posted on 26-Sep-2002 12:45:43 AM by Trinity Star1323
Title: Hold on Hope
Author: Trinity
Rating: PG-13…
Disclaimer: UPN owns Roswell, the characters, and situations. No infringement intended. Nothing is mine.
Summary: Post Changes, only Liz hasn’t left yet. However, before she can leave she runs into her ex-beau and drifter, Sean DeLuca, who leaves a lasting impact on Liz after he saves her life and shows her the truth to his return.
Category: Max/Liz, Sean/Serena, Michael/Maria, Isabel/ Kyle.
Author’s Notes: The first part is taken from the movie, Der Krieger Und Die Kaiserin. Sean and Liz are ONLY friends.

I’m Liz Parker and three months ago I almost died… after that, things got really… weird…

With one hand holding her suitcase and her second hand occupied with a cup of tea that her father had bought for her, Liz attempted to grab a newspaper so that she would have something to read while she waited for the bus to arrive. The bus was supposed to pull in fairly soon, but the trip would last for three days and Liz knew that her chances of finding anything else to read would be slim to none, especially when the schedule was so tight.

Under normal circumstances she would have flown, but with the cost of boarding school, Liz knew that it would be a great deal cheaper to take a bus; beside, her parents were already paying a lot of money just for her to go to school on the east coast.

The east coast. Liz had never been to the east coast. She been out west, to California and Arizona and a few other states but she had never gone this far away. A part of her could hardly believe it. She was going to Vermont where she could study at a world-class boarding school, whereupon she could then apply for Harvard, as long as her grades stayed up and she received a good recommendation from her new teachers.

But this was for the best. Things were too complicated right now. Right now everything was so alien that Liz wasn’t even sure she could see straight. When she had first found out, it was nothing; sure finding out Max Evans’ was an alien was something, but there were no real problems; least not until Tess, Nasedo and the Special Unit came about. Then there was Future Max, whom Liz still thought about. She thought about what the world would have been like had she never done as he had asked; Alex would still be alive and Max would never have slept with Tess. Which led, of course, to the baby. The baby Max and Tess had created, together.

Liz wasn’t sure she could ever get over that. But it wasn’t only the baby; it was everything that Max had become. Liz knew that people grew and changed over time, but no matter how Liz looked at it, Max had grown and changed for the worst. He wasn’t the same person she had once known and loved.

As the cup of tea fell from her hands, Liz silently cursed herself and her bad luck. Lately bad luck seemed to come in spades.

Grabbing the paper the tea-stained paper, Liz bent down and sighed as she also picked up her empty Styrofoam cup and headed back towards the bus station where her parents were waiting.

However, as she turned, out of the corner of her eye she caught sight of something familiar; someone she hadn’t seen in ages. His sharp blue-gray eyes were just as memorizing as the last time she had looked into them, and his uncanny, curly dirty blonde hair, while a little longer, looked the same.

“Sean!” Liz cried out. She hastily collected her belongings and ran to catch up with her one time boyfriend, friend, as well as Maria’s cousin, who had mysteriously disappeared after the summer. Amy had speculated that he had taken off and found an apartment closer to Albuquerque, so that he wouldn’t have to drive there for every parole meeting.

However, no one had heard from him; not even Amy or Maria could confidently say where he had gone or why.

When Sean didn’t respond she tried calling his name again, but half way through his name, Liz felt her foot catch on something in the road and all of her belongings flew to the ground, along with her body. She felt the gravel of the asphalt bite into the flesh of her palms, knees, and face.

Liz tried to push herself up, but pain shot through her body. She remained sitting for a moment to let the shock wear off, as well as to see if Sean had even noticed or heard her. He hadn’t. When the pain and shock wore off a little, Liz pushed herself to her knees and began collecting her things, while again calling out to Sean. She wondered why he was ignoring her, as she was positive that he could hear her from this distance.

Standing up erect, Liz took a moment to brush herself off and try to make herself more presentable while taking in the damage. Maybe having Max around right now wouldn’t be that bad, Liz thought wryly to herself.

The rumble of the ground didn’t even faze Liz as she continued to pick up her suitcase, newspaper, backpack and Styrofoam cup.

However, the blaring sound of the buses horn did faze Liz. She turned and stared wide-eyed at the oncoming bus. The term “a deer caught in headlights” played over in her mind, along with the knowledge that she should move, but she couldn’t. It was like her feet were glued to the ground and a raging bull was hurdling towards her and there was nothing she could do. Fear consumed her.

“Liz!” Liz didn’t even register her father’s voice. She didn’t see he and her mother run out of the bus station, she only saw the headlights and grill rack of the bus as it slowly inched towards her.

And in that moment not a single thought passed through her mind; not even the realization that she was going to die passed through her brain. Her mind was completely blank.

“Shit!” The driver cried out. He tried to swerve. He tried to stop. But nothing seemed to work.

It was only then that Sean was willing to notice Liz. He had hoped she would just walk away when she saw him. He had hoped that he had been enough of an asshole to her that she wouldn’t want to speak to him ever again. But obviously Evans’ had hurt her even worse, because from the looks of things, she was leaving, and she was happy to see him.

His eyes widened as he watched the bus plow over her like a tractor running through a cornfield. It’s brakes continued to shriek as it attempted to stop. It did, but only once it was halfway over her body. He could just barely see her body underneath the midpoint of the bus.

Without even thinking, Sean sprinted over towards the bus where crowds of people were gathering, all yelling out to get an ambulance. As soon as he reached the bus, he shoved the people aside, working his way toward the driver. He knew he shouldn’t get involved, but he had too; an ambulance wouldn’t make it in time, and having Liz’s death on his conscious would not be a good thing.

“Does this bus lift up?” Sean asked abruptly upon reaching the driver. He eyed the bottom of the bus. Liz was a lot tinnier than Sean and Sean knew that there was no way he would be able to fit underneath.

The bus driver didn’t even answer. Instead he quickly ran to the open doors and roughly pressed a button, causing air to swoosh out as the bus slowly lifted up.

“What are you going to do?” Jeff asked. He was holding Nancy in his arms, whom was in hysterics, as they both prayed for their daughter’s life.

Not bothering to respond, Sean swiftly rolled under the bus. Using his years of military training, he strategically crawled toward Liz’s shocked body. He could see her eyes moving out of the corner of her eyes and if he was right than she was fighting to breath.

At first it wasn’t that bad. I couldn’t feel a thing. Everything was black…

As soon as he reached her, Sean hurriedly maneuvered himself so that his face hovered over her own.

“Can you breathe?” Sean whispered. He looked down worriedly at Liz and lowered his ear towards her mouth, hoping to feel her sweet puffs of breathe.

I wanted to answer. I wanted to tell him I couldn’t breathe. I wanted to tell him I was sorry for using him the way I had…

When he heard and felt nothing, he moved his hands and began feeling her throat. He could feel a few lumps. Acting upon his gut instinct, Sean hastily grasped Liz’s chin and forced her mouth open. He then thrust two fingers in her mouth and down her throat, hopping to feel what he expected to feel.

All the while, Liz’s eyes remained glued to the sweat dripping off his throat and slowly cascading down onto her skin, where it rolled off her and onto the pavement.

He looked different. He had lost weight and was more muscular. He smelled so good…

Without preamble, Sean pushed away from Liz once he found what he needed to find, and began crawling toward the edge of the bus. He needed something to help him help her breath. When he heard her whimper of protest, he turned and faced her, his eyes shinning with a ferocity Liz had never seen before.

“I’ll be back, I promise,” Sean declared.

I didn’t want him to leave. I didn’t want to die alone. I wanted to feel his sweet sweat dripping onto my skin as I slowly died. I wanted to look into his eyes and see life as I lost my own…

“Is she alive?” Jeff shouted as he watched Sean emerge from underneath the bus. But Sean didn’t answer. His eyes darted around, searching for anything he could use to help Liz breath.

“I’ll be back, I promise.” Those words played over and over in my mind. Every promise that had ever been made to me by someone else had been broken. But I wanted to believe Sean; I wanted him to come back…

“Don’t move her, an ambulance is on the way,” one of the security guards advised, but Sean paid no heed to him; only the Pepsi cup in his hands; a Pepsi cup with a straw. Struggling up onto his knees, Sean darted across the crowd to the security guard, where he ripped the straw from the man’s cup before returning to the bus.

I couldn’t help but think about Max. How would he find out? Would he care?

My butt itched. I would never be able to scratch my butt again. And at the time, that was a very disturbing thought… “I’ll be back, I promise…”

Scooting under the bus, Sean tried, desperately, to keep himself calm. What he was about to do was very dangerous and Liz could easily end up dead if he messed up. But she would die if he didn’t try. She couldn’t breathe, and if Sean was correct, than he lungs were filling with blood.

I could feel my eyes rotating in the sockets. It was the first feeling I had regained. But I still didn’t feel the pain. “I’ll be back, I promise.” And then everything went black…

Mounting her body, Sean was careful not to crush her tiny form. It was hard working in such a cramped space.

And then the most amazing thing happened, Sean came back… just like he promised.

Yanking out a switch blade knife from his back pocket, Sean popped the blade open and Stared Liz dead in the eye.

“I’m going to poke a hole in your throat and you’re going to breathe,” Sean instructed sternly. He wasn’t going to let Liz die. Not now.

Cutting the drinking straw in half, Sean then placed the tip of the blade to Liz’s throat and pressed down, lightly. The fear in her eyes was evident, but he also saw trust.

I couldn’t even feel the cold steel of the blade poking into me, at least, not at first.

Without hesitation, Sean shoved the tip of the blade into Liz’s throat. A spurt of blood immediately came free and ran down her throat, coating her pristine white shirt. Again he heard a strangled whimper and his heart went out to Liz. However, he didn’t let his mind sit on that thought for long; he had a job to do. Taking one half of the straw, Sean placed it by the tip of the blade and began working it in. More blood came free.

I felt the blade push through my skin and into my artery. I felt the blood trickle down my throat. I felt his body pressing down onto mine.

As soon as the straw was firmly placed within her throat, Sean let the knife drop from his grasp.

“Breathe,” Sean ordered. He watched blood fill the tube. He watched blood ooze out of the bottom of the straw and spill down her throat. “Breathe!”

Placing his lips to the straw, Sean began sucking some of the blood out. He spat it out onto the pavement.

He smelled so good. But his air burned me. I wondered if he had eaten something spicy; maybe Mexican or a peppermint; I could feel it in my lungs, and it hurt.

“Breathe!” Sean pleaded. His eyes continued to remain locked with her fidgeting gaze. And slowly- every so slowly- the blood began to gurgle as air pushed up around it, forcing its way to the surface where it could mingle with the rest of the oxygen. “That’s good… that’s great…. Keep breathing…”

My lungs burned as I took my first few breaths, but it felt good. I felt alive.

Every few seconds Sean continued to place his lips to the straw and suck up her blood so that she could continue to breath. There was blood all over, but Liz was breathing, and living, and that’s all that really mattered.

I don’t know how long we remained under that bus with Sean helping me breathe through a straw. But at one point, the bus turned into a tunnel and suddenly there were more voices.

With his body poised over hers, Sean continued to help Liz breath as the hospital workers wheeled the gurney through the maze of the hospital. Doctors were gathered around, all figuring out what to do.

“Okay, we’re switching over to the pump.” One of the men shouted. Sean nodded. “On the count of three.”




The straw was extracted from Liz’s throat and Sean was forced off her body as the men quickly placed a plug over the hole Sean had made. But through it all their eyes remained glued to one another.

At first I couldn’t breath. But that didn’t matter. I just wanted Sean to stay with me. He had kept his promise; he had come back; he hadn’t let me die. So I held onto his hand, refusing to let go.

“Patient’s going under! We need type AB- blood…”

And suddenly he was gone…

I wrote this awhile back and posted it, but then I got horrible writers block. Now I seem to only be able to write this one. Sorry.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 13-Oct-2002 2:54:44 AM ]
posted on 13-Oct-2002 2:54:10 AM by Trinity Star1323

Chapter 2
The mist wafted about her, completely covering her feet and even her knees. It felt cool to the touch, but as it breezed past her, it felt warm, heating her whole body.

The casts were gone. The neck support was gone. And when Liz brushed her fingers over her throat where Sean had marked her with his knife and saved her life, there was no scar, no bump, no nothing.

“You won’t find anything.” Liz whirled around at the sound of someone’s voice. Her eyes nearly bugged out of her head and the breath hitched in her throat, refusing to surface so that she could breath. Her heart discontinued beating as her eyes softened and tears welled up in her beautiful eyes.

“Alex?” He looked exactly the same; no older, no lanker, no more alive but no more dead.

Dead. At that though, a lump formed in Liz’s throat and tears welled up in her eyes.

She was dead. Sean hadn’t saved her. He hadn’t kept his promise; he hadn’t come back; it was all a dream.

“I…I’m de…”

“No,” Alex answered before she could even finish her statement. “I am merely a dream, of sorts.”

“Why am I dreaming about you?” Liz queried. She glad to see Alex, however, usually her dreams did not include seeing her deceased best friend.

Waving his hand through the mist around them, Alex watched it billow around them before dispersing and scattering, disappearing into the greater cloud of mist. He did this a few times, acting as though he were completely fascinated by the mist and the way it reacted to his simple movements.

“In science class, do you remember making clouds?”

“Of course… but what does that have to do with any of this?”

“They blow in out of nowhere and mix in with the old ones, completely unnoticed. No one ever notices these new clouds; no one knows if they are good or bad clouds; no one knows if they are carrying enough perspiration to cause it to rain or even cause a downpour, all we know and see are clouds.”

“Alex, what are you talking about?” Liz asked worriedly, and with bit of fear. She had never heard her friend talk so cryptically.

“That’s your job to figure out; I am merely here to help you Liz,” Alex said sincerely.

“Help me with what?”

“Help you find out the truth; to stop being afraid.” At this point Alex’s image began to waiver, taking on softer edges and blurring slightly.

“Alex!” Liz reached out toward him, trying to grab him and bring him back to her, but her hand simply passed through his body. She watched in horror as his body became translucent, slowly, but surely mixing with the mist around them, until he was nothing but mist, mixing with the rest so that Liz couldn’t even tell the difference between Alex’s mist and the stuff which she had been standing in.


After the accident, I remained in the hospital for 77 days. The doctor said it was a miracle that I was even alive. And in a way, I agreed, but in completely different terms.

Watching the tiny saw cut into the cast on her leg, Liz’s eyes remained glued to the whirling blade, studying every move it made as it slowly inched its way up her leg. At certain points she could feel a slight tremble descend her body as the doctor would withdraw the saw and survey the area before continuing.

“Well, it looks like a clean heal, Liz. You’re extremely lucky…” Instead of listening to the doctor babble on, Liz tuned him out and instead concentrated on the blade. She could faintly feel both of her parents standing behind her, their hands resting on her shoulder, beside her neck brace. Just to her right, Max was squatted down beside her, his hand holding hers reassuringly.

She tried to crane her head to the left to follow the movements of the blade, but the brace refused to let her look anywhere except straight ahead.

“You okay?” Max asked softly, though there was an edge to his voice.

But Liz paid no attention to him.

It was like I was in some sort of perpetual trance after the accident. All I could think about was Sean, my dream about Alex, and the fact that I had almost died. Selfish, I know, but at least the thought of Sean seemed to over rule all other thoughts. He hadn’t visited me once since I was first wheeled into the hospital; the doctor’s and nurses even denied seeing or knowing him.

I needed to see him. I wanted to thank him, but more importantly, I wanted to ask him why he had disappeared, why he had returned, why he had saved my life… maybe I just wanted to ask him why.

And what about Alex?

“Lizzie?” Attempting to once again turn her head toward the voice coming from behind her, Liz grunted as she once again found she could not move.

“Just one moment and you’ll be free of all restraints,” the doctor interrupted.

As I felt his hands on my neck, loosening the brace, I felt like I could finally breath. It was like I had been stuck under water the whole time and I was just reaching the surface.

Gingerly sliding the brace from her neck, the doctor surveyed the angry, red scar before glancing up and smiling approvingly, giving the Parker’s a reassuring nod that everything was okay.

“The scar, it’ll fade over time, right?” Max queried.

Maybe it was because I was so antsy to get out, but when those words left Max’s mouth I just wanted to wring his neck. I had almost died and he was asking if a stupid scar would go away.

For me, that scar acted as a reminder of what I had almost lost; of the friends and family and love and life that I had almost been ripped from me.

I wanted to give Max a scar he wouldn’t soon forget.

With her parents at her side and Max pushing her wheel chair, the small, somber group quietly made their way toward the Parker’s car. Max had hoped that he would be able to give Liz a lift home, but he understood that Jeff and Nancy probably wanted Liz to ride with them, especially since she had just gotten out of the hospital.

“So, I’ll meet you at the Crashdown?” Max asked with a note of possessiveness, causing both of the elder Parker’s to look at him strangely; neither had ever heard Max talk in such a tone; it was like he was ordering them.

“You know, she’s had such a long day; maybe it would be a good idea to just let her rest and…” Jeff’s voice trailed off as he watched Max shake his head no. “Max, you really don’t have a say over this. I want Liz to rest; and she seems pretty content with the idea; just call tomorrow and we’ll see how Liz is feeling.”

Rest did seem like a good idea, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I wanted to find Sean. I wanted to find out why Alex had come to me.

“Act…” Liz’s voice cracked as she spoke for the first time without the neck brace or tubing down and through her throat. She inhaled the air around her and closed her eyes, letting her senses take over completely.

I could hardly believe it. When I opened my eyes everything looked so different. Everything had bright edges that stood out and called to me. The sounds surrounding me were crisp and crystal clear. Colors were suddenly so much more vivid. And as I breathed, I could feel every variation in airflow.

I was alive… sort of.

“See, she’ wants to come with me,” Max argued. His eyes bored into Mr. Parker’s, silently daring him to argue.

“No! I-uh…” Liz wasn’t even sure what she was saying. All she knew was she did not want Max to come home with her. Finally she regained her thought. “I want to go to Maria’s house…” Her voice cracked, again, causing a tear to slip down her cheek.

“But Maria’s at our house, dear,” Nancy informed her daughter in as cheerful a tone as possible. Since the accident, Amy, Maria, and Kyle had helped Liz and the Parker’s as much as they could. They had even put together a welcome home party, to which Michael would be attending; Isabel and Max had not been informed of the get together.

“And Sean?” As the words left Liz’s lips, Max glared sternly at her, as if telling her with his eyes to shut her mouth.

I had only seen that one other time; when Alex had died and I had refused to stop searching, much against Max’s will.

Nancy and Jeff shared a worried glance before Nancy finally spoke. “Honey, Sean left… last summer; he hasn’t come back since.”


“She’s coming, she’s coming!” Maria announced excitedly. She ran back towards the table where everyone was sitting, letting the curtain fall haphazardly back into its place. Michael grinned at his girlfriend’s giddiness, though it was understandable.

They had all almost lost Liz. It had happened so quickly, and had it not been for that stranger who had saved her, Michael was positive that Liz would have died; after all, Max hadn’t been there, so it wasn’t like anyone else would have been able to save her. But still, Michael was grateful that someone had been around to revive Liz, because despite his outer attitude and behavior toward her, he actually liked her.

After all, though he would never admit it aloud, she was always there to help them out of their tough spots, and she seemed to be able to figure everything out, so that was nice.

“Sit up straight… and Kyle!… Kyle, bring out the cake when she comes in, not now!… and Michael, stop slouching! This is a party for Liz, not some stupid get together,” Maria fussed and rambled, trying to make everything perfect. She was tired and wrung out and stressed out beyond belief. This whole ordeal had left Maria with a sense of loss, though she knew not why.

The apartment had been decorated with streamers and banners and balloons and confetti and everything else imaginable. Maria had wanted everything to be perfect. During the two and half months that Liz had been in the hospital, Maria had visited her best friend daily, even when Liz hadn’t been awake. But through it all, Maria was by her friend’s side, after all that what friends were for. And in the end, it hadn’t been a question of whether there would be a welcome home party, but rather where and when.

There had also been the small problem that the Parker’s didn’t want Max in their apartment. Jeff had practically thrown Max out of Liz’s hospital room on numerous occasions, especially when he would get a little too touchy feely; which even Maria had to admit was very un-Max like. But, upon speaking with the Parker’s and working out the details, Maria finally decided that a party would best be thrown at the Parker’s home, and Max simply would not be invited.

Of course then the problem of Isabel had arisen. If Isabel were invited then Max would find out, though he would probably find out from Michael, whom was coming, if only because Maria wanted him there. However, luckily Maria had been able to make Michael promise not to tell Max or Isabel, as Maria did not need something else coming between them, especially when they should all be thinking about Liz.

As the door began opening, Maria gestured for everyone to get ready. The minute the door flew open and the light flicked on, everyone jumped and screamed, “Surprise;” even Michael joined in the festivities, forgoing his usual somber and gruff attitude.

Startled by the appearance of all her friends, as well as the buoyant welcome, Liz jolted backwards slightly, as though trying to back away from the danger before her. Surprisingly enough, somehow it had reminded her of the bus as it had come plowing towards her; so sudden and out of place that she never had expected it.

Once the beating of her heart returned to its normal rate, Liz gasped before smiling at her friends and the party they had obviously thrown for her.

“Oh, chica, I was so worried! Don’t you ever do that again!” Maria cried as she embraced her friend. Liz merely gawked at her companions shoulder, as she was unable to look at Maria’s face.

I wanted to smack Maria upside the head and yell and scream at her. I hadn’t thrown myself in front of the bus; the bus had hit me. I couldn’t have prevented it, yet Maria seemed to believe otherwise.

Pulling away from Maria, Liz peered around the living room of her apartment, taking in the various faces: Kyle, Maria, and Michael. It wasn’t exactly that big of a party, but then, Liz didn’t expect any of this; it was better than nothing at all. However, something was wrong; something was nagging at the back of her brain, saying that something was missing.

“Where’s Max? And Isabel?” Liz asked softly. In response, Liz received no answer, just various looks. Maria pursed her lips and looked at Michael out of the corner of her eyes. In turn, Michael glanced down at the floor, refusing to meet Liz’s gaze. And Kyle, who stood alone by the table, let his eyes shift about, again unwilling to look at Liz.

“Honey…” Jeff started, but stopped when his wife shook her head. Deciding that a change of subject would be best, he stifled a smile and forged on. “The candles on the cake will burn out if you don’t blow out those flames soon…” A strangled laugh was forced from his throat, but it did nothing to hide the tension in the room.

Offering a timid smile, Liz shrugged in agreement, however, half way to the cake, Liz stopped once again and turned toward Maria. “What about Sean? Is he coming?”

Glancing over at the Parker’s, Maria awaited their advice on how she should answer. It was well known that Liz had some sort of delusion that Sean had saved her, however, it clearly wasn’t true. Sean had left last summer and had yet to contact anyone, including Amy and Maria. The truth was, some stranger had saved Liz, and unfortunately, no one had been able to get his name before he had slipped out of the hospital, past the security and all the prying eyes.

“The candles sweetheart,” Jeff urged quietly. He gave her an encouraging smile and gestured with his hands for her to continue over towards the table where Kyle was holding her chair out for her.

Following her father’s orders, Liz slowly made her way over toward the table, blew out the candles and awarded everyone with a smile as they all clapped and cheered.

They all thought me to be a child. Did they think I would really have trouble blowing out five measly old candles? Apparently so, but I guess I wouldn’t begrudge them of their simple wants of me. They needed to know that everything was back to normal, yet, as I stared at the cake as it was cut and passed around, I knew nothing would ever be the same again.

I felt bile rise in my throat as Maria offered me a piece. Everything was a lie; it was a delusion that they had elaborately created so that the truth would not have to be faced, and it sickened me.

I had almost died, and no one wanted to admit it. It was like, admitting it would mean giving up the perfection of the bubble surrounding us. Only, unlike them, I wasn’t inside the bubble, yet I wasn’t outside; I was stuck somewhere in-between and I knew I needed to make a decision soon otherwise I would suffocate.

Without a word to her guests, Liz got up and started down the hall towards her room. She ignored her mother and father’s calls, asking if she was okay or if she needed anything. However, she could not ignore Maria, as she came up beside Liz.

“Liz, what’s wrong?” With her hand poised over her doorknob, Liz stared down at the design of the wood, the knots creating various holes and imperfections, but the rest calm and perfect.

“I-uh…” At first her words were stuttered and so soft Maria wasn’t even sure she had heard anything. But before she could ask again, Liz shook her head and opened her door. “I’m sorry,” Liz said, sounding as though she were pleading for forgiveness, though for what, Maria knew not.

As the door was shut, everyone stared dejected at anything but each other.


“You have to stop talking about me.” The voice wrapped around Liz and startled her, catching her completely off guard. She had just entered her room, which she had been sure was empty, however, it now appeared someone was inside.

She tried to scream for help, but a hand closed over her mouth and her body was pulled roughly against a tall, hard body. Closing her eyes, Liz concentrated on her breathing, hoping and praying that whoever was holding her captive would release her without harm. But a moment later, as his words and voice registered, Liz’s eyes sprang open. She attempted to speak, but her words came out muffled by his hand.

“No one knows I’m here; you weren’t supposed to know either…” This time the words were whispered in her ear. His hot breath tickled her neck and once again Liz found herself closing her eyes. “But I couldn’t let you die…” His breathe hitched in his throat as the last word left his mouth.

Slowly, releasing his hand from her mouth, Sean let it slide down her neck until it glided over the scar. He shivered as he felt the slight imperfection and memories flooded him of the horrific event that had almost taken Liz from him forever. There was so much to tell her, yet so little time. Things weren’t supposed to have gone this way.

When a teardrop plopped onto his forearm, Sean snapped back to the moment and his grip eased, giving Liz more room to move, however his arm remained possessively around her waist as his other hand continued to cover the scar.

“I never meant to hurt you,” Sean whispered remorsefully, thinking that she was crying because he had left without notice. And she was, partly. But the rest of her tears were for other reasons: for seeing Sean again and knowing that he truly was not a delusion, for hearing his voice, for everything that he was.

“You saved me.” The wonder in Liz’s voice reached all the way Sean’s heart. At this point, Liz’s hand came up and joined his. He grasped her hand within his own, and ever so gradually, together, their fingertips grazed the disfigurement. Both sucked in a breath at the feel of it, neither able to describe it.

For the first time ever, my brain was clear. I was outside of the bubble and it was because of Sean. He was pulling me free from the lies.

“I had to,” Sean answered in a whisper.

“Why?” Liz’s voice quivered as she spoke.

“Becau…” Before Sean could finish, a loud clang came from outside. Immediately Sean sunk back into the shadows, releasing Liz from his grip, while Liz flew to the window to see who was coming to see her at such a late hour.

As soon as she saw the patch of dark brown hair appear over the edge of her balcony, Liz knew that it was Max. She motioned for Sean to wait in her bathroom, which he quickly did while Liz opened her window.

“Max? What are you doing here?” Liz queried softly once he was inside. She had hoped he would remain outside, but it was clear he did not want to. She didn’t want her parents to hear or know that Max was around as it was obvious neither wanted him around.

“I wanted to see you… why? Am I interrupting something?” Max asked suspiciously as he began peering about her room, trying to figure out what she was hiding. He could sense it in his blood; she was hiding something from him.

“No… no, you’re not interrupting anything,” Liz insisted, though a little too quickly for Max’s liking. He glanced down at her and noticed that she was chewing on the bottom of her lip; she only did that when she was thinking or when she was nervous. “I was just really tired and was going to go to bed early; you know try to get some sleep so I’ll be fresh for school tomorrow.”

Taking another look around her room, Max seemed satisfied by her answer, though he was still wary. Since the bus had hit her she had changed. One minute she was talking about Sean and the next minute she was staring off into space, completely ignoring him. He wanted to know why she was thinking about Sean so much; sure she and Sean had had something going on while he had been going out with Tess, but Max really saw no reason for Liz to be wondering about Sean, or even fantasizing about him rescuing her.

“All right, I’ll let you sleep then,” Max finally relented. A smile lit his lips in the next instant. “Anyway, I just wanted to welcome you back to the world and see if you wanted to go out tomorrow night.” Liz gazed skeptically up at Max. He had changed, though Liz couldn’t quite place her finger on how.

“Uh, yeah, sure… as long as I’m feeling up to it.” She smiled as he nodded in agreement, but as he leaned down to kiss her, Liz turned her head so that his lips merely connected with her cheek. For a moment, Max glared at her, his temper almost getting the best of him.

“Liz?” Max queried distrustfully. She had never turned away from his kisses. When she didn’t respond he gripped her arm, tightly, forcefully. “Liz, look at me,” Max stated adamantly.

Her knees felt weak as pain shot through her arm where Max was gripping her. Her breath was snagged in her throat and her eyes darted around as she attempted to come up with some sort of excuse.

He had only acted like this one other time, when Alex had died and I had gone against his word. When he was like this, it scared me. But somehow, it was not my safety I worried about as we stood in my room. I worried about Sean and what Max would do to him if he found him in my bathroom.

“What are you hiding?” Max whispered harshly. He was so close that his breath hit her face, each hot puff, breaking and splaying like wave crashing against a rock.

That was a good question. What was I hiding? Why was I hiding?

What was Sean hiding?

“No…nothing,” Liz stammered as she winced in pain as he tightened his grip. “Max, you’re hurting me!” The fear was evident in her eyes as she silently pleaded with him to relinquish his tight hold on her, and slowly, as time dragged on and Max saw no deceit, his grip eased.

As if suddenly sensing that he had hurt her, Max backed away, staring first at her arm, which now had a red imprint of his hand due to the strength with which he had gripped her, and second at his hand, unaware that he even possessed the strength.

“I-uh, oh god, Liz, I’m sorry,” Max insisted, his voice laced with the sorrow for his actions. But his eyes betrayed his voice, and Liz was left gaping at him.

Regarding him with a wary eye, Liz moved toward the window, as if that was enough of a cue for him to leave. When he didn’t move, Liz spoke. “I’m tired Max.” Nodding his agreement, Max made his way over and let himself out, but not before giving Liz another peck on the cheek, this time on purpose. As soon as he was on her balcony, Liz began closing her window, but not before whispering, “I’ll see you tomorrow Max.”

She watched him descend the ladder, making sure that he really left before letting Sean back in her room. Unfortunately, Sean had other ideas. Before she could even protest or say a word, Sean gently grabbed her arm and inspected the area that Max had just gripped. His brow furrowed and Liz was positive she heard him mutter something under his breath, but she didn’t catch it.

“Meet me tomorrow night after your shift.”

“What?” Liz questioned, unsure she had even heard him correctly.

“Liz, there are things you need to know… things that I know that you don’t,” Sean stated as calmly as possible. He was seething. Right now he wanted to go out and kill Max with his bare hands, but he knew he could not. How could he kill someone who wasn’t even that persoin?

“What are you talking about Sean?” Liz asked wildly. She was practically hysterical now. She had had enough for one night; everyone was acting so funny. “Why won’t you tell me where you went last summer? Why doesn’t anyone else know you are here? Why…”

I wanted answers. I needed to know what was going on. Like everyone else, Sean had changed, but somehow, it seemed for the better.

Placing a finger to his lips, Sean shushed her. “I had to leave; I had no other choice… but we can’t talk now. I have to get ready. So meet me tomorrow night at the bowling alley; I’ll tell you everything then, but right now I have to go…” Wanting to say more, but knowing he couldn’t, Sean slowly slipped away, making his way toward her window. He was half way out when he suddenly stopped and turned to Liz. “Stay away from Max, Liz. He’s dangerous… he’s like balloon; he could pop at any moment if given any sort of friction.”

And with that, he was gone, yet again.