The Butterfly Loss (ML Adult) Ch. 29 10Nov.08 [WIP]

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LairaBehr4
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The Butterfly Loss (ML Adult) Ch. 29 10Nov.08 [WIP]

Post by LairaBehr4 » Thu Jun 29, 2006 9:04 pm

Title: The Butterfly Loss
Author: LairaBehr4
Summary: Based on a challenge by Zanssoulmate08 (#3)
Liz begins to develop powers during ‘Max In The City,’ and Max helps her develop them. The two of them, alone and in close confines … the sky’s the limit.

Okay, there’s more to it than that, but you can check out the challenge and see for yourself. It's challenge Number 3, and rest assured I'm not stealing someone else's fic - at the time I agreed to do this one, my SN was Roswellfan4.

Coupling: M/L with some Candy and Gazers on the side, if the mood strikes me.
Warning: There will be some M/T action, but I promise, it won’t last long.
Rating: Adult

Disclaimer: If any of this stuff actually belonged to me, I probably wouldn’t have such a hard time paying off my Visa bill.

Author’s Note: While this is not the first fic I’ve written (well, started writing, anyway), it is the first fic I’m posting, so please, be kind!
Feedback is always appreciated.
I took this challenge an eternity ago, and I had some trouble finding my muse, but apparently she's back and brought some friends, and since I got my very first raise today (yay me!), I decided the time was right to start posting.


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Thank you to ARFC for making this story their fanfic of the month for September 2006! Thanks, everyone!


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Round 10 Awards Winner: Best Challenge Response: 'The Butterfly Loss'


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Round 10 Awards Nominee:
Favorite Post-Episode fic - The Butterfly Loss

Thank you to everyone who nominated and voted for this story! You guys are amazing. This is the first story I started posting, and the support I've gotten inspires me daily. I don't think I ever would have had the confidence to post anything else if it hadn't been for the response I got to this story. A thousand times thank you.



This GORGEOUS banner is by Lizard_queen - thank you, dearest.

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Some lines taken from ‘Meet The Dupes’ and ‘Max In The City’.

Setting: The Tuesday before Thanksgiving 2000.


The Butterfly Loss

Prologue


Liz teetered on the edge of consciousness, drifting between sleep and awake. Her dreams, if you could call them that, had been like a movie, with scenes of her life over the past fourteen months playing and replaying in her mind’s eye. Often they flittered around in her mind’s eye so quickly, that only a few details could be discerned: candles casting a fickle light on her balcony as a head of dark hair appeared over the wall; fortune cookies and a game of pool at Señor Chow’s; strawberries flying through the air and landing haphazardly on the floor; and countless nights in the backseat of a faded green jeep under the stars at Buckley Point.

There were other scenes, too, from the much more recent past, scenes that had much greater detail to them to the point where they seemed to be showing on a 3-D Imax with surround sound and a scratch-&-sniff, complete with the heartache that accompanied them: morning sun beating down on the desert; a familiar leather-clad body peering in through her bedroom window; the face of the boy she loved looking at her through that same window, his features marred with a look that spoke of horror, disbelief, disgust and despair all at once.

This last memory was enough to turn her mind on completely, and while she refused to open her eyes, the tears still began to fall from them as she laid in her bed. She had been miserable enough since that morning in the pod chamber last May – forcing herself to keep her distance from Max had been so difficult, and she knew she didn’t have the strength left in her to continue it much longer – but in the weeks that had passed since Future Max’s visit, having Max be the one putting the distance between them had made the day at the pod chambers, the summer, and the first weeks after her return feel like a day at Disneyland by comparison to the desolation she now endured.

Like a ton of bricks, the memory of last night came back to her. He’d shown up at her balcony for the first time in weeks. She’d been sitting on her bed looking at pictures of them from a photo booth last March, before Tess had arrived, so lost in the memory that she’d felt nothing but happiness and hope to see him there as he’d been so many times before. But this time, the visit and the memory of it were anything but sweet:

*flashback*

“You said you wanted to be friends. And I thought about it. And I realized that ... that I can't be friends with you because I'm still hanging on to you. To what we had. So I decided to make a clean break.”

“I'm...I'm going to New York with Rath and Lonnie and...and Tess...to the summit.”

“Please, Max. You have to trust me.”

“I guess that's the problem, Liz.”

*end flashback*


He didn’t trust her. He didn’t want her. He didn’t love her. Her mind sneered, isn’t that what you wanted?


She knew he had left for New York, and she could only hope that he would contact Isabel sometime today, and through Isabel, at least Liz could know if he was all right. She didn’t trust Rath or Lonnie, or Tess that much either, if she was honest with herself, and she worried about him being with them alone.

Though she had yet to open her eyes, she knew it was getting late and that her father would be there soon to wake her up for her morning shift. Maybe she could stay in bed – she wasn’t feeling well, her stomach was bothering her and she felt a little light-headed. It was probably just the last couple of days catching up with her, though, and she wouldn’t be of any use to anyone or learn anything about Max by staying in bed. Slowly, she willed herself to open her eyes and sit up. As her eyes adjusted to the light coming in through the window and the new day beginning, she saw that the glass candleholder on her nightstand had somehow melted into an unrecognizable blob. How did that happen? Her scientific mind knew that even the most malleable glass could only melt at temperatures of at least 500 degrees Celsius, almost 900 degrees Fahrenheit, and she doubted that a candleholder would melt at such a low temperature. She reached out tentatively to touch it, and burned her fingertips. Deciding, however, that she had more important things to worry about than cheap candleholders, she got up to shower and get ready for what was sure to be a difficult day.


~~~~~~

Let me know what you guys think! TBC.
Last edited by LairaBehr4 on Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:21 pm, edited 66 times in total.

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The Butterfly Loss (M/L, Adult) Chapter 1, 3Jul06

Post by LairaBehr4 » Sun Jul 02, 2006 11:53 pm

Guys, thank you so much for the feedback! This is the first story I’ve posted on any site, and every time I read the feedback you’ve left for me, I get all warm and fuzzy inside! I’ll try to answer individual comments when I can.

Ladyjr15 – thank you again! I still can’t believe I’m your first post, I hope I live up to the pressure! Yes Liz is getting powers, that’s part of the set-up for the challenge. If you want to see the challenge, there’s a link to it in the Prologue.

Sprayadhesive – mwah! Thank you for everything!

Michelle17 –Thank you! Yes, Liz is getting powers. Read more in this chapter and the next.

PMP – thank you! I’m loving ‘Seduction 101’, btw – post more of that soon for me, will ya?

Elizabeth Kivana – Thank you so much! I hope I can live to all this flattery!

Maya – thank you!

Buffsteraddict – thanks, I’m so glad you like it! You’re in Montreal? My parents are there this week on a vacation, and they keep calling me asking for help with their French. It’s kinda funny. I love that city, if it weren’t for how damn cold it gets I’d consider moving!

Begonia 9508 – thank you!

Erina – thank you!

Heavenli24 – Hoorah! She left me feedback!! That makes me so happy, I can’t tell you how much I love your stories. And DUH I totally knew you had been to NM and AZ, I remember seeing that when I read “You Can Always Count On Me” and it just flew right out of my head there … what can I say, I’m a blonde, sue me. Let me know whenever you need a beta, I promise, I’m usually really smart! Most of the time…

Cocogurl – Here you go! Thanks for the feedback.

And now, for a little game - I gave a subtle homage to lizard_queen, who made a banner for another fic that I'm working on but I haven't posted yet. See if you can spot it ...

I should warn you all that updates will most likely not be this frequent, or, I’m sorry to say, this long, but I’ll do my best for you.

Some lines taken from ‘Meet The Dupes’ and ‘Max In The City’.

This chapter takes place during ‘Max in the City’. I promise, original dialogue will be coming soon. I’ll be skipping certain parts of the episode, but if you want to read the whole thing, go to http://www.crashdown.com and check out the Episodes list.



The Butterfly Loss

Chapter 1 - Youth Is A Blunder


This was a mistake. That mantra echoed over and over again in Max’s head until he wasn’t even sure what he meant by it anymore. When he thought about it, there were so many things to choose from: losing his temper at Isabel and Michael; visiting Liz before they’d left and saying some of the things he’d said; leaving without talking to his parents; leaving without clearing the air with his sister and his best friend; leaving at all; leaving with Rath and Lonnie; leaving with Tess; and, oh yeah, leaving at all.

But at this moment, all of those were pushed to the back of his mind as he stood in a crowded elevator with Tess, edging closer and closer to the 102nd Floor Observatory of the Empire State Building. Ever since the doors had closed, Max had been trying to fight the on-setting panic creeping up his spine. He didn’t want to be claustrophobic anymore, and usually he did okay, but this was a strange place, a small room, and he could swear everyone was looking at him out of the corners of their eyes. Memories of the White Room loomed in the back of his mind and threatened to cause him to break down entirely. He had to think about something other than this small, cramped, crowded, and did we mention small, elevator car.

So he tried to put his mind on something else, anything else … the summit! There’s an idea. Oooh, there’s an idea, his mind mocked at him with much sarcasm. He was seventeen, and the most he knew about high-risk politics was the project he’d done on John Kennedy and the Cuban Missile crisis back in September, and he’s only gotten a ‘B’. He couldn’t even vote yet. He hadn’t been raised to be a leader, to be a king, to try to negotiate among rulers and make everyone happy while still doing the right thing. Hell, he didn’t even know what the right thing was anymore. He had no clue what had been happening on his home planet for the last 50 years, let alone how he was supposed to fix it. He had a sneaking suspicion that he was only going to end up making things worse. That, after all, seemed to be his theme lately – try to make things better, get things the way they were supposed to be, and only succeed in making them spectacularly worse. There were so many people counting on him. And there were other people whom he’d counted on who no longer gave him their support. He didn’t have any idea what he could do, or what he should do. Running sounded like a good option, though.

And at the end of this little journey his mind went on, he came back to the same thought that was quickly becoming his motto of the day: This was a mistake.

“This was a mistake.” Did he say that out loud? He couldn’t remember anymore. He hadn’t been able to sleep since leaving Roswell, and it was starting to catch up to him.

“You’ve been looking forward to it all day,” Tess spoke up next to him. So he had said it out loud.

“I mean this whole thing. Coming here. The City. Rath. Lonnie. It’s a mistake.”

“Max …”

“What do I know about war and peace and politics? I’m gonna blow it. I’m gonna sit down at this meeting and I’m gonna meet these people, and they’re gonna look at me and they’re gonna see this kid from New Mexico who hasn’t got a clue …” his mind was distracted from his mini-breakdown by a change in the elevator’s movement. “Is this car slowing down? Are we slowing down?” This last bit came out very quickly, all in one breath, exposing his fear and nervousness.

“Relax, relax. We’re almost there.” Tess rubbed her hand up and down his arm in an effort to soothe him, thinking that this was more than she’d heard him talk at one time since her arrival in Roswell last March. Max never used more words than what was absolutely necessary, and he never, ever panicked like this. He was clearly doubting himself, and she was going to have to do something to try to calm his nerves. Otherwise, he’d never be able to make it through the summit.

The car doors opened, and Tess walked Max straight to an open spot at the edge of the observation deck, overlooking Manhattan. She had to convince him that he was doing the right thing by being here. There was something that Kyle said about Buddha and the mountaintop, that should come in handy right now.

“This is where you belong, Max … up here with the world at your feet. Like a king,” she purred lightly, hoping to stroke his ego a bit. If she could count on anything, it would be that Max would always think that he was right and everyone else was wrong. He already had the qualities it took to be a leader, he just didn’t recognize it.

“I’m the king of the world,” he said simply, unbelieving.

Tess smiled to herself. It’s working. “Yes, you are … just … not of this one.”

Some time later, they went back to the considerably less crowded elevator cars and descended to the street, then made their way to meet Lonnie and Rath on the corner of 34th Street and 7th Avenue. As soon as they came into his sight, Max immediately went on the defensive. No matter what, he couldn’t bring himself to trust them. There was too much that he didn’t know, about them personally and about this summit, and they weren’t exactly falling over themselves to give him information. And then there had been that whole scene with Ava as they were leaving Roswell …

*flashback*

Rath: I said, get in the car, or I’ll …

Ava: Kill me? What, you gonna kill me?

*End flashback*


There had been something in both Rath’s and Ava’s faces, in their eyes, something that said that Ava knew he’d really do it, and that Rath was really capable of it. He knew he had to be careful and be sure to protect himself as well as Tess from these strangers who might be capable of anything.

~*~*~

Back in Roswell, Liz and Maria caught snippets of a conversation between Michael and Isabel as they prepared to close up the café. They learned that Isabel had told her parents that Max was camping again. As soon as Liz closed the door behind the last customer, Isabel walked out of the Crashdown without a word to Liz, and Michael gave only a cursory farewell to Maria. They had both been hostile to Liz for a while now, and though Liz knew why, she was a little sorry that the cold front didn’t look to be letting up anytime soon.

At that moment, though, Liz probably would have offered them the deed to the café if it could have stopped the conversation she knew had been coming and really, really didn’t want to have.

“Girlfriend,” Maria said as she sauntered warily over to Liz, “we need to have a talk. You got a serious problem.”

“What?” Liz tried to act innocent, but she knew already that Maria had heard somehow. That girl was always up on the latest gossip – in fact, Liz imagined that Maria’s friendship with her was the only thing that had kept her from bringing up the subject earlier.

“A … very vicious rumor is going around about you in school, and I shouldn’t make a bigger deal about it than it is, because I know we can take care of it, but it’s just that, like, everybody’s talking about it …,” Maria was in full-on rambling mode now, and Liz knew she was in for it.

“Maria,” Liz said sternly, hoping to get her attention and just get this entire conversation over with.

“Okay,” Maria calmed a little. “The word is that you and Kyle slept together. I know. It’s so humiliating. I just can’t imagine who made it up.”

I can, thought Liz. Tess probably hadn’t wasted any time telling anyone who would listen to her that Little Lizzie Parker wasn’t as good as everyone thought she was. Spreading it around school would ensure that Max was constantly reminded of it, that he wouldn’t be able not to hear what people were saying about her, and most importantly, that he wouldn’t be forgiving her anytime soon. No wonder he’d said he wanted to make a clean break. No wonder they couldn’t even bring themselves to be friends.

But for right now, Liz had to deal with Maria, and she had to keep Maria from trying to disprove the rumors because that would only make things worse, if that were possible.

“Um,” Liz began sheepishly, “it’s true.”

“What?” Liz had clearly misunderstood her. “No, Liz, the rumor is that you and Kyle Valenti slept together, as in, like, sexually.”

“I know. And … it’s true.”

“Huh.” The shock on Maria’s face was evident, and not something one got to see everyday. “Okay, you lost your virginity to Kyle. I mean, that is a revelation, and I don’t know what that’s about, but why didn’t you tell me?”

Liz fumbled a little and came up with the best excuse she could. “I was embarrassed.” Well, that wasn’t a complete lie, and hopefully Maria would leave it at that.

“That is such a completely unacceptably answer for you to give to me, your best friend in the entire world ...”

Another hope dashed. “I didn’t want to talk about it.”

“Why? Why didn’t you want to talk about it?” Worry quickly replaced shock. “Why, did he hurt you or something? Was this like a date rape?”

This has to stop. “No! No, it was nothing like that, okay? I was just upset about Max, and Kyle was there for me, and we were close at one point, and one thing just led to another, and we …”

If Maria was good at anything, it would certainly be at experiencing the entire range of human emotions that life had to offer. Where worry had been present a moment before, now anger reigned. “And you didn’t tell me.”

I need some air, Liz thought. She took the opportunity of Maria’s silence to take the trash out, but as she picked up the bag, it seemed to explode suddenly, and trash was sprayed all over the back room of the Crashdown. Liz sighed in her exasperation, but she got a new bag and started to clean up the mess. As she knelt down and grabbed at the disgusting remains of tonight’s business, she found herself wondering how the bag had broken in the first place. There were no sharp objects that could tear a hole, the bag hadn’t seemed too heavy. And even if it had, these were heavy-duty bags and she had never heard of or witnessed them tearing before.

After gathering all the garbage, Liz traipsed through the back and out to the dumpster, letting her frustration out by throwing the bag in with all her might.

“Yo!” a voice shouted from nowhere. “You mind not banging that thing around?”

Liz searched the alley, and saw … “Tess?”

No, that’s not Tess, Tess is in New York with Max. Liz knew she was looking at Tess’s double, but she couldn’t remember the girl’s name. “Oh, no, no, I mean, um …”

“Ava,” the girl helped her out.

“Yes, Ava! That’s right. I’m sorry. What … what are you doing here?”

“Trying to get some sleep.”

“In the alley?” Liz didn’t really know this girl, but she didn’t seem as hard as Rath and Lonnie. Liz had observed that she was quiet and withdrawn around the other dupes, not at all unlike herself and her own crowd these days. Plus, she genuinely seemed like a good person. She didn’t send shivers down her spine like Tess did, and she wasn’t as overtly intimidating as her two companions. She was suffering inside, and as a fellow sufferer herself, Liz could see it and empathize.

“Come on in, you can stay here for a bit, my parents are in Santa Fe looking for a new stove for the kitchen.” Liz held the door open as she awaited Ava’s move.

Once she overcame the shock of this stranger’s generosity, Ava weighed her options and quickly decided that it might be nice sleeping on some sort of cushioned surface for a change. Her conscience gave her a moment’s hesitation – Liz was showing kindness for no reason at all, and in return, Rath and Lonnie were manipulating Max into going to that summit, and would probably kill him if he didn’t do what they wanted. But she had no ties to the other two anymore. They’d been severed when Zan was killed, and she was tired of letting them put her down and pull her down. Ava gathered her scarce belongings and walked through the door into the back of the Crashdown.

“What’s going on, Liz?” Maria questioned when she saw the Tess look-alike. She couldn’t decide if she trusted this girl yet, but she knew beyond a doubt that she wasn’t a fan of her fellow Czechoslovakians.

“She doesn’t have any other place to go, and we have a perfectly good pull-out upstairs.”

Maria was still a little miffed that Liz wouldn’t open up to her, and watching her welcome in this girl wasn’t doing any wonders for her mood. “Yeah, well, the dining room’s all clean and Michael took care of the kitchen before he left, so I’m gonna go home. Later, Liz.”

“Bye, Maria.” Liz watched her friend leave with a heavy heart, wishing more than anything that she could just talk to her, just to have someone in her corner. But she couldn’t so she redirected her frustration and decided to make Ava as comfortable as possible in her home. “So, let’s get you upstairs.”

~*~*~

“Thanks for coming with me, Max.”

Max looked down at Tess as they walked down the sidewalk. “I had to come, Tess. This is a chance for us to find out more about Antar.”

“No, I mean for coming with me now. I wasn’t feeling very comfortable down there.” Tess was visibly relieved at the chance of escaping the sewers for a bit.

Max only nodded his agreement. Rath and Lonnie hadn’t done or said a single helpful thing since they’d left New Mexico. They were bossy and wouldn’t directly answer any of his questions about the summit. They were dismissive, evasive, more than offensive, and seemed to want to go out of their way to make him and Tess as uncomfortable as possible. He’d already had to step in to keep Rath from picking on Tess once. She was his responsibility to project on this trip, not just because of their former married life, but also simply because he was the leader, and he was the only person she knew in this city. He would take care of her no matter what.

But that didn’t mean he wanted to go looking for trouble, either. And when Tess asked him to come with her as she ascended to the street to go in search of food, he thought it was a preferable alternative to staying in the sewers alone and watching Rath and Lonnie go at it like rabbits.

“It’s no problem, Tess, I wanted to get out of there, too.”

Tess smiled slightly as they continued on their way before she spoke again. “They’re so different, Max. I don’t remember people being like that on Antar.” She waited for a reaction from him, some sign of curiosity on his part. When she got none, she continued, “I guess they’ll get better when we get home.”

“I guess …” Max still hadn’t decided if he even wanted to go home, and for some reason, Liz’s warning about the granolith continued to find its way into his thoughts. How had she even known about the granolith in the first place? As far as he knew, no one had mentioned it to the humans of the I Know An Alien Club, and certainly none of them had ever been there or laid eyes on it themselves. The aliens weren’t even entirely sure what it was. How could Liz know enough about it to think that it warranted mentioning in the first place?

“Does this look good?” Max looked up from his musings and found Tess standing in front of a diner with brown walls and gold trim. There were tables and chairs set up on a roped-off part of the sidewalk for those who wanted to eat outdoors, but you had to go inside to order your food. There was a giant Hindu god with about fourteen arms painted onto one of the walls inside.

“Yeah, this will do.” Indian food could always be counted on to burn the taste buds off a human, but for Max and Tess, it would be a fine dining experience. “I’ll go in and place our order. What would you like?”

“How about you let me surprise you?” Tess smiled at him a little, and he nodded his acquiescence and watched her walk in before he went and sat at a table for two on the patio.

There was a chill in the air – not much for the New Yorkers, considering the season, but enough to make Max wrap his leather jacket more firmly around him. He looked up and down the streets, and could see Christmas decorations already put up in store windows and on the street lights. He smiled at the thought of the oncoming holiday season, and briefly wondered if he’d be able to get away long enough to buy something for his sister.

Isabel. Not for the first time since he left, he started to give serious thought to the fight he’d had with her and Michael before he left. He hadn’t even really said goodbye to either of them. He was still too upset. She had lied to him, betrayed him, and … wait a minute, that wasn’t right. Vilandra had betrayed Zan, but Isabel had never really betrayed Max. She had kept the secret of her past from him, and that hurt, but the past wasn’t really her fault and there was nothing they could do about it now. Still, it wasn’t like her to keep secrets, and especially not to insult him the way she’d done. That was usually more Michael’s arena.

Michael had acted strangely, too. Usually he was all for taking action – it had been he who had continued to try contacting Nasedo, who’d stolen the stones, who’s always wanted to find out more about where they’d come from. Max was always the one to advocate caution and patience, and Michael was the one who threw caution to the wind and put himself out there, taking the risk in hopes of better things. And while he didn’t feel the need to embrace his “destiny” with Isabel, Max had expected Michael to be delighted that the one-time king was taking action for a change.

He was completely lost in his thoughts, and when the screw holding the arm rest of his chair came loose, he gasped and nearly lost his balance with the change in support. He looked around and saw the screw near his shoe. He bent down and picked it up, then began searching for his pocketknife to put the chair back together again. So occupied was he in finding where exactly the screw would go in the design of the chair, that it took several seconds of his hand mindlessly patting his pockets before he realized he no longer had the pocketknife. He’d given it back to Liz.

He had his own private moment of mourning for both the pocketknife and Liz before Tess came back with enough alloo gobi and spicy chicken marsala to keep the two aliens sated until the morning.


~~~~

TBC.
Last edited by LairaBehr4 on Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:55 pm, edited 10 times in total.
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Post by LairaBehr4 » Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:27 pm

Hey! I hope everyone had a very happy Fourth of July. This was my first one living in the nation’s capital, and you know something? They party harder in Philly. Seriously, the last 2 years I’ve spent July 4 hanging out in the same city that the Declaration of Independence was signed in, and man, they take that pretty darn seriously!! And last year was just amazing – I was 40 yards from Bon Jovi! Now all I have to do is meet Jason Behr and I can die a happy woman …

My thanks to everyone for your feedback! I really appreciate it.

Begonia9508 – Thank you!

Michelle17 – I’m glad you think so. Thanks so much!

L-J-L 76 – thank you so much! I’ve read your feedback at other stories and I’m glad I was able to capture your attention. Yeah, I’m trying to expand as much as possible on the fledgling friendship between Ava and Liz.

Scottie – thank you so much! I’m glad that you like it so well already. Thank you for your compliments.

Heavenli24 – Thanks! I think it might be a while before I branch out from the show – I pretty much plan on taking this story all the way to the end of ‘Max In The City’, probably four chapters from now or so, and after that I’ll still be taking some lines from ‘Ch-ch-changes,’ but things will still be getting interesting, I promise. Thanks for hanging in there! And yeah, the penknife – that was the “homage” to Lizard_queen that I was talking about earlier, from her story ‘Walking By’; Liz and Max get back together and she gives it back to him, and he says he used to go to use it and forget that he didn’t have it anymore. You like that, huh?

Ladyjr15 – I still can’t believe your 2 posts are both for my story! *tear!* Seriously, that makes me so proud … Yes, Liz was the one who blew the bag! No one else seems to have caught that, or at least, no one else has commented on it yet. It’ll be explained as her powers start to develop further in the next few chapters.

Dreamerfrvrp3 – Thanks, I’m glad you like it! Yeah, we’re all meant to hate Tess. I never particularly liked her, so I’m pretty much just trying to come up with the meanest, most despicable, most manipulative bitch I can imagine, add to blonde hair and fake boobs, and presto! How to Make A Tess.

Dreamsatnight – Thanks so much for coming over! I’m glad you did, and I’m so happy that you’re enjoying this. Come back with an update for “Never” soon!

Elizabeth Kivana – haha you spotted that too, huh? I actually stole that from a fic by Lizard_queen. In her story “Walking By,” Max and Liz get back together and Liz returns it to her, and he says he used to look for it, forgetting he’d given it back to her. I’m glad you liked it.

Sprayadhesive – You’re too much, sweetie. Glad your computer’s back up. Hey, I went and re-read that blog on you-know-who’s site - “Through” and “Threw”, huh? And did you spot the “to” and “too” as well? Who knew he’d have such bad grammar? I mean, we were just bitching about this the other day! How disappointing … but he’s cute, so we’ll forgive him. And hey, read below, note the “cascading thunder” – thanks for that, hon! You’re the most amazing beta ever, and this chapter couldn't have been written without you.


And now, back to the studio …

Some lines taken from ‘Max In The City.’ This will be a Liz-centric chapter. We’ll get back to Max next time.

And hey, for a little game, see if you can spot the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ reference/homage in this chapter!




The Butterfly Loss

Chapter Two – Men Know Not Water’s Worth, but Women Do


Wednesday, November 22, 2000 – the day before Thanksgiving, 3:42am


“So you slept with Kyle.”

Maria’s tone betrayed her lingering shock and disbelief, and Liz knew she had to clear the air immediately.

“No, no. Not really. I arranged it so Max saw Kyle and I in bed together, but nothing really happened.”

“So Max thinks that you and Kyle …” she trailed off deliberately, comprehension and understanding finally settling in.

“I’m sorry I lied to you,” and she really was. This is just too hard, Liz thought. Her conscience had been bothering her ever since Maria stormed out of the café earlier that evening. There were some things that Liz wasn’t willing to sacrifice, and lying to her best friend was one of them. But that was only part of it. Liz had already lost Max, maybe forever; Michael and Isabel wouldn’t even speak to her; and Tess was reveling in her misery. But when Maria had walked out like that, Liz realized she wouldn’t have the strength to go through with it if she distanced herself from Maria as well. ‘Saving the world’ was tough work, and she couldn’t do it alone. She would need Maria’s support and friendship, or she’d either give in to temptation, or she’d sink into depression. And to keep Maria’s friendship, she would have to come clean.

“No, I’m so sorry that I got so mad. I should have known that it was, you know, an alien thing.” That was the great thing about Maria, she could always be counted on. Once that girl was in your corner, she was in it for good. Liz breathed a sigh of relief and gratitude for having Maria in her life. “Are you still a virgin?”

Liz smiled a little and answered, “Yeah.”

“Okay,” Maria giggled. The mood around the fountain outside of the Roswell City Hall building was definitely lightening up as the tension between the two girls eased.

“Okay,” Liz couldn’t wipe the smile off her face, which only served to feed Maria’s.

“Yeah! So am I!” They were both laughing hysterically now.

“Frigid!” Liz managed to give Maria a congratulatory high-five before the laughing fits completely overtook them both. A few minutes later, they calmed down enough to speak again.

“So …” Maria started tentatively.

“So …” Liz repeated as she willed her breathing to slow down and the red stains on her cheeks caused by her heavy laughing to go away.

As their laughter subsided, silence overtook the two girls. Maria’s eyebrows were furled together, and Liz knew she wanted to say something. She even had a pretty good idea of what it was.

“Oh, just spit it out already, ‘Ria,” Liz tried to make light of the situation, but she knew what was coming.

Maria paused another moment before beginning, making sure that she treaded carefully. “Look, Liz, I know you’ve had it really tough the last few weeks, and I just want you to know that I really admire you for what you’re doing. I mean, if it’d been me and a Future Michael came and told me something like that, I’d probably tell him to go to Hell and I’ll take the fourteen years. I know it isn’t easy for you to push him away like that. Let alone what you’re gonna go through at school for the next couple of weeks. And I want you to know that I’m here for you no matter what happens next.”

She’s stalling, Liz thought. Her head pinched slightly as she thought of the argument that she knew would come after Maria had said her peace. This one would be much more amicable than the one in the café earlier, but it would be infinitely more painful at the same time, and Liz just wanted to get it done and over with. “But …”

“But,” Maria put both of her feet on the ground in front of her. She turned to her right to look at Liz and took a deep breath (a rarity for Maria) before she continued. “Liz, I think you really need to tell Max the truth.”

Liz began to get upset at this. The pain in her head increased a little, and her stomach began to ache a little as well. Had Maria not understood a thing that she’d been saying? “No, Maria, I can’t do that.”

“Liz, I know that you think you’re doing the right thing, and I maybe even agree with you, but this is Max’s life you’re talking about. You shouldn’t be making these kinds of decisions for him. I mean, for God’s sake, you’re not even together! You haven’t been for a long time now! And who even knows what really brought about this whole end-of-the-world thing anyway? I mean, it might have been a hundred other things. I just feel like you’re taking all the choices out of Max’s hands. You’re lying to him. You’ve never done that before, Liz. It’s not like you. Think about it, babe – if the situation were reversed, would you want him to be making these decisions for you?”

Liz was more than familiar with these arguments. She had gone over them in her own head so many times, she knew the words by heart. But one thing kept coming back to her, the one thing that kept her from running straight to Max and confessing everything. “Maria, you didn’t see his eyes when he told me. God, he … he didn’t even look like himself. He was so … worn and tired, Maria. And the way his eyes looked when he told me abo--” Liz cut herself off quickly, knowing that finishing that sentence wasn’t the way to break it to Maria. “Maria, Isabel and Michael both died before he used the granolith to come back here. He told me about Michael dying in his arms, Maria. I just can’t … I just can’t let him go through that again. I mean, think about it Maria. Everyone else was gone, too. There was nobody left to fight for. I can’t put him through that, Maria. You know those two are everything to him. And he just looked so lost …” Liz’s internal pain, both literal and figurative, had grown as she spoke. By the time she finished, she was in tears, and she wasn’t sure if it was because of her pain from losing the love of her life, or the pain from her head and belly.

Maria reached out to cradle Liz in her arms, and quickly backed off the subject that was causing her friend so much distress. She had just wanted to make sure that Liz had thought this thing through. The boy obviously adored her, and she was breaking his heart with this lie. But as Liz’s tears soaked into Maria’s shirt, she realized that Liz’s heart was breaking, too.

Liz finally let out all the tears she’d been holding in ever since Future Max disappeared. Everything that had been building up inside of her, all of her conflicting emotions and pain, all of it made its presence known in the sobs that wracked her tiny body. But whereas crying was usually used as a tool of catharsis, for Liz it only managed to get her to finally face the hopelessness of her situation. Her internal frustration and emotions only increased as the tears escaped her eyes. She wanted to run, she wanted to hit something, she wanted to scream out the truth to anyone who would listen, but especially to Max.

Suddenly a sound like cascading thunder roared in their ears, and before they could react, water was spaying all around them. The fountain seemed to have burst a pipe, and the water was everywhere, drenching everything within a ten-foot radius.

After they recovered from the shock, Liz and Maria looked at each other. Smiles tugged at the corners of their lips as they realized the bizarre and comical predicament they found themselves in. Before they knew it, they were laughing loudly, clutching their sides in the delightful pain of their dramatic situation turned into what could pass as a circus act.

“Well,” Maria said between gasps of laughter, “I guess that’s our cue to go home.”

“Yeah, the gods definitely seem to be telling us something here,” Liz managed as she calmed herself and steadied her breathing.

Concern took over Maria’s instincts once more as she placed a gentle hand on Liz’s shoulder. “Are you gonna be okay, chica?”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine. Thanks so much, ‘Ria.”

“Hey, that’s what I’m here for.” The two girls hugged, and Maria rubbed her arm against Liz’s back in a show of support. “You want me to walk you home?”

“No,” Liz answered as they broke out of the hug. “I think I could use the time alone.”

“Mmkay. I’ll see you tomorrow, chica.” Maria started walking towards her home, down Spring Street.

“See you tomorrow.” Liz turned and headed back to the Crashdown.

She decided to take the scenic route through downtown, up Spring to Joshua Tree Road and on to Citrus, instead of cutting through the alleyway. On Joshua Tree, she slowed down to watch her reflection in some of the store windows. McPhee’s Pharmacy in particular had huge front windows, all one pane. She could see herself clearly. She stopped and stood, just looking at herself. She looked a mess – hair and clothes all wet, sticking to her skin, eyes red and puffy from crying, and even with her tanned skin there was no hiding the circles under her eyes from the lack of sleep she’d had lately.

As she continued to inspect her reflection, she saw something that she thought must be a trick of the dim lights. Green currents like livewires were crackling up and down the length of her window friend’s arms and legs. Liz’s eyes grew wide in fear, yet she couldn’t bring herself to look down. Her jaw trembled a little and the somersaults in her stomach came back with a vengeance.

Without warning, the window shattered into a thousand pieces, and Liz was left staring into an empty McPhee’s Pharmacy as a store alarm began to sound. She took a couple of steps back, glass cutting the edges of her feet as her flimsy Old Navy flip-flops offered no protection. Terrified that she’d be seen, Liz turned and ran home.



~~~~~~


TBC.
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Post by LairaBehr4 » Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:05 pm

dreamerfrvrp3 – Thanks for making me pull out the book and realize my mistake. I’m formulating your homage already.

Dreamsatnight – sorry about the whole wild goose chase thing.

Maya – Thanks!

Scottie – glad I could make your day.



Hey, you guys should go check out ‘Resurrection’ by Lorastar. Lorastar and I have made a deal with each other which you can all see here. See, she’s been exceedingly neglectful of this story, and it’s driving me crazy. So when she started bugging me to update ES&L, I told her that I was going to start holding the story hostage until she updated ‘Resurrection.’ So she updated on Monday and I posted a new part on Tuesday, and now I need all you guys to go over to ‘Resurrection’ and bump, give feedback, PM or what ever you can to get Lorastar to update again!

So I know I promised that this would be a longer chapter, but things didn’t quite come together in this chapter the way I thought they would. I promise, a big long chapter very, very soon.

This chapter still takes place during “Max In the City,” though the lines in it are entirely my own. I promise, chapters will stop being so eppy very, very soon … I know I write at a snail’s pace, but that’s just part of the beauty of me being the author and you guys being the readers. Just ask <b>dreamerfrvrp3 </b> about the sadistic pleasure I get …

And hey, as a new game (and one that I promise you actually does have an outside-Roswell equivalent), who can spot the ‘Gilmore Girls’ homage in this part? It’s a pretty easy one, I had to make up for the fiasco of the ‘window friend,’ after all …

Chapter 3 – Secrets and Lies

Wednesday, November 22, 2000 – the day before Thanksgiving, 6:53 PM, Eastern Standard Time.

Tess was feeling pretty darn pleased with herself. She’d been with Max now ever since Monday night, and he hadn’t once shied away or shirked her presence. In fact, the big city seemed to be having just the affect on him that she was hoping for – he felt out of place, and was desperate to cling on to any remnant of his life back in Roswell, and she was the only thing familiar to him from that place. The fights he’d had with Michael and Isabel only increased his attachment to her. As such, he was constantly right by her side. Even better, Rath and Lonnie had made the grave mistake of thinking that Tess was just as weak and stupid as her dupe, and treated her just as they would have treated Ava. They were patronizing, abusive, threatening and cruel. And Max, who always did have a thing for a damsel in distress, ran interference for her every time, either by defending her directly or by steering the conversation away her before it could get out of hand. That boy had a serious knight-in-shining-armor complex, and while it usually annoyed the hell out of Tess, not a little bit because it was usually directed at Liz, she didn’t mind so much now when it was proving so useful in drawing Max closer to her. As for Rath and Lonnie, Tess was already formulating a plan to take care of them. In the meantime, though, she’d continue playing the weakling right up until it no longer served her purpose.

Tess couldn’t keep the smile from coming to her face as she thought of how things couldn’t have gone better for her if she’d planned them that way herself. Even now, Max was off with Rath to meet the emissary and prove that he was the rightful king of Antar. After that, there was the summit tomorrow night, and then, … home. With Max. She hadn’t even had to mind-warp him into giving the thought serious consideration. With little Lizzie Parker screwing Kyle Valenti and Michael and Isabel back in Roswell, he had nothing left on this planet to stay for anyway.

Things were finally coming together for the girl, and she wasn’t going to blow it this close to the finish line.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Wednesday, November 22, 2000 – the day before Thanksgiving, 6:53 PM, Central Time.

The Crashdown was closing early because of the holiday. Liz’s parents were still in Santa Fe, and the only customer was Kyle, so Liz and Maria decided to lock up a few minutes before the seven o’clock closing time. Ava was sleeping upstairs.

The tension between Liz and Maria from the last time they’d performed this closing ritual was completely gone. Liz was being a little quiet, Maria noticed, but she figured it was because there had been no word from Max yet. Once someone had heard from him, Liz would be better, Maria thought.

Liz, on the other hand, was entirely lost in her thoughts. She couldn’t process what she’d seen in her reflection at McPhee’s Pharmacy the night before. She didn’t know what had happened to break the glass, but it could have been … pressure from the fountain. Yeah, that could have been it. After all, it wasn’t every day that a forty-year-old fountain just burst open like that. And those green lights on your arms and legs? her mind came back with. What were those, an early Christmas decoration? Maybe she had just hallucinated those, though. I mean, it wasn’t like she’d been getting a lot of sleep lately.

An inability to sleep seemed to be contagious in the Parker household. After Liz had gotten home last night, she’d heard Ava waking up with a start every few hours in the living room. Liz could hear her gasping and considered going in and asking her what was wrong, but she didn’t want to but in or make Ava feel defensive at all. From what Liz had seen of her, she was the type who wasn’t used to kindness or friendship and might take any invasion of her privacy or personal space the wrong way.

So Liz had waited until the morning and asked Ava if everything was all right, to which she’d just mumbled “Bad dream,” and continued sipping her coffee. Liz didn’t want to push her – as an intensely private person herself, she could recognize when people wanted something to be left alone, and she’d obliged to Ava’s silent request.

And then there was Max, who hadn’t been far from her thoughts since he’d left her balcony on Monday night. Was he okay? What was he doing? Had he told the others about the granilith? Was he already on his way back to Antar? She’d always felt a connection to Max ever since he healed her and had shown her who he truly was. When they’d been together, she’d felt that connection in every cell of her body. When she’d gone to Florida, she could still feel it, though not as intensely because of the distance. When Max had seen her with Kyle, she felt him forcibly trying to block her out. He’d had some degree of success in that, but it wasn’t complete. But now, with him so far away and under the influence of so many conflicting emotions and forces, it was weaker than it had ever been before. She longed to open up to him, to know if he was okay, but she knew that if he tried he would probably only pull further away from her. The thought of it caused a pain in her forehead, and she shook her head violently for a second or two in an effort to escape it.

She’d been mindlessly cleaning the milkshake machine and could hear fuzzy voices around her. She slowly dragged herself back to full consciousness and began to pay attention to the conversation between Kyle, who was nursing a plate of fries, and Maria, who was mopping the floor.

“I’m just saying, Kyle, French fries aren’t dinner.”

“What are you talking about? It’s the American classic!”

“Then why does it have the word “French” in it?”

Kyle seemed to ponder this for a moment before continuing, “I don’t know, but I’m sure they’re not actually French.”

Maria took in a deep breath to stave off her exasperation before continuing. “It doesn’t matter whether they’re French or not, the point is, you should have eaten something else besides just the fries. Haven’t you ever heard of vegetables?”

“Potatoes are vegetables … aren’t they?” His face bore evident confusion as he looked to Liz to clear up the matter, in a way that had always reminded Liz of a puppy. In fact, she could hear Maria’s voice echoing in her head something very similar to that effect, the ghost of a conversation from long ago …

But before she could place the where and when of that conversation, she saw that Kyle was still waiting for his answer. “Technically they are a vegetable, but they’re mostly starch, and plus, I think all the nutritional value kinda goes out of them when they’re fried in a vat of hot oil.”

“Mmm, don’t say that, you’re making me crave deep-fried turkey for tomorrow.” Kyle closed his eyes and licked his lips in anticipation.

Maria had finished mopping the floor and now came up to sit in the stool next to Kyle as Liz moved to wipe off the counter. “I can’t believe the sheriff lets you eat like this. Just wait till I tell my mom.”

Kyle froze, then turned to regard Maria out of the corner of his eyes. “You wouldn’t dare.”

Maria scoffed, then retorted, “Well, someone has to look out for you. Where is the Sheriff, anyway, and why isn’t he here trying to get you to eat some vegetables?”

Kyle wavied his last fry in her face. “This is a vegetable! Liz just said so!” There was a light round of chuckles before he continued. “Actually, he had to work today. Did you guys hear about the fountain over in front of city hall?”

Maria sent a conspiratorial smile over to Liz, who refused to meet her gaze. “Uh, no, Kyle, what happened?”

Liz listened avidly to Kyle’s next words. “Well, apparently a pipe burst or something, and the whole courtyard in front of city hall is flooded. The weird thing, though, is that they can’t figure out how it happened.”

“Maybe they were old pipes,” Maria ventured.

“Not that old. I mean, that thing was put in within our parent’s lifetimes. It should have lasted longer, my dad said. Plus, and I couldn’t follow this exactly, but I guess the way that the pipes burst couldn’t have happened by accident. It looks more like it was done deliberately, but they can’t find any evidence of that. I mean, only the water department guys from the county have access to the pipes, and no one’s gone down to inspect them since last year. They’d know if someone was down there. And also, they couldn’t find anything down there to suggest that the pipes had been tampered with, but there’s no other explanation for it.”

Maria was only half-listening. She didn’t really care about how the pipes had burst, just as long as no one knew that she and Liz had been around when it happened. “Huh. Weird.”

Liz’s head started to pound and the familiar feeling of butterflies came back into her stomach.

“And that’s not all,” Kyle continued. “Someone also broke into McPhee’s Pharmacy last night, but they didn’t take anything and I guess the cops can’t figure out how the window was broken because there’s an equal amount of glass both inside and outside the window. There was nothing inside the store that looked like it had broken the window, and nothing outside the store, either.”

Now Liz felt positively ill, as though she was going to collapse. As Maria said something that she couldn’t quite hear or comprehend, she grabbed Kyle’s empty plate and started towards the door that led to the back.

“Hey, chica, you okay?” Maria’s voice suddenly cut through the dull ringing in her ears.

“Yeah, I’m fine, I’m just gonna … take this to the kitchen.” Liz did her best to keep from stumbling through the door.

She dropped the plate on the floor and collapsed onto the sofa in the back room by the employee lockers. She hugged her arms to her chest and started rocking back and forth.

A few moments later, the door leading to the Crashdown swung open and Kyle and Maria walked in tentatively.

“Liz? Are you … Oh my God.” Maria froze, and Kyle nearly bumped into her. He looked over her shoulder and then he too froze, the both of them staring at Liz with their mouths hanging open.

Liz looked down at herself and saw what had shocked her two friends into oblivion, though she thought she already had a pretty good idea. Sure enough, green wires of light were crackling up and down her arms and legs.



--------
TBC
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Post by LairaBehr4 » Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:52 am

My dear wonderful and loyal readers:

I’m sorry to have taken so long to get back to you, but here I am once again. My thanks to all of you.

Heavenli24 – thanks! I can’t tell you what serious withdrawals I’m having for ‘Something More’, I still go back and check it every two days just out of habit! Please start the Wimbledon fic soon so I have something to look forward to … GG is such a great show! I love the fast, witty dialogue, plus the amount of pop-culture references that they pack into a single episode is astounding. I think there’s a whole section of the official Gilmore Girls website specifically dedicated to explaining the references in every episode. Amy Sherman is my hero.

Maya – thank you for everything!

PMP – Thanks, you’re so kind! Come and update some of your stories, I just love them … You’re a pretty damned good writer yourself. I mean, not very many writers can get me to actually read a UC fic …

Dreamerfrvrp3 – You did indeed get the reference! A “deep fried Turkey” thanksgiving. I think by the end of that episode, they were deep-frying whatever they could get their hands on. Slightly reminds me of my family at times …

Begonia9508 – thanks!

Ladyjr15 – Haha She will get her comeuppance, I promise you. In the meantime, I’ll see what I can do for ya. Damn, I just love how easy it is to get people to hate Tess … it’s kinda fun!

Scottie – I made it over to the Caps thread! Yay, me! Let me know next time you’re all doing something, cuz I wanna meet Jason Behr, too!  Haha yeah my brother used to eat carrot cake in hopes that he’d be able to get out of eating real carrots. Of course, he was about 6 at the time. I will be writing the scaffolding part. Re: the banner – she’s not pregnant, I think he’s just holding her to him. I think it’s kinda sexy. Plus, you gotta admit, the manip to make the paper look like that is AWESOME. The little girl comes in closer to the end of the story.

Rosylady – Good to see you! I’m glad you decided to give this one a shot, I’m very proud of it so far, maybe even more so than I am of ES&L. It’s a little more dramatic and takes a little more imagination than ESL, mainly because just about everything I’ve written for that story so far is based on something that actually happened to my senior year roommate and I. I’ll try to get into Max’s head in this chapter for you – I know I’ve been ignoring him lately.

L-J-L 76 – As promised, here you go.

Sprayadhesive – Dude. You’re the best. Although I think you and your angst are starting to rub off on me … I’m definitely in need of some bunnies.

Luzser1800 – Thanks! Have you caught on yet to how much I ADORE ‘Scripted’? And I still maintain, that cliffhanger was EEEEEEVVIIILLL … So come back soon, will ya? You don’t want to get Behrsgirl1230 started with her threatening PMs, cuz I’ll bet she could come up with some doozies.

Lorastar – love ya babe.

Lurkers – Thank you!

So far, the only user who’s come forward and admitted to knowing the ‘Gilmore Girls’ reference was Dreamerfrvrp3, who hit the nail on the head when she IMed me saying, “deep fried turkey!”. Congratulations!

There seem to be some major questions, so let me address them now. Yes, the little girl in the banner is significant to the story, but not until a bit later on. So please, hold on for me.

A couple of people commented that Max seems to be MIA lately. Sorry about that, it’s just that, well, with regards to Max’s point of view and experience with this whole thing, for the time being he’s staying pretty darned close to the way we saw him in ‘Max and the City,’ and since we all know how that goes for him (heck, I even gave you guys the link to the transcript somewhere in one of my posts), I’m trying to mostly make sure that I do an adequate job giving you Tess’s POV and portraying the changes happening to Liz and the rest of the gang back in Roswell. I’ll try to get into Max’s head very, very soon – if not in this bit, then in the next.

Any other questions/comments/concerns, please don’t hesitate to leave feedback or PM me. Hell, even my email is down there somewhere …

Ooooh and for today’s game, there’s a phrase in here that’s taken almost verbatim from the movie ‘The Princess Bride’. Who can spot it?

Yeah, I’m still giving you guys some pretty easy ones to make up for the “window friend” disaster – I apologize about that again. However, may I suggest, if you really want a challenge to tickle your brain, go look for the ‘Free To Be … You And Me’ reference in the chapter of ES&L that I posted on Monday. No one’s figured it out yet … (shakes head) what is the world coming to?


Some lines taken from ‘Meet The Dupes’ and ‘Max In The City’.




Chapter 4 – “Politics Is the Art of the Possible” ~Otto Von Bismarck


Wednesday, November 22, 2000 – the day before Thanksgiving, 7:09 PM, Central Time.

She closed her eyes and tried to keep her pain and agony, both physical and emotional, from escaping into an energy of its own like it had at McPhee’s, at the fountain, and even, she realized, the other night when she’d been taking out the trash. She couldn’t do anything that would damage her family’s restaurant, especially not when two of her closet friends were right there in the next room. She had to hold it in. Liz whimpered slightly with the effort.

“Liz, what the hell is going on?!”

“I don’t know,” Liz whispered.

“Uuh, maybe I should get my dad …” Kyle suggested slowly, trying to be of help.

“No, Kyle! Don’t bring anyone else here.”

“Liz, you need some help or something.” Maria walked over to the sofa and stood in front of where Liz was huddled into a ball.

“No, Maria, I don’t want anyone else here.”

“Liz, for God’s sake, you’re sparkling or whatever!”

“Which is exactly why you can’t bring anyone else here, Maria!” As she finished yelling, the coffee pot on the table near the door to the dining area of the Crashdown where Kyle still stood suddenly exploded.

Kyle and Maria both turned to look at the empty space where a Mr. Coffee pot had stood for employee use only moments earlier, before turning back to face Liz.

“It was you,” Maria whispered softly and slowly. “The fountain … and that window at the pharmacy.”

Liz couldn’t bring herself to look at either of them. “I think so,” she replied just as softly.

“It’s okay, Liz,” Maria sat down on the sofa, still talking very low. She didn’t touch Liz, just tried to soothe her with her assurances and her voice. “It’ll be okay. We won’t bring anyone else. It’ll be okay.”

Liz began to internally calm herself as Kyle stepped closer. After a minute, the sparkling green wires could no longer be seen running over her skin. Liz still kept a hold over herself, not wanting to break down with the fear and uncertainty she felt at all that had happened.

“Are you okay?” Maria reached a hand up and stroked Liz’s back. Up, down, up, down.

“I think so.”

“Are you sure, Liz? Because if there’s anything you need or want us to do …” Kyle was edging ever closer, trying to be helpful.

“No, I’ll be okay. It should be fine now.”

“How long have you known?” Maria asked gently while continuing her ministrations. Up, down, up, down.

“Just since last night.”

“Do you want us do to anything, sweetie? We could call your parents … or maybe even Max …”

“No,” Liz stated firmly. “No. Really, you guys, I’m okay. I think it just happens when I’m upset, but I’m fine now. Really. See? Honestly, I’m really okay.”

“Liz, you just said ‘really’ like about six times there.”

Oh Maria, you and your talent for picking up on the details. Not to mention your gift of exaggeration, Liz thought. She needed to get them out of there before she had a relapse. “I’m fine, Maria. And I’m not alone here, either – Ava’s upstairs, you’re five minutes away, and Kyle’s a phone call away. It’ll be fine.”

“Yeah, maybe. God, why did Alex have to go to Santa Fe for Thanksgiving?”

“Because his grandparents are there, ‘Ria.”

“Bah! Pathetic excuse.” Maria smiled slightly at her attempt to lighten the mood. The others followed suit.

“I’ll be okay, you guys. Just … go on home, it’s been a long day and tomorrow’s Thanksgiving. I’ll be fine here.”

“You sure?” Kyle said, still standing somewhat protectively over the two girls.

“Yeah.”

Kyle knew when he wasn’t wanted. “Okay.” He reached over and took Liz’s shoulder firmly in his hand, then crouched down to look up at her. “If you need anything, Liz, you know my number.”

“Yeah. Thanks, Kyle.”

Kyle squeezed her shoulder, then stood up again. “Maria, you want a ride home?”

“Yeah, could you give me a minute?”

“Sure thing.” Kyle walked through the winging door back to the counter in the dining area.

“I don’t like this, Liz. What is going on here? And I don’t want to leave you alone. This is just … soooo weird. This is taking the Czechoslovakian weirdness to a whole other level. I mean, you were, like, sparkling and all!”

“I know, ‘Ria, but there’s nothing we can do to change it right now. And it’s gone anyway. Please, just let it go for now.”

Maria shook her head. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Elizabeth Parker, Queen of De Nile, she thought in her head. Most people could guess that Maria’s head was a very interesting place, but few knew the true extent of it. “Just for tonight, Liz.”

Liz looked visibly relieved. “Thank you.” She leaned over and gave Maria a hug.

Maria pulled away after a few seconds and pointed a finger at Liz. “We’ll talk tomorrow,” she said in a tone that meant business.

“Tomorrow,” Liz acquiesced.

“Good night, Liz.”

“Night.”

Maria got up and went to follow Kyle. Liz waited until she heard the front door close, then checked the kitchen and dining room, locked the front door and trudged up the stairs.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Wednesday, November 22, 2000 – the day before Thanksgiving, 11:51 PM, Eastern Standard Time.

“What kind of a deal?” Max did not like the sound of what Lonnie and Rath were trying to tell him – or rather, not tell him. As per usual, the two of them seemed to be telling him only what they thought he needed to hear, not everything he wanted to know. Those two certainly had mastered the art of saying as little as possible with as many words as possible. Max had to dig and ask direct questions, using small words so they’d be sure to understand, and often needed a few follow-up questions ready for when they gave their very vague and evident-less answers. Luckily, having a lawyer for a parent had prepared him for this kind of interrogation.

“A deal to bring peace back to our world,” Lonnie responded.

“And in our world … blood on the streets, baby. That dude Khivar that took your throne … people hate his ass!”

Lonnie continued, “Our mother sent our pods to earth for safekeeping, hoping we’d come back one day.”

“And that day is now,” Rath interjected. “The word is that Khivar’s desperate, and he’ll do anything to end the fighting.”

“Including let us come back home.”

Home? “Home.” The word sounded strange on Max’s tongue when it referred to any place but Roswell. “I never thought … not this soon.” This was a little more than he’d bargained for when he’d agreed to come on this trip. He was expecting a summit, not an intergalactic field trip. There was still so much to do here, so many people he’d be leaving behind. “What about Michael and Isabel?”

Tess saw where he was going with this, and just so he wouldn’t think she was without a heart, she added, “And Ava.” Though personally, Tess could have cared less about what happened to Ava. The girl was what Ms. Hardy, the English teacher, would have called a “simpleton” (they were reading Pride and Prejudice in English class right now, and Ms. Hardy tended to get a little carried away). Plus, Tess knew that as soon as she sided with Max on wanting to bring the others along as well, Rath and Lonnie would make sure the idea was quashed.

Lonnie looked annoyed. “They’re expecting the Royal Four, not the Royal Seven.”

Max stood his ground. “I am not leaving Michael and Isabel behind.”

“Look, Max … Max, they … they seem so happy … in that cute little town. Chill, chill. It’ll all be okay. You’ll see.” Lonnie tried to appeal to his protective nature, getting him to see that they’d be better off staying behind, and being able to fill in the role of the supportive sister at the same time. “It’ll all fall our way … unless they bring up the granolith again.”

“The granolith?” Max went on high alert the nanosecond he heard those words. Liz’s warning repeated in his ears.

*flashback*

“Wait, um, Max, um … when … when you’re at the summit – the granolith, okay? It’s powerful, and it could be really dangerous if the wrong people get their hands on it.”

“What are you talking about? How do you know anything about the granolith?”

“Oohh … I can’t tell you, but I just … I know, and … please, Max. You have to trust me.”

“I guess that’s the problem, Liz.

*end flashback*




“Yeah, yeah. It’s this stupid religious thing,” Rath said. Damn, that Lonnie was smart, he thought – she managed to get all sisterly and still sneak in that thing about the granolith through the back door, taking Max by surprise. That girl was a damn genius.

Lonnie was glad Rath caught on so quick and downplayed the importance of the granolith. She helpled him out a bit. “The protector told us it’s like the holy grail, some piece of junk people on our planet worship for some reason.” Pause, and then, “You ever heard of it?”

Max had to keep himself from scoffing out loud. These two were a lot more transparent than they seemed to think. “No.”

“No,”, sighed Lonnie, disappointed.

“That’s too bad,” Rath said shortly.

“Yeah, would have been a nice bargaining chip if you had.” Hell, she thought, would have been a fucking gold mine if you had.

“I haven’t.” Max wasn’t going to leave any room for doubt on this one.

Desperate to get off the subject before Max got curious, Lonnie hastily finished, “No problem. Probably won’t even bring it up anyway.”





~~~~~~~~~
TBC
Last edited by LairaBehr4 on Tue Jun 12, 2007 10:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by LairaBehr4 » Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:47 pm

My thanks to everyone for all your comments!

Scottie – thank you! Max will be okay, it’d be an awfully short story if I killed him before I got to chapter ten … besides, the challenge kinda stipulates that he stick around for a little while.

Dreamsatnight – silly girl. :D Hey when’s the next update for ‘Never’ coming along? Oh lord I’m so bored …

Sprayadhesive – lazy girl. Hey, you and Dreamsatnight should start a club. Just kidding! I’m glad you liked it! Still no bunnies … I really got to work a little harder on getting them in here.

PMP – thanks for your comments! And yeah, I read the note in your Author’s page, but I deny your reality and substitute my own in hopes that it will get you to post faster. ;)

Believer_evans – dude, you tried so hard, and got so close!! I appreciate the effort. Hey, if you thought that was good, you should have tried to get the “Free To Be … You And Me” reference from Chapter 3 of my other story, ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves” in AU Without. No one got that!

The other thing nobody got from ES&L – I wrote a bit in Chapter 2 a few weeks ago about Liz getting ice cream on her foot, and then on Friday, it happened to me!! I thought it was so hilarious I posted an AN about it, and NOBODY COMMENTED ON IT! Not one single person! Can you believe that? Oy vey …

Anyway, I’m glad you’re having fun! Come back again!!

Earth2Mama – thank you very much!

Lorastar – Congratulations, baby! I’m so proud of you! Check in mail tomorrow. Four more days to update!

Dreamerfrvrp3 – Thanks, darlin’.

RosyLady – Haha YES! LOVE that scene … btw saw your comments over at RC, thank you so much!!

Luzser1800 – I’m so glad you liked it! Thanks! And thanks for coming back so soon for “Scripted”, though, frankly, that was just mean …

Lurkers – thank you.





This challenge is going slow even for my taste, so I’m going to try to pick it up a little in this chapter. Thank you to everyone for sticking with me! After this chapter will be one more eppy chapter which will hopefully take us to the end of ‘Max In The City’ and then maybe the real fun can begin.

There are no fun references that I can think of in this chapter, I’m afraid. I’m too bored to try to work them in. I did get in a clever little play on the word “dupe, though … I feel quite smart now!

Bold face fonts will be people speaking over the phone. Italics will be people’s thoughts.

Some lines taken from ‘Max in the City’.


The Butterfly Loss

Chapter 5 – Confusion, Confusion, Confusion


Thursday, November 23, 2000 – Thanksgiving, 1:34 PM, Central Time.

“AAAAAHHHHH!!” came from the living room. Liz, who hadn’t slept properly in days (so why should tonight be any different, she thought) got up at once and ran to the pull-out sofa where a blonde little alien was waking up from a very bad dream.

“Are you okay?”

Ava was panting and trying to catch her breath. Her eyes were wide with fear. “I … I saw it … and I watched it happen again.”

Liz was clueless, something of a rarity for her. She didn’t like it. “What, what?”

“Zan … the accident. The way his body just lay there in the street!” She was on the verge of tears.

“Oh, shh. It’s okay. It’s just a dream. It was just a dream, a bad dream.”

“It’s all my fault! I should have stopped it. I could have stopped it! I should have known … I should have known.”

Liz was more than confused now. “Known what? Known what?”

Ava didn’t answer, she just kept still and tried to calm herself down. After her breathing had evened out, Liz handed her a tissue. Ava looked at it for a moment as though it might bite her. She looked at Liz quizzically, but eventually took the tissue.

“Thanks,” she said, wiping her eyes. “I could’ve used my sleeve.”

“Oh, I … I didn’t think of that.” Liz was a little embarrassed. Ava was clearly not used to acts of kindness, and Liz felt a little strange being the one to initiate her. But something was clearly bothering her. “Ava, you know, you can tell me. I mean, um, if you need to talk about anything, I’m here, okay?”

Ava looked at Liz. The sincerity in her features was disarming, but Ava couldn’t bring herself to talk about it. She just wasn’t ready. She couldn’t take it. “I can’t tell you.”

Liz understood where she was coming from – she’d grown so familiar with those four little words, she was considering getting them tattooed onto her forehead. She nodded quietly and continued to lightly rub Ava’s shoulder. A subject change was definitely in order.

“You know what always helps me when I have a bad dream?” Liz smiled a little. Ava just looked up at her, silently giving Liz permission to answer her own question. “Ice cream!”

Twenty minutes later found the two girls in a booth of the Crashdown, with bowls of vanilla ice cream in front of them and a bottle of Tabasco standing dejectedly in a corner. They’d started to gab a little about their respective alien ex-boyfriends, which wasn’t easy for either one, but it felt cathartic regardless.

“So what about you? How’d you find out about Max? He just hauled off and dropped the bomb one day?” Ava asked.

Liz smiled a little smile, shook her head and said, “No.” Then she turned and pointed to the booth next to them, and she could have sworn she could almost see Max’s outline there as she spoke next. “He was right over there. I was working, and, uh … he was sitting at that booth. And, um, someone brought in a gun, and it kinda went off, and I got shot. I was dying, but Max brought me back.”

“He brought you back …” Ava couldn’t believe it. Didn’t Liz know what this meant?

“Yeah.” Liz was smiling very wistfully now, allowing herself to get lost in the memory of a time when the possibilities seemed endless for her and Max. A time before destiny, before the end of the world, before … just before.

Ava was unable to say a word. She just sat there trying to recover from her own shock. Liz was clearly off in her own little world, she could tell from the look on her face. If Liz had been paying attention, she might have noticed that the look on Ava’s face was very different. This was opening up a whole host of possibilities that Liz clearly didn’t know about. From the way she’d heard Liz talk about Max, Ava got the impression that the other aliens didn’t know either, or they would have told her, no matter how uncomfortable the group dynamic was. Oh yes, the awkwardness and accusatory air that had been surrounding the Pod Squad and their I Know An Alien Club groupies had not gone undetected by Ava.

Her mind was spinning with all the different ways this could turn out, and speaking from her own experience, Ava was afraid that none of them would be good.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Thursday, November 23, 2000 – Thanksgiving Day, 11:28 pm Eastern Standard Time

Max hated to admit it, but he was lonely. This had been the first Thanksgiving that he’d ever spent away from home, and being stuck in the sewers with Rath, Lonnie and Tess had made him so homesick that he felt physically ill. Excusing himself, he said he was going to go outside.

“You want me to go with you?” Tess asked quietly, raising her eyes to him from her perch on the old couch as Max began to make his way out of the lair.

“No, I’m just going to go get some air. I’ll be right back.” Max paused a moment, then walked the few steps back to the sofa and crouched down to whisper to Tess. “Will you be alright?” He looked at her meaningfully.

In keeping with what Tess was calling her Mousy impression, which basically meant trying to act as much like Liz as possible since that seemed to get a stronger reaction out of Max than Tess’ game plan from last year, she just nodded slowly instead of saying anything. Please, those two? I could kill them in their sleep, was the thought she didn’t vocalize.

Reciprocating her nod, Max stood up again.

“Hey, don’t forget, man, we gots ta getcha to the church on time,” Ratch called out from where he and Lonnie were making out on the other sofa a few feet away. The summit was due to start at midnight. Max nodded and made his way out of the lair.

A few minutes, later, when he’d reemerged from the subway, Max walked a few blocks until he found what he was looking for. Trying his best to fight off an image of Clark Kent using a phone booth for his Superman metamorphosis, Max put in a dollar’s worth of change and dialed an eleven-digit number.

A few rings later, a familiar voice answered, Hello?

“Hey, it’s me.”

“Max?” Isabel sounded incredulous and worried. “Where are you? Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m still in New York. I just … I wanted to call and see how everything was going.” Max tried to keep the guilt and sadness out of his voice – after their argument back in Roswell, he didn’t want Isabel to know how miserable he was feeling and how much he missed home. And her. “So how … how was Thankgsiving?”

“It was great. Mom cried all the way from the cranberry sauce to the peach cobbler.” She was trying to lay a guilt trip on him, he knew. “So did I.”

The sudden change from sarcastic to sincere caught Max unawares and he didn’t know quite how to react. So he did the most convenient thing – changed the subject. “Isable, how would you feel … about going home?”

There was a pause before she spoke again. “When you say home …”

“I mean … home.”

“Is that even possible?” Her voice was quiet, even frightened now.

“If it is, do you wanna go or not?”

“I don’t know. I mean … leaving Mom and Dad and Roswell and … for another planet, it just … it’s … it seems crazy. It sounds crazy.”

“Well, it isn’t. And I need an answer. From you and Michael both.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Thursday, November 23, 2000 – Thanksgiving Day, 8:41 pm Central Time

“What?” Isabel was sure she’d heard Max wrong now. It was too soon, too fast. She wasn’t prepared. And you know what? She was getting angry. “You can’t … you can’t do this! You can’t just drop this on me all of a sudden. I mean, God, you just leave without even saying goodbye with those people without even discussing it with Michael and I, and now you expect me …”

“I guess I’m just being a self-indulgent little boy again.”

Huh? Isabel thought. Where did that come from? “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“I don’t want to rehash the entire thing, Vilandra.” He pointedly called her by her alien name.

“That’s not fair.”

“Neither was letting me hear the real story from Lonnie.”

Isabel couldn’t believe he was doing this. Max was being cruel. Max was never cruel! “I’m sorry, Max.”

“It’s a little late for apologies, don’t you think? You should have said that the first time I confronted you.”

That was the second reference he’d made to something Isabel had no knowledge of. “The first what? What are you talking about?”

Max didn’t answer her, he just gave her a quick “I’ll call you when the summit’s over.” Isabel didn’t even have time to register this sentence before she heard a “click” on the other end of the line.

Still a bit stunned, she held the phone in her hand a few seconds. And then it came to her – Max had been duped, and not in the way that he thought. She remembered her conversation from when she’d stopped at Michael’s earlier to invite him to dinner - he had mentioned that Maria told him Ava was staying at Liz’s house. Ooooh, that little alien was going to get her ass kicked six ways from Sunday.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

9:13 PM Central – The Crashdown

Liz’s parents had called from Santa Fe to wish her a Happy Thanksgiving, and Maria brought some leftovers from her and her mom’s Thanksgiving for Liz and Ava before returning back home to spend the rest of the day with Amy.

Ava was sitting at a booth finishing the last of her apple pie and vanilla ice cream when Isabel and Michael came storming into the Crashdown. As soon as she spotted the blonde, Isabel made a bee-line for her and spit out harshly, “Why did Lonnie impersonate me?”

Ava was surprised. Isabel hadn’t said a word to her since she’d gotten to Roswell. She’d seemed quiet, embarrassed maybe, but Ava never would have guessed that she could be so demanding and confrontational. “I don’t know,” she answered. Well, it wasn’t a complete lie.

“Why don’t I believe you?” Isabel’s eyes narrowed and her jaw was set. Oh well, it was worth a shot.

If it had been Lonnie, Ava might have been scared. But she’d experienced kindness from Liz the last few days, and had learned courage from her, too. And Ava wasn’t going to be pushed around any more. “That’s your problem.”

A loud BANG! sounded from the other side of the diner. Ava, Liz and Isabel all jumped, until they saw Michael lowering his arm.

“Don’t piss us off,” he said menacingly.

Ava remained defiantly silent.

“Fine! We’ll do this the hard way.” Isabel was pissed and she wasn’t going to let these dupes mess up her life or her brother’s any more than they already had.

Liz knew she had to step in. “Okay, okay, wait, wait! It’s okay.” She took Ava’s arm lightly and led her away from Michael, Isabel, and their very short fuses.

Liz stopped and turned to face Ava. “Come on, Ava.” She waited, but the air was nothing but silent. Liz spoke quietly, hardly anything more than a whisper when she opened her mouth again. “Okay, okay Ava … you told me that you had a secret that you couldn’t tell anyone. But, um, … if Max is in danger, you have to tell us. You lost Zan. Please,” she pleaded, “don’t let me lose Max. I love him, you know, and I love him just as much as you did Zan. Please, Ava. Don’t let me lose him Please.” The desperation was as evident in her eyes and in her face as it was in her voice. Liz knew she was begging, but it was a price not even worth counting if it kept Max safe.

Where Ava wasn’t necessarily willing to go out of her way for Michael or Isabel, she couldn’t deny Liz. It wasn’t just how nice Liz had been to her, but it was the fact that she was clearly telling the truth. Liz loved Max like she loved Zan, and if she could spare Liz the pain that she herself felt in being without Zan, then she would.

“Lonnie and Rath … killed Zan. And they’re probably gonna kill Max, too.”






~~~~~~~
TBC
Last edited by LairaBehr4 on Fri Dec 01, 2006 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by LairaBehr4 » Wed Aug 02, 2006 9:54 pm

Some lines – oh, who the hell am I trying to fool? Nearly all lines - taken from “Max in the City”. Some lines taken from the Pilot.

The times are going to be a little weird for a while – basically, what’s going on with Max in NYC will be set several minutes before the scenes in Roswell with Liz and the rest of the gang. Eventually, though, they will converge (hee hee nice tribute to an absent Caelan there, huh?) for everyone’s favorite scene, the scaffolding scene!

I’m going to try to make this a very, very long chapter so that hopefully we can FINALLY get out of the episodes and get on to the challenge bit. Sorry it’s been taking so long! And sorry I waited so long to update, but hey, it’s a big job here, people!

You guys love me, don’t even try to deny it. :wink: :lol:


Oh my God … I forgot to thank my readers!!! Let me do that now …

First of all, Lurkers, THANK YOU! I HOPE YOU ENJOY.



L-J-L 76 – Thank you very much!

Earth2Mama – there you go! Hope you enjoy.

Luzser1800 – thank you! And thanks for updating ‘Scripted’ today … that was a sad one.

Spray – Love ya, doll. Thank you so much.

Maya – Thanks! And hey, I read your update! You’re so cool …

Ladyjr15 – Yeah, that’s what I was going for … well, not the Lonnie aspect, but as much of the Ice Princess as you can get. Thank you so much.

Scottie – Thank you!

Dreamerfrvrp3 – thanks for the constant nagging :wink:

Kitten – Welcome! Bienvenue! Tu parles francais? Je parles tres bien francais … Merci pour tes mots gentils. A bientot!

Lorastar –
Tess. pth.
Amen!

Katydid – Thanks! I always wanted to delve deeper into that, too.

Beautiful86 – Thanks so much! And welcome! You’re too kind. And I can’t take most of the credit, Zanssoulmate08 came up with the challenge. I’m just writing the darn thing. I hope you enjoy this part, too.

Zanssoulmate08 – You have no idea how much that means to me, since you’re the one who came up with the challenge in the first place. Thank you with all my heart.

DreamerMaxBehrian – Thanks, dude! Yeah I liked that little play on words, too! Yes, the title is important, but that will come out much, much later. Enjoy!

Datgirl88 – thanks again!

Lillian – thank you!






This chapter is dedicated to Dreamerfrvrp3; if it weren’t for her constant nagging, I’d probably be more than half way done with ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves’ right now, and have almost forgotten that this story existed at all (sorry, Zanssoulmate08!).



Chapter Six – Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

Friday, November 24, 2000 – the day after Thanksgiving, 12:14am Eastern Standard Time

True to the fashion of politics, even intergalactic politics, the summit was late getting started. This trip was getting stranger and stranger for Max, and for about the umptieth time, he thought that it had been a mistake in leaving Roswell at all. But he was here now, about to walk into the summit, and he couldn’t just leave when he’d come this far. At least he’d managed to exert some authority by pulling the “I’m the King” card on Rath in an effort to get him to be civil to Tess, who was quickly becoming the only person he truly trusted in this time zone. Or any other, his mind told him in a coded reminder of his fight with Michael and Isabel.

Max walked into the room where the summit was about to begin, with Lonnie, Tess and Rath following behind him. At first he thought his homesickness was causing his eyes to play tricks on him, but no, it really was …

“Brody?”

“Actually, my name is Larek.” Yes, Max could see it now – his mannerisms, the way he carried himself, the way his voice fluctuated when he spoke; it was all different. Brody really had been abducted. If the situation wasn’t so serious, Max might have smiled at its absurdity. “Are you Zan?”

“They tell me that used to be my name. But my name is Max. Max Evans.”

A woman he’d never seen before spoke up harshly from where she sat at a long table. “If he doesn’t even know who he is, how can he sit in conference with us?”

Brody answered her firmly. “He sits with us because the emissary certified him,” he said as if this settled everything. “Kathana, Sero, Hanar and I will represent each of our worlds. Max will speak for his.”

“Actually,” a pre-pubescent voice that reminded Max acutely of nails on chalkboard spoke up from behind him. Max turned his head and laid eyes on a runt of a person whom he’d hoped he’d seen the last of. “Kivar speaks for his world. And I speak for Kivar.” Nicholas moved his way to the other side of the table, so that he sat directly facing Max. The symbolism of their positions – equal but opposing, as if the others were there to watch a showdown between leaders – was not lost on Max.

“Max,” Nicholas greeted with insincerity before turning his attention to Tess. “Nice to see your genocidal girlfriend again. Killed anyone today?” he asked her directly.

“Day’s not over,” Tess said in a low, clear voice.

“What a charmer,” Nicholas retorted. Tess remembered that she had to keep quiet before she said something that would betray her true intentions to Max. That was the first outward sign of aggression she’d shown, and it felt good after bottling up her rage at Rath and Lonnie for the last few days. But there would be a time and a place for that, and this wasn’t it.

“Can we begin?” Larek intervened with grace, neutrality and diplomacy. Max admired his ability to step in and take control of a conversation which was clearly about to go all kinds of bad. He could pick up some pointers from this guy, he thought as he prepared for the summit to begin in earnest.

~*~*~*~*~

Thursday, November 23, 2000 – Thanksgiving Day, 9:41pm Central Time– the Crashdown

Michael, Isabel and Liz were desperately trying to find a way to warn Max about how dangerous Rath and Lonnie were.

“Where’s the summit being held?” Michael demanded of Ava.

“Some building downtown.”

“You gotta do better than that,” Michael was growing impatient with this chick, and was feeling more than a little angry and betrayed that she’d let Max go off with those two murderous psychos in the first place. If they didn’t mind killing their own Max, whom they’d grown up with all their lives, then they sure as hell wouldn’t think twice about offing his best friend.

“I don’t know anything more,” Ava answered quietly. She didn’t think he really understood exactly how much Rath and Lonnie liked or trusted her. It wasn’t much. Not knowing much about the dynamic of the New Mexico contingent, though, the parallel between herself and her dupe was lost on her.

“Hey, Isabel, um …” Liz spoke shyly, knowing Isabel still didn’t like her and hadn’t forgiven her for sleeping with Kyle. But she had an idea and she had to voice it. “Can’t you dream-walk Max? You know, um, put a warning in his mind. You’ve done it before, you know, when he was in the White Room.”

“That was different. He was drugged. I was only a few miles away. He’s across the country now.” Isabel was nervous and unsure in her ability. She wanted to help Max, she just didn’t think she had the power to do what Liz was asking of her.

“I think we’re out of alternatives,” Michael said with finality in his voice.

~*~*~*~*~

Friday, November 24, 2000 – the day after Thanksgiving, 12:27am Eastern Standard Time


The summit was taking a break so that Max could think about the offer Nicholas had made him – return to Antar safely in exchange for the granilith. Tess sat with him, stroking his ego as much as she could while eliciting from him as much information as was possible without arousing his suspicions.

“Cut a deal with Nicholas?” Max asked incredulously. “I don’t trust him any more than I can throw him.”

“You could throw him pretty far,” Tess remarked.

“Then there’s Lonnie and Rath. It’s hard to believe they have the same DNA of Michael and Isabel.”

“For what it’s worth, I don’t trust them.” She already knew Max didn’t like them, and if she had to guess, he didn’t trust them too much, either. By supporting his already-formed opinions, she would reinforce herself that much more as his only ally, his only friend here.

“And then there’s this whole thing about the granilith,” Max continued.

He kept on opening up to her – this was a very good sign, and Tess took the opportunity to ask him something she’d been wondering about. Trying to sound as casual as possible, she said “Why did you lie to Lonnie and Rath about the granilith, anyway?” The question had been plaguing her since earlier in the evening, but she knew he’d never answer her honestly unless he broached the subject himself.

Max hesitated a moment before answering her, partly because he didn’t know how much to tell her, and partly because he didn’t understand the significance of what there was to tell. “There was something Liz said … just before we left. She told me the granilith could be dangerous if it fell into the wrong hands.”

“How does she know that?” Tess couldn’t stop herself from asking. Had Max taken her there? No, they hadn’t been on good enough terms for either of them to feel comfortable with that yet … right?

“She wouldn’t say.”

“But she’s never even seen the granilith.” Had she? thought Tess. Did she go find it somehow?

“I know, I know. But I just keep thinking about it … the way she said it … she seemed so sure. I just don’t know what to do.”

Tess paused, realizing Max was telling her everything he knew. And then, she began to seethe under the surface. If Liz didn’t think Max should give away the granilith, he wasn’t going to do it. It didn’t matter that he claimed he didn’t trust her, didn’t love her anymore, needed to get away from Roswell … none of that mattered now that Little Lizzie Parker had opened her big mouth. Max didn’t have to say another word; Tess knew he wasn’t going to trade the granilith in for a ticket home now. Why did that little brat have to go and ruin everything? Tess saw all the work she’d done, all the groundwork she’d laid ever since leaving Roswell, evaporating before her very eyes, and she was livid. How had that little brat come to know anything about the granilith? Sure, the aliens had mentioned it, but briefly and in passing, and Max clearly hadn’t taken her. None of them had taken any of the humans. So how did Liz …

It would have to wait for another time, Tess needed to concentrate on the matter in front of her right now. She needed to calm herself down and try to keep Max’s trust, now that she’d gotten enough of it for him to open up to her as he’d been doing. “Whatever you do, it’ll be the right choice. I’m sure of it.”

“Why?” He looked so lost, so different from the way she remembered him from before. How pathetic.

“Because despite whatever Nicholas said back there,” ooh, that was a good one! She already knew he hated Nicholas. “I know that you were a great man in that other life. A great king. I know it in my bones.”

Max looked at her for a moment, admiration in his eyes, before he said anything. “All you’ve ever done … is trust me, been there for me whenever I needed you. I’ve never done anything to deserve that kind of loyalty.”

Good boy, she thought. And now for the final kicker … “I think in that other life,” she waited a moment before finishing her thought, “you must have been one great husband.”

Max didn’t know what to say to that – he’d honestly never seriously thought about what he and Tess would have been like as a married couple. He couldn’t even fathom it. So he just smiled at her in appreciation, and turned his thoughts back to what the hell he was going to say when he went back into the summit.

Tess stayed silent, too, but for a very different reason. She needed to come up with a Plan B, and quick.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Thursday, November 23, 2000 – Thanksgiving Day, 9:56pm Central Time– the Crashdown


Isabel was panicking. She’d been trying for fifteen minutes to get through to Max, but nothing was working. He was fully conscious and awake, he was far away, and he was pissed at her anyway – she could feel that much from … she guessed it was a twin thing. She was doing the best that she could, but whether it was intentional or not, he wasn’t letting her in. She cried out in frustration at himself and at her own failure, “Damn it! It’s not working. I can’t reach him.” Her brother was going to die, and it was going to be her fault.

“Yeah, but you gotta try again.” Michael tried to keep her together.

“Won’t do any good,” Isabel said with defeat in her voice. “He’s not hearing me.” He’d put up a wall, and it was impossible to get through.

“Okay, so,” Liz ventured, “um, what’s Plan B?”

Isabel’s next words hung heavily in the air. “There isn’t one.”

The group took a moment to wrap their minds around what that meant, but before they could complete the task, Ava started talking and moving busily. “Liz can do it,” she stated, as if it were the simplest thing in the world.

“What?” Isabel was shocked, and Liz wasn’t too far behind her.

“What are you talking about?”

Ava stood to face Liz, to tell her the truths that she needed to hear. Well, some of them, anyway. “Max brought you back from the dead. You’ve been changed.” She sounded like a schoolteacher. How cornball, she thought quickly.

“What do you mean by ‘changed’?” Liz wasn’t following what Ava meant, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to.

“Look, there ain’t enough time to explain. You just gotta trust me here. If Max brought you back, then … you’re different now.”

Different … that word echoed in Liz’s mind again and again, bringing with it a feeling of dread, of the unknown, and oddly enough, a weird sense of déjà-vu ...


*flashback*

“Liz, I really, really wish that this could be something, you know, more. But it can’t. We’re just …”

“… Different.”

“Yeah.”

*end flashback*



“Liz,” Isabel’s calling her name abruptly jerked Liz out of her memory. “Take my hand.”

Liz looked at where Isabel sat in the booth. These were the first relatively kind words that Isabel had offered her in weeks. The sharp glare was gone from her eyes, too. All Liz could see was desperation clinging to one last hope. She sat down cautiously opposite Isabel, and looked at her outstretched hands. Michael and Ava stood at the end of the table looking over them.

“I don’t know why, but I’m really scared to do this.” Liz was on the verge of tears. “You know, if you can’t contact him, what makes you think I can?”

“I know my brother, and I know that if there is one voice he will hear no matter where he is, no matter what he’s doing, it’s yours.” Isabel looked Liz straight in the eyes as she spoke, and refused to break the contact she held there. It pained her to know that her brother trusted Liz, loved Liz, more than herself or Michael, but now was not the time to be jealous. There was too much at stake. “Take my hand, Liz.”

~*~*~*~*~

Friday, November 24, 2000 – the day after Thanksgiving, 12:57am Eastern Standard Time

Max, Tess, Rath and Lonnie stepped out of the abandoned building where the summit had taken place. The tension followed them like a bomb about to explode.

“What’s up with you, huh?” Rath was livid. “You just threw away our only chance of ever getting home!” He couldn’t believe this guy – he really was just like Zan, and that pissed Rath off to no end.

“Maybe,” Max answered firmly and calmly. One chance to go back to Antar had already come up when they thought it never would, and he was sure another chance would come around sooner or later.

“Hey, who do you think you are, huh?” Rath wasn’t letting anything drop, and he didn’t seem to be as sure of Max of another chance ever coming along. This had been their shot, and because the king couldn’t get over his power trip, he was stuck on this miserable little planet instead of going home and getting the “Makin’ big-time life decisions for Lonnie and me?” Just like Zan … “You think you the man? Is that it?”

“That’s right,” Max turned to face Rath, having had more than enough from Rath. He’d rather take Michael any day of the week and twice on Sunday. “I am the man.”

This statement, and Max’s direct opposition to Rath, seemed to have an effect. I should have stood up to him days ago, thought Max.

Little did he know of the fate of the last person who had stated those words to a determined Rath.

Just like Zan …

Rath took a step back, knowing Max would take the gesture as a sign of his surrender. “Okay, you the man.” He took a moment to calm down. “Screw Nicholas. Screw ‘em all.”

“Screw ‘em tight,” Lonnie agreed. She and Rath caught each other’s eyes – they both knew what the other was thinking. Now, to put their plan into action. “We’ll find another way home.”

They had to keep Max out on the streets; this was New York City, after all, and any of a thousand things could happen.

“I’m mad hungry,” Rath said, using the best thing that could come to his head. “Let’s go get a slice.”

“Sick of pizza. Chinatown,” Lonnie insisted. From where she was standing, she could see a scaffolding platform resting several floors above street level a few blocks away. It would do perfectly, but it was in the opposite direction of the way back to their lair and usual pizza place. The walk to Chinatown would take them right underneath it.

Rath caught the importance in her tone. “I’m with that.” Max and Tess offered no argument. This was going to be too easy.

Just like Zan …

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Thursday, November 23, 2000 – Thanksgiving Day, 9:59pm Central Time– the Crashdown

Liz slid her fingers into Isabel’s waiting palms. Isabel closed her hands over Liz’s and tightened her grip immediately. They shared one more stare as they silently imparted to the other how important it was that they succeed this time.

Isabel closed her eyes, focusing on sending Liz’s energy, her aura, her anything, to where Max could see or feel it.

Liz followed suit and squeezed her eyes shut. She thought about Max; about how much she loved him; about the danger he was in; about how she needed to warn him; how she needed him; and how, at this moment, he needed her.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Friday, November 24, 2000 – the day after Thanksgiving, 12:59am Eastern Standard Time

Even though he wasn’t sure where all he was going, Max ended up leading the group as they started walking down Canal Street. Rath followed behind him, and Max could feel his eyes on the back of his neck. Lonnie and Tess brought up the rear.

From their vantage point behind Max, Rath and Lonnie paused in their tracks suddenly. Rath waited until Tess passed him, then grabbed her from behind, using one hand to cover her mouth and prevent her from screaming. Lonnie looked up and reached out her hand towards the scaffolding above. Max was almost exactly in position; this was their chance to get rid of the only other person who had dared to take her dreams away from her.

Unaware of the danger, Max continued to put one foot in front of the other. Something was happening, he knew it … something big. He couldn’t think of what, though, but his eyes scanned the streets around and in front of him as the hairs on the back of his head stood on end …

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Thursday, November 23, 2000 – Thanksgiving Day, 9:59pm Central Time– the Crashdown

Something was happening, Liz could feel it … something big. Her heart began to pump a little faster, and she squeezed her eyes closed even harder as she ignored the pain in her stomach. She had to be strong for Max. She just hoped she wasn’t too late …


~*~*~*~*~

Friday, November 24, 2000 – the day after Thanksgiving, 12:59am Eastern Standard Time

As though controlled by an unknown force, Max’s feet stopped walking suddenly. His eyes searched the busy intersection ahead of him, left to right.

A large delivery truck made its way down the street, but when it moved out of the way, Max could have sworn he saw a familiar figure, a familiar face. He focused his vision, through the traffic of the cars and the smoke, steam and grime of the city. He couldn’t believe his eyes. It couldn’t be …

~*~*~*~*~

Thursday, November 23, 2000 – Thanksgiving Day, 10:00pm Central Time– the Crashdown

Liz could swear that she was standing on a busy New York street. A ghost truck passed in front of her, but when it passed she could see …

~*~*~*~*~

Friday, November 24, 2000 – the day after Thanksgiving, 1:00am Eastern Standard Time

Max could see Liz’s lips moving, her arms flailing about frantically. She was trying to tell him something …

~*~*~*~*~

Lonnie focused all her energy on releasing the scaffolding from the hooks that kept it suspended mid-air. Almost there …

~*~*~*~*~

Liz could see that she’d at least gotten Max’s attention. She could see the scaffolding above him shaking, coming loose, and she knew exactly what was causing it. She just needed to get Max to come just a little bit closer to her.

Come on, Max, she quietly screamed. Come forward, move forward, get away from them! Come to me, Max …

~*~*~*~*~

Max could feel her, could feel the walls he’d been building against her for the last six weeks crumbling under the urgency written all over her features and through the connection they’d forged over a year ago. He’d tried so hard to keep her out lately, it had become second nature to him, and the physical distance between them the last few days had only made it easier. But now, he could feel her there, as close as ever before. He could feel her fear, and all he wanted to do was go to her and take her in his arms, and let her know that it was all going to be okay.

Without even noticing it, Max took one, then two, then three steps closer to her …

~*~*~*~*~

Lonnie felt her success as the ropes broke. She lowered her eyes to watch her victory just in time to realize that Max had moved out of the danger zone …

~*~*~*~*~

He was coming towards her, he was out of the way of the scaffolding. Liz held his gaze, seeing in it things she’d only dreamed she’d see again. She didn’t want to look away. She kept staring deep into his eyes until …

~*~*~*~*~

CRASH!!!

Max tore his eyes from Liz’s to look at the crumbled metal marring the sidewalk where he’d been standing mere seconds before. It was only then he remembered that he hadn’t been alone. But Liz …

“Liz?” He turned back around, but she was gone. Maybe she’d never been there at all. Rath and Lonnie and Tess had definitely been there, though, and now they were …

… nowhere to be seen. He searched the entire area, called out Tess’ name a couple of times, but there was no sign of any of them.

He could think of only one place they might have gone to, and he wasn’t even sure he could make it back there by himself. Still, he had to try.

He flipped open his cell phone, which he’d retrieved from the Jeep in the car park after he’d called Isabel. As he hurried up Centre Street, Max dialed a number that he hadn’t called in a long, long time.

~*~*~*~*~

Rath and Lonnie didn’t know what happened – one moment, they were on Canal Street, and the next thing they knew, they were bound and lying on the floor of their darkened lair. They both tried to use their powers to free themselves, but it didn’t work.

“Yo, babe, you okay?” Rath questioned.

“Yeah, you?”

“Yeah. How we get back here? Did we get him?”

“Nah, the bastard moved out of the way. I dunno how –”

Lonnie was interrupted as a figure holding a candle approached them.

“You! You’s da one who brought us here?” Rath couldn’t believe his eyes.

“That’s right,” came an eerily cool voice from in front of them. A single candle provided the only light by which they could see their captor’s features. “And right now, we play by my rules …”

~*~*~*~*~

Isabel could feel something happening, but she couldn’t get close enough to figure out what it was. It danced there, just beyond her reach. Maybe if she just tried a little harder …

Suddenly she felt Liz pulling her hands out of their joined grasp. Before Isabel could react, she heard Liz’s ear-piercing scream echoing through the nearly empty café …





~~~~
TBC
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Post by LairaBehr4 » Fri Aug 04, 2006 11:48 am

No, you’re not dreaming, I really am back with another update! First things first, though …


Luzser 1800 – Thank you!

Dreamerfrvrp3 – I make no promises …

Earth2Mama – sorry for the confusion.

Sprayadhesive– Oh, Great Queen of the Anti-Bunnies, it wasn’t a man, as you now know. Thank you for your compliments … read on, young grasshopper, read on.

Earth2Mama – Tess is around, you’ll see …

Beautiful86 – Very good!

Loviedovie – Thank you very much! I’m glad you’re enjoying it. Come back anytime!

LegalAlien – thank you very much! And welcome! Is this soon enough for you?

Lillian – I’m not sure exactly which scene you meant, but thank you very much anyway!

TheShortAiel – Thanks so much!

Lorastar – Thank you, dearest!




Everyone go say hello to faerilite , she’s a friend of mine from college and I just convinced her to join!



And now, on with the show …

Some lines taken from ‘Max In the City’, but most of them are my own (finally!).



Chapter Seven – Secrets Revealed


Liz was trying to keep the connection going, trying to make sure that Max was okay, but she couldn’t bear the pain any longer. She snatched her hands out of Isabel’s, clutched her stomach and screamed out in pain.

“What happened? Did it work? Is Max alright?” Michael asked in a hurry.

“I don’t know, I … I think so.” Isabel was entirely confused. She’d felt … something, but she wasn’t able to tell exactly what it was. It didn’t feel bad, it didn’t feel as though Max was dead or even still in danger. But it still felt wrong. It felt different.

She turned away from Michael and looked back to Liz. “Oh my God, Liz …”

Ava was already sitting next to Liz, trying to comfort her, but she was huddled over herself in the booth and wouldn’t move. Every time Ava tried to touch her, she cried louder, as if in pain.

“What the hell is going on?” Michael roared.

“It’s the changes,” Ava answered calmly. “They’ve started already. I didn’t know …”

“Liz? Liz, are you okay?” Isabel reached out to touch Liz’s shoulder to get her attention. Liz screamed as soon as Isabel’s hand closed over her.

“What is it? What did I do?’

“You touching her is hurting her.”

“But why?”

“I don’t know, it just does.”

Vaguely, Michael registered a cell phone ringing from the back room of the Crashdown, but there were more important things to worry about right now.

Liz felt ill – there was no other way to describe it. She didn’t understand what was happening to her, and she was powerless to stop it regardless. All she knew for certain was that she hurt everywhere. Besides the stomachache and headache, which had been symptoms of her changes that she’d come to recognize, her skin felt hot all over, as if on fire. She tried to lower her arms so that the others wouldn’t be able to see the electricity flying over them, but it was too late.

“Oh, crap,” said Ava.

Michael could see it too, from his position standing over them. “What is that?”

“I don’t know, I’ve never seen that happen before,” answered Ava.

“Wow, you’re a lot of help,” Michael shot back at her.

“Hey, I’m doing the best I can here. I’ve never witnessed the changes, I’ve only heard about them. It’s not my fau–”

“Shut up, both of you,” interrupted Isabel. “Can’t you see she’s hurting? We need to find a way to make this better.”

“Better? How?” Michael was yelling. “We don’t even know what’s happening to her!”

“Well, you’re not making things better by yelling, Michael. Now shut up.” Isabel turned her full attention back to Liz, who had quieted down to a whimper now that no one was touching her. “Liz? Liz?” Isabel said softly. She waited for Liz to meet her eyes. “Does anyone else know?”

Liz waited until she was calm enough to speak. “Ma-Maria … and K-K-Kyle …”

“Do you want us to call them?”

Liz could only nod.

At that moment, the telephone in the back room of the Crashdown started to ring, causing everyone to jump a little. It was the diner’s line, one customers used to call in take-out orders. Isabel and Michael looked at each other with the same thought in their heads – why would someone be calling the Crashdown on Thanksgiving Day, and past the diner’s normal hours anyway?

“Okay,” Isabel began to organize her thoughts and take charge. “We can’t stay down here where someone might see her. Michael, carry her upstairs. We can take her to her room and put her in bed, and try to see where we can go from there. Then call Maria and tell her to get over here.”

Ava moved off the bench to allow Michael to take Liz in his arms. She began screaming again, but it had to be done. Ava ran ahead of him, and up the stairs to the door that separated the Crashdown from the Parker’s apartment. Once Michael was inside, she again ran ahead to open the door to Liz’s bedroom and pull back the sheets and comforter so he could put her down. Isabel followed Michael all this time. She pulled out her cell phone and tried to call Max, but just like the rest of the weekend, she was sent straight to his voice mail, which she’d filled up with messages two days ago.

Ava went to the kitchen and got some water for Liz, though from the amount of pain she appeared to be in, she doubted if Liz would be able to drink anything.

Michael waited until Ava came back into the room, then said, “Stay with her.” Ava nodded. Then he went into the living room, where Isabel was cursing underneath her breath at her inability to get ahold of Max. He put a hand on her shoulder, and said, “Hey, calm down. It’s gonna be okay.”

“He needs to get back here, Michael. He’s been gone for so long … I just need to know that he’s okay.”

“He will be.” Isabel looked up at him in gratitude. Michael asked then, “When is Alex getting back from his grandparents?”

“Oh, uh, I think not until Sunday. God, who knows what could happen by then …”

“Why don’t you call his cell and see if he’s still up? You could use Liz’s balcony and keep an eye on her at the same time.”

“Yeah, that’s a good idea. Thanks.”

“No problem.”

Isabel quietly made her way towards Liz’s bedroom. After she was inside and the door was closed, Michael picked up the Parker’s phone to call his in-oh-so-very-deep-trouble quasi-girlfriend.

~*~*~*~*~

Several blocks away, Maria DeLuca was having a highly enjoyable dream involving Derek Jeter whisking her away to Greece on his private yacht, when the shrill ring of her cell phone brought her crashing back to reality. Grumbling and swearing like she’d heard her mother do whenever something reminded her of Maria’s father, she kept her eyes shut as she reached out with her arm and groped about her night stand until finally she recognized she shape and texture of the object she’d been seeking. Pushing the “Send” button to pick up the call, she called out, “What?!”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” she heard a very grumpy Michael snap on the other end of the line.

“What?” Now she was just confused.

“Why the hell didn’t you tell me what was going on?”

“What are you talking about?” Maria was just panicked enough to open her eyes. Michael didn’t know about Future Max, did he?

“Your friend is in bed right now with green sparks shooting all over her, and she says you knew about it! What the hell has been going on, Maria?!”

Michael was beyond pissed, that much she could tell. “She didn’t want us to say anything, Michael.”

“That doesn’t matter! This affects us now. You should have told me.”

“Yeah, because you guys have been so considerate and understanding when it comes to Liz lately. I see your eyes narrow whenever I even mention her name.”

“She slept with Kyle!”

“And that’s none of your business!”

Michael took a deep breath before he said anything else. “Look, I didn’t call you to fight.”

“Good job so far,” Maria sniped with enough sarcasm for a hundred words instead of four.

“The point is, she’s in pain right now and I think you should get over here as soon as you can.”

“She’s sparkling again?”

“Like the damn Fourth of July.”

“I’ll be right there.” With that, Maria hung up the phone. As she searched her room for something to change into, she found Kyle’s cell phone number in her Contacts list and called him as well.

“Hey, Kyle, it’s Maria. Liz is acting up again, can you meet me at the Crash? Thanks.”

“Maria!” Amy called out from the hallway. “What’s going on? What’s with all those phone calls?”

Maria silently cursed her house for having walls like paper. “Mom, Liz isn’t feeling well, she asked if I could go over there since she’s all alone and stuff.”

Amy loved Liz like a daughter, and completely understood. “Does she want to come here for the night?”

“No!” Maria yelled, a little too quickly. “No, but, uh, I might stay there for the night, is that okay?”

“Sure, honey. Call me if there’s anything you guys need, okay?”

Maria was dressed now. To make her story more convincing, she put some pajamas into a plastic bag. Then she grabbed her keys and opened the door to her room to face her mom. “I will, Mom.” Maria gave Amy a hug, and then ran out the door to her car as fast as she could, before her mom could ask any more questions.

~*~*~*~*~

Alex’s cell was turned off. It was probably just as well, Isabel thought. He was with his parents and grandparents, and there wasn’t anything he could really do to help the situation from where he was anyway. Still, that didn’t mean she didn’t want to just hear his voice.

Frustrated, she called Max’s cell phone again, but just got an automated message letting her know that the number she was trying to reach had a voice mail box that had already been filled, and to please try again later. She wasn’t entirely surprised – Max had managed to be completely unreachable ever since he’d left on Monday, and this was almost Saturday. But they’d never been away from each other for so long before, and damn it, he was needed here, now.

~*~*~*~*~

Max was trying hard to navigate the New York City Streets while finding someone, anyone, back in Roswell whom he could get a hold of. He tried Liz’s cell, but she didn’t pick up. He tried the Crashdown, but again there was no answer. He tried the Parker’s home, but all he got was a busy signal. He tried Isabel’s cell, but was sent straight to voice mail. Max prayed silently for the day when call waiting would be available on cell phones, and turned his attention back to trying to find the subway entrance that led to Rath and Lonnie’s lair as he once again tried Liz’s cell.

~*~*~*~*~

Tess knew she was running out of time before Max would return to the lair, and though she’d spilled enough of Rath and Lonnie’s blood to at least be satisfied that she’d made up for the way they’d treated her for the last week, she still had some pent-up frustration about having her dreams of returning to Antar slashed. So maybe she’d just torture them a little bit more … she still had a few more minutes, after all …

“Yo, bitch, what the fuck you thinkin’? Soon as I get outta dese ting, I’m gonna …” Rath’s annoying voice and empty threats were beginning to get on Tess’s nerves. He hadn’t stopped his tirade since the moment she started her little game, except of course when the pain was too much for him and he had to yell and scream a little bit. Tess liked those moments better.

Deciding she’d had enough, Tess closed her eyes in concentration, and a moment later, Rath’s voice was replaced with a wheezing, sputtering sound. She focused deeply on his esophagus, on keeping the air from getting through. Soon, he collapsed onto the ground, but through her connection with his body she knew he was only unconscious. She had to keep the hold a few more seconds before ...

“I knew you were homicidal,” she heard a voice say behind her. Tess spun around to see Nicholas’ smirking face.

“Then you might want to get out of here, since I’m on a roll.” She turned back to Rath and this time, made quick work of stopping his heart.

“I’ll take my chances with you, princess.” Nicholas stepped closer to Rath and peered down at the beaten corpse. “Not bad,” he commented. “I never did like that guy anyway. And that hair …” Nicholas grimaced for a moment. Then he looked a few feet over to where Lonnie lay on the ground, crying silently. “You gonna finish her off, too?”

Tess seemed to consider the question for a moment before she said, “Well, they’ve more than served their purpose, and they still weren’t good enough to get the granilith turned over.”

“You know where it is, then.”

“Yes.” She looked Nicholas dead (if you’ll pardon the expression) in the eye.

“Maybe you and I can strike a deal, then.”

Tess looked at him again, assessing whether or not he was serious. She decided to give it a shot. “What kind of a deal did you have in mind?”

“The same one I made with her,” Nicholas motioned to where Lonnie was trying to be as still as possible. “You give me the granilith, and I’ll get you home. Just you, though.”

Tess scoffed, “That’s it?”

“Well, not entirely. The Boy King will have to be eliminated, of course. But the others … I don’t care what happens to them, but they’re not going back with you.”

“Sounds great, except for one problem.”

“What’s that?” Nicholas was beginning to be intrigued by this blonde beauty, even if she did seem to have a personality disorder.

“I’ve already tried to use the granilith. It won’t work for me. I don’t think it’ll work for anyone but Max.”

“So?”

“So I think we’ve both seen that he’s never going to give up the granilith to you and Kivar. There’s just no way.”

Nicholas walked closer to Tess, and said “You’ll think of something.” He then kissed her soundly on the lips. Tess felt his tongue at her mouth, and she opened up for him.

Lonnie watched from her perch on the ground as Nicholas made the same deal with Tess that he’d struck with her less than two hours ago. If there had been any chance of her getting out of this alive, she knew it was gone now.

The kiss continued until they heard the sound of someone coming towards the lair.

“That’s Max,” Tess whispered hurriedly. “Hide.”

“Where, exactly?” Nicholas motioned to the open space around them.

“Fine, just pick a place and try to be still,” Tess ordered. Nicholas walked to a corner of the room and did his best to hide in the shadows. Tess walked over to Lonnie, and looked down at her. “Sorry, pet. Game’s over.” She closed her eyes and a few seconds later, Lonnie was no more.

Tess didn’t have time to come up with much of a game plan, so she just dropped to the floor where she stood and began to muster up some crocodile tears. As she heard Max getting closer, she concentrated on getting inside his mind and keeping Rath, Lonnie and Nicholas out of his view.

“Tess!” She heard him cry. She had to get out of there as quickly as possible, there was no telling how long she’d be able to keep the mind warp up.

“Tess!” He was in front of her now, she could tell. She ventured to open her eyes and look into his face. “Tess, are you all right?”

“I don’t know,” she sobbed.

“What happened?”

“They tried to get inside my head,” Tess managed to get out the best story she could think of, “find out where the granilith is. I … I didn’t want them to … so I fought back.”

“How?” Max asked her.

That’s a good question, Tess thought. “I don’t know.”

“Tess … Tess, are you all right?”

Tess looked up at him – he really was worried about her. How sweet … and … vaguely annoying. But hey, it still showed her what power she had over him. That was Max’s greatest weakness, she’d realized a long time ago – he practically sold himself into bondage (and not the good kind) for the ones he cared about.

But right now, she needed to get out of there before he saw the carnage she’d caused. “I’m ready to go home now. Home to Roswell,” she clarified when she realized that the last few days they’d been referring to Antar as “home.”

“Okay,” Max said softly. He helped her to her feet, and they began to leave the lair for the last time.

Nicholas waited until they were no longer in sight, then he stood up and smiled to himself. Oh, this girl was good.

~*~*~*~*~

As soon as they reached the street and began making their way to the car park where Max had left the jeep, his cell phone began to ring. He picked it up immediately, hoping beyond hope it was Liz.

“Hello?”

“Max, it’s me,” he recognized his sister’s voice. “You have to come home right now.”






~~~~~
TBC
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Butterfly Loss, ch. 8

Post by LairaBehr4 » Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:33 am

Hello everyone,

Yes, I know it’s late, yes, I know it’s short, but it was the best I could do for now. More to come later, I promise.

But for now, first thing’s first.

Luzser1800 – you caught on to that, huh? That’s what I was going for. Thanks!

Dreamerfrvrp3 – thanks, sweetie.

Sprayadhesive – Whadya mean, tease? And by the way, I looked it up – Mapquest puts it at 30 hours from Manhattan to Roswell.

DreamerMaxBehrian – I know, I thought it was quite obvious, since Tess was the only one unaccounted for at the end of chapter 6. Thanks for your compliments! Yeah, I liked the bondage line, too … don’t go away for so long again. Come back and leave me more fb!

Loviedovie – well, “help” is such a loaded word … we’ll have to wait and see.

Cocogurl – Aww, thank you! That’s so sweet! There’s a nice little evil gerbil moment in this chapter, let me know how you like it.

Earth2Mama – Happy (slightly belated) birthday! I’m glad I was able to give you a pre-birthday present. Tess wasn’t in league with Rath and Lonnie, though they were both fighting for the same goal, which was to get back to Antar. Once Tess realized that wasn’t going to happen, she took the opportunity to get R&L back to the lair and wreak some revenge for how they’d treated her the last few days. As we know, R&L were working with Nicholas, so now Tess is just going to step in and take their places, since they’re, you know, dead and all.

Lorastar – hello, darling! Sadly, there will be no leaving of Tess since she’s kinda integral in the rest of the challenge. Plus, Rath and Lonnie are lomda dead. And Max is a nice guy, which is why we like him. I think that bit from S.3 when Liz says that Max trying to help her just hurts her more isn’t really about what’s going on with her powers, but more about the fact that he slept with Tess, and what seems to be emerging as a pattern in their relationship at that point in time. Since Max hasn’t slept with Tess in this story line, the line doesn’t apply. However, I have promised a re-enactment of the whole “get up, bitch” scene! And only Nicholas’ body is 14 – he’s been on earth for, what, at least 50 years, and that’s not including the life he had on Antar before that.
Lorastar wrote: I love how you throw humor into this serious story. It's like you. You can't manage to stay serious for a long amount of time.
That, actually, is pretty much the staple of my personality.

Thank you as always for your incredible fb! I heart you!


Rosylady – I don’t know, how *did* you miss 2 chapters? We missed you last update. You really grr in your head when I just mention Tess? Awww, that’s so … well, actually, I’m not sure what that is, but I think it’s good!

Michelle17 – thanks

Maya – Tess has got a lot of stuff coming … some of it sooner than others.

Beautiful86 – I maintain, I am not a tease. I hope you like this part!

TheShortAiel – Thanks, I’m glad you liked that line!

Morning Dreamgirl – HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!! And remember, darling, the key word is “share.” And come on, give a girl a break! I’ve got four fics on the board, two in the works, and about seven on the back burner. You should all be amazed that I update as much as I do. I mean, look at Caelan …

Oh Caelan! Please come back!!!

Oh yeah, and thanks, Ash, for working with me through some of the ES&L details. Hope you’re sated for a while!

RoswAlien_Lady – my muse and I thank you.






For the purposes of clarification, all words in bold are spoken over the phone, and all words in italics are people’s thoughts.



Chapter Eight – The Long Way Home


“Max, it’s me,” Max recognized his sister’s voice. “You have to come home right now.”

“Isabel, what’s wrong?” he asked.

“It’s Liz,” Isabel said, worriedly. “God Max, I just don’t know what’s going on.”

“What? What’s going on with Liz?” Tess looked up at Max as he said Liz’s name into the phone. What was that little bitch up to now, she wondered.

“She-she’s sparkling.”

“What do you mean, sparkling?” Max could hear muffled voices in the background, but he couldn’t make anything out.

“Well, she’s got these currents of green all over her, like an electric wire or something.” Max could tell Isabel was on the verge of tears. “And she’s in pain, Max … God, she’s in so much pain …”

Max felt his stomach churn with just the thought of Liz being hurt in any way. “Who else is there with you, Is?”

“Um, Michael’s here, and Ava and Maria, and Kyle’s on his way.”

“Are Liz’s parents back yet?”

“No, I don’t think they’re getting back until late Sunday.”

“Let me talk to Liz, Isabel.” There was no talking on the other line for a few seconds while Isabel went to hand the phone to Liz. Suddenly the indistinct sounds on Isabel’s end got a lot clearer, and Max could make out Michael harshly giving orders and Maria telling him to shove it. But above all that, he could hear Liz crying out.

“She-she really can’t talk, Max. She can’t stop crying. Max, I-I think it’s something to do with …” Max’s mind spun with the possibilities before Isabel spoke again, “with what happened last September.”

Oh, God. Liz was hurting, she was in pain, and it was all his fault. He wasn’t even there to help her. “Okay, Isabel. I’ll get there as soon as I can.” Max motioned with his head to Tess that they needed to hurry along to retrieve the Jeep.

“Good. I mean, no pressure or anything.” If the situation hadn’t been so serious, Max might have smiled. He knew that in Isabel-talk, “no pressure” meant “get your ass back here right now.”

“We’re on our way,” Max said before hanging up. “Come on,” he said to Tess, “we’ve got to get home.”

“Why? What’s going on, Max?” Tess asked.

“Something’s wrong with Liz. Isabel thinks it’s because I saved her last year.”

Tess didn’t say anything, just picked up her pace to keep up with Max’s giant strides. They practically raced each other to the car park.

When they were pulling out of the garage, the teller gave them their total - $176 for parking four nights. Max didn’t know what to do. He didn’t have that kind of cash on him, and he didn’t want to use his credit card in case his parents found out.

Tess saw his hesitation, and before he could say anything, she closed her eyes and concentrated hard. A few seconds later, the teller was thanking them and wishing them a pleasant drive. Max looked sideways at Tess. He wished she hadn’t done that; the way she’d used that teller didn’t make him comfortable. But there were bigger problems to worry about, like getting home to Liz as soon as possible, so he let it slide.

~*~*~*~*~

Isabel hung up the Parker’s phone and turned her attention to Michael and Maria, who were arguing again.

“You should have told us, Maria!” Michael yelled, clearly upset that someone Max had saved was walking around town looking like her own personal fireworks display.

“Yeah, cause you guys were so anxious for her well-being,” Maria responded sarcastically.

“This puts all of us in danger! And we had the right to know.”

“No, you didn’t! You guys don’t cared about her at all! You can’t just pick and choose when you want to care and when you don’t, Michael. It doesn’t work that way.” Isabel wasn’t sure if Maria was angry about Liz and the others or about herself and Michael.

“Look, I’m trying to do what’s best for the group, okay?”

“Oh, wake up and spell the green sparks, Michael. You’re trying to do what’s best for yourself.”

“Both of you, stop it!” Isabel yelled. Everyone, even Ava, turned to look at her in surprise. “You’re giving me a headache, and none of this is helping Liz.” This seemed to cool them down, at least for a minute. Isabel walked over to where Liz was laying on her bed. She looked at Ava, who backed off a little and went to stand by the window leading to the balcony. Isabel watched as Liz was still writhing and whimpering in pain. She stood for a moment looking at Liz. Then she leaned down and touched her hands to Liz’s temples. Liz shouted in pain for a second, then her eyes closed and she fell completely still and quiet. The only movement on the bed now were the veins of electricity coursing all over her body.

“What did you do?” Maria demanded harshly.

“I knocked her out so she could get some rest. As long as we don’t touch her until Max gets here, at least she won’t be able to feel so much pain.”

Maria glared at Isabel, internally debating whether or not this was a good thing. She didn’t trust Isabel right now, not after how bitchy she’d been acting towards Liz lately. But when Isabel stepped away from the bed and Maria was able to move closer, she saw that Liz was still breathing, and didn’t appear to be as worked up as she’d been while she was conscious. Her eyebrows were still furrowed in pain, and every few minutes she would gasp sharply, but Isabel was right, she didn’t appear to be so bad now. Ava opened the window and pulled one of Liz’s folding chairs in from the balcony. She set it up next to Liz’s bed and motioned for Maria to sit on it. Maria nodded her thanks. Then Ava fetched another chair for herself, and the two of them sat in silent vigil.

Isabel and Michael left Liz’s room and stood in the living room. “How long before Max gets here?” Michael asked.

“I don’t know, probably not until sometime Sunday morning at the earliest.”

“That long?”

“Yeah, I think so. I mean, even if Max does break every speeding law in the country, it’s still two thousand miles. It’ll take him at least a day, and that’s if he doesn’t stop to rest.”

“What do we do until then?”

Isabel looked back towards Liz’s room, then turned back to Michael and said softly, “Whatever we can, I guess.”

The two of them had just enough time to share a look before the front door to the apartment burst open to reveal Kyle wearing jeans, a T-shirt and his letterman jacket. “Hey,” he greeted. “Uh, what’d I miss?”


~~~~
TBC
Last edited by LairaBehr4 on Fri Dec 01, 2006 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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LairaBehr4
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'The Butterfly Loss' Ch. 9 p.20 23Aug

Post by LairaBehr4 » Wed Aug 23, 2006 7:05 pm

Hi guys,

I’m back with rather a short chapter, for which I apologize. RL’s been totally insane and I haven’t had a lot of time lately, and it’s only going to get worse because my parents and sister are arriving tomorrow and my brother flies in on Sunday. The ‘rents are only staying for a week, but the fraternal and sororital units will be here indefinitely (what with college starting and all). So stuff is going to be hectic for the next week at least. I warned you guys at the first chapter not to expect constant updates …

Also, while the family’s in town, I think I’m going to try to convince them to buy me a new computer (what? They already bought one for my sister, and my mom’s getting one too, and I’ve had Norman for five years. I need one!) so please, give a girl some time. And try not to be as, well, violently threatening as the ES&L readers (Yeah, Morning Dreamgirl, I’m talking about YOU! And all the rest of you who jumped on the whole hit-man bandwagon. That was just mean).

My thanks to all readers and lurkers. Please come by and say hello, I promise not to bite or anything – unless you threaten to hire a hitman. Then all bets are off.


Sprayadhesive – Thank you as always.

Luzser1800 – you wanna talk about suspense? What happens the night of the MTV awards?!?!?! You’ve been building that up since, like, the second chapter. Thanks for your fb.

Earth2Mama (x2) – how’s it feel to be 31? And if you’re thinking “poor Liz” now, oh baby, just wait …

Katydid – lol thanks, yeah it’s tough with so many stories, but what can I say, I’m a masochist. As for your questions, well, you’ll have to wait and see …

Dreamsatnight (x4) – yeah, I thought you’d like the whole “rushing to her rescue” thing. I’m glad you’re back, I missed you. And hey, there’s a lot to be said for historical accuracy re: the whole call-waiting on cell phones thing. You had a pager? Lucky girl … And yeah, don’t go up on “strict” parents against me, because … I think I pretty much wrote that book.

DMB – Yeah, well, they’re a tight-knit group, and Liz had just helped Isabel out of a difficult jam and there’s no denying she still loves Max no matter what Iz thinks she did or didn’t do with Kyle. I liked your comment about “delaying the inevitable” – that was fun. But not quite yet. You’re on to something with your whole brownie points idea. A lot of people seem to have been a little disturbed by Isabel knocking Liz out – I talk about it in the chapter a little. Hope this keeps you sated for a while …

Loviedovie – you’re welcome, and thanks for reading!

Cocogurl – talk about hitting the nail on the head re: Tess and her powers.

Ladyjr15 – Thanks for stopping by! What, you want MORE than Liz blasting her into a wall?

TheShortAiel – yeah, I really liked Kyle too, especially in the last season. He became a “Joey”. See, I have a theory about “Friends”. Summer before senior year of college I was really bored and I netflixed all the available seasons on DVD (at that time, only up to season nine). And I started to notice a pattern – whenever anyone on the show really, seriously, honestly had a problem, they all confided in Joey, and nine times out of ten, even with the stupid things he’d say, his opinion and advice would end up being the most useful. Or at the very least, he was a better listener than the others were, and knew when to butt out and when to step in and say something. It wasn’t bossy or opinionated or self-serving like some of the others could be. People think of him as being your token “dumb” character, but having watched all the seasons like that in quick succession, (I was REALLY bored), I just picked up on it. I think Kyle was the “Joey” character for Roswell.

Rosylady – Yeah, Tess basically sucks in this story. No one’s disagreeing with you there. The whole “healing” thing as it happened in Season Three won’t be happening here, so don’t worry, there will be no “Beth”. There will be a Jayla, but no Beth.

Beautiful86 (x2)
Beautiful86 wrote:if you're not a tease, i don't know what is


And again I say, you’re just saying that because I went to Catholic school :wink: I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

Maya – hey, give a girl a break, I’m working my cute little butt off here. Hope you’re enjoying your vacation! And if my answers to your questions were confusing, let me know. And you’re not old … in spite of the fact that you’re married and have a house and a car and had a cell phone when I was still a small little girl of only 16 …

Dreamerfrvrp3 – Max is coming home, baby!

Antarian_Chica24 – Hi! Welcome! Thank you! And you know Michael, he never wants to show what he’s really feeling, if he’s showing feelings at all. Maybe he is there to hold down the fort, or maybe he’s there for another reason … or several other reasons.
In answer to your questions, … the Magic Eight Ball says, Who Knows? :wink: read on, young grasshopper.

Scottie – Honey! You’re back! I missed you! Don’t leave me like that!!! How was your vacation? Thanks for all your compliments, especially re: the scaffolding scene, I was really agonizing over how to make that one work. Yeah I remember those “car phones”! LOL that’s hilarious! Thank you so much, again. Hope you like this part, too! I sent you a PM asking if the Caps are having a get-together soon, did you get it?

L-J-L 76 – so many questions, to which I can only say thank you and read on, young grasshopper.

Timelord31 – Thanks! Glad you’re liking it!

MiY – I knew you’d understand … my parents were actually really supportive about me going away for school, especially my mom, since she graduated hs in Los Angeles and then went to undergrad at Syracuse and law school in DC. You were resisting my story? MY story? Oh foolish one, don’t you know I’d never disappoint? :lol: well I’m kinda setting myself up with THAT statement, but still. CAELAN UPDATED! Didja see? I did such a big happy dance that it took me almost a week before I could settle down enough to post feedback. Thank you for all your compliments – this is my “angsty” story, since I had to do something to combat the light-heartedness of ES&L. Thanks especially for your candy compliments, I keep worrying that each time I have a candy scene it sounds too much like a dreamer scene instead. You’re not going to let up nagging me for ES&L? Aww man, can’t you go easy on me? I’m making the transition to the Dark Side this week and everything …

Heavenli24 – OMG HONEY!!! How was your trip?!?!?! I missed you! Yeah I definitely think the culture in Europe is a little more laid back and supportive of a kid’s independence than Americans are. Or, maybe it’s just my parents are really, really, unbelievably strict …

Speaking of which, they’re arriving tomorrow. I’ve had this Sword of Damocles feeling all week …





This is a big candy chapter, just to warn you.

This chapter is dedicated to my beloved beta, Sprayadhesive. You’re wonderful, darling. Thanks for your unflinching support, and for coming to my defense with the whole “Pen Pals” thing.


Chapter 9 – Run To You

Max Evans was speeding along the I-40 westbound, going several (dozen) miles an hour above the speed limit. He no longer cared. The only thought in his head was of getting back to Liz as quickly as he could. He hadn't slept, and the only times he'd eaten had been when he'd stopped to fill up the Jeep with gas.

He glanced at the clock and saw that it was three in the morning. His cell battery had long since died, but he was already out of Oklahoma and driving through the pan-handle of Texas. After he passed Amarillo and got into New Mexico, he could make it to Roswell in just a couple of hours. A ghost of a smile crept onto his face at the thought that he could be there when Liz woke up this morning.

The smile was quickly wiped away when he started to think about all that Liz had been through since he'd left New York. He'd been livid with his sister when he found out she'd used her powers to make Liz to fall unconscious, but from Maria's account at least she seemed to be in less pain that way. When she'd woken up, she still couldn't stand for anyone to touch her, and the force of whatever was happening to her caused her tremendous physical agony.

The only thing that Max knew for sure was that he had to get to Liz. That idea at this moment was his only true north.

~*~*~*~*~

Tess hadn't even bothered to suggest to Max that he slow down a bit because she knew he wouldn't want to hear it. She offered to drive once, but Max refused, saying that he had to do something and wouldn't be able to stand just sitting in the passenger seat. So she put her arm up against the door of the jeep and laid her head against it. After all, they'd be back in Roswell soon, and she'd need all the rest she could get if she was going to face whatever was waiting for her there. She had no doubt that whatever was going on had to be big, or else it wouldn't have affected Max so greatly. Once they were back, she could assess the situation and find a way to achieve her goals.

Until then, she would just have to wear her mask a little longer.

~*~*~*~*~

The floor of the Parker residence resembled a slumber party, but the mood was much more somber. The café had opened on Saturday, and everyone helped cover for Liz. Isabel and Ava took over Liz's tables (but Isabel refused to wear the uniform), and Kyle even helped Michael out where he could behind the counter or in the kitchen. Because of the holiday weekend, traffic in the café was light, but significant nonetheless. But no matter what, the group made sure that there was always someone was upstairs with Liz so she was never alone.

After closing, they regrouped upstairs again. For the most part, they just walked around the apartment, speaking only when necessary and avoiding looking at each other directly in the eyes. Ava wished she could have been more help, but she honestly didn't know what could be done. She'd never actually seen a human go through the change, she only knew what she did about Antarian healing and bonding because of the brief history written on the walls of the lair back in New York, but it didn't go into great detail. That particular kind of power was reserved for the leaders of Antar, so that when they cared enough about someone else, they could not only save them, but also give them tools for their defense in the future. This was much more significant than healing a cut or a broken bone, which was a skill every Antarian possessed. To bring someone back from certain death like that involved an exchange and a sacrifice; it was a sign of friendship, of family, of love. It forever marked both those involved as being significantly connected to the other.

When she'd shared this information with the others, Kyle gripped the glass he'd been holding so tightly that it broke. Ava didn't know why he'd done this, but frankly, there were so many things Ava didn't know that Kyle's glass-breaking habits were at the bottom of the list. She couldn't figure out why it had taken so long for Liz to start showing powers. From what she'd understood, having spent more time studying the obtuse writings than her three companions put together, the changes usually started to exhibit themselves right away. Why had it been different for Liz?

As if she could tell that Ava was thinking of her, Liz began to shudder noticeably on the bed. Ava wanted to do something to calm her down, but she didn't know what. Soon, though, Liz's shuddering stop, but she began to cry quietly in her sleep.

The door to the bedroom opened and a dim light filtered in. A Maria-shaped shadow stepped into the room. "Hey," she whispered as she walked over to where Ava was sitting. "How's she doing?"

"'Bout the same," Ava responded.

Maria sat down against the window seat. "How long has she been like this?" she asked.

"Just a few minutes."

Maria nodded a few times. "Did you wanna get some sleep?"

Ava looked at Maria and started to say that she didn't really sleep too much, but something about the look on her face told her that she really just wanted to be alone with Liz for a while. Because she was the only one who knew how to work the ice cream machine and the cash register, she hadn't really had a break all day, or a chance to be with Liz. "Yeah," Ava said, and quietly she tiptoed to the door and left Maria alone in the darkened sanctuary.

Maria took Ava's empty seat and sat for a while, looking on as Liz struggled in a silent battle against an enemy only she saw. She tried to take Liz's hand, but even in sleep Liz flinched and moaned in pain. Quickly Maria relinquished her hold. She cursed herself silently for forgetting the pain that having other people touch her was causing Liz right now.

"Hey sweetie," she whispered after a few moments had passed. This elicited no reaction, however. "Liz, whatever's going on right now, you have to be okay, you hear me? You have to be okay. I mean," Maria took a deep breath and tried to choke back the sob she felt in her throat, "I can't remember a time when we weren't friends, and I … I just don't know what I would do without you." She stopped talking now, and just sat by Liz's bedside and silently communicated to her friend all that she wanted to say.

Maria didn't know how much time had passed, but after a while the door opened again. Maria's eyes squinted into the light, thinking it was Ava coming back in. Instead, she saw Michael delicately – well, as delicately as he could, anyway – walk in and close the door. Then he walked over to Maria's chair and sat down on the floor next to her. Silently he took her hand, and though she didn't look away from Liz, she accepted his grip and tightened her own.

When she did turn to look at him, he could see through the light of the moon and the street lamps in the alley the unshed tears she'd been holding in. In this light, her hazel eyes seemed to glow against the whites that surrounded them, and her skin and hair shone with streaks of light and shadow. Her eyes began to glisten. Michael pulled her down off the chair and into his arms. As her body shook with the force of her crying, he was reminded of another night, nearly a year ago, when he'd been the one who needed strength and she'd been the one supplying it. He knew he probably couldn't do as much for her right now as she'd done for him that night, but he wanted to try – oh God, how he wanted to try.

Together they sat, arms entangled, with only the sounds of Maria’s cries to break the silence.

~*~*~*~*~

Maria cried herself to sleep against Michael’s chest, and he scooted them back against the bricks under the window to support them. He softly ran his hand down the curve of Maria’s spine, while his other hand still grasped hers.

Dawn’s first hues were beginning to change the landscape of the sky when a ruckus started in the living room. Instinctively, Michael knew the cause. He wasn’t at all surprised when the door to Liz’s room burst open revealing a very worn-looking Max, with Isabel, Ava and Kyle gathering in the space just behind him. He looked straight at Liz, still shaking and whimpering in her bed. Maria started in his arms at the sound of the door banging against the brick wall behind it. Michael turned down to her as Max stumbled towards Liz.

Maria’s eyes were still a bit shut, but the noise had broken her sleep and now her consciousness tried to catch up. She saw Max step next to Liz’s bed and sink to his knees. It was then she realized her awkward position, and felt something hard and protective behind and around her. She craned her neck and saw Michael looking back down at her. She smiled a small smile at him and squeezed his hand lightly. In response, he tightened his arm around her and supported her as she sat up properly, dragging herself awake.

Meanwhile, Ava, Kyle and Isabel filled up the empty doorway that Max had vacated and watched the scene unfold in front of them. Max was kneeling next to Liz’s bed, trying to lull her awake. He took care to avoid touching her, knowing it would bring her pain, but he was gripping the sheets as if they were his lifeline. He whispered her name delicately, like a prayer.

Liz’s eyes fluttered open. Between her fever and the dimness of the room, she was having a hard time seeing anything, let alone making sense of any of it. But she felt something inside of her call her to open her eyes, and when finally she came into focus, the first thing she saw was …

“Max.”

“Hey,” he said softly. Liz could see his eyes were red and bloodshot. She wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but she must have been up here for a while if Max had gotten back from New York already. As her brain tried to go into science mode, the rest of her body caught up. She grunted and closed her eyes, the pain that had been temporarily pushed to the back of her mind by the vision of Max leaning over her now having returned. Max furrowed his eyebrows in concern, then, aware of the others in the room, looked up to catch Michael’s gaze. “Would you guys mind …?”

“Sure thing, Max,” Michael said. He stood up and helped Maria to her feet as well. It didn’t escape Max that Michael hadn’t called him by his full name, Maxwell, as he usually did. That was the first indication he’d had since he arrived of exactly how serious this was and how worried everyone, even Michael, had been.

Michael led Maria out of the room and closed the door, herding everyone back into the Parker’s living room. Tess was standing in the open doorway next to the stairwell that led to the café. “Hi, guys,” she greeted. But morning not being everyone’s favorite time of day, especially considering the way they’d been woken up, the others merely mumbled their response. Tess, though, took it as a personal affront.

Still holding each other’s hands, Maria and Michael sat down together on the sofa over the blanket that Isabel had been sleeping on. Isabel sat down on the other side and gathered her pillow in her arms. Kyle sat down on the love seat located to the right of the sofa as Tess closed the door. “Come sit down,” he said to her. “You must be tired from the drive.”

“Yeah,” Tess did as Kyle suggested. Ava sat down in front of the couch on top of one of the sleeping bags the boys had been using.

Isabel broke the silence that settled over the group by asking, “I suppose it’s too early to call Alex.”

“Probably,” Maria responded. She leaned her head on Michael’s shoulder and intertwined their fingers. Isabel bunched her pillow tighter in her arms and nodded her head. She knew it was too early, still not yet five in the morning, but she really wanted to hear Alex’s voice.

Michael looked over the assembled group. They were all present, but at the same time, they were all somewhere else as well. “Anyone hungry?” he asked, to which everyone collectively shook their heads and Michael went back to looking down at his and Maria’s joined hands.

And so the silence went interrupted as everyone in the room found their thoughts drifting to what might be happening in the bedroom down the hall.





~~~
Minds OUT of the gutters, people! No hanky panky for now.

TBC
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