Time Runs Both Ways (CC,All,TEEN) Epilogue & Author's Note - 6/2/16

This is the place to post all your General Roswell fanfiction. Any Canon fics, which pick up directly from any episode of the show and that focus on Max/Liz, Michael/Maria, Isabel/Alex or Isabel/Jesse, Kyle/Tess, or all the couples together! Rule of Thumb: If Max healed Liz in the Crashdown in September 1999, then your fic belongs here. If it picks up from the show in any way, it belongs here.

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Re: Time Runs Both Ways (CC,TEEN) Repost 12/07/09

Postby Assilem_1 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:42 am

Chapter 11: What once went wrong

Liz woke up to her alarm the next morning feeling exhausted. If she didn’t know better she’d think she hadn’t slept at all. She sat up in bed, then immediately fell back as a wave of dizziness hit her.

Not the way I wanted to start my day, she thought to herself as she threw her arm across her eyes, closed them tightly and waited for the dizziness to retreat.

This was a new day and she wanted to get started on the right foot. There were wrongs that needed to be put right. That’s why she was back. But then she tensed, suddenly needing proof once again that she had indeed gone back in time; That all of this wasn’t just a hope-filled dream that she’d just woken up from.

She sat up tentatively and thankfully found the dizziness gone. So she climbed out of bed and once again walked over to her computer to consult her calender tool.

April 6th 2002.

She exhaled the breath she didn’t even know she was holding and relaxed. She went back to her bed and sat down on the edge and concentrated on her connection to Max. He was like a quiet humming all around her. It was nothing short of amazing really. She recognized that now. Spending all of that time without it, without him, made her realize how essential he was to her life. Even if they weren’t together, she still needed him and right now she needed to save him from Tess.

The future is to be determined . . .

She remembered Future Max saying those words to her. At the time, she’d felt sadness when she heard them, but now they made her feel like anything was possible. Like she really could fix things . . .

“Lizzie?” her father knocked on her bedroom door. “Time to get up hon” he called as he walked past her room.

Nothing like routine to make you feel at home, she thought and smiled. That smile stayed on her face throughout the rest of the morning; through getting ready for school, through breakfast, and through Maria picking her up.

“What's going on?” Maria asked after a doubletake. She had been so preoccupied with thoughts of Michael that she was just now noticing Liz’s seemingly permanent smile. She glanced over at Liz again before hitting the turn signal for the school parking lot. “What are you smiling about?”

Liz turned her attention away from the passenger’s side window. “What? Oh, nothing in particular. It just feels like it's gonna be a good day” Liz replied.

“Um hmm” Maria said, looking at Liz contemplatively. Something was definitely going on with her, though she had no idea what it was.

But just as they emerged from her car and she was about to question Liz further, the first bell rang, signalling that they had 5 minutes to make it to class. They hastily rushed to their lockers and then off in different directions hollering a quick “See you later” to each other.

They met up again in their next period. Maria came into class fuming and Liz could practically see the steam rising off of her head.

“You would not believe what that . . . that . . . *guy* did last period!”

Liz just raised a questioning eyebrow and waited for the rant to begin.

“Mr. Walt got called to the office, so I decide to try to work out this whole prom argument with Michael, right? So there I am, trying to be the bigger person, you know? So I don’t fuss, or yell, or smack him in the head like I want to. No, I calmly and rationally approach the subject of prom. And you know what he says?”

Liz, knowing it can’t be good, quickly shook her head.

“He said ‘Not right now Maria, I’ve got bigger things to worry about’!”

Liz cringed. Although that was a totally true statement, it was a *really* bad move on Michael's part . . .

Maria mimicked “ . . . not right now Maria . . . bigger things Maria . . .” Looking across at Liz, Maria prompted “Now I ask you Liz, what could possibly be more important than prom?”

At that exact moment, Max walked into class and Liz felt like all the air went out of the room. Faintly she heard Maria still talking in the background, but her attention was focused solely on Max. Her heart started pounding, her palms got sweaty and she could feel a thin film of perspiration break out on her forehead. She wanted to get up and run to him and never let go. Instead she sat there and clasped her hands together tightly in her lap and willed herself to stay seated.

Max stepped into the room and looked around, as if searching for something. Then his eyes met hers and locked. Everything else seemed to fade away at that moment. An eternity seemed to pass between them, while Max’s eyes transmitted unspoken words of heart break and love, Liz’s gaze spoke of pain, loss, love and grief. Max’s expression turned puzzled. But just then a hand snaked out and grabbed his arm, pulling his attention away from Liz.

The spell was broken.

Liz saw Tess take the space beside Max, looking up at him adoringly. His eyes would no longer meet Liz’s as he allowed Tess to pull him into the room. They sat in the row in front of Maria and Liz.

Liz noticed that Maria had grown silent.

Max mumbled a barely discernible “hey” while Tess greeted them with an exuberant “Hey guys!” as she turned back to them. Maria scowled at her and Liz barely got “hey” out before she felt like gagging.

Just then the second bell rung and Mrs. Henry started in on the day’s lesson, so Tess turned to face forward again.

Liz felt like the room was shrinking and closing in on her. She couldn't, she couldn’t breathe. She quickly raised her hand and asked for a bathroom pass and avoided the curious looks she knew were on everyone's faces as she rushed out of the room.

She made it as far as around the corner from class before she collapsed against a locker and buried her head in her hands. She was feeling so many emotions she couldn’t even begin to sort them out. She felt angry, bitter, afraid and alone, but most of all, and she hated to admit it, she felt . . . defeated. Like she was fighting a battle she was doomed to lose.

In another time, Tess had killed her love and her best friend . . . and she’d been powerless to stop it.

She fought the images of finding Max dead in the pod chamber and Alex in a pool of blood. She shook her head violently, trying to dislodge the memories.

Why?! she screamed in her mind. She hadn’t been able to stop it then, what was supposed to make this time so different? Foreknowledge? And what was she supposed to do? Was the solution to kill Tess? Was she even capable of taking a life? Even Tess’s? And would her actions make things better . . . or worse?

In Future Max’s timeline, without Tess the world ended.

Suddenly she was assaulted by the image of her bloodied hands after Alex’s death. She shook her head violently again. She was afraid . . . afraid of what inaction might cost her, cost them all. She was afraid she wasn’t capable of killing Tess . . . but she was also afraid that she was . . .

Once again the fate of the world was in her hands . . . and she was terrified. So she let the tears fall.

“Hey, hey, it’s ok Liz” she heard and looked up to see a concerned Michael coming toward her. Liz looked away, ashamed to be caught sobbing on the floor when she was supposed to be strong enough to handle this. Michael put a comforting hand on her shoulder.

The flashes started immediately.

*Flash*

Alex waving a gun at Tess and then looking shocked when he starts turning the gun towards himself. Tess callously pushing Liz out of the way after the gun goes off.

*Flash*

Liz kneeling beside Alex, tears streaming as she pleaded, hand immersed in the wound in his chest, attempting to stem a tide that wasn't flowing . . . Alex's wound wasn't pumping out blood . . . His heart had probably stopped beating almost immediately. That realization being buried because she just couldn't accept that he was gone . . .

*Flash*

Liz watching hopefully and then deflating when Max tells her that he can't heal Alex. Arms wrapping around herself, rocking in place, Liz retreats into her mind, unable to deal with this as a reality.

*Flash*

Max slumped against the wall of the pod chamber with wide unseeing eyes, a silver handprint burned into his chest and Liz screaming at Michael as he tries to pull her away from Max's body.

*Flash*

The repetitive sound of the shovel displacing sand as Michael digs a hole to lay Max to rest in the desert outside the pod chamber.

*Flash*

Liz standing in her bedroom looking numbly in the mirror at the dried blood on her clothes and hands before someone steers her away and speaks to her softly about getting cleaned up.

*End Flash*

Liz pulled jerkily away from Michael's hand on her shoulder. “Don’t touch me!” she cried. Then without looking at him, still trying to get her breathing under control she panted “I’m sorry Michael, I . . . I'm sorry!” and she sprinted away from him down the hall.

Neither of them noticed Isabel step back out of sight from where she’d been walking at the opposite end of the hall.

Michael looked after Liz in shock and then slumped down against the lockers, head in his hands, in much the same posture he’d found Liz in. He felt like Liz's grief had torn him in two. That other timeline she'd come from had felt like hell in those brief glimpses he'd seen and he couldn't imagine how she'd survived it. Hell, he'd only experienced about 10 seconds of it and that felt like too much. And all of this came about because of that conniving bitch Tess. She’d caused all of that grief and sadness.

Something definitely had to be done about Tess.

Liz didn’t return to her History class. She’d made her way outside and sat until her head felt clearer. But she couldn’t get the image of a deceptive Tess turning to them and smiling out of her head, so she knew she wouldn’t be returning to class.

She decided that the best place to start sorting out this mess was with Max, so she waited outside of class for him to come out. The bell rang, and she shifted her weight from one foot to the other anxiously as people began filing out. Maria spotted her and came over, handing her her things. “Liz! What happened to you? How come you didn’t come back to class?”

Liz was still trying to see around her and spot Max.“I’ll tell you later Maria. Right now I have to talk to Max.” And Maria, with her own Spaceboy issues at the moment, squeezed her arm in understanding and walked off to her next class.

As Liz turned back to the rapidly emptying classroom, she spotted Max and Tess coming out together. Her stomach turned over but she ignored it and called out to Max. He turned to her and so did Tess. Liz said softly. “Um, Max, can I talk to you privately for a minute?”

Max's face registered surprise briefly before he answered. “Sure. Tess, I’ll catch up with you later.” Tess looked reluctant to leave as she looked from Max to Liz, but after a seconds hesitation, she turned and soon blended in with all of the other students trying to make it to their classes before the second bell rang.

“Um, follow me” Liz said awkwardly.

She led Max to an empty classroom and closed the door behind them. That’s when she noticed Max was grimacing and rubbing his head.

She began reaching forward before she was even aware she was doing it but her hand dropped to her side before Max noticed. “Max, are you ok?” she settled for asking.

“Yeah” he said, looking up. “It’s just this headache I keep getting off and on, but I’m ok." He shook his head. "What did you want to talk to me about?”

“Right” she said nervously. “Um, I wanted to talk to you about . . .” and she hesitated “ . . . Tess” she finally got out and saw him stiffen.

“What about her?” he asked defensively.

“Max, you . . . we can’t trust her. She’s going to betray you Max. She’s going to betray us all . . .” Liz’s voice trailed off at the hard look that had appeared on Max’s face.

He looked at Liz disbelievingly, but didn’t say anything for a moment, as if he were trying to get his emotions under control. When he finally did speak, it was with quiet anger. “So I can’t trust Tess? She’s going to betray me?” Liz didn’t miss the inflection in his words and flinched at their implication. Max seemed not to notice as he continued. “And how is she going to betray me Liz? Is she going to sleep with Kyle too?”

She flinched again. She couldn’t believe Max was speaking to her like this. Was this the anger he’d held in since seeing her and Kyle pretend to sleep together? She opened her mouth to try to explain. “Max I . . .”

He interrupted before she could continue. “All Tess has ever done is stand by me. She’s been there when I needed her.” He glared at her pointedly. “And now you’re telling me I can’t trust her? Well, how do I know I can trust you? You slept with Kyle, Liz. Kyle! And yeah, I forgave you for that, but I can’t forget it.

"And now that I’m finally moving on like you wanted me to not so long ago, now you tell me that it’s wrong? So what is it Liz? What is it about Tess that you think you know? Did you look into your crystal ball? Or did a little birdy tell you she can’t be trusted? What is it Liz?” he said advancing upon her. “What? Or is it that you don’t want to be with me, but you don’t want me to be with anyone else either?” he spat out bitterly. “Well, you wanted me to move on. Deal with it.” And he moved past her and out of the classroom.

Liz stood in shock as the force of Max’s words hit like fists. But she fought it. Fought the grief that threatened to overwhelm her at his words. This wasn’t about her and Max. This was about saving his life . . . his and Alex’s. So she rushed out of the classroom to go after him, but he was already gone.

She made it to her next class, but just barely. And all through it, she felt further away from her goal in coming back here. Deciding on a course of action, she planned to talk to Max at lunchtime. She grimaced, echoes of Max's words flitting through her head . . . She needed the time to regroup anyway.

Time seemed to pass slowly as Mr. Robbins went on and on about formulas and theorems and Liz exhaled loudly when the bell finally rung, signalling the end of class.

She rushed to her locker to get her lunch, then rushed out to the quad to wait for Max. Michael was already sitting at their table. Her footsteps faltered when she saw him, but she determinedly made herself continue. Before he could say anything, Liz set her lunch down across from him, although she couldn't bring herself to meet his eyes. “Michael, I’m sorry. I never meant for you to see . . . No one should ever have to see . . . ” She found it hard to continue.

Michael just shook his head. “Liz, it’s ok. It’s not your fault.”

“But Michael it is. I knew my emotions were too close to the surface. I should have stopped you before you touched me. It’s all of these new powers. It’s just overwhelming and . . . ”

“Liz, it really is ok. Would you stop worrying about this so we can start figuring out what to do next?” he said gruffly.

She met his eyes and found no blame in them, so she nodded. She stated softly “I . . . I tried to talk to Max earlier, but he just got mad at me for suggesting that Tess was bad and wouldn’t listen to anything else I had to say.”

“Well, you know what I say? I say I catch Tess in a dark corner and just blast her into oblivion. We can worry about explanations later” Michael said evenly.

“Ok Michael, as crazy as that sounds, I did consider something similar, but what if . . .” she trailed off because across the quad, coming towards them, was Alex!

His head was down and he was obviously looking for something in his backpack. Liz’s eyes filled with tears. Alex was alive! She fought the urge to run to him and assure herself he was ok. Michael looked over his shoulder to see what had captured Liz’s attention and saw Alex. He turned back as he felt a lump in his own throat remembering the visions from the flashes. He reached across and patted Liz’s hand, Liz looked at him surprised, then smiled at the sympathetic look he was giving her. She was also relieved that he hadn’t gotten any more flashes from her. “We’re gonna fix this Liz. It won’t happen again” Michael said quietly.

“What won’t happen again?” Alex asked curiously as he stepped up to their table. Michael withdrew his hand and picked up his sandwich, starting his lunch.

“Oh nothing” Liz replied as she blinked tears away.

“Alex, what are you looking for?” she asked curiously as he continued to go through his bag.

“My lunch” he replied as he sat down. “I thought I put it in here this morning, but I must not have” he said as he rummaged through his backpack one more time.

“Well, it’s ok” she replied. “I have enough to share.” She reached in her bag and handed Alex half of the sub she’d had Carlos make that morning.

“Are you sure?” he asked. “ ’Cause I don’t mind going into the cafeteria and buying something.” But even Alex couldn’t help but grimace at the thought of cafeteria food Liz found a laugh bubbling up at Alex's expression. Alex’s face transformed into a lopsided grin. The cafeteria food was notorious for being terrible. Especially since most of the entrees included the word ‘surprise’ in their name.

“Yup” Alex said with a grin. “That bean surprise looks especially tasty today.”

“That’s right, it is Vegetarian day, but ‘Bean’ surprise?” Liz asked.

“Hey, when it comes to cafeteria food I live by the don’t ask, don’t tell rule. But, you know, I can always catch the Bean surprise next time around” he said as he happily bit into the sub Liz had handed him. “But I definitely need a soda with this" he said as he set down his sub after rewrapping it. "You guys want anything?” he said as he got up.

Replies of “no” flowed from Liz and Michael, so Alex scooted off to get his drink.

Liz watched him head to the cafeteria fondly, pushing visions of how she’d last seen him to the back of her mind. She was so focused on him that she didn’t notice Tess dragging a reluctant Max towards the table till they were almost there. She and Michael noticed them at the same time and both tensed.

Michael stood up angrily. “Maxwell, you can not trust her! She is not on our side!” he said glaring hard enough to shoot flames at Tess.

Max moved a startled Tess behind him as he angrily addressed Michael. “She got to you, didn’t she?" he said, indicating Liz. "Why are you listening to her Michael? She isn't even one of us!” He cast a disdainful glance at Liz before glaring at Michael.

Liz felt like someone was physically yanking her heart out of her chest with the things Max that had emerged from Max's mouth today. He’d never been this mean before.

Max focused on Michael and then said imploringly, “Michael, she’s helping me recover my memories. She can help you too.”

Michael growled at that. “Max, you’re letting her inside your head?! What the hell are you thinking?! You don’t know what she might be doing in there. You can't trust her Maxwell and you're risking everyone doing it!”

“You know what?” Max’s expression hardened. “You two obviously are convinced of something that’s not based in reality. I can’t talk to either of you. Just stay away from us. Stay away from both of us!” and he dragged Tess away, but not before she gave them both a triumphant look that spoke volumes.

Michael turned to look at Liz and saw that she looked devastated.

“Liz . . . he obviously didn’t mean those things he said . . .” Michael began.

“Michael, don’t apologize for him. This whole thing is a total mess! We’ll never get near Tess now that she knows we’re on to her!” Liz shook her head in frustration and then got up from the table.

“Wait, where are you going?”

“I’m gonna go find Alex and reassure myself that he’s ok” Liz said, already walking away. She found Alex sitting on the floor next to the Coke machine holding his head.

“Alex! What’s wrong?” she said as she rushed to his side.

Alex looked at her with slightly dazed eyes. “I don’t know. I just got dizzy and lightheaded all of a sudden.” He pushed himself to his feet and swayed a little. Liz caught him and helped support his weight even as she became more concerned.

“It’s ok Liz. I just haven’t been sleeping right for a while. I’m just gonna go to the nurse’s office and lay down.”

“I’ll walk you, ok?” she said, already coaxing him in that direction.

“Thanks” Alex said, as he focused on placing one foot in front of the other, trying to make it to the nurse’s office without embarrassing himself further. The hall kept flickering in and out of focus so he was grateful for Liz's solid presence next to him. When they arrived, Liz guided him to a seat.

“I’ll bring your stuff here, ok?” Alex just nodded without opening his eyes and Liz rushed out.

On her way back to the quad, she bumped into Michael, who had come looking for her.

“We really need to figure out what we’re gonna do about Max and getting him away from Tess” Michael said.

“Right now we’ve got a more immediate problem.”

“Oh really” Michael said as he crossed his arms across his chest. “And what would that be?”

Liz replied in one word.

“Alex.”

~.~.~.~.~
Last edited by Assilem_1 on Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Time Runs Both Ways (CC,TEEN) Repost 12/07/09

Postby Assilem_1 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:45 am

Chapter 12: I shall believe

As they headed back to the quad to get Alex’s things, Liz filled Michael in on the condition she’d found Alex in and on what it'd meant in that other timeline.

You mindwarped me for two months while I decoded that alien book for you and now there's nothing left for you to mindwarp. You destroyed my mind!

Liz took a shuddering breath and shook her head, dislodging the memory. She determinedly went on to explain that the damage Tess was doing to Alex’s mind might end up being fatal if not fixed. And so they needed Max to heal Alex or he might not live past April 23rd even if they managed to get rid of Tess.

As they reached the quad, they both were so deep in conversation that they didn’t notice that Isabel and Maria had taken up residence at the table until they were upon them.

Isabel noticed them first. They were walking towards the table having an obviously intense conversation based on the looks on their faces. She glanced over at Maria, but she was busy eating her sandwich and scribbling in a notebook with her free hand.

“You know, there is something weird going on with those two” Isabel said and flicked her head at the approaching Michael and Liz.

Maria glanced over at them and frowned a little. “Well yeah, Liz went to see Michael yesterday, because she said she thought she was showing evidence of having powers.”

“Hmm” was all Isabel said in response since Michael and Liz were just arriving at the table.

“Hey, what’s up?” Isabel asked them.

Liz blinked. “Oh um nothing. We’re just, just taking Alex’s stuff to him. He went to the nurse’s office ‘cause he’s not feeling well . . . ”

Isabel immediately went from suspicious to concerned. “Is he ok? What’s wrong with him?”

Maria was busy glaring at Michael, so it took a second for Liz’s words to sink in. Her expression immediately changed as she turned to Liz. “Hey! What’s wrong with Alex?!” She even stood and started gathering her stuff together as if to accompany Liz back to the nurse’s office but Liz hurriedly tried to assure both of them.

“Um, no, don’t worry! He’s just tired or something, nothing major or anything. You guys should enjoy your lunch. It’s no big deal really. Anyway, I’m just gonna take him his stuff and then I’ll probably head to the library.”

She let out a silent breath of relief as Maria sat back down and went back to glaring at Michael, who seemed to be looking everywhere but at them. Isabel also looked satisfied with Liz’s explanation and the concern in her expression lessened.

“Yeah, and I’m gonna, um . . . go” Michael stated and started backing away from the table at the stony expression on Maria’s face.

“Whatever!” Maria huffed as she went back to angrily scribbling in her notebook.

Liz gathered up Alex’s and the rest of her things and rushed away before anyone could ask any more questions. Once she got inside the cafeteria, Michael fell back into step beside her.

~.~.~.~

Isabel wasn’t sure, but she’d swear that she saw Michael rejoin Liz when she went into the cafeteria. She glanced over at Maria, but she was amazingly oblivious to the whole thing. And she was still furiously writing in that notebook of hers, her lunch all but forgotten next to her.

“What are you writing?” Isabel finally broke down and asked.

“Oh, I’m writing down my mantra. Mr. Harmon fussed at me for saying it out loud last period, so I started writing it. Works just as well.” Seeing the perplexed expression on Isabel’s face, Maria shrugged. “I ran out of cypress oil today.”

“Let me see” Isabel said as she pulled the book from under Maria’s angry pen. She read the line that was written and re-written all the way down the page. “ ‘I am a strong young woman. I control my emotions. My emotions do not control me. I am a strong young woman. I control my emotions. My emotions do not control me.’ ” Isabel looked over at Maria with eyebrow raised. “I guess it’s better than ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ but just barely.” Isabel handed the notebook back to Maria. “I’ve got one word for you Maria: Ther-a-py . . . Get some. Or, you know, stop dating Michael, whichever helps with your sanity.”

Maria just rolled her eyes and went back to scribbling at the mention of Michael’s name.

But Isabel wasn’t ready to give up the topic of Michael and Liz just yet. “So, tell me more about Liz and her newfound ‘powers’ . . .”

Maria sighed and dropped her pen. As she thought about it, she frowned because she realized she didn’t know much. “Well, she mentioned something about getting upset and breaking a mirror without touching it, but that’s all I know.”

“That’s it?”

“Yeah, Isabel, dang! I can’t know everything!” Maria said exasperatedly.

“Yeah, well it just doesn’t sound like enough of a reason to warrant those two hanging out together. I mean, think about it Maria: When have you ever known Michael and Liz to even hold a conversation, much less spend any time alone together? Plus I saw them in the hall during 2nd period and Liz was crying and Michael looked upset too.”

Maria’s eyes narrowed in thought. “Really?”

“Really” Isabel replied.

“Humph” Maria said as she folded her arms across her chest in a move reminiscent of Michael.

“Yep” Isabel stated as she looked back towards the cafeteria. “There’s definitely something going on with those two. And it’s more than what she told you too. I can sense it . . . ”

~.~.~.~

Liz spent the rest of the period in the nurse’s office sitting next to the bed Alex was sleeping in. She sent Michael to work on talking to Max since she figured Max would be more receptive to him. When the bell rang signaling the end of the period, Alex didn’t even stir. Liz reluctantly rose and went to her next class.

The rest of the day passed by in a blur. Alex didn’t show up for the last class they had together and Liz worried, but when she went to the nurse’s office she was told he’d been sent home for the day soon after lunch.

So Liz started the trek to Alex’s house . . . purposefully ignoring the memories from the last time she’d taken this walk.

Still worrying about Alex and the whole situation, she barely noticed the sounds coming from upstairs as she walked in the front door. She made her way up the stairs slowly. Still she was completely unprepared for the sight that greeted her at Alex’s bedroom door.

It was Alex. In his underwear. Swiveling and dancing to the song ‘I want you to want me.’

Still unaware of her presence, Alex continued to jump and twist around.

Liz cried out in mock horror. “Dear.God. Please make it stop!”

Alex froze like a deer in headlights. “Liz!” he cried, surprised. “Um, I was just . . .” he stuttered, then, like he thought ‘oh screw it!’ he grabbed the clothes nearest to him and dove for the bathroom.

Liz couldn’t help it, she started to giggle, and then she began to laugh. Full deep belly laughs. It had been so long since she’d laughed. Ages, it seemed. She leaned against Alex's desk for support and belatedly flipped off his music. It figured Alex would be the one to get her to laugh after all that had happened.

She tried to gather herself together when she saw him emerge from the bathroom fully clothed only to burst out laughing again.

“Ok fine” Alex said “so you saw me dancing in my underwear-”

“ -again-” Liz interrupted.

“ -yeah, again. But in my defense, the last time I was like 12-”

“ -and the song was ‘I’m too sexy.’ ” Liz couldn’t help it, she started giggling again.

Alex sat on the bed and hid his face in his hands.

“And don’t forget the tighty whiteys!” Liz said between giggles.

“Fine, my humiliation is now complete . . . I have come full circle . . . But, you gotta admit, at least it was a cooler song this time” Alex said from behind his hands.

Liz just continued to giggle. Eventually she got herself under control. “Thank you Alex.”

He looked up surprised. “For what?”

“Well . . . things have been so hard lately. I almost forgot what it’s like to laugh. But you reminded me. You always remind me of happier times.”

Alex sobered. “Yeah, I’ve noticed them too” referring to Max and Tess. “Liz, I don’t know what’s going on between Max and Tess right now, but you know, you have to know what you mean to him . . . It’ll all be ok Liz.” He got up and looped one arm around her shoulder in a half-hug. “We’ll make it ok.”

Liz blinked back tears at his simple words. He was so unknowing of what was to happen, yet he willingly and readily assured her that everything would be ok. She should be telling him that. “I love you Alex” she said as she hugged him back.

“Love you too Lizzie” Alex said as he playfully ruffled her hair.

It’ll be ok, Liz thought. It *has* to be.

~.~.~.~

Max found himself wandering the streets of Roswell. Again.

After the confrontation with Liz and Michael, Tess had helped him settle and he had studiously avoided both Liz and Michael for the rest of the day. Michael had been a little harder to avoid because he seemed to be everywhere Max was, but Max still managed to outmaneuver him. He was too aggravated to talk to Michael right now.

Seeing his aggravation, Tess had suggested that they take a drive after school. Later she’d worked with him some more to try to retrieve more of his memories. He always felt more settled after their sessions. It’s like they cleared out the clutter of his mind.

But right now he felt restless.

So he walked.

And not surprisingly when he looked up to assess his surroundings he found himself standing in the alley below Liz’s balcony. Which made sense because more often than not when he wandered around town, he ended up right where he was standing.

It was strange how that clarity he seemed to achieve when he was around Tess just disappeared when he was alone. When he was alone, his heart and his head always warred with each other. His head told him that Tess was the person he wanted to be with, but in his heart he still loved and wanted to be with Liz. And it was a continuous battle Max was never sure who he wanted to win. And the battle led to the headaches. The headaches that made him feel like his head was in a vise.

Then there was the anger. The anger that he felt wanting to be with Liz when she obviously didn’t want to be with him anymore. She had even slept with Kyle to prove it. The anger threatened to consume him sometimes it was so intense. This anger felt so out of control and so foreign. It scared him how quickly it rose up sometimes . . . almost out of nowhere it came. Liz had slept with Kyle sure, but he’d forgiven her for that.

Hadn’t he?

He felt like if he could just think clearly for a while he could sort it all out. He could get to the bottom of his anger, his feelings for Liz and his feelings for Tess. But whenever he found his head clear he was around Tess and none of that other stuff seemed to matter anymore.

He looked up and could see the faint lights above that told him that Liz was in her room. Part of him wanted to go up to her and try to talk things out. But the other part of him said that there was nothing left to be said.

And then he recalled their conversation earlier. How she’d tried to make him turn against Tess: the only person who seemed to understand him lately. When had Liz stopped being that person? Liz used to be the one who could soothe his soul, just by being in her presence. When had that changed? He couldn’t even remember when Tess had taken her place.

Shouldn’t he remember?

He looked up again at the lights from her balcony. How many times had he stood in this very spot thinking that he should just call up to her?

But he never did.

He usually just walked away. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and headed towards home.

Like he was doing now.

~.~.~.~

Liz was slowly preparing for bed. Today had been a trying day and it had just begun to take its toll. Her mini-breakdown with Michael, then the argument with Max . . . if you could call it that . . . more like he yelled and she listened. And then the worry over Alex. . .

She was exhausted.

~*Come to me now*~
~*And lay your hands over me*~


She was also afraid.

~*Even if it's a lie*~
~*Say it will be alright*~


She couldn’t go through losing Alex again. She just couldn’t.

~*And I shall believe*~

She knew that even though he had been feeling better when she saw him earlier that he was not ok.

~*I'm broken in two*~
~*And I know you're on to me*~


She still remembered the reports from his teachers after his apparent “suicide” in her timeline saying he had had frequent unexplained mood swings and complained of health problems that kept him from finishing assignments, but at other times he seemed perfectly fine.

~*That I only come home*~
~*When I'm so all alone*~
~*And I do believe*~


So Liz wasn’t foolish enough to believe things were ok, even if she wanted to believe.

~*That not everything is gonna be the way*~
~*you think it ought to be*~


Michael had checked in with her earlier and told her he hadn’t managed to get ahold of Max today. Max had managed to make himself scarce. But he was still determined to find him.

~*It seems like every time I try to make it right*~
~*It all comes down on me*~


Thanks to her and the flashes, he now understood a little too well what was at stake. Also not helping was the fact that Maria had been hounding Michael trying to find out what was going on with him and Liz.

~*Please say honestly you won't give up on me*~

There was so much to worry about.

~*And I shall believe*~

Liz forcibly turned her mind off, knowing that solutions would continue to elude her until she had a good night’s rest under her belt. So she blanked out the events of the day as best she could and finally fell into a troubled sleep. But she was still unprepared to find herself walking down the familiar path to Alex’s house, straight into the nightmare she hoped to never see again . . .

~*I shall believe*~

~.~.~.~

Isabel lay in bed, filing her nails and flipping through a magazine. Every once in awhile she’d glance over at the clock on her nightstand, sigh, and go back to filing and flipping. Eventually she went to the kitchen and fixed and ate a snack. When she got back to her room, she glanced at the clock one last time and muttered “Finally!” under her breath.

She picked up last year’s yearbook, opened it to Liz’s picture and laid back, determined that tonight she would finally know what was going on in the mind of Liz Parker.

~.~.~.~.~


Lyrics by Sheryl Crow “I Shall Believe”
Last edited by Assilem_1 on Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Time Runs Both Ways (CC,TEEN) Repost 12/07/09

Postby Assilem_1 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:48 am

Chapter 13: Reinforcements

Isabel found herself riding in the backseat of Sheriff Valenti’s SUV, with Valenti driving and Liz sitting in the passenger seat staring down at her lap.

The truck stopped in the alley behind the Crashdown and Liz finally looked up and got out of the vehicle, saying nothing and staring straight ahead. Valenti clambered out after her and Isabel followed them both into the back of the Crashdown, still puzzled as to what this dream was about.

She stepped inside and noticed Maria coming into the break room. Maria looked at Liz curiously and then with horror as she screamed.


~*In the midst of my darkest hour*~
~*You see my tear-stained face*~

Isabel finally took a good look at first Valenti’s somber face and then looked at Liz. What she saw made her blood run cold.


~*This broken form that no longer feels power*~
~*With no apparent place*~

Liz’s hands and clothing were covered in blood.

Isabel backed up, wanting to flee this dream . . . this nightmare . . . when the dream version of herself, then Kyle and Michael came running in. She didn’t want to stay, but she couldn’t move. She felt rooted to the spot as Valenti’s next words almost made her collapse.

“There’s been an incident . . . Alex is dead . . .”


~*Even when this world’s turned*~
~*Her back on me*~

The sounds of crying echoed through the room as Isabel clung to the wall and then lowered herself to the floor, unable to stop shaking, unable to comprehend why Liz would be dreaming of Alex dying.


~*And when it’s cold where it once burned*~
~*And my thoughts are frightening*~

Still in shock, she was barely paying attention to the dream anymore so she only caught the tail end of the Sheriff’s words “. . . may be some issue of Max being hurt as well, based on what Liz has said.”

From her position on the floor, she looked over at Liz with shell-shocked eyes, barely able to look at her with all the blood, Alex’s blood, covering her, but Liz finally spoke up.

And made this nightmare so, so much worse.


~*You will never leave me*~

“Max is dead.”


~*You will never leave me*~

She saw Liz begin to crumble and then Isabel felt herself get expelled from the dream as it came to an end.


Isabel shot up from her bed, shaking uncontrollably and moaning a denial that just went on and on . . .

~.~.~.~

Liz sat up in bed, clutched her pillow tighter and used it to muffle the cries coming from deep in her throat.

She cried till morning.

~.~.~.~

Isabel Evans was on a mission.

To the casual observer, as she stepped through the doors of West Roswell High, she simply appeared focused as she barely acknowledged the greetings thrown her way. But if one were to look closer, they’d notice the dark circles under her eyes that even makeup couldn’t hide, the troubled look in her eyes, and the determined set to her jaw, as she headed straight to Liz Parker’s locker.

She spotted Liz standing with her back to Isabel in front of her locker with a very concerned-looking Michael standing beside her. Isabel walked right up to her, whipped her around, and at the same time ground out “What the hell is up with you Parker?!”

But as she spun Liz around, her next words died in her throat because Liz looked, for lack of a better word, awful. Isabel had thought the circles under her own eyes were bad, but Liz’s eyes were red-rimmed and had a sunken-in appearance. And she was wearing that same haunted expression Isabel had seen on her face in the dreamwalk.

Michael, surprised at Isabel’s dramatic entrance, stepped between them. “What is it Iz?” he growled in annoyance.

Isabel was still too shocked over Liz’s appearance to voice her annoyance at walking into the Hell-world that Liz had dreamt up in her nightmare like she had originally planned to do. She knew it was unreasonable, but she just kept seeing Liz covered in blood and hearing that Alex and Max were dead.

She blinked surprised eyes at Michael when he stepped between them and then her eyes narrowed. “Michael, what are you, Liz’s protector now? I just wanted to talk to her.”

“Iz, look at her” he stepped to the side so Isabel could look at Liz again. “Does she really look like she’s in a state to talk to anybody right now?”

Liz sputtered. “Michael, I’m not a baby, I can speak for myself!”

Focusing on Michael for the moment, Isabel, imitating his posture folded her arms across her chest. “What is going on with you two? Suddenly you’re all buddy-buddy, hanging out with each other, Liz is dreaming about people dying and now she looks like the living dead-”

“What?!?” Michael said and a second later a muted “What?” came from Liz.

“Iz, did you . . . ” Michael’s voice lowered to a whisper “dreamwalk Liz last night?”

Isabel bristled. “Well, what did you expect Michael? You two have been walking around like you’re bestest-pals, obviously hiding something, and Maria hasn’t been able to get an explanation out of you, so I figured I’d check it out myself.” She shrugged.

“Check it out? Check it out?! You can’t just go traipsing around . . .” once again his voice lowered “in people’s subconscious when you feel like it Iz-”

“Actually Michael, having this power means that’s exactly what I can do” she said smugly.

“Guys!” Liz said to get their attention, stepping out from behind Michael. Both Michael and Isabel turned to her. “Michael, it’s ok . . . I think . . .” she took a deep breath “I think we’ve been going about this all wrong. I think we need to let everyone in on what’s going on. Maybe working together we can fix this.”

Michael blinked surprised eyes at her.

She turned to Isabel. “Isabel, you’re right. There is a lot going on here that Michael and I haven’t been sharing and I’m beginning to see that that was the wrong way to handle things. But I don’t want to have to tell this story more than once, so let’s have a meeting tonight at Michael’s and I promise I will tell you guys everything you need to know, ok?”

“Ok” Isabel said hesitantly. It was funny because throughout her whole plan to confront Liz today, it had never occurred to her that Liz might cave quickly. She had been fully prepared to drag her into the Eraser room if-need-be and get answers out of her.

“What time?” Isabel asked quickly, wanting to make sure this meeting actually happened.

“Um, how about 9?” Liz looked at Michael to see if that was ok with him. He nodded because he knew his shift ended at 8, as did Liz and Maria’s. He looked at Isabel.

“Nine’s fine with me” she said and just then the bell rang, signaling the start of the days classes. “Ok, well I’ve got to get to class, so . . .” and she left the sentence dangling as she turned to go.

“Isabel!” Liz called out to her and waited for her to turn back around. “Don’t . . . Don’t tell Tess about the meeting ok?” She bit her lip as she looked around to make sure no one overheard, but students were busily going to their classes and were paying their little group no attention.

“Why not?” Isabel asked suspiciously.

“Because this involves her, ok?” Michael said harshly. “Just trust me Isabel, Tess shouldn’t be anywhere near this meeting, ok?”

Isabel looked at the both of them warily, but she agreed. “Isabel!” Liz grabbed Isabel’s arm as she began to turn away. When Isabel turned to face her again, Liz dropped her arm and asked pleadingly “Don’t . . . don’t tell anyone about my dream until I can explain, ok?”

Isabel looked skeptical, but looking into Liz’s eyes she could only see grief, strain, and a desire to hold things together, so she nodded. Liz let out the breath she’d been holding waiting for Isabel’s answer. “Anything else?” Isabel asked quietly as she glanced from Michael to Liz. “No, um, that’s it” Liz said looking away. Just then the late bell rang, so the three of them rushed off to their respective classes, but not before Michael and Liz exchanged weary glances.

Between the three of them, they spread the word that there was going to be a meeting at Michael’s later that night and at lunchtime Isabel, Maria and Alex, who was feeling better, discussed what the meeting could possibly be about. Liz and Michael were strangely, or, considering recent events, not so strangely, missing in attendance; Kyle was hanging out with his football buddies; And Max and Tess had been avoiding the group for a while.

“So, Isabel” Maria began, rubbing her hands together “what did you see in Liz’s dream last night?”

“What?” Alex looked from Maria to Isabel. “You-” his voice lowered conspiratorially “dreamwalked Liz last night? Why?”

Before Isabel could answer, Maria cut in “Because of Michael and Liz. Have you seen how weird those two have been acting lately?” By Maria’s tone, one would never guess that Isabel had to point their behavior out to her just the day before.

“Come on Isabel, spill! What’d you see?” Maria asked eagerly.

“Actually, um, I’m not sure . . .” she said glancing at Alex out of the corner of her eye. “It was all weird and stuff . . . but Liz promised she’d explain everything tonight, so I think we’d better just wait and see . . . ” she trailed off at the unsatisfied look on Maria’s face. “Maria, seriously, I think this meeting will be the answer to everything. We just have to wait till then.”

“Humpf” Maria said and muttered something about difficult Czechoslovakians, but she let the subject drop.

~.~.~.~

During lunch Michael wandered around the school looking for Max. He finally found him under the bleachers in the football field. He ducked out of sight as he watched Tess walking away from Max. As he walked up, Max spotted him and immediately tensed up. “Not this again. Michael I don’t feel like dealing with you right now.”

“Well start feeling like it Maxwell, because you're acting like a jerk right now and take it from me, you’re gonna regret it later.”

“Oh really? Why is that?”

“Because you’re trusting the wrong person-”

“Oh really?” Max interrupted. “So this is about Tess again is it?”

“Yes, this is about the Bitch from Hell, but-” Michael’s words were halted abruptly as Max charged him and they both fell to the ground. Max threw a punch that landed square in Michael’s jaw. They wrestled for a few minutes with Michael throwing a punch that connected with the left side of Max’s face, but not before Max managed to land a punch in Michael’s stomach. Finally Michael used just enough power to throw Max off of him and they both got to their feet, eyeing each other warily.

Michael broke the angry silence first.

“Look Max, you can be angry or upset at me for telling you the truth. You can even fight me to try to change my mind, but it doesn’t change what’s true. I have no reason to lie to you Maxwell and neither does Liz.” He spit out blood and finished talking. “All I’m saying is think about it Max. Think about who you’ve known the longest, who you trusted since the beginning, and who you had to be convinced to trust. We may not be saying things you want to hear, but we’re not your enemy. Just think about it Max.” And grimacing and holding his jaw, he left Max to his thoughts as he walked away.

Max put his hand to the side of his face, winced and then sat down and held his head in his hands as the now familiar headache started up again.

~.~.~.~

Michael walked up to Liz, who was sitting outside of the library where they had agreed to meet. Before he could even get to her, she asked “Did you find him?” But then when Michael drew closer and she saw the bruise forming on his face, her expression darkened. “You found him and he did this to you, didn’t he?”

“Well, he wasn’t too fond of me calling Tess ‘The Bitch from Hell'.”

Liz couldn’t help but slightly smile at the reference, but then she grimaced. “Are you ok?” she asked, reaching up to touch his bruised face. He ducked away from her hand and said gruffly “I’m fine.” But he winced on the last word.

“Fine” Liz said and dropped her hand. “Did you at least get to talk to him?” she asked instead.

“Yeah, I think I planted some seeds in his mind. I think I’ll be able to approach him later and he’ll listen this time.”

“Good, now we just have to prepare for the meeting tonight and figure out what we’ll tell everyone.” The bell signaling the end of lunch rang at that moment. Liz sighed “ . . . and get through the rest of this school day.”

~.~.~.~

Nine o’clock rolled around and things were quiet in Michael’s apartment. Kyle and Maria were sitting on Michael’s sofa and Michael and Liz were sitting on the stools at the counter. Michael was nursing an ice pack to his jaw and Liz was massaging her temples, trying to fend off an oncoming headache. The tension in the room was palpable. Maria had been trying unsuccessfully to pry information from them, but they’d insisted that nothing would be discussed until everyone was present. Kyle had tried to provide comic relief but no one was laughing so he was now flipping a coin.

Just as the silence was becoming suffocating, Isabel and Alex came barreling into the apartment, a little out of breath from rushing. “Sorry we’re late” Isabel said. “Alex was asleep when I got to his house and I had to wake him up.” She rolled her eyes as she moved towards the sofa. Maria scooted over for her while pushing Kyle off the sofa. He grumbled but moved to the floor. Alex perched on the arm of the sofa, next to Isabel.

Liz stood. “I guess we can get started” she said, looking around at everyone assembled.

“Wait, where’s Max? I thought he’d be here” Alex said.

“Max is with Tess. He didn’t want to come to the meeting tonight” Isabel answered. Both Maria and Alex looked at Liz with concern at that statement, but she strove to look unaffected.

Kyle spoke up next. “About that . . . how come we weren’t supposed to tell Tess about this meeting? What’s going on?”

“We’ll get to Tess in a minute” Liz replied. She nervously tucked her hair behind her ear and then said “Ok, so I called this meeting because . . .” she faltered and looked at Michael. He gave her an encouraging look and she smiled gratefully then turned forward again. Maria and Isabel exchanged a look and Alex was just baffled. When did Michael and Liz grow so close? Where had he been when this happened? He looked across at Liz as she began to speak again.

“I called this meeting because Michael and I have been keeping something from you . . .”

“I knew it!” Maria broke in. “This is about you two fooling around, isn't it?” She pulled out her cypress oil and took a sniff as she started to hyperventilate, shooting daggers at Michael over her oil.

Liz gave her an exasperated look. “Maria, seriously, do you even believe that that's what this is? You know I would never do anything like that to you and neither would Michael." She waited for Maria to meet her eyes and nod. Maria mumbled “Sorry.”

Liz took a deep breath then addressed the room again.

“Some bad things are about to happen, if we aren’t able to stop them.” She held her hand up to ward off the questions she knew were about to come from everyone. “There’s a lot I need to tell all of you, and I’ll try to explain as best I can. So let’s start at the beginning . . .”

And Liz found herself re-telling the story of Future Max for the third time. It was ironic that for so long it was a carefully guarded secret that she didn’t tell anyone and now it seemed like every time she turned around she was telling this story. As she finished, she noted the different expressions on everyone's faces. Maria and Michael looked unaffected of course because they both knew the story. In fact, when she’d told Maria, to her supreme embarrassment Maria had sung “Wind Beneath My Wings” to her. Liz smiled slightly at the memory.

Isabel looked incredulous and slightly disbelieving. Alex was looking at her with quiet compassion for all she’d been through and Kyle’s expression was one of dawning comprehension.

“That was why . . . ?”

“Yeah Kyle, that’s why I asked for your help. I’m sorry I had to drag you into all of this” she gestured with helplessly.

“Don’t worry about it Liz. At least it was for a worthy cause like trying to save the world. I thought we were just trying to piss off Max.” He grinned at her and then looked sheepish with the glares he got from Isabel and Michael.

Isabel looked at Liz challengingly. “So ok, why should we believe any of this? How do we know you’re telling the truth now, if you lied to Max before?” Maria tensed up as if to defend Liz and Alex reached for Isabel’s hand. However, Liz had fully expected doubt from Isabel, just as she had expected it from Michael before, so she was prepared. She replied before either of them could interject. “Because Kyle was there and he can vouch for the fact that it was a set up, although he didn’t know why. And because I have no reason to make this up. I was never even supposed to tell any of you. The only reason why I am now is because I know we made things worse and that the world will still end if we don’t do things differently.” Isabel still looked skeptical, so Liz pulled out the trump card she’d hoped she wouldn’t have to use. She said it softly, hoping to lessen the blow. “And because you saw the future in my dream Isabel. That was all real.” Isabel paled and her hand tightened in Alex’s. “And it will happen again if we don’t prevent it.”

“What did you see Isabel? What will happen?” Maria asked, supremely curious now and concerned about how pale Isabel had gotten suddenly.

Liz interrupted before Isabel could reveal anything Liz didn’t want revealed just yet. “We’ll get to the future in a minute Maria, there’s still more to explain.”

Recovering although she still looked pale, Isabel asked “Ok, so what does that future have to do with the here and now? Didn’t your ‘act’ fix things?”

“Well, see, that’s the thing” Liz began. “It didn’t. In fact, it just made things worse. Instead of the world ending in 14 years, it’ll end in July.”

This time everyone was too stunned to interrupt.

“See the mistake both Future Max and I made was in trying to keep Tess in town. We should have found some other way to prevent the end of the world, because having Tess here just made things worse.”

“Worse how?” Kyle asked.

“Well, see, in Future Max’s timeline, Tess left soon after Max and I got back together, so no one ever knew what kind of damage she would cause if she stuck around.”

“What makes you so sure Tess will cause ‘damage’?” Kyle asked.

“Because I was there.” She held up her hand once again to fend off questions. “I lived that future . . . I lived that end of the world.” There were stunned looks all around, but Liz continued on. “Future Max figured that changing things the way we did might go badly, so he left a way for me to come back in time if I needed to and I did.”

The room was completely silent as everyone tried to digest this.

“So we’re dealing with two different timelines here?” Alex asked. “One where Tess left and the world ended in 14 years. And one where she stayed and the world ended in July?”

Liz thanked god for Alex’s brilliant mind in that moment for summarizing everything so well. “Yes, Alex that’s exactly what’s going on.”

“So you’re saying that you’ve come back from that second future? The one that you and Future Max created?” Liz could practically see the gears turning in Alex's head, trying to sort all of this out.

“Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.”

“So, you’re not our Liz? You’re actually some kind of ‘Future Liz’?” Maria asked.

“No, I’m still me and we can get into the semantics later, but right now that’s not the important thing. The important thing is that the end of the world events are triggered by things that will happen in a little over a week from now.” She let that sink in and then continued. “When all was said and done in my timeline, Tess had harmed several members of our group, we were weakened, and the Skins attacked and won. All because we trusted the wrong person, let the wrong person into our inner-circle.”

“So Tess is at the heart of this?” Kyle asked, dazed.

“Yeah Kyle, I’m sorry, but it’s true.”

“I never trusted her . . . wicked bitch of the west . . . somebody should drop a house on her . . .” Maria muttered as she pulled out her cypress oil again.

“So how far back did you go?” Alex asked.

“What do you mean?”

“How far back in time did you go to try to fix things?”

“I came back on the 5th of this month, so just a few months in time . . . ”

“If Tess is at the root of this, how come you didn’t go back further?” Isabel asked. “Why not go back to before she came and convince us not to trust her, not to let her in?”

They were now getting to the hard questions. The questions Liz had asked herself when she began to doubt she could make a difference in this reality. She gave them the same answers she gave herself.

“Because who knows what I would have changed if I’d gone back that far?” Liz said as she paced. “I knew . . . I knew, I had to change things. But what if . . . what if I went back and we handled Tess as soon as she came and then the White Room thing happened and you guys needed her to rescue Max?” Michael put a reassuring hand on Liz’s shoulder and her pacing stopped.

Everyone was quiet.

Liz stared unseeing across the room. “And this is exactly what I mean. What Future Max and I did accelerated the end of the world because it was huge. I didn’t . . . I didn’t want to chance making another large mistake. So I figured if I could come back to the most recent pivotal event, the ripple effect would be lessened.”

Maria still continued to grumble quietly to herself as Alex looked concerned over how much this discussion seemed to be taking out of Liz. But as he watched she took a deep breath, let it out, and continued to talk.

“The most important person to bring over to our side now is Max. We need to get him away from Tess . . . soon. I’ve tried talking to him and so has Michael. I didn’t do too well, but Michael has managed to make some progress.”

All eyes turned to Michael who was still nursing an ice pack to his jaw.

“But obviously, it’s not going the greatest.” She turned to Isabel. “Isabel, this is where you come in. We need you to talk to Max and try to convince him that what I’ve told you is the truth. That he can’t trust Tess and that she means us harm.”

Isabel nodded and grasped Alex’s hand tighter. He didn’t mind, he was still worried over how pale she was.

Liz fielded some more questions from the group, and they just kept coming up with new ones until she felt like her head would explode from all the pressure. She was exhausted. Alex was about to speak up and end the questioning, but Michael beat him to the punch. Michael set down his ice pack and interrupted Isabel’s next question just as Alex had reached out and touched Isabel’s arm to get her attention.

“Ok guys” Michael said. “I think that’s enough for today.” Liz looked at him gratefully. He had been silent throughout the meeting, letting Liz handle the questions, but he could see that she needed a break now. “We can meet up again tomorrow night and continue this. Hopefully Max will join us then and we can make a group decision about what to do about Tess.” He glanced at Maria wryly. “Besides dropping a house on her.” He sobered. “But everyone keep in mind, until we have Max on our side and know what we’re gonna do about Tess, we can’t tip our hands on what we know. Tess was somehow able to do serious damage in that other reality. We can’t let that happen again. Don’t underestimate her. She is very dangerous.”

Kyle looked back and forth between Michael and Liz, incredulous. He had been too shocked through most of the meeting finding out about Tess to say much of anything. But now, when he realized that they expected him to go home and pretend everything was normal, he spoke up.

“So what? I’m supposed to go to my home that I share with my Dad, and oh yeah, A PSYCHO ALIEN and wait for her to work the whammy on us while we sleep?!”

“Kyle, you’ll be ok” Liz responded. “I was there, remember? She didn’t target you or your father. I’m sorry you’re stuck living with her, knowing what you know now, but we'll handle this situation soon. Until then just try to act as normal as possible.” Kyle rolled his eyes, but nodded his head. There was nothing to be done about it now and they couldn’t let her know they suspected anything. He’d just have to grin and bear it.

Michael took that as his cue and addressed the room. “Ok, so it's agreed that we’ll meet tomorrow. Now everybody out so I can get some sleep. Oh and if Tess asks about the meeting, just tell her it was about Liz thinking she had powers, but she didn’t. She’ll lose interest real quick when she hears that.”

Everyone nodded. Kyle looked at Liz as if to say something else, but then he grudgingly got to his feet and made his exit out of the apartment. Maria walked over to Liz and threw her arm around her waist. “Chica, you riding with me?”

Isabel stepped up. “Um, I’ll give her a ride. I wanted to talk to Liz anyway.” Both girls looked at her a little surprised, but then Liz’s expression changed to one of resignation.

“Ok” Maria said hesitantly, glancing from Isabel to Liz, but seeing that Liz was nodding at her to go, Maria gave Liz a half-hug, stepped over to Michael and planted a kiss on his uninjured cheek, and then stepped to the door.

“Maria” Isabel called out. Maria paused at the door. “Can you give Alex a ride home? I’m gonna drive around for awhile after I drop Liz off and see if I can find Max.”

Alex had been watching all of this from his perch on Michael’s couch, puzzled by all the different group dynamics that seemed to have sprung up suddenly. “Are you sure you don’t want some company?” he asked Isabel with a concerned look. She hugged him and didn’t want to let him go, but she eventually stepped back. “No Alex, go ahead and ride with Maria. I’ll call you later, ok?”

“Ok” he said and squeezed her hand. He stepped over to Liz. “You gonna be ok?” he asked her softly. She gave him a small, yet sincere smile that somehow reminded him of how strong Liz truly was. He didn’t think he could have done half of what she'd done in the past few months. He studied her for a moment and then, like he’d found what he was looking for, gave her his trademark Alex-grin, ruffled her hair and then followed Maria through the door. As it closed behind them, it left just Isabel, Michael and Liz in Michael’s living room.

Not wasting any time, as soon as the door closed behind them, Isabel said softly “The dream, Liz . . . Alex and Max really died?”

Liz backed up to the couch and wearily sat down. She could barely meet Isabel’s eyes so she focused on Michael’s carpet instead as she said softly “Yeah . . . How much did you see?”

“The-the ride to the Crashdown and the stuff that followed . . . ” Isabel said as she too made her way to the sofa as her legs threatened to give out on her. Michael quietly left the room, leaving them to talk alone.

“That . . . that's my own personal reminder of the worst day of my life.”

Liz didn’t even notice she was wringing her hands as she finally met Isabel’s eyes. Isabel inhaled sharply at the pain and grief so clearly displayed there.

But then Liz blinked and it was gone, leaving Isabel to wonder if she had imagined it.

Liz continued. “The thing is, I haven’t had that dream since I entered this reality. The only reason I can figure of why I had it now is that it’s my mind reminding me that that day might still happen if I don’t prevent it. Isabel . . . I didn’t want to say anything in front of him, but Tess will kill Alex first.” Isabel inhaled sharply. “We have to prevent that this time around. But the thing is . . . she’s mindwarping him to get him to interpret the Destiny book. It has all the answers, including how to work the granolith. Her mindwarp is doing damage to Alex’s brain and now he’s sick . . . even though half the time he seems to be ok. We need Max to heal him Isabel. Or else it might not matter if we prevent Tess from killing him this time around, he’ll . . . he’ll still die.”

“Ok” Isabel said shakily. “Liz, why . . . why didn’t you tell Alex and the group exactly what Tess is doing . . . and what she’ll do?”

Liz met her gaze straight on. “Would you want to know that an evil alien is turning your mind to mush and there’s nothing you can do about it?”

Isabel was silent.

“That’s exactly why I didn’t say anything. The truth will come out. It always does. But not now. Not while Alex is still in danger.”

Liz met Isabel’s eyes for a second and then she got up and started towards the door. “We should go” she said softly. “The sooner you drop me off, the sooner you can go and find Max and get him to heal Alex.” Isabel got shakily to her feet. “Michael?” Liz called out. Michael came out of his bedroom. “We’re heading out.”

“Ok” was Michael’s gruff response. He tentatively went up to Liz and gave her a quick hug, then stepped over to Isabel and pulled her in for a hug as well. Both women were taken by surprise. “Take care of her” he whispered to Isabel before he let her go. Isabel just nodded and pulled Liz out of the apartment.

Michael stood at the window and watched them walk to Isabel’s parent’s car, get in and drive away. He sighed as he ran a rough hand down his face.

Today had been a hard day for all of them, but it had been especially hard for Liz. He just hoped that Isabel was able to get through to Max. Then at least it would be worth it.

Time was running out for all of them. He could practically hear the clock counting down . . .

~.~.~.~

The ride to the Crashdown went by in silence, both Liz and Isabel too consumed with their own thoughts to bother with conversation. As Isabel pulled up outside, she said softly “Thank you Liz.” She focused forward so Liz wouldn’t see the tears forming in her eyes. Liz knew she was thanking her for all she’d tried to do to save them and even though she felt Isabel’s thanks was misplaced, she didn’t tell her that. She simply nodded and climbed from the vehicle. She watched as Isabel pulled away from the curb to go in search of Max.

She stood there in front of the Crashdown for a while, enjoying the wind blowing past her face, and in that one single moment, simply happy to be there. She didn’t even notice someone had walked up until she heard her name softly spoken.

She turned slowly, hoping she wasn’t hallucinating, because standing just a few feet away from her was a very lost-looking Max . . .


++++

Lyrics by Kendall Payne “You will never leave me”
Last edited by Assilem_1 on Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Time Runs Both Ways (CC,TEEN) Repost 12/07/09

Postby Assilem_1 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:50 am

Chapter 14: Everything

Max had found himself standing in the Crashdown’s alley once again. Only this time when he looked up there were no welcoming lights above beckoning to him.

Liz wasn’t home.

Tamping down on his disappointment, he once again tried to sort through his thoughts. His mind was a sea of confusion, with echoes of what Michael had said earlier floating around.

‘Think about . . . who you trusted since the beginning and who you had to be convinced to trust . . .’

‘We’re not your enemy . . . ’


He realized that somewhere along the way he must have lost his way, because it seemed a line had been drawn in the sand between him and his friends and they’d ended up on opposing sides.

How had things gotten this way?

He always knew he could trust Michael. He always knew he could trust Liz. So why suddenly did it seem so hard?

It wasn’t until he found himself below Liz’s balcony that he realized how much he had wanted her to be home. His emotions were in turmoil and all he knew is he wanted to see her, wanted to figure out how things had come to be this way.

But she wasn’t there.

So, looking up one last time, he turned and walked dejectedly out of the alley, intending to start towards home. But as he stepped out into the open there Liz stood in front of the Crashdown with the wind whipping her hair around her face.

And he felt some of the constriction in his chest ease . . .

~*Find me here*~

His feet carried him to her before he even knew he was moving. Her name tumbled from his lips in a whisper; afraid she’d disappear if he spoke louder . . .

~*Speak to me*~

And as she turned towards him, time seemed to slow down and all he wanted to do was gather her into his arms and know that it would be ok, because it hadn’t been ok for so long . . .

~*I want to feel you*~
~*I need to hear you*~


She looked so hopeful . . .

She breathed his name in surprise and stepped towards him . . .

~*You are the light*~
~*That’s leading me*~


And as their eyes met, the world fell away . . .

~*To the place*~
~*Where I find peace*~
~*Again*~


The spell was broken as people came walking out of the Crashdown, talking and laughing.

~*You are the strength*~
~*That keeps me walking*~


Max blinked and looked, feeling out of place all of a sudden. “I . . . I should go” he said haltingly and began to turn away.

“Please” she said softly as she reached out and grabbed his hand. “Don’t go.” She had a second to notice that his fingers seemed to curve almost instinctively around hers . . .

~*You are the hope*~
~*That keeps me trusting*~


Then it felt like a bolt of electricity struck where their hands met.

Then the flashes started.

~*You are the light*~
~*To my soul*~


At first the images whirled by so fast they were barely discernible. Shared moments between the two of them. Precious moments. But then they started to slow down.

~*You are my purpose*~
~*You’re everything*~


Max saw himself appear to her, but he was somehow older.

~*And how can I stand here with you*~
~*And not be moved by you*~


Conversations rushed by . . .

“No, you're not Max, ok? You . . . you're like a shapeshifter. You are like some other kind of alien, with, like, the ability to look like Max with that beard and those . . . and those gray hairs.”

“If I were a shapeshifter, there's no way I could tell the future. In approximately 10 seconds, I will show up outside your window and begin singing to you . . . accompanied by a mariachi band.”

“Why are you here?”

“14 years from now, we are taken over by our enemies.”

“I need you to help me fall out of love with you.”

“Did we get married?”

“We eloped. We were 19.”


~*Would you tell me how could it be*~
~*Any better than this*~


“Do you know how hard it was for me to tell him that I didn't want to die for him? He's the only reason that I'm alive right now. You . . . you've . . . you gotta come up with another plan. Please go to someone else. I . . . I just . . . I can't do this anymore.”

“Just 25 minutes before I came here, I held Michael in my arms . . . dead. Isabel died 2 weeks before that. Now you have to do this. You have to find a way. All of our lives depend on it.”

“How? What can I do that's gonna make you turn away from me?”

“You really think this is gonna work? I would never be jealous of Kyle.”

“Don't you realize what you are to me? What you're always gonna be? You're the love of my life. Everyone else is gonna be second best. There'll never be another you.”


~*You calm the storms*~
~*And you give me rest*~


“I wanna have my wedding dance.”

He saw the two of them dancing, his future self spinning her around. And then he disappeared, leaving a despondent Liz behind.

Max felt like his whole world was crumbling. What he’d seen . . . It couldn't be the truth about that night, there was no way . . . He couldn't have asked her to do that . . .

He felt the anguish of her emotions and couldn’t hold on to his denial any longer.

~*You hold me in your hands*~
~*You won’t let me fall*~


She didn’t sleep with Kyle.

They got married.

Michael and Isabel died?

The flashes changed again and suddenly Alex was holding a gun and yelling at Tess about mindwarping and destroying his mind.

~*You steal my heart*~
~*And you take my breath away*~


“How could you do this to me?!”

~*Would you take me in*~
~*Take me deeper now*~


And it only got worse from there . . . He saw Tess concentrate and make Alex shoot himself . . . and the blood! There was so much blood. He saw Liz’s valiant efforts to stop the bleeding. Her denial that Alex was gone . . .

~*And how can I stand here with you*~
~*And not be moved by you*~


He saw himself show up and try to heal Alex. But fail . . .

“It’s too late . . . He’s gone Liz . . .”

Then he saw himself leave to go after Tess . . . He left Liz sitting broken on the floor of Alex’s room, surrounded in blood . . .


Dear god . . .

He felt Liz shatter as she rushed to his lifeless body on the floor of the pod chamber. She refused to let go.

He saw the remainder of their group grieve as they buried him, then had to bury Tess, and then attend Alex's funeral. Saw the devastation left in the wake of the loss. He saw their group crack and split apart with its impact.

He felt the impact of the loss on Liz; saw months of anguish in seconds that felt like lifetimes . . . He saw her on that ledge . . .

Jesus . . .

Then he saw her find a way to use the granolith to go back in time . . .

~*Would you tell me how could it be*~
~*Any better than this*~


But not before more of their group died . . .

He saw Kyle stumble out of his car, blood on his hands, obviously in shock and felt the knowledge like the bottom dropping out of his world when Isabel didn't get out with him . . . Didn't move . . .


~*And how can I stand here with you*~
~*And not be moved by you*~


He felt like he couldn't breathe . . .

He saw Kyle get struck down . . . He saw Michael try to protect them, saw him get hit too . . . Felt the burst like fire when Liz was hit . . .

Liz's final view of that time was Michael on his knees on the floor of the pod chamber, the bottom of his shirt and his jeans soaked in blood . . . too much blood . . . Liz's body was collapsed beside him with a matching red stain on her back . . .

Before the granolith transported her, Liz's pain faded yet she felt ill at the knowledge that Michael would die there, all alone, on the floor of the pod chamber, with Nicholas outside, trying to get in . . .

They had all died there . . .


~*Would you tell me how could it be*~
~*Any better than this*~


Her grief laid alongside his and it was too much. . .

He wrenched himself out of the connection, gasping . . .

~*Cause you're all I want*~
~*You're all I need*~


He stumbled back from her and folded in half, trying to hold in his dinner . . . Wishing he could un-know what he'd just seen . . . felt . . .

Liz reached for him but he shook his head, gagging, and she halted . . .

~*You're everything*~
~*Everything*~


He wanted to but he couldn't seem to get beyond the horror of what he'd seen . . . Not to mention that he was having a hard time separating his emotions from Liz's . . .

~*You're all I want*~

He apologized without looking up even as he took another step back, then another, and even though Liz called his name, he couldn't stop himself from fleeing . . . Only stopping to vomit a few blocks later . . .

~*You're all I need*~

In his wake, Liz crumbled to the ground and cried.

~*You're everything*~
~*Everything*~


How long she stayed that way, she didn’t know, but suddenly someone was shaking her . . .

“Max?” she said softly until she looked up and saw her father’s concerned eyes looking down at her.

“Dad?” she blinked. “What are you doing out here?”

“The better question is, what are you doing out here?” he asked in concern as he pulled her up, wrapping an arm around her shoulders protectively.

“I . . . I . . .” she sniffed, trying to compose herself, trying to come up with a reason because there was no way she could tell him what really happened.

“It’s ok” he said when she didn't continue. “Let’s just get you inside, ok?” She nodded and he guided her into the Crashdown and up the stairs.

~*Would you tell me how could it be*~
~*Any better than this?*~


~.~.~.~

Max stood at the base of the ladder to Liz’s balcony, about to climb up, when a car drove by the alleyway, reversed and then came straight toward him, twin lights splitting the night in front of him. He put up his arm to block the light and squinted to see if the person was friend or foe. The driver’s door slowly opened and before Max could react, he heard his sister’s voice say his name in relief.

He dropped his arm and almost fell backward when Isabel rushed at him and crushed him in a hug. “Somehow I knew I’d find you here!”

“Isabel?” he stepped back from her. “What are you doing here?”

“I was looking for you- Meeting tonight- Tess is bad- Alex is in danger- Max, you have to heal Alex!” Isabel's words tripped over themselves in her attempt to get them out quickly.

Max blanched. “Heal Alex? What?!”

“Max, I know you probably aren’t going to believe this, but . . . Tess is doing something to Alex . . . to his mind Max. We couldn’t even tell him it’s so awful! . . . But if you don’t, if you can’t fix it, he might die!”

Max stumbled to the hood of his parent’s car and sat down, his legs suddenly feeling rubbery.

Was history repeating itself? Is this what Liz was trying to fix?

Everything had turned upside down in the space of a few hours. Or maybe it’d just turned right side up again. He wasn’t sure. But suddenly it seemed that up was down, right was wrong, and Tess was bad. How had he spent all that time with her and not sensed that? How had he forgotten what she’d done when she first came to Roswell? How had he let her in when he used to be so adamant about keeping her out?

He knew there were answers to these questions somewhere, he just couldn’t seem to find his way to them. He was still having trouble sorting through it.

So he’d returned to Liz . . . his true north, his beacon, his home . . . because he realized that over the past few months, even when he felt confused about practically everything, his walks, his path still led him to Liz. And after earlier, when he’d deserted her (‘again!’ his mind screamed) he needed to know that she was ok. Heck, he just needed her period. Which again drew his gaze to her balcony . . .

Isabel had been trying to patiently wait for Max to work through the shock of it all, but found she was having a hard time, considering how concerned she was over Alex. She shifted her weight a few times impatiently.

“Max! We have to go!” she said and when he didn’t move or even seem to have heard her, she took matters into her own hands and dragged him off the hood of the car and pushed him into the passenger seat.

He was about to protest, but thought better of it when he noticed that Isabel was barely holding it together. So as she walked around to the driver’s side of the car, he took one last wistful look at the ladder to Liz’s balcony . . .

“The meeting Max!" Max focused on Isabel who was gripping the steering wheel tightly. "Liz did . . . Liz did this . . . this huge thing for us, even though we didn’t know about it at the time but she-”

Quietly he interrupted “I know Isabel.”

“You know? How do you know? When did you find out? Why didn’t you tell me? What-”

“Isabel, take a breath! I found out tonight. I . . . I got flashes from Liz and I saw it . . . all of it . . . what she did, what she saw . . .” He could barely form the words to describe what Liz had experienced . . . What she'd done. . .

Isabel just nodded and focused on her driving, trying not to think about what Liz had lived through, or that god-awful nightmare or the damage Tess was doing to Alex’s mind: All things she had been unsuccessfully trying to tune out since the meeting. She hoped that Max was able to fix what was wrong with Alex. Her hands were shaking as she pulled into Alex’s driveway and cut the engine, tears streaming unhindered.

She wiped them away, but they just kept coming. She reached for the door handle but Max’s hand on her arm stopped her.

“Isabel, I think you should go home.”

“But-”

“No buts Isabel. Alex doesn’t know what Tess is doing to him, right?”

Isabel shook her head reluctantly.

“So this is gonna be hard enough finding out that Tess has been messing with his mind, without you breaking down in front of him.”

Isabel hesitated, torn between her desire to be there for Alex and yet not wanting to make this harder for him.

Max continued on.

“Besides, I need you to cover for me with Mom and Dad. I’ve been leaving out a lot lately without offering any kind of explanation. You and I both know that if at least one of us is home they worry less.”

Isabel still gripped the car door, one foot outside, uncertain.

“Izzy, I’ll take care of him, I promise. And you can call him later to see how he’s feeling, ok?”

Isabel sighed and then pulled the door closed, still not looking at Max. He squeezed her shoulder then climbed out of the car.

“Max!” she called through the open window. “Tell him . . .” she trailed off.

“Iz, I’ll tell him you wanted to be here . . . It’ll be ok, I promise. Just go."

He got a jerky nod as a reward and then she pulled out of the driveway, glancing back once before pulling onto the road.

Max looked up at the stars as if to draw strength, took a deep breath and then walked to the front door and knocked.

+++++

Lyrics from “Everything” by Lifehouse
Last edited by Assilem_1 on Sun Oct 24, 2010 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Time Runs Both Ways (CC,TEEN) Repost 12/07/09

Postby Assilem_1 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:51 am

Chapter 15: Are you scared?

Max raised his hand to lift the knocker on Alex’s door again, after having waited a few seconds to see if someone would answer. Just as the knocker was about to make contact, it swung slowly open and a sleepy-looking Alex stood in front of him, rubbing his eyes.

“Max?” Alex asked, blinking at him. “What are you doing here?”

“Um yeah, I just dropped by to, uh, see you . . .” Max said and trailed off uncertainly, not sure how to go about informing Alex that Tess had been messing with his mind and he had come to fix the damage.

Alex blinked some more, starting to wake up. “You came to see me?” he asked surprised. Then he started peering around Max. “You know, Isabel is looking for you man. You should’ve come to the meeting tonight. Big stuff’s happening. Evil aliens, the world ending, Liz and Michael bonding, all types of crazy stuff . . .” Alex babbled on because he wasn’t sure why Max was there. What if Tess was controlling him?

“Alex!” Max said, interrupting him. “Isabel was the one who dropped me off here. I, I know about what happened before with Liz. I know more than I wish I knew honestly” he said as he ran a hand tiredly through his hair.

“You know?” Alex asked and let out the breath he’d been holding in relief. “Well, come on in man!” he said enthusiastically as he led Max into the living room. “So why are you here? Shouldn’t you be out devising a plan to defeat Tess or making up with Liz or apologizing to Michael or something?”

Max sat down heavily on the sofa, ignoring Alex’s babble and trying to think of how to approach the reason for his visit. He looked at the stairs.

“Uh, did I wake your parents? Is it a problem me dropping by so late?” Max said and began rising from his seat, silently berating himself for not even thinking about Alex’s parents beforehand.

“No, it’s ok. They’re away on some week-long getaway: children optional. So it’s just little ‘ol me here” Alex said as he settled on the sofa across from Max.

“Ok, um, good” Max said as he ran his hands through his hair again and prepared to get to the reason why he was there.

“Alex, how, uh, how have you been feeling lately?”

“Well, I’ve been . . . wait, huh?” Alex said, confused. Then comprehension dawned. “Is this about me going to the nurse yesterday? Did Liz or - or Isabel send you over here to heal me? ‘Cause it’s nothing really. We have bigger fish to fry right about now what with-”

“Alex!” Max interrupted him again. “It’s not ‘nothing.’ Tess has been screwing with your mind and it’s done damage. I’m here to fix it” he said evenly.

He noted the denial that came over Alex’s face before he even spoke a word.

“What?! Tess isn’t doing anything to me! I’d know if she . . .” he trailed off at the determined look on Max’s face, realizing that with all that was going on, Max would not have come if there wasn’t a possibility of truth to what he said. Alex still found himself resistant to the idea though. He couldn’t accept that Tess could have been screwing around in his head and he not at least have an inkling of it. But he knew Max wouldn’t leave until he’d at least tried.

“Fine, fine” he said as he tugged on the bottom of his t-shirt restlessly. “You go ahead and do your, your hocus-pocus thing, but when you find that it’s just a case of tiredness, won’t you feel silly?”

For all his bravado, he still shrunk back as Max moved to sit beside him. “This isn’t . . .” he paused “ . . . gonna hurt, is it? ‘Cause I have a low pain threshold and-”

Max was now starting to regret his decision to not let Isabel accompany him, because Alex obviously needed someone to calm him down and, for all the time they’d spent around each other, Max really didn’t know what would help Alex in this situation.

“It’s not gonna hurt. Just . . . just sit back and let me fix what’s wrong, ok?”

Alex just nodded, so Max raised his hands and placed them on either side of Alex’s head. He closed his eyes and concentrated.

Alex found this whole situation very strange, but he trusted Max, so he just waited, wondering if it was working. He was about to ask when the first flash hit.

*Flash*

Tess coming to him under the guise of needing help with an assignment and searching his mind for the ability to interpret the Destiny book.


*Flash*

Him starting the interpretation, but telling Tess that he needs more power to decipher the codes.


*Flash*

Him and Liz discussing the new supercomputer at UNM during lunch and Tess sitting quietly at the table.


*Flash*

Tess taking him to his guidance counselor and mindwarping him into arranging a fake trip to Sweden for him to cover an extended stay at the University of New Mexico.


*Flash*

Him resisting leaving his friends and family to go stay in UNM’s dorm. Tess informing him that he will interpret the Destiny book using the supercomputer or she’ll start ‘accidentally’ killing his friends . . . starting with Liz because she would love for Liz to be out of her hair for good.


*Flash*

Days and days of working on the interpretation, practically day and night. Then one day a ray of hope enters his field of vision in the form of Jennifer Coleman. She notices the delivery guy bringing him Thai food and starts up a conversation. She drops by a couple of times, but it doesn’t last long after Tess shows up during one of the times that they’re talking. She leads Jennifer away and she never stops by again. Tess comes back with pictures that she tells him to set aside for later. Then the pain begins.

She’s hurting him and she won’t stop.

He begs her to stop.

His head feels like it’s going to explode from all of the pressure, but Tess says that she’s just teaching him a lesson. Showing him what she can do if he doesn’t focus on interpreting the book. What she can and *will* do to him and all the people he cares about.

The pain is so intense he passes out.

When he wakes up, Tess calmly rises and tells him to get back to work.



*Flash*

Tess waking him up and telling him to get over to the lab and finish interpreting the book. When he insists he needs rest, that his head is hurting, Tess causes the headaches to get worse, till he can barely stand.


*Flash*

Tess standing over him while he's in pain. Her telling him that him and his precious friends are insignificant little specks on her radar. Then her kicking him in the stomach and telling him once again to get back to work.

*End Flash*


Alex felt like his head was being ripped in two with all of the new memories he was suddenly accessing. But then, as abruptly as they’d started, the flashes stopped.

Alex opened his eyes and found that he felt . . . good. Better than he had in ages. There was no headache and no tiredness. He felt like himself again.

He looked over at Max and Max opened his eyes tiredly. “Are you ok?” Max asked him. “How do you feel?”

“I feel great!” Alex informed him. “Better than I have in like, forever! But you man, how do you feel? You look really tired.”

“Yeah, I am. Just let me . . . I, I’m gonna rest here for a minute, ok?”

“Sure man, whatever you need . . . And, and thanks” Alex said to him quietly.

Max nodded, then closed his eyes. The last thing he saw was a happy Alex sitting next to him.

Alex tried to hold on to that happy feeling, but found that it was quickly giving way to anger. An anger so intense, he found he couldn't sit still.

Tess had stolen months of his life, she’d violated his memories, she’d threatened his friends, and she would eventually cause the end of the world if she wasn’t stopped. She’d invaded his mind and nearly killed him. And that was just a typical day for her.

Someone had to stop her so it might as well be him. She’d never expect it from him.

He took one last look at Max sleeping peacefully on the couch, then he turned and strode purposefully to his father’s study, where his father kept his gun.

Max woke a little while later and at first he had no idea where he was. Then looking around, it all came back to him. He got up and walked around looking for Alex, but all he found was empty rooms.

Alex was gone.

~.~.~.~

The phone rung shrilly, yanking Liz out of a restless sleep.

“Hello?” she mumbled, trying to shake off the lingering traces of her dreams.

“Liz, it’s Max. I’m uh, sorry to be calling you so late, but I’m, I’m kinda worried . . .”

“Max? What’s wrong?” Liz asked, snapping the rest of the way awake she almost felt dizzy.

“It’s uh, it’s Alex . . . I healed him earlier tonight and now he’s, uh, he’s gone . . .”

Liz was quiet, trying to digest this information. Warning bells started going off in her head after a few seconds.

“Oh God" she whispered. "The Valenti’s, Max, he’s going after Tess . . .”

“What? Why would he do that?!”

“Max, you healed him. You know why" Liz answered, still speaking quietly. "I-I have to go” she said and hung up, hand trembling as she covered her mouth to smother a sob. She bent at the waist, taking a few gasping breaths and then she ruthlessly pushed the panic down. After a few seconds she stood up, wiped her face, slid on her sneakers and then snuck quickly out of her room. She grabbed the keys to her parent’s car out of the bowl on the table and eased out of the apartment. Once out she bolted to the car and sped over to the Valenti’s, breaking speeding laws and running lights the whole way. She cursed and stopped behind Max’s haphazardly parked jeep and ran to the door that was already open. She stopped after clearing the threshold.

Max was standing just left of the door with his hands outstretched in a supplicating gesture, Tess was standing in front of the kitchen, and Alex was standing next to the sofa.

And he had a gun aimed square at Tess.

~*I know some things never change*~
~*But this can’t be one of them*~


She'd had this nightmare so many times that for a moment she wasn't sure she was even awake. Her mind seized until Tess started concentrating and the gun began to shake in Alex’s hand.

~*I don’t think I can stand it*~
~*Any longer*~


Dream or not, she had to try. She dove for Alex and knocked the gun out of his hands.

~*Are you scared?*~

“Liz?” Alex questioned as he flew sideways from the impact. He caught her and steadied both of them, shaking his head a moment later to clear it. He looked down at Liz in surprise, just as Max was doing, so no one was prepared for what happened next.

~*Are you scared?*~

“You have been a thorn in my side for the last time Liz Parker! I should have killed you a long time ago!” Tess said as she leveled the gun at Liz, already squeezing the trigger.

~*Are you scared? *~

“No!” Max yelled, diving in front of Liz as the gun discharged and firing off a blast at Tess simultaneously.

~* ‘Cause if you’re scared*~

The blast sent Tess sailing across the room. She hit her head hard on the floor and laid still.

~*You’re not alone*~

“It’s over Max” Liz said from her position sprawled under his weight. She started untangling herself from beneath him until she realized that Max wasn't moving.

~*I once thought I was brave*~

“Max?” She rested a hand on his back as she sat up as much as she could. It came away wet with blood.

~*But I can’t stop crying*~

“Max!” she cried out in panic. There was a rapidly growing puddle of red forming where Max lay across her. His eyes were closed.

~*Sometimes I think*~
~*I’m going crazy*~


He was losing so much blood. She was drowning in it. They both were.

Maybe it was just a dream, maybe she was dreaming . . .

~*But I am waiting patiently*~
~*Though I feel*~
~*It’ll all be in vain*~


“Liz!” Alex yelled, pulling her clear and checking for wounds as her eyes glazed over. "The bullet didn't hit me" she said, coming out of it and pushing his hands away weakly. Her voice wobbled. "Just Max."

Alex collapsed back on his hindquarters, dizzy at the amount of blood surrounding them.

Liz swallowed a sob as she placed her hand over Max’s wound and watched the blood pour out around her fingers. She pressed harder. Did this ever help? she wondered. Max couldn’t die. This wasn't supposed to happen. No one was supposed to die . . . There was so much blood. Everywhere she looked seemed to be coated in a haze of red. It was nearly painful to look at . . . Then the color started fading . . . She almost stopped applying pressure, not sure what she was witnessing. The colors continued to fade and Liz was almost positive she was losing it. And then everything was gray.

Just shades of gray . . .

“Liz!" Alex was shaking her and she blinked the world back into focus. "What are we gonna do? We can’t call an ambulance!”

~*Are you scared?*~

‘You will know how to use your powers when the need for them arises.’

She could hear the voice in her mind as if she had just spoken to her.

And then she knew . . .

“Max” she shook him hoping, praying it wasn’t too late. “Max!” she yelled. For a moment there was no response, then Max opened his eyes sluggishly.

“You- you have to look at me” she said to him softly.

~*Are you scared? *~

His eyes shifted to her slowly. Time seemed to stand still and Liz felt a kick that she knew was the ability to heal. She began knitting together the torn flesh of his chest, dissolving the bullet and repairing its damage. In the back of her mind, she registered the flashes that she received but she didn’t have time to process them.

~*Are you scared?*~

When she was done, she drooped, her hand trailing to Max's cheek "It's ok" she whispered. "You're ok now."

Max sat up blinking at her. Alex’s mouth was hanging open. Then he snapped it shut.

“Well, that’s one problem solved” he said. “Now we just have to deal with the other one.”

And they all turned to look at where Tess had fallen, but there was just an empty space.

~*’Cause if you’re scared*~

Tess was gone.

~*You’re not alone*~

~.~.~.~

Lyrics from “You’re Not Alone” by Kendall Payne
Last edited by Assilem_1 on Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:00 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Time Runs Both Ways (CC,TEEN) Repost 12/07/09

Postby Assilem_1 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:01 am

Chapter 16: Make it go away

Max and Alex began talking at once.

“Where did she go?” “Could she still be here?” “What did you just do Liz?”

Liz got to her feet slowly, their voices barely registering as background noise. She was looking down at her hands, which were wet, but the substance on them was gray.

Why was everything gray? And why was the room shifting?

She heard Max say her name but it sounded far away . . .

She looked around; feeling like the whole world had started moving in slow motion.

She held her hands palm up. “Is this blood?”

Then she swayed on her feet and passed out.

~.~.~.~

Kyle pulled onto his street slowly and very reluctantly.

He’d driven around after the meeting, putting off going home. He dreaded having to be around Tess and pretend that things were ok. He figured if he drove around long enough, she’d be sleeping by the time he got home.

It was distressing what a difference a day could make.

Finding out that the girl you’d been starting to think of as a part of the family meant to destroy you and your friends and would eventually cause the end of the world if she wasn’t stopped was sobering.

It still hadn’t really sunk in.

He wondered not for the first time how he had gotten into all of this. He was supposed to have a simple life: be the town all-star, with the perfect girlfriend, adored by most and envied by some, until he left for college and eventually ended up playing for the pros . . .

And a part of him still wanted that life, wanted to be completely oblivious to the existence of aliens and time travel and blue goop trying to take over the world.

But the other part of him, the part that he was trying to ignore right now, understood that his life had a higher purpose now.

It just all got mixed up when you were sharing a residence with a very evil alien who doubled as a seemingly innocent girl that you had to look across the breakfast table at every morning.

He sighed, hoping this wouldn’t be how his life was from now on . . . Avoiding the evil alien he was unfortunate enough to share a home with . . .

As he approached his house, his brow furrowed, seeing Max’s car parked at a slant in front and what he suspected was Liz’s parent’s car parked behind it.

He climbed out of his car and cautiously approached the front door, which was wide open.

He stepped inside and stopped in shock.

Both Max and Alex were bent over an unconscious Liz.

“What the hell?!”

Alex looked up at him but Max didn't even blink as Liz stirred in his arms.

Max gathered her closer, doing a quick scan to make sure she was ok. He exhaled, satisfied with the results.

“Max?” Alex questioned.

Max flicked a glance at him then rose with Liz in his arms. “We should get out of here” he tossed back as he headed for the door.

He awkwardly took his keys out of his pocket and tossed them to Alex. “You drive.”

Alex caught the keys easily. “Sure, but uh, where are we going?”

“I’ll tell you in the car.”

“Hello?!?” Kyle said as they passed him. “Totally confused guy, still standing right here.”

“Just follow us, we’re not going far” Max said without breaking stride. Alex jumped into the driver's seat as Max settled into the back with Liz still in his arms. Alex started the jeep and began to pull off a minute later.

Kyle, frozen up till that point, flew into action, closing the door to the house and running to his car, not wanting to get left behind.

"And so the drama continues . . ." he muttered to himself as he fell in behind Max's jeep.

He noticed as he was driving away that Tess’s car was gone.

~.~.~.~

“Alex, head to Michael’s . . . I’ll call him and let him know we’re coming.”

“How’s she doing?” Alex asked, peering at them through the rearview mirror before re-focusing on the road.

“She’ll be ok. I think she’s just exhausted from the healing. It takes a lot out of you and it was her first time . . .” Max trailed off as Liz whimpered. He looked down at her. Even in her passed out state, she still seemed to be battling demons. He smoothed her hair away from her face and whispered. “Shhhh . . . It’s ok Liz . . . Everything’s ok . . .”

“Max” she said softly and shifted closer to him. Finding a comfortable position, she exhaled and her breathing returned to normal.

Max reveled in the feeling of Liz in his arms again, even in this circumstance. It wasn’t so long ago that he thought he’d never experience this again. He wanted to savor it, even if now wasn't the time. Still, he had calls to make . . .

He sighed as he reached for his cell phone. He first called Isabel and then Maria and told them to meet him at Michael’s. Maria wasn’t thrilled to be woken up, but when Max started talking, she didn’t complain. Isabel sounded completely alert, waiting for news of Alex. Barely fielding her questions, but assuring her that Alex was ok, Max told her to meet him at Michael’s.

A soft smile crossed Alex’s face as he listened.

Next, Max called Michael, who already seemed to be up. He answered the phone sounding worried.

“Michael, the whole group’s heading your way. Something happened . . . We’ll all be there in a few minutes.”

“What the hell Maxwell? I knew something didn’t feel right! Is anybody hurt?”

Before Max could answer, Liz stirred in her sleep and murmurred his name.

“I’m here sweetie. It’s ok, just go back to sleep . . .”

“Ok” she yawned and patted his arm before she surrendered to slumber once again.

“Max? Maxwell?”

“Yeah, Michael. We’re pulling into the parking lot now, ok?” and he hit the end button.

He and Alex emerged from the car and started towards Michael’s building. They hadn't taken more than a few steps before Michael was upon them.

“Liz?” he looked at Max accusingly. “What did you do to her?!” Without waiting for an answer, he pulled Liz from Max’s arms. Max would have fought him, but he didn’t want to wrestle over Liz. He felt the chill of her absence immediately. He stuffed his hands into his pockets and followed Michael.

“If you hurt her, I’m kicking your ass” Michael said warningly as he strode towards his building.

“I didn’t-” Max started, but Liz, sensing a difference, stirred in Michael’s arms and opened her eyes.

“Michael?” she said weakly, blinking at him in surprise.

“Yeah Liz, it’s me. We’ll be in my apartment in a sec. Do you feel ok? Did Max hurt you?” he asked concerned.

“Max? Max! Is he ok? Put me down Michael! Max!” she screamed.

Max scrambled from behind Michael as he set her down hesitantly. “I’m here, I’m right here . . . Let’s just get you inside . . .” He wrapped an arm around her waist to help her suddenly wobbly legs to stand. Michael glared but he ignored him. He just wanted Liz to be ok.

Kyle pulled into Michael’s parking lot and got out of his car, watching the scene silently. He hurried to join Alex, walking behind the three of them. He noticed that it was a kind of standoff, with Max guiding a bemused Liz to Michael’s apartment with Michael hovering protectively behind.

~.~.~.~

Maria came tearing into the parking lot, a mess of squealing tires and protesting brakes and climbed from her vehicle. Isabel arrived a few seconds later.

“So do you know what this is about?” Maria asked.

Isabel shook her head. “The last time I saw Max he was going to heal Alex-”

“Heal Alex?” Maria blanched.

“Uh, let’s just get inside” Isabel hedged as they both rushed to Michael’s apartment and burst in, afraid of what they might find.

They found Liz stretched out on Michael’s sofa looking exhausted. Max was hovering, Kyle looked confused, Michael looked concerned and pissed at the same time, and Alex looked like he didn’t know what to do.

“Alex! You’re ok!” Isabel said, immediately going to him, and giving him a hug, drawing comfort from just being near him. “You are ok, aren’t you?” she asked, pulling back.

“You mean, did Max heal me? Yeah, he did. I'm all better” Alex said, giving her a shy grin. Isabel breathed a sigh of relief , smiling back.

“Ok, so why did Alex need to be healed? What the hell is going on?!” Kyle exclaimed, feeling like he’d been seriously left out of the loop.

“That’s what I’d like to know” Maria said, hands on hips, ready to pummel answers out of everyone if she had to.

Michael got up and pulled Maria from her spot standing near Max.

“Michael, what-?”

Isabel turned and addressed the room. “Ok guys, what’s going on? What happened?”

“You got me . . . I’ve been waiting for an explanation for a while now” Kyle answered looking at Max and Alex warily.

“Tess got away” Liz said softly, from her seat on the sofa. “She shot Max trying to shoot me and she got away . . .”

“She shot Max?!?” Isabel exclaimed, only just now noticing the torn shirt underneath Max’s jacket.

“Oh My God!” she said as she rushed over to him.

“I’m fine Iz. I’m fine” Max assured her as he waved his hand over his shirt and made the damage disappear.

“So what’s wrong with you Liz?” Michael interrupted gruffly. “You didn’t get shot, did you?”

She just continued looking down, not answering.

“No, she kinda . . . healed Max” Alex said slowly.

Everyone turned to look at Liz in surprise. She tucked her hair behind her ear nervously and avoided everyone’s eyes.

“Since when does Liz have powers?” Kyle asked.

“How did Tess get away? And what were you doing anyway? I thought we agreed on waiting to go after Tess” Michael said, ignoring Kyle’s question.

“We did agree to wait, but I kinda went after Tess on my own” Alex said, not meeting anyone's eyes.

Isabel balked. “Why would you do that?!”

“What she said” Maria threw in, hands back on her hips.

“I, um . . .” Alex stumbled over an explanation.

“The important thing is that he’s safe now” Max said, trying to take some of the pressure off of Alex. Max had seen the flashes of what Tess had done to him. If anyone had a right to go after Tess, it was Alex. It may not have been the smartest move, but he could understand the reasoning behind it. He was just thankful that Liz had figured out where he’d gone. Things could have ended up so much worse . . .

“Why are you suddenly on our side Max?” Michael said with hostility. “Did it take Tess almost killing you to get you to see she’s not on our side? That she never has been?”

Max lifted guilty eyes to Michael, but Liz's voice cut through as she spoke in soft tones. “Tess was doing something to him, to his mind Michael . . . That’s why he couldn’t believe us.” Max looked at her in shock, this being the first he’d heard of this. He’d never even suspected . . .

“She was playing on his feelings of anger and . . . and betrayal, when he thought I . . . thought that I slept with Kyle.” Her gaze moved to Kyle but skittered away quickly. “She compounded those emotions so that they practically took him over. But when he got flashes from me earlier tonight, it broke the hold she had over him.”

“And how do you know this Liz? Is that what he told you?” Michael said, unable to let it go.

“I saw it when I healed him.” Looking up, she met Michael's eyes. “Just let it go Michael” she said softly. “Regardless of how it happened, we’re all on the same side now. And Tess is still out there somewhere.” She looked around the room at her friends. “This is not the time to be dwelling on past hurts.”

“But-”

“Michael, he’s your family. Let it go.”

Everyone was surprised at Liz’s words and their effect on Michael. He seemed to calm immediately as he said “Fine” gruffly and pulled Maria closer.

Maria looked up at Michael, then across at Liz, whose focus was now on her lap again. Somehow Liz had gotten the inside track on her boyfriend. She’d have to talk to her about that later. Liz looked absolutely exhausted at the moment.

Maria tuned back in to discover that the group was discussing exactly what had happened after the meeting they’d held earlier. A subject she should definitely be paying attention to.

When everyone was finally up to speed, Max pointed out what no one had been willing to say up till that point.

“We’re not safe . . . Tess has the ability to get into people’s minds and make them see things that aren’t there . . . and not see things that are. She could be anywhere, anytime. She almost killed Alex, she tried to kill Liz and she nearly killed me. So from now on no one goes anywhere alone. Kyle, Maria, Alex, Liz, anywhere you guys go, one of us should always be with you. We may not be able to see her if she’s there, but at least we 3 have a fighting chance because of our powers.”

“Liz has powers now too” Maria threw in.

“Yeah, and what’s up with that anyway?” Kyle asked. “Does she have powers because you healed her? ‘Cause if so, does that mean I have them too?” Kyle looked none too pleased at the idea.

Max dragged his hand down his face wearily. A gesture that only appeared when he was feeling overwhelmed. “I don’t know Kyle. I just don’t know. We can investigate it later if you want.”

“Later or never, whichever” Kyle muttered.

“For tonight, I think we all should stick together. Tess is most likely to strike again quickly, hoping to catch us vulnerable.” They all looked around at each other nervously. “So Alex, your parents are out of town right?”

Alex nodded, confused about the change of subject.

“Well, I think that’s where we need to go . . . All of us” Max said in a tone that brooked no argument. “We’ll deal with the fallout in the morning. Right now I just want everyone safe.”

So it was a tired and stressed bunch that trudged out of Michael’s apartment and to their separate cars. Before getting in, they agreed that both Isabel and Liz needed to drop off their parents’ cars in order to avoid upsetting their parents further in the morning and that they needed to call Kyle’s Dad and tell him to stay somewhere else for the night. Max wanted to drive Liz, but she insisted that he drive his own car and she would let Alex drive her. They’d have plenty of time to talk later.

She watched him walk away silently, then she climbed into the car with Alex.

“And where does the lady desire to go this evening?” Alex asked with a thick British accent.

Liz smiled at him, then said quietly “I’m glad you’re ok.”

“Of course I’m ok Lizzie” he replied. “I strong. Like bull” he said in a bad Russian accent as he puffed out his chest. Liz laughed, something she didn’t think she was capable of tonight, if ever again.

She sobered quickly.

“Alex, you can never, ever do anything like that ever again! I lost you once, I can’t lose you again” she said, voice breaking.

Alex inhaled sharply. “Did I- Was I- I died?” he questioned quietly.

She looked at him for a moment with tears refusing to fall and nodded.

Alex softened. “It’s ok Lizzie. I’m ok. I’m sorry for worrying you.”

Alex spent the rest of the drive speaking in funny voices, trying to distract Liz from her thoughts.

It almost worked.

The procession of cars headed first to the Evans’ and then to the Crashdown. Finally, they were down to Max, Maria and Kyle’s cars as they headed to Alex’s.

When they arrived sleeping arrangements were quickly made with Isabel, Max and Michael agreeing to sleep in shifts. They secured every door and window in the house, putting a little extra behind the locks so that Tess couldn’t get in (they hoped) without alerting someone.

Michael had offered to take first watch, too wired to sleep anyway. So everyone trudged off to their respective rooms.

~.~.~.~

Max knocked softly on the guestroom door and then entered at the soft “Come in” he heard from the other side.

Maria was busily folding down the covers on the bed when he stepped inside.

“Liz, you have a visitor” she called out. A second later, the bathroom door opened and Liz stepped into the room, shutting off the bathroom light as she did so. Her and Max’s eyes immediately locked and the room was completely silent.

“I’m gonna go..." Maria paused, waiting for one or both of them to look over. "Riiiiight” she muttered, rolling her eyes as she left the room. Clearly it was back to business as usual with those two.

“Liz, I’m so sorry” were the first words out of Max’s mouth as he stepped towards her, even as the door was closing behind Maria.

Liz shook her head. “Max it’s ok, Tess was messing with your head . . .”

“No, I mean about everything, everything you had to go through because of us . . . because of me-”

Liz stepped closer, putting a finger to his lips, silencing him. “It’s ok Max” she said softly. She met his eyes, expression unguarded, and Max's expression filled with awe.

They continued to gaze into each other’s eyes until Liz stifled a yawn.

“Liz! You should be sleeping. We can talk in the morning, after you’re rested.” Max guided her to the bed. Liz just allowed herself to be led and sat down on the edge. “I’ll talk to you in the morning” Max said and placed a chaste kiss on her forehead, then with a single glance back, he left the room.

~.~.~.~

When Maria entered a little while later, she found Liz still perched on the edge of the bed, staring off into space.

“Chica, are you ok?” she questioned. Liz looked over at her, jolted out of her thoughts. “Yeah” she answered softly.

“You’ve had the weight of the world on your shoulders for awhile now.” Maria said to her. “Get some rest.”

“I will Maria, thanks.”

“Anytime Lizzie” Maria said, turning down her side of the covers. “But stay on your side of the bed and no spooning me” she said, wagging a finger at Liz.

Liz smiled. “You wish” she said as she climbed under the covers and Maria climbed in on her side.

“Goodnight Liz.”

“Goodnight Maria.”

“Goodnight John-boy” they both said together, and then laughed at the nightly ritual for sleepovers they'd had since they were younger.

Liz lay and listened as Maria’s breathing evened out but she just couldn’t fall asleep. Eventually she crept out of bed and downstairs.

“Hey” Michael said from the sofa in the dark living room.

“Hey Michael” Liz said, blinking, trying to get her eyes to adjust to the dark.

“So how’s it going?” he asked. She threw him a look that he could sense, even in the dark. “Riiiight . . . nevermind. Can’t sleep?” he asked instead.

Even in the darkened room, he saw her shake her head no. “Well, I’m here if you want to talk . . . Tonight had to have been really hard . . .”

“Yeah, um Michael? I’m gonna just get something to drink and then I’m gonna go to bed . . . We can talk tomorrow, ok?” she said as she hastily stepped away from the couch. She definitely wasn't ready to start talking about what had almost happened today.

“Oh-k” Michael said hesitantly, knowing she needed to talk about what happened, but deciding not to push her.

She began to turn away, then she turned back to him quickly. “Did you want coffee or something? Since you’ll be up most of the night keeping watch . . .”

“Yeah, that’d be great Liz . . . and uh, tabasco sauce if they have it . . .”

Liz just nodded and headed into the kitchen. She turned on the light and went to the cabinet, grabbing the sleepy-time tea for herself and the coffee grounds for Michael. She then searched for the tabasco sauce, knowing that Alex kept some in the house for when Isabel stopped by. She found a bottle behind some cereal in the cabinet, so she pulled it down . . . and stared at it.

She pulled out the ketchup too. Beginning to shake a little, she made her way over to the light switch and flipped it off . . .

She didn’t want to see anymore . . .

~*Make it go away*~

Caught between confusion and fear, she sat down at the table.

~*Or make it better*~

She was busy fighting an internal battle so she had no idea how much time passed, but she felt when Max stepped into the room. She could sense his hesitancy even over the ocean of space separating them.

~*Isn’t that what love is supposed to do?*~

“Liz?”

~*Make it go away*~
~*Or make it better*~


She didn't answer. Max stepped closer.

~* ‘Cause I would do either one for you*~

“I don’t know what’s happening to me” she whispered not looking up.

~*This is not the way you should see me*~

“I know why I'm here" she continued. "I-I know I’m supposed to stop it this time around...”

~*This is not the face I recognize*~

“No one’s supposed to die . . .” she whispered, pulling her knees up and wrapping her arms around them.

~*Should I lay my head down here for a moment?*~

“Liz what is it?” Max asked, instantly by her side. He reached out for her and she tensed, almost about to tell him not to touch her, but she wanted his comfort, needed something she could feel . . .

~*Would you sing to me like I’m your child?*~

She waved at the bottles on the counter. “I- there's nothing wrong with those bottles, right? They're the usual shade of red?"

She looked up at Max, her expression so hopeful he wished he knew what she was really asking. He looked at the bottles, caught in the beam of moonlight shining in through the window, then looked back at her. Finally he nodded. Her expression fell, breaking his heart a little.

“I-I can’t see colors Max . . .” she said haltingly, hugging her bent knees.

~* ‘Cause I’m not angry*~

“The world’s nothing but gray now” she continued softly.

~*Oh I’m not crying*~

“The last color I saw was when you were bleeding out . . . I thought . . ." Her arms tightened around her knees.

~*I’m just in over my head*~

"Gunshots always bleed so much" her voice broke.

~*Well you could be the angel that stayed on my shoulder*~

"You lost so much blood Max . . . Like Alex-” her words caught on a sob.

~*When all the other angels left*~

Max quickly dropped into a chair and pulled her into his arms.

~*So make it go away*~
~* ‘Cause I am weak and*~


Her sobs increased as his arms closed around her.

~*This is more than one should have to take*~

The grief and terror she had been stuffing down since she'd had Max's blood on her hands poured out as her world narrowed to the enclosure of Max's arms and his warmth, a reminder, a confirmation, that she hadn't lost him today, that he was still here . . .

~*If you do this for me*~
~*Well I will promise*~


Her sobs echoed around the kitchen as she clutched at him, unable to form more words to explain . . .

~*I’ll make it go away for you someday*~

“Maxwell, what the hell?!” Michael growled as he snapped the light on. “What did you do?!” towering over Max and glaring in a way that most would find intimidating.

Max simply held up a restraining hand as Liz clutched him tighter, nearly mindless in her grief. He looked up at Michael pleadingly. “Michael, I’ll take care of her, I promise.” Michael looked torn, but as he watched Liz cling to Max like he was her lifeline, he nodded and then quietly left the room as Liz’s sobs continued behind him.

Max rocked Liz in his arms and ran his hands through her hair soothingly, all the while whispering comforting words until her sobs turned to hiccups and then subsided altogether . . . When she was completely quiet, Max looked down and saw that she was asleep. He felt his heart expand in that moment. Liz had gone through so much because of them, because of him, because of what he was. She had given up so much, lost so much, and it wasn’t over yet. He pushed away the guilt that threatened to overwhelm him. Now was not the time.

Remembering her talk of being colorblind, he did a thorough scan, but could find nothing wrong. It was just another one of the things they would have to discuss in the morning . . .

When he was sure she was sleeping soundly and wouldn’t waken, he gathered her fully into his arms and carried her for the second time that day. He headed out of the kitchen and when he passed by Michael, he could sense his gaze, but thankfully Michael didn’t say anything.

Max made his way up the stairs and to the guest room Liz and Maria were sharing. Maria didn’t stir as Max laid Liz down on her side of the bed. Immediately with the loss of his body, Liz murmurred a protest and curled into a ball. Max brushed his lips across her forehead and whispered “Sweet dreams sweetheart,” connecting with her just enough to send pleasant memories of a childhood spent playing with Maria and Alex. As a soft smile transformed her features, Max brushed her cheek briefly, then straightened, glad that he could at least give her this . . .

~.~.~.~

Liz jerked awake, her senses registering several things at once . . . First that Maria wasn’t in the room, then that the bedroom door was open, and next that the small hairs on her arms were standing on end . . . Something compelled her to sit up and just as she did, something fired past her and singed the pillow where her head had been. Without pausing to think, she immediately rolled out of bed . . . And into a soft body where no one was standing . . .

Only one explanation . . . TESS!!!

Liz didn’t look back and didn’t pause, she just bolted . . . out of the room and down the stairs, yelling to Max and the others . . . By the time she was down the stairs, they were all congregated in the living room with varying degrees of concern on their faces . . .

“Your shield Max! Put up your shield!” Liz cried, even as she reached his side.

Max immediately raised his shield and surrounded them all in it even as he turned to her to ask why.

“Just keep your shield up Max!” she yelled, focused on the stairs she'd just run down.

And that’s when he felt someone firing at his shield. And a blink later they were surrounded by Skins!

“What the hell?” “We have to get out of here!” “What’s happening?!” “Where did they come from?!”

Everyone was talking at once, but Liz was concentrating . . . trying to find the presence in her mind that was Tess . . . And when she found it, she expelled her permanently, like a door slamming shut . . . And then the Skins that seemed to have them outnumbered disappeared and she could see Tess fleeing out of the front door . . . She grabbed Max’s hand, connecting with him and he saw the Skins disappear too and Tess escaping. Max grabbed Isabel’s hand and Isabel grabbed Michael’s hand and they all saw Tess leaving.

“Lower your shield Max!” Michael yelled. A moment later he charged after her, hand raised for battle. But she was already in her vehicle, speeding away . . .

“Dammit!” Michael yelled. “What the hell just happened? Did she just get away again?!”

~.~.~.~

Tess could feel each of them throwing her out of their heads, flinching as her warp was tossed back in her face.

Not that this would deter her.

It just meant that she’d have to go about this differently next time.

And there would be a next time because she desperately needed the last part of the interpretation that Alex had finished.

She’d get off this miserable planet if it was the last thing she did . . . Even if she had to kill them all in the process . . .

~.~.~.~

Lyrics from “Make it go away” by Holly Cole
Last edited by Assilem_1 on Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:55 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Time Runs Both Ways (CC,TEEN) Repost 12/07/09

Postby Assilem_1 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:06 am

Chapter 17: Divided We Fall

They were gathered at the bluffs overlooking the water, having left Alex’s house in lieu of a safer place to talk.

Maria was standing by her car on the phone.

“Mom, I’m sorry for leaving out so early, but Liz and I really needed to study for this English Lit exam we have coming up.” She was silent as she listened. “Well, it’s worth a quarter of our grade so it’s kinda important” she answered.

“Ok, Mom. If you need me, just call me on my cell phone . . . Ok, bye.”

Maria joined the rest of the group standing a little ways away.

“How’d it go?” Alex asked.

“Fine. It looks like we lucked out again and our parents didn’t catch us. But you know, if we keep this up, it’s only a matter of time . . .” she trailed off. The group looked somber enough; there was no point in making it worse.

“So fine, what’s our plan?” Maria said, hands on hips.

Max looked up from his place standing beside Liz. He had been talking to her quietly, but now he looked around at the members of their group. Seeing the grim expressions on everyone’s faces, he not for the first time wished that their lives didn’t have to be so complicated . . . That they just could be just what they appeared . . . Normal teenagers. Then he could just be a boy, in love with a girl. But all the faces looking back at him reminded him otherwise. They expected him to have answers.

He took a deep breath. “We have to change the game.”

“Huh?” Maria said.

“What are you talking about Max?” Isabel threw in.

Max looked over at the water contemplatively and then back at the group.

“Tess and I are supposed to have this, this connection.” He looked at Liz and then at her reassuring nod, he continued. “I’ve heard her say it many times . . . That her and I are, are connected because of what we were . . . before . . . I never really believed it but-” He swallowed. “I think it’s there . . .”

Liz couldn’t help but fidget a little and Michael tensed. “What is your point Maxwell?” he said sharply. Maria who had also noticed Liz’s reaction, looked over at him surprised.

“Well, what if our, uh, ‘connection’ could be expanded so that I could locate her?” Max said.

Michael tossed a rock into the water forcing himself to relax. “Do you really think that’s possible?”

Max watched the ripples as the rock skipped across the surface as he answered.

“Isabel is able to get into people’s minds no matter where they are, just by touching their picture when they’re asleep. If I already have a connection to Tess, why wouldn’t I be able to use it as a tracking device? Liz has shown us that we’re capable of a lot more than we thought . . .”

They looked at Liz, who had figured out how to block Tess’s ability to get into their minds. Liz, uncomfortable with the attention, looked away from the group and focused on the clouds reflection rippling across the water. ‘There are so many different shades of gray . . .’ ran briefly through her mind.

Max started speaking again, effectively drawing attention away from Liz. “So I’ve been testing it out since this morning . . . I’ve been putting out feelers for Tess and I think I just might be able to find her” he said with confidence.

No one said anything as this information sunk in, so he continued.

“We have the advantage right now. Tess’s strongest power is her mindwarp and she can’t use it on us. It’s time to be proactive. Up till now we’ve been reactive and it’s getting us nowhere.”

“Welcome to my world Maxwell” Michael said in approval.

Isabel rolled her eyes at Michael. “So how is this gonna work?”

“Michael and I are gonna go after Tess. I can sense that she’s somewhere on the outskirts of town. You all can head back into town and we’ll be in touch” Max responded.

“Well then, why are we still standing here? Let’s go” Michael threw over his shoulder as he headed to Max’s jeep. Max looked after him in annoyance and Maria, after a second of stunned disbelief, stomped off after him, intent on giving him a piece of her mind.

Kyle picked this moment to speak up. He was not thrilled being powerless in this scenario and having to take orders from Max was just the icing on the cake.

“So while you’re off using your” he wiggled his fingers “spidey-sense to track Tess, what if she doubles back to take another crack at us?”

Max turned to him and sighed. “Isabel will be there if anything happens” he responded, ignoring the taunt Kyle had leveled at him.

“But-” Isabel started, ready to object. She wanted to be there in case something went wrong with trying to catch Tess.

“Iz, we need someone to stay to protect the rest of the group” Max said. Isabel tossed her hair with a huff and folded her arms. He continued. “Tess can’t mindwarp us Isabel. We can take her. Trust me, finding her will be the hardest part.”

“Fine, but I just want to go on record as saying that I am not happy being left behind.”

“Duly noted” Max said as his attention shifted back to Liz. Seeing that Max was now in Liz-land, Isabel rolled her eyes but followed when Alex gently tugged her towards Kyle’s car.

Kyle trailed behind them muttering about alien kings and power trips.

Max and Liz began walking more slowly behind the group.

“Are you ok?” he asked quietly.

She looked up and met his eyes. “Max, you don’t have to worry about me. I’m fine” she said softly.

He nodded and then stopped and pulled her in for a hug. He rested his cheek against her hair and exhaled as her arms came around him. And for the first time in a long time he truly felt at peace . . .

~.~.~.~

“Way to go Michael!” Maria said as she stormed up to him, slapping him on the arm. “Don’t say goodbye to me or anything. Just leave!” she continued to rant as she hit him again for good measure. Michael knew of only one way to stop her when she got like this. So he grabbed her hand that was closing in again and pulled her to him for a heart-stopping, no-holes-barred kiss.

Maria’s protests died quickly as she relaxed against him and moved in closer, returning the kiss with fervor. They eventually broke apart, both breathing heavily. When Maria could once again think straight, she hit him again.

“What was that for?” Michael complained, rubbing his now sore arm. For a small person, she sure packed a wallop.

“That was for trying to shut me up” Maria said, trying to maintain her anger.

Michael just grunted as he guided her to her car. She sighed but went willingly. She turned when they arrived and looked up at him for a moment, not saying anything. “Michael, do you . . .?” But then he met her eyes and she sighed. She raised up and kissed him softly instead. “Be safe and come back in one piece, ok?”

Isabel called him from a few feet away before he could respond.

Michael looked down at Maria as if to say ‘If I leave now, are you gonna be mad at me?’

Maria just pushed him towards Isabel. “Just go Michael, I’ll see you later.”

He went and she watched him head towards Isabel, who met him halfway.

“Did you know the plan is for me to stay behind?” Isabel huffed at him.

Michael turned a gaze to Max and Liz who were now making their way slowly towards them. “Someone has to stay with the rest of the group Iz. It makes sense” he said as he sighed, not wanting to deal with another irate female right now.

“Fine, take his side!” Isabel complained, glaring at him. Then she realized what she’d just said and started to chuckle.

“What?” Michael asked.

“I just realized that you and Max actually agree on something.”

Michael blinked.

"Huh" he said, marvelling. “I guess it was bound to happen at least once, right?”

“Yeah, law of averages and all that” Isabel said with a smile as she hugged him briefly. Then with a quiet “Be careful Michael” she headed back to Kyle’s car.

Kyle was fiddling with the radio but he started the car when she approached.

“Everything ok?” Alex asked as he straightened from his leaning position on the side of Kyle’s car. She glanced back over at Michael, Max and Liz and smiled. “It’s getting there” she answered and squeezed Alex’s hand before she got in.

~.~.~.~

Max and Liz finally ambled their way to Max’s jeep. Liz gave Max a kiss on the cheek and a lingering hug and then said to him “Be careful.” After he nodded, she turned to Michael. “No going off half-cocked Michael, Tess is dangerous.” Michael noted the worried expression on her face and said “I know, don’t worry Liz. We’ll be ok.” He then pulled her into an unexpected hug and told her that they’d be back soon. She hoped that was true and blinked back tears as she watched them both climb into Max’s jeep and Max gave her a little wave before they pulled off.

She watched until the jeep disappeared, then she joined Maria at her car, too preoccupied to notice the befuddled expression on Maria’s face . . .

~.~.~.~

“So . . . you and Michael . . . You two have gotten pretty chummy” Maria said as she fiddled with the picture of her, Alex and Liz on Liz’s dresser, trying to seem casual and unconcerned, and failing miserably.

They had left Alex, Isabel and Kyle downstairs and were now getting ready for their shift.

Liz looked over at her, surprised, seeing that Maria and her were long overdue for a conversation.

“Maria, come . . . sit down . . .” she said, patting a place beside her on the bed.

Maria sat down and met Liz’s eyes nervously. Liz saw uncertainty and fear in her friend’s eyes, two emotions that she never wanted to be the cause of.

“Maria, what is it you’re afraid of? Do you think I could take Michael away from you? ‘Cause I could never even do that.”

“I know Liz, I’m sorry! It’s just, seeing you guys get along so well, and me and him, we’re always either making up or fighting . . .”

Liz just waited; she could tell Maria had more to say.

“It’s just, sometimes I wonder . . .” she took a deep breath “I just wonder if he even cares about me as much as I care about him.” Maria looked away from Liz, embarrassed, but before Liz could respond, Maria burst out “It’s just . . . It’s always something with Michael, you know? First it was Max and Isabel . . . They were the most important people in his life and I got that, you know? But now you have powers and he’s protecting you too. It’s just, will everyone else always outrank me? Will I always be the last person he thinks about?”

“Maria! You are not the last person Michael thinks about! He loves you. I saw it first hand! In that other future . . . our group was so splintered . . . everyone was hurting, and Michael, he took care of you. He was there every day, at your house, he practically lived there, offering you comfort, support . . . love . . .”

Maria blinked and was quiet, contemplating her words.

“And the prom Maria!” Maria looked up, surprised. “The only reason Michael is being so difficult is because he doesn’t know how to dance! And you were so mad at him because he refused to go.” Maria humphed and crossed her arms. Liz smiled at her and continued “But he shows up Maria . . . He gets lessons and he comes.” Maria dropped her obstinate pose and practically melts. “Only love would make a guy like Michael get dancing lessons. He may not know how to say it, but he loves you.” Quiet tears were rolling down Maria’s face by this time. Liz reached over and hugged her. Maria sniffled a little.

As she calmed down, she said “But Liz, out of everyone you could have gone to when you came back” she coughed ‘me’ “you went to Michael . . . Why not” cough ‘me’ “someone else?” cough ‘me

Liz laughed. “Ok, ok, before you cough up a lung, I’ll explain.”

She immediately got serious. “Maria, in that other timeline, Max and Alex . . . died.”

Maria inhaled sharply.

They had skirted around saying exactly what had happened in that other time and Maria had overlooked this fact, but suddenly hearing it made her heart stop for a second, and then start beating overtime.

Liz, unable to sit still, got up and started pacing. “They were gone and I tried . . . I really tried to hold it together, to be ok . . . But I couldn’t . . . It eventually got to be too much . . .” She nervously stepped back over to the bed and sat down. “I . . .” she met Maria’s eyes “I’m sorry Maria.” She looked away. “But it was just so hard . . . and one night . . . I decided to end it . . .” she ignored the gasp she heard from Maria and plundered on. “I couldn't do it anymore . . . I stepped off the ledge . . .” Liz’s eyes clouded over, remembering that day. “I was almost gone . . .” she looked at Maria and Maria inhaled sharply, stunned, at the naked grief and pain in Liz’s eyes. “But Michael pulled me back. He saved my life that day . . . a life that, at the time, I didn’t want . . . And in doing so, he set into motion the sequence of events that brought me back here . . . to undo the past . . .”

Maria was completely silent, so Liz continued.

“And I know that this isn’t the same Michael that saved my life, but when I came back . . . when I had to figure out who to go to for help, my feet led me to his apartment before I even thought about it . . .”

She blinked the past away and focused on the present.

“Maria?” she questioned softly, needing for her friend to say something.

“I . . . I don’t know what to say Liz” she said softly. “You tell me you almost committed suicide . . . almost ended your life . . . My best friend tried to kill herself!” Maria was starting to get worked up now. “How do you expect me to feel?! What do you expect me to say? ‘Oh, ok, you almost killed yourself, no big deal’?!”

Liz reached over to comfort her. “Maria, calm down-”

She shook off Liz’s hand. “No I will not calm down! You calm down! I have a right to be upset!!”

“Yes you do, but Maria” she grabbed Maria’s hands that were still flailing about. “Maria, I’m really sorry. But I was in so much pain there. Just try to imagine what that felt like for me . . .” She looked down at her lap and spoke tonelessly “Max was dead. Alex was dead. And part of me died with them. And every day the pain just got worse . . . I felt lost . . . broken . . . shattered . . .”

“Oh Lizzie” Maria said and gathered her into a hug.

“I know it wasn’t a great solution to my problems, but it just hurt so much” she said, hugging Maria back. Then she attempted to pull back, but Maria said “Nope, hug not over yet” a little tearfully.

Ignoring the tears that threatened to fall from her own eyes, Liz said “It’s ok. Everyone’s ok now.” She rubbed Maria’s back soothingly.

She wasn’t sure who she was trying to convince though . . . Maria . . . or herself.

~.~.~.~

“So where are we headed Maxwell?” Michael asked after they’d been driving for a while.

“I’m not sure. I can just sense Tess in this direction” Max answered, trying to sort through his thoughts.

They drove in silence for a while until Max began talking.

“I’m worried about her Michael . . . She’s so strong . . . but she’s not letting me in. I’m afraid all of this might be too much for her . . .” Max said softly.

Michael could tell by the inflection in Max’s tone that he was talking about Liz. His voice just softened when he spoke of her now.

Max looked over at him briefly and continued. “She’s colorblind Michael . . . I connected to her and saw the world through her eyes and there is just this depressing expanse of gray everywhere . . .”

~*If I could make it rain today*~

“So why didn’t you fix it?” Michael asked gruffly.

~*And wash away this sunny day down to the gutter*~

“Because there’s nothing physically wrong to fix . . .”

~*I would*~

“Last night when I went back to Alex’s room, I got on the internet and I found . . . There are these cases where extreme trauma can manifest itself in a physical way, such as colorblindness . . . As near as I can tell, Liz’s mind couldn’t handle seeing me shot like Alex had been shot . . . seeing all of that blood . . . so it detached itself . . . turning her world gray . . . Psychosomatic, I think it was called . . . Extreme trauma Michael . . . I don’t think she can handle too much more of this. Of our world . . .”

~*Just to get a change of pace*~

“We’ll get her through this Maxwell . . . She’s not alone” Michael responded in the same gruff tone.

~*Things are getting worse but I feel a lot better*~

“Why are you a Liz-advocate all of a sudden Michael?” Max was grateful for the help, but curious as to why.

“Because someone had to do it.” He looked at Max pointedly. “You were being a world class jerk to her. And she needed help . . .”

~*And that's all that really matters to me*~

“She had been through so much in that other timeline. . . She saw Alex die . . . right in front of her. She had his blood on her hands . . . And then you died . . . She watched us put you in the ground . . . I got this flash from her and I felt . . .” Michael paused, almost unable to describe it. “It-It was like being ripped apart inside . . .”

~*Amy hit the atmosphere*~

“No one should have to go through pain like that. And I can’t even begin to imagine how I would have felt in her shoes. If the roles were reversed and it had been you and Maria?” Michael inhaled a shaky breath. “I don’t know if I could have done it. Liz went through all of that . . . In the end we all died there . . . She went through all of that and made it back here . . .”

~*Caught herself a rocket ride out of this gutter*~

“And she came to me . . . Me Maxwell . . . We both know that I haven’t been the nicest person to her in the past . . . But somehow, out of everyone in our group, she picked me to confide in . . . To ask for help . . .”

~*She's never coming back, I fear*~

“She’s been to hell and back, literally, because of us . . . And that weighs on me too . . .” Michael stared straight ahead as he continued. “I don’t know what any of this means. I don’t know the master plan. I don’t know why Liz had to live through all of that when all the rest of us died . . .”

~*But any time it rains*~

“Two months ago, hell, two weeks ago, if you had told me that Liz Parker would give up her life for us, would rip out her heart while it was still beating to save us, I would have told you you were crazy. But now that I’ve seen it, practically lived it, how could I not help her? Help her save our lives?”

~*She just feels a lot better*~

“For some reason, Liz is inextricably mixed up in our pasts, in our futures . . . She’s special Maxwell. I get that now. So I will protect her like I tried to protect you and Izzy all these years . . . Even if the person I protect her from sometimes is you. She just doesn’t deserve any more pain” he finished quietly.

~*And that's all that really matters to me*~

“Wow” was all Max could say. This was more sentences than Michael had strung together in a row in his whole life probably.

He really did care about Liz.

Michael gruffly cleared his throat and continued, trying to lighten the moment, definitely uncomfortable with all this ‘sharing.’ “We’ll work it out Maxwell. I’ll help you capture Tess and we’ll save the day and you won’t even get your cape dirty. I just hope when all this is over, Hurricane Deluca doesn’t skin me alive for spending more time with Liz than her. What do you think?”

Max cocked a smile at him. “I think that if Maria has been catching any of the protective vibes you’ve been sending Liz’s way, she might need a little reassuring right about now.”

Michael soaked up Max’s words, realizing that this was the first conversation they’d had in awhile that hadn’t been hostile. It reminded him that he’d almost lost a brother yesterday.

“Maxwell, I’m glad you’re ok” Michael said and then cleared his throat.

Max looked at him questioningly and he clarified. “You know, with Tess almost killing you and all . . .”

“Oh, you noticed that, did you?” Max asked dryly, since Michael had barely acknowledged it at the meeting last night. He grinned at Michael’s uncomfortable look. “Aww Michael, I didn’t know you cared . . .”

“Bite me Maxwell” Michael said, scowling as he turned on the radio and tuned it to a heavy metal station. The sounds of Metallica drowned out Max’s laughter beside him.

~.~.~.~

They had been driving for awhile, with just the sounds of the radio drifting between them.

Michael had been watching the scenery, contemplating how to talk to Maria, so he didn’t notice immediately that they were slowing down.

His eyes shot to Max’s as they veered off the road suddenly. Desert rocks and sand scattered in the wake of Max’s jeep.

Max halted the vehicle and slammed his fist into the steering wheel, swearing.

“Ok Maxwell, what did I miss?” Michael asked warily.

“I lost her trail . . . She’s out here somewhere, but I just don’t know where” Max said, his anger quickly spent, replaced with resignation.

“It’s ok, we’ll just try again later . . . We’re just getting started . . .”

“I know. It’s just . . . I wanted to do this for Liz, you know? Catch Tess so that it would be over for her . . . For all of us . . .”

“Rome wasn’t built in a day Maxwell . . . We’ll catch her” Michael said reassuringly. But he too wondered if it would be soon enough to help Liz . . . to help all of them.

All he could do is hope that it was . . .

~.~.~.~

They wandered into the Crashdown a short while later. Max looked world-weary and tired and Michael’s expression was carefully blank. Isabel looked up when the bell over the door rung, just as she had been doing for the past few hours and jumped up when she saw it was them.

“Finally!” she said as she rushed over to them. “What happened?” she asked, looking from one face to the other.

“You tell her” Max said tiredly to Michael as he brushed past Isabel and walked to the empty counter, immediately honing in on Liz. Isabel, after watching Max’s retreating form for a second in confusion, focused on Michael. “Well?”

“Let’s sit down” Michael said, glancing around at the mostly empty café. He walked over to the table where Kyle and Alex were waiting expectantly. He slid in next to Kyle and Isabel resumed her seat next to Alex. She reached out blindly for Alex’s hand as she braced herself for news from Michael.

~.~.~.~

“Hey” Max said to Liz softly as he took a seat at the counter.

“Hey yourself” Liz answered back, giving him a small smile. She took note of the defeated slump of his shoulders and his grim expression in silence. She continued wiping the counter, waiting for him to speak.

“I lost the trail” Max said, unable to meet her eyes. Then he looked up quickly and grabbed her hand that was still moving across the counter with a dishtowel. “I’m sorry Liz” he said earnestly.

Liz let go of the towel and enclosed his hand with hers.

“Max, it’s ok. You don’t need to apologize to me. At least we have a way of tracking her. That’s more than we had before.”

Max nodded. He was once again amazed that after all Liz had been through, she could still see the positive side of things. There was still so much that they needed to talk about. Not the least of which was everything he’d seen in the flashes from that other timeline. But he knew now was not the time for such a discussion. But as he ran his hand through his hair wearily, the motion brought back a memory . . .

"Liz, can I ask you a question about uh, Future Me?” Max asked.

Liz looked over at him, sensing a change in his tone. “Of course Max, anything.”

“He was from 14 years in the future right? So he was me at 31?”

“Yeah?” she answered, unsure of where he was going with this.

Max scratched behind his ear as he asked “So uh, did I really have gray hair?”

~.~.~.~

“So what’s Maria doing in the back?” Michael asked as he glanced around the café.

“She muttered something about needing her oils to get through the rest of this day” Kyle answered.

“Yeah, she’s probably going for the cypress oil as we speak . . . Although cedar oil does work just as well” Alex said, suddenly thoughtful.

Everyone at the table turned to look at him

“What? As an honorary girlfriend you learn these things” he said in explanation.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t go spreading that ‘honorary girlfriend’ stuff around” Michael said as he exited the table.

He heard Kyle say “Yeah, what’s up with that?” as he walked away.

~.~.~.~

Maria was standing at her locker, eyes closed, inhaling her cypress oil and trying not to feel overwhelmed.

It was just so nerve-wracking, waiting for something to happen. And she felt so useless, so powerless . . . literally and figuratively . . . She was no help at all to them against Tess’s powers. At least Liz had fixed it so that Tess couldn’t mindwarp her again. That, at least, was a comfort. She didn’t want that she-bitch in her head ever again. But all things being equal, she wished they were on an even playing field . . . She would be more than willing to lay a little Alien Smackdown on Tess’s evil ass.

“Maria” Michael said softly, startling her out of her reverie as he entered the room.

She noted his somber expression and held out her oil. “Want some?”

Michael smiled a little. “Maybe later.” As Maria capped the bottle, he grabbed her hand and pulled her to the sofa, where they both sat down.

“You didn’t catch her, did you?” Maria asked quietly.

Michael just shook his head.

“It’ll be ok Spaceboy. We’ll get through this . . .”

Michael interrupted her. “Maria, that’s not why I came in here. I just, I wanted to talk to you . . .” He took a deep breath and then continued. “I know there’s a lot of stuff going on . . . It seems like there’s always a lot of stuff going on . . . But I don’t want you to ever think that you’re not important to me, because you are Maria . . .You-you’re my home . . .”

“Michael . . .” she said softly. She pulled him close and planted a tender kiss on his lips. As his arms gathered her closer, she settled her head against his chest and just listened to the solid thump of his heart beating beneath her ear. After a moment, she said “Thank you” quietly.

He looked down at her surprised. “For what?”

“For what you just said . . . For taking care of Liz when I didn’t even know she needed help . . . For just being you I guess . . .”

He smiled as his arms tightened around her.

“I mean, most of the time you frustrate me beyond belief, and the stone wall thing gets seriously tiring, and the whole grunting instead of answering thing makes me wanna hit you in your big Czechoslovakian head sometimes, but-”

Michael’s smile had been gradually slipping as Maria continued her tirade and he finally interrupted. “Maria!”

“Yeah?” she answered. She had been just getting on a roll.

“How about we quit while I’m behind?”

Maria just smiled and snuggled into him again.

~.~.~.~

And for just one moment, for seven teenagers, everything was ok . . .

++++

Lyrics from “Amy hit the Atmosphere” by Counting Crows
Last edited by Assilem_1 on Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:56 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Time Runs Both Ways (CC,TEEN) Repost 12/07/09

Postby Assilem_1 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:10 am

Chapter 18: Just a little heartache

Liz made her way up the stairs slowly . . . wanting to turn around . . . wanting to stop walking . . . but as was often true in her dreams, she was unable to . . .

So she kept going, fear echoing in every step . . .

She was at the top of the stairs, starting down the hallway, when she heard the gun go off.

The shot seemed to shake the house’s very foundation . . . It sounded like thunder to her ears, loud and out of place, especially in the silence that followed it . . . She froze in terror for an instant . . . and then, as realization hit, she broke into a sprint, rushing down the hall and into Alex’s room . . .

She ran straight into the bowels of hell . . .

There was blood everywhere . . . so much blood . . . On the walls . . . On the ceiling . . . ’On me’ she thought as she got a look at herself in the mirror across the room. Her terrified eyes looked large in her pale face. She recoiled seeing the blood on her clothing, staining her hands. She felt bile rise in her throat once again feeling the stickiness between her fingers.

She took a step back, her body doing what her mind was attempting to do . . . Flee . . . But she backed into a door that was previously open, but was now closed and locked . . . ‘Trapped’ she thought as she closed her eyes, hoping to escape this horror that way . . . hoping to wake up . . .

~*You cannot quit me so quickly*~

Her eyes flew open and her breath caught in her throat. Her whole body tensed . . .

~*It’s no hoping you’ll fool me*~

Although seconds ago she had wanted away from that place, where she was now was worse . . .

~*No corner you could squeeze me*~

She was in a graveyard . . . She was . . . surrounded by graves . . . Her gaze skittered away from everything it settled on . . . Trying not to see . . .

~*But I got all the time for you, love*~

She shook her head, trying to dislodge what she had seen written carefully on a tombstone, just the way it had been before . . .

~*The Space between*~

Alexander Whitman
Loving Son and Loyal Friend
1985-2002


~*The tears we cry*~
~*Is the laughter keeps us coming back for more*~


“No” she said softly, tears gliding down her face as she took a step back, bumping into the grave behind her . . . She turned . . .

Michael Guerin
Devoted and Loyal Friend
1985-2002


~*The Space between*~

A mewling sound rose from her throat as her hand flew to her mouth. Her knees buckled and she grabbed the nearest headstone to stop her descent to the ground. As her head slowly rose, her eyes fell on the words . . .

Isabel Evans
Beloved Daughter and Friend
1985-2002


~*The wicked lies we tell*~

She looked wildly around. It wasn’t true . . . It couldn’t be true . . .

Kyle Valenti
Devoted Friend and Son
1985-2002


~*And hope to keep us safe from the pain*~

The cry that was building up in the back of her throat was begging to be set free . . . A tear slipped down her cheek, quickly followed by another . . . She was shaking with the effort of trying to hold the grief at bay . . . And everywhere she looked were the graves of people she loved . . .

Maria Deluca
Loving Friend and Daughter
1985-2002


A sob of pure anguish finally ripped from her throat before she got it back under control. She felt like she was underwater, just fighting to breathe. ‘They’re all here . . .’ Everyone she was supposed to save . . . And then she saw his grave . . .

~*But will I hold you again?*~

Maxwell Evans
Beloved Son and Friend
1985-2002


~*These fickle, fuddled words confuse me*~

She collapsed in the grass, her legs no longer willing to support her . . . She wanted to scream. She wanted to yell and rant at the heavens, but it was too late . . . too late . . .

~*Like 'Will it rain today?'*~

She heard soft footsteps approaching and looked up to see a more composed version of herself step forward carrying flowers. She gently laid them in the middle of the graves and then looked straight at her. The dead look in her other self’s eyes would stay in her mind long after the nightmare faded . . .

~*Waste the hours with talking, talking*~

“Do you get it now?” her solemn doppelganger asked her. “You did this” she gestured around her to all of the graves. “They died because of you . . .”

~*This twisted game we’re playing*~

Liz trembled, still finding it hard to breathe, everything hurt, was this hell?

Her doppelganger continued. “They were supposed to have 14 years . . . Now what do they have? What do we have?”

~*We're strange allies*~

Her other self wandered over to a blank gravestone and asked almost conversationally “When we’re gone, what do you think ours will say?”

She waved her hand over the stone and words appeared.

Elizabeth Parker
She destroyed the world


~*With warring hearts*~

“No” she moaned, trembling so violently her teeth knocked together.

~*What wild-eyed beast you’ll be*~

Her other self either didn’t hear her or chose to ignore her as she continued. “You know how this plays out . . . You can’t change it, you already tried . . .”

A quick image of Isabel in the passenger seat of Kyle’s car. Dead.

“...In the end, this is where you’ll be...”

Another image of Kyle collapsing outside the pod chamber. Also dead.

“...Do you really want to watch everyone die again?”

Max inside the pod chamber, eyes sightless and unseeing.

“Stop it, Stop it, Stop it!” she yelled, hands over her ears as she closed her eyes trying to escape the images.

~*The Space between*~
~*The wicked lies we tell*~
~*And hope to keep us safe from the pain*~


“Open your eyes” she heard her other self say and, with great trepidation, she did . . .

~*Will I hold you again?*~

“This is where it will end . . . This is where it should have ended . . .”

~*Will I hold...*~

Liz’s heart beat so loud she could hear it echoing in her own ears. They were back on that ledge. That terrible, horrible, welcoming ledge . . .

~*Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster*~

“When they’re gone, you know what you’ll do . . .” She turned forward and a peaceful expression came over her face as she spread her arms wide and stepped off the ledge . . .

~*You know you went off like a devil*~
~*In a church in the middle of a crowded room*~


“No!” Liz cried as she shot up from her crouched position and tried to reach her other self before she completely left the ledge . . .

~*All we can do, my love*~

She was too late, only grasping air . . .

~*Is hope we don't take this ship down*~

She stumbled back against the wall and sank to the ground, eyes wide in shock.

~*The space between*~
~*Where you smile and hide*~
~*That’s where you’ll find me if I get to go*~


Tears that had threatened to fall now did as she shook her head in denial. “They’re not dead. I’m not dead. They’re not dead. I’m not dead. They’re not dead” she chanted over and over as she hugged herself and rocked . . .

~*The Space between*~
~*The bullets in our firefight*~
~*Is where I'll be hiding, waiting for you*~


~.~.~.~

“Liz!” Maria shook her, trying to get her to wake up.

It had been a month since Max had started searching for Tess . . . A month since the whole group had been let in on what was going on . . . and still nothing. And every time Liz went to sleep, she had these nightmares . . .

“Maria?” Liz awoke, confused. Her unfocused eyes slowly cleared as she realized she was in Maria’s room. She managed to take in that Michael was standing in the doorway looking worried . . .

Then she folded over into herself and cried. Maria looked at Michael helplessly as she wrapped her arms around Liz and tried to comfort her . . .

Michael met her eyes but stayed put, even though his instincts were yelling at him to help somehow. But they both knew the outcome of that action from the countless times he’d tried it before . . . Liz would just resist him and draw even deeper into herself. At times like these she wouldn’t let anyone of otherworldly origin near her. They had finally figured out that it was her fear of them getting flashes from her when she was in such an emotional state.

Liz’s sobs continued to echo around the room and Michael felt powerless. If he couldn’t help, what was he supposed to do? He shifted positions and took a few steps closer, hoping to offer comfort merely by his presence. He exhaled when Liz didn’t seem to notice and settled by the dresser.

Every time he thought he couldn’t worry more, Liz had another nightmare and proved him wrong. Things just seemed to be getting worse.

Michael’s mind retreated back to the last time he’d seen Liz smile, seen anyone in the group remotely cheerful . . .

It had been the night of the prom . . .

~.~.~.~

Liz, Maria and Isabel were getting ready for the prom in Liz’s room. She still couldn’t believe they were going. With all that had been happening, the prom shouldn’t have even been a possibility, but she remembered Max’s expression when he’d said he’d heard a phrase somewhere that made him realize they should go. It was “In this short brutal life, you’ve got to seize any opportunity you can to celebrate.”

Liz had nodded looking at him, Maria had squealed, Isabel had smiled and shot a shy glance at Alex, Kyle had pulled out his little black book and Michael had grumbled.

So here they were in front of her dresser mirror, all trying to squeeze in and put the last minute touches on their makeup. Liz was wearing a black sleeveless dress that dipped dangerously low in the back that was knee-length and clung in all the right places. Isabel was wearing a strapless dress that stopped at her calves and showed off her curves to perfection. And Maria’s dress was ankle-length with a slit on the left that went up to mid-thigh. Liz knew that it would drive Michael crazy when he saw her in that.

“Girls” Maria said, catching their eye in the mirror. “How good do we look?” she asked with a smile. They smiled back at her and then Maria and Liz put their backs to each other and struck Charlie’s Angel’s poses. Maria prodded Isabel who was quick to step into a pose behind them, pretend gun pointing in the air.

*Click*

They all turned away from the mirror in time to see Liz’s mom lowering her camera.

“Mo-om!” Liz wailed, embarrassed, knowing the picture would be making the rounds for years to come.

“Oh hush-up” Nancy said, as she let the camera dangle around her neck. She grabbed the full-length mirror she had leaned against the outside of Liz’s room and brought it in. “Let a mother document her daughter’s journey into womanhood. After all, I have so little pleasure in my life now” she said dryly.

Liz grumbled quietly to herself as Maria rushed over and took the mirror from Nancy’s hands. “Thanks Mrs. P!” she said happily as she set it against a wall and said “Strike a pose” and then did so.

Isabel and Liz just laughed and went back to fixing their makeup. This night was gonna be great . . . if they could just get Maria away from admiring her own reflection . . .

~.~.~.~

The prom was going in full force and everyone was having a great time.

“1, 2, 3, 4 - 1, 2, 3, 4” Michael muttered under his breath as he danced with Maria. There was an intense look of concentration on his face and his brow wrinkled as he watched their feet move in beat.

“Michael” Maria said.

No response.

“Michael!” she said louder and he finally looked up from his intense concentration on their feet.

“Yeah?” he said as he lost count and stepped on one of her feet.

“Ow!” she cried as she hopped on one foot. “Sorry” Michael muttered, frustrated and a little embarrassed. He hadn’t had much time to get lessons and hardly no privacy, so he’d settled for a couple of quick lessons at a dance school on his lunch breaks.

It obviously wasn’t enough.

Maria brought her now sore foot down and smiled at Michael as she pulled him toward her. She kissed him and put all the emotion she could muster into it, trying to transmit to him how much she loved him for doing this. When she broke away, she put her arms around him and he enclosed his around her and she started a gentle swaying motion.

“Now that’s what I’m talking about” Maria said softly as she rested her head against his chest and sighed.

Her feet would thank her later . . .

~.~.~.~

Isabel giggled as she and Alex bumped sides in unison. Then Alex yelled “Free style!” and started doing every zany dance he could think of. Isabel giggled some more as she tried to duplicate some of his more tame moves and then she grabbed his hand. “You do realize this is a slow song right?” she asked, smiling.

“Oh yes, of course” Alex said, composing his face into one of serious intent. “The lady wishes for some dirty dancing then?” he asked as he gyrated his hips.

Isabel felt another giggle bubbling up. “How about we dance the old fashion way for a while?”

“As you wish” Alex said solemnly as he pulled Isabel close, a large smile overtaking his features as soon as Isabel’s arms closed around him.

~.~.~.~

Max and Liz glided across the floor, in total sync with each other, effortlessly swaying together. “Are you ready for the dip? It’s coming soon” Max warned her again, spinning her around. They had been sure to keep the mood between them light. It was like an unspoken agreement that tonight they would just enjoy themselves.

She met Max’s smiling eyes. “I don’t know Max, dipping is so . . . serious . . . Maybe we should talk about it for another 40 minutes” she said dryly, but she couldn't hold back her smile for long . . .

She felt . . . almost carefree. Just then there was a commotion behind them and they both turned to find Tim Roberts, the class clown, and his date sprawled out on the floor, her looking embarrassed and him shaking with laughter.

“See? That’s what happens when teenagers dip before they’re ready” Liz said in a very stern voice, then they both burst out laughing.

~.~.~.~

Kyle stood just inside the gym doors . . . waiting again. He had asked Vicki Delaney to the prom and even though it was last minute, she’d agreed. Like the rest of the group he’d decided that he didn’t want to think for a night. He just wanted to go to prom and have a good time. And Vicki was always good for that. But as it turned out, having a good time involved spending a lot of time waiting . . .

He’d waited by the punch bowl, waited by the DJ, and now he was waiting by the doors. Vicki had caught a stomach bug the day before, but was still determined to come, even if she did have to keep taking frequent trips to the bathroom.

He looked over as the doors opened and she walked in looking extremely green around the gills. Kyle immediately went over to her. “God Vicki, you look terrible! I’m gonna get Alex and Isabel and we’ll take you home, ok?”

He started scanning the gym for them, but she grabbed his hand “No Kyle, it’s ok. I called my mom while I was in the bathroom. She’s on her way. Stay with your friends.”

Kyle opened his mouth to protest, but Vicki continued. “Besides, Amanda Kelly has been crushing on you all year and her date’s totally flaking on her.” He looked at her questioningly. “You hear things when you spend most of the night in the bathroom” she explained. She saw her mother come into the gym from the exit doors. “Just have a good time Kyle” she said as she squeezed his hand affectionately and then made her way over to her mother.

Kyle shook his head bemusedly and then scratched the back of his neck. “Should it bother me that I just got dumped at the prom?” he muttered to himself.

“Hi Kyle” a voice said and he looked up to see Amanda Kelly standing in front of him in a red dress that hugged her in all the right places. A large smile split his face as his concern faded to the background.

“Hey Amanda! You wanna dance?”

~.~.~.~

While Kyle was on the dance floor having a great time with Amanda, the other three couples were standing near the wall of the gym, laughing and joking when a new song came on the speakers.

“You see an image that's sweet
Well be prepared 'cause I'm not that way”


Liz and Maria looked at each other and squealed, then they both turned and looked at Isabel and they each grabbed a hand and pulled her onto the dance floor.

“Work every day of the week
When Friday comes it's my time to play”


Isabel laughed and allowed herself to be pulled. They began dancing and talking animatedly as their dates looked on indulgently.

“You might be tempted
By everything you're feeling now”


“Well, I think that’s my cue to hit the little boy’s room” Alex said as he ambled away. Both Max and Michael nodded as they continued to watch the girls having a great time.

“I feel obliged to warn you
You're on dangerous ground”


“Good move Maxwell” Michael said as he took a sip of his punch.

“I'm big trouble
Lots of fun”


Max looked at him curiously.

“This” Michael gestured towards the girls. “The prom. I think this is just what everyone needed. A night away from what Maria termed ‘The Alien Abyss.’ ”

“Make that a double, yeah
Not a single one”


Max nodded, agreeing wholeheartedly, loving the happiness showing on everyone’s faces, especially Liz’s. He hadn’t seen a full smile on her in ages.

“Don't take me home
To your momma yet”


Just as he started to believe it was gonna be a great night, the air in the gym suddenly became charged. He and Michael’s eyes met and they immediately looked over at Maria, Liz and Isabel, assuring themselves that they were ok. Feeling the change in the room, the three of them rushed over with Kyle in tow, having quickly made an excuse to Amanda. But before they could ask any questions Max stiffened and muttered

“Tess”

“When it's over and I set you free”

“Where?” Michael said, hands fisting at his sides.

“Where’s Alex?” Isabel asked worriedly.

“I promise you'll remember me”

Max and Michael’s gazes met again as they both answered “Bathroom” at the same time. They all turned towards the doors to the gym . . .

“As big trouble . . .”

And all hell broke loose . . .

Screams rose over the sounds of the music blaring and the music cut out as confusion took over. People began pushing and shoving trying to get to the exits. One girl ran past screaming hysterically “Get it off, Get it off!” while swatting and smacking at herself. Another guy dropped and was rolling around as he wailed like the devil himself was on his back.

“Max we have to go!” Isabel said urgently as she tried to make a path in all the people rushing past them to the exits. One scream rose above all the others and Maria yelled “Alex!”

Max unfroze and took over the lead, making a path for them as best he could through all the rushing, screaming, panicking people heading in the opposite direction.

Finally they made it through the throngs of people to the gym doors and yanked them open . . . And there on the floor, propped up by a locker was Alex with a silver handprint burned into his chest . . .

~*To remember*~
~*Or to forget it*~


A strangled cry could be heard as the group caught sight of him. They breathed a collective sigh of relief when his head moved, telling them it wasn’t too late.

~*How could you ever*~
~*Laugh out loud while you cry*~


Isabel and Maria were the first to unfreeze themselves and hurriedly make their way over to him. He looked up when he heard Isabel’s choked “Alex.”

~*It'll own you*~
~*You can't let it*~


“Hey guys” he said quietly as his head dropped back down to his chest, too weak to support it.

~*And while it holds you*~
~*You can't even try*~


“Oh Alex” Maria said, crouching down and enfolding his hand between hers.

~*You're so unsatisfied*~

“I’m ok” he said weakly.

~*You're so damn petrified*~

“Or at least I will be after Max does his hocus pocus thing” he said, breathing shallowly, trying not to let on how much pain he was in.

~*You ain't got nothin' *~

“Although I don’t think I’ll be getting my deposit back” he joked weakly, gesturing to his tux, which now had a handprint singed through it.

~*You ain't got nothin' to prove*~

Isabel gave him a half smile, but just as Max began to kneel down, Liz rested her hand on his arm to stop him.

“Let me” she said, the pain in her eyes barely veiled.

~*Just a little heartache*~

Max looked into her eyes and inhaled sharply.

~*Just a little hole*~

“Please” she said quietly. Max just nodded and stepped aside.

Liz knelt down in front of Alex.

~*Just an itchy finger*~

“Is it ok if I do this?” she asked, indicating his chest. Alex nodded silently, noticing the grief in Liz’s eyes also.

~*Nobody know*~

She placed her hand on his chest and concentrated as the group gathered around, essentially blocking them from view. A few seconds later a bright light emanated from the group as Liz began the healing process.

*Flash*

“You can make it stop.”

. . . Pain . . .

“I just need to know where it is.”

. . . Burning . . .

“It doesn’t have to be this way.”

. . . Agony . . .

“I’m sorry”

. . . Death . . .


*End Flash*

Liz’s breath caught as she withdrew her hand, noting that the damage had been repaired. “I’m sorry Alex” she said to him with a catch in her throat. She stumbled to her feet as Alex rose beside her with a little help from Isabel. Shaking off the group’s questions, he regarded Liz with concern.

~*Just a little heartache*~

The images, the pain, it was just too much . . .

~*Somethin' for the soul*~

She stepped away from the group as they looked on in confusion. Michael stepped forward, but Maria put a restraining hand on his arm, tilting her head slightly in Max's direction. Michael frowned, but stayed put.

“Liz?”

~*Finger's on the trigger*~

She turned towards the voice and looked into Max’s eyes. He looked back into hers and saw grief and despair so deep it took his breath away. “Liz” he breathed, pulling her to him and gathering her in an embrace. “We’ll catch her, I promise. It’s gonna be ok” he whispered, enfolding her in his arms.

~*Nobody know what she know*~

Liz numbly looked past his shoulder and nodded. She knew it wasn’t true, even though she’d never tell them.

~*Nobody know what she know*~

She knew because she’d just had another vision . . .

~.~.~.~

Music in this chapter from Dave Matthews Band “The Space Between,” Rebekah Ryan “Big Trouble” and Beth Hart “Just a Little Hole”
Last edited by Assilem_1 on Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Time Runs Both Ways (CC,TEEN) Repost 12/07/09

Postby Assilem_1 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:17 am

Chapter 19: All the king’s horses

Glass shattering across the café, shards flying in different directions, pulled Liz back to the present, drawing her gaze to the commotion in her section. Her lips formed into a small O as her eyes met the apologetic ones of a woman whose child had just knocked a milkshake glass off the table.

She headed over, accepting the mother’s apologies and assuring her that it was ok, all the while trying to concentrate on the matter at hand, trying to draw her focus away from her thoughts . . . away from the words and images indelibly imprinted on her mind . . . Still, words from Future Max’s letter continued to wash over her . . .

“I’m assuming you have already started having the visions . . .”

*Flash*

. . . Pain . . .

Her knees attempted to buckle but she caught herself in time, grabbing the edge of the nearby table with shaky fingers . . . She inhaled deeply and let go, continuing on . . . Then, setting the bin she’d been holding on the table, she bent to clean up the shattered mess . . .

She methodically picked up pieces of glass, even as her mind persisted in going over it, trying to find a loophole . . .

“This was true in my timeline also.”

*Flash*

. . . Agony . . .

She shuddered and took a deep breath.

“Here you go Liz” Maria said, bringing over an empty bin to put the glass shards in. Liz looked up at her blankly and then murmured a thank you as she took the bin and went back to her task. Maria stood with brow furrowed for a moment, looking at Liz’s hunched shoulders, then she bent down and began to help, offering support in silence.

Liz continued to pick up pieces, pausing as she picked up a large piece, noting that it was the bottom of the glass, it’s foundation . . . now destroyed . . . She shook her head, dropping the piece into the bin and moving on . . .

There had to be some other meaning in Future Max’s words . . .

“I must tell you that these visions signal the beginning of the end.”

Something else . . . instead of what they implied . . .

“In my timeline, they signaled the end of the world . . .”

. . . Death . . .

She had been reaching for another large piece when the final flash struck. She gasped, the pain of the flash and then the glass shard slicing a neat path across her palm pulling her back to reality sharply. For a second she gazed at the blood falling from her hand in confusion . . .

“Liz!” Maria exclaimed. “You're bleeding! I’ll finish this, just go take care of your hand” she said, gently urging Liz into a standing position.

Liz nodded numbly at her. “Thanks Maria” she said belatedly as she headed slowly towards the breakroom doors, passing by a concerned Michael at the order window.

Going through the doors and cradling her hand, she stepped into the bathroom. Not bothering to close the door, she turned on the water and flinched as she immersed her hand under the spray. The gray liquid ran from her hand and as she watched, it turned into red-tinted water spiraling down the drain . . .

“Liz?” Michael spoke up from the doorway. “Are you ok?”

“I’m fine” she answered, shutting off the water, noticing it was once again gray . . .

Seeing a world bathed in gray was fine . . . Just sometimes she wished her memories weren’t in color.

~.~.~.~

“Where’d Isabel go?” Maria asked as she walked over to the booth Alex and Kyle were occupying.

“Bathroom” Alex answered as Kyle continued flipping a coin in the air and catching it.

“The usual?” she asked, to which they both nodded. She wrote their orders down in her order book and came back a few moments later with their drinks.

Alex took his straw and inserted it into his drink. “You know, ever since the prom my parents have been super paranoid about any drinks I ingest outside of the house.”

“Oh, I know!” Maria broke in, from the table over, where she was gathering dirty dishes. “My mom thinks there’s some insane student running around putting psychedelics in drinks and that that’s why everyone hallucinated at the prom. She keeps telling me if it hasn’t been in my eyesight the whole time that I shouldn’t drink it.”

“I guess I’m lucky since my dad knows it was Tess’s mindwarp, I haven’t had to worry about it” Kyle said, taking a sip of his drink.

The three of them were quiet, thinking about the night of the prom and what had transpired. After a second, Maria went back to clearing her table as Alex absentmindedly rubbed the area of his chest where the silver handprint had been, a haunted expression on his face. Kyle consciously kept his thoughts from drifting to Tess as he focused on tracing the rim of his glass, condensation moistening his fingertip . . .

A sharp inhalation brought all of their attention back to the present where Liz was trying to lift a bin from a table in her section, having trouble because of her injured hand.

“Let me get that” Maria said as she bumped Liz lightly out of the way and picked up the bin. Alex couldn’t believe he’d missed the bandage. But then Liz moved her hand into her apron pocket where it had been previously and he realized how he’d ‘missed’ it.

“Liz, what happened to your hand?” he asked, concerned eyes meeting her shadowed ones as hers dropped to the hand she pulled from her pocket, a slim white bandage covering her palm.

Isabel slid in next to Alex silently, noting as always the dark smudges under Liz’s eyes and how she grimaced a little looking at the bandage.

“It’s nothing” she answered, absently tracing the seams of the tape around the bandage. “Some glass broke earlier, no big deal” she said as she stuffed her hand back in her pocket. “I’m going on break, I’ll be in the back if you need me” she said, turning to Maria briefly before disappearing into the breakroom.

Maria wasn’t surprised. Liz tended to shy away from concern like it was the plague now.

Alex and Maria exchanged a look after Liz passed through the breakroom doors. Kyle just focused on his drink, reminded once again that no one was acting like themselves anymore.

At least it had stopped Isabel and Alex from making googly eyes at each other. He had secretly dubbed them ‘The new Max and Liz’ with all the time they spent looking at each other. And yet, because of the danger presented by ever-evil Tess Harding, he was forced to be the constant third-wheel in this scenario. For all the time they spent together, the three of them might as well have been attached at the hip.

He continued tracing the rim of his glass, realizing that the old Max and Liz hadn’t been themselves for awhile now . . . In fact the last time he’d even seen them in the same room had been prom . . .

“Here you go” Maria said as she came over with Isabel’s drink. “Scoot over Kyle” she said as she slipped into the booth on his side. “Any word from Max today?” she asked Isabel hopefully.

Isabel sighed and shook her head. “I haven’t heard from him since Friday . . .”

“Well we could seriously use him around here” Maria said, nodding towards the breakroom where Liz had disappeared.

“I noticed that . . . What can we do?”

~.~.~.~

Liz collapsed onto the sofa in the breakroom with a deep sigh. The coffee was percolating and she’d be able to grab a new cup in, she glanced at her watch, 1.5 minutes . . . 90 seconds, that was all . . .

She stifled a yawn and looked at her watch again . . . 85 seconds . . . Finally she laid her head back against the sofa to wait. A minute never seemed so long . . .

~.~.~.~

Michael flipped another burger and lifted the fries from the deep fryer. Then, leaning forward into the pickup window, he checked the time.

He sighed again, still wasn’t time for his break. Out of habit, he checked Maria and Liz’s locations.

Maria was sitting in a booth with the gang talking and gesturing wildly . . .

He just shook his head as his eyes continued to roam the Crashdown . . . Liz was nowhere to be seen . . .

Panic was just starting to tickle his nerve endings when he heard the whimpering . . .

His break quickly forgotten, visions flooded his head of Tess in the breakroom, torturing Liz. He dropped the spatula and rushed out of the kitchen. Hand raised, ready for battle, he stepped into the breakroom, not expecting the scene before him . . .

His hand slowly lowered as he noted Liz curled on the sofa, distressed sounds emerging from deep in her throat, obviously struggling though a nightmare.

He took a step forward and then stopped and raked a hand roughly through his hair, pulling off his bandanna in the process. He sighed as he stuffed it in his pocket. He just knew that if Liz had a choice in it, she wouldn’t welcome his help.

As he continued to debate, a shudder shook her frame and a solitary tear made it’s way down her cheek and his decision was made.

In two strides, he was across the room and on the sofa with her. He reached forward to touch her shoulder . . .

*Flash*

::::A gunshot::::‘Liz you have to do something!’::::A silver handprint:::: A grave::::

He twitched but placed both hands on her shoulders, determined to rouse her from her private hell. Then he called her name.

She moaned, another shudder wracking her frame.

::::Two Liz’s::::‘You did this’::::‘died because of you’::::‘supposed to have 14 years’::::

‘What the hell?’ Michael thought, his vision clouding over for the second time.

Liz’s whimper brought back his focus.

“Liz wake up” he told her, trying to pry one of her hands that was gripping the sofa lose and shaking her gently. She began to tremble and only gripped the sofa tighter.

“It’s just a dream Liz, it’s not real” he said softly, noticing her grip relax at his words.

His voice, out of place in her dream, drew her back. Her eyes opened slowly, another tear escaping in the motion. As she blinked and realized who it was that woke her, that he could have gotten flashes from her, she moved away quickly.

Undaunted by her response, having expected it since she shied away from all of the alien-contingent of their group after nightmares, Michael patiently waited, giving her time to gather herself together and shake off her dream while he did the same with the flashes.

But she was still trembling . . .

“Are you ok?” he asked her, concern lacing his words.

She nodded, not meeting his eyes.

Feeling the wetness on her cheeks, she wiped her face shakily. “I’m fine Michael.”

“Yeah and I’m the queen of Spain” he said sarcastically. He ran his hand through his hair in frustration. “Liz you are not fine. The tears you just wiped away prove that. How can I help if you won’t let me?” he asked gruffly, hand falling to his side listlessly as she continued avoiding his eyes.

“There’s nothing you can do Michael.” She rested her head on the back of the sofa and closed her eyes. “There’s nothing anyone can do” she said tiredly.

“I don’t buy that Liz. Just tell me . . . What- what was that I saw in your dreams?” he asked as he rubbed his temple with a shaking hand.

She flinched but he waited. Finally she sighed.

“It’s my nightmare Michael. It’s the past, the present, the future” her voice broke on the last word “all together in technicolor.” She inhaled on a sob and lurched forward, wrapping her arms around her middle as if to somehow hold in her grief. Michael reached out but she scooted back, hand held up to fend off his comfort, even as she tried to gather herself together. A few harsh breaths later, she wiped her face again and still bent forward and without looking at him said softly “Please just let it go for now Michael.”

She finally looked up at him, pain undisguised, turning her eyes a darker brown. “Please” she said when he looked ready to protest.

He reluctantly nodded and she sagged against the sofa in relief.

He sighed as worry etched deeper lines into his face. But he stayed silent, leaving Liz to her grief. They sat in silence for a minute, lost in their own thoughts.

“Michael, where are those burgers?” Maria called from the order window just as the smell of burning food wafted into the break room.

Michael cursed, jumping up and running for the kitchen.

~ ~ ~ ~

Liz pulled her hair out of its ponytail and breathed a sigh of relief. She had made it through another day . . .

Her watch beeped and she looked down at it, smiling slightly. She then closed her bedroom door before sitting on her bed, eyes closed as if deep in thought. When she opened them, it was slowly, expectantly, and her expression softened when her eyes met his, standing in the middle of her room.

“Hey” Max said with an answering smile as he took a seat beside her on the bed, shifting so that his back rested against the headboard just as hers did.

~*Who would sell their soul for love?*~

“Hey” she answered.

He reached his hand out as hers reached for his and their fingers entwined, offering and receiving comfort without words.

~*Or waste one tear on compromise?*~

They both visibly relaxed.

“So how are you?” Max asked her softly.

~*Should be easy enough*~

“I’m ok” she said firmly, the lie rolling off her tongue automatically now.

~*To know a heartache in disguise*~

“How are you?” she asked, switching the focus of their conversation.

He paused and then said “Better now” as he squeezed her hand. She smiled.

~*But the heart rules the mind*~

“So I took the trash out today without telling anybody where I was going and Michael nearly had a heart attack” Liz said, breaking the silence.

Max smiled.

“He mumbled something about getting me a leash” she said and frowned, wondering if Michael would really try that.

Max laughed. “He just worries about you is all” he answered. “For the record, so do I.”

~*And the going gets rough*~

He turned to face her and squeezed her hand again. “We’re gonna have to talk about how you’re *really* doing sooner or later . . . You know that, right?”

She sighed and answered “I know."

~*Pride takes the fall*~

Maria knocked briefly on Liz’s closed bedroom door and then opened it, peeking in.

“I thought I heard voices . . .” she said, then trailed off, looking at Liz sitting peacefully on the bed. “Everything ok?” she asked, brow crinkling with worry.

“Everything’s fine Maria. I was just thinking out loud” Liz said as she leaned her head back against the headboard and squeezed Max’s hand.

~*When you find that kind of love*~

“Ok, well . . . I’ll be downstairs if you need me” Maria said and at Liz’s nod, closed the door softly behind her.

~*I can't help feeling like a fool*~

“Why don’t you want them to know?” Max asked even though they had had this discussion before.

“Because if we tell the group, they’ll just want to use our meetings to get updates . . . This way of communicating, this connection, it’s ours . . . I just need it to stay ours for awhile longer.”

~*Since I lost that place inside*~

He took a quick breath and nodded.

“How long can you stay this time?” she murmured, moving closer. She wanted to crawl into him and disappear. These moments with him were the only time she felt like she wouldn’t just shatter into pieces . . . Never to be put together again . . .

~*Where my heart knew its way*~

“Not long” he answered.

~*And my soul was ever wise*~

“I miss you” she said softly.

~*Once innocence was lost*~

“Not as much as I miss you” he answered.

~*There was not faith enough*~

“So come home” she pleaded.

~*Still my heart held on*~

“You know I can’t Liz. As long as Tess is out here I have to be too.” He sighed as he noted the dark circles under her eyes. “I’ll try to get home soon” he conceded as he caressed her cheek.

She nodded as she leaned her head back and closed her eyes, reveling in his phantom touch.

~*When it found that kind of love*~

She opened her eyes briefly to look at him.

“I’m so tired Max, so tired . . .” she said softly.

~*Though beauty is rare enough*~
~*Still we trust*~
~*Somehow we'll find it there*~


In that moment she let her guard down and let him feel her fatigue, the true depths of her exhaustion . . .

~*With no guarantee*~
~*It seems to me*~


Frown lines etched themselves into his forehead and as her weariness moved through him he gasped . . .

~*At least it should be fair*~

“God Liz” he breathed. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this alone . . . I’ll come home, I will” he vowed.

She just nodded tiredly.

~*But if it's only tears and pain*~

“I can help if you’ll let me” he said as both hands rose to frame her face.

~*Isn't it still worth the cost?*~

“This’ll help you sleep” he said as he allowed the gentle wave to pass from him to her.

~*Like some sweet saving grace*~

She welcomed the warmth until his words registered. She yawned, but tried to sit up. “Max?” she said worriedly.

~*Or a river we must cross*~

“It’ll be ok Liz. You need to rest, no nightmares, I promise” he said to her softly.

~*If we don't understand*~
~*What this life is made of*~


She nodded, trusting him and fell back against the pillows and into a dreamless sleep for the first time in a long time.

~*We learn the truth*~

He kissed her forehead softly before he began fading away the deeper Liz fell into her sleep.

~*When we find that kind of love*~

Maria came back into Liz’s bedroom to grab a sweater and noted Liz’s state of rest. Normally she’d be upset that Liz had left her to close up alone, but if anyone deserved to rest, it was Liz.

She cocked her head to the side and studied Liz with a critical eye. Something was different but she couldn’t put her finger on what it was. Her rest seemed somehow different from the other times she had fallen asleep out of sheer exhaustion. Then Maria realized there were no worry lines lining Liz’s forehead and she didn’t seem to be dreaming. She actually seemed to be at rest. Maria took the throw cover from the end of the bed and spread it over Liz, smoothing her hair away from her face.

“Sleep well” she whispered.

Elsewhere Max opened his eyes on a gasp.

“I’m coming home Liz” he said breathlessly.

~*When we find that kind of love*~

~.~.~.~

Liz sat on her balcony in a lawn chair, legs pulled to her chest with her chin resting on her knees.

She knew that she hadn’t previously been here, but somehow that fact seemed unimportant . . .

In this place she just felt numb, anesthetized from all the pain and the crippling fear that gripped her most of the time.

She figured that Max must have done it somehow. She would thank him for it later.

A female voice floated on the air. “No child, that was me . . .”

Liz barely stirred, somehow not surprised at the news.

She gripped her knees tighter and continued staring at the ground. Finally she sighed.

“Could you at least show yourself this time? Talking to air kinda makes me feel insane.”

“I am here” she heard and looked up to see an older woman with blond hair and soft brown eyes standing beside her. She met Liz’s eyes calmly as she stood to the left of Liz’s chair. ‘Yeah, materializing out of thin air? That’s not crazy at all’ Liz thought wryly.

Quickly she ran through her head what she knew about this ‘visitor.’ All she really knew was that this woman had been asked by Future Max to contact her only after she had a vision. Her purpose was to guide Liz in what to do next.

“Thank you” Liz said quietly as she went back to studying the ground. She sensed rather than saw the nod that was given in return.

After a brief silence, Liz finally asked “What took you so long?” After all it had been awhile since her vision . . .

“You don’t sleep” the woman answered simply. “I can’t get in if you don’t sleep. And when you do sleep . . .” her voice trailed off kindly as Liz’s eyes slid away. “I can’t get in during your dreams . . . I think that other essence keeps me out . . .”

“So you know that-”

“-you came back in time? Yes I knew the moment your essence arrived. But it wasn’t my place to interfere . . . not until you had a vision.”

A sudden thought struck Liz and she sat up quickly. “What-” she wet suddenly parched lips. “What would happen if I died? Who-” her voice wavered “Wh -who would you contact then?”

“Zan” was the reply. “Both you and he played a pivotal part in changing the original future. Only one of you could change it back.”

Liz collapsed back against the seat as she absorbed this. In that other time, Max was dead . . . If she had succeeded in taking her life . . .

She shook her head violently to dislodge the thought.

Now was not the time to be thinking about such things. Right now she needed to get answers.

She took a deep breath.

“So who *are* you?” she asked, looking at the woman who had by then settled in the lawnchair beside her. “I know I’ve never seen you before. How do you know when to show up? How do you know when I’ve had a vision? How are you able to dreamwalk me?”

“So many questions” the woman said, shaking her head. “Let’s start with a name . . . Mine is Evera. You can call me Eve. I am from the House of Solaran. I am what is known as a Seer by my people. I am like the Royal Four, a hybrid, reborn on this new world. Like Velondra, dreamwalking is one of my abilities. And I know when you’ve had a vision because I *see* it” she finished calmly.

As Liz digested the information, she began to get upset.

“Well if you can *see* the future, shouldn’t you have known that Future Max’s plan wouldn’t work? You could have saved us all immeasurable pain before it even happened.” She shook her head sadly. “I broke his heart . . . I broke his
heart . . . And they died . . . They all died . . .” she said, voice breaking.

“Calm yourself Child” Evera said softly.

Liz felt soothing calmness wash over her and she knew without looking that Evera had somehow sent the emotion to her. She slowly sat back in her chair, folding her hands in her lap.

Eve continued.

“My power doesn’t work that way. I can’t see the future of a reality that hasn’t happened. Time travel changes everything. It can do immeasurable harm to the world around us. That’s why the granolith was never intended for it. But Zan said that my daughter helped to alter it. Even at an early age, she was so stubborn . . .”

“Serena” Liz whispered, wide eyes focused on Evera.

Evera continued. “I digress . . . The point is that when one attempts to change the future, so many things can go wrong.You alter one thing and suddenly the whole world changes. You’ve seen that.” Liz somberly nodded. “I warned Zan about this but he refused to listen. He needed to believe that he could change things, make them better . . .” She trailed off.

“So . . .” Liz looked over at her tentatively. “So I know I’m not supposed to ask, but you’re here because I had that vision . . . Is- Is the world going to end again?”

Evera sighed. “I wish I could answer that question for you child, but I can’t.”

Liz sunk deeper into her chair, not knowing if she could take much more.

Evera continued. “Knowledge of the future is a powerful thing . . . That’s why most seers are hidden from the world, our knowledge protected, shielded, from those who would seek to misuse it. One should not know all that will happen, because just the simple act of knowing can alter a sequence of events.”

“So what does that mean?” Liz asked hopelessly. “That you can’t tell me until I’ve lost everything again? Because you
have to know that I can’t watch everyone die again . . . I just . . . can’t . . .” Liz finished brokenly, tears beginning to stream down her face.

“Child, you need to share your burden . . . It was not meant to be carried alone . . .”

“So the responsibility is mine but not the burden? That doesn’t even make sense!” Liz cried, frustrated. “How can I just lay this knowledge on them when they can’t do anything to change it? As you said, only Max or I can! And I can barely handle knowing and I lived through it once before.”

She got up and began to pace frenetically.

“I’m just-” she wiped her face with one hand and continued pacing. “I’m just supposed to tell them that I get visions and that in the one I just had I know that-” She sniffed and continued, her voice low “-that Maria will die first, then Kyle, then Isabel-”

“Child-” Eve tried to interrupt.

“-then Max, Michael, then Alex. That it will be painful . . .” Her voice fell. “Tell them that they’re all going to die?” she practically whispered, sitting down in her lawnchair heavily.

Once again soothing calmness washed over her and she inhaled shakily.

Eve’s voice drifted to her quietly.

“It’s a hard gift to have, isn’t it?” Not expecting an answer, Eve shifted and placed a hand on Liz’s knee. “I’ve been getting visions for two lifetimes now and it still hurts to know what I know at times . . .”

Liz looked over at her silently as she again wiped her tears.

“The point here is that even though our gifts are similar, that we both see the future, my visions show the ways things are, while yours, the way they shouldn’t be . . . Sometimes the outcome can be changed, sometimes it cannot . . .”

She patted Liz’s knee and then sat back.

“I can’t tell you which one is true in this case without possibly altering the future . . . But I can tell you that from now on, you will need to keep the crystal with you at all times . . . It will be needed . . . You will know what to do.”

Liz opened and closed her mouth, wanting to ask more questions, but Evera looked firm.

“I must go now” Evera told her as she stood and stepped away.

“But-” Liz paused and asked her anyway. “What will happen now?”

She silently pleaded with Evera for some good news, a light at the end of the tunnel, some hope to cling to . . .

Eve’s eyes glowed for a moment as she searched for an answer to Liz’s question. Then she met Liz' eyes. “It’ll all be over soon” she said as her form shimmered and began to fade away.

“What does that mean?” Liz called after her futilely, realizing that she wouldn’t get an answer.

Eve was already gone.


~.~.~.~

Liz jerked awake, Eve’s words echoing ominously in her head.

‘It’ll all be over soon . . .’

tbc . . .

Music in this chapter from Allison Krauss “That Kind of Love”
Last edited by Assilem_1 on Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Time Runs Both Ways (CC,TEEN) Repost 12/07/09

Postby Assilem_1 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:20 am

Author’s Note: Ok, so here’s something a little weird that happened . . . When I was editing this story, I found a lot of little scenes that I had written that were too short to be chapters but still progressed the story along and still totally deserved their day in the sun . . . Yet trying to work them into existing chapters didn’t make sense because they did fine as standalones . . .

Enter the phenomenon known as the “Interlude” . . .

Yep . . . Call it a cheap ploy to keep the readers happy while I edit future parts . . . Call it a marketing technique to present the reader with new stuff often enough that they forget how long I took to post or . . . Um, forget I said that last one ok? . . . Um, yeah . . .

Anyway, call it what you will, but it is something . . .

And now a quote which I think perfectly reflects how I feel about this whole “Interlude” concept . . .

Dr. Katz: I hope I haven’t cheapened what I do.

Ben: Oh you definitely have.

Dr. Katz: Well then I hope for something else.



lol . . .

Ok, so feel free to hate the “Interlude.” As someone once said, flames are great for making S’mores, lol . . . So if you must, flame away . . . :) . . .

So here we go . . .


Interlude I: Nerves

“Liz” Maria said from beside her.

Liz nearly jumped out of her skin.

“Whoa there chica!” Maria said, taking a step back and holding her hands out in a non-threatening manner. “It’s just me.”

The sounds of the busy café rushed in, making Liz feel like she had just gotten her hearing back after being struck momentarily deaf. All of the noise in the busy restaurant seemed raucous just then.

“Sorry. I guess I’m just a little jittery, probably too much caffeine” Liz said apologetically, reaching for the dishtowel she had been using to finish wiping down the counter.

Liz had been doing that a lot lately. Just drawing into herself. She couldn't tell them that the weight of the world was not a light burden to carry.

Maria narrowed her eyes, but didn’t pursue it. Liz never opened up anymore. All conversations stayed strictly surface. Maria sighed as she adjusted her antennae. Truth be told, she missed her friend.

“It’s ok chica” she said, giving Liz a smile. “It’s just a madhouse in here today.” Maria's glance flicked around the café. “And table three has been trying to get your attention for awhile now.”

They both turned to see one of the customers at table three, who looked highly irritated, signal when he finally caught Liz’s eye.

“Gotta feed the monkey right?” Maria said with as she pushed Liz towards the customer. Liz just nodded and pasted a polite smile on her face as she went to see what he needed.

Maria’s smile turned into a frown as soon as Liz turned away from her. She headed to the pickup window to talk to Michael.

The situation with Liz was not improving . . .

~Fade~
Last edited by Assilem_1 on Sat Oct 30, 2010 1:08 am, edited 1 time in total.


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