Broken (AU, M/L, MATURE) 5&6/6 - 03/01/2014 (C)

Finished stories set in an alternate universe to that introduced in the show, or which alter events from the show significantly, but which include the Roswell characters. Aliens play a role in these fics. All complete stories on the main AU with Aliens board will eventually be moved here.

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oyhumbug
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Broken (AU, M/L, MATURE) 5&6/6 - 03/01/2014 (C)

Postby oyhumbug » Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:55 pm

Title: Broken
Disclaimer: I own neither the characters presented in these stories nor the shows from which they originate. Unfortunately.
Rating: Mature
Summary: Set at the beginning of Season Two, Michael is determined to keep Max and Liz apart, making Liz his co-conspirator. He will stop at nothing to accomplish this goal... even if, in doing so, he breaks the both of them and everyone they care about.
Pairing: M/L
Genre: AU Angst/Romance
Status: Complete
Author's Note: I wrote this story two and half years ago but never shared it. So, please keep this in mind when asking for exposition. Also, as you can see for yourself, this is a Max and Liz story, but Michael features extremely prominently. Even when circumstances might make Broken seem as though it could head into UC territory, it won't. Promise. One last comment: this is not a lengthy story. I actually call it a ficlet, not a fic. There are five parts plus an epilogue. Thanks for reading, and I hope everyone enjoys!

~Charlynn~





Broken


Part One

Today is October 2nd, I'm Liz Parker, and Michael is acting really, really strange....

When she was a little girl, flying had always seemed like the most magical thing. It was such a carefree experience, and what child didn't find floating through clouds exciting? Naively, Liz had believed that, when she was on an airplane, she was as far away from home as she could possibly be. Sure, there had been the vague idea of astronauts and space travel in the back of her mind, but that had seemed too much like fantasy, and, besides, she had never wanted to helm a spaceship; she wanted to be a scientist.

Now, though, the magic was gone. In fact, flying physically hurt her, made her heart clench in anticipation of the break it would no doubt experience sooner rather than later, because someday Max would leave. He would disappear into another galaxy, and she would be left alone without him. Once he was gone, flying would just remind her of her limitations, of why she couldn't be with him for forever like she had dreamed, why she wasn't his destiny and Tess was.

Three months away in Florida had done absolutely nothing to ease her pain, to erase the bitterness that had been choking her since the moment the vision of Max and Isabel's mother had appeared before them in the pod chamber. Oh, she had a great tan, and she was hoping that the physical distance had proven to Max that she couldn't be with him anymore, but that didn't stop Liz from still wanting him. From still loving him. So, when she emerged from the airport gate and scanned the waiting crowds, she couldn't help but glance for his face... even if she already knew that he wouldn't be there. She had distinctly told her parents not to let him pick her up, no matter what he said in an effort to persuade them. The heart, though, didn't recognize logic.

Her disappointment quickly turned to dismay, however, when she realized that, while Max wasn't there, waiting for her, neither was anyone else. If her parents had been too busy at the diner that day to come, she would have understood, but what about Maria? What about Alex? They were her two best friends. She had missed them like crazy while she was gone, and she knew that they had missed her as well. Phone calls, emails, and even actual letters did nothing to replace daily gabfests and hanging out.

Dejectedly, as she went over to the baggage claim, Liz admitted to herself that she would have settled for even Kyle or Isabel – anyone who was a friendly, sympathetic face. Not only would it have been nice to actually feel missed and anticipated, but just because she was back to New Mexico did not mean that she was home. She still had the journey from Albuquerque to Roswell to make, and the idea of having to complete the last leg of her return trip in a taxicab was disheartening... not to mention expensive. If her fears were confirmed, and no one showed up, then someone was going to owe her big. Really big. Like a 'get out of being grounded for an entire year' or 'I'll work all your shifts for a month' big.

Or she'd settle for someone making the last six months – including an alien named Tess – disappear. Surely, humans weren't the only beings that could be abducted, right?

“Parker! Where the hell have you been? I've been waiting outside for like ten minutes. Get your butt in gear, and let's go!”

For a moment, she froze. Although she recognized the voice... and the unmistakably hostile tone, Liz just simply couldn't believe that, of all the people who could have come to the airport to pick her up, her luck would provide her with Michael Guerin. In fact, Michael would be more likely to ditch her at the airport, to leave her there, and hope that no one noticed. When it came to their relationship, she had no false, rose-colored illusions. She knew that he put up with her because he had to, because she knew his secret, because sometimes she came in handy during a crises, and because she was Maria's best friend. If Michael felt anything towards her, it was resentment... not exactly the warm, fuzzy feeling required to inspire a three hour trip to Albuquerque and then another three hour trip back to Roswell.

Slowly, suitcases still in hand, she pivoted around. “Michael,” she asked tentatively, disbelievingly.

“No, it's Rosie.”

Well, sarcasm was better than outright hostility. “What are you doing here?”

“What does it look like,” he asked rhetorically, already turning his back to her and progressing towards the exit. “Come on. I'm illegally parked, and, if I get another parking ticket, Maria will pull my Jetta privileges.”

Dutifully, she followed behind him, struggling to both lug her belongings and keep up with his quick pace. “A little help would be nice here, Michael.”

“You pack it; you carry it.”

Liz had to take a deep breath to stifle her frustration. She knew, though, that getting mad at Michael never helped any situation, so she swallowed her animosity, and, instead, asked another question. “Speaking of Maria, where is she? Why didn't she come to pick me up instead?”

“She's working. Some diva of a waitress skipped town for three months and left her to pick up the slack.”

“Oh,” she whispered, for the first time wondering if her friend had felt that way about Liz's decision to go to Florida for the summer. She had been so wrapped up in her own problems, that she never stopped to think that Maria could have been experiencing some of her own issues. Plus, by leaving town, she had basically robbed Maria of her summer break. Her realizations made Liz regret ever feeling bitterness towards her friend for not coming to retrieve her from the airport. It looked like she'd be the one owing the shifts. “And my parents,” she inquired.

“Busy.”

Neither of them said another word until the car was loaded and they were making their way out of the airport's vast parking lot. Surprisingly, it was Michael who ventured first into, if not pleasant, than at least social conversation. “So, how was Florida?” Though his words were benign enough, she could feel the tension pulsating from his rigid arms and wondered how the Jetta's steering wheel continued to endure Michael's alien-strength wrath.

“Hot. Sticky. Lonely.” Silence descended once more. Believing it was her turn to offer an olive branch, Liz asked, “what about everyone else? What was your guys' summer like?”

Flicking his gaze in her direction, Michael pinned her with a pointed glare. “You mean how is Maxwell?”

“No,” she corrected him. “I really meant everyone.”

“Oh, well, in that case, Tess is doing well. I'm sure she'll be thrilled that you asked.”

“Michael,” she said his name as a warning, as a request for a truce.

When he sighed, she knew that he had relented. “You've been gone for three months, Liz, and he still won't even think about moving on. Everyday, it was 'do you think Liz will call?' or 'I wonder if Liz is having a good time.' He ignored the rest of us, refused to even consider the fact that you meant what you said before you left... about the two of you being over, and just about drove Maria crazy asking for news about you.”

“I'm so sorry, Michael.” And she was – sorry. Even if it hurt, she knew that she and Max weren't meant to be together, that, if he wanted to find out who he was, he had to be with Tess. And then there was the whole destiny aspect of the aliens' purpose on earth. They were there to survive long enough so that they could return to their home planet and save their race. She was just a human girl who dreamed of being a molecular biologist. Her fate was much more... grounded. “But I honestly have no idea what else I can do. I've broken up with him. I moved away for an entire summer. I never returned a single one of his calls, emails, or letters.” Shrugging, she admitted her helplessness.

“Here,” her driving companion offered, tossing her something he dug out of his jeans pocket. “Consider it a welcome home present, I guess.”

Catching it, Liz observed that she was holding an 'I was abducted in Roswell... and I liked it' keychain.”

“Seriously, Michael. You shouldn't have.”

“It's not the keychain that's the gift,” he corrected her impatiently, rolling his eyes. “I stole that from the UFO center. It's the key.”

“What's it to?”

“My place.”

Of all the things he might have said.... “Excuse me,” Liz questioned, shocked.

This time, it was Michael's turn to shrug. “I figured that it would be the last place that Maxwell would look for you... if you wanted to get away and hide from everything. Use it whenever you want... unless there's a sock on the door.”

She shuddered briefly at the thought of catching her best friend and her best friend's boyfriend in any kind of situation where Michael's socks were anywhere but on his feet. At the same time, though, she appreciated the gesture. “Thanks,” she offered genuinely. “That was really thoughtful of you, Michael.”

“Yeah, well, I didn't do it for you. If we want to get off this planet and go home, we're going to need Max to pull his head out of his ass and stop mooning over you. I figured that, as his second, it's my duty to do whatever I can to help him.”

“Of course you did,” Liz mumbled to herself. She should have known better than to think that Michael Guerin, of all people, would do something selfless. At the same time, though, she held onto the key. Turning her head so that she could lean against the passenger side window, Liz gazed out into the desert landscape that she had surprisingly missed so much while away. A dusty plain of rock, sand, and cactus or not, New Mexico was where her home could be found... for now.
For the rest of the ride, neither she nor Michael said another word to each other.

. . .

She was in the middle of a conversation with Maria and Alex about their upcoming weekend plans when Michael slid into the empty seat next to her. Immediately, the discussion ceased as her two best friends glanced pointedly from the lone alien at their table to the alien-only table a few rows away where Michael usually sat with Max, Isabel, and Tess. Since she had returned from Florida, Liz had become increasingly aware of the separation that had developed within their group. They only mingled when it was absolutely necessary.

After several seconds passed and no one moved, no one reacted, Michael barked, “scram already. I need to talk to Liz.” Alex stood to go, but Maria held his arm, meeting her boyfriend – were she and Michael actually still dating? – glare for glare. “Alone,” the temperamental alien added.

With an annoyed shake of her head, Maria relented. “Fine.” Addressing her, she said, “Liz, when you're finished with your ETD, come and find us. We'll be on the bleachers.”

She watched as her friends walked away, only to be reminded of Michael's presence when he snapped, “great. Now you're talking in antonyms. What the hell does ETD stand for?”

“It's an acronym,” she corrected him, not entirely patiently. “And ETD stands for Extraterrestrial Duty.”

“See, I knew you were the right human for the job.”

Shaking her head, Liz tried to wrap her mind around Michael's topic jumps. “What are you talking about? What job? And what do you want, Michael?”

He slammed a calendar down before her. Peripherally, she could see that it was chaotically full of notes and appointments, but she wouldn't allow the visual to distract her. “You're going to be my new tutor.”

“Excuse me? What?”

“I'm failing... like all my classes,” he told her.

“Maybe that's because, when you do actually deign to show up for school, you sleep through all your classes.”

He stared at her dully. “And you thought that would translate into me knowing what the hell 'deign' actually means?”

“Good point,” she acknowledged.

“Anyway, it's not that I care about my grades or even if I graduate from high school or not. The chances are that I won't even be on this planet long enough to turn eighteen. However, Maxwell thinks that I should care about crap like this, you're boring enough that you actually do study and complete your homework, and I thought it would be a good excuse for us to spend more time together.”

Bluntly, Liz asked, “why the hell would we want to do that?”

“Because it's the first step in my make Maxwell forget that Liz Parker even exists plan.”

“Michael, he doesn't have to forget about me. I still want to be his friend. He just... can't be with my anymore.”

“Don't you get it, Liz,” he challenged her. “Max can't be just your friend. It's all or..., well, all... for him at this point, but you're going to help me figure out a way so that he will feel nothing for you.”

Doubtfully, she asked, “and you think me tutoring you will accomplish this?”

Standing, he told her, “for a smart girl, you really can be dumb sometimes. I said that this is only the first step.” Rapping his knuckles against the calendar, he instructed her, “memorize this. It's now the most important thing in your life.”

Glancing down, Liz found that, according to Michael, she'd either be at home, at school, or with him. He left absolutely no time for a social life and, apparently, believed that humans did not require sleep. “Uh, you've got to be kidding me.” Looking up, she glowered at him, “this is ridiculous! I refuse to do this; I refuse to help you.”

Michael bent forward, lowering his face so that it was only a few inches from her own. “If you love Max as much as you claim to, you'll do this,” he informed her.

As he walked away, she realized that his statement didn't feel so much like a threat but rather like a promise. Liz would have preferred the threat.

. . .


It had been a long day.

Between avoiding Max, avoiding Max with Tess, dealing with Michael, and placating and soothing Maria after her... whatever Michael was... basically dismissed her, all Liz wanted to do was go sit outside on her rooftop patio, drink a cup of tea, and write in her journal. Alone. Usually after school, if she didn't have to work, she'd stop by the Crashdown anyway to either spend a few minutes with her parents or hang out with her friends who inevitably always congregated at her family's business. But not that afternoon. Instead, she had slipped inside by the back door, going upstairs without anyone even realizing that she was home. The hot water for her tea was already brewing as she pushed her way backwards into her room, her arms loaded down with her book bag, a basket of clean laundry, and a few cookies from the jar that always sat out on their kitchen counter. Unceremoniously, she dropped her things on top of her bed, keeping only the cookies within her grasp, and nearly fainted.

Michael Guerin was in her bedroom.

“What the hell are you doing in here?”

He answered her question with one of his own. “What the hell took you so long, Parker? I've been waiting here since two o'clock.”

“Um... English,” she offered in reply. There was a decided 'duh' tone to her voice.

Michael scoffed. “Who goes to eighth period?”

“Everyone.”

“Not me,” he argued, folding his arms over his chest and leaning back to rest against the edge of her desk.

Shaking her head in dismissal, Liz once more asked, “why are you in my room?”

“I told you already. I've been waiting for you.”

Concisely, she queried, “why?”

Pushing away from her desk, he strode across the room and plucked the cookies she had been holding out of her hand. While he responded, he ate her snack, never once pausing to either thank her or excuse himself. “I have something I want to show you.”

“Well, that sounds ominous.”

Ignoring her, shoving the last cookie into his gaping and crumb covered mouth, and tugging her toward her open window all at the same time, Michael remarked, “yeah, well, so was the idea of Maxwell being able to sneak up to your bedroom anytime he wanted to. So, step two of my plan was to fix that little problem.”

Dread started to replace her irritation. “What did you do, Michael?” He didn't respond, though, simply pulled her across her patio and, as though he were one of Bob Barker's Beauties, proudly displayed his destructive handiwork. Disbelievingly and more than slightly angry, she yelled, “you removed my fire escape?”

“I removed an easy access for seduction and sex.”

Trembling with fury, Liz said, “for the moment, let's forget the whole issue of boundaries and the fact that who I sleep with is none of your damn business and focus on the fact that you broke a law, Michael. That fire escape was there for a reason... so I wouldn't die if my house caught on fire. When the fire marshall sees that it has been removed....”

“Not only removed,” he informed her, “but destroyed.”

“My parents will get fined,” she finished.

He shrugged dismissively. “Then don't tattle on me to the fire marshall.”

In frustration, Liz tossed her arms up in the air and groaned. Running her hands through her hair, she paced away from the aggravating alien. “Put it back,” she ordered him.

“I'm sorry. I can't do that. No wait,” Michael corrected her, pausing dramatically and offering her a smug grin. “I'm not sorry. I already told you that I'm going to do whatever is necessary to get Maxwell to fall out of love with you so that we can go home. If that means a little destruction of property, then so be it. And I thought you said that you were willing to do whatever it took to push him away, too?”

“I did, but Michael,” she protested, raising her arms in a helpless gesture, “maybe there's nothing that we can do?”

“No, there is,” he argued. “You're just afraid to do what's necessary. Try harder, Liz,” he ordered her. “Or I'll do it for you.”

And, with those haunting words, Michael slid back into her room and left.



Part Two

Today is October 31st, I'm Liz Parker, and I'm running off to get married.

There was absolutely nothing to like about Michael Guerin. His personal habits were appalling. Disorderly, slovenly, selfish, his home reflected his lack of proper upbringing. To spend time there was horrible. The worse part was that no one seemed to object to Liz's sudden inclusion in Michael's life. Her parents considered her willingness to tutor their cook as further proof of her character, especially considering how much time she devoted to him. Even Maria was alright with the situation – perhaps slightly envious but still accepting. Though Liz realized why she and Michael were actually spending so much time together, she wished that there would be someone who would question the situation, who would realize the sham for what it was.

And she wanted Max to be that someone.

Michael's less than favorable traits didn't end with his housekeeping skills either. It was appalling the way he treated Maria, sending her best friend mixed signals and, for all intents and purposes, using her. Perhaps she had been wearing blinders for the past year, or maybe Michael's attitude had just worsened after he learned of his and the other aliens so called destiny, but, whatever the reason, a part of Liz was glad that Maria was no longer seeing him... even if her best friend did miss the mercurial martian. Most of all, though, she hated him because of what he was making her do, because she was going along with his ridiculous plan and couldn't find a better alternative. It was painful to look your own futility in the face everyday, and Michael made her confront her failures towards Max constantly.

Bluntly stated, he made her miserable, and she had no idea how to get out from the mess they were currently buried under. If she quit the plan, if she revealed what Michael was up to and went back to Max, than she was risking everything – his future, his planet's very existence, and her own heart. If she didn't, if she continued with the ruse they were putting on for the rest of the world... or at least their small corner of it, then she ran the risk of losing herself. Living a lie with everyone she knew and cared for tended to make it rather difficult to look in the mirror every morning. Oddly enough, all of the deception didn't seem to bother Michael in the slightest... or maybe that was just sad.

As she entered Michael's apartment that evening, having just finished her shift at the Crashdown, Liz moved silently. Even if her surreptitious actions only gained her a few more precious minutes alone, she would take full advantage of such a gift. The less time she had to spend with her conspirator, the better. However, as soon as she entered the alien's small home, she knew that slipping in was going to have a second benefit that night: Max was there, he was angry, and his presence sent a pulse through her entire body, warming and illuminating depths that had been frozen for months. She had missed him so much. Even if he wasn't there to see her, even if the two of them were arguing about secret alien stuff, she'd take any interaction with Max that she could... even if it was experienced from the hidden shadows of Michael's bedroom where she could remain unseen but still watch and hear the argument taking place outside on the small patio.

“Why are you doing this, Michael? Is this payback for something that I supposedly did to you? Some sick, elaborate joke? Are you trying to make a point, because I have to tell you, all you're accomplishing is making me wonder why I ever trusted you, why I ever considered you my brother.”

Blankly, Michael replied, “Maxwell, I have no idea what you're talking about.”

“Liz,” her ex exploded. She had never seen Max so incensed before. As she watched, he advanced upon his second and barely managed to restrain himself from attacking the taller man. Instead, he rammed his fist through the fence several times, shattering and splintering the wood. She winced in reaction, having to restrain herself from going to him, from cradling his bloody hand in her own and taking care of him. Even though Liz knew that Max could heal himself in a matter of seconds, when you loved someone, even a few seconds of pain and discomfort for that person was too much.

Dispassionately, Michael started to mess with his foosball table, turning his back on Max who circled the large game board to once again face his alien counterpart. “Every time I turn around, you're with her. You sit with her at lunch. You monopolize all her time at the Crashdown when the two of you are both working. You have her tutoring you.”

“She's smart, I was failing, so she offered to help me.”

Liz bristled at the obvious lie but waited to see what Max's response would be.

“I know how smart she is, I know that you were failing. Michael, you've spent your whole life barely skating by academically. In fact, I think most of your teachers simply passed you so they wouldn't have to deal with you again. And I have no doubt that Liz is generous enough to want to help even you, but you don't care enough about your grades, about your future, to take her up on her offer. No, there's something else going on, and I want you to tell me what you're up to.”

Finally, Michael looked up from the table, meeting Max's gaze unflinchingly. “She's hot.” Involuntarily, she ground her teeth together, hating the direction in which the fight was headed, and observed as Max haltingly took a step backwards as though he had been physically struck. “When a hot girl wants to spend time with you, Maxwell, you don't turn her down. If you weren't such a monk, you'd understand that.”

“Does Liz know what you're doing, why you're spending so much time with her?”

“Does she know that I'm trying to get into her pants,” Michael narrowed the line of questioning down to its simplest terms. He shrugged. “Don't know. Maybe. After dating you, it wouldn't surprise me if she was looking for the same thing – a little no strings, drama free fun.”

“What's that supposed to mean,” Max demanded to know.

“I mean that you two danced around each other for months, and you never once tapped that. Then, Tess came along, and you allowed everything to get so complicated, Maxwell. It's not my fault that you couldn't hold onto your girl, so don't blame me if she's finally moving on.”

Max rounded the foosball table and got right up in Michael's face. “Oh yeah? And what about Maria? She's Liz's best friend. She'd never do anything to hurt her like you're doing to me. Liz gets that there's a code. She also isn't the type of girl to sleep around because it's fun.”

The fact that he had so much faith in her made Liz's heart soar, but, at the same time, her stomach felt as though it had been tied in knots. Up to that point, she and Michael had just been pretending to hang out, but it was obvious from the alien second's comments that he was about to dramatically escalate their little game. She hated him for making such a unilateral decision, but most of all she hated him because she couldn't think of a better way to push Max out of her life.

Michael quirked his mouth up, appraising his former best friend standing across from him. Finally, after several moments, he calmly, quietly challenged, “who said it's just for fun?”

“I know things have been... rough between us the last few months,” Max acknowledged, “but this is Liz we're talking about here. You know that I love her. You know that I will always love her.”

“Yeah, and I also know that you have a wife, one that we all need in order to go home. Instead of worrying about my relationships, why don't you take care of your own. Now,” Michael told his leader snidely, “if you don't mind, I have plans this evening. You know where the door is. Show yourself out.”

Max held Michael's gaze for several long minutes before nodding once and backing away. After a few blind steps, he turned around and made his way to the door. As he passed, a part of Liz prayed that he would somehow discover her lurking in the darkness, that he would hear her ragged breathing, smell her perfume, or perhaps even sense her through their connection. But he left, never once even glancing over his shoulder. Although she couldn't blame him for being oblivious to her presence – after all, he was upset, and their relationship had been severed at her insistence, it still hurt.

Before walking out of her hiding spot, she wiped away the mutinous tear which had escaped her tightly shut eyes. It was almost as though her heart told her, if she denied her misery by closing herself off from her surroundings, then her pain would somehow miraculously dissolve and float away. It was a naïve, child-like hope, an empty wish, and that fact came crashing down upon her as soon as she lifted her lids. Instead of being far, far away from Michael Guerin's apartment – perhaps riding through the desert at night with Max or maybe even lying on her patio with just the stars and her journal to keep her company, she was still trapped in a private hell of her own making, and her tormentor was standing right before, a look of defense, as if he was already expecting her attack, upon his face.

“Why, Michael? Why did you have to do that to him, say all those things?”

Instead of answering, he simply said, “it's time to move up the plan, Liz.” And then he walked away.

. . .


Michael had skipped school that day. Usually, that would be a good thing. It would mean that she would be able to spend all her free time with Maria and Alex, that she wouldn't feel as though she was constantly under surveillance, and that she would be able to sneak glances at Max whenever he wasn't looking. But, after the night before, Liz feared what an absent Michael meant. With the way his mind worked, especially lately, it could only lead to one thing and one thing only: trouble.

After he had walked away from her suffering, from her frustration, from her animosity the previous evening, she had been trying to talk to him ever since and failing. He had taken off on his bike and had refused to answer any of her calls. She had wanted to know what 'it was time to move up the plan' meant. Further, she needed to know what the stupid plan was in the first place. All she knew about it was that she wasn't going to like it... which was probably why Michael was refusing to tell her anything. Still, though, she felt she deserved some answers. Yes, at times, she had fought against Michael's edicts and ideas, but, eventually, she had always given in to them, accepting them as necessary just as he said. Because of this, Liz felt as though she should have earned the alien's trust. Now, he just needed to realize that.

It wouldn't be long before they had a chance to talk, though, because they were both scheduled to work that evening... that was if Michael bothered to show up at all. That day wasn't the first time he had taken off somewhere without word or explanation, and, usually, when he missed an entire day of school, he didn't go to his job either. The worst part was that he apparently believed himself to be above calling off, leaving she and the other waitresses and her parents in a lurch without a scheduled cook. Why her parents kept him on at the Crashdown, Liz had no idea. Before, she had found it endearing that her parents were willing to give Michael so many chances, but, now, a part of her just wished that they would fire him. It would certainly make her life easier – one last place for him to constantly harass her.

Before she could even close the door behind her as she stepped into the back room of her family's diner, Liz felt her arm being wrenched as she was drug towards the bathroom. Without even having to glance, she knew that her assailant was Michael. He smelled faintly of fry grease, dust, and motor oil, and his grip was too tight to be anyone else's. Distantly, Liz wondered if Michael was unaware of his own strength or if he just didn't care if he hurt people when he grabbed them so roughly.

“Where the hell have you been?”

She sighed. Usually deja vu was a fun sensation but not when she was forced to have the same argument with the same person over and over again. “Like I've told you before, Michael. I actually stay for the entire day of school.”

“School ended almost two hours ago, Liz,” he challenged. Just as his words were bit out, his fingers bit into her upper arm. “Don't tell me you were with Max. I left you alone for one day, and you couldn't even stay away from him that long!”

Using all her strength, she freed herself from his grasp. Raising her voice, she yelled, “I wasn't with, Max, okay? I was avoiding you, if you must know. My shift didn't start until six, so I thought I'd walk home instead of taking the bus.”

“Oh.”

“And, anyway, you're not my keeper, Michael. We might be working together to make Max fall out of love with me, but that does not give you the right to tell me what to do or to demand to know about my every action.”

“Yeah, well, what if I was your husband,” he inquired, folding his arms over his chest.

Immediately, Liz dissolved into laughter. She chuckled, and she snickered, and she giggled until her sides hurt and her eyes watered. Yes, the suggestion was hilarious, but she knew that a part of her uncontrollable humor stemmed from a need for a release. Everything in her life was so stressful, so serious. It felt good to relax and just enjoy a moment of hilarity for once. However, as the moment expired, she realized that Michael wasn't laughing, that, in fact, his face was becoming darker and darker with impatience and animosity as the seconds ticked by. Realization dawning, Liz nearly choked as she inhaled sharply. “Oh my god, you were serious.”

“It's the only way,” he stated definitively.

Quickly backing away from him until she was pressed up against the bathroom wall, she denied, “no, Michael, it's insanity is what it is.” When he just raised a brow in silent disagreement, she continued, “I mean, for one, we're only seventeen, and my parents, thankfully, would never agree.”

“Really,” he questioned brightly, “because, as far as your birth certificate is concerned, you, Liz Parker, are eighteen, the same age as me.”

Grinding her teeth together, she had to fist her hands in order to not lash out and just slap the infuriating deviant. “You altered my birth certificate?”

“Hey, an alien has to do what an alien has to do.”

“What the hell is that even supposed to mean?”

“It means,” he responded, pouncing upon her words and spitting out his reply, his put upon good mood finally being overshadowed by his mounting desperation and dissatisfaction towards her reaction, “that, as Maxwell's second, I'm doing what's necessary to ensure our race; I'm doing what he isn't man enough to do and that's face the facts. He will never be with you again. Tess is his wife. We need her to return to our planet and defeat our enemies. You're just some silly human girl that has him so blinded with infatuation that he fails to see the big picture.”

Hands on hips, Liz demanded to know, “and that would be what exactly?”

“That if he doesn't get over you, we're all going to suffer the consequences, Liz,” Michael informed her. “It's not just our planet that's in danger. Think about it. If we're defeated by our enemies, than what's to stop them from coming here? It's obvious that they can adapt themselves to sustain life in earth's atmosphere. If you don't do this, if we don't do this, your precious home and all the people you care about – your parents, Maria, Amy DeLuca, Alex, Kyle, and Sheriff Valenti – will die, and you'll have no one to blame but yourself. While you might be able to live with that, Maxwell won't. He'd never forgive himself if, by refusing to give you up, he ended up being the death of you. He wouldn't survive having your blood on his hands, and I'm thinking that you couldn't live with yourself either if you caused him that kind of pain and torment.”

By the time he finished speaking, Liz was in tears. Not able to vocally respond, she simply nodded her acceptance, agreeing to a plan that had the potential to break her heart but was apparently necessary to save everyone else's. Without saying another word, Michael took her hand and led her outside to where she found Tess' small SUV waiting for them. Normally, she would have been amused by the fourth alien's seemingly generous gesture, for Tess would only help others when it suited her purposes, but, in her dejection, in her misery, nothing else – even attempting to figure out just what exactly Tess wanted from all of them – mattered.

She was astonished by how gentle Michael was being now that she had accepted his plan and agreed to participate in it. He didn't mock her tears, and he didn't try to pick a fight with her which was what he usually did when confronted with strong emotions. It was this thought that she was having when they started to pull out from the back parking lot of the Crashdown, only to look in her rearview mirror and spot Max charging out the back door, down the alley, and after them. He ran as hard as he could, and, faintly, she could hear him yelling for them to stop, but Michael simply drove faster, and, soon, Max was lost from her sight in the inevitable, unavoidable New Mexican dust. As the man she loved disappeared, Liz felt the last pieces of her own self slip away as well.
Last edited by oyhumbug on Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Delicious Infatuation


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Re: Broken (AU, M/L, MATURE) 3&4/6 - 02/20/2014

Postby oyhumbug » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:34 pm

A/N: A big thanks to all of you who are reading this! As for Michael's motivations (in this story, he's more the singular minded, power-hungry Michael we saw try to usurp Max, and Liz wasn't meant to come across as a sheep. She's hurting, she's a little lost, and she's certainly confused, but her motivations are the same ones which drove her on the show during season two. Rather than a Future Max, though, it's Michael who's pushing her to push Present Max away. This is Liz in full martyr mode. Hopefully, these next two chapters will clearly illustrate that. Enjoy!

~Charlynn~





Part Three

It's November 1st, I'm Liz Parker, and I've completely alienated everyone I love... pun intended.

Liz felt like a piece of chewed up and spit out gum which had been trod upon so many times it had been flattened to the point where it looked to be a natural part of the asphalt. Her hair was unwashed, her skin was blotchy, there were bruised bags under her eyes from a sleepless night of bitter tears, and she was still wearing the waitress uniform she had slipped on after school in the girl's locker room in anticipation for the shift she never showed up for. Now, newly (and illegally) married, she was running on nothing but fear – fear of the consequences of her own actions, fear that, despite the sacrifices she was making, Michael's plan still wouldn't prevent destruction from raining down upon them, and fear of how everyone was going to react to her less than joyous news.

Not that she could show that she was unhappy with her decision to elope with Michael. If her parents didn't believe that she wanted to be married, then they'd have her in front of a judge, annulling the union, before the ink could even dry on her marriage license. If Maria didn't believe her, then she'd demand to know what Liz was up to, and everyone knew that Maria never took 'no comment' for an answer. Most importantly, there was Max. If he doubted the sincerity of her union with his second in command, then everything they had done had been for nothing, and, frankly, they were out of options.

Slipping oh so quietly into the back room of the Crashdown, Liz cursed Michael - and not for the first time – for removing her fire escape. It would have been so much easier to sneak back into her room to shower and change before school if she didn't have to run the risk of seeing her parents or her friends. Thankfully, it was still early, and the diner wouldn't open for another hour. If she was lucky, her parents were still asleep and their confrontation could wait until later that afternoon; if she was really lucky, they wouldn't have noticed her absence, and she'd be able to put off destroying everything they believed her to be.

“We're not going to yell,” her mother said to Liz's back, and her stomach sank in disappointment. Without even turning around, she knew that her parents were sitting on the steps behind her, waiting for her to come home.

“And we're not going to immediately jump to conclusions,” her father added. “But you're going to tell us where you were, Lizzie.”

Spinning around on the toes of her tennis shoes, Liz rolled back her shoulders and straightened her spine in preparation for the upcoming unpleasantness. “We would have just believed you to be at Maria's, or maybe you had fallen asleep while helping to tutor Michael, forgetting to call to tell us that you'd be late, but you didn't just not come home last night,” her mother explained calmly, “but you also blew off a shift. Now, I'm sure you have some kind of an excuse, but, at this point, I'm not sure what you'll be able to say that will help us to understand how our daughter could be so... selfish. Do you have any idea how worried we were about you? If you weren't home in time to go to school, we were going to call the cops and report you missing.”

Taking a deep breath, Liz smoothed down the front of her uniform. “Mom, Dad, you're right. I... we behaved irresponsibly, and I'm sorry for any pain or worry that I put you through.”

“Sometimes, words are empty, daughter,” her dad told her sadly. Shaking his head in disappointment, he pointed out, “you said we which makes you think that, wherever you went last night, you weren't alone. Does this have something to do with that Evans boy again? I thought the two of you broke up?”

“We did.”

“So, then, you weren't with Max,” her mother asked, “because we called his parents, and they said that Max never came home last night either.”

Unable to hide her shock, Liz took a rapid step back, gasped, and clenched her fist over her heart. If Max never went home, that meant that he was out looking for her. The selfish part of her was touched by the reminder of just how much he cared for her, but the less self-absorbed aspect of her personality realized that the greater Max's feelings still were for her, the more he'd be hurt by the revelation that she had married his former best friend.

“Well, that answers that question and several others that I had,” her mom remarked softly.

“What questions,” she asked without thinking.

“Questions about your feelings for the Evans' boy and how strong they were,” her mother answered. “Questions about how far your relationship had gone before you broke up and if you would ever reunite with him again. How you just responded there,” Nancy Parker informed her, “told me that you are in love with Max Evans, and that, whatever it was you were up to last night, you don't want him to know about it which tells me it probably has to do with some other boy.”

Desperately, Liz sought to correct her mother's assumptions... assumptions that were very much the truth. “No, you don't understand. That's not it,” she argued. “Yes, I care about Max. He's my friend. He'll always be special to me, but I'm not in love with him.” Laughing in an effort to dismiss such a crazy thought, she realized that she sounded almost crazed. Inhaling deeply and then exhaling slowly, she tried to quiet the war of emotions raging inside of her. “Definitely not in love with him, mom.”

“Whatever you say, honey.”

“That still doesn't tell us where you were last night,” her father spoke up for the first time in minutes, changing the topic for which she was grateful for. To think that she'd be more afraid of having to hide her feelings for Max than she was about having to lie about and make up feelings for Michael.... “Or who you were with.”

Nodding once decisively, she admitted, “I was with Michael.”

Relief immediately washed over her parents' faces. “Oh, so you were studying?” Just as quickly, though, doubt flooded their features once more. “Well, then, why didn't you call, and why did you miss your shift? This just isn't added up, Lizzie,” her dad confronted her.

“I missed my shift, because we went out of town last night, and I didn't call, because we weren't studying. Mom, Dad,” she started, pausing momentarily to brace herself against their upcoming reactions. “Michael and I... we got married last night.”

One second. Two seconds. Three seconds. After a ten second delay, both of her parents started laughing, the sound of forced hilarity in the face of denial. “Sweetheart,” her father informed her teasingly, “it's November 1st, not April 1st. It's the wrong day to pull that practical joke on us.”

“Wrong year, too,” her mother added. “Try waiting at least until you graduate from high school, alright?”

When she didn't respond, when all she did was fold her hands on top of each other and hold them before her so that her cheap wedding band was boldly on display, when she unflinchingly met their aghast expressions, her parents – the people who had raised her and meant more to her than almost everyone else in the world – crumbled before her very eyes. They went from nervous gaiety, to suspicion, to fear and insecurity, to blazing, white hot anger in just a matter of moments.

Finally, her mother queried, “are you pregnant?”

“No.”

“Is Michael in some sort of trouble where the two of you thought this would be a good way to help him?”

Her mom was getting closer to the truth, but there was no possibly way Liz could add the confession 'aliens are real' on top of 'I just got hitched.' “No.”

Desperately, Nancy Parker asked, “is this some sort of bizarre school experiment to show kids why it's important to wait until they're older to get married, because, if so, I'm going down right now to talk to your guidance counselor about it, because this is just ridiculous!”

Calmly, rationally, she said, “this isn't a joke. This isn't some desperate, hair-brained scheme, this isn't a school assignment. Michael and I got married because we love each other. We've always been... close, good friends, but, after the past month, we realized just how much more we felt for each other. This is real. I'm really married.”

Slowly, her father questioned, “to Michael Guerin?”

Feigning insult and indignation, Liz fisted her hands upon her hips and challenged her dad. “What's that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing, nothing,” Jeff Parker quickly appeased her, apparently saving that fight for later... if he still needed it. “It's just... sweetheart, you're seventeen. How did this... how did this even happen? I thought minors had to have their parents permission in the state of New Mexico if they wanted to marry?”

Bringing her hands before her, she anxiously twisted her fingers together. “We might have... forged some paperwork.”

“Oh, this is wonderful,” her mom remarked sarcastically, tossing her hands up in aggravation. “Not only did you get married, but you also broke the law.”

Seeing the wheels turning in her father's mind, Liz jumped forward in the discussion and blurted out, “and before you even suggest annulment, I just want you to know that it would technically be impossible now.” At her parents' confused expressions, she pressed on, “I... we consummated the marriage last night.”

She expected an explosion. She expected tears, and yelling, and threats, but what she got was quiet dismay and disappointment. Standing simultaneously, her mom and dad looked upon her as though they didn't even recognize who she was anymore at that point. Their next words proved that impression to be accurate. “Who are you,” her mother asked.

“Whoever you are,” Jeff Parker picked up his wife's threads, “you're not our daughter. You're not the smart, dependable, dutiful young woman that we thought we had raised. So, since you're a stranger to us, I don't think you'll be living here anymore.”

“Well, I thought I'd move in with my husband,” she whispered, for the first time not capable of meeting their gazes. “Do I still have a job?”

“Miss another shift, and I can legally fire you,” he warned her.

Without another word, her parents turned around and went upstairs. After several minutes, she followed to pack her things, wondering if it would be the last time she'd ever set foot again in her own home. At even the very thought of never fixing her relationship with her parents, of never sleeping in her own bed again, Liz shivered, for the idea felt less like a fear and more like a premonition – like a ghost walking over the grave of her childhood. Whatever happened next, she knew that her life would never be the same ever again.

. . .


Before she could even attempt to adjust to the judgmental stares, to the curious stares, to the pitying stares, and to the disbelief cloaking the school like an invisible energy field, Liz felt a palm connect to the side of her face and knew that Maria had found her. Though she had only told her parents, somehow all of West Roswell High seem to be aware of her late-night nuptials to one Michael Guerin, and she knew, without having to ask, that it was her blushing groom who had spread the not-so-happy news around campus so quickly. She had hoped to be able to speak to Maria on her own; to ease her best friend into the revelation of her betrayal; to cushion the blow for her somewhat, somehow; but she should have known better than to think Michael would grant her even the smallest of reprieves. No, he had married her for one reason and one reason only: to completely destroy any last shred of love and affection that Max Evans felt for her, and he would do anything to accomplish his goal, no matter what the price or who had to pay it.

“We are done. Don't speak to me. Don't look at me. Don't even think about me. If I ever see you again, it'll be too soon.”

“Maria,” Liz started only to be interrupted by her best friend.

“I trusted you. You knew how I felt about him, and, yeah, while Michael might be an insensitive, rude jerk, he was my jerk. All this time, I thought that you were helping him because you knew how much he meant to me, because you knew that I would be devastated if he flunked out of school, but, no, instead, all this time, you've been sleeping with him behind my back, lying to me, deceiving me.” When Maria went to hit her again, Liz noticed that Alex was there, too, when he slid in behind their friend and held her back.

“After everything I did for you, Liz Parker – all the secrets I kept, all the lies I told, all the times that I put myself in danger to protect your precious Max,” - Maria fairly spit out Max's name, her disgust and hatred for everything and anything associated with Liz, with Michael, or with just the aliens in general plain for the whole school to see - “and this is how you repay me! I should blow your cover right here, right now. I should tell the world about your precious Czechoslovakians and finally take control of my life back.”

“Maria, don't do anything rash,” Alex beseeched her. “Not everybody you would stand to hurt deserves this, but, if you can't think about them right now, think about me. Consider what sharing all of Liz's secrets would do to me.”

“I'm done,” she promised him softly, and he let her go. Raising her voice once more, Maria shouted, “I'm done with all of it, but, most of all, I'm done with you, Liz.”

Shoving her out of the way, Maria walked past, attempting to hold onto her anger for as long as she possibly could instead of allowing the pain, hurt, and insecurity to come charging in. Though Liz wanted to run after her, though she wanted to explain everything and make up with her best friend, she knew that, even if she could tell Maria the truth, now was certainly not the time. So, instead, she turned back to Alex. “Thank you,” she offered him softly.

Coldly, he replied, “I didn't do it for you.”

“I know that, but still... thanks.”

“Look, I should go... you know, find Maria and talk her down before she does something... Maria-like.”

“Yeah, sure,” she agreed, nodding her head in understanding. As he went to move past her, though, she stopped him by saying, “wait, Alex...?”

“No, I'm sorry, but I can't do that, Liz. We're done, too.”

Even after he was gone, she remained standing there. Even after everyone else slowly dispersed and went to class, she remained standing there. Even after the bells rang and she was considered late for class, she remained standing there. And the worst part wasn't the fact that she was frozen in shame, self-disgust, and sorrow but that no one came to find her.

. . .


It had been the longest day of her life so far, and it was only sixth period. Quickly, Liz made her way through the halls on her way to Trig, wanting the relative peace of a classroom where she only had twenty students glaring at her rather than the entire school. Once the bell rang and classes started, she was pretty much left alone unless called on to answer a question. Though she had not been able to absorb a single word her teachers had uttered that day, their presences near her at least stymied snide remarks and confrontations for at least fifty-five minutes.

She was almost to class when another door whipped open and she was pulled into a dark, small space. “What...? Max,” she questioned, realizing both who her attacker was and where they were – in the eraser room of all places. However, before she could say anything more, before she could raise her defenses against him, he had her pressed up against the back wall of the closet, his hands cupped around her face and holding it still so he could kiss her. And, for a blissful moment, she kissed him back, forgetting who she was, who he was, and what they weren't supposed to mean to each other anymore.

In those brief seconds – when his tongue slid over her bottom lip, praying for even just the touch of her own tongue against his, when she opened her mouth and allowed him to draw her even nearer, when his right hand slid back to fist tightly in her hair while his left roamed down to tenderly grasp her neck – Liz felt their incredible connection opening up and flowing once more. She felt, saw, heard, tasted, and could even smell Max's love for her. She felt his heart beating against hers. She saw the way he looked at her – still looked at her despite the news of her marriage to Michael – and knew that he didn't believe their relationship was real. She heard him murmuring promises of devotion and whispering confessions of admiration into her ears. She tasted his desire for her upon his lips, and she could smell his arousal – that pure, male, drugging essence that screamed Max and told her he still wanted no one but her.

And then she pulled away... at least mentally.

She closed their connection, stopped returning his embrace, and waited for Max to realize that she was blocking him, hoping that he took the rebuff as proof that she had moved on and didn't want to be with him any longer, that she no longer loved him but knowing that it was already too late. If there had been any doubt in his heart, and she didn't really think that there had been, then it had been banished as soon as she first responded to him.

Despite her lack of participation, he kissed her until they were both light headed and he was forced to release her mouth in order to take a breath. Inhaling sharply, he met her gaze, pinned her down with his own, and said, “it doesn't matter what you say or what you do, Liz Parker, I know you. I've known you since we were eight years old, and I'll know you for the rest of our lives. You don't love Michael, but you are in love with me, and this – you marrying him – is just another one of his attempts to keep us apart, and, somehow, someway, he's scaring you into believing that what he predicts is true. Just know that I'm not going to walk away, that I'm not giving up on us, that, no matter what you do, I'll never stop loving you.”

Before she could respond, he turned around and walked away, quietly shutting the door behind him. As soon as he was gone, Liz crumbled, sliding to the floor to sit with her knees pulled up against her chest. Eventually, she sobbed herself to sleep.





Part Four

It's May 20th, I'm Liz Parker, and I'm slowly destroying the only man I'll ever truly love.

She scrubbed the milkshake machine until her knuckles were raw. She polished the metal detailing on all the tables and chairs until she was forced to look away before she saw her own reflection. She reorganized the shelves until everything was in alphabetical order and arranged by expiration date as well. She took a scrub to the grill, cleaning it until it looked as good as new. And, as she worked, Liz promised herself that someday, whenever she found herself out of the hot mess that the aliens called life on earth, she'd pen a pamphlet on the horrors of teenage marriage, sharing with the world just why the idea was perhaps the worst one a young girl could ever possibly make.

Or maybe she'd make it an essay on exactly why seventeen and newlywed did not exactly translate into peace, harmony, and bliss. If she really wanted to, Liz knew that her essay could then be expanded into a research paper where she would delve into the sense of isolation and loneliness one experienced after saying 'I do' at such a naïve age. A research paper could then be carried into a thesis which, in turn, would have the potential to become a doctoral exposé on what was rapidly becoming the biggest mistake of her life, a mistake that was spinning out of control and leaving her with the sense that she was powerless to stop it, that it had already gone too far to rectify. Perhaps her unholy union even had what it would take to draft a series of 'How to NOT' books.

And she and Michael weren't even sleeping together.

Snorting under her breath, Liz tossed her scrub brush aside, removed her bright yellow, rubber gloves, and moved on to her next task. Her marriage presented enough problems without adding the inevitable landmines involved with true intimacy. Although she couldn't imagine a relationship being any worse than the one she currently shared with her husband of convenience, she also knew that their problems were just the tip of the teenage marriage iceberg. At least they had jobs. At least they didn't have to contend with a child in their already dysfunctional mix. At least their vows had been spoken to serve a purpose... however distant and pointless that purpose now seemed.

Though it had been months since she and Michael had run off to elope, Max was still insistent that his future was with her and not Tess, and he was still pushing his alien bride away. As Liz swept the floor of the Crashdown, making sure to reach the broom under every nook and cranny, she had to admit to herself that secretly, in her most hidden heart of hearts, she was thankful and reassured that the man she loved more than anything returned the feelings she could no longer show or tell him about. Even though Max's adamant dismissal of his destiny meant that everything she had done for the past year was for nothing, it also was the only thing that kept her going when everything else continued to fall down around her. She had lost her parents, her friends, the respect of her teachers and neighbors, and most of all she had lost Max. The only person she had left was Michael. Even before their ill-advised walk down the aisle, they had been close to one another not because of a shared mutual respect and admiration but because of necessity. Now, even that sense of life or death compulsion was being whittled away by the daily grind of living with one another.

They fought about everything – whose turn it was to take out the trash, whose right it should be to take the bed instead of the couch, which way – over or under – the toilet paper should be hung. She hated how sloppy he was, how inconsiderate he was of others, and he constantly yelled that she nagged at him. And, because of how miserable her home life was, Liz's grades were slipping. As she watched her GPA drop, she also watched her chances of getting into an ivy league school disappear. It was just one more bad thing in her life that she blamed upon Michael Guerin.

She refused to break down, though. Tears weren't allowed. Instead, she tried to distract herself with work, to lose herself in the menial tasks of waitressing in a small town diner, hoping that, if she went home at night exhausted enough, she would be able to escape into a dreamless, numbing slumber. It was one of the small joys of life that she still had to look forward to, and the other simple pleasures were just as pathetic in comparison to how full and rich her life had once been – splurging on a vanilla cone, catching a hint of the cologne Max wore drifting past her on the breeze, hearing a song she used to enjoy on the radio and forgetting, just for a moment, why listening to music now hurt. She didn't even keep a journal any more, in fear of someone stumbling across and then exposing her deepest thoughts. While it was a daunting, fearsome thought, she now lived for the moment when Max finally gave up on her, for only then would she be able to move past the sham her life had become and start anew.

Liz had been so lost in her own depression that she had become unaware of her surroundings, a very dangerous thing when smack dab in the center of an alien war, so, when she suddenly heard the strains of pop music playing from the kitchen radio, she dropped her broom and immediately tensed to either run or take a stand to defend her life. Sad or not, she wasn't ready to pack up and move out of the land of the living and breathing yet. A few seconds ticked by, though, and, in that time, common sense slowly started to seep back in through her adrenaline soaked pores. If someone was there to harm her, the chances were good that they wouldn't try to dance her to death. So, that meant that the person in the kitchen was friend and not foe... even if they didn't return the sentiment.

“Who's there,” she demanded to know, slowly, hesitantly making her way towards her unexpected company. Maybe it was one of her parents in the mood for a late night snack. Maybe Maria couldn't sleep and decided to use the Crashdown's kitchen in order to bake something completely organic and totally gross. Or maybe it was....

“Who the hell do you think?” Pushing his way through the swinging doors which separated the back of the diner from the front, her husband eyed her skeptically. So much for Liz's distant hopes that her late night visitor was actually someone she wanted to see.

Bending over to pick up her fallen broom, she asked, “what are you doing here?”

“I came by to spend some time with you.” Immediately, she snapped to attention, glancing at Michael with an extra-large dose of doubt sprinkled across her features. “What,” he defended himself, shoving his hands into the front pockets of his jeans. “I've noticed how down you've been lately.” Her skepticism turned to outright disbelief. “Alright, fine,” he admitted, lifting a finger to scratch distractedly at his right eyebrow, refusing suddenly to meet her gaze. “So I've kind of been a little lonely....”

Quirking her lips, Liz asked, “so, you're going to what... help clean?”

Michael snorted derisively. “Yeah right.”

“Sorry. Stupid question. I should have known better.”

“Look, I thought you would perhaps want to listen to some tunes, dance around a little,” he suggested. “Girls like that kind of stuff, right?”

“And you?”

“I don't dance,” Michael responded instantaneously. “No way; no how. Forget about it.”

Despite herself, Liz grinned. The last few minutes between them had been the closest thing to camaraderie she had experienced in weeks. “It's not that hard,” she promised, already putting her broom aside and moving closer to him. Holding out her hands in the classic, beginners dance pose, she told him, “we'll just work on the basics, try to get it so that you don't step on toes anymore.”

He took several steps away from her, motioning over his shoulder towards where the music was playing behind them in the kitchen. “You're crazy. I can't dance to this.”

“You can't dance to the stuff that you like either,” she pointed out. “Besides, the only other station that old radio picks up is country, and I so don't have the patience right now to teach you how to dance and listen to some guy cry about his wife leaving him, his dog dying, his boss firing him, and his beer being flat.” Hardening her voice, she added, “quit being such a wimp, Guerin, and, for just once in your life, try something new.”

Offering one last protest, he complained, “who writes crap like this? Come on! The girl just said sex and cotton candy in the same sentence. Does she not realize how... untidy sex is even without adding food to the party?”

Gasping in shock, Liz questioned, “you and... the ex? She never told....”

“What,” Michael asked, interrupting her. “No. Of course not. We both know that I'm not great with the alien powers, but I can unscramble porn.”

She giggled, unconsciously engaging in the conversation before she realized what faux-pas she was about to make. “Do you know if...?”

But Michael interrupted her. “Hey, don't even think about saying that name.” For a brief, fleeting moment, she had felt like her old self once again and, in consequence, had forgotten their moratorium on all words beginning with the letter 'M.' It was just easier that way. “Besides, how the hell should I know whether he did or not?”

Before she could adjust to the rapid mood shift, she felt herself being pulled into her husband's embrace. As his arms wrapped around her, though, he didn't attempt to dance with her. Rather, he started to tickle her. She fought reacting, didn't want to give in to the juvenile moment of joviality, but her body had always been extremely responsive to such sessions of torture, and she quickly started to laugh, twisting and turning desperately away from the unwelcome touch. Fortunately, it only lasted for a moment; unfortunately, it stopped because the ground beneath them started to tremble.

Pots, pans, and stacks of dishes, jars and cans of food fell to the floor behind her and in the kitchen, creating an ear-splitting symphony of destruction. Tables shimmied against and scratched the floor. The glass in the front door and windows shattered into millions of tiny, fragmented pieces, and several cracks appeared in the plaster of the Crashdown's walls. Just as rapidly as the earthquake started, though, it stopped. As stillness fell over the town of Roswell once more, it was like nothing had even happened. If it wasn't for the physical evidence before her own very eyes, Liz would never have believed the event to actually have occurred.

“What...? What just...?” And then she looked up.

Skin nearly gray from fatigue and weariness, face hollow from malnutrition, eyes empty and lifeless, Max Evans quietly slipped backwards, moving one step at a time away from where he had been standing and watching her just a minute before.

“You... you did this,” she accused, turning back to face a bewildered Michael. Totally ignoring the rules, she continued on. “You knew that Max was coming here, so you got here first, and you staged this... show... to hurt him, to make him think that I was happy with you, that we actually cared for one another. And the worst part,” Liz posed rhetorically, “is the fact that I believed you, that I thought that you were worried about me enough to come here and try to cheer me up, but, really, it was all just another part of your sick plan.”

“Our sick plan,” he corrected her. “Ours. And don't forget it.”

Stepping through the litter of debris covering the Crashdown's floor, he walked away.

. . .


Chemistry.

It was akin to all her pain – a cousin to biology, the thing that meant so much to her yet kept her from the person who meant the most; the granddaddy of all of high school's cruelest jokes; the mother of all ironies; the offspring of everything she and Max felt for one another combined. As Liz sat in class day after day, she absorbed nothing of the lessons being taught to her and, instead, ruminated over how the very name of the class mocked her... especially since Max sat just three lab tables away. Tess two.

In the grand scheme of time, a year wasn't even worth registering, but, on her life cycle's personal calendar, a year had rendered so many changes, none of which were for the better. It was hard for Liz to believe that just a mere twelve months before she and Max had been lab partners. Not only did science class mean learning, but it also meant flirting – finger foreplay, passing notes, eye sex. Now, though, she wasn't allowed to be Max's partner... in chemistry or anything else. In fact, she wasn't even supposed to look at him when he was nearby.

However, he watched her. Whenever their teacher's back was turned, she'd feel his gaze swing around to focus upon her face, her hands, her body, because, wherever his eyes touched, her skin would feel as though it had been stretched beyond capacity – all tight, and slippery, and warm from the frenzied movement of her molecules that his attention inspired. And that was just the beginning of her reaction to his daily perusals. Her cheeks would also flush, the fire burning in her veins spreading from her face, to her neck, to her chest, and then outward until it left her fingers throbbing and her toes curled in agony; and the tiny hairs on the back of her neck would stand at attention, like an army of attraction readying to march her through her conviction and towards submission.

It was torture; it was ecstasy.

“Now, if you will please carefully turn your Bunsen burners to their lowest setting, we'll begin the....” Although she heard the classroom's door open, causing her teacher's words to sputter to an undignified, affronted end, Liz never once glanced up from the lab table on which she was randomly tracing nonsense figures with her right index finger. Back and forth, up and down, she drifted. Swirling, zigzagging, meandering, her mind aimlessly wandered. It wasn't until she heard the instructor protest, “Mr. Guerin, you should not be in my room right now. This is highly disruptive! It would be one thing for you to actually show up late to your own class period, but you aren't even registered for this class, and you are most certainly not an AP student. I insist that you leave at once or....”

The threat went unfinished, not that she would have been capable of focusing upon the situation at hand enough at that point to hear it anyway. Rather, her attention was totally and completely diverted by Michael's actions. While he had been walking towards her since the moment he stepped into the room, she had figured he needed to talk to her about something – maybe he needed money or their apartment had been broken into, but the last thing she had expected him to do was wrap an arm around her waist and then a hand through her hair, dip her back, and then kiss her, so, to say that she was just a little bit shocked and unprepared to react, well, that would have been a slight understatement.

Her astonishment didn't freeze her for long, though, and, within seconds, she was frantically attempting to push him away. Her actions, though, were too little, too late. By the time Michael released her, smirking and making some asinine comment about how 'that should deal with Max once and for all,' and then disappeared through an open window, the lab was already on fire. The flames on the Bunsen burners were lit to their highest settings, the chemicals which had been carefully laid out for the day's experiments were spilled and spreading the flames, and her fellow classmates were panicking, creating even more chaos. Books were burning, wooden stools were being licked by the blue tinged flames, and even the various posters hanging on the walls were being lit by the chemical fire's jumping sparks. Before she could stand, before she could get away, Liz watched as Max surged towards her, ignoring everything within his path. As he scooped her up and followed the same path out of the window that his second had taken just moments before, she realized that, in his haste to save her, Max had pushed Tess aside, burning the alien of his destiny in the process.

. . .


How had her life gotten to this point?

That thought drove itself through her mind non-stop, everything else mercifully fading to the background. Oh, realistically Liz understood the steps she had knowingly taken to destroy her own existence... and those of several of her nearest and dearest, but emotionally her decisions – no, their decisions were still... for a lack of a better term... alien to her heart.

When Michael had come to her months before – impulsive, rash Michael – with an actual plan in mind, it had all seemed so plausible, so right. After all, she loved Max enough to sacrifice her own happiness for the lives of his people... and hers. But Michael's meticulously laid out plot to permanently crush Max's feelings for her had thus far failed. In fact, their betrayal only seemed to be pushing him further towards the edge, further away from his destiny, and closer to desperation. And, now, that's how she and Michael were responding – desperately.

Liz shivered. While Michael's apartment – and it would always be just Michael's apartment no matter for how long she lived there with him – was far from chilly, she was mentally and physically stripped bare. The scene was set for their one last, final ditch hurrah, their one last, final ditch screw you to Max, and her nude form in bed with an equally unclad Michael was the pièce de résistance. Of course, she had insisted upon a sheet, strategically draping it so that, despite their lack of clothing, neither she nor her husband would actually be forced to see each other disrobed, but that last barrier did not ease the pain in her heart. It had been bruised and tattered for months, but those last fraying sinews of hope had become unraveled as she climbed into bed moments before with Michael, when Tess had all but insisted upon putting on such a show, and, now, after an agonizing year of heartache and misery, Liz felt it. Her heart was broken, ripped in two, and the worst part was that neither of those divided portions were her own anymore; they hadn't been since that fateful day a year and a half prior when Max had brought her to life on the scuffed, faded floor of her parents' cafe.

Michael fidgeted beside her, bringing her harshly back to the present. It amazed Liz that she would gladly trade the agony of the current moment for the pain of the past, that she would voluntarily endure a thousand gunshots wounds if she could just rewind the clock and take back everything which had happened since Max had revealed his secret to her. While such a desire was melodramatic, she didn't care. She could never regret knowing Max, loving Max, but she regretted hurting him, and, if it meant going back to watching him watch her from afar and never knowing what it was like to be with him, then she would do so all to save him the misery she and his supposed best friend were about to inflict upon him.

But it was too late. Her hopes and wishes at that point meant nothing. She had made the decision to break her connection with Max and push him in Tess' direction. Though it could be argued that everything they had done had been Michael's plan, Liz was just as culpable, because she had gone along with it. In fact, she was probably even more guilty than Michael, because she knew better than anyone else what their actions would do to Max, and she had, if not joyfully, then at least resignedly gone along for the twisted, tangled trip. And, now, everything had come to a head. It was the culmination of everything they had done for the past nine months, and she felt like she was going to be sick, because a part of her feared that even this – this ultimate betrayal – would all be for nothing, that Max, no matter what, would never turn to Tess... even if he did turn away from her.

It didn't matter, though, what she feared, because Michael was set on their current path. He was convinced, and, even if she didn't agree with him, he would find a way to proceed with or without her. Tess' visit earlier had made that much apparent. While she and Michael had been doing what amounted to no more than playing mere mind games with Max, Tess had been out looking for and succeeding in finding the aliens a way home. Frustrated, furious, and fed up – not to mention badly burned because Max hadn't offered to heal her, she had revealed that, with or without Michael and the rest of the aliens, she was taking the granolith – a supposed religious artifact and transportation device all rolled into one which was startling enough located behind the pods – and leaving Earth. She had declared that she wasn't waiting around any longer to see if Michael's machinations would eventually lead Max into killing them all; she was going home. One way or another, Michael was determined to be on that ship with her.

So, that's why Liz Parker found herself in the same bed as Michael Guerin. That's why she found herself naked with only a thin sheet separating her from an equally naked man she didn't even really like if truth be told. And that was why, in mere seconds, if her husband's tensing was any indication, she would be killing the very thing she held to be the most precious in the entire world: Max's heart, his love for her, his innocence.

The phone call to incite Max into coming over had been placed ten minutes before, so there was no knocking, no warning when the door burst open, and he was just there. As she listened to him walk through the small, dingy apartment, Liz turned her head into her pillow. Unconsciously, the movement placed her closer to Michael, positioned her more intimately against him. However, that was certainly not her intention. Rather, she had needed to avert her gaze, not so that she wouldn't see Max and the devastation he would surely experience as it swept across his face, but so that he wouldn't see hers. The steady stream of tears leaking from her dead eyes were not exactly the picture of post-coital bliss their little scene was meant to convey.

But nothing happened. There was no yelling, no screaming, no crying. Nothing exploded; no ugly words were catapulted in her direction. Instead, there was silence followed by an ugly, painful gulp from Michael. It was so... anticlimactic, so far from what Liz had been expecting that it took her several moments to adjust. By the time she did open her eyes, she gasped.

Michael was gripping his left arm, the classic sign of someone experiencing a heart attack.

And her own pain suddenly manifested itself physically – crushing her, suffocating her, marking her in dark, ugly slashes of blacks and blues – the colors of mourning.

And Max was gone.
Delicious Infatuation


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Re: Broken (AU, M/L, MATURE) 1&2/6 - 02/12/2014

Postby oyhumbug » Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:51 pm

A/N: Michael was never one for long range plans, Carolyn; he only ever saw the short picture, and, in this case, that's leaving. He became so obsessed with the idea of going back to their home planet that this is the result of that obsession. But, yes, his actions (and Liz's) will have long term impact upon the future of everyone's lives. You'll get to see both the short term (chapter five) and the long term (epilogue) in this last post. Thanks for reading and responding, and I'm so glad you enjoyed the story!

~Charlynn~





Part Five

It's May 21st, and I'm no longer Liz Parker.

Scientifically, she should have been fascinated by what had happened to the pod squad. Someway, somehow, Max's emotional turmoil had been channeled into physical pain and transmitted telepathically to the other aliens... or, at least, to Michael and Isabel. Given Liz's own physical manifestation of her broken heart, she wasn't entirely surprised by Max's as well, but she simply could not muster up her usual sense of curiosity and fascination towards anything unknown. Simply put, at that point, she was too sore and too empty to care anymore. By her own actions, her life had been eroded down to the point where only the necessities existed: self-survival and Max. Despite her body's tenderness, she was still alive, and Max was okay... at least enough to heal his sister and once second-in-command.

From the shadows, Liz watched as the three aliens met surreptitiously at school. While normally such a location for a meeting would have been frowned upon, Isabel and Michael were in no condition to travel anywhere more strenuous than somewhere which contained modern conveniences, and she knew better than to expect Max to step foot into Michael's apartment, not after what he had witnessed there – or believed to have witnessed there – the evening before. The Evans' household was out, because the three teens were supposed to be in school, and the Crashdown was no longer everyone's safe haven thanks to her poor decisions of late. Luckily, because of Isabel's ice queen nature, Michael's gruff personality, and what the rest of the school perceived as Max's shyness, the three of them were usually given a wide berth in the halls of West Roswell High, and no one, after years of watching them self-exclude themselves, would be suspicious to see them whispering softly and standing close together. Only someone who knew the aliens intimately – someone like Liz – would recognize the meeting between the three teenagers for what it was: a healing session and an argument.

Without protest, Max healed his sister, repairing her damaged heart and replenishing her youth and vitality. When he turned to Michael, though, Liz could see the hesitance upon Max's face, and she hated herself just a little bit more. The Max she knew and loved before she set out to break their connection – their bond – and turn him away from her would never have hesitated to heal anyone, and to see him shy away from someone he had once loved like a brother was both dismaying and extremely telling. While Michael shared in her guilt – whether he truly felt such regret or not, in that moment, Liz fully realized just how much damage her decisions of late had wrecked upon the one person in the world she loved the most.

Despite his apparent misgivings, Max healed Michael, and it was once the surly alien had reclaimed his full power that the true animosity started to show itself between the two males. “Where's Tess,” Michael demanded to know. Isabel shrugged in uncertainty as Liz's husband belligerently continued, “I'm sure she needs you to fix her, too... unless you already have.”

Unemotionally, coldly, Max replied, “I haven't seen her.”

“What?” The single word inquiry was clipped, Michael's irritation instantly transforming into outright ire.

“She's not here today, I guess,” Max further explained. “I don't know where she is. It's not like I had a tracking chip implanted in her, and, frankly,” he held up a hand to prevent the protest already bubbling forth upon his former best friend's lips, “I don't care where she is.” Exhaling sharply, he added, “I can barely handle seeing and dealing with you today, Michael. I don't think I could stand one more destiny lecture from Tess. If she was hurt that bad and needed help, I'm sure we would have heard from her by now.”

Impotent in his fury, Liz watched in silence as Michael fairly crackled with pent up anger. His neck bulged; his face because suffused with red-hot, unleashed frustration; and she saw Isabel take a step away from the volatile alien. “Well, that's just great, Maxwell,” Michael burst out. “So, are you telling me that you haven't talked to her since yesterday?” Before Max could respond, Michael shot his hand out to the side, seemingly unable to contain his aggravation any longer. With a growl, he barely missed hitting Isabel with his expelled energy and, instead, caused a picnic table to liquify and then disappear entirely.

“Jesus, Michael,” Isabel cried in reaction, shocked. “Forget the fact that you shouldn't be using your powers in public, you nearly....”

But she was cut-off mid-chastisement, Michael continuing his verbal assault against Max. “Do you know what's freaking hilarious about this situation, Maxwell? If it was Liz who was suddenly MIA, you wouldn't even be here right now. You'd be off searching for her, Isabel and I be damned!”

Max didn't deny the claim, and, despite everything else going on, Liz found herself awash in a sheltering warmth of contentment that she hadn't felt in a long, long time. Still, though, she remained silent, hidden. Judging by Michael's tone, her presence would only prove to further exacerbate the situation. The words that flew from her husband's mouth next only served to prove her point.

“Everything – all of this – is that stupid, human bitch's fault,” Michael hissed. “Because of her, you're this close to becoming a psychopath,” he accused Max. Without waiting for a response, he continued to rant. “Because of her, we've been exposed; the FBI know about us now. She brought the skins closer to us, too. And, now, on top of everything else, it's because of her that Tess is gone!”

“What do you mean gone,” Isabel asked.

Rolling his eyes, Michael threw his hands up in exasperation, harshly answering, “what the hell do you think it means? She's gone. Left. She freaking phoned home.”

“Sarcasm is not going to help the situation, Michael,” Max's sister snapped back, apparently fed up with her friend's attitude. While she and Isabel had never been particularly close, a little part of Liz thrilled at the display of temper directed towards Michael. “And, besides, she couldn't leave without... procuring the proper travel arrangements, and there are no local long distance means of transportation.”

“Maybe if Max wasn't still allowing some human girl to lead him around by the short hairs and actually paying attention to his wife, then you'd know that Tess found a ship,” Michael bit out in response, not even attempting to veil their alien-related discussion with human terms. “She came to me last night, warning me that I had one more chance to fix this mess, or she would leave without me.”

“Wait,” Max interjected. “What are you talking about? Fix what mess?”

“You're missing the point here, Maxwell! The point is that evidently Tess got tired of waiting around for you to notice and recognize her as your queen and left not only you but all of us here on this miserable, god-forsaken planet!”

In a deceptively calm voice, the once king warned, “I'm only going to ask you this one more time, Michael, so you better answer me truthfully. “What. Mess.”

Startlingly, Michael laughed. “Our lives, thanks to your obsession with Liz Parker! For months, I've been trying to fix everything – to get you to finally forget about that whiny, needy bitch and focus on what's important: finding out everything there is to know about us so we can finally go home, and the only way you could have done this was if you forgot about your little human infatuation and finally manned up, accepted Tess as your destiny, and left your little, insignificant human fantasies behind. So, I did everything in my power to make you hate Liz. Hell, I trashed both of our lives and pretended to marry her, but you still wouldn't give her up! And, frankly, I don't get it, Maxwell. Is she really that good of a lay, or did you just feel guilty because the perfect Liz Parker spread her otherwise clamped legs....”

Whatever Michael was going to say to finish his insult, to further degrade her relationship with Max, was cut short when Max's fist slammed into Michael's face, knocking the other alien to the ground and effectively shutting his mouth... at least temporarily.

Max's formerly calm demeanor had completely fled in favor of a barely constrained maelstrom of emotion. Looking upon his face, Liz recognized disgust, hurt, fury, hated, and a thin vein of relief, but all that she observed was eclipsed by the fine tremors ripping themselves through Max's tense, barely restrained form and the words that next fell from his bloodless lips. “You are dead to me, Michael. Don't come near me, don't speak to me, don't look at me, and, most importantly, stay the hell away from Liz. If I see you with her, I can't guarantee that I will be able to stop myself.”

“Stop yourself from what, Max,” his sister questioned nervously, her arms crossed protectively over her chest.

“From killing him like the traitor he is.”

Without waiting for a response, Max pivoted on his feet and robotically walked away. Liz slipped away, too.

If she had been dead inside before, her heart was not buried under a lifetime's worth of guilt and regret. Knowing that Max's feelings for Michael were surely a reflection of what he now felt for her as well, for she had gone along with Michael's plan, she didn't go after the man she loved. Instead, she dragged herself to class. Numb and mute, she wrapped her arms around her own body, hoping that she'd physically be able to hold herself together. After all, she didn't deserve the relief falling apart would grant her. Rather, she owed it to Max to suffer in silence. Alone. And, really, she didn't even care about her own devastation. She just wished that there was still someone out there who could be there for Max, but, along with dismantling her own connection to him, she had also managed to destroy his relationships with everyone else he had once cared about. Because of her, for the first time in his life, Max was truly alienated from everything and everyone both human and not of this world.

. . .


“Liz! Liz, wait up!”

It took her a second to recognize her own name, ten seconds to recognize his voice, and then the time it took for him to run down the hall and come to a stop next to her to realize that she had, indeed, waited for him. While she wasn't sure if she could handle Max telling her that she was nothing to him, too – just as he had told Michael that morning, Liz also knew that she owed Max that much – that she owed him the chance to vent his pain and animosity towards her. So, despite their very public location – the main hallway in the math and science wing, she stopped, braced herself as best as she could, and prepared to die inside just a little bit more. Even though she felt that she owed Max a confrontation, she couldn't bring herself to meet his gaze. Instead, she glanced at her feet as her tennis shoes lightly scuffed the buffed, tiled floors.

“Liz....”

But, then, Max said her a name a third time, whispering it in that silky, seductive, intimate way of his, saying her name like no one else before him ever had and like no one else would ever be able to, and she couldn't deny her soul's reaction, its pleading to see him really seeing her just one last time.

What she found astounded her. Rather than the bitter resentment she had expected to find clouding the whisky hued depths of his irises, she found sympathy and compassion, tenderness and love. It was far more than she deserved, far more than she could handle in that moment.

“Max?” A sob choking that one word from her parched and burning throat, Liz bit her lip to contain a further display of emotion. To keep her tears at bay and her quivering fingers from reaching out and touching him, she clenched her small hands into tight fists, her short clipped nails biting into the sensitive flesh of her palms.

Then, the next thing she knew, Max was gently pulling her into the eraser room, deftly locking the door behind them. Despite his soft touch, though, his hand bit into the tender flesh of her forearm, and, as soon as they were away from prying eyes, she involuntarily winced in reaction, shying away from the one person she knew would never intentionally hurt her physically. She attempted to hide her discomfort from Max, but she should have known better; when it came to her and her welfare, he never missed anything.

“What the...?,” Max questioned, reaching, once more, for her arm. Knowing that she would not be able to either distract him from his curiosity or hide the truth away from him, Liz allowed him to take possession of her arm once more, already prepared to excuse what he would see when he rolled up her long sleeves.

“They're not that bad, Max, really,” she attempted to assure him. “They're just a few bruises. I'll be fine in a couple of....”

He interrupted her. “Liz, your arm is black and blue from your wrist to your elbow. I've never seen anything....”

As his words faded off, she risked a glance up into his face and found absolute horror being displayed back to her. Before she could respond, his hands were lifting her shirt off of her body. Unlike all the other times they had been in the eraser room together, there was absolutely nothing sexual about Max's actions, and, despite her embarrassment, Liz lamented its absence. She had never wanted Max to look upon her body with anything but love and adoration, with attraction singing within his deep and lingering gaze, but those emotions couldn't possibly have been further from his mind and heart in that moment. Instead, the gasp emitted from Max's mouth was one of dismay, and his eyes screamed revulsion... not so much for her but on behalf of what had happened to her.

Only Max didn't know what that was, and she feared where his mind would take him. “Okay, I know it looks really bad, Max,” Liz conceded, “but it will get better. They're just bruises.”

“You look like you were beat within an inch of your life,” he whispered out, the pads of his fingers delicately reaching out to trace the worst of the marks marring her skin. Immediately, she felt the healing warmth of his touch, and sighed in relief, not because he was taking her pain away but because Liz had at first feared and then come to accept the fact that she would never feel such a caress from the man she loved again.

Through the haze of her pleasure, she explained, “it's nothing like that, Max. I guess... like what happened with Isabel and....” Cutting off her own remarks, for she couldn't say Michael's name in Max's presence, not after everything she and the Michael had put him through. “Anyway, I think my emotional pain somehow manifested itself physically. After what happened last night, the bruises just... appeared.”

A lone, lean digit left her collarbone where Max had been healing a particularly vicious bruise and traveling up to rest deliciously against her lips. “Ssh,” he murmured. “It's okay now, Liz. I know what's been going on. I know how Michael has been manipulating you, using your love for me to convince you that you had to let me go and push me away.” With his next words, his tone became darker. “Trust me, I understand exactly what happened here, and I promise you, Liz, it'll never happen again.”

“But, Max...,” she protested, but her words fell on deaf ears.

“I've let him get away with his crap for too long already, but it ends now. Once and for all, I'm going to deal with Michael Guerin.”

Before she could even blink, Max turned around, opened the door, and sprinted down the hall. Though she picked up her shirt and clutched it to her bare, bra-clad chest, running after him, Liz was incapable of catching up with his much longer strides. Still, though, she tried, and, forgetting that classes were occurring around them, for they had ignored the late bell while in the eraser room together, she yelled after Max's rapidly fleeing figure. “Max, you don't understand! It's not his fault. Michael didn't do this to me, I swear.”

But he was already gone, and, because of her actions during the past nine months, she had no one to turn to for help. Isabel didn't trust her, Kyle didn't understand her, and Maria and Alex hated her. Despite the odds stacked against her, though, on she ran, because, no matter what, somehow, she had to stop Max from doing something he couldn't come back from. While the sane part of her mind recognized the fact that she should have been afraid for Michael, she wasn't; she was afraid for the man she loved and what killing someone would do to him, because there was not a single shred of doubt in her mind that that was exactly what Max intended to do.

. . .


Breath erratic, heart in her throat, her face and all other visible skin a sickly, colorless pallor, Liz stumbled through the broken doorway of Michael's apartment, afraid that she was already too late. Distantly, she could hear sirens in the background. No doubt hearing the disturbance occurring, one of Michael's neighbors had called in the incident. With every staccato beat of her dangerously rapid heart rate, the police got that much closer to discovering the sight before her eyes. And what a grisly, harrowing sight it was.

The apartment was decimated. There was furniture overturned and broken, blood splattered on the walls, floor, and even the ceiling, and, in the middle of the mayhem, sat Max astride Michael's chest. If she didn't know his soul, she wouldn't have recognized the man before her. His visage was twisted by abhorrence, his features distorted by the hatred coursing through his bloodstream, a hatred bred from fear, disappointment, rage, and the trauma which had been inflicted upon Max during the past year. But she did still know him, still love him, and it was because of this that Liz placed herself between the unconscious figure on the floor and his attacker.

Wrapping her hands around Max's wrists, she used all her strength to pull him back to himself. Though he instinctively resisted for a moment, it was as though he recognized her touch and, almost immediately, calmed. However, the eyes staring back at her were still empty besides for the animosity raging within their burning depths.

Slowly, Liz stood, pulling Max with her. Once they were both on their feet, she moved them a few steps away from Michael's prone form, releasing Max's wrists and lifting her own hands to cradle his blood smeared and speckled face. Soothingly, she tunneled the tips of her fingers into the hair which curled around his ears and the nape of his neck and used her thumbs to softly caress the strain and tension from his face. Amazingly, as she touched him, the blood disappeared, but Liz couldn't spare any time to focus upon that marvel. Rather, she knew she would need every single second she could get to bring Max back to himself, back to her.

“Hey, she whispered intimately. “You're okay now, Max, and I'm fine, too. You healed me before back at the school... just like you always do, but I need you to allow me to take care of you now, alright? We have to get out here, Max.”

“We do,” he questioned, his tone raspy still with pent-up emotion.

She didn't want to tell him about the police, knowing it would immediately make him think of the FBI, and they couldn't afford for either of them panic if they were going to somehow manage to get away. “It's not safe here anymore. Roswell can't be our home, you can't be Max Evans, and I can longer be Liz Parker.”

“I don't....”

As his words of confusion trailed off, she continued, changing tactics. “I need you take me away from here, Max; I need you to take me somewhere where the two of us can be together and where no one will know who or what we are. Can you do that for me? Will you save me just one more time?”

Her need for him the trigger to bring recognition back to Max's eyes, he leaned forward, resting their foreheads together as he softly pledged, “I'll always save you, Liz Parker.”

Despite everything, she found herself smiling. Releasing his face, Liz dropped her hands to her sides briefly before reaching with her right to grasp his left. Together, they quickly slipped out into the scorching heat of the desert afternoon, climbed into Max's quickly altered jeep, and drove away from Roswell, knowing that they would never return.

Their home was now each other, and, though she had some regrets, Liz could never regret that.



Epilogue

It's May 21st, and it's been seven years since we... left?

Fled?

Went home?

I guess it all depends upon how one looks, not at the direction from which our lives started that fateful day but, instead, at the direction our lives have taken since then. While I realize that's a rather introspective way to approach the topic, powerful changes in one's life can cause deep thought and personal examination. And even more than the day my husband truly entered my life when he saved me all those years ago, my life is changing.

You see, we're about to become parents. I just found out that we're expecting. Though I'm happy with this news – thrilled, really, it has made me stop and think about all those things I pushed from my mind for all these years. But I'm getting ahead of myself, aren't I? I'm sure you want to know just how exactly this wonderful surprise came about.

Well, when a man and woman love each other....

Okay, that was a joke.

Pretty amazing, huh – that I'm joking, the most serious of all serious girls. But, then again, I'm no longer a young, impressionable girl anymore – and haven't been for quite a while if truth be told, and my new life affords me that: the freedom to feel and act lightheartedly. To laugh, and smile, and tease. After everything that we had to go through to get to this point, I'd say it's due, and, luckily, I have many things in my life to smile about. I have my amazing husband. We've been married now for almost five years – and, yes, this time I really did get married – no fake nuptials for this happily wed wife. I have my health, my husband's health, our freedom, our invisibility – a normal existence for a, from the outside observer's perspective, perfectly normal if not slightly boring couple. I have an adorable house which, together, we've made a home, new friends, a good job as a science teacher, and a husband who is equally as pleased with his career as a journalist. It allows him to stay abreast of what is occurring around us while still fading into the background. And, now, best of all, we have our baby.

You might think it is selfish of us to want a family. Putting aside the things that make us unique, the things that will do doubt make our children unique, too, there is our past to consider. There is no disputing the fact that we made mistakes, that we did things that we could still, to this day, regret if we allowed our lives then to bog down our lives now – which we don't. But we were just kids – naïve, impressionable, scared kids with so much pressure upon our shoulders it's no wonder we cracked. And, plus, after all these years, I've come to look upon that past as the blessing in disguise it actually was.

Just think about it for a little while. Put aside emotion and look at everything objectively, look at it like a scientist. If things wouldn't have fallen apart between all of us so disastrously, chances are we'd all still be together, fumbling to remain together, scrambling to cover our tracks, and, in general, making far too much noise as a group to be inconspicuous. Eventually, too, our luck would have run out. Someone would have eventually come along whom we couldn't fool, couldn't beat. If that would have happened, it wouldn't have been a question of whether or not we made mistakes; we all would have died.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to rationalize our decisions and actions. I know that, for my part in the debacle, I was wrong, and my husband recognizes and repents for his actions as well. And it hasn't always been this easy for us to see the silver lining... so to speak. When we first left, we were plagued by doubts and regret. We didn't just leave the danger behind, we also abandoned our family – parents who had done nothing to deserve such disrespect, a sister who already had abandonment issues. We gave up everything comfortable and familiar, knowing that, if we left, we'd never be able to go back.

And we haven't. What's more, we haven't even checked up on our pasts. We don't know what happened to our friends and family. We don't know if they're safe, if they're happy, if they're still together, or if they, too, realized they were safer apart. And that has been the hardest part about our decision to leave. You don't have any idea how many times I wanted to write a letter to my parents, telling them that I'm okay, that I'm healthy and happy, that I'm sorry, and that I love them. But any efforts to reach out and reconnect – no matter how seemingly innocuous – could lead trouble and danger to our door – and theirs – again, and that's just something I'm not willing to do. For anything.

And so, while the news of my pregnancy has made me introspective, it has not made me break my resolve. Sure, I want to tell my parents that they're about to be grandparents, and it would be wonderful if my son or daughter could know my mother and father, but I don't want this enough to risk our safety, and the joys of impending motherhood far outweigh what, in comparison, is this slight sorrow. While my small family – my husband, my baby, and I – is not perfect, it's pretty damn close.

So, that's it – my new life. In a few minutes, I'll disguise and hide this journal's final entry, and, then, tomorrow, I'll start a new journal, one that will chronicle the ups and down, the funny and the sentimental of my pregnancy, because I've decided that, as I open this new chapter of my life – motherhood, I'm going to finally, once and for all, close the past and lock it away. It certainly won't be forgotten, but I'm at peace, so it's time for my past to be so as well.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a husband who insists upon pampering me, and I'm definitely not adverse to such an idea....
Delicious Infatuation


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Thanks to _coccy_ for the gorgeous avie!


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