Fighting Fear (UC, Mi/L, Adult) Chapter 23 ~ 12/23 [WIP]

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Re: Fighting Fear (UC, Mi/L, Adult) Chapter 19 ~ 2/9

Postby Whimsicality » Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:44 am

Yasmania: Well, it looks like someone's getting their wish ;) Also, I do like to make Max likeable, and as for him and Ava, we shall see...














Chapter Twenty ~ Tension


Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
- Touched by an Angel by Maya Angelou




“Can I get a refill?” One of the customers asked as she hurried past him toward the grill, waving his empty glass in her direction.

Liz nodded with a tight smile. “Just one moment, sir; I'll be right with you.”

He grimaced impatiently, but remained silent, and she took her three plates from Jose and carried them to the corner table. The door jingled again as she made her way to the soda machine to get the grumpy man's refill and she bit back a groan as she heard the high pitched squeal of an excited child.

Could this day get any worse?

The tourist rush was in full swing and Maria was on a road trip with her mother, leaving Liz with very few competent waitresses. Ava had been helping out, but she was scheduled for the evening shift, meaning Liz was basically running the front by herself during the insanity that was lunch at the Crashdown.

And work wasn't her only dilemma. It had been two weeks since Max started training with them and it still hurt every time she felt his energy brush against hers. She wasn't the only one struggling with his presence either. Things were still strained between Max and everyone in the group, with the surprising exception of Ava who had taken him under her wing, a selfless action that earned her more of Liz's respect and admiration. The tiny blonde had been through more than any of them, growing up with that poisonous group she'd once called a family, and had somehow become the strong backbone of their group, helping all of them come together despite her own pain.

Not that she loved everything about the other girl. Ever since Ava had confronted her over Michael, Liz had found it a lot more difficult to ignore her attraction to him, which pissed her off to no end. How could she possibly be thinking about any kind of non-platonic relationship with someone now? And with him? What was her problem?

“Hey, where's our food?” A grating voice interrupted her reverie and Liz clenched her teeth, right, well, that was one of her problems. Work first, brood later.

Three hours later, after passing the baton to Ava, she stumbled upstairs, tired, greasy, and frustrated by life. Stripping off her uniform, she grabbed a towel and walked into the bathroom. Turning on the shower, she waited until the water was hot enough to almost burn, and then stepped in the spray with a sigh of relief.

Opening her eyes almost half an hour later, she felt clean and sleepy, much of her frustration swirled down the drain with the sweat of her long and excruciating day. Turning off the water, she pulled the towel off the shower bar and lazily scrubbed it over her head to get away the surface moisture before wrapping it around herself and stepping onto the tile. Wandering back into the bedroom, she slowly dried her body and put on the skimpy, comfortable, pajamas Ava had laid out of her. She really did love that girl.

Before she could go back to drying off her hair, her phone rang, making her jump and glare. God damn it, were a few hours of peace and quiet too much to ask for? Pushing the talk button as angrily as she could manage, she held it to her ear and bit out one word: “What?”

“I need to talk to you, Parker.” It was Michael, his voice reawakening all of her earlier confusion and frustration over his existence and her feelings about him and all she could see was red.

“Can't it wait? I'm kind of fucking exhausted,” she ground out, her free hand clenching into a fist.

“Well, if you're too tired to deal with alien stuff, Parker, you might need a different life,” Michael growled in response, sounding equally frustrated.

Instead of replying, Liz closed her eyes and bit her lip against the string of curses that were trying to pour out. Dropping the phone on the bed, she willed herself away, only opening her eyes when she could hear Michael again, swearing at his phone.

“What, Michael, what on earth do you want?” she demanded, angrily brushing drops of water off her forehead from her still soaking wet hair.

He spun around and stared at her for a moment, eyes lingering over her clinging tank top and barely there cotton shorts, before narrowing his eyes and biting out, “Why aren't I a Vaneth? Why are you a Vaneth when the Granilith hasn't spoken to me once in this lifetime.”

She gaped at him, furious at his implications, and suddenly knew the answer to his question without having to even ask the entity she was irrevocably bound to. Stalking forward, she shoved a finger into his chest. “You're not a Vaneth because you haven't asked to be a Vaneth,” she glared up at him, frustration seething in her veins. None of this was her fault and fuck him anyways. “And why is that, Michael? Why has it taken you this long to ask that question? Surely the big bad alien isn't afraid?” she drawled out scathingly.

“It can't be that simple,” he insisted, ignoring her taunts as his caramel eyes burned into her, his energy flaring wildly around him.

“It is. So either accept the responsibility, or shut the fuck up about it. I should be sleeping right now, not dealing with this bullshit.”

“Bullshit, Parker?” he snarled, taking a step forward and forcing her to move back or be run over. “Good to know you lied when you told me you were going to actually try and give a shit about this life, about our lives.”

Liz's mouth fell open. Reaching up, she placed her hands on his broad chest and shoved, channeling her own power and pushing him back several feet. “Fuck you, Michael, fuck you. I care so much about our lives that I force myself not to vomit every time I have to look at Max when we practice, much less share energy. I care so much that I've resisted every urge to run screaming for the hills every time your precious fucking Granilith starts talking in my head!”

They glared at each other, eyes sparking angrily and chests heaving as they caught their breaths. Instead of yelling back, Michael moved faster than even her enhanced brain had time to process and suddenly she was shoved up against the wall, his body pressed almost painfully against her as their lips met and their tongues clashed in a heated, furious dance.

She gripped his shoulders, nails scraping at his skin through his shirt and he wrapped his hands around her hips and pulled her feet off the floor. One of his hands slid down to cup her ass through her flimsy shorts while the other slid up her back, burying itself in her hair and tilting her head back as he trailed his mouth down her throat. He bit down on the curve of her neck and she gasped and arched into him, legs wrapping around his waist as the electric energy of his aura battled with hers.

Her muscles were strung wire tight, but she felt like she was melting under the fire radiating from him, the blood in her veins boiling as their auras suddenly melded together, stronger even than when they'd faced Max. Their combined energies crashed explosively into them, their bodies grinding against each other as he claimed her mouth once more, pouring all of his frustration and anger and need into their connection.

She reciprocated, sinking her teeth into his bottom lip as her own rage and irritation bubbled over, joining with his and forming something different, something new, something powerful.

Instead of two beings, they were now one. Their thoughts were jumbled together, origins impossible to determine. Their emotions pulsed in perfect synchronization, a throbbing heartbeat of rage and hope and love. It wasn’t romantic love (not yet), but a fierce, protective sentiment, well seasoned with lust.

Liz groaned at the intensity of his (their) emotions, her skin shimmering with energy that was a melding of the green of her aura and the gold of his. The power covered both of them, tingling not with destructive potential, but something else entirely. She instinctively manipulated it to stimulate Michael’s erogenous zones and grinned fiercely as he gasped. His mouth ceased its plundering of hers and satisfaction welled within her at gaining the upper hand in the sensual battle they’d started.

He growled, low in his throat, and suddenly that mingled energy was rushing over and into her, stimulating things that had never been stimulated before. Just before she crashed over the edge into oblivion, she latched onto his essence and took him with her, both of them crying out as their shared orgasm rocked them and their minds flew through an endless expanse of stars.

When they returned to themselves, they were slumped on the floor, sticky with sweat. Their bodies were still pressed together, limbs awkwardly entangled, clothes damp. Liz raised her eyes, somehow both exhausted and filled with exhilarating energy, and found Michael staring at her. The gold flecks in his eyes were brighter than normal and his expression looked torn between a frown and a smile.

“You’re an asshole,” she said after a moment, and his face settled into a smirk.

“I know.”

She sighed and then melodramatically snapped her fingers, cleaning their clothes and their bodies. “I did not become a Vaneth so that you could have teleportation aided booty calls.”

He grunted, smirk fading into his usual stoic expression and she reached out to grab his chin, reinforcing their still wide open connection. “Are you going to become a Vaneth?”

He lifted his hand and stroked his thumb down her cheek, then showed her his emblazoned palm. “Apparently it’s an STD,” he said dryly.

She began to laugh and then gently pushed him away from her so that she could stand. When she’d regained her feet, she smirked down at him. “I don’t know how it works for your people, Guerin, but that wasn’t sex.”

His eyes glinted and he opened his mouth to retort and she popped away with a wink. She didn’t go home, instead transporting herself to the Granilith chamber, where she knew he would eventually follow. Leaning against the cold stone wall of the cave, she closed her eyes with a slight, troubled smile. She’d temporarily gotten the last word, but Michael was nothing if not stubborn, and what they’d started was far from over. Once again, her emotions and thoughtless actions had sent her blindly stumbling down a path she couldn’t see the end of.

‘Maybe you enjoy the uncertainty, despite your professed need for control,’ the voice in her head (and now Michael’s head) mused.

“Shut up,” Liz said tiredly, and then sighed as she felt Michael’s energy coalesce next to her. So much for ever sleeping again.

“Sleep is overrated,” Michael murmured, blatantly using their connection to invade her privacy, and then claimed her mouth in a sizzling, open mouthed kiss.

She groaned and arched into him, hardly unwilling as she felt the intense chemistry between them flare anew. ‘Aren’t you supposed to be chatting with your new life partner?’ she asked, even as she scraped her nails over the waistband of his jeans, enjoying his hiss of desire.

‘It can wait,’ Michael responded shortly and she laughed into his mouth, then let herself be carried away in the heedless tide of lust only he generated. The Granilith could wait, and who knew, maybe it would enjoy the show.
Last edited by Whimsicality on Fri May 03, 2013 8:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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There was nothing more she wanted to do than crawl back into bed, wrap herself in Michael, and spend the day trading kisses and learning what made him sigh, what made his breath catch, what made him purr in the back of his throat. - Liz in Hunted by Ashita

Polar Attraction - Not just for Polarists...

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Re: Fighting Fear (UC, Mi/L, Adult) Chapter 20 ~ 2/23 AN 3/2

Postby Whimsicality » Sun May 05, 2013 4:24 pm

A/N: Anamnesis is the recollection or remembrance of the past. Summer is upon us and I will have a lot more time to write, so with any luck the next chapter won’t take so long. (And we really are close to the end, and I know every step to get there). Oh, and Bhalekinn is the capital of Antar.

A/N2: :lol: Thanks Yas. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I apologize for the wait on this one. The next one shouldn't take so long. And we will have more Polar lovin at some point. Yeah. I'll fit it in there :D













Chapter Twenty One ~ Anamnesis


Hardly had skill to utter one of all
The nameless feelings that course through our breast
But they course on for ever unexpress’d
And long we try in vain to speak and act
- The Buried Life by Matthew Arnold




Max watched Ava step gracefully around another customer as she carried several plates to one of her tables, her blonde curls pulled back into a messy bun and her pink lips curved into a tired, but genuine smile. His heart gave an odd thump and he stared down at his hands. The Granilith had healed him, had rid him of the warps Tess had implanted, but if anything it only made the confusion in his mind worse. He now remembered two lives, this one and his past as Zan, and in this life many of his memories were doubles, what really happened contrasted with the grainy and painful memories of the warps.

His feelings for Liz, his forced feelings for Tess, and Zan’s intense love for Ava were all swirling inside of him, and now a nascent crush on this Ava was building, and he didn’t know what to do about it. Or how much of it was based on gratitude rather than genuine emotion. He didn’t know how she could even look at him, not after loving and losing a version of him twice, and yet she, of all the group, was the only one who seemed completely comfortable in his presence. Even Isabel, who had welcomed him back into her life with a fierceness tainted by desperation, still watched him warily sometimes, looking for signs of the Max who had bullied and dismissed her under Tess’s influence.

Max winced, more memories of how horribly he’d acted flashing through his mind. He had been such an asshole, to everyone, and knowing he was under the control of someone else didn’t do much to lessen his guilt.

Michael’s face flashed before his mind’s eye, a sarcastic smirk twisting his lips as he mocked Max for brooding and Max chuckled softly, his gaze drawn back to the blonde who had become his teacher, and his friend. Ava wasn't much like Tess or Liz, although he could see similarities between her and the version of her he'd been married to on Antar. She was fiercely protective of Liz, funny, warm, slipped between accents at random moments, and hid wisdom behind her blue eyes that had nothing to do with reincarnation and everything to do with her. Max flushed when she looked up and caught him watching her. She smiled at him and then winked, inspiring a deeper blush in Max's cheeks.

She turned away to answer a customer's question and Max looked down at his hands again, this time with a faint smile. It was nice to have a friend again.

Another wisp of memory intruded on his thoughts, another wink, and this time he let the memories consume him.

Zan grit his teeth behind his perfect smile as his father introduced him to yet another daughter of one of the Council members. He skimmed his aura flirtatiously against hers in the briefest of contacts, his eyes already roving onward as he looked for Rath. The Vaneth in training was a prickly bastard, but at least he was good for quality conversation, and he certainly never simpered or wasted words on false flattery.

He didn’t see Rath and instead his gaze stopped on his sister, or rather her companion, the lovely Avaelithe, daughter of Lord Bethadh, and an intelligent enigma. Until she had befriended Lonnie, she had rarely attended court functions, preferring her books and her corner in the Granilith chamber, a place Zan rarely visited. He disliked feeling so small.

She was beautiful, one of the loveliest Antarians he'd ever seen, and even had her father not been a Vaneth, she would have ranked just below Vilandra, given the House her father had belonged to before being called. And she didn't care. She was known for being a scholar, even outside Bhalekinn and her life revolved around the history of Antar and the Alliance, her father, and her friendships with Lonnie and Rath, two people who weren't exactly fond of Zan.

He couldn't stop thinking about her. At first talking to her had been largely because he knew it irritated his sister, but lately he sought her out at every function simply because he enjoyed their conversations.

The woman he was ostensibly flirting with said something complimentary about his physical prowess and Zan murmured something back, meeting her gaze for a moment before looking away again, his eyes unconsciously seeking Ava once more. When he found her, she was looking back, an amused smile tilting her lips, and a brief flash of embarrassment flickered across his aura at being caught so blatantly ignoring his companion. Ava winked and the embarrassment faded into pleasure.

Turning back to Piral, he gave her an almost rude farewell and then walked away from his father, heading towards the fiercely intelligent woman who’d captured his attention, and his emotions.


When Max blinked away the vestiges of Zan, Ava had slid into the booth across from him and was watching him with curious blue eyes. “What were you remembering?” she asked him, and grinned with a hint of wistfulness when he shot her a startled look. “Your aura looked more like Zan’s for a moment.”

“Oh, um. I was remembering when Zan first realized he wanted to pursue you, her,” Max stammered, flushing again and trying in vain to remember the last time he’d blushed so many times in one evening.

Ava’s smile widened. “I remember that night. I’d always been jealous of Piral, how comfortable she was in formal situations, and there you were, utterly ignoring her to stare at me.”

Max smiled back. “You should never be jealous of anyone,” he told her, aiming for lighthearted and failing as the words came out as seriously as he meant them.

Ava’s eyes widened, and then softened as she reached out to take his hand. “Thank you, Max.”

Max didn’t speak, wasn’t sure he could speak, but squeezed her fingers and let himself enjoy the moment, for the first time in weeks forgetting every reason he had for despair.

~


Michael watched Liz, sitting across from him with their legs entangled, the cave silent except for the barely audible hum of the Granilith, which was, for once, leaving them in peace. The being had answered some of his questions, Liz had answered others, but he still felt as if there were so many things he didn’t know -- about their past, their present, their future, and the girl who had somehow gone from being his best friend’s be all and end all to his, what? Girlfriend? That word didn’t seem to fit somehow.

Partner. That sounded better, more accurate to the dynamics of their relationship. His partner in dealing with the fucked up tangle of their lives.

A tangle that was either slowly unraveling, or becoming more complicated, he wasn’t sure. The group was cohesive, even Max was starting to fit in, bit by bit, as they all adjusted to him not being the center of the group as he had once been. Their training was going well -- that was actually a sticking point for him. What were they training for? Were they going back to Antar to overthrow Khivar? Were they staying here to try and prevent the end of the world?

One of the things he still wanted to know was why the Granilith had delayed their pods for so long, and he had yet to receive an answer from the being inhabiting a chunk of his psyche.

“The Granilith was waiting for me,” Liz said softly, staring down at her palm as if mesmerized by the shimmering symbol branded there.

“What?” Michael asked, startled at her sudden words, which seemed to dovetail exactly with his thoughts. He thought he’d hidden them from their connection. “Why?”

“The Granilith’s energy wasn’t compatible with humans at first. It functions almost like a type of radiation,” Liz stated, her voice taking on a lecturing tone although she continued to stare downwards. “Our cells had to be altered to be able to process its energy. It wasn’t until this generation, until mine and Kyle and Alex and Maria’s generation, that the humans in Roswell had been exposed to the Granilith long enough.”

“And how do you, specifically, fit in?” Michael queried, turning her words over in his head and searching for flaws in the reasoning. He still struggled with accepting that the Granilith couldn’t have done more to save Alex, or stop Tess and save all of them, given the copious evidence of its manipulations.

“I was the first person born of the right generation to have the right ‘resonance’ with its energy, along with whatever personality traits and capabilities the Granilith looks for,” Liz answered, a hint of wry bitterness to her tone as she finally looked up and met his gaze, dark emotions staining the delicate lines of her face. “That’s how it was able to manipulate the shooting. Those two men would have argued and their gun would have gone off no matter what anyone did. But the Granilith can see possible futures, and it saw that if I froze instead of ducking like everyone else...”

She trailed off and Michael reached for her hand. “You would get shot and Max would intervene.”

Liz nodded, lacing their fingers together as their energy hummed in satisfaction at the skin-to-skin contact. “Exactly.”

“Why did it need you to know us first? Why couldn’t it just call you?” Michael asked, wanting to know why all the trauma that had resulted from the shooting, an event he knew still haunted Liz’s nightmares, had been so necessary.

“Antarians are born and raised knowing of the Granilith, and the Vaneth. Unless they are called they won’t truly understand, but they can comprehend its existence.” She shrugged, lips quirking into another bitterly amused smile. “If I had been called without preparation, I could have been driven insane.”

“I’m not noticing a whole lot of sanity, despite the preparation,” Michael said dryly after a moment, enjoying her answering chuckle and the banishment of a few shadows from her eyes.

“It’s definitely not a flawless strategist,” Liz agreed, shaking her head. “Sometimes I think it’s afraid to admit just how fallible it can be.”

‘Yes, because being known as a deity who can see and manipulate time makes it so simple to admit to not being able to calculate every possibility.'

Michael and Liz stared at each other, both fighting laughter, although Michael could feel the anger still simmering in both of them. Anger he thought would never fade, not unless the Granilith could resurrect the dead. Again.

“Did we get more sarcastic because of it, or did we rub off on it?” Liz mused and Michael chuckled.

“I think that’s a chicken/egg question,” he replied, tugging on her hand until she scooted forward into his lap. "And there are more important questions we need to be asking. Like what the hell are we supposed to do next?”

Liz’s lips twisted downwards and she sighed, resting her head against his chest. “I don’t know, Michael; I don’t think anyone knows.”
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There was nothing more she wanted to do than crawl back into bed, wrap herself in Michael, and spend the day trading kisses and learning what made him sigh, what made his breath catch, what made him purr in the back of his throat. - Liz in Hunted by Ashita

Polar Attraction - Not just for Polarists...

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Re: Fighting Fear (UC, Mi/L, Adult) Chapter 21 ~ 5/5

Postby Whimsicality » Sat Jun 08, 2013 4:09 pm

Yasmania: Thank you! And I promise, I have like, five billion stories on the backburner to follow this one :lol:, so you won't be rid of me anytime soon.
AlysLuv: Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. I hope you enjoy this chapter too :D














Chapter Twenty Two ~ The Indrawn Breath


As sometimes,
in the gentler months,
the sun will return
before the rain has altogether stopped
- The Weavers by Linda Gregerson




Ava looked away from Max, sitting quietly on a rock beside her, and smiled at Isabel and Kyle’s antics as they chased each other around the small patch of desert they’d claimed as a training area. Ostensibly today was about the six of them training to work together in battle while Leanna was off communing with the Granilith and hopefully getting an update from Antar. Instead, however, it had devolved into something far more relaxed as they let the glorious summer day coax them into temporarily setting aside their stresses and responsibilities.

Even Michael and Liz, by far the most serious and determined of their group, had something like smiles on their faces as they sketched out battle formations in the sand, using rocks and twigs, and tried not to look like they were resisting the urge to maul each other.

Ava snickered, wondering who they thought they were fooling. Even Max, not as in tune with the group dynamics as the others, had picked up on the obvious chemistry between them. And the fact that it hadn’t made him angry, only kind of wistful and amused, had not made her stomach flutter with happiness, nope, not even a little bit. It was only logical, as Liz would say, that she would be glad that nothing would interfere with the happiness her friends had found.

“I need to talk to her,” Max said, interrupting her silent attempts at denial, and Ava turned to look at him, not denying her happiness at the peace reflected in his aura. “And him, but her first,” he added, offering her a shy, but confident smile that showed how far he’d come since Tess’s warps had been removed. “Think you could steal Michael away from her for a little bit?”

Ava nodded slowly. It would be nice, if terrifying, to talk to Michael one on one, a rare occurrence. They were closer to being friends than ever before in this life, but she still missed the connection they’d had on Antar, and still hoped that someday, they would reach a similar closeness here on Earth. Assuming they all survived whatever was to come. Vague dreams and the creeping sense of dread, products of her miniscule gift of prescience, had made her a little paranoid lately.

“Sure, I can do that. Just,” she paused, staring into his trusting gaze and wondering what warning she should give, or could give, that would encompass all that lay between he and Liz, so much potential for pain and missteps. “Be careful,” she settled on, giving him a small smile of her own.

“I will,” he promised, and then leaned in and kissed her cheek, pulling back with a pleased and daring expression on his face before she could move.

She blinked at him, contemplated setting him on fire, then rose to her feet and walked toward Michael and Liz without a single word, refusing to let a single millimeter of pink tint her cheeks. Looked like she and Max needed to have a talk of their own later. If only she knew what she wanted to say.

Liz looked up as she approached and smiled at her, dark eyes glinting with amusement. “Look! Another voice of reason, tell Michael that he’s being pigheaded and needs to listen to me.”

“Michael, you’re being pigheaded and need to listen to Liz,” Ava recited dutifully, then winked at Michael and his scowl. “And Liz, you’re being obstinate and should probably listen to Michael too.”

“Hey!” Liz exclaimed, throwing her hands up with false effrontery.

Ava chuckled and shook her head as the two equally stubborn members of her family smirked at each other, challenge and sexual tension filling the air between them with crackling energy. “Before you two consummate right here and ruin your pretty little diagrams, I would like to chat with Michael.”

Liz flushed and Michael’s scowl made a reappearance and Ava laughed at both of them. “Seriously, please, no one is buying it. Now come on, Michael, I need to give you numerous and painful threats in regards to your totally not-secret relationship with my sister.”

Liz’s embarrassed flush turned into a blinding grin and Ava grinned back, that part of her that had lived a life in constant terror of rejection warmed by Liz’s obvious happiness at Ava’s designation for her. They were family, all of them, the first she’d had since she’d died because traitors and dead men didn’t count, and that fact made every second of pain she’d gone through in this life worth it.

Michael scoffed, interrupting her mental tangent, and rose gracefully to his feet. “Fine, let’s go. I even promise to quake in my boots.”

Both girls laughed and Liz shot Ava a wink over Michael’s shoulder before looking back down at the ground while Ava led Michael to a more secluded patch of desert, amusement, joy, and a painful twist of paranoia that it just couldn’t last bubbling inside of her.

“So what was that really about?” Michael asked her with a raised eyebrow once Ava had plopped herself down on a convenient boulder.

Ava smirked and shrugged. “What, you don’t believe that I’ll slowly dissect you if you hurt her?”

Michael waved a dismissive hand. “Of course I believe that, I just don’t think it needs to be said.”

“Perhaps not,” Ava said with clear amusement, then sobered and waved a hand back at Liz, whom Max had now approached. “However, that does need to be said, and couldn’t with you right there.”

Michael followed the motion of her hand and tensed, then clenched his hands into fists and sat down next to her, obviously fighting the urge to go storming back to Liz’s side. “Does it really?” he asked quietly, obscure pain twisting his lips. “Hasn’t he caused her enough damage?”

“I think you mean, hasn’t Tess caused all of you enough damage,” Ava said gently, “Including him.”

Michael shot her a sharp glance, but then nodded, reluctantly. “Yes, that.”

“That damage won’t just go away because we want it to. If any of us are going to survive this, there has to be honesty and trust, between everyone” Ava continued, calm and implacable and not letting him look away from her piercing gaze. “We have both seen what happens when those are missing.”

Michael chuckled bitterly, then sighed and scratched at his eyebrow. “I can admit that you’re right, but I refuse to like it.”

She laughed softly and gave into the impulse to reach out and squeeze his hand. “You wouldn’t be you if you did, and that would be a tragedy.”

He stared down at her small hand for a moment long enough to make her want to pull it back, and then moved his other hand so that her’s was clasped between his palms as he looked back up at her. “I’m glad you came back, Ava,” he stated, a thousand unspoken words lingering in the silence that followed.

She didn’t answer in words, just a brief touch of her aura against hers, a gesture so familiar and yet so new that it brought the sting of tears to her eyes.

He returned the gesture and they sat there in silence, watching their family and basking in the unexpected moment of peace.

~


“So, you and Michael huh?” It was Max’s voice, but lighter than she would have expected, and Liz looked up from the symbols she’d been sketching in the red desert dirt to meet his surprisingly calm gaze. “I have to say I didn’t see that coming.”

He still didn’t sound upset, just kind of vaguely amused, and so Liz smiled at him carefully and patted the ground beside her, her stomach muscles tensing as she prepared herself for whatever conversation he intended to have. “I didn’t either, but,” she paused, momentarily lost in a memory of Michael’s face when he returned her journal back before any of them knew the cost of her life, and smiled sadly. “I could have, if I’d bothered to look.”

He nodded slowly, eyes distant as if they were seeing glimpses of memory as well, and then he focused again on her and she felt a sudden sharp sense of déjà vu as she remembered his eyes, back when they were warm and just a little bit guarded, before everything happened, staring at her as she handed him food or traded notes over their lab table. “I missed you,” she said, startling herself and him if his sudden intake of breath was any indication. “Before, before everything, we were friends. And lately...” she trailed off and he smiled gently.

“Lately all I am is a reminder of pain.”

She made a face, wanted to disagree, wanted to banish the shadows that reappeared in his eyes, and hers, but she couldn’t, so she remained silent. They’d come to far to hide behind lies -- that would only cause further pain, for both of them.

“I’m sorry. I know I’ve said that before, to everyone. But you deserve more apology than most, and I’m sorry that saving me, helping me, caused you more pain,” he said quietly, traces of the shy boy who just happened to be an alien visible in the lines of his face.

She winced, remembering the grating harshness of his mind against hers, but then reached out and lightly touched the back of his hand. “You saved me, at the cost of everything. The least I could do was return the favor.”

He smiled crookedly at her and she smiled back, her muscles relaxing and her heart lightening. For the first time since they’d gotten him back, she felt like they might actually be able to restore the bonds that used to exist between all of them. They might even be able to build them stronger, which would be nothing short of astonishing given all that had been done to tear them apart.

Before she could make a comment to that effect, Leanna appeared in front of her, her eyes wild and her face pale. Her energy flared erratically around her, drawing everyone else close until they stood in a loose circle around the Vaneth, who had yet to speak.

Liz rose to her feet, brushing her hands off on her pants, and stepped closer to the blonde woman. “Canaich?” she asked carefully, using her real name for the first time, her heart seizing in her chest as she wondered what could have put that look of shock on her fellow Vaneth’s face. “What happened?”

Canaich stilled at her voice, her energy calming for a moment as her pale green eyes focused on Liz’s face, something like victory brightening them until they almost glowed. “Khivar is dead.”
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There was nothing more she wanted to do than crawl back into bed, wrap herself in Michael, and spend the day trading kisses and learning what made him sigh, what made his breath catch, what made him purr in the back of his throat. - Liz in Hunted by Ashita

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Whimsicality
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Re: Fighting Fear (UC, Mi/L, Adult) Chapter 22 ~ 6/8 A/N 10/

Postby Whimsicality » Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:28 pm

A/N: And we're back! Hopefully for long enough to finish it this time because it is so damn close to the end, I promise. (And it will be worth the wait :D ). Thank you Yas for your reviews and all your patience!














Chapter Twenty Three ~ Losing my Religion


There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright
- Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein




“What? How?”

Liz stared at Canaich, silently echoing Kyle’s questions, her mind racing over possibilities and probabilities and what this really meant. Khivar was dead. Khivar was dead.

Did that mean the world wasn’t going to end?

Canaich’s brilliant smile transformed her face into something transcendent, an avatar of righteous justice. “Learning that Khivar didn’t have the Granilith pushed the other leaders of the alliance into withdrawing their support from him. My calling and the evidence of the Granilith’s support for you provided inspiration for the rebellion, and with the alliance’s withdrawal of support, Larek was able to provide weapons and economic assistance.” The blonde laughed, a joyful sound. “Khivar is dead and Queen Righan has taken the throne, ruling as regent for the infant Zan.”

Max flinched and Ava reached out a hand to steady his arm without ever taking her eyes off Canaich. “My father?”

Canaich’s smile softened and Liz was reminded that Ava’s father had been her teacher, as the sole surviving Vaneth. She had a sudden wish that she could meet the man who’d been loved by both Ava and Michael in their past lives.

“He’s fine, hopes to be training another Vaneth soon.”

Ava smiled, strained but happy, then turned her head away, staring out across the desert while the rest of them stood there, speechless.

It was Michael who broke the silence next. “What does this mean for us?”

The smile finally faded from Canaich’s face, replaced with sober respect. “You have a choice to make.” She turned toward Max and Ava. “You could take back the throne, the people would welcome you back and Zan would take his place as your heir.” She tilted her head to include all of them in her gaze. “And Michael, you could join Lord Bethadh. Antar will need Vaneth, especially now.”

“What about me?” Isabel asked, an edge of bitterness lining the resigned amusement in her tone. “Can I resume my Council seat? Or would I be sent to prison for my crimes?”

“Lady Vilandra died for her crimes,” Canaich said firmly, before anyone else could vocalize their protest and Liz smiled. It was getting harder to hate the woman with every second. “If you returned, Isabel, your mother would welcome you with open arms, and so would the court, given enough time.”

“And us?” Kyle asked, carefully not looking at Isabel although their hands remained laced together. “What about those of us who never had lives on Antar?”

Liz spoke before Canaich could, the space between her and Michael feeling dense and impenetrable. “I am sure you would be welcome too Kyle, and your father, if he chose to join you.”

“And you?” Kyle asked, meeting her gaze with knowing blue eyes.

Michael’s gaze was heavy on her face as she replied. “I am Earth’s first Vaneth; I will not abandon that responsibility, or the Granilith, which has chosen to remain physically here.”

Canaich smiled at her with quiet understanding and Liz smiled back. No, she couldn’t hate the other woman anymore. You couldn’t hate someone you understood that well, no matter how much you might wish too.

She took a breath and finally looked at Michael, taking in the still lingering shock on his face and the intensity of emotion in his eyes. “But that shouldn’t affect your choices. If, if you want to go back to Antar, you should. I’m sure they could use people of your strength to rebuild.”

Ava opened her mouth, then closed it, glancing down at the hand she still had on Max’s arm, before shaking her head. “I go where you go, Liz.”

“But, your dad,” Liz said, trying to hold back the warmth Ava’s words had caused.

Ava’s answering words were wistful, but not sad. “We had a life together, a good life. And I am not the Ava he knew. This Ava belongs here, with her new family.”

Liz smiled, reaching out her hand to clasp the other girl’s free one. She’d always thought of Maria as the sister she never had, but Ava had become the sister she did have, and she was glad she wasn’t losing her.

“What about Tess?” It was Max, and his voice was ragged, tired in a way it hadn’t been since they broke him out of the warps. Liz’s smile dropped and she held onto Ava a little tighter. “Is she, is she still alive? Is she in prison?”

“She’s under guard, but still with Zan,” Canaich said, her lips twisted as if she disagreed with that decision. “If you retake the throne, you can do with her as you wish, under the laws of Antar.”

Max laughed, a bitter sound, but didn’t speak again, just stared at his hands, at Ava’s hand on his arm, while Liz fought down the part of her that wanted to demand execution as the only suitable punishment for Alex’s death.

“We shouldn’t make any decisions right now,” Michael said firmly, into the ensuing silence. “We have time, now.” He looked down at her and Liz raised an eyebrow. “I want to talk to the Granilith. About what possible futures it sees now.”

Liz nodded, sensing the undercurrents in his thoughts. The Granilith had never mentioned this possibility, and as far as they knew, Khivar had still been alive in the future that had been averted. They were flying blinder than ever before, and good news now didn’t mean good news in the future. If they had learned any lesson in the past two years, it was that good news now almost always lead to bad news later.

“Why don’t the rest of you go back to my place, order pizza or something; we’ll meet you there,” Michael continued, his tone gruff and his muscles tight beneath his skin. Liz wasn’t the only one who’d forgotten how not to be pessimistic.

Liz didn’t say anything else, just smiled at Ava and Kyle when the both glanced at her as they turned to head toward the cars. Michael, despite having felt more of it than any of them but Ava, dealt least well with uncertainty. They hadn’t known exactly what was coming before, or what they were going to do, but they had known some things. They’d known that Khivar would come for them eventually. They’d known they’d needed to train for battle, either here on Earth, or on Antar.

They’d known who the enemy was. They hadn’t needed to think beyond that. They hadn’t been able to think beyond that.

But now. Now there might be a future, and that was more terrifying than the almost certain lack of a future ever had been.

Canaich caught her gaze, that fierce, brilliant smile tugging her lips up again, and then disappeared with a twist in the fabric of reality. Michael reached over and took her hand, not looking at her face, and took them both away with another twist.

When time and space had resolved themselves around her, Liz was standing in the Granilith cave, Michael’s hand gripping hers tightly, and his eyes boring into hers. “If I want your decision to affect my choice, it will.”

His voice was terse and he turned away before she could respond, eyes closing as his energy melded with the Granilith’s. Liz didn’t know if she wanted to frown, smile, or cry, so she closed her eyes as well and sunk into the well of power they were bonded to. As she did, a long unanswered question sparked in her mind. ‘This is why you delayed the pods. You weren’t just waiting for me, or someone like me. You knew this was a possible future, you wanted to give the rebellion time to succeed on its own.’

She could feel Michael and Canaich’s startlement as the Grabilith replied. ‘Yes.’

‘Why?’ Canaich asked, a thread of anger in her voice, the first time Liz had ever seen her doubt the Granilith. ‘Why did Antar have to suffer for all these years under Khivar’s rule?’

‘Antar wasn’t suffering for all that time, not all of it. Khivar didn’t create the dissent that led to his rebellion, he just fanned the flames. And not everyone was unhappy when he took the throne, not on Antar, and not in the Alliance. If the others had returned on schedule, if they had been hatched fully aged with all their memories and come back immediately, there would have been a long and bloody war and the other planets would have been pulled in. That was true of every possible future. They would still be at war, and countless people would have died.

The Granilith sounded weary in a way it hadn’t before, another glimpse of it’s age and the strain that such power brought.

Canaich was silent, her emotions turbulent. Liz wasn’t sure what she felt. She couldn’t imagine war on a galactic scale, no matter how many movies displaying such a thing she’d seen at the yearly Crash festival. All she could imagine was the pain they had experienced -- the loss of Alex, Max’s torture, the pain and regret of changing the future. Some selfish part of her couldn’t help but think that all the horror of that galactic war would have spared her and Maria and Alex and their families all that pain.

She was glad she wasn’t the one with the power to affect all those lives, because she didn’t know if she could handle the constant weighing of who would suffer and who would die.

‘Rath, he, I, had a theory. About Khivar, about where he learned the things he knew how to do. The tricks with his aura. But he died, before he could prove it.’ Michael’s mental voice contained no question, but the Granilith answered it anyway.

‘You were right. Khivar’s father, Lord Addanc, was called as a Vaneth when he was young. It became clear, a year into his training, that he was not suited to be a Vaneth and he was dismissed back to the House of Corph, still the heir. But he was not content with that, not after feeling my power. He stole training materials and fermented the rebellion that eventually led to his execution and the disbandment of the House of Corph. Until his son, Khivar, whom he had trained himself, was more successful in his plans.’

Michael scowled while Liz processed that, processed the guilt she could feel from the Granilith for choosing so wrongly.

‘I did just fine, after losing the connection. Even after my memories came back.’ Michael said, helpless anger seething beneath the words at all that had been caused by Lord Addanc’s reactions.

‘Not all handle the loss so well.’


~



Maria frowned, wondering who could be knocking on the door. Her mother was out delivering the pies she’d made when they got back from their road trip and her friends. Well, her friends weren’t talking to her anymore and it was entirely her fault.

She knew that. She’d known it even as she pushed them away, but she hadn’t know what else to do. She’d been so lost and angry and sad and Alex wasn’t there to keep her stable and Liz, Liz was different. It wasn’t Liz’s fault, but Maria didn’t know how to talk to her anymore and so she’d just stopped talking. To everyone. And now, now she had no one left and she had no idea how to fix it.

The knocking came again, louder, and she grumbled as she set her (Alex’s) guitar on the couch cushion next to her and rose to her feet. It wasn’t like she could make music anymore anyways, so she shouldn’t be irritated at the interruption.

Despite that little pep talk, she still wrenched open the door with a scowl and an angry greeting on the tip of her tongue. Anger that faded into abject terror as she recognized the two faces leering at her and her world dissolved into pain and blackness.
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Whimsicality's Fics

There was nothing more she wanted to do than crawl back into bed, wrap herself in Michael, and spend the day trading kisses and learning what made him sigh, what made his breath catch, what made him purr in the back of his throat. - Liz in Hunted by Ashita

Polar Attraction - Not just for Polarists...


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