posted on 12-May-2002 11:57:24 PM by Cookie2697
Title: Hope Alone
Author: AnneB/Cookie2697
E-mail: dreambehr⊕yahoo.com
Rating: PG-13 to eventual NC-17

Summary: Based on false spoilers for the Season 3 finale, so post 4 Aliens and a Baby. What would happen if Max and Liz attempted to change the past as Future Max did? What if it went horribly wrong, and the world as they know it ceased to exist? My take on the false spoilers and one of a million ways as to how I could see them resolving it. There's no actual spoilers involved...I was completely unspoiled when I started to write this.

Disclaimer: They’re not mine. The characters of Roswell belong to just about everyone other than me including Fox, Regency, Melinda Metz, Jason Katims, and everyone else who I can preciously thank for bringing this show into my life.

Special thanks to Stacey (aka the other Cookie *happy* ) for all of her amazing help with brainstorming, and beta reading this one for me…I couldn’t have done it without all your amazing suggestions! You rock!

Chapter 1

The sound of gunfire erupted through the air behind them and Max quickly tackled Liz to the ground, covering her with his body in an attempt to protect her from the flying bullets. Lying flat against the earth, they held onto each other for dear life, waiting for the gunfire to subside. The world was filled with the sharp sound of bullets ricocheting off rock, before finally the chaos silenced.

"Cease fire!" The order echoed up at them from down below, and Max breathed a sight of relief.

His heart was pounding hard in his chest with fear, as he rolled off to the side. Glancing into Liz’s eyes, Max checked to see that she was okay while they had this short break in the madness that had filled their lives for the past few days.

Liz stared back at him, her own eyes wild, before gasping out, "Max, we can't stay here...we need to keep moving. We have to get to the cave. They can’t get to us there."

Max nodded quickly in agreement, rolling behind a rock for shelter and safety, Liz following him from close behind. Quickly, he pulled her behind him, desperate to protect her, as he peeked over the back of the rock, surveying the land below.

The Chevelle was blocked in at the base of the rocks by four hummers, a dozen soldiers ducking behind their machine guns from the back of the vehicles. Max’s eyes lingered for a moment on the dent in the hood of his car, and the broken windshield, belaying the danger that he and Liz had been in just moments before as they abandoned the car and rushed up the hillside on foot.

They had gained some distance from the air force’s soldiers, but time was beginning to run out.

Searching out the entrance to the cave Max determined that they were much closer to their destination than their enemies below. Breathing a sigh of relief, he knew that they still had a fighting chance…assuming they took them by surprise. They had one strong advantage over the men below. The soldiers didn’t know about the cave.

"Give yourself up you alien scum." Major Carlson shouted from down below. "Just let the girl go. We have you surrounded. You don't stand a chance."

"Yeah, that's what they think." Max growled, turning to Liz. "We're going to have to risk it. At the count of three break for the cave.”

“Give yourselves up!”

“One...."

"This is your last chance!"

"Two..."

"Come down or we will bring you down ourselves, using any means necessary!"

"Three..."

Max and Liz broke in unison, sprinting up the steep, rocky terrain at top speed, the pod chamber entrance coming closer to within their reach.

"Sir!" Another soldier exclaimed. "They're on the move!"

"After them!" Carlson ordered, as the soldiers rushed out from behind their vehicles, chasing Max and Liz up the cliff.

The couple was determined though, and unlike the soldiers they were on familiar terrain. Where the soldiers slipped and struggled to find the proper footing, Max and Liz were swift and sure-footed. Another round of shots rang out through the hot, murky desert air just as Max and Liz reached the safe haven of the pod chamber.

“Ahhhh!” Liz cried out in pain, clutching her arm in agony, right as Max pressed against the silver hand print in the rock face. The cave couldn’t open quickly enough, before they slipped through the narrow crack into the darkness within.

Max slammed his hand against the hand print, willing the cave to shut quickly, as the soldiers’ steps grew increasingly closer.

“Come on, come on…” Max groaned impatiently at the slowly shifting rock. Finally it shut, sealing them in from the danger that lurked outside.

Max fell to his knees on the cool, dusty floor, exhausted. Liz crouched nearby, desperately trying to catch her breath, and Max quickly turned to her, his attention to his own well being wavering as he spied the slowly spreading red stain on Liz’s sleeve.

“You’re hurt!” He cried in anguish, moving to take her in his arms. “Let me help you!”

“No Max…there’s no point. I won’t even be here in a few minutes.” Liz argued, her voice belaying the pain that was obviously overwhelming her, as tears filled her eyes. She quickly turned her body to hide the injury from him. “You have to save your energy. Using the granolith is going to take every ounce you can give.”

Max nodded silently, accepting her words as truth, as hard as it was for him to see her hurt. “At least let me see it.” He pleaded with her.

Hesitating for a moment, Liz nodded, pulling her hand away from the angry, open wound, and leaning towards him. The blood was soaking brightly through her shirt where the bullet had skimmed her arm after ricocheting off of the rocks, an angry red that made Max cringe at the sight of it tainting his only love’s form.

“Let me wrap it for you since I can’t heal it.” Max insisted, reaching down and tearing a strip of fabric away from his T-shirt. He turned his focus on the wound, making sure the bandage was tightly wound around her injured flesh, before leaning away and gazing deep into her eyes. “There…it’s the least I could do.” He murmured, pulling her to his body in a protective, loving embrace.

“Promise me that you’ll call for help as soon as I’m gone. They want me, not you. You should be able to get away safely.” Max begged, burying his face in her neck. “They can’t get into the cave without an alien." He breathed against her hair, his quick, uneven breaths sending the dust matting her hair flying into the air. "God, Liz...I'm so sorry. I didn't expect them to be waiting for us like that."

"Don't apologize to me, Max." Liz insisted softly, placing both hands on the sides of his face and gently stroking her hands up his dirt stained cheeks and into his hair, muddy and wet from the dust and sweat.

He stared down into her loving gaze, still amazed that she could love him the way she did after everything that they had been through. She stood by his side without hesitation…even after he took her to hell and back time and time again.

“Why…” He started to ask her in wonder, but she hushed him with a gentle finger to his lips.

"This is the end, Max." Liz explained to him calmly, leaning up to kiss his forehead lovingly. "This is all we have left of each other. Don’t doubt us when we’re all we have left. Let's appreciate it while we still can."

Max nodded breathlessly before bringing his lips down to hers, kissing her gently. There was nothing rushed about their kiss...it was slow, loaded down with desire and passion, as Max cherished what he knew could potentially be his last moments with his Liz. Liz, who for as long as he could remember had been the one true love of his life.

Liz who he was about to abandon in this cave to face the soldiers alone.

"We can find another way." He insisted desperately, pulling away, and staring down at her hopefully. "We'll find a way that you can come too...that we could do this together. We're always better together, Liz. You make me strong. Please..."

"Max...there's no time." Liz reminded him sadly. "The air force is outside waiting for us. They'll kill us if we leave. This is the end. As much as I wish that I could go with you...you have to do this alone, Max. You have to fix things. You have to do it right this time."

"I'll never see you again." Max cried in agony, as reality came crushing down on him.

Liz shook her head in denial. "No, Max. I'll never see you again. You'll go into the granolith, and you'll leave this place forever, but I'll still be here. You, though, you'll go somewhere else. Another place, another time, and I'll be there waiting for you, just like I was when you came to me last October. And I’ll love you there just as much as I love you here."

Max nodded. "It won't be the same though."

"No, it won't." Liz agreed. "It'll never be the same, Max, but it could be better, and that's why we need to do this.” She reminded him passionately.

“You will always remember how everything went to hell in this world, and you'll be able to prevent it there. You have to do that Max. We can't let it end like this. We can't let the world fall apart this time. You have a greater purpose here, Max. You have the power to make things right."

Max nodded in determination, Liz's words lending him the strength he needed to push himself to a stand. Turning, his gaze locked on where the granolith waited before him, it’s energy swirling and glowing like a beacon, calling him to do what he knew he had to, as difficult and heartbreaking as it was going to be.

Turning quickly back to Liz, he pulled her into his embrace once more, kissing her more desperately this time, drinking her in like his last dying breath. He wanted to remember this moment, regardless of what his final fate would be. He needed to remember the feel of her arms around him, the smell of her hair, the touch of her skin, the taste of her lips…anything that would help him remember her, remember why he was doing this, who he was doing it for.

"I love you, Liz." Pulling away slightly, Max leaned his forehead against hers, gazing deep into her beautiful eyes, as he gently murmured his vow to her. "Never doubt that. I will always love you, no matter where I go or what I do."

"I love you too, Max. I could never do anything else." Liz swore to him. "Wherever you end up, whatever you see...always remember that. Regardless of what I may say to you, regardless of what happens. I, Liz Parker, will always love you."

Max nodded, letting her words sink into his mind, just as she whispered one last time to him, "Go Max...do it."

Max nodded, slipping out of her embrace, but unable to release her hands. Taking a few short steps backward, Max never let his gaze waver from her eyes, knowing that he was drinking in his last precious sight of her. Finally he forced himself to relinquish himself from her final touch, dropping her hand as he reached into his pocket and pulled out the long, thin quartz crystal that was the key to all of the granolith's power.

"Goodbye Liz." He murmured one last time to her, before turning his back on her and pushing the crystal into the granolith's shimmering surface. It slowly dissolved into the energy, as Max pressed his hand against the smooth, warm surface, feeling the energy humming beneath his touch. A moment of concentration, and he was sucked into the cone, his body just another part of the shimmering energy.

The last thing he saw was Liz's loving eyes, watching him in fear, before the light brightened around him to a blinding whiteness. Screaming in agony, Max tried to shield his eyes to no avail, as the world seemed to drop away around him into nothingness.

TBC....




[ edited 39time(s), last at 12-Feb-2003 1:57:42 AM ]
posted on 14-May-2002 11:12:01 AM by Cookie2697
Hey guys!

Thanks for the awesome feedback! I'm so glad to hear that you're already enjoying!

I've heard one or two people say that they don't know the false spoilers that I'm referring to, so I figured I'd give you guys a heads up.

Basically the false spoilers that I heard were that the gang's life would be basically destroyed by the army, and M/L would use the granolith to try to go back and stop it from happening...except that it went wrong, and Max got caught in a timeloop, reliving the shooting over and over again. When he finally falls OUT of the timeloop, he's in a totally new world where the shooting never happened.

Basically, I took that idea, and created this massive story of how to FIX that new world, get M/L back together in a way that totally doesn't involve the shooting. So yeah, this one is going to be a long one! LOL!

So here's chapter two...it'll probably be a little bit before chapter 3 comes...I need to write a bit. Unfortunately with the weight of finals and whatnot I haven't had the time I've wanted to write this week so far, so updates might be slow until my finals end. We'll see how it goes though!

*hugs*
-Anne *happy*


Chapter 2

The world faded in and out, the brightest light turning into haunting darkness, and back to light. Light, dark…it didn’t matter. Either way it was blinding, and Max could no longer tell what was real. Was he alive? Was he dead? Was it supposed to be like this or did something go horribly wrong?

Somewhere in the midst of all the chaos, he lost all sense of time, all sense of reality as his past memories began to resurface, claiming his attention as floated in and out of consciousness, between the light and the dark.

“I know what it's like to be with you, and I know what it's like to be apart from you. And I would rather be with you.”

Liz’s voice called out to him from the past, pulling him out of the confusion that had overwhelmed him, reminding him why he was here, why he was stuck in this state of timelessness. Her voice was sweet, comforting, like a beacon, and he reached out to it with his mind, clinging to it, thriving in it, even as her voice grew tense, angry to his own ears.

“I-I trusted you, I gave you everything. I jumped off bridges for you, I broke laws for you, I risked getting shot for you, I trusted you!”

The light dimmed, and suddenly Liz’s face flashed before his eyes, angry, hurt mistrustful eyes, staring accusingly directly into his soul. Crying out loud in agony, Max could hear his own voice echoing through the emptiness that surrounded him.

“You know what your problem is?” Liz cried back to him, her calling to him through time. “You put everything on yourself...on your own shoulders. Maybe you should have some faith in the people around you!”

The past mixed with the present, while memories long forgotten seemed to come crawling back to him, each one growing more real than the previous. Memories that all had one thing in common…always Liz, always supporting him, loving him, even through all the pain he caused her. All the pain that he needed to fix.

“Max, you saved my life…It's what started all of this. People suspecting you. If anything happened to you...or Michael or Isabel, I just...I couldn't live with that.”

Closing his eyes, Max desperately tried to block out the images in front of his mind to no avail, as in his mind’s eye, Liz lay bleeding on the floor of the Crashdown. He rushed towards her, only to have another memory quickly replace it.

“I just wish that I could have stopped you from saving my life that day in the Crashdown.”

The world seemed to fly backwards again as he found himself rushing towards her still body again, ripping her dress open before firmly, without an instant of hesitation, he pressed his hand oven the wound, focusing on saving the one person who ever made him complete.

It all came rushing back to Max as the world flashed away again, why he was in this whole mess. Why he was lost somewhere in time, stuck between his dreams of the past and the reality of the present.

Liz had wanted him to do something, anything, to make things right again. He had to go back to the shooting…he had to fix his mistakes before the world went to hell again.

“Just always be my friend. Will you do that, Max?”

Gasping for strength, Max desperately tried to regain control, forming an image of the Crashdown that day in his mind, Liz lying on the floor bleeding, even as it brought tears stinging to his eyes. It was a long shot, and risky that he could control the granolith’s power in such a manner, but he had to try.

Squeezing his eyes shut, he cried her name out loud in agony, his energy building within him. His voice echoed back to him, sounding disturbingly similar to Maria’s voice, even as Max’s eyes flew open in shock.

The familiar images of the restaurant surrounded him, and Max was instantly shocked. He couldn’t possibly believe that his effort worked, as he stared around him in confusion. Chaos filled the restaurant, most people hidden under tables, some running for the doors.

There was the sound of sirens filling the air, and suddenly Max’s head cleared as he realized exactly when he was. Standing, Max stared in disbelief at the sight before his eyes.

Less than ten feet away, Liz lay covered with blood, Maria leaning over her, her painful sobs the only noise in the room to Max, as the paramedics rushed past him, and pulled her to the side.

Michael was tugging at Max’s shoulder, and Max dimly realized that he was demanding Max’s attention, but he could do nothing but watch as his whole world fell apart, and the paramedics declared Elizabeth Parker dead of a bullet wound to the chest.

He was too late.

The realization surged up within him like a cold hand clenching around his heart, and he quickly panicked, ceasing to even breathe as he watched them cover her still body from his sight.

Shaking his head in denial, Max turned, pushing past Michael and running out of the Crashdown, falling to his knees on the sidewalk outside, as he angrily wiped the tears from his eyes.

Right then, the world went black again…darkness, fading to blinding light, and back to the empty darkness before as quickly as Max could blink he was back in the Crashdown.

Shaking his head, Max tried to fight the dizziness that was threatening to take hold, his head aching from crying. Desperately he studied his surroundings, and blinked as he refocused in the new world, desperately trying to forget the pain of loosing Liz.

There was no time to stop and form a plan. The gunmen were already arguing, and Maria was screaming Liz’s name in fear.

The world seemed to fade into slow motion, as Max leapt to his feet and flung himself in front of Liz’s body. The loud crack of the gunshot rang through the diner, and almost instantly Max cried out Liz’s name in agony, as the bullet pierced his skin, before he hit the floor at Liz’s feet.

She was over him without a second thought, bending down and staring into his eyes in anxious fear.

“Oh my God…Max!” Liz’s voice echoed through his ears as he felt her hands pressing down on his wound. The pain was overwhelming, but he ignored it. It couldn’t even compare to the pain of losing Liz…at least this way she could still live. She was growing blurry before his eyes, and he fought to keep them open, to savor these last moments with her.

“Oh my God…Liz…” Maria gasped from his other side, as she stared over him at his love.

“He…he jumped in front of me.” Liz cried, tears falling from her eyes to his blood stained shirt. “I would have been shot…but Max took the bullet for me.”

“Liz.” Max croaked, staring up at her, and reaching one heavy hand towards her.

“I’m here, Max.” Liz called to him, taking his hand and squeezing it. “Maria called an ambulance…they’ll be here in a few minutes. You’re going to be okay Max.”

“Doesn’t…matter.” Max weakly replied, clinging to her hand with his last aching strength. “I…love you, Liz.” He moaned out. “Always…love you.”

The shock in her eyes was the last thing that registered for Max before the world went dark.

It felt like a mere blink to him, and suddenly there was only an echo of the pain left, as he opened his eyes and found himself sitting in the booth at the Crashdown once again.

Liz stood in the back by the coffee machine, laughing with Maria, her eyes lit up happily, so full of life. She was completely oblivious to the fact that in a matter of moments her whole life would change permanently.

She was amazing…his whole world. He had already died for her once, and he wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. Although this time he needed to find a more realistic method of making things right than losing his own life. Summoning his courage in determination, Max pushed himself to a stand, sliding out of the booth, while Michael stared at him curiously.

“Max, where are you going?” He asked suspiciously.

“Uh, just to the bathroom.” Max called back, even as he headed towards Liz with determined strides.

At the sight of him approaching, Maria smirked at Liz, and headed across the room with her coffee pot, and for a split second Max was curious what exactly they had been talking about moments before the shooting.

He only lingered on the thought for a moment before his destination stood before him.

“Hey Liz, could I talk to you in back for a moment?” He asked her, his voice insistent.

“Sure Max.” Liz replied easily, just as Max took her by the arm and gently steered her through the double doors. “What’s up?” She asked confused, and Max knew his actions were probably a surprise to her. He spent hours on end in the Crashdown, yet never spoke to her.

Taking a deep breath, Max decided to bare his whole soul. He needed to have some reason to approach her, he may as well go the whole way.

“I was just wondering, if you’re not busy that is, if you would want to go out to dinner, with me, tonight.”

“Go out with you?” Liz repeated, staring at him in disbelief. “What, like on a date?”

“Yeah.” Max confirmed with a shy smile.

“Max…I’m with Kyle.” Liz replied in an monotonous voice that belied her skepticism.

“I know…but I guess I was just wondering if I stood a chance.”

Max was cut off as the bullet he was waiting for rang out through the air.

“Oh my God!” Liz cried suddenly, Max’s question forgotten. “Was that a gunshot?”

Max moved first, rushing through the double doors just as the gunmen rushed through the front doors and out to the street. Most of the people in the room were cowering under their tables...just as Max had remembered it over the years.

But what was different this time was the scene on the ground a few feet before him.

Max was just frozen in shock, staring down at the figure clutching his stomach in pain, the blood spurting from his wound into the towel held over his stomach by Maria Deluca.

"Michael..." Max whispered in fear, right as the paramedics came rushing through the door.

The world spun out of control around him, while Max's mind was filled with an array of wild, dizzying thoughts. Michael was shot...his best friend dying, and he was too busy distracting himself with Liz to care for his friend.

Michael was being taken to the hospital, where they would study him and learn everything. The secret would come out...they would all be exposed.

All because Max was too busy worrying about Liz to watch out for his friend.

He had never considered that anyone other than he and Liz could possibly have taken the bullet, but this…this would make the world ten times worse.

"No." Max whispered in agony, rushing at where his friend lay surrounded by paramedics. "NO!" He screamed louder. "You can't take him."

One of the paramedics was suddenly in his face, pushing him back so suddenly, that Max slipped, falling backwards, his eyes focusing on the florescent lights in the ceiling, which brightened blindingly, pulling him away from the world he managed to destroy.

Max felt like he was flying, falling, spinning in and out of consciousness, in the space between the worlds, the timelines, consumed by the granolith's energy.

Between the darkness and the light, Max found himself pulled back into the world, into the moment where everything had changed.

Always the gun went off, always someone got shot. Sometimes it was him, sometimes Michael, sometimes other random customers in the Crashdown. The times that were the worst were always the worlds where Liz got shot, and Max had failed to prevent it.

Sometimes he healed her, sometimes he let her die, and those worlds haunted him as he flew through the time planes. Sometimes Max attacked the gunmen before the gun was revealed, tackling them to the ground and knocking him out...and when that happened Max usually found himself in jail before the world faded away.

All he knew was that in all of the worlds he experienced, he screwed up yet again. He made things worse, and destroyed another universe.

Until in a manner totally mirroring all of the others, he was tossed back out, falling face first onto his knees, right in front of the Crashdown's double doors.

Max groaned in pain as he pushed himself up, and found Michael staring at him in amusement.

“Have a nice fall, Maxwell?” His best friend mocked him jokingly, before offering him a hand.

“Yeah, laugh it up.” Max growled, accepting Michael’s help in pulling him to his feet before they headed side by side into the Crashdown. His eyes immediately sought out Liz, taking someone’s order in the back of the room. He smiled softly at the sight of her, before sitting down in the booth across from Michael, and checking the room satisfied in the knowledge that the gunmen were not there.

“What’s the date?” Max asked in a distracted voice, his eyes magnetically pulled back to Liz, as she crossed the room to the order window.

“What?” Michael groaned. “God, you must have injured yourself out there when you fell. It’s still September 19th, Maxwell. Just like it has been all day.”

That pulled Max’s attention away from Liz.

“September 19th?” Max repeated with a sigh. The day of the shooting. “You know what? I’m suddenly not hungry.” Max announced abruptly, standing and heading towards the front doors. “I’ll see you later, Michael?”

“Whatever Maxwell.” Michael groaned after him, just as Liz approached their table to take their order.

Max glanced back at Michael to make sure he wasn’t watching, and mentally thanked Liz for distracting him, as he stood before the metal doors, and slid his hand across the lock, shutting it, before focusing and melting the lock shut. Satisfied in his work, he pushed on the door hard, and it rattled loudly, but did not open.

“Uh, the doors won’t open!” Max announced in a fake hesitant voice.

“What!” Liz exclaimed looking up from where she stood by Michael’s table.

“I don’t know…they won’t open. Maybe you should call a locksmith?” He suggested.

Liz crossed the room to him and rattled the door for a moment before sighing. “Yeah, you’re right. I should probably call my dad. I guess we’re going to be closed for a while.”

Max glanced up and his eyes met those of the first of the two gunmen, slowly approaching from the street outside. His eyes burned hatefully into those of the man who was at least half responsible for the destruction of Liz’s life in the future. He was the catalyst of everything that went wrong, and then he, Max Evans, was responsible for the rest. He had made Liz’s life hell…which was exactly why he was trying to fix it.

The sun behind the gunman’s head suddenly caught Max’s eye, blinding him, as the light consumed him again and the world flashed in and out, memories of the past and dreams of the future flashing through Max’s eyes, all from worlds where Liz was safe and happy.

Max cried out, shielding his eyes from the light, as suddenly he felt himself flying forward, before hitting the cold stone ground. Blinking, Max weakly raised his head, barely recognizing through his blurry vision that he was back in the cave, before passing out cold.

TBC...



posted on 16-May-2002 9:00:20 PM by Cookie2697
Hey everyone *happy*

Well...I still haven't been able to actually WRITE, but I decided to post another chapter for you anyway *happy* I hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think!

-Anne, who is still sappy from Tuesday night...

PS - LINDA, don't kill me for the ending! LOL!


Chapter 3

The first thing that Max became aware of as he slowly slipped back into consciousness was the hardness of the rock beneath his face. He felt plastered to it, glued down, heavy, as he slowly struggled to blink his eyes open. His whole body tremored as a shiver brushed through him, the cold air in the cave bringing a new awareness to his weakened state.

It seemed like an eternity before he was finally able to raise his eyelids a crack and take in his surroundings. The cave was just as he left it, the granolith dimly lighting the room with an unearthly glow. The cave door remained shut, locking him away from the air force’s men. The cave was still his safe haven.

Except for one difference. The only difference that gave Max the renewed strength to push himself up to a quick stand, and turn around in a wild circle, studying every corner of the cave frantically.

Liz was gone.

Slowly, almost subconsciously as a cold fear clenched his heart, Max turned, his eyes locking on the cave door, before he weakly stumbled towards it.

His own safety be damned…if they had Liz he needed to do something about it.

As he reached the far wall that held the entrance, Max fell against the rocky surface, gasping for breath, as he pressed his hand over the silver hand print shining out against the otherwise dull, gray stone. The door rumbled open, and Max braced himself for the onslaught of gunfire, before rushing out into the cool, desert night air.

The gunfire never came.

Instead Max found himself standing alone in the middle of a cool desert night, propping his weak body up against the wall of the rock. The only thing in sight was enough to make Max blink in disbelief. His jeep waited for him on the flat ground below…the same jeep that he had sent over a cliff in a ball of flame right before he almost left the planet.

It was impossible…yet it was right there before his eyes.

Supporting himself against the wall, Max dragged himself slowly down the trail towards the jeep, while his mind desperately rushed through the possibilities before him.

How much time had passed since he had run into the cave with Liz? Or how much time didn’t pass? Was he in the past, the present, or could this be the future? Did he change the past? Was this a different world? Or had nothing changed at all? Could the army have taken Liz and left satisfied without him? Max prayed that wasn’t the case, as he slowly gained strength and momentum on his way down the hill, finally climbing into the jeep, and slumping against the wheel in exhaustion.

Max hoped that he had enough strength to make it home.

Unfortunately his body argued with his mind over his desire to find out about Liz. He barely had enough energy to make it back to Michael’s apartment, before letting himself in and falling exhausted to his home on the couch, falling into a deep slumber.

~~~~ ~~~~~

It was hours later when Max awoke on Michael’s couch, yawning and stretching as he fought his sleepy eyes into opening. Michael was standing over him, staring down at him curiously.

“Michael.” Max greeted him shortly, sitting up quickly as the sight of his friend startled him.

“Hey man.” Michael answered, flopping down on the couch beside him. “What are you doing here?”

“Where else would I be?” Max shot back at his friend, slightly irritated at Michael’s flippancy after everything that had happened. The last time he had seen his friend, they were parting ways on the edge of town, Max and Liz heading out towards the granolith chamber, while Michael took Maria, Isabel, Kyle and Jesse back to the UFO Center to hide out from the army. Max had thought that he would never see any of them again.

“Are you okay, Michael?” Max asked his friend in concern. “They didn’t come after you guys, I take it? Oh God, what about Liz! Is Liz okay? God, I left her alone in the cave and she wasn’t there when I woke up!”

“What are you talking about, Maxwell?” Michael gaped. “Liz Parker? What were you doing in a cave with Liz Parker!”

Max stared at Michael in disbelief for a long moment, about to respond, when his friend rushed on, ranting away without even waiting for Max’s explanation.

“Don’t tell me you’re thinking about her again, Max? I thought we covered this a long time ago. She’s got a boyfriend…she’s had one for a long time. It’s about time you stopped pining away over something you can never have. Don’t forget the rules, man. We don’t let anyone in. Ever.”

Max chuckled out loud as Michael finished. “I think we’re long past that phase of our lives, don’t you?”

Michael glared at Max for a long moment. “I don’t know what’s wrong with you, Max, but you’d better snap out of it. Where have you been, anyway? Isabel’s been worried sick about you. You never went home last night, and you’ve been gone all day.”

“I was at the Pod Chamber.” Max answered flippantly, as he leaned down and grabbed his shoes, slipping them on his feet and tying the laces firmly.

“Excuse me?” Michael exploded, his voice so shocked it took Max totally by surprise. “What did you just say?” Michael asked again.

“I was at the Pod Chamber.” Max repeated, studying Michael in concern. “Are you okay, Michael?”

“Am I okay?” Michael sputtered, staring at Max in absolute disbelief. “Max, are you okay? Are you trying to tell me that after nearly ten years of searching you found the pods and didn’t tell me?”

“Didn’t tell you?” Max was absolutely astonished by Michael’s reaction, until the wheels in his head started turning. “But I…oh my God…oh my…” Max stumbled over his words as he started to figure out the reality of his situation.

There was no longer any doubt in his mind. He had jumped to a new world, probably permanently. If he understood Michael correctly, he was in a world where Liz had never been shot, where they had never fallen in love. Liz had someone else in this world, and Max was as alone as he was the day of the shooting, possibly even more so. The question was, what was different…and when was he.

“Maxwell? What’s wrong?” Michael pressed, searching his face in concern.

“Oh God!” Max cried wildly. “I’ve got to go.” Without another word Max jumped up, rushing from the room and down the stairs to the jeep before Michael could argue any further.

~~~~ ~~~~~

The jeep’s tires protested loudly as Max turned the vehicle sharply around the corner and away from Michael’s apartment. Immediately Max pressed lightly on the breaks, slowing his speed as the shrieking tires were like a reality check to him, forcing him to reign in his control. Taking a deep breath, he tried to soothe his racing thoughts.

He needed to come up with a plan. He was obviously in this new world to stay, and it seemed that unless there was something else going on that he didn’t know about, he was the only Max there. He had fixed the world, created a new life for Liz, just as he had wanted to. Now the only problem was that he needed to figure this world out.

Max drove aimlessly for what felt like hours, just in circles around Roswell’s neighborhoods, coming up with a plan to learn all there was to know about his new life. It was late when he found himself turning onto Main Street like a beacon towards the one place in Roswell that always seemed to pull him in. When he saw the red and blue flashing lights in the distance slowly growing bigger, Max sucked in his breath as he steered the jeep closer to Liz.

They may not be connected in this world, but Max knew he would always feel connected to her as he felt her presence calling him closer, almost begging him to find her and make her his in this world as all the others.

Never once in his mind did he anticipate the sight that was waiting for him as he slowly pulled into a parking place across the street from her home, and turned to watch her from a distance.

Liz stood outside, beneath the flashing lights of the Crashdown sign like a vision. She was dressed up for a night out, probably on her way in, and the glowing light reflecting on her figure left her looking angelic.

Max couldn’t remember the last time he saw her look so beautiful…or so completely untouchable.

Her arms were wrapped up around Kyle Valenti’s neck, as she smiled up at him while he softly spoke to her, before leaning down and kissing her softly on the lips. She didn’t hesitate to kiss him back, no matter how much Max mentally coached her to pull away. She met his embrace whole heartedly, while Max’s own heart broke a little more every moment that they remained embraced.

The pain was overwhelming, like a deep stabbing hard in his chest that consumed every ounce of his being. He had thought the pain was terrible the day that he saw Liz in bed with Kyle…but it didn’t even compare to what he felt in that moment that he saw the two of them happy, secure in their relationship in front of the Crashdown…because this was real. The night of the Gomez concert, Max had always known in his heart that Liz loved him, that it was a set up. Now though…Liz probably didn’t even know that he existed anymore.

Watching from her afar as she happily embraced Kyle, it was worse than all of the years of his youth that Max had spent pining away for her…because at least then he could dream, but he didn't know the reality. Now Max had held Liz, had kissed Liz, had fought hard to be with Liz…he had never been so in love with her as he was now.

And now she would never be his.

Max never felt so relieved when she finally pulled away from Kyle, a bounce in her step as she headed through the double doors into the restaurant.

TBC...




posted on 17-May-2002 11:29:26 AM by Cookie2697
quote:
Lana Lane originally wrote:
I laughed out loud when you asked Linda not to kill you, what about the rest of us others out here I'm going into meltdown.



LOL! Of course I appologize for that! Here's the reasoning...you guys didn't see the feedback 'cause it was via e-mail, not on the board, but Linda wanted to kill me for the *last* cliffhanger...lol...which I didn't think was *THAT* bad...I thought this one was *evil* though...he he! So I figured if she wanted to kill me before, she would be on a plane to San Francisco after Liz/Kyle!

All I can say about the cliffhanger for now, is don't worry, please trust me, and I'll try to get 4 out soon for you guys! All your questions shall be answered in time *happy*
posted on 19-May-2002 7:49:54 PM by Cookie2697
What can I say? I'm not evil enough to leave you hanging for TOO long. However I AM running out of pre-written chapters, so it won't be long before updates WILL slow a bit on this one.

Enjoy *happy*


Chapter 4

Liz Parker sighed in contentment as she leaned in closer to her boyfriend of almost three years, Kyle Valenti. His embrace was comfortable, familiar…one of many stabilities that she had grown accustomed to in her life…the stabilities that were about to completely change on her. The thought was absolutely terrifying to her. Liz was nothing if not a control freak. She knew the way she wanted things, and she always fought to keep her life in order.

Kyle was practically the epitome of the control in her life. They had always been a comfortable couple, a sane couple. Liz loved spending time with him. He was cute, warm, loving, funny…he seemed to fill every trait she had ever wanted in a boyfriend.

The only problem was that she couldn’t imagine spending the rest of her life with him.

In two days, Liz would be leaving for four years at Harvard University, nearly three thousand miles away from the University of California in Berkeley where Kyle would be playing football in the fall. Kyle was on a normal school schedule, leaving in August for his school, but Liz had applied for early admission. It had been less than a week since she had graduated from high school, and she was ready to move ahead. Harvard was her lifelong dream, and Liz couldn’t wait to start moving towards her future as a molecular biologist.

Liz loved Kyle…she truly did, but she wasn’t entirely convinced that their relationship would last the distance.

And she had absolutely no idea how to approach the subject with him.

Tonight was their last date before college, and Liz had a wonderful time. She and Kyle had talked all night, all through their fancy dinner at Chez Pierre, to their evening stargazing out in the desert, but there had been a certain stiffness in their conversation, as both of them were obviously avoiding the subject of Liz’s impending departure.

Now the night was nearly over. Kyle, always the gentlemen, had just helped her out of his Mustang, and was slowly walking her to the front of the Crashdown. They reached the double doors, and paused, their arms automatically slipping around each other’s…Kyle’s sliding easily around Liz’s waist, as she reached up around his neck. It was a typical goodnight embrace for the couple, but neither of them moved to seal it with a kiss right away.

“Kyle…” Liz started softly, right at the same moment as he sighed her name in frustration. “Liz…”

Liz giggled at their bad timing. “You go first.” She suggested

Kyle nodded. “Okay…” He hesitated for a moment before continuing. “I was just going to say that we need to stop avoiding this subject. You’re leaving for Harvard in two days…what does this mean for us?”

“I was going to bring up the same subject.” Liz admitted with a gentle smile. “What do you want this to mean for us, Kyle?”

Kyle sighed loudly, squeezing his eyes shut in frustration. “I don’t know what I want it to mean. Three thousand miles is a long way apart.”

“I agree.” Liz quietly responded. “Maybe it would be better if we just ended it.”

Kyle’s eyes flew open, and he searched Liz’s curiously for a long moment. “Do you really mean that?” He watched Liz nod her confirmation, and Liz was shocked to see relief sweep into his eyes. “I’m so glad…because I was going to suggest the same thing.”

“Our lives are going to be completely changing.” Liz explained. “We need to be able to move forward, and I don’t know if we can do that together. You’re going to be busy playing college football on top of everything else…and me? Well, Harvard isn’t exactly supposed to be easy. I don’t know how much of a life I’m even going to have. It would be…easier.”

Liz leaned up and pressed a light kiss on Kyle’s cheek before continuing. “Plus I don’t want to hold you back. You deserve to have the freedom to meet new people…date new people.”

“You deserve that too, Liz.” Kyle insisted. “I’ll bet even if we stayed together you’d meet some scientist and forget all about me.”

Liz laughed loudly at his speculation. “Yeah, right…love in the biology lab. That’s a realistic dream.” Staring up into Kyle’s eyes, Liz felt the humor draining away as she studied the face of the boy she had spent the last three years with. “Seriously, though, Kyle…no one could ever make me forget you. The last few years…they’ve been good, you know?”

“Yeah, I know.” Kyle agreed with a gentle smile. “I’ll never forget you, Liz.”

Kyle leaned down and lovingly covered her mouth with his own. Their kiss was familiar, sweet, no different than any other kiss they had shared over the past few years…except for one thing. This one was loaded down with the bittersweet taste of goodbye. They lingered in their warm embrace for a long moment, before Liz finally pulled back.

“Goodbye Kyle.” She whispered with a smile, before turning and hurrying into the Crashdown, unlocking the restaurant’s doors and letting herself in. Shutting the door, she turned to lock it, meeting Kyle’s eyes one last time.

As he finally turned and walked away, Liz’s eyes drifted upward to spy a familiar form slouched over in a ragged old jeep across the street. Something in his body language screamed of misery, defeat, and it called to Liz’s heart.

Max Evans had always been mysterious to her, always hanging around, never showing much in the way of the emotion, but he had always been kind to Liz. She’d like to be able to say that they were friends, except that he never seemed to talk to her much…he never seemed to talk to anyone much.

But it was that feeling of friendship that made her hesitate in locking the door, considering going out to comfort him. Before she got the opportunity though. He sat up and started his vehicle, pulling out of the parking place and back onto the street, speeding quickly away from the Crashdown.

Liz lingered on his escape for a long moment, before sighing and locking the door, turning to make her way upstairs.

Her breakup with Kyle was thankfully over, and now she had a long overdue date with her journal.

~~~~~~ ~~~~~

The jeep’s engine rumbled as Max pulled it into the driveway of his parent’s house, and he quickly silenced it, hoping that no one noticed the noise. It had been a long day, and an even longer night. Between traveling through time, jumping timelines, and finally seeing Liz with Kyle…he just felt like hiding away from the world for the rest of his life. He definitely did not want to face his family, but he didn’t know what else to do.

It felt weird…sitting in the driveway, knowing he had to go inside. In this world he had never left his parent’s home. They were used to him, expecting him. They cluelessly thought that there were absolutely no problems between them. But that wasn’t the case for Max. In his mind, he still remembered every last conflict he had with his father, from the incident in Utah right on through his search for the truth about his son. Max wasn’t used to being around his parents anymore. He hadn’t lived in this house in over six months.

Silly as it may be, Max was terrified to face them.

He still didn’t understand this world. Max had no idea what was okay to say, and what subjects were still forbidden. Getting trapped into a conversation with his parents without talking to Isabel first was his worst nightmare at that moment, and he was too tired to face Isabel just yet.

Sighing, Max pulled his keys from the ignition, and climbed from the jeep. Turning to the side of the house, he crept quietly around the corner to his own room. He would deal with everything in the morning. For now he just wanted to sleep.

Unlocking the window with his powers, Max climbed into the familiar room. It looked exactly as it did in his world before he moved, right down to the Counting Crows CD sitting out on his desk. Wandering over to his desk, Max picked up the CD and gazed down on it, wondering idly what the Max from this world thought about while he listened to it. For him, it had always helped him get through the heartache of losing Liz, regardless of which breakup it was.

Max smiled wryly at his own thought. He had a feeling he would be listening to it a lot in the next few weeks…every time the thought of Liz with Kyle crossed his mind.

Stretching his sore muscles, Max lifted his gray T-shirt, pulling it quickly over his head and discarding it in the corner on the floor. Stripping the rest of the way to his boxers, Max crawled beneath the covers of the familiar bed that was so much more comfortable than Michael’s couch.

Burying his head into his pillow, Max sighed contentedly, one last thought crossing his mind before he drifted into a deep sleep.

It was good to be home.

~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~

A rustling beside him awoke Max the next morning, and he sat still as stone for a long moment before finally allowing his eyes to snap open.

When Isabel’s face filled his blurry vision, Max blinked in disbelief, before groaning under his breath.

“Good morning sleepyhead.” Isabel smirked at him, leaning back and allowing him to sit up, turning to the edge of the bed and letting his bare feet hit the carpet.

“Hey Iz.” He responded with a groan, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. “Did you have to wake me at the crack of dawn?”

“Actually it’s after 10am.” Isabel argued. “Thanks for sneaking in last night. I didn’t even know you were back until Mom saw your car outside when she left for work an hour ago.”

“I was tired. I didn’t want to answer any questions.” Max grunted.

“Too late now. So what’s going on?” Isabel shot her question at him insistently. “I talked to Michael last night. He said you were acting really weird and said something about finding the pod chamber?”

Max ignored Isabel’s question, not even trying to hide the frustration in his voice as he changed the subject quickly. “Iz…I’m acting weird because something happened to me yesterday. I’m not really sure what it is yet, but I’m having some memory problems. I can’t seem to think clearly right now. Can you answer some questions for me?”

“Your memory?” Isabel asked in concern, quickly forgetting all about her plans for interrogation, much to Max’s relief. “Oh God, Max…that’s awful. Of course I’ll answer your questions.”

“Thanks Iz. Some of these questions might seem really weird though, so please, just take this in stride?” Max pleaded with her.

“I’ll do my best.” Isabel agreed.

“Okay…so think back for me. Do you remember right after school started Sophomore year? Michael and I were in the Crashdown, and a gun went off. It was this huge crisis. Do you remember anything like that?”

Isabel shot Max a look of pure confusion. “No Max, I don’t remember anything like that ever happening.”

Max nodded, accepting her answer. “That’s what I thought. Does anyone know the truth about us? Anyone at all?”

“Of course not!” Isabel’s voice was shocked as she answered him. “We don’t tell anyone. That was the rule we made when we were little.”

“Okay…what about Tess? Is she still around?” Max wondered aloud.

“Tess?” Isabel’s face scrunched up as she tried to think back. “I don’t know any Tess’s, I think. Wait a minute, there was a new girl back at the end of Sophomore year. Her name was Tess Harding, I think. I hung out with her a few times, but then she and her dad moved at the end of the school year. I haven’t heard anything of her since.”

Max couldn’t help smiling in pleasure at that response. Tess and Nasedo never found them in this life, which probably saved them from a lot of danger. Max couldn’t imagine how they would have taken the other aliens’ appearance in this world, where they hadn’t already been chased by the F.B.I., or dealt with people like Liz and Maria knowing their secret. It would also explain why they never found the Pod Chamber, since Tess was the one who originally found it.

Max took a deep breath before laying the last question out for Isabel. “How much do we know about ourselves…where we come from, that kind of thing?”

Isabel stared at Max questioningly for a long moment, before finally answering.

“We know nothing about ourselves, Max. You should know that. All we know is that we’re different, but where we came from? How we got here? I’m beginning to think we’ll never know.”



posted on 19-May-2002 9:32:50 PM by Cookie2697
Have I mentioned lately that I love you guys???? Your feedback just TOTALLY made my night already! How about a group hug???

Okay...anyway...lol...

I haven't really said this, because I'm afraid of sounding arrogant or something, and I'm SO not, but I am incredibly, incredibly happy with this fic, and I am TOTALLY loving writing it...so will it become a once a month update? Not if I have anything to say about it!

Particularly with school getting out this week...I intend to write a lot, and hopefully will keep myself updating each of my 4 stories at LEAST once a week, if not more. The only way it might become an issue is that in about a month and a half I'm going to Europe, and then I won't really be posting at all...but hopefully I'll leave you guys at a good spot. I'm taking my notebook with me, and will have plenty of travel time to write, so hopefully I'll come back ready to update.

So now that I've hinted at it in this chapter, although I never said it flat out...what I was trying to do here is have Max reappear at the exact same moment that he left...except in a new world.

You guys are righ that Max is in a tough spot here, because he can make or break his world depending on how much he decides to tell the others. The nice thing is that unlike in the show's world, Max HAS all the information, so they don't have to rely on any evil skanks to give it too them.

Oops, did I say that?

Is Liz leaving? How will the humans factor in? Only time will tell ;)

I'm working on this one actually right now....so hopefully I should have an update in a few days for you guys...I would say no earlier than Wednesday, simply because I have a huge paper due Tuesday, so tomorrow and Tuesday will be pretty full of work on that.

Thanks again for the feedback...I really, really, really love hearing your thoughts!

posted on 20-May-2002 1:25:31 AM by Cookie2697
ROTFLMAO!!!!

OMG Jessi!!! That is so damn cool of you! I'm blushing over here! What an incredible compliment *big*

Well...that constitutes another chapter I think! I'd better get cracking, eh?
posted on 20-May-2002 7:24:14 PM by Cookie2697
Oh my goodness...so many questions! I love you guys!

crazeesmilee wrote:

ahahah yes new part! weeeee *jumps up and down* o wait....ahahah this is called "HOPE alone?" LOL I thought it read HOME alone. I was about to ask where the title came from.


Anne replies:

Actually...I will tell you guys where the title comes from! LOL! Because it DOES actually sort of come from somewhere. When I first started writing this fic back in the beginning of March, the new album by one of my favorite bands came out. The album is "Become You" by the Indigo Girls...and I found the album to be pretty damn inspirational. They're really mellow, so easy to write to. And Hope Alone is the title of one of the songs on the album.

Actually though, the SONG Hope Alone isn't one of the ones that inspired this fic...I just thought the title was perfect! The songs that inspired the fic were "Moment of Forgiveness", and "Collecting You" but neither of those titles works, and there was no stand out quote I could use...the song Hope Alone is actually about a really tragic break up where one of the involved people is still in love, but the other isn't...and I guess it SORT of applies, since Max is clinging to something that never existed, but not really! LOL!

Lana Lane asked:

Much like when you go to Europe, where are you going? Have you been before?


I have NEVER been to Europe before! This is my once in a lifetime opportunity. I'm just really, really lucky. My best Roswell buddy's parents have been living in Europe for the last year and a half, and they invited me to come with her to visit them this summer. So they live in Heidelburg, Germany, so that's going to be kind of our home base. A good chunk of our trip is going to be in Germany, but we're also going to London, Paris, and Prague. I'm SO excited *happy*

And yes, I will do my best to leave you guys on a happy note so that you don't go nuts while I'm gone!

Also, for the record I *love* how enthusiastic you are about this! Seriously!

mariparker wrote:

Just to end this, I have a little question for you... Will you have all the convetional couples (MM, IA, TK and off course, ML) together in the end? At least, some dreamer assurance???


Dreamer insurance is a must for ALL my fics...no worries. As for the rest of the couples...probably at the end, but not much before them. It's a M/L story...they'll be the major focus, but the others will definitely be there, and they will also be important to the plot in the long run...except for that "T" you threw in there. Didn't you hear she's evil? We don't WANT her around ;) Nothing but trouble, that one.

(I'm just messing with you...if we were in person you'd hear the sarcasm in my voice ;)

Well...I have a final in 30 minutes, so I really oughta start studying, eh?

Thanks for the AMAZING feedback you all! I'm going to be happy dancing all the way to my Oceanography binder!
posted on 22-May-2002 2:00:55 PM by Cookie2697
Oh Araxie, I appologize immensely for not responding to your feedback! Bad Anne! BAD Anne! Let me grovel at your feet almighty Antarian Royalty!

The reason I didn't reply though is 'cause I can't answer any of your questions without spoiling you ;) But I agree with a lot of what you said, and we will both have to wait and see what happens *happy*

As for a new part for you guys...give me another day or so...I'm going to the baseball game tonight so my writing time is very limited. And I'm going to do Cross Wired first, because it's been longer on an update on that one. This one is 2nd after CW 'cause it's already in progress on the next chapter *happy*

OKAY...back to work ;) Thanks again y'all *happy*
posted on 22-May-2002 6:28:12 PM by Cookie2697
quote:
Lana Lane originally wrote:
I can't wait and your a baseball fan too. Awesome.


LOL. Go A's!
posted on 22-May-2002 7:06:03 PM by Cookie2697
Argh....alas that is a sad story indeed. First off though, it's only 4pm here right now. So I'm not leaving for the game for another hour!

But as for the sad story...*sigh* I got off work at 2pm, walked in the door at 2:10, and I had to quickly throw together some packages that needed to be shipped before the post office closed at 4pm...I expected it to be a 30 minute job...it took me *an hour and a half* No joke.

So I'm just now sitting down and starting to relax for the first time. Le sigh.

But I swear to you, I will be hard at work soon. And here's some good news. Wanna hear about my day tomorrow? I have my *last* final at 8am...and that's it. No other priorities other than writing. Can we say yippie?
I know I can. I've been *dying* to do some serious writing!
posted on 24-May-2002 10:22:17 AM by Cookie2697
Hey guys!

Thanks for the great bumpage and feedback! I soooooo appreciate it.

My last final was easier than I expected it to be, thank God. With was really, really easy since I already expected it to be easy! LOL! I was out of there in less than an hour yesterday...and we watched a short film too! LOL! (5 minutes...nothing huge). Thanks for asking *happy* Now I'm doing the "I'm finally on summer vacation" happy dance!

*happy dances around the computer*

New chapter...I'm going to aim for tomorrow...how's that you guys? I'm still working on Cross Wired...it's the LAST chapter of that fic that I get to write. :( And then it's over...which is bad for me because I'm going to MISS that story so much! It's been fun. But it's good for you guys, because it means more time for this *happy* But yeah...I should finish CW sometime this afternoon, and then I'll have late tonight and tomorrow afternoon to get the next chapter of this one together for you guys.

So look for an update sometime tomorrow, probably late afternoon. (I'm on Pacific time, so early evening for you east coasters!)

Now off to work I go! Gotta make money for Europe! LOL!

*hugs*
-AnneB!
posted on 24-May-2002 10:46:04 PM by Cookie2697
It's okay, feel free to bump it any time! I really enjoy your bumps actually, 'cause you always say something interesting in them *happy*

You're going camping? I love camping...I'm a camping addict! That's actually my big thing about Europe this summer, is because I'm going to Europe it's going to be the first summer of my ENTIRE life that I'm NOT going to be going to or working as staff at my summer camp. It's kind of an odd feeling!

ANYWAY...I'm being bad and stalling now. I only have about a page of CW to write, so I'm going to get on it! And then on to HA! ;)
posted on 25-May-2002 4:25:11 PM by Cookie2697
ROTF!!! I get it, I get it! Camping out and waiting for the next chapter! Hell, now I feel like George Lucas or something!

Well...how about if I give in, and ease your curious minds? LOL.

Here's the next chapter...hope you enjoy ;) Let me know what you think!

*hugs*
Anne *happy*

Chapter 5

Max hung back in the shadows where the rock had slid shut, closing them in from the outside world, as Michael and Isabel walked forward towards the pods. Their expressions were awed, the granolith’s glow illuminating their eyes mysteriously.

“There’s four.” Isabel murmured in disbelief, breaking her mesmerized gaze with the pods to turn and stare at Max in shock. “There’s four pods!” She exclaimed with more certainty this time. “There’s another one of us out there.”

“We have to find them!” Michael’s voice bounced in excitement. “Maybe I have a sister like you and Isabel! Or maybe they have more answers for us.”

Max sucked in his breath, hissing it out in frustration. Since his tongue had slipped and he had admitted to them that he was at the pod chamber, Max couldn’t hide the cave’s existence from Michael and Isabel. In the process though he had completely forgotten about the new questions it would raise for them. New questions that Max wished he didn’t have the answers to. Questions that he knew he would be forced to answer.

Determination in his stride, Max stepped out from the shadows, and crossed the room to the pods.

“There’s something else you have to see.” Max decided, even as he mentally formed his plan about how to explain his newfound knowledge.

Falling to his knees before the pod, Max crawled through Isabel’s pod, the hole that somehow had already been created by him before his arrival in this world, and led them through the passage to the granolith chamber.

The granolith’s light brightened as they entered the smaller chamber, and again Max stood back watching as Michael and Isabel circled the alien artifact, their eyes bright with amazement.

“What is it?” Isabel wondered softly from across the room.

“It’s called the granolith.” Max replied. “It’s some sort of alien artifact with an amazing amount of power. I don’t think we could ever possibly know all of its uses.” Max paused, turning a probing gaze onto Michael and Isabel. “We were sent here with it to protect it.”

“How do you know this, Maxwell?” Michael demanded, crossing the room towards him.

“Yeah, Max. What’s going on?” Isabel picked up after him. “You’re almost ridiculously calm about knowing all of this.”

Max took a deep breath, ready to put his plan into action as he began to speak.

“Isabel, I told you this morning that I had a weird experience, remember?”

“Yeah.” Isabel confirmed. “Your memory is screwed up, right?”

“Well, yes and no.” Max admitted. “My memory is messed up, but not in the way I led you to believe. When I found the pod chamber and the granolith yesterday, the granolith did something to my mind.”

Max cringed at the hurt look in Isabel’s eyes as he admitted that he hadn’t told her the full truth, and quickly surged on to explain, before she could comment. He felt guilty that he still wasn’t telling them the full truth, but there were certain things he didn’t want them to have to live through again. He had to lie to them to protect them.

“I experienced this whole other world…a world where we did know a lot more about ourselves than we know here. Things were…different there. Anyway, I’m having a hard time separating the memories from that world from this one.”

“How much do you know?” Isabel asked quietly. “About us, I mean?”

“Almost everything.” Max admitted. “I know why we were sent here, I know where our home is. I know who the fourth alien is, and I know that we want to keep her as far away from us as possible.”

“What?” Michael burst out angrily. “Why?”

“Because she’ll do nothing except hurt us. That’s all she did in the other life. She doesn’t have any qualms with killing on a whim to get what she wants. In the other life I experienced she murdered a good friend of ours in an attempt to trick us into going home. She was going to kill us the moment that we got her off of this planet. She is not to be trusted.”

“Is she…my sister?” Michael asked hesitantly.

“No, Michael. She isn’t.” Max honestly replied, knowing how much Michael thrived on his hope for family.

Michael nodded shortly, turning his back from his friend and running a frustrated hand through his hair as in his own way, Michael mourned the loss of another potential connection to his past.

“Tess!” Isabel suddenly exclaimed. “This morning when we talked you asked about Tess Harding, that new girl. She’s the fourth alien, isn’t she?”

Max confirmed Isabel’s suspicions with a slight nod. “She’s the one.”

Isabel shook her head in disbelief. “She was so close to finding us back then. She was even hanging out with me and my friends.”

“In the other world she did find us. She infiltrated our circle and became one of us. We were blinded by the fact that we had found someone else like us, so we trusted her, and she stabbed us all in the back.”

Michael eyed Max suspiciously. “You’ve mentioned others twice now. She killed a good friend of ours, and we had a circle. What does that mean, Max? The three of us are alone, we always have been.”

“We weren’t alone there.” Max explained softly. “We had friends. We were in love. We were living our lives to the fullest, which strengthened us in more ways than it weakened us. The only way it did us any harm was by letting Tess in. Our lives were perfect, and then she destroyed us. She tore all of our lives to pieces, our friends included.”

~~~~~ ~~~~~~

Liz giggled at the look on Maria’s face. Her jaw had dropped, her eyes wide, as she stared at Liz in mock disbelief.

“You broke up?” Maria finally burst out. “No way!”

Rolling her eyes, Maria turned her back on her best friend, filling the coffee pot in her hands, as Liz slid past her towards the pickup window.

“Seriously, it’s about time.” Maria laughed, turning back to her friend as they crossed the room side by side. “I still say you should have dumped his ass two years ago. How many drunken brawls did you have to witness these past few years?”

“Very funny, Maria.” Liz replied dryly. “And the answer is five. I only saw five drunken brawls, all of them during football season. The rest of the year Kyle was always a perfect gentlemen.”

Liz and Maria split to their respective sides of the dining room, Maria prancing around and refilling coffee, while Liz delivered the blue moon burger and galaxy sub in her hands, circling back around the room towards her best friend. They rejoined, heading back towards the kitchen, continuing as if they had never been separated.

“Perfect gentlemen?” Maria snorted. “Liz, the guy is a classic jock. He always has been.”

“He was good to me.” Liz insisted. “He was always the perfect boyfriend. Plus, we had fun together. Kyle makes me laugh, you know?”

“Liz, I make you laugh.” Maria argued. “Alex makes you laugh. Hell, Agnes makes you laugh. You don’t need a guy who makes you laugh, you need a guy who sets your nerves on fire. You need passion, excitement, adventure.”

Liz laughed out loud at Maria’s rant. “What I need is to stay unattached. I’m going to college, Maria. It could be months before I come back, and in case you haven’t heard Harvard isn’t the easiest school in the country or anything. I need to stay focused.”

“Right.” Maria mused with a mocking smile, turning to stand in front of her friend. “It’s your last night in Roswell. So you should enjoy it, because you never have to look back on it. Do something totally out of character, Liz.”

“Like what?” Liz asked her friend suspiciously. Liz had never been one to take chances or do things out of character. That was all Maria’s territory, and she didn’t like the idea of her friend plotting out her life for her.

The bell on the door of the café rang, signaling someone’s entrance. With a glance over Liz’s shoulder, Maria suddenly got a mischievous gleam in her eye. Liz barely caught it, before Maria hid her expression behind another amused grin.

“What?” Liz pressed again furiously.

Maria just grinned at her, nodding behind her friend’s back.

“You have a customer.”

~~~~~ ~~~~~~

Max had never felt so relieved in his life as the moment when Isabel and Michael decided that they had heard enough…for now. There were still so many subjects that they had left to delve into, but they were already overwhelmed by the experiences of the day. Both of them needed time to absorb all that they had already learned, so they planned their next trip to the pod chamber for the following day.

After returning back at the house, Isabel immediately disappeared into her bedroom, telling their mother that she was tired, and Max found himself standing in the front hallway alone, trying to decide what to do.

His nerves were shot, and his emotions were on overdrive. Reliving all of their experiences with Tess left him emotionally drawn, and he needed comfort.

There was only one place that Max ever went when he needed comfort. Even if Liz couldn’t listen to his worries, at least he could bask in her presence for a while, watch her work…even if she would never be his again.

Sighing, Max turned an about face, walking straight out the door and onto the street.

It was about a mile from his house to the Crashdown, a trek that he had made more times than he could count in his life. After all the disconcerting moments of his day, finding some semblance of normalcy was a relief to Max, and he sucked in the cooling evening air with contentment, already feeling better, as he cut across the park, and through the neighborhoods towards the town.

Max paused at the entrance to the alleyway across the street from the Crashdown, staring wistfully at the flashing lights of the Crashdown. More than once had he walked this very alley with Liz at his side, his arm holding her tightly against him, as he breathed in the sweet scent of her hair.

There was a stabbing pain deep in Max’s heart as he realized what he was about to put himself through. It was one thing to sit there and watch Liz for hours on end back in the days when he had thought he could never possibly have her. Now though, he knew what it felt like to hold her in his arms. Max knew the absolute joy of kissing her, he had her taste memorized, her scent forever imprinted in his brain. He knew her deepest secrets, every inch of her…and the Liz Parker who stood in that building knew nothing about him.

It was going to be torture to know that she would never be his, after knowing her so completely. But it was a torture that he was going to have to live with, because life without Liz was no life at all. At least this way he could be near her.

Taking a determined step forward, Max headed through the alleyway, and across the street towards the restaurant.


TBC...
posted on 25-May-2002 6:04:59 PM by Cookie2697
Thanks you guys...I'm absolutely loving all of your comments.

mia - I know there's a LOT of unanswered questions...particularly with the Max of that world. All I'm going to say right now is that I fully intend to address that. It just might not happen right away...I think you guys will understand why in a few chapters...

Linda...I absolutely LOVE all your questions *happy* And you KNOW I'm not going to be able to answer them yet! LOL! But still...I love them! Just stay with me and the answers will come *happy* I'm SO glad you're enjoying this one *happy*

Tim - Days...definitely not weeks or months. Just days. I'm working on the next part right now, and it's about half done. I'm hoping to finish it and pass it to my beta sometime today.
posted on 27-May-2002 7:02:42 PM by Cookie2697
quote:
jane originally wrote:

PS, I saw your news somewhere that you are traveling to Europe this summer, how fun for you! Is this to be a Grand Tour for you, or are you working? Where are you going, if I may ask. I loved traveling Europe when I was your age (I can't believe I just said that!) and I've gone back a few times since. The people are so friendly! You're not leaving for a while though, are you?


Hey Jane *happy*

I am definitely NOT working in Europe...traveling a bit. The whole situation is actually a really lucky break for me. I am going to Europe thanks to.......Roswell fandom! LOL!

Well, indirectly at least. Back at the end of Season 1, I met a Roswell fan online who since has become one of my best friends in the entire world. Her parents have been living in Germany for the past year and a half, and she and her parents invited me to come with her to visit them this summer.

So we're going to be spending MOST of the time in Germany, using her parent's house as kind of a home base for traveling around. We're going to be in Europe for one month, and in that time we're spending a week in London, 5 days in Paris, 4 in Berlin, and 3 in Prague...the rest of the time in and around Heidelburg where Mel's parents live.

Very much looking forward to it. I leave July 7th, so still a little over a month to go, but it feels like it's coming so fast! I'm so excited!

Soooo....off topic, back on ;) Thanks for all the feedback everyone *happy* I really appreciate it! You all raise SO many good questions...I still have to figure out what I can and can't answer. LOL.

I can tell you however that I should update this one sometime tomorrow, so watch for it then...not sure what time, I have the whole day off and am unsure when I will and won't be here as of yet.

Until then!
posted on 28-May-2002 4:47:26 AM by Cookie2697
LOL...I can't spoil you THAT much!

Silly, silly...I was just digging through the pages looking for the thread, and we passed each other...you bumped while I was searching.

mia- I just wanted to reply to your question. Quite honestly, I don't know if I'll update while in Europe or not. I will definitely be writing. I've got lots of long train rides to waste, so I may as well. I'll probably take a clean notebook with me when I go. And I will have computer access when we're at Mel's parent's house in Heidelburg....BUT I honestly don't know whether I will be able, or even capable of taking the time to type chapters up while I'm still overseas. I mean, if I have the spare time and energy, yeah, I'd like to be able to...but I'm going to be a guest, and I'm not going to want to spend ungodly hours on their computer...and to state the obvious...hell, I'm going to be in Europe. I'm going to want to spend most of my time doing European things ;)

So yeah...no promises on updates in the month of July...but you never know...I could surprise you.

Like I said, I'll try not to leave you anywhere TOO evil in the story!
posted on 28-May-2002 5:04:04 PM by Cookie2697
You guys, I can't even begin to thank you enough for all of your fantastic feedback and support. I'm so glad you guys are liking it, so what can I say? I can't resist giving you more *happy*

I hope you enjoy *happy*



Chapter 6

Liz whirled around at Maria’s emphatic statement, her eyes wide, as Max Evans slowly crossed the distance from the door to his usual booth, in her section as always, and sat down alone. This was normal…it happened almost every day. What wasn’t normal tonight was that not once, in the entire time since he had walked through the door, had Max taken his eyes off of her. Not even when she turned to look his way.

His attention unnerved Liz. Maria could tell Liz every day of her life that Max Evans was watching her, but the truth of the matter was that Max Evans was one of the shyest guys in school. He never looked Liz in the eye. He never let her see him watching her, regardless of whatever it was that Maria thought she saw.

So meeting Max Evans’ gaze head on for the first time took Liz completely by surprise, and left her feeling slightly off balance.

“So, are you going to go take his order or what?” Maria laughed, giving Liz a slight push towards Max. “And remember what I told you…do the unexpected.”

“Do the unexpected.” Liz grumbled under her breath, as she crossed the room away from Maria and towards Max. “Right…that’s really easy for little old predictable me.” She could feel her best friend’s eyes drilling into the back of her head as she approached Max’s booth, an awkward smile plastered across her face as she met his intense, probing eyes.

“Hi Max.” Liz greeted him shyly, standing beside the table and looking down into his warm gaze. It was an odd sensation, meeting his eyes dead on after he spent so many years hiding them from her. His eyes were absolutely beautiful, shining with a golden, amber hue that didn’t seem entirely natural…except that they were.

“Liz.” He returned her greeting in a soft, gentle voice that made her shiver slightly in a natural response to him. Her name rolled off of his lips like a prayer, whispered like a cherished gift, with a familiarity in his tone that hinted at the possibility that he used it a lot.

Liz shook her head gently at her own stray thoughts. Where was all of this coming from? This was Max…she saw him every day in the biology lab. Nothing about him could have possibly changed since she had seen him the day before during her lunch shift. Nothing, that is, except the openness of his normally shy gaze tonight, the sound of his voice, and something else Liz couldn’t quite place her finger on.

“What can I get for you tonight?” Liz asked, pressing them forward so that she would stop lingering on the changes in her lab partner. She gestured towards her notepad, slipping a pen out of her apron pocket, and smiled broadly at Max while he placed his order.

“Just a cherry coke and some space fries.” Max decided, as he slowly shut the menu that he wasn’t even looking at.

“And an extra bottle of tobasco sauce?” Liz checked quickly, remembering his overuse of the condiment as a result of all of her occasions serving him. He often requested one.

“Yeah, thanks.” Max grinned widely at her, and Liz’s heart fluttered in her chest at the sight of it. Max was normally a pretty stoic guy. Seeing his rare smile was like a cherished gift, and she couldn’t help grinning back, before turning towards the kitchen to put in his order.

Maria intercepted her about halfway to the window, throwing a mischievous smile towards her best friend.

“So, how did it go?” Maria asked her friend with a giggle.

“Oh, there is definitely something different about him tonight.” Liz stated with certainty, while she placed the order with the cook.

“Something different?” Maria wondered curiously. “Different how?”

“Different…I don’t know.” Liz honestly answered her friend, pondering the question for a moment. “But I think I’d like to find out.”

With a thoughtful expression on her face, Liz slipped behind the counter, grabbing a soda cup, and filling it with cherry coke. As she waited for the drink to fill, she glanced over her shoulder at Max, unsurprised to find him watching her closely from across the room. She shot him a shy smile, as she turned from the soda machine and headed back across the room to him to deliver his drink.

Liz could feel her cheeks pinking under his scrupulous gaze, as she headed towards him, and she ducked her head shyly, breaking his gaze, before pausing beside his table and placing the soda in front of him.

“Your cherry coke.” She announced softly, looking up from her shoes and meeting his eyes. He was gazing up at her, with an oddly gentle expression on his face as he half smiled back at her.

“Thanks, Liz.” Max responded in his quiet rumbling voice, and Liz felt herself shivering at the familiar way that her name rolled off his tongue for the second time that evening.

She knew that she should turn and walk away. Max wasn’t the only person sitting in her section that needed help, but she couldn’t seem to drag herself away from him. Liz was stuck there beside Max, staring down into his warm eyes, and she was absolutely mesmerized.

“Could you maybe sit down for a few minutes?” Max asked in a hesitant voice, like he wasn’t sure if he was overstepping his limits with her, and Liz found herself blushing again at his request.

“I’d love to.” Liz honestly answered. “But I can’t. It’s kind of busy. You know, customers to take care of and all.”

“Yeah.” Max agreed. “I understand.”

“But maybe later.” Liz suggested. “If you’re not busy, I mean. I get off work at seven. We could go out for coffee or something.”

“Coffee.” Max repeated with a slight tinge of amusement in his voice. “Coffee sounds great.”

“Okay.” Liz stammered. “Well then…I’ll just go back and finish my shift, and when I can go, I’ll let you know.” Liz turned and started to walk away, before she realized how stupid she sounded. Freezing, Liz squeezed her eyes tightly shut. Trying to hide her embarrassment from Max, Liz quickly masked her expression before turning back to face him.

“Your space fries will be out in a few minutes.” She reminded him, before quickly rushing across the restaurant to the back room.

She had barely made it through the swinging door, before Maria was all over her, shooting questions left and right.

“Oh my God, Liz, you were over there for a long time!” Maria exclaimed. “What happened? What did he say? What did you say?”

“Maria!” Liz laughed at her friend’s enthusiasm. “It isn’t that big of a deal.”

“It isn’t?” Maria countered. “Then why are you blushing?”

Liz felt herself blushing even further under Maria’s pointed observation, and sighed loudly before finally coming clean with her friend.

“I have no idea what came over me.” Liz admitted. “I mean, I’m leaving for Harvard first thing tomorrow morning. It’s not like I have any time to get involved with anyone…but I don’t know. The way he’s acting tonight…it’s intriguing.”

“What did you do, Lizzie?” Maria begged shamelessly, practically bouncing in excitement over Liz’s mysterious comments.

“I asked him out for coffee.” Liz explained. “Tonight…as soon as I get off work.”

“Oh my God!” Maria squealed loudly in excitement. “Liz, that’s just perfect! Do you see? That’s just what I meant when I told you to do the unexpected. The guy has been pining over you for, like, years, and now you’re about to leave town, and you’re going to leave the guy with the most memorable night of his life…the memory of finally spending time with the girl of his dreams…you.”

“And what about me?” Liz wondered softly, her own self-doubts rising to the surface as she turned her probing eyes on Maria. “What if I do go out with Max tonight and we have a great time. I’m still leaving tomorrow, and I’m going to be stuck with nothing besides the memory of a possibility of what could have been with him, if I had just bothered to look twice at him before tonight.”

“Well…that depends on you.” Maria responded, her voice softening with concern for her friend. “That depends on what you’re going to be looking for when you go out with him tonight. Are you looking for a fun night with a guy that you’ve known half your life? Or are you going out with him in search of your one true soulmate? Because as much as I hate to say it, Liz, if you’re looking for the latter in Max Evans, it’s going to be a long, painful four years of college.”





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 28-May-2002 5:06:27 PM ]
posted on 29-May-2002 6:47:55 PM by Cookie2697
lynch mob? eek! Don't hurt me! Then you'll NEVER know what happens!

*Anne rubs hands together evilly*

And you'd better not egg them on Stacey! *glares*

Thank you Jessi for defending me *grin*

And thank you to EVERYONE in the lynch mob for the fantastic feedback *happy* I'm really, really enjoying all of your comments and theories and everything!

Will Liz go to Harvard? We'll have to see, won't we ;) hee!

As for an update...well, I *did* just update yesterday...give me a day or two. How about if I aim for an update on Friday...would that be okay? Friday about this time...mid afternoon for the west coast people, late afternoon/early evening for the east coasters. I work in the morning, so it won't be until then. Pooh. Stupid need for money.

Until Friday! I hope you have a great end of the week *happy*

*hugs*
Anne

PS Jane - No, I never have been to Europe before! There's a first time for everything ;) I've never even been to the East Coast of THIS country! I've never been much of a traveler, simply for financial reasons...until Roswell, and then I became a road trip to LA nut. LOL.
posted on 29-May-2002 9:08:08 PM by Cookie2697
lol Lana...feel free to bmail me with your theory ;) I'd be curious to hear it! Of course, I may not say if you're right or wrong...but it depends on what the theory is of course ;)

And no problem on YOUR feedback *happy* It looks like it's going to be a cute story ;)

Well...enough procrastination for now...this is writing time right now!
posted on 30-May-2002 11:05:45 PM by Cookie2697
Well....I know I said I wasn't going to post until mid afternoon tomorrow...but the part is done, and I'm bored and procrastinating, so I figured, "Heck! Why don't I just post it now!" Is that a good enough reason to post a day early? LOL. I'm not sure, since it's Chapter 8 that I'm procrastinating on.

Anyway, let me know what you think. I particularly enjoyed writing the end of this chapter, and I'd be curious to know if you guys like it as much as I did.

Enjoy y'all!

-AnneB!

OH and special thanks to Mel for reading this early for me when I was giddy and needed an opinion...lol...it's a tough job, but someone had to do it!


Chapter 7

She appeared from the back room like a vision from the heavens. Her Crashdown uniform discarded somewhere down the line, now she was dressed casually in a low slung pair of jeans and a red tank top that showed just enough skin to drive Max absolutely crazy. Her hair was flowing freely around her shoulders, swaying in rhythm with her steps as she headed towards him.

But her skin wasn’t what really had Max intrigued, nor her hair. It was the way she headed right for him with a smile of anticipation on her face. She was studying him…he could see that. He knew her well enough to know when she was in scientist mode, and something about him had set it off that night…enough for her to ask him out, and pay attention to the boy that Max was sure that she had ignored all of these years.

“Hi.” She greeted him with a shy smile as she stopped next to the booth. “Are you ready to go?”

“Yeah.” Max nodded his confirmation, as he slid out of the booth, and followed her towards the door of the Crashdown. Automatically, he reached up over her head to push the door open for her, and she smiled up at him, surprised by the gesture.

“Thank you.” She murmured in surprise, as the door fell shut behind them. Max could only nod shyly in response. Offering her his hand, Max was surprised when Liz took it readily, sliding into his warm, gently grip, as they headed by foot to a coffee shop a few blocks away.

“Is Kyle going to be okay with this?” Max asked suddenly, realizing with a guilty conscience how much like a couple they looked at that moment, and remembering the goodbye he had spied on the night before.

“Kyle and I broke up.” Liz responded, shortly and simply.

“What?” Max gasped, literally in shock, as he stared at Liz in disbelief. The images of the two of them laughing and happy as they had kissed goodnight the night before replayed in his mind, as he burst out with the question that was plaguing his mind. “Why?”

“You don’t know?” Liz gaped, honestly surprised by the question.

“No, I don’t.” Max explained. “It just seems like you two have been together forever.” Max fought to keep his face straight and the disdain out of his voice as he played the part of Max from this world, all the while knowing that she should have been his all of this time.

“Max, I’m leaving for college tomorrow morning.” Liz told him gently. “I enrolled to start during the summer semester at Harvard, instead of the fall.”

“You’re...you’re leaving?” Max stammered, as sudden fear and dread began to seep into his heart. “You’re leaving tomorrow?”

“Yeah.” Liz confirmed softly, staring up at him through sad eyes. Max wondered if she could sense just how much the news devastated him. Not only had he lost his Liz the night before, but now he was going to lose this Liz too…before he even got a chance to know her. It was her last night at home…she was leaving him forever.

“Wait, Liz.” Max suddenly realized. “This is your last night in Roswell.” She nodded, confirming his statement. “Why are you spending it with me?” He asked sadly. “Shouldn’t you be with Maria, or Alex, or your parents?”

“They’re all going with me to the airport tomorrow.” Liz explained. “I can say my good-byes to them then. Right now what I want is to spend some time with you. We’ve known each other a long time, Max. I’d like to be able to say that we’re kind of friends. I’m going to miss seeing you every day…you know, in the Crashdown and the biology lab.”

“I’m going to miss you too, Liz.” Max swore hoarsely. “More than you could ever know.”

An awkward silence fell over them as they slowly paced down the street through the warm, early summer’s night air, and Max found himself consumed with thoughts of life without Liz. This time it was for real. This would be his last time ever seeing her, and it left him desperate to soak himself up in her presence, enjoy every last second he had with her.

Glancing towards her, Max watched as she swallowed noticeably, her brow furrowed seriously as she stared straight ahead of her for a long moment. He found himself wondering what she was thinking, wishing that he had their intense connection to give him some sort of an idea of what Liz Parker saw when she looked into his eyes. His question was answered when suddenly stopped walking, turning to him to speak.

“It’s my last night here, Max. I don’t want to spend it filled with regrets and sadness. I want to have a good time and enjoy myself. I want to make some memories that I will never be able to forget when I’m sitting in my dorm missing Roswell. So let’s not linger on the fact that I’m leaving. Let’s just take tonight and make some memories. Could we do that, Max?”

Max grinned at her request. “Don’t worry, Liz.” He swore honestly. “I will do everything in my power to make tonight the most memorable night of your life.” Unable to resist, Max brought their joint hand up to his lips, sealing his vow with a gentle kiss to her knuckles, his lips lightly brushing over her soft skin.

As pulled back from his hand, Max locked gazes with Liz, and found her staring at him in awe at his kind gesture…a gesture that his Liz would be accustomed to. Smiling gently at her, Max gestured for them to continue walking even as his own mind spiraled off into thought.

All of this…talking to Liz, walking with Liz, kissing Liz…just being with Liz was totally normal to him, but to her, it was an entirely new phenomenon, and one that she probably wasn’t sure she needed or wanted right before she left for school…but still, he knew it was selfish of him, but he wanted to cherish every last minute that he would be able to spend with her, and he wanted to be himself for her.

It was his last wish before losing the girl of his dreams forever.

~~~~~ ~~~~~~

Liz turned and grinned at Max as she fastened her seat belt, clutching her white mocha latte in her slowly warming hands, as he gunned the engine of hit beat up old jeep to life, and pulled out of the parking slot, and away from the front of the Crashdown.

After their awkward exchange on the way to the coffee shop, they had both settled into a comfortable, friendly exchange while sitting at a tiny table under the night sky, sipping on their respective drinks. Unable to resist his charm, Liz found herself telling Max things she never knew she would ever reveal: embarrassing stories about the three musketeer’s mishaps, the lower moments of her relationship with Kyle…and he listened with a relaxed ease that left Liz’s heart fluttering. Never once did he judge her, or make fun of her. He took it all with grace and acceptance…and Liz loved it.

In turn Max regaled her with stories of his own past, and some of his more amusing incidents with Michael and Isabel. Liz had always considered them to be an odd circle of friends. Never had she seen three more different people spend more time together, but watching Max talk about his sister and his best friend, poking fun at their more irksome traits, she began to sense that there was a deeper bond tying the three of them together…something more than the typical high school friendship.

Their conversation was so engaging, that Max and Liz soon lost track of the time, and the café began to close for the night. Reluctantly, they took their refilled lattes, and headed back to the café, where Max’s jeep waited out front. Neither of them were ready for the night to end, though, so Liz was pleased when Max suggested that they head out to the desert and do some stargazing.

And so it was that Liz found herself strapped into the passenger seat of the open-aired jeep, the wind blowing through her hair, as Max turned the vehicle off of the main highway, onto a bumpy dirt road.

“Where are we going?” She asked Max curiously, assuming that he had a plan.

“Can you see the rocks in the distance?” Max asked, pointing with one hand, as he steered away from a pothole with the other. Liz followed his gesture to see the rocky cliffs jutting harshly into the sky. “I go out here sometimes to think. They’re pretty easy to climb, and you can see for miles from the top. Plus, it’s far enough from town where the lights don’t take away from the stars. We should be able to see everything.”

“That sounds great.” Liz agreed, as the rocks drew nearer. Max pulled the jeep around to stop near the base of the rocks, and let the engine die, before popping out of the jeep and hurrying around to the passenger side to offer Liz help out. Liz couldn’t help giggling at Max’s polite gesture. Kyle never made the small, gentlemanly gestures that Max had that night, and although it was slightly embarrassing not doing opening doors by herself, she sort of enjoyed the attention. He smiled shyly at her, reacting to her giggle, before reaching behind her seat and pulling a blanket out of the backseat of the jeep. Then, taking Liz by the hand, he led her towards the path that shot up the side of the rock’s surface.

About halfway up the rock, they stopped in a spot where the rock behind them offered them shelter from the wind, but they still had an open view of the beautiful, starry night sky. Max quickly spread out the blanket, and soon they were lying side by side, arms crossed under their heads, staring up at the beautiful blanket of stars. Silent, they both took comfort in each other’s presence, just enjoying the atmosphere for a long time. Liz had no idea how long it had been…all she knew is that she had found the big dipper, and the little dipper, the north star, and Orion’s belt, before she found herself longing to hear Max’s voice.

“Tell me a story.” Liz murmured her request, breaking the silence, and taking Max by surprise.

“A story?” He asked curiously.

“Yeah, a story.” Liz confirmed. “Any story…I just want to hear your voice.”

“Okay.” Max agreed. He paused for a long moment, searching out his words, before in a gentle rumble, he began.

“Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” Max began, his voice humored. “That one.” He pointed upwards, and Liz followed the line of his arm to search out the star of his choice.

“The V-shaped one?” She wondered, and she felt him nod his agreement.

“Yeah, the star in the middle. The very bottom of the V…it’s not a star, it’s a planet. On that planet, once upon a time, there lived a king. He was very powerful, but just, and kind…but he was lonely. He was stuck with a wife he didn’t love, and he always longed for something more in his life. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make the changes he desired, because he was stuck in a horrible civil war. An evil, power-hungry wizard was trying to steal his throne, and he was forced to fight to protect himself and his government.”

“Is this a sad story?” Liz murmured her question softly, her heart saddened already.

“It starts sad, but it gets better.” Max assured her. “You see, the civil war was a blessing in disguise, but not in the manner you think. You see, the king was killed in a horrible battle. His people mourned for weeks, and the evil wizard took over the kingdom. The people were miserable without their rightful king…so they decided to do something about it.”

“Do something about it?” Liz asked, gesturing for him to continue.

“You see, since this was in a galaxy far, far away, they had advanced technology, and they were able to recreate the king in the form of a young boy, to give him a second chance at life, and to hopefully allow him to come back and save them one day. They recreated him and sent him here, to earth, to grow, live, and become the king that he once was. He was given a second chance at life, because his people loved him.”

“What happened?” Liz begged.

“Well, he grew up, and the most incredible thing in the world happened to the young king. He fell in love. The girl he chose was the most beautiful girl in the entire galaxy. She was good, and pure, and true…everything he had ever desired in another person. She was his entire universe…and she didn’t even know he existed. But it didn’t matter to the king, because he was content just watching her and being near her.”

“This is a sad story.” Liz decided, as her mind flashed to an image of Max sitting and watching her work tonight, waiting patiently for her to get off so that they could spend a little bit of time together. “He deserves to get the girl.”

“Well, the story isn’t over yet.” Max explained. “One day, the boy was sitting and watching the girl work, when two men ran in with guns. They were trying to rob the restaurant she worked in, and the girl, being brave, stood up to the men. They threatened to shoot her, and the boy couldn’t stand the thought that the love of his life was in danger, so he used his special skills to stop the robbery. He saved the girl’s life.”

“How romantic…” Liz sighed happily, imagining the scene in her head, as Max rushed up from his usual booth, throwing himself at Liz and pushing her out of the way of the bullet, saving her life. In her mind’s eye, she lay on the floor of the Crashdown, her antennae lying forgotten a few feet away where they had fallen as she fell, and her hair a mess, as Max lay above her protectively, staring into her eyes with love and adoration.

Shaking the image out of her head, Liz focused again on Max’s steady voice as he continued the tale.

“Oh, it was.” Max agreed. “Particularly because now the girl saw the boy’s true nature. She understood for the first time how special he was, and she couldn’t stand to be away from him. Still, he was shy and scared, after finally being handed the one thing he wanted most in the world. So although he loved her, and she loved him, nothing happened for weeks. The boy watched the girl, the girl watched the boy, and they were happy…but still, it wasn’t enough.”

“So what did they do?” Liz pressed.

“One day, the boy finally summoned all of the courage within him.” Max explained, pushing himself up on one elbow, and turning to face Liz, looking down into her eyes lovingly, as he reached over, and tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear, gently caressing her cheek with his soft touch. “And he gave in, and he softly kissed her.”

“Really?” Liz breathed happily, as she stared into Max’s heady gaze, her heart pounding in anticipation, as slowly, mirroring the actions of the boy in the story, he lowered his own lips to hers, capturing them in a gentle, firm embrace.





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 30-May-2002 11:08:16 PM ]
posted on 31-May-2002 5:20:41 PM by Cookie2697
Hi everyone!

First off, I have to say a huge thank you for the fantastic feedback *happy* I don't think I've mentioned this, but I'm fighting a yucky cold right now, and have been feeling pretty miserable the past few days, and when I woke up feeling all groggy this morning and stumbled downstairs to check the computer, your feedback woke me up and brought a HUGE smile to my face *happy*

Your questions always crack me up ;)

Will it end with just one kiss? We'll see in the next chapter *happy*

Will Liz go to Harvard? You'll find out in the chapter after that.

Will Max follow her to Harvard? Well, it depends on whether Liz goes or not, so you have to find out the answer to the first one in order to even ask it! hee!

Oh, and did Liz have an actual flash...nope. It was just her imagination running wild.

Will Liz ever find out that the story was true? Hmmm...not sure. Maybe someday ;)

Will love find a way? Always, always, always....although sometimes it might take a little time for things to work out.

Linda, please don't kill me!!! I'm afraid for my life here ;) While everyone is gasping and fearing for me, what they don't know is it's an actual possibility! LOL! Linda and I are going to see each other in less than a month! eek! Maybe I should cancel...just to preserve my life ;) Kidding, kidding. And miss out on a trip to LA? NEVER!

Hi Connie!! *Anne grins and waves wildly* Thank you SO much for the sweet compliments! After your e-mail yesterday I was giddy from them, and now seeing you here makes me giddier! (If that's a word...lol) Your package went out yesterday as planned, just so you know! I loved your comment about the essential Max and Liz, pre-angst. That was one thing that really intruiged me about this plotline...the idea of Max being FORCED into dealing with a situation pre-angst, where all the bad feelings and issues were erased, and he got stuck sort of BEING shy Max again, while still being personally beyond that after growing so much over the years.

Jane, thank you for sticking up for me! *grin* And your welcome on the feedback! I'm really enjoying the story! Dying for Tim to figure out who Liz and Max are!

Lana - need a refill on the marshmellows? And how's the fire doing. I'll tell you, I'm a whiz at a one-match fire, so if it burns out or anything, just let me know!

Well, I am off to stop procrastinating so that maybe, maybe, maybe I can finish the next chapter and get it to my beta. When will I update? Not sure yet, but I'll aim for either tomorrow or Sunday. Unless Stacey's not around this weekend...then Monday. Hmmm...hopefully not THAT long. Linda might release the devil dogs on me! LOL!

Bye *happy*
-Anne!
posted on 31-May-2002 5:31:32 PM by Cookie2697
eek...I don't know who Tim is. Are you thinking of another story?

OH, wait...duh. I just figured it out. That was me talking to Jane about HER story....go check it out to find out ;)
posted on 31-May-2002 5:47:15 PM by Cookie2697
150 points? LOL! You're worse then me!!! Of course it helps that I've never owned the Hoth playset, never dressed as a Star Wars character, and didn't have that darn Obi-Wan voice in my head.

Did you know that Colin Hanks camped out for 29 hours to see Ep 1? He rocks my world! LOL!

Thanks for the nomination!!! Yippie! I'm going to have to check it out! hee!

And yeah...more of, you know...uhhhh...let me think on that one. I haven't started working on the next chapter yet. Once I finish Ch 8 of this one, I will get my butt in gear. I have a vague idea of what's going to happen in it, but I haven't quite worked the details out yet. Hopefully either Saturday or Sunday on that one...Sunday I have the day off, so it's practically a definite for then!
posted on 31-May-2002 6:18:31 PM by Cookie2697
quote:
mermaidgirl originally wrote:

Wow two hours???? Go Colin. I am glad I am not the only one. LOL.


NO!! You misread me! Not TWO hours, 29 hours. TWENTY NINE HOURS. Colin can kick ME in the ass, I have to say. I think I waited in like for about 10 hours for episode 1...5 hours for tickets, and then another 5 a week later to get into the theater.

I had the millenium falcon too by the way. I used to put my care bears into the top and fly them around the backyard. hee. I was a fun kid, wasn't I?
posted on 3-Jun-2002 1:31:20 AM by Cookie2697
Hey guys!

Thanks for the bumpage! I was just off looking for this thread too!

Bad news though unfortuantely :( The new chapter has been giving me absolute hell. It's only about half done, and I work early tomorrow, so I probably won't finish it until tomorrow night, which means no update until at LEAST Tuesday :( I'm sorry for the delay, but I promise you it will be worth it when it is done *happy*
posted on 4-Jun-2002 12:42:40 PM by Cookie2697
I finished! I finished! *Anne pauses for the wild rounds of applause*

Kidding, kidding.

Now, I hate to give this away in the authors note, and I'm sighing regretfully to have to do this, but I suppose I must. This chapter comes with an NC-17 warning.

To be honest I'm not quite sure whether you guys are going to love me for it or hate me for it, so I'd be curious to know! LOL!

I hope you enjoy...let me know what you think, be it happy giggles, or concerned brow furrowing, or whatever!

Oh, and thanks definitely to Stacey as always for being the world's most kick ass beta buddy...and to Micha and Mel for talking me through my concerns with this chapter. And to Mel for distracting me from writing all day Sunday...lol...don't kill her either! Shopping sprees are occasionally necessary!




Chapter 8

Liz sighed and shivered as she lost herself to Max’s kiss, and all of the feelings and emotions that came with it. Max’s kiss was like a totally new experience for her, indescribable compared to the dozens of ordinary kisses she’d shared with Kyle. It was as if Max was pouring his entire heart and soul into the embrace, his kiss soft and gentle, yet firm and determined. His hand cupped her cheek, the tips of his fingers tangling in her hair, while his thumb traced her cheek, back and forth in a light caress that made her skin tingle.

Suddenly, Liz felt herself desperately wanting to feel Max closer, a deep urge within her begging her to touch him, so she reached up and wrapped her arms around his neck, drawing him closer to her, and Max was forced to readjust his position, from propped up on one elbow above her, to lying flush over her body. To keep from crushing her, he still used both elbows to prop himself up, but it freed both his hands to tangle in her hair, as he pulled her lips harder against his.

Liz moaned softly, drunk from the intensity of Max’s passionate kisses, and he took advantage of the moment to plunge his tongue into her mouth, tasting her hungrily. Liz gasped at the sudden welcomed intrusion, and responded eagerly, as their kisses quickly grew more passionate, probing, and heady.

Liz was shocked when Max suddenly broke the kiss, pulling his lips away and leaning his forehead against hers as he stared deeply into her eyes from a mere inches away. His breathing was ragged against her face, and Liz found herself taking a deep breath of Max-air, and absolutely loving it.

“God, Liz.” He murmured softly, his voice rough with desire. “I love you so much.”

Liz’s eyes widened in surprise at his sudden admission. She had begun to accept it over the course of the night, that Maria’s suspicions could have been true all of this time, but still, to hear him say it was something else all together. And to add to it she could no longer deny that her heart didn’t flutter as she looked into his eyes, or that his kisses weren’t the most amazing sensation she had ever felt in her life.

“Oh Max…” She whispered, tears of joy filling her eyes, as she reached up and threaded her hands through his thick hair, pulling his head down so that she could ever so gently shower his face with a series of tiny kisses, as light and soft as butterfly wings.

His head bowed low, Max found himself gazing down towards Liz’s beautiful figure as her lips rushed across his forehead. Unable to resist, he slid his hands down from her face to her sides, gently grazing the edge of her torso, barely skimming the edges of her breasts.

Liz gasped aloud at the electric feel of Max’s hands on her body, and she felt him stiffen above her and start to pull back at her reaction. Liz felt the loss of his hands immediately, chilling her to her core, and she instantly wanted to feel him again.

“No…” Liz begged softly. “Don’t stop. I…I like the feeling of your hands touching me.”

Max needed no further invitation, and Liz gasped as they roamed her body more freely this time, staring at her shoulders, and running straight down her chest. She gasped as he slid his gentle touch right over her hardening nipples, and all the way down to her waist, before sliding back up her sides.

Liz’s breathing grew more ragged as she watched his eyes follow the movements of his hands, his tender gaze being like a whole different kind of touch to her body. She blushed happily as she could physically feel his eyes scanning her body in desire, before returning to his lips at the end of their ascent. Forcing his eyes away from her lips, and back to lock with her own gaze, his lips soon replaced them, pressing hungrily against her lips as he hungrily drank her in again.

He couldn’t get enough of her. The feel of her beneath him, the taste of her lips…it was so exhilarating to him. His natural hunger for the woman he loved, mixed with the desperation that he had buried deep in the furthest recesses of his mind that this would be his last night with her, made an intoxicating combination. The way she naturally reacted to him just fueled him on further, and he couldn’t stop touching her or kissing her, not if he tried.

Wanting to hear her voice, and her heavy breathing against his ear, Max slid his lips away from hers, slowly kissing a path down her cheek to her neck. Burying his lips in the crook of her neck, Max nipped gently at her skin before sucking it into his mouth and loving the sensitive area with his tongue.

Max couldn’t resist smiling against Liz’s skin as his prayers were answered and she cried out to him.

“Oh God, Max…please…” She begged through her uneven breaths.

“Please what?” He murmured, his voice muffled from where he stayed nestled against her neck.

“Just…don’t stop.” Liz answered him in a distracted voice, as his hands began to roam again. “Don’t stop.” She moaned again.

Her moan turned into a shocked gasp as Max’s hands slid beneath her shirt, sliding up and down against the bare skin of her stomach, arousing her with the feel of his coarse hands against her soft, normally unexposed skin. He knew he probably shouldn’t push any further, but Max couldn’t resist sliding her shirt upward to expose her stomach to the cool night air. Sliding lower against her body, Max placed a lingering kiss against her stomach, right above her belly button, and Liz relinquished another moan, a prize to Max, who smiled again at the sound of it.

Max’s own breathing was labored as he sent a steady stream of air out, swirling over Liz’s bare skin. Turning and looking up her form, he watched her own chest heave in and out in an unsteady rhythm, and was mesmerized by the sight of her slowly beginning to come undone. In that moment, all of his doubts, all of his fears…everything that had happened…just melted away, and all he knew was the reality of that moment. He was with Liz, loving Liz, and there was nowhere else that he wanted to be at that exact moment.

“Liz…I want to see you.” Max pleaded desperately, as his eyes scanned her figure. “All of you…please.”

Slowly his hands began to slide higher under her shirt, and Liz moaned in appreciation, which Max took as a signal to continue. With more ease and determination in his motions, Max slipped Liz’s shirt up and over her head, exposing her lacy bra to him in the dim light of the night. Slowly and cautiously, Max slipped his hands behind Liz’s back, as she arched up against him, giving him room to gently unclasp her bra, and slip it away from her body. Max stared in awe as the light from the moon cast a silvery glow across Liz’s pale skin, making her look even more beautiful than ever…if that was possible.

It was then that Liz lost all coherent thought. All she could see was the stars in the sky, flying wildly around as she completely lost herself in Max’s love. All she could feel was what his hands were doing to her, arousing her, loving her, taking her to newfound heights…places she never even knew it was possible to go with another human being. It was as if Max awakened a side of her that she never knew existed. Every continuing moment that Max’s hands touched her body, she discovered something new about herself…a new feeling that she never knew possible…a new place that had never been touched by another human being.

There was no hesitation in her mind as Max softly asked permission to go further, his fingers playing with the buttons of her jeans. She was delirious on Max’s love, and needed to feel whatever it was that he was making her feel. Was this love? Desire? Lust? Liz had no idea what to call it. All she knew was that it felt incredible, and she wasn’t ready for it to end.

His lips were on the move again, kissing a trail all the way up her skin, back to her lips, where he slowly, languidly claimed her again, kissing her with slow, deliberate strokes that took Liz’s breath away.

Somewhere in her mind, Liz noted the fact that Max had also begun to shed his clothes, joining her in her exposed state, and she found her eyes skimming his impressive figure, wondering idly how she hadn’t noticed before. The thought was lost though, when one of Max’s hands slid lower than ever, gently caressing her most intimate region, and the pleasuring sensation shocked all coherent thoughts from her mind. Unconsciously, Liz arched up against his hand, her body urging him closer, and he responded eagerly, sliding a second finger inside of her tight walls. She gasped at the sensation, his name flying from her lips in the moment, and Liz knew she wanted more…she didn’t want this moment to ever end.

“Please, Max.” She begged again, and he paused, sliding up to rest his forehead against hers again, taking a few deep breaths, before softly murmuring his loving words to her.

“God, Liz…I love you so much.” He breathed softly, his voice raspy with so much desire that it sent a chill of anticipation down Liz’s spine. “I love you so much, and I have always dreamed of this moment.” He pressed his lips softly against hers, his eyes heavy lidded as he drank her in again. “Thank you…” He whispered, pulling back and threading his fingers through her hair, as he stared down into her eyes lovingly. “Thank you for everything.”

The whole world seemed to freeze at that moment, completely fade away for Liz as she stared up into Max’s eyes, her eyes shining in amazement at his shameless, loving admission. She was lost within him…the intensity of his gaze, and the incredible sensation of his body gently sliding inside of her, bringing them together in the most beautiful way possible. He moved slowly into her until he could go no further, and then with one quick thrust, he buried himself within her, breaking her virginity, and making them one.

Liz gasped, wincing in pain at the sudden new sensation. Taking slow, deep breaths, she tried to relax herself, adjusting to the feeling of Max within her, while he seemed to be completely in tune with her, staying still, while gently stroking her hair away from her face, pressing a kiss to her forehead lovingly. It wasn’t long before Liz found herself aching for more, so she gently started moving her hips against Max’s body, signaling to him that she was ready. With slow, steady motions, Max began to move within Liz, gentle, loving thrusts that had Liz gasping at the sensations.

Max moaned aloud in pleasure, before desperately searching out her lips again, and hungrily devouring the familiar taste of their mouths coming together, even as his body discovered a new place inside of Liz that he had never been before. He lost himself within his love for her, desperately trying to show her all of the love that had been buried within him throughout his entire human life.

Their pace quickened, as their passion built. Max’s moans grew louder, even as Liz’s own gasps of amazement mingled with them through the night air, and Max fell over the edge with her name crying out on his lips, as he poured himself within her. She followed him with a breathless moan, crying out as stars flashed before her eyes, and wild sensations claimed her body.

Exhausted, Max rolled to the side, as he tried to steady his ragged breathing. Unable to let go yet though, he pulled Liz up against him, and she curled up against his side, tucking against his warm body. Max smiled softly, as Liz pressed a soft kiss to the center of his chest, her eyes closing languidly, as she slowly dozed off.

~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~

Max lay awake for a while, staring down at her in absolute amazement. What had just happened…it was beyond his wildest dreams and hopes for that night. He had no idea why or how, but somehow Liz had completely given herself over to him.

In the heat of the moment though, he had forgotten completely that she wasn’t his Liz.

His eyes darkened with concern, as he toyed with that thought for a long moment, wondering what was going on within his mind. He knew Liz Parker better than anyone else in the world, and she was not the one night stand type. Maybe even in this world she felt the intense connection between them. Maybe there was a possibility that even through everything, she could still love him someday.

Unable to resist, Max scanned his eyes over her beautiful bare form, illuminated by the glow of the moon, and his gaze lingered on her tight stomach. He hated to think of it at that moment, but he suddenly remembered all that had happened with Tess, and he knew he couldn’t make the same mistake again. Liz’s breathing was heavy with sleep, so he had no fear of her waking and catching him. With a light touch to her skin, Max rested his hand on her stomach, concentrating as it softly began to glow, his powers protecting her from the possibility of any unwanted consequences from their night together. She was leaving for Harvard in the morning, a promising future ahead of her that his Liz never got the opportunity to have.

Max had no idea how this night was going to effect that…whether they were involved now, whether Liz would want to be with him. But he knew one thing for certain. Regardless of whatever was happening between them, he could not hold Liz back this time around. She was going to live her dream as a Harvard biologist, and she was going to be absolutely amazing.

Smiling softly, Max knew that he had nothing to be worried about for the time being. They would talk once morning came.

Sliding his arms around her, and tucking his head into her shoulder with a soft kiss, Max slowly joined her, drifting off into the world of dreams.



posted on 4-Jun-2002 3:21:40 PM by Cookie2697
I've been sitting here tapping my fingers and toying with whether or not to leave an author's note. I think I will ;)

I'm not going to ass around here. This was NOT my initial plan for this fic. I did not plan on ANYTHING physical happening between them at all as a matter of fact.

But then me and my beta had a long talk about it, and we both decided that this would make a good twist in the long run. So yeah, just so you guys know, this isn't just me trying to throw in NC-17 for the hell of it or something. It DOES have a purpose.

Is it too early for them? Yeah...it is. That's the idea. Max is caught up in the moment of being with Liz, and the fear of losing Liz...and Liz, well, would you stop him? ROTF! Kidding, kidding.

No really, I spent a long time trying to go over motivations and decide whether it's believable, and I know it's hard because of their present situation, but I assure you...it will be okay in the long run. Well, sort of. I think the next chapter will really effect your view on this one.

ANYWAY...that's it for now. I'm glad you guys are enjoying, even if it's very sudden, and very unexpected ;)
posted on 4-Jun-2002 11:08:30 PM by Cookie2697
quote:
Watcher Tara originally wrote:

I'm glad Max had the presence of mind to 'fix' it so Liz will be consequence free from their one-night stand. (Too bad he couldn't have thought of it the last time 'round - but that's another story.)


lol..thanks for noticing that Tara. We learn from our mistakes after all, right?

And yes, no false admissions. I'm not going to lie about that either. Liz doesn't KNOW what it is she's feeling for Max yet...all she knows is that she got caught up in the moment, and HE loves her.

Glad you're enjoyed...and thanks to EVERYONE for the feedback *happy*
posted on 8-Jun-2002 1:21:54 AM by Cookie2697
Hey guys!

I'm SO sorry about the delay! I had wanted to be updated by now...but it's been an odd week between work and being sick, and all of that. *sigh*

I'm aiming for Monday at the moment. Hoping to write tomrrow morning and get it to my beta by Sunday. Wish me luck *happy*

Scottie - I love that you loved Max-air. I was trying to think of a writerly description for it, and I just couldn't do it. My mind just kept going back to Max-air. lol. I thought it sounded kind of silly, but I couldn't help it! I was stuck on it! It gave me the giggles *happy*
posted on 9-Jun-2002 10:16:28 PM by Cookie2697
Okay...so I'm a bit early again *happy* Nice, huh?

Well...I'm not going to say anything...I'm just curious to see your reactions to this!

Thank you guys SO much for the fantastic feedback...your comments mean the world to me...and please don't kill me! *whimper*


Chapter 9

A low rumbling noise from beside her startled Liz awake, her eyes snapping open wildly. She stiffened at the feel of the body lying beside her, and slowly, so not to disturb him, rolled to the side and sat up, turning to look at him.

Max’s entire body was stiff and tense, and although he hadn’t awoken, he curled up into a fetal position after Liz moved away, rolling back and forth restlessly. Liz shivered at the sight of him, and reached around wildly to find her clothes. She was pulling her tank top back over her head when she heard the noise again. This time she was completely alert, her mind cleared of the grogginess from earlier, and there was no doubt in her mind that it was Max.

Liz paused, as she slid her tank top down along her stomach. She studied Max’s figure more closely…his restless movements, his tense muscles, and as another more audible moan rumbled from his throat, the situation became apparent to her.

Max was having a nightmare.

It was his moans that gave it away. Only a few hours earlier, Liz had heard Max moan in anticipation, in pleasure…but these moans were something else entirely. They were moans of agony, fear, pain, and loss.

Liz’s heart went out to Max, but she had no idea how to help him, how to comfort him. Her doubts proved to her just how little she knew about Max Evans. She wrapped her arms around herself awkwardly as she watched Max toss and turn. What were his deepest, darkest fears? What did he dream about at night?

Who was Max Evans?

“No…Liz…”

Liz’s whole body stiffened as Max’s cries reached her ears, suddenly growing much clearer. He cried her name fearfully, calling out in pain. Liz’s eyes widened as she stared at him in shock, her own heart suddenly freezing in alarm, even as he called out her name again.

“Liz…” He moaned again, his voice cracking with love through his agony. “God, no…I can’t leave you!”

His words startled Liz even further as she leapt to her feet, her heart pounding as she stared down at Max fearfully. She hesitated a long moment, watching his hectic movements, before grabbing her purse and taking off running down the rocky path towards the jeep.

As soon as she was out of earshot, Liz began digging through her purse for her cell phone. She found it quickly, pulling it out, right as she tripped, stumbling over a stray rock, and lost her hold on it, the phone going flying.

“Damn…” Liz swore under her breath, as she regained her balance. She quickly searched around, finding her phone lying a few feet away, thankfully undamaged. Flipping it open, Liz quickly began to dial, and breathed a sigh of relief when the phone started ringing.

“Come on, come on…” Liz begged into the phone. “Pick it up already!”

She had never been so relieved in her life to here her friend’s groggy voice groan out, “Hello…”

“Maria…it’s me. I need your help.” Liz insisted into the phone.

“Liz…babe, it’s 5am.” Maria whined into Liz’s ear. “What the hell do you need from me at 5am.”

“I need a ride.” Liz explained. “Please Maria…just come pick me up right now. I really, really need you.”

“Of course, Liz…anything.” Maria agreed, concern replacing the whiny grogginess that had marred her voice only a few seconds before. “Where are you.”

“Out in the desert.” Liz explained. “You know that weird rock formation out by Puhlman Ranch? That’s where I am. I’m walking towards the highway…I’ll meet you there.”

“I got it.” Maria responded quickly. “Liz…are you okay?”

“I’ll explain when you get here.” Liz insisted. “Just come quickly, Maria. Please.”

“I’m on my way.”

The moment that Liz hit flat ground she took off running. The cool night air was stinging her cheeks, her hair flying wildly behind her as she jogged top speed down the long dirt road towards the highway, but she ignored it all, just desperate to escape.

Her mind was running even wilder though, as she mentally relived everything that had happened that night, and silently chastised herself for her irresponsible actions. Liz had absolutely no idea what she had been thinking…the fact of the matter was that she hadn’t been thinking. Max had been acting absolutely amazing…taking her breath away with his beautiful words, and she had just gotten caught up in the moment. In the moment itself it was absolutely amazing…one of the most incredible experiences of her life, but one that she had not been ready for.

The fact of the matter was that she didn’t know Max Evans and regardless of how much she may want to, she could never know Max Evans. She was leaving for Harvard…her dream…and nothing was going to stop her from it.

Not even the most amazingly romantic night of her life.

~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

Liz had never been so relieved in her life as the moment that she saw the familiar headlight of the jetta approaching in the distance about twenty minutes later. Maria slowed the car to a halt beside her, and Liz swiftly jumped in, as her friend speeded away.

The two friends were silent for a long moment. Liz had buckled herself in, and then just sat there staring at her hands for a long moment. Maria, sensing her friend’s emotional turmoil, let her have a few minutes of reflexive silence, before the questions came.

“So, Liz…what’s going on?” Maria pushed gently. “What are you doing out here in the middle of the night alone.”

“I wasn’t alone.” Liz replied softly, turning and staring out her window at the vast, open desert that was rushing past in the dim light of the early dawn. Although she was in Maria’s car, speeding back towards town, her mind was still out in the desert with Max, as she found herself wondering if he was okay, if he had woken to find her gone yet.

“Oh.” Maria stated in disbelief. Realization suddenly dawned across her mind as she cried out a shocked, “Ohhhhh!” Slowing the car and pulling it off the road to a stop, Maria turned to her friend in amazement. “You weren’t still with Max, were you?”

Pulling herself back from her daze, Liz finally turned to meet her friend’s eyes, before nodding and confirming her friend’s suspicions.

“Liz.” Maria started in what she hoped was a firm voice. “What were you doing out in the desert with Max Evans until 5am?”

Liz just met Maria’s gaze head on, her face expressionless, her silence alone speaking volumes.

“Liz…you didn’t!” Maria finally exploded. “Tonight? With Max Evans?”

“I wasn’t even thinking.” Liz whispered sadly. “All logical reasoning tells me that I made the biggest mistake of my life. I barely know him, Maria. I’m leaving for Harvard today. There’s no possible way that anything could ever come of it.”

“But…” Maria urged her friend on.

“But it was the single most romantic night of my life.” Liz cried out, tears stinging her eyes and threatening to fall as she admitted the truth to her best friend. “It was absolutely wonderful, Maria. Max is so amazing. Why didn’t I pay more attention to him all of these years? What was I thinking wasting all of my time with Kyle when I could have had something more?”

“Liz…you were thinking that you had your life under control.” Maria reminded her friend gently. “You were happy. You like control.” Maria paused for a moment, her eyes searching her best friend’s distraught face in concern, before she spoke again.

“That’s exactly why you’re feeling this way, Liz. Because you’re so used to having everything under control that now that you’ve done something totally out of character, it’s thrown you for a loop. But sometimes that happens, Liz. Sometimes life throws you a curve, and you just have to learn to deal with the consequences of your actions.”

Liz smiled weakly at her friend, nodding in agreement with her. “When did you become so smart, Maria?”

“When did you become so stupid, Liz!” Maria shot back with a giggle. “God, my best friend, Liz Parker, Miss Predictability, just had random sex with some guy! Please tell me you used protection, Liz.”

Liz suddenly paled at Maria’s words, and her stomach turned nervously. She took a few deep breaths, trying to control the nauseous feeling that was threatening to overtake her.

“Oh God…” Liz moaned, dropping her face to her lap and hiding her face in her hands. “Oh my God…how could I be so stupid?”

“Liz…you didn’t?” Maria gasped. “What were you thinking?”

“I already told you, Maria! I wasn’t thinking!” Liz exploded.

“Liz…promise me the moment you get to Massachusetts that you’ll find a doctor and get an official pregnancy test.” Maria insisted.

“I will.” Liz promised. “And I’ll let you know as soon as I know the results.” She swore to her friend.

“And if something goes wrong, I swear to you, Liz, I will be on the first plane to Boston.”

“You are so good to me.” Liz cried, leaning over to catch her friend in a warm, tight hug. The two friends clung to each other for a long time, reaffirming their close bond, and in a way, saying goodbye.

~~~~~~ ~~~~~

Max awoke with a start, sitting up quickly as he cried Liz’s name aloud in fear. He was sweating profusely and reached up to wipe his brow, trying to collect his wild, fearful thoughts and calm himself down.

The nightmare hadn’t faded away yet, still consuming his entire being even though he was awake. Although the images were already blurring in his memory, the feelings that accompanied them were loud and clear, and he knew without a doubt that he was remembering his last moments with Liz…leaving her behind in the cave.

Guilt racked through his emotions, consuming him as for the first time it really struck him what he had done to her. He had left her behind, abandoned her, as he went off and had another chance at life. Assuming that she didn’t immediately cease to exist, which in and of itself was a cruelty to the world, she was injured, bleeding, in pain…and she had no escape. The air force waited for her outside the cave…death was imminent if she tried to escape. Yet her only other option was to die of starvation in the cave.

He had killed the love of his life.

Raking a hand through his hair, Max shook his head, trying desperately to shake the thought away. As he pulled his hand away, he blinked in surprise, taking in his surroundings for the first time. He had been so consumed by fear and guilt that he had completely forgotten where he was…what had happened.

It wasn’t every day that he awoke completely naked in the middle of the desert.

“Liz…” He murmured under his breath, as the amazing experiences of the night before came flying back into his mind. He and Liz had made love…he and the Liz of this world who barely even knew who he was.

Scanning the surrounding areas with a quick glance, Max was surprised to see that Liz was nowhere in sight.

“Oh my God…Liz.” He groaned again, suddenly realizing what had happened.

No one knew Liz Parker better than Max Evans, and he groaned, rubbing his eyes in agony. He had allowed things to get out of control…and knowing Liz she was probably freaking out right now at her own actions.

Either that or on her way to the airport.

Sighing, Max reached beside him and slowly began to get dressed. She was gone…he was sure of it. He couldn’t even feel her anymore. This morning would be the start of an eternity of misery without the love of his life.

~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~

It was two days before Max allowed himself to make his way across town towards the Crashdown. Two days of answering Michael and Isabel’s questions to the best of his ability, and trying desperately not to linger on the one thing he couldn’t not linger on…his night of passion with Liz Parker.

The bell jingled as he pushed the door opening, signaling his entrance to the mostly empty café, and Max spied a few familiar faces, sitting together at the bar. He knew he shouldn’t, but he couldn’t help turning and making his way across the room to where his two one time friends sat staring curiously at him.

Max had no idea what to even say to them, so he sat down at an empty stool beside them, crossing his arms on the bar and staring down at them silently.

“What can I get for you, Max?” Maria asked softly, getting up from her seat, and stepping slowly towards him.

“I recommend an orange soda on the rocks.” Alex suggested. “It always helps with the heartache.”

Max smiled wryly at the friend that he hadn’t seen in over a year, and nodded his agreement. “Orange soda on the rocks it is, then.”

“Coming right up.” Maria piped in a falsely cheerful voice, heading around the counter to the soda machine.

“So it’s that obvious, huh?” Max asked Alex with a sigh. Shaking his head in amusement at himself. “I’m just walking around with that ‘I just got my heart crushed’ look?”

“Well, you look like you’re brooding.” Alex determined with a laugh. “Which isn’t anything new for you, Max. But all of that aside, Liz did tell us what happened between you.”

“She did, huh?” Max responded softly.

“Well, we are her best friends, after all.”

“What did she say?” Max wondered sadly. “That I took her out to the desert and robbed her of her innocence? That I took advantage of her?”

“No.” Maria replied, approaching the two guys and sliding a soda across the counter to Max. “She said that she had an amazing time with you…that it was the most romantic night of her life.”

“She did?” Max peeked up at Maria from his drink with a hopeful expression on his face.

“God, you’re so far gone.” Maria chuckled at him. “Yes, Max, she really did say that. She felt horrible for leaving you the way she did, but you have to understand about Liz. She’s a control freak, and when she feels like she’s lost control she quite honestly, freaks. She didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“I know that.” Max responded honestly. “I’m not upset about it at all. I just miss her like crazy. I just wish things had been different. That we had more time…”

“Max, man…” Alex smiled at Max with a goofy grin. “To risk sounding completely cheesy…if it’s meant to be, it will be. Things will work themselves out in time. You just have to be patient.”

“I know.” Max agreed.

“She’ll be back.” Alex reminded Max. “Someday.”



posted on 9-Jun-2002 11:03:59 PM by Cookie2697
LOL Jez! I'm not trying to write TATROOL here or anything! LOL! Max took care of that...remember? See Part 8! But Liz doesn't KNOW that Max took care of that ;)
posted on 11-Jun-2002 10:15:52 PM by Cookie2697
Ahhh, Linda...you know me too well ;)

Jane...yes, no, maybe? How about a sort of? Does that work?

I'm going to try to get you guys to a slightly less painful spot before I go...we still have 3 weeks...and although I AM going to LA for 4 days with Linda (grins at Linda) I have a week between LA and Europe that I'm not doing ANYTHING...no work, no nothing. So I'll probably write a lot then. Hopefully get to that point ;) At least by then I can guarentee that you'll have a better idea of where I'm taking this ;)

Scottie...I love that you got the FMax analogy too. Admittedly, *I* initially didn't even notice that...but one of my friends in my writers group pointed it out to me, and I was like...HEY! You're so right! The pain of knowing all this STUFF...this whole LIFE of Liz...and not being able to tell her...what do you think? Future Max cracked...maybe Present Max will eventually too ;) Of course...he has to be AROUND Liz to crack, and seeing that she's 3000 miles away.... *Anne grins evilly*

Actually...I'll save you one note of torture...how about that? A bunch of you asked if Liz is pregnant. The answer is no. At the end of Chapter 8, Max took care of that. But Liz was asleep while Max took care of that, so she doesn't KNOW that Max took care of it...so hence why Liz worried. But no baby. No worries about that.

Lana...a big fluffy bunny, huh? Hmmm...I don't know. Max doesn't exactly strike me as a big fluffy bunny kind of guy...and Liz? Well, most dorms don't allow pets. So I'm not sure if that would be possible. But I'll try to give you the next best thing...er...a new chapter soon.

I'll admit I was bad...last night I reread the first 20 chapters of Captive Hearts instead of writing...I just couldn't help it. But I'll try to be a bit more on track tonight so that we can get an update soon, okay?

Now I'll stop teasing you guys and go away.

Thanks for the fantastic feedback, y'all. You are awesome and TOTALLY make my day.

posted on 13-Jun-2002 5:31:03 PM by Cookie2697
Hey ;)

Update is a few hours away probably...I just need to do some editing!
posted on 13-Jun-2002 5:37:12 PM by Cookie2697
Yippie! Linda's updating! *happy snoopy dance*
posted on 13-Jun-2002 7:20:35 PM by Cookie2697
Thanks for the awesome feedback, y'all! I really, really appreciate it, and am so glad you're enjoying!



Chapter 10

5 years later…

Liz sat on the airplane, tapping her fingers and leaning her head against the window, staring out into the murky blackness, as she tried to adjust to the odd sensation of the plane thrusting upwards into the sky. There was a dizzying sensation as the plane surged gradually higher, her body trying to adjust to the new elevation, and Liz closed her eyes, taking a deep breath of recirculated air, as she tried to regain control over the odd sensations the takeoff threw over her body.

Liz breathed a sigh of relief when the seat belt warning light finally flickered off, signaling the end of the takeoff, and she was finally free to move around a bit. Reaching under her seat, Liz slid her bag out to access it, and pulled a flat, leather folder out, opening it to slide the letter that she had read a dozen times in the last two weeks out to reread it again…the letter that had changed her life. The letter, that she had to keep reminding herself, was the sole purpose that she was returning to her childhood home of Roswell, New Mexico after being away for five years of school at Harvard.

Five years, and not once had she returned to the town she grew up in. Even most holidays she spent studying, and writing papers, thesis statements, reading up on the latest findings in molecular biology. Summers were spent catching up on extra classes, or working internships at nearby science labs. Sometimes she ventured down to Florida, meeting her parents at her aunt’s house, and sometimes her parents, Maria, or Alex came to visit her up in Massachusetts. Sometimes they traveled together down to New York City, or to other favorite spots along the Eastern Seaboard, but never once to New Mexico.

Liz had begun to think that she would never return from Harvard, when she was offered a position doing research at a lab right on the Harvard Campus directly after graduation a year before, but she was misled and disappointed to discover the truth behind the job. For an entire year, she had sat at a desk processing and logging data that ‘experienced’ scientists had found in the lab, never once touching an experiment or doing anything hands on.

Her dream shattered, Liz started researching jobs online, and sending out resumes to labs all over the country, and she was shocked when an unlisted job offer came directly to her, in the form of the now-familiar letter in her hands.

6/20/07

Dear Ms. Parker,

I have reviewed your online resume and am interested in offering you a position in our laboratory. You have an impressive background through school, with a Harvard degree on top of a series of scientific internships and positions through your time there. To say that we are excited to hopefully meet with you is an understatement.

The Brown Institute is a small laboratory outside of Roswell, New Mexico that specializes in genetic research, and other forms of microbiology. We’re a government-funded project, doing top secret medical development, and are looking for new scientists to work hands on in our lab, starting on our new project that begins the first week of July.

We would like to set up a phone interview with you immediately, and if all goes well, we can put you on the quickest plane to New Mexico. Any other assistance that you need in getting settled in with us is easily an option too.

We’ll look forward to hearing from you soon.


Mark Thompson
Head of Research and Development



After receiving the letter, the rest all happened so fast. Within five days, she was on the phone with Dr. Thompson, accepting the job, and organizing her arrival. The job was like her dream, not only hands on research and development, but also close to her roots, so that she could return to her loved ones. Dr. Thompson had been amazingly supportive about her coming, going above and beyond his duty by arranging her flight, and even setting her up with her own apartment in Roswell.

Liz had quickly dropped everything, apologetically giving notice at her current job, and quickly packing her personal belongings. Dr. Thompson had organized for most of her things to be trucked across country to meet her in New Mexico, so with a large suitcase and a duffel bag in tow, Liz had set off that morning for the airport, flying across the country from Boston to Dallas for a quick layover, before continuing with the evening flight connecting her to Albuquerque.

Sighing happily, Liz slid the letter back into the folder, before sliding out the large, brown envelope that had arrived in the mail two days earlier. It was a copy of the contract she had signed for her apartment, as well as the address and keys, so that she could go straight there when her flight arrived.

Now it was just a short matter of time, before she would be back in her hometown at last.

The flight from Dallas to Albuquerque was very short, and it was only a few minutes before the seat belt warning light flashed back on, and the pilot droned out that they were beginning their descent into their destination airport. Liz smiled, closing the leather notebook and sliding it back into her bag, which she slid back beneath her seat as she steadied herself for the landing.

Closing her eyes, Liz breathed in a deep breath of anticipation, as she felt the elevation slowly drop.

After the nightmare of the last year of her life, there were a million and a half reasons why she should be finally returning home at last…and the fact that it was all handed to her so easily made it feel too good to be true.

Of course…the was another reason too…an unspoken reason, that she had been afraid to admit out loud, for fear that she might actually come to believe that it was a deciding factor to her. It was a childish schoolgirl’s hope…a dream that she had dreamt for five years now without every actually voicing it aloud. The dream of love, and passion, and romance…and a sense of belonging that she had only felt for one night of her entire life.

As she breathed in the cool air around her, Liz relished in the memories that came rushing back to her, clear as the day they happened, and found herself wondering what Roswell, New Mexico had in store for her this time around.

~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

The plane landed trauma free, and Liz soon found herself sliding into her small rental car, provided by the lab of course, hitting the road towards Roswell. The sun had long since set, and the stars were peeking through the night sky, the moon shining brightly. Liz knew that it would be late by the time she arrived in town, and although she was dying to see her family, and Maria, she was exhausted from her long day traveling.

Turning on the overhead light, Liz quickly skimmed the directions to make sure she knew which complex she was moving into, and soon flipped it off, turning onto the highway and heading into town.

Boston, like most college towns, had a booming night life to entertain the restless students at it’s various colleges. Even though it was only 11pm when Liz turned onto Roswell’s Main Street, early by Boston standards, the small town she grew up in was already dead and sleeping.

Liz sighed nostalgically as she studied the familiar territory, while making note of the very few changes in the town. Her eyes brightened happily at the familiar sight of the dimmed Crashdown Café sign, hanging above her parent’s restaurant. She slowed the car a bit, her gaze lingering on the closed restaurant that she knew she’d be going to first thing in the morning for breakfast, before speeding up and turning left down Badillo Street a few blocks later. One right turn and two lefts later, and Liz was pulling her car into an empty space in front of her new apartment complex.

Reaching beside her into her bag once more, Liz pulled out her familiar leather folder, pulling out the envelope with her apartment information once more to confirm the address, before sliding her new keys from the envelope, and stepping out of the car. Popping the trunk with her keys, Liz pulled out her large duffel bag, tossing it over her shoulder with a grunt of effort, and grabbing her rolling suitcase as well, before shutting her car and slowly making her way up the walk to the entrance of the two story building.

One key allowed her to make her way into the building, and she studied her surroundings with interest for a moment. There was nothing special about the building, although it was a palace compared to the dorms she had called home for four years of college. The walls were painted a simple cream color, and the worn carpet was a dull brown shade. Liz couldn’t help grinning in amusement when the elevator doors matched the floor, and she hit the button, waiting just a moment before the doors slid open.

Struggling with her bags, Liz stepped through the double doors, and was about to hit her floor number when she heard a pair of footsteps running quickly towards her, and a low voice called out to her.

“Hold the elevator! Please!”

Leaving her suitcase stray in the corner, Liz thrust her hand in front of the closing doors, signaling them to reopen, which they quickly did, and Liz waited patiently as the voice neared her.

“Thank you so much.” The man breathed in relief. “This thing is painfully slow, I would have been waiting for ten minutes for it to come back down.”

“No problem.” Liz replied warmly, eyeing her suitcase idly as the man stepped into the elevator. Stepping away from the door, Liz glanced up towards her companion, and her whole body froze in shock. How she didn’t recognize his voice, Liz did not know, but the moment her eyes met his, her entire world shattered in an instant.

“Max…” She gasped softly, her eyes glued to his in disbelief.

He stared back at her in amazement, as if he could barely believe that she was actually there right before his eyes. Liz couldn’t tell for sure, but for an instant she thought she saw tears of happiness shining in his eyes, before he blinked them away. His eyes scanned up and down her figure, as if trying to drink in the image of her to cherish forever, and Liz found herself blushing at the openness of his gaze. For the second time that night, the memories of the most romantic night of her life came flashing back to her, and Liz found herself completely caught up in them.

“Liz?” He asked, his voice soft, but loaded down with amazement. “God, it’s really you! What are you doing here?”

“Moving in, actually.” Liz explained dumbly, as she pulled herself out of the memories and tried to focus on Max again. She shook her head in disgust at herself for her own inability to produce words. “That is, I just moved back to Roswell. I got a job offer at a research lab outside town, and now here I am!”

“That’s amazing.” Max exclaimed happily. There was a tinge of excitement and anticipation in his voice as he murmured a sincere, “Congratulations, Liz.”

“Thank you.” Liz replied warmly, blushing under his instant support. “It’s really good to be back.”

“It’s really good to see you again.” He admitted softly, and Liz couldn’t help blushing under his intense gaze. It seemed as if he sensed her discomfort or something, because he quickly changed the subject. “So what room are you moving into?”

“Um, I’m in number 215.” Liz answered.

“Really?” Max shook his head in disbelief, a small smile creeping up onto his face. “It appears we’re going to be neighbors. I live in number 218. We’re right across the hallway from each other.”

“That’s great.” Liz replied honestly pleased. “It’ll be nice to have a friendly face around…other than my parents, Maria, and Alex of course.”

“Have you seen any of them yet?” Max asked curiously.

“No…I just arrived. I figured I’d see them in the morning.” Liz explained. “I’m kind of tired.”

As if agreeing with her, the elevator bell suddenly dinged out, signaling their arrival at their floor, and the doors slid open.

Liz turned to grab her heavy suitcase, and was surprised when Max quickly jumped in front of her.

“Let me help you with that.” Max offered quickly.

“Thank you.” Liz smiled, unable to refuse his generous offer, as he took the lead, showing her the way down the long hallway towards their apartments. Liz watched him walking before her, her eyes glued to his back, her lips curling up in a pleased smile.

She had hoped to get to see Max again, but never once had she expected something like this. Living near him, potentially seeing him on a daily basis. Liz had no idea what would come of their friendly interaction, but she couldn’t help hoping that maybe something more would come…and hopefully soon.

“Here we are!” Max cheerfully called out, as he stopped, setting her suitcase down in front of her door.

“Thanks.” Liz smiled at him. “I really appreciate your help, Max.”

“It was no problem.” Max insisted. “I was walking this way, and you were walking this way, you know?”

“Well, I appreciate it all the same.” Liz grinned. “And for now, I’m going to bid you goodnight, and go in there and get some sleep. I’ll see you later, Max.”

“Goodnight, Liz.” Max nodded to her, backing away slowly, his eyes never leaving hers, until he reached his own door and disappeared into his own apartment. Liz stood there still, watching until his door shut completely, before sighing and unlocking her own door.

Flipping on the light switch by the door, Liz glanced around, surprised at the sight of a mostly furnished apartment before her eyes. She had been expecting to crash in an empty room for the night, but instead found herself face to face with a kitchen table, a couch, a refrigerator humming from the kitchen, and a television sitting in the corner. Liz crossed the room to the kitchen table, surprised to see a note waiting for her.

Ms. Parker,

Welcome to Roswell. I trust that your flight went smoothly.

I will be looking forward to meeting with you at the lab tomorrow at 10am, until then, feel free to take your time getting settled in. I hope the apartment meets your standards.

-Dr. Thompson


Liz shook her head in disbelief. He hoped it would meet her standards? It was above and beyond anything she had ever expected. Did they think they needed to impress her or something? Were they trying to bribe her into being a good worker?

Shaking her head at the note, Liz dropped it, and made her way back to the single bedroom, which was completely furnished, a beautifully made bed that looked amazingly cozy to the physically exhausted Liz.

Dropping to the bed without even changing, Liz curled up and drifted away to a deep sleep.




[ edited 2 time(s), last at 13-Jun-2002 7:25:50 PM ]
posted on 14-Jun-2002 12:48:44 AM by Cookie2697
ahhhh, Jez! You are the only person that caught my subtle Covina references! hee!

And Tara...uber paranioa, eh? YOU? NEVER!!!! (kidding, kidding)

Hi Kara! *waves* I sent you an e-mail, but heck...I loved all your questions about Max, and never fear! They will be answered in the very next chapter *happy* So keep watching!

Thanks for the great feedback everyone!
posted on 15-Jun-2002 12:06:48 AM by Cookie2697
Hey Everyone!!!

I wanted to say a huge thank you to EVERYONE for the fantastic feedback! I don't usually do this because I have a hard time replying, but I'm feeling inspirational tonight, so I'll give it a try! Here goes...

mandyhanford - Thanks for all of your constant enthusiastic bumpage! I really appreciate it *happy* Always brings a grin to my face!

Linda - Hey you!!! Excuse me while I snerk at you. Max? Married? Yeah, right. LOL. Regardless of whether she freaked and ran, I'm pretty sure that Max made it abundantly clear to Liz that he's in love with her after that night...now the question is: "Will Liz continue to believe it?" hee! Now...I may be asking for a death threat here with all of my evilness...but shall I remind you that you have an advantage over everyone else here ;) You get to see me in less than 2 weeks, and you get to try and twist my arm into revealing something to you. hee. I won't make it easy on you...but you can try ;)

abbi - hee! Ack is right ;) None of y'all thought we would jump that far, did ya? Am I allowed to chuckle evily? Anyway...weird vibe from Dr. Thompson...hmmm...well we're just going to have to see what happens, won't we ;) Thanks for reading!

jane - hee! Thanks for the yippie! That's not something I get everyday! It brought a grin to my face *happy* Hmmm...Max flying to Cambridge to spy on Liz...a little stalkerish, isn't it? LOL! But then again, no more than sitting in the Crashdown watching her every day. I suppose we'll have to see what Max was up to, won't we ;) lol...and yup! I was all over AMG the moment you posted! hee!

AJK001 - Hey you *happy* As always it's GREAT to see you here! Actually, I agree with you...Liz shouldn't think Max will have anything to do with her...but it's late and she's sleepy from traveling ;) I have a feeling she just might start thinking clearly later and have an "oh shit!" Moment when she thinks about Max...maybe a little guilt trip too? We'll have to see!

crazeesmilee - FBI like, huh? hee! What's FBI like about them? Scientific research...government funded...genetics...in Roswell New Mexico... *Anne shrugs* Well, heck! I don't see it! *big*

Klaatu42 - Hey! How are you? Well...I'm sorry to worry you! I'm not trying to...really...I swear! I definitely agree though. This Max is NOT naive. He's been through EVERYTHING that S3 Max has been through, on top of losing his one true love FOREVER. He's a pretty aware guy.

Danielle - Neighborly sleepovers? *giggle* That WOULD be fun, wouldn't it? However, I'll admit that it isn't going to happen QUITE yet. However neighborly interactions is definitely possible ;)

Consultant Tam - Isn't it nice when those lonely, painful years just fade away into nothingness? LOL! Seriously though...there will be a bit of rememberance on the last 5 years. Regardless of whether it was quick for us, it WAS long and painful for them!

Kara - Hey! Package in the mail ;) I know I already replied once...twice...but yeah...more info on Max is still to come *happy* And Maria and Alex are coming soon as well. You have some GREAT advice to Liz there: if something seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. Too bad Liz hasn't learned that lesson. *Evil grin*

Tara - The Firm, huh? Oddly enough, I've only seen the movie once. I loved the book so much that the movie seemed pale in comparison. All the same, we'll have to see what kind of a set up it is, eh? Girlfriend? Max? *snort* I'm still stuck on uber-paranoid over here too. Are you on De's egroup? Just curious. I left you a semi-note over there about it...although I wasn't sure if you're there or not, so it wasn't anything huge. LOL.

Jez - hehehehehehe...you? Giggles? NEVER! Yup, yup...Badillo Street...you and Woodwinds are the only ones who caught that little slip in. Embarrassing is right...hee!

roswellluver - 5 years apart IS sad...but heck, you know what they say! Absence makes the heart grow fonder *happy*

Araxie - Hey now, who says they were miserable? Just lonely and apart *happy* Liz lived a pretty full life away from Max, between school, and traveling around the eastern seaboard. Lots more soon, don't worry! I don't want to leave you guys hanging for TOO long!

Woodwinds - hehe! Yup...Covina references are great fun, aren't they? I'm actually going to be in Covina in about 2 weeks, and I'm going to have to FACE the REALITY of the UFO Center being gone. I think I'm going to cry. I almost did the first time I saw the Crashdown sign gone. *sigh* Ahhhh...as for Liz...I think bright flashing lights in her face might be a bit too ignorable ;) We'll see though!

ILYMEFOREVER - Thanks for the feedback *happy* I agree...5 years IS a long time, but one thing I CAN always say is that Max is pretty far gone. He KNOWS Liz is the only one for him...he's not going to run off and screw Tess or something in this reality. He knows better this time around *happy* My Max is a very cool intelligent guy!

frenchkiss70 - Ahhh...how could they last that long... Well, remember, Liz doesn't know Max very well, so living without him is doable. I have a feeling it's Max who might have had a little more trouble....but we'll see what he's thinking in the next chapter ;)

moa - hee! Yet is DEFINITELY the key word there. Liz doesn't know, but she will in time I have a feeling. Thanks for reading *happy*

Belevndreamstoo - hee! ARRRRGH is right ;) Daddy? Eek! With who? No Tess...bad Tess. Max is not going there. No Tess appearences. Ick.

alienchica - Seeing each other often? I have a feeling it will be hard to avoid ;) Max's job? Coming in the next chapter. As for the rest of the gang...more info on them will come soon too. Don't worry...they're all still around ;) Some will appear sooner than others though.

Lana - Hey you! How's the weather out there! I wouldn't want it to rain on you and put out your fire or something! Hmmm...Max unshaken by her appearance? Maybe it's an act ;) Maybe he didn't want to freak her out again. OR maybe he was expecting her! hee! I'm just teasing you...you'll find out in the next chapter.

BelieveInTrueLove - Screen name so not to confuse the various Janes ;) What's the catch? hee! Do you think I'm going to answer that! *giggle* Yes, yes....I can be mean, but don't worry! Questions will be answered about Max and Mark Thompson too...hopefully sooner rather than later ;)

Shelly - hee! You posted while I was writing this monster feedback to feedback! Getting Max's POV is a must...don't worry. Next on my plan as a matter of fact! Thanks for reading as always *happy* I always love hearing from you!

WHEW....that was a mouthful! Thanks for reading everyone! Just so you know, I'm aiming for hopefully Monday or Tuesday for an update...so keep your eyes peeled for another chapter at the beginning of the week!

Y'all rock!
-AnneB!

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 15-Jun-2002 12:08:06 AM ]
posted on 20-Jun-2002 7:56:08 PM by Cookie2697
eek! I'm so, so, so sorry that I've been slacking. My brother is visiting from Seattle and I've been spending a lot of time with him, and I was working on the epilogue to Cross Wired, which I *just* finished last night, so I'm hoping to get on the next chapter tonight...I'm not sure WHEN I can promise an update yet, but we'll see how it goes! Any time now!
posted on 23-Jun-2002 1:06:53 PM by Cookie2697
Hey guys!

I just wanted to let you know that the update is ALMOST ready...it'll DEFINITELY be up tomorrow!

hugs,
Anne
posted on 24-Jun-2002 6:46:48 PM by Cookie2697
Hey guys *happy*

Sorry it took so long this time around! I had a fantastic visit with my brother...he's gone now. *sniff* Just so you know, I'm leaving Thursday morning to go to LA for the weekend *big*. I'm HOPING to get another update up before I go...so keep your eyes open for it! Otherwise it won't be until at least Monday then!

Thanks for all your wonderful feedback, and I hope you continue to enjoy!


Chapter 11

Max slumped against the door after he shut it, staring blankly into the distance as he tried desperately to clear his muddled mind. Seeing her again, after waiting for so long had been intoxicating. He hadn’t been prepared for her sudden reappearance into his life. And even now, with two walls and a hallway separating them, he was still effected by her close proximity.

In some corner of his mind he acknowledged that Michael was saying something to him, but his mind was completely gone as he relived the moment that he saw her again, holding the elevator door for him like some kind of angel. She had grown up while she was away. Liz wasn’t the high school girl that he had fallen in love with, nor was she the seasoned fighter that he had left behind in the cave. She was an entirely new woman for him to discover, and he was instantly captivated by the changes in her.

He noted her tired eyes, but he couldn’t ignore the surprised pleasure shining in her gaze when she recognized him. She was happy to see him again. And he, in return, was overjoyed.

Still, he didn’t want to scare her away like he did before, so he played it cool, not bringing up their past, greeting her like an old friend. Learning that they would be neighbors just secured his hope. He had plenty of time to win her over this time around…to show her that his feelings hadn’t faded.

“Maxwell…Max? What’s wrong with you?”

Michael’s insistent voice snapped Max back into reality. He turned his head focusing his gaze on his roommate, shaking his head at himself in amusement.

“Sorry Michael. I didn’t mean to freak you out like that.”

“What’s going on?” Michael asked, eyeing his friend suspiciously through narrowed eyes. “Did you find something at work tonight?”

“No.” Max shook his head in the negative. Almost immediately “Nothing new. Brody can’t determine whether the energy signatures that are popping up in Nevada are alien or not. He’s thinking about driving out there to check them out.”

“But?” Michael pushed insistently.

“But I beat him to it. I went on a little road trip today, and it’s nothing but some top secret government weapon test out in the desert.” Max explained. “I did a little scan of the desert with my powers while I was out there. There’s definitely nothing alien about it.”

“Good.” Michael sighed in relief. “We’re safe for another day.”

“Yup.” Max agreed distractedly, his mind already flying back to the elevator, and the sweet sound of Liz Parker’s voice.

“There’s something else going on, isn’t there?” Michael pressed curiously. “What is it?”

“Nothing.” Max replied dejectedly.

“Bullshit.” Michael countered. “Tell me what it is.”

“I don’t want any abuse from you about this.” Max warned his friend. “But I just ran into Liz Parker in the elevator. She just moved in across the hallway.”

“Liz Parker.” Michael repeated flatly. “That’s what has you so worked up?”

“Yes, Liz Parker.” Max replied, annoyance in his friend, mixed with passion for his love slipping into his voice. “Liz Parker the girl I’ve been madly in love with for my entire life. You know, that Liz Parker.”

“Max…” Michael started with a frustrated sigh, but Max quickly cut him off. “Don’t even start, Michael.”

“But…”

“Don’t even start.” Max insisted. “I know what you’re going to say. I’ve heard it a hundred times, but you can’t pull that ‘don’t get involved’ junk on me this time around. You know what I went through in the granolith. I’ve lived that life, Michael. I know the consequences of getting involved with her, and you know what? It’s worth it, Michael. It’s worth getting involved with her. And I’m not going to let you hold me back this time around. Have I made myself clear?”

“We’re clear.” Michael grunted in irritation. “But let it be noted that I think this is a very bad idea.”

“It’s noted, Michael.” Max agreed. “But that doesn’t mean I’m going to listen.”

“Also noted.” Michael replied.

“Okay then…if we’ve got that all cleared up then I’m going to crash.” Max announced, gesturing towards his bedroom. “I’ve been on the road for hours and I’m wiped.”

Without another word, Max crossed the apartment, and closed himself into his room. Over the years his bedroom had become his salvation, the one place where he could let the farce that had become his life fade away and just be content alone with his memories.

Five years he had lived in this new world, and tried to adjust to it, but as much as he tried he could not let go of the memory of the life he left behind. Each and every night he was haunted by dreams of his Liz Parker, and how he had left her to die alone. It was his one greatest regret, that he couldn’t take her with him.

Some nights he awoke shaking and shivering, his entire body consumed by the tears of regret. He cursed himself those nights for living through the ordeal. He wasn’t supposed to replace the Max of this world, he was supposed to fix it and die, disappear into nothingness, to join his Liz in another plane of existence, or wherever people go when they die. It was on nights like those that he found this life to be the worst kind of torture, and he desperately wished to be put out of his own misery…until he remembered that one night when everything seemed perfect again. The one night that he had Liz Parker again, and he knew that he still had something to live for.

Slowly, over time, Max was able to open up more and more to Michael and Isabel about what they had dubbed to be ‘his experiences within the granolith’, but never once had he told them the reality, that the life that he had ‘experienced’ was actually his proper universe. That this life was the replacement world, not vice versa as they believed. At first they had believed that in time Max would let go of his ‘experience’, that he would forget what that world was like, but as it stayed with him every day throughout the passing months, they finally began to respect that what he experienced had changed him forever.

Finally Michael and Isabel had begun to take his words more seriously. They no longer nagged him and picked on him as much as they had in the past. They looked up to him, as a result of the knowledge that he contained in his head. He was their only key to their past, and they finally began to accept and understand that.

It was through Max’s advice that they finally chose their own destiny. They would not return and save their planet as they had believed in Max’s previous life. They would not get caught up in a war with an enemy that they would never be able to defeat. Instead, their only goal was to hide and protect the granolith from their enemies.

Enemies had been few and far between over the years. They had been able to track and watch them through Max’s job at the UFO Center, which he had resumed almost immediately from his past life. Max earned Brody’s trust, and used his technical systems to watch the Southwest for unusual energy surges, which Max had discovered were created by the usage of alien powers. So far they had succeeded in hiding both themselves and the granolith from the skins’ watchful eyes.

Accepting their fate of being tied to Roswell for life, the trio applied at the local community college, taking classes close to home for two years before transferring to Las Crueces. Five years after high school, it was the story of Max’s life. He commuted from Roswell to Las Crueces 3 days a week for morning classes, before driving back to Roswell for daily shifts at the UFO Center. Only a year after high school Max had gotten a new apartment with Michael, while Isabel, continuing her farce of a normal college student, moved into a sorority house in Las Crueces.

Sighing as he crawled into bed, Max thought back to what had become of his life, and wondered idly what Liz had done over the past five years. Her life was probably full, wonderful, exciting…all of the things that she had deserved and never gotten in his world. Max smiled as his head hit the pillow, wondering how long it would be before he could see her again.

~~~~~ ~~~~~~

The bluish crystal wall of the granolith stood between them, casting a blue light over everything that Max could see, including Liz’s form. She stood on the other side of the crystal wall, her uninjured arm stretched upward, her hand laying flat against the surface, only a thick layer of crystal separating their nearly touching hands, cutting them out from each other.

“Liz…” Max breathed sadly as he stared through to her. “I love you.”

He could see her understanding in her eyes, but no sound from her reached his ears. His body slowly began to dissipate, and just as he started to lose sight of her, it suddenly surrounded him. Her heart wrenching scream of agony echoing through his mind.

MAX!!!!!!!!! DON’T LEAVE ME!!!!!!!!!!

And then she was gone. The world was gone. Blackness and light fading in and out, images flashing across Max’s mind, before the world became clear again before him.

Liz was there before him, lying in the corner of the cave so still she looked to be dead. Her skin was so pale, and the blood seeping out of the bandage on her arm was a bright red in comparison, standing out against the whiteness. It was only when she spoke that Max realized that she was still alive.

“Max…” She moaned softly. “Max…come back. I need you, Max.”

Her soft pleas called out to his heart, and Max was desperate to go to her, to heal her. No matter how hard he tried though, his feet would not move, and he was forced to watch her moan his name in agony.

The darkness claimed him again, and as he reappeared in another world he could see her again, crying his name as he faded away into the granolith. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she realized that she was alone, and she fell to her knees, her loud sobs wrenching his gut as he watched her mourn her loss.

And as quickly as it began it stopped again, as Liz took a deep breath, raising her eyes, and looking directly at the cave door. She stood, and ran top speed at it. Max watched on fearfully as her hand glowed with her own alien energy, and the door opened, just as it would have for him.

Without hesitation, Liz ran straight out into the open desert. Max tried to speak, to cry out her name, to get her to stop, but no sound came…no sound except the thunder of gunfire erupting, and the sound of a single body hitting the ground with a thump.


LIZ!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” Max cried out in agony as he sat straight up in bed. His eyes were wild as he studied his surroundings and realized that it was all a dream…again. He was sweating profusely, and shaking wildly as he ran an unsteady hand through his wet hair, trying desperately to calm himself.

Rolling to the edge of his bed, his feet found the floor, and he stood slowly, his knees wobbling as he stumbled his way to the bathroom, staring at his own face in the mirror as with a flick of his wrist the lights came flaring to life. Leaning against the counter, he breathed heavily, trying to regain control of his own emotions. The cold water shocked his hot skin as he splashed it against his face, cooling his nerves, before stumbling back to bed.

Another night…another dream. And in the morning life would go on as before.




[ edited 1 time(s), last at 24-Jun-2002 8:17:40 PM ]
posted on 26-Jun-2002 7:07:01 PM by Cookie2697
Chapter 12

After fitfully attempting to rest for the remainder of the night, Max finally crawled out of bed early, grumbling as he stumbled into the shower to wake himself up, and prepare himself for the workday ahead of him. The stream of water soothed Max’s sore muscles, easing away the tension in his body, making him feel significantly better by the time he stepped out of the bathroom, and rushed his way around the room to get dressed.

Physically he felt better at least, but something else inside of him was urging him to hurry and get ready. It was almost like an instinct as he dried his hair with his powers and slipped into a pair of khakis and a polo shirt, before hurrying into the kitchen. Quickly Max shoveled down a bowl of cereal for breakfast, before heading for the front door without even a glance at where Michael was sprawled out on the couch snoring.

Max’s whole body froze as he opened the door to see Liz standing across the hallway, her back to him as she locked her apartment door. Suddenly his instinct to hurry made perfect sense to him. Liz was back in Roswell, and Max’s Liz-radar was also back in full force. Max smiled at the sight of her for a long moment, before stepping out into the hallway, and softly greeting her.

“Liz…hi.”

She whirled around in surprise and stared at him through wide eyes.

“Max!” She exclaimed loudly. “Good morning! Fancy meeting you here…”

“I swear, I didn’t plan this!” Max grinned, holding his hands out in mock protest. “I’m on my way to work. How about you? What are you up to this fine morning?” He turned to lock his own door quickly before moving to walk beside her as they made their way towards the elevator.

“Oh, I was just going to breakfast at the Crashdown. I haven’t seen my parents yet, so I have to let them know that I arrived safely.” Liz explained with a smile. “It’ll be good to see them again.”

“How long has it been?” Max asked curiously.

“Almost a year.” Liz sighed wistfully. They paused in front of the elevators, and Liz hit the button, before turning to face Max. “They can only afford to come out to the east coast so much. The last time was when I graduated from Harvard last spring.”

Max nodded in understanding. “You must really miss them.”

“Yeah, I do. Which is why I couldn’t refuse this job offer when I got it.” Liz explained eagerly. “A chance to finally go home, and do some real hands-on lab research. It was absolutely perfect.”

“That’s wonderful.” Max responded warmly. The elevator doors popped open, and he waited for Liz to enter before following her in. “Well…I work at the UFO Center. It’s right across the street from the Crashdown, so if you don’t mind the company then I’ll walk you there.” He offered gently.

“I’d like that.” Liz replied honestly. “We can get caught up a little more.” She grinned up at him, and Max felt his heart melting at her eagerness. After five years of feeling only half alive, it was as if in only a few minutes together based on chance meetings, Liz was already beginning to wake him up to life again.

“So…the UFO Center, huh?” Liz asked eyeing Max curiously. “Why there? I can’t say I’ve ever even set foot in the UFO Center in all my years of living in Roswell. I usually try to avoid the whole alien tourist thing.”

Max coughed, and blushed a bit in embarrassment. In this world, Liz had no idea why that job was so perfect for him. It probably seemed odd to her that anyone would actually want to work there.

“Yeah, well, I’m the Assistant Manager there.” Max explained. “I’ve been working my way through college there since right after we graduated from high school. It’s kind of amusing…I get to deal with all of the crazy tourists. And my boss, Brody, is the biggest nut of them all. It’s kind of entertaining.”

“Yeah, I know what that’s like to deal with those types.” Liz laughed in amusement. “It’s the same way at the Crashdown.”

“Right.” Max nodded in agreement. “One of the most fun ones is when the people ask you if your relatives actually witnessed the crash or not. They all want to know another crazy story about it.”

“Yeah.” Liz giggled. “Back in high school I used to have this fake black and white alien photo that I used to show those people. I used to get a kick out of their reactions to it. They ate up every single word I said to them about the crash.”

“I remember!” Max exclaimed in amusement, thinking back to the day of the shooting in his reality. Liz was teasing some tourists a little while before the gun went off, and he of course was watching and trying to not get caught.

“You do?” Liz asked curiously, surprised by his reaction.

“Uh, yeah…” Max admitted, blushing shyly at his admission. “I used to eat there a lot in high school. I still do, really.”

“Right.” Liz stated in disbelief.

The elevator doors popped back open as they reached the bottom floor, and side by side, they made their way down the hallway towards the doors leading to the street. Liz blushed slightly when Max quickly positioned himself to open the doors for her politely. After he resumed his pacing beside her, Liz couldn’t help shaking her head at him in amusement for being such a gentleman. He just shrugged slightly in embarrassment, as they turned the corner and headed down the street.

It was early enough in the morning that the hot desert sun hadn’t taken hold of the day yet. The air was still comfortably warm, as they crossed through the now lively and awake town, a sharp comparison to the ghost town that Liz had driven through the night before. Liz smiled as she walked, taking a deep breath and sucking in the familiar air of the town she grew up in.

“It’s so nice to be back.” Liz breathed happily, smiling up at Max. A grin burst out on his face too, as if he couldn’t help responding to her warm smile.

“I’m glad you’re back too, Liz. I’ve missed you all of these years.”

“Really?” Liz murmured in amazement. “I’ve missed you too.” Her smile suddenly faded, her brow furrowing nervously. Her voice shook as she spoke again. “I’ve always regretted how I left you that night, Max. It was wrong of me, and I’m so sorry about it.”

Liz’s eyes narrowed in confusion as she watched Max’s eyes cloud over. His body tensed beside her, and it was as if he completely shut his emotions off as he responded in a practically monotonous, unattached voice.

“It’s in the past, Liz.” Max responded. “Forget about it.”

Liz stared up at Max’s completely unresponsive face for a long moment, before nodding in acceptance.

“Right.” She replied uncertainly, as they turned onto Main Street.

She was disappointed by his reaction, or lack thereof. That night had stayed with her for years. When she was lonely at school, she used to sit on the roof of her dorm, staring up at the stars, and imagining that night in her head.

In particular Max’s story had stuck with her, calmed her over the years when she needed a reminder that there could always be a happy ending. Not to mention the way that Max had brought her to life that night had stayed with her too. The experience of that night had been absolute perfection…right up until she had abandoned Max alone in the desert without so much as a note or a goodbye.

She would never forgive herself for that.

They paused for a moment at the corner. The UFO Center was less than a block down, the Crashdown across the street.

“Well, thanks for walking me.” Liz thanked Max with a soft smile.

“Yeah.” Max responded with a friendly smile, his shut down from a mere moment before completely over. “Hey, if you’re not doing anything later, maybe you could come by for dinner? We could do some more catching up?”

“That would be really, really nice.” Liz replied honestly. “I’ll stop by later.”

“Okay…I’ll see you then. Bye Liz.”

“Bye Max.”

~~~~~~~ ~~~~~

Max waited until he was safely hidden inside the UFO Center before taking a shaky breath, and running an unsteady hand through his hair. He hadn’t expected her to bring up that night yet, and the moment she mentioned it, it brought all of the memories flooding back to him, right down to the way she smelled that night. He hadn’t forgotten a single detail.

The biggest problem was that he had no idea what to say to her about that night. Liz, that night has been the only thing that’s kept me going for the past five years. You see, you’re the love of my life, and that night completely changed me forever. I love you…be with me forever.

Max shook his head disapprovingly at himself. Right…pour out his heart to her, and scare her away again with how intense he gets when it comes to their love. That was the last thing he needed.

Everything about that night was perfect…for him. But for her it had been scary, a mistake. It was something he couldn’t forget. He had to do it right this time. He had to take it slow, ease her into it. He wanted her to know everything about him before he took that step with her again.

The question is…when the time came, would she believe his story?

posted on 27-Jun-2002 11:01:01 AM by Cookie2697
Thanks for the great feedback everyone *happy*

Just for the record I've decided to rename this fic to Torture Araxie. That's the new title. I'll have to go change the thread.

LOL! Kidding, kidding...

But seriously...I just wanted to make sure to let you guys know that I love your feedback...it's wonderful *happy* And that I AM leaving for LA...like...right now. LOL. So I won't be updating until early next week...but I'm sure if Linda and Carol have anything to say about it I'll be working on this over the weekend! LOL! So hopefully a quick update sometime at the start of the week!

Thanks for your wonderful support!

*hugs*
Anne
posted on 2-Jul-2002 12:13:21 PM by Cookie2697
Thanks for the feedback you guys!

I'm back from LA after a wonderful, wonderful trip. I've roamed through the sadly Ros-free streets of Covina, and climbed Vasquez Rocks to the pod chamber...and now I'm finally going to sit down and try to get the next chapter out. My goal is to give it to you guys by tomorrow...so watch for it then!

*hugs*
Anne
posted on 2-Jul-2002 1:09:05 PM by Cookie2697
Jessi - If you ever head out this way let me know and I'll give you directions! There's actually this nifty fan thing called the 285 South tour which takes you to ALL the desertish filming locations. I've been to Vasquez a few times now, but this was my first time doing the whole tour. It takes you to the tunnel from Departure and Independence Day, the hotel and convinience store from 285 South, the bridge from Destiny, Peppers Cafe from the Convention...and many more. The newest addition of course is the wedding chapel, which I got some pics of ;)
posted on 4-Jul-2002 9:07:35 PM by Cookie2697
Okay...errr...so I have a sheepish question to ask you guys. We could call this kind of a poll. Here's the deal. I'm leaving Sunday morning for Europe for a month. I won't be posting again until August.

Now...I intended to write a whole lot more than I did this week...I wanted to update this a few times, but I just haven't had the time that I expected to have to write.

So here's the deal...the next chapter is probably going to end with a pretty evil cliffhanger...yes, a lot eviller than where we're at right now.

My question is...would you guys prefer to have another chapter before I go, even if it DOES leave you in an evil spot for a month? Or would you rather I wait and leave it where it's at right now for a month?

Let me know what you think...and meanwhile I'm going to be working on this chapter!
posted on 4-Jul-2002 9:46:51 PM by Cookie2697
Thanks for the votes y'all...I'm keeping tabs. So far I believe it's 3-1 for posting it!

Jessi...sadly enough I did NOT eat at Hard Rock. My friends were eating lunch there when Mel and I arrived, actually! So we missed out! *sigh*

Pics...I can give you guys those. It's one of those stupid sites that doesn't allow you to post around, so here's the link to my album(s).
http://www.netsnapshot.com/pcw/b?KEY=4&ACCOUNT=9687

This is directly to the pics from this past weekend, but if you go to the drop box that says "more albums" you can see some of my pics with the cast and whatnot too.
posted on 5-Jul-2002 12:58:44 PM by Cookie2697
So now the votes are 7:4 towards me posting it.

Hmmm...it's getting pretty close there.

Well the chapter is about half done...I'm aiming to get it up tomorrow sometime. Unless of course there's more votes to wait. And as for the wait people, I would recommend waiting until the end of July to read it. I'll be back the 1st week of August!
posted on 6-Jul-2002 12:09:28 PM by Cookie2697
Okay....the final votes were 8-5, I believe, so I'm going to go ahead and post this. Remember...if you don't want to be left going "ACK!" for a month, you may want to save it! I'm coming back from Europe on August 6th, so sometime around then would be a good time to bump and read ;) Don't worry...I'm DEFINITELY planning on writing while I'm gone...but I won't have time to type until I come back!

I hope y'all have a GREAT summer in the meantime, and I will look forward to coming back to the boards in August!

Thanks ahead of time for the fabulous feedback!

Chapter 13

Liz grinned in excitement as she stepped out of the Crashdown, her parents trailing behind her with looks of absolute disbelief plastered on their faces. The keys in Liz’s hand jingled softly as they moved against each other, while Liz stepped off of the sidewalk, sliding between the parked cars towards the drivers side of the shiny black Lexus waiting for her.

Liz stared at the new set of keys in her hand in awe for a moment, before clicking off the alarm. Her parents eyes widened as the headlights flashed in response, confirming that the shiny new car sitting before them was, in fact, Liz’s.

“I can’t believe this…” Liz murmured in amazement, as she pulled open the driver’s side door, and settled herself into the driver’s seat. She turned to her parents, her eyes wide. “First they give me my dream job…then a beautiful new apartment, and now this?”

“They must know how special you are, sweetie.” Nancy cried with tears in her eyes, and Liz smiled gratefully at her mother.

“I don’t know…” Liz murmured softly. “I can’t help wondering what the catch to all of this is.”

~~~~~~ ~~~~

She had walked into the Crashdown with a soft smile on her face after saying goodbye to Max. Her day was already a good one just as a result of her morning run in, and it had nowhere else to go, but up as she walked into the café and was cheerfully greeted by her parents.

Immediately the family took a corner table, and enjoyed a breakfast filled with conversation catching Liz up with the latest news in Roswell. Liz smiled happily, unsurprised to hear that very little had changed. The alien tourists continued to invade, the Crashdown’s business was bustling. The conversation rolled around from the subject of family, to neighbors, to friends, keeping Liz’s attention drawn into the reality of her past and her future colliding in the present. People who she never thought she would see again could now become a part of her life again…including one person in particular.

“Oh, Lizzie! I almost forgot!” Jeff exclaimed suddenly as the meal was drawing to a close. “Someone dropped this by for you a little while ago.”

Standing, Jeff crossed the room to the cash register, reaching beneath it to produce a thick, brown envelope with Liz’s name written across the front. Returning to his seat, he handed it to Liz, who stared at it thoughtfully for a minute, before ripping the envelope open and turning it upside down.

Liz stared at her hand in disbelief as a set of keys dropped into her hand. She turned them in her hands in surprise, running her thumb across the jagged surface, before turning her attention back to the envelope and pulling out the letter inside.

Ms. Parker,

I trust that you have settled in nicely, and had an enjoyable visit with your family. I want to make sure that your move goes as comfortably as possible, so I took the liberty of having your rental car traded in for something a little more permanent. The keys are for the Lexus outside. I hope that it is a suitable vehicle for you.

I will look forward to seeing you at our 10:00 meeting this morning.

Dr. Thompson


And so it was that Liz found herself sitting in the passenger seat of a brand new Lexus, running her hands over the steering wheel in amazement, and wondering once more what kind of a job gives you a free apartment, and a free car…before you even go in for your first meeting.

Two hours later, Liz got her answer.

~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

The Lexus pulled smoothly into the parking space in the half full lot before the Brown Institute, and Liz studied her surroundings for a long moment, before turning off her engine, slipping the driving directions back into her portfolio, and stepping out of her new vehicle.

The Institute looked harmless enough. It was a large, fairly modern looking building jutting three stories above the vast open desert. The only thing odd about the lab was it’s location, twenty minutes outside of Roswell, alone in the middle of the desert. It was ten minutes away from the nearest gas station, fifteen away from the most remote desert homes. It was quite literally in the middle of nowhere.

Liz gathered her briefcase before brusquely crossing the parking lot, eager to get inside and meet her new boss, but still, something wasn’t sitting right in the back of her mind. She paused briefly at the doors, taking a nervous breath, before gathering her strength and pushing them open, entering the front entrance of the building.

Stepping into the brightly-lit entryway, Liz noted a security station a few feet away, and walked quickly towards it in even strides, trying to make herself look professional as she approached the men behind the desk.

“Good morning.” She greeted them formally. “I’m…” Liz gaped as the security guard cut her off quickly.

“Ms. Parker, yes, I know. Dr. Thompson has been expecting you.” The large, bulky man stood, towering over Liz as he moved out from behind the desk. “Right this way, please.”

Liz followed the guard through a maze of identical hallways, littered with matching closed doors. There were very few people littering the hallways. Occasionally Liz would pass someone in a white laboratory coat, or a business person dressed to the core in a suit, or more security guards who pointedly ignored her, but for the most part signs of life were scarce along the way. Liz was starting to wonder if the guard was ever going until he finally paused in front of an unmarked door and turned to face her for the first time since the lobby. He didn’t say a word to Liz, just silently nodded towards the door. Liz stared back for a long silent moment, before reaching over and opening the door, disappearing quickly inside.

The door opened into a large office, sparsely decorated with framed images on the walls, a large plant in the corner, and a massive oak desk in the center of the room. A plain looking man sat behind the desk in a suit and tie, wire rimmed glasses framing his face, and a small smile gracing his lips. The smile looked forced, oddly out of place on the man’s face, and Liz found herself shivering at the sight of it. This was not a man who was looking to make friends.

“Ms. Parker, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you.” He greeted her in a practiced pleasant tone. “I’m Dr. Thompson. Welcome to the Brown Institute.”

“Thank you.” Liz replied sincerely, reaching out to firmly shake his hand, before taking a seat in the chair opposite his desk. “I have to say, you have overwhelmed me with your generosity. The apartment, the car…it’s all too much.”

“It wasn’t a problem at all.” Dr. Thompson replied, blowing her concern away with an easy gesture. “We want to be sure you understand what a valuable commodity you are to us Ms. Parker…can I call you Liz?” Liz nodded in agreement, and Dr. Thompson smiled his crooked smile again, causing a chill to run down her spine, as her name slid from his lips. “Liz.”

“Thank you.” Liz responded carefully. “If I may ask though, what exactly am I going to be doing here? You said it would include hands on lab work, correct?”

“Yes. You will get to work hands on in the lab, but we have a special project that we would like to put you on right away, Liz. It’s kind of an odd one. It’s going to start with a little bit of field work and observations, and then hopefully based on your observations we’ll be able to move the project into the lab.”

“What kind of a project is it?” Liz asked, her curiosity piqued. Field research didn’t sound like a bad twist at all.

“Well, as I told you in my letter, we’re a government funded laboratory that focuses particularly on genetic research and development. We’re constantly driving to find new discoveries, ways to further develop the human race. We have a dozen fully equipped labs performing experiments on gene enhancers, as well as new drugs and other pharmaceutical developments to optimize our development. We’re also looking to cure the human body of ailments…diseases ranging from various types of cancer, all the way down to the common cold.”

Liz’s heart began to pound at the doctor’s words. On one hand, gene enhancers and optimizing the human race sounded vague and odd to her, but searching for cures to diseases was a noble cause, and one that Liz would be proud to be involved in. She smiled, nodding for the doctor to continue.

“We’ve been following a lead for a few years now, that we believe we have enough evidence to move on to further lab research.” The scientist slid a file folder across the desk to Liz, who leaned forward to take it, studying the top paper inside curiously.

“Ten children miraculously healed of bone marrow cancer.” Liz read aloud. “Miraculously healed?” She questioned, glancing up at Dr. Thompson in confusion.

“Yes, miraculously healed…or so it seems.” He confirmed. “That article was published on December 25th, 2002. Christmas Day. An entire ward of children at St. Mary’s Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona woke up cured of the cancer that only the day before seemed to be claiming their lives. The children claimed that a Christmas Angel came to them the night before and took their pain away. A silver hand print was left behind on each and every child, the only evidence that anything out of the ordinary occurred. Nobody tried to fight what happened. They just accepted the hand of fate and called it a fluke miracle…until it happened again the next year.”

Liz flipped the article to the side, only to find another beneath it.

“This time it was in Santa Fe…” Liz observed.

“Yes, Santa Fe. Everything else was identical to the first healing though.” Dr. Thompson confirmed. “And it’s happened every year since. Phoenix, Santa Fe, Las Crueces, Albequerque, and this past Christmas it was right here, in Roswell, New Mexico.”

Liz quickly scanned the various headlines from each city, pausing on the Roswell Gazette’s article and lingering for a long moment.

“Now, when it happened in Roswell, we were already watching, and we had a surveillance camera planted in the ward. The images that the camera returned to us surprised us, because we discovered that this is no act of God, at least as far as we can tell. From what the images tell us, the miraculous healer is in fact, only human.”

Liz flipped over the last article to see a series of blurry photographs beneath them. The first one gave very little information, only showed the figure from behind, a tall man dressed in hospital scrubs, with dark hair. Liz flipped the photo over to view the picture beneath, which was a slightly clearer photograph of the man head on. Liz gasped at the sight of the man, whose face was all too familiar to Liz. Her heart pounded as she drank in the image of the familiar chiseled jaw, the slightly funny ears, and the eyes that seemed to look right into her soul. She had been seeing it in her dreams, her fantasies for five years now.

“We’ve identified him as one Maxwell Evans, 24 years old, from Roswell, New Mexico.”




[ edited 3 time(s), last at 6-Jul-2002 12:42:34 PM ]
posted on 7-Jul-2002 1:40:59 AM by Cookie2697
LOL Woodwinds!!! You weren't supposed to read it!!!

*wiggles finger shamefully at Woodwinds*

Just picking on you...lol.

Thanks a lot for the fantastic feedback everyone!!

bye!
posted on 8-Jul-2002 6:45:31 AM by Cookie2697
Posting from Germany...am I insane? I think so!

Jane - just wanted to tell you that I did go out of my way to try and match up names. In the V-formation pics I believe I went from the front, and then left to right in each line...if that makes sense. I know for example that in the one with me in it, I'm the one in the red shirt...like in all the pics, and Carol is behind me doing the Michael-blast thing. LOL.

On a side note...I wrote the next chapter and a half on the plane! Yay me! Assuming I get enough free time to do so, I just may type it up. Not PROMISING anything, but you never know! hee!
posted on 15-Jul-2002 5:04:37 AM by Cookie2697
errr...well, no promises when yet! I haven't had time to type...just got back to Germany from Paris, and I'm going to London tomorrow. Possibly when I get back from London in a week...we've got a 4 day break then.

Thanks for the wonderful feedback y'all, and I relaly, really am sorry for leaving you hanging!!
posted on 26-Jul-2002 4:09:32 AM by Cookie2697
Hey guys!

Popping in for another hello! Thanks for all the bumpage! I really, really appreciate it!

London was fabulous! Cin, I have to sadly admit that I didn't get to do any of your recommendations :( We didn't even get into a pub, let alone had a pint of beer! I was actually kind of disappointed in myself! LOL! We'll have to find someplace to have a German beer while I'm here right now.

Thanks for sticking with me you guys...it really means a lot to me, and I'll be back soon with an update! I think we're a little past the halfway point now, so it won't be much longer!

*hugs*
Anne
posted on 5-Aug-2002 3:00:36 AM by Cookie2697
Hey guys!

Well...just a quick note this time, but hopefully my NEXT note will be in front of a chapter!!

First of all, I'm REALLY sorry for leading you into thinking that I might be able to post while traveling. It was actually my traveling companion's suggestion (she's a Hope Alone reader too!), but then the time never really presented itself :( Anyway, I feel bad about leaving you hanging! I'm SO sorry!

And on that note....I'm still in Germany... *sheepish grin* BUT on Wednesday I will be home for good! Yay! And I'm hoping to get a chapter up for you guys by Thursday or Friday...I have 2 written, they just need to be typed and betaed so it shouldn't be too hard!

So thank you for being patient with me....and I will look forward to posting for you guys in a few days!

Until then!
AnneB!
posted on 5-Aug-2002 3:56:39 AM by Cookie2697
ouch...bad weather in Northern Germany? It sounds like the storm we hit on our way back from Prague went north...it was pouring rain our whole drive between Rothenberg and Heidelberg last night. I'm not used to rain in the summertime, being from California, so it's been just very odd to me! We got caught in some pretty yucky weather in Prague as well!
posted on 8-Aug-2002 9:46:03 PM by Cookie2697
I'm working on it...I'm working on it...

And by the way...GOD I love that pic, Mandy!! Where is it from?? I've never seen it before!
posted on 13-Aug-2002 1:47:11 AM by Cookie2697
Well, it's been a while now, and I thank each and every one of you for being patient with me while I was away...particularly after leaving it in such a terrible spot! Hopefully I'm going to be getting myself back into motion on this one now.

I hope you enjoy the chapter, and I look forward to hearing what you think!

Thanks everyone!
-Anne


Chapter 14

Liz’s eyes flew wildly from the photograph in her hands upwards to find Dr. Thompson staring at her with a sharp expression on his face. His gaze was penetrating, discomforting. Liz just knew with only one glance at his face that he was studying and mentally logging her every reaction.

“Max Evans.” She repeated, fighting to keep her face expressionless, her voice indifferent. It was a struggle. Her mind was wandering wildly, trying to ascertain if there was any possibility that Dr. Thompson knew of her own past with his “subject” in question. But even through those concerns, her own curiosity arose regarding Dr. Thompson’s evidence and what it could possibly mean. Was Max Evans some sort of miracle worker? Unable to restrain her curiosity, Liz voiced the question aloud.

“Do you think that Max Evans somehow healed all those children of their cancer? How is that even possible?”

“That’s the very question that we’re trying to answer, Liz.” Dr. Thompson explained. “Who is Max Evans? Are our suspicions about him true? And if so, how is it possible that he can do the things that he can do?”

Liz held back a shiver at the way her name slid from the doctor’s lips like a friendly acknowledgment, while Max sounded as if he were nothing but a project, an experiment. He may as well not have a name, or be a person with feelings and emotions. Even as she fought her disgust in the doctor, she stayed still and unresponsive, listening closely as he continued.

“The problem is that Max Evans’ entire life is like a tightly locked secret. We’ve been doing a background check on him.” Dr. Thompson paused, opening another file on his desk, and reading the information from it aloud to Liz.

“He’s an adopted orphan, and on top of that a foundling. His adoptive parents found him wandering in the desert when he was six, and when they tried to investigate his life prior to his finding, they came to a dead end. There is no record anywhere of Max Evans’ birth, who his parents are, where he came from. It’s as if Max Evans simply appeared out of thin air on that desert highway.”

Liz was unable to hide the interest that she felt as the doctor spewed forth the little known facts about Max’s past. She leaned forward a bit in her seat, listening closely to the doctor’s words, as she absorbed the new information about Max that he was giving her. Liz’s mind was spinning from everything that he was saying.

On one hand she was desperately trying to process the information, but at the same time trying to figure out what the clues could mean in regards to the doctor’s suspicions. Through it all, one fact became abundantly clear to Liz Parker. There was so much more to Max Evans than Liz had ever imagined.

In high school Max had always been a mystery, not only to her, but to the entire student body. He was quiet, a loner, never talking to anyone other than his sister and Michael Guerin, never trying to make new friends. Yet there was a certain aura around him that drew eyes to him, Liz’s eyes in particular, and she had always been aware that there had to be more to her lab partner than met the eye.

Still, never once did Liz even guess how much mystery there was hidden in Max’s past.
She was fascinated, clinging to the doctor’s every word, yet guilt ridden at the same time for prying into a world that she knew she shouldn’t be looking in to.

“To further add to the mystery,” Dr. Thompson continued, “Max Evans has no medical records. Either the man has never been sick or injured in any way, or whatever records did exist have been purposefully removed.”

Liz shifted awkwardly in her seat. Talking about Max’s past was one thing, but when it came to personal stuff like his medical records, that really was past the realm of right and wrong. They were starting to invade his private life, and it was time to put a stop to it.

“Dr. Thompson.” Liz interrupted in a firm voice, trying to gain some control over the situation. “All of this is fascinating, really, but let’s move on. What does this have to do with my work here at the Brown Institute?”

“Eager to get started I see.” Dr. Thompson observed with a slithery smile. “Well, I’ll just get right to it then.” Liz nodded for him to continue, and the scientist cleared his throat before beginning.

“I will admit to you, Liz, that we did not choose you for this position lightly. You were the result of a great deal of research on our part, looking into any and all connections to Max Evans. Quite frankly, you were exactly what this lab was looking for.”

Liz’s heart was pounding as Dr. Thompson paused, studying the papers in front of him for a long moment. Did he know about her connection with Max…the fact that at least at one point in his life, Max Evans had been in love with her. Did he know about their night together?

“According to our research, you knew Max Evans fairly well in high school, is that correct?” Dr. Thompson continued, eyeing Liz over the papers before him.

“Uh, I guess.” Liz replied, her voice wavering slightly, as she tried not to give away anything that she hoped the scientist didn’t already know. “He was my lab partner all four years of high school in quite a few different science classes. He was kind of a loner, though. No one really knew him all that well.”

“Well, we want you to change that.”

“What do you mean?” Liz wondered, not sure if she liked the way this was going.

“The problem with our experiment is that we can’t learn what Max Evans is truly capable of until we have some concrete evidence that he is the one that we think he is. We can’t just go in and grab him, and we can’t predict where he will choose as his location for next Christmas.” Dr. Thompson explained carefully. “So we need someone…you, Liz…to get close to him. Spend some time getting to know him. Coax him into trusting you…hopefully even confiding in you.”

“Are you saying that you want me to trick Max into telling me his secret and turn him in to you so that you can study him like a lab rat?” Liz exploded.

Her mind flashed back to the one perfect night she spent with Max. She could remember every insignificant little detail about that night, from the way his hands had touched her so reverently, to his sweet, loving eyes and the way that they seemed to be able to sing right into her soul. It wasn’t just that night either. Liz could think back to a hundred other moments from the time that she first met Max in the third grade, right up to that very morning, where Max had shown her kindness, friendship, and even love.

But all of the memories of happier times in her life were suddenly replaced, as fear clenched her heart, and the image of Max strapped to a lab table filled her mind…the image of Max locked in a cage. He didn’t deserve to be treated like that.

“No! I can’t do that to him!” Liz protested firmly, pushing the nightmarish images from her mind. “Not to Max…he’s a human being…not some kind of animal!”

“Liz…” Dr. Thompson softly protested, but Liz quickly cut him off, pushing herself to her feet while staring at him in disgust.

“No! I’m sorry, but I can’t help you with this.” Liz shot back in anger.

She turned to leave, but froze, startled, as the door before her shot open, and three armed guards rushed into the room, blocking her escape.

“Liz, sit down.” A shiver ran down Liz’s spine at the doctor’s cool order, as she slowly turned to meet the scientists’ chillingly impassive gaze. “I’m afraid we can’t give you a choice on this one.” He continued, a cold smile marring his hard face, while never quite reaching his eyes. “You will do what we’re asking you to do. The United States Government needs to know how it is possible that Max Evans can do the things that he can do, and we need you in order to get to him.”

“You can’t make me do anything.” Liz argued, her voice wavering as the doctor’s harsh words began to break through Liz’s own protective shell.

“You’re right. We can’t.” Dr. Thompson replied simply. “But we can make it so that it’s in your best interest to do what we ask of you.”

“What do you mean?” Liz asked. She wasn’t sure if she liked the way he was going with this. The scientist only smiled, as he passed another file folder across the desk towards her.

“Take it.” He ordered. “Look inside.”

Liz’s hand shook against her will as she reached out and clasped the folder in her grip. Slowly she opened it and gasped at the sight of another stack of surveillance photos, these ones much sharper and clearer than the earlier ones of Max.

Maria Deluca’s face peered out of the image before her. Alex’s image was underneath. Her father. Her mother. Her college roommate. All of the closest people in the world, in photograph after photograph. Maria singing at a night club in Las Crueces, Alex standing behind her with his bass guitar in hand. Jeff Parker and Amy Deluca having an exchange of alien memorabilia for the Crashdown. There were dozens of them…and as Liz dug through the pile she felt herself fighting tears of pure fear, even as the doctor continued the threat that Liz already knew was coming.

“They’re all under surveillance, Liz. All the time…24 hours a day. If you don’t do what we ask, we can’t guarantee that certain accidents won’t happen to the people you care about. Do you understand, Liz?”

Liz stayed frozen, silent, her fingers lightly tracing the features of her father’s face. Glancing around weakly, Liz found her gaze lingering on the guards still standing inside the door at attention, their hands tight around the guns in their hands. As her eyes focused on the weapons, the cold hand of defeat clenched around her heart, and she finally nodded weakly.

“I understand.” She gasped out, blinking back the stinging in her eyes.

“Anyway, Liz, it isn’t all bad.” Dr. Thompson mocked her. “You give us what we want, and we’ll give you what you want. The opportunity to do some real hands-on lab research.”

Liz lifted her defeated eyes to meet the scientist’s darkly humored ones. She didn’t reply…she couldn’t! Everything she wanted to say would just dig herself deeper into her grave. He was evil…a monster. A sick, sick man…but it didn’t matter. She would still be right where she was at this moment: forced to make a decision she didn’t want to have to make. So her only response was her steady, even gaze, her eyes locked with the scientist’s.

“I’ll expect to see you daily for 10:00 am meetings. I will look forward to your first report tomorrow.”

Liz nodded silently in understanding, grabbing her briefcase, and quickly exiting the doctor’s office. She couldn’t escape fast enough, and didn’t look back once, even with the three armed soldiers following her speedy departure.




posted on 14-Aug-2002 8:46:38 PM by Cookie2697
Hey all!

Ask and ye shall recieve! It sounds like a few of you want to hear about my trip...and I have to say...there is just SO much to tell. Most of my friends haven't heard ANY details yet because I've been wanting to do a big writeup for them...but, er, I've been working on this fic instead. LOL.

But without trying to ramble on TOO long about it...let me see what I can tell you...

I flew into Frankfurt, Germany and spent my first few days just vegging and getting over jet lag at my friend's parent's house in Heidelberg, which was kind of our home base for the trip. I saw my first "European" stuff those days, which was actually two nearby castles that we toured...Bruchsal and Schwetingen. Bruchsal was actually a resored castle, because it was completely destroyed in World War Two, and they reconstructed it to look identical as it did before. Schwetingen, the castle itself is only mildly impressive, but the gardens are AMAZING. We actually went there twice to go walk through the gardens and feed the ducks and whatnot. Really, really cool.

Our third day after getting off the plane, we took the train to Paris. I have to say that Paris was probably my favorite city that I went to. I just fell in love with it...not sure why. Who knows why a city draws you in. My traveling companion is in love with Prague, I loved it, but it didn't have as much of a pull for me as it does for her. Anyway...Paris. We were there for 5 days, and did everything we had planned to do in that time...went on a boat ride down the Seine on our first night, walked through Notre Dame and climbed the tower, went to a number of museums including an entire day spent in the Louvre, went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, spent an afternoon in Montemarte and saw the Moulin Rouge, went shopping through the cute artist's shops, and toured the tower at Sacre Couer (which is my favorite church in Paris).

We were actually in Paris on Bastille Day (French independence day...) and got to go to the huge parade on the Champ Elysse...at which there was an assassination attempt on the French President...that was kind of freaky when we found out about it later. Thankfully we weren't on the same section of the parade as that.

Let's see...we returned from Paris to Heidelberg for only two days...just enough to do laundry and finally walk through Heidelberg itself. They have a really beautiful old town there, with the ruins of the Heidelberg Castle, and a beautiful bridge across the River Neckar. I really enjoyed it!

And then after the two days were up we flew to London. We were in London for 9 days, and had an absolutely fantastic time! One day we drove out into the country to see Stonehenge and Bath, and actually one day I spent with a friend of mine wandering the city rather than siteseeing, but the rest of the time...let's see. We walked across the Tower Bridge, and got to see it drawn up to let a ship pass under...that was pretty cool for our first night! We toured Shakespeare's Globe Theater, and got to learn all sorts of cool Shakespearean history stuff right on the site where it happened...although we didn't get to the show there...it was sold out! *sigh* We went to quite a few museums as well...I have a newfound love for museums. Double decker bus tour of the city and a boat ride. We toured the Tower of London, saw the crown jewels. Saw the changing of the guard. Walked through Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral. Spent lots of time in the various parks around the city. And this is kind of an odd one to a lot of people, but we toured the international center for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides in London, called Pax Lodge. There's only 4 international centers, and none are in the US, so I *had* to do it! Oh, and we went to see Phantom of the Opera...my FAVORITE musical. *happy sigh*

Oh GOSH...and my highlight of London? Sad as this may be...was the Hard Rock Cafe! LOL! It was SO damn cool. They have a museum underneath the restaraunt, and if you ever go eat there, you MUST go to the museum. They let you actually touch the stuff...I got to play Eric Clapton's guitar...which was the first artifact ever given to the Hard Rock Cafe...and then I was eyeing Eddie Vedder's guitar, which had the words to "An Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" written on toilet paper and saran wrapped to the guitar...anyway...the tour guide was so impressed that I could pick out what song it was, that he let me play that one too! LOL. Actually, I was about to take a picture of the guitar, and he practically yelled at me and told me to just pick it up and get in the picture too. So fiddled with it and held it until I figured I was doing it for too long. hee.

Let's see...the big news while I was in London was the tube strike. LOL. According to the papers, Chaos gripped London as a result. Yup. I sure noticed all that chaos. *rolls eyes*

Let's see...after London we again returned to Heidelberg...did Laundry, and basically bummed around. We took a drive down the Neckar River and went to some more castles, which was very cool. Oh, and we went to the Rhein River as well. Took a drive into the Eastern part of France and went to some small towns in that area, and we went to a German amusement park! hee! That was entertaining.

And then we hit the road on our big road trip with my friend's parents, which was basically a 7 hour drive to Berlin. We spent 4 days in Berlin, and went to a bunch of museums, walked through the Berlin Cathedral, climbed to the top of the Victory Monument...walked through the unseeable Brandenberg Gate (due to construction), saw a nifty exhibit of painted bears in a friendship circle. Saw remains of the Berlin Wall, which was sad. Went to the top of the TV Tower.

And then we took the train from Berlin to Prague, which is a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL city, that is unfortunately under water NOW, but it wasn't when I was there thankfully! Although it did storm a bit while I was there. We were only in Prague for about 2 and a half days...the half day we just spent wandering around on the Charles Bridge looking at street vendors, and getting settled at our bed and breakfast. Then we spent a day touring the Prague castle and cathedral on the hill, then climbing to the top of the observation tower (a mock Eiffel Tower) overlooking the city. Next to the observation tower we had a Roswell moment...they had a mirror maze, so we ran through it acting like silly fans and screaming Max's name through the glass. Kidding, kidding....and then the next day we toured the old town, climbed the clock tower in Old Town Square, and the Charles Bridge tower, and mostly did a lot of shopping. Prague has REALLY good shopping!

And then I came home. *sigh* Sadness. That was a month of my life, and I really had the TIME of my life. I took a whopping 34 rolls of film, and I have the highlights from the first 20 online if you guys want to scan through them. Here's the link! http://www.netsnapshot.com/pcw/pickalbum?Cookie2697

I'm sorry to leave you guys in such agony on the fic! I'm presently distracting myself from working on the new part...which means I have been and will continue to work on it! So I'm hoping to get it up for you soon! I'm still kind of getting back into the swing of things when it comes to writing!

Thanks for all your wonderful feedback!
Anne
posted on 20-Aug-2002 1:33:33 AM by Cookie2697
Thanks for the bumpage y'all. I'm hoping to update either tomorrow evening or Wednesday morning. So keep your eyes open around then! I've been having a little bit of trouble getting back into the flow of things...but I think I've almost got myself back on track here...
posted on 21-Aug-2002 5:16:23 PM by Cookie2697
Hey all!!

Well, just a little present for you *happy* I finished just in the nick of time as I'm running out right now to go see Lifehouse! yippie!!

Enjoy the chapter...and I will look forward to your comments *happy*


Chapter 15

Liz couldn’t escape from the Brown Institute fast enough.

Her perspective on everything in the lab had changed in a matter of minutes. Hallways that before seemed to be an exciting maze with a mystery around every corner now felt like they were trapping her in. Security guards who before felt like a protective commodity now seemed to be prison guards, marching her towards her own execution. Doors that Liz had hoped to explore before now seemed likely to be the entrances to a mad scientist’s laboratory.

It was suffocating, staying in the clutches of the people who wanted to pull Max out of his life and turn him into their new pet project. As Liz hurried through the hallways with the security guards by her side, she couldn’t even think clearly. All she knew was that she needed to get out of there. She needed to come up with a plan.

Liz breathed a deep sigh of relief when the familiar double glass doors to the outside finally appeared before her, and she was able to escape through them to the outside world. Still, the fear she felt remained, and her hands were shaking as she pulled her keys out and failed at trying to unlock her car. Liz swore under her breath, berating herself for her inability to stay under control, and after taking a few deep breaths, she was finally able to unlock the door, and slide into her vehicle.

Gunning the motor, Liz quickly pulled the car out of its space, and as she turned her vehicle towards the highway, she found herself sitting at the crossroads, a decision standing before her.

If she turned left, then she would be heading back into Roswell, towards Max and the horrible task before her. She would be protecting her family, her best friends…but she would be denying her morals, her sense of right and wrong, and hurting someone who she knew with every fiber of her being didn’t deserve it.

Or she could turn right and drive away deep into the desert. She could avoid the responsibility standing before her for a little while longer. She could get away from Dr. Thompson, Max Evans, and everything that was wrong with her life at that moment. One right turn, and she could simply disappear…at least for a while.

Liz took a deep breath, and in a single instant, without another moment of hesitation, she turned her car to the right.

~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~

Liz wasn’t sure how she got there. It was as if she had gravitated towards the spot that she sought refuge in. Although the desert sun was hot, and Liz was overdressed, she still found herself comforted by the familiar rocks where she and Max had spent one glorious night together five years earlier.

She didn’t know why, but Liz found herself desperately wishing for Max’s companionship as she sat high up on the rocks, staring out at the wide spans of the desert below. Liz wondered what he would do in her current situation. What advice would he offer her if she brought her problem to him? Maybe he could confirm for her that Dr. Thompson’s suspicions about him were in fact wrong. Max couldn’t possibly have anything special or different about him…but for some reason, Liz knew that that lab would never agree with her on that belief.

Still, Liz knew with every fiber of her being that she needed to find some way to protect Max from his future as a science experiment. Yet she also had to find some way to protect her family at the same time. Liz feared that there wasn’t a way to protect one without harming the other. It felt like she had to do the impossible. It was a no win situation.

Letting her mind wander from where it kept almost subconsciously lingering, Liz found herself again flashing back to the memories of the last time she had been at the desert rocks. It was odd to Liz. The rocks seemed almost haunted by that one event, even years later. It was as if Max was there with her, surrounding her in spirit, holding her close and comforting her. His memory was giving Liz the strength to clear her mind.

Liz had no idea how to possibly rectify the impossible situation. Until she figured out how though, she only had one option. She had to stay away from Max…and somehow keep her employers from noticing.

~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

It was hours later before Liz found herself pulling up in front of her apartment complex. Sitting in her car for cover, she surveyed the surrounding area for any sign of Max. He was thankfully nowhere in sight, although Liz did note a wide array of cars parked up and down the street. Liz wondered which one was his, and made a note to figure it out later.

Liz summoned her courage, determined not to put it off any longer for fear of running into Max. She pulled her keys from the ignition, and stepped out onto the street. Hurrying up the walk, Liz made her way into the building and straight to the elevator, without looking around or slowing. She needed to get into her apartment as quickly as possible, so that Max couldn’t intercept her along the way.

When she reached her apartment door, Liz breathed a deep sigh of relief. Her logical mind reveled in the fact that she made it home Max free…while at the same time her heart bitterly complained. She could already tell that avoiding Max was going to tear her apart from the inside out.

Pulling her keys from her pocket uneasily, Liz fumbled through the unfamiliar new keys to find the right one.

“How does Italian sound?”

His voice came seemingly out of nowhere and it took Liz completely by surprise. She jumped, giving a short shriek, dropping her keys as she whirled around to face Max. He was standing in the open doorway of his own apartment, stepping outside and shutting the door behind him. He gave a start at her reaction. His own eyes widened in surprise, before darkening with concern.

“I’m sorry.” He quickly apologized. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“It’s okay.” Liz sighed, bending to pick up her keys. She quickly prayed that Max couldn’t tell how much her hands were shaking with nervous energy.

Feigning indifference to his presence, Liz finally grasped the right key and slipped it into the lock, turning her back to Max as she unlocked her door. She could feel his eyes watching her every movement. It was comforting after feeling the cold probing of Dr. Thompson’s gaze all afternoon. Still though, with the current situation, and her own avoidance techniques going into action immediately, Max’s closeness was almost suffocating.

“So I was just heading to the store.” Max explained. “To get some food, you know, for dinner tonight. Assuming that we’re still on, that is. I was thinking Italian. Is that okay with you?”

Liz was relieved that her back was facing Max as he spoke, because she knew she couldn’t hide the way her face fell wistfully at his words. She had completely forgotten about their dinner plans for that night, and here Max was, eagerly planning a romantic dinner for her. Disappointment surged up from within her. She had never wanted to say yes to him so badly, yet she knew she couldn’t.

“Max, you know, about dinner…” She turned to finally face him, half smiling regretfully at him. “I am so sorry, but I can’t. Tonight just isn’t a good night.”

Liz sucked in her breath when she saw his gaze drop in disappointment, before he quickly masked his expression.

“It’s okay.” He insisted with a falsely happy smile.

“It’s just that I’m really wiped out from my first day at work. I think I’m just going to crash for the night.” Liz pulled open the door to her apartment, smiling apologetically. “I’ll see you later, Max.” She stated quickly as she stepped inside her own apartment.

Leaning back against the door, Liz breathed a deep sigh of regret. She had done what she had to do. Still, she knew that no matter how hard she tried there would be no escaping from the sad look in Max’s eyes as she ran from him. The look that she knew would now be forever burned into her memory.

~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~

Max’s brow was furrowed in contemplative thought as he slowly closed the door, returning to the sanctuary of his own apartment. Mechanically he crossed the room and fell into a seat on the couch. Michael was slouched beside him, his eyes glued to a hockey game on the television. Max’s own position now mirrored his friend’s, with his eyes staring blankly through the television set as he replayed the conversation that had just occurred over and over again in his head.

Something about the whole incident didn’t seem right to him, between the way Liz had suddenly pulled away from him right on through to the way she shut the door into his face. Both actions were out of character for Liz. It was as if she had shut down every ounce of emotion that she felt. Her voice was dead when she spoke to him. Her eyes were lifeless…and only once during the entire exchange had she made eye contact with him. And in that moment, Max was able to see the sadness and regret that she was feeling as she canceled their plans.

Liz didn’t want to push him away…that much was certain to Max. He knew Liz better than anyone else in the world, between sixteen years of silently watching her, and three years of intimate connection with her. Not to even mention their one night together in this lifetime. She couldn’t hide anything from him. He knew her too well.

Now the only remaining question was…why?

“What’s wrong?” Michael mumbled out between bites of the popcorn that he was shoveling in his mouth. “Did Liz cancel your little date?”

“Something is wrong with her.”

Max voiced his determination with certainty and let it hang out there for a long moment. He searched his mind, trying desperately to figure out what could possibly be the problem. She wasn’t involved in any alien stuff in this life, so it shouldn’t be life threatening. Yet he got the distinct impression that it was specifically him that she was avoiding.

It was a minute or two before Michael broke Max out of his trance.

“What could possibly be wrong with her?” Michael asked him flippantly.

“I don’t know.” Max murmured. “It was like she was hiding something.”

“What would Liz Parker have to hide?” Michael wondered, eyeing his friend critically. “Are you sure she wasn’t just avoiding you? Girls like Liz Parker aren’t usually looking to relive their one night stands from five years in the past.”

“It was more than a one night stand.” Max stubbornly insisted.

“To you.” Michael shot back. “But maybe not to her.”

Michael’s supposition hung out there silently for a long moment, while Max clenched his jaw in anger, biting back every damning thing that he ever wanted to throw in Michael’s face. He knew after years of experience that it wouldn’t do him any good.

This argument was far from unusual. They had fought over it many times over the last five years, as Michael had caught Max still hanging around the Crashdown near the holidays, or spending time with Alex and Maria searching for word on Liz’s latest news. Still, Michael seemed unwilling to accept that Max’s feelings for Liz were something more than pure obsession…or that Liz could ever feel something back.

“So what are you going to do? Stop pushing her?”

“God no!” Max exclaimed with certainty, pushing himself to his feet and heading back to his own room to figure out what his next step was going to be.




[ edited 1 time(s), last at 21-Aug-2002 5:19:48 PM ]
posted on 29-Aug-2002 9:07:37 PM by Cookie2697
lol...I agree mia!!! Good one Jane!

As for what Liz ACTUALLY will tell him...well, just wait and see!
posted on 1-Sep-2002 8:20:47 PM by Cookie2697
Thanks for the bumpage y'all! Give me an hour or two and it will be up...just have to do some last edits!
posted on 1-Sep-2002 9:33:59 PM by Cookie2697
Okay...here we go *happy* Enjoy y'all!


Chapter 16

Liz sat silently in the large cushiony armchair, her hands folded awkwardly in her lap. Her thumbs were twiddling nervously, while she stared blankly through the wall opposite her. An hour had passed since she had run from Max into her apartment, and after a hot bath and two glasses of wine to soothe her nerves, she still felt no better than she did before about her situation.

What she needed was some comfort and a little insight. Her logical mind knew that it was a very bad idea to bring anyone else into what had become her dangerous, secretive world. Still though, her emotional side longed for the companionship that it needed.

Her emotional side won out.

An hour later there was a knock on the door, and Liz had never felt so relieved in her life to open the door and allow Maria to bustle past her into the apartment.

“I can’t believe it took you this long to call me!” Maria ranted as she rushed inside. “You’ve been here for…what? A whole day? And I’m just now seeing you? That’s just not right! You had better be prepared to make it up to me big time!” Maria turned and in a quick glance took in the lushly decorated apartment around her. “Hey, this is a pretty nice place!”

“Yeah, blackmail…” Liz muttered under her breath as she followed Maria around the apartment, giving her best friend a chance to explore. Maria reached the bedroom and arched an eyebrow at the sight of the massive pillow-covered king sized bed.

“All right chica, what’s your secret?” Maria demanded, turning to Liz with her hands on her hips in annoyance. “I could never in a million years afford all of this stuff, and I’ve been working full time since I was, like, fifteen!”

Liz held up her hands in surrender. “It’s not me! I swear! It’s my new job’s doing.” She spit out the words distastefully while the two friends made their way back to the main room. “They’re trying to show me what a valuable commodity I am to them.”

“And that’s a bad thing?” Maria raised her eyebrow at her friend with disbelief. “You’re living in luxury, girl!”

Liz sighed, slumping back down into the huge armchair in defeat.

“Oh God, Maria.” Liz cried, raking a frustrated hand through her hair. “I’ve had the worst day! This job is absolutely nothing like I expected it to be.”

“Oh sweetie!” Maria exclaimed as she noticed Liz’s exhausted, ragged appearance for the first time. Maria ran across the room towards Liz, pulling her into a tight hug. “I’m here for you, girlfriend! Tell me everything.”

Liz gave Maria a relieved smile. She knew for a fact that this was exactly what she needed…to let loose all the tension inside of her and get a second opinion on the situation from her friend. Maybe with a little perspective she could figure out how to proceed when she went back to work in the morning. Not to even mention she needed advice on how to act around Max in the meantime. She didn’t need another disaster like her jumpiness in the hallway earlier that evening.

“Well…” Liz started, only to be immediately cut off by the shrill ringing of the telephone. She rolled her eyes at the interruption, and pushed herself back to her feet. “I’ll be right back.” She grinned at her friend, padding lazily across the room to pick up the phone.

“Hello?” She asked, turning her back on Maria to take the call.

“It would be wise of you to keep your mouth shut, Ms. Parker.”

The cold, lifeless voice on the other end of the line sent a chill running down Liz’s spine, and the smile slid right off of her face. She paled as the voice continued.

“You wouldn’t want someone to find out things they shouldn’t know about. It might initiate certain unexpected accidents to remove unwanted factors into our project.”

Fear surged up inside of Liz as she realized what they were suggesting. She berated herself at her own stupidity. They had everyone she knew under surveillance twenty-four hours a day…of course they would be watching her just as closely, if not more closely. She glanced around the room for a moment, trying to spot cameras or other hidden security equipment that she might have missed before. Of course, none of it was visible to the naked eye.

“Say something, Ms. Parker. Your friend is going to get suspicious.” The voice warned her in a threatening tone.

Thinking quickly so not to raise Maria’s suspicions, Liz began to ramble a response.

“Yes, this is (505)648-2697, but I’m sorry, there’s nobody by that name here.”

“That’s right, Ms. Parker, just pretend you don’t know who it is. Everything is totally normal here. And remember…watch your mouth if you value your friend’s life.”

The other end clicked as the mysterious voice broke the connection, and Liz placed the receiver down gently, trying to hide the shaking of her hands. She took a deep breath, trying to get her expression neutral, before turning back to Maria.

“So…your new job?” Maria prompted with a supportive smile. Liz could only shake her head sadly in response.

“You know what? Forget it. Everything will be fine at work. It was probably just first day jitters. I’m just overreacting. I’m not going to linger on it. Let’s talk about something else.”

“Okay.” Maria agreed. “If it’s a change of subject you want, then I know the perfect thing. Let’s talk about me!” Maria grinned in amusement. “So what do you think about the new hair?”

Maria twirled around with a giggle, and Liz gasped. She had been so absorbed with her problems that she hadn’t noticed right away that Maria had changed her look. She had been wearing her hair long ever since high school, and the last time Liz had seen her friend it hung halfway down her back. Now though, it was bobbed short again, like it had been many years before, and Liz was pleased to notice that her friend looked classically cute and quirky.

“I love it!” Liz exclaimed with a laugh.

The mood generally lightened around them as the two friends began their usual giggle and gossip fest that was a tradition for them on the eve of each and every reunion, particularly after a long separation. It had been six months since their last visit, and they had plenty to catch up on.

Still though, a darkness stayed deep in the recesses of Liz’s mind. She couldn’t forget about the threats that were made against her family and friends. Nor could she forget the chilling reality that she might have to sell Max out for their lives.

~~~~~~ ~~~~~

It was nearly midnight when Max finally emerged from his bedroom. He lay on his bed for hours, staring through the ceiling as he tried to figure out what his next step would be with Liz. He felt frustrated, angry, and more determined than ever to show her that they belonged together.

Michael had finally gone to bed a half-hour earlier, so Max was free to sneak from the apartment without interruption. He wanted to get some air, clear his head, and dream about his newly optimistic future now that Liz was back. Had she only reappeared the night before? It already felt like years before. His life was timeless when Liz was in it, and endless when she was away.

Quietly Max stepped out of his apartment, shutting the door softly so not to disturb Michael, and he was surprised to see Liz’s door closing as well, behind Maria Deluca, who was staring at him in amazement.

“Maria?” Max asked curiously. He was surprised to see her there so late. It hurt a bit to see her there, but at the same time it answered a huge question for him. Whatever was wrong with Liz, it was somehow directly related to him.

“Max!” Maria squealed, bouncing at him and throwing her arms around him. She squeezed him tightly for a minute before pulling back. “What are you doing here? Visiting a friend?” She asked, pointedly gesturing to the apartment door behind him.

“No.” Max shook his head in denial. “That’s my apartment. I was just heading out for a late night walk.”

“Oh, well walk me to my car then!” Maria insisted, turning towards the elevator down the hallway.

Max fell into an easy pace beside her, happy to see his sometimes friend. While he had been close to Maria in his past life, he rarely got to see her in the present. After Liz had left they had talked a bit in the Crashdown, and formed a slight friendship, but it was nothing like the bond of the group in the Crashdown. They never hung out together, and only really talked in situations like this, when they ran into each other by chance. Usually those rare occurrences were still in the Crashdown, but Maria living in Las Crueces, they were few and far between.

Many times over the years, seeing Maria had been like a lifeline to Max. She was one of his only real connections to Liz, the other being Alex Whitman, and he was always starved for new information on his love, which Maria was more than happy to supply.

“So you know that Liz moved in here?” Maria double checked with him quickly.

“Yeah, I do.” Max supplied without hesitation. “I talked to her last night when she arrived, and a few times today.”

“Really?” Maria whistled with surprise. “She didn’t tell me that. I’m going to have to give her hell about it later.”

“She didn’t mention it?” Max raised his eyebrows. “That’s odd. We were supposed to have dinner together tonight, but she canceled at the last minute.”

“Okay, now that’s really weird.” Maria agreed, her voice raising in irritation. “She and I are going to have to have a long talk tomorrow. Canceling a date with you is just unacceptable in my book!”

Max chuckled in amusement at Maria’s comment as they stopped in front of the elevator, hitting the down button and turning to face her.

“It’s really not that big of a deal.” Max offered gently. “I’m sure she had her reason.”

“Well yeah.” Maria replied flippantly. “Hanging out with me is ever so important.”

“Right.” Max laughed out loud, as always amused my Maria’s antics. As they stepped into the elevator, his voice quickly turned serious, as he admitted the truth about the situation to her. “I don’t want to pressure her though. Last time we took things too far and I know it, even if that night was like a dream come true to me. I want to go slow with her this time, and if it’s more time that she needs before she’s ready to give me a chance, I’ll give it to her. The next time we spend the night together, I want her to be beside me when I wake up in the morning.”

Maria sighed, and gave Max a soft smile of support.

“I don’t know what my best friend did to deserve you, Max, but I’m glad she has you.” Maria told him honestly. “Most guys wouldn’t be willing to wait as long as you have for her, and most guys wouldn’t care as much as you do.”

“I’m not like most guys.” Max reminded her with a grin.

“No, you’re definitely not.” Maria agreed with a wry smile. “And that’s what I like about you, Max. Let’s just hope that Liz gets her act together soon. I don’t want to see you two eyeing each other like puppy dogs across the Crashdown anytime in the near future. I want you two to be sharing that booth instead.”

“You and me both.” Max grinned. He could remember dozens of times over the years when they had done just that. More often it was him watching her rather than vice versa. He watched her longingly for years prior to the shooting, and then after the shooting she started looking back. Particularly after the agonizing few months of separation after their fist kiss, and their first breakup. During that period of time it was he who had been filled with silly pointless doubt. His own insecurities had been keeping them apart. Liz on the other hand was absolutely certain of their relationship, and watched and waited patiently for him while he sorted things out.

The elevator popped open, and together they walked out to the street. A gentleman as always, Max opened Maria’s car door for her and stood there facing her for a long moment.

“Well…I gotta jet.” Maria announced. “As it is I won’t get back until two in the morning, and I work the early shift tomorrow.”

“Go.” Max ordered playfully, as Maria threw her arms around Max, hugging him tightly in farewell.

“I’ll see you next time.” She grinned, as she stepped into the car and pulled the door shut behind her. The jetta’s engine roared to life, and Max watched on as Maria sped off into the distance.

Finding himself alone again, he sighed, shoving his hands into the pockets of his jeans, and turning away from his building. Talking to Maria, fun as it had been, had done nothing for Max except raise his suspicions further. Why had Liz feigned exhaustion with him, only to stay up late gossiping with Maria? It hurt…Max couldn’t deny that. Yet he knew Liz well enough to know that she had to have a good reason for it.

Now the only question was…what was the reason? What was Liz hiding?




posted on 8-Sep-2002 6:07:21 AM by Cookie2697
Thanks for the bumpage you guys!!

I'm really bummed to say that I wanted to get the next chapter up this weekend, but it's looking like it probably won't happen. :( Which annoys me to no end. I'm working on it though, and I'll try VERY hard to get it out sometime this week! Thanks for being patient...I'm still adjusting to my new school and work schedule and trying to work my writing INTO it. AUGH!! Stupid real life...why can't I just write fic all the time? LOL!
posted on 10-Sep-2002 9:39:41 PM by Cookie2697
LOL! Thanks for the bumpage y'all! Hugs to you Scottie...thanks for thinking of me *happy*

*sigh* Jane and Lana...wouldn't it just be a DREAM?? I could only wish...maybe someday when I'm rich and famous, eh? (In my dreams at least...)

I think I've decided to join Stacey, Mel, and Kath in the sudden cliffhanger club...I hope y'all don't mind another! hee! *evil grin*

I think you'll enjoy this cliffhanger though...it's not quite as evil as theirs...

Let me know what you think!

Chapter 17

By the time morning came, Liz’s fear had faded into fury. She clenched her jaw, pressing her foot down a little harder on the gas, as she sped down the vast desert highway towards the Brown Institute. Her knuckles were nearly white from clutching the steering wheel so tight, as she ran over exactly what she was going to tell Dr. Thompson for the tenth time that morning in her determined mind.

Finally she had a plan, or at least the start of one. She had to confront the doctor head on. She had to stop playing the role of the weak little victim in this situation. Liz knew without a doubt that it was time for her to fight for her own life…and for Max’s.

The tires on the Lexus squealed as she took the turn into the parking lot a little too fast, but Liz paid no attention to the noise, as she grabbed the first parking place she saw. She jumped out of the car before the dust had even settled behind her, and quickly stormed into the laboratory. Liz didn’t even slow as she passed the security desk, heading straight down the hallway towards Dr. Thompson’s office.

She burst into the room, a flurry of energetic anger, which only intensified at the calm way that Dr. Thompson barely glanced up at her from behind his papers. The doctor on briefly acknowledged her before continuing his reading.

“Good, you’re on time. Have a seat, Ms. Parker.” He gestured dismissively at the empty chair opposite him. “I’ll be with you in a moment.”

“Bullshit, you won’t be with me in a moment.” Liz swore angrily at him. “You’re going to talk to me right now!”

Dr. Thompson raised an eyebrow in surprise at her passionate order, and calmly set down his reading. “Very well, then. What do you want to talk about?”

“My legal rights.” Liz stated firmly. “You have no right…no right whatsoever…to bug my apartment! What are you doing? Watching and listening to everything I say and do? Haven’t you people ever heard of privacy?”

“Liz…first of all, it’s not your apartment. It’s our apartment. You willingly walked into there yourself. If we want to install security equipment in our own facility, then that’s our choice…just as it was your choice to sign a contract with us before you even visited our facility. Do you remember that contract, Liz? You agreed to all of this.”

The blood drained from Liz’s face as she realized that all he said was true. His point was only accentuated as he opened his file drawer and pulled out a copy of that very same contract that he spoke of, sliding it across the desk towards her.

“Take this, Liz. Read it again. See what you agreed to. You can’t break this contract now.”

Liz stared down at the paper that she now held in her hands. It was heart wrenching to see her own signature on the document that signed her life away. Words screamed out of the paper at her…words that weeks before had seemed unusual. Still, at the time she had assumed that she understood their meaning. She had completely misinterpreted it.

”I will agree to follow certain methods of security checks on a regular basis.”

”I understand that my work may be classified at times, and that when classification is broken, steps will be taken to ensure the lab’s security.”

Bile rose in Liz’s throat at the sight of the words before her. Statements that initially seemed to be cloudy and obscure now made perfect sense. She felt completely moronic for agreeing to anything before she knew the reality behind the lab’s projects and procedures.

In short…she was completely trapped.

“Now that we understand each other once again, Ms. Parker, we can move on to what seems to be the real issue at hand this morning.”

“And what’s that?” Liz asked bitterly as she passed the contract back to the doctor.

“That would be your interaction with Mr. Evans last night. Why did you cancel your dinner with the subject?”

Liz held back the retort that she desperately wanted to throw at the doctor as he referred to Max as ‘the subject’. There was so much more to Max than a simple science project. It proved to Liz once again what an inhuman man she was trapped into working for.

“I needed time to think.” Liz replied with a shrug of her shoulders. “You kind of threw a lot on to me yesterday. I wasn’t ready to do what you were asking.”

“Then why did you have your friend over later?” Dr. Thompson noted pointedly. “The fact is that you’re lying to me even now, Ms. Parker. You purposefully canceled your plans with Mr. Evans in an attempt to avoid your responsibility to this lab.”

Liz opened her mouth to quickly retort the scientist’s statement, but he quickly cut her off.

“Don’t try to deny it, Liz. We know that this isn’t an easy transition for you, but it isn’t going to get any easier as time goes on. It particularly won’t get any easier if you continue to fight against what you must do. Give in, Ms. Parker. How hard is it to go to a simple dinner with the man?”

Liz couldn’t even respond, her mouth staying silently ajar as her mind drifted back to the last time she and Max had gone out on a simple date. It had ended with a night of passion, romance, and hidden fears surfacing out of nowhere…quite possible the most memorable night of her life. Liz wasn’t sure she could ever have just a simple dinner with Max. There was too much electricity between them…it would have to lead to something more.

And that was the last thing she could allow to happen.

~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~

Max walked across the Las Crueces campus the next day, his hands shoved in his pockets as he lost himself in the thoughts that were plaguing his mind.

Talking to Maria the night before had helped Max to feel a little better, but only a little. Maria knew Liz, but in this life she didn’t truly know Max. She saw him as a good enough guy that she liked, who was madly in love with her best friend. But when it came to his deepest secrets and his inner soul, she was nowhere near an expert on Max Evans.

There was a time when there wouldn’t be any doubt in Max’s mind who to turn to in a situation like this where he needed to pour out all of his innermost thoughts and fears. It was Liz. Those days were long past, though, and a part of a completely different reality, so in this world he was forced to turn a little closer to home. In short, he had to weight his options between Michael, and Isabel.

Isabel had taken the changes that the new Max had brought about years before with much less difficulty than Michael. Unlike her two brothers, she had always been more of a social creature. Max’s changes had offered her freedom from her life as an ice queen…always socially active, but never truly involved.

After high school, like her brother, Isabel had attended the local community college, choosing to stay close to home to protect the granolith. However, when the time of her transfer had come around, while Max had chosen to commute from Roswell to Las Crueces, Isabel had moved to Las Crueces permanently. Now, three years later, Max had never seen her happier. She was deeply involved with an on-campus sorority, living in the sorority house, and close friends with her ‘sisters’. While they didn’t know certain details about Isabel, they loved and accepted her, and the sight warmed Max’s heart. It reminded him of the bonds that he had shared with their close friends in his past reality.

It was a weekly tradition for the two siblings to meet for lunch on campus every Wednesday, and that day was no exception. Still, when Max slid into the chair across from Isabel at the outdoor café, his shoulders slumped defeatedly, Isabel eyed him curiously.

“What’s up with you?” Isabel wondered. “I haven’t seen you look this miserable in years!”

“Liz is back.” Max explained shortly. Isabel nodded her head in understanding.

“Ahhh…I see. I take it the flame isn’t rekindling as easily as you had hoped?”

“Not exactly.” Max countered quickly. “Things were going great right away, but then all of a sudden she just pulled back. Now she’s avoiding me. Michael thinks she doesn’t want to remember what happened between us, but I don’t believe that.

Max stewed over the thought for a moment before posing a new question to his sister. “What do you think, Iz? If it was you, would you want to pretend it never happened?”

“I don’t know.” Isabel honestly replied, as she toyed with the possibility for a minute. “It depends on the guy. But if it was a guy like you, Max, who honestly cared for me and loved me, I think I’d want to remember it.”

Max toyed with Isabel’s words, hope filling his heart at her support. He looked up at his sister, and was surprised to find Isabel eyeing him closely.

“Liz does know, doesn’t she? That you still love her after all this time? How long you’ve had feelings for her?”

Max gaped at her question, opening and closing his mouth in disbelief before finally choking out an answer. “I think so…I don’t know…”

“Well have you told her?”

The question hung unanswered as Max suddenly realized that Isabel was right. That night he had told Liz that he loved her, but only during the act of making love to her. She may think that he was just talking through his passionate actions, like any old horny teenage boy. Liz may have no idea that he had been waiting for her all of this time.

After all…never once in this lifetime had Liz Parker ever heard the truth of his lifelong love for her.

“You know what, Iz?” Max finally muttered. “I need some time alone to think about this. I’ll see you next week.”

Quickly he pushed himself to his feet and quickly headed across the campus towards his car. He couldn’t go to class that afternoon…he needed to form a new plan.

~~~~~~ ~~~~~

It was hard for Liz to return to her apartment that afternoon, knowing full well that some nameless face in the security department at the Brown Institute was constantly watching her. Still, she was determined not to live her life in fear, so after a quick stop at the grocery store, she returned to her apartment and decided to at least put on a farce of settling in. Hopefully it would seem to her employers that she had finally accepted her fate, while the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

It felt good to allow herself to settle, weird vibe or not. Liz stood in front of the open door of her now-packed refrigerator, smiling happily at the sight of all the food within, and already felt a slight bit better, even if it was just food. Sometimes even the simplest things in life helped her to feel better.

Sighing, Liz shut the refrigerator door, and turned to head back to the bedroom, ready for a quick nap. She had only slept fitfully the night before, due to the lingering pressure of the problems with her employers, added with the knowledge of the cameras watching her.

She was crossing the living room, when a sudden knock on the door startled her. Sighing she turned towards the front door, already feeling her nap flying away. It was probably her parents, who still hadn’t seen her new place.

The sight of Max Evans standing across from her as she opened the door had never surprised her more. Particularly as he pushed past her, stalking into the apartment with a determined gait.

“Max?” Liz spluttered in surprise, gently letting the door close as she whirled around and followed him into the living room. “Can I help you with something?”

“Yeah, Liz…you can.” Max announced, as he quickly turned to face her. With a swiftness that took Liz’s breath away, he suddenly placed both hands on the sides of Liz’s face, and pressed his lips insistently against hers.



posted on 11-Sep-2002 10:33:46 AM by Cookie2697
quote:
jezebel617 originally wrote:
Uh oh, badness striking. I mean Max is cute and all, but Liz needs to figure out a way to tell him what's going down, like NOW. No misunderstandings. And she's a smart girl, I'm sure she can figure out a way. Like, say, in bed:

Liz: More, more, MORE!! whispered**Max, the apartment is being watched.** MORE!! YES GOD YES!!
Max: What?



ROTFLMAO!!!!!! Oh man...that just made my morning! Thanks Jez!! We could only wish, right? Hey wait a sex...uh, I mean sec...there IS an unbugged apartment across the hallway with a bed....isn't there?

*laughs evily and runs to school*
posted on 13-Sep-2002 6:50:22 PM by Cookie2697
Hey all!

Thanks SO much for the fabulous feedback!

Cliffhangers seem to be part of every fanfic reader's plight and part of every fanfic author's delight!

LOL!!! I love that, Scottie!! It even rhymes...I must share with my writers group...they'll be entertained! Thanks for the giggle!

And me? *innocent smile* something up my sleeve? NEVER!

tyranese - thanks for the fabulous feedback! You asked about altra-Liz and the dissappearing Max...well, all I'm going to say for now is to be patient. I AM going to address that, but it's not going to be until MUCH later in the story...the question WILL be answered eventually though...I promise!

crazeesmilie - LOL! I got a kick out of the "don't be like Stacey..." She left ME with a horrible cliffhanger too, so I understand your pain! Will Max live? I don't know! ACK! Stacey, where are YOU??? LOL! Okay...so I'm not as evil as her, but she did rub off on me just a teensy weensy bit.

So that kiss from Max was good and bad, eh? Well...as for what's coming next, I'm aiming for by the end of the weekend...so don't worry, I'm trying to come back fast! Thanks for the wonderful support! Y'all rock!

-Anne
posted on 14-Sep-2002 9:16:12 PM by Cookie2697
quote:
sarzy originally wrote:

Hahahahahaha! Oh that is some inspired writing right there. Cookie, maybe you can take Jezebel as a collaborator, she certainly has her mind in the write place. I.e. the gutter, where, lets face it, all the good fics really come from!


LOL!!!

Well, you'll never hear me deny that Jez has a great mind...as a matter of fact, we HAVE collaborated before....a LONG time ago...like during Season 1. We were writing this REALLY terrible humor fic together where kissing Liz turned Max into a bug. LOL! Remember that Jez? It gives me the giggles just THINKING about it!

However, I will dispute the statement that all good fics come from the gutter. While I do enjoy a good NC-17 fic...I need a LOT more than that in a fic...that's definitely not where THIS fic comes from for that matter!

Be back in a sex...uh...I mean sec with that chapter!

Jeez...I wrote sex the second time too...where IS my mind tonight? LOL!
posted on 14-Sep-2002 9:17:26 PM by Cookie2697
Chapter 18

The feeling of Max’s lips crashing down over hers startled all coherent thought out of Liz’s mind. His kiss was intoxicating, and instantly Liz lost herself in his embrace as she happily abandoned herself to him. She was drawn into the feel of him, desperate to get closer to him, and trying, while never truly able to get close enough.

His hands slid from her face down her body to wrap around her waist, pulling her closer to him. Liz didn’t even try to fight his touch, wrapping her arms around his neck to pull him harder against her lips. His touch sent fire burning through her veins, and in an idle, distant thought, Liz wondered how she had possibly gone without this for the past five years?

The first idle thought unleashed a flood of memories though, and soon the dream faded to reality as Liz realized just what she was doing…and in front of whom. She pulled back suddenly, breaking the embrace, and taking a few steps back to put some distance between her body and it’s undeniable pull to Max.

“Max! What-“

“I love you, Liz.”

“What?” The startled response flew from Liz’s lips instantly. His passionate decree had taken her completely by surprise, and her heart instantly started pounding with excitement at the possibility. She took a deep breath, though, trying to get ahold of herself enough to take control of the situation, and convince Max of the fact that he couldn’t feel that way about her. Even if he did, it wasn’t safe for him to be anywhere near her, this apartment, and the watchful eyes of the Brown Institute.

Max had other plans it seemed.

“It occurred to me today that I’ve never really made that fact clear to you, Liz, and I need you to understand. I love you. I’ve loved you since the first time I laid my eyes on you.”

“You don’t even know me.” Liz protested. She was desperately trying to dissuade him from his declaration, but at the same time, her mind was trying to grasp the reality of what he was saying. Max loved her…deeply and passionately, and for a long time. She had gotten a tiny glimpse of that possibility the night that they spent together, but never once did she consider the truth of it all.

Still, she couldn’t allow him to think that he had a chance here, even though every ounce of her being was pleading with her to listen. She needed to get him out of there, away from the cameras. Almost unconsciously, Liz found herself glancing around, trying to spot them, even though she knew they weren’t visible to the naked eye. She couldn’t allow him to give anything else away to the lab…anything that the lab could use against him.

Max ignored her argument, though, and kept his attention focused on what he wanted to say. Liz couldn’t stop him as he passionately continued his speech.

“Do you know when that was, Liz? We were in the third grade. It was my first day of school ever…any school at all, and I was scared out of my mind. I stepped off of the school bus, and I saw your beautiful face from across the school yard. You were playing games with Maria, and you just…you looked like an angel to me. From that moment on, I knew that you were the one, Liz. I knew that you’d be the only person that I could ever spend the rest of my life with.”

“What makes you so sure that I feel the same?” Liz desperately fought. With every word her heart began to pound harder, reacting to his own, but still, her mind cringed as he fed even more fodder to the security systems that could be used against him.

“We made love.” Max stated firmly. “And I know that it’s not exactly something you do lightly.”

He paused, giving Liz a moment to dispute his heartfelt statement, but Liz couldn’t find any words to do so. She was so shocked by his reminder. It was the absolute worst possible thing he could say at that moment, yet it brought up a surge of powerful memories within her.

That night had scared her to death, because she had never considered that she could feel so strongly about a person in such a short time. Max was right…she wasn’t the kind of girl who lightly threw away her virginity. It was so intensely passionate, what had happened between them. Liz couldn’t just write it off as random sex, as much as she might think that she should at times.

“That night was the best night of my life.” Max continued, his voice softening as he obviously was flashing back to remember the night. “It stayed with me every day that you were gone, Liz. Every day for five long years, and I’ve been waiting for you to come back to Roswell so that we can continue what we started that night.”

“What we started?” Liz choked out, shocked that he would make such a proposition in the middle of all the romantic words pouring from his beautifully kissable lips.

“Yes, what we started, Liz. Us. You and me.” Max clarified. He took a step towards her, closing the distance between them as he reached out and gently cupped her cheek in one hand. Liz couldn’t help almost subconsciously leaning into his loving touch.

“I want us to be together.” Max insisted. “I want to take you out on dates. I want to be around you. I want to be able to kiss you on occasion, and someday if I’m really, really lucky, I’d like to hope that I could make love to you again. But in order for any of those things to happen, I need you to be honest with me and stop avoiding me.”

“What makes you think that I want any of that?” Liz asked as she carefully avoided Max’s last emphatic statement.

“I guess I don’t.” Max admitted. “But I think you do, and I know you a lot better than you think I do.”

Liz squeezed her eyes shut, forcing away Max’s pleading gaze as she forcefully took a step back, turning away from him. Tears stung at her eyes that were threatening to reveal themselves, and Liz blinked them away, preparing herself for what she was going to do…what she had to do, even though it would tear her heart into a million pieces.

Steeling herself for the oncoming battle, Liz turned back towards Max, struggling to keep her face impassive.

“Well, you’re wrong, Max.” Liz told him firmly. “I don’t want those things. I don’t feel the same as you.”

“Now you’re lying to me.” Max exclaimed with certainty. There wasn’t even a moment of hesitation from him. It was like he just knew. “I told you, Liz. I know you a lot better than you think I do. You’re a terrible liar…you always have been.”

Liz stared at him in aghast. He didn’t seem to want to take no for an answer. It didn’t matter that he was right. She was lying to him, but how could he possibly know that? Anyway, she couldn’t admit it to him…otherwise she’d be sealing his fate.

She stayed silent, struggling to find a way to respond to him, yet she couldn’t find one. Thankfully, Max took the next step into his own hands…literally.

He took another step towards her, reaching out to cradle her face in both his hands once again, this time with a gentleness that wasn’t a part of the passionate kiss he had given her minutes before. He tilted her gaze up to meet his own.

“Liz, look at me.” He softly pleaded with her. His voice was so lovingly desperate that she couldn’t deny him. Without shying away from his touch, or the intensity of his gaze, Liz met his eyes head on.

“I don’t know what it is that has you so scared to tell me the truth, or even be around me, but I want you to know that whatever it is…whatever is going on with you…you can trust me. You can tell me anything, and I can take it. I’m stronger than you think, and I’m not going anywhere, no matter how hard you try to push me away. I’ll be here for you, Liz, no matter what.”

Tears filled Liz’s eyes at Max’s heartfelt oath, and suddenly she felt tempted to do as he asked. She could tell him everything, and he could help her break free of the lab…but then what? Would they run away together? They could be like fugitives on the loose, constantly being chased by the bad guys. And what would happen if they caught up with them? They would grab Max, and probably kill her. Their lives would be destroyed.

Liz couldn’t risk that possibility.

“Max…I can’t!” Liz finally gasped out, blinking back the tears that were again threatening to fall. Max studied her closely for a long moment, before finally nodded slowly.

“Okay.” He murmured, running his thumb over her cheek in a gentle caress, before releasing his magical hold on her and slowly walking away. He stopped suddenly when he reached the door to her apartment and turned back to look at her one last time.

“I meant every word I said tonight, Liz. Whenever you’re ready, I’ll be here for you. Don’t ever forget it.”

Liz nodded her acceptance as Max turned his back on her one last time, stepping out of the apartment, much to Liz’s relief. Slowly the door closed behind him, as he returned to the real world where he could continue to live a safe and peaceful existence for the time being.

If only she could be so lucky.

~~~~~~ ~~~~~

Liz felt a sinking feeling deep in her stomach the next morning as she arrived at the institute for her daily meeting with Dr. Thompson. The moment she walked into his office, the doctor smirked gleefully at her.

“Well, Liz…we have a very interesting twist going on now, don’t we? It could have saved us a lot of trouble if we had known before now that Max Evans is in love with you.”

The blood drained from Liz’s face at the doctor’s words. He was going to try to use Max’s feelings for her against him. Liz was so shocked and disgusted that she couldn’t even reply. It was her worst fear on the matter coming to reality.

“It looks like you’re a lot more valuable to us that even we thought.” The scientist continued with a grin that sent Liz’s blood to ice. “Mr. Evans’ outburst was more than helpful in helping us decide what your next step should be. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with him in the next few weeks…a lot of time.” The doctor suddenly paused, eyeing Liz carefully, as if realizing for the first time that she wasn’t acting like herself.

“You’re awfully quiet this morning. What are your feelings on this matter? Are you in love with him too?”

“That’s none of your business.” Liz replied in a frosty voice. Her heart was sinking at his hint into her upcoming “responsibilities”. She knew there was no escape, even though she would be killing her own spirit by giving in and doing what the lab asked of her.

“Hmmm…” He responded contemplatively. “Well, do you enjoy his company at least?”

Liz just raised an eyebrow at the doctor and remained silent.

“Suit yourself.” He shrugged. “But for the record, if you do enjoy Mr. Evans’ company, it could make the next few weeks a lot easier for you.”

“Easier?” Liz exploded. She was completely shocked by his suggestion and couldn’t hold back her disgust in him. “How is it going to be easier for me to hand over someone that I like to spend time with to this lab? If I do what you ask of me, then I’ll never be able to forgive myself.”

“So you do care for him.” Dr. Thompson observed.

“I didn’t say that.” Liz denied quickly.

“You didn’t have to.”

Liz berated herself for her inability to hide her feelings. It seemed as if when it came to Max, she was an open book. No matter how hard she tried to push them down, her feelings for Max always seemed to reveal themselves…to the doctor, to Max…

“So if you care for him so much, why did you tell him that you didn’t.” Dr. Thompson pressed. His voice was hardening with displeasure as he already came to his own conclusion in regards to her reasoning. Liz swallowed nervously, knowing where he was going with this, and quickly began to form a plan. “It definitely wasn’t to the benefit of this lab, nor the safety of your family and friends. Were you trying to protect him from us?”

“I was playing hard to get.” Liz stated with absolute certainty in her voice.

“What?” He questioned. “Explain.”

“You know, playing hard to get. I was saying no when I actually meant yes. Girls do it all the time with guys. It gets them more determined that I want him, so that he’ll keep pressuring me. In time, he’ll want me even more than he already does as a result.”

“Interesting technique.” The doctor replied dryly. “But it’s not exactly what we’re looking for.” He reached into his desk, pulling out a file folder as he continued talking. “So here’s the deal, Liz. You are going to fix the damage you started last night.” Picking up the phone, Dr. Thompson started dialing a number. “You’re going to tell Max that you were wrong…that you were playing hard to get as you so interestingly put it, and then you’re going to tell him that you want to see him tonight. Go out for dinner with him. Stop leading him on, and just get involved with him. Get him to trust you…that’s our goal, remember?”

Dr. Thompson hit the last number on the phone and held it out to Liz. She stared at it in disbelief, unwilling to take the receiver from his grasp.

“I can’t.” Liz cried, tears filling her eyes. The doctor’s cold gaze was unfeeling as he glared back at her defiance.

“You can and you will, Liz. Otherwise you know what the consequences will be. Take the phone, Liz.” He ordered her.

Unable to do anything else, Liz took the receiver and held it up to her ear.

“Hello?” Max’s familiar voice was already answering through the line.

Liz opened her mouth to respond, but nothing came out. Her eyes met the doctor’s, and she silently pleaded with him one last time. His gaze was unyielding.

“Hello?” Max asked again.

“Hi, Max…it’s Liz.” She finally choked out, hating herself even as she did so.

“Liz?” Max asked, the concern evident in his voice. “Is everything okay? You sound upset.”

“No, everything’s fine, Max.” She insisted, while her eyes never left those of the doctor’s. “It’s just…I was thinking about what you said last night, and I want to see you again…tonight, if you’re not busy.”

“You do?” Max’s sounded was surprised, yet pleased. “Tonight would be amazing, Liz.” His voice lowered huskily as he lingered on her name. “Can I take you out? Maybe we could go to Senior Chow’s, play some pool or something.”

“Okay.” Liz agreed, slightly relieved by his suggestion. If they were out in public, then they didn’t necessarily have to talk about what had happened the night before.

“I’ll pick you up at seven.” Max told her happily. “I’ve got to get back to work though. I’ll see you tonight, Liz.”

“Yeah.” Liz responded sadly as Max hung up the phone. “Tonight.” She handed the receiver back to Dr. Thompson, who smiled coldly at her.

“Good job, Liz. Now if you wouldn’t mind, before you head home to prepare for tonight, I’d like you to report to lab room ‘C’ for some quick tests.”

“Tests?” Liz asked nervously. She didn’t like the sound of that at all. Was she in danger of becoming as much of a lab rat as Max, just because of one night five years before?

“Yes, tests.” Dr. Thompson clarified. “We don’t know what it is about Max Evans that makes him capable of the things he can do. If it’s something physical, then we want to know if it can be passed along. If so, you may already be a recipient.” He smiled coldly at her for the last time that day. "Report to the lab, Ms. Parker.” He ordered again.

Liz’s whole body shook with fear, as she knew that she could do nothing but comply. She was trapped as completely as any animal in a cage.







[ edited 1 time(s), last at 14-Sep-2002 9:19:00 PM ]
posted on 15-Sep-2002 10:28:23 PM by Cookie2697
Hey guys!

Sorry...no new chapter yet! I've got about 3 paragraphs written, but I did notice a few comments in the feedback that I wanted to answer/address, so here I go!

Debbi and everyone else who is feeling frustrated with Liz's secret keeping - *sigh* Okay...I'll admit it. Liz IS being much more the brainless victim than I usually like her to be in my fics...but it's what I need for the purpose of this story. Also, in my mind at least, I can excuse it because of the fact that Liz DOESN'T know anything about Max...she doesn't know that this is the story of his life, she doesn't know that he can handle it...to her, he's still that shy, sensitive guy that she had so much trouble getting to open up to her in high school, and she doesn't know if he COULD take it or not. She doesn't even know when or where it could be safe to tell him, even if she could. So I'd like to think that maybe in a situation like that, Liz might be more concerned with trying to protect Max on her own, rather than getting him to help her with the situation. Unfortunately, she isn't doing a very good job of it, is she?

Klaatu82 - Hey! *happy* I always LOVE hearing from you! I have to cringe and appologize that the angst is killing you here! Hang in there with me a bit longer! I will admit that this fic is REALLY on the angsty side for me...in fact, this and CrossWired both have been kind of me experimenting with angst, because before these two fics, I don't really feel like I've written much of it! But I think things will slowly start getting a bit better. We ARE working towards Max eventually finding out, but it will still be a little while yet! And you know me...DEFINITE dreamer insurance *happy* That's just the way I am!

Vicki - Hi!! Nice to see you here! I'm glad you're enjoying!

Jez - you ARE a gutter brain! I think you need to write a mindless sex fic to channel it a little better...or we could have a nice sappy reunion in TATROOL...hmmm? How about that for an idea!

Hmmm...that's it for now I think...I'm going to try to get the next chapter for y'all mid to end of the week, but I'm not sure yet...like I said, 3 paragraphs so far. LOL. But I'll get there. I've found lately that I really like that 10 minutes you spend sitting and waiting for class to start. The Hope Alone section in my 5 subject notebook gets a lot of love. LOL.

*hugs*
Anne

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 15-Sep-2002 10:30:39 PM ]
posted on 15-Sep-2002 11:20:25 PM by Cookie2697
;p I'm sticking my virtual tongue out at you, Jez. Peer pressure doesn't work on me anymore! I'm not a teenager! HA! Take that!


posted on 20-Sep-2002 12:36:46 PM by Cookie2697
Thanks for the great feedback y'all! I'm sorry I'm being so slow with the update...things have been CRAZY! I'm aiming to get it out by Sunday or Monday...so watch for it then!

Thanks for your patience!

Oh, and while I'm here...shameless plug! Everyone watch John Doe tonight at 9pm on Fox!!

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 20-Sep-2002 12:40:03 PM ]
posted on 21-Sep-2002 11:00:51 PM by Cookie2697
Chapter 19

Liz’s whole body ached from head to toe when she left the lab that afternoon. Never in her life had she ever felt so completely violated as she did at that moment. Even the knowledge of the hidden cameras in every room of her apartment watching her every move didn’t disturb her as much as the tests the lab had put her through that day.

Crawling out of the driver’s seat of the Lexus, she slowly made her way up the walk to her building. Her feet felt like they were as heavy as iron, and she felt herself stumble ever so slightly when the pavement changed ever so slightly in elevation. Raising her head to eye the door to the building, Liz tried to move a little faster. Cameras or not, the apartment offered sanctuary for now. She just wanted to disappear from the world…curl up into a ball and cry away her frustrations.

Sighing, she awkwardly rubbed her arm as she walked, trying to ease away the aching of the spot where the needle had entered her arm during the blood test. It was only one of many discomforts, but the one that seemed to bother her the most at that moment.

“Are you okay?”

Liz turned to see Max walking up the walkway behind her. Usually his sudden appearences took her by surprise, but today it seemed only natural. Max always had a way of showing his face when Liz wasn’t expecting him. She sent a halfhearted smile his way as he approached.

“Perfect timing as usual, I see.” Liz commented as he fell into step beside her and opened the door to the building, allowing her to pass through before him.

“Yeah…” Max agreed with his own shy smile. “I just got off work.” His gaze sharpened though as they reached the elevator and he turned to face her while they waited. He took in her appearance in a glance. “Liz, what’s going on? Are you okay? You don’t look very well.”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine. I had a checkup this afternoon…” She sighed, lying between her teeth. “It was just one of those terrible doctor’s appointments that leave you feeling like a lab rat.”

A sudden change came over Max, so quickly that Liz almost didn’t notice it before he masked it away again. She couldn’t miss the odd, haunted look that passed through him though, even as it almost immediately faded to concern. Liz smiled weakly at Max as he reached out and gently touched her sore arm in a friendly, considerate gesture.

“I’m so sorry, Liz.” He murmured as he stared deeply into her eyes. Liz lost herself in the amber depths of them drifting away into a feeling of being totally consumed by Max for just a brief moment before he continued speaking, pulling her out of the odd trance. “Maybe we should save tonight for another time. You’d probably rather just stay in and rest.”

“No, it’s okay!” Liz insisted, trying to sound excited about the date, while they stepped side by side into the elevator. “We have a lot to talk about, anyway. I should be fine after we rest for a bit.”

“Yeah, I guess we do have a lot to talk about.” Max agreed with a smile. The elevator doors popped open as they reached their floor, and they stepped out side by side, heading down the hallway towards their various homes, and finally splitting as they reached their doors.

“I guess I’ll see you at seven.” Max reminded her one last time. Liz turned to smile at him and watched him until he disappeared through his door.

It was only after he was gone, when Liz reached up to unlock her own door, that she realized that her arm no longer ached. Pausing mid-motion, she stretched her muscles to try to find some inconsistency in the feeling in them. They felt perfect…not a single ache barring her motion in the slightest.

Staring from her arm, back to the closed door across the hallway, Liz found herself wondering for the first time…could the suspicions about Max be true?

~~~~~~ ~~~~~

“So how’s your little soap opera going today?” Michael mocked his roommate as Max shut the apartment door behind him and made his way into the TV room.

“Actually I’m making progress!” Max explained with a touch of excitement in his tone. “At least I think I am…” He admitted as he flopped down on the couch beside his friend. “I have a date tonight…that’s a start.”

“Ooooh, a date!” Michael joked in a squeaky voice.

Max just rolled his eyes at his friend, punching him lightly in the arm. “Shut up.” He groaned.

Silence filled the room soon after, as Max lost himself in thought. He was lingering on everything that had happened over the past twenty-four hours…everything he had said to Liz, and her varying responses. While he was beyond pleased that he would be spending time with her that evening, something about the situation just wasn’t sitting right with him.

For one thing…it was Liz herself. Max couldn’t deny that she was acting out of character. Liz was naturally stubborn and determined. She always had been that way in both lifetimes. It was just one of the many traits he loved about her. She was never flighty about her decisions the way that she had been in relation to him over the last day.

When she resisted his attempts to win his heart the night before, he could tell that she was just as determined as him to stay away. He had expected more of a struggle from her before any progress was made…not a sudden change of mind the way she had apparently made.

So why the sudden change of mind?

Even more than Liz’s unreliability on the issue, Max was disturbed by the way she had looked when he first saw her outside that afternoon. Something about the way she walked, her slight limp and her slumped shoulders. They said that she was exhausted and sore, but even more than that she looked…defeated. Beaten. The dead look in her eyes and the way she had bitterly spoken about her appointment had been so reminiscent of his feelings when he had first escaped from the white room that it has chilled him right down into the depths of his soul.

More than ever before, Max was now convinced that something was terribly wrong with Liz. He just needed to figure out what it was, and do everything in his power to fix it. After all, if there was anyone in this world capable of helping Liz Parker, it was him.

Only one thing was clear to him in that moment. If he had any say in the matter, Liz Parker wouldn’t be far from his sight whenever possible from here on out.

~~~~~~ ~~~~~

A few hours later after a steamy hot bath to soothe her remaining aching muscles, and a nap to reenergize herself, Liz felt herself strengthening as she began to dress for her dinner with Max. Her head was much clearer now, and as a result she had taken some time to attempt to logically think over her situation.

Logically speaking of course, there was absolutely nothing logical about it. It was illogical in every way. The lab believed that Max had curative powers. Liz now began to wonder if they were right. The lab believed that Liz would be able to get the truth out of Max. Unfortunately, logically speaking they were probably right. Max was in love with her, therefore may reveal his secrets to her. The lab also believed that their blackmail would force Liz to submit and tell them whatever clues Max gave her. Unfortunately, that’s where the lab’s logic was wrong.

Liz finally knew that avoiding Max would to her no good. If she stayed away, the lab would keep trying to force them together by whatever means they could, even if it meant eliminating someone close to Liz. That was something that she could not allow to happen. So avoiding Max was no longer an option.

As she prepared herself for her night with Max, Liz slowly came to the realization that it wasn’t that bad of a thing, to go out with Max. She liked Max. Max liked her. They talked easily, and they could have fun together. It would keep her boss at bay if he knew she was spending time with Max. As long as he didn’t tell her any deep secrets, they were fine. So in order to prevent that, she needed to get close, while still staying distant. That was something that she could handle.

Dressing casually for dinner, Liz eyed her reflection in the large mirror. Her hair hung loosely around her face, and her skin didn’t look quite so translucent as it had earlier that afternoon. All in all, the traces of what the lab had done to her had completely disappeared…except for in her memory.

At seven on the button there was a knock on the door, and Liz quickly fled the apartment, grabbing her purse on her way out the door. One thing was certain to her…Max was no longer allowed inside her apartment…or her car for that matter, either. Anywhere where the lab could watch him was off limits.

“Hi.” Liz greeted him with a smile as she opened the door for him.

“Hey, Liz.” Max returned her greeting with a grin of his own. He moved to come inside, but Liz quickly stepped out and closed the door behind her.

“Shall we go?” She suggested cheerfully, leading Max down the hallway towards the elevator. Glancing behind her to make sure he was following, Liz noticed the confused look in his eyes as he followed, and knew without a doubt that she had to be subtler about keeping him out. She slowed her pace to allow him to catch up to her, and smiled up at him. “Sorry about that. I was just really eager to get out. It’s weird, being new in town, even if it’s the town I grew up in. I’ve been basically a lazy bum, staying in every night. It’s a nice change of pace, you know?”

“Right.” Max agreed uncertainly. “I’m surprised Maria hasn’t been keeping you busy. I know she’s really glad to have you back.”

Liz mentally swore at herself at Max’s statement. He was right…Maria wanted to have her out every night, but Liz had been avoiding the outside world. Her entire focus had been on the predicament she was in, and staying away from Max.

“Well, I’m glad to be back too.” Liz commented, pulling the subject away from Maria. “I missed being in the desert all these years. Of course, I loved the ocean…” Her voice trailed off wistfully as she remembered her vacations to see her aunt in Florida between terms at school.

“The ocean?” Max asked curiously.

“Yeah.” Liz shook her head, pulling herself out of her nostalgic trance. “I spent a lot of my time off from school visiting my aunt. She lives just a few blocks from the ocean in Florida. I used to just sit in the sand and watch the waves, lost in thought.” Liz laughed at her own comment. “At Harvard you’re just so busy all the time…thinking about class, thinking about homework, grades…whatever. Sometimes it felt like that was the only time I could just think about life in general, home, friends…whatever hit the mood.”

You…

Liz shook the thought from her head. It was true, but she couldn’t let him get close enough to find out how she had longingly thought of him over the passing years. Otherwise she knew that they would lose themselves in each other…which was something that Liz couldn’t allow to happen.





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 21-Sep-2002 11:53:10 PM ]
posted on 3-Oct-2002 10:35:34 PM by Cookie2697
Hey all!!

I am VERY happy to announce that I have an update! No, no...please! Hold your applause! I have a few quick things to say!

First and most importantly...Mandy...where do you GET those fine-ass pictures? Excuse me while I DROOL over the wonder that is Michael Vartan. *happy sigh*

Secondly...I'm VERY sad to announce that this will most likely be my last update on this story for about another 2 weeks. I REALLY would like to post sooner than that, but I think logically speaking I won't be able to throw another chapter together right away, and I'm leaving to go on a nice long weekend with some VERY cool kick ass friends on Wednesday.

The bad news is that I'll be off the board most likely between Wednesday and the next Tuesday, so no updates for that week. The GOOD news is that I have a nice 5 hour plane ride to and from Toronto, and my notebook is going along, so I'm going to try to have something ready to type and post when I get back! Plus the friends I'll be visiting with are all VERY inspiring people! *coughDeidreTasyfaKathcough* So who knows what kind of fun stuff I'll come up with when I'm with them! LOL!

And on that note, on to the chapter! Thanks for the VERY kick ass feedback y'all, and I really hope you enjoy this one...a bit of a happy to leave you resting peacefully while I'm gone!

*hugs*
Anne



Chapter 20

The conversation stayed light as they walked to Senior Chow’s. Liz regaled Max with tales of her days at Harvard, and in turn Max told her a bit about his classes at Roswell Junior College and Las Crueces. Their conversation was light and came with the ease of a comfortable friendship, which relieved Liz to an endless extent. It was nice to have the weight off of her shoulders. And it was even nicer to get her mind off of the problems that had been plaguing her mood for the past few days.

Max was a great distraction.

With every step they took, every casual word spoken, Liz found herself stepping a few inches closer to Max. She was hanging on his every word, glancing up at him and losing herself in the warm depths of his eyes. Her mind was lingering on the way his lips had felt on hers the night before, and even though she knew it was the last thing she should be thinking, she desperately wanted this night to end like that again. Her and Max in a warm, tight embrace.

Shaking the thought from her head, Liz held back a grimace. If she continued to allow herself to think that way, then tonight would be a lot harder than she had wanted it to be. It just wasn’t possible. She knew that without a doubt, regardless of what her body wanted from him.

She was relieved when they arrived at Senior Chow’s and were kept busy for a few minutes as they were seated, and given their menus. Liz chose to stay silent as she skimmed the menu, and was relieved as Max did too. It wasn’t long before their waitress was back to take their order, and then suddenly as quickly as that, they were alone, with no distractions, left staring across the table at each other silently.

The dim candlelight was dancing across Max’s handsome features, setting his whole face in an unearthly red glow, and Liz found herself mesmerized by how enticing he looked at that moment. He seemed to be lost the same way, just staring deeply and lovingly into her own eyes. As she met his gaze, Liz found herself feeling slightly awkward under his unwavering scrutiny, and she cleared her throat, determined to finally start her conversation with him.

“Max…” Liz started, clearing her throat slightly before speaking further. “I wanted to talk to you about something.”

“You can talk to me about anything, Liz.” Max insisted, leaning forward a bit in his seat, and watching her expectantly.

Liz studied his expression and sighed softly in defeat. She could already tell what he was thinking. He wanted her to tell him about what she was mixed up in. For some reason he had confirmed the night before that he already knew that something was going on with her. However, it wasn’t remotely what she had planned.

“I know you’re probably wondering why I changed my mind about going out with you so quickly, Max, and I just want you to know that I’ve been thinking a lot today about what you said to me last night, and I want you to know that it did mean a lot to me to hear everything that you said.”

“It meant a lot to me to say it, Liz.” Max softly explained. “Everything I said last night was the whole truth.”

“I know that, Max.” Liz confirmed, smiling sadly. “I believe it with all of my heart. Which is why I want to be honest with you tonight and stop playing with your feelings. I don’t want to hurt you in the slightest, Max.”

Max silently nodded for her to continue, and Liz took a deep breath before speaking.

“The truth is…” Max reached across the table and placed his hand over hers to lend her strength, and Liz almost gasped at the electricity that raged between them. She fumbled over her words as her eyes dropped to the small contact between them. Her mind grew foggy as she stared at his large hand enveloping hers, and suddenly that seemed like the most important thing in the world.

“The truth is that I do have feelings for you too, Max.

She froze and blinked, wondering where that came from. It wasn’t in the plan in the slightest to tell him that. She needed to dissuade him from pursuing her, not implore him to continue. Refocusing her mind again, Liz tried to fix the mistake she had just made, but she still couldn’t seem to lift her gaze from the table, where their hands lay comfortably.

“I have feelings for you, Max, but where I am in my life right now…I just can’t get involved with anyone right now. Not you, not Kyle, hell, not even Michael! I just can’t. But I’ve really enjoyed spending time with you again lately, and I was hoping that maybe we could just be friends. That’s all I can do right now, Max. Friends.”

She finally lifted her eyes from their connected hands, and met her eyes on her last word, giving Max a firm nod as she finished. He smiled at her in response and nodded in agreement.

“Friends.” He repeated softly. “Okay.”

There wasn’t a shred of hesitation or disappointment in his voice, which threw Liz at first. She narrowed her eyes at him as she tried to see through his smooth exterior.

“You’ll be okay with that?” Liz questioned his response.

“Yeah, I’ll be okay with that!” Max insisted, finally reacting as his eyes flashed with emotion that only further fueled his passionate response. “I’ve been in love with you since I was eight years old, and I’ve been waiting for you to come back to Roswell for five years now…I can handle waiting a little longer. Getting to be around you is enough for me for right now if that’s what you want. As friends, as more than friends…it doesn’t matter to me as long as I can be near you. I’d do anything for you, Liz. So if it’s friends you want, then friends it is. No questions asked.”

“Thank you, Max.” Liz smiled with gratitude. “You are almost absurdly understanding. You have no idea how wonderful that is.”

“Just call me Mr. Wonderful.” Max laughed lightly.

As quickly as that they were back to their earlier ease, much to Liz’s relief. Their food came, and Max released his hold on her hand, taking his fork in hand to start eating. Their food consumed them and the conversation as well, as they debated the superiority of sweet and sour chicken to pork, and chow mein to fried rice.

As the evening drew on, their plates were taken away, and soon Liz found them drinking margarita’s. She impressively noticed that Max’s was non-alcoholic, and soon found them curiously discussing his drinking habits. While Liz was by no means an alcoholic, she enjoyed a drink now and then. They were inevitable in the college dorms, but Liz was surprised to hear that Max never drank. He claimed to have a low tolerance to alcohol. Liz could only laugh in amusement at his reasoning, thinking about her roommate Sophomore year of college who spent the night next to the toilet after every beer bash. She openly admitted to understanding his reason, telling him the story with a chuckle.

The drink erased the last of the tension that Liz was feeling, loosening her up, and soon she and Max found themselves standing by the pool table laughing as Max fumbled yet another clean shot.

“I’m terrible at this game.” Max admitted with a sheepish grin. “Years ago someone tried to teach me how to play, and she just failed miserably.”

“She?” Liz asked pointedly with a grin. Max shrugged sheepishly in response.

“Hmmm, well she must have been a terrible teacher.” Liz determined with certainty. “Here. Let me show you.”

Liz reached out and grabbed Max’s left hand, forming his fingers in the proper way to help set up his shoot.

“Try that.” Liz ordered. He gave it a try and still managed to fumble the shot, this time with slightly more grace than before though.

“Hmm…maybe I’m just hopeless?” Max wondered in a hopeful voice.

“Nope!” Liz announced. “I’m not letting you give up that easily. Practice makes perfect, after all. Try doing it in slow motion. Line up your shot, and keep your eye on the ball.”

“Keep your eye on the ball.” Max snorted. “This isn’t baseball.”

“Hey, I’m trying to help!” Liz rebutted. “Are you going to listen?”

“Okay, fine. Eye on the ball.” Max grumbled. He lined himself up for another shot, and this time managed to bounce the ball against the corner of the hole.

“Better!” Liz cheered him on. “Now, this time line up your pole with the hole. It’s all in the math, Max. You have to hit it head on, pre-calculate where it’s going to go.”

“Pre-calculate.” Max murmured. He lined up again, and shot, sinking the ball directly into the hole. “Yes!” He shouted in excitement, raising his arms in celebration. Liz jumped in and threw her arms around him in a tight hug.

“You did it!” She cried happily. “Congratulations Max!”

We did it.” Max corrected. “Thanks for the lessons, Liz. Maybe you’re right. Practice does make perfect.” His lips raised in a devious grin. “So I guess that just means we’ll have to come here more often…you know, so that I can practice. I have to have someone to play with, and Michael is content staying on the couch watching hockey at night. I’ll never get him to come out here with me. So what do you say?”

Liz grinned at Max happily. “Yeah, sure. It’s a date!” She caught herself on the last comment and visibly cringed. “Not a date.” Liz corrected herself quickly, peering up nervously at Max’s own falling eyes, her guilty conscience running wild. “Just two friends hanging out and playing pool.”

“Right.” Max responded quickly, before bursting out into a wide, evil smile. “Hey, you said it! I didn’t.”

Liz chucked at his pointed remark and nodded. “My mistake.”

“Yes.” Max agreed in a mock-firm voice. “It was your mistake, and don’t you forget it! How dare you insinuate that I would want to go on a date with you!”

“I’m sorry.” Liz replied, hiding her smile under a fake meek expression. “It was very presumptuous of me. I promise I’ll never do it again.”

“Good.” Max replied with a laugh as he set down his pool stick on the table and took Liz’s hand. “Come on…let’s call it a night.”

Liz nodded in agreement and allowed Max to lead her from the restaurant. She tried to fool herself into believing that she didn’t linger on the way his hand took hers so naturally, or the surge of energy that she felt between their light touch. However, she knew it was a failed attempt. Maybe it was the buzz from the alcohol, or the lightness of the night. Or maybe it was just how much fun she had been having with Max, but for some reason in that moment Liz couldn’t deny what she knew with every fiber of her being.

She was completely, totally, and madly in love with Max Evans.






[ edited 2 time(s), last at 3-Oct-2002 11:45:32 PM ]
posted on 16-Oct-2002 12:37:55 PM by Cookie2697
Hey everyone *happy*

As Scottie mentioned in her bumpage, I AM trying to get an update up! Uhrm...my goal was yesterday. Didn't make it. But I'm going to aim for tomorrow sometime now...so be ready ;)

BelevnDreamsToo - LOL!!! 10th Vacation? I wish...maybe in the entire time Roswell has been on the air. Wouldn't a permanent vacation be wonderful though? *sigh* I can only dream...

Klaatu - You live near Toronto? Too damn cool...where? Now that I know the area a little bit at least ;) It's a nice city...I really enjoyed it! My first trip to Canada too, which was fun! It was much different than I expected ;) Ahhh..the strength of the American Dollar ;) *Anne snuggles up tighter in her nice, warm new jacket that she bought on her trip....

Thanks for the great feedback y'all. If it helps, I think this is going to start to get more interesting now ;) Going into some changes that is...

Update hopefully tomorrow!!


posted on 16-Oct-2002 11:50:11 PM by Cookie2697
lol...sorry to tease you like that Mel! Tomorrow ;) I'm not going to bed until this chapter is finished! Now hopefully Stacey will be around to check it over for me ;)
posted on 18-Oct-2002 8:37:43 PM by Cookie2697
She is ;) But she's also got the new part done and wants to post tonight...just waiting for her beta to tell her that it doesn't suck! Because God only knows that the ONE time I post without hearing that is going to be the one time that she says it ;)
posted on 19-Oct-2002 6:42:54 PM by Cookie2697
Chapter 21

Liz giggled as she stepped out of the elevator behind Max, his hand lightly pulling her forward as she stumbled down the hallway behind him. They stopped in front of their apartment doors, turning to face one another. Liz found herself staring hopefully up into Max’s warm eyes, drawn into his loving gaze that he seemed incapable of hiding from her, his pure adoration stamped all over his features.

Liz’s mind was fuzzy, and for the life of her she couldn’t figure out why. It might have been from the warm, tumbling feeling inside of her stomach. She stood so close to Max that she could smell the slightest tints of his cologne, and the intensity of his presence was sending her senses into overload.

Then again, it could also be from the after effects of the alcohol that was still obviously messing with her body and her mind.

“Well…I guess this is goodnight.” Liz murmured, taking a small step closer to Max. She wasn’t sure why she felt this undeniable pull to him, but she just couldn’t help it. Something about the way he was looking at her, mixed with the way he held her hand, and the smell of him lingering in the air was just irresistible.

“Yeah.” Max agreed. “Are we still on for tomorrow?” He asked, his voice lowering huskily as he smiled down into her eyes. “Pool lessons, round two?”

“Yeah, sure.” Liz responded with an eager nod of her head. Her heart was soaring at the prospect of spending more time with Max, even though she knew it was probably a bad idea. Still, it didn’t seem like such a bad idea when she was looking up into his tender eyes.

Almost unconsciously she took another step towards him, tilting her face up towards him. This was the part of the night where he was supposed to break down the friends barrier and kiss her goodnight, after all. He was the one who was madly in love with her after all, and she wanted it so much that it hurt. Her pulse raced as she saw Max’s eyes darken with passion. She automatically closed her eyes, waiting for the familiar sensation of his lips to come crashing down over hers.

They didn’t come.

Liz finally peeked her closed lids open to see Max gazing down at her, his eyes lowered sadly, a wistful expression on his face. He squeezed her hand gently as their eyes met before letting go of his hold on her, and stepping away towards his own apartment.

“Goodnight Liz.” He murmured in a hushed, gentle tone as he opened his apartment door, smiling at her one last time before disappearing within his own room.

“Goodnight.” Liz sighed after her was gone. She stayed still, watching his door for a long moment, before heading towards her own board.

~~~~~~ ~~~~~

“So how was your date?” Michael asked Max as he stepped into the TV room. Max rolled his eyes at his friend, noting how his eyes never left the hockey game he was perched brainlessly before.

Max stood in the doorway, staring at his friend distantly, as he considered his friend’s question. Not everything had gone as he had hoped it would tonight, but it was still the most fun that he had in a long time. It was a casual night, but at the same time memorable. He and Liz kept their boundaries of friendship, yet at the same time it was a wildly romantic evening, as he had hoped it would be.

While Liz’s actions seriously contradicted everything that she had said to him during dinner, he came home from the night with one thing certain. There wasn’t a shred of doubt in Max’s mind about where he stood in Liz’s world.

They would be together…in time.

“How was it?” Max repeated, his voice softening with nostalgia. “It was perfect.”

~~~~~ ~~~~~~

The next week was like a dream to Max. He felt like he was constantly peeking back into the happiest time of his first life, and he couldn’t get enough of the feeling of it all. He and Liz spent every spare moment together, playing pool, walking around town, or hiking around Frasier Woods. They went Stargazing together at night, or out to the movies. It felt like an eternity since he had been this happy.

Liz was no longer avoiding his company, and that fact alone left Max’s heart soaring with love and joy. Still, she was keeping a tight reign on her feelings for him. The alcohol had loosened her up for their first night together as he had suspected. He could see the love in her eyes when she thought he wasn’t looking, and that told Max something else loud and clear.

She was having a harder time fighting him every day.

The continuation of their relationship was inevitable.

He pondered all of this curious on this particular Friday afternoon as he reorganized the archives at the UFO Center, and he found himself smiling as he remembered another time when he and Liz has stood in this very room. She had sneaked around the shelf, taking him a bit by surprise. Their friendship was just new at the time, and they hadn’t even kissed yet, so the thought of her wanting to be anywhere near him still completely blew his mind.

They had just stared at each other for a long time until Milton took his leave of the room, and then suddenly they were alone. Hugging her body close to the shelf, Liz had shyly told him about her journal, and why she had written about him there, and it had been one of the most emotionally touching moments of his life to date. For the first time he had realized that he had touched her life…just like she had changed him that day in the Crashdown.

Of course…the incident was nothing except a distant memory in his own mind now. It had never happened, and Liz never knew how much he was willing to give up for her now. She never wrote about him in her journal in this life…and she didn’t know his secrets anymore.

The thought left Max feeling distant and sad, as for the first time in a long while he allowed himself to miss his Liz…mourn the loss of her.

“Hi.”

The sudden appearance of her voice startled Max out of his thoughts, and he turned to see her standing just inside the aisle he was working on, her body hugged close to the metal shelves. He blinked in surprise at the sight of her standing there smiling shyly at him…just like she did that day. She didn’t fade away…therefore it must be his dream becoming reality right before his eyes.

“Hey.” He replied. “What are you doing here? Are you developing a sudden interest in the realities of the 1947 crash?”

“Actually, I was thinking about picking up a new hobby.” Liz responded, playing along with an entertained smile on her face. “What do you think? Alien hunting sounds like fun to me!”

Max grinned at her joke. It reminded him of the old days when she knew the truth and wasn’t afraid to play around with him about it. If only she knew how close the joke actually was to reality.

“Well, you came to the right place then.” He chuckled. Sliding a book from the shelf before him he passed it towards here. “I think this is exactly what you’re looking for.”

Liz laughed out loud as she read the title back to him. “21 Steps to Becoming an Alien Hunter.” She shook her head in amusement as she handed it back to him. “I can’t believe you actually have this.”

“Well we are the best source of UFO information in New Mexico.” Max replied lightly.

“Good point.” Liz answered dryly.

“So, what’s up, Liz?” He asked curiously, knowing that something had to be going on for her to come see him at work. She had never done that before in this life.

“Well, I just got off the phone with Maria.” Liz explained. “And she’s doing this theater production at Las Crueces that opens tonight. It’s a feminist’s version of Romeo and Juliet. All the men are played by women and vice versa, so that the women get to do all the sword fighting. Anyway, she’s playing Mercutio, and I don’t have anyone to go with…” Liz let her voice trail off as she batted her eyelashes at him, pleading with him to accompany her.

Max laughed out loud at her method of begging. “You know I can’t say no to you!” He exclaimed. “Of course I’ll go. I’d love to see Maria on stage anyway.”

“Yay!” Liz celebrated, clapping her hands together in excitement. “Pick me up at five?”

Max’s eyes fell at her request. “Actually my car is in the shop until tomorrow…since I can walk to work it was the perfect day to get some repairs done. Can you drive this time?”

Liz hesitated a long moment, and Max found himself studying her reaction curiously, wondering why it was such a hard decision to make for such a simple offer. She didn’t meet his eyes as she quickly responded to him.

“I’ll pick you up at five, then. See you later, Max.”

He watched her whirl around quickly to leave, finding himself left completely confused by her reaction. Why the sudden hesitation? In a split second her entire attitude towards him changed? It was just another mystery to add to the pile of responses he didn’t understand from Liz. He found himself wondering if she would ever break down and tell him what was wrong.

Hopefully he would find out the answer sooner rather than later.

~~~~~ ~~~~~~

Liz crossed the street to the Crashdown after leaving Max at the UFO Center to see her parents as she had initially planned, but she couldn’t shake the nerve-wracking tension that seized her heart.

Inside with Max she had been forced to make a quick decision. Should she drive Max to Las Crueces and force him to spend an hour each direction directly exposed to the watchful eyes of her employers? There wasn’t a doubt in her mind that the vehicle was bugged if her apartment was. But it was either that or cancel their plans and let Maria down.

Both choices were unpleasant, but Liz wasn’t about to risk her friendship with Maria. She needed to be there for her friend. Still, Liz had a very bad feeling in her gut at the prospect of their imminent trip. This was not going to be good.

The past week had been significantly less unpleasant for Liz than her first few days at the Brown Institute. Her plan had worked perfectly. Each day she played her part of resignedly cooperating with Dr. Thompson, and as a result they had loosened their hold on her and stopped making threats. Liz knew she was far from out of danger, but the amount of time she was spending with Max had them content with her work.

She was relieved to determine through their questions that her suspicion about the extent of their security was right. Their cameras were limited to their own property…hence the apartment and the car. However, when she and Max were along, they were completely reliant on whatever details she chose to provide.

The information she passed on to them was simple minor facts about Max…enough to make them think she was trying to get it out of him, when in reality when they were together Liz tried to keep it far from intimate. They knew that he didn’t like to drink and was terrible at pool. They knew simple details like that he liked the desert and had a certain draw to spicy foods. They were harmless details to Liz, but she feared the day when those details would no longer be enough for them.


~~~~~ ~~~~~

“You ready?” Liz asked expectantly as Max opened the door to greet her.

He couldn’t help his reaction. She had dressed for the event, and at the sight of the bare skin of her legs poking out beneath her short, black skirt, Max’s eyes widened. Against his will his eyes raked up her slender figure from her ankles to her face where she was blushing brightly at the look in his eyes. He caught himself, and his own embarrassment flushed his cheeks at being caught.

“You look amazing.” He fumbled to compliment her, and her own blush deepened at his words. Max grinned at her reaction.

Just friends. Yeah, right.

He hid his grin by quickly turning his back to her to close his apartment door behind him, and quickly composed himself before focusing once more on her. They didn’t speak as they headed down the hallway, but as they waited for the elevator Max broke the silence.

“So, Mercutio, huh?” Max commented nonchalantly. “That’s a good part.”

“Yeah!” Liz agreed, her voice raising with excitement as they stepped into the elevator. “I’m so happy for Maria! She’s going to be so awesome in the part!”

“’A curse on both your houses’ and all that?” Max quoted with a grin.

“Exactly.” Liz laughed. “I can already envision her dramatic death sequence.”

They exited the elevator, heading out to the car, and Max noted pointedly the way that Liz fell oddly silent as they approached the vehicle. He silently studied her as they climbed in and buckled in, watching her as she turned the vehicle out of their neighborhood and towards the highway out of Roswell. She had never been this quiet on any of their other gatherings, which just confirmed for the hundredth time that something was off.

“Liz, what’s going on?” He asked her gently. She visibly cringed as he spoke, which only increased Max’s suspicion, but he pretended not to notice as he continued. “Do you plan on staying this quiet for the entire drive to Las Crueces, because if so it’s going to be a very boring drive.”

“I’m sorry.” She replied, her voice softening apologetically. “I just have a lot on my mind tonight.”

Trying to lighten her mood, Max purposefully sent an evil grin in her direction. “Well, I’m just going to have to do everything in the wide extent of my power to fix that, won’t I?” He teased.

“What?” Liz exclaimed, started by his choice of words.

“Well, we can’t have you focusing on anything other than Maria while she’s up on stage, can we?”

“No, that would be a bad thing indeed.” Liz agreed with a slight twist of her mouth.

“So I take it you like Romeo and Juliet?” Max asked, even though he knew full well that it was her favorite play.

“Oh, I just love Romeo and Juliet!” Liz confirmed, her voice brightening. “It’s my absolute favorite Shakespearean play. I can’t get enough of it. I’ve read it about a hundred times. It’s just so tragically romantic.” She sighed contentedly to only further prove her point. “All I used to want when I was younger was to find my own Romeo…someone who would love me that shamelessly and would give everything up just to be with me.”

Her words caused a deep tremor in Max’s heart, and he fought back his desire to promise her just that. He had already given it all up for her in one lifetime, and he knew he wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. Yet he knew that she didn’t need to hear the depth of his love again so soon, so he kept his mouth shut and continued the discussion in a different direction.

“Romantic, huh?” He pondered. “I used to always think so too. I knew exactly who my Juliet would be…until one day someone insisted to me that Romeo and Juliet weren’t all that history had portrayed them to be.”

“What do you mean?” Liz wondered.

“Well, this girl told me that there wasn’t anything romantic about two people dying for each other at such a young age. They didn’t even have a chance to live their lives, and they gave it all up much to young.”

“No.” Liz disagreed firmly. “While it is unbelievably tragic that they died, they were victims of circumstances, not of each other. Romeo died first after all, and Juliet knew that life without her Romeo would be no life at all. I wish I knew what it was like to love that powerfully.” She sighed wistfully.

Her words struck a chord with Max and he froze, thinking about what it was that she was truly saying. Juliet couldn’t stand to live without her Romeo, but how might things have been different if Juliet had died first? Would Romeo have given his life as well? Or would he have allowed himself to suffer through a possible eternity without his love.

Guilt surged up within him as he found himself reliving his reappearance in the pod chamber and the realization that Liz was gone and he was still alive. He chose to live his life without Liz, knowing that in the new world he may never see her again, and he was willing to allow himself to suffer. The thought of taking his own life, of joining his Liz on another plane of existence never once occurred to him.

But would she even be there? Could two different versions of Liz exist at the same time? After all, the Max of this world ceased to exist when he morphed into this world from the granolith. Was the Liz sitting beside him the only remnant of the girl he knew in another world?

The thoughts left him feeling dizzy, and he shook his head, trying to clear the confusing thoughts away.

“You will…” He promised her, his voice hushed with restrained passion as he turned back to face her.

Her eyes never left the road, but Max could still see her subtle reaction as she tensed all over at his words, before relaxing and smiling softly with pleasure.

~~~~~ ~~~~~~

Dr. Thompson sat in his office, a smile on his face that never quite reached his eyes. He glanced at the security officer standing at attention across the desk from him. The man finished his report and a silence filled the room for a long time, the only sound being the steady drumming of the scientist’s fingers on the wooden surface before him.

His smile suddenly widened.

“Excellent.” He exclaimed in a dead voice, breaking the silence and startling the man across from him. “We move on Plan B. It’s time for our project to accelerate.”




posted on 20-Oct-2002 9:51:35 PM by Cookie2697
hee! I'm entertained by your sugar level ;)

Are you right? You'll find out in the next chapter! *evil grin*

Thanks for the great feedback everyone!!!
posted on 24-Oct-2002 1:06:38 PM by Cookie2697
Thanks for the kick ass feedback you guys *happy* I didn't want to leave you hanging and wondering TOO long on what the mysterious, evil Plan B is, so here you go!

Hope you enjoy ;)

Chapter 22

Max did his best to fight back the smile of amusement that was threatening to break across his face, but it was just so hard. Liz was clinging to him so tightly, her face buried in his chest as they walked from the theater, and he could feel his shirt getting periodically wetter at she openly wept. He kept a comforting arm tightly around her shoulder, stroking her arm gently while listening to her wail.

“It’s just so heartbreaking!” She cried through the violent sobs tearing through her body. “They just loved each other so much, and the world wouldn’t give them a chance! They deserved that chance to be together!”

“They let the world decide for them.” Max murmured, shaking his head sadly as he tightened his embrace around Liz’s shoulders. “If they had fought against the odds instead of letting everyone else dictate what was right and wrong…or if they had just been upfront from the start…then maybe they would have had a chance.”

“I guess so.” Liz agreed hesitantly, a hiccup breaking her words apart as she pulled back from Max’s chest, staring up at him with a blush. “But it could have also made things much worse.”

“Personally, I think it’s kind of inspiring!” Max determined. “It’s like telling us exactly what the worst possible ending is, so that we can learn from their mistakes. We can seize the moment…take our lives into our own hands.”

Liz fell silent, even her sobs quieting as she pondered his words for a long moment. Max watched her closely as they walked, praying that she might take the hint and finally open up her heart and confide in him.

Unfortunately he wasn’t that lucky.

“It’s too bad that real life can’t be like that, Max.” She responded softly as she pulled herself out of Max’s embrace and put some space between them.

An uneasy silence filled the air, fueled by the tension between them as they arrived at the car. Max stayed by Liz’s side as she unlocked the driver’s side door, and held it open for her as she climbed into the vehicle. He stood there for a long moment just staring down at her through the ajar car door, before gently pushing it shut and circling around to his own seat.

Maybe if Max hadn’t been so wrapped up in Liz, he would have noticed the dark figure watching them from across the parking lot.

~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

She was more aware of his presence than she would have liked to admit. Every tiny movement that Max made was tracked and recorded, and much to Liz’s dismay, her shoulder still tingled from where his arm had held her so lovingly earlier. Still, she went out of her way not to glance in his direction. She didn’t want to give him any clues about how strongly he effected her.

When they had walked out of the theater, she had been so worked up from the play that she couldn’t resist letting him comfort her. It seemed harmless at the time, but now she chastised herself for her weakness. She could see it in his eyes and feel it in the tender way that he touched her that he was taking it as a sign that she was ready for something more. What killed her the most was that he was right. She did want something more…but she would never be ready for it. Particularly while Dr. Thompson was watching her every move.

She could tell by the heaviness of Max’s gaze on her that he could sense her inner turmoil, but thankfully he remained quiet as they drove out of Las Crueces on their way back to Roswell. It wasn’t until they were out in the vast, empty desert that Max broke the silence…thankfully on a safe subject.

“So, Maria was great tonight.”

“Yeah.” Liz replied to his harmless remark, smiling as she replayed the better parts of the performance in her mind.

“She was hilarious.” Max commented. “It was the perfect part for her.”

“Definitely.” Liz agreed, as she pushed her foot down a little heavier on the gas, speeding through the dark desert night. “And when she died, I was so moved. I wanted to get up on that stage and choke Tybalt.” Liz chuckled at her own display of emotion.

“Yeah, you and me both.” Max laughed. “I guess it was a really believable performance. I totally bought her as Mercutio, even after knowing her all of this time.”

He grinned widely in her direction, and Liz pulled her eyes from the road, magnetized by his eyes. They drew him in, leaving her with this unnatural feeling that when Max was looking at her, he knew absolutely everything going on inside of her. She felt herself blushing under the intensity of his gaze, and she knew she needed to break the truce of silence and say something about the tension that had formed between them.

“Max…” She started softly, but she got no further as the car suddenly lurched beneath them.

“What’s going on?” Max shouted, bracing himself against the dashboard before him.

Liz tightened her hold on the steering while, trying desperately to regain control of it, but it was to no avail. The car was swerving wildly along the highway, and bouncing unnaturally as if something had popped below them, knocking the car off of its usual course. A glance at the speedometer froze Liz’s heart as she realized that they were going nearly eighty miles an hour…much too fast for a safe crash. She pressed desperately on the brake over and over again, but it didn’t slow the vehicle in the slightest.

Her eyes widened in fear as the vehicle began to swerve closer to the side of the road. She barely had time to register what was about to happen, as she car finally dove off of the pavement. The last sight she saw was the ditch straight ahead, before as suddenly as the chaos began, the world faded into black.

~~~~~ ~~~~~~

Max groaned as he slowly regained his senses. His first conscious thought was that his body ached all over, but it was soon replaced by a desperate fear for Liz’s safety. He pushed the pain as far from his mind as possible and tore his eyes open, searching around him wildly.

“Liz!” He cried aloud as his eyes glued to the driver’s seat, where Liz lay slumped over the steering wheel motionless. He gave a strangled gasp, struggling to break free of the confines of his seat belt, and finally using his powers to melt through the material so that he could push himself up and turn to face her still form.

Gently he pulled her body up from where she lay lifeless, letting her rest back against the car seat. It was only then that he noticed the angry cut marring her forehead.

“Oh God!” He moaned, shaking his head in denial. His eyes fell to her chest. He breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of the steady rise and fall of her breast. She was still breathing. It was the first good news he had heard in a while. If she was breathing than she still lived. If she lived, then he could help her.

“Liz?” Max questioned. He leaned over her form as he cupped her face in his hands, patting her cheeks with gentle precision as he tried to wake her. “Liz!” He cried, his voice breaking with fear this time, as he slowly shook her form. “Can you hear me, Liz?”

A groan rumbled through her previously still body, and hope filled Max’s heart as he smiled with relief.

“Thank God.” Max cried. “I need you to open your eyes, Liz. I know it’s going to be hard, but please, just open your eyes and look at me.”

“Max?” She murmured. Her voice was weak, and there was a questioning to it, like she wasn’t sure that it was really him.

“Yeah, Liz. It’s Max.” He confirmed, his voice quickening as he knew time was of the essence. “Please, just open your beautiful eyes and look at me!”

“I’m sorry, Max.” Liz moaned, her voice hushed and dreamlike as she struggled to speak. “It’s all my fault. They want to get to you.”

At that moment her eyes just barely fluttered upwards, but it was enough, and as quickly as that Max was inside her mind. Max was thrown by the intensity of it. It had been so long since he had connected with anybody, and in this world he and Liz had never connected like this. Yet, in that split second he was so completely a part of her that he couldn’t tell where she ended and he began. It was intense, powerful, and exactly what he needed in order to heal her.

Max focused his mind on the wound in her head, repairing the damage to her head, and reducing the angry swelling that had knocked her unconscious. His energy flowed into her, and her flashes flew back into him.

It was fast and completely consuming. Image after image of him watching Liz in the Crashdown, Alex and Maria surprising her with a party for her fifteenth birthday, her first kiss with Kyle, Junior Prom, graduation.

He saw himself through her eyes, the night that they had made love, and for the first time it hit him full on how amazing of an experience it had been for her. For the first time Max understood why she had run away that night. It wasn’t just that she was scared. It was that she was overwhelmed by the intensity of it, because it had meant as much to her as it did to him.

Her dorm room, her college roommate…suddenly he knew her as well as Liz did. Then she was sitting on the beach, staring longingly out to the ocean and wondering where he was, what he was doing.

The flash shifted, and Liz was sitting in a dark, foreboding office across from a man in a lab coat. He passed a file across to her, and she opened it to see his own face staring back out at her. He felt the nervous confusion that consumed her at the sight, and he desperately wanted to explore it further, but through it all, Max could still feel his power tearing through his body and surging into hers and he knew he needed to break the connection. In an idle thought he realized that he was binding them together once again as he had in the past life, and he prayed that she would understand when the truth came out.

And in an instant the pain was gone, as he pulled his mind out of hers. He drew back a short distance to look down at her, checking to be sure that she was okay. His eyes fell to meet her own wide, alert ones, staring up at him completely startled by everything that just happened. Max had seen that look in her eyes before, and he knew exactly what it meant.

It was time to tell her everything.

“Liz…I…”

A lone finger flew upwards, hushing him before he could say anything more. He kissed her finger gently, letting the simple gesture say all that mattered to him…that he loved her and he was glad she was okay. With the responsive look in her own eyes, Max knew she understood.

“We have to go.” Liz whispered in a voice so soft that Max could barely hear her. He raised his eyebrows at the certainty in her tone and opened his mouth to question her, but she quickly cut him off. “They’ll be here any minute.”

Her words chilled his heart, and in a brief moment Max found himself bitterly wondering who they were this time around. Max wondered exactly what she knew…what she had gotten mixed up in, but he knew that for now wasn’t the time to question her. The fear radiated off of her in waves. He needed to trust her judgment.

Nodding with agreement Max held up his fingers, silently counting to three. In unison they both turned and fought to open their crushed doors. Freeing themselves of the vehicle, they tumbled out into the cold desert night and ran side by side away from the wrecked automobile.




[ edited 1 time(s), last at 24-Oct-2002 1:09:04 PM ]
posted on 27-Oct-2002 8:27:52 PM by Cookie2697
Hey guys *happy*

Thanks so much for all your awesome feedback ;) I'm on a roll here right now too, so why delay it, eh?

I hope you enjoy!



Chapter 23

Together they ran through the blackness of the night. The cool air stung Liz’s lungs as her chest heaved from the effort, but she knew that it was too soon for them to slow. The lab couldn’t be far behind them, and they needed to be long gone by the time they arrived at the vehicle looking for them. Hopefully Dr. Thompson expected them to be waiting for help by the vehicle. It would buy them some time to get far away before security arrived to take Max into custody, as Liz assumed they would now that they had him healing her on tape.

Max ran a step in front of her, his longer legs keeping him in the lead. He pulled her along behind him, their fingers interlaced as they ran, and Liz kept her eyes locked on his figure, praying that he was leading them to a safe place so that they could talk. She needed to tell him everything now. They were finally directly in serious danger, and it was the only way that he would be able to protect himself.

Liz’s head was spinning from everything that had changed, all as a result of one single moment. She was still trying to grasp the reality that the suspicions about Max were true. That realization only opened her up to a million other questions though, like how was it was possible? Why was he able to do it? On top if that, the reality of their crash and what it meant the lab was now doing had fear surging through her heart. They were in very real danger now.

There was something else too…something that Liz was trying desperately not to think about. It still kept surging up in her mind though, no matter how hard she tried to push it away. When she opened her eyes in the car and met Max’s gaze…when he did whatever he did to remove her injuries…she saw things.

They were flashes, images, but at the same time they were more than that. Feeling accompanied them. Max’s feelings. They couldn’t have possibly been real, but something inside of Liz told them that they were, that the intensity of Max’s love that surged through her like a raging storm was the way he truly felt about her. She was still whirling from the sheer force of it.

All of these things and more crashed through Liz’s mind as she ran through the desert night, and it was more than she could take. She was confused, scared, angry, frustrated, nervous…and she couldn’t deal with it all. She particularly couldn’t deal with it because the immediate problem was getting to a safe place, and that needed to be her ultimate focus.

So Liz did the only thing she could at that moment. She cleared her mind and ran.

She ran until she couldn’t run another step, and oddly enough, Max seemed to know exactly when that was. There were some rocks not far from them, and he quickly altered their course, heading for shelter. Within another minute he was pulling her around the backside of the rocks, giving them a place to hide and rest. Liz’s chest heaved as she tried to catch her breath, and she felt dizzy from dehydration and exhaustion.

“I’m not sure how much further I can go!” Liz cried through the tightness that was stinging her chest.

“It’s five more miles to the outskirts of Las Crueces.” Max insisted. “We have to make it that far tonight.”

“I don’t know if I can!” Liz moaned.

“You can.” Max told her in a firm tone. “At least you can if you let me help you.”

Liz froze at his words and stared up at him in shock. His eyes were serious, warm, and trusting, as they pleaded with her to allow him to do what he was offering.

“Please let me help you, Liz.” He repeated, his voice softening as his eyes dropped to study his feet.

It was an awkward gesture that showed Max’s normally hidden insecurity in being this open about his abilities, yet through his awkwardness, Liz sensed that there was absolutely no hesitation in his offer. Whatever Max was capable of, he was obviously more than aware of the extent of his abilities. Liz could do nothing, but offer him the same lack of uncertainty.

He met her gaze again in her silence, and Liz smiled softly at him as she nodded her consent. He met her smile with a relieved grin of his own, as he took a step closer to her.

“I have to touch you…” He explained in a cautious tone. “Just keep your eyes locked on mine, and I’ll take care of the rest.”

Liz gestured for him to continue, her eyes never once leaving his. She couldn’t break his gaze if she tried. His eyes were intense as they stared into hers with an unyielding strength that was as powerful as the abilities contained in his hands.

One hand slid over her heart, the other cupping her face gently, as the strange images came surging through her mind again. In her mind’s eye they were kissing on her balcony, dancing in a local restaurant, flying through the night hand in hand on a hang glider. In her mind they were making love yet again.

The sensations were as disconcerting though, as they were exciting, because as her heart tried to race in excitement at the sensations flowing through her body, Max’s energy inside of her was having the opposite effect, slowing her heart rate and forcing her breathing to steady. Still, the images flowed on, until Max suddenly pulled away, breaking the moment, and leaving her standing in the cold facing him.

“Feel better?” He asked her with a shy smile, but Liz’s mind was still too overwhelmed by the experience to focus on anything else.

“Max…what was that?” Liz blurted out in a demanding voice. “When you were doing whatever it was that you did…I saw things. Impossible things.”

“Later.” Max answered shortly, grasping her hand and pulling her to walk beside him as they headed away from the shelter of the rocks. She stumbled after him for a few steps before he sighed, slowing and turning to face her. “I’m sorry Liz. It’s just that it’s a long story, and right now we need to worry about getting to shelter. Once we’re there, I swear to you, I’ll tell you everything.”

Everything…

Liz stayed frozen in her tracks as Max started to try to walk again. His words left her with a startling realization, and an intense sense of guilt flowed through her. Suddenly with the understanding that the rumors about Max were in fact true, Liz realized what an incredible mistake she had made from the start.

Max turned back to face her after she didn’t respond to his prodding, watching her in concern as all of these truths hit her hard.

“Liz?” He asked. His voice gave away his worry for her, but still he was trying to urge her to move. Liz appreciated his concern, but she knew she needed to make him understand the truth before they could go any further.

“This is all my fault, Max.” She told him, her voice cracking with fear as she spoke.

“No Liz.” Max denied. “It isn’t.”

“Yes it is.” Liz insisted. “I led them right to you!”

Max turned and moved closer to her as she spoke, filling her senses as he slid his hands over her shoulders and up to cup her face. Still, she continued to ramble in a high pitched, frantic voice even as he gently tangled his fingers in her hair, stroking her with slow, loving stroked as he murmured unintelligible soothing words to her to try to calm her down.

“I knew they were after you, but I didn’t tell you. If I had warned you, or tried harder to stay away from you, this wouldn’t be happening!”

Liz fell silent at the end, her breath heaving from talking so desperately fast. She stared at her feet as she nervously waited for Max’s judgment, too afraid to look into his eyes for fear that she’d see hatred there. Liz’s wasn’t sure if she could stand that sight.

“Liz, look at me.”

Max’s voice was gentle, caring as he pleaded with her to meet his gaze. It didn’t sound frightening, so she took a deep breath and raised her eyes to meet his own. She sucked in her breath at the sight of the pure, undeniable love shining there.

“How can you possibly think that I would blame you for this?” Max asked her in wonder. “Which one of us was lying injured in the car a little while ago? It wasn’t me, Liz. It was you. You’re the one in the most danger here, because whoever these people are, they hold no value in your life. They want me and they’re using you to get to me.”

His voice lowered in anger, and his eyes flashed, as Liz saw his controlled emotions burst for the first time. It startled her as he spoke on. “The fact that they would go to such extremes…what if I wasn’t in the car with you? What if I had decided to stay the night with Isabel or something? You could have died, Liz, and I wouldn’t have been there to protect you. The thought of that makes me angrier than anything else.”

Max took a deep breath, and Liz watched in fascination as he visibly tried to regain control over himself. “I don’t know what they did to make you think that this could possibly be your fault, but it’s not. This isn’t exactly my ideal situation, to be running from the bad guys in the middle of the night, but we can deal with this, Liz. We can deal with it together.”

Liz wanted to cry at Max’s undying faith in her, and she blinked back her tears as she nodded her agreement. How he could be so accepting of this, Liz had no idea, but one thing she knew was that she was going to be seeing a very different side of Max Evans as they worked together to bring down the Brown Institute.

“Okay.” Max murmured in response to Liz’s gesture. “So here’s the deal. We need to get to Las Crueces. Once we’re there we’ll find a place to rest up for the night…and talk. When morning comes, we’ll get to Isabel’s. She can help us figure out where to go from there.”

He paused, studying her closely before finally adding. “You don’t need to be a part of this after Las Crueces if you want, Liz. I don’t know who they are yet, but if you tell me all you can about them, you can just stay at Maria’s. I can do this alone if I have to.”

Liz stared at him, surprised by his suggestion. The thought of staying safe hadn’t even occurred to her, and now she stood still as she considered the possibility. It was a tempting proposition. She didn’t want to be in danger anymore. But then her mind raced back to the high security of the Brown Institute and Dr. Thompson’s evil smile.

“You need me.” Liz determined. “I know what we’re dealing with. I know my way around them. You won’t be leaving me behind when I can help.”

Max grinned openly at her response. “I was hoping you’d say that.” He admitted. “As much as I’d like you to stay somewhere safe, I’d rather have you right beside me where I can protect you. And you’re right. I could use your help.”

Max pulled her close to him, pressing his lips firmly on her forehead. Liz gasped at the sudden affectionate gesture, and closed her eyes softly to savor it as Max pulled her tightly against his chest.

“I am so glad that you’re okay.” Max whispered to her. Emotion was cracking through his voice. “Seeing you hurt like that again…I don’t want anything to happen to you.”

“Nothing will happen to me.” Liz answered him firmly. “As long as I’m with you.”

“I won’t let it.” Max swore, pulling back from her and gripping her hand firmly. “Now let’s go. The sooner we can get to Las Crueces…”

“The sooner we can talk.” Liz finished for him. “I know.”

“I have so much I want to tell you.” Max admitted as they started to jog back in the direction that they had initially been heading. “Once we’re safe, I’ll tell you everything.”

~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~

Max knew he was putting up a strong front for Liz, and that she probably bought it completely, but in reality he was a turmoil of emotions.

The pure irony is that you never know when your whole world is going to be turn upside down, and the same was true of Max that evening. When Liz showed up at the UFO Center that afternoon, he would have never guessed that less than nine hours later he’d be running for his life from someone.

Who that someone was, Max had no idea. All he knew was that this person, organization, group…whatever…tried to kill Liz. In his eyes, that was unforgivable, never mind that he might have been hurt too. That was ignorable. Liz was another matter entirely, though. To make matters worse, they tried to kill Liz to get to him. That much was clear from Liz’s admissions. Which meant that somehow he had managed to put Liz’s life in danger, just by being her friend.

There were a thousand questions running through Max’s brain. What was Liz’s connection to all of this? She obviously knew that someone was after him. Suddenly her aversion to him was making complete sense. Someone had been using her to get to him. So what were they using to control her?

Max wanted nothing more than to throw all of those question at Liz as they ran, but he knew it wouldn’t help the situation. He had no idea what she was feeling at that moment, and it was driving him crazy. She didn’t act like she was afraid of him since he healed her. That fact alone was mind boggling, considering that she had freaked completely after the shooting. He knew without a doubt that he needed to be honest with her about himself before he could start to ask her for her help. She needed to know exactly what she was involved in on both ends. Then she would be able to make a real decision…she could help him, or she could turn him in.

Max just prayed that she made the choice that he believed wholeheartedly she would make. Liz Parker wasn’t the type of person to abandon anyone to death or destruction. At least his Liz Parker wasn’t.

He had never been so relieved to see the dim glow of the lights of Las Crueces growing increasingly brighter as they approached. He could sense that Liz was growing weary, and was eager to get them indoors where they could hide for a little while.

It was easy to find a hotel on the outskirts of the small college town. Max finally allowed them to stop as he pulled out his wallet, and removed his identification card. He glanced at Liz quickly to gage her reaction, as he swiped his hand over the card, changing the name and dates on the surface to hide his true identity.

“Max! How…” Liz exclaimed out loud in surprise as she watched the words change before her very eyes. Max knew he had a lot of explaining to do, so he just grinned at her.

“When we get inside.” He reminded her. “Right now we’re going to have to get a room. Just play along with me, okay? We can’t give the desk man any clue that we might be on the run, or in hiding. We don’t know if they are searching here for us or not.”

Liz nodded her consent, and they crossed the parking lot to the hotel’s office. As they passed through the doors hand in hand, Max slid his arm around her waist, pulling her closer to him as he nuzzled his face into her neck, kissing her skin. The scent of her was intoxicating, and Max groaned at the familiar taste of her, that he hadn’t forgotten in the slightest over the passing years.

They approached the desk, and Max slid his ID across the counter to the desk man, turning to face Liz and wrapping both his arms around her, pulling her flush against his body. She played along, nuzzling her head into his chest and wrapping her arms around his neck.

“We need a room.” Max told the desk man over Liz’s head. He turned his attention to her and tried his best to leer at her, even though he didn’t think it was possible to treat her like that much of an object rather than the love of his life.

“Yeah, whatever.” The desk man replied. “It’s $60 for a night.”

“I’ll get it.” Liz responded playfully, suddenly reaching a hand into Max’s pocket to pull out his wallet again. Max had to hold himself back from gasping at Liz’s roaming hand…she was obviously enjoying playing along as much as he had been. His wallet in her hand, Liz grinned at the desk man, pulling the money out and passing it across the counter to him. The desk man only rolled his eyes at her before passing them a key.

“Room 215.” He told them dryly. “And try to keep it down, all right?”

“Whatever.” Max smirked, as he and Liz sauntered out of the office, his arm around her waist again.

Once they were a few paces away from the office door, Max let his arm slide away, taking Liz’s hand in his once more, and pulling a chaste distance away again. Being so close to her was sending his blood boiling, and was making him more than a little eager to stay close to her…even as close as they were suggesting that they might get.

Quickly Max shook those thoughts away. He did not need to be thinking like that when he was about to spend an entire night alone with Liz in a hotel room with only one bed.

They took their time climbing the stairs, until they were finally standing in front of their shelter for the night. They entered the dark hotel room, turning on a dim light, before turning and facing each other.

“So…” Liz murmured uncertainly.

Max understood how she felt. He didn’t quite know where to start either. Did he throw the truth right out there? Or was there a way to lay it out lightly? Did he cut right to the chase? Or did she need some time first?

“Are you feeling all right?” He blurted out. “Do you need me to…” His voice trailed off and he gestured with his hand to show what he meant. He was surprised when Liz giggled in response.

“Thank you.” She replied. “But no, I think I’ll manage. It was confusing enough the first two times, and I already know it’s going to get more confusing. I should be okay after some rest tonight.”

“Okay.” Max responded. “Uh, do you need a shower or anything? Freshen up?” He wanted to kick himself at his babbling, but he didn’t know what else to say. He may have already done this once before, but there still wasn’t any easy way to let the truth come out.

“What I really need is to understand what is going on here, Max.” Liz replied in a gentle tone. Max berated himself for letting his nervousness show. She didn’t need to be taking care of him right now. She was the one who was about to get the shock of her life.

“Okay.” He still wasn’t sure what to say. All of the time he had to think while they ran, and he still hadn’t found an easy way to say it.

“How can you do things that aren’t even humanly possible, Max? Help me to understand this…please.” Liz pressed further, and Max finally met her eyes, knowing that it was time for him to break down and do it…again.

“It’s possible because of what I am, Liz.” Max explained. “I’m not human, Liz. I’m an alien.”







[ edited 2 time(s), last at 27-Oct-2002 10:33:06 PM ]
posted on 3-Nov-2002 2:03:00 AM by Cookie2697
Hey guys *happy*

Just a quickie note from me!

Thanks SO much for the awesome reaction to the last part...I was really hoping you guys would enjoy it! Now I swear, I'll get the talk out soon! I've been working lots for the past few days, so I haven't been able to write much :(

On a side note, I just wanted to plug a new fic on the board...just a short one-parter by Tasyfa, that I was thinking you guys might enjoy ;) Seeing as it's based on the same idea as this fic, and is REALLY similar to what I envisioned in my original brainstorm for this one!

So pop over and check out the Bitter Dregs and let Tas know what you think *happy*

viewthread?forum=dreamer-fanfiction&id=281462

Thanks *happy*

Anne
posted on 3-Nov-2002 1:19:28 PM by Cookie2697
Sorry about that!! lol...I don't leave author's notes in the subject too often too, so that probably confused you too! LOL!

*sigh* WASN'T it incredible? I absolutely loved it, heartbreaking and all. In my initial brainstorm that was EXACTLY how I envisioned that night to go...exactly. Except that I decided to change it a bit...make it slightly more hopeful ;) I'm so glad Tas wrote that!
posted on 8-Nov-2002 11:37:10 PM by Cookie2697
Hey guys,

I just wanted to say thanks SO much for all the awesome feedback.

Dee and Sarah...a huge welcome to the story for you both, and your comments were both SO touching! I really, really appreciated hearing them!

Lana, thanks for the bumpage...I'm sorry I haven't been able to update this quicker...I expected to, but this week turned out COMPLETELY different than I anticipated at the start. I haven't been online pretty much at all. I'm hoping to update by Monday...but I haven't even had time to START the chapter yet, so we'll see how tomorrow goes!

Thanks for sticking with me y'all!

*hugs*
Anne
posted on 12-Nov-2002 11:49:14 AM by Cookie2697
Oh goodness! You guys are so sweet with your hopeful bumps *happy* I absolutely love them!

And I am SO sorry that this update took this long. I'll tell you, I had absolutely no intention of it BEING this long between updates, but something BIG came up last week...good big, Lana ;) Not bad big, and it just sucked up all of my days off! I wasn't even able to START this chapter until Saturday!

But I'm here now, it's done, and to counter my insane week last week, I have a really light week this week, so my plan is to try to bust out the next chapter before the weekend ;)

Jane, I am SO happy to see you back!! I've missed you *happy* I DO understand though...I have other friends who have walked away from this one, and I without a doubt know it's been a rough ride, but I honestly think we're past the worst at this point. Not that there isn't still rough stuff coming, 'cause there is...but I think it'll be a little easier of a read from now until the end. And of COURSE there's HEA insurance ;) This IS me after all ;) hee!

Now on to the chapter! Enjoy y'all!

Anne


Chapter 24

“Excuse me?” Liz asked him without pause. She wasn’t sure if she had heard him clearly. Max couldn’t have just said that he was an alien…could he have? Except that he was looking at her with those serious, intense eyes pleading with her to believe him as he repeated himself again.

“I’m an alien, Liz.” He repeated in that soft, serious voice.

She couldn’t not believe him. As preposterous as the truth sounded, Liz found herself thinking back to every odd thing that had happened with Max, from the lab’s curiosity in him, to the powers he had already displayed for her that night. She thought about how much he loved her, and how she could feel it in every gesture, every move he made when he was near her, and she just knew that as wild as it sounded, Max would never lie to her.

“You’re an alien.” Liz stated, as her mind wrapped around the idea, acknowledging it as the truth. “Okay.”

“Okay?” Max asked. His eyes widened with surprise at her instant acceptance. “Not, where are you from? Or why are you here? Or it’s not possible? Just…okay?”

“I know you wouldn’t lie to me.” Liz explained with a shy smile. “I trust you, Max.”

“Thank you.” Max responded in a shaky voice. He sat down on the bed, raking a hand through his hair nervously. “You have no idea how much that means to me. I want you to know that you can ask me anything. I don’t want to hide anything from you anymore, Liz. You deserve to know everything about what you’re dealing with here.”

“And so do you.” Liz rebutted. His words reminded her that she needed to make sure he understood what he was up against too. As much as she wanted to ask him her own questions right now, she knew that making him aware of the present situation needed to take priority over anything else. “Max, the people we’re up against here will stop at nothing to get to you.”

“Do they know what I am?”

Liz stared at him for a long moment before responding. Her heart went out to him at that moment. He asked her in a soft, nervous voice, his question hanging out in the air with the knowledge that he knew his life depended on the answer. He was scared, but trying desperately not to show it. Liz knew this was at least one answer she could try to comfort him on, even if it still wasn’t the best possible situation.

“They don’t know that you’re an alien.” Liz answered carefully. “But they do know that you can do things that most people can’t do.”

“How did you get involved with these people, Liz?” He wondered.

Liz sighed. She sank down beside Max on the bed, and stared down at her feet, not quite able to meet his eyes as she told him the truth.

“I work for them.” She explained. She fell silent for a moment as she collected her thoughts and tried to decide how to go about explaining her involvement with the Brown Institute. “When I look back at it now, the whole situation was really weird, but I didn’t think twice about it at the time. It just seemed like a great opportunity. They contacted me directly, right when I was starting to look for a new job. The head of the lab, Dr. Thompson, e-mailed me directly and offered me a position doing hands-on lab research if I came back to New Mexico. It was hard to refuse. The job sounded like it was exactly what I was looking for, and coming home was a tempting offer after being away for so many years.”

“They tricked you.” Max interrupted. Liz turned to look at him, startled out of her nervousness by the anger in his voice. It was only accentuated by the look in his eyes now. They burned with a fire that startled Liz, even as he leaned towards her protectively, as if in that moment his presence could chase away the lingering demons in her world.

“Yeah, they did.” Liz replied. “They didn’t tell me what the job entitled until after I arrived in Roswell…and moved into their apartment, and started driving their car, all of which were wired with surveillance equipment. Only then did they sit me down and tell me flat out what they wanted me to do for them.”

“They wanted you to get close to me.”

“Exactly.” Liz confirmed his statement. “They wanted me to get close enough to you to find out how it was that you’re capable of healing people with a touch…they had surveillance of you healing some children in a hospital. They wanted me to find out the truth, and then turn you in to them. My prize would have been to be a part of the group that would study you. If I didn’t do everything they asked me to do, they would kill my family and friends.”

Liz spit out the words distastefully, as she listened to herself and realized just how sickening the situation was. The people at the lab were sick, disturbing. At least now with Max’s help she might actually stand a chance against them. Her only regret was that she waited so long to be open with him.

“What a prize.” Max snorted under his breath breaking the silence that had filled the room.

“I am so sorry, Max.” Liz sighed.

“Don’t be.” Max contradicted her. She looked up at him and their eyes locked, the world spinning away as for a second nothing else existed except for the two of them. He slowly reached his hand over and covered her own hand in a simple comforting gesture that sent a tingle of love and warmth surging up through her. “It’s not your fault, Liz. They tricked you. They used you because they knew you could get to me…and they were right. But they didn't succeed. I’m here, I’m safe, and I’m not going to go anywhere now, Liz.”

Liz stared up at him, nodding without speaking a word. They were sitting so close to each other that there were only inches between them. His head tilted down towards her as he spoke, and she found herself leaning closer to him like a magnet, slowly being drawn in. With each word he spoke, Liz felt herself being pulled deeper into his world. His scent, his eyes, the emotion of the long, hard night…all of it had her just wanting to lose herself in Max and forget about the pains of the outside world, just for a few minutes.

She tilted her face closer to him, licking her lips in preparation for the kiss that she had been aching for since the day that Max had come to her proclaiming his love. His eyes darkened as he reached up and took her face in his hands, sending a surge through her blood. He was as gentle and loving as he always was, every time he touched her, and the sensation brought tears to her eyes, as he leaned closer to her. She closed her eyes, blinking back the emotional stinging, and waited for his lips.

They brushed against her forehead as a stray tear fell, and then Max was gone. His hand left her skin, and she could feel the distance forming between them once more as he pulled away. Liz opened her eyes to see him watching her, the slightest hint of a smile on his face. She returned his smile, the coldness that had filled her from the space between him immediately disappearing at the rare sight of it on his normally serious face. A seriousness that Liz now knew came from a very apparent place.

“So, an alien, huh?” Liz asked, finally bringing the subject back to the curiosity that was plaguing her mind. “How is that possible?” She cringed at the silly question, and rephrased herself. “I mean, I know it’s possible obviously, but what’s your story, Max? How did you end up where you are now, versus wherever you were supposed to be out there?”

“Now that is a long story.” Max chuckled. “I actually was in the 1947 crash, except that I was in stasis in this pod, and I didn’t come out of it until 1989. I looked like a regular six year old at the time, so no one ever suspected that there was anything different about me. Isabel and I were lucky. The Evans found us on the side of the road, and took us in. They never treated us as anything other than their own children. Michael wasn’t so lucky. He was found and thrown into the foster system. It was a really hard life for him.”

“So Isabel and Michael are also like you?” Liz concluded. Her mind was trying to twist over the fact that she had gone to school her entire life with three aliens, and never knew the difference. It proved to her that you never know whom it is that you’re dealing with in life. Everyone has their secrets, and sometimes they could be much bigger that she could ever imagine.

“Yeah.” Max confirmed.

“So to risk sounding ridiculously cheesy…why were you sent here?” Liz asked. There didn’t seem to be any good way to ask her questions without sounding like a character in a bad science fiction movie. She sighed and sent him an apologetic look, but he only smiled in amusement back at her.

“It’s okay.” Max comforted. “It’s a honest question…and unfortunately one that doesn’t have a quick, easy answer.”

“Well, why don’t you give me the shortened version for now then?”

“Okay. Well, the short version is that I was sent here with this alien technology thing called the granolith. Quite frankly, I don’t even know exactly what it is, and I don’t think I ever will, but what I do know is that it’s really powerful and could be dangerous in the wrong hands. I’m responsible for protecting it so that the wrong people don’t get ahold of it. In reality though, as far as I can tell no one is looking for it. I’ve just been living my life. I rarely even think about my purpose, whatever that is.”

Max fell silent for a long moment, and when he spoke again it was in a hushed whisper so passionate that it tore at Liz’s heart as the words flooded through her.

“All I’ve ever wanted is to live a normal life.”

Liz watched the emotions pass over Max’s face for a long moment, her heart reaching out to him. There was nothing she knew to say that could possibly comfort him in that moment, knowing that he dreamed of the impossible, yet it was still just that, a dream that he lived with every day of his life. Max was different, and it was those differences that made him the incredible person that he was, yet he had suffered and hidden away for much of his life as a result of them.

Suddenly for Liz, she felt like she was seeing Max Evans for the first time. Little things that she never understood before about him made complete sense at last, like his shyness, or the mysterious air that always seemed to surround him. The way he always kept to himself, while longingly watching her from across the room.

As she watched him now, much like he had watched her over the years, Liz wanted nothing more than to take the pain out of his eyes. If she had the power contained in her own tiny hands, she would give him what he wanted. She would make him normal, and let him live out the life he had always dreamed of…but it just wasn’t possible.

So she settled for the next best thing.

“Come here.” She murmured to him. She moved to lay back in the bed, and with a gentle tug of his arm, pulled him to lay beside her. Wrapping her arms around him, Liz pulled Max close to her, and gave him the comfort of her embrace. He returned the gesture, wrapping his own arms around her as she tucked her face into the crook of his neck, resting her head against his shoulder.

“I love you, Liz.” Max whispered to her, so softly that Liz almost didn’t hear him. Still, she smiled softly as she felt him drift off to sleep. His breathing evened, and his grip loosened ever so slightly, before she followed him off into the world of restful slumber.




posted on 15-Nov-2002 4:10:35 PM by Cookie2697
Chapter 25

She awoke late into the night to the sound of a low moaning emerging from the bed beside her. At the first sound of it, Liz’s heart caught in her throat, and she fell deathly still for a long moment as she tried to place herself. It only took a few moments for her to feel the heaviness of the bed beside her, and although they were no longer touching, to remember that Max was there with her. As the moan sounded again she realized that it was coming from him.

“Max?” She whispered as she rolled over and turned to face him. He was lying flat on his stomach, his faced pressed into the pillow. “Max?” She asked again, hoping that he would wake on his own. At the prodding of her voice, he rolled to the side, his face exposed to the cool night. As the moonlight shone down from the window, passing across his features, it caught on the wetness on his cheeks, and Liz gasped at the sight of the tears shining there.

“Nooo…I can’t…”

The low sound of Max’s cry took Liz by surprise, but she instantly reacted. Max was obviously having a nightmare, a bad one at that, and she needed to pull him out of it. The sound of him suffering, crying in his sleep…it was too much for Liz to bear. Max didn’t deserve that kind of pain on top of everything else going on.

She rolled over to shake him awake, calling his name softly, but suddenly cried out as Max started thrashing beneath her touch.

“No!” He cried more loudly this time. “No, LIZ!”

The sound of her own name escaping from his lips caused Liz to freeze in surprise. He was having a nightmare about her. The sudden thought brought tears to Liz’s eyes, and in an instant her mind flashed back to another night where she had woken up to the sound of Max crying her name in fear. At the time it had scared her enough to make her run from him, and while she couldn’t deny that her heart was pounding nervously in her chest at the sound of Max’s now continuous cries, she knew that she couldn’t leave him again.

It was a risky move to make since Max was so much stronger than her and not conscious of his actions, but Liz didn’t hesitate for a moment as she threw her body over his, trying to pin him to the bed in an attempt to stop the thrashing. He continued to fight back, his cries growing louder and more desperate, but Liz tried to counter them with her own soothing words.

“Max…wake up! It’s me, I’m here…I’m okay! Please wake up!”

His fighting slowed at the sound of her voice, and Liz took the opportunity to slide her hands up to his face, brushing away the tears from his cheeks. She threaded her fingers through his hair as she cupped his head in her hand, her soft mumbles continuing to calm him.

After what seemed like an eternity of fighting him and calming him, Max’s eyes finally shot open, wild and bloodshot as he searched her face out and visibly relaxed at the sight of her. His body was still tense though, as he pulled her face down and pressed a kiss to her forehead. Max didn’t say a word. He just lay still beneath her trying to slow his ragged breathing and his racing pulse. Liz didn’t try to fight him as he wrapped his arms around her body for strength. Instead she tucked her head against his chest, allowing herself to comfort him and take comfort in his embrace, while secretly enjoying the feel of his arms holding her protectively against his warm body.

It was a long time before Liz broke the silence. She wanted to allow him the time he needed to recover from whatever it was that he had just seen, but she needed to know what was going on. Why did Max seem to have reoccurring nightmares that focused on her? It didn’t make any sense.

“Max…” She finally began in a soft voice that she hoped sounded gentle to his ears. “You were having a nightmare about me, weren’t you? You were calling my name.”

She studied him carefully, as he slowly nodded his confirmation of her suspicions. Liz took a deep breath, hoping that the next question didn’t freak him out.

“Max…that night that we spent together all of those years ago. When I left that night you were having a nightmare about me too. It’s kind of what scared me away. I didn’t understand why you were dreaming about me. I still don’t, honestly, but now I have to know. How long have you been having these nightmares?”

“Five years.” Max answered after a long, hesitant pause. “They come and go. Some nights are worse than others.”

His body tensed again, and Liz rolled off of him, giving him the space she knew he needed, as he sat up, kicking his feet over the side of the bed, and turning to face away from her. His shoulders were slumped as he stared off into the distance. Liz wanted to reach out to him, pull him against her, and hold him until all the pain had left him, but she knew it wasn’t what he wanted in that moment, so she held back, watching him from where she sat in the center of the bed.

“Tell me.” She asked him in a murmured plea. He didn’t acknowledge her question immediately, and for a moment Liz was afraid he wouldn’t answer her. She wanted to just let it go, for his sake, but every fiber of her being was screaming to know what he wasn’t telling her. She wasn’t sure if she could take his silence for long. Thankfully, she didn’t have to.

“It’s hard to know where to start.” He finally told her in a soft, distant voice. “This one is harder to explain than anything else I’ve told you tonight. At least you can see that I’m an alien by looking at my blood, or seeing me use my powers…but this? There’s nothing you can physically see to prove that I’m telling you the truth. You could easily just write me off as insane…but I swear to you that every word of it is the truth.”

Liz slid forward and rested a comforting hand on Max’s shoulder for support. “I trust you, Max.” She insisted. “I know you’re not crazy.”

“You may not think so after hearing this.” He turned to her and gave her a twisted smile. “I haven’t told this to anyone before…at least not the full story. It might sound a little far fetched.”

As their eyes met, Liz took a glimpse at the tears that were still shining in his bloodshot eyes. She knew whatever happened in the dream was still haunting him, and marveled at his willingness to open to her. She squeezed his shoulder and gave him what she hoped was a brave smile as she responded.

“Tell me.”

She slid her hand down from his shoulder to clasp his own hand, sliding around to sit beside him and listen. He was staring off into space again as she settled, and Liz watched him and waited while he chose his words.

“I’ve lived two lives.” Max explained carefully. “Not in the way you might think. It was just through high school. I have all of these memories from another world that never existed. I remember what that world was like for those four years. I remember every feeling, every emotion, every moment, every sight, and every smell. It was real to me, but it never happened.”

Liz blinked in surprise as Max turned to gage her reaction. He was smiling wryly at her as he watched the emotions that she was feeling fly across her face. What he was saying…it sounded impossible. It sounded even more impossible than Max’s alien status, but again he was giving her that look that begged her to believe him. This time she didn’t hesitate to immediately ask a question.

“How is that possible?”

“I did it.”

Max’s simple answer made Liz gasp in shock. Max’s face was twisted in agony as he quickly continued to keep her from asking any questions.

“The granolith made it possible. I used it to turn back the hands of time in order to fix the world of the mistakes I made in the other life. I know it was risky, dangerous, but I figured that whatever happened in the new world had to be better than how my life was going to end. That’s the irony of it all. I wasn’t supposed to live through it. I was supposed to change the past and just fade away, letting you and the Max of this world live out your lives in peace, but something went wrong. Instead of dying I replaced him, so I was stuck living this life.”

“Is this life that bad?” Liz’s voice was twisting in pain at the thought of Max not wanting to be here. Life in her world was so miserable that Max was constantly haunted with the past. She had wanted the truth. She just never expected it to hurt so badly.

“This life has been hard.” Max replied. “That doesn’t mean it’s been any better or worse than the last one. You’ve had a better life than you would have if I hadn’t done what I did.”

“Me?” Liz asked softly. “What does any of this have to do with me?”

“It has everything to do with you.” Max answered. “I did it all for you.”

He turned to meet her eyes, and Liz was surprised to see the tears openly falling down his cheeks again. The sight of them was all it took for Liz to lose her grip on herself, her own tears breaking free. She wrapped her arms around herself for comfort, letting Max’s hand fall back to the bed as she cried with him.

Something happened to her in that moment, and Liz wasn’t exactly sure what. Max’s simple words mixing with his emotional meltdown tore into her. She knew it sounded crazy, absurd, impossible, but somehow when she looked at Max and saw the pain in his eyes, she just knew. It was the truth. And in that moment as it all came crashing down around her, Liz knew without a doubt that her entire world had just changed.

Max continued to speak, telling her the story of the life that she never got to live. Liz listened intently to every word falling from his lips, knowing that her world was already spiraling into a new place, one that she wasn’t sure if she was ready for, but would experience with Max all the same.

“It all started at the beginning of our Sophomore year of high school. You were working in the Crashdown and you were shot. I couldn’t just let you die…I loved you too much for that. So I healed you in public, in front of witnesses.”

“What happened?” Liz wondered aloud.

“Lots of things.” Max quickly replied. “First of all, you found out the truth about me…and not just that I was an alien. You found out the truth about my feelings for you too…and we fell in love. But everything that happened with us was overshadowed by the events around us. The F.B.I was after me, and other enemies too. It seemed like there was always someone we were fighting or hiding from. It all blew up in our faces right before Graduation. The air force got their hands on a tape of Isabel using her powers. They linked the three of us together and came after us.”

“Oh God…” Liz gasped. “What did they do?”

“You and I were inseparable at the time, so you came with us. I shouldn’t have allowed that, but I couldn’t let you go. Isabel went in one direction with her husband, Jesse, and we went with Michael in my car. We were trying to get into hiding when they found us. Michael was shot. I don’t even know if he made it or not. You and I couldn’t stop.”

“We were still running when we heard from Kyle on your cell phone…they got Isabel and Jesse too. We were alone, and the others were gone. It was all over…our lives would never be able to be the same again. If we went back out, they would kill us. That’s when you told me that I could fix it, that I could make the world right again. It was your idea, Liz. But it meant we had to get to the granolith chamber.”

“We didn’t even have time to think about the possibilities…of what could go right or wrong. We got the information from Kyle and Maria over the phone, and rushed for the cave. They were on our tails the whole way there, and right before we got to safety, you were shot as well. You wouldn’t let me heal you…I wanted to, but you told me to save your strength. Once I was gone it wouldn’t matter anymore, but my last sight of you was you lying on the floor bleeding to death.”

Max breathed in a shaky breath, and Liz could hear the pain and mourning in his voice as for the first time she understood what it was that haunted him so completely.

“That image has been haunting my dreams ever since.” He voiced it aloud anyway, and Liz’s heart went out to him. “I never took the time to find out what would happen to you after I was gone. For all I know, you died there alone…or the air force blew the cave up…or they stormed in and killed you. You could have starved to death, or…” A pained sob broke Max’s words as he openly broke down, crying so hard that he was unable to control himself anymore.

“Or I might have been saved. I could have walked out of there, gotten some medical help, and lived out the rest of my life. Or it could have ended so quickly from what you did that I might have never even known that I died.” Liz continued his suppositions as she reached her arm around him to comfort him. “You’ll never know the truth about what happened after you left Max, and you can’t keep lingering on what might have happened. I’m right here, Max. And I’m not going anywhere.”

She held him as he cried, rubbing his back to soothe the torrents rushing through his body. She knew he needed this moment to mourn. He had been holding this in for five years, without anyone to tell the full truth to. Now that she knew, Liz fully intended to make sure that Max never had to bury his secrets inside again for the rest of his life.

It was a long time before Max’s breathing began to even out once more, and he rubbed his eyes clean to finally face her again. Liz gave him a supportive smile, settling down next to him again.

“I’m sorry about that.” Max suddenly apologized. “I don’t usually break down like that.”

“You have nothing to apologize for.” Liz insisted. “You needed this. I know that. I’m just glad that I’m the one you finally opened up to.”

“Thanks.” Max answered with a shy smile.

“You’re welcome.” Liz answered, beaming back at him.

“So…do you have any questions?” Max wondered. “I know this is kind of a lot to throw at you.”

“Yeah, actually, I do.” Liz replied. There was something that had been plaguing her mind since she had learned the truth about Max’s alternate lives, a question that she couldn’t help asking. “You said that you replaced the Max of this world at some point in time, and I just have to know. That night…the one that we spent together. Was that you? Or was it the Max I grew up with?”

“That was me.” Max told her, smiling softly as he said it. “That was less than two days after the switch happened. I think that’s why I wasn’t able to stop myself that night. I had just been through so much, and I just needed you that night. I took advantage of you, Liz, and it was wrong of me.”

“No, Max…don’t say that!” Liz insisted. “I could have stopped you at any time, and I didn’t. I think I wanted it just as much as you did, and I don’t regret it in the slightest, Max. That night was special to me. I wouldn’t take it away for anything in the world.”

“I wouldn’t either.” Max admitted in a shy voice. “It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.”

“Says the person who has changed time itself.” Liz laughed.

“And he meant it.” Max swore, as he turned to face her, his hand automatically reaching for her cheek. “I don’t care that my life has been hard here, Liz. I don’t care about the nightmares. I don’t even care that I’ve spent the last five years basically alone. I can live with all of that, Liz, for another ten years if I have to. All that matters to me is that you’ve had a better life here…and you have. You lived past the age of eighteen. You lived your dream at Harvard. You’ve had a happy life…”

“…but I haven’t had you.” Liz cut him off. “And I have a feeling that I might feel very differently about the last five years if I knew what it was like for me in that life.”

“Well, then maybe it’s time for you to find out.” Max suggested, his eyes darkening as they fell to her lips. Liz subconsciously licked her lips at the desire in Max’s eyes. This time it didn’t seem frightening, or unusual. This time it seemed like the most natural thing in the world.

“Maybe.” She agreed, and then before Max could say another word, she closed the distance between them, their lips meeting in a passionate kiss that later she could only describe with one word.

Perfect.



posted on 20-Nov-2002 12:49:35 PM by Cookie2697
Hey guys!

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for the fabulous feedback on this one! This last chapter was really special to me...mostly because I've had it in my head since before I even started WRITING Hope Alone, so it was fun to finally get it out for you guys! So your feedback meant volumes to me!

I have to be honest though and tell you that I probably won't be updating this or any of my other stories for at least the next week. I'm in the middle of applying for my college transfer, and the applications are due at the end of the month, so I need to focus on getting my college essays written and out this week...hopefully around Thanksgiving at the end of next week I should be able to get back to writing the fun stuff...like this!

Thanks for your understanding and patience *happy* I'll be back into things as soon as possible!

*hugs*
Anne
posted on 20-Nov-2002 2:15:02 PM by Cookie2697
LOL Scottie!

No, I haven't asked anyone to beta my college applications yet, but God knows I will be bugging people and looking for suggestions!

I'm STILL stuck on the fact that I have to write a really good personal statement on writing, because it just won't work if it's boring or not particularly GOOD since I'm trying to get into a writing program!

Ooooooooh....and as I'm writing this I JUST finally got an idea!!! I wonder if it will work? Hmmmm....

I think I love you, Scottie! LOL! Because it was just replying to this that made me get this idea! hmmmm.... I'm going to go send myself a note about it so that I don't forget at work today...then I can work on it tonight! LOL!
posted on 25-Nov-2002 12:14:00 PM by Cookie2697
Thanks you guys *happy*

I'm actually submitting my application this afternoon! So hopefully as early as tomrorow I'll be able to start working on the next chapter *happy*
posted on 28-Nov-2002 6:35:09 AM by Cookie2697
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers! I hope your turkey is delicious, your yams sugary, and your pumpkin pie covered in a snowy mass of whipped cream. At least that's my plan!

And happy regular day of the week to all of my non-American readers! I hope your work/school days aren't overly productive, and that you're having loads of fun!

posted on 11-Dec-2002 11:58:13 AM by Cookie2697
Hey guys!

Thanks SO much for being so patient with me on this one! School has been a killer lately, but things are finally starting to settle down, and I'm hoping to get back to ALL of my stories now!

Anyway, I really hope you guys are still here with me and enjoying *happy*

Anne



Chapter 26

She took his hand as they stepped onto the city bus, and Max felt a warm spread through his entire body at the simple gesture. It was all he could do to not grin like an idiot at the feel of her hand resting in his, of her own accord. They moved to sit side by side on a seat in the back of the bus, but Liz stumbled into him as it started to move. She stared up at him as he broke her fall, their eyes burning into each other’s for a long moment, before they finally took their seats.

Max knew he should be focusing on their plan for the day. He needed to prepare for what was to come once they reached Isabel’s, but his eyes just kept subconsciously falling to their joined hands. He couldn’t look away from them. His entire life had turned around over the past twelve hours, and the reality of it all still left his head spinning, but it
wasn’t a bad thing. Not in the slightest.

For the first time in five years, Max felt like his life was back to normal.

The irony behind that statement wasn’t lost on him, and Max couldn’t help twisting his mouth in amusement at the thought. He and Liz were on the run with their lives in serious danger, and Max felt like things were normal. Obviously his world had a very strange idea of what normal was.

“What?” Liz asked him softly from beside him.

Max lifted his gaze from their hands to meet her eyes. Liz’s ever-expressive eyes were staring at him with curiosity, and Max couldn’t help smiling at her instantly. He recognized the look on her face. He hadn’t seen it in what felt like an eternity. It was
the fascinated expression of her inner scientist studying her latest prize subject. She had worn it often back in the days after the shooting, when she had first learned the truth about him, and now it was finally back.

“I’ll tell you later.” Max answered her with a soft smile. “I promise. When we’re alone.”

Liz nodded her understanding, and another rush of warmth spread through Max. There wasn’t any doubt in her gaze. She knew that the only reason he wasn’t answering was because it wasn’t safe to say in public. She knew that he would keep his promise to answer everything she wanted to know, and she accepted his answer without hesitation. Her trust was a gift he would never stop treasuring.

His smile only widened as she leaned her head over to rest on his shoulder. Reluctantly, Max released her hand, but only to slide his arm over her shoulder, pulling her closer to him. Unable to resist, he pressed a light kiss to her forehead. Her own pleased smile was noted, quick as it was, and Max found himself shaking his head in amazement again.

Everything had changed so quickly! Twelve hours earlier, as they were leaving the play, Liz was pulling away from him. She was driven by her fear of the Brown Institute to keep him at an arm’s length, regardless of her true feelings for him. Now that he knew the truth though, she had released herself completely. Not only was she drawing closer to him, but also giving her heart to him completely, without hesitation or reservation.

Max only wished that they had the time to linger on their newfound relationship. They needed to explore it. They needed to get to know each other again. Max wasn’t completely delusional. He knew that the Liz Parker sitting in his arms was not the same girl that he had left alone in the Pod Chamber five years earlier. He wanted to know everything about the new Liz Parker. But for now they needed to focus on regaining their freedom. They would have all the time they needed to get reacquainted later.

Max sighed, when the bus pulled into their stop ten minutes later. The ride was over, and now it was time to return to reality. Max was reluctant to do so. He was completely content hiding out on the bus in Liz’s arms, but it was time to start putting their tentative
plan into action. He nudged Liz up, whispering to her gently that they had arrived, and they quickly exited the bus.

They were two blocks from the sorority house that Isabel had called home for the past few years. There was a liquor store on the corner with a pay phone out front, which Max eyed cautiously. He halted them on the sidewalk, waiting for the bus to pull away, before
he turned his attention on Liz.

“Okay, so here’s the deal.” Max quickly began to explain the plan. “We need to get to Isabel without her housemates seeing us. We don’t know if they have Isabel bugged too. With the extent that they’ve been watching us, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the
case. I’m going to dial Isabel’s number and I need you to take the phone. Tell whoever answers the phone that you’re calling Isabel from the science lab about the Antar project. She’ll understand. Tell her that Zan is waiting for her at the store on the corner and to come quickly. She shouldn’t question you about it. Do you understand?”

“I’m calling from the Antar project, and Zan is waiting for her at the store on the corner.” Liz repeated back to him, nodding quickly. “What does it mean?”

“It’s alien stuff.” Max replied. He hesitated, trying to decide how much to say now without raising dozens of new questions that would take too much time to answer. He hadn’t even begun to explain the whole destiny fiasco, nor his past life on Antar. While he did intend to tell Liz everything eventually, he knew that now wasn’t the proper time to raise all sorts of new questions.

“It’s complicated to get into it all right now.” Max finally explained a little more thoroughly. “She’ll know without a doubt that the message is from me. If anything she’ll have more questions about you. Should she ask you, don’t answer on the phone. Tell her to come to the corner for answers. Once she’s here, we’ll explain everything.”

They crossed the parking lot to the pay phone, and Max quickly dropped in two quarters and dialed the number, handing the phone off to Liz. He stood waiting nervously as Liz asked for Isabel and delivered the message. It went off without any problems, and Max
was relieved to see Isabel drive up in her car two minutes later.

“She took a car to go two blocks?” Liz questioned under her breath to Max as they moved towards the vehicle.

Max could only shrug and grin in amusement. “Welcome to the world of Isabel Evans.” He answered with a short laugh.

Isabel was out of the car in an instant, hurrying towards him with worry plastered across her face.

“What’s going on, Max.” She demanded, wrapping her arms around him and pulling him into a tight hug. Max returned the embrace. He hadn’t seen Isabel in a few weeks since he had been so busy catching up with Liz. He wished that they could have met up under better circumstances.

“We’re in trouble, Iz.” Max explained. He kept his voice low to avoid attracting attention. “We need your help.”

Isabel glanced nervously at Liz. He could see her trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle. She was wondering where Liz fit into everything going on, and there must be a dozen questions running through her head that she wasn’t sure if she could even ask. She needed to know whether Liz was trustworthy enough to talk in front of. Liz’s own expression was serious as she was also studying Isabel. He knew that they were trying to figure each other out, and it was time to help them along the way.

“Isabel, Liz knows the truth about us.”

Isabel’s eyes widened as Max answered the biggest question that was hanging out in the air. She opened her mouth to reply, but Max hurried to cut her off, afraid of what her reaction would be. He remembered her reaction in his last life all too well, and didn’t
want Liz to have to deal with any coldness or nastiness.

“She’s trustworthy.” He told her in a firm voice that allowed no room for argument. “I told her last night, but she already basically knew. Liz was hired by a government agency that already suspected the truth about me to investigate me and turn me in. They were forcing her against her will to do their dirty work for them, but thankfully it backfired on them. They tried to kill her last night. I saved her, but now they know that we’re out here together hiding from them. If they find us first I’m going to end up in
their lab, and Liz will probably be killed. We need to get to them first, but we need help if we’re going to succeed.”

“You know I’ll help, Max.” Isabel insisted. “You know you don’t even need to ask.”

“Thanks, Iz.” Max answered warmly. He knew that he didn’t even need to ask, but it was dangerous for her too. By helping them she would be exposing herself to the same agency, and if they failed, she would end up in the lab right beside him. She deserved to have a choice in the matter.

“So we need a plan.” Isabel moved on, turning her sharp gaze on Liz. “What did they do to force you to do what they wanted? Every bit of information we have can help us decide how to move on this.”

“They…oh my God.” The blood drained from Liz’s face, and Max instantly took a step towards her, running his hand up her arm in an attempt to comfort her.

“What is it, Liz?”

“Maria and Alex. They told me that they’d kill them if I didn’t turn you in.”

~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~

Liz’s whole body was tense as she banged on the door of Maria’s apartment. She was trying desperately to not panic, but it was a losing battle. In her heart she already knew that her friend would not answer, but she couldn’t deny that she hoped her friend would be okay.

“MARIA!” She finally shrieked as she pounded. “Please open up!” She could hear the defeat in her own voice as she begged, and she knew it would do no good to shout. A hand on her shoulder forced her to finally freeze, as she turned to look up at Max, the tears finally breaking through her strong exterior.

“Let me.” Max offered, gently pulling Liz back from the door. He ran a glowing hand over the door handle. The lock clicked, and Max easily pushed the door open.

“Thank you.” Liz had never been so relieved to know the truth about Max as she did in that moment. While she was lying hurt on the ground she couldn’t think clearly enough to really comprehend that she would have died without Max, but now? It was her friends’ lives in danger. She needed his help now.

Sliding through the open door, Liz took in the sight of the apartment within. She had expected the place to be ransacked. She wanted to see some obvious sign of a struggle, but there was none, and it sent her heart cold. The air was deathly still inside. Liz was frozen right inside of the door, just studying the room within.

“Come on.” Max pressed her gently, urging her to move further inside. “Let’s check the place out. Maybe they left a clue somewhere.”

His words sent a chill down Liz’s spine. Until now it had always been a question of if Maria was missing. Now that if had become a reality. Maria was gone. She was probably dead. And it was all Liz’s fault.

The guilt, horror, and pain filled Liz’s heart and she stood locked in her place as the shocking realization filled her.

Her best friend was dead and it was her fault.

Max and Isabel both slid past her, as Max sensed her inability to act, and quickly they both started scanning the apartment. A distant part of Liz’s mind acknowledged that, while in reality all she could think of was Maria. Her best friend. Maria was the girl who she had countless sleepovers with when she was a kid, giggling until the deepest, darkest hours of the night over boys, and gossiping about their classmates. Maria had kept her sane in high school when she was struggling through her honors classes, fighting for the coveted role of school valedictorian. Maria was who she spilled all of her deepest darkest
secrets to, including her one night with Max. Maria was who took everything she said, accepted it, and supported her without question.

And she was gone.

“Liz, you should see this.”

Isabel’s voice broke her from her trace, and she looked over to the girl who was standing at the kitchen counter staring at something. Liz shook the thoughts out of her head and rushed across the room to where Max’s sister was waiting.

There was a note sitting on the counter. And it was addressed to her.

Ms. Parker,

Do not fear. Your friends are not dead yet. However, we are greatly disappointed by your lack of loyalty to us. You have one day to rectify the situation. Deliver Max Evans to us in that time, and we will release both Alex and Maria without harm. If we do not have Max Evans in custody by midnight tonight however, both of your friends will be dead. And you will not be far behind.

Make your choice wisely.


posted on 12-Dec-2002 1:41:05 AM by Cookie2697
Hey Araxie *happy*

Nope...no longer the Board Czar...since I no longer work on the board. I figured I shouldn't lead people to believe I still am the person to talk to ;) I'm just a regular joe schmo like the rest of you now!

Not TOF next alas...I promised UTEOT first. And I'm kind of stumped on TOF right now...but I DO want to update it soon, so I'm going to try to sit down and brainstorm on it soon!

School is out for me on Friday *happy* So hopefully more writing time...but I also have to start hunting for a second job...so we'll see. I definitely won't be UN-busy. Just hopefully able to think more about fic again!


posted on 12-Dec-2002 10:28:35 PM by Cookie2697
Thanks for the awesome feedback y'all *happy*
posted on 14-Dec-2002 4:05:01 AM by Cookie2697
Hey guys *happy*

Make sure you check out the Fanart Calendar Sales information on the Announcement board! The calendars are going to look AWESOME and I think they're going to be well worth your money...plus you're supporting the board!

Thanks for letting me shamelessly plug *happy* *grin*
posted on 7-Jan-2003 11:07:59 PM by Cookie2697
Chapter 27

The world spun wildly out of control as Liz dropped the note to the ground, sinking to her knees as she gasped for breath. The fear for her friends that consumed her was so powerful that it was making her physically ill. Now it was mixing with guilt too. Guilt because Liz knew that she could not turn Max in. She couldn’t give him up now that she had him.

But she still couldn’t let her friends die.

“Oh God…” Liz groaned out loud between the dry heaves that sent torrents through her body. Tears were threatening to fall, and she desperately fought them back, even though all she really wanted to do was curl up into a corner and cry.

The simple fact was that she didn’t know how to rectify this. If Dr. Thompson got the slightest hint that she wasn’t doing as he asked, Maria and Alex would be dead. Still, she couldn’t just give Max over to them. Someone was going to die, and it seemed that it was on her shoulders to decide who. It was a decision that she could never make.

“Liz!” The frantic cry of her name startled Liz, and she turned her head to face Isabel, who was on her knees beside her, reaching to support her.

“It’s going to be okay, Liz.” Isabel insisted. She was rubbing Liz’s back in small circles to help her regain control over her breathing. Liz took comfort in Max’s sister’s support, as odd as it seemed to have Isabel Evans trying to help her calm herself. “This doesn’t change anything, Liz. We’re still going to have to go in there. Now we just have to get them out too.”

Liz took a few deep breaths, trying to steady herself before she rocked back, forcing herself to sit up. She pushed her hair back from her face, and searched out Max’s form. He was standing across the room, silently staring at her, seeming to be frozen into his place. There was something in his eyes, something Liz couldn’t quite read. Was it fear? Sadness? Anger? Liz couldn’t tell, and Max wasn’t giving her a single hint of what he was thinking. Somehow, though, Liz knew that his silence was a bad sign.

“Max.” She said his name softly, as she met his eyes. She didn’t like that she couldn’t tell what he was thinking. Did he think that she was going to give in? Turn him in? Trade his life for the lives of her friends? The man she had shared a bed with the night before was staying as far away from her as possible. Was he afraid of her?

“I’m not going to do it, Max. I can’t turn you in.” She insisted. She wanted to reassure him of her loyalty. She would do anything to get him to unmask his emotions. Her plea didn’t work though. He was still as unreadable as ever as he replied.

“I know you won’t.” Max tried to smile at her, but Liz could see right through it. The smile never quite reached his eyes. There was something wrong, and Liz wouldn’t allow them to leave this room until Max told her what was on his mind.

“What is it?” She demanded to know. Pushing herself to her feet, she stood and faced him, crossing her arms across her chest as she faced him down. “I know there’s something wrong, Max. I can tell.”

“It doesn’t matter.” Max denied, but Liz still wouldn’t buy it. She didn’t want Max doubting her. If they couldn’t trust each other, then they were never going to be able to free Alex and Maria. For now, that was the most important thing in the world: freeing Alex and Maria, and living through it.

“I don’t believe you, Max.” Liz told him in a flat voice. “Something’s on your mind.”

Max’s shoulders fell in defeat. His gaze dropped, and Liz’s heart froze. She knew that it wasn’t a good sign, if he wouldn’t even meet her eyes.

“This is all my fault, Liz. Alex and Maria’s lives are in danger because of me. If anything happens to either of them, I’ll never forgive myself. They’re supposed to be safe this time. You’re supposed to be safe.” He finally looked up at her again with a sad expression, and for the first time Liz was starting to understand. Max had given up his whole world just to make sure that she was safe. Now it was coming around again, as if his effort was all for nothing. “None of you are supposed to be a part of this.” Max finished with a sigh.

“You can’t blame yourself.” Liz insisted. “This isn’t your fault, Max. You didn’t bring us in it. The bastard running that laboratory did. He’s the one we should be focusing on right now, Max. We need to worry about how to stop him. We have to get our lives back.”

Liz could still see the doubt in Max’s eyes, but she knew that her point was being driven home. Even as she spoke though, she also began to understand a side of Max Evans that she had never seen before. He took everything on his own shoulders. In his last life, he had made it his own responsibility to give her a new chance at life, and now in this life he blamed himself for the mistakes of others yet again. In that moment, Liz knew that Max needed these feelings comforted away. She hoped that in the future, she would be able to help him change.

“Liz is right.” Isabel spoke up suddenly from behind her. “It doesn’t do any good to point fingers at anyone other than the one truly responsible for this. Right now we need to get moving. We have to go get Michael and then get out to the lab and stop this guy from killing Liz’s friends…and you, for that matter. Your life is in just as much danger as Maria and Alex’s, Max. Don’t forget that.”

Max nodded. “I know it is. Believe me, I know better than anybody what they’re capable of doing to me in that laboratory.” Max spoke with a bitter tone in his voice, which made Liz meet his gaze curiously, wondering what lingering memory was haunting him in that moment.

“Well then, the sooner we get in there, the sooner we can get out, right Max?” Liz pressed. Something about the strange way he was acting was making her nervous. Liz wanted nothing more in that moment than to get him in the car to Roswell.

“Right.” Isabel agreed. “Let’s get going, Max.”

The three of them turned and left the apartment, carefully closing the door behind them to guard from intruders. As they headed to the car, at Max’s prodding, Liz filled the time by going over the lab’s details with Max and Isabel. She went over its location with them, the basic security system, how much she had seen of the lab and the offices around it. Both Max and Isabel listened intently, obviously storing away the information for future reference.

Liz quickly began to relax again, at least as much as she could in the current situation. Max was acting normal again, and they were going to work together to save her friends. Everything was going to be okay.

When they arrived at the car though, Max hesitated before getting in.

“Wait for me for a minute.” He told them. “We forgot to grab the note. You dropped it when you fell, Liz. We don’t want anyone stumbling across that. And it might help us out in the future. Maybe I can get some flashes off of it or something.”

“Good point.” Isabel agreed. “Go get it.”

“I’ll go with you.” Liz suggested, eager to be alone with Max for a few minutes, but he quickly disagreed.

“No, I’ll only be a sec. Wait here with Isabel, okay?”

It wasn’t a request. Liz nodded her agreement, trying not to let the disappointment show in her gaze. She stood beside the car and watched as Max jogged back towards the building. He paused at the door, turning to her one last time. Liz drank in the last sight of him, their eyes connected in a long, shared look of longing, before he turned and entered the building, disappearing from her sight.

Liz sighed as she stepped into the passenger seat beside Isabel, turning to glance at Max’s sister…a girl Liz hadn’t thought twice about over the years, and never imagined that she’d ever have to spend much time with. The same girl who had just supported her without hesitation when she learned that her best friends were in life-threatening danger.

“Thank you.” Liz started, breaking the silence. “I mean, for helping me out in there. I really appreciate it.”

“You needed a friend.” Isabel replied. “Max wasn’t moving to help you. It was the least I could do.”

“Thank you all the same.” Liz said with a smile.

The car fell silent again for a few minutes, the two girls watching the door for Max’s reappearance. There was still a certain sense of awkwardness in the air between the two women. The only thing they had in common was the man that they were waiting for. Liz wasn’t quite sure what to say to the girl.

“I don’t know how I would react if it was Max or Michael in that lab right now.” Isabel suddenly confided. “I don’t know if I would be as strong as you’re being right now.”

“I’m not being strong.” Liz denied. “I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have you and Max here right now. I’d be a wreck. He’s the one who’s being strong.”

“He’s in love with you, you know.”

Isabel’s sudden pronouncement surprised Liz, even if she already knew better than anyone how deeply Max loved her. Still, she turned to gape at Isabel, stunned to hear someone other than Max say it out loud.

“He’s been in love with you for as long as I can remember. He’d do anything for you…even turn himself in to that lab. We can’t let him do that.”

“I don’t intend to let him.” Liz agreed. “I just got him. I don’t intend to lose him anytime soon. He’s too special to me.”

“You’re in love with him too.” Isabel noted. Liz nodded her affirmation, blushing slightly that she was so obviously transparent. “Good. You two deserve each other. It’s about time you took a chance with each other.”

“Thank you.” Liz replied with a sincere smile. “You know…” She pondered in a thoughtful voice. “You’re nothing like I remember you being in high school.”

Isabel smiled with amusement at Liz’s statement. “Yeah, well, that’s what happens when life takes you over. You realize that being the Ice Queen of the school isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be. Having real friends makes all the difference in the world.”

“I agree completely.” Liz grinned. The comment brought Maria and Alex’s faces to her mind though, and the smile almost immediately faded away. “I’m worried about them. We need to get them out of that lab. What’s taking Max so long?”

“I don’t know…” Isabel’s voice trailed off, and suddenly she swore angrily under her breath. “Damn. We let him go in there alone, didn’t we?”

“You don’t think he’d…” Liz’s froze suddenly, the blood draining from her face. Without hesitation both girls leapt from the car and rushed for the building.

When they reached Maria’s apartment, the sight before them didn’t surprise them in the slightest.

Max was gone.



posted on 7-Jan-2003 11:12:01 PM by Cookie2697
Also, I have a shameless request...

I don't know how many of you have heard of the Zeke Lerner Bowl-a-thon, which is next month in Los Angeles. Anyway, I'm going to be participating along with a few other friendly fans *happy* Our team, the POD Squad, which consists of me, SnowWhite22, Scottie, Tigereyes, and Beckey23, is looking for donations to support FSMA through our team.

If anyone would be willing to donate any tiny amount, our team, as well as FSMA, would GREATLY appreciate the support. You can send me a paypal payment to cookie2697⊕hotmail.com, or if you want to donate via cash, check, or money order, feel free to e-mail or b-mail me for more info.

Thanks for your time *happy*


posted on 12-Jan-2003 9:00:14 PM by Cookie2697
Thanks Cin *happy*

I'm hoping/planning to try to update tomorrow!
posted on 14-Jan-2003 12:24:47 AM by Cookie2697
Hey guys,

I wanted to say a huge thank you to y'all for your awesome feedback on the last chapter. It really, really made my day *happy*

I'm so glad that you guys are still enjoying this and have hung around this long. We're slowly moving towards the end now...and I'm probably going to be focusing on this story alone for a while...my goal is to speed up the updates a bit now that my crazy period this fall with school and work is thankfully over!

Anyway, I really appreciate your readership and your support. I can't possibly say that enough. You guys rock!

Oh, and by the way...I put together a soundtrack for this story too (some of the songs are familiar from Tas's Bitter Dregs soundtrack). If you guys are curious let me know...I'll post the list.

Now on to the next chapter. I hope you enjoy *happy*

Anne

Chapter 28

The desert highway was stretched out before Max, thankfully empty seeing as his mind was nowhere near focused on the road, as it should have been. Instead his mind was already miles ahead of him, in Roswell, planning his entry into the Brown Institute. It was going to be risky. Their security system would know the instant he stepped foot in the building. Still, he needed to keep them away from him long enough to get Maria and Alex out of there. The humans wouldn’t matter as long as the lab had him in their grasp. That was all that mattered. Their safety.

Still, he couldn’t focus on the importance of the issue at hand. He knew that for his own safety he should be planning his every move out, but instead his mind was consumed with guilt and sorrow. All he could wonder was how everything had turned around so quickly.

For five years he had been living this life, quiet and peaceful compared to the one he had left behind. There his day to day life had been filled with evil aliens, FBI investigations, death, and destruction, but he had also had love and friendship right up until the day he died. This world was much different. Yes, he was lonely. Yes, he was stuck in a world he didn’t belong in. And yes, he felt it every day of his life. But it didn’t matter to him, because he knew that Liz and Maria were safe, and Alex was alive. His sacrifice was worth it to spare his friends of the life he had left behind.

Still, somehow in the matter of just a few days, not only had Liz come back into his life and taken it over so completely, but she had also managed to get mixed up in the madness of his universe. She had almost been killed a mere twelve hours earlier. And now Alex and Maria were being held hostage, with the price of their lives being his own.

As amazing as it had been to be able to spend time with Liz again, the sum of it all didn’t change. He was never meant to live in this world. He was meant to be long gone, dead with his own Liz Parker. Alex, Maria, and the Liz Parker of this world were all meant to live happy, safe lives, and as long as he was around, it would never happen.

He could not allow Liz to die for him a second time. So his life for theirs it would be. Even if it meant subjecting himself to a lifetime of torture at the hands of the government.

Max swallowed, feeling his face burn with fear as the memories of his torture in the white room came flooding back over him. He quickly tried to shake the memory away, but it still stayed with him. He couldn’t deny his fear at what he was about to do. He couldn’t deny that it was the last thing he ever wanted for himself. But he had to do it…for everyone else’s sake.

A twinge of guilt flowed through Max as he thought about Liz and Isabel waiting for him back at the apartment. He knew that it was wrong of him to leave them like that, and he regretted it, but he couldn’t think of any other way to do it. He needed to keep the two of them out of danger. Liz’s life was in serious jeopardy. The lab knew that she was the easiest way to hurt him. They knew that he loved her with every fiber of his being. He couldn’t give her to them to be used like that anymore.

And Isabel… God, taking her in there would be like openly admitting that there were more of them to be studied. He needed to keep her as far from them as possible. He had already endured the torture of the government once, in a different life. He would not allow Michael and Isabel to be taken in this one.

He prayed that they would take the hint and stay as far from the lab as possible. And if not, then hopefully he would already have Alex and Maria safe long before they arrived.

Turning Maria’s hijacked Jetta off of the highway, he maneuvered the vehicle to take him around the outside of Roswell instead of into the city. It would take him a little longer, but at least he would avoid notice. Sighing, Max looked into the distance towards the area that Liz had described would be housing the Brown Institute. It wasn’t long now until his life took another uncontrollable turn. At least this time he would be able to ensure Liz’s safety. That was the only thing that mattered.

~~~~~ ~~~~~~

Stupid, dimwitted, stubborn…” Isabel’s voice was raised in anger, with a frantic edge to her tone as she listed off the various adjectives she had chosen to describe Max. The car lurched beneath them as Isabel pressed her foot harder on the gas, speeding the car forward to try to gain lost time. Neither of them were quite sure how far ahead of them Max was, but they knew it couldn’t be far.

“You don’t think he went to turn himself in, do you?” Liz finally asked in a voice almost completely void of emotion. She was in shock, frozen in her seat just listening to Max’s sister’s rants. She knew she should be feeling something as extreme as Isabel, but she was still trying to register the fact that Max had left her…after promising that they would do this together.

“Of course he’s turning himself in!” Isabel growled. “I told you he’d do anything for you, didn’t I? Even give up his own life!”

“We have to stop him.” Liz decided. She shook herself out of the shocked haze that had consumed her since leaving Maria’s apartment, forcing herself to regain control over the situation. She was doing Max no good by being weak and afraid, when what she really needed to be doing was prepare herself to help him in his task. She turned her attention onto Max’s sister, determination flowing up through her blood. “We’re wasting time, Isabel. He may be the one the lab is looking for, but there’s nothing he can do that you and Michael can’t do, right?”

“Well…” Isabel countered, but Liz rushed on, ignoring her companion’s doubtful thoughts.

“Can you and Michael get us into that lab without notice?” Liz demanded.

“Yes.” Isabel affirmed without an ounce of hesitation in her voice.

“Good. Then the three of us can go in and get the three of them out…and hopefully stop the doctor in the process.”

“But what if something happens to Max before we can get there?” Isabel wondered, her eyes darkening as fear overtook the anger that had previously consumed her. Liz shook her head in denial, refusing to accept the possibility that they wouldn’t get there in time.

“We will get there in time.” Liz insisted. “Letting something happen to Max isn’t an option. I got him into this mess. It’s my responsibility to get him out.”

Liz quieted after her final pronouncement. Isabel seemed to sense that the other girl needed time to think, so she kept her mouth shut, keeping her eyes glued to the road as they continued towards Roswell. The miles seemed to stretch on and on to Liz as she sat beside Max’s sister, planning their attack and waiting to get their backup in Roswell. The drive had never seemed so long to her, yet so short at the same time.

While she was not eager to face her employers, she felt a drive pushing her to save Max from his self-determined fate. She could still feel the harshness of the lab doctors as they had tested her body for abnormalities only a few days earlier, and that was only because they suspected that her body reacted to Max’s. She couldn’t imagine what they would do to Max himself once they got their hands on him, and more than anything, she didn’t want either of them to have to find out.

Liz’s mind was still lingering on her fears of what was to come for Max when the scenery around them began to change again from open desert, into the outskirts of town. Soon Isabel was pulling the car into an empty spot near her apartment building, and Liz was staring upwards towards the dim light in Max’s apartment window. She knew that the light was probably Michael, and not Max, but she still couldn’t help wondering if maybe, just maybe, Max had come here instead of the lab.

She tried not to let her disappointment consume her when they entered Max’s apartment and found Michael there alone, sitting on the couch, watching a hockey game.

“Michael…we’ve got to go.” Isabel announced as they walked through the door.

No!” Michael screamed at the television. “No, no, no! The Sharks just scored! Damn it!”

Michael!” Isabel screamed so loudly that Liz jumped in surprise. She had never heard Isabel yell so loudly in her life. It was enough to pull Michael’s eyes from the screen and eye her curiously though. “Hey Isabel, Maxwell isn’t here. He was out all night with…” Michael’s eyes fell to Liz and his voice trailed off as he gaped at her. “Liz.” He finally finished, greeting her with a nod.

“Michael, we need your help.” Liz told him, trying to get to the point before they lost Michael’s attention to the game again. His eyes were already drifting in that direction again, though. Liz sighed with frustration, glancing at Isabel with a roll of her eyes. Thankfully, Isabel decided to take matters into her own hands.

With a raise of one arm, Isabel flicked off the television set with her powers, sending Michael a nasty glare of annoyance. Liz stared at Max’s sister for a long moment. It was her first time seeing the girl use her powers, and it filled Liz with a sense of curiosity. It was one thing to know that her companion was an alien. It was another thing entirely to see it with her own eyes.

Michael was gaping at Isabel. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” He cried angrily, sending Isabel a pointed look in reference to Liz.

“She already knows, Michael.” Isabel explained with a sigh. “That’s what we’re trying to tell you. We need your help in breaking into a government lab facility.”

What!!!” Michael bellowed. “Are you two completely out of your minds?”

“Max is in there.” Liz stated firmly. “Or if he isn’t, he will be soon. They know that he’s in love with me and decided to use me to get to him. They kidnapped my best friends and are holding them hostage in exchange for me giving Max to them. I refused, but Max decided to turn himself in anyway. We don’t know how far ahead of us he is, but we need your help in getting him – and my friends - out of there safely.”

“So much for the NHL.” Michael grumbled, as he pushed himself to his feet. “So where’s this lab?”





[ edited 1 time(s), last at 14-Jan-2003 12:27:03 AM ]
posted on 20-Jan-2003 6:01:03 PM by Cookie2697
Flying sparks, Carol? Hmmm....we'll have to see *happy*

Cling to that dreamer insurance with all of your might, Klaatu!! I hope I haven't given you a nervous breakdown yet! I get all concerned for you when I read your feedback! Like...oh! One day I'm going to post a chapter and you're not going to respond, and it's because I KILLED you or something! ACK!

Many thanks to Tasyfa for the bit of help that she offerred me on this part *happy* It was oh-so greatly appreciated!!

Chapter 29

Max sat in Maria’s car, silently watching the building that was towering in the distance. Upon his arrival, he had pulled the car off of the highway, keeping himself a short distance away to avoid notice. There was sufficient landscape that he was able to hide out and spy on the movements of the facility from the vehicle. He had been there for over an hour already, watching and waiting as the parking lot slowly began to empty. The sky was growing gradually darker, and Max knew that it wouldn’t be long now before he could make his move.

A few minutes later when Max watched a handful of men in security uniforms exiting the building, Max knew it was probably his best chance. The shifts were changing, with the daytime guards leaving, and the night men arriving. Now was the time when they were the most penetrable.

Keeping his movements small to avoid attention, Max slowly made his way from the car, skulking swiftly by foot across the distance between the car and the lab building through the shadows from the falling sun. While waiting at the car, he had already picked his entry spot – a small window that sat low to the ground in the back of the facility. It probably led to a basement room or a storage facility beneath the lab. It was the most likely place for him to sneak in without notice and find his way to the main hallways of the facility – and hopefully to the rooms that held his missing friends.

Plastering himself to the wall of the building on his arrival, Max inched his way along the building, ducking beneath windows, until he reached the basement window that was his target. He rubbed his hand across the surface, wiping away the dirt and rocks, and breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of what looked to be an abandoned storeroom. Shelves in the corner were covered with old, dusty books and boxes, and there were cobweb-covered objects in the corner, which looked to be old lab equipment that had been stored away and forgotten over the years.

The important thing though, was that there was no sign of movement in the room. It was dark and void of life – exactly what Max needed in order to break into the facility. Pressing his hand to the window’s lock, Max focused, unlocking the window with his powers, and pushing it upwards so that he could slide through the opening.

There was a soft thump as Max hit the floor, thankfully landing on his feet. He stayed still for a long moment, waiting to see if anyone would come and investigate the noise. The seconds ticked by as Max waited, silent except for the soft sound of his own heavy breathing, but no noises ever approached. They still did not know he was there. Breathing a sigh of relief, he crossed the room, letting himself out of the storage room, and starting hunting his way through the facility, starting from the basement floor up into the lab’s main level above.

Each corridor was a mirror of the one before it. The Institute seemed to be a maze of identical hallways, one after another filled with door after identical door. All Max knew was that with each passageway he headed down, it took him closer to the heart of the institute, where Alex and Maria were most likely being held.

The sound of footsteps in the distance made Max freeze in his tracks. Staying deathly still, Max could hear nothing except the footsteps and the pounding of his heart in his chest, as he counted down the seconds, praying that he wouldn’t be caught. At the far end of the hallway, he saw the shadowy figure of a guard pass by without looking in his direction. Max’s heart caught in his throat as he listened to the footsteps tap on by and disappear into the distance.

He sighed, taking a deep breath to calm himself. It was his closest call yet, since entering the facility. He wasn’t ready to be caught yet. Maria and Alex first, then he would give himself to them.

It all happened so quickly. Max resisted the urge to shout out when a light touch on his shoulder startled him. He whirled around, raising his hand to defend himself. In a split second it felt like it could all be over. Alex and Maria were trapped. He would be captured. His rescue attempt failed. Until he found himself facing the one person he had desperately hoped not to see: Liz.

Michael and Isabel were standing a few steps behind her. Michael was glaring at him, his eyes dark with annoyance, while Isabel looked relieved to see him alive. He knew he had some serious explaining to do to the both of them. In particular Michael, who didn’t know anything about what had happened over the past few hours. Still, the lab was the last place he wanted any of them to be. They were putting all of their lives in danger, when he was the only one in any real danger. Anger and annoyance surged up in him. He needed to get them out of there.

Before he could speak though, Liz hushed him silent again. Her finger pressed against his lips. He was so shocked by the sudden touch that he instantly quieted, staring into her eyes as she shot him a warning glance.

“Follow me.” She mouthed silently to him.

Max couldn’t argue. Liz didn’t give him a chance. Before he could react she was quickly padding down the hallway, her steps making no sound as she reached the next corner and froze, peeking around to check for guards. She motioned for them to hurry. Isabel and Michael were already passing him, catching Liz and following her closely. Max could do nothing except submit.

She led them around the corner into the next corridor. Quietly they hurried down the hallway, until Liz suddenly stopped, pausing in front of a closed door behind them. Signaling to them to stay silent, Liz turned the knob and gently pushed the door open a crack. She peeked into the room before them, and signaled for them to follow her in.

Once they were safely into what seemed to be a storage room for medical supplies, Liz finally broke the silence. She pushed Max so hard that he stumbled backwards, staring at her in surprise.

“You idiot!” She cried. Even through her hushed voice, Max could still hear the fear and frustration behind her words. “You had no right to abandon us like that. And for what? To turn yourself in? What were we supposed to do? Just let you? Were we supposed to just pretend that we don’t care whether or not you live or die?”

“I don’t matter.” Max argued back. “What matters is keeping you safe, and getting Maria and Alex to safety. You aren’t supposed to be a part of this! I didn’t do everything that I’ve done just to let you die again!”

“But I am a part of it, Max.” Liz disputed. “You can’t change that. They brought me in, not you. This isn’t your fault.”

“I never said that.” Max denied, but his heart froze at her words. Every one of his actions was fueled by a feeling of guilt, one that he hadn’t spoken out loud, or even admitted to, but Liz had known anyway. Liz had known exactly what he was thinking, even without hearing the words.

“You didn’t have to.” Liz confirmed. “I just got you, Max. I don’t want to lose you yet.”

Her gaze was probing. All of a sudden Max felt like he was as small as an ant beside her. She was right. Everything she was saying was right. He was acting like a total ass. And as he looked into Liz’s pleading eyes, he was seeing things there that he hadn’t noticed before: hope. Fear. Understanding. Longing.

Max had often heard stories of moments of complete epiphanies, where in a single instant comprehension just dawned over you, like the dawn breaking into day. Never before had he had one which came with as much clarity as in that moment, when he looked into Liz Parker’s eyes.

Ever since he had turned back the hands of time to save the life of his one true love, stranding himself in a world where their love had never existed, he had been treating her like she still belonged to him, just because in his heart he couldn’t let her go. He had been acting like he just needed to convince her that they were meant to be…and just because he believed it, she would too. But this wasn’t his Liz Parker. She didn’t have the memories, or even the understanding of the love that they had shared in another plane of existence.

In her eyes, he was the man that she had always wondered about. An idle curiosity passing the time that had never come to pass. He was the man that had taken her out when she was eighteen, and that in a completely uncharacteristic moment, she had slept with. It had been a good experience, intriguing, amazing even, but still something that would never become a reality, because their lives were headed in two different directions.

She might have thought of him over the years, wondering what ever became of him, or if he ever thought of her like she thought of him, but she never knew how he waited, believing that she would come back to him someday, because she couldn’t do anything less. Because they were meant to be, and it was just as simple as that.

Then she had come back, and the possibility was there for the very first time. He may consider this his chance to get back what he had lost, but to her, it was the first opportunity to try something new. Something that had the potential to be amazing, if they gave it a chance.

But in order for her to find out what they could have, they needed that chance. If he recklessly gave himself over to the enemy and allowed his life to be extinguished, she would never get that chance. He needed to give it to her.

“I’m sorry.” He murmured. “I’ve been acting like such an idiot. The only way we can do this is together.” He turned to acknowledge Michael and Isabel’s presence at last. “All of us together. Only as a team are we going to be able to do this and do it right. Do you think that you two can get to Maria and Alex and get them out?”

Isabel nodded her assurance. “We can handle that.”

“If you keep following this hallway and take the third left it’s going to take you to the major lab facility.” Liz told them. “That’s where they ran tests on me a few days ago. Off of the examination room there were some locked doors. They wouldn’t let me see what’s in there, but it’s my best guess to where they might be keeping Alex and Maria.”

“We’ll get them out for you.” Isabel promised her.

“What are you going to be doing?” Michael demanded in his typically gruff manner. Max turned to Liz, studying her carefully before replying.

“Liz is going to take me right into the enemy’s headquarters. We’re going to go find out how much this Dr. Thompson knows and do whatever we can to get my life back.”




posted on 21-Jan-2003 1:13:44 AM by Cookie2697
Oh my!

So many comments I want to make already!

Klaatu - I know you wouldn't NOT reply ;) I just meant I feared for your well being with all of the suspense!! Hmmm...obvious window? Possibly. We'll have to see what happens. Just because they all got in doesn't mean they're not all being watched...... *Anne laughs evily*

Moonie - Did Liz date? Good question. I just went back and checked, and I believe I left the question pretty open. Liz spent MOST of her college years being a complete bookworm...studying and working in the lab at school...stuff like that. She did have an occasional night life...she commented on the differences between Roswell and Cambridge at night when she first arrived in Roswell. But she didn't think or say anything about dating. She did mention that she was sort of dreaming and clinging to a bit of hope that she would see Max again. That hope might have kept her from getting particularly serious. However, I doubt she was living under a rock. She probably went on some casual dates, but nothing serious ;)

Dee - Oh my! Your comments about the sneaking in and whatnot just REALLY touched me. Thanks so much. I really take that as a compliment from you. I'm really, really glad to hear that it worked, because *I* have lots of trouble with those kinds of visually oriented scenes as well, and I was really struggling with that section to try to make it work. LOL. Anyone who e-mailed or chatted much with me about writing this past week had to listen to me stress and express frustration about it. So...pretty much what I'm saying is YAY! Thanks SO much!!

Carol - Yup...they cut through the city with a brief stop at Michael's. Max took the long way around and sat in his car studying the facility for at LEAST an hour. And Max only had about a 15 minute head start over the others ;) It works ;) I checked myself. LOL.

Kath - Oh my dear soul sister! What a treasure your feedback was *happy* And I absolutely LOVED each and every one of your observations. It's so cool to know that I got you thinking about this stuff. And I can always count on you to get EXACTLY what I'm trying to get across. Which you did ;) LOL...sequel? What's funny is that I've actually been thinking about it. I'm going to e-mail you...lol...I do have a whole idea...although I probably won't write it, but I want to hear what you think all the same! hee!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you everyone!!! You guys are WONDERFUL!!!

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 21-Jan-2003 1:16:21 AM ]
posted on 31-Jan-2003 1:37:25 AM by Cookie2697
Thanks for the bumpage, Cin *happy* It made it easy to find!

Enjoy everyone!

Chapter 30

The two teams split from the room, Michael and Isabel heading in one direction from the storage room, and Max and Liz going the other. When they reached the end of the hallway though, Max paused, turning back to where Michael and Isabel were hurrying in the opposite direction.

An odd fear filled Max’s heart as he watched them go. Until this day, his friends’ lives had been as quiet and peaceful as Liz’s. Now, in one single instant everything had changed for them, and Max feared that Michael and Isabel weren’t ready for the changes. They didn’t know how to fight in this world the way they had to in the past. In a lot of ways, they were just as innocent as Maria and Alex.

Max just prayed that he wasn’t sending them to their deaths. They needed to be successful at rescuing the others.

“Max?” Liz asked. Max turned to meet her soft question with a half-smile filled with reassurance.

“I’m okay.” He promised her. “I just hope that they’ll be okay too.”

“Why didn’t you tell me to go with them?” Liz wondered softly. Her eyes were dropping in an uncomfortable gesture, like she wasn’t sure if he wanted her there. Max cursed at himself for hurting her…for putting those insecurities into her mind.

“Maria and Alex won’t understand why they’re here. And I can help get them out quicker.” Liz continued. “You don’t need me. You can handle yourself in front of the doctor.”

“I do need you.” Max insisted. He leaned lower, cupping her face in his hands, and tilting her gaze up to meet his own. “I need you with me. Don’t ever doubt that, Liz.”

“You weren’t so sure a few minutes ago.” Liz reminded him in a soft, hesitant voice.

“I was sure, Liz. I’ve always been sure. It’s why I was so blinded into thinking that I should do this alone. Because I want you safe, Liz. I want you alive. But I can't always protect you from everything. And I can better protect you when you’re right here with me. We’re going to end this Liz. Together. I promise.”

“And when it’s over?” Liz asked in a breathless voice. “What happens then?”

Max brushed his thumb gently against Liz’s cheek in a soft caress. “Whatever you want.” He answered with a grin. “As long as it involves you and me being together for a long, long time. I don’t want to have to be apart from you any more, Liz. We’ll spend a long time getting to know each other again.”

“Getting to know each other?” Liz repeated with a coy smile. “In what sense exactly.”

“Getting to know each other…like this.”

He brought his lips down over hers, hungry for a taste of that which he had been longing for since as long as he could remember. He wanted to take her breath away, to show her how amazing the possibility of something more could be. He wanted to kiss her with every ounce of love inside of him, and it was only as their lips connected that Max remembered how much kissing Liz Parker destroyed him.

Almost instantly he was lost inside her, desperately thirsting for more, drinking her in like a dying man who just found the one thing he needed to live. The rest of the world faded away around him, and there was nothing except her…her taste…her love…and the flashes that came swirling through his mind. Different flashes, unfamiliar ones, of a life that was as alien to him as his own home planet. Still, it left Max breathlessly desiring to see more, to feel more, to know the Liz Parker in his arms as intimately as the one he left behind.

As a flash of the guards leading her through the facility filled Max’s mind, reality came sinking down on him. He was kissing her in the middle of enemy territory, when they were in a state of very real danger. Reluctantly he began to back off, giving her one last long kiss, before pulling his lips away and resting his forehead against hers.

He opened his eyes, and looked down into Liz’s own, smiling at the dazed expression on her face. She looked as thoroughly kissed as he had hoped for. Her lips were swollen and pink, a visual reminder of the passion that they had just shared. Her hair had loose strands framing her face where his fingers had tangled in the edges of her once tight ponytail.

“I think I like getting to know each other.” Liz murmured, enticing a sudden laugh from Max. She peeked up at him with a grin that was contagious as their expressions met, mirroring each other’s. “I like getting to know each other a lot.”

“Me too.” Max agreed. “But we’d better get moving. It’s not safe for us to stay here like this.”

Max was relieved when Liz nodded, indicating her agreement, but then she surprised him by leaning up and pressing one last light kiss to his lips, before pulling away.

“Come on.” Liz urged him. “Let’s do this.”

He needed no further urging. The last kiss from her was enough to make Max feel invincible. In that moment there wasn’t a doubt in his mind that they would defeat the doctor. There was just no other possibility. Because the world would not give him this second chance with Liz only to take it away from him. There was no possible way that the universe would be that cruel to him.

Except of course, that it was, as he learned time and time again.

They turned the corner and Max found himself frozen into place again, with a large rifle pointed directly at his face. There was a scuffling noise from behind them, and without looking back Max knew that they were surrounded by guards.

“Hands behind your head.” One of the guards commanded in an indifferent voice that made Max’s blood curl as he followed the instructions, folding his hands behind his head. It was as if the man didn’t even care that he was party to the destruction of two innocent people’s lives.

It was over. They had been caught. Now all Max could do was pray that Michael and Isabel had found Alex and Maria…and that somehow Liz would get out alive.

“Dr. Thompson has been waiting for you.” The guard continued. “If you would come with us, please.”

Max met Liz’s eyes, his heart freezing at her fearful expression. “Don’t struggle.” He warned her, as a rifle shoved against his back, urging him to start moving. He stumbled forward, barely keeping his balance, as the guards herded them both down the hallway towards the doctor’s office.

The march between the three corridors that they turned down seemed endless to Max, as he constantly searched their surroundings looking for an escape plan. The security guards knew their job though, and kept the pair tightly surrounded. Even if he tried to run they would just push him back into line, and probably injure both him and Liz in the process. Max felt thoroughly defeated as the line finally stopped at the door to the office. The guards in front of them stepped forward and opened the office door, before removing themselves from Max and Liz’s path.

The couple turned and glanced at each other, still frozen into place, until two of the guards behind them suddenly shoved them hard from behind with their rifles, sending them both to the ground inside the office door, before slamming it shut behind them.

Max grunted as he pushed himself up from the floor to his knees, turning immediately to check on Liz, who was groaning in pain beside him.

“Are you okay?” He asked her, helping her to his knees, and running his hands carefully over her figure. She nodded her affirmation as she pushed back the loose strands of hair from her face. Still, Max offered his support as they helped each other to a stand. Only when they were both standing, their hands locked tightly between them, did Max allow himself to survey their surroundings.

The office around them was dark, with only one dim lamp lighting up the large wood desk on the far side of the room from them. There were bookshelves lining one wall, and filing cabinets on the other wall, but Max’s eyes remained on the desk before them, and although he couldn’t see him through the large, tall-backed leather chair that was turned away from them, Max could sense the man sitting there, waiting for them.

Urging Liz forward, the pair took a few steps towards the desk, knowing that there was nowhere else to go. They froze still a few feet in front of it, as the man in the chair softly spoke.

“I’ve been waiting a long time to meet you, Max.” The man announced in a lifeless voice. He turned around to face them, and slid closer to the desk, the dim light illuminating his previously darkened features.

And when they came into the light, Max gasped aloud. Because the man sitting at the desk was the last person Max ever expected Dr. Thompson to be.






[ edited 1 time(s), last at 31-Jan-2003 1:52:38 AM ]
posted on 4-Feb-2003 11:53:43 AM by Cookie2697
Chapter 31

Liz’s heart was fluttering with fear as Dr. Thompson acknowledged Max in his cool, collected voice. In a matter of minutes their rescue operation turned into a complete nightmare. Never before had she been held at gun point, and regardless of whether or not they were physically shot, it was unsettling all the same. Now, as they stood in the office before the head of the lab himself, Liz was feeling helpless. They had failed. Plain and simple. It was all over and they had failed. Now they were going to die.

Max gasped from beside her though, interrupting Liz’s misery. She pulled her eyes from the scientist, to gage Max’s reaction, and was shocked when all of a sudden Max burst out laughing. She was absolutely incredulous. Here they were, standing before the man who wanted Max to be a lab rat, with their lives on the line, and Max was laughing.

“Max?” She asked. There was absolutely nothing funny about their current situation from her perspective. She was torn between wanting to slap him, or wanting him to explain what in the world was so funny.

“This is no laughing matter, Mr. Evans.” The doctor replied in an incredulous voice.

“Actually, I think it is.” Max burst out, biting back his laughter. The amusement stayed in his eyes though, as he took another step forward, staring down the doctor. “You see, I’ve been under the impression that my life was in danger for the past 24 hours, but it isn’t, is it Dr. Thompson? You wouldn’t hurt me. You need me too much.”

Dr. Thompson raised an eyebrow at Max. “What makes you so sure about that?” He asked, his lips twisting with disbelief.

“Oh come on.” Max groaned. “You wouldn’t come after me after all of these years without some sort of agenda. So tell me…what is it? Is Tess lurking around here somewhere?”

Liz’s eyes flew from Max to Dr. Thompson and back again. Max’s question was hanging in the air, and the two men’s eyes were locked in a furious battle of willpower as each waited for the other to give in and admit to whatever secrets they both were hiding. Meanwhile, Liz herself was about a step away from losing her own wits.

Whatever was going on here was much different than anything she could have possibly imagined. It was apparent that Max knew Dr. Thompson from somewhere, but Liz could still sense his tension. He may know the man, but he didn't trust him by a landslide. They were obviously far from out of danger.

The showdown finally ended as Dr. Thompson broke out with a huge grin, laughing out loud.

“Obviously you know a lot more about us than we know about you.” The doctor observed. “Intriguing. How is that possible?”

“I have my ways.” Max answered mysteriously. “So if it’s been you all alone, then why all of the false pretenses? Why use Liz instead of just revealing yourself to me?”

“I needed proof that you were who I believed you to be. I couldn’t just reveal myself to anybody, you know. I’ve been searching for you for a long time, but you were much better hidden than even I could have guessed. At least, you were until I saw the news report about the healed children. That was a very foolish move, you know. Why would you continuously do such an act that could expose you?”

“I have my reasons.” Max replied in a sharp voice. “And they don’t concern you.”

“I would think you’d be more pleased to finally meet one of your own kind.”

The doctor’s sudden observation was shocking, and Liz gasped aloud as understanding dawned over her.

“You’re an alien?” She reacted. It wasn’t until the doctor’s cold eyes fell on her that she regretted speaking so suddenly. She shivered at the hatred in the man’s eyes, the cold deadly look that reminded her instantly that this was a man to fear.

“He’s a shapeshifter.” Max explained. “He’s from my home world. He was sent on the ship to protect us, but we broke out of the pods before he came back to collect us.”

“Yes, I always regretted losing you back then. It would have made things easier in the long run if you hadn’t been raised to be so human.” He spit the last word out with so much contempt and disgust that it left Liz feeling even more chilled. Suddenly she had the feeling that she was in much more danger from this man than Max. She took a step closer to him, and Max took her hand again, squeezing it with the comfort that she so desperately needed.

“Easier for what.” Max demanded. “Easier to throw me together with Tess? So that you could take me back to Antar in chains and present me to Khivar? I know about the deal you made with Nicholas and the skins. I’m not going to fall for it this time.”

“A pity.” The scientist disregarded. “Luckily I was prepared for that thanks to Ms. Parker here. Once the epiphany came out that you were in love with the human, I realized that it might not be as easy as I had hoped. But regardless, I will be taking you back to Antar with me, with or without your consent. And as for your little human, she’ll be long dead.”

“I’m not going to let you hurt her.” Max warned the doctor, pulling Liz closer to him. Liz’s pulse was racing with fear from the doctor’s heartless words. The comparison between him and Max was startling. Both men were aliens, more similar in their physiological makeup than she, yet so different from each other. While Max seemed to be almost entirely human with every aspect of his being, it seemed that the doctor had no human side at all. He was a monster, an emotionless killer. Liz wished that she could kill the man herself…if only things could be that simple.

“Are you so certain that you can stop me?” Dr. Thompson raised an eyebrow at Max, almost inviting him to try to defend her.

“If I have to I will.” Max threatened, raising his hand and pointing it at the doctor. “As you already said, I know more than you think I know.”

The moment was tense, silent. Max and the doctor were staring each other down, a power struggle of wits between the two men, as each waited for the other to make the first move. The blood was rushing through Liz’s ears, her heart pounding with fear and anticipation.

It seemed like the moment would never end…until it did. There was a flurry of noise behind them. The doctor didn’t even blink, but somehow he managed to raise the stakes, as guards filled the room, taking position around the couple, their rifles pointed at them both.

“Oh my God…” Liz gasped. There was no warning. As suddenly as the guards had entered the room, they began to shoot. The world erupted into a storm of gunfire. Although she had little time to react, Liz squeezed her eyes shut, throwing herself at Max’s body. He kept one arm wrapped around her as they both hit the floor, his body covering hers for protection. The sound of the firing bullets roared in her ears, and she knew that they were firing at them, yet not a single one made contact with her skin. Still, with the loud crack of every gunshot, Liz cringed and shook with fear beneath Max’s body, silently praying that both of them would live to see the sun rise again.

Then, as suddenly as it started, everything fell silent.

Liz peeked one eye open, and was shocked to see a strange shimmering light surrounding her and Max. His free hand was held out, holding the light into place, until he allowed it to wink out. Slowly she sat up, turning to study his face curiously.

“What was that?” She wondered.

“A force field. I figured it would come in handy.” Max explained.

“Thanks.” She murmured, giving him a light kiss on the lips, before she pushed herself to her feet. The room was almost deathly still as Liz studied their surroundings. Where moments before the guards had been crouched in position with their rifles, now they remained deathly still. They appeared to be unconscious, but Liz had to know for certain. Liz crossed to the closest guard, checking his neck for his pulse, and found it pounding weakly through his skin.

“They’re alive.” Liz confirmed. “But something knocked them all out cold.”

She turned back to Max, but he was crossing the room towards the desk where Dr. Thompson was standing moments earlier. Liz quickly followed. She wasn’t eager to know the fate of the man who wanted her dead, but she needed to know. And when she reached the desk her answer was waiting.

Dr. Thompson lay motionless on the floor behind his desk where he had been standing a moment earlier. There were several bullet holes in his chest, although he didn’t appear to be bleeding. Liz gasped at the disturbing sight of him, an alien body lying motionless on the ground. He was no longer a danger to them.

“Shhh…it’s okay.” Max whispered, as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her against him. He stroked her hair gently as he continued to whisper comforting words in her ear.

“What do you think happened?” Liz asked him, pulling slightly away and looking up at Max. “Did you do all of this? Or was it something else?”

“It wasn’t me.” Max swore. “All I did was throw up that shield to protect you. I think…” He hesitated for a moment, before continuing. “I think maybe the guards’ bullets ricocheted off of the shield and hit the doctor. Not much can hurt a shapeshifter, but thankfully bullets do. I learned that once before.”

She leaned into him once more, overcome with feelings of relief. Max’s hands brushed through her hair as he held her tightly, and finally the tension that she had been living with since the day she returned to Roswell started to fade away.

“It’s okay.” Max repeated gently as he nuzzled his face into her hair. “It’s all over. We’re going to be okay.”

And for the first time, Liz actually believed him.



posted on 9-Feb-2003 3:13:44 AM by Cookie2697
Chapter 32

Max felt like he was walking around in a strange dream. Everything felt a little bit hazy, a little off, because for the first time in what seemed like forever, everything was actually right again. It was odd. After all of the years of being quiet and alone, Max had grown accustomed to life behind the tree again, as he used to call it in his first life. But after years of being out of danger and being hidden, his life had suddenly been on the line again, and he had stepped back into the role of the group’s protector without thinking twice about it. Now that it was over and he had time to think about it, everything just felt a little unusual.

The rest of the group had walked into the office mere moments after the guards collapsed, gaping at the still bodies that were littering the floor. It took a bit of explaining to the rest of the gang, but Max was able to figure out what had happened to the guards. His guess was that Nasedo was mindwarping them into following his orders. That was why they were able to burst in on them without an instant of warning. All Nasedo would have had to do is mentally order them into the room. When Nasedo was shot and knocked unconscious, his mind control over them failed and the guards all passed out in shock from the strain of it.

It wasn’t until later, after they had worked together to drag all of the unconscious guards from the building, when they were standing by the cars, watching the building slowly burn, that Max began to breathe a little bit easier. He stood beside Maria’s jetta with his arms wrapped around Liz’s waist, her petite figure tucked tightly against his body, watching the flames of their freedom dance across the night sky, and suddenly he realized that everything was going to be okay.

His sight strayed from the burning building to the others, standing in pairs a few feet away from the car. Michael was standing with his arm around Maria’s shoulder. The glow from the fire illuminated their faces just enough that Max could read their expressions. Maria had a soft smile on her face, as she snuggled a little closer to Michael’s body, while Michael just looked confused, like he wasn’t quite sure what he was doing yet, except that he knew it was right.

A short distance from Michael and Maria, Isabel and Alex stood side by side, their hands joined between them. Alex kept glancing from the fire down to their hands, as if he couldn’t quite believe that it was actually Isabel Evans that he was touching. Isabel looked nervous, like she was a little afraid of what she was starting to feel.

The sight of his friends brought a smile to Max’s face. Neither of them seemed to be quite sure what it was that they were feeling yet, but it had developed before and it would develop again, just as he had hoped when he sent Michael and Isabel after their captured counterparts. Max prayed that the fire burning before their eyes had kindled more than just the remains of an old abandoned building. Hopefully it would give Michael and Isabel back something that they didn’t even know that they had lost.

“We should go.” Max broke the silent hesitantly, knowing that everyone was deep in their own thoughts about the incident that just occurred. “It won’t be long before someone sees smoke and calls the fire department. We need to be long gone before they arrive.”

The others silently agreed, piling into Maria and Isabel’s cars. The drive back to the apartment was a quiet, pensive one. Max and Liz were stuffed in the back seat of Isabel’s car, holding each other close, and watching each other wordlessly. In the front seat, Alex was silent as he adjusted to the life-changing realization that aliens walked among them, as he had announced in a shaky voice as they drove away from the lab. Isabel was trying to give him the time he needed to adjust, but Max couldn’t help observing how his sister continued to occasionally send hopeful glances in Alex’s direction.

God only knew what Michael and Maria were doing alone together in the jetta. The thought alone made Max grin with amusement.

It wasn’t until Isabel was parking the car in front of his building that Max finally broke the silence.

“You guys should stay here tonight.” He told them, trying to keep his voice gentle so that he wouldn’t freak Alex out. “We need to lay low until the trouble passes.”

Together the group made their way upstairs, and Max unlocked the apartment door, holding it open as he waited for everyone else to file into his home. Liz lingered outside behind him though, and when he met her eyes, she nodded towards her own apartment.

“We’ll be back.” Max told Isabel as she passed. His sister nodded her understanding and smiled genuinely at his as she pulled him into a hug. “Good luck, Max.” She whispered into his ear. “I know how much you need this.”

“Thanks.” He answered warmly, before watching her disappear into the apartment. Then they were alone, just he and Liz. They stared wordlessly at each other, the love in their eyes speaking louder than their words ever could.

“Come on.” She urged him, reaching out to take his hand before leading him across the hallway to her own home. Max’s heart fluttered at the feel of her tight grip, while she unlocked her door and pulled him into the dark apartment.

The moment the door closed behind them, Max twirled Liz around, pressing her up to the door as he hungrily captured her lips. Liz didn’t even try to fight him, threading her hands through his hair and holding him tightly against her. Through the haze of passion, Max marveled at her easy acceptance of him, both physically and emotionally, as flashes began to surge through both of their minds.

She didn’t try to run from the flashes, and instead Max found her embracing him tighter. He lost himself in Liz’s memories, his desperate kisses fueling more flashes, which only increased his need for her. His need had done nothing except build over their years apart, and now in that instant he was trying hard to fill the emptiness inside of him where Liz had been missing all of this time.

“Max…wait.”

It wasn’t until he had slid his lips to taste her throat that Liz’s breathless cry startled Max from his dazed passion. He pulled back, resting his forehead against hers as he took deep breaths to steady his ragged breathing.

“What’s wrong?” He asked her in a cautious voice, forcing himself to take a step back so that he could clear his head.

“Dr. Thompson…” Liz started uncertainly.

“Nasedo.” Max corrected.

“Nasedo, then.” Liz agreed. “He bugged my apartment. With cameras, I think, maybe something else too. I know that the lab is gone and it’s more than likely that there’s no one out there watching, but it just feels weird to be doing this with those things on us.” Her eyes fell to her feet, and her cheeks tinged to a light pink blush as she tried to explain. “Could we maybe…”

“Of course.” Max cut her off, smiling at her adorable embarrassment. “I’ll search the place for you.”

Ten minutes later, Max found himself spreading a handful of miniature surveillance devices across the kitchen counter which had been revealed by a scan with his powers. It was odd for Max to find himself face to face with the evidence of Nasedo’s manipulation of Liz. He burned with anger, realizing that over the last few weeks Liz had no privacy whatsoever, knew about it, and couldn’t do anything about it. Two of the cameras had been found in her bedroom, and one microphone was in her bathroom. It sickened him to see how much Liz went through for him…when she barely even knew him.

“That’s all of it.” He told her, the darkness of his voice betraying the anger he felt on her behalf. His eyes narrowed as he waved his hand over the mechanics, melting them into the kitchen counter until they were no longer a separate entity. Liz took a step closer to the counter, running her fingers over the spot where the mini cameras had been sitting a moment before. As Max watched her, he silently swore to himself that he would never let Liz be used like this again.

“I’m sorry.” He murmured hoarsely to her. “I’m so sorry that you had to pay this price to know me.”

“No.” Liz denied. “It’s because I know you now that made it all worthwhile. I’d do it all again if it meant that I’d still be standing here with you now.”

Her complete lack of hesitation brought a soft, relieved smile to Max’s face. “Thank you for saying that.”

“It’s the whole truth, Max.” She answered him with a smile. Liz paused for a moment as if she were collecting her thoughts, before softly asking him, “So what happens now?”

What happens now, Max? He froze at the question, holding back the chuckle that was threatening to burst to the surface. Not one person had asked him that question today. It was one that he had heard countless times, from just about everyone except for Liz. The question had always made Max’s skin crawl, like everyone was just waiting for him to make an executive order that would reshape all of their lives.

This time though, it came from Liz. There was no expectation behind the question. It was just Liz and her pure, innocent, loving curiosity.

And for the first time there wasn’t a doubt in his mind about the answer.

He skimmed her figure with his eyes, and watched as a shiver coursed through her, reacting to the intensity in his eyes. Max took a slow step towards her, reaching out with one hand and sliding it from her him, around to the small of her back as he pulled her so close to him that the familiar scent of her slammed through his senses.

“Now?” He repeated aloud in a voice that sounded husky even to his own ears. “Now we get to know each other again, remember?”

And then he kissed her, soft and lovingly, pouring the promise of years of love and happiness into the embrace. She responded with an eager abandonment, surrendering herself to his embrace. The long series of kisses they shared were filled with exploration and newness as they took the time to rediscover the feel of each other. For Max it was like coming home. He had forgotten the little sounds that Liz sometimes made when she was releasing herself completely to him, and the hesitant way that her tongue dipped into his mouth before retreating, and finally returning with a bolder taste. Her sudden gasp told him that she was surprised when he sucked her lower lip into his mouth, lingering on it a bit longer before she slowly pulled away from him.

Somehow, Max wasn’t sure exactly how, they had simultaneously agreed to make their way back to her bedroom, although even for the brief journey neither was quite willing to let go. It wasn’t until she was on the bed beneath him, their breathing ragged and their control at it’s wit’s end, when Max realized exactly how precariously close they were to going somewhere he wasn’t sure if she was ready for.

“Liz.” He gasped out, as he tugged his lips away from hers. “How much…where do you want this to go tonight?” He stumbled, trying to get his question out without telling her that he was almost to the point of no return already.

“How far do you want it to go?” Liz shot back with a coy smile. “Because I don’t want to push you any further than you’re comfortable of course…but I have to admit, Max, I’ve been waiting five years to find out what would have happened if I hadn’t run away that night in the desert.

“Really?” Max asked.

“Yeah.” Liz replied. “I want to wake up beside you tomorrow morning and have absolutely no doubts that I’m right where I belong…making love to the man that somewhere over the years I fell madly in love with.”

“And I’ve been waiting five years to show you that I meant absolutely everything I said that night.”

“So show me.” Liz suggested, and Max didn’t hesitate in doing just that.

He kissed her softly, lovingly, as they slowly undressed each other. The gentle way that Liz caressed his skin as she pulled his shirt from his chest left him shivering with desire and need, and he returned each and every touch. The way she moaned his name as his hands grazed the edges of her breath set his blood on fire, and the little gasp of pleasure that came as he pressed his body into hers almost caused him to fall apart completely.

Their lovemaking wasn’t rushed. Max knew that they had all the time in the world to prove just how much they loved and needed each other, and he didn’t hesitate to take that time with her. With a languid ease their bodies slowly danced together, until they reached their limits, exploding together in a rush of love that left them both feeling dazed and sated.

Later they were lying together, basking in the afterglow, when Liz broke the silence with a soft question.

“Max?” She asked him, her voice still dazed and heavy with the pleasure of their experience. “How much do you remember from the night we made love before?”

“How much do I remember?” Max repeated, honestly surprised by the question. “Liz, I remember every detail of that night. It was the best and worst night of my life all at once.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I had an amazing time with you that night, and making love to you was an experience unmatched by any other…until now.” Max elaborated. “But then as quickly as I had you, I lost you again, and I spent years wishing that somehow I could have changed that. How much do you remember.”

“Every detail.” Max turned his head and met Liz’s smile. Her whole face was glowing with love. She looked more beautiful than he could ever remember seeing her before. Max couldn’t resist kissing her softly. “Why do you ask?”

“Do you remember the story you told me before we made love? About the alien king who came to earth and fell in love with a human girl?”

“Yeah.” Max confirmed.

“That story stayed with me over the years. I don’t know why. Maybe it was just another detail to cling to…or maybe it was something more. But now that I know you, Max, all of you, I have to ask. How much of that story was true?”

“All of it.” Max admitted. He brushed a stray hair from her face and smiled shyly at her. “I was that alien king who was reincarnated and sent to earth for a second chance at survival. I fell in love with you, and in that world, when you got shot in the Crashdown, I healed you and exposed myself to you, and you fell in love with me as a result.”

“Max…when you look at me, are you just seeing her?”

It was a hard question, and Max took some time before answering. He studied her face closely, asking himself the same question. Did he see the old Liz when he looked at the new one?

“That’s a tough question, Liz, because in a lot of ways you are the same person. You look the same, you feel the same. You even kiss the same way. That day that we made love on the rocks, I know the answer to that question without a doubt. As much as it shames me to admit it, that night, I was seeing her, not you. I had only been in this world for a few hours. I was lost, confused, and I looked for comfort in the person who seemed the most familiar to me…and that was you.”

“What about now?”

“Now…it’s been a long time since I’ve seen that Liz. I look at you, and I can’t help remembering the girl I fell in love with, but the girl I fell in love with isn’t the same girl who I love now. You are two very different people, and although I look at you and see the same face, I know you’re the one I’m in love with now.”

“What was your relationship like? Were we as close as we are now?”

“We were engaged.” Max told her, and he couldn’t help grinning at the surprise that flitted through her eyes.

“Engaged?” Liz burst out in surprise. “But we were barely eighteen!”

“We were young and in love.” Max reminded her. “We hadn’t even been engaged for a whole day yet when everything happened. And we had never made love, so you’ve got one up on her on that one.”

“I don’t know…she had a ring.” Liz joked. “That’s got to count for something.”

“She did have a ring.” Max gave her. “But there was a lot of baggage that came from that ring. We made a lot of mistakes in the three years that we were in love. We must have broken up a half dozen times, and I know I broke her heart at least once. That Liz Parker needed that ring to feel secure in our relationship, even if we weren’t ready for it. I needed her to know that I wasn’t going anywhere…and it was the only way I could figure out to get the point across.”

Max turned to her, threading his fingers through her hair as he leaned over her and tilted her head to meet his eyes. “Liz…you may not have that ring yet, but I fully intend to give it to you one day. First I want to spend a lot of time with you, in bed, out of bed…anywhere, as long as we’re together.” Liz laughed, and the sound of it warmed Max’s heart as he continued. “But I’m not going anywhere Liz. My heart is yours, and it’s not going anywhere. Ever. You have no reason to ever doubt me. Not even over the memory of her. I’m yours completely. I love you.”

“And I love you.” Liz replied, her voice hoarse with emotion. She closed the distance between them, her hands caressing Max’s cheeks gently as she pulled his lips down to hers. Max felt a surge go through him as Liz pressed her tongue urgently into his mouth, claiming him as hers through her kisses. He didn’t mind in the slightest.

Flipping himself around, Max slid his body over her, his hands sliding down to the soft skin of her hips to hold her steady as he slipped inside of her again.

He fully intended to show her how much she meant to him. As many times as necessary.






Just wanted to add a little note. I can see that I concerned a lot of you by throwing around the T-word. I've NEVER intended for this fic to address Tess in the slightest. I just figured it would be out of character for Max NOT to bring her up. If anyone WANTs to hear my logical reason for why Tess ISN'T there I can tell you, but the story isn't going to address it at all.

This is actually the second to last chapter. I'm hoping to post the Epilogue by Monday night...possibly earlier since it's been half written for months. LOL. So keep your eyes open for it, and thanks foe being here for a great ride. I don't think I've said this often, but this has been one of my absolute favorite fanfic journeys...so thanks for taking it with me.

hugs,
Anne





posted on 9-Feb-2003 12:29:31 PM by Cookie2697
quote:
Breathless originally wrote:
It's sad that that Liz never had got a chance for happiness, after everything she sacrificed for Max.


hee. Thanks for bringing that up Debbi *happy* And don't be so sure about that ;) Liz's story is coming next!

quote:
Gigo originally wrote:
Although, I must say I am a little curious as to why Tess isn't here. Would you mind explaining?


I don't mind at all! I just didn't want to unless someone was actually out there listening. LOL. So this is the way it is in MY mind and if it's that way in the author's mind, then it's true. LOL. At least in my fantasy world.

Basically here's my thought. How did this all go in the show? Nasedo showed up at the end of Blind Date and was basically subtly hanging around and watching from BD through Crazy. He was occasionally making appearences, but mostly he was just staying low and trying to get the evidence that they were who he believed them to be. And of course how did he get a HINT that Max might be who he thought? From the shooting. It wasn't until Nasedo was absolutely certain who the three aliens were that he brought Tess in...why? To keep her away and protect HER until he was absolutely sure.

So in this world it was kind of the same thing. Nasedo got a hint that Max MIGHT be an alien through the healings going on at the hospitals on Christmas. The surveilance video gave him a name and an identity, but he still didn't have any real proof. Max might have just been in the hospital visiting someone or working or something. So he needed the evidence, but he wasn't getting it just by watching, so he hired Liz and blackmailed her into doing it. Only at the very end did Nasedo know for certain that Max was an alien...so his next move was probably going to be to pull Tess in and try to shove them together. Only he got shot first, and Max burned the body instead of trying to use the healing stones to help him...so no more Nasedo. No contacting Tess. Therefore Tess stays away and never shows up.

The end *happy*


posted on 10-Feb-2003 3:11:12 AM by Cookie2697
Epilogue

The snow lightly fell around them, settling in a small pile on the front of the car. It was framing their view of the building in front of them, but Liz didn’t mind much. She could still see the door and the windows above. That was what mattered.

They sat silently, side by side, the only contact between them being their joined hands, resting lightly on the parking break. It was enough…they weren’t even looking at each other. They didn’t need to. In that moment the only thing that counted was studying the building before them. After all…everything they had gone to until now had lead up to this very moment.

“Are you ready?” Liz asked him softly. The silence between them was broken, as was the mesmerizing hold that the building before them had over them. She finally turned to look at him, and as their eyes met, Max smiled nervously at her.

“Yeah.” He replied. “I think I am.”

Liz’s heart warmed at his simple answer. He prepared himself for what he was about to do with a gentle ease that only made Liz love him more. There were no doubts in him. He was nervous, but he just seemed to know that he had to do what he was about to do. Tears of wonder filled Liz’s eyes, and she brought their joined hands up to her lips, pressing a kiss to his knuckles.

“Merry Christmas, Max.” She murmured to him. “Now get your butt in there. The kids are waiting for you. I’ll be waiting here for you to come back to me.”

“You’d better be.” Max replied with a wink of amusement. “You’re my getaway driver.”

All humor slid from his face though, as he released her hand, only to cup her cheeks. His fingers tangled in the loose strands of her hair that hung around her face as he just stared into her eyes for a long time. Finally he leaned in, closing the space with a soft kiss. Liz knew without a doubt what the kiss meant. If something went wrong and Max didn’t come out, at least his last memory of her would be the feel of their lips joining in the most basic act of love.

“I love you.” He whispered to her, before pulling back and quickly exiting the car. Liz sat still in the car, watching as he stepped out into the snowy night. Crossing the parking lot, he headed up the walkway to the main entrance of the building, but suddenly halfway there, he paused. Her heart fluttered as he turned back to her one last time. Their eyes met, and the rest of the world disappeared as they just stared at each other for a long moment, a soft smile on his face that Liz knew probably mirrored on her own.

Then he disappeared inside the building, and Liz was alone, sitting, watching, and waiting.

The second story windows were like a beacon for her. They were shining brightly through the night, drawing her eyes to them, so within moments of Max disappearing inside she found herself studying the windows carefully. Occasionally a figure passed the window, and each time Liz found herself immediately wondering if this figure was Max.

Liz shook her head at her own obsessive tendencies. It was amazing how much things could change over just a mere six months. Six months earlier she was just moving back home after five years away. Six months earlier, love had seemed like a nearly impossible dream. Max Evans was just this guy she knew back in high school…a bit mysterious, but normal in all other ways. Except that this one night he had given her an amazing gift – one night filled with so much passion and love that it had left Liz craving more for every moment since.

Now that craving had been fulfilled, and Liz couldn’t imagine her life without Max as a part of it anymore. She and Max were not connected in a way that defied logic and reason, yet somehow his alien side made it possible for them. Now, the man who the mysterious boy from high school had grown into was a part of her heart and soul. She knew every bit of him, from his gentle kindness, to the extreme way that he poured his heart into absolutely everything and everyone he loved so effortlessly, right on down to the things that irked him and the things he feared.

She couldn’t lose him. Not now. But she knew that this was something he had to do, regardless of how dangerous it was for him. Even that morning as they sat in her apartment, laughing over bad Christmas carols, and drinking hot chocolate, one with marshmallows, the other laced with tobasco sauce, Liz knew it was coming. She didn’t even need to ask him or confirm that it was true. All she had done was turn to him in a quiet moment and tell him softly that she was coming with him. He looked at her in surprise for a moment, before smiling in that soft, gentle way of his and nodding his silent agreement. Then, as quickly as that, the subject was closed.

Now, only as she was sitting alone in the cold car, rubbing her hands together for warmth, did she start to wonder if it was a good idea. The waiting was killing her. Her heart was pounding with nervous energy, and her foot was tapping softly with unspent energy.

How long does it take to heal a room full of children anyway?

Liz knew she was being silly. It does take time, and energy. Not to mention he had to wait until the room was clear of nurses and guards, but she was in love with him. It was her job to worry.

When Max did finally burst from the building, Liz’s worry was only lifted for a brief moment, before she noted the way he stumbled towards the car, as if he was in pain. He almost fell into the passenger seat, his body spent from the effort he had exerted inside. Liz stared at him for a long moment, taking in his sweat-covered face, and the agony in his eyes. Liz leaned over, wiping back his dripping, wet bangs from his face, as she studied him carefully.

“Are you okay?” She asked cautiously.

“Go.” He begged her, his voice weak. “We need to get out of here. We can talk later.”

Liz nodded, trying to force the concern away, as she focused on putting the car into reverse, and flying from the parking lot back towards Roswell.

It was a long drive home from Carlsbad. Liz spent the first half-hour trying hard not to focus on Max’s ragged breathing. He had fallen asleep almost immediately, giving her time to think as she drove through the night. As always lately, her thoughts focused on him, and at the moment, his well being. Seeing the harsh effect of the healing on his own body, Liz found herself suddenly questioning it. Why would Max continue to do something that was so harmful to himself? It was a good deed, and she admired him greatly for choosing to use his powers for good, but why put himself through the pain and suffering of it?

It wasn’t until he awoke as they were pulling into their parking place in front of the Crashdown, that Liz was finally able to pose the question that had been burning in her mind all night to him.

“Why do you do it?”

He was quiet for a long time before answering, and for a moment Liz thought he wasn’t going to say. They had never talked openly about this before, even though the question had always been there for her, since the first time that Nasedo had shown her the surveillance photo from the Roswell hospital.

“It always comes back to the choice I made, to turn back the hands of time.” Max admitted to her in a distant voice. “In my first life, one Christmas I made a choice. I watched a man get hit by a car, saving his little girl’s life. I could have saved him, but I chose not to. I was too afraid of revealing my secret. That decision haunted me for days, and I couldn’t live with the choice that I had made. I finally decided that I needed to atone for what I had done, and I chose to heal my boss, Brody Davis’s daughter. She was suffering from bone marrow cancer. I figured, at least someone can live this year, even if that man could not.”

“You went to her at the hospital and healed all of the children?” Liz guessed, placing a comforting arm on his trembling shoulder.

“Yeah. I saw them all lying there, and I figured, how could I not?” Max explained. “But that choice was one of many things that I took back when I turned back time. When I found myself facing life in this world, one of the first things I did was go ask Brody for a job at the UFO Center, since it was the perfect job for me in my past life. That year as I was getting to know him, I learned the truth…that his daughter Sydney had died that winter without my help. Because of my choice, that little girl had died in this world. So every Christmas Eve, to atone for Sydney’s life, I heal a ward of children, so that maybe some of them can have the chance that she never got in this world.”

“It’s beautiful, Max.” Liz insisted. “That you would do something like that for those children. It’s not your place to save them, but you have the ability and you choose to use it.”

“How can I not?” Max repeated with a slightly twisted smile. Liz returned it. He was still feeling the effects of the healing, but she knew him well enough to know that once they walked inside, he would shake it off and pretend nothing happened. After all, he never talked about his Christmas Eve tradition.

“Come on. The others are waiting.” Liz reminded him. They stepped out of the parked car, looking up at the bright lights of the Crashdown sign above their heads, snow piling on the top of the glowing, blinking UFO.

Inside, the lights of the café were brightly illuminating the figures of all of their loved ones. All of their parents were talking and laughing. Michael and Maria were disposing drinks around the room with bright smiles on their faces. Alex and Isabel were dancing in the corner, a big goofy grin on his face as he dipped Isabel wildly in his arms. The sight of them all brought a smile to Liz’s face. It was Christmas, the time to share time with their family and loved once, and everything was as it should be.

Reaching out, Liz slid her hand into Max’s. She could see her own glowing smile through her reflection in the window as Max lovingly slid his thumb across the gold band on her ring finger. Their wedding was quickly approaching, even if they were already dedicated to each other completely. The ceremony would just make it official.

For now though, everything was perfect. Liz knew that for certain as she and Max stepped side by side through the double doors of the café, greeting their families eagerly.

“Did you hear?” Her mother asked Liz wildly. “The Guardian Angel struck again at a hospital in Carlsbad just a few hours ago. An entire ward of children, completely cured of their cancer. Don’t you think it’s beautiful, that a miracle like that could happen every year?”

“It is beautiful.” Liz agreed with a smile, as she leaned up and kissed Max’s cheek lovingly. “A miracle indeed.”

And as their eyes met, Liz knew that Max understood that it wasn’t the children she was talking about. It was him. He was the miracle that was somehow given a second chance at life in this world. Liz knew she would thank God every day that he gave her such a precious gift.

The End


Hey Everyone!

Well, this road has finally come to an end. A few things I wanted to say, because of course it's just necessary *happy*

First...two VERY special people that I need to thank for helping me behind the scenes and supporting me absolutely every step of the way on this one.

The first is Stacey (cookieman1234) who took on the massive project of helping me brainstorm this and helping me sort out all of my confusing plot twists when they were even confusing me. AND for betaing something like 28 out of 33 chapters of this. LOL. She was ALWAYS there for me and I have to say that it was amazing of her.

The second person would be Kath7, who is absolutely the most wonderful, supportive, person in the world, not to mention an amazing friend. Whenever Stacey couldn't, Kath picked up in her shoes and helped me out, bopped me on the head when I made stupid mistakes, and reminded me of where this whole story started for me...with one night on the rocks ;) LOL!

I also want to say a special thanks to Scottie for being a WONDERFUL friend and a great support also. People like you make writing such a fun experience, just to know that there are such dedicated supporters out there. Thanks for being so awesome, and I can't WAIT to see you on Thursday *happy* *happy*

Which of course leads me to a huge thank you to ALL of you guys who have been here every step of the way with me, and stuck through all the rougher times, right on with the happier times. You guys are just absolutely wonderful readers and I appreciate every comment that every one of you has made. You guys rock.

And on that note...what's in store in the future for me. My plan at the moment is to try to work towards the end of Until The End of Time first and foremost. I'm trying to lighten my load...especially because I have two new fics coming soon.

The first will be of a particular interest to you guys. It's called Remember Hope and it's a not-really-a sequel to this story. A tag fic/companion fic I suppose. As I hinted yesterday on the thread...it's going to be the story of what happened to LIZ after Max disappeared into the granolith. I think it's going to be a bit on the darker side, but I'm really excited about writing it, and I look forward to seeing some of you guys there.

The OTHER is a challenge that I took back in October by carenicole, which is going to be my first ever AU-no aliens fic. It's called One Last Goodnight, and I'm really excited about it as well. I think it's going to be a fun one, although it's definitely got it's angst involved too.

Just so you know I am going to LA for a week first though, so I definitely won't be updating for the next two weeks or so. Once I get back, I'll let you guys know what's up with UTEOT.

Thanks for reading *happy*

Anne




[ edited 2 time(s), last at 12-Feb-2003 11:30:45 AM ]
posted on 12-Feb-2003 1:54:39 AM by Cookie2697
Hey guys!

I just wanted to drop a note for any of you guys who might still be wondering out there and tell you that I made up my mind *NOT* to leave the board. After being angry for the past 2 days I woke up this morning and was finally able to rethink things with a clear head, and I realized that I *don't* want to leave the board. I was hurt and angry about some things that were said, and I was trying to pull away from THOSE things, but none of them were directly related to the board itself...I was just skewing things in my mind.

So yeah...what can I say? I'm only human. I'm not perfect, and I make mistakes. This was one of those mistakes. I'm leaving for my trip tomorrow and when I get back late next week hopefully I'll be able to get an update to UTEOT up *happy*

Thanks again for all of your support. You guys are amazing.

Anne