|posted on 14-Nov-2001 11:22:03 PM by LivE|
|NOTE: I was feeling nostalgic for season 1 Max and Liz, as well as my Experiment Universe, so I cheated by taking time out from All for You to finish this little story I had started a long time ago.|
Max is a daddy in this story, but he's 27 and has been married to Liz for eight years. This has NOTHING to do with season 2 Roswell.
My Experiment series can be found at:
TITLE: Little Silver Handprints
RATING: PG-13, I guess
CATEGORY: M/M (*grin* That’s Max and MATTHEW, don’t panic!) Liz is here too…
DISCLAIMER: Nothing in the Roswell universe is mine.
SUMMARY: (From my Experiment Universe) I enjoyed writing about the kids so much that I decided to try another one-parter about Matthew and his Mommy and Daddy (Belle is not born yet). Like his Daddy, Matt just wants to help…
LITTLE SILVER HANDPRINTS
A small body hurtled towards him as he strode into the Albuquerque Airport, tired from a long flight. Max Evans was immediately on guard. This was his quiet serious two-year old son Matthew, who was not normally prone to screaming in public places.
“Hey Son!” Kneeling down and dropping his bags, he caught Matt against his chest as his eyes sought the arrival’s hall for his wife. But Liz wasn’t here, he had known that as soon as he had stepped off the plane. He hugged Matt tighter, feeling his son’s little arms creep around his neck.
His trip to New York had only taken three days, but it had been too long for him to be away from his wife and son. He hated business trips with a passion. Hated them because he had to pretend while doing them, hated them as being a waste of time, and hated them because of what he missed of his son growing up while being gone. But most of all, he hated them because they took him away from the woman he needed by his side always.
Over Matt’s head, he met his life-long friend Michael Guerin’s eyes. Dread had filled him as soon as he realized Liz hadn’t come to meet him. The dread got worse when he realized his son was sniffling against his neck.
“I’m so glad you’re back, Daddy. Mommy’s sick,” little Matt mumbled into his sweater, clinging to him even harder. Max felt his stomach drop to his feet.
“Breathe, Maxwell, she’s fine.”
Only Michael could be sardonic in the light of the very visible tension suffusing Max’s body. And Max didn’t appreciate the fact that Michael looked ready to start laughing either. “What’s wrong?”
“She—she’s really… Her throat hurts. And—and…” Matt was hiccupping through his explanation, his arms curling tighter around Max’s neck, nearly choking him.
Max looked at Michael questioningly.
“Just flu,” Michael shrugged. Max wanted to wring his neck for being so casual about something that was clearly upsetting to Matt. And to himself.
His stomach cramped at the thought of Liz being ill. Vivid memories of the first time he had seen her sick assailed him as he lifted Matt higher up against his chest and stood to his feet. She had had a high fever, sore throat and a terrible cough.
And he hadn’t been able to do a thing for her.
So he had sat close to her all night, clinging to her hand. Bathing her face and body with a cool, wet cloth. Afraid to fall asleep in case she needed him. In case she got worse.
“It’s okay, Matt. Mommy will be fine,” he soothed, rubbing a calming hand over Matt’s back. “She just needs a little rest, and for us to take really good care of her in the meantime”
This time, Michael snorted audibly as he lifted one of Max’s bags and handed another over.
“What is your problem, Michael?”
But Matthew interrupted. “I—I tried to—to take care of…”
“I’m sure you did, Mattie.” Max pressed a kiss to Matt’s forehead as he glared at Michael who continued to grin. They started walking out of the airport building and Max was glad they now lived in Albuquerque so he didn’t have to face a long drive before he could finally be home.
Michael had come in Liz’s car, so Matt’s car seat was ready in the back seat, but as Max bent to strap him in, he started bawling. “I wanna sit with you, Daddy!” He curled his little fists into Max’s sweater and refused to let go. “Pleaaaase!”
Stunned by his son’s abnormal reactions, Max straightened again, wiping the tears from Matt’s cheeks with his fingers. Was Matthew this upset because Liz had the flu? Somehow, in spite of the fact that this was Matt’s first experience of illness, Max doubted it. Something else must be going on.
On the other side of the car, Michael was getting into the driver seat with a hearty chuckle. In irritation, Max wondered how risky it would be to send an energy bolt into his friend’s foot. He shifted his attention back to his visibly distressed son.
“Matt, you know how dangerous it is for you to ride in the front on someone’s lap. Mommy and Daddy have explained this before, remember?”
“B—But…” He sniffled some more, rubbing his one hand over his eyes in a gesture endearingly reminiscent of Liz.
Max was lost. “I promise I’m not going away again.” He pointed at the front seat. “See, Daddy will be right there. You will be able to see me the whole way home.” This time he got Matt into the seat.
Suddenly, Matthew looked afraid as Max let go of him. “Don’t be mad at me, Daddy!” His bottom-lip started quivering again. “But—but you weren’t there… Mommy always says you c—can kiss her better… a—and you weren’t there…”
“Don’t freak, little buddy,” Michael had turned around from the front seat and was patting Matt’s leg awkwardly. “Your Dad will be cool.”
“Michael, what the h—what are you talking about?” Max prayed for patience as he finished strapping Matt in and moved to his own seat.
“You’ll see,” Michael said enigmatically, before convulsing into fits of laughter. This seemed to distress Matthew more and his loud sniffles ended the laughter abruptly as Michael cast Matt an apologetic glance.
The whole thing puzzled Max. His son was crying more than he had ever seen him do in his short life. And Michael was finding the whole thing really amusing. Not exactly the homecoming he had dreamed of.
He was aching to see Liz and hold her. And now he would have to be careful doing that, she was probably not feeling like being pawed and groped right now.
“When did Liz start feeling sick?” Max asked, stuck on the fact that his precious wife was ill.
Sighing with exaggeration, Michael threw him a long-suffering glance. “I told you, she just has the flu. Nothing to get completely crazy about.”
“Yesterday, Daddy,” Matthew piped up from the backseat.
Turning around, Max smiled at his son. “Are you feeling better now?”
At the question, Matthew turned pale again, but he nodded as if he thought that was what Max wanted to see. His father’s frown made him clutch his stuffed toy space ship closer to his chest. His Daddy was gonna be so mad!
The closer they got to his home, the stronger his connection with Liz became and Max soaked it all in. Reveling in feeling her become part of him again. They never really lose their connection, but sometimes he’s so far away from her that it dims to a faint glimmer in the deepest recesses of his heart. But now he could feel her anticipation of seeing him, tinged with some barely controlled mirth. Ignoring Michael’s rolled eyes, Max managed to sink into his Liz world. I love you, Liz, he whispered to her silently, and even though she couldn’t really hear his thoughts, she could sense his feelings and her joy spiked another notch.
He felt her love for him too and a little place inside of him that always manage to shrivel up without her, bloomed to life again.
Max twisted in his seat so he could meet Matt’s gaze.
“You love Mommy and—and me, right?”
This tremulous question floored Max. “More than anything in the universe,” was all he could think to say.
Matt was quiet for a few minutes, but Max could see the wheels still turning in his little head. “Were you ever so… mad at Mommy that you…s—stopped loving her?”
“Never.” He said it with conviction, not sure what Matthew was working towards, but knowing that his son needed assurance for some reason. Max cast another querying glance at Michael, who ignored him with a smirk. “There is nothing anywhere in this universe, that could make me stop loving you or your mom.” As he watched, Matthew bit his lip, another little Liz characteristic. “What happened, Matt? Why are you worried that I’ll stop loving you?”
But Matthew’s eyes remained huge and filled with panic as he stayed mute. After watching him for long minutes, Max turned to Michael with a sigh. “So, how’s Maria?”
“She’s off on some bizarre aroma therapeutic healing course.” Michael grimaced. “Which means she’ll come try it on us when she gets back.” He threw Max a sardonic glance. “There’s still time to flee the planet.”
This made Max grin. Nothing had changed between Michael and Maria in all the years they’d been together. They still had the power to irritate the crap out of each other. On the other hand, Liz’s power over him just seemed to increase as the years wore on. He still remembered vividly how he had sworn never to touch her again when Matthew was born and he had had to watch helplessly as she battled through childbirth. Ha! That lasted precisely until the moment Liz had told him she was fully recovered… He had been all over her before she had even stopped speaking. He sobered. And now she was ill. “Michael—”
“Damn, man, how many times do I have to tell you it’s just the flu?” Michael sounded surly now. “Are you ever going to stop being so obsessed with every little breath she takes?”
“No,” Max relied blithely. Liz was his life and he cared not one iota if that bothered anyone else. Least of all Michael, who knew just what he and Liz had gone through to get to this peaceful place in their lives.
The small voice from the backseat interrupted his thoughts and he turned around to look at Matthew.
“Can we stop for—for ice cream?”
Ice cream? Max was torn, he desperately wanted to get home to see Liz, but he also didn’t want his son to think he didn’t matter.
“Mommy’s throat hurts and she likes ice cream for that,” Matt clarified, still looking like a deer caught in headlights. “And,” he rushed on, “and Mommy said you liked stwaw… bellies… So we could get some of them for you too.” His little hands were still clinging to his toy ship convulsively. “Please, Daddy?”
Max’s heart melted. Any sort of pleading from his wife or his son normally led to him caving. “Okay. If it’s okay with Uncle Michael, we can stop for ice cream.”
Sighing, Michael pulled into one of the side streets in Albuquerque’s shopping district. He halted the car in front of a dairy shop and waited while Max unstrapped his son from the car seat.
Again, Max wondered what was going on with Matthew. He seemed relieved that they weren’t going home yet and he eagerly ran ahead of them into the shop. Max moved to run after him, he hated having his son, his hybrid alien son, out of his sight in public places. Echoes of what had happened to him in that White Room would forever live in his soul.
“You know he’s just stalling, right?” Michael asked as he followed Max into the shop. “Poor little guy is freaking big time.”
Locating Matthew in front of one of the ice cream displays, Max looked back at Michael. “What the hell is going on, Michael?”
Michael’s grin turned into a chuckle. “You’ll see. History repeats itself,” he ended enigmatically. “By the way, I never got the strawberry fetish you and the little lady share. What’s that all about?”
His mind whirled to eight years ago—Liz carrying a bowl of strawberries into the Crashdown kitchen. What are you doing here, Max? He remembered every little thing about that moment. Her scent. The color of her lip-gloss. The exact style of her ponytail. How hot it had been in that kitchen. And how much hotter she had made him by flirting shamelessly, brushing against his body at every turn. Just friends? He still remembered how she had looked at him after he asked that final stupid question, like she had known he was grasping at straws, losing the battle against his lust. Just friends, yeah right! By the time the words had rolled off his tongue, the raging fire she had stoked in his body had been way out of control. He had yanked her against him, kissing her like he had never kissed her before. Their previous kisses had been soft, learning, romantic—this one had been hot, deep and frantic. She had made soft little sounds in her throat as he kissed her neck, his hands fisted in her uniform. He had lifted her onto one of the kitchen counters in a none-too-gentle way, stepping between her thighs and bending her over his arm as their tongues tangled and her fingers mussed his hair. It was his other hand, going out to brace them, that had knocked the bowl of strawberries off the counter, spilling them onto the floor around his feet. The top snaps of her uniform had come undone from his groping hands—
“Hello?” Michael was waving a hand in front of his face. “Geez, forget I asked! If that expression on your face is anything to go by, I really don’t want to know about the strawberries.” He felt his face flush. Damn, he wanted to get home to Liz!
Matthew took forever to decide which ice cream his mommy would want. “She likes vanilla, Mattie, you know that,” Max finally urged him, as he squatted next to Matt.
Sighing deeply, Matthew nodded in resignation. “Okay, we’ll buy her some vanilla then.”
The longsuffering way in which he said it, made Max want to chuckle. But he bit down on the urge, sure his son wouldn’t appreciate being laughed at. They ended up buying a few choices and finally they were on their way home.
Max kept an eye on Matthew while they drove and the closer they got to home, the quieter he became. What on earth was going on?
Michael got the bags from the car while Max helped Matthew out of the seat. As soon as he was free, Matthew attached himself to Max’s neck and refused to budge.
“I’m sorry, Daddy!”
“Matthew, you are really starting to worry me here, buddy! What are you so afraid about? You know I’ll fix it, whatever happened.”
He was touched when he saw the hope spring into his son’s wide eyes. Eyes just like his own. “You won’t be mad?”
Starting to move towards the front door, he tried to be fair. “Well, I can’t promise that until I know what you are apologizing for, can I? But I promise to listen to why you did what you did first, okay?”
By now, Liz had opened the door, wearing an old bulky turtleneck sweater and looking flushed. The sight made Max forget about his worries for a moment as he basked in being so close to his wife again.
“Outta the way,” Michael grunted as he shouldered past the little family congregated in the doorway. “I need to get these down before you two start reuniting,” he threw their way before he lugged the suitcases into the den. When he returned, Max had an arm around Liz, hugging her close to his side. “See ya!” Michael stopped to ruffle Matthew’s hair. “You’ll live little buddy, don’t worry!”
And with that, he was gone.
Stepping inside the house, Max kicked the door shut, still holding both Liz and Matthew. “Lord, I missed you both!”
“We missed you too,” Liz’s voice was even huskier as a result of her sore throat.
Max kissed her gently—he couldn’t get sick anyway. “You’re burning up! Why are you wearing this thing when you’re so hot?”
Matthew suddenly started to wriggle against him. “We brought you ice cream, Mommy!” he sounded panicked.
Taking Matt from Max, Liz smiled at her son. “Thank you for bringing daddy home, but I think we need to show him, so you can stop worrying, okay?”
Max was mystified. “Show me what?”
Grinning, Liz pulled the neck of her sweater away, revealing two little silver handprints over her throat. “Someone tried to heal his Mommy’s sore throat.”
“I’m sorry, Daddy,” Matthew mumbled against Liz’s shoulder. “I didn’t want Mommy to hurt, but then my hands made marks…” He finally looked at Max. “And… I’m not supposed to let anyone see my hands can glow, right?”
A rush of emotion clogged Max’s throat. Could he love this son Liz has given him more? Holding out his arms, he took Matthew back from Liz, hugging him tightly. “No, you’re not supposed to let other people see what you can do with your hands, but… this was for Mommy, so I can totally understand.” Fleetingly, he remembered the silver handprint he’d left on Liz’s stomach after healing her from a gunshot wound so long ago. Just like Matthew, he hadn’t thought twice about helping Liz, even if it meant exposing himself for what he was.
Matthew was so relieved, he started sobbing loudly. While Max calmed him down and tried to explain that there were things they couldn’t fix with their hands, Liz went to get them ice cream, finally dragging off the sweater with which she had opened the door.
Max stared at her when she returned, wearing a tank top and drawstring pants. The two handprints she’d shown him weren’t the only ones. She had more on her chest too. Smiling at him, she whispered, “He did it while I was sleeping.”
Max just shook his head, still looking at the little starfish-shaped silver marks on his wife. “I guess you bring out the protective side in all the Evans males!”
After eating only a few bites of his ice cream, Matthew conked out, completely exhausted after his emotional day. He fell asleep on the lap of the man he worshipped, the daddy who could fix things with his hands, and the father who’s approval he would always seek.
They put him to bed together, Max taking a moment to lean over his son and whisper I love you before he returned to Liz’s side.
She took his hand and led him to their bedroom. “I thought since Matthew’s hand tricks didn’t work, maybe his daddy could try a few tricks with his mouth,” she told him teasingly.
He halted her in front of their mirror, hugging her from behind as he slowly waved his hand over all the little handprints to remove them. “I thought you were feeling ill?” But he was smiling at her reflection.
“Max Evans, I’m sick not dead, and I want you to replace those marks of your son with some of your own…”
“Hmmm,” he met her gaze with dark eyes, “what on earth do I have that is the size of little silver handprints?”
Turning around, she rubbed herself against his hardness. “Oh, I’m sure you’ll think of something…”