posted on 18-Nov-2002 12:31:40 AM by Pathos
Title: Demanding Heaven's Gate
Author: Pathos
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Let's not talk about the morons that do...
Author's Note/Summary: So there I was working on TH&TH and listening to Def Leppard when this song (see below) comes on and suddenly all the little things that had been rattling around my head as possible fixes to S2 started to solidify. I know - Def Leppard?! What can I say? I'm an 80's girl at heart. *big* But read the lyrics and I think you'll see where I'm coming from. Hope you enjoy this latest offering. *happy*

I heard this line one time 'bout tryin' to save the world
But have you ever tried to save yourself
A wide eyed suicide drive, remains a fake
As if you'd ever, ever go and make that same mistake
Strung out as the night comes crawlin'
You're halo of thorns is fallin'

Blood runs cold
I feel it in my bones
But you don't know you're time is up
Blood runs cold

Somebody somewhere is screaming out the words
But do they ever really ease the pain
I guess what I'm trying to say
Is, whose life is it anyway
Because livin', living is the best revenge you can play
This fall from grace
I see your face
It's over

From you love was kind
Resolved, left scarred and blind
Wasted and naked in the wings
Denying twist of fate
Demanding Heaven's Gate
Lying in wait above the wind

- Def Leppard, Slang


**edited to add this wonderful banner made by TeddyBehrJKT!! Thanks muchness hon, cuz I'm all thumbs when it comes to something this artistic.

1-2-4


***********Prologue*********


------Pittsburgh, PA-----------------

She shoved her hair back behind her ear and smoothed the map out on the hood of the El Dorado. Now. Where the hell would he have gone? West. She knew that much, but considering that most of the continental United States was west of their position, the knowledge did her little good. She swore impatiently as the wind once again grabbed at the tendrils of her long hair, throwing it in her face and obscuring her view of the map. Grabbing the unruly mass in one hand, she searched through the pocket of her jacket for a clip with the other. Nothing. Figures. Sighing a tired surrender, she gave the thick tresses over to the wind. She really ought to get it cut, it was always getting in the way. But she just couldn’t bring herself to do it. Not yet.

“Can’t change what happened.”

Her eyes narrowed on her companion through a veil of hair. “Not tryin’ to change what happened.” She countered. They’d had this conversation before. Odd, the things they’d found to talk about now that there was nothing standing between them.

Ice blue eyes narrowed. Liar. She nodded at the brunette anyway, her blonde hair bobbing a little with the movement.

“Where?”


The blonde looked away, pretending absorption in the rocky, mountainous landscape spread out before them. She was used to the question. And the uncompromising tone of voice. And the butterflies that invariably thundered through her stomach. But the angry demand that suddenly laced the words surprised her a little. She swallowed and shrugged, hoping the other girl would simply let it go.

“Try again.”

Her blue eyes closed briefly on her frustration before she opened them again and met that dark, unbending gaze. It wasn’t supposed to go like this. “Look…”

“Where?”

Raising her gaze she studied the clear sky overhead. how the hell had she found herself in this position? She snorted inwardly. The question was useless. Because the answer was obvious. He was dead. And he was dead because she’d betrayed him. Her fear aside, she had done nothing to stop them. And now she was oddly compelled not to compound her betrayal by allowing the brunette in front of her to get herself killed. Which, consciously or not, she was desperately trying to do. Eyes the color of midnight met her own and she sighed in defeat. “Roswell.” She muttered. What the fuck was she thinking? She didn’t believe in atonement. Once you did something, it was done. That’s all there was to it. And yet, somehow…


The brunette shook her head in disbelief. Roswell. Just what she needed. “You’re kidding.”

“I wish.”

Shrugging a little, the brunette folded the map and headed around to get behind the wheel of the Eldo. She watched the blonde slink around the back of the car, barely containing her impatience to be moving again. “Finally!” She muttered under her breath, pulling onto the highway, tires screeching angrily, as soon as the other girl was settled in the passenger seat. “Roswell here we come.”

“Great.”

The brunette glanced to her right at the sarcasm and studied her reticent traveling companion. For the millionth time she wondered how the hell the two of them had gotten here. Oh, she could chart the events that led them to this place. But the reason…she’d yet to figure out the other girls motivation. Fuck it, she thought tiredly. There were more important things to worry about. Her motives were all that mattered at the moment. And hers were clear, simple and unwavering.



------Roswell, NM The morning after Prom Night 2001----

Liz Parker stared at the almost blank page in her journal. How ironic, she thought bitterly, she’d finally turned to the safety and solace of its pages and all she could do was simply record the last thing she’d ever need to say. She shivered a little, feeling no desire to fill the rest of the page, even though she was almost desperate to escape the emptiness that lay beyond her two small, handwritten lines. In an effort to avoid the mockery of those words and the continued blankness of the rest of the page, she lifted her gaze to take in the dawn. The glare from the newly risen sun brought fresh tears to her eyes. Stop. Please?

It didn’t. Not that she’d really expected it to. The sun rose every day without asking permission or taking requests. She watched it continue along its course, a mercilessly optimistic giant banishing the shadows and shedding a light so bright that she had no choice but to view her folly with aching clarity. Yet her heart still remained darkly shrouded in its wake.

Things are always darkest before the dawn.

There was a time when she’d believed that saying to be optimistic. As if moving into the light was a balm to the soul, the natural cure to anything that ailed you. It wasn’t. And the time for innocent belief in simple truths was long past. What they invariably failed to tell you was that once dawn hit, there was nowhere for you to hide. No convenient shadows, no embracing darkness to hide your tears and wrap around your shoulders as you wept. Nothing. Daylight simply isolated you within the incomprehension of the rest of the world. Everyone was the same in the dark. But standing in the unbearably bright light you were alone. Just like she’d told him she would be. Only now she wasn’t, exactly.

She wondered if this would qualify as the supreme irony of her life. The one person she needed, she couldn’t have. The one person that couldn’t know, did. And in the sharing of her burden she’d isolated herself even more.

True love conquers all.

And another one bites the dust. Liz closed her eyes against the pain. She’d actually believed that. Held onto that truth, as a beacon of hope within the darkness that had enshrouded her soul for so long now. And even though the truth had been staring her in the face, she’d never really believed that it would end like this. Until it had.

Yet, even still, they remained lashed by the same bonds that had always held them fast to each others’ sides. Perhaps that was the supreme irony of her life. They were still together. And more lost to each other than they ever had been before. Because instead of being bound by love, as they should have been, it was a deeper, soul shattering responsibility that held them together now.

The truth shall set you free.

She wanted to laugh, she really did, but she ended up swallowing the sob that ached to be released instead. Set her free? She was even more securely imprisoned than she had been yesterday. At least then she’d had some hope to keep her company. The memory of Max’s strong, rich voice telling her that he missed their friendship. The comfort of his warm hand refusing to ease its grip on her own as they returned to their room after dancing that night in Vegas. She supposed that there was some comfort in the knowledge that they were doing the right thing. Search as she might, she could find no trace of it. And no freedom.

I believe in you.

He still did. Even more, now. Just as she believed in him. Which left them nowhere to go, except forward down this path that did nothing more than trace the same suffocating circle. They were locked together in a prison of well intentioned conspiracy and secret responsibility. And they couldn’t even take comfort in being together. Because, while necessity required their cooperation it also demanded their separation. She’d thought she was suffocating before. It was almost worse now. Because he knew. Her heart ached with every beat. He knew and he was just as helpless to ignore what he had been called to do as she was. They were together in purpose now and they would prevail. Just as they always did when they worked together.

Liz was suddenly afraid that their quest for victory was merely the precursor to a slow death.

Wiping ineffectually at the tears flowing silently down her cheeks, Liz wondered why they’d ever come back to Roswell after Max escaped from the FBI. They should have kept running. She should have run away with him the first night he’d asked her to, when he was drunk. Or maybe she should have listened when he told her that they weren’t meant to be. She definitely should have disappeared when Future Max had. She no longer belonged in this time. With this future stretching out before her.

She should have died that day at the Crashdown.

She supposed that that was what everything boiled down to, in the end. Her death would have left Max free. And herself, as well. It would have saved her the trouble, and the pain, of tonight. She closed her eyes against the tears that slipped silently from her eyes, and still the words from her journal mocked her. Her shoulders shook under her sobs as she realized that they were perhaps the truest words she’d ever written, even though they were counter to everything she wanted to be and believe.

I’m Liz Parker and I died, again, tonight. Only this time there was nothing Max Evans could do to save me. Even though he was standing right there.




[ edited 5 time(s), last at 27-Dec-2002 1:23:52 PM ]
posted on 19-Nov-2002 1:46:38 AM by Pathos
Araxie HRH -

Hon, read your post and just had to put your mind at ease. I am an unabashed dreamer and (not to give too much away) there is no possible way that I could ever kill Max. My poor heart rebels at the very thought. *wink* And I promise that the intent of this fic is to fix what went so horribly awry with S2 rather than make it worse. Hope that helps...

Pathos *happy*


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 19-Nov-2002 1:47:32 AM ]
posted on 3-Dec-2002 10:55:34 AM by Pathos
Hey all -

Just wanted to check in and say thanks for the great response. Totally blew me away! *big* Also wanted to let you know that new parts will be out tomorrow. Hopefully they'll help clear up the confusion...well, some of it anyway. *wink*

See ya then

Pathos
posted on 5-Dec-2002 12:42:57 AM by Pathos
TeddyBehrJKT, roswellluver, McGees, Realistic Dreamer, merchez, ConsultantTam, LizHalliwell, frenchkiss70, Scottie, Araxie HRH, Breathless, Minanda, FireflyDreamer, moonieADT, RoswAlien_Lady, Lelea, mareli, SciFiNut111, SarahWhitman, goddessgurl15000 Hi all – just wanted to say Thanks! once again. Like I said before, the fb really blew me away on this one, I really appreciate it. And now just a teeny tiny Authors Note Just to help clear up a bit of the confusion – this isn’t exactly post HOM, just post Max’s kiss with Tess. Everything after that is fair game to be shoved out the window and, er, it kinda has been. *big* (what can I say post HOM sounded better than post Max’s kissing Tess in HOM – sorry for the mislead there. LOL) Also, Liz’s part in the prologue actually takes place around sunrise, the morning after prom - I relabeled to clarify that. Anyway, from here on out I think we’re good to go. Hope you like the next couple parts!

Pathos *wink*


1-2-4


*********Part 1*********

---------On the Road: Pittsburgh to Roswell-------

The lights of the city twinkled brightly at her, shining easily through the dark stillness of the night. The view reminded her of every cinematic panorama of New York she’d ever seen. But more beautiful because she was standing on their roof. Or, more accurately, the ledge surrounding their roof. The one he was forever yanking her off of. If she closed her eyes she could almost feel his frustration at both her continued fascination with the sheer drop, and his own fear of it. He could usually stretch the silence for a good five minutes before he lost patience and reached for her, pulling her from her perch into the safety of his arms. The scene had played itself out so many times that she could almost hear his voice when he said…

“She’s right ya know. This aint gonna change a thing.”

Not that. She swallowed hard against the lump in her throat, refusing to open her eyes as his warm, rich voice washed over her. Reminding her of everything she’d lost. And everything she had yet to accomplish. “Sidin’ with the blonde aint makin’ you any friends.” She said lightly, though she suspected that he caught the sharp edge in her tone.

Hard amber eyes narrowed further when her own eyes remained stubbornly closed. As if he weren’t really there. “Getting’ killed aint makin’ you any.” He muttered darkly, stepping up next to her on the ledge. His expression softened slightly when she opened her eyes and he saw the pain swimming in their midnight blue depths. Along with the tears she refused to shed. “Baby…”

She shook her head, noting the easy way he stood next to her. Something he’d never done in life. “You’re just a dream.” She whispered angrily.

His lips curled into that trademark smirk. The one that never failed to send her blood rushing hotly through her veins. He reached out and caught a tendril of her hair, watching the curl twine around his finger. “I’m anythin’ you want me ta be.” He responded, voice low.

“No.” She said softly, trying to ignore the aching familiarity of his obsession with her hair. “No, you’re not.”

“Whateva.” He shrugged, smoothing the curl into place and getting back to the business at hand. “Like I was sayin’, you’re gonna stop this. Now.”

“No.”

“Listen to me…”

“No.”

“Baby…”

“Fuck you!” She bit out angrily. How could he be standing here? So vital and warm…and so gone?

“Love to.” He shot back.. “But…” He shrugged again, gesturing vaguely at his slowly evaporating form. “Now aint the time. You gotta listen ta me now. You’re gonna stop this…”

She shook her head. “Who the hell do you think you are? You aint got a say in this. You left me here, alone! So you can just shove your fuckin’ orders!”

He shook his head, amber eyes pained as she faced him angrily, itching for a fight he couldn’t give her. “Serena, you’re killin’ me.” He whispered gently before stepping easily off the ledge.

“ZAN!” Serena jerked awake, her breath catching painfully in her throat as she struggled to focus on her surroundings. Zan wasn’t there. It was the same painful reality that struck her every time she awoke. Zan wasn’t there. And he never would be again. Instead, there was only Ava’s uncomfortably avid scrutiny. Trembling a little, Serena reached for her bottle of water, chugging a good amount before she felt ready to face the questions she read in the other girls china blue eyes. “What?” she demanded tiredly.

“You ok?” Ava asked, trying to bring her own heartbeat under control. It was one thing to hear Serena scream out in the confines of a hotel room but the shout from the backseat of the El Dorado had about given her a heart attack..

“Fine.” Serena replied shortly.

“Right. You eva plannin’ on gettin’ a full nights sleep?”

“When this is all ova.”

Ava met Serena’s hard, determined gaze in the mirror. She’d always hated those eyes, she mused. Even before she’d met Serena, she’d hated that color blue. “Zan’s dead, Serena. Aint it already ova?” Ava asked coldly.

“You wanna bounce? There’s a rest stop in a mile and a half. Get out there.” Serena challenged, nodding at the sign they’d just passed and ignoring the brief ripple of pain that shot through her body at Ava’s blunt assessment.

Ava shook her head, wondering briefly why it hurt Serena more to hear that Zan was dead than it did for her to say it. “Neva said that.” She said quietly, falling back into their truce. It really was better not to mention him at all.

Serena nodded tiredly. “You need me ta drive yet?” She took a deep breath as Ava shook her head. “Then watch the fuckin’ road and quit tryin’ to get in my head.” She ordered softly, her gentle tone lessening the sting of the words somewhat.

Ava swallowed the ‘fuck you’ that rose to her lips with some difficulty. Pissing Serena off more wasn’t gonna do anybody any good. Course, neither was letting her follow through on this half assed plan of hers. She only hoped Liz had a better idea of what to do with her. Because everything she’d tried, had failed. They were still headed to Roswell. Serena was still bound and determined to get herself killed. And Ava still had the uncomfortable feeling she’d be unable to avoid a front row seat.



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 5-Dec-2002 12:44:09 AM ]
posted on 5-Dec-2002 12:49:09 AM by Pathos
***********Part 2*********

--------- 5:57 am the morning after Prom-------

Max Evans stared at the metal rung of the ladder. His hand hovered briefly, uncertainly in mid air before falling back to his side. He could hear Liz, softly weeping through the stillness of the night. Or maybe he could feel it in the stark numbness of his own soul. He opened his mouth, intending to call out to her as he hadn’t been able to bring himself to do in almost a year. But his voice caught in his throat. She didn’t want him here. His eyes closed against the truth that they’d danced around the entire night. He didn’t belong here. With her. He swallowed hard. The last ten hours had taught him so much. So much more than he ever wanted to know. So much that he wished he’d never heard. But the one implacable truth that was sure to haunt him for the rest of his life was that his wishes had no place in the grand scheme of a fickle universe.

Too much was at stake for fate to give one blessed damn about the wishes of one person.


Even if that person were a King who was now balancing the responsibility for two planets haphazardly in his hands. Max closed his eyes against the rising sun, unable to stop himself from making one final wish. But, no. The sun continued its steady advance across the sky. He nodded a little, knowing that Liz was watching the same sure movements he was. With the same soul wrenching despair. Their night was over. Alien epiphany aside, he suddenly wished it had never begun.

----------------West Roswell High, 8:30 pm Prom Night---------------

In the absence of love, beauty must needs suffice.

Max felt a surge of excitement sweep through him along with the revelation, almost eclipsing the pain that had taken up residence after Liz’s declaration. It was so clear. Stronger even than his memories of Tess. The words whispered their way through his brain with a feeling of hard won understanding. And the intensity of lessons long since learned. They’d never felt like this. The memories…impressions, whatever they were, they’d never been this clear. This electrifying. They’d never resonated through his soul the way that one phrase did.

In the absence of love, beauty must needs suffice.

Max realized quite suddenly that the words had been hovering at the edge of his consciousness since he’d begun the memory retrieval with Tess. He wondered vaguely why they were so much more clear than the memories he’d found with her. But the brief thought was trampled by the knowledge that he’d…well, his former self…Zahn…whoever the hell he was! He’d been wrong. Or rather, he’d been shortsighted. Because beauty was no substitute for love.

He had to tell Liz.

Max pulled away from Tess gently, feeling the softness of her lips leaving his own with a certain amount of relief. And then he opened his eyes to the hope that flared helplessly in her cerulean eyes. He swallowed hard, lowering his gaze to study the floor in front of them as he cleared his throat. “We should, uh…”

“Max, you said it yourself.” Tess said softly, reaching out to rest her hand on his forearm.

Max cringed a little at the gentle uncertainty of her touch. And the vulnerability he heard in her voice. ‘I think it’s really over.’ He had said that, though he’d never intended to hurt her with it. Tess certainly didn’t deserve that after the way she’d simply been there for him over the last few months, offering her support without any pressure. He raised his eyes to hers, giving a brief smile as he nodded. “I know.” He sighed inwardly as her own smile widened. He’d never intended to get her thinking about their ‘destiny’ again. Taking a deep breath he stood up. All his intentions for the night had flown to hell anyway. He’d have to deal with this later. After he talked to Liz. After he explained… “I know, I know what I said. I just…it’ll look bad if we don’t, ya know, if we don’t get back out there.”

Tess dropped her eyes even as she stood and nodded her understanding. “Right. Kyle’s probably looking for me.” She said, gesturing vaguely at the doors to the gym.

“Right.” Max had never been so relieved to join a crowd of people in his life. He quickly lost Tess to Kyle’s antics and the fun they always seemed to have in each others company, and went in search of Liz. His brows furrowed when he was unable to find her. An odd surge of panic sent the blood rushing through his ears while his worried gaze finally settled on Maria. Striding forward, Max reached out and caught her shoulder. “Hey.” He said, nodding a greeting at Michael and ignoring the flare of hostility he saw in his eyes. What else was new? “Where’s Liz?” He asked Maria, his eyes still scanning the room in the hopes of catching sight of her himself.

Maria stopped dancing and whirled to glare at Max, her eyes narrowing even further when she saw that he wasn’t paying any attention to her. “As if you care!”

“Maria…” Max focused on Maria, blinking a little at the venom he heard in her voice.

“Go back and find Tess if you want to shove your tongue down someone’s throat. Liz left!”

“What?” Max’s astonishment that Liz had left without saying goodbye gave way to an almost choking apprehension as the rest of what Maria said permeated his brain. “Wait, she saw…?”

“That’s right, buddy. She saw.”

No, no no! Max tuned out the rest of Maria’s diatribe while his brain sought frantically to figure out where Liz had gone. “Maria, where…” Not even a breath. Barely reining in his sudden frustration, Max reached out and grabbed Maria’s upper arms, ignoring both Michael’s sharp exclamation of ‘Maxwell!’ and Maria’s outraged gasp. “It’s not what you think.” He ground out. “Where did she go?”

Maria studied Max through narrowed eyes. There was a desperation in his eyes that she hadn’t seen in months. She wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing, but at the very least it might force those two to clear the air. “She said she was going home.” Maria said softly.

Max nodded, his apprehension letting up slightly now that he knew where to find her. He threw a harried ‘thank you’ over his shoulder and headed for the jeep. He raced from the parking lot, grateful that he was ahead of the rush to get to the after Prom parties. He had to find her. Tonight. Now. This second. It couldn’t wait til morning. The urge to find her, to explain, to make her understand…in that moment it was as immediate as his need to breathe. Almost as if a stopwatch were ticking off the finite number of seconds he had left to win this odd battle of wills that they’d been fighting for the last year.

He was so intent on getting to the Crashdown as quickly as possible that Max almost missed the small figure hunched over under the streetlight, taking off her high heeled shoes.

Liz’s head jerked up in surprise at the loud squeal of brakes. She knew somehow, before she even saw the jeep, that it was Max. She blinked a little and watched as he swung it in a tight U-turn, obviously intent on catching up with her. No. Not tonight. She just couldn’t do this tonight. With all the desperation of a cornered animal, Liz looked for an escape route. Glancing to her left she made the quick decision to take the old short cut behind the school.


“Liz!” Max saw her freeze and he knew that she was debating whether or not to run. He yanked the jeep over to the side of the road and threw it into park, sliding from the drivers seat almost before the vehicle was stopped. “Liz, wait!”

“What are you doing here, Max?”

Max ignored the defeat he heard in her voice and the pain that ripped through his brain as a question he’d fantasized about her asking again, took on an entirely different connotation. Glancing around for an answer, he was momentarily thrown to find himself on the elementary school playground. He shook his head to clear it of the image of the innocent little girl with the long, dark hair. He focused instead on the young woman standing before him. A vagrant Cinderella, fleeing the ball. “This is where my date is. I didn’t think I danced that badly, Liz.” He replied lightly, offering the joke in place of a thousand other things he wanted to say.

Liz shook her head. She couldn’t do this. They’d gone their separate ways. And he’d been fine with that just a few minutes ago, she thought bitterly, the picture of Max kissing Tess playing out behind her eyes and making her feel vaguely ill. “I’ve gotta go.” She muttered, turning to continue across the playground.

“No! Liz, wait. I need to talk to you.”

“No. No you don’t Max. We’ve said everything that…” She broke off on a gasp when Max grabbed her arm and pulled her around to face him with none of the gentleness she’d come to expect from him. “Max, stop it. I’ve got to go…”

“No. Please, Liz just give me a few minutes. Just…just talk to me.” Max stared at her bowed head wondering how in the hell it had gotten so difficult for the two of them to do something as simple as speak to each other.

Liz shook her head, refusing to meet his gaze and refusing to acknowledge the desperation she could hear so clearly in his voice. “About what?” She whispered gently. “Max, please just let me go.”

Let her go? Max stared at her bowed head, frustrated at her stubborn refusal to look at him. Let her go? He couldn’t. He had to explain…he wouldn’t, damn it! Maybe it was his pouty inner king but he wasn’t letting go of her until he got some real answers. And if he had his way, not even after that. “No.” He whispered fiercely, satisfied when she finally raised her eyes to his in order to gape at him. He held her gaze firmly with his own. “No.”





Oh, merchez - Nice call on Serena. Gold star for you! *wink*


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 5-Dec-2002 12:51:51 AM ]
posted on 27-Dec-2002 1:21:58 PM by Pathos
Hey guys -

I hope everyone that celebrated had a great holiday. And I wanted to let you know that I haven't forgotten about this fic...but with everything going on I won't be able to post until after the first of the year.

Just wanted to say thanks for the interest and the bumps. And I'll see ya'll soon.

Pathos *happy*