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

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Re: Fighting Fear (UC, Mi/L, Adult) Chapter Nine ~ 1/7

Postby Whimsicality » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:46 pm

A/N: Thanks for the feedback you two! I greatly appreciate it :D And we will find out more about Leanna in this chapter, and in the ones to come, as well as more secrets.










Chapter Ten ~ Trust Issues


All the world’s a stage
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts.
– As You Like It by William Shakespeare




Liz didn’t want to let the electricity burning against her skin fade away; it was a violent and useful security blanket that she was fast becoming accustomed to, but she could see the strain Ava was under in keeping them all concealed, and she reluctantly pulled the energy back into her core, still glaring fiercely at ‘Leanna’. She had been there, she had seen Alex, and if she really was on their side, then why the hell had she allowed him to die? Biting back an angry sob, she pointed furiously at the back booth. “Sit down. You will tell us everything, and you’d better hope we like your answers.”

‘Leanna’s’ green eyes flashed for a moment, showing a bevy of conflicting emotions that Liz couldn’t quite decipher but knew included both anger and guilt, two emotions she could identify strongly with, but didn’t particularly give a rat’s ass about when it came to this alien woman who had done nothing but deceive. She was so unbelievably sick of alien revelations. Not a single one had ever done anything but cause devastation, and she wasn’t sure just how much more she could take before she snapped. And with her new powers, snapping was a dangerous, if tantalizing, proposition.

The alien sat down, sliding along the bench until she was against the wall, Michael taking the seat next to her to block her in. Ava dropped her warp and sat across from them, while Liz went to check on the older couple who were still obliviously enjoying their meal, before sitting down next to Ava, doing her best to control her anger. “So talk,” she said bluntly, not trusting herself to say anything else, and ignoring the probing and cautious glance Michael shot her.

‘Leanna’ cleared her throat, her hands clasped on the table where they could all see them. “My name is Canaich of the House of Saoidh, and I was sent by Queen Rìghan, and your father, Lady Avaelithe. You would have been sent help sooner, but the one you called Nasedo killed your original protectors, and it wasn’t until I was called that we learned of the Granilith’s interference with your rebirth.”

“What interference?” Michael ground out, before Liz could say anything. She resisted the urge to glare at him and fought to get a handle on her anger, exacerbated by her lack of sleep and the returning feelings that they had absolutely no control over anything, that no matter how much they learned and trained, they would always be ten steps behind.

“You should have been reborn shortly after arriving on Earth, but Khivar sent Nasedo after your ship and he killed all of your protectors after the crash, except for one who shall be dealt with for abandoning his duties.” Canaich’s voice was calm and informative, but developed a hard edge on the last few words that made Liz’s hands twitch. If she truly was on their side, that edge could be useful, if she wasn’t, well, it wasn’t like they weren’t used to betrayal. “The Granilith delayed the growth cycle of your pods, for reasons it has not chosen to reveal yet, so while the Queen and Lord Bethadh knew you were alive, we had no other information about your condition or location until I was called.”

Liz carefully kept silent, too many questions bubbling over to decide on one. Although Ava had revealed the true importance of the Granilith earlier that day, she hadn’t had much of a chance to truly think over the ramifications, and it seemed that she still didn’t understand just how much power it held. How, and why, had it delayed the pods? All of them apparently, since the New York set hadn’t hatched until later either. She tried to imagine her life if the eight hybrids had been born fifty years before her, and couldn’t, too many changes for her to comprehend. How could they ever hope to understand something that held the power to change, to influence, the course of so many lives?

“I arrived last year,” the blonde continued quietly, her pale green eyes focusing on each of them in turn. “After locating you, I discovered several colonies of Skins and did my best to keep them away from you. Once the one you called Nasedo had disbanded the human threat to you, I killed him, implanting the suggestion to warn you about the Skins. The next time I returned to Roswell, I found the other Ava acting suspiciously, and followed her to Las Cruces. She spotted me following her so I had to warp her. I knew she was manipulating your friend, but his life was not in danger, and I was being tracked by two different groups of Skins, so other than implanting myself in her warps, I did nothing.”

After speaking those words, words that sent anger roiling like acid in Liz’s gut, she turned all of her attention on Liz and placed her right hand over her heart, bowing her head. “I misjudged the situation and I take full responsibility for the death of your friend. Elizabeth Parker, I acknowledge and accept the life debt I owe you.” Beside her, Ava inhaled sharply while Liz exchanged a confused glance with Michael, wondering what exactly the woman’s words meant, and if this was a good thing, or just another messy complication.

~


Michael stood on Maria’s porch, staring at the front door, unable to knock. In the past year, despite their rocky start, he had been there for her when she needed him, had opened up to her, and now it was slipping out of his grasp. Maria had always been easily excitable, subject to extremes of emotion, but while dramatic, she had never shied away from the reality of his life.

On the contrary she had shoved herself in, even when he didn’t want her to, especially when he didn’t want her to. But now, now she flinched if he used his powers in front of her, even for something as simple as cleaning up a spill or removing a stain she’d pointed out. She wouldn’t allow any mention of anything alien related, and having to hide that part of him, now when he was finally getting answers, finally learning his true past and potential, from the one person he’d finally gotten used to sharing with, sucked.

It hurt every time she pulled away from a kiss, or ended a hug when before she would have clung, as did the sinking feeling in his gut that told him it was only a matter of time before she ended things completely. He clenched his fists and then relaxed them, focusing on the pool of energy inside of him that he was finally learning how to control, and then raised his hand, knocking on the door three times before dropping it again.

Moments later, Maria opened the door, a patently false smile on her face as she reached up and kissed him on the cheek before pulling him inside. “Hey you, how was work? Sorry I couldn’t make it; mom wanted some bonding time. Been on one of her ‘I’m your mother and your friend’ kicks lately.”

He grimaced behind her back before forcing a pleasant tone. “Work was fine; pretty slow.” He couldn’t mention Leanna or Canaich or whatever her name was, or everything she’d told them, or that she was living in town and meeting them in the morning, that would be breaking Maria’s rules. Rules he was growing increasingly tired and wary of, just waiting for the other shoe to fall when she accused him of lying to her.

He thought he understood where she was coming from; the loss of Alex, the truth of his death, it was a lot to deal with, but if anything, it had proven that denial was both stupid and dangerous. However, he wasn’t prepared to throw in the towel yet, he still cared more than he liked for the aggravating blonde, so if that meant he had to withhold information until she was comfortable again, he would.

When she led him into the living room, and gently pushed him onto the couch, false smile starting to falter, his blood ran cold as it became clear that it didn’t matter that he was still willing to try if she wasn’t. His own smile disappeared into a stoic mask and she winced as she sat down on the coffee table in front of him, beautiful, green eyes wide with regret and sorrow. “I’m sorry Michael; I just can’t do it anymore. I’m not me anymore; I haven’t been for a long time, and I need out, of all of this.”

He felt his fists clenching again and forcibly uncurled them, trying to figure out how to reply to that; what he could say to her, when apparently all she wanted was to be away from him, and everything that made up his life. “Are you leaving?” he asked quietly, wondering just how far she was going to go to get ‘out of all of this,’ and unable to ask anything more personal, not without losing the control he’d so painstakingly built.

“No. I mean, mom wants to go on a road trip this summer, but I’m not moving away, and I want to still be friends. I just can’t be a part of, well, you know,” she said earnestly, reaching out to take his hands, a gesture he allowed but didn’t return.

Michael searched her face, looking for any hint of hope that this was just one of her phases, and found nothing. “Whatever makes you happy, I guess,” he finally replied, unable to keep an edge of resentment out of his voice, and not truly caring, only the faintest flash of guilt surging through him as pain flickered in her face. She had fought and pushed her way into his life, and now was just walking right back out. If only everything was so simple. If only he had that option.

She sighed and squeezed his hands before pulling away. “I’m sorry Michael, but I have to do this, for me, before it’s too late.”

He nodded, not trusting himself to reply, and managed a weak, almost smile. He really did want her to be happy; he just wished she could have come to this realization at any other point in the past two years. He was also wondering what else was going to be thrown onto his plate, because clearly the universe wasn’t done fucking with him, and he was beginning to think that Liz, this new angrier Liz, had the right idea when it came to dealing with all the shit thrown their way.

~


Liz glared at the milkshake machine, wishing that she could trust her powers enough in her current emotional state to clean it that way, instead of toiling by hand. Ever since Leanna (she refused to use her ‘real’ name) walked in the door, her already volatile emotions had been completely uncontrollable. She’d had to work hard just so that she didn’t spark up in the middle of the diner, thanking her lucky stars that they were in that dead period after the first summer rush, before the tourist season really picked up in July and August.

Getting answers was supposed to make her feel better, but each new piece of knowledge felt like a punch to the gut, more painful and ominous than helpful. The deceitful blonde woman apparently already had a place in town, which she had retired to shortly after declaring all that crap about the life debt, something that still hadn’t been explained to Liz’s satisfaction, and would meet them at Michael’s apartment in the morning to discuss the current state of Antar, and their enemies on Earth. All things that made her want to blow up every single breakable thing in the restaurant, and scream until she was hoarse, because she just couldn’t do it anymore.

She had never truly regretted being healed, becoming a part of this ever growing alien abyss; after all, she had come to the realization that whatever Future Max said, war would have come, or would come, to Earth regardless of her involvement. But she was seventeen, almost eighteen, and while first loves were always dramatic, always life and death, or so they seemed while in the depths of them, the fate of a planet, of two planets, was a bit much to have resting on her shoulders. With each new piece of the puzzle, a puzzle they really had no idea of the true size of, she felt herself shatter just a little bit more. In the end, she wasn’t sure that there would be any of Liz Parker left.

Someone knocked on the glass of the front door and she shrieked, dropping the rag she was holding, and spun around, hands raised defensively and heart seizing in her chest. When she saw who it was, she briefly considered keeping her hands lifted, but reluctantly dropped them and moved around from behind the counter to let him in. “What do you want, Max?” she asked wearily after opening the door, too tired to pretend that this was normal, that he hadn’t been avoiding her since that night in Michael’s apartment.

He was rocking on his heels, wearing rumpled clothes that looked like they’d been slept in, and sporting dark circles under his eyes along with rough stubble; he looked nothing like the Max she’d always known; more haggard than he’d been even after being captured by the FBI, and she felt a surge of concern, and wariness. The strange feeling he’d given her the night of the last meeting he’d attended was stronger now, and pulling on her powers, she could see dark, unhealthy streaks in his aura – something was definitely wrong with him; something deeper than the trauma they’d all been through, and she had no idea what to do about it.

“I just wanted to see if you were okay, if everyone was okay, since I couldn’t make it to the meeting,” he said quietly, voice rough as if it hadn’t been used in a while. His eyes were locked on her with disturbing intensity and she fought a shiver, not wanting him to see how much his presence unnerved her.

But despite being afraid for him, and for herself, she couldn’t stop herself from saying what she really felt. “No Max, we’re not okay. You and Maria are avoiding us; we’re all trying to deal with Alex’s death and learn everything we can about our powers and what we can expect from Khivar and the Skins, and it’s hard, and it sucks, and you should be there, dealing with this, and you’re not, and that’s not okay.”

One of his hands started to curl into a fist as she spoke, and he reached up to agitatedly rub at his head with the other. “You have no idea what I’m dealing with, what I’m doing,” he bit out when she finished, voice rising in volume with every word until he was almost shouting. “None of you would help me, none of you know what it’s like, so don’t tell me it’s not okay!”

The streaks in his aura were spreading and she thought she saw a glowing flicker of power in his clenched hand, making her pulse speed up and her mouth go dry with fear. “We want to help you Max, but we can’t if you don’t talk to us, if you won’t listen. Come to the meeting tomorrow, Max, let us help you,” she pleaded, careful to keep her own hands down and to appear as non-threatening as possible.

He sneered, leaning forward menacingly, and she flinched back despite herself. Something, some hint of awareness, flickered in those eyes she had once lost herself so easily in. Then he turned away, stalking out the door and slamming it so hard behind him that the glass shattered, leaving her staring at his retreating figure and wondering hopelessly if any of them were ever going to be okay again.
Last edited by Whimsicality on Fri May 03, 2013 6:22 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

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Re: Fighting Fear (UC, Mi/L, Adult) Chapter Ten ~ 1/24

Postby Whimsicality » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:51 pm

A/N: So, it's been two months, and I am so sorry. I was sick for literally six weeks, and have been dealing with massive tooth pain due to needing my wisdom teeth out and a root canal (and no time/money to get it done), and then I was home visiting on Spring Break and my stepfather ended up in the hospital with a pulmonary embolism so life's been crazy...But, I'm back at school now, back into a routine, not sick, still dealing with the teeth but it's manageable, so hopefully no more crazy delays like that. Thank you all for your feedback and support and votes! You all rock, and Ashita you especially rock for betaing and putting up with me vanishing, and I hope you all enjoy this chapter!















Chapter Eleven ~ Reason in Madness


Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
– A Dream Within A Dream by Edgar Allen Poe




Michael leaned against the wall and watched Liz pace, back and forth, back and forth, her small hands clenched into fists so tight he wouldn’t be surprised if her nails were drawing blood. Ava caught his gaze and raised a questioning eyebrow; he shook his head, indicating that he didn’t know what was wrong with her. Unless Maria had broken up with her too he thought with a bitter snort. There was a brief knock on the door and then it swung open, revealing Isabel and Kyle, leaving ‘Leanna’ as the only missing member of the meeting.

Kyle looked slightly awkward, his arms hanging loosely at his sides, and Michael wondered distantly if the two of them had been holding hands before they opened the door. He hadn’t yet decided how he felt about the apparently blooming romance between his sister and the midget, and so refrained from commenting, instead turning his eyes back to the petite brunette who had finally stopped pacing and faced all four of them with her arms crossed protectively over her chest, her face as blank as he’d ever seen it.

“I need to tell you something before Leanna shows up; I lied to her about the time,” Liz stated, her face still expressionless but her voice shaking slightly, and Michael’s eyes widened in surprise as he wondered if she was finally going to share some of her secrets. She turned slightly so that she wasn’t really facing any of them, and took a deep breath, her fingers tightening on her arms until the knuckles whitened. “Well, technically I have two things to tell you, so I’ll start with the easiest. Max visited me last night.”

Isabel gasped, Kyle instinctively wrapping his around her from his place next to her on the couch, and Ava exchanged a glance with Michael before turning her sharp gaze on Liz, who was looking at them with worried brown eyes. “Something’s wrong with him, I don’t know if it was Tess, or something else, but his aura,” she shuddered, “It’s tainted and it’s doing something to him. He blew up all the glass in the door and almost…” she trailed off, running an agitated hand through her hair, and then shook her head when she saw the angry look on Michael’s face. “He didn’t hurt me, but I think it’s only a matter of time before he hurts someone; we need to figure out what’s wrong, and how to fix it, before it’s too late.”

Kyle chuckled darkly, still gently rubbing Isabel’s back. “Well if that’s your idea of easy, I don’t think I want to hear the hard thing you have to say.”

Liz grimaced, her eyes shuttering as she once again tilted her face so that none of them could meet her gaze. “I don’t want to say it,” she murmured quietly, entire body hunching inward. “But I need to; I should have a long time ago. If I had – ” She let out a shuddering breath, a single tear trickling down her cheek, curdling Michael’s stomach with dread. “Well, let’s just say things would have turned out differently.”

She didn’t wipe the tear away, instead her eyes slid closed and she continued speaking, voice so soft that Michael had to strain to hear. “Last year, a couple months after school started, Max showed up in my bedroom. Only it wasn’t Max, not our Max.” Visions of shape shifters, of Skins, of more duplicates, started rushing through Michael’s mind, and it took all of his self-control not to walk over and rip whatever she was talking about right out of her mind, find out what had changed her so much, because he knew without a shadow of a doubt that this was when Liz Parker had been broken.

“He said he was from the year 2014; that he’d come here because the world had ended, and that it was all our fault.” She gave one, sharp-edged, bitter laugh and shook her head, eyes still closed, words falling off her tongue quick and despairing. “I didn’t believe him of course, but he provided proof and gradually I accepted that he was telling the truth, and that I needed to do whatever it took to change the future he told me about; a future where everyone but he and I had been killed. He told me that because he and I were together, Tess left town, and that without her, they weren’t strong enough to defeat your enemies. He told me that I had to get her and Max together, no matter the cost.” She finally opened her eyes, now dry and cold as she flicked her gaze to Kyle, who had a look of shocked comprehension on his face, before meeting Michael’s dark and angry eyes.

“It took a few tries, and methods I won’t go into now, but as you all know it worked. And as you all know, he and I were fucking idiots, and all we did was make things worse. All we did,” her voice broke slightly and she angrily bit her lip, obviously fighting tears, “All we did was ensure that Alex died too young and that we fell right into Khivar’s plans.” Her bottom lip was stained crimson where she’d bit it too hard, and Michael focused on that instead of how much he wanted to shake her for not coming to him, for keeping such a horrible, important secret for so damn long.

She tore her gaze away from him and focused on Isabel, who had tears streaming down her face. “I’m so sorry; I thought I was doing the right thing and I was so wrong, and so stupid, and I’m sorry.” Her last words ended in a choked sob and she turned away, shoulders shaking as tears stained her cheeks. Ava leapt to her feet and wrapped her arms around the other girl, murmuring something in her ear that Michael couldn’t hear, and he turned away from both of the crying women in his living room, his hands clenched into fists and his breathing heavy as he barely stopped himself from punching a hole in the wall.

God, their lives were so fucked up, and every day it only got worse. What the hell were they supposed to do now? How could they ever fix a cluster-fuck of these proportions?

~


The room was silent and tense when Leanna finally showed up, the sound of her knocking on the door startling everyone out of their dark thoughts. Her pale green eyes widened slightly when Michael wrenched open the door, face stoic and forbidding, and she saw that everyone else looked similarly welcoming. Liz was sitting on the floor against the wall, her arms wrapped around her knees and Ava’s arm around her shoulders. Isabel was still on the couch, Kyle’s arm wrapped around her waist, and after closing the door behind the blonde alien, Michael resumed his post leaning against the wall opposite the one Liz was sitting against, still finding it hard to look at the tiny brunette without anger rising like bile in his throat.

Leanna stood uncertainly by the door, her gaze darting between him and Liz, clearly unsure who she should be addressing. Liz didn’t even look up, so she settled on Michael, her shoulders straightening as she assumed a more formal air. “Would you rather have a more detailed update on my actions here? Or the current situation on Antar?”

Michael too found his gaze drawn unbidden to Liz; she’d been the one to direct their questions so far, but she was still withdrawn inside herself, although he could tell by how tense her frame was that she was listening, so he scratched his eyebrow in frustration before turning back to the blonde he still didn’t trust and ordered; “Tell us everything that’s happened since we were killed.”

She looked a little surprised, but covered it quickly, and nodded, her voice taking on an almost rhythmic cadence as she spoke, reminding him of the way Ava sometimes talked. “Queen Rìghan and Lord Bethadh managed to escape the Palace slaughter and reach the Granilith chamber with your bodies; it sealed itself and remained protected against all of Khivar’s attempts to break through. The Granilith then transported them to one of the royal laboratories and they were able to clone your essences. Earth was one of the planets that the Granilith had advised expeditions to before, and it instructed them to send you here, the planet it had chosen for its new resting place, as Khivar had ordered the execution of all Vaneth and forbidden the populace from mentioning or invoking the Granilith’s name.”

Ava frowned, muttering something under her breath that Michael didn’t catch, but Leanna continued before he could ask. “They sent you here with several of the royal guards and the only other surviving Vaneth besides you and Lord Bethadh, but one of the lab technicians ran and turned traitor, informing Khivar of the plan. The Queen and Lord Bethadh were able to escape before Khivar found them, but he sent a ship after you, a ship that contained the one you call Nasedo and two other shape shifters.”

Isabel looked up at that, her tears long dried and her face firmed into the strong-as-steel ice princess Michael knew she could be, making his mood lighten ever so slightly. “You mean Nasedo wasn’t our protector? Why did he help us then? Why didn’t he let the FBI take us all?”

“Because Khivar wanted something from you. You and Ava weren’t supposed to be killed in the initial attack – you because you were his partner and lover, and her at your request.” Isabel paled, her grip on Kyle’s hand tightening at the first confirmation from an ally of her role in their downfall, but didn’t react other than that, earning a proud and supportive smile from both boys. “When he realized that your pods had been delayed, and that the Granilith had abandoned Antar, he created the plan to have Nasedo retrieve the four of you, and Ava’s child, hoping he could gain control of the Granilith through her offspring, and so that he could have you back.”

“Why not go to the Duplicates then?” Liz asked quietly, raising her head and speaking for the first time after glancing briefly at Ava, who was still frowning in obvious thought.

Leanna looked at Liz, her stance a touch more deferential than it had been when she was focused on Michael, making him deeply curious since Liz had no rank with their people, at least as far as he knew. “Because the Granilith had removed its blessing from the duplicates, and he would not have been able to use them or their offspring to commune with it.”

Ava looked shocked and horrified, and Liz squeezed her hand until the hybrid looked at her, speaking softly and earnestly. “Hey, you’ve felt its power since then, and you told me the others couldn’t; you’re not like them.” After a moment the blonde nodded, and Liz gave her a flickering smile before looking back over at Leanna, asking coldly. “You were going to tell us about the situation on Antar?”

The Vaneth’s jaw clenched slightly at Liz’s tone, but her tone maintained the same level of deference as she spoke again. “The Queen and Lord Bethadh have remained in hiding, gathering supporters and encouraging rebellion, but Khivar controls the bulk of the armies, and has the backing of the alliance; and until now, the Granilith has refused to take a more active role.” She tilted her head and included all of them in her gaze. “We believe it has been waiting for you.”

Michael felt his own jaw go slack and saw similar shock in the others’ gazes, and in Liz’s, similar anger. “And it couldn’t bother interfering before Tess betrayed us, before Alex died, before we lost Max’s son?” she spat bitterly, glaring fiercely at the tall blonde alien who stared stoically back until Liz spoke again, making her inhale sharply in horror. “Frankly, the Granilith can go to hell for all I care.”

Leanna flinched, glancing briefly upwards as if expecting a crack of lightning or some equally ominous response to Liz’s words. Nothing happened, the room remained silent and tension filled, and Michael chuckled darkly, unable to do anything but agree with the brunette, even if he had been a servant of the being in a past life. Pushing away from the wall, he arched a disparaging eyebrow at the alien woman and drawled sarcastically. “Well, you’ve given us a lot to discuss, but we still don’t trust you, so if you could leave while we talk that’d be great.”

She stiffened, but before she could speak, Liz rose to her feet, arms still crossed over her chest and eyes burning with dark, cold fire. “Meet us back here at nine tomorrow morning; we’ll have more questions.”

Her lips thinned angrily, but Leanna nodded, then spun on her heel and left, the door closing quietly behind her instead of slamming as Michael half-expected, although the thick silence left in her wake was no less tension-filled.

“You know Liz, you didn’t use such foul language when we were dating; was Max a closet potty mouth?” Kyle asked dryly, breaking the weighty silence and earning a sharp look from Isabel, and a chuckle from Michael. Liz stared at him for a moment and then started to laugh as she slumped back against the wall, rubbing a hand over her face and shaking her head, eyes lightening momentarily as she gave Kyle a slightly manic grin.

“No, Kyle, I just didn’t want to blow your innocent little mind.”
Last edited by Whimsicality on Fri May 03, 2013 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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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Re: Fighting Fear (UC, Mi/L, Adult) Chapter Eleven ~ 3/22

Postby Whimsicality » Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:25 pm

Traitor: Thanks for the feedback! I need to catch up on your story too (and would love some more *hint hint* :lol:) And life is going, still busy, but slightly less drama so that's always good :D.
cjsl8ne: Thank you for the feedback! We are definitely getting answers, and will get more in the next few. This story is pretty fast paced compared to some of my others, so there won't be many lulls in action or answers throughout the whole thing. Hope you enjoy this one too!















Chapter Twelve ~ The Truth Hurts


You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise
– Still I Rise by Maya Angelou




“Innocent my ass,” Kyle muttered, leaning back and pouting as everyone else grinned or laughed, even Isabel letting a chuckle escape.

“As much as I enjoy watching you being mocked,” Michael said with clear amusement, “I think we have more important things to talk about then your ass.” His tone darkened as he continued speaking and his eyes drifted back to Liz, who flinched slightly before giving him a resigned and self-loathing smile; something he knew to recognize because he owned a mirror, and that looked entirely wrong on her usually beautiful and determined face.

“Like how to fix the mess I made,” she stated softly, her head thudding back against the wall hard enough to make him wince, even though she showed no visible reaction.

“The mess my idiot future brother made,” Isabel refuted firmly, eyes flashing. “You were a sixteen-year-old girl in love; I’m not saying you made the right choice,” she clarified when Michael grunted, “But you do not get to take all the blame. All of us hold a part in this, past, present, and future.”

Ava nodded, still looking a little shaky, and rose to her feet too, slipping her arm through Liz’s. “She’s right; it was our mistakes in the past that led to all of this.”

“And apparently this has all been part of some plan,” Michael added bitterly, raking his hands through his hair as his muscles strained with the tension of not reacting physically to everything they’d learned. The idea that this powerful being had been withholding help for so long, had manipulated events, possibly more than they knew of, made him furious. He wasn’t the type to ask for help, independent to the point of stupidity according to some people, but if there had been any way to prevent Alex’s death, to prevent Tess’s pregnancy and betrayal, he would have had no qualms about accepting assistance, no matter who or what it was from.

Needing to do something active, instead of continuing to brood uselessly over facts he could not change, he walked to the center of the living room and unceremoniously plopped down on the floor, gesturing commandingly to everyone else, lips twisting self-mockingly as he spoke. “Come on, I want some more answers; let’s see what my past mistakes were.”

Liz sat down next to him first, taking his hand without looking at him, her small, delicate fingers cold and lifeless against his palm. Ava sat on his other side, linking their auras together instantly so that she could walk him through the process, while Isabel and Kyle joined them on the floor, Isabel taking Ava’s other hand and Kyle taking Liz’s.

Isabel’s eyes were dark and penetrating, and he closed his own and dove into his power, hating how well she knew him, and completely unwilling to discuss the present, not until they knew more of the past. Kyle’s aura was a dark burnt orange that ‘tasted’ like cinnamon, Isabel’s was a rich, and appropriate, royal blue with a shocking tingle almost as strong as the time he’d brushed against an electric fence, and Liz’s was a bright apple green that was warm and welcoming, like a hot shower after a long day.

Feeling them in his head like that, it was intimate and personal on a level he’d never experienced before in this life, and the very human part of him absolutely hated it, while that instinctive alien part he was learning to tune into, found it soothing and right in a way that didn’t make logical sense, and that made him almost grateful for the human dislike of openness. He couldn’t imagine living in a society where that kind of intimacy was common and expected.

Before he could delay the inevitable any longer, Ava was in his head, showing him the paths to take to unlock his memories, and take them along with him. It was a surprisingly simple process, making him suspicious all over again about what Tess had really been doing in Max’s head all those times, but that was a worry for later, and so he grit his teeth and plunged forward, his living room fading away as the abstract concept of Rath suddenly became all too real.

Rath shot straight up in bed, skin cold and clammy with sweat, his aura flaring wildly in the dark room, as the pain and fear filled images of his dream flashed through his mind before fading away. His heart rate had just started to slow when a sudden searing pain burned into his palm, and he bit back an agonized scream, not wanting to wake the House. The pain vanished as quickly as it came, and he uncurled his fingers to see a glowing crimson sigil on his palm, a mark he recognized instantly despite never having seen it in person before.

An intense surge of elation, shock, confusion, and fear flooded through him; father was never going to believe this.

~


The grotto was immense and stunning and his palm tingled as he felt the power flowing in waves over his skin, through his blood, into his own core of energy. ‘Welcome home, Ardrath,’ a voice whispered in his mind, satisfied and staggering, and his knees went weak as he bowed his head in awe. Lord Bethadh placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, and he looked up at the older man, trying to compose his face into a semblance of reverent stoicism.

“The Àrd-Tidsear can be overwhelming, Rath, but you have no reason to fear – you were chosen rightly and you will always be welcome here.” He tried to smile in response to the Vaneth’s words, but failed, another presence impinging on his awareness before the older man could speak again. It was Lord Bethadh’s daughter, Avaelithe, and her kind, playful words made him feel a little less out of place. In truth, he had never wanted to become Lord of the House of Araide, and while he had never dared to aspire to become one of the enigmatic Vaneth, maybe this life path would suit him more than his last.

~


His muscles burned, and his tunic clung to him, sticky with sweat as he spun the staff in his right hand and darted in low with the knife in his left, grinning with satisfaction as it sliced a hole in the prince’s vest and made the other boy curse poisonously. Zan twisted, dodging just in time as Rath’s staff whistled past his head, lifting his sword to parry the metal coated wooden pole, a high pitched shriek making both boys grit their teeth as they collided. Rath smoothly turned with the motion of their weapons, letting the force of the blow propel him forward as he swept Zan’s legs out from under him and smartly rapped his wrist, the prince’s sword thudding softly against the pale dirt beneath them.

Zan glared at him as he cursed again, then laughed, his aura lightening, and lifted his soil-streaked hands in surrender. “You win this time Rath, but I will take that top spot from you.”

Rath’s aura flickered intentionally, expressing clear doubt, and Zan scowled at him even as he accepted the other boy’s hand to pull himself up. “Arrogant Vaneth.”

“Cocky Royal Brat,” the older boy replied calmly, dropping Zan’s hand once he was on his feet, and kicking the fallen sword in his direction. “Now pick up your weapon so we can go teach someone even more incompetent how it’s done.”

Zan leaned down and scooped up the sword, wiping off the blade with the torn edge of his vest and wincing as he examining the bruise on his wrist. “You know, most of the others are afraid to mark me,” he commented conversationally, lengthening his stride to catch up with the Vaneth-in-training.

Rath smirked, glancing sidelong at the prince, taking in the sweat and white dust marring the perfect spirals of his bloodline marks, and the clear light in his eyes as he stretched out his arms, checking the balance of his blade. “It is one of the duties of the Vaneth to remind the Royals that they serve the people, not the other way around, no matter how difficult certain egos might make that task.”

Zan laughed again, long and loud, his aura brightening with mirth. “You should meet my sister, oh wise one, I have a feeling that the two of you would get along quite well.”

~


“Why couldn’t you have been my older brother? Then Ava would have fallen for you instead of that idiot, and our future King would actually care about what being an Addaon means instead of his stupid training rank,” Vilandra ranted, her voice scathing as she paced back and forth on the garden path, oblivious to the beautiful flowers she usually doted on.

“Would you truly have been happier, Lonnie? Or would you have come to resent me too for being first born instead of you?” Rath asked pointedly, ignoring the shocked and furious glare she shot him as her aura darkened. “You know I am not fond of your brother either, but we both agreed to give him a chance, for Ava, and nothing can change the fact that he
is going to be King, and not the worst one Antar has had.”

The streaks marring Vilandra’s aura remained, and Rath studied her closer, noting the subtle changes he hadn’t paid attention to during his last and hardest year of training. In three months time, the Granilith would judge him worthy to become a Vaneth in truth, or remove the mantle entirely, and every moment of his time was spent studying and training, attending Council sessions, and communing with the Àrd-Tidsear.

Ava had been busy finalizing wedding plans and preparing for her duties as future Queen, and he had assumed that Vilandra was equally busy and content, as she had recently assumed her official Council seat. Perhaps he should have paid more attention, but his rare free moments had been spent worrying over the problem of the reinstated Lord Khivar, whom he did not trust, but could not explain why, and the friendship that sprung up between he and the prince.

The thought of the older man, son of a traitor, and entirely too perfect to be true, made him notice the thin cord trailing away from his friend’s aura, a thin cord that matched the color of Khivar’s aura. “How long have you been seeing Khivar, Lonnie?” he asked sharply, the vague feeling of dread in his gut deepening as the marks on her skin glowed rosily for a moment before she cast him a defiant look.

“What of it? My father wishes me to marry within the Houses, and while he is of the lowest tier thanks to his father’s actions, he is popular with the people; it would be a sound match.”

“And it doesn’t bother you that he’s so friendly with your brother?” he asked dryly, hiding a frown when a faint smile crossed her face before disappearing quickly.

“It is necessary for him to cultivate alliances; you know not all were in favor of reinstating his house despite the conditions placed on him, and it enables him to share his wisdom with Zan.” Her eyes flickered strangely, intensifying his concern. “He has far more experience in duty and caring for his people than my brother.”

Rath felt pressure inside his skull, a warning, but too vague to be helpful. “Just be careful, Lonnie; I was one of those who spoke against his reinstatement, and I don’t trust him.”

Her smile was brittle, but the streaks in her aura had faded. “Don’t worry about me, Rath; I know what I’m doing.” Her words did nothing to reassure him, and he could only hope that the warning became less vague – before it was too late.
Last edited by Whimsicality on Fri May 03, 2013 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fighting Fear (UC, Mi/L, Adult) Chapter Twelve ~ 4/9

Postby Whimsicality » Fri Apr 29, 2011 4:56 pm

A/N: So, there's some pretty severe angst in this chapter, specifically regarding their past lives. I did warn that this fic in general is angstier than most of mine, but this chapter definitely has the hardest hit so far I think so...yeah...enjoy!

















Chapter Thirteen ~ Good Intentions


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right.
– Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas




Rath slipped down the darkened street, away from the crowd of citizens, hood raised to cover the telltale marks on his cheeks, and gloves on his hands to conceal the rest. It was the third such gathering he’d attended in the past weeks, and the vague sense of dread he’d been experiencing since before he became a Vaneth and began his first assignment was starting to crystallize. The murmurs of unrest that had plagued the kingdom for years had graduated from whispers to shouts, from conversations in darkened corners to mobs in city squares, and he, like the other Vaneth, feared that violence would soon follow.

None of the complaints were new, nor were they all in the wrong, or the right, but the undercurrents were different. There was an edge to the words and glances exchanged by the leaders that was new, and it made the back of his neck itch with warning and his fingers seek instinctively for his weapons. For all its apparent randomness and natural progression, there was an organization, a structure, to the growing rebellion, and that meant a guiding hand, a leader. He had his own suspicions on who that leader might be, but suspicions and prejudice, no matter how well honed his instinct was, weren’t enough, and he needed to find evidence of treachery before he could report to the Council.

It was time to take a more active role. He had remained a passive observer so far, now he needed to play a new role, that of a participant, a believer in the cause, so that he could work his way into the inner circle of whatever conspiracy was hiding behind the people’s unrest. In their society, deception was difficult and rare, even those with the smallest gift could see auras, and bloodline marks could not be removed, nor concealed easily. But he hadn’t spent nearly two decades in training for nothing, and he could produce or hide any aura reaction, along with knowing how to alter his marks and appearance to assume any station he chose.

If his suspicions were correct, the leader of this rebellion had similar training, which should have been impossible. However, it wasn’t his duty to determine the how, but the who and why, and he
would find the answers he sought.

~


The stone was rough and cold beneath his knees, and only twenty years of training enforced discipline prevented him from showing his distaste at having to bow to another man for the first time in his life – the Vaneth were
not subservient by nature. The heavy tread of boots reached his ears, along with the clank of a sword on armor, and he felt a flicker of excitement in his stomach, ruthlessly suppressed from displaying in his aura. Finally, after months of playing the rebel, he was going to meet the man behind it all.

“This is him, my lord, the one who’s been so helpful in training the recruits.” It was the gravelly voice of the leader’s second in command, Nikolas, who was the highest ranking member of the organization Rath had been in contact with to that point, and a bull of a man, barely shorter than himself with ropy muscles and a menacing face. Nikolas was well trained in street fighting, but lacked formal military education, a fact that Rath had used to worm his way into the inner circle.

“Well, let’s see this miracle worker then,” another voice drawled, silky smooth and very familiar, sending a surge of elation and tightly wound anticipation burning through Rath’s veins as he rose to his feet and calmly met the gaze of the man he’d been hunting for over a year. His suspicions were correct, and the eye witness testimony of a Vaneth was enough evidence under current Antarian law to convict, although there had been vague whispers lately that concerned him regarding the public’s opinion of the Granilith and its servants. But, those whispers could be dealt with after Khivar, the new Council darling and Vilandra’s lover, was revealed as a traitor to the crown, just like his father.

He only hoped that Vilandra forgave him for being right.

~


Cursing viciously under his breath, Rath pressed harder on the makeshift bandage over his ribs, slowing the seepage of blood from the knife wound Nikolas had given him, and darted to the next shadowed corner of the street, making his way slowly towards the Palace grounds and the Granilith chamber so that he could present his findings. Damn the man all to hell for being such a paranoid bastard and going through his things, finding the knife stamped with the official Vaneth seal that Rath, damn himself too, had foolishly left unattended.

A slow and cautious hour later, he finally made it to the Palace grounds, and stopped, hiding in the shadow of the gate, frowning as he saw that the outer doors to the Council chamber were closed and barred, guards posted outside, signaling a closed session. He had received no warning of a Council meeting, and all Vaneth were notified, undercover or not.

A coil of unease wrapped around his spine and he slipped his hand into his tunic to grab the knife that had betrayed him earlier that day, sending his power searching outwards, and recoiling in shock when he felt the malevolent pulse of energy blocking him from seeing into the Council chamber. Something was horribly wrong. ‘Vaneth! To the Council Chamber!’ he broadcasted silently, before stepping out of the shadows and striding across the courtyard, lifting one eyebrow demandingly at the four guards blocking the door.

They shifted uncomfortably and glanced at each other before one gathered up the courage to speak. “Sorry, my Lord, we’re not supposed to let anyone else in.”

Rath smiled, slow and dangerous, and raised his right hand, palm out, letting his power flicker enough to make the sigil on it glow. “No one has the right to bar me from the Council, and any attempt to do so could be construed as treason against Antar.” The guard blanched, eyes darting nervously as he tried to avoid looking at the knife still held casually in Rath’s left hand, and after another moment of hesitation, gestured for the other guards to unbar the door, then bowed jerkily as Rath swept past them.

The moment he stepped across the threshold, he felt the turbulent emotions and power he’d been prevented from sensing before, and his heart seized in his chest as he saw dead bodies surrounded by pools of blood, a few surviving Council members huddling in a corner while rebels threatened them at knife point, and worst of all, Khivar dueling an already wounded Zan while Vilandra held a knife to Ava’s throat.

He was too late to save her from herself, but, gritting his teeth, he swore he would not be too late to save Ava, or the throne. Hefting the knife in his left hand, he threw it with deadly accuracy at Khivar’s unprotected chest. Vilandra saw his movement and with wild eyes, threw Ava into the path of the oncoming blade, which slid into the pale flesh of her throat without a sound, blood bubbling as she clutched at it for a moment before collapsing limply to the ground.

Rath cried out and lunged forward, barely noticing Khivar slicing Zan’s head off when he turned to try and save his fallen wife, frantically trying to heal his first friend, and biting his tongue so hard it filled his mouth with blood when he realized that her spirit was already gone. Spitting a crimson mouthful onto the stone floor, he rose sinuously to his feet, eyes cold and dark and aura crackling with power as Zan’s fallen sword flew to his hand.

Khivar took a step back and Rath swung, a vicious overhand blow, not aimed at the leader of the rebellion, but at his lover, who had betrayed her own family in cold blood, carrying out sentencing and punishment with one stroke, a stroke that proved to be fatal in more than one way. The sword caught in her rib cage and Khivar lunged forward with his own sword before Rath could free it, the blade sliding cleanly into Rath’s heart.

The traitor grinned triumphantly and Rath released the last of his power in a concussive blast that brought the ceiling of the Council chamber tumbling down, before sinking into endless black, the blood of everyone he loved on his hands.


Michael gasped, heart pounding painfully in his chest as he was wrenched suddenly from the vision of his former self and back to the present, the sound of Isabel retching reaching his ears as he tried to catch his breath, hands cold and clammy with sweat. Blinking to clear his blurred vision, he saw Isabel bending over the trash can, Kyle rubbing her back, his face pale, while Liz had reached across the circle to pull a shaking Ava into her lap, carding her fingers soothingly through the blonde’s hair as she met Michael’s gaze, shock and horror in their dark depths that he knew matched his own expression.

Rising to his feet, Michael strode across the room and rested his hand against the back of Isabel’s neck, sending a wave of healing energy through her, quietly amazed at his new grasp of his powers, even more honed than they had been under Ava’s tutelage. His sister shuddered and wiped her mouth, but refused to look up, so with a brief glance at Kyle who nodded and took a step back, he pulled her into his arms, hugging her fiercely until she broke down and sobbed, hands tightening convulsively on his shirt.

“That wasn’t you, Isabel,” he murmured into her hair, wishing for just a second that he’d never opened the door to their past, that they’d remained ignorant if it meant that his family didn’t have to go through this pain. She tried to shake her head and pull away and he just held her tighter, voice gentle but implacable as he continued. “You are incapable of that kind of betrayal.”

Eventually, her sobs quieted, and after brushing a kiss across her forehead, he handed her back to Kyle, who guided her to the couch and wrapped his arms around her, no longer bothering to try and hide the closeness between them as he whispered quietly to her, blue eyes dark with sorrow and determination – Michael knew his sister was in good hands.

Turning back to the other two girls in his living room, he lowered himself back down beside them, cautiously meeting Ava’s shuttered blue gaze, not sure how to handle the surge of affection he felt for her now that he knew just how much he’d cared for her in their past lives. “Are you okay?”

A tiny smile flickered across her face and she nodded, but didn’t let go of Liz, who was still comfortingly stroking her hair, and nibbling thoughtfully on her lip, making Michael’s attention sharpen as he wondered what she had seen in the visions that he’d been too overwhelmed to process yet. “Your dream,” the brunette stated quietly when he raised one eyebrow questioningly, and he searched his memory, then rocked back in surprise as he realized the implications of her words.

His very first memory, the night Rath was marked as a Vaneth, he’d had a vague, disquieting dream that left him pale and shaking and unable to remember the details, just as Liz had been awoken every night for the past few weeks.

Sighing wearily, he scrubbed a hand across his face, frustrated by the fear and anger and resignation he saw in Liz’s beautiful brown eyes, emotions they’d all felt far too frequently of late, and that he knew would be sticking around for a while to come. Apparently they’d only seen the tip of the iceberg when it came to the meddling of the Granilith, and hell if he knew what to do about it.
Last edited by Whimsicality on Fri May 03, 2013 7:05 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

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Re: Fighting Fear (UC, Mi/L, Adult) Chapter Thirteen ~ 4/29

Postby Whimsicality » Mon May 23, 2011 8:26 pm

A/N: Oops, bit of a delay there, I didn't have much internet for the first week of summer, but now I'm back at school so updates should remain steady. Thank you very much for the feedback cjls8ne! And yes, their knowledge of the past is definitely hard on them, something we'll see more of next chapter, once they know what they'll learn in this one. :wink: Hope you enjoy!














Chapter Fourteen ~ Once Upon a Midnight Dreary


“Prophet!” said I, “think of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil!
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted –
On this home by horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore.
– The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe




She was burning again, drowning in darkness, in nothingness, everything that made her Liz Parker dwindling away until only a spark remained, a spark she clung to out of sheer, stubborn fury. She would not give up that easily, not after everything she’d survived, not while there were still people depending on her. An alien sense of satisfaction filled her and then it was over and she was sitting up and gasping, hands twisting together over her chest as her heart pounded frantically against her ribcage, her body trembling with the aftershocks of being so close to death, closer than she’d been since the day she was shot.

When she got her breathing back under control and opened her eyes, her stomach lurched sickly when the four walls of her bedroom didn’t meet her gaze, instead replaced by cold, forbidding stone, gleaming dully with otherworldly light. Her pulse sped up, panic zinging through her veins once more until she fought it down and pushed herself to her feet, shivering slightly in her thin pajamas until she remembered that she had powers and warmed herself with a thought.

How the hell had she gotten here?

She knew that she had fallen asleep in her room mere hours before, just feet away from Ava, who was both paranoid and a light sleeper thanks to her lack of a childhood, and who would have noticed someone taking Liz, assuming that someone could actually manage that without waking Liz herself. Besides, she was alone, with only the pervasive energy of the cave itself (a cave she had thought destroyed by Tess’s departure), or rather, the Granilith hiding in the cave, for company. Its power crawled across her skin, uncomfortable and oppressive, nothing like the warm, welcoming feeling from Ava and Rath’s memories.

Something stabbed through her right palm, burning more fiercely than anything she’d felt before, and she cried out, falling back to the ground as she clutched her wrist. Sucking in a painful breath, she stared at the glowing sigil on her hand when the invisible agony suddenly stopped, and her whole body shivered, adjusting to the foreign energy that was now a part of her, melding with her aura until the Granilith no longer felt like an enemy. She absolutely hated it.

The Granilith might be responsible for the existence of several people she cared about, but as far as she was concerned, that did not excuse its actions, or rather lack thereof, when it came to everything they had all suffered over the past two years, not to mention what the people of Antar had gone through, and must still be going through. How dare it interfere now, after all this time? If it thought that she would become its willing servant, and bow down to its every wish and command, it was sadly mistaken.

‘Peace, child, you are not my servant, nor will I be giving you commands. My only desire is to share knowledge and power. I want to help you.’

“Help me?” she snapped, voice dripping with bitter disdain, refusing to use such intimate means to communicate with it. “You have got to be kidding me. If you wanted to help, you should have done so years ago, before the queen you reincarnated betrayed her family and murdered my best friend, then fled the planet with an innocent child. Where was your knowledge and power then?”

There was a moment of silence, and she felt both vindicated, and even more furious, that it didn’t have an immediate response to her accusations. It still ached every time she thought of Alex, every time she remembered that she would never see him smile again, and no gift of power or knowledge would ever be enough to heal the wounds left by his death.

‘I am powerful, yes, and I have access to sources of knowledge that your race has not yet evolved to see, but I am not omnipotent, nor omniscient, and I too have limits on what I am allowed to do. Rath’s mind was closed to me, and none of the other hybrids had auras that complemented mine. You were the only other one I had the potential ability to connect with, and until the former Queen used me to leave this planet, your mind was not open to me either.’

Liz blinked, her anger receding but not disappearing as her logical mind pushed her emotions aside, focusing on the being’s words and analyzing them for accuracy and believability, and finding, much to her dissatisfaction, that they made sense. However much her righteous anger and grief wished that they did not.

‘I cannot affect things directly, only through intermediaries, and until this night, my only intermediary on the planet was the one you call Leanna, and she is but one person, one person who has had many people to protect, and a very short time to do it in. My vessels are not perfect anymore than I am.’

Its mental tone was gentle, but implacable, and Liz knew that it was well aware of how poorly she thought of the other Vaneth. A flicker of guilt made her flush slightly as she recalled all too clearly how disrespectfully she’d treated the other woman, blaming her for Alex’s death without a word of gratitude for the enemies she had protected them from. Part of her still did blame her, and the Granilith, for not helping Alex, and probably always would, but no matter how much of a right she had to be angry, she did not have a right to treat another person with that level of disregard.

‘I called you here tonight, not just to give you the mark, but to give you knowledge of the timeline that you averted, and dangers that still lurk because of it.’

Liz flinched, jolted out of her thoughts as she felt her own shame rise within her, acidic bile more painful than any burn the Granilith had caused. What dangers could be left after Alex’s death and Tess’s betrayal? She didn’t dare ask how things could get worse, far too weary and afraid to tempt fate with that sort of challenge. “What do you know?” she asked quietly, voice devoid of her previous anger as she settled into that cold, calm place she’d only discovered after Ava began to train them.

Instead of replying in words, the Granilith seized her mind and filled it with images, memories she had never seen, snapshots of a life she had never lived. From them, she learned the reason why Future Max had come to her with such a desperate, illogical plan, learned just how deep a certain blonde’s treachery had run, and just how great, and futile, a sacrifice she’d actually made. When it was done, her face was wet with tears and her throat was tight with the effort it had taken not to scream and curse.

“Will we do better this time?” She couldn’t stop the whispered words from slipping out, desperation wringing them from her tongue as her nails dug into her palm so hard she knew she’d drawn blood. They’d been so close, so close to victory, no matter how costly, and now that she had seen the scope of what might come, her heart shrank within her at the thought that this time, they might lose for real.

‘I believe we can, but we must have hope.’ It replied, equally solemn. ‘And the King must be dealt with. The damage to his mind is great, and it worsens by the day. Unless he is brought to me and the tampering is removed, he will die, and he will not die alone.’

Liz shuddered, remembering the madness she’d seen in her ex-boyfriend’s eyes when he confronted her at the Crashdown, and silently prayed that they got to him before his mind snapped, before Tess’s warps killed him just as surely as they’d killed Alex. Only this time, there would be collateral damage as, unlike her best friend, Max would try to fight back, even though he wouldn’t know who he was fighting or why.

“We will bring him here,” she stated grimly, glancing down at the bloody crescents on her palms and healing them with a brief glow of green energy. “There will be no more victims of Tess’s meddling.”

‘Good.’ It replied simply, mental tone taking on the feel of a smile. ‘Now I suggest you return to your home, you will need the rest for the days to come.’

Liz quirked an eyebrow, settling her hands on her pajama clad hips as she stared around the dark cave. “And how would you suggest I do that, oh wise kidnapper.”

It chuckled mentally, making her frown at its apparent lack of concern for stealing her from her bed in the middle of the night. ‘You have the power now, and the knowledge, just take yourself back.’

Glaring in the general direction of the strongest glow, she searched her mind, finding the knowledge it spoke of. Fighting irritation at its smugness, she focused instead on just how useful this ability would be, and gave a sarcastic wave goodbye before reaching for her room and pulling herself through time and space.

When she arrived, landing ungracefully with a thump in the middle of her bed, Ava was staring at her with slack-jawed surprise, the phone held to her ear with Michael’s voice echoing tinnily from the speaker, rising in volume as the blonde didn’t reply. Liz grinned at her, feeling a surprising surge of good will despite her deeper knowledge of just how desperate their situation was. “Tell him that I’m fine and we’ll talk in the morning; I need more sleep before explaining everything.”

Ava blinked, and then dutifully repeated her words with a curious smile that faded into a grimace when Michael’s voice only rose in volume once more, a clear denial of Liz’s decision. Ava shrugged and held the phone out, but Liz shook her head, rolled her eyes, then wrapped her fingers around Ava’s forearm and reached through time and space once again.

Michael was still growling into the phone when they appeared in his living room, Ava stumbling in shock although Liz managed to keep her feet this time, only swaying slightly as her body processed the disorienting feeling of moving so instantaneously to a new environment. Michael spun, hands raised and glowing with offensive power, then glared as soon as he realized who it was. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing, Parker. This isn’t the time to be playing games.”

“Games?” Liz asked in a dangerous tone of voice, moving into his personal space and ignoring Ava’s wise decision to take a large step back away from the two of them. “Frankly I thought waking up in a dark cave in the middle of the night with no idea how I got there was more of a terrifying adventure, but then the past two years have messed with my head a little, so maybe that’s your idea of fun.”

Michael blinked, faint surprised concern crossing his face, before vanishing into his usual scowl as he crossed his arms over his chest, refusing to give any ground. “You look fine to me.”

“I don’t know if I’d say that,” Liz replied with a brittle smile, lifting her right hand, palm out, just as Leanna had done days before. He stared, then reached out and wrapped his fingers around her wrist with more gentleness than she expected, cradling her hand in his and examining the mark closely.

“It’s different than Leanna’s,” he murmured, the feel of his calloused fingertips against her skin making Liz shiver, then frown, dismissing the reaction as a result of her decidedly unsettling night.

Before she even had time to wonder at the difference he’d noticed, the answer came to mind, yet another ‘perk’ of her new relationship with the Granilith, a melding of consciousness and knowledge that she still wasn’t comfortable with, and wasn’t sure she ever would be. “That’s because Leanna’s is the mark of one who guards Antar, and mine is the mark of one who guards Earth.”

Michael met her gaze, emotions disturbingly similar to her own flickering in his dark caramel eyes. “So, Parker, tell us all about your adventures, so that we can figure out what the hell we’re supposed to do next.”

Liz knew it was the closest she would get to an apology and managed a smirk, wondering at the part of her that was disappointed when he let go of her hand, then ruthlessly suppressing it as she moved towards the couch. They had bigger worries than her strange physical reactions, and it was probably just sleep deprivation anyways. Or at least, that was the only answer she was willing to consider at the moment, no matter how much the voice in her head might think otherwise.
Last edited by Whimsicality on Fri May 03, 2013 7:10 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

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Re: Fighting Fear (UC, Mi/L, Adult) Chapter Fourteen ~ 5/23

Postby Whimsicality » Sun Jun 26, 2011 3:48 pm

A/N: I am so crazy sorry for the long delay in posting, my muse just refused to cooperate for a while there, and my summer classes have started, but, in addition to finally finishing this chapter, I've also mapped out every single chapter from here until the end of the fic (And no this will not be an insane epic like When Dreams Change :lol:) so as long as the muse keeps cooperating, I should be back in two weeks with the next chapter.

And thank you so much for the feedback you two! This story is one of my most fun to write and I'm so glad you're enjoying it. Hope you won't kill me for the cliffhanger, and yes Yas :wink: it won't be too much longer until some Polar loving. :D















Chapter Fifteen ~ Laugh Until You Cry


I have no time for idle cares.
Through gazing on the unquiet sky;
And when an hour with calmer wings,
It’s down upon my spirit flings.
– The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe




Liz yawned and stretched until her bones cracked, then slipped off her uniform with practiced ease and shimmied into a pair of jeans and a red tank top. Despite not yet sharing what the Granilith had revealed about the future she had changed, something she was still processing herself, Michael had kept her and Ava up for far too long going over every other detail of her conversation with the being, and what she now knew about the Vaneth and their powers, and responsibilities. Added to her full nine hour shift, and she wasn’t looking forward to the meeting with Leanna, or the coming confrontation with Max.

The fact that her conscience now required her to treat the other Vaneth with respect was already grating on her nerves, but every time her anger had gotten the better of her that day, the low level tingle in her palm had increased, reminding her of the high stakes, and her new knowledge. “Maturity’s a real bitch,” she muttered to herself, and then nearly jumped out of her skin when Michael’s rich chuckle sounded behind her.

“I have to say, Parker, I’m quite liking the new you, and your foul mouth.”

She spun and glared, irritated with herself for letting him sneak up on her, when even before her recent enhancements, she was capable of sensing anyone’s approaching energy. Damn Granilith, filling her already overflowing mind with even more complications to stress over.

‘Complications you are more than capable of dealing with. I didn’t choose you for your temper, nor your way with words.’

Liz bit back a highly inappropriate and definitely foul mouthed response, and studiously ignored the amused voice in her mind. “Well I am just thrilled to have your approval, Guerin, my life is now complete; I can die a happy woman.”

His eyes darkened slightly at her flippant tone when discussing the possibility of her death, but the momentary flicker of seriousness disappeared when he rolled them. “The attempts at humor, however, I could do without.”

She smirked. “Don’t lie, Michael, the only reason you don’t laugh is because you can’t admit that I’ve taken your place as the dispenser of sarcasm for our merry little band.”

“You wish, Parker, my title’s more than safe if you’re my only competition,” he retorted dryly, eyes glimmering with humor as they smirked at each other. The brief lighthearted interlude was dispelled when Maria came through the swinging doors to get ready for her shift, erasing Liz and Michael’s smiles as they both went stone faced.

Liz met her best friend’s gaze, not even sure if that title applied anymore, and felt only weariness. “I’ll meet you at your place for the meeting, Michael,” she said quietly, and then disappeared up the stairs, not waiting to process Maria’s expression or possible words, feeling guilty only for leaving Michael alone with her, not for refusing to ignore the biggest thing in her life just because the blonde couldn’t handle it.

She had accepted the inevitability of her involvement in the alien crisis facing her world, there was no turning back now, not even the Granilith could change that much history, but that didn’t mean it hurt any less to realize that she’d lost her two closest friends because of it. What hurt the most was knowing that Maria had walked away, that she did have a choice, or at least thought she did, and was willing to lose Liz by her own decision, after they’d already lost Alex.

It wasn’t that she didn’t understand Maria grieving over Alex, or even blaming, rightfully, the alien abyss for claiming his life, but once her anger had passed, Liz’s response to his loss was to cling even tighter to those she had left, not to walk away. She wouldn’t have thought Maria would make that choice either.

~


Liz grinned at a scowling Michael and a gaping Isabel and Kyle, having decided that she refused to let Maria, or anything else, sour her mood. Max would take care of that soon enough, so she might as well enjoy what little time she had left for relatively good spirits. In order to further that goal, she’d decided to ‘pop’ her and Ava over to Michael’s apartment instead of driving or walking. The reactions she’d received more than justified that decision, and she shared a smirk with Ava before plopping into the recliner next to the couch. “Well that’s just handy.”

Michael grimaced and ignored her, but Kyle took the bait. “What the heck was that? When did you become super Liz?”

“I’m glad you asked, Kyle,” Liz stated, still grinning, her tone just a shade too close to manic. “You see, last night I was kidnapped from my bed by a mysterious alien entity. I woke up in a disturbingly familiar cave, had an interesting telepathic discussion with said entity, and now I’m Earth’s first Vaneth. Isn’t that exciting?”

He blinked, he and Isabel still gaping at her, and she clapped her hands together. “Oh, I almost forgot, I also got this nifty tattoo!” she exclaimed, holding up her right hand and showing them the faintly shimmering mark on her palm. “Can’t wait until my parents notice that one,” she added wryly, then shrugged. “They’ll probably blame it on Max.”

“Think they’ll blame him for your mentally unbalanced state too?” Michael asked dryly, finally deigning to meet her gaze, and Liz laughed with genuine amusement.

“Probably, and it’s not like they’d be wrong,” she responded with a wink, earning herself an amused snort.

“If you two are done pretending you hate each other,” Ava interrupted, “I think we should clarify things for everyone before Leanna shows up.”

Liz smiled at her sheepishly, and then turned back to Isabel and Kyle, her tone sobering “So, during that scintillating telepathic conversation, the Granilith revealed that Tess had been tampering with Max for quite a while. Those warps are still in place and they’re slowly driving him mad as his own energy fights against the alien intrusion. That’s why he’s been acting the way he has.”

Isabel looked horrified and Kyle wrapped a comforting arm around her as Liz reached out to take her hand. “We can fix it; we just have to get him to the Granilith.” She grimaced slightly. “It won’t be easy, not as far gone as he is, but with all of us, and Leanna, I know we can do it. We will get Max back.”

The blonde nodded, blinking back tears as her expression firmed, and then there was a knock on the door. Michael answered it and Leanna stepped into the room, eyes going straight to Liz and an unrestrained smile gracing her face for the first time since she had revealed herself to them. “Fàilthe, pithar.”

“Fàilthe,” Liz replied instinctively, the alien word rolling off her tongue with the ease of a native speaker.”

She felt disoriented, like there was another person inside her head, a person whom Leanna called ‘sister’. “Super Liz indeed,” she muttered under her breath, shaking her head to dispel the strangeness, and then straightened in her chair, meeting Leanna’s bright blue gaze with little warmth, but more respect than she’d shown her before. “We need your help; we need to bring Max, Zan, to the Granilith.”

~


Michael fought his need to pace as Liz and Leanna stared silently into each others’ eyes, communing on a level that he couldn’t hear, just feel as a low level hum against his aura. Liz’s vehemence when it came to Max worried him, and he wasn’t completely sure why. He didn’t want to leave Max to melt down, potentially violently, thanks to the manipulations of the little blonde traitor, but the very idea of the Max and Liz saga starting up again exhausted him, an exhaustion he thought Liz shared, until he heard her tone of voice while speaking to Isabel.

Now she and Leanna were searching for Max’s energy signature, or something like that, the blonde’s explanation had been rushed, all of them in an understandable hurry – if Max melted down in public, the consequences could be catastrophic, drawing attention from their human enemies in addition to their not-so-human enemies.

The Vaneths’ hands started to glow (it was still strange to apply that word to Liz, even in his head), and after a moment Liz jerked, her breath sucking in sharply and her aura flickering, the red streaks that had begun to fade in recent weeks darkening again. “Gotcha,” she whispered grimly, eyes snapping open, and Michael’s fists clenched, his muscles bunching with tension. He’d always wanted them to act more swiftly in a crisis, less over thinking, but this was a little fast, even for him.

“Liz and I will take point,” Leanna stated, her tone brooking no opposition, and the brunette nodding her agreement. “Isabel and Kyle, you will share your powers with me, Michael and Ava, you will meld with Liz.”

No one spoke, just silently gathered themselves, and Liz grasped Ava’s hand, offering him her other while Isabel and Kyle rose from the couch to take Leanna’s. Michael didn’t hesitate, reaching out physically and metaphysically, heart rate speeding slightly as the electric green warmth of Liz’s energy washed over him on a deeper level than he’d felt before, a jolt of life, blending with his own aura and wrapping intimately around his own energy.

None of them had gone past superficial touching of the minds and auras for the memory sharing, not enough to share power, none of them comfortable with that level of trust and openness. Unfortunately, like everything else in their lives, when it came right down to it, they had no choice.

Liz smiled at him faintly, no words needed for him to know that she wasn’t any more thrilled with the situation than he was, or that she did in fact trust him, a somewhat surprising, but pleasant feeling, the part of him that now remembered Rath completely comfortable with the closeness of their connection, which only made the rest of him even less comfortable with it.

Suddenly the world folded around him, Liz’s energy burning against his skin, and then they were somewhere else. When the world righted itself, he found himself standing in the middle of the road, Liz still clutching his hand, while Max stared at them shocked from inside a hideous blue Chevelle, knuckles white on the steering wheel and marks on the road showing where he’d swerved to avoid hitting them.

His eyes darted to Liz, fear lightening them for a moment before they darkened with rage and his face contorted into a snarl as he stepped out of the car, not noticing Leanna, Isabel, and Kyle in the shadows cast by his tail lights. “You can’t stop me, I won’t let you.”
Last edited by Whimsicality on Fri May 03, 2013 7:18 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

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Re: Fighting Fear (UC, Mi/L, Adult) Chapter Fifteen ~ 6/26

Postby Whimsicality » Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:55 pm

A/N: Jenna, cjsl8ne, and Yas, you guys rocks my world! :D Thank you so much for the feedback, and I apologize for this being a couple days late, but as penance, it's a whole page longer than usual! Enjoy!















Chapter Sixteen ~ Cut My Strings


Ah! Well for us, if even we,
Even for a moment, can get free
Our heart, and have our lips unchained;
For that which seals them hath been deep-ordained!
– The Buried Life by Matthew Arnold




Liz could feel Michael’s energy, strong and richer than her own, burning like lava as it melted into her core, completely different from the almost fizzy, refreshing feeling she got from Ava’s. It was both steadying, and unnerving, as she was struck with the sudden urge to throw herself deeper into the bond, to immerse herself in his essence until the two of them were indistinguishable, an intoxicating rush of power and sensation.

Michael’s large and calloused hand was still wrapped around her own and it squeezed hers with enough force to shake her out of it, before he let go and stepped away so that they would both have their hands free, while their auras remained joined.

“Stop you from doing what, Max?” Liz asked carefully, as Ava released her hand as well, the blonde’s energy coiling tightly in preparation. Liz took a cautious step forward with her hands held non-threateningly by her side, knowing, as they all did, that he was more likely to listen to her than anyone else, and feeling a strange sense of sorrow and anger that it wasn’t his family he would confide in. Neither emotion was entirely her own, and she had to shove down the resulting disorientation in order to focus on herself and Max.

“I have to save him,” Max said fiercely, his body trembling and his eyes burning. “There’s a ship, I have to use it, to save him.” His tone was anguished and angry and one of his hands touched his waist where Liz saw, with detached panic, the outline of a gun under his shirt. For a split second, she could hear a roaring in her ears, could see the black tunnel that had almost swallowed her whole two years before, could feel the stickiness of the blood on her chest.

Once again the connection saved her, both Ava and Michael holding the memories at bay long enough for her to reassert control over her instinctual terror.

Taking another slow step forward to keep Max’s attention on her, and away from the three people behind him, she forced herself to smile and somehow managed to keep her voice from shaking with stress. “We can help you save him, Max, if you let us. But not like this. If you do it like this, someone is going to get hurt, and I know you don’t want to hurt anyone, Max.”

His expression had lightened ever so slightly at her first words, but quickly darkened again, his mouth twisting into a snarling grimace as his power suddenly exploded outwards, shoving all of them to the ground with the force of his rage and pain. “Someone might get hurt, Liz?” he spat bitterly, stalking towards where she was sprawled on the hot pavement. “I think someone already got hurt, Liz. You betrayed me! You told me that you didn’t love me anymore! You blamed me for everything that happened! How dare you say you want to help me?!”

His voice rose in volume with every word and he raised his hands, the air around him visibly shifting with unstable energy, dark streaks mottling not just his aura, but his skin as he began to funnel his power into his hands, both of them curled towards her in menacing claws.

A sudden blast of energy from the right knocked him into the car and Liz didn’t have to turn her head, not daring to look away from Max, to know that Michael had risen to his feet. Her hands and knees were bleeding from scraping against the pavement and her heart was pounding in fear, but she knew that she had to stop this before it got any further. Michael would never forgive himself if he had to kill Max, and none of them would be able to deal with Leanna if the Vaneth did it.

Max had straightened, spitting blood onto the road and baring his teeth at Michael in a clear challenge, not noticing Leanna raising her glowing hands, blue eyes hard with determination and resignation.

Stop!” Liz yelled, pushing her own power into her voice and shoving herself to her feet as everyone winced at the decibel. “The Granilith is still here, Max. I will take you to it, and then you can rescue your son.”

There was hushed silence, the indrawn breath before a scream, or the stillness before a hurricane strikes. Max met her gaze coldly, then glanced at everyone else before holding out his hand with a smirk. “Just you, no one else.”

“No,” Michael grated, but Liz didn’t turn around, just walked towards Max and took his outstretched hand, only pausing to look intently at Leanna before sending her own smirk up at her ex-boyfriend.

“I suggest you don’t let go.” Before he could do more than scowl in puzzlement, Liz twisted the world around them, letting go of his hand the moment they appeared in the dark cave and silently backing away, shielding herself from his senses, human and otherwise, before he recovered from the disorientation. The curses that spilled out of his mouth disturbed her on many levels, and she almost screamed when large hands closed around her waist from behind.

‘Impressive, I didn’t think he knew half those words existed,’ Michael commented silently, her jangled nerves soothed by the welcome feel of his aura joining with hers again even as her muscles tightened in response to the thread of anger in his mental voice. ‘If you ever again do something that stupid without telling me first, Parker, I will make you regret it, no matter how powerful you are now.’

‘It worked, and you would have done the same damn thing, so shut up and let me talk to the Granilith,’ Liz snapped, more harshly than she intended, fear and anger and her need for control all clamoring in her head as she fought to shield herself from Max’s searching energy, maintain a distance from Michael’s all too enticing power, and reach out for the one being that could fix this, a being already communing with her fellow Vaneth, who had wisely chosen to ignore the interaction between them.

His hands tightened their grip on her waist, but he didn’t respond verbally, and she sunk more fully into the always open connection with the Granilith, joining with Leanna for the first time as well, and finding it disturbingly undisturbing to be so close to the alien woman she still had problems trusting.

‘I can only connect to him and heal the damage through one of you,’ the Granilith stated the moment her mind focused. ‘And while Canaich has more experience, you have a preexisting connection with him that will make it easier for to me to get past his defenses without causing further trauma.’

Liz flinched, acid roiling in her stomach at the thought of willingly opening that connection, of deepening that connection to the level needed for healing, even if she was just a vessel. It wouldn’t be her power, but it would be her mind, and it would be their memories she would be forced to relive. Taking a deep breath, she forcibly calmed herself. ‘Fine, how are we going to do this?’

It was decided that Michael would handle physically subduing Max while Leanna dealt with his powers, and Liz would get close enough to form the connection the moment that she could. Once she and the Granilith were in his mind, her ex-boyfriend wouldn’t be able to fight any longer, and the difficult healing could begin. Liz opened her connection to Michael to bring him into the planning, vaguely curious about the Granilith’s silence when it came to contacting the former Vaneth directly, but was too distracted by the current situation to give it more than a moment’s thought.

Ignoring the pull of Michael’s energy was easier than before, her fearful anticipation of what was to come overwhelming every other emotion and sensation. The three of them, plus the Granilith, had joined in total synchronization, their movements, physical and otherwise, concealed from Max, who was still cursing as his energy fluctuated wildly in an attempt to find her, or find a way out of the cave.

Between one breath and the next, Leanna struck, wielding her power with the precision of a scalpel and draining Max’s away from him, grounding it in the Granilith. Michael pulled his sometime-brother’s arms behind his back while he was still in shock, twisting them up into an uncomfortable hold as the darker haired boy struggled futilely against him. Liz hesitated for the barest moment, her heart shriveling in her chest, before stepping forward and grasping his head in her hands, yanking it down until their gazes met. The Granilith surged forward within her mind, linking the three of them together, and she screamed, Max’s anguished yells joining hers in a pained crescendo before she lost all awareness of the physical world.

“Liz, Liz! You have to look at me. You have to look at me.”

“Liz, listen to me. You can’t talk to anyone about this. Not your parents, not Maria. No one. You don’t understand what will happen if you do. Liz, please? Now my life is in your hands.”


His fear, for her and his family, was ice cold, stabbing through her mind, in painful counterpoint to the burning of his feelings for her, not yet tainted by the wreck of their lives.

“Liz, it’s not safe. I mean, for you and, and me to…it’s not safe.”

“Make sure he deserves your trust.”

“Liz, I think that what I’m afraid of isn’t that we try this and it works out really badly. What I’m afraid of is we try it and it works out really well. I’m afraid of everything that I know I would feel. Because I know it’s not meant to be. And somewhere down the line, we’re gonna get hurt. I can live with that. I just couldn’t bear to hurt you.”


Rage and sorrow and despair were threatening to drown her, his tangled emotions a vicious bombardment without the benefit of her shields.

“How do you know women so well? Don’t let me stop you. This is fascinating.”

“Michael, I’m telling you, there’s something weird about this. It’s like she knows something about me that she shouldn’t.”

“It was like…it was like something was controlling me.”

“She’s one of us.”


The memories were no longer just ones they shared, and the feel of Tess’s energy in his mind grated like sand paper, an intrusion and violation that had started much earlier than they realized.

“I know what you are, and now, you’re going to tell me everything.”

“Huh. You do have feelings. Just like us. Whatever you are, you better tell me the truth for Liz’s sake.”

“Max, you do have a destiny. You just heard it. I can’t stand in the way of it.”


The force of Max’s pain was devastating, the trauma at the hands of Pierce and the FBI immediately compounded by Tess’s further tampering, tampering that had extended to all of them in that cave, even her.

“My life is only in danger if I am with you.”

“I haven’t slept since I saw you with Kyle.”

“Either way you’re going to die, Max. So why don’t you just make this easy on yourself?”

“This is where you belong, Max…up here with the world at your feet. Like a king.”


The images were coming faster, more disjointed as more and more of his memories and emotions were manipulated, it was hard to tell what she was feeling, or he was feeling, or what Tess had made him feel, and overlaying all of it was the inhuman power of the Granilith, erasing the blocks on his real memories and healing the damaged pathways in his mind.

“You put your hand over my shoulder and you did your little trick like a robot. You’re a machine, Max. You wouldn’t know the first thing about what it takes to heal me.”

“For some reason Tess is the clearest.”

“You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about! You don’t know anything about Khivar or our world.”

“My whole life I’ve wanted to be this person, this normal person. Human. My whole life I’ve been thinking that this alien side of me was this bad thing. This thing that made me a freak. This monster. I realize that I haven’t just been hiding from the government and the law all this time. I’ve been hiding from myself. I don’t know what’s going on anymore. I thought I knew, but I don’t. I’ve lost everyone.”

“You were different – you were a king! Now you’re just a boy.”

“You kill me, Max, you kill our son.”


After that, the memories weren’t coherent enough for her to distinguish specific images, just a jumbled mass of pain and confusion and all consuming rage until one last surge of impossibly strong power from the Granilith brought order to the chaos.

Max’s energy finally felt like his again, the vicious red threads of Tess’s power no longer woven through his core, and Liz felt weak with exhaustion, emotionally and physically, every cell in her body crying out in distress.

‘L..Liz?’ His mental voice was tentative and fragile and she shoved down her instinctive urge to sever the connection and block him away before she could feel any more pain, the sensation of his aura melded with hers stinging like salt in her freshly opened wounds.

‘It’s okay, Max. Tess did to you what she did to Alex, but it’s better now, you’re going to be okay.’

He started to sob, broken, heart-wrenching sounds that penetrated the mental plane they’d been trapped in, and she closed her eyes, breaking the connection before her own tears could fall. He’d been right, two years ago, it hadn’t been safe. It still wasn’t safe, and now they’d been shattered into too many pieces to ever be made whole again.
Last edited by Whimsicality on Fri May 03, 2013 7:25 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

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Re: Fighting Fear (UC, Mi/L, Adult) Chapter Sixteen ~ 7/17

Postby Whimsicality » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:21 pm

Chapter Seventeen ~ Life, the Universe, Everything


I knew they lived and moved
Tricked in disguises, alien to the rest
Of men, and alien to themselves – and yet
The same heart beats in every human breast!
– The Buried Life by Matthew Arnold




Liz gently disengaged from Max’s mind, and the Granilith, and pulled back into herself with a silent sigh of relief. She was suddenly intimately aware of how depleted her energy was, and how unhappy every part of her body was, especially her knees, which she knew were going to be bruised from being pressed against the stone floor of the cave for so long. She could see goose bumps on her arms from the cold air, but felt flushed and feverish from the intensity of the power she’d been channeling.

Her eyes slid open and she saw Max’s face bare inches from hers, his eyes still tightly shut and his face damp with tears. The sight made her flinch and she quickly looked away. Her emotions were too raw to deal with after having every protective barrier in her mind invaded by things she’d never wanted to see or feel, at least not yet, maybe not ever.

Leanna was standing a few feet away, a distant look on her face that meant she was communing with the Granilith; Michael was closer and staring at her, an unreadable expression on his face. “How, how long?” she croaked out, surprised by how dry and sore her throat was.

“Six hours,” he replied flatly, and she winced, knowing how hard it must have been for him, of all of them, to stand there and not be able to do anything while they tried to fix a member of his family. However strained their relationship had become, she knew that Michael still cared for Max, and did not want to see him hurt, and he had never done well with forced inaction.

She tried to move her legs in preparation for standing up, and would have fallen over if Michael hadn’t caught her. “Thanks,” she muttered, too exhausted to even be embarrassed as he carefully pulled her to her feet and held on until her legs stopped tingling and she could balance on her own. “We should get back; everyone has to be freaking out by now.”

“I contacted Ava a couple times, but all I could tell her was that the two of you were glowing like fireflies. There were some mutters, and convulsions, and a scream or two as well, but I didn’t pass that on,” he drawled, the sarcasm sharp enough to draw blood, and she grimaced.

“It wasn’t a picnic from the inside either.”

His expression softened infinitesimally, or maybe it was just her vision blurring from bone-deep weariness, and he reached out and laid a hand on her arm, a coil of his dark gold energy spooling into her and replenishing her core. She sucked in a sharp breath, the resulting – uncomfortably pleasurable – tingle felt in her body as well as her aura, and fought back an entirely inappropriate blush. “Thank you.”

He nodded, lips curling upwards ever so slightly, before firming again when she sensed motion behind her. She felt her own muscles tightening in resignation and wariness, and fought the urge to turn to look at the boy who had saved, and destroyed, her life. Instead, she walked past Michael to join Leanna in communing with the Granilith.

She could deal with Max later, after she’d had some sleep, maybe a whole year’s worth.

~


Ava had been frantic, terror and rage threatening to pull her under the way they had when Zan died, the moment she saw Liz disappear with Max. Then Leanna and Michael had vanished after them, leaving her, Isabel, and Kyle, to take Max’s car back to Roswell. It had been a long and frustrating three hour drive, with only one communication from Michael, stating that Liz was fine, and was connected to Max while the Granilith tried to heal him.

It had made her choke back something that was either a laugh or a sob. Fine? Who was Michael kidding, if Liz had to meld her aura with Max’s on the level needed for healing, she was anything but fine.

But she had heard the tension, the well concealed fear in Michael’s mental tone, and knew, from observing him and Liz interact over the past few weeks, that it was just his way. He had more in common with his original self than the Rath she’d been raised with did, but was even more reserved if possible, and less confident in his own skin. The biting humor though, and the sparse way he doled out his words, made her throat tighten with grief and pleasure in the memories they invoked, sharp reminders of what she’d once had, and what had been denied to her in this life, replaced with fear and shame and pain.

In the end it had been seven hours that she was left to worry and pace and try not to drown in her memories, of this life or the last, before Michael suddenly appeared. He was supporting a clearly exhausted Liz, who swayed on her feet with the expenditure of energy it had taken to bring them back. Her aura was a pale shadow of itself as Michael guided her to a chair, his face hard and his eyes burning with emotions Ava could only begin to decipher the edges of.

Before she could take more than a step in their direction, Leanna appeared with her arm around Max, his face pale and drawn and streaked with tears as he blinked in dull surprise at the apartment, his energy gently curling around him and his aura a clear silver instead of a tangled mass of black and red. Isabel had her arms around him by the time Ava managed another blink, while Kyle hovered between his girlfriend and Liz, not sure who needed him more.

Ava ignored all of them to cross the room to Liz’s side, kneeling on the carpet next to her and lacing her fingers through the brunette’s as she fed her energy. Michael was doing the same thing, and within a few minutes, Liz looked a little less like death warmed over, although she would still need sleep and food before she could get back to a normal level.

Kyle stepped closer, catching Liz’s gaze with a look of warm concern, reminding Ava of how long the two had been friends, and how strong that friendship was despite their brief romantic history, and the interference of the Antarians and the Granilith. It reminded her almost painfully of her childhood with Rath on Antar, and she couldn’t help darting a quick glance at Michael – who was carefully not looking at Max and Isabel’s tearful reunion. Would they ever form that kind of bond? Or anything more than allies tied together because of their individual loyalties to Liz and the Granilith?

Liz squeezed her hand and Ava fought back a blush. She’d momentarily forgotten Liz’s new status, and how much her friend’s sensitivity to the emotions of those around her had increased because of that status. When Liz spoke, however, her words were directed at Kyle. “I’ll be fine; we have a lot to talk about once everyone’s rested.” Her gaze flicked briefly towards Max and Isabel before meeting Kyle’s doubtful expression with a wan smile. “Really, Kyle, this isn’t like after Alex, I won’t be heading into the deep end again.”

Ava could feel Michael tense at Liz’s words as he dropped his hand from Liz’s shoulder, eyes going blank. Kyle’s smile was wry, only faint edges of rougher emotions visible, as he captured Liz’s free hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. “Good, cause crazy and desperate isn’t a good look on you.”

Liz’s smile gained more life and she raised an eyebrow. “I’d say the same thing about you, but I think your desperate days are over.”

Kyle chuckled and released her hand, running a hand through his hair. “Stalker definitely wasn’t my best role; did I ever apologize for that?”

Liz shook her head, still smiling. “I think we can call it a wash, given that I dragged you and your dad into a vast alien conspiracy and then used you to alter reality without telling you.”

“You ever wonder if our lives are like that Buffy episode, and one day we’ll wake up in a padded room with strait jackets on and find out that this was all a shared hallucination?” Kyle mused.

“Like your puny little brain could ever imagine someone as incredible as me,” Michael interjected flatly, one corner of his mouth curling up ever so slightly.

Liz rolled her eyes and looked pleadingly at Ava. “Take me home before I’m smothered by the inevitable testosterone overload?”

Ava laughed and rose to her feet, then helped Liz stand, the brunette’s legs shaking only slightly as she leaned into Ava’s helping arm. “Don’t worry; I’ll keep the children away from you until you’re capable of blasting them to smithereens again.”

Kyle snorted and Michael raised an eyebrow. “Does that make you two our lesbian mothers? Because that would make my thoughts highly inappropriate.”

Liz stared at him for a moment and then started laughing, collapsing against Ava, who shook her head and grinned as the boys gave each other smug smiles at successfully distracting Liz enough that she allowed herself to relax.

“What’s so funny?” It was Max, his voice hesitant as he and Isabel approached them, Isabel’s face glowing beneath the tear streaks. Her eyes were dark with turbulent emotions and she clung to her brother’s arm as if she was afraid to let him go.

“Life, the universe, everything,” Michael replied flippantly, the good humor fading from his face as he studied the other boy. The coolness in his tone made Ava wince as she felt Liz flinch against her. Her double had done this, had destroyed these relationships, and for what? To bear a child for Khivar, the man who murdered them? How could any version of her be capable of such an act?

Liz squeezed her hand, straightening as best she could. “It’s been a long day, for all of us, and I am in desperate need of some sleep. Why don’t we all meet tomorrow?” Her eyes drifted around the circle before meeting Max’s. “Explaining everything will be easier when we’re rested.”

The boy who no longer reminded Ava of Zan, too lost and unsure, looked like he wanted to protest, wanted to stop Liz from ever leaving his sight, and so Ava guided the brunette towards the door, ignoring the bits of conversation that sprung up behind them. Liz, as the first Vaneth on Earth, and as her friend, was more important than anyone else’s ego or need for answers. The complicated group she’d attached herself to was a powder keg just waiting to blow. Ava didn’t want to have to pick up the pieces of Liz left after the blast, not if she could help keep the girl she wished was her sister, and everyone else, in one piece instead.

It seemed like she might have gotten her wish after all, a family, and one that in some ways was tied together with far stronger bonds than they had ever been on Antar. But their situation was far more precarious, and the lack of knowledge and unwillingness to trust would be their undoing, again, if they didn’t fight to stay together.

Ava refused to fail once again. She refused to watch those she loved, in any incarnation, die while she watched helplessly. This time would be different. It had to be.
Last edited by Whimsicality on Fri May 03, 2013 7:32 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

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Re: Fighting Fear (UC, Mi/L, Adult) Chapter 17 ~ 1/12

Postby Whimsicality » Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:48 am

A/N: Hey all, I am finally back with an update to this story, with hopefully more to follow. Also, for updates on my other stories, please check out my author page which is linked in my siggie.











Chapter Eighteen ~ The Devil You Know


And that we should not see
The buried stream, and seem to be
Eddying at large in blind uncertainty,
Though driving on with it eternally
– The Buried Life by Matthew Arnold




Liz stared into the air, lost in dark and troubled thoughts. Ever since she had become a Vaneth, her dreams had changed. No longer soul tearing and physically torturous nightmares, now she dreamt of the future, or rather of possible futures, and of the past. Some of those dreams were hopeful, most were confusing, and many woke her shaking with all the things that could go wrong, and all the things that had gone wrong.

She frowned, suddenly remembering a glimpse of the past that had shocked her to the core, a disturbing portent of just what the Granilith was capable of, even with all of its limitations. “Asshole,” she muttered out loud, scowling in the general direction of the buried pod chamber, then realized that everyone had turned to look at her.

She grinned, feeling herself teetering on a now familiar edge of questionable sanity as she glanced around at the small group gathered in Michael's apartment. “Oh, not you guys. I was talking to the Granilith.” Leanna, sitting on the floor next to Max, frowned reprovingly at her and Liz rolled her eyes. “I think I'm entitled. I just found out it's the reason I got shot two years ago.”

“What?” Michael asked, a darker expression taking over his already forbidding features as she tilted her head so that she could see him, looming by Isabel's chair. “What are you talking about?”

“Well, it's like this. Apparently you guys were far too obsessed with keeping your life and death secret and it needed me to know about your world, so, it meddled. It seems to be far too fucking fond of meddling if you ask me.”

Leanna sighed in apparent resignation at her continuing disrespect towards the being they were bound to and Michael's eyes bored into hers, thoughts similar to her own swirling in their depths. A strangled noise from Max caught her attention before the connection she could feel the beginnings of could fully form, and she turned her head back towards the boy it still hurt to look at. He was staring at her, his face bloodless and his eyes bright with unshed tears. “You mean it's our fault that you got shot? My fault that everything...” he trailed off and Liz bit back a curse, furious with herself for opening her mouth to begin with.

“No Max, it's not your fault. It's the Granilith's fault for making that decision, Khivar's fault for starting the war to begin with, and the fault of all sorts of other people who have made various decisions in this life and past lives,” she stated wearily, leaning back against the couch cushions and wishing that he was anywhere but here, back in her life. She also wished that she could tell him to get his head out of his ass, because he'd always been far too prone to blaming himself for everything and making everything about him, but she couldn't. He was still too fragile from all of Tess's tampering and the traumatic healing process (which she herself wasn't recovered from.)

She was being hypocritical, and she knew it, but she also hated that suddenly she had to be the sane and in control one again, after having taken over as the emotionally unbalanced member of their little group. Assuming any of them truly qualified for sanity.

It had been a bad idea to have a meeting today, less than two days after they'd taken Max to the Granilith, but their need for answers, and cohesion, was too pressing to ignore, no matter how much they all needed rest.

She'd been planning on telling them about what she'd learned about the future that Max had come from all those months ago, but maybe that information should be reserved for Michael and Ava. After all, the truth wouldn't change anything, and it might just be the straw that broke the camel's back when it came to the fraying thread of hope they were all holding onto.

“I don't think we're going to get anything accomplished today. Why don't we all get some rest and try this again on Saturday; Max, you can join us for training in the desert and we can have a group meeting afterward.”

She could see that Max wanted to protest, but one glance from Isabel silenced him and he nodded hesitantly, nearly all his former confidence missing in the wake of the destruction they had faced in the past two years.

Ava, sitting on the couch next to her, rose to her feet and held out a hand to Liz. Before she could take it, Michael cleared his throat. “I need to talk to you, Parker, about Maria.” Liz blinked, surprised, then narrowed her eyes at him. Maria, right. Well, it was an excuse that most of them would buy, or at least pretend to, so she didn't protest. “Alright. I'll meet you at home, Ava, I think you and I need a spa night.”

“Can I join?” Isabel asked, her words surprising Liz again as she turned her head to stare at the blonde.

“Um, sure. Meet at my place in two hours?” she said, hoping her voice sounded more sure than she felt. And hoping that talking about 'Maria' wouldn't take any longer than that. She really wasn't up for more time in the emotional wringer, even if Michael was one of the more level-headed of the group, dealing with him and his intensity was still stressful.

Isabel nodded, smiling at her and Ava, before gently pushing Max towards the door, Kyle close on her heels. Ava glanced questioningly at her, clearly not buying Michael's reason for talking to her either, but she seemed to find what she was looking for on Liz's face and left with a cautious smile at the man who in another life had been her best friend. Michael managed an almost smile back and then the only person left was Leanna.

“I will see you at the Granilith chamber tomorrow, pithar,” the blonde stated, her blue eyes also regarding Michael with curiosity before heading out the door after receiving an acknowledging nod from Liz.

After the door closed behind the other Vaneth, Michael slumped into the chair Isabel had been using and stared at her. “Talk, Parker – you had a reason for wanting to meet with everyone today.”

Liz grimaced, knowing this couldn't be the only thing he wanted, and not exactly thrilled to be sharing the news with him either. Then again, misery loved company, so maybe knowing he shared her nightmares would help. “We weren't losing.”

He stared quizzically at her, clearly not understanding what she was referring to and she sighed, wrapping her arms around herself unhappily. “When Max came back, we weren't losing the war.”

Michael's eyes widened, but he remained silent, clearly turning that shocking information over in his mind. After a moment, he gestured for her to continue, the intensity of his stare,and the mind behind it, almost unnerving.

“You and Isabel had died, but Kyle was still alive, along with many of our allies, and Ava had joined us, completing the foursquare. It was hard, there had been untold destruction, but Earth had a decent shot of winning the war.” Liz could see the question in his eyes, the need to know what had made Max come back if things weren't as hopeless as he'd made it seem, and smiled with bitter amusement.

“It was Tess, again. She'd planted warps in Max as soon as she came to town, and they never went away even after she left. Her leaving had earned her the rejection of Khivar's forces and so she had no allies, had been living in the shadows while we fought for control of Earth and the Granilith.” Liz's smile faded into a grim expression. “And then she came back. The future me didn't know that, neither did Max – the Granilith showed me. She manipulated us into changing things, wanting to change her own future.”

“Why did the Granilith allow you to come back?” Michael asked after several moments of silence, a frown marring the broad line of his forehead.

Liz chuckled, her shoulders shaking slightly. “I don't know, it doesn't share everything. Maybe it thought we could do better this time. Maybe it has less control than it wants us to think.”

Michael nodded slowly. “Do you think we can do better?”

Liz opened her mouth, then closed it again. “I don't know,” she finally said, voice soft. “I have no idea if we can survive the next year, much less win a war.” Meeting his gaze, she shrugged, letting him see some of the hopelessness and frustration that had been growing stronger within her ever since she'd helped heal Max. “I don't even know if I want to.”

There was silence again. They stared at each other, incomprehensible emotions and ideas flowing between them before he abruptly leaned forward and spoke. “You screwed up. You should have come to one of us, to me, when Max came back and maybe things would be different.”

His words struck her like a blow and she flinched back, unable and unwilling to defend herself from the truth of what he was saying.

“But you know that, and it wasn't all your fault – it wasn't even mostly your fault. And Parker?” His eyes bored into hers and she couldn't look away. “Everything else you've done for us outweighs that mistake. I know that you'll never stop blaming yourself for Alex, but you need to let it the fuck go and move on because we can survive this, if we have you, and I for one have no intention of letting anyone kill me just because life isn't fair.”

Liz wasn't sure if she wanted to cry or laugh, but she let his words summon some of the steel that still remained within her and managed an expression that conveyed agreement. “I'll help us survive, but you need to give Max a chance. We're going to need all of us to do this and you haven't spoken to him once since we got him back.” She grimaced. “If I can do it, you should be able to manage to at least pretend to forgive him.”

He let out a painful sounding chuckle, but nodded. “Deal. I'll stop pretending the former King doesn't exist, and you'll stop wishing that you didn't.”

“Making deals with the devil,” Liz muttered, lips quirking in wry amusement as she resigned herself to hoping for the future once again.

“And which one of us is the devil?” Michael asked, his eyes shifting to a lighter shade of caramel as he smirked.

Liz finally let out the harsh laugh that had been bubbling inside of her. “We both are, Michael, we both are.”
Last edited by Whimsicality on Fri May 03, 2013 7:46 pm, edited 2 times 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

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Re: Fighting Fear (UC, Mi/L, Adult) Chapter 18 ~ 1/26

Postby Whimsicality » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:04 pm

Ashita: Thank you darling! I'm so glad you liked it, and have been patient with me through long update delays, and of course, the torturous wait for Michael/Liz yummyness :lol: Which, I promise, is on the way and very soon.
Yasmania: Thank you so much! And there IS polar loving coming, I promise, and it will be worth the wait :twisted:
polar vixen: Thank you very much! I'm so glad you're enjoying the story and I hope you like this chapter!











Chapter Nineteen ~ The Ties That Bind


Here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
And this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
I Carry Your Heart With Me by E. E. Cummings




Liz made it back to her house an hour before Isabel was due to arrive, mind still whirling from her conversation with Michael and everything that had been said, and everything that had gone unsaid. She walked into her bedroom and flung herself face first onto her bed. Grasping her pillow, she held it to her face and gave a muffled scream, then sighed as she felt the mattress dip down under Ava's weight.

“So, did he kill your puppy, or try to kiss you?”

Liz rolled over and stared at the blonde, eyes wide with confusion. “What?”

The hybrid shrugged. “Michael. Those are my best guesses as to why you're now screaming in frustration instead of looking like you wish you'd never gotten up this morning,” she paused and tapped a finger against her bottom lip thoughtfully. “Unless you're frustrated because he didn't try to kiss you.”

Blinking rapidly, Liz shook her head. “You've gone crazy. Why on Earth would Michael want to kiss me, and why would I want him too?” She frowned. “Besides, I don't even have a puppy.”

Ava laughed and threw a pillow at her. “Fine, live in denial, see if I care.”

Liz huffed, she wasn't in denial. Michael had just broken up with her best friend (assuming that title still applied given their lack of communication lately) and she was dealing with PTSD from her last relationship. That was not a recipe for romance, and just because she occasionally had some R rated dreams about him did not mean anything except that she was a hormonal teenager regularly facing life and death situations, which was a recipe for lust.

“Using that big brain of yours to convince yourself that you didn't stare at Michael's lips for half of our failed meeting?” Ava asked, interrupting Liz's internal monologue and earning herself a glare.

“What, I, shut up,” Liz sputtered, her big brain decidedly silent in regards to a more coherent reply to Ava's ridiculous accusations. She hadn't been staring at Michael's lips – she'd been contemplating their future, and chatting with the annoying voice in her head that was definitely too fucking fond of meddling, and his lips had just happened to be in the way of her eyes. Yes. That made sense.

She groaned and buried her head in her hands, flinching when Ava started patting her back. “I told you to shut up.”

“And notice, the lack of words coming from my mouth,” Ava said dryly. Liz shot her an ugly look and she chuckled. “Fine, I'll leave you alone. I don't think he will, but if you want to wallow in that river in Egypt a while longer, that's your choice.”

“Who knew aliens liked bad puns,” Liz muttered spitefully, unable to summon up any more protestations of innocence.

“And who knew you were so stubborn. Oh wait, I did know that,” the other girl teased, then waved away Liz's answering glare. “Now, what the hell is involved in a spa night?”

“Right, a spa night. In which we use foot baths, give ourselves pedicures and manicures, do each other's hair, and basically do everything the long way instead of with a wave of our hands. Oh, and we usually consume lots of sugar too,” Liz responded distractedly, grateful for the change of subject, but pessimistically aware that the topic would be brought up again, probably when she least wanted it to. Ex-boyfriends, ex-best friends, meddling aliens, and annoying hormones – she wished she could take back her promise to Michael about trying to survive.

It was Ava's turn to frown. “And this is fun?”

Liz chuckled, ruthlessly shoving down all other thoughts. “Yes, it's fun. Now come, you deprived alien child you, let's go raid the kitchen for goodies and then we'll get all my girly crap together before Isabel gets here.”

Ava still looked doubtful, but followed her willingly enough as they collected pie and ice cream from the Crashdown's stash of sweets. After they made it back upstairs, Liz dug around under her bathroom sink for the various manicure, pedicure, hair, and makeover kits that she and Maria had put together over the years, determined to have actual, non boy or alien related fun, for the first time in she didn't even know how long.

She was struck by the momentary urge to call Maria and invite her over, try and reclaim the friendship that had once been such an important part of her life. She glanced up to see Ava staring in astonishment as the unnatural rainbow of different nail polish colors that had been tumbled onto the bedspread and the urge died a slow and painful death. Maria still wouldn't hold more than the barest of civil conversations with Liz's new roomie, and had not lifted her moratorium on alien talk, which was basically the only kind of talk Liz had anymore.

She would always love Maria, and she would never forget the decade of being her best friend, but their lives were no longer compatible, and it was too painful to continue pretending that they were.

A faint tingle ran up her spine and she smiled, the expression less forced than expected. “Isabel's here; I'll go let her in, you pick out some colors for yourself.”

Ava looked up with a bemused expression on her face. “This is punishment for teasing you about Michael, isn't it?”

Liz fought a real grin and shook her head. “No, of course not. That will come later, when you discover the joys of face masks.”

“And people say aliens are the evil ones,” Ava muttered, staring back down at the various substances and implements covering Liz's bed.

Liz finally allowed the grin to break free and ruffled Ava's hair as she walked by, then dodged a retaliatory slap. She made her way down the stairs and towards the side door, smiling at the fact that even Isabel's knock sounded imperial. “Why hello, Princess, welcome to the humble Crashdown beauty salon,” she stated cheerfully as she opened the door.

Isabel blinked at her, clearly surprised by her greeting, but smiled hesitantly back. “Hey.” She lifted her hand to show the large bag she was carrying. “I brought chocolate and supplies.”

“Perfect! We have pie and ice cream and we were most definitely missing chocolate,” Liz said with another grin, closing the door behind the statuesque blonde. “Ava's upstairs trying to figure out our strange human rituals.”

Isabel laughed, looking faintly surprised at herself. “Who knew that I'd ever get to help explain human activities to someone.”

“Probably the same someone who knew I'd be teleporting and flinging lightning at people,” Liz replied with a dry chuckle. “And when we find that someone, we will bury their body in the desert and never speak of it again.”

Isabel laughed again, no more uncertainty in her gaze, and followed Liz up the stairs. “Now that sounds like some fun, friendly bonding.”

Ava met them at the top of the stairs, holding a bottle of shimmering black nail polish that Liz had picked out during a rebellious week in eighth grade. “So, let's do this thing, before Liz gets kidnapped by any other mysterious alien beings.”

“You mean, besides us?” Isabel teased, eliciting laughs from the other two as they all made their way back into the bedroom. Liz paused in the door way and grinned at the two blondes now arguing over the pile of makeup, feeling her earlier frustration slip away. The alien abyss might have sucked away most of her soul, but at least she had great company on the ride to hell.

~


Ava shaded her eyes from the sun and watched Leanna coach Michael, Liz, Isabel, and Kyle through yet another foursquare exercise. The power flows between them had gained a richness and smoothness that attested to the growing trust between all four of them, and the sight brought a smile to her face. A dark cloud seemed to hover on the edge of her vision, dimming her smile, and she turned to look at Max, standing beside her with a resigned expression on his face.

“She'll never be my Liz again. And the rest of them, how can they ever trust me?” he said softly, his face, so achingly identical to another face she'd loved more than anything, etched with pain.

“They learned to trust me,” Ava responded after a moment, trying to figure out how to phrase what she wanted to say in such a way that the fragile young man next to her might actually absorb it. “And they know that most of your actions were not your fault. You weren't yourself and you've apologized.

She turned to face him more fully, watching the play of emotions over his face and seeing hints of the man who had swept her off her feet in her first life. Those hints hurt and she wondered how Liz could face him, how she'd survived having their minds melded together, given how much more recent her pain was.

He stared at her and she smiled grimly. “But you need to show them that you're not weak. You need to prove, to yourself, that Tess didn't destroy you.” She waved a hand at the other four. “They're strong, and powerful, but we have a lot of enemies, and we will still need you.”

His lip trembled for a moment, anguish twisting his features, before he swallowed and nodded, his expression firming into something resembling determination. “Will you help me? I,” he smiled wanly, “I have a lot to catch up on, and neither Isabel nor Michael are the most patient teachers.”

She chuckled, glad to see that he still had a bit of spirit left after having his mind so thoroughly put through the wringer. “I suppose I could do that.”

She'd promised Liz once that she would never help the boy who had treated her so cruelly, but things had changed. And Max wasn't the only one trying to figure out his place in things. She'd been their adviser on all things alien, but now they had Leanna. She knew they weren't just going to toss her aside, Liz, at least, saw her as family. But she wanted to be able to contribute, and if she and Max could work together, they could add their powers to that of the foursquare, multiplying their potential into something greater.

Ava had watched her family destroy each other in not one, but two lives, and she had no intention of allowing it to happen a third time. If that meant risking pain by once again bonding with the reincarnation of her husband, she would do it.

“Okay, Max, let's get started. I want you to close your eyes, breathe slowly and focus on your energy, but don't try to use it.”
Last edited by Whimsicality on Fri May 03, 2013 8:17 pm, edited 2 times 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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