posted on 10-Sep-2002 12:48:52 AM by Peter Parker
Ok, I finally updated this fanfic.

The first two parts are posted here:

Only Human
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ONLY HUMAN
PART 3

DISCLAIMER: Liz, Max, and all the rest of our crazy cast are owned by Jason Katmis and UPN

CATEGORY: Max and Liz of course

RATING: PG-13. It’s real emotional, though.

SUMMARY: Takes place after ‘Ch-ch-changes’. Liz attempts to starts a new life in Vermont. When a tragedy strikes, one that her newfound powers can’t do a thing about, she learns that there’s a large difference between ‘being normal’ and ‘being human’.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This idea came to me while rewatching ‘Leaving Normal’. I thought back to an old Superman issue by Dan Jurgans entitled ‘Face To Face With Yesterday’, so it’s partially based on that story.
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Max squeezed Liz’s hand tightly. He kept his hand on top of hers a lot longer than he should have.

Stupid, he thought. You’re here for Liz, remember. Just her, not the two of you.

It was hard for him not to fall into old habits. Seeing her there…so scared and feeling so alone. He just wanted to wrap her up into his arms and tell her than everything was going to be all right.

It wasn’t, of course. Max Evans was a lot of things, but naïve wasn’t one of them. Right now, Liz had a bad case of ‘survivor’s guilt’. That’s what they called it.

Slowly, he removed his hand from the top of hers. If he could stop touching her, then maybe he might be able to keep his head clear.

“It wasn’t your fault,” he told her.

“Then who’s fault was it?” Liz asked. “Hers?”

“Of course not,” he told her, looking her directly in the eyes. “Liz…it wasn’t anyone’s fault. Things like this…they just happen because they happen.”

A single tear fell down Liz’s cheek as she looked at him.

“It isn’t fair,” she said. “You…me…we’ve faced death more times than I can remember. Why does it have to happen to someone else…like that?”

“If I could answer that, Liz, I could answer anything,” Max whispered. He then moved towards her and wiped the tear away.

He tried to touch the side of her face, but something stopped him. He noticed green sparks of electricity start to form on his fingertips. Quickly, he moved his hand away.

Silently cursing himself, Max knew Liz was right. Some things were just not fair. Like the fact that he couldn’t touch her without hurting her. If only he could make it go away…

Then, an idea came to him. Yes, he couldn’t make that energy go away. After all, energy couldn’t be created or destroyed. However, it could be changed. His powers were, after all, the ability to change things. To alter the molecular structure of anything, including energy.

He brought his hand back up to her cheek. Closing his eyes, he began to concentrate. Drawing deep within himself, focusing his power, he tried to ‘feel’ the energy coursing through the two of them.

There, he discovered the source of that negative energy. It was emotion. Pure…unsuppressed emotion. He felt feelings of pain, betrayal, anger…all of those powered the energy separating to two of them.

“Liz?” he asked. “I want to try something, but I need you to relax. Just…make yourself calm.”

Though it was hard, Liz tried to stay calm. Her feelings began to relax themselves.

“Just relax…” Max repeated, his voice almost soothing.

The electricity started to form, but began to slow down almost immediately. Then, it softened more and more. Until it no longer resembled electricity at all, but a soft glow between them.

Max rested the palm of his hand against her cheek, and then she felt it. The energy, once harmful to her…it felt good. Like an electric massager, only a hundred times more soothing.

“Mmmmm,” she sighed. “That feels good.”

Max looked deep into her eyes and smiled.

“I’m just changing the energy signature,” he explained. “Altered the negative energy signature into a positive one. I just wish I could change it indefinitely.”

He slowly moved his hand away, letting the energy dissipate once again.

“Thanks for being here, Max,” she replied. “You have no idea what this means to me.”

Max simply nodded. He took Liz by the hand and they began to walk.

A moment later, they ended up at a park.

It was dark there. Not surprising, considering how late it was. Still, the trees surrounding them made it seem even darker.

They sat down at the base of a tree, looking up at the sky.

“I just keep thinking,” Liz said after a moment. “Maybe if I was more like you. Maybe…”

“You could have saved her?” Max asked. “That same thought has been going through my head for over a year.”

“A year?” Liz replied, a little confused. “What do you…”

“Alex,” he recalled sadly. “I remember every single detail of that…that night. He was just lying there, so still…”

They looked at each other. Each of them had tears in their eyes.

“I tried to save him. The same way I saved you,” he continued. “There was so much blood. I put my hand on his chest, and used my power. I used more power than I ever tried before. It wasn’t any good. No matter how much power I used, I couldn’t save him.”

“Max that wasn’t your fault,” Liz reassured him. “Tess killed him. He was dead long before that car crashed.”

“I didn’t know that then,” he responded. “I thought it was my fault. The only thought that kept going through my head was ‘I failed’. I have all this power, and I couldn’t even save one of my best friends.”

Liz hugged him, holding him close. It had been so long since she was this close to him…she could almost feel the bond that they shared strengthening her again. Returning the life energy that she had lost when the car had crashed.

“I want you to teach me,” she whispered.

“Teach you?” Max asked. “About what?”

“How your powers work,” she answered. “I know the general ‘how’, but not the specifics. Maybe if I can control them…I’ll be ok.”

Max looks her in the eyes for an undetermined amount of time, his eyes deeply searching her own. Searching for an answer…is this what she really wanted.

It was, he understood. He nodded silently, and took her hand.

“Max?” Liz asked him, a bit confused.

“You’ve read about meditation, right?”

She nodded.

“Ok, yeah…” he continued. “Our bodies all have a unique field of energy around it. An aura, if you will. Our powers allow us to control that aura. To focus it and change it however we can. That’s why I get weak if I use too much of it too often.”

“Like when you healed those cancer patients?” Liz recalled.

“Right,” he agreed. “But in order to use the energy in that way, we have to be calm. The energy responds to emotions. To your feelings. Positive emotions create a positive energy…”

“Thereby a negative reaction would be created by the opposite effect…” she concluded.

A small smile appeared on Liz’s face. Now this was something that she could understand. The scientist in her was quickly going over the details in her head.

“Michael used to be angry all the time, so that’s why his powers are the most predictable,” she continued. “So that’s probably why mine are so destructive…because I’m…I’m angry.”

Max’s face fell, as she slowly realized why her powers kept hurting.

“Because I’m angry,” she concluded.

“At me,” he muttered, lowering his eyes towards the ground.

They stay silent for a moment. Then Liz comes to another realization…one she didn’t notice before.

“No Max,” she argued. “My powers were hurting me, not you. I was angry at me.”

Max looked at her, confused.

“The truth is Max, I hated myself more than you,” Liz admitted. “After all, I’m the one who pushed you away. God, I practically threw you at Tess…”

“Don’t say that…” he told her.

Liz just laughed at the irony.

“For the greater good,” she continued. “Why was it ever my responsibility to save the world, anyway? I’m just a kid, and suddenly the future of everything rested on me giving up the one thing that was most important to me. I hated that…that and my damn sense of responsibility. For just once I’d like to do something for me.”

She sighed.

“But that’s what I did, right?” she continued. “And now someone else is going to pay with their life. Where’s the fairness in that?”

“There isn’t any,” Max said in response. “Sometimes life isn’t fair.”

She turns to him.

“There isn’t any cure,” Liz informed him. “I know it…I can sense it. Believe me, if I could get rid of my powers, I would. I’d give anything just to be a normal person.”

“Yeah, so would I,” he replied. “Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I was just a normal guy, not an alien. Or a half-alien, anyway. Then I have to remind myself that, if I were normal, I probably would never have met you. If I were normal, you would probably have died. To me, that makes it worth it.”

Liz smiles at him.

“Maybe I should stop being so angry at myself?” she suggested.

“Come on, we’re teenagers,” Max joked. “We’re supposed to be angry at the world.”

Liz grins mischievously, and stands up.

“If you say so…” she said, looking towards the sky.

“Liz?” Max asked. “What are you doing?”

“Ugh…I HATE high school!” she yelled. “Those pompous jocks who think they’re better than everyone else!”

Max laughed, realizing what she was attempting.

He jumped up, and stood beside her.

“How about your dad not wanting me around?” he suggested.

“Ouu…why doesn’t he just mind his own business!” she continued. “I should be with who I want to be…who cares what dad thinks!”

Max decided to join in.

“Isabel, Isabel, Isabel!” he ranted. “I am sick and tired of hearing about all her problems! At least she has somewhere to live!”

“I get it Maria!” Liz added. “You hate the alien stuff. Well, too bad! Life’s tough…just DEAL with it!”

Above then, a crackle of green energy lit up the sky.

“Just leave me alone, dad!” Max yelled into the night sky. “Trying to live a normal life would be a LOT easier if I didn’t have a people snooping into my secrets!”

Then he notices the energy above them. Energy that’s becoming wilder and more erratic with each passing second.

His eyes go wide.

“God, I HATE Tess Harding so much!” Liz yelled, not noticing. “I hope that rocket of hers flew into the FREAKING SUN!”

Quickly, Max grabbed her by the arm, pulling Liz out of the way just as a giant bolt of green lightning struck where they were just standing a moment ago.

Both of them stare in shock at the now-charred ground where the lightning struck.

“Wow!” she exclaimed. “I did that…didn’t I?”

Max was at a loss for words.

“Ok,” Liz sighed in relief. “That experiment was successful. We should not focus on the negative for a bit.”

“Good plan,” Max agreed, and they both stood up.

“Now…” he asked her, quietly. “I want you to give me your hands…and I want you to trust me.”

Liz seemed unsure for a moment, but then gave him her hands.

“I don’t know if I can,” she admitted.

“I know,” he said. “Just try. Please.”

Something in his voice convinced her. Something she hadn’t heard in a long time.

Desperation.

“Now, I want you to close your eyes…” he whispered. “…and just relax everything. Forget everything except me being here.”

Liz felt the connection forming between them. Yet, it felt different from before. Liz could almost ‘see’ the different waves of energy coming from Max, as hard as it was to imagine. It was like a circuit…only the energy just went into her.

She wondered if maybe it could go the other way.

Suddenly, Max felt a bizarre sensation. He soon realized what it was…Liz was connecting with him as well. It was…different. Before, he had just brought her mind into his subconscious. Now, she was making the journey on her own.

Was this how it felt when he was using his powers on someone?

Suddenly, Liz felt something strange. She suddenly knew why Max had been acting differently since he arrived in Vermont.

Max Evans had never been so scared in his life when he discovered that he had changed her. That, by the simple act of saving Liz’s life, he had cursed her to the same fate that he lived with every day. Hiding to they were…fearing that every day could be their last. And most of all, he was scared that she hated him for what he’d done.

In that moment, he had made a decision. Forget Tess…forget his son. At the rate he was going, he’d never find either of them. If the opportunity presented itself, then he’d worry about it. He knew he had to rethink his priorities, and right now those were his responsibilities to Liz. Nothing else.

He wasn’t lying…he couldn’t, Liz realized. These weren’t his words, but his thoughts. Whatever she felt while connected to him was how he felt about it.

And he thought she hated him? Nothing could be further from the truth.

Desperately, Liz let her emotions flow through their connection. Focusing not on her anger, but on something else. The relief she felt when he arrived in her hospital room. The comfort he provided her by being a confidant. All the love she felt towards Max Evans suddenly hit him with the velocity of a bullet train.

His eyes popped open and he gasped.

“I’m…supposed to be the one helping you…” he argued.

Liz just smiled sweetly, as they broke off the connection between them. She then began to concentrate, as her hand glowed green energy.

“It…it doesn’t hurt anymore,” she remarked. “I can control it now.”

Max smiled.

“That’s great,” he congratulated her.

Liz’s face fell.

“A lot of good it does Louise,” she muttered. “Maybe if I hadn’t been so hung up on my own problems, maybe I would have figured it out beforehand. Maybe she would be ok now.”

“You’re not all-powerful,” Max tells her. “Maybe…I don’t know…”

He sighed.

“I’ve never been really religious, you know?” he said. “But…it feels to me that everything that happens in our lives happens for a purpose. Everything happens for a reason.”

“Really?” Liz questioned. He nodded in response.

“I was meant to save your life that night,” he said. “If I had never known you, I would never have had the strength to handle everything that came next. I’m not saying it’s justified, or even that it’s fair. All I’m suggesting is that maybe Louise would have been hurt one way or another. No matter who was there with her.”

She stared at him, her eyes showing a slight tinge of fear.

“Max?” she asked.

“Yeah?” he replied.

There was a slight pause.

“This might sound like an inopportune moment, but…” she continued. “Do you think it would be all right if we…”

Not knowing how to say it, she touched Max’s hand. Suddenly, her powers transport the information directly into his brain.

His eyes go wide in surprise.

“Are…are you sure?” he asked.

She responded by kissing him.

“Yeah,” Liz whispered. “I’ve never been more sure of anything.”

He nods.

“Ok,”

Max takes her by the hand, and leads her towards a crevice under the bridge. Together, they sit down on the ground.

Max, waving his hand in the air, uses his power to contract the molecules of the stone to create a wall in front, hiding the two of them from sight.

“A little privacy,” he explains with a smile.

Without a word, Liz kisses him again, slowly pulling his jacket off.


To Be Continued…
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Next: The conclusion

-Peter
posted on 29-Sep-2002 11:29:01 PM by Peter Parker
Ok, self-bumping.

-Peter