at Zan and Ava warily as he moves closer to Isabel.

“Alex.” Max says, offering no greeting to the others.

“We’re on our way to Dexter.” Michael explains. Dexter has a bigger theater and more selection for movies, so Max assumes that’s what their plans are. “Just wanted to make sure you don’t want me to stay.”

“We’re working on my shield. You can’t help.” Max says, having already had this conversation with him and wondering why they’re having it again.

Isabel and Maria exchange a look…one that Max notices…one that he’s seen many times before. He stands up and says, “Go. Have fun. We’ll be fine out here.” He tries to insert a pleasant tone into his voice, hoping it’s enough to get them to leave.

“Why don’t you come with us?” Isabel says with a hopeful smile.

Max looks at her as if she’s gone crazy, but he quickly schools his expression and shakes his head. “No. You go ahead. I’ll see you later.” And with that, he walks away from them.

Alex watches him go and he feels Maria nudge him. “See what I was talking about?”

The four of them walk back to the car, saying goodbye to Ava and Zan, and Isabel says, “He’s been like that ever since…well, ever since that morning. Remember?”

Alex nods his head and thinks back to the morning that she sent him to check on Liz. He shrugs and says, “Looks like this is just his way of dealing. He’s cutting himself off from everyone so it’ll be easier to leave.”

They all think about that…knowing that that’s what has Max acting the way he is, but silenced with having it voiced aloud. “How’s Liz been?” Michael finally asks.

“She’s ok. She’s been kind of strange lately…preoccupied with something.” He shrugs. “Could be work. Could be Max. It’s hard to tell because she won’t talk about it. But she’s not acting like that.” He hooks a thumb over his shoulder toward Max as they drive back toward the highway.

Michael thinks about what Alex said and knows it’s true. But there’s something else. Something that Max is keeping to himself. He knows that Max is distancing himself from everyone…that much has been obvious ever since they got to Roswell. He keeps telling Michael that he’s just putting everything into concentrating on what he has to do. That there’s no room for anything else. But that’s not true. Max may be working every day…on his strength, on his powers, on his strategies…but he’s not all here. Part of him is somewhere else…and he’s pretty sure it’s with Liz.

~~~~~~~~~~

Sunday afternoon, Michael insists that everyone come to their house for a barbeque before Alex leaves. Even Max. He leaves Max no room for backing out, resorting to asking Mrs. Evans to insist that he come.

As he mans the grill, he glances around his makeshift, temporary backyard at everyone gathered there. His family. They’re not really, but they’re as close to one as he’ll ever have. In addition to Max’s parents, Alex brought along his parents and Michael was surprised to see that the Evans’ invited the Parkers to come as well. His eyes shift uneasily toward the deck where Maria’s sitting with her mother and Jim Valenti. The sheriff hasn’t shown any signs of suspicion since they all showed up back in Roswell, but he still can’t help the uneasiness he feels around the man. Especially when he catches Valenti looking at Max with a strange, unreadable look on his face.

Maria had him set up some speakers outside so they could listen to music and he can hear the sounds of Frank Sinatra drifting over him, singing about flying to the moon. Smirking, he flips over some hamburgers and spies Max sitting by himself in the corner reading a book. Some war history, no doubt…and he rolls his eyes. Leave it to Max to suck the life out of his little corner of the party. Poor Bailey is begging for attention from Max…and not getting any. Soon Bailey gives up and joins Michael at the grill again…hoping for some accidental droppings. Actually, Michael secretly drops hamburger on the ground for him, knowing how much it pisses Max off to feed Bailey people food.

After talking to Diane and Isabel for a while, Nancy Parker sees Max sitting by himself and wonders what he’s doing all the way over there engrossed in a book. Excusing herself, she walks toward him…unnoticed by him…and pulls a lawn chair next to his and sits down. She’s been waiting a long time to talk to Max Evans…and now is as good a time as any.

“So what’s so interesting that has you over here all by yourself?” She asks, startling him.

He jerks his head toward her in surprise and says, “I’m a history buff.” He holds the book up for her to see. The Twelve Caesars

“Ah. I remember studying Roman history in college.” She says with a smile and looks out at all the people milling around the backyard. “Quite a turnout. It’s too bad Liz couldn’t come with Alex.”

She turns to look at him and sees a frown on his face. He seems uncomfortable with her here so she says, “Your parents are really happy you’re here. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Diane so happy.”

She sees him looking toward his mom and she says, “I wish Liz would come home to visit. She works so hard…and…I don’t know if your parents told you, but we’re not as close to Liz as we used to be. We sort of had a falling out several years ago, and I don’t think she’ll ever forgive us.”

She sees Max squirm in his seat, obviously not wanting to be here talking to her, but she forges ahead. “But seeing you and your parents together again gives me hope that someday she’ll come back to us and let us in again.” She laughs a little and shakes her head. “I don’t know why I’m telling you all of this. I just remember that you and Liz seemed to be close right before you left all those years ago.” She studies his face for some sort of reaction and doesn’t see one.

He nods in agreement and says, “We were.”

Happy to at least get a response from him, she says carefully, “She just has so many secrets…always has. But I have a feeling you know something about that. Secrets, I mean.” She sees him look at her from the corner of her eye. “It must be hard…being different…hiding yourself from everyone.”

“What are you talking about?” Max asks, a tinge of worry in his voice.

“Liz is different, too. It took me a while to realize it, because she was always so independent…kept to herself.” She turns to fully face Max now and smiles sadly at the look of controlled panic on his face. He’s wondering what she’s talking about. If she’s being evasive on purpose, or if she’s just fishing for answers. “Don’t look so scared, Max. I figured it out on my own…I never told anyone else.”

“Figured what out?” He asks carefully.

“That you’re not…from here. I always hoped I’d get the chance to thank you…for saving my daughter’s life. I never thought I would. So thank you, Max.”

“I…” He struggles with how to respond. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

She puts her hand over his and looks down. “It’s ok. I would never say anything to anyone, not even Jeff. I just wanted you to know how grateful I am to you for giving us our daughter back. And to let you know that I know…and that if there’s ever anything I can do to repay you, I want you to call me.” She sees the fear on his face and she pats his hand. “I had my suspicions from the beginning, Max. But they were confirmed for me when Liz went to college. I haven’t said a word in all these years…you can trust me not to now.”

Max seems to be deep in thought for a moment before he turns back to look at her. “Thank you.” His voice is so soft she barely hears it and she smiles.

“I just worry about her, you know? But it helps to know that you would never let anything happen to her.” She pulls her hand away and looks back out over the party, missing the look of pain that crosses Max’s face. “Well, enough of this. Why don’t you put your book down and join the rest of the party. It looks like the hamburgers are almost ready.” She smiles at him and stands up, squeezing his shoulder before walking away.

Max watches her go…stunned. What the hell just happened? Did Mrs. Parker just tell him that she knows he’s an alien? No, not in so many words. But she didn’t really have to say it out loud. Now he can’t get the conversation he had with Liz out of his head when she told him about her parents seeing her use her powers. He can’t get the thought of healing Liz on the floor of the Crashdown out of his head, either. Suddenly, his head is full of nothing but Liz.

Pinching the top of his nose between his fingers, he looks around and can’t sit here anymore. He gets up and walks quickly to the grill. “I have to go.” He tells Michael before sprinting out of they yard without explanation.

He doesn’t bother taking a car, and he doesn’t see Isabel run after him as he takes off running down the street. He runs as fast as he can, trying to escape the thoughts in his head. He’s not exactly dressed for a run, but he doesn’t care as his legs carry him through downtown Roswell. Past the UFO Center, past the Crashdown. He keeps on running until he reaches his parent’s house.

He goes upstairs and turns the shower on as hot as he can stand it and strips his clothes off before enveloping himself in the steam within. He lets the water beat down on his back and he takes several deep, calming breaths trying to get himself under control.

When he emerges thirty minutes later, he goes to his bedroom and draws the curtains closed and lies down on his bed where he falls into a thankful oblivion…escape.

~~~~~~~~~~

Three weeks before their planned takeoff, Michael finally snaps. “You need to get it together, Maxwell. All this shit that’s weighing you down…it’s gonna get us killed.” Michael has Max pinned against the rock face in the desert. They’ve been sparring all morning and Michael’s finally had it with Max…the scene at his barbeque last week was the final catalyst.

Gritting his teeth and struggling to get Michael’s arm off his windpipe, Max shoots back, “I have it together. I just…”

“No!” Michael pushes harder against his throat for just a moment before he lets go and backs away. “You don’t. I don’t wanna hear ‘I just’ or ‘but’ or ‘if only’. I need you to be 100 percent here. We’re leaving in three weeks and you’re still carrying around baggage that doesn’t belong here.”

“Fuck you, Michael.” Max pushes away from the rock and passes his hand across his throat, healing the damage Michael’s done.

“Yah, fuck me. Fuck us both if you don’t grow a pair and start acting like the King you’re supposed to be.” Michael’s patience with Max’s depression has just reached its limit. For weeks, he’s watched Max go through the motions of their training, while obviously pining away for Liz Parker. He’s tried to be understanding. Hell, he has to leave his wife to go with Max. But watching him wallow in self-pity over a woman he chose to cut loose isn’t exactly earning him any sympathy points.

“What do you want from me that I’m not already giving, Michael? I’m out here every day with you. I’m doing the best I can.” Max runs his hand through his hair in agitation, noting that it’s gotten longer and out of control over the last two months. “If you’re so worried about it, then don’t go. I already told you not to.”

Michael studies his friend…his brother…carefully for the first time in weeks. The slouching of his shoulders, the dark circles under his eyes, the weeks of hair growth on his face, the hair that doesn’t look like its seen a comb in just as long, the dullness of his eyes…it all says one thing to him. Max gave up his mission weeks ago. Before he can form the question as to why in his head, he knows the answer and his spine straightens in sudden realization. “You’re not planning on letting me go at all, are you?”

Max looks up at him suddenly, in question, and sees the suspicion on Michael’s face. “You have responsibilities here, Michael.”

“My responsibility to you is more important.” Michael answers quickly…automatically.

“Our powers are useless, Michael. We’re too human. The only chance we have is to rally whatever forces are left and go at Khivar that way. My presence should be enough…I don’t need you there.” Max’s tone isn’t arrogant. They both know that when their people see that their King is still alive, and there to help them it should provide some much needed motivation. But it’s all a big gigantic question mark. “There’s no reason for you to…”

“To what? Die with you?” Michael challenges.

“Yes, Michael! We both know it. We’ve got one chance in hell here. I know what I have to do…and yes, I’ll probably die doing it. I’ll do whatever it takes to destroy Khivar and most likely, I’ll end up going down with him. And I’m ready for that.” Max levels his gaze at Michael. “Are you?”

Michael hesitates. Visions of Maria flash in front of his eyes…and he hesitates.

“I didn’t think so.” Max says. “And that is why you’re not going with me.” He takes a step closer to Michael and continues. “You’re right that I’m not completely here. That’s because I’m already halfway there.”

And then Michael sees it. The defeat…the resignation…the acceptance of what he’s doing. He feels the backs of his eyes stinging with unwanted tears and his voice cracks a little when he says, “You’ll never make it out alive.”

“No.” Max answers quietly. “I won’t. But I will do what has to be done. By any means necessary. I promise you that.” He puts his hand up on Michael’s shoulder, squeezing it. “You’re staying here. Maria needs you, Michael. Especially now. And you need her.”

Especially now? What does he mean by that? But Max has already backed away and is walking toward the blasting field. Michael watches him go…thinking. So Max thinks he’s ready to die? We’ll see about that. He pulls out his cell phone and starts walking to his car as he dials Maria.

~~~~~~~~~~

She hears her cell phone ringing on her desk and looks at it in annoyance. Stripping off her latex gloves, she walks away from the lab table and gets to the phone on the last ring before it would automatically forward to voicemail. “Hello?”

“It’s me.”

She freezes. He would never call, unless… “What’s wrong?” Dread seeps into her bones. Why is he calling?

“I need you.” He pauses, as if thinking about what to say next. “He needs you.”

Exhaling in somewhat relief that nothing’s happened to Maria, his words start to sink in. She made a promise to him and now he’s cashing in. “I’ll be on the next flight out.” She hears him sigh and can imagine him closing his eyes in relief. “How much time, Michael?”

“Three weeks.” He answers. “Call when you land and I’ll pick you up.”

She doesn’t get a chance to respond before he hangs up and she sets her phone back down on the desk. Turning, she glances over her lab…her haven…and begins making a mental list of things to do. She knew it would come down to this. And her conversation with Cal five days ago confirmed for her that her part in the grand scheme wasn’t over yet.

~TBC~

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Angel
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Post by Angel » Mon May 17, 2004 11:25 am

Well kiddos, you all have some good questions and comments. You'll just have to stick with me to find your answers. ;) Here's a pic of the outfit I based Liz's on for her day out with Max in NYC. I'm kind of a clothes freak, so I have to picture what everyone's wearing when I write. :lol:

Image


Part 49

Focusing, he can feel the power thrumming through his body. As he goes through the familiar T’ai Chi moves, he lets his surroundings fall away and he’s no longer in his parent’s backyard in a small dusty New Mexico town. He’s on his planet, preparing to meet Khivar…preparing to face him. As he swings his arms around slowly, he breathes deeply of the early spring air and closes his eyes.

Today he pushed his body to its physical limits. There’s nothing more he can do with his powers, so he’s turned to conditioning his body. He’s in tune with every muscle, every tendon…every cell in his body and now, in the darkness of night he’s becoming in tune with his mind. He can feel the air around him shrink and expand…forming a resistance to his movements. He can feel it whispering across his sweat soaked skin, cooling him.

But as he swings around, he feels another presence in the yard with him and he opens his eyes. It’s too dark, and he knows that everyone in the house was asleep when he came back from his run. It was after midnight when he came back here to relax…to meditate…and the house is still dark. But he can see a figure standing by the side gate and he drops his arms, his senses on alert.

As the figure moves closer and becomes more visible in the moonlight, though, his world starts to crumble. “No.” He whispers. He feels the foundations of the carefully crafted walls he’s built around his heart…around his soul…quake. She can’t be here.

“Max.” She calls out to him, taking a slow step toward him. But she stops when she sees the complete look of fear and horror come to his face. This isn’t the Max she last saw in New York. This isn’t the Max that left her wrapped in a sheet in her bed after making love to her all night. This Max is hard…different. His body looks like a finely chiseled stone sculpture.

Pulling himself together, he forces himself under control and says evenly, “You shouldn’t be here. Go home, Liz.”

She begins to walk slowly toward him again and she shakes her head. “No.” Her voice is soft, gentle…understanding. As she gets closer, she gets a better look at his eyes…glittering like hard diamonds in the night. There’s nothing in them. Nothing of the Max she knows, anyway.

“What are you doing here, Liz?” His voice is hard, full of accusation and irritation at her presence.

She takes a final step and stops three feet away from him. “I have promises to keep.”

Max feels a tingling of recognition in the back of his mind of the poem…what it means to her. What it meant to her in another time. And he realizes why she came. “Michael.” How dare he call her here? What is he hoping to accomplish? Doesn’t Michael realize? Of course he does…that’s why he did it.

She nods slightly, acknowledging his suspicion. Now she can see what Michael was so worried about. She can feel it in the air around her…she can see it in the way he’s standing, the way he’s looking at her. “What are you doing, Max? I thought you were coming back to Roswell to prepare to fight...” She hears Michael’s words from their car ride echo through her mind. He’s going on a suicide mission…he’s ready to die. “…not prepare to kill yourself.”

“I want you to leave.” He says brusquely before turning to his nearby bottle of water and drinking deeply. “You have no business being here.” He looks her directly in the eye. “I don’t want you here.”

Liz cocks her head and raises her eyebrows. “Well, Max…we don’t always get what we want, do we?” With that, she turns from him and he watches her walk toward the back door to his house and open it.

“Where are you going?” He asks, wondering why the hell she’s going in the house.

She flips her hair as she turns back to look at him with a smirk. “Your parents were kind enough to invite me to stay here. See you in the morning.” She says the last part cheerfully as she winks at him and turns back to walk inside, shutting the door behind her.

~~~~~~~~~~

After showering, Max lies in his bed unable to sleep and unable to get rid of the thought that she’s lying on a bed on the other side of his wall.

He folds his hands behind his head and stares at the ceiling. He closes his eyes and tries to separate his mind from his body…works to repair the damage to his walls that seeing her has done. Never before has he been so thankful that they no longer have a connection. He wouldn’t be able to stand it if he could feel her presence. But he feels the other, and he wonders if she knows yet. And as he has so many times when his thoughts start drifting into this dangerous territory, he slams a door in his mind. He can’t think about that…he won’t think about that.

Crossing his arms over his eyes, he thinks of other things…he thinks of Khivar. And he spends the rest of the night running through every scenario he’s studied…studying every possible move he can make. And at the end of each one, he sees only three things. Khivar dead, his people in power once again, and everyone he loves safe.

~~~~~~~~~~

Liz gets up early the next morning and isn’t surprised to see that Max has already left the house. She was expecting it. Especially after his reaction to seeing her last night. When she walks downstairs, she finds Isabel sitting at the kitchen table drinking a glass of orange juice. “Good morning.” She says, startling Isabel into spilling some juice out of her glass.

“God, you scared me.” Isabel puts a hand to her chest and smiles. “I’m not used to anyone being here in the morning.”

Liz sits down and pours herself a glass of juice and sits back, noticing the look of expectation on Isabel’s face. Sighing, she says, “It didn’t go well.”

Isabel’s face falls and she asks, “What happened?”

“He told me to leave…that he didn’t want me here. He was pretty harsh about it.” Liz says in an even voice.

Isabel nods at the familiar description of Max’s behavior. “I’m sorry.”

Liz waves her hand in dismissal and asks, “So, he’s out in the desert today?”

“Yah. And I made sure Zan didn’t go. It should be Max, Michael and Serena today.” Isabel tells her.

Pushing away from the table, she says, “Well, I guess there’s no time like the present.” She notices Isabel looking at her strangely suddenly, her head tilted to the side as though she’s listening to something Liz can’t hear. “What is it?” She asks.

Isabel recognizes the tingling she’s feeling in the back of her mind and she looks up from Liz’s stomach to her face with wide eyes. The set of her jaw and the slight nod that Liz gives her tells her that she knows and Isabel looks down at the table in confusion. If she sensed it, Max surely did. And if he did, how could he still be pushing Liz away?

“Do you want me to go with you?” Isabel asks.

Liz shakes her head and says, “No. He’ll feel like we’re ganging up on him. I probably won’t be long though. Maybe we could go to lunch when I’m back?”

Isabel stands up and says, “Yah. That’d be nice.” She walks over to Liz and gives her a hug…lingering longer than she usually would before pulling away. “Good luck.”

“Thanks, I’ll need it.” Liz says before grabbing her purse and the keys to the car Michael got for her.

~~~~~~~~~~

As Max takes down Michael yet again, Serena wonders where all this anger Max seems to have developed toward Michael came from. He’s been relentless all morning…attacking when Michael’s not expecting it…and not holding back.

Struggling back to his feet, Michael wipes at his nose and sees the blood. Damn. He hopes his nose isn’t broken. It doesn’t feel like it. But his ribs are certainly bruised and his right eye is rapidly swelling shut. He knew he’d pay for what he did, but he forgot that he and Max would be sparring this morning. So now he’s paying in more ways than he thought of.

“Glad to see you showed up this morning.” Michael smirks at Max, shaking the blood from his fingers before raising his hand toward Max.

Max sees Michael’s hand glow for a brief second before throwing up his shield and deflecting his blast. Two more blasts hit his shield before he lowers it, knowing Michael can’t throw more than three in a row. Unexpectedly, and unplanned, Max throws his hand up toward Michael and he vaguely hears Serena yell something at him as Michael looks at him with wide eyes and drops to the ground.

He can feel the energy building and he thinks he can do it this time. He can send a blast out and it’ll hit its mark. He’s that angry. But at the last second, he raises his hand to aim at the rock face behind them instead and he sees Serena running toward him…another figure right behind. A split second before the energy is released, he sees Liz run to Michael and she turns to look at him with such anger that his hand starts to drop in surprise. Realizing too late that he’s about to blast both Liz and Michael, he yells at them to move. But then something incredible happens.

His blast ends up hitting the ground two feet away from them, spraying up sand and dust. But surrounding Michael and Liz is a light green shield…a complete dome covering the both of them. And it’s coming from Liz’s hand.

And just as quick, the shield around them drops and Liz stands up, fire in her eyes. “You fucking asshole! What are you trying to do, kill him?!” She holds her hand out to him, then, and sends a small blast in his direction…with little effort…and it sends him flying five feet behind him, right on his ass.

Feeling like he’s been punched in the chest, he sits up and sees Liz fussing over Michael…healing his nose and his eye and scanning the rest of his body for injuries. When she’s satisfied that Michael’s ok, she stands up again, helping him to his feet.

“I wasn’t gonna blast him.” Max says weakly from his spot in the dirt.

But Liz isn’t listening. She’s still fussing over Michael, wiping blood and sand off of his face as Serena rushes over to them. “Liz! What are you doing here?” She cries out.

“I asked her to come.” Michael says, his eyes landing on Max.

Serena looks from Michael, to Liz, and then to Max before looking at Liz with wide eyes. “Your powers…they’re…wow.” She says, impressed.

Max scoffs as he tries to stand up and all three of them look at him in a mixture of surprise and irritation.

Liz tries to advance on him, but Michael holds her back. “They’re better than yours…obviously.” Her tone is dripping with disdain.

Serena steps back, still feeling the energy in the air and she starts to say, “Let’s just all calm…” Then she feels it and her eyes fly immediately to Liz and widen. “Liz! How come you’re pregnant?! And with an alien baby!” Her gaze zooms in on Michael, who still has his arm around Liz.

Michael’s eyes widen and he pulls his arm back like it was burned and he says, “Hey, it wasn’t me.”

Serena then looks at Max and sees him staring at Liz…his face as expressionless as always.

“That’s a good question, Serena.” Liz says sarcastically as she holds Max’s stare. “It’s a funny story, actually. Well, not funny in a ha ha sort of way.” She doesn’t look away from Max as she continues, “You see, I had this one glorious, fantastic night…having the most awesome, mind-blowing sex…with an alien. I mean, I’ve never experienced anything so…explosive.” She glances at Serena and Michael to see them listening in shock and she fans her face with her hand. “Whoo! It was hot!” Turning back to Max, she continues, “All night long, in fact. It was like, primal. We couldn’t get enough of each other. We did it everywhere…the bedroom, the bathroom, on the kitchen table…oh, and don’t forget when you bent me over that chair in the living room and…” Her voice fades away as if she’s lapsed into thought and she hears Michael coughing and muttering something she can’t hear.

“So you might be asking yourself how sweet, innocent, little Liz Parker could ever do such a thing.” She pauses, searching for something…anything…on Max’s face to tell her that she’s affecting him. “I loved him. And he loved me…I’m sure of it. There was so much damn love in the air that it makes my teeth ache just thinking about it.” She walks around so that she’s standing next to Max, still locking gazes with him and she says, “But we all know what happened, right? It’s the sad ending to every girl’s fantasy. He left the next morning and I haven’t seen him since. But that’s not the worst part. Because I knew he would leave…and I accepted it. No, the worst part is that this alien, this man…the man I love and the father of my child…he’s flying off to another planet in three weeks where he plans on killing himself.”

When she finishes talking, the only sound is the breeze blowing across the desert. A bird cries from overhead and still no one can move. Finally, Liz breaks her eyes away from Max’s and clears her throat, looking at Serena and Michael. Both in sympathy and understanding for making them listen to her tirade. “Anyway, I have a lunch date with Isabel.” She walks toward Serena, leaving Max behind her…still as a statue…and she says, “I’ll see you guys later?”

Michael and Serena just nod dumbly and Liz turns to Michael. “Don’t let him take it out on you, Michael. You don’t deserve it. If you come back with one scratch on your body, I’ll kick your ass. Got it?”

Michael lifts the corner of his mouth in a smirk and nods as Liz turns away and heads back toward her car. She waits until she’s safely in her car and driving away to let her tears fall. She lets them stream down her face freely until she passes the Roswell city limits sign before taking a deep breath and wiping them away.

~~~~~~~~~~

By the time she gets back in town, it’s only 10:30am and she still has some time before she has lunch with Isabel. Making a quick decision, she turns down the main street and parks her car in front of the UFO museum. Taking a deep breath and checking her face in the mirror, she wipes the tear tracks from her face and uses her powers to make herself presentable before getting out the car and walking across the street.

With determination, she opens the front door to the Crashdown and walks into the empty café, searching for her parents. She doesn’t see them, but she sees a waitress she doesn’t know standing behind the counter and she walks up to her. “Are my parents here?” She asks.

The waitress looks at her in confusion and Liz clarifies. “The Parkers. Are they here?”

“Oh. Um…yah. You must be Liz.” She smiles and points toward the green swinging door in the back. “They’re in the back.”

“Thanks.” She smiles back at the young girl and walks toward the back, pushing the door in and walking through. She looks around at the familiar back room…the lockers on one wall…the couch on the other. Everything looks the same and she’s suddenly overwhelmed with memories.

“I’m sorry, but you can’t…” She turns to see her dad walking toward her and he stops, realizing who she is. “Liz?”

“Hi dad.” She says, her voice sounding smaller that she wanted.

A bright smile comes to his face and he rushes to her, engulfing her in a big hug and says, “Oh my God! Lizzie!”

She laughs, seeing her mom walking toward them with her hand over her mouth in shock. “Oh, Liz!” Nancy pulls Liz from Jeff’s arms with a hug of her own.

“Hi mom.” Liz buries her face in her mom’s hair and closes her eyes.

Nancy pulls back just far enough to run her hands over Liz’s hair, face and arms. “When did you get here? Where are you staying? How long will you be in town?”

Liz laughs again and says, “Late last night. The Evans’ for now, but I’m hoping I can come stay with you. And I’m not sure how long yet. A few weeks maybe.”

Liz sees her mom’s eyes fill with tears as she hugs her again. “Of course you’ll stay here! Oh, Liz…I’m so glad you’re home. We missed you so much!”

She lets her parents lead her upstairs as her mom fusses over her and makes her tea. They spend the next two hours catching up and she avoids answering any of their questions about why she’s here. She tells them that she just missed them and thought it was time that she came home for a while.

At one point, her mom asks her if Max called and talked to her and she finds that strange but tells her no. She doesn’t elaborate further and makes a mental note to ask Isabel about it later. When she glances at her watch and sees that it’s 12:30, she explains that she’s having lunch with Isabel but that she’ll be back later with her things.

~~~~~~~~~~

Max sends Serena and Michael home, knowing they have questions and hating the looks of pity and concern on their faces. They reluctantly go, leaving him alone with his thoughts. Every word Liz said earlier echoes through his head for the rest of the day. It’s like she’s inside of him and he can’t get her out.

He’s powerless to try keeping her out anymore. Before, she was this ethereal presence floating around the periphery of his mind…easier and easier for him to keep out. But now, when she was standing in front of him, saying…what she was saying…he was faced with the reality of her. The reality of Liz and the child she’s carrying. His child. Their child.

He knew. The morning he left her, he knew. He caught a brief connection when his hand brushed over her stomach. But it was like a dream. He was leaving…so he didn’t say anything…didn’t want it to be a reality. Didn’t want to acknowledge the reality that he was leaving the only woman he’ll ever love alone, and pregnant with his child.

So he left…leaving his heart behind and he went to his lawyer’s office to make arrangements for the last of his money. He had planned on keeping one account in his name…in case he came back. The one account he’d been building in secret since they left Roswell. He arranged for the contents of that account to be transferred to one Elizabeth Parker if his lawyer didn’t hear from him in three months. The man probably thought Max was a nutcase giving all his money away, but he didn’t care. He had to do what he could to provide for Liz.

And over the last two months, he’s sometimes wondered. Did she know yet? Was she happy? Was she pissed? He would watch Serena and the way she would lay her hands over her stomach protectively and he’d imagine Liz doing the same. Before he left, he had planned on telling Isabel and Michael…so they could go to her…protect her…help her if she needed them. He had it all planned…everything taken care of.

Until last night. But it can’t change anything. Her being here can’t prevent him from what he has to do. But the pull…it’s so strong. As she stood in front of him this morning, he died a little inside at each word she spoke. It was like he wasn’t even in his own body. He couldn’t be there, because if he was he would have collapsed into her…gathering her body to his and promising he’d never leave her…never again.

So he left. His body stayed there…took her verbal attack…while his mind soared away in the clouds above them. A useful meditation technique that he learned from Serena. He uses it frequently to escape all the turmoil and emotions he’s incapable of dealing with.

Lying in the rocky sand, he can feel that his face and arms have burned from the sun. He’s been lying out here for hours. He can still smell her…or is that his imagination? Yes, probably. Maybe he’s delirious from thirst. As he sits up, he can feel his heart beating in his chest and it’s only beating for one purpose, one person.

He makes his way blindly to his car, mildly curious as to why he can’t see. Then he realizes that his tears are making the world in front of him distorted…wavy…and he remembers now what that feels like. So he lets them fall, unchecked, wiping away enough so that he can see to drive. But his face must be pretty badly sunburned…his hand feels like sandpaper on his skin. He notices that the sun has long set as he makes his way back to Roswell, surprising him with the length of time he spent lying on the desert floor. His legs are tingling and for some reason, his side aches. Maybe he should find some water.

He’s unaware of his destination until he finds himself parked in front of the Crashdown. He knows she’s here. He’s not sure how…probably the connection he can feel to their child. He sits in his car and sees the busy interior of the café. Waitresses with their silver antenna bobbing around delivering food. Just like Liz used to do. He sees Liz’s dad standing toward the back talking to a customer and his eyes travel toward the front door where they meet the steady gaze of Liz’s mom.

Does she know? Is she looking at him with hatred for getting her daughter pregnant with an alien child? No…he doesn’t see that in her gaze. He sees…understanding…and pity. And he realizes that he still has tears streaming out of his eyes so he looks away, afraid of her…afraid of what she thinks of him.

He searches frantically at the door for the catch and pushes it open roughly when he finds it…accidentally dinging the car next to him. Cursing, he slams his door shut and holds his hand over the ding on the neighboring car; repairing the damage he did…not caring that Mrs. Parker is watching him.

His feet can’t seem to keep up with his body as he stumbles toward the ally and the path that will lead him to Liz. He falls to the ground a couple of times, wondering how come he’s so clumsy all of a sudden. And when he reaches the bottom of her ladder, he breathes a sigh of relief. He made it. His salvation is a few steps away. He can see a light on up above and he can hear her voice. So close.

But hers isn’t the only voice. He starts to feel dizzy as two voices drift down to him…hers and…no, he’s not supposed to be here. What is he doing? He grabs onto the ladder and makes it three rungs up when another wave of dizziness overtakes him and as he’s falling to the ground, the last thing he sees as he looks up toward Liz’s balcony is Zan’s face looking over at him.

~TBC~

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