Burning to Feel (CC/UC - Mature) [COMPLETE]

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sylvia37
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 133
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2001 4:58 pm

Burning to Feel (CC/UC - Mature) [COMPLETE]

Post by sylvia37 » Wed Mar 01, 2006 5:55 am

Winner - Round 13

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Winner - Round 12

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Winner - Round 11

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Winner - Round 10

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Winner - Round 9

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Banner by LongTimeFan

Title: Burning to Feel
Author: Sylvia37
Rating: Mature/
Catagory: CC/UC
Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing that is of any value including Roswell, any of it's characters, stories or ideas.


Summary: Future fic set after the events of Season two. After Tess leaves the planet with Max's son, Max and Liz have it out. Six years later Liz is back in Roswell for Michael and Maria's wedding after a long absence and she meets up with the past she tried to leave behind. But she finds out that everything has changed and that life for the aliens and her friends went on without her. Will she be able to continue on happily in her new life or will the Alien Abyss swallow her once again and threaten her new found peace?

Author Note: Whew, I hardly no where to begin. I've taken a while to post this because I wanted to have several parts written first and get it established the way I wanted it. For those of you who read my previous stories, especially ETY, it isn't anything like that so be forewarned. There are UC pairings in this and you know I don't issue dreamer insurance although you all know I'm a dreamer at heart. Don't let that scare you. I'm not saying it ends unhappily, just that I'm not saying how it ends. :)

This fic is primarily from Liz's viewpoint with a few other's thrown in, but the reader will have to find out along with Liz, what's going on with Max and the other aliens and the changes that have occured.

I want to say that in no way is this a bashing fic. It is just a version of events that could have occured after season two based on my opinion of the way the characters were left. Season three is an anomaly(in more ways than one) that has no bearing on this fic.

I would also like to say that I know that there have been many, many stories written about this subject matter, many of which were wonderful and original. I want to state that any similarity in events or dialogue or ideas is purely coincidental and unintentional.


A huge hug and thank you to Liz (IAmLongTimeFan) for the awesome banner and for being my beta and friend. Her help is, as always, needed and appreciated and her encouragement is humbling.

Last thing. I've missed talking to you guys and hearing from you so much. I was shocked and elated to see that ETY won more awards last round and I want to thank whoever voted for me. You guys rock! Hope you will all enjoy this fic. I solemnly promise that it will NOT be as long as ETY by a long shot. In fact, it will probably be significantly shorter unless I end up with more ideas than I have right now. :roll: And hopefully I can update regularly. That's the plan anyway.

So....the scary, long AN is finally over. Prologue is set after the end of "Departure". I look forward to hearing from you. :)


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Burning to Feel (Prologue)


He stood below her bedroom window, down in the alley like he’d done so many times before, staring up at the balcony, wondering if she was there. But this time wasn’t like before. This time was probably the last time.

Max felt the heaviness of the last few hours…the last few days… weighing on him like lead, his emotions eating away at his insides, leaving a hollow shell.

That’s what he was. A hollow shell. Whatever he’d been… whatever he’d thought he was… was gone, leaving behind nothing but a shell... a sick empty vessel.

The last year of his life ran through his mind like a bad movie that wouldn’t quit and Max wished he could somehow… erase it… rewind it and start over… but… bitterness like acid curled in his stomach. He’d actually tried that before, according to Liz and look where it had landed him.

His life, and everyone’s around him, in complete ruins.

Running a hand tiredly around the back of his neck, Max continued to stare up at the balcony. Was she there? Was she sitting up there on her roof, on one of her lawn chairs, journal on her knees as she wrote… or was she in her room crying…. wishing, like he was, that it could have been different?

Why was he waiting? Was it going to get easier if he waited? Was it going to be suddenly better if he drew out the inevitable? Because that’s what this was. The inevitable conclusion of the drama they had been playing at since he’d healed Liz that fateful day in September two years ago.

Once, he’d thought there might be a happy ending… and he had to admit that a very small part of him wished that he would ascend that ladder and she would welcome him with open arms and tell him all was forgiven… but his practical side knew better… the side that had come to face reality so abruptly this brutal morning, when his very fragile world had fallen down around him in that pod chamber. In that moment when he found out that Tess had killed Alex, he was forced to allow her to leave the planet to save their son…. his son… that side knew that there was no happy ending. There was no going off into the sunset on the back of a white horse. There were only here and now and the consequences of his actions facing him.

Anger momentarily pushed aside some of the other emotions eating away at his gut. Not just his actions. Everyone’s actions. Max couldn’t deny that he had made some incredibly bad mistakes… but he wasn’t the only one.

He rubbed his face with his hands and looked at the rungs of the ladder again. This was ridiculous. Time to face the music.

Grasping the lower most rung, Max climbed to the top and peered over the wall. She was there, just as he’d imagined, sitting on a lawn chair, her candles burning all around. But she wasn’t writing. She was just sitting, wrapped in a sweater, arms curled around her knees.

“Liz?”

She looked up at the sound of her name and saw him peering at her over the rail.

“Can I…”

Liz sighed and nodded, surreptitiously wiping at the tears on her cheeks. Max approached and sat down on one of the chairs opposite her.

“What are you doing here, Max?” Her voice was sad, her eyes showing that she wasn’t sure she was really interested in what he had to say.

That look told Max what he needed to know. There was no happy ending. There was just an ending. He’d known it the moment he’d told them this morning that he had to find his son and had seen her face. It was the same face she’d been giving him for weeks, since before Prom.

The same face she was giving him now.

“I just came… to see if you were okay.” How lame was that. Partially true, but lame nonetheless.

“I’m fine… no… that’s not really true.” Liz shook her head. “I’m not fine… but… I don’t know exactly how I am.”

Max looked down at his hands. “Look… Liz… I know this doesn’t help anything… but I’m sorry about Alex. I’m sorry for what Tess did. If I had known… ”

“What Max? You wouldn’t have slept with her?” Liz finished for him, her eyes wide with sudden anger. “Well you’re a little late. He’s already dead and she’s already pregnant so…” she stopped herself before she started screaming at him. “Look… I can’t do this with you... not right now.”

Max stared at her angry face for a moment, then got up and headed for the railing to leave, knowing that this had been a mistake. But before he could go over the side, his own anger got the better of him and he turned around.

“No… not this time. We’re not going to put this off any longer. You brought it up, so why don’t you finish it. Say what you have to say.”

Liz stared at him for moment. “I already said it. Tess killed Alex and you slept with her. You slept with a murdering… lying….”

“You don’t think I know that already? How do you think that makes me feel?” Max lowered his voice from where he realized it had risen. “You know I never wanted us… any of us to end up this way.”

“Do you think that I did?” Liz asked, gazing at him in disbelief.

“Actually, I’m not sure what you wanted. I haven’t been sure of that since last summer.” He looked away from her. “Except that it hasn’t been me.”

Liz felt her stomach tighten at his words, part of her wanting to scream and ask how he could say that after everything she’d done for him… and part of her knowing that he had a right to question her feelings. “This isn’t about you and me, Max… this is about….”

“Isn’t it?” Max cut her off. “You have a right to be angry at Tess for killing Alex, and you even have a right to be angry at me for letting her into our lives… but don’t lie to yourself… and to me about what this is really about. Be honest with me about that much, at least.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“How long has it been since you’ve been honest with me, Liz? Was it when you told me you loved me? Or was that even true?” His breath coming painfully from his chest, Max saw his words hit their mark, but he felt no satisfaction.

“I… you know I loved you… how can you even… ask me that?”

Loved. Past Tense. Hearing that word from her lips was like acid on his already charred heart.

“I know that you told me you did. I remember it like it was yesterday. In spite of everything I’d just been through, it was almost the happiest I’d ever been.” Max gazed at her, the expression on his face suddenly more hurt than angry. “I thought you felt the same way. You knew I couldn’t just leave after we heard that message from the orbs. You made me choose between you and my family. I told you that nothing had changed. For me, it hadn’t.

So they were going to dredge up old hurts. Liz swallowed at the pain of bringing up the past. “You know…why…..”

“Yeah I do. You heard a hologram from 50 years ago of a woman none of us knew tell me that Tess was my bride and that I was a king of some distant planet. You were afraid… you felt like all of the sudden, there were bigger things… more important things than you and me and how we felt.”

The look on Liz’s face told him he was right, and he could see the underlying surprise as well. “Why are you surprised? How do you think I felt? I had just been told I was in charge of a whole planet… a place I’ve never even seen, a place I’d never even heard of.”
Max’s gaze pierced her. “My whole world had just turned upside down and the only thing I was certain of was you. I’d told you that I loved you. You said you loved me. You said that you wanted to be with me.”

Liz’s eyes slid away from his, guilt momentarily overruling the anger she was feeling. “You didn’t… you had Tess… you had Michael and Isabel.”

“I didn’t have anyone,” Max retorted in a near shout, but then his voice lowered, “no one that I wanted or needed, anyway.”

He suddenly scoffed bitterly. “The only thing they wanted from me was to be this great leader, this king, something I never asked for…something I didn’t want. All of them… Isabel… Michael… even you… no one asked me what I wanted, no one cared how I felt. I was seventeen years old, and suddenly everyone is looking at me like I’m supposed to have all the answers… like I’m suddenly supposed to know everything.” He turned his back to her, his voice sounding suddenly thick “Somehow it became irrelevant that I had lived on earth my whole life…. that I had just spent two days being tortured by the FBI for not being human.”

Liz stared at his tense back, her heart aching at the painful words. Did he really think that? “It wasn’t irrelevant,” she whispered “It’s all I thought about while I was gone. You were all I thought about.”

“Did you?” He asked woodenly. “How was I supposed to know that? You wouldn’t even talk to me. You left me without a word to go to Florida for three months while I sat here waiting like some…pathetic …” he paused for a breath that spoke volumes, before continuing, “ and then, when you finally did come back… you didn’t even tell me. If I hadn’t seen you on the street that day, would you have even bothered?”

“Max….” Liz began in a tight, anguished voice, but Max cut her off again, his feelings of inadequacy, his isolation from everyone who professed to care about him rushing to the forefront for the first time.

“Do you think I wasn’t afraid too?” He finally turned around to face her, his tightly controlled expression giving nothing away. “Everything I believed in… everything I thought I could count on had been taken from me…but I was the one that everyone was relying on… so I wasn’t allowed to show it. So I tried. I tried to be what they wanted…. what you wanted. I thought if I showed you… that if you thought I was doing what I was supposed to… that it would make a difference... that we could find a way to be together. And then…”

Max stopped, his eyes focusing on her bed through the window, a crease between his brows, and he felt the familiar lump of anger rise in his throat as he once again felt the unbelievable hurt that seeing her with Kyle had caused and the incomprehensible truth that it was all a lie.

Liz saw the pain of her actions reflected on his face… and her guilt over them blotted out the rest of her anger. God, how had this become such a screwed up mess?

“I’m sorry, Max,” she said huskily. How inadequate those words were for something that had shattered both their lives beyond repair.

Max swallowed, forcing himself to say, “You thought you were doing what was right. I’m sorry that you had to go through that.”

And he was. He was having trouble comprehending the circumstances that would make his future self come back in time and force Liz to do something so painful for both of them. But knowing the truth didn’t take away the pain. Liz echoed his thoughts.

“But it still doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt.”

“No it doesn’t.” Max answered, with more bitterness than he meant too. He took a deep breath, but the pain lingered. “I still don’t understand how you could do that to me.” He suddenly looked at her with all the anguish he’d felt that night. “I wanted to die that night.”

Liz gestured helplessly, feeling her own anguish. “Max… it was you….”

“NO! It wasn’t me! That man wasn’t me.” His voice was loud, trembling with his volatile emotions and he struggled to contain them. “He got to live his life with you! He had fourteen years of loving you… of waking up with you in the morning and going to bed with you at night! I was willing to give up everything to be with you.” Max swallowed against the tears shimmering in his eyes. “He was willing to give up everything so I couldn’t,” he whispered.

“Do you think it was easy for me to do that to you?” Liz’s own voice was hoarse with tears. “Do you think it was easy for me to say those things to you… to do what I did and watch you bleeding from it? Do you think I wanted to hurt you that way? I loved you, Max! I… it killed me too.” She was crying now, her words torn from her throat.

“No,” Max answered her painfully. “No, I don’t think it was easy.” His gaze was dark with all the hurt and anger he was feeling. “But you, at least, had the luxury of knowing that what you were doing was for a purpose. That you had what you thought was a good reason.” He gestured angrily. “All I had was the one person who I thought I could trust most in the world, lying to me over and over and over.”

He choked on a hitching, mirthless laugh. “God, I begged you. I begged you to tell me the truth, even though I’d seen it with my own eyes!” He covered his eyes with his hands for a moment, trying to get himself under control.

When he finally looked back up at her, his eyes were red and bitter. “What exactly did you think was going to happen afterward? You’re so angry with me for what I’ve done to you. You threw it in my face how much you trusted me… how you sacrificed for me… jumping off bridges… almost getting shot… but you left out the part where you pushed me away... the part where you decided to make all the decisions about our relationship and leave me in the dark. All of you did.” Max gestured to encompass the others who weren’t there. “Everyone was lying to me. How was I supposed to make decisions and be a leader when no one I trusted would tell me the truth? I was flying blind, and everyone hated me for doing what they’d asked of me… for being this person they’d created. The only one who seemed to care anything about what I was feeling… or showed me any support ….” He took a weary, sickened breath, “…was Tess.”

Liz’s stomach twisted at the name of the person who had killed Alex, the person who had taken everything she’d ever wanted from her, and her anger came rushing back.

“And we know why, don’t we? You said that we all lied to you, but I tried to get you to see the truth. I told you an alien had killed Alex and you didn’t believe me.

“You know that’s not what I’m talking about but…you’re right,” Max said after a moment, and Liz saw the anger on his face fade into regret. “I should have listened. I should have at least tried, but all I could think about was that you were going to expose us. Not just me, Michael and Isabel but all of us, you and Maria too and... I wouldn’t be able to save you just like I hadn’t been able to save Alex.” He looked up at her. “You knew… you knew better than anyone else what could happen to us… what had happened to me….”

Liz’s throat burned, a mixture of the terrible anger and pain of losing Alex and the haunting realization of exactly how what she’d been doing must have looked to Max. She’d been so caught up in her own feelings that she hadn’t even considered his fears… fears that only she knew about, for she was more certain than ever, after tonight, that he hadn’t told anyone else what had gone on in the white room. She bit her lip to keep back the sob that was threatening as he continued.

“I was angry and I let that anger rule my head. I couldn’t face that we might have been responsible for Alex’s death so I buried it beneath my anger at what you were doing, and I said some things…things I regret. But it just…it felt like you were deliberately trying to hurt me even more than you already had.”

Running a weary hand around his neck, Max turned away from her again, and Liz could only sit and try to come to terms with this conversation… no this whole day. Learning that Tess killed Alex was a blow that she could barely comprehend, but having to suddenly deal with her tattered relationship with Max on top of it… she couldn’t seem to think of anything to say in her own defense.

“You want to hear something really funny?” Max suddenly said from his place at the railing.

Liz knew by the tone of his voice that what she was about to hear was going to be anything but funny.

“When you told me about Prom and we decided to go together, I actually had hope.”

The words were said with such a wealth of self-disgust that Liz winced.

“I mean… not that I thought we would get back together exactly… just that… it wasn’t over… that there was still a chance. You would have laughed if you could have seen me. I wanted everything to be perfect. I retied that stupid bow tie fifty times before Mom finally did it for me.”

“Please stop….” Liz whispered painfully, but Max wasn’t looking at her, and she didn’t think he even heard her, too caught up in his own painful memories.

“When I asked you to dance, I was so nervous. All I could think was that this was my chance to fix things. How sad is that?” Max turned around finally to look at her and Liz could only stare back. “Imagine my surprise that while I was trying to come up with something witty and clever to say to get us back on track… you were doing the exact opposite. Story of our lives, isn’t it?”

“You….” Liz swallowed at the croak in her voice, wanting to dispute his words, the thought that he’d actually been feeling that way too painful to contemplate. “You kissed Tess…”

“Yeah, I did.” Max stated without inflection. He sat down on a lawn chair. “I‘d been doing exactly what you accused me of… holding on to what was left of our relationship with both hands… trying to keep it from drowning.” Max looked up at her tearful face. “Suffocating and paralyzing. That’s what you called it. You said our relationship was suffocating and paralyzing you.”

Dropping his gaze away from her, Max whispered, “I never wanted to do that. I never wanted…” He stopped on a breath. “So I did what you’d been begging me to do for months.” Before Liz could utter a protest, he spoke again. “I let go.” Leaning forward, he rested his forearms on his legs. “I think your exact words were, ‘We should stop pretending.’” Max gazed dully at the ground, his voice equally dull. “So I stopped. I stopped pretending that you still loved me… that you still wanted anything from me. I didn’t love Tess, but I cared about her… I remembered some of the feelings she told me about….and ….”

“Are you saying that’s why you slept with Tess? Because I pushed you to?” Liz’s voice came out in a whisper, her throat strangled with the pain his words were inflicting. She knew what she’d done to him… but now…hearing him talk about it… seeing the wreckage of her actions reflected on his face….it was almost more than she could bare. He didn’t understand. He could never know how hard it had been for her to push him away. He wasn’t there. How could he understand how desperate his future self had been, how insistent, how much like he was now?

“No.” Max answered, finally lifting his head. “I’m saying that you feel betrayed by what I did, but the only person I betrayed was myself. I gave in to self pity and loneliness and hurt, and I did something I never thought I would do.”

He got up from the lawn chair and faced the wall again, looking out at the stars.

“I don’t recognize myself anymore.” His voice was quiet with pain, lost. “I say things, I do things and I have no idea what’s happening. My God, I slept with a girl I could barely tolerate a few months ago.” He turned around. “You are the only person I ever wanted that way, the only person I dreamed of being with.” He looked away from her, taking a deep painful breath. “Tess knew that. I think that’s why she went ahead with her plan.”

“What do you mean?” Liz asked, wiping at her tears.

“I mean,” Max said, looking at her for a moment before looking away, “I think that if she’d thought that I loved her or at least was there because I wanted her like she wanted me… she might not have betrayed us. I did care about her… she knew that. But… she realized that… Tess knew that it wasn’t her I was thinking about that night.”

Bitterness was like gall in Max’s throat as he said those words and he swallowed against it convulsively.

How he wished he could take back that night… that night, when his need to connect with a person who professed to care about him… when everyone else had rejected him… overrode his common sense. Max clenched his fist at the thought.

Never again would he let himself be that vulnerable.

The two times he had allowed himself to give into his need for companionship… for love… it had been disastrous. First Liz, then Tess.

Never again would he let his need get to him like that. He wasn’t allowed to need anyone… wasn’t allowed to have anyone. He knew that now. Maybe he’d always known it. He had just… let his human side help him forget for a while.

Liz sat silently, her heart twisted at his words and the look of bitter regret on his face. She wasn’t sure how she was supposed to feel, knowing that he had been thinking of her while he slept with another girl… that he’d wanted it to be her even when he was feeling angry and betrayed by her. Something inside her broke at the thought.

Listening to him tell her about sleeping with Tess, Liz realized in a moment of painful clarity that as much as it had hurt her to find out that he’d given his virginity to Tess and gotten her pregnant, it was obviously much harder on him to face what he’d done, especially now, knowing that Tess had betrayed them all.

He was right. What had she expected to happen when she had come up with the plan to deceive him? No matter what the reasons were behind it, the truth was, she had deliberately hurt him in the worst way possible, ripped his heart out of his chest with a dull knife… then what? Expected him to come crawling back? Expected him to get past all the pain, the lies, the rejection, and beg her to give him another chance when it was she who had done the damage? God, what had she been thinking? She had handed him to Tess on a silver platter.

Swallowing back the tears that were relentlessly clogging her throat, Liz gazed up at him, feeling helpless and battered. She saw that Max looked the same way. Even after everything, she still felt her love for him somewhere deep where she’d hidden it away, and his pain called out to her. But she couldn’t reach for him. She just couldn’t. Not right now.

And she had a feeling that right now was all they had.

What ravages of spirit
conjured this temptuous rage
created you a monster
broken by the rules of love


“So what are you going to do?” Liz forced herself to ask.

Max gazed back at her, feeling his spirit leaving his body, the anger and hurt and that tiny bit of hope that had tried to live through it all draining from him leaving him empty again.

“I have to find a way to find my son.”

And fate has lead you through it
you do what you have to do
and fate has led you through it
you do what you have to do ...
and I have the sense to recognize that
I don't know how to let you go


Liz nodded, trying not to let how much those words hurt her show.

“Do you know how, yet?”

Every moment marked
with apparitions of your soul
I'm ever swiftly moving
trying to escape this desire


“No. I only know I have to try. I don’t know if Tess was telling me the truth about whether or not he could live here or whether it was a mindwarp…but I couldn’t force her to stay not knowing for sure. I couldn’t take that risk. But I can’t abandon him.”

The yearning to be near you
I do what I have to do
the yearning to be near you
I do what I have to do


Liz nodded again, her throat aching with unshed emotion.

but I have the sense to recognize
that I don't know how to let you go
I don't know how to let you go


Max took a weary breath and moved toward the ladder. He wanted to tell her so much how he felt, how much he still loved her despite his angry words tonight….how much he always would. But he couldn’t. Not now. Not ever.

Standing at the wall, Max hesitated, not knowing exactly what to say. Not knowing how to say goodbye….again.

A glowing ember
burning hot
burning slow
deep within I'm shaken by the violence
of existing for only you


He turned toward her, finding her still sitting on her lawn chair, looking small and sad. She gazed at him, her eyes telling him she knew what he was thinking.

“What do you want, Max?” Liz asked, seeing the uncertainty in face.

Max felt a small mirthless smile curl his lip, even as he choked on his longing for things to be different. He realized suddenly that he hadn’t touched her. Not this whole time. And he never would again. This morning at the pod chamber when he’d held her … had been the last time he would ever feel the warmth of her body against his, the slide of her hair in his hands, the touch of her hands on him, making him complete.

I know I can't be with you
I do what I have to do
I know I can't be with you
I do what I have to do


“I can’t have what I want.” He answered her in a thick voice, wanting her to know at least some of what was in his heart even if he couldn’t come out and say the words.

“If I could, I would go back to that night that we stood on this balcony and you looked at me with stars in your eyes…..” Max swallowed at the lump still sitting in his throat, “and we kissed for the first time….and I knew that I had found what I was looking for my whole life.”

Those damn relentless tears choked Liz’s throat, but she pushed them back, seeing that Max’s eyes were suddenly glittering with moisture again too as he looked at her with resignation.

“I’ll tell you what I’ll settle for though.” he continued, turning his head to look at the stars , blinking back the tears that he refused to shed. “That you do what you were meant to do before I… before everything happened.” He looked at her with a small smile. “Follow your dreams and have the life you wanted.” His smile faltered. “And maybe in the future when you think about me… if you think about me… think about that night… instead of this one.”

Sliding a leg over the wall, Max stopped for a moment, remembering another time when he had been in this position and she had stopped him and kissed him, her eyes begging him not to take that step back. He knew this time would be different... this time, she wouldn’t ask him, she wouldn’t kiss him, she wouldn’t stop him.

And I have sense to recognize but
I don't know how to let you go
I don't know how to let you go
I don't know how to let you go


“Bye Liz.”

He disappeared from her sight and Liz watched him go, her hands curled tightly around the edges of her sweater, feeling her heart break in two, knowing she was letting the man that she had once thought was her soulmate, walk out of her life without a fight.

Sitting on her balcony, staring at nothing, feeling the pain long after the candles guttered and the night deepened, Liz tried in vain to hold on to the sound of his dying footsteps, until she finally… slowly… let go…



"I don't know how to let you go" by Sarah McLachlan
Last edited by sylvia37 on Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:50 am, edited 38 times in total.

sylvia37
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 133
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2001 4:58 pm

Post by sylvia37 » Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:22 am

Hey you guys. Can't tell you how great it was to hear from all of you. I was so suprised to see so many replies. Thank you. With all that praise, I hope the rest of the story lives up to your expectations. That doesn't mean stop :wink: . Oh and the angst factor is minimal....at least for a while :) (Mareli...Jeanine.....Scottie...... everyone...:P )


First, let me tell you that I just got back from a week long trip to the states ( I live in Germany for those of you who don't know), so I'm a bit jetlagged, and that's why it took so long to post this next part. I'm hoping to update at least once a week, although it might be longer. That's the goal anyway.

Secondly, it was great to see so many differing opinions. I have to tell you that originally when I watched season 2, I was as angry at Max as most everyone was. I hated that he had fallen so far from his pedestal and felt like the writers had just trampled his character into the ground. But I realized that although I was angry at what he had done and didn't like seeing him that way, it was the writers who had done such a poor job of making his downfall more sympathetic. We, the viewers knew why Liz had done what she did and all of her emotional turmoil and her feelings everytime she hurt him. What we never got to see was the real devastation from her actions.

Let me make a note of clarification here that I forgot to state in my note before the prologue. We were going on the assumption that Liz had told Max the whole story behind Future Max's visit as in the original script, not the version they gave us on TV where there was no explanation at all. :roll: So sorry I forgot to clarify that.

So, saying that, Max had found out all in one day that LIz had been lying to him for months, Tess killed Alex and that he had almost lead his family and himself to their deaths by allowing himself to be manipulated by Tess. I think that he had a right to be angry that the people around him had been lying to him repeatedly, and yet still expected so much from him, especially expecting him to make good rational decisions while being completely manipulated.


Okay, another long scary AN. Sorry. Thanks to all of you for expressing yourselves and your differing opinions so nicely.

Just a quick explanation about the parts from here on out. The chapters are divided into two sections. The first section(in intalics) will be the past. The second section will be the present. I don't think it's too confusing, but please let me know if you need more clarification. And just a reminder. The story changes from here. The reader is going to be in the dark about some things and will have to find out as we go along. Don't get too discouraged. I'm not trying to make it painful. It's just part of the story.

(Thank you to Liz as usual for helping me with this. Love you, babe.)


Burning to Feel - Part 1


(2001)

The stars hurled by at a frightening speed and his stomach somersaulted, threatening to turn inside out.

This was crazy….he was crazy.

Taking a deep breath, he was relieved to find that he could do so without wanting to pass out. At least the terror that had held him in it’s grip when he’d first boarded the ship …the terror that threatened to take apart his resolve and literally had him shaking in his shoes…that terror had dissipated somewhat as the journey stretched out. His hands were no longer clammy and he’d managed to ease his white knuckled grip on the arms of the chair. But now, unfortunately…he had time to think.

Would they forgive him?

He’d left in the middle of the night….quietly and quickly before anyone could realize he was gone. He drove to Santa Fe and the ship he’d found hiding in a government storage facility during his research had followed his mental commands, just as he’d known it would. He didn’t know how he knew… he just did. Just like he’d instinctively known that the ship knew where to go without the need for navigation.

Picturing the distraught expression on Isabel’s face…on his parent’s faces.... and the angry one on Michael’s when they found the notes he left for them, he felt a twinge of guilt that he quickly pushed away. They might not realize that this was for the best….but in his heart, he knew that it was. Last time, he’d selfishly wanted his sister and Michael with him so he wouldn’t have to face the unknown with only Tess for companionship….for support…. and he had almost led them all into certain death. Death at the hands of their enemies. This time….he might still be facing certain death…but at least he had the comfort of knowing that he hadn’t dragged his family into it. That he was trying to fix his mistakes…not make more.

One more image kept insinuating itself onto his consciousness. He had found himself standing in the alley again in the early morning hours….unable to leave the planet without seeing her one last time before he left to face… whatever it was he was going to face. Climbing the ladder and peering through her window, he’d sat there for what seemed like hours on his knees, drinking in her image…her beautiful face peaceful in sleep…until he finally forced himself away.

The ship was slowing down. He glanced at the control panel to see that he was nearing a point on the green glowing map that must be….

He looked out of the port hole again.

Antar.

Oh God. The terror was rapidly returning. Breathe….just breathe…..

It was almost time. He tried to prepare himself, but it was impossible. A hundred different scenarios had already run through his mind, some good, some bad….but he knew none of them could prepare him for what was to come. His son was what mattered. He was the only thing that mattered. And if his life was to end…..then at least he knew that he would die trying to do the right thing.

The thought only helped a little. The rest of him was too petrified to be comforted. As the ship slowed down even more and began to descend, he found himself clinging to the images in his mind….. of Isabel…..of Michael….his family…..the people he might never see again….

…..of Liz….


************************************************************************

(2007)

Her face alight with her smile, Liz gazed down at the picture in her hand then back up to Maria’s excited expression. “You’re sure about this?”

“Yes! Don’t you think it will be fantastic? You know I’ve always wanted an outdoor wedding.”

“I know but…..” Liz looked at the picture once again. “Don’t you want…I don’t know….flowers…candles…..organ music….”

“We can have all that. Except for the organ music. The guys will play for us.”

“The guys. Listen to you,” Liz said, shaking her head. “I still can’t believe it. You’re a singer. You’re an entrepreneur, for God sakes.”

Maria smiled happily, if a little smugly and Liz laughed at her expression. “Your head has gotten so big.”

Maria stuck out her tongue, effectively ruining her adult moment and Liz laughed again. Maybe some things didn’t change.

When she’d first seen Maria at the airport, Liz thought she had gone back in time. She still looked sixteen, her long hair in a braided style that Liz still hadn’t quite figured out how she managed and her clothes as funky as ever. Who would have thought that this girl in the tight t-shirt emblazoned with “PINK” across the front and the low rise jeans showing her very real belly button ring, was actually the co-owner of one of the newest, nicest restaurants in town.

It was incredible to Liz that Maria and Michael had stayed together, stronger than ever after the day Tess left. And although Liz had no idea what the circumstances were, Michael was a changed man before the summer was over. After struggling hard and managing to graduate high school, he confessed to Maria that he’d been thinking about going to culinary school. He’d found the one he wanted to attend in Texas and persuaded Maria to go with him. Together, they completed the courses, Michael studying culinary arts, while Maria studied restaurant management and food service. When they came back to Roswell, they had both worked hard and eventually, with the help of, Mrs. Deluca and Sheriff Valenti’, and Mr. and Mrs. Parker, to Liz’s astonishment, they opened a restaurant of their own, simply called, “Maria and Michael’s.” And not just any restaurant. A four star restaurant, with Michael as the Cordon Bleu chef and Maria as the hostess, complete with a jazz quartet that played on the weekends with Maria as their lead vocalist.

They had been open for a year, and had already managed to pay back almost all of the parent’s initial investments. Liz was extremely proud of her friend’s astonishing accomplishments.

“Look who’s talking. Ms. “Master’s degree in Molecular Biology from Harvard University.” Maria retorted, bringing Liz back to their conversation. “You’re looking a little smug yourself.”

Liz’s rueful smile acknowledged her assessment. She couldn’t help but be proud of the fact that despite some set backs, namely falling into the Alien Abyss for two years, she had managed to pull herself out and accomplish her dream. She’d graduated magna cum laud from Harvard just two months ago, and although she hadn’t accepted a job yet, she had a few offers pending. She had plenty of time to decide.

Which was why she was sitting in the CrashDown right this minute, drinking a Green Martian shake and helping her friend plan her wedding. When Maria had called to tell her that she and Michael were finally tying the knot after all these years and begging her to come back to Roswell to help her plan the small, quick ceremony, Liz couldn’t say no. Initially, she had been hesitant, having put Roswell and its memories behind her, but now that she was here, Liz was glad she’d decided to come. The CrashDown still felt like home and being here with Maria, talking and laughing, felt comfortingly familiar. It had been over a year since her last visit and never in all the years since she left for college, had she been back for more than a couple of days. This time she was staying for three weeks.

Maria’s cell phone rang and Liz took the opportunity to study her while she answered it. She looked happy and, as Liz had noted earlier, no older than when they were teenagers gossiping next to the milkshake machine. Glancing down at her own outfit, Liz felt positively dowdy next to her, although she did think the dark salmon colored silk tank top she was wearing flattered her coloring. Her own hair had been cut into layers and just brushed below her shoulders now. When she left Boston this morning to board the plane home, she thought she looked sleek and sophisticated….which she probably did. She just suddenly wondered how the two of them had changed so much in such a few short years, and still managed to stay best friends.

“Okay. We’ll see you in a bit.” Maria said to her caller right before she clicked the phone off.

“That was Michael.”

“Where is he?” Liz asked.

“He’s on his way. Listen, I need to…..”

Mr. Parker came walking through the swinging doors.

“How are my daughter and my competition doing?” Jeff Parker asked with a smile not realizing he had interrupted Maria.

“I hardly think the CrashDown is competition for Maria and Michaels’, Dad,” Liz commented with a laugh.

“What? Don’t you like the way I’ve redecorated?” He gestured to the reupholstered booths and new paint before turning back to her with a wink. It was exactly like the old upholstery and paint.

“Umm……”

“Why mess with a good thing. It’s always paid the bills and kept you in that fancy school, right?”

“You know I love Michael’s cooking, Mr. Parker, but sometimes I just need a good old fashioned burger and fries.” Maria said.

“Just don’t let your customers here you say that,” he warned her with a smile. He looked at Liz and shook his head. “I just can’t get over how much you’ve changed.”

“Where’s Mom?” Liz asked, keeping her father from going down the path of that conversation. She knew where it would lead and she had no desire to start an argument.

“She’s upstairs. She’ll be back down later.” He leaned down to give her small kiss on the hair. “It’s good to have you home.”

Liz smiled at him and watched him walk away. When she looked back at Maria, she noted her knowing expression. “Don’t start.”

“I wasn’t going to say anything,” Maria denied innocently. “So….they still don’t approve of Richard.”

“You know they don’t. They think he’s too old, they think he’s changed me…..the same old argument.” Her parents knew she had an older boyfriend, but hadn’t met him until they came to Boston for her graduation. Although they’d been polite to him, they had no problem telling her in private what they thought of her dating an older man.

“Well, you have changed.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Liz asked a little defensively.

“Nothing bad. You’re just…not the same as before you started seeing him. I mean….look at the way you’re dressed.”

“What’s wrong with how I’m dressed?” Liz asked, uncomfortably aware that she had just been thinking about the same thing.

“Again, nothing. You look great. But the last time I saw you, you were wearing jeans and an old Roswell High t-shirt with your hair up in a ponytail. Now, you’re suddenly a fashion statement for the young republicans. It takes a little getting used to, that’s all. And I can sort of understand your parent’s problem. He is….how many years older than you?

“Twenty,” Liz replied. Admittedly at first, dating someone older had made her feel self conscious, but after a while, in Boston at least, their friends and Richard’s colleagues became used to them as a couple so Liz quit thinking about it. Now, with her parents and Maria…..she found herself once again feeling defensive. “But you know he doesn’t look it. I thought you liked him.”

“I do like him. I think he’s funny and good looking for a forty something year old college professor.” Maria answered. It was the truth. One couldn’t help but like Richard Campbell. He was charming and easy going, and seemed completely genuine, if a little snobbish. She and Michael had met him last year during a visit to Boston, a month or so after Liz started dating him, and though she was surprised that Liz was dating someone so much older than herself, Maria could see why she was attracted. Not only was he good looking and intelligent, he had been Liz’s biology professor and her mentor. They had a lot in common.

“Is he coming to the wedding?”

“He says he’s going to try. His lecture schedule should have him in Albuquerque a few days ahead of time so….” Liz took a deep breath before looking back at her friend. “He asked me to marry him.”

“What!” Maria exclaimed, almost choking on her drink. “Shit Liz. Are you trying to kill me? What did you say?”

“I haven’t answered him yet.” Liz bit her lip.

“Do you love him?”

“Yes,” Liz answered immediately. “I do. He’s kind and smart and he treats me like….” She stopped. She was going to say “a queen” but it reminded her too much of someone else that she’d spent a long time trying to forget. “He’s wonderful,” she continued instead. “I’m just…I mean I just graduated. I don’t know if I’m read to be married.”

Maria chewed her own lip, suddenly feeling guilty. She glanced at the double glass doors, wondering where Michael was.

“What’s wrong?” Liz asked, seeing Maria’s uncertain look.

“Nothing. Listen Liz. I….about the wedding. Michael’s best man.…..”

“That’s right, you still haven’t told me,” Liz said, suddenly remembering. “Is it Kyle?”

The bell above the CrashDown door jingled and Liz automatically glanced up.

“Umm….no it’s…..”

Two men had entered the restaurant. Liz’s jaw fell open. Maria glanced behind her then turned back quickly to see the color draining from her friend’s face. She smiled lamely.

“Max.”

sylvia37
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 133
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2001 4:58 pm

Post by sylvia37 » Mon Mar 20, 2006 4:26 pm

Thank you to everyone who wrote. I love all the speculation going on. It's great. I hope you'll keep it up. Some of your questions will be answered this time around and some of them will have to wait, but I can almost guaranty it's not what you're expecting :wink: .

Oh and sorry, Sandy and Leslie. Long hair and leather.....not exactly. You'll see.

This is posted in two parts for length, and remember, the first section is the past, second section is the present.

Kisses to Liz my lovely beta.




Burning to Feel Part 2


They were waiting for him.

He was being marched down a long hallway, surrounded by guards, one of whom had taken one quick look at him and immediately ordered him subdued and handcuffed. Before he could offer a struggle, his arms were grabbed and what looked like metal cuffs encased his wrists in front, held together by a small link. He immediately knew that his powers would not work against whatever held the cuffs on. His heart pounding in fear, he opened his mouth to protest, but before any sound could come out, one of the guards touched his throat with a thin, metallic rod, the tip glowing slightly.

He couldn’t speak. Oh God. His throat working, he struggled against his captors, soundless protests coming from his useless vocal cords, but they simply ignored his fruitless struggles and lead him away. He’d stopped pulling and tried to calm down, finally taking the time to note that the men leading him to ….wherever….were in fact…men. At least….they looked like men. They appeared to be human….except for their eyes. Their eyes glowed. It was a strange and unsettling sight. And their eyes were all different shades, he noted, the man immediately to his right staring straight ahead with eyes the color of bright orange.

Panic had his skin burning with fear and his breath coming out in harsh pants and he wondered wildly if he was about to meet his death without ever being able to utter a word.

They stopped abruptly at a door that slid soundlessly open. He was pushed forward, and a rough hand pulled him unceremoniously to his knees. He barely had time to register the lush surroundings of what looked like a very large meeting room, his gaze riveted upon the man who rose from a throne-like chair several feet in front of him. He could only stare helplessly as the man, looking militarily dressed in some sort of brushed silver material, came forward, a sardonic look of snide pleasure on his angular features. He was of medium height; his hair was swept back from his forehead, a goatee and mustache adorning his face. He looked to be in his fifties but then he could have been any age on this strange planet. The man stopped a few feet in front of him and he noted that his eyes were a pale, opaque grey, almost colorless and they glowed strangely in his face.

“So this is the reincarnated king.” His voice was heavy with sarcasm, sharp and cutting.

“I think I’m disappointed. You tried to warn me, my dear, but…..” he let out an exaggerated sigh and turned to gesture toward the person still waiting from where he had just come.

Just now registering someone else in the room, he looked away from the man standing in front of him to the person walking slowly up behind him. His eyes grew wide.

“Ahhhh, I see he recognizes you, my dear. And so he should. You are, after all, the mother of his child.”

Tess stopped next to the man, taking his arm as she gazed at his kneeling figure, an expression of mild triumph on her face. She was dressed in a pale blue gown of lavish material, her blond curls swept into a becoming style. She looked into his eyes without flinching, her own glowing dully like blue diamonds, before looking up at the man next to her.

“But I have been remiss. You know each other….but you do not know me….although I imagine from everything Tess has told me…..you have probably deduced my identity.”

The man removed Tess’s hold and she stepped back obediently as he leaned forward to gaze directly into the kneeling young man’s eyes, his own glowing pitiless and narrowed.

“I am Kivar….current ruler of Antar and the man who killed you.” He saw the impact of that statement hit home. His lips curled in a mocking smile. “And you are….Max is what you prefer I assume. I hesitate to call you “Zan” since you are hardly the person I remember. He was an arrogant, know-it-all who needed to be taught a lesson that I was all too happy to provide, however, he was also fierce and powerful….and a man. You ….” he stood upright and gestured, “are a mere child.”

“If you are wondering how I knew you were coming, you must give the credit to your dear, former wife. She warned us that you were likely to appear and I’m happy to say that she was correct.” Kivar took Tess’s arm again and wrapped his fingers around hers, bringing her hand to his lips. His mouth caressed her fingers and he saw her eyes flicker, but otherwise, no expression crossed her face.

“You have done well, my dear. You shall be rewarded.” He dropped her hand and waved a hand at the guard with the rod who obediently came forward and touched it to his throat. “Speak, if you wish.”

He swallowed and glanced again at Tess, who didn’t acknowledge his look. Trying not to let his fear show, he nonetheless could not stop shivering, whether from the coldness of the floor on which he knelt or his fear, he wasn’t sure.

“My son,” he croaked, his voice sounding as though it hadn’t been used in months. “Where……”

“Ah yes, the boy. Of course, you would be concerned.” Kivar gazed at him, still with that mocking sneer. “You need not be. He is in good hands. My hands.” He smiled. “And I promise that he will be everything a good ruler should be. Everything his father was not.”

“I want…..to see him,” he said, wishing he sounded more confident….less frightened, but it was hard for he was extremely aware of his obvious helplessness.

“I think not,” Kivar said decisively. “We wouldn’t want to confuse the boy. He thinks his father is dead.” He leaned forward again, this time not bothering to hide his maliciousness behind a smile. “You are my prisoner. You’re only alive because I am not ready to kill you again. At least not yet.” He stood upright again. “I had to do it too fast last time. This time, your death will only occur when I am through watching you suffer. I rather like the thought of having you as my….guest…while the rest of Antar and perhaps your own family believe you are dead. I promise you….by the time I am done…..you may very well wish you were……”

His heart thumped wildly in his chest at the viciousness in those words, and he fought not to drop his own gaze away from the opaque glare. Fear and despair were rapidly taking over. He wasn’t even going to be allowed to see his son, and now…….

“I’m not…..Zan. I only want….to see my son. I don’t want….your throne.”

“No, you certainly aren’t Zan. Zan would have spit in my face before begging. And as for my throne, I had not even entertained the thought. You are nothing, less than nothing. Your seed is all I needed from you and I have that. The rest is purely for my own enjoyment.”

He suddenly felt strange as though a long forgotten memory of this same voice taunting him, inciting him, was trying to surface. Something inside him welled up at the hateful words, trying to push past the fear that suffused him.

Kivar’s expression narrowed for a split second as he gazed at his prisoner before returning to its previous maliciousness. “Take him to his cell,” he ordered. He turned back to Tess who obediently came to him. “Come, my dear. Our son is waiting for us.”

His arms were suddenly seized and he was unceremoniously dragged from the room….to whatever fate awaited him…….



***********************************
Standing behind the door that separated the CrashDown kitchen from the restaurant, Liz knew she was being a coward.

He was just a man. A man from her past. He wasn’t a god or the president, he was just……Max.

Just Max. Liz closed her eyes. Was there such a thing as “just Max”?

Seeing him walking through the CrashDown doors, Liz hadn’t even realized that she moved until she found herself practically hyperventilating in the back room. A few minutes later, Maria had appeared.

“Liz….what are you doing back here?”

“What am I doing? What are you doing?” Liz almost screeched at her friend. “Why is he here…..I thought….I thought he was gone….what….how could you do this to me……..”

It was the wrong thing to say. She knew that as soon as the words left her mouth. Liz was suddenly reminded that her best friend was no longer sixteen, no matter how young she appeared as Maria’s expression went from contrition to something else.

“I didn’t complain when you implemented this “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about anything ….Czechoslovakian all those years ago, Liz,” Maria began in a somewhat steely voice. “I even understood after everything….but that doesn’t mean that just because you washed your hands of them, that the rest of us did too. In fact, you know we didn’t. You’ve never wanted to know anything about Max…so I didn’t tell you when he came back. I guess….I just assumed you might have…felt it or something. Obviously that didn’t happen. But whatever….I did what you asked.”

Maria’s look became more pointed. “This is mine and Michael’s wedding. Max is Michael’s best friend…his family. And he wanted him here as his best man just like I want you here as my maid of honor. It wasn’t about you.”

Liz felt her face burning, whether from Maria’s reprimand or her own embarrassment she didn’t know. “I….didn’t mean that. I meant….why didn’t you tell me before he got here?”

The severity of her expression easing, Maria had the grace to look slightly sheepish. “To be honest, I was afraid if I told you, you might not come. I was right, wasn’t I?” At Liz’s hesitation, Maria sighed. “Liz… Liz. You’re my best friend and I love you. This is my wedding and I want it to be special. Having you here just like we always planned will make it that way, but if you don’t think you can do this……then I’ll forgive you.”


Part of her was still furious with Maria for not telling her that Max would be there, but the other part of her understood…because Maria was right. If Liz had known, she probably would not have come back to Roswell.

Six years ago, after that horrible day when Tess had left the planet and Max had said his final goodbye to her, Liz had vowed to herself to stay as far away from the alien abyss as possible while still hanging on to her friendship with Maria and Kyle. Putting her feelings for Max away had been much harder until….

She still remembered that night. Not having seen nor heard from him in weeks, Liz hadn’t even realized that she still had such a profound connection with him until she woke up gasping for breath. She’d stared around her room, wondering what had happened, when slowly she’d realized what it was she was feeling. An emptiness…..a hole….a vast space where her connection to Max used to be. She’d put a hand to her chest as though expecting to feel a gaping wound.
Dead. At first she’d thought he was dead, but a frantic phone call to Maria told her the truth. He’d left. Somehow he had managed to find a way off the planet to save his son. He’d left notes for Michael and Isabel and his parents explaining.

There were no tears. Liz had shed all the tears she was going to the night he’d come to her balcony. The night their failed, mutilated relationship had been laid bare in all its tainted glory. Instead, she lay in her bed, clutching her covers to her chest, feeling the aching hole inside, but as the hours went by, she slowly, determinedly pushed the feelings away until by morning, she had effectively closed the wound.

That was the day she’d implemented the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy as Maria still called it. That chapter of her life was closed and although she was happy that Maria had found love and managed to hang onto it despite the odds, she didn’t want to be involved in anything to with Michael, Isabel or Max ever again. No news….no updates…nothing.

Her friends had respected her wishes. They never discussed the aliens around her when they were together, and although Liz saw Michael at work, they didn’t socialize. She noted for the several weeks after the night Max left that Michael seemed…very unMichael like, pale and unhappy and Maria was not her usual self either, obviously worried for him. Liz felt sorry for her friend, but she forced herself not to say anything or ask, no matter how much she might want to know what was happening. Eventually it grew easier and easier, made more so by the fact that Isabel never came to the CrashDown and since she had graduated the year before, she wasn’t in school either.

Their senior year in high school had been blessedly uneventful, the only thing marring it being the absence of Alex. Leaving Maria and her parents for college had been as tearful and sad as she expected, but Liz had looked forward to facing her new life in Boston. Firmly leaving the past behind, she had worked hard, made new friends…and found new love.

Richard Campbell had been a wonderful teacher and mentor to her. And although it had taken them literally years, they had eventually gone from teacher and pupil, to friends, to lovers and Liz was more than content. She was happy. He made her happy. Now that she had graduated, she could look forward to the life that she had always dreamed of.

Except for that small amount of time when Max Evans had almost changed that, Liz acknowledged to herself now. For a while, her dreams had taken a back seat to the intensity of her feelings for the boy who had saved her life and wound his soul so profoundly around hers. When she thought of it now, that time was like a dream, like some strange event that had happened while she slept, until she woke up to find that it wasn’t reality.

Her life now was reality. Aliens and their problems and lives were no part of it and that’s they way she liked it. When she remembered Alex…his sweet, wonderful wit, his bravery and his loyalty, the pain in her heart still had the power to steal her breath.

And reminded her why she had put the past behind her.

Liz grimaced. This was ridiculous. She was a grown woman, not a child. And, thinking of the resigned look on Maria’s face when she’d told her she would forgive her if she chose not to stay, Liz felt guilty. She couldn’t do that to her best friend. It would be completely selfish to ruin Maria’s wedding just because she didn’t want to face Max.

In the past, she had wondered what it would be like to see him again. When she dwelled on it, which was not very often, she wondered what had happened to him; if he had found his son…..if he had found Tess….if he had married her. Now those answers were within her grasp, but Liz unconsciously shook her head. She didn’t want to know. She would not be sucked back in. Her life was perfect…peaceful….safe. And finding out the answers to her questions would only open old wounds. Wounds that were healed now.

Straightening up, Liz breathed a sigh of relief, feeling the tightness in her stomach ease. Those wounds were healed and no longer had the power to hurt her. She could be civil to Max and then she would never have to see him again. It was only for three weeks.

Looking out of the little window, Liz could only see part of Max’s dark head, her view blocked by Michael.

Taking a deep breath she ran her hands through her hair to fluff it up and plastering a smile on her face, she opened the door and walked through.

Maria turned toward her as she came through the door, and smiled when she saw Liz’s expression. Michael turned as well.

“Hi Michael,” Liz said evenly, glad that her voice sounded almost normal.

It always struck Liz as incredibly strange that one of the best chefs in the state still looked like he had just rolled out of bed every time she saw him. Like Maria, he barely looked older than they had in high school, except for the fact that his hair was longer now and he wore it slicked back away from his face. Otherwise, he was still the same Michael, more mature, more confident, but still the same. Luckily, from what she understood, his customers were way too enamored of his cooking to worry about his appearance.

“Liz,” Michael responded.

Despite the fact that they had known each other for eight years, she and Michael still did not have a close relationship. They tolerated each other for Maria’s sake, but that was it. They were never going to be best friends.

Taking a mental breath, Liz finally let her eyes turn to the man she’d been avoiding for the last few moments. She’d been aware of his presence of course, every molecule attuned, but she had ignored the annoyingly familiar sensation. Now, looking into the eyes that had captivated her so long ago, it was near to overwhelming.

Good God, he was still breathtaking. More so. Maybe her memory wasn’t as good as she’d thought, but time had matured Max’s boyishly handsome features into devastatingly masculine beauty.

His hair was longer and curled around his ears and down over the collar of his button down shirt, and she couldn’t help but notice that it only enhanced his strong cheek bones and jaw. The black shirt and slacks he was wearing complimented him, although she was once again reminded as she stared at him that one would be hard put to find something that looked bad on him. All in all, he looked dangerously handsome, lean and strong…..and blank.

Liz blinked, realizing that she was staring, but she couldn’t help it. Max’s eyes were as beautiful as ever, turned deep hazel by the black in his shirt, but she knew from experience that they could go from warm honey to almost green depending on the colors he wore. No, what held her gaze was the absolute void of expression in them. His face might have been carved in stone.

It was completely unnerving. Liz felt color creeping into her cheeks as that blank look seemed to penetrate right into her brain.

“Are you two going to just stare at each other or say something? I feel like I’m back in high school.” Maria’s voice shocked Liz into awareness, and the color in her cheeks increased.

“Um….hi Max,” she finally said huskily, forcing herself to keep his gaze. She wondered briefly if she should reach out to hug him or at least shake his hand, but his hands were firmly lodged in his pockets, so she stayed awkwardly where she was.

“Liz.” Max returned her greeting, a small quirk to his lip his only expression. His voice was deeper than she remembered, and still had the power to maker her insides quiver, irritating her anew at her own reaction. It was disconcerting to say the least to be reacting like a school girl while he seemed coolly unmoved by their encounter.

“You two are killing me. Seriously. Six years and all you can say is ‘hi’”, Maria intoned exasperatedly. She waved the table. “Sit down, do some catching up, for God’s sake.”

“Liz is obviously uncomfortable, Maria.” Max said, shocking Liz to the core. “You apparently didn’t tell her I was going to be here.” His neutral gaze turned back to Liz. “If she doesn’t want to spend time acting like this wasn’t an unpleasant surprise, than I can’t say I blame her.”

“No!” Liz blurted out, feeling like a complete idiot. “It’s okay. Honestly, Max. Maria didn’t tell me, but I….it’s really okay. Let’s sit down.” She knew she sounded desperate and stupid, but this situation was getting more awkward by the minute.

“Max….” Maria said, reaching out to touch his arm, and Max’s disconcerting gaze turned away toward her. Maria didn’t finish her thought, but the sympathy and contriteness in the look she gave him confused Liz even more.

They all sat down and the waitress came over to take Max and Michael’s order. Max asked for coffee, while Michael ordered a full meal, including a shake.

“So…Liz graduated a couple of months ago,” Maria said to Max.

“Congratulations,” Max said and Liz wondered how much he knew about her life. Did Maria tell him about her? Did he ask? Or was he like her and had put the past…and her….behind him?

“Thank you,” Liz answered. “I haven’t really….had time to process it yet.”

“I’m sure you’ll be wowing us with your discoveries in no time,” Maria said, obviously trying to keep the conversation going.

“I don’t know about that,” Liz began self deprecatingly, but then Max’s voice cut her off.

“Doing what you always wanted to must be very rewarding.”

Liz looked up into his gaze, thinking to see something there….regret…..sadness…derision…. something…but it was still unnervingly blank. And the comment was obviously meant sincerely enough.

“It is.” She answered him honestly, feeling the tension lessen a degree. Still, she felt like she should return the sentiment and ask something about his life, but she was torn between wanting to know and keeping her vow of distance. And it didn’t help that Max seemed to be aware of her struggle as he sat back in his chair, his arms crossed over his chest as he watched her. It felt so odd to her. They were like wary strangers, rather than two people who had once declared their love for each other. Somewhere inside her, Liz felt the heartache for those two lost souls.

Luckily, before she really had to say anything, her pocket vibrated. Her cell phone.

“Excuse me,” she said in relief and got up to answer it. Looking down at the display, she smiled and walked toward the counter to sit on a stool.

“Hi.”

“Hi yourself, beautiful.”

Richard’s voice sounded in her ear.

“Where are you?”

“I’m sitting outside of a convention hall, eating a stale doughnut and wondering why I’m stuck listening to lectures on cell regeneration, when I could be spending time in sunny New Mexico with my best girl.”

“Because you enjoy lectures on cell regeneration. And you have to give one.”

“Shit, that’s right. What would I do without you?”

“Forget your own name?” Liz laughed into the phone.

“It’s Richard….and you’re…..Stacy, right?”

“She’s your other girlfriend.”

“I called the wrong number. Damn it.”

Liz laughed again, the tension she’d been experiencing for the last half hour fading as Richard’s familiar voice and self deprecating humor eased her.

“So how’s Maria? How are your folks?”

“Everyone’s fine. We’re at the CrashDown now.”

“I can’t wait to see it.”

“Are you going to make it?”

“Looks like it right now. I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks.”

“Okay.”

“My time’s up. Back to the grind. Love you, beautiful.”

Liz had been spinning the chair during her conversation and she suddenly found herself gazing at the table where Maria sat showing Michael a picture in her magazine, while Max still sat back in his chair in the same position as before, listening to Maria, but not really participating. His eyes lifted to hers and Liz suddenly aware of the uncomfortable fact that she was staring at the former love of her life while on the phone with the current one.

“Liz.?”

“Me too.” Liz answered him. Saying goodbye, she clicked off the phone, carefully keeping her gaze from Max’s penetrating one.
Last edited by sylvia37 on Mon Mar 20, 2006 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sylvia37
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 133
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2001 4:58 pm

Post by sylvia37 » Mon Mar 20, 2006 4:27 pm

Burning to Feel Part 2 (Cont.)

Hearing Richard’s voice made her suddenly long for the safety and comfort of what she now considered home, especially because what had seemed like a relatively painless trip to her childhood home was rapidly turning into an ordeal. Seeing Max again had brought up emotions that she was not prepared to deal with and the strange undertones she sensed beneath the surface weren’t helping the situation at all.

Taking a resigned breath, Liz was just about to leave her seat and join the group at the table, when the CrashDown bell rang. Looking up, she saw a small blond girl, no more than three or four, push her way past the heavy door and make a beeline straight for Max. As if sensing her presence, Max turned in his chair just in time to catch her as she hurled herself into his arms.

“Max!” Isabel Evans voice sounded from the doorway. Isabel Valenti, Liz corrected herself as she saw Kyle following close behind.

The surprise at learning that Isabel Evans and Kyle Valent had started dating after their senior year in high school was only second to the shock of finding out that they were getting married a couple of years later. Liz hadn’t thought that the jock and the princess would find anything in common, but listening to Maria, they had apparently found common ground, bonding over the bad experiences in their lives And looking at their little girl, her long blond hair held with a large, pink bow, Liz had to admit that they made beautiful children together. Allison was as lovely as her mother, her brown eyes, dominating her little face.

It was like some kind of time warp, Liz thought, gazing at the two new arrivals. Like the others, Isabel hadn’t seemed to change at all, except maybe to become even lovelier. Her blond hair was still long, pulled back from her face with a clip. She was dressed in a simple summer skirt and tank top, but the simplicity only seemed to enhance her natural beauty. As she gazed at Kyle, looking exactly like she remembered him in jeans and a button down shirt, Liz was suddenly struck by the fact that she and Max were the only ones who had changed over the last six years.

“I’m so glad you’re here,” Isabel said to Max as he stood up to greet her, still holding Allison. “I’ve missed you.”

Max’s expression didn’t change at his sister’s words, although he accepted her hug patiently, if a little stiffly.

Meanwhile Kyle had spied Liz over by the counter. “Six years, Liz,” he said reproachfully as he came over and hugged her.

“I know. I’m sorry,” Liz answered, feeling teary eyed at seeing him. He looked so good. “She’s beautiful, Kyle.” Liz gestured to the little girl still perched in Max’s arms.

“Well, look at the gene pool,” Kyle said and Liz laughed, letting him lead her over to where the others were now sitting down.

“Hey Max,” Kyle said as he approached the table, his words eerily reminiscent of another time and place that Liz remembered. She watched the two men, expecting to see some of the animosity that had always existed between them, but it appeared that they had moved past their differences as Max nodded at Kyle’s greeting.

She saw with a small twinge of …something…. that Maria and Isabel were hugging and Maria was showing her what she had been showing Michael in the magazine. . Their friendship had obviously deepened. As Liz had approached with Kyle, Isabel looked up and greeted her neutrally, if not enthusiastically and Liz was actually more than happy with that, given her avoidance of Isabel and her family over the past six years. She’d expected the cold shoulder.

“Hey Princess. Let’s give Uncle Max a break,” Kyle said to his daughter, who was clinging to Max’s shoulders.

“Uncle Max likes it when I touch him,” Allison said, reaching up to cup Max’s face in both her hands.

Stiff silence reigned for a moment after Allison’s statement. Max turned his gaze to the little girl in his arms, and for the first time, the glacial look in his eyes softened almost imperceptibly. The tension in the air eased, and everyone started talking again. In that moment Liz knew that Max loved his little niece and was as devoted to her as she seemed to be to him. Looking at Kyle, she expected to see some sort of jealousy at his daughter’s obvious adoration of her uncle, but Liz saw only tolerance and to her confusion, a little sadness.

“I’m sure he does, but let’s let him finish his drink.” Kyle reached over and lifted his daughter from Max’s lap. She went without a fuss, obviously as happy with her father’s attention as she had been with Max’s. Kyle sat down next to Isabel, and Allison promptly climbed from his lap into Michael’s.

“Your rugrat’s crawling in my lap again,” Michael said to Isabel, but Liz saw the small smile on his face and Allison only giggled at the nick name as Maria let Allison see what she and her mother were looking at.

This situation was surreal. Liz couldn’t actually believe that she was sitting in the CrashDown with these people, watching and listening to them interact.

She learned that Isabel was also involved in “Maria and Michael’s”, running the catering side, and that Kyle had finished getting a degree in physical education and was currently a Phys. Ed. Teacher at Roswell Middle School. While she and Kyle chatted about what they’d been doing with their lives, her eyes strayed to Max again, watching him surreptitiously through her lashes as he sat silently listening to Allison chatter to him and her mother and father.

What had happened to him? In spite of her earlier conviction, seeing the obvious changes in him, had her curiosity peaked. Okay, more than peaked. Max had always been reserved, quiet even at times, but not this…..Liz didn’t know what to call it. It was like the Max she had known was gone and replaced with some sort of shell that looked like him and sounded like him….but his emotions and his….soul …..

That was it. That’s what Liz hadn’t been able to put her finger on. As she continued to study him, she finally pinpointed what was missing. No matter how much Max had always tried to hide himself, how in control he had tried to stay, she could always sense the real Max just under the surface. The passionate Max who felt things so deeply and took everything to heart. He never wore his emotions on his sleeve, but they were always right there, obvious to anyone who knew him…and loved him.

Now…there was nothing. It was like the life….the feelings had been sucked out of him…leaving his body behind. Only Allison had prompted a slight reaction out of him and it had barely been noticeable.

Didn’t the others see it? Of course they did, Liz realized. How could they not? The question was, why did they accept it? Why did they sit there, talking and laughing like their friend….their brother wasn’t just a former shadow of himself? What had happened to bring this situation about?

Lifting a hand to push back a stray piece of hair, Liz found herself staring into Max’s disconcerting gaze again, and she had the distinct feeling that he knew exactly what she was thinking. Which was probably true, since she imagined her consternation was written all over her face.

“So Liz, any idea what you’re going to do now that you’ve graduated?” Kyle asked, bringing all eyes to her.

Before she could answer however, the telltale squeaking of the kitchen doors opened and her father and mother came through.

“I thought I heard the sound of a pipsqueak out here,” Jeff Parker said with a big smile and to Liz’s utter astonishment, Allison giggled and jumped off of Michael’s lap to run up to her father. Jeff lifted her into the air. Allison leaned over to whisper something into his ear and Jeff laughed.

“I think we can handle that,” Jeff whispered conspiratorially.

“If the kid’s getting ice cream so are the rest of us,” Kyle said, obviously used to this scenario.

“Not too much, Mr. Parker” Isabel admonished. “Last time she woke up in the middle of the night with a tummy ache.”

“We’ll be careful, won’t we Ally?” Jeff smiled at the angelic little girl and turned back to the counter, sitting her carefully on a stool while he went behind to make sundaes.

In the meantime, Nancy Parker motioned to Liz, who rather dazedly got up from the table to see what her mother wanted.

“I’m sorry it took me so long to finish up, Honey,” Nancy said to Liz. When Liz had arrived, Nancy had told her that she had to finish up some accounting so they could spend the rest of the evening together.

“It’s okay, Mom.” Liz answered, still trying to get her mind around the strange things she’d witnessed today. When had her parents become such good friends with Isabel and Kyle? Her gaze strayed back to the table where the three aliens sat along with her friends. As Maria and Isabel looked at magazines and chatted and Kyle and Michael talked about work, they looked for all the world…like a family. Even Max, who only listened, his arms once again folded at his chest, was a part of it, albeit a silent one. But Liz could see that he was an integral member, the head still, aloof and….kingly. He was the monarch, watching over his subjects…but also beloved by all.

Liz felt a pain near her heart as she realized that she had truly and completely separated herself from this group of people…and they had gone on without her. Their lives…their trials and their joys….had shaped them into this close knit family, and she wasn’t a part of it anymore. It was what she had wanted…what she had asked for really….but now…..

“Baby, are you okay?” Her mother’s voice penetrated her reverie.

“I’m fine.” Liz answered, tearing her gaze away from the table and looking at her mother.

“It looks like your father needs some help.”

The two Parker women went to help Jeff with the sundaes and Liz helped serve everyone at the table. Allison finally sat in her own chair, happily making a mess of herself with the ice cream. Even Max had one, although Liz noted that he didn’t touch it. A little while later, Liz excused herself to the restroom and she met up with Maria who came in while she was washing up.

“Was that Richard on the phone earlier?” Maria asked Liz.

“Yes.”

“How’s he doing?”

“Fine. He thinks he’s going to make it in time for the wedding.”

“Good.”

Liz contemplated a moment. “Does Max know I have a boyfriend?”

Maria looked at her. “He hasn’t asked and I haven’t specifically mentioned him, no.”

Liz nodded.

“Does he…has he….do you tell him about me?” Liz asked, almost against her will.

“He doesn’t ask, but I don’t avoid mentioning you, if that’s what you mean.” Maria’s voice was neutral as she said this.

“Oh.” Liz didn’t know how she felt about that.

“He’s…..different.” Liz gazed at Maria in the mirror as silence followed her statement, and was surprised to see sadness and not a little bit of anger in her friend’s face.

But “Yes he is,” was all she said.

It was on the tip of her tongue to ask the questions burning in her mind, but Liz bit them back, almost afraid of the answers. Something of her struggle must have showed on her face because Maria’s showed pity and resignation.

“It’s probably better if you don’t know, Liz.” She entered the stall and shut the door.

That cryptic statement did nothing to ease her curiosity and only served to increase her anxiety about the next few weeks. Liz finished washing up and started to leave the restroom, a troubled frown on her face. As she opened the door and stepped out, she found herself face to face with Max. She stumbled, but managed to right herself as Max stepped back.

“Sorry,” she said, grasping the door, noting that his hands stayed where they were. He hadn’t reached out to steady her.

“My fault,” Max answered.

They stood there awkwardly for a moment and Liz was about to just go back to the table, but something compelled her to look up at him and speak.

“This is….

“Weird,” Max finished for her. His expression didn’t change but she got the impression that he agreed.

“I just….don’t want it to keep being awkward between us,” Liz admitted.

“Don’t worry about it,” Max said to Liz’s surprise. “It’s only for a few weeks and then you can go back to your life.”

Liz wasn’t sure what bothered her more, the fact that his statement echoed what she’d been thinking since this all started or that he didn’t say it with the sarcasm that she would have expected. In fact, he seemed completely unmoved by her one way or the other.

Before she could say anything else, Isabel announced that they were headed to her parent’s house and that Max could ride with them. Gazing down at her for a moment longer, Max turned and nodded to his sister. Maria came out of the bathroom.

“Hey you two,” she said, smiling.

“We’re leaving,” Max informed her.

“Oh okay. So I’ll see you tomorrow, right? Your Mom and Dad’s at 6:00?”

At Max’s affirmative nod, Maria turned to Liz. “You’re invited too. The Evans’ want to have us all over for dinner.”

Liz smiled lamely. She couldn’t say she was looking forward to another uncomfortable evening, especially under the scrutiny of Max’s parents.

“Bye Max. Thanks so much for being here,” Maria said. She hesitated for a second, then reached up to hug him. Max wrapped an arm around her waist in return. Maria pulled back. “It wouldn’t be the same without you,” she said.

“I’m happy for you and Michael,” Max said, and it struck Liz as funny because his face was anything but happy. It wasn’t sad either….just the same inscrutable mask.

“I know you are,” Maria answered softly. She reached up a hand to caress his cheek for second. His eyes briefly met Liz’s before he turned to go with his sister and her husband.

Liz stood back as Isabel and Kyle said goodbye to her parents. She couldn’t help but smile as Allison politely said thank you for the ice cream under her mother’s instruction, then screamed in delight when Jeff picked her up and swung her around before saying “You’re welcome.” When he let her down, she ran to Max and took his hand as they headed out of the door.

“Michael and I are going too,” Maria said. She reached out to hug Liz. “I’m so glad you decided to stay,” she said.

“Me too,” Liz answered, then smiled a little self deprecatingly when Maria looked at her skeptically. “Okay, glad might be a strong word.”

“It’ll be okay, Sweetie. You’ll see.” Maria’s smile faded a little. “Trust me. You’ll barely have to talk to Max. He’ll make sure of it.”

Liz frowned at her. “Maria…..”

“Gotta go,” Maria said, reaching to hug her one more time. “I’ll call tomorrow and Michael and I will pick you up for dinner.”

She and Michael left, and Liz turned back to where her parents were waiting for her.

Later, as she got ready for bed, she waxed nostalgic as she gazed around her old room. It hadn’t really changed much except that her mother had changed the curtains and the bedspread. Her books and desk and pictures were all still there.

After brushing her teeth and washing her face, Liz got into bed with a book, intent on reading until she got tired, but her mind kept straying back to her strange afternoon….to Max.

Her earlier thoughts came back to her, and she wondered again what he could have possibly been through to prompt the changes she’d seen. The thought that something so….profound…must have happened to him to cause this much of a change….it filled her with sadness. No matter what had happened between them, she never wished ill of him and now that she’d gotten over her initial shock at seeing him again, she felt compassion welling up inside her. It was obvious to her that whatever it was, it had to have been tragic to have altered him so. And the more she thought about it and the other’s manner towards him, Liz realized that they were more aware than she’d first thought. All of them made an effort, despite Max’s obvious detachment, to include him in their conversation, their plans…their lives. They weren’t ignoring his aloofness, they were going on in spite of it.

Glancing at the clock, Liz groaned. She’d been thinking about this for close to a half hour. Picking up her book, she resolutely found her place and began to read.

She would not let this place get to her. She would not let Max and his problems and his…life affect hers.

As she read the same paragraph for the third time, Liz huffed and closed her eyes only to open them again in irritation at herself. Forcing concentration, much as she’d done during the hardest parts of her college exam days, Liz settled more comfortably on her pillow, determinedly tucking back into her book.

She would not be sucked back into the alien abyss.
Lisa: Do we have any food that wasn't brutally slaughtered?

Homer: Well, I think the veal died of loneliness.

sylvia37
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 133
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2001 4:58 pm

Post by sylvia37 » Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:28 am

Okay, you convinced me. I wasn't trying to torture you guys, I just wanted to make sure I space out the posts so I don't run out of parts and really make you wait. I know how you loved that with ETY :wink: .

I'm going to try to address you all individually this time, but here's a general statement to put your minds at ease (Scottie, my sweet :)

Max is NOT blind! LOL. It's an interesting idea that maybe I should have thought of, but not this story. He's also not a skin, which was something someone suggested on another board. It's definitely Max and he can see. But please everyone, keep up the speculation. I LOVE it!


rie482 - Thanks. We'll see how long it takes Liz to let herself be sucked in.

Buffsteraddict - Thank you.

clueless - Thank you so much. Glad to see you on the board again.

Evans3 - Questions will be answered in time, I promise. You'll find out more slowly as we go along. Liz came back for just a few days at a time, sometimes for holidays, and sometimes not. She just really kept herself confined to her parents and Maria at those times.

roswell3053 - Hmmmm...maybe......no give aways.

xmag - You'll see a little more of what happened to Max in this part. Yes, Liz has to decide if she wants to be a part of the group or just go back to her life. Thanks for reading.

begonia9508 - Thanks. You'll see how Liz's curiosity gets to her as we go along.

Emz80m - Thanks Em. Don't be too hard on Maria. She's divided and she wants to have her best friend and her family too. It's a tough position to be in.

frenchkiss70 - Great to see you! So many questions. Tess....hmmm....that will be answered shortly. Maria is trying but her loyalties are divided now. As I said to Em, it puts her in a tough position.


nitpick23 - Your take on Maria is interesting, but she isn't bitter. Maybe tired of having to choose? You'll get some answers in this part.

Mareli - You now I love you, girl. Liz made a choice and she's living with it. But there is more story to go. :wink:

Ellie- Thanks Ellie. You'll get the scoop on Max's son soon.

tequathisy - Questions will be answered in time. As for Liz....can't give it away, but denial is a good word. :wink:

Realistic Dreamer - Sandy! Thanks, my friend for your assessments. You know how I love hearing your opinions. You've got Maria nailed, of course, and you're right that Liz isn't stupid. We'll see a little bit more of their feelings this time.

Timelord31 - Thank you.

BelevnDreamsToo - Jeannine! We talked already so I'll just say, thanks and I love your feedback. :)

NorafanofMaxandLiz - Nora, Nora, Nora. You always give 100% and it's great. I can't address it all, but just know that eventually, you'll know what's going on with Max. Still can't promise it won't be painful.....but don't give up hope.

Temptress- I'm so glad you decided to give my story a try. Hope you'll let me know if you read my other stuff and like it. Thanks so much for taking the time to tell me.

Scottie - Leslie, you kill me. Getting everybody all riled up. Good premise though, honestly. I should have thought of that one. I love hearing from you.

kittens - Yes and no.

isis7777 - Thanks sweetie.

ruthandnina- So glad you're enjoying. Each part will give you more of a glimpse into Max's life on Antar.



Okay so....on with it. Let the speculation begin.....Posted in two parts for length.


Burning to Feel Part 3


He awoke to pain... excruciating... unrelenting...

But that was nothing new.

Orienting himself to his environment, he realized that he was back in his cell. His arms where chained to the wall, his head hanging. Disinterestedly, he watched as blood dripped onto the stone floor from his... nose? Lip? Everything hurt... his face was a mass of cuts and bruises, so it could be coming from anywhere, probably several places.

Shifting slightly, he pushed back against the wall to ease the strain on his arms, knowing that it would only relieve him for a moment, but small moments of relief were few and far between these days, so he took what he could get.

How long had he been in here? Weeks... months? He’d lost track of time. Life had become one long nightmare... the torture only broken by hours that he assumed his captors were sleeping. Time where he as allowed to eat, to rest... until the new torture began.

They were very creative. Pierce was a complete and total amateur compared to Kivar and his guards. It struck him as funny now, how he had thought that what Pierce did to him was the worst thing that could happen. How wrong he’d been.

Attempting to straighten his legs out, pain shot through him, drawing a gasp, but he ascertained that they weren’t broken this time, just badly sprained. The last time, the distinct sound of his bones breaking right before a scream sounded loudly... one he could only assume had come from his own throat... was all he remembered. They had allowed him to live with his broken leg for a time before healing it. They didn’t want him permanently damaged, Kivar had told him rather gleefully. At least not yet. He was having too much fun watching him suffer.

He balled his hands into fists, slowly releasing them, trying to keep the blood flowing. A sigh escaped him as he leaned back against the wall. Though he’d only awoken a short time ago, he was too tired to even think. Too tired for even the bitterness and anger that had consumed him since this ordeal began.

Those first nightmarish days were a blur, but he remembered lying on the floor in misery and pain, wondering what he had done to deserve the punishment being inflicted upon him. Had he been such a bad person? Why was he destined to constantly pay the price of having been an alien king in his past life, to constantly be made to answer for another’s mistakes? No matter that he didn’t remember them... or him... or practically anything from his former life. It had ruined his relationship with Liz... ... and now this.... this... madness.

As always, thoughts of Liz... or anyone he cared about on earth only deepened the pain. He had tried to console himself with the thought that they had been spared this... and with any luck, they would never know of his fate... but it was cold comfort. Knowing that he was stuck here without even the hope of death anytime soon to ease his suffering...

A noise brought him out of his reverie. At first he thought they were bringing him food and water, the thought of something to quench his parched throat making him anxious despite his exhaustion. But as the door started to open, his anxiety turned to out and out dread. They usually only pushed his food through a hole in the door, they didn’t open it.

Were they back for more?

His batter body protested as he sat up straighter, determined not to let them know how afraid he was. His days of showing his fear were over. He’d learned a while ago that it only heightened Kivar’s pleasure to hear him beg for mercy... to listen to his screams. And lately, he’d found himself almost being able to tune out the pain... almost... like his mind could leave his body and remain in a different place while they hurt him. It infuriated Kivar to no end to see him lying placidly while they stuck him and burned him and broke him. He had a feeling that he was in for a worse time now.

The door slid open, and he waited tensely for the guards to appear. When they didn’t, he strained to see who was hesitating outside the door. Finally, a small figure appeared, and he felt the first emotion since he woken up that night. Anger.

“Tess.”


****************************************************

Maria changed the radio station and a pop ballad suddenly sounded in the confines of the car.

“Just because you and Liz are in here doesn’t mean that I’m listening to that top forty pop crap,” Michael stated, switching the station back to the heavy rock he’d been listening to.

“Well we’re not listening to head banging stuff either, Michael.” She gestured to the radio where a heavy metal band was currently blaring out a tune.

“It’s really okay, Maria,” Liz said from the back seat, trying to stop an argument.

“No it’s not. He knows I can only tolerate so much of that. We’ll compromise.” She flipped the station until she found some country music.

“How is this, a compromise exactly?” Michael asked.

“Because we both hate it equally,” Maria replied, grinning at Liz when Michael mumbled, “no shit” under his breath.

Liz smiled back at her friend when she realized that they were stopping.

“Why are we stopping here?” She asked. They were on their way to the Evans’ for dinner, but had just pulled up in front of a rather nice looking hotel. Definitely not the Tumbleweed Inn. Roswell had moved up in the world.

“We’re picking up Max,” Maria answered.

“He’s staying here?” Liz asked in surprise and sudden trepidation. “Why not at his parent’s house or with Isabel?” Or a rental car, she thought. He didn’t drive any more?

Maria glanced at Michael whose face remained impassive. “He... prefers to be alone. He doesn’t really... like closed in places and his room was pretty small.”

Liz didn’t know what to say to that and Maria didn’t elaborate. Liz glanced up at the hotel. “Are you going to call him or go... ”

“He’ll know we’re here,” Michael answered her shortly, and sure enough as he said this, Liz saw the front door of the hotel open and Max appeared. He was dressed casually in black jeans and a white button down shirt.

“How... ?” Liz looked at Maria, but the other girl just shrugged.

“Things have changed since you left,” she said.

What, did they all have mental telepathy now? Liz didn’t voice her thought, though, as Max got into the back seat on the other side.

Michael didn’t greet him other to incline his head, but Maria smiled as he settled into his seat. “Hi, handsome,” she said and Michael glanced at her with a raised eyebrow.

Max’s expression didn’t change, but his lip curled slightly. Maria just smiled wider at him.

Liz waited for his disconcerting gaze to turn to her before she stuttered out her own greeting.

“Hi Max.”

“Liz.”

Sitting tensely on her side of the car, Liz unconsciously rubbed her hands together. His presence was overwhelming in the close quarters of the backseat. This wasn’t their connection, which had remained blessedly absent since his reappearance into her life, this was something altogether different.

Max Evans exuded power. Liz hadn’t noticed it so much the day before in the casual, open atmosphere of the restaurant, but in the small confines of the car, she could feel it practically humming in the air.

She had been aware that the changes in Max went deeper than just his appearance and attitude, but she had never felt anything like this before. As she glanced at him, taking in his seemingly casual appearance and the self-contained way he answered Maria’s questions and comments, Liz could find no trace of the boy who stood shyly in her parent’s restaurant and showed her his soul so she wouldn’t be afraid of him. Or even the man who had come to her window that night so long ago and told her she had to break his heart to save the planet.

This was a completely different person. This was a man who used to be a king... who might still be, Liz realized. She really didn’t know what he was. But his presence filled the car with a quiet... almost lethal power. It was intimidating and more than a little unnerving to realize that she really didn’t know him at all anymore. And with a sudden unexpected pain that she immediately pushed away, she also realized that bothered her more than it should have. She was no longer the person who knew him better than anyone... who knew his soul.

“Michael brought your Mom’s favorite,” Maria said to Max, turning toward them from the front seat.

Max acknowledged her comment with a faint nod.

“You’ve never really tasted Michael’s cooking Liz, but I promise you, you’ll love it. Mrs. Evans likes the milder stuff, so he brought her Greek roasted chicken.”

“That sounds really good,” Liz said, pushing away her disturbing thoughts and trying to seem enthusiastic.

“It is. But you prefer the... what is it Max? It’s one of the blackened dishes right?” Maria inquired.

“The swordfish,” Max answered her briefly.

“That’s right. Max likes spicy, of course, along with Isabel.”

“Come by the restaurant tomorrow. I’ll make it for you,” Michael told Max, looking at him for a moment in the rearview mirror.

“I liked that place you took us in Boston, Liz... Great Bay. Not as good as Michael’s cooking, of course... ” Maria grinned at Liz. “But still... ”

“It’s one of Richard’s favorite places,” Liz said without thinking. She froze, her mouth dropping open for a moment, before she managed to get a hold of herself.

Don’t look at Max... Don’t look at Max...

Liz kept her eyes glued to Maria who casually commented, “He mentioned that when you guys took us.”

Tension thickened the air for a moment, but Liz wondered if she was the only one who felt it. She finally forced herself to glance at Max, but he wasn’t looking at her, his gaze directed out of the window. Did she just imagine the stiffening of his shoulders and the sudden shift in atmosphere? She must have, because the moment was gone and now they were slowing down as Michael pulled into the Evans’ driveway.

A little while later, Liz stood in the Evans’ kitchen, cutting up salad and observing the people around her. She had been greeted enthusiastically by Jim Valenti and Amy Deluca, and somewhat less so by the Evans’, especially Max’s mother. Liz supposed that Mrs. Evans knew something about her and Max’s relationship either from Max himself or Isabel, most likely. She didn’t blame her for not being overly friendly. It was an awkward situation in the best of circumstances, being the ex-girlfriend, but the secrets and lies that had been so much a part of their relationship as well as Max’s relationship with his parent’s made it even worse.

She had also noted that Mrs. Evans was not quite as adept at ignoring the obvious changes in her son as everyone else was, and Liz found herself glad that at least one person was as affected as she was by his stark demeanor. She had seen the way Mrs. Evans’ eyes had teared up when Max stiffly returned her hug, and the sadness that momentarily colored her features whenever she looked at him. Liz could only wonder what explanation the aliens had given their parents after Max’s disappearance and the significant changes after his reappearance.

Liz had also noted that although Isabel hugged him as well, and of course Allison demanded to be picked up immediately, none of the men had touched him.
She wasn’t sure why she noticed this, except that it just struck her suddenly when she saw Kyle, Michael, Jim Valenti and Mr. Evans all exchanging hand shakes. The men greeted Max as well, but only the women in his life seemed to be able to try and bridge the invisible barrier that hovered around Max like a shield.

The salad was finished and Liz went to the sink to wash her hands just as the men entered along with Allison in tow.

“It smells good in here, honey,” Mr. Evans said to his wife as he and the others retrieved plates and silverware to set the table.

“Thanks, but I think it’s probably that wonderful chicken that Michael brought.” Mrs. Evans patted Michael’s cheek as she passed him, and Michael grinned at her.

“The Greek chicken, Michael?” Isabel asked, peering under the foil.

“Yeah.”

“Suck up,” Isabel said with a smirk. “Bringing Mom’s favorite.”

“Be a suck up any time you want,” Kyle interjected. “I love that stuff.”

“The least you could have done is brought the blackened one too. You know that’s what Max and I like.” Isabel smiled at her brother, who was standing quietly against the counter with his arms folded.

“I told Max to come by the restaurant tomorrow so I can cook for him. You come too.” Michael said, frowning at Maria as she smacked the hand he was reaching into the salad bowl with.

“You and your spicy stuff,” Mrs. Evans scoffed. “You all should have bought stock in “Tabasco” years ago.”

“Who says we didn’t?” Kyle grinned.

“Time to put it all out on the table,” Mrs. Evans said and everyone obediently picked up a dish to take into the dining room.

Liz had been standing by the sink still, listening to the back and forth between everyone, feeling more of an outsider than ever. They were all so comfortable with each other and it was so at odds with how things were before Max left. As Maria said, things had definitely changed.

When they were all seated at the table, Mrs. Evans looked at her children and Michael and said, “You know the drill.”

Liz’s brow wrinkled as she looked around expectantly, wondering what was going on, especially when she saw the grin on Maria and Kyle’s faces. She was even more confused when Michael stood up with an exaggerated sigh, followed by Isabel and, to her surprise, Max.

All three aliens reached out a hand, specifically covering a warm dish. Their hands began to glow, and a moment later, steam rose from the now piping hot food. Over in her chair near her Grampa, Allison had reached out a hand too, her little palm glowing even though she couldn’t reach any of the dishes.

“Liz... Liz... are you okay?” Maria asked in concern, seeing Liz’s face, white with shock. “Oh shit, I didn’t tell you. They know. Everyone knows.”

“Oh... ... I’m... ” Liz swallowed against her dry throat, embarrassed by her reaction, but unable to grasp in that moment that all the parents in the room were privy to the secrets that had been so carefully kept for so long.

Kyle, who was seated next to her, leaned over to say quietly, “Isabel told them years ago... after Max left.”

“We always knew our children were special,” Mrs. Evans said, picking up one of the dishes to pass around, seemingly trying to lighten the tension. “Now we know why.”

Liz didn’t know what to say. She was still in shock over the fact that the Evans’ knew that their children were aliens and were talking about it so casually. She suddenly wondered if they knew all the sordid details of their children’s past and if so, it was a wonder she was sitting here at their dinner table. After all, if Max hadn’t saved her that day, they would have never exposed themselves and Max might have been spared whatever had happened to change him so.

As if gleaning her thoughts, Max looked at her and to her surprise, gave a slight shake of his head and she knew that he was telling her to stop whatever thoughts were causing the guilty look that must be on her face. She suddenly felt grateful to him and flashed him a small smile. His lip quirked up in response and Liz almost felt like he’d given her a full-blown smile.

Noting the exchange between them, Mrs. Evans looked bemused for a moment, not having seen her son react that much to another person in a long time. She knew that Liz Parker had played a significant roll in his life, not all of it good. She had been angry when Isabel had explained about Future Max and what Liz had done to make Max give up on their love, but later on when Max returned and they had a chance to talk, he made sure that she understood that he no longer blamed Liz for the choices she’d made when they were teenagers. The things that had happened to him were a result of circumstances beyond anyone’s control besides his own, he told her, and he had made his own choices and ended up paying the price.

Mrs. Evans wasn’t sure that she agreed, but for Max’s sake, she was trying not to be too judgmental. But it was hard. For no matter how much he had changed, how standoffish and distant he seemed, Max was still her son and this girl had hurt him.

‘Forgiveness is divine,’ she reminded herself and forced herself to smile a little less frostily at Liz.

“So Liz... Maria told us that you graduated from Harvard. You must be very excited.”

Swallowing down the small mouthful of the bite she’d just taken, Liz looked at Mrs. Evans in surprise. “Um... yes I am.”

“Molecular Biology sounds intimidating. What does someone with that kind of degree do for a living?”

Um..well... there’s all sorts of possibilities. Research is a major one. Pharmaceutical companies, agriculture, health organizations... ”

“And what is it that you want to pursue?” Mr. Evans piped up.

“I’m leaning towards health issues, I think. I haven’t really decided.”

“Are you going to stay in Boston?”

“Yes, I’m hoping to.”

“So you’ve enjoyed living there? You don’t miss the Southwest?” Mrs. Evan’s asked.

“Yeah, how can you compare green trees and historic sights to wind storms and the pungent smell of manure in the air?” Kyle asked sardonically.

Liz laughed at Kyle’s comment. “Actually, there are some things I do miss about Roswell.”

“You’ve been to Boston, haven’t you Max?” Mrs. Evans inquired of her son.

“Yes.”

Liz looked at Max in surprise. “You’ve been ....to Boston since... you’ve been back?”

It was the first outright question Liz had asked him that referred to his life. She was unreasonably disturbed by the fact that he had been so close and she hadn’t known it.

“I... travel extensively.”

Mr. Evans let out a small laugh. “That’s putting it mildly.”

“Travel... ?”

“You haven’t told her what you do, Max?” Mrs. Evans asked her son, looking slightly perturbed.

“You make it sound like a job.” Isabel interjected, looking upset herself. “It’s not like you’re a ... a... door to door salesman.”

“Isabel.” Max’s voice was quiet, but Liz suddenly found herself holding her breath for some reason as the room became silent.

“No... I’m sorry Max,” Isabel said, her lips trembling. “How can you talk about it like it’s... trivial... like it’s just some... job anyone could do. If everyone only knew that the only reason they’re safe... ”

“Isabel.”

He hadn’t raised his voice. There hadn’t even been an inflection, but Liz flinched as though Max had shouted. The air of authority in his tone was unmistakable, and Isabel immediately stopped her speech. Tears gathered in her eyes and Kyle reached out to comfort her even as he turned to look at Max with the first sign of anger Liz had seen from him.

“Isabel,” Max said again, and this time Liz detected the slightest hint of... she wasn’t sure... but it almost for second sounded like the Max she remembered from before... the Max who loved his sister dearly.

“We’ll talk about this later,” he said, gazing at Isabel across the table, and she nodded, wiping at her eyes.

It took a few moments, but dinner resumed and conversation was almost back to normal within a short period of time. Liz ate her meal, contributing to the conversation when necessary, but otherwise occupied with her thoughts, the disturbing scene between brother and sister playing over and over in her head.

What did Isabel mean by what she’d said? She glanced at Max but saw that he was sitting back in his chair, his arms folded in what was becoming a familiar manner to her, having apparently finished his meal. His eyes met hers briefly, but there was no sign of what was going on in his head. A few minutes later, Allison declared that she was through and wanted to get down. Her mother admonished her, but Max told Isabel that he would go with his niece and sit with her until the others were finished. He got up from the table and led Allison out of the room to wash.

A slight pall was cast over the dinner table for a moment as both Diane Evans and Isabel exchanged weary glances. Then Diane seemed to make an effort for her guests and conversation resumed once again.

It wasn’t until later in the kitchen while the cleaning up was going on that Liz had a moment to corner Maria.

“Interesting dinner, eh?” Maria joked, although her smile seemed forced.

“To say the least. Maria... ” Liz began, but the look on Maria’s face stopped her.

“Liz... don’t ask me okay? Have you changed your mind about things? Have you suddenly decided that you want to be let in to the club again, because if you do, it’s not going to help you sleep at night knowing what’s going on with Max.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean exactly what I told you yesterday. It’s probably better if you don’t know. Max has changed. You can see that. He’s not the same person he was when you and he... before he left. A lot of things happened to him that should never happen to another person... ” Maria shook her head. “But he would be the first to tell you that what’s done is done and it can’t be helped or changed. Just be glad for your own sake that you live a normal life and know that one of the reasons you do is because of Max Evans.”

Maria left Liz standing alone as the others came into the kitchen. Isabel and Max had apparently had whatever talk they were going to have because Isabel looked much better, and chatted with everyone as though the incident had never happened. Liz stayed back for a moment, but felt compelled finally to go over and speak to Max, feeling somewhat bad for what had happened. It was apparent that he had not told his mother about Liz’s complete disassociation from the group.

She hesitantly approached him from behind, intending to touch his arm to garner his attention, but Isabel saw her coming up and something in her face must have alerted him because he turned to face her, stepping back slightly, avoiding her personal space. It took her aback for a moment, not only because of his abrupt movement away from her, but also because it was completely at odds with the Max she had known. It left her feeling somewhat bereft, and again, she didn’t want to analyze the feeling very closely.

“Um... Max... I wanted to say... that I’m sorry if my being here puts you in an... awkward position... with your family.”

“It doesn’t,” Max stated.

“Oh... well... it just seemed like your Mom and Isabel were upset that... you know... that I... don’t... ”

“Just because they may know what happened doesn’t mean they understand everything,” Max said.

For the second time that night, Liz felt almost as though they were connecting the way they used to, his concise statement, managing to put things in perspective. “It’s natural for them to come to your defense. They love you.”

Max only nodded, and she thought his expression reflected a bone weary sadness, but it was gone almost instantly if it hadn’t been there at all. Liz thought he was going to say something else, but before he could, chaos erupted behind them.

Isabel had been leaning over to remove a pie from the oven with pot holders, but just as she was standing upward with it in her hands, Mrs. Evans accidentally jostled her as she walked past, her own hands holding a tray with coffee cups and saucers. The collision sent the tray crashing, and the pie tipped in Isabel’s hand, hot juice scalding her. She let out a cry and involuntarily let go of the extremely hot dish.

Liz wasn’t sure exactly what happened next, but one moment Max had been standing next to her, the next he was across the room, the glass pie plate landing safely in his hands before it could reach the floor.

His bare hands.

Liz gasped, her own hands coming up to cover her mouth, unable to believe that he could do what he did, much less doing it with what must have been an excruciatingly hot glass plate. She expected him to immediately let go of the dish... which he did, but not on the floor. Max simply stood upright and calmly put the pie plate down on the stovetop. As he removed his hands, Liz could see the reddened skin of his palms, the burns glaringly obvious, and she cringed inside, but it wasn’t the burns that held her attention. It was his face.

He’d barely flinched. In fact he seemed almost oblivious to the burns, but he looked in her direction and caught the direction of her horrified gaze and looked down at them. As she watched, Max simply waved the opposite hand over each palm and the burns disappeared. Liz could only stare in astonishment as he stood near his mother and sister not moving while Mrs. Evans and now Kyle examined Isabel’s injured hand.

“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry,” Mrs. Evans was saying, almost in tears.

“It’s okay, Mom,” Isabel said, although it was apparent that unlike her brother, she was in a lot of pain. She glanced at him, and Liz thought that he might move into help her, but to her surprise, he didn’t. He simply stood back and watched as Michael went over and waved glowing hands over her burned skin, apparently trying to alleviate some of the pain and Mr. Evans came in with a first aid kit. Maria and Amy Deluca were keeping Allison out of the kitchen although it was obvious that she wanted to go to her mother, but there was still porcelain all over the floor from where the tray had fallen.

In somewhat of a daze, Liz finally started cleaning up some of the glass on the floor.

“You’ll cut yourself,” Jim Valenti admonished her, appearing by her side. As she stood upright, he called Michael who came over and he and Max waved their hands over the mess on the floor and cups and saucers were instantly repaired.

“Thank you boys,” Mrs. Evans said, giving each of them a kiss on the cheek after the tray had been restored. She gazed up at Max a moment longer after she thanked him. “You didn’t have to do that, you know. Are your hands okay?” She looked down at them, ascertaining for herself that they were and patted his cheek again.

“But it was very cool and you saved desert so the least we can do is eat it,” Kyle interjected from his stance by Isabel.

“I second that,” Mr. Evans said and just like that, the tension was dispelled as everyone resumed what they’d been doing before disaster had struck.
Last edited by sylvia37 on Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

sylvia37
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 133
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2001 4:58 pm

Post by sylvia37 » Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:37 am

BTF Part 3 (cont.)


A relatively short time later, Liz sat ensconced in the backseat of Maria’s car lost in her thoughts about the evening, filled with questions. Why hadn’t Max healed Isabel’s hand? She frowned. The Max she’d known would never have let his sister suffer even such a minor injury without doing something about it, but tonight, he hadn’t even made a move to help her. And how could he have saved that plate with barely a flinch? What was it that Max did that was so important? God, the questions were going to drive her mad.

“Why didn’t Max heal Isabel?”

The question flew out of her mouth almost involuntarily, and Liz cringed, wishing she had bitten her tongue.

She watched Maria glance at Michael, then open her mouth to speak, but before she could, Michael spoke... or rather erupted.

“No, don’t tell her,” he said to Maria. “Listen. We need to get some things straight here. I understand why you did what you did all those years ago. I even respect the fact that you tried to end things with Max in order to let him try and follow his destiny, and that Tess and Alex and all the other shit that went down was very fucked up.” Michael paused to take a breath. “But you made the decision to stay out of things. You decided that our shit was too much for you and I get that. It’s too much for anyone. But like I said, YOU made the choice. You live another life now. The things that have happened... the things that we deal with... that Max deals with on a daily basis... are not your business anymore. I appreciate that you’ve kept your mouth shut all of these years, but that’s as far as it goes. So unless you really want to know... unless you’re ready to be part of this... stop asking. It’s not fair to Maria... it never has been. But she loves you so... that’s all I have to say.”

Liz swallowed at the lump that had formed in her throat during Michael’s chastising speech. She sat silently, biting her lip to keep unbidden tears at bay, until the familiar lights of the CrashDown sign came into view. As soon as the car stopped, she opened the door to leave, but before she could make it up the steps to the apartment, she felt Maria’s hand on her arm. She turned around to find her friend gazing at her sympathetically.

“I’m sorry Maria,” Liz said remorsefully.

“You don’t have anything to be sorry for, Liz. I’m sorry that Michael was so harsh. He’s very protective... of all of us, but especially Max. He feels guilty about things and he tries to make up for it by going overboard sometimes.” Maria leaned in to hug her.

“Listen to me. This is a difficult situation... for everyone. And it’s mostly my fault. I asked you to come... and I didn’t tell you what you would be facing when you got here. I just... I wanted you here so much... and I thought... that maybe... maybe you and Max... could use some closure too. I mean... you never really resolved anything before he left and I hoped that by seeing him...maybe you could both finally put the past to rest. Because I know, in spite of how it looks to everyone else, you haven’t really put it behind you, Liz. How could you have? You were both hurt and torn apart by circumstances that... well that were insane by anyone’s standards. And honestly, you’ve let what happened dictate the rest of your life. You’ve let it keep you away from your family and your friends and it’s shaped all the decisions you’ve made in the last six years, whether you think so or not.”

Liz could only stare at her friend, listening to words that pierced the protective bubble she’d built around her heart and her life, a shield against the very things that were turning her world upside down right now. She felt sick inside at the thought.

Maria sighed at the look on her friend’s face, seeing that her words were having the opposite effect that she had hoped for. Instead of helping to open her eyes, it appeared that the truths she’d uttered were reminding Liz of why she had left Roswell in the first place. Shit.

“Listen, Isabel and I are driving to Santa Fe to shop for wedding clothes tomorrow. You’ll come, won’t you?”

A whole day in the presence of Isabel Ev... (Valenti damn it!)... did not appeal to Liz in the least, but she couldn’t very well refuse her best friend.

“Of course.”

“Great.” Maria smiled. “We’ll probably end up staying overnight, so pack a bag.”

“Oh... okay.” Just fucking great. Overnight too. Her only saving grace was that at least it wasn’t with Max as well.

“Okay. Goodnight, Sweetie.” Maria leaned over for one last hug. “I can’t wait for tomorrow. I’m so excited!”

Liz couldn’t help but smile at her enthusiasm as she said goodbye.

Trudging upstairs to the apartment, Liz popped in to say goodnight to her parents before going to her room. Checking the messages on her cell phone, Liz saw that Richard had called earlier. She dialed his number.

“Hello?”

“Hi, it’s me.”

“I don’t know an “itsme”.

“Funny.”

“Oh, okay. We’re not in the mood for jokes. Tell me what’s going on?”

Liz immediately felt bad. “Nothing. It’s nothing. Just old stuff.”

“Ah... I should have known. The old crowd getting to you?”

“No... ” Liz settled on the bed and took a deep breath. “I didn’t tell you yesterday because honestly I was in shock but... Max is here.”

Richard was silent for a moment.

“I thought you told me... he was gone and no one knew where he was.”

His voice was neutral, although Liz could tell there was a little tension in it.

“He was... but I guess he came back and... ” Liz sighed. “Maria didn’t tell me. She was afraid I might not come if I knew that he would be here.”

Liz had told Richard about her past, excluding the alien angle, of course, relaying her and Max’s tumultuous relationship in human terms, the mistakes made on both sides and his disappearance in search of his son. He knew her ambivalent feelings about coming back to Roswell in the first place.

“Have you talked to him?”

“Yes. I had to have dinner at his parent’s house tonight.”

“Oh boy. How did that go?”

“It was interesting. They were very nice to me, considering.”

“Have you and Max... talked?”


“We’ve spoken.”

“You know what I mean. Have you ... ?”

“Talked about the past? No.” Liz rubbed her eyes. “I don’t have any desire to rehash the past. And no desire to know what he’s been doing since then.” It sounded sincere. Liz wished that niggling little voice in her head calling her a liar would shut up.

“I understand.”

Richard’s voice was deep with the sentiment he’d stated, but Liz could hear the slight hint of relief in it as well.

“What are you up to?” Liz asked, settling back on her bed to listen to Richard account for his day. As she listened, responding appropriately in the right spots, her mind wandered a little to the events of her own evening, seeing Max catch the plate in his hands... listening to him as he and Isabel sparred at the table.

“... and I said to him, “You’ve got a lot of damn nerve.” Can you believe that guy? Liz... Liz are you still there?”

“Oh... yes... I’m sorry. I’m just... tired.” Liz realized that she had almost completely tuned out Richard’s story as her own thoughts consumed her.

“A couple of days without me and you’re already losing interest.”

“I’m sorry. Really. I didn’t mean to... ”

“I’m kidding. I know you’re tired. I was just going on about the usual stuff. You’ve heard it before.”

His voice teased her and Liz responded in kind. “Well in that case... I’m glad I wasn’t really listening.”

“Always keeping me on my toes.”


“Absolutely. Hey is that chewing, I hear?”

“Oops, caught me. I’m eating and watching the tube.”

“Something greasy and disgusting no doubt.” Richard’s eating habits were atrocious, and Liz was forever trying to get him to modify them. For a man who liked to stay in shape and be healthy, his love of anything fried and greasy was an anomaly.

“Ummmm….”

“Never mind.” Liz rolled her eyes. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

“Love you, gorgeous.”

“I love you too.”

“Night.”

Liz clicked off the phone, and set about getting ready for bed. As she methodically did her nighttime routine, she couldn’t help but think of Maria’s words to her earlier, as well as Michael’s.

They were both right. She had no right to keep questioning Maria when she was the one who had made the rules. Michael’s anger was justified. Liz had chosen to remove herself from the aliens’ lives and they had respected her wishes and not asked anything from her... and in fact had trusted her to keep their secret even though she was no longer a part of the group.

Maria was right as well. She had allowed her feelings over what had happened with Max to dictate her life... but she didn’t regret it. Whatever had happened... whatever was still happening now in their lives, she was glad she wasn’t a part of it... no matter how much her curiosity was killing her. From what she had gathered, it was still dangerous and unpredictable... and those were two words that were no longer part of her vocabulary.

Feeling better about things, especially after having spoken to Richard, Liz yawned and got into bed, thinking about the next day and vowing to herself that she would make every effort to make it a fun day for Maria.

With that thought, she clicked off the light, and went to sleep.
Lisa: Do we have any food that wasn't brutally slaughtered?

Homer: Well, I think the veal died of loneliness.

sylvia37
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 133
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2001 4:58 pm

Post by sylvia37 » Thu Apr 13, 2006 9:44 am

Hey folks. I'm really sorry it's been so long. I had a visitor and we went out of town for a few days so I didn't end up posting before I left like I meant to.

So.....all the speculation and opinions. I really love that. I spent some time deciding if I was going to address the different opinions of Maria's actions and Michael's reactions, but I decided not to. I guess the point of writing a story is to allow people to form their own opinions. I will say that my thoughts while writing the story were more in line with the opinion that Liz was dealing with the fallout of her own decision not to be involved with the alien abyss anymore. I will also say that in reference to the comment about Mrs. Evans reaction to Liz hurting Max....he's her son. It was a mother's reaction,and she realized in her own mind that it might not be completely fair, but it was a valid reaction.

Also, major note about Max here. There has been lots of speculation regarding Max's feelings towards being touched by men. I will put to rest right now the notion that it is because he was tortured by men. It's NOT.

The reason that the women in Max's life, i.e., Isabel, Maria, Mrs. Evans, touch him and the men don't......it's a gender thing. The women will allow him to be as standoffish as he wants to be to a certain point, but they are not going to allow him to keep completely separate. So they still treat him normally, they kiss and hug and touch him just as they always have done and Max lets them because he knows it makes them happy. The guys on the other hand, are reacting as guys. They wouldn't normally be touchy feely anyway, so they are not going to push the issue by forcing attention on him now that he's...changed.

The men greeted Max as well, but only the women in his life seemed to be able to try and bridge the invisible barrier that hovered around Max like a shield.



Maybe I was heavy handed with the point in the story because it is a point....just not from an abuse or sexual one. Does that make sense? It's just the difference between women and men.


Okay......once again, long, scary author note. I'll shut up now except to say that I LOVE all of you so much for your interest in this story. Please don't stop.

Thanks to Liz, (miss you babe).




Burning to Feel Part 4

She walked into his cell and closed the door quietly behind her. Meeting his eyes briefly, his glare scorched her and she quickly looked away. Instead, she gazed around the room, taking in the damp walls, the chains binding his wrists, the clothing barely clinging to his thin frame. They fed him, but just enough to keep him alive apparently. His hair was much longer and unruly, hanging lankly around his pale, angry features. She swallowed at the hatred burning in those golden eyes, but got right to the point, knowing she didn’t have all that much time.

“I need to talk to you.”

“Go fucking gloat somewhere else, Tess!”

“No! Listen to me. I would have come sooner, but he watches me all the time. I couldn’t let him see me come here. He’s gone to a summit for a few days. He’s constantly at war with the other planets in our star system. Rath and Lonnie didn’t lie about that much. ”

He saw her eyes dart around the room, her demeanor completely different from the woman he’d seen when he first got here or even from the defiant girl he’d watched leave in the Granilith. This Tess seemed hesitant, even nervous, but it didn’t matter. He knew she was the master deceiver. He had learned that the hard way.

“I want.....I’m here to help you Max.”

A harsh bark of disbelieving laughter almost choked his parched throat. “Help me.”

“Yes. I know you have no reason to trust me.....”

“You think?”

She ignored his jibe. “This is about our son.”

He stiffened. They had told him nothing of his son since locking him in this prison and after the first inquiries had been met with painful retribution, he had stopped asking.

Staring at him for a moment, her shoulders suddenly slumped and she tiredly walked over to the opposite wall of his cell and slid down until she was sitting, her arms wrapped around her knees. He couldn’t help but notice what an incongruous sight she made sitting in his dank cell, dressed in another gown that rivaled the beauty of the one he’d seen before. Her head lolled against her knees for a moment before she looked up at him, and he was surprised to see the shimmer of tears.

“I didn’t know what it would be like. I knew....I knew that Necado had no feelings for humans...no feelings at all, but I thought it was just because he was a shape shifter, a different race from us. He always told me that we belonged here...that you and I belonged here together. He lied to me.”

Did she expect him to feel sorry for her? He only continued to glare at her, not letting her see the pain in his arms and shoulders where he ached from the chains or the throbbing in his sprained leg. He’d be damned before he gave her the satisfaction of seeing what she’d done to him. What she’d helped do to him, he amended to himself, knowing that it was his own fault for believing her in the first place. It was obvious that his son was perfectly capable of living on earth just as he and Tess were able to live on this godforsaken planet.

“These people are so cold, Max. Kivar...,” she paused to swallow as though pained. “He’s turned our people into....robots...into cold, unfeeling.....I can’t describe it to you. You see how he is. It isn’t only him. It’s everyone under his control.”

Her gaze finally turned to him, and he saw some of the old determination alight in them. “I don’t want that for our son. I don’t want that for Zan.”

“Zan......”

“Yes, I named him Zan, although I don’t think I had much choice. Kivar wants to make sure that everyone knows that he is your heir. That he is the heir to the true king of Antar.”

He studied her, unable to comprehend this change in her, cursing the small spark of hope that blossomed in his gut as he listened to her. He couldn’t trust her.

Something in his look must have communicated itself. “I know you don’t believe me, Max. I don’t blame you. I was so wrong. I....should have taken what you offered.....you and Michael and Isabel....and Kyle and Jim.....I was a fool.” She shook her head and dropped her gaze but not before he saw the bitterness that marred it.

“You’ve come to the wrong place for sympathy, Tess.”

“I didn’t come here for sympathy.” She roused herself and leaned forward. “I came here to try to make you understand. I know you hate me, I know you would rather see me dead than to ever say another word to me, but this isn’t about me. It’s about our son.”

“You keep saying that but so far the only thing I’ve heard is about you.”

She sighed. “Okay, listen. I don’t have much time because I mind warped the guards into thinking I’m in my room, but I can’t keep it up forever.”

“I don’t believe you. You’re not mind warping anyone right now. I’ve seen you do it.”

She flashed a bitter smile. “Things are different now. My powers are much stronger. The guards are nothing.”

“Then why haven’t you warped Kivar and left if you’re so unhappy.”

“Because he’s difficult to….he......”she glanced away from him, rubbing a spot on her forehead as if in pain. “He....raped my memories the moment I got here. He’s practically immune to my powers.”

He felt an unwanted twinge of sympathy pass through him at her words. He knew what it felt like to be mind raped....to have his memories...his very being violated by someone who didn’t care how much they were hurting him. He’d felt it with Nicholas, but that was nothing compared to what Kivar could do. He thought his head would explode when Kivar had done it.

“If you hate him so much, what was that little show you put on for me when I got here?”

“It was just that. A show. More for him than you. I had to do it or he would have.....” she stopped, shame and pain suddenly coming over her pale features. “I’m his whore, Max.”

His eyes widened despite his attempt not to show any emotion.

“I’m not the queen. I’m just his little half human play-thing. I brought him what he wanted....your heir, the granilith and that’s all he needed from me. I’m nothing to him.” She lifted dull blue eyes to his face. “He....hurts me if I don’t do what he wants. Not the way he hurts you......but.....”

He knew what she meant. He could only imagine the kind of pain Kivar could inflict upon a woman and that unwanted sympathy pierced his gut again.

“Why are you here, Tess?”

Taking a deep breath, she told him. He could only stare incredulously as her scheme unfolded.

“You’re out of you mind. If you think I’m going to believe that pack of bullshit you just spewed, you’re insane.”

“It’s the tru....”

“No!” He shouted, the chains on his wrists rattling with the forcefulness of his words. He ignored the pain that accompanied it. “Don’t tell me it’s the truth, Tess. I know your brand of truth, remember? I’ve heard the lies come out of your mouth while you looked exactly like you look now, pleading...innocent.... I’ll never believe you again. It’s already cost me too much.”

She stared at him a moment, then slowly got to her feet. “I have to go. I knew it wouldn’t be that simple, but I had to try.” She walked toward the door, then turned back to look at him. “I have proof of what I’m telling you, Max.”

“What possible proof could you provide?”

“I’ll bring you your son.”


*****************************************

“This one. This is the one I think you should try on.”

Liz looked at the small shirt Maria held up for her inspection and shook her head.

“I don’t wear clothes like that anymore, Maria.”

“Well you should. You’re 24 not 50, Liz. You dress like my grandmother.”

“Maria....” Liz said admonishingly, her eyes wide with surprise.

“Well you do. Tell her Isabel.”

Liz’s gaze turned to the tall blond as she looked up from the rack of clothes and saw the shirt Maria was holding up. Her gaze flicked to Liz for a moment, before she answered without inflection.

“Her clothes are fine, Maria. Don’t force her to buy something she’s not comfortable in.”

“You’re just saying that to be nice,” Maria said in a huff, putting the shirt back on the rack.

Liz let out a sigh of relief, but she seriously doubted that Isabel had said what she said to be nice.

Not that Isabel had been anything but polite since they’d left Roswell yesterday for their clothes shopping trip to Santa Fe. She had been extremely polite, painstakingly so. It was nerve wracking and a relief all at the same time. Part of Liz wanted Isabel to just break down and scream how she really felt, and the rest of her was pathetically glad that she wasn’t doing that. In fact, for the most part, they were having a good time.

Luckily though, it was almost over. They had spent hours finding the perfect clothes that Maria wanted all of them to wear for the wedding. By all of them, it meant the guys too. No Tuxes or puffy maid of honor dresses for her. No, she had a vision in her head of exactly what she wanted and no half measures would do. They’d had to compromise on a few things, like colors and sizes, but a little alien magic would fix those minor things.

Now, they were just shopping for fun, but Liz was hoping they would stop and eat soon because they were due to get back on the road for home.

She moved to a different rack and pulled out a rather conservative, short sleeved white blouse, eyeing it critically, thinking of the pants and skirts it might go with. But she was distracted by Maria and Isabel’s voices as they stood looking at clothes together, both of them admiring the less designer, less...... Liz sighed and admitted it to herself.... less stodgy looking clothing.

Had she really changed that much? She put the blouse back and walked back toward where Maria and Isabel were standing.

“Let me see that shirt again, Maria.”

Maria quickly searched for the shirt. Finding it, she said, “This red would be great with your hair.”

Liz had to admit the shirt was cute....and short. It would definitely show more skin than she was used to these days.

“And here’s a skirt to go with it.” Maria said smiling as she handed the skirt to Liz. “Let’s go try stuff on.” The two girls left Isabel still looking.

They went to the dressing room and changed clothes. Liz bit her lip as she looked at herself in the mirror, absentmindedly noting that Maria was right. The color was perfect for her, but then, red always had been.

“Let me see, Liz.”

Liz stepped out of the dressing room.

“Damn, I should have kept that outfit for myself,” Maria said. “That looks great.”

As she turned in front of the mirror on the wall, Liz had to agree with her. The short, flirty skirt and small crop top did look good. But....

“What’s that look for?” Maria asked at the small frown between Liz’s eyebrows.

“I just....”

“What?”

“It’s...Richard doesn’t really....”

“What? He doesn’t like you in pretty clothes? He doesn’t like you in Red?” Maria stopped at the uncertain look on her friend’s face.

“No...he likes me in Red. He just doesn’t like....he thinks showing too much skin is...”

“Is what?”

“Slutty.”

“What?”

Liz rolled her eyes. “Don’t make me say it again, Maria. You heard me.”

“He actually told you that.”

“Yes.”

Maria cocked her head for a minute, before letting out an incredulous laugh. “Then he must have thought I was a grade A whore when we met.”

“Maria!”

“I’m serious. If he thinks showing off that little bit of skin is slutty, then my clothes must have shocked the hell out of him.”

“He’s not like that, Maria. He didn’t say a word about your clothes.”

“Well that’s a relief.” Maria shook her head at her friend. “So that’s why your wardrobe had an overhaul. Because of Richard.”

“That’s not why...” Liz started defensively, but at Maria’s skeptical look she stopped. “Okay, it’s part of the reason why, but really, it was just that… when we started seriously dating, we had to attend all of these functions and we always saw his friends and colleagues when we were out and.... besides, I like dressing to please him.”

“And he didn’t want them thinking about how much he was robbing the cradle by dating a girl twenty years younger. Although I’m surprised because most men who date younger women like to show off their …assets.”

Liz turned her censuring gaze to Maria and her friend was instantly contrite. “I’m sorry, that wasn’t nice. I didn’t mean it that way. I’m just....I love you and I like Richard, but he’s.....a bit of a snob. I know he doesn’t mean to be. I mean...he’s a Harvard professor for God’s sake. How can he help it?”

Maria smiled and Liz felt her own lips curl reluctantly. Maria came up and put her arm around her shoulders. “Do what you think is right, Liz.” She turned both of them toward the mirror and shook her head. “But that outfit is ‘muy caliente’ and if you don’t get it, I will.

Liz couldn’t help but laugh, and she gazed contemplatively at herself in the mirror for another moment. The skirt reached only slightly above her knees and the shirt only showed a small strip of skin. “You’re right. I like it. And besides, I can’t let you have it now can I?”

Maria laughed. “There’s the Liz I remember.” She hugged her and went back to her own dressing room.

It was almost two hours later when the girls hauled their tired bodies to the food court to eat before heading back. Liz piled her bags as close to her seat as she could, but there were too many. After deciding on the shirt and skirt, Maria had convinced her to buy new jeans and more tops and even some shorts. She’d completely abused her credit card, but she decided it was worth it. She hadn’t had so much fun shopping for clothes in ages.

They ate their lunch slowly, letting their tired feet rest, discussing the wedding plans and deciding how to make changes to the clothes they’d bought for the guys.

“Are you sure Michael said he would wear that?” Isabel asked when Maria explained her idea.

“I showed him the picture and he promised he would do it as long as Max and Kyle agreed too.”

“You got my brother to agree?”

Maria grinned. “He said he would, although I think he just did it because he wanted to see Michael wear it.”

Liz sat listening to their conversation, wondering how Maria could tell what Max was thinking about anything. Of course, she reminded herself that Maria had more practice than she did in reading Max these days. A small pang caused her to let out a breath, but she quickly pushed it away.

“Well, I don’t know about convincing Kyle. You know he’s a western shirt and cowboy boots wearing kind of guy.”

“You can do it,” Maria said. “Just tell him how sexy he’ll look and promise to blow him or something.”

Liz choked on her drink as Isabel huffed, “I don’t know what you have to do for Michael, but I don’t have to go to extremes to get Kyle to do what I want.” She sounded arrogant, but her eyes were laughing as she haughtily straightened her shoulders, making her obvious attributes jiggle slightly.

Maria laughed. “Kyle always was a breast man.”

Isabel’s smile said she knew it and the two laughed again. Liz smiled too, but she couldn’t help but feel somewhat embarrassed. Not by what Maria said because she was used to Maria, but having this kind of conversation with Isabel was a new experience. She wasn’t used to seeing Isabel laughing and making fun of herself.

A few minutes later, Maria excused herself to go to the bathroom and Liz’s discomfort only increased. The silence between her and Isabel was acute and grew more so as time passed. Liz looked around the food court, trying to seem casual, but she was really avoiding looking at Isabel and the other girl seemed to be doing the same thing. Finally, Liz couldn’t stand it anymore.

“I never got a chance to tell you congratulations on your wedding and for having Allison....and everything. She’s really beautiful.”

“Thank you,” Isabel said politely, although she beamed with pride at the mention of Allison’s name.

“I’ve never seen Kyle so happy,” Liz continued, trying to keep the ice broken.

“He makes me happy too,” Isabel replied a little stiltedly.

Liz looked down at the table, deciding to go for broke. “And....I wanted to thank you for...being...you know...nice to me. I know you must....I’m probably not your favorite person.”

Isabel gazed at her for a moment. “No you’re not.” Her eyes had lost their polite expression, but they hadn’t turned venomous either.

Liz swallowed, wishing suddenly that she’d kept her mouth shut.

Isabel saw her expression and closed her eyes, slumping back a little in her chair as though the effort of having kept up the façade of politeness had filled her with tension, which it probably had.

“I don’t hate you, Liz.”

Her words startled Liz and it must have showed because Isabel smiled slightly. “Don’t get me wrong. I used to. It took me a long time to get over some of the things I found out about what went on between you and Max. When he left....” She paused and took a breath, and Liz saw a quick flash of the pain her brother’s departure had caused her. “When he left I....went a little crazy for a while......not knowing......” She stopped again as if realizing she was revealing too much. “Anyway, I blamed you for all of it and I probably would have kept on blaming you if Max hadn’t come back and....”

“And what?” Liz asked hoarsely.

Isabel shook her head. “He just explained some things, that’s all. What matters is that Max made me promise not to blame you anymore for what happened between the two of you and I’m trying really hard not to. I know he made the decision to leave all on his own and it had nothing to do with you and everything to do with finding his son.”

Liz didn’t know what to say to that. To learn that Max had convinced Isabel not to blame her when he could have left it alone, made her insides tighten with a not altogether foreign emotion. She blinked back sudden moisture to her eyes.

“But I will be honest about something,” Isabel got her attention with that.

“Seeing you again and knowing that you have this life.....” Isabel paused when she saw Liz’s somewhat surprised expression and said, “You may not have wanted to know about us, but Maria is my friend and she wanted to talk about you.”

Embarrassment colored her features for a moment and Liz couldn’t meet the other girl’s eyes at the blatant mention of her agreement with Maria and Kyle.

“Anyway, knowing that you went on with your life.... and met someone that you love.... and seeing my brother the way he is....” Isabel’s voice choked off for a moment. “You have no idea how hard that is for me. He deserves happiness.... almost more than any of us....but....he’s never.....he won’t ever.....”

Tears filled Isabel’s eyes and she reached for her purse for a tissue to dab at them. She took a deep breath as though pushing her emotions back.

“I’m sorry, Isabel.” Liz couldn’t think of anything else to say and she wasn’t sure if she was saying she was sorry for what happened to Max or sorry that her presence seemed to be bringing up so much baggage for everyone.

“Just do me a favor. Don’t hurt my brother. He’s been hurt enough for two lifetimes.”

Maria chose that moment to reappear. As she walked up to the table, she could feel the tension and sadness that permeated the air. “Everything okay?”

“It’s fine. Let’s go.” Isabel got up from the table and picked up her purchases.

Maria looked at Liz, but Liz just shook her head. They headed out to the car and a few moments later, they were on the road. Isabel took the back seat while Maria drove. Liz sat in the passenger seat, staring out the window at the passing scenery, lost in her thoughts. After a while, she noticed Isabel had fallen asleep.

“You want to tell me what you and Isabel were talking about when I came back?” Maria’s voice penetrated her reverie.

Taking a deep breath and debating for a moment, Liz decided on honesty. “She was telling me how she blamed me for what happened between Max and me. But she also said that Max convinced her not to.”

“Well, he and Kyle actually.”

Liz smiled a little at that. “She also told me that she resented the fact that I have a new life while Max....doesn’t. She asked me not to hurt him.”

Maria sighed. “Don’t let what she said get to you, Liz. You aren’t responsible for what Max does or doesn’t do and you’re entitled to your life.”

“I know that,” Liz answered, and she did. She wasn’t about to take responsibility for Max’s choice to leave earth, and she wasn’t going to apologize for moving on with her life. But it didn’t make it any easier seeing Max the way he was. She knew how Isabel felt, at least partially. It pained her to see him so closed off and distant, and she’d only been around him for a short time. She couldn’t imagine watching him remain that way year after year. And if what Isabel had said was true, it wasn’t likely to change.

“Does my being here hurt him, Maria?” Liz asked hesitantly.

“I don’t know. Maybe. But if it does, then it’s my fault not yours.

“He told me to go on with my life, Maria. All those years ago. He told me he wanted me to be happy.”

“I know, Sweetie. And he meant it. You know he did. He doesn’t resent you for having a life. Isabel just wants....what she can’t have. What none of us can.”

“What’s that?”

Maria didn’t answer for a moment. When she finally did, her voice was thick. “She wants Max to be the way he was. Warts and all.”

“Is that impossible? She said....”

“Max is..... doing the best he can and she should be thankful for that. She is thankful for that. But seeing you makes her remember, that’s all. If it were up to me...... ”

Maria stopped, glancing back in the rearview mirror and Liz looked back as well when she heard Isabel stirring. Damn, she thought. Maria turned on the radio pretty much signaling the end of their discussion, and Liz bit back a sigh of frustration, desperately wanting to know what she had been about to say.

A little while later, Maria let Isabel drive and Liz moved to the back seat. They stuck to safe topics, and as she sat listening, Liz wondered, not for the first time, whether or not she should leave when they got back to Roswell. After her talk with Isabel today, it was obvious that her presence was as hard on the people still living there as it was for her to be there.

She couldn’t do it. As she gazed at Maria talking and laughing, she knew she couldn’t leave before the wedding. Despite her friend’s deliberate, if well meaning deception in getting her there, and regardless of her words to the contrary, Liz knew Maria would be devastated if she left. She would stick it out.

And the truth was, in spite of her initial trepidation, Liz really didn’t want to leave yet. The episode with Isabel not withstanding, she’d had fun shopping and being with her best friend again, and she was enjoying the time with her parents as well.

Be positive, she thought. Now that she and Isabel had cleared the air some, maybe there would be no more drama. And she and Max were being civil to each other even if it was a little uncomfortable. As she gazed out at the desert scenery flying by, Liz tentatively let herself be optimistic that things would go smoothly from here on out.
Last edited by sylvia37 on Fri Apr 14, 2006 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

sylvia37
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 133
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2001 4:58 pm

Post by sylvia37 » Mon Apr 24, 2006 7:16 am

Okay, I'm back. You guys are relentless. Just kidding. I love that you're so anxious. The problem is that real life has been rearing it's ugly head and I'm getting down to the point where I'm not going to have anything left to post. Then you'll really be mad.

I love all the comments and thoughts. Everyone has their own opinion and that's great.

Mareli - More about Tess this chapter. Isabel understands that Max was responsible for his own decisions, but it doesn't make it easier to live with. I'm glad you're addicted, my sweet friend.

ISLANDGIRL5 - LOL, a hoover is a good description. Afraid you a few chapters to go before we find out what's up with Max.

tequathisy - LOL, sorry sweetie. I just couldn't resist.

Timelord31 - I'll answer that question right now. Richard is not with the government.

frenchkiss70 - See Xmag and RealisticDreamer's feedback. Whether it's logical or not, sometimes when it involves someone you love, your feelings on their behalf are not always fair and balanced. Thanks for reading.

kelly13 - Thank you.

xmag - Your comments are always insightful and welcome. As for Liz, she has to figure some stuff out.

rie482 - Hmmm....Tess....this part will help.

Alien614 - Thank you.

RiaRath101 - Thanks so much.

clueless - Always good to hear from you, sweetie.

LadyInfamous - A newbie. Thanks for reading. I appreciate that you're reading.

spacecowboy - I'll answer that. Max is not under anyone's power, although you're right about his actions.

begonia9508 - Thanks Eve. I agree that Isabel is trying under the circumstances. She was never the most understanding when it came to Max or Liz's feelings so.....

Flamehair - He's just a bit of a snob and Liz isn't a child so.....

ruthandnina - Thanks. Yeah, Liz definitely opted for safe, but she's just now beginning to acknowledge it.

nitpick23 - I agree that Liz has adapted herself to a new lifestyle and it's her own choice. As for Michael and Isabel, they are reacting somewhat to their guilt for past actions. And see my comments to Frenchkiss regarding Diane.

Emz80m - so glad you're reading. You're assessment of Richard is....subjective right now so....just remember that Liz is a big girl and she can make her own decisions.

Scottie - Leslie, I love hearing from you and your assessment of Isabel is right on. Thanks, sweetie.

Realistic Dreamer - Sandy my love, as always, you're comments are right on the money. You always have a great understanding. And you make me blush. I don't know what to say, except thank you for the wonderful complement.

BelevnDreamsToo - Aw, Jeannine, you know you wanted me to reveal it all RIGHT NOW! LOL. Thanks so much for commenting. Oh, and the last part with the prologue made 5 parts so it is already eligible for voting. Dum dee dummmm...dee dum...... :wink:


Seriously, thank you to those who already nominated Liz's awesome banner and to those who already nominated the story. I was shocked and humbled you guys.


Okay, next part.




Burning to Feel Part 5



The guards unceremoniously dumped him on the floor of his cell. He barely felt them shackling his wrists, the pain in his body and mind all consuming.....

He’d been right, in assuming that Kivar would find a way to make him pay for tuning out the pain. This was by far the worst. Now that he was alone, he gave into the agony. His chest felt crushed, his lungs struggled for air.....his head was a knot of throbbing agony. His arms and legs.....a small hitch of breath escaped his lips as he tried to move his legs. He lay trying to breathe, despite the heaviness that bespoke of broken ribs and a punctured lung. His breath wheezed from his chest and he wondered if finally.....blessedly ......death would release him from this hell he found himself in.

At that thought, he felt a touch of regret. He should have known that Tess lied to him. He should have known that her promises were meaningless, but he hadn’t been able to help the anticipation that blossomed every time the door to his cell opened....the anticipation of finally seeing his son. As the days and weeks went by with no sign of them, his hope had dwindled into self-disgust, self-loathing that he’d allowed himself to, once again, become susceptible to Tess’s machinations. She had found a new way to torture him and it had worked.

The buzzing in his head grew as he felt himself slowly losing consciousness again and he idly wondered if he would ever wake up again. The thought only caused a sigh of relief......

It could have been a minute or an hour later that voices penetrated the fog in his brain. He could barely hear them. He must be dreaming.

“He’s barely breathing......”

“You can’t.....not all the way.....they’ll suspect......just help.......”

“Open your eyes......Max......open......”

He didn’t want to but the insistent voice kept at him until he finally forced his heavy eyelids to half-mast. Large, sparkling blue eyes overwhelmed his vision.

Heat in his chest and a moment later he could draw a deep breath.

Warmth in his legs....his arms.....his head......

He struggled to sit up. The pain was still there, but dulled to a tolerable level.

“Max......”

The glowing blue eyes belonged to a small boy. Tess was kneeling behind him, her arms wrapped protectively around him. The child’s expression was wary. He snuggled in the embrace, obviously taking comfort.

“This is.....”

“Zan,” he whispered, finishing her sentence.

He couldn’t stop staring. “Did he....?” He gestured vaguely to his own chest, still staring.

“Yes, he can heal....just like his father.”

“How......how can he be......it’s only been........”

“Growth in Antarian children is accelerated. Because gestation is only a month, after they’re born, they’re put in protective.....pod-like capsules to aid their development. Their growth can be timed according to whatever the parents want. Zan is the equivalent of a human six-year-old. In a few months, he’ll be a teenager.”

Listening to the clinical explanation, his eyes never strayed from his son’s apprehensive face. Hungrily, he tried to absorb every nuance of his appearance. He had obviously inherited Tess’s eyes and tendency toward curls, but the color of those curls was dark like his own hair. The rest of his facial features were less defined. A hint of his square jaw, the straight line of his nose. It was hard to say who he would favor as he grew.

“I’m sorry it took us so long to....” She gestured to his surroundings. “Kivar keeps a close eye on us and I had to wait until I knew it was safe.”

He could only nod as he swallowed at the lump in his throat. This was his child. In the space of a few moments, the last several torturous months had become worthwhile.

“I didn’t believe you,” he choked out, finally lifting his swimming gaze back to her face. “I didn’t.......”

“I know you didn’t. It’s okay. We’re here now.” She looked down lovingly at the child nestled in her arms. “Say something to your father, Zan.”

Despite his mother’s encouragement, the wary expression on the child’s face didn’t change. He just sat very still, silently gazing back at his father.

“Do you....” He cleared his clogged throat and tried again. “Do you.....know.....about me?”

“I know.” The child’s timid voice was soft, but steady.

“He knows everything, Max. He knows about earth, and about all of us. Kivar may have forbidden me to talk about you, but....” She stopped and her eyes took on a familiar determined gleam. “I wasn’t going to let our son think that ...that man was his father. I knew you’d find a way to get here. I knew it was only a matter of time.”

She smoothed the dark hair back from the child’s face, her expression full of love, but when she looked back up at him, her eyes were sad and, to his surprise....contrite.

“I’ve made horrible mistakes, Max. But I’ve tried to make up for them. Zan has known from the moment he could comprehend that he had a father who cared about him....who wanted him and who loved him.”

Relentless emotion threatened to tear him apart. He could hardly believe that he was sitting here with the person he considered to be practically his worst enemy and that she was saying these things to him. That she had changed so much. He was still wary, still skeptical, but his disbelief was slowly crumbling as he gazed at the face of his child.

He swallowed, trying to find a way to verbalize his feelings to his son, when the boy suddenly looked up at his mother, seeming to communicate with her. He slowly slid from her lap..... and onto his father’s.

Blinking back the tears, he automatically tried to lift his arms. He felt a wrenching in his heart when the shackles prevented him from it. The child lifted his head, looking at each of the metal cuffs in turn. He waived a small hand over them and they fell away.

His astonishment at the boy’s show of power was immediately supplanted by another wave of emotion, as the small arms encircled his neck. Finally able to raise his own aching arms, he returned the embrace. The warmth of that small body against his own was a precious balm to his broken spirit. Their latent connection opened and feelings from both sides flooded through. He saw why Zan had been afraid. Despite his mother’s words to the contrary, he was afraid that he was unwanted and blamed himself for the torture of the man holding him.

“No....” he said hoarsely, but words were unnecessary, as his own feelings were channeled back to his son through the open connection. In return, he received acceptance, relief...and the beginnings of a bond.....

He looked up and saw Tess gazing at them, her eyes wet with tears. She gave him a small smile and he watched it grow when her gaze returned to their son, but he also saw, for the first time, the lines of suffering around her eyes, and the impenetrable pain in the blue depths. He had a feeling that her wounds went as deep as his.

“We don’t have much time, Max. You have to listen to me now. Do you remember what I told you last time I was here?” She settled more comfortably on the cold floor as Zan turned around to face her from his lap.

He stiffened slightly, but when Zan turned to glance up at him, he tried to relax.

“Yes....but....”

“Do you believe me now? I promise you everything I told you was true.”

“I don’t understand this, Tess. How can these people still believe that I’m their king? How can they still want me to be their king?”

“I told you, Max, Zan has the seal. Kivar showed it to the whole kingdom.”

“You said that but....”

“Listen to me.” She leaned forward. “When Kivar killed all of us the first time, most of the people were subjugated. But a small band of rebels formed, those who believed the stories of the true king. That he and the rest of the royal four had been reincarnated and sent to earth. Even through all the years of repression, that belief never died. It became legend. And now they know it’s true, because I brought the king’s son back.”

She reached out to smooth back a wayward curl from Zan’s forehead. “Kivar has been spreading the lies that he killed you again after I returned with Zan, but the rebels don’t believe him.” She sat up a little straighter and sighed. “Some of them have infiltrated the palace as spies. Kivar has no idea. The only reason I know is because one of them contacted me.”

“Why? Why would they believe that you could be trusted when you’re Kivar’s.... consort?”

The blue of her eyes deepened and her pale cheeks mottled slightly. “Because....the person who contacted me has seen what....she’s seen me after one of Kivar’s .....” she stopped, looking at her son so sadly that he instantly felt sorry he’d asked.

“He’s bad, Daddy. He hurts Momma,” Zan’s voice suddenly penetrated their whispered conversation. The boy crawled off of his lap to his mother’s and she hugged him to her. It was obvious that the child was providng comfort that he’d offered before.

Tess wiped at her eyes and settled Zan back down, resuming her explanation. “This person took a chance.....at the risk of death....hoping that I would be willing to tell them the truth. That I would be willing to help them with their plans. I’ve been meeting with them in secret and we’ve been coming up with a plan. A plan to get you out of here. A plan to put you back on the throne as the rightful king of Antar.”

His exhausted body was rapidly failing, and he leaned back against the wall, his mind a chaotic whirlwind of hope and dread. The rightful king of Antar. Him. What a fucking joke.

“I’m no king, Tess. I’m just.....look at me. I’m eighteen years old, I’m half human and I barely have any powers......”

To his surprise, she and Zan exchanged smiles.

“You’re the king, Max. Half breed, reconstituted....it doesn’t matter. You have the royal blood. All the royalty of Antar have powers that are beyond ...anything you can imagine right now.”

She leaned forward again and her eyes suddenly gleamed at him, the blue glowing in an unearthly light. His stomach turned over when he saw his son’s doing the same.

“The power is locked inside of you, Max. All we have to do is unleash it, and you will rule this planet again.”



***********************************************


“We shopped, we ate.....”

“Sounds like fun. More fun than I’m having.”

Richard’s voice was mournful and Liz couldn’t help but giggle at it.

“Oh so she laughs at my pain. Some girlfriend.”

“You’re such a big baby,” Liz retorted, still smiling. “And I know you’re having fun, whether you’ll admit it or not. You forget. I’ve seen you argue. I know it’s your greatest pleasure in life.”

“Now that’s where you’re wrong. You’re my greatest pleasure in life.”

“Sweet talker,” Liz answered.

“Will it score me some points when I get there?”

“Maybe. I’ll take it under advisement.”

“Funny. Tell me again why I like you so much?”

“Because I put up with you?”

“Right.” Richard sighed dramatically.

“Love you too,” Liz answered a moment later when he expressed the sentiment in more serious tones. She clicked off the phone and sighed before making her way over to the outside table of the CrashDown where Maria was currently sitting.

“Okay, flowers, food, clothes, shoes......” Maria ticked off the items on her list as Liz sat down opposite her, reaching for her cool drink. After the humidity in Boston, the dryness of the New Mexico climate was wreaking havoc on her sinuses and she couldn’t seem to get enough to drink.

“What about invitations?” she asked.

“No invitations. Everyone we know who we want to be there already knows when and where. The reception will be at the restaurant so.....”

Michael’s car pulled up into an empty parking space nearby as Maria was finishing her thought. A moment later, Isabel, Max, Kyle and Allison exited the car along with him.

The tightening of her insides was becoming rapidly familiar again as Liz spotted Max’s dark head behind Isabel and Michael’s. Allison was holding his hand, but she let go and ran to where they sat, giving Maria a smacking kiss on the cheek before settling herself next to her. Liz smiled back when Allison gave her a shy smile.

“Hey there pretty girl,” Maria said, then greeted the others.

Isabel slid in next to Liz, while Max and Kyle pulled up chairs next to the table. Liz smiled in greeting, her eyes lingering slightly on Max. He was resplendent in a plain button down olive shirt and faded jeans, his hair carelessly curling around his face and neck. Despite his remote expression, he commanded attention immediately and Liz noted several female patrons from other tables darting glances at him. She looked down, glad that she was wearing one of her new outfits. The spandex tank and capris were light and form fitting, and her hair was held back with a headband. She felt pretty and young.....something she hadn’t felt in a while. She glanced up to see Max gazing at her, but as usual, his expression gave nothing away. Still, she felt her heart give a little flip, then immediately chastised herself for it.

After the waitress came to take their order, Isabel spotted the list and reached over to take it. She studied it for a moment. “I think it looks good. Have you made an appointment to have your hair and makeup done?”

“No!” Maria snapped her fingers and added that to the list. “Although technically, I could save myself a buttload of money if you would agree to wiggle your nose and do it for me.” Maria smiled ingratiatingly at Isabel.

“Forget it,” the blond girl retorted, unmoved by Maria’s pleading look. “I’m going to be busy enough as it, is getting myself and Kyle and Allison ready, to worry about you. And besides, you have more than enough money, you cheapskate.”

“Mommy, what’s a buttload?”

Liz hid her smile behind her hand at Allison’s innocent inquiry. Isabel frowned at Maria, who smiled back, unperturbed.

“It’s a bad way of saying a lot,” Isabel explained. “And you shouldn’t repeat it. You know Aunt Maria has a potty mouth.”

“Hey!” Maria exclaimed as Michael snorted next to her. “Don’t get me started on who has a potty mouth around here.” She elbowed her fiancé in the ribs, which earned her grunt and a frown. “The words coming out of your mouth after I showed you the clothes for the wedding could have singed the hair off a donkey’s ba....

“Maria!” Isabel cut her off with a glare as Kyle mockingly covered his daughter’s ears with his hands.

“What…” she blinked innocently. “Now I can’t even say back side?”

Liz picked up her glass to hide her laughter, but her eyes were alight with it as she sipped her drink. Then her gaze fell on Max. Her smile faded as she took in his stoic expression. He sat with his arms crossed over his chest, there.... but not really participating as usual.

God, what was wrong with him? How many times in the past had they shared amusement over Michael and Maria’s craziness? And now he couldn’t even crack a small smile? Liz suddenly found herself feeling frustrated with his lack of emotion. How long had he been like this? And how did his family live with it? She wanted to grab him and shake him all of the sudden, just to see if he would be surprised for a moment. But she doubted he would.

Sighing at her thoughts, Liz’s attention was drawn across the street to a young mother struggling with a stroller and a toddler as she came out of the UFO Museum. The woman looked harried and frustrated and appeared to be admonishing the little girl fidgeting next to her, to stay still while she leaned over the stroller to attend the baby.

Liz looked away trying to concentrate on the conversation at hand, but her eyes were drawn back across the street as she watched the little girl bouncing a ball on the sidewalk, waiting for her mother to finish with the baby.

That’s not a good idea, Liz thought as the ball bounced close to the curb. Apparently the mother thought the same thing because she reached out to take the ball away from her daughter just as the thought crossed Liz’s mind.

It happened so fast, she barely had time to comprehend it. One moment the little girl was standing on the sidewalk, the next, she was running into the street after the ball she had inadvertently dropped. Without even realizing it, Liz stood up, her arms out flung in horror as a car, unable to stop, hit the little girl a glancing blow, even as the stunned driver tried to veer away from her.

“Oh my God!” Maria grabbed her cell phone and immediately called 911. Horrified onlookers ran across the road toward the now screaming mother and her offspring. The driver of the vehicle had exited the car and was crying and distraught as well, even though it was obvious to everyone who had seen it, there was no way to have avoided what happened.

Liz felt sick. She and the others were still standing on the sidewalk, but even from where they were, she could see the blood pooling under the little girl’s body. She began to shake, the screaming cries of the mother being echoed by her crying baby.

“Liz?” Kyle’s voice penetrated her daze and she looked at him, not realizing tears were running down her cheeks.

“Are you okay?”

“We have to do something.”

“What?” Kyle asked, confused by her suddenly desperate expression. “Maria called 911. They’re on their way.”

“We can’t wait....we have to....,” Liz turned to Max, seeing him standing back near Isabel, his arms folded. She vaguely registered Isabel clutching his arm, her knuckles white, while Allison clung to her mother’s leg.

“You have to do something,” Liz said to Max.

“Liz.....Max can’t do anything.” Maria had come up now and was holding her arm.

“Yes he can. He can heal her.” Liz’s voice was hoarse with her pleading as she stared desperately into Max’s remote face.

Maria glanced around warily to see if anyone was listening, but they had all run across the street. “Liz, you don’t know what you’re saying. Max can’t.....”

“Yes he can!” Her voice had risen now, and she wrenched her arm away from Maria, intending to reach for him, but Michael stepped into her path.

“Back off, Liz.” Michael’s voice was threatening and Liz stepped back, almost involuntarily.

“Michael....” Max’s voice was quiet, but the command was unmistakable. Michael turned to him with a scowl, but stepped back a little from his protective stance. Max looked at Isabel and her fingers loosened, although she didn’t let go of his arm.

Max still didn’t say anything to Liz, but his eyes strayed across the street to where people were gathered around the fallen child. Liz thought she saw a fleeting look cross his face but when he looked back at her, it was as remote as ever.

“I can’t help her.” His voice didn’t even hold an ounce of regret, and Liz’s anger exploded.

“Damn it! How can you just stand there and do nothing when you know you can do something to help? Don’t you have any feelings left at all?”

This time Liz knew she’d hit the mark when his calm, golden eyes suddenly turned dark and stormy for a tense, stunning moment.

“No.”

The dead sound of his voice ripped through Liz’s anger and she watched with a sinking heart as Max turned from her and walked inside the CrashDown.

The stunned silence that followed was only broken by the sound of sirens coming from around the corner.

TBC.......

Um.....Sylvia slinks away quickly before the vegetables can be thrown.....
Last edited by sylvia37 on Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sylvia37
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 133
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2001 4:58 pm

Post by sylvia37 » Sun May 07, 2006 11:55 pm

Yipee, we're in business. I'm back with a new part that will once again answer some of those nagging questions and raise others. :wink: I love you guys. This part is a little short, but I promise not so long for the next one cause it's already done! That's what took so long.


Thanks again to Liz. Love you, Babe.




Burning to Feel Part 6


The door of his cell was flung open abruptly.

The chains on his wrists fell away.

“On your feet!”

Having fallen into a fitful doze, he could barely comprehend what was being asked of him.

“I said on your feet!”

It was the newest guard. The worst one by far. He was huge and his eyes always seemed to gleam with malice whenever they landed on him. He had an array of bruises left by those paw-like hands.

He tried to stand, pushing himself up with the help of the wall, but his legs were weak with fatigue and abuse. One of them crumpled and he fell to a knee. His head spun from lack of nourishment and his body ached all over. They had begun a campaign of sleep deprivation on him, coming at all hours to wake him with bright lights and loud noise, jarring him and making doubt his own sanity at times.

The guard came forward and lifted him up by his shoulder. Grabbing the chains, he shackled his wrists, this time linking them together in the middle by the chain.

“Walk”.

The large man prodded him from behind with the metallic rod that had been used before to render him speechless.

He stumbled forward awkwardly, wondering what new torment awaited him. They had taken a rather long time to come and get him, leaving him chained to his wall most of the day. Or was it night. He didn’t know.

“Faster!”

The gruff, angry voice behind him was punctuated by a jab in his back, made more painful because of the raw wounds there.

He stumbled and his captor made a grab for him, jerking him to his feet by his hair. He ground his teeth to keep from crying out.

They turned a corner...then another. Where were they going? This wasn’t the normal route to.....his mind hesitated at calling it what it really was.

A Torture chamber.

They rounded another corner and the guard stopped abruptly, yanking him into what looked like a closet.

The chains fell away and clothes and shoes were stuffed into his hands.

“Put those on.”

“What.....” he tried to peer up at the big man in the gloom, but he could barely make out his harsh features in the dark. All he could see were the man’s glowing green eyes.

“Please don’t argue. Just put them on.”

Please? The man’s voice had softened slightly and he sounded almost....anxious?

More confused than ever, he did as he was told, struggling into the clothing as fast as his trembling, weak limbs would allow.

A guard’s uniform.

Before he had time to contemplate the meaning of this, the guard was shoving helmet on his head, stuffing his hair up into it.

“Don’t speak, whatever happens. Just stick close to me and try to walk as straight as possible. I know it’s difficult. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way, but Kivar was called away unexpectedly and we had to rush. The queen is mindwarping, but there’s no telling if and when that will end so we must hurry.”

The door opened and the guard peered out, then stepped into the hallway again.

He followed, trying to stand up straight and steady on his trembling legs. His mind was awhirl with fear and anticipation.....but the fear was predominant.

It had been weeks since he’d seen Tess and his son. They hadn’t been back since that first visit to his cell and he had started to lose hope. The only thing that had kept him from giving into despair was the connection he shared with Zan. It was much stronger than it had ever been, and although they could not communicate, the fact that it was there and steady inside him was the only thing that had kept him going.

His breath was panting out harshly now and his weakened limbs were close to collapse. He tripped and the large man caught him just before he fell.

“You there. What’s the matter with that guard?”

A voice behind them spoke sharply and they halted as the man approached them, this one’s rank made obvious by the decorative emblem on his uniform.

“Drunk sir.” His companion discreetly waved his hand in front of him. “I found him drinking at his post. I’m taking him outside to clean him up and punish him sir.”

The officer frowned harshly.

“He smells abominable.” He looked more closely at the slouching man who gazed steadily at the floor. “Look at me when I address you.”

He swallowed and lifted his gaze to the officer. The man’s eyes widened.

“You!”

Before the officer could utter another word, the guard jabbed him in the throat with the rod, stopping the man’s voice before he pushed a small button on the stick and jabbed him again, this time in the vicinity of his heart. The officer crumpled to the floor, obviously dead.

“We have to hurry. Come on!”

The guard was practically carrying him. He dragged his arm over his shoulder and pulled him along at a fast pace. Agonizing moments later, voices were heard behind them.

His body was on fire. Adrenaline coursed through his veins, keeping him on his feet, but months of abuse and lack of proper food were taking their toll. His head pounded and his feet seemed to do nothing but trip over each other.

“Not far now.....I promise.....”

The guard’s voice was breathless, but strangely reassuring and he determinedly kept his mind blank, only concentrating on moving one foot in front of the other as fast as he could, not wanting to be more of a burden than he already was. His chest was a knot of agony at the grueling pace, his lungs laboring to force oxygen through his injured body.

A doorway ahead. The guard pointed the rod at it and the door opened. But at that moment, the voices behind them grew louder and pounding footsteps sounded much closer.

A blast of light hit the wall in front of them just as the guard picked him up and raced toward the opening in the wall. He felt the guard’s body jerk, but he didn’t slow down, just barreled through the doorway, seconds before it shot closed behind them.

Others were waiting for them outside. He barely got a glimpse of stars in a black sky overhead before he was shoved into a vehicle, onto the floorboards. He was uncomfortably squashed against the floor as the others crowded in.

“Go!”

The vehicle jerked forward and they were suddenly moving at what felt like a breakneck pace.

He groaned as his body protested the jarring.

“Sorry .... but you must stay down there until we get to.....”

“Behind us! Lothar.....”

He heard the sound of blasts and the vehicle swerved, forcing another grunt from him as he bounced against the floor.

“Faster....they’re picking up speed....”

More blasting and swerving. His head throbbed and he could barely breathe as bodies shifted, trying to prevent their pursuers from reaching them, from reaching him.

“Got ‘em.....we’re clear....”

“The tracking device...his first... then you.”

He was being turned over, his hair pushed out of the way.

“This is going to hurt...but it’s necessary......

Probing....then pain jolted through the back of his neck......

He must have passed out. What seemed like only moments later, the vehicle was slowing down before jerking to a halt. The others piled out and he was lifted with much more care than before from the floor and carried into a building.

A huge room. People......hundreds of them.....spread out across a wide expanse of space, standing, murmuring amongst themselves, but almost instantly as they entered, all conversation ceased.

The large guard who had rescued him knelt in front of him. His eyes were drawn to the burn mark in the middle of the man’s back. He had been hit.

“Forgive me your highness.....” The man’s usually gruff voice was reverent and contrite.

The crowd began to kneel in waves, bowing their heads to him.

“Your Highness....” He heard the word whispered reverently among the crowd.

Overwhelmed and confused, he could only stare. His face felt hot and then cold as the room began to spin around him. He swayed on his feet....

“Dad!”

A young, slightly familiar voice shouted out. Hands caught him before he hit the floor. A face swam into view above his, sparkling blue eyes dominating it, a cool hand on his forehead.

“Relax Max.......”

His eyes closed as the hands holding him lifted him.

“You’re free......”



*************************************************************

She sat in the back seat of Maria’s car, staring out of the window, fighting the urge to curl into a ball of humiliation.

How could she have said those things to him?

Liz closed her eyes, leaning her forehead against the glass, the question running through her head for the umpteenth time since that horrible scene outside the CrashDown a couple of hours ago.

Screams......Blood stark against pale skin....

Unconsciously, she shook her head to dispel the images in her mind...in her memory.

Michael and Maria were silent in the front seat, but Liz could feel the waves of condemnation coming from Michael. Luckily, it was tempered by the sympathy coming from Maria. Her best friend knew why Liz had had such a strong reaction to seeing that little girl lying in the street in a pool of blood.

Now she just had to go and explain to Max.

She didn’t want to. God knew, Liz had no desire to face the anger and disapproval of Isabel and her parents when she arrived at the Evans’ house. It was bad enough being around Michael. But she had to. She owed Max an explanation for her behavior.

An explanation and an apology.

They turned into the Evans’ driveway. Taking a deep breath against the ill feeling in her stomach, Liz forced herself to exit the car and follow Michael and Maria up to the front door.

Mrs. Evans opened the door. She hesitated a moment, then ushered them into the foyer.

“Are Max and Isabel back?” Michael asked.

“Yes. They got back a few minutes ago.” Mrs. Evans answered.

“May I.....I need to speak to Max,” Liz said, barely able to look Max’s mother in the eyes.

The older woman looked at her for a moment. “He’s upstairs.” It was obvious to Liz that Max’s mother knew at least some of what had happened by the look on her face and the tone of her voice, but to Liz’s surprise and relief, she didn’t make a move to keep her from seeing him.

At the top of the stairs, Liz paused for a moment, hearing voices coming from one of the rooms. Recognizing the deeper tones as Max she headed in that direction, noting that the door was partially open. She started to knock when Isabel’s words stopped her.

“You did the right thing, Max. You know that.”

“Do I?”

Max’s resigned tone held a note of self disgust that only intensified the sick feeling in Liz’s stomach, knowing that she her words to him earlier at the CrashDown must have made it that much worse.

There was a thick pause in the conversation, but before Liz could find her nerve to react, Isabel’s voice came again.

“Maybe if you just told her.....”

A sigh. “Leave it alone, Isabel.”

“She doesn’t understand what’s going on. If you just explained....”

“I said no.” The commanding tone was back, but when Max spoke again, it was softened somewhat. “It’s better this way.”

“How is it better?” Isabel asked almost angrily.

“It just is. Let this go.”

A small pause... “I just want you to be happy.” Tears now sounded in Isabel’s voice.

The silence was deafening for a moment.

“You’ll have to settle for alive.”

She couldn’t stand it anymore. Liz swallowed back the lump in her throat and knocked briefly before pushing the door open. She couldn’t help but notice the tears still evident in Isabel’s eyes as both Evans siblings turned toward her.

“I’m sorry....I didn’t mean to interrupt......”

“It’s okay. We’re done,” Max answered.

“Max....” Isabel said, reaching a hand out to him, but he shook his head.

“We’re done, Isabel.”

Although Max’s tone was soft it brooked no argument and Isabel’s hand trembled a moment before dropping to her side. She wiped at her eyes, hurrying out of the room, flashing Liz a look that, although not exactly venomous, wasn’t friendly either.

There was an awkward silence now that they were alone. Against her will, Liz’s eyes were drawn to Max’s face, but his expression gave nothing away as usual. She dropped her gaze, trying to come up with a way to begin.

“Why are you here, Liz?” Max asked, giving her a start.

Liz took a deep breath. “I owe you an apology, Max.”

“You don’t owe me anything.”

That drew her eyes back to him. How could he say that? She shook her head. “Yes I do. I had no right to say the things I did. I had no right to expect you to expose yourself for that little girl. I just....I need for you to understand why I...reacted the way I did.”

After a brief moment, Max nodded and Liz paused, sitting down on the bed. “A few years ago, I was in a car accident. A friend and I and her niece....Sarah.... had gone shopping.”

“On our way home....it started to rain....really hard and.....we were on the highway. She had to swerve to avoid a branch that had landed in the road. We rolled. I don’t....remember a lot about it except that....when I woke up....I couldn’t move because the car had landed with my side against the ground. Lisa was unconscious and Sarah......”

Liz paused a moment to collect herself, swallowing back tears. “She was...hanging from her car seat... her head had been smashed against the window and she was bleeding....a lot. I couldn’t.... move.... and I was in and out...but every time I woke up...she was....still there....bleeding. When I woke up in the hospital, I found out that she didn’t make it.”

“I’m sorry, Liz.”

She looked up at him, seeing that the normally glacial look in Max’s eyes was softened a bit by compassion.

“Thank you. It was really hard for a while and ...I thought I had gotten over it... but today....when I saw that little girl lying there.....”

“I understand.”

Liz got up from the bed. “I’m sorry. I just wanted you to know..... you didn’t deserve what I said. I know you would have helped her if you could have.”

Max didn’t reply right away, but Liz thought she caught a glimmer of self-derision even though his expression didn’t really change.

“You’re wrong. I could have helped her...I just didn’t.”


TBC....
Last edited by sylvia37 on Mon May 08, 2006 4:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
Lisa: Do we have any food that wasn't brutally slaughtered?

Homer: Well, I think the veal died of loneliness.

sylvia37
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 133
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2001 4:58 pm

Post by sylvia37 » Thu May 18, 2006 3:26 am

Well, I'm back ya'll. This part is the last one I have completely done, but the good news is that I'm more than half way done with the next one.

Not sure if this part will answer questions or just raise more, but I imagine it will fuel more speculation. :wink: That's great, by the way.

Thank you to all who wrote, and bumped. :) I appreciate it very much.




Burning to Feel Part 7


He pushed his plate away, looking ruefully at the pile of food still on it. His stomach must have shrunk because he couldn’t stuff in another bite. A knock at the door caused him to look up just as a rather large, hulking man entered his room. A frown creased the man’s brow as he took in the still laden plate.

“Majesty, you must eat. Please....”

“Lothar, I did. You brought me enough for three people.”

He looked up at the glowing green eyes of the man who had, until recently, been his jailer. Never would he have guessed that this gentle giant lived inside the man who had treated him with such contempt and violence during his captivity, much less suspected that he was one of the resistance. But then, Lothar was very good at his job.

Too good. The poor guy was drowning under a burden of guilt that outweighed anything he himself could have come up with. Although Lothar had done what he had to do to insure that Kivar and the other guards and soldiers did not suspect him, his gentle nature had taken a beating every time he had raised a hand to his king. Now that the rescue had been affected, he spent every waking moment trying to make up for it even though he had been told time and time again that all was forgiven and he had only done what was necessary.

It was exasperating, amusing and endearing all at the same time. And usually the younger man did all he could to ease the other man’s suffering. But there were times when the constant attention to his every whim and need was too much.

Like today.

“Your Highness...just a bit more....you need your strength.....”

“I’ve had enough, Lothar.” He said the words gently, but with a finality that befitted the title that had been thrust upon him. Lothar immediately bowed without rancor and took that tray.

“When you are ready, Her Highness, the queen and Prince Zan are waiting for you.”

“Thank you. Tell them to give me about ten minutes, please.

Another bow and the big man moved swiftly from the room.

They were waiting for him. He closed his eyes and leaned back for a moment, the apprehension he’d been trying to control all day, finally taking hold.

Today was the day they were going to retrieve his memories.

The explanation as to why Antarians were so much like humans had been a scientific jumble to him, but the gist of it had been that, hundreds of years ago, due to a viral epidemic similar to earth’s small pox, their race had been almost completely annihilated. It had swept through the planet, killing off most of its people. The scientists were at their wits end and, in an act of desperation, they started using human genetic material as a cloning tool to help repopulate their planet, utilizing similar cloning techniques that had forged the basis for his, Michael, Isabel and Tess’s hybridization.

To his shock, he’d been informed that his ancestry dated back almost to the beginning the written history of their planet. As Tess had said, the ability to rule...... and win the war was in his blood, dormant and forgotten, but still there. The royal line of kings and queens were by far the most powerful of any Antarians. As rulers, they had, of course, been the first to be cloned with humans, and to the scientists and the people’s joy, it had enhanced their already advanced brain function many fold.

And now they wanted to unleash it. Time was running short. They needed him at full capacity to help fight Kivar and his forces.

The males of his bloodline, the kings, had the ability to harness all of the powers that he, Michael, Isabel and Tess had, combined. As his sister, Isabel would have also had them to some extent, but it was the king who protected and fought for his people. And healed them. The ability to heal to the extent that Max and now his son could, was a power exclusive of all except the king. When Kivar had killed them in their last life, it was only because Zan had been taken by surprise.

God how he wished Michael and Isabel were here with him. And not just because he missed them desperately. He wanted to be able to tell them what he’d learned about their deaths, especially Isabel.

He’d found out from Tess that although it was true that Vilondra had been in love with Kivar, she had not betrayed them. She was young and sheltered and Kivar had used the young girl’s naiveté to convince her that he was in love with her too. When he asked her let him into the palace to speak with her brother, hoping to mend the rift between them, Vilondra had believed his lies. She led him straight to Zan, who had no time to protect any of them from Kivar’s attack. His mother was the only one who escaped, but she only lived long enough to secure their trip to earth in the pods before Kivar found her and had her killed as well.

He sighed, knowing he only had a few minutes left. The only reason they’d left him alone for this long was because he had asked not to be disturbed while he ate and rested before the procedure. He rubbed his hands over his face, trying to muster the fortitude he needed.

Tess had told him the process of retrieving his lost memories and power would be painful. It would incapacitate him for a least a day, which was why they had wanted to wait until he had regained some of the weight he’d lost and his health. He wasn’t afraid of the pain. He was pretty sure that it could hardly be worse than what he had already endured. Besides, he had learned that Antarians were adept at dealing with pain, especially soldiers. They were taught techniques to tune pain out, and the fact that he had been able to tap into that long forgotten lesson had been a blessing.

Unaware of the intense look of uncertainty on his face, he gazed unseeing at the opposite wall of his room.

What was causing his hesitation was something else. Something more.....personal.

Once he remembered his former life and obtained his former birthright, would he be the same person? Would he still care about his family, the people he left on earth, whom he now had a remote chance of one day being with again? Would he retain the feelings and foibles that made him at least partly human?

Antarians were not without feelings, but they tended to be stoic and humorless, although not so much the rebels as the people under Kivar’s influence. Lothar had told him that Kivar didn’t approve of weakness in his soldiers and humor and happiness constituted weakness in his eyes.

He understood the necessity of what was about to happen, and he wanted to help these people....his people. But he didn’t want to change.....be someone else. Becoming stronger..... and obtaining practically omnipotent powers, or so they had led him to believe, was not enough to make him want to give up who he was.

He had a sudden vision in his head of the Disney movie “Aladdin”. He could hear Robin William’s voice in his head talking about being a genie.

“Phenomenal, Cosmic Powers! Teeny tiny living space!”

That’s how his brain felt. As though it would suddenly be too full for his head. His only comfort was that Tess hardly seemed changed since having retrieved her powers so maybe there was hope. Not that he fully trusted Tess........

“Dad?” There was a knock at the door and Zan poked his head in.

“Come in.”

Zan entered and walked over near him, tossing a ball back and forth between his hands.

It still amazed him that this was his son. When he had woken up after his rescue, the child who had greeted him was not the six year old he had met for the first time in his cell. Zan now had the build and the mental capacity of an eleven year old and it had shocked the hell out of him at first. He’d had to quickly adjust his thinking to catch up. When he thought about it, it saddened him somewhat that he would never experience the normal joys of his son’s childhood, but honestly, at barely nineteen years old himself, and with all that was happening, he could hardly dwell on it.

“Are you ready? Mom told me to wait but.....”

“I’m ready.” He got up from the bed gestured for his son to join him.

“Mom’ll be here in a few minutes,” Zan said, sitting next to him on what passed for a couch. They sat in silence for a few moments before Zan looked up at him. “Are you afraid?”

He hesitated in answering, not sure what to say. Did he admit to weakness or try to explain to an eleven year old his earlier thoughts. But he kept forgetting that Zan was not a normal eleven year old. His lack of childhood and the situation he’d been thrust into at such an early age had matured him beyond his appearance. That plus the fact that he’d inherited his father’s rather reserved demeanor, he hardly seemed his age at all.

“I would be afraid, if I were you,” Zan continued, as if not noticing the small hesitation. “But Mom said that it only hurts for a minute before......”

“Before I pass out,” he supplied with a small smile. Zan returned it, neither one noticing that the smiles were almost mirror reflections.

“Mom said you’ll be fine by tomorrow. She said that having all of that power and energy pouring through your brain at once just makes you really tired and that your body will need to rest.”

This speech was delivered in a rather breathless voice that made him peer more closely at his son. He suddenly noticed Zan’s gaze darting around the room, and realized that the boy was not as calm as he first supposed. In fact, the more he looked, the more he realized that the things the child was saying were almost more for his own benefit than his father’s.

Zan was afraid.

The realization caused a small glow of warmth in his stomach, even as he moved to alleviate the child’s fear. His son was afraid for him.

He leaned forward, stopping Zan’s wandering eyes, making sure he was looking at him. “I’ll be fine, okay? You don’t have to worry.”

“I know that.” Zan answered, dropping his eyes, but not before he caught a glimpse of tears in their blue depths. “Mom said so.” A slight tremble in his voice gave him away.

“Hey.” For the first time without hesitation, he leaned forward and put his arm around Zan’s shoulders, giving him a small squeeze. He felt his own well of emotion when the boy turned his face into his shoulder for a moment, seeking comfort.

A knock at the door made them break apart, Zan wiping at his eyes and springing up from the couch.

“Max?” Tess walked in, followed by Lothar, and several others including a tall harsh looking man, his face lean and unsmiling.

Mendolan was the leader of resistance and a harder, more intense person would be hard to find. It was obvious that years of leading a rebellion had taken their toll, and although he was respectful toward his young king, he was also impatient to get on with the business of fighting.

“Are you ready to proceed, your Highness?” The man asked.

“Yes.” He felt the same sense of awkwardness that he’d been feeling in Mendolan’s presence since he’d woken up after his rescue. It wasn’t anything the man did per se, just the fact that he was so much older and yet he had authority over him. He glanced at the others. Two men and a woman, one of whom served in a medical capacity and the others were his assistants. All were scientists.

Mendolan nodded and bowed slightly.

“I’m ready when you are, Max,” Tess said. She came to stand next to the bed waiting for him to come over. He got up and approached her, aware that she could tell how reluctant he was.

On the opposite side of the room, Lothar ruffled Zan’s hair earning him an annoyed frown from the boy. “Hey little guy, how’s it going?” Lothar was obsessed with American television and loved using earth language and colloquialisms whenever he could fit them into a conversation.

“I’m not little any more, Lothar,” Zan answered him crossly.

“Oh yeah,” the large man said, suddenly lifting the boy effortlessly into the air over his head, causing Zan to laugh and complain at the same time. “You seem pretty small to me, runt.”

Realizing that Lothar was aware of Zan’s worry and was trying to distract him from it...and his parents, he and Tess both smiled as he settled on the bed.

“Mendolan, can you please give us a moment?” Tess asked the older man.

“Of course, Your Highness.” Mendolan quickly left the proximity of the bed taking the others with him to the other side of the room.

Tess turned to him. “Max,” she began, giving a quick glance at her son and Lothar before turning back to him. “I know....this is difficult for you and that you still don’t completely trust me....”

He shouldn’t have been surprised that she knew. Things between them since his rescue had been awkward at best, made more so because the people saw them as the king and queen...a royal couple with a child between them.

But Tess was the only one capable of doing what needed to be done to retrieve his memories. Being of royal birth, her power was greater than the others and it would take everything she had to break through whatever barriers there were blocking his memory.

“But I promise you, I only want to help now,” she continued. “You don’t have to fear me being inside your mind.”

He gazed at her sincere face, noting in a detached way that since being away from Kivar, it had lost some of its strained quality and that maturity had only made her more attractive. She had let her hair grow and it hung in a spiraled pony tail away from her face, making her appear vulnerable and lovely.

But it didn’t manage to dispel the disquiet in his gut at the thought of her probing inside his head. He remembered all too well how Alex died, and the image of his mutilated body would live with him for all time, not to mention her distraught face after he’d tried to heal him. She was much too good at hiding her true nature.

Something in his expression must have communicated itself because her cheeks suddenly mottled with color and a wounded expression of resigned hopelessness crossed her face before she hid it.

Compelled by that fleeting expression, he spoke in a low voice. “I want to, Tess.” He glanced over to where his son was being pummeled playfully by the giant Lothar. “For Zan’s sake, I’m trying. I wish we had more time before this was necessary, but I know we don’t. I’m just not....comfortable with.....”

“Me,” Tess finished for him. Shaking her head, she persisted. “Please just.....try to be as open to me as possible. The more you fight me, the harder it will be on both of us.”

He nodded, but his gut clenched despite his resolve.

“Okay, just let me know when you’re ready and we’ll start.” Tess smiled with effort and turned to where Lothar was still wrestling with Zan.

“Hey you two, keep it down over there. We’re working here.” The words were said with a smile in her voice and the two wrestlers just grinned at her, Lothar looking like he was having as much fun as Zan was. They settled down a little, however, after a stern look from Tess reprimanded them.

She turned back and looked at him questioningly. “Ready?”

He swallowed and lay back. “As I’ll ever be,” he answered, trying to relax. He glanced up as Mendolan and the others approached again.

“Okay, just relax and let me do everything.” Tess leaned over, framing his face with her hands as she gazed into his eyes.

A few very long moments later, sweat beaded both their brows as Tess’s hands trembled in her effort to penetrate his defenses. His own hands were clenching the bed cover in his balled up fists.

“Max.....please....you have to let me...you’re blocking the pain....and me.”

He tried to relax, but the moment he did, pain and the feel of Tess’s power probing him made him tense up again. He hadn’t realized how much it would feel like the mind-raping that Kivar had performed on him.

Voices murmured in the background. He heard his son’s in particular, but couldn’t make out the words through the roaring in his ears. The worried tone, however, penetrated.

With an effort, he let out a trembling breath, forcing himself to look directly at the straining blue eyes so close to his own..... and blanked his mind.

“Yes!”

It was the last thing he heard before the pain exploded inside his head and everything went dark.


********************************************


“What do you mean?” Liz gazed at Max in surprised confusion. When he didn’t answer, just giving her that blank stare, the compulsion to suddenly know what had happened to him overwhelmed her sense of self-preservation.

“Max....what happened to you.....”

The stiffening of Max’s body suddenly cut her off. But she realized almost immediately that it wasn’t her words that had caused it as his head snapped toward the door. Max was already moving away from her, when a moment later, Michael appeared.

“It’s Jonas.”

Max nodded and the two men quickly headed downstairs.

Liz followed, confused. She berated herself for giving into the impulse to ask Max the question she just had. What was she thinking?

When she reached the bottom of the stairs, she saw to her surprise through the doorway into the foyer, that a man was down on one knee, his head bowed in front of Max.

“Up Jonas,” Max said, and the man rose. They conferred for a few moments.

Liz looked at the others in the room, seeing the tension in their faces, especially Isabel, her mother and Maria’s. But before she could ask what was going on, she saw the man in the foyer bow to Max once more and then he left.

Michael and Max re-entered the room and Isabel reached out anxiously to grab Michael by the sleeve. “How many?”

“Twenty.”

Isabel visibly relaxed at the number he gave her and Liz saw Kyle for the first time as he stepped forward to put his arm around Isabel’s waist. She leaned on him for support.

“You need me to come with?” Michael asked Max.

“No. Take Liz home. You know what to do. Jonas is posting people, here and there but I want you to make sure.”

“Will do. Be careful.”

Liz’s eyes went back and forth between the people in the room, completely stupefied by what was happening. Max’s father echoed Michael’s statement, and his mother just stood with her hands clasped, looking liked she wanted to yank him to her, but was forcing herself not to. Isabel stood clutching Kyle as if to keep herself from doing the same thing. Maria appeared anxious and relieved at the same time. After they all said goodbye, to Liz’s surprise, Max’s eyes met hers for a brief moment before he was suddenly gone into the night and she realized that she had no idea where he was going or why everyone looked so anxious.

Maria approached her. “Listen Liz. Michael’s going to take you home. I’m going to stay here in case....for when Max comes back.” Seeing the confused concern on her friend’s face, Maria said, “Don’t worry. You’ll be safe. Michael will take care of you.”

“But...what’s going on Maria? Why did Max have to go and who was that man?”

“It’s nothing to worry about, okay? That man...works for Max and there was just...something that he needed Max to take care of.”

“But....why is everyone so worried and why wouldn’t I be safe....”

Maria looked up as Michael approached and Liz was surprised by the guilty look that crossed her face and the knowing one on Michael’s. Maria blinked at him and reached out to hug her. “Just go with Michael, okay? I’ll see you tomorrow and I promise we’ll talk about everything you want.”

Dazedly, Liz started to follow Michael outside, bemused by the rapid turn of events over the last few minutes, but she stopped to address the Evans’.

“Um...thank you for letting me.... come and speak to Max. I know.....”

“Maria told us what happened with your friend,” Mrs. Evans said. “I’m sorry.”

“Thank you,” Liz answered, feeling worse than ever. Although Mrs. Evans’ words were sincere, her eyes were cold and Liz could tell that whatever progress she’d made with them had been set back severely. “Goodbye.”

She followed Michael to his car. When she was safely buckled in, they took off.

They rode in silence for several long minutes. Biting her lip, Liz debated with herself, but she couldn’t keep her questions in any longer.

“Michael....is Max safe? What’s going on? I don’t understand.”

“No you don’t and that’s the way you wanted it remember?”

“Please....Michael.....just tell me if Max is safe!”

Letting out a sigh, Michael finally answered. “Max is...he’ll be fine. If I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t have let him go by himself.”

His words hardly made her feel better and she was aware that the clenching sensation in her chest was sickeningly familiar..... one that she hadn’t felt in a long time. Almost six years to be exact. But even as her sense of self preservation told her to stop asking questions, her mouth didn’t seemed to have gotten the message.

“But Michael.....where was Max going......”

“Liz,” Michael cut her off. “You need to seriously think about what you’re asking me. If I tell you what’s going on, the safe little reality that you’ve created for yourself is going to be blown to hell. Is that really what you want?”

The fact that Michael’s words echoed her own inner voice shocked her into silence for a moment. Michael glanced at her sideways, seeing the uncertain look crossing her features.

“That’s what I thought. Just forget about it. I promise that Max is fine and in a couple of weeks, this will all just be another episode that you can put behind you.”

Oddly enough, the words were said with just a hint of understanding, rather than the sarcasm she would have expected. Liz looked up at Michael’s inscrutable face and she realized for the first time what it cost her friends in Roswell to live a semi-normal life. A life that she had begun to take for granted these last few years.

And Max seemed to be paying the highest price for it. Her heart seized despite herself.

“What did you mean when you told Isabel “only twenty”? Only twenty what?” Liz asked the question in a trembling voice.

Michael sighed resignedly, shaking his head. “I told her,” he mumbled in a disgusted voice. “I told her and she didn’t fucking listen to me.” He turned to glance at Liz’s anxious face and answered in a resigned voice.

“Skins.”
Lisa: Do we have any food that wasn't brutally slaughtered?

Homer: Well, I think the veal died of loneliness.

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