posted on 10-Nov-2001 9:16:04 PM by EmilyluvsRoswell
Hey guys! As you might have guessed from the subject, this is my long-promised tag to my Max POV fic, "Ripple Effect". Angela just reminded me that I had agreed to write a story telling everyone just what happened in that cave that Max referred to in the course of Ripple. So, you can thank her for the nudge, and Blanca for asking for the story in the first place.

This will definitely be an NC-17 fic, but since I have problems writing anything without at least a little bit of plot, you'll have to wait for the nookie. *wink* Not too long, though. I promise. *big* So, here's the first part. Hope you enjoy.

*happy*
Em

***************

A Night Without Stars
by EmilyluvsRoswell

Disclaimer: Don't own the characters or the concepts; just borrowing them! If Jason Katims wants to pay me to do this, I'd be more than happy to oblige him, but meanwhile this is just for fun.
Category: Max/Liz.
Summary: An M/L fic set in the world of Ripple Effect, for everyone requesting that I go back and tell what happened in the "cave." Takes place their senior year in high school. Don't worry if you haven't read Ripple; won't matter.
Spoilers: Only for Season 1 - this universe veers off after Destiny.
Rating: NC-17.
Feedback: Sure! Love it!
November 2001

* * *

"Liz, get down!" Max cried, as a blast hit the rocks only inches from her head.

"I am down," she shot back testily. "Can't you keep them off us long enough for me to read the damn map?"

"I'm doing the best I can," came the acid retort. Max ducked abruptly, narrowly missing getting hit by oncoming fire. Before the sparks finished sputtering, he reached past the large boulder that was offering them minimal shelter and let out a pulse of energy. Not waiting to see if he had hit anything, he pulled back and crouched low. "There are just too many of them," he panted.

Liz looked up from the map of Hueco Tanks Park that she has spread on the ground. "I know," she said, her tone softer. "Look, I think I've found something," she told him, pointing at a section of the map. "If we can climb up this way, we should find the opening to the cave."

Max rubbed his hand over the stubble covering his chin. "How far?" he asked.

"Can't be sure," Liz admitted as she refolded the map and stuffed it into her bag. "All depends on how far up this slope we've gone. Any ideas?"

He shook his head. "Sorry. Haven't exactly been paying attention."

"I…"

Another blast shook the cliff, sending debris sliding down over them. Max leaned over Liz, shielding her as best he could with his body. Coughing at the dust in the air, they exchanged knowing looks.

"Let's move," Max said. "We have to risk it. We're sitting ducks here." He caught her hand as she began to slip her arms through the straps of her backpack. "Leave it."

Liz's eyes widened. "You're kidding, right? Max, it has half of our supplies in it."

"We won't need them if we're dead," he said. "It's too heavy. It's slowing you down."

"I'm okay," she insisted stubbornly. "If I feel like I can't hack it, I'll get rid of it."

"Liz…"

"No, Max. Now come on." Hefting the bag, she slipped into a deep crevice in the rock formation and began making her way up the side of the hill.

Swearing under his breath, Max shouldered his own pack and took off after Liz. The boulder behind which they had been hiding continued to mask them from view for the first hundred yards, but then the rocks smoothed out and they were once again in the open.

"Max, I think I can see it," Liz called back as she scrambled up the side of the mountain, keeping her body tucked as low as possible.

"Just keep going," Max told her. Turning sideways, he shot off a blast of energy down the side of the cliff, sending several of their pursuers skidding backwards. Feeling his anchor hand slipping, Max fired once more before grabbing hold of a fissure in the stone and hoisting himself upward. "Liz?" he called.

"Up here. Keep climbing." Her voice floated down, echoing gently off the rocks.

Max pressed onward, glancing down once to make sure no one was closing in. The rough path made an abrupt turn inward and he found himself in the mouth of a small cavern. "Liz?" he called again.

She suddenly emerged from the shadows. "It goes back a ways, Max, and I can hear water trickling somewhere."

Moving into the cave, Max quickly assessed their positioning. "The opening's too wide," he said. "Too hard to defend."

"Not if you close it up," she told him.

Max met her dark gaze. "Liz, we'll be trapped."

"They can't sit out there forever. Max, we don't have any other choice and we're out of time," she urged. "Just do it."

The sound of voices approaching from below made up his mind for him. Stepping further into the cave, Max began running his hand over the top of the opening. There was a rumbling sound as the rocky surface began to crumble. A sudden cracking filled the air, and Max dove back into the cavern, taking Liz with him, the weight of his knapsack causing him to come down hard. Rocks tumbled from the roof, filling the opening until not a speck of light was visible, effectively blocking the entrance.

When it was quiet, Max sat up, struggling to extricate himself from his pack. He could not see Liz in the sudden darkness, but he could feel her beside him - hear her soft breathing. "Are you okay?" he asked.

"Yeah," she whispered, shifting until she could lean against his shoulder. "You?"

"Fine," he assured her, wrapping an arm around her and pulling her closer. Bending over, he managed to brush a kiss over her warm temple.

"So, you think that'll keep them out?" she asked.

"I hope so," he replied. "I could make the barricade thicker, but I'm scared then we won't be able to get back out."

"We'll see soon enough, I guess," she sighed.

"Liz, I'm sorry."

"Why?" she asked, her voice laced with surprise.

"Why?" he echoed back. "Why do you think? We've been chased, shot at, nearly killed. God only knows where the others are, or how the hell we're gonna get out of this mess. And you need to ask why I'm sorry?"

Liz chuckled softly. "Max, none of that was your fault."

"Oh, you had evil aliens chasing you down back when you were dating Kyle, huh?"

"Well, not quite," she admitted. "But things with Kyle were never this exciting," she said mischievously. "And look at it this way. We're guaranteed to have a little time to ourselves now."

Max threw back his head and began to laugh. "Liz Parker, I love you."

"I love you, too," she replied. She reached up and kissed him hard, nipping lightly at his bottom lip. "Now, how about we dig out our flashlights and take a look around?" she murmured.

******

TBC

[ edited 9 time(s), last at 8-Mar-2002 12:40:01 PM ]
posted on 11-Nov-2001 11:29:51 PM by EmilyluvsRoswell
Hey guys!

Wow! Talk about an enthusiastic response. You've all made my day. And actually inspired me to work some more on this after I posted for Homes earlier... You've got me ignoring important things like my laundry. *wink*

For those of you looking for Ripple Effect, I posted it on the repost board. Here's the link: viewthread?forum=repost-fan-fiction&id=16315 Hope you all enjoy. It will explain exactly why I'm writing this story, though the cave reference is brief.

Connie, yes, I'm sort of in advertising... I write marketing brochures for a mutual fund company. I can only wish I had written for the Peterman catalog -- those descriptions were amazing. And no, I won't ignore my other Max and Liz for this story. I realize that Homes 7 has come to a rather tense point. *big*

Okay -- without further ado, the next part. Hopefully it'll answer some of those questions you've been asking (or trying not to ask). *wink*

*happy*
Em

*********

Part 2

*********

It had started as a simple camping trip - their final expedition as a group before graduation. The six of them had planned to spend part of the spring break in El Paso, then the remaining time in the Hueco Mountain Range, where the caverns were known for ancient cave drawings and the local Indians told tales of beings who walked among the stars. A working vacation, as Alex had jokingly called it.

There had been precious little time for either pleasure or research the past two years. Whenever Max began to relax a little, thinking the threat had finally been eliminated, a fresh crop of enemies would appear in town and the next set of battle lines would be drawn. More than once he had regretted the day he had decided to activate the orbs. Their lives, never simple, had become increasingly complicated by the day.

He had been nervous about leaving Roswell - even for a week - concerned that their families would come to harm in their absence. But it had been quiet for the past month, and Liz had been adamant that they take advantage of the lull and at least try to pretend things were normal. For once even Michael had agreed, though Max had suspected his approval was a result of Maria's endless cajoling, and so they had packed up the Jeep and the Jetta and taken off.

They had been in Hueco for two days when the trouble began - a sudden ambush when they were breaking up camp for the day. Max and Liz had been further along and had taken the Jeep, luring the majority of their attackers away from the others. More than a dozen of their enemies had swarmed after them, forcing them to flee high into the mountains, eventually abandoning the vehicle so they could maneuver the narrow pass. Even on foot, their pursuers seemed tireless, pressing them onward, upward, relentless in their attack.

And so now they found themselves hiding in one of the caves they had come to explore, searching every nook and crevice by the dull illumination of their flashlights. The chamber closest to the now-sealed entrance was small and dry, but as they moved further into the cavern the air grew cool and damp, hidden away from the desert sun as it was.

Liz shivered as she shone her flashlight into the darkness, her light shirt insufficient now that they were no longer scrambling over the heated rocks.

Max caught her movements. "Cold?" he asked.

"A little," she admitted.

"Wait a minute." He headed back toward the front of the cave, returning a moment later with a sweatshirt from her knapsack.

"Thanks," she said, her voice muffled as she tugged the warm top over her head.

"Come on," he said, taking her hand.

The beams of their flashlights crossed and joined as they moved further into the depths of the cavern. There was a faint sound of water trickling somewhere below them and they headed toward that, hoping it would prove to be one of the underground streams found in the region.

"You think the others are all right?" Liz asked.

"I hope so," Max said grimly. "Their odds were a hell of a lot better than ours."

"Damn aliens, always seem to want to go after you," Liz teased. "Wonder why that is, your majesty."

"Funny," he said. "Be thankful it's never occurred to them that they should all show up and attack at the same time. As things stand, they're spreading themselves out. It's the only thing keeping us alive."

The ground began to slope downward beneath them and Max tightened his grip on Liz's hand. "Careful," he warned. "There seems to be a lot of loose dirt here."

"The water sounds louder," Liz noted. She shone her flashlight a little further ahead, waving the beam over the walls of the cave. Moisture was visible, seeping from the rocks. "Max, look."

"I see it," he said, a spark of excitement in his voice.

As soon as they rounded the bend, the trickling sound became a soft roar. Another twenty yards brought them around one last corner and revealed a stream of water coming from the rock, filling a shallow pool. Max bent over and dipped his fingers into the water, cupping some and bringing it to his lips.

"Fresh," he said. "Still, don't drink any until we've sterilized it," he warned.

"Ah, the Max Evans filtration system. Don't leave home without it."

Max turned and gazed up at her, one eyebrow raised. "You're in a strange mood today."

Liz shrugged. "I know considering the circumstances I should be scared or worried, but I'm not. Well… maybe a little," she confessed when his other eyebrow rose to meet the first. "But we've made it through much worse, Max."

He stood up and flicked his wet fingers at her face, grinning when she flinched and stuck out her tongue. "Better be prepared to use that, Miss Parker."

"Who says I'm not?" She closed the space between them and leaned in so she was pressed flush up against him. "Not a whole lot to do in this cave."

"Hmmm… Should I be insulted by that?" he asked, wrapping an arm around her and drawing her upward until she was on her toes.

"What do you think?"

Instead of answering, he swooped down, capturing her mouth with his. He teased her, nipping lightly, not allowing her to deepen the kiss. His tongue traced her lips, then pulled back, repeating the motion until she growled in frustration and reached up to hold his head still. Her flashlight fell to the ground forgotten and she twined her fingers in his hair. She kissed him hard, tasting the depths of his mouth, delighting in the vibration his low moan sent through both of their bodies.

"Mmmm… Liz," he mumbled, trailing kisses over her jaw, licking the crease between her bottom lip and her chin. "How the hell do you taste so good after trekking through the desert for the past two days?"

"Wouldn't you like to know?" she asked, catching his ear lobe between her teeth and biting gently.

"Very much," he admitted. "But we probably should… uh… set up our stuff. Come up with some sort of plan. You know… before we…"

"Get carried away?" she panted, her breath hot against his neck.

"Exactly." He scraped his teeth over her neck, then went back over the area with his tongue, soothing the skin.

"God, Max," Liz moaned, her head dropping back, exposing her throat more fully.

Max caught her head in his palm and pulled her back up, brushing his lips over her forehead before resting his own against it. "Hold that thought," he said, his breathing ragged.

"There are days…" she said, exhaling harshly, "when your self-control really… pisses me… off."

"I'll make it up to you," he promised.

"You better," she pouted.

Max pulled back slowly, making sure she was steady on her feet before he knelt to retrieve their flashlights. "Here," he said, handing one over. "Let's go unpack some gear. Then I can lay in a fresh supply of drinking water."

"Good idea," she said. "And I wouldn't mind cleaning up a little. I may taste good," she grinned, "but I feel like I'm wearing three layers of dirt."

"I think that can be arranged," he said. "I suspect we're gonna be here awhile."

Liz stopped and looked at him, her eyes darkening. "You think it's that bad?"

"I don't know, Liz," he said honestly. "Those guys seemed pretty persistent. I can't imagine them leaving too soon. Unless we find an alternate route out of here, which doesn't look likely," he added, waving his flashlight toward the water that blocked the rear of the cave, "we're stuck until we're sure the coast is clear."

"Okay," she said softly, biting on her bottom lip.

"Hey, stop that," Max said, reaching out and smoothing her lip with his finger. "It'll be all right."

"I know," she said, the tension easing from her expression. Tangling her fingers in his, she started pulling him toward the entrance. "And if I've got to be trapped in a dark, dank cave, there's no one I'd rather be with."

A smile played over Max's lips. "Same here." He bent down and kissed her - a gentle kiss of love and encouragement. "Come on." Hand in hand, they headed up the slope toward where they'd left their backpacks.

*******

TBC
posted on 12-Nov-2001 1:19:22 PM by EmilyluvsRoswell

Hmmm... this story is coming way too easily. Not that I expect any of you to complain. *wink* Moving right along... Hope you like. And yes, the NC-17 stuff is just around the corner.

*happy*
Em

*******

Part 3

********

"Where do we stand?"

Liz looked up from her perusal of their supplies. "Two packets of instant oatmeal, four power bars, about half a pound of dried fruit, and some trail mix." She peered into her pack again. "Oh, and some tea bags."

"Could be worse, I suppose."

"Yeah. I could have listened to you and left my stuff down at the bottom of that last hill," Liz reminded him.

Max groaned. "You were right, okay? I’m sorry I played macho protective guy."

"It’s all right," Liz said with a smile. "I love that you want to protect me. Just so long as you remember that you don’t always need to." She rose and went over to where he was examining the rocks he had used to seal the entrance, offering the additional illumination of her flashlight.

"Thanks," he said, a frown marring his brow. "We need to figure out some way to check on our friends out there, without giving them access to us."

"Any ideas?"

"None," he admitted. "I could use my powers to cut through, giving us a kind of peep hole, but I can’t be sure they won’t notice. And as soon as we have an opening, they can use it to fire through."

"Even if it’s narrow?"

"Yeah," he sighed.

"So, what? We just wait?"

"For now." He pressed his ear against the rocks, indicating she should be quiet. After a long moment, he shook his head. "I can hear some movement out there. Shouting and a few blasts. I think we should set up in the next chamber back. I know it’s cooler and not as dry, but I don’t want to be on the other side of this if they should somehow manage to break through."

"Max, if they break through it won’t matter what chamber we’re in."

He met her gaze, marveling at how her dark eyes glowed in the faint light, watching as a dozen emotions flew across her face. "Liz, I won’t let anything happen to you," he promised.

"I’m just saying that it probably doesn’t matter if we sleep further back or right here," she said softly.

"Okay," he said. "We’ll leave everything here."

They worked in tandem, neither minding the silence. They spread out their sleeping bags, then Max set to zipping them together to create one double-sized sack, while Liz carefully stored the sealed bags of food in their packs and sorted out small packages of toiletries and other essentials.

"Here," Max said, tossing her water bottle to her. "Drink. Water’s the only thing we’ve got in spades and we can’t afford to get dehydrated."

Liz nodded, gulping thirstily. When she’d drained her bottle, she smiled sheepishly. "Guess I need that."

"Why don’t you grab whatever you need to wash up and we’ll head back to the stream," he suggested. "I can heat up some water for you after I replenish the drinking supply."

"Thanks." She grabbed the little travel kit that held her toothbrush, then burrowed in her backpack for a fresh shirt and her towels. By the time she was ready, Max had gathered their water bottles and a small cooking pot they used for heating their meals. He’d tucked his flashlight under his arm so it shone forward and down at a slight angle.

"Ready?" he asked.

"Lead on."

It seemed to take less time to reach the stream now that they knew where they were going. They propped their flashlights against the rocks, then filled all of the water bottles. Max used his powers to purify the water so it would be safe to drink. Then he filled the cooking pot with water and heated it, testing it with his finger to make sure it wasn’t too hot.

Liz watched the care Max took, knowing he was trying to make things as comfortable and easy as possible for her. It made her feel warm to the depths of her soul. She reached out and ruffled his hair gently as he stood up. "Thanks."

Max turned at the wistful note in her voice. "You okay?"

"Yeah, I’m good," she assured him. "I’ll just be a few minutes here, all right?"

"Take your time," he told her. He gave her a quick kiss. "Holler if you need anything." He took his flashlight and one of the water bottles and disappeared toward the front of the cave.

Despite Max’s words, Liz saw no point in lingering over her ablutions. She washed her face, leaning over the small pot of heated water. When she was done, she quickly tugged off her sweatshirt and the long-sleeved shirt she was wearing over her tank top, and used her wash cloth dampened in the warm water to sponge off the day’s grime. The chilly temperature at the rear of the cave was enough incentive for her to keep her movements brisk and efficient. Within moments she had dried off and donned her clean shirt, with the heavy sweatshirt on top.

"Feel better?" Max asked, when Liz emerged from the back of the cavern.

"Much," she said with a smile.

"I’m gonna go clean up a little, too," he said. "If you hear anything at all, come get me," he added, his eyes focused on the entrance.

"I will." She watched him vanish into the blackness, the glow of his flashlight disappearing almost immediately as the cave twisted its way into the mountain. Sighing, she checked her watch and was surprised to find it was early evening. Even with the days growing longer, she knew it would be nearly dark outside. Would their attackers settle down for the night at the mouth of the cave? Or would they give up and leave? And what were Maria, Michael, Alex, and Isabel doing? Were they safe? Had they managed to shake their own pursuers, or were they hiding out someplace as well?

So many questions. A shiver ran down her spine, and Liz knew it had nothing to do with the temperature. In an attempt to keep busy, she dragged the food supplies back out of their bags and went about portioning out their dinner. She was wondering if she should ration them or not when a flickering light indicated that Max was on his way back.

"What are you up to?" he asked, as he came around the corner. He looked refreshed, with the dust of the past day washed from his face and the edges of his hair damp and plastered to his neck and forehead. Dropping down beside Liz on the edge of the sleeping bag, he tucked the cooking pot back into his backpack and set down his water bottle.

"To ration or not to ration," she replied.

"We need to keep our strength up. No point in rationing. I’m not saying we should polish off our supplies all at one sitting, but let’s not get crazy either. Say, a power bar each for dinner, with some trail mix. Cereal for breakfast, power bars and fruit for lunch."

"And if we’re here longer than that?"

Max shrugged. "I don’t think we will be. At least not much. It’ll work out," he said. "I just wish we had the rest of the stuff from the Jeep."

"Most of the food was in the Jetta," she reminded him.

He nodded and glanced down at his watch. "Seven already? I didn’t realize. You hungry?" he asked, brushing a stray hair off her face.

"Not really. Just… well, planning ahead, I guess."

A grin lit Max’s face. "That’s my Liz. Gotta have a plan."

"Well, it’s not like there’s much in our lives that we actually have any control over," she grumbled, packing the food back into their bags. "I think I’ve gotten pretty damn good at going with the flow."

"You definitely have," he soothed, reaching out and lifting their knapsacks out of the way. He propped one against the wall behind them and leaned back. "Come here," he coaxed, pulling her closer and easing her down so her head rested against his chest. He smoothed one hand over her hair, running it down the length of her ponytail, letting his fingers play with the soft ends. He could feel her relaxing against him, her body melting into his.

"I know I can be anal sometimes," she said.

"No, you just like to have things organized. It’s a wonderful quality and I love you for it. You know I’m the same way," he reminded her, all the while stroking her back with long even movements.

Liz snaked her arms around Max’s waist and held him a little tighter. "I was trying to stop thinking," she confessed.

"About?" He kept his voice deliberately casual, though he was aware that there was still a certain amount of tension in her frame.

"The others. Where they are. If everyone’s okay."

"I’m sure they’re fine. And Isabel will probably try to dream walk us tonight, no matter where they are, so stop worrying."

"I wish our cell phones worked out here. I never realized how much we rely on them."

"Yeah. Maybe we should invest in walkie talkies," he joked.

"Don’t laugh." Liz shifted slightly so she was lying more on her stomach and could look up at Max. His eyes were so beautiful. Even in the pale light of the flashlights, they glowed a warm amber, overflowing with so much love it made Liz’s heart beat faster.

"So, Mr. Evans," she said, a smile playing over her lips. "I believe you said something earlier about making it up to me?"

Max’s eyebrows rose abruptly. "I did, didn’t I? Are you implying that you’re ready to collect on that raincheck?" His hand snaked into her hair and he began gently massaging her scalp with his finger tips.

Liz closed her eyes at the wonderful sensation. "Mmm…" she replied. "I think that’s a fabulous idea."

The words were barely out of her mouth when the world spun crazily. Liz opened her eyes to find herself lying flat on her back, with Max propped above her. One hand still cushioned the back of her head, while his other hand cupped her face as he gently stroked his thumb over her cheek. Something dark and primal glittered in his eyes.

Reaching up, Liz threaded her fingers through Max’s soft hair and tugged until he leaned down and kissed her. The kiss was surprisingly gentle and he pulled back almost immediately.

Liz frowned as she stared up at him. "Max? You okay?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Well, for a minute there I thought I’d traded macho protective guy for he-man cave alien, but then you seemed to back off."

"Cave alien, huh?" he asked, grinning. "Was that what you were looking for?" he teased. "Should I drag you someplace by your hair?"

"No," Liz laughed. "I’m quite happy with my sweet and civilized Max," she told him, stroking the faint stubble on his chin.

He smiled as he moved in and kissed her again, this time lingering to nibble on her lips. "You know," he whispered, continuing to nip at her soft skin, working his way up her jaw line, then snaking out his tongue to lick the rim of her ear. "This could be dangerous."

"Dangerous? How?" she asked, surprised to hear how breathy her voice had already become.

"You and me." Lick. "Trapped together." Nibble. "No one to interrupt us." Nuzzle. "Who knows what we’ll get up to?"

"I don’t see any problem," Liz whispered, her arms tightening around his neck as she instinctively arched her body toward his. "Do you have any idea how you make me feel?"

Max pulled back abruptly and stared down at her. "Liz," he said, cupping her face in both hands, "I don’t want to hurt you. I… we don’t know what could happen if we…" A shudder passed through his body and he closed his eyes briefly. "It would kill me if…"

"Max, stop," Liz said, her voice firm. "Look at me." She struggled to sit up, leaning close so she could meet his gaze levelly. "I love you, Max. And nothing we do or don’t do could ever change that, all right? I’m not afraid of you – human side or alien."

Max stared deep into her eyes and swallowed hard. "Liz, I love you so much. And I want you… God, you have to know that… but…"

"Shhh," she soothed, stroking his cheek. "Lie down with me," she coaxed. "Be with me. Like always, Max," she assured him when he seemed about to protest. "Every moment we’re together is like flying," she whispered, as they lay back on the sleeping bags, their arms wrapped around each other. "I know we’re in danger, that technically this is the last thing I should be thinking about," she admitted quietly. "But I need to feel you here with me, Max. To know we’re both alive and safe."

"I just…" He sighed. "You love to curse my self-control, but you’re the only one capable of annihilating it," he said. He had gone back to stroking her back, his hand running down her spine, tracing her curves, comforting her even as she did the same for him.

"I’m glad. Now stop talking and kiss me," she said, her tone light and loving.

Max chuckled and the sound made Liz relax slightly. She felt even more at ease when he rolled them so he was once again hovering over her. "Your wish is my command," he told her, a hint of lust mingled with the love and concern in his eyes.

"I have a lot of wishes, Max," she whispered, her tongue creeping out to lick lips that had suddenly grown dry.

Max’s gaze followed her unconscious movement and one side of his mouth quirked upward. "Remember what I told you about that tongue," he warned, his voice low and suggestive. Without waiting for her reply, he leaned down and captured her mouth in a searing kiss.

*******

TBC
posted on 13-Nov-2001 8:58:21 PM by EmilyluvsRoswell
Hi everyone! Thanks so much for all the terrific feedback! You're all making me blush. One of the most interesting things for me is to realize just how many people love Ripple Effect. It's one of those stories that got positive feedback way back when I wrote it, but that was ages ago and I generally hear from people regarding the Homes series - mostly because it's so long and ongoing, I suspect. So, it warms my heart to learn that people think back fondly on the original story, or are enjoying it now for the first time.

A few quick notes before I get on with the next part:

Angela - In Ripple, Max just states that he and Liz were in the cave for 3 days, 2 without food, but he never actually says when they finally made love. Besides, there are all sorts of interesting things our dreamer couple can do before they actually do the deed. *wink*

Blanca - Sweetie! Thanks for the hoppy dudes! They're so cute. *happy* And yes, I was researching Hueco Tanks Park before I was out in LA, but short of actually visiting there wasn't much more I could do before starting to write.

LivE - You crack me up! Feel free to email me for updates whenever the board is being wonky. I suppose I should put this on the old board, too.

Okay guys... since I can pretty much guarantee that Max and Liz won't be getting particularly cozy in tonight's episode... a little gift for you all. *big*

*happy*
Em

********

Part 4

********

The entire world seemed to narrow down to the place where their lips met. They kissed slowly, leisurely, enjoying the waves of heat traversing their bodies as their tongues teased and explored. Each kiss tingled, causing Liz to smile at the combined taste of toothpaste. It was such a simple intimacy - the knowledge that they would be sleeping side by side, that she would wake with Max in the morning, that they would once more brush their teeth and face the day together. It warmed her heart.

"Hmmm?" Max lifted up slightly, smirking at Liz's contented expression. "What are you smiling about?"

"This. Us," she said, opening her eyes to stare at him. "I love being with you, Max. The circumstances don't matter. You make me feel so safe and loved and warm."

He threaded one hand through her hair, combing it back from her face with the tips of his fingers. "How is it possible for you to feel that way?" he whispered, in awe. "With all hell breaking loose just beyond these walls?"

"I always feel that way with you," she said simply. "Remember that night on the way to Marathon?"

"The first of many road trips," he grimaced. "How could I forget?"

"Isabel was off discussing the road block with one of the troopers, and we were talking," Liz continued, ignoring his expression. "And you reached past me…"

"And fixed the hole in the roof of the Jeep," he finished for her.

"To keep me warm," she said, a soft smile on her lips. "I… I thought you were going to kiss me," she confessed.

Max smiled down on her. "I was," he replied. "But I lost my nerve."

"Really?"

"Really." He ran a finger down the slope of her nose, then rubbed it gently back and forth over her lips. "I don't know how I resisted," he said hoarsely. "You were so beautiful, sitting there in the light from the street lamp. Your hair flowing all around you. Your eyes so big and trusting. Maybe that was it. I was afraid of hurting you, of sucking you into my world," he sighed.

"You didn't suck me in, Max. I jumped. With both feet," she whispered.

He leaned in and kissed her, as he might have kissed her that night. Softly. Tentatively. Asking permission for more, yet fearing what her response would be.

Liz wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down, deepening the kiss. Her tongue tangled with his, flicking back and forth, plunging and retreating. Max rolled with her until he was flat on his back and she was sprawled over his chest, giving her complete control. Smiling against his mouth, Liz began trailing kisses over his face, on his chin, his jaw, his cheeks, his forehead. When his eyes fluttered closed, she dropped gentle kisses on his eyelids.

"I love you," she whispered.

"I love you, too," he replied huskily, his arms tightening around her waist, one hand settling on the small of her back and rubbing lightly. Then his fingers found their way beneath the hem of her top, unerringly diving beneath all three layers to the soft, warm skin hidden by the fabric. He stroked up and down her back, playing over the tiny bones of her spine, gently massaging with his fingertips. The other hand soon joined the first and her shirt hiked up as he kneaded her muscles with a knowing touch.

Liz moaned at the feel of Max's hands easing the tension in her back. Despite her protestations, she had not been immune to the stress of carrying such a heavy backpack while they ran for their lives, and her muscles had tightened rudely since they had taken shelter in the cave.

"Oh, yes, Max," she groaned, feeling herself grow limp against him. Her head lolled, her chin coming to rest on his shoulder as she forgot everything but the feel of him soothing her aches.

Max smiled and kissed her lightly on the cheek. "Why don't you stretch out on your stomach so I can give you a real massage," he said quietly. "Come on." Gently lifting her, he helped her shift so she was lying face down on the sleeping bag. "Will you be too cold if you take off your sweatshirt?"

"Uh uh," she mumbled, pushing herself up onto her knees. With one sweep she drew off both the heavy sweatshirt and the shirt beneath it, leaving her in just a brief tank, with that riding halfway up her torso. Collapsing onto her stomach, hands cushioning her head, she let her eyes drift closed.

Trying contain his urge to chuckle at the picture she made, Max swung one leg over Liz's hips and kneeled over her. He carefully gathered her hair and swept it to one side so he would not inadvertently pull it during the rub down. Then starting at her shoulders, he began massaging gently but firmly, feeling each muscle loosen gradually beneath his touch. Her skin was warm and soft, like a silk casing for the deceptive strength that hid below the surface. The only sound from Liz was an occasional hum of pleasure as Max worked her muscles.

When the tension had left her shoulders and neck, Max slipped a hand beneath Liz's stomach and lifted so he could hike her tank top further up her body. With the majority of her back exposed, he went to work, kneading in firm strokes outward from her spine, taking care not to bruise the delicate skin. A particularly tough knot by her shoulder blade required him to press down with the heel of his hand, moving in a circular motion to try to loosen it.

"Owww," Liz protested weakly. "That hurts," she pouted.

Max bent over and brushed a kiss over the offending spot. "I'm sorry," he whispered against her skin, his warm lips soothing. He continued to kiss and nibble across the width of her back as his hands massaged lower, his thumbs tracing down the length of her backbone.

When he reached the waistband of her jeans, Max sat up, rubbing his palms up and down her back in a gentle caress. "How was that?" he asked, a smile playing at his lips. She looked as if she had melted into a puddle on the sleeping bag.

"I don't think I can move," she said sleepily. "That was marvelous."

Max stretched out beside her, propping himself up on one elbow. He reached out and brushed her hair off her face. "Cold?"

"Nope." Her eyes fluttered open and she gave him a warm, relaxed smile. "Hungry, though." As if to punctuate her comment, her stomach chose that moment to rumble noisily.

"I see," Max laughed. "You stay put." He tossed her sweatshirt over her back, conscious of just how much bare skin was exposed to him, then swiveled toward their bags. "I wish I had something better to offer," he told her, passing back a power bar and her water bottle.

"This is fine," she replied, levering herself up so she was sitting cross-legged next to him. She tugged her shirt over her shoulders. "Don't forget the trail mix."

"Would I do that?" Max turned to face her, a zip lock bag in one hand, his own power bar and water in the other. He dropped the bag on the sleeping bag between them. "All set."

The meal took virtually no time to consume. When they were finished, Max set off for the back of the cave to refill their water supply while Liz, ever the conservationist, bundled the wrappers and napkins from their dinner and stuffed them into a small garbage bag in her knapsack.

"Max, is it getting darker in here?" she asked when he returned.

He looked puzzled, staring around at the walls of the cave. "Hmmm. I think our batteries are wearing out. Here," he said, indicating she should pass her flashlight over. Taking the torch, he unscrewed the bottom and let the batteries fall into his palm. Then he held them end to end between his hands, concentrating until the batteries began to glow with a pale light. After a moment, he returned them to the flashlight and flipped the switch on the handle.

"Good as new," he said, tossing Liz her flashlight. With a few brisk movements, he had his recharged as well.

"That's better," Liz said, letting out a little sigh of relief. "I wasn't looking forward to just sitting here in the dark."

"You don't have to worry about that," Max said, moving toward the entrance.

"I wonder what they're up to out there," Liz mused, watching Max stare at the barrier of fallen rock.

"Shhh," he said. He stood perfectly still, inches from the wall, listening, his expression utterly blank.

Liz waited patiently for Max to turn back. She could feel her heart beating a little faster in apprehension and she wondered absently if the muscles in her back were already beginning to tense again.

Abruptly, Max jerked away from the entrance, his face suddenly set in a scowl.

"What is it?"

"They're still there," he declared, his frustration obvious. "I can hear them. I was hoping when night came…" He sighed. "Never mind. You were right before. They can't stay there forever."

"Come sit down," Liz told him. She settled on the sleeping bags again, leaning back against one of the knapsacks that Max had returned to the space by the wall. "Come talk to me. Don't worry about them right now."

Max obediently dropped to the ground beside her, his arm automatically snaking around her shoulders. Liz tilted her head to rest against his side and felt him exhale slowly, his struggle to maintain his control showing in his every movement. The hand wrapped around her began to stroke her arm absently and Liz smiled, understanding that he could take comfort from her without even thinking about it, and loving that about their relationship.

"What do you want to talk about?" he asked after a moment.

"Something simple," she replied. "Something that has nothing to do with what's happening out there."

Max smiled ruefully. "Doesn't leave much."

Liz swatted him gently. "Of course it does." She snuggled closer to him, her head resting on his shoulder. "It's too bad we can't see the sky," she mused.

"How come?"

"So we could gaze at the stars, of course," she replied. "I have all these memories of the two of us out on my balcony at night, just staring up at the night sky. Wondering."

Max let his head tilt so it was resting on hers. "That's what's up there all the time," he whispered.

"If we could only see it," she finished for him. "Entire worlds, waiting to be discovered. Or waiting for us to wake up enough to know that they're out there," she added.

A chuckle passed Max's lips, startling Liz, who had not noticed his mood lighten to that extent. "What's so funny?"

"I'm just remembering the look on our parents' faces when we showed up at the Crashdown that morning. After we'd been in the desert all night."

Liz laughed. "You were so lucky to make it out of there alive."

"I still want to know why your father didn't kill me," Max said.

"So do I."

"It was worth it, though. That night."

"Mmmm," Liz agreed. "It was amazing. Glowing orbs aside, it was the first night we ever spent together."

Max shifted so he was facing Liz. "Things changed for me that night. That whole week, really, but that night especially. Waking up with you the next morning, seeing the look in your eyes… You could have panicked, but you didn't. All I saw in your eyes was love."

Liz reached up and cupped Max's face. "Me too," she whispered.

There was nothing gentle about the kiss that followed. Max swept his tongue over Liz's lips, demanding entry, and she immediately granted it. Heat suffused their bodies and Liz felt herself tumbling, the sweatshirt slipping off her shoulders, and then they were lying on the sleeping bags. Max continued to kiss her hard, biting and nipping at her mouth, one hand wrapped in her hair while the other settled at her waist, his fingers stroking the strip of bare skin above her jeans.

A flood of warmth was pulsing through Liz's blood, making her head spin. Nothing existed except for Max - not the dark cavern, nor the enemies beyond the doorway, or the universe filled with unknown threats. At that moment, everything was encompassed by this man in her arms, his hot mouth, his questing hands, his strong body. She slipped her hands up under his soft cotton shirt, running her palms over the rippling muscles of his back. Clutching him closer, she arched her neck as his mouth moved down the length of her throat, hot wet kisses covering every inch of skin. He moved over her collar bone, his tongue laving the delicate curves. With one hand he sent the strap of her tank top sliding down her arm, his mouth continuing south over the top of her breast, his lips pressing gentle kisses as he went.

"Max," she moaned, feeling him shift to his elbows so he could tug down the other strap. One swift pull and her shirt was in a tangle around her waist.

"I'll never get over how beautiful you are," he whispered hoarsely, his breath hot on her bare skin. He slipped a hand beneath her back to support her as he hovered above, simply looking at her. The cool air was such a contrast to the warmth of his hands, his mouth, that her nipples had begun to tighten.

Liz ran her hands through Max's hair, watching him as he gazed down on her. Once she would have been embarrassed at his unabashed staring, but now it only made her feel loved.

Max cupped one of her breasts in his warm palm, kneading it lightly before running his thumb over the peak. Then he leaned down and closed his mouth over the tip, twirling his tongue around and around the nipple, making Liz sigh with pleasure. The tugging of his mouth sent sparks shooting through her, and made her limbs felt heavy. Just when she thought she might explode, he moved to the other breast, licking and sucking it until the tip was just as firm and taut as the first.

Unable to lie still, Liz began rocking her hips against Max's thigh. She could feel his arousal against her hip and deliberately pressed herself against him with each upward motion. Her busy hands pulled up on his shirt, tugging until he finally sat back and drew it over his head.

"Still too many clothes," Liz told him, her voice husky with desire. Sitting up, she pulled her shirt over her head, then reached for the button of his jeans.

Max moved to help her and they laughed as their fingers tangled in their urgency. "Here, you do yours, okay?" he teased, taking her hands and placing them on her own waist.

Liz smiled and swiftly began to remove her jeans, though her eyes remained on Max. When he was kneeling before her in his boxers and she wore only her panties, she reached for his hand and drew him back down next to her.

"Liz, it's too cold," he said, stroking a warm hand over her slender arm. "Come snuggle with me," he told her, pulling back the side of the sleeping bag.

She couldn't resist the sweet offer. "Okay," she said, kissing the tip of his nose. She crawled into the sleeping bag, grinning when he came in after her and pulled the top flap up to just past their waists. "I see. You're just worried about our legs getting cold," she teased, running a hand over his sculptured chest.

Max growled and pulled her close so her breasts were pressed against him. Laughing, Liz tangled her bare legs with his and reached up to kiss him. She rubbed his shoulders and neck, massaging gently, rocking her hips against his until he let out a breathy groan and grabbed her around the waist to still her movements. Pulling back, she pouted slightly, her full bottom lip wet from their kisses.

Eyes narrowing, Max caught her lip between his teeth and bit down gently. His hands reached down to cup her rear and he rolled on top of her, his hips flush with hers, a few layers of thin fabric the only thing between them. He could feel the wetness pooling between her folds, dampening her underwear, and it was all he could do to keep himself from ripping away the thin barrier and plunging into her.

Liz arched against Max, trying to bring her legs up around him, but he wouldn't let her. Instead, he shifted to one side and resumed his journey down her body, beginning by kissing the soft underside of her breasts. Using the tip of his tongue, he traced the line that ran down the center of her flat stomach, dipping into her navel, smiling at the way her muscles contracted violently as a result of his teasing. Then he hooked his fingers under the waist of her panties and pulled them slowly down the length of her legs.

Every one of Liz's nerve endings was on fire. Desperate to feel Max against her, she restlessly kicked her underwear off and reached for the waist of his boxers. He was so hard that he was jutting through the opening and she inadvertently brushed him with her hand.

"Liz," he hissed, arching toward her. "Oh, God…" he breathed.

A smile on her lips, Liz carefully drew his boxers over his engorged length, then tugged them downward, wiggling lower in the sleeping bag so she could reach. When he tried to pull her back up, she shimmied out of his grasp.

"Liz? What…Ohhhhh," he moaned, as she took his hard cock in her hands and eased the tip into her mouth, sucking lightly. His hands found their way into her hair, threading the silky strands between his fingers as he forced himself to lie still. "Liz," he choked out. "Love, you don't have to…"

"Hush," she whispered, her hands reaching down to cup his balls before her mouth settled back over him. She began moving her head up and down, taking him deeper then pulling back to let the cool air wash over him. Her lips kept up a light suction, dragging over his taut skin as she gradually increased her pace, her fingers gently squeezing his sacks with each stroke of her tongue.

It was all Max could do to keep from thrusting into her hot mouth. He threw back his head, panting heavily, feeling his heart pounding in his chest. Then he felt the tightening low in his groin and he tugged gently on Liz's head, trying to pull her away. "Liz, you have to stop," he cried harshly. "I can't hold out much more."

She stopped abruptly and looked up at him, loving the glazed look in his dark eyes, the flush on his face. "I don't want you to hold out," she said, her moist lips curving into a grin. "I want you to lose all semblance of control, Max. Just for me," she whispered, her tongue flicking out and tasting the moisture seeping from the tip of his erection. She took him into her mouth again and gently ran her teeth over his entire length, scraping ever so carefully. Then she sucked him hard, relaxing the muscles of her throat so she could take him all the way in.

Max let out a strangled cry, his hands fisting at his sides. "Liiizzzzz," he screamed, his head arched back, the cords in his neck standing out. He felt himself empty into her hot mouth, felt her sucking steadily, her tongue licking and lapping as she did. She went on and on until he thought he might pass out from the sheer excruciating pleasure of it. Every muscle in his body went utterly limp.

When she finally released him, he reached for her, dragging her up over his body and rolling so she was pinned beneath him. He kissed her hard, pouring all of his love into her, then rested his forehead against hers, trying to even out his ragged breathing. "What… was that… for?" he panted.

Liz let out a low, seductive laugh. "Because I love you. And because you're always in such a hurry to please me first - always hanging on to that precious self-control of yours. I wanted to see what it would be like to make you lose it."

"I'd say you succeeded," he said, dropping small kisses over her face before returning to her mouth.

"Mmmm," she said, nibbling at his lips as he kissed her. "Yes, I did."

Max stared into her eyes, one side of his mouth quirking up. "I hope you enjoyed yourself as much as I did," he said, his voice dropping so low it was more of a growl. "But either way, I think it's my turn to return the favor."

Liz felt her breath hitch at the look in Max's eyes. It was predatorial, and it made her heart race faster. "You do?" she said, but it came out as more of a squeak.

Max's eyes darkened a notch and he grinned. "I do."

*********

TBC *big*

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 13-Nov-2001 11:20:31 PM ]
posted on 27-Nov-2001 8:04:00 PM by EmilyluvsRoswell

Part 5

******

Max rolled to the side so he could see Liz stretched out beside him, one hand caressing her waist and hip. "Are you warm enough?" he whispered, realizing she had kicked the sleeping bag almost completely off of them during her attentions to him.

Unable to tear her gaze from Max's eyes, she nodded mutely. Her skin was tingling under the gentle stroking of his fingers and she was already so aroused she thought she might fly to pieces from just that simple touch. The cool temperature in the cave was the least of her concerns, she thought. She was more likely to go up in flames. "Max, please," she breathed, trying to turn toward him.

"Shhh," he soothed, holding her in place. "We're just getting started." He kissed the tip of her nose, then moved down to her mouth, his lips soft and undemanding. "Close your eyes," he murmured, his tongue tracing the tiny indentation at the center of her top lip, then sweeping in a complete circle, coaxing her mouth open.

Liz closed her eyes obediently and Max deepened the kiss, leaning more fully against her, bringing their flushed bodies into contact. A whimper escaped Liz's mouth and she slipped her arms around Max's waist, pulling him closer.

But Max refused to comply. He gently tugged her arms away, pressing them to her sides, then began trailing kisses down her body as he had earlier. Slipping his hands beneath her back, he lifted her slightly to allow himself better access and took her breast into his mouth. He laved the delicate skin with his hot tongue, then suckled her hard, creating such suction with his cheeks that Liz cried out, spearing her fingers through his hair and arching until her head barely touched the ground. She shivered as Max pulled back, letting the cool air rush over her hot, wet skin, until only her nipple remained in his mouth. One hand snaked around to cup the bottom curve of her breast as he tongued the nipple, flicking it back and forth before gently nipping at it with his teeth.

"Ohhh," she cried, the tugging sensation shooting through her stomach and causing fresh waves of heat to pool between her thighs. She was on fire. "Max, please stop teasing," she begged, spreading her legs, desperate for his touch.

Max's answering laughter was a low rumble in his chest as he switched to the other breast, giving it the same attention he had the first. "Mmmm…" he hummed against her skin, his mouth closing over her pouty flesh, and Liz jerked at the incredible vibrations rippling through her. "You like that?" he whispered, his lips closing over her puckered tip. With his free hand he pinched her other nipple, plucking at it with his thumb and forefinger.

"God, yes!" Liz cried, tears coming to her eyes. Rocking her hips sideways, she captured one of his legs between her own and began rubbing against his muscular thigh. "Max, please…"

Lifting his head, Max stared down at her, the dazed look in her eyes and her rosy cheeks making his breathing escalate. "Someone's impatient," he whispered, reaching up to kiss her.

"You're killing me," she panted, trying to pull him over her.

Max kissed her once more, then reached down to still her movements, taking her hips firmly between his strong hands.

"Noooo," she pleaded. "Max, I need you…. Please, Max…"

"Trust me," he said, a wicked smile gracing his beautiful face. He shifted so he was kneeling between her feet, his hands still cupping her hips. His eyes roamed over her shapely legs and the soft patch of hair that glistened even in the dim light from the flashlights. "You're so beautiful," he breathed, coming down on his elbows and hovering between her thighs. He caressed her hips, the under curve of her soft, rounded buttocks, her flat, smooth abdomen where it met her dark curls.

Liz arched her hips invitingly, running her tongue over her dry lips. "Max," she groaned. "I'm begging you…"

"No need to beg, love," he whispered, his eyes meeting hers across the length of her flushed body. His breath floated over her, hot and teasing. Using the palms of his hands, he pressed her thighs open wider, rubbing the sensitive skin with his thumbs. Then he leaned down and licked through her wetness, ending by flicking the tip of his tongue over her clit.

Moaning, Liz fell backwards, every nerve on fire. Tension was building deep within her at a rapid rate, filling her with a longing she couldn't name, but that she understood to her bones nevertheless. It was Max who did this to her - his touch, his presence, his love - turning her inside out and making her ache for him until she could barely breathe. His hot mouth was driving her crazy, his tongue toying with her swollen nub while his lips sucked purposefully at her folds. Every rational thought flew from her head as he slipped a finger deep inside of her, then pumped it gently in and out, in and out, matching the pace he had set with his tongue. She could feel him everywhere - in her mind, in her heart, in her soul - his love pouring over her as he coaxed her body higher and higher with his hands and mouth.

"Max…" she breathed, pressing restlessly against him, "I… need… Max, I need…"

"What do you need, Liz?" he asked, his teasing voice muffled against her. "Tell me what you need, love."

"More…" she cried out. "Max, please… so… close… Yeeeessssss…."

She sucked in a deep breath as he added a second finger to the first, feeling him stretching her tight opening. His tongue soothed the way, lapping gently at her as he slowly pumped his fingers, making sure he wasn't hurting her. As soon as he was sure she was accommodating him, he began moving his fingers slightly faster, pushing deeper, and his tongue returned to teasing her clit, flicking back and forth in time with his hand.

"Ooooooo…" The tension growing in the depths of her body tightened a notch, then another, spiraling until she thought she couldn't stand it for another instant. And then Max lightly scraped his teeth over her pulsing nub as he plunged his fingers as far as they could go, and Liz felt the world explode. She let out a high pitched scream, arching against Max's mouth and fingers, as wave after wave of pleasure flew through her body. Her hands fisted in the soft quilted fabric beneath them as the violent tremors continued to assault her. "Maaaaaxxxxx…"

The sound of his name on Liz's lips made Max's heart swell. He felt her inner walls clamp down hard on his hand and he slowed his movements, gently soothing her as she rode out her climax. With his free hand he rubbed small circles over her stomach and hips, stroking her as she trembled and shook, kissing her fevered skin wherever he could reach.

When Liz had finally calmed, Max slid up beside her and pulled her into his arms, rubbing her back as she curled into him. He reached out and threw the flap of the sleeping bag over them so Liz wouldn't feel the draft as her body cooled.

Liz pressed a kiss to Max's chest and wrapped her arms around his waist, clinging to him as if he might slip away. "I love you," she said softly, her voice filled with emotion. "So much. Thank you for loving me, Max."

"Thank you," he said, cupping her chin and tilting her face upward. "Liz, I don't know what I would do without you in my life. Loving you - whether it's worshiping your body or just taking a long walk beneath the stars - that's all I ever want to do. Being with you… that's the reason I'm here," he whispered huskily.

Reaching up, she ran a warm hand over his cheek. "You are the most amazing person," she whispered. "You make me feel so… blessed."

Max leaned down and kissed her, one hand twining in her silky hair before stroking down her back. He rested his forehead against hers for a long moment, smiling when he felt her eyes drift closed, her eyelashes brushing against him. "Sleepy?" he asked quietly.

"Mmmm… maybe a little," she confessed. "You left me feeling all warm and boneless," she added with a smile.

"Good." He kissed her nose and her chin, then gently pulled out of her arms.

Liz's eyes snapped open immediately. "Where are you going?"

Max chuckled. "Liz, where can I go? Relax." He slid out of the sleeping bag, careful to cover her up again. "Go ahead and close your eyes," he told her, amused at her obvious struggle to stay awake. "I'll just be a second."

Feeling languid and safe, Liz did as he said, her eyelids like lead weights. A moment later Max slipped in beside her again and she reached for him. "You put on a shirt," she pouted when her hands came in contact with fabric. Running her hand down his side, her pout deepened. "And boxers."

"I brought you your things, too," he said, pressing a pile of clothes into her hands.

Liz opened her eyes and peered through the semi-darkness at the things he had given her; the tank top and cotton pajama bottoms she normally wore to sleep. "Max, we're all alone in here," she pointed out. "It's cozy warm in the sleeping bag and we've got each other's body heat. Do you really want to wear all of this?" she asked, her voice dropping an octave.

Max brushed a lock of hair off her forehead. "Liz, nothing would please me more than to lie naked in your arms all night," he said softly. "But if those guys out there suddenly figure out a way to break through that barrier at two in the morning, I'd prefer to face them fully dressed. Not to mention, Isabel might dream walk us."

His second point caused Liz's eyebrows to arch abruptly. "You're right," she agreed quickly, moving to tug on her clothes.

Max chuckled quietly, not seeing any reason to add his most pressing reason for wanting them both clothed. If he woke in the middle night to find her warm, naked body flush against his, no amount of self-control in the universe would keep him from really making love to her.

"Ready?" he asked, when she had stopped wiggling beside him.

"Yeah," she said, rolling toward him.

Max reached over and switched off the flashlight, plunging them into darkness. He sighed as Liz snuggled against him, her head pillowed on his chest, her arm draped over him. "Goodnight," he whispered, dropping a kiss on her forehead.

"Goodnight," she replied, lifting up to kiss him properly on the mouth, her lips curving over his. "Wake me if the invasion resumes," she added with a yawn, curling comfortably into the crook of his arm.

Running a hand over her silky hair, Max frowned. His other arm settled protecticvely around Liz's back and, as he felt her begin to relax into sleep, he stared silently into the dark.

********

TBC
posted on 27-Nov-2001 8:06:01 PM by EmilyluvsRoswell

Part 6

*******

Liz woke abruptly and for a moment she was completely disoriented. It was so dark that she couldn't be sure her eyes were actually open and she felt a flutter of panic. Then the hard ground registered beneath her, and the soft brush of the flannel interior of her sleeping bag against her bare skin, and everything came back in a rush.

She could tell she was lying there alone. The sleeping bag was tucked too closely around her for Max to still be occupying his side. It was far too dark to see, so she lay quietly for a moment, listening for the sound of his breathing. It was amazing, she realized. She could sense him near her, feel his presence on a bone-deep primal level, yet she could not hear him at all. Whatever he was doing, he was making a point of remaining silent.

"Max?" she called softly, unable to stand not knowing where he was.

"I'm right here," came the low reply. "Go back to sleep. It's still early."

Liz rolled over and peered through the darkness behind her head, realizing his voice had come from that direction. "What are you doing?"

"Nothing. Thinking."

"And you can't think lying next to me?" she teased.

His smile was apparent in his voice. "No, actually. Not as a rule. I um… find you kind of distracting," he said huskily.

Liz felt a wave of desire roll down her spine. How could he do that to her with just words? Pillowing her head on the back of her hands, she closed her eyes, knowing that she probably would not fall asleep but finding it preferable to staring endlessly through the black space that surrounded her.

"So, what are you thinking about?" she asked.

"This and that," he evaded.

"Max…"

"Did Isabel dream walk you?"

"Don't change the subject."

"I wasn't. Did she?"

"No," Liz sighed. "I… maybe it's still too early. What time is it?"

She saw the glow of his watch as he pressed the button to illuminate the face. "Five," he told her. "If she was going to try, she would have by now."

Hearing the concern in his voice, Liz shifted so she was sitting up. "Max, I'm sure she's fine. All of them. It probably hasn't occurred to them that we might be missing. They're just waiting for us to show up at the designated camp site. When they don't hear from us today, they'll know something is up. Or we'll get out of here and it won't be an issue."

"You're right," he agreed, though he sounded less than confident.

"Come back to bed," Liz coaxed. "There's no reason for you to sit there brooding at this hour."

"All right." There was a rustle and a moment later Max's hand brushed over her arm.

"How do you do that?" she asked, settling back down on her side of the sleeping bag.

"What?" he asked, as he scooted in next to her.

"Move around in the dark. It's like someone dumped a bottle of ink on the place. How can you tell where you're going?"

She felt him shrug. "Good night vision, I guess." He moved around for a moment, getting more comfortable, then reached for her.

Liz snuggled against him, resting her head on his chest. She reached up and stroked his face, feeling the extra day's growth of stubble as it tickled her palm. Max caught her hand and brought it to his lips, dropping a warm kiss in the center.

"Go to sleep," he whispered against her skin.

"You, too," Liz admonished gently. Pulling her hand out of his, she resumed her gentle stroking of his face, moving to his neck and over his shoulder, then down the length of his arm. Taking his hand again, she wove their fingers together.

"Hmmm," Max said sleepily, tucking their joined hands against his chest. With his other arm, he hugged Liz more closely to his side.

Smiling, Liz let her eyes drift closed again. She loved the feel of Max's rib cage expanding and contracting beneath her, the way his heart beat steadily in her ear. Her own heart seemed to match his rhythm, their breathing becoming synchronized as they lay there. She could feel the tension in Max's frame slowly ebbing as he gave in to his fatigue. Only once she was sure he had finally fallen asleep, did she allow herself to do the same.

* * * * *

It was hours later when a small whimper broke the silence, pulling Liz up from the depths of sleep. This time there was no sense of disorientation, no dreams clouding her memory, just an instant wave of concern flooding through her.

Max clung to her in his sleep, his arms wrapped around her, his hands warm on her waist where her shirt was riding upward. His face burrowed into her neck and she felt an unmistakable dampness where tears met her bare skin. A tremor ran through his body and he tightened his hold on her, whimpering again.

"Max? Max, wake up," Liz whispered. She shifted toward him, running her hands over his back and up into his hair, stroking gently. "Max, it's all right," she coaxed, bringing a hand around to cup his face, wiping at his tears with her thumb. "It's just a nightmare. We're okay," she told him, dropping soothing kisses on his flushed forehead.

He came awake slowly, with shuddering breaths. "Liz?" he asked, his voice hesitant.

Her heart broke to hear him so tentative, sounding so lost and afraid. "Shhh, I'm right here. You were having a nightmare."

Gradually, he relaxed, though his arms remained wrapped tightly around her. Liz continued to murmur lovingly, nonsense words so he would know she was there and that he was safe. She did not bother questioning him about the dream - knowing from experience that he would refuse to tell her about it. Instead she offered him what she could - comfort, support, warmth, and love.

"You all right?" she asked softly, when his breathing had leveled out and his fingers twined gently in her long hair.

"Yeah," he said. "Sorry about that. I…"

"I understand," she told him, stroking the soft skin at the nape of his neck. "You're under stress. That's always when they come."

"I just hate putting you through it."

Liz tilted his face up and kissed him soundly. "Don't be silly," she said when she drew back. Unable to see his expression in the dark, she settled for kissing him again, hoping to force his thoughts to something else.

"It's not silly," he insisted, pulling back, holding her face between his hands when she tried to evade him. "You shouldn't have to deal with my baggage all of the time. There's so much of it…" he sighed.

"Max, I love you. Even your baggage," she teased. "This one wasn't so bad," she added softly, referring to his nightmare.

"No." He rested his forehead against hers, sounding unsure.

"Maybe…" Liz trailed off, knowing what his response would be.

"Maybe what?"

She took a deep breath. "Maybe if you talked about it. About the nightmares," she added hurriedly, feeling him withdraw. "Not… you know... Pierce. Just what you're feeling in the dreams. If you told Michael or Isabel."

"We've discussed this," he said quietly. "I can't. I cannot talk about them."

"Not even with me?" she asked softly.

His hand found hers in the dark and he tugged her back against his chest. "I'm sorry, Liz. It's not you, I swear. I just…" He stopped, kissed the tip of her nose. "Let's just drop it. Please?" When she didn't respond, he sighed.

They lay there for a while, neither speaking. Finally Liz sat up, pulling free of Max's arms.

"Liz, where are you…?"

"Where could I go, Max?" she asked pointedly, echoing his earlier words. Hearing the edge in her voice, she closed her eyes. "I'm just thirsty," she added, gentling her tone.

Max reached behind him and grabbed the flashlight he had left propped against the cave wall the night before. He flicked it on and handed it to her. "I guess it's time we got up," he said.

Liz nodded, accepting the torch. She crawled out of the sleeping bag and went to rummage through her bag, pulling out what she needed to start the day. "I'll be back in a minute," she told him. Gathering her belongings, she headed toward the rear of the cavern, leaving Max sitting alone in the dark.

*******

TBC
posted on 27-Nov-2001 8:08:10 PM by EmilyluvsRoswell

Part 7

********

The silence was pervasive as they ate their simple breakfast and washed up afterwards.

When they were done, Max examined the blocked entrance once more, checking for signs of weakening. Then he climbed on top of the lower rocks until his head hovered near the roof of the cave, and began shifting some of the smaller pieces of debris cautiously to one side. He moved slowly and deliberately, stacking the excess material with precision so as not to cause a landslide.

Liz sat and watched him for a while before finally going to stand beneath him. She aimed her flashlight toward where he was working, further illuminating the rubble.

Max glanced down at the increased light. "Thanks."

"No problem." She watched him work for a little while longer.

"Okay, switch off the light a second," Max requested. "I think I'm about to break through."

Liz frowned, but did as he asked. "Max, what are you trying to accomplish?" she asked, unconsciously lowering her voice.

"I want to take a look outside," he replied quietly. "I'm hoping if they're still out there, they're not close enough to notice a small opening so high up."

Max gently eased back a final stone, inching it slowly towards himself. Sand and dirt started to slip out from above and he quickly pressed his palm to the opening. There was a small glow and the debris seemed to steady.

Still holding the rock, Max leaned around to the hole he had created, squinting at the sudden light. The space was small, but once his eyes adjusted he was able to see out. He immediately spotted two men leaning against the side of the embankment that he and Liz had traversed the day before. They were engaged in a conversation, but Max realized they were still keeping watch.

Frowning, he fitted the large stone over the hole, pressing steadily until it slipped back into place. "Two guys," he said, as he climbed down and turned to Liz. "I can't tell how many others there are. It looks like they're taking turns waiting us out."

"They can't stay there forever," Liz said.

Max shrugged. "Depends on how many of them there are. I thought at least a dozen followed us yesterday."

Liz didn't answer, just nodded in acknowledgement. She went dropped back down on the sleeping bag, her back to the wall, and grabbed her water bottle.

Max watched her drink for a moment, then sat down next to her. "Liz," he said softly. "Please don't do this."

"I'm not doing anything," she said.

He sighed and rubbed his hands over his face. "I don't want to fight with you," he said. "Liz, I need you. You know that. Without you, I'm…" He trailed off helplessly. "Please don't shut me out."

"Isn't that what you're doing to me?" she asked softly. She set down the water bottle and scooted closer to him. "Max, every time you wake up in the middle of the night, whenever I feel you shaking in my arms like that… it breaks my heart just a little bit more. It kills me to feel you in pain. And I hate more than anything that you refuse to let me help you."

He reached out and drew her onto his lap. She curled into his chest, her arms wrapping around him as he speared one hand through her hair and eased her head under his chin. With his free hand, he gently stroked her arm, causing a riot of sensations.

"I wish more than anything that I could give you this," Max said. "That I could open up about my nightmares and let it all come spilling out. But the truth is that I'm afraid. Not of your reaction, or how you'll deal with it, but of my reaction."

"What do you mean?"

"Liz, these dreams - nightmares - are so powerful. It's not just fear I'm experiencing. There's so much… anger. Aggression. Emotions I'm afraid to let go of, because the consequences could be…" He let out a shaky breath, his hold on her tightening. "If I let myself really experience those feelings, I'm afraid I'll completely lose control. That they'll become a part of me. I don't want to be that person. That… monster."

She sat quietly for a moment, absorbing his words, stroking his back comfortingly. "Maybe those reactions you're experiencing… maybe they're some sort of throwback to your previous life," she suggested finally, her voice gentle.

"My alien side?"

"Well, yes, but… You were a leader, Max. King. There had to be a certain amount of… fierceness… to your personality. That doesn't mean you were a monster. Just that your position required you to react a certain way."

"I… don't like who I am in the dreams, Liz," he said, so softly she nearly missed the words. "I don't want to be that man."

"Max, just telling me about it won't turn you into someone else."

"I wish I could believe that," he said. "But just thinking about it makes me feel… I can't, Liz," he whispered hoarsely. "Please understand."

"Okay, all right," she soothed, feeling his agitation. Sitting up, she framed his face between her hands, frowning when she felt the tears on his cheeks. "Max…," she breathed. "Come here." She pressed gentle kisses to his cheeks, smoothing back his hair and crooning softly.

Max clutched her closer, a shudder running through him. He buried his face in the warmth of her neck and allowed her to whisper to him, bringing him back from the dark thoughts that had begun to take over. Her voice alone was soothing, could anchor him in the middle of the most violent storm and make him feel safe.

They sat quietly for a long time after Max had calmed down. It was so rare for them to get to be alone this way - for an uninterrupted stretch. The people in their lives had a way of getting in the middle, with clues to be dissected, crises to be averted, advice to be given or requested. There was an odd peace in sitting in the semi-darkness, despite the circumstances and the emotional upheaval.

A loud thud broke the tranquility of the moment.

Max quickly shifted Liz off of his lap and was on his feet in seconds. He grabbed the flashlight and shone it toward the rubble blocking the entrance to the cave, systematically working his way from one side to the other.

"What do you think it was?" Liz asked, a note of apprehension in her voice.

"I don't know," he admitted. He shone the light upward, toward the place where he had removed part of the debris. "It sounded like it came from outside."

A rumbling sound came duly through the rocks, causing Max to move forward, his hand outstretched. He ran his palm over the jumble of stone and sand, a bright glow illuminating the area.

"What are you doing?"

"Manipulating the rock. Making it denser," he explained.

"Are they trying to get through?"

"That's what it sounds like," he said distractedly, his attention on his task. He reached high, stretching to access the debris near the roof.

"Will you be able to undo it later? So we can get out?" she asked softly.

Max didn't reply as he finished with the last section of the entrance. Then, panting slightly, he let his arm fall and turned to face Liz. His face was damp with sweat from his efforts.

"God, Max, are you all right?" She reached up and brushed his hair back off his face.

"Yeah," he said, sounding drained. He dropped down on the edge of the sleeping bag and lay back. "Just need… to rest… a minute."

Liz quickly retrieved his water bottle. "Here," she said, sitting next to him. "You'll feel better."

Max took the bottle and pushed himself up on one elbow to drink. "Thanks," he said, when he'd drained the contents. Shoving upward again, he managed to sit all the way up.

"You sure you're okay?" Liz asked worriedly.

"I'm sure," he said, reaching out to run a finger over the small crease in her forehead. "And to answer your earlier question, yes, I'll be able to undo the entrance later so we can get out. Just remind me not to try and do the whole thing at once," he said with a weak smile.

"That's what you get for showing off," she scolded.

"I was hardly showing off," he said dryly. "If I had been, you'd be surrounded by bunches of roses or something equally romantic," he teased.

"I've already told you that your protective streak is romantic," she said. "As long as you're not pretending I'm incapable while you're at it." She leaned in and kissed him. "Not that roses aren't wonderful, too," she murmured. "Just not very useful out in the middle of nowhere."

"True," he agreed, running his thumb over her moist lips. "Too bad I can't conjure a couple of burgers and fries. Those would be useful," he sighed.

"Hungry?"

"A little," he admitted. "But it's too early to eat." He rested his forehead against hers. "I hope it occurs to the others that we're missing pretty soon."

"It will," she said. "Michael's probably cursing us as we speak."

Max laughed. "Yeah. I can just hear him now. He's gonna be thrilled."

Liz smiled. "And Maria will be freaking out. And Isabel will decide it's somehow my fault."

"She won't," Max insisted.

"Well, maybe not," Liz agreed. "She's come a long way since sophomore year."

"And Alex will be pacing between Maria and Isabel, trying to think of witty things to keep their minds off of everything," Max said.

"Definitely."

"Does this mean we're all getting predictable?" Max asked.

"Nah. Just that we know each other really well," Liz said. She rested her head on Max's shoulder, cuddling closer when his arm slipped around her. "It's a good feeling, actually."

"It is," he agreed. "Thank you."

"What for?" she asked, puzzled.

"For being part of my life, and bringing your friends with you," he said, turning to kiss her.

"Mmmm," Liz hummed against his warm lips. "You're welcome. And thank you, too, for the very same reasons."

Max began to chuckle, the warm sound coming from deep in his chest.

"What?" Liz asked, smiling.

"Michael would have been gagging at us about now, if he was here."

"Oh, God, yeah," Liz agreed, starting to laugh. "It's a good thing he's not."

A wicked gleam in his eyes, Max scooped Liz up and stretched her out on the sleeping bag, coming down over her. "A very good thing," he said, his voice suddenly low and suggestive.

"Why, Max Evans, are you planning to seduce me?" Liz teased.

He kissed her hard, his mouth opening hot and wet over hers, his tongue sliding past her lips to explore her. "Oh, yeah," he murmured throatily. "You could definitely say that."

Liz sighed into his mouth, her tongue tangling with his. "I guess… you're… feeling better," she observed breathlessly.

Max just laughed and went on kissing her.

******

TBC
posted on 27-Nov-2001 8:10:38 PM by EmilyluvsRoswell

Part 8

********

"Max. Max." Liz pressed against his chest with both hands until his mouth stilled and he pulled away.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"Nothing," she said with a slight smile. "It's just I'm not a suitable lunch substitute," she teased. "Your system has suffered an enormous drain. If you're hungry, you should eat." She sat up and ducked past him.

Max rolled over onto his back with a groan. "Fine," he muttered. "But you realize this is the last of the food, right?"

"You're the one who said we shouldn't bother rationing it," she reminded him. "Here, take my water. You can purify some more when you're feeling better."

"I feel fine," he grumbled, sitting up. "Well, mostly fine," he amended, when the room spun slightly. He took a sip from her water bottle.

Liz spread out their remaining supply of food, handing Max his share. They ate quietly, Liz keeping an eye on Max the entire time. He seemed all right, but they were out in the middle of no where and she wasn't willing to take any chances. She insisted on going back to refill their water bottles herself, bringing them back to the front of the cave for Max to work his magic on their contents.

"So," Max said, when they had finally finished their meal. "What do you want to do now?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, there's not exactly a whole lot going on in here," Max quipped. "And clearly you don't want to fool around, so I thought maybe you had some other activity in mind."

Liz frowned at the hint of hurt in Max's tone. "Is that what you think?" she asked quietly. "That I suggested lunch to avoid your touching me?"

"No," he admitted sheepishly. "I know better." Sighing he took her hand and held it in both of his, tracing over each of her small fingers. "I guess every once in a while I still find it hard to believe, that's all."

"Find what hard to believe?"

"That you love me," he said. "That… that I can do something as simple as kiss you, or hold your hand. I watched you from a distance for so many years and I never once thought I would get the opportunity to tell you how I felt. To show you." Lifting her hand, he kissed her palm. "It's still a miracle to me, Liz. You're a miracle to me."

"Oh, Max," she whispered. Would they ever get used to each other? Would they ever reach a point where all of their insecurities faded away and they just knew the other would be there forever? Maybe it was better this way - never taking each other for granted.

"Come here," she told him, stretching out her legs and patting her lap. "Lie down." Reaching for him, she coaxed him into a reclining position, with her thighs as his pillow. He stared up at her, one hand gently massaging the back of her knee, as she ran her fingers through his tousled hair.

"What are you thinking?" he asked.

"That we don't really talk enough," she sighed.

Max frowned. "We talk all the time."

"That's not what I mean. I know we talk a lot, and I honestly believe I could tell you anything," she said, her hand moving to stroke his stubbly cheek. "But we've gotten so caught up in these… battles, lately. It sounds weird, I know, but I'm kind of glad we're trapped in here."

"We do have busy lives," he admitted. "And I know that means lots of interruptions. I'm sorry, Liz. That things are so complicated."

"It's who we are," she told him. "I'm fine with it, Max, really. But it's good to have some us time once in a while. There are some things we need to discuss," she added softly.

Max's hand stopped its light rubbing motion. "That sounds ominous," he replied cautiously. "Liz, if this is about my nightmares again…"

"No, no," she assured him. "You've made yourself clear on that topic, Max, and while I don't agree with you, I'm willing to respect your wishes. For now, at least," she said.

"Then what?" he asked. But he had relaxed perceptibly and he was stroking the back of her knee again.

"I… Actually, I have a question for you. And, it's kind of hard for me, so just… hear me out, okay?"

"Hey, what is it? You know you can ask my anything, Liz. You just said as much." He caught her hand, drawing it away from his cheek so he could kiss her fingers. "Go ahead, love."

"All right." She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, studiously avoiding his steady gaze. "Um… what I really want to know is… Max, other than the fact that you're scared of, you know, hurting me… Is there any reason why you won't make love to me?"

"What?" he choked out, sitting up abruptly and spinning around to face her. "Liz, God… What other reason could there possibly be?"

"I don't know," she admitted, still not looking him in the eye. "I know you love me, Max, and you're… attracted to me. But you keep… holding me at a distance," she whispered.

"Liz," he said gently, taking her face in his hands and tilting her head so she was forced to look at him. "Liz, I love you more than anything in the world. And I wish… God, so badly, that making love was something simple for us. But it's not. You know it isn't."

"Why, Max? Why are you so sure it's dangerous for us to be together? You're mostly human, after all."

"I don't know, Liz. And I can't take risks based on that. Not with you. You mean too much to me."

"Remember before we started going out? You told me you were scared of it working out really well - of feeling everything you knew you'd feel - because we weren't meant to be together and it was bound to end badly," she reminded him.

Max nodded. "Yeah. You told me it wasn't my decision to make," he said softly. "But this is more than risking a broken heart, Liz."

"Max, are you still waiting for me to move on?" she asked, her voice so low he barely caught the words.

"Am I what?"

"Do you still think, somewhere deep down, that I'm going to leave you?" she asked, her voice gathering strength. "Because that's the only reason I can find for your stubbornness about this. If you really believed this was forever - us - then you would make love to me. It's going to happen sooner or later, Max. You can't imagine we're going to go through our entire lives without consummating our relationship."

"How long have you been thinking about all this?" he asked, his tone bewildered.

"A while," she confessed.

"Liz, I…" Max shook his head and pulled her so she was seated between his legs, leaning back against his chest. "Liz, I love you. I can't live without you. I've tried, as you well know, and made a huge mess of things in the process. As scared as I am about what being with me might mean for you and your life, I just can't let you go. And I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual," he murmured against her hair. "You've proven it to me time and again. So, no, I'm not waiting for you to walk away from me." He brushed a stray lock of hair off her face and kissed her tenderly. "I don't want to hurt you, Liz," he whispered. "I swear that's the only thing holding me back. And it's a close call most of the time, anyway," he admitted quietly.

"I don't want it to be a close call, anymore," Liz told him. "Max, make love to me. Really make love to me," she said, twisting in his arms to meet his gaze. She reached up and ran her hand down the side of his face. "Please."

Max froze. "Liz, I…"

"No," she said. "I understand your reservations. And I love that you want to protect me. I just… I know it'll be all right. I can't explain it, but I do." She snuggled closer to him, her cheek pressed to his heart, and smiled when he automatically began stroking the top of her head, running his fingers through her hair.

"You're sure?" he asked softly.

"I've never been more certain of anything, Max. I love you. I want to be with you."

He let out a long sigh. "Well, then… um… assuming neither of us are grounded by the time we get out of here… How about a nice dinner next weekend? We can find some romantic…"

"Max," she broke in, sitting up to look at him. "I don't mean next weekend. I mean now. I want to make love with you today, Max."

"Now? Here?" he asked, startled. "Liz, we're in a cave. People outside want us dead. Why would you want to…"

"I don't want to wait anymore," she said. "Max, I love you. I don't need a candlelit dinner or…"

"But a cave? Liz, you deserve a real bed, at the very least. Sweetheart, why the sudden rush? What is this really about, hmm?" he questioned, cupping her face with one hand. "Come on. This isn't like you."

"You said it yourself," she told him. "People out there want us dead. Max, neither of us has any idea what the future holds, and I'm tired of putting off our lives. We don't know if we'll even make it out of this cave alive."

"Is that what has you in this panic? You're scared we won't get out of here? Liz, I promise this is going to be all right," he said, hugging her tight. "I won't let anything happen to you."

"It's not that I don't have faith in you," she reassured him. "I do. I'm sure we'll figure this out and that we'll live to see a lot more sunsets. But it's wrong to base all of your choices on the assumption that the sun will always rise again. We just don't have that luxury. We're not impervious to danger." She pressed a finger to his lips. "And before you start apologizing, know that I wouldn't trade a minute of my life with you for anything in the world," she whispered. "But I learned a long time ago that, while you're a brilliant leader and a wonderful friend, you need a good swift kick in the pants whenever it comes to moving our relationship forward," she teased.

Max smiled against her hand and leaned his forehead against hers. "You're telling me I'm too careful with you."

"Oh, yeah," she nodded, laughter bubbling up from deep in her chest. "And it's a wonderful feeling to be so loved," she told him. "But it's time to take the next step."

Cupping her chin, Max ran his thumb over Liz's bottom lip, tracing its fullness. His eyes darkened as her tongue flicked out and caught the tip of his finger. Looking up, he found her gaze already tingled with desire, and he fell - drowning in the love and certainty he saw in her eyes.

"Make love to me, Max," she whispered huskily. "I need you. I need to be a part of you. To know you're really mine."

He nodded, his movements slow and heavy, almost hypnotic. Fitting his palm to the back of her head, he leaned in and kissed her. "I am yours," he murmured against her lips, nipping gently, tasting her soft skin. "And you're mine. And I'm never going to let you go," he whispered. Then his arms tightened around her and he gently lowered her to the ground.

*******

TBC
posted on 1-Dec-2001 1:15:36 AM by EmilyluvsRoswell

Sorry it took me so long to get back with this part. Life just kind of exploded this week and I've had very little time to write. Hope you enjoy!

*happy*
Em

*******

Part 9

*******

Max's lips were soft and warm, and Liz felt heat spread wherever he kissed… her mouth, nose, chin, the curve of her jaw. Her skin tingled beneath each caress and she let her head fall back, her neck arching upward to give him better access.

"You taste so sweet," Max murmured, his tongue running down the smooth arch of her throat. He smiled at the shiver that ran through her. "I can never get enough of this - of you." His lips whispered over her pulse and he lingered there, pressing hot wet kisses against the evidence of her quickening heartbeat.

Liz ran her fingers through his hair, stroking the silken skin directly behind his ears and at the nape of his neck. Her breathing was growing shallow and she could feel her blood humming through her body, heating in rapid response to Max's touch. Hungry to taste him, she tugged impatiently until he moved back to her mouth. "I guess it makes sense then," she murmured against his lips.

"What makes sense?" he breathed.

"You always taste spicy," she whispered, her tongue teasing his playfully. "Like Tabasco."

Max laughed, a low rumble Liz could feel deep in his chest where he pressed against her. "You're telling me my alien taste buds brought us together?" he joked.

"Maybe," she smiled, her eyes watering.

"Hey, what's this for?" he asked, gently touching the single tear that crept down her cheek.

"You have such a beautiful laugh," she told him, reaching up and cupping his cheek. "I love your laugh, Max."

"And that's a reason to cry?" he asked, confused.

Liz shook her head. "You just don't laugh very much. I wish you did."

"Shh," he told her, running a finger over her full bottom lip. "No deep thoughts." Lowering his head until he hovered just above her, he touched his nose to hers. "In fact, no thoughts at all," he whispered. He replaced his finger with his teeth, tugging gently yet firmly on her lip.

Wrapping her arms around Max's neck, Liz pulled him closer so she could deepen the kiss. Their tongues twined together, playing back and forth. Max slipped a hand into Liz's hair, stroking it back off her face as he kissed her, his mouth demanding, devouring. She gasped at the intense heat that went pouring through her body. She could feel Max's arousal where he pressed against her hip, his erratic breathing that matched her own. How had things escalated so quickly? One moment they were playful, teasing, and the next she felt caught in an inferno.

"God, Max," she panted. He had moved away from her mouth - was kissing down the length of her throat. His questing fingers pushed the neckline of her shirt to one side, clearing the way for his caressing lips, the drag of his tongue. He laved her collar bone and the dip at the base of her throat, sending ripples of desire cascading through her. Then he shifted to her shoulder, his mouth opening over the curve. He drew her delicate skin into his mouth, causing a powerful suction she could feel between her thighs. She moaned, her hands kneading his back and shoulders convulsively, drawing him closer. Her hips rocked upward as she unconsciously sought to relieve the steadily building ache.

"Relax," Max purred against her wet skin, his hand moving to still her lower body. "I'm not going anywhere," he told her.

"You better not."

Max lifted his head and grinned wolfishly. "Surely now that you've got me where you want me, you don't want me to hurry, do you? I mean, you can't possibly object if I take my time?" He nearly laughed at the spark of panic in Liz's eyes.

"Take your time?"

"Mmm hmm," he said, dropping small teasing kisses along the v-neck of her shirt, his lips just brushing the upper curve of her breasts.

"Ahhh…" Liz sighed, her eyes fluttering closed. "I suppose," she mumbled. "Within reason."

Max smiled and licked the shadow of her cleavage, feeling her jump slightly in his arms. "I thought so," he whispered, watching her nipples pucker against the thin cotton as his breath tickled her skin. He rubbed the edge of his thumb over one hard nub, putting just the smallest amount of pressure behind the caress. The nipple tightened perceptibly and Liz arched her back in response. Max answered by plucking lightly at the breast, his fingers pinching gently.

Liz felt as if Max were setting small fires inside of her. She dragged at the hem of his shirt, desperate to feel his skin beneath her hands. She ran her palms up his smooth back, caressing every rippling muscle. He pulled back and tugged his shirt over his head, then helped her sit up a moment so he could remove hers as well.

"Better?" he asked huskily, his hands stroking over her arms as he lowered her back onto the sleeping bag.

"Much," she told him, stroking his chest, her fingers playing over his flat nipples.

"Mmmm," he murmured, kissing her again. "Good. I aim to please," he added, tracing the line of her bra with one teasing finger, then cupping her breast through the soft cotton.

It was all he could do to keep from ripping her clothes off. She was so beautiful - felt so right lying there half beneath him. But though they had achieved a level of intimacy over the past year, Max knew that this was going to be different - an irrevocable decision - and he had to make it wonderful because Liz deserved nothing less.

He continued to fondle her breast, testing the weight in his palm, watching a myriad of emotions chase across Liz's face. Her hands were everywhere, stroking, caressing, kneading his shoulders. Feathering kisses over her forehead, Max lifted her slightly, his fingers deftly undoing the clasp of her bra. He pulled back just enough to tug the scrap of fabric out from between them, sighing at the feel of her hard nipples suddenly pressed against his chest.

"Yes," Liz whispered, rubbing her bare breasts against Max's smooth skin. She couldn't seem to get close enough. Desire spiraled upward from low in her abdomen, a need that grew more urgent by the moment. She tried to drag Max closer, as if she could crawl inside of him if she tried hard enough.

Max felt Liz's slender back, his hands spanning the space between her shoulders easily. He stroked her silky skin, kissing down her throat as he shifted lower. Supporting her back with one hand, he ran a palm down the curve of her torso, his fingers trailing over her ribs. It frightened him sometimes, how fragile she seemed.

"You're so delicate," he whispered. "Such tiny bones."

"Max, please," she murmured, trying to drag his hand toward her breasts.

"So impatient," Max scolded mockingly. But he allowed her to have her way, curving his hand around one plump globe. He kneaded the warm flesh, a thrill shooting through him when Liz cried out in pleasure, her back curving to press against his hand. He could feel his jeans growing almost unbearably tighter and wondered why his control seemed to be deserting him so quickly. Clamping down on his libido, he lowered his head and sucked Liz's other breast into his mouth.

Liz yelped when he tugged at her nipple with his teeth. "Oh my God, that feels incredible," she panted harshly. Her nerve endings were singing and she could feel her panties growing wet. And something else was happening - something she couldn't quite place. It felt almost as if her heart was swelling in her chest.

"Max, I…" Liz sucked in a great gulp of air as he switched breasts and a cool breeze tickled her wet nipple. "Oh yessss." She realized she was trembling and clutched Max tighter, all thoughts of what she wanted to say flying from her head.

But Max had noticed the tremors wracking her body as well. "Liz?" He lifted up to look her in the eyes, gently stroking her cheek to get her to look at him. When her lashes fluttered and she met his worried gaze, he smiled at the intense passion swimming there. "Liz, are you all right?" he asked.

"Yeah," she murmured huskily. "Wonderful." She reached down and rubbed his hard length through his jeans, smiling when he jerked slightly at her touch. "You better take these off," she rasped softly, tugging at the button at his waist. "Before you cut off all circulation," she teased throatily.

"I think… that might be a good… idea," Max managed. He braced his forehead against hers for a moment, trying to catch his breath. Grabbing her searching fingers, he moved her hand out of range. "You're making me so crazy," he whispered. "I don't know what's happening."

"You feel it too?" she panted. "I thought… it was just me."

Max rolled to the side, though he remained pressed up against Liz, unable to bear losing contact. "I can hardly think straight," he confessed breathlessly, his fingers working at the closing of his jeans even as he struggled to maintain his control.

Liz sat up and Max reached for her automatically. "No," he said forcefully, pulling her down so they were touching again.

"I'm just taking off my jeans," she told him.

"I… I can't not touch you, Liz," he whispered. "It's like… I don't know. I need you so badly right now."

"Me too." She lay next to him and shimmied out of her pants, kicking them free once they were past her knees.

Max divested himself of his remaining clothes and instantly wrapped an arm around Liz's waist, plastering himself along her length. Liz lifted one leg over his hip, arching into him restlessly.

"Are you okay?" she asked. "What are you feeling?" Her breathing was rapid, her skin fevered. She dropped sizzling, open-mouthed kisses along Max's chest and shoulders, her hands stroking down his sweaty back.

"I'm all right, just… so hot," he murmured. "You set my blood on fire." He groaned as she licked his nipples, her tongue flicking back and forth. "Liz…" Reaching down, he cupped her ass through her thin panties, squeezing firmly. He rolled over her and pressed his erection into her heat, groaning when she raised her hips and ground against him.

"Yessss," she hissed.

"Get rid of… these," Max bit out, dragging her panties down and off. His mouth trailed down the center of her stomach, his tongue flicking into her navel as he ran his palms over her thighs and down behind her knees, lifting her legs higher.

"Max," she panted. "In my… bag."

"What?" he gasped out. He glanced up, his vision blurring. "Liz?"

"Condoms," she whispered. "Outside pocket."

"I…" Max paused, resting his cheek against her inner thigh. "I've got it covered," he told her, turning to kiss the soft flesh a few inches above her knee.

Liz arched her hips helplessly. "I.. thought you were… so intent on waiting."

"No… I mean I.." He nibbled at her knee, his surging lust distracting him. Drawing in a deep breath, he shook his head. "Liz, I'm not sure normal methods… of protection are safe," he whispered. Crawling up her body, he settled between her thighs, nipping along her jaw line.

"Then what?" Liz managed to ask despite her spinning head. She arched her hips again, gasping when Max's hard length rubbed against her dripping core. "Max… please…"

He raised his head just enough so he could look her in the eyes. "Do you trust me? Liz?"

"Of…course," she told him.

"I'll take care of you, love," he swore, his voice hoarse. "I… swear." He dragged his hardened length through her wetness again, his eyes closed.

"Maaax," Liz wailed. "Max, I need you." Her arms tightened around him, her hands gripping him around the waist as she tried to pull him inside of her. "Please, Maaaaxxx."

"God, Liz," Max gasped. He opened his eyes and stared down at her. She looked utterly wild, her face flushed, sweat matting down her long dark hair. Every muscle in his body tensed and he looked deep into her eyes. "Look at me, Liz. Please, love."

She felt as if he was swallowing her with his eyes. It was like making a connection, but so much more. Liz felt like she was falling into Max, the world spinning crazily around them. She couldn't hear anything but the beating of their hearts and Max's voice murmuring deep within her, as if he was actually a part of her.

Max felt Liz's soul encompass him through their connection, wrapping him in a warm blanket of indescribable love and desire. Poised on the brink of entering her, he gently probed her opening, feeling heat whirling around him until he thought they would go up in flames.

"I don't want to hurt you," he whispered.

Liz heard him as if across a great distance. "It's okay," she told him, arching against him. "Max, come inside me," she begged. "Fill me up."

He shuddered and surged forward, sinking deep. And suddenly their connection exploded. Max could hear Liz in his head, in his body, in his heart. Her thoughts traveled through his blood, filling him with an incredible sense of belonging - of ultimate, unconditional acceptance. Lights sparkled in the depths of Liz's eyes and Max stopped breathing at the utter beauty before him. He could feel her love, her sheer bliss at being together with nothing at all between them. And most amazing of all was the sense that she felt blessed to be a part of his life - that she thought herself lucky for ever having met him. It was what she had told him time and again, but only now that he felt it so strongly - so real - could he allow himself to understand how special their bond was. His heart, already bursting, opened even wider, somehow forging itself physically to Liz's.

Liz was vaguely aware of a sharp pain when Max broke through her barrier, but it was gone in an instant - replaced by a whirlwind of love and shooting flames and such heat licking at her body that it seemed impossible for her to still be alive. Max's love shot through her, setting every inch of her humming, singing, bursting with sensations so incredible they had to be alien. She could have sworn she saw fireworks - bright lights that spun in the dark pools of Max's eyes. Her heart beat fast and hard, in perfect unison with his, as if they were one and the same. It was as if their bodies had split wide open, each of them absorbed into the other, truly making them one. She could hear his thoughts, feel his emotions - his amazement at how much she loved him, his awe, and ultimately his desperate need to hold her close and safe. Even now, in the midst of their love making, she knew Max's first and only goal was to make her happy, and it made her heart swell to bursting.

Max held tightly to their connection as he began to rock against her. Slowly, gently, he pulled out of Liz's body, only to sink back in until their hips touched. Their eyes bore into each other, the flow of their emotions taking place at every point where they connected. The heat that suffused their bodies was still building and Liz gasped as Max began to stroke into her with more force.

Had they not been connected, Max might have been concerned, but he knew Liz was all right because he could feel everything she felt. Her hips arched up to meet his thrusts and he began to pick up speed.

"Oh, yes, more," she moaned, wrapping her legs around his hips.

"Liz," he whispered, thrusting harder. "You feel so good," he breathed. She was so tight and hot - not just where her silky sheath hugged his erection, but everywhere. She held his soul, as he held hers. He could feel their essences rubbing together, stroking in time with their fevered bodies.

"Max, God…." Liz raked her nails down his back, her eyes wide as he sank deeper. Gripping his ass, she pushed up with her legs, meeting his thrusts with equal force. "I love you," she whispered, watching his eyes dilate further, sucking her in like a powerful magnet.

"I can't… hold out… much longer," he panted, picking up speed, driving her into the ground. Reaching between them, he stroked her deftly just above the place where their bodies were joined.

Liz let out a high, keening sound and arched against him, her body convulsing. Her inner muscles clamped down hard on Max's length where he was buried deep within her, squeezing him as he pressed into her. Her climax forced him over the edge and he poured into her, releasing over and over as he continued to thrust into her heated core.

The flashes were instantaneous. More rapidly than they had ever experienced them, they shot through their consciousness, one after the other: the moment Max saved Liz, sitting in the Jeep on the way to Marathon, a drive on the old highway, their first kiss, a heated exchange in the back of the Crashdown, a night spent hidden in an old van, whispering on Liz's roof as the sun crept over the horizon, battling their enemies side-by-side, Liz comforting Max when he was unable to heal Tess's fatal injuries, laughing together at one of Alex's jokes. A hundred memories, a thousand moments, swam through their minds as their bodies exploded, each muscle tensing and releasing over and over until finally Max collapsed over Liz, his weight pressing her into the soft quilted sleeping bag.

It was a few minutes before Max was able to shift off of Liz, pulling her tightly against his side. His breathing still erratic, he pressed kisses against her temple, her cheek, her lips. "Are you all right?" he asked, stroking her arm.

"Mmm," she said, snuggling against him and kissing his shoulder. "Max, that was… beyond anything I could have imagined," she whispered.

"Did you see..?"

"It was like home movies of our life together," she said, curling into him. "It was so beautiful. You're so beautiful," she added, reaching up and stroking his cheek..

"No, you're the beautiful one," Max told her, pushing up on one elbow so he could look at her. "Inside and out. You have a beautiful soul," he whispered reverently.

"Then that's what that was," Liz said softly. "Our souls… connected."

Max nodded. He rested his forehead against hers. "I love you so much, Liz Parker."

"I love you, too," she replied.

"Now." Max ran his hand down over her naked hip, his eyes still staring into hers. Slipping his palm around between her thighs, he cupped her gently as they connected once more.

Liz felt a tingling warmth beneath Max's hand, and further up inside of her. "What?" she whispered, when he drew his hand away. "What did you do, Max?"

"Alien birth control," he told her, dropping a tender kiss on the tip of her nose.

She felt herself blush and marveled at her ability to do so, even while she lay in her lover's arms. "That's what you meant about trusting you," she said. "You… did something."

He drew her closer, easing her head down on his chest as he lay back. "I took care of it," he said softly, stroking her hair.

Liz smiled against his chest. "So, you had given this some thought before I pushed the issue."

"Most of me is very much human male," Max reminded her with a grin. "I gave it a lot of thought." Reaching down, he tugged the top flap of the sleeping back over their cooling bodies. "How do you feel?"

"Different," Liz replied. "More…attached to you." She smiled contentedly. "How about you."

"I know what you mean," he said, his arm tightening around her. "I couldn't love you any more than I did before, but now I feel as if we're… part of each other. Permanently."

"Mmmm," Liz agreed. "Exactly."

"I like that," Max confessed quietly. "Knowing you're mine."

"Feeling possessive?" she teased.

"Very."

"Me, too." Liz snuggled into the warmth of Max's body. "And sleepy," she added.

Max smiled down at her, realizing she was already more than half unconscious. "Go to sleep, love," he whispered, kissing the top of her head. "Sweet dreams." Resting his head on top of hers, Max closed his eyes, as well.

******

TBC
posted on 6-Dec-2001 12:04:47 AM by EmilyluvsRoswell

Wow! Thanks for the overwhelming feedback, everyone. I'm glad the culmination of all that waiting lived up to your expectations. *wink* Sorry it's been a few days since my last post here, but I think most of you know I've been working on ...There's No Place Like Home, and there are just so many hours in the day (and night). But, better late than never. And I believe in making up for lost time, so... *big* Enjoy!

*happy*
Em

********

Part 10

*******

Liz came awake slowly, gradually becoming aware of Max's bare chest rising and falling beneath her cheek, his heart beating steadily in her ear. He had one arm wrapped around her shoulders while the other was slung just below her waist, his hand splayed over the small of her back. The sleeping bag had slipped low as they slept, but she felt no chill, enveloped as she was in Max's warmth. And more than that - more than the heat his body gave off - Liz could feel him. Even in his sleep, Max was still connected to her, as if they had somehow opened a permanent channel between them. She could feel his emotions like a low hum in the back of her mind, reassuring her with his presence.

Max stirred slightly, his arms tightening reflexively around Liz's warm body. She smiled as his fingers stroked over her skin, making her nerve endings tingle. One of his hands found its way into her hair and he massaged the nape of her neck gently.

"Hey," he murmured huskily.

"Hey yourself," she said, dropping a kiss on his chest as she traced small circles over his skin with the tips of her fingers.

"You okay?" he asked. "No… pain?"

"I'm fine," she whispered, touched at his concern. "I don't even remember if it hurt," she added. "All I remember is feeling… amazing. And now…"

"Now?" he prompted.

"Now I'm just floating here with you on our own private cloud," she said dreamily.

"Really," he said, sounding pleased.

Liz giggled. "Really." She shifted onto her stomach, half-sprawled over him, her chin propped on her hands.

Max reached over and flicked the flashlights back on, the faint light allowing them to see each other. He pulled his bag over and leaned back against it. "There you are," he grinned, staring down at Liz.

"Hmm… and you needed light to be sure of that, did you?"

His expression grew serious. "No," he said, trailing a fingertip over her nose. "I would know it was you anywhere, no matter how dark it was, no matter how many other people were crowded around us."

"So would I," she said. "It's different now, isn't it? Stronger. It's like you're there inside of me, shimmering on the edges of my mind."

Max just looked at her for a long moment, continuing to trace her features - the arch of her eyebrows, her cheekbones, her lips. "It's not too much?" he asked finally.

Liz looked startled. "Our connection? Of course not."

"I think we might have to practice… tuning it down," he said slowly. "So it doesn't end up feeling… invasive. Because I don't…" He frowned slightly, his gaze dropping.

"What, Max?" Liz asked, reaching up to ruffle his tousled hair. "What's worrying you?"

"I don't think we can turn it off anymore," he admitted.

"Is that all?" Liz smiled. "Max, I love you. Connecting with you - feeling that closely linked - it's a part of that. I wouldn't want to turn it off. Would you?" Her smile widened as she looked into his eyes and felt their bond flare to life. It was like fanning the flames of a smoldering fire, encouraging it build.

"No," he said, his eyes darkening in response to the sudden heat in her gaze. He could feel her love pouring over him, making his pulse speed up.

"What was that we were going to practice?" she drawled.

Max laughed, a low, throaty sound. He grabbed her under her arms and dragged her several inches up the length of his body so he could kiss her. "Have I mentioned lately how incredible you are?" he murmured against her lips.

"Mmmm… probably. You're always saying stuff like that." She moaned lightly as his hands stroked down the length of her torso to squeeze her hips. "And the feeling is mutual," she added, returning his kiss. She could sense their connection deepening as she did, their hearts and souls reaching out to each other. It was like a warm smoke unfurling from within her, spreading through her body and into his, meeting his essence, uniting them.

"Liz," he breathed. His grip on her tightened and suddenly he had flipped her onto her back. He came down over her, kissing her hungrily.

She could feel his arousal pressing insistently between her thighs, already unbelievable hard. Unable to keep still, she arched against him, groaning when his engorged length brushed through her damp curls. "Max," she panted, raking her nails down his back and pressing herself against him. Heat raced through her body, riding her blood and the ever-quickening connection.

Max's breathing was just as erratic. His mouth traveled over her fevered skin, never stopping anywhere long enough, nipping, sucking, skimming his teeth teasingly. He reached one of her breasts and began suckling hard, taking as much of the firm globe into his mouth as he could. His tongue played over her delicate skin and then he caught her nipple in his teeth and bit down gently.

Liz arched her head and let out a cry of pleasure. Her hands were twined in Max's hair, encouraging him to remain where he was as she pressed her breast deeper into his hot, wet mouth. But Max was restless. He turned his attention to her other breast, sucking and biting it until it was as damp and pink as the other one, the nipple a hardened nub. His hands raked up her body, over her ribs, palms skimming her sensitized breasts. He slipped his hands under her arms and stroked upward, pressing them over her head. He began kissing and nipping the soft skin on the under side of her arms, traveling up to her wrists. Then he tangled their fingers together and left them there.

"Max, please," Liz moaned. She tried to pull free of his grip, but he held fast, transferring both wrists to one large hand. With his free hand, he eased himself down, lining their bodies up until he lay over her, his hips cushioned against hers, his erection once more rubbing against her heat.

"Open for me, love," he whispered, his voice already husky with desire. He smoothed his hand over her inner thigh, pressing gently. His eyes bore into hers, so dark and filled with lust that Liz felt her breath hitch low in her chest. His fingers played across her skin, tantalizing. "Liz, God…" he groaned, nibbling over her shoulder, his lips grazing over the soft spot beneath her collar bone, his stubble rough and teasing against her.

She shivered at the sensations Max was sending shooting through her. Needing to feel more of him, she spread her thighs wide, raising her knees to cradle his hips, loving how right it felt to have him so close. She tried once more to pull her hands loose, wanting to hold him, to wrap herself around him. "Max, I need to touch you," she begged.

"Soon," he rasped, continuing to hold her captive.

Her thoughts were scattered, everything swirling together until it occurred to her they were not just her thoughts. She could hear Max - his thoughts mingling with her own - twisting together and overlapping until she could hardly tell which was which. Love you so much so beautiful not possible God love love soft good yes perfect always love Liz sweetheart life yes love. A steady stream of adoration was filling her mind and heart, all stemming from Max.

"Max, please," she whimpered again, lifting her hips against his throbbing length. "God, please, I need you so badly." She was desperate to make that final link, to join the physical with the emotional bond that was already making her head spin.

Max swooped down and kissed Liz, biting at her lips, drawing her tongue into his mouth and sucking on it. He felt urgent, hot and needy, and he knew Liz felt the same. His heart was tight with all of the emotions surging through him - his own, Liz's - pumping his blood as surely as the muscle itself. The connection swirled through him, around them, dancing back and forth until it seemed a third entity - the essence of their unique combined selves.

He sensed her impatience a moment before she lifted her legs and wrapped them around his hips, arching desperately against him. "Maaxxxx," she panted.

Kissing her hard, Max surged into Liz's body with one deft motion, filling her to the hilt. He felt her intake of breath, her heart stutter before it continued beating crazily. She nipped at his mouth, her tongue dueling with his, and she tightened her legs, pulling him even deeper.

"God," Max gasped, pulling back and gulping in air. "I love you." He released her hands so he could brace himself over her, propping himself on his elbows, one hand tangling in her hair. Liz immediately wrapped her arms around his neck, and he began pumping in and out of her, building a steady rhythm to match the pounding of their blood. Their hearts raced together in perfect unison, synchronized as they joined again and again. The scent of roses hung in the air around them, and Max could have sworn it came from Liz. She felt soft and strong and shimmery around him, and as he rocked against her, Max felt utterly wrapped in her warm love. It danced through his heart, his body, like a mantra in his mind.

"I love you, too," Liz whispered, kissing along his jaw line. She lifted her hips to meet Max's every thrust, feeling him slip deeper and deeper until, with her eyes closed, she could have sworn that she had enveloped him completely. His heart pounded in her throat and she could taste a hint of Tabasco when she licked the sweat off her lip. Each time he sank into her, she could feel them climbing higher and higher together, until it felt like they were suspended a million miles above the earth. The spiraling heat in the pit of her stomach kicked abruptly to full blaze.

"Yeeeessssss," she cried, pressing up one final time as her climax surged through her, taking her trembling over the edge of the precipice. She arched into Max, holding him as tightly as she could as she felt her body explode. Ripple after ripple shook her body, Max's strong arms the only thing keeping her from shattering and flying through the universe.

Max felt Liz's inner walls clamp down on him as she found her release and he stroked one last time into her hot, wet depths before losing control himself. He spilled hard and fast into her warm, silky body, her muscles milking him until he thought his very soul had transferred to her. He moaned her name, collapsing over her, trying to keep the majority of his weight off her. But she dragged him down, using both her arms and legs to keep him on top of her.

Rather than crush her, Max rolled to the side, taking Liz with him. He nuzzled the side of her neck, holding her close. There was still a swirl of connection moving back and forth between them and he could feel their heartbeats slowing in unison.

"I feel like we just flew through space without benefit of a ship," Liz whispered. She kissed Max's cheek, then shifted to press her lips to his.

"Mmm," he agreed. He stroked down her sweaty back, his fingers tracing her spine. "I can still feel you inside of me," he told her. "It's like an imprint of your soul on mine. I… Liz, I never imagined feeling this close to someone… so… completely bonded."

"I know," she said, her heart swelling at the emotion in his voice. There was a still a sense of disbelief coming from him, as if he couldn't quite believe they were really together. "I feel it, too," she told him. She ran a palm down between them and pressed it against his chest over his heart. "You're so beautiful, Max. In your heart," she said. "I always knew it - could sense it - but now I've seen it."

The cuddled together, wrapped in each other's arms. Max tugged the sleeping bag over them again and Liz snuggled down, her head resting on his shoulder.

"What about your hocus pocus?" she asked after a few minutes.

"I only did it the first time to make sure I could," he told her, kissing her forehead lightly. "I can tell through our connection that there's no chance of your getting pregnant right now." He pulled her closer, stroking her hair.

"That's so… amazing," she marveled. "The way we just seem to link that way… I could feel inside of you. It was almost like… being you. But not." She shook her head slightly. "I can't explain it."

Max smiled. "Liz, you don't have to," he reminded her. "I was there, too, love. I felt all the same things. And it was amazing," he agreed, his voice still touched with awe.

"But, you were probably right before," she admitted, pressing her face into his chest and trying to stifle a sudden bout of giggles.

"What?" he asked. "When?" He tugged her up, smiling as her laughter spilled over and she rolled onto her back, shaking as her cheeks grew flushed. "Liz," he teased, his fingers working over her ribs, only causing her to laugh harder.

"Stop," she begged, trying to catch his hands. "Max, please," she panted.

He stopped tickling her, pinning her hands to her sides to keep her from retaliating. "What was I right about?" he asked, grinning as he hovered over her.

"Our connection," she smiled back, loving the joy that shone so clearly in his eyes. "We're gonna need to practice keeping it under control," she admitted. "I mean, I reached for you before, through the bond, and it was like starting a forest fire. I couldn't believe how fast it spun away from us."

"I know," he said, still smiling. He leaned down and kissed her gently. "Sure was fun, though," he whispered mischievously.

"Definitely," Liz agreed, a twinkle in her eyes. Lifting up, she kissed him back, taking his lower lip between her teeth and pulling gently. "But it could prove rather embarrassing if we're not careful."

"Well, I guess we'll just have to be careful, then," he murmured. With that, he pushed her back down onto the sleeping bag and kissed her again.

******

TBC
posted on 3-Jan-2002 1:14:15 AM by EmilyluvsRoswell
Happy New Year, everyone! Sorry I took so long getting back to this, but you know how holiday time can be. Hope you're all enjoying 2002 so far. *big*

*happy*
Em

********

Part 11

********

They lay in each other's arms for a while, kissing and talking quietly. Eventually the cool temperature in the cave won out over even the heat of their bodies and they got up and tugged on their clothes.

Max peered at his watch. "Seven thirty," he said softly, glancing up at Liz. "You hungry?"

She shrugged. "A little. It doesn't matter, Max."

He sighed and pulled her into a loose hug. "I'm sorry," he whispered against her hair.

"I'm a big girl," she replied. "I can skip a couple of meals without disintegrating."

Max's hands fell to the narrow span of her waist. "You sure about that?"

"Yes," she said, poking him in the ribs.

He released her and began gathering their water bottles. "I'm going to go refill these. It's more important than ever that we keep hydrated."

Liz nodded her acknowledgement and watched as he disappeared into the back of the cave. Ignoring the low rumbling of her stomach, she set about tidying their camp area. It was more something to do than anything, an activity to keep her hands busy while her mind wandered over the past few hours of her life. She couldn't help but smile as she shook out their sleeping bags, letting the soft quilted fabric drift back down to the floor of the cave. She smoothed the folds, her hand lingering when she realized the bags were still warm from their bodies. A small shiver of pleasure ran through her. She knew Max had wanted their first time to be special - in a beautiful, luxurious bed in some elegant hotel or quiet country inn - but she was sure in her heart that no setting on earth could have been more perfect. There had been no need for the traditional trappings of a romantic rendezvous. All she had wanted - needed - was Max.

Even now, with him out of sight, she could feel him deep within herself, the briefest remnant of his essence shimmering around her heart. Her body thrummed with a steady awareness, and she somehow knew that all she had to do was reach for him with her mind to complete their connection. Sitting back on her heels, she wondered whether she would be able to control her desire for him once they left the cave. It was so unbelievably potent, so extreme, that it didn't seem possible. How did you reign in such powerful emotions when you could barely understand them? It could definitely make for some embarrassing moments if she couldn't, she thought ruefully. They still had a few months of school left, and she doubted their teachers would appreciate it if they were constantly disappearing into the eraser room. Or worse yet, attacking each other in class.

Chuckling at the thought, Liz decided it would be better to experiment now, when they were alone, than to risk making a spectacle of themselves once they returned to Roswell. She closed her eyes and sent her thoughts toward Max, trying her best to focus only on linking mentally. It felt strange to try to make the connection without touching, as if she were reaching through ether for some sort of phantom figure. But, despite the lack of physical contact, she could easily identify that figure as Max. His spirit was like a beacon through the mist, calling to her.

Liz knew the moment Max realized what she was trying to do. He had been heading back toward her, but he paused mid-stride. She could feel his tentative response, his thoughts probing gently against hers, as if he were unsure as to whether it was really happening or if he were imagining it. Only then did it occur to Liz that, as a human, she might not have been capable of initiating their connection. Before they had made love, only Max had been able to join them that way, and even then only if they were touching. Joy spiked through her at her accomplishment and all at once she felt her link to Max solidify, as if her burst of emotion had finalized the connection. Max's thoughts and feelings surged through her in a rush and she had to force herself to pull back slightly to keep herself from being physically overwhelmed.

The link was different than when they were actually touching. She could feel Max's thoughts and emotions, but there was no direct communication. Instead of knowing precisely what was going through his mind, she merely sensed his mood - playful, content, loving. His pleasure at her connecting with him rippled through her. She understood that he had been concerned before, that he had worried that making love would change her in some physical way that they hadn't anticipated, and he had been afraid of what that might mean. Her obvious delight in her ability to reach out to him and her willingness to try had eased those fears. Again she felt the loving possessiveness he had displayed earlier, and with it a profound sense of completion that made her heart skip a beat.

Sitting on the edge of the sleeping bag, Liz let herself relax into the connection with Max. She felt his gentle response to her, the way he seemed to spread through her like a warm wave. In return, she pressed deeper into him, allowing her heart and mind to open more fully, tracing through his form until she felt they were completely united. There was nothing particularly sexual in the joining, though is was quite sensual in many respects. But it lacked the heated urgency of their physical love making. This felt much more spiritual, as if their hearts had slipped one inside of the other, as had their minds, until they were merely one soul housed in two separate bodies.

Separated from Liz by a single cave wall, Max stood stock still and enjoyed the sensations caused by this new type of connection. He had set down the water bottles when he first sensed her reaching for him, intent on assisting her in forming the bond, but it had proven unnecessary. She had slipped inside of him - into his heart and soul - as easily as she had all those years before when he had first spotted her on the playground. The ease of their connection only reiterated what he had always known in his heart - they were meant to be together, no matter how unlikely their pairing might have seemed on a rational level.

Taking a deep breath, he felt Liz's spirit quieting within him. At first she had seemed to dance restlessly through him, shimmering and twirling in her supreme happiness at having forged the connection, and he had been unwilling to dampen her enthusiasm, though he had ached to draw her closer to his heart - to feel her more fully against his soul. But she appeared to have sensed his need, or perhaps her own mirrored it, and now she filled him completely, her essence like warm liquid entwining with his own until he could no longer separate the two of them. Eyes closed, he pressed against her, feeling their hearts beating in perfect unison, though they were still yards apart.

Still, it wasn't enough. Even this little amount of contact set his nerve endings singing, his desire for her spiraling abruptly. Max pushed through the connection, sending his own essence chasing through Liz's body, urging her higher. Feeling a flutter of protest, however, he pulled back, confused. He could sense Liz drawing away, withholding her emotions, though her love shone through as boldly as before. He probed again gently, yet once more felt her skitter from his grasp. Unable to understand, frustrated with their inability to communicate more coherently, Max rounded the corner of the cave, feeling their connection strengthen measurably as he closed the physical distance between them.

Liz sat on the ground, her back to Max, yet he knew without a doubt that she felt his approach. Dropping down just behind her, he tugged her into his arms. The instant they touched, their connection roared fully to life, their precise thoughts flooding one another's minds. Liz gasped as Max's desire spun through her, igniting a fire deep within her body. At almost the same moment, Max understood that Liz had been attempting not just to connect with him from a distance, but to control the level of their connection while keeping their hormones at bay. He released her instantly in an attempt to return to their more innocent bond, but it was too late.

Turning while rising to her knees, Liz launched herself at Max, knocking him to his back. Her mouth latched onto his, her tongue demanding entrance. The kiss was hot and wet, causing Max to moan low in his throat. His arms wrapped around Liz, pulling her down more securely against his chest. Their legs entwined, hips rocking urgently against each other, it became swiftly apparent that they were headed rapidly over the brink.

"We are in so much trouble," Liz panted between kisses, her mouth traveling over his jaw.

"Maybe we need to overdose," Max teased breathlessly.

"Max, this isn't funny," she growled. Her fingers tugged purposefully at his clothes as his hands speared beneath her shirt. Skin met heated skin as they rolled restlessly, unbuttoning and unzipping with a haste born of spiking arousal. Within moments Liz was straddling Max, impaling herself on his throbbing erection, her head falling back in ecstasy as he filled her.

"Liz," he groaned, his hands on her hips, urging her to move against him.

"God, Max," she sighed in abandon. Her hands splayed against his chest, she set a steady rhythm, rising on her knees until his hard length was barely within her, then coming down hard and fast, her warmth enveloping him once again. She could feel him swirling inside of her, teasing her soul, his love pulsing through her.

Max arched his hips to meet Liz's downward thrusts. The sensation was indescribable. She was hot and wet, her inner muscles holding him so tightly he marveled at the easy way they moved together. He stroked his palms up her sides, reveling in the softness of her skin. His thumbs swept the lower curve of her breasts and up to tease her nipples, then he pulled her forward until their lips met, changing the angle of their bodies. Liz whimpered against his mouth as he thrust upward, his hands dropping to her soft bottom and pressing her firmly against his hips. They rocked against each other frantically, their tongues mating as urgently as their bodies. Max could feel Liz's climax begin before the first flutter of her muscles, her essence rippling through him like an explosion of fireworks. He lifted against her one final time and she cried out her pleasure as she spasmed repeatedly, grinding against him, her heart pounding frenetically. Crying out her name, Max felt himself pour into her, his seed, his love… every ounce of his being.

Liz collapsed over Max, her chin resting on his shoulder. They lay there, breathing hard, their arms wrapped around each other. Occasionally Max would stroke his palm up the length of Liz's spine and down, stopping at the small of her back. Finally he turned his head and kissed her forehead.

"You okay?" he asked gently, though he could still feel her contentment, the utter relaxation of her body over his.

"Mmm hmm," she murmured. "But this wasn't exactly the idea," she added.

"I know," he sighed. "I just figured it out a little late."

"So much for self-control," Liz mused.

"Well, maybe next time you could let me in on the experiment," he pointed out.

Liz sat up, grinning. "That probably would have helped," she admitted. "It was working until you sent everything spinning into the stars," she added.

"I'm sorry," he said, though his tone indicated otherwise. He wrapped his hands around her waist.

"Yeah, right," she laughed. Leaning down, she kissed the tip of his nose. "At least we don't have to worry about going hormonal in school. Assuming you can behave."

He pulled her down into his arms, rolling so she was lying beside him. "Pretty big assumption," he whispered, kissing her lightly. "But I'll do my best."

They lay there for a few minutes before Max reached for their clothes. "I better go get our water," he told her.

"I am thirsty," Liz agreed, accepting her jeans and shirt.

Max tugged on his clothing and disappeared into the next section of the cave. A moment later he returned with their water. "Here," he said, passing her a bottle.

Liz finished dressing and the two of them sat down and drank deeply. When Liz started to set aside her water, Max shook his head. "All of it," he told her. "I'll get some more when you're done."

Nodding, Liz obediently drained the bottle, then handed it to him. "All gone," she smiled. "Now what?"

Max frowned. "What do you mean?"

"Well, we have to do something, Max." Liz turned his wrist so she could see his watch. "It's barely nine o'clock."

"I suppose it's too early to sleep," he admitted with a sigh. "Let me go refill the water again and then we'll talk about it."

He didn't take long. When he returned, Liz took the water and set it with the rest of their belongings. "You're thinking about the others," she said knowingly.

"Yeah. If Iz doesn't dream walk us tonight…" He trailed off, his forehead furrowed.

"She will," Liz said, sounding confident. "Which means best behavior," she reminded him.

Max's face relaxed into an almost-smile. "Thanks. But we have to talk about this. We need a plan in case they can't… don't contact us."

Liz took his hand in both of hers, tracing his fingers. "They're all right, Max," she whispered. "Iz, Michael, everyone. It was you they were after. You know it's true."

He nodded. "I know most of them followed us, but that doesn't necessarily mean…"

"Stop being such a pessimist. What ever happened to the Max Evans who always said everything would be okay?" she asked softly.

"He learned that's not always true," he replied gravely. "He learned his friends could get hurt or killed. That there are people out there willing to torture someone because their blood cells look a little different." He sighed heavily. "I'm sorry," he told her. "I don't want to be all gloom and doom. Especially not tonight." He slipped his hand from hers and ruffled her hair.

"Have you ever tried to dream walk Isabel?" Liz asked suddenly. "I mean, I know you have different powers, but some things you can all do. I mean, didn't Michael heal River Dog's ankle that night in the woods?"

Max shrugged. "I tried to dream walk once or twice when we were kids, but it never worked."

"How different is it from the way we connect? I mean, the principal has to be pretty much the same. You're entering someone's mind."

"Are you saying I should try to reach Iz?"

Liz tilted her head. "You're the one who wanted to come up with an alternate plan."

"I know," Max smiled gently. "I love you," he said, leaning in and kissing her. "Tell you what. I'm going to check on our friends outside, and then we're going to curl up and cuddle until we get sleepy."

"Cuddle?" Liz smirked, her eyebrows winging up.

"Yes, cuddle," Max told her determinedly. "I am perfectly capable of controlling myself. The image of Isabel dream walking one of us while we're otherwise engaged is a great motivator," he added.

"Right," Liz agreed, her smile wavering.

Max rose and went to the entrance of the cave. He listened carefully, then climbed up to check outside. Shifting the rock he had removed earlier, he peered through the opening. A moment later he had returned the rock and climbed back down with a discouraged sigh.

"Still keeping watch?" Liz asked.

"Yeah. Two of them. Different from before. They're definitely working shifts." He walked over and dropped down on the sleeping bag beside Liz. "Come here," he coaxed.

Liz crawled into his lap, settling back against his chest. She sighed contentedly as Max nuzzled her cheek. "Isabel will dream walk us tonight and we'll be able to let them know where we are," she said. She reached up and cupped Max's face with her palm. "Tomorrow we'll get out of here," she said.

"You almost sound sad," he said, kissing her earlobe.

"Maybe I am. A little," Liz admitted, arching her neck to the side to give him better access. "I can't say I mind being trapped with you, just the two of us," she whispered.

"Me neither," he said, his arms tightening around her. "But there will be other times, other places," he promised. "Better places. Where we'll be alone without any threat outside the door."

Liz twisted to face Max. "Any place where I'm with you is perfect, Max. That's what I was trying to tell you this morning."

He captured her lips in a tender kiss. "I just want to be able to give you so much more. I want to give you the world, Liz."

"You've given me the stars, Max," she told him. "There's nothing more a girl could ask for."

Smiling, Max lifted Liz and tucked her into the sleeping bag, then crawled in beside her, pulling her securely into the circle of his arms. She snuggled against him, her head on his chest, relaxing as he ran his hand over her hair.

"Comfortable?" he asked.

"Yes," she assured him, burrowing a little closer. She yawned abruptly.

Max chuckled. "Tired, too, I see." He slipped a hand beneath her hair to cup her neck. "You want to go to sleep?"

"Mmm, maybe," Liz admitted. "Don't stop talking, though."

"Okay," he agreed. "I guess I could tell you how much I love you," he whispered. "How you're the most incredible person I know, and that I still have a hard time believing that you're in my life. Or that you never stop amazing me, with your strength and spirit." He smiled, feeling the even rise and fall of Liz's breath against his chest. She had drifted off in a matter of seconds. Dropping a tender kiss on the top of her head, Max closed his eyes. "I love you," he murmured once more, before allowing himself to relax into sleep as well.

*******

TBC
posted on 7-Jan-2002 9:19:32 AM by EmilyluvsRoswell
Well, we're getting toward the end, but there are still a few parts to go. *wink* Enjoy!

*happy*
Em

*********

Part 12

**********

Liz thought she had never had a dream that was a more obvious manifestation of her subconscious desires. She and Max were floating side by side in a beautiful swimming pool, their hands linked. Deck chairs and huge umbrellas were scattered around three sides of the pool, while on the fourth there was a cabana with a white and yellow striped awning. The sun shone down brightly as the water gently rocked them, lulling them into a state of lazy relaxation. They were utterly and completely alone.

"This feels good," Max murmured.

"Mmm," Liz hummed in agreement. "It’s sure a nice change from our dark little cave."

"I thought you liked the cave," Max teased.

"It’s a wonderful cave, as far as caves go," Liz responded. "But I miss the sun. And water like this, that you can dive into and swim through."

"In that case…" Max pulled his hand free and a moment later he was treading water beside her, splashing her playfully. "Come on." He dove beneath the surface, kicking strongly.

Liz laughed, loving the sight of Max enjoying himself, even if it was merely a dream version of him. She flipped over and swam after him, squealing when he somehow maneuvered beneath her and tugged her below the water. His strong arms circled her waist and he brought them both up to the surface, water streaming from his hair.

"Hey," he grinned, giving her a wet kiss.

"Hey yourself."

"Oh, please. God, Max. Your dreams are sappy even when you’re running for your life."

Liz and Max turned to find Isabel standing by the edge of the pool, tapping her foot in annoyance.

"Iz?" Max asked, standing in the suddenly shallow water.

"Who were you expecting?" Isabel asked irritably, brushing a stray hair off her face. Her shorts and shirt were soiled and she looked exhausted.

"Wait a minute," Liz said. "I thought… This is my dream, Isabel."

Isabel blinked in surprise. "Liz? You can see me? But…" She turned confused eyes toward her brother. "But I was dream walking Max."

Max frowned. "I thought it was my dream, too. But if Liz can see you and thinks it’s hers… This is weird. We must have joined our dreams somehow. Has anything like this ever happened before?"

"Not that I know of," Isabel said.

"Couldn’t you just be dream walking me, Max?" Liz asked. "I know you said you can’t do it, but maybe you were wrong."

He shook his head, clearly puzzled. "If I were in your dream, then Isabel would have had to dream walk you as well in order to be here. Somehow, we’ve met on the dream plane. The dream belongs to both of us."

"Look, can we figure out the mechanics of your relationship later, please?" Isabel asked. "This really isn’t what I came for."

Liz blushed slightly and moved to pull herself out of the pool. Max gave her a hand up and then climbed out after her. They each grabbed a towel from the cabana and sat down at one of the umbrella-covered tables with Isabel.

"Is everyone all right? Did you lose the guys who were after you?" Max asked his sister. Then, taking in her weary expression, "Are you okay?"

Isabel nodded. "We’re all fine. Just really tired. None of us slept much last night and then I needed to stay up to try to contact you tonight. Where are you two?"

"In a small cave on the western border of the park," Max replied. "I used my powers to create a sort of landslide in the entrance, so we’re safe, but we’ve got at least four men keeping watch outside in shifts, possibly more."

"What are you doing for food and water?" Isabel frowned worriedly. "We have most of the supplies."

"We’re okay for now," Liz assured her. "No food left, but there’s a stream of sorts in the rear of the cave."

"Okay," Isabel said. "We’re camped in the opposite direction from you, near where we’d agreed to meet up. We’ll have to backtrack in the morning to come find you. Can you give me specific directions?"

Max looked expectantly at Liz. "You’re in charge of the maps," he reminded her.

Liz nodded. "We’re near the third highest peak, on the northwest side. Take the main path and you’ll find the Jeep. From there you have to head up the slope and around to the side furthest from the marked trail. I’m not sure just how high we are, but assuming our guards are still out there, it shouldn’t be hard to figure it out," she said wryly.

"All right," Isabel said, standing. "I’ve got to tell the others."

"Be careful," Max warned. "No telling how many of our pursuers are keeping watch. More may have joined them by now. I can’t move the debris in the cave door without alerting them, so I’m afraid we won’t be much help," he said regretfully.

"It’s okay, Max," Isabel said. "We’ll work it out. You guys hang in." She gave Max a quick hug, then turned and hugged Liz, too. "See you soon." Then she vanished from the dream, before either of them could reply.

A few seconds later, Liz’s eyes fluttered open. She shifted in Max’s warm embrace and found him watching her.

"Was that real?" she asked.

"Yeah," he told her, gently tracing her nose with one finger. "So, they’re okay."

"I told you."

"You did," he admitted, smiling gently.

"What about the dream itself, Max?"

"I don’t know how it happened. Maybe because we were touching. Maybe because we’ve strengthened our bond now that we’ve made love," he suggested quietly.

She reached up and stroked his cheek. "Or we could have just both been hankering for a dip and there was just the one pool available for dreamers tonight," she teased.

"Could be," he laughed. "Anything is possible."

Liz stomach rumbled noisily and Max’s smile faded. "Stop that," she admonished. "It’s not like I’ve never skipped dinner before. Isabel is going to tell everyone where we are, and they’ll come get us out of here, and everything will be find."

"And we’ll go for burgers and fries," Max continued for her.

"Mmm. And a shower," Liz added. "I’m grateful for our little pool of water back there, but it’s not quite the same as good old modern plumbing."

"Agreed," Max chuckled.

"Good." Liz snuggled a little closer to him, resting her head on his shoulder. "So, is it time to get up yet?"

"Uh…" Max shifted to peer at the glowing dial of his watch. "Hardly. Just after one in the morning."

"Really?" she asked sleepily.

Max smiled against her silky hair. "Really. Sweet dreams," he murmured.

"See you there," she whispered.

*****

TBC
posted on 8-Mar-2002 12:39:20 PM by EmilyluvsRoswell
Um... remember this? Yeah, well, I haven't forgotten about it. Honest. So, here's another little part. A couple more to go, and I swear they won't take as long.

*wink*
Em

*******

Part 13

********

Liz was the tiniest bit depressed upon waking to realize she knew exactly where she was. No confusion or sense of disorientation, despite the darkness that surrounded her. Perhaps they really had been in the cave too long. She was starting to get used to it.

Max lay behind her, one arm tucked around her waist, holding her flush against his chest. He exhaled softly, his breath gently stirring her hair, the even rhythm letting her know he was still asleep. Liz was careful not to move, not wanting to disturb him. She knew that a good night's rest was a fairly rare occurance for Max, no matter how he tried to hide that fact. If he could play a little catch up now, knowing they were safe for the moment and that the others were coming to help them, it would go a long way toward keeping him going once they actually got out of the cave.

It was strange lying there, staring into perfect blackness. She found herself closing her eyes rather than continuing to strain to see something in the endless inky dark. She wondered what time it was - whether the others had broken camp to come rescue them - what their enemies were doing outside the door to the cave. It was easy to let her thoughts roam. The cave was so quiet and isolated - it felt as if her worries and concerns were completely disconnected from the world outside. She could think about anything and yet it held no power over her because she was safely tucked away in Max's arms.

"You think too much," came a throaty murmur. Max tightened his arm briefly around her waist as he nuzzled the back of her head.

"Hey," Liz whispered.

"Hey yourself," Max replied. "Worry wart."

"I wasn't worrying," she insisted. "Just… thinking."

"Most of the time that's the same thing." He turned her to face him and pressed a warm kiss to her lips.

"So you could hear my thoughts, hmmm?" she murmured, kissing him back.

"Not really," he admitted, his voice still low and husky with sleep. "But I could feel you somehow. The wheels turning up here," he told her, tapping one finger gently against her temple. "Round and round, trying to figure something out," he teased.

"Shows how much you know," she said. "I was just thinking how cozy I felt. Removed from everything out there." She snuggled into his chest, sighing when he pulled her a little closer.

"Well, I was dreaming of blueberry pancakes," Max said with an exaggerated sigh.

Liz laughed. "You're supposed to be dreaming about me," she told him.

"I did that already," he reminded her with a chuckle. "Right now, I'm afraid Crashcakes are ranking higher on my wish list. Besides," he added. "You're right here."

"Yes, I am. I guess you'll just have to make do," she murmured.

"I wouldn't phrase it quite that way," he replied. Snaking his hands around her waist, he dragged her a little higher so he could nuzzle her cheek, then nipped lightly at her chin. "You taste much better."

"Tastes great, less filling," she giggled, arching as he kissed his way down her throat.

Max started to laugh, pressing his nose against the hollow at the base of her neck and sending vibrations rippling over her skin. Liz tried to push him off of her, her giggles errupting into full blown laughter as well.

"Stop," she begged. "Max, that tickles."

"Sorry," he panted, rolling away, keeping his arm loosely around her.

Regaining her breath, Liz took Max's hand and pulled it up to her face, fumbling in the dark for his wristwatch. She tapped the button to illuminate the dial, peered at it, then released him.

Max rested his hand on her waist, kneeding her gently. "What time is it?"

"Almost eleven."

"Really?" He tugged her a little closer and brushed a kiss over her forehead. "I can't believe we slept so late."

"Mmm," she agreed. "We should probably get up."

"Have big plans for the day?" he teased.

Liz swatted him playfully and sat up. "We don't know when the others are going to get here. We need to be ready to go."

"I doubt we'll see them much before nightfall," Max told her gently, switching on their flashlights. "It won't be safe for them to come up the side of the hill during daylight hours. Too visible."

"Oh. I didn't think of that," she admitted quietly.

"It's just another day."

"I know."

Max stood and pulled her to her feet. He cupped her face in his hand, his fingers spearing through her hair. The first kiss was deep and possessive, his mouth warming hers. Then he trailed small nibbling kisses over her cheeks until she was forced to smile.

"Max, I'm okay," she reassured him.

"Good," he murmured, kissing her once more.

They set about organizing their things. Max refilled the water supply and gave the batteries in the flashlights a shot of power. Liz folded stowed away their belongings, leaving the knapsacks open so they could stow the last of their things in a hurry. Max was reluctant to separate their two sleeping bags, but finally he unzipped them and rolled Liz's tightly. His own he left spread open so they would have something to sit on until the others came to their rescue.

Liz hovered near the entrance of the cave, staring at the rocks Max had used to seal them inside. Noticing her preoccupation, Max came up behind her, slipping his arms around her waist and kissing the side of her neck.

"What?" he whispered.

"It's so quiet out there. Do you think maybe they're gone?"

"I was going to check," he assured her. "But somehow I doubt it."

Liz sighed softly. "I keep hoping they'll just get tired and give up. I hate the idea of Isabel and Michael going up against them with just Maria and Alex for back up."

Max ran his hands soothingly over her bare arms, frowning at how cool her skin was. "Why don't you put your sweatshirt on," he told her. "I'll see what our friends outside are up to, okay?"

"Okay." Liz went over to their bags and tugged out her shirt, her eyes trained on Max.

His back to Liz, Max climbed up to the peep hole he had created earlier and moved aside the rocks blocking the opening. He peered outside for a few minutes, occasionally shifting to one side or the other in an attempt to improve his view.

"Max," Liz whispered. "Max, what do you see?"

"Same old, same old," he muttered, closing the hole again and climbing back down to face her. "I think it's the two who were keeping watch originally."

"So, does that mean there are only four of them?"

"We haven't been checking at night," Max reminded her. "I'm guessing there are at least six, but eight's more likely."

Liz shivered slightly, despite the warmth of her shirt. "I really don't like those odds, Max."

"Me neither," he said grimly.

"Isn't there some way we can help when the others get here?"

"I don't know," he admitted. He began to pace in the length of the cave door, running one hand through his hair in a nervous gesture. "We have to hope they can distract them for long enough for me to break us out of here. If they head down the slope to fight Michael and Iz, it might work," he mused. "We'll catch them by surprise, coming up behind them. But we're going to have to pay close attention."

Liz took a tentative step toward him. "How are we going to know when they get here? Will Isabel try to connect with you?"

Max looked up, his eyes clouded and vague as if his thoughts were miles away. "Maybe," he said. "You know it doesn't really work when we're awake."

"But she managed before. When you were…"

"I was drugged," he said quickly, turning away.

"Max…

"Liz, don't," he said softly. "Please."

"I wasn't," she said quietly. "I'm just saying…"

"I know. I'm sorry," he sighed. But he still didn't turn back to face her.

"How much longer?" Liz asked. "Before they get here. I know they won't try to get close before dark, but it shouldn't take them too long to cross the park."

Max glanced at his watch. "It's nearly one. Maybe another hour? Depends on how careful they are. If they drive straight or take a more circular route."

Liz laughed tightly. "Michael won't drive straight."

"No," Max agreed.

"Max?"

He turned then, his eyes filled with apology. "What?"

She smiled at him. "You're too far away."

He crossed to her slowly, almost stalking her. "Is that why you wanted to know how much time we have?" he asked, his voice low.

"Could be," she teased, tilting her head.

"You're just trying to distract me."

"Maybe I'm just trying to distract myself," she countered, slipping a finger into the waist of his jeans and tugging him forward.

Max raised an eyebrow. "Touché."

"Well, you did say that I think too much," she pointed out.

"I did, didn't I?"

"I guess that means it's your job to keep me from thinking. Seeing that it bothers you."

"I never said it bothered me," he corrected, moving a step closer so she had to tilt her head back to look at him. "Just stated it as a fact."

"Even so," she breathed, reaching up and wrapping her arms around his neck. "I don't want to think right now, Max." Standing on tiptoe, she brushed her lips against his. "So, what are you waiting for?"

"An invitation," he murmured, bending and scooping her up into his arms in one graceful motion. Supporting her back and her knees, he lowered his head to nuzzle the side of her neck as he carried her over to the remaining sleeping bag and gently set her down. He followed her down so they were stretched out side-by-side, flush against each other. "Is this what you had in mind?" he asked.

"It's a start," she replied, pulling him closer for a kiss.

******

TBC
posted on 10-Dec-2002 5:32:35 PM by EmilyluvsRoswell
Wow! Where did you find this? LOL!

Sorry, I'm afraid this counts as the one fic in my history that I actually gave up on. No more parts coming. I thought I'd put notes to that effect on all the threads, but I guess I missed this board. Thanks for asking, though. I'm touched.

Hugs,
Em