When He Returns (CC, M/L, Mature) Complete 11/28

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Daydreamer23
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Re: When He Returns (CC, M/L, Mature) Ch38 7/27/09

Post by Daydreamer23 » Tue Sep 01, 2009 11:12 pm

A/N: This chapter is way long, but I couldn't find a good place to break it. So enjoy a super-sizred part!


Chapter 39



The blackness swirled around her, swallowing her down as she struggled to break through to the surface. She knew it was urgent that she find a way out. If only she could remember why…

Ephemeral and formless, something in the dark abyss brushed against her consciousness. She sought it out, watching as it came together piece by piece. Feet…legs…torso. Faster and faster the shape formed. Hands…arms…shoulders…neck…face. Max! It was Max! But why did he look so sad? She called his name and reached out towards him. He mustered a small smile as his hand moved towards hers, but just before she could reach him he turned and disappeared.

She cried out for him to come back. He shouldn’t go alone; he needed her with him. It was the only way he would survive. Come back! Max! Max!

Liz woke up in Maria’s arms, screaming. And suddenly everything came rushing back to her. Max’s plan to go after Kivar, refusing to take her with him, and finally knocking her unconscious when she wouldn’t give in. The nerve of that bastard!

Liz pushed her anger aside for the moment. She would have plenty of time to be angry at him later. If, she thought with grim sadness, she could get there in time.

“How long?” she asked, throwing the covers off and dropping to the floor to search for her shoes. She pulled them out from under the bed and hurriedly shoved her feet into them. “How long have they been gone?”

“I-I don’t know,” Maria stuttered, caught off-guard. “A half an hour maybe? Liz what are doing?”

“What do you think I’m doing? I’m going after them. Despite what Max thinks, they do need my help.”

Maria folded herself on the floor beside her friend and placed a restraining hand on her wrist. “It’s going to be ok, Liz. We just need to wait here until it’s safe.”

“If I don’t go now, it’s never going to be safe.”

Liz stood to leave, grabbing Maria’s car keys, just as Serena entered the room.

Upon seeing Liz out of bed, relief flooded her. “Oh thank goodness, you’re awake.”

“Serena, why didn’t you defend me before? You have to know this will end badly if I’m not there to help.”

Clearly, Liz was feeling betrayed by both of her friends.

Serena’s whole body seemed to sag with shame. “I don’t know what to do. I haven’t had such trouble with my visions since my power first began developing. Sometimes I see you going with Max and everyone ends up dead. Other times I see you staying behind while Max and the others emerge victorious. And sometimes the visions just fade out before I can even see where they lead. It’s like something is interfering and I don’t know what it is.”

“Is that possible?” Liz asked. “I mean, could someone be making you see things, to lead us in the wrong direction?”

“I don’t know. It would have to be someone very powerful. Right now, I think we need to just trust Max’s judgment.”

“No,” Liz retorted. “No, Max is letting his feelings for me interfere. He’s not being impartial about what’s best. There has to be another way.”

Liz paced back and forth across her floor, hands in her hair as she tried to force together a plan. She knew there had to be a way, and pressure always helped her focus her thoughts. Finally something clicked together and she rushed over to Serena.

“Use me. Like you did before when I had that vision. Use my power.”

Liz’s idea had Serena re-animated and her whole face brightened. “Yes! I’ll set up the circle and –”

“There’s not enough time,” Liz interrupted. “You have to do it right now.”

That gave Serena pause and suddenly she wasn’t so sure anymore. “I don’t know, Liz. That could be really dangerous for you. If I don’t have my powers focused, I could inadvertently steal energy from you. I don’t know what might happen to you if something goes wrong.”

Serena’s words made sense and Liz would have agreed with her, but Max and the others would soon be putting themselves in danger. Their situation didn’t allow for caution.

“You have to do it now, Ser,” Liz insisted, holding out her palms.

Maria huddled in the corner, arms wrapped tightly around herself, unsure exactly what to think at the moment. Serena hesitated before she took a deep breath, slowly lowering her hands on top of Liz’s. Both women closed their eyes, and Liz opened her mind to Serena. Serena pulled a thread of power from Liz, carefully drawing into herself. She felt a spike of energy as she accidentally pulled too much and she struggled to regain control, feeling Liz waver as she weakened. Serena adjusted as best she could so that she wouldn’t drain too much more. The extra energy curled and coiled inside her mind, joining with her own power. And with Liz’s help, the vision she sought came into sharp focus. With belated horror Serena realized that she had been right. Something- someone- was distorting and changing her visions. It was a trap. And they had walked right into it.

“Liz, run!”

The words were barely out of Serena’s mouth when the door to Liz’s bedroom flew open, revealing a man so large he seemed to fill the whole doorway. Liz grabbed Maria’s hand and dragged her towards the balcony as Serena used her powers to throw the intruder back. He was down for a mere second before he was back on his feet, aiming a powerblast at Serena that she only barely managed to deflect.

As Serena struggled with Kivar’s soldier, Liz guided Maria up a ladder and to the top of the building.

“Stay here,” she commanded in a loud whisper. “Get down on your stomach, stay low, and don’t make a sound. I promise I’ll come back for you when this is all over.”

Maria grabbed Liz’s arm before she could make her way back down. “How will I be sure it’s you?”

“A password.” Liz grinned. “Czechoslovakia.”

Maria nodded and then caught the cell phone Liz tossed to her. Just in case.

“Now wait here.”

Liz shimmied down the ladder and then pulled it away from the wall, laying it down on the ground and covering it with a blanket. She peeked back in her window and found that despite the soldier’s intimidating build, Serena was actually holding her own in the fight.

Despite her original intentions, Liz found herself torn between going after Max and staying to help Serena. She would do Serena no good in her current state; it would take some time before she was strong enough to do anything. And even then, she thought, what exactly was she going to do? She would be useless in a fight. Maria and Max were right about that. The only purpose she could serve would be to hopefully spook Kivar enough that Max and the others could overtake him. She silently bid Serena good luck, then smiled widely as the blonde used her powers to hoist her opponent in the air and fling him back against the wall. She had a fleeting thought of what she would have to explain to her parents, but there wasn’t time to dwell on that at the moment.

She climbed over the wall and set her feet on the top rung of her ladder and scurried quickly to the bottom. As soon as she hit the pavement she was running. She reached the end of the alley and burst out onto the main street, panting for breath as she raced to Maria’s car. A feeling of total dread descended over her, and even without use of her powers she knew exactly what was about to happen.

Two looming shadows melted away from the wall, advancing on her as she threw the car door open. She flung herself onto the seat and pulled the door shut, slamming the lock down. The lock was no deterrent, and the entire door was easily pulled from its hinges. A pair of hands grabbed Liz around her calves and forcefully pulled her out of the car. The large man released her legs, reaching for her arms so that he could hoist her up. Liz kicked with all her strength, aiming for any sensitive point she could hit. When her foot connected with her assailant’s groin, he yelped loudly and his hold on Liz slipped.

With her body once again free, Liz took off sprinting. It was a futile effort, as she found her whole body struck rigid and immobilized almost immediately.

“…your incompetence. Cannot even hold on to a tiny, helpless girl.”

Despite her paralysis, Liz’s body shook at the sound of the approaching voice. Kivar stepped around in front of her, a gloating smile turning up his lips.

“Outstanding effort, Lizzie. I love a girl with a little backbone.” His eyes took in her form, and his index finger traced down from her chin to the hollow of her throat. “Lovely,” he murmured to himself.

Liz wanted to lash out, to kick or bite or scream. Anything to remove his repulsive touch from her body, to stop him from leering at her that way. She tried tapping into her power but found that she wasn’t strong enough to undo his hold on her.

“You know Elizabeth,” Kivar speculated as his hand continued to trail down her side to her hip, “You really are quite beautiful. I was convinced that my attraction to you was just a side effect from the body I inhabited; the boy does care for you deeply. But I’m beginning to think that you could be a wonderful mate for me.”

He pulled her into his body, nuzzling the juncture of her neck and shoulder before opening his mouth and laving her skin with his tongue. “You would be a queen,” he said without moving his mouth away. His hands continued to slide over body, across her back, into her hair. “I could give you everything. Anything you can concoct in your wildest imagination would be yours. What do you want Liz? Tell me.”

Liz felt a gentle heat spreading through her jaws and realized that she was able to move her mouth. It would seem that Kivar expected an answer. He pulled his face to back to look into her eyes.

“Tell me what you want, Liz.”

“I want Max.”

She expected anger at her defiance. She thought maybe he’d strike her. But he merely chuckled and turned his attentions to the other side of her neck.

“Perhaps now. But when you see the power that could be yours, when you have the world at your fingertips…you’ll feel differently.” He placed a lingering kiss against her once-again paralyzed lips.

Liz felt the bile churning in her stomach, and she wanted to cry and scream and fight and disappear all at once. She hated being at his mercy, helpless to stop him from doing whatever he wanted with her.

“Doven,” Kivar addressed the other man, finally pulling away from her. “Please escort Miss Parker to my quarters. And do be careful with her. She’s carrying my son.”

Liz’s blood boiled beneath her skin. Not your son!

The man who pulled her from the car came forward, and Liz realized that he wasn’t as big as she had originally thought. He was deceptively average, clean-cut…someone you would never think to be afraid of. He swept her legs out from under her and scooped her up. He took off at a brisk pace, following behind Kivar as they walked along the main street, obscured in the shadows. Liz hoped maybe someone would notice them and find it suspicious. Not that there was much the police could do against Kivar and his soldier, but maybe a distraction could allow her time to escape.

Unable to move even her eyes, Liz merely watched the trees and street lights as they passed above her. It was difficult for her to measure the distance they traveled, especially when they started making complicated twists and turns that she didn’t understand. Finally they came upon a sleazy motel in a part of town Liz was certain she’d never been to. Any hope of help was dashed then. No one here would question what they saw, and certainly none of them would be calling the police. Kivar opened a door on the first floor of the motel and the man carrying Liz followed inside.

“Lay her on the bed and leave us,” Kivar commanded.

Liz felt the lumpy mattress shift beneath her as she was set down. A few footsteps and the soft click of the door signaled that the soldier had left to take up his post guarding outside the door.

“I don’t want to hurt you, my dear. But if you force me to, I will not hesitate. Can you behave yourself?”

Liz once again felt the muscles around her mouth relax and knew that she was free to speak. She grunted out a simple response in the affirmative and with a wave of Kivar’s hand her whole body was freed. She sat up, shifting as far away from Kivar as the bed would allow. She took a quick inventory of the room. One door, a window beside it with the curtains drawn. Peeling wallpaper, and a water-stained ceiling. Across from her, a bathroom with a window behind the shower.

Even though she was now free to move about, Liz knew there was no chance for escape. And there was definitely no chance that she would be able to kill Kivar herself. But if she stalled him long enough, surely Max would realize that something was wrong. He would go back to her place and find Serena, and then he would come for her. Maybe she could at least try to gather some information, so that when she and Max were reunited her efforts would not have been for nothing.

“So I guess this means you aren’t meeting Max at the Vasquez rocks?”

Kivar chuckled knowingly as he lowered himself into an ugly green faded chair close to the bed. “Don’t think I’m not aware of what you’re doing. Gathering intell for your lover? No matter. He won’t have opportunity to use it. No, there will be no meeting. It was simply a ruse to leave you unprotected. I knew Zan would not disappoint me.”

“And you needed some hired muscle to capture me?” She mocked, hoping to goad him enough that he’d blurt out some useful information. “How many of those guys do you have with you?”

He smiled arrogantly. “Just the one. No more are necessary.”

“Okay. Well…” Liz began slowly, not sure she wanted to know the answer to her next question. “You did it, you got me. What are you going to do with me now?”

Her captor thrilled at the fear behind her eyes. “I considered absconding back to Antar as soon as I had you in my possession. But then, I didn’t want to appear as though I were running from that ragtag team of so-called royalty. How the insurgents back home would love that. And I don’t want Zan attempting to come after you, which he most undoubtedly would. No, I thought it better to finish business here and now. With you by my side and Zan out of the way, my hold on the throne of Antar will be solidified.”

Despite his murderous intentions, Liz was momentarily soothed by his words. He wasn’t taking her off the planet; not yet anyway. Which meant that Max still had time to rescue her. “He’s going to kill you,” she stated matter-of-factly.

Kivar easily dismissed her threat. “Oh I highly doubt that. Now my dearest, come close,” he commanded, moving so that he was beside her on the bed.

“Why?” she asked warily as she attempted to distance herself.

“Because you are going to project yourself to Zan and tell him to meet you here, alone, in fifteen minutes. We are at the Sagebrush Motel, room 11.”

Liz stubbornly crossed her arms over her chest. “And why would he do that?”

Kivar’s cheek brushed hers as his lips moved to her ear. “If he doesn’t, I’ll kill you.”

Kivar smirked at Liz’s horrified expression. “Don’t fear, sweetness. I have much better plans for you, all of which involve you remaining alive. But I do need Zan to believe that your life is at stake, so you will play along, yes?”

Her throat constricted tightly as Liz swallowed. “There’s only one problem- I can’t project. I haven’t mastered my powers that much yet.”

“You’ve done it once before, correct? My soothsayers tell me that you once projected yourself across a great distance.”

“That was an emergency. Someone was going to kill Max,” Liz explained. “I don’t even know how I did it. It was just…instinctive. I had to protect him.”

“And now you have to give him my message. Here, I will even allow you to use some of my power. Not enough to do me any harm, of course, so don’t entertain any foolishness.”

Every cell in her body revolted against his words. She didn’t want any part of him inside of her. But as she tried to squirm away from him, his hands locked like manacles around her wrists. A lock of hair fell across his forehead, and his blue eyes churned like a tempest. For the first time, Liz was seeing the raging monster that lurked behind the calm façade.

“You test my patience. I will tolerate no more of you defiance, Elizabeth. Now, do as you were told.” His words were carefully measured, belying the fury radiating off of him in waves. One hand retained its hold on her wrist, the other dropped threateningly over her stomach.

“O-okay,” Liz stuttered, her protective instincts kicking in. “I’ll do it. Just…please don’t.”

The next second she felt a pulse of energy flow into her, mingling with and boosting her own. She channeled the extra power and closed her eyes, imagining that she was standing inside the rock formation. Every soul is unique, like a fingerprint, and she reached out for Max’s. They’d never connected without physical contact before, and she strained herself to achieve it now. She knew the moment it worked, as she could feel Max’s consciousness joining hers.

When she opened her eyes, a ghost-like image of Max stood before her. His eyebrows pulled together in confusion, and he reached out a hand to touch her.

“I’m not really with you, Max. I’m just projecting my image,” Liz explained.

“So it worked then?” Kivar asked, allowing a hint of satisfaction into his voice.

“Yes. You can’t see him?”

Kivar shook his head. Liz tried to think how she could use that to her advantage, but then Max was speaking again.

“Liz, what’s going on? Who are you talking to? I have to go, Kivar should be here any-”

She interrupted before he could finish. “He’s not coming. It was a trick. He…he just wanted me.”

A cold chill permeated Max down to his bones and his whole body began shaking. No. NO!

“Hurry this along, Liz,” Kivar droned.

“Max?” Liz tried projecting her thoughts to him. “Max, can you hear me?” She glanced over at Kivar, but he didn’t seem to notice that anything was amiss.

“Yes. Liz, are you alright? Did he hurt you? Where are you?” Even his thoughts sounded frantic.

“Listen to me, Max. He won’t take me anywhere until he’s…until he’s done with you.” Liz couldn’t even think about Kivar killing Max.

“Liz.” A warning.

“We’re at the Sagebrush Motel.” “There’s one guard, out front.” “Room 11.” “There’s a window in the bathroom. I think I can distract him enough that you can sneak in.” “Be here within the next fifteen minutes. Come alone. If you don’t follow these instructions, he’ll kill me.”

Kivar pulled his hand away, and without the extra energy Liz was unable to maintain the connection. She wrapped her arms tightly around herself.

“So what happens now?”

“Now we wait for the boy who would be king.”
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Re: When He Returns (CC, M/L, Mature) Ch39 9/2/09

Post by Daydreamer23 » Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:47 pm

A/N: I want to thank everyone for their responses and bumps. Part of the reason this chapter took so long is because I really struggled with how I wanted to write it. I've had the end pretty much plotted out since I started writing it. But while writing the last couple of chapters, a new idea came to me. And I ended up going with it. I know it's been a long time since I updated, so I kind of rushed this one out. Please forgive any mistakes you see/or point them out to me so I can go back and edit. Anyways, I hope you all enjoy this last chapter!


Chapter 40


Max’s heart beat a horrible, staccato rhythm against his chest. How could he have been so stupid? How could he not have seen? He had been so certain that he knew what was best. He was, after all, supposed to be the king of an entire planet. But he had been wrong, so very wrong. And because of his blind single-mindedness, Liz had ended up in the hands of his enemy. If anything happened to her, it would be all his fault.

An anguished cry escaped his throat, and he beat his fist against the steering wheel.

“Max, maybe you should let me drive,” Isabel offered, eyeing her brother with concern. She couldn’t remember ever seeing her brother so distraught before. His hair stood up at wild angles from his repeated, frantic tugging. Isabel didn’t think he even noticed he was doing it. His eyes were brimming over with tears, and his whole demeanor spoke of a man on the verge of breakdown.

“I can’t lose her, Iz.” His voice broke on a sob. “I can’t.”

Isabel wasn’t sure what to say. All the reassuring words that came to her mind seemed trite and empty. She could say, ‘Don’t worry. I’m sure it will be alright.’ But the truth was that it might not be. Opting not to say anything at all, she took Max’s hand and squeezed it between her own.

Max roughly swiped away his tears and returned his hand to the steering wheel. “Listen carefully,” he instructed. “They’re in room 11. Liz said there’s a window in the bathroom. So I want the two of you to sneak around the back and get Liz out that way. She said there’s only one guard, so try not to be seen. If it’s unavoidable, make sure you deal with him before he can signal to Kivar that you’re there. I don’t want him to know that Liz is escaping.”

“What about you?” Michael asked from the back.

“I’ll deal with Kivar. Hopefully I can keep him distracted enough for you to get Liz out of there.”

Isabel shook her head in disbelief. “Do you really think you can beat him by yourself?”

There was a long pause, the silence hanging significantly in the air. Then Michael answered her question in a flat voice. “No, he doesn’t.”

Isabel turned in her seat to stare at Michael in confusion. She glanced back and forth between him and Max, and suddenly her eyes widened in comprehension. “Max, this is crazy! You can’t sacrifice yourself!”

Max hated hearing the pain in Isabel’s voice, but if only one of them could survive tonight, he was going to make sure it was Liz.

“It doesn’t matter what happens to me. Just promise that you’ll get Liz out of there.”

“And what happens later, after we get away? Kivar won’t stop coming after her. We can’t keep her safe without you.”

He turned towards he and the look in his eyes was fierce, desperate. “Damn it, you have to! Whatever it takes, you have to protect Liz and the baby. It’s important, Isabel. And you know it.”

They stared at each other, each challenging the other to back down. Isabel was the first to look away. She had seen the grim determination in her brother’s eyes, and knew that she would never be able to change his mind. She wasn’t even sure that she could convince herself. She loved her brother more than anything, and the thought of losing him was just…pure devastation. But what was her pain compared to the possible destruction of the entire universe, if Kivar was allowed to get his hands on the baby? She knew Max was right. But that didn’t make it any easier.

“There has to be another way,” she mumbled, looking down at her hands.

“I wish there was…but I don’t see how.”

Maybe, Max thought, if he had listened to Liz from the beginning things would be different. But it was a lesson learned too late.
Michael tapped his shoulder as they crossed into town. “Slow it down, Maxwell. It won’t help the situation for you to get pulled over.”

Max nodded and eased the accelerator from the floor, but despite the decrease in speed he was still high above the limit. He glanced down at the clock. Nearly ten minutes had passed since Liz’s message and he felt the panic rising inside him. What if they didn’t make it on time?

The GPS on Michael’s phone guided them through the streets to their unfamiliar destination. About a block ahead of them, Max spotted the flickering fluorescent sign of the Sagebrush Motel. He pulled off into an alleyway and turned off the engine with trembling hands.

Everything about this moment felt so final.

He stepped from the car and quietly shut his door, watching as Isabel and Michael both did the same. Wordlessly they gathered at the entrance of the alley. The whole way in Max had thinking about what he would say to them, what would more than likely be his last words to his brother and sister. There wasn’t enough time to say all the things he wanted to. He didn’t know how he was going to say goodbye.

He reached for Michael first. “I’m counting on you, Michael. And I’m not worried; I know you’ll take good care of them.”

Michael nodded, ignoring the tears in his eyes. They hugged each other tightly, and when Michael stepped back Isabel immediately flung herself into Max’s arms. She clung to him and cried into his shirt while he gently shushed her.

When they first moved in with their parents, Isabel used to creep into Max’s room late at night and hold him until he stopped crying. And on the rare nights when she was feeling overwhelmed, Max would return the favor. Who would comfort her now?

“Please, Max,” she begged. “Please, please don’t do this.”

He rocked her gently in his arms, not saying anything in response. They both knew he had to.

“I love you, Isabel,” he whispered into her ear, and a loud sob bubbled up from her chest. He kissed her temple and gently removed her arms from around his neck.

Her eyes begged him not to leave. “Max?”

His words stuck in his throat, and he had to swallow twice before he could talk. “I have to go, Iz. Tell her…tell her that I love her. That it was always her.”

Isabel nodded shakily, wrapping her arms around herself and leaning back against Michael for support. Max gave them both a watery smile, then turned to walk away. He didn’t get far. Isabel grabbed his arm and dragged him back into the shadows.

“Max…Max this is crazy. He’s not going to kill Liz. He wants the baby. He needs her. He’s not going to kill her.”

They all seemed to think about that for a minute.

“Maybe Isabel is right.”

Max nodded his head, looking up from the ground. “Maybe she is. So what do we do? Call Kivar’s bluff? Risk Liz’s life? And my son’s? That’s not going to happen.” He sighed loudly. “Kivar could change his mind at any time. Even if Isabel is right, that doesn’t change things. I expect both of you to follow through on what we said. You get Liz, and you get out. No matter what happens, you don’t come back for me.”

“Max,-”

“If…if I can get out of there, I’ll find a way to contact you. Don’t tell anyone where you are unless you’re absolutely sure it’s me.”

He waited for them both to promise, then gestured towards the other end of the alleyway.

“You guys go down that way. Go around the back of the motel. Do not let Kivar see you.”

With one last teary look, Max stepped around the wall and took off confidently down the block. One way or another, it would all be over soon.
********************
Liz chewed her bottom lip nervously as she sat on the bed, waiting for Max to show up. As Kivar drew the curtain aside to once again look out the window, Liz glanced toward the bathroom, once again rehearsing what she would do when she saw him. She would leap for the bathroom, locking the door behind her. She knew that wouldn’t be enough to hold Kivar at bay, but hopefully it would buy her enough time to get through the window and out to Max’s waiting arms.

“Anxious?”

She snapped her attention back to the man holding her hostage. He smiled widely, but it looked more malevolent than happy.

“I know I am.”

She chose to ignore him, knowing he was just trying to goad her into responding. He was thoroughly enjoying this.

“Maybe you could cry and beg a lot, really get him worked up. I think it would be more fun if Zan- sorry, Max- put up a good fight.”

“Kivar!”

The voice outside howled with anger, echoing amongst the empty streets. Liz immediately recognized it as Max’s, and she wondered what he was doing out in front instead of sneaking in from the side like she said.

Kivar’s eyes lit up. “Speak of the devil…”

The door blasted off its hinges and fell to the floor in a loud clatter, shocking Liz enough that she jumped to her feet. Through the new opening, she could see Max standing several feet away in the parking lot, his hand still raised.

“Show yourself, you bastard!”

Kivar grabbed Liz by the arm and dragged her to the doorway. “How nice of you to finally join us, Max.”

Liz looked at Max questioningly, but he refused to meet her eyes. She didn’t understand, but Max knew that if he looked at her he would break down, and he couldn’t afford to do that.

“Let her go,” he commanded. “Come out here and face me.”

“Max,-”

“I don’t think so. You see, I know better than to walk away from her.”

Max’s jaw clenched, his eyes narrowing at his tormentor. He knew that Kivar was trying to provoke, to get him angry enough that he would become unfocused and reckless. But he was not about to let his temper put Liz in danger.

“Too chicken, then?” he yelled with false bravado.

Kivar chuckled. “Really, Zan? Resorting to such childish antics. I expected more from you.”

“Come out here and see just what I’m capable of, then.”

Kivar turned to Liz. “I’ll dispatch him, and then you and I can be on our way.” He ran his hand across her cheek in a loving gesture that made her skin crawl.

“Very well. I accept your challenge,” he called out, stepping from the doorway into the night air.

Liz was poised to follow, to go to Max’s aid, when a pair of hands grabbed her from behind, one wrapped around her waist, the other covering her mouth. She started to struggle, until she looked to her side and saw Isabel miming at her to be quiet. The hands, which she assumed to be Michael’s, dragged her backwards towards the bathroom. Just before she lost sight of them, she watched Max throw up her shield at Kivar’s approach.

The guard Max had warned them about was nowhere to be seen, but Michael and Isabel weren’t about to take any chances. They kept moving, and Liz stumbled along with them in confusion. Why were they pulling her away from Max? Shouldn’t they be helping him?

When they reached the window, Isabel climbed through first. Liz was released to follow after her, then Michael. As soon as her feet touched the ground, she turned to them.

“What's going on?”

“We’re getting you out of here,” Isabel responded flatly.

It was then that Liz noticed her red, tear-stained eyes. She saw the same pained, mournful look reflected on Michael’s face.

“He’s not coming with us, is he?”

But she didn’t need to ask. She already knew the answer.

Isabel shook her head, and Liz felt the tears building up in her eyes. She knew immediately what she had to do. What good was her life if Max wasn’t there to share it with her?

Without a word she took off sprinting towards the parking lot. Michael and Isabel took up chase after her, calling her name, begging her to stop. She turned the corner of the building…and her heart stopped dead in her chest.

Kivar stood over Max’s limp body, sprawled prone on the ground. The gaping wound in his chest was obviously fatal and irreparable. Max took one last shuddering breath, and Liz was certain that she had heard her name as he exhaled. Then he fell still and quiet, his eyes frozen open and unseeing.

The anguished cries behind her told her that she was not imagining the scene before her. And that was the moment that she knew her life was over as well. An eerie calm settled over her as she retreated to the back corner of her brain. Her body moved on its own, suddenly sure of what had to be done. Hearing her approach, Kivar turned to her, a conquering smirk turning up his lips.

He didn’t even see it coming.

Not giving a thought to the other life inside the body before her, Liz raised her open palm towards her love’s murderer. His eyes challenged her to do her worst. Power drew up from inside of her, a power that wasn’t her own. It crackled across her skin, growing stronger and stronger, until it could no longer be contained. A brilliant white light exploded out from her hand. It engulfed Kivar completely, blocking out everything else. And when it retreated, there was nothing left.

With a sudden lurch, Liz felt herself returning to her body. Her whole body was shaking as she looked at her hands, not believing what she had just done. Her eyes slid past them, and fell upon the body on the ground. She choked on a sob as she fell to her knees, burying her face against Max’s still chest.

“Liz!”

She looked up when Isabel called her name, just in time to see the guard from earlier come up behind her two unsuspecting friends. His hands pressed flat against their backs, and the next second they were falling to the ground. Their eyes were empty before they even hit the pavement.

Liz felt the heavy weight of grief filling her chest. How much more would she have to suffer tonight? She just wanted it all to be over. The guard began to charge her, and a secret part of her hoped he would kill her. But just like before the power inside of her took over.

He was dead.

Just like all the others.

Liz collapsed to the ground, unable to remain even sitting up. She had won, but at what price?

Max, her anguished heart cried.

She mustered up the strength to move her hand, and she laced it with Max’s beside her. She screwed her eyes shut and prayed for none of it to be real, but she knew it was useless. There was nothing left for her, nothing for her to do but give up. The tears leaked silently from her eyes, and she decided that she was going to stay there right there beside her love until it was over for her too.

“I love you, Max.”

She heard footsteps approaching cautiously, and she wondered if it was someone who would put her out of her misery.

“Oh god…I’m too late.”

Liz felt her eyes flutter open. “Ser?” she croaked.

Liz heard her name spoken, then she felt Serena’s hands brushing the hair from her face. She couldn’t help but start crying all over again.

“They’re…they’re dead, Ser. They’re all dead.”

“I know. I’m so, so sorry Liz. I wish I could have seen this. I wish I could have stopped it. I wish I could go back and make this all right.”

Liz blinked. Through her numbness, something about Serena’s words had struck her. She replayed them in her mind. I wish I could go back

Liz knew that instant what she had to do. She forced herself to sit up and wiped the tears from her face. She felt the ice melting away, felt herself coming back to life. Every second she became surer of her course, and more certain that she would succeed. There was just no other choice.

She leaned over the fallen body of her soul mate and slid his eyelids closed. It was painful to look on him that way, his face so devoid of life, but she assured herself that she would see him smile at her again. She kissed his cheek before placing her lips at his ear.

“I’m going to fix this,” she promised. “I love you.”

She sat up to find Serena eyeing her curiously.

“Let’s go,” she said, standing up and tugging on Serena’s hand. “We need to go, now.”

Serena was worried about the frantic way Liz was moving. She could only imagine the amount of grief the other girl was suffering from, and wondered if maybe she was in shock or something. “Where are we going?”

“To the granolith. We’re going back. And this time, we won’t fail.”


A/N: So originally I had everything tied up with a nice happily-ever-after bow. But then there was a part of me that found that highly unrealistic. Someone we love had to die. So I then I had this thought of Liz by herself amidst all the destruction, and it just went from there. But me being me, I also knew I couldn't leave the story that way. I'm a happily-ever-after kind of girl. I have the beginnings of a sequel mapped out, but I'm not sure yet if I'm going to write it or if I'm just going to let the reader fill it in for themself.

And finally, this story has been a long (cringe, really long) time in the making. So I want to thank everyone who left feedback and encouragement, because without you, I don't know that I would have been able to finish it.
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