Keep Me In Your Heart(ML, A/I, MATURE) 03/21/09 [COMPLETE]

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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obviouslyoksana
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Keep Me In Your Heart(ML, A/I, MATURE) 03/21/09 [COMPLETE]

Post by obviouslyoksana » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:04 pm

Title: Keep Me In Your Heart
Author: ObviouslyOksana
Rating: Mature
Couples: Will discuss Max/Liz and Alex/Isabel, but no real couples.
Disclaimer: I own nothing Roswell or After Life. Title is from the song by Warren Zevon …please don't sue....
Summary: AU with aliens. Post Heart of Mine. Prom is over. The pod squad and friends are devastated when a tragedy strikes, taking those close to them. But it is those who were lost who suffer the most. At a way station somewhere between heaven and earth, they are greeted by guides. Over the next three days, they will help them sift through their memories to find the one defining moment of their lives.

Sheriff Valenti stared down at his radio wondering if he had heard correctly. He paused before picking up the controller and asked for the dispatcher to repeat.

“Two car collision. Sedan did a head-on with a semi. Two fatalities. Over.”

It was late and Sheriff Valenti could only sigh in frustration. If he had to make a bet, he would say it was probably two kids coming home from prom who had a bit too much to drink. It saddened him to no end to have to go to such accidents, especially on and after prom night. What was worse was going to the parents; Valenti hoped he was never on the receiving end of that call.

Grabbing the radio, Sheriff Valenti radioed in that he was on his way.

Upon arriving, Jim noted the scene in front of him. There were about five police cars, all of which covered the road, ensuring there would be no other collisions. He pulled to the side of the road, turned the squad car off, and headed towards his men.

“Hey Hanson. Whatcha got?” Valenti asked gravely. He stared at the twisted metal. A strange inking flitted across his mind. Did that sedan look vaguely familiar? Or was his mind just playing tricks on him.

Hanson sighed in response. He reached for his Stetson and took it off, wiping the sweat from his forehead.

“Pretty bad accident.” He replaced the Stetson and glanced over towards the other officers who were attempting to help emergency personal untangle the twisted metal. “Sedan doing about 75 miles an hour. Hit the semi head on.”

Valenti shook his head in shame. He already knew that it was bad as the dispatcher had already announced fatalities. But one is never accustomed or ready for something like this. “Any fatalities?”

“Two.”

“Anyone I know?” Jim was trying to ready himself for the answer. But deep down, he already knew. That inkling that had rushed past him previously was now ingrained in his mind. He was positive that he knew that car. He just couldn’t place whom is belonged to.

Hanson couldn’t answer. How could he? How could he possibly tell his boss that his son’s ex-girlfriend and friend had died in that car? So instead, Hanson merely glanced sorrowfully at Valenti before looking away in pain. This was the hardest part.

He watched at the sheriff walked towards the car, flashlight drawn.

--------********--------********--------

“Name?”

“Elizabeth Parker…” Liz stared at the woman, unsure of what was going on. Where was she? Why did this woman need to know her name? Last she remembered she and Alex were traveling to Las Cruces. He had asked to join him. Said he had found something; something alien.

“You are number 13.” The woman behind the large glass window stated kindly as she pointed towards a waiting room off to the left. She smiled at the young woman before her. The young ones were always the hardest to see.

Liz dutifully walked over to where the woman had pointed and took a seat. She glanced around at the various other people sitting around her. Most of them were old, but there were a few who appeared to be closer to her age.

Where was she?

Moments later she smiled in relief as she heard her friends voice.

“Alex Whitman.”

“You are number 17.” The woman behind the large glass window told him, again motioning towards the reception area where he was to wait with the others.

Alex followed her directions and walked towards the room. He stopped and smiled as he saw Liz. Moving towards her, he quickly sat down beside her.

“Alex…”

“Where are we?” Alex asked, interrupting her. He glanced around, hoping to find some sort of clue as to where they were and what they were doing there. Unfortunately everyone seemed just as confused as they did.

Light filtered in through the various windows as a distant bell rang every few moments. It was serene and peaceful. The weather was not too hot, not too cold. The air was sweet. And though the building was older, it still felt homely.

“I don’t know… all I remember is driving down the highway. Then nothing.” Liz offered, hoping that maybe Alex could elaborate and provide some sort of clues as to what had happened next.

“Yeah, I remember that too.” For a moment, Alex sat and contemplated. He knew they were heading down to Las Cruces, but for the life of him he couldn’t remember why. Turning back towards Liz, he started to pose that question to her, only to be interrupted by the front receptionist.

Standing before the nineteen people before her, the receptionist looked down at her clipboard and began reading the script before her. She didn’t need it, however, it was easier to look at her clipboard then all the lost, confused and lonely faces in front of her.

“Hello everybody, and welcome…”

--------********--------********--------

The man and woman stared at Liz, regarding her, just as she did of them. She sat on one side of the large wood desk while they sat beside one another on the other side. They both had notepads before them. The man diligently took notes, though Liz was unsure of what. They had only said hello, offered to take her jacket, and told her to take a seat.

The woman, on the other hand, was glimpsing through a book. Every once in a while she would look up and smile at Liz before returning to her perusal of the thick book.

“Elizabeth Parker, correct?” The man finally spoke. He looked up at Liz and smiled, hoping to ease some of her fears and worries. He was older, maybe in his sixties or seventies. His hair was graying. His eyes were dark and held compassion and wisdom. He wore a simple gray suit with a crisp white button up shirt. His black tie was perfectly tied and laid against his abdomen.

“Yes,” Liz answered uneasily. She was still unsure of what exactly was going on. She turned her attention to the woman. She was younger, maybe in her thirties. She seemed unsure. Which is why Liz guessed that she continued to look through the book in front of her. Her hair was sandy blonde. Her blue eyes rarely remained locked with Liz’s. Her slight frame was drapped in a beautiful dress, a cardigan covering her thin arms.

“Very good. It is wonderful to meet you.” The lady smiled at Liz as well, again, hoping to ease the young girl.

“And your birth date?” The man asked.

“Uhm, July 3, 1984.” Both the man and woman nodded in approval. Liz glanced around the room she was currently in. There were a few potted flowers. A wooden desk. Three chairs. A coat rack. Otherwise the room was barren.

“So you are…”

“Seventeen years old.” Both the man and woman nodded again. It was always hard with the young ones. With the elderly there was more to them. They had so much life that they had lived. But this poor girl had been robbed of so many years. She would never go to college. Never get married. There would be no family. All she had was her seventeen years.

“Ahh, well, we believe you already know what is going on, however, we do need to officially inform you,” the man started. He stared down at a piece of white paper, reading directly from it, just as the receptionist had done.

“Elizabeth Parker,” the woman continued for the man. She could see that he was getting a little emotional. As was she. “You died yesterday.”

“I’m sorry for your loss.” The man appeared genuinely concerned and deeply saddened.

“I’m sorry as well,” the woman added.

--------********--------********--------

“You will be staying with us for one week,” the man told Alex. He watched the young man stare at him in complete and utter shock. Sometimes death was a surprise for everyone, especially the younger crowd. It was always so hard for people under forty to grasp that they had died.

Most people expected to live into their seventies, eighties, heck even their nineties. Unfortunately, some people did not get that chance. And these select few were left to grapple with the after effects of dying young.

Not that the man blamed them. Sometimes he wished that a better system was implemented. Maybe one which gave a little warning to those who died at an early age; so as not to shock them as much as simply telling them that they had died.

“You will get your own room. So just relax and enjoy yourself.”

--------********--------********--------

“However, while you are here, there is one thing you must do.” Once again the woman looked up at Liz, ensuring that she understood the importance of what she was about to tell her.

--------********--------********--------

“From the entire eighteen years of your life, we need you to pick one memory.”

--------********--------********--------

“A memory that was precious or meaningful.”

--------********--------********--------

“You will only have three days to decide.”

--------********--------********--------

“After your have chosen, our staff will recreate that memory—on film.”

--------********--------********--------

“At the end of the week, we will watch your recreated memory. As soon as you have relived your memory…”

--------********--------********--------

“…you will move on, taking only that memory with you.”
Last edited by obviouslyoksana on Sat Mar 21, 2009 4:00 am, edited 3 times in total.

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obviouslyoksana
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Keep Me In Your Heart *AU. CC. Mature.* Chapter 2 03/12/09

Post by obviouslyoksana » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:15 pm

Chapter 2

For the first few moments Liz merely stared at the man and woman, unsure if she had heard them correctly.

“Only one memory?” Liz asked, making sure she understood. The concept that she would only live with one memory for the remainder of her dead life took her by surprise. While not extremely religious, Liz did believe in some sort of afterlife, though she wasn’t quite sure what.

In her mind, when she died, she would go to Heaven, or wherever and live out her days remembering the good times. Times being the operative word. She never thought that she would lose all but one memory.

The woman smiled sadly. This was a frequent question by the newly deceased. She knew their preconceptions of what was supposed to happen when they died. Heck, even she had thought that when she died that she would be able to take all her memories with her. Unfortunately that was not the case. If there was a God, then he, or she, was a cruel person.

Which was probably why she was here, serving in this position.

“Unfortunately, yes, only one memory.”

“But take your time,” the man interrupted. He could see the melancholy playing on Liz’s features. He could tell that she was confused, angry, unsure, and saddened. He was too when he died. “Think it over. Let your mind go over the events and times of your life.”

“But remember, you only have three days. By sundown on Wednesday you must pick your memory.”

--------********--------********--------

Back in Alex’s room, Alex and his counselor were having a similar conversation.

“So wait, you mean, that even if I was the worst person in the world, I still move on with my one memory?” Alex asked. He couldn’t quite get his mind to wrap around this concept.

“Yes.”

“So, you are saying that there is no Heaven or Hell? That even if I had cheated on all my tests, didn’t listen to my parents, stomped on flowers, and declawed puppy dogs and kittens, that I still get my one perfect memory to live with for the remainder of my dead days?”

The man chuckled at Alex. He had never had someone put it that way. Shaking his head, the man shook the thoughts from his mind as he concentrated once again on Alex.

“Yes, that is correct.” The man had to stop for a moment to figure out how he wanted to phrase what he wanted to say next. “I guess you could say that everyone goes to Heaven… though, there really is no Heaven. Nor a Hell. Just an infinite plane. And that is where you will remain.”

“With my one memory?”

“Yes, with your one memory,” the man assured with a smile. This guy would be fun, he could already tell. Though, he was starting to wonder.

“But why a memory? Maybe I don’t want to live in the past…” Alex started only to be interrupted by the man.

“Because that is how it works.”

“I understand that, but could I pick a dream? Or, like a fantasy?” Alex asked excitedly. If he could pick a fantasy then he knew exactly what he was going to pick! And it would definitely involve a computer, guitar, tubs of foods, and a few good women. Though, a dream would be just as good, like that time when he had won the lottery.

“No!” The man laughed. He knew this guy was going to be feisty, but he never expected him to be like this. “No fantasies… but what do you mean by dream?”

“Like a dream you have when you sleep…”

“No.” This time the man sighed. “It has to be a memory. Something that happened in your life.” Then, thinking back over the conversation, the man added, “Something that happened in real life.”

--------********--------********--------

The sun sunk low over the cliffs of the Roswell desert. The blue, red, pink and purple hues painted the sky like a mosaic. The pod squad and friends stood by the edge of the overhang. Everyone was quiet as they waited for someone to finally talk. They had decided to meet up to talk about what had happened.

Max stared off into the distance while Michael, Isabel, Tess, Kyle and Maria stared on in dismay. None of them knew how to reach him.

Ever since Alex and Liz had died, only a few days ago, Max had retreated. He kept to himself. Remained in his room; he didn’t even listen to music. Just laid on his bed and stared at the ceiling. Tess had tried to comfort him. To talk to him and let him know that maybe this was for the best. That now he could finally fulfill his destiny.
But he never responded.

Isabel had tried as well, but with no avail. Max had effectively shut everyone out of his life.

Maria clung to Kyle as she fought to keep her composure. She still remembered the morning when Sheriff Valenti had come to the Crashdown to tell the Parkers of their daughter’s untimely death. When Valenti had seen the teens hanging out downstairs he decided he might as well inform them as well.

The way he had looked at them. His head hung low, his Stetson hanging limply in his hand, the tears that refused to be shed just yet.

Maria had run out crying. Kyle went after her.

Max had simply gotten up and walked away. He didn’t even say a word.

Only Michael had. He had asked the usual questions. Who? What? Where? When? And how?

It took only a few moments for Michael, Isabel and Tess to locate Max. He was over by the coroner’s truck. His hands were shaking as he stared at the open door. Isabel had wrapped her arm around her brother as she attempted to comfort him.

No one could bring the dead back.

“So what is this about?” The venom in Kyle’s voice was apparent to everyone. Maria knew all too well how he felt. He suspected that this was alien related; that he had lost two good friends because of the hybrids before him.

They had caused nothing but pain in sorrow in Kyle’s mind. They were selfish, always thinking of themselves first.

Max Evans’ might have saved his life, but now Kyle wondered at what price.

“Max had a flash… when he touched Liz’s body at the morgue.” Isabel finally offered when no one else appeared to want to speak up. She saw Kyle and Maria flinch at her words.

“You went to the…” Tess started only to stop as realization hit her. “Oh my god! You went to try and heal her? You went to try and heal a dead person? Jesus Christ Max, just get over it! She’s dead… wait, did you even try to heal Alex, or just your precious Liz?”

Max glared openly at Tess. Maria and Kyle did as well. They couldn’t believe how callous she was. She really did not have a good bone in her body. Maria was ready to smack the stupid bitch, but Kyle stopped her. As much as he wanted to hurt Tess as well, he knew that violence was not the answer.

“What did you see?” Kyle finally asked.

“Something alien…”

--------********--------********--------

The group of counselors stared at the large screen before them. The head of the group nodded his head letting another know it was time to click through to the next file.

“Alex Whitman…” The man laughed as he remembered his previous conversation with his friend Lenny. In a way he wished he had gotten this one.

The table turned towards Lenny, wondering what had caused their boss to laugh. Obviously this one was a good one.

“He’s feisty… part of me worries that he won’t pick a memory, but he and another patient here are friends, so I think that will help. And…” Lenny stopped as he stared down at his note. “Well, we’ve gone over a few memories… mainly about his childhood, but he says he still thinking. I suspect that he and his friend will most likely work together through their memories.”

The table of counselors nodded in understanding. The head of the group nodded again.

“Speaking of his friend, next up is Elizabeth Parker…” The man read her name slowly as he stared at her picture. He always hated young ones. “Susan and Mark… how are things coming along?”

“Well, she still seems to be in shock,” Mark answered. He looked through his notes before turning his attention back to Adam.

“I think it might be best if we order the tapes for her… I think she might be too shaken to grasp much else then the fact that she had died,” Susan offered. “Plus, I am a little confused about some of the notes on her life and what she has told us so far. Things aren't matching up.”

“She is lying about her past?” Adam asked, suddenly intrigued by their newest patient.

“That’s the thing, I don’t think she is… she really seems to believe in what she is saying. It’s like she was living in an alternate universe.” Susan looked to Mark for backup.

“How so?”

“Well, for starters, she thinks that she was shot…and that someone brought her back to life…”

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Re: Keep Me In Your Heart *AU. Mature.* COMPLETED 03/21/09

Post by obviouslyoksana » Sat Mar 21, 2009 3:59 am

Chapter 3
Liz sat on the bench, staring at nothing in particular. The brown leaves on the ground crunched as a soft breeze wafted past her. Off to her left, an elderly woman wandered about the yard. Every once in a while she would bend down and pick up a leaf, an acorn, or a stick; oblivious to anyone or anything else around her. She was content merely enjoying what nature provided her.

For a short while, Liz watched the elderly woman, entranced by her; her thoughts of her memories forgotten.

Returning to her original thoughts, Liz leaned over, resting her elbows on her knees as she stared at her hands. She only had one day left. One day to pick a memory that would stay with her forever. One day to pick the most important moment of her life, one that would be her only memory of her previous life.

So entranced by her thoughts, Liz didn’t notice Alex come up beside her and take a seat.

Alex regarded Liz with a wary eye. He knew this was hard on her. They talked constantly and he could tell that this daunting task was eating her away. And for once, he completely understood why.

Because he was having the same problem.

“You know, I always thought that when I died, I would just die.” The sound of her voice surprised Alex. He glanced at her, his eyebrow raised as if to silently tell her to continue. Her eyes were vacant. Her hands clasped together, resting in her lap. Her hair blew softly in the breeze. “All my memories would come with me and I would die.”

She stared outwards, looking at nothing in particular. But then she turned to him, looking Alex straight in the eye.

“And I guess… well, I always hoped that Max would be with me. That we would get married, have children and grow old. That he would be my ‘be all-end all.’” Liz shook her head at the pure silliness of her thoughts. How could she have been so stupid? “But now, knowing that I only get one memory… one moment… I wonder, was he that important? Were Max, Isabel, Michael and Tess really that great? Because right now, I don’t think they were.”

Again, Alex understood completely. For he had thought much the same. At first, when he and his counselor had spoken—seriously spoken-- he had told them that his memory was of Isabel. Of their time together. That night at prom. When she had finally come to him. To profess her true feelings.

However, after time, after thinking about the graveness of his decision, Alex realized that there was so much more to life.

Isabel had never treated him very well. In fact, she had been a downright bitch at times. Yet he had remained faithful. Always trying to help. Always by her side. And she used that to her advantage.

Now Alex wasn’t so sure that he wanted his last memory to be of her. She didn’t deserve it.

“For once, I realize that maybe Max was not by ‘be all-end all.’ While he certainly left an impression on my life, I had far happier moments with others. By myself.” Alex grabbed Liz’s hand, encompassing it within his own. He understood perfectly.

When they were alive the pod squad had become their life. Every moment was spent thinking about them. Helping them. Saving them. Saving themselves because of them. Doing things for them. And at the time that seemed fine. But now, looking back, Alex couldn’t help but wonder. And worry.

He worried about Maria and Kyle. He wondered if they would ever wise up and leave. They didn’t deserve to be hurt by their alien counterparts. And that’s all that Max, Michael, Isabel and Tess did. They hurt those around them. Maybe not on purpose, but they hurt others. And they were so selfish.

Did they ever once reciprocate? Try to help the humans in any way? Give their time, blood, sweat and tears for their human counterparts?

Not to Alex’s recollection.

“Is that wrong of me Alex? To not want to remember my time with Max? To want to remember a happier time, a time before I really knew him? Them?” Her eyes pleaded with him, quietly asking for his approval. She wanted to know that she wasn’t crazy. That someone else believed in her. Believed that she was as brave as she appeared to be. Believed that she did not need Max Evans to be happy, to be fulfilled.

“No.” Came Alex’s simple answer. He was quiet for a moment as he contemplated exactly what he wanted to say. He hadn’t told Liz the complete truth since they had gotten here. Originally he had told her that the memory he had chosen was of the time his parents gave him his first computer. The pride and joy he felt as he finally got to play around on the one thing that meant the most to him. When in reality, he had really told the counselors that his memory was of Isabel. “On our first day I told the counselor what my memory was; it was of Isabel and I at the prom.”

Liz stared at Alex in shock. He had lied to her. But before she could speak, he continued.

“But then, after thinking about it, I realized that I didn’t want to take that memory with me. I didn’t like who I was… who I became when I was around Isabel.” Alex shook his head in regret. He had wasted so much time on those stupid aliens. And now he was dead. He had lost out on so much of life. “Even when I was around them I was a different person. And I hated it! We all changed because of them.”

Liz nodded in agreement. For the first time she finally realized all that she had given up. All that they had given up.

“And not for the better; they took a lot from us. Most of all they took our innocence and our chance to live a normal life.” Alex looked deep within himself at this point, searching for the words that so desperately needed to get out. Finally talking about this was very cleansing and felt good. It felt like a load had been lifted from his heart and mind. He could finally think clearly. “Now I’m not saying that you and I would have lived longer…”

“Alex…”

“No, it’s true. We probably would have died in that car crash, but at least we would have lived our lives the way we wanted… and our every move wouldn’t be dictated by what we needed to do to help them…”

“But Alex…” Liz desperately wanted to tell him the truth. What she had learned from watching the videos of her life. Unfortunately Alex was lost in his own thoughts.

“Listen Liz, I know that Max saved your life, but at what price?” Alex turned to look at Liz.

At this point, Liz merely shook her head. She understood completely. But now, knowing what she did, she couldn’t help but think that Alex had endured so much more then she had.

“That’s the thing Alex…” Liz removed her hand from her friends and turned her attention back to the elderly woman behind them. She seemed so serene. Liz wished that she could feel that way. “That day… back in September, Max didn’t save me. Didn’t save us.”

--------********--------********--------

The movie theatre was small and comfortable. That was all that was expected. After all, this theatre was only used once a week. And only to show a short selection of movies—of memories.

The counselors led the souls into the small room, letting them sit where ever they chose.

Soon after the movies started.

The elderly woman who picked acorns disappeared first.

Next was another elderly gentleman who had chosen a memory of a time with his wife in the park. They had sat, silence encompassing them as they enjoyed the warm summer breeze.

Alex and Liz watched the memories, enraptured by them. Each was beautiful and perfect in their own respect.

“Are you ready?” Alex whispered. Liz gently grasped his hand, their fingers entwining as she nodded in response.

The screen suddenly went dark before another image played on the screen.

Kids were screaming everywhere. A piñata hung in the background as the Parker’s, Whitmans’ and Amy DeLuca came from the side, a tray of cupcakes in each of their hands.

Maria, Alex and Liz lunged towards the sweet confections, their hands colliding as they all reached for the same cupcake.

“Happy Birthday Maria!” The kids yelled out loudly. All the while, Liz, Maria and Alex stared at one another, a mirage of emotions filling them. Love. Friendship. Happiness to have one another. Strength. Courage.

They knew from that day that they would be the three musketeers. That they would be friends to the end.

The screen grew dark again. Only this time, instead of one soul disappearing, two souls had departed.

The counselors had been shocked when Alex and Liz had picked the same memory.

But then, they weren’t surprised. After all, it was a very good memory.

--------********--------********--------

It was sunny, gorgeous out. But nothing compared to how Liz looked walking beside him. At least that was how Max felt. He smiled as he glanced at her.

They strolled through the wooded area, enjoying the silence and sunlight. The green grass crumpled beneath their feet. It was serene, quiet, and perfect.

“I’m glad you decided to come,” Max confessed shyly.

“Yeah, me too…” Liz smiled back at Max. She loved his shy glances when he didn’t think she was looking.

But she was.

“Listen, Max, you have to promise me something,” Liz started, but Max interrupted her.

“No, Liz, I know that you saw Tess and I kiss… and that you think she and I are supposed to be together, but I love you. I love only you,” Max confessed suddenly. He didn’t know why, but it just seemed right.

Liz merely smiled sadly and shook her head. She wished things were that easy.

“You have to forgive yourself for what happened.” Liz insisted, ignoring what Max had told her.

Max laughed.

“Yeah I know… we both have to forgive ourselves for everything we have put each other through,” Max replied, hoping Liz knew that he meant every word of it.

And she did. Unfortunately now it didn’t matter.

“Yeah…” Liz whispered. She wished things were different.

Max smiled as she agreed. He laughed and nervously tugged at his ear. He wanted to kiss her. To hug her. But, now wasn’t the time. After all, everyone was around. And he needed to talk with everyone to set the record straight before he could move on and have a relationship with Liz.

“Okay,” max agreed.

“Good.” Liz wanted to cry. She really did.

The two smiled at one another, basking in each other.

“Now, do you want to come with me to tell the others?” Max asked as he hitched his head to the side, noting the people behind him.

Maria walked up behind Max, wondering what he was doing here.

“Tell the others what?” Maria asked unsurely. Max Evans’ was the last person she had expected to see here.

Max turned to Liz’s best friend and smiled. For once he felt like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

“You know, that Liz and I are together,” Max exhaled soundly as a blissfulness took over him. Even just saying the words made him feel good. He gazed back at Liz and beamed at her. She quickly returned his smile. “That we finally made up and put everything behind us and are ready to be together.”

Maria stared at Max strangely, apprehension filling her. Had he gotten knocked in the head? Maybe he needed to see a doctor. Why would he say something like that?

“Where do you think we are?” Maria whispered brokenly. Tears welled up in her eyes as she stared at him, her gaze imploring.

Max paused for a moment, his eyes pleading with Maria to explain. He turned back to Liz only to find she was no longer there. He searched the grounds looking for her before returning his gaze to Maria. His face fell, but only momentarily. He smiled lightly before nodding and stepping forward, joining the other people.

Maria followed shortly after him, still wondering what exactly Max Evans’ was doing here. The gravestones on either side of her passed one by one, untouched by time.

Some had flowers. Some were barren. There was an angel atop one.

Maria sat in the front row. Mr. and Mrs. Parker, along with Mr. and Mrs. Whitman, sat on the other side of her. Kyle was off to the side, standing, a pair of sunglasses hiding his eyes. His father stood beside him, a hand resting gently on his shoulder.

Flowers adorned the two caskets. Wreaths sat on stands, covering the area. Pictures of the three friends and family sat atop the caskets.

People slowly filed in, filling the few seats that had been provided. Not that the Parker’s expected many people to come. The seats were almost filled when Maria noticed Max Evans’ standing off in the distance.

She knew Liz had always had a crush on him.

Too bad nothing had ever come of it, especially after what he had just told Maria. Though Maria didn’t quite understand why he had said anything at all. Normally Max was quiet and reclusive.

The priest stood before the crowd, bible in hand.

“Friends and Family - members of the community, within the healing embrace of God's love we have gathered here to remember of life of Elizabeth Parker and Alexander Whitman and to entrust them into God's eternal care, knowing that God's good purpose for his people cannot be defeated by sin and death.” The priest spoke softly, his eyes scanning over the crowd before coming to rest on the two caskets. “We are all children of God, and in the faith that God has given to us, we turn to God now asking for his comfort and his grace to be upon us - and to dwell in a special way upon Mr. and Mrs. Whitman and Mr. and Mrs. Parker and upon those who were privileged to love Elizabeth and Alexander during their brief stay with us upon this earth.”

All around, the crowd remained quiet as the priest continued.

Max Evans’ remained the quietest. He knew he wasn’t supposed to be here.

Liz Parker and Alex Whitman were dead and in this time line they hadn’t even known him.

“On September 23, Elizabeth Parker and Alexander Whitman tragically died in a car accident. During the last week as each of us considered the untimely death of Elizabeth and Alexander, our hearts have been full of questions - chief amongst them being "how did this happen?" and "why did this happen?" These questions have not only been in the hearts and minds of their parents and their friends, but upon the lips of many of you who are here today - and indeed they have been heard throughout our community.

We are not here today to answer these questions - even if we could. Rather we are here to mourn - to mourn and to commend Elizabeth and Alexander into God's care, and to ask God to help us - and to most especially help their parents through this tragedy.”

Maria glanced back momentarily at Max Evans’. He met her gaze head on and smiled sadly.

He knew he wasn’t supposed to be here.

He knew that Liz wasn’t his. His eyes met with Kyle Valenti and he noted how broken and despondent her boyfriend seemed. Ex-boyfriend, now.

He knew he wasn’t supposed to be here.

But he couldn’t stop himself.

When it came to Liz Parker, he never could.

“In the most beautiful of gardens, even those tended by the most skillful of botanists, there is an occasional rose that buds, but never opens. In all respects the rose is like all the others, but something keeps it from blooming. It fades away - or disappears - without having reached maturity.

Today we mourn our loss of such a child. We weep, just as Jesus himself wept at the death of his friend Lazarus. Even if we knew the answers to the questions that rise so naturally to our hearts and minds at times like this, there still would be no adequate explanation for this loss. It is painful.

And I believe it is also painful to God, who created the world intending for it to be perfect. As Jesus himself said in the reading that I shared earlier: ‘It is not the will of your Father that one of these little ones should perish.’”

The service continued on. The people listened intently, enjoying the priest’s words as much as they could, but still unable to get beyond the tragedy of the death of Liz Parker and Alex Whitman.

As soon as the priest was finished, Max Evans’ turned from where he stood—far enough away so no one would see-- and walked away.

He knew he wasn’t supposed to be here.

But Max couldn’t stop himself.

Liz’s words replayed in his mind.

You have to forgive yourself.

Images of that now infamous day surfaced in Max’s mind.

Sitting in the coroners van trying to bring Liz back to life.

Getting brief images of an older version of himself telling Liz to change the future.

Figuring out how to use the granolith so that he could change the future himself.

Convincing Alex to get Liz out of the Crashdown on September 23.

Liz skipping work to hang out with Alex, her best friend.

Maria almost getting shot at the Crashdown.

Alex and Liz being hit by a semi.

The crumpled up hunks of metal.

Liz’s body, twisted and bleeding.

Max and Michael driving back from the pod chamber and seeing the accident.

Max stopping to help. Michael yelling at him.

His hands on her face, urging her to look at him. To let him in.

His inability to connect with her.

To save her.

Max Evans’ continued to walk, his feet leading him nowhere in particular. After all, soon he wouldn’t exist. He would simply disappear. But he was glad that he was able to attend her funeral.

And now, the Max Evans’ of this time line would have to live his life.

A life that would be void of the love of Liz Parker.

The future had certainly changed.

Locked