Where You End & I Begin (Mature, M/L, T/K, CC/UC) 1/1 12/27

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hauntedd
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Where You End & I Begin (Mature, M/L, T/K, CC/UC) 1/1 12/27

Post by hauntedd » Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:41 pm

Title: Where You End and I Begin
Author: hauntedd
Disclaimer: These characters are the property of Melinda Metz/Jason Katims et al.
Rating: Mature
Pairings: M/L, K/T, CC/UC
Summary: Reality, ultimately, is a matter of perspective.
A/N: I wrote this as part of PA's xmas fic exchange for darkvixen :).
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2003

His sophomore dorm room looks like an institution. White walls and white furniture—they’d said it was modern and a famous architect designed the motif, but Max can’t help but feel a bit lonely in the single room. He’d gotten it on purpose, a high number in the housing lottery and the promise of more visits from his brunette girlfriend—half a world away and yet forever in his heart, had sealed the deal.

Sometimes he wakes in the middle of the night in a panic, remembering another time in a white room with metal tools and prodding, but he forces the memory back as best he can. Under any other circumstances he’d change the colors, but they’d grow suspicious and painting was specifically banned under the lease.

However, when Liz comes to visit, paler outside the reach of the desert sun and dressed in polo shirts and cable sweaters, she brings posters and pillows which she throws up with vigor, her back arching and her breasts thrusting as she redecorates the room.

“Max it won’t be forever,” she reminds him with a smile, warm and inviting and unlike anything else, even after all this time. “But it’s home, at least for now.”

2014

The dark sky stares up at her mockingly as the ground quakes and shakes under her feet. She knows she should be inside helping with dinner – her house guest is an even more questionable chef than she is, having burnt breadsticks in microwaves her freshman year – but Liz needs to watch what’s coming for herself, even when she knows better than most to stay away.

She went to see
him last week for only the second time since they’d realized what was wrong because her visions had warned her that something bad was about to happen.

They’d talked about it first, planned a strategy as best they could with a volatile and unpredictable opponent, but it hadn’t done much of anything to help. His isolation, self-imposed but never protested, has done little to quell the dark thoughts that were always present but now more prevalent in his mind.

Her husband’s away on business, or well
a restaurant convention, filling in for her parents who can’t handle all the travel anymore, and her best friend thinks this is a reason enough for her to play mother hen. She thinks he might have put her up to it, but Liz is secretly grateful for the company.

The blonde approaches quietly enough, but Liz can sense her presence by the subtle shift in the air. It’s a byproduct of the current changes in her life, they think, but no one knows for sure. Alien-human relations still have an incredibly small sample size.

“Hey what’s wrong?” she asks and Liz bites the bottom of her lip, only now realizing that she’s been crying, the salty wetness growing more apparent as the brunette becomes present in her body once more.

“I saw him, last week,” Liz whispers in confession and the girl wraps her arms tighter, squeezing her in even though her body gives away that she’d known all along. Of course she did, she was there when they’d discussed it, but why is her memory whispering something else entirely?

Must be nerves, or pregnancy brain, she muses and wipes at her eyes.

“I know, dear, I was there, remember? He’s an ass, why are you so worked up about his douchebaggery,” she asks and Liz rolls her eyes—she always had a way with words, that one. “Your kid isn’t born yet, I’m getting my fill of big girl words while I still can—it’s not like I can do it at my house.”

“Big girl words? Really? You aren’t going to blame your husband for this, Mrs. Valenti?”

“Made you smile, didn’t it?”

Liz doesn’t say anything, her brown eyes staring past her friend and back to the sky, drawn in like a moth to a flame and her mouth hangs open as a bright light flashes overhead, powerful and otherworldly. Knots jumble and contort in her stomach as she tries to make sense of the increasing sense of wrongness that’s imbuing her every pore.

Suddenly, what he’d said to her in disjointed sentences, words strung together in ways, at first, she thought had no meaning other than an attempt to draw her back in, a carrot she’d never reach for, grow more ominous. Liz pales in realization, turning back toward the blonde, eyes wide and her whole body shaking.

“Liz, was that—“

She opens her mouth to respond, only to notice that Tess is merely a million little pieces blowing in the wind.


2004

They get married at nineteen in a rush of teenage desperation and bravado. Increasingly characteristic for him, a change of pace for her, but he’d long ago learned not to question things when it came to her—she was always full of surprises and they’d long shared the same basic belief.

Follow my heart. Follow your heart. Follow our heart.

Junior year, when the honeymoon period is starting to wane, fading along with the long warm summer nights as the reality of lives lived across continents becomes too much, he wonders, idly, whether or not she’s making the right decision by going back to Harvard a married woman.

He says he doesn’t mind, that she should finish so he can be a househusband, a kept man, everything his parents, both sets, didn’t want him to become and all that he’s dreamed of since elementary school. It’s the correct answer and one that keeps him from the couch, but ultimately one that leaves him with doubts.

But they fade away as Liz grins in response as she falls on top of him, her warm mouth inviting and his worries gone for the moment. He always did like how she could erase his darker haunts.

2009

Isabel stares at them in exasperation, the long-suffering intermediary in an epic feud that doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon. “He has a right to know,” she huffs finally in the center of an overcrowded room.

“Why?”

The question is all she gets in response, from the most likely of sources. While the subject of the meeting has yet to respond, her pitbull is already on the defense, blonde hair flying and eyes narrowed in a challenge as she shoots up from her position on the couch.

She’s surprisingly agile for five months pregnant.

“You know
why,” she responds bitterly, looking far older than she should at twenty-five. The years have not been kind to the tall girl, who, instead of living her dreams as a fashion journalist or, at least, anything slightly glamorous, has spent her time in Roswell managing the fallout of something she’d never wanted to be party to—her brother’s love life.

“And you know why
not,” Kyle snaps, annoyed with another round of this argument and Isabel’s insistence that everything can still be resolved in the end. He’s the one who has to pick up the pieces every time Tess gets roped into her schemes. Isabel’s always been adept at playing on her insecurities, filling a role that Nasedo left open when he died.

He knows why she does it, and why Tess goes along with it; he just doesn’t have to agree with it. Especially not now. Sure this whole fatherhood thing had been an accident, but Kyle’s always been one to take on a challenge—he wasn’t football captain for nothing after all.

“Exactly, Isabel. When are you going to wake up? Need I remind you what he tried the last time—“ Tess screams, red-faced and irate, her body shaking under the weight of history, reality and futility coming together for another round. “We’ve tried, we’ve failed. Some of us have nearly lost—“

“It was a mistake, a bad day. Remember? He still has the tickets in his wallet,” Isabel sighs, world-weary and tired of being his only advocate. While it’s true that she has two brothers, one
needs her more than the other, and it’s nice to be needed, especially when Alex has long stopped calling.

She ignores the small voice that whispers that all this was what finally drove him away.

“And what about all the other bad days before that? Fuck Is, he almost killed Tess. More than once,” Kyle hisses, clenching and unclenching his fists to calm the rage that’s building, but all he can see is red.

“Tess is pregnant, Isabel. Or have you not noticed that under all your layers of self-absorbed bullshit?” Kyle continues, pacing and on a rampage, all the teachings of Buddha long forgotten as the reality of what she’s asking settles in. “And now you’re asking her to do more work on your pet project?”

“I’m not—I wouldn’t,” Isabel stammers, eyes wet and losing ground as reality begins to settle in.

“Stop! Stop,” Liz shouts finally, finding her voice when the arguing gets to be too much. She had come alone on purpose, like she normally did to these meetings, because it was hard to have a frank discussion when one of the two warring parties was present. Not that she was really ever truly welcome here, either. Isabel had long made that perfectly clear.

“I’ll do it,” Liz whispers, uncertain, but aware that it needs to be her. She’s the only one that he’ll listen to, in the end, and it’s her news to share. “I’ll tell him, but not until after May 15th—I want the day, at least, to be perfect.”


2009

They’d planned to start a family at twenty-four, but then med school, law school and doctorates got in the way. Ultimately, it’d been wishful thinking on his part, but who could blame him? Little girls with Liz Parker’s dark eyes and wide smile running around the house, breaking hearts and winning minds everywhere were something to be treasured, adored.

But now they’re twenty-five and the world has contorted and twisted around them in high-definition wide screen. No matter how many times they replay the footage, the colors seem a mere shadow of themselves when they’ve been burned into his memory.

The attack was precise and well-planned and their merry band of misfits learned quickly that they’d taken Nasedo’s warnings for granted, and now the only one with any understanding of what he was trying to teach is long gone, as if she were never there at all.

However, they have little time to mourn the mistakes of their youth, even if treating Tess unkindly was always his biggest regret. They have everyone else, the humans eager to help however they can, despite warnings to leave, but if they’re going to go down, they’ll do it together, like they’ve done everything together since the day the bullet came to visit the diner all those years ago.

She slides into bed next to him, fully formed and more real than all the destruction around them, nuzzling in as he wraps his arms around her. War can wait for another day. Tonight he intends to enjoy the spoils.

2004

It comes as a desperate plea, the amazon looking meek and mild as she comes to them for help. She’d distanced herself at first, burying herself in Alex and the current predicament, his only ally and advocate, even after they’d agreed by majority that the decision had been for the best. But even she’s finally willing to admit that there might have been a reason for it all.

Tess leans into Kyle’s embrace and stares past the taller girl, more interested in the reactions that are playing out silently across the room. Tess watches them with interest, Liz clutching his hand tightly with whitening knuckles, perfectly towing the line between too much and too little in their displays of affection.

“He’s not sure what’s real and what isn’t,” Isabel rambles, gripping her hair and forcing back tears, the wetness shining in her eyes despite her best efforts. “It’s a like a dreamwalk you can’t wake up from—”

“That should have ended when we bound his powers,” Tess sighs, world weary and suddenly drawn back into the conversation. She’d avoided this after the final decision, preferring instead to play human as best she could—alcohol was still a problem, much to her disappointment, but the few times she’d tried it had earned her a nickname she’d never live down. Tequila Tess.

It also earned her the sorority’s highest honor—the drinking tiara.

“But it didn’t,” Isabel huffs in response, her tone accusatory and her eyebrow arched in a challenge. She always could turn on a dime. “It was a bad idea.”

“What else were we supposed to do, Is?” the taller man shouts, red-faced and as reserved as he can be when this subject comes up, which is somewhere between furious and ballistic. “He was gonna out us. Again. If it hadn’t been for Tess his Crashdown display would’ve royally fucked us.”

“He’s right, Isabel,” Kyle agreed. “El… er, um, ow, shit, never mind.” He stops himself when he receives an icy glare from Tess accompanied by her fingers digging into his arm and twisting,
hard to get him to shut up. She knew exactly where he was going, of course, the use of the old nickname probably didn’t help matters.

Not that he even managed to get that much out. The blonde knew him too damn well.

“I think what Isabel’s trying to say is that by your powers combined we can find a way to fix this,” Alex interjects, ever the peacemaker, even when he might have an opinion himself. He prefers the bed to the couch, so he’s long learned to stay quiet on family matters, especially in public when she needs support more than another dissenting opinion.

“Captain Planet? Really Whitman you need to get some new material,” Kyle returns with a smirk only to receive a stifled laugh from the obvious source and another warning glare from Tess in response. “What?”

“Ignore him,” Tess states, her tone clipped as she stares at Isabel and Alex, “I normally do.”

“What do you—“

“Can we get back to the point,” Liz asks, irritated and unsure of her place in these proceedings, but not willing to let it all go to hell in a hand-basket because of lines drawn in the sand years ago.

“Ah, my best friend, always the task master,” Tess grins and flashes her an encouraging smile, knowing full well that this is more awkward for her than anyone, and managing a dig in the process. She notices the guilt painted on Alex’s face, which is the least he can do after all the years of silence. “So, Isabel, what’s your grand plan?”


2014

They make their way across the desert wasteland in comfortable silence, neither man having much to say when they know it’s come to this point. Neither had truly been one for words anyway, Michael had only grown more silent as he’d been forced into a role he never truly fit—second in command.

Max wonders sometimes, in his darker moments, if he’d rather be first. Not that it matters, especially not now.

The blasts come hot and fast and Michael meets the challenge with a scowl before assuming his position at the front, heading forward, arm outstretched and leaving a wide birth. It’s in these moments that the experience gained in their other life kicks in and instinct kicks in.

“Fuck, my powers aren’t firing,” Michael curses, his back tensed and his tone taking on a hint of a panic. “I can’t feel ‘em.”

“Can’t feel mine either. Must be a trithium amplification generator,” Max suggests with a frown, suddenly realizing the danger they’re in.

“Fucking power snatcher,” Michael bites out, his insight always high at a time like this. “Move, Evans, we’re sitting ducks out here.”

“On it,” he replies and follows along at a quick pace, checking constantly to make sure that the crystal remains safely tucked in his vest pocket. While he knows Liz has one at her hideout near the granolith chamber, there’s no telling whether or not she’s still hanging on.

It’s sad to think about, but that’s the reality they’re forced to work with these days. It feels like it’s been years since he’s seen her, especially when days stretch on for what seems like weeks as a constant battle continues to carry out in front of them.

Michael turns a corner and sees the shadow of an explosion play out over rocks and sand. Max frowns, fearing the worst, and slinks forward in the shadows. Their enemies never expect to see them in pairs, especially when it’s really just the three of them left, so Max figures he’ll be safe enough.

The sight he sees is enough to churn his stomach, but Max does his best to keep the bile rising in his chest at bay. Michael’s face up, blood pooled underneath and energy invading every cell, a pile of rocks crushing against his chest.

He leans down, assessing the damage, knowing full well that he should head on up the rocks, but unwilling to leave his brother to die broken and alone.

“What are you doing?” Michael asks, even though breathing seems incredibly painful as the electricity shoots through him and the rock is crushing against his chest. Max manages to stop the power, but the rocks have caused too much damage—there’s no saving him now.

“What I have to—you understand that,” he responds with a sad smile and watches as the other man, his brother, nods in resignation, aware that there is no other option left to them. “Liz would want it this way.”

“Want what—“

“This,” he says without elaboration, knowing full well that he can’t explain the need to sit with a dying man to a soldier whose seen thousands. But Michael’s more than a man, he’s a brother to them both, always.

“Fuck. You,” Michael begins, only for the rest of his words to die in his throat as the now familiar process begins and water dries up. It’ll only be seconds before he’s mere dust in the wind—which, Max realizes, is rather fitting. He’d always been a bit of a lone wolf.

2000

They grow close around junior year, for one reason or another. Misery loves company and they’re certainly that. Both have spent the summer pushing off the former objects of their affection only to meet their combined efforts at reunification head-on in the fall.

He’s on her full force, mariachi bands and red, no, white roses—a symbol of purity and innocence, of course, god forbid he see her as more than that, and now with tickets to Gomez. It’s a band she doesn’t even like, but pretended to while they were together, for his benefit.

According to Kyle, he’s also being a dick to Tess, which seems ridiculous, especially in the wake of her pseudo-father’s death. Kyle doesn’t know much, but what little he’s overheard has made him angry enough to send a warning through her—any more of that, and Kyle will end him, lifesaver or not.

Kyle always had a bit of a hero complex. And Tess could use a white knight, especially when they’d all treated her like a leper.

Maria’s hardly any better. She’s a tyrant to the new waitress, Courtney, and has sent out, through the unofficial grapevine of teenage girls, threats to any and all who try to lay claim to her man.

Alex and she have both stopped trying to tell her that Michael is not property
and ultimately, Michael would associate with whomever he wished. He always had. And Maria instead distances herself while growing more desperate, trying to date people to make him jealous.

Liz doesn’t dare tell her that Michael couldn’t care less.

But ultimately, Liz winds up choosing a side in this battle anyway, and it isn’t hers, leaving Liz without two best friends, as Alex has assumed the role he normally does in matters of Maria’s broken heart. Clean-up duty. So, she’s left with several shifts with Michael sans Maria and it’s there that they commiserate and share battle stories.

The two of them clean the restaurant in amicable silence, some Metalica playing on the stereo—it’s Saturday, his turn for music, and Liz, though she refuses to admit it out loud, has grown appreciative of the overpowering guitar and heavy bass that accompanies Lars and James. Another part of Michael’s music nights is extensive education in all things metal. And metal, it turns out, is not the same thing as
hair bands.

Michael still hasn’t let her live that one down.

“Parker, your TV work?” Michael asks as they wrap up and she stares at him with wide eyes. Of course it works, why wouldn’t it.

“Yeah, why?”

“Mine's busted—there’s a game I want to see and,” Michael trails off at the end, his answer lingering a bit in the night air.

“My parents are out of town, so my mom’s not watching hours of Seinfeld and the tv’s available. C’mon up,” Liz answers with a grin, leading him the rest of the way up the stairs. She wonders if he knows the way—Michael, like Max, prefers to ascend the balcony.

He collapses onto the couch and flips on the tv like a pro. She rolls her eyes in response and shrugs her shoulders, making her way into the kitchen and throwing a bag of popcorn into the microwave.

“I’m going to go change. Started some popcorn,” Liz says, even though she doubts he’s truly listening. It shocks her that hockey starts in October, but she guesses it shouldn’t—and, well, maybe Michael can teach her why, exactly, people enjoy the game.

She makes it into her room humming
Enter Sandman to herself, pulling her hair free from its ponytail and thinking about what she’s going to wear. Sure it’s Michael and they’re friends, but she doesn’t want to share everything with him—least of all her heart covered pajamas.

There’s a knock at the glass and she bites down on her lip as her visitor makes his presence known. “What are you doing here, Max?”

“I just—I had to see you,” Max stammers and slurs and the hairs on the back of her neck prickle and rise as he staggers closer.

“Are you drunk?” she screeches, unsure if it’s better that Michael hears or not, but her instincts take over before her brain, producing a loud delivery.

“Only on love, Liz,” Max answers, coming closer and running a hand through her hair, his hands cool to the touch as they cup her cheek, and she stands painfully still in the hopes that her lack of response will stop this in its tracks.

“The Gomez concert’s tonight,” he breathes and she makes an effort to smell his breath and assess what she’s dealing with. It isn’t liquor.

“I told you, Max, I had to work,” Liz sighs, stepping past him toward the door. Maybe if she leaves, he will, and she won’t have to deal with this anymore.

“You’re the owner’s daughter, you could have gotten off,” he returns with a huff, a smirk playing at the corners of his mouth.

“Not when they’re in Arizona at a restaurant convention,” she explains, not that she should have to, but eager to get rid of him and perhaps the truth, for once, might be enough.

“They’re not here?” he asks, staring at her with wide eyes and a grin, causing her to feel more like prey than anything else and she scowls in response.

“No—“ she had more to say, but his mouth is on hers within seconds and her palms are pushing and gripping at his chest, trying to break free as his hands begin to play with the buttons of her uniform.

“Liz,” he breathes as he grips her tighter and she squirms in response, cursing her height silently and praying for an opening.

She finds it, seconds later when he’s making a move for her breast and running a hand through her hair and takes it as best she can. Finally free and attempting to flee Liz glares at him, indignant as she straightens out the sea-foam green polyester before slapping him clear across the face.

Liz hopes it leaves a mark.

“Don’t touch me,” she bites out and turns on her heel, heading for the door. Her tiny hand grips the handle when she feels heavy pressure on her wrist, dragging her away from the exit and into him once more.

“You’re
mine,” he states, his index finger tracing the outline of her mouth before pulling away and leaning into her ear. “It’s time you show me exactly how thankful you are that I saved your life.”

“I’m not—I’m not yours,” Liz stammers, a scream dying in her throat as his eyes grow dark and he grips into her shoulder before slamming her into a wall and crashing his mouth against hers. She can’t think, she can barely breathe, but all she knows is that this is not supposed to happen.

“I saved you—you only exist because of me,” Max says, gripping at the buttons while pinning her with one hand.

“Max, don’t,” she whispers, her eyes watering over as she feels his fingers play with the elastic of her underwear, teasing her with what he intends to do to her.

“Shhh, it’ll all be over soon, and then you’ll love only me,” he replies, wiping her eyes as he moves his hands upward toward her bra and she slams her eyes shut in response, unable to look at him any longer.

The door opens and Michael barrels through, knocking Max off of her and into the brick, his face pinned to the side and Michael making sure to scuff it up a little with all the jagged edges.

“Don’t you ever touch her again,” Michael bellows and Liz finds herself slinking into a corner, clutching the remnants of her uniform like a blanket.

“But she—“ Max begins, only to be silenced by Michael’s fist to his jaw and she jumps as he collapses to the floor.

“You alright?”

“N—no,” Liz answers as she swallows hard to prevent the all the tears she wants to shed from falling. “But, he didn’t,
you know.”

“Okay,” Michael says in a way that means a hundred different things, all of which are synonyms of
I’m sorry, but he knows better than to say that aloud. Liz hates pity just as much as he does, even when that’s not what this is, in the end. “I need to get rid of him.”

“Oh, okay,” Liz whispers dejectedly, and although it’s irrational she is wondering about the next visitor to her window.

“Something wrong?”

“I don’t, I don’t want to be alone right now,” she answers honestly and cringes at how that makes her sound, even if it’s more perception than anything else.

“Do you want me to call Maria?”

“No, uh, we had a fight,” Liz replies awkwardly, not wanting to go into details on the latest round of her discussions regarding Michael. While she knows, deep down, Maria would be more than happy to stand by her, this would affect her too much. Maria needs the fairy tale to make up for the fact that her dad left, and this, well, this would destroy her.

“I’m sure she’d understand, Liz,” Michael replies, realizing that it would probably be best if she had someone else there. While he doesn’t know all that much first hand, enough time spent at Chelsom has given him enough of a starting point.

“Really, it’s—“

“Who do you want me to call?” Michael interrupts, not willing to convince her to do something she doesn’t want to do, especially after what’d just happened.

“Tess,” she answers automatically, surprising even herself.


2000

Liz Parker is a vision at sixteen. Sure, she’s attractive as a woman, but as a girl, her innocence can stop a man dead in his tracks. Her dark hair hangs long and loose and it takes all the restraint he has, which these days isn’t much, not to run his fingers through it right then.

She’s staring at him fearfully, disbelieve evident as he spins his story, tells his tale of Gomez and everything after. It’s a gamble, but everything is, and when the alternative is continuous destruction, changing the future is the only option left. However, with stories of what is to happen followed by what does, it’s a perfectly timed execution of all things.

So they go through the motions as best they can and at times Liz is willing to give in to his younger self, which he discourages. The timing has to be perfect, otherwise Tess will discount him as a suitor and Liz might think differently than she should. He figures with the break, it’ll make her heart grow fonder, and they can recapture everything that was stolen away, in the end.

However, she’s about to fold and he pulls out the trump card, knowing that her loyalty will recommit her to the cause. Their cause.

“Michael, he died, he died in my arms,” Max whispers, looking down at his hands somberly. While they’re clean, now, he can still see the crimson coating under his fingertips, pooling and dragging over tanned skin, staining everything with sticky red wetness.

His eyes staring blankly up at him, still slightly accusatory even in death and Max counts down the seconds until oblivion takes over and the granolith is ready for him. It had to be done, a fitting end to a new beginning, and as the device warms up to send him back into oblivion, and now staring at the brunette, wide-eyed and trusting, all Max can think is that, unlike Michael, he had the courtesy not to stick the knife in his back.
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