posted on 26-Nov-2002 6:52:31 PM
Title: Truth Within The Lies
Author: Lelea email IHATEDESTINY⊕
Category: Liz
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Suing would be pointless
Rating: Up to Nc-17
Summery: This fic starts during Departure. I am starting right from the point where Max is driving Liz to the CrashDown. He has told her about his relationship with Tess and that she’s pregnant. Liz has told him to take her home everything up to this point on the show has happened. I’m also not changing Max and Isabel’s video to their parents or anything at all to with anyone but Liz.
Author’s note: Any songs or movies mentioned not only aren’t mine, but also please cut me a break on release dates. I don’t want to get too bogged down in research and technical details plus sometimes I just ignore silly things like release dates if it works for me!

Warning: This fic is nothing like my last fic. I honestly have no idea what is going to happen I’m just going with it so you will notice under pairings Liz is not placed with anyone. That’s because I have NO idea who she will end up with. So NO Dreamers insurance will be issued. This fic is major angst. If you love Max so much he can do no wrong DON’T READ this fic it will upset you. In this fic there is NO mindwarp to explain away his sex and child with Tess. He WAS NOT raped. I would never write a fic where that takes place. This is me trying to deal with the Max and Liz we were left with. Parts of Busted will happen but I’m scraping most of it due to its sheer stupidity. To be totally honest I have STRONG opinions on what happened and I expect you all do to. Feel free to post them I love debates. I don’t consider an opinion “flaming”. Flaming to me is personally insulting the author of a fic so with that said feel free to express your view of Max and Liz or anything else. Like all my fics no one is perfect and they will all make mistakes. Oh and I should mention that Sean is present in this fic and I never really hated him I just didn’t see him as a match for Liz.

The beautiful ones, they hurt U everytime
Paint a perfect picture
Bring to life a vision in one’s mind
The beautiful ones
Always smash the picture
Always everytime
If I told U baby
That I was in love with U
Oh baby, baby, baby
If we got married
Would that be cool?
U make me so confused
The beautiful ones
U always seem 2 lose. The Beautiful Ones by Prince.

Chapter One

Liz sat beside Max in a haze of pain. She was so stunned that she was having trouble putting her thoughts together. Through everything that she had done…..through everything that he had done she had really believed that somehow it would all work out. They were soulmates after all and soulmates found their way back to each other. Didn’t they?

Focus on duty. She still had a duty to Alex her friend. Oh GOD! Alex….she had killed Alex and still had no idea what had happened. Liz started to feel sick as the magnitude of all that had gone wrong hit her. Of all that was STILL going wrong. She wanted out of this Jeep….she had to get out of here and away from the stranger sitting beside her.

As they pulled up in front of CrashDown she realized she had no idea what to say to this person she used to know so well. Who she had thought knew her.

“I always thought when we graduated I would give you my ring. Looks like I won’t graduate so….this is something from where I’ll be,” Max said holding out the pendant that they had found in Texas.

Liz looked at it wondering if he was serious. He didn’t really think she wanted some cheap metal pendant to remember him by did he? “Max…I can’t take that. Give it to Tess or your child when….when its born. I wouldn’t feel right about taking it,” Liz said refusing to take the offered pendant.

Max just tucked it back into his pocket without a word. “Liz? You didn’t sleep with Kyle did you?” Max asked softly. His stomach clenched in preparation for the blow he knew was coming.

Liz looked at him and shook her head slightly not able to voice the word no.

“I wish….I wish this all could have been different. I wish that so much,” Max said his voice quivering slightly. He bent forward to kiss her seeing the tears in her eyes needing to touch her just once more. The sheer relief he felt at her answer combined with the twisting in his gut as he realized it didn’t really change anything.

Liz saw him lean forward to kiss her and backed up pressing back into the seat. “No Max. We can’t. You have a girlfriend…wife….whatever. She’s carrying your child. This isn’t my place any more and hasn’t been for a long time. I’m sorry,” Liz said explaining her feelings on the subject. “I guess I should go,” Liz said then paused. “I can’t believe that after everything this is goodbye.”

Max felt short of breath at her words and desperately fought back his tears. He couldn’t even speak as Liz got out of the Jeep and walked to door of the café. She glanced back quickly and he sent her a small smile and then she disappeared inside. Max broke down sobbing as he realized that this was the last time he would see her. That this was last conversation they would ever have.

Liz sat in one of the booths inside the café. She had no idea how long she had been sitting there. She thought about all the things she had done that had brought her here to this place and realized Max wasn’t the only one she didn’t know anymore. She didn’t even know herself. Her feelings of rage and self hate rose up inside her as she realized that everything she had done had only served to turn her into someone she didn’t even recognize and had led to the death of her best friend. Not wanting to be alone she went to the one person who listened. The person who didn’t judge her or demand terrible sacrifices from her. Sean.

She ran all the way to Maria’s house and waited until she caught her breath. Sean would help her…..he would listen if she needed to talk or stay quiet if she didn’t. He was uncomplicated and easy to be around. He didn’t look at her with anger and disgust or disappointment. Even after all the trouble she had caused him. She knocked on the door and waited.

Sean went to the door curious to see who was here this late. The last person he expected was Liz. “Parker…it’s three in the morning.”

Liz didn’t hear what he said…the door opened and Sean was there. She stepped forward and kissed him relieved when he held her and kissed her back.

Sean was stunned as Liz kissed him…..really kissed him. He pulled her closer as her arms slid around his neck.

Liz didn’t remember the walk down the hall to Sean’s room. She didn’t remember getting in bed with him or moving to lay over him. All she felt was searing pain and a desire to have someone tell her she wasn’t the terrible person she believed herself to be. As the kisses grew more heated and Sean’s hands slid to her waist then he moved to roll them over she felt sick. She backed away from him as she realized this was heading some place she really didn’t want to go. Not like this. She wanted her first time to be special and something she remembered without wanting to cringe. It shouldn’t be accompanied by feelings of pain, loss, and a desire to seek comfort from someone…anyone. She didn’t want to do that to him or to herself. She knew Sean cared about her…more then she cared for him and it wouldn’t be right. She didn’t want to make anymore mistakes she couldn’t take back.

Sean took one look at her face and sat back. “Liz? Are you all right?” He asked worried he had done something wrong.

“No, I’m..I’m not. I’m not all right. Max Evans broke my heart. I’m sorry Sean. I’m really sorry,” Liz said tears filling her eyes as she realized what she had done to Sean. Again. She was always putting him in these awkward positions when he really had no idea what was going on.

Sean moved to reassure her immediately. “It’s okay,” He whispered as he pulled her close. He hugged her tight as she started sobbing her face buried in his neck. He rocked her gently not saying anything just letting her cry.

Liz sobbed until she had no more tears left. She cried for Alex and what she had done to him. She cried out her pain and confusion and fear. Sean guided her down onto his chest as he lay back against the pillows holding her tight and stroking her hair. She fell into an exhausted sleep feeling safe knowing that he would look after her.

Sean felt her relax and her breathing even out and knew she was asleep. He thought he might really love her and wondered how anyone could hurt her like this. He had watched her strange relationship with Max…the way they seemed to dance around each other and even he could see there was something there. He had known all along that he had little to no chance with her. But he hadn’t been able to help trying. He wanted to see her smile and it seemed to him she hadn’t been doing much of that for a long while. For him it was enough that while she was with him she seemed to be able to loosen up and have fun. He made sure to never pressure her or ask too many questions. He couldn't help pointing out the occasional observation on her relationship with Evans however. He sighed and held her while she slept.

Maria walked into the house feeling the absolute happiest and saddest she had ever been…all at one time. She finally knew exactly how much Michael loved her. She had felt him flow through her opening up in a way she would have thought impossible. They had truly made love to each other and now he was leaving.

As she walked down the hall she saw a light on in Sean’s room. Curious she walked over to the door and tapped lightly before pushing the door open. Her mouth hit the floor as she took in the sight before her.

Sean was sprawled on his back one arm behind his head the other wrapped around Liz totally asleep. Liz was lying half on top of him one of her legs between his and her hand resting beside her face which was on Sean’s chest also asleep. At least they were fully clothed was the first thought to come to her. Then she saw Liz’s tear stained face and felt bad. She turned off the light and backed out of the room shutting the door behind her.

She couldn’t even imagine how Liz felt. Michael had told her about Tess and the baby. At least she knew Michael loved her and that was a comfort. For Liz it was harder then that….it was always harder.

As she got ready for bed she thought she heard her mom yelling somewhere in the house. Creeping out of her room and down the hall she listened with wide eyes to what her mother was saying.

“Larek…. He said his name was Larek….” Amy said loudly.

“OH shit!” Maria said out loud as she started to panic. Liz….she had to get Liz she would know what they should do. Maria rushed back down the hall and pushed open Sean’s door flipping on the light. She knelt next to the bed and shook Liz’s shoulder lightly trying to wake just her and not Sean. “Liz! Liz wake up! We have a problem,” Maria whispered by her ear.

Liz struggled awake confused. She blinked as Maria’s words sank in and her surroundings started to come into focus. She sat up careful not to wake Sean. “What is it?” Liz asked her voice hushed. She swung her legs over the side of the bed and wiped her face, which felt frozen into place by her dried tears.

“It’s my mom. Listen…” Maria said and eased open the door.

“He’s pointing a gun at my daughter!” Amy said as the girls rushed back to the kitchen.

“Mom! Mom what’s wrong?” Maria asked.

“Maria? What are you doing up it’s the middle of the night. Liz, what are you still doing here?” Amy said snapping to awareness and drumming her fingers on the stove.

Suddenly it all came together. Kyle’s fingers drumming on the table…..Alex drumming his fingers on his guitar. Tess removing Amy’s memories of what happened when Brody held them all hostage. It all made sense. It was Tess. She had mindwarped all three of them. Which meant she had something to hide….something big. She could have killed Alex. “It’s Tess. Tess mindwarped Alex.” Liz said to Maria.

“What?” Maria asked surprised.

“Tess mindwarped Alex….and Kyle. We have to go!” Liz said pulling at Maria’s arm.

Liz sat in the car as Maria sped to the pod chamber stunned silent. It was true that BITCH killed Alex. She made Kyle carry his dead body! She had never liked the whore but this was so unexpected she was dazed. When Maria screeched to a halt she was out of the car and up the path with the others trailing behind her. Her only thought was to confront the murder that had killed Alex in cold blood. Reaching the door to the chamber she pounded at it with her fists screaming for someone to open the door. She kept pounding only stopping when the door rumbled as it started to open.

Michael started out only to stop short as he saw Liz, Kyle, and Maria standing there.

“Tess murdered Alex!” Maria blurted out.

They all swarmed back into the chamber in a rush of movement.

“Max stop! It was Tess! Tess killed Alex. She mindwarped Alex into going to the University of Las Cruse’s to decode the book,” Liz said in a rush. “When he broke out of the mindwarp she killed him.”

“It’s true. I witnessed it,” Kyle said looking at Tess feeling angry and betrayed.

“Why didn’t you ever SAY anything?” Max asked stunned.

“Because she mindwarped me,” Kyle accused staring at Tess with loathing. “You lived in my home! You were like my sister!”

“How long?” Max asked not looking away from Tess.

“Three minutes.” Michael answered.

“Everyone out,” Max said glaring at Tess pinning her in place.

“Max..” Michael started worried.

“Now!” Max commanded firmly.

Everyone filed out not speaking. Liz watched as Michael and Maria gravitated together naturally. Isabel looked upset and stood off to the side staring up the path waiting for Max to come out. Kyle stood next to Liz feeling sick and like he should apologize for his part in Alex’s death. He held his tongue at the empty look on Liz’s face.

Suddenly all hell broke loose as the whole rock formation started shaking and the noise was deafening. Max ran down the path grabbing Liz and pulling her after him. When the dust cleared all that was left of Tess was a streak of smoke in the sky. She left behind more then one ruined life and more then a few painful memories that would last a lifetime.

Michael and Maria stood huddled together talking, tenderness a visible thing between them. Isabel and Kyle stood staring up at the sky each standing apart from the rest and each dealing with their own painful thoughts.

Max had yet to let go of Liz. Everything he had ever believed was now in question. Everything but Liz. He turned to look into her face hoping they could go on from here. Build something from the wreckage and lies left behind. “I’ve been really wrong about a lot. But I was right about one thing. To get you into my life to be around you….to love you,” Max said trying to tell her how much she meant to him. He pulled her closer needing to feel her there.

Liz stood stiffly in his embrace not able to break away but not able to forget the pain either. Did he really think that a few words were going to make any difference to the mess between them? She stepped away confused and angry.

“What happens now Max?” Isabel asked looking to Max as she always did.

“I have to save my son,” Max said and felt Liz pull her hand from his.

Liz stepped farther away from him and felt her anger grow as he looked at her confused. “You let her go?” Liz asked incredulous.

“I had to. She’s carrying my son,” Max said like the answer was clear.

“Yeah so? Keep her here until the baby is born,” Liz said staring at him like he was stupid. Everyone else stayed quiet just watching.

“My son was dying!” Max said getting angry that she was questioning his decision.

“Get real Max! You don’t think that maybe she…oh I don’t know…FUCKING LIED!” Liz yelled suddenly so pissed she was shaking. Did he really think that they were all supposed to run around to fix this? He let her go. It wasn’t her fault he was a fucking idiot.

“I felt him. I felt that he was dying when I connected to him,” Max said shocked Liz was yelling and swearing at him.

“Yeah and she wouldn’t mindwarp you….of course not,” Liz said sarcastically. “Oh wait she already did! When she first came to Roswell. Max, she killed to go home. Do you really think she wouldn’t lie? We can’t trust anything she ever said or anything we felt around her. It doesn’t even make sense that your child couldn’t survive here. You both do why wouldn’t the baby?” Liz asked trying to make him think a little. She KNEW she should have stayed in that chamber.

“Well I can’t change anything now. I had to make a quick choice and it’s done. I have to work to save my son now,” Max said not sure what else to say. Maybe she was right but he had only had a minute to decide.

“Well good luck,” Liz said and started for the road. She had had enough of this. She was done. She would go through everything until she was satisfied that she knew what happened to Alex but there was no way in hell she was letting Max suck her into another of his personal problems. His child with someone else was his personal life, which totally wasn’t her business.

Max stood there for a second stunned that Liz was actually walking away from him after a flippant remark. “Liz wait!”

Liz ignored him and opened the Jetta’s passenger door. Finding her purse she dug around inside and pulled out her phone.

“Liz, we have to talk about this. I love you,” Max said trying to get her to look at him. He needed her he couldn’t just let her walk away from him again.

Liz felt a fierce explosion of pure rage at his words. She didn’t see the rest of the group walk up or feel her purse slid from her hand as the heat of her anger consumed her. “Screw you Max! I don’t have to do shit! I don’t want to talk to you right now,” Liz raged then turned away from his shocked face. She dialed with a trembling finger and waited for her call to be answered. “Hi Mrs. DeLuca…Is Sean there?….Thanks,” Liz said trying to sound sane. “Sean! I need a really big favor. Can you come and pick me up? I’ll owe you big,” Liz asked with her fingers crossed.

Max stood there frozen as Sean agreed to come and pick her up and she gave him directions. He felt Isabel put her hand on his shoulder offering her support but inside he was frozen not able to really process all that had happened.

Maria was somewhat less surprised by Liz’s outburst. In fact she was somewhat pleased. Liz had been holding everything inside since Alex died. Maybe now that she was starting to let things out she could start to deal with what had happened. Lord knew Liz had every right to feel angry.

Kyle was also pleased. He had watched Max’s behavior the last couple of weeks feeling a growing anger at his callous treatment of Liz and others. His blatant disregard for the feelings of others was bound to bring him bad karma this was just the snake turning to eat it’s own tail karma wise. “Hey Liz? Can I catch a ride with you? I don’t want to have to squeeze into the Jetta,” Kyle asked.

“Sure Kyle,” Liz said swiftly.

“Liz, please don’t do this,” Max said softly.

“Max, just leave me alone. You can’t expect to have things just go back to how they were. I don’t even know you anymore. I don’t feel anything but sick when I look at you. I’m sorry but I…I can’t deal with this right now,” Liz said in return.

“But…I” Max started only to be cut off with a wave of Liz’s hand.

“You tried to kiss me not even an hour after telling me that you got Tess pregnant and that you were leaving the planet with her. You let her leave with your child after you find out she KILLED Alex. Then ten minutes after your psycho wife, lover, and all around freak blasts off the planet you tell me you love me? Well, let me tell you something. Your love means nothing to me right now. I have no idea who you even are right now. I don't know you and you sure as hell don’t know me. So why don’t you try to figure a few things out and give me the time to do the same?” Liz said and started off down the road with Kyle taking off after her.

[ edited 57time(s), last at 21-Feb-2003 6:13:15 PM ]
posted on 27-Nov-2002 4:46:02 AM
Chapter Two

Liz walked silently beside Kyle still fuming. She knew she had hurt Max and for the first time ever she didn’t care. That spoke more about the state of their relationship then anything else did.

“Liz? You okay?” Kyle asked hesitantly. He was almost afraid to ask but she was scaring him. They had been walking in silence for over ten minutes.

“No. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll ever be alright,” Liz said softly. “What about you?”

“About the same,” Kyle said briefly.

“Don’t feel guilty about Alex. What happened wasn’t your fault. I don’t blame you and no one else does either. I know exactly which people are responsible,” Liz said trying to reassure Kyle. Yet another person she had dragged down with her.

Kyle was brought up short by her phrasing. “So who is responsible?”

“Tess is of course and I am,” Liz answered watching her feet as they continued to move one in front of the other.

Kyle stopped walking for a second in shock. He couldn’t see any connection that would cause Liz to believe she had somehow caused this. “Liz? What are you talking about? Why do you think you.…?” Kyle broke off confused as he caught up to Liz.

Liz sighed and pushed her hair behind her ear. “Kyle, there’s a lot you don’t know,” Liz answered.

“So tell me. I’ll listen,” Kyle offered troubled by the blank look on her face. He didn’t want her sinking away into how she had been after Alex died.

Liz debated telling him. Did it even matter any more? Not really. All her sacrifices and the lives she had destroyed and in the end it meant nothing at all. “I brought Alex into this in the first place. It was my decision to tell Alex and no one else’s. I pulled him into this and he got killed. I’m to blame for a lot of things Kyle. Remember that favor I asked you to help me with?” Liz asked glancing over at Kyle wondering if she was about to loose another friend.

“Yeah, I remember. It’s not likely I could forget being in bed with you under any circumstances,” Kyle said confused as to what that had to do with anything.

Liz told him everything in a monotone, her face showing no expression at all. She told it like it had happened to someone else and in a way it had. She wasn’t the same person anymore. She didn’t have the same dreams. She wondered if she had any dreams at all anymore. Right now everything felt like it had turned into ashes.

Kyle listened stunned as Liz told him the most amazing story since he had found out about aliens. He never doubted her either. If Liz said Max had come back from the future then he had. It actually made sense of a few things that he had wondered about. He knew Liz wasn’t cruel. When she had broken up with him she had been honest and straightforward but not mean. That had always made him wonder why she had staged that scene for Max. Plus she had been devastated after Evans had fled. When she was done he waited thinking she had something more to say. “Um Liz? What does that have to do with Alex?” He asked confused.

“He was alive when he was nineteen. He was at my reception dancing. I changed things and now he’s dead. I shouldn’t have done that….make everyone’s choice for them,” Liz replied.

“He may have been alive then but he was dead fourteen years later. Probably by alien related means. He always knew he could die any day. We talked about it in that hole with those crystals. He knew and accepted it he said he was still glad he was apart of something so huge. I'm not just saying that, he really felt that way. Tess is responsible for Alex. She killed him you didn’t,” Kyle said trying to make her see things another way.

“Yes, she did but I made that possible. I never trusted her. I hated her from the beginning but I still put everyone in the position we’re all in,” Liz said believing it.

“Oh so now you’re not just responsible for Alex but everyone else too. We all have our own mind Liz. One change that you made doesn’t take that fact away. You didn’t force anyone to do anything. Tess did. She took my choice from me. She took Alex’s choices from him by force of her powers. You didn’t just wake up one morning and say to yourself… “Hey I think I’ll crush Max today just because”. A version of Max was there helping you and convincing you to keep going. Really he had fourteen years on you. He knew you better and knew which buttons to push to get you to keep going. So don’t be so hard on yourself. You had no idea it would turn out like this and you hurt yourself in the process just as much as anyone else,” Kyle said watching her eyes tear slightly.

“I know but intentions aren’t always able to justify everything. I had a choice too and I made it. It was the wrong one,” Liz said clearly. “I think I killed my Max. The Max that I loved and believed in. I think I killed myself somewhere along the line too. I can’t change that I just have to learn to live with it. This Max…..I don’t even know him. I look at him and there’s nothing left that I recognize. I never thought I would say something like that.”

Kyle stayed quiet thinking about what she had said. Now he had never claimed to be a friend of Max Evans. He was grateful he had healed him but friends they might never be. He didn’t believe in blindly following anyone or believing what was told to him blindly either. So while he readily admitted he cared for Liz a hell of a lot more than Max it wasn’t without reason. Liz saw the best in someone and forgave pretty easy but she wasn’t blind. She never hurt someone just because she could and never judged someone on appearances or the opinion of others. She made up her own mind and that was a trait he respected. She had always treated him as a person not a small town sports hero. She did the same with Sean DeLuca. Max on the other hand had hurt people deliberately. His reason was because he was hurt but instead of forgiving or moving past it he struck out seeking to hurt that person. He had seen examples of that behavior with Michael, Isabel, and Liz. He had in fact stepped into one such display when Liz had come to ask Tess questions on her powers. Max had hurt Liz for no reason and Liz had taken it. There was no way he would let her continue to take on things that she was not responsible for.

“Liz, I really hope the next thing I hear isn’t you somehow working Max’s sex life into being your fault,” Kyle said seriously.

Liz glanced over at Kyle’s set face and sighed. “No. Max’s sex life is his own problem. I certainly never told him to have unprotected sex with anyone. I’m not saying Max didn’t make mistakes or that I’m not angry with him. I’m saying I played a part in who Max has turned into. That doesn’t mean I’m solely responsible or even mostly. Max made his choices but I pointed him on a path. He took some turns I never would have thought he would or even could but he did. I don’t know what to believe at this point really. I know I feel confused, angry, and guilty. I’ve hurt people Kyle. I may have done it to save other lives but you know what I’ve been thinking since Alex died? What makes one life more important then someone else’s? Who was I to try to change what happened? Is this any better? Is it better because just Alex died? How do I know I really changed things for the better? Maybe the end will come sooner now,” Liz said feeling old in way she never had before. She felt defeated and beaten right down to her soul.

Kyle heard her defeated tone and got angry all over again. Damn those aliens anyway! “I can’t tell you what will happen now but I can tell you one thing. People like you are what we need more of. People who care about more then themselves…who care enough to try. Liz, I’m proud to call you my friend. I did that favor in part because I believe in you. I would do it again because I know you always try to do what’s right. Liz….everyone falls short sometimes. We all make mistakes it’s how we handle those mistakes and disappointments that show our true character. You ever need anything…you come and see me,” Kyle said thumping himself on the chest.

Liz smiled through her tears at his spirited speech. “Thank you Kyle. I’m proud to have you for a friend too. I always knew I could count on you that’s why I asked you in the first place. You really came through for me….thank you,” Liz said and gave him a quick hug.

Kyle hugged her back and as they continued to walk he raged internally about one Max Evans. What really burned him up about Max wasn’t that he continually fucked up. It was how he reacted to it. The very idea that he knocked up one girl then before she was even off the planet started trying to worm his way back into Liz’s life was sickening. He vividly remembered the look on Max’s face when he brought Tess home and his hasty departure. Weak bastard knew he had fucked up then. Now Buddha knew he himself was no saint or prophet either but he had had affection for every girl he had ever had sex with. He wasn’t thinking of someone else when he was with them. He would bet his life savings that wasn’t true of Max. In fact he would go one better and say the first thought in Max’s head after having sex with Tess was of Liz and how this would affect his chances of getting her back. Stupid prick. Another thing he didn’t understand was how the show Liz presented had even worked at all. He had been so sure Max would see right through it. He had even told Liz so when everyone was disappearing from town when the Skins came. Even if Max had believed it he had been sure Max would forgive her. Kyle knew he would forgive Liz a hell of a lot and HE wasn’t saying he loved her.

Liz walked beside Kyle wondering how she was going to sort out her tangled feelings about everything that had happened. How was she going to go back to school on Monday like nothing had happened? She wished she could push a pause button until she had some idea of what to do. She decided that she had to talk to Sean and make her feelings clear to him. He deserved that much at least. She didn’t want to keep hurting the people who had helped her.

So it was with a mixture of nervousness and resolve that she greeted the arrival of Sean’s beat up Bug.

Sean pulled over and came to a stop at the side of the road. There was Liz and Kyle out in the middle of no where with nothing in sight. Chalking this up to another incident he would never get a straight answer on he waited for the two of them to get settled then started back to town without a word. Liz was a complicated girl.

“Thanks so much for coming out here to get us. I really appreciate it,” Liz said turning to look at Sean.

“Yeah…I’ll even take back what I said about the earring. You are so not gay,” Kyle chipped in.

Sean smiled and shook his head. “You’re both welcome. So Liz where did you disappear to this morning?” Sean asked to see what she would say.

Kyle’s eyebrows rose and he stayed utterly silent waiting to see what this was about.

“Sorry about that Sean. Maria she…um she needed me for something early this morning and she woke me up. You were still asleep so I didn’t want to wake you up,” Liz said carefully.

Kyle grew more and more interested. This was exciting.

“No problem. I was just worried because you were so upset last night,” Sean answered. He glanced in the rearview mirror as what looked like Maria’s Jetta grew larger in his rearview mirror. He watched it fly by and his eyes narrowed as he spotted Max in the backseat. “What the fuck? Did Maria ditch you guys out here?” He asked getting really pissed off.

“Um no! She…we…ran into Michael, Max, and Isabel. They um…had a car accident and needed help. I didn’t want to ride with them and really there was no room so I called you,” Liz said quickly.

“Yeah, Max that dumb fucker wrecked his Jeep,” Kyle said getting great satisfaction from blaming Max for the destruction of his vehicle. He ignored Liz’s warning look.

Sean however saw the look and drew his own conclusions. “You got into a fight with Evans didn’t you?” Sean asked glancing at her face.

Liz looked down at her hands before answering. “It’s not important anymore. Let’s just drop it,” Liz requested softly.

Sean tightened his grip on the steering wheel as he answered. “Sure. Why don’t you find something good on the radio?” Sean said and let the matter drop.

After dropping Kyle at home Sean drove Liz home and parked in front of the CrashDown turning off the car.

“Sean….I want to talk to you about last night,” Liz said turning to face him head on. “I’m sorry. I put you in a really awkward position and you were really good about it. I’ve been really shitty to you lately and I want to apologize to you for that. I don’t have any excuse for my behavior. I got you in trouble and treated you badly. You’ve always been a great friend to me so I think I need to be honest with you. I’m a confused mess and I can’t get into any kind of romantic relationship right now. I would love to stay friends but that’s all I can be right now,” Liz said totally prepared for Sean to get angry with her. He was completely entitled to get upset with her after all the mixed signals she had sent him.

“Okay….friends it is,” Sean said easily. He had been expecting her to say something like this actually. He knew Liz had been through a lot recently. Alex’s death and now whatever had happened with Max. He in no way wanted to add to her problems. That had never been his intention.

Liz just blinked in surprise. “How can you say that so fast after the way I’ve treated you?” Liz asked curious.

“I told you before…I think you’re special. Why wouldn’t I be friends with you? You don’t look at me waiting for my next crime spree. You’re fun to be around and I like you. Simple enough?” Sean asked sorry she automatically expected rejection.

“Yeah…it is,” Liz said relieved that this one thing had gone better then she had expected.

“Okay. Well you better get in there and get some rest. You look tired. Call me later when you want to go bowling or something,” Sean joked smiling.

“I will. Thanks for everything Sean,” Liz said seriously then jumped out of his car and went inside.

The rest of the weekend she dug into her schoolwork. She had fallen behind since Alex’s death and with the end of the school year approaching she had a lot to do. She asked her dad for the weekend off and he gave it to without any objections. She didn’t speak to anyone she focused herself single mindedly on her set task. In truth the only one to call her or make an effort was Kyle. He left a message for her everyday. Maria worked her shifts in the café and left without a word.

By Monday Liz was no closer to sorting out her feelings. She did have a plan to speak with all her teachers to see if there was some way to make up for the assignments she had missed. She was trying to get back to a normal routine hoping that would help.

She also wanted to reassure Kyle that she was doing all right and make sure he was handling what happened to him as well as could be expected. She wasn’t sure how to handle everyone else. She figured she would play it by ear and see what happened.

posted on 27-Nov-2002 11:38:37 PM
Chapter Three

Liz walked into school on Monday much like she had since Alex died. She had set her goals for the day and walled off everything else. It was the only way she thought she would be able to make it through.

Maria was waiting for her at her locker when she walked up. “How are you doing Liz?” Maria asked carefully. Maria had been busy all weekend helping Michael and the rest of them sort things out. She had left Liz alone thinking that she needed some time to think and get herself together. Truthfully she didn’t know what to say to Liz or how to help.

Liz glanced over at Maria and sent her a brief smile. “Fine. Listen…I meant to tell you how happy I am for you and Michael. It looks like he really made some steps to commit to a life here with you. I’m happy for you both. Don’t feel like you can’t be happy around me. This thing with Max isn’t new and we all need to move on. It makes me feel better to know you’re happy,” Liz said while shuffling her books around in her locker. Finally finding the one she needed she pulled it out and shut her locker.

Maria felt a flash of guilt at her words. “Thanks Liz. I didn’t mean to leave you hanging this weekend. What do you say we have a girl’s night this Friday? No Saturday Michael’s off on Friday,” Maria said and waited.

“Umm I can’t. I have something already planned. Maybe some other time,” Liz declined. “I better get to class. Catch you later.”

Maria watched her walk off feeling the distance between them grow. She rubbed her forehead as she wondered if she had lost both of her best friends. She was broken out of her thoughts by Michael’s arms sliding around her and she smiled as she relaxed back into him. “Well good morning,” Maria said as Michael bent to kiss her neck.

“What’s up with Liz?” Michael asked.

“I’m not sure. She says she’s fine and that she’s happy for us. She turned down a girl’s night,” Maria answered her face set in a worried expression.

“We’ll keep an eye on her,” Michael said then remembered something Maria had said before. “You don’t think she slept with Sean do you?”

Maria straightened and pulled away from him. “Why does that matter?” Maria asked as she turned to look at him.

“Well it doesn’t I guess but Max would be really upset about it,” Michael said and scratched his eyebrow.

Maria blinked in disbelief. “Fuck that. He should be upset about a lot of things. Who Liz dates is the least of his problems. She is not his feel good consolation prize,” Maria said getting pissed.

“Look he just doesn’t need anymore problems. The guy has been through the wringer. He screwed up but we all know he loves Liz,” Michael said wishing he hadn’t started this conversation.

“HE doesn’t need anymore problems? Well maybe he should start thinking before he acts. We’ve all been through the wringer he isn’t special. As for Liz he better stay away from her. She doesn’t need anymore of his bullshit. He doesn’t love her Michael. He has no idea what that word means,” Maria said then stalked off. The nerve of him! Just because they have the same anatomy doesn’t mean they need to side with each other all the time.

Shit. When was he gonna learn to keep his big mouth shut? It wasn’t that he didn’t think that Max had made any mistakes but cut the guy a break already.

Liz went through the first half of her day exactly as planned. Her teachers were all pretty understanding and worked with her to come up with ways to get her grades back on track. Being such a geek had its advantages.

Lunchtime came and Liz set out to find Kyle. It turned out not to be too difficult because Kyle was stationed right by the doors leading to the quad waiting for her.

“Hey Liz. How’s it going?” Kyle asked looking her over. She looked tired.

“Good. I was looking for you actually. Can I sit with you?” Liz asked. She didn’t want to deal with the rest of them yet. What was there to say? Besides she had Max in her next class and that was going to be bad enough.

“This is my lucky day! Of course you can,” Kyle said smiling then guided her to a table away from the group’s usual spot.

“So how are you doing anyway?” Liz asked softly.

“Okay. I think today I’m going to clean out the bedroom. You know pack up all her stuff,” Kyle said looking at his sandwich with disinterest.

“You need any help? I can come over for a few hours,” Liz offered watching him pick at his food. She hadn’t even unwrapped hers.

“Oh Liz….you don’t have to do that. I can handle it,” Kyle said.

“Do what?” Maria asked as she sat down with her lunch.

“Kyle wants to pack up Tess’s stuff and clean out that bedroom,” Liz answered surprised to see Maria.

“When? I can come over today or Thursday. I work the other days,” Maria said looking back and forth between them.

Liz looked at Kyle and answered for him. “Today if you can. Might as well get it over with,” Liz said taking great care in unfolding her lunch bag.

“Okay. I’ll run by my mom’s shop after school and get some boxes,” Maria said casually. She looked back and forth between Liz and Kyle trying to figure out what was different between them.

“Thanks. I’m not looking forward to it but I don’t want to keep stepping over her crap,” Kyle said tossing his sandwich down suddenly loosing all interest in eating. “So what are everyone’s plans for the summer? We’ve only got a week,” Kyle said changing the subject.

“No big plans yet. Just working and trying to convince Michael cleanliness isn’t the first step to hell,” Maria answered flippantly.

“Actually…..I’m going back to ULC. A few things just don’t add up with the whole Alex thing. How did Tess pull it off? She had to have had help. I mean she had an almost foolproof cover story. I stole the records from the guidance office and it all looked good. How did she get Alex into the University?” Liz asked. She had been thinking about this late at night since she couldn’t sleep anyway. It bothered her that all the pieces didn’t fit.

“Liz you can’t be serious! We almost got killed the last time we were there,” Maria said shocked at Liz’s memory failure.

“I remember. I can’t let it go. I’m sorry. I need to be sure that there isn’t someone else waiting for us to move on then BAM! You know what I mean?” Liz asked looking back and forth between Kyle and Maria.

“Liz….Alex wouldn’t want this. You on some death wish mission like this,” Maria said distressed that Liz seemed hell bent on throwing her life away.

“I’ll help,” Isabel said causing them all to become aware of her presence. She sat down next to Liz and turned to look at her. “Liz, I came by to thank you. You didn’t give up on Alex and you pushed for answers. If you hadn’t I would dead right now. So thanks. Alex meant a lot to me so if you need help…..I’ll help you. I can also keep it to myself if that’s how you want it,” Isabel said looking Liz in the eyes. She would do anything to help. Alex didn’t disserve what Tess had done to him. If someone else had helped she wanted to know about it. No more hiding and waiting for their problems to go away.

Liz studied Isabel for a minute. “Okay, thanks. Maybe we’ll find something in Tess’s stuff. Something that will click with the information I already have,” Liz said her mind already working to reorganize the details she knew.

“When are you going through Tess’s stuff? I’d like to help,” Isabel asked.

“Today after school,” Kyle answered. He was pleased Isabel agreed to help. She was really pretty cool once you broke through all the ice. Well maybe she was still a little uptight but not too bad.

“Okay, I’ll be there. Talk to you later,” Isabel said and left as abruptly as she arrived.

“Well that was different,” Maria said a little dazed.

“Different is the word of the day,” Liz said calmly then took a bite of her apple.

Liz slid into her seat next to Max feeling ice coat her insides. Totally detached she noticed he looked like hell. She arranged her books and took out her pen and notebook all ready to get going.

Max glanced over at her and remained silent. He was still hurting from their last conversation and wasn’t ready to take another beating. He had spent his weekend trying to explain his “accident” and deal with Tess’s disappearance. They had decided to report her missing. It seemed the least likely thing to come back and bite them on the ass. The rest of the time he had spent in his room trying to figure out what to do and how he had gotten here. Actually he had tried to figure out what to say to Liz. He was no closer now then he was at the start of the weekend.

Liz took detailed notes ignoring Max who basically stared at her all though class. When the bell rang she approached Mr. Seligman directly. “Mr. Seligman? Do you have a minute?”

“Sure Liz. What is it?” Mr. Seligman asked curious.

“Um I know my grades have slipped since Alex….well I want to know if there’s anything I can do to help make up for it?” Liz asked.

“You’re one of my best students Liz. Come and see me tomorrow and I’ll have something ready for you okay? I’m willing to work with you,” Mr. Seligman said thinking he could come up with something.

Liz smiled relieved and shifted her books. “Thank you Mr. Seligman. I’ll just come by tomorrow then,” Liz said and turned to leave. She was less then pleased to see Max waiting outside the classroom.

“Liz, can we talk. Please?” Max asked softly.

“No we can’t. I have to get to class. I can’t afford to be late and really I’m not ready yet. I asked for some time Max and one weekend isn’t nearly enough. I’m sorry,” Liz said firmly and walked away.

Max watched her leave feeling helpless. He felt like he was drowning and he had no idea what to do to make this better.

After school Michael jogged to catch up to Maria as she walked across the parking lot. “Maria!”

Maria stopped and turned her hand coming to rest on her hip. “What?”

“Where are you going to so fast?” Michael asked finally catching up.

“I have to go to my mom’s shop. I’m helping Kyle and Liz this afternoon so I’ll just call you later,” Maria said in response.

“Are you still pissed at me?” Michael asked hearing a tone in her voice.

“I think we better just agree to leave the Max and Liz topic alone. We don’t agree and I don’t want to fight about it. I’m totally behind Liz in this and Max no longer has girlfriend status. It’s been revoked for life. You are apparently sticking with Max so let’s just leave it there. I won’t listen to you bad mouth Liz and I’m sure you don’t want to hear my thoughts on Max,” Maria said her tone chilly.

“I didn’t bad mouth Liz. I just think you’re not seeing things clearly. Max was single and had sex with Tess. He didn’t cheat on Liz. She cheated on him. He messed up. He got Tess pregnant and he should have chosen better but he didn’t. He doesn’t deserve to hang for it. It’s just sex,” Michael said then yelped in pain as Maria hit him upside the head.

“Just sex? I see. There’s the difference. I don’t think sex is “just” anything. It means something Michael. Liz NEVER cheated on Max. I also never said Max cheated on Liz. He fucked a skank. He impregnated a lying scheming whore. That’s his choice but he treated Liz like shit. That I won’t tolerate,” Maria said feeling her own anger bubble to the surface. “I could list off for you all the times he treated her bad if you want me to. It’s a long list so you better get comfortable if your answer is yes. Liz has always tried to help all of you and all you do is shit on her. We all deserted her when Alex died. No one but Kyle even considered the possibility that she was right. Not only that but Max turned on her like a rabid dog and she still saved his ass. So excuse me if I don’t jump on the “give Max a break” train,” Maria ranted then spun on her heels and started off toward her car.

Michael chased after her and pulled her to a halt. “Okay. I’m sorry. Sex is a big deal I didn’t mean that. He’s my best friend Maria I can’t just desert him,” Michael said looking into her angry eyes.

“I know that Michael. I’m not asking you to but I can’t agree with what he did. Liz is my best friend…the only one I have left and I’m going to support her. I made the effort to be civil to Max all weekend. I helped him and the rest of you. But make no mistake here…I’m on Liz’s side,” Maria said clearly.

“Okay. I got it,” Michael said thinking this was leading no where good. The split that had started when Alex died was only getting larger.

posted on 1-Dec-2002 12:52:41 AM
Chapter Four

Liz looked around Tess’s room feeling her skin crawl. Although it looked like a normal room it wasn’t. Evil had lived here. She glanced over at Maria who was shoving Tess’s cloths into garbage bags. No one saw any reason to keep a bunch of cloths so they were tossing them. Isabel was taking everything off the walls studying each item carefully. Kyle was dealing with the bed and underneath it. Her job was the closet.

Liz was looking through the pockets of all the cloths then tossing them in a pile for Maria to dispose of. She paused as she came to a black shirt that was bunched up in the corner of the closet. Staring at it like it was a snake Liz had to force herself to pick it up. She gasp as she received a flash of Tess sitting and talking to Max while wearing that shirt just like she herself had suggested. Dropping the shirt like it was on fire Liz ran a shaky hand through her hair. She had never gotten a flash from an object….only people.

Kyle heard Liz gasp and looked over to see Liz standing in the middle of the closet looking terribly pale. “Liz? Are you okay?” Kyle asked dropping the mattress he was looking under.

Liz looked up quickly and sent him a wobbly smile. “Yeah….I’m fine,” Liz said her voice sounding odd.

Kyle wasn’t convinced and noticed Maria looking at her as well. He decided to keep a closer eye on her rather then arguing with her. So he just nodded and continued his own task with one eye trained on Liz.

Liz kicked the shirt out into the pile to be thrown out and started on the things at the bottom of the closet. She wasn’t taking any chances…..she checked everything. The heels of all the shoes, inside every item, shaking everything to make sure nothing rattled when it shouldn’t.

Isabel was just as through. She took apart anything framed and scanned everything with her powers including the wall. She remembered the story of the hidden Destiny book in the library. So far nothing.

Maria used her salad tongs to dispose of all of Tess’s under things. There was no way she would touch that stuff with her bare skin.

After clearing out the mattress and box springs Kyle sorted through all the crap under the bed. With a quick glance at Liz he hid his stack of porn magazines behind the nightstand which he had already checked. Moving on he came to a small box about the size of a hardcover book. It was wrapped and addressed to Liz in Tess’s handwriting.

“Umm guys?” Kyle said feeling sick as he stared at the “present”.

Everyone stopped what they were doing and gathered around Kyle. Liz looked at her name on top of the box and took it from Kyle carefully. She started unwrapping it slowly dread filling her insides.

“Liz maybe you shouldn’t,” Maria said worried.

“I have to. It might have some answers,” Liz said resigned to opening it.

Isabel readied herself for using her powers….just in case. Michael had told her about the pyramid bomb they had found with the translation.

Liz discarded the bright paper and slowly removed the lid. Inside the box was a key and a notebook. Liz picked up the notebook and opened the cover. “Tess wrote me a letter,” Liz said in a puzzled voice.

“Let’s go in the living room,” Kyle said thinking it wasn’t a bad idea to sit down. Whatever Tess had written wasn’t likely to be pleasant.

They all filed out of the room and sat down around the room.

“Liz, are you sure you want to read that? Maybe I should read it,” Maria asked wanting to protect Liz from whatever venom Tess had felt it necessary to leave behind.

“No, I need to read it. You might not understand something that I might catch. If there is anything about Alex in here I have to know,” Liz said firmly. She settled herself on the couch getting as comfortable as possible and then she started reading out loud.

Hi Liz,

I suppose you are wondering why I would write to you. As you’ll find out I have several reasons. First I want to say that I killed Alex. I didn’t mean to it just happened and in the end it worked to my advantage so I can’t really regret it. I wanted to let you know because you seem so driven to find answers. You are the one I have chosen to confess to not that it will really matter now. I am most likely far away by the time Kyle delivers this to you. Don’t fret over Max and the others they are most likely with Alex as you read this. Let’s see how strong you really are. Let’s see how far you will go for answers. I only wish I could be that to see this.

I suppose I should thank you for all your help. Really without you none of this would be possible. I have no idea why you chose to come to me and offer your help spouting that ridiculous story about moving on. How stupid do you think I am? I never believed that story for a second but since I was about to leave anyway I figured it would be fun to see what you had in mind. Although your plan didn’t work it was what convinced me to stay.

Now to be fair you shouldn’t feel guilty about Max. What lead him to me wasn’t really you in the end it just started with you. Which leads me to that ruse you put on with Kyle. I wasn’t sure at first whether you had slept with him or not. After our talk in the Jeep I almost believed you so kudos on the good acting job. Telling me how good Kyle was in bed was….interesting. You were very convincing.

“Wait a second! You SAID I was good in bed?” Kyle asked shocked.

Liz blushed slightly and nodded. “I didn’t know what to say. It just kinda came out. She…she corned me,” Liz defended.

“Well thanks for the compliment I guess,” Kyle said absurdly pleased Liz would say that.

“So you two didn’t sleep together?” Isabel asked confused.

“No we didn’t,” Kyle said briefly and waved for Liz to continue.

A couple of things convinced me you hadn’t. First I just couldn’t believe that you would make a mistake like that. You would consider it a mistake. It was clear you still loved Max and I just couldn’t believe that of you even then…not that I’m giving you a compliment. You are too tied up in your emotions and what’s “right” so I knew you had to be lying. Also the very fact that you and Kyle rarely even talked after that plus your body language when you did backed up the no sex suspicion. I knew that if Kyle had ever gotten you to have sex with him he would be chasing you for a replay. Call that intuition speaking. Later of course I had confirmation from Max himself.

Funny how something I saw so clearly would send Max into the tailspin it did. One thing you need to learn about men is they all have a weakness. A fatal flaw. Max is no different…in fact some of his flaws work really nicely together.

Do you ever wonder why he believed the lie so easily? Or why he could never seem to get past it?

Liz stopped reading and looked up. “I don’t think….this is private,” Liz said softly.

“Liz, you don’t have to keep going. Why don’t you just throw that book out?” Kyle asked. That sick bitch was just taunting her.

“I can’t. She will say something about Alex. I know she will. She just wants me to have to read through this first,” Liz said knowing Tess was trying to strike out at her first.

“Liz….maybe Kyle is right. What you learn may not even be the truth. It may not be worth the damage reading all this might cause,” Isabel said softly. As torn as she was in wanting to learn more she could see where this was heading and Liz was confused enough. Max was hurt enough without having to deal with this too. He barely left his room as it was.

Maria didn’t bother. She could tell Liz had made up her mind and all she could do now was try to help minimize the fallout. She twisted her fingers together as she worried about what this was going to do to Liz. She still hadn’t dealt with Alex much less Max. This was likely to be the straw that broke her.

“I have to know,” Liz said firmly. “Just go and finish searching the bedroom. I’ll let you know if anything comes up.”

Maria silenced the protests of the others and herded them out of the room. She was calling Michael. This was going to get ugly and she didn’t want them all divided like this. Besides she needed him.

Liz waited till everyone was gone before continuing to read.

Well maybe this will help you answer some of those questions. Or maybe not. Now back to the statement I made earlier about Max himself confirming my own thoughts. The truth is he never really did believe the lie…not really. See one thing the others never learned was how to shield their thoughts. You should be more aware of that then most….didn’t you get what you call flashes from Max? Working on memory retrieval requires letting someone into your mind. Max knew that but he didn’t really grasp the full implications of it. I want to be clear about something. I never mindwarped Max after the message from his mother. He could tell when I tried and he was less then happy about it. I didn’t want a repeat of that confrontation so I went about about things differently. I needed him to trust me. What I did get from the memory retrieval was access to all his memories. I studied the ones of you closely.

All I can say is wow. I found out you really weren’t the repressed good girl I thought you were. Too bad I didn’t know that sooner we could have had fun in Vegas. Anyway it gave me an idea on what really worked for Max sexually.

Liz stopped reading feeling her stomach roll in protest. She closed her eyes and rested her head back against the sofa. Steeling her resolve she pushed aside her nausea and continued.

I never would have thought Max could loose control like he did in the CrashDown. I switched shampoos even though strawberries really aren’t my fav. They do serve to remind him of the CrashDown kitchen incident though so the sacrifice paid off. He really likes what you do with your tongue too….I thought you might like to know. I also never would have thought you would go so far in a Jeep. You’re pretty flexible.

Liz dropped the notebook as she dashed down the hall to the bathroom.

Maria had been standing at the door to bedroom listening for a breakdown of any sort so she quickly followed Liz into the bathroom shutting the door behind her. She stroked Liz’s hair as she lost everything in her stomach.

Isabel and Kyle looked at each other and went for the book. It was lying open to the page and Isabel had no trouble figuring out what had happened. She felt her own rage kick up at Tess’s abuse of her powers and taunting words. They could clearly hear Maria trying to calm a sobbing Liz and Isabel found herself feeling a sense of empathy for Liz she had never had before. Even though she had agreed to help with all this it had been more for herself and Max then anything else. She wanted to shield Max from having to deal with it and she wanted answers for herself. If it had helped Liz in some way well that was fine too. She had never really been able to connect with Liz. She didn’t really understand her. It was enough that she helped and Max cared about her.

Kyle felt the veins in his forehead throb as the desire to fucking kill Tess ran through him. How had she hidden this side of herself? Why hadn’t he seen this side sooner?

In the bathroom Maria handed Liz a cold wash cloth for her face and prayed for Tess to burst into flames or hit a star or something. She had always hated the fake bitch but now she wanted her dead more than she had ever wanted anything. It wasn’t right that she was still hurting Liz and she wasn’t even on the planet anymore.

Liz went to rise her mouth and struggled not to cry. Everything was destroyed at this point. She would never be able to remember anything in her past with Max the same way. Which was the whole point. She had to admit Tess wasn’t stupid. She wondered what else Tess had in store for her.

“Liz please stop now. Don’t read anymore. We’ll get answers a different way,” Maria begged already knowing it was useless but she had to try.

“I’m not letting Tess do this to me. I am going to finish that book if it kills me,” Liz said fiercely.

Maria watched her leave with troubled eyes. That was exactly what she was afraid of.

Liz came back in the living room pale but composed. She took the book back and sat back down.

“Liz…” Kyle started but stopped as Liz pinned him with a look.

“I’m doing this Kyle. I will find out what I want to know and that bitch isn’t going to stop me. Don’t you see? This isn’t just about Alex or Max or me. This whole thing doesn’t add up and if we let weakness rule us now we could wind up in a lot more trouble. Tess already killed one of us how do we know she didn’t plan to get rid of the rest of us?” Liz asked. She wasn’t going to let Tess win.

“She’s gone Liz. She can’t do anything now but hurt you through that letter. And hurt Max,” Isabel said.

“That’s where you’re wrong. I’ve thought about this. There is no way Tess could have done all that alone. She was busy with Max and trying to keep up appearances. We would have noticed if she was gone too long or too often,” Liz said as Michael walked in. Liz ignored him momentarily to make her point. “She could have taken care of the guidance office here but what about the University? She had to set up “Ray” and get him enrolled and access to the computer. Plus monitor him while he was gone. Renting that house and setting up the computer there and the bomb. Plus Leanna is human. I tested her blood myself. Then there’s Alex’s accident itself. Could you control your powers enough to drive the car and keep Alex in place and make him appear normal while “driving”? I’ve thought about this. I looked over the wrecked car. It’s not feasible. I don’t think….Alex wasn’t dead when the wreck happened. There was too much blood inside the car,” Liz said then stopped.

“How do you know? He would have got cut in the accident. How do you know he wasn’t dead?” Michael asked.

“The heart is a pump. If it isn’t beating there isn’t anything to pump the blood out. The blood would pool in the low points. A little may have leaked out but not where it was in the car and how much there was. Tess would have had to mindwarp the truck driver and any witnesses into thinking Alex was actually driving the car and aware at the time. Plus control the car and Alex. That’s three different things at the same time. Now she was at the CrashDown looking at pictures not long after the wreck and she didn’t seem tired or odd in any way. I don’t see how it’s possible for her to do all that alone and not be drained. Max was drained after healing all those kids,” Liz said making her point.

“But Liz I carried Alex to the car for her. He was…dead,” Kyle said softly.

“Was he? Think about what you saw. You saw her mindwarp him and him collapse what do you remember after that? Did you or Tess check for a pulse or do you just remember carrying him?” Liz asked.

“Um I just skip to carrying him,” Kyle admitted.

“See I think Alex collapsed but wasn’t dead. He could have been brain dead or in a coma or anything at that point. Tess would know she would have to kill him. If Max healed him he would rat her out. She couldn’t allow that so she killed him in a car accident. A very normal death…not alien related normally,” Liz said explaining her theories.

“Okay, I can see all that. We need to be sure so what’s the plan?” Michael asked.

“Well we need to find out who handled the host family set up here in the guidance office and try to see if we can prove a mindwarp. We also need access to ULC’s records. We don’t have “Ray’s” full name so we have to go by his dorm. He was in the Dona Ana Dorm in Quad 4 from December 9th to January 28th. We also need to check out Leanna or Jennifer Coleman again. We should also visit that house she rented and see if all that stuff is still there. Tess couldn’t have cleaned it out because you guys were leaving so she wouldn’t have had time. We should look at Open Sky Property Management’s records too and see what they have on Jennifer Coleman,” Liz ticked off the list she had come up with so far.

“Okay I’ll talk to the geek again and see if I can get him to hack into ULC,” Maria offered.

“This weekend I can head out to the house again and check it out,” Michael offered.

“I’ll handle the guidance office,” Isabel said.

“Okay I’ll look into Jennifer,” Liz said her mind racing.

“Liz who do you think could have helped Tess? Why would they have helped her?” Kyle asked thoughtfully.

“Well it could be a shapeshifter or skin taking the identity of a real person. I may have actually caught the real human person when we went to kill her. Or it could be like Brody….an alien using her like they do him,” Liz said having thought about that too.

“We took care of the skins,” Michael protested.

“Did we? We took care of one town of skins. That doesn’t mean we got them all. It wouldn’t make sense for that to be all of them. They would have to be spread out to look for you guys. The rest of them could have harvested their skins and continued their mission. Getting you all home with Max’s child,” Liz argued.

“She’s right. The shapeshifter could be the other protector. Or a shapeshifter we don’t know about yet,” Isabel said thinking ahead.

“Right.” Liz agreed.

“Well fuck…there goes my summer,” Michael grumbled as the alien abyss opened wide once more.

posted on 1-Dec-2002 12:54:58 AM
Chapter Five

Liz sat on her balcony staring at the notebook. She dreaded reading any more but felt compelled to finish it. What did it really matter any more anyway? Her life was hell as it was, this just highlighted it a little more clearly. Liz took another drink of coffee and reached for the book. It would be light soon anyway so she might as well spend the time before school reading a little and making progress on finding out what had happened to Alex.

Max still fantasizes about you. I bet you wonder how that’s possible when he can’t really forgive you for your supposed indiscretion. For men and some women the heart and the sex organs aren’t always connected. So he may think you’re a slut but that doesn’t stop him from wanting you…..just stops him from dating you.

Funny how seeing into your soul really didn’t help him in the end. Maybe he just saw what he wanted to see. I did say he didn’t fully believe that you slept with Kyle didn’t I? Well that’s true. That didn’t help either because even with seeing your soul he had doubts. Doubts about you…..the more he learned about his alien side the more those doubts seemed justified. His need for control worked against you too. All I really had to do was side with him and play to his ego….promise him I would never leave him. After all I seemingly waited for him two lifetimes….loved him in both lifetimes with no real effort on his part. So when things started to really fall apart I was the only one who never went my own way. Never even suggested he might be wrong. What does that say about your “soulmate”?

Once you knocked yourself off of that pedestal he just didn’t know what to think. On one hand he just couldn’t admit you would do that to him. He couldn’t be wrong about you could he? On the other what he saw told him he was…you told him he was. You were tarnished whatever you did from that point on. You had either given yourself to someone else or lied to him. The doubts grew without any help from me. It was a vicious circle that Max couldn’t or wouldn’t break out of. Odd that after watching you for years it was so easy to loose all that faith he had in you.

I still remember when you came to my house after I kissed Max. Asking me if I had ever been in love. Well the answer is what I told you then…No. Sometimes I thought I might be able to care but it was always fleeting I had a job to do. I hated you even then you know. Nesado was impressed enough to consider you a threat. That’s why he kidnapped you. He was most displeased that my little display didn’t shake you at all. I have to say you were interesting at times. You made me work for it. I will tell you that I did mess with Max’s head to get him to kiss me that time so you were right not to trust your eyes. Too bad Max isn’t that smart huh?

Have you thought about your healing at all? I wonder if you realize yet what that means for you. Max changed you then. Do you feel the difference? Your drop in visit to New York showed me a little. Don’t worry about Lonnie or Rath. They have found a very nice home in the government’s care. I really don’t think they are smart enough to escape either so you should be okay as far as they are concerned. What a prize you would make. Just think if the FBI caught on to your differences.

I know you value control. I wish I could see how you will deal with your changes. Emotions are a curse undermining control. If you don’t believe me look at Michael. It took me all summer to get him to have a little control over his powers. If you aren’t strong enough….in control enough you’ll light up like a Christmas tree. Better watch that. Pictures speak a thousand words. Normal test results won’t help you if you’re flickering like a bad strand of Christmas lights now will it?

Liz paused in her reading as fear crept through her. Ava had said almost the exact same thing. That Max had changed her. She had basically ignored it after nothing else weird happened. Now that Tess was basically threatening her with the FBI and surveillance photos it crept back to the front of her mind.

Didn’t it ever occur to you that things were different with you? The flashes from Max and who knows who else? Normally Max would have to deliberately send you flashes. But that’s not really true of you is it? Nesado mentioned that he thought you might have seen something from him and let me tell you he was not sending you anything on purpose. He was a fortress. Even I had trouble getting anything from him. Well that should give you something to think about. We can’t let you get bored now that I’m not around to spice things up now can we?

To test that little theory of mine I left you a little something. The key. I would recommend that you touch it when you’re alone. I left you another little surprise too attached to this book. The key actually opens a safe deposit box. I made sure you can have access under your own name but we’ll talk about that again later.

Let’s talk about Alex a little. He was so eager to be friends. So trusting and willing to help. I never did see why Isabel wasted her time with him. He was no challenge at all. Still I did regret killing him until I watched it divide all of you. If I would have known that I would have done it sooner it was worth the extra trouble it caused me. It was a time saver. Poor Max was so upset he couldn’t heal him. Dead is dead. There isn’t anything to heal once there is no soul attached anymore. He got so wrapped up in his own reactions and feelings he lost track of what was going on with the rest of you. I also wasn’t expecting you to get so hell bent on breaking my cover story. But that worked to my advantage as well. Max was so angry with you. You could have told him the sky was blue and he wouldn't have listened. Once again he believed his eyes and what the “evidence” was telling him. He never learns. That had a lot to do with his death the last time. Pride and stubbornness did the rest.

I wonder too if he wasn’t upset about your attachment to Alex. That you would defy him for the memory of Alex for your belief in who Alex was. After all you had put Max and his needs first for so long. Lying to Alex and using him for his blood and any help he could give you. Only including him when it might hurt Max not to. It must have been a surprise for Max that you would break that pattern. That finally you had enough faith in someone else or a belief of your own and that it was strong enough to override your feelings for him. Was it worth it? Was Max worth all the lying and the things you did for him? If you had to choose again who would you choose? Alex who always believed in you or Max? Who is the better person? Which one is more important? I guess it doesn't really matter at this point though does it? You lost both in the end. Hmm I took both didn’t I? I never really thought about that until now.

Liz snapped the book closed as tears blurred her vision and her insides twisted in pain. Her breathing hitched as the pain inside her grew worse. Amazing the things Tess had seen. She was right. Max had ruled her thoughts from the very start. Everyone else came in second after him and his secret. As much as she had loved Alex she had done him a terrible disservice. When she had had to choose she had chosen Max. Hiding behind the “It’s not my secret to tell” excuse she had chosen Max. The worst part was that it hadn’t bothered her as much as it should have. Alex had forgiven her as he always had and she hadn’t even appreciated it fully.

Isabel woke to the sound of Max’s screams just like every night since Tess left. She rushed into his room and flipped on the lights to see Max sitting straight up in bed wet with sweat and hyperventilating. She sat on the side of his bed and started talking to him in a soft murmuring voice. She talked about nothing really rumors going around school, funny things she had seen people do, childhood stories.

As she talked her mind was turning over everything that was happening. She and Michael had decided not to talk to Max yet about what they were doing. He didn’t seem in any shape to handle it and besides they really couldn’t see Max and Liz working together well at this point so they had agreed between them to stay quiet for the moment.

As the sun rose Isabel wondered what was really going on. Max wouldn’t talk about his dreams. He claimed he couldn’t remember them but when she offered to dreamwalk him he refused saying he needed to deal with it himself. For now she would go along with his wishes but this couldn’t go on much longer.

Maria watched Liz walk out to her car. She looked like she hadn’t slept at all. She was neatly put together but she looked fragile almost brittle. After Liz was settled she headed on toward school.

“Liz? What are you going to do about Max? You can’t keep avoiding him,” Maria asked curious.

“There isn’t anything to do about Max. Maria….I thought about this. I’ve known about Max since the third grade. That’s like nine years. We’ve only been talking for the last two. We dated for three months. Three MONTHS out of nine years and that was a year ago. It’s been over for a year,” Liz said firmly her arms crossed over her chest. Her body language dared Maria to push the issue.

Maria glanced at her to gauge whether she really believed that lie. She sighed when she saw the mulish look on Liz’s face. “As….logical as that sounds…it’s not really true. Technicalities aside there are still feelings there on both sides. You can’t logic your way out of feelings,” Maria said somewhat frightened at what Liz’s reaction was going to be.

“Oh I have plenty of feelings alright. That doesn’t change the facts though does it?” Liz asked glancing over at Maria. “Look what do you want me to say? That I forgive him? Well I don’t. That it doesn’t hurt. Well it does. So what? That changes nothing.”

“Liz, I want you to stop hiding from all those feelings. It’s scary. You’re going to have to deal with them,” Maria said in return. “Max isn’t going to just go away. He hasn’t yet no matter how hard you may have wished for him to. In those two years of talking you have never gotten over him. You can’t ignore that until it goes away.”

“I never really WANTED to get over him. I do now,” Liz said stubbornly.

“Do you really?” Maria asked seriously.

“Maria, I wouldn’t even drink from the same glass as Tess. I can’t even imagine ever being able to even look at Max the same way. The very thought of him touching me makes me feel ill. Yes….believe me. I really REALLY want to,” Liz said clearly.

Maria’s lips twitched in inappropriate amusement before she came back to the subject at hand. “I hate to point this out again but feelings aren’t logical. The heart wants what the heart wants. Let me also point out what Max is going to say. He made a mistake, he’s sorry, he loves you, and he wants to try again. Oh my favorite….he didn’t cheat on you because you guys weren’t together so how can you hold that against him.” Maria listed off trying to get Liz prepared for anything Max might come up with. To think about this before hand.

“You know what my heart wants? Alex back. That’s what my heart wants but what good does that do? He’s gone. It doesn’t matter how much I want him back. If I had slept with Kyle I wouldn’t have technically cheated either. That didn’t stop Max from holding it against me did it? Like you said emotions aren’t logical. For the first time I can look at Max and not even care how he feels. I don’t care if he’s sorry or if he thinks he loves me. It doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t even know if I can be civil to him. How can I even think beyond that at this point? I didn’t push him after the Kyle incident and I swear to god if he pushes me he’s going to regret it,” Liz said fiercely.

“Okay then,” Maria muttered softly. Little anger going on there. She smiled knowing Max was going to push. It was only a matter of time.

The day past with Liz hanging onto her tunnel vision and working harder on her class work then she ever had before. It helped that she had been staying up all night to get all her extra work completed. Her focus was so total she didn’t even feel tired.

Liz walked across the parking lot toward Kyle’s car. She had promised to help him until her shift started. They still had yet to finish cleaning out Tess’s old room.

“Liz!” Max called out as he jogged across the parking lot toward her. He had decided that it was time to get some answers. He wanted to know why Liz would pretend to sleep with Kyle. It was time that he started figuring things out.

Liz rolled her eyes and kept walking ignoring him. She was so not in the mood for this.

Maria and Michael were just leaving the school when Max yelled across the parking lot. Maria urged Michael to walk faster. She had known Max wouldn’t be able to wait long. She didn’t want to miss this it would tell her a lot.

Kyle too heard Max and saw Liz’s eye roll in response. He stayed where he was leaning against the car. Close enough to help but not close enough to get pulled into the conflict.

Max caught up to her and swung to stand in front of her blocking her way and forcing her to a stop. “I want to talk to you. I have some questions,” Max said softly.

Liz tried to control the automatic surge of anger that flared to life at both his words and actions. “Max. I already have plans. You can’t just do this. Expect me to drop everything because you want something,” Liz said trying to be reasonable.

“I think you owe me a few answers,” Max replied. He was tired of her sidestepping him.

Kyle smirked hearing that and began the countdown to Liz’s impending explosion.

“You deserve what?” Liz asked her eyebrow going up and her voice going quiet.

“Some answers. I want to know why you lied to me,” Max said not backing down.

“I don’t owe you one goddamn thing. I certainly don’t have to interrupt my life to accommodate your demands. I have plans Max. With my friends. I have work. In other words I have a life that doesn’t stop when you want something from me,” Liz said crossing her arms over her chest.

“You’re just trying to blow me off. You’ll never make time to tell me anything. Stop dancing around the subject. I want to know why you lied. I’m not leaving until you tell me,” Max said his own arms crossing in stubborn refusal to give in.

“What do you think you’re going to learn Max? Nothing I say is going to make this better. It’s not going to make this easier on you so you better be damn sure you want to know. I’ll tell you but it doesn’t change anything or make any of this easier to understand,” Liz said keeping a handle on her emotions.

Max studied her set face and weighed his options. He needed to know. How could he sort everything out if he didn’t have all the facts? “I want to know,” Max said firmly.

“Fine,” Liz said and turned to Kyle. “Kyle, I’m sorry. I’ll call you in a little while okay?” Liz asked feeling bad for begging off on their plans.

“Sure. I can come and get you if you need me too. I’ll take Isabel with me,” Kyle answered smoothly.

With a nod Liz followed Max to his mother’s car and got in without another word. As they pulled out of the parking lot Maria rushed up to Kyle.

“So she’s going to tell him?” Maria asked Kyle.

“Looks like it. I say Max rips into her and she blows up at him,” Kyle said looking over at Maria.

“I say Liz tells him and he feels guilty,” Maria returned.

“Twenty bucks on it?” Kyle asked thinking easy money.

Maria shook his outstretched hand not feeling certain about her bet but hoping she was right.

“What the hell are you two talking about?” Michael asked.

“Liz is going to tell Max about the end of the world,” Maria answered and started leading him away.

“What? What does that mean?” Michael asked confused.

“I’ll tell you on the way to work,” Maria answered.

posted on 1-Dec-2002 10:47:16 PM
Hi everyone! I wanted to pop by and say a few things so you know where I'm coming from.

First thank you guys for getting this far. I know its not easy for some of you and it makes me feel good to know you are giving this fic a chance.

That said....things are going to get harder and messy. Liz isn't done with Tess's journal yet and she has a few nasty surprises in store. Plus there's the key and the box it opens. I will post warnings on any chapter that I think is upsetting. I say again that there are some lines I will not rape. My whole objective is not to drag us through the muck.

This fic is me trying to work out somethings that bothered me in the show. To make the pain worth something in the end. I will make a "happy ending" of some sort out of this even if I have to hold a gun to the head of my muse and force it. I can't say Max and Liz will wind up together....I don't know that. I believe in being honest about that. This is not real life it's entertainment and I believe in happy endings.

I also want to say that I don't intend to make Max a psycho freak. I am trying to hold him true to the time frame of late season 2-Busted. I want him to learn something. I want him to salvage something from this mess. I will put my limited skills to work on that. But I will not give him Liz if he doesn't deserve her. Liz deserves a great guy who loves her and that is what she will have. I am still pissy with Max so we'll see. I have a hate/love relationship with Max I want him to be so much and he {the writers} flubbed it. I tried to leave this fic alone. I've watched others try this time frame and struggle with it. I'm not sure I will do better but this idea just wouldn't go away. It grew from one scene to many and I HAD to write it so we'll see where it takes us and I hope you guys will take that journey with me.

moonieADT~I always enjoy your feedback and it really makes me think about things. I agree with your revenge thoughts and Liz is trying to take the high road. I'm not sure how that will work. I also agree Max has a conscious. I don't see him as a totally horrible person it would be easier if I did. I think on some level Max WAS attracted to Tess. He remembered the black shirt for 14 years. He kissed her he had attraction is there to some point....I also think he was weak and went the easy way. Following his Destiny or whatever knowing it would hurt Liz. I'm of many minds about that whole issue. I have been in a situation not too differnt from Liz's. It's hard to forgive someone that hurt you that deeply. It's also hard to get over it or stop loving someone that has hurt you even when you REALLY want to. We'll see what happens.

livia~I love you open mind. Thank you and you might need it. Your thinking isn't totally wrong. Tess has a nasty surprise for Liz. The trick is what is Tess lying about and what is she telling the truth about? Liz is already wondering. It's hard not to let it mess with you though.

Lullaby~Thank you for your kind words. I hope I have reassured you of getting to a happy ending. Max is suffering and will even more. Unfortunately so is Liz. As for Tess karma can be a bitch.

begonis9508~Max will read Tess's journal. That I can assure of. Tess is smart. I hate her but totally stupid she isn't.

tay_bri02~You will hate Tess even more soon.

rjsasko~Rick I love you. Really. Don't listen to Shannon you are wonderful. All of your thoughts I have shared at some time or another. I had to rewatch the last of season 2 for this fic and I was still screaming at my TV. I try like hell to hang onto Max from season 1 but it's sooo hard. So I guess you could say I'm a Dreamer with a venomous streak?? Although everyone knows how much I love Kyle. That's one thing Max's actions made me take another look at Buddah boy. I hope you continue to like what happens.

mareli~I think the nicest thing you could have said to me was that you were reading even without the promise of a Max/Liz ending. Thank so much for your wonderful compliments.

BelevnDreamsToo~Glad to see you sticking with me*happy* I must protest the MaxHater label....I see myself as more of a realist....loyal to Liz.*wink* I can promise you will hate Tess even more as this story continues. Liz knows she can't believe everything but it's hard not to get a little messed up at this point. She just has to find the "Truth Within The Lies".....*tongue*

angeleyes~The box won't be for awhile so hold that thought. Oh I think Liz is mighty angry. She is trying to take the high road and not let Max get to her anymore than he has. We'll see how she does.

Thanks again everyone....the new part is almost done. I just need to play with it a little more. The FMax convo is a hard one.
posted on 2-Dec-2002 2:24:56 AM
Chapter Six
**angst warning**

Liz sat in the passenger seat utterly silent. She wanted this over with. After this conversation she was done with him. She. Was. Done.

Max was uncomfortable with silence inside the car. He could feel the emptiness in the air. He wanted to work toward getting her back. To try to sort things out and get back to total honesty so they could build from there. Wanting someplace private he drove out to the quarry and parked. Turning in his seat he faced Liz and waited.

“Do you remember the night you serenaded me?” Liz asked looking out the side window.

“Of course I do,” Max agreed.

“Well that’s when it started. Before you got there was this flash of light and then these boots out on my balcony. I was really scared at first because the person that came into my room looked like you. He had longer hair and wore different cloths and was older but it was still you. He told me all this stuff to prove he was you. He told me all about your serenade and personal stuff that no one else would know. It was you. He said he was from 14 years in the future and he had come back to change things because the world was under attack from your enemies and you weren’t going to be able to win. He wanted me to fix it.

He said that we had modified the Granilith to allow him to come back and fix things. Michael had just died right before he left and Isabel had been dead for two weeks. Tess had left Roswell a long time before that and you needed her to complete your 4 square. Without her you weren’t strong enough to defeat your enemy,” Liz said already tired of telling this story. Of thinking about all this useless crap.

Max sat quietly taking in what she said…examining it from all sides. “What did he want you to do? What does this have to do with Kyle?”

“He said I had to make you fall out of love with me. That we got close and that Tess got upset and left. So that’s when I tried to set you up with Tess and gave you all those speeches about wanting normal boys. You just wouldn’t listen. Then you kissed me in that office. The other you was so mad. He told me that I wasn’t trying hard enough and that I was part of the problem. I wasn’t willing to change. So I tried to think about what would work and I ran into Maria. She had found Michael at Courtney’s and she was so upset and that’s when I went to Kyle. He agreed to help me no questions asked. So there’s your answer. Does it make anything better?” Liz asked still not looking at his face.

Max thought about what she said carefully for a few minutes before speaking. “Why then? Why come back right then?”

Liz sighed not really wanting to answer. “Because we would have gotten back together the night of the concert. Things changed and you pushed Tess away after that,” She said skirting the issue. She didn’t even like to think about having sex with Max…not now.

Max narrowed his eyes getting pissed off. He could sense that Liz wasn’t telling him everything. “What are you not telling me? What are you lying about now?”

Liz felt all her rage surge to the surface and turned to him her eyes shooting sparks. “We had sex. The night of the concert we had sex and then got married when we were nineteen. In Vegas with Alex and the others meeting us half way to celebrate. You treated Tess like shit and she left. End of story. There are no magical answers here. You are still the same ungrateful prick you were when you woke up this morning. Is there anything else I can do to serve you or are we done?” Liz asked wanting to beat his face in. She folded her hands neatly in her lap and waited instead. Her control was reaching its limits.

Max blinked trying to process that information. He was still back at the part where they had had sex. “What?”

“We fucked. Do I need to rephrase it another way? You are more familiar with it then I am. Surely you remember what fucking is. Forget it you probably don’t believe me anyway. After all I’m just a liar. I’m just making things up as I go along,” Liz said talking to keep from looking at him. Her head started to throb in time with her rapid heartbeat as she got more and more upset. The urge to hurt him was almost overwhelming. She wasn’t even thinking clearly anymore.

“Why would you do this? Why did you keep this from me? Lie to me?” Max asked still a little dazed and hurt.

“You asked me to. I believed you. I thought I knew you. I thought you loved me and you would forgive me. I thought you believed in me as much as I believed in you. I trusted you to know me and follow that voice inside you that told you to trust me with your secret in the first place. I was just plain wrong and fucking stupid!” Liz screamed getting out of the car and slamming the door. The tears she had been so determined not to shed blurred her vision as she walked closer to the edge.

Max felt the rest of his world crumble under him as he wheezed for breath feeling like someone had punched him in the chest. All the things he had tried to ignore rushed to the surface. When he had woken up next to Tess and realized what he had done the guilt had nearly crushed him. To know that he had destroyed the single best thing that had ever happened to him was a blow worse than any he had suffered through up to this point. He got out of the car and walked closer to Liz not really knowing how to deal with this. This was something he had never really expected. “Liz…”

“I told you what you wanted to know. That’s it there isn’t anymore. I have nothing left to give you now leave me alone,” Liz said through her tears not even turning to look at him.

“I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t tell me. Why did he go to you?” Max asked. He focused on his questions to avoid thinking about the searing pain and guilt that was burning away his insides.

“He couldn’t go to you. Laws of physics or something. If you two met you would both be destroyed. How could I get you to listen when I couldn’t really prove it? I couldn’t show you….you. The other you trusted me and asked me not to tell. I didn’t say I was right. I shouldn’t have done what I did but I can’t change it. Just like you can’t change what you’ve done. It’s over move on,” Liz said and turned to start walking away.

“Liz please. Please stop. I want to start over. Try again,” Max asked unable to just let her leave like this.

“No. We aren’t the same people. I don’t think I even like you now. I can’t even look at you. It hurts too much. Some things just can’t be saved. Just let go and move on. We had already decided that at prom,” Liz said trying not to totally go off on him. She felt this swirling mass of venomous rage just waiting for her to let it loose. She had never felt anything like it and it scared her a little.

“I can’t let it go. I love you. We could be happy…we got married. I know we could be right for each other,” Max said trying to get her to give him the smallest chance.

“When have we EVER been happy? For like two minutes a year ago? I really don’t even remember. You’re sucking the life out of me. I can’t do this. I don’t WANT to,” Liz said clearly. “We aren’t the same people that got married. That was a different life and who knows he could have been lying anyway. This is reality,” Liz said throwing her arms out and spinning in a circle. “This is where you yelled at me. Hated me. Treated me like shit for trying to find out who killed my best friend. This is where you are having a child with someone else. Where I lied and destroyed every good thing in my life. Where you kissed someone else at prom while on a date with me!”

“You said you forgave me,” Max said inanely unable to think fast enough to counter the rest of it.

“Well add that to the list of lies I told you!” Liz yelled. “Didn’t you even wonder how I got home? Hello! You fucking drove me there! You didn’t even call to see if I was okay!”

Max rubbed his hand across his face knowing she was right and his behavior was inexcusable. Looking back he didn’t know how he had done the things he did.

“Max, it’s over just accept it. Figure out what you’re going to do from this point on. We just keep hurting each other. We’ve both done things to each other that we can’t forget and may never forgive each other for,” Liz said trying to be reasonable. Logical.

“No, I won’t accept it. I don’t believe that,” Max said shaking his head.

“Whatever. I’m tired of talking to you. You don’t listen anyway. Just take me home,” Liz said turning toward the car.

“Liz, I’m sorry. I wish I could take it all back. All I can do is try to make you see that I do forgive you and I love you. I’m going to show you that I love you and maybe someday you’ll forgive me,” Max said determined to right things. He couldn’t loose everything.

“Max, you had sex with Tess. You created a child with her. Worry about that. I don’t think I’ll ever get past that. How could you even do that? You act like nothing happened,” Liz said her voice laced with astonished disbelief as she turned back to him.

“It was a mistake. I was stupid and she was there,” Max said not having a clear idea of what had happened himself.

“Hand me your wallet,” Liz said holding her hand out.

Puzzled Max handed it over.

Liz opened his wallet and flipped through it. Removing the condom she waved it at him. “No see a mistake would be having sex using this. What you did is something else entirely. You’ve had this here for who knows how long. It was with you at the time all you had to do was use it.”

Max caught his wallet as she tossed it at him. “Liz…”

“Max just STOP! You betrayed yourself and us. You just don’t get it. Sex is sharing Max. It’s not comfort or a sport or something to use to get over a bad time. It means something. It’s sharing a part of your soul whether you think so or not. Tess carried a part of your SOUL with her when she left not just your child. You gave that to her willingly and you are forever tied to her now. She left a part of her soul inside you too. I don’t want any part of that. I don’t want to be linked to Tess in any way if I can prevent it. I carry part of you with me from when you healed me and I gave you part of me but I’m not giving you any more,” Liz said getting frustrated with his inability to understand what he had done. Even that small part of what he had done.

“Liz, you don’t understand,” Max said getting really scared. He wanted to explain to make her see what had happened.

“I understand. Don’t think I don’t. When you left me at the café after telling me about Tess and you leaving….it hurt me worse then I thought I could be hurt after Alex died. I realized that it was over forever and I wanted someone to ease that pain for me. To look at me without anger and distrust to care about me for just a little while. I went to Sean but I had enough respect for his feelings for me and for myself not to do something that I knew wasn’t right. I didn’t want to hurt him or use him like that. Even when I was confused I understood that. So there is nothing you can say to me that will make this okay. You were wrong. You can never take this back,” Liz said not moved by his tears or the pleading look in his eyes.

“Liz, you’re my only reason…..” Max said then paused. “Can we please talk later? When things have settled down. I don’t want to totally loose you. We could try to be friends and see what happens,” He bargained. He was willing to take anything at this point.

“You better find another reason Max. We were never friends in the first place. Before the shooting you never even talked to me. After it we were acquaintances that shared a secret. Then we dated briefly but we have never been friends. I tried that after the Kyle thing and you wanted no part of it. I kept trying through Christmas and New York and every day after that. I tried again after prom and it wasn’t even a day later that you broke a promise you made to me. Then you gave me an ultimatum using your “friendship” to get me to give up on Alex. Friends trust each other and I’m not sure we’ll ever get there,” Liz answered then, feeling lightheaded, she stopped and closed her eyes for a moment before she looked back at Max. “I’ve tried so hard to be friends with you but it just hasn’t worked. I’m tired. I can’t give my word to try when I’m not sure it’s even worth the effort.”

“I can be a friend. I know I haven’t shown you that but I will,” Max assured her.

“I have nothing left to give you Max. So if you’re doing this to get something more don’t bother. When you need something try just asking you don’t have to be friends with me for that,” Liz said not trusting his words. All of his words hadn’t meant anything before now and she wasn’t going to make the same mistake again.

Max reached out and took hold of her arms as she swayed on her feet. As his hands touched her bare skin he was knocked off his feet by a burst of energy that seemed to spring up between them.

Liz gasp as the flashes roared through her mind as her already shaky control snapped allowing her emotions full rein.

~ Max and Michael were playing basketball. “You and Tess actually had…,” Michael said in surprise. “Hot alien sex, yes.” Max answered.

~ “My whole life I've wanted to be this person, this normal person. Human. My whole life I've been thinking that this alien side of me was this bad thing. This thing that made me afraid. This monster. I realize that I haven't just been hiding from the government and the law all this time. I've been hiding from myself. I don't know what's going on anymore. I thought I knew but I don't. I've lost everyone,” Max said tears in his eyes.

“I'll be here for eternity,” Tess said. They kiss.

“I'm ready to wake up now,” Max said softly looking into Tess’s eyes.

~ Max and Tess on the observatory floor having sex.

~ Max waking up the next morning feeling guilty and not wanting to be where he was as Liz flashed through his mind. Knowing he had just made the biggest mistake of his life as he tried to smile at Tess.

As the flashes ended Liz moaned in pain and fell to her knees vomiting on the ground in front of her.

Max scrambled toward her wanting to help.

Liz saw Max crawling closer and held up her hand to stop him as she quickly backed up not caring that the rocks were tearing into her skin. “Don’t touch me! Don’t ever touch me again,” Liz said and started sobbing. “I saw you.”

Max’s brow wrinkled in confusion not knowing what she was talking about. “You saw me?”

“Hot alien sex?! That was what you told Michael? What the fuck is WRONG with you?” Liz screamed and threw a handful of dirt at him.

Max felt sick as he realized that she had gotten flashes. “Liz, I didn’t mean to send you that. I wasn’t even thinking about that or anything to do with Tess. I swear!” Max said honestly. He would never send her anything like that. He didn’t even like to think about any of it himself.

“Fuck you! Leave me alone,” Liz cried through her hands as her stomach rolled again protesting all her surging emotions.

“I’ll take you home,” Max said defeated and sick as realized all he was doing was causing Liz more hurt and pain.

“Just go. I’m not going anywhere with you,” Liz said refusing to get any closer to him. She sobbed harder as she realized Tess was right. He wasn’t mindwarped at all. What else was she right about? Everything she had ever believed in was a lie. There were no soulmates and Max wasn’t the honorable person she had told Sean he was…believed he was. She now wished SHE could wake up. Maybe aliens were just a horrible nightmare and she would wake up and find herself back in the tenth grade and dating Kyle. Please let me wake up!

Max walked back to the car and dug out Liz’s cell phone. Searching through the stored numbers he called Kyle. She needed someone she trusted and that wasn’t him. Maria was at work so that left Kyle. Max was determined to start acting like the friend he wanted to be even if it meant calling Kyle for help. No matter what it meant.

“Hello?” Kyle answered feeling his gut sink as he heard someone sobbing in the background.

“Can you come and get Liz? We’re at the quarry. She…she doesn’t want to ride with me,” Max said his brow scrunching as he tried to hang onto his composure. He needed to take care of Liz the best way he knew how.

“I’ll be right there,” Kyle snapped and hung up. That fucker Kyle raged as he rushed out the door leaving Isabel searching Tess’s room with out a word.

Max hung up and gathered Liz’s stuff together. It was time to start doing what was best for Liz. Past time actually. As Max let all the lies he told himself fall away he saw the person he was. The guilt and self-disgust grew as he looked at Liz’s sobbing form. He had always thought he would never hurt her on purpose. That he could never love anyone more than he loved her. All lies. He had lost himself somewhere and lied to himself and the world. He had excused inexcusable acts and hurt the people closest to him.

Kyle jerked the car to a stop and walked past Max without a word. He crouched next to Liz not knowing what to say as she looked up and all her pain and confusion was laid open for him to see. He felt his own eyes sting at her devastated expression. “Come on. I’ll take you home,” Kyle whispered and shot Evans a furious glare. What the fuck had he done to her? JESUS! Kyle cursed internally.

Liz allowed Kyle to help her up and place her in his car where Max had already set her books and her purse. She tried to get a handle on things. Kyle hated messy scenes and she had to be at work in an hour. She did what she had done when she had needed to keep functioning after her best friend’s death.

Kyle shut her door and walked around the car to his side not saying anything to Max who was standing about ten feet away watching them. He was so angry he was afraid he might have to beat him to death. He got in and slammed his door shut not even noticing his rough treatment of his treasured automobile.

Max watched them drive off feeling his world stripped bare and his soul exposed to the world.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 2-Dec-2002 2:38:47 AM ]
posted on 3-Dec-2002 2:48:01 AM
Chapter Seven

Michael worked the grill on autopilot while his mind mulled over what Maria had told him. His view of life had been changing…expanding lately anyway but this….this was like blowing it wide open. It put a whole new light on the last year. He wondered how Max was going to handle it. Judging by the last month not well.

As different as he was from Liz there were a few things he never doubted. One of those things was how she felt about Max and how far she would go for him. He had read her innermost thoughts after all. He had seen her risk and suffer to do what she thought was right. He didn’t always agree with the course she chose but he respected her.

Max had puzzled him at various points ever since Tess arrived. Here he had mooned over Liz for years acting like a complete sap. He risks everything to save her and finally gets what he wanted all along. Liz Parker to date him and fall in love with him. Then the next thing he knows Max is kissing Tess in the rain and fucking everything up. He still didn’t get it. He had thought over the summer that Max would have time to work things out. Settle the destiny issue and move on one way or the other. Instead Max was so consumed with appearing normal and denying their potential danger it just went from bad to worse.

Michael didn’t believe in that destiny crap. What he did believe was that they weren’t normal and that they had better work to understand their differences. But while he was trying to understand his powers and be more prepared Max was locked in his room avoiding Tess and mooning over Liz. He steadfastly denied that anything had changed. Which only served to get him tossed into therapy. It seemed like it was one extreme or the other with Max.

Michael looked up as the bell announced incoming customers. He cursed inwardly as he saw a worried looking Kyle and Liz enter. Liz looked like she had been dragged behind a car. Her jeans were ripped at the knees and slightly bloody, her eyes were puffy and red from crying, her tears had dried on her cheeks along with a good deal of dirt. He watched Maria stop dead with the coffeepot raised as she locked eyes on Liz.

Maria abandoned the coffee and moved to Liz’s side. “Liz…oh my god what happened? Are you okay?” Maria asked glancing at Kyle who just shrugged.

“I’m fine. I’m just going to go clean up,” Liz said quietly and left.

“Kyle? What happened to her?” Maria asked her eyes following Liz’s exit.

“I don’t know. Evans called me and asked me to come and pick her up. They were at the quarry. When I got there she was on the ground crying and her hands and knees were all torn up and she had gotten sick. She wouldn’t talk about it. All she would say was that she was fine and it was over and she didn’t want to talk about it,” Kyle said deeply concerned. He didn’t mention her almost hysterical behavior when he tried to talk to her further.

Maria sighed at the dreaded “fine” phrase. Liz was far from fine. Unfortunately she was the only waitress on duty so she couldn’t follow Liz. With reluctance she swung back into action as Kyle took a seat at the counter.

It was with amazement that they all watched Liz start work. She looked….like nothing had happened and if it weren’t for the cuts on her hands and her skinned knees you almost wouldn’t notice her still slightly puffy eyes. She smiled as she greeted the customers and was efficient and looked for all world like it was just another day which scared Maria even more. She had no idea how to handle this.

Michael watched Liz carefully when she wasn’t looking. He treated her the same as every other day even barking at her when a customer changed his order. He wondered how Max was if Liz was the walking dead….with a smile of course.

In fact Liz passed through the last week of school by focusing all her energy into the tasks she had set for herself. She completed all her school projects, gave the best speech in her class for English, and passed all her exams with flying colors. She worked her shifts and received more then the usual amount of tips. She avoided Max like he was the plague revisited and didn’t touch the rest of Tess’s journal at all. When asked she was fine.

Max spent the week going over the translation of the destiny book looking for some answers. He still had a son out there somewhere and he needed to work toward finding him. He also wanted to see if there were anymore surprises in the book about what to expect from their alien sides. He figured he would start there and then work back through the last year and see if it made anymore sense then it did now.

The nightmares plaguing him continued to taunt him with images of Tess, his son, and Liz. The dreams of Liz started out as a welcome relief. It was always the same dream never changing. When he woke he could never recall the details but he felt gutted and empty.

Once school was out the group each started their chosen task. Maria hunted down Derek and convinced him to try to find out everything there was to know about a Ray who had stayed in the Dona Ana dorms during the right timeframe.

Michael went back to the rented house only to find it empty.

Isabel had already dealt with the guidance office. She was certain that no one there knew anything. She had dreamwalked every one of them. She had never been so bored.

The real surprise came from Liz. Jennifer Coleman was dead. She had died in a fatal car accident last weekend. In fact two days after Tess had left.

Michael was not pleased. This was bad. He and Isabel talked to Max privately about what the group had found so far. They agreed to take precautions and see what turned up from Maria’s end.

Liz started off the first week of summer by going to the pool with Sean and Kyle. Maria and Michael were doing whatever Maria and Michael did when they were alone and Isabel was spending the day with Max and family.

Liz sighed as she stretched out on her back on the lounge chair and closed her eyes letting the sun seep into her tense body. Before she really realized it she was asleep.

It wasn’t long before she started dreaming. She was in Max’s room and they were arguing. She was in her CrashDown uniform and they were arguing about Sean.

“Sean was just trying to impress you. Brody wouldn’t have hurt anyone,” Max said running his hand through his hair. Seeing Liz so worried about Sean had been hard to take. “Why did you even go in there? You could have been hurt!”

“I thought Brody wouldn’t hurt anyone?” Liz returned annoyed. “Max. He stabbed Sean. He was holding a gun on everyone. There is no way Sean could know that Brody wouldn’t hurt anyone. YOU didn’t know that. He was just trying to help. Why are you being like this?” Liz asked watching Max pace.

“You scared me. Liz…please don’t do anything like that again. You don’t always have to be the one to put yourself in danger,” Max said stopping in front of her.

“I know that. I was just the best one for the job this time. I care about you Max. I wanted to help,” Liz said studying his eyes closely. He was acting odd.

“I just….I don’t want to see you get hurt again. You could have been shot and I wouldn’t have been able to do anything,” Max explained upset.

Liz smiled and put her hand on his arm. “I’m fine. Nothing happened so no worries. Besides you and Tess handled it. Like a team,” Liz said moving away to run her fingers over the items on his desk.

Max frowned and watched her fingers trail over his stack of books and over to the framed picture that was sitting on the edge of his desk. “Don’t change the subject. Just because something didn’t happen this time doesn’t mean it couldn’t next time,” Max said feeling hot. He shifted his stance and tugged at the collar of his shirt.

Liz looked over her shoulder and rolled her eyes. “Max, you’re just upset that I did help. You could never have convinced Sean to keep quiet. Tess would have had to do what ever she did to Ms. DeLuca. Which was odd enough. Did you know she could do that? Mess with people’s memories like that?” Liz asked uncomfortable with that thought.

“Speaking of what you did….what are you going to start dating Sean now? He doesn’t seem to be your type being a criminal and all,” Max said jealousy churning in his stomach.

“It’s one dinner. Besides Sean isn’t that bad. He’s funny and easy to be around,” Liz said shrugging slightly. “Why do you care what I do anyway? Or is this the concerned friend talking?”

Max felt his blood heat further even though he knew she was right. He had no right to be jealous. “I do care. I never stopped caring about you and you know that,” Max answered tired of this tentative uneasy relationship that had sprung up since Kyle. He loved her. It was time to move past the mistakes they had made.

Liz froze briefly at his words her breath catching. She turned around and leaned back against his desk for support. Surely he didn’t mean it the way it had sounded. “I know you do. I’m glad we can be friends still,” Liz said looking down at the floor. Really the texture and patterns in the carpet were fascinating.

Max walked over to her and tilted her face up needing to see her eyes. She couldn’t lie to him when he could see the truth in her eyes. “That’s not what I meant. I love you. I want to be with you. That’s what I’ve always wanted,” Max said clearly and watched her eyes widen and her pupils dilate with shock. “I can’t change that and I don’t want to. I don’t like this and I want to start again,” Max said brushing the wisps of hair off her face wishing he could let her hair out of that ponytail. Surely he could get passed what she had done. He would…he was. He just wanted her back.

“Max….I…you can’t mean that…Tess..” Liz stuttered in surprise. He was saying exactly what she had wished to hear since this had started.

Max shook his head and didn’t bother answering. He bent his head and captured her lips with his. He didn’t want to hear about Tess or anything else. He wanted her honest reaction not her thought out logical response. He groaned as her mouth opened for him.

Liz ignored the nagging voice that whispered of responsibility and consequences for this stolen moment. Her body responded as it always did to his nearness and she kissed him back wrapping her arms around him and pulling him closer.

Liz woke with a gasp and rolled to her side as the tears started leaking out of her eyes. She hated this. She was so weak. How could she still dream about him?

Kyle had heard her gasp and looked over as she rolled onto her side facing him. He sat up as he saw her crying. He looked around and was relieved to see Sean still in the pool and no one watching. He moved to sit on the ground beside her. Picking up a towel he folded it into a square. “Liz? Roll onto your stomach and I’ll put lotion on your back okay? You don’t want to burn on the first day,” Kyle said placing the towel under her head as she moved onto her stomach.

“Thanks,” Liz said sniffing lightly.

“Sure. You want to tell me what you’re dreaming about?” Kyle asked lightly. He didn’t want to pressure her at all but he was worried. She was strung so tight she practically vibrated.

“I can’t really remember. I’m sure it’s not important,” Liz said already the details were fading. She knew she had dreamed about Max…they had been fighting?

“Hmmm,” Kyle said as he watched her wipe her eyes with the towel. “What about the journal?”

“I haven’t really read anymore,” Liz said and flinched slightly as the cold lotion hit her back. “Umm Tess did say that the healing changed me. Ava said the same thing. I don’t really feel different though. Do you?” Liz asked moving her hair out of Kyle’s way.

Kyle frowned. He didn’t like thinking about that. He didn’t want to morph into another life form. Those aliens were a fucked up bunch one and all. The last thing he wanted was to become more like them. “No. I feel the same. What exactly did Tess say?” He asked moving down Liz’s back absentmindedly.

“Umm let’s see…that I was changed. She wondered if I had figured it out yet. Something about flickering Christmas lights..if I didn’t have enough control I would start flicking like the lights or something. It didn’t really make much sense,” Liz said trying to remember.

Kyle felt a small stirring of panic at the lights thing. Oh Buddha he hope that wasn’t literal. Adding more lotion to his hand he moved on to Liz’s lower back. “What else?”

“That the FBI would love to get their hands on me. That normal test results wouldn’t mean anything if they had pictures of me all lit up. Oh Lonnie and Rath have been captured I guess…at least that’s what she said,” Liz answered propping herself up on her elbows and turning her head to see Kyle as he sat back. He looked nervous.

“FBI? She mentioned you and the FBI?” Kyle asked getting a bad feeling about that. Would Tess really inform the FBI about Liz? Silly question.

“Yeah, look I think she was just trying to scare me. Besides nothing weird has happened. I’ll start reading the journal again tonight and see what I can find out about the key she left,” Liz said to reassure him.

“Okay, tell me what you find out. Don’t go off alone either. If you find where the box is let me know and we’ll go but don’t try to go alone okay?” Kyle asked watching her closely. He was going to have to start popping by to check on her. He was also going to talk to Michael or Isabel about this.

“I promise,” Liz said lying back down. She didn’t want to think about it anymore right now. She yawned feeling sleepy. All those late nights had taken a toll on her. She hadn’t slept a full night since….well at least since before Tess left. “Wake me up if I sleep too long?”

“Of course. I’ll wake you in an hour,” Kyle said moving to his own chair.

A little while later Sean came back to his chair. Seeing Liz was asleep he turned to Kyle. “So what do you think of Max Evans?” Sean asked. He was curious as to what Kyle’s opinion was.

“I don’t if I can help it,” Kyle said glancing over at Sean.

“He really messed Liz up didn’t he?” Sean asked watching his face.

“Yeah…it’s complicated. I’ve never been a fan of Evans,” Kyle said truthfully.

“Have anything to do with Liz dumping you for him?” Sean asked interested.

“Some. I got over it though. I don’t…we just don’t get along. I don’t like what he did to Liz after Alex died. That was really hard her and he was an asshole,” Kyle said keeping it brief.

“Yeah, well they were friends for years. That poor guy…he put up with a lot. Those girls had him trained I tell ya. That’s how he got his knick name….Alice. Maria told Aunt Amy that Alex was just another girlfriend to get her to agree to let him stay over. That she and Liz were gonna give him a makeover. So I started calling him Alice,” Sean said smiling slightly.

“Yeah. He loved that by the way,” Kyle said smiling as he remembered Alex grumbling about that knick name. “Shit, I better wake Liz. She’ll fry.”

“Oh let me,” Sean said with a grin and swooped down and picked her up. Swinging her over his shoulder he walked to the edge of the pool and tossed a groggy Liz in.

Kyle smiled as Liz came up shrieking and Sean jumped in after her. He got up and jumped in after him helping Liz dunk him under the water.

posted on 3-Dec-2002 7:43:46 PM
Chapter Eight

**Very emotional/angsty**

Liz crawled out onto her balcony and lit the candles. She arranged her chair and set her iced tea and her cordless phone next to it. Grabbing Tess’s notebook and the book light attached to it she made herself comfortable. She hadn’t read any of the journal over the last week. It had taken that long to stop feeling like one giant raw wound. The confrontation with Max had been more painful then she had imagined but she was going to get past is nightmare. She wouldn’t let some space tramp ruin her life. That decided she opened the book and started reading.

Actually, you lost a hell of a lot more then just Alex and Max. Maria the loyal best friend…she didn’t believe you either. Too caught up in her dramatic display of grief to think things through but really she was never the brain was she? Isabel certainly didn’t want to listen to you. After all she never takes responsibility for any of the pain she causes does she? The ice isn’t just skin deep with that one. She never cared for anyone outside of her “family” and then only if it didn’t interfere with her love for herself. Michael is just the brawn not the brain. He always was good at NOT following orders…impulsive and reckless believing only what he can prove. Not a creative thinker.

Oh I guess you did have someone on your side though didn’t you? At least sort of….Kyle. Loyal to the end or at least willing to listen. Soooo willing to help out little Lizzy wonder why that is? Have you thought about that at all? No of course not. That would make you uncomfortable. I wonder….What were you two REALLY wearing in that bed? Or not wearing. Did you at least let Kyle have a peek? No you’re way to boring for that….well maybe not. I forgot that time under the bleachers in the gym. Max seems to like semi public places.

He really was sweet. Looking for an apartment for us to move into so we could be a family. Did you ever have the urge to just…..slap him for being so short sighted? Like I wanted a family! How many times did I have to say I wanted to go home? Five? Ten? I swear he hears only what he wants to hear. But then you know that from first hand knowledge don’t you? I did say I didn’t mindwarp him after the message didn’t I? Weeeell that isn’t quite true it all depends on how you look at it. I forgot about the baby. The baby IS real but he wasn’t sick. And PLEASE a month long pregnancy? Our bodies are basically human. Geez he was almost too easy. I had to do something to get him home he certainly wasn’t going to go unless I did something. So when he connected to the baby he opened himself up to me. I just…replaced his memory of what happened with what I wanted him to remember. Like Maria’s mom. That’s not really mindwarping. It’s memory replacement…totally different in my opinion. I only did it to force him into action. I knew there was no other way. He loves to play the normal human and hide from what he really is. You can only hide for so long. Desires bound up for too long tend to spring free. That’s really funny….me telling you that. You already know that. I think you wrote the book on that subject. Maybe you and Max have more in common than I thought. More in common then you even realize.

Liz frowned and tapped her finger on the page over a small smudged section that could have been a word or maybe a small drawing. She yawned feeling tired from her day at the pool. Nothing so far was too terribly upsetting. Maybe she was just getting immune to all her taunts.

Let’s recap. I mindwarped Alex and he’s dead. I mindwarped Kyle to help me out a little and to forget what he saw. I mindwarped Isabel when I first came to Roswell. I mindwarped Michael so he would figure out what I needed him to. I mindwarped Max. I replaced Ms. DeLuca’s memory of what happened at the UFO Center. Hmmm have I forgotten anyone?

What about you Liz? I never liked you. You caused me no end of trouble. Don’t you wonder if I ever played with your head? There are some signs of that sort of thing. Not everyone shows the symptoms but Kyle seemed to drum his fingers afterwards. So did Alex after a while. Some people get nosebleeds. Some remember parts of things in their dreams or have some sort of sleep disruption….like sleepwalking or insomnia. Any of this sound familiar at all to you?

Liz paused as she realized she was clutching the book so hard her fingers ached and her breathing was fast and shallow. Oh god. Oh god. She swallowed and tried to calm down. Tess was just messing with her. Trying to scare her. Liz tried to reassure herself but she felt sick deep inside. How was she ever going to sort out the truth if she couldn’t even be sure of her own mind?

Oh Liz I wish I could see you now. Having a panic attack yet? Well let me offer a small bit of comfort. After all I’m writing this to help you. I didn’t mindwarp you often, really only once. It wasn’t even a mindwarp really I just removed a small troublesome memory. I didn’t add anything or sort through your head. I was in a hurry and I didn’t want Max to notice any difference in you. I had to be careful because that would ruin everything. I had to steer Max’s attention away from you not get him worrying about you.

I left you something to help you remember. I could just tell you but this will be much more fun. Go ahead and turn the page.

Liz felt her stomach clench with fear and sat frozen starting at the page. Every time it seemed like things couldn’t get any worse they did. Every time she thought she might be slowly coming to terms with things the ground gave way beneath her feet. She wasn’t sure she could take much more. Only the thought of Alex and the promises she had made to his memory and to herself kept her going. She turned the page slowly and stared at a square cellophane wrapper that was stapled to the page.

In Tess’s neat handwriting there was a short note underneath.

So what do you think? Ring any bells yet? Think about it for a minute. Ever wake up feeling….different? Sore? No, he wouldn’t allow that. Well touch it and see if that brings it all back.

A small keening sound left her throat as she stared in horror at the thing Tess had left there for her. No! No! This was a lie she KNEW this was a lie. This was the one thing she had left to hold onto and she wouldn’t let Tess take this from her too. She felt the panic well up to choke her and the hysterical urge to run overcame her. She dropped the book and fled her bare feet slapping against the rungs of the ladder.

She ran out of the alley and down the street blindly, panic pushing her on. Sobs tore out of her throat as she struggled to breathe the only thing on her mind was to get away…keep running. If she never stopped she wouldn’t have to consider it.

Reaching a destination she hadn’t known she had she stumbled and fell to her knees in front of Alex’s tombstone. She knelt there sobbing for an unknown amount of time before she started talking. At first she spoke between her hitching breaths but slowly the words poured out making more sense as she went.

“This is the first time since your funeral that I’ve come here. I’m sorry about that. I just got so wrapped up in finding out what happened that I didn’t have room in my head for anything else. I owe you so many apologies. I was a terrible friend to you. I’m a horrible person. I’m so sorry that I did this to you Alex. I should have never told you any of this. I should have paid more attention to you. I didn’t even know your grades were slipping! What kind of friend is that? Maria misses you so much. So do I of course but you know Maria…everything is out there for the world to see raw and uncensored. Her and Michael are so happy now. You wouldn’t even believe it. I think they are really going to make it. I know what you’re thinking but it’s different this time. Michael is taking care of her and is committed to staying here. Isabel is doing okay now I think. She’s really helping with finding answers. I think you would be proud of her,” Liz paused and looked up at the sky her face twisting in pain.

Isabel stayed hidden not wanting to interrupt but not wanting to leave Liz here. It was the middle of the night and she didn’t think it was safe for her to be here alone. Isabel herself hadn’t been able to sleep. She felt restless and edgy so she had put on her running cloths and headed out. She had felt drawn here like she had on several other occasions. When she had approached she had seen Liz streak through from the other entrance in her pajamas. She listened to Liz frozen and unable to not listen.

“I know you loved her and saw her in a way the rest of us don’t. You don’t need to worry she stayed here too. I think that’s what she wanted anyway. Alex I….I don’t know if I’m ever going to figure out what really happened to you. I know the basics but not all the details. It’s such a mess and I’m afraid. I think….I think Tess did something to me. I’m scared Alex. I have so little left that’s mine. I’ve given up a lot and she has wrecked so much. I’m afraid to find out what else she has destroyed for me. Am I so horrible that I can’t have one good thing? One choice that’s mine alone? This is the one thing that’s not tainted and ruined. The one thing I saved only now…now I think she wrecked that too,” Liz said tears running down her face and dripping off her chin.

“You always gave me good advice. I wish you were here now because I really need someone to talk to. I feel sick inside. I’ve done so many terrible things. I lied to everyone. I hurt Max so badly and I don’t think he’ll ever recover. I don’t think I will either. I feel corrupt and dead inside. I’m full of hate and rage. I didn’t know someone could ever feel this much pain and stay sane. I just…I don’t think I can….if this is true…what am I going to do? How am I going to be able to live with this?” Liz asked plucking at the strands of grass. “I know you’re probably asking yourself why I’m not talking to Maria right? She sure is talking to me. She has tried to pry everything out of me but…I feel this…distance there now. Maybe it’s just the absence of you I don’t know. It’s just not the same. I don’t want to ruin her happiness. She’ll worry even more about me than she already is. Plus, I don’t even know if I can explain it…. I don’t really understand what’s happening or how I feel. How can I tell anyone else? If I voice this to anyone else it just becomes more real.”

Isabel felt uncomfortable with the raw emotion in Liz’s voice. She was obviously suffering and if it were Max she would comfort him but she felt frozen. She wasn’t that close to Liz. She didn’t know how to comfort her…. What to say. She didn’t even understand all of what she was saying.

Liz allowed the silence to seep into her. To comfort her. Long moments past before she spoke again. “I can feel you waiting for me to talk about Max. I don’t know what to say. There used to be so much there. I could always feel him. Now it’s like looking at a stranger. A stranger I don’t really like and one that reminds me of so much pain. I’m ashamed by the things I’ve done to him….said to him. I never thought I could be this hateful bitter person but when I look at him that’s how I feel. That’s why….that’s why if this true…it’s going to ruin everything. It’s going to tie me into this horrible situation. I comforted myself with the fact that I still had something special that I kept for the person who would love me. Now….that might be a lie too. I’ll have nothing left,” Liz said softly. She moved to sit Indian style and just sat listening to the sound of the nocturnal insects.

Isabel waited as Liz just sat there. Finally she stood up and walked toward her. Liz didn’t look around or make any movement at all. Isabel stopped a few steps behind her. “Liz? We need to go. It’s late,” Isabel said softly.

Liz looked up and nodded slowly. “How long have you been here?” Liz asked as she got to her feet.

“I saw you come in. I didn’t want to leave you here alone,” Isabel admitted softly. She waited for Liz to get yell or accuse her of spying.

“Thanks,” was all Liz said. They walked beside each other silently. When they reached the café Liz stopped and looked toward the balcony where the book waited. “Well I better go up. I have to finish this part of the journal.”

Isabel looked over at her and nodded. “You want me to come up with you? I can just be there,” Isabel offered sensing Liz might need someone. This was someone who had been very important to Alex and she wanted Alex to be proud of her. She wanted to see what Alex and Max saw in Liz. She was starting to see Liz as more then someone always in the background. Someone more then just Max’s obsession.

“Thanks for the offer but….I know you need to get home. Max will worry if he finds you gone,” Liz answered.

“Max is asleep. It’s okay,” Isabel said uncertainly.

Liz just nodded and started up the ladder. Isabel waited for her to clear the railing and followed her. The book was right where Liz had dropped it. She settled herself back in her chair and picked it up off the ground. It opened to the page and Liz stared again at the empty condom wrapper.

Isabel sat on the ground her back against the railing and just watched quietly.

Slowly Liz reached out and placed her finger on the wrapper lightly touching the edges. Sliding her fingers around to the top where it was torn open. She felt a rushing sensation in her head and trail of fire flow from her finger up her arm slamming into her chest and stealing her breath.

Isabel gasp as crackling green bolts of energy flickered up Liz’s bare skin from where she was touching the book. Looking up to Liz’s face she saw her eyes roll up into her head as she convulsed briefly before sliding off the chair and onto the ground.

posted on 4-Dec-2002 1:55:31 AM
Hey everyone! I just want to clear up one detail.....I should have posted this in a note BEFORE this part but....well I messed up.

Remember that the episode OFF THE MENU was actually supposed to air before Heart of Mine. So it was before prom before Max had sex with Tess and before Liz even kissed Sean.

So whatever happened between Liz and Max happened before Max was a complete and total asshole. Not that he didn't have his moments but he wasn't totally corrupted and weak at that point......although I really didn't like his attitude about Sean getting stabbed...that was Max's fault totally that Sean got stabbed in the first place.

Hope that clears that up a little.
posted on 4-Dec-2002 11:44:07 AM
Chapter Nine

Isabel rushed over to Liz’s fallen form and pushing the hair off her face she wasn’t comforted. Liz looked like she had green lightening running along the surface of her waxen face. She reached out to check her pulse and found her hand shocked lightly but with growing intensity.

“Liz? Oh god…Liz wake up!” Isabel said starting to panic. Looking around she spotted the phone. She really wanted to call Max but….she didn’t think Liz would want her to.

Isabel tried to touch her again using a little push from her powers but that only made it worse. She cried out as her hand was thrown off Liz quite painfully. She needed someone with no powers….the lighting or whatever seemed to be drawn to like energy. She picked up the phone and dialed.

“Yeah?” Kyle asked annoyed.

“I need you at Liz’s now!” Isabel ordered.

“Is she hurt?” Kyle asked dropping the remote and shoving his feet into his shoes. He didn’t pause for a shirt he just scooped up his keys and headed for the door.

“Yes, I can’t get her to wake up,” Isabel replied and heard a clatter as Kyle dropped the phone on his way out.

Trying to find out what had caused this episode Isabel picked up the journal and started scanning it. By the time she reached the condom wrapper she felt sick. Knowing Tess must have left a latent memory or a false memory flash attached to the wrapper. Taking a guess, that had been the final push to Liz’s control, which had given her powers the opening they needed to flare out of control.

Isabel cursed Tess to hell for this. That warped little troll had misused her powers in every conceivable way. She would happily kill her right now and never feel one ounce of remorse pregnant or not. She wasn’t a person she was a soulless evil thing…nothing good could come from her.

Hearing a screech of tires and a car door slam she was relieved. Seconds later Kyle burst over the railing and rushed to her side.

“What is that? Holy Shit! The fucking Christmas lights….that CUNT! What did she do to Liz?” Kyle asked his mind racing out of control.

“Kyle, see if you can touch her. I can’t it just throws me off,” Isabel urged ignoring his questions.

Kyle reached out and touched her. “Now what?”

Isabel watched as the energy coursed around Kyle not harming him. “Check her pulse and her breathing. I can’t tell if she’s breathing or not and her lips are blue,” Isabel instructed watching closely.

Kyle put his fingers to her throat and felt a weak pulse push against his fingers. Leaning closer he cupped his hand and placed it over her nose and mouth. “She’s breathing and she has a pulse,” Kyle said slightly relieved. He picked her up and moved her to the lounge chair…he didn’t like her laying on the ground like that. “What do we do now?”

Isabel sighed and worried. Was she not doing something she should be? This had never happened before. “I don’t know. I could call Max but….I really don’t think she’s up to seeing him. Unless it’s life or death I would rather not. Tess left a memory flash for Liz. I don’t know if it’s real or not but…”

Kyle’s brow furrowed at her tone. Looking over at the book he stood up and picked it up. It was still open to where Isabel had stopped reading. Backing up a page he started reading.

Isabel stayed quiet watching Liz closely. She thought she was looking better there was no more green lightening. Her pallor was gradually returning to normal. She stifled the urge to call Max and let him fix this. There were a few things she did understand about Liz and her private nature was one of those things. What she had read was so vile….Isabel could understand Liz being devastated. To have Tess privy to your most private memories would be horrible. But what if Tess had implanted a false terrible memory? Isabel’s stomach turned.

Kyle felt his blood freeze as he got the point. He knew better then some how Liz felt about sex. It had come up while they were dating. He still remembered Liz’s earnest conversation about the value she placed on something so intimate. Tess couldn’t have chosen a better way to strike at Liz. He felt impotent fury well up inside him. Surely Tess would suffer for this. If there was any sort of rightness in the universe she would pay. His attention was snapped into sharp focus as Liz opened her eyes. He dropped the book and watched Liz blink and slowly bring things into focus. He saw the exact instant Liz remembered everything….her face crumpled and tears welled up in her eyes.

Isabel watched Kyle kneel beside Liz and start talking to her softly. This was a whole new side to Kyle. He was so gentle with Liz and totally focused. It reaffirmed her previous hints that Kyle was a really good guy underneath.

“It’s okay Liz,” Kyle said softly as her crying slowed.

“No, it’s not. I think it’s true. What am I going to do?” Liz wailed.

“You’re going to move on from here. You’re the same person you were yesterday and I’ll be here to remind you of that,” Kyle said careful not to question her.

“But…what do I tell Max? How am I ever going to tell him about this?” Liz asked looking into Kyle’s steady gaze.

“We don’t have to worry about that now. We don’t even KNOW if it’s true. Tess might have lied or slanted whatever you saw. Let’s just take things slow okay?” Kyle asked keeping his voice gentle.

Liz nodded and wiped at the tears that splashed onto her cheeks. Then she started crying again. “I have nothing left. She destroyed everything that was special to me,” Liz sobbed her hands moving to cover her face.

Kyle pulled her hands from her face and looked her deeply in the eyes. “No, she didn’t. Whatever really happened doesn’t change the fact that YOU are special. Tess can’t take that from you because it’s who you are. Any guy would be lucky to have you. No matter what. You undervalue yourself Liz. Don’t let her do this to you. You’re stronger than she is and better than she is. That’s why she hates you. Don’t let her win,” Kyle said firmly. He was gonna kill Evans if he hurt her. If not he was still tempted to kill him. Stupid bastard turned to TESS instead of Liz…..after Liz? He was way to stupid to live. He was really starting to doubt the intelligence of this so-called advanced race of aliens. They were a sorry bunch if Max was their king.

Isabel moved to Liz’s other side not really knowing what to say but wanting to help.

Liz saw Isabel and felt her fear escalate. “Please don’t tell Max. I can’t…I don’t want to see him yet,” Liz begged Isabel.

“I won’t say anything. I promise,” Isabel said immediately. “Liz did he…he didn’t hurt you did he?”

“No. Max would never do that,” Liz said quickly defending him. “I just….He’ll want to talk about it and try to work this out and I can’t. I can’t handle that right now. I can’t see him. Not until I sort this out in my head.”

Isabel nodded in understanding. Max would be camped out here if he knew. Doing things on someone else’s timetable wasn’t his strong suit.

When Kyle and Isabel finally left, after Liz went to bed, Kyle took the opportunity to talk to Isabel as he was driving her home.

“Isabel, I need to talk to you about something. Tess..she threatened Liz with the FBI. She said Liz was changed and the FBI would love to get her. That normal test results wouldn’t help if she were lit up like Christmas lights,” Kyle said glancing over at Isabel. He was worried about Liz’s safety. Especially now that he had seen Liz flicking with alien powers. Shit….green light. He was now sure he and Liz were turning into little green alien mutants. This sucked ass. Maybe they could have white rooms next to each other so they could talk between hideously painful experiments.

“Oh god,” Isabel moaned. She never doubted that Tess would turn Liz in. What irony…she was sure Tess would find that amusing. “Okay I’ll talk to Michael in the morning and we’ll have to come up with a plan. We need to make sure Liz is protected as much as possible,” Isabel sighed as another thought occurred to her. “Max will freak if he finds out. There will be no keeping him away at that point. It’s only a matter of time before he figures out something is up.”

“Well screw him. I’ll kick his ass if he starts pestering Liz. I’ve had enough of his idiot king routine. I know he’s your brother but he clearly has the retarded gene and I won’t let him fuck with Liz anymore. He fucked up and it’s time he started thinking with more then his dick for a change. This world does not revolve around him and his recreated ass. If Liz wants time she’ll have it,” Kyle said feeling his blood pressure rise at just the thought of Max “I am a flaming asshole” Evans.

Despite herself Isabel felt her lips curve upward at Kyle’s declaration. “Point taken. I’m not arguing. I’m just telling you what will happen. Besides if what Liz saw is a true memory Max may remember it at any time by himself. This situation won’t last forever,” Isabel warned seriously.

Liz lay in bed in the dark thinking about that memory. Debating in her mind whether it was real or faked. Although she wanted to believe it wasn’t real she thought it was. It felt like it was.

Did that really change much though? No not really. Not in terms of how things had ended. It didn’t change the fact that Max was having a child with Tess and he had turned into someone she didn’t like. It wasn’t just the sex that was the problem. Maybe that wasn’t even most of the problem…it was more like the final insult. He had done things and acted in ways she had never dreamed he could. She could still feel the shock of his utterly cold and hateful words the day she had gone to talk to Tess. She had looked at him then as someone unknown to her. The Max she had known was gentle and kindhearted…sweet even if he was a little controlling. He was funny in a quiet way and he cared about people. He didn’t plan to kill college girls in a fire or grab her arm so hard it left bruises. He didn’t threaten his sister and try to force his will on others like he had every right to expect complete compliance. He had changed and she didn’t like those changes. Liz wondered if she was just blind and he had shown faint traces of that behavior before and she just hadn’t seen it. How could he change so fast?

Even with all that had happened and the part she had played she still couldn’t excuse his behavior. He made his own choices and one of those choices had been Tess. It seemed like she had brought out the worst in him. The closer they had gotten the worse he had acted.

Her mind turned back to the night that Brody had held them hostage in the UFO Center. The night Max had kissed her and said he wanted to try again.

Liz had found herself sitting on the edge of Max’s desk with no real memory of how she had gotten there. Her eyes slipped closed as he trailed biting kisses down her throat. She didn’t think about other versions of Max or that horrible Tess or anything but how RIGHT this felt. To be with Max like this….all the love she had kept hidden for so long flooded out. Her skin felt hot and a size too small as Max’s hands slid up her bare legs.

Max wasn’t thinking at all. Liz was here he could feel her and was surrounded by her scent and he was lost in it. Her skin was so soft and warm he pushed her uniform out of his way not really noticing the sound of the snaps parting to make way for him.

Liz moaned as Max’s fingers curled around her hips pulling her closer as his teeth nipped at her ear. Her senses roared to life under his hands and mouth. She felt a sudden brush of cold air across her skin as Max pulled back, slightly dizzy she braced her hands on the desk behind her.

Max pulled his shirt off and stopped dead as his eyes fell on Liz. He could swear he had had this exact fantasy on more then one occasion. He smiled with satisfaction as he noted her ravished appearance and heavy lidded dark eyes. Her lips were swollen and her cheeks flushed with color while her ponytail hung askew. Her uniform was open all the way down and his eyes glittered as he took in her almost transparent bra and matching silver panties. He stepped back between her legs and buried his face in the hollow of her neck and shoulder.

Liz sank her fingers into his hair and held him close. “Max….we shouldn’t be doing this,” Liz whispered as reason tried to struggle to the surface.

“Why? Why is it so wrong for us to be together?” Max asked not moving from his spot but wrapping his arms around her tighter. Kyle drifted through his mind but he quickly ignored that unwelcome intrusion.

“It’s complicated. You know it is,” Liz replied not really remembering why…just that it was. It was hard to think when Max’s breath was teasing her skin and his hard body was pressing into hers.

“No, it’s not really,” Max denied stubbornly.

“It’s wrong. Oh god Max!…what are you doing?” Liz gasp as Max released the hooks holding her bra together while sucking hard on her neck.

“Does this really feel wrong to you?” Max asked pulling away only far enough to see her eyes still clutching her tightly afraid to let go of her.

Liz looked into his eyes and could see the hurt swirling in their depths. All her resistance faded. She just couldn’t hurt him again. “No, it doesn’t,” Liz sighed and smiled.

Max’s heart soared at her gentle smile and he kissed her meddling their mouths together….seducing her into full participation. He groaned as her fingers trailed over his chest and lost his mind as her nails lightly scrapped over his ribs while her tongue slid along his.

Liz allowed Max to slide her uniform down her arms followed by her bra. She looked up at him a little nervously as he pulled away to look at her. She had never felt this exposed before but she relaxed at the look on his face.

Max felt his knees weaken as he looked at her. She was so beautiful. He took her hand and led her to his bed fearing his legs wouldn’t hold him. He could tell she was nervous and he moved to put her more at ease by pulling her onto his lap and hugging her close. “Can I let your hair down?” Max asked softly by her ear.

“You have a hair thing don’t you?” Liz teased a smile playing over her lips.

“Yeah….I love your hair. I used to look at it for hours in the fifth grade. You sat right in front me. I was really mad when Taylor kept spitting those spit balls in it,” Max said his eyes twinkling.

Liz frowned as she remembered Taylor. “I didn’t like him. He used to pinch me all the time and try to give me Indian burns. I’m sure it was an early sign of a disturbed mind,” Liz said as she reached up to release her hair.

Max struggled to keep his eyes from rolling back into his head as she raised her arms pulling out her hair tie. He shifted her on his lap trying to concentrate. “You disturbed him alright. I was happy when he moved,” Max said vaguely as he watched her shake out the long strands of her hair. His fingers moved to play with one lock of silky hair.

Liz rolled her eyes and smiled. “Better?”

“Yeah, come a little closer,” Max urged wanting to kiss her.

Liz wiggled around so she was straddling his lap and bent forward to run her tongue along his gorgeous lower lip. She captured it with her teeth and sucked on it lightly before deepening their kiss slowly. She had missed kissing him…it was even better then she remembered.

Max slowly turned them so Liz lay on her back with her feet dangling just above the floor as he hovered over her. He reached down and undid his pants and let them slip to the floor before pulling his wallet out of his pocket and tossing it onto the bed. He moved to kick the pants off totally forgetting his shoes…damn it! Finally free he kissed his way down her neck to her breasts. Circling her nipple with his tongue he used his perfect memory of previous makeout sessions to drive her crazy pleased when he heard her moan.

Liz felt her back arch involuntarily under his mouth and she moaned softly. When he moved over onto the bed she rolled with him following the heat of his body. She sighed as his hand moved to her lower back holding her to him. His ear drew her attention and her mouth moved to nibble the outer curve of it before her tongue traced a return path.

Max shivered as her warm breath blew across his ear in short quick breaths. As her mouth moved down to his neck he slid his hand under her panties to cup the petal soft skin of her bottom. He groaned as her leg moved up over his hip and he pulled her closer.

Liz didn’t pay any attention as he worked her panties off with a little help from his powers. It was feeling him settle between her legs that had her pulling her lips from his skin. “Max? I need to tell you..”

Max kissed her slowly one hand sliding through her hair. He pulled back panting and kissed her nose and watched her smile. He reached for his wallet and fumbled a moment as he pulled out the condom.

“Umm…Max…” Liz started only to gasp sharply as his fingers brushed over her sex parting her folds and sending a sharp ache through her belly. Her eyes slipped closed and her teeth caught her lip as he rubbed her clitoris softly.

Max ripped open the packet with his teeth and discarded the empty wrapper not noticing it flutter to the floor.

When Liz felt the head of his penis rubbing between her folds she opened her eyes. “Max wait,” Liz said her hand resting flat on his chest.

Max froze panting lightly and his eyes sought hers. “Liz?”

“Just…go slow okay?” Liz asked softly her eyes huge and anxious eclipsing the rest of her face.

He saw her sudden nervousness and he paused. He kissed her softly taking time to coax her response and feel her melt under him. He slowly pushed into her watching her eyes carefully. His hand fisted in the bedspread as he felt her wet heat surround his throbbing erection. When she stiffened slightly under him and he hit an obstruction he stopped. “Liz…what?” Max asked as what he had often suspected was confirmed.

“Later okay?” Liz asked knowing that was going to be a long conversation.

Max studied her face and the tears shimmering in her eyes.

“Do you want to stop? Maybe I should tell you first,” Liz asked suddenly unsure as he stared at her. All her fears started floating to the surface as she waited for his response.

Max looked into her eyes and framed her face with his hands. “I don’t want to stop. There isn’t anything you could tell me to make me not want you. This is going to happen if not today then soon,” He said watching her eyes and rocking inside her slightly to coax her agreement.

Liz nodded and brought his head down to kiss him slowly. It was too late for doubts now. She loved him and was tired of trying to deny it and hide it away like it was something to be ashamed of. She wanted to feel him and take away a small piece of the pain she had caused him. She wanted to please him. “I love you so much Max,” Liz sighed against his mouth.

Max laced their fingers together as relief flooded him at her words, which was matched by look in her eyes. For the first time in way too long what she said matched what he saw in her eyes. “I love you too,” Max said tenderly and kissed her deeply only breaking away when she was limp under him. He braced himself then pushed into her completely.

Liz cried out in pain and tightened her grip on his fingers. She lay under him gasping at the burning pain and trying not to cry.

Max stilled and waited for several long minutes until her grip on his fingers loosened. Then watching her eyes he slowly started to move tensing when she flinched at first relaxing only when she sent him a wobbly smile. She was so small and delicate he was afraid to move faster. He didn’t want to hurt her more then he already had.

Liz slowly relaxed enough to notice how slow and careful Max was being. She slid her free hand to the nape of his neck and urged his head down so she could kiss him. She took her time giving him slow wet kisses that gradually built the heat between them trying to show him how much she loved him.

Max lost himself in the taste of her and without really thinking about it he matched the pace of their lovemaking to the tone of her kisses. He groaned as she lifted her hips meeting his slow thrusts her inner muscles contracting gently in adjustment. He buried his face in her neck as he tried desperately to control himself.

“Max….please just….go a little faster,” Liz gasp at the growing warmth. She could feel her body tightening around him.

Max groaned in surrender and complied with her request and she easily matched his rhythm. “Oh shit Liz!” Max said as he felt her tighten around him sharply.

Liz felt instinct take over and she spread her legs wider as she pulled him down onto her needing his weight and the friction of his body along hers. Her world narrowed down to Max and the feel of him moving on her inside her.

Max was sure his heart was about to explode out of his chest. A harsh groan tore it’s way out of him and the need to thrust deep was growing stronger trying to overpower his waning control. The silken glide of her skin along his own, the tight clasp of her, the feel of her hips rocking against him were more intense and shattering then he could have ever imagined.

“Oh god….Max….please…I need…please,” Liz pleaded not really knowing what it was that she needed.

His vision turned dark around the edges as her words tore away any remaining reason. He surged into her his weight pressing her hard into the mattress. As he thrust faster he felt a snap and his powers welled up inside him building in direct proportion to his approaching climax.

A breathless sob escaped her as her whole body trembled faintly before surging wildly. She dimly felt Max stiffen and drive into her one last time but most of her attention was captured by the energy zinging along her neural pathways. She could almost hear the crackle of electricity being released. She cradled Max’s body as he sank back down onto her and her mind floated free. She stroked his back absently feeling content and happy.

“Liz?” Max asked when he had collected himself enough to speak.

“Hmmm?” She responded slowly.

“I’m the happiest half human on the planet. I’m keeping you,” Max said lazily shifting onto his elbows to see her face.

Liz smiled in amusement. “Are you sure? There’s a 30 day return policy,” Liz said her tone reflecting her good mood.

“No returns or exchanges. My minds made up. In fact you’ll have to fight me to go home tonight,” Max said grinning.

Liz sniffed and buried her face in her pillow. That conversation wasn’t so funny now looking back. In point of fact she didn’t remember how she got home or when. She remembered waking up in her bed the next morning and working her shift in the CrashDown like usual none the wiser. She wondered briefly what Max remembered.

Liz watched the sun rise with disinterest and made no move to start her day. As morning turned into afternoon her eyes stayed on the ceiling watching the play of light change as the day passed by without her.

posted on 5-Dec-2002 9:32:20 AM
Hi everyone! Normally I would have posted by now but my schedule got a little messed up yesterday. So I think later today hopefully.

Now about the timeframe. I'm sticking by it to a point. This memory is set so Liz thinks it takes place right after Off The Menu. Remember that Off The Menu was supposed to be the episode after Vegas. I don't care what Maria's chalkboard talk has to say. *tongue* I think this episode has a little wiggle room and I'm using it for a couple of reasons. This was the first total unveiling of Max in ass mode. There where hints before but this was different. What he did was blantant in this episode and that's what I was looking for. Yes Liz was pissed off about what happened with Sean rightfully so but I think she could have forgiven Max at this point. She would have no clue where Max was headed and how bad it would get. It would be easy to talk yourself out of what really was a specific action/choice to have Sean hurt instead of Brody. Also they were arguing about it before winding up on the least so Liz is lead to believe. Personally I don't see Tess as being a kindhearted soul who would give Liz back an untapered with beautiful memory of her first time do you?

I totally agree with the fact that Liz loved Max. At least the Max we saw in the memory. The question is is he the same person now? Or can he reclaim some of those pieces of himself and get back to a resonable likeness of that person. I'm a bit shaky on Max. I believe he thinks he loves her. I believe he may have loved her wasn't really enough to hold him true to his values or to the spirt of that love. We'll see.

livia~Let me tell you two things. You are totally right about it being a travesty. The condom issue and trusting Max are two very good points. Max was not mindwarped into sex. That is a fact in this story. But he doesn't remember having sex with Liz. If he did I can't see him not chasing her. He would want answers to the Kyle lie at the very least.

BelevenDreamsToo~You have corrupted me! I wasn't going to have that memory. But I thought of you and tried to think of how to swing it and stay true to what I wanted to do and I think this will be even better. But I'm still mad at Max. ::pouts:: He shouldn't be having fun. I still can't say that they will end up together so don't kill me if Liz finds someone else. I'm warning you now aren't I?


Tess is a consumate manipulator, and the record she left is a continuation of her games.


I couldn't have said it better. Tess has a plan and this is part of it.

mareli~I would never crucify you! Opinions are the name of the game here. So keep em coming

posted on 5-Dec-2002 5:46:04 PM
Chapter Ten

Isabel got up a little late after her nighttime wanderings with Liz and Kyle. She slipped into the shower and eventually out of the house without seeing Max. She walked to Michael’s trying to sort everything out in her own head. She felt like she was being pulled in two different directions. She loved Max and wanted to support him. She wanted to prove that she wasn’t going to betray her family like she had before. But she also understood that Liz had gone through a lot and had helped them more than they maybe deserved. The female part of her abhorred what Max had done. She too had seen a terrible side to Max over the last few months and it made her hesitant to just side with him unilaterally. She wanted to be her own person with her own opinions not just blindly following Max…especially with the recent developments.

Isabel was starting to think that it would be nice to have real friends. People to turn to other than just Max and Michael. People who were around because they wanted to be not because she was family or they felt obligated. Alex had been the first person to give her hope that that was possible. That she had something to offer other then just how she looked and could show the person she was underneath. That just maybe she could become something more than she was. He had persisted in seeing the best in her even when she herself didn’t. It had even been kind of nice to be called on her behavior.

She reached Michael’s front door and knocked hoping he was home since she hadn’t called first. She heard movement inside the apartment and waited patiently for him to answer. When Michael opened the door she wasn’t surprised to see Maria lounging on the couch.

“Michael, we need to talk. Max isn’t here is he?” Isabel asked seriously. She hadn’t considered the possibility that she hadn’t run into Max was because he was here until now.

“No, he’s not just Maria and I are here. What’s up?” Michael asked as he let Isabel inside and closed the door behind her.

“Something came up last night and we need to talk about it and come up with a plan. Maybe I should call Kyle over too,” Isabel said thoughtfully moving into the small living room.

“What happened? Is it Liz?” Maria asked. She and Michael had just been discussing Liz before Isabel arrived. She was really worried about her. She had tried everything to get Liz to talk to her but hadn’t gotten anywhere.

“It concerns Liz. Let me call Kyle then I’ll tell you what happened,” Isabel said and went to the phone. After Kyle agreed to come over she turned back to Michael and Maria. “Tess has made some threats to Liz in that journal. She mentioned Liz being of interest to the FBI. She said the same thing Ava did about Liz being changed due to the healing. Last night I couldn’t sleep so I went for a run and ended up at the cemetery. I um..saw Liz there. This journal is doing a number on her. I walked her back to the café and sat with her while she read some more of the journal. Tess left a latent memory or a fake memory flash for Liz. She tied it to the journal. It upset her enough so she displayed powers. She had green lightening like stuff running over her skin. She passed out and I couldn’t touch her…it like…reacted to my powers..shocked me and forcefully repelled my touch. I had to call Kyle to help. He was able to touch her. I think Tess planned this. I think the whole point of that journal is to force Liz to loose control over her powers among other things. We know Tess had help so what if whoever helped her is after Liz? Tess hated her we know that so what if she worked out a way to hurt her?” Isabel asked voicing what she had been thinking since last night.

“We need to tell Max. He can scan her or try to find out what’s happening. He healed her after all,” Michael said. This was getting out of hand. Petty arguments needed to be put aside to handle this problem.

“No. We can’t tell Max,” Isabel denied immediately.

Maria narrowed her eyes at Isabel’s hasty rejection of Max as an option. Isabel never argued against telling Max something. “Why? What makes you say we can’t tell Max? You always want to go to Max. Liz’s wishes don’t usually hold much weight with you,” Maria asked. Isabel knew more than she was saying.

“That flash was about Max and it really freaked Liz out. I don’t think it’s wise to force her to deal with Max on top of everything else. It may cause more damage then anything else,” Isabel replied. She didn’t think it was her place to talk about Liz’s private life. “Max won’t let this go. You know he won’t. Giving her space won’t be an option. I think they both need a little time to sort things out.”

The way Isabel avoided eye contact and fidgeted convinced Maria that Isabel knew something important. That flash was important and Isabel knew what it was.

“Time may not be an option anymore Isabel. This is serious,” Michael argued.

“So are other things Michael. Look…Liz is about at her limit here. You know I am usually the first one to want to get Max involved but this time I think it would be a mistake. He isn’t thinking right himself and hasn’t had the best judgement lately. I promised Liz I wouldn’t tell Max and I’m not going to and neither are you. I’m asking for your help Michael. I need your help but you can’t tell Max,” Isabel said watching Michael’s face. “I’ve helped you and not told Max. I helped you send that signal at the library now I need your help.”

Michael sighed in resignation. “Okay. I’ll help and I won’t say anything. What do you want to do?” He asked not at all happy about this.

“Thank you,” Isabel said as someone knocked on the front door.

“Who is it?” Michael barked.

“Kyle,” Kyle replied wondering when exactly he became a key member in an alien conspiracy. Oh yeah when mister “I have the power” healed him. He had never even liked the X-Files.

“Doors open,” Michael answered and waited for Kyle to come in and sit down.

“So where are we?” Kyle asked looking at the rest of the room’s occupants.

“I told them about the threats to Liz, the green stuff, and got them to agree to help without telling Max,” Isabel answered sending Kyle a look.

Kyle received the meaning in that look and nodded. “Okay so we’re all caught up. Now we need to come up with a plan. The times when Liz is at work are covered because she is usually working with one of you,” Kyle said pointing to Maria and Michael. “I got her to promise not to run off chasing down leads without me so that’s covered. I was thinking about asking my dad to help see if anyone might be hanging around like the FBI or someone. He’s better at noticing surveillance type operations and still had some contacts he can use. Maybe this will convince him to become a PI. What do you think?” Kyle asked.

“Good idea. They might not notice him or expect him to be so involved,” Michael answered thoughtfully. Whoever it was would know the rest of them were closely tied to Liz but the former Sheriff was a different story. The very fact that he was no longer Sheriff would lead someone to believe he wouldn’t be of use to them anymore.

“Okay, so what about the rest of the time?” Maria asked.

“Well we can all just spend time with her. We were all helping her with the Alex thing. I think we need to continue with that anyway. It might tell us who the person is that we’re looking for. All of this is tied together by virtue of Tess. I’ll work with Liz on her powers and we’ll see how things go,” Isabel answered.

“Speaking of the Alex thing….Derek got into the ULC computer but he hasn’t found Ray yet. He is going through all the Ray’s enrolled during that time so it might take awhile. He has to look at variations of the name and all that. Good thing he thinks this is a challenge or I might have a harder time getting him to continue,” Maria said letting them know where she was with her task. “I’ll swing by and talk to Liz this afternoon. Girlfriend is going to spill her guts. I’m not going to settle for fine. Liz is gonna talk even if I have to work on her all night,” Maria said determination clear in her voice.

“Anyone know what Max is up to?” Kyle asked curious.

“Last time we talked he said going through the Destiny translation looking for information. He said he needed to find a way to contact his son,” Michael answered.

“Yeah like we really need demon spawn on Earth. We just got rid of Tess,” Maria remarked annoyed.

“Keeps him busy at least. What kind of trouble can he get into? Besides it keeps him out of our hair for awhile,” Michael said wrapping his arm around Maria and pulling her closer.

“True. What about Tess’s room? Are we done searching it?” Maria asked.

“Most of it. There’s just the bookcase left. I thought I could do that today,” Kyle replied not really looking forward to it. That room gave him the creeps. Maybe a remodel was called for.

Before anyone could reply Michael’s phone rang. Michael got up and answered it as the rest of the group listened to his side of the conversation.

“Yeah?” Michael said gruffly.

“Michael it’s Max. I wanted you to know Hanson came by and questioned me about Tess. Nothing major but he might come looking for you. He just asked about the last time I saw her and all that. He’ll want to verify our car accident and the details of our story,” Max informed him.

“No sweat. Did he give you any idea what he thinks?” Michael asked.

“Not really he asked about Tess’s family and if she had talked about going back to living with her dad. Stuff like that,” Max answered not worried. They had expected this.

“Okay. I better go Isabel’s over and busting my balls about the condition of the bathroom,” Michael said smirking over at Isabel who just rolled her eyes.

“Better you then me. Talk to you later,” Max said and hung up.

Michael hung up and turned to the group. “Hanson finally got around to questioning Max. It’s about what we expected,” Michael explained plopping back down on the couch.

Soon after the group split up. Maria headed for Liz’s house while Isabel actually did start hassling Michael about his bathroom. Kyle headed home to finish Tess’s room and talk to his dad.

After talking to Michael Max headed over to the Valenti house. It had occurred to him that Tess might have left something to give him a direction to start looking in. Surely Nesado had had contact with someone to make that deal. The skins and everyone else seemed to be able to communicate with Antar so it seemed reasonable to assume Tess and Nesado had been able to as well.

His knock was answered by Jim Valenti. “Hi. What can I do for you Max?” Jim asked.

“I was just wondering if I could look through Tess’s stuff to see if she left anything important,” Max said rubbing the back of his neck.

“Sure Max but the kids have pretty much packed it all up. The box’s are in the garage. I think the only thing they haven’t looked through yet is her Bronco,” Jim replied.

“They’ve been packing up her stuff?” Max asked surprised.

“Yeah, Kyle wanted his room back so the girl’s have been helping him get rid of all her stuff. I’m sure if they found anything they would have told you but you’re welcome to look for yourself,” Jim said leading Max out to the garage and pointing to the stack of boxes.

“Thanks. I think I’ll start with the Bronco then,” Max said turning to look at the vehicle parked in the driveway.

“Alright. Yell if you need anything,” Jim said and retreated to the house.

Max started searching the vehicle taking his time and being as through as possible. Not finding anything he sat back and thought about it. Going to the back of the SUV he opened the rear hatch and after he didn’t find anything there he lifted the carpet. Jack pot. He removed the envelope he found there and shoved it in his pocket as Kyle pulled into the driveway. He shut the door as Kyle walked up.

“Hey man what are you up to?” Kyle asked trying to smother his resentment of the alien.

“Just checking out Tess’s car. What about you? Find anything in her stuff?” Max asked folding his arms over his chest and trying to ignore his own resentment of the other teen.

“Nope. You?” Kyle asked.

“No. Well, I better take off. See ya,” Max said starting for his mom’s car. He was going to look at a car this afternoon and he couldn’t wait. He hated begging for his mom’s car.

“See ya around,” Kyle said making it clear he wasn’t looking forward to that event.

“Yeah, you too,” Max said receiving the message and returning it. He was still a little ticked about the string of practical jokes Kyle had helped Isabel play on him. Besides he never had been comfortable with Kyle and the last year hadn’t improved that any.

Kyle watched him pull away before going into the house.

Maria entered Liz’s room without knocking and seeing Liz still in bed she went and lay beside her. “So. You ready to talk yet? Oh don’t bother with the fine thing because it’s totally played out and won’t work. You’re still in bed at four in the afternoon,” Maria said staring at the ceiling.

Liz just sighed and didn’t reply.

“Liz. I’m not leaving until you talk. I’ve had it. You’re laying in your dark room on a beautiful summer day. As your best friend I have to step in here,” Maria said and waited.

“It’s daytime Maria. My room isn’t dark,” Liz answered.

“Just a detail you get my point. Spill,” Maria said her tone not advising further side stepping.

“I’m just trying to sort things out. I do that better in bed,” Liz lied.

“Liz, I’m not buying it. I’m worried about you. Something’s happening here and it’s obviously upsetting you. Please don’t shut me out. You know you can tell me anything. I love you Lizzy. I’m on your side and I really want to help you,” Maria said getting even more worried. “This isn’t you.”

“How do you know? I don’t even know me anymore,” Liz answered. “You can’t help me Maria. I don’t even know what to tell you. I have no idea what’s real and what isn’t.”

“I do know you. Liz…I know a lot has happened and it’s easy to get lost in all the details. Why you just tell me what’s going on and maybe we can figure some of it out?” Maria offered looking over at Liz.

“Tess screwed with my head. She did something to me. Nothing makes sense anymore,” Liz started slowly. “She left me this….flash.”

“Okay…what was it?” Maria asked deeply troubled by the thought that Tess messed with Liz. She had already lost Alex that way and it scared her to think of something happening to Liz. She had never seen Liz so depressed and upset. Liz never just brooded in her room this was totally unlike her.

“It was me having sex with Max,” Liz answered softly.

“WHAT?!” Maria asked bolting upright and looking down at Liz in shock. Seeing the tears in Liz’s eyes had her getting even more upset.

Liz explained about reading the journal and what Tess had said. She told her about the wrapper and what was in the flash. “I’ve been thinking about it and something’s are bothering me. The memory wasn’t really complete. I don’t remember how I got to Max’s room or how I got home. I don’t remember much after the sex either. I was in my uniform but I don’t remember my coat. I was wearing my coat at the UFO Center. It had the camera attached remember? I looked for the panties I was wearing and I can’t find them or the bra for that matter. I don’t know what to believe,” Liz finished.

“Did it seem real? Like you I mean?” Maria asked feeling sick for Liz. No wonder Isabel hadn’t wanted to call Max.

“Yes and no. I don’t know. It felt real but it seems strange to me that Tess would just suddenly decide to give that memory back to me. Plus….I was upset with Max. I just…I don’t know what to believe,” Liz said. She had just been going in circles with this all day.

Maria thought back to that day and tried to remember what had happened when they had all left the UFO Center. She had gone home with Sean and her Mom. She thought Max had left with Isabel and Michael. “Why don’t you call Isabel? She knows more about this mind power stuff and I thought she left with Max that night. Plus she has the room right next to him. She might be able to help with this,” Maria said knowing better then to suggest asking Max about it.

Liz pondered that suggestion and agreed it had merit. “That’s good idea. I’ll call her,” Liz said but made no move to get up.

“So how do you feel about all this?” Maria asked after a moment of silence.

“How am I supposed to feel? I feel like something special was stolen from me and returned damaged and corrupt. This just makes everything worse. I don’t even like him right now and now I’ve had sex with him? I just…this just confuses things even more. I don’t understand how he turned into the person he is right now. If Tess really did steal this memory from both of us…it might have changed things Maria. I guess that doesn’t matter. None of this really matters. He is who he is and this doesn’t change that,” Liz said feeling even more depressed then before. “If this is true and he remembers he’s never going to leave me alone.”

“Is that what you want? For him to leave you alone?” Maria asked knowing she was right.

“I know that I’ll never be totally free of him. I mean we have the same friends and share this secret. Now I’m getting powers and everything so we’ll have to remain civil to each other but…I don’t want more than that right now. I don’t know if I can get over all the stuff that has happened. I feel so much rage. Before this I had a chance to get out. Now there’s no chance in hell,” Liz replied.

“Liz, I doubt he will just leave you alone even if he doesn’t remember or it’s not true. He waited for you all last summer and chased you after you got back. Even without this he seems to want you back,” Maria pointed out.

“That may be true but this will just make it worse. I don’t feel like dealing with it. I get tired just thinking about all the arguments ahead,” Liz said rubbing her forehead where a headache was building.

“Are you angry with him about this?” Maria asked.

“No. It’s not his fault if Tess did this. I can’t blame him for this. I mean apparently I was there and agreed to it,” Liz answered.

“If it’s true are you sorry?” Maria asked.

“Yes. It was a mistake,” Liz answered at once.

“Liz….you loved him,” Maria reminded her.

“I know that but it doesn’t matter. It didn’t matter then and it matters even less now. It doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t make it any easier to forgive him. It just makes me feel stupid,” Liz said getting upset.

“You’re not stupid. You loved him and there was a reason for that. Don’t let Tess totally cloud your thinking. Max made a lot of bad mistakes but I know he loved you too. That means something Liz,” Maria returned quietly.

“What does it mean? I don’t know what any of this means anymore. What am I supposed to do? You have no idea how sick it makes me to even look at him. I know exactly what he did. I got flashes of him having sex with her and what he said to Michael about it….how he felt about it. I don’t know if I can ever forgive him. He knew exactly what he was doing. He thought about me before he had sex, while he was having sex, and when he woke up. He knew he was making a mistake. He was pissed because I had supposedly left for Sweden and he was still mad about Kyle. He felt out of control, and totally alone, he wanted to hurt me by doing the same thing I supposedly did, he was working it around in his head that it was his destiny and was meant to happen. He used all of that to justify it in his head. He didn’t love her or really want to be with her. How am I suppose to feel about that? He is an asshole. Does it matter if he wasn’t that way when we had sex? He is that way now. Now is what matters. The past is done and I can’t change it but that doesn’t mean I have to pay for it forever either,” Liz said glancing over at Maria. She was so upset her hands were starting to flicker with green bolts of energy. “That’s not even including his other examples of stupidity.”

“I think the first thing we need to do is call Isabel,” Maria said staring at her hands.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 5-Dec-2002 6:07:25 PM ]
posted on 6-Dec-2002 7:04:51 AM
Okay the first thing I want to say is this. I knew when I started this story that I was dealing with a majorly touchy issue and that I couldn't make everyone happy. I expect to be "flamed" {although I don't really see that as a bad thing} for the direction this is gonna go. I also expect some of you to stop reading before the end. This is a hard story to's filled with pain, angst, mistakes, and tons of difficult things. I have plotted out some aspects of the story and am leaving others open to be worked out as I go. I really love to hear your thoughts even if you hate what happens....after all didn't we pretty much all hate what happened in season 2 at some time or another? My goal with this is to get something out of it at the end.....something worth it. I just hated the people disappearing without a word {Amy, Sean, Brody}, and all the things left unexplored and never to be seen or talked about again. I couldn't stand Liz turning into what she did and Kyle being under used and Isabel made into a cardboard freak.

So once again I am saying that in the end I am hoping like hell for a good ending...not promising a "Max and Liz live happily ever after " ending but a good one none the less. My goal is not to make what Max did okay or to try to squeak him by even though he did terrible things. Because to me what he did WAS terrible. I am not writing this to make him worthy of Liz again per say...I just want him to be better then he was. Now I know we all chose sides on this issue but I have never minced words about which side I fall MaxHater label isn't totally unjustified....I do hate what he did. I do hold him responsible. Tess may have been evil and influenced him to some degree but Max allowed a lot of what happened and made things worse in some cases. I am really trying my hardest to be fair to all the characters. I'm writing what I saw and taking it from there. There are going to be gray areas in this where depending on how you feel about Max you may or may not side with him. That's life to me....he isn't a totally soulless evil thing like Tess. My only real hope with this story is to bring something new to what we had and try my best to come out with something worth something.

That being said...what Liz said at the end of the part wasn't excusing him. She thinks his reasons are shit. She was telling Maria how MAX felt about what he did at the time. Just because they make sense to Max and he was able to justify it to himself doesn't mean Liz feels the same. We all tend to want to think we are good people and maybe right when we aren't.

I have read a lot of fics on this time frame myself and and found myself either giving up on them or being unsatisfied in some way with what happened. In fact it sort of expanded my belief that more people want to excuse Max no matter what then really look at things or explore the messy feelings involved. The mindwarp excuse wore thin for me and so did the "just making it go away" way of handling it. Somethings aren't going away in this story. Max DID have sex with Tess. He wasn't mindwarped...influenced yes but still accountable. There is a baby or two out there somewhere. Those things are staying. The rest is open season. Hey I have to keep it interesting right?

Okay lets talk about Isabel....I liked her. I think that shows. I don't agree with everything she did of course but I could understand it to a degree. So I am not going to torture her.....on the flip side she will not be falling in love and getting married like two seconds after Alex died either. I think that was a cop out and a travisty to her character and feelings for Alex. I think she did have feelings for Alex....they may not have been as sure and strong as his for her but they were there. I also think she did him wrong to a degree but we all make mistakes and I think Alex dying is enough payment. Plus come on she's related to Max....right now that's a punishment in and of itself. lol

Now about Liz's feelings...yes she has strong feelings for Max and they pretty much run the full spectrum at the moment. She is being hit with a lot all in a short amount of time. It would be odd if she were totally over him. So it'll take her some time to sort things out and how Max handles himself is going to really tell the tale.

Now we all know Max can be obsessive. I think we can all agree he was obessed with Liz. He has that tunnel vision trait in a major way and that's not going to help him here. That is one of the things I could see being true in season three. It was Liz's response I didn't agree with. He better watch his step here because Liz isn't going to tolerate very much of his crap.

Lastly....begonia9508....Thank you so much for your feed back. It meant a lot to me and your thoughts are always welcome.

Also I swear I have been up most of the night....maybe Tess messed with my mind because insomnia is not a stranger to me. So my posts will not be on a regular schedule as in time of day or night. I thought I should warn you ahead!

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 6-Dec-2002 8:02:19 AM ]
posted on 7-Dec-2002 10:09:23 AM
Chapter Eleven

Isabel arrived at Liz’s by way of her balcony. Stepping into the room she heard the shower running and Maria sitting on the bed. “How’s she doing?” Isabel asked as she took a seat in Liz’s desk chair spinning it to face Maria.

“Well when she first stepped in the shower she was popping and throwing sparks. I thought she was about to electrocute herself but I think she’s calmed down a little. Isabel, what the heck is going on here? This is…just crazy!” Maria exclaimed. She had about twenty minutes of a freak out pent up and waiting to be released.

“I really don’t know. I mean obviously she is developing powers and I know from experience that emotions effect how much control you have over them but this is…more extreme. None of us have had the lighting like she does. That’s a total loss of control,” Isabel answered the best she could.

“I’ve never seen her this upset. She was still in bed when I got here with no intention of getting up. This is really bad. We were talking about Max when she lit up like I plugged her into an outlet. She’s been turning the flash over in her mind all day….finding faults with it. She wants to say it isn’t true but she isn’t sure,” Maria said twisting her fingers. She was quickly working up to full-fledged panic mode. She just couldn’t loose Liz too. That was unacceptable.

“Maria, chill out. You freaking out won’t help her,” Isabel said with an eye roll.

Maria took a few deep breaths and nodded. They heard the shower turn off and few minutes later Liz came out in her robe her hair still wet. “Hi Isabel. Thanks for coming,” Liz said in greeting. She walked to her dresser and reached for her brush.

“Sure. Maria said you have some questions?” Isabel asked watching her start to brush her hair.

“Um yeah I do. A lot of them actually,” Liz said not turning around. “There are some things that just don’t add up with this flash. I was wondering if there is a way to tell if it’s fake or been tampered with.”

“I’ve never tried to do what Tess did…remove a memory and replace it with something or just erase it but….when I dreamwalk I can tell if it’s a memory type of dream or just a random dream. They have a different tone or feel to them. It’s hard to explain but I can tell. When I dreamwalked Pierce and Max when they were awake that had a separate tone too. I would think that I could tell the difference. Can you tell me what doesn’t add up?” Isabel asked. She was trying really hard to push away the creep out factor here.

“Ummm are you sure that you want to know this stuff?” Liz asked setting down her brush and joining Maria on the bed.

“Well it’s either me or Michael that has to help you so you can decide,” Isabel pointed out.

Liz wrinkled her nose at the thought of Michael. “You. Defiantly you. Sorry, I know this is going to have a high ick factor for you but I so can not even picture talking to Michael about this,” Liz said smiling for the first time that day at the picture that brought to mind. “Although you know it might be worth it just see the look on his face.”

Isabel smiled back and nodded. “Yeah, that’s what I thought. Anyway, I really want to see what Tess was up to. This might help me learn something and we need all the help we can get right now,” Isabel said brushing off Liz’s gratitude. She was determined to see this through. It was time she started to help get them all out of this mess.

“Okay well…The flash seems like it took place after Brody held us hostage in the UFO Center. I was dressed like I was that day. I don’t remember how I got to Max’s room or home. It’s like the memory cuts off at both ends. I don’t remember seeing my coat from that day though and I looked for the bra and panties I was wearing in the flash but I can’t find them anywhere. Something just keeps nagging at me about that flash but I can’t really place what it is. It seems….off somehow…incomplete maybe I don’t know,” Liz said frustrated.

“Michael, Max, and I left the UFO Center together. We went back to Max’s room and checked out that disc Max took from Brody and talked about what had happened. It was late when Michael left and I went to my room,” Isabel said thinking back.

“Max and I argued about Sean at first. I’m sure you would have heard us if you were in the room next door,” Liz said not mentioning what else she may have heard.

“I went right to sleep. Max wanted me to dreamwalk Brody to make sure there wasn’t anything off about his dreams. I wouldn’t have heard you if you were in the room with me arguing. The next morning Tess was over when I got up which I thought was a little strange. Max doesn’t usually get up that early but he said they were starting that memory retrieval crap so I didn’t question it too much. Max said they had decided that the night before and he forgot to mention it. I guess Brody remembered when Zan saw Ava for the first time or something and that made him curious. That’s really all I remember,” Isabel said wracking her brain for anything else but that was months ago. The only reason she even remembered Tess being there at all was because she had been pissed that Max was bugging out on plans they had made.

“Is there some other way to determine whether this is a valid flash?” Maria asked disappointed.

“I’ve been thinking about that. Maybe if I connected to Liz and she brought the memory to the surface I could tell. It would be more like a dream that way. The down side is…I would see everything. I don’t know how to do it otherwise. I’m sorry,” Isabel said with a slight grimace. She was well aware of what a sacrifice this would be for both of them but she just didn’t see another way.

Liz stayed silent as she thought it through. Did it really matter that much? Was it really important in the end? It didn’t change what she thought of Max now. She tucked her hair behind her ear and brought out her biggest fear. Bigger than finding out that she really HAD slept with Max. What if Tess had lied about that being the only time she had messed with her mind? If she did it once it seemed unlikely that she wouldn’t do it again. What else might be hidden from her or stolen from her? When she spoke her voice was quiet and she looked at her toes to avoid the two pairs of eyes she could feel focused on her. “I want to know. See, I’ve been thinking that if this is true it might not be the only thing Tess did. What else could she have done to me? I think I need to know.”

Maria inhaled sharply as she took in that idea. Tess or someone had mindwarped Alex for MONTHS. The damage she had caused had been so extensive it had killed him. It was entirely possible that Liz was right and Tess had done more then she let on…it was even likely.

Isabel nodded having thought the same thing. That is why she was willing to endure seeing way more of Max then she ever wanted to. She was willing to take the chance at being scarred for life to prevent what had happened to Alex from happening to anyone else. Plus they might find out valuable information. Liz was the one who had been poking into things and she was good at figuring things out. It made sense that if Tess had gotten nervous or realized how close Liz had gotten she would have taken steps to prevent her discoveries from being made known. “Okay. I’ve also been thinking that Michael and I should work with you on these powers you seem to be getting. I talked to him this morning and we both want to help,” Isabel said as Liz sighed and looked up.

“You know maybe you and Michael were right. I mean, maybe Max should have never healed me in the first place. This is insane,” Liz said softly. Right now she really thought it might be better to be dead then to have deal with the nightmare that was her life. The worst thing was it just never stopped. It just kept getting worse and worse. She was just so tired.

“Liz. No, we weren’t right. You’ve done so much for us. We learned so much and built great relationships that would never have happened without you. I know this is really hard and I’m sorry about that but I wouldn’t change it. Of course I would love to just go back and kill Tess the second I saw her but other than that, no regrets, honest. This isn’t happening because of you. Tess is just evil she would have caused trouble and tried to destroy us even without you,” Isabel said firmly. Looking into Liz’s pain filled eyes she reaffirmed her commitment to see this through. Isabel Evans wasn’t going to quit. That little worm was not going to destroy any more lives if she could prevent it.

“Lizzy you can’t leave me. I need you here. No one knows me like you do. No one can calm me down like you can. I’ll even get hurt so Max has to heal me so I can get powers with you,” Maria started babbling getting really afraid. Liz had never seemed this lost and depressed before. She didn’t know how to help her but she would do anything.

Liz snapped her head around to look at Maria’s frantic expression. “No! If you hurt yourself I’ll tell Max to leave you like that. I don’t want this for you Maria. I’m not going to do anything crazy…it’s me remember? I never do anything crazy. I’m logical and practical. You’re the crazy one,” Liz reminded her with a small wane smile.

Maria brushed the tears off her face and sent her a quivering smile in return. “Oh yeah. I forgot. Okay, so what do we do next?” Maria asked visibly pulling herself together. She needed to be strong for Liz she reminded herself firmly.

“Why don’t you go down to the café and get us some shakes? I’m a little hungry since I haven’t eaten today,” Liz suggested to give Maria a set task to do while she calmed down. It worked faster when she had something to focus on.

Maria nodded. “Right! Okay, one vanilla shake. Isabel?” Maria asked looking to the other girl.

“Chocolate please,” Isabel said and waited for Maria to leave before turning back to Liz. “I’m impressed.”

“Years of practice,” Liz waved off with a slight smile.

“Liz? I have a personal question to ask you,” Isabel said finally deciding to voice the thing that had been on her mind for a long while. After all they were about to get a whole hellva lot closer in the next few minutes. She might as well just go for it.

“Sure. What is it?” Liz asked curious.

“I was just wondering why you never hassled me about how I treated Alex. I know I did some pretty shitty things to him but you never seemed upset or angry when we started to get back together,” Isabel said watching the expressions flit over the other girls face.

“Well, Alex wasn’t stupid. He was one of the first people I went to for advice. I trusted his judgement. He loved you Isabel and there had to be a good reason for that. Besides it wasn’t my place. Your relationship with Alex was between you and him. I only said something if I was asked to,” Liz answered shrugging.

Isabel blinked at that simple answer. It told her a lot about what type of person Liz was. “I really did love him. I just…I wasn’t as sure as Max was about you. I knew Alex had strong feelings for me and I didn’t want to try and then realize we weren’t right for each other. I didn’t want to hurt him like that. I wasn’t ready to let him totally in. The casual date was what I could handle and he wasn’t a casual date kind of guy. He was already past that and it scared me. Does that make sense?” Isabel asked a little unclear about why she was telling Liz this. She felt like she had to talk to someone about Alex and Liz seemed like a good choice.

“Yes, it does. Isabel, he understood. He did. All that mattered to him was that you finally were ready. You made him happy and I’ll always thank you for that. You should have seen him!” Liz said a big smile spreading over her face. “Maria and I were there when he was talking to on the phone the last time. He couldn’t even believe you wanted him. He kept saying something like he couldn’t believe you were laying in bed thinking about him. It was so cute. Don’t feel guilty because in the end he was happy and he didn’t hold anything that happened before against you. He just loved you,” Liz said simply. She knew Alex wouldn’t want Isabel to feel bad about anything. It just wasn’t his way and she really could understand where Isabel was coming from. Lord knew her own relationships were an unnatural disaster so who was she to judge others.

Isabel smiled through the shimmer of tears in her eyes. “I was happy too. He was really special.”

“Yeah, he was,” Liz agreed.

“Okay, here are your shakes,” Maria said breaking the moment. Totally unaware of the conversation she had interrupted she passed out everyone’s shakes and sat down in her former spot clutching her own. She felt more in control and ready to get started.

“Thanks Maria. Okay, so I was also thinking that we should start with that first memory and then after that go through every day after it. See if anything odd crops up,” Liz said getting back to the reason they were there. She thought it was a good idea to be methodical so they didn’t miss anything. “Maria, you can write down anything we find recording the day we find the problem on. What do you think?”

“Sounds like a plan,” Isabel agreed then took a drink of her shake.

“Okay, let me get a pen and paper,” Maria agreed springing up off the bed.

Liz stacked the pillows against the headboard and leaned back drinking her own shake until everyone got settled. Isabel moved onto the bed next to her and Maria sat in the chair at the desk ready to start writing.

Max pulled the envelope out of his pocket and sitting down at his desk he started to open it. When he slid his finger under the top flap to open it he received a series of flashes that flew past so fast he struggled to process them.

~ Tess furiously tearing up her room at the Valenti’s. Throwing cloths, books, and pillows when she stopped her hair was standing on end and her eyes glittered and burned in her sockets like a crazy person. “He thinks he can just get away with panting after that human bitch! Just toss me aside and I’ll just stand for it? Well I’ve got a fucking surprise for all of them. Where is that FUCKING letter?” Tess screamed in frustration.

~ Tess standing outside his window looking in at…Liz sleeping in his bed. Her rage spiraling into seething hatred so fast that she got lightheaded from the force of it.

~ Tess following him. Keeping to the shadows and watching him climb up to Liz’s balcony. Her anger still present but controlled…funneled into her plan.

~ Tess’s face smug with satisfaction as she sealed an envelope closed. Wanting to hide it in a place no one was likely to find it she walked out to her Bronco and tucked it under the carpet in the back. She didn’t need it now that she had other options but it never hurt to keep it just in case. This plan was even better then Nesado’s. More fun and the trouble was so gonna be worth it. Family life just wasn’t for her, best to leave that to the ones who were into that sort of thing. An evil smile spread across her face at the thought of all the destruction this would cause. Yes, this plan was much better…more personal. A personal final “FUCK YOU!” to everyone who was left.

Max gasp as he came back to himself. He rubbed his forehead as he puzzled over what he had seen. There was a buzzing in his head along with a building pressure behind his eyes like something was trying to struggle to the surface. As the pain worsened he stopped trying to puzzle it out and sighed as the pain slowly faded to a dull throb.

Turning back to the envelope he withdrew the contents and started to read. “I am your one and only protector on this planet. I'll protect you until the end. If I ever die, this is our only way to communicate with our home.” Max paused his eyes widening in shock as he sat back.

posted on 7-Dec-2002 8:42:16 PM
Chapter Twelve
** Okay two things to note….first is the letter in the last part was from Nesado to Tess. I took it right out of Busted word for word. The second is I was in a weird mood when I wrote this so….. Well you’ll see**

Over the next couple of weeks a routine developed among all the members of the group as they tried to both discover more and return to a somewhat normal life. At least as normal as they could make it.

Michael was working a ton of hours at the CrashDown trying to save up some money. Now that he was staying here it was time to get serious about his life. He also surprised everyone by taking two classes in summer school. He helped where he could by watching Liz when she worked and once or twice working with her on her powers. The rest of the time he spent with Maria.

Liz, Maria, and Isabel spent quite a bit of time trying to untangle Liz’s memories and chart on what days there were blank spots. It was slow going as they realized the problem was more involved and larger then they had first thought. Tess had indeed caused more trouble then she had let on to. The memory she had left for Liz was incomplete and as far as Isabel could make out was not faked. It was way too detailed and she didn’t think Tess had the depth of emotion or understanding of what Liz would feel to be able to fake it. Going over each day they had found several more blank spots where Tess had removed or more accurately blocked a memory then just smoothing them over. Isabel started thinking of it as Tess placing a spacer in that spot so if Liz did start thinking about it her mind would just glide over that spot. Isabel could clearly sense when Liz’s mind jumped over those places. The problem was working together like that was extremely tiring for both of them. The stress and emotional upheaval along with using her new powers and parts of her brain that she had never accessed before wore Liz out really fast. Isabel didn’t want to rush things and cause anymore damage so they worked carefully and stopped whenever Liz got tired.

Maria started hounding Derek like there was no tomorrow growing impatient with his lack of progress on his assigned task. It didn’t matter to her if he went on a family vacation she needed that info ASAP. Finally they discovered that Ray Hunter was the person assigned in that dorm room during the timeframe Alex had been gone. Curiously enough he had not been enrolled in the University. There was a note attached to the file stating to see the paper file for further details. Isabel and Liz made plans to visit the campus the following week. Liz arranged for several days off for a camping trip. Isabel did the same with her parents.

Kyle spent a ton of time with Liz hanging out and making sure she got out and had fun. They went to the pool with Sean at least once a week and Kyle was pleased to see Liz getting some healthy looking color. They watched dozens of horror movies and the Parker’s got used to him staying at their house late into the night goofing off. Liz felt comfortable with him and he was always able to get her to smile. He finished with Tess’s old room and the only thing he had turned up was a slip of paper with the name Langley and a LA address on it in Tess’s handwriting. He turned it over to Liz right away.

Sean was trying to work off all those hours of community service he had gotten for helping Liz break into the school. Isabel put in a good word for him at the homeless shelter she volunteered at and they let him help out there as well as his time spent cleaning up the Community Park.

Max spent his time doing research on the diamond mentioned in Tess’s letter. He discovered that it was owned by Deloris Browning, one of the ten wealthiest women in the world, and was normally on permanent loan to the Tate Museum in London. As luck would have it there was a traveling exhibit that included the diamond. It hit Santa Fe in two weeks at the Museum of Contemporary Art. He needed that diamond. Nesado’s letter to Tess indicated that he could use it to both power the ship that they had crashed in and it could be used to communicate with Antar.

While he was busy with that he still checked on Liz. He often crawled up onto her balcony to watch her sleep. He felt almost compelled to see her. He was careful to make sure she never saw him though. He didn’t want to upset her he just needed to be sure she was okay. He thought a lot about the past year while he watched her. Trying to pinpoint the moment he lost it all. He knew the final moment…his last chance to turn it around had been at prom. He regretted not speaking up on that dance floor. He KNEW it had been wrong to let go of her. He knew he needed her and that she was what made everything worth it for him. He had just frozen. The conflicting feelings of destiny and what he was learning and feeling from his past life seemed to be pulling him away from Liz. While he longed to hang on he had finally seen what his quest was doing to Liz. Feeling like it was his duty to learn as much as possible about who he had been he was unwilling to give up on that quest. He had let his momentary doubts about the direction his life should take overpower a lifetime’s worth of knowledge. After Alex died everything just went to shit. It was like the group and everyone in it had imploded and the in fighting had been vicious. He still didn’t understand his own actions during that time. He didn’t understand yet but he was still trying.

Max focused himself on his goal. Which was to sort this mess out so he would have something to offer Liz. Finding his son and dealing with that whole situation would only serve to hurt her even more so he would take care of that by himself. Bringing some sort of closure to it. He would give Liz a little more time to sort out her own feelings and then he would try to approach her again to explain. He encouraged Isabel to spend time with her then questioned her about how Liz was doing. After what Isabel and Michael had told him about the search into Alex’s death he was worried about her. Isabel kept him up to date on any developments on the Alex front and what was going on with the others while he focused on his own mission. He didn’t tell Isabel a whole lot and she didn’t question him too much. They both seemed to be wrapped up in their own thing, which was fine with Max. He was happy to know someone was helping Liz find the answers she needed and it worked to his benefit as well so it was all good as far as he was concerned.

Max found sleeping to be more difficult as time went on. He started sleepwalking when he could sleep at all. It was a little embarrassing actually. He had found himself opening the front door to his house ready to walk out in only his boxers. His dreams continued to get more disturbed, his son was calling to him. He was in trouble and needed Max to find him. Liz was telling him she loved him, kissing him, touching him and then she was gone. The dreams of Tess were the worst. She was stealing something from him….hurting him. She was hurting Liz and his son. She was whispering to him telling him lies and then laughing at him. He tried not to sleep too much. Instead he worked out and focused on his plan. He needed to get this over with and get on with his life.

Isabel walked a very fine line with Max. She and Michael had talked to Max about looking into Alex’s death before they had discovered Liz’s missing memories. She used that as a shield to explain why she was spending so much time with her and the others. Max seemed to buy it. When he questioned her about Liz she told him the surface stuff and anything other than what was really going on. She was just happy he seemed into his own project. When she asked him about it he just said that he was looking into forms of communication hoping to find a way to communicate with Antar. Whatever kept him busy and away from Liz was fine with Isabel.

She had two really bad moments with Max. The first was right after she first worked with Liz.

“Hey Izzy? Do you remember Liz staying over here ever?” Max asked thoughtfully one morning at breakfast.

Isabel choked on her juice as she had inhaled sharply at his question. Waving away his assistance she got herself under control her mind racing. “Um yeah she fell asleep in your room once or twice. Why?” Isabel asked casually. She was watching him carefully despite her seeming indifference.

“I got this….flash of Liz sleeping in my bed and I don’t really remember that. It was of Tess seeing Liz there sleeping,” Max answered thinking back to the flash. “I wasn’t there.”

“Yeah, she has. She came over to talk to you and you were at Michael’s so I let her wait in your room,” Isabel said her tone off hand like it was no big deal.

“Oh. I guess that explains it,” Max said then after a bite of cereal he asked another question. “When was that? I don’t remember coming home to find Liz in my room.”

“I don’t remember exactly. She was gone when you got home though. I went to check on her and found her sleeping so I woke her up and she went home. I think it was after we came back from Vegas,” Isabel said vaguely. Buy it damn it! Isabel thought franticly.

“Okay,” Max answered accepting her answers.

The other rather sticky situation was when Isabel had gone on a hunt for Liz’s underwear. What made the second event worse was Liz was hiding outside Max’s window. Maria had been keeping watch but had been distracted by a shirtless sweaty Michael playing basketball. She had failed to notice Max leaving the game and going inside. Isabel had been talking to Liz out the window when Max had walked in.

“What are you doing?” Max asked stopping in the doorway.

Isabel had seen Liz’s eyes go wide and proceeded to rap her head on the half-open window as she straightened. “Shit! Max don’t scare me like that!” Isabel said rubbing her head.

“Who are you talking to?” Max asked walking further into the room.

“The neighbor’s cat. I heard a noise,” Isabel said with her best innocent face.

“What are you doing in my room?” Max asked tossing his sweaty shirt on the floor.

“Gross Max…you have a hamper,” Isabel said disgusted. “I wanted to borrow a CD. I didn’t think you’d mind.”

“Oh sure go ahead. Just make sure you bring it back,” Max said going into his closet. He knew he could kick Michael’s ass if he just changed into the right shoes.

“I will,” Isabel said and grabbed the first CD she saw before darting out of his room. After giving Maria a stern talking to she crept back into the house and resumed her search.

“Check his closet,” Liz whispered hanging half in the window.

“I will. Now be quiet. You don’t exactly sound like a cat Liz,” Isabel chided her sharply. She got on the floor and looked under his bed.

“You already looked there,” Liz reminded her.

“I’m sorry! I’m just a little freaked out about searching his room for your underwear!” Isabel hissed back.

Liz sighed and climbed in the window. “Go out in the hall and I’ll look around but if he catches me I’ll kill you,” Liz threatened.

“Okay,” Isabel said and left with relief. She stood at the end of the hall and waited. About ten minutes later Max rounded the corner headed to his room. “Max! What are you doing?” Isabel asked loudly hoping Liz heard her.

“ shoelace broke. I was going to get another pair of shoes. I think Michael’s cheating,” Max said certain Michael had used his powers on the laces. Since the neighbor had seen him trip and loose his shoe he didn’t want to chance using his powers to fix the laces. Better to just change shoes.

“Oh, well I was wondering if you would let me use your computer,” Isabel said backing down the hall in front of him as he walked forward.

“What’s wrong with yours?” Max asked puzzled.

“I got a virus I think. I don’t know it’s broken. Is it okay?” Isabel asked slapping her hands on both sides of his doorframe to stop his entry. A glance over her shoulder showed Liz wiggling under his bed.

“Okay. What is with you today anyway? You’re like ultra high maintenance today,” Max said puzzled by her jumpy demanding behavior.

“Is that a problem?” Isabel asked in her best Ice Princess tone. She watched Max get his shoes from his closet and sit on the bed.

“No, just forget it. Take whatever you want..use whatever you want. My stuff is your stuff. Happy?” Max asked shaking his head.

“Now I am yes,” Isabel answered. She couldn’t help but find the sight of Liz peeking out from between his feet rather funny in a scary about to get caught kind of way. Damn that incompetent Maria! What the FUCK was wrong with her? It wasn’t like she wasn’t already screwing Michael for god’s sake! Get a grip.

“Well I live to make you happy Izzy,” Max said standing and looking at her.

“About time you understand your purpose in life. Now go and get your ass kicked by Michael and don’t bother me. I’ll be awhile,” Isabel said making a shooing motion with her hands.

Max left grumbling under his breath about being cursed. Liz shimmied out from under the bed as Isabel shut the door. “That Maria is useless! Show a little skin and her mind goes right into the gutter,” Isabel said frustrated.

“Just stay there,” Liz said feeling flustered. That had been a close call. She had no idea what she would have said if Max had caught her. Hi, I’m just here to find my underwear that you don’t remember removing so you don’t remember the sex we had?

Isabel watched Liz crawl around on the floor of Max’s closet and searching everything before putting it back exactly as it was. She was just as anal as Max was. Isabel moved to Max’s dresser and started rifling through his cloths.

“Isabel can you reach the shelf? I’m too short,” Liz whispered from the closet a while later.

Isabel shut the drawer she was looking through and walked into the closet. Liz moved deeper into the closet and watched Isabel search the shelf. When Liz saw the door start to open she gasp and froze. Isabel felt a piece of cloth just as she heard Liz gasp softly. Looking at the door she panicked and shoved Liz behind the row of cloths. As the door opened wider she realized she was holding Liz’s bra in her hand. She tossed it at Liz and turned toward the door to see Maria walk in. “Goddamn it Maria! You scared the SHIT out of me!” Isabel yelled pissed.

Liz poked her head out of Max’s cloths to glare at Maria. “Max almost caught us twice Maria! What were you thinking?” Liz hissed.

“I’m sorry! Michael was just so…forget it. So find anything?” Maria asked sheepishly.

“No thanks to you and your complete incompetence yes. We did,” Isabel said her voice frosty. She rose up on tiptoes and finished searching the shelf. “Nothing else here.”

“We better go. I don’t think I can take anymore,” Liz said frankly. “We should have waited for Max to be gone.”

“It would have been fine if your sex crazed best friend had kept her mind on her part of the job and out of Michael’s pants. GOD!” Isabel exclaimed shooting Maria a look.

“I am sooo sorry really. It’ll never happen again but everything turned out fine,” Maria said weakly feeling bad.

They never had found the panties.

Liz felt overwhelmed with all the things going on. Trying to deal with Alex’s murder, searching for who this Langley was or WHAT he was, trying to get some sort of control of her powers, and going through her memories was just exhausting. She had put the journal aside for now not able to face anymore of Tess’s taunts at the moment.

She was making little to no headway on the powers front. She was worse then Michael had ever dreamed of being at controlling her emotions. What she was learning about her memories wasn’t helping. The twin facts of learning that she had indeed had sex with Max and that there were more gaps in her memory upset her terribly and undermined any control she had.

She really thought that she might have gone crazy if it hadn’t been for Kyle. He had a way of making her forget everything that was happening for a couple of hours and she was more thankful for that then she could say. She had forgotten so much about him since they had stopped dating and had drifted apart. He was a huge flirt and really funny. He made her laugh so much during all those movies they watched that he had her spitting her soda all over the place. He even got her mom to laugh. She realized she had missed that. Being normal and just having fun sometimes with no pressure.

“Liz…Hello….Earth to Liz,” Maria said waving her hand in front of Liz’s face.

“Sorry Maria. What did you say?” Liz asked startled out of her thoughts.

“I asked what you and Kyle were doing tonight,” Maria repeated with interest.

“Umm nothing. He has a date with that Kim girl,” Liz answered. She thought she was totally wrong for Kyle but whatever made him happy.

“Well I was thinking I could stay over. You know like a sleep over,” Maria said suppressing her smile at Liz’s tone. “That Kim girl” was NOT a favorite of Liz’s. She resisted the urge to point out that Kim looked an awful lot like Liz. It was downright freaky.

“Yeah, that sounds like fun. Are you sure Michael won’t miss you?” Liz teased.

“He needs his rest. Besides I have an urge for a girls night and Michael just doesn’t have the equipment,” Maria said shooting her a big smile. It was good to have Liz teasing her again. Maybe things were looking up.

posted on 8-Dec-2002 4:52:36 PM
Chapter Thirteen
**One note on this chapter...I have lived with a sleepwalker for many years and didn't stretch this too much...a little but not far.....also don't think that the sleepwalking is connected to the thing that Max does in this part...two different things**

Maria studied Liz as she got ready for bed. Although she had teased and laughed all evening she now seemed nervous and a little jumpy. Maria had noticed a pretty dramatic increase in Liz’s mood swings as all these events had started to unfold. Liz refused to really talk about Max or what had happened simply saying it was over and how she felt didn’t change anything. Maria really thought Liz was basically pretending it had never happened, which couldn’t be healthy. She wondered what Liz was gonna do when Max remembered and showed up to talk to her about it.

“So when are you and Isabel leaving for LCU?” Maria asked and watched Liz jump slightly at the sound of her voice.

“Um Monday….two days,” Liz answered. She hated getting ready for bed. She hadn’t been sleeping well lately….well still and that upset her. It reminded her of Tess’s journal and all the other things still waiting to be discovered.

“Well summer session is in and the football players should be reporting in soon. Maybe you guys can have a little fun while your there,” Maria said lightly.

Liz set down her brush and turned to look at Maria. “What do football players have to do with a good time? You aren’t suggesting I just start DATING are you? I mean isn’t my life messed up enough?” Liz asked pointedly.

“Liz, one friendly date isn’t a big deal. It’s not love everlasting…it’s fun,” Maria said exasperated. Like she was even suggesting a relationship! A casual good time might do her good.

“Fun. Right. Fending off hormonal jocks,” Liz commented with an eye roll.

“You dated a hormonal jock or do I need to remind you of that? I think your exact words were that Kyle was loyal, steady, and he appreciated you. That doesn’t sound like a date rapist to me,” Maria pointed out with a smile. “I’m just saying a little normal life wouldn’t be such a bad thing. I’m not saying you should get a steady boyfriend or start a big thing but casual dating is what people do at our age.”

“Look…Kyle was different. He wasn’t just a jock. He’s nice and a lot of fun and I had known him forever. He understood my feelings on the whole….” Liz waved her hand. “…you thing. Most guys..some guys aren’t like that. I don’t need anymore drama right now.”

“Okay, it was just a suggestion. A little fun never hurt anyone and hanging out with someone other then Kyle isn’t a crime either,” Maria said and watched Liz stiffen.

“What exactly are you saying Maria?” Liz asked her eyebrow raised.

“Nothing. I’m not saying anything at all,” Maria said and then relented when Liz continued to wait. “Okay….I’m saying that you’re hiding. You don’t want to deal with Max so you’re going for the safe choice and spending all your time with Kyle. Who by the way is a great guy that’s not a criticism of Kyle.”

“Max and I are over. Done and there is nothing to deal with,” Liz said adamantly. “Why are you harping on Kyle? I don’t get it. What’s so bad about spending time with him? He’s my friend. Friends spend time together,” Liz asked confused by this whole conversation.

“You and Max are not over no matter how much you want to be. Liz….as soon as he gets a clue he’s going to be standing right in front of you and you better think about that. You are going to have to deal with him at some point. I know this whole thing sucks but you can’t just wish it away because Max isn’t going anywhere,” Maria said trying to make her see that she better start getting prepared for that day. “There’s nothing wrong with Kyle or spending time with him.”

“When Max is standing right in front of me my answer is going to be the same as it was last time. We are over. Why does what happened change that? It makes it hurt more maybe and I have a few more regrets but it doesn’t reverse anything. Max made his choices just like I did. Its true that neither of us had all the information at the time but that doesn’t make it okay. I don’t trust him. I can’t count on him when things get hard which is pretty often in our lives. He did things to hurt me, he wouldn’t listen to me about something that concerned everyone’s safety, and he left me Maria. He deserted our friendship and turned on me when I’ve always tried to help him. So don’t stand there and defend him to me. It’s over,” Liz said feeling the building up of her power. She unclenched her hands and took a couple of deep breaths and tried to let go of her negative feelings.

“I’m not defending him. I’m not. What he did was hurtful and wrong. I’m just pointing out that he isn’t going to be at the point you are. He isn’t going to just accept this,” Maria said watching Liz struggle to control her energy.

“He’s going to have to accept it at some point. He isn’t going to have a choice,” Liz said quietly. She could feel her energy swirling around looking for a way out. Waiting for her to loose her grip.

“Okay. I just want you to be ready that’s all,” Maria said letting it go. She still wasn’t sure Liz had really dealt with the whole sex issue. Time would tell one way or the other. “Forgive me?”

“Ria…there’s nothing to forgive. I’m sorry I got so upset. It’s just that Max he thinks that Tess is the only issue and it’s not. I’m just…I’m tired I guess,” Liz said with a small smile. She felt bad that she had gone off on Maria like that. She knew Maria was just trying to help.

“Hey yell at me whenever. I’m here for ya,” Maria teased with a smile. “Let’s go to bed and talk about hot boys until we fall asleep.”

“Okay, but I don’t want to hear about Michael. No more Michael tonight,” Liz said with a slight smirk. Maria just rolled her eyes as she crawled into bed. Liz turned out the light and crawled in on the other side. “So…you start.”

“Okay…um…let’s do TV first. The guy that plays Angel,” Maria said.

“Yuck…he like never smiles. Can the guy get anymore depressed? I say….the guy that plays Ben on Felicity,” Liz returned.

“I grant you he’s hot. Okay…Oh I got it…which guy on Friends would you pick? I would pick Joey,” Maria asked.

“Chandler. He’s funny and I don’t know I like him best. Okay, what about Dawson’s Creek?” Liz asked and together they both answered… “Pacey.” Liz started laughing.

“Unless we can throw in the gay guy than I might change my vote,” Maria giggled.

Later that night Maria woke up to see someone slipping in Liz’s window. She froze and her eyes widened as the person walked to the bed and climbed in. She felt her throat tighten in fear as Liz mumbled in her sleep and the figure crawled up over her. Maria’s eyes almost bugged out of her head when she saw it was none other then one Max Evans. Frozen with shock she watched as Liz sighed Max’s name and he stilled in his quest to push aside the sheet. Maria scrambled up against the headboard clutching the sheet before she noticed something odd. Max’s eyes were open but…he didn’t seem….to really be awake. His eyes were fixed and staring not really aware.

“Max?” Maria asked a little fearfully. Liz was going to have a shit fit if she woke up Maria thought her mind racing. Max didn’t respond other then to brush a kiss over Liz’s mouth. “Max…wake up…oh shit this is bad,” Maria muttered as she watching Liz’s brow crinkle and she moved restlessly in her sleep. When Max didn’t say anything Maria started shaking Liz to wake her up. “Liz wake up. Don’t freak okay?”

Liz opened her eyes to find Max hovering over her and as her mouth opened to start screaming a hand clamped over it.

“Liz stop! You’ll wake up your parents. He’s not awake. I don’t think he knows where he is,” Maria said at warp speed.

Liz reached up and started pushing at Max’s chest as Maria took her hand back. “Get him off of me!” Liz hissed. “Max! Wake up right now or I’m going kill you!”

Maria started slapping his cheeks frantically. “Liz! What the hell is going on?”

Pissed off Liz pushed harder and watched him hit the floor with a thud. “Call Isabel and tell her she better bring a leash,” Liz said to Maria as Max sat up looking confused.

“Liz?” Max asked then looked around. His eyes widened as he saw where he was and locked eyes with one extremely pissed off Liz Parker. “Oh…Oh shit. I’m sorry! I’ve been sleep walking and….”

“Get the hell out of here Max,” Liz said through clenched teeth her eyes narrowed on his horrified face.

Max scrambled to his feet and that’s when he saw Maria. “I’m sorry! I’ll just….I’ll just go..” Max started edging toward the window.

“You might want to wait for Isabel to pick you up unless you want to walk the streets of Roswell in your boxers…again,” Maria said and pointed.

Max looked down and blushed a bright shade of red. “I’ll just wait outside,” Max said darting a glance at Liz’s angry face.

After Max climbed out the window Maria turned to Liz. “Liz, this is now officially out of hand. Something has to be done here,” Maria said stating the obvious.

“I know. Maybe Isabel can find out what’s going on with him. Tess said sleepwalking was a sign. Maybe he’s starting to remember on his own. Isabel can help him and make sure Tess didn’t hurt him or anything,” Liz said frowning slightly.

“So you’re fine with him remembering?” Maria asked surprised.

“He was going to eventually. I don’t want him hurt or anything. Just because I don’t want to be with him doesn’t mean I want something to happen to him. I was never going to hide this forever. I knew he was going to remember at some point I just wanted it to be on his own and much later,” Liz admitted at Maria’s sharp look. What a mess Liz thought with an internal groan.

Isabel pulled up into the alley and waited for Max to get in. “Care to tell me what happened?” Isabel asked and she pulled out onto the street. Maria had already told her what she had seen now she wanted to know what Max had to say.

“I..I’ve been sleepwalking. I guess I came here. I woke up on the floor of Liz’s room,” Max explained. He was worried that Liz was going to hold this against him. Oh god…..what had he done before he woke up?

“Why didn’t you tell me? Max….I know I’ve been busy but you need to say something when odd things start happening. How can anyone help you if you don’t say anything?” Isabel asked glancing over at him.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t think it was a big deal. With everything that’s happened lately a little sleepwalking was no big deal,” Max said briefly.

“Until you climbed into bed with Liz and Maria,” Isabel pointed out. She felt a little guilty that she hadn’t been paying attention but when was Max going to start saying something? That’s part of how they had all gotten here in the first place.

Max groaned at that and glanced over at his sister with pleading eyes. “I didn’t really….did I?”

“Oh you did. I can tell you Liz wasn’t happy to wake up with you on top of her. You are lucky Maria was there because Liz started screaming. Which if Maria’s hand hadn’t been over her mouth would have woken up her parents and I wouldn’t want to be you when Jeff Parker saw that little scene,” Isabel informed him. “Max, you have to speak up before it’s a huge problem. I’m never too busy to help you. I’m sure Michael would say the same. You’ve helped us enough times. There is no shame in asking for help. We’re a family.”

“You’re right. I’m sorry,” Max said and ran his hand through his hair.

“There’s also something I need to talk to you about. It may be tied to what’s going on with you. Don’t freak out okay?” Isabel said glancing over at him. Time to fess up.

Max’s eyes narrowed at that statement. “I’ll try not to. What is it?” Max asked as Isabel pulled into their driveway.

“Well Tess sort of…..removed a memory or two from Liz and we think you too,” Isabel said as she turned off the car.

“What? Why didn’t you tell me?” Max demanded feeling his chest tighten.

“Liz didn’t want us to yet and we wanted to be sure. Tess could have been lying and it was really personal. I agreed to help her and have been working with her on it,” Isabel admitted.

“What is the memory?” Max asked feeling heat creep up his neck as he got more and more angry.

“I’m not going to tell you. I think it would be better for you to find out for yourself rather then me just telling you. Liz’s memory isn’t intact and you might remember more then she does. I’ll help you if you want. I’m already working with Liz anyway,” Isabel answered prepared to explain the whole thing.

“I want you to tell me. Right now,” Max demanded getting really pissed off. He turned to face Isabel his face red with anger.

“Max, please just calm down. I really think you’ll want to remember it for yourself. It’s private,” Isabel said softly. She didn’t want to contaminate his memory by telling him what Liz saw. Just in case Max remembered it differently. Plus, she didn’t know if it might hurt him somehow. She had no idea what Tess had done to him.

Max grabbed her arm tightly and shook her lightly. “Don’t give me that shit! Tell me! You can’t keep holding stuff back from me,” He said furious.

“Let go of me! What the hell is your problem? I said I would help you,” Isabel said shaking off his hand. She narrowed her eyes at him thinking maybe Liz was right in not wanting him to know.

“I want you to stop hiding things from me! That’s my problem!” Max shouted.

“And what haven’t you been telling ME? This isn’t just a trait the rest of us have Max! You are a card-carrying member of that club. So don’t start pointing fingers before you look at yourself!” Isabel yelled back. She got out of the car and slammed the door.

“That’s not the point! You’re my sister! You’re supposed to be on MY side!” Max shouted getting out of the car.

“Yes, I am your sister but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything you do. I don’t agree with everything! I’m trying to do the RIGHT thing. I love you Max but that doesn’t mean I’m going to tell you you’re right when you aren’t! You make mistakes just like the rest of us! The difference is YOU don’t seem to want to hear that or take any kind of ownership of your mistakes,” Isabel said furious. How DARE he act like a saint!

“Don’t bring the Tess thing into this! This isn’t about that!” Max said rounding on her furiously.

Isabel straightened to her full height not about to let him intimidate her. “You are the one who mentioned Tess not me. That isn’t the only mistake you’ve made. You’re making one right now. You are acting like a complete asshole! No one has to put up with this Max not even me,” Isabel said and left slamming the front door shut after her.

posted on 9-Dec-2002 3:02:37 AM
Chapter Fourteen

**Okay don’t kill me here. I just couldn’t let this go. I had to use it. You’ll see part of Busted here….sorry but I’ve been thinking about this since I watched that eppy**

The first thing Isabel did when she entered her room was call Michael. She was so pissed off that she was shaking but she was still concerned about Max. She wasn’t going to deal with him so that left Michael….it was time he got off his ass and helped anyway. She didn’t even wait for Michael to say hello. As soon as the phone was picked up she started talking. “Michael, wake up and get your ass over here to deal with Max. He has lost his fucking mind and you need to handle it.”

“Isabel?” Michael asked groggy and rubbing his eyes. Damn it was two AM!

“Who else would this be? Now Michael!” Isabel snapped.

“What did he do?” Michael asked sitting up and scratching his chest.

“He crawled in bed with Liz and Maria that’s what he did. He’s been sleepwalking and didn’t tell us. He fucking bitched me out when I started telling him what was happening with Liz and offered to HELP him. I had to get up in the middle of the night and go pick up his mostly naked ass before Liz beat the hell out him and he goes nuclear. So now I want to share the love! Now get over here!” Isabel ranted.

“Okay, I got it. He wasn’t really naked right? When he got in bed with Maria?” Michael asked curious.

“No, he was wearing boxers. Besides, it was Liz he crawled on top of. This is serious Michael. Liz could accidentally hurt him if he gets her too upset. She’s still having control issues with her energy. We don’t know what Tess did to him. It could injure him to remember this or something. I have no idea what could happen to him. He’s going to really hit the roof when he realizes what it is exactly that Tess covered up,” Isabel said dreading the coming events. She had no idea what to expect from Max anymore.

“What exactly is this memory?” Michael asked as he fumbled around on the floor for his pants.

“He had sex with Liz,” Isabel whispered.

“WHAT? When was this?” Michael asked forgetting about the pants. He wished now he had asked more questions about this before hand. He had seen how uncomfortable the girls got on the subject and just left it alone.

“After the thing at the UFO Center. He’s going to be really upset. Liz was…. extremely upset,” Isabel said rubbing her forehead.

“Oh. Hell. Alright I’m on my way and I’ll knock on your window before I hit Max’s” Michael said then hung up. He sat on the edge of his bed for a minute and pondered this new problem. He tried to predict Max’s reaction to realizing he had had sex with the girl he had been obsessing over since the first time he saw her. He better bring some rope because he was going to have to tie him down to keep him from running right back to Liz. Damn it. He knew from Maria Liz was not changing her mind on the state of that relationship. He had also been seeing a bit of Liz’s temper of late and he would bet Max was about to get a really up close and personal view of it.

Isabel opened her widow to Michael’s knock. “About time,” Isabel whispered.

Michael just rolled his eyes a trait he was picking up from Maria who seemed to do that a lot in his presence. “Okay brief me,” he grunted.

“Just connect with him and ask him to think about the night he was held hostage. Lead him through that night after we left and see what happens. I’m betting he at least suspects something at this point. Don’t tell him anything just let him remember it and see what happens. Make it clear he can’t go running back to Liz’s in the middle of the night either. She’s already really pissed off. Plus, he’s not in any mood to be talking to her. I was having flashbacks to when he was such an ass after Alex died and Liz will just zap him if he pulls that shit with her,” Isabel said completely serious. “We need to keep an eye on him Michael. Just offer to help him. Talk to him and see if you can get him to see reason.”

“Liz doesn’t want him back does she?” Michael asked wanting confirmation to what he already knew.

“No. I really don’t think so. Think about it Michael. He was a complete prick,” Isabel said softly. Michael just nodded and made his way to Max’s window. Taking a deep breath he let himself in without knocking. “Maxwell,” He greeted.

Max looked up from his spot on the floor by his bed. His knees were up by his chest and his hair was sticking up where he had run his fingers through it multiple times. “Isabel call you?” He asked quietly.

“Yeah. I hear you crawled in bed with my girlfriend,” Michael answered with a smirk. He toned it down at the look on Max’s face.

“Michael, do you know what’s going on?” Max asked.

“Yeah, I do,” Michael answered straight.

“Is it really bad? Isabel didn’t want to tell me,” Max asked. He was afraid he was going to find out something that was going to crush him. His chest felt tight and his head ached and throbbed.

Michael wasn’t sure how to answer that. Would Max think it was bad? “Yeah…I mean you’ll be upset but it’s not like you killed anyone. I’ll help you Max. You just have to promise me a couple of things here. You can’t jet out of here to see Liz. You have to wait for daylight at the very least. Maria will rip my balls off if you wake her up again. She gets cranky on no sleep. You also need to collect yourself. Think about this before you do anything. Okay?” Michael asked. It was pretty funny that HE was counseling Max on the perils of rash behavior. But then again he had plenty of experience.

“Yeah okay,” Max agreed.

“Okay, now I know this sucks but we have to do the connection thing. I’m gonna ask you to think about a certain day and we’ll see what happens,” Michael said sitting across from him. He hated letting people in. He didn’t want to see this. He didn’t want Max to see anything inside him, which was really likely cause Max was better at this then he was. Shit. The things he had to do. Fuck…he was never ever going to be able to look at Liz again. He just knew it.

Max watched Michael fidget and scowl before he was settled. He tensed realizing this was likely going to change his life. He was nervous and tense and wished he hadn’t been such an asshole to Isabel. She was better at this and she already knew Liz’s side. Now he was letting Michael see what was apparently something that Liz had begged Isabel not to tell him and Isabel had apparently agreed not to. His stomach clenched in fear. He took a couple of deep breaths and tried to focus. Seeing Michael holding out his hands he remembered that Michael needed physical contact to fully connect and grasp his wrists and felt Michael return his hold. He looked into Michael’s eyes and opened up feeling a mental click as the connection formed. Hearing Michael’s voice was almost disorienting.

“I need you to go through the night Brody held you hostage. After Isabel and I left what do you remember?” Michael asked and saw several quick flashes.

~ Liz bending over Sean’s prone form. She looked up and silently accused him with her eyes for Sean’s injury. He felt jealous and guilty.

~ Max denying he had ever loved Tess. Feeling the absolute conviction as he made that statement to Brody.

~ “You’re still in love with her, aren’t you?” Tess asked.

“It’s hard to describe what I feel for Liz,” Max answered as a rush of feeling washed threw him. Longing, pain, need, love, anger, guilt, and fear.

“Later Max. Think about later,” Michael answered and felt an echo of pain that increased as Max sped things up. He watched himself leave and Max sit down at his desk and pretend to study. Too restless to sleep but unable to really focus either. Then a sharp stab of pain and a tearing sensation. The flood of memories after that were so intense and the speed that they flooded back with was breath stealing.

A light tap on his window had Max spinning around in his chair to see Liz standing outside his window. He got up and opened the window surprised to see her. Helping her in he couldn’t help but sneak a look at her legs as her uniform slid up. “Liz what are you doing here?”

“I had to talk to you. Max….I’m really upset with you. Why did you do that? Call out to stop Sean like that? Brody could have killed him,” Liz said agitated.

“Brody’s a good guy. I didn’t want to see him hurt. Sean was wrong to do what he did,” Max answered. He felt himself getting upset at her staunch defense of Sean.

“Sean’s a good guy too. He didn’t deserve to be stabbed. Did you miss the fact that Brody, who wasn’t himself by the way, was holding a gun on everyone? What did you intend to do? You didn’t have any powers Max,” Liz said getting angry at his think headedness.

“No, I didn’t miss it. He wouldn’t have hurt anyone. He just wanted answers,” Max said flustered.

“Answers you weren’t willing to give him. So it’s okay for human’s to get hurt or possibly die to keep people in the dark? People who are already involved. Larek just uses him Max. Takes him over and disrupts his whole life. I don’t blame Brody for trying to find answers but you made a clear choice to allow Sean to get hurt. You like Brody and Larek is helpful to you… you would rather Sean get hurt then risk them. After all you don’t even like Sean and he’s not important to your secret. Is that about right?” Liz asked her eyes snapping with anger.

“No! No that’s not right. What is more right is I didn’t want to watch Sean do something stupid to impress you. It wasn’t necessary. Larek cured Brody’s cancer so there was a trade off there. Look…I’m sorry. I didn’t want Sean hurt. I didn’t. I just reacted,” Max said all the fight leaving him. It was possible some of those reasons played a part in his reaction.

“Max…I’m just getting uncomfortable with what I’m seeing. I don’t want any problems we’re having to effect your choices. You seem..different. I just don’t like what happened tonight. Tess, and Nesado before her, act like humans aren’t as important and I don’t want to see you start to accept that too. We got lucky tonight Max because this could have been so much worse,” Liz said watching his eyes. They were so much harder to read then they used to be.

“I don’t think that,” Max denied. As Liz continued to study him he started to feel defensive. “I really don’t Liz. This is my home too. I don’t think human’s are inferior,” Max said.

“Okay. What about us? Do you think it had anything to do with what happened? Because I thought we were getting along now. Friends even and I don’t want our…differences to cause you to do something…rash. I care about what happens to you,” Liz said and watched Max’s flustered demeanor.

“Sean was just trying to impress you. Brody wouldn’t have hurt anyone,” Max said running his hand through his hair. Seeing Liz so worried about Sean had been hard to take. “Why did you even go in there? You could have been hurt!”

Michael watched the rest unfold and saw a boatload of trouble ahead. He knew Max wasn’t going to be able to just let go of that…of Liz. He also got a better understanding of Liz’s suppressed anger of the last few weeks.

“No returns or exchanges. My minds made up. In fact you’ll have to fight me to go home tonight,” Max said grinning.

“Hmm I don’t feel like fighting any more so as long as you set your alarm for five I’ll stay,” Liz said smiling back and brushing a lock of hair back off his forehead.

“Deal,” Max hurriedly agreed and rolled off of her to reach for the clock. He set the alarm then looked back over his shoulder at Liz. “I’ll be right back. You need anything?” Max asked reaching for his boxers. A bathroom trip was in order.

“Can I have a drink?” Liz asked then yawned.

Max leaned over and kissed her his hand lingering on her cheek. “You can have whatever you want,” Max assured her.

“Just a drink is fine,” Liz said with a smile.

Max nodded and got up when he reached the door he turned back to see Liz’s eyes slipping closed. “I love you Liz Parker,” Max said seriously trying to capture this picture in his mind so he could look at it when he was old and gray and remember every detail. His chest swelled with feeling as she opened her eyes and smiled.

“I know you do. I love you too…now get my drink,” Liz said with a cheeky grin her eyes shining with happiness.

With an answering grin he slipped out. When he got back with a can of Coke in his hand he opened the door to find Tess sitting on the edge of the bed.

Michael jerked out of the connection as Max pulled away gasping for breath. He watched Max’s eyes close and when they opened they were empty and lost. “Max? You okay man?” Michael asked knowing the answer but unable to come up with better.

“No. No, I’m not. Liz….remembers this?” Max asked barely able to breathe. He felt a brief surge of hope before he remembered the look in Liz’s eyes earlier.

“Yeah. Tess left a memory flash for her. She hasn’t always remembered,” Michael answered.

“Michael, I have irreversibly screwed up,” Max said knowing this was very well the final straw for Liz. Tess had managed to destroy the single best moment of their lives. Handing it back now was like pouring salt in an open wound and spitting in their face.

“That was true yesterday too. Max…with or without this you messed up. Bad. We just have to work to find out what Tess has planned because this isn’t it. There’s a reason for what’s happening and I don’t think this is the extent of Tess’s games. You have to keep it together here. You understand?” Michael asked. He didn’t want to make Max feel even worse but there was no good way to put this situation.

Max nodded. “Yeah. I just…need to be alone for a bit.”

Michael clapped Max on the shoulder and left.

After Maria left Liz left and started walking aimlessly. She needed time to think and get ready for what she knew was coming. Another fight with Max. She had spoken with Isabel early this morning and had gotten the scoop.

As she spotted the entrance to the lake and started for it a car pulled up next to her. Looking over she groaned as she saw Max. Hell. She stopped walking and turned to face him.

“Can we talk? Please?” Max asked stopping next to her.

“I’ll be on the dock,” Liz replied and headed for the entrance as Max parked. By the time he got there she had her feet in the water. He sat down next to her and silently removed his shoes and socks.

“I’m sorry about last night. I know I must have scared you,” Max said looking at his own feet next to hers in the water.

“Forget it,” Liz replied wiggling her toes as minnows swam up to see if they were edible.

“I just…I remember now,” Max said looking up at the sky.

Liz glanced over at him and followed the change in topic easily. “Yeah I figured. I don’t really know what to say to you about it. Everything’s changed since then,” Liz said softly.

“Not everything. I still love you. I still want to work this out. Liz, I just want to put everything that happened behind us,” Max said glancing over at her.

“Yeah, you know that I would, too, if I had impregnated an alien killer who murdered one of our best friends and then left the planet with my unborn child,” Liz muttered softly.

“So you're still holding on to that?” Max said with forced lightness.

“It's hard not to, Max. See, you slept with Tess, and then you got her pregnant. I don't know how to just move past that. You hurt me, you know?” Liz asked meeting his eyes. “You did a lot of things Max. Things that were all you. You can’t explain away everything or make jokes about it. It’s not funny.”

“Liz, meeting someone, someone like me, it attracted me. I admit that. It was something I had to find out about, and now I'm over it,” Max said thinking that if he fessed up to the Tess part they could move on to the rest of it.

Liz felt the immediate rise in her anger and pushed her hands behind her back. “I see. That’s good to know. Whoo I feel better,” Liz said as she got to her feet and reached for her shoes.

Max looked up at her his eyes guarded. “Liz?”

“Since the only one “like you” now is Isabel I’m relieved that you aren’t going to add incest to your growing list of mistakes,” Liz said her anger growing larger with every word. He was just soo….stupid. God! What had she ever seen in him? “I have to admit that I’m understanding your feelings more and more. Finding someone like me sounds really good about now. Luckily for me I have a whole planet full of human’s like me to choose from.”

“Liz….I didn’t mean….I’m just..” Max said in a rush. He had meant to try to explain Tess but he could see clearly he had taken the wrong direction.

“Fucked up. You just fucked up is the phrase I think you’re looking for,” Liz said and gave him a sharp push in the back with her foot sending him splashing into the water. Suddenly feeling much better she turned and started toward shore.

Max sputtered to the surface to see Liz walking slowly down the dock shoes swinging from her hand. “Can we talk about this?” Max called to her.

Liz turned around and walked backwards. “I think I’ve had enough for today. Every word out of your mouth just makes it worse. I feel stupid enough as it is.”

Max started walking toward the shore wiping the water from his face. “I’m trying to explain what happened. If you could just try to understand and listen for a minute maybe we could work this out,” Max said getting a little angry himself. She just kept running away from him. How were they ever going to work this out?

“Kyle once said something to me that I think works really well here. You know the best part about being broken up, Max? I don't have to try anymore,” Liz said and, feeling a sense of calm that was surprising under the circumstances, she left without looking back.

posted on 9-Dec-2002 2:35:09 PM
I think about the Sean thing we're going to have to agree to disagree. Brody human/alien/confused whatever he was was a danger to everyone in that room. I don't think Sean was going to slit his throat with pocket knife. I don't. Max wasn't solving the situation. Sean took action. When Max saw that he reacted to prevent Sean's sucess. That is the way I see what happened. I don't think Sean really did it to impress Liz. I think he was trying to live and keep his family and everyone else from getting hurt.

About the rest.....This is about 3-4 weeks after Departure. Max has been on his spot search. He has soul searched in that he thinks he lost Liz at Prom by not speaking his heart then and just letting her go....he still seems focused on Tess and that one issue. I don't think he has really looked at or discovered WHY he has treated people in his life the way he has. Not enough to correct it. Correcting behavior from what I've seen and been through takes more than a couple of weeks. Therapists spend years with some people on that very issue....changing behavior. Most of this time he hasn't been talking to Liz or the others much at all so it's not like they've been harping at him daily on his mistakes. Max has been doing his own thing these last few weeks and not seeking suppport or advice from his friends. That is one of the problems and has been through out season 2 and 3. I don't see this time as any worse than any other. He had no memory of what happened with Liz so that changes nothing about what happened with Tess. His reasons for what happened are the same whether he had sex with Liz or not.

But I can see your point. I just don't see it the same way. Sorry you're unhappy with the story and find it unrealistic. This is the way I see it and I know everyone won't agree. I'm not a writer or a student of human nature so there are likely to be errors. I'm just having fun and doing my best to write what I see and see where I can take it. I knew a lot of people wouldn't agree with my vision at the start of this. I'm going to pull in things from the me they are the same people at the core of them spinning this slightly doesn't change that. Not enough has happened to cause Max to be that different in my eyes. That's my opinion. Thanks for the feedback and for giving this fic a chance.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 9-Dec-2002 3:55:38 PM ]
posted on 9-Dec-2002 10:54:48 PM
I guess I didn't make the part about Sean and Brody clear. I never wrote that Max's ONLY reason for stopping Sean was to sabotage Sean. I believe Max said several times that he thought Brody was a good guy which is saying he likes and cares about him. Apparently I didn't write enough of Max's thoughts about that. Sorry.

I also don't see Tess touching Max in EOTW as history changing. It was pretty much everything else. Liz's actions to change things and how Max viewed them. But that's beside the point I guess.

Easy out or not the speech is in this fic. That's not changing. As I said before I don't see Max as having changed much if ANY at all from the point where this fic deverges from the show. Liz and everyone else have changed (mostly due to reflection on their part) but Max at this point is pretty much the same. He hasn't made the effort to change. That is how I see it and how I'm writing it. I think this another example of having to agree to disagree.

rjsasko I have to agree I didn't think Max was redeemed on UPN. I don't think they really tried to redeem him because I really don't think they thought there was a problem with him. Everyone was just suposed to accept his behavior as is I guess. I am also with you on the wedding. What a disappiontment. All the way through season three I prayed Liz would take another look at Kyle....oh well. I want to like Max. I loved Max in season one. I could over look things all the way up to prom. People make mistakes even Max. That was the last straw for me even though I was uncomfortable with some of his actions up to then. With his behavior after Alex died....well I was beyond upset. I probably don't take as hard a line as you do but I do understand your viewpoint and have shared your thoughts at various times. I want to forgive him. I do....

I have to say I love all the debates. *big* I really really do. If you have ever read some of my long winded feedback on other threads you'll know I'm not kidding. TTYL.
posted on 10-Dec-2002 1:39:29 AM

I just had to post this banner by Bordersinsanity. Isn't it great? Thanks so much.
posted on 10-Dec-2002 1:54:38 AM
You have a point there......I agree that Larek was probably the biggest reason Max wanted to keep Brody's body from harm but I would also like to think(although I'm guessing because this was never really shown on the show) That Brody and Max became friendly as they worked together. Since Brody became friendly with Maria and Max saved his daughter Sidney (although again for his own reasons-guilt and Brody wasn't aware of Max's actions) and they shared a common interest....aliens. That's what I would like to say. Also the simple fact that Brody is a human being and I would hope that he would care about anyone being hurt. But then again so is Sean. Hmmm I guess you could spin this either way depending on how you want Max to come off. The fact is there are probably a lot of reason's that went into it. Or not since he had only a split second to act. Makes you wonder doesn't it?
posted on 10-Dec-2002 7:37:01 PM
Sorry! I just.....need a break I guess. Writing for me is fun and telling a story is something I really enjoy doing and I want to keep it that way. So I think I need to back off a little bit. Just until my vibe comes back.
posted on 11-Dec-2002 1:53:01 PM
Chapter Fifteen

After her talk with Max Liz went home and started packing while Maria sat on her bed before her shift started and chatted about Michael’s neighbor. “So the guy was a lunatic. I mean we weren’t THAT loud. He just spazzed,” Maria said indignant over said neighbors rude words as she had left Michael’s apartment earlier that morning.

Liz chuckled under her breath as Maria continued her rant.

“Liz honey? Come down here a minute I have something for you,” Jeff Parker shouted from the bottom of the stairs leading from the café to the apartment. Knowing what a hard year his daughter had had he was doubly pleased by her excellent grades. The death of a close friend was a tough thing to handle. He had decided to get her something special that she would need eventually anyway. He watched Liz clatter down the stairs with Maria on her heels and smiled at the familiar sight.

“What is it Dad?” Liz asked as she reached the bottom of the stairs.

“Come out to the alley and I’ll show you,” Jeff said leading the way. He opened the door grandly displaying his gift…a shiny desert sand colored Jeep. Used but still in great shape with low miles.

“Wow. A Jeep,” Liz said her tone a little off.

Jeff was so excited by his gift he didn’t notice. “It’s all yours. I’m so proud of you baby. I know this year has been hard. I wanted to get you something that you could use. When you go to college you’ll need a car so I went ahead and got this one. I hope you like it…I had a mechanic look it over and everything,” Jeff rambled happily.

Maria watched Liz during his speech with amusement. She could see the thoughts flickering across her face as she looked at the Jeep. Funny how a Jeep could throw her for a loop if she was sooo over Max like she claimed she was.

Liz stared at the Jeep for a moment before she pulled herself together. “Thank you Daddy. You’re the best. I love it,” Liz said and hugged her dad tightly.

“You’re welcome. I love you and I’ve always been so proud of you. Now the top is in the back and try not to get too many tickets,” Jeff joked handing her the keys.

“I won’t. Wow, I better call Isabel and tell her she doesn’t have to beg her mom for the car,” Liz said as she walked around the vehicle. When her dad went inside she looked at Maria. “Don’t even say it.”

“I didn’t say anything chica,” Maria returned her eyes dancing. “Funny how things work out isn’t it?”

“It’s a Jeep Maria. That’s it. It doesn’t even look like his,” Liz said to convince herself. It wasn’t the same color and it wasn’t a military surplus Jeep. They really couldn’t be more different.

“Let’s go for a ride,” Maria said eagerly already headed for the passenger seat. “Your own wheels…this is sooo cool. Now we can avoid the government and evil aliens in your car.”

Liz hopped in and adjusted the seat forward. “I can’t wait for that day,” Liz replied sarcastically. “At least it’s four wheel drive.”

After going home to change Max headed to the CrashDown. Michael was working and he wanted to see what else Michael could tell him. Plus, it was time to stop hiding and letting Liz hide too. Eventually she would have to talk to him again if he was parked right in front of her. Max was determined to work through this even if he got tossed into the lake every time they had a conversation. Giving up had never done him any good before this.

Maria saw him walk in and moved to block his entrance to the back room. “Whoa there! Where do you think you’re going?” Maria asked.

“To talk to Michael,” Max answered stopping in front of her.

“Mr. P will freak if he sees you in the kitchen. I’ll tell Michael you’re here and he’ll come out on his break. Now park it,” Maria said not unkindly pointing to his usual booth.

Max sat down and started waiting for Michael. A few minutes later Maria slid into the seat across from him and set a plate down in front for him.

“It’s the fish sandwich….I thought you might have a craving after your dip in the lake,” Maria said watching his face carefully and smirking with amusement.

“Yeah, that’s funny Maria,” Max replied idly playing with the silverware. “I just wanted to explain the Tess thing but I made her even more angry. It didn’t come out right.”

“Max…what are you doing? Really what do you hope to accomplish with all this?” Maria asked. She looked at Max and wondered when he lost his mind.

“I want to straighten this out and be with Liz. I love her,” Max answered like it was obvious.

“Uh huh. What about what Liz wants? All I’ve heard from you is I want, I need, I think. What about Liz? Have you even thought about her?” Maria asked frustrated with him. She could see why Liz had no desire to talk to him and avoided him like the plague. It was irritating to deal with someone who didn’t listen and was so completely clueless.

“Yes, I have. She’s upset with me. I know that. I want to explain so she can understand. I don’t want to see her upset.”

“She’s going to be upset no matter what. That’s a given. Forget Tess for now. There is no explaining that. You need to look at everything else first. Stop trying to get her back into a relationship that didn’t work the first time around. Look at the reasons for what happened and build something new. If you don’t get a clue you are going to totally loose her……I’m talking about her friendship here,” Maria said slapping her hand on the table. “Max….let me tell you something. If you hurt Liz again I’m going to come for you. You remember that statement don’t you? I won’t be coming to talk to you. I’ll be coming to solve the problem by removing you from this life. What you’ve done there is no excuse for,” Maria held up her hand as Max opened his mouth. “If the word Tess passes your lips I’m going to hurt you. Since you can’t seem to figure this out on your own let me help you. I'm a giving type of person. I’m here to help.”

“Okay, help me out here,” Max said leaning forward and listening intently.

“Finally! Let me start from scratch because I’m thinking you know nothing. The last year has made me think that you have no clue. No need to thank me…I’m a giver,” Maria said as Max again tried to speak. “First, I’m going to take this with out discussing that you two had sex. Okay…she doesn’t trust you Max. That has nothing to do with Tess either. I want you to really think about what happened after the Kyle thing. Think about how you treated her after that. Now I know that you had reason for thinking it was true and you were hurt and angry. Fine….but it started a pattern with you. You get hurt and take it as a free pass to lash out. You didn’t think back to all the things Liz had done for you before that incident. You didn’t treat her with respect for those things alone. Do you understand what I’m saying? Liz has the right to do what she chooses with her body just like you do. You acted like she was a slut or something but when you slept with Tess she’s just supposed to get over it. You said you couldn’t even be her FRIEND after that! Do you even know how much that hurt her? I do. I was there. She still didn’t give up on you. She accepted your anger as her due for her actions and still helped you.

Think about how you treated her after Alex died. There was no excuse for that Max. Not one. The yelling the absolute scorn with which you treated her was reprehensible. If you didn’t believe her that’s one thing but you could have….should have listened to her like she listened to you. I know all about your Christmas ghost. Liz didn’t call you crazy and blow you off. She listened and tried to help you because it was real to you and she cares about you. You treated her like the enemy. You treated her with a level of disrespect that I never thought you were capable of. I know she was reckless in her search and could have done things better but you know what? She deserves some slack….she gave it to you on more occasions then I can count. I heard all about you grabbing her in the hall at school. I saw the bruises. That was WRONG. You were wrong to treat her like that.

Let’s talk about when Liz went to ask Tess some questions about her powers. Kyle told me all about that conversation. There was no excuse for that. You treated her like shit. Her best friend had just DIED, you kissed Tess at prom, started dating and snuggling with Tess at school you would THINK you could have a little compassion. Try to look past your own hurt and understand what she was going through. But NO you verbally attack her in front of her friends. You act like you have the right to treat people however you choose but we are all supposed to forgive you or overlook YOUR bad behavior. It doesn’t work like that. You aren’t a king here. You’re just Max Evans.

Now. You tell me why Liz should want you back? Why she should trust you to treat her like she deserves? If this is how you treat the people you love I don’t blame her for wanting to get as far away from you as possible. Start there. Tess is not even half of your problem. THIS planet doesn’t revolve around you Max. We aren’t here to serve you. You need to think about other people and their feelings,” Maria finished staring him right in the eye and daring him to refute her words.

Max had listened to her tirade in silence feeling sicker as it continued. Hearing events from someone else’s viewpoint showed a side of himself he wasn’t able to deny. She was right there was no excuse. “I’m sorry….Maria. You’re right. I have no excuse,” Max said softly.

“No, you don’t. I’ve had it with you Max. I don’t mean to be a total bitch but I’m not going to stand by and watch Liz get hurt again. I shouldn’t have stood by all this time,” Maria admitted. “Now straighten up and learn something here. She may never want you back…I’m not going to kid you about that and you know what? I don’t blame her. At this point you aren’t good enough for her. The fact that you had sex doesn’t entitle you to get her back. You need to start mending fences and show her that you are a good person. That she can trust you to be her friend and respect her for the person she is. Now….I’m telling you all this hoping you can pull it off. I want to see you be the guy that was my friend and the guy I had respect for. I want to be your friend but Liz….she means so much to me. She’s more than my friend. She’s family and I will have no problem protecting her even if I have to hurt you to do it…Kay?”

“Got it. Thanks Maria…..for talking to me,” Max said softly. “Can you just tell Michael to call me?”

“Yeah. I’ll tell him,” Maria agreed and watched Max slid out of the booth and leave. She hoped she hadn’t been too hard on him but….He needed to see past Tess. He needed to address his behavior. She really hoped he had listened.

Liz finished her shift by mopping the dining room floor while Michael cleaned the grill and Maria filled the condiments. She was ready to move forward out of the emotional turmoil of the last few weeks. It was time to focus once again on the goal and let the details sort themselves out. She felt different…disconnected from her feelings and it was a nice relief from the pain and confusion. She wanted to start building a LIFE again not just surviving.

“How are you doing after this morning?” Maria asked concerned. She had watched Liz throughout her shift expecting her to show some emotion or indicate how she felt about what had happened. This morning when they had talked Liz had relayed the events of the morning but not how she felt about them.

“I’m okay,” Liz said looking over at Maria. Seeing the skeptical look on Maria's face she smiled. “Really. I’ll be fine I just want to move on. I realized something I guess. Something that makes it a little easier…clearer,” Liz replied and returned to the bucket to rinse out the mop.

“What’s that?” Maria asked curious, a glance at the kitchen showed Michael had stopped working and was listening to the conversation.

“That it’s really likely that even without Tess doing what she did…removing the memory…Max and I wouldn’t have worked out. I made a mistake and I see that clearly now,” Liz said and returned to the floor.

“Can you expand on that for me?” Maria asked giving all her attention to Liz.

“Well…Max may not have slept with Tess if he remembered but I think if things had been allowed to continue, without Tess taking that memory away, we probably would have split up anyway. Max isn’t what I thought he was and I’m not what he wanted me to be. I wanted to believe in the fairytale and that wasn’t really fair to Max. I just didn’t see the person he really was. In real life there aren’t any soulmates…we’re just people and we change and grow away from each other…It happens. Now that I understand what happened I can leave it in the past where it belongs and move on from here,” Liz said and glanced up from the floor and over to Maria.

Something about that speech bothered Maria….made her nervous. Thinking about it she realized what it was…Liz was at heart a believer in the impossible. It was what had allowed her to believe in aliens and soulmates and calmly except the incredible events taking place in their lives…it had helped her deal with everything. Liz had often guided Maria into expectance by her example. For all her logical ways and scientific mind she allowed herself to take leaps of faith. She had always used her logic to explain the fantastic not disprove it or use it to not believe in the dream. Liz had always listened to her heart and followed that even when logic pointed in a different direction. This was like….watching something really special and beautiful wither. Maria actually felt tears fill her eyes as she looked at Liz. She had no idea what to do. How could she tell Liz she was wrong? That sometimes the fairytale did come true when everything in their lives right now pointed to that being a lie. She didn’t want to see Liz letting go of such an important and special piece of herself.

“Liz, I know things are bad right now but please don’t allow this to alter your whole life and all of your beliefs. Give it some time before you do that,” Maria said weakly.

“This did alter my whole life Maria. There’s no changing that. It’s not totally a bad thing,” Liz said and started for the back pushing the mop bucket in front of her. “If I want to move on I have to accept it. I’ll never be that foolish or stupid again. Life is learning and adapting. You have to let go of things sometimes and take a hard look at your choices. Future Max was right I wasn’t allowing myself to change and maybe he was right about other things too. Normal human boys being one of them. That’s not so bad is it?”

“Hello! Liz, the guy was cracked! He thought Tess was necessary to survive! Please tell me you’re not still listening to a battle crazed aged lunatic….the guy was MAX! Look at Max for one minute and tell me you think he’s a wise sage of knowledge,” Maria burst out appalled.

“So he had issues,” Liz shrugged a smile tugging at her lips at Maria’s outburst. “That doesn’t mean he was wrong about everything. I don’t have an option here…Where my dream used to be is…well let’s just say it’s like a nuclear winter. I don’t want to be alone and unhappy my whole life. So what are my choices here? Hold onto a dead dream and be miserable or move on and maybe someday finding something good. This is part of growing up. It’s hard sometimes and it hurts but I am going to have a life.”

“Liz…maybe Max wasn’t the dream…The One…whatever, but that doesn’t mean the dream isn’t out there,” Maria said desperately.

“Oh he was a dream all right,” Liz returned then turned toward the backroom.

Maria just sputtered as Liz walked into the back. A glance at Michael showed him just as surprised by Liz’s new attitude. Maria cursed Future Max where ever he was….he deserved to not exist anymore. What a mess. If Maria ever met a future version of anyone she would just kick their ass. Honestly Maria grumbled to herself she was going to have to work on deprogramming Liz. She wished Grandma Claudia were here to help her…or Alex. Liz was stubborn but this time Maria would out stubborn her.

Michael watched Maria huff to herself and shook his head. Women. Between the three women in his life it was a wonder he stayed sane.

When Liz came back out to the dining room and sat at the counter to help Maria in silence.

“Liz? Can I ask you something?” Maria asked hesitantly.

“Sure,” Liz answered looking up at Maria’s tone.

“How do you feel about the whole…having slept with Max thing?”

Liz tensed slightly. “Ummm. I think it was a mistake.”

“Why? How was it a mistake? You loved him right?” Maria asked watching her closely.

Michael stopped, moving to the pick up window he looked out to see Liz fidget in her seat before answering.

“I’m not sure….I’m not sure I know who he is. I thought I knew but….I don’t think I was seeing clearly. We weren’t ready for a commitment like that. I thought I loved him. I just….I felt so bad about hurting him like I did and I wanted to believe in him. To have things go back to how they were you know? I wanted to believe he was the person I thought he was and maybe I didn’t see what was really there. I feel stupid and I’m disgusted with myself. That’s pretty much it,” Liz said and leaving Maria in stunned silence she went to get a drink.

“Liz, you aren’t stupid,” Maria denied.

“YES! Yes, I am!” Liz said slamming her glass down on the counter and turning to face a shocked Maria. “Who else would put up with all the garbage I did? Look at him Maria! I just…I made a terrible mistake and I’m paying for it.”

Maria walked over and hugged her tightly. “Liz…you care about him. You’re a good person and you have a kind heart. That doesn’t make you stupid.”

Liz held her tongue and encased her feelings tightly hiding them deep inside. Nothing Maria said could change her feelings or thoughts. Facts were facts. The worst thing was that she continued to let him get to her. She just couldn’t seem to get past it.

posted on 12-Dec-2002 3:16:13 PM
Chapter Sixteen

Isabel glanced over at Liz as they sped down the highway on their way to LCU. This was the first time she remembered ever really being alone with Liz for any length of time. “So Liz…I hear you’ve got a new outlook on life?”

Liz smiled and quirked her eyebrow at Isabel. It was a beautiful day and it was easy to let go of all her problems on the open road while the wind whipped through her hair. She felt almost….free. “Talking to Maria?”

“She’s just worried about you,” Isabel answered pushing her sunglasses into her hair so she could check her lip-gloss.

“What’s to worry about? I feel good for the first time in weeks. Leaving Roswell was the best idea we’ve had yet even if it is only for a couple of days,” Liz returned smiling.

“Since you’re feeling good and turning over a new leaf and all maybe now is the time to talk about your cloths. Tell me Liz…what are you trying to SAY with those cloths?” Isabel asked curious.

A smile passed over Liz’s face as she glanced away from the road. “What are you talking about? What’s wrong with my cloths?”

“Well nothing I guess but what’s right about them is the question you should be asking. Liz…you’ve got a nice body and you’re wasting it. It’s a shame,” Isabel said voicing long held thoughts. Adding a little flair and showing a little skin wasn’t a crime. How you looked could give you a nice boost in how you felt.

“Yeah right,” Liz muttered shaking her head. She didn’t believe a word of it. Isabel was just trying to help make her feel better in her own way.

“Liz…I know cloths. I also know you use cloths like you do a pencil. Cloths can be fun not just a necessity. Max isn’t the only one to ogle you over the years. I happen to know Brent Weadbrock spent a good deal of time with his eyes glued to your backside. Or best side depending on who you ask,” Isabel laughed as Liz turned wide shocked eyes toward her. “I happen to also know there is a wonderful little outlet mall up ahead.”

Liz rolled her eyes and smiled. Looks like they were going shopping.

After a whirlwind shopping trip they checked into their hotel and decided to stroll around campus. Get a feel for it before hitting the administration building that night. Liz wanted to go in during the day and see where everything was so it would be faster to find what they were looking for that night.

Isabel looked over the first of Liz’s new outfits with approval. She looked good with her trim tummy exposed above her ultra low riding jeans. Her halter-top was colorful and looked great. She was good Isabel thought proudly as she eyed her handy work.

“You ready to go?” Liz asked breaking into Isabel’s thoughts.

“Ready,” Isabel answered and together they made their way on foot toward the campus.

“So I never did ask…did you graduate?” Liz asked looking up at the clear blue sky. It really did feel nice to be out of Roswell. She felt like a new person.

“No….since I thought we were leaving I backed off of that. Maybe by the end of this coming year we can all agree it’s not necessary to stay imprisoned in Roswell,” Isabel replied making sure to keep her pace slower to match Liz’s.

“Hmmm lately I can certainly see Roswell as a prison. I also have to say I am selfishly happy you’ll be hanging around for another year,” Liz said flashing Isabel a big shining smile.

Isabel blinked in surprise before a smile spread across her face in return. “Well…thanks I guess.”

“Sure anytime,” Liz drawled feeling happy and almost lighthearted.

“So what’s the plan?” Isabel asked automatically putting Liz in Max’s normal role. Liz shot her a look. “What? You’re the one with B&E experience…hanging out with the criminal element and all.”

“Funny. Actually I did learn a little something. When you get caught…run like hell,” Liz said laughing as they approached the doors leading to the administration office. “Give yourself a little credit you guys are like natural criminals with all the laws you guys break….with my help of course,” Liz added with a smile at Isabel’s sharp look. She wasn’t looking as she walked through the doors into the office. She was too busy looking back at Isabel so it took her completely by surprise to hit what felt like a wall. A very HARD wall.

“Whoa! I got…” Dane said as he securely grasp the arms of the girl he had just run into. “,” He trailed off as she turned to face him.

Liz gasp as she ran into someone. Turning to look at the person she stopped struck dumb. He was….HUGE. He was…..beautiful.

Isabel looked back and forth between them. This was…interesting.

“Oh I’m sorry! I wasn’t…..looking,” Liz said softly looking into the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen. They were a deep enchanting leaf green framed by long inky lashes. They were all the more striking due to his black hair and tan.

“No harm done. I’m Dane by the way,” Dane said reluctantly releasing her. She was gorgeous. Long silky hair and huge beautiful eyes…she looked so delicate and her skin glowed in the sunlight.

“Nice to meet you Dane. I’m Liz,” Liz answered her eyes not leaving his face. After a light nudge from Isabel she remembered her presence. “Oh and…this is my friend Isabel.”

Dane glanced over at the tall blonde and smiled briefly before turning back to Liz. “Nice to meet you both. Are you…here for the summer session?” Dane asked hoping like hell she was.

“Um no. We’re…just looking around the campus. We’re thinking of going here after our senior year,” Liz answered smiling back at him.

“Oh where are you from?” Dane asked hoping it wasn’t too far away.

“Roswell actually. We better…let you go. I’m sure you have practice or something soon,” Liz guessed. Maria’s advice was looking a whole lot better right about now. What had been her objection to football players again?

“Practice? Oh! Yeah….I guess it’s not too hard to guess I play football huh?” Dane asked entranced as Liz tucked her hair behind her ear.

“Umm no. Your shirt kind of gave you away,” Liz answered her eyes dancing with amusement. He was adorable Liz thought as he looked down at his shirt then back to her and rolled his eyes.

“Right,” Dane said slightly embarrassed. “I’d like to….show you…both around later if you have time. There’s a small party tonight too if you’re interested.”

“We’d love that,” Isabel replied looking at Liz with a slight smile playing over her lips. “Liz, give him your cell number.”

“I don’t have a pen or anything. I didn’t bring my purse,” Liz answered looking hopefully at Dane.

“Hang on,” Dane said and ducked back inside.

“He’s hot,” Isabel remarked watching Liz’s face. The look on Dane’s face was really familiar…she had been seeing in on Max’s face for years when he looked at Liz. Liz looked impressed so far herself.

“Umm yeah,” Liz agreed nervously. Her nervousness faded as she saw Dane walking back with a pen and a piece of paper.

“Okay…here,” Dane said handing over the pen and paper. He watched her slim delicate hands as she wrote down her number. Everything about her was beautiful.

Liz wrote down her name and number and handed the pen and paper back to him. “Okay. Well I guess I’ll talk to you later. It was….nice meeting you,” Liz said and smiled.

“You will and it was great running into you,” he said with a happy grin. He turned to Isabel for the first time since Liz had introduced her. “It was nice to meet you. I hope to see you ladies later.”

“Oh I’m sure you will,” Isabel returned with a smile. They both watched him jog toward the athletic field his long legs eating up the ground. “How do you do that?”

“Do what?” Liz asked pushing open the doors and stepping into the building.

“Godsmack men like that,” Isabel answered with amusement.

“Me? I don’t think so. You’re the centerfold,” Liz scoffed.

“He barely even glanced at me. You might as well have hit him over the head with a blunt object….he was stunned. Besides none of my former dates have stalked me. I believe two of your ex’s fit that title,” Isabel said enjoying Liz’s discomfort. She wasn’t making anything up either.

“He was just….startled. I ran into him that’s all. Now focus. We need to get the lay out down,” Liz said trying to steer Isabel away from the Dane topic.

“Yeah okay,” Isabel said pulling out her phone as they walked around. She dialed quickly and listened to the phone ring. “Maria? It’s Isabel,” Isabel said ignoring Liz’s eye roll.

“What’s up?” Maria asked curious. Isabel never called her.

“Liz has already tackled herself a football player,” Isabel said grinning back at Liz as she shot her a nasty look.

“Really? Tell me everything,” Maria said totally focused on the conversation.

“He’s at least six four….wide shoulders totally hot. He’s got black hair with beautiful light green eyes. Very sexy mouth. You know who he sort of looks like? That guy from The Mummy…you know the one with the longer dark hair?” Isabel described enjoying Liz’s flushed face.

“Oh yeah….I know the one. What’s his name?” Maria asked.

“Dane. There were sparks Maria. Visible sparks,” Isabel whispered not wanting to spook Liz.

“Really?….Wow! This is exciting. Are they going to see each other again?” Maria asked torn between being happy about this and being worried.

“I made sure he got her cell number. She’s so ready to move forward right? We’re about to see if that’s really the case,” Isabel replied. Her opinion was that it was a good thing for Liz to go out. She didn’t want Liz to have too much time to build up her walls. Casual dating would show her that not all men were assholes. Dane seemed nice and if he wasn’t Isabel would find out. She made a mental note to buy a one-use camera to take his picture. It would make dreamwalking him easier. She hung up with Maria after promising to keep her informed.

Liz was taking note of the location of the filing cabinets and the layout of the office. She looked around for cameras as she chatted up a clerk. No cameras…excellent. The alarm system was out of date and very simple. No problem for Isabel’s powers. After taking the information the clerk had provided about the school she pulled Isabel out the door. “I think we should come by tonight or early morning to see about the security guards. I’m sure they’ll have some making the rounds and I want to see how many and what the routine is. I don’t want to get caught. What do you think?” Liz asked as they walked.

“Good idea. We can come by after we hit that party with Dane,” Isabel agreed.

“I don’t know Isabel. We came here to get some information not go to parties,” Liz said. She wasn’t sure this was a good idea. Dane seemed nice and all but so had Max. The last thing she wanted was more trouble.

“We can do both. There’s no law against having a good time. Didn’t you like Dane?” Isabel asked.

“I just met him how can I say yet?” Liz pointed out.

“Fair enough. It’s one party not even a date. This is normal and fun. There’s no harm in that,” Isabel replied watching the indecision flicker across Liz’s face.

“We’ll see what happens. Let’s focus on finding the security office. It would be great if we could slip in and see if we can see a schedule to give us an idea of how many guards are on duty at a time,” Liz said side stepping the Dane issue. It really wasn’t a big thing. It was one party.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 12-Dec-2002 3:17:18 PM ]
posted on 12-Dec-2002 10:24:07 PM
SciFiNut.....Funny you should mention all that! Carefully read Isabel's thoughts....Liz seems to THINK she's ready to move on.....Doesn't want her to build up the walls......All that could be to Max's benifit in the long run IF he gets his crap together. Isabel doesn't want Liz to become S1 Michael. She also doesn't want Liz to just start viewing men as all bad and take a hard stance on dating. Someone once said something interesting to me......Once you give one guy a chance you tend to give another. Once you have sex with one person it's way more possible to have sex with another or have sex a second time. Just saying.... no I'm not saying Liz is going to sleep with him.

One hour photo developing.......Isabel plans on using it. They have a couple days there and she plans on keeping a close eye on Liz. Don't want her getting too crazy now do we? Dane is already asking where she's from so a visit is not out of the question.

Dane looks like the Tribesmen guy.....crap the one with the tatoos on his face. Oh my is he hot! Not Brenden the guy who is supposed to protect the world by keeping everyone away from the mummy...Oded Fehr is his name. I had to give Liz a very FINE rebound guy......or new guy....or date...whichever. He is much hotter then Max which Liz will point out. Bigger too.....Taller! geez you guys!*big*

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 12-Dec-2002 10:47:44 PM ]
posted on 13-Dec-2002 12:39:51 AM
livia you crack me up! I can assure you that Dane doesn't wear a skirt. Oded is just yummy. I think it's his lower lip....very nice. The rest of him isn't bad either. Rob....OMG! Too funny.
posted on 13-Dec-2002 8:53:41 PM
Chapter Seventeen


Liz stared at the door as Isabel knocked wondering how exactly she had gotten here. Well she sort of knew. Dane had called and her brain had frozen. Before she knew what was happening she had agreed to meet him at the party with Isabel. Well Isabel punching and threatening her had probably also played a part in getting her to agree. Isabel hit hard.

“Stop fidgeting we are going to have fun. Just relax,” Isabel said looking her over one last time. She had done Liz’s makeup adding eyeliner for a more dramatic look and highlighting her eyes. Her outfit was casual the only thing she had changed was her shirt. It was white with crisscrossing laces up the front and brought out her light tan and of course also showed her stomach.

“I am relaxed I’m just distracted by this shooting pain in my…arm,” Liz said as the door opened and Dane’s grin widened as he saw Liz. God he was beautiful.

“Come on in ladies,” Dane said holding the door wide open. He was ridiculously pleased to see her. He had been afraid she wouldn’t come. “I have to warn you most of the guys from the team are here and some of them are cretins so I take no responsibility for their mouth.”

“Oh I think we’ll be able to handle it. Right Liz?” Isabel said with a big smile as she walked in.

“Yeah….Izzy’s got a pretty mean punch,” Liz said as she walked by Dane.

“What about you?” Dane asked shutting the door.

“I’m not normally violent. I’m very even tempered,” Liz said and ignored Isabel’s look.

Dane caught the look as he lead them down the hall to the large game room of the fraternity house where all the noise was coming from. He led the two girls over to the couch where there were a couple of empty seats. “Can I get you two anything to drink?” Dane asked politely.

“Any kind of soda would be great,” Liz said looking around.

“Okay, be right back,” Dane replied and started pushing through the crowd.

“See Liz? Normal party. Music, stuff to drink, tons of people doesn’t it feel…nice to just sink into normalcy a little?” Isabel asked her eyes shining as she took in the crowded room.

“Okay, point taken. You can stop nagging now,” Liz replied smiling at Isabel’s nonstop efforts to get her here. She had to admit it was great to forget everything else for a while. As she looked at Isabel she smiled glad she seemed to be enjoying herself. Isabel had been through a lot too in the last couple of months. Maybe this was good for her also.

“I don’t nag,” Isabel denied turning back to look at Liz.

“Of course not. Just like you don’t take care of people. Gotcha,” Liz smirked as Isabel shot her a warning look.

“Here you go…it was this or 7UP. I figured the cola was the safer choice,” Dane said as he joined them. He passed out the unopened cans of soda smiling as Liz scooted over to make room for him on the couch.

“Thank you,” Liz said as Dane eased himself onto the couch beside her.

Isabel watched as they chatted about all the usual stuff. Dane was from Ohio, wasn’t sure of his major yet, no brothers or sisters. She had to admit he had good manners he made sure to include Isabel in the conversation. He was smart, funny, and definitely interested in Liz. Before long a couple of Dane’s teammates joined them Matt and Brian. Isabel rolled her eyes thinking Matt must have been the one Dane had been thinking about when he issued his warning. Brain seemed all right. Isabel’s attention was brought back to the conversation by Liz’s angry expression.

“It’s a simple matter of biology. Men are the adventures and the hunters. Women nest and build a family,” Matt said with a smile playing over his face.

“That leads to men cheating how?” Liz asked her eyes flashing a clear warning even though her tone was even.

“It’s a biological imperative. Men need variety. Just like they have the urge to hunt or explore new things. Women need to commit to one man. It’s nature,” Matt finished pleased with himself.

“If that’s true why do they get married? Get into a supposedly committed relationship?” Liz asked her anger leaking into her voice.

“To have a sure thing waiting at home. It’s not like men don’t care about women they just need more then one women for life,” Matt said like it was totally clear.

“I think it’s because they are lying greedy snakes. They can’t be honest about what they want so they lie. That is crap about exploring. You can never totally know another person they change and grow over time. They can surprise you for the rest of your life if you let them. The type of man you’re talking about isn’t a man. He’s a weak willed spoiled little boy who has no character,” Liz stated clearly. Honestly! How dare he claim to have any understanding of science!

“Don’t get angry with me for natures little quirks,” Matt returned.

Isabel cut in hoping to prevent bloodshed. “Liz, not everyone is a science major.”

“That’s true. Some people don’t even understand their own point,” Dane agreed disgusted with Matt. What was he even doing over here? They weren’t even friends. Seeing Matt eyeing Isabel answered that question.

“Okay ladies I’ve got a question for you,” Matt said drawing their attention. “What would your ex’s say your biggest talent was?”

“Biggest talent?” Isabel asked in a frosty tone of voice.

“Yeah, you know it could be anything. We all have something,” Matt said eyeing Isabel’s legs.

“Hmmm my biggest talent. I don’t know….Isabel what do you think your brother would say?” Liz asked her eyes flashing slightly and an edge entering her voice.

Dane looked back and forth from Liz to Isabel. They seemed to be having a conversation with their eyes.

“I think he would say…your dancing was your biggest talent,” Isabel replied evenly. “What about me? What would Alex say?”

“Good one Is…dancing. I like it. Umm I think he would say your acting abilities,” Liz said with a slight smile.

Isabel smiled in return thinking she was pretty quick on her feet. “I can go for that.”

“Your ex is her brother?” Dane asked interested.

“Yeah…small town,” Liz said shrugging.

“What about you guys? You seem like a talented bunch,” Isabel said to direct the conversation away from Max. No sense in discussing that. Lord knew Liz was getting a tad pissy as it was. Maybe socializing wasn’t the best idea.

“I don’t think my ex would say I have any talents at all,” Brian replied seriously. Isabel laughed softly at that.

“I think it doesn’t really matter. If it did they wouldn’t be ex’s right?” Dane asked having noticed Liz tensing. He grinned as Liz flashed him a smile.

“Good answer,” Isabel muttered.

Liz left the bathroom and instead of heading back she walked out the back needing a little air. She lost track of time as she looked up at the stars. It was a warm clear night and she wasn’t looking forward to eventually going to sleep. She had started having nightmares in the last couple of days. So far she didn’t really remember them but she had woken up shaking for both of the last two nights. She felt something stir inside her….something prodding her and making her uneasy.

Being around Dane wasn’t putting her at ease either. He was attractive, smart, and entertaining. She liked him. So why did she feel guilty? She was seriously screwed up.

“Here you are. I thought you got lost,” Dane said coming to stand beside her.

“Hey. Just looking at the stars,” Liz said turning her attention away from the sky and onto the man next to her. “Look…Dane…I think I should be honest with you and I don’t mean this in a rude kind of way. I’m not ready for a big thing here. I just want to make it clear from the start that this isn’t going to get serious. So you don’t waste a bunch of time and effort and not get the pay off you’re looking for.”

Dane studied her face carefully then nodded. “Okay.”

“Just okay? I’m basically telling you I won’t sleep with you and all you say is okay?” Liz asked lightening her statement with a small smile.

“Yeah. You look like you’d make a good friend and I can never have too many of those. Besides something’s are better if you don’t push or expect them. I’m not looking to score here. I like you. There’s nothing wrong with that is there?” Dane asked watching her eyes.

The smile showed first in her eyes then spread across her face. “Think you can change my mind huh?”

Dane smiled back and shook his head. “Let’s just say I’m willing to follow your lead. I believe if things are meant to be they will be. I think sometimes people are put into your life for a reason and if you’re so focused on one thing you might miss the whole point.”

Liz studied him for a second before saying anything. “You aren’t like working around to saying you believe in…..soulmates and karma and all that are you?”

Dane heard the catch in her voice and gave serious thought to her question. “Yeah, I guess you could say I believe in soulmates. I don’t know it depends on what you mean by the word.”

“What’s your definition?” Liz asked curious.

“I don’t think life is meant to be fair in the short term. Love isn’t always equal and people aren’t all the same. I don’t think soulmates necessarily are alike. I also don’t think they always make it. I think you are given a chance but being soulmates is hard. It’s not a gift everyone keeps because it’s painful and sometimes it’s easier better maybe to give up. I don’t really know if I would say being soulmates IS a gift at all.” Dane said thoughtfully.

“What do you mean?” Liz asked curious despite herself.

“One of the two will love the other more or understand things better. One of the two is going to make more mistakes or not see things as clearly. One of the two will get hurt more often or maybe deeper…that’s the way life is. I don’t see that as a gift. You never get anything worth anything without suffering for it or working for it. The universe just isn’t that way. I don’t think it’s a matter of locking eyes and living happily ever after. It’s living in each other’s soul for good and bad. It’s knowing that there is that one person who can hurt you right down to your soul or love you that way. Some people aren’t strong enough to love like that. It’s all in what you’ll settle for I guess,” Dane said shrugging his wide shoulders.

“So what you’re saying is that one of the two people is just going to have to accept what the other dishes out?” Liz asked her brows drawing together in the beginnings of anger.

“No, that’s not what I meant. I’m just saying all of us aren’t lucky to be given a soulmate that is as strong as we are. That the whole purpose is maybe to give the other what they don’t have or be better together then the two are separately. Or that there is a reason and we may never know what it is. I’m saying love isn’t fair and maybe it’s not meant to be. That sometimes your soulmate can also be the worst person for you because they can hurt you so badly. Sometimes maybe you aren’t meant to stay with that person forever. If they can’t value what they have or if they’re destroying you. Love and hate aren’t as far apart as you would like to think maybe soulmates and enemies aren’t always either. I don’t think soulmates are the great romantic story everyone makes them out to be….not all the time. For example what if Batman’s soulmate was the Catwomen? They’re tied together sure…but will it ever work out so they can be together?” Dane asked.

Liz’s mouth twitched and a smile spread over her face. “You know….I have this friend you would really get along with. You two have a lot in common. Kyle would love this conversation,” Liz said in amusement.

“Yeah? Well maybe I’ll meet him sometime. Liz…I’m not looking for a big thing right now either. Football is going to take up a lot of my time and so will my classes. I’d just like to have someone to visit every once in a while on the weekends. I hear Roswell is not to missed,” Dane said his eyes crinkling at the corners as he smiled. He followed Liz’s lead and lightened the conversation.

“Oh yeah it’s not. Very exciting place,” Liz agreed with a solemn nod.

“Great. So friend what are you up to tomorrow?” Dane asked happy that she seemed more at ease. It didn’t take a genius to guess that her ex had done a number on her. He didn’t get the impression wariness was natural to her when it came to relationships. He didn’t mind waiting. He thought she would be worth it and if it never happened he still wasn’t loosing. He really did think she would be an interesting friend to have.

“Just some sight seeing I think. Isabel is the social director between the two of us. Speaking of…she’s probably looking for me. We better go in,” Liz said and started for the door.

Isabel was almost relieved when her cell phone rang. Matt was sooo not interesting. She covered one ear and put the phone to her other. “Hello?”

“Is? Where are you?” Max asked hoping she could hear him over all the noise on her end.

“At a frat party. Where are you?” Isabel asked a smile spreading over her face.

“Michael’s. What are you doing at a frat party?” Max asked really wondering what LIZ was doing at a frat party.

“Liz made a new friend and we got invited. Chill. We’re still on course for what we came for,” Isabel said smirking as she imagined the look on Max’s face. A little jealousy never hurt anyone. Maybe it would kick Max’s ass into gear to realize he wasn’t the only one who thought Liz was special and that maybe he needed to make some improvements.

“I never thought you would forget. I just wanted to make sure you guys got there okay,” Max said. A new friend? What exactly did that mean?

“Yeah, we’re fine,” Isabel answered as Liz flopped down next to her.

“Just don’t….get in any trouble okay?” Max asked nervous about his sister and Liz teaming up at a frat party. Visions of all the different kinds of trouble they could get into or cause ran through his head.

“Don’t worry. You know Liz….the soul of caution,” Isabel said lightly.

“Isabel hang up the phone! We’re here to have fun. Let’s go watch the limbo contest. First prize is $200.00,” Liz urged not wanting Isabel to just sit there all night.

“Yeah, she sounds like the soul of caution right now. You aren’t drinking are you?” Max asked worried. A limbo contest?

“No, of course not. Don’t be silly. We’re just having a little fun no big deal,” Isabel said as Dane’s voice added to Liz’s to try to carol her to join them.

“Who is that?” Max asked hearing a male voice over the phone.

“I have to go. I’ll call you later. Bye Max,” Isabel said and hung up. Paranoid much?

posted on 13-Dec-2002 8:57:49 PM
livia...Thank you so much for Oded! I love it. Now picture light green eyes and bigger and we have Dane.

One thing I want to say is that I hope the last post put your minds at rest about Liz and sex. Dane is NOT Liz's Tess. No no. He has another point.
posted on 14-Dec-2002 3:07:37 AM
You guys are way suspious! Dane is from OHIO! Aliens in Ohio??

Dane hasn't met Max. Has no clue who Max is much less anything else about him. Why would he try and talk Liz into going back to another guy? I've never met a guy like that. You guys are picking on poor Dane. *tongue* But you are right I never said you have to love him.

Max is aware of what they are doing in searching for information on what happened with Alex. Michael and Isabel told him and right off I can't think of what chapter I mentioned it. The only things they kept from him were Liz related.

I can't say that Liz won't get into a mess. I can say I have never killed her in a fic and don't plan on it now. Does that help?
posted on 14-Dec-2002 2:38:53 PM
Hmmm I guess I see it a little different. I know most of you are rabid Max fans but.....I don't think its a horrible thing for Liz to explore other options. How can she ever be sure and comfortable with her final choice if she doesn't at least look at her options? Max certainly explored his and made some pretty serious mistakes. I don't think Liz will do the same. I think a few less then perfect choices aren't a crime. Most of us make them in our teens. She isn't WITH Dane exactly. She hasn't even kissed him!

Try and cut Liz a little slack please........she's not going to sink to the level that Max did that I can promise you. I think she deserves some room to make her own mistakes while she figures things out.

I haven't forgotten what I liked about Max in S1. I just don't see him that way anymore. He isn't the sweet, shy, innocent Max he was. Some of those things are just lost but that doesn't mean he can't become something worthwhile. Anyway I thought I would speak up a little. It stirs something in me when I see so much pro Max sympathy while not really allowing Liz the same room for messing up. I don't think it's fair to hold her to a higher standard then Max but we all seem to. I know Max has already made his mistakes and we tend to not want to see Liz make more but.....she needs room to grow and part of that is learning from her mistakes and making a few more to learn from those.

Anyway I'll get off my soap box now. Thanks for the feed back. It makes me think and lets me know when I miss the mark I'm shooting for.
posted on 14-Dec-2002 4:00:16 PM
Art you weren't harsh....I just have "issues" *big* I think Liz did make mistakes....Max just doesn't see them that way. Oh who knows?

Dane is going to bring Liz a little balance but not in a romantic way exactly. livia is right that he is another view from someone outside of the alien abyss. He is also going to force Liz to realize that she does have a bond with Max whether she wants it or not. I don't see Dane as a mistake at all. Liz does have good instincts. Have a little faith. I never promised an easy ride......Liz is going to find out things that are going to really throw her for a loop. Things that aren't totally fair but she'll have to deal. I have faith in her. *happy* Thanks you guys. The feedback makes this fic worth writing.
posted on 15-Dec-2002 8:06:03 PM
Chapter Eighteen

Isabel kept a lookout as Liz searched the files. They had timed the rounds of the security guards and carefully planned things out. So far everything was going according to plan. Keeping her eyes peeled for any movement nearby and ears open for sounds Isabel didn’t let herself become distracted by her thoughts. They went home tomorrow morning so this was their last chance to get everything they needed this trip.

Whether Max believed it or not Liz was the soul of caution. She had spent hours timing the route of the guards. She had made sure to see who opened, when, and what their routine was. She had planned this for days in between giving them an adequate cover story or alibi depending on your point of view.

They had let Dane show them around and take them to dinner. They had hit the pool at their hotel and gone “site seeing” around the area. Just as they would if they were really checking out the school. Today they had even watched Dane and the rest of the team practice.

Isabel had no idea how Liz did it. She was up all-night and only dozed while they were at the pool but still she was alert and didn’t seem tired at all. Isabel was exhausted and she had had more sleep. Although she had used some of that sleep to dreamwalk Dane.

She had been reassured by what she had seen. Dane seemed totally normal. No pervy dreams or violent ones that she had seen. It had been comforting.

“Okay, I think I’m done. I’ve copied both Jennifer Coleman’s file and Ray Hunter’s. I glanced through them as I copied and it seems that the dean was contacted by Senator Morningstar from the great state of Maryland, which happens to be Ray’s listed home state. The Senator said that Ray was working on a sensitive translation project for the Defense department. He asked for the use of the University’s computer and it was granted. The government paid for Ray’s dorm plus a tidy sum in the form of a donation. It says here in the file that if anyone contacts the school about Ray to notify an Agent Burns of the FBI,” Liz finished gravely looking up at Isabel. This was serious shit.

“Well that’s interesting. Let’s get out of here and get some sleep. We’ll need to get an early start. I’ll call the others in the morning and we’ll get together to talk about this,” Isabel said calmly. Inside her mind was racing. She didn’t think it was a happy coincidence that Nesado had infiltrated the FBI, Tess threatened Liz with the FBI, and now it was turning up in relation to Alex. A senator….or a congresswoman…or a Skin? Could Morningstar be a Skin? It seemed possible maybe even likely. Tess had after all made a deal with them.

Liz nodded and moved to replace the files. Checking the area for anything out of place she turned off the copier and replaced the stapler she had used. “Let’s go.”

They moved silently not speaking as they walked back to the hotel each lost in their own thoughts. Liz was sorting through the information she had learned trying to piece it together and decide where to go from here. Isabel felt her fear growing inside her. She could feel the press of danger on the back of her neck. She was very afraid that Liz would be next. The next target of Tess. She had put a plan in motion and it all seemed to be aimed at the girl by her side. When they entered their room Liz moved on autopilot getting ready for bed in silence.

“Liz, we have to tell Max about this. You know that right?” Isabel asked from her spot on one of the beds.

“Yeah, I know,” Liz said softly trying not to show her feelings on that issue.

“Are you okay with it?” Isabel asked watching her carefully. She had gotten better at reading her over the last six weeks. She wasn’t the blank wall she used to be.

“Does it matter? Whether I am or not it doesn’t change anything,” Liz answered as she slid into her own bed and turned on her side away from the light.

“Liz….it changes a lot. Just listen to me for a second and don’t get mad,” Isabel said and when Liz didn’t respond she continued. “You are the one constant in Max’s life. The one thing that stays at the center of his world no matter how he feels about you. Even when he was furious with you he thought about you all the time. I know he was an asshole and I know he made terrible mistakes but I also know he loves you. That love doesn’t depend on whether you love him back it exists without anything in return. I don’t even think he could stop if he wanted to. I also think that no matter how you feel Max stays at the center of your life too. You can’t ignore that Liz. I know you want to and I know you’re trying to but I saw a lot when I worked with you. You love him. That isn’t going away just because you wish for it too. Ignoring it isn’t going to make it go away either. You’re going to have a hard time if you keep trying to deny what you really feel. You are going to see him and have to work with him. How long can you keep this up?” Isabel asked eyes on Liz’s stiff back.

“As long as I have to. Isabel, I know you’re his sister and you love him but…’re ignoring a few things too. Right along with the love I may or may not feel is anger and disappointment and a thousand other things all jumbled together. I don’t know which is strongest. I can’t sort it all out. Do you understand? When I look at Max I feel all of those things struggling to break free inside me. Sometimes I want to just forgive him and say everything’s okay. Other times I want to hurt him and others I feel like I’m looking at a stranger. I think that the thing I’m most afraid of is that I fooled myself all this time about who he really is. I’m so confused that the feeling that has guided me my whole life is silent when it comes to Max. That instinct or voice…whatever it is that I trust to guide me says nothing when I look at Max. That means something Isabel. Until I figure out what it means I’m not letting Max in anymore than I have to. I don’t care if it hurts him. I’m waiting and if he pushes me too far I’m going to shut him out totally,” Liz said softly with conviction in her voice. She didn’t turn to see Isabel’s face. She didn’t care what anyone said this was the way it was.

“What did that voice or instinct used to say about Max?” Isabel asked curious.

“It used to tell me he was the one for me. It used to assure me that I was doing the right thing by helping him and believing in him. It said that through the steps back and Tess’s arrival and the FBI capturing him. During the summer I was in Florida I used to go to sleep at night feeling connected to Max like there was a string binding me to him across all the distance between us. At some point I lost that feeling. I almost didn’t notice it at first…when it started. Slowly I just stopped being able to feel him. When I looked in his eyes I couldn’t see him there anymore. Looking back I think it started after Christmas slowly over time it just became harder and harder to read him. Now I just….I don’t feel him. Now when I look at him I don’t trust him. I can work with him and I can be civil if he doesn’t push me. I can’t say anymore than that,” Liz explained. She chewed on her lower lip as she stared at the wall. Deep down she knew that it was highly unlikely that Max wouldn’t push. It just wasn’t in him to let things go on like this forever.

Isabel stared at her thoughtfully for a few minutes. “What about that memory? What was your voice saying then?”

Liz’s brow wrinkled as she thought about it. “I don’t know. It’s like there’s…something missing from that memory. I can’t say what the voice was telling me. When I think about that night….I know Max loved me then. I know I loved him and I was sure enough to see my Max in his eyes but….there was something off. I had doubts about what we were doing. I allowed what I wanted to be true and what I wanted to influence me. You know that. You felt it like I did,” Liz said and turned to face Isabel.

“Yes. I do know. I know that you loved him enough to ignore any doubts you had. How do you know THAT wasn’t the voice? I think you’re trying to forget how you felt then. It was a good memory Liz. You were happy. I know things have changed since then but don’t forget the good stuff. I think there was enough good to at least keep you two friends,” Isabel said watching her eyes cloud.

“Maybe. We’ll see,” Liz said and shrugged one shoulder.

“I’m bringing this up because I want us all to be able to work together. We’re going to need to,” Isabel said worried.

“I have always been able to put aside the personal stuff. What you should be worried about is Max. To work together we need to believe in the same things…be on the same page. I don’t know that Max has the same goal. In any case don’t worry about me. I can go with the flow…..I’ll reach my goal with or without Max’s help,” Liz said and pointedly shut her eyes. Discussion over.

As the Jeep barreled down the highway toward home Isabel worried nonstop. Liz had woken her up screaming in her sleep. It had scared the crap out of Isabel. She had thought someone was in the room at first. Finally she realized that Liz was dreaming and when she had gone to wake her up she had received a flash of her dream. Liz had been dreaming about Tess. The flash had been so quick she hadn’t gotten that much more…just enough to make her extremely nervous. Liz had been screaming for Max to help her…save her from Tess. Isabel was starting to wonder what exactly those other buried memories were.

Glancing over at Liz now you would never know that she had woken up panicked and flickering with green lightening. Isabel sighed and turned to look out the passenger side at the passing desert scenery. She felt a great weight resting on her shoulders. She could sense danger lurking around the edges of their lives but feared they wouldn’t be able to work together enough to avert the coming disaster. Liz was right about Max. He had his own goal that seemed completely separate from the rest of them. Finding his son. Although he listened to what the rest of them were doing he wasn’t really getting involved.

Since Jim Valenti hadn’t found any proof so far of Liz being watched by anyone much less the FBI Max felt that Isabel was being paranoid. He listened to her explain about the journal and pointed out that it seemed geared to upsetting Liz so it wasn’t proof that Tess had contacted the government about Liz. The threat was just as effective and less dangerous. She hoped that the latest information would change his mind but she had doubts.

Max was fixated on what he believed to be his son contacting him. He said his son was in trouble and he had to find a way to contact him or bring him home. He said that the real danger was Tess allowing harm to come to his son. He didn’t believe Tess could hurt Liz since she wasn’t even on the planet. Plus Liz was human and insignificant to Tess’s deal, which made her pointless in the scheme of things for Tess. Isabel wondered if Max really believed that or just wanted to. Either way she supposed it didn’t matter because he wasn’t listening.

The closer they got to Roswell the tenser Liz became. It felt like the closer they got the heavier the weight she was carrying became. She sighed as the Welcome to Roswell sign appeared.

“Do you want me to drop you off at home or do you want to go to the Crash?” Liz asked turning her head to look at Isabel.

“Just go on to the CrashDown. I’m sure Michael’s there at the very least,” Isabel answered. She wanted to talk to Michael before the meeting they were having after closing. Besides she knew that Liz was going to go over the files again looking for anything she missed.

Liz just nodded and continued straight home. She wasn’t looking forward to dealing with Max again that evening but she knew it was necessary. He needed to know just in case. They should all be careful and aware as they went about their business. Even though this information was months old it pointed to a level of government involvement that was dangerous.

As she pulled up and parked the Jeep her cell phone rang. “Hello?”

“Hey…it’s Dane. I just wanted to see if you got off alright,” Dane said as he headed to the track to run laps.

“Actually we’re home. Listen I wanted to tell you that both Isabel and I had a really great time. Thanks for showing us around and all,” Liz said glancing over at Isabel as she spoke.

“No problem. Tell Isabel she has a willing love slave in Matt. He may have been happy to see you go but he misses Isabel,” Dane teased.

Liz laughed out loud. “He’s just pissed I beat his ass at pool. His hundred bucks are much happier with me anyway. I will tell Izzy but I don’t think she’s missing Matt….nope she’s shaking her head. Sorry Matt will have to stick with his hand or find a really dumb coed.”

Dane smiled as he listened. “Okay, I’ll tell him. I better let you go. I need to start my laps. I’ll call you later in the week okay?”

“Sure. Talk to you later,” Liz answered and hung up. “Dane said Matt is your willing love slave.”

Isabel rolled her eyes. “He would be anyone’s willing love slave. The guy has the IQ of a blow up doll and about as much personality.”

“True. So how many numbers did you bring home?” Liz teased as she grabbed her bag out of the back.

Isabel stood waiting at the curb and smiled at the question. “A few but none worth using.”

“Hmmm yeah most of those guys seemed a little….” Liz searched for the word.

“Shallow?” Isabel asked. She always seemed to get the shallow one-dimensional guys.

“Yeah…shallow’s a good word,” Liz agreed as they pushed open the doors to the café.

“Yeah. That’s what made Alex so appealing,” Isabel said softly.

Liz didn’t respond knowing there wasn’t much she could say. She just sent Isabel a smile as she slid into her regular booth. “ better have remembered the pictures. I’m sure Maria will ask to see them. Crises or not she won’t forget.”

“Got em right here,” Isabel said patting her purse. Maria had already made it clear she better bring them or face her wrath. Isabel tried to relax as the familiar sights and sounds of the café seeped into her but the nagging feeling that it wouldn’t last kept nagging at her.

posted on 15-Dec-2002 10:27:47 PM
Maybe I need to clarify one point. Max doesn't know what they've found in Alex's file...or Ray's file I should say. The only "threat" he knows about is the vague referance in Tess's journal that HE hasn't even read. He went along with Jim checking it out but he came up empty. Liz isn't telling him squat and she wouldn't stress a danger or threat to herself on the chance that would make Max want to spend more time around her. Iz is the one talking to him about it. He's not a monster if there was a clear danger I think he would respond in some way.

The meeting at the CrashDown after closing is to discuss what was found on Isabel and Liz's trip.

Does that help at all?
posted on 16-Dec-2002 5:26:57 PM
Chapter Nineteen

**The song partially featured in this chapter is “Move With Me” by Neneh Cherry from her Homebrew album from 1992.

Liz escaped to her room leaving Isabel to talk with Michael and Maria. Lying on her bed she put her headphones on and cruised the stations listening for something to catch her ear while she relaxed.

Into a world I plunge thru my headphones
Escape into the street light
I begin to believe in destiny
When my surroundings in rhythm with me
I’m just a grain of sand walking in a sea of people
I look around me and my name is just someone
For a moment in time I belong
Where my heart beats the fear is gone
Like destiny

Move with me I’m strong enough
To be weak in your arms
Move with me I’m strong enough
To be real in your arms

Her hand had stilled drawn to the rhythm of the song first then the word destiny, always a sore point, had sunk in. She tuned her mind into the lyrics and allowed the music to wash over her as she listened.

That’s me supposing
That the clarity of thought
Is clear enough to think
It’s real enough to touch
The wind on me got me tripping
Can I keep you next to me
Till the end of the world

Liz frowned slightly and wanted to turn the station. Isabel had made a good point. Liz knew she wasn’t really dealing with things as well as she could be. She let her hand fall away from the dial and continued to listen refusing to allow a song to bother her.

Like the joker on the pile
Never coming or going
The color of my true cards was showing
Keeping in touch with an idea
That I been growing
Trust trust I must trust
With my head on my chest
I rest with the rest of the restless.

Clarity of thought would be nice about now Liz agreed. She longed to understand her own emotions and thoughts. To understand herself again like she used to.

When I’m looking for expression
Or words I read for wisdom
As I’m searching for some answers
Automatic reflex or natural detects
The tide has come to where a pattern was set

Move with me I’m strong enough
To be weak in your arms
Move with me I’m strong enough
To be real in your arms

A pattern. Look for the pattern and you would see the picture. Everyone had one….even Tess would have a pattern woven through her plan. If she could just struggle free of the details she would see the pattern. With that thought Liz drifted off to sleep.

Max drove to the CrashDown a mess of anxiety and anxious energy. He knew by the grim tone in Isabel’s voice when they spoke that morning that whatever she and Liz had found it wasn’t good. That thought was seconded by a full-scale meeting being called that even included the former Sheriff. He knew damn well Liz wouldn’t agree to that unless it was necessary. They hadn’t all been in the same room since….well Alex’s funeral if you included Jim Valenti.

After parking the car he sat for a moment trying to clear his head. He had been running on little to no sleep for the last several days and his mind wasn’t as sharp as he would like it to be. When he did sleep it wasn’t restful, as his dreams were unpleasant and deeply disturbing. He thought maybe now he could understand Liz’s search for answers after Alex’s death a little better. He felt a burning need deep inside him that demanded that he search for his son. He thought maybe it was similar to how Liz had felt and he could understand her not giving up no matter the cost.

He knew that whatever was said tonight was likely to call into question that search…test his resolve. He knew he was going to have chose between the search for his son or Liz.

Isabel had been trying to explain even before this trip that she thought Tess had set in motion a plan to harm Liz. He had listened to her as she described the journal and Tess’s vague reference to the FBI but after Jim hadn’t found anything he had discounted the whole idea as far fetched. Why would Tess bother? He knew she hated Liz but what Isabel was implying was a hell of a lot of effort to go to in the midst of Tess’s already overloaded schedule. It just didn’t make sense that Tess would take the time in the middle of dealing with Alex, appearing normal, him, and everything else she was doing to destroy Liz….not without a very compelling reason. Hatred just wasn’t enough…after all Tess had hated him too and for all he knew every human on the planet.

Leg jiggling in absentminded agitation Max admitted he hadn’t wanted to believe it. Because if he believed Tess was trying to harm Liz there really was only one reason. Him. He didn’t see the point…he was supposed to be dead. That had been the plan after all so why go to the extra trouble if he was dead and Tess wouldn’t SEE her plan carried out? It just didn’t make any sense.

Pushing those thoughts aside for the moment he centered once again on his choice….which really wasn’t a choice at all. He would always choose Liz. So if Isabel was right and Liz really was in danger his choice was made and he would let the search for his son die. The only times he hadn’t chosen Liz had been the biggest mistakes he had ever made and he wasn’t prepared to make anymore of those. He couldn’t loose Liz or allow her to be hurt not even for his son. He had an idea of how life without Liz would be and that wasn’t something he wanted to become permanent. He felt panic well inside him at the thought of something harming her. He took a few deep breaths and trying to get himself back under control…this wasn’t like his dreams. Liz was inside and fine. Tess wasn’t here anymore so the dreams were just that.

Feeling calmer he got out of the car and headed into the café. He also had to tell Liz something. Something he hadn’t had a chance to say in his stupidity on dock. He needed for her to know what that lost memory meant to him. He knew she had to be upset and he didn’t want her to feel that it had meant nothing when it had meant everything to him. He walked into the CrashDown to see Michael, Maria, Isabel, and Kyle already there and seated around a couple of tables they had pulled together. It looked like they were looking at some pictures. Liz and Jim Valenti were no where in sight.

“Oh my god! Look at him! He’s huge! Is he really that big?” Maria marveled as she stared at a picture of Liz and Dane. Liz looked like a child in comparison.

“Yeah….the guys huge. Look at his hands..they totally span Liz’s stomach,” Isabel pointed out.

Maria looked at the picture closer and had to agree with Isabel. She smiled at all the wicked thoughts flashed across her mind. She would have to make an effort to remember at least some of them to use later to tease Liz. “So how did you manage to get this picture? Liz isn’t usually so….personal space invasion friendly.”

“I just told them the pose I wanted. She didn’t seem to mind. I wanted to make sure you could see how big he is in the pictures. So what do you think?” Isabel asked looking at Maria.

“I think Max is gonna freak if he sees some of these,” Michael said shaking his head.

“I think it’s great. You both look like you managed to squeeze in a good time and there’s nothing wrong with that. Buddha teaches that…” Kyle started.

“Shut up Kyle. I think Dane is scorching hot. I can’t wait for him to visit. In fact if I’m around when he calls Liz I’m going to talk to him,” Maria said from Michael’s lap.

“Who’s Dane and why would he visit?” Max asked coming to a stop behind Michael and Maria. He reached out and snagged the picture Maria was waving around.

Isabel started grabbing the rest of the pictures and shoved them into her purse before turning innocent eyes up to Max. “He’s a guy we met at the collage. He’s really nice and said he might visit.”

Max frowned as he looked at the picture in his hand. Liz was standing in front of a guy he assumed was Dane. She was leaning back into him slightly and his hand was resting on her bare midriff. They were both wearing big smiles and there must have been a slight breeze because some of Liz’s hair seemed to be floating around the guy’s arm molding itself around his arm. He intensely hated this guy already. Looking up he met Isabel’s eyes and handed her the picture. “Great. I can’t wait. Where is Liz anyway?”

“Umm she hasn’t come back downstairs yet. I’ll just go check on her,” Maria said slipping off of Michael’s lap and beat a hasty retreat.

Max continued to stare at Isabel long enough to let her know he wasn’t buying the innocent routine. “So….wanna show me those pictures?”

“Not really. I do think you should see these though,” Isabel said handing him the copied files. She breathed a sigh of relief when he didn’t push the issue.

Max sat down and leafed through the pages scanning the information quickly to get the gist of what they contained. Setting the pages aside a few minutes later he sat back in his chair and tried to think things through. Agent Burns….why was that name familiar? He was pretty sure he had never met an agent by that name when he was a guest of the government. He realized he had a sick feeling in his gut. “Kyle where’s your dad?”

“He’ll be here. He had a call he was waiting for from Agent Duff. He’ll be here,” Kyle said briefly.

Maria slipped half way out the doors from the back room. “Liz will be right down. You guys want some pie?”

“I’ll have a piece,” Michael said sending Maria a lazy smile.

“Count me in,” Kyle agreed.

“Okay, I’ll be right out with them,” Maria said and ducked back into the back.

Max got up and walked to the front of the café peering out at the street lost in thought. It was now clear that Tess had connections to the FBI. The threats she made could very well be real so why wasn’t Agent Burns acting? What was he waiting for if the plan was to capture Liz? They were missing something….something that would bring this into focus. Max thought again of the diamond mentioned in the letter he had found. Nesado said it could be used to communicate with their home. Maybe the person to ask about all of this was there.

Max jerked himself out of his thoughts and headed for the backroom wanting to catch Liz before she made it out to the others. As he walked through the doors he saw Liz searching her locker for something. “Liz?”

Liz glanced over to see Max clearing the doors and sighed. Turning back to her locker she grabbed her aspirin bottle and shook two out into her hand. She would defiantly need them. “What’s up Max?”

“I just needed to talk to you for a second,” Max said as he walked closer. His eyes drifted over her and took in her jeans that rested so low on her hips that he swore her hipbones showed over the top. How were they staying up? He moved onto her brief tank top that hugged her skin.

“Max…let’s not get into a big thing okay? Please? I’m really tired and I don’t want to fight,” Liz said shutting her locker and turning to completely face him.

“I don’t want that either. I just…I need to tell you something that I should have said before now. I know things have changed but….I need you to know that memory we recovered means something to me. It’s the single best night of my life. I had to tell you that…to make sure you didn’t think it wasn’t important to me. It was. I was really happy and I loved you so much that night….I don’t know how I could have lost that. I’m sorry Liz,” Max said as he came to a stop in front of her. “I don’t know how things got so screwed up….How I let things get so screwed up. I just wanted to tell you how special that was to me. I felt like I really belonged here…like this was finally home. I felt like I belonged in my own skin. It meant a lot to me that you still….cared about me after everything,” Max said looking into her eyes.

Liz looked down and slipped the aspirin into the very small front pocket of her jeans. She didn’t know what to say to him. She didn’t want to encourage him but…. “That night was….a long time ago Max. I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t know what to say to you about it,” Liz said staring at her feet.

Maria slipped back into the kitchen unnoticed not wanting to interrupt. She could still hear them clearly and see them through the open doorway.

Max stared at Liz’s bent head and mourned the fact that something that should have been so beautiful was now something she didn’t want to talk about. He knew that was his fault. “You don’t have to say anything. I just wanted you to know how I felt about it. Just please don’t…totally give up on me. I love you so much and I’m going to try to show that I can be better than this. I’m going to show you.”

Liz looked up quickly. This is exactly what she had feared ever since she had had that memory flash. He was never going to give up. “Max….I just can’t…I’m sorry but…”

Max felt his gut twist painfully and he was suddenly so afraid of what she was going to say. Feeling a wave of panic crest in him he dropped to his knees and pressed his forehead into her bare midriff his hands coming to rest on her hips. “Liz please….please don’t. I know I deserve it but please don’t say it’s impossible,” Max begged. “I’ll do anything. Tell me what to do and I’ll do it. Just let me have the tiniest chance to make this up to you. Just don’t say never.”

Maria watched, as Liz looked down at Max her hands hovering near his hair. She watched the expressions chase themselves over Liz’s face one after the other some to fast to even decipher. She saw the pain, indecision, fear, a gentle caring, and finally something like panic. Maria felt bad for them both as she watched Liz’s eyes fill with tears. Max was begging for his life and Liz was trying to hang onto her sanity.

“Max stop. Don’t do this,” Liz said softly feeling the same riot of emotions that always seemed so close to the surface around him. She hated this. All of it. It didn’t make her happy to see him hurting like this. She didn’t like seeing him beg for something that seemed so out of her reach. She stroked his hair softly unable to restrain herself from offering him the instinctive comfort. “Max, please look at me.”

Max rubbed his forehead against her bare skin and tightened his grip on her hips. “I can’t let go. I’m sorry. I don’t know how. I know I should….that I keep hurting you and making this harder but…I don’t…Liz..I can’t. I’m sorry,” Max said softly some of his tears landing on her skin. He knew he was weak. He knew that he should try to see past his fear and selfish need for her. He knew he needed her. Nothing mattered to him as much as she did and his complete unworthiness didn’t change that.

Liz took a deep breath and looked up at the ceiling wondering if this was ever going get easier. It hurt something deep inside her to see him so upset but she just couldn’t lie to him. The desire to give him what he needed was like a reflex for her but this time she couldn’t. This time she had to try to do what was right for both of them. “Max…look at me,” Liz repeated softly as she tipped her face back down to look at him.

Max took a deep steadying breath and looked up into her eyes.

“You can’t do this Max. It’s not fair to either of us. This is just making it harder. I can’t tell you what to do because I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m a strong enough person to forgive you or even if I should. I can’t tell you that. I don’t even know if I want to forgive you right now. I just….you can’t do this. You can’t make me responsible for this….for figuring this all out. I can’t seem to get a handle on things right now and this… going to have to wait. We have other problems right now. So I’ll cut you a deal…this is the best deal you’re going to get. If you can give me the time I need I won’t say never. I can’t tell you that this is going to work out ever but I won’t say never either. I won’t lie….I really don’t see us together any time in the foreseeable future but I want to be able to be civil since we’ll have to be around each other. That won’t happen if you keep..pushing me. You’re on thin ice Max. I won’t hesitate to shut you out if you push me. I’m not feeling very nice or reasonable right now,” Liz warned trying to see if he understood what she was telling him. It was so hard to read him anymore.

“I’ll take it,” Max said immediately. He stood up slowly and released her. “I want to be able to be around you. I’ll work on showing you what kind of person I am. I’ll take a slim chance. Thank you Liz.”

“Just go sit down Max,” Liz said giving up. She cursed herself for her continued stupidity. What the HELL was her problem?

Max just nodded and pushed through the doors to the dining room wiping his eyes as he went.

Liz went and flopped down on the break room couch truly disgusted with herself. She was without a doubt the weakest human being on the planet. Damn Max Evans. Why the HELL had he hatched in her lifetime? What had she ever done to deserve all this shit? Liz sighed as Maria came out of the kitchen and sat beside her. “If you defend him Maria…I’ll be forced to kill you,” Liz warned. She really felt like everyone was on Max’s side. They humored her but when her guard went down they snuck in with pro Max speeches. She was helping him enough against her better judgement she didn’t need them adding to it. She realized she wasn’t completely rational at the moment and she didn’t care.

“I wouldn’t,” Maria said. Seeing Liz’s nasty look she sighed. “Okay I have but…I swear I’m on your side. I’ll harden my heart against the bastard okay?”

“Okay,” Liz sighed and rested her head on Maria’s shoulder. “I can’t do this Maria. I’m completely sick. I need help…like mental help here.”

Maria stroked Liz’s hair in a soothing rhythm and ignored the fact that there was a roomful of people waiting for them to appear. “I wouldn’t say that.”

“You saw what happened right?” Liz asked moving to curl up on the couch with her head on Maria’s leg.

“I saw,” Maria agreed.

“I totally caved. I make myself sick. There’s something really wrong with me,” Liz mourned.

“Don’t freak out. It wasn’t that bad. Really it wasn’t,” Maria assured her looking into her hopeful eyes. “The poor…I mean…the bastard was on his knees crying and begging. You just didn’t kick him in the nuts.”

“You know as well as I do what’s going to happen. He’s going to think that if he just plays nice and works hard enough I’ll take him back,” Liz said and frowned. Did Roswell even HAVE a decent therapist? Max and Isabel’s hadn’t done shit for them. Max was still a wreck.

“Well….yes….does he?” Maria asked confused.

“I don’t think so,” Liz paused. “I don’t know. I hope not,” She paused again. “How can I take him back EVER? Logically it would be incredibly stupid and self destructive.”

“Uh huh,” Maria said not sure what to say in the face of Liz’s own indecision.

“So why does it hurt me to see him like this? Why can’t I just….listen to myself? God I hate myself. I’m so…. disgustingly weak,” Liz said scowling.

“Liz…cut yourself a break here. I mean I’m Teflon and all but if Michael had done what Max just did….well I don’t think I could have done better. Just let this ride for awhile. Nothing needs to be decided right this second. I swear I’ll run interference for you. It’ll work out someday one way or another,” Maria said thinking that they might all be dead by the time this situation straightened itself out.

posted on 16-Dec-2002 7:43:17 PM are too funny really. I'm sorry I keep putting you on that rollercaoster. I actually had that happen to me. Yes indeed a guy on his knees wasn't pleasent. I felt mean and I didn't even do anything! Anyway....the next part is the meeting so it shouldn't be as emotional.

SciFiNutt...I totally agree. Max does seem to have a one track mind.

frenchkiss70.... You're right Liz isn't mean by nature. I think it would take a lot for her to kick someone when their down. I don't really see her as that type of person.
posted on 18-Dec-2002 4:24:12 AM
Chapter Twenty

Kyle watched the idiot king emerge from the backroom and frowned. He didn’t miss the red eyes or the way he wouldn’t meet anyone’s gaze as he took a seat. As time dragged on and neither Maria or Liz emerged from the back his suspicion that Max had “talked” to Liz hardened into certainty.

He wondered how far Max would be willing to go to get Liz back. Liz was soft hearted and it was hard for her to put herself first. He was afraid that Max was going to find Liz at a weak moment and somehow worm his way back into her life. He tried to be objective and admit that Max wasn’t Lucifer or anything but he didn’t think it would be good for Liz to take him back right now. She was confused and hurt. There were a lot of other things going on that were putting pressure on her besides Max. In short giving her time to think and find her own voice wasn’t asking for too much. The same went for this Dane guy. He didn’t want to see some creep take advantage of Liz. Kyle decided he needed to keep a close eye on both of them. He knew how guys thought….his eyes narrowed as he thought about some of the guys from the locker room. A scowl spread across his face, this whole situation needed to be watched closely. Liz was way too trusting he knew that from dating her himself. She didn’t understand the male mind like he did.

Kyle snapped to attention as Liz and Maria both entered the dining room. Liz made a beeline right for the counter to get a drink and he watched her pop some pills in her mouth and wash them down with a drink before rubbing her temples. Maria set his pie down in front of him. “Thanks…hey is Liz alright?”

“Umm yeah she just has a headache. She’ll be fine,” Maria assured him immediately casting a lightening fast glance at Max.

Kyle turned his scowl on Max who glanced away.

Liz refilled her glass and made her way over to the group. Looking around the table she chose the seat farthest from Max and not in his direct line of sight. She smiled at Kyle who got up and moved to sit beside her. “So how’s Kim treating you?”

“She’s not. Yeah that didn’t work out,” Kyle said smiling happily.

“You seem…..devastated,” Liz replied amused.

“Well…you know….you were right. She was a bitch,” Kyle replied shrugging. Actually Kim had hated Liz. She hadn’t been real keen on the rest of them either….except Max. That was immediate ground for dismissal right there. When she had said how nice Max was and smart Max had been for finally dumping Liz he had to wonder where she was getting all the crack she was smoking. That had been the last straw. He had driven her home in the middle of the date and hadn’t called her since. He was sure Buddha wouldn’t approve of a crack smoking hate monger who lusted for Evans.

“I see,” Liz replied smiling. “You’ll find someone way better.”

“I know. This all worked out for the best anyway. I have other things I need to keep an eye on,” Kyle said as Isabel sat down across from Liz.

“Speaking of things to keep an eye on…your dad’s here so let’s get started,” Isabel said drawing Liz’s attention.

“Okay, why don’t you fill everyone in on where we’re at and then we can go from there,” Liz suggested giving Isabel control over the meeting. “Hey, Mr. Valenti,” Liz greeted as he sat down next to Maria further down the table.

“Hello, everyone,” Jim greeted. “Sorry I was late. I’ll fill you in on what I’ve accomplished after the girls do their part.”

“Okay, I’ll start then. Most of you know about the journal Tess left for Liz. Well in that journal Tess implies that the FBI would be interested in Liz due to her changes from when she was healed. We also found out that the government paid for Alex’s stay at ULC. They built a whole identity for Alex as Ray Hunter. I’m talking a social security number and everything. His file says that Ray was there to translate the book for the Defense department. There was also a notation in his file to contact an Agent Burns if anyone contacts the University about Ray Hunter. So now we know Tess has contacts within the FBI. The senator on the paperwork is ummm Morningstar from Maryland,” Isabel finished looking up.

“Agent Burns has already been notified I’m sure,” Liz broke in.

“What do you mean? You just got back,” Max asked.

“No…we were there before remember? Maria, Michael, and I…weeks ago. I talked to a professor about what Alex was translating that’s how we found out he was working on the book. It’s possible that he called Burns. Maybe not. After all he DID tell me what Alex was doing but it would be a mistake to count on Burns not knowing about that,” Liz replied glancing over at Michael.

“Hell! I knew that was a bad idea!” Michael grumbled.

“We never would have figured it out if we hadn’t gone there, so bad idea or not it served a purpose,” Maria pointed out.

“It’s done now so let’s move on. I talked to Agent Duff and asked her to discretely look into Morningstar and Burns. She’ll call me back with whatever she can find out. We all need to be very careful. Liz…I don’t think you should go anywhere alone,” Jim said looking down the table toward Liz.

“I won’t,” Liz assured him.

“That’s not good enough. Liz, what about at night?” Max asked feeling panic beating at his control.

“Max…look none of this is new. All of this has been true for weeks. There’s no reason to freak about this now,” Liz said calmly. “There’s a reason we haven’t seen Burn’s yet. We just need to be careful and try to figure this out. I think I should go and open that box Tess left. I’ll have to finish that journal to find out where it is but I think that might give us some answers.”

“NO! Liz are you crazy?” Max exploded. “That maybe exactly what Burns is waiting for.”

“It isn’t your decision Max,” Liz replied her eyes narrowing in warning.

“We’re a group. We make decisions together that’s the whole point of this meeting!” Max returned resisting the urge to pound his fist on the table. Why was she so stubborn?

“Okay….let’s decide as a group then. I just want to point out that without opening that box we may never figure this out,” Liz replied noting Max’s growing anger by his red ears. She didn’t need a connection to read those ears.

“I think Liz is right. We should open the box,” Maria said in immediate support.

“If we’re careful I think we can open the box and still keep Liz safe,” Kyle said watching Max. He knew that no matter what the group decided Liz was going to go. He would rather she had all the support possible.

“I think we should go for it. We need answers,” Michael said with a glance at Max.

“I don’t know. We don’t know that the box would solve anything,” Isabel said hovering in indecision.

“Well the majority has spoken. We’re opening the box,” Liz said not finding it necessary to go further…she had the majority.

“Liz…..think about this for minute please. The box is in your name at a bank with cameras for surveillance. One phone call from the bank to Burns and he knows you’re there. All he has to do is watch the bank or not even watch it. Anytime after that he can just pick you up,” Max said trying to remain calm.

“He can pick me up anytime he wants to. He could pick me up now and drive me to the bank and go in with me. I think it’s worth the risk and I know it is a risk. It’s MY life Max not yours and decision had been made,” Liz responded ignoring the rest of the table.

Max sighed and ran his hand through his hair. “Fine. We better think of a plan then.”

Isabel smiled pleased that Max seemed to be listening. Finally! Max did have a brain.

“I’ll need some time to finish the journal. It might take a week for me to finish it completely,” Liz said thinking out loud. “Maybe Agent Duff will have some information by then. So why don’t we talk about this again when I’m done with the journal? Then maybe we’ll have a better idea what we’re up against. Does that sound okay?”

“Sounds good,” Michael said eager to avoid a Maxwell freak out.

“Okay in the mean time I’ll watch for anyone trailing Liz. What are your plans for the week?” Jim asked Liz.

“Well I checked my work schedule and I’m working with Michael three out of my five shifts. I could switch the schedule around without too much trouble and work all five shifts with Michael. The rest of the time is pretty open. I go to the pool a couple times a week with Kyle and Sean. That’s about it. So I’ll have plenty of time to read the journal and I promise to call someone if I have to go out,” Liz answered as she reworked the schedule in her head.

They talked about who was going to spend what time with Liz and when for a while. When all the details were worked out Jim left claiming he had a couple of calls to make before it was too late at night. The group broke up for a few minutes for bathroom breaks or to get something to eat or drink.

Liz went to take two more aspirin then she sat at the counter for a moment to talk to Kyle and Maria.

“Liz are you sure you’re all right?” Kyle asked worried as he watched Liz rub her temples.

“Yeah…I’m just really tired. Nothing to worry about,” Liz answered looking up.

Michael sat down next to Max at the table to ask him what he had been up to but Isabel beat him to it.

“Max? What have you been doing?” Isabel asked. She thought that if she put him on the spot he would have to answer. She suspected they needed to know why Max looked like he had been dragged behind someone’s car for several blocks.

“I’ve um been doing some research. I found a letter from Nesado to Tess that talks about this diamond that can be used to communicate with Antar and power the ship that crashed. So I was going to Santa Fe this week to see if the diamond I found in the letter is really the one featured in a traveling exhibit. I also made a list of bases that the ship could have been taken to,” Max explained briefly. It didn’t matter anymore because he wasn’t going.

“When were you planning on telling the rest of us?” Michael asked getting pissed off. They had told Max everything…why hadn’t he done the same.

“It doesn’t matter. I’m not going,” Max replied trying to head off an argument.

“Why? Going to look at this diamond isn’t a big deal,” Isabel asked.

“You know why. Liz isn’t safe. I can’t go running around chasing diamonds while she’s in danger,” Max said softly.

Across the room Liz frowned and broke away from her conversation with Kyle and Maria. She spun around on her stool and spoke without thinking. “Max, you can’t just give up on your son. There’s no reason to. That’s why we work together so we can accomplish more than one thing.”

Kyle and Maria shared a puzzled look. Where was Liz getting that? She had been in the middle of talking about Dane.

“Liz…this FBI thing…your safety has to come first right now. I can always go back to my search later. After things settle down,” Max said looking away from Isabel to lock eyes with Liz.

“You think your son needs you now. That should be your priority. Things never settle down around here. After this it’ll be something else. We’ll….I’ll ask for your help if I need it,” Liz assured him.

Michael and Isabel shared a look as the conversation between Max and Liz continued. How had Liz overheard them? She was across the room and they had been talking softly.

“No offense but I don’t need you to be here 24/7. Michael and Isabel both have offensive powers. I’ll be careful. This is important to you so go,” Liz replied.

“One more of us can only be a good thing. I don’t think its wise to leave right now,” Max said wanting to tell her she was more important. He held his tongue knowing she wouldn’t welcome that statement. No pushing was the new policy.

“Max, we all know that you’re looking for a way to rescue your son. We can handle things here. We want to help you and if this is something you need to do go ahead. Just keep us in the loop,” Isabel said studying her brother’s face.

“We won’t be doing anything until you’re back anyway,” Michael added. He didn’t see why a quick trip to Santa Fe was out of the question.

Seeing that Max was still hesitating Liz spoke up once more. “Max, you have a responsibility. That’s your child. You have to do whatever you reasonably can to help him,” Liz said studying his face. “You can’t leave him with a murderer Max. Not if you can find a way to safely bring him back. Take Isabel with you if you need to, we’ll be fine here.”

Max looked into her eyes and nodded. He got the message she was sending him. He better start taking responsibility for his mistakes and letting Tess leave with his son was a mistake. If he would desert his child then he wasn’t someone Liz would ever have any respect for much less allow back into her life. “Okay. You need to promise me you’ll let me know if you need me to come home,” Max said his eyes not leaving hers.

“I promise,” Liz answered and turned back around on her stool.

“Well I guess it’s settled. When are we leaving?” Isabel asked.

“Thursday. The exhibit reception is Friday night,” Max answered still looking at Liz’s back. He frowned and rubbed his temples as an echo of pain throbbed there briefly.

“Liz? What was that? How did you know what they were talking about?” Maria asked Liz quietly with Kyle listening intently.

Liz frowned then sighed as her headache kicked up a notch. “I just…Max was thinking about his son. I don’t know. I just did. It’s not important so just drop it okay?” Liz requested as she felt a wave of nausea kick in. She rubbed her temples trying to ease the pain slightly.

“I think you should go lay down Liz. You look really tired,” Kyle said knowing her headache must be getting worse.

“I’m okay. Shit! I forgot to ask your dad if he could check on that Langley person. If he can get a full name from that address we would have a place to start,” Liz exclaimed remembering that slip of paper Kyle had given her that she hadn’t had time to deal with yet.

“I’ll ask him when I get home don’t worry about it,” Kyle said. “Do you want to hit the pool tomorrow? Sean has been asking about you.”

“Mmmm yeah that sounds great actually. This time if you let him throw me in I’ll have Dane kick your ass when he comes to visit. He’s way bigger then you and he would do it too,” Liz responded smiling.

“Yeah, I’m afraid. You love me way too much to sic a giant on me,” Kyle answered smiling in return.

“You’re right I do love you. But if you loved me you wouldn’t let Sean do that to me. You’re supposed to be looking out for me,” Liz pointed out eyeing him sternly.

“You’re safe I won’t let him toss you in. Getting back to that Dane guy….tell me about him,” Kyle requested.

“I think you’ll like him. He’s really funny and nice. You guys have things in common actually. He’s from Ohio and an only child…what else do you want to know?” Liz asked.

“What position does he play?” Kyle asked and smiled when Liz rolled her eyes.

“I don’t know. Does it matter? He isn’t the…quarterback…he you know tackles people. Why are you asking me that?” Liz answered. Kyle knew she totally didn’t get football.

“Cause I love to hear you talk about football,” Kyle admitted with a big grin as Maria started laughing.

“Jerk!” Liz said shooting him a mock glare and smiling. “Is that why you always wanted me to watch you play? Because you knew I didn’t know a thing about it?”

“That’s part of it yeah,” Kyle agreed still smiling.

“The other part was he wanted to show off his manliness,” Maria teased.

“Hmm see I didn’t get that part at all,” Liz returned and started laughing as the smile disappeared from his face. “I’m teasing…you looked very…um..what’s the word I’m looking for?” Liz asked Maria.

“Padded?” Maria asked her eyes dancing.

“Noooo..cute..that’s the word. The pants were…nice,” Liz said biting the inside of her cheek to control her giggles.

Kyle narrowed his eyes at both girls. “You two are NOT emasculating me. I am NO one’s girlfriend,” Kyle declared firmly. He was not going to let them rename HIM Alice or Kylie or some shit like that.

“Of course not. You’re all man,” Liz agreed nodding seriously then burst out laughing leaning on Maria for support who was also overcome with a fit of giggles.

Max looked over and smiled as he saw Liz and Maria giggling away while Kyle stood glaring at both of them. He realized it had been a long time since he had seen Liz laugh like that. He wasn’t quite as happy when Liz leaned over and hugged Kyle kissing his cheek but quickly shook off his jealousy.

“I’m sorry you are totally right. We do know you didn’t pad anything unnecessary. Maria was just joking,” Liz said and kissed Kyle’s cheek. “No need for pants dropping as proof. We believe you. DON’T we Maria?”

“Oh totally,” Maria agreed. “Liz never would have dated you if it wasn’t the real thing.”

“MARIA!” Liz screeched turning and slapping her a good one on the arm. “You so aren’t helping.”

“No, I really feel better now,” Kyle said smirking at Liz’s red cheeks.

posted on 18-Dec-2002 5:21:39 PM
~~~~~~~~Livia said.....
I know that she hates Max now but she's on extreme here. it sounds like her hormone is kicking in like any
pregnant woman.


Liz really doesn't HATE Max. I think she proved that dispite herself in the part before this one. I don't think she was mean to Max in this part either. She just wanted to get her way and she's very watchful of her right to do as she pleases with out Max's interferance. She is very on guard for glimpses of Max's controling nature.

The search for Max's son was handled very poorly on the show I thought. It just pissed everyone off more...not the search itself but how Max treated Liz during that search. He was a jerk. Then the search just kinda died and if Tess hadn't flown back in on her broomstick with son in tow Max never would have found him. Then he just gave his son away....which didn't really sit well. I understood it partly but what if since their powers were human powers in the first place the child develops powers later? You would think Max would at least know where his son was just in case. The whole thing just didn't seem right. A fast answer to a complicated problem.

The rest I'm not really going to comment on except to say that this IS months later. It's hard to pin point the exact date Off The Menu would have occurred due to it's being shown out of order which is part of the reason I liked it.....I have wiggle room but it would have been at least three months ago. We're about six/seven weeks from Departure here. That's all I'm going to say about that.

posted on 19-Dec-2002 7:32:25 AM
Chapter Twenty One


The meeting had broken up shortly after when the lights started bothering Liz’s eyes and increasing the pain from her headache. She got ready for bed quickly hoping that after some sleep her headache would go away. Crawling into bed Liz closed her eyes and tried to ride out the disembodied feeling that resulted. It almost felt like the room was spinning.

Despite what she had said to Kyle she was worried about both her headache and her knowing what Max had been thinking about. It WAS a big deal. She wondered if the headache was due to something Tess had done. Was this what Alex had gone through before he died? She was afraid to say anything knowing Max would want to try and heal her. The last thing she wanted was connecting to Max on any level. Which was the problem with the second thing that was bothering her.

She couldn’t explain it. She had no idea how she had known, she just had. She had been in the middle of telling Kyle and Maria about the frat party not even thinking about Max or even really being aware of him at all. Then she had just known that Max was giving up something important. Before she knew what was coming out of her mouth she had been talking about his son. What the hell? The strangest thing to her was that Max hadn’t even been surprised or questioned it at all. Like it was perfectly normal that she should know what he was thinking. It wasn’t normal.

Liz turned over without opening her eyes. She didn’t want to know what was happening. She really didn’t think she could handle it. She was afraid that it was going to be something that would change her life forever and bind her to Max even more tightly then she already was.

Max eased his way silently onto Liz’s balcony and after a glance into her room to check on her he settled into the lounge chair to wait out the long night ahead. He wasn’t swayed by Liz pointing out she had been in danger for weeks and nothing was different now. It was different….he knew about it now. He wasn’t going to bother her. He just wanted to be sure that she was okay. After he had gotten home from the meeting he had been plagued by thoughts of Burns creeping up on Liz while she was sleeping and defenseless and taking her. He couldn’t let that happen. He couldn’t rest knowing she was unprotected so he had decided to watch over her from here. She didn’t even have to know he was there. He would be quiet and stealthy.

Liz frowned in her sleep and moved restlessly under the sheet. Her eyes moved under her closed eyelids rapidly and her breathing picked up.

Tess was on her balcony. How did she there without being heard? Liz felt her heartbeat pick up as she realized she couldn’t move. Tess was coming closer and she couldn’t move. She was on her lounge chair and Tess held her down while a man in a dark suit opened her up. Liz screamed and screamed, calling for Max to help her. Liz tried to struggle to hold her insides inside. Tess was laughing as she killed her.

Max bolted up and in the window before the echo of Liz’s first scream died. It was an automatic reflex done without thought. He shook her lightly trying to wake her before her parents woke up. “Liz! Wake up. You’re okay…I promise.” Max watched her eyes blink open and fill with tears.

“Am I awake?” Liz asked her voice shaky and her mind felt foggy and confused.

“Yes, you were just dreaming,” Max answered brushing her hair back and watching her worriedly.

“Oh,” Liz wasn’t convinced. Her stomach hurt and she was afraid to look around her room sure Tess was hiding in the shadows. She loved to torment her and she was just making her think Max was there to help her. He wasn’t there. He never came when she called for him.

Max watched Liz’s cloudy eyes and confused expression. “What were you dreaming about?”

“I was calling for you. Tess had a man hurt me. You never came,” Liz whispered as her head throbbed with every heartbeat.

“What man? What was he doing?” Max asked watching her eyes and waiting for them to fully focus.

“A man in a suit. He was reaching into my skin. It hurt really bad and I screamed for you but you didn’t hear me. Tess did and she laughed and taunted me. She said he was going to leave my insides on the outside and that I would look better that way. Food for flies and my real purpose a breeding ground for maggots,” Liz said curling up on her side.

Max frowned, as the similarities to his dreams became obvious. He dreamed about seeing Liz sliced open as someone laughed. Her intestines gleaming wetly as she screamed. He focused back on Liz and slid to the floor next to her bed. “I’ll always come for you. I promise.”

“You said that before and you lied. You left me. You left me alone and hurt me,” Liz whispered.

Max drew in a shaky breath and wove his fingers with hers. “I’m sorry. I was stupid and blind. I swear on my own eyes I won’t make that mistake again. When I lost you I lost most of my soul. I’ll come when you call me. Always,” Max said rubbing his thumb over the back of her hand.

Liz finally realized that she WAS awake and he WAS here. She peered through the darkness trying to see him better. “Why are you here?”

Max looked over into her eyes and answered her. “I’m here because I love you. I don’t want Burns waltzing in here and snatching you while you’re sleeping. I was going to stay outside but you screamed.”

Liz studied his face for a moment and sighed. She could feel the binds tightening around her. “Max…you can’t just do this. Show up in the middle of the night like this. Thank you for trying to help but…”

Max’s face tightened briefly as his own stubbornness rose to the surface. “So call a cop and tell him that I’m camped on your balcony. I dare you.”

Liz dropped his hand and smacked him over the head. “I’ll call Kyle. He’ll just toss you over the damn side you asshole!”

“I don’t think so. You wouldn’t. You know as well as I do that you aren’t safe! Why are you being so unreasonable? I won’t bother you….I’ll just sit out there and keep watch,” Max said ignoring the smack.

“So why are you right now sitting next to my bed? I’m not dressed! This is my private time….you’re invading my privacy,” Liz said wanting to smack him again.

“I told you! You were screaming! I didn’t plan this and there’s no need to be shy. I’ve seen more of you then this before,” Max said flustered. It wasn’t like she was naked!

Liz felt anger flash through her and she tossed away the sheet intent on putting her foot where it would do the most good.

Max caught the rage flashing in her eyes and scrambled back away from the bed. “Now just listen! I just meant that…Liz? You’re flickering. I’ll just…Liz…” Max edged toward the window as Liz advanced on him her hands flickering. “Okay…zap me. I deserve it. I’m sorry I just wanted to help. I swear! I take it back I’ve never seen anything. I don’t know that you’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” Max said thinking that if he was gonna take a hit he might as well really take one. She was gorgeous. Even in dancing alien boxers and a matching lime green tank top.

“Out! Get out!” Liz demanded pointing to the window.

“I’ll be outside if you need me,” Max said reaching the window.

“Get the hell OUT! I swear you have no sense! Just get out!” Liz hissed trying to keep her voice down. God he made her angry. She slammed the window shut and pulled the curtain. How had they never argued before??

Max sat back on the lawn chair and smiled thinking he was lucky Liz was, for the most part, nonviolent. He sighed as he admitted he hadn’t handled that well. His mouth ran away with him. He wasn’t going to let his screw up leave Liz vulnerable though. Maybe tomorrow he could get someone to stay with her all night but if he had to he would park himself right back on her balcony.

His mind turned back to Liz’s dream. Now he had something to think about all night. He would talk to Isabel tomorrow about the similarities in their dreams.

Liz woke up the next morning to the ringing phone. “Hello?” She answered without getting up.

“I would guess you’re still in bed so this is your wake up call. The pool is waiting,” Kyle said already dressed in his trunks.

“Okay, I’ll be ready in thirty,” Liz said and hung up. She got up and went to the window. Pulling aside the curtain she scowled at the white rose taped to her window with a small hanging card with “I’m really sorry…Max” written on it. As her forehead hit the glass Maria opened her bedroom door.

“I thought you were hitting the water not the glass?” Maria asked as Liz spun around and placed her back to the window.

“Umm yeah I am. I just got up,” Liz answered.

Maria narrowed her eyes and joined Liz at the window. As Liz moved to the side Maria saw the card and the rose. “What did the bastard do?”

“It’s not important,” Liz said moving to her dresser and pulling out her bikini.

Maria watched Liz slam the drawer shut and her eyebrow rose at the display of temper. “I think the dresser would disagree.”

“He just….He’s….sooo stubborn! He sat out there all night! He creeps in my window and wakes me up from nightmares! I have a right to my private nightmares. What is he even doing here?” Liz demanded. “I swear God cursed me by sending Max here. Why did they have to crash on MY planet? He doesn’t listen. You would think with ears like his he could frigging hear what I am saying!”

Maria’s lips twitched so she turned to open the window and rescue the rose. “I’m sure he heard you. The bastard just chose not to listen,” Maria replied with a mild tone of voice.

“He never listens! Next time I am calling Kyle!” Liz threatened and slammed her bathroom door.

“Sure you will,” Maria said and went to the kitchen for a vase.

Kyle was wishing he hadn’t suggested a day at the pool. He got up off his lounge chair and stalked over to the edge of the pool where Tommy was letting his eyes wander. One hard shove sent Tommy into the water. “Liz, we need to go cover up.”

Liz raised her eyebrow at him. “Why don’t WE just put on some sunscreen?”

“I really don’t think that will help. Help me out here cause I don’t want to have start gouging out peoples eyes,” Kyle said glaring at Tommy as he hung on the side of the pool staring up at Liz from a new angle.

“Kyle please! I’m not in the mood. You act like I’m topless!” Liz exclaimed.

Kyle smashed his heel down on both of Tommy’s hands at his encouraging grin. Weasel. “You almost are. Someone’s going to wind up with broken bones soon. I really think it’s time to go.”

“Kyle this is a NORMAL bathing suit. It’s not a thong or anything. You’re being ridiculous. I don’t have anything on top to show even if I were topless, which I’m not. I can take care of myself,” Liz said sitting on the edge of the pool and putting her legs in. “I’m a very reserved person. You know that. It’s not like I’m putting on a show”

Kyle sat down next to her and wondered if she was just arguing for the sake of arguing. “No, you’re delusional. You’re beautiful how you are….I don’t date ugly women,” Kyle said getting frustrated with her.

“My point KYLE is that there are at least four other girls here wearing less then I am,” Liz said looking around the pool. “See the girl Sean’s talking to is wearing half of what I am.”

“That’s Pam Troy Liz!” Kyle said looking at her like she lost her mind. “We’re lucky she’s wearing anything!”

Liz rolled her eyes.

“You don’t seem to understand the male mind. I’m trying to help you out. It’s summer and all things are possible. Complete losers think they have a chance with you right now. You haven’t been with Max in forever and they see you out here and loose all sense of right and wrong. You’re tan and looking happy…they know you’re single they start to get ideas. Even more ideas then normal,” Kyle amended slightly.

“Well that’s why I have you here. To chase them all away,” Liz teased.

“Fine but we’ll have to stay in tonight. I’ll be tired,” Kyle grumbled.

“Anything you want,” Liz agreed then slid into the water.

Kyle sighed as he watched her glide beneath the surface of the water. With a splash he joined her kicking off the side of the pool to catch up.

Liz was ready to declare war on the male “mind” by the end of her shift. She was tired, cranky, her head was throbbing dully behind her eyes, and she was in no mood to put up with table six. Bastards every one of them.

“I don’t think scowling is going to get this food delivered so we can get the hell out of here on time,” Michael pointed out through the pick up window.

“They’ll be lucky if they ever get their food,” Liz declared unrepentant.

“They a problem?” Michael asked a frown starting between his brow.

“Yeah…they’re breathing so they’re a problem,” Liz grumbled as she started balancing their plates. She made her way swiftly to their table and started passing out their food when she felt a hand on her bare leg. Glaring down her nose at the culprit she tried to refrain from stabbing him in the throat with his fork. “If you don’t remove your hand right this second you will be pulling back a bloody stump,” Liz said almost cheerfully.

Tommy let his hand drop as he saw the look in her eyes. “Sorry…you just looked a little unsteady for a sec there,” He said as his buddies laughed like he had told a funny joke. Idiots.

“I think that’s just your alcohol soaked brain misinterpreting things again. When the whole room is unsteady it usually means it’s you,” Liz said and slammed his plate down in front of him. The only thing giving her a small measure of comfort was seeing the bruising on his fingers from Kyle’s fit of temper. She spun on her heels and left the table. She was tired of even trying to be polite to the table of drunk jocks.

“Want me to kick them out?” Michael asked having watched Tommy’s hand making tracks up Liz’s leg.

“No, they’ll be leaving soon anyway,” Liz said and blew a piece of hair out of her face. “Hey Michael?”

“Yeah?” Michael grunted as he started cleaning half of the grill.

“What kind of odds do give the translation of the destiny book?” Liz asked voicing a thought that had been chasing its way around in her head for awhile.

Michael stopped cleaning the grill and gave her his full attention. “What do you mean?”

“Well…we found it at that house and we know Tess was involved with getting that version. I was just thinking it would be easy for her to edit what it said. She could really make it say whatever she wanted it to say. You guys still have the original book right?” Liz asked looking through pick up window at him.

“Yeah, I have it at my place. I never really thought about the translation being altered. It’s possible,” Michael agreed.

“Hmmm it just doesn’t make sense that something Future Max used to come here and then warned me was powerful was just a one time use throw away space ship. Why would the skins have been after that? I thought they said it could save them after their husks were destroyed. Isn’t that what they told you?” Liz asked.

Michael frowned as he tried to remember what Courtney had said. “Yeah..Courtney said the power of the Granilith could save her…rejuvenate her dying husk somehow.”

“Well I would say that the translation is questionable. Tess’s goal was going home so it makes sense that she would edit out all the other things it could do,” Liz replied then seeing one of her other tables finishing their food she left to clear the table and give them their check.

Michael stared into space thinking about what Liz had said. It did make sense. Tess wouldn’t want them to have any more information than she had to give them.

Finally they managed to close up and Michael hung around waiting for Kyle to show. He and Liz were suppose to watch movies in Liz’s room.

“You think we could get that book translated again?” Michael asked going back to their former topic.

“Right now it’s risky until we figure out the deal with this Burns guy but later? Yeah, I think we could. The work is sort of done already. I’ll ask Dane to tell me who’s on staff this summer in the computer science lab and we’ll go from there,” Liz said thinking ahead.

“He’ll be cool with that? Nosing around for you?” Michael asked uneasy about that.

“I won’t tell him anything. It won’t even look weird. Dane hasn’t picked a major yet so he can just ask a few questions with no major problems. He won’t have a problem with it. Besides, I won’t even bring it up for awhile. We’re not ready to do anything about it right away,” Liz reassured him softly.

Michael caught sight of Kyle and waved indicating the door was open. “Well I guess I’ll take off. You two have fun,” Michael said and left without waiting for an answer.

“So what movie did you get?” Liz asked smothering a yawn.

“Nightmare on Elm Street…Dream Warriors,” Kyle answered extremely pleased with himself.

“Kyle!” Liz groaned and crumpled up a napkin and threw it at him.

“Come on! You’ll love it,” Kyle said taking her hand and pulling her off of her stool.

posted on 20-Dec-2002 6:31:16 AM
Chapter Twenty Two


Max searched out Isabel before she had a chance to disappear for the day. He had stayed on Liz’s balcony until the café opened then left knowing deliveries and traffic in general would keep Liz fairly safe. Plus the former Sheriff was sitting in the outside seating area drinking coffee where he could watch the entrance to the alley.

He found Isabel sitting alone at the breakfast table skimming through the paper. “Where are Mom and Dad?” Max asked as he sat down across from her.

“Dad’s at the office already and Mom left for Clovis. Why?” Isabel asked setting aside her paper.

“I need to talk to you. I think you should stay here instead of going to Santa Fe with me. I need you to stay and watch Liz. Something’s happening here that you’re the best one to handle,” Max said focusing his full attention on Isabel.

“What’s going on?” Isabel asked feeling her stomach tighten.

“I spent the night watching over Liz on her balcony and she had a nightmare. I woke her up and she told me a little bit about it. Iz…it was almost the same as mine….as the ones I’ve been having about Liz for weeks now,” Max said and watched Isabel’s eyes widen.

“That’s not good. What was in them?” Isabel asked.

Max explained all of his that he could remember and repeated exactly what Liz had told him about hers. “I’m afraid for her. What if…it’s real? What if it’s GOING to happen? I know she keeps saying that she’s fine and my leaving isn’t a big deal but I’m really nervous about it. I would feel better if I knew you were here with her just in case. I mean she could remember something else while I’m gone,” Max fretted. What if the memories themselves hurt her? He didn’t understand enough about Tess’s powers to know why they had caused Alex’s death. He just knew that when ALEX had started to remember he had died.

Isabel could see the fear and worry on her brother’s face and agreed he was right to worry. They really didn’t know what was going on and how it would affect Liz. That one memory had been enough to send Liz into a tailspin. What would happen if she remembered everything all at once? “Okay, I’ll stay. If something happens I’ll call you so keep your phone on and near you. I’ll start working with her again trying to recover more memories one at a time,” Isabel agreed. “Please Max don’t do anything stupid okay? No impulsive actions that could get you in trouble.”

Max stared her right in the eyes and lied. “Of course not. I’m just going to look at a diamond. No big deal.”

“Okay…well I want to poke around and see if I can look up anything that might help me research wise. I’ll call Liz and set up a time to work with her tomorrow,” Isabel said rising from her chair. She paused and looked back at Max. “Max….I know you love Liz but….try not to screw up okay? I would hate to see either of you get hurt anymore then you have been.”

“I would too. I’m really trying to do the right thing. I just…I can’t loose her. She’s so great. She’s smart and just perfect. She just has a way of making me see things that other people don’t. I want to be able to give her something like she gives me,” Max replied quietly.

“She’s not perfect Max. Don’t start that again. Look at what happened the last time you thought she made a mistake,” Isabel said worried.

“It isn’t that she’s actually perfect. I know she makes mistakes. She’s perfect for me. I love her even when she’s grumpy. I’ve watched her most of my life Isabel. What you might call her faults are a part of her and I love her. It wasn’t that she made a mistake that really bothered me to the point where I couldn’t get over it. I just…I thought she didn’t love me. It ate at me in a way I didn’t think anything could. I just wanted her back. I got all twisted around. Nothing felt right anymore. Then I started fucking up so much that even I hated me,” Max said trying to explain something…work it out in his own head as he talked. “It changed something in me and all the bad things just seemed to grow inside me. It hurt more then I ever dreamed anything could.”

“You guys did break up before,” Isabel pointed out going to the fridge for a Cherry Coke.

“All that was different. It was either me getting scared about getting to close…starting to feel too much or Liz reacting to destiny. It wasn’t the same. She wasn’t standing right in front of me saying she didn’t want me. The thing is..I could see why she wouldn’t. There was Tess running around whining about destiny and being my wife. I’m an alien and a big complication anyway. Liz deserves the dream…kids, a house, and even a dog. It broke me. I couldn’t settle things in my mind. Sometimes I could see in her eyes that she was lying. Her mouth said one thing but I felt something different. Then everything just…started falling apart and I didn’t know how to handle it. I saw things in myself that scared me and I froze. When I reacted it was…even worse. I know I behaved horribly.”

“Hmm yeah you did. I just don’t want to see you pin all your hopes on Liz. You need to be able to function on your own. She may not get over everything Max and you need to be able to accept that,” Isabel said. She watched Max’s face and worried.

“I know I need to function. I’m trying to do that I really am. I don’t think I’ll ever stop trying with Liz though. Even if it’s only to be close to her. Every step back has been a mistake. I’m not saying I’m going to demand she come back to me. I’m just going to show her I’m not going to leave her again like I did before. If she changes her mind and can forgive me…I’ll be there that’s all,” Max said looking Isabel in the eye and letting her see his resolve.

Isabel sighed and gave up. She had never truly understood what was between them so who was she to give advice. She didn’t do so hot herself. “Just be careful,” Isabel said and left.

Max spent the rest of the day first sleeping and then going over the information he had on the diamond. He knew without seeing it that it was the right one. There were fairly detailed pictures to go by. He had created a replica using his powers counting on the pictures to make it passable until he could see the real thing. Satisfied he set about packing for his trip before another night spent on Liz’s balcony.

He had called Maria to ask her to stay over at Liz’s but she was staying over at Michael’s tonight. Isabel was busy with her research and she was going to try to dreamwalk Liz later. Max knew Kyle was staying to watch a movie with Liz but he wasn’t going to ask him to spend the night. Liz was already mad enough without her thinking he was arranging her life for her. So that left him. He waited until he was pretty sure the movie would be over then headed out.

Liz settled into her lounge chair with the journal gearing up to read as much as she could stand. She had dozed through the last part of the movie but found that after Kyle left she wasn’t ready to go to sleep. Knowing Max would be showing up soon, she had pulled out her sleeping bag and an extra pillow for him to use and set them next to the ladder.

Flicking on her book light she opened the journal and found where she had left off.

So Liz are you glad to have that memory back? How long did it take you to pick up this book again? I would guess it’s been awhile. Well there are more surprises in store for you. I lied before….I did it for you. I thought you would freak out too badly if you knew all of it right away. I'm really just looking out for you. We can’t have you going nuts too soon now can we. You and I have things in common. Max for one but there are other things. We’re tied to each other almost as much as you’re bound to Max just in a different way. I have a little something you will want but let’s get back to Alex for a moment.

I know you don’t remember this but he came to you and talked to you about having headaches. He told you that he couldn’t remember a host family and that he was frightened. Poor little Alex thought you could help him. He was counting on you and trusted you to help him. How deluded was that? Alex was spouting all kinds of things. He talked about living with skins and secret meetings. Oh well you don’t remember now anyway and he’s dead so it doesn’t matter anymore.

You’re problem Liz is you hang onto the past too much. You give it too much weight and power over you. It just drags you down. I don’t have that baggage. I don’t think about and dwell on the past, which I know you probably don’t believe. I did come to town with the whole past life bit but it was just a job. Those memories really don’t mean anything, the current life is what matters. I never loved Zan either. All of that was a lie. I wanted to go home…to the place where I have standing. I had no interest in wallowing around in the little insignificant human life that I lived on Earth. I was hoping Max would feel the same before we met. Once I got to Roswell and really met him and saw what his life, really all their lives, was like I knew we were not going to just mesh. We didn’t have the same goal. I think things could have been different if we had. I was willing to go whichever way worked best for me.

I tried to make it work at first. I thought he would see that someone like him could help him learn about himself and his home. You have no idea how hard I worked. Finally I saw that he was so into keeping his “normal” human life that I was going to have to take steps. Who do you think let Nicholas know who we were and where? Who do you think sent him to New York City to those pathetic rejects and gave them a clue? None of that happened without me knowing about it and approving it. The skins already knew the general location but…I gave them some ideas and got them closer. Too bad Isabel had such a shitty “birthday”.

Liz looked up as she heard Max climbing up to her balcony.

Max was slightly surprised to find Liz still up and out on her balcony. He hovered briefly on the ladder to see if she was going to get mad. When he saw her eyes he swung over the railing. “What are you doing?”

“Reading Tess’s journal. The sleeping bag and pillow are for you,” Liz said pointing to the items before looking back at Max.

“Thanks. You’re okay with me being here?” Max asked softly not moving forward but leaning back on the ledge of her balcony.

“I know you feel it’s necessary and I don’t want to fight anymore. If you cause problems that will change….I’m sorry about last night. I know you were just trying to do a good thing. I’m just…..hyper sensitive,” Liz said softly.

“Don’t worry about it. I shouldn’t have said some of the stuff I did so we’re even…..So….how’s the journal going?” Max asked studying her expression carefully. He hated the thought of Liz reading it but knew better then to say anything.

“Ummm okay I guess. Nothing too horrible yet. She did say that Alex talked to me about what was happening,” Liz answered slowly.

“Can I….read it after you go to bed?” Max asked curious.

“Ummm yeah but….you may not want to Max. It’s…upsetting. She talks about a lot of things in here. Things you may not want to deal with yet,” Liz warned chewing on her lower lip in agitation.

“It’s okay. I want to read it,” Max said with slight smile trying to ease her mind. He could see she was worried.

Liz just nodded. “Well….make yourself comfortable and I’ll leave you the book when I go to bed.”

Max nodded and grabbed the sleeping bag and pillow and spread it out where he could see Liz’s profile as she read. Settling down to lay on top on the sleeping bag he stayed quiet trying not to bother her.

Turning back to the book she forgot about Max as she continued to read.

Max just really pissed me off. I’m sure you can relate. His insistence on hiding. How aggravating. His love of all things human was just disgusting. He has the narrowest point of view of anyone I have ever seen. He never thinks of the big picture…well whatever all that’s history now.

So tell me…how do you feel about giving yourself to Max? I know how you felt at the time….what about now? I’m guessing but I doubt you’re thrilled about it. It’s not quite the happy memory now is it…after everything? I never really imagined he would act like he did to you. Men are hard to figure out some times. Pride and ego can do a lot of damage…so can selfishness. When you think about him what do think? How do you see him now after everything he did? However you feel right this second I can almost guarantee it’ll change by the end of this. I don’t know how you’ll end up feeling….since I really don’t totally understand you. I wish I could ask you.

You wanted to believe in him so badly. It was sad really. I tried to let you off the hook but you just kept causing me problems. I thought you might smarten up a couple times there but no….instead you screw him. That was the wrong choice to make. That set things in motion that you just have no clue about. That tendency of yours to want to hang onto things….you can blame that fault for this situation.

I saw a lot about the time before I came to town. Mostly from Max but some from you too. He isn’t that person. The person you thought you saw after your healing. People change Liz. Even humans…..hybrids…well they have even more potential for change. You never really understood that. Not only did Max change but so did you. Max changed you more than you even know. The powers are just part of it. He changed your dreams. He affected the person that you are. I bet you surprised yourself there at the end….all that anger and rage just leaking out. I was impressed. I never could have expected that….I mean when I first met you…you were so..good and nice. By the end you were something different…all those angry outbursts. You pulled it together in a way I wasn’t really expecting. I never thought you and Max would go head to head like that. I think somewhere inside you…you know. I think that’s where your anger is coming from at least in part.

You certainly changed my plans. At first I was a mite unhappy about that but now…..I like this even better. It’s more fitting somehow.

You see Liz…sex is a big step. I know you know that but for us it’s even bigger then for humans. You can’t shield or keep any kind of….barrier if you loose control. When Max and I had sex…lets just say I wasn’t as involved as the two of you were. There weren’t a bunch of confusing emotions getting in my way. Remember emotions don’t really mix well with our powers. Things can happen that you never could expect…bonds can be formed. I really only slept with him to accomplish my goal so it didn’t have the same effect for me.

Max knows so little about himself. It’s almost funny really. When you two had sex..control was nonexistent. What do you think Max’s instinct was? Deep down what was driving him do you think? What emotions was he feeling? How did that affect his powers? What happened before you found the orb?

Do you remember that? I’m sure you do. Glowing hickeys, fevers, visions…INSTICT driving you both together. See he left some of his…power or energy inside you when he healed you. His essence carried inside you to a degree. Sex increased that. You solidified a bond you may not have even realized you had started. Instinct drove him to complete that bond…to tie you to him. That yucky feeling you have….get used to it. It will always be there from now on. You will never feel whole….or completely happy with anyone else. Sucks huh? Well I DID try to tell you to leave him alone. You just didn’t listen. Max felt the same he just reacted to it differently. Betrayal in a bonded relationship is….devastating. There’s no escape no where to run. It hurt didn’t it? I bet it still hurts. I’ve never really experienced it myself but Max sure didn’t handle things very well. He was one unhappy camper the morning after our encounter. He felt it then….inside he knew he was screwed. He knew that it was never going to feel right with anyone but you. He also knew that he had committed the mother of all mistakes. Mother…that’s about the best word I could have picked. I think he really wanted to chew off his own arm when he woke up but he tried to tough it out like the good little soldier. He tried to do the “right thing” even though at that point there WAS no more right thing. As I write this part he is with you….I wonder if he’s telling you what he did even as I write this down. That’s gotta sting.

Liz threw the journal, book light still attached and sparking wildly, in a fit of rage and panic. She didn’t wait for Max to question her. She got up and went into her room slamming her window shut and pulling the curtain closed.

Max was startled by her violent reaction. He had been watching her trying to read her closed expression. He could feel her getting more and more agitated but her sudden movement still surprised him. He stayed still not trying to follow her. He waited for the slam of her bathroom door before he moved. He climbed down the ladder and walked to the journal and picked it up. Max waved his hand over the smashed book light repairing it and picked it up to tucking it into his pocket. Looking up the ladder he didn’t need to hear her to know she was crying…he felt it.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 20-Dec-2002 7:09:44 AM ]
posted on 20-Dec-2002 5:07:13 PM
One thing I want to clear up a bit......

NO no....this does NOT excuse Max's behavior. Re read carefully. He KNEW Liz was lying. Read what he said to Isabel. It wasn't what Liz did it was what she SAID. This isn't a free pass for Max......Liz didn't become something completely differernt. She didn't ever treat him like he did her. Never.....even if they ARE bonded which we don't really know what that even means. The bonding happened AFTER Kyle....and he then knew that that was a least breifly.

Tess's comments are about Max.....she knew a mindwarp or lie wasn't the same as the real thing. Which is why she also wanted to sleep with Max. She knew what it would do to Liz. Really think about it....Has Liz treated Max like he did her? She's been very angry yes but it's not the same. She hasn't tried to hurt him like he did.

Explaining isn't excusing. Max can say or believe whatever he wants......he knows what he did was wrong just like LIZ knew when she went to Sean.

I can say that Liz is not going to run out and sleep with anyone. No. She won't be doing anything that drastic...well not in relation to sex.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 20-Dec-2002 5:40:49 PM ]
posted on 22-Dec-2002 3:00:21 AM
Chapter Twenty Three

Liz crouched in the corner of her shower stall rocking back and forth as she tried desperately to block out Tess’s words. Nothing is true today that wasn’t true yesterday. Tess was lying…she always lied. The pounding in her head reached new levels of pain as she unconsciously struggled to block any connection to Max and everything else. She knew her own mind. She knew what was truth.

“No…no…no…it’s not true. It isn’t…I would…know. I don’t believe it,” Liz whispered her breath hitching not realizing she was actually talking out loud. That small voice was arguing with her. Don’t you really know it’s true? You feel it. “No! I feel nothing,” Liz denied. You can’t run from the truth. Try if you like. When you stop it will be there waiting for you. All the fight drained out of her leaving her feeling hollow, defeated, and more confused then ever.

Liz moaned softly as a stabbing pain worked from her temple tearing deep inside her head. She started crying in sheer misery and pain. Time lost all meaning and passed without notice. She felt trapped and had visions of being in a glass box beating on the sides to get out. Her breathing picked up as panic raced through her feeding her fears. Her vision darkened around the edges and the pain in her head just wouldn’t relent. Finally she reached over and turned on the cold water letting it pour over her head and calmed slightly as the pain eased just the smallest bit and the tight feeling in her chest eased up enough to breath. She allowed her body to slide down the wall and rested her head on her knees. Her tears traced warm paths down her legs as the water helped drowned out all other sounds cocooning her in a separate world. She concentrated on just breathing blocking everything else out.

Max read the journal and felt worse and worse. How had Liz been able to stand it? It felt like every filter he had between himself and the world was being ripped away from him shedding new light on the last year…..more than the last year really. Tess had seen some of his actions clearer then he had. Max could see the truth in some of what she said. His face twisted as he reached the condom wrapper. He realized he had never been so wrong about anything in life before as he had been about Tess.

Liz had been right to be afraid of her. When Liz had said that when Tess and her “father” had come to town it had seemed like an indication of Liz not accepting his own alienness. Now…Now he saw that it hadn’t been that. Liz had an instinct that was powerful and impressive. It had been warning her of Evil. Tess wasn’t a person or an alien she was something else. He saw it clearly now….whatever mask Tess wore that was all it was. Underneath there was an unmatched coldness and death that couldn’t be hidden.

He kept reading until Tess started talking about the bond. Reaching the page where the clip for the light marked the place Liz had stopped at he finished the page then shut the book. He felt like someone had kicked him hard in the chest and scrapped his insides raw. Tears filled his eyes as he realized how bad things really were. He had put Liz in a situation where she had nothing left and no where to go. He felt a level of shame that he had never before even imagined. He had trapped her without meaning to. His lack of knowledge and selfish desires had tied her to him. He hated himself. He was scum.

Hearing the shower turn on inside, he forced himself to get past that. It was too late now. Now he had to move on and make something out of what was left of himself. If he couldn’t let her go or change what had happened he would have to rebuild himself. He wanted Liz to have a life…a great life whatever that meant for him. He had fucked up her life enough as it was. It was time to work hard to fix what he could.

Max crept up to the window and hovered wondering what to do. The curtain was a clear “stay away from me”….so was the closed window. But he couldn’t leave her like this. He could feel her despair like a shadow clinging to him. He rubbed his temples absentmindedly. Finally he used his powers to open the window and slowly eased it open. Pushing aside the curtain he crawled in her window and sat on the bed to wait for her. He rubbed the back of his neck, nervous and worried.

Max stood up and started pacing unable to sit still as his anxiety increased. Every trip past her bathroom door had him pausing before moving on. After 30 trips back and forth he gave up and stood staring at the door willing it to open.

Worried he walked closer. The shower had been on for at least an hour. Unable to wait anymore he opened the door. He poked his head in wary of intruding but worried enough to proceed. Seeing no steam and no Liz he stepped inside the room and closed the door behind him. He walked up to the shower curtain and pulled it aside. Liz was huddled in the corner still wearing her pajamas…she didn’t move or make a sound. Max crouched beside the tub and pushed her hair back trying to see her face. Feeling how cold she was he reached over and turned off the water.

“Don’t turn it off,” Liz said her words slightly slurred.

“Liz? What’s wrong?” Max asked worried.

“My head hurts. The cold water helps a little,” Liz said making an effort to look up at him.

Max got scared when he saw her eyes. One pupil was larger then the other and her eyes looked glassy and seemed to have trouble focusing. “It’s okay. I can fix this,” Max said and turned the water back on. “Just look at me and I’ll fix it.”

Liz tried to focus but it was so hard and her head hurt worse as she tried to bring Max into focus.

Max placed his hands on either side of her face and looked into her eyes focusing intently. Quickly he healed damaged tissue going deep so as not to miss anything. He could almost “feel” Tess, like a cloud hovering over Liz’s mind. He frowned as he realized that Tess had messed with how her brain functioned. Her neurons didn’t seem to be functioning in certain areas so he sent his healing energy to the blank areas….the places where the neurons weren’t transmitting or receiving impulses. Pulling away he blinked and studied her face.

Liz looked into Max’s familiar eyes and saw the worry and fear that floated in the depths of those eyes. Feeling a tug inside her, she looked away uncomfortable. She pushed down the urge to panic and push him away. That wouldn’t change anything.

Satisfied that she was all right he turned the water back off and grabbed the towel hanging next to the tub. Liz took it from him silently.

“Did you read it?” Liz asked not moving from her spot.

“Not all of it but some yes. I’m so sorry Liz. If I could change all this I would. I didn’t know. I wouldn’t do this to you on purpose. I know you must feel trapped and I’m so sorry about that,” Max said softly and waited for her anger.

“I know,” Liz replied and paused. “I’m not sure knowing about the bond would have changed anything. I don’t know that we would have understood it…I still don’t understand now so…don’t go crazy about that part. I don’t think we would have seen any of this coming. You didn’t make that choice alone and neither of us knew so…we made that mistake together.”

Max sank to the floor next to the tub humbled by her admission. He knew he didn’t deserve her. He knew he had never fully appreciated her before. God he loved her. What a complete fool he had been. “Liz…”

“Just let me say this before you talk. Just don’t say anything,” Liz said working herself up for this. She didn’t know what this all meant but she knew she had to try to explain her feelings to him. She had to try to make him understand. “I was happy that night too. I felt so much for you then….and I felt really loved in return. I thought we would be okay so this bond thing….I don’t..blame you for it. I know you didn’t know. I just…I’m afraid. I can’t forgive you…I just can’t. I don’t understand and I can’t get past it and I hate being stuck here. I’m trying so hard to find some sort of peace within myself but…I can’t. I feel cornered and trapped. I’m trying so hard to see this clearly and not just blame you for everything. I feel stupid and just utterly broken…inside. I’m fighting to just hang on to what I have left and every time I open that book it just gets worse. I loose something every time I open it. I don’t even feel like ME anymore. So while that one night was special it feels like it happened to someone else a million years ago. Those were two different people. The place we are now is so different and I can’t even see the sun anymore. Tess is just….burying me alive…I can’t move or breath. Everything hurts so I just can’t handle this….I’m sorry…I can’t,” Liz said and started sobbing.

Max closed his eyes for a second. He knew he was the last person who should be comforting her….He was the cause of most of her pain but he couldn’t leave her like this. He got up and picked her up before sinking back down onto the floor ignoring the cold water seeping into his cloths. He wrapped the towel around her and tucked her wet hair behind her ears. “You don’t have to do anything Liz. You don’t have to forgive me…I understand why you can’t. It’s not your fault it’s mine and I know that. It’s my responsibility. I know this is bad but you are still the person I’ve known since third grade. I see that little girl in you still and I see the girl who saved me countless times. There’s just more strength there now….” Feeling her shake her head against his chest he continued. “Yes there is. Alex would be so proud of you Liz. You just don’t see but I do. We wouldn’t know any of what we know if it weren’t for you. You’ve even melted Isabel and that alone takes a lot. Michael respects you and listens when you talk. They all trust your judgement and know you make your choices based on more than yourself.

I may be blind to a lot but I’ve made an art form out of watching you. You’re grumpy a lot in the morning and when you smile without showing your teeth that’s the smile you give to problem customers. You love lemon poppy seed muffins and Dr. Pepper. You kill yourself for your friends and suffer more then you should. You feel responsible for things that you shouldn’t and take too much on yourself. You’re stubborn and sometimes your lower lip sticks out when you’re digging your heels in over something. You don’t allow yourself to take the easy road if it isn’t the right road and you have the biggest heart I’ve ever seen. You’re so smart and when you’re working something out in your head you wrinkle your nose. So I KNOW you. I know if you’re fighting for something…you’ll win. Don’t worry about me and how I feel. You do what you need to do. I’ll handle myself. Don’t make this harder on yourself then you have to. I’ll be here if you need me. All you ever have to do is call me and I’ll come. You have a right to all of your feelings. You have the right to blame me and be angry with me. I broke promises to you and made mistakes that there are no excuses for. You aren’t responsible for any of that and I’m not surprised you feel trapped. I’m not going to try to force you to do anything or feel anything. I would do anything to stop you from hurting if I could. I wish…I wish I knew what to do to make this easier,” Max said shifting her on his lap to pull her closer. Her skin was so cold.

Liz wiped her eyes with the edge of the towel and leaned against his chest too tired to stand on her own. She was confused and just lost. She felt like her inner compass was spinning and spinning instead of guiding her.

“I’m scared for you. I don’t know what to do to keep you safe. I don’t know what Tess wants from you. That journal….Liz I don’t think you should read anymore. It..the whole purpose is to hurt you. She’s been in your head….she knows how to do that. I don’t think it’s safe for you. I don’t know how her powers work but….she did a lot of damage to you. I think that journal could do even more. I have no clue how those memory flashes work or what they do to you when you receive one and with your powers so unpredictable an unstable…I’m worried. I don’t want to tell you what to do but….I would feel better if you at least waited for me to come back home before reading anymore. Just in case something happens I would be here to heal you,” Max said looking down at her. Seeing her wet hair and feeling the slight tremors running through her he reached out and quickly dried her hair.

“I want to finish it. I can’t let her get away with this but I’ll wait,” Liz said softly.

Hearing the exhaustion in her voice he accepted that small concession. “Thank you….I feel a little better. I leave tomorrow but…just call me if…something happens. Let’s get you in your bed so you can sleep,” Max said and rose from the floor easily bringing her with him. He took the towel and re hung it up and with a fast swipe of his hand he dried her cloths.

Liz allowed him to lead her to bed and crawled in without argument. She watched him go and turn off the light and move to go out the window. “Max?”

Half in half out of the window he looked back to meet her eyes. “Yeah?”

“Will you…wake me up if…I have nightmares?” Liz asked. Just one night without nightmares. Then maybe she could think clearly. Then she would strong enough to strengthen her walls so she could think.

“Yes. I’ll wake you.”

“Thanks,” Liz said softly and closed her eyes. She fell asleep believing he would.

Max crawled outside as the sky slowly lightened. He lay down on the sleeping bag and stared up at the sky watching it change colors and listening for any movement.

posted on 22-Dec-2002 3:10:05 AM
You guys I totally had to share this totally off topic thing...a good....friend of mine bought me "Crash Into Me" by Robyn Burnett for Christmas. Gave it to me early....obviously because he knew I was gonna buy it because I am a totally weak selfish only child and reward myself often. So anyway.....It is the BEST. I LOVE it. I'm not done looking at it but wow I am so happy with it I can hardly stand it. ::clutches book to her chest in a death grip::

Okay on the topic of the story. You guys know I love Liz right? I know it seems different at the moment but I really do love her so don't give up on me thinking I'm going to have Liz hang herself or anything. I promised a happyish ending didn't I? Yes I did. I haven't forgotten.

Okay I'm off to gloat and coo over my new book. See ya!
posted on 23-Dec-2002 8:23:27 PM
Chapter Twenty Four

Liz woke up feeling drained. She rolled over and opened one eye to look at the clock. 2pm. She closed her eye and snuggled back down into bed. Thoughts turning to last night she frowned.

She knew without looking that Max was gone. She also knew that she was in deep shit. As her mind picked up speed and started racing through the events of the night before and on to the problem in general her nose wrinkled slightly. Most of the pieces they had been dealing with fit into the picture and made sense in some way. The journal, the destiny book, the key, the FBI, the letter, the skins….all of it fit or lead back to Alex or her. Except that little piece of paper that Kyle had found with the name Langley and an address. She had a feeling about that piece of paper. Sitting up Liz reached for the phone and called Kyle.

“Hello?” Kyle answered on the third ring.

“Kyle? It’s Liz. Did your dad ever get anything on that Langley and the address?” Liz asked getting up and going over to her computer. She turned it on and sat back and reached for a pen and paper.

“Well hello to you to Liz. It’s so nice to hear from you,” Kyle greeted smirking.

“Sorry… what did he say?” Liz asked impatiently.

Hearing the tone of her voice Kyle gave up on teasing her. “Nothing really. I’ll ask him again when he gets home,” Kyle answered.

“Okay, have him call me on my cell phone. I really need that information,” Liz said disappointed that she had to wait.

“Will do. I’ll have him call you,” Kyle answered puzzled by her abrupt tone.

“Okay…I’ll talk to you later. I’ve got to go,” Liz said and hung up. She chewed on her lower lip…that slip of paper bothered her. It didn’t fit the pattern.

Pushing aside those thoughts for the moment she got up and started getting ready trying not to think at all. The last thing she wanted was to have another panic attack. Before she left her room she crawled out onto her balcony to take care of the pillow and sleeping bag but found Max had already rolled up the sleeping bag and left it and the pillow next to her window….the journal was gone.

Liz walked into the café to find Isabel and Max at the counter deep in discussion. Maria was bussing a table while humming along to the song playing on the radio. Liz hesitated a moment before heading toward Max and Isabel. “Hey,” Liz said as she sat on the stool next to Isabel.

“Hey…Max was just about to take off,” Isabel said turning to look at Liz. Max had briefly filled her in on healing Liz but hadn’t said much else just requested that she call him if anything came up.

“Oh…can I….talk to you for a second before you go?” Liz asked Max not really meeting his eyes.

“Um..yeah you can walk me out actually,” Max replied and turned to Isabel. “I’ll call you while I’m gone so keep your phone handy and I’ll see you on Sunday at the latest.”

“Okay,” Isabel nodded not saying anymore as she watched Max and Liz walk out of the café. The tension there was almost a physical force.

Liz stayed quiet until they got to his car. She was suddenly thinking it wasn’t a good idea for him to leave but was reluctant to say so. “Um…thanks for…you know…healing me and everything. I feel a lot better,” Liz said to start off.

“Good. Listen….if anything happens…like your headache comes back or anything…call me. Don’t go out alone and be really careful….extra careful okay?” Max asked once again wondering if this was a good idea. He didn’t want to hover…he had promised not to push or try to force anything but wasn’t quite sure what the boundaries were.

“Okay,” Liz agreed with a nod. She didn’t feel really good about him leaving but was afraid to say so. She didn’t want to give him mixed signals or confuse an already horribly confused situation. “Just….be careful okay?”

“Right….sure,” Max said and they both stood looking at each other feeling like there was something else to be said but both unclear about the new limits of this tentative truce.

Liz studied his eyes for some clue about what he was thinking. Her instincts were telling her something with him but she wasn’t sure what it was. “Well….I better get back inside,” Liz said finally.

“Yeah, okay,” Max said but stopped her when she turned to go. “Liz?”

“Yeah?” Liz said stopping and turning back to him.

“Nothing…sorry. I’ll just see you….when I get back,” Max said chickening out of saying more.

“Max…I feel really….weird about this trip. You’re not….planning something dangerous….are you?” Liz asked again getting that strange off feeling. Like he was hiding something or not being completely honest. “Because if you get hurt or anything that’s not going to help get your son back. Don’t take crazy chances.”

“Don’t worry. I have responsibilities that I have to live up to. I know that. I’ll be checking in every day too,” Max said shoving his hands in his pockets. He felt a twinge of guilt but pushed it down. This diamond might help with more then just the search for his son.

Liz got a quick flash of…something. Studying his face she wasn’t convinced but just nodded. “Well…see ya,” Liz said softly and turned to walk back inside.

Max watched her go feeling a tightening in his chest. He waited until she was inside before getting in his car and pulling out into traffic.

Maria had gone out to the tables in front of the café to take an order and was able to witness the last of the scene between Max and Liz. She studied their body language since she couldn’t hear what they were saying. She watched Liz walk back to the café. Her expression clearly showed she was conflicted. A glance at Max showed him watching Liz with longing. Those two were just….impossible. Maria was left with the sense that something was different between them but wasn’t able to pinpoint what.

Liz went back inside and sat next to Isabel. She didn’t say anything lost in thought.

Isabel waited for a few minutes before saying anything. “Are you really alright? Max said he had to heal you,” Isabel asked tentatively.

Broken out of her thoughts Liz looked over and smiled. “Um. Yeah I’m fine…just…a lot going on.”

“Well, when do you want to start working on things?” Isabel asked.

“Tomorrow maybe. I’ve got a few things I have to do today. In fact I better hustle before I have to work,” Liz said and with a quick wave she beat a retreat.

Isabel watched her leave then flagged down Maria. “Liz isn’t working today is she?”

“Nope she has the day off. Why?” Maria asked curious.

Isabel frowned. “Just curious.”

Upstairs Liz put her hair up in a scrunchy and looked at all the Sweden stuff still up around the room. She walked slowly around the room studying all her notes carefully. She took down all the things that weren’t needed any more and started re organizing all the things that they now knew and putting everything up in some sort of order trying to see a pattern.

Hours later when her cell phone rang it snapped her back into the world.


“Liz? This is what I’ve got you ready?” Jim asked looking at the fax pages in his hand.

“Yeah ready,” Liz answered picking up her pen.

“Names Cal Langley the address is his home in LA. He’s a movie producer….fairly big time from what it seems. No criminal record just a couple of parking tickets and one speeding ticket. Worked his way up in the industry to get where he’s at. Nothing really stands out here,” Jim said scanning the sheets for anything helpful.

Liz tapped her pen on the desk thoughtfully. “Why would Tess have his name and address? Do you have an outline of his career at all?” Liz asked puzzled. Why would Tess care about a movie producer? That made NO sense. Which worried her.

“Let’s see…according to this he started out as a clapper loader…whatever that is on…Shit!” Jim exclaimed in shock.

“What? What is it?” Liz asked a frown of concentration furrowing her brow.

“He worked on “They Are Among Us”. It was a B movie filmed right here in Roswell in 1959. One of the actresses was killed and my dad was the Sheriff at the time. He thought she was murdered but the death was attributed to a lightning strike. My dad didn’t buy that he thought an alien killed her,” Jim said frowning as he remembered how everyone had laughed at his father.

Liz sat back in her chair her eyes going wide. 1959….that struck a cord tugging at her memory. Oh! Oh shit! “Do you remember that picture you showed me? Of the murder victim with the handprint on his chest? Wasn’t that also in 1959?” Liz asked her mind already racing.

“Yes…yes it was. There were several killings like that in the area around that time…. Sheila Hubble included. What are you thinking? That this Cal guy has something to do with that? I thought Max said it was Nesado,” Jim asked confused.

Liz chewed on her lip as she tried to work things out in her head. “This is just a thought but….we know there were four shapeshifters sent…at least four. Pierce said that they captured four…two were dead and two were alive. One escaped…Nesado. One was held for three years…but what then? What happened to him then?” Liz said tapping her pen against the desk as her thoughts raced. “So we’ve got bodies with handprints and this lightening strike. Isabel and Michael can both kill from a distance…what if the second shapeshifter can too? What if that was the lightening strike? Why did your father think it wasn’t a lightening strike?”

Jim struggled to remember. It was so long ago. “It was a clear day out I think…I’m not totally sure. Those files are gone too. The FBI took them with the rest of the possible alien files. Damn!”

Liz was already on the Internet trying to find out anything on the film. “Hmm well if it was filmed here someone will remember. That would be a big deal...a movie filmed here and then a murder. Someone will remember something.”

“I’ll poke around and see what I can find out. How are you thinking this fits in with Tess?” Jim asked curious.

“It’s the piece that doesn’t fit the rest of the puzzle. What we have is some killings in and around Roswell in 1959. Max and the others were years from entering the picture so why all the trouble? We have two different types of death the handprint and the lightening strike. This Langley…he fits into this somehow. Otherwise Tess wouldn’t even be interested. I’m going to do a little digging and see what I can find out about him,” Liz said that feeling growing stronger. This was important.

“I’ll ask around and see if I can find someone who remembers something. I’ll call you back when I find something,” Jim said already gearing up for following this new trail.

“Okay…hey..have you heard from Agent Duff?” Liz asked curious.

“No, I haven’t. But I wasn’t really expecting to until this weekend. I warned her to be really careful and not set off any alarms. That takes time,” Jim replied.

“Okay…well I’ll talk to you soon then,” Liz said and they said their good-byes. Liz turned around in her chair and sat looking at her charts.

Hour’s later Liz was convinced that Cal Langley was an alien. If she had to guess she would say he was the second shapeshifter. His picture showed him to look anywhere from 35-45 years old. That was at odds with his birth date and career. If he were working in 1959 that would put him in his late fifties to sixty years old. His driver’s license claimed he was 56. When she pulled up various pictures taken over the years at premiers and interviews…he looked basically the same. The hair changed and so did some of the surface stuff but he didn’t age. Not really. So unless he had the best plastic surgeon in LA he was not from around here.

Liz sat back and thought about it. If he was the second shapeshifter and he was here in 1959 and so was Nesado that opened up a whole bunch more questions. The fact that Nesado and Tess had never mentioned him led her to believe he wasn’t on the best of terms with them. She could certainly understand that. The question was WHY had they both been here then and how did all those killings tie into it? She knew one of the deaths had been the head of the special unit at the time but what did an actress have to do with that?

Liz worked long into the night. Not once did she think about Max or bonds. It was a relief.

Max on the other hand had nothing but Liz on his mind as he drove to Santa Fe. He worried non-stop and reconsidered his decision to leave the journal in his room at home. He tried to tell himself that Liz had agreed to wait but he had still taken the journal. No sense leaving it there to tempt her into reading it. He shrugged off his concern. She wouldn’t raid his room for it. That was just his paranoia talking.

He worried about everything from the FBI arriving in mass to cart her away to her getting sick to wondering how she was coping with what they had learned last night.

Max never once questioned the existence of a bond. He had always felt tied to Liz right from the beginning. He wasn’t uncomfortable with it on his end. He worried about it from Liz’s side though. What did it mean? How did this effect her? He checked his cell phone compulsively to make sure it was working. After he got settled in his room he called Isabel to check in and let her know he had arrived. She assured him things were fine in Roswell. His worries multiplied and sleep seemed far away and beyond reach.

posted on 24-Dec-2002 6:42:29 PM
Chapter Twenty Five


Friday had dawned clear and warm as the temperature rose, scorching the earth under the summer sun, Isabel waited for Liz’s call. As morning flowed into afternoon she got impatient. Liz had stayed holed up in her room all day yesterday and today wasn’t going to be day number two. Isabel picked up the phone and dialed.

“Hello?” Liz said her voice husky still half asleep.

“What are you doing?” Isabel asked.

“Dreaming…you?” Liz asked softly.

“Hmmm then you’re lucky I woke you up. You’re dreams are boring with a capital B. Meet me in the café in twenty,” Isabel said smiling and hung up.

Liz groaned and got up.

By the time Isabel got to the café Liz was sitting at the counter drinking coffee and talking to Maria who was sitting next to her.

“Afternoon ladies,” Isabel greeted ignoring Liz’s cranky look and smiling brightly she sat down.

“I know you know this but…you are not a nice person,” Liz said pointedly.

“It IS common knowledge,” Maria agreed. “But what in particular are you referring to in this case?”

“She said my dreams are boring. They’re NOT boring,” Liz said shooting a glare past Maria to Isabel.

“Liz…they are. Trust me. I’ve seen a lot of dreams and yours like….put me to sleep,” Isabel said waving her hand to dismiss Liz’s claim.

Liz slammed her hand down on the table in mock outrage. “You haven’t seen all my dreams. They are NOT boring!” Liz denied. “I’m offended.”

“Iz…she’s offended. What do you have to back up your claim?” Maria asked looking to Isabel with an inquiring eyebrow raised.

“Okay…fine. She makes up a dream guy…Brad. Remember this one Liz? So anyway she’s here in the CrashDown making out with Brad….on this very counter if I recall correctly and who should show up? Tell her Liz,” Isabel said smirking slightly.

Liz rolled her eyes. “Max….okay? But that was a long time ago and it wasn’t boring,” Liz denied. Besides she thought to herself that was nothing compared to some of the…..dreams….after…

“So anyway Max appears and points out that she doesn’t want Brad she wants someone who can make rose petals fall from the ceiling. Then Brad’s gone and she’s locking lips with my brother under a shower of rose petals,” Isabel finished. “It was so…sweet I got a sugar rush.”

“Hmmm sounds nice. Not a red-hot sex fest but nice,” Maria said and turned to Liz. Liz was looking a little dazed and staring into space. “Liz?”

Liz felt her heart race with panic as she thought about the abrupt change in the tone of her dreams. Isabel was right….her dreams had been sweet until she had sex with Max and then they changed. Something bothered her about that. She really had a bad feeling. “Isabel…you said that dreams have tone or like a flavor….can they be….implanted? Could Tess implant dreams or turn a memory into what you think is a dream?” Liz asked trying to stay calm. OH GOD! Her mind raced and her breathing picked up as she considered the very real possibility that the sex dreams before prom were more than just a dream. Why would Tess do that? Think! Liz commanded herself….how could she find out the truth?

“I don’t know. Why?” Isabel asked her attitude turning serious at the change in Liz’s tone. Looking over she saw how pale Liz was and started to worry.

“I have to go. I’ll talk to you later,” Liz said and got up and grabbed her purse.

Isabel and Maria both shared a glance then gave chase. Liz wasn’t supposed to go anywhere alone. They raced out the back in time to see Liz jump into her Jeep.

“Let’s go the Jetta’s out front,” Maria said spinning around and heading back through the doors.

“Damn it! Max is gonna kill me!” Isabel muttered and followed her.

Kyle pulled up to the café and was almost sideswiped by Liz who didn’t even stop. With a squeal of tires she was gone. Turning his head he saw the Jetta pull out in hot pursuit and followed wondering what the hell was going on.

Liz pulled up to the Evans house and jumped out running along the side of the building to Max’s window. Thankful to find it unlocked she crawled in and walked to his nightstand. That seemed like the best place to start looking. Opening the drawer she thrust her hand inside and felt around the very back and grabbed a small box. She looked down at the open box of condoms and sat on Max’s bed. Shaking out its contents she counted eight condoms. Feeling sick she picked one up and gasp as she got a quick flash. Oh god oh god ohgodohgodohgod.

Liz got up and went to Max’s desk and turned on his light. Holding the wrapped condom up to the light she confirmed her flash. Tess had indeed poked holes in the condoms with a pin. Freaking out Liz started shaking as she crossed to the bed and picked up all the condoms and brought them all over and checked them one after the other. All of them had holes.

Liz grabbed her purse and reached for her phone. Feeling lightheaded as she dialed she sat down on the bed and put her head between her knees hoping she wasn’t about to pass out.

“Hello?” Max answered.

“Max? I need you to do something. Don’t ask me any questions just do it and then I’ll explain okay?” Liz asked eyes closed and head still between her knees.

“Okay?” Max said worried. She sounded strange.

“Take out your wallet and pull out that condom…you still have it right?” Liz asked feeling sick.

“Yeah, I have it..What’s going on?” Max asked walking over to the dresser in his hotel room to pick up his wallet. He opened it and removed the condom.

“Just hold it up to the light and tell me what you see,” Liz said as Max’s bedroom door opened. She looked up to see Isabel, Maria, and Kyle standing there. “Out! This is private. I need a minute then I’ll be out,” Liz said waving them out of the room.

One look at Liz’s face had Isabel shutting the door and leading the other two down to her room.

“Oh shit….Liz…how did you know?” Max asked as he saw light shining through the holes in the condom.

“Holes? It has holes?” Liz asked.

“Yeah, two of them. What’s going on?” Max asked sitting down.

“I think you need to come home Max. Right now,” Liz said as her stomach rolled violently.

“What’s wrong? What’s going on?” Max asked starting to really panic.

“We..I think…Tess put those holes there. I need to ask you a question. Before prom…did you have dreams like very…vivid sex dreams? I know this sounds weird but just answer the question,” Liz said her fingers crossed.

“No. Why?” Max asked puzzled.

Liz tried to reason this out. “You only had sex with Tess once right? Never used a condom?”

Max squirmed but answered. “Right. Only once and no. Liz what is going on? Why are you asking these questions now?”

Ignoring Max’s question she continued. “When did you start that memory retrieval thing? Was it right after we….had sex?”


“How often? Was it like a couple times a week? Was at night only or during the day? This is really important so please think about this.” Liz said moving to his desk and picking up a pen. She opened a drawer and pulled out a notebook. Flipping to an empty page she reached over and took down his calendar turning back to May.

Max thought back and answered. “At first it was about two times a week and after school then it was once a week at night,” Max said repressing his urge to spout off questions. By the tone of Liz’s voice he knew she would only answer after she figured out whatever it was that she was trying to figure out.

“Okay…do you have a calendar? I need you to try and remember the exact dates of when you worked with her at night. Was it before prom? And what about after prom?” Liz asked focusing on her questions and writing down his answers. She had to know.

Max looked around the room and found the current phone book. Flipping through it he found a calendar at the back and studied it. “We didn’t work on that at all after prom. Too much was going on. Let’s see….prom was the third week in May. We usually worked on the memories on Thursday’s so..the 17th and the and the 10th.”

Liz wrote that down and looked at the calendar. Fuck. “Max…we have a serious problem I think. I don’t want to talk about this on the phone. I need you to come home….will you?” Liz asked trying not to cry.

“I’ll leave now. I’ll call you when I’m close to Roswell okay?” Max asked hearing the tears in her voice.

“Okay. Thank you,” Liz answered wiping her eyes.

“I promised. You don’t have to thank me. You’ll be okay until I get there?” Max asked.

“Yeah. I’ll be okay. See you when you get here,” Liz said and hung up. She sat at Max’s desk and tried to pull herself together. She couldn’t fall apart now this was too important. She had to think….the truth was there if she could only unlock it.

Spying Tess’s journal in the half-opened drawer she pulled it out and flipped it open. Skimming through it she searched for what she was looking for.

Max glanced in the mirror and decided to change his cloths before starting home. He was dressed as a waiter and since he wasn’t going to the party he might as well be comfortable on the drive back.

Ten minutes later he was throwing his bag in the car and heading home.

Watching the Evans boy pull out headed back home the man watching called in for his orders.

Liz found what she was looking for and started to read.

Have you figured it out yet? Well in case you haven’t let me enlighten you. After happening upon you and Max I revised my plan. You really fucking pissed me off. So I thought about things and settled on my current plan. Are you ready?

Did you like those hot “dreams” of you and Max? Well you can thank me anytime. Except of course they weren’t dreams. See what I decided was that I didn’t really care to start a family myself. I thought I would just take yours. You seem like you would love to have children. So I went to Max’s house and poked holes in all of his condoms with a pin. I thought the human way would be best and just in case you two actually had sex on your own again it would still be to my benefit. Oh don’t worry you aren’t pregnant…not anymore anyway.

See it doesn’t matter to Kivar if the baby I bring back is mine….just so long as it is Max’s child. Since you were just sooo eager to fuck him well you sort of made my decision for me. Besides I’m not really the maternal type. With a little effort on my part it really paid off and you were none the wiser. Surprise. This way was no fuss no muss on my end.

Seemed to really be painful for you though…you screamed and screamed. Begging Max to come and save you. That was a fun night. Don’t worry we’ll have another night that’s going to be even more fun…for me at least.

Liz let the book fall from her hands and hit the floor. She felt a wave of such intense rage sweep through her that it burned everything else away leaving her mind crystal clear in it’s wake. Feeling calm and a surprising sense of inner stillness Liz sat and started putting the pieces together.

Worried Isabel left her room and made her way down the hall to Max’s room. She opened the door and found it empty. Liz was no where in sight. Running to the open window she saw Liz slipping along the side of the house. She turned and ran out of the room yelling for Maria and Kyle.

Now that her emotions were locked away and the stillness inside her ruled she was free to act. The quiet inside allowed her to hear clearly the voice guiding her now that truth was known. She let down her walls and opened herself fully. Following the call she felt so strongly she drove toward the pod chamber. The closer she got the stronger the pull.

“Where is she going do you think?” Maria asked from the back seat.

“Looks like the pod chamber…or what’s left of it,” Isabel answered. “Don’t let her get too far ahead Kyle.”

“I won’t. You happen to know what her problem is?” Kyle asked his eyes on the road.

“No…I told you I have no idea what’s wrong,” Isabel answered. “She must have remembered something. Just drive and we’ll ask her when we catch up.”

Liz scrambled up the path to the chamber. She reached the place where the door should be and calling on the bond she shared with Max she ran her hand over the wall. When the handprint appeared she placed her hand over it and watched the door slide open. For a chamber that was in ruins the last time she had seen it…it looked pretty good to her. She stepped inside and allowed the door to close after her.

Looking around the shadowed chamber she let the stillness inside her swell. In the quiet she waited for her child’s call. She felt no fear no indecision her child was calling for her help and she would answer.

Moving to the inner wall she trailed her fingers over the rough surface. Listening closely Liz knelt and let her fingers continue their journey. When the handprint appeared she placed her hand over it and watched a section of the wall moved away to reveal a small pod.

When the outer door rumbled and moved away Liz glanced over her shoulder to see the others enter. Turning back around she studied the place she had revealed. The small pod rested on the right side of the space…there was an imprint in the sand next to the pod….there had been two pods there at one time.

“Liz?” Maria asked coming up behind her. Maria’s eyes widened when they came to rest on the pod.

“Holy shit Liz! What is that?” Kyle asked kneeling down beside her. He reached out to touch the dimly glowing pod.

“Don’t touch her!” Liz said and grabbed his arm to prevent him from touching her daughter.

“Liz…can you please tell us what’s going on?” Isabel asked her voice calm. She sat on her heels next to Liz and waited.

“This is my daughter. Tess took her. We can’t leave her here,” Liz said her fingers sliding along the slightly bumpy surface of the pod just over where her child floated inside. Gently Liz moved and picked up the pod, careful not to put too much pressure on the thin clear membrane portion of the pod.

“WHAT? What the hell are you talking about?” Kyle exploded.

“I don’t have time to explain this right now,” Liz said scooting back and setting the pod out in the open. She studied it carefully. It looked organic and since the pod was only a little over knee high Liz assumed it would grow along with the child inside it.

“Does Max know about this?” Isabel asked studying the pod in amazement.

“I called him and asked him to come home. He should be on his way. I’ll tell him when he gets here. Right now I have to take her away from here,” Liz answered.

“Where are we going to take her? Why can’t she stay here until we can think of the best place to put her? Max might be here by then,” Maria asked dazed. This was almost too much to take in.

“Because Tess is coming back for her. I don’t know when but she’s coming. I’m not discussing this. I’m moving her and you aren’t going to stop me,” Liz said tired of arguing and being questioned. She picked up the pod and cradled it close to her body.

Isabel moved to the main door of the chamber and opened it. After Liz exited she followed silently with the other two scrambling after her before the doors could slide shut.

posted on 25-Dec-2002 5:52:32 AM
Chapter Twenty Six
Liz sat in the back of her Jeep holding the pod containing her daughter while Isabel drove. She didn’t speak she just stared at the child cradled inside the pod. She marveled over how small she was and counted her fingers and toes. She already had little tiny nails. Liz already loved her fiercely. Nothing mattered to her more than keeping her safe from Tess and everything else.

Liz felt a wave of sadness well up inside her for all that was lost to her. She would never feel her daughter move for the first time or feel her grow inside her. Tess had stolen all of that from her along with so many other things.

Her thoughts turned to Max. No matter how things stood between them…well none of that really mattered any more. Their child needed them to keep her safe. Liz sighed and pulled the pod closer to her chest. Boy was he in for a surprise.

Maria sat beside Kyle in the other car freaking out. She had Michael on the phone and was bringing him up to speed. Loudly. “Michael I’m telling you the truth. Now get over to Liz’s house like NOW! Then you’ll see for yourself.”

“Why are you going there? Why not come here?” Michael asked his mind racing to keep up.

“She said Max will show up there. She already called him and he’s on his way home. I think she…feels safer at home…I don’t know just go there. Why do you always have to argue with me?” Maria asked frustrated.

“Calm down. I’ll be there before you will,” Michael said turning off his TV.

“Calm down? My best friend is carrying her baby around in some freaking POD Michael. Tess that fucking psycho stole her baby! It’s like the alien version of “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle”! Tess is that fucking Payton chick…Oh god this is just SICK. Liz is acting like…a robot,” Maria babbled getting more and more worked up.

“Yeah this sucks. Just chill…I’ll see ya in a few,” Michael said and hung up. He took a moment to try to calm his racing heart. Things were getting more and more fucked up.

Isabel parked the Jeep in the alley and turned off the engine. She didn’t know how to handle this so she was just following Liz’s lead and staying quiet. She had to keep Liz safe until Max could get here. She helped Liz out of the Jeep careful not to touch the pod….Liz didn’t seem to like that.

“Can you please climb up and toss me down a blanket or my sheet off the bed?” Liz asked quietly when they reached the ladder to her balcony.

Isabel nodded and started up as the Jetta pulled up and came to a stop. When she reached the top she found Michael already there waiting.

Michael took one look at Isabel’s face and stayed quiet and let her do her thing.

Isabel pulled the top sheet off of Liz’s bed and climbed back down to the street and handed it over.

Liz placed the pod in the center of the sheet tied two of the ends together snuggly and used the other two ends to tie around her neck with the pod resting against her side under her arm. Silently Liz started to climb. Instinct was driving her to protect the pod and keep it close to her.

Isabel waited at the bottom ready to use her powers to save the pod if it fell. She breathed a sigh of relief when Liz swung over the railing. With a glance at a silent Kyle and a wide-eyed Maria she started up. When they were all on the balcony Michael started talking.

“Okay….someone please start talking,” Rethinking that statement he amended it. “Someone other then Maria I mean.”

“Liz found a pod in the pod chamber. Max is on his way home. That’s about all we know,” Kyle said briefly. He kept his eyes on Liz as she unwrapped the sheet.

Liz ignored them as she took the pod into her room and turned on the lights. Moving to her closet she opened the door and dragged a chair over so she could reach the top shelf. She cleared it off until it was empty then pushed open the hatch leading to the attic. When she climbed back down and faced the room she found everyone staring at the pod.

“Liz…please help us out here,” Maria asked getting more scared the longer Liz’s silence continued.

“What do you want me to say? Tess removed my daughter and placed her in a pod. What more is there?” Liz asked her tone flat.

“Liz! A lot. There’s a lot more to say,” Maria exclaimed her voice rising and bordering on hysterical. “What does this mean?”

“How am I supposed to know? I can’t answer your questions. I need to talk to Max,” Liz said trying to remain calm but Maria was starting to piss her off. She was the last person to be asking for answers from. She didn’t have any answers.

“So what…Are you like…with Max now? What’s going on here Liz?” Maria asked shrilly.

“Look! Back off Maria! What is between Max and I doesn’t fucking matter anymore! That pod is what matters here. Anything else is just not important to me. I don’t fucking have any answers and I’m not playing this game right now,” Liz yelled pushed past her breaking point. She turned back to the closet and got on the chair. From there she got on the top shelf and looked at a shocked silent Isabel. “Isabel…pick up the pod carefully from the bottom and hand her up to me.”

Isabel moved to obey instantly. She watched as Liz put the pod up in the attic and crawled up after it shutting the hatch. She hoped Max got here soon because Liz was about to loose it. Looking at the rest of the group she found them all frozen in place.

As Max past Haystack Mountain and neared Roswell he pulled out his phone and hit speed dial for Liz’s phone. His neck was stiff with tension and his stomach was in knots. He had thought about their conversation on the drive and how Liz had sounded and he was afraid to draw any conclusions.

“Hello?” Isabel answered out of breath.

“Iz? Where’s Liz?” Max asked feeling his stomach twist.

“She’s umm she’s here. Where are you?” Isabel asked carefully.

“Almost home…Why are you answering Liz’s cell? What’s going on?” Max asked.

“She’s…busy right now so I answered. Just come to Liz’s. Okay?” Isabel asked. “We’re all here.”

Max sighed knowing Isabel wasn’t going to tell him anything. “Okay…I’ll be there in about 15 minutes.”

After he hung up his foot got heavier as his need to get to Liz’s increased right along with his fear.

Swinging himself onto her balcony Max was faced with everyone but Liz. One look at their faces had his worry spiraling out of control. Looking to Isabel for answers he prayed Liz was okay. “Where’s Liz?”

“Come on. I’ll show you,” Isabel said and climbed inside. Reaching the closet she pointed up to the hatch. “She’s up there.”

Max didn’t ask anything else he climbed onto the chair and pushed the hatch open working himself into the small space until his head poked up into the attic. “Liz?” He called as his head cleared the opening. He saw Liz sitting in front of…a dimly glowing pod? He scrambled up into the attic and crawled closer. “Liz…What’s going on?”

Liz looked away from the pod and took in Max’s confused and scared expression. “Come here,” Liz said softly and waited for him to sit beside her. “This is what Tess wants from me. It’s our daughter Max. She stole our daughter.”

Max caught his breath and looked from Liz’s tear filled eyes to the pod. Max peered in at the small perfect child floating inside the pod. “Wh..What? Tell me everything,” Max said softly scooting closer and giving her his full attention.

“I was talking to Isabel and Maria about dreams. I realized that a couple of the dreams I had had were different from the rest so I started thinking. I wondered if Tess could make a real memory seem like it had been a dream or the other way around…whichever. So I went to your room to find out the truth. In those dreams I had we had sex it all just started making sense. I had to know so I found your box of condoms and counted them. There were eight of them and they all had holes in them. When I touched one I saw Tess poking holes in them so then I called you. Then I found the journal and Tess admitted to it. She said she took…our baby. So I just…stopped and thought about it. I let things get really quiet…still inside me. I let go of my fear and focused and that’s when I felt her. I followed that feeling to the pod chamber and listened. I found her in a hidden place in the wall. There was an imprint in the sand…I think…I think there was another pod there at one point,” Liz repeated all of that in a monotone never once looking away from the pod. Silence reigned for long minutes before she spoke again. “Tess said she was coming back.”

Max sat there with his mind reeling. He opened his mouth several times to say something only to shut it again. He turned back to the pod and peered in at his daughter. Reaching out he traced a finger over the spot where her feet pushed close to side. “She’s beautiful Liz. I think she has your toes.”

Liz felt her breath hitch on a sob and put her hands over her face as she started to cry.

Max pulled her close and wrapped his arms around her as she sobbed. When she buried her face in his neck and cried harder he started talking. “We’ll keep her safe. I won’t let Tess take her so don’t worry she’s safe now. We’ll figure this out. I promise we’ll figure it out,” Max said softly. He was scared and worried…his chest felt almost too tight to breathe properly. Above all of that was the desire to make this better..easier for Liz. His new fears for this child joined his existing fears for Liz and her welfare. She seemed fragile and lost. His instinct to protect her went into overdrive. “You did the right thing. This is a safe place..hard to get to. I can’t believe you figured this out on your own. Liz you’re amazing. She couldn’t ever get a better mom then you. We’ll beat Tess.”

Liz lifted her face and moved to look into his eyes. “She’s in a pod Max. We don’t know what to do for her. What if…she dies? What if she’s in there until she’s six like you were? I don’t…I don’t know what to do. I just..I don’t want to leave her. How are we going to explain all of this? What if that second pod is…your son? Do you still feel him? I don’t feel anyone else. Maybe…Maybe that’s your son with Tess. Maybe…do you think…? Could he be….mine? This such a mess,” Liz said and wiped her cheeks.

“I don’t feel him constantly. Only sometimes. I don’t know but we’ll figure this out. We will. I hope…I hope he is yours,” Max said softly. As he watched her walls went up and she moved away from him. They sat in silence each thinking how the complications just kept multiplying.

posted on 26-Dec-2002 11:48:00 AM
Chapter Twenty Seven


Max focused on what needed to be done now. “When is the last time you ate?”

“I don’t…Yesterday?” Liz said doubtfully. Why was he asking her that? They had other more important things to worry about.

“Okay…I’m going to go and get you something to eat and a few things you might need. I’ll be back soon,” Max said and crawled over to the hatch and opened it. Shimmying down while trying not to kill himself took a little bit of work but he managed. Stepping out of the closet he was faced with their friends worried faces. “I need to go and get Liz something to eat. Michael can you please come with me? Maria will you bring Liz her sleeping bag and a pillow? She needs something to sit on.”

Maria hurried to comply. She wanted to apologize for her earlier freak out anyway.

“Max will you please tell us what’s going on?” Kyle requested his tone even.

“Tess somehow made us forget things or think that they were dreams. She took a pin to all my condoms and then somehow took our child from Liz and poded her. Liz thinks she saw a second imprint in the sand at the chamber. Did any of you notice?” Max asked looking at the group.

“Sorry, I was too busy staring at the pod that was there,” Kyle answered. Inside he was reeling from today’s events in the alien hell they lived in. Liz just couldn’t catch a break. Damn that blonde demon…she was slashing and burning her way through Liz’s entire life.

“I didn’t notice either. I’m sorry,” Isabel answered quietly.

Max just nodded. He didn’t really doubt what Liz had seen anyway. “Can you three stay here while Michael and I take care of a couple of things? We’re going to need to discuss what we need to do now. I just have to get a few things first.”

“Sure Max. Go ahead,” Maria said already climbing up on the chair.

“We’ll be here,” Kyle said moving to hand up the pillow and sleeping bag to Maria.

Max and Michael left quietly using the front door and waving to the Parker’s on the way out so they thought Liz was home and just had friends over. Appearances were everything.

When they reached Max’s car Michael finally spoke up. “You doing okay?”

Max sighed and considered the question as he started the car. “Yes and no. I don’t know. In a way this is a relief. At least we know….we have some clue as to what Tess is doing. A small clue but I’ll take it. I’m just worried about Liz. She’s had so much to handle and this is just….crushing her,” Max checked traffic and pulled out headed to his house.

“What does she think about motherhood?” Michael asked trying to get some idea of the situation. Max and Liz were a tangled mess before this. Now he had no idea what was happening there.

“She’s scared. You know…it’s not every girl’s dream to see her first child floating in an alien pod. She’s worried about the baby. Plus, what we’re going to say. All of that stuff…I’m sure you can imagine,” Max said keeping his eyes on the road.

“Is she pissed at you?”

“No. She’s really not. You should see her face when she looks at the baby. She loves her so much already. I have to make sure nothing happens to either of them. Liz said that Tess said she would be back. We have to get some real answers about what we need to do,” Max said parking down the street from his house.

“What about you? How do feel about being a father?”

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet I think. I mean…I guess I knew I was going to be right? But somehow it just didn’t seem real. I didn’t want it to be real. Now…it’s Liz. That changes everything for me. Now I know my daughter will have a great person as her mother. It’s just different all around. I can look at my child and watch her move inside the pod. It’s awesome. Liz is just….so incredible. She’s more then I ever hoped the mother of my children would be. I don’t want to be anywhere else. All I could think of when Tess told me she was pregnant was how I wanted to be anywhere but where I was. I worried about telling my parents and what the baby would do to my life…would it look human? What kind of mother had I inflicted on my child? All of that. Now it’s not like that. Even if I couldn’t see her in the pod to know that she looks perfect I wouldn’t worry about the same things. I want her no matter what. I’m more afraid FOR her and Liz. I would move heaven and earth for them. That’s why we have to be ready to end this thing with Tess. This time Michael….she’s not getting away. Not for any reason,” Max said and got out of the car.

“What are we doing here?” Michael asked as he followed.

“I have to get that journal. I’m going to read all of it and see if there’s anything in there that might help. Plus, I need some of my camping gear. Then we need to pick up the take out order I’m going to phone in. Can you think of anything?” Max asked as they made their way to Max’s window.

“Yeah…Liz and I talked about the destiny book. I think we should try to translate it again. Tess probably edited the first version. We could also pick up the healing stones and see if anything happens when they’re around the pod. And I know you don’t want to hear this but we need to open that box of Tess’s,” Michael said as he followed Max in his window.

“Okay, we’ll stop by your place for the stones and the book after this,” Max said agreeably. He wasn’t ready to think about the box. That meant Liz going to open the box and putting herself in danger.

Michael watched Max pull out his sleeping bag and toss a pillow on top of it. Max picked up the condoms Liz had left scattered and tossed them in the trash then set Tess’s journal on the pile to be taken with them. Going to his closet Max dug around and pulled out his battery operated camping lantern and his Polaroid camera quickly adding those to the pile. Running a hand through his hair he tried to think of anything else that he needed to bring. Coming up with nothing he phoned into the Chinese restaurant for all of Liz’s favorites.

Maria crawled up into the attic pushing her peace offerings in front of her. Keeping an eye out for spiders she carefully approached Liz. “Liz? Max asked me to bring you these,” Maria said and when Liz turned to look at her she forgot all about the brief fight. “Oh Liz. Babe I’m here…tell me.”

Liz sniffed as Maria leaned forward and hugged her tight offering her comfort and support. “Look at her….isn’t she beautiful?” Liz asked trying to focus on the positive.

Maria released Liz and turned to look at the baby. Maria settled down to sit Indian style and looked over the pod and child in front of her. “Of course she is. She’s yours,” Maria stated simply. Like Liz could have an ugly baby! Then she was struck by the picture that they must make sitting Indian style in an attic with a glowing green pod by their knees. She wished Alex were here to help her know what to say now that their life was a running X-file…even more so then it had been now that there was an alien baby. She wanted to lighten Liz’s burden at least for a minute or two before the crushing weight of the alien abyss ground the life out of her. She wanted to be there if Liz needed to talk.

“I’m sorry about before. I was…mean,” Liz said softly.

“No…I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to freak out like that,” Maria returned quickly and as simple as that it was forgotten. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“I don’t know what to say. I know I’m scared for her. This is….huge. This wasn’t in my plan,” Liz said smiling slightly as she thought about the Plan. Leave Roswell, Harvard, career in Molecular Biology, fantastic husband, kids, and a dog. Simple and now so totally different from what her life was. “I mean that’s my child in there. I’m someone’s mother. That’s just so…crazy. I’m still lying to my mother and sneaking out of the house. How crazy is that?”

“Yeah, it is huge. How do you feel besides scared?” Maria asked watching Liz’s expression.

“Ummm I feel…like I’m being reformed. Like everything is just….changing. I thought I knew what love was you know? But this is….different…more. I’m just rolling with it right now,” Liz answered.

“And Max? How do you feel about him?” Maria asked curious.

“I don’t know. It doesn’t matter right now….that’s not true it does but…I don’t know. This is our child so no matter how this turns out we have to think of her first. Keeping her happy and safe….being good parents. All the rest just…doesn’t seem as important. Whatever else Max is….he’ll be a good dad. He’ll do his best for her,” Liz answered the best she could.

“So you trust him?” Maria asked simply to hear her response. As the minutes ticked by Maria just waited.

Liz stayed silent for a long moment. Did she? With some things she did. “Ummm yes. He’ll do whatever he can for her. If I didn’t know that I wouldn’t be here I wouldn’t have called him. I would have taken her and run. I never said he was a totally horrible person…I don’t think I did anyway,” Liz said hedging around the real question Maria was asking. When Maria didn’t say anything she sighed. “I don’t know. He’s trying really hard. I’m just taking it as it comes. Not making future plans. My relationship with Max is a separate thing from our child. We’ll learn to work it out to be the kind of parents we need to be. Any more than that I can’t say.”

“He’s trying really hard for YOU. Don’t get confused about that. He loves you and now you have a child…a family. I know you missed some of what happened at the end with Tess but how he reacted then is completely different from how he is now. Michael told me a little bit about Max’s first take on fatherhood. It wasn’t a joyful one. He didn’t think about Tess’s feelings much either. He was in it because he had a responsibility. It wasn’t until he connected with his son that anything changed and who knows what that really was now…lies on Tess’s part would be my guess,” Maria said derisively. She knew it was now going to be almost impossible for Liz to break away from Max even if she did want to. “You know I’ve got your back on this no matter what you do. You deserve a life too Liz. I know you….this is going to be hard for you. You’re soft hearted and this will change things,” Maria said gently. She was afraid for Liz in a lot of ways. She would keep a close eye on Max from now on. She wasn’t about to let the alien abyss swallow her other best friend an suck the life out of her…not if she could prevent it.

“Yes, it does change things. But things are too messed up and confused for me to decide anything right now. Things were changing anyway…even before this. I didn’t really tell you about the last few days. I found out that Max and I have some sort of bond….I don’t really know much about it yet but I think its permanent. Now we have another one in the form of a child. So this changes a lot. I know that. I still care about him….I can’t help it but I don’t completely trust him. He said all the right things before. I believed what he said the last time. This time I’m going to be smarter and see what he does. See if he means what he says and I can trust him. It’s easy to get confused but I can’t afford to make anymore mistakes because it’s not just me I have to look out for now. She’s more important then me…or Max. So I’m going to do what I think is best for her and what I can live with. Love wasn’t enough before and now I don’t even know if I love him enough to try again. I don’t believe in love like I used to. Not that kind of love,” Liz said looking at her hands feeling sad and so tired.

“What do you mean that kind of love?” Maria asked.

“The love you feel for a child is strong and forever. You may get mad and even disappointed in them but you always love them. I can’t imagine that changing or dying. Romantic love isn’t the same. He loved me before. That didn’t stop any of what happened. I loved him before too and that changed nothing. That kind of love can change and sometimes I think it can die. Just like people. Details matter in a relationship. Lies and betrayals don’t just go away because you love someone. It doesn’t work that way,” Liz said looking over at Maria. “I want to be able to count on him. I need to know he won’t leave for the next best thing. That I can trust him and believe in what he says. I’m prepared to go this alone if it doesn’t work out. Max and I don’t have to be a couple to raise our children…we just have to be loving parents and keep our children in mind when we make life choices. This time when I decide, it’s going to be because it’s the right thing. I’ll feel it.”

“Children?” Maria asked latching onto that word choice.

“Long confusing story…Max’s son remember? We don’t know what’s up with that whole story. There was an imprint of a second pod,” Liz muttered feeling depression trying to sap her strength. “All I do know is Max and I are a team when it comes to raising our child or children. He’s their father and he’ll love them.”

“Oh yeah….I think you better gear up for twins. Why would Tess come back for your daughter if she had a son of her own? She doesn’t seem like she really wants to have a baby anyway...she just wants to fulfill the conditions of the deal. Tess in labor? I can’t see it,” Maria said thoughtfully.

“I don’t know. She seems pretty bent on destroying me. We’ll see I guess. When we find him,” Liz said determination lacing her tone. She would find him. Anything else just wasn’t an option.

“So we better start thinking of names huh?” Maria said satisfied that Liz was coping as well as could be expected.

Liz smiled and nodded.

posted on 27-Dec-2002 12:09:02 AM
Chapter Twenty Eight

By the time Max and Michael got back and wrestled everything up the ladder and onto Liz’s balcony it was getting late. Max called up to Maria and Liz tempting them down out of the attic with food. Maria came first and went right to Michael who enfolded her in his arms giving her the reassurance she needed.

Max watched Liz slip out of the attic and onto the shelf pausing to get her bearings before attempting the drop to the chair. The chair rocked precariously as Liz started to put her weight on it leaving her dangling from the attic hatch by her grip on the edge. Max moved to grab her hips holding her steady. He tried to ignore the reaction of his body to her bare midriff and the warm scent that was hers alone.

Liz let go knowing Max wouldn’t let her fall. “Thanks,” Liz said a little breathlessly as Max lowered her onto her feet. Feeling a little warm she moved away from him and nervously tucked her hair behind her ear avoiding his gaze.

Isabel’s sharp eyes watched Liz’s telltale nervous gesture with interest. She shifted her attention to her brother and smiled at his absorbed expression. Max wouldn’t notice if everyone else disappeared in a puff of smoke. Isabel wondered how fast on her feet Liz was. If she had to guess Isabel would say she didn’t realize that she had Max whipped without any effort at all. She seemed too wrapped up in her own reaction. Sad really…Liz had no idea what to do with that power. In Isabel’s opinion every female should be not only aware of it but also skilled in the use of it. Men needed to be brought to their knees on occasion…keeps them from getting too cocky.

Max reached over and picked up the take out bag presenting it to Liz like an offering. “Here…I um got you Chinese. I hope that’s okay…I forgot to ask you what you wanted.”

Liz took the bag careful not to touch him. “Thanks..I always love Chinese,” Liz said softly and tried to get past her stupid nerves. Needing to put a little more distance between them she moved toward the balcony. “Let’s eat outside so we can all talk with out my parents hearing anything.”

Max watched her climb outside and reminded himself to give her space. With a deep breath he followed her out. Isabel trailed behind them shaking her head. They were both just clueless.

Once everyone got settled Max started. “Tomorrow I would like to go back out to the pod chamber and have a look around. Liz said the chamber was intact so I want to see what else is there. See what kind of condition the Granilith is in and if it’s even there at all. I think we need to take a look at everything we thought we knew with a critical eye. I agree with Michael and Liz about translating the destiny book again. We need some answers and the quicker we get them the better.”

“What about the pod? Are we keeping it where it is?” Isabel asked. She didn’t see a problem with Max’s plan so far.

“Yeah…I think it’s safest here. No one will trip over it by accident and someone is always home here so I don’t see why we would need to move it. Liz can watch over it better here,” Max said knowing Liz wanted it here where she could check on it anytime she wanted to.

Liz stayed silent but sent him a small smile grateful she didn’t have to fight to keep the pod here.

“Kyle can you bring your dad up to speed? I’ll call him tomorrow but he may need a little time to get caught up. We need that information from Agent Duff as soon as possible. I want to know what we’re dealing with,” Max explained his mind racing with all the things they needed to do.

“Yeah, I’ll talk to him as soon as I get home,” Kyle agreed.

“Max? I need to tell you about something else we’ve been looking into,” Liz said speaking up for the first time. “Kyle found a slip of paper with a name and address on it in Tess’s handwriting so I asked Valenti to see what he could find out about the guy. His names Cal Langley and he’s a movie producer who lives in LA. He worked in Roswell on a movie in 1959 around the same time Nesado was here and all those people were killed. The actress with the leading role in that movie died by a freak lightening strike that Kyle’s grandfather thought was alien related. I looked into this Langley guy and I think he’s an alien. Possibly the second shapeshifter. I can’t be sure but things don’t add up with him.”

“What doesn’t add up?” Michael asked from his place against the wall of the building. Maria stroked his thigh absently feeling his increased tension. She leaned back into his chest and relaxed a little as he wrapped one arm around her.

“Why would Tess have his last name and home address on a piece of paper she had hidden inside a book? Her focus was getting home not becoming a star. Plus his age is listed as 56 and he looks maybe 35. That’s not even considering him being here when Nesado was burning handprints into people and a suspicious death being tied to a movie he was working on. We need to look into him more,” Liz said firmly. She frowned as her phone started ringing. Setting down her food she went to answer it.

Max pondered the possibility of another shapeshifter. The first had been a real bust and he wasn’t all that eager to meet another. He scowled as he remembered that Nesado had actually kidnapped Liz. He set those thoughts aside as he heard Liz pick up the phone and greet Dane. Kyle brought him back onto the topic at hand.

“I’ll ask my dad about him too. I know that today he was going to talk to a local lady that had worked on the film so maybe he’ll have something more by now,” Kyle said hopefully.

“Okay. Michael I need you to keep an eye on things here. You’re here a lot anyway for work. You’ve got the most firepower so the more you’re here the better just in case someone starts poking around. I’m sure Liz will want to stick close to home for the next couple of days too. Isabel can you come with me to the pod chamber tomorrow? You know where Liz found the pod and can help me search for any other hidden surprises,” Max reasoned trying to keep his attention off of Liz and her phone call.

“Sure,” Isabel agreed.

“I’ll start bringing my books here to study. The more people around here the better,” Michael said focusing on guard duty. He knew Max wanted him to guard Liz and the pod while he was gone.

“Okay, I guess we’ll meet back here tomorrow night then and see where we’re at. Just a reminder to be very aware of your surroundings and be as careful as possible. In the journal Tess says she’ll be back so keep that in mind. We also want to look as normal as we can in case the FBI makes an appearance,” Max said looking from one face to another and watching them all nod in understanding.

Everyone left quickly after that exhausted from a long tiring day. Max stayed on the balcony and waited for Liz. He didn’t want to leave her alone tonight and hoped that she would be okay with him staying.

When Liz climbed back out onto the balcony she was surprised to see everyone had left but Max. “So what did I miss?” She asked as she picked her food back up and started eating.

“Umm Isabel and I are going to the pod chamber tomorrow to check everything out. Michael will hang around here. Kyle is going to update his dad. I think that’s about it. Oh…we’re meeting here tomorrow night to see where we’re at,” Max answered watching her closely. He had to look away when he saw her small white teeth biting into her egg roll. He turned to look down onto the alley.

Liz eyed his pile of stuff and shook her head. “So…you’re staying here?”

“Umm yeah if you don’t mind. My parents aren’t expecting me,” Max answered.

“Sure…it’s fine,” Liz said understanding why he wanted to stay. She watched him go and settle into the other lawn chair. They remained quiet. Liz finished eating and packed up the leftovers…he had bought enough for an army. “Well…I better go put this stuff away and take a shower.”

“Okay…I have something I need to read anyway,” Max replied glancing over at her. With a smile Liz gathered up all the food and went in. Max settled down and pulled out Tess’s journal.

Liz showered and got ready for bed trying to ignore the fact that Max was out on her balcony. She took her time feeling better as the grime and tension of the day were washed away. She dried her hair quickly and put lotion on her skin soothed by the simple tasks. Knowing the attic was going to stay warmer then her room she put on a pair of boxers and a tank top before padding over to the window on bare feet. “I’ll be in the attic if you need me for anything.”

Max turned to the window and sucked in his breath. He made no sound as he took her in. Standing in the window she was backlit and her curves showed through the thin material of her top. Pulling his eyes up he saw her hair was loose and looked slightly damp.

“Max? You’ll be okay out here?” Liz asked puzzled when he remained silent.

“Wha-what?” Max asked confused.

“I’m going up into the attic…you’ll be okay out here right?” Liz repeated glancing down and seeing the journal. She wrinkled her nose realizing why he was so slow to answer. It always took her a little time to come to her senses after reading those vile passages.

“Yeah! Let me hold the chair…you shouldn’t climb on the desk chair. You need one with four sturdy legs,” Max said coming to his senses. “I’ll get a different chair tomorrow. I also brought you my lantern…it’s battery operated so it’ll be safe to use up there,” Max continued to fill the silence as he got the stuff he had brought for her. “I also picked up a small cooler and some juice and Dr. Pepper, snacks, a extra flashlight too.”

Liz watched him with some surprise as he gathered up more stuff then one person could need and juggle it as he made his way to the window still talking.

“I stopped by Michael’s and got the healing stones to see if they did anything around the pod,” Max said as he reached the widow.

“Do you need some help? That’s…um a lot of stuff,” Liz said leaning out the widow to take some of it from him. There was even an extra light blanket and good lord was that…yes it was a small step stool.

Max tried not to look at her at all as she took some of the stuff from the top of the pile. He almost fell coming in the window as he caught her freshly showered scent. He held his breath and moved toward the closet feeling himself start to sweat. He reprimanded himself sternly for being such a jerk. Here she was being nice and he was a complete pervert. He set his stuff down and took hers so she could climb up on the chair. When he turned back and grabbed a hold the chair he suppressed a groan as Liz got on the chair and easily pulled herself up to sit on the shelf her legs swinging back and forth gently. Wiping his forehead quickly he moved to hand her the lantern first.

Liz reached for the lantern and smiled trying to ease Max’s mind. He looked strained and worried. She realized that he must be just as worried as she was and felt bad for not seeing that sooner. “Max? You can come up and see her whenever you want to. I know you probably want to see her as much as I do,” Liz offered as she passed the things he was handing her up into the attic. “She’s yours too and I would never say you can’t see her.”

“Umm thanks,” Max said briefly feeling guilty. He was the biggest looser ever. What a horrible father he was gonna be. He tried to hurry but stopped as he realized that he should probably deal with the cooler. It was kind of heavy. “Go on up. I’ll bring the cooler it’s heavy.”

Liz nodded and crawled up into the attic. Max took a few deep breaths then lifted the cooler onto the top shelf. He went and grabbed the camera and extra film then got up on the chair. A little flustered he had a difficult time wrestling the cooler up through the small space and cheated by using his powers to help. Wiggling up into the attic had him scrapping his back on the door to the hatch. Cursing under his breath he finally cleared the opening to find Liz waiting for him.

“Hurts?” Liz asked having witnessed his accident.

“It’ll be fine,” Max said reaching down to grab the camera.

“Let me see…I think you broke the skin,” Liz said having done the same on several occasions. Since the “door” to the attic was basically just a painted board fitted over the small opening she knew it was likely he had splinters. She moved closer and lifted the back of his shirt. Looking at the long angry scrapes she saw he was bleeding and she could feel little pieces of wood sticking in the material of his shirt. “Max….you’re bleeding.”

As soon as Liz had lifted his shirt Max froze in place. Looking over his shoulder he saw her examining the scrapes as she ran her fingers over his skin.

“Can you heal this?” Liz asked and looked up. She froze as she read the look on his face.

“Umm’s fine,” Max said sure he was sweating like a pig. His hands clenched into fists as she started chewing her lower lip a sure sign she was becoming very nervous.

“Tell me if you can’t heal it because you have some splinters,” Liz said trying to ignore the sudden change in mood.

“I’ll be okay. No problem,” Max said both relieved and disappointed when she nodded and dropped his shirt.

Liz turned and moved over to the sleeping bag wishing she could look at Max like she would have Alex. This was very inconvenient.

After a silent string of curses Max lugged the small cooler closer to where Liz was sitting. He helped her arrange everything then brought over the Polaroid camera.

“What’s that for?” Liz asked watching him.

“I thought you might like a picture…you know like a first baby picture. Since we can’t have one of those sonogram pictures this will have to work,” Max answered hoping she would be happy.

Liz sucked in her breath at his thoughtful and utterly unexpected surprise. “Hell” She muttered softly as her insides melted and tears filled her eyes.

Max’s brow furrowed as he saw the tears filling her eyes. “I’m sorry…I thought you would be happy. Stupid, I know this whole pod thing is a nightmare but…”

“No! I am happy. Thank you Max. I want more than one picture,” Liz said and smiled.

Max smiled back and nodded. “That’s why I stopped at the store and got more film,” He said pleased. He loved making her smile and this one was even more special because it was the first time in what seemed like forever that he had made her happy.

Liz watched as he used his powers to light up the area enough for the picture then carefully moved around until he was satisfied before snapping the picture.

“Okay…move in close to her,” Max said from behind the camera. When she was close enough he snapped the picture. He took a bunch of pictures some close enough to see the whole pod some showing only the child inside. He got Liz in several and one with her fingers tracing over their daughter.

“Okay enough…now we switch,” Liz said gesturing for the camera.

“It’s okay,” Max said shaking his head.

“She’ll want to see a father daughter picture Max. Don’t argue with me..just do it,” Liz said moving to take the camera.

Max shut up and handed over the camera. His smile was just as bright as hers had been as she snapped his picture.

Finally out of film Liz sat on the sleeping bag and watched them develop trying to hurry them along by waving them in the air. “I’ll keep them with my journal so no one will find them. Thank you Max. This was so nice and means a lot to me,” Liz said softly.

Max smiled amused by her flapping arms and happy expression. “You’re welcome.”

Liz looked up and saw his smile and realized she was flapping around like a chicken trying to fly. She rolled her eyes at her own stupidity and dropped her arms to her sides. She turned onto her stomach so she was closer to the light as she looked at the pictures. “Ohh..this one’s good.”

Max watched her bend her knees and her feet bob in the air as if keeping the beat to a song only Liz could hear. He smiled and moved closer to see which picture she was talking about.

Liz glanced over her shoulder and smiled. “Your eyes are closed,” She teased.

“Let me see that,” Max said lying down next to her and swiping his hand over the picture fixing it.

“That is sooo cheating,” Liz complained staring at the now perfect picture.

“Yep. If your nice I’ll fix the ones where you do that,” Max said smiling.

Liz turned her head and looked into his eyes and smiled back. “Deal.”

posted on 28-Dec-2002 8:00:02 AM
Chapter Twenty Nine

“So…What do you want to name her?” Liz asked softly studying his face. She had started out really trying to get along with him knowing that they needed to come to a certain level of ease with each other. Somewhere along the way she had stopped having to try...they just naturally slipped into an understanding.

“Umm I don’t know. What are you thinking?” Max asked smiling slightly as he looked into her eyes. They were lying side by side with the pictures spread out in front of them. Max was happy to see Liz seemed to be able to relax after everything that had happened that day.

“I don’t know. Maria said she would bring by a book so we could start looking,” Liz answered then turned to look at the pod thoughtfully. “You know…I should really hit the library. I don’t know anything about how developed babies are at this point. We might get some idea of things if we can tell how fast she’s growing.”

Max smiled as she slipped into her science major persona. He always enjoyed watching how her mind worked.

“Does this look like your pod did?” Liz asked turning her eyes back to Max.

Max turned to look at the pod comparing it to what he remembered of his own pod. “No not really. Ours were more of an amber color from what I remember and almost totally transparent. More like a protective bubble encasing us. I think the color came from the fluid inside and not the exterior of the pod. This is more…like a plant or something.”

“Yeah that was my thought. See look at the top….those look like little sprouts growing out of it,” Liz said scooting over to the pod and pointing out what she was talking about.

Max moved closer to get a better look and saw the tiny off shoots that she was talking about. He studied the rest of the pod carefully. It was pretty much egg shaped wider at the bottom then the top. The bottom was tougher looking and had fibers on the surface almost like a coconut shell but greenish brown. That went up about a third of the way then the pod turned transparent with veins of the rougher material running up in spots like support beams. The top of the pod was a dark green with the sprouts the Liz had noticed. “What makes it glow like it is do you think?”

“I don’t know. It seems to be the fluid inside that glows,” Liz said softly. Tomorrow she was going to get a magnifying glass and take a closer look. How was the baby getting any nutrients? She could see a cord that resembled an umbilical cord running from the baby’s stomach to the top of the pod but was still unclear on how this worked.

Max turned to look at Liz and seeing the frown marring her face he wanted to lighten the mood. “So we could name her Ripley.”

Liz narrowed her eyes and pinned him in place. “Not funny Max. I’ll kick your ass before that happens,” Liz said and gave him a shove when he laughed.

“Hey I’m injured here…gentle handling required,” Max protested still grinning.

“Oh I’ll be gentle,” Liz said her eyebrow rising. “I won’t even leave a bruise.”

“Well maybe a few bruises would be okay,” Max amended studying her face.

“I bet. Sorry to disappoint but I’ll just zap you. You are NOT inflicting a crappy name on my child. I won’t allow it,” Liz said firmly.

“Okay…Ripley is off the table,” Max agreed.

“It was never on the table. When you have a serious choice let me know,” Liz replied and settled back down on the sleeping bag smirking slightly.

Max just smiled and lay down not at all disturbed by her comments. “Hmmm I’ll think about it.”

“We need to decide because we can’t keep saying “the pod” or “she”,” Liz sighed and lay down feeling tired all the sudden. She turned her head to look at Max and realized that he was a lot closer then she had thought. Her eyes locked with his and her breath caught. How could she be so aware of him? This wasn’t in the plan either.

Max watched her eyes darken and felt his heartbeat accelerate. He stayed still not wanting to scare her. He was just getting to the point where she was willing to be around him and he wasn’t willing to risk that by pushing her.

Liz studied him slowly not saying anything. Something about the way he was looking at her brought back those memories that had seemed like dreams. Heat pooled inside her and her breathing increased and suddenly she was more scared then tired.

Max saw the change and sat up reaching for the cooler. “Feel like a Pepper?”

“Umm yeah…thanks,” Liz answered slowly. She didn’t move as her confusion increased. She was starting to see difficult didn’t really cover this situation.

“Here,” Max said holding out a can of pop.

Liz sat up and took it popping the top and studied it like it was a scientific wonder.

Max sighed and rubbed the back of his neck as he studied her bent head. “ don’t have to be scared of me. I won’t do anything…I swear,” Max said softly.

Liz glanced up and met his eyes. “I’m not scared of you.”

Max’s brow wrinkled slightly but he stayed silent deciding not to question her. At this point he figured it was smarter to just let it ride. He decided to ask about something else. “Liz..can I ask you a question?”

“Um sure,” Liz said wondering what he wanted to ask. He seemed almost hesitant.

“What you said at prom…about us..did you mean it?” Max asked watching her face.

Liz was surprised but willing to answer. “Umm yeah..prom. That was so…awful. Yeah, I think I did. I just…I had this dream you know? Of what prom would be. I thought we would be able to move forward. That’s when I was having those..dreams…yeah well not really dreams I guess. It sort of gave me hope that we could start over. Then it was just so awkward and uncomfortable. Like we didn’t even know how to talk to each other anymore. Tess was like this constant presence between us the whole night. I couldn’t feel you anymore. When you looked at me I didn’t see that….connection anymore. That’s when I really understood that it hadn’t been there in a long time. That maybe we were both just hurting each other for no reason. I wanted to at least stay friends and I didn’t think that would happen if we were too uncomfortable to even be around each other. I felt guilty even going out with someone else and you were exploring your last life but seemed afraid to even mention it to me. It wasn’t working,” Liz explained. “You seemed to agree with me. You knew we were moving in different directions just like I did.”

“I’ve been thinking about that night a lot. You looked so beautiful. I think that was it…that night could have changed things. If I hadn’t frozen like I did on that dance floor. I wanted to stop you…to say something,” Max said looking at his hands.

“Max…there’s no point to this. It’s the past. You wanted to find out all you could about yourself and your past. We both made choices and we can’t change them now so there’s no point in rehashing all this,” Liz said calmly.

“I still loved you. I never stopped,” Max said softly.

“Max…your priorities changed. That’s why you froze. You didn’t want to give up your search. It’s that simple really,” Liz said then took a drink of her pop.

“It’s not that simple,” Max denied.

“Yes it is. What do you think the logical conclusion of your search was? To go home. Remember who you were and find all the answers to your questions and then leave. You weren’t talking about making your own destiny or how this life was the important one…not anymore. I don’t have any place in your last life. I belong here…on Earth and you weren’t satisfied with that anymore. I don’t blame you…your past life is a part of you and only you can decide what’s important to you. Tess was attractive to you for a reason and I don’t think you really looked at that reason,” Liz said her finger playing with the tab on the top of her pop can. “Look Max…I can do this. If you decide to leave I can handle this. I don't want to tie you down and force you to give up on your search for whatever. Neither of us planned this so…don’t think you have to settle.”

“What? No! You’re not…that’s not what’s happening here. I want to be here. I want to be with you. The more I learn about my last life the less I like what I see. I want to be Max Evans…Zan is dead. This is the life I want and I won’t forget that again. I’m not a king and I’m only part alien. I’m Max Evans and my home is here,” Max said horrified by her assessment. How could she think being with her was settling? It was what he had always wanted.

“You can’t pretend that that part of you doesn’t exist. The alien part. It’s there and it’s a part of who you are. You just never really got that. It’s not a one or the other kind of choice. You’re both and you can’t hide from that. That’s why you end up in some of the situations that you do. When Tess first got here….you were drawn to her. You lied to me and yourself back then. You were scared of how she made you feel so you denied it. I wanted to believe that she meant nothing but I knew then that you needed to sort out your past and decide what it meant for you now…that’s why I left for the summer. I thought that if I weren’t there you would have to look at that part of you and come to terms with it. I was your shield…your normal human girlfriend. I thought that with me gone you could stop pretending and figure out what that pull meant..settle any feelings you had for Tess,” Liz said watching his face.

“No, I loved you…she played games with my head. That’s all that pull was,” Max said swiftly.

Liz shook her head. “No. That’s not all it was. I don’t believe that. Future you remembered a shirt Tess wore… it for 14 years. That had nothing to do with her and everything to do with you. She may have played games…I believe that she did..but there was something on your end too. Otherwise we wouldn’t be where we are now. I’m done playing games and hiding from the truth. I can’t ever trust you when you can’t even be honest with yourself Max. I won’t make the same mistakes again,” Liz said firmly.

“You can’t really think that I still want Tess,” Max exclaimed in shock.

“No, I don’t think that. I think you don’t know what you want or who you want to be. You’re so wrapped up in picking one side over the other instead of accepting yourself as a whole person. Are the two sides of you really that different? They’ve always been a part of you…even before you knew anything about your past. You were always the one Isabel and Michael looked to lead them even before you knew you were a king. You were always controlling and looked out for everyone. I don’t see what’s so different,” Liz said. She wasn’t about to accept an alien side as some kind of excuse. All three of them seemed to use that alien side as a valid reason for their behavior. Michael used it to push Maria away and to not place any importance on things that he didn’t want to deal with …like school. Isabel used it to freeze everyone out and play the field while not investing anything of herself. They were all so afraid that they never really looked at things clearly..hiding from the people that knew them never really seeing that everyone was really afraid to let someone in just like they were. They were all so damn focused on their differences that they never saw the similarities. “You’re the only one in your body Max so it’s you that has control over what you do. I have traits about myself that I don’t like and I work to control those parts of me just like you do. You’re the one to give parts of you free reign.”

Max rubbed his hand over his face and thought about what she said. “I said I was attracted to Tess. I admitted that. It was…stupid. She was like me so I thought she would understand things about me. She was easy to be with and just seemed to accept everything about me like that’s how is was supposed to be. She was always THERE you know? Like I was the most important thing in her life. I fucked up. I never loved her and I knew that but I thought I had lost you and it was easy to just slip into the role that was laid out for me. I’m sorry…I can never truly even explain how sorry I am. I hate that I screwed up so bad. I know she played a role and I didn’t look beneath the surface or wonder what her motive was. It was selfish of me and just wrong,” Max said and looked Liz in the eyes. “I’m a better person because you don’t just let me slide on things. I love your strength and independence. I’ve seen beneath the surface with you and I know your caring nature isn’t just a farce. I’ve seen you risk yourself for others without a thought as to what would happen to you. I love you Liz. I’m right where I want to be and I’m not leaving. Not even if takes the rest of my life to prove that I do know what I want. I’m going to show you the person that I am….that I have learned from my mistakes and I won’t make the same ones again either.”

“We’ll see I guess,” Liz said with a half smile.

Max nodded firmly. “Damn right we will.”

“You know that this still doesn’t mean that this…you and me will work out. We’ll always be in each other’s life…I know that. We have a child and I would never cut you out of her life. I know you’ll be a great dad and she’ll love you and need you in her life. That doesn’t mean we have to be together,” Liz warned not wanted to imply otherwise.

“I know you wouldn’t do that. I also have faith that things will sort themselves out. It’ll just take time and effort. I believe there’s a reason we met and a reason that I loved you since forever and a reason you loved me back. I’m going to work hard to be better and learn from what’s happened. I know I still love you and I think that there’s still a chance for us. All I want is a chance. I’ll make the best use of that chance that I can,” Max said issuing a warning of his own.

Liz got the warning and smiled. “Noted.”

posted on 30-Dec-2002 4:40:42 AM
Chapter Thirty


Max watched Liz sleep and thought about all the changes in their lives. He was constantly amazed by her ability to keep going and roll with punches directed at her. Nine times out of ten she handled those hits better then he ever did. Looking at her now she looked peaceful and totally boneless as she slept.

His mind turned to their conversation and he carefully went over what was said. Liz had a lot of valid points. He really had lied to himself a lot over the last year. If it hadn’t fit with his idea of he wanted he ignored it or claimed it to be a lie. All those lies had snuck up on him and overwhelmed him until even he didn’t know the truth anymore. He was tired of making decisions from fear. Hiding wasn’t always the answer.

Liz shifted in her sleep and flung her arm out her fingers curling into the sleeping bag underneath her. Max smiled slightly and moved her half-finished pop out of the danger zone.

There were some things Max knew for certain. He knew that his group of friends meant a lot to him and he needed to stay aware of that. Their different viewpoints and strengths were invaluable. He also knew that he had no desire to go back to a planet that he didn’t even remember clearly. His home was here. This was the place he belonged, here with these people. He wasn’t going to allow himself to forget that again.

Max knew he hadn’t even started living until that day in the CrashDown. The shooting had forced him to get past his fear and act. It was the single smartest thing he had ever done. That one event had changed all their lives forever. He didn’t think Liz really realized what she had given him and his family. Instead of watching everyone else live their lives and staying hidden in the shadows they had all in their way started taking steps out into life. They had friends now and purpose. A purpose that was more then hiding and waiting for answers. The happiest times in his life all included Liz. So did some of the worst times, which made them bearable. The trouble had started when he allowed his fear to take over and stopped thinking of what was best for Liz and for “them”….for Liz and himself. Slowly but surely the rest of the group had dropped from his thoughts until it was only himself that he considered. Liz always made him see past his fear. She reminded him of the others and pointed out their feelings when he wasn’t seeing things clearly.

Max looked over to her sleeping form and felt his heart swell with love for her. Turning to the pod he watched as their daughter seemed to move in her sleep mirroring her mothers small movements.

Liz woke slowly the next day the heat of the attic seeping into her and making her feel lazy. She opened her eyes slowly and blinked when her eyes met bare skin. Moving slowly she sat up not wanting to call attention to herself. She sighed with relief as she saw that Max was still sleeping. Good lord when had he taken off his shirt?

Looking away from Max she checked over the pod. Not seeing anything to cause her alarm she relaxed. Taking the opportunity that had presented itself she studied Max trying to figure out what it was about him that flustered her so badly. How was it possible when she was so…set on not being with him? He wasn’t that great. Cute but Dane was much hotter. She didn’t understand it at all. She should be repulsed after all the things he had done. Apparently body and mind were not one on this issue. Whatever it was she wasn’t happy about it. It gave him an advantage and that was one thing she couldn’t afford right now. She was at enough of a disadvantage in the rest of her life without handing over more control of her life. Deciding to ignore the completely unwanted feeling she blew a strand of hair out of her face and focused on starting the day.

Liz sighed and slowly made her way to the hatch. Best to beat a retreat while she could. Swinging down into her room she shoved her sweaty hair back and picked out her cloths before moving to the shower. As she went about her routine she considered the best course of action. School was going to start back up soon so they really needed to get some answers before then. The two things that Liz saw as being the most important were the box and Langley.

Tess had left her the key for a reason. The reason had to be more then just her usual taunts or she wouldn’t have needed to put them in a safe deposit box at all. Liz knew the second she stepped in that bank it would start a count down. Agent Burns would doubtlessly be notified and make his move some time after that. Liz tried to puzzle out his connection to all this. There had to be a reason for him to wait.

The FBI hadn’t waited long at all to capture Max so there had to be a good reason to wait. The box and its contents were one reason. She didn’t want to contemplate the other reason…the pod. Maybe Tess had left the location of the pod in that box not counting on Liz remembering anything or being able to find it on her own. An alien baby would be a good reason to wait. Something told her that wasn’t it though. The missing second pod made her wonder. Tess wouldn’t have had time to take it with her if she left the planet in the Granilith. Max had said she was already inside when he left the chamber and it had blasted off right after that. If she had stayed here…well that didn’t seem right. If she were here she would have taken some form of action by now. She had to be majorly pissed off that her plans hadn’t worked out the way she had imagined. Chewing on her lower lip Liz turned to Langley.

Langley was, to Liz’s mind, the best possible source of information. The book was suspect to her. After all it was Tess who had “found” the stupid thing to begin with. There was nothing to prove that it wasn’t just as fake as she had been. Liz was convinced that Langley was the key. She really believed that he was a shapeshifter. The only way to know for sure was to go and see him. That meant a trip to LA and putting more distance then she was comfortable with between herself and the pod. Liz pondered her options..she could let Max go but she didn’t like that idea. He wouldn’t want to leave her and she didn’t think he was as interested in talking to Langley as she was. It would take an argument to get her way and in the end she wasn’t sure he would be the right choice anyway. Isabel could go. That was a possibility. She had tact when she wanted to and would be interested at the very least. Michael wasn’t a good choice for a couple of reasons. He had a few classes left to finish and wasn’t known for being patient and polite. None of these options really appealed to her though. She didn’t think Langley would give himself away…he had a lot more years of blending in behind him then the others did so it would take an up front approach to get anywhere with him.

Liz was brought out of her thoughts by Max’s descent into her room. Damn the man anyway! Shirts were made for a reason. With a frown Liz turned back to the mirror and focused on brushing out her damp hair.

Max yawned and rubbed his chest as he watched her brush her hair. Damn it was hot in that attic. Maybe he should get a fan…since the pod chamber was fairly hot during the day he wasn’t worried about the pod being harmed but it certainly wasn’t comfortable up there. “You aren’t staying up there all day are you?”

“Umm no. Dane’s coming tomorrow so I’ll be busy. Plus my parents might think something’s going on if I start hiding in here all the time,” Liz answered then frowned. “She’ll be okay up there don’t you think? Maybe I should stay here.”

“She’ll be fine I think. You can’t stay up there all the time,” Max said his tone even. “So…Dane’s coming here?”

“Yeah…that’s why he called last night. It’s just for the day so I didn’t see a big problem with it. It’ll keep up appearances…you should like that at least,” Liz said her eyes meeting his in the mirror.

“Oh yeah..definatly. I can’t wait to met him,” Max agreed.

“Max…don’t be an asshole okay? He’s nice…a friend of mine and Isabel’s so just…be civil please,” Liz said seeing his eyes flash briefly.

“I don’t believe in confrontations remember?” Max asked his arms crossing over his chest.

“Yeah..right. I can tell,” Liz said reading his body language and rolling her eyes. “If you kept an open mind you’d really like him.”

“My mind is open. I don’t have a problem with him being here,” Max said thinking there was no way in hell he was going to like the guy. He still couldn’t stand Sean.

“Good then we’re in agreement. You better get ready to go and meet Isabel. I hope you have a change of cloths with you,” Liz remarked taking in his filthy pants.

“Yeah I do. Would you mind if I take a shower? I’ll be quick,” Max asked knowing he was in desperate need of one.

“Nope..go ahead,” Liz said and headed for the balcony.

Maria found Liz on her balcony scowling fiercely. “Nice face to start the day with. What’s up?”

“Max is in my shower,” Liz answered and used a hand to shade her eyes as she looked up at Maria.

“Uh huh,” Maria answered nodding.

“He can’t stay here. He has to go home,” Liz said firmly.

“I see. Causing problems is he?” Maria asked sitting in the other lawn chair.

“Yes! He’s here. That’s the problem. I know he’s worried but…I need space. He’s in my shower! He’s sleeping here with no shirt on…this isn’t right. We are not a couple and this is stuff couple type people do,” Liz exclaimed.

Maria saw the problem and smiled. “So…no shirt huh?”

“This isn’t funny Maria. This is confusing. I don’t want to be confused. It should be clear,” Liz said her scowl back in place.

“Yeah see this is where I remind you that emotions aren’t always clear. This isn’t a math problem,” Maria said eyeing her in amusement.

“He’s not even that good,” Liz grumbled under her breath.

Maria’s mouth dropped open in shock before she started laughing. “What was that?”

“Nothing. It was nothing,” Liz said shooting her a glance.

“Right. Okay so no problem then,” Maria said and waited as Liz squirmed in her seat. Maria smiled in amusement.

“Right,” Liz agreed in firm voice. A few minutes past. “He’s still got to go. He can visit but he can’t stay here. Not all the time. Crap.”

“I told you that you were in big trouble,” Maria said watching her. One night and Liz was already freaking out. Not good.

“I can handle this. I just have to focus on reality and not on the illusion,” Liz said more to herself then Maria.

“So getting back to the he’s not even that good comment…” Maria said with a smile.

Max came out of the bathroom and hearing voices from the balcony he headed to the window shirt in hand. Poking his head out he saw Maria sitting with Liz their heads close together as they talked. He smiled as he watched Liz’s hands gesture in the air as she talked her face animated and her eyes dancing. “Hey Maria.”

Maria glanced over and her eyes widened and a slow smile spread over her face. “Hey Max,” She said in a sing song voice filled with repressed laughter. Turning to Liz she nodded. “Wow. I see the problem.”

“Hmmm..” was Liz’s only response.

“So Max…tonight’s a girl’s night K? And I would really appreciate no nocturnal visits and any intruders in our bed will be castrated. Just so you know,” Maria said with a cheeky grin.

“Ahhh yeah. No worries,” Max said his ears turning red. “So what are you two up to today?”

“Oh Liz and I are going to dish,” Maria said raising her eyebrow at Liz.

Liz just rolled her eyes and turned to Max. “Nothing interesting. Maria brought some name books and I want to hit the library like I told you. No big deal. Aren’t you running late to meet Isabel?”

“Yeah a little but she knows where I am. You’ll have your cell phone right? Just in case?” Max asked as he pulled his shirt on.

“Yes Max,” Liz said sharing a glance with Maria. She was saved from further comment as Kyle poked his head over the side of her balcony. “Kyle! Hi…What are you doing here?”

“I brought you some books to help with the name ideas,” Kyle said as he climbed over the railing then handed Liz a stack of magazines.

Liz looked at the stack of porn magazines in her hands then up into Kyle’s eyes that were dancing in glee. “These will help me how?”

“Those girls have interesting names…very creative. The post it notes are some of my personal favorites,” Kyle said grinning at the look on Liz’s face. He relished the shocked outrage on her face.

Liz narrowed her eyes briefly then smiled sweetly and started flipping through the first magazine. “Hmmm nice. Kyle you buy good porn. Maria look at this,” Liz said and held up a post it noted page for Maria to see.

“Nice….Hmm let me see one,” Maria said holding out her hand. She took the magazine Liz handed her and started flipping through it.

Max scrambled out the window and moved closer not sure what to say about this development. “Kyle what were you thinking?”

“Liz?” Nancy Parker called from inside the house.

“Out here Mom!” Liz called back not looking up.

Kyle and Max paled and Max high tailed it to the ladder ready to make his escape. Nancy poked her head out the window and eyed the group. “Liz I didn’t know your friends were over. What are you guys doing today?”

“Oh Kyle was just sharing some of his educational books with us. Or would you call these a religious experience?” Liz asked Kyle sweetly.

“Defiantly as close to heaven as Kyle’s likely to get,” Maria remarked grinning.

“Ah..well…I..” Kyle stammered frozen in horror.

“You’re not seriously thinking of converting are you?” Nancy worried knowing Kyle was a Buddhist.

“Right now I’m thinking about it,” Liz replied briefly causing Maria to chuckle. “So what’s up Mom?”

“I have to run to Artesia for your dad. The fryer’s on the fritz again and they have a part waiting for me on hold. If you go out just leave me a note and take your phone with you okay?” Nancy reminded her knowing she didn’t really need to but it was habit.

“Sure Mom,” Liz said smiling at her mom.

“Okay. Bye kids,” Nancy said and ducked back inside.

Liz raised her eyebrow at Kyle. “Fawn? Her name is Fawn Kyle. You have problems. This is laughable,” Liz said waving the magazine at him. “This…” Liz remarked pointing. “Doesn’t look like fun to me. What do you think Maria?”

Maria looked over to the picture Liz was holding up. “Nope I have to agree. Max? What are your thoughts?”

“Um I don’t have any thoughts. I have to go,” Max said and fled his feet barely hitting the rungs on the way down.

“Bye Max!” Liz yelled her eyes dancing as she looked at Maria.

“You two are evil. That’s all I’m saying,” Kyle said as he started breathing again.

“You’re the dumb ass that brought these over,” Maria pointed out.

“So Kyle…which do you prefer? Real or fake?” Liz asked with an inquiring look.

posted on 30-Dec-2002 4:42:37 AM
Chapter Thirty One


Liz and Maria left Kyle on the balcony and Michael downstairs to protect the pod while they went and did their running around. They hit the library, the hardware store, and the convenience store. After they got back Liz crawled up into the attic and took the magnifying glass and a fan with her. She positioned the fan to circulate the air around the pod then started studying the pod with the magnifying glass and taking notes on what she found. She wondered if there was a way to get into the science lab and borrow some equipment. On second thought she didn’t want to do anything to endanger the pod.

Finally Maria yelled up and made her take a break. Liz climbed down and pulled her hair up into a scrunchy. “Where’s Kyle?”

“Probably meditating over his porn. You were up there forever so he left. Put on your suit and we can lay out in the sun and dish,” Maria wheedled bored beyond belief. Liz got sucked into another world when she was studying something.

“Maria….” Liz started and watched Maria’s lip pooch out in a pout. “Okay fine. I’ll change and be right out.”

Maria broke into a smile and threw up her arms in victory. “Yes!”

Liz shook her head and went to change.

Liz crawled out onto the balcony to find that Maria had rearranged the entire balcony. A blanket was set in the middle and suntan oil beside it. A radio was playing and set within easy reach. Two tall glasses of ice tea garnished with slices of lemon and filled with ice were on the table. It was perfect. Liz pushed her sunglasses up into her hair and quirked an eyebrow at Maria. “Desperate much?”

“Shut up Lizzy and get over here. I’ve been bored all day while waiting for you to…” Maria started only to be cut off by Liz.

“Come out and play?” Liz asked smiling.

“Yes…exactly. Now let’s soak in some sun and dish,” Maria said smiling back her eyes dancing.

“So you’re going to tell me about Michael?” Liz asked her eyes sparkling. She knew Maria was angling to hear the scoop on Max.

“I’ll tell you about Michael if you tell me about Max….and Dane,” Maria bargained.

“Hey that’s two for one. I don’t think that’s a good deal,” Liz said wrinkling her nose.

“Okay…I’ll tell you anything you want to know,” Maria replied.

“Anything?” Liz asked thoughtfully.

“Yep. Anything. As long as you answer my questions,” Maria said knowing she had her. Long years of playing this game had them both knowing the rules.

“Deal,” Liz agreed as she stretched out. If anyone on the planet could understand it was Maria. She really had no one else who knew her as well and loved her as much as Maria did.

“Okay…let’s get right into it….Max. Dish,” Maria demanded.

“Umm well…I don’t know what to say,” Liz realized.

“You are obviously having some…issues. You’re still attracted to him. Start there,” Maria said shooting her a look.

“He’s cute and everything but I don’t think that’s it. There are two sides to this. On one side there’s all the things Max does that I love. Like the way his eyes light up when he looks at me sometimes. Or knowing that he’s the baby’s father. That…tingly feeling I get when he looks at me. You know? It makes it easy to forget the other side. Like when he kissed Tess at prom and totally forgot about me. He can really make you feel like you’re the center of his world but he forgot that just as easy. I don’t know what to do. I don’t understand how I can even consider him as anything more then a friend. In my head I know that and agree and the matter is settled but….then I look at him and all these messy feelings come to the surface and drowned out my brain.

That’s why he can’t stay here. I can’t allow myself to get confused. When he stays here and we start to get along its easy to slip into a pseudo relationship. You know….talking about the baby and being close. It just makes it harder to remember all the other stuff….the reality of the situation. I can’t let this get out of hand. I mean this is so fucked up. He totally would have left me and gone home. He seems to find it so easy to turn from one person to another in like the space of a few minutes. That’s reality,” Liz said looking over at Maria.

“That’s harsh,” Maria said not arguing..just stating a fact.

“Life’s harsh…my life anyway. I can’t let myself forget that,” Liz replied. “I’m not saying Max is…a total waste of natural resources and maybe some day he’ll make a good catch for someone.”

“Liz don’t get mad at me but I feel like I have to say this….Love isn’t logical and you can’t choose who you love. You love them even if they don’t deserve it. I really think you love him. I’m not arguing any of what you’ve said…I totally agree. I want you to be happy and I think you’re denying how deep your feelings actually are. I know he hurt you badly and he’s a complete shithead. I also know that he is getting the better end of this deal so far but just think about this. That’s all I’m saying,” Maria said and waited for Liz to blast her.

“I do love him. I’m not arguing that,” Liz said and smiled at Maria’s shocked expression. “That doesn’t change the facts. It’s not that I resent that Max is somehow suffering less then I am. It’s not that I don’t want him to be happy because I do. It’s that I want to be happy too some day. I want someone who is able to love me like I love him. I deserve that. I want a happy loving family with trust as a corner stone of that relationship. I don’t want to be looking at Max ten years from now and still be angry that he screwed some manipulative whore. I don’t want to not be able to trust him or wonder if he might change his mind two minutes from now and find a new manipulative whore. Because if he does he wouldn’t just be leaving me.

Let’s be honest here. We aren’t talking about dating or getting together to have sex and seeing if this works out. We’re talking about being a family. There’s someone else in this now who won’t understand if Daddy just takes off. She won’t understand if Max suddenly changes his mind,” Liz said carefully and reached for her tea.

“I thought you said Max would be a good father,” Maria said surprised.

“He will be. If he’s not I’ll kill him,” Liz said and took a drink. Seeing Maria’s face she rolled her eyes and continued. “Okay…now don’t get mad at me for this,” Liz waited for Maria’s nod before going any farther. “Before your dad left would you have said he was a good father?”

“Yes,” Maria agreed seeing where Liz was going.

“I would have too. So would anyone. He played games with us and took you out to the movies. He spent time with you. You were crazy about him until he just left. He didn’t call or visit…nothing. You were crushed and so hurt. I think it was worse because he seemed so perfect until then. That’s how Max is. You think he’s like this great guy and he loves you and says all the right things. He spends the time and gets to know you and then BAM. You see my point? It’s one thing for that to happen to me…I’m a reasonably grown person and I took my chances but it’s something else when it’s a child who can’t understand. Max is seventeen Maria not a thirty year old man ready to start a family and commit to it. He made mistakes and he’ll make more because he needs to grow and discover who he is. I have to give him the freedom to do that while protecting my child. So he can visit and be a great dad and go find the answers that he needs right from the start so it’s not a surprise. I can be the stable one the one to make sure she gets to bed on time and isn’t late for school,” Liz said watching Maria’s face to see if she understood.

“Liz…I see your point, I do, but you deserve a life too. This isn’t your fault. You weren’t irresponsible. Tess did this to you and Max. You’re letting him off too easy here and I don’t think he wants that anyway,” Maria replied.

“It doesn’t matter how she got here. She’s here and I’m her mother and I have to provide for her and keep her safe. Max can have whatever role is right for him in her life. Max wants a lot of things right now but let’s see if he has the staying power to really achieve them. This is already a messed up situation I’m just trying to minimize the damage as best I can. Maybe I’m a total bitch because I can’t forgive him I don’t know but he has to earn my trust this time. I’m just trying to be smart and do the best that I can. I don’t know if any of this is even right. I mean I’m seventeen and my baby is in a pod in the attic and a psycho alien is trying to kill me and my alien ex boyfriend is trying to convince me he’s changed. I’m getting powers and the FBI is coming for me. I have no clue if I’m even sane anymore…I just try not to think about it too much.

Sometimes I wish like hell I had just stayed away from Max after he healed me but….I look at my daughter and I love her so much. I wouldn’t change anything if it meant she wasn’t here. It’s been a day and already my focus is not the same. So hot body or not Max is going to have to prove that I can trust him.

The problem with that is….I have no idea what he could do to prove it. When does it end and I say okay I forgive you? When do I look in his eyes and not see him with Tess? See my life is her life now too. If I let someone in he’s in her life also. I have to set the boundaries. So I may love Max and think he’s hot but…I’m not sure of what kind of person he is. He’s made me wonder and shown me sides of himself that are extremely self centered. You can’t be a good full time parent and be that self-involved. He got put to the test under pressure and he cracked. Raising a child is huge….a lot of pressure everyday when you live with them..there’s no timeout. Add a relationship and that’s more pressure. Add doubts and resentments in that relationship and that’s a sure way to fail. So what Max wants can’t be my first thought,” Liz said trying to convince herself and settle things in her own mind.

Maria stayed quiet amazed at the thought Liz had already put into this. She wasn’t worried that Liz would be unfair to Max…that wasn’t in her nature. She was worried that Liz would be unfair to herself. “Liz…you know I’ll always help you right? I mean I like Max fine and all but you’re my family. I want to help as much as I can. Just ask me and it’s done. I can help you talk to your parents when the time comes. I’ll baby-sit and all that. You aren’t alone. I’ve also got a shovel and if you need help burying Max or Tess in the desert…I’m there,” Maria said shooting a smile at Liz.

Liz laughed out loud and turned over onto her back. “Thanks Ria. I’ll let you know.”

“Okay…so tell me about Dane,” Maria asked easing into the next topic of conversation.

“He’s totally gorgeous. Seems nice and intelligent. He’s the first guy in a long time that I felt that zing for you know? Besides Max I mean,” Liz said slipping her sunglasses off and closing her eyes.

“That’s a real development,” Maria said thoughtfully.

“Well it would be if I didn’t have my baby in a pod in the attic. God…that even sounds crazy,” Liz said shaking her head. “There’s nothing to be done about it now. It’s too late.”

“That’s not true,” Maria protested.

“Yes, it is. No one in their right mind would want to be involved in this situation. I can’t tell him anything ever so friends is exactly what we’ll be,” Liz said and reached for her tea.

Maria thought about that and realized she was right. Liz was stuck at least for now. “When this is settled and the baby is here there’s nothing to say you can’t have a relationship. People do it all the time and some of them have kids from prior relationships. By then you’ll know if Dane is worth trusting and if you feel more for him.”

“It’s fine really. It’s not like he’s the ONE. It was just nice to actually feel normal for a little while. Like there were possibilities out there for me. I already told him we would be just friends. I’m not ready for more then that,” Liz said softly.

Maria looked at Liz and wished like hell she had kept her mouth shut. Maria sniffed slightly and tried to push away her own sadness for Liz.

“Besides I still haven’t concurred that whole guilt thing. I can’t even kiss a guy without feeling guilty,” Liz said thoughtfully. “I wonder if that’s just me or part of that stupid bond.”

“We should test that,” Maria said sitting up and looking at Liz.

“Whoa! Wait a minute here. I can’t go around kissing random guys…that’s just crazy!” Liz said not liking the look in Maria’s eyes. That look had gotten them in a lot of trouble in the past.

“I never said random,” Maria said her mind racing.

“No. I refuse to do whatever you’re thinking,” Liz said firmly.

“You’re the scientist Liz. Don’t you want to know? I mean..maybe it is the bond. I think we need to know,” Maria said tapping her fingernail on the cement deep in thought. “We could set up an experiment.”

“No,” Liz said shaking her head.

“I’ll even offer up Michael. He’s a good kisser,” Maria added.

“Are you high? I am NOT kissing your boyfriend! That’s crazy!” Liz said her mouth dropping open in horror. “No more essential oils for you. You’re killing your brain cells.”

Maria waved her hand ignoring Liz’s statements. “I know the perfect thing. This is perfect!”

“No. No! NO! Maria stop. Whatever it is just stop thinking it right now,” Liz ordered getting the feeling it was already too late.

“Lighten up Liz this will be fun,” Maria said and lay back down with a smile ignoring Liz’s groan.

Max and Isabel drove back toward town hot, tired, and very dirty. They had a lot to share at the meeting that night but Max was still dwelling on Dane. “Izzy did you know Dane is coming into town tomorrow?”

“Yeah. He called and left me a message,” Isabel said and turned to face Max resting her leg on the seat. “Max..listen to me very carefully here. Do not fuck up tomorrow. No pouting or fighting. That will only screw things up.”

Max shot her a look. “Why are you assuming I would do that?”

“Because you’re going to get jealous. Dane is good looking, nice, smart, and funny. Most of all he likes Liz. You still have problems with Sean and everyone knew that wasn’t serious. Dane is different,” Isabel said seriously. Better he be prepared in advance.

“Different how?” Max asked.

“They have chemistry. You’ll see that tomorrow but don’t freak. Liz already told him that friends are all they will be. That she isn’t ready for anything else. She’s not stupid or a tramp so just chill. Be nice and control yourself. Show Liz that you’re growing up and can act like normal mature human being. Dane really is nice and Liz can have friends that aren’t part of our group. It’s nice to talk to a normal person not involved in this madness…keeps things in perspective,” Isabel said speaking for herself as well as Liz.

“Okay. I want her to be happy,” Max said and after a minute continued. “I’m going to hate him aren’t I?”

“Yeah, you will. He’ll hate you too I’m sure. He hasn’t messed up yet like you have though so keep that in mind. Liz will be watching you to see how you handle yourself,” Isabel warned.

“I know. I’m not going to cause problems. Liz doesn’t need anymore to deal with,” Max replied.

“That’s right she doesn’t, now just remember that tomorrow and you’ll be fine,” Isabel said relaxing.

posted on 30-Dec-2002 5:32:09 AM
Alrighty there's two days worth! I do post this on another board as some of you know...

Just in case the board goes down again there it is. It's under the Smut section.

Okay...well I finally got to read the feedback and wow. I love it. Hmmmm SciFiNut...prom...yeah I hated Max with a seething hatred in that episode. I don't see him as making excuses. I think he was weak and a teenage boy. Michael had issues along the same line although not as bad with Courtney. It happens. I think Tess played him and he fell for the adoring groupie thing she had going on. I'll post a feedback from the other board that pretty much covers how I see the prom conversation.
Max spent so much time hiding from others that he never realized that he was also hiding from himself, and I think he denied a lot of his true impulses and feelings, so rather than actively controlling them, they wound up controlling Max.

However, that being said, I didn't have SciFi's visceral reaction to Max. I think he's being more honest and open now, and like it or not, Max and Liz do have to discuss issues like the prom to really make their peace with one another before Podina hatches. The end of that update was a reworking of Max's "I'm coming for you" line, but at least he's put Liz on notice that he is going to take any advantage she gives him to rekindle their romance.

~~~~~~~~~Quote by Dingos 8 Their Baby

That is pretty on target for what I think. Now...hmmm...I do think Liz was seeking reassurance from Max at prom. Unfortunately he had none to give. He was just as lost...even more so I think....then she was and he did have feelings for Tess. They may have been left over ones from their "memories" but I do think he didn't know what to do. He didn't want to lie and I think he was torn between the two directions his life could take and he chose his search for answers and alien side. Liz really was seeing what was there so he couldn't offer her the reassuances she was looking for. The kiss well that was Max being a man whore. There is no excuse for that. As far as this fic goes...there still isn't anything that excuses him. Liz already mentioned that he didn't even call her to see if she got home after prom.

The mindwarping Tess did in this fic is all around those actions. Not a blanket warp that would excuse them. She never forced him to kiss her at prom or screw her later. Of course all the messing around she did do could be argued as a contributing factor but it no way says Max is not responsible. Remember Tess warped Liz too and I don't see her doing the things Max did. That's all him baby. People handle pressure and torture and mind games in different ways.

Anyway that's just my opinion. Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!*tongue*
posted on 1-Jan-2003 7:24:09 AM
Chapter Thirty Two

“You want me to do what?” Michael asked sure he had heard her wrong.

“You heard me. I need you to help me,” Maria said tapping her foot as she looked up at him.

“Yeah, I got that part. It’s the rest of it I’m sure I misunderstood,” Michael barked and ran his hand through his hair. Was this some bizarre test?

“I want you to use your powers to manipulate the game so Liz has to kiss each of you. I’ll take care of the rest,” Maria said. What was so hard about that?

“No. You’re trying to get me killed,” Michael said shaking his head as Maria moved closer.

“Please Michael?” Maria asked gradually working his shirt up.

“No,” Michael said shaking his head and trying to grab her hands.

“This is for a good cause,” Maria wheedled kissing his neck. “Please Michael?”

Michael groaned tried to remember what he was saying no to. “Maria…”

“Just say yes Michael. You know you want to,” Maria whispered by his ear. A few more minutes and he was hers.

“Where’s Maria and Michael?” Max asked Liz as he looked around.

“Umm I don’t know. Maria said she was going to get him but that was like twenty minutes ago,” Liz said looking up from her conversation with Kyle. As Max moved to head into the back Liz shook her head. “I wouldn’t if I were you.”

Max stopped and rethought out that idea. Instead he took a seat next to Liz. “Yeah, we’ll wait.”

“Good plan,” Liz agreed and turned back to Kyle. “So ask her out. You like her she doesn’t hate you…what’s the problem?”

“You’re so encouraging Liz. Really…you just say these things to pump my ego,” Kyle said sarcastically.

“All I meant was that if you don’t ask her you’ll never know if she would have said yes or not. How did you ever ask me?” Liz asked eyeing him seriously.

“I knew you wouldn’t laugh. That’s not your way,” Kyle stated simply.

“She won’t laugh. You’re attractive, funny, and despite today you do have a brain. What’s not to like? I never even had the urge to laugh at you when you asked me out. You were confident and nice. I liked you and I’m sure she does too. Next time you rent a movie just casually ask her to go out somewhere,” Liz said and took a drink of her pop.

“Who are you talking about?” Max asked curious.

“Lisa who works at the video store,” Liz said.

“Okay I’ll ask her,” Kyle said and nodded.

“Umm…you’ve never rented porn or anything there have you? That might sway her opinion,” Liz asked smiling.

“No of course not!” Kyle said offended.

“Then you’re all set,” Liz said getting up to refill her drink.

Max noticed Jim Valenti walk in and caught his eye. He wasn’t surprised when the former Sheriff motioned him over. “I’ll be back…in a few,” Max said to excuse himself and walked over to meet the older Valenti.

“Max…Kyle caught me up on what’s happening. You’re sure that the child is yours and Liz’s?” Jim asked watching Max steadily.

“Yes, I’m sure. I finished the journal Tess left today. It’s possible that my son is also Liz’s. If he even exists that is. Tess did a lot more damage then we ever imagined,” Max said feeling the weight of guilt grow heavier. “Tess’s whole plan revolves around Liz now. I’m supposed to be dead along with Michael and Isabel so all things she set in motion are aimed at Liz.”

“Max…I suggest you tell your parents everything very soon. The sooner the better before they find out some other way. You won’t be able to hide this. Liz will need her parents support soon,” Jim said his eyes searching Max’s. Seeing resistance he continued. “I’ll help you in every way that I can but you can’t hide one child much less two. There is no way to explain this but the truth. Liz deserves her family’s support. So do you for that matter. Your child or children deserve grandparents. Think about it alright?”

“I’ll think about it,” Max agreed.

“Now…How is Liz doing?” Jim asked glancing over to where Liz was sitting with Kyle.

“She’s…handling it,” Max said worry evident in his voice.

Jim turned his eyes back to Max and studied him for a long moment. “What are your plans for the future? Have you thought about it?"

“I don’t have any solid plans. Things are….a mess right now,” Max said not meeting Jim’s eyes. “Most of our plans are just trying to figure out what’s going on. Liz and I aren’t exactly on solid ground right now. I’m working on that first and just trying to keep them safe.”

“Well maybe we’ll have some luck figuring things out tonight. Get us a little closer to a resolution for this thing. If you need to talk or help talking to your parents about the last couple of years let me know. Your parents will be easier then Liz’s so I would start there if you decide to tell them the truth. This is a difficult situation but I think your parents can handle it. What we don’t want to happen is for them to find out by the FBI busting in and taking any of you. The more time they have before anything else happens the easier it will be,” Jim said hoping Max would see the wisdom in that. When Max nodded he clapped him on the back and moved further into the café. He walked up to the counter and sat down hoping Liz would separate herself from the group so he could talk with her.

Liz saw Jim sitting by the counter and automatically went into waitress mode. She headed over to see if he wanted anything to eat or drink. “Hey Sheriff…” Liz paused and shook her head. “What do you want us to call you now? I can’t seem to get over calling you the Sheriff and Mr. Valenti seems…like your father,” Liz rambled feeling nervous.

Jim smiled his eyes crinkling at the edges. “Jim is fine. Call me Jim.”

“Okay, well Jim what can I get you?” Liz asked his smile putting her more at ease. She hadn’t really felt comfortable around him since Alex died and she had got so upset with him. Now of course there was added unease because he knew about the baby and he was an adult. She felt…irresponsible and ashamed of her actions in some indefinable way. Especially since she and Max weren’t together now or at the time.

“A Coke would be wonderful,” Jim said and watched her nervous movements as she filled his request. He had always like Liz and had been happy when Kyle started dating her. She was smart and goal orientated. After getting to know her better over the last two years his estimation of her had only increased. She was a special girl and he hated to see all this trouble visited on her. He knew her parent’s opinion meant a lot to her and that she strove to be a good daughter and not let them down. When Liz turned back to him and set his drink down in front of him he caught her eyes with his. “Tell me about what’s happening? I’d like to hear it from your side.”

Liz took a deep breath and looked away before reaching into the pocket of her shorts and pulling out a picture. She set the picture of the pod in front of him and watched him examine it. “Tess did that. She removed memories and made things seem like a dream to steal my baby…possibly babies. She had someone help her remove my daughter and put her in that pod.”

Jim studied the picture and listened to what Liz said but more he was struck by what she didn’t say. He decided to wait her out and see if she said more.

When he didn’t say anything Liz sighed and fidgeted. “I’m scared. I have to tell my parents something and they’re going to be so disappointed in me. I don’t know what to tell them to help them understand…I don’t even understand really. They’re going to hate Max. It’s going to be this big scene and I don’t think I can handle it. I don’t know what to say to reassure them. I mean…I’m seventeen and I’m not with the baby’s father and don’t plan to be. I still have a year of school left and can’t even support myself much less a baby. This destroys any chance of Harvard. I’ll be lucky to live through all that’s happening much less go to collage. What do I tell them about my powers and the FBI? What if something happens to me? Who’s going to take care of the baby if Max doesn’t make it either? My parents are going to look at me different after this and they may not want to have anything to do with me mush less the baby,” Liz said trying to control her tears. She concentrated on shredding a napkin into precise pieces.

“Liz…your parents love you very much. Yes, this will shock them and upset them. More that they didn’t know what was happening to you all this time. I’m a parent myself and know your dad pretty well. He loves you very much and he won’t turn away from you. Collage and all that won’t matter so much as your safety. Your father could never be ashamed of you. This isn’t a normal situation and can’t be judged as one. I’ve known you most of your life and my opinion of has only gotten better over time. We’ll work this out…I’ll help you as much as I can,” Jim said and watched her nod.

“Thank you,” Liz said softly and looked over as Maria and Michael walked into the dining room. Her eyebrow rose at their disheveled appearance.

Jim followed Liz’s gaze over to the two new arrivals. A frown crossed his face briefly as he wondered how fast Michael could run. He knew Amy was pretty damn fast. Sometimes being the only adult in the know was wearing.

Max had watched Liz and Valenti’s conversation and could see that Liz was getting upset. He sighed and decided to talk to Isabel about telling their parents. Just to see what she would say. Nothing had to be decided this second and it didn’t hurt to talk about it. Seeing Maria and Michael he decided to get the meeting started.

“Everyone ready to get started?” Max asked the room at large.

“Yes, let’s get on with it,” Maria said and slid into a seat Michael taking the one next to her without comment. Everyone made their way over and sat around the tables pulled together.

“Agent Duff called. Burns was brought into the Unit by Agent Pierce last summer. Which means Nesado is the one who recruited him. His personnel file says he’s from Drewsey Oregon. Attended the University of Portland nothing really stands out. The interesting thing is when you look at Senator Morningstar. He showed up on political scene about three years ago in Maryland out of the blue. He grew up in Drewsey Oregon,” Jim said looking up from his small note pad.

“What are the chances that two people connected to Tess and Nasedo both come from the same spec of nothing in Oregon?” Isabel asked.

“They’re skins or something close to that,” Michael said not needing to hear anymore. There was no way they weren't their enemies.

“Definitely suspect,” Liz agreed. “What about Langley?”

“Agent Duff didn’t find anything out of place in his background but that doesn’t mean a whole lot. I spoke with a local about what happened on the set of that movie. Ms. Covendale did the hair and makeup on the set. She said that the rumor was the leading lady was in a love triangle with the lead actor and the clapper loader, which would be Langley. My father felt Langley was the main suspect but there was no concert evidence against him so nothing came of it,” Jim said and watched Liz’s face as she lapsed into thought.

Maria wanted to know about the pod chamber search. Langley was in LA and not of immediate concern. “What did you guys find out at the pod chamber today?”

“Well looking around we didn’t find another hidden chamber or anything but we did see where Liz found the pod. There were two impressions in the sand. The base for the Granilith is still there but the cone portion is gone. So are our pods…it looks like the chamber was shaken up pretty good. Things are not quite like they were. Some of the stone walls are cracked and all of the things we left there are gone. I found scorch marks on the walls of the Granilith chamber. I don’t know…what that means but we also found foot prints in the sand on the floor. Isabel said that none of you went into the Granilith chamber but someone sure did. The footprints were big definitely a mans prints,” Max said looking at each of them individually.

“So someone has been around here,” Liz said softly.

“Looks like it,” Max agreed.

After that the room exploded in questions and differing opinions. Liz stayed quiet lost in her thoughts and let everyone else argue. Everything said only increased her former feelings on what was important. She was jerked back into the conversation by Max’s next statement.

“I finished the journal today,” Max said softly but the whole room turned quiet. “I know where the box is. It’s in Las Cruces. We can combine a trip to decode the book with seeing what’s in the box.”

“Great,” Liz said and got up.

Max watched her walked into the back and sighed. He excused himself and followed her. He found her rubbing her temples her back to the door. “Liz?”

“What?” Liz asked not turning around.

“Talk to me. That’s all just talk to me,” Max said going to sit on the arm of the couch.

“There’s nothing to say right now. I just need a few days to…” Liz sighed softly. “Who’s going to stay with her? I have to go because it’s my name on the box. You want to go too so who’s staying here?”

“Michael? Is that okay with you?” Max asked watching her.

“I guess,” Liz said rubbing her temples. “When do you want to go?”

“When can you get away?” Max asked.

“Umm let me talk to my parents and I’ll let you know okay? I’ll shoot for Wednesday,” Liz said glancing over at him.

“Okay. You coming back out?” Max asked.

“Umm no. I’m just going to go upstairs. I’m really tired. Can you tell Maria for me?” Liz asked feeling depressed and not up to putting up a front for the whole group.

“Sure,” Max said. He watched her walk up the stairs to her apartment and waited for the door to close before he moved.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 1-Jan-2003 9:43:17 AM ]
posted on 2-Jan-2003 2:19:27 AM
Chapter Thirty Three

Liz felt the bed shift and rolled onto her back. She didn’t protest as a heavy weight settled over her and wrapped her in a familiar scent. Max. She sighed softly as he kissed her neck working his way to her mouth.

She arched into his hands as they moved over her body seeking bare skin. When his mouth met hers she opened for him moaning softly as heat swelled inside her. This felt familiar like it had happened countless times. She wasn’t scared or even surprised. Her knees moved to grip his hips and her fingers dung into the skin on his back.

Liz woke up gasping for air her heartbeat racing. A frantic look around showed every thing as it should be. Maria was asleep beside her and the room was empty. As her heartbeat slowed she accepted that it was just a dream. It was a dream wasn’t it? Liz rubbed her forehead hard with the heel of her hand trying to rub away her unease and growing fear.

Slipping from the bed she crawled out onto her balcony needing a few minutes to herself. She curled up on one of the lawn chairs and gazed up at the stars. She felt like her life was splintering away into pieces and the harder she tried to hold it together the faster it disintegrated. She didn’t know how much longer she could take this. She couldn’t trust her own memories and everything just felt completely out of control. Tess was leading her down a path she couldn’t see to a destination that she didn’t want to reach.

Liz stayed outside a long time unable to sleep.

Liz got up early the next morning to open the café. She left Maria still sleeping in her bed and silently made her way to her locker. Slipping on her antenna she walked out into the dining room and put on the coffee. She went through the routine of opening lost in thought. She went over the meeting in her head unhappy with what they little information they had.

The pod chamber drew her thoughts more then anything else. Comparing what she had seen the day Tess left with what Max had said and what she had seen led her to believe that Tess had left. Pondering the matter further she wondered if it was possible that the base of the Granilith had reformed itself. After all they had seen what looked like liquid metal leaking from the rocks. For that matter why would the base even still need to be there?

As the café filled Liz was forced to put aside her thoughts to focus on the task at hand. By the time the morning rush was over she was looking forward to getting off work at noon. Dane should be arriving around then and Liz was looking forward to seeing him. As the bell above the front door rang she looked over to see Max and Isabel walk in and take their usual booth.

After a couple minutes Liz made her way over to them. “What can I get you guys?” Liz asked looking back and forth between them.

“Just toast and juice for me,” Isabel said before sitting back in the booth.

“I’ll have the special and juice,” Max said softly. He was already tired and the day was just starting.

“Okay, I’ll be right back with your juice,” Liz said and left.

“You guys didn’t fight again did you?” Isabel asked noticing Liz’s distracted air. She seemed eager to get away from them.

“No,” Max answered shortly then turned the conversation back to the trip to Las Cruses. “I want to do it in one day. If we drove in say…early evening and translated the book first then Liz could hit the bank as soon as it opened.”

“Max we have no idea how long translating the book will take. For that matter we don’t know how to translate it. The only one who really sat and watched that professor dig around the last time is Liz,” Isabel reminded him pointedly.

“Liz can’t do everything Isabel,” Max said frowning. It was bad enough that Liz had to go into the bank he certainly didn’t want her along when they broke into the computer lab.

“I’m just saying it may take longer than you might like it to. None of the rest of us are computer geniuses,” Isabel replied slightly annoyed.

Max thought about that discouraged. Isabel was right. Who did they know that was good with computers?

Liz came back and delivered their juice before moving away with a quick smile to serve the couple two tables down. Maria pushed her way into the dining room and slid into the booth next to Isabel.

“So what’s the skinny?” Maria asked with a mega watt smile. She was always happy with she had a mission. She could barely wait for that evening.

“We’re contemplating how we’re going to get the book translated. None of us are good enough with computers and we need it done as quickly as possible since we’re breaking in,” Isabel said and sighed.

“What about Brody? He’s great with computers and if you guys requested Larek then Brody wouldn’t remember right?” Maria asked looking back and forth between them.

Isabel looked at Max with a raised eyebrow. Max smiled broadly and turned to Maria. “That’s a great idea. That just might solve our problem.”

“All you have to do is ask. I’ve got a solution for almost every problem…human or alien it doesn’t matter,” Maria joked.

From there the girls started talking about the day and possible plans. Max tuned the out and watched Liz move around the dining room refilling the customer’s coffee. He saw her look toward the doors and her eyes widen and a pleased smile spread over her face. Max turned to see who was coming in and frowned when he saw Dane.

Liz set the coffeepot down on an empty table and walked toward the door. She smiled as she watched Dane look around at the interior of the café as if not sure what to think. “What are you doing here this early? It’s only ten,” Liz asked as she approached.

“I left early. Wow that’s some uniform you have on there,” Dane said smiling at her attire. He thought she looked cute. His grin widened as she rolled her eyes and reached up to adjust her antenna.

“I did say Roswell was different didn’t I?” Liz asked slightly embarrassed.

“You did. You were right this is not to be missed,” Dane said tweaking her bobbing antenna and making them bounce wildly.

Liz gave him a playful shove. “No jokes. I think I’ve heard them all over the years. Come and have a seat. Isabel’s here already too,” Liz said then when a glance at the booth had her meeting Max’s eyes she changed her mind. “Why don’t you come and sit at the counter? She’ll come over in second.”

“Sure. Booths are hard for me to fit into anyway,” Dane said happy to follow her over to the counter.

Liz scooped up the abandoned coffeepot on the way and walked behind the counter. “So can I get you anything? Thirsty?” Liz asked as Dane took a seat.

“How about a Coke?” Dane asked and watched her efficient movements as she filled his request. He also saw her dart a nervous glance over his shoulder. “So what have you been up to since you got home?”

“Oh just the usual. We’ve been going to the pool and stuff like that. What about you?” Liz asked.

“Working hard on my game mostly. Nothing very interesting,” Dane replied and watched Liz stiffen slightly as she looked past him.

“Liz…introduce us,” Maria demanded as she walked up smiling.

“Maria…Dane…Dane…this is Maria,” Liz said smiling slightly as she watched Maria look him over.

“Nice to meet you. I’ve heard quite a bit about you,” Dane said flashing Maria a big smile. He placed her with no trouble from Liz’s stories. He would have known her even without an introduction.

“All true,” Maria said smiling back. Liz was right this one was yummy. “I’ve heard about you from both Liz and Isabel. Made me wish I had gone with them to Las Cruces.”

“Come visit whenever you like. I’d love that actually,” Dane said sincerely.

“Hey Dane. Glad you made it. Did you have any trouble finding the café?” Isabel asked coming up on his other side and sitting on the stool next to him.

“No the big UFO on the sign kind of let me know I was on the right track,” Dane said turning to smile at her in greeting. “Matt wanted to come so I snuck out early.”

Isabel smiled and laughed softly. “Thank you. That really would have ruined my day,” Isabel said and looked over at Max’s approaching form. She shot him a warning look before introducing him. “Dane this is my brother Max. Max this is Dane.”

Dane shot a look at Liz and saw her watching Max intently. “Nice to meet you,” Dane said sticking out his hand. He didn’t fail to notice everyone tense up as they waited for Max to say something.

“Yeah…same here. Isabel talked about nothing but what a good time they had. It’s nice to connect a name with a face,” Max greeted mildly shaking Dane’s outstretched hand. He tried to think pleasant thoughts while he shook his hand and not how much he hated this guy for even breathing.

“So tell us what’s been going on?” Isabel said as the two men broke apart.

Liz slipped away and got Max’s breakfast order making a point to deliver it to the booth. When she turned Max was standing behind her. “Do you need more juice?”

“No thanks. Liz…I’m not going to cause any trouble. You don’t have to be nervous,” Max said studying her face.

“Okay,” Liz said not looking up. She studied his shirt-covered chest intently.

“Just be careful. Don’t go anywhere without one of us. The FBI..” Max started.

Liz looked up into his eyes her own flashing in sudden anger. “I know Max. I’m not stupid. I won’t forget,” Liz said her tone even. Max just nodded before she turned and walked away.

Dane had watched that exchange with interest. Seeing Max’s face as he watched Liz walk away told him a lot.

As the business in the café picked up toward lunchtime Liz left Dane with Maria and Isabel until she could finish out her shift. Maria herded Dane back to the booth pulling a chair to the end of it to accommodate his large frame. Kyle made an appearance and introductions where made. Kyle and Dane seemed to hit it off, in fact everyone but Max seemed to like Dane. Max stayed fairly quiet joining in only when directly invited into the conversation. Michael joined them for his break before heading back to the grill.

Dane found himself trying to figure out the undercurrents in the air. For a group of people that were obviously so close they were very different and there were moments that made him wonder. Kyle and Max seemed almost adversarial at times. Max and Michael often traded looks that seemed like silent communication. Liz seemed comfortable with everyone but Max, which on the surface seemed reasonable. They were ex’s after all but there was something….more there. Something more then a simple break up. Max clearly still had feelings for Liz and wanted her back. Liz was more difficult to pinpoint.

Liz tried to focus on her job. Dane was a big boy and she knew Isabel would work to smooth things over. Max had promised not to cause trouble but she was still tense for some unknown reason.

Liz swung by the pick up window and stacked a row of full plates on her arm for table three. Out of long practice she turned to deliver the order and easily avoided Tammy the other waitress on duty and made her way out into the dining room. A glance at the clock showed she had twenty minutes left on her shift. The ringing of the bell above the front door had her looking up hoping it was someone leaving and not coming in. What she saw froze her in place and sent the plates she was carrying crashing to the floor silencing the entire cafe.

Max was watching Liz pretty much as he had been all day. He saw her face drain of color as she looked toward the door. He turned around to see what she was looking at and his eyes widened in horror. He was moving before the plates shattered as they hit the floor.

Michael looked up as he heard the sound of glass breaking. “Oh fuck me!” Michael exclaimed and moved into action, heading for the dining room at light speed.

Liz just stared as Tess walked toward her too shocked to move. Things seemed to swing into slow motion as Tess approached. Liz idly thought that Tess didn’t even look angry. In fact she looked almost happy to see her. She heard the door to the backroom crash open and knew Michael was moving into the dining room. Tess was less then three feet from her when Max reached her side.

“Liz? I’m so happy I found you. I need to talk to you….”

“Stay away from her,” Max ordered as he tried to push Liz behind him. He watched Tess’s expression turn to one of confusion as she stopped.

“I just need to talk to the Cornball there. No need to get your pants in a twist,” Ava said clearly confused. “I thought all you guys were long gone anyways.”

Liz looked around Max as the words registered. “Ava?”

“Yeah, its me. Tell your pit bull to heel, we need ta chat,” Ava said as Michael joined Max. She eyed the two aliens and wondered what had happened to cause them to loose their cool in public like this. Apparently Tess wasn’t exactly welcome here anymore. She had been sure they had left the planet anyway. She had felt the Granilith leave so why were they here?

“What happened to your accent?” Michael asked suspiciously.

“Yo..I been working on getting rid of it. Too noticeable. Look I’m here to help Cornball. She was good ta me so I just wanted to return the fava,” Ava said exasperated.

Liz moved around Max and shook off his restraining hand. “Come into the back okay? This is a tad public,” Liz said glancing at Max and Michael pointedly. She tried to slow her racing heart as she looked at the girl in front of her. She looked very different from the last time she had seen her. Gone was the punk look. No pink hair or facial piercings she had grown her hair. Liz shuddered slightly as she took in how much she now looked like Tess.

“Yeah sure,” Ava replied and moved to the back with Michael watching her every move as he followed.

Liz stooped to start cleaning up the broken plates and found her hands were shaking.

Max squatted next to her. “Liz you okay?”

“Sure. Aren’t I always?” Liz asked warily.

“Babe, I’ll take care of this,” Maria said coming to a stop next to Liz. She didn’t miss Liz’s shaking hands or tense expression.

“Thanks Ria,” Liz said and stood. A glance at the booth showed Dane studying her with a concerned expression. She sent him a reassuring smile then gave Isabel a pointed look hoping she could think of something to tell Dane. She let Max guide her into the back with a hand on her lower back but froze before they pushed through the doors. “Max….I need to touch her so don’t freak okay?”

“That’s not a good idea Liz. I don’t want you close to her. She could be Tess,” Max replied looking into her upturned face.

“If I can’t touch her I won’t know if she really is Ava. We can’t take her word. So unless she will let Isabel connect to her I don’t see another option. Maybe I can get a flash off of her. I did off of Nesado before,” Liz said chewing on her lip.

“We’ll get Isabel then. You aren’t touching her. I don’t even want you close to her,” Max said simply. Just the thought of Liz touching her made his blood freeze. Who knew what Tess was really capable of?

“Max….Fine go get Isabel,” Liz said giving in.

“Wait right here for me,” Max said then walked away.

Liz slipped through the doors and found Ava sitting on the couch with Michael looming over her. “You’ll have to excuse the welcome. A lot has changed since you were here last,” Liz said in greeting as she walked closer.

Michael tensed as he realized Max wasn’t following her. He pooled his energy preparing for an attack.

“So I see. You’s not so shiny new looking…lost a little of your cornball nature. Tess go mad dog or what?” Ava asked studying Liz closely. She sensed a change in her…more then just her new wariness. Power and something else.

“Yeah…she did. She killed Alex,” Liz said and watched Ava’s eyes widen. “You’ll have to forgive us for asking this but we need some reassurance that you aren’t Tess.”

“What do you want me to do?” Ava asked quietly.

“Connect with me,” Isabel said as she walked into the room with Max following on her heels.

Ava watched Max move to Liz’s side but slightly in front of her…protective with out being obvious about it. Her eyes narrowed as she watched their body language…something off there. When her eyes met Max’s she found them burning with hatred. “Sure whateva ya need.”

posted on 3-Jan-2003 6:39:40 AM
Chapter Thirty Four
Isabel opened her eyes and met the blue eyes staring into her own. “She’s Ava.”

Liz just nodded having already been 90% sure that it was Ava. Michael relaxed only marginally. He hadn’t been so hot on Ava the last time she was here and saw no reason to trust her completely now. Max gave no reaction at all. His eyes never left Ava.

“What’s been going on with you? Why did you need to talk to me?” Liz asked diving right in since time was a factor. She walked over and plopped onto the couch next to Ava turning to face her.

“I just been tripping all over. Finding my way by myself and seeing what I wanted to do. Trying to find a place I fit on my own ya know?” Ava paused at Liz’s nod of understanding. “Bout a month ago I was in Cali and the heat started coming down on me. I motored outta there but kept catching heat. Then last week it got real hairy. They come up on me while I was sleeping. I got away but that’s when I knew I knew I had ta come here. I got a flash off one of them Feds. A flash of you Liz.”

“What was the flash?” Isabel asked.

“One was like a meeting…briefing on capturing the remaining aliens. On an overhead display was my picture and Liz’s. They were going over our life story. Another was of that suit watching Liz. Taking pictures and listening to her phone calls. So I made my way here to tell Cornball she was in the shit. I thought you guys jetted to the homeland so no one was gonna be here to help her,” Ava said surprised by their lack of reaction to her news.

“Yeah, thanks Ava. I already know I’m in trouble but thank you for coming all this way,” Liz said thoughtfully.

Maria pushed through the doors and looked at Michael. “Spaceboy you better hit the grill. The kitchen’s about to burn down. I can see the flames from the dining room,” Maria said glancing around the room.

“Shit!” Michael said and took off. His cursing could be heard clearly as he extinguished the burning remnants of food on the grill.

“Isabel, you and Max better go check on the others. Tell them Ava and I will be out in a minute,” Liz said and turned to Ava. “How does a day of swimming sound?”

“Liz…” Max started.

“Stellar. I don’t have a suit though,” Ava said smiling at Liz.

“I think I’ve got something you can modify to fit,” Liz said and got up.

“Liz, what are you doing?” Max asked.

“I’m keeping up appearances. Dane is waiting in the dining room expecting to spend the day with us. Unless you can think of a normal reason to send him packing we’re going to the lake for the day. Nothing needs to be done right this second. Ava can hang for a day or two. Right Ava?” Liz said her eyes never leaving Max’s.

“Right,” Ava agreed watching the battle of wills in front of her.

Max sighed and accepted momentary defeat. “I didn’t bring my suit.”

“We’ll wait for you to get back,” Liz replied then turned to Ava. “Let me punch out and I’ll take you upstairs to find a suit.”

“No prob,” Ava answered trying to put her finger on what was nagging her about the two of them.

“Max I’ll be in the dining room. Come and get me before you head home,” Isabel said and left.

Max followed Liz to the time clock and watched her punch out. “Liz, this isn’t a good idea.”

Liz pushed through the doors needing to check on things one last time before going upstairs. “Do you have a better idea?”

Max glanced up and saw Dane watching them. He reached out and pulled Liz to a stop. Looking around he pulled her in the bathroom. “This is serious Liz. He can’t stay.”

“Why are we in the MEN’S bathroom?” Liz asked trying to move around him to the door.

Max put his hand to the door holding it closed as she tried to open it. “Liz stop! Just talk to me for a second. You have to send Dane home. We need to deal with Ava."

“Max, if I send Dane home I’ll have to answer a bunch of questions I can’t answer. Its one afternoon. Ava can wait that long. Besides there’s nothing to deal with. She’s not the problem. In fact maybe we can get some answers to some of our questions. I want to spend time with her and get a feel for her before I just start asking questions. Its called patience you should get some. Look at it this way…she’s like you. Maybe you two can hit it off,” Liz said glaring at him. She wanted out of this bathroom! What did he think he was doing?

“That’s not funny Liz,” Max started only to stop as Mr. Parker’s voice drifted to him through the door. His eyes widened as he realized the voice was getting louder. He looked down at Liz whose eyes were darting around looking for an escape route. Max grabbed her hand and tugged her into an empty stall and shut the door locking it. “Your feet. He’ll see your feet,” Max whispered.

Liz looked at the toilet and wrinkled her nose. “I’m not touching that.”

Max turned so his back was facing her. “Hop up,” Max said gesturing for her to hurry up as the door opened.

Liz unsnapped the bottom couple of snaps to her uniform and hopped on Max’s back as her father walked into bathroom. She fumed silently as her dad moved around outside the stall. Her grip on Max tightened as her dad tried the door. How the hell did she get into these messes? Liz wondered….oh yeah..MAX!

Max tried to be as quiet as possible and keep his mind off of Liz. As her legs tightened around him he prayed for Mr. Parker to leave Liz was driving him crazy. He focused on slowing his breathing. How would it look if Mr. Parker realized who was in the stall and thought he was panting in there by himeself? Or worse…not by himself.

Liz heard Max groan softly and clamped her hand over his mouth. She wasn’t that heavy!

“You alright in there?” Jeff asked eyeing the stall and stopping his work.

Liz’s eyes widened and she removed her hand so Max could answer. Slipping slightly she wrapped her arm around his neck and wiggled higher up on his back.

“Yeah! Just….not good,” Max answered cringing as his voice came out sounding odd. Liz needed to stop moving!

“Max? You need anything? I’ve got some stomach stuff,” Jeff offered setting down the supplies he was restocking.

“Umm No I’ll be okay….I think,” Max said holding Liz’s legs to give her a little support. Just please leave Max thought hoping the power of his mind would make it happen.

“I’ll just go get it. Just in case,” Jeff said and went for the door. The boy didn’t sound good.

As soon as the door closed Liz hit Max on the side of his head. “What the fuck is your problem Max?” Liz asked as she slid off of him.

“My problem? All I wanted was to talk to you! Apparently I have to trap you in the bathroom to even hold a private conversation,” Max returned turning to face her.

Liz shoved him into the stall’s wall and unlocked the door. “Maybe there’s a reason for that! We don’t have anything worth talking about,” Liz said exiting the stall with Max on her heels.

“The reason is you! You won’t listen to reason. Ava is dangerous! Dane is a complication that we can’t afford at the moment!” Max said and pulled up short as Liz turned on him her eyes flashing with temper.

“You better watch it! I don’t need you telling me anything. You spent all of two minutes around Ava. You don’t know her so you have no room to comment. If she hadn’t helped me last time you would be splattered all over some street in New York. Stop trying to tell me what to do! I have a brain and I use it unlike you so I don’t need any guidance from someone who’s even more lost then I am!” Liz said with her hands on her hips. “Now I’m getting the fuck out of this bathroom before my father comes back and if you try to stop me I swear I’ll hurt you.”

Max watched her whirl around and stomp to the door before he followed her. He caught her just inside the dining room pulling her to a stop.

“Stop manhandling me!” Liz said swatting his hand away from her. She glared up at him just about feed up with his shit.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you angry. I’m just worried about you. You’re right I don’t know Ava and I don’t trust her even though she did help save me. You’re too important for me to just trust your safety to a stranger. That includes Dane. I don’t mean to tell you what to do. I just want you safe that’s all,” Max said ignoring the stares he could feel from the group’s table.

“You need to trust my judgement a little. I’m not a moron and I don’t have a death wish. You can’t control my every movement. I’m going to make decisions you don’t like. Its called faith Max. You need to have a little faith in me,” Liz said and walked away.

Dane looked over at Liz who was floating in the water next to him. “You feeling better?” He asked quietly.

“Umm yeah. You’re probably wondering if we’re all crazy,” Liz said staring up at the wisps of clouds overhead.

“No. I am wondering what’s going on with you,” Dane said and paused. Pushing wasn’t his way and he really hadn’t known her for that long so he wasn’t sure how to handle this. “You’re different here then you were in Las Cruses.”

Liz smiled without humor. That was a good way of putting it. “Yeah, things here are complicated. There I was free of all of this,” Liz said and tried to sort out what to say. She knew she had to say something. “My best friend Alex died a little while ago. Right before school let out and it’s been hard on all of us. We’re all really close. Isabel was dating him and Maria and I have been friends with him for what felt like forever. The whole thing is a mess…Ava took off for awhile and there are just a lot of things that make this hard, you know, people throwing blame around and all. Relationships in a small tight group can be so complicated. You’re the one person that’s outside of all this. I can talk to you and not have to be reminded of all that shit. It’s a relief.”

Dane stayed quiet for a moment then replied. “I’m sorry about your friend. I can see that being hard to deal with especially with such a close knit group. Everyone’s bound to have an opinion and various reactions. That can really rip people apart. It seems like you guys aren’t letting that happen and that’s great. Friends that know you this well are rare…special.”

“Yeah, they are,” Liz said softly.

“So tell me about them. How did you guys hook up?” Dane said to lighten the mood.

“Well Maria and I have been friends forever. We met Alex in the fifth grade,” Liz stopped and smiled remembering they had met in the forth grade. Alex always corrected her. Pushing away the sharp pang of loss she continued. “We all grew up around each other…small town but we didn’t grow up all friends like we are now. Max, Michael, and Isabel kind of gravitated together and then there was Maria, Alex, and I. I dated Kyle in between freshman and sophomore years and that kind of brought him in. Then I don’t know..I stared getting close to Max, we were lab partners, and we started dating. Then Michael and Maria got together and finally Isabel and Alex.”

Dane didn’t miss Ava’s exclusion but he didn’t comment. “Dumped Kyle for Max huh?” Dane teased lightly smiling.

Liz sat up and started treading water so she could see him. “How did you know that?”

“It explains a lot. They don’t seem…real friendly. Like they may have declared a truce but some resentment still lingers,” Dane answered and smiled at her expression. “I’m good with people. Thinking of majoring in Psychology.”

“Wow. I’ll have to watch it or you’ll know all my secretes,” Liz said smiling. “Impressive.”

“I doubt very much anyone will ever learn all your secretes,” Dane replied and laughed when she rolled her eyes and splashed him. “So what happened with Max?”

“Umm we broke up, we had a difference of opinion I guess. It’s complicated,” Liz replied then leaned back to drip her hair in the water to slick it back.

“You broke up with him?” Dane guessed.

“What are you? Like a mind reader?” Liz asked her lips quirking up at the corners.

“Nope, that one was easy. You only have to see him watching you to guess that,” Dane said and watched a shadow flit across her face. He decided enough of the meaningful talk and dove under the water.

Liz looked around for him and yelped as he swam under her feet brushing against her as he went. One tug that almost dunked her had her swimming away toward the platform floating out in the lake trying to outrun him.

Max was trying not to watch Liz with Dane. No sense in torturing himself. He cursed himself for their argument going over and over it in his head. What he could have said different or maybe what he should have done.

“So you want to tell me about my dupe?” Ava asked breaking Max out of his thoughts.

“What do you mean?” Max asked trying to force a specific question.

“You look at me with seething hatred. There’s a reason for it. Since I haven’t done anything I’m guessing Tess did,” Ava replied trying to figure out what was going on.

“You heard Liz. She killed Alex,” Max said shortly.

“Yeah, I heard. I’m guessing that’s not why you jumped in front of Cornball when I arrived.” Ava replied.

“She’s a psycho killer. She’s always hated Liz. What more is there to understand?” Max asked.

“What I saw of my dupe told me that she does nothing without a purpose. You bonded to the Cornball didn’t you?” Ava asked already knowing the answer.

Max didn’t respond he just stiffened.

“Okay, let me tell you what I see. I see a corrupted bond between you and Liz. Now I know that Liz didn’t cause that. I also saw how Tess was clinging to you like a vine. You guys need to wake up. Naïve doesn’t even cover it. Tess was one cold bitch…it’s in the eyes. When the eyes don’t show a soul only reflect back at you there’s a problem,” Ava said shaking her head. “When you live on the streets you gotta have good instincts or you don’t survive. Liz comes by her instincts naturally you apparently need some help. If you don’t smarten up you’re not going to make it. You’re playing with very bad people who have skills that outmatch you. Instincts is all you got.”

Liz pulled herself up on the platform and glanced toward shore. Her stomach rolled as she spotted Max deep in conversation with…AVA. She reminded herself it was Ava not Tess.

Seeing the sick expression on Liz’s face Maria followed her line of sight to shore. Maria’s eyes narrowed in anger as she took in the sight of Ava and Max. Her eye started twitching as Max started putting lotion on Ava’s back. Rat bastard! She tried to console herself with thoughts of the plan. He would get his.

Michael packed up their stuff with a sinking feeling in his gut. This was going to be bad. He hadn’t missed the Max and Ava bonding hour or the new level of ease between them. He also hadn’t missed the steam coming out of Maria’s ears or the twitching eye. He knew Max was in for it…Maria was bloodthirsty.

Isabel was also becoming more nervous. Max and Ava were joking and laughing like old friends. Normally that wouldn’t bother her but the foot rub had been a bit much. She stayed quiet telling herself she couldn’t help Max if he was a complete idiot. At some point a person had to help themselves.

Dane now had an excellent idea of how complicated the break up between Max and Liz really had been. He kept Liz entertained by telling her stories about growing up in Ohio and where he had learned to watch people like he did.

Kyle stayed as far from Ava as possible. It was unnerving to look into Tess’s face after all that had happened. He stayed glued to Liz and Dane goofing off and doing his part to keep Liz’s attention away from the foreplay taking place between the Tess clone and Mr. Sleazoid. It was times like this he wished he did have alien powers. Max would be missing both testicles.

Liz had a different opinion. She slipped into the role she had played for months as Max and Tess had grown closer. She just observed silently. It seemed reasonable to her that Max would be attracted to Ava. She was the all the things Tess was physically, but there was a genuinely nice caring person underneath. She repressed her anger and hurt focusing on the antics of Kyle and Dane. She just had to have faith things would work out how they should for everyone.

posted on 4-Jan-2003 12:50:55 AM
Well this last chapter seems to have stirred up everyone. Let's wait until the next chapter to hang anyone. It's a rousing game of modified spin the bottle.

I think that we all leave feedback according to personal experience in one way or another. If you read everyone's feedback its clear that not everyone will be happy with all aspects of this story. There is no way to please everyone here.

There are a few things I believe. That people love someone because that's who they love....they may not deserve it and it may not work out in the end but that is the person who will always hold a piece of you. I also believe that one person doing wrong isn't a free pass for the other. People screw up that's a fact. Like it or not Max messed up and like it or not he is the father of Liz's child. You can't choose your parents. Liz had a choice and she made it...she had sex with Max. Whenever you do that it is possible to create a child so in essence you are choosing the the father of your child when you sleep with someone.....reverse for the guys.

Anyway the new part is going to be posted very shortly. I hope you enjoy it.
posted on 4-Jan-2003 6:13:06 AM
Chapter Thirty Five
**Okay this post is in two posts due to length...I will leave a small note after too on a couple of things**
The group arrived at Michael’s apartment and ordered pizza. Everyone found a place to sit and the conversation was flowing. Liz caught Maria glaring at Max and pulled her into the other room.

“Maria stop it,” Liz said staring her down.

“What? Stop what? I’m not doing anything,” Maria said innocently.

“You’re about to do something. I can tell by the eye twitching so just stop now before I get really mad,” Liz warned.

“I’m not the one snuggling up to the new arrival,” Maria muttered.

“Maria…butt out. What’s going on between Max and I is just that. Between Max and I. So just stay out of it. I don’t need you to fight my battles for me. Max hasn’t done anything wrong in any case. Promise me you’ll stay out of this,” Liz said watching her closely.

“How can you say he hasn’t done anything wrong?” Maria asked incredulously. “Are you crazy?”

“No, I’m not. Max and I aren’t together. If he wants to start dating he can. He can talk to whoever he wants. You should be happy that he isn’t treating Ava badly. Honestly Maria, you need to let us work this out by ourselves…however it turns out. So just back off okay?” Liz asked. The last thing she wanted was a big scene. Was it so terrible to just want a normal evening without a bunch of drama?

“Okay….I’ll back off. I just have one request,” Maria wheedled.

“What?” Liz asked warily.

“Give this experiment a go. One small game of modified spin the bottle. I’ve got the bottle and the dice. We’re ready to go,” Maria said watching Liz start to shake her head. “Liz you have to give yourself the same chance you give Max. If it’s okay for him to date then it’s okay for you too. You need to test this bond thing and this is the perfect chance to do that. You’re among friends and can kiss every last one of them with no pressure for anything else. It’s a game and everyone will know the rules. You should just see if it’s possible.”

“Maria….I don’t want to hurt anyone. Max..he won’t want to watch…” Liz started.

“He doesn’t seem bothered to me. Look…just do this and I’ll totally keep my big fat nose out of your relationships. Unless you ask for advice of course,” Maria amended with a grin. “He’ll be playing too I’m sure.”

Liz stayed silent studying Maria and going over her options. She knew this was blackmail…Maria was an expert at it but she did have a point. In the end it might be better to go along and prevent a major ordeal. “Okay.”

“Yes!” Maria yelled punching a fist in the air.

The whole room quieted at Maria’s shout. Michael closed his eyes and prayed for strength.

“Okay everyone…let’s play a game that Liz, Alex, and I used to play sometimes,” Maria said from the doorway. She looked at Michael her eyes sparkling like they did when she achieved her goal.

“What kind of game?” Isabel asked suspiciously.

“It’s a modified spin the bottle. See you roll the dice and if you get an even number you spin the bottle. If it’s an odd number you answer a question. Of course an exception will be made for Isabel and Max. The kissing rules are as follows. No pecks…and the kiss has to last for thirty seconds. Okay now everyone take a seat,” Maria said at warp speed.

Michael got up and sat at the table not bothering to say anything. Maria had made his role clear.

Dane looked at Liz who just shrugged and rolled her eyes as if to say it’s Maria what do you want. When Liz sat down he got up and sat next to her.

Ava looked around the room sensing something else going on. She decided to play along figuring she might learn something interesting. Something to help her see what was going on with all of them and what it might mean for her. She sat down next to Michael.

Kyle looked at Isabel and raised his eyebrow. Isabel shrugged and headed for the table. Kyle smiled thinking this could really get interesting and never let it be said that Kyle Valenti couldn't handle a little excitement.

Max was the only hold out. “Liz? Can I have a second?”

Liz looked over at Max then turned to Dane. “I’ll be right back.” Liz followed Max down the hall to Michael’s room.

Max shut the door and turned to face her. “What’s going on?”

“A game Max. That’s it. If you don’t want to play you don’t have to. No one is telling you what to do. You heard the rules along with the rest of us,” Liz said leaning against the door.

Max studied her face sensing her challenge. “If this is about this afternoon I have a reason for…”

“I didn’t say anything. Ava’s nice,” Liz said cutting him off.

“I’m not convinced. She knows things so why doesn’t she just tell us? Why didn’t she tell you the last time she was here? I’m not going to be fooled a second time. This time I’m going to play nice and see what she lets slip.” Max said.

“Play nice? What exactly does that mean?” Liz asked her eyes narrowing.

“It means be friendly. Be the “girlfriend” the guy pal..whatever you want to call it,” Max replied.

“Max..don’t think. You’re going to hurt yourself,” Liz hissed. “I can’t believe you! Why don’t you just be honest? Watch her and you’ll see that she is the person she claims she is. This is exactly what I was trying to tell you. You aren’t preordained to be anything. Just because Tess and Ava share DNA or a resemblance doesn’t mean they are the same. They aren’t.”

“Fine. I’ll back off. I still don’t trust her though,” Max agreed. When Liz rolled her eyes he sighed. “I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I just wanted to speed up some answers.”

“Patience Max. She doesn’t have any reason to trust us. We aren’t the only ones in trouble. Tess doesn’t have any reason to keep her around either,” Liz pointed out. When she saw the look on Max’s face she continued. “I don’t expect you to find all the answers. We’re all a team and we can do it as a group. That’s how we work best. I know you want to keep us safe but you aren’t solely responsible for us. Let us help too. The baby and I are fine. Max look at me. We’re fine. There’s no need for rash actions okay?”

“Okay. I just feel all this pressure and like I have to do something…you know?” Max said watching her.

“I know. I feel it too. We have to be smart this time though. No rushing. The baby is doing fine right now so there’s no hurry on her end. We have to keep it together so we can find your son and keep our daughter safe. We want anyone watching to see only the surface and not think we’re doing anything to figure this out. Take your own advice and talk to someone when you feel like that,” Liz said softly.

Max nodded and shifted his feet. “About this game…”

“If you don’t want to stay it’s fine. You don’t have to play. This is something I’m doing for a reason but you have to make your own choice. If you don’t think it’s a good idea to stay..don’t.”

Max studied her face for a moment. This was a risk. On one hand there was the possibility of kissing Liz and maybe making some headway. The down side was two fold…he would have to witness Liz kissing others and he might have to kiss Ava. That might not be a down side. If he could control his jealousy and show Ava didn’t affect him that could be a plus. “I’ll play. It’s fine.”

“Alright. You know the rules….let’s go,” Liz said and moved away from the door.

Dane watched Max and Liz re enter the room and take their seats. That indefinable something was present between them. He just couldn’t figure it out. Maybe this game would make things a little more clear.

Maria sat down at the one empty seat pleased with her set up. She had planned this out yesterday bringing over some chairs and the old round table from her house. She hadn’t planned on Ava but Maria just snagged the stool from over by Michael’s counter to sit on. Maria took a moment to look around the table. Max was directly on her right, Michael next, then Ava, Isabel, Dane, Liz, and finally Kyle on her left.

“Where do the questions come from?” Dane asked.

“Well we used to write a bunch down and put them in a bowl but I thought it would be more fun to just wing it. So it’ll be a free for all on the questions..first question asked is the one to answer,” Maria said looking around for any disagreement. Finding none she placed the bottle in the center of the table. “Michael you have the dice so you go first.”

Michael heaved a sigh and decided to get this over with. He rolled and made sure it turned up even. Spinning the bottle he glanced over at Maria who raised her eyebrow. He concentrated on the bottle and made sure it pointed at Liz. Raising his eyes to Liz he saw her regarding him with suspicion. “Let’s do this.”

Liz sighed and leaned over the table. She firmly placed Maria at the front of her mind as she kissed Michael.

Max squirmed and tried not to watch. Leaning over the table was presenting Liz in a way he didn’t want to think about right now. He wished she had changed cloths. Her cut off shorts and bikini top just weren’t enough.

Michael kissed her softly and was surprised by fleeting images of Maria floating threw his head. He deepened the kiss trying to hold onto those images.

“Time,” Isabel said clicking off the stopwatch.

Liz pulled back and looked into Michael’s surprised eyes as she sat back down. A glance at Maria showed a smile playing over her face. Liz rolled her eyes knowing Maria set that up. Honestly. She was relieved to discover nothing unusual had happened. No guilt or much of a reaction at all really.

Ava’s turn came next and her roll came up odd. She waited to see what question was going to be asked and who would ask it.

Everyone but Dane turned to Liz waiting for her to ask the question.

“Have you heard from your family since we last saw you?” Liz asked trying to keep it normal in front of Dane.

“Nah..I heard they got locked up,” Ava answered looking at Liz evenly.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Liz said softly. She was sorry for Ava’s sake. It must be hard to think of people you grew up with in a place like that.

Isabel got her turn next. She decided not to cheat tempting as it was. Her roll came up even. Spinning the bottle had it pointing to Max.

“Go ahead and spin again,” Maria said amused that Isabel was playing fair.

Isabel spun again and cringed when it landed on Michael. Next time she was cheating. Isabel sat stiffly making no move to comply.

“Doesn’t anyone else have to kiss around here?” Michael asked getting grumpy.

“You know the rules Michael,” Maria said grinning at his discomfort.

“Fine. We’ll just get this over with. It’s thirty seconds,” Isabel said and handed the timer to Dane. She leaned over the table making Michael meet her half way.

Liz thought the payback for Michael’s round of cheating was karmic justice. Max just turned in his seat to glare at Maria who smiled sweetly back at him. Kyle tried to muffle his laughter and was only partially successful. Dane called out at the end of the thirty seconds.

Isabel sat back down and gave Kyle a chilly stare.

“Hey…I’m sorry I just never thought I’d see that. No more out of me I swear,” Kyle said grinning.

Dane took his turn and rolled even. A spin of the bottle had him kissing Maria. When Liz called time over Maria pulled back and smiled. “Nice,” Maria said and turned to find Michael glaring at her. She winked and smiled giving him reassurance secretly happy about his jealously.

Liz took the dice in hand and looked up to find Max looking back. She rolled the dice and was relieved to have it come up odd. She waited for her question.

“Who do you trust the most?” Ava asked when no one said anything. Pretty harmless question she thought.

“Ummm Maria I guess,” Liz answered softly. It was hard to choose but she trusted Maria with more than the others. Kyle was a very close second.

Kyle took the dice and rolled. Michael gave a little push and it came up even. A second push on the bottle had Kyle kissing Liz.

Liz smiled and with no reservations leaned over and kissed him.

Never one to resist a challenge Kyle deepened the kiss smoothly.

Liz gasp slightly in surprise at the warmth in Kyle’s kiss. She kissed him back her hand coming to rest on his chest. She forgot about the table full of people momentarily. This wasn’t at all what she remembered his kisses to be like.

“Time,” Maria called and bit her lip at Kyle’s dazed expression. Inwardly hoping Max got a good look at that kiss she set the stopwatch down.

Liz kept her eyes on the table as Maria’s turn came. She squirmed in her seat wanting to escape the room for a few minutes.

Maria was displeased to find she was stuck kissing Max. She privately thought Michael had slanted the game to pay her back for Liz and Isabel.

Max decided to give Maria something to think about. When their lips met he sent her a flood of flashes spanning his time with Liz and Michael. He let her see what he saw knowing she was likely to be very angry with him. He kept the kiss light concentrating on showing her how he felt.

Maria was overwhelmed at first and then tried a Michael. She closed off and when Michael called time she sent Max a glare. She wasn’t going to be that easy. He wasn’t going to sway her to his side with a few flashes. She never doubted his feelings…that wasn’t the problem.

Liz smirked slightly at Maria’s nasty look. This was interesting. It served Maria right for meddling in the first place.

Dane watched the proceedings with interest. This was a complex group of people and this was proving to be very interesting.

posted on 4-Jan-2003 6:18:19 AM

Max’s turn came and no surprises there..he ended up kissing Liz. Liz shot him a look blatantly accusing him of cheating to which he just shrugged. Luck of the draw.

Ava held the stopwatch and watched the looks fly between the two of them neither making a move toward each other.

Finally Liz leaned over the table and waited. She wasn’t going to let this get to her. She knew this could happen when they started the game. If only she were better with her own powers she could have prevented this.

The whole table stayed quiet as Liz leaned forward slowly and rested her arms on the table as she waited for Max to make a move. Ava watched with interest, as did Dane.

Max studied her eyes for a second before leaning forward and kissing her. The table full of people ceased to exist and he kissed her how he had dreamed of for so long.

Liz caved in less then ten seconds and kissed him back. One tug of his teeth on her lip and a soothing swipe of his tongue had her opening for him. She forgot all the reasons why she wasn’t supposed to do this and responded instinctively.

Max gloried in the taste of her and the feel of her soft mouth moving against his. He poured himself into the kiss trying to show her how he felt. How much he missed her. He lost complete track of everything as her tongue curled around his. He didn’t hear Ava call “Time’s up” as Liz sucked daintily holding him within her. Max slid his hand behind her head fingers tangling in the silky strands of her hair. It was Michael who pulled him away with a hand on his shoulder. For one split second the look on Liz’s face flooded him. Her eyes were dilated and her lips were slightly swollen. She was beautiful.

Liz snapped back to reality with a painful thump. Panic and embarrassment bloomed inside her as she slid into her seat. She fled the room without a word. She knew without a doubt that had been her fault. She wasn’t supposed to do that and she definitely wasn’t supposed to feel that way.

Dane watched Max shoot Michael a killing glare before he got up and followed Liz out of the room.

“Well anyone want something to drink?” Maria said to break the silence.

Max knocked on the bathroom door and waited for Liz to respond.

“Go away Max. I’ll be right out,” Liz said leaning over the sink watching her hands flicker with light.

“Are you okay?” Max asked knowing she was upset. He didn’t know what to say to put her at ease.

“I’m fine. Just give me a minute okay?”

“Okay. I’ll tell them you’ll be out in a second,” Max said and walked back down the hall. Max slid into his seat and looked to Maria. “She’ll be out in a second. Bathroom run. Is there any Cherry Coke?”

“Yeah, I’ll get you a can. Dane, you want anything?” Maria asked posed in the doorway.

“A Cherry Coke is fine..thanks,” Dane said quietly. He remained thoughtful and silent.

By the time Liz reemerged from the bathroom Isabel had Dane involved in conversation and Michael was talking to Max. Ava watched as Liz slipped into her seat and turned to Kyle.

“How bad was it? I made a complete ass out of myself didn’t I?” Liz asked Kyle.

“Umm no. I wouldn’t put it that way,” Kyle replied. At Liz’s raised eyebrow he continued. “I wouldn’t say that. You just gave Dane a very good idea of what the deal is with Max. He had to find out at some point and this was…pretty convincing.”

Liz sighed and wished she understood what the deal was with Max.

“Hey…I’d still kiss you. You’ve learned some tricks,” Kyle said his eyes dancing.

“Yeah…so have you. Very nice Kyle,” Liz replied grinning.

“Thanks I try,” Kyle said smiling back.

The game got going with Michael’s turn where he kissed Maria. He deserved a reward after his hard work. Maria made it worth his while and some light teasing ensued.

Ava’s turn had her spinning the bottle and since Max was wrapped up in watching Liz he missed his chance to nudge the bottle away from himself. Max scowled when he realized he was going to be kissing Ava. Michael scooted back out of the way and waited. Max refused to move glancing over at Liz.

“You knew the rules Max,” Liz reminded him. There was no need to make a big thing out of this. They both knew the rules before this even started.

Max sighed and gave in. Steeling himself he scooted closer and leaned in to kiss Ava. He kept the kiss light and his ears pricked for the times up call.

Ava went along relaxed and poised. She had no illusions. Even if she had illusions they would have been shattered at the flashes Max was projecting without thought. She caught the hint of something….off in them but before she could pinpoint what it was the kiss was over.

Isabel’s turn had her cheating and rolling odds. She waited for her question feeling smug.

“How many bases have you run Princess?” Ava asked to knock the smug smile off her face. Really like cheating was something to be proud of. She could have done the same but hadn’t.

“Excuse me?” Isabel asked her tone chilly.

“You heard me,” Ava replied softly.

“I’m not answering that!” Isabel huffed.

“Actually Iz you are…you knew the rules,” Maria reminded her.

Isabel squirmed and contemplated lying. A glance at Ava revealed her smirking slightly as if anticipating a lie. “Three,” Isabel said softly. She refused to look toward Max or Michael to see their reaction.

Liz and Maria’s faces both reflected shock but Liz quickly schooled her expression into a neural mask. A glance at Max showed his ears red but otherwise he was unaffected. Michael was scowling but then he always was. Dane looked at Liz slightly amused by her reaction. This group was something else.

Dane’s turn had Maria giving Michael a pointed look. A quick push with his powers and Dane was turning to look at Liz with a questioning expression. Liz shot a look at Michael then turned in her seat to face Dane.

Dane set his hands on his thighs and leaned forward to kiss Liz lightly. He let her set the tone of the kiss and just relaxed into it slowly.

Liz deepened the kiss slightly testing the waters to see if anything odd happened. Her lips tingled lightly and her fingers dug into her thigh at the soft tentative brush of his tongue.

Dane inhaled sharply at the quick rush of images he received.

~ Liz lying on the floor bleeding and in tremendous pain seeing Max leaning over her.

~ Liz and Max arguing heatedly tall rocks in the background. Liz felt betrayed and filled with disgusted rage.

~ Liz and Max running through shallow water. Max stumbling to keep up and Liz helping him back up fear a living thing in her chest.

When the call came he pulled back confused and slow to react. Had Liz been shot? He hadn’t seen a scar. Dane looked into Liz’s soft eyes and realized this was a lot more complicated then he had ever thought. What the hell was going on?

Liz jerked back away from Dane feeling a growing crushing sensation in her chest..guilt was fast and immediate. One look at Dane’s face had her realizing something had happened on his end. She sent him a pleading look hoping he wouldn’t say anything until they were alone. She could sort this out then. She sighed with relief when he smiled slightly.

posted on 4-Jan-2003 6:39:27 AM thing I want to point out. Liz wasn't as upset about the Max/Ava thing as the rest of the group. That should say something. Now Max did three things here that upset the group...putting lotion on Ava...which Kyle also did to Liz. Joking around....which Liz is pretty open about doing with Kyle, Sean, and Dane...even Max really. Finally the foot rub.....which is more of a problem. He also fails to see how that would be viewed...thinking if its out in the open its not hurtful.....believe me I've known guys like this I'm truly not making this up. Lucky for him Maria's not his ex or he would be in more trouble.

Now the father issue. I agree with the Dad/Father argument. I have a father not a dad....divorced parents at a young age and a poor father when he was around. The fact remains we don't choose our parents. Liz may not have intended to have a child but she is. That is always a risk...people every day choose a father for their child w/o meaning to. That doesn't mean he'll be good at it or will turn out to be a dad.

I know Max is not making a total turn around....he has things he needs to work on but I don't think most people can grow to the extent that Max needs to this fast. He really is behind the eight ball here. The whole group is watching and judging him....due to his own past actions. he is feeling almost as much pressure as Liz is. Baby, relationship problems with Liz, Tess on the loose...the list goes on. Now we all know he didn't handle the last round of pressure really well.....I think he's making small strides here. Please believe me when I say I am normally the first to jump on the "burn Max at the stake" train.....BelevenDreamsToo can attest to that. *wink* But I can cut him some slack.....on some things.

Anyway I can't wait to read the FB on this last part. See what you guys catch in it. Thanks for the FB*big*
posted on 5-Jan-2003 12:43:36 PM
Chapter Thirty Six
Liz tried to calm her screaming nerves enough to take her turn. She had managed to squeeze a moment’s reprieve by getting up to get a drink. Reaching into the fridge she found her fingers trembling slightly and cursed her own weakness. This had to be one of the biggest mistakes of her life….ranking right up there anyway. How had she ever thought that she could kiss Max and have everything not go to hell?

Liz pushed her hair back and leaned against the counter taking a long drink of her pop. While she had been able to get the green lightening on her hands to stop flickering her nerves were another story altogether. Now she had let something slip to Dane…the one NORMAL thing in her life. She wondered exactly what she had let slip. The look on his face showed shock and confusion but no fear. She consoled herself with that and walked back into the living room and slid into her seat.

“No stalling Lizzie…roll,” Maria said in a teasing tone to lighten the mood. Max was vibrating with tension and Dane had yet to speak. Maria could see that Liz was stressing and tried to do what she could to make things easier.

Liz picked up the dice and rolled cursing inwardly as it came up even. She spun the bottle and breathed a sigh of relief as it pointed to Kyle.

“Pucker up Parker,” Kyle said wiggling his eyebrows and grinning.

Liz smiled and turned in her seat to face him. Leaning in she kissed him softly.

Kyle felt her lip tremble slightly and knew she was stressing so he tried to get her to relax by lacing their fingers and giving hers a gentle squeeze. He almost bit his own tongue off when she sighed against his mouth and a barrage of images hit him along with a seething mass of emotion.

“Time,” Max called loudly.

Kyle pulled back slowly and looked into her eyes. He saw the apprehension flood her face and shadow her eyes. Knowing he couldn’t say anything he smiled and tucked her hair behind her ear. “Will you marry me? Do you cook as good as you kiss? I’ll kiss the cook with glee of that’s the case,” Kyle asked grinning like a maniac. He started laughing when Liz hit him lightly in the chest.

“Just stop. No more caffeine for you. It’s making you crazy,” Liz said smiling and sending him a grateful look. “Now roll. It’s your turn.”

Kyle took the dice from her and with a wink rolled. He spun the bottle and watched it come to rest before voicing his protest. “I’m sorry but I am not kissing that ugly face,” Kyle said firmly looking at Michael’s scowling face.

Maria laughed her eyes dancing. “Go ahead and spin again.”

Kyle spun again and wished he would have just kissed Michael when it looked like the bottle was going to land on Ava.

Liz saw Kyle’s face tighten and looked to the barely moving bottle. Without thought she gave a mental push nudging the bottle over to Isabel. She smiled slightly as Kyle started smirking.

“Come here to me,” Kyle said batting his eyes at Isabel.

Isabel rolled her eyes and leaned over the table.

Kyle lain one on her so happy to be spared a close call that he put a little extra something in there for her enjoyment.

“Time,” Michael said in a bored voice.

Isabel pulled back shooting daggers at Kyle.

“Your welcome,” Kyle said his grin widening at Isabel’s frosty look. “A women of your experience needs an extra special kiss.”

“Shut up Kyle. I know where you live,” Isabel warned.

“And you’re welcome anytime. My rooms been totally remodeled,” Kyle nodded.

Liz covered her mouth to smother her laughter at the shocked look on Isabel’s face.

“Hand me the dice oh Mr. Porn King of Roswell,” Maria said amusement dancing in her eyes.

Kyle dropped the dice in her hand unaffected by her insult. “If you’re lucky you’ll get to experience the joy that comes from kissing me.”

“Right,” Maria said with an eye roll. “I’ve seen more then enough already.” Maria rolled and thanked her lucky star that she rolled odd. She waited for her question calmly.

At Kyle’s nudge Liz paused for a splint second before asking the question. “How do you get Michael to relax?” Liz asked a smirk playing over her face. She watched Maria’s eyes go round in shock and knew she was thinking of the same conversation the question had sprung up from.

“Umm lots of ways,” Maria hedged. She narrowed her eyes at Liz no longer feeling bad for making her agree to this game.

“That’s not an answer,” Liz replied as Michael shifted in his seat nervously.

“Sometimes I put on the hockey game,” Maria said twisting her hair around her finger.

“What about other times?” Kyle asked grinning.

“I don’t think that’s fair. She answered,” Michael said glaring at Kyle. “You can’t start asking questions.”

“Maria didn’t really answer though,” Liz said eyeing Maria’s squirming with amusement. Nice to see her get her just rewards.

“I can’t list off everything!” Maria burst out.

“There’s more than a hockey game though,” Liz said and went in for the kill. “Or maybe the hockey game is just playing in the background?”

Maria shot her a death glare and rolled her eyes at Liz’s return smile. That was the LAST time she talked to Liz about anything. Maria narrowed her eyes as it occurred to her that might be Liz’s whole point in asking the question. “Maybe. Michael likes..”

“STOP! Stop it! I can’t take it,” Isabel interrupted hands over her ears.

Dane started laughing at Isabel’s expression of utter disgust. Maria just smiled slyly knowing she had gotten off pretty lightly thanks to Isabel.

“Well I think that’s enough for tonight. Everyone agree?” Liz asked smiling. She congratulated herself on neatly avoiding Max’s last turn when everyone agreed.

Liz sat beside Dane as he drove her home. Maria had run interference for Liz allowing her to slip away with Dane alone. She had to figure out what to tell him.

Dane drove silently and parked in front of the café the light from the sign partially lighting the interior of the pick up. “Liz what was that? The images I saw when you kissed me?” Dane asked finally.

Liz froze. Oh SHIT! Her mind raced with a way to explain this. “What did you see?”

“You and Max. Arguing and him leaning over you when you were hurt. Running from something…you were scared and Max kept falling into the water,” Dane said confused. He turned to look at her in the confines of the truck.

“Um…I feel things sometimes but I’ve never sent anything like that to anyone but Max. I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened or why that’s possible,” Liz said deciding on playing stupid.

Dane thought about that for a few minutes. “You mean like a empathy or clairvoyant type of “feel things”?”

Liz shook her head. “I wouldn’t say that. Don’t you ever just feel something and know its true? Even if you can’t prove it or there’s no real way for you to know it?” Liz asked downplaying things considerably.

“I guess so. Everybody does once in awhile,” Dane replied.

“Well it’s like that just a little stronger. I’ve never been seriously hurt though. Just when I got this scar over my eye when I fell off the monkey bars in second grade so I don’t what that image was. Max and I argue a lot. It would be hard not to right now. Um the running….Max got beat up by some kids at school once maybe that was it. I don’t know. Max felt things from me sometimes…saw like a quick image to go with that feeling but we never told anyone. I was afraid people would freak out. It made me uncomfortable,” Liz said totally winging it. She watched his face as he thought about that.

“Oh…well it’s not scary or anything,” Dane said still confused but willing to believe that she didn’t have an answer for why it had happened. Looking into her eyes, which looked steadily back into his, he couldn’t believe she would be able to lie. She looked worried but not in a deceptive type of way. He didn’t want her to think he thought she was a freak or anything. The truth was completely the opposite of that.

Liz smiled slightly feeling sad she was forced to always lie. She lied to just about everyone and now she was adding one more person to the list. When was she going to start believing all the lies she told? “Good. I’m sorry I freaked you out like that. I just didn’t think about it. I didn’t think it could happen with anyone but Max. Kyle never saw anything strange,” Liz said feeling tired and depressed.

Dane decided to move onto another subject…sort of. “What is going on with you and Max? You feel something for him so…”

Liz sighed and looked out the window. “Have you ever had anything that was totally perfect?” Liz asked quietly.

Dane didn’t answer just watched her until she turned to look at him.

“I have. Then it just…turned into something so wrong. Now I don’t know what’s there anymore or what was really there in the first place. A lot of stuff happened to pull us apart and once we were apart things just got worse,” Liz said softly.

“You obviously love him. What’s stopping you from trying again?” Dane asked studying her eyes.

“We aren’t the same people anymore. I’m not sure what I feel isn’t just the leftover feelings I have for who he used to be. It’s complicated. Sometimes things happen that just forever change how you see someone and how you see yourself. I can’t really explain it any better then that,” Liz answered.

Dane sat thinking about that for a few minutes in silence. “That’s fair. I admit I don’t know either of you extremely well but…I think you’re special. I meant what I said about being friends so don’t feel like you have to be anything else. Taking your time isn’t a crime. If he loves you he’ll wait for you to be sure of what you want.”

Liz crawled up into the attic and lay down feeling drained. She was too tired to analyze the results of the “experiment” at the moment. She watched her child move slightly inside the pod kicking her feet in her sleep.

Ava was staying with Michael and Maria would be over in the morning. Isabel promised to keep Max at home tonight so she didn’t have to worry about him.

Liz yawned and stretched out not bothering to change her cloths. She hoped Dane didn’t fall asleep on the drive back. Her mind drifted slowly sinking into sleep.

Max lay in bed staring at the ceiling going over the day. Now that he had a little distance he could see that his course of action with Ava wasn’t a good one. He wasn’t likely to learn what he wanted to know and wouldn’t trust the answers he got in any case. He cringed as he thought about how Liz could have taken that bit of stupidity.

Folding his hands behind his head he thought about what Liz had said. He needed to learn more patience in everything it seemed.

“Max?” Isabel called from the doorway.


“What’s going on with you and Ava?” Isabel asked coming to sit on the edge of his bed.

“Nothing…I was trying to be nice hoping she would tell me something,” Max said looking over at his sister.

“I hope it is nothing Max because if its not you’re going to hurt Liz again,” Isabel said quietly.

“It is nothing. Liz and I already talked about it,” Max reassured her.

“I’m going to tell you this hoping you can understand it. I don’t think you truly understand what it did to Liz to see you with Tess. If you had chosen anyone else it wouldn’t have been half as bad. Liz felt insecure when it came to Tess in the first place now seeing you with Ava….although she knows Ava is a different person…it’s like having those doubts all over again. Do you see what I mean?” Isabel asked watching him.

“Liz knows she’s the most important thing to me,” Max refuted.

“How does she know? Because you told her? You said that before and it didn’t stop you from sleeping with Tess. A bond to Liz didn’t stop you so why would she believe that this time? Look at this from Liz’s side. Ava is the replica of Tess in body, a hybrid like you are, a decent person, she could slide right into the spot left open by Tess. You need to start seeing things from more then your own perspective. Just because you think you know what you’re doing doesn’t mean the rest of us know,” Isabel said carefully. Max was so focused sometimes that he only saw one thing and didn’t understand how the rest of them saw a bunch of complications. “You shouldn’t be touching Ava like you did today. Everyone noticed it.”

Max looked at Isabel and saw the worry in her eyes and realized that she was afraid he was going to screw up again. If Isabel felt that way it was likely the rest of them did too. “You’re right Izzy. I didn’t think about that. I’m afraid for Liz and the baby. I’m afraid we aren’t moving fast enough and something is going to happen to my son. Liz will never forgive me if something happens to one of her children. It was stupid and Liz called me on it,” Max said and his thoughts drifted to Dane…another complication. “It didn’t help that Ava showed up today of all days. Do you think Dane bought whatever Liz told him?”

“I think so. Even if he didn’t he probably just thinks we’re all weird. It’s not like he’s a FBI agent or anything. He likes Liz that’s all. People have a tendency to want to believe what you tell them if they like you. He didn't seem different or suspicious,” Isabel replied. She rose and walked toward the door ready to get some sleep.

“Is?” Max called and waited till she turned to look at him. “Thanks know..trying to help me.”

“It’s what families do Max. I just want you to be happy,” Isabel paused then added. “I’d really like for us all to be happy for a change.”

posted on 6-Jan-2003 3:36:37 PM
Moonie...I just have a question.....I hope you don't take this the wrong way but I'm going to ask anyway.

Have to say...really glad the Liz got the guilts from kissing Dane... Don't like'em (sorry). I think that Max and Liz should try and work on things ... They really need to sit down shove their egos to the side and talk. Stop pointing fingers and talk about why they did what they did... and go from there.

This Liz seemes to be the continuation of the Liz that used Sean ...

What makes Liz a user per say? I agree that the Sean thing was.....not good. She did use him....I think she knows that. He had feelings for her and did things that weren't in his best interests for her. I also think though that he knew she was wrapped up in Max....a blind person had a view of that before prom and even before that. He wasn't in the dark. I'm wondering what in the last few parts is making that impression on you. Is it the fact that she wants to be free of Max? Or is at least testing the chances of leaving?

Too bad Max doesn't have the same sense of guilt when giving foot rubs and kissing on women. (a little leaking of the Maxhater in me)

My problem is that Liz is almost forced to "work on" things when Max was able to tell her that he couldn't even be her friend. I don't really think ego is the issue. I don't really think the why is unclear. Max has talked about why. So now what? Liz knows why.

I'm just interested since your viewpoint is so different. I'm really finding the different viewpoints interesting on one end is livia and your at the other.....I'm somewhere in middle which is surprising in and of itself.....I thought I was hard core. Anyway....I don't mean any offense I'm just curious.
posted on 6-Jan-2003 6:25:50 PM
The fact remains that Liz didn't sleep with Kyle. The two situations are different. Totally different really. I don't care if Max was trying to get back with her or was hurt. It doesn't excuse his behavior after the Kyle thing.The trying to get back together thing is irrelevent. He was an ass. He didn't know Liz very well if he bought that show. Or he thought Liz was a slut that would have sex and then not have anything else to do with the guy. He believed what he saw and reacted badly and chose not to really sit down and think about it. No one can convince me that Liz was an award winning actress and it made so much sense and seemed plausible that there was no doubt in his mind. He asked her how many times? Why didn't he look into it more?

In any case that doesn't excuse Max from the Tess thing. Max didn't love Tess. He chose to have sex with someone he didn't love. Even if he did believe Liz had sex two wrongs don't make a right. I would be okay with the sex if Max had actually truly loved Tess and they had dated for a time and used protection. They hooked up and screwed because poor Max needed a lift.

Of course Liz made mistakes. Never said she didn't. The fact remains the actual act means something. There is a world of difference between pretending and lying and actually screwing. Unless she unzipped his pants for him its not her fault. He made the choice.

Boy this is really getting me worked up. Makes me want to change my direction in the fic. I think my kneejerk reaction is presenting itself at the moment. This fic came about because of the "forgive Max anything and just gloss over what he did" movement. I hate that Max is given so much leeway. I really believe there is a double standard here. My intention at the start of this fic was much different then it has become as I went along.....I've been told the feedback influenced me too much and I think that's correct. However now I'm finding the roadblocks I'm giving Liz to be interesting too. I'm making it hard for her to just ditch him. I'm putting in place things that create ties between them.

I still don't have an ending in mind for this fic. When I started I pondered where to post it....the forums here make it difficult when you don't have a coupling in mind. Since I wasn't sure I didn't put it on the Dreamer's not really a Max friendly story. I didn't put it on the UC forum because I don't know it will end there either so this is where it is by default....I did ask a mod though and she suggested here.

Anyway I'm about done with the next part...I just have to check the details.

Art...I think I see what you mean in a way....they are kids. I don't think understanding the why's mean they can forgive them. I can reassure you that Liz won't be getting into a relationship at the moment. You'll see that more in the next part. Liz knows she isn't ready....she does want a friend...a normal outside party and that was her motive. She also admitted that the "experiment" was one of the biggest mistakes she has made. BTW thank you so much for the compliment! I have to say I am so happy that I have sucked you in. *big*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 6-Jan-2003 6:38:55 PM ]
posted on 6-Jan-2003 9:58:48 PM
Chapter Thirty Seven
**Instinct- : a largely inheritable and unalterable tendency of an organism to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason b : behavior that is mediated by reactions below the conscious level


When Maria and Ava arrived the next morning they found Liz already up and working on the computer. “What are you up to?” Maria asked sitting on the edge of Liz’s bed Ava settling beside her.

“Charting the experiment,” Liz answered without looking up. She deliberately referred to it as the experiment. Making it less personal. “See with Michael there was nothing…no guilt or anything at all.”

“That’s not quite true,” Maria said foot swinging in a gentle rhythm.

“What do you mean?” Liz asked spinning to face Maria.

“Michael said he saw things. Flashes…of me with you over the years. He said it wasn’t sharp or the same as it is between us but he did see things,” Maria said repeating what she and Michael had discussed at length the night before.

Liz thought about that and turned to adjust the chart. Interesting. “I was thinking about you when I kissed Michael actually. I didn’t try to send him anything though. I didn’t even know I had.”

“He didn’t get anything from Isabel,” Maria said watching Liz type.

“Hmmm,” Liz said not turning. “Can you call Kyle? I want to see what he says.”

“Sure,” Maria said and reached for the phone.

Ava stayed quiet not sure if her thoughts were welcome. She chewed at the inside of her cheek thoughtfully. She had an idea of what was happening but wanted to see what they had to say before offering anything. She wasn’t part of this group of people after all.

Liz hung up the phone and started filling in the chart with the information Kyle had provided.

“Well? What did he say?” Maria asked impatient. After handing the phone to Liz she had listened to Liz’s side of the conversation but that hadn’t provided very much information.

“He said the first kiss was normal. No flashes or anything. The second wasn’t. Now that’s interesting. If we look at this in order…I kissed Michael first and he got vague stuff and only what was on my mind at the time. First kiss with Kyle was next and totally normal. Max was after that and the lightening crap came back. Dane came next and that wasn’t normal. He got flashes,” Liz muttered chewing on the end of a pen she had picked up. She was not factoring in anything with Max yet. Mainly because she didn’t want to talk to him yet.

“WHAT?!” Maria yelped.

“Yeah. It was bad. Anyway…Second kiss with Kyle wasn’t normal. He got flashes but he said he also felt a rush of overwhelming emotion. Dane didn’t feel that. He only got some feelings about the images he saw nothing big,” Liz said tapping the pen on the edge of the desk. She spun in her seat to look at Ava. “What do you think?”

“I think the more upset or nervous you get the more you send. I think that Max…more specifically the corrupted bond between you upsets your balance…your control over your powers. I also think intent and trust play a role,” Ava answered watching Liz’s face.

“What do you mean?” Liz asked curious.

“The more you trust someone the less of a wall you put up when near them. You’re pretty open most of the time anyway…walls aren’t your normal mode of operation. What I mean by intent is this. You have no sexual or romantic feelings for Michael or he for you. There’s no intent to take the kiss anywhere. Kyle and Dane may be a different story. Their intent plays a part too. What did you feel when you kissed Dane?” Ava asked watching Liz’s brow furrow.

“I felt guilty. There was a crushing weight on my chest. It felt wrong,” Liz answered.

“What about with Kyle?” Ava asked.

“Umm there was no weight on my chest. I didn’t feel guilty exactly…” Liz hedged unsure of what she had felt.

“But you felt something?” Ava asked.

“Yes…I felt..warm I guess. I don’t know…I knew I had done something with Kyle…sent him something. I wasn’t sure what but I knew I had done something. I felt scared and…overwhelmed,” Liz said thinking hard about what had happened.

“Okay. Who do you trust more? Dane or Kyle?” Ava asked.

“Kyle,” Liz replied right away.

“Who do you feel more for? What’s the difference there?” Ava asked. She was leaving Max out of it for now.

“I feel more for Kyle in general. There’s history there. He’s the best. A great friend and totally trust worthy. I feel safe with him. Dane’s attractive but I don’t know him really well,” Liz answered.

“Who would you sleep with? Which one of them is more attractive?” Ava asked watching Liz as she looked down at her hands and didn’t answer. She decided to reword the question. “If you HAD to sleep with one of them who would you pick and why?”

Liz squirmed as she thought about that. “If I had to..Kyle. Because I trust him. Dane is more attractive like….chemistry wise but I don’t know him. I couldn’t be honest with him and I would be too afraid. Kyle knows me and I can tell him anything and he understands and doesn’t judge me.”

“There’s your answer then. That’s why Kyle got what he got from you. You trust him and let him in even though you may not want to take it further. Dane got some but probably because you were upset and you are attracted to him at whatever level you are. It’s not deep with him at this point. I would guess part of your gift is your ability to send…to open up to someone and that’s special in itself. Your gifts and the bond respond to you and your feelings. The bond especially. It tunes to your morals and character,” Ava explained. She didn’t discuss the guy’s intentions at all. To her it was clear.

“What do you mean when you say her gifts and the bond respond to her?” Maria asked still a little puzzled.

“Her gifts are in a large part coming from her strengths. Part is coming from Max because he stimulated those gifts and left something of himself behind but most are from her. The bond is a shared thing and amplifies their communication and ability to feel the other. It’s an agreement to share themselves. Let me ask this…yesterday were you upset with Max? Did you think he was trying to get in my pants?” Ava asked Liz plainly.

“No. I knew he wasn’t,” Liz replied. “I was upset with him but not because I thought he was trying to sleep with you.”

“How did you know?” Maria asked. It hadn’t been clear to her that was for sure.

“I don’t know I just did,” Liz answered shrugging.

“She knew because like it or not they’re linked. She’ll get things…know things about him. So will he if he pays attention. The bond reacts to lies and betrayals even if you don’t actively know about them because it’s an open link between you and you’ll tell each other things without trying to. It reacts to intentions and actions both maybe not right away but it does react in some form. When, or I guess I should say if, you ever get completely in tune with the bond you will know,” Ava said looking between the two girls.

“So how is it that Max could do what he did?” Maria asked forgetting Ava hadn’t really been told what had happened.

“Why don’t you tell me what happened?” Ava asked softly. She didn’t miss Liz stiffen and look away. She knew Max must have slept with Tess but wasn’t really clear on the details. “I’m also curious about what Tess did exactly.”

“Tess mindwarped Alex to decode the destiny book. For about two months Alex was out of town working on it. She removed memories from quite a few people. She made a deal with the skins to go home and bring Max’s child with her,” Liz said watching Ava as she talked.

“I see,” Ava said thinking that she wasn’t really surprised. Tess had seemed power hungry and extremely good at playing a role. “That’s a destructive power. Both mindwarping and removing memories can destroy the mind. I don’t use those powers unless I am in serious physical danger. It’s too easy to make a mistake. Everyone is so different. When I was growing up I made a mistake once and someone got hurt.”

“Why is it so dangerous?” Maria asked.

“The brain is a complicated thing. Memories and information are basically transmitted with chemicals and electrical impulses…when you play with that you can change more then you intend. When you reroute those electrical impulses it can shift a lot more then you intend for it to. The more you mess around the more likely it is that there will be damage caused,” Ava explained earnestly.

“Well that didn’t really concern Tess. She wanted what she wanted and she ran right over anyone in her way,” Liz replied.

“She must have been livid about the bond,” Ava muttered piecing things together.

“You could say that,” Liz said mildly. “Max and I slept together and Tess removed that memory from both of us. She also did something to us to get us together after that. I thought those were just dreams…I don’t know what Max thought. Max and Tess slept together….maybe a week or so before the Granilith left. She told Max she was pregnant and the baby was ill. She convinced him they had to go home. Max connected to the child and was satisfied that Tess was telling the truth. They used the book translation to figure out how to activate the Granilith but we figured out it was Tess who killed Alex. Max let Tess leave in the Granilith hoping to save his son. That’s pretty much the story,” Liz said leaving out the pod and a few other things.

Ava thought about what Liz had said and examined the wording. “Okay that explains why I felt the Granilith leave. I knew it was gone and that my dupe was gone. I just assumed the others had gone with her. It also explains the state of you’s bond,” Ava remarked.

“So my question stands. How could Max have done what he did if he was bonded to Liz?” Maria asked.

“The bond don’t restrain you from acting if you choose to ignore it. It makes it uncomfortable and tries to warn you I guess is what you would say. The problem is that each of the two people have different morals and standards. So with Liz she feels guilty and a weight on her chest at the kissing stage. Max he may not feel that. He would feel something at some point, that’s a fact, it just depends on his standards and what he’s comfortable with. Even if he didn’t remember the act of bonding that bond still exists. It would still react,” Ava explained softly.

“So is the bond created by sex?” Maria asked wondering about herself and Michael.

“No. Not really. Intent again plays a part. Sex just tends to bring out the primal side of people and lowers the boundaries. With Max and Liz it’s more complicated due to the healing and the connection created. When I met you Liz I felt…something in you. It took me awhile to realize that it was the start of a bond with Max. That’s why you were able to appear to Max in New York. His essence calls to yours..that was true even before the bond was cemented. Instinct is a powerful thing in us. Max’s instinct was always to bind you to him. It may not have been at the front of his mind but it was there and his gifts reacted to it,” Ava said then shifted gears. “Everyone’s different. Zan was controlling and dominant. Possessive and maybe a little selfish. His instinct was strong and reflected those traits. That’s not to say that he didn’t have good traits..he did. He looked out for me and tried to do his best by the family. So far as I can see Max ain’t that different. He’s just not as in tune with himself.”

Ava paused thinking about how to explain things and hoping she was being clear. Or at least as clear as she could be the bond issue had a lot of ambiguities to it. “Bonding requires no walls. You have to be open to each other. You also have to want the bond….want to be tied to that person. Maybe I’m not really explaining this well…let’s see…there has to be a desire to share all of yourself to be forever linked to that person in that moment. For them to live inside you as you do in them. It’s a mating of two people more instinct then planned. Understand?” Ava asked not sure she had done the best job of painting the full picture.

“So what you’re saying is both people have to want that?” Maria asked.

“Yeah. It’s a primal need…instinct. I don’t know how to explain it any better then that,” Ava answered. She had never had to explain something that she had always known to be true.

“So how does it go so wrong then? Instinct is a pretty powerful thing,” Maria replied.

“The human part is how it goes wrong. People do things against their nature all the time. We all have an instinct to survive but people commit suicide or do drugs that they know can harm or kill them. Humans are different they have the ability to deny instinct or act against it for a time. We have emotions and let our minds override what our base selves know to be true. It happens,” Ava shrugged carelessly. “People talk themselves into all kinds of things.”

“You said our bond was corrupted..What did you mean by that?” Liz asked.

“I mean he acted against his best interests and against the bond. Now you’re both fighting that bond in certain ways. There’s a lack of trust and it’s throwing off your balance as individuals and as a bonded pair. I can feel it clearly and that is not good,” Ava said seriously. “I’m not saying I don’t understand why it is that way. I’m just saying it’s going to cause you major problems. Your energy is reacting the way it is because of the corrupted bond. Your emotions affect your gifts. The same is true for Max. He’s just had his powers longer and has better control learned over time. This is eating at both of you and that’s not going to stop. Bonds are serious business and they don’t go away because you want them to. They aren’t voided when you reconsider things or things go wrong.”

“So your saying I have to what exactly? Stay with him forever?” Liz asked feeling a welling sense of hopelessness.

“No…I’m not saying that you have to marry him or anything. I’m saying you will always be tied to him. That’s not quite the same thing. It depends on you really. You each have to make up your minds about what you can accept. Your lives are now tied to each other that’s a fact. You may not have known what you were doing at the time but it’s done now. The problem comes when what you both want is at odds,” Ava said studying Liz. She didn’t say all of what she thought. The bond between them had been strong before it was cemented. It had begun to grow long before then. It was clear Liz was going to have problems. If she couldn’t kiss someone in a structured environment how was she going to build a life with someone else? That wasn’t even taking into account Max and his issues. Her dupe had really known what to do to fuck with them.

“Can I ask when you started getting the lightening?” Ava asked curious.

“It was after Tess left. We searched her room and found a journal she left for me,” Liz said quietly.

“So it was a journal that broke you enough to cause your control to slip. Tess really knew you guys,” Ava muttered thinking of all the effort Tess must have put forth. She was still pondering Liz’s wording of her explanation of events. She knew that there was more there but understood trust had to be earned.

After Maria and Ava left Liz sat on her balcony thinking long and hard about what she had learned. She knew that she wasn’t ready to be with anyone. Not in a romantic way at least. She wanted to understand what was happening and find some level of peace so she could be sure she wasn’t reacting to her fears. She was tired of lying and when she did get into a relationship it wouldn’t be one based on lies and where she had to hide so much of herself. Ava was right about one thing…it wasn’t natural for her to hide from people close to her. It bothered her with her parents too. She felt separate and apart from her own family and she hated it. She knew this how Max, Isabel, and Michael had felt all of their lives…she understood the reason behind keeping secretes….she was a private person by nature but not sharing was different then outright lies. They were all crossing boundaries with increasing frequency and that scared her. She was afraid of loosing the person she was beneath all the lies and deceptions.

That’s why she was going to keep a distance between herself and Dane. It wasn’t right to drag someone into the mess that was her life…not without being honest about it and that was one thing she couldn’t do. Not even if all they were was a normal friend. She couldn’t let anyone else in on anything more then a surface level..anything else would be selfish and unfair. There was too much riding on the outcome of all this. Her need for normal was a pipe dream anyway. The needs of her child had to come first and keeping her safe was the first step.

posted on 7-Jan-2003 3:56:20 PM
Wow! This is getting interesting. *happy* First let me say I am in a better mood today so I hope I don't sound angry today*wink* Yesterday I read a few fics before replying and that was a huge mistake. It upset me and I then I wasn't reading the responses here objectively. Truly I'm not angry and I wasn't really angry here yesterday just....passionate.

I have to say I find Liz very forgivable in EOTW. I do. In fact I really don't consider anything she did to be horrible or unforgivable. There are a couple of reasons for that. Liz had good intensions and was put in a very tough spot and I think she did the best she could. I believe motivation matters. A version of Max was there....egging her on and really getting pretty heavy handed in pushing her to solve the problem. I don't think if Max were in Liz's spot he would have gone to Liz either. He is well known for taking over and making choses for others so I don't think Liz was horrible for doing the same. I do give Max slack in that area in S1 too. I also think that NONE of them were even close to a team at that point....they were all splintered and off on their own. Since May that was true and no one was making a move to fix that not even Max.

I don't think Max had reason to loose all the faith he did in her. He accused her of ratting them out when Whittaker's death was leaked. That's crazy. What does her having sex with Kyle have to do with that? The very fact that he asked Liz so many times about having sex with Kyle is telling. You saw her face when she answered just like Max did. I didn't think she was convincing.....Max thought there was room for doubt since he continued to ask. I just have an issue with his lack of faith. I have an issue with his moping and self pity. I have an issue with him not looking into it at all. Not even the barest slimest bit of effort was put forth as time went on except to ask her. He didn't ask Kyle. He didn't ask Maria. He didn't put together her efforts to push him to Tess, sex with Kyle, no contact with Kyle at all afterwards, knowledge of the granilith, her attitude, his vision in Vegas, her efforts to help him in NY....he didn't even ask Michael or Isabel what happened apparently because they were sitting right therewhen Liz talked to Ava! I just have to wonder at that. It's not one or two things.....what kind of king was he? He doesn't do much thinking on his own as far as I can least not thinking that leads him in the right direction.

About the baby and Tess and them leaving...there was another choice. Keep Tess there. anyone would wonder at that point if she was lying. The vile women killed someone and lied to everyone for months she couldn't be lying then? But fine I accept that piece of stupidity. It was a split second choice. It was the wrong one.

I don't think persecuting Max is an issue either. Holding him accountable and pointing out bad behavior isn't persecuting him. If you take the picture Max saw and cut him a break....or say it was exeptable that he believed what he saw then you have to relook at Liz. Max locked lips with Tess in front of Liz...what?...ten seconds..maybe two minutes after telling her she was the "only one" for him. Hmmm I see. I think its natural people are angry with Max.

Just pointing out another view and throwing in my two cents to the already raging discussion. *big* I love this! I was hoping for this when I started writing this fic....and really If I've never made this clear before I love all the different views that's what makes the FB interesting. I can agree with pieces from a lot of your FB. and even if I don't agree I still find it interesting and I am thankful that all of you are still reading and interested enough to respond. That is so great. Thanks!
posted on 8-Jan-2003 11:50:45 AM
Chapter Thirty Eight

**The songs featured in this chapter are “Anything But Down” and “My Favorite Mistake” in that order both by Sheryl Crow.


Michael kept an eye on the dining room as Liz and Maria worked. He studied the customers and tried to stay aware of who was in the café at any one time. He was trying to improve all of his skills human and alien and part of that were his observation skills. He was also discovering that he could let his alien senses flow out from him like a spider sense…sort of like scenting the air for trouble. Michael was taking this latest threat seriously and knew he would be responsible for things here in Roswell while the others went to Las Cruses so he was making an effort to practice his powers and stay aware.

Maria kept an eye on Liz worried that she was so quiet and withdrawn. She wondered how Liz felt about what Ava had told them that morning but she was trying to keep her promise about not butting in. Instead she was just watching and trying to make sure that Liz knew she was there in case she needed her.

Liz was still mulling over her thoughts and trying to come up with the best way to handle the situation they were all in. She was starting to think that Ava should go to the bank to open Tess’s box instead of her going. The more she thought about it the less she wanted both Max and herself so far away from the pod. What if there was a fire? Or if the FBI had seen her bring the pod home?

The real question was if they could trust Ava. She did. After talking with her and being around her she found she was comfortable with her and had no reservations about trusting her. The only reason she hadn’t told Ava everything that morning, including the baby, was that she knew Max didn’t trust her. She didn’t want to make a decision like that without talking to Max about it first. This was about his child too and she wanted him to be comfortable with it and be involved with making decisions about the baby.

Liz smiled at the older couple she was serving and moved away on automatic pilot. She hoped that Ava’s visit with Max would help things a little. Ava had headed over to the Evan’s house after leaving hers. Liz wanted Max to hear about what she had learned directly from Ava so he could ask his own questions.

As the dinner rush waned Liz went to change the CD playing in the dining room. Looking through her choices she put in the “Globe Sessions” by Sheryl Crow and hit the random button. Sighing she admitted she was in a melancholy mood and music seemed to fit her frame of mind. The ringing of the bell over the front door announced Max, Isabel, and Ava’s arrival and had Liz glancing over her shoulder before turning back to her task of bussing tables. Maria went over and took their orders and delivered their drinks not really stopping to chat.

Max was still mulling over everything Ava had told him and wasn’t really listening to the idle chatter of the two girls. He picked at his food lost in thought. His eyes followed Liz and he could tell she was struggling under the weight of everything that was happening. He knew he had an almost impossible task ahead of him. He had a lot to make up for but he really wanted to succeed. Liz was still and always the best thing that had ever happened to him. He also knew that it was his own fault that she couldn’t say the same. Now he had a daughter to think about too.

Max moved to the counter taking his drink with him. Playing with the straw he lost himself in his thoughts and was almost startled when Liz came to stand in front of him.

“Hey Max. You need a refill?” Liz asked softly.

“Umm yeah thanks,” Max agreed sliding his glass toward her. He watched as she refilled his drink and set it carefully in front of him. He didn’t try to start a conversation struck by the look in her eyes.

Liz moved down the counter to refill the condiments humming along to the music.

You are a raging sea
I pull myself out everyday
I plead insanity
'Cause I can't leave, but I can't stay

Liz stopped staring into space.

You with your silky words
And your eyes of green and blue
You with your steel beliefs
That don't match anything you do
It was so much easier before you became you

Liz chewed on her lip her eyes slipping over to Max. Finding Max watching her she quickly looked down and tried to concentrate on her task.

No more playing seek and hide
No more long and wasted nights
Can't you make it easy on yourself
I know you wish you were strong
You wish you were never wrong
Well, I got some wishes of my own

Max frowned lightly wondering of he should read anything into her song choice. It would be true. He DIDN’T bring her anything but down.

The song changed and Liz sighed purposefully not looking at Max.

Well, your friends are sorry for me
They watch you pretend to adore me
But I'm no fool to this game
Now here comes your secret lover
She'd be unlike any other
Until your guilt goes up in flames
Did you know when you go it's the perfect ending
To the bad day I've gotten used to spending
When you go all I know is you're my favorite mistake

She really had to stop listening to Sheryl Crow. Her eyes met and held Max’s as her hands stilled.

Did you know, could you tell you were the only one
That I ever loved
Now everything's so wrong

Max saw the sadness and confusion in her eyes before she could mask it. He faced what he had been trying not to see…that she might never be able to forgive him. That he might never be able to repair what he had broken.

“Are they always like that?” Ava asked Isabel watching Max and Liz stare at each other.

“Umm on their good days,” Isabel replied. “They used to do that for hours.”

“Cornball,” Ava said softly.

“You get used to it,” Maria said sliding into the booth next to Isabel.

Liz turned and switched off the CD player and took her tray of filled condiments intent on getting away from Max. At least until she could pull herself together and stop being a baby.

Max watched her work as drawn to her as always. He knew that even during the darkest time in his life he had still been drawn to her. He knew it was his fear and hurt that had helped turn him into the person he was. Thinking back on the last year he realized he had never felt so lost…not even before Liz had been in his life. Before he had been content to watch her feeling apart from life never knowing any different..scared to fully live. His purpose had been to hide. After saving Liz his whole world had shifted…opened in a way he hadn’t dreamed possible. He had seen possibilities that had never been available before and he wanted those possibilities. He had wanted Liz and what a life with her would bring. He knew he had struggled at times after that…not being used to looking past that narrow world he had lived in. Liz had always been able to widen his view when he couldn’t accomplish that on his own. She had done that even when he wasn’t aware of it and even when he didn’t appreciate it. She was his touchstone and steadied him in way that he didn’t fully realize. The shift in his life after Tess came had been extremely unwelcome. Tess had been trying to create boundaries…to narrow their world back down to the four of them and that wasn’t expectable. Loosing Liz and then trying to cut her out of his life had left him adrift and willfully blind in a world that he didn’t understand and wasn’t equipped to handle. He had lost himself and his beliefs and turned on his soul…Liz. All of that was him. His failure. Now he had to deal with it and try to rebuild from here. His life wasn’t just his anymore if it ever really had been.

Liz checked on all her lingering customers and then steeled herself for her conversation with Max. They had decisions to make. She walked behind the counter and went to stand in front of him. “Max? We need to talk.”

“Okay,” Max agreed looking up.

“I think you should go with Ava to Las Cruses. I can stay here with…” Liz gestured up toward the ceiling. “Michael. I also think we need to talk to Ava about her too.”

“Okay, I’ll talk to Ava and see if she’s willing to go. Why didn’t you already talk to Ava about the baby?” Max asked curious.

“We need to make decisions about the baby together. You’re her father,” Liz replied calmly.

“You trust her?” Max asked.

“Yeah, I do. If you want we don’t have to tell her where the pod is. We can just show her pictures. I took some with a digital if you’re nervous we can just do that. What do you think?” Liz asked.

“That sounds good. We can talk to her together at Michael’s tomorrow when you’re off if that’s okay,” Max agreed.

“Sure that’s fine,” Liz replied shifting nervously. “Umm listen I should tell you that Dane…he got um flashes last night when I kissed him.”

Max looked away briefly before focusing on her again. “What did he say?”

“I think it’ll be fine. Even if it isn’t none of you are involved. I told him I had that happen before that I had some weird ability I didn’t understand. I’m sorry..I shouldn’t have agreed to do that,” Liz said softly.

“Don’t worry about it. We all agreed to play. You didn’t know that would happen. The three of us all made mistakes with our powers. Remember that damn bird?” Max asked and at her nod continued. “At least you weren’t video taped using your powers. Michael started a small fire at his first foster home…they thought he was the devil. Isabel scared the shit out of our Mom by dreamwalking her. It happens.”

“Well I didn’t want to hide it even if I think it won’t be a problem,” Liz said and consciously relaxed her white knuckled grip on her own fingers. “So…”

“Yeah…what do you think about what Ava said?” Max asked softly.

“We’ll have to work on things. We don’t have a choice we can’t let ourselves stay like this,” Liz answered avoiding his gaze. She knew she was still resistant and fearful when it came to him but she would try. They didn’t have to be a couple….they could be friends.

Max studied her face seeing her discomfort clearly. “Liz…do you believe you’re important to me? That I love you?”

“I believe that right this minute that may be true. I think you believe you love me right now,” Liz answered slowly not looking at him.

Max tilted his head slightly as he thought about that. “I don’t believe it. I know it.”

“Max…you change your mind a lot. I’ve heard all of this before. More then once. I think that when the next best thing comes around the bend you’ll change your mind again. Or maybe things will get too difficult and you’ll…leave or cut me out of your life. I think we have different ideas about what love is,” Liz said meeting his eyes. “I don’t trust what you say anymore. Those are just words and you don’t live up to them.”

Max stayed quiet trying to think of what to say.

“I don’t mean to make you feel awful or anything…I’m just trying to be honest with you. I don’t want to drag out examples of why I think what I do. We don’t have the best track record and I can’t do this again. I have to be smarter now. We have to find a way to live with this bond thing,” Liz said watching him and for some reason feeling bad.

“Okay..” Max started.

“Lizzie? Can I talk to you please?” Jeff Parker asked from the doorway leading to the back room.

“Sure,” Liz said and after a look at Max she walked into the backroom with her father. “What’s up Dad?”

“Where were you last night?” Jeff asked and seeing the confused look on her face he continued. “I looked in on you last night and you weren’t home. The lights in your room were on and it was the middle of the night. Honey…what are you into?”

Liz shifted her feet and tried to think of what to say. She had been home….just in the attic. “Daddy…I’m not doing anything wrong. I promise.”

Jeff sighed and studied his daughter. She had always been a good girl and never really in serious trouble. He was just worried. He had eyes and he could see the way Max Evans looked at her. Now she was sneaking out at night…if Nancy had been the one to notice her lights on there would have been hell to pay. He wanted to trust his daughter…he wanted to believe that they had raised her right.

“I’m sorry Dad. I wasn’t with Max last night I promise. Max and I…we’re friends,” Liz said softly suddenly wanting to cry. She was trying so hard not to lie.

Jeff didn’t know what to believe. His parental instinct was telling him there was a problem…loudly. Maybe she wasn’t handling Alex’s death as well as he had thought. Seeing the tears in her eyes and her distress all of his alarms were gaining in volume. “You know you can talk to me right? About anything…you’re my daughter Liz and I love you. I want to help you and I can’t if I don’t know what’s wrong.”

“I know,” Liz agreed. Looking at her dad she knew he wasn’t reassured. The worry was plain on his face and in his eyes. She straightened under the growing weight of her problems and smiled. “I do know. I’m really okay. I’m sorry about last night. I couldn’t sleep and needed some air.”

“Okay…would you like to maybe spend a day this week with your old man? We could go star gazing some night…take your telescope and go out into the used to love that,” Jeff asked. He thought spending time with her might open her up a little. Thinking about it he realized they hadn’t really done anything together away from the café in at least a year. Really since they had gone camping with the school.

“Sure Dad. That sounds great,” Liz agreed.

“Okay. I’ll talk to your mom then,” Jeff replied. He wanted to show that he was there for her. Suddenly she was so big..grown and he was afraid he had allowed Liz to slip away while he wasn’t watching.

Liz smiled and nodded. Watching him turn and walk up the stairs she took a deep breath and held it as she blinked away her tears.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 8-Jan-2003 11:51:44 AM ]
posted on 8-Jan-2003 2:28:51 PM
xmag brought a point that is interesting....that whole alien awaking thing. I hated that. I think it was many of the simply stupid things in least the way it was presented. Michael turns into a raving lunitic but Isabel gains control over it or whatever was happening with that whole thing. Each of the three of them reacted so differently that I just choose to ignore it for the most part. Isabel has solid black eyes and what about Michael and Max? The seals in different places it was just laughable. I prefer to think about it more like they are remembering their alien selves on their own. If I think of it at all. There are too many things that don't make sense with that whole issue.

People are going to choose to believe what they want about the connection/soulmate issue. It was mentioned on the show but.....didn't seem to really apply after awhile. People are also going to believe what they want about the FMax thing.....I always liked Liz the best so that's who I can understand more I guess. I believe that Liz would be wondering if Max started acting like she did. I think she would have looked into it. I guess for Max it was easier to believe eyes against heart despite the other things going on. This is a debate that will never be agreed upon.To me Max started his asslike behavior in season one......all forgivable to me then mistakes are something everyone makes....season 2 he crossed even more lines and I firmly placed him in a box labeled complete idiot/bastard.
posted on 9-Jan-2003 8:23:13 PM
Chapter Thirty Nine

Liz sank down onto the break room couch and closed her eyes trying to find the will to get through the rest of this day. That’s what her life was now…a series of days where she just tried to find the strength to make it to the next day. How sad was that? When had it gotten to be this way? That didn’t really matter the fact was it was that way for now.

Liz listened to the clinking of the plates and the sizzling of food on the grill. All so normal and a part of her life for as long as she could remember. Slowly she gained some equilibrium wrestling her emotions back into a straightjacket to contain them. If anyone had asked her two years ago if she were an emotional person she would have answered no but lately her emotions were running riot and mounting sneak attacks on her reason.

Mentally telling herself to stop whining she forced herself to her feet and back out into the dining room. She made a circuit of her tables before heading back toward the counter. The jangling of the bell on the front door announced Kyle’s arrival on the scene.

Kyle walked up to Liz and took her hand spinning her around in a circle before dipping her backwards. “How you doing?”

Liz smiled as he pulled her upright. “Just wonderful Kyle and you?”

“I’ve been thinking….Ivy is a wonderful name. Sort of straight-laced but with a naughty side. What do you think?” Kyle asked following her to the counter.

“I like it,” Liz agreed getting Kyle a Coke without him asking.

“I have visions of Reese Witherspoon in that one movie where she was briefly a stripper…her stage name was Ivy or maybe that was really her name I can’t remember and who cares when she’s in pleather? “Overnight Delivery” I think was the name of it. It holds a special place in my heart,” Kyle said smiling.

“I’m sure,” Liz remarked shaking her head.

“Liz..don’t pretend. You have your own little wild side. I can smell these things a mile away. It’s like my sixth sense,” Kyle said nodding before she could deny it. “Oh yes. I’m never mistaken. No need to hide from me…I never judge. I say revel in those naughty thoughts. I’ll never tell.”

Liz just blinked and stared at him through his dialog. “Kyle what are you sniffing? Whatever it is, it clearly is messing with your head.”

“Sure sure. Now…we need to buckle down. Indigo. That’s a wonderful name. Or how about Misty?” Kyle continued.

“Good lord,” Liz mumbled. Misty? Not even if hell froze over. “Kyle reality check…my daughter is not going to be a stripper or a Playboy centerfold. She’s very likely to inherit my lack of curves and height. So lets try to keep that in mind when looking into names. Besides that whole image disturbs me.”

Max had been listening with half an ear to their conversation since the beginning. He frowned at Liz’s last remarks. There was nothing wrong with her height or her curves. She was beautiful.

“Speaking as someone who is somewhat familiar with said curves…..they felt wonderful to me. You are selling them short,” Kyle replied. “Your daughter will be something wonderful. We just have to keep her away from Michael…we don’t want her to pick up his scowl and rough manner.”

“No stripper names,” Liz said firmly ignoring most of Kyle’s statement. Seeing a customer flagging her down she left Kyle and Max sitting in silence.

Kyle let the silence stretch not wanting to talk to Max. He was trying not to voice his opinion of Max. Kyle focused on Liz trying to lighten her thoughts and let her set down her burdens for a few minutes. He was furious that she felt less then. Hell he had ditched Tess and a lamp trimming for just lying in bed talking to Liz. It was worth it too. He may be a dumb jock but he knew quality when he saw it. He wasn’t that stupid.

Liz delivered the check to the table that had flagged her and refilled the drinks of several tables. She looked up and smiled when Sean walked in. “Hey stranger. It’s good to see you where’ve you been?”

Sean grinned and sat down at an empty table. “Just finishing up that community service. You’re looking at a free man.”

“That’s so great! Wow what are your plans now?” Liz asked.

“Not sure yet. I was thinking about trade school or something,” Sean said looking around. Spotting that blonde chick….What was her name?…Tess. “So I see Tess is back.”

“Oh Umm….” Liz scrambled for something to say. “Yeah…just visiting I think.”

Sean frowned thinking he was never going to figure out what the deal was with his cousin’s friends. They were a strange bunch. “So what have you been up to?”

“Not much. I’m sure you’ve heard it all from Maria,” Liz replied smiling.

“Well if you get some free time maybe you and your Buddhist friend would like to knock over some pins. You know take out some aggressions on the bowling alley,” Sean offered grinning.

“Sure, I’ll let you know. I’m spending some time with my dad this week but I’ll talk to Kyle and call you.”

Max watched Liz laughing with Sean and soon Kyle joined them. He was glad she looked less tense even though he didn’t like Sean. Now was as good of a time to talk to Ava as any.

Café finally closed Liz sank into a booth already occupied by Max and Isabel. “So are we on for talking to Ava tomorrow?”

“Yeah…we talked a little and she said she would go and open the box. So that’s all set. It looks like Isabel, Maria, and Ava are all set to go so tomorrow during my shift I’ll see about Larek,” Max answered.

“Does he still have that pentagram thing that wiped out your powers?” Liz asked curious.

“I think so why?” Max asked watching her.

“Just wondered. It might come in handy if Tess comes back. Michael can take her physically so her best defense is her powers,” Liz answered.

“That’s a good point. Max do you think you could borrow it?” Isabel asked. Any advantage they had needed to be used.

“I’ll look for it tomorrow,” Max agreed.

“Okay…I’ve been thinking….When are we going to talk to our parents?” Liz asked looking between Max and Isabel. She wanted to talk to them soon. She needed to lighten the load she was carrying and she wanted to prevent a big scene later. It was better to offer up the information freely with trust then wait for them to find out some other way. What if her dad crawled up in the attic for something?

Isabel looked over to Max. They had talked about it and she was all for telling them. Max was still holding off.

“Soon. We’ll tell them. I just need a little time,” Max said still squirming at the idea of that talk. Just the alien part bothered him….he wasn’t as worried about telling them about the baby…well maybe explaining the Tess part of that and where his son was.

“Max…you can’t keep putting this off. It’s not going away. What if one of my parents goes up into the attic? We need to tell them,” Liz said firmly. This was one decision she wouldn't let him slide on for long. This affected the pods safety. Her mom would freak out and the pod might get damaged. Anything could happen really and just the thought of all the ways this could go wrong had her anxiety spiking.

“Okay…we’ll talk about it again when I get back from Las Cruses. We’ll agree to a day and go to my parents first and go from there,” Max said hedging slightly…buying some time.

Liz’s lips tightened in anger and she looked away. Nothing was ever easy with him. “Okay, we’ll tell them when you get back,” Liz said deliberately wording her answer to make it clear they were telling them.

Isabel smiled not having missed Liz neatly putting Max’s back to the wall. She knew it would be okay. Max was just letting fear get in the way. Their parents loved them and would still love them after they were told the truth.

The next afternoon Liz drove over to Michael’s apartment and parked. She was ready to get this over with. Making her way up to Michael’s door she knocked and waited patiently for someone to answer. Ava opened the door and smiled stepping back to allow her entry. “Where’s Michael?”

“He said he was going out to the quarry? I didn’t really get it but whateva,” Ava said with a wave of her hand as she say on the couch with her legs curled up under her. “So what did you and Max need to talk to me about?”

“Max should be here in a minute but we wanted to tell you more about what happened over the last year. We have some questions,” Liz replied settling down herself and setting the camera in her lap. “How’s it been living with Michael?”

Ava smiled. “Not too bad. Better then the sewer anyway. Really he’s been pretty good and Maria is over all the time so it’s all good.”

Liz got up and answered the knock at the door letting Max in. She noticed he was carrying the journal. “Okay, I guess we can get started. I already told you about Max and I sleeping together and that Tess fiddled with us. What I didn’t say is that Tess poked holes in all Max’s condoms and I got pregnant. Tess removed the baby somehow and put her in a pod.”

Ava sat staring at Liz too shocked to say anything. “What?”

“It’s true it’s here in the journal Tess left and Liz has pictures of the pod,” Max said softly.

“Wait…wait,” Ava said holding up a hand. “Neither of you remembered the sex at all?”

“I thought it was just dreams. I had no idea that it was real,” Liz replied calmly.

“What about you Max?” Ava asked turning to look at Max.

“I didn’t remember at all. Now I remember the first time but that’s it. Liz found out while reading the journal and went to my room and checked the condoms. She called me when she found the holes. She asked me about the dreams…we think Tess did something to me when we were working together on memory retrieval,” Max explained.

“You worked with Tess? Let her in your head?” Ava asked seeing a bunch of problems with that. Now the wrongness she had felt from him started making more sense.

“Yes,” Max answered softly.

“Okay this is a problem. Can you get Isabel over here?” Ava asked Max.

“I can call her and seeing where she’s at. Why do we need her?” Max asked.

“There are different levels to mindwarping. Making someone see something differently or something that isn’t there is…easy surface stuff. You’re not really going very deep to do that your just changing the message being sent to the brain. Removing a memory is more complex. But serious stuff. You gave her complete access to you. You dropped all of your walls and let her in. There’s no telling what she’s done,” Ava explained seriously. “I’m thinking that you don’t trust me enough to let me in to fix whatever Tess has done. So Isabel’s going to help me. Now…show me the pictures.”

Liz got up and took the camera over so Ava could view the pictures. She stayed silent as Ava looked through the pictures silently while Max called Isabel.

“I don’t know enough to really help you with this. This isn’t the same as our pod. This is how the Skins…reproduce. Our people actually got the whole pod idea from them in the first place and modified it to suit our needs. A protector might know but..I wasn’t ever really involved or informed enough to help you. I’m sorry,” Ava said softly. She couldn’t even find the words to express her feelings to them. That her dupe could go to these lengths was…horrifying. It made her wonder about herself. Did she have bits of whatever allowed Tess to go to these extremes inside of her?

Liz stayed silent thinking. “Did you ever see your protector?”

“Once shortly after we broke out of the pods,” Ava answered wondering what Liz was getting at.

“If I showed you a picture do you think you could say if that was him?” Liz asked thinking of Langley.

“Yeah, I think so,” Ava agreed.

“Okay. I’ll run home while you guys wait for Isabel,” Liz said and rose.

Max watched her leave and turned back to Ava. “What do you think Tess did to me?”

“I think she messed with your…biological imperative…maybe that isn’t the term I want to use. Okay…have you ever had anything strange happen where you “need” to be with someone? Like every time you’re around them you need to touch them?” Ava asked.

“Yes…before Tess came Liz and I felt that way. She got a glowing hickey and there were some other symptoms. Tess talked about an awakening but she was referring to dreams that happened after she came to town,” Max said thinking back to his talk with Tess in desert when he asked her about Michael and Isabel’s dreams.

“Okay..those feelings that you and Liz had are part of your alien heritage. The alignment of the planets and stars can awaken us. The urge to mate…bond is one of the things they built inside us for survival purposes. All Tess would need to do is get you to open to her and focus you on your natural need for your mate…strengthen that need a little. You can find Liz…sense her wherever she is because of the bond. So you would go to her. I don’t want you to think that she can get you to do things that aren’t in your nature. She can’t warp you into killing someone if that’s not something you would do. She can work with what’s there..your personality and your fantasies. She can implant thoughts like daydreams and memories but she has to work within certain limits or you’re going to start resisting. See what I’m saying? There’s a limit to what you’ll believe or except as real.”

“Okay so why don’t I remember it?” Max asked.

“Have you ever seen someone that’s hypnotized? They do things and don’t remember that’s the whole point. What I’m worried about is if she did this often she may have done damage or left a shadow of what she did. She clearly wasn’t expecting you to live long so she might have been a little sloppy. Have you had any problems?” Ava asked watching him as he thought about it.

“No…not really. I mean…I had some problems sleeping and I was sleepwalking but that was awhile ago. Lately things have been fine,” Max said thinking about it.

“How were things with Liz when you were sleepwalking?” Ava asked.

“We weren’t talking actually. She was….angry,” Max admitted.

“Where did you sleepwalk to?” Ava questioned not remarking on what was clearly an understatement.

“Around my house mostly…but I did um get in bed with Liz one night while Maria was there,” Max said squirming as he remembered that horrible night.

“Yeah…like I said,” Ava replied quirking an eyebrow at him.

“Okay…yeah,” Max agreed softly. He should be happy he supposed at least he was crawling into Liz’s bed. Plus this meant there was actually a reason for that little stunt that Michael still teased him about. “Isabel can’t heal though…how’s she going to help?

“Isabel’s main individual power is a mind power. She’ll know something’s not right…plus I’m going to connect to her while she connects to you and we’ll all work together. That way you’ll feel more comfortable and able to open up more. I don’t want to do something TO you..We’ll all do this together,” Ava explained. She wanted Max comfortable and not worried she was going to take advantage of him.

“Now you sound a little like Liz. She’s big on team work,” Max replied with a smile.

“She’s a smart person,” Ava said smiling back.

posted on 10-Jan-2003 12:30:05 PM
The parents...well I may not take the same view of the parents that season 3 did. I wasn't really happy with that. Jeff just really did a turn around in the last season of course pretty much everyone did by then. I'll just say that I don't see the parents exactly the same way.

After all Max and Liz have not been arrested for armed robbery. I think that makes a difference as to how the parents view them. Phillip really started thinking Max was a criminal and may have murdered Tess and I think that pushed him into action. Jeff just thought Liz was a brainless twit throwing her life away on some punk...was he really that wrong?

So we'll see what happens.
posted on 10-Jan-2003 11:08:58 PM
Chapter Forty

Isabel settled down her knees touching Ava’s on one side and Max’s on the other. She prepared herself like she would if she were going to dreamwalk.

Max closed his eyes and took a couple deep breaths to relax. He allowed each on the girls to lightly hold onto one of his hands.

Ava had instructed them briefly and now they were ready. She connected to Isabel easily, the connection strong and steady. She hung back while Isabel connected to Max acting as the link between all three of them.

At first it was strange to have Ava flowing through her but Isabel soon got used to it. She followed Ava allowing her to show her new ways of using her powers.

Max felt their presence and actively “watched” them search for the source of feeling Ava had gotten from him.

Ava was pleased, not finding the damage she had feared. There was a lingering shadow deep at the core of the brain…the primitive part. Tess had done exactly what she had thought but she had left everything in place so one tug at Max would send him seeking Liz…one little push from Tess. She showed Max what to look for then withdrew leaving Isabel and Max to handle it.

Isabel lent her talents and energy to Max, guiding him as he sent his healing energy out seeking the problem. Minutes later she opened her eyes and watched Max slowly open his. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah…I think so,” Max said still in awe at what Ava could do. Ava had been able to blend into them and actually show them…teach them what to do. Amazing.

“You were lucky Max. Very lucky,” Ava replied seriously. For whatever reason Tess had been careful. Hybrids were naturally fast healers and fairly strong. Ava had felt the presence of Tess…knew she had sorted through Max’s memories in the guise of helping him reclaim his past life memories. She preferred to think she knew because she felt it and not because of any link to Tess.

“Thank so much Ava. Now we know so much better what to look for. Thank you,” Isabel said sincerely. This is what she had been looking for in Tess. This friendship and sharing of knowledge.

“Yes….Ava…Thank you for helping me,” Max joined in.

“No sweat. Now what did Liz go to get?” Ava asked embarrassed at being the focus of so much attention.

“She’s been looking into some Hollywood producer. She thinks that he may be an alien,” Max replied feeling a little tired.

Isabel got up and went into the kitchen and opened the fridge. “What have you guys been living on? There’s nothing in here.”

“Oh…We been at the Crash,” Ava waved off.

“Well we’re going shopping after this. Honestly…you guys can’t live off of greasy restaurant food and Snapple,” Isabel exclaimed. There was not one fruit or vegetable in that refrigerator.

Liz entered the apartment in the middle of Isabel’s statement and smiled. “Ava did eat a Nebula salad yesterday,” Liz reminded Isabel smiling.

“One salad after how many fries?” Isabel asked.

“Hey! Fries are a vegetable,” Ava argued.

“That’s exactly what Michael says,” Liz pointed out sitting at the table.

Max stared at Liz with all new eyes. He remembered everything. The way she had looked at him…his insides twisted as he tried to set those thoughts aside to go over later in private. His eyes followed the curve of her jaw line down to the graceful movements of her hand as she tucked her hair behind her ear then shuffled threw the papers she had brought with her. He was never going to find anyone as beautiful and as right for him as Liz. She had the whole package and he had known that since the beginning…he was just stupid for tossing away his life.

“So how did it go?” Liz asked looking to Ava.

“He’s all set. No more problems,” Ava assured her.

“ was how you thought?” Liz asked looking from Ava to Max. She was relieved he was going be fine. At Ava’s nod she relaxed. “That’s great. What about the pentagram and Larek? Are you guys set to go?”

“I found the pentagram,” Max said reaching in his pocket and pulling it out. “Larek said he can have Brody ready to go by tomorrow afternoon so we’re all set.”

Liz just nodded and moved on. “Okay…Ava here’s the pictures I pulled off the net.”

Ava walked over and sat next to Liz at the table looking through the pictures. “Yeah, that looks like him. He wasn’t exactly what you would call friendly. He mainly talked to Zan didn’t have much use for the rest of us.”

“Hmm,” Liz said thinking. “So you think he might know more about the pod?”

“It’s certainly possible. From what I understood from Zan the protectors were briefed on all aspects of the mission. Just in case something went wrong or they needed that knowledge later,” Ava said looking over all the printed materials.

“Max? What do you think?” Liz asked turning to look at Max who was on the couch.

“I would rather not seek out another shapeshifter. We’re still dealing with the mess from the last one. We don’t know that he can help,” Max said picking up the pentagram from the arm of the couch and going to the table. Isabel joined him carrying a Snapple with her.

“Max…there’s a difference between Nesado who was actively searching for you guys and this guy who would rather not be bothered. It doesn’t seem like he gives two rips about any of you. I really doubt he has any plans to do anything to harm us. He’s had seventeen years to act against us and even after that signal was sent a year ago he stayed away. He might know something to help. I think the chance….any chance is worth it when there doesn’t seem to be too much risk. We can at least ask for help and see what he says. That doesn’t hurt anything,” Liz responded.

“Liz…all of our lives changed so much when we sought out answers. When Michael and Isabel sent the signal calling to Nesado we invited trouble. Asking an unknown shapeshifter for help is another invitation. I just think we need to be careful right now. You just want to let everyone in. Tell our parents and this producer guy that we don’t even know. We’ve been fine for years on our own…I just want to be careful,” Max said feeling his anxiety increasing.

“What I want is help Max. I want to let in people for a reason. I trust our parents and we HAVE to say something to them. We’re having a child! You can’t hide that forever. I want to ask Langley for help after looking into him. There’s reason to think he may have answers we need. We need help. I think it’s pretty clear we need help and we need it as soon as possible. I don’t want my daughter staying a pod for years. If that brings trouble that we have to deal with so be it. It’s not like trouble doesn’t find us anyway,” Liz argued trying to make him see her side.

“Trouble finding us is different then seeking it out. I agree we need to tell our parents something…not EVERYTHING. You’re pushing me into revealing my whole life! I’m not ready for that,” Max argued back. She couldn’t possibly understand what it was like for him. He had hidden himself for so long it was ingrained and the thought of telling his parents sent chills down his spine. Why did they have to do this RIGHT NOW?

“Our life Max. It’s OUR life now. You can’t keep hiding. It’s too late for that. We BOTH made choices that have made that impossible now. Don’t act like I’m on my own here. You better start putting aside your wants and fears and start looking at that fact that you’re a father now. She comes first not you. So ready or not, you aren’t going to have a choice for much longer. We’re all involved now it isn’t just the three of you. At some point our parents will find out. If we tell them we control what they learn and when. If we wait they may learn things on their own. Things you might not want to tell them. You think Tess won’t go to your house? Think again,” Liz said getting more and more upset. “I’m telling you I need help. I’m telling you that I can’t keep lying all the time. I can’t even keep all the lies straight at this point! I’m lying about EVERYTHING.”

Isabel and Ava watched this argument silently. Neither wanted to get involved but each had an opinion.

“I said we would tell them about the baby and the alien thing when we got back. I already agreed to that. I just don’t want to run to LA to question someone that may be dangerous. You’re the one who told me not act rashly,” Max defended.

“So now I’m reckless? I have looked into it. What else do you think we’re going to find out from here? I didn’t say we should run up to his door and demand that he help us. I’m asking that we talk about it as a group and come to a decision,” Liz said trying to keep her voice down.

“Fine, we’ll have a meeting when we get back and talk about it. Don’t act like I’m only thinking about myself. I know it’s not just the three of us. Do you? You only say OUR life when it’s convenient for you. The rest of the time you can do whatever you want and keep me in the background. We’re supposed to be trying to work this out and your pushing me to do things that every instinct I have is telling me to be cautious about,” Max said trying to explain his hesitation.

“I have been more then reasonable. I don’t do “whatever I want”. If I did that, believe me, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now. I keep you “in the background” in our personal relationship only. I can separate personal feelings from the group….YOU can’t. If I’m pushing you at all it’s to see reason! Someone has to or our daughter will be grown before you tell anyone she even exists. I know you’re afraid. I do know that but Max….you refuse to see the big picture. Sometimes putting things off isn’t the answer. Don’t even get me started on your instincts. Say the word and we can go our separate ways…I have no problem with that it would be a hell of a lot easier for me that’s for sure,” Liz said getting up and collecting her things including the pentagram. “I’m out of here.”

Max followed her and caught up to her by her Jeep. “Liz…I don’t mean to say that you’re unfair. I know you’ve cut me more slack then I deserve. I do know that. I didn’t say what I meant in the right way. This isn’t easy for me….telling my parents about how stupid I’ve been. You’re dad is going to hate me and what if he tries to keep us apart? There’s a lot more to this for me. I agree we’ll tell the parents…I do agree, we just need to decide what to tell them as a group. I just want to limit the reaction our parents are going to have. We can’t have them interfering all the time and the questions are going to be endless and take days to answer. About Langley…Liz..shapeshifters aren’t like we are. They don’t think like we do. Nesado kidnapped you. I don’t want something like that to happen again. I won’t trade you for our daughter…I won’t. It’s not a choice I ever want to make. I want to make sure you’re both safe. Can you understand that?”

“I do understand but we aren’t safe now. That’s just an illusion. Time is limited..Tess won’t stay gone forever. I just want you to think about it okay? We have no where else to go now for how to help the baby. I’m sorry for getting so mad. I just want to cut down on the lies and the lines we’re crossing without even putting any thought into crossing them. I need some kind of resolution to some of these problems. I feel like I’m drowning here can you understand that?” Liz asked leaning back against the Jeep.

“Yes. I’ll think about it and we’ll all talk about it when we get back. Okay?” Max asked and when she nodded he continued. “I really want this to be our life…you know that. I’m not hiding that from you.”

“Well you know it doesn’t really seem that way sometimes. You don’t really trust me Max. You don’t trust my judgement. You never really have…not totally. If you had you wouldn’t have reacted the way you did when Alex died. What you need to really understand is that even if we are never together again it’s STILL our life. We have a child together and a bond that we don’t know everything about. So every choice you make affects me in some way. The same with me. I have always tried to keep all of you in mind. I have never just spilled my guts to anyone and everyone. I told Maria when she found blood on my order book and Alex when he was going to tell his part in what happened at the hospital to Valenti. Still you act like I want to get on Dateline and announce your secret on national TV. That hurts…you need to learn that what you say means something. At least it should with you that’s questionable. If you wanted total control over everything you shouldn’t have healed me in the first place. Then we wouldn’t be here and it would be just the three of you. Maybe then you could have control over everything,” Liz said watching him carefully. “I want to work this out but…slowly. I want to make the right choices for everyone. I don’t have a set relationship in mind. Maybe we’ll just be friends maybe more someday but right now can we just try to be friends again? I don’t want to fight all the time. We can try to build some trust between us and learn to respect each other. You know get back some of what we lost.”

“I can do that. I never thought you just spilled our secrets and I never ever wished I hadn’t healed you. I do trust you more than anyone else. Sometimes I just forget that I don’t have to do it all and that my world is different now. Don’t stop reminding me,” Max said smiling relieved that she wasn’t holding a grudge.

“I won’t,” Liz said and got in the Jeep.

“I promise I’ll watch what I say….and mean it,” Max said giving her his best smile.

Liz tilted her head as she took in the grin. “Charming…but it’s gonna take more. Keep working on it,” Liz said with a cheeky grin and backed out of her parking spot.

“I will,” Max said to himself as he watched Liz pull out into traffic.

The next day Liz was working her opening shift when the others all showed up. They had agreed to meet for lunch so Liz could say goodbye to the group leaving for Las Cruses. Isabel and Max were set to work on the translation of the book with Brody/Larek. Maria was going just in case something went wrong with Brody. She seemed able to keep him calm. Ava was going for the box. Liz gave her the key still inside the box. She had never touched it fearing what she would see. Liz, Michael, and Kyle were staying in Roswell.

Liz had just served the group and gone behind the counter when Sheriff Hanson came in and zeroed in on Liz. “Miz Parker? I need you to come down to the station please and answer some questions.”

Liz looked up startled and automatically glanced at the group. “What’s this about”

“We want to ask you some questions about the disappearance of Tess Harding,” Hanson said puffed up with self-importance.

“Disappearance?” Liz asked as Max moved toward the counter. “Why would I know anything about that?”’

“We have reason to believe that you do,” Hanson said getting annoyed. “Am I going to have to arrest you Miz Parker? Or are you going to come down and answer my questions?”

“No, I’ll go just let me tell my dad,” Liz said shooting Max a confused look. Her heart started racing in fear. She KNEW this was Tess. Tess had somehow planned this.

Max headed back to the table to fill Ava in and ask her to pose as Tess.

Liz went into the backroom to buy some time then a few minutes later walked back out into the dining room. “Okay Sheriff, I’m ready.”

“Um Sheriff? Why don’t you just ask Tess where she was?” Max asked in apparent confusion. “She’s sitting right over there.”

Hanson narrowed his eyes and followed Max’s gesture to the back booth. Sure enough there was Tess Harding. Hanson walked over and stopped at the end of her table. “Miz Harding?”

Ava looking up and smiled. “Yes?”

“Can you please tell me where you’ve been? You were reported missing,” Hanson asked politely.

“I went to see my dad. He was reassigned to Fort Hood. Wow I didn’t know anyone reported me missing. I guess Jim didn’t get my letter huh?” Ava asked playing the blonde.

“No, I guess not. Sorry to bother you but when you get a chance would you please stop by the station to clear up some paperwork?” Hanson asked. He wondered who had sent the letter detailing Liz Parker’s involvement if Tess had never been murdered.

“Sure, I can’t today but I will. How’s Friday?” Ava asked then took a sip of her drink.

“That would be fine. Sorry to bother you. We got a letter claiming you were murdered and we were starting an investigation so I just need a signed statement from you to wrap this all up. I’ll see you Friday then,” Hanson said and at Ava’s agreement he moved away. Stopping in front of Liz he reached for his sunglasses. “It won’t be necessary to talk to you at this time. I’ll let you know if that changes.”

Liz watched him leave then turned Max. “Still thinking we have a ton of time?”

“No. No, I don’t,” Max agreed softly.

The good-byes went well and it was agreed that Max would call when they reached Las Cruses. That night Liz had a date with her dad. They were going out into the desert with her telescope. She was actually looking forward to it and dreading it both. She had always been closer to her dad then her mom and loved doing things with him but now she had to hide so much. Her dad was much better at reading her then her mother was so it was more of an effort to hide from him and she was already tired and still a little shaken from that afternoons close call.

posted on 11-Jan-2003 7:44:22 PM
Chapter Forty One

Liz looked around while her dad set up the telescope. They actually weren’t too far from the pod chamber…she could see the rocks in the distance. Michael had protested long and hard about her going out with her dad alone claiming it wasn’t safe. She had finally told him there was no way to get out of it..What was she going to tell her dad? Her Mom was visiting friends for the night in Hondo so this was the perfect night to do this.

“Lizzie? Can you get the blanket?” Jeff called seeing his daughter was lost in thought.

“Sure Dad,” Liz said shaking herself out of her daze and getting to work. Finally everything was set and Liz was happily viewing the stars up close…or as up close as she could with her set up.

“How’s Maria doing with everything?” Jeff asked Liz softly. Maria was his “adopted” daughter and he worried about her almost as much as Liz.

“Oh she’s really doing good. Michael really came through for her. You know Maria…everything out in the open then it’s calm again. Ms. DeLuca is even getting along with Michael now so it’s pretty good,” Liz answered.

“Her and Michael seem really close now. They are such an odd couple. There were several times I was sure they were going to kill each other,” Jeff said smiling. He looked out over the desert feeling at peace. They should do this more often.

“They’re a solid couple now. Michael’s taking it seriously so we’ll see. They sort of match up in a weird way. They’re both so…volatile. They understand each other. Their fights are something else…very entertaining,” Liz said glancing over at her dad and smiling.

“I bet. So what’s with that Tess girl? I see she’s back,” Jeff asked and watched Liz stiffen involuntarily and loose her smile.

“Ummm I think she was with her dad. I’m really not sure,” Liz said vaguely.

“She was awfully close to Max for awhile..were they dating?” Jeff asked watching Liz closely. He was trying to understand his daughter’s friends. He often sensed the tension inside that group..they all spent so much time in the café it was hard not to notice things. Now that he had bumped into Hanson and learned that Liz had been wanted for questioning he really wanted to know what was going on.

“Yeah, they were. I’m not exactly close to Tess. We didn’t really get along real well so I don’t know that much about what happened between them but they were really close for a while,” Liz answered skating around the truth as much as possible without seeming to be evasive.

“That’s what I thought. I can’t imagine Tess liked you very much with the way Max watched you. So is she just here for a visit or is she back for good?” Jeff asked.

“I don’t know,” Liz said and adjusted the telescope so she didn’t have to look at her father. She was trying to remain calm but was getting tenser as the conversation continued.

“You seem to be getting along real well with Isabel. How was your visit to Las Cruses?” Jeff asked seemingly changing the subject.

“It was great. Isabel’s really cool. Kind of reserved until you get to know her but a really nice person. She’s considering going to Las Cruses for a year or two to stay close to home. It was a lot of fun. We met some nice people,” Liz said and moved aside to let her dad look through the telescope. She popped the top on her Dr. Pepper and took a sip.

“That’s great. It never hurts to look into schools and make sure they have what you want. Smart thinking,” Jeff agreed mildly. Silence stretched for a time as they were both occupied with their thoughts. “I ran into Sheriff Hanson this afternoon.”

“Oh,” Liz said her mind scrambling. She could feel her emotions bubbling under the surface. Her heart rate increased as she sensed she was being cornered.

“Why would he think you had anything to do with Tess leaving?” Jeff asked focusing on Liz.

“I don’t know. He’s not exactly really sharp…I mean Tess was sitting right in the café when he came in. Tess and I don’t get along but why he would think I had anything to do with her leaving is a mystery to me,” Liz replied looking down at her hands.

“Someone else must think so too. He said he got a letter,” Jeff said watching Liz carefully. Something wasn’t right here, she was too still..almost like a statue. He didn’t know what it was but the warning signals he had felt when he asked her on this outing were screaming now.

“Well she’s fine obviously so they were mistaken. I have no idea why anyone would send a letter saying I had anything to with Tess at all. Our only real connection is mutual friends,” Liz answered her voice flat. Her fingers clutched her can of pop tightly, bending the aluminum.

“I see. It just seems strange that none of you were upset when she left. I know you and Maria disliked her…I overheard enough comments to know that but Max was dating her. He sure didn’t seem broken up about it. He went right back to watching you,” Jeff mused out loud. “Loosing Alex and then Tess leaving…”

“Alex was our friend for years there’s no comparison to Tess, Dad. They aren’t even in the same ballpark,” Liz said getting more upset. “Alex is dead. Tess just left.”

Seeing Liz get so obviously upset he confirmed his thoughts that Liz wasn’t handling Alex’s death very well. “Liz..I know it’s hard when someone takes their own life but..”

“Alex did not take his life!” Liz denied vehemently. She couldn’t sit and allow that belief to go unprotested. She wouldn’t stand for it. “He would NEVER do that. He was happy. Isabel was finally coming around and he was so thrilled. I don’t care what that moron Hanson says a few bad grades wouldn’t cause Alex to harm himself.”

“Liz…people do things for all kinds of reasons. We may never understand it but we have to accept reality,” Jeff said kindly getting more worried about Liz.

“No, I don’t have to accept that lie. It’s NOT reality and no one will ever get me to go along with that. In fact, I think I’m going to campaign for whoever runs against Hanson for Sheriff when the time comes. He doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together. I can’t believe anyone put him in charge of parking meters much less the safety of the whole town!” Liz said getting more and more worked up. Some of her pop spilled from the can as her hands started shaking. This was too much! She couldn’t sit here silently listening to the “Alex killed himself” speech. This was her limit.

Jeff stared at Liz for a moment startled. He had never seen her so upset. She was breathing shallow and fast and her hands were shaking. Good lord how had he missed this? Why hadn’t he known she was still this upset? “Liz honey..just calm down. I’m sure Hanson looked into things.”

“Dad. A monkey is smarter then him. I looked into it too. After five seconds of looking at the facts I knew Alex didn’t kill himself it’s just stupid. They used bad grades, an idiot delivery boy, and some vague statements from teachers to brush the truth aside. If they had really paid attention to the truck driver’s statement they would have had a through autopsy done. Alex had been having headaches and I think something was wrong. He bought concert tickets and made plans with Isabel. I saw him like a couple hours before his death and he was so thrilled about Isabel. No one wants to listen because I’m just some stupid teenager but I knew Alex. They didn’t even search his room! The whole thing was a joke,” Liz said carefully editing her story. The more she thought about that stupid ape Hanson the angrier she got.

Jeff sat listening in surprise. He truly didn’t know what to say. He glanced down and froze as she saw his daughter’s hands. Green sparks were flickering over her fingers and sparking off the metal of the can she was holding…Liz didn’t even seem to notice. “Oh my god!”

Liz looked at her dad and then down to her hands. She dropped the can and put her hands behind her back. “What’s wrong?” Liz asked trying to play it off and get a leash on her raging emotions.

“We need to take you to the doctor! What is that?” Jeff asked not really hearing Liz. What was wrong with his little girl? He had never heard of anything like what he saw.

“I’m fine. There’s nothing wrong I’m not sick,” Liz said her fear spiking. Putting forth enormous effort she repressed her feelings and slowly pulled her hands from behind her back hoping they looked normal.

Jeff grabbed her hands and checked them over carefully for burns.

Liz stayed silent feeling trapped. How was she suppose to handle this? They were going to tell them in a day or so anyway…but she really didn’t want to do this without Max. She didn’t see how she could get around it if he insisted on taking her to the doctor. That couldn’t be allowed…he would spill what her symptoms were and the FBI was sure to find out. There was no lie good enough to explain this short of acting like he was crazy which was just cruel.

“Lizzie no more playing around. This wasn’t normal. What was that green stuff? It looked like electricity or something,” Jeff rambled really worried. Looking at her hands they were really warm but didn’t seem burned. Could their family doctor even diagnose this? Was this like severe static electricity?

Out of the corner of her eye Liz caught movement…lights. Looking past her Dad’s shoulder she saw a dark sedan approaching. Alarm bells started going off loudly. When the sedan slowed and came to a stop Liz turned to her Dad. “Daddy you have to trust me okay? I’ll explain everything just don’t say anything.”

Jeff turned and looked at the two men approaching and glanced back to Liz. He wasn’t reassured by what he saw her eyes were huge and she looked scared. Putting aside what he had seen he focused on this new situation. “Can I help you?” Jeff called when the men were some distance away. Neither man answered until they were about five feet away.

“We just need to talk to Ms. Parker sir. Nothing to worry about,” The shorter of the two replied.

“Since I’m her father I will worry about it. What exactly do you want?” Jeff asked. “And WHO are you?”

“We’re with a certain law enforcement agency. The local Sheriff asked for our help with a disappearance. He would like to ask your daughter a few questions that’s all. We were sent to take her back to the station. If you like you can follow in your car.”

Jeff tensed as the larger man moved toward Liz circling her. “That’s been cleared up. There never was a disappearance and Liz already talked to the Sheriff. If he wants to talk to her again I’LL bring her in after HE calls me. You haven’t answered my question. Who are you guys? You can’t believe I’ll let my underage daughter get into a car with two men who haven’t even shown me a badge or any identification.”

“Mr. Parker this can be easy or you can try to make it difficult but we ARE taking your daughter to the station,” The first man said his voice loosing all of its pleasantness.

Liz moved away from her father slightly to give herself remove to move. The taller of the two man track her with his eyes then lunged without warning.

The man talking to Jeff also moved and the two men started to tussle.

Liz’s fear spiked sharply and without thinking she side stepped the man and raised her hand releasing a bolt of energy hitting the man in the side as he passed. When he didn’t get up just lay there groaning she turned to her dad.

Jeff was holding his own but only because he fought dirty. His misspent youth had taught him well. He landed several hard hits to the mans torso before getting surprised by a right cross to the head.

“Dad! Back away,” Liz called unable to aim accurately when they were so close together. She tracked the stranger with her outstretched hand trying to focus.

Jeff stumbled back and watched in stupefied amazement as a bolt of green light escaped his daughters hand and struck the man in the head throwing him to the ground where he lay unmoving.

“Daddy we have go,” Liz said scrambling to reach her bag. She couldn’t leave it…it had her cell phone.

Jeff just stood there with his mouth open trying to process what was happening.

Liz scooped up her bag then looked at the tall man who looked like he might be trying to get up. She kicked him hard once in the side then for good measure blasted him. “Okay…ready,” Liz said turning to her father. Seeing his frozen expression and, realizing this was her DAD not Max or Michael who be more used to this, she stopped. “Are you scared of me?” Liz asked in a small voice as she studied her dad.

Jeff looked from the man on the ground to Liz. She was chewing on her lip her eyes looked nervous. He shook himself out of his stupor. “No baby of course not but..who the hell are these people and what do they want with you?”

“I’ll tell you on the way. We have to get out of here right now. Come on,” Liz said and grabbed her dad’s arm pulling him toward their car. Since her dad had the keys Liz got in the passenger side and pulled out her cell phone. “Drive to the Valenti’s house. Mr. Valenti can help us.”

Jeff glanced over as Liz put her phone to her ear. He did as she asked suppressing his own questions as he listened to her phone conversations.

“Michael? Listen get over to my house and stay with….you know……..Yeah, something did happen……No I’m fine….Yeah my dad too….No! Don’t call Max yet…..just go to my house okay? I’ll meet you there after I take care of this. Okay. Okay Bye.” Liz sighed and hit speed dial for the Valenti house. “Kyle? Is your dad there?…..Great..I’m on my way over something happened and we need your dad’s help. No, I’m fine….I’ll see you in a few…Bye,” Liz turned to her dad and thought about what to say.

“Liz?” Jeff asked struggling to stay calm.

“Okay…see those people um they work for the government…I think. Maybe I should start from the beginning. Remember the shooting in the café?” Liz asked.

“Yes,” Jeff agreed. It wasn’t likely that he would forget.

“Well I WAS shot then. Max he has special abilities and he healed me. That’s why they never found the bullet. It was in me. That event changed everything including me. Now I can do things….well you kinda saw that I guess. That’s the reason those men want me. They want to poke and prod at me to figure out how I can do the things I can do,” Liz explained in a striped down way.

Jeff pulled onto the Valenti’s street and slowed. “Liz….”

“It’s true. I’m not making it up. Mr. Valenti will tell you. Kyle was shot too and Valenti saw Max heal him. I’m not lying,” Liz said as they pulled in the driveway.

“So Max is….what?” Jeff asked.

“Does it really matter what he is? He saved my life…Kyle’s life. He’s a good person Dad,” Liz said seriously.

“But those men…” Jeff started then trailed off. He was so far out of his depth that he didn’t know what to say.

“They weren’t serious. If they were I would be in a car headed who knows where. They didn't even pull guns. I think they were just testing me…seeing if I had any abilities of my own. Let’s go in,” Liz said opening the car door and getting out. Thank god it was her dad and not her mom.

Kyle opened the door before they even reached the porch. He stepped back and allowed them to enter then shut and locked the door behind them making sure to use the deadbolt. He led them into the living room where his dad waited.

“Jeff…You okay?” Jim asked looking both of them over.

“I think so yes,” Jeff replied as he sat down. He was too stunned to react much at the moment nothing made sense. Had he just been worried about how Liz was handling Alex’s death?

“Two guys….suits and a dark sedan with government plates…tried to “take me in for questioning”. I sorta…blasted them,” At the look on their face she defended her actions. “I had to. They were attacking us and I didn’t even know I could do that until I did it to the first one. I don’t think they’re dead….well maybe they are but I doubt it.”

“Okay…well who’s at your house?” Jim asked Liz. He didn’t want to say much not knowing what Liz had told Jeff.

“Michael I called him right away,” Liz answered. “They didn’t pull guns or anything. I think they just wanted to see if I could do anything.”

“Well they know now. We can’t get a hold of Max because it’s already too late. He’ll be translating the book and have his phone off. We’ll have to wait till morning but Kyle and I will come over to your house and watch out for anything along with Michael. Kyle, go get the guns,” Jim ordered then turned to Jeff. “I know this must be really confusing but these kids are really special and they’ve been dealing with this stuff for about two years.”

“Can someone please tell me what’s going on?” Jeff asked looking to Liz.

“You asked me what Max is….well he’s an alien. From another planet. That’s how he can heal. Isabel is too and she can see people’s dreams. Michael was with them and he’s like the one with all the offensive power. Tess was also but she left…she’s not on our side. Ava is like her twin sister and she IS on our side. She’s the one who is here now actually. The FBI already captured Max once and they know things about him….now they want me,” Liz said and stopped waiting.

“Liz….What are you talking about? This isn’t funny!” Jeff said his face turning red.

“She isn’t joking Jeff. I swear to God,” Jim inserted seeing this was about to get ugly. “I started getting suspicious when Liz was shot. I found out what was going on when Max was taken by the FBI and Kyle was shot. Max saved him…healed him right in front of me. It was incredible.”

“We were about to tell you this anyway. When Max gets back…we had it all planned but…well we weren’t really expecting this,” Liz said watching her dad closely.

Jeff sat reeling too stunned to say anything as Kyle came back in the room. He didn’t know what to think. His daughter’s ex boyfriend was an alien. The FBI wanted to take his daughter from him. It was too much. This was crazy this didn’t happen to real people.

“Daddy? Are you okay?” Liz asked worried when he just sat there.

Jeff ran a hand over his face and sat forward. “So you were shot and Max healed you. Now you can do…whatever that was that you did. So if this all happened two years ago why were you going to tell me now?” Jeff asked and watched both Jim and Kyle go still. Turning to Liz he saw her squirm in her seat before looking him in the eye.

“I’ll show you why when we get home okay?” Liz asked softly. This wasn’t supposed to be happening this way….so fast. This wasn’t the plan.

“Okay. I’ll leave that alone for a second. What are we going to do now? How are we going to keep you safe?” Jeff asked moving on.

“We’ve been working on that. Max is in Las Cruses trying to translate a book from their home. We’re hoping it will have some answers. It’s Tess that’s the real problem. She hates me and she’s the one who alerted the FBI in the first place,” Liz said not really having an answer.

“Jeff, Kyle and I will watch your house tonight and Max and the others will be back tomorrow hopefully with some answers,” Jim said and then turned to Liz. “Why don’t you go and leave Max a voice mail and let him know what’s happening while I talk to your father?”

“Okay,” Liz said and got up following Kyle to the kitchen.

“This sucks,” Kyle said as Liz dialed. “Your dad is going to be so pissed. Max won’t want to come home.”

“I know,” Liz said softly as she waited for Max’s voice mail to kick in.

posted on 12-Jan-2003 7:28:33 PM
Chapter Forty Two

Maria, Isabel, and Ava were leaning against the wall outside the computer lab where Max and Larek were working on the translation. Technically they supposed to be lookouts but they really didn’t except any trouble. Brody had donated money to the college in the past due to his own interest in the computer field so they had permission to be there from the dean. The girls were looking for anyone coming only so no one saw what they were translating.

“So you’re saying that Max got hooked on Liz in the third grade?” Ava asked Isabel.

“Yeah, one look at her when we were getting off the bus and that was it. Don’t ask me why Liz wasn’t even paying attention,” Isabel said shrugging.

“I have a theory about that actually,” Maria spoke up. “Alien imprinting.”

“What?” Isabel asked a smile already hovering over her mouth. This should be amusing.

“Imprinting like when ducks or chickens hatch and they latch onto the first thing they see. Max hatched from his pod and Liz was the first little girl besides family that he saw. He’s been following her around ever since,” Maria explained seriously. “Alien imprinting.”

Isabel started laughing so hard tears were running down her cheeks. Ava just looked thoughtful as she listened. “Maria, that is so not true. Max didn’t follow her around like a baby chick! Liz didn’t even know he liked her till after the shooting,” Isabel refuted between chuckles.

“Laugh all you want it’s true. He totally did follow her around. I know because I saw it every day in school. He was a little sneakier then a baby chick but the principal is the same. Liz was just blind. I’ve teased her about it for YEARS. She just didn’t want to see it for some reason although she sneaked peaks at him all along too. I’m pretty sure Max had no interest in Barbie’s but there he was on the playground playing on the girl’s side watching Liz and I play with our Barbie’s. He even played with us when I caught him and he didn’t have a way out of it. Too bad I don’t have pictures. Max and huge group of girls playing Barbie’s while sneaking looks at Liz under his lashes. Good thing he’s not creepy looking or I would say he was a stalker,” Maria paused and reconsidered that statement. “Actually, I have called him a stalker….more then once.”

“That’s a lie! He never played Barbie’s!” Isabel said. She would know for god’s sake.

“It is not. Ask him he’ll tell you. We gave him Ken,” Maria said smiling. “He’ll remember I’m sure cause his Ken kissed Liz’s Barbie.”

“You’re making that up!” Isabel said laughing as she tried to picture it.

Maria shook her head. “Nope. He got better at hiding after that. He never got close enough for me to pull him into our games. I think I scared him,” Maria said smugly.

Ava stayed quiet as she thought about that. Zan and the rest of them had never gone to school with kids their own age. Really they had been fairly isolated staying to themselves until they were old enough to protect themselves. But all their lives Zan had watched people. Not just any people. He had gone to places with people their age and just watched. When Lonnie had ribbed him about it he had claimed he was watching so he would learn how to act to fit in. He would say that they all should do the same but Ava had never really bought that. Zan wasn’t interested in the boys he watched the girls like he was searching for someone. She had asked him about it once in a rare moment of quiet. He had said that he knew there was something more out there…for all of them. That this wasn’t meant to be their life and he was searching for the key that would show him the way. She had replied by asking how he even knew there was a key and he had responded by saying he knew because he could feel her and one day if he kept looking he would find her.

Zan had always been the one more in touch with himself then the rest of them. Lonnie and Rath had been different right from the start. Ava had always been afraid of them and tried to never get stuck alone with them. She had sensed their difference from the start to her it showed clearly in their eyes. Zan was a little gruff and sometimes he could be thoughtless but he always protected her from the others. Ava had loved him ever since she could remember..he made her feel safe and was her strength since she didn’t have enough of it on her own. He had something inside him..some instinct that had guided him that the rest of them had never had. The only time Ava had ever felt something guiding her had been when she met Liz. That’s why she had come back to Roswell when she thought that Liz was in danger and there was no one left to help her.

“Ava? Hey I think we lost you there for awhile,” Maria said nudging her lightly in the side.

“Sorry. I’s just thinken,” Ava muttered her eyes going to Max. She studied him thoughtfully as he spoke with Larek. He really was different from Zan. She saw some things that struck her and momentarily she would see Zan in him but for the most part he was just Max to her. Zan was more striped down…driven by that inner compass. He never questioned himself or his choices..they had lived in a different world where hesitation or doubt could kill you. Max didn’t seem as…sure of himself. Maybe it was just all the events of the last year she didn’t know but he wasn’t as…strong? Was that the word? It almost seemed like his vision was cloudy like he was off course. All of them were softer then the New York set but Ava didn’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. They lived a life that was different and had different challenges and they seemed well suited to handling those challenges the problem was when the challenges they faced were more suited to her world. Tess wasn’t concerned with rules she understood both worlds and therefore had the advantage. She acted in her best interests following a plan that didn’t follow any rules counting on the fact that she understood the rules hindering the Roswell set and using that to her advantage.

Ava was thinking Tess was going to be in for a surprise. Liz was changing. She wasn’t the same girl Ava had first met and she really doubted Liz was the same girl Tess had known. Liz was seeing past the game and working on changing the rules to achieve her own goal. Liz was forcing the others to start seeing things differently too. Tess should have paid more attention to what had happened after Alex died. Max and the others had reacted exactly as Tess had predicted but Liz had gone off the course Tess had set out for her. While the others were lost in their own feelings and reactions to their loss Liz had shut all that off and set a goal. She had started off on her own course not letting the others sway her from her goal. Even now with all the distractions and emotional garbage Liz still had a goal and was gradually eliminating the ways Tess could steer her off course. Ava was hoping that Tess not being here to adjust her plan as things changed would give Liz an advantage. She was really hoping Liz had the strength to carry this to the end.

It was hard to say whether the others still being here was a help or a hindrance. It both lightened the load Liz was carrying and added to it. There were more people to follow the threads and clues Liz found and that was a plus. Dealing with Max was clouding things though. Time would tell Ava mused silently. Ava thought the same thing Liz did…that there wasn’t much time left to work with. Ava also agreed that the more paths that were closed to Tess the better.

Tess knew who was important to them. She knew where to find them and who knew what when she had left. It wasn’t wise to leave their families in the dark and unprotected. The way it was those people were completely helpless. They thought the government was their friend and aliens didn’t exist. That was dangerous when you couldn’t protect them and there just weren’t enough people to adequately protect all the people involved.

Ava also agreed that heading out to LA was a good course of action. Tess wouldn’t be expecting that. She hadn’t mentioned Cal in the journal so unless his name was in that box Tess didn’t intend for them to find him…it was dumb luck Kyle had found that slip of paper. Also if Tess came back while they were gone she wouldn’t find them right away. Getting Liz out of Roswell could only be a good thing. Things were heating up for her there.

All in all Liz had thought of some pretty good sources of information and means of protection. Plus, the group trusted Liz more then she thought they even realized. All things Tess hadn’t factored in. The another thing Tess hadn’t factored in was Liz finding the pod and trying to straighten things out with Max. All those things could affect the outcome of this game.

Max worked with Larek totally focused on his task. He wanted this done so they could stop at the bank and head home. What he found interesting about the destiny book was that it wasn’t in the basic language of his people. Larek hadn’t been able to read it saying it was an ancient language not often seen anymore outside a small sect of people that little was known about. So far the translation was radically different from Tess’s version. It, in fact, did not speak of the destiny laid out in the message contained within the orb at all.

Jim faced Jeff and tried to think of the best way to lay this out to prepare him for what was coming. “Jeff I know this a major shock for you to deal with. I’ve had two years longer to get a handle on it and I’m still shaken at times. You’re going to learn a lot of things over the next few days and some of them are really going to throw you but I want you to remember Liz. She needs you. She’s going to be looking for your understanding and love. She’s an amazing did a great job raising her and I hope you see that as you learn what her life has been like over the last two years. This has been a scary time for her and she could really use your support and your trust.”

“I just can’t believe this. How did I not see any of this before? They’re in the diner all the time! Michael works there...I just feel like I don't really know any of them,” Jeff said looking at the other man.

“You really do know them. You just didn’t know everything. This is only a part of their lives. They still go to school and worry about their grades and who’s dating who. There’s just this other part too. Don’t let this part cause you to make the mistake of not seeing who they really are. Liz is still the girl you raised. I made that mistake at the beginning…not seeing them as people. I harassed all of them and tried to scare the truth out of them thinking that because they might be aliens they some how weren’t really people. I was wrong. They’re good kids Jeff. Really they aren’t even kids anymore. They’ve handled life and death situations and come out on top. They’ve saved countless people from other aliens by carefully thinking things through. It’s not luck that they’ve lived through the last two years. They have skills…all of them and they really pull together to handle things. I’m not saying it’s always come out all right….we lost Alex and that was a deep blow that we still haven’t gotten over. Liz really went that one alone and figured it out saving Max and Isabel from being killed too,” Jim said trying to get Jeff to see that they were who he had thought they were…just a little more. He was also trying to get him to see them more as adults. Capable of making their own choices and really better equipped to make some of those choices.

“Alex? What does Alex have to do with this?” Jeff asked.

“Tess killed Alex. Alex knew about this too. It was how we discovered Tess was working against us,” Jim answered. “There’s no way we can possibly tell you everything…there’s just too much to tell. You’ll learn it all eventually. I encouraged them to tell their parents hoping that they would get the support of their families. That they could stop hiding so much of their lives and living in fear of what their parents would think of them. None of the parents know except me. Jeff, the alien details are just that…details. At the core of it they are excellent caring people that I’m proud to be able to say I know. They are really more human then some of the people in our own government. You wouldn’t even believe some of the things our government has done to these kids,” Jim said thinking of Pierce and all the death and pain that man had caused. Running rough shot over the law and constitution to do it too.

“I think I got a glimpse of that. Those men tonight were just going to take her if no one could stop them. Just snatch her right out in the open,” Jeff said still deeply shocked about that.

Jim nodded. “Yes, they would have. That’s why the kids are so afraid of people knowing their secret. They have reasons for keeping it to themselves. They deal with issues that are outside the normal realm. Issues I don’t fully understand. I help where I’m needed but a lot of the decisions that are made…they make them. They’re doing something right because they’re still here to tell the tale,” Jim said watching Jeff.

“Most of them anyway,” Jeff said quietly.

“Tess lived in my home and I didn’t have a clue she would do what she did. The kids didn’t see it either. That was shocking and devastating that’s true. It’s something that will stay with us,” Jim agreed. “What I’m trying to say here Jeff is I’m hoping you can look past your natural reactions of shock and maybe even fear. I’m hoping that you’ll really listen to Liz and try to understand the human side of all this even when you don’t understand the rest. You’re a really good parent and I’m hoping you’ll know what Liz needs because you two have always been so close. I didn’t have that base to work from with Kyle.”

Jeff just nodded knowing Jim was trying to prepare him for something even more shocking then aliens living among them. What that could be he had no idea and wasn’t even going to try to guess at. Jeff turned as Liz and Kyle came back in the room and sat down.

“I left the message and told him to call when he gets it,” Liz said as she took her seat. She looked her dad over and was happy to see he didn’t look quite as shell-shocked as he did before.

“Okay I think he’s ready for the basics,” Jim said to Liz.

“Alright lets see. I’m going to try to keep this brief right now but stop me if you have a question and I’ll try to answer it,” Liz said and took a deep breath. “Aliens isn’t the most correct term for the four of them. Alien human hybrids is more accurate. They were engineered so at least some of the abduction stories are true. There were two sets made and hidden in different locations. One set in New York City, which had Zan, Lonnie, Rath, and Ava in it. The Roswell set had Max, Isabel, Michael, and Tess. They look like twins except for their attire of course. Zan is dead and the government at Tess’s instructions captured Lonnie and Rath. When the set here broke out of their protective pods they wandered off. Tess didn’t break out at the same time and she was found by their protector who’s dead now and grew up with him. Max and Isabel were picked up and adopted but Michael was put into foster care. Tess and Nesado, their protector, found them at the end of our sophomore year.

After that they started to learn a lot about themselves and where they came from. We had learned some before that but that was really when stuff started happening. They found out that they were royalty on their planet and were sent here after they were killed in a war on their planet Antar. Max and Tess had been married and Isabel and Michael were engaged. Max was the king, Michael was his second in command, Isabel was a princess, and of course Tess would have been queen. They have enemies that are called the Skins and their leader Kivar is currently ruling their planet. What we didn’t know was that Nesado and Tess made a deal with Kivar where Tess would bring them home and hand them over to be killed. She would have to bring Max’s heir with her to complete her side of the deal. What Tess didn’t really factor in was that the others had grown up human and made lives as humans and didn’t really want to go home or at least not like she did. She also didn’t count on them already being involved with humans,” Liz said and paused seeing her father had a question.

“Is that why she hates you so much? Because you were dating Max?” Jeff asked interested in the story unfolding. It was like a fairytale almost. He was having trouble thinking of it as real.

“Partly yes. Max just didn’t really want to fall into things the way they had been in their last lives. None of them were acting like Tess thought they should. Max wanted to continue with things how they were until they learned more. So Tess came up with a plan of her own…one we still haven’t completely figured out. Her ability is what they call mindwarping. She can make you see whatever she wants and can replace your memories. She mindwarped Alex for two moths and sent him to Las Cruses to translate a book that came from their home world. She was trying to figure out how to get home. Alex came back with the translation but all that mindwarping had caused damage to his brain. When he started to remember part of what happened Tess tried one last mindwarp and it basically killed him. She set up the car wreck as a cover for that and got the others to agree to go home claiming she was pregnant and the baby couldn’t live here. Michael decided to stay here but Max and Isabel agreed to go. We figured out what Tess did and stopped them just in time but Tess left,” Liz said and was cut off by Kyle.

“No…Liz figured it out mostly,” Kyle said eyeing Liz sternly. She never gave herself credit. Liz just rolled her eyes.

“Whatever. Anyway….Tess set a plan in motion to tie up loose ends here. Ava for one and me for another. She contacted the FBI and alerted them to us. I think she’s also where that letter Hanson got came from. From what we’ve found out it looks like Agent Burns and a Senator are both Skins so they’re helping Tess. What Tess didn’t plan on is Max, Isabel, and Michael still being here or Ava coming to help. We also found the person we believe is the other protector. Cal Langley…he’s a Hollywood producer. Ava ID’ed him as the protector for the other set. That’s the short version,” Liz finished glancing at her watch. She really wanted to get home and check on the pod.

“So Tess went to…Antar was it?” Jeff asked.

“We think so yes,” Jim answered.

“So this producer is like Max and the others?” Jeff asked trying to get the picture in focus.

“Not exactly. He’s a shapeshifter. He can change his appearance to look like anyone. Nesado was the same way. Max and the others are hybrids of the shapeshifters and humans,” Jim answered.

“There’s a ton of other alien weirdness that we skipped but that is the stripped down story,” Kyle put in seeing Jeff shake his head as he tried to process the details.

“Dad we should get home. It’s really late and Michael’s waiting. He’s not the most patient one of the bunch,” Liz pointed out.

“We’ll follow you in our car,” Jim said standing up and taking his gun and checking it.

Kyle gathered up the bag at his feet that held several more guns and ammo and started for the door.

When they were settled in the car Jeff turned to Liz who was driving. “So you got involved because you were shot?”

“That’s what started it,” Liz agreed then glanced at her dad. “Dad…that’s really only part of it. I fell in love with Max. I kept his secret because he took a huge risk when he saved me but I actively helped him because I love him. Now its my secret too.”

Jeff looked at his daughter and felt his instincts start to jangle. He rubbed his palms down his thighs trying to quell his nerves. “What does that mean Liz? You’re not…still dating him are you? I thought you broke up.”

“We did. We had some problems that are way too complicated to explain and some I don’t even understand. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t still connected. It’s a long story. Max can do this thing where he can let you inside him…you see what he sees and feel what he feels. That’s how I knew how he felt about me. He’s really a good person so please don’t…” Liz broke off not sure how to say this. Her dad didn’t know the half of it.

Jeff’s eyes narrowed as he listened. He was almost over the alien part. Now he was a father who was leery of any male getting too close to his daughter. “Liz…what do you have to show me? Why were you going to tell me about all this now?” Jeff said going back to the unanswered question from earlier.

Liz winced and sighed. This was one conversation that although she had pushed for it she also dreaded. Talking to her father about her sex life was high on the list of conversations she just never wanted to have. She pulled up to the café and parked. She turned off the car and opened the door before turning to face her dad. “Come on I’ll show you.”

Jeff followed Liz inside and up to her room where Michael was pacing.

“What the hell took you so long? I’ve been going out of my mind!” Michael said as soon as he saw Liz. He stopped when Mr. Parker followed Liz into the room. “Sorry Mr. P.”

Jeff waved his apology away.

“Sorry, we went to Valenti’s and I had a lot to tell my dad. Umm listen Michael can you….give us a minute? Jim and Kyle are right behind us so they can fill you in,” Liz said nervously. “I have to show my dad…” Liz gestured up to the attic.

“Oh! Right…I’ll just…go let the Valenti’s in then,” Michael said and fled the room.

“What’s this all about?” Jeff asked the question it seemed had become his new motto.

“Max and I umm we kind of…had sex,” Liz said with her heart in her throat. This was it. The moment where she brought her shame and utter humiliation out into the open for her father to see and judge. She had to admit that she had sex with someone she wasn’t even dating at the time. That she hadn’t even remembered it and the person she had shared something so important with hadn’t remembered it either and had in fact started sleeping with someone else.

Jeff just stared at his daughter too shocked to utter a sound. He felt like someone had kicked him in the chest. “What?” He whispered feeling short of breath.

“Tess she…was angry when she found out and she removed that memory from both of us. She needed a baby to take back with her so she….” Liz stopped as a sob tried to take her by surprise.

Jeff knelt down in front of Liz as tears splashed onto her clasp hands. He quickly realized that this was more than a normal teenage mistake. He felt fear grip him as several possible points to Jim’s advice from earlier dawned on him. “What is it baby? What happened?” Jeff asked softly.

Liz got up and walked to the closet. She climbed up on the chair and turned to look at her dad. “I’ll show you.”

Jeff watched Liz disappear into the attic and followed her silently as his fear grew and expanded. He worked himself up into the small space carefully. Clearing the attic he saw Liz sitting next to something that glowed in the dim light from the bedroom. He crawled closer and faltered as he got a better look at what was glowing.

“Tess put my daughter in a pod,” Liz said her voice filled with tears as turned to her dad. “This is your granddaughter.”

“Oh my….god,” Jeff breathed.

posted on 13-Jan-2003 11:46:51 PM
Chapter Forty Three

Max scowled at the finished printout of the translation. It was all basically useless crap. One page out of the whole thing talked about the Granilith. That’s it. One goddamn page. Fuck. And where Tess had come up with her monstrous translation he had no idea. From her own warped mind he guessed because it sure wasn’t from the book.

“Well I guess that’s it then,” Max said to Larek. “Thanks for your help.”

“You sound disappointed,” Larek pointed out.

“This shit doesn’t mean anything to me. I’m sick of all this destiny bullshit. I don’t care which one is right. This is not what I was hoping it was. There is only one piece of information that is any use at all,” Max said frustrated.

“Maybe you’ll see things a little differently when you read it again. It’s really very interesting,” Larek replied thoughtfully.

“I may not live long enough to read it again,” Max said and collected the papers. Max had decided that he would have to do whatever it took to get rid of Tess. He couldn’t allow her to hurt Liz or their child. His son may be a dream but Liz and his daughter weren’t. As he saw it the threat Tess posed overrode anything they could ever get out of her. “You’ve heard nothing about my son?”

“No. Tess is back that is true but there has been nothing about a child at all. Nothing that big could remain a secret for long. It would leak out. I’m sorry I can’t tell you more,” Larek answered.

“Thank you for your help. Maria can take you back to Roswell,” Max said shaking his hand.

“You’re welcome. I feel horrible about what’s happened. I never would have thought she would do something like this. If you need my help again you know what to do. I’m happy to assist you,” Larek offered then headed for the door.

Jeff sat staring at the pod in his attic. He was at a complete loss as to how to handle this. The one thought in his mind at the moment was that Nancy was going to have to be sedated. What registered next was his daughters frightened eyes watching him. He knew this was the moment…the moment where they would either draw closer together or splinter apart. “Okay, tell me everything,” Jeff said softly. He would accept whatever he had to accept to help his daughter.

“We don’t know everything about what happened or how she did this to us. Max and I didn’t even remember any of it…Nothing. We didn’t find out until Tess left. She left behind a journal and when I started reading it that’s when I started to remember,” Liz paused and took a deep breath. She wiped her cheeks and continued. “We still don’t know everything. When I found my daughters pod there was an impression of another pod that had sat next to hers. We don’t know how Tess stole them or how long she’ll be in that pod. I’m hoping that Langley might know,” Liz said her eyes shimmering with tears in the dim light. “I don’t know….I’m sorry Dad.”

Jeff hugged her close as she started to cry in earnest. Tears filled his own eyes as he got a hint of the turmoil Liz had lived with for however long. He just held her stroking her hair like he had when she was a little girl. Finally when her tears slowed he released her so she could see his face as he talked to her. “I’ll help you Lizzie. You’re my daughter and I love you so much. We’ll get through this okay?”

Liz nodded and wiped her eyes trying to calm down. “Okay.”

Jeff crawled out of the attic feeling twenty years older and more tired then he could ever remember. Liz had finally fallen asleep exhausted from the ordeal of the day. He had studied the pod and the child inside it carefully…his grandchild. She looked perfect..ten fingers and ten toes with tiny little nails and rose bud lips. All the revelations of the day had pushed him past shock and into a weird state where he felt disconnected from reality.

He walked into his living room to find Michael sitting nervously on his couch looking extremely uncomfortable.

“Is she okay?” Michael asked unable to tell how things had gone by Jeff’s face.

“She’s sleeping. Michael help me out here….How is this possible? How could Max do this? Get my daughter pregnant while he was dating Tess…or before? I just…I don’t understand what really happened between all of you in the first place. All I know is Liz was dating him and then left for the summer. When she came back Max was around all the time singing in the alley and sending flowers so how did we get from there to here?” Jeff asked sinking into the armchair completely confused.

“I don’t really know. I know that Liz had reason to believe it was best for Max to try to build a relationship with Tess. They were married on our world you know? The message from our home said they expected us to come back and reclaim the throne so Liz stepped back to allow Max to see if that was right for him. Max…he didn’t want that but eventually he and Tess got close and got together. Tess really did remove their memories. I’m sure she knew that Max would never give Liz up if her remembered. Tess poked holes in Max’s condoms and messed with their heads to get them to create a child that she could steal from them. She’s evil,” Michael finished. He felt his nerves calm as Mr. Parker continued to talk to him as he always had.

Jeff rubbed his face as he processed that. Both Liz and Michael were careful not to place blame on Max….but Jeff wasn’t buying it for several reasons. The pain in Liz’s eyes when he brought up Max and Tess dating combined with the fact that they still weren’t together told him something wasn’t right. He wasn’t stupid, he had eyes and could clearly see that Max was more then willing to be with Liz. Max acted like a man groveling for forgiveness for a serious offense and so far no one was explaining what that offense was.

Setting that line of thought aside he was worried about Liz’s safety. The FBI had just tried to grab her. She wasn’t safe here and neither was his grandchild.

“What do you think about what happened tonight?” Jeff asked.

“I think Liz’s assessment is accurate. They were testing her to see what she could do,” Michael replied.

“So what do we do to keep her safe?” Jeff asked. This wasn’t a world he understood and he had no idea what to do here. He was open to all suggestions.

“I think we should wait for Max and the others to get back and maybe take a trip to see that Langley guy. Maybe he can help us,” Michael said slowly. He really didn’t know if anything could keep any of them safe right now but Roswell was the first place anyone would look for them.

Jeff just nodded silently. He would talk to Jim as soon as he could move.

Morning dawned in the Parker household rousing Kyle who was stationed on Liz’s balcony. He reached down and checked his cell phone and confirmed that he had missed no calls. He was deeply worried about Liz’s safety. They couldn’t stay here. Not when the FBI had already tried to snatch Liz. They may have been testing her but what that whole thing said to him was that they were about to move on her.

Kyle was also worried that none of the others had called. Liz had left messages for Max and Maria both. Maria always checked her messages so she was Liz’s back up in case Max forgot to check his. He felt the gnawing knot of worry grow as the sun moved across the sky.

Maria turned up the radio and sang along with the tune thinking it was a beautiful day out. Brody/Larek was asleep in the passenger seat and they were headed home after a pretty successful night’s work. Maria fumbled through her purse looking for her sunglasses and found her cell phone instead. Pulling the bag on her lap trying not to swerve all over the road she rummaged through her purse setting her phone on her lap and finally finding her glasses. Throwing them on she turned on her phone and looked at the display. She frowned seeing Liz’s cell number.

She called in to listen to her voice mail and immediately called Liz. Getting no answer she tried Liz’s home number and got her machine. She tried Michael’s and got his machine and then tried the Parker’s main number.

“Hello?” Michael answered.

“Michael! Oh my god I just got Liz’s message. What happened?” Maria asked in a rush.

“You guys gotta get back here. Liz almost got picked up by the Feds and now her dad knows about us and what’s in the attic….things are crazy here. Where are you?” Michael asked looking at his watch.

“I’m in the car headed back with Brody but Max and the others are still in Las Cruses. Has Max been in touch at all?” Maria asked worried.

“No. Listen just get back here. Mr. P is freaking. I mean he’s cool but….this isn’t my thing,” Michael said looking around and grabbing an apple.

“How’s Liz? She’s okay right?” Maria asked picking up speed.

“She seemed fine last night but I only saw her for a second when she got home. I haven’t seen her since the talk with her dad,” Michael said shining the apple on his shirt.

“Michael! It’s eleven in the morning! Go check on her,” Maria said exasperated. “Call me back or have Liz call me.”

“Kay,” Michael answered and hung up. He walked down the hall and into Liz’s empty room. Hanging out her window he yelled to Kyle. “Maria wants you to check on Liz.”

Kyle got up and crawled in the window. “Too scared of spiders to do it yourself?” Kyle asked smirking.

“Nope. You’re just little enough to fit up there,” Michael smirked back.

“I prefer to say I’m more agile,” Kyle said and proved it by easily swinging up into the attic. Kyle squinted in the dim light and crawled toward the pulsing glow. As he reached the edge of the sleeping bag the pod pulsed brightly and he sucked in his breath in horror.

What were formerly small shoots growing out of the top of the pod were now long thin strands of almost translucent tentacles that stretch outward seeking Liz. Kyle crawled closer and turned on the lantern to get a better look. In the light from the lantern it only got worse. There were shoots from the penetrating her body at the nose, ears, and navel. “Oh fuck! Liz? Liz wake up!” Kyle panicked and moved up by her head. She looked like she was sleeping. Her chest was rising and falling in a steady rhythm…that was good. She didn’t wake up…that was bad. “Um Michael? We have a situation.”

“What kind of situation?” Michael called hopping up on the chair.

“The kind that’s freaking me the fuck out! Get up here!” Kyle yelled brushing Liz’s hair back to see better.

Grumbling to himself Michael hoisted himself up on the shelf and worked himself into the small opening leading to the attic. “Kyle you’re such a wussy. What’s the…..holy fuck! Is she….dead?”

“No. She’s breathing. You’re the freaking alien you tell me! What the hell?” Kyle said turning to face Michael getting pissed. “Look at her! This is like ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ for fuck’s sake!”

“Calm down…Shit! Max is such a bastard. Where the HELL is he? He should be dealing with this. Mr. P is going to kick my ass,” Michael groaned crawling closer. His luck totally sucked.

“Get over it already! Look at this,” Kyle said pushing Liz’s shirt up slightly and pointing to her navel. “It’s burrowing right inside her.”

“Oh god. Let me see,” Michael said crawling around the pod and closer to Liz. Looking things over he decided to check the basics. He felt for a pulse and found it strong and steady. Her breathing seemed relaxed the air passing between her slightly parted lips at a steady pace. He probed lightly at her navel to see if Liz reacted at all or there was any blood and got neither. “Okay Okay let me think. Ummm we can’t leave her here so help me get her out of here.”

“I’ll carry Liz you take the pod,” Kyle said immediately. He gently slid his arms under her sweating in the stifling heat of the attic. Kyle lifted her pulling her close to his chest and moving awkwardly on his knees toward the hatch leading to the bedroom.

Michael picked up the pod from the bottom and followed Kyle making sure to stay close and not let the tentacles pull tight. When they reached the hatch Michael set the pod down and wiggled out the hatch quickly removing the shelf and putting the chair under the hatch before climbing back on. “Okay, put the pod on her chest and I’ll widen the hole. When the hole is big enough pass her down to me.”

Kyle set Liz down gently and set the pod on her stomach then rolled it so it was laying on it’s side along her body then picked them both back up waiting for Michael to work his voodoo. When the hole grew large enough Kyle looked down at Michael. “Ready?”

“Ready…let’s do this,” Michael said raising his arms and used his powers to slowly lower Liz down till he could get a good grip. Michael clutched Liz and the pod and carefully stepped off the chair and made his way to her bed where he set his burden down.

Kyle gripped the edge of the hatch and gracefully swung down into the room landing lightly on the floor. Rushing over to the bed he checked Liz over carefully and pulled her shirt back down over her abdomen fussing slightly as he saw she hadn’t stirred at all. He didn’t know what to do….he needed Liz to tell him what to do. She was the smart one….the one who was good in science and always figured things out. He was the dumb jock who was lucky to pass the basic requirements in the area of science needed to graduate. Her lips looked dry. Paying no attention to Michael who was on the phone he ran into the bathroom and wet a wash cloth and searching the vanity he grabbed Liz’s lip-gloss. He hurried back to Liz and wet her lips with the wash cloth then wiped her face as much as he could around the strands of freaky pod tentacles. Tossing the wash cloth aside he awkwardly applied a coat of lip-gloss wanting to keep her lips from cracking.

Meanwhile Michael had placed one call to Max’s cell phone and left him a curt voice mail telling him to call Kyle’s cell phone right away. Next was Isabel’s phone where he left a similar message. He went to find Mr. P filled with dread. As the only alien present he was likely to take the brunt of this explosion. Besides that he had no idea what to do to help Liz…this was beyond his experience and he was becoming frightened although he wouldn’t admit it. He was supposed to be taking care of things here and look at the mess he was making of things.

posted on 14-Jan-2003 3:31:13 PM
So who's voting for an Alien Smackdown? Think Jeff will be a little angry with Max? Maybe so. The question is....will Maria or someone spill the less edited version to Jeff before the meeting?

Things are going to be happening fast for a bit here so bare with me...*tongue*. Also I should say science isn't my best subject soooo I may not be completely detailed in my explainations. Forgive me please.

We will get to the translation and what it says but it might be a little bit. I have the contents of the box to go over yet and Max needs to CHECK his damn messages right? *big*

Some of your thoughts about the pod are so very close to the guys are good!
posted on 15-Jan-2003 3:49:32 AM
Chapter Forty Four

When Jeff had finally dragged himself out of bed the café was already opened and the morning rush was underway. He made his way into his small closet of an office and started rearranging the café’s schedule. He took Liz completely off the schedule along with Michael. He placed phone calls to his other employee’s to get coverage for their shifts. He left Maria on in a more limited manner. Even if Maria wasn’t able to make it in for her shifts it wouldn’t break the café coverage wise. By the time he finished that task the breakfast rush was over and he pulled Jose aside long enough to ask him to keep an eye on things saying the family might be called out of town by a relative in the next few days. Then having covered the café as much as he could he went to sit next to Jim in the back booth of the dining room.

Jim studied the man in front of him seeing the wear plain on his face. “You doing all right?”

“Yeah, as much as I can be anyway. I do have some questions for you if you don’t mind,” Jeff asked waving away the waitress making her way over.

“Sure, I’ll do my best to answer them,” Jim replied honestly.

“Liz said that Tess claimed to be pregnant and the baby was ill and that’s how she convinced the others to leave. Is that correct?” Jeff asked having had time to really think about the story Liz had told. He carefully left Max’s name out of it.

“Yes, that’s true. She put on a good show…sweating, abdominal pain, fever, and she even let Max connect to his son to verify things. She was very good,” Jim answered thinking back on the time right before she left.

Jeff narrowed his eyes at Jim’s admission. That rotten prick bastard. He had to start taking deep breaths to control the rage that washed over him as he confirmed what he had suspected. “Do you believe she was pregnant? It was possible?”

“It’s hard to say what’s the truth. Her powers make finding the truth a difficult thing but yes…it’s possible. Max believed it was possible,” Jim answered honestly. He didn’t believe in white washing the situation. The kids had made some mistakes along the way…some bigger than others.

As Jeff started to respond Sheriff Hanson entered the café and paused as he looked around before heading toward their table. “Morning Sheriff. What can I do for you?” Jeff inquired.

“Jim…Jeff,” Hanson greeted as he removed his sunglasses and tucked the arm into his front pocket. “Liz around this morning Jeff?”

“Why are you asking Sheriff?” Jeff asked mildly.

“I got a report of an assault last night that named her as the assailant. I need to speak with her is all. Clear this thing up,” Hanson said eyeing Jim as he spoke.

“Liz was with me last night. Father daughter night out. I can assure you that no assault took place…just a little stargazing. Who would make such a claim?” Jeff asked appearing confused.

“A tourist actually,” Hanson said vaguely and pulled out a notebook. “What times was she with you exactly?”

“Her shift ended about six I’d say. She changed cloths and we got our stuff ready. Telescope and all that…then we left stopping at the Quick Stop for some sodas on the way. We didn’t get back till about one in the morning I’d say. I could check her time card for you if you like,” Jeff said supplying details and trying to appear to be helpful.

“That’s okay Jeff. I’d still like to speak with Liz if I may,” Hanson said snapping his notebook closed.

“She’s not here actually,” Jeff replied sitting back in his seat and waiting for Hanson’s next move.

“Would you mind if I took a look around?” Hanson asked watching Jeff. He had no idea what the FBI wanted with Liz Parker but he was starting to think she was trouble. First implicated in a disappearance now this. Where there’s smoke and all that. That’s why he agreed to follow the FBI’s lead on this. He didn’t want troublemakers in his town.

“Sure wouldn’t as long as you have a warrant,” Jeff answered then waited.

Hanson stayed silent trying to use his silence to shake the other man. When that didn’t work he reached for his glasses. “Well, I’ll just check back later.”

“Sure thing Sheriff. Nice talking with you,” Jeff replied. With a nod Hanson left and Jeff turned to Jim. “I think it’s time to leave for a bit.”

“Yep, looks like it,” Jim agreed as Michael burst through the doors headed their way.

“Mr. P I think you better come upstairs with me,” Michael said his tone urgent.

Max waited one block down from the bank for Ava. Checking his watch he saw she had only been gone ten minutes. They had waited for business at the bank to pick up not wanting Ava to go in right as the bank opened or when she might be remembered too easily. Isabel waited in the car ready to go. Feeling impatient he pulled out his cell phone and realized his battery was dead. Looking around he put the phone back in his pocket not wanting to use his powers out in the open. Spotting Ava and making eye contact he strolled toward the car as she patted her tote bag.

They got in and Isabel headed for the highway while Max and Ava looked through the contents of what had been in the box.

“Izzy can you call Liz and let her know we’re on the way back?” Max called reaching into the bag and pulling out a black drawstring bag. Looking in he saw a bunch of small crystals and other stones. He set that aside and pulled out a file folder.

Ava looked through the file folder in her hands. “This is an FBI file on Liz. It has her medical records, school transcripts, and a pile of background information. Wow under the bleachers huh?” Ava asked Max waving a surveillance photo at him and smirking.

“Give me that!” Max said snatching the photo his ears turning red.

Isabel smiled as she left Liz a voice mail on her cell phone. Next she tried Liz’s home number.

“Max?” Kyle answered praying it was him.

“No, Isabel. What’s wrong?” Isabel asked hearing a note of desperation in his voice.

“Multiple things at the moment. Liz is being taken over by Body Snatchers as we speak. The guest in the attic has attached itself to her burrowing into her nose, ears, and navel. Liz almost got snatched by suits right in front of her father last night so now he’s just about up to speed on what’s happening. Met the guest briefly. Michael is getting him now to view this latest crises. How is your day?” Kyle asked sarcastically.

“Oh shit. Is she….alive?” Isabel asked glancing in the rearview mirror and catching Max’s eye.

“She’s breathing but she won’t wake up. We brought her out of the upstairs along with….her new appendage. Look you people better hurry up. The shit is flying over here fast and furious and the smart one is napping. Michael is in charge how’s that for a idea of how it’s going?” Kyle asked glancing toward the door. Where was the hair challenged one anyway? Vacation?

“We’re on our way now,” Isabel answered waving Max off. “Your Dad’s there right?”

“Yeah but he doesn’t know about this yet. Michael’s getting them. I don’t have time to chat now. Call me back in 20,” Kyle said hanging up as the sound of pounding feet sounded in the hall.

Isabel hung up and placed the phone on her lap as she sped up.

“What’s going on? What happened to Liz?” Max asked when Isabel didn’t speak.

“The FBI tried to snatch Liz right in front of her dad last night so she had to tell him everything. Now the pod has somehow attached itself to Liz. Kyle said it was burrowing into her nose, ears, and navel and she won’t wake up but she is breathing. Michael was going to get her dad. I guess they just found her and brought her out of the attic. He’s requesting we hurry home,” Isabel answered concentrating on her driving. “He wants us to call back in twenty minutes. I think Mr. Parker was coming in the room.”

Ava watched the blood drain from Max’s face and moved to reassure him. “Max! If she were in mortal danger you would know. The bond remember?”

“But…what if she dies before I can get home to heal her?” Max asked not reassured at all. Nightmare visions flashed through his mind at warp speed.

“That’s your child Max. Pod or not that is still your child. I don’t think it will hurt her. Let’s look through this stuff and see if anything in here gives us an answer for when we do get there okay?” Ava said trying to get him to focus. They couldn’t help Liz right now except to try and find some information in what Tess had left.

“Right. Okay,” Max nodded and tried to hold it together.

Kyle turned to the door as Jeff Parker barreled through.

“Lizzie? Oh god!” Jeff cried as he reached her bedside. This situation wasn’t covered in any parenting book he had ever read.

“Mr. Parker? Don’t touch those…strings. We don’t want to harm Liz or the pod right? Liz is breathing fine and seems okay so let’s just keep an eye on her okay?” Kyle said trying to get him to look at the whole situation and not panic like HE felt like doing. He didn’t want to find out what would happen if the…cords were damaged. Venus was a good name…like the flytrap. If it weren’t for that tennis player he would suggest the name. Focus Kyle….focus on Liz. Deep breaths you can’t pass out now and leave Michael in charge good lord he might start giving Liz Miracle Grow.

Jeff knelt next to Liz’s bed and picked up her hand, as he looked things over. Kyle was right she was breathing and her eyes moved under her eyelids like she was dreaming. The hand he held was warm and very alive so maybe his baby would be okay. Please let his little girl be all right. Fighting back his fear he turned to the pod. He couldn’t panic now. Liz needed him. Panicking wouldn’t help her. As he looked at the pod he frowned and placed his fingers over the pulse in Liz’s wrist. After a minute he was sure…the pod was pulsing in time with Liz’s heartbeat. The child inside the pod kicked out with both feet proving she seemed fine.

Jim stood by the window studying the scene before him. Turning to the two boys next to him he started giving them orders and asking questions. “Kyle was that the phone?”

“Yes..Isabel called they’re on their way. I filled them in and told them to call back in 20.” Kyle answered.

“Okay. Well it looks like we are going to have to leave town so please get on the internet and get directions to Langley’s address,” Jim instructed Kyle who nodded and sat at Liz’s computer. Jim turned to Michael next. “Michael, I’m going to go borrow a van. I need you to get things ready. Make sure you pack a cooler and bring bottled water. We need blankets and pillows to pad the pod for the trip. We’ll toss a mattress in the back of the van. I want to be ready to go when the others get here.”

Before Michael could answer Nancy Parker appeared in the doorway. “What’s going on here?” Nancy asked puzzled. She watched the occupants of the room freeze. “Jeff?” Nancy asked as she stepped into the room. Seeing Liz on the bed had Nancy freezing for a moment before turning to look in her husband’s face as he stood. “Wh-what’s happening? What’s wrong with Liz?”

“Honey, we need to talk,” Jeff said moving over to his wife.

Maria cursed Michael Guerin up, down, and sideways. She had given him a simple task damn it. Check on Liz and call her THE HELL BACK! Now here she was a speeding nervous wreck among complete idiots on the highway. They were all trying to hit the Jetta that was clear. Stay in your own lane when someone is passing you at high speeds…..Jesus they were trying to kill her. Maria rocketed around a little old lady in a Toyota not noticing as the Toyota swerved off the road dust cloud rising in its wake. Something was wrong. She knew something was wrong. Otherwise Liz would have called by now. Liz was dead…Oh my god Liz was dead like Alex and Michael was afraid to call her back! Now she was the lone human among aliens….no there was still Kyle. He didn’t count….he wasn’t Liz. Oh god what was she going to do without Liz? Maria plugged the travel diffuser into the cigarette lighter and hoped her essential oils would work magic and help her calm down.

As the soothing scent of cypress filled the car Maria realized she wasn’t that far from Roswell. All she had to do was shove Brody from the car and head to the CrashDown. Feeling more in control Maria watched for speed traps and counted the miles until she could wade into the current crises.

Ava put the two videotapes back into the tote bag with the money and identification papers. Tess had left a lot of money behind along with two passports and matching birth certificates. The videos and computer disks would have to wait but the files and letter to Liz were fair game.

The file Max had taken from her had him absorbed so Ava picked up the other one. Flipping it open she started scanning it quickly. Ava stopped sickened as she realized it was a record of experiments done on Alex Whitman. She didn’t understand all of what she was reading but it looked like they had used Alex to genetically alter the lifeform that created the pod. They had to adjust it to support human life. Or a human/hybrid cross.

This was a government file. Ava’s stomach turned and she had to swallow against the urge to vomit. They had taken all manner of samples from Alex…more then seemed strictly needed for their task. The file went into technical details on how they used Alex’s DNA and compared it to ‘hybrid subject A’ and ‘alien subject F’ sorting through the possible adjustments that needed to be made to the pod organism. The file seemed incomplete and no conclusion was reached.

Ava rubbed her temples as the purpose for this file was made clear. What would it have done to Liz to read of this? There were no answers here. It was purely for taunting purposes. To plant more nightmares on top of the already heaping pile and let them grow and spread their poison. Who could even think of something so horrible? To tell Liz of the horrors inflicted on Alex and that he was used to rip her child from her and place that child in a pod created by the suffering of her friend. Tears leaked from Ava’s eyes as she contemplated the monstrous nature of the thing that wore a mask of her own face.

Max struggled against his rising fear. This file on Liz was so complete it was frightening. All of her medical records stretching all the way back to her birth were contained within these pages. Her friends and family were all named….they had covered everything. Photos showed Liz on her balcony, at school, in the café. Private moments captured on film and placed in a file for strangers to view. These photos spanned over a year…some were very recent. Several he knew had to have been taken after Tess left. One showed the green lightening flickering over Liz’s arms and hands…Isabel was at the edge of the picture and it was set on her balcony.

Kyle sat beside Liz holding her hand listening to Mr. Parker trying to calm his wife. Their voices carried clearly down the hall from the living room. After a demonstration from Michael Nancy became a believer in aliens. It sounded like she was getting hysterical. Kyle was almost glad Liz didn’t have to deal with this.

posted on 23-Jan-2003 4:26:26 PM
I am so sorry I have been MIA for so long. I am having serious computer issues. I am at the public library right now with the new chapter on disk but....well they don't allow you to use your own disks or do any type of downloading sooooo....well this sucks. I'll see if I can print out what I have and type it in to post.

Thank you for all the bumps and concern for my wellfare that is really a boost. I've been very upset lately and having trouble writting so maybe this will kick my butt into gear. Ya think? I'm hoping. The Max/ Jeff scene is just rolling around in my head with all sorts of options so we'll see what comes out.

Hello to the new reader/poster I hope you don't mind me posting a response to your feedback. I don't see Liz as shallow at all for wanting to try new things like a frat party or different cloths. I never said she was dressing like a tramp just not so frumpy. I greatly resented on the show that everyone else could show some style and a little skin but Liz was usually a frumpy little sister when it came to her cloths. I'm sorry you don't like Isabel but I'm taking a view of her I saw in season one which was the potential for more then just being a selfish shallow witch. I always kind of liked her maybe I can understand her a little bit too. After something this big happening in a small group I really don't think it's out of line to see some changes and people making some changes. Plus I never said this story would stay CC did I? No. Now Max....hmmm I have mixed feelings on him. So I'll leave "what he's been through" alone.

As for soul mates and love in general......I'll share my thoughts on that so everyone knows where I'm coming from. I don't think Love is being someone's door mat. I also don't think that it's just accepting anything they dish out. It's human to question things and try to protect yourself after someone hurts you. That doesn't mean you don't love them. But love also doesn't mean it always works out. Love doesn't always make you happy sometimes it hurts like hell. Things are drawing to a close in this story and we'll see where Liz goes from here. Liz has a lot to figure out. I really think Liz has been pretty darn nice to Max. This story strayed from my orignal plan so I have no idea where we'll all end up.

Anyway I hope to post soon today if I can manage it but this darn libray has a time limit so we'll see.
posted on 24-Jan-2003 3:15:17 PM
Okay well I have bad news. This totally sucks but I can't get my files printed to retype. For whatever reason it isn't recognizing my files soooo I have no idea how I'm going to do this. I've tried disc and CD so I'm stumped. Funny how I thought this would be simple and it just isn't. I have over two chapters to post and no way to do so. So give me a few days and I'll see what I can come up with.

On the cloths thing.....preppy is a good word for her I suppose. Seasons one and two really fit that description. I liked season three cloths better myself. She wasn't.....trampy but she lost a little tiny bit of the preppy look. I don't think hip huggers and t-shirt or halter is trampy or terribly out of the realm of possiblity. Now a micro mini and leather that would be....different. Isabel yes and Tess of course but Liz...I can't see it personally. Sooo anyway that's my view. Maybe I think this way because of my I was extremely preppy and more straight laced when I started high school but by the end well that was a different story.

Anyway the ride from here on out is...going to be something else. But let's not panic. Remember what I said at the start......a somewhat happy ending. I am also restating my stand on Liz and casual sex.....she doesn't believe in it. So with that in mind I'll stop babbling. I hope to post soon.
posted on 30-Jan-2003 7:12:00 PM
Okay this time I have sorta good news. I should have my computer back in a week or less. YES!!! When that happens I'll post....I've got some chapters just waiting to go.

Thank you guys for all the bumps and good thoughts.
posted on 3-Feb-2003 1:17:45 PM
Okay.....expect to see an update in about two days. I'm told I will be ready to go by midweek. I'm crossing my fingers.
posted on 5-Feb-2003 2:54:33 AM
Chapter Forty Five

Maria bounded up the stairs to the Parker’s apartment and pounded on the door. Hopping from foot to foot she waited for the door to open. When Jim answered her knock the questions started spewing forth at a pace never seen before.

“Where’s Liz? Is she okay? Oh my god how’s the baby? Why are you here? Is she dead? Where’s Michael? They didn’t come and throw her in a white room did they?”

Jim closed the door waiting for her to slow down enough for him to get a word in. Turning to face her he made a time out gesture and watched her bite back her other questions. “Liz is in her room….” Before he could say anything else Maria was gone.

Maria rushed down the hall to Liz’s room and walked in. Kyle looked up from his place on the bed and Maria could see the worry in his eyes. Maria took in the sight before her in shock. Liz was so still and pale while the pod pulsed brightly beside her. Moving closer she saw how the pod had attached itself to her by what almost looked like the roots of a plant. “Oh my god,” Maria breathed. She reached the edge of the bed on weak knees and barely felt Kyle take her hand and guide her down to sit on the bed.

“She’s alive…see her chest move? She’s breathing fine so she’s going to be okay. She’ll wake up soon,” Kyle said trying to reassure himself as much as Maria.

“Tell me what happened,” Maria asked touching Liz’s arm to reassure herself that Liz was warm and alive. Tears threatened as she watched the rise and fall of Liz’s chest.

Kyle went over what had happened and Mrs. Parker’s arrival as well as the Sheriff’s questions. He explained that they were getting ready to leave for California.

“I’m coming with you. How is Mrs. Parker?” Maria asked. She was already thinking of story to tell her mom.

“She didn’t take it well. When she saw Liz…..Mr. Parker had to take her out of the room. She was…it’s a lot at one time,” Kyle said softly. He cringed just thinking about Mrs. Parker’s hysterical cries when she really saw Liz.

“I’m going to go find Mrs. Parker and see if I can help and then I’m going to call my mom. After that Michael has some explaining to do,” Maria said her voice sounding stronger. She would talk to Mrs. Parker and try to help. She had promised Liz she would help her and now was her chance. She knew what it felt like to be freaked out by finding out about aliens. It must be a shock to find out your impending grandchild….surprise…was part alien and your daughter the condition she was.

Ava looked up from the translation of the book and craned her neck to see the sky outside of her window. “According to this translation the Granilith isn’t a one time use type of thing. It’s very powerful and can be used in a lot of ways. It can travel between it’s stationed parts…in other words the base is part of Granilith and I would imagine there is a similar base on Antar. That would explain why the Skins want it…they could travel back and forth at will among other things. It is self-recharging and the limits of its power are unknown. That’s just amazing,” Ava said looking over and meeting Isabel’s eyes in the rearview mirror. “This translation also says that we were sent here in part to see if it was possible…or favorable for our kind to live here. Either in our original form like our protectors or in our modified form. The war depleted our planet's resources and it had become unstable which was a fact kept from the public. A prophecy talks about the fall of our world so when some of the prophesied events started coming about Zan started several projects to explore options. One part of this translation is devoted to the prophecies.”

“Prophecies are a bunch of guesses and junk really. Totally useless,” Max grumbled. He was anxious to get to Liz. This was taking way too long.

He tapped Alex’s file on his knee and looked out the window tuning the girls out. He was more afraid then he ever had been in all of his life. Not even when he was in the white room had he felt this helpless and afraid. It was one thing to be afraid for yourself but this was so much worse. Tess was more twisted then Pierce could have ever dreamed of being…..and she was focused like a spotlight on Liz. The guilt he felt for that was overwhelming. If he had left Liz alone or been able to just let her go then maybe Tess would have left her alone too. Maybe she wouldn’t be in the danger she was right now. Alex would be okay and probably sitting in the CrashDown right now. Liz would be well on her way to her dreams and maybe she would even be happy…she certainly couldn’t be much farther from happy then she was right now.

He would give anything to just sit and watch Liz laugh. He would trade it all to go back before all of this. Max smiled as he remembered how he used to be so content just watching her…being near her. His chest would tighten and his stomach would rumble just watching her smile. Her laugh….there was nothing like it anywhere.

Max gripped the file tightly and tried to tell himself that not everything that had happened in the last year was bad. He tried to think of one perfect moment that wasn’t spoiled by either him or Tess. After five minutes he gave up. There just wasn’t one. Even their child had come at a high price…higher for Liz then himself. His dream had always been to have children with Liz but not like this. Not when it hurt Liz like this. Did that make him a bad person? That if he could choose he would choose to go back and do it all over…if Liz could be happy…even if their daughter never came into being. What if this baby…having this child killed her? What if it hurt her? Despite what Ava said about him knowing if something were really wrong with Liz he wasn’t reassured. He felt Ava place a hand on his arm and turned to look at her.

“You’re going to hyperventilate if you don’t calm down Max,” Ava said quietly.

He made an effort to deepen and slow his breaths. “This is all wrong,” Max said his voice strained.

“What is?” Ava asked.

“Everything. Me..This situation I put everyone in. If anything happens to…Liz…If she…” Max stopped and turned back to the window.

Ava turned to face her window and closed her eyes as silence fell through out the car.

Maria sat across from Liz’s mom and realized she didn’t know what to say. Looking over Nancy Parker she felt horrible. The women looked devastated. “Mrs. Parker I know you must have tons of questions…I’ll try to answer them want to ask. I had a hard time getting used to aliens myself soo..,” Maria trailed off uncertainly.

Nancy raised her eyes to look at her daughter’s oldest friend. This was the closest she could come to talking to her daughter right now. She had calmed down slightly from her earlier shock now she just wanted to understand. “You had a hard time with it but now…You’re with Michael?”

Maria smiled slightly. “Yes. What I learned about aliens is that they are a lot more human then they think they are. Michael is…just Michael really. Grumpy and difficult but brave and wonderful too. Really Mrs. Parker you get used to all the other stuff,” Maria assured her.

Nancy couldn’t imagine getting used to it. She couldn’t even wrap her mind around the idea. “Is Liz used to it?”

“You know….she always was really. She adjusted much quicker then I did. She just started trying to understand it all and help them right from the start,” Maria replied tapping her nail on the arm of her chair.

“That sounds like Liz…always trying to figure things out,” Nancy said with a quiver in her voice.

“She’ll be okay….she’s not done figuring it all out,” Maria said believing what she said. Liz was too strong to quit now.

Nancy smiled at the confidence in her tone. “Tell me about the baby. Does she…love Max? How does she feel about the baby?”

“Umm she loved the baby from the first moment she saw her. She loves her very much and has tried so hard to keep her safe. We’ve all been talking about names,” Maria said smiling gently.

“And Max?” Nancy asked not letting her evade her first question.

Maria squirmed in her seat before answering. “Max had been really good about the baby. He really wants to be a part of her life,” Maria said and when Nancy didn’t say anything she sighed. “Yes, she loves him but..”

“But what?” Nancy asked quietly. She knew she had better press her advantage now because Liz never talked to her about these things. So if she ever wanted to understand Maria was her best shot.

“Things are always complicated with those two. She’s done amazing things because she loves him,” Maria said softly.

“Does he love her?” Nancy asked watching Maria chew on her lip.

“I believe he does. He says he does but he…hurt her. She’s not sure…she can trust him. They have something between them…you’ll see it when they’re together,” Maria answered in the best way she could. She did believe Max loved Liz as much as he was able to, she just wondered if that was enough.

Nancy heard the doubt that Maria wasn’t even aware of in her voice. “Tell me how this all happened. Jeff said that Tess…she has some sort of power that can make you see things?”

“Tess has strong powers. She can make you see things that aren’t there. She can remove memories and replace them with what she chooses. She wanted Max for herself…more like she thought he was rightfully hers. She was furious when she realized that Max and Liz had…bonded. She couldn’t accept that they loved each other. She is a spiteful soulless person. She set out to hurt Liz in every way she could so she poked holes in Max’s condoms, she removed their memories, she messed with their minds until she got what she wanted…their child. She killed Alex and she divided us. Then she left,” Maria said looking away. “It’s more complicated then that and as simple as that. The details make it complicated but really that’s what it comes down to.”

Nancy wept for her daughter and all the pain she and her friends had endured. For all that was coming and for the youth that they had lost. She didn’t understand this new world she had been thrust into and she wasn’t sure that she wanted to.

Isabel stopped the car in the alley and before it came to rest Max was out and climbing the ladder to Liz’s balcony. Ava and Isabel gathered up the contents of Tess’s box and headed for the front door.

Max vaulted the railing and headed for the window swinging in before looking. He stopped dead as he saw Liz and the pod. Kyle got up off the bed and faced him squarely.

“Mr. Parker is dying to see you,” Kyle remarked unable to curb all of his resentment. He folded his arms across his chest as Max moved to the bed.

“She hasn’t moved at all?” Max asked checking her over.

“No. The pod has changed a little though. It’s glowing brighter in time with her heartbeat. The little root like things are more yellow too whatever that means,” Kyle answered watching him carefully.

Max sat next to Liz and tucked her hair behind her ear so he could see better. He studied her ears and nose first touching the tentacles gently but got no reaction. He pulled up her shirt enough to see her navel and winced. Probing the area gently and making his way outward he thought he could feel the pieces of the pod running up under her skin but he wasn’t sure. Visions of ‘ALIENS’ and ‘THE THING” ran though his head despite the fact that the pod carried their child…the pod itself was foreign. Even being an alien himself wasn’t helping…this was freaking him out. What scared him the most was he couldn’t feel her..not even a little bit.

Ava and Isabel talked with Jim for a moment and got a run down of what was happening and where everyone was. They stopped in the kitchen to let Maria and Mrs. Parker know they were there before setting the box contents down in the living room and joining Max in Liz’s room.

They ran into Kyle as he exited the room. Isabel smiled at how relieved he looked to see them.

“How is Liz doing?” Ava asked softly.

“Same. Max says he can’t feel her whatever that means,” Kyle answered looking Ava full in the face for the first time. He was starting to think she might be okay. He knew she sensed that he was uncomfortable around her so she rarely spoke to him.

Ava frowned at that bit of news. If Max couldn’t feel her he couldn’t form a connection, which meant that he couldn’t heal her if it became necessary.

“Where is everyone else?” Isabel asked Kyle.

“Mr. Parker ran to the bank for some cash. Michael is packing up the van Dad borrowed from Owen. They put a mattress in the back for Liz already. We’re loading up and heading out to see that Langley guy. You better think of something to tell your parents,” Kyle answered.

posted on 5-Feb-2003 2:56:38 AM
Chapter Forty Six

Max sat holding Liz’s limp hand in his unable to process the situation. There was a frozen ball of fear in the pit of his stomach. He silently watched the small changes taking place as the afternoon crept by.

Although Liz still hadn’t moved at all there were subtle and not so subtle changes taking place. The pod now had streaks of purple running in veins through the dark green. The yellowing of the tentacles had progressed and they were now turning brown and shriveling slightly. Liz was pale and sweating although her skin was cool to the touch. Max was scared out of his mind.

Max wasn’t sure if the changes were good or not. All he knew was she couldn’t stay like she was forever. He had tried everything he could think of and nothing had worked. He couldn’t get in. Isabel and Michael had finally pulled him away to a meeting in the living room. It was time to face Liz’s father.

While Max and the rest of them were out in the living room talking and making plans to leave Kyle stayed with Liz. Kyle could hear the muffled sounds of an argument taking place but he was less interested in that then he was in Liz and his own thoughts. Kyle was worried about a thousand different things and found it impossible to leave her side. She was totally helpless and vulnerable right now. The rest of them wanted to talk about what route to take and whether to drive straight through and a million other stupid things that Kyle couldn’t care less about. They argued and fought over where to place the blame for everything that had ever happened up to now. Why couldn’t they see that none of that mattered? If something happened to Liz why would any of that make any difference? Kyle couldn’t imagine a world without Liz in it…he didn’t want to. It was unthinkable.

Kyle almost jumped out of his skin when Liz moaned softly and moved her legs restlessly. He realized that while he had been lost in his thoughts the pod’s grip on Liz had lessened. The tentacles had started to dry up and crumble away. Her ears and nose were clear of all but dust and the one attached to her navel was rapidly dissolving into dust as well.

Kyle waited frozen in place as Liz’s lashes fluttered briefly before her eyes blinked open looking confused and unfocused. “Liz?”

Liz struggled to focus through the hazy confusion in her mind. Someone was talking to her. The soft rumble was familiar and comforting. She couldn’t untangle the words but she knew that voice.

Kyle watched her eyes slip closed and moved to sit on the bed gently stroking her hair and touching her face trying to get her to open her eyes. “Liz, please don’t go back to sleep yet. Just tell me your okay then you can rest.”

Liz slowly opened her eyes and focused on the worried face looking down at her. “Kyle?” Liz whispered softly then started coughing. Unable to stop she rolled onto her side, as the tickling sensation grew worse. She didn’t notice the slight tugging at her abdomen that eased, as the last connection to the pod was broken.

Kyle eased his arm around her back and slowly helped her to a sitting position as a wave of relief washed over him. She had spoken and knew who he was. “Yeah, it’s me. I’ve been waiting for you to wake up for forever it seems like. You scared the fuck out of me.”

As Liz’s coughing slowed she was realized how thirsty she was. “Water?” Liz asked between coughs.

Kyle reached for the glass on her bedside table and raised it to her lips helping her as he realized she was having trouble holding onto the glass. He frowned at her weak uncoordinated movements. “You’ve created quite a stir. Everyone’s in the living room now arguing. Max and them are back and your mom’s there too,” Kyle said as he set the glass down.

Liz frowned slightly in confusion. Why was everyone here? She felt displaced and strange. She couldn’t gather her thoughts enough to figure out what was different, she was just so tired.

Kyle watched her eyes start to close as her body relaxed. “Liz? Are you okay?”

Liz drifted back to full awareness feeling sluggish and muddled. She wasn’t worried though because Kyle would take care of her. She was safe. Liz sighed and drifted for a moment before she realized that she had to go to the bathroom. She struggled to get up but her body was so heavy and hard to maneuver…like she wasn’t yet in full control over her movements. “I have to..use the bathroom,” Liz mumbled as Kyle resisted her movements.

“Oh..okay,” Kyle said getting up and helping her to stand. He caught her as her knees buckled under her weight and he carried her to the bathroom. He set her down bracing her against the sink. He looked at her worriedly as she swayed barely aware of where she was. “Let me go get a female person to help you here.”

Liz wasn’t really listening as she struggled with the button on her jeans. Her fingers felt clumsy and weak and she felt tears prick the backs of her eyes in frustration. She was so tired and everything felt wrong..different. She couldn’t even get her pants undone.

Kyle realized what she was doing and stilled her hands. “I’ll go get Maria just wait a second okay?” Kyle said softly worried. When she raised her eyes to his he felt a fist knock the breath out of him at the sheer misery and confusion in her tear filled eyes.

“Why can’t I do this?” Liz asked as tears filled her eyes. “I have to…I need to..”

Kyle bit the inside of his cheek and steeled his nerves. “Okay, hang on. I’ll help but you can’t ever tell anyone. I swear out of all the ways I ever imagined undoing your pants this was not even a possibility in my mind,” Kyle muttered flustered. Good lord how had it come to this? “Hang onto the counter and I’m going to shut my eyes okay?” Kyle said and waited for her nod. He pushed away his nerves and moved to help her swiftly unbuttoning her jeans then releasing the zipper. He closed his eyes and knelt down in front of her and helped her step out of them carefully keeping his movements quick and efficient. He stood, and looking toward the ceiling, he gently moved Liz closer to the toilet focused on solving the problem and not embarrassing her by making a big deal out of this. “Okay, you’re on your own for the rest. When you’re ready call me and I’ll find you something to wear that will be a little easier to deal with.”

Minute’s later Liz called out and Kyle walked into the bathroom to find her leaning on the edge of the sink pale, sweating, with her limbs trembling slightly from fatigue.

“Okay, lets get you back in bed,” Kyle said trying to ignore the fact that she was standing in her underwear and a small baby tee. He stopped and blinked as he got a good look at her. “Holy shit Liz. You like…you have..,” Kyle stuttered gesturing at her chest.

Liz glanced down and her eyes widened. “I have breasts. Oh! Oh wow!”

“I second that,” Kyle said dazed. He hadn’t noticed before he had been so wrapped up in shock and then focused on helping her but now…well that baby tee was..small.

“Well shit. Nothing’s going to fit right now,” Liz grumbled to tired to get too worked up about it. It never occurred to her to feel uncomfortable with Kyle. He had seen her in a bikini, he had seen her get sick, they had dated and it just wasn’t a thought in her mind. She knew Kyle wouldn’t try anything.

Kyle felt his lips twitch in amusement. Really it wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t like she was suddenly grossly out of proportion. “Relax..we’ll find something. We could always borrow something from Isabel.”

“Shut up Kyle,” Liz said without heat. “Isabel I will never be.”

“Like that’s a bad thing. Now come on let’s get you tucked in like a bug in a rug into your bed. Then you can take a nappy before you get as grumpy as Michael,” Kyle teased.

Liz ignored that comment and raised her arms to hold onto his neck as he picked her up and carried her into the bedroom. Her eyes were already starting to drift shut as he lowered back onto the bed.

“Where are your pajamas?” Kyle asked and watched her lips curve upward.

“You’re just dying to look through my drawers again aren’t you?” Liz asked her eyes twinkling with humor.

Relieved she could joke around he grinned broadly. “Yeah well I need to feed my imagination.”

“Second drawer from the top of my dresser,” Liz said still smiling. Funny how she wasn’t at all uneasy with him seeing her like this. She didn’t feel the need for walls or evasions with Kyle. She didn’t have to be strong or guarded with him. “Thank you for carting me around and helping me.”

“No sweat. Brings back memories,” Kyle said and looked over his shoulder to flash Liz a teasing grin. At her confused look he continued. “Reminds me of Stephanie’s party.”

“I can’t believe you said that!” Liz gaped in shock.

“Not like I’ll forget that…like ever. I had a great time. Good friends….great music….second base. I had good dreams for weeks,” Kyle teased enjoying the color flooding Liz’s face. Shutting her drawer he turned to face her.

“You are delusional. This in no way is related to…that,” Liz said eyes narrowed. Seeing the teasing light in his eyes she smirked slightly. “Besides I thought every guy dreamt of third base.”

“I said it reminded me of that not that this was close to that memorable evening. Huge difference there. Pretty much every guy does dream of third base. We’re all optimists at heart,” Kyle replied amusement clear in his tone.

Liz yawned and rubbed her eyes trying to stay awake. “It was a good night. That party was fun. It would have been better if you hadn’t vomited in the kiddy pool,” Liz sighed her eyes closing. As she drifted in the realm between waking and sleep the sound of loud angry voices interrupted her peace. “What’s going on out there?”

“At a guess I would say your dad is ripping Max a new asshole,” Kyle said snapping open her folded pajamas. “I don’t think your dad is real impressed with his Royal Highness.”

“Oh,” Liz whispered as the volume from the other room increased. She winced as she recognized her father’s voice. “Well I guess I better go see. Help me put on my pants first please.”

Kyle shook his head and knelt in front of her. “I liked these best…the ducks are cute,” Kyle said smirking as he helped her work her feet into the legs. “You’re not in the best shape at the moment. You’re so tired you can’t even stand up. Why don’t you let Max handle it?” Kyle asked helping her stand up to pull the pajamas up over her hips. Next came the top, which she pulled on over her baby tee.

Liz looked Kyle in the eye and smiled knowing his answer before she asked the question. “You think he can?”

“No, but I think it might be fun to let him squirm,” Kyle said smirking at the very idea.

Liz rolled her eyes but felt a smile tug at the corners of her mouth despite her exhaustion. “How long was I..sleeping?”

“All day. Put your arm around my neck and let’s get this over with,” Kyle said.

“I really don’t care what you think Max,” Jeff Parker said coldly staring him down. “I’m taking Liz to see this Langley and that’s that.”

“Mr. Parker you don’t understand what you’re dealing with,” Max replied. Things had gone from bad to worse in this conversation. Not that he was surprised.

“I understand a lot of things. I trust Liz’s judgement for the most part and she thinks that Langley might be able to help so does Jim. I also know you haven’t shown that you have good judgement so you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t take your suggestions,” Jeff cut in. If this little prick thought for one second that he could take charge of his daughter’s life he was sadly mistaken. Anger thrummed through him in time with his heartbeat just looking at the little prick.

Max figured he was lucky Mr. Parker hadn’t thrown him out on first sight. It was clear that he despised him and held him responsible for this entire mess and really Max didn’t blame him for that but he couldn’t let him do anything that might harm Liz. Travelling right now with her in the shape she was in could be dangerous. Plus, he still wasn’t sure about Langley and didn’t want anyone rushing into anything. “I know I haven’t made the best choices over the last year but Liz and our child mean the world to me. If Langley is who we think he is he’s very dangerous. I don’t think he’ll be happy to see us. We don’t know enough about this situation.”

“You have a talent for understating things..did you know that Max? You haven’t made the best choices. That has to be the biggest understatement I’ve heard lately,” Jeff said feeling his rage soar. This worthless piece of shit ruined his daughter’s life and has the fucking NERVE to tell him how much Liz means to him? “You are a fuck up and there is no way in hell I’m going to allow you to wreck my daughter’s life. I don’t care if you’re an alien or just the prick I think you are. Liz is my only child and I’ll do whatever I have to do to protect her.”

The rest of the room’s occupant’s stayed silent as the argument continued. Michael sank lower in his chair thankful that Mr. P’s rage wasn’t directed at him. Maria tried to stifle her impulse to smirk. Liz’s dad was usually very laid back but when he built up a head of steam it was something to see. Maria couldn’t help but be amused by the look of sheer misery on Max’s face. Time to pay the piper. Isabel stifled her urge to jump to Max’s defense. There really wasn’t anything she could say to help him. Ava watched everyone’s reactions and had to say she liked Liz’s dad. It was nice to see a parent standing up for his child. It may turn out to be inconvenient later but she couldn’t fault him for his anger or concern. Nancy just sat in a daze feeling overwhelmed and lost. She didn’t understand what was happening and what they were talking about. If this Langley could help she saw no reason not to try and see him.

“Mr. Parker I understand that you’re upset..,” Max started but was cut off.

“No, you don’t understand. You aren’t currently a parent..not yet anyway. I was there when Liz was born and have been there every day since. Now she’s lying in that bedroom and may never wake up and you’re sitting here telling me that you have no fucking clue how to help her but yet you don’t want to ask the one person who may be able to provide help. Now I would normally say I am a pretty reasonable person but you are pushing the limits of my control. You are the reason she’s in this mess to begin with. Your saving her was good thing but that doesn’t give you the right to take away her future,” Jeff said his hands balled up into fists at his side. “I’m not fooled by everyone’s carefully worded answers. There’s a reason my daughter isn’t still dating you. There’s a reason she hasn’t gotten back together with you even after finding out she was having a child with you.”

No one noticed Kyle and Liz standing in the doorway. Liz had Kyle set her on her feet and leaned most of her weight on him to remain standing as she listened.

“You’re right there are reasons for those things but that doesn’t mean I don’t care for her and want her to stay safe. I love her. I made mistakes and I messed up the best thing I ever had. I admit that,” Max said looking Mr. Parker in eye.

“I bet. You really don’t have a choice but to admit it do you? Whose son is it that we’re searching for anyway?” Jeff asked eyes narrowed pinning Max in place.

“Daddy stop it. We’re looking for our son. This isn’t Max’s fault,” Liz said drawing the attention of the whole room. Liz didn’t hesitate to claim Max’s son. Whether he really was her child or not didn’t really matter. It wouldn’t solve anything to let everyone continue to blame Max for fathering a child with someone else. It would only serve to make her parents even more upset and she couldn’t take the chance that they would stop Max from seeing her.

“Liz! Honey are you okay?” Jeff asked rushing over to her. Looking her over he saw how shaky on her feet she was.

Liz waited for the din to lessen before speaking. “I’m fine just tired.”

“Then you should be in bed,” Nancy said immediately. She was so happy to see Liz up and around that tears splashed onto her cheeks.

“With all the yelling how could I sleep?” Liz asked as her dad helped her to a seat. When she was settled she glanced over at Max and saw his guilt shimmering like a cloud around him. “Dad…this wasn’t Max’s fault,” Liz paused at the mulish look on her father’s face and sighed. She held off her exhaustion by sheer force of will. She had to straighten this out before it got out of hand. “It wasn’t. I’m too tired to go into all of it but I made the choice to go to Max’s house that night and I chose to sleep with him because I loved him. I did that. Not just Max so this isn’t all his fault. Tess did the rest…the pod and the plan and everything. So please don’t place the blame where it doesn’t belong. I own my share of it too. I’m fine now in any case and all of that is history so can we please leave it there for now and move on?”

“Lizzie..I know you think that..,” Jeff started only to be cut off by Liz.

“I don’t think. I KNOW. This is my life…I was there. I know what happened. Max isn’t perfect but he’s not a monster so don’t treat him like he is. I’m not perfect either and I made mistakes so don’t think that I’m an angel. I’m not. I made serious mistakes and I’m sorry but I can’t change it now. I’m not a child anymore and you can’t blame other people for my choices. No one could talk me into something I didn’t want to do. No one forced me to do what I did. As angry as you are, Daddy, its not all his fault,” Liz interrupted. She couldn’t let her father make her blameless and vilify Max like he was a rapist or something. Liz closed her eyes as her vision grayed around the edges and fought to remain strong in the eyes of the room. She had to project the image that she was fine.

Kyle stirred in the doorway as he saw her close her eyes. He could see her fingers tremble briefly but remained silent knowing it was Liz’s nature to try to smooth things over.

“Liz, your father has a right to angry with me. This is largely my fault,” Max said glancing from Liz to her father. He was so relieved to see her awake that he would accept all the blame for everything wrong with the world if it would make things easier for her. Her father was right to hold him responsible.

“Don’t argue with me Max. You’re not helping,” Liz returned and smiled slightly when he looked over at her sharply. “I’ll win this argument so just be quiet.”

Max raised an eyebrow briefly and sat back in his chair. A wave of relief swept through him seeing her smile. Maybe she really was going to be okay.

“Let’s get back on track here,” Ava broke in. “Liz needs to leave town anyway so now is the perfect time to go to LA. It’s already been decided. We can check things out when we get there. Let’s get back to the details okay?”

As the group returned to making plans Liz drifted off to sleep in her chair. She didn’t stir when her father lifted her gently and carried her back to bed. Her mother fussed and changed her sheets, brought a glass of juice for when she woke up, and sat beside her bed watching over her like she had when Liz was a small child and had gotten ill. It comforted something deep inside her to focus on the small details of caring for Liz and watching her sleep. Nancy was amazed at the difference between her sleep then and now. Liz seemed more active even in her sleep then she had before. More alive. Nancy smiled as Liz turned on her side and hugged her pillow. She looked so normal.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 5-Feb-2003 3:08:58 AM ]
posted on 5-Feb-2003 3:52:46 PM
Wow thanks for all the feedback. It's nice to be back. I might be posting another chapter tonight. I just can't wait to post's done but I thought I should give a little time in between parts. Thanks again for your well wishes.
posted on 6-Feb-2003 12:18:53 AM
Chapter Forty Seven


Liz woke up to Max kissing her forehead gently. When her eyes blinked open his worried face was the first thing she saw.

“How are you feeling?” Max asked softly.

“Tired but otherwise okay I guess,” Liz said trying to shake off the lingering fingers of sleep. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Max said then paused. “I have to go and at least leave a note for my parents to let them know I’m not going to be home for a few days. I didn’t want to leave without telling you.”

“Okay. What are you going to tell them?” Liz asked watching his face as he answered.

“I don’t have time to tell them the truth. We’re leaving pretty soon. They’ll ask too many questions and it’ll take too long to go into everything. Valenti is going to stay here and keep an eye on things,” Max said still worried. Things were moving so fast…too fast to sort everything out.

Liz just nodded seeing his point. She was struggling to stay awake so she didn’t worry him anymore then she already had. She had never been so tired in all her life.

“About earlier…your dad was justified in being angry with me. You don’t have to protect me. I don’t want you at odds with your family because of me,” Max said looking down at his hands.

“I didn’t say what I did to protect you. If I had asked you to stop that first night would you have stopped?” Liz asked resisting the urge to brush his hair off his forehead.

“Of course I would have,” Max said raising his eyes to hers.

“See? It was my choice Max. I could have said no and I didn’t. You didn’t force me. It doesn’t serve any purpose to allow my parents to blame you for something that I had the final choice in. I don’t want anyone to hate you. That’s not what I want at all. I don’t hate you for what’s happened so why should anyone else? This wasn’t all your fault. I don’t want my family giving you a hard time. We have our daughter and possibly a son to think of. Everything that’s happened is done and it’s time to move past it,” Liz said holding his gaze steadily. “No matter what happens between us we have to stay friends. Our kids are counting on us to do what’s right.”

Max took a deep breath to steady his emotions. “Our kids? Did you remember something? Can you feel our son?” Max asked studying her eyes. She still looked so tired. Her eyes looked sleepy and her voice was slightly husky.

“No, I don’t know anything more then I did before,” Liz answered slowly.

“Then why…?” Max started then stopped.

“Why did I say our son?” Liz asked and when he nodded she explained. “It doesn’t really matter who his mother is. He’s going to be my daughter’s brother. Therefor he’s a part of my family. What purpose would it serve to tell my parents that he might not be mine? They would just get even more upset. I don’t want them to hate you or treat him any differently when we find him. Whatever the truth is it’s not his fault. He’s just a baby and he needs all the same things that your daughter does. He’s not responsible for your mistakes. If you want to, you can tell everyone the truth after we know what that is. It’s up to you. To me it doesn’t matter. I know I’ll love him when I see him no matter how he came to be here.”

“You really feel that way?” Max asked shocked that she would assume responsibility for a child that was possibly Tess’s. He knew she hadn’t forgiven him for what happened.

“Yes, I do. He’s a baby, Max. He needs a family who loves him. He’s probably the most blameless out of all of us. Why would I hold your mistake against him? That doesn’t even make sense. Tess is a psycho. I certainly don’t think she’s a good example of a loving parent. Let’s just wait and see what happens okay?” Liz asked then yawned.

“Okay,” Max agreed. She was so special. He smoothed her hair back smiling as she rubbed her eyes like a little kid. “Get some rest. I’ll be back soon okay?”

“Kay,” Liz murmured softly. She was asleep before he left the room.

When she woke the next time it was her stomach that roused her. She dragged herself out of bed and walked on shaky legs to the kitchen. Liz frowned thinking it felt like she had been really sick and was still weak and feeling off somehow. The apartment was quiet and Liz vaguely remembered her dad coming in and waking her to tell her that Michael would watch out for her while the rest of them wrapped up the last details before they left.

Liz fixed a cheese sandwich and carried it into the living room. Seeing a tote bag on the floor next to the couch she set the sandwich down on the coffee table and pulled the tote bag closer. Looking through it she realized right away this must be the contents of Tess’s safe deposit box. The two videotapes caught her eye and she pulled them out. The rest she could always look through on the drive if she chose to but with the tapes she wouldn’t have that option. Looking them over she didn’t see anything written on them so she just picked one. After placing one of the tapes in the VCR she picked up her sandwich and the remote. Hitting play she took a bite of her sandwich and chewed slowly watching the screen.

When the screen cleared showing a view of the empty observatory Liz froze mid chew. She carefully placed her sandwich down and studied the time and date marker in the corner of the screen. Liz sighed knowing what this was a tape of. She let it run as she turned back to the tote. Digging around inside she found a sealed envelope with her name on it. She pulled it out and frowned as she studied it. It definitely had more in it then just a note…it was lumpy. As Max and Tess came into view on the TV screen Liz ripped open the envelope and folded her legs underneath her.

Michael stood in the doorway to the living room silent as he watched the TV with a combination of surprise and horror. He had heard Liz moving around and had come in to check on her. He wished he hadn't when he realized what was going on. He stood there frozen not sure what to do. He wasn’t good with scenes and this one had disaster printed all over it. Damn he hoped Maria was on her way back from her mom’s house.

Liz let the contents of the envelope spill across her lap. She winced as she recognized her own silver panties along with a note. A glance up at the TV showed a half-dressed Tess with Max pulling off his shirt. Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open as she caught sight of the undergarments Tess was sporting. What first caught her attention was that the bra was so ill fitting..way too small for Tess. Looking from the screen to her lap where the panties rested she used the edge of the envelope to push the panties to the floor. Feeling a flood of nausea rush through her she closed her eyes for a moment until her stomach settled. Picking up the letter she started to read.

Hiya Liz,

So you finally made it this far. I suppose I should explain what some of this stuff is. The files are yours and Alex’s. I think you’ll find them interesting reading. I know how much you wanted answers so there you go…enjoy. The computer disks are copies of what I had on me when I left. From what I’ve been told they’re pretty boring stuff. Maps of the world’s resources and things of that nature. Some government reports on experiments dealing with cloning and weapons are in there too I think. I kept copies just in case…you never can tell when extras might come in handy. The bag of crystals and other stones I’m not really sure about. They were with the destiny book but I never had time to fool with them. Keep’em safe for me huh? Maybe when I get back you’ll have figured out what they’re for and save me the trouble. The money and ID’s are leftovers that I didn’t end up using.

Now the videotapes are really going to wow you. One I left to prove my claims that I didn’t mindwarp Max into having sex with me. The panties you’ll recognize I’m sure. They really weren’t at all comfortable, not being my size and all, but I thought the visual impact would make that worthwhile. You might get a flash or so off of them so be careful. I wonder if you’ll have the guts to watch these tapes. I think you’ll at least start them. You seem to always need to know. Well here’s your chance. The other tape…well that’s a surprise. I hope you do watch that one since you’re the star attraction.

I’ll be seeing you soon Liz. I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait to share the details of my trip. I’ll be sure to tell you Max’s last words.

Missing you,


Liz looked up amazed anew at the depth of Tess’s corruption. Twisted didn’t even really cover it. She sat back in her seat not really watching the screen lost in her thoughts.

Max opened the door to the Parker’s apartment really hoping that he wouldn’t run into Mr. Parker. Seeing flickering light coming from the living room he slowly proceeded only to freeze as his eyes landed on the TV. His stomach sank as he saw Liz on the couch.

Seeing movement Michael looked over and saw Max. He turned on his heels and left. He didn’t even want to witness this train wreck. Max was just cursed by videos. First the bird and now Tess. This particular video had a hellva lot more impact then a home movie viewed repeatedly over the years.

Max walked into the room and stood near the couch nervously. “Liz?”

Liz started slightly focusing again on the world outside her own thoughts. She glanced over at Max then back to the screen. “Hey. I’ll um..let you have the remote. I think I’ll go take a shower to wake up,” Liz said softly and folded the letter setting it on top of the empty video case. She picked up the second video to take with her.

“Liz…I don’t..” Max started then realized there wasn’t one thing he could say here.

“Relax Max. This isn’t anything I haven’t seen before. Your flashes were more….intense anyway. This like a “been there done that” kind of thing. I can rewind it for you if you like,” Liz offered standing then stopped tilting her head as her words registered. “Sorry poor choice of words,” Liz mumbled shifting from foot to foot.

“No..I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Max answered rubbing the back of his neck.

“Okay. Well I’m just gonna…go,” Liz said then stopped. Using the folded envelope she picked up the panties from the floor. “Souvenir,” Liz said not looking at him.

“Liz, we need to talk. We can’t just leave it here,” Max said feeling sick. He deserved whatever she had to say about this.

“I really don’t have anything to say. I don’t want to talk about it. What is that going to change exactly?” Liz asked moving around him and walking into the kitchen. She dropped the panties into the trash tossing the envelope after them.

“I thought we were trying to sort this out?” Max asked softly. He could see his chances of forgiveness dwindling down to nothing. He would actually feel better if she would just yell at him. Now he could understand why Michael seemed reassured when Maria hauled off and whacked him one.

“Uh huh we are. This has nothing to do with that. Trust me…talking about this is just not a good idea,” Liz replied, again walking around him to go back into the living room. She stopped glancing at the screen then turning to look at Max. “You really want to talk about that?” Liz asked pointing.

Max cringed as he glanced at the TV. “No, not really but…”

“Then take the gift I’m handing you,” Liz said cutting him off. “I don’t want to discuss it. I’m tired and in no mood to rehash your sexual history. It’s none of my business and it’s going to stay that way.”

“What does that mean?” Max asked.

“It means I would rather have a root canal then talk about this,” Liz said clearly. “I’m trying to be…nice about this Max. You really don’t want to know what I think anyway. We’ve pretty much covered that ground already so there’s nothing left to say.”

“I’m trying to get back to being honest about things Liz. I’m really not trying to hurt you but if we can’t talk about what happened then how can we move past it?” Max asked softly.

They didn’t notice Jeff Parker standing in the hall having just entered the apartment.

“Fine,” Liz asked giving in and sitting back down. He could never just leave well enough alone. Why talk something into the ground? There was nothing left to say on this subject. “What do you want me to say?”

“I don’t know Liz. How do you feel? Can we get past this?” Max asked sitting on the other side of the couch. Now that Liz was actually looking at him he had no idea what he should say.

“Okay first the sex itself isn’t the problem. We weren’t together then depending on your point of view. If you had really cared about Tess it wouldn’t bother me half as much. What bothers me the most about that..,” Liz said gesturing toward the TV. “ you didn’t give a rats ass how she felt. If she had been say…Ava who is a good person and who had loved you or at the very least cared about you…Max you would have really hurt her. The worst thing is…you just didn’t care. You used her and never thought about how she might feel. That speaks to me about your character and your morals. I can’t understand it no matter what way I think about it. I mean, if you had dated her and you found that you cared about her I could get over it so much easier.”

“That doesn’t make sense. You’re saying if I loved a psycho killer that would be better? I don’t understand that. You pretended to sleep with Kyle to push me toward Tess. This is just crazy Liz,” Max said unsure of what she was really getting at.

“Oh no you don’t. I will not take responsibility for you having sex with someone else. That is your body not mine. I didn’t see myself on that tape unzipping your pants and folding your discarded clothing…cheering you on. I was no where in sight and had nothing to do with it. You made your own choice there. I can rewind the tape if you dispute those facts,” Liz said her eyes shooting angry sparks.

“I’m not saying that. It was my mistake totally. What I’m saying is that you pushed me at Tess. You had to think sex would come up at some point. You wanted me to date her and you tried make sure I didn’t think getting back together with you was an option,” Max replied watching her.

“It was never a thought in my mind that you would do what you did with Tess. There is a world of difference between building a relationship and getting to know someone eventually leading to sex and fucking them for a night. There is no comparison there. Do I blame Kyle for caring about Tess? No. She played a role and Kyle didn’t know that and he really cared about the person he thought she was. You on the other hand…I just don’t get it. Maybe it’s a guy thing I don’t know. To me you were just selfish and showed a lack of good values. There just isn’t any other way to put it. You’re whole goal was to get off. She could have been Pam Troy, Tess, or me for all you cared. That..,” Liz said again pointing to the screen, “..has nothing to do with caring about someone. It’s closer to paying someone twenty bucks to blow you. What am I suppose to think? I hate it. It makes me see you in a way that is hard to get past. It changes things Max. The entire last year and the way you behaved showed me a whole other side to you. That you could act the way you did…it changes things.”

“I know I was wrong. I know that but that could never be you. Everything is different with you because it is you. So don’t think that I could ever interchange you with anyone else. I’m never confused about how I feel about you. I know that I’ll never feel the same way about anyone else. I tried to follow the destiny laid out for me in that message but…I can’t. I can’t be that person or feel the way he did about things. Maybe if I had never met you or if we never got close but I doubt it. Everyone wanted me to suddenly turn into a person that’s dead. I tried to live up to some messed up idea of who I was supposed to be and I can’t be that person. He’s dead and maybe there’s a good reason for that. Remember when I told you that I needed to take a step back because I needed to regain my balance? That when we’re together everything else just sort of..fades?” Max asked studying her face.

“I remember,” Liz answered softly.

“Well I realized pretty quick that I was wrong. You don’t throw me off balance. I don’t have any balance at all when you’re not in my life. Even before the shooting you were in my life. You were my example. The one I looked to as my standard. When I tried to cut you out of my life…when I stopped looking to you is when I lost my sense of what my life was about,” Max wondered if he was even making sense.

“I don’t care about a planet I’ve never seen. I can’t help them. I’m not Zan and I don’t remember that life. I can’t be that person, when I tried to be him I lost everything that mattered to me. All I know is here. All I ever wanted was to be with you,” Max explained. He hoped she could understand that it wasn’t callous indifference that made him chose Earth. He just really felt that he wasn’t a King. He didn’t have any grasp of what Antar was about or what he could even do to help those people.

“I know I fucked up worse than I can even express. I’m hoping that over time I can show you that I will never make those mistakes again. That I am a person you can count on. I don’t have an explanation for what happened because there isn’t one that makes what happened okay. All I can say is that I love you and I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to prove that to you. I want to be a person that you can respect. I don’t like the person on that tape anymore then you do. When I look back on that whole time I just..I don’t even know myself. Nothing that I did was because I found something I wanted more then being with you. I didn’t really think I had a choice for my life that mattered to me anymore. I wasn’t happy then, Liz, because we weren’t together and none of the choices I made were the right ones. You’ve always shown me what it is to be human..what it is to be a good person. Ever since I first saw you and you are still the best example I’ve ever had.”

“Did you ever think that maybe I’m not the person you think I am? I don’t understand you. I’ve lied to you and said terrible things to you. I kissed other people in front of you. I’ve told you that I don’t trust you. How can you think I’m some kind of great person?” Liz asked genuinely puzzled. Was he blind?

Max smiled at her expression. “No. I’ve never thought you were different from what I’ve always known you were. I never said that I thought you were perfect or some sort of saint. That would be boring. Liz, I’ve watched you for years. I’ve seen inside you. The one I doubt most often is myself. The only time you threw me was with the Kyle thing and even then…I could see why you wouldn’t want me. That’s why I could believe it. When I was being such an asshole to you it wasn’t because I thought you weren’t a good person. You were telling me things I couldn’t accept..that I didn’t want to believe or thought I couldn’t handle. I was just an idiot. There is no good reason for any of that. Sometimes your strength scares me. The kissing thing…well I can’t even comment on that can I? I’ve done worse, which is why I can understand your lack of trust in me. The last year I haven’t been trust worthy. You have never said things designed to hurt me without purpose. I listen when you say something. Sometimes I don’t like what I hear but there’s always something I need to listen to in there. It’s how you feel and that’s important to me,” Max said earnestly. When he stopped listening was when things really went wrong.

Liz sighed not really having a response to that. Not one he would accept anyway. She didn’t see how he could look to her as an example. The last year should have shown the folly in that. Tess was after her like a rapid dog bringing more danger then any of them were prepared for. Alex was dead. They were about to become teen parents and in general things just sucked. He was completely insane. She just didn’t want to think about this anymore. She was tired and didn’t feel up to dealing with this. “Look Max..I’m still tired and I need a shower before we leave so can we please table this conversation? It’s not going anywhere.”

“Yeah, of course we can. I just don’t want things festering. Not talking was one of the factors for how we got here. I don’t want to push you,” Max answered immediately. “Do you…need any help?”

“I think I’ll be okay. You better…do something with that tape,” Liz said and left.

Max ejected the tape and used his powers to turn it into ash. He sank back onto the couch and wished it were so easy to get rid of all his problems. He sighed as he spotted Liz’s sandwich with only one bite taken out of it.

posted on 6-Feb-2003 7:01:55 PM
Ok I know the last chapter was a hard one to wade through. The second tape will come up but you'll have to wait a bit. One thing I want to state is that this was security tape footage. So Tess just took the tape she didn't film it herself....Max also didn't plan it he just didn't think which is pretty clear anyway. Those are the chances you take with public sex.

livia~I haven't forgetten Dane. Kyle is just so wonderful isn't he? Love that guy.

frenchkiss70~We'll see Mr. P's take on it a little in the next part. Believe me Liz is well aware of Max's smooth talking ways. Liz does deserve a break.....I agree with that.

BelevenDreamsToo~I don't see Liz as rigid at all. Maybe you're right and Max should give up. He hasn't ever had the staying power when things were hard before so why now? This is largely HIS mistake if he can't wait for her to work things out then he isn't worth her time. He is the one who wanted to talk about this...Liz was willing to just leave it alone since they've already discussed it. This tape isn't new...Liz has already seen all of this...well except for Tess and the underwear thing. She has no desire to punish Max or retread over things already discussed. MAX is the one who pushed for her to talk.

SciFiNut111~I agree it would be in Max's best intrests to just be quiet but have you ever know him not to want to talk? That's his strong point usually....he can be a smooth talker. The timing thing....yeah. Liz isn't trying to make Max feel better exactly. She's in the middle of this situation and her judgement is not....clear at the moment. Her view of her own actions aren't really the same as ours. She holds herself to a higher standard then she does Max. That slants her view of things.

jjane~Sorry Mr. P won't be beating Max.....he may daydream about it though.

Killian~Thank you! I really am happy with Tess in this fic. She is EVIL in everyway....but smart and very slick. Sometimes I amaze myself at the horrible things I come up with for Tess to do. She has no stopping point no boundries at all.

MickeyRos~Yes sick and nasty is a great discription for this underwear thing. She is trying to break Liz and is pulling out all the stops to reach her goal.

Asabetha~Thank you. This fic is soooo different it means a lot to me that you like it.

AlienDreamer101~I'm not sure I understand you're question. Max has always been a little sappy...that's actually one of the things I liked about him. He projected emotion so clearly and wasn't afraid to be sappy or take hits from Michael for being sappy. Beggy dog...hmmm well I'm taking a lot of Max from things I've seen in life. How is Max supposed to act? He wants Liz back. That's his goal...this situation is his fault. He is well aware that this was a major major mistake and that Liz has every right to not forgive him. He has begged....on his knees that didn't work he's trying to his thoughts and how he got to where he did. He is appealing to Liz's sense of fair play. She has said she will try to work things out so he's trying to talk it open the closed lines of communication knowing Liz values communication and that's part of how they got to this place. Some things he can't explain away and is just hoping the more times he says he's sorry and will never do it again it'll kind of brain wash her. Like a TV many times do they say the products name that they are selling or show it? He's trying to sell himself to Liz. I'm not sure if that really covers your question. To me if Max....pulled into himself he has no chance. That would be weak and selfish. He's trying to improve himself and face the consequences of his actions hoping that will earn him back some of the things he has lost. Liz is trying to be fair and get past what's happened which is made extremely difficult by Tess's constant plan to throw things in her face and not LET her forget or allow the hurt to fade. Don't think Tess doesn't have reason's for the things she is doing. She does.

Hope that makes things a little more clear. Thanks for the feedback as always!*big*
posted on 7-Feb-2003 7:07:47 PM
Chapter Forty Eight
**In two posts due to length**
Jeff sat in the driver’s seat of the borrowed van carefully navigating out of town. Glancing in the rearview mirror he saw the headlights of the car following them that carried Max, Isabel, Michael, and Maria. Turning his attention to his own passengers he saw Kyle sitting next to Ava on the bench seat right behind his own. Liz was lying in the back with the pod resting. Nancy sat beside him in the passenger’s seat. Jim had followed them long enough to make sure they weren’t followed and they took the extra step of heading east first. After Jim gave them the all clear they switched directions.

Jeff’s thoughts turned back to the scene he had inadvertently walked in on shortly before leaving. When he had realized what was going on, at least in part, he had almost rushed in wanting to protect his daughter from more pain. To his mind she had already suffered more then her share of pain at the hands of Max Evans. What had made him hesitate was less clear..less easily defined. Liz’s own defense of Max earlier was part of it. It was clear to him that no matter what her own personal thoughts on Max were she would set them aside to defend him. Present a united front. It was similar to being able to complain about a friend but taking offense when someone else agreed or jumped on the bandwagon. The difference was Liz was smart enough not to voice her complaints to her parents who were, he admitted, very protective especially right now. Part of it was curiosity. He felt that he knew so little about Liz’s life and her feelings. As close as they had always been Liz was a private person and kept some things strictly to herself. Jeff had found himself being presented a unique opportunity to see more of the situation. Stronger then his anger was the desire to truly understand what his child was going through so he might be able to help her in some way. He didn’t want to be one of her problems or add to the load she was carrying. So he had stood in shadows of the hallway debating what to do.

As the discussion had unfolded he felt two strong conflicting emotions. The first was a seething anger with this boy who had disrespected his daughter. Even with most of the TV screen hidden from his view he saw enough to know what Max had done. Listening to their conversation only confirmed Max’s betrayal. The alien details and whether or not they were together didn’t matter to him. This boy had hurt his daughter deeply and she didn’t trust him. That is the only thing that he needed to know to come to a judgement on Max Evans.

The other emotion built over the course of the conversation and that was pride. His daughter was an amazing person. Hearing her strong beliefs and values reassured him that he did know his child. She was the child he had raised, grown up now, with strong opinions of her own and the strength to express them…live them. Even though he wasn’t ready for her to be an adult he couldn’t deny that she was.

He had walked away with a lot to think about and more questions than before but somehow he was feeling more settled about things then he had been. He had a clearer sense of Liz and it matched up with what he thought he knew about his daughter.

Sensing her need for space and wanting to keep Max away from her, Jeff had hustled her into the van before Max really had time to talk to her again. Before he had shut the back door of the van he had sent Liz a quick smile. Her answering smile and grateful expression were all the thanks he needed. He would be there for his child and grandchildren.

Liz for her part had settled down facing her daughter just watching her movements. The small curling of her fingers the pursing of her lips. As the miles flew past Liz stayed silent, numb to the outside world, her mind turning things over and over her packed bag kept close by her side.

Kyle sat stiffly beside Ava, for the most part, looking out the window and watching the nighttime scenery pass by. Although he could see Ava as separate from Tess he was still uncomfortable around her. She saw things and Kyle had things he didn’t want her to see. Sometimes when she looked at him he would swear she saw everything. Her powers just creeped him out.

Isabel glanced away from the road to shoot Max an irritated look. He was driving her crazy. “Max, stop it.”

“Stop what?” Max asked pulling his eyes away from the distant glow of the vans taillights.

“Jiggling your leg like that. This is a long drive and I really don’t think you want to annoy me this early in the trip,” Isabel replied. She wondered at his rapid mood change from this afternoon. He had been so relieved when Liz had woken up and now he was a wreck. Tense didn’t even cover it.

“That seems to be his specialty. Pissing off women,” Michael remarked from the back seat.

“Shut up Michael,” Max mumbled.

“What did you do now?” Isabel asked curious. She shot Max a quick glance and saw him wince slightly.

“Seems Max’s love for public nookie got him in a pickle. He now has a triple X home video courtesy of his alien whore. I doubt Liz was amused by that discovery,” Maria said flatly. When Michael had told her what he had seen she had been less then amused herself. She had now pretty much decided that Max was the biggest idiot on the planet. Maybe Tess had sucked his brains out of his dick or something. Whatever his problem was she didn’t want him around Liz bringing her down anymore. She wouldn’t be taking his side on anything from now on. Even though Max hadn’t done any new horrible thing she was starting to think that what he had done was so awful that he could never be trusted. How could he ever make up for all this? It just never went away. Tess was making sure it never went away.

“God Max! Is that true?” Isabel asked disgusted.

“Tess did leave a security tape yes,” Max admitted sinking lower in his seat.

“Honestly Max, what were you thinking? Nevermind I don’t even want to know,” Isabel remarked gripping the steering wheel tightly. Sometimes she really wanted to just knock some sense into him as much as she loved him. Had years of caution and hiding not made a strong enough impression on him?

“Let’s drop it. I’m sure Liz reamed him out already. Besides, he knows how stupid he was,” Michael said trying to end that line of discussion. How many beatings could the guy take anyway? He was sorry he mentioned it. Some little demon had him bringing it up. He felt bad for Liz.

Max didn’t say anything at all. Everyday it seemed he learned more about just how stupid he actually had been. What HAD he been thinking anyway? A public place, no protection, and Tess…how stupid could he be? The silence stretched for awhile uninterrupted while Max turned his thoughts to his biggest worry. “Did you notice Liz before she got in the van? She looked..”

“Stacked..yeah I noticed. I was wondering if the pod gave her implants or something,” Michael interrupted a smirk playing over his mouth. He couldn’t resist provoking Max a little in fun.

“Shut your ass Michael. It’s doing your talking again,” Maria replied slapping him on the arm. She wasn’t in the mood for his odd urge to prove he was the biggest asshole of the group.

“It makes sense really if you think about it,” Isabel said ignoring Michael from long habit. “She is about to become a mother. Maybe the time is coming soon.”

“You think so? You don’t think that could hurt her at all do you? She seemed kind of uncomfortable,” Max worried turning in his seat to face Isabel.

“You can’t be complaining. I don’t believe this. You’re complaining about Liz’s breasts getting bigger?” Michael asked incredulous.

“I’m not complaining I’m worried about her. I just don’t want her hurt. I didn’t have a chance to ask her about what happened with the pod and all that. I don’t care one way or the other as long as Liz is okay. She doesn’t need bigger breasts anyway. She’s beautiful just the way she always has been,” Max answered Michael getting a little pissed off. He didn’t like Michael talking about Liz like he was even though he knew Michael was just trying to get him worked up.

“I think there was a purpose for the pod to react like it did. I think it’s getting both Liz and the baby ready for her birth. Liz didn’t go through a pregnancy so her body didn’t make the necessary changes to accommodate the child. It’s a guess but it makes sense,” Isabel said trying to steer Max back to the subject before he got really angry with Michael.

“Max, you are so full of it. Pretend Maria isn’t here and drop the propaganda please,” Michael said as if Isabel hadn’t even spoken. Michael thought half of Max’s problems stemmed from not allowing himself to voice his true thoughts. He had obviously appreciated Tess’s assets, which weren’t her personality.

“Michael, just shut up. It doesn’t matter what Max thinks cause he isn’t getting anywhere near Liz’s breasts,” Maria said shooting both Max and Michael a nasty glare. “If I hear one more word about Liz with the current tone I’m going to kick both of your asses. Isabel and I are here and we don’t want to listen to any trash talking.”

“Maria, that’s not what’s happening here,” Michael started but Maria cut him off with an abrupt hand gesture.

“No, what’s happening is Liz is being hunted and going through things so hard I can’t believe she hasn’t just lost it and you,” Maria said poking Michael in the chest with her finger. “You fucking ass, just want to talk about the size of her breasts like she’s some centerfold tramp in a magazine. It’s not right and I won’t tolerate it. She has enough problems without you making her uncomfortable.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that,” Michael said as Maria sat back in her seat and crossed her arms over her chest. Shit. “I just meant that Max could drop the sweet talk since the person it’s aimed at isn’t even here and just admit his true thoughts.”

“It isn’t talk. I’m not fixated on women’s breasts. It’s all about the individual,” Max argued offended. Maria just rolled her eyes and bit her tongue.

“So what is the attraction?” Michael asked interested. He had never really understood why Max spent years obsessing over someone he barely spoke to. Not that Liz wasn’t great but Max hadn’t known that at the time. “Don’t try to say that what caught your eye that first day was her personality either,” At Maria’s warning look he defended himself. “I’m just lightening the tone of the conversation that’s all.”

“I didn’t say anything,” Maria responded her very tone a warning.

Isabel smiled amused by the by-play and pulled her eyes away from the rearview mirror and back to the road. “I think I can answer that. It was her hair wasn’t it? That first day when you saw Liz it was her hair that drew you.”

“Ummm I don’t know if I can really answer that. Her hair is beautiful and yes I always did think so but it wasn’t just that. When I first saw her it was like…everything else was slightly out of focus. Liz was the only thing in sharp vivid focus. She was so…vibrant,” Max said thinking back. “There wasn’t really one thing that caught my attention it was just her. She was so delicate and pretty like warm I guess. Her hair and eyes are beautiful and have shifting color that flash through them. She’s so genuine and kind but not a pushover she’s too smart for that. She has depth.”

“Sap,” Michael mocked lightly smirking. He did believe Liz was good for Max. He didn’t doubt her at all he just thought that Max needed to widen his viewpoint.

Max just shrugged. “She’s beautiful there’s no arguing that but she’s way more then that. Watching her mind work is just amazing she’s so smart. She’s thoughtful and considerate of the people around her. She’s got innate grace. She’s just one of kind and it shows.”

“So it wasn’t her ass?” Michael asked his eyes dancing with humor.

“I was six Michael. No, it wasn’t her ass,” Max replied in a put upon tone of voice.

posted on 7-Feb-2003 7:09:14 PM
Kyle watched Liz and wondered what was going on. She hadn’t spoken in hours. This was their second stop and Kyle could tell something was really wrong. Liz had gotten out only briefly then shut herself back in the van. Walling herself off from the rest of them as clearly as she could.

Deciding to try and talk to her Kyle climbed back into the van and knelt on the bench seat so he could see into the back. “Looks pretty comfortable.”

“Yeah, it is,” Liz said quietly not looking up.

“Do you mind if I lay down? I’m a little tired,” Kyle asked.

“I don’t mind,” Liz answered softly. She scooted closer to the pod making more room for Kyle. It was the middle of the night now so she wasn’t surprised that he was tired.

Kyle crawled back there and settled down. He stayed quiet waiting for everyone to get settled. He wanted to find the right moment hoping she could open up.

Nancy ended up taking the wheel with Ava in the passenger’s seat. Jeff stretched out on the bench seat tired from the lack of sleep over the last two days. The steady drone of the tires over pavement had them all relaxing into the next leg of the trip. Jeff dropped off to sleep while Nancy and Ava talked softly up front. Finally Kyle decided to speak.

“I’m not really good at this so I’m just gonna throw this out there. I know something is bothering you and I can see you’re trying to put on your game face for the group but you don’t have to do that with me. One of the things I’ve always liked was that you were always straight with me. It makes me nervous when you wear that face around me,” Kyle said softly.

“Nothing new is happening. It’s all the same stuff,” Liz replied somewhat honestly.

“Liz…just talk to me okay? I know it’s clear that I’m not Max’s biggest fan but I never butt in to your business. I can keep my feelings to myself if you want to talk,” Kyle said really worried. He sensed something different in her that was causing him to become alarmed.

“I’m just so tired. When is this going to be over? When can I breathe again? The only way I’m even getting through this at all is by just taking it one minute at a time and doing my best in that one minute. Every time I think ahead…it just overwhelms me. I don’t know if I can do this,” Liz said softly. She was trying so hard to do right and be a good person but it was exhausting. The effort was just so huge. Being careful of everyone’s feelings, trying to hold it together and be strong, examining everything that she did and everything that she said. Questioning everything. Waiting for the next thing to blindside her. “I’m just tired.”

“I know this sucks. But it will end. When it does things will get better. We just need to get through it. This is like a trial by fire but I believe you’ll find happiness,” Kyle said watching her face. He felt real stirrings of fear at the lack of expression on her face.

“No one ever promised that we would be happy our whole life and I can deal with that. I don’t even expect it anymore. All I want is some peace,” Liz said glancing over at Kyle in the darkness.

Kyle felt his fear grow. What had happened after she woke up? “Liz…what happened?”

“Tess. Tess is what happened to me. Why does she hate me this much? I never did anything to her. I tried to be nice and give her a chance. I just don’t get it. The more I think about it the less I understand. Logic would say that she should be more angry with Max. It’s like she hates me twice as much as she ever did him,” Liz asked truly puzzled.

“Logic doesn’t really prevail with her I don’t think. Tess is all flash you know? What you see on the outside is the best she’s got to offer. She pretended with all of us because there wasn’t anything underneath to offer. You’re different. You have everything she wants but can’t get,” Kyle tried to explain.

Liz shook her head in denial. “I don’t have anything. I’m not rich or powerful. I’m not extra special in any way. I’m just me. A small town girl with dreams. That’s it. There are a million girls just like me all over the world.”

“You’re wrong Liz,” Kyle disagreed quietly. “What she wants isn’t money. What you have is more then that and it’s honestly yours. Look around you Liz. You have people that really love and care about you. She never had that. You were born with things she’ll never have and things she doesn’t really understand. It’s not something that can be bought or taken from you. She can try to compete with you all she wants to and it won’t matter.”

Liz sighed wondering why everything was a competition. Love and trust couldn’t be won by defeating someone else. “She certainly hates well I guess. By hook or crook she’s getting what she wants.”

“I don’t think so. What she wants is Max to love her and he doesn’t. I don’t even know that Tess could be satisfied with anything. There’s something really wrong with her…missing. I’ve thought about this a lot and I believe that Tess is fated to destroy. She doesn’t understand anything else,” Kyle said softly.

“Can I ask you a question?” Liz asked. There was something she had been wondering about for awhile now.

“Sure,” Kyle answered curious.

“Why are you still here? After Tess left…that was your shot at getting out of all this. I know this wasn’t the life you wanted. The alien stuff freaks you out so I just wondered why you didn’t get out then. You know I love having you around but we don’t know that you will ever develop powers…you had a chance to be free of this,” Liz asked studying his face. She counted on Kyle for a lot but she wanted him to have a real life. The life Alex would never have now. She wanted him to be happy. She didn’t have a choice anymore but he did.

“I never thought about it. I can’t go back to who I was before this. I wouldn’t know how. I don’t fit into that slot anymore. I’m okay with this life. I have friends who really know me and that I can count on. I don’t have any regrets,” Kyle answered with the truth as far as it went. He had other reasons too but what he said was the truth. “Can I ask you about Max?”

“Sure…what about him?” Liz asked tensing slightly.

“Now that I’m the new asexual friend I’d like to understand what you see…how this really started,” Kyle asked. Seeing her frown he continued. “I never really got the story since I was being a jerk about being thrown over for him.”

“Kyle, you aren’t asexual. You can never be my asexual friend. That just isn’t possible,” Liz said shaking her head. Where did he get these ideas? “We dated that kind of blows the whole asexual thing. There’s no going back after something like that. And I resent the thrown over thing.”

Kyle smiled amused by her response. “I guess I’m just too manly. It’s okay I’ll be easy on you. I gotta save my mojo anyway.”

“For what? The afterlife?” Liz asked smiling slightly when he laughed softly.

“Nice try but you didn’t finish the story,” Kyle prompted.

“I don’t know if I can really explain what happened. I’m not sure what the truth is anymore. There’s what my thinking was then and what it is now,” Liz said playing with a lock of her hair.

“Tell me about then,” Kyle said watching her twirl her hair. He had always wondered what had really happened. He didn’t think the healing itself was the reason.

“Ummm you know when you first start dating someone and it’s like…uncomfortable? You’re hiding parts of yourself and playing all the little games that everyone plays before you really know someone. Before they’re comfortable enough to really open up and share they’re feelings. Well that didn’t happen with Max. I saw it all he couldn’t hide any of that from me after he connected to me. His feelings, what he thought about me, things from his past I saw all of that. It felt like…puzzle pieces clinking into place. It was seductive and it just felt…right. I never doubted that it was right so I didn’t hide from him. I thought I knew what kind of person he was,” Liz finished and looked over at Kyle.

“Maybe he was that person,” Kyle replied. “We’ve all changed over the last year. He could have been exactly the person you saw.”

“Maybe,” Liz agreed quietly.

“What about now?” Kyle asked softly.

“I’ve been thinking that maybe life is like a Rubik’s Cube. It like shifts and changes so what’s right or matches up at one point may not stay that way. Sometimes the more you play with it the more messed up it gets. So maybe we were totally right for each other then but it doesn’t feel that way now. Now I’m afraid and I’m automatically putting up a wall to protect myself you know? I ignored some important things along the way,” Liz said softly.

“I don’t claim to have any great wisdom. I don’t know if you really belong with Max, only you can decide that. But Liz…don’t buy into what Tess is trying to feed you. Any guy would be lucky to be with you. You are strong enough and smart enough and good enough. Gosh darn it people like you,” Kyle said eyes twinkling and a wide grin spreading over his face.

Liz rolled her eyes. “You’ve been watching Saturday Night Live again haven’t you?”

“Seriously Liz. I want you to do what’s right for you. Don’t listen to any of us. You’re smarter anyway and you need to do what you can live with. I just want to see you happy. I can’t tell you what the right thing to do is but I know Tess is wrong. I have faith in you Liz Parker. You’ll see past the shit and do what you think is right and that’s all anyone can expect. Screw anyone who has a problem with that,” Kyle said searching her eyes with his. He didn’t want to see her get beaten down by this crap.

“I’m trying to. It’s hard to know what the right thing is sometimes,” Liz said carefully. She reached over and pulled her backpack closer to her. She already knew what she had to do. It was just a matter of time until she had to act. The growing sense of aloneness was stifling.

“I know but, Liz, you worry about the rest of us too much. You can’t smooth over everything and you shouldn’t really. It’s okay to think about yourself sometimes,” Kyle assured her.

Liz stayed quiet not really giving him a reply. Finally she spoke so softly that he had to lean forward to hear her. “One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made was when I was thinking about myself.”

“What mistake is that?” Kyle asked.

“Sleeping with Max. I was told that we weren’t supposed to be together. What more did I need to stay away from him? I just…I didn’t want to hurt him again. I just wanted to be happy,” Liz replied miserable.

“You were told by that other Max? The future one?” Kyle asked trying to understand what she was saying.

“Yeah,” Liz said nodding.

“Well he was wrong. Tess was never going to be on our side. So he really didn’t have a clue about what he was doing. You can’t listen to that,” Kyle said puzzled. She knew that whole future thing was a bust.

“Maybe he wasn’t all wrong. He was wrong about Tess but maybe he was right about us not being together. Look…Max and I sleeping together is what set Tess off. She just…lost it. In that other life Max and I got married and Tess left and everyone died. So in both lives we know about it was Max and I being together that started everything. That means something,” Liz said voicing something she had been thinking about for awhile. “Maybe him coming back was a sign or a message. Like dreams the prophets had where everything isn’t exactly as it is seen but the message is valid.”

“Liz, this isn’t your fault. It’s not. Tess is fucking nuts. Something would have set her off. It wasn’t your fault. You can’t tie all those pieces together like that. It wasn’t that you were selfish and so this is what happened. Tess is the one who did this. Max was never going love her like she wanted him to and do all the things she wanted. Something would have set her off. Besides Max chose you too,” Kyle said seeing where she was going with her train of thought and trying to counter it.

“But Max didn’t know the truth because I never told him,” Liz said looking Kyle in eye. “He didn’t know anything about it. He also didn’t make the final choice. I did.”

“Liz, that doesn’t matter. I’m a guy okay? All that wouldn’t have changed Max’s mind. You’re still not seeing that Tess is the reason for all this. Even if you HAD stayed away from Max you can’t say things would be better. We can only work with what we’ve got and do the best we can. No one is all knowing Liz. You can’t control everything. People get hurt and killed. People make poor choices. Others choose to hurt people and there’s nothing you can do about that. That’s just who they are. Tess would have done something it was just a matter of time.”

posted on 9-Feb-2003 1:23:55 AM
Chapter Forty Nine


Ava was used to not getting much sleep so it wasn’t a hardship to talk to Mrs. Parker as she drove to help her stay awake. She really liked Liz’s parents. They had really been thrown for a loop and they were trying their best to deal with it to be there for their child. Ava admired that. That was what being a parent was all about and it deserved respect.

The time past quickly and soon the sun was rising on a whole new day. It wasn’t long after the sun rose that Ava began to feel uneasy. It took her awhile before she realized what she was feeling. Tess.

The first thing Tess checked after stepping out of the Granilith was the place she had stored the pods. To say she wasn’t happy when she saw the chamber empty was an understatement. Burns was going hear an earful about his incompetence. The girl was not supposed to be taken. Only the other. Could he not even follow her detailed instructions? Fuck. Eyes narrowed she stopped and considered what to do first. Time was running short there was no room for error here. Coming to a decision she started the walk into Roswell.

Liz tried to sleep but she wasn’t feeling very good. She hadn’t been completely honest. Since waking up she had felt…off unsettled almost. It wasn’t anything that she could explain just something that she felt inside. She felt unfinished. She was hanging on the edge of something waiting. Eventually she was so exhausted she dropped off into a deep sleep.

Before they reached LA both groups stopped to switch drivers again. Ava told everyone that was awake what she had felt and let them deal with it how they saw fit. Both groups had directions knowing it was likely that they would be separated in traffic. The stop was swift and it was back on the road with Jeff and Max driving. Traffic was heavy and before long Jeff had lost sight of the others.

He drove directly to Langley’s house and seeing the security gates were open he drove right up to the front door. He had thought about this on the drive and talked to Jim. Waiting wouldn’t serve any purpose, so contrary to Max’s plan, they were walking right up to the front door.

“Mr. Parker?” Ava questioned softly from the passenger’s seat.

“Just wait here,” Jeff said and got out leaving Ava and Nancy staring at his retreating back.

Ava opened her door watchful and ready to assist Mr. Parker if he needed her to.

Liz woke slowly the combination of the sudden stillness and growing sense of danger rousing her from her dreams. Sitting up she saw her father standing at the front door to a mansion talking with an uniformed woman. “What’s going on? Oh my god is this Langley’s house?”

“Yeah, your pops said to wait here,” Ava said her unease showing in her tone.

“Oh shit!” Liz scrambled to sort herself out. “Kyle! Wake up!” Liz said as she shook his shoulder. As soon as his eyes opened she gave him instructions. “Stay with my daughter okay? Just stay here and if this goes bad take her to Max.”

Jeff Parker stood arguing with Langley’s maid. “Just please let Mr. Langley know he has visitors. I know he will want to be made aware that we’re here.”

“I’m sorry sir. Mr. Langley sees no one without an appointment. There are no exceptions,” The maid said firmly.

“I’m not leaving until you at least tell Langley we’re here,” Jeff said just as firmly. A glance behind the maid’s shoulder showed a bald man making his way down the staircase.

“What seems to be the problem?” The bald man asked with an edge to his voice.

“Are you Cal Langley? We’re here to speak with Mr. Langley. I’m Jeff Parker from Roswell New Mexico,” Jeff asked eyeing the other man carefully.

“Yeah, I’m Langley. Parker was it? I’m certain I’m not interested in what you have to say so why don’t you load yourself back up and head on home to Hicksville?” Langley inquired in the biting tone he saved for people who seriously annoyed him. Who did this human think he was? Showing up here? At his house? Langley eyed him carefully wondering how much he knew.

“I’m afraid that’s not going to happen,” Jeff said looking the shorter man/alien in the eye. “My daughter needs your help.”

Cal turned to his maid. “Beat it. I’ll handle this,” Cal said before turning back to his visitor. He waited for the maid to disappear before speaking. “I suggest that you leave before I get really angry.”

Jeff plainly heard the warning but ignored it. “You look pretty good for your age. No lingering injuries from the crash are there?”

Langley stiffened as a surge of anger roared through him. He felt his energy build inside him as he stepped outside. Totally focused on the man standing in front of him he felt his hold on this form trying to slip. He hadn’t been this angry in years. “I’m about to show you exactly how healthy I am,” Langley said stepping closer as his hand rose.

“Daddy! Stop!” Liz yelled as she burst out the back of the van her bare feet slapping on the driveway.

Langley whirled on the balls of his feet turning to access the new threat to his existence.

Liz teetered on shaky legs catching herself on the swinging door of the van. “Dad, please let me handle this okay? Just come back to the van,” Liz called her eyes on Langley. She could feel his energy building and she was afraid for her father. She could feel her own energy rising to the surface sensing a threat and she prayed her father listened to her just this once. If not they were in big trouble.

Langley’s eyes narrowed as he spotted Liz Parker. Now how in the hell had she found him? His eyes moved past her searching for the hybrids. He froze as he saw the pulsing pod. Looking back at the girl he studied her for a moment. This was not good. He had stayed somewhat aware of both sets of hybrids and knew about the humans associated with the Roswell group. He hadn’t known about any fucking pods.

Jeff rushed down the steps and over to Liz. “Baby, are you okay?”

Liz looked into her father’s worried eyes and tried to remain calm. She had to get him into the van. “Yeah, I need to talk to Langley alone Dad…Please. Can you check on Mom? She’s a little worried.”

“Liz…” Jeff started.

“Dad. Please. I need you to get in the van. Please,” Liz said letting her eyes telegraph her seriousness.

Nodding slightly Jeff went to the side door and opened it sitting just inside so he was still able to see Liz but was also close to his wife. Nancy immediately started asking questions of her husband in a low tone.

Kyle and Ava watched Liz and Langley carefully ready to spring into action. Ava had the passenger door open and stepped out onto the pavement. Kyle moved in front of the pod blocking the shapeshifters view of it.

Liz turned her attention back to Langley. “Mr. Langley? I’m Liz Parker. I’m sorry for intruding on you like this. I’m hoping that you can just answer some questions for me,” Liz said her eyes assessing him. Now that her father was out of the way she was calm, her energy more stable.

Langley quickly went over what he knew about this girl. He could “feel” her powers close the surface. Interesting. His monthly reports had indicated that she was no longer romantically linked to Max. “What questions would those be?”

“I don’t want to….disrupt your life at all I’m really sorry for bothering you like this. I found your name and address in Tess Harding’s things after she….went home. My questions are about my child,” Liz said moving closer.

Langley kept his face a blank wall as he quickly went over his options. His eyes flickered over Ava briefly before turning back to Liz. “Nice jammies. So. Where’s the boy who would be king?”

“He’s around,” Liz answered softly.

Langley let what passed for a smile cross his face. “Always two steps behind isn’t he? Well let’s not let alien pods sit in my driveway. Bring them in. Just be clear about one thing. I’m doing this because I choose to. When your welcome runs out I expect you to go back to your dusty little hell and never darken my door again. Understood?”

Liz smiled and nodded. “Understood. Thank you Mr. Langley.”

Cal didn’t respond or wait for her to follow. He turned on his heels and entered his house cursing to himself. He was firing those private detectives first thing. He should have been notified the minute any of them left Roswell.

Max drove to the agreed upon meeting place which was about a mile from Langley’s house. He started to get nervous when he didn’t see the van. “They should have been here first.”

“You think they went on to Langley’s?” Michael asked leaning forward.

“I think that it’s very possible,” Max replied and pulled back out onto the street.

Cal dismissed his staff for the afternoon then led Liz and the others to his study. It had no windows and the staff knew to never enter that room. “So where is the other pod?”

Liz’s eyes darkened although her gaze never left Cal. “Why would you think that there is another pod?” Liz asked as she sat beside her parents on the couch.

“Max is the father correct?” Cal asked sitting behind his desk.

“Yes,” Liz answered keeping her answer short as Kyle and Ava took the remaining two chairs.

“Both Max and Isabel will have twins. Runs in the family. So where is the second pod?” Cal asked studying the group. Both Kyle and Ava had deferred to Liz in everything so far. Jeff Parker, although silent now, remained involved. He was avidly following the conversation leaning forward with his elbows on his knees. Mrs. Parker was silent but patted Liz’s leg to reassure her.

“We don’t know. We think Tess has him,” Liz answered truthfully. “Max said he could feel him but…I can’t. I can only feel my daughter.”

“That doesn’t mean much. It could be the kids gifts match up to Max better or could be distance…could be a lot of things. Looks like it’s close to hatching,” Cal smirked slightly as he glanced at the pod. “Tess left right?” At Liz’s nod he continued. “Then she doesn’t have the pod…she would have had to take you with her. The pod has to be here on this planet. I doubt she would chance traveling with it twice.”

“So that pod will need to connect to me too?” Liz said asked.

“Yeah. Okay then that all you needed?” Cal asked glancing at his watch. “I got an appointment to get to.”

“Can you please tell me anything you know about the pods? We have no idea what to expect. I don’t mean to cause you any problems any information you could give us would be helpful,” Liz said watching Langley reach for a cigar.

“Look kid…there ain’t no helping you now. Shoulda never bonded yourself to his Royal Whineyness. There ain’t no help for that,” Cal said smirking outright. “Sorry kitten.”

Liz bristled slightly but said nothing. She needed his help no point to an argument. “Do you even know anything about pods? I don’t want to waste my time either,” Liz said evenly her eyes never leaving his.

“Kitten has teeth,” Cal said with a smile. “Yes, I know about pods. When the purple parts spread and turn brown the top of the pod will pull back like the petals of a flower. Instant baby complete with umbilical like cord which will dry up and fall off by itself in an hour or so. This one is fine, very healthy looking. The other one….that’s a problem. See the pod needs a lot of energy to give the baby that last push to ready it for birth. Babies get all kinds of things from their mother like allegories to foods or even addictions. The pods are more convenient for the Skins but they still need direct contact with their mother before birth. Tess will need you to get a healthy child.”

Liz sat thinking for a moment. “How much time is there?”

“When did that pod connect with you?” Cal asked his tone disinterested but his eyes were focused firmly on hers.

“Yesterday,” Liz answered.

“Then you’ve got about 36 hours at a guess,” Cal answered.

posted on 10-Feb-2003 3:25:23 AM
Chapter Fifty

“Look kid, just let it go. The other pod isn’t likely to make it anyway,” Langley said still playing with his cigar. “First of all, it’s highly unlikely that you could even find the pod in time and if you did she’s never going to allow you to live. Plus, boys have a lower survival rate. That’s just nature talking. It’s true of regular human births as well. What you’re really talking about here is a genetically altered pod, which is risky in the first place, and humans weren’t meant to be poded in the second place. Any defect at all in either the child or the pod will cause it’s death,” Cal said his tone disinterested. “The removal process alone is traumatic on a fetus.”

“How long until our daughter’s born?” Liz asked ignoring Langley’s previous words of advice. Max and the rest of them had joined them by this time and all were listening intently.

“It’s not exact but I’d say a week to two weeks. Hard to say for sure. The pod needs to convert the energy and start the final process. You just have to watch the purple veins spread and see what happens,” Cal said eyeing the pod that rested near Kyle’s feet. Turning his eyes back to Liz he studied her for a moment. “Think of your health Liz. The human body wasn’t meant to give birth to offspring through a pod. That’s just common sense. It’s enormously draining to go through once much less twice and pardon my rudeness but you’re not looking so hot as it is. Be happy with the healthy child you have.”

“I’m fine,” Liz said firmly feeling her parents tense. Shifting her feet she accidentally kicked her backpack sending the second videotape sliding out.

“What does that mean exactly? Draining? This could harm Liz?” Nancy spoke up.

“Of course it could. I can’t tell you exactly because like I said I don’t know of another human to go through this. The pod is pulling nutrients and energy from Liz of course that could harm her if she is already tired or weakened from the first child. You’re talking about a whole pregnancies amount of care given all at once. All of this is pointless in any case. Tess WILL kill you. That is a fact. So one way or the other you won’t come out of this in one piece if you try to recover the second pod. Tess has the Skins on her side, some of which have been placed in the FBI and other areas of government. This isn’t a game. They mean to colonize this planet. They’re playing for keeps so the games are over. If you thought you could slip in like you did when you all rescued Max you’re mistaken. They ALLOWED you to recover him. Do you really believe its that easy? It furthered their plan and that’s the only reason it was allowed. You kids have no idea what you’re dealing with,” Cal said leaning forward and meeting each of their eyes in turn.

“Do you have any suggestions for finding the pod?” Max asked. He would go and retrieve the pod. It was too dangerous for Liz so he would have to take care of this.

“Did you listen to what I said? I suggest you DON’T try to find the pod,” Cal said clearly.

“Clearly that isn’t an option,” Max said in return.

“So if you do find it you’re going to risk Liz’s health by having it connect with her?” Cal asked eyeing Max with disgust.

“Well…no of course not,” Max said then rubbed the back of his neck.

“Hell no you won’t,” Jeff said firmly. His daughter’s health was the most important thing clearly.

The group argued back and forth about what to do while Liz sat quiet lost in thought. She knew what she was going to do. She had known even before coming here. She knew how to find the pod, that was the easy part. All she had to do was call the FBI and ask for Agent Burns. It had worked for Nesado surely it would work just as well for her. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that Tess had made sure that whatever happened she wouldn’t loose Max’s son it was a small leap to adding up the pieces. She wasn’t really concerned with getting out alive either. Her focus was giving her child a chance at life. Without her he didn’t have one and that was simply not acceptable. So they could argue all they liked it made no difference in what was going to happen.

Cal studied Liz as she sat in silence…somehow apart from the others. The rest of them were arguing and talking over each other but Liz just sat there utterly calm. His eyes narrowed as she looked up and met his eyes giving him just the faintest trace of a smile. Fuck. He could feel himself getting sucked deeper and deeper into this thing.

Tess knocked on the door in front of her and waited for it to be answered. This was her last stop. Things didn’t look good. She hadn’t been able to find Liz or Michael. That stupid bitch Agnes said that the whole Parker family had gone out of town.

“Tess! Hello, we haven’t seen you around here in awhile. How have you been?” Diane asked stepping aside and letting Tess enter the house.

“I’ve been really good Mrs. Evans,” Tess said turning on the charm. “Is Max or Isabel around?”

“I’m sorry Tess. They went camping out by the Indian reservation yesterday. Did they know you were coming?” Diane asked worried about her children’s stranger behavior. They had been acting more secretive then usual and were rarely home.

“Oh don’t worry Mrs. Evans. I doubt they were expecting this,” Tess said with a big smile.

“Cal? Why would Tess have the FBI collect Lonnie and Rath?” Liz asked softly silencing the room without trying.

“That’s her deal ain’t it? Taking the Royal Four home with Max’s heir. They’re back up. If she, for whatever reason, can’t get her hands on Michael or Isabel she can still deliver. Now she has the pod containing Max’s son all she needs is you and Max to wrap things up,” Cal answered then looked to Ava. “Well she’d like to get rid of you too but that can be at her leisure. No rush.”

“No wonder she didn’t freak when I pulled out,” Michael muttered.

“You wanted to stay here? Interesting. Maybe those scientists weren’t complete screw ups,” Cal remarked idly.

“Why do say that?” Isabel asked curious.

“Besides the fact that you won’t last a full day on the home planet? Home is figment of your imagination kiddies. It’s a dying hunk of rock that everyone is trying like hell to desert like rats off a sinking ship. It’s much much nicer here. The problem with you people is you’re never satisfied. You always want more. More answers, a better life, never looking around and seeing what you have. It isn’t so bad here and how happy have your answers made you?” Cal asked tapping his unlit cigar on his desk. “Look around…you think I want to give this up? Are you crazy?”

“How is it you know so much about us and we’ve never heard a word from you?” Max asked Langley point blank.

“I’ve kept tabs on all of you over the years. Doesn’t seem like you’re doing much better this time around. Why would you hear from me? I like my life now and didn’t see a reason to screw it up,” Langley said his voice growing cold. Zan always screwed things up. Loyalty to a dead King was a tricky thing even when it was programmed. “You didn’t need me at first. You were safer as it was. Then you sent off that fucking signal. There was no helping you after that. You led that traitor right to you.”

“And you just let it all happen? You sat here and watched everything happen to us?” Max asked incredulous.

“You listen to me you ungrateful little prick! It’s not MY job to protect you from your own stupidity. You had a good life but it just wasn’t enough was it? You had a nice home with parents who love you and a nice little girlfriend,” Cal said glancing over to Liz. “Isabel had that other boy panting after her…and I fixed Michael’s problem when I found out about it. So don’t you tell me I didn’t do enough. I spent THREE YEARS as a guest of the government courtesy of “Nesado” so your one day doesn’t even compare. I’ve EARNED the life I have now. I did the best I could but I’m not going back to a cage for any of you. Never again,” Langley said his tone welling with conflicting emotions.

That emotion was what struck Liz first. That he had it was such a startling contrast to Nesado that she was momentarily stunned silent. Then her mind started ticking off exactly what he had revealed.

Michael latched onto the one thing that struck him. “What do you mean you took care of my problem?”

“I exterminated Hank. He couldn’t be allowed to continue with his actions. I got rid of the problem that’s my job. I also contacted the judge and made sure you were granted your freedom,” Cal answered evenly.

Michael gaped at him in complete shock. He barely felt Maria slip her hand into his and squeeze his fingers.

Isabel’s eyes widened and she automatically glanced at Max.

“You were the alien the Special Unit held captive for three years? How was Nesado involved with that?” Max asked taken aback by this information.

“Yes, I was the one. Two died in the crash but we didn’t. We were thrown from the wreckage on impact but we weren’t quick enough to prevent the Army from taking all of the pods. I helped him rescue the pods….we each took four and hid them separately and regrouped to claim the bodies of our dead. We couldn’t let the humans keep them for several reasons. When we went in that second time they had tightened up the security on the base and we were trapped,” Cal providing the information requested. “Nesado escaped…slipped forms. He changed into one of the guards he caught unawares and the other soldiers couldn’t tell them apart. He left me there. He smiled as they…he left me to rot. It took me three years to figure out a way to get out of there. Three fucking years but I did it. By then the Skins were starting to arrive. I went and relocated my set of pods across the country so he wouldn’t have a chance of finding them then I started searching for your set.”

“He found you in 1959 didn’t he?” Liz asked quietly.

Cal switched his attention to Liz and nodded. “Yes, I got a job with this movie company in Roswell to film that crapper of a flick. It was easier to blend in I thought among a group of outsiders. Since it was filmed around the area it gave me reasons to be snooping around. It was going all right at first I didn’t realize he was close until Lorna was killed. He fucking left that handprint on her and the Sheriff went nuts with it started poking into everything. The FBI was called in and then bodies started cropping up all over. He was trying to get me caught again. Get me out of the way. He thought I would run and draw suspicion but I waited him out…lousy coward never would face me head on,” Langley said still seething with rage over that incident. “I got that fucker though. It may have taken me years but I waited patiently and I caught him. Before you ask yes….I killed him,” Langley said and saw the shock register across the board on all their faces. His smile widened at the look on the Kittens parent’s faces. They better get used to it. They were in a whole new game now. “Did you still think it was the Skins? Why would they do that? He worked for them.”

“Why wait until then to kill him? Why not when he first showed up in Roswell with Tess?” Max asked.

“You’d have liked that. You have any idea how many movies I had in production then? Besides like I said, I can’t fix all your stupid mistakes or prevent them for that matter. You’re the king right? Why didn’t you see through him? You lasted that long by keeping your head down how was I to know you would suddenly change your mode of operation? They were unknowns to you why did you believe every word out their mouths? It’s done, deal with it,” Langley said nonchalantly leaning back in his chair. “I was around as much as I could be. I thought you had a pretty good deal going in Roswell and saw no point to stirring things up. I smoothed some things out for you behind the scenes….it’s what I do. I’m a producer.”

“Yeah…nice for you. Safe and looks like it was pretty comfortable,” Michael said getting pissed.

“Look kid. You had it shitty but life ain’t easy or fair. I’m not your daddy any more than that shit bag you lived with. I had two sets of you clowns to watch over and my own life to live. You had a shot. What you do with it is up to you,” Cal said getting tired of all this bullshit. What a bunch of whiners. Royalty was a waste if you asked him. Always complaining about something like everybody didn’t have problems. Defective the whole lot of them.

“Did you know what Tess was doing to Alex? Did you know and not do anything?” Isabel asked speaking up for the first time in a while.

Cal looked over at Isabel meeting her eyes. “No. I didn’t know anything until he was dead. I wasn’t watching the humans much. I didn’t know about the pods either.”

“Why didn’t you stop us from going back?” Isabel asked.

“Would you have listened? You weren’t listening to yourselves or your friends then. Tess had you,” Cal said then after the barest pause he added more of the truth. “It would have been easier if you were gone. You’re killing yourselves off and clearly don’t appreciate the life you were given. You all were given a second chance. A chance to get it right and what have you done with that chance? Two of you pushed a third in front of truck. One was working for the enemy and two more were eager to cut a deal for power killing whoever got in their way. One of you ran like a scared rabbit. You turned on your friends and generally fucked them over when it suited you. You’re all defective as far as I can see. Why risk my life that I earned for you people? You didn’t appreciate it in your last life and you aren’t that different in this one. You’re all selfish and want to think you’re exempt from the consequences of your mistakes. In short I’m tired of cleaning up your messes.”

“So why are you helping us now? Why tell us anything at all?” Max asked curious.

“You didn’t ask. Liz did,” Langley said looking in his former king’s eyes. “She asked not for herself but for her child. Plus, it’s not too difficult to answer a few questions. We have an understanding,” Langley answered his eyes flickering over to Liz. He had a feeling about her.

“Liz?” Max asked confused.

“I agreed that if he answered my questions I would leave when he asked me to and not come back,” Liz answered Max’s question. “That I wouldn’t disrupt his life really.”

“Now how about a very late lunch? The Kitten is looking a little worn,” Cal said a smile hovering around the edges of his mouth.

posted on 11-Feb-2003 4:27:13 AM
Chapter Fifty One

Liz bided her time waiting for the perfect moment to slip away. She ate a hearty lunch to prevent anyone from worrying and acted as normally as possible. She could feel Max’s eyes on her through most of the meal and wasn’t surprised when he pulled her aside afterward.

“Liz, what do you think about this?” Max asked unsure of how she was feeling. He wanted to find their son but he knew she would connect to the pod even if she wasn’t up to it. He was worried. How could they NOT find their son? But how could he find their son and bring him back when it might harm Liz? His stomach knotted as every nightmare he had had about this exact choice ran through his mind.

“We’re going to find our son of course. You do want to find him don’t you?” Liz asked momentarily worried. She had never considered that he wouldn’t.

“Of course I do,” Max replied promptly.

“Okay then. So we’re in agreement,” Liz said then saw his churning emotions clearly in his eyes. A flash of guilt ran through her. He was going to be so upset with her. She reached out and took his hand in hers and looked into his eyes. “It’s going to work out Max. We’re due for a break. All we need to do is focus on our goal, which is the same. We want to save both of our children. Now we just have to try our best to make it happen.”

“Liz….of course we want to save our kids but…not at the expense of you. Our daughter needs you. Even if the worst happens and we…loose our son she still needs both of us,” Max said watching her closely for her reaction.

“Let’s worry about the worst case when it happens okay? I’m a little tired so I’m going to lay down for an hour while you get that list of bases you were talking about,” Liz said brushing off the idea of loosing their son. She couldn’t contemplate that. Not yet.

Max saw the quick flash of pain flicker across her eyes and didn’t push. “Okay. I’ll send Maria to wake you up so you just get some rest.”

Liz nodded. “Okay…Listen Max…don’t let Langley get to you okay? We all have our own point of view and it’s always slanted to our own side. You’re not who you were in your last life. This is your second chance and the last year isn’t your whole life. You just need to remember who you are not who everyone keeps telling you that you are. We choose our own destinies right?” Liz asked with a smile.

“Right,” Max agreed softly.

“Okay, so don’t let them give you a hard time. See you later,” Liz said and scooped up her backpack and headed for the stairs.

Max watched her go his resolve to stand up and do his best with this life gelling inside him. He would make this right. Tess wasn’t going to take everything. He wouldn’t allow it.

Liz took a lightening fast shower and changed into the cloths in her pack. Pulling out her journal she tore out the last page and wrote a quick note to Max. Leaving the journal and note on the bed she gathered her things. She noticed the tape was gone but she didn’t have time to search for it. She had her wallet with some money, cell phone, some CDs and a player with headphones. She was ready.

Making her way to the back stairs she listened carefully then made her way down. She knew this was a totally selfish thing to do and Max would be furious when he found her gone but their son NEEDED her. They didn’t have time to argue about it. Kyle’s voice brought her up short.

“So where do you think you’re going?” Kyle asked from behind her. “Cause it looks to me like you’ve got all your stuff which would make me think you’re taking off.”

“Kyle! Wha-what are you talking about?” Liz asked. Damn it.

“Don’t bullshit me, Liz. You expect me to believe you were really going to take a nap? I’m not Max,” Kyle said his arms crossed over his chest.

“Look Kyle, I have to do this. I have it all worked out,” Liz said giving up trying to fool him.

“You do huh? You have it worked out so Tess won’t kill you?” Kyle asked.

“Kyle…my son doesn’t have time. He needs me. How can I leave him? This is what I can live with please don’t try to stop me,” Liz said looking in his eyes.

Kyle sighed. “Okay, I’m coming with you.”

“No Kyle, not this time. You have to stay here and help Max. He’s..he’s going to need help. If you came with me Tess would just use you as leverage. She already has my son and that’s enough. The way I see it Max has two weeks to find us. Make him wait at least three days okay? If you come before then I might not be able to help. I need at least a day to recover after connecting to the pod. My parents can stay with my daughter and someone needs to watch the Granilith just in case. No matter what happens she can’t be allowed to leave the planet with him,” Liz said seriously. “Make Max understand that okay? I left him a note….but I know he’s going to be…upset. This is what has to happen and I’m finally at peace with it. Just don’t let her take my son off the planet. Tell Maria that I’ll call her before…before I get there.”

Kyle felt tears prick the backs of his eyes. “Liz, I can’t let you go alone. This isn’t right. It’s not supposed to be like this.”

Liz dropped her bag and walked up the couple steps to Kyle and hugged him tight. “You know I love you right? You’re the best. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, Kyle. You helped me more then I can tell you.”

Kyle rested his chin on her shoulder and felt her hair brush against him. She felt so delicate and small. “Maria’s going to be really pissed at you.”

Liz smiled slightly. “Yeah, she is. Listen, I just…I’m not alone, Kyle. I have you guys. It’ll be okay. Don’t let Maria freak out on Max okay? For me?”

“Okay,” Kyle said as he pulled back. “I’ll try but she’s like a force of nature.”

“No matter what happens to me, this is where it ends. This is our one chance to stop her. I’ll take that chance with no regrets,” Liz said looking into Kyle’s eyes. “Don’t feel bad for me okay? You need to keep your head straight.”

“Just try to stay safe okay?” Kyle asked as Liz started back down the stairs.

“Okay,” Liz said and picked up her backpack.

“See you in three days,” Kyle said as Liz swung her bag onto her back.

Liz smiled and nodded. “See ya then.”

Cal caught her as she opened the back door. “Here take one of my cars,” Cal said holding out a set of keys.

Liz looked at the keys and smiled. “Thank you but no. I’ll take the bus. Thanks for answering my questions.”

“Sure thing. You got enough money?” Langley asked pocketing his keys.

“Yeah. Will you remind my parents not to go back to Roswell? Tess will look there and…” Liz started.

“I’ll make sure the princess is safe. You sure this is what you want to do?” Cal asked as he studied her.

“Yeah. He’s my son. I can’t leave him,” Liz said and tucked her hair behind her ear.

“He could already be dead. That was a guess…the 36 hours thing. Max hasn’t felt him in weeks,” Cal pointed out.

“I can’t leave him. I can’t,” Liz said firmly. Her eyes were clear and showed her resolve to take this step.

“Okay. Take care of yourself Kitten. Try to eat as much as you can and rest on the way,” Langley advised.

“I will,” Liz said and leaned forward and gave him a fast hug. “Thanks for your help.”

As fast as that she was gone leaving Langley staring at a closed door.

Liz walked to the closest major intersection and called a cab. She had the cab drop her off at the bus station and bought a ticket on the first bus headed out of California. She had just enough time to load up on energy bars and drinks before she took her seat.

“Max! Liz is gone!” Maria yelled as she skidded into the study holding Liz’s note in one hand and her journal in the other.

Max spun away from the computer and focused on Maria. “What do you mean gone? Where did she go?”

“I mean she’s fucking gone! Here!” Maria said and thrust the letter and journal at him.

Max took both and barely listened to Maria as he recognized Liz’s journal. Surely she wouldn’t leave that.

“I can’t believe she left! She left and didn’t say anything to me,” Maria said looking to Michael. “I tried to call her and she didn’t pick up. She’s screening MY calls!”

“Come here,” Michael said and pulled her onto his lap. “What does it say?” Michael asked Max while stroking Maria’s back.

Max stayed quiet as he read her letter.


I’m sorry about this. I know you’re going to be really upset but I have to go to our son. There isn’t time to argue about what to do and make a plan that everyone agrees with. This will at least buy some time.

I’m going to get out of California then I’ll call the FBI and ask for Agent Burns. I know they have the pod. That’s why Tess turned them on to me in the first place and why they’re after me. I have to try to save him Max just like you had to save me. So I know that you will come after me but please wait for at least three days okay? I’ll need at least that long. The Granilith needs to be watched at all times. That’s her way off the planet with our son so if something goes wrong that’s the only backup.

I know that I might not make it out of this and I don’t want you to blame yourself. I chose to do this. So don’t take the blame for this because it’s not yours it’s mine. Whatever happens just know that I’m not sorry. All of the pain is worth it. Just look at our daughter and you’ll see what I mean. I wouldn’t change it. I’ve been thinking a lot and no matter what’s happened in the past or what happens in the future it doesn’t change who I am and part of me is you. I see that when I look at our daughter. She’s the best of both of us just like our son is I’m sure.

You asked me once if you could read my journal…I don’t have any real secrets from you so read it whenever you’re ready. If something happens and I don’t come home just share it with our children when they’re old enough. I want them to know me and between the covers of that book I put down all of things that explain who I am. Maybe they’ll be able to see me through those pages. I’m sorry to do this to you Max but I have to give our son a chance at life. That’s worth dying for. I do have faith in you. I’m trusting you with what matters most to me..our kids.

Maria and I have been pouring over names and I never got a chance to talk to you about the two I liked so I’ll tell you now and you can decide what you like and argue with me when you see me. Erin Lotus Evans (Lotus was Maria but I humor her and it’s kinda cute) and Caitlin Zoë Evans. I warn you I better not find out you named her Ripley.

Love always


Max sat utterly still, Michael wasn’t even sure if he was breathing. “Max?”

“Find Ava or Cal. I need to know how to find Liz. We have two days to find her and come up with a plan,” Max said not looking up.

Tess held the phone to her ear and waited for Burns to answer.

“Burns here.”

“Give me your status report and explain to me your sheer incompetence,” Tess hissed.

“The Parker girl has powers. She blasted two of my men when we tested her. In front of her father. We lost the whole group of them outside of Roswell heading east. Things at the institute are just as they should be,” Burns answered.

“Why is the second pod gone?” Tess inquired unimpressed.

“We have not moved it. One of them must have found it,” Burns replied his voice devoid of emotion.

Tess frowned displeased. “What about their relationships? Must I ask for every detail?” Tess snapped.

“Michael and Maria are still a couple. Max and Liz are not although they speak. Liz has been spending time with Kyle and a new person she met over the summer. Ava is with them now. She picked up the contents of your box the day they left town,” Burns informed her. Why she was in charge he had no idea.

“Hmmm this new person…you have a report on him and photos?”


“Bring them and pick me up at the Evans home. I’ll get us back on track. Apparently you can’t handle things on your own,” Tess sneered.


“Really? Because your ass is on the line as much as mine. We may have the pod but we have no idea where Liz is and no idea how to find her. So we don’t have shit. You also lost Max. Luckily I have someone important to Max right here. The problem is we have very little time to correct your bumbling. So get your ass over here now with everything you have on Liz Parker,” Tess said shut off the phone. Stupid ass. Turning to Diane she smiled. As much as she wanted to just kill her for fun she restrained herself. She needed Max to come to her and she didn’t think he would believe what she said. So telling Max she had his son wouldn’t work. Telling him she had his mother and letting Mrs. Evans speak to her son…now that would work.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 11-Feb-2003 4:46:28 AM ]
posted on 12-Feb-2003 6:27:20 AM
Chapter Fifty Two
While Michael searched out Ava and Cal Max tried to quickly sort out his head. Liz had made the choice for him and now he had a clear path to follow. He thought he could see a glimmer of her thinking. Tess needed three pieces to win this game and he was the last piece. Liz was playing on the fact that Tess still needed that last piece and wouldn’t do anything to hurt her chances. If she killed Liz it wasn’t likely that Max would cooperate. That’s what Liz was banking on.

What Liz didn’t see or think about was all the other things Tess could do short of death. Max was thinking about it. There were so many things they didn’t know. The condition of their son was just one of those things. If he was dead or ill…that changed the rules. Tess would need to hold onto Liz. Max jiggled his leg as he thought through his options. The other thing he didn’t think Liz had really thought out was that he couldn’t let her suffer this alone. How could he leave her there? Even for three days? Three times longer then he had spent in Pierce’s custody and he still had nightmares to this day. His guts twisted at thought of all the things that could happen to her in that length of time.

Maria sat quietly watching Max as they waited. His skin was chalky in color and beads of sweat were visible on his forehead. What the hell had Liz been thinking? Maria wondered. Max wasn’t up to this. When is the last time he had made the right decision alone? Maria couldn’t even remember that far back. Max wasn’t clearheaded enough. He let his emotions cloud his thinking and the decisions he made. Liz did too but it was different with her. She could still see the whole picture through her emotions and make a decision. Maria wasn’t confident that Max could..not without Liz.

They were fucked.

Liz sat watching the scenery pass thinking. This was a huge gamble but one that she was willing to take. She hoped that Max could see that he could do this. She knew he could. He just needed to focus on the goal.

When Liz had sat listening to everyone the one thing that became clear to her was that her children were the future. They were unspoiled by the past and untouched by the pain and resentments of the last year. They were the one thing in all of this that was absolutely clear to her. She loved them more then her life and would suffer anything for them. She wasn’t afraid anymore.

Tess tapped a finger on the file in front of her thoughtfully. She needed a way to keep Liz in line. Max would be the easy one she wasn’t worried about him it was Liz that was always the problem. The more things she had to hold over her the better. Tess slowly flipped through the surveillance photos occasionally pulling one out and setting it aside. Body language told a story all it’s own. You could lie with words but body language was much harder to control. It was instinctively apart of you below the level of awareness most of the time. Tess studied the shots she had pulled out. Dane…hmmm nice. What she found most interesting about him was Liz’s reaction to him. Turning her attention to the next picture she studied it closely. Liz had a soft spot for Kyle. As hard as Liz had found it to lie about having sex with him she had still complimented his ‘performance’. She had never turned her back on him even as uncomfortable as it had been to juggle Max and Kyle’s feelings about each other. This picture showed something new. Something more. She lined it up carefully next to the picture of Dane. She spread the remaining pictures out according to date. All of them were of Max and Liz. Tapping her finger against her chin she let her eyes wander over each soaking them in. Max was an open book as always. Liz was harder to read. She had built up some defenses.

Reaching for her cell phone she dialed and spoke as soon as it was picked up. “I want three people found and brought to me. Kyle Valenti, Maria DeLuca, and this Dane person. I don’t care what you have to do I want them here within 12 hours alive and in fair condition,” Tess instructed then hung up. Tapping the phone against her chin she pondered her next call with a smile playing over her lips.

Max grabbed his cell phone as soon as it rang. “Hello?” He prayed it was Liz.

“Hi Max. Miss me?” Tess asked smiling.

Max scowled and took a breath before answering. “No.”

“Mmmm that hurts sweetie. I’ve missed you,” Tess answered circling Diane as she talked.

“What do you want? Why are you calling me?” Max asked his tone flat. He needed to stay calm. She couldn’t have Liz yet. She wouldn’t know Liz wasn’t with him.

“I have someone here who wants to talk to you. As for what I want….Max..,” Tess giggled softly. “You know I always want you.”

Max’s stomach churned and doubt flickered through him. Liz hadn’t been gone long enough. Surely she didn’t have her yet. “Well put them on and let’s get this over with. You’re eating up my minutes with this shit.”

Tess laughed out loud. “Okay, hang on.” Tess pulled the tape off of Diane’s mouth and held the phone to her ear. “Say hello to your son.”

“Max? Max is it you?” Diane asked her voice shaking. She didn’t remove her eyes from Tess.

“Mom? Are you alright?” Max asked sitting up.

“I’m…I’m okay. What’s going on Max? What is she?” Diane asked fearfully.

“Just stay calm Mom. I’ll take care of this. I promise okay?” Max asked his fingers griping the phone so hard his knuckles were white.

Tess pulled phone away from Diane and put it to her ear. “Ready to come to me? To your family?” Tess asked.

Max stayed silent for a second thinking. “Not really. She’s not my mother Tess. You’re the one that told me that right?”

“Don’t try to play this game Max. You don’t have the equipment. Why don’t you just hand over the phone to Liz? She’s the one in charge isn’t she?” Tess asked her voice mocking him.

“She’s busy right this second. Why don’t you call back in an hour?” Max responded trying to stall for some time.

“Every second you waste playing these stupid games is one more second your son doesn’t have. Think about that during this hour. Oh…and think about how long Mommy will last in my company. See ya Max,” Tess said and hung up.

Max dialed Liz’s phone immediately.

Liz picked up her phone and checked the caller ID. Max. “Hi Max,” Liz answered softly.

“Liz where are you?” Max asked.

“Max look…I’m doing this. This is the right thing to do,” Liz said not answering his question.

“Tess just called. She has my mother. She wants to talk to you. I bought an hour but she won’t be put off again,” Max said ignoring Maria’s gasp.

“Shit. Okay, I’ll call her. Give me her number,” Liz said not wasting time.

“Just come back. We need you here,” Max said trying to get her to reconsider.

“No. I’ll call Tess and offer to trade myself for your mother. She’ll take that deal. Time isn’t on her side either. That will be a good deal on her part. I’ll give your mom my phone and she’ll call you after she’s free and you can come and get her. Valenti can pick up your father and Maria’s mom. Just call him now and let him know what’s happening. Okay? Max, are you listening to me?” Liz asked when he didn’t respond.

“Liz…I don’t think you’ve really thought about this. Tess can do a lot to you short of killing you. Don’t you see that this isn’t the answer,” Max said trying to get her to see reason. It wasn’t that he didn’t love his son or his mother. He did. He just didn’t believe that this was the way. It gave Tess another person..there was nothing to say Tess would even release his mom. He didn’t want to loose more then he could live with.

“She already has, Max. Don’t you see that this is the only way? I’m not crazy or stupid. I know exactly what Tess can do….we’ve all been living it for the last year. She’s not going to stop. Ever. If our son dies she still won’t stop but I won’t have anything left to fight with. I can’t…I can’t allow this Max. I just can’t. I know this is harder for you. It’s hard to sit back and let someone else take the risk but…this is MY risk. If you could breast-feed and do what needed to done for our son I wouldn’t stop you from doing it but you can’t. What you can do is get him back. You have a full Four Square. I trust you. Max..I’ve trusted you with everything that I am,” Liz said rubbing her temple with her free hand.

“You trusted me and I failed you,” Max answered softly.

“We both made mistakes. That’s the past. This is the present. Don’t get trapped in the past, Max. We can’t afford it. This has nothing to do with any personal differences between us. No matter what happened in the past I always trusted you with my life. I believe in you Max, and I'm smart aren't I?” Liz asked seriously.

“Yes, of course you are. That doesn’t…” Max started.

“It has everything to do with this. I know you. I know that no matter what happens I can count on you to pull the others together and do what you need to do. They’ll help you Max. Trust them to do their part like I’m trusting you. It’s really simple when you get down to it. Tess just…fucked with your head and made you doubt yourself. Everyone makes mistakes and has weaknesses. Don’t let her continue to exploit those same mistakes. It’s time to let go of all that. We need to be a team working for the same thing. Who are you going to listen to Tess or me? Who are you going to trust to know you better?” Liz asked trying to knock some sense into him. It was time for Max to stop wallowing in his guilt. They weren’t those people anymore. They were parents.

“You of course…I always trust you. I’ll do everything I can to win. That doesn’t mean it’ll work. Anything could happen. You could die. Our son could die. What if we all die? Who’s going to raise our daughter? You know I’ll fight to the end and give everything I have to get you out,” Max said not noticing the arrival of Ava, Cal, and Michael.

“I know I could die. There’s always that risk but Max we have a responsibility here. Our kids didn’t ask to be brought into this world. We’re their parents and it’s our responsibility to protect them. To do our best for them. That means we can’t abandon either of them to Tess. Who would you rather raise them? Tess or basically anyone else on the planet? That’s not what I would choose of course but anything is better then leaving him with that monster. We’re not the most important thing anymore, our kids are. They can’t defend themselves…they’re totally helpless and counting on us to do our job. It’s that simple,” Liz said stating her position as clearly as she could.

“Okay. Call me after talking to Tess and I’ll come up with something on this end. One way or another she won’t leave this planet with our son….she’s not getting off this planet alive,” Max said accepting that he was going to have to find a way to pull off a miracle.

“Okay, give me the number,” Liz said and after he gave it to her she hung up.

Max turned to find himself the center of attention. “Okay, we have a job to do. Tess called. Where are Isabel and Kyle?”

“They’re coming. What about Liz’s parents?” Michael asked.

“I’ll talk to them as soon as we know what we’re doing. Ava you said before that I can find Liz now right?” Max asked turning to her and waited for her nod. “How exactly?”

“All you really have to do is focus on Liz. Set everything else aside and pay attention to your bond. Your energy will lead you to her,” Ava said as Isabel and Kyle walked in and took a seat.

“What’s going on?” Isabel asked perching on the arm of the nearest chair.

“Tess called. She has Mom. Liz is calling her now and she’s going to trade herself for our mother. We have to figure out how we’re going to get Liz and our son out. I was thinking that if we can get close enough, Isabel, you can dreamwalk Liz and she can tell you what she knows about where ever they take her, her condition, our sons condition, and anything that could be helpful. Once we know where Liz is we can plan a little better,” Max said looking around the room.

“Is Mom…okay?” Isabel asked in a small voice.

“I talked to her and she seemed scared but okay. Liz is going to hand over her phone to Mom and we’ll go pick her up,” Max said trying to reassure Isabel and sound confidant.

“So Boy Wonder that’s your plan? That’s it? Wait for Liz to tell you what to do?” Cal asked from where he was leaning against the doorway. “You better just give up now. Liz won’t have the energy to try and figure out how to help you. She’ll be lucky to survive at all. Tess has you out planned, out gunned, and out smarted.”

Max slammed his fist down hard on the desk. “I don’t care if Tess has a Death Star orbiting this planet. I’m going to do whatever is necessary to get Liz and my son back. Liz is counting on me. That fucking bitch isn’t going win. Not this time. Failing isn’t an option. If you know so much why are you hiding here? You say you like it on Earth so much why don’t you try to save it? According to you if Tess has her way she’s going to take over the whole damn planet and I don’t see you coming up with any brilliant plans to help. So either help or stay out of my way,” Max shouted pissed off. He didn’t want to hear anything that wasn’t aimed at reaching the goal.

Langley smiled and moved into the room. Finally he was seeing something from this kid. “Do you have the book that was sent with you and a bag of crystals and other stones?”

“Yes, we have it with us. We also have a translation of the book and we’ve read it,” Ava said speaking up.

“Did you read the prophecies at all? The one about the Anointed One?” Cal asked looking at each of the hybrids in turn.

“We don’t have time for stories!” Max burst out.

Cal ignored him and continued. “That ‘story’ talks about Evil searching the Universe for the Anointed One whose sacrifice will stand between Death and Birth. It was said that Evil would appear as a dragon whose tail would attempt to sweep the stars from the sky. The door to the heavens will open to reveal a figure from a throne surrounded by seven. One of the seven is a pregnant woman who gives birth to twins like the son of man while they battle the dragon for the Light. The crystals are placed in the holes in the book to guide you. Give you the tools you need to defeat the dragon…if you can get the sequence right. I suggest starting there.”

“What? What does that mean?” Michael asked. Ava was already out the door on her way to retrieve the book and the crystals.

“Wait. I’ve heard something like that before,” Maria said thinking hard. “Not the crystals but the dragon’s tail sweeping the stars from the sky thing.”

“I believe you’ll find something like it in Revelations. You know, the Bible book that talks about the end of the world,” Langley said casually. “It’s not exact but similar.”

“What are you saying Langley? What sacrifice? Who makes the sacrifice?” Max asked his attention firmly on Langley.

“It doesn’t really say what the sacrifice is. The Anointed One makes it though. It says another star falls from the sky opening to reveal an Abyss, which walks the Earth like a person. The Abyss seeks out the Anointed One torturing and tearing at the fabric of life until the sacrifice is made. If I had to guess Tess is as close to a walking abyss as you’re likely to find wouldn’t you say?” Cal asked his eyes holding Max’s. Langley then walked over to the couch and bent down to pick up the tape Liz had dropped. He tossed it to Max who caught it easily. “See if that helps you figure anything out.”

posted on 13-Feb-2003 10:39:01 PM
Chapter Fifty Three
**Warning...the second tape is viewed**
Liz dialed and waited for Tess to answer. She wasn’t nervous or anxious. She felt a sense of peace and resolve that was surprising under the circumstances. She wasn’t confused anymore and that alone was a relief.

“Yes?” Tess answered.

“Tess it’s Liz. I have a deal for you,” Liz said smiling at her curt greeting.

“A deal? This should be interesting,” Tess said listening intently. Trying to get a read on Liz.

“Do you really want to hold onto Max’s mother? Come on Tess. What good is she to you? I’ll tell you where I’ll be in about two hours if you agree to let Max’s mother go completely free. How’s that for a deal?” Liz asked smiling slightly.

Tess remained silent for a minute trying to work out her angle. “You’re trading yourself for Max’s mother? Max is okay with this?”

“Why wouldn’t he be? It’s his mother,” Liz asked.

Tess frowned. “Okay…Tell me where to bring her.”

“Yuma Arizona. I’ll call again to tell you exactly where I am when I get there. Tess? I know you’re….a creative storyteller and I’ve enjoyed reading them really but let’s stick to the letter of this deal huh? It would be like a whole new start. You won’t be any less evil…this would just bring a new level of honesty to your evil,” Liz said while twirling her hair.

“Funny Liz. I’ve missed you so. I can’t wait to see you again. Don’t worry I have no reason to hold onto her. You’ll do nicely,” Tess answered. “You do hold a special place in my heart after all. Since we’ve shared so much.”

“Wow you have a heart? That’s a surprise…..or is that so we have something to drive a stake through? Nevermind I’d like to find out on my own. I should tell you that I’m not wearing any panties so I’m afraid you’ll have to buy your own this time around,” Liz said her voice low and smooth.

“Cute. Glad to hear you’ve been watching the tapes. Get any new ideas?” Tess asked less then amused.

“Oh yeah. I did for sure. I sent your tape to Jerry Springer. Who knows maybe you’ll get on while you’re here. You fit right in,” Liz assured her.

“I can see we are going to have so much fun together. See ya in about two hours,” Tess said and hung up.

Liz turned off her phone a smile flickering over her mouth. This might be easier then she thought.

Max sat hung up after Liz’s call and sat back in his chair rubbing his forehead.

“Well?” Michael asked impatiently.

“It’s arranged. Liz asked me not to tell her anything just in case,” Max said worried. He didn’t want to think about just in case.

“Smart move,” Michael agreed. Seeing Max’s brow furrow he continued. “Maria and Ava are working on the book and crystals. Kyle finished filling his dad in so that’s covered. He’ll call back when he’s got them,” Michael said ticking off where they were at as Kyle walked in and sank onto the couch next to Isabel. “Langley’s with Liz’s parents so that’s covered. They’ll probably call Liz so that will settle that issue as much as it can be. You ready to watch that tape?”

“Yeah,” Max said his stomach clenching as all the things it could be flashed through his mind. His palms started to sweat.

“Do you know what’s on it?” Isabel asked. She sooo didn’t want to see a sex tape.

“No. I have no idea,” Max replied as Michael put it in.

The screen was blank for several seconds then they saw the screen fill with a jiggling view of a tile floor. This was clearly planned. No security tape this time. Tess’s voice was heard obviously coming from behind the camera.

“Are we ready to start? She has to be home by four,” Tess’s voice asked as she swung the camera to focus on an unremarkable man in a charcoal gray suit.

“She’s prepped but her blood pressure is high. There would be less danger if you would allow us to put her out,” The man said without infliction.

“Oh no. This is better she won’t remember anyway. Here Burns, take the camera. Don’t miss anything or I will get very upset with you,” Tess said and the camera jiggled again as it switched hands. “Okay let’s go say hi.”

The camera showed Tess in front of an unremarkable metal door. It could have been to a stairwell or supply closet. Tess eased the door open and the camera briefly showed the back wall of the room against which various medical equipment was lined. Two tanks held what looked like small half-formed pods. The focus of the room was the stainless steel table that dominated the room.

Liz lay on the table her wrists and ankles secured. She turned her head as the door opened and Max watched a look of fear and confusion pass over her face. Her eyes were huge and her complexion chalky white in her fear. The dark purple tank top made her appear even paler. A sheet draped her lower body and Max found himself staring at her bare toes. His breathing picked up as flashes of his own experiences flickered behind his eyes.

Isabel glanced over in concern hearing his hitching breaths. He already looked ill.

“Nothing to say Liz? I was sure you would be firing questions at me,” Tess said as she walked around the table. “Well I won’t wait for you to ask that would be cruel. I’ll just tell you why you’re here. See you have something I need and I’m here to take it,” Tess said smiling sweetly.

“What are you even talking about Tess?” Liz asked clearly confused.

“I’m talking about the fact that you’re pregnant,” Tess said eyes locked on Liz’s face. “You’re pregnant with MY children.”

“What? That’s not possible.” Liz denied and tugged at her wrist restraints. “You’re crazy.”

“It’s very possible. It’s true I arranged it myself,” Tess said reaching up and adjusting the large light that was hanging directly over the table. “I know you don’t remember but trust me. You just couldn’t stay out of my way. I think you’re about to regret that. From what I’ve seen this is very painful.”

A door could be heard opening and the sound of a cart being moved across the floor followed. The camera stayed on Liz who paled further as she looked at whatever was out of range of the camera and pulled harder at her restraints.

“Relax Liz. You’re not going anywhere. The more you fight the worse it will be,” Tess said her eyes glittering as she her smile grew.

Liz’s eyes narrowed and she stilled looking up at Tess. “Max will find me. Just because we’re not dating anymore doesn’t mean he’ll leave me here. He’ll find me.”

Tess smiled wider. “You think so? I don’t think so. He won’t even know you’re gone.”

Michael glanced over at Max who was pale and sweating fists clenched on the desktop. Isabel was staring in horror at the screen transfixed at the nightmare playing out in front of them. Kyle’s face was dark with rage set in harsh lines.

“Go ahead and start,” Tess directed and stepped back away from the table.

The camera panned to show two other people had entered the room. Both were in surgical scrubs. One readied the tray of instruments while the other positioned two tanks in which floated pale yellowish white half formed pods. It wasn’t clear if they were plants or some strange form of animal. They hung suspended in the tanks floating in clear liquid that looked thicker then water. One of the surgeons folded back the sheet covering Liz to expose her abdomen while the other reached for the scalpel.

The camera shifted to show Tess leaning casually against the wall watching everything with interest. Tess pushed away from the wall and moved to stand the head of the table. She reached out and stroked Liz’s hair ignoring the fact that Liz jerked her head away from her.

“Why are you doing this to me?” Liz asked Tess.

“Because you need to learn a lesson Liz. No one gets in my way. You’re going to learn that the hard way and before I’m through with you….you’ll wish you were dead,” Tess said flatly looking down into Liz’s eyes.

Max watched Liz’s breathing pick up on the screen as she struggled to free herself vainly. The first cut was made and the blood was too bright against the paleness of her skin that it seemed almost unreal. Liz’s screams seemed to echo off the walls.

Isabel fled the room her hand over her mouth tears streaming down her cheeks. Michael fumbled to find the remote desperate to turn it off.

Max’s face crumpled as Liz screamed for him before Michael could shut the tape off.

Kyle watched silently as Max lost it. His chair crashed over as Max stood up swiftly and strode over to the TV set. Without a word he sent his fist through the screen. Michael bolted over and struggled to get Max under control.

“Maxwell! Stop!” Michael grunted as he tried to wrangle a wildly struggling Max away from entertainment center.

Kyle moved to help noticing the bolts of energy rippling off of Max’s bloody broken fist. Between the two of them they wrestled Max back to the desk.

“I have to call Liz. Give me the fucking phone Michael!” Max yelled trying to get Michael off of him.

“Just stop for a second Max. You’re bleeding all over the floor. Man, I think you broke your hand,” Michael replied. “You can’t call Liz like this. You’re going to scare the crap out of her.”

“She SHOULD be scared! Look at what Tess already did! She can’t go back there Michael,” Max replied but stopped moving.

“Max, she knows. Liz knows,” Kyle said softly.

“She..? She told you this?” Max asked turning to Kyle.

“Not outright no. Look where do you think that tape came from? It was in Tess’s box and Liz found it right? I’m guessing Liz was hanging onto it so you didn’t see it,” Kyle said softly.

Max closed his eyes tears slipping down his face. “What am I going to do? What am I supposed to do here? God Michael…” Max said his voice halting. The sound of Liz screaming was ringing in his ears and echoing in his head. He was afraid for her before but now…now.

“Let Liz do what she needs to do. Don’t make this harder on her. Tess needs to be stopped. She won’t hurt Liz. She needs her remember,” Michael reminded him. Trying to be the voice of reason and sucking at it.

“Fine. Go ahead and call her. She’ll tell you that she’s doing this anyway. Max, you have to hold it together. The whole purpose of that tape is to paralyze us. Tess is psycho not stupid,” Kyle pointed out.

“You’re right. Okay…can you just…give me a minute?” Max asked softly.

“Sure,” Michael said and left….taking the tape with him.

Kyle looked back as he reached the door. “I know this reminds you of things that you don’t want to think about but we all have a job to do. Liz knows that. You’re job is to get her back. Focus on that. Help us get her back,” Kyle said softly then closed the door behind him.

Max walked over and sat in front of the pod looking to his daughter to remind him of the good things. The things that made all of this worth it. Max’s eyes traced her features wondering if she would look like her mother when she opened her eyes. He made his daughter a silent promise. She would know her mom. He would make sure she would know what an amazing person Liz was and how much she loved her.

Max sat searching himself for the strength to follow this through. He had to find it. Liz was depending on him. Eventually he picked up the phone and dialed.

“Hello? Max?” Liz answered.

“Yeah, it’s me,” Max said feeling relieved. She sounded okay.

“My parents called. They’ll take care of Erin? Caitlin? Which do you like better?” Liz asked. She could tell something was wrong so she tried to keep it light. Like everything was fine and this was a normal day.

“I think Erin. She looks like an Erin,” Max said softly. “Plus maybe Maria will get over being mad at you if we use Lotus.”

“Maybe. Like in a year. Erin is perfect. When I see our son maybe I’ll get some boy ideas. Do you have any yet?” Liz asked softly the other passengers chatter fading from her awareness.

“Umm how about Gage?” Max asked.

“I like it. Oh wait….wasn’t that kid in Pet Cemetery named Gage? The one that got run over by the semi and then killed his mom?” Liz asked wrinkling her nose.

“Oh yeah I think it was. Well that’s out. We’ll have to think about it I guess,” Max said feeling a little better.

“Yeah…you know I was reading that Levi means joined or attached. I was thinking that might be a good middle name since he’s a twin. I haven’t been able to think of a good name to go with it. I’m hoping that inspiration will strike when I see him. Boys are harder. Girls can get away with different names but a boy might get made fun of. I don’t like Bill or Jack or the normal boring names though,” Liz said thinking Max sounded a little better.

“Yeah. I don’t like those either. Don’t worry I won’t ask Michael for his opinion,” Max said smiling slightly as he imagined the expression on her face.

Liz smiled and rolled her eyes. “Good. That’s a step in the right direction but you know if he finds out we’re using Maria’s suggestion for a middle name for our daughter he might demand equal time,” Liz pointed out. She shuddered to think of what Michael would come up with.

“Nope. Won’t work. I’ll tell him to have his own. He’ll walk away and leave me alone,” Max said smiling slightly. She did sound good.

Liz laughed softly at the thought. “That would probably work. Good thinking.”

“I should let you go I guess. I just wanted to…,” Max said then trailed off.

“Yeah, I still have to call Maria and I should save the battery for your mom,” Liz said then paused. “Max…I’ll be okay.”

“Yeah, I know. I’ll see you in a couple of days,” Max said his brow wrinkling.

“Okay, I’ll see you then. Take care of yourself Max. Be careful okay?” Liz asked stretching out the conversation.

“Uh huh. Liz….please..just..,” Max said then took a deep breath. “Try to get some rest because when I come to get better be rested up and ready to go.”

Liz smiled. “I think I can safely say that I’ll be ready to go. Rest or no rest but I’ll try.”

“Okay. See you then,” Max said and after hanging up he realized that he felt more determined. This would work. He would make it work. He didn’t feel conflicted at all. Tess was going to die it was just a matter of finding a plan that worked. He had the best motivation for coming up with that plan. He wanted to be there staring into her eyes when she died.

posted on 16-Feb-2003 4:13:57 AM
I just wanted to let everyone know that the next part should be up today. It's almost done now.

Well. SciFiNutt111 thank you very much!*happy* Yes...Max is growing isn't he? I said he would and no one believed me. ::sigh:: It's now or never I guess. It's crunch time. Imagine that me an almost Max Hater writting some growth in there for him. *tongue*

Anyway I'll post the next part as soon as it's ready.
posted on 16-Feb-2003 5:05:19 PM
Chapter Fifty Four

Liz watched the dark Lincoln roll to a stop and waited for Mrs. Evans to appear. She felt as confident as possible. She had picked a busy diner as the meeting place and it was a bonus to have two police officers inside eating. This was the best she could do on such short notice. The rear door opened and Tess stepped out of the car smiling brightly.

“Hello Liz. Ready to go?” Tess asked.

“Not quite yet. Where’s Mrs. Evans? I have something I need to give her,” Liz replied. When Tess didn’t respond she got pissed. “Cut the shit. Send her out so we can get on with it. Times a wasting.”

Tess smiled and waved Diane out. Diane stumbled out of the car looking scared out of her mind.

“Mrs. Evans? I have something for you,” Liz called, not moving from her spot. She tried to look in control to reassure Max’s mother who looked more then a little shaky.

Diane reached Liz and looked around. Where was her son? “Liz..What’s going on? Where are Max and Isabel?”

“We don’t have long so I can’t explain everything. Here’s my cell phone. Max is waiting for you to call and he’ll send someone to get you. Max and Isabel are fine. Here’s all the money I have left just in case. Stay inside the café it’s open all night so that shouldn’t be a problem,” Liz said rapidly handing over the stated items.

“Liz? Where are you….You’re not going with her are you?” Diane asked horrified.

“It’ll be okay. Just go on inside,” Liz said and jogged over to the Lincoln. She slid inside and set her backpack on her lap. When Tess got in and the car pulled away Liz turned to the other occupant. “Hello again Agent Burns.”

“Miss Parker,” Burns greeted softly.

“So Lizzy…What have you been up to?” Tess asked crossing her legs casually.

“Well, I’ve been trying to decide on baby names. I was thinking Fate for my son and Destiny for my daughter. What do you think?” Liz asked then seeing the look on Tess’s face she continued. “Yeah….I’m not fond of the name Destiny either. I keep imagining this high squeaky voice whenever I hear it..a little like yours actually.. Maybe Kismet..that’s a little better and means about the same. So what about you?”

“I’ve been trying to catch up on everything here. How is Max anyway?” Tess asked trying not to show how pissed off she was.

Liz smiled and shrugged. “Fine, I guess. Needs a haircut.”

“Dating again are you?” Tess asked her eyes sharp and watchful.

“Why do you ask? I’m sure Burns gave you a report. So why ask?” Liz responded arching her eyebrow in question.

“Maybe I just want to hear you tell me before I take him again,” Tess replied smirking.

Liz rolled her eyes. “Tess, I’ve heard all of this like a million times. You need a new routine. You don’t have to take him. I’ve got no say in what he does. Discuss it with him,” Liz said in a bored tone. This was one replay that was tired and just played out.

“Really? Didn’t take him back? Interesting,” Tess said thoughtfully. She was trying to judge the state of their bond.

“We’re friends,” Liz answered her eyes sparkling and small smile playing over her mouth.

Tess’s eyes narrowed at Liz’s easy manner. “Seems like you have a lot of friends.”

“I’m a nice person. I play well with others,” Liz answered with a shrug. “I don’t think you could understand and I’m not interested in explaining it to you. Max is his own person and he can make up his own mind.”

“Hmm yeah like he did before,” Tess answered trying to rattle Liz.

“Sometimes good people make really bad choices,” Liz agreed. “He’s free to do that. It’s up to him to learn from his mistakes. I’m not his mom or his jailer.”

Tess sat back and studied Liz for a moment. “So you’re trying to tell me it doesn’t bother you? I don’t believe that. You’re bonded Liz.”

“You just don’t get it. Okay, let me try, just this once, to explain something to you. Max and I were together because that's what we both wanted. I didn’t try to force him or manipulate him into being with me. That bond you’re talking about didn’t happen because he was destined to be with me or because some book told him that’s how it was supposed to be. It didn’t happen because it was implanted into him when he was created. It really didn’t have much to do with him being an alien at all. It was of our own free will. We chose to be together because we loved each other. Pretty simple concept. He stays or goes because that’s what he chooses to do. I don’t want him to stay because he feels he has to. I deserve better and so does he. Of course what happened hurt me…you meant for it to but I learned something. I can handle him leaving me. I can build a good life even without him. He stays and tries to work things out because he cares about me. Not because I force him to or try to control him. Again…pretty simple concept,” Liz said then smiled. “There are plenty of guys out there. I don’t need to force any one of them to stay with me.”

“That’s a nice speech but how do you explain what happened? Why did he come to me?” Tess asked her voice tight as she tried to control her growing anger.

“He didn’t exactly go to you. You followed him like a puppy for a year. You manipulated him and told him anything and everything he wanted to hear. You went to him that night…actually pretty much every time anything happened it was you going to him. At least be honest about it, Tess. You were pretty smart, claim the credit you’re due. That doesn’t excuse him at all so I don’t see the point in lying about it. You played him,” Liz said shrugging. “Rejoice that was the goal wasn’t it? You’d have to ask him why he did what he did. It’s not my story to tell. Besides you already know I’m sure.”

“Yes, I do know. He’s weak,” Tess said disgusted. “He denies the truth to himself and everyone around him.”

“I disagree. He’s trusting there’s a difference. I don’t think anyone expects to meet someone so totally devoid of any redeeming qualities such as yourself. None of us were expecting that,” Liz replied and glanced at Burns as he shifted in his seat then back to Tess. “We all have strengths and weaknesses. It’s called being human and Max is, at least in part. He wanted to believe that because you came from the same type of background that he could trust you and he was wrong. Try and pull that a second time on him and see how it works for you.”

“How sweet. Defending him to the end. You are just the sweet blind little girlfriend aren’t you?” Tess spat back at Liz.

“I told you we’re friends. Not a couple,” Liz said smiling.

“You traded yourself for his mother and you’re not even dating him?” Tess asked eyeing her.

“I couldn’t just leave his mom with you could I? I like Mrs. Evans and even if I didn’t no one deserves to get stuck with you. I’m here to help my son. I know as well as you do that he doesn’t have much time,” Liz answered tired of playing games. “So let’s just get to it. I’m not going to fight you on connecting to the pod. I already went through it once…no biggie.”

Tess stared at Liz for a good two minutes before saying anything. “So you found the other pod. Where is she?”

“Yes, I did. She’s very healthy thank you. How’s my son?” Liz asked ignoring her other question.

“Let’s just say….he might need a little more attention. He doesn’t seem to be responding to the pod really well,” Tess answered.

“That wouldn’t be your fault would it? I seem to recall there being problems toward the end of your impromptu to surgery on me,” Liz said her voice toneless.

Tess smiled slightly before responding. “Who can say? Things did get a little dicey there at the end but that’s history now. Let’s focus on the future. We’ll just have to do our best for him and see how it all works out. If he dies we’ll just try again,” Tess said her tone turning cheerful.

“You think so? We’ll see,” Liz replied.

The rest of the ride to the small airfield past in silence as did the plane ride. Liz snacked on her energy bars and tried to relax as much as she could under the constant eye of either Burns or Tess. She kept her walls up wary of Tess meddling with her thoughts. All in all she thought it had gone pretty well. Her plan was going nicely so far. She wasn’t dead yet.

Max paced back and forth across the carpet. His mother had called and she seemed as okay as possible. Langley had arranged to have the remaining parents brought to his house except for Jim Valenti who was watching the Granilith until Kyle joined him. The Valenti’s would keep Tess from reaching the Granilith if she happened to slip by the rest of them. Maria would stay with the parents and Erin while Max, Michael, Isabel, Ava, and Langley all went to retrieve Liz and their son.

Max had been a little surprised that Langley had agreed to help at all but he wasn’t turning him down that’s for sure.

Maria, Isabel, and Ava were working on the book and had made some progress. Three crystals were in place in what looked like the correct spots. So far so good. Now all he had to do was keep from going insane and things might just work out.

For the ride to the Institute Liz allowed herself to be handcuffed and placed in the trunk of the car. When the vehicle finally came to a halt and the trunk opened she found herself in a garage. Two guards quickly led her into an elevator where she was then taken to a regular floor and saw what looked like holding cells. As she was led past the first few she saw Rath and Lonnie both of who looked the worse for wear but were alive.

It wasn’t until she turned the corner toward the next set of cells that she protested or said anything at all. At the other end of the hallway being dragged between two guards was Dane. “Dane?” Liz called and started struggling to get free of her escorts. She could see that he was also cuffed and when he raised his head at the sound of her voice she gasp in horror. He had clearly put up a struggle.

“Liz? What’s going on?” Dane asked then shook his head to clear it and get the blood out of his right eye. He tried to focus on Liz but she wavered in and of focus.

“Oh god I’m sorry,” Liz said realizing why he was there. Goddamn Tess. She tried to plant her feet and resist the forward movement but her guards just picked her up by the elbows without a word and carried her.

Dane heard her but before he could respond he was inside one of the cells.

Tess and Burns watched from the monitor as both Liz and Dane were placed in their cells and uncuffed. Tess had made sure their cells were across from one another so they could see each other. Since a large portion of the front of each containment cell was shatterproof glass they could see each other but not speak to one another.

Dane didn’t move from the floor where he had been set. Liz paced the front of her cell trying to see the outside corridor and Dane’s cell.

“You know you are taking a big risk,” Burns commented softly.

“Not really. Either way it works to my advantage,” Tess disagreed.

“If their bond is strong enough he will find her,” Burns pointed out.

“True, but we need him anyway. I can’t go home without Max and if the heir doesn’t survive and we can’t find the other child we’ll need them both anyway. We’ll have to try again. Besides, their bond isn’t strong enough. I made sure of that,” Tess answered.

Burns held his tongue but silently he wasn’t so sure. If Max could find her he wouldn’t come alone. They would be giving up some control of the situation and that was never good. Plus, Tess herself wasn’t totally under control. He hadn’t missed her anger during the conversation with Liz Parker. In short this whole situation made him nervous.

posted on 18-Feb-2003 7:33:29 AM
Chapter Fifty Five

Liz settled herself on the bed of her cell as one of the guards rolled the pod in on its cart. She studied the enclosed metal cart carefully.

“It’s made from depleted uranium,” Tess said from the doorway. “Mutes our powers. We can’t manipulate the structure of it at all and I doubt that the pods call can reach through it either.”

Liz didn’t reply she just waited as the guard opened the side of the cart and carefully removed the pod. Her breath caught at the clear differences between the two pods. This one was smaller and hardly glowed at all. Erin’s pod had been a dark rich green before the purple had molted through it. This one was much lighter.

Liz removed her hooded sweater to reveal her cropped tank top and lay back as the pod was placed next to her. She blocked out the room and slowed her breathing as she tried to relax. She placed one hand against the pod letting her fingers move back and forth over the rough surface in a soothing gesture.

Tess watched from outside the cell as the guard withdrew and Liz was left alone with the pod. She saw the pod flare brightly as Liz touched it then settle into a steady glow.

Walking off down the corridor Tess went over the possibilities. It was likely that this pod wouldn’t make it. It had all the signs of the failed previous experiments. The small size, color, the sluggish response of the seeking shoots. Only time would tell now. The longer it took for the pod to release Liz the more likely it was that this child would die.

Tess stopped in front of Lonnie’s cell briefly before moving to the end of the hall and opening the last door.

“So how is the boy doing?” Tess asked the nurse inside.

“He’s doing well. He’s matching normal human growth for a four month old baby,” The nurse responded.

“Lonnie still won’t take him?” Tess asked mildly interested.

“No. What will be done with him? He needs a name and some attention,” The nurse asked quietly. She didn’t want to anger this woman. She had seen the results of that but she felt for this child that no one seemed to want.

“I’m thinking that our new arrival will be interested in him,” Tess answered softly moving to look down at the infant. A smile crossed her face and lit up her eyes. Liz would want to meet this child.

Max felt the sudden void inside him and took a deep breath. He tried to wait out his initial reaction of blind fear.

Cal watched Max pale as he struggled to remain calm and could guess at what was happening. “It’s the pod. Kittens just connecting to the pod. You just notice it more now because you’re so focused on her.”

Max looked up to meet Langley’s eyes. “You know, I didn’t really realize how much a part of me she is. She’s just always been there. Why would the pod change that?” Max asked curious.

“The pod is drawing from her there’s nothing left to flow to you. This ain’t natural. She isn’t meant to nurture a child this way and it disrupts the natural flow of her energy. She’s human none of this is natural,” Cal said watching Max carefully.

“Is there any way I can help her? If I was closer or if maybe Isabel boosted my powers?” Max asked anxiety twisting inside him at his helplessness.

“No. I’m afraid not. The best you can do is plan. When you feel her again we need to track her and start the rescue. I would recommend that we let Isabel dreamwalk her after we find her location. Isabel can let her know we’re coming and see what kind of condition she’s in. We need as much information as possible before we go in. When Tess calls you ask to speak with Liz. You don’t want Tess to have any information freely. She won’t know the extent of your bond…if you can feel Liz or not…whether you can feel your son. Use that. Ask to talk to Liz and ask Liz about your son even if you do know they’re fine. Get ugly with Tess until she allows Liz to talk with you. Tess needs you she can’t afford to tell you no if it’s within reason. You have to hold firm and focus on the goal. Liz can handle her end…you handle yours,” Cal counseled trying to focus Max on the end goal. He still wasn’t sure if Max could pull this off or not. He was encouraged by Max’s concern for Liz but that could also work against them.

Max didn’t really respond he just nodded his head slightly then went to check on the progress that the others were making on the book.

The next two days past with Kyle reaching Roswell to help his father watch the Granilith. Nancy Parker focused on Erin and preparing for her birth. Afraid Liz wouldn’t be back in time Nancy dragged Jeff shopping for all the supplies a newborn would need. Jeff found it excruciating to maintain any semblance of normalcy but tried hard for his wife’s sake. If shopping for the baby helped her deal with everything then shopping is what he would do. Max and the others focused on the book.

Tess watched Liz and the pod becoming more and more convinced that this wasn’t going to go well. This complicated things horribly and delayed her return to Antar, which pissed her off. She debated her options and didn’t really like any of them. It was clear she had to get Max here. Maybe he could heal the child and if he couldn’t…he would have to create another. She had sent people searching for the other pod but so far nothing.

Burns walked in and studied the monitor along side Tess. “The other human is getting more combative now that the drugs have worn off. He believes that we are harming Liz,” he pointed out eyes still on the screen.

“Well he’s right isn’t he?” Tess asked unconcerned.

“It’s a problem Tess. He’s attacking the guards when they enter his cell. We can’t deliver meals without running the risk of harming him,” Burns said evenly.

“Then don’t deliver him meals,” Tess replied. “Liz will be free soon one way or the other then we’ll make a decision on him.”

Burns remained silent waiting.

“Have you found Max yet? Or any of the others?” Tess asked.

“Kyle and Jim Valenti are in Roswell. The rest we haven’t located,” Burns responded softly.

Tess thought out her options. Should she bring Kyle here? Would that add any more control then she already had to make it worth the bother? She had that Dane person, the pod, and the infant. That should be enough to keep Liz in line. Liz was all she needed to keep Max in line. “Let’s concentrate on Max and the other pod. If Liz makes it we’ll let her get Dane in line. If she dies we don’t need him anymore either. Simple,” Tess said pleased.

“Very well,” Burns agreed and left.

Late that second night Dane saw the first real changes. He watched as the strings connecting Liz to that thing disintegrated. He breathed a sigh of relief as they fell away from her nose, ears, and finally her navel the sight of those things stabbing into her had been disturbing to say the least. He had no idea what was going on here but he could see that something was wrong. Liz looked sick. She was sweating and shivers wracked her body. He pounded on the glass at the front of his cell hoping someone would come but no one did. As the hours passed he grew even more concerned.

Burns watched everything. He considered waking Tess but decided against it. He eventually went himself. As he reached Liz’s cell and opened the door she was making her first weak movements. He checked the pod first then Liz. Looking over at the other cell he studied Dane who was watching everything. Coming to a decision he walked across the hall and motioned for Dane to step back away from the glass, which he did. Burns then opened the door. “She is ill and will need some help. I could give her a nurse but that may frighten her at first. She has had some negative experiences and will be confused at first. She may respond better to someone she knows. If you are not afraid and are willing I can allow you to watch over her. All you need to do is try to get her to drink some fluids,” Burns said and waited for his answer.

“What is the glowing thing?” Dane asked wondering if it was something that would make him sick. He couldn’t really see it clearly from here but had no desire to have it sticking things in his body.

“It’s a pod containing her child. She will explain it I’m sure. It won’t harm you,” Burns answered.

“Okay, I’ll go,” Dane answered and moved forward. He had no idea if this person was lying or not but Liz was clearly sick. He wanted to know what was going on and none of these people would talk to him.

Burns stepped back and allowed Dane to pass. He secured the cell door after him and left.

Dane approached Liz slowly eyes flickering between her and the ‘pod’. He knelt on the floor and turned to Liz first. Putting his hand to her forehead she felt cold but was sweating. He put her sweater over her like a blanket and waited for her to wake up.

Turning to focus on the pod he looked in fascination at the child floating inside. It really was a baby…a boy. What WAS this place and who were these people? Why was he here and what did Liz have to do with this? He rubbed his forehead wincing as his hand brushed over the area by his swollen eye.

He had been leaving the frat house to get something to eat. Before he reached his truck two guys had jumped him and jammed a needle in his arm. He had fought pretty hard but whatever it was that they had given him had hit fast. He didn’t remember much of the trip just vague foggy recollections of being in a moving vehicle. He thought he had seen Liz but he wasn’t sure. When he had really woken up it had been on the floor of the cell across the hall bruised and aching. Liz had been in here with that pod thing attached to her and no one would say anything when he tried to talk to them. He was totally confused and didn’t mind admitting..scared out of his mind.

Max sat up in bed feeling the flicker of her presence in the void that had filled him for the last two days. It was so faint that at first he thought maybe it was a dream or wishful thinking but after a minute he knew it was Liz.

Max sprang out of bed and raced down the hall to Langley’s room. Pounding on the door he held tightly to the feel of her determined not to loose her.

“Yeah?” Langley asked flinging open the door to see Max’s wild appearance. His hair was standing on end and he was dressed only in his boxers.

“I feel her. I can feel her,” Max said in a rush.

“Okay, let’s get busy,” Cal said then paused. “You better get dressed kid. I’ll wake up the others and we can meet down stairs.”

“Right,” Max said and raced back down the hall. He was ready to go.

Dane sat up as he saw Liz’s fingers curl. “Liz? Liz wake up you need to drink some water,” Dane said turning to see her face. She looked like shit. Her skin was pale and almost waxy looking in appearance, her lips dry and cracked, and for all the sleep she had gotten she had dark circles under her eyes. He shook her lightly trying to get her to open her eyes. “If you don’t wake up they’ll come in and put in an IV. Come on…wake up,” Dane coaxed gently.

Liz could hear him over the pounding in her head but the effort to respond was just so great. She was getting annoyed with being shaken so she struggled to tell him to stop. Why was her bed so hard? Liz thought as her hand flopped on the thin mattress. What was he doing in her room? That thought is what caused her eyes to pop open. He wasn’t supposed to be here. Panic raced through her at thought of him being in this place which spurred her on. Her eyes blinked open and wavered for a moment before focusing. Memory came back in a rush. This wasn’t her room. She wasn’t safe.

“My son? Where’s my son?” Liz croaked faintly past her dry throat then sneezed.

“He’s here. See he’s right here,” Dane said going with what the creepy guy in the suit had presented as the truth. He moved so Liz could see the glowing pod and saw her face relax. Not exactly the reaction he had expected. He reached out and grabbed the water bottle and cracked it open. “Here drink this.”

Liz turned her face away from the bottle. It was too much. She wanted to sleep. Max said she needed to sleep. To be ready. She couldn’t talk to Dane about this yet.

“Come on Liz…Drink some of this and I’ll leave you alone for awhile. You don’t want them coming in here and sticking a needle in your arm do you? Let me tell you they aren’t exactly gentle,” Dane said scooting in behind her to lift her to a half way sitting position so she could drink.

Liz sighed and tried to hold onto the bottle but it slipped out of her hand and spilled across her lap before Dane caught it. “Your face….I’m so sorry,” Liz said as Dane lifted the now partially empty bottle to her mouth.

Dane watched her drink a little before he spoke. “You didn’t hit me so forget it. It’s a little bit better now. Are you going to be okay? Do you know what’s happening?”

“Need to sleep. Max said I need to. I’ll tell you when I wake up kay?” Liz mumbled so tired her eyes were like lead.

Dane didn’t answer seeing she was already out again. What the fuck did Max have to do with all this? Dane laid her back down and went to stand at the glass window. After checking the corridor he walked back and studied the pod. The baby was so small and utterly still. He wondered if it was dead. He could see the veins through his paper-thin skin and he looked cold with that bluish tint to him. He started to worry. Liz’s first words were asking about him. Jesus what if he was dead? What were these people doing? Performing experiments on people? Who the hell were these people? The questions he had were endless his only hope of an answer asleep.

Isabel followed Langley’s instructions and tried to find Liz on the dream plain. Max and the others where getting ready to go while she was supposed to get a read on how Liz was doing and let her know they were coming. Clutching the picture Max had given her, she focused her mind on Liz’s image and sent her mind out seeking her target.

That first jarring moment when she entered onto someone else’s dream was always disconcerting but this felt like someone had put her in a lead straightjacket. She struggled to assimilate herself. “Liz? It’s Isabel.”

“Isabel,” Liz called from her place on the steel table.

Isabel turned and felt her stomach heave at sight before her. It was so close to that nightmare of a video they had seen. Liz was restrained and laying on the cold steel table. The walls wavered in and out of focus and the floor was slick with something she didn’t want to look at. She moved toward Liz carefully trying to keep her balance under the heavy weight. “We’re coming for you. Max knows how to find you. What can you tell me? Are you all right?”

“Dane’s here. She brought him here,” Liz said and looked toward the wall which morphed into the glass front of her cell where Dane stood leaning back against the glass.

Isabel turned and saw his swollen bruised face and winced. “Okay what else?”

“Lonnie and Rath are here,” Liz answered. She focused hard and showed Isabel what she had seen on the walk in. Where the cells were in relation to each other and the condition of the hybrids. They flicked and disappeared only to be replaced by Agent Burns then Tess.

“What about the pod?” Isabel asked storing the details.

“There’s something wrong. He…he’s so small and weak. I tried so hard but he’s tired. I couldn’t get him to focus like Erin did. I stayed with him so long. I pushed as much through to him as I could but…Erin just pulled what she needed but he..,” Liz said and the dream wavered as she got upset and started to wake up.

“Liz! Don’t wake up. It’s okay. Just show me,” Isabel said bending closer to catch Liz’s eyes with hers trying to calm her. “I know you tried. Just show me…it’s okay.”

Liz focused and showed her the cart being opened and the pod being pulled out. Isabel walked closer and looked everything over.

“Tess locked him there in the dark. He was scared. He couldn’t reach anyone and he tired himself out trying to call for us. The box is some…Ummm I think she said it was built for the pod to keep it hidden. That’s why Max couldn’t feel him. He was the one taken from me last. He reached for Max because…he could feel my pain when Tess…so he reached for Max when he was able to. He was trying to tell him something was wrong,” Liz said the dream wavering wildly as she got more and more upset. “I tried to tell him it was okay now and he wouldn’t be alone in the dark anymore.”

Isabel tried to hold her focus as the whole foundation of the dream fluctuated. “We’re coming Liz. I swear we’re coming. Just hold on a little bit longer,” Isabel said trying to calm her.

“We’re so tired. I can’t…if I just had a little more. I could have…I didn’t eat enough or sleep enough,” Liz said looking into Isabel’s eyes. “Tess said if he dies…she’s going to try again. That she’ll get Max to have another child. I can’t do this again. I can’t. She hurt him Isabel. She doesn’t even care like he’s a goldfish that she can just flush when he dies,” Liz said her speech changing subjects with every sentence. “I can’t let him go alone. He’s afraid.”

Isabel felt herself flung out of Liz’s dream with a jolt. She sat up abruptly her hands trembling and her breath coming in sobs.

posted on 18-Feb-2003 9:06:35 PM
Okay I have to bump this cause I realized that I forgot to update the title line to show the update. I'm a total dork.
posted on 19-Feb-2003 6:51:09 AM
Chapter Fifty Six

Liz had little desire to wake up. She knew when she opened her eyes things were going to change again. She could feel the changes surrounding her. She knew Max was coming but she didn’t know if she could wait that long. How was she going to be able to look Tess in the face and not attempt to drive her thumbs through Tess’s eyes and into her brain?

There was also Dane to deal with. She would have to come clean with him and that was going to be a long conversation. He was going to think she was insane…..actually insane was probably the best thing he would think.

One thing at a time. She could do this. She had to do this her son needed her. Whatever happened she would be strong for him.

Dane thought he heard movement and spun away from the glass to face the cot Liz was laying on. When he saw her struggling to sit up he felt a wave of relief wash through him. She had been asleep over 16 hours and he had started to get really nervous. The only reason he knew it was sleep and not a coma was she had cried in her sleep a few times while dreaming.

“Liz? Here drink this,” Dane said plucking a new bottle of water off the table and opening it before handing it off to her.

“Thanks,” Liz whispered and drank half of it before looking at him. “I umm owe you some answers. I’ve lied to you and it’s umm my fault you’re here.”

Dane sat at the table and studied her for a moment before answering her. She didn’t look much better then she had the first time she had woken up. “Lay it on me,” He said softly.

“Okay well I’m not like…clairvoyant or telepathic or whatever I led you to believe before. This is sort of a long confusing story to explain how we got here and I don’t have all the answers but I’ll tell you what I can. About two years ago I was working in the CrashDown and two customers were arguing and I ended up getting shot,” Liz started. She only covered the basics. Who was an alien, who was evil, what the alien’s powers were…that sort of thing.

“Wait! Wait! I got the alien thing and how you got these powers. The color changing thing was….interesting you had me with the pod but I still don’t understand why we’re here. WHY does Tess hate you? What do I have to do with this?” Dane asked. Aliens. There were really aliens and he had met them. Holy shit. His brain refused to move past that point so he skipped over it and stuck to the practical.

“Umm yeah….well umm see Tess has like mental issues,” Liz said knowing damn well that Tess was probably listening to every word she said. “She’s just crazy. She has this whole delusion about destiny and made up this whole thing where Max and her were supposed to be a couple. You know, because they’re both hybrids. I don’t know she’s nuts,” Liz said shrugging. “Needless to say when she came to town and Max was with me she wasn’t happy. You don’t really have anything to with it at all. She’s just basically a stalker and knew that we were friends.”

“Yeah. Okay, she’d sort of have to be a little off for doing this I guess,” Dane said confused. “So she’s hates you because you were dating Max? What about..?” Dane asked gesturing to the pod.

“That’s really complicated,” Liz started wondering how to explain this. “She hates me because I slept with Max. We had broken up but Max…he still wouldn’t date her. He tried to be friends with her. In her warped mind I guess she thought she was close to her goal so when she found out that Max and I were back together she completely lost her mind. She created this plan to steal our child. She poked holes in his condoms, messed with our minds using her powers, and waited. When I got pregnant she removed my twins and put them in pods. Max had no idea and neither did I. She wiped all that out, killed my friend Alex, and captured two of the other hybrids. Eventually she slept with Max and then lied to him saying she was pregnant and the baby was dying. She convinced him to go back to their original planet. She had made a deal where she would deliver the others to Kivar, their enemy, to be killed and hand over Max’s child,” Liz said and stopped to get another water.

“So how is it that that plan didn’t work?” Dane asked. He was trying to understand but…He thought that Max had…but Liz had kids with him? He should have realized right away that if Liz had a child then Max….now things actually made more sense….sort of.

“I was upset about Alex. I didn’t believe that he would kill himself like they were saying so I started trying to figure out what had happened,” Liz started and was interrupted by Tess.

“Yes, Liz turned super sleuth and figured out that I killed him and ran to save her lover,” Tess mocked severely pissed off. “Hello Dane. I’m Tess.”

“I figured. You look a lot like Ava,” Dane responded his eyes going back and forth between Liz and Tess. Liz looked calm her expression blank but he could see Tess’s eyes flashing in anger. The tension was almost visible.

“Ava looks a lot like me,” Tess corrected then turned to Liz. “That’s some piece of fiction Liz.”

“Not really. It’s just the condensed version of the truth,” Liz responded eyeing Tess pleased that she had pissed her off. “Problem Tess?”

“I think playtime’s over. Dane needs to go back to his cell and I’ll just be taking the pod,” Tess replied coldly.

“No. The pod stays with me,” Liz said firmly. “If you want to put Dane back in his cell that’s fine but my son stays here.”

“I don’t think you’re the giving the orders around here Liz,” Tess said her eyes narrowing with rage.

“Whatever. He’s staying with me. I thought the whole purpose was to try and save him,” Liz remarked not giving an inch. The only way Tess was taking her son out of here was over her dead body.

Tess studied Liz for a second then motioned to the guards who took Dane and placed him back in his cell. Dane went quietly not wanting to cause trouble. “Fine, keep the pod and watch your son die. It makes no difference to me at this point,” Tess shrugged and then smiled. “In fact….I think it’s time to add to your story. Give you a little history lesson and let you meet someone new.”

Liz watched as Tess walked out to speak with one of the guards then came in and sat in the chair Dane had been in.

“Did you have a chance to read Alex’s chart?” Tess asked casually.

“No. I left before I had the time to get to the files,” Liz answered bracing herself for the next round of show and tell Tess style.

“Allow me to fill you in,” Tess said enjoying the game. This was better then a journal. She wanted to SEE Liz’s face. “Alex wasn’t just translating the book for me. No, he had a bigger job then that. I needed a human to…help me with creating the pod. We had to adjust the pod and make sure it would work. Rath and Lonnie helped out too but Alex…now he was my prize. He spent about two weeks here,” Tess said watching Liz carefully. She smiled at the set frozen look on Liz’s face.

“Now we took all sorts of samples…skin, hair, blood, semen..some were more painful then others. Leanna or Jennifer Coleman was here for a long while too,” Tess said stretching it out.

“I got the point. You tortured Alex for weeks and Jennifer too. The point would be?” Liz asked digging her fingernails into her palms.

“I don’t think you do see the point. I lost track of all the failed experiments but finally we got two rounds of live births. Jennifer’s child with Rath was the last. That was when I knew we were ready. If she could do it I was hopeful that you could,” Tess said her tone breezy and light.

Liz started to wheeze slightly as her chest tightened. “Wha-what are you..? What happened to the child?” Liz asked feeling sick.

“After I made sure that it was healthy and had no defects we killed it. I didn’t need it anymore,” Tess said like she was talking about tossing out some trash. “I did decide to keep Lonnie’s twins though. Unfortunately Lonnie wasn’t mother of the year. Before the guards could stop her she killed one of the twins but we managed to save the other,” Tess said and waved in the guard.

Liz stared at Tess in horror until the guard handed her the small squirming child. Liz looked down at the infant in her arms focusing on the warm weight to block out Tess. The baby had Isabel’s eyes. “What’s the baby’s name?” Liz asked feeling cold as ice inside.

“He doesn’t have one. Lonnie wasn’t interested in giving him one and I never bothered. What would Alex have liked?” Tess asked watching as the baby’s fist closed around Liz’s finger.

Liz didn’t respond to Tess at all. She cradled Alex’s son close, looking him over for any damage. He seemed okay. There were no bruises or signs of injury. His grip was impressive.

“Well I’ll leave you to get aquatinted. I just want you to think about something Liz. I don’t need him either. If you cause me any trouble at all Dane and the infant will suffer for it. So be a good girl and things will be fine. I still need you for the time being. You seem to be a great brood mare so we’ll just keep you until I have my child. After that well….we’ll see how it goes,” Tess said and walked out.

Max felt disconnected from any real feeling. Isabel had told him about her dreamwalk with Liz and it had either been disconnect or go nuts. Holding onto his promise to Liz he pushed down everything to allow his mind to function freely. When his phone rang he answered without checking to see who it was. “Hello.”

“Hi, Max,” Tess said still smirking over her conversation with Liz.

“I want to talk to Liz. Now,” Max demanded.

“She’s busy. Don’t worry she’s fine just a little preoccupied,” Tess said watching the monitor. “I think she’s still tired.”

“Either I talk to Liz or I hang up,” Max responded. He could feel the eyes of the others on him as he talked.

“Now Max there’s no need to be pissy. I have something serious I need to talk with you about. We really need to get together,” Tess said twirling her hair around her finger.

Max hung up without another word and waited for her to call back. When the phone rang he picked it up right away. “I want to talk to Liz.”

“Yeah, I got that,” Tess said in an annoyed tone. “Your son is dying Max. Tell me where you are and I’ll let you try to heal him.”

Max paused thinking. “I don’t believe you Tess. I will believe Liz so just put her on. I’m not doing shit until I talk to her so make up your mind.”

“What is your obsession with that girl? She’s lied to you, dumped you, refused to take you back…You’re not even being rational. You would choose her over your own child?” Tess asked curious.

“You would never understand. Put her on,” Max demanded.

“Fine. I’m on my way to her now,” Tess said getting up and starting down the hall. Fucking weak bastard. The sharp sounds of her boot heels on the tile floor showed her anger clearly. Between Max and Liz she was seriously getting angry. Walking into Liz’s cell she spoke and held out the phone. “Liz, Max wants to talk with you.”

Liz took it, careful not to jar the baby. “Max?”

“Yeah, it’s me. Are you okay?” Max asked and strained to hear everything even the slightest infliction of her voice.

“I’m okay…I need a shower but otherwise fine. I’m holding Alex’s son,” Liz said eyeing Tess. She wasn’t being honest. She felt horrible but refused to give Tess the satisfaction of saying so.

“What? Alex’s son?” Max asked so the others would have some idea what was happening.

“Yes. Long story ask doctor Frankenstein when she comes back on,” Liz replied. “I guess we really need some boy names huh? What does Isabel like?” Liz asked hoping Isabel would dreamwalk her again so they could talk.

“I’ll ask her and get back to you,” Max said hoping she would understand that Isabel would try to contact her. “How’s our son?”

“He’s…a fighter. I’m sorry Max,” Liz said feeling guilty for not having enough to give. If she had just eaten more or gotten more rest. If she had left sooner or done something differently.

“He gets the fighting part from you I think. He’s tough and smart like his mom. Just get some rest okay? I’ll be there soon,” Max said trying to avoid the tears he could hear in her voice. He hated it that he wasn’t there beside her.

“Okay. Here’s Dr. Death,” Liz said as Tess held out her hand for the phone. She handed it over and watched Tess leave.

“Okay, you talked to her. Now talk to me,” Tess said as she walked down the hall.

“YOU talk to me about Alex’s son. What the fuck are you doing?” Max asked the vein on his temple throbbing.

“I’m just giving Liz back a little piece of her best friend. What’s so wrong with that?” Tess asked smiling.

“Fuck off Tess. You couldn’t care less about Alex. I saw the file on him,” Max replied in a dead tone.

“Let’s focus on your son huh?” Tess redirected.

“You don’t care about him either.”

“Oh I care very much about him actually. I will have OUR child,” Tess said loosing her temper. She didn’t have to tolerate this simple bitch trying to jerk her around. When was he going to get it? SHE was in charge. Not him.

“Let me make something crystal clear to you. I will cut off my dick and hand it to you before I ever touch you in a sexual way again in this life or any other,” Max exploded. She was fucking out of her mind if she thought differently.

“Nice visual Max. You seemed to enjoy the last time well enough,” Tess taunted.

“Really? You didn’t even rate a replay. Tell me something….What did Kivar think? He sent you back awfully fast,” Max asked seething with hatred.

Tess sucked in her breath actually feeling lightheaded as the rage welled up inside her. “Fuck you Max.”

“How many times do I have to say no? You better pray that nothing happens to my son or Liz. If any accident or act of god befalls them you’re the one who’s fucked. I don’t think Kivar likes to be screwed over. You won’t have anyone to run to and no where to hide. I better find all of them…and by them I mean Liz, Dane, and both boys..mine and Alex’s in perfect health. That pod is your only slim chance at even touching a child of mine. This plan….it was your one shot,” Max said ignoring the shocked looks on the others faces.

“Nice speech. Very scary but I know you, Max. You’ll present yourself to me for Liz alone. I have no intention of harming her. I still need her as a back up. I don’t care who gives birth to your child….it will be mine in the end. So I have no need to fuck you again. I accomplished everything I needed the first time around. I may not understand what you see in Liz’s scrawny ass but I don’t need to. I doubt you’ll turn down the excuse to lay her,” Tess said thoughtfully. A smirk chased the frown from her face.

“Are you completely out of your fucking mind?” Max asked stunned. “I would never do that to Liz. She isn’t interested and unlike you I can take no for an answer. I’m not doing shit to mess up what I can salvage with Liz. We’re getting along and that is enough.”

“How sweet. I almost believe you,” Tess mocked.

“Believe it. I know you don’t understand the concept of someone else coming before your own needs but Liz comes first. What she wants and needs is first with me so listen carefully. There are no other chances for you. This is it. If anything happens that harms Liz in any way I have no problem making it my new mission in this life to hunt you down and kill you. That will be the only thing I live for. Understand? So take very good care of her until I arrive,” Max said wanting things perfectly clear. Tess didn’t seem to understand anything unless you hammered her over the head with it. The plan depended on this conversation. Liz needed to be as safe as possible until he could get there.

Tess worked all the angles in her head quickly before responding. “I’ll treat her like a princess. In the end she’ll be safe and sound. Now let’s get down to business.”

posted on 20-Feb-2003 10:05:40 AM
Chapter Fifty Seven
**The song lyrics in this part are from “If You Can’t Say No” by Lenny Kravitz**

Liz lay waiting for sleep to come. As bone wary as she felt her mind just wouldn’t slow down enough to allow her to rest. Her thoughts wandered from her daughter so far away to Max then flitted to this prison and all that it held inside these walls.

She was so afraid. She didn’t think she had ever felt fear like this before. It wasn’t fear of dying or really even physical pain. It was more then that. So much was resting on her shoulders and she had never felt less able to handle the weight. Everyone was counting on her to be strong and she had never felt this weak. The cost of failure here was just enormous.

It didn’t seem to matter how much she slept she was still exhausted. It wasn’t just physical it went deeper then that. She tried not to think about it by focusing outward, if she let her thoughts drift inward she felt crippled with depression and fear of failing. This whole year felt like one failure after another with the price going higher and higher with each one. She couldn’t break now. Not yet.

She had started out knowing she was solely responsible for the life of her son. It had seemed simple at the time. She couldn’t just not, at least try, to save him. That just wasn’t an option for her. She hadn’t looked past that seemingly simple thing. Now here she was responsible for three other lives not including anyone outside of this place. Dane…he may be an adult but the short explanation she had given him in no way prepared him for this. He really didn’t…couldn’t understand the situation they were in. No matter what anyone said it was her fault he was here. It had been unforgivably stupid and irresponsible of her to think that she could live a normal life full of normal friends. There was also Alex’s son.

God…Alex’s son. Her feelings were all over the place when she thought about him. He was adorable he truly was. Liz refused to think of him as coming from Lonnie. When she looked at him she saw Isabel’s features mixed with Alex’s. Lonnie was shrewd, sly, and had a hardness to her features that Isabel didn’t. There was no sense of genuine caring or vulnerability in Lonnie at all. It didn’t seem possible that she could produce such a sweet baby. He seemed to just soak up attention and responded with smiles and loud gurgles. It had broken her heart when the nurse came to take him. She couldn’t let anything happen to him. She had failed Alex the least she could do was look out for his son. But how? How was she going to protect him when she was failing at everything? She couldn’t keep her own son safe or anyone else for that matter.

Liz sighed and rolled onto her side her eyes searching out her own son. Tears filled her eyes as she looked at his small form. What she had given wasn’t enough. She could feel him slipping away. She rested the tips of her fingers against the clear membrane separating them and tried to make sure he felt her presence. She wasn’t leaving him alone. She had sworn she wouldn’t leave him. She would stay the course till the very end and give him what comfort she could. Liz buried her pain and fear to focus on the flutter of life under her fingertips. Gradually she relaxed and slowly slipped into sleep fingers still reaching for her son.

Isabel found her immediately and was relieved to see no steel table or any trappings of the terror of that wretched video. They were in a completely white space no doors or windows…no texture at all. Liz sat in the middle of the floor waiting. Isabel went to sit beside her and waited for her to speak. She was afraid to upset her so she let Liz lead them through this conversation. She couldn’t afford to have Liz waking up before they got through everything.

Liz glanced over at the girl next to her. “Hey, how’s it going on the outside?” She wanted to save Alex’s son for the last topic discussed not sure how Isabel would react.

“We’re all okay. Maria’s with the parents so she’s probably taking the biggest beating. She calls Michael all the time to let off steam. Kyle’s in Roswell with his dad. Cal’s been helping and we have the beginnings of a really solid plan but it’s going to be a couple of days till we can pull it together. Can you wait that long?” Isabel asked gnawing on her lower lip. She hated having to ask her this.

Liz looked down at her hands then looked at Isabel. “What about our son? I don’t know if he’ll make it that long.”

“Cal said there is nothing Max can do until he’s out of the pod and Max can connect to him. He told me to tell you to look for color changes in the fluid. If it starts to turn yellow break through the membrane and remove him right away. We’re very close so Max will come,” Isabel paused debating in her mind what to say. “Look..We’re going with what Cal is advising to a point. Max is drawing the line at two more days, if he isn’t out of the pod in two days Max is coming anyway. We just don’t want Max to be there before we’re ready to come in. Right now we have some leverage but we loose all that when Tess has all of you. We all argued for hours over what to do and this is the safest plan we could come up with,” Isabel explained not mentioning how brutal the argument had actually been. There were a lot of factors that had gone into the timetable. There were more people now spread out over more of the building. A pod would be too awkward to try to safely rescue. It wasn’t one child now but two and they weren’t likely to be in one location. Tess wouldn’t be that stupid. They were still working on the book also. Cal swore that the book showed the true power of the Four Square and they needed that if they hoped to defeat Tess and the Skins decisively. They weren’t likely to get a second chance so they had to make this one count.

Liz sat quietly then nodded. “Okay. Umm I told Dane the basics of the situation and he seems okay. He’s in the cell across from me so I can see what’s going on with him. So far so good, Tess isn’t really interested in him past controlling me so we’re okay there. I’ve been very careful not to display or talk about my powers past changing the color of a couple of things. I’ve been very non-aggressive just taking swipes at Tess in our conversations so she should be feeling pretty in control. I’m still little Lizzie to her so that’s good,” Liz said to sort of give her an idea of what was happening. She had to trust in their plan. She had to trust that Max would be able to make it in time if she needed him to. There was very little she could do but hang on and wait. Why make them feel worse by telling Isabel that she didn’t know if she could handle it much longer? They needed to do this right so no one else died, that meant they all had to do their part.

“Can you tell me about…Alex?” Isabel asked hesitantly. She wanted so much to ask all her questions about him but was trying to be careful and not upset Liz even more. She knew this entire situation was a nightmare for Liz and had no desire to make it worse so she curbed her need to know everything right now.

“Tess took samples from Alex to get this pod to work. She used the captured hybrids, Alex, and Jennifer Coleman as guinea pigs for her experiments. She used Alex’s sperm to impregnate Lonnie in one of the earlier rounds of experiments and the twins survived the pods. She killed the child from Rath and Jennifer after she was satisfied the experiment worked but kept Lonnie and Alex’s twins. I’m guessing to hold over all of us if she needed to. Lonnie killed one of the twins,” Liz recited what she knew. She stopped and turned to face Isabel. “He’s gorgeous Isabel. He really is but we need to think about what we’re going to do. He has had only a nurse taking care of his basic needs like food and stuff like that. He has no name and no one plays with him or gives him any attention or love. He’s about four months old and so sweet. We need to do right for him. He needs a real home and a family. If what I felt from my son is any indication he knows what’s happened around him. He just…clung to me like I was the first person to care about him. So we need to make sure we provide him with the best home we can,” Liz paused before continuing. “He looks so much like you that there’s no way we can pass him off in Roswell as just anyone’s child. He has your eyes and…I can already tell he’s going to look a lot like you so…we need to consider that.”

Isabel took a deep breath and held it for a second before nodding. “Okay…does he…look like Alex at all?”

Liz smiled and nodded. “A little. He has Alex’s hair so far and the smile for sure. He’s so good. He only cried when the nurse took him back so…he’s a little sweet heart.”

Isabel blinked away tears and nodded. “What do think about Javen? Would Alex like that name? Maybe Javen Alastair? Alastair is another name for Alexander. Or what about Rhys?”

Liz smiled. “Trying to work around Alex’s ‘I wouldn’t curse a kid with my geeky name’ thing?”

Isabel grinned back and nodded. “Yeah. I never understood that. Alex is great name. Alastair is a little….much but…”

“I like it. Javen is great,” Liz started giggling softly.

“What?” Isabel asked a half smile playing over her face.

“I was just…Alex loved those C. S. Lewis books. You know, The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe series? He used to want to name his kid after the lion..Aslan. So the name Alastair isn’t any stranger then that,” Liz said then amended that statement slightly. “Well he said his kid or a dog whatever he ended up with and we were like in sixth grade so..he probably changed his mind.”

They both sat in silence for a minute remembering Alex before Liz spoke. “Why don’t we start with Javen and we can decide the rest later?”

“Sounds good,” Isabel agreed softly. She really wanted to meet this child. She wanted to give him all the love she had been so afraid to give Alex in the beginning but more then that she wanted what was best for him. She would talk to the others and see what the parents thought and they’d go from there. Alex’s son did deserve the best home they could provide. One that was safe and full of love.

Liz woke up feeling worse then before but she ignored it. Max was coming for them. She didn’t doubt that, all she had to do was hang on. As the day crept by Liz started going stir crazy. When lunch came she asked the guard for her backpack that they had taken from her. At least she could listen to some music. She was going to torment Tess in the only way that was currently an option. She loaded up her first choice and sat on the bed.

“Okay, I’m thinking we could all use a song or two to relieve some boredom,” Liz rattled off. She decided to hit hard with the first song. “Ohh here’s a good song. … very fitting.”

People get around
This is a part for you
If you come undone
Then this is what you do
If you can’t say no just think about
If you can’t say no just think about
If you can’t say no just think about me

Liz sang along with the song wishing she could see Tess. She had planned this out when she picked her choice of CDs. This was the only avenue currently open to relieve her hostility. Tess needed to be as off balance as possible.

I know that you are in love with me
But I also know your kind
Baby you got a lot of nerve
So just try to keep me in mind
If you can’t say no just think about
If you can’t say no just think about
If you can’t say no just think about me

Liz eyed the camera in the corner of the cell as she finished singing along with the first song. She knew that Tess was aware of what Max had been thinking that night in the observatory, and while she didn’t like it, she would use it to piss Tess off.

Tess glared at the screen her face flushing with rage. That bitch. She couldn’t wait until this was at an end. That bitch would get hers. Tess imagined all the ways she could kill Liz Parker and make it the most painful and the most satisfying. Two years she had been dreaming of the moment when Liz was staring up at her with those damn eyes of hers knowing that she was about to die. It was her favorite fantasy.

Liz continued with her song marathon. She sang Zombie by The Cranberries, Undertow by Ivy, It’s No Good by Depeche Mode, Bang and Blame by REM…at which point Tess burst in.

“Shut up Liz,” Tess warned seething with rage.

“Oh I’m sorry. Am I bothering you?” Liz asked sweetly.

“Is there some sort of point you’re trying to make here?” Tess asked trying to control her temper. God she wanted to just kill her.

“I’m just having fun. Trying to pass some time,” Liz replied. “They say music is soothing. What do you think?”

Tess stormed back out without a word.

Liz smiled and looked at her son. “I was soothed. What about you? Yeah, I don’t like her either.”

Maria was seriously going insane. Never again was she going to stay behind with the parents. Her own mother drove her crazy on a good day and now she was staying with a whole house full. At least there was a pool. So far no one had followed her under water.

“Maria!” Amy DeLuca yelled from the French doors of the house.

Crap. Maria swam to the edge