Long to Be (AU,M/L,MATURE) [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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Bordersinsanity
Obsessed Roswellian
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Long to Be Part 27

Post by Bordersinsanity » Wed Sep 03, 2003 1:18 pm

PART 27 ~ Alex

“You gotta let me drive. I’ve so got to pee.” I rolled my eyes. We’ve been on the road for three hours and that’s all I’ve heard.

“No.” Plain and simple. That was the way to handle Maria DeLuca. I should know. We’ve been best friends since the fifth grade.

“But…” I knew what her argument was going to be.

“Do you know how long it will take us just to catch back up with them if we stop for five minutes?” I looked over my shoulder to see if she could do the math.

“I don’t care, Alex. I have to pee.” She did a little dance making sure to cross her legs tightly.

“No, we are not stopping.” I looked over at her. Her leg was hopping up and down, now.

“Well, if you would let me drive I bet I could stop, pee and catch back up with them in like five minutes.”

“Ha! Dream on DeLuca. I told you when we first started that I was going to drive because you were too obnoxious and that just proves my point. There is no way that you can pull over; pee and catch back up in five minutes. If lover boy doesn’t pull over sometime during the next half hour I’ll do it okay.”

“Fine.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “Hey, Alex.”

“Yeah?”

“Can you change the CD?” I had to look at her. She had two capable arms. “If I bend forward I know I’m going to pee all over this seat.”

“Look, if you have to go that bad, why don’t you just use the Big Gulp cup in the back seat? I promise not to look.” Maybe that would get Maria off by case.

“No way, Whitman!” Maria snapped at me while punching me in the arm to emphasize her words. So much for not being able to unfold her arms. I knew she was just overreacting.

The punch made me swerve the car and I had to straighten it out. “Damn it, Maria! It was only a suggestion.” I reached up and rubbed the sore spot on my arm. “I knew you could reach out with your arms.”

“Some things just require action, and that suggestion required it.” Maria snapped at me. “Now, will you put in a CD?”

Ah, I got the picture. “Sure. What do you want in?”

“I don’t know. Something that I can sing to, to get my mind off the situation.”

“Got it.” I held up Let it Rain by Eric Clapton. Let’s see how bad she really has to pee. Just hearing Let it Rain made me think about going pee. I had to try and keep one eye on the road while the other one held out the CD for her to take. It was hard for me to keep my laughter to myself. I mean really hard.

We had argued like this for most the trip and then I remembered that Maria was the same way when we were moving out to California from Roswell only it was worse then. We would be leaving a rest area and Maria would start whining about looking for a place to stop again. I guess I should count my blessings; Maria gave me an hour and a half before starting in on the stopping thing. I was shaking my head in remembrance when I saw the turn signal turn on to signify that Michael was pulling over to a gas station I thought I would bow down and kiss his feet. Maybe I could even push Maria off on him.

I looked over to Maria to see if she saw it but she had her eyes closed. She didn’t even take the CD out of my hand. Damn the girl knows how to spoil my fun.

I didn’t think Guerin would ever stop. I know the Jetta gets better gas mileage than the Jeep, so I wasn’t too worried about not being able to refuel but damn, Maria was nagging the hell out of me to pull over because she had to pee.

I turned on my turn signal and followed Michael.

Hearing the turn signal and feeling the car start to slow caused Maria to sit up and look out the front window. “Oh, thank God!” She moaned. “I so have to pee.”

“I know. I know.” Her whole body started to hop with anticipation of getting to the waiting bathroom facilities. “I wonder how they are doing?”

“I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out when we pull over.”

Michael pulled up to the pumps and I pulled in along side him on the other side. I had a quarter of a tank left so it was time to fill up while we’re here. I turned the car off and got out. Maria didn’t even wait for me to come to a full stop before she had her door open.

“I thought you guys would never pull over. I’ve had to pee for the last hour.” She ran to the door, ripped it open, and then ran further inside the station.

I nodded my head to Michael. He didn’t look too happy. If it were possible, I think he would have steam rising out the top of his head. I guess the trip hasn’t been so good for him either.

“Hey.” Isabel’s voice filled my mind. I put the nozzle into the tank and began to fill the car.

I turned my head from Michael and looked to her. She was worried. I could tell by the creases around her eyes. “Hey, how’s it going?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean you don’t know?” How could she not know? She was in charge of leading Max to Liz in the first place.

“He went off on his own and…” She started to bite her nail. I slapped her hand. She smiled up at me and then I could see the tears begin to form. “And I can’t find him. He’s still out in the back seat.”

I pulled her into me. This had to be hard on her. “Shhh… it’s going to be okay. He’ll be all right.”

She wrapped her arms around my waist and held onto me tightly. “I don’t know. What if something has happened to him? It’s going to be all my fault. I don’t think I could live with myself if something terrible happens.”

“Hey,” I tilted her head up so she could look me in the eye. “Nothing is going to happen to him. Nothing. Just look at all the times we’ve been in trouble and we’ve gotten out of it. Luck is on our side.”

“I hope so.” I told her. Michael’s pump clicked off and he made his way inside.

“I got to finish pumping gas or Michael will leave me.”

“I’ll go inside and tell him not to leave without you. Besides, I have to go pee.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard that one already.” I watched as her long legs took her into the gas station. She gestured to Michael about me and then went on.

My pump clicked off and I put the nozzle back on its arm. I put the cap on the tank and walked inside. Maria was standing beside Michael. There was a Big Red, a couple sticks of Beef Jerky, a bottle of Tabasco and a king-size Snicker bar on the counter. I guess Michael’s buying.

I went to fetch my stuff. Nothing beats an orange soda and a Suzy Q.

“No.” I heard Michael tell the clerk.

“Any nachos?” Man you would think that the dude was paid by commission the way he was trying to sell Michael. I better hurry before he closes his ticket and I have to pay for my snacks. No reason not to jump on the bandwagon for myself.

“No.” He said again.

I stepped up and went to put my stuff down on the counter. “Hey, Michael. Could you?”

“Why the hell not! Buy the frickin’ store out for all I care.” He looked in his wallet, grabbed a bill out of it, slapped it down on the counter, and then stormed out with his coffee.

“What’s up with him?” I had to ask.

Isabel walked up behind me and kissed me on the cheek. “Where’s Michael?” Evidently, she didn’t see the little scene.

“You just missed him. He just stormed out of here with a major attitude.” I kissed her back and was interrupted by the clerk.

“Dudes, if that guy doesn’t take it easy he’s going to have a coronary at a young age.” He was shaking his head up and down like he knew.

“That’ll be all. Come on guys. Better not keep him waiting any longer than necessary.” Maria took charge of the guy’s reluctance to close the ticket and held her hand out for Michael’s change.

“Wait, I still have to go pee.” I looked at the two girls.

“And you’ve been breaking my chops for the last hour? And now you’re telling me you had to pee too?” Maria threw her hands on her hips. “Hurry up or we’ll leave you here.”

I ran to the bathroom and did my duty. The border was another two and half, hours away. I was starting to feel a little tired. Maybe I could talk Isabel into driving for me. I finished and was out of the restroom in no time. When I walked out of the station everyone was back in their original seats. I guess that goes to tell me that I’m stuck driving.

I walked around and got into the Jetta. “Here I got your snacks.” Maria handed me my drink and sat the Suzy Q up on the dash as she tore off a piece of Beef Jerky.

“Thanks.” I opened my orange soda and took a swig. Nothing, like loading the system up with sugar and caffeine.

“So what did you find out about Max and Liz? I didn’t even get a chance to talk to anyone.” Maria took a swig of her Big Red and then recapped it.

“Well, Max made it to the dream plane with Isabel but then he disappeared from it.”

She started choking on a piece of jerky when she caught her breath and swallowed what ever was in her throat. She began to talk again. “What do you mean, he just disappeared. How can a person disappear from the plane? He’s still asleep.”

“I know. Isabel is really worried. He took off trying to find Liz and she couldn’t catch up with him.”

“What about Liz? Did she say if she found Liz’s orb or not?”

“No, she doesn’t know where Liz’s orb is.” I looked over at her as she took a healthy swig of her Big Red. “Maria, no wonder you have to pee all the time. You actually expect to drink that whole thing?”

Maria glanced at the bottle, “I should have gone for the caffeine free stuff, huh?”

I just shook my head in wonder. We continued into the night following the taillights ahead. Now that the excitement of making a pit stop and getting comfortable again were over. I thought it might be a good time to ask her what she meant when they were talking about Andra and Liz.

“Um, Maria…”

“Yeah.” She took another drink.

“Who’s Andra and why does she have so much to do with Liz?” Again, she started sputtering. I think she spat out half of her drink that she had in her mouth.

“Andra?”

“Yeah, Andra. I don’t think I had my mouth full when I asked. What do you know?” I looked back at the road to make sure that we were still on track.

“Nothing.”

“Nice try, DeLuca. I know you’re hiding something.”

“Fine. Fine. I know if I don’t tell you, you’re just going to make this trip miserable. What ever happens you have to stay focused on the road. I don’t want you tripping and wrecking my car. You hear me?”

“Yeah, come on already. Spill the beans and the trip is already miserable because I had to listen to you badger me about stopping to pee all the way. We’re even.”

“Ha. I don’t think so. This doesn’t even come close to being even. This is huge. HUGE.” She held her hands out above her head to indicate how huge it was.

“I get the point. Now get your hands out of my face. If we wreck, it’s going to be because of you. Get on with it.”

“Okay, okay. Well, yesterday… no wait. I better start at the beginning.”

And she did. I mean the very beginning. She started clear back at that very first day that she had met Liz. That fateful morning at the coffee shop.

“So, Liz is like Max and them?” I was blown away.

“I think she would have to be more human than the others. I mean. She’s been to a lot of doctor’s and none of them said anything about her being different, you know.” Maria went on to explain her theory about how human Liz actually was.

“Yeah, they had to have operated on her in order to put that tracking device in her.” I had read her transcript that had all the history. All the psychologists and all the doctors. She hasn’t had an easy life. Neither of them had.

“Oh, and she’s Michael and Tess’s cousin.”

“NO Way! Get out of town.”

“Um, Alex, we are out of town…” I threw my Suzy Q wrapper at her.

“That was lame.”

“Lame… how was that lame? You left yourself wide open.” She stopped smiling and got really quiet. “Did you just see that?”

“No, what?”

“Michael swerved all over the road.”

“I bet he’s getting tired. He’s been up all night working and then he’s had to drive. I’m surprised that he didn’t ask one of us to take his spot. I would have done it.”

“Well, he better pull over some time soon.”

“Look there’s only four miles ‘til we get to the border. Maybe we can do a Chinese fire drill or something.”

“If we don’t I’m not getting into another vehicle until we change driver’s. I’ll drive the Jetta, Isabel can drive the Jeep and we can go from there.”

“Okay.” She had taken all of the four miles to tell me what she was going to do when we stopped. All that mattered was that I was going to get to rest for a little while. It didn’t help that Isabel had made me sleep on the couch the last few nights. She was still upset that I had played Liz her riff.

Michael pulled the Jeep over and I followed. Up ahead of them, was Jim, looking like the lone cowboy as usual.

Maria jumped out of the car and raced to the Jeep. I slowly unwound myself out from under the steering wheel. The Jetta just wasn’t made for tall people. By the time I got out of the Jetta Michael was coming down the hill. He had probably gone somewhere to relieve himself.

See if he wouldn’t have been in such a toot to leave the gas station, he could have gone when I did.

I saw Isabel leave Jim and Michael and head for the Jeep. Maria had her head inside; evidently, someone was awake. I went for the Jeep too. The fact that Liz was their queen and that Max’s claim to being king was a bit sketchy blew me away.

The alien abyss just seems to get bigger and bigger. I wonder how Tess will react to the news of Liz being the real queen of Antar.

“I saw you run off into the desert, don’t you ever give me a hard time when I tell you I have to pee. You always give me a hard time. I always...” Michael grabbed her chin and turned her face toward him and planted a big, wet one on her. It was enough to shut her up. I had to look away because it was getting to be too personal.

Michael broke the kiss, “Who’s been driving your car, Maria?”

She sighed and then answered that I had been. “He said he wouldn’t trust me while I was so excited.” They got quiet for a moment and I looked up to see what was going on and I wasn’t surprised to see the two of them kissing again.

“Are you alright to drive now? I’m beat and I want to ride with you.” He asked Maria. Yes! I was hoping the changing of drivers was going to happen now.

“I can’t believe you did all that driving. What is wrong with you? When I saw you swerve I knew you had to be tired.” Michael knew how to wrap Maria around his little finger. She was getting ready to let him have it and he butted in.

“Not now, Maria. I don’t think I could argue with you so let’s just not fight about it now. I promise, when we get to Roswell we’ll argue until you’re blue in the face.” I watched as Maria led Michael toward the waiting Jetta. She opened the door, he climbed in, and before she shut the door, I saw her lean in and then Michael disappeared as the seat back went down.

I turned around and saw Isabel and Jim talking. Isabel was shaking her head and pointing at the Jeep. I could tell by her body language that she was still upset about Liz’s condition.

I slid my arms around her from behind and pulled her to me, letting her know that I was there for her.

“I really don’t know. There might be a way to pull her out of the plan but I think it will take all of us to do it.” Isabel just stopped and shook her head. “I really don’t know. We’ll see what we can think of when we get to Roswell.”

Jim just nodded in understanding, “Okay, we’ll see how fast we can get you there.”

I let go of Isabel and grabbed her hand as we turned back to the Jeep. Jim walked with us to the driver’s door and as I opened the door, I turned to Isabel. “Could you drive for a while? I need to get some sleep or I’ll be swerving all over the road like Michael was.”

“Sure Alex, I just had a long nap, I’m wide awake.” After she climbed behind the wheel I leaned in and gave her a kiss before closing the door.

The sheriff was coming back from the Jetta, “They’ll be right behind you. Tell Isabel to keep up.”

I ran around to the passenger side of the Jeep and buckled in. Glancing back to Max and Liz to make sure they were safe, I relayed Jim’s message to Isabel.

As we pulled back onto the highway I turned back to Max, “Is everything okay? How is Liz doing?”

“Khivar has her trapped on the dream plane. We have to figure some way of freeing her. Aside from her breathing and her heart beating I don’t really know how she is doing.” He replied as we barreled down the highway.

I didn’t have anything I could say to Max to make him feel better. He knew we were all here for him and Liz. I looked at the two of them for a moment and it struck me how right they seemed together. Sitting there, in the back of the Jeep with Max gently stroking Liz’s hair, they looked liked they belonged with each other.

I shook my head in sympathy, and then turned to face the highway and the sheriff’s taillights in front of us. I reached over and grabbed Isabel’s hand as I let my head drop back on the seat as the hum of the tires lulled me into s fitful sleep.

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I seemed to awaken in a darkened room. As I opened my eyes, I looked up into the face of a beautiful woman who had been shaking my shoulder. She was dressed in white robes and had a regal air about her. As she saw my eyes open she released my shoulder and stepped back.

“Good, you’re awake.” Her long blonde hair flowed as if there was a perpetual wind running through it.

I sat up and looked around but everything was in a fuzzy darkness, I couldn’t really see any of my surroundings. “Who are you? Where am I?”

“We don’t have time for questions or long explanations. Khivar may figure out what we’re doing at any time and I have to be finished by the time Muri is done as well as Mira. We’re on a tight schedule.”

“But who…” I still needed some answers.

“Are you the mate of my daughter Vilondra?” She cut me off. “I have to know if I’ve found the right person.”

“You’re Isabel’s mother?” I gaped. “How did you get here? Have you talked to Isabel?”

“Shh, we don’t have much time. Khivar is watching all of the others so we decided to try to contact whoever we could right now.” She explained, “We don’t think he has any control over all of the dream plane.”

“Uh, I’m sorry to have to tell you this but Khivar does have some control in the dream plane, Max told me he trapped Liz there.”

The women looked confused, “Max? Liz? Who are they?”

It dawned on me that she would know her son by his Antarian name, “Max is your son, Zan? Brother to Isabel. Liz is the girl he fell in love with.”

Nodding in understanding she said, “Ah, my son and Andra. We know about that. Khivar has both Andras trapped. He thinks that will save him. But we’ll make sure that the prophecy is fulfilled.”

“What do you mean both Andras? Liz is a human from Connecticut. She isn’t an alien.”

She sighed as she shook her head, “We really don’t have time for this. The person you call Liz is really Andra. Before we perfected the hybrid process we had to find a way to recreate Andra, a suitable …um... host was found and her essence was inserted.”

“What do you mean a host?”

“We couldn’t create a human fetus, so a pregnant human was found that was suitable for our purposes. She never knew what was done to her. It was painless and didn’t affect the baby. We figured the child, Liz is her name? Would be well hidden.”

“Well hidden? Do you know what kind of life Liz has had to live because of what you did to her?” I began to pace the area in front of the woman. “Liz doesn’t know where she is half the time. The other half, she’s being taken all over the U.S. trying to find her mate. I don’t know who you guys are but you’ve no right to mess with people’s lives like this.” I stopped in front of her. Take that and shove it up your pipe.

I placed my hands on my hips and waited for her to come back with something. She grabbed my hand and dragged me behind her. “We did what we did for all of Antar. You need to quit asking questions and start listening to what I’m telling you.”

I wasn’t going to let her change the subject. We’re on earth, why should Liz’s parents have to suffer losing their daughter for some world they never heard of? “What about her parents? How will they feel when their daughter disappears? Do you know how much pain that will cause them?”

“Alex, we had a whole world to worry about and not many alternatives. We did what we had to do.” She tried to explain, “Anyway, if everything works out she can come back here. All of you can come back here.”

I saw her start to waver a bit, nothing major; she just didn’t seem as solid as she had. “Oh, God, he’s found me. You have to shut up and listen, we’re out of time.”

“Fine. Start telling me something that’s worth listening to and maybe I’ll shut up.” She pulled harder on my arm. “Ouch!”

“You need to pay special attention to the sequence that I am about to show you. It is vital to your success. If you miss one, then Khivar will know your location and the Skins will find you.”

“Whoa, Skins. We took care of the Skins a long time ago.”

“You took care of only one faction of Skins. Khivar has sent many more over the years. Now look.” Out of no where a simulation of the Granolith appeared before us.

“Whoa, how’d you do that?”

“This is the plane. Anything can be done.” She turned and looked at me. “Now, pay close attention.” I shook my head and watched her every move.

Isabel’s real Antarian mother walked over to a space in front of the wall and waved her hand about my shoulder height high. A silver handprint illuminated. She looked over her shoulder to make sure that I was in deed watching her every move. When she saw that I was, she smiled.

She pressed her hand over the visible print and a small opening appeared to the left of it. “It is very important that only Zan does this. If anyone else touches this crystal then all hopes of saving Andra from Khivar’s clutches is futile.”

“What will happen if someone else touches it?”

“YOU MUSTN’T LET NO ONE ELSE TOUCH IT!” She yelled at me. “NO ONE BUT ZAN.”

“Okay.” I held my hands up to show that I understood how important it was for Max to touch the crystal. “What will happen?”

“The only thing that should happen. The only thing that can happen.” She took the crystal and walked over to the Granolith. “The first hole to the left. Remember, Alex. The first hole to the left.” She put the crystal inside the appropriate hole. “All the others must be lined into position. Each one taking on their rightful place in succession.”

“What? No, we don’t know our rightful place. We don’t know!” She started to fade and I took two steps to try and keep her here with me on the plane. “Your daughter’s life is in your hands. You can’t leave. Not now. You chose wrong. I don’t know what you mean.”


She slipped out of my hands and I was thrown back to reality by the loss of air in my lungs. I gasped for air.

Isabel was looking at me. Worry clearly etched across her beautiful features. “Alex? Are you okay?”

I shook my head. I felt all right. I didn’t trust my voice. I sat up and rubbed at my eyes. “Are we there yet?”

“Almost. Now, what happened?”

“I’ve had an encounter of the strange kind.” I looked at her and looked deep into her eyes. “Isabel, I met your mother. She told me what we had to do to save Andra.”

Sadness engulfed her worriedness. “You met my mother.”

I turned around and took hold of her hand that was gripping the stick shift tight enough to make her knuckles white. “She wanted to contact you, sweetie, I know she did.” I saw the tear slide down her cheek. “You’ll see her soon.”

“I was on the plane just before you got there. Why didn’t she contact me then?”

“She said that Khivar knows what they’re trying to do so they had to contact all of us at once. She’ll see you soon. One way or another. The two of you will meet.” What mother wouldn’t want to see her daughter? I had no idea why she waited for me to be dreaming before she took me into the plane.

“Did she say that?” Hope filled her voice. There was nothing I could do but tell her what she wanted to hear.

“Yes, she said that. She loves you and you’ll see each other soon.” She smiled at me. “So, are we there yet? I’m starving.”

“Yeah, we’re coming up to the city limits but I don’t think we’ll have time to stop and eat.”

I looked back into the back seat and looked into Max’s harden eyes. He looked like a man on a mission and just because I was starving, didn’t mean that he was going to let me stop and eat at the Crashdown.

“Yeah,” I nodded my head at Max and turned back around. “You’re probably right. We really need to get to the Granolith.”

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User avatar
Bordersinsanity
Obsessed Roswellian
Posts: 608
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2001 4:58 pm
Location: This side of insanity with one foot left to go...
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Long to Be Part 28

Post by Bordersinsanity » Wed Sep 03, 2003 1:20 pm

PART 28 ~ Kyle

We pulled up to the rocks and got out. Four hours in the car just didn’t do it for a happily married newlywed couple. We had stopped at the Crashdown to eat. Relived a few memories and then moved on again. “How long do you think we’ll have to wait for them?” I asked Tess as she walked around to the front of the car. My eyebrows had a mind of their own and waggled up and down as I looked upon my beauty.

“I don’t know.” She giggled as she saw my wagging eyebrows. “Depends on when they left. Do you think I should call Max and find out what’s going on?” She stood in front of me and I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her close to me.

“You can.” I told her but I couldn’t decide if it was a good idea or not. We had left at the spur of the moment to get married. Who knew how the home team crowd was going to react. “I could call my dad and see if they’ve met up at the border yet.” Anything was better than hearing Max yell at us. Besides, I didn’t want to disturb him. Yeah, that’s it. I saw her face lighten and I knew that I had made the right suggestion. She didn’t want to talk to Max any more than I did.

I leaned down and kissed the side of her neck. She accommodated me rather nicely by tilting her head to allow me better access. “You could…” She drawled. “In fact, why don’t you. We may have to know how much time we have to fill with extracurricular activities.” She had turned around in my arms and as she spoke she sent an image of what we could be doing instead of standing here wasting time.

There was a time that I was scared of Tess’ powers but not anymore. Not now that I know that she would never use them against me. She loves me. I’m sure of that. I didn’t realize how insecure she had always been. Not knowing whether or not she was actually one of the group. Now she knows she belongs and that’s all she needs.

I squeezed her tighter and then hopped off the hood of the car. She moved with me. It still amazes me how we’ve become two halves of a whole. She opened the car door for me and leaned in to grab the phone that had been charging the entire length of the trip. Having a dead battery had caused us enough grief this trip, we weren’t going to let it happen again.

My hand had a mind of its own and grabbed some firm tushy. “Kyle!” Tess squealed and jumped up all at the same time.

“What?” I acted like I hadn’t done anything wrong. I knew why she was giving me the evil eye and I don’t think telling her that it is a man thing would get me out of it. “That tush is fair territory. Why don’t we just get it out of the way and get this straightened out. This is now mine…” I stated with authority. “This means I can grab it whenever and wherever I want to. Copasetic?” She handed me the phone and I dialed my dad’s number.

“Oh, it does? Well, if the tush belongs to you then this belongs to me.”

”Tess!” I didn’t have a chance to go any further in my dialog because my dad had answered his phone.

“This is Jim.” He said into the receiver.

“Hey dad.” I was still trying to calm down from being grabbed by her earlier. Tess snickered and I gave her the evil eye. I cleared my throat and then continued, “Just wanted to see where you guys were.”

“We should be there in twenty minutes or less.” I had a hard time concentrating on the conversation because Tess had started moving in an enticing way. Pay attention man… you have things you need to ask.

“Wow, you guys are making some good time. How is everyone doing?” I turned my back to my lovely wife so I could concentrate.

“It doesn’t look too good. Liz looked bad at the border when I peeked in on them and I think Max is in just as bad a shape.”

“Do you have any idea what we are going to have to do once you guys get here?”

“Not a clue. Hang in there, son. We’ll be there soon and everything will work out. Have a little faith.”

It was funny hearing that from my dad. He never thought things happened for a reason. My mom left us when I was six. Neither of us thought that happened for a reason. It wasn’t until ten years later that we realized that mom leaving us was for the best. Now, he’s married to Amy… they couldn’t be happier. What more could a person ask for? Now here, he’s saying that everything will work out. Did he even know what he was saying? Do I even know where my thoughts are going? No, because Tess came up behind me and wrapped her arms around me. The warm fuzzy feeling began to build in the center of me.

“I’ll let you go, dad. Be careful. Tess and I will be waiting for you.”

“Okay, son. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Ask him how they reacted to us getting married.” Tess whispered to me.

“Oh, just one more thing. Did they seem upset about Tess and me?” We had to know. Not that their opinion was going to matter much. What was done was done and nothing anybody could say about it was going to change that.

“No, no one said anything about it, but they do have other things on their mind right now.” I took a deep breath and closed my eyes at hearing the good news.

“Thanks, dad. Be careful.”

“See you soon.” I ended our call and threw the phone back into the car. I turned around to find Tess because she had quit holding me once I had asked the question. She was standing about arms length away, her face covered with worry.

“What’s wrong?” I asked as I closed the distance between us.

“What did they say?” I wrapped her up into my arms.

“Everything is fine. No one is angry with us for going off and getting married. They’re almost here. I bet its safe to say that they’ll be here in less than ten minutes.

“So soon?” She looked up to me.

“The sooner the better.” I reminded her. Until we finished this thing with Liz our life would be in limbo. “The way dad made it sound is that Max’s health is dwindling too. Whatever is happening to Liz, it is having a ripple effect on him too.” Her eyebrows scrunched together.

She pulled herself out of my arms and crossed hers over her chest. “Did he say anything else?”

“What is it?” I walked up behind her. “Tess, what do you know?”

“Nothing.” She practically whispered.

“That doesn’t sound so assuring. What are you not telling me? If it will help them; then you have to tell, Tess.”

She turned around. Tears were threatening to spill out of the corner of her eye. “I didn’t think it was for real.”

“What?” I knew her stance. She didn’t want to be held. She was punishing herself for something and there was no way that I would be able to hold her now.

“Nasedo. I thought he was just yanking my chain. You know, trying to make me believe in things that weren’t real.” She walked over to the rocks and leaned against one. “He was always saying things to make me believe that Max and I were meant to be together. I had no idea that what he was saying had any validity to it.”

“What did he say, Tess?”

“He said that if I didn’t bond to Max soon that the real queen would take my place.” She stood up and started pacing. “The real queen I asked him? I’m the real queen, I told him.” She stopped and looked at me. “He laughed. You know the laugh. The laugh that makes you feel like you’re nothing.”

I shook my head. The man was plain evil. “What else…” I left it open in hopes that she would fill in the blanks.

“He said that I wasn’t the first queen to marry Zan that there was another and that once the council found a way of recreating her that she would be sent to meet up with her king. That, while they were together our world knew peace and that my time as queen was nothing but heartache.”

“Tess you’re confusing me. Why was it so important for you to bond with him? What would bonding do to keep the real queen away from him? And why would you want to keep her away? This isn’t you. You don’t care about being queen. You never did. I’ve seen inside of you. What’s going on?”

“They found a way to send the real queen back, Kyle.” She ignored my questions and continued on the same path that she was already on. “The real queen is Liz. I should have put two and two together Friday night. The look that passed between the two of them, they knew then like I know now. It started with a little touch.”

“How can she be the queen? And what started with a touch.” Antar politics I just couldn’t follow. It was a tangled web that got even messier with every turn.

“They’ve bonded. What happens to one can easily happen to the other. I just didn’t realize that it would be so complete so quickly.” She turned around and started pacing. “It makes sense now. It all makes perfect sense. Nasedo received a message stating that she was searching. They knew. Someone has been monitoring her. Someone knew who she was and where she was.”

“Wait! He had contact with your people while on Earth?” She stopped pacing and looked at me.

“Not necessarily. Someone there had a way of contacting him. Don’t say anything else for a minute. Let me work this out.” She placed a quick kiss on my cheek and then went back to her pacing.

“I thought it was one of his head games. He was in a frenzy for days. I never understood what he was rambling about.” She stopped talking for a brief moment. I think she started reliving that memory. I watched her with interest. She could have all the answers to our problems and not know it.

“He said that they had found a way to take the queen’s essence and insert it into a human egg. He was furious. Evidently they had found a human that had problems carrying to full term so they decided to use her fetus as the new host.” She stopped and her eyes stared into nothingness for a brief moment and then she began again. “I remember him saying that someone was supposed have taken care of the hybridization process so no more hybrids were to be created after us.”

“So your people just injected this alien queen’s essence into some unprotected baby’s mother. What right do they have?” The nerve of some species.

“They would have never been able to carry the baby to full term.” It was everyone’s nature to defend their own. Even though Tess didn’t like it the majority of the time, she still defended their actions now. She still defended the same people that didn’t like who she was before.

“That doesn’t give them the right to make decisions like that for the parents. Did they ask? What are they going to think when they find out that they gave birth to an alien?”

“I don’t know, Kyle. Why don’t we go find out? Oh, yeah… that’s right we don’t know who the hell they are! And she’s not one of us. She’s completely human!” She threw her hands up in the air and started stomping off toward the car.

“Tess… wait. I’m sorry. I know it’s not your fault. It’s just that…” I threw my hands up into the air too. There were no words that would fix this situation. “Hell, I don’t know. This whole thing just blows.”

She turned around and looked at me. “You’re telling me. This is my life.”

“Our life.” I corrected her. “Our life… for richer or for poorer. In sickness and in health… ‘til death do us part. We’re in this together.” Words of magic flew from my mouth.

“Oh, Kyle.” She sank into my arms. “That’s so sweet.” I know but I didn’t tell her that. Hell, I didn’t even know where that came from. Funny what marriage does to a man. I feel her take a deep breath and I tighten my hold on her. A little comforting never hurt anyone.

The sound of approaching vehicles broke us apart. “They’re here.” She pulled away from me reluctantly and swiped at the tears that had spilt.

“You ready?” She asked.

“Honey, I was born ready.” She smiled and slapped my chest. “Really I was.”

“Ha, ha, Kyle.” She went to the other side of the car and put her hand up to her forehead to shield her eyes from the sun. “Three vehicles coming in from the west… Your dad followed by the Jeep and then bringing up the rear is the little red Jetta.”

“Hale, hale the gangs all here.”

“Let’s hope they’re all here.” The meaning didn’t go unnoticed by me. The connection between Max and Liz had her worried. What if Liz dies? Does that mean that Max goes too? Surely not, after all she died before him the first time and he survived.

I don’t know if she had some way of seeing into the future or why she even said that but the short distance that they had to drive felt like an eternity. “They’re all going to be there.” I assured her as well as myself. Please let everyone be alright.

We waited in agony. The not knowing was brutal. Was Max strong enough to survive whatever was plaguing Liz? I hoped so. And if they were indeed connected what long term effects did it have on the rest of us. Would we all end up connecting as strongly as the two of them?

The cloud of desert dust blew past us as the vehicles came to a halt. We stood about shoulders width apart as all the passengers of the vehicles climbed out and started to stretch. Dad was the first to make his way to us. While the others clustered around the Jeep. “How are you guys doing?”

“Good. Looks like everyone is here. I suppose Max and Liz are still in the back of the Jeep.” He turned and looked to the Jeep.

“Looks that way. Why don’t we go see what’s going on.” He turned around and started for the group. We followed close behind.

“It was so weird. You should have seen her. She was beautiful. I didn’t think I would live to tell the tale because when I told Maria she about wrecked the car.” Michael was being very animated.

“I didn’t. It wasn’t any worse than the kind of swerving you were doing in the Jeep because you were tired.” I could see that this argument had been going on for a long time. I was thankful that I wasn’t in the car and had to listen to it.

“No way!” Alex interrupted and I patted him on the back. He didn’t even acknowledge me. He knew them too well. Hell, we all knew Michael and Maria too well. If Alex hadn’t interrupted it would have escalated into a full blown battle. “Me too. I was visited too.”

“Me too.” Max added as well.

“She said something about not having much time. That they were going to visit us all at the same time. I guess we were lucky that we were all asleep when we were.” Alex was bobbing his head up and down.

“What happened?” I asked.

“They all got visited by the mothers.” Maria offered to me.

“Whose mother?” I couldn’t really tell if Maria was talking about one in particular or not, so I had to ask.

“Michael met his … Alex met Isabel’s and Max was visited by Liz’s.” The tone that she used was one that teachers used to speak to little kids. You know, ‘yes dear now pay attention to what I have to tell you’ type voices.

“Liz’s mom? Is she alien?” I didn’t want to give any information out that told the others that I knew more than them. It wasn’t good for our position. I knew eventually that it would all come out; it’s just that I didn’t want to be the one to shed the light on the issue.

“No, you idiot.” I received another slap. “Her Antarian mom; you nitwit.” Maria was good at pointing out the obvious.

“I told you Kyle.” Tess stepped back from the group. She knew what was about to come.

“How did you know?” Isabel shot her a suspicious look.

“I just put two and two together just a little while ago. I thought it was all something that Nasedo had planned.” I took a step and was between the two women. I wasn’t about to let anyone take a piece out of Tess without going through me first.

“It’s true. She just told me.” I told Isabel at first and then I looked every single one of them in the eye and when I met Max’s I winced. He looked ill. Liz was lying in his arms as still as can be. “Is she okay?” I asked.

“No.” The defeat in his voice was evident. Anyone of us could hear it.

“What’s going on, Max?” Tess and I needed to know and I don’t think any of them were going to offer information unless we asked for it. After all we’ve been out of the loop the entire weekend.

“It’s a long story and I don’t really know what we’re going to do to fix it.”

“You going to try the stones?” The stones had been used only twice in the past. We only brought them out in dire needs and by the look of Max and Liz; this was one of those times.

“I don’t know if it will help.” He adjusted himself and pulled Liz further into his arms. Michael pulled the front seat forward for him to get out.

“Hand her here…”

“No.” Max was half standing, half sitting in the back seat. “I’ve got her.”

“Max, I don’t think it’s such a good idea to try and get out of the Jeep in your condition.” I voiced my concern, not that it mattered any.

“My…” he took a step toward the open door, “condition…” He reached one long leg out the door and tried to touch the ground. “Is fine, Kyle.” He stumbled out and all of us reached out at the same time to stabilize them.

“Sure, man whatever you say.” He stood up straight, held his head high and started for the hill leading up to the pod chamber.

The rest of us followed. When he pressed his hand to make the handprint appear we all held our breath. I don’t know why the others did but the reason I held mine was because the last time we had all been here was to try and save Nasedo. It didn’t go well and just the thought of something like that reoccurring again made a small shiver run down my spine.

The cool air came rushing out to greet us. Max walked inside and the rest of us followed. Not much had changed since the last time. The pods still sat there in front of the granolith. The eerie green pulsating light of the granolith filled the immediate area.

Max stumbled again on a piece of rubble and Michael was immediately there to catch the two of them. “Max, why don’t you set her down?” He led them down to the ground and kept his steady hand on Max’s arm until he was sure that they were seated safely. “You know I want her to be safe as much as you do. She’s my family you know.”

“What?” Tess let out. I rested an assuring hand on her shoulder to remind her that she needed to think before she voiced her opinions.

“Yeah, Liz is my cousin.” Michael puffed his chest out as if voicing the phrase gave him some kind of new status.

“That’s ridiculous? What she was before has no bearing on what she is now. She’s no more family than I am.”

“That’s enough. She’s your family too and we have an enemy in common. It all falls on you, Tess. We’ll need to know how far you are willing to go.” Max broke the squabble up before it could go any farther. But I don’t know if I totally agree with his logic.

“What do you mean she’s my family too? I would know if...” Tess had walked around to face Max and Liz. “I would know.” I saw a flicker of recognition in her eyes. She felt something. Maybe she realized something from her past life or maybe she remembered something that Nasedo had said to her once before.

“How? Like you knew I was destined to be with you when Nasedo filled your head with all those ideas in high school.” Touché. Max was a man on a mission and nothing any of us could say would change the way he felt. Nasedo was a man with his own mission and none of us mattered to him. If we got in the way then we were in the way. I never liked him anyway. He gave me the creeps and it wasn’t just because he could shape shift. There was something else.

Maybe the way he manipulated us for so long to do what he wanted us to do. Keep us in fear, keep us hanging on his every word.

“I would…” She stopped what she was going to say and looked up at me. “Is she my sister?”

“Don’t ask me. My mind is fuddled enough. I’ve just had the best sex this weekend and to be quite honest, I’m still in the afterglow right now.” I don't think I've ever seen Tess' eyes open so wide, or her face such a pretty pink.

“God, Kyle. We didn’t need to know that.” Maria slapped me again as I heard everyone moan in rebuttal.

“What? It’s the truth. I realize the severity of the situation but I don’t think my opinion would count right now. Tess dropped her eyes from me and looked back down at the frail body of the girl that had become the center of everyone’s attention.

“No, she’s your cousin on your father’s side. Your father and her father were brothers. Michael is her cousin through her mother’s side. Their mothers were sisters.” Max shifted Liz as he spoke.

“And why does it depend on me? Why is my opinion so important all of a sudden?” Our group had formed a semi-circle around Liz, Max and Tess. Tess faced everyone and it looked like it was her against the lot of us. I could see in her eyes that she was starting to feel like the outsider and that all of us were ganging up on her. I knew it wasn’t like that and I knew that I had only one place to be right now and that was behind my wife.

I broke away from the group and went around to where Tess was kneeling. I squatted down and pulled her flush against me. “I’m here for you.” I whispered in her ear. I felt the tension ease some and waited for the next person to speak.

“Because the enemy that we all have in common is Khivar and Khivar just happens to be your father.” The scene from The Empire Strikes Back popped into my head. ‘Luke, I’m your father.’ Would Tess be like Luke? Would she hope that she could turn Khivar over from the dark side? I know I would want to try if it were my dad.

“No! I don’t believe you.” She stood up as did I. “Who told you? Just because she’s come into the group you want to push me out of it. I was here first. I’ve been the one that has suffered through everything that he’s ever thrown at us. Not her. She could be lying. I’m not like him!”

“Oh, I think I’m going to puke.” This was just too much. My head had begun to swim. My stomach began to rumble. The Will Smith burger I had for lunch was wanting out.

“Tess, don’t over react and Kyle you’re not going to puke. None of us are judging you because he’s your father.” Something told me that that wasn’t the way that Max wanted it to come out but I had to appreciate his authority. My stomach listened to him and quit roiling.

“How do you know that, Max? You don’t know what the rest are thinking.” She turned around and looked at all of them. “Look at how they are looking at me. I’m a freak. This just proves that I won’t ever belong in this group.”

“Enough with all the theatrics. None of us are blaming you for who your family is. We can discuss this when it is more appropriate.” Isabel walked up to us. “You are a part of this group just as much as Liz is a part of this group. You need to decide whether you’re on our side or if you’re on Khivar’s side.”

“Isabel’s right and so are you. You’ve been there when we’ve needed you and we just need to know if you’re going to continue being there for us now. I don’t expect you to know how you feel about a man that you’ve never met. But now that you know who he is… what he is to you… you can’t honestly say that you don’t want to know more about him. You may decide that his reasons for wanting us dead are valid. You may decide that you want to be on his side.” Max sat still. His expression gave nothing away.

I looked up at everyone. I noticed that neither Alex nor Maria was making a move. Somehow I think we all got the same message. This was an alien only conversation. Humans weren’t invited to participate.

“Why would I be on his side? I don’t even know him. What he’s done to you, he’s done to me. I owe him nothing.”

“You’ll need to think a lot longer on this before you make that decision. Like Michael, you’ve never had family. Are you sure that you’re ready to turn your back on your father just when you’ve found him?” Max looked up at her. I could see his concern for my wife and the decision he was asking her to make wasn’t one that would be made quickly.

“What else do you know, Max? How come you know this now?” Max’s conviction gave me more of a backbone to stand on. I spoke over Tess’ head and looked him in the eye.”

“Isabel took me to the dream plane and I connected with Liz there. Khivar has her. He’s after the royal seal but the seal can only be taken from the physical body. What he has is just temporary. I think, anyway, I’m not sure. It’s difficult to describe. By holding her there, he’s causing her to use all her energy to fight him. She grows weak because she’s being kept away from her physical body.

He’s holding her there in hopes of us using the granolith and taking Liz’s physical body to her on Antar. That’s the only way that she will get stronger. Nothing the stones can do will help.” Max looked down and moved a piece of hair out of Liz’s face. “I’m not going to assume that you guys will want to come with us… but it’s the only way and I have no other option. Maybe with the two of us out of the way he’ll leave the rest of you alone. Maybe you can finally have a normal life.”

“The hell with that. I’m not letting you turn yourself in as well as her without a fight. I’m going too.” Michael took a step forward.

“Me too. Liz is my friend and there is no way I’m letting Michael out of my sight.” Maria stepped up beside Michael linking her arm through his.

“I’m going too. Maybe I could talk to my father and explain that we don’t want anything to do with Antar.”

“Me too.” Both Tess and I stood up and went over to where Michael and Maria were standing.

Isabel looked at Alex and Alex nodded his head up and down. “We’re going too.” Isabel told everyone.

“And I know of a way that will get us in undetected.” All eyes turned to Alex.

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Bordersinsanity
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Long to Be Part 29

Post by Bordersinsanity » Wed Sep 03, 2003 1:21 pm

PART 29 ~ Max

I didn’t think it was possible to fall back asleep but I had done it. It was like I had… help. Like someone had pulled me back in. I had seen the place where my dream had taken me before. It was Liz’s door; the one where she goes when Andra is in control.

“Liz! Where are you?” I looked around to search for her. She had to be here. She had to be the one that brought me here.

“Zan…” The soft whispering voice of a woman spoke my name and it wasn’t Liz’s. The hairs on the back of my neck rose. There was something about her voice that I had recognized. I whirled around to see if I could see to whom it belonged. The darkness on the plane was like before, way too dark. It was too dark for me to see anything but the glowing of the door, the door that went to where ever it went to.

“Who are you? Where are you?” When the woman came into view I had to rub at my eyes to make sure that they weren’t lying to me. “You…” She smiled back at me with the same smile that I had seen Saturday night at the airport. It was the woman that came out of the restroom and told me that Liz was crying in the last stall. It was the same woman that told me that Liz needed me even if she didn’t believe she did; was standing right in front of me.

She bowed down to me and when she rose she was still smiling. “I’m Mira and it’s nice to finally meet you.”

“Mira? Andra’s mother?” The name was familiar from one of the past flashes that Liz and I had shared. From one of my past memories that had resurfaced during our short time together.

“Yes… I don’t have a lot of time. I’m here to warn you. There’s a traitor amongst us and I have narrowed it to two people. I can’t say who it is for sure but I can’t sit back and do nothing. I’ve done it for far too long. My daughter needs her husband, she needs her soul mate she deserves to have the kind of life that the two of you had for such a brief time and I’m not going sit back and let her happiness die again.” She turned and checked the door. It glowed like it did the last time she had looked at it.

“Who? Who do you think is the traitor?” If there was a traitor amongst us, then we needed to know who it was. We needed to be prepared. It was bad enough that Liz’s life was slowly seeping away as we traveled to the granolith chamber. I didn’t need someone else muddling in it.

“Like I said I don’t have time. Don’t ask questions let me speak. Khivar has gotten good at tracking me when I use the plane. I’ve sent the two that I thought were traitors to the plane as well. They will be contacting two others from your group. I figured if I kept them busy it would give me more time than usual to work out the plan with you.”

“Is it someone from Antar or is it someone from Earth. Mira, I need more information. You have to help me. Who are they to contact? What will they tell them? What’s real and what’s not?” She looked over her shoulder as if someone was going to come barreling out of the glowing door any second. I needed to get her attention. “Mira! Tell me. I have to know. Liz’s life is hanging by a thread. We’re on our way to the granolith now. I’m going to take her back and I’m going to fight Khivar for her.” She looked around nervously, rubbing her hands together over and over.

She focused back on me but I still felt like her attention was split between me and something else. “Good, you’ll need to use it, but not the way that it was meant to be used.” She took a step closer to me and looked me in the eyes. They were dark and filled with sorrow. I can only imagine what she has had to endure while everything played out. I don’t know how it is even possible. The way life and death works on Antar. She died giving birth to her daughter, yet she still lives in our dreams.

She cleared her throat and began speaking again. “Beware of the mothers, my sister, Muri and your mother Shara. I want to believe that I am wrong but I don’t think I am. I didn’t live through what they did. I don’t know what life is like under Khivar’s rule. I didn’t know what it was like when you and my daughter ruled so I can’t justify their reasons. Just know this… The granolith is being monitored by Khivar. You use it like it is meant to be used, you will all be captured and what is done to you after that; I have no idea. He is obsessed with all of you.”

“Is there another way? Can you send a ship? If you can contact us surely you can contact others. Help me save your daughter’s life.” I begged for help.

“There is another way but it’s never been done. It’s an almost forgotten prophecy but I believe that the time has come.”

“What? I’ll do anything.”

“You are desperate and desperate men do drastic things and they don’t always work the way they are supposed to.” She stopped and looked at me. Eyed me up and down. “I want to believe. So far everything that the soothsayer has said has happen. I don’t think Khivar will be expecting it. He’s had an easy life since your death. He no longer pays attention to the council and their words of wisdom. No one questions him anymore. But we, the council, have had time to talk amongst ourselves. It’s dangerous but it’s possible.”

God, why was she talking in riddles when her daughter was in danger! “Mira, you said so yourself you don’t have much time. If you know a way that I can safely get to Antar and defeat Khivar to save Liz you have to tell me.”

“It’s not your destiny to defeat Khivar. You come to Antar with that on your mind and you will fail.”

“If my destiny is not to defeat Khivar how will I save your daughter?”

“Get my daughter to the granolith and she will do the rest. It’s been her destiny since before she was born. She will kill the king of Antar and the world as we know it will cease to exist.” The dream plane began to fade in and out. “They’ve returned. I must go. Remember, your destiny and all will be right.” She bowed once again and before she rose she was gone.

“How will Liz know what to do?” I yelled into the darkness. “How will we get to Antar? You didn’t tell me what I needed to know!” The dream plane faded and I was staring at the canvas roof of the Jeep. I just lay there; frustrated beyond belief, with the back of my head resting on the back of the seat.

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“I’ve had an encounter of the strange kind. Isabel, I met your mother. She told me what we had to do to save Andra.” I heard Alex shift in his seat as he spoke to my sister. Neither one of them was aware that I was awake and I wanted to keep it that way. I needed time away from their pitying looks.

“You met my mother.” I could hear Isabel’s pain because she felt the betrayal in our mother contacting someone else. Why would my mother do that? That alone told me that she could very well be the traitor. That anything she had said or done while visiting Alex could possibly be a lie.

“She wanted to contact you, sweetie, I know she did. You’ll see her soon.” Alex’s main concern was for my sister. He would do anything for her, that’s just the type of guy he was.

“I was on the plane just before you got there. Why didn’t she contact me then?” I could hear the hurt in her voice. My sister had longed for so very long to see my mother again. After we had used the orbs that first time, her need increased. With every unsuccessful attempt to make them work, Isabel’s want diminished. We were never able to activate them again and she never got the chance to see her mother again. I think maybe Isabel had come to terms of never ever getting to see our mother again until she heard that her boyfriend had had the opportunity to do so before her… and it was worse now, because our mother had actually sought him out over her own daughter.

“She said that Khivar knows what they’re trying to do so they had to contact all of us at once. She’ll see you soon. One way or another. The two of you will meet.”

“Did she say that?” Hope filled my sister’s voice. I averted my eyes to Alex to see what he would say.

“Yes, she said that. She loves you and you’ll see each other soon. So, are we there yet? I’m starving.” Alex tried to take Isabel’s attention of the heated topic by changing it with his question.

“Yeah, we’re coming up to the city limits but I don’t think we’ll have time to stop and eat.” There was a pause in their conversation so I closed my eyes. I didn’t want them to know that I was awake just yet. I needed more time to digest everything. More time to think of what the hell I was going to do once I got to the chamber.

“Yeah, you’re probably right. We really need to get to the Granolith.” I heard Alex adjust himself once again. I kept my eyes closed. If I knew my sister this conversation wasn’t quite over yet. There was no way that she was going to let Alex turn her attention to something else. He may know her but she’s still the one in control. Always in control. That was Isabel.

“Why would she come to you and not to Max? He’s back there sleeping. It just doesn’t make any sense. Are you sure it was my mother? What did she look like?”

“It was your mother, Isabel. She said so herself.” Alex scrubbed at his face in exasperation.

“What did she look like?” Isabel asked him again.

“She had long blonde hair that seemed to be in constant wind. I mean it just kept flowing and flowing. Kind of cool now that I think about it.”

Could what Mira said be true? Was my mother, Shara, a traitor? Or was it the other one… Muri? I looked down into the face of my angel with as little movement as possible. I needed Alex to continue talking about his encounter with my mother if I wanted to figure out what was what. Liz still lay undisturbed. I had hoped that something would have changed but I can see nothing is going to come that easy.

I could feel the drain that was taking its toll on her as well as me. I need to get her back to Antar. I just didn’t know how. Liz’s mother didn’t give me any kind of information that I could use. I still didn’t know how to get to Antar without using the granolith. And even that information is just an assumption. We just assume that the granolith will take us there. We have no idea what it is used for. It could be just some kind of fancy lighting system.

“We’ll talk about this later, Alex. Let him rest. Every time I look in the mirror and I see him getting more and more pale. She’s taking him with her. Wherever she is; he’s going. There is no stopping it.” The Jeep slowed down and I felt the wheels go off the smooth surface of the road and move onto the untravelled terrain of the desert. We were almost there. We had so much yet to do and so little time.

I sat up and Isabel smiled at me and then tossed Alex a silencing glare. “What time is it?” I asked.

“Almost three.” Alex replied.

“You okay, Max?” Isabel asked.

“Fine. I’ll be better once this is all over.” I pulled Liz up further into my lap and leaned over and kissed her forehead. “Is everyone still with us?” Access the damage if any. If what Mira said was true there would be three of us that got contacted. I wondered who the third was going to be.

“Yeah, Maria swerved a few miles back but she seems to be under control again.” She down shifted the Jeep and I looked out the front window. Kyle and Tess were standing in front of his red mustang, both shielding their eyes from the descending sun.

The caravan pulled to a stop. Isabel turned the Jeep off and I waited for them to get out of the vehicle. The sooner we got this over with the better. But no one was moving. “What do we do now?” She asked.

Isabel’s door flew open. “I’ve met my mother.” Michael exclaimed. “Can you believe it? I have family and they’re alive on Antar. It was so weird. You should have seen her. She was beautiful. I didn’t think I would live to tell the tale because when I told Maria she about wrecked the car.” I had never seen Michael this way. He and Maria have been together for a long time and I’ve never heard him talk like her, not even when he was mimicking her. I had to smile. Good things do happen to all of us; every now and again anyway.

“I didn’t. It wasn’t any worse than the kind of swerving you were doing in the Jeep because you were tired.”

“No way! Me too. I was visited too.” Alex added his new piece of information to the group.

“Me too.” For some reason I didn’t mirror the other two’s excitement. I mean what was there to be excited about? Either my mom or Michael’s mom is a traitor or even for that matter, Mira could be a traitor. The conversation continued without missing a beat.

“She said something about not having much time. That they were going to visit us all at the same time. I guess we were lucky that we were all asleep when we were.” Alex was bobbing his head up and down with everything that Michael said. It sounded like both conversations were alike.

“What happened?” I hadn’t realized that Kyle, Tess and Jim had walked over from where they were. Kyle had asked the question and everyone’s attention had turned to him.

“They all got visited by the mothers.” Maria was the first one to reply to Kyle’s question.

“Whose mother?” It must not have been enough information because Kyle was still asking questions.

“Michael met his … Alex met Isabel’s and Max was visited by Liz’s.” Sometimes I was grateful that Maria and I were such good friends. I mean; to be subjected to that kind of tone is kind of degrading. She should have had been a school teacher. After years of handling Michael I think she could just about handle anyone.

“Liz’s mom? Is she alien?” I got the feeling that Kyle was playing with her. It’s hard to say. Both he and Tess were acting a little weird.

“No, you idiot.” Maria slapped him across the shoulder. “Her Antarian mom you nitwit.”

“I told you Kyle.” I glanced to where Tess had been standing; she began to step away from the group.

“How did you know?” Isabel got out of the Jeep and started walking toward her.

“I just put two and two together just a little while ago. I thought it was all something that Nasedo had planned.” Kyle moved to keep my sister from getting any closer to Tess. He has always been a little bit protective of her from day one.

“It’s true. She just told me.” He defended Tess. He looked around the group and when he finally met me I saw the corners of his eyes wince. I must really look like shit for him to act that way, especially in front of everyone. “Is she okay?” He asked me as he stepped toward the Jeep. The rest of the group just sort of parted their way to make room for him. There was nothing between the two of us now.

“No.” What kind of question was that? Anyone could tell that Liz wasn’t alright. And it was really pissing me off that I had no idea how I was going to stop it from continuing.

“What’s going on, Max?” He asked.

“It’s a long story and I don’t really know what we’re going to do to fix it.” I didn’t want to have to explain it again. I wanted to get out of the Jeep and start for the chamber. At least I would be that much closer to whatever was going to happen. The way it sounded was that whatever was going to happen was going to happen whether or not I did anything about it. We all had a destiny. Each and every one of us had a part to play and it had already been written so it didn’t really matter what we did now. What was going to happen was going to happen.

“You going to try the stones?” Kyle broke me out of my vicious destiny circle with his question.

“I don’t know if it will help.” Enough of this. I adjusted Liz in my arms and Michael saw my movement and pushed the front seat forward for me to get out of the Jeep.

“Hand her here…” He held his hands out to receive Liz but that only made me pull her closer to me. I wasn’t read to let her go just yet.

“No.” I was stooped over in the back of the Jeep. Michael was in my way and I’m sure my look told him so. “I’ve got her.”

“Max, I don’t think it’s such a good idea to try and get out of the Jeep in your condition.” What was I some kind of invalid? Kyle moved next to Michael and the two of them had a look on their faces that I didn’t want to see.

“My… condition…” I don’t know if I could reach the ground. My legs ached from being cooped up in the Jeep for the last half of day. Liz didn’t weigh that much but just having her weight on my legs had caused them to fall asleep. Maybe they were right. Maybe I couldn’t get the both of us out of the Jeep let alone up the huge rock hill that loomed ahead. I stretched my first leg and the other one lost all strength. If it weren’t for the fact that I was used to climbing out of the Jeep I would have lost it, but I didn’t and continued with my sentence that I had started. “Is fine, Kyle.” They all reached out for me and even though I didn’t want to admit it I was grateful for their helping hands.

“Sure, man whatever you say.” Kyle backed up and the path that I needed was clear of any obstacles. I stood up straight, looked ahead at what was next. Having my friends and family beside me helped. Even though I didn’t let them help. Knowing that no matter what was ahead we would encounter it together meant a lot to me.

I started going through the list of things I needed to do, things that needed to be addressed. First thing… Get to the chamber. It would all start there. The longer I stood the better I was. My grounding came back and I took my first step toward the chamber.

The others followed me. There were a few murmurs here and there but nothing loud enough for me to hear. The next thing I needed to do was confront Tess. I needed to know where she stood. Was she one of us? Would she continue to be one of us with the information that I had attained.

The walk from the Jeep to the chamber wasn’t as long as I needed it to be. I needed more time. Time to figure out what needed to be said and how I was going to say it. I waved my hand over the place on the hot rock where the hand print lay hidden from the human eye. I hesitated for just a moment before I pressed my hand firmly over the print.

The chamber hadn’t always been a good place for us. It brought life and yet it also took its fair share of life too.

The rock wall rolled back and the cool air came rushing out. Maybe it was a sign. Turn around and run. There was nothing good that was going to come out of going inside. I shook my head and remembered what Mira had said to me. Get her daughter to the granolith and she would do the rest. Even though there was a possibility that she could very well be a traitor herself I had to try. If there was some way of helping Liz then I would do anything no matter how wrong it felt.

I walked inside and the rest followed. Nothing had changed since the last time we were here. Our broken pods still sat in front of the granolith. It’s eerie, green pulsating light filtering through the dead membrane that hung from the metal shells to light the chamber directly in front of it.

I took another step and stumbled. I was hit with a flash that took me for a ride.

~*~FLASH~*~

“Khivar wants her dead.” The woman spoke from the shadows.

“How am I supposed to kill her if I don’t know where the hell she is? The council made sure that they hid their tracks well. I haven’t even been able to pick her up like I did with the others. If you ask me I don’t think she even exists." The man shuffled his feet and once he was firmly planted he continued. “Although, I believe that if she were to come close enough to Zan that he would know it. He’s still not doing what is expected of him. He’s acting like he did when Andra died the first time. I’ve pushed Ava too far. She won’t do anything that I ask of her anymore.”

“Do something. There is only so long that Khivar will wait. Don’t you think that he’s waited long enough? The time is right and besides, I know she’s alive because I’ve witness Mira talking to her through the portal.”

“Why don’t you just extinguish her through the portal?”

“It doesn’t work that way, you fool. That won’t do anything to her physical self on Earth and that only eliminates part of her. If she finds Zan before you find her then it will only be a matter of time before it’s too late for any of them. You must find her and kill her once and for all. She is a hybrid whether or not the people choose to acknowledge that, she won’t return to the council to wait to be reborn again. Mira couldn’t have done a better job of eliminating Khivar’s nemisis. If she only had all the information before she sent her precious daughter after my son I’m sure she would have waited.” The woman’s face twisted into pleasure.

“What will happen when I find her and kill her? What will happen to the rest of them? They’ve latched on to humans and are constantly surrounded by them.”

“Zan and Vilondra will be brought back to Antar. He’s promised me that nothing will happen to them. Rath and Ava will be returned to their homes as well. Khivar will release them of any duty that they were sworn to before. He wants to be Antar’s ultimate ruler. As far as the humans; feel free to do with them what you like. I know you enjoy killing them. Your history precedes you here on Antar. When you return, others will tremble in your wake.”

Nasedo tilted his head back and laughed. “And you believe him? You’re such a fool.”

“Quit that! Why do you laugh?” The woman tried to come out of the shadow but was held back by an unseen field.

“You’re such a fool, Shara? You have no idea what Khivar will do to Zan and Vilondra once the queen is out of the way. They’re as good as dead. Mark my word.”

“He promised!”


The flash ended and Michael was back at my side. “Max, why don’t you set her down?” He put enough pressure on my shoulder to give me the idea that I did as he said. I was still thrown by the flash. Why hadn’t I seen it before? And why was I seeing it now? My mind was whirling from everything that I had just witnessed. “You know I want her to be safe as much as you do. She’s my family you know.” I looked up into Michael’s worried face.

He cared for her just as much as I did.

“What?” Tess’ question made me break my gaze from him. I took a few deep breaths. What was to follow was not going to be something that I would enjoy. I believed in her just as much as I believed in the others. We were a unit but the time has come for all skeletons to come out of their closets.

“Yeah, Liz is my cousin.” Michael’s attitude from when he first met Liz did a total one hundred and eighty degree turn. He was proud of her. Proud to call her family and he was all but yelling it at the top of his lungs now.

“That’s ridiculous? What she was before has no bearing on what she is now. She’s no more family than I am.” We had lived so long not knowing who we are. Even Nasedo was unwilling to give us the information that we so desperately wanted. The flash told me the reason why he had been so closed lipped about it all.

I knew it was up to me to end the bickering and I didn’t feel like splitting hairs. “That’s enough. She’s your family too and we have an enemy in common. It all falls on you, Tess. We’ll need to know how far you are willing to go.”

Tess all but fell. I had to hand it to her she handled it better than I would have. “What do you mean she’s my family too? I would know if...” She came around to the front of me and looked down at the two of us. “I would know.” She studied Liz closer. Looking her up and down and maybe seeing the two of us together had triggered something. I had no way of knowing.

“How?” I asked her. “Like you knew I was destined to be with you when Nasedo filled your head with all those ideas in high school.” I had to make her see that just because Nasedo said things didn’t mean they were the truth. I had to make her see with her own eyes just this once. I had to make her see that she felt the same way about Liz as the rest of us did. Liz was special and touched each and every one of us whether we acknowledged it.

“I would…” She was going to say ‘know’ but she didn’t. She let her unfinished sentence hang there in the silence of the chamber. She looked up at Kyle for some reason and then she finally spoke. “Is she my sister?”

“Don’t ask me. My mind is fuddled enough. I’ve just had the best sex this weekend and to be quite honest, I’m still in the afterglow right now.” Tess turned bright red. Leave it to Kyle to kill the mood. What was once filled with tension that was so thick that you could cut it with a knife was now filled with humor and a little bit of relief.

“God, Kyle. We didn’t need to know that.” Maria slapped him yet again. It never failed any of us just how long Maria’s arms could be at any one time.

“What? It’s the truth.” He was grinning and it was really good to have that tension breaker. I needed to make a note to self to thank him when this is all done and over with.

Tess dropped to her knees and moved her gaze from Kyle and looked back to Liz. I remembered that she had asked a question and thought it best to get back on track.

“No, she’s your cousin on your father’s side. Your father and her father were brothers. Michael is her cousin through her mother’s side. Their mothers were sisters.” The way Liz was laying on my legs was making them fall asleep. I didn’t like that feeling so I moved her gently while I waited for Tess to come back with another question.

“And why does it depend on me? Why is my opinion so important all of a sudden?”

Kyle moved in behind her and knelt down so he could whisper something into her ear. Whatever he said made her relax some.

I took a deep breath before I told her what I had found out a few days ago. “Because the enemy that we all have in common is Khivar and Khivar just happens to be your father.” She immediately started to shake her head no.

“No! I don’t believe you.” The two of them stood up in unison. “Who told you? Just because she’s come into the group you want to push me out of it. I was here first. I’ve been the one that has suffered through everything that he’s ever thrown at us. Not her. She could be lying. I’m not like him!”

“Oh, I think I’m going to puke.” Kyle clutched his stomach and turned away from the group. The situation was going to shit rather quickly. I need to pull everyone together.

“Tess, don’t over react and Kyle you’re not going to puke. None of us are judging you because he’s your father.”

“How do you know that, Max? You don’t know what the rest are thinking.” She eyed each and every one of us. Starting with Michael and ending up back at me. “Look at how they are looking at me. I’m a freak. This just proves that I won’t ever belong in this group.”

“Enough with all the theatrics. None of us are blaming you for who your family is. We can discuss this when it is more appropriate.” Isabel walked up to the front of the group and began again. “You are a part of this group just as much as Liz is a part of this group. You need to decide whether you’re on our side or if you’re on Khivar’s side.”

Isabel had a way of bringing every thing in perspective but I had to feel for Tess’ position because after all we were in the same boat. Our mother had betrayed us. She thought for our own good, but still who were we to judge? “Isabel’s right, and so are you. You’ve been there when we’ve needed you and we just need to know if you’re going to continue being there for us now. I don’t expect you to know how you feel about a man that you’ve never met. But now that you know who he is… what he is to you… you can’t honestly say that you don’t want to know more about him. You may decide that his reasons for wanting us dead are valid. You may decide that you want to be on his side.” I didn’t dare move. I wanted what I had said to sink in.

After a brief moment of silence she finally spoke. “Why would I be on his side? I don’t even know him. What he’s done to you, he’s done to me. I owe him nothing.”

“You’ll need to think a lot longer on this before you make that decision. Like Michael, you’ve never had family. Are you sure that you’re ready to turn your back on your father just when you’ve found him?” I looked her square in the eye. We had had this conversation several times in the past. Being room mates for nearly five years we were bound to talk about it sooner or later. I don’t think she realized that we did, or at least I did, consider her part of the group.

“What else do you know, Max?” Kyle stepped up and was now standing behind Tess. “How come you know this now?”

“Isabel took me to the dream plane and I connected with Liz there. Khivar has her. He’s after the royal seal but the seal can only be taken from the physical body. What he has is just temporary. I think, anyway, I’m not sure. It’s difficult to describe. By holding her there, he’s causing her to use all her energy to fight him. She grows weak because she’s being kept away from her physical body.

“He’s holding her there in hopes of us using the granolith and taking Liz’s physical body to her on Antar. That’s the only way that she will get stronger. Nothing the stones can do will help.” Hearing myself say it sounded so futile. I looked down into my angel’s face and pushed a piece of hair out of her face. Not that it was in the way but simply because it gave me something to do. “I’m not going to assume that you guys will want to come with us… but it’s the only way and I have no other option. Maybe with the two of us out of the way he’ll leave the rest of you alone. Maybe you can finally have a normal life.” I didn’t dare look up and into their faces. It would be too much pressure on them. They needed to make this decision on their own.

“The hell with that. I’m not letting you turn yourself in as well as her without a fight. I’m going too.” Michael took a step forward. My heart started to beat faster. I couldn’t believe my ears. Michael was coming with us and I knew that the others would follow. It was just a matter of time.

“Me too. Liz is my friend and there is no way I’m letting Michael out of my sight.” Maria stepped up beside Michael linking her arm through his. The darkness inside of me started to find some light.

“I’m going too. Maybe I could talk to my father and explain that we don’t want anything to do with Antar.” Tess and Kyle both stood up.

“Me too.” Kyle added. They made their way to where Michael and Maria were standing. Tess looped her arm through Maria’s and now there were four.

I looked to my sister. She looked at Alex and Alex nodded his head up and down. “We’re going too.” She said as the two of them walked over to where the other’s stood.

“And I know of a way that will get us in undetected.” Everyone turned and looked to Alex. Hope in each and every one of their eyes.

<center>~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~</center>


I looked at Alex. He thought he knew the way back. I gently placed Liz onto the dirt floor so I could stand. I needed to stretch my legs for awhile. Kyle took off his jean jacket and placed it under her head. “Thanks.” I said as I adjusted it to make sure that she would be comfortable.

“No problem. Did you hear what Alex said? He knows the way back.” He reminds me. I looked down at Liz once more. She was the one that everything depended on. She was the only one that could take us where we needed to go and she was the only one that could do it undetected. The only problem was that she was unconscious.

“Yeah, Max. All you have to do is come over here and swipe your hand over the handprint.” I looked to Alex and saw that he was walking over to the wall.

“Don’t! It’s a trap.” Alex stopped immediately at my warning.

“What?” I could see his confusion. “No, Max. Your mother told me that you had to do it. That it was the only way to get home safely.” He looked from me to the rest of the group.

“Max, what is wrong? Why are you acting so strangely?” Isabel moved to my side and pulled on my arm to force me to look at her.

“It’s a trap, Isabel. She doesn’t care if all of us get back. Just us. The two of us. She’s betrayed her queen and in doing so she’s betrayed us. If we go back using the way that she showed Alex on the dream plane then we’re all as good as dead. Khivar is playing on her emotions to get what he wants and right now he wants us dead.”

“No. You’re wrong. Our mother wouldn’t do that. You saw the message that the orbs released. She only wants to hold us in her arms again.” Isabel’s voice had begun to crack. I knew by experience that she was trying to keep from crying. There has been nothing more important to her than to get the chance to meet our mother. The woman who told us our destiny.

Now that I think about it, none of us believed her back then either. None of us followed what she had said that day. Michael and Isabel are no closer to becoming a couple than Tess and I are.

Tess is married to another man. A man that makes her happy.

Isabel is happy living her life with Alex.

Michael, well Michael has Maria. Always has and always will.

And me? Well I’ve finally found the one.

The message that the orbs released couldn’t have been more wrong. “Isabel. Listen to me. She’s helping Khivar and granted she’s being lied to; it doesn’t discount the fact that she’s telling us what he wants her to tell us. We do this my way or no way. You don’t have to come with me but I don’t want you to take unnecessary risks.”

“I don’t believe you Max.” She swiped at a runaway tear as it rolled down the side of her cheek. “You’re trying to control me. Our mother wouldn’t betray us like that.” I should have realized that it was going to be difficult to convince her.

“I think we should vote.” Alex stepped away from where he had been standing and was now with the rest of the group behind me. I could breathe again if only for a short time. I turned to look at them. A vote wasn’t going to help any of us. I knew if they voted that they would over turn me. They would all vote to go back the way Alex had been told. I had to make sure that they understood the consequences and if they didn’t want to do it my way then they weren’t doing it.

“Are you crazy? Home is the unknown. The people that are here now are all that we can trust.” I started with the logical… or at least what seemed logical to me. The people standing in front of me have shared every life threatening, every note worthy experience together. We’ve relied on each other from the beginning, not some person that we’ve never met.

I’ve decide that this weekend is taking its toll on all of us. We’re slowly becoming divided after just uniting. It looked like they were all against me, now. I looked at each and every one of them and when my eyes fell to Maria I knew I was too late. She no longer was looking at me but at the place that Alex had just vacated.

“NO!” I screamed as I twirled around to see that Isabel had stepped away from me and was walking to the wall that Alex had indicated was the key to our going home.

Isabel turned around. “She’s our mother, Max. She wouldn’t do anything to harm us.” She waved her hand over the wall and the silver handprint appeared. She took one last look at the rest of us and pressed her hand against it.

“NO!” Alex screamed.

“Isabel, don’t!” I yelled at the same time. I went to grab for her but she vanished before I could get to her. I turned around and looked at the group.

“I told you! You think I’m off my rocker? That I don’t know what is right or wrong? I have each and every one of your well being on my shoulders. I wish you guys would just listen to me when I tell you what needs to be done.”

“Only you were to do that. Your mother said that it must be you that touched the handprint.” Alex is in a daze. He’s barely keeping himself upright.

“What happens if it’s not me?” I asked Alex.

“I don’t know she wouldn’t tell me.” Unable to take the situation any longer, Alex sinks to the ground. Maria went down with him and pulled him into her embrace. She whispered into his ear while the two of them rocked together.

I took a deep breath and ran my hands over my face. What were we going to do? Isabel was the link for me to get to the dream plane to reach Liz. Liz was the only one that knows the key for getting us back to Antar without being detected and now my only option of contacting Liz was gone. It was a vicious circle that had no ending… No matter how many ways I twisted it around it was all the same. We were stuck here on Earth. Isabel was gone and Liz was slowly dying, her life force slowly being drained away.

After scrubbing at my face and taking a few deep breaths I looked over our group. They were all in front of me all of them with the exception of Liz who should be off to the side where I had left her. I took a quick glance in her direction just to make sure. Never hurt to be sure. The quick glance would be a little touch of sanity before I went over the top, before I lost all hope, before I screamed at the top of my lungs at my family for not listening to me. It’s amazing that she could be all those different things to me. I licked my lips in anticipation of seeing her. I so badly needed it.

My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach; she was gone too. “Liz!” I turned around and noticed that she was standing up beside the granolith. She ignored me and continued working on the machine. She was pushing buttons that I had never seen on the granolith. When she was done she turned her head to me and smiled.

“What are you doing, Liz? You shouldn’t be standing. You need to save your strength.” I fought the urge to yank her from it, to pull her in my arms and hold her tightly. Whatever had possessed her to get up and start working on the granolith was beyond me.

“He’s busy with Vilondra. We don’t have much time.” She continued to work on the black piece of equipment.

“Are you okay?” I asked her. She looked so pale.

“We were too much for him to control all at once. He’s focused on your sister. You have to get everyone that is coming to stand here.” She pointed to her left and continued with the machine.

“You heard her. We don’t have much time.” I took a quick glance behind me and saw that Kyle was rounding everyone up. I returned my focus back to Liz. The way she held her body and the way her fingers glided so easily over the controls of the granolith. “Okay, it’s done. We’re ready.”

I looked back at the group. Kyle was right they were all standing huddled together. “You guys sure?”

There was no need for an answer. They looked ready. Alex and Maria were standing tall. Michael had his arm lightly draped, but showing protection, over Maria’s shoulder. Kyle was standing beside Alex and Tess was standing in front of them all. I stopped and looked at her. “We’re sure.” She said. She made sure to look me in the eye and somehow I knew that when the time came that she would fight her father if it meant protecting one of us.

I turned back to Liz. “Okay, Liz. Do your thing.” She backed away from the granolith and began to shuffle us around.

“We have to link hands.” She said. None of us questioned her. We did as she said. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. She hasn’t moved in almost twenty-four hours and it was a little hard for me to grasp that she was even up walking a talking as if nothing had happened to her.

“What’s it like? Traveling in the granolith.” Alex asked.

“Oh, we’re not using the granolith so to say. It’s going to be our decoy. I’ve set it to go to Antar, we’re going to piggy back on its trail so to speak.” Liz answered Alex’s question.

“Wait, wait, wait… No, no, no. This isn’t good. What do you mean piggy back?” Alex voiced his concerns. I didn’t even think of questioning it. I was told that Liz was the only one that could get us to Antar undetected and what she said was what we were going to do. No ifs, ands, or buts.

“The granolith isn’t a machine that travels in space. It travels through it. It creates an opening in one dimension and then opens the other end in another dimension. It goes no where. There are no moving parts. We’re going to use the same opening as the granolith but I know of another place for us to end up that Khivar will never suspect.” She looked back up at the machine. I followed her gaze and noticed that a timer of sorts had started to count down.

“Only a few more minutes.” She pushed a piece of hair behind her ear and curled her lip into her mouth for just a second. “All you have to do is blank your minds. I’ll do the rest. Concentrate on the feel of the person beside you. If you can’t do that, just remember to hold on to one another. I won’t have enough energy to make sure that we all stay together.”

She enters the middle of our circle. “What about you? Don’t you need to be touching someone as well?” I asked her. I couldn’t think of getting there without her. I felt naked without touching some part of her.

“No, it will diminish the energy that I need. If I touch someone all of the energy that is flowing in the circle will go to them and then I won’t have enough to get us where we need to go. Trust me.” She smiled at me again.

How could I not trust her? Something deep down in my soul has always trusted her. Has always been a part of her. A beeping sound began to emit from the granolith. “This is it. Remember close your eyes and blank your minds out. I’ll do the rest.” Everyone closed their eyes except Liz and me.

“Liz… I love you.”

“I know. I feel you here.” She covered her heart and then took a couple of steps to me. Her small hand came up to cup the side of my face. I had to lean in. I closed my eyes and relished the feel of her warmth. It seemed to travel through my entire body warming the deepest core of my being.

“No matter what,” Her voice was no louder than a mere whisper. I could still feel her lips on mine even though I knew they weren’t. I could still feel her warming my heart with her love. “Don’t interfere between Khivar and me. You have to protect everyone else. Release the council and go get your sister.” I opened my eyes. There were tears in her eyes.

I realized now. “Andra?”

"We don’t have time Max." She tilted my head so our foreheads were touching. A series of flashes that went too fast for me to really comprehend went traveling through my minds eye. When they ended it was just the two of us staring into each other’s eyes. "Release the council, save your sister and DON’T INTERFERE!" Why is she yelling? Is it because the granolith was activating itself, or to make sure I followed her orders? I wanted to believe that it was because of the granolith but I knew it was the latter. No one could mistake what she meant and I would have to deny the connection that I felt to her in order to believe it meant anything else. My only goal once we got to Antar was to release the council and save Isabel. Nothing more, nothing less. Plain and simple.
The cone started to cycle. Pulsating from white to shades of purple to pink and then back again. "Please Max." she pleaded with tears shimmering in her eyes. "This is my destiny. This is why I’m here. Don’t interfere no matter what." She stood up on her toes and kissed me. She wrapped her arms around my neck. Her kiss was long and hard. It wasn’t one of hope or love it was a kiss of good bye. I wanted to let loose my hold on Michael and Tess’ hand but they wouldn’t allow it.
She pulled away and I felt the pull of the granolith, this was it. "NO!" I screamed. She closed her eyes and lifted her head to the ceiling, a single tear trailing down her cheek. She knew something and wasn’t telling me. She had just said her goodbyes and I didn’t have a chance to stop her. She knew she wasn’t going to win. I tried to scream again but it was too late we had entered the zone of no where. The place between where nothing existed. Michael squeezed my hand and I remembered to close my eyes and blank everything else out. Liz needed me to do my job. If this was the only way I could help I was going to do it the best that I could.

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Silence.

I was encased in silence. I wanted so badly to open my eyes to see where we were but I didn’t. I waited as long as I could and when I realized that we were stationary I took the chance and opened my eyes.

I turned around and around and around. My eyes never landed on the one thing I needed so desperately to see. “Liz!” I looked from one person to the other. Everyone started to turn around as if they too were looking for her. “Liz!” I yelled again. We were surrounded in blackness, nothing but the six of us. I sank down to my knees still holding on to Tess and Michael’s hand and closed my eyes. Liz was gone. Did I do something wrong? Did we do something wrong? We didn’t have enough energy to keep her with us.

The hairs on the back of my neck raised and with them so did my head. There in front of me was Liz’s door. It loomed in front of me urging me to go to it. The stark whiteness blared in the darkness of where we were. I pulled loose my hands from the others and went to it. “Max, don’t.”

“It’s okay Michael, I’ve been here before.” Hope found its way into my voice as well as into my chest. I should have known she would have pulled us to some place that was familiar to her. I should have never doubted her. I reached out my hand and took hold of the door knob and turned it. The brightness from the interior filled the space that we were in. I looked over my shoulder and looked at the rest of the group. They had dropped their hands and were beginning to walk toward me.

“Wait for the rest of us.” Maria hollered. “I don’t want to have to tell Liz that we lost you too.”

I held the door open and looked inside while I waited for the rest of the group to get to me. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Rows and rows of people lying on table after table. “Are they dead?” Tess asked, her voice was a little bit louder than a whisper.

“They can’t die. This is the council.” I told her.

“How do you know?” She asked.

“Because that’s my mother.” I pointed to the woman that we had seen in the message from the orbs. “They’re in a deep sleep.” None of this made sense but yet it did. I knew things that I didn’t think I should know.

“What the hell have we gotten ourselves into?” Michael was right behind me.

“We’ve always been in this. This is who we are.” I told him.

“Mom, we’re home.” Kyle called out. We all turned and looked at him. “It was getting a little thick in here. I thought it would help.” Maria slapped him again. “DeLuca I told you… if you slapped me again I was going to hurt you.”

“What are you going to do? You wouldn’t hit a girl. I know you Valenti. I’m shaking in my boots.” Maria held her hands out and shook her hands as if she were scared. “Oooh, big man. Gonna hurt the little girl.”

“Enough you two.” I said with authority. They stopped immediately as I had asked them to.

“It’s not like they haven’t had enough sleep, Max. Look at them. They’re covered with a netting of some sorts.” Or I thought they had stopped. Kyle had to keep it going. He wasn’t about to let some alien funk change him. I guess. Each of us had a quirks and Kyle’s was cracking jokes. Maria’s was arguing. Tess’ was to turn silent. Michael would start to pace, rubbing that spot between his eyebrows and Alex… well, I have to say that Alex turned into a doer when things turned tough.

“Fine. Just keep it down and no more jokes about them.” I turned and started walking. I stopped beside my mother. I wished Isabel were here to see her. She hadn’t changed a bit from the image that was placed in the orb.

“Alex.” He walked up to me. “Is this the woman you saw on the plane?”

“Yeah, that’s her.” He looked up at me and our eyes met. Both of us wishing that it wasn’t her. But both realizing that it was and that she had betrayed us all and had tried to turned us over to the enemy. “What about Isabel? Do you know where she is?”

“No, but I know someone that will be able to help us. All we have to do is find her.” I started going through the aisle and aisles of people. Looking for the one that could help us. I stopped when I came to Michael. He was looking down at the woman. I don’t know how I knew but I did. He had finally found his mother.

“It’s my mom.” His voice was the quietest that I have ever heard it. I stood beside him not saying a word. I didn’t want to ruin this moment for him. Just as much as Isabel wanted to meet our real mother all Michael had ever wanted was family. Real family. “She looks the same as she did when she visited me on the plane. You don’t think they’re dead, do you Max?”

“No, it’s some kind of stasis.” I assured him. “Give me a second and I think that I will be able to wake a few of them.” I clasped him on the back of the shoulder and started to walk off to the other end of the room. I turned around as I walked backwards so I could look at him. “We’ll wake them up and we’ll get all the answers we need.”

“How, Max? How are you going to know what to do and when to do it? If you haven’t noticed, Liz isn’t here. She’s not going to help you.” How quickly I had forgotten about her. Why had I even forgotten about her? Urgency ran through me. I needed answers and I needed it now. I quickly turned around in hopes of Michael not seeing my panic expression that had surely passed over my face.

I came to a wall lined with what looked like a computer. A huge computer. The language wasn’t familiar and I had no way of knowing what to do but for some reason the panic feeling that was running rapid through my body subsided. A calm washed over me and suddenly I knew what needed to be done.

“It looks like a computer.” I hear Alex comment from behind me.

“Yeah, that’s what it is.” I look over to where he was standing. “Do you think you can help me hack it?”

“Me? Hack a computer? I’m insulted. Hacking is such an abrasive word. I coax it to let me in.” Alex raises his eyebrows and then claps his hands together. He then pops each and every one of his knuckles. “This is going to take some time. I think you and the others need to take a look around to see what we are up against.”

“It’s not going to take that long. I have a feeling that everything is just going to come to me.”

He looked at me. “Max, I can do it. You need to find Liz and Isabel.”

“Are you sure?” I didn’t think it was a good idea. There were so many variables to cover. Who should I leave here to protect him? If I left Michael and Maria here, Alex would have plenty of protection while he worked but I didn’t think Michael had the patience to sit and watch Alex do his thing, nor did I think that Michael and Maria could keep from arguing.

On the other hand I could leave Kyle and Tess here. They would be able to handle the tedious job of watching Alex work his magic but I was still a little leery of Tess. Anything could happen.

“Tess and Kyle are fine, Max. You’re worrying for no reason. I believe she’ll do the right thing when the time comes.” He must have seen the dilemma that I was trying to work through.

“Are you sure?” I asked again. “Isabel will kill me if anything happens to you.”

“You’ll have to find her first…” I didn’t miss his eyes crinkle in pain. Knowing that my sister was somewhere unknown to any of us didn’t help him concentrate any.

“We’ll find her.” I assured him.

“And I’ll be fine. Now go. Be careful.” He pulled a chair over to the main unit and began tapping on the keys. He looked up at me. “Go.”

“We’ll be back in an hour, if not all of us.” I ran my hand over a spot on the wall and a blue glowing handprint began to pulse.

“What the…” Michael wasn’t able to finish his sentence.

I placed my hand over the print and waited for the drawer to pull out. “Here take these.” I handed everyone Antar’s equivalent to walkie-talkies.

“Okay, this is it. Alex is going to try and hack… umm… coax the computer into giving us information that we can use.” I turned to Alex and began again. “If you need help call me. I’ll be able to tell you what you need to do. Tess and Kyle will stay here and offer support if needed. Michael, Maria and I will go search for Isabel as well as trying to find where Liz and Khivar are.” I looked around the group. They were ready; none of them were acting scared which was a good thing, I guess. “Any questions?”

“If you know so much, how come you’re not staying to help Alex? We all could go if you’d help him.” Michael voiced his opinion.

“How do these work?” Tess asked holding up her walkie-talkie. I had started to answer Michael’s question when she asked. I think it was her way of telling Michael to not ask questions. I had to appreciate her help.

I walked over to her and started pushing buttons. “Push this one to speak… Push this one to change channels.”

She looked up at me and I paused from giving any more tutorials on how to work the communicators. “How do you know all of this?” Her eyes moved from side to side inspecting every little move that I made. She was looking at me as if I were the traitor.

I hesitate for just a brief moment searching for the reason why I did. When it came to me I answered Tess’ question. “Liz knew she wouldn’t be here when we got here. When she kissed me she transferred things to me. It’s hard to say what exactly because I don’t know. I just know how to do things. As I walk through this space I know everything. I know each and everyone of these people that are lying here. I know who I can trust and who I can’t.”

“I think we need to take care of business here. You said that you knew someone that could help. Get them and then we can all go from here. It’s bad enough that we’ve already lost two valuable people, we don’t need to divide our numbers anymore.” Maria had stepped up in front of the group and looked me in the eyes as she spoke. “I know you’re anxious to find Liz as well as Isabel but you’re not going to be any good if we all get captured.”

I digested everything that she said and realized that she was right. First thing is first. Get into the computer release the people we needed and then go save Liz. Liz’s warning ran through my head as if she were saying it again. “Release the council, save your sister and DON’T INTERFERE!

I threw my hands up in the air. “Fine. We stick together.” I grabbed Alex by the hand and walked him back to the computer.

“Max, you can’t be upset about this.” Maria was following us.

“Yes I can, Maria. Alex is more than capable of taking care of the council. He’s done more difficult jobs over the years than this. All he has to do is ask me the questions over the communicators and I’ll tell him. Isabel and Liz are out there in I don’t even know what and we’re huddling here in front of a damn computer.”

I had sat down in front of the computer and my hands started to tap on the keys in front of me. By the time I was done ranting a vacuum sound had started.

“What the hell is that?” Kyle started to turn around and around. I watched as the others followed suit.

“I’m waking up Mira. She’ll help us.”

“Who the hell is Mira?” Michael asked.

“I’m Mira.”

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Bordersinsanity
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Long to Be Part 30

Post by Bordersinsanity » Wed Sep 03, 2003 1:23 pm

PART 30 ~ Isabel

He loves her so much already. I’ve watched him with her almost the entire trip here and now I stand here and watch him with her, and nothing has changed. If anything I know that if she doesn’t make it neither will he. Their connection is so strong that I can almost feel it in the air around us. I can see the tenderness and the loving in each and every move he makes. Just the simple act of laying her on the ground is done with gentle precision that it makes my stomach flutter with anticipation. The hope that she’ll wake up and take the haunting look out of his eyes has been at the surface of every thought that I’ve had since early this morning.

Kyle starts to move as he shrugs off his jacket to put it under her head. I wasn’t sure if Max would accept Kyle’s jacket but he did and he even thanked him for it. I’m amazed that one person has affected us all so much in such a small amount of time. And it’s even more amazing that she’s affected us all while she’s been unconscious. I want to do for my brother and her. I believe that if they can pull through that everything will be all right. After all, everything happens for a reason.

“No problem.” Kyle said in response to Max’s thanks. “Did you hear what Alex said? He knows the way back.” I had been clinging to Alex since he had told me that he had met my mother. I squeezed Alex’s arm to signal that he needed to go on with what my mother had said. It still bothered me that she hadn’t come to me. I had just been on the plane only minutes earlier but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

Alex stepped away and started to move toward the far wall. This was it. Alex knew of the way back and he was ready to share it all with us. I let go of him reluctantly. The loss of him from my side sent a chill up my spine. I wrapped my arms around myself in hopes of keeping whatever insecurities I was feeling at bay. “Yeah, Max. All you have to do is come over here and swipe your hand over the handprint.” I watched Alex with every bit of concentration I had.

“Don’t! It’s a trap.” Max yelled.

“What?” Alex quickly stopped where he was and turned so that he was partially facing my brother. “No, Max. Your mother told me that you had to do it. That it was the only way to get home safely.” Alex looked from Max to me and then on over the rest of the group as if he were looking for one of us to back him up.

I did. “Max, what is wrong? Why are you acting so strangely?” I walked over to where Max was standing and pulled on his arm to get him to look at me. So far he had been staring at Alex the entire time.

“It’s a trap, Isabel.” He started out saying. He turned and looked at me. His hands were resting on my shoulders and he ducked his head a little so we were eye to eye. “She doesn’t care if all of us get back. Just us. The two of us. She’s betrayed her queen and in doing so she’s betrayed us. If we go back using the way that she showed Alex on the dream plane then we’re all as good as dead. Khivar is playing on her emotions to get what he wants and right now he wants us dead.”

I didn’t believe what he was saying. I started to shake my head no, before I found my voice. “No. You’re wrong. Our mother wouldn’t do that. You saw the message that the orbs released. She only wants to hold us in her arms again.” He was wrong. I won’t let him do this. All my life he’s been controlling me in what I should believe and what I shouldn’t. I won’t have him take my mother’s memory from me.

“Isabel. Listen to me.” I was through listening to him. I shook his hold off of me and tried to walk away but he grabbed me again. “She’s helping Khivar and granted she’s being lied to it doesn’t discount the fact that she’s telling us what he wants her to tell us. We do this my way or no way. You don’t have to come with me but I don’t want you to take unnecessary risks.” He always thinks that he is right. What happened to the voting earlier? Now suddenly nothing that we think matters, it’s all about what Max wants and thinks.

“I don’t believe you Max.” I hated it when my emotions leaked through to the surface and no matter how much I disliked it Max could always get me to show them. I felt a tear run down my cheek and I quickly swiped it away. Damn him. “You’re trying to control me. Our mother wouldn’t betray us like that.” I saw him roll his eyes and it infuriated me even more. How dare he.

“I think we should vote.” Alex spoke up for me. It didn’t matter that we didn’t have a bond like Max and Liz. We weren’t permanently attached; where if something happened to one of us the other would suffer. We shared something, it just wasn’t as strong as what Max had with Liz. He knew what I was thinking and he voiced it for me. He was now standing with the rest of the group.

I think Alex was a great negotiator. He usually knew how to handle each and every one of us pretty well. Just like now he compromised with Max by stepping away from where he was. He knew that if he would have stayed that Max would only get more upset.

“Are you crazy?” Max let go of me and turned to the rest of the group. “Home is the unknown. The people that are here and now are all that we can trust.” He took a few steps closer to the rest of them. I can only assume to make sure that they understood where he was coming from. It was just like him to push his opinions on others. To extinguish all other thought that wasn’t his.

I’d show him. I was going to prove him wrong. Our mother wouldn’t betray us and I believed what Alex believes. She gave him a way for us to get home. I quietly stepped away from where I was standing and walked over to where Alex had indicated earlier. I swiped my quickly over the wall in hopes that the silver handprint would reveal itself to me.

“NO!” Max yelled. I looked over my shoulder at him.

“She’s our mother, Max. She wouldn’t do anything to harm us.” He was paralyzed for some reason. I figured the minute he saw me at the wall he would make a move. I hadn’t found the damn handprint yet so he had plenty of time. I knew I was pushing my luck that if I dawdled too much longer that he would tackle me and keep me from finding out the real truth. I waved my hand over the wall again and as if it heard me pray for it, it appeared. I pressed my hand against it and took one last look over my shoulder.

The room started to fade and just as it was about gone from my vision I heard Alex scream, “No!” I felt his fear run through me. Why hadn’t I known that he agreed with Max? Alex’s emotions running through my body brought me to my knees and when the room was gone I was too weak to stand up on my own.

Somewhere along the trip I lost consciousness. When I woke up I was on a tiled floor that I had never seen before in my life. I pushed myself up only to get to a kneeling position. “Hello?” I called out. “Mother?”

No answer. I closed my eyes to keep the nausea from getting worse. “Take a few deep breaths and everything will be alright.” I told myself. I needed to hear my voice to know that I was real and that this place was real. When my stomach decided to cooperate I slowly stood up and made my way to the window. My first look of Antar was only a few steps away. Just as the world outside started to come into view I heard shouting from outside the corridor. I twirled around and looked at the door.

“I don’t care. I don’t have time to wait. Bring them to me or I swear I will kill them.” The booming voice of a man rang through the air.

“NO! I won’t.” The hairs on the back of my neck rose. The other voice sounded like Liz. “I won’t bring them to you, Uncle. Never!” She sounded so sure of herself. She was looking into the eyes of our enemy and she sounded so sure of herself. I could tell that there was nothing that Khivar could do to make her bring us to him. I wasn’t sure if I would do the same thing. I hope I was never in that position.

“They don’t even care who you are. I’ve seen your memory of seeing them that first night. The way they made you feel. I can’t imagine you wanting to protect them. But yet you do.” I moved closer to the door and leaned my head against the door. Liz was just on the other side. She was so close, yet so far.

Footsteps boomed down the corridor and I had a feeling that I had just been found. They were coming for me. I looked around the room to see if I could find a hiding spot. Where was I going to hide? I began to panic. I quickly latched the door just as whoever was on the other side turned the knob. “Sir, we have an intruder.” Another male voice called out.

Crap! I pushed open the window. I didn’t have time to worry about if I would survive or not in Antar’s atmosphere. Either I die in this room or I die outside. I knew which one was better for if they caught me I would be in the same boat as Liz. If I ran at least I had a chance to get to her and maybe save her. It was just she and I now.

Whoever, was on the other side of the door started beating against it. I didn’t have much time. I swung my legs over the ledge and said a quick prayer that my escape was a long one. My eyes began to water and my throat burned as I took in my first breath of air. I clung to the window and as the door crashed opened I fell to the ground. Gasping for breath I looked up and saw a man with some kind of breathing device over his mouth looking out. “Seal the window you fool and go down and get the princess.” An arm reached out and pushed the man that was staring down at me away from the window and then its owner leaned out.

There stood the man of my nightmares. I knew without a doubt that it was him. The chills that swept through my body were enough to back up my suspicions. My eyes began to blur and my breathing was shallow. My chest hurt with every attempt to take in the air that I so desperately needed. I began to wonder why the window wasn’t locked in the first place. If the atmosphere was so deadly why wasn’t there more precautions to ward off accidents at all. As I lay on the ground the unanswered questions swirled around in my head.

I was never going to see Alex again. I was never going to get to hug my brother and tell him that he was wrong or partially wrong. I was never going to get to see my mother and feel what it is like to be held by her. I was dying and it was all for nothing. If only I had thought things through a little bit more. If only…

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“Isabel.” I was dreaming. Was this what heaven was like? “Isabel, if you hear me give me a signal.” The voice whispered to me. How was I supposed to give a signal when my entire body ached? I tried to open my eyes but they refused to obey my will. My throat felt tight and my chest hurt. “Isabel, where are the others?”

I rolled my head toward the direction that the voice was coming from and tried harder to open my eyes. They pulled apart as if they were covered with gunk or morning crust. When finally they peeled apart all I could see was white. Everything was white. “Who’s there?” I croaked. My throat was dry and it hurt to swallow.

“Who else came with you?” The voice asked.

“No one came with me.” I stated. I continued to look around and there was no one in the room with me. “Where are you? You sound like you’re so close.”

“Isabel. Where are Max and the others?” The voice was so pleasant that all I wanted to do was close my eyes again and listen to the melodic sounds.

“They’re at the cave.” My mind felt numb and the answers came to me so easy.

“What cave?” The pleasant voice asked.

“Don’t think about them, Isabel! It’s a trick.” Liz’s voice shouted. I shrieked back trying to keep the pain to a minimum.

“Liz! Where are you?” I shouted and my throat burned again. My chest was heaving from the labor of breathing. I was alive. The realization dawned on me. I was alive which meant I was in the hands of the enemy. The pleasant voice that was whispering to me was none other than Khivar’s.

I looked around to see where I was and all I could see was the whiteness. Everywhere I turned was nothing but white. My arms were strapped to a table and I no longer had on my clothes that I came here in. “Liz!” No answer the voices were gone and I was once again all alone.

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Time seemed to stand still and I had no idea how long I was in that white room but when a door appeared from out of nowhere it scared me. “Who are you?” I questioned the figure that strolled into the room as if the floors moved instead of his legs. The guards face was covered as well as the rest of him. He was in some kind of contamination suit. Was I dangerous to them? Did they fear me now that I had been on the outside?

He walked over to the table and began to loosen my restraints. “Where’s Liz?” He continued working diligently at his task without even a flinch of recognition that I was even in the room speaking to him. “Liz!” I screamed. As soon as one restraint was loose enough I jerked my hand away and started hitting the guard.

“Hey, hey… ouch. That hurts Isabel.” I recognized the voice.

“Alex? Is that you?”

“Yes, love. Now quit making so much noise we don’t have much time.” He went to work on the other restraint as I tried to sit up. I was safe. They had come after me. Alex was here to rescue me.

“Where are the others?” I asked.

“They’re waiting outside.” He said. “We don’t have much time. You have to hurry.”

“Did you find Liz?”

“We have her too. Hurry, Isabel.” He finished with the last restraint and held his hand out for me to take. I looked at it for a minute. “Isabel, hurry.” He said again and it caused me to panic.

“Alex?” I looked up at his covered head. “Why are you wearing that suit?”

“I don’t want them to know that I’m not one of them. Now, hurry. We don’t have much time.” He took hold of my wrist and pulled me off the table. My legs gave way and I fell to the floor.

“I can’t walk. I think I may have hurt myself when I fell out of the window.” I stayed sitting on the floor. I started crying when he just stood there and looked down at me. He held onto my arm. There was no warm fuzzy feeling to the contact at all. I knew it was too good to be true.

Finally he sat down beside me. “Do you want me to go get the others?” He asked. I closed my eyes.

“Go away, you’re not real.”

“Isabel, it’s me, Alex.”

“Go! Away!” I screamed. “And quit using his voice like that!” The white room dimmed and turned pitch black. Alex was gone and I was once again alone.

There was a deep spine tingling laugh that exploded into the room. “I was sure that he would get you to go with him. I guess I didn’t do that well with extracting your memories of him. Pity. You could have been out of this room and back with me.” I laid down onto the cool floor, pressing my face to it. The coolness helped me think. I closed my eyes and concentrated on blocking out his taunting. “Oh, Isssaaaabbbeeelll.” He dragged my name out into a sing song way. “Come out and play. It’s been so long. I need your help again. I need you to tell me where your brother and the others are.”

I cupped my hands over my ears and began to hum. I didn’t want to hear him using Alex’s voice. “I’m not listening to you.” I called out.

Oh you don’t have to listen to me with those lovely ears. I can speak to you this way just as easy. He was speaking to me telepathically.

I sat up and screamed. “GET OUT OF MY MIND!” I imagined I was slamming a door when I yelled in hopes of keeping Khivar out of my head. I needed to find someone that would help me and the only one that I could think of that was asleep was Liz… well… Andra. I think.

I leaned against the wall and closed my eyes. I don’t know how easy I could reach her without a picture but it was better than just sitting here doing nothing. I entered the dream plane and looked for her orb. It had to be around here somewhere.

Walking around in the darkness knowing that someone could walk in on me while I was here was a little unnerving. I would give anything to have Alex’s arms wrapped around me to keep me safe as well as to keep me grounded. I’ve never been lost but it’s always been one of my greatest fears. To be lost on the dream plane with no one able to come get me or help me out. I shook my head and tried to concentrate on the task at hand. Finding Liz. I had done it once before I should be able to do it again.

“Liz!” I called out. “It’s me, Isabel.” There was no point in walking around. If she was asleep her orb would have shown by now. Maybe I should try Alex or Max or even Michael… My head hurt from being assaulted by Khivar’s mind tricks. Tess definitely got her power from her dad.

“Liz…” I whispered. “Help me.” I leaned my head down as I pulled my knees up to my chest. Maybe I could just rest here for a moment. That’s the only option I had. I would just wait for someone to enter the plane and then together we could figure out what needed to be done.

I stared out into the plane and marveled at all the different colors and sizes of everyone’s orb. The iridescent shine that sparkled off of most was just beautiful. Some bobbed up and down while others floated as if they were swaying to their own tune that only they could hear. As I watched a bright flash of light raced across the horizon. “What the…”

I quickly stood up and ran in the direction of the streak. That had never happened while I was on the plane before. The orbs moved out of my way without me having to push them. Feeling the pinch in my side from running so hard made me have to stop so I could catch my breath. When I looked up, Liz was standing in front of me. “Isabel, follow me. We don’t have much time.”

She reached out her hand to me and I took it freely. She turned and together we ran in the opposite direction that I had came. “What was that?” I asked.

“What?” She called back.

“That streak of lightning.” I couldn’t tell where we were going I just took for granted that Liz knew where she needed to go. I was just along for the ride.

“I don’t know. We have to hurry or all will be lost. The others are here.” She stopped, as did I, and she looked me in the eye. “Whatever happens; make sure everyone returns to the door. The door will take you back and everyone will be safe.”

“I don’t know what door you’re talking about, Liz. What’s going to happen?” She looked over her shoulder when she turned back around she placed both of her hands on my cheek.

“You’re not the same as you were before. You’re better than your past life. Don’t believe anything Khivar says; it doesn’t matter now. You have family and they love you. Find your brother and the others and take them back to the door. There’s nothing that they can do that will help.” She was scaring me. It was like she was telling me all that she knew that she didn’t have plans on returning.

“Why are you telling me this?”

“Max will want to stay. Don’t let him. Even if you have to knock him out… please… he must be safe.”

“Liz… we’re all going to leave here together. Together we can do anything. Believe me we may look like a bunch of kids but we’ve come so far. We can help you.”

“No one can help. Just make sure to get to the door. Go home and live the life you were meant to live.” She looped her arms around me and hugged me tightly. “Tell him I love him and that I will always be with him.” I shook my head because I was unable to speak because the tears were rolling down the side of my face.

When she pulled away I took a step closer to her but she faded and disappeared and I was back in the white room. “Liz!” I stood up and started beating on the walls. “Let me out of here you bastard!” I continued to beat on the walls. I had to get out of here and find the others. If what Liz said was true they were here now and they were searching for us.

I needed to find them and get them back to the door. Where ever that was. I had almost given up when a door opened. I pressed myself against the wall and waited for who ever it was that was on their way in. When moments passed by and no one entered I took a few hesitant steps toward the opening. “Hello?” I called out. But not really. The call was more of a whisper. If it so happened that Liz had opened the door for me, I didn’t want anyone to know that I was free.

Realizing that I didn’t have much time I quickly made my way to the door. I peered out and looked both ways to make sure that the corridor was indeed empty. It was and I knew that I had to thank Liz for my freedom. Whatever she was doing to keep the enemy occupied made my skin crawl. I had heard her shouts earlier. I knew what Khivar’s torment was doing to her physically I had seen it slowly eat her away.

Staying close to the walls I followed my instincts on how I was supposed to get out of here. My brief encounter with the atmosphere was enough to make my throat burn. I was stuck in this place unless I found a way to get out of here safely. I still hadn’t a clue on how I was supposed to find the others. I didn’t have the ability to home in on them. There was no time to stop and try and dream walk them and even if I did have time I knew that there would be no one on the plane for me to contact. I just had to find the door that Liz was referring to.

I slowly and quietly crept along the walls. They were all empty. Not a soul in sight. Where was everyone? Did Khivar kill them all? Or had they all just disappeared? I had come to my first intersection. So far it had been easy. Sticking to the side of the walls and trying to stay as flat as possible had been simple. Now I needed to round a corner and the anxiety had started to rise in my chest. What if someone was waiting for me on the other side? What if Khivar was waiting for me around the corner?

I stilled and took a deep breath. It was now or never. It was live or die. As far as the others knew I was dead already. Taking the way that my mother had wanted us to take. I can’t believe that she had wanted us to return so close to where Khivar was. Max was right, she didn’t care if all of us had lived, she just wanted Max and me back.

Realizing that I was stalling, I took another breath and whipped around the corner with my hand outstretched ready to blast anything or anyone that was standing in my way. Someone flashed in front of my eyes and I let the power loose.

“NO!” Before I had a chance to focus I realized what I had done the scream echoed through my hearing.

The green color from Max’s shield instantly went up and the group surrounded the downed person. I went from one to the other not wanting to acknowledge who was lying on the ground. “Isabel… you’re alive.” Alex croaked.

“Oh, Alex. I’m so sorry. I had no idea that you guys were here.” The green shield dropped and with it so did I. I went down on my knees. Alex’s chest was black from the blast. “Hang on, Alex. Max will save you.” I couldn’t focus. My eyes were blurry from the flood of tears that pooled in them. “Just hang on Alex.”

Max pushed me out of the way and I slowly stood up and watched him try and fix the damage that I had done. Everyone watched as Max worked and I realized that this was all my fault. If I had just listened to Max in the first place I would have been with him and because of my immaturity, I wasn’t and Alex may die.

“Please, Alex. Don’t leave me.” I whispered.

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Bordersinsanity
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Long to Be Part 31A ~ Andra

Post by Bordersinsanity » Thu Dec 18, 2003 3:05 pm

PART 31A ~ ANDRA

I didn’t want to go to sleep, but with everything that Max and I had gone through today, I was exhausted. Showing him my past. Telling him about the seal. Everything. It all added up and sooner or later I would have to fall asleep.

Would Liz be waiting for her opportunity to come back to this wonderful man?

Probably. I know I would be.

Would I be here when I awoke?

More than likely, no, I wouldn’t.

Something in the pit of my stomach told me that my end was near. That my days were numbered. That soon I would do what I was destined to do.

The thoughts running through my head were what kept me staring up at the ceiling. The thought of not being able to return to him is what made me memorize each and every breath he took. The warmth of his body so close to mine mixed with the rhythm of his soft breathing did me in. This was the safest that I have felt in a really long time. Relief swept through me. I had finally found him and we had connected. He wasn’t the same but, then again, neither was I.

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The pounding from the front room tore me from my past and I fought terribly hard not to wake up. Realizing that it wasn’t going to stop, I opened my eyes and saw Max staring down at me. He was naked. I was naked and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that we had made love.

What had I done? This shouldn’t have happened. What would he think of me? I had just told him last night that in order for me to get the seal; we would have to make love. He must think that I used him. I didn’t want to look at him. I didn’t want to see hurt cross his beautiful features.

I quickly scooted out from under the covers and began searching for my clothes. I wondered if they came off in the same way that mine had came off before. I’m sure they did. I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

“Liz.” I had my back to him. God, I was such a fool. Why was I here? Why hadn’t Liz come back to claim her spot? Max reached for me. His warm, strong hand reached for my arm in hopes of me turning to look at him. “Liz… what’s wrong?”

The pounding on the door started again as if it knew what was about to happen. I welcome its distraction. I would welcome anything to keep from hearing his accusations. Knowing that Max would let the pounding continue just so he could speak with me, I spoke up. “You better get that.”

“Damn it!” I heard him mutter as his pants began to slide into place. I went back to searching for my own clothes. I saw him hop up and down in order to get his pants up the rest of the way. I wish I could just watch him move. The way his body flexed with each minute movement made my heart flutter. I grabbed my pants and sweater in hopes of the task at hand would keep me from tackling him back to the bed.

“Whoever…” he began as he pulled his shirt over his head. I had slipped my sweater on at the same moment and had sat down, my back partially blocking his view from my face once again.

I wanted to believe that I could trust the look on his face. I wanted to believe that the two of us were alright. He made an attempt to come to me so I shook my head and I couldn’t help myself from looking up at him. He was so beautiful; too bad I had to push him away. “You need to go see who that is. It sounds important.” I tried to give him a reassuring smile.

He took a quick look toward the clock. I followed and realized that it hadn’t been that long since we had gone to bed. “Stay here. We need to talk.” His voice sounded demanding. I slowly nodded my head and didn’t even attempt to look at him. My eyes would betray my every emotion. I closed them, thinking that it would be better than staring at his floor, his wall, his nightstand. Everywhere I looked, he was there, in some form or fashion.

I heard his knees creak and I opened my eyes. He had squatted down in front of me. His warm, strong hands were firmly placed on my thighs. I hesitated looking into his deep orbs for I was still afraid of what he thought about what had happened. He reached up and caressed my face. I leaned into his touch and wrote it to memory because I knew he would never touch me like that again. He pulled me closer, just close enough that I could hear him whisper, “Don’t worry, we’ll work it out. Once we get past the past everything will be okay.” He then closed the distance between us and we kissed. Soft, warm and spine tingling but the pounding on the front door continued once again.

“Damn it.” He stood up and walked out the bedroom door. I quietly followed him. I peered around the corner and watched him approach the door. He peered through the peephole and then switched on the porch light. Max ripped the door open. “Jesus, Michael! What are you doing out…” He stopped speaking and turned around. I quickly ducked back behind the safety of the corner.

I leaned my back against the wall as I listened to Michael. “Yeah, Maxwell, I know it’s late but I couldn’t wait any longer. You’ve had plenty of time to find out what you needed to find out. Is she going to be a problem or what?” Michael had sent Max out to spy on me? Is that the reason he had sex with me? To get information? My mind began to race. I was right. He wasn’t the same person as he was before.

“It’s not that easy, Michael. She’s confused. I need more time.” At first I didn’t want to believe it. I thought everything that had happened was genuine but hearing Max say what he did made my stomach threaten to travel up my throat. I had to see him. I wanted to see if what I thought I knew was real. I wanted to see Max and Michael talk. To see how easy it was for him to hide from me.

Michael was bobbing back and forth like he was nervous about someone coming out of the woodwork. He probably was looking for me and it didn’t take long for his eyes to latch onto me. His lip curled slightly as if he hated me with a passion. What had their lives been like for him to treat me like this? Did he hate everyone but the small group that he had buried himself in so deep with?

It didn’t take long for Max to follow Michael’s gaze and meet mine.

I don’t know if I reacted wrong but every instinct told me to run… run like there was no tomorrow for if I stayed here there was nothing that Max Evans couldn’t get me to see differently. I quickly ran toward the bedroom to grab the rest of my things. I heard Max’s heavy footsteps closing in behind me.

“You're just using me!” I screamed over my shoulder. The bedroom wasn’t close enough, so I turned into the closest room I could find. The bathroom. I quickly closed and locked the door.

“Andra! Wait!” He was only a few steps behind me by the time the lock engaged. I leaned heavily on the door and my scared faced looked back at me through the medicine cabinet’s mirror. My cheeks were pink and my lips were still puffy from the heavy kissing that we had done earlier tonight.

A soft thud against the door took me away from those pleasant memories. “Andra, please.” The soft thud must have been his head hitting the door. His voice was somewhat muffled probably because of its close proximity to the bathroom door. “It’s not what you think it is.” My anger peaked.

“What’s that, Zan? You’re just keeping me here in hopes of finding out information. You never cared about me.” Several more thuds against the door. Was I that frustrating? I had to get out of here. I didn’t like that he had an ulterior motive.

“Maxwell, what the hell is going on?” I heard Michael ask as I stood in the bathtub. There was a small window just about shoulder height. I could open it and squeeze through. I needed time to think. Did I need to mix with them anymore? I had the seal… nothing else really mattered. I was halfway to completing what I was sent here to do. I realize now that Max wasn’t with me because he wanted to be he was with me because he needed to find more about his past and it hurt me deeply. Why should I have love? Why would anyone ever love me? I was born a killer and that’s all I was good for.

“Not now, Michael!” I heard Max growl.

“Yes, now! I want to know why the hell she is calling you Zan and who the hell is Andra?” I slipped through the opened window. It was raining and quite chilly. I had no shoes on and was going to have to just rough it. There was no turning back and by the sound of Max’s voice he was getting upset that I wasn’t opening the door.

“Andra…” I paused halfway out the window. His voice actually sounded genuine, like he wanted me to come to him. Pleading for me to come to him and really if, I thought about it, there was a major part of me that wanted to do just that.

But I couldn’t and I fell to the walk below the bathroom window. I ran to the stairwell and raced away, never turning back once.

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I was on automatic… going from one place to the other gathering things that I would need. There wasn’t much because I wouldn’t be staying on this world for too much longer. I had called a cab and was waiting for it by the time it had appeared. “LAX.” The driver flipped the switch and the meter started ticking. I didn’t have time to check on flights to New Mexico. I would just have to hope that no one would guess that I was on my way to the Granolith.

I stared out the window the entire cab ride. The rain sliding down the window mirrored my tears running down my cheeks. It wasn’t fair and I had been cheated not only once, but twice now. Why did life have to be so cruel?

The taxi driver stopped the car and I got out. I walked in and looked at all the boards. Not a single flight leaving the rest of the night. I was going to be here all night long. With time to kill, I decided to walk around for a while.

Traveling in and out of the shops didn’t kill enough time so I decided to go and get a ticket. That way I could at least sit in the concourse while I waited. With ticket in hand, I went through security. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. Walking down the long corridor, I decided I had better use the restroom before I got comfortable.

I pulled the door open and walked in. The reflection in the mirror caught my eye and I realized that I didn’t look like I was supposed to. This life that I was ruining wasn’t mine. It wasn’t me. It was an innocent girl named Liz Parker. Pity washed over me and I quickly ran to the last stall. What was I doing? She was the one that had found him in the first place. She was the one that had a claim to him now but I was the one that had slept with him. I was the one that was breaking his heart. Would he understand?

Probably not.

My sobs grew in volume. When I heard the door open and close and the soft falls of footsteps I sucked up my next sob.

“Liz…” Max’s voice filled me with a warm tingling sensation. I wanted so badly to run to him. To have everything be the way that it was before, but when he called me Liz I knew it wasn’t me he wanted.

“Go away, Max.” I called out over the top of the stall. I sat down on the stool and watched his feet pace back and forth beside it.

“I can’t just go away. Come back with me.” His voice was like a salve to my open wound but I had to keep telling myself that he wasn’t here for me. This wasn’t Zan. I wasn’t Liz.

“You can’t stop me from going back. I have to go back.” I will go back. But I didn’t say that out loud.

“But you don’t even know where to begin.” He countered.

“I have a general idea.” And with the seal I’ll be able to find the Granolith as if I had always known where it had been. “I have everything that I need. All I need now is time. You could help by telling me where the Granolith is and I’ll be out of your way. You guys won’t have to worry about anyone coming after you ever again. You’ll be safe here on Earth. I’ll make sure of that.” I stood next to the door and pressed my hand against it. I closed my eyes and concentrated on him. I leaned my head against the door.

His reply came out in a soft whisper. “That’s not what we want. That’s not what I want.”

I opened my eyes from the wave of determination that had passed through me. Two could play this game. “Well, I guess I don’t see it that way.” I was hoping that he would understand what I was referring to. The way he and Michael had reacted to my being there. The way he let Michael twist him into spying on me.

The lock disengaged and I backed away from the door and sat back down on the stool. Evidently he did know what I was referring to. “You’re wrong about what happened tonight. You’re wrong about me.”

This was so very frustrating. I had put my head in my hands to try and concentrate on what I was going to tell him and looking at him now would only sway my judgment. “Admit it, Max. You don’t trust me. You just need information to see if I’m a threat.” I could tell by the look on his face that I might be partially right.

“Andra, it’s not that way at all. I trust you. There’s no way that I could have these feelings for you and not trust you.” My heart crumbled to hear him call me by my name. Did he know that he had done that? Was it done on purpose to get me to listen to him or was it a subconscious portion of Zan that finally recognized me for who I really was?

I looked up at him. His eyes became wide with an idea that had finally surfaced. “Andra?” I nodded my head. “Andra?” I nodded again. “You have the seal? You said you have it, right?”

Snot was running down my nose and I had to sniff to get it back under control. Not the most romantic thing to do but it was all I had time for. I had no idea why me having the seal was such a big thing for him to grasp. “Yeah, I do.”

“Andra, how did you get the seal? How could it be transferred?” I had no idea where his train of thought was going, so I did the best to explain to him how the seal was transferred.

“You know how I got it Max. I told you we had to ma…” and then it dawned on me. The seal couldn’t be transferred through casual sex. The two parties involved had to mean something to one another. They had to love one another. I looked up at him. “We made love.” I whispered.

He pushed the door open further, walked in and grabbed hold of me. He devoured my mouth with his in a searing kiss. The connection opened and I felt what he… what Zan had felt the first time he had made love to Andra.

Max broke the kiss and when I looked into his eyes I saw what I had been missing. He was beginning to remember his other life. He was beginning to remember what it was like to be Zan and he remembered what it was like to be in love with me. “I’m not letting you go this time.” He pulled me into an embrace and I leaned my head onto his shoulder. The relief overwhelmed me. I hadn’t been cheated twice. We had a chance. My sobs broke free and my body began to shake. “I’m not letting you go.”

He swooped down and picked me up. I didn’t bother fighting. It was like we were one. I knew what he was doing before he did it. He kicked open the stall door and we walked out of the restroom together. With him carrying me and a small start of a smile on my face.

He spun around and I had to ask. “What are you doing?” I looked up at him so I could look into those beautiful eyes of his.

“The woman that was in the restroom with you,” He started to explain.

“Max there was no woman in the restroom. I was in there alone.” I shook my head. He had to be wrong. It just wasn’t possible.

“Are you sure?” Our eyes locked and I nodded my head yes.

He didn’t elaborate and I chose to let it slide. We had enough problems as it was. We didn’t need a mysterious woman getting in the middle of it as well. He shrugged his shoulders and I settled my head back down on his shoulder. I closed my eyes and thought of all the things that I could have done differently. For one thing I could have had the control and stopped us from making love when the vision of our past started. I could have… Hell there were probably a million things that I could have done but the most important one was going too far under false pretenses.

I opened my eyes when I was hit with the cool damp air from outside. His Jeep wasn’t parked too far away and he continued to carry me over to it. When we reached the Jeep he opened the passenger door and gently placed me inside.

“I’m sorry, Max. I should have never let the vision continue. I got lost in it… the memory of it…” He placed a quieting finger on my lips to stop me from saying anything else.

“It was a beautiful memory and it wasn’t your fault. I was there too and to say that it was either of our faults is to say it was a mistake. What we shared… no matter what you think, I’ll never feel that it was a mistake.” What could a woman say to that? Were there even any words I could say? I smiled up at him.

“Take me home, Max.” Home… things get hot at home. His face blushed and I could only imagine what he was thinking. Would we have an encore performance of the events that had happened earlier in the evening? I hope so.

He shut the door and quickly ran around to the other side of the jeep and hopped in. He started the Jeep and then looked over at me. “Are we staying at your place or mine?” I raced an eyebrow at him wondering how easily that flowed out of his mouth. We… were we a We? It felt good. “I’m not letting you out of my sight. I promise you this: from here on out, we’re together.”

I smiled even bigger. Did he actually accept me as who I am? Did he realize who I was and what it entailed when he included me in that We? I shook my head to get those bad thoughts out of my head.

“Yours. Take me to your home. The dorm is so small and they wouldn’t allow me to have someone stay with me. It’s against the policy.” He shook his head and put the Jeep in reverse and backed out of the parking space. I couldn’t help but notice the contented smile on his face. It was nice. Not the way he looked before when we first met.

The drive to Max’s apartment was made in silence. My hand was held firmly in his. I couldn’t have been happier. He pulled in front of his place and turned the Jeep off. He went to get out but I stopped him. I tightened my hold on his hand. “We need to talk, Max.”

“I know. Let’s go in where it’s warm and then we’ll talk.” He continued to get out of the Jeep and met me on my side. He held his hand out to me and I took it. It was like he was afraid that any small space between us was going to make me run again. He wasn’t going to take any chances.

Our short trip to the apartment was slow, as if both of us knew what was going to be said once we got inside but neither one of us wanted to get to that point. Why live in reality when we can stay out here and turn our back on it?

He unlocked the door and pushed it open. He waited for me to enter and when I did, he followed me in. Neither one of us said a word as he turned around and locked the door. He reached up and turned on a few light with a flick of a switch. When he turned around he found me in the middle of the room with my arms wrapped around myself.

“Are you cold?” He asked as he quickly moved toward me.

“No, not really.” He wrapped me up in his arms.

“Are you sure? Because I can warm you up if you want me to.” I looked up at his double innuendo and that was all he needed to capture my lips with his. He licked my lips and I moaned at the feel of his tongue running the width of my mouth.

He pulled me in closer and I wrapped my arms around him all in one smooth motion. It was like it was a well-practiced dance step that we had done a million times before. He deepened the kiss and we began walking toward his bedroom.

I don’t think there was any misunderstanding on what was going to happen next. We both knew what we were doing. It wasn’t like before where we had both fallen asleep and into a vision of the past. This was us… we knew what we were doing and there was no stopping us.

My hands had a mind of their own and began roaming up his back. I pulled up on his shirt, releasing it from his waistband. As soon as my hands made contact with the warm skin on his back I couldn’t stop. They started roaming to the front and they molded themselves over the tight muscles of his chest. I couldn’t help myself when I came into contact with a nipple. I tugged at it and it made him jerk away from me. I smiled up at his heated eyes. I felt the heat rise and fill me completely.

His eyes slid up and down my body as if they were looking for someplace to start. I couldn’t take it anymore and leaped into him to capture his lips with mine. His arms wrapped around me and cradled me against his body. The momentum drove us to the bed. I pulled back and looked down into his eyes.

This is what I had always wanted. To be free. To do what I wanted to do… To be with him. To be happy. He could always make me happy.

He halfway sat up and grabbed hold of my neck with his hands and pulled me down to him so he could devour my mouth once more.

“I love the way your lips feel.” He said while diving into my neck. “Your skin is so soft.” I tilted my head back to allow him access to my neck. He lightly licked the length of my neck to my ear. I couldn’t take it anymore. I grabbed hold of his head and held him. I slight moan escaped me when he bit softly at my ear.

He reached for my shirt and pulled it up. When it got caught, he said one word: “Off.” I let go of him and reached for the bottom hem of my shirt and pulled it off. He stared at my bare chest. I hadn’t had time earlier to find a bra when I was getting dressed and it wasn’t on the top of my list when I went back to the dorm. Face it. I’m not the heavy-chested type. I could walk around without a bra if I wanted to.

He was still staring at my chest so I offered him an explanation. “I couldn’t find it in my rush to get dressed earlier. It’s around here somewhere.”

“Oh,” and he quickly attacked the first one with his opened mouth. His hand cupped the other one and all I could do was tilt my head back and enjoy his ministrations. My hands found his hair again and, when I couldn’t take it any longer, I pulled him up to my mouth.

Our movement made his elbows slip and I fell down on top of him. I had never felt like this before. I laughed out loud at our awkwardness. He wrapped his arms around me and rolled me over so he was on top.

His eyes darkened and when he leaned over me to kiss me that was the last thing I remember. Everything else was automatic. The dispersing of our clothes. The gentle foreplay before. It was all magic and I was floating.

Our love making was slow and detailed. There wasn’t a part of my body that he didn’t shower with slow licks or small nips. He was a generous lover and he gave me everything he had. He entered me slowly and, with the power of my moans behind him, he started moving in and out. Gentle at first, but the more he moved the more I encouraged him.

We had started sweating and he had graciously pushed my hair out of my face and started kissing at my neck again. I could feel the urgency in his actions and was a little surprised that he slowed down.

I took that as my invitation to take over. I rolled us over so I was on top. I looked down at him and when our eyes locked I began the slow rocking motion again. He took hold of my hips and tried his best to control me. I loved the way that his eyes showed his pleasure. I loved his soft moans and the weight of his hands. “Liz… please.”

“Please what, Max?” I gave him a devilish grin.

“Not yet.” He said with a loss of breath.

“But I’m ready for you.” I whispered into his ear as I leaned over him. “I want you inside of me. All. Of. You.” I separated each word with a kiss, a nip and a lick on his earlobe. “I’m going to join you. Do you want me to come with you?” He nodded his head vigorously. “Good.” I rose up from him and rubbed the sheen from my body, making sure I ran my hands over my breasts. I pulled and teased as his hands were back on my hips.

The overall sensation was too much for me and before I knew it we were having our climatic reaction to our love making. “Liz!” He screamed as I rocked up and down.

The spasm made me collapse on top of him. I was breathing heavy and together we rolled over on our sides. “I love you.” I told him. It was natural to tell him. It was the easiest thing I’ve ever had to say.

“I love you too.” I leaned in and kissed him.

He closed his eyes and then rolled back onto his back. I scooted in closer to him because the air around me quickly cooled without him touching me. I lay my head on his chest and my hand rested rather comfortably there too.

He reached up and smoothed my hair. I kissed his chest. He pulled on the covers that were about to fall off the edge of the bed and pulled them up and over us. I felt complete and whole for the first time in this lifetime and I quickly fell asleep. We had made love twice tonight and, needless to say, we were tired.

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TBC

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Bordersinsanity
Obsessed Roswellian
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Long to Be Part 31B ~ Andra

Post by Bordersinsanity » Thu Dec 18, 2003 3:06 pm

PART 31B ~ ANDRA

One minute I’m looking into the eyes of Zan, hope welling deep in the pit of my stomach and the next I’m waking to the cold reality of where I truly belong. It’s hard to explain what happens exactly when we ‘change’ places. I haven’t really pieced it together yet. My door looms before me. “Hello?” I call out in hopes of a friendly voice answering me. “Is anyone there?”

“Of course we’re here.” The deep voice resonates through the empty space. “Where else would we go?” A chill runs up and down my spine. I hate that voice.

“Show yourself, Uncle.” Only he would hide like this. Everything that happens is his fault. His greed fuels the suffering of each and every one of us.

“So, I’ve pulled you back. I should have known.” He steps up into the light that the door casts. His appearance hasn’t changed since the last time I saw him.

“You know I won’t allow you to get to her.” He is within arm’s reach. If only I could touch him. It’s not possible because it’s all an illusion anyway. Here isn’t really here.

“I will have the seal. I will prevail and I will rule the planet and the be head of the legion.”

“You’ll never change will you?” I had been through a lot but I still believed that everyone could be good if they chose to, but not my uncle. I wonder what went wrong.

“My brother’s precious Andra. Do you know that you are so like your mother? The way you tilt your head when something is puzzling you.” He mocked me by tilting his head to the right and then to the left as if he was pondering something. “The way you stiffen your back once you’ve made up your mind.” He put his arms by his side and stood at attention.

But then his eyes softened. “Even in this form you look like her when she was your age. It broke my heart the day you were born.” He started pacing back and forth in front of me. “You took everything that was supposed to be mine.”

“Me? What are you talking about?”

“My brother loved me until you were born. Once you were born he had no time for me, not with running the planet and raising a child without her mother. You’ve been the most selfish brat since the day you were created.” He had stopped pacing and took two full strides to meet me face to face. “You killed the woman I loved. You stole the crown once your father was killed. And now you have the seal and nothing is going to stop me from getting that.” He grabbed me forcefully by my jaw with his hand. “Are you ready to spend the rest of your life in hell?”

“Yes, uncle; I am.” He dropped me and took a few steps back. I think I threw him a curve ball. He was expecting me to whimper and cry but I didn’t. I’m tired of being the helpless girl that lost everything not only once, but twice. I know that this is what was written in the stars for me. There’s no denying that I was meant to take care of this evil once and for all. And I now had everything that I needed to do that. A smirk began to form at the corner of my mouth.

He raised his arm and I countered with my own raised hand. My fingers began to glow and I stopped to look at them. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. Distracted by the sudden white glowing in my hand had given Khivar the opportunity to send his blast of energy to me. It sent me sailing through the air. When I woke up, I could have sworn I saw Max’s worried eyes looking down at me. As soon as I fully recovered I realized that I was strapped to a table that had me standing up but not touching the floor. I tried to struggle against the restraints but it was useless.

“Ah, I see you’re awake. Where shall I begin?” Khivar waltzed into the white room where I was ‘standing’ and paced around as if he were circling his prey.

“I don’t know? Why don’t you start by letting me go? That sounds like a nice place to start.” God, I sounded like Rath. That was something he would have said.

He broke out in a peel of laughter. It was a deep menacing laugh that sent chills down my spine. “I would have to say that that was probably the funniest thing that I’ve heard in awhile, Andra. Now I’m torn between a rock and a hard place. Do I keep you around to entertain me or do I just get on with sucking the life out of you so I can have the seal?”

“I don’t do comedy shows, Khivar. Just get on with it. I’m getting rather bored over here just hanging around like this.” I must have said something that pissed him off. Imagine that, for he launched himself toward me and took hold of my head with his hand.

I felt his power flow over me and I could do nothing but scream. The pain ripped through my head and my world went black once again.

The sensation of running water woke me up only to find myself in the same place that I had been before. Khivar sat in a chair next to me looking up at me with a small smile. “Have a nice nap, niece?”

I didn’t know how it was happening but I was beginning to feel a connection to Liz. “What are you doing to me?” I asked with a hiss. I had to find out, because if what he was doing to me was strengthening my connection with Liz then there would be no hope of keeping the seal from Khivar.

“Well, it’s quite simple.” He began. He stood and straightened out his clothes before he started again. “It was only a matter of time. All I had to do was wait. I knew you would do the deed and have your human self acquire the seal. Now all I have to do is drain your essence enough and it will draw on your other’s body as well. The idiotic four will have no choice but to bring you here to me.”

“Never! They will never bring her here.”

“Tsk, Tsk, Tsk. You talk like she’s someone else.”

“She is! She’s innocent. It’s me you want. She knows nothing of what’s been going on.” My eyes blurred. I felt hot with fever. There was sweat pouring down the side of my face.

“Look at you.” He dabbed at my forehead with a cloth that appeared out of nowhere. “Her body is already starting to fail. The connection is stronger than I had anticipated. This may be easier than I first thought it to be.”

I jerked my head away from him only to slam it against the metal table that was holding me upright. I closed my eyes and searched to see if what he was saying was true or not.

“Yes…” He whispered. Search. Find her for me.

My eyes shot open. “No!” I banged my head again. He had no choice but to take hold of it, and when he did he forced his power into me.

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I startled awake when a siren blared in the distance. The dark afternoon faded back into the white room of Khivar’s hell. I looked around the room and found that it was empty. Relief washed over me and my world went black once more.

I dreamed of being on the top of a building. It was dark and cold and I knew that there was no hope for me but what I made for myself. Determination flooded me and I woke once more in my own personal hell. I needed to get out of here.

”Liz…” Rath’s voice called out to me. It was still dark and cold. I tried to move but couldn’t. What was going on with my body? Why wouldn’t it work?

“Liz? It’s Michael. I’m going to turn on the light. You might want to close your eyes.”

“Rath?” My voice cracked as I spoke. My throat was raw. I needed something to drink. “Rath, I need Zan. I’m so cold.”

Light filled the lids to my eyes. It was no longer dark but red. I tried to open my eyes but they were crusted shut.

“Shhh… don’t talk. I’m here.” He sounded so far away was I going back to where I had come from. “What the hell happened?” He sounded like he was coming closer.

“Rath… is that you?”

“Yeah, it’s me. Michael.” I tried to sit up and his hands were there instantly to try and help me. “Jesus, Liz! You’re soaking wet.” He was right. I held my hands up and they were covered in blood. “What happened?”

I could feel my last string of calm begin to fade. “I don’t know.” I sobbed. “I need Zan. He can heal me.”

“Okay, let me call him.” His reassuring hands disappeared and I dropped back down to the bed.

“Liz! Oh Jesus! What happened?” Relief washed over me and it felt so good that I forgot what I was here for. I was here for a reason but I couldn’t remember it.

“I don’t know.” I flung myself into him and the dam that was holding my sobs back broke and my body began to shake with each sob. “I don’t know. Something’s happening. Something’s wrong. It shouldn’t be like this. I’m scared.” I couldn’t remember why I was here. There was something nagging at the back of my mind.

“Shh… I’m here. What was the last thing you remember?” He pulled me out of the crook of his neck and looked at me. I thought back to what the last thing I remembered was.

“Making love to you.”

“Do you remember anything else?”

“No.” I shook my head but I continued to try and figure out why I was here. “No, I can’t remember anything after that. Why?” I looked up at him.

“Liz is starting to get some of your memories. She wasn’t feeling well yesterday. I need you to try and remember what happened. I need to know what I can do.” He looked like he was desperate. I reached up and took hold of his hands that were cupping my face. “Shit! Where did all this blood come from?”

“I don’t know. I just woke up when Rath came into the room. I don’t know.” I couldn’t take it anymore. This was so confusing and seeing the blood just made everything hurt even more. I closed my eyes and leaned into his chest again. It was the only thing that I remembered that would make me feel safe.

“That’s the way I found her.” Rath began explaining to Max. His voice continued to play in the background. Max had pulled me away from him. He took both my hands in his and turned them over so he could see why I was bleeding. “I was called in because the attending supervisor had to open her door because she didn’t have her key. Security is always called when a sudden loses their key. Procedure.”

Max went to wave a hand over my cuts when I felt a pull from somewhere.


“NO!” I screamed. I was back in my white hell. Alone.

Defeated I sunk into my straps and closed my eyes. I had forgotten to tell him not to come for me. The confusion of the situation made me forget. I would try again.

Exhaustion won over and I was asleep.

“Andra? What’s wrong? I’m here. Come back with me.” I looked up and saw him across the room his hand outstretched to me. My bindings were gone. I was free.

“Zan!” I cried out but didn’t move. It was too simple. Too easy.

“Andra?” He held his hand out toward me once again. I couldn’t deny him any longer.

I started to walk forward waiting for the trap to be sprung. For Khivar to jump in any moment and ruin this moment. I outstretched my hand.

“You can do it. We can do it.” His smile encouraged me probably more than his words and just as I was about to reach him I remembered what I needed to do.

“Andra?” Confusion crossed his beautiful features.

“I can’t come any further.”

“Why not? What’s going on? Why is Liz sick? I can’t heal her.” His questions were what I needed… more to the point his panic is what made me realize how serious everything was.

“You can’t do it on your own.” I began to answer all of his questions as best as I could. There was hope for them… maybe not for me but for them. “You need the stones as well as those of the others. Our body is out of balance I have stayed in it for too long.” It wasn’t the length of time but the strength of our connection that was the problem right now. But he didn’t need to know that. ‘It wasn’t ready. She wasn’t ready. You must hurry!” The stones would bring her back in balance and would hopefully sever anything that Khivar could use against the others.

“The stones. How long do you have?” Max tried to step forward but I held my hand out for him to stay where he was.

“I’m not sure. Please hurry.” I felt Khivar’s presence and looked behind me for him. We were out of time. He must have heard my cries. “Go! I will keep him here. You must hurry put her in balance.” Put her in balance so Khivar couldn’t hurt her anymore.

“Andra? Who’s there?” He was scared for me. I could feel it in our connection. He started to take a few steps toward me. I had to stop him.

“Zan, please go. The only way that I will be able to come back is if my body survives. You have to use the stones and bring me into balance. If I don’t balance soon I will not be able to come back.”

“I’m not leaving without you.”

“Go! Khivar is strong; I won’t be able to hold him out of here for too much longer. Go!” I knew he wasn’t going to go… I had to do something so I lifted my hand up as if I was going to blast him but I couldn’t.

Out of nowhere a blast of energy flew past me and into Max’s chest.

“NO!” Max and I both screamed as I saw him fly across the dorm room.


Khivar laughed and released his grip on my head. “I guess I took care of him once and for all.”

“No! What have you done to him? You bastard!” I yelled at my captor.

“Well, my work here is done. I’ll leave you to wallow in your own self-pity, niece. If it hadn’t been for you I would have never been able to get to Zan like that. I’m going to get rid of the two of you once and for all!” He turned around and walked out.

I screamed and screamed but no matter how loud I was no one came. I was still strapped to this stupid metal table and I had no idea what Khivar meant by what he said. What had he accomplished? Did he kill Zan?

My head hung in defeat. When I was tired of thinking about it I let myself fall asleep. Somewhere in the depths of my subconscious I heard Max’s call to hang on. I did my best.

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TBC

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Bordersinsanity
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Long to Be Part 31C ~ Andra

Post by Bordersinsanity » Thu Dec 18, 2003 3:08 pm

PART 31C ~ ANDRA

My world was dark and I was all alone. My hopes were about shot. I didn’t know what I would do. Liz and I were beginning to merge. The connection alone was enough to tell me that. Things that were happening to her were beginning to bleed off to me. Things that Max was saying and doing to her I could almost hear and feel for real.

I toyed with the idea of Liz and I becoming one and the more I thought about it the more I realized that it could be just my imagination. I could just want that so much that I was imagining that I was hearing and feeling what Max was doing to her.

A flash of bright light streaked across my vision and there, lying on the ground, was my last hope. I squatted down beside her. “Vilondra? Is that you?” Hope swelled in my chest. She had dream-walked me. I had no clue how she did it, but it didn’t matter. She was here.

Confusion had swept across her features and when clarity settled she reached out her hand. I went to take it, only to be ripped away by Khivar’s power.

“No!” I screamed as I woke in the white room.

“It’s amazing what I can learn while you sleep. Vilondra looks so beautiful. I can almost feel her hair running through my hands and taste her salty skin in my mouth.” I fight hard to keep the bile from shooting up my throat.

“Stay away from her. She wants nothing to do with you. None of them want any of this.” I forgot that I was still strapped to the table when I tried to move my hands but was unable to. “You don’t get it. There’s nothing they want from you or from this place. They’re happy where they are. They’re happy to be who they are. They don’t need destiny and duty clouding them. Just let them be.”

“You sound so confident. Are you sure that they want you representing them? Maybe you’re lying to me?” He began walking around me. He was behind me now. The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. My skin crawled with hatred.

“I’m not lying. It’s the truth. They have none of their past life memories.”

“You’re lying! I know you’re lying. They have memories.” His pace quickened. “I gave them memories. Zan and Ava should have sparked a few of those memories by now. Their urge to become a pair should have been almost instantaneous once they hit the appropriate age for mating.” He stopped speaking aloud as he paced back and forth. His hands were waving widely in the air as he continued his silent rant.

It was obvious to me that he had come to a conclusion when he stopped in front of me and stared me down. “You’re lying.” He said once more before he took two quick steps and latched onto my head. “Show me that you’re not lying, niece of mine.”

I had no control of the things that came to mind. It was like he was flipping through page after page of my life on Earth. “Stop it!” I cried. “Stop it! You’re hurting me.” Tears rolled down my cheeks as everything that I had ever experienced was invaded by him.

“Give it to me and I’ll make it stop!”

“STOP IT!” I tried my hardest to keep my time in California locked away.

“Quit trying to keep it from me, Andra. It’s only going to hurt worse if you do. Give it to me.” I shook my head no. “I will have that information!” He warned and continued anyway. “It’s just going to take longer with you fighting me like this.”

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Khivar’s mind rape had left me drained. I had failed. Everything that was mine, everything that Zan and I had shared was ripped away savagely. My own flesh and blood was just as cruel as the human who had tortured Zan in his own white room.

I didn’t fight the blackness this time. It was probably for the best if I just gave up the fight after all. If Max and the others could get Liz to the Granolith and use the stones then she would probably survive. It wasn’t that bad of a compromise. After all, none of them really remembered their past life why did Liz have to have the extra baggage?

The bright light behind my eyelids forced me to open them slowly. I was no longer strapped to the metal table that Khivar had tied me to. I was in a warm, cozy home. The walls were painted a soft yellow and the window treatments where a pale blue. The house was quiet and it felt inviting. Really inviting.

“Liz…” I heard him call for me.

“In here.” I called back. I looked for him in the direction the voice had sounded.

The door that was across the room opened. He raised his hand as if he were shielding his eyes from something bright. “Liz! Can you hear me? Where are you?”

I went to him. “Max, I’m right here.” I reached out to take hold of his hand and I reached right through him. My chest constricted. This wasn’t real. It was another dream. A fantasy… but whose? Mine? Liz’s? Could it be… Max’s?

I had to get out of here. The pain of being this close to him and not being able to touch him was killing me. I ran to another door and opened it wide and ran out. I stopped when I was out of the house, unsure of where to go from there as well as the sight that lay before me. In front of me, a well manicured lawn with roses lining the side of the house. I felt Max run through me. And it shook me to the core.

“Liz!” He called again. I could hear his panic begin to rise. I watched him leave. I stood still on the front porch of the house that felt like home. “Liz… where are you?”

I closed my eyes and hoped that whatever force had brought me here would take me back. The sooner I let this part of my life go, the better it would be for me and for them… because then Khivar wouldn’t be able to get any more ammunition on them.

Max’s calls quieted and when I opened my eyes again our home was gone. As it should be. It was a fantasy to begin with. When I opened my eyes I was surrounded by complete darkness. It was just as well. This is where I belonged. I might as well get used to it. I lay down on the ground, closed my eyes and willed myself to be gone.

I felt like I was floating. It felt good too. “Liz! Please. It’s me… Max!” Hope surged within me. I sat up and looked for some sign that I hadn’t been imagining things. When I saw nothing in the darkness I went back to my original position. I needed to hurry and end this once and for all. This was getting me nowhere. The air began to chill as death started to take its hold on me.

“Liz! It’s me, Max! Where are you?” I close my eyes tighter when I hear his voice. My subconscious was fighting me on my decision to give up. I needed to concentrate harder.

Just when I thought I had banished all thoughts of Zan I hear his call again. “Liz!”

He just keeps repeating my name over and over until I can’t ignore it anymore.

I open my eyes and I’m on top of a roof. “Liz!” He runs to me and kneels beside me. He sweeps me up into his arms and I can’t take it anymore. I start to sob but it’s not me.

“Max. You found me. I was so scared that you thought I had run. I’m tired of running.” I hear myself say… I’m looking upon my body as well as my love through a small glass window. A steel door separates us. He wasn’t holding me…

“Shhhh. Hush. It’s going to be okay. I’m here, now.” The two of them wrap into each other to fight the bitter cold. I watched as Max takes off his jacket and wraps me up in it. This was probably the last time I would ever see him.

With the jacket firmly in place he took my face and made me look up at him. “Liz… this isn’t real. This is just a dream. I need you to wake up so I can see what’ wrong with you.”

The eyes of my double look around in disbelief. “This isn’t real?” I asked. I placed a hand on the solid steel door and tried to push but it wouldn’t move. I was on this side of the door for a reason. This wasn’t my dream but Liz’s. This was her hell.

I hung my head down. The connection between us was almost complete. What happened to her will start to affect me as well as the opposite. Whatever happened to me would affect her. I had waited too long.

“See anything you like?” His menacing voice echoed in my ear. Chills ran up and down my spine and as I tried to turn around Khivar had hold of me once more.

“Why won’t you just let me be?”

“I think it’s time we let Zan know how much I really control. Let’s find out if what you said is true. Come; let’s take him to my realm.”

The scene on the rooftop faded. The wind whipped around us numbing all of my extremities.

Liz cowered behind Max as we stood behind them both. She tried to make herself as small as possible. Zan turned around to see what had frightened her so and saw the two of us standing before him.

“How nice of you to join us.” Khivar hissed. Mist surrounded us as the warm air around Zan met our blistering cold air.

“Who are you?” He asked.

Zan’s ignorance amused Khivar. He tilted his head back and laughed and laughed and laughed. The steam from his throat rose into the air and dissipated into nothing. “Come now. I’m wounded.” Khivar was having too much fun with this as he pretended to be stabbed in the chest. I would give anything to be the one to plunge a steel blade into that very same place if I could only have the chance to do so. “Zan… Andra Aliya has told me all about you and her.”

Recognition flashed within Zan’s eyes. “Khivar… where is she? What have you done to her?”

“All in good time.”

“How can you do this to her? She’s your brother’s daughter, your own flesh and blood. Why must you continue to torture her every day of her life? Can’t you just let her be? We don’t want anything to do with Antar. Just let us be!” Zan’s posture steeled itself for Khivar’s rebuttal.

“Well, it’s like this… There is no way that I can rule until I am the only one of the royal family left alive. There’s some myth going around that the true king and his queen will return. I can’t have the possibility of competition now can I? The natives are restless on Antar and I think I have to be like that guy on your world, what’s his name again? Oh yes, Bill Gates. Like him, I want to crush any competition.”

I saw Zan turn his head toward the other me. He was saying something but I was unable to hear anything concrete.

“There’s no point in trying to escape, Zan. As she has probably already told you, she can’t wake up. This couldn’t have worked out any better if I had planned it myself. Now you’re both trapped.”

I was trapped. Unable to say or do anything. Khivar had a plan and I hadn’t figured it out yet so I listened to the two of them banter back and forth.

“Let her go. It’s me you want.” Zan hollered back.

Khivar tilted his head back once more and laughed. “You think so highly of yourself. You mean nothing to me. It’s her I want. All I have to do is get you out of the way. I just need you dead. It’s her that will give me everything that I could ever want and more.”

“What about your daughter, Ava? Don’t you care what she thinks of you? What would she do if she knew everything that you had done? What you are still doing?” It was a nice try on his part but a daughter’s love for her father would only work if her father gave a shit about his daughter. No, Khivar didn’t care about Ava. He had killed her once to better his options. All he wanted her for was to give birth to a new heir that he would be able to control, through whom he would be able to rule Antar.

Khivar had blocked Zan out. I didn’t know what he was planning on doing next. I needed to help Zan get Liz out of here. If it was true and our bond was strengthening then I should be able to influence this dream a little and help her out. Help them out.

I knew that there was no way that Zan would leave with both of us here. Stuck with Khivar. “Do you want to know why your sweet Liz can’t wake up? I really see no point in keeping you in suspense, since we will have so much fun here together.”

Khivar pulled me out from behind him, his grip holding tightly to my neck.

“Andra!” The abrupt move made Zan call to me. I had forgotten that Khivar had a hold of me and went to him. I was brought back abruptly by Khivar taking hold of my arm.

“Let her go!” He yelled at my captor.

Khivar said nothing but laughed instead. I’m glad that he thinks this is so amusing. “You want me to let her go? Okay.” I looked up at him. There had to be something to him letting me go so easily. Especially after all the tormenting that he had already done to me. “I will let her go but one of them has to stay. Who will you choose? The human or the alien…”

I looked to Zan and then back up to Khivar. He was enjoying this way too much which just sucked big time. “Come on boy… the clock is ticking.” Khivar bellowed.

Zan looked from me to her and then back to me once more. He quickly turned around and started speaking to Liz.

Khivar must have heard more than I did, either that, or he had figured out what Zan was trying to do. “Choose or I’ll choose for you.” Khivar hollered.

Zan looked to me once more and I nodded. I knew what he had decided and it was the right decision. I closed my eyes and felt for my other half. I pushed with everything I had.

I heard Zan begin to speak. “This is just a dream. You have no power here. You’re on Antar and we’re here.” I felt more solid with every word that he spoke and I was scared for just a brief moment. But he knew what he was doing or at least he believed in what was in his gut and he was making her believe just as he was making me believe.

I felt the room shift and I opened my eyes to the white room and Khivar screaming no.

“I knew he’d find a way to beat you.” I spat at him.

“Shut up!” He started pacing. “You encouraged him, didn’t you?”

“Zan is a man that knows what needs to be done and I back his decisions.” Khivar slapped me against my cheek and my head rolled off to the side.

“You’ll back him so he can be with that human body? You’ll back him while you face my wrath?” He stopped in front of me and bent down to where we were eye to eye. “What are you plotting, little one? What do you know that you’re not telling me?”

“Go to hell!” I hissed. There was no way I was going to tell him that I had the seal. If he didn’t get that from my mind while he raped my memories then I wasn’t going to give it to him.

He straightened and I narrowed my eyes at him. He raised his hand in anger and sent me and the table flying through the air with a single blast.

“Not unless you go first!” I heard him sneer as he left me lying on the floor, filled with pain.

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I’m not sure how much time passed but I woke when Khivar entered the room. But I knew that I was out of it because the table was now standing upright once again.

He immediately went for my head with his hand. “Stop it!” I yelled.

“Give me what I want and I’ll stop.” He countered.

“You’re hurting me. I can’t take much more.”

“I don’t care. I don’t have time to wait. Bring them to me or I swear I will kill them.” He tightened his hold on my head.

I tried to shake free but his hold was too strong. “No! I won’t. I won’t bring them to you, Uncle. Never!” I clenched my fists in anticipation of what was to come and when it didn’t, I looked up into the face of evil.

He stroked my hair into place. “They don’t even care who you are.” He crooned. “I’ve seen your memory of seeing them that first night. The way they made you feel. I can’t imagine you wanting to protect them. But yet you do.”

I was beginning to start my defense when someone new walked in. “Sir, we have an intruder.”

“Who is it?”

“All systems say that it’s Vilondra.”

“Bring her to me.” All of his attention left me as he walked to the corridor. I had no choice now but to go and help them save her. They would come now that she was here. I didn’t have much time. I closed my eyes and concentrated on my body. The way it felt when I was in it.

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“I told you! You think I’m off my rocker? That I don’t know what is right or wrong? I have each and every one of your well being resting on my shoulders. I wish you guys would just listen to me when I tell you what needs to be done.” Max’s voice boomed in the close quarters of the cave. I looked around and saw them all standing and staring at one another while I laid on the floor.

I needed to finish this once and for all.

“Only you were supposed to do that. Your mother said that it had to be you that touched the handprint.” Alex’s voice quivered with fear of what may be happening to Isabel. Now was not the time to think of this.

“What happens if it’s not me?” Max asked. I stood up and walked over to the granolith. They needed my help. I knew that Isabel’s being there was a mistake and Max’s anger proved that to me. I needed to give them a back up plan. Something that would ensure Isabel’s safety and one that would get them in and out safely and in one piece. There was only one way to do that and I wasn’t sure that it was one hundred percent safe but it was better than what I was going to hear from them as a back up plan.

“I don’t know. She wouldn’t tell me.” Tensions were building and I felt the tingling at my back. Alex was defending his case.

“Liz!” I heard his cry and I was just in the middle of a sequence and couldn’t spare a moment to acknowledge him. Once I was done I turned my head and smiled at him. After everything that I had been through, he was the one constant thing in my life. I was grateful for getting to know him as he is now and I didn’t regret anything that had happened while getting to know him either. I was still a little uneasy with taking over Liz’s body this way. I only hoped that I would cause any more complications.

I smiled up at him. I couldn’t help it.

“What are you doing, Liz? You shouldn’t be standing. You need to save your strength.” The love and concern flowed from his lips and rolled throughout my body. Warming me in places that were far from being cold.

“He’s busy with Vilondra. We don’t have much time.” The concern in his eyes made me lose my concentration. I turned back and hit the timer for activation.

“Are you okay?” He asked.

“We were too much for him to control all at once. He’s focused on your sister. You have to get everyone that is coming to stand here.” I pointed in the general vicinity of where everyone should be without looking and continued with the final calculations of where we would be going.

“You heard her. We don’t have much time.” Max started getting everyone moving. A few seconds later he came back and was hovering just behind me. “Okay, it’s done. We’re ready.”

A few more touches of the controls. “You guys sure?” I had to ask.

“We’re sure.” I had turned and saw Tess nod her head in agreement with what she was saying.

“Okay, Liz. Do your thing.” The authority in his voice made a slight shiver run down my spine. I took hold of Max’s hand and began shuffling everyone around.

“We have to link hands.” The group opened up and allowed the two of us to enter.

“What’s it like? Traveling in the granolith.” Alex asked.

“Oh, we’re not using the granolith per se. It’s going to be our decoy. I’ve set it to go to Antar, we’re going to piggy back on its trail so to speak.” I knew out of all of them Alex would be able to grasp the whole time space continuum but there just wasn’t enough time to go over all that.

“Wait, wait, wait… No, no, no. This isn’t good. What do you mean piggy back?” Alex was waving his hands from side to side. I guess I was wrong. Either that or he realized the severity of the whole situation better than I thought he would.

“The granolith isn’t a machine that travels in space. It travels through it. It creates an opening in one dimension and then opens the other end in another dimension. It goes no where. There are no moving parts. We’re going to use the same opening as the granolith but I know of another place for us to end up, that Khivar will never suspect.” We didn’t have time for this. I turned and looked to see exactly how much time was left.

“Only a few more minutes. All you have to do is blank out your minds. I’ll do the rest. Concentrate on the feel of the person beside you. If you can’t do that, just remember to hold on to one another. I won’t have enough energy to make sure that we all stay together.”

I move into the center of their circle. With the link hands I will be able to funnel enough energy for what I need to do. It won’t be easy but I will have to focus on myself in order to make this happen. There was no room for error.

“What about you? Don’t you need to be touching someone as well?” Max asked.

I finished my rotation and looked to my one true love, the brief time that we had together flashing before my mind’s eye. “No, it will diminish the energy that I need. If I touch someone all of the energy that is flowing in the circle will go to them and I won’t have enough to get us where we need to go. Trust me.” I could see that my explanation wasn’t offering him any peace so I gave him a reassuring smile to try to placate him.

The warning beacon began to chime. “This is it.” I turned around and looked at everyone holding each other’s hand. Maria and Michael. Alex, Tess and Kyle and then finally Max. “Remember: close your eyes and blank your minds out. I’ll do the rest.” They did as I told them and everyone except Max had their eyes closed.

“Liz… I love you.” He whispered softly to me, tears beginning to form in his eyes.

“I know. I feel you here.” Deep inside my heart I could feel our love. It pulled me to him and my hand raised on its own accord to cup the side of his stubble covered face. He leaned into my touch and closed his eyes. The love that he feels runs through my fingers and fills me.

“No matter what… Don’t interfere between Khivar and me. You have to protect everyone else. Release the council and go get your sister.” He immediately opened his eyes and I knew he knew what I had planned.

“Andra?”

“We don’t have time, Max.” I pulled his head down to mine. Our foreheads touching and our eyes looking into one another and in that brief moment we connected. I sent him every memory that I had ever had in my entire life. The ins and outs of all of Antar. I knew he wouldn’t be able to comprehend it all but I couldn’t help it. I knew I would never see him again and there were things that he would need to know in order for him to be successful. For them to have a normal life Max Evans had to have the knowledge that I possessed. This would be it and even though it seemed selfish I wanted to be able to live in on some way, even if it was only in memory.

Once the transfer was complete I told him what he needed to do just to make sure. “Release the council, save your sister and DON’T INTERFERE!” The Granolith started to cycle. “Please Max.” I pleaded with everything I had hoping that he would hear it and follow my instructions. “This is my destiny. This is why I’m here. Don’t interfere no matter what.” I sealed my request with a kiss. I poured everything I had into that last kiss. Pressing my lips hard against his, I wrapped my arms around his body and reveled in the feel of him. This was it. Now or never.

I pulled away and, once I was in the center of the circle, the power from the others hit me and I concentrated on where I wanted to send them. I heard Max scream no but it was too late. We were already in motion. He was too late. There was no way he could stop it now and that would be the last time that I would ever see him.

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Pain sliced through my head. I opened my eyes and I was once again tied to the damn metal table. The only good thing about connecting with Max earlier was that I was able to get a reserve of power from him. I closed my eyes and concentrated on finding Isabel. I needed to warn her that the others were on their way.

I was too late. He already was there. I heard a voice taunting her. “Isabel. Isabel, if you hear me give me a signal.” At first I thought that it might have been someone else but the more I listened the more I knew that it could be no one but him.

“Isabel, where are the others?” Question after question he tossed at her.

“Who’s there?” She asked, her throat raspy.

“Who else came with you?”

“No one came with me. Where are you? You sound like you’re so close.”

“Isabel. Where are Max and the others?”

“They’re at the cave.”

“What cave?” Khivar asked. He was getting too much information out of her. I concentrated all of my energy on her and entered her subconscious.

“Don’t think about them, Isabel! It’s a trick.” I had to get her to realize what she was doing. Khivar was fishing for information that only she had and if she gave him what he needed to know the others had no chance.

“Liz! Where are you?” The room that she was being held in disappeared and I was ripped back to my own reality. I only hoped that I gave her enough information to watch what she was saying.

“How dare you intrude!” Khivar’s hand slapped the side of my face once more. That side had had it. The slap was hard enough that the table fell over on its side. I saw a pair of shoes move to help me up but stopped when Khivar’s voice boomed throughout the room. “Leave her!”

The feet shuffled away and the lights to the room went out and I was all alone. I closed my eyes in order to think of a better plan.

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The world was once again dark. I realized rather quickly that I was once again on the dream plane. I looked around to see if I was meeting anyone when I saw the streak flash across the sky. It looked like a flash of lightning and it was relatively close to where the others should be. I hoped they were okay. I started running in the direction that I thought I needed to go. When I rounded a corner I saw Isabel leaning over. Her hands on her hips and her shoulders heaving with every breath she took in. I didn’t understand and I didn’t try to. Everything was happening whether I liked it or not. I just had to make sure things fell into place before it was too late.

As she looked up; the surprise in her face was apparent and before she could speak I interjected with my own commands. “Isabel, follow me. We don’t have much time.” She must have pulled me into the plane. I held my hand out for her to take and she took it freely. No questions asked.

“What was that?” She asked.

I turned around and looked at her. “What?” I had no idea what she was talking about.

“That streak of lightning.” She described for me.

“I don’t know. We have to hurry or all will be lost. The others are here.” I stopped. It was important that she understood what was about to happen. What she had to do in order for things to be all right. I took a deep breath. “Whatever happens; make sure everyone returns to the door. The door will take you back and everyone will be safe.”

“I don’t know what door you’re talking about, Liz. What’s going to happen?” The hairs on the back of my neck rose. There wasn’t enough time to discuss this. But I could hear her hesitation in her voice.

“You’re not the same as you were before. You’re better than your past life. Don’t believe anything Khivar says; it doesn’t matter now. You have family and they love you. Find your brother and the others and take them back to the door. There’s nothing that they can do that will help.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

I could tell she was scared. Hell, I was scared. But now was not the time to let her see that. I took another deep breath and looked her in the eye. If anyone knew what I was talking about it would be Isabel. “Max will want to stay. Don’t let him. Even if you have to knock him out… please… he must be safe.”

She was shaking her head from side to side in small motions. “Liz… we’re all going to leave here together. Together we can do anything. Believe me; we may look like a bunch of kids but we’ve come so far. We can help you.”

It was my turn to shake my head, no. “No one can help. Just make sure to get to the door. Go home and live the life you were meant to live.” I pulled her into a hug. I think that we could have actually been like sisters this time around. She wasn’t the same girl she was in her first life that’s for sure.

I pulled away. “Tell him I love him and that I will always be with him.” It was time to go. I closed my eyes and the scenery changed. I was no longer standing in front of Isabel but was in my prison again.

I could hear Isabel’s cries as she beat against her room’s door. “Liz! Let me out of here you bastard.” I knew that Khivar wasn’t with her. I tried to look around to see if he was in the room with me. There had to be some way of getting out of my captivity. As if someone heard my pleas the door opened and closed quickly.

I shied away from the newcomer, afraid of the brutality that would be coming from whoever had entered.

“I mean you no harm, Queen Andra.” I strained to see who was addressing me but I couldn’t see anyone with it being so dark and the side of my face had swollen up to where my eye was almost sealed shut.

“Let me out of here.” I called out as I came to my senses. If they were calling me by my title then they would know that Isabel was who she was. He may be able to free both of us. “Princess Vilondra is here. I have to free her so she can warn the others.” I struggled against the restraints.

“That is why I came. Khivar’s gone too far. He’s destroyed everything. There is no hope for our people while Khivar rules.” I felt one strap loosen and then the other. I quickly climbed to my feet and turned around to where I could see the person that had come to my rescue. “I will set Princess Vilondra free.”

I placed both hands on his shoulders. I turned my good eye toward him and looked at him. “Lord Tabir, is that you?”

“Yes, child. It’s me.” He bowed down to one knee.

“I thought you were dead.” The shock of seeing Zan and Vilondra’s dead father kneeling before me took me aback. I lost all urgency of what needed to be done.

“Please forgive me for doubting you. I was a fool and Vilondra being here is my wife’s doing. I won’t stand by and let him tear our nation apart. Not again. I won’t let him destroy my family again.” I pulled up on his arm and my father-in-law continued. “My wife bartered for my life and Khivar lifted the sleep from my body so I could be with her. I only found out recently, from your mother, how Khivar was able to take over the throne. We’re ready to fight this time. Your mother has been doing everything in her power to rally all of us together.”

“My mother? You’ve seen my mother?” My heart twisted. “She’s alive?”

“No, child. Khivar still has her in sleep as well as your father but it’s not permanent. Your mother is strong. Even in death her spirit lives. She is very active within our council and still a huge force on the dream plane.” He smiled at me. My mother was alive and was rallying the troops. “Look, there is no time to speak of the past. The future is in limbo.” He was right. I didn’t have time to be standing around here.

I nodded my head in agreement. “Go, free your daughter. Help her find the others when they arrive and I will make sure that my uncle doesn’t survive.”

“The council will back you. We have seen the error of our ways.” I could see his sadness from knowing that everything that had happened because of a misunderstanding of a prophecy.

“Thank you.” He bowed once more and left the room the same way he had entered.

I followed behind him. He turned right and I headed left. I had to believe that he was on the up and up.

My subconscious started toying with me. What if it was a set up by Khivar? What if I was heading straight into a trap? I shook my head and tossed that thought away. It didn’t matter. Not anymore.

The future had been seen and now all that was left to do was to live it.


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TBC

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Bordersinsanity
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Long to Be Part 32A ~ Michael

Post by Bordersinsanity » Thu Dec 18, 2003 3:09 pm

PART 32A ~ MICHAEL

"Only a few more minutes. All you have to do is blank your minds. I'll do the rest. Concentrate on the feel of the person beside you. If you can't do that, just remember to hold on to one another. I won't have enough energy to make sure that we all stay together."

She enters the middle of our circle. "What about you? Don't you need to be touching someone as well?" Max asks. I knew better than to ask. This felt right to me for some strange reason. I was as calm and cool as a cucumber.

"No, it will diminish the energy that I need. If I touch someone all of the energy that is flowing in the circle will go to them and then I won't have enough to get us where we need to go. Trust me. This is it. Remember close your eyes and blank your minds out. I'll do the rest." I closed my eyes as instructed blocking the site of Max and Liz standing so close to one another.

"Liz... I love you." If only I could shut my ears too. Like I really want to hear this mushy stuff.

"I know. I feel you here. No matter what, don't interfere between Khivar and me. You have to protect everyone else. Release the council and go get your sister."

I have to admit. Max has been handling all this crap pretty well. Hell, I think all of us deserve a big pat on the back. I'm still not sure what to take of it, but I have to believe that everything will work out in the end. We've come too far for it to be all for nothing.

Yes, this is me, Michael, the one that has no faith, but like I said, we've come too far... and yes, Isabel just vanished into the unknown but yeah, I still feel confident that it's all going to work out.

It's my cousin's fault. Liz... the one I was so vehemently sure that I didn't want in our group. My confidence grows with every word she whispers to him. I'm holding Max's hand as well as Maria's. Check. If all else fails and you're unable to blank your mind concentrate on the people you're holding on to. See, I can do this. Well, everything but blanking my damn mind. Liz and him are whispering to one another and I'm trying not to eavesdrop but well, it's pretty damn hard not to. Their love for one another is the most powerful thing I've ever witnessed and is probably the one singular thing that is making me so sure of our future.

How they've come all this way and to have finally found one another is amazing and makes me believe that there isn't anything that we can't accomplish.

As long as we're together.

"Andra?" I fight hard not to open my eyes when Max calls out her Antarian name. I have to believe... I repeat it over and over and over. Believe... I repeat her words over in my head. 'Blank your minds, if nothing else, concentrate on the people you're holding on to.' Max... check. Maria... check.

"We don't have time Max. Release the council, save your sister and DON'T INTERFERE!" The command in her voice is enough for me to make sure that Max does what she wants him to. I make a vow to myself and to Liz. I'll make sure he does what is needed to be done. I promise.

I see light begin to flash behind my closed eyes. Pink, white, purple? It's hard to tell with my eyes closed but I don't dare open them. I didn't want to be the cause for this plan not working.

"Please Max. This is my destiny. This is why I'm here. Don't interfere no matter what." Max tugged on my hand as if he were trying to pull free but I tightened my hold not wanting to break the circle.

"NO!" This was it. I quickly tried to blank my mind and when that didn't work I concentrated on the feel of Maria's warm hand in mine, the way her hand would rub tiny circles on my chest when she's asleep without knowing what she's doing. That thought wasn't helping... don't go there Guerin.

I concentrated on Max... my brother in so many ways, that I couldn't count them with my fingers. This was it... I squeezed his hand once more just before my body began to float.

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The silence was broken with Max's screams for Liz.

"Liz!" He yelled again. I was pretty sure that it was safe for me to open my eyes and when I did, I realized that we were nowhere. Literally. It was pitch black. I tried looking around but was unable to move very far because Max was still holding onto my hand with his death grip.

His head sinking in defeat. Just shortly after Max went to the ground the area around us was lit brightly by a door. The hairs on the back of my neck rose. It was weird how it appeared out of no where. I was at a loss for words. There was no witty comeback for something like that. Max let loose of my hand shortly after the door appeared.

"Max, don't." I cautioned him against doing anything rash. That was my job. After all I was always the rash one. The one that messed everything up because I didn't think things through.

"It's okay Michael. I've been here before." He got up off the ground and started walking for the door. I followed closely behind if not almost even with him. I had a feeling that it wasn't going to hurt us. That the reason it was here was because of Liz.

"Wait for the rest of us." Maria hollered. "I don't want to have to tell Liz that we lost you too." Leave it to her to bring up the worse case scenario. I rolled my eyes at her and got a look of "don't even think about it" right back at me.

"Are they dead?" Tess asked. I looked to see what she was referring to and was amazed at what I saw. Rows and rows of people. They looked dead to me. All of them lying so still on top of floating beds. These people definitely had a more advanced technology than what we have on Earth.

"They can't die. This is the council." What the... but I kept my mouth closed because Tess continued with the questions.

"How do you know?"

"Because that's my mother." He pointed to a woman and continued. "They're in a deep sleep."

I couldn't keep quiet any longer and I was surprised at Whitman and Valenti as well. "What the hell have we gotten ourselves into?"

"We've always been in this." Max began. "This is who we are."

"Mom, we're home." Kyle called out. We all pinned Valenti with our gaze and he immediately went to defend himself. "It was getting a little thick in here. I thought it would help." Leave it to the little lady to get Valenti in line. Maria slapped him again. "DeLuca I told you... if you slapped me again I was going to hurt you."

"What are you going to do? You wouldn't hit a girl. I know you Valenti. I'm shaking in my boots." Maria held her hands out and shook her hands as if she were scared. "Oooh, big man. Gonna hurt the little girl." I looked down to Maria's feet. She wasn't wearing any boots. I wonder how long I would be without sex if I make that observation out loud. I decide not to because I know even though we would come out of this alright she wouldn't see that as a fair trade.

"Enough you two." Max put his foot down. I was a little sad to see it happen. I take joy in seeing someone else reap Maria's wrath.

But Kyle wasn't as quick to take Max's warning. "It's not like they haven't had enough sleep, Max. Look at them. They're covered with a netting of some sorts." Kyle tossed back. He had to keep it going

"Fine. Just keep it down and no more jokes about them." I had to smirk. Haha-haha. Someone else is getting in trouble and it's not me. Yeah, baby! There were times that Max just seemed to have his panties in a wad but it's not like he was overreacting this time. Who knew what we would encounter while we were on our little field trip.

"Alex." Max called for Alex and he came up beside him. "Is this the woman you saw on the plane?"

"Yeah, that's her." The two stared at each other for a brief moment. I wasn't even going to attempt to try and decipher what was going through their minds about deceit and all. "What about Isabel? Do you know where she is?" Hope sprang into Alex's facial expression as he asked Max his only important question.

"No, but I know someone that will be able to help us. All we have to do is find her." Max started going through aisle after aisle looking for that person that would be able to help us. I went off on my own search.

If the woman that Alex had seen on the dream plane was here then maybe... maybe my mom was here as well. I came up to a table and stopped. My breath got caught in my throat and I felt weak in the knee.

She was beautiful. I'm surprised she looked just like she did when she came to me on the plane. I stuffed my hands in my pockets because I was afraid what they might do if they were left on their own. This way I knew for sure that they were under my control.

For so long I had no family. I had come to the conclusion that that was the way it was supposed to be; but then Max and Isabel came along. Shortly after that Tess, Alex and Maria. In a way I was happy. They had become my family. What more could a man want?

But I knew what else there was when Max and Isabel received the message from the orb from their mother. She cared for them. And most importantly she was waiting for their return. It took me awhile to realize that I would always be second best to almost everyone but our small little group. Me, Michael... forever alone.

"It's my mom." I had felt Max come stand beside me and I spoke without him saying a single word. Once my first words were out it was hard to keep anything else in. I felt like a little kid that just found a long lost buddy. I wanted to share everything I knew about the woman I had so brief a contact with. "She looks the same as she did when she visited me on the plane." It's hard to see her like this. So still. I remembered what Max had said at the door when we first entered. That the council was just sleeping but it's so hard to believe that there might be a possibility that they were alive. I had to ask. I just had to. "You don't think they're dead, do you Max?"

"No, it's some kind of stasis. Give me a second and I think that I will be able to wake a few of them." He pats me on the back and leaves me staring down at my mother. "We'll wake them up and we'll get all the answers we need." My head snaps up to him. He's a few tables away.

"How, Max? How are you going to know what to do and when to do it? If you haven't noticed, Liz isn't here. She's not going to help you." Is he even listening to himself? Does he even hear the words that are coming out of his mouth? He's talking like the impossible can happen just like that. 'Hello, we're on an alien planet with alien technology and our only tour guide disappeared upon departure.' I shake my head and take one more look to my mother when Max quickly turns and walks further away from me.

I wasn't going to get my answers from him. I was going to have to find them on my own. I started walking around looking at all the faces. There were a few empty tables and I wondered why but then maybe those were the ones that were dead and buried. Who knows?

Alex and Max are looking at a wall of computers. I know better than to even go over there. I don't know a thing about them and I have a tendency to fry the damn things. So I'll just stay over here...

I can't quite hear what the two of them are talking about... computers, Guerin. They look like they are discussing something really intense. I take a few steps closer just so I can hear. "Max, I can do it. You need to find Liz and Isabel." Alex states quite firmly. Gotta hand it to the guy, he's holding up a lot better than I thought he would be.

"Are you sure?" Max asks. I fight hard to keep from rolling my eyes. He of all people should know when Alex says something he means it.

Max reaches up and scratches behind his ear. He's thinking about something... Ugh!

"Tess and Kyle are fine, Max. You're worrying for no reason. I believe she'll do the right thing when the time comes." I dig at my ear. Did I miss something that was said between the two of them? What the hell is Alex talking about?

"Are you sure? Isabel will kill me if anything happens to you." That's an understatement, Maxwell.

"You'll have to find her first...." Alex's happy go lucky expression drops. The reality of our situation has just been dropped back down in front of us.

"We'll find her." Max tries his best to hold him together. It's a difficult task but Alex nods his head and does a quick swipe across his face.

"And I'll be fine. Now go. Be careful." He began working at the computer and when Max hadn't left yet he looked up at him and said, "Go," one more time.

"We'll be back in an hour, if not all of us." Max walked over to an empty wall and ran his hand over it. A blue glowing handprint appeared that took me by surprise.

"What the..." Max ignored everything that was coming out of my mouth... even my mouth had a hard time working when I saw Max press his hand against the blue print. A small rectangular drawer pulled out and I took a few steps closer to him, just in case.

"Here take these." Max handed me the contents of the drawer. They looked a lot like the orbs but only different. The orbs that he gave us had several different buttons. There was no symbol.

"Okay, this is it. Alex is going to try and hack... umm... coax the computer into giving us information that we can use. If you need help call me. I'll be able to tell you what you need to do. Tess and Kyle will stay here and offer support if needed. Michael, Maria and I will go search for Isabel as well as trying to find where Liz and Khivar are." Max paused and looked around at each and every one of us. He must have liked what he saw because he continued. "Any questions?"

I looked around to see if anyone else saw the flaw in Max's plan. Don't get me wrong it had it's possibilities but let's not forget that we're on an alien hostile planet. I had to do it. No one else looked like they were going to speak up. "If you know so much, how come you're not staying to help Alex? We all could go if you'd help him." I could find Izzy as well as Liz just as easy as he could.

"How do these work?" My head whipped around so quickly at Tess' interruption that it wasn't even funny. I'm sure if this was a movie or cartoon you would have heard the cracking of a whip as I did it. What was she doing? I had a valid objection. Max's plan was full of holes and just ignoring it wasn't going to make it any less obvious.

Max's grateful expression toward Tess didn't go unnoticed by me. I should have known that if push came to shove she would side with him. Oh, isn't that so cute. "Push this one to speak... Push this one to change channels." Barf! I start to pace back and forth behind Maria.

Years of experience had taught me not to do it in front of her. She has a nasty habit of slapping me. "How do you know all of this?" I stop pacing at Tess' question. Maybe I was wrong about her after all.

Max let go of the communicator and took a step back from her. "Liz knew she wouldn't be here when we got here. When she kissed me she transferred things to me. It's hard to say what exactly because I don't know. I just know how to do things. As I walk through this space I know everything. I know each and everyone of these people that are lying here. I know who I can trust and who I can't."
I was too busy processing what Max had said that Maria had stepped up before I could get a word in edgewise. "I think we need to take care of business here. You said that you knew someone that could help. Get them and then we can all go from here. It's bad enough that we've already lost two valuable people; we don't need to divide our numbers anymore." She glanced back at me and I nodded in her direction. That's my girl! She turned back to the group and continued. "I know you're anxious to find Liz as well as Isabel but you're not going to be any good if we all get captured."

Max started to pace. He ran his hands through his hair and I stepped up to Maria and wrapped my arms around her. Kissing the top of her head to show my approval. She's always had a way with Max. Making him see what was right in front of his eyes better than the rest of us.

He threw his hands up in the air. "Fine, we stick together." He grabbed Alex and the two of them went back to the computer not saying another word to any of us.

"Max, you can't be upset about this." Maria wiggled out of my grasp and went after the two of them. She grabbed Max by his elbow and turned him around so that he was looking at her.

"Max, you can't be upset about this."

"Yes I can, Maria. Alex is more than capable of taking care of the council. He's done more difficult jobs over the years than this. All he has to do is ask me the questions over the communicators and I'll tell him. Isabel and Liz are out there in I don't even know what kind of trouble, and we're huddling here in front of a damn computer."

During his speech Max had sat down in front of the computer. His fingers delicately moving over the keys as if he were Alex and had been doing the task since the day he was born. Within minutes and by the time Max was done ranting a vacuum sound had started.

"What the hell is that?" Kyle jumps at the sound and turns around and around looking for some sign to show him where it was coming from.

"I'm waking up Mira. She'll help us." Max stood up and began walking through the group.

"Who the hell is Mira?" Didn't he know that we couldn't trust anyone? I followed him and stopped dead in my tracks when a woman stood up and smiled at us all.

"I'm Mira." We were face to face with a woman a little larger and taller than Liz.

"Mira's Andra's mother. She's well heard by the council and knows more about what we're dealing with than any other. She's been helping Liz her entire life while she's been living on Earth." Max walked over and hugged the woman. "You can help us, right." He whispered.

"Yes, I can help. Tell me what's happened since the last time I spoke with you."

"You were right. We were able to travel here without using the Granolith. Andra knew what to do. My sister is missing as well as your daughter. Before it was just part of her. Her body was with me but once we made the journey her body is missing as well."

"You have done what you were supposed to do. There is nothing more that you can do. She will grow stronger now that she is whole. Khivar's harm will become more real to her now that she is whole but I believe that she will be able to overcome it."

"That's it?" I had had enough of the bullshit that was going on between Max and this woman. How could she not care about her own daughter's safety? She was in the hands of a murderer and she was fine with that. "We need to save her. We need to kill that bastard and we need to go home."

Her wrath turned to me. Her eyes turning black with anger. "It's not your destiny to defeat Khivar." I took a step forward but was stopped by Max's hand across my chest.

"What is our destiny, Mira? You said it before. I know that I had to get your daughter to the granolith. She got us here but what's next?"

"We save your sister and you go home." Mira quietly stated.

"Max... I thought she was going to help us." So far Max's plan was quickly falling apart. Or at least I thought his plan was.

"She will." He grabbed her by the arm and walked her away from the group. "Isabel used the handprint that my mother put in our chamber. Where does it take her?"

"The portal takes her to Khivar's office."

"Can you take us there?"

"Yes. This way." She by-passed all of us and went to the door but before opening it she pressed her hand to the right and a keypad appeared. She pressed a few buttons and then opened the door. The other side of the door was bright and all white. The glare off the walls made me shrink back at first but then once my eyes adjusted I followed behind the woman.

Corridor after corridor we inched our way to our destination. I was beginning to think that we would never get to where we were supposed to be. I was also beginning to believe that Mira was the traitor and that she was leading us into a trap. The next corner was only a few paces away and without warning Alex went running ahead. "She's here."

Everything happened so quickly. Isabel rounded the corner and blasted Alex with her powers.

"NO!" I yelled but was too late. Alex was down on the floor and Max had his shield up. We all huddled around Alex.

"Isabel... you're alive." His soft whisper brought her to her knees. Max lowered his shield and dropped down beside him as well.

"Oh, Alex. I'm so sorry. I had no idea that you guys were here." Obviously she didn't. I felt like giving her a piece of my mind but knew better of it. She would be kicking herself enough if anything happened to him. "Hang on, Alex. Max will save you. Just hang on, Alex."

Max pushed Isabel out of the way so he could get to Alex's chest. The dark black burnt patch of skin crinkled with his touch. Alex gasped at his touch. "You have to look at me, Alex." Max spoke with a soothing tone. "Everything's going to be okay. Just hang in there." Max winced with the pain of the healing. After a moment and nothing happening he broke away. He leaned back on his heels. "It's not working. I can't get in."

"Let me try." Mira moved in behind Max but when Max tried to move away she held him there. "You stay. I'm just going to help you. You're not on Earth anymore. Things work a little differently here."

I scooted in closer. Something about the woman bothered me. I didn't trust her. I had to chuckle to myself. When did I ever trust anyone new? Never. Why would this woman be any different? Max leaned back over Alex's body. He was just barely breathing but that's really all that was needed. Just a little bit of life...

I'm not sure exactly what happened. The three of them flickered in and out like they weren't really there at all and then suddenly Max's hands started to glow and the damage to Alex's chest started to disappear. Isabel began to smile as she wiped the tears away with the back of her hand the rest of us seemed to take a deep cleansing breath. We were once again complete.

Max pulled away and made room for Isabel to take his spot. The rest of us gave the two of them some room and moved away to where Max and Mira were standing on the otherside of the hall. "I knew you could do it." Tess said as she squeezed Max's arm.

"Yeah, Evans. Never doubted you." Kyle added with a slap to the back.

Max was still too weak to offer any verbal communication and instead just nodded his head up and down. Once he had his strength back he looked over to me and nodded his head. I guess that was my cue to take the others away. Evidently something was wrong and Max wanted to find out some answers. I knew it.

"Come on guys. Let's give the two of them some room. Let them get their strength back. We're not out of the fire just yet." I herded the group away from Max and Mira.

"What's going on?" Maria whispered to me.

"Something's wrong." I told her.

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Long to Be Part 32 B ~ Michael

Post by Bordersinsanity » Sat Aug 21, 2004 8:39 am

PART 32B ~ MICHAEL

“What do you mean?” She wasn’t very good at keeping quiet because when she asked that last question everyone turned around and looked at me.

“Don’t tell me you guys didn’t see what happened?” I looked upon blank stares. Evidently they didn’t. “You didn’t see the three of them blink in and out of reality?” I asked them all and their faces didn’t move. They were clueless. “Never mind. Nothing’s wrong. I just need to get my bearings.”

“Yeah, hold yourself back there Guerin you’re starting to sound like you actually care.” Kyle took a jab at me and I felt like giving him the finger but I didn’t. Now was not the time for that.

Now that the group was back together. Isabel had returned to us, Alex was alive and kicking we were done with this place. Max buckled instantly and we were all by his side in seconds.

“Max!” Mira was the first one to be at his side. “What’s happened?”

“It’s Andra…” He looked up to her. “She’s going after Khivar. She told me that she will always be with me and then she was gone. Where is she? I have to find her.”

Mira took Max’s face into her small, delicate hands. “This is what she must do. It won’t be long before you find one another again. But you can’t be here when everything starts. You have to go back.” She lifted her eyes to the rest of us and her hands dropped down to her side. “All of you have to go back. You don’t belong here. Not now, maybe not ever. Come, follow me. There’s not much time left.”

“Look lady, I don’t know who you think we are; but we don’t leave any of our own behind. Liz needs us and I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say we’re not going anywhere.” I stepped in front of everyone. God, it felt good to say that and I only hoped that I had five nodding heads behind me. I knew Maria was definitely agreeing with me because she kept on jabbing me in the back to move forward. It was her way of telling me I needed to intimidate this woman.

“I understand that. Really I do, but my daughter wouldn’t want you to be harmed and believe me you will be harmed because you don’t belong here.”

“None of us belong here? Look, Liz is human. She doesn’t belong here either.” At my statement, Mira stood up and stared me down.

“I know you saw what happened earlier.” She paused for me to think about what she was talking about. “The flickering… Think.”

“When you, Max and Alex faded in and out?”

“Right. It’s taking a tremendous amount of energy to keep you guys here.”

Max stood up and moved beside me. “What are you talking about? Whose energy are we using?”

“Andra is keeping you here in order for you to get your sister and get back home. Your bodies are still where you left them on Earth but your minds, your… essence is here in the future. You can’t stay here. If you stay here, none of us will exist.”

“Wow, lady. This is our future? I thought this was their past.” Kyle stepped to the other side of me.

“I remember, it is our past.” Max said quietly.

“No, it’s not. This is the future, your future but in order for you to save us now you have to live in the past. Learn the skills that will allow you to make better decisions in the future. Skills that will never allow Khivar to take over the throne.”

“I think I’m going to puke.” Kyle turned his back and I elbowed him. It was his signature saying when things in the Alien abyss was getting to be too much. It was his way of dealing with the unreal… the unbelievable. And believe me this is unbelievable.

“So our bodies are still on Earth and this really isn’t Antar but a future version of it?” I was trying hard to grasp the concept. It just didn’t make any sense.

“Exactly. But when you get to be here you will be a different person then when you were before. Each of our essences are pooled waiting to be reborn again. And every time you are reborn certain essences tend to pull together. This group that you have with you now is the same group that will meet in the future. One way or another you all will always be the team that makes or breaks our system.”

She started walking in the direction that we had just left. Back to where the door was. Back to where the rest of the council was lying in waiting. Isabel hurried to be by her side. “Why were we sent back in time? Why wasn’t Liz sent with us since Max and her were originally together?”

“Khivar has been planning his take over for a very, very long time. He hated my husband and hated it even more that neither offspring were men. Since we both had daughters then the eldest son’s daughter would be the one that would take over the throne when her father passed on. It was never in Khivar’s cards to rule. And rightly so, because he is so wrong for the task. When Andra was murdered his plan fell into place. Lord Tabir and Lady Shara agreed to keep their son on the throne by having him marry Khivars daughter, Ava. Zan was sullen. He couldn’t continue without his lifemate and soon Khivar realized that if he was ever going to have the throne he was going to have to take matters into his own hand. He was going to have to wait for a male heir to be born and he used the granolith to find out when the next male heir was to be.”

Everyone had been following Mira and Isabel as she spoke of our future. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing myself. Khivar was definitely one sick, demented dude if I had ever seen one. “Don’t tell me. The next male heir that was to be born was Max and Tess’.”

Mira stopped in her tracks and turned around to look at me. “How did you guess?”

“I figured it out.” I looked around the group and everyone’s jaw was hanging open. “We were sent back in time as a four square. We were given that stupid message about being married and betrothed. It only makes sense. Tess is Ava, Khivar’s daughter. Max is Zan, current deceased ruler of Antar. With Liz out of the picture and the seed planted he could only hope that the two of you would hook up and do the nasty. After all, we’re alien living on an alien planet. Who better to be with than one of our own?” Maria slapped my hard. “Ow, woman… I didn’t say that I’m just stating what Khivar was thinking. He was playing god. Once Tess was with child we were to go back using the granolith and then what? How was he going to become ruler if he was still alive?” I scratched at the irritating spot between my eyebrows. “He was going to kill himself and therefore his essence would be reborn.”

“Exactly.” Mira smiled at me and to be honest it really felt good to offer some intelligence to the group rather than the muscle this time.

“You guys knew what he was going to do. So you sent Liz back as well and like you said we all tend to gravitate to one another when we are alive. She found us and therefore ruined Khivar’s plans to be reborn. Max fell in love with her and to be honest I don’t think Tess and Max ever really felt romantic toward one another in the first place.” I looked back at the two of them and Max nodded his head. I was right. Boy, this felt really good. We had started walking again. I was right beside her talking as if we had always known each other and it was a common occurrence. Maybe it was. Maybe in the future I was really close to her. After all she was my aunt.

When we rounded the corner the final corridor ended at the door to where the council lay. This was it. We had to go back after all; our bodies were just sitting there anyway. We had to go back. “If we go back, will Liz be there? Will she be waiting for us?” Everyone stopped at Max’s question.

“If she succeeds she will be.”

“And if she doesn’t?”

“Then this wasn’t your time to be. She will wait for you. She always does.” Mira went and grabbed hold of Max’s hand. “Believe in her. This is what she was meant to do. We just never realized until now. All will be well. You will find true love in this life.”

“I’ve already found her and I’m afraid that I’ve already lost her.” Mira pushed the door open and to my surprise the council were waiting. Some were smiling others were crying. I searched frantically for the one that I had only met once, had only spoken to once in my entire life. I didn’t have to look too hard because she practically ran to me and wrapped me up into her arms.

“My son. You’re doing well.” She stepped back, holding me at arms length and looked at me. I squirmed under her scrutiny. What would she see when she looked at me? I tugged at my shirt. I probably looked like a hoodlum. I ran my hand through my hair, another nervous habit. I had never been looked at with eyes like hers, eyes of a parent. It was an unsettling feeling that I couldn’t really tell if I liked it or not. When I couldn’t find the words to say anything she wrapped me up in her arms once again. My arms automatically wrapped around them and to be honest. It felt real good. Who would have thought that I would know so much peace in such a chaotic time. Hell, we still weren’t out of danger yet. But I had met my mother for the first time and everything just seemed right for those brief few moments.

When we separated I noticed another heading our way, a man this time. And his eyes were shining with unshed tears. I knew he wasn’t coming to me but rather to one of the others. It had to be Max and Isabel. I stood back from my mother and watched the reunion. “Hurry, there is no time.” He took both of their hands and started pulling them toward the other door that would take us back to our world. Our now.

“Who are you?” Isabel stopped their movement.

“I’m your father. I’ve freed the queen and she is on her way to fulfill her destiny. She made me swear that I would make sure that you all left as quickly as possible. I won’t let her down again.”

“You know where Andra is?” I couldn’t help but hear the hope in Max’s voice. He was ready to go after her even though she made him promise that we would return once we had saved Isabel.

“I knew where she was but that was a while ago. She’s probably already battling with Khivar as we speak. Please, children. You must go quickly. I’ve failed my queen once in this lifetime. I won’t do it again.” He pulled on them in the most determined fashion as if Max and Isabel were nothing more than five-year-old children.

I looked to where the others were. Maria, Kyle, Tess and Alex were already waiting by the door. They were taking Liz’s warning serious. They were ready to head back no matter what. They had all heard Liz’s warning. “You must join hands and form a ring. Just as you came here you must leave. Blank your minds and think of nothing more than going home. Feeling the hard rock of your world beneath you. All will be as if you never left. Have faith. Go now.” He shoved us all toward the door.

“Wait. Will Liz be there?” As if we even had a chance of getting through that door without Max asking that question. I’m really surprised that we got as close to it as we did.

“I know your heart aches to know that you can’t help her. But by staying here will do her no good. Go, all will be well. I promise you, my son. She may not be there when you get there but she will be successful in her duties and she will return to you. And together you will have the happiness that you were meant to have.” Max’s dad pulled him into a warm embrace. They broke away and the tears that had been threatening to spill ran freely. Max’s dad swiped at his tears and quickly hugged Isabel before pushing both siblings out the door.

“Are you ready?” I asked when the door shut behind them, leaving us standing in its pale-outlined light.

“No, but this is what we have to do. I have to leave her behind.” Max dropped his head and Tess walked up beside him.

“This isn’t our fight. You heard them. This is our future. Liz and Andra were both with you earlier. Nothing will happen to her. She’ll be okay. Believe in her, Max.” He looked up into Tess’ face and nodded ever so slightly.

“Okay, let’s go home.” All of us grabbed hands. I was once again sandwiched between Max and Maria. I took one last look around our circle. And realized that in the short amount of time we had all changed so drastically. Each and every one of us had grown in the short period of time.

I closed my eyes and remembered what Max’s dad had said. “Blank your minds and think of nothing but the hard, cold rock beneath our feet.” I reminded everyone. The second trip was so much easier than the first time. Maybe it was because we all knew that we wouldn’t have any problems getting home again.

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The tingling sensation made me realize that we had done it. I opened my eyes and immediately looked around the cave. Evidently, Liz hadn’t succeeded, she wasn’t with us. “Max, she’s…”

“Don’t, Michael. Just let me be for a minute.”

“Sure man. We’ll be outside when you’re ready.” I didn’t know what to do. He just stood there staring at the granolith. Praying maybe. I didn’t know exactly what he hoped that would accomplish. I feel the hole in our group where she belongs. It’s funny how you never really know how much you care for someone until they’re gone. Liz is gone. My only family that I ever had in this world is gone in the blink of an eye.

I corral the rest of the group and usher them out of the cave. “What the hell happened in there?” Jim’s concerned voice yelled up from below.

Kyle raced down the side of the hill to meet his dad. The two men embraced as if they hadn’t seen each other in a long, long time. “Do you think she’ll be back?” Jim asked. Evidently Kyle had filled him in while the rest of us made our slow torturous walk down the hill.

“The others seem to think so.” I offered.

“But… I hear a but in there, Michael.” I could see his concern.

“I don’t think Max believes. You guys go ahead and go home. I’m going to stay here with Max. I’ll call to let you know if anything changes.”

Maria walked up to me. “Are you going to be okay?” She asked.

“Yeah. I’ll be fine.” I hugged and kissed her. “Go home. I’ll be home later.”

“Okay. I love you.” She turned around to get into her car.

I ran after her and just as she was closing the door a grabbed hold of it. “Maria, thanks.” She looked at me with a curious look. “Don’t say anything. Just know I’m glad that I have you in my life.” I closed her door and she was still staring at me. Yeah, I knew what she was thinking. She was thinking that I was off my rocker. I can’t really blame her for thinking that.

I watched as the cloud of dust dissipated and looked back up at the cave entrance. Max had yet to walk out of there. I turned and headed in that direction. I was beginning to get nervous. I wasn’t sure what I would find up there once I walked through the rock entrance.

Taking a deep breath before even looking in I steadied myself for what I was about to face. My best friend, my brother, heart broken. “Hey, Max. I sent the others home so it’s just you and me and however long you want to wait.” I called out before I entered. I had to give a grieving man some warning. I wasn’t as thoughtless as I pretended to be half the time.

“Thanks Michael.” He didn’t move. His hands were pressed firmly against the granolith’s base. His head was bowed as if he had been defeated and in a way, I guess he had been. How many can say that they lost their soul mate in a span of a weekend? I bet no one can but him.

I didn’t dare say anything else. Instead I sat down against the cold hard unforgiving rock wall and waited. I’d let Max decide when it was time to leave. No sooner.

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Long to Be Part 33A ~ Max

Post by Bordersinsanity » Sat Aug 21, 2004 8:40 am

PART 33A ~ MAX

I was grateful when Michael hauled everyone out of the chamber. I couldn’t hold it together for too much longer. Something deep inside me told me that Liz was gone and that she was never returning. That everything that we had just gone through in the past two days was for nothing.

I now knew what true love tasted and felt like and I knew I would never ever come close to finding it again. Well, at least not in this lifetime anyway. How ironic that what we thought was the first time was actually our last time together. I felt my frustration along with my deep sorrow rising inside of me. ‘There had to be something that I could do. Something… there had to be something.’ I fell to my knees as I looked up to the granolith, a small prayer escaping my mind.

Nothing. The damn machine mocked me with its silence. Cold dead silence. Like the inside of my soul now that Liz was gone.

I was filled with anger. She knew this was going to happen. Some how she knew and she kept it away from me. Tears ran freely down the side of my face. I probably didn’t have too much time before they came back wondering what to do now. It never took them long to ask me what we were going to do next. Just once I would like someone to tell me what I’m supposed to do. Just once.

It would be easy to tell them what they were to do. All they had to do was love one another. Be happy and live a joyful life together. I, on the other hand, had nothing to live for. Why didn’t she let me stay? At least together we would have each other. We could have died together. In each other’s arms. That’s where I wanted to be. That’s where I should have been. No, no she kept me out of harm’s way. This was the way she had it planned. This way she was gone and I had this deep hole in my chest that was getting larger with every passing second.

I heard footsteps shuffling in the dirt on the cave floor and swiped at the tears that were still falling. “Hey, Max. I sent the others home, so it’s just you and me for however long you want to wait.” I took in a deep breath at Michael’s statement. God, what he must be going through? I should have realized.

“Thanks Michael.” Taking a few moments to gather my strength, I slowly turn around to face him. He’s settled down against the cave wall. “You know you didn’t have to stay. I could have called you to come and pick me up later or I could have just driven home.”

“There’s no way I’m leaving you. Not yet anyway. And besides, I’m not here just for you… you know.” He gave me a small smile.

“Yeah, I know.” I slid down beside him. “What are we going to do?”

“We’re going to wait and see what happens.” Finally someone that had a plan and it wasn’t me.

It seemed so easy coming out of his mouth but did he realize what he was saying. How long was he willing to wait? “You can’t wait forever, Michael. You have a life to live. You and Maria…”

“She’ll understand.” He said as he started drawing in the dirt beside him.

“Don’t waste any more time than you already have. Embrace her. Love her. There are no guarantees in our lives. There may never be a tomorrow.” He looked up at me and we stared at each other.

“Just as long as you’re listening to your own words, Maxwell. She wouldn’t want you to waste away. Live. You heard everything… You’ll be together in our future. You’ll always be together. That’s the beauty. I know now that Maria is meant for me. I know that no matter what happens we’ll always find each other. Things happen for a reason, Maxwell. Liz not coming back – there was a reason. You may not know it right now… or even tomorrow. But soon, one day, the answer will be right there in front of you. Waiting for you… and if you give up now, you may never find it. Don’t stop believing.”

I chuckled at his declaration. “Listen to you. You sound like a hopeless romantic. I never knew you had it in you.”

“I swear if you tell anyone, I’ll deny all charges and have you admitted into the looney bin myself.”

I held my hand up. “I swear never to tell a soul.”

He nodded his head and went back to his creation in the dirt. I went back to staring at the granolith. I knew no matter how long I stared at it that nothing was going to change. The sun started to fade and the desert started to cool off.

“Let’s go home.” I stood up and grabbed hold of Michael’s hand.

“Are you sure?” He asked me.

“I’m sure. How about you? You lost part of your family too. How are you holding up?”

“I’ll be fine.” I looked at him hesitantly. “Really, Max. I have this feeling that this is the way it was supposed to be. Besides, I’m itching to go to sleep tonight. Who knows? Someone might contact us in our dreams to let us know how things turned out with Liz. Let’s go home.” Michael went ahead and left the cave.

I took one more glance around the cave. The granolith was quiet and dim and everything around me felt empty, even my chest, my life… my soul. What would the future hold for me now?

I pressed heavily on the glowing silver handprint and watched as the rock opening closed to form a solid wall.

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I’m not going to school this semester. How could I? There were too many things that I needed to take care of: Liz’s parents, Liz’s dorm, and just getting from day to day while living in this bleak uncaring world.

I couldn’t find Liz’s parents. They weren’t in Connecticut and to the depths of Alex’s knowledge and help with the computer search there had never been any Jeff or Nancy Parker in Connecticut. The interesting thing was that there was now a Jeff and Nancy Parker living in Roswell, New Mexico of all places.

I checked it out and they are the owners of the Crashdown cafe. This made me think. Did they always own it? Or is this something that has to do with what Liz changed in our future? Can things be changing each and every day? I immediately went to her dorm room. Item number two on my list of things to do and I wasn’t too surprised that the dorm administrator didn’t have a Liz Parker ever living in room number 123. Some girl that goes by the name of Pam Troy now lives there and has been occupying that room for the past two years.

Why is it that all traces of Liz Parker have been erased but the eight of us still remember her? I mean, Michael and Maria remember Liz. Kyle and Tess, Isabel and Alex, they all share in my misery in some form or another. Even Jim remembers doing some research on her but for the life of him he can’t find the paper work anywhere. For all intents and purposes Liz Parker doesn’t exist and has never existed here on Earth.

The gaping hole in my chest is growing even bigger.

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It’s been three months since that dreadful day in January, three months and no word from Antar or any one else. And still no sign of Liz. The hole in my soul is still there and I’m beginning to realize that it will always be there until my dying day.

Spring break is upon us and every one wanted to get out of the funk that they had been in since. The sense of déjà vu creeps up on me as my sister pulls me up off the couch.

“Tell me again why I have to go?” I ask as I’m being swept out of my apartment.

“You have to go so I don’t get hit on. You know that I hate getting hit on.” Alex is playing in the band at another party and even though I know she doesn’t get hit on; because anyone can clearly see that Isabel only has eyes for Alex and Alex alone. I know it’s only a ruse to get me out of the house.

I freeze in the doorway as I remember almost the exact same conversation with Tess. It was the night that I first met Liz. The night that changed my life for eternity.

“Max? Are you alright?” I see the concern etched in the fine lines by her eyes. The last three months hasn’t been easy for her either. She’s been so worried about me and all I seem to do is shut her and everyone else out. I would think that they would have understood. How can I break up their fun? Why should my misery bring down their happiness?

“Yeah, Iz. Just had a moment.” She turns to leave and I continue to stand in the doorway of my apartment. She realizes that I’m not following anymore and turns to pin me with her stare.

“Max?” Her voice wobbles a little, like my name got stuck in her throat or something.

“I don’t think I can do this Iz. It’s too soon.” I brace myself against the door jamb. Thankful for its sturdiness because without it; I’d be on the floor in an instant. I try hard to hold it together because I don’t want her to see me breakdown.

“Max! You have to stop this!” She yells at me. She’s angry and I wonder where all this has come from. “You’re slowly dying and we can’t sit by and watch. We won’t lose you too!”

I stiffen my spine and lock my knees. “Don’t you think I realize that? I’m not dying Isabel. I’m fighting really hard to stay living but it’s just too damn hard. I give everything I have just to get out of bed in the morning. You have no idea what it is like to be half a person, to know that the other half of you is dead and unreachable. You don’t have any idea what it’s like to keep going when all you really want to do is curl up in some corner and die!”

Her expression softens some. “Oh, Max. I love you beyond words and I only wish that there was something that I could do but you can’t stay cooped up in this apartment. I don’t care what you say… It’s not living. It can’t be living. Come with me to the party; if you give me an hour of your time I promise we’ll leave.” She pulls me into a hearty hug. I can actually feel her willing me to live. A shiver runs down my spine. What would happen if I was no longer on this earth? Would she make it without me? Would Alex be enough for her? All these questions have no answers and that’s the reason I’m still here. It’s not my style to be selfish.

“Fine. Lead the way.” She takes hold of my hand and we’re off to the same party but only three months later.

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I remembered last time that I was following Tess. She had thrown a fit about me wearing black and it must have been a subconscious thing because looking down at myself I realize I’m wearing the same white shirt with blue stripe that she had morphed from my black shirt last time.

I see Isabel start to jump up and down. It never ceases to amaze me how much she enjoys seeing Alex up on stage. She has high hopes that his band will take off and will make it big but the rest of us, Alex included, is just happy that he has something that he enjoys.

Alex sees her and then immediately looks to me. He nods his head to acknowledge my presence and I wave back at him. I think he realizes how hard it has to be for me.

He steps down from the stage and we shake hands. “I see she got you here anyway.”

“Yeah, but she promises that I can leave in an hour.”

“Well, I guess every little bit helps. We’re all here for you man.” He pulls me into a hug.

“Thanks, Alex. I know you are.” I pull away because I’m worried that if I hang onto him for too long I might start to cry and I really don’t want to do that. So far I’ve been lucky. No one within our group or outside it has seen me cry yet and I plan on keeping it that way.

“I’ve got to get back on stage. I’m glad you’re here.” I watch him leave and realize that I’m alone. Well, not really there’s a crowd but no one that I really know. I feel this would be my only chance to make a break for it. I know that it had only been ten minutes at the most but I just can’t do this. So much of tonight reminds me of that first night. Too much is overloading me.

A cool front comes gliding in from out of nowhere and it makes me shiver. We’ve all heard tales of when you walk through a cool spot it means you’re walking through someone’s soul. I looked around to see if by some off chance Liz might walk through the mist but she never did. That fueled my momentum to get out of there even more.

“You’re not thinking of leaving, are you, Maxwell?” Great, it’s Michael. And how many times have I told him not to call me Maxwell? I can already see that he’s going to give me just as much hell as Isabel did. I will see the worry in his eyes just like I could in Isabel’s.

I turn around and give him my innocent smile. “No, no.” I shake my head for emphasis. “I wasn’t thinking about leaving. Not yet. Isabel said she’d let me go if I could stick it out for an hour.” He smiles back at me.

“And you’ve been here… What maybe ten, fifteen minutes?”

“Something like that.” He wrapped his arm around my shoulder.

“Maria sent me here specifically to make sure that you don’t leave but don’t worry I know what you’re going through. Stay for one song and then if you still want to leave, we’ll leave together.”

“You’ve become soft in your old age.”

“Yeah, but I can see what being here is costing you and believe me if I didn’t think you getting out of that damn apartment isn’t doing you any good I wouldn’t be having this conversation right now. I’d have let you walk off and wouldn’t have said a word to anyone.”

He steers me back to our old meeting place. Everyone is there except Isabel and Alex. They’re huddled in a small circle. I can hear it now. ‘He says he’s living but we all know that he’s dying.’ The soft whispers die as soon as Michael and I are in eye-sight of the group.

Alex’s crew begins to play. The crowd swarms the stage area and they start to dance.

“I know I say this every time I hear them but they’re getting better.” Michael says to me as he follows me.

“Yeah, they are. It’s amazing how far they have come since high school.” I don’t think anyone can break this habit. Almost everything that has been said or done is almost exactly the way it happened the first time. My heart breaks a million more times with the reminder. I see Tess walking my way.

“Let’s dance.” I start to protest but she’s worried about me too.

“One dance Tess and then I’m out of here. It’s too much.” She latches onto me and hugs my arm.

“I know Max and we wish there was something more that we could do to help. If only you’d let us know what we can do. We’ve all been worried about you keeping so much to yourself. It’s the beginning of Spring Break enjoy yourself with us. Please.” We stopped and looked into each other’s eyes.

After everything that’s happened I finally realize that Tess has lost someone too. Someone that was just as important to her as Liz was to me. Although, I realize that having an image of a father that loves you and finding out that he never once cared about you is completely different than Liz and I. But still here she is; living life, loving Kyle and offering a firm shoulder for me to lean on while I gain my bearings.

“Kyle’s here. You don’t have to dance with me.” I protest because I really don’t feel like dancing. Not now.

“He won’t mind. Besides, I think he’s involving himself in some kind of drinking game. So, you have to dance with me.” I look at Michael who is ushering me on.

‘Stay for one song and then if you still want to leave, we’ll leave together.’ Michael’s words reverberate through my mind. I could do this. One dance with a good, good friend and then I could leave and wallow in my own self-pity.

People are jumping up and down all around us and I can’t believe the fog that has settled in over top. It’s slowly making its way lower and lower. The unusual chill is somewhat unnerving. Tess and I are getting pushed around quite a bit by the rowdy crowd. The cool weather allows them to move more without breaking into a sweat.

The music changes tempo and we slow down to accommodate the rhythm. I look at Tess to make sure that she is doing okay and I see her staring off to her left. I follow her gaze and I see what has grabbed her attention. Or should I say who? Yep, Kyle and it looks like he’s having a good time with his drinking friends. We could all learn a lesson from him. Although he’s part of our group, a very important part in the eyes of Tess, he still finds the time to be around normal people, doing normal things. I actually envy him. If I make it through all this; I’ll try and keep Kyle in mind the next time I get up to get out of the café because it’s becoming too crowded.

My body automatically moves to the familiar music on its own accord. Dancing, after all, comes naturally to some and I guess that includes me. My mind wanders to that last time I was dancing with Tess. Seeing Liz with Kyle and feeling the jealousy that I did way back then makes me smile for a brief moment.

“Max?” Tess is watching me carefully.

“Hmmm?”

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, just remembering the last time we were dancing and Kyle dragging Liz behind him. The way both of us acted back then.”

“Yeah…” She lets her sentence trail.

Just as I start to speak a warm body brushes the side of me. A faint “excuse me” is whispered and the person, who happens to be wearing a white hat and shirt, just like last time runs away.

“Liz!” I yell after the retreating figure. “Liz! Wait!” I immediately follow the figure that is weaving in and out of the bouncing crowd.

“Max! What are you doing?”

“Liz… she’s back! I have to go to her.”

“Max, wait!” Tess grabs hold of my arm. “It wasn’t her. If it was why would she run off?”

“I don’t know… maybe there’s something wrong? Maybe she doesn’t remember who she is or who I am? So much has changed it’s hard to really say. But I can’t stand here and let her go. I can’t.” I look down at her hand and then back up to her face. “Please, Tess. Just let me go after her.”

“I can’t let you. What if it’s not her? It’s going to kill you, Max. Let’s go together.” She starts to pull on my arm and I follow at first but then take the lead as we run after the fading image of my one true love.

Tess lets loose of my arm and I take it that her short legs can’t keep up with my longer strides. “Max!” I turn back briefly and find her leaning over her knees. Her back is rising with each heaving breath.

“I can’t wait Tess.”

“I know. Just go. I’ll get the others.” She quickly turned and ran back to where we had left the others.

Turning back to look at Tess had been the worse thing that I could have done. I had lost her. Liz had left me no place to go. She had run up the hill but now that I crested the peak I couldn’t see any signs of the white cap or shirt that I had seen earlier. Maybe my eyes had been playing tricks on me. I stumbled down the backside of the hill and my feet automatically took me to the same place I had gone the last time. I wasn’t too surprised to find the space by the lone tree to be void of Liz. She wasn’t here. She probably was never here. Maybe all the events that took place in January were a figment of our imaginations? A way to tell each and every one of us that life is too short to be worrying about the future. That the here and now is what is important.

I hit the tree with my closed fist. The release of my pent up anger and aggression feels good. I keep on hitting it over and over until my fists are nothing more than a mass of bloody flesh. I sink down to my knees and begin rocking back and forth. I’m losing it. There’s no returning back to normal. There will be no living for me. I’m spent. My time is up. I just can’t keep going. Not alone. Not without Liz. “She’s real! I know she’s real!” I scream to the heavens.

I don’t know how much time I stayed there but by the time I was ready to face the unjust world again the party was over. Not a single person was in sight. Surely I hadn’t stayed there that long. I’m losing my mind. I look down at my hands and the blood has dried. Well, I haven’t completely lost it. I did hit the hell out of the tree earlier. It’s good to know that it wasn’t as easy as I thought it was to lose my mind.

I thought it strange that the others had left without me too. Tess said that she was getting them. Shouldn’t they be here? Shouldn’t they be looking for me? I start to head for the parking lot and there through the mist I see my jeep and a small figure sitting on its hood.

I take my earlier statement back. I had lost my mind and it happened in a blink of an eye. As I approach closer the fog thickens. It makes it more difficult to see anything. I rub at my eyes willing them to see reality not some imaginary figure that when I reach for it, it will disappear never to be seen again.

I was now a few yards away from my destination and I found my feet stumbling with each step. “I can’t do this anymore. You’re not here. You were never here.” I say to the ghost of the woman I knew I had loved.

“I’m sorry I’m late.” She whispers to me.

“Please. I can’t do this anymore. They need me but I can’t be there for them without you. Please if you’re here and you love me. Don’t torture me like this.” I fall to my knees. “I just can’t handle losing you again. I would rather have you disappear than to look upon you and watch you fade because you’re just a ghost.”

The chill descends upon me and I wrap my arms around myself to keep from giggling hysterically. “Max, I’m here. It’s me.” I’m surrounded by warmth and I feel solid arms wrap around me. “Max, please, look at me.”

“I can’t. You’re not here. I can’t feel you in my heart. You’re gone. I might as well be gone too.”

“No, Max! Don’t go. Please. I’m sorry I’m late. It’s me. Just open your eyes.” Her fear in her voice makes me hesitate for just a brief moment but my curiosity is too overwhelming and I slowly open my eyes.

Her face is hidden because there’s a halo of light behind her. I reach up with my disfigured hand and caress the side of her face. I lace my fingers through the soft silky strands of her hair. “Liz?”

“Yes, Max. It’s me.” She takes hold of my hand and brings it down to her lap and then takes the other and wraps them into her smaller ones. I brief glow emits from the bundle and when she opens her hands I see that mine are now healed.

I don’t hesitate anymore. I wrap her whole body close to mine. I bury my face into the crook of her neck and I inhale. It’s her without a doubt. How could I have even believed that she wasn’t real?

I pull away and cup her face with both hands this time. “What happened? I thought for sure that you had died. That everything that Khivar had done to you while we were saving Isabel was too much for you.”

She smiled up at me. Her eyes twinkling with threatening tears ready to spill. “Not now, it’s not important. You need me and I need you. Let’s go home.” She stood up and I followed.

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TBC

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